The Broken Cistern and the Springing Well
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEAD NOTIONS, AND
HEART RELIGION; VAIN JANGLING, AND
ADDRESSED TO THE REV. JOHN RYLAND, SEN. AT ENFIELD.
"Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David" Matt. 22:42
William Huntington (1745-1813)
To the Rev. JOHN RYLAND, SEN.
THE reason of my addressing this to you is that, some time ago, you said, (as I was informed) in a barber's shop, "That you had prepared a Pill for William Huntington; and, if that, did not do, you would give him a Bolus." Soon after which, your little Body of Divinity appeared, which I took to be the Pill; and, after that, Antinomianism Unmasked fell into my hands, which I took to be the threatened Bolus. However, I could not help smiling, when I saw your Maid's name affixed to it - I thought that that was done in order to try my sagacity, or the strength of my eye-sight. I perceived that there was a woman's name affixed to it, and a man's voice speaking in it. I said, Come near to me, and let me handle thee, and see whose very child thou art: thou art called the handy works of Esau, but the voice is the voice of Jacob. However, the Maid affirms that, by a miraculous conception, she compassed this production without the help of man; whereas, if family likenesses express or mean any thing, the first nine or ten pages will speak for themselves. Many of the features of this child are Mr. Ryland's own: he is known whether he appears in a Magazine or in this piece. I think I may warrantably say of these pages, as we commonly say of a long of feather-edge boards, that it is the work of two; or of a pair of sawyers, one on the top, and the other in the pit. The Maid, by name, is the top woman; but Mr. Ryland worked under ground. There was a conjunction of heads in the production of this pamphlet. This discovers itself in the seventh page, where the pronoun plural appears - We have taken a short but comprehensive view of it, but who hath believed the report? It might have been rendered, our report. Now, though I am no grammarian, yet I know that two are more than one, and that We implies a plurality. But it seems that Mr. Ryland refuses to father this little one, lest it should, be overlaid, or found dead: but the Maid lays claim to the whole of it, having no doubt that it is a living child. But I say, Divide it, seeing the girl has confessed to Mr. K - g, that it contains Mr. Ryland's sentiments. You should be a little more private, reverend Sir, in your matters, and not let your secret things, get abroad, as they do. Your threatening me in the barber's shop; the former convention and council against me, when the c - 's head fell in the ashes; the good works that appeared in your servant, and another, when the Seventeenth S - b of Candour went off in a fortnight at Islington; your refusing to see any body but your Maid when this chick was hatching from the egg; the printer's boy bringing a proof to you at a friend's house, where you did not expect him; your acknowledging to Mrs. Terry, that you had a hand in the first squib that your Maid discharged me, besides your own mode of writing appearing in it - serve to confirm me in my opinion of it's having been a joint work.
The above hints I have dropped [a hint to the wise is enough] only to my friends know that I was privy to many of their secret councils - Wist ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?
I suppose your servant thinks me not so competent a judge of phsysiogomy as herself, because the answer to the daughter's defence was addressed to the father; but she seems to wonder that the answer to the Maid's Mask should be addressed to the Master. However, this is agreeable to the only rule of life - We are to do as we would be done by, for this is the law and the prophets - ,and this method I have adopted, and am determined to pursue it, until Mr. Ryland's servant can find some other post, or pillar, (besides me) for the purpose of beating her mats and her duster.
My doctrine, in this piece, is jumbled in as a principal ingredent of a most dreadful composition; and, like the poor man that fell among thieves, I am ranked with a desperate gang. The c - 's h - d that Maria tumbled into the ashes, did not cut a worse figure before Mr. Ryland than I do in this black company. However, I will pick-my own precious doctrine from this Bolus; and, as the good Samaritan has set me on his own beast, I hope to ride away from this gang. As to James Relly, I know nothing of him; I never read any thing of his. I got not my doctrine from man; it is not after man. Nor will I defend any Antinomian tenets but those that are found in the everlasting Gospel; nor vindicate any sort of Antinomians but those, and those only, who know the plague of their own heart, and the healing balm of Christ's blood; who are born again of the Spirit of God, united to Jesus, and who live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and serve God in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter, This sort of Antinomians I dearly love; and God loves them, because they love Jesus; and it is in and by such that God ever was, and ever will be, glorified.
I do believe in my heart, friend Ryland, that my most gracious God has given the Coalheaver a name and a place among these blessed ones; therefore do not rank me among the chimney-sweepers; for I am no friend to hypocrites, nor patron of the workers of darkness. As the doctrine that I preach is my own, what God himself revealed to my heart at first, and which I have learnt since out of no book but the Bible; I should like to dispute this point with Mr. Ryland himself, and that by the scriptures of truth, and let the children of God at large judge of our doctrine. I consider your age; and will, God enabling me, make use of all the Candour that I am master of, so as not to obscure the rays, nor blunt the force, of truth. I think I can do this with a good conscience, as it is in defence of my own testimony, and being commanded, contend earnestly for the faith, and to preach the Gospel; while your contention is for the Law.
In my answer to this, I shall make my remarks chiefly on those passages that are levelled at me, and which contradict the doctrine that I have learnt; and submit them to your judgment, and expect your reply. But, if you set your Maid to work, you must expect, and shall have, the answer addressed to yourself. God says, The spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets, but not to maid servants.
My business is, and shall be, with the Master, not with the Maid. - If Mr. Lovegrove has nothing to do with his money but to employ it in this way, he had better distribute it to the poor. A hint is enough. I shall add no more by way of preface, but conclude, Reverend Sir,
Your ready and willing Antagonist,
In Zion's Controversy,
The Broken Cistern and the Springing Well
"WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST?" - MATT. xxii. 42.
Of all the questions which it is possible to propose to mankind, this is one of the most important: upon the right knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ depends the happiness and salvation of men. This is life eternal, to Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent, John xvii. 3. If our acquaintance with polite literature and the sciences is deficient, our loss will be trivial. If we are mistaken, or even deceived, in such matters, the mistake or deception will not be attended with much danger or damage; but a deficiency, a mistake, a deception, in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, cannot but be accompanied by the most fatal consequences. Eternity hangs upon it.
Answer. Dost thou believe on the Son of God? - is a greater question than that. For whatever thoughts, knowledge, or notions, men may get in their heads, respecting the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent; daily experience shews that such knowledge is no defence against sin, nor helmet against errors - it is nothing but a broken Cistern. While the strong man, armed, keeps possession of the palace, he cares not for head notions, however pure: for, as soon as he can push such a sinner into open profession, and into a pulpit, and establish him in the esteem of simple souls, and in the hearts of hypocrites; he will be sure to drive him to make shipwreck of all his sentiments, or teach him to improve them to the advancement of his own infernal interest. I suppose we have not a reviser nor propagator of heresy, nor one preacher of lies, in the whole nation, but who first began his profession and ministry with such a dry, empty stock of speculative knowledge, as this book contains.
Was every unregenerate person in the nation to read this pamphlet till he acquired all the knowledge that it treats of, he would still be without God, and having, no hope in the world. An experimental, spiritual, and heart-felt knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, must be had, before eternal life can be known, felt or enjoyed. Head-knowledge is attended with pride, and exposes a man to the condemnation of the devil; while heart-felt knowledge is attended with life eternal. You begin your treatise of Knowledge at the wrong end. The sinner does not learn his first lesson of religion in the Gospel, but in the Law. He does not begin with Jesus Christ, but with the Father: Every one that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. The sinner will never hunger nor thirst after righteousness till the sentence of death gives him an appetite.
God, who is a consuming fire, comes near to the elect sinner to judgment, and appears in his fiery law. Then he calls upon God in trouble, and is delivered; but he is sure to get his answer in the secret place of thunder, Psa. lxxxi. 7. Here the poor sinner gets his first impressions of the tremendous attributes of God, which sink too deep for time or eternity ever to deface. In the glass of the Law the holiness of God appears; and in this astonishing vision the dreadful leprosy is discovered from head to foot, both within and without. This view stirs up his guilt and filth from the bottom of the heart, while the raging infection appears a loathsome disease. All external varnish, dead works, dry formality, good name, false confidences, lying refuges, and legal hopes, all find their funeral together, or fly away like chaff from the threshing-floor, or as smoke of the chimney; so that no place is found for them. It was this view, and the seraphic cry of "Holy! Holy! Holy!" that made the prophet Isaiah cover his lip, and cry, Unclean! unclean!
At the sight of Divine holiness in the Law, sin revives, and Justice applies the sentence, Nor has the sinner one plea to urge why it should not be speedily executed: his mouth is stopped, and he is become guilty before God. Such a sinner sees and feels that God is strictly just: here all his former notions, of a God all mercy, forsake him and flee.
The truth of God is no less terrible to the sinner than his justice. He sees that God has spoken and revealed his wrath against sin, and pronounced his curse upon every transgressor; and has declared that he will not clear the guilty. And true to his own honour, and to the word that is gone out of his lips, he must be. Hence the poor sinner sees no way of escape: he makes confession; he cries for mercy; he makes use of every argument he is master of; he turns his feet to the testimony, and makes haste, and delays not, to keep the commandment; he makes the Law his only rule of life, walk, and conduct; and, in good earnest, sets about the performance of every duty that appears right to him, in hope of inclining his Maker to be propitious. But here the immutability of God appears: he finds that God is of one mind, and none can turn him; and what his soul desireth, that he doth. This destroys his former notion of God's being mutable, and altogether such an one as himself. He is obliged to acknowledge that with God is terrible majesty; and, as touching the Almighty, and his ways, he cannot find him out.
A sinner thus arraigned, and impressed with the holiness, justice, truth and immutability of God; is at his wit's end. He is like a wild bull in a net, full of the fury and the rebukes of Maker. Every wound slightly healed is laid open: every avenue, or false retreat, cut off righteousness and holiness, by the Law, are altogether despaired of; and the way to heaven by works, whether in whole or in part, for ever closed.
Thus far the sinner learns, in the Law, to know the only true God; and this lesson, prepares him for the new, living, and consecrate Way, through the Vail. And thus to the Law, is using it lawfully: for it is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners: For we know, says Paul, that whatsoever the Law saith, it saith to them that are under the Law, that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world become guilty before God, Pointing sinners to a Physician, who never-felt their sickness, and espousing them to Christ before their first husband be dead, is leading them into adultery. A sinner who thus leans of the Father cometh unto Christ to whom none can come except the Father draw them.
The sinner's face is no sooner turned Zionward, than the storm appears at his back; which is sweetly abated by a still voice behind him, which intimates that he is now in the way. Dying Love, by the Spirit, echoes from the cross to his conscience; which is answered again by the voice of Faith, but so unintelligibly that the sinner can hardly understand it, though the soul feel the effects of it. At this the heart begins to lose it's native hardness, and gradually open? and enlarges; while every faculty of the soul is upon the watch, and every thought of the heart intent upon the strange emotion; until the blessed Spirit of God conveys a divine unction to the understanding, and proposes a crucified Saviour to the sinner, as the only object of hope, and testifies of him as such. With a longing eye the poor sinner looks, and with a trembling, heart, and a wavering faith, longs, and begs of God to bring him near, and reveal his Christ in him. As the eye of a man upon the hand of his master, and as the eye of a maid on the hand of her mistress, so the sinner's eye waits upon God until he hath mercy upon him.
His face being Zion-ward, Zion-ward he looks; for out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines: and into the sinner's heart he shines to give him the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And in this glorious ray the Saviour descends to the sinner's heart, and God reveals his Son in him. When the voice of: atoning Blood at once drowns all the thundering sentences of Sinai, and silences every accusation, in that tremendous court of judgment, the sinner feels himself with God at the Mercy-seat, where the righteous [in Christ] may dispute with him, and so be delivered for ever from their Judge, (Job xxiii. 6, 7.) unless he permits the bond children to bring him again into bondage.
The sinner found the Righteousness and Truth of God in the Law, which opened his ear to discipline; and now, in Christ, he finds Mercy and Peace in harmony with Truth and Righteousness; where Mercy and Truth met, there God reconciled, and the true penitent, meet; and where righteousness and Peace kissed each other, there the Father kisses the Prodigal, and the Prodigal kisses the King of Peace.
This is the man that hath escaped the mount that might not be touched, and that burneth with fire; and is gone from blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and from the sound of a trumpet, and from the voice of words; and is come to Mount Zion, where the Saviour reigns - and unto the city of the living God, which he has chosen, founded, and built, and where he dwells; even to the heavenly Jerusalem; the married wife, the free woman, and the mother of every, free-born son - and to an innumerably company of angels, who were elected by the Father confirmed in their standing by the Saviour, and who are the retinue of the Lord, ministering spirits to the heirs of promise, and the fellow-servants of the saints - and to the general assembly, both of Jews and Gentiles and to the church of the first-born, which the Elder Brother bought with his blood, arrays, in his righteousness, and sanctifies by his blood and Spirit; and which consists of first-born sons, heirs of promise, and of the grace of life whose names are written in heaven, in the Lamb's book of life, being ordained to eternal life, or predestinated both to grace and glory - and to God, the Judge of all, as reconciled in Christ, and who is the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus - and to the spirits of just men made perfect, under the influence of the same Spirit of promise, and in union with the same Covenant Head - and to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, who purges the sins of his people, who hath made peace by the blood of his cross, and who proclaims it, and maintains it in all his realm - whose kingdom is not of this world - and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks pardon, peace, reconciliation, friendship with God, and access to him. - This, this, is the man, that spiritually, unctuously, and experimentally, knows the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, whom to know is eternal life. And such an one has life hid with Christ in God; he has life in his Covenant head; he has laid hold on eternal life by faith; he has life in the promise, and life and immortality are brought to light in his soul; he is alive, and lives by the faith of the Son of God; and has a lively hope, sure and stedfast, and which anchors within the vail.
A collection of notions in the head is like a broken cistern that can hold no water; but such a savoury knowledge of Christ, by the Spirit in the heart, as this, is a springing well; and such an one shall grow in grace, and in knowledge too. This spring works up, and carries off the unsavoury lees of the old cask, and the lurking leaven of self righteousness, legal pride, and hypocrisy; together with the loathsome sediment of self-confidence and self-seeking; and as it purifies the heart, so it purifies the speech. God turns to his people a pure language, that they may call upon his name and serve him with one consent. Thus counsel in the heart, not in the head, is as deep waters, and the words of wisdom, as a flowing brook. This blessed spring rising up within purifies and renews the spirit of the mind, and carries it up to heavenly things, where it enjoys both life and peace, and is entertained with fresh discoveries of covenant love, and solaced with refreshings from the presence of the Lord. This is a knowledge, Sir, which no hypocrite could ever attain, and which false apostates never knew.
Head notions are like a standing pool in the midst of summer, neither sweet nor clear; and therefore, require a good deal of learning, flowery rhetoric, empty oratory, pompous speech, swelling words, and cunning craftiness, in order to decorate, garnish, and set them off: but these things do not feed the poor hungry soul. This book having treated of the knowledge of Christ, but not described any part of it, it then proceeds to mention the doctrine of the Trinity, and the characters, &c, of the Lord Jesus, by collecting a number of Scripture texts, which are better read in the Bible than in this book, for here is nothing described nor explained in it.
All the head notions of the glorious Trinity that men can attain to will never keep Satan out of the heart, nor hold the soul in a storm. The real Christian has got the work of a Trinity of Persons on his own soul. He that loves, dwells in God, and God in him: such an one hath fellowship with the Father; and he that enjoys pardon, rest, and solid peace, in his Saviour, by virtue of heart-felt union with him, has fellowship with the Son, and has fellowship with the Spirit; who communicates knowledge, comfort, and joy, to him; who maintains his standing in faith, his soul in hope, and his hope in expectation of future glory; who helps his infirmities in prayer, strengthens him with might in his weakness, bears testimony to his adoption, seals him with a comfortable assurance, and operates upon him as an earnest of the future inheritance. He is a witness and proof of his eternal election, and a pledge of eternal glory: he reveals the secret of heaven to him, and leads him into a state of friendship and familiarity with God; he makes known to his soul the good-will of God in Christ Jesus, and makes him obedient thereto by faith; enables him to stand fast therein, and that with a holy boldness, in unfeigned faith, in unpresuming confidence and in undissembled love; which no Arian, no Bond-child, no Socinian, no Sabellian, no Antinomian, no Arminian, nor any other species of hypocrites, ever experienced, felt, or enjoyed.
This doctrine, Sir, confounds the wise, and puzzles the prudent: it makes devils roar, and impostors rage; it drives the Pharisee from his sandy foundation, the hypocrite from his false hope, and the vessel of wrath from his anchorage; it discovers the rotteness of hypocrites in Zion, and makes diviners mad; it makes a novice in the pulpit look like an actor on the stage, and the writings of graceless souls like old Mother Shipton's Prophecy.
Under this divine teaching, the productions of carnal men are all thrown to the bats: a dry system in the brain appears a broken wheel at the cistern, a noisy and empty profession, a rattle for prating fools; and all the pleasures, honours, and riches, of this world, like the drop of a bucket, or the dust of a balance.
Quotation. The Scriptures testify of the Lord Jesus that he is a Redeemer.
Answer. Notions of Redemption in the head will not do, reverend Sir; we must enforce the experience of it. The elect sinner is led to the Fountain open; his conscience is purged from guilt and dead works by an application of the blood of sprinkling; he is redeemed from the bondage of the law, from a vain conversation, and from among men. No man can sing of redemption without an application: no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from among men. If's and But's, and We trust, and I think, will not answer the purpose here: head notions will not do to join in this chorus; faith in the heart is required. He hath redeemed us out of every nation, tongue, and people; and made us kings and priests unto God; and we shall reign on the earth.
Quotation. The Scriptures also speak of the Lord Jesus under the dignified character of a King, &c.
Answer. When the Saviour comes to manifest himself to the hearts of his own elect, he comes in his all-conquering chariot: he appears with his sword upon his thigh, and no less than the Most Mighty in his own glory and majesty. This the sinner is soon convinced of, when the point of his sword reaches the caul of his heart, and the arrows of his quiver stick fast in his conscience, whereby the people fall under him, and put their mouths in the dust, to obtain a hope in his mercy. A sinner, thus subdued by Omnipotence, stumbles not at the Saviour's Godhead; nor does he want any man to teach him that Jesus is a King. The King of Zion makes a triumphant entrance into the heart, binds the strong man, disarms the devil of his infernal panoply, and casts him both from his fort-royal and palace. The Sprit of faith operates and gives the Saviour a dwelling within, while the manifestations of dying love raise him to supremacy in the affections. When every thought is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, his righteous sceptre swayed in the soul, and peace is proclaimed the principality of conscience; when the New Covenant, or the laws of faith, truth, and the perfect law of liberty, are by God the Holy Ghost written on the fleshly tables of the heart. This is the man that is a loyal subject of Zion's King: the kingdom of God is within him, he is under the reign of grace, and is well acquainted with his rightful Sovereign. All short of this is nothing but word: this stands in rower. The other is head notions: this is heart religion, and can never be rooted up or destroyed.
Quotation. Procuring redemption and remission of sins through the effusion of his blood, offering himself up a sacrifice to God, to make reconciliation, and purchase an atonement.
Answer. I believe the elect were redeemed by the blood of Christ; that an atonement was made by his sacrifice alone; that peace was made by the blood of his cross; that we are pardoned, reconciled, and made nigh, by the same; and that the church was bought with that price: but as to a purchased atonement, the Bible knows nothing about.
Who this stinking Antinomian is - who needs no inward holiness; nor Christ in his heart, the hope of glory; nor fruits of the Spirit; and whose faith takes in all the world, and who denies that there is any elect at all; - I know not. These wretches are no relations of mine I will scrape no acquaintance, I will claim no kindred, with sinners and hypocrites in Zion; nor with them that hold the truth in unrighteousness, nor with them who contend for the law as the only rule of life (which requires love to God and the neighbour) and they pretend to a great measure of both, and appear in friendship; give you the right-hand of fellowship, bless your labours, declare publicly their great love and high opinion of you, as a lover of the Lord Jesus; and, at the same time, are working under ground with all manner of guile, deceit, hypocrisy, and deceivableness of righteousness, on purpose to blow up both your reputation and usefulness. Friend Conscience, make thy application! This is no part of my religion: I am no friend to bush-fighting, shooting in secret; I love plain dealing. God dealt plainly with me; and in my office he makes me deal plainly with others. Open rebuke is better than secret love: then how much better than secret guile, which is so contemptible that a person accused of it rendered an unfit member of a society of a pick-pockets, and condemned as a traitor by a gang of thieves! How wrong so ever the Antinomian may be, this book is not likely to set him right.
Quotation. He denies vital experimental, personal union, wrought in the soul by faith.
Answer. This any man may do, and be found in the truth too. If faith can work a vital, experimental, personal union, in the soul, one would think that faith itself must be a divine person, because it is the efficient or working agent of vital union, which is what none but God can work. The bond of union is God's everlasting love to us in Christ Jesus; and it is the Giver of Christ, and of faith too, and only Him, that can work this union in us. As it is written - 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 mayst live, Deut. xxx. 6. At the time of this circumcision, love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. This is bringing the sinner sensibly into the bond of the Covenant; which bond is the bond of eternal union with the Covenant Head: for it is under the influence of Divine Love that the believer is joined to the Lord, and made one Spirit with him. The bond of all perfectness is not our faith in God, but God's eternal love to us, The former is not the efficient of the latter, but the former is the effect of the latter, Love and faith are both fruits of the Spirit; but, as charity is greater than either faith or hope, it is not likely the lesser should work the greater. Faith is the evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for; but full possession wants no evidence, and things seen and enjoyed need no hope. The bond of union will be the sweetest, and in full perfection, when these cease: for faith works by love, and the exercise of it works or produces patience; but it never works union. Mr. Ryland must know better than this.
Quotation. The Lord Jesus Christ is made of God sanctification to his people, as he is their great Head of Influence; who imparts to every member of his mystical body, by virtue of his kingly office, his holy Spirit, to sanctify and make them holy in their own proper persons.
Answer. Jesus Christ is made sanctification to his people in his priestly office. He assumed our nature, he bore our names; and, by his offering, made an atonement for us as a Priest. He bore our sins, he removed our sins, he blotted out our sins, he purged our sins, and that in his priestly office, to which the making atonement belonged. Christ is made sanctification to us, by executing his Father,s will in the offering up of himself as a sacrifice: By the which will we are sanctifed through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Wherefore Jesus, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. If all this be true, then Christ is, in his priestly office, by virtue of his one offering, the sanctification of his people, and that by the will of God: and if he hath, by one offering, perfected for ever them that are sanctified; it must follow that, in his priestly office, he is the perfect sanctification of his people; and they were made nigh by the blood of Christ, before they were brought nigh by effectual calling. This work was finished upon the cross; and the believer is complete in Him that finished it, and without fault before the Throne: on which account, he is said to be sanctified in Christ Jesus, 1 Cor. i. 2.
Hence it appears that, if not by imputation he is made sanctification, by the will and purpose of God he is; who, in the bond of an everlasting Covenant, united us together and made us one, as surety and debtor are one. Christ was made a curse; but we were blessed in him; he was held by the hand of justice, but we were let go free; the chastisement fell on him, and peace fell to us; he was striped, and we were healed; our old man was crucified with him, and we were viewed new creatures in him; he died, but we lived; he was the sacrifice, and the atonement was ours. Thus, by the will and purpose of God, he was made sanctification; and, by his one offering, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. But, as to eternal sanctification, it is the work of the Third Person in the Trinity: as it is written, That the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptible, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, Rom. xv. 16.
Quotation. By his justifying righteousness he saves them from the guilt and condemnation of sin - which are the two first propositions I laid down - and this relates to his priestly office, and is that which gives them a title to heaven.
Answer. Why is the justifying robe of righteousness, which the Saviour wrought out, confined to his priestly office? A Priest under the Law was not bound by his office to clothe the tribes of Israel, nor to pay their debts: it was wrought out by Christ in his office as Surety, who undertook to pay the debt of perfect obedience to the Law; and the imputation of it to the debtor is the sovereign work of the Great Creditor, who took the Surety from prison and from judgment, when the total sum to precept and penalty was paid. And to us it shall be imputed, if we believe on him who raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. By which sovereign act of Divine clemency, displayed by imputation, the debtor is not only discharged; but, by virtue of this righteousness on him, and the Spirit of Promise given to him, the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in him, while he walks not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Quotation. She shall not only be clear as the sun in her justification, but she shall also be fair as the moon in her sanctification.
Answer. The Church has been brought from under the moon-light dispensation ever since the Sun of Righteousness rose from the dead, and began to shine out of Zion, the Perfection of Beauty. The Gospel Church is represented as having the Moon under, her feet, which is a very improper place for her sanctification; for, surely, her inward glory is not to be trampled upon.
Quotation. This faith unites the soul to the Lord Jesus Christ; and, the moment the believer is made partaker of it, he becomes one Spirit with the Lord.
Answer. In a late Quotation, faith was said to work a vital union but, in this place, faith has produced itself to be the uniting bond and very weak one at best, and will last no longer than death. The saints die in faith; but we hear nothing of this worker of union, nor of this uniting bond, nor of any ties, or feats of faith, beyond the grave.
Quotation. This faith makes Christ precious; it purifies his heart, and constrains him to hate sin, because of it's deformity; because it is Christ's enemy, and crucified him; and because Christ abhors it, and a Triune God abhors it. It constrains him to love holiness for it's own beauty and excellence.
Answer. For my part, I believe that, and that only, which constrains man to hate sin, is the love of the Almighty to him; which, and only which, can produce a godly sorrow for sin, and a hatred to it. - When I was on the brink of black despair under the Law, I had a clear view and a strong faith in the holiness, justice, and beauty of God. The excellence of these, however, did not attract my love, but drove me to desperation and madness. I pitied myself, loved sin in my heart, and wished that there were no God at all. But, when pardoning Love operated upon my grief and sorrow, and produced repentance never to be repented of, then I loved the Lord with all my heart and soul; not because he was holy and beautiful, but because of his goodness, loving-kindness, tender mercy, pity, and compassion, to such a cursed wretch as I was. The Apostles loved God because he first loved them; Mary loved much because she had much forgiven; and the Psalmist loved the Lord because he had heard the voice of his weeping, and had forgiven the iniquity of his sin. If persons were to publish, a thousand volumes of such head notions as these, heart religion would ever contradict them all. It is not enough for authors to know the scriptures, they must know the power of God also.
Quotation. Faith gives the soul victory over sin, and Satan, and the world.
Answer. If Faith can do this, I should have no objection to fall down and worship it. But I believe that Christ overcame the world, and bids me be of good cheer on that account; and the same Conqueror must give me power to tread on serpents, scorpions, and all the power of the enemy, or else they would soon be too much for me. If ever I am made more than a conqueror, it must be through him that hath loved me. My faith is so far from giving me this victory, that I am obliged to employ faith in every time of trouble; to go with messages, with petition after petition, till the Lord's strength, in answer to Faith's prayer, be made perfect in my weakness. Instead of Faith's giving this victory, the believer is obliged to lay hold of Christ's strength, in order to keep his faith from sinking. I know the Apostle says, that this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our Faith; and that faith is a prevailing Grace. But the Object of faith, and the system of faith, are chiefly intended in that passage, the Object of faith, because he has already obtained the victory, and led captivity captive - the system of faith, because eternal victory is promised and given in that system. They that overcome, do it by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony. By the former, it is obtained for us; in the letter, it is promised to us.
Quotation. In this way the Lord Jesus Christ sanctifies his people, and actually saves them from the love and power of sin.
Answer. I am glad to hear that there are professors in the Church who have pressed forward, and are got so nigh to perfection; and I believe it is true with respect to the inner man. But, for my own part, I will openly confess that although I can find in myself a principle that opposes, resists, and at times, strongly and sensibly detests and hates all sin, and I loathe myself on the account even of the workings of it; yet I find that, with my flesh I not only love, but in many things serve the law of sin; which the contrary principle neither roots up, destroys, nor perfectly keeps under. I believe that sin shall never be my ruin; and that the sovereign sway, or reigning power of sin, is destroyed in my soul; and that the seed of God, or the new creature produced by a spiritual birth in me, will never love sin: yet the life and power that I feel in the perpetual strugglings of sin are sufficient to lay all my honour in the dust; and to send me, with humble confession, confusion of face, and contrition of heart, to God, in secret prayer, from year's end to year's end. And there are many sins in the world which, in an unguarded hour, and in an insensible frame, are presented to my foolish heart a sweet morsel - and, perhaps, if all was known, the compilers of this book can describe no more experience of the protecting power of God, no more trophies of abstaining from sin, or victory over it, nor any more ocular demonstrations of an aversion to it, than William Huntington.
Quotation. Holiness of heart and life is indispensably necessary to enable the believer to maintain communion and fellowship, with God.
Answer. But the great question is, Where this holiness of heart and life is to be had, in order to maintain this fellowship? For my part, I find no other way of obtaining holiness, either in heart or life, but by enjoying union and communion with Christ. So that holiness is the effect of union, according to my feelings; and which I find. no other way of keeping up but by fervent prayer in private, humble confession, reading, meditating, and diligence in the use of means. Pointing to holiness in heart and life, in order to maintain communion and fellowship, is always the method of those who deal in the letter; but those who are acquainted with Jesus by the Spirit, and who know the Spirit's work, have not so learned Christ - they tell the believer to hold fast the Head, and that he can do nothing without him - and to abide in the Vine is the only way: to bring forth much fruit.
This book treats largely about the words Sanctification and Holiness - but it is all forced: there is no one part of it that flows from a savoury, unctuous experience in the heart; nor yet from the power, influence, or enjoyment, of the Spirit upon the soul. The whole of it is extorted, pressed, and squeezed, from the letter of Scripture; moulded together by the dint of human wisdom; and unnaturally decorated with a little fulsome, flowery rhetoric, reflected from the natural ingenuity of others. I am not alone in my judgment; Conscience, when this book was written, bore the same honest testimony. Counsel in the heart is as deep waters, and the words of Wisdom a flowing brook - but this Treatise came not from the Spring, but from the press.
Quotation. Sanctification, then, it appears from the word of God, is a personal thing, wrought upon the soul by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Answer. That which made Canaan the Holy Land, Jerusalem the Holy City, the Temple the Holy Place, and Tabor the Holy Mount, was the presence and appearance of the Holy One there; and that which makes a man an holy man is the indwelling and perpetual abiding of the Holy Ghost in him. He is the Spirit of Power in the will; the Spirit of Love in the affections; the Spirit of Revelation in the mind; the Spirit of Illumination in the understanding; the Spirit of Faith in the heart; the Spirit of Judgment to them that sit in judgment, and of Strength to them that turn the battle to the gate; and is an infallible witness in the conscience. He creates the fruit of the lip, is a watch before the mouth, and gives motion to the tongue. He produces a filial fear in the heart, and sets the Object of fear before the eyes. He bars both heart and ears against the pretensions of deceivers, and attends the sound with joy to the heart when a child of Wisdom bears his testimony. He gives both inclination and motion to the whole man; actuates the hands to honest labour, and shakes them from dishonest gain. He teaches the eye to watch the goodness of God that passes before the saint, and sweetly constrains him to pursue the leadings of Providence, and the footsteps of Faith. He is a free Spirit among the free-born sons of Zion, a Spirit of unity to all that are within the bonds of the Covenant, and makes the heart of a believer leap for joy at the rapturous salutation of a heaven-born soul. The elect, as considered in Christ, were sanctified from eternity in the purpose of God; and their sanctification was held forth in the promise of God; and in their Covenant Head they were sanctified, when he offered up himself; and by the word of truth, when applied to the heart, for they are clean through the word spoken to them; and they are sanctified by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, as above described. But, as to Sanctification which is called a personal thing, wrought upon the soul by the power of the Holy Ghost, I know nothing of, nor this Book neither - yet I declare, before God, that notwithstanding all the calumny, reproach, hard names, and bad spirit, with which I am loaded and charged, I would not exchange what Christ has done for my soul, and by the Spirit wrought in me, and done by me, for all the sanctification of this book; nor for all the personal holiness, fruitfulness, and good works, of five hundred such Authors, put them all together.
Quotation. From these two jarring principles, so opposite to each other, proceeds a continual warfare. Sometimes Divine Grace treads Indwelling sin under it's feet, and then the Christian is holy, humble, and happy in his God. At other times, Sin rouses up all it's powers, attempts to shake off the yoke, and even prevails so far as to take the new man captive; and then the Christian groans, being burdened.
Answer. If this be true, the Christian may well groan. And how can the believer himself be really delivered from the love and dominion of all sin (according to a former quotation), if the seed of God, the production of the Holy Ghost, the new man of grace, falls under the prevailing power of sin, and is taken captive? Sin is Satan's ally, but the new man is in close alliance with the Spirit of God. The strong man armed must, therefore, overcome Him that is stronger than he, and regain his lost possession, before this new man, this principle of grace, which is to reign through righteousness, can be conquered, by the prevailing power of sin, so as to be taken captive. The distinction here between the believer, and the seed of God in him, is this: the believer is delivered from the power of sin, but grace is taken captive by sin. To speak without irony, and without lightness, I do believe in my conscience, that persons who learn notion and a wild cant, from the letter of the Scriptures, and from the people Of God; and who darken and confound everything they learn, being ignorant, and destitute of the power of God; and who get into a profession of religion, and publish such strange gibberish as this, and blend the sacred names of Sanctification and the Holy Ghost with their own subtle inventions - are guilty of spiritual wickedness; and their sin, in the great day, will be found to be more dreadful than that of the openly profane cursers and swearers, who never once troubled themselves or interfered with religion. And sure I am that the aims and ends of such people can be nothing but seeking honour from the blind and ignorant, and a livelihood in idleness; to perplex and puzzle seeking sinners, and to oppose and blacken those whom God has sent to lead them.
Quotation. The next thing I mean to consider is that grand Antinomian tenet, that the Moral Law has ceased to be the rule of a believer's conduct, as much as it has ceased to be a covenant of works.
Answer. My reader will observe here that the only rule of life is now termed the rule of conduct. Pray, does the Author, or do the Authors of this book, make the Moral Law the rule of their conduct? Do they labour six days, and do all they have to do? Do they keep holy every Saturday: not doing their own works, nor finding their own pleasure, nor speaking their own words, on that day? Do they teach them diligently? Do they talk about this law when they sit in their house, when they walk by the way, when they sit down, and when they rise up? Do they bind them for a sign upon their hands, and wear them as frontlets between their eyes? Do they write them upon the posts of their house, and upon their gates? Deut. vi. Do you love God whom you have not seen, when you knowingly endeavour to injure his children (in his own work) whom you have seen? Or, is loving in word, instead of deed, the love that the Law requires? Do you not take the name of God in vain, when you pretend to the operations of the Holy Ghost, and tell us that a partaker of grace is delivered from the power of sin, but that the grace of God is prevailed over and taken captive by sin? Do you not kill, when you bear enmity against the just without cause, and begin and practise hypocrisy against those that never meddled with you; and shoot in secret at those whom God has called, commissioned, owned, and blessed; and whose life and conduct exceed that of your own, Conscience and yourself being judges? And if yourselves are so holy, so filled with overcoming faith, so infallible in judgment, and so sanctified, in life; how is it that you do no good in your day and generation? What fruits, or effects, appear by ocular demonstration, either in yourselves or your pupils? Do you ever return in the power of the Spirit? or, is the fame of you ever spread abroad in any other way but by the sound of your own trumpet? Do you not commit adultery, while you pretend to an union with the Bridegroom of the Church, when you can give no account of the death of your first husband? Do you not steal away the name of a minister of the Spirit, in whom the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled, and palm him with the name of Antinomian, because he does not say what the word of God never declared to be any one part of the confession of his faith? Do you not bear a false witness, when you artfully represent those as ministers of sin whom God has made ministers of righteousness? Do you stand clear in any of these things - Do you love your neighbour as yourself, when you speak fair to his face wish him success; express your love to him, and readiness to assist him; and, at the same time, are working under ground, to blow up all his usefulness.
Quotation. That, to the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Moral Law has ceased to exist as a covenant of works, is a grand and glorious truth; and is granted on both sides of the question.
Answer. Has the Law ceased to exist as a covenant of works? Pray, when did it expire? When was it, with, respect to it's binding and killing rower, repealed, or divested of it's divine sanction? If it has lost its commanding power to do for life, and its power to condemn to death in case of disobedience, it has lost all the power it has; for this is all the power that it ever had. And if the Saviour came to deprive the Law of this power, he came to destroy it; for what is a law without commanding and condemning power? This is making void the Law through faith; for divesting the Law of it's authority can never be called establishing it. The Galatians found it no less than a yoke of bondage, when they turned their back on the grace of God, in order to make the Law the perfecting end of Christ for sanctification - which is all that this book aims at. And, for my own part, I still find that, if I lose sight of Jesus, and begin to live and conduct myself by that letter, instead of walking by faith, it soon becomes a yoke of bondage to me. And although (as some say) the Law is in the hand of Christ; yet, as many as are the works of it are still under the curse of it; and as many as will be found under it, even in the great day, will be judged by it; and receive the dreadful sentence of it, even from the mouth of Him who magnified it, and made it honourable. It will be a fiery law in the hand of Jesus, as well as in the hand of Moses; and the fire of wrath that is kindled in it will burn to the lowest hell!
Quotation. Because the Lord Jesus is become the end of the Law, both Moral and Ceremonial, for righteousness, to every one that believeth.
Answer. If Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness, he is not the destroying end, but the fulfilling end. The Law is still a yoke for the servant, and a trap for the hypocrite: that which should have been for his welfare, by driving him to Christ, becomes a trap, by his trusting in it; and the way that seems so right to a man, is, in the end, the way of death, because life is sought by the ministration of death.
Quotation. I shall not, therefore, take up any time, or employ any pains, to prove that here, because we are already agreed upon that subject. But, that the Moral Law ought still to be considered as the rule of a believer's conduct is as great a truth. It is the eternal rule of righteousness, and is incapable of any variations.
Answer. I Believe the Law to be the only rule of righteousness, and life too, to every one that is under it. And as such Christ always used it - What shall I do to inherit eternal life? - What is written in the Law? how readest thou? - This do, and thou shalt live, - If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. The Law is your rule of life - do that, and thou shalt live. But the soul that hungered and thirsted after righteousness, He always called to himself, and told him to abide in Him, and, then he should bring forth much fruit; but, if he did not abide in him, he would be cast forth as a withered branch, and be fit for nothing but the fire, If the law be incapable of any variations, pray, when was it that it varied from it's usual existence as a covenant of works? - for we are not agreed upon that palpable contradiction.
Quotation. Amongst men, the idea of a king and people supposes also a Law subsisting between the parties; agreeable to which, the king is to govern, and the people to frame their actions.
Answer. But this law is not the Moral Law; for, if Christ rules his subjects by that, according to the actions that they frame, he must destroy them all together as rebels, for they all offend. But he receives gracious gifts for the rebellious (not killing precepts), that the Lord God may dwell among them. It is the Law of Faith that goes forth out of Zion, and the Word of Life that goes from Jerusalem. The Lord shall send the Rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies, Psalm cx. 2. But the Moral Law is not the Rod of his strength; that is weak through the flesh. Bind the testimony, seal the law among my disciples, Isa. viii. 16. The testimony of the Gospel is received in the bond of love, and the Law of Faith is attended with the seal of the Spirit: the day you believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise. But God does not set this seal to the preaching of the Moral Law: He, therefore, that ministereth the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the Law? (Gal. iii. 5.) No, he doth not. Ministers of the letter are not sealed themselves. Nor does God attend their ministry with his seal: for they are servants of corruption; they know not what they say, nor whereof they affirm; and therefore can confirm nothing but their own ignorance, and the bondage of their audience. And this is evident: for some who contend for the Law are obliged to write and read their sermons; which prove that they serve in the oldness of the letter, and not in the newness of the Spirit. Take them, reader, to the Law, and to the testimony - that is, to the law of Faith, and to the testimony of the Gospel; and, if they speak not according to this Word of life, it is because there is no light in them. Life and immortality are not brought to light in their souls by the Gospel; they are under the yoke of the Moral Law; and the old vail is still upon their heart in reading the Old Testament, which vail is done away in Christ, and an easier yoke given. The Law of Faith is so complete that whatsoever is not done in obedience thereto, and from faith therein, is no better than rebellion and wickedness: whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Stand fast, reader, in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. The Law has lately obtained a great many new names, which it never bore before, and which the bond-children in the present age have given it.
One divine calls it the evangelized Law; which implies that the covenant of Works is now turned into the covenant of Grace; that the minister of the Letter, by this turn, is now the minister of the Spirit; and that he who works, his work is reckoned to be of grace; and he that worketh not, but believeth, he is an Antinomian, and the reward is reckoned to him of debt. This is turning things upside downs which is to be esteemed as potter's, clay. Isa. xxix. 16.
Another divine differs from the last; and says, The Moral Law is the legal Covenant of Grace. Which, by the bye, is a contradiction in terms: and is, in effect, to say that the ministry of death is now the grace of life; the ministration of condemnation is now the ministration of righteousness; the law, that worked wrath, now works love; the enmity is now reconciliation; the yoke of bondage is now the evangelical yoke of Gospel obedience; and that which was engraven on tables of stone is now written on, the fleshly tables of the heart; and the killing letter is now the quickening Spirit.
Others differ from the latter, and tell us that Christ came to bring us to the Law, and to enable us to keep it. Hence the Law is not a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but Christ is the schoolmaster to bring us to the Law: that to fly from wrath is to fly from Jesus; and to fly for refuge, is to go to the Law for holiness. According to which sense, Moses, the servant, has more honour than the Master; and the house has more honour than him that built it.
Others differs from these; and tell us, that the Law is the only rule of a believer's life; by which he is to walk, and not by faith; by which he is to live, and not by faith; by which he is to work, and not by faith. These make void the promise of God, and make faith of none effect.
Others tell us that Christ came to enable believers to keep the Law; which entirely contradicts the complaint of Zion, who declares that all her righteousnesses are as filthy rags. And which shews that the old man, in our days, is dead; that there, is no law in the members that war against the law of the mind now no flesh in the believer that loves the law of sin: and though the Apostles in many things all of them offended, yet believers, in this period, never offend at all; which makes their obedience perfect, and the Saviour's of less worth.
But the Authors of this book differ from all the above. For we are informed, (page 42:) that the Moral Law has ceased to exist as a covenant of works. And, in the same page, the Law is declared to be The Eternal Rule of Righteousness, and is incapable of any Variations. If it has ceased to exist what it once was, it must have varied some way or other. And we are likewise informed that the believer is delivered from the power of sin; but that the new man of Grace is overcome, and held captive, by Sin. This is turning things upside down. However, all these various changes, alterations, fluxes and refluxes, which men have made in the eternal Rule of Righteousness, and unalterable Law of Works, not a jot or tittle of which shall ever fail or pass away, even though heaven and earth do pass away - only serve to shew us the truth of the Holy Ghost's assertion, that those who turn aside to vain jangling, and who desire to be teachers of the Law, know not what they say, or whereof they affirm.
Our sworn enemy to the Antinomian now goes on to describe the bands and cords that hold the King of Zion and his loyal subjects together.
Quotation. As to his subjects, they are under a threefold obligation to pay the most ready, cheerful, and prompt obedience, to whatever commands he is pleased to give them. In the first place, a natural obligation; as they are not only his subjects, but the creatures which his hands formed out of the dust.
Answer. And he gives them grace for obedience to the faith; and works in them, both to will and to do, of his own good pleasure: and this obedience is acceptable to him; but all that is extorted by the Law, or that springs from any other principle but that of his own implanted grace, is rejected, as service in the oldness of the letter, or as the eye-service of a hypocrite, or the drudgery of a slave. Christ will not be served in the chains of a galley, but with the wings of a dove.
Quotation. What can be more evident than that every creature is under a natural obligation to obey the commands of it's Creator?
Answer. But it should, be considered that Nature has lost the use of her limbs; is wholly corrupt; and, the more she stirs, the more mischief she does. Hence a Divine Nature is given to keep her in subjection: self must be denied, flesh and blood are not to be conferred with, and natural reason is often opposite to faith.
Quotation. Secondly, A moral obligation; as they are not only creatures, but creatures possessed with rationality, grand, reasoning, thinking faculties.
Answer. But the carnal mind is enmity, and the Law worketh wrath: so that no business can go on to purpose while these two are contending; until sovereign Grace subdues the latter, and delivers us from the former, in order that we may serve God in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter; and worship God in the beauty of holiness, and not with a hypocritical worship, enforced by legal threatening, or extorted by servile fear. As for depraved Rationality, she very often loses herself in divine mysteries. She must look before she leaps, and comprehend the end before she begins the work. A divine warrant is not sufficient for her. I have read, in Dr. Priestly's works, of his propagating a Rational Christianity; but it is visible that incomprehensible mysteries, which are the heights of heaven, and deeper than hell (Col. ii. 2. Job. xi. 8.), have quite drowned the doctor and all his rationality together. Strong reasons are often brought forth against the King of Jacob, Isa. xli. 21. Faith must reason, if any good be done by reasoning. Faith, like a good servant, goes when she is bid, and comes when she is called. By Faith, Abraham obeyed, and went out, not knowing whither he went - which to depraved rationality is a wild-goose chase, and to Carnal reason foolishness. All our thoughts, must be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, or else we shall never think soberly, as we ought to think. Rationality, with her grand reasonings and thinkings, must be kept within bounds, like a restive horse; and that not by a moral precept, but by restraining grace, if ever the sinner is admitted to fellowship with Christ. The Gospel is calculated and published to stain the pride of all glory, to take the wise in their own craftiness, to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth, and to puzzle the wise and prudent; and, though it is the wisdom of God in a mystery, yet it is to them that perish foolishness. This wisdom is to display the riches of divine grace, to the glory of God, and the humiliation of the sinner; and not to aggrandize Rationality, with her train of vain reasonings and free thinking; but to put her at the footstool, as altogether incapable of the chair in these matters: If any man will be wise, let him become a fool, that he may be wise - which to the carnal reasoner and free-thinker is a contradiction in terms, and an irrational speech. My reader must take these treble obligation, together, and then he will see what the Wise Man's threefold cord, which is not quickly broken, means; which in this book is called the bands and cords of Zion's King, which the Pharisees broke asunder, and cast from them, Psal. ii. 2, 3. But surely, if it had been the threefold cord of the Wise Man, they would not have broken it so easily. Fallen Nature, however, furnishes out the main band; the broken Law the next; and, as for Grace, that only brings up the rear. Fallen Nature, in her low estate, contributes her cord towards the support of this kingdom, which is not of this world. The Law, which is weak through the flesh, affords great assistance to the kingdom of Grace, which is not of works, either in whole or in part; nor in word, much less in a killing letter. And, though the spiritual obligation is brought in last, yet the dominion of Grace is not of this world, nor is the first obligation from men. Nor is the Moral Law any band of it, for the kingdom is spiritual, not legal: it is not in word, but in power; in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; neither of which from flesh and blood, nor from Sinai, but from sovereign grace in Christ.
Quotation. And, thirdly, a spiritual obligation.
Answer. The first, the grand, and the most noble tie of the kingdom of grace, is here represented to be a Natural Obligation. - our being creatures formed out of the dust. This is the law of Heathens; who are a law to themselves, and who sin without the Moral Law, and shall perish without law: and those Heathens who cleaved to this law were the greatest enemies to the Gospel. The second is the Law of Moses, which the bond woman and her children are under, and who sin in the Law, and shall be judged by the Law. The Pharisees, who cleaved to this obligation, were the people that imagined a vain thing, who broke Zion's bands asunder, and cast her cords from them. The third is a spiritual Obligation. This is of Grace and Truth, which came by Jesus Christ. And I believe that the bond of the covenant of grace, and perfect liberty by the law of truth, will produce more good fruits, in one saint, to the glory of God, than ten thousand volumes of such doctrines as these will ever produce. The covenant of grace makes a minister fruitful in good works, and fruitful in spiritual converts; as is declared by the testimony of God My covenant of life and peace was with Levi; 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. Hence it appears, that the Covenant of Life and Peace, and the Law of truth, did not lead him to licentiousness, but made him a good and useful man. Neither the Law of Heathens, nor the Law of Moses, is the rod of Christ's strength, which was sent out of Zion, and by which he rules in the midst of Jerusalem. Neither of these obligations make his subjects a willing people (Psal. cx. 2, 3.), but the power of Grace displayed.
Quotation. As for me, says Paul, I am determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ. God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ. But he also adds - I am not without law to God, but under the law to Christ.
Answer. But what Law was that which Paul had to God? Was it the Law of Works? saith Paul; we are delivered from the Law we are not under the Law, but under Grace. As saith the Apostle's quotation - I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Heb. x. 16, 17. And what Laws are these? Are they the Law of Moses or the Law of Heathens? Nay, saith Paul neither of them. For God, finding fault with them, saith - Behold, the days come, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand, to lead them out of the land of Egypt because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. Here is a new covenants and in that he saith; a New Covenant, he hath made the first old, Heb. ix. 8, 9, 10, 13. The Law and the Prophets were until John (saith Christ): since that time, the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it, Luke, xvi. 16. And it is those, and only those, who feel the terrors of the Moral Law, and the accusations of the Law of Nature, that press into this kingdom.
Quotation. I am under the Law to Christ, saith Paul.
Answer. But what Law was that, in Christ, that Paul was under? He is of age; he shall speak for himself: 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.) Here Paul tells us, that the Holy Spirit hath a Law, as the Gospel is called the Ministry of the Spirit; and that this Law of the Spirit is in Christ Jesus; and that the operation of it on Paul's heart made him free from the destroying power of the Law of Sin, and from the binding and damning power of the Law of Death, engraven on tables of stone: or, in other words, this Law of the Spirit made Paul free from what you call Natural and Moral Obligations; which are the ministration of death.
Quotation. For I delight in the Law after the inner man.
Answer. Paul was renewed in the spirit of his mind. The New Covenant (not the Old) was put in Paul's heart, and in his mind had the Lord wrote it: and with his renewed mind be served this Law of God; for Paul served in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the Letter. Being made free from the Ministration of Death engraven on stone, (Rom. viii. 2) which, he saith, worketh wrath, (Rom. iv. 15) he was enabled to perform spiritual service. And as the Law of the Spirit, in Christ, revealed to Paul an imputed righteousness adequate to the Law, and produced true holiness in Paul, which the Law requires; and the love of God shed abroad in his heart, which the Law calls for; Paul knew by these things that the righteousness of the Law was fulfilled in him, though not by him - therefore he could do no less than love this Law of the Spirit after the inner man.
Quotation. What Law? The Moral Law. Some say, the Law of Love. And I grant it; for the Moral Law and the Law of Love are synonimous terms, and mean one and the self-same thing.
Answer. If the Moral Law, engraven on tables of stone, is the Law of Love, then no great thanks can be due to Him who redeemed them that were under this Law; nor are we much indebted to Free Grace, which delivered us from it. For what yoke can be so easy as this Law of Love? Nor the Saviour's yoke, for that is attended with a daily cross, and many sips of the bitter cup which this Moral Law of Love doth not enjoin. I never knew till now that the Moral Law was ever called the Law of Love. God calls it a fiery Law - that the fire of it was kindled in his anger - that it worketh wrath, and is the ministration of death and condemnation - that those who are of the works of it are under the curse of it; for to him that worketh the reward is reckoned of debt, which he never can pay; and which Law is the strength of sin, and will imprison every such debtor till the utmost mite is paid: for heaven and earth shall pass away, before one jot or title of the Law shall fail; fail of its power, of its unlimited demands, or of the execution of its dreadful curses. Vain jangling, indeed! The love of God, in Christ Jesus; the bond of the everlasting Covenant; the first fruit of the Holy Ghost; the constraining power of the Law of the Spirit, is here palmed upon Moses' Law. Grace and Truth, the effects of sovereign love, came by Moses; but Antinomianism and Licentiousness, according to this book, came by Jesus Christ. Such publications as these may serve to ease the minds of authors who envy the happiness and success of God's servants, They may serve to blacken their characters, to harden carnal professors against the grace of Christ, to stagger the minds of the simple, and to keep up the popularity of those whose emptiness God is pleased to discover to his own children - but, I believe, such writers will find the latter end to be bitterness.
If a man, who had transgressed the laws of his country, and who was tried and condemned to death by the same, and who should receive a free pardon from the sovereign clemency of his king at the place of execution - should such an one ascribe his pardon to the love of the law, instead of the undeserved love of his king; and attribute his salvation from death to the law that dealt the sentence of death to him; he would not only shew the greatest ingratitude to the grace of his sovereign, but give sufficient proof, that he was touched with insanity. The case is the same here. The Law was added because of transgression, that sin, by it, might appear sin; that the offence might abound; yea, that sin might become exceeding sinful; that every mouth might be stopped by it, and the whole world become guilty before God; and that judgment might come upon all men unto condemnation. Here they all lay under the sentence of death; and are children of wrath when Grace finds them. And they are pardoned; but pardon is of the new Covenant, not of the old. And they are justified; but not through the Law, but through the righteousness of Faith. And they are sanctified; but not through nor by the Law, for God doth not minister the Spirit by the works of the Law, but by the preaching of Faith. And they are saved; but salvation is not of works, for by Grace are we saved, through Faith, and that not of ourselves. And we are glorified; but if they that are of the Law be heirs of glory, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect. Salvation and Glorification are of sovereign love. And, according to this book, the grand source of all is to be found in the Law, for that is the Law of Love; consequently, those which be of the Law must be heirs: the Law must have the praise, and man's boasting must be established.
Quotation. Neither Paul nor James had any idea that the Moral Law was abolished and done away.
Answer. Nor did any real saint ever dream of the Moral Law being abolished, until this book appeared; which tells us that the Moral Law has ceased to exist as a covenant of works. - which is abolishing its commanding and condemning power; and is, in effect, making it void, and doing it away. I say, that we are redeemed from the condemning power of the Law by the blood of Christ; and delivered from its commanding power (which is, Do, and live) by the grace of God, and the gift of righteousness. The blood of the Covenant gives a satisfactory answer to the sense of the Law, by declaring me redeemed from death; and imputed Righteousness gives an answer to the Precept of the Law, by declaring, the just shall live by faith. And he that denies this denies the satisfaction of Christ, either by his active or passive obedience. Nor does preaching this faith make void the Law, but it establishes it. Redeeming my soul from death, and justifying of me by faith, doth not abolish the Law from its seat, but deliver my soul from its yoke, that I may serve God in truth, not with eye-service; from a principle of love to him, not from fear of damnation from him; in the newness of the Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter; from a sense of pardon, not from fear of punishment; in the ties of gratitude, not in the shackles of torment; as a dutiful son, not as a partial hireling. Is the Law against the promises of God? God forbid!
Our present sovereign pardons many condemned criminals, but he doth not abolish his laws by the acts of his grace; but those who despise the acts of his clemency, and cleave to the law that condemned them, must die, for the law can shew them no favour. So those that turn their back upon the Law of Faith, and go to the Law of Works, fall from grace, and Christ shall profit them nothing. If the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in the man that walks in the Spirit, how can the ministry of the Spirit make void the Law? If a woman capable of a numerous progeny marries, and lives ten years with a man, and all that time continues barren; she contributes nothing, during all that period, towards populating the nation to which she belongs; and Wisdom says, In the want of people is the destruction of the prince. But, if such a woman's husband dies, and she marries again, and, by the second husband, bears ten or twenty children, that are useful in the army, navy, or to society; does she any injury, either to the government or laws of her country, by her fruitfulness? Is such an one entitled to the name of an Outlaw, or an Antinomian, for this? I suppose not. The parallel holds good - For, when we were in the flesh the motions of sins, which were by the Law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death (Rom. vii. 5). Here is fruit brought forth unto death, but no fruit to the living God. The first husband, by his killing operations, and by his gendering to bondage, which contracts the womb of the soul, instead of enlarging it, becomes a killing letter; and the barren soul becomes dead to that deadly ministration, or to that husband, and may be married to another. Wherefore, my bretheren, ye also are become dead to the Law by the body of Christ; that you 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). Some an hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold (Matt. xiii. 8).
The bond woman (with respect to God) is said to be barren, because she brings not forth the fruits of the Spirit; nor does she bring forth spiritual children to God, because she is not married unto him. With respect to a divine husband, she is desolate; and, with respect to God, she is barren. Yet she brings forth fruit unto death, in a twofold sense. First, Dead works. Secondly, Dead children.
More are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. But then, these children are in bondage to the ministration of death, under the sentence of death, and bound down to the fear of death. And a minister of the letter is a dead man, and the letter that he is the minister of killeth; and his proselytes are (as Christ says) the children of hell, bastards, base-born, children of the flesh: These are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed - for in Adam all die. The decree of Heaven has not brought such a minister forth (Zeph. ii. 2). The secret of election is not with him. Hence the Divine prohibition - He that hath his stones broken, shall not be a priest (Levit. xxi. 20, 21). They that are broken off through unbelief, and are destitute of the secret mystery of Faith, are dead men) ministers of the killing letter; and though they and their proselytes may have a name to live, yet the Saviour says they are dead.
Quotation. Some say, the Law cannot be a perfect rule of conduct, because it says nothing upon some subjects which are noted in the precepts of the New Testament.
Answer. The Moral Law mentions nothing of repentance toward God, nor does it accept it. The Law is not of Faith, nor is Faith of the Law: it neither describes it, Promises it, nor gives any information concerning it. But the good-will of God, in Christ Jesus, does all this, and gives a man grace to perform what God requires. And it is a pity that a dispensation that brings glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and good-will towards men, should have no better name than Antinomianism. I believe the Law to be more than a rule of conduct to them that are under it: for Paul says, that whatsoever the Law saith, it saith to them that are under the Law. It is to the bond-children a rule of work: What is written in the Law? - This do - Keep the commandments. It is the rule of conversation: thou shalt talk of this Law as thou liest down, and rises up; as thou goest out and comest in. It is the rule of life: This do, and thou shalt live. It is the rule of righteousness: This shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments, (Deut. vi. 25). It is their perfect rule of conduct: If a man keep the whole Law, and offend in one point, he is guilty of all: yea, cursed is he that continueth not in all things written in the book of the Law, to do them. It is a rule for the servant from first to last, and a rule to be continued in; and by this rule shall all the bond children be judged at the great day. He that sinneth in the Law shall be judged by the Law.
But the mystery of Faith, the Law of the Spirit, or the good-will of God in Christ Jesus, (which is the one and the same thing) is the son's rule of life. It is the will of the Father that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have everlasting life. The just shall live by Faith; and by Faith he is to abide in Christ, that he may be fruitful; and by Faith to receive from Christ's fullness, grace and strength to perform every good work. It is the son's rule of walk: I will lead them in a straight path, wherein they shall not stumble. - We walk by faith, not by sight. It is the son's rule of work: I will direct their work in truth; which are the works of faith, labours of love, and patience of hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. i. 3). The Law is the rule of the servant's life, walk, and conduct; and, if the believer is under it as such a rule, the servant and the son are both on a level, for the Law is no more than a rule of life to the servant. Nor is this vain jangling, or forcing the Law as the believer's only rule of life, intended to promote holiness and good works; nor do the maintainers of this doctrine exceed, or even come near, the stature of those they oppose, in good works. It is ignorance, or rather envy at the liberty and the happiness of the experimental Christian, and at the ministers of the Spirit, that provokes them to it; or as Paul says, they creep in to spy out our liberty that we have in Christ, that they may bring us into bondage. If the believer takes Moses Law upon him, will it change or renew his soul? Nay, says Paul: while we look to Jesus, as through a glass darkly, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord. - But, when Moses is read, the vail is still upon the heart. Will taking the Law on the believer serve to mortify the deeds of the body? No: If ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Will taking this yoke increase the spirit of holiness in the believer? No: He that ministereth the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doth he it by the works of the Law? Nay, but by the preaching of faith. Will this yoke keep the believer from, or assist the believer against, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh? No: Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Will this yoke of the Law subdue sin? No: Sin shall not have dominion over you. Why not? Because you are not under the Law, but under Grace. Will this yoke of the Law make the believer's service more acceptable to God? No: We are delivered from the Law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Will this yoke of the Law produce love and gratitude to God? No: The Law worketh wrath - For where there is no Law, there is no transgression - It is the love of Christ that constrains us. Will this yoke of the Law furnish the believer with love to his neighbour? or will it promote brotherly love? it will rather lead them to seek pre-eminence. It does not exclude boasting. We are taught of God to love one another - and it is the love of God in Christ, shed abroad in the heart by the Spirit, that is the bond of all perfectness among brethren. But does this love come from the Law? or does it come by the Law? Neither of them. God's love to us is the bond of the Covenant of Grace; and, when shed abroad in our heart, it is our bond of union to the Lord. This love is the first fruit of the Spirit; and is the main branch of the Law of the Spirit which is in Christ Jesus, which makes us free from the Law of sin and death. Will the believer's taking this yoke upon him increase his good works? No: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit. But, will this yoke strengthen the believer's union with the Lord? No: They that begin in the Spirit, and then go to the Law, to be made perfect by the flesh, fall from grace; Christ shall profit them nothing. But, will the Law help the believer, if we consider the Law as a joint worker with Christ? No: Abide in me, and I in you; for, without me, you can do nothing. Will this Law enlarge the believer's heart? No: it genders to bondage; begets servile fear, accompanied with a train of torments, which nothing but Covenant Love can cast out. Fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love: perfect love casteth out fear. Will this yoke make the believer abound in good works? No: I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet, not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Will this yoke produce self-abhorrence? No: when God makes, or rather reveals, the New Covenant to the sinner; pardons him: gives him a new heart, and a new spirit; and, by grace, appears pacified toward him; then he remembers his own evil way, which was not good; and loathes himself in his own sight for his iniquities. The Law will never reconcile a man to the justice of God, but pardoning mercy does. The terrors of the Law stir up enmity, but grace stays it. The motions of sin, which are by the Law, work in the members to bring forth fruit unto death. But faith purifies the heart. The Law fixes the vail upon the sinner's mind; but the Gospel brings life and immortality to light. The Law does not exclude boasting; grace produces humility. The Law stirs up enmity against God; grace fills a man with enmity against sin. The terrors of the Law will make Cain cry out against his punishment; but grace makes a man cry out against himself and his wickedness, Legal convictions by the Law often work self-pity; but grace works pity and compassion to the Saviour. Under the terrors of the Law a man will justify himself, and censure his Maker; but by grace, through Christ, a man is led to condemn himself, and justify God: God appears just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. They that die under the Law will plead their own merit at the bar of God: When saw we thee an hungred, and did not give thee meat? or thirsty, and did not give thee drink? But the saints disclaim the fruits of their faith, even though the Judge proclaims and approves them. I know that the Law calls for righteousness, holiness, and love; but it is out of the fullness of Christ all these must be received; and he that is united to Christ, and walks in union with him, walks in all these; for the Moral Law is swallowed up in the Everlasting Gospel. The merits of our Covenant Head answer every demand of the Law for us; while the testimony of faith, and the fruits of the Spirit, give an answer to every demand of the Law in us. The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in them who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. If this doctrine here advanced be Antinomianism, then let our opponents shew us what is Gospel. And, if this doctrine make void the Law, let them shew us what doctrine that is that establishes it. And, if leading the believer from union with the Saviour to the yoke of the Law, and making that his only rule of life, walk, and conduct, establishes the Law; let them shew us in what sense it does it. The saint's fruits of faith, and labour's of love, are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ: but, so far are they from being a perfect righteousness, according to the tenor of the old covenant, that even the righteousness of Zion is but filthy rags, and the righteousness of the apostle Paul but dung and dross; and this righteousness will never establish the Law. We establish the Law in the hand of Justice against every infidel; and as magnified in the heart of Christ to every believer, and by imputed righteousness, and the love of the Spirit, in every child of God; and with all its acquirements, and in full force, against every sinner out of Christ; and in the souls of all the damned in hell. And, if these are not its proper bases, let our opponents shew us any other. But as for making the Law the believer's only rule of life, establishes it no where, nor in any sense. Love is called the fulfilling of the Law, and by imputed righteousness and the spirit of love it is fulfilled in the saint. But, if walking in the Spirit will not answer the demands of the Law, it can hardly be thought that bringing our necks under the yoke of the letter can answer the requirements of the Gospel, which calls for a service in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. God has made ample provision, in the Covenant of Grace, both for holiness, happiness, and good works; and furnishes us with the former, to make us fruitful in the latter. For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast: for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained [prepared] that we should walk in them (Eph. ii. 8-10). For my own part, I have watched many who traduce the grace of God, as tending to licentiousness, and the preachers of it as Antinomians; and who extol themselves, and their own righteousness and good works, very highly, and who make great pretensions to the Law; whose lives are no example to good men - far from it. Nor do they always conceal their inward enmity even against the sovereignty of God himself, but often arraign it, and his justice too, at the bar of Reason. They think the Almighty just such an one as themselves; they hate his decrees; are envious at the objects of his choice; and spy out, in order to ridicule and bring into contempt, their liberty which they have in Christ Jesus: and by which they plainly shew that they have no real love to God, nor to the real children of God; and therefore their works are little worth, neither springing from a good root, nor directed to a good end.
There is nothing but natural, corrupt, or vile affections, in bond-children. They are strangers to the spirituality of the Law, strangers to the yoke of it, and to the bondage that it genders; and are haters of the powers of godliness - who misrepresent others as erroneous who preach the truth, while themselves publish nothing but self-contradictions and lies. That the Moral Law has ceased to exist as a Covenant of works is a damnable falsehood. No hint of it is given in all the Bible. This is the worst branch of Antinomianism that ever was published. Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness. Not only the fulfilling end, but the grand end of the Law, is answered in and by him. And the same end is answered and fulfilled by a work of grace in us. We are redeemed from under the Law, are delivered from the Law, and are under grace, and not under the Law. But the Law is still what it ever was - an everlasting, unalterable, unrepealable Law: and a Covenant of Works in every sense; and to him that works under it, the reward is still reckoned of debt. But these base Antinomians, who have bereaved the Law of all its power, and so have destroyed it, cry out - The believer is under the Law to Christ. Then I ask, wherein the child of God differs from the bastard? Is not every Pharisee in the nation under the Law to Christ? Is not the Saviour the King of Nations, and God of the whole earth. Has he not power over all flesh, that he may give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given him? Is not all judgment committed to him? Is he not the judge of quick and dead? Are not all men accountable to Him? Is he not the Master of the servant, as well as Father of the children? Do not kings reign, and princess decree justice by Him? He is the master of Judas, as well as Lord of the household. He will open the book of the Law, the book of conscience, and the book of life. He is a just God and a Saviour; and will bless the children of the free woman, and curse the bond woman and her children. One is under the blessing of Zion, and the other is under the curse of Sinai. These are Ebal and Gerizzim, which bear the blessing and curse; and by the book of the law will one be judged, and by the book of life will the other be judged. Thus all the non elect are under the law to Christ. But the believer is under grace to Christ: it is the law of the spirit of life in Christ that makes the believer free from. the law of Death engraven on tables of stone. There is a law of life in Christ's heart to the believer; and the law of Moses is in the Saviour's hand to the infidel. And it is a covenant of works still - it works bondage in the believer who looks to it, and it works wrath and death in the sinner that is under it. And of this working power it never was divested; of this power it never shall be divested. The rod of Christ's strength, by which he rules his saints, or his powerful rod, is the Gospel. You may call it the good-will of God in Christ Jesus, which is the saint's rule. Or you may call it the Law of the Spirit in Christ, under which (Paul says) the believer is. Or you may call it the New Covenant, written in the mind, and put in the heart, of the saint, which is (as Paul says) the believer's law to God: which law, or covenant, is said to be new, and not according to the old; and is the covenant of grace, not works; and under grace the believer is, and not under the law. Or you may call it the law of faith, which excludes boasting. Or you may call it the perfect law of liberty; and he that looks and continues therein, shall be blessed in his deed. This law brings glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and good will towards men. This is sound doctrine, this is pure gospel, this is doing the work of an Evangelist. But as for this treatise of vain jangling, what does it confute? what does it establish? - Nothing but the ignorance and foolishness of the authors.
First, they tell us that Christ is made sanctification to his people, in his kingly office, by the gift of the Spirit. Which is sanctification by the Holy Ghost, instead of sanctification by the blood of Christ. Here they set aside perfect sanctification by his grand sacrifice as a Priest.
Secondly, they tell us, that personal union is wrought in the soul by faith. Which is putting that upon a grace of the Spirit which is done by God the Father only.
Thirdly, we are told, that the righteousness of Christ comes from his priestly office. Which righteousness was wrought out, or was performed, in his life, by his active obedience as a servant and surety; and which work the Saviour said was finished before he offered himself as a Priest. John xvii. 4.
Fourthly, we are told, that the believer is delivered from the love and power of all sin - but that the new man is taken captive by sin.
Fifthly, that the law has ceased to exist as a Covenant of works. This is called. - a grand truth. Which, by the bye, is an an abominable lie.
Sixthly, this grand truth of the law ceasing to exist as an covenant of works, is denied, by asserting, that the law is without any variation.
Seventhly, that the Moral Law, and the Law of Love, are synonimous terms, and mean one and the same thing. That is, that the bond of the covenant of grace, which came by Jesus Christ, is the main branch of the Law of Death engraven on tables of stone, which was given by Moses. This is robbing the master, to enrich the servant; lessening grace, to the honour of works. No wonder the Psalmist called the law a trap; which must needs be true with a witness, when hypocrites bait it with the first blessing of the everlasting Gospel, on purpose to entangle the saint in the yoke of bondage.
Thou hast a full view here, reader, of real orthodox doctrines, by which the Antinomians are unmasked. This is the vain jangling that confutes error, undeceives the deceived, and establishes the law; They tell you that the law is the believer's only rule of life, walk, and conduct; but only with the allowance of this grand and glorious truth, namely, that it has ceased to exist as a covenant of works; and, therefore, has no power to command works to be done, nor any power to condemn the slothful, who does nothing. The law has ceased to exist with respect to works, that it may be substituted as the bond of the covenant of grace. This is destroying the law for ever, and establishing the Gospel upon the destruction of it. Now our authors are going on to palm the commands of Christ, or laws of Zion, upon the law of Moses, and the Mount Sinai, without any regard to the terms of the new covenant, new ordinances, or new services. So that you may take circumcision, instead of baptism; and the Passover, instead of Lord's supper; and service in the oldness of the letter, instead of the newness of the spirit; and the works of the law, instead of the work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope!
Quotation. The church owns Christ for her King, as well as her Priest; her Master, as well as her Saviour. She takes this yoke upon her; and feels herself under the strictest obligation of duty, love, and gratitude, to yield the most filial, evangelical obedience, to his commands, as well as to believe and rejoice in his gracious promises.
Answer. All this is true; though the authors, by experience, know neither what they say, nor what they mean. The church owns Christ as a King, because the dominion of grace is set up in her heart; and she is not under the law, but under grace. She can do no less than own him as her Priest, because he has redeemed her from under the law, and from the curse of it; so that she is neither under it's commanding power nor dreadful sentence. She owns him for her Lord, because he has delivered her from the lordly power of the law; the accusations of Moses, Satan, and Sin; saying O Lord our God, other lords, besides thee, have had dominion over us; but by thee only will we make mention of thy name, Isa. xxvi. 13. She loves him as a husband, because she is not under Moses, who allowed of putting away, but under a covenant of eternal wedlock, by which she is betrothed in righteousness, loving kindness, faithfulness, tender mercies, and for ever. She loves him as a brother, because she is in the brotherly covenant: that he is her brother, who has sucked the breasts of her mother, which is Zion - not Hagar, nor yet Jerusalem in bondage - where he was born as well as she. She loves him as a friend, because she is reconciled, and the mysteries of the kingdom are revealed to her - but, as to bond-servants under the law, they know not what their Lord doth. She loves him as her Master, because she is partaker of the fruits of the Spirit before she labours; and serves him in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. She takes his yoke upon her indeed, which, she finds to be light; and stands in her liberty, unless false brethren bewitch her, as they did the Galatians, who were entangled by them, and brought again into bondage: her adherence to which is both her folly and her loss. If she feels herself under the strictest obligations of, duty, love, and gratitude, to yield the most filial, evangelical, obedience to his commands, how can she be justly charged with Antinomianism, or licentiousness, for this her obedience to the faith; this service in the newness of the Spirit; or for these works of faith, labours of love, and patience of hope?
Quotation. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
Answer. This proves that there is a manifest distinction between the commandments of a killing letter and the commandment which is eternal life. The one is the Father's commandment which was given by Moses: the other is the life-giving command, which is of grace: and which came by Jesus Christ. The one is a command given to us to work for life; the other is a command given to Christ, to give us that life, which man could never earn, and which the law could never give. Upon Mount Zion hath God commanded the blessing, even life for evermore (Psalm cxxxiii. 3). Here is a blessing commanded to be given to Zion, the elect of God; and this blessing is life for evermore. But then, to whom was this command given? I answer, to Jesus, the great King, whom God set upon his holy hill. This blessing, and this life for evermore, were given to him. God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to bless us, by turning us from our evil way. Yea, saith Christ, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak; and I know that his commandment is life everlasting, or, as the Psalmist says, life for evermore. But then, why is it called a commandment? because the Saviour, in obedience to his Father's will, by his own powerful voice, speaks life to the dead sinner's soul; at which voice the sting of death, and sentence of death, both depart, and life and immortality are brought to light through the Gospel. Such souls hear the voice of the Son of God, and live; yea, they pass from death to life, and shall never come into condemnation. Lazarus, come forth! says the Saviour. Here is a life-giving command, and a resurrection immediately ensues. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee, Live! Yea, I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, Live! (Ezek. xvi. 6.) It is one thing for Christ to say to a dead soul, Live! and it is another thing for the Father to say, This do and thou shalt live! Besides, the law never held forth eternal life: for, had there been a law given that could have given life, verily righteousness should have come by the law. Life in Eden was all that wits intimated to Adam before the fall; with the loss of which he was threatened, in case of disobedience. Length of days, in the land of Canaan, was all that the Moral Law held forth to Israel. Life eternal was to come by that prophet which Moses foretold; and nothing less than destruction was threatened to them who should refuse to obey the voice of that Prophet.
Before people sit down to unmask what they call Antinomianism, it is necessary that they should have some insight into the Scriptures of truth; and not destroy the law as a covenant of works; and then build the law of love, and the life-giving commandment of the Gospel, upon its destruction. The commandment of Zion, and the commandment of Sinai, are two distinct things. The Scriptures reveal two distinct mothers, and their children compose two distinct families. God is a Father to the one, and a Master to the other. He has commanded the blessing of life for evermore upon Mount Zion. And to the children of Zion Wisdom speaks thus: My son, keep thy Father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy Mother. Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and, when thou wakest, it shall talk with thee (Prov. vi. 20-22). This proverb speaks to us, as to children: it speaks to the children of God, not to the bond children, for Christ palmed them upon another father, and we are exhorted to keep our Father's commandment - commandment, in the singular number; which commandment is not the Moral Law, for then it would have been in the plural, for they are ten. This commandment of the Father is called the Law of our Mother; but neither Hagar, Sinai, nor Jerusalem in bondage, is our mother. We must look to either of them. We must look unto Abraham, our father; and to Sarah, that bare us - for God called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. And it is clear that the blessing of eternal life was given, by God our Father, to Abraham and Sarah, who are the father and mother of us all. This law of our mother Sarah was not graven on tables of stone, but on the fleshly tables of her heart. This Law (wisdom says) is to be bound upon the heart. It is a girdle of truth, that keeps the mind and heart from departing from God. It is to be tied about the neck. It keeps the soul in union with the Covenant Head: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you (John xv. 17). When thou goest, it shall lead thee. The Moral Law, in the hand of Justice, is a driver; but the law of the Spirit of life, or the law of faith is the hand of the Spirit of promise, is a leader. The Spirit leads us into all truth; and truth leads us into liberty, and, to free access to God. When thou sleepest, it shall keep thee. The law of faith, in the hand of the Spirit, is a keeper. Truth is the saint's shield and buckler. Protection is promised in this law; and we are kept by the power of God, through it: through faith are we kept to salvation, And when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. This life-giving commandment has a voice of power, and differs much from a voice of Words. The Spirit speaks in this law, to the heart, The word dwells richly in the believer; insomuch that his heart teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. In short, it is the word of reconciliation, by which we are brought to have fellowship with the Father, and with the Son, Christ Jesus: while those who are under the Law find a barrier upon their heart, which keeps them at their proper distance; and a boundary placed round the mount, that they may not attempt to gaze, lest the Lord break through upon them.
Quotation. Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 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.
Answer. If this quotation be true, my doctrine must be right. The Saviour's commandments, or sayings, are here called his word; and he that keepeth it, the love of God is verily perfected in him; or as Christ says, He that hath my word, and keepeth it; he it is that loveth me, and he shall be loved by my Father. Then, according to this quotation, the penitent sinner, who receives the word in the light of it, in the faith of it, and in the love of it; and stands fast in it, abides by it, and holds it fast; is the man in whom the love of God is verily perfected. This is the life and soul of my doctrine, and it is true. But then, these commandments, which are here called the word, are not the Moral Law, not a voice of words, nor the killing letter, but the word of life. For the Law is so far from perfecting the love of God in a man, that it works wrath in him; or as Milton says, "It stirs up sin, against law to fight;"
and therefore, perfects nothing. The law made nothing perfect; but the bringing in of a better hope did [do it], by the which we draw nigh unto God. I do not say, that the law is not the only rule of life to the Authors of this book; for, by their opposition to the Gospel, I think it is. But then, they ought not to set this rule of the servant before the children of God: for, if they are to serve God in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter, one would think that the new Covenant must furnish the new-born soul with a new rule of this new service. And it is clear that we are delivered from the old yoke, that we might take the Saviour's yoke upon us; yea, we are delivered from the works of the law, that we might receive grace for obedience to the faith (Rom. i. 5), according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known among all nations for the obedience of faith (Rom. xvi. 26). And, if obedience to the faith is required, faith must be the rule of obedience. And, if men are to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of God, and from the glory of his power, for not obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, it must be a rule rejected by such vain janglers, otherwise it would not be just in God to punish so severely for disobeying a law that no rule of obedience. Every child of God who has felt the force of the law, and his own weakness and vileness, and who has received the grace of God in truth, will see through the deception of these Antinomian correctors: for God permits most of his children, some time or other, to suffer by hypocrites smiting them, and bringing them into bondage; and, after a little suffering in this way, their own testimony will repel and shut out of the heart all such vain jangling as this: for it is a doctrine that, as Milton says -
'Forces the Spirit of grace himself,
'And binds his consort, Liberty.'
And he adds -
'What will they, but unbuild
'His living Temples, built by faith to stand?
'Their own faith, not another's.'
Quotation. For who against faith and conscience can be heard? [as infallible unmaskers of Antinomianism:] Yet many will presume.
Answer. The true disciple of Jesus will shew his faith by his works, but not by the works of the law, for they are excluded. But he will shew his faith by the works of faith, and his love by the labours of love; and he will give you a reason of his hope, by his experience, that worketh hope; and he will shew you his good hope through grace, by the patience of Hope. I believe such productions as those which I am opposing, are useful in one sense; that is, to discover those professors who are the contrary part; and to harden such against the grace of God who are conscious to themselves that they have no oil in there vessels. Those believers, as they are called, who were all zealous of the law of Moses, were the persons that attempted the life of Paul, and set Jerusalem all in an uproar. And those of the same stamp are the greatest enemies to the power of godliness in our days. I can mention an instance or two.
A professor in this metropolis, who stood in a profession for a number of years; and who wrote a cruel letter to me fourteen years ago, when I was in the midst of many troubles, became a most bitter enemy to me, without any just cause, except on account of my doctrine; and made it his business to ridicule me, and prejudice the minds of people against me. When Maria took up her broom and mop against me, he had a feast indeed: he was as much comforted as Esau at the thought of slaying his brother Jacob, because God had willed him the blessing. He went to Mr. Brayne, potter, at Lambeth, and to his wife, wonderfully enraptured. Maria had fully established him, that faith is no rule of obedience, and that the law is the only rule of life. This is a doctrine that must suit those who are destitute of the faith of God's elect. In this he was built up and established; and said I had met with my match, and what would I do now? He expected that my mouth would soon have been stopped, and all my doctrines, fall to the ground. However, as the Wise Man saith, the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment - for soon after this, God sent the law home to his conscience; and made his countenance proclaim that he was in all the blackness, darkness, and tempests, of Sinai. He sunk into desperation he fled to the salt water, which could by no means extinguish the divine flame, nor afford strength to support his body under it; for soon after, he hanged himself, as Judas did. I shall not mention names: this thing was not done in a corner. However, so ended a many years, profession, during which he had deceived thousands; but his end served to undeceive those who believe the Bible, which saith, Ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him, (I John iii. 15). So true is the proverb, that the light of the righteous rejoiceth when the lamp of the wicked is put out: they end in the darkness of Sinai, while the Sun of righteousness affords everlasting day to the upright in heart.
Another man, at Hertford, of the same profession as the former, received great establishment by the doctrines of the law and his zeal was so fired by the same, that he traduced me and my publications in a most dreadful manner, as if I lived in, and was an encourager of all manner of vice and wickedness: and not one that God had made my writings useful to, but what suffered under the scourge of this man's tongue. And God permitted him to go on for a considerable time. But a few weeks ago, he discovered him, in a more despicable, and more ignominious way, than the former. It is hard work, reader, to kick, to be offended, and to stumble at Christ. In this way these doctrines of the Law are made useful; but their authors will reap no comfort from them in a dying hour, nor yet at the bar of God. - Now we go on again.
Quotation. As though the Apostle had said, I lay down no new rule, for you, as believers, to form your life and conversation by. I refer you to the old Commandment, the same that was given you at the beginning.
Answer. It is strange then, that we are made new creatures; are to serve in the newness of the Spirit; and yet no new rule to be obedient to, or to work by faith; And yet we are to be obedient to the faith, to walk by faith, and to work by faith; and by abiding faithful unto death, we are to receive the crown of life! This doctrine makes faith void, and the promise of God of none effect respecting life and conversation; though, by the rule of faith, God works in us both to will and to do. But, what is this old Commandment that was given at the beginning? And what beginning was that, when this old Commandment was given? Was it the law given to Adam at the beginning of the world, or at the creation? If so, the life-giving commandment was given long before that, and is a much older commandment, for it is from everlasting. By your rule, Adam was prohibited touching the tree of life; but, by the rule that I contend for, we are commanded to eat and drink abundantly; that is, if we are friends to Christ, and are delivered from the law that worketh wrath. Or, was this old commandment that you speak of given at the beginning of Christ's ministry? I trow not. When he opened his commission, he told the Jews that he was anointed, and sent to proclaim liberty to those that were bound and bruised by the Law and Sin. Or, does John tell those he wrote to that this old commandment is the Moral Law? Could he, with any propriety, tell them, of that generation, that they heard the law from the beginning? Were any of them at Sinai when the law was given? If so, they must have been far above fifty years old, for they must have seen Moses. How do these novices plunder the sacred Scriptures, and make the inspired penmen speak nonsense! Let John give us his own explanation: Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment, which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the Word which ye have heard from the beginning. (John ii. 7). This Word is the word of life, which the Apostles held forth, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. This is the word which God commanded to a thousand generations. God the Saviour gave the Word, and great was the company that published it; and John was one of that company. John was a minister of the Spirit, not of the letter; a minister of the word of life, not of the killing letter; an Evangelist, not a legalist; a good steward of grace, not a frustrator of the grace of God. He stood and preached in the kingdom and patience of Christ: not telling the believers to be circumcised, and keep the law of Moses; subverting their souls, and bringing the old yoke on the disciples, neck, which neither they nor their Fathers were able to bear. [Read Acts, chap. 15.] If John had told the believers to whom he wrote that the law of Moses was the only rule of their life and conversation, he must have written a new commandment unto them, instead of an old one, and a commandment purely his own; for those who preached, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law of Moses, had no such commandment given to them, neither by Christ, by the Spirit, nor by the whole assembly of Apostles, (Acts xv. 1, 28, 29) but were declared to be subverters of the saints. In this last quotation, the word of life, which God sent, preaching peace by Jesus Christ; the old commandment, which Christ received in eternity, by which God commanded the blessing of life upon Zion for evermore; is here established at Sinai. So that they which be of the law are under the blessing. The substance of the New Covenant, which the spirit writes on the fleshly tables of the heart, is afresh engraven upon tables of stone. And, in order to make this glaring deception go down, they will, in the next place, offer violence to the Law: for thus it follows -
Quotation. I refer you to the old commandment, the same that was given you at the beginning. It is done away, indeed, as a covenant works.
Answer. I read, that the old vail of ignorance is done away in Christ; but I never read that the Law was ever done away. Christ came to fulfil it; the Apostles preached to establish it. Christ is a just God and a Saviour; and all Adam's race, saints and sinners, must and shall appear before the judgment-seat of Christ. And he will appear as a just God with the book of the Law, and pronounce the curse thence upon the bond-servant, for it is a covenant of works to him. And he will appear with the book of grace, as a Saviour, and pronounce the blessing of life from that, as a covenant of grace. Thus the Pharisee and the believer will both be judged according to their works. He that is of the works of the law will be tried by the book of the law; and he that is of the works of faith, will be tried by the law of faith and be proclaimed a good and faithful servant. But as for the hypocrite in Zion, who has sinned against the ministration of death, and likewise made the ministry of the Spirit a savour of death unto death, the word that Christ hath spoken shall judge him. And, though he says the law of faith is no rule, yet by that rule shall he be judged; and by that rule shall he be condemned, as a hypocrite, and an unbeliever; and be cast into outer darkness, being found a hypocrite by the law of truth, and an unbeliever by the law of faith. The Law is not done away, as a covenant of works; it will entangle a foolish Galatian still: and the weak believer, when deceived by these vain janglers, finds to his sorrow that the Law is a covenant of works still; and genders to bondage still, for it binds him hand and foot, as sure as ever he goes to work by that rule, unless he perform a perfect task, which he never can; for while he seeks to the Law, to be made perfect by the flesh, Christ profits him nothing; and without Christ he can do nothing. In this quotation, the Law is indeed done away, as a covenant of works. The next quotation brings, it back, and sets it in full force again. So true are St. Paul's words, that the teachers of the Law know not what they say, nor whereof they affirm. For thus it follows -
Quotation. If the law is so done away as that the believer, do what he will, cannot sin, because there is no law to forbid, and, by forbidding, render the action criminal; why did the Holy Spirit dictate, under the Gospel dispensation, this Scripture - Whosoever committeth sin, transgresseth also the law, for sin is the transgression of the law?
Answer. I never heard that the law was done away, till I read this iniquitous publication; in which the Apostle John is made to say, the law is indeed done away, as a covenant of works. Which John never meant, and which I absolutely deny. This vile book is intended to debase the Gospel, as no law of right and wrong. But, if faith be no law, then unbelief can be no transgression. The unpardonable sin, doing despite to the Spirit of grace, trampling under foot the Son of God, can be no transgression; for where there is no law, there is no transgression. But by the law of faith shall all these be found guilty, and shall be judged, and damned, without the moral law. I never heard, till I read this vile book, that the believer, do what he will, cannot sin; nor did I ever hear, till this abominable piece appeared, that the Gospel was no rule of obedience, and that it was no rule or standard to try a hypocrite or an infidel by. It is a perfect rule for the saint to work and live by; a rule to try and judge a hypocrite by; and it has got the heaviest sentence annexed to it that ever dropped from the mouth of God. But if, as this book asserts, the law has ceased to exist as a covenant of works, its commanding and condemning power is gone: and it can make no action criminal; for, where there is no law, there is no transgression. This is your own doctrine; and you have tacked about, and destroyed it, and so made yourselves transgressors. I never heard, in all my life, that believers could not sin: I believe, in many things, they offend all. And, when they do, God proceeds against them by the laws of Zion, and corrects them in a fatherly way. And he that is under the law transgresseth the law, and is proceeded against in a judicial way. And the hypocrite, by the law of faith, is dealt worse than the Pharisee. The reprobate, that despised Moses' Law, died without mercy. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trampled under foot the blood of the Son of God! When God makes inquisition for blood, he will not forget the hypocrite. The drift of this book is to render the law of faith as no rule. Hence it is noted that it is insufficient to discover and insufficient to punish sin, without the law - whereas the law of faith has got its sentence, as well as the law of works. He that continues not in all things written in the book of the law is cursed by that; and the hypocrite in Zion, who believes not, shall be damned for his infidelity. Which sentence comes not from the moral law, for that is not of faith, but of works. Nor does it condemn for not believing, but for not doing. Paul says, the latter worthy of the sorer punishment. Hence it pears that the hypocrite transgresseth some law, by the judgment of which a sorer punishment shall be inflicted. Yea, it had been better (saith Peter) if such had never known the right way; better they had continued under the old veil, than, after they have known, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them; for such shall be beaten with many stripes. But, as to making the Apostle say that the moral law is the old commandment, which he calls the word which was preached from the beginning; and that the Apostle laid down no other rule but the law for the believer to live and converse by; is I say, a palpable lie, and a contradiction to every chapter in the New Testament, let our opponents pick out what chapter they please. John tells us that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. The word of life, and the killing letter, are two things. If there be no rule but the moral law, the hypocrite will fare very well; for that condemns no man for disbelieving, but for not doing. However, he will find damnation by another rule, and from another law: Christ's word, and not Moses' writings, shall condemn him.
Was I to extract one half of this piece, and put the other half against it, there is not one assertion but what itself contradicts. Who would ever have thought that a man of sense, a scholar, a divine, a tutor, a master or mistress of arts, could ever publish such inconsistencies, such lies, such nonsense, as this - and then call it a confutation of errors, to deceive the simple, harden the base, and injure them that dearly love the Lord Jesus!
Quotation. Whosoever - What can be a stronger expression? It takes in both the believer and unbeliever - committeth sin - it is in the present tense - transgresseth also the Law. Consequently, the Law still exists, or else the Apostle wrote nonsense; which none but an Antinomian can suppose.
Answer. In two former quotations it is asserted that the law has ceased to exist as a covenant of works; and, as a covenant of works, it is indeed done away. But, in this last quotation, the Law still exists, or else the Apostle wrote nonsense; and then the Antinomian is represented as supposing what these blind Authors have asserted. If Paul had not given a description of a vain jangler, one never could have imagined that any persons, sober, and in their rationality, could ever have published such self-contradictions.
John, in this last quotation, is made to speak what he never meant. In 1 John chap. ii. the Evangelist is writing about two sorts of people. Some were Antichrists, and went out of the church, and from the Apostles, because they were not of them, ver. 18, 19. Others had an unction that abode in them, and they needed not these false teachers to instruct them, v. 27.
In chap. iii. ver. 1-3, he writes to believers as sons of God; and says, Every one that hath this hope of sonship and heirship in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Then, in ver. 4 he breaks off to the other class - Whosoever committeth sin, transgresseth also the law, for sin is a transgression of the law. And by the word also, he makes such hypocrites transgressors of some other law, as well as the law moral. Whoso sinneth hath not seen Christ, neither known him. He that committeth sin is of the devil. Ver. 6, 8. John makes the hypocrite a transgressor in a twofold sense: Whoso transgresseth [by apostacy] and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. Such an one is a transgressor against the Gospel of Christ, and he transgresseth also the law. The law is the ministration of death to him, and the Gospel is a savour of death unto death unto death to him: he is cursed by the former and damned by the latter. He that is under the law, and does it not, is cursed; and he that hears the Gospel, and believes not, shall be damned.
Quotation. This was written to believers; and it a strong attestation that the law is not abrogated, but still remains in full force, as the rule of righteousness.
Answer. If the law has ceased, to exist and is done away, as a covenant of works, as you assert, you have abrogated it - for to command to do for life, and to condemn for not doing, is all the power it ever had: and, if it hath ceased to exist as a covenant of works, it hath no power to command to work, nor to condemn for not working, according to your doctrine. This is vile and damnable Antinomianism; and is making void the Law in every sense, and establishes it in no sense whatever. The word of God declares that the law is not made for a righteous man. It is not made to rule, govern, or condemn, a man justified by faith; for he is ruled and governed by the grace of Christ. He is not under the law, but under grace. The law is made for the lawless and disobedient; and we know that whatsoever the law saith it saith to them that are under the law. Here are the persons described for whom this law is made; and they are not the righteous, but the lawless and disobedient: and the whole contents of the law are directed to them that are under it; but the righteous are not under the law, but under grace. But, if the moral law be the only rule of the saint's work, he must serve in the oldness of the letter. The works of the law, and not the works of faith, are what the believer must perform: and by the law must he stand or fall, and by it must his weakness be tried, and punished; and then woe to him, for Zion's own righteousness is but as filthy rags, which can never stand the test of the Law. Nor can the Law put up with one imperfect action, nor shew mercy to any that are in the least imperfect. Faith and repentance pass for nothing here. Perfection it will have, as itself is perfect can shew no mercy; it knows of none. It held Christ himself, as a bond servant, all his days: I say, as a bond servant. (Read and compare Exod. xxi. 32. Psal. xxii. 20, 21. Zech. ix. 12.) The precept held him fast till he came to his trial, and the sentence held him fast till he gave up the ghost. When he rose from the dead, he cried, All hail! And he that, by faith, finds rest in his infinite satisfaction, ceases from his works, as God did from his: he ceases from the works of the law as God did from the works of Creation.
Quotation. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin.
Answer. This is a contradiction of what you asserted before. You say, the believer is delivered from sin, but the new man is taken captive by sin. If the saint is free from sin, and the new man is a captive to sin, this seed can be of no use to the believer, but rather the believer should help this captive. I would to God that such ignorant, unenlightened persons, would never meddle with such sublime matters, and handle them in so vile a way. Talk about the seed of God; and then about the new creature, created in righteousness and true holiness, falling a captive to the devil! O, what judicial blindness, confusion, and hardness of heart, is this! What enmity against the Gospel, and the preachers of it, must rage in the breasts of such persons, to drive them over all bounds, into such a desperate frenzy as to plunder, pervert, misconstrue, and prostitute, the Divine Oracles of God to such base purposes as to deceive the simple, and injure (in the Lord's work) the faithful labourers of the vineyard! However, as you have got a bridle in your jaws, causing, you to err, go on, and, by God's help, I will follow you, as long as I can hold a pen. You are got into worse than Egyptian darkness now, and the vail will gather faster and faster on your heels. But I find the path of the just shines more and more, unto the perfect day. Let me contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, and do you contend for the law; and our readers will soon see which is the burning and the shining light; for, by your darkness passing before, the true light will shine after it.
Quotation. In Zacharias and Elizabeth, the father and mother of John the Baptist, we have a beautiful example of what the Christian is, or, at least, ought to be. It is said of them, They were both righteous before God; walking in all the commandments of the Lord, blameless. Luke i. 6.
Answer. The authors of this book can charge William Huntington with no more ungodliness, or sinful walking, since his conversion, than they can charge the above-mentioned persons; and yet their whole drift is to represent me a Magus in doctrine, and a devil in life: however, they can never overthrow the doctrines that I hold. This last quotation justifies my doctrine: for, if they were both righteous, they were justified by an imputed righteousness. And it is clear that the grace of God did not lead them into licentiousness: for, as they walked in the Spirit, they did not fulfil the lusts of the flesh; for they walked in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord, blameless; so that the righteousness of the law was fulfilled in them, and grace taught them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. And this is what I assert. But, after all, this passage of Scripture serves my purpose much better than the purpose of my opponents. For, though the law of works had no charge against Zacharias, because he was under grace; yet the law of faith had. Which shews that faith is a rule of obedience; and his transgressing that rule brought a sore and a public judgment upon him: Behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed; because thou believest "not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season." Luke i. 20. Is it not strange, that a good man, a saint of God, should be rebuked by an angel from heaven; struck dumb for nine months, for his unbelief, or for transgressing the law of faith; and yet the law of faith (as this book suggests) is no rule of obedience; is no law to discover and forbid sin; no law to arraign the transgressor of it; nor yet a law furnished with a sentence to punish the disobedient thereto! However, though the law of works brought nothing against Zacharias's walk, the law of faith brought a heavy charge against his unbelieving heart. If this word, spoken by an angel, was stedfast, and Zacharias's transgression and disobedience thereto received a just recompense of reward; how will those escape who obscure and traduce the law of faith (which at first began to be spoken by the Lord) as no rule of right and wrong; and so make the kingdom of God, which stands not in word, nor in letter, but in power, in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, a mere fancy! Let these enemies to Antinomianism look to it; lest, after all their contention for the letter, they are found doing despite to the Spirit of grace. For, although they think the law of faith, in the hand of the Spirit, is no rule; yet sinning against it is the Great Transgression, (Psal xix. 13.). yea, it is the unpardonable sin. Which shews that the Spirit's law, or law of the Spirit, is the grandest rule, and the greatest of all laws; for all other sins are pardonable but this - this is the sin unto death.
If my reader thinks that I bear too hard upon them, in saying they think the law of faith to be no rule of Obedience; consequently, no law to punish the transgressor of it - let him well weigh the next quotation, where the moral law is brought in, as the only rule of right and wrong; for nothing but transgressing those precepts is sin, and, without that, no process against a stoner can be drawn; and it is only by that rule that a punishment can be inflicted: so that the hypocrite in Zion, the infidel in profession, and the unpardonable sinner, have nothing to fear; for the Decalogue says nothing about them; but, by Christ's word shall those be judged, and the twelve Apostles, in their testimony, shall be witnesses against them.
Quotation. If there is no Law, and consequently, no sin, to a believer, why was David's conduct with respect to Bathsheba, and Uriah the Hittite, so peculiarly marked, so strictly stigmatized, so severely punished? His conduct in this affair, in the very nature of things, must be either right or wrong; and none will dare to say it was right, because it was followed by the most evident and unequivocal proofs of Divine displeasure: but, if it was wrong, what was it constituted it so? It must be a deviation from the rule of right; and what can be that rule but the moral law, which says - Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery?
Answer. The law of faith goes closer than - Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery: for it declares that hatred to a brother (such as these authors bear to me) is murder; and that a lascivious eye is adultery; and that such as Maria, who will not work, shall not eat; yea, that such as take no care for themselves, and their own house, have denied the faith, and are worse than infidels. - But now to the
Quotation. It is well known that David lived under the old dispensation. The day had not broken, the shadows did not flee away, in his days. He was obliged to attend the mountains of myrrh and hills of frankincense. The children under that dispensation were like children in non-age. They differed little from servants, though lords of all; but were under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the Father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But, when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And, because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore, thou art no more a servant, but a son - no more a servant under the ruling power of the law, but a son, by the Spirit of adoption, and under the reign of adopting grace. Gal. iv. 1,-4, &c. David did not live to see these jubilee days; he lived under the old dispensation. The Law and the Prophets were until John; but David was dead before John came. Nevertheless, we will consider David's crimes, and God's proceeding against him; whether it was by the rule of works, or by the rule of faith; whether in the court of judicature, or in the court of chancery; whether at the bar of the law, or at the Mercy-seat. For, if God dealt with him according to the rule of the moral law, as an adulterer, he must be stoned; and, as a murderer, he must be killed. He that does violence to the blood of any person, let him flee to the pit; let no man stay him; Shimei cursed David, and stoned him, which is going by your rule; for this, he knew, he deserved by the law; and he expected that God, in just judgment, was going to measure the same to him as he had measured to others; "The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood Of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom. And, behold thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man!" The unalterable and eternal law was point blank against David, both for adultery and murder; and stoning to death was the unrepealable sentence annexed to that law. And, surely God will be true to his precept, and to his threatening: for he is not man, that he should lie; nor the son of man, that he should repent. He is without variableness, or shadow or turning. And, according to this vile book-that I am opposing, the moral law was David's only rule of life, and God's only rule of judgment. And yet Absalom dies; and not one stone hits David, nor a drop of his blood is shed: repentance is granted him; he is restored to the favour of God, to the joys of his salvation, to his throne and dignity, and excellent majesty is added to him. Now, let our opponents tell us, by the Ten Commandments, how God could appear just in all this, by that only rule which they contend for; and whether they do not, by that only rule of God and man, represent the Most High in an awful point of light, in his proceedings with David? But, if they say that Jesus, David's Surety, took his crimes upon himself, and was stoned, and died, in David's room; then my answer is, that God must proceed against David by some other rule, if he appears just in the-matter, and yet justifies fallen David from all his ungodliness. David knew the Moral rule, and trembled at it as much as ever I did, and knew he could never stand by that rule of judgment. Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord; for, in thy sight, shall no man living be justified. He knew God could never justify him, but must condemn him, or appear unjust by that rule. Hence his pitiful plea, be surety for thy servant for good. But the Ten Commandments say nothing of surety-ship; they will have good hearts, and good works: no evil deeds can be done away by that rule; no evil works can ever stand by that rule. To the Surety of the better Testament David fled; in a covenant relation to God he stood; and of the covenant of grace he reminded his Maker - Have respect to the Covenant. He considered himself as a new Creature, and begs God to respect the work of his own hands. To the Mercy-seat he fled for refuge; and pleaded the worthiness of the Man of God's right hand; the Son of Man, made strong for himself; who was to bear those heavy crimes of David, which, he says, was a sore burden, too heavy for him to bear. The ceremonial Law was David's Gospel, and through that he looked to Jesus - Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow: under the Saviour's wings, at the Mercy-seat, David found his refuge from the wrath of the Law, till all his calamities were overpassed; and the application that Nathan made to David, Thou shalt not die, for God hath put away thy sin - never came from your rule; for, by that, the soul that sins shall die, God will not, cannot, clear the guilty by that rule. This I insist upon, that, if the Moral Law was David's only rule of life, (and, if ever it was, it was in David's days, for Christ, the end of it, was not then come) and if the Moral Law was the only rule by which God proceeded against David, all the world could have never saved the life, nor the soul, of the sweet Psalmist of Israel from that dreadful curse. Nor did Nathan preach the parable of the Ewe-Lamb from the Law; but fixed David's crime upon his conscience, by enforcing the goodness of God to him, and his ungrateful returns. "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel; and I delivered thee out of the hands of Saul; and I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives, into thy bosom; and gave thee the house of Israel and Judah: and, if that had been too little, I would, moreover, have given thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight?" David sinned against both Law and Gospel: he did not keep that commandment which Paul gave to Timothy, without spot. He sinned not only against the Moral Law, but he sinned against the commandment of life evermore; which, he says, is the blessing which God commanded on Mount Zion; and which commandment, David knew, was given Christ touching him - Thou hast given a commandment to save me. And he knew that it was a life-giving word - This is my comfort in my affliction, thy word hath quickened me. And in this word he believed, or he had perished for ever - I had fainted, unless I had believed: but I believed, and therefore have I spoken.
Quotation. We find, in David, a most striking example of evangelical repentance, and godly sorrow, upon the account of sin. He was a sinner, but he was no Antinomian.
Answer. I will not say that the Authors of this book are Antinomians; but this I will say, that the book contains the worst Antinomianism that I ever read; and is a vile and damnable harangue, both against the Law, the Gospel, and the grace of God. Against the Law, because it declares the Law has ceased to exist, and is done away, as a Covenant of works. Against the Gospel, because it is no rule of right and wrong. And against the grace of God, by declaring that the new man is taken captive by sin. And, as for their mentioning evangelical repentance and godly sorrow, they never experienced any thing of it; nor does this book give any better description of it than old Mother Shipton would have done. Besides, what signifies talking of David's repentance, godly sorrow, and pardon of sin? Ministers of the Law should leave these things to the ministers of the Spirit. Your rule, engraven on tables of stone, accepts no repentance, nor godly sorrow: nor will it ever shew mercy, nor pardon iniquity; it neither mentions it, accepts it, nor gives any information about it. Any simple person, who should read this Treatise, who has not eyes to see through this mask of hypocrisy, and who should be informed that this pill, or bolus, was prepared for me; must conclude that, of all the wretched beings out of hell, William Huntington must be the vilest sinner, the worst liver, and the most dangerous preacher. What simple soul could imagine that such a spurious harangue could be levelled at the Everlasting Gospel; and to blacken the character of a monument of mercy, and a subject of special-grace, whose life and walk are consistent with the measure of grace received; and whose ministry is attended with the power of God to hundreds, if not to thousands? And must not the same simple soul think, by the same rule, that the Authors of such a book must exceed all the world in purity of heart, and holiness of life? None could ever think that such a testimony as they have bone against me could ever be false. Yet, as the Lord liveth, I am willing to be weighed in an even balance with any of them, with respect to heart-holiness or good works. And, as to envying them their happiness, I would not exchange my state for theirs; no, not for a million worlds, though I am nick-named an Antinomian!
Quotation. Faith is the grand bond of union between Christ and the souls of his people; and, therefore, we are said to be justified by Faith, and sanctified by Faith.
Answer. This is false. Faith is not the grand bond of union: nor is it ever so called; for it is God's everlasting love to his elect that is the bond of the covenant, and the bond of union; and this union took place not only in the purpose of God, but in Christ Jesus, before ever faith was found upon earth. I have loved thee with an everlasting love. And this love made us one with Christ from eternity; it was the self-moving cause in God to give us life in him before the world began, and we were preserved in him; and, at last, by the same love, drawn sensibly to him, and by the same love spiritually and sensibly united to him. It is the love of Father, Son, and Spirit, that is the threefold cord that cannot be broken. Faith is the effect of this bond, but this bond is not Faith. Faith in us, that purifies the heart, is one thing; but God's eternal and immutable love to us is another. I wish this foolish girl would take in a little needle-work to do; and not meddle with, and muddle, the mysteries of religion, for the sake of a morsel of bread.
Quotation. Because Faith, as a hand, receives Christ as the justifying righteousness of the soul; and actually receives, out of his infinite fullness, all those communications of divine grace, &c.
Answer. Suppose Faith, as a hand, does this, the bond of God's covenant, and Maria's hand, widely differ. God's love runs through the whole family of heaven, and earth; and holds all the stakes to the main standard of the tabernacle. But, what do Maria's hands hold? Neither the spindle, nor the distaff, Prov. xxxi. 19.
Quotation. So that those who live and die with, out being made partakers of vital faith, it is evident, never were united to Christ any other way.
Answer. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have no charity, I am nothing. So that persons never were united to Christ this way; for men may have faith, and yet not enjoy charity, or feel the bond of union.
Quotation. For all those whom he has taken into union with himself, in a federal relation and union, by an act of divine sovereignty, in the fullness of time he unites to himself, by implanting in their hearts vital faith, as a divine, abiding, holy principle, by which they are cut off from their old stock, and are in grafted into the new, the living Vine.
Answer. Maria abounds in mysteries: she speaks wisdom to them that are perfect. We were informed, before, that vital faith was the bond of union; this was proved by its being a hand to receive, righteousness to justify, and grace to sanctify: but now Maria goes back again, and turns this bond, and this receiving hand, into a sword. For it is by vital faith, by this divine, this holy principle, that believers are cut off from the old stock, and in grafted into the Vine. Maria is no gardener, nor botanist. We read of grafting olive-trees in Scripture, but the Holy Ghost never mentions grafting vines.
Quotation. And on this grand union with the Lord Christ does all sanctification, and communion, and walking with God, depend.
Answer. All sanctification, which is God's setting his elect apart in eternity; and Christ's offering up himself upon the Cross, by which offering he for ever perfected them that are sanctified - all depends upon Maria's bond, hand and sword, if we can but believe. For my part, I know it is a damnable lie. But we must go on.
Quotation. It is God the Holy Ghost, who alone can create this faith in the soul of a sinner.
Answer. Maria's bond, hand, and sword, is at last turned into a creature. None but the Spirit can create this faith; so that it is not the sinner that is created anew, but faith is created in him; and then it turns to a sword, and then to a hand, and, at last to a bond. Reader, have a little patience with me, while I pursue these orthodox divines, and discover their folly, lest thou be misled by them. Wisdom tells thee that some sort of women have ways that are moveable, so that thou canst not know them: I am sure I don't, but yet I know that this woman is not right.
Quotation. For, as it is impossible for a dead man to give himself natural life; so it is equally impossible for a dead sinner, that is a man dead in sin, to give himself spiritual life; that is, divine faith.
Answer. Maria's bond, hand, sword, and creature, is now termed spiritual life, for spiritual life is divine faith; so that this created faith is Divinity itself. We do not live by faith on Christ, who is our life; nor does Christ live in us according to this, but created faith is spiritual life in us. Now, reader, we shall differ from all that we have said before.
Quotation. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word.
Answer. In the above quotation, faith was created in us, but now it is created out of us, and comes into us by hearing the word. Now, reader, we must take another turn; and where you may find us next, I know not; but you may depend upon it that we shall be somewhere stumbling upon the dark mountains.
Quotation. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit; and when the Holy Ghost takes this noble sword into his mighty hand, he makes it quick and powerful, cutting down all opposition, and fully efficacious to the conviction, conversion, sanctification, and consolation, of his people.
Answer. Now we see that Maria's bond, hand, creature, and spiritual life, has nothing to do with cutting the sinner off from his old stock for it is all done by the word of God, and not by faith created in us by the Spirit. In this quotation, Maria's hand has nothing to do, for thus run the words: The Spirit makes this sword quick and powerful, cutting down all opposition, and fully efficacious. That is, the sword is fully efficacious to the conviction, conversion, sanctification, and consolation of his people. The sword that wounds, heals: convictions, sanctifications, and consolations, all come from the same sword. The Holy Spirit handles the sword, but holiness and consolation come by the sword. Faith makes no application in this business.
Quotation. The sword of Scanderbeg the Great did wonders; but it was only when it was cited by the mighty arm of Scanderbeg.
Answer. The sword that this book talks about, does greater works than that of Scanderbeg; his sword was used to kill, but this sword brings sanctification and consolation. How does the Almighty blind, confound, confuse, and discover these empty novices, by letting them expose their confusion to the Church and world; and yet hold them in such blindness as to permit them to call their self-contradictions, and palpable lies, A confutation of error, and unmasking of Antinomianism!
As for me, I don't know that any body can justly charge me with preaching to encourage sin, or say I have lived as an example of licentiousness, or being in any sense behind-hand in promoting, and in shewing a pattern of, good works; if I have, let them testify against me.
Quotation. They that are overwhelmed with distress, and sometimes conclude that they have no right to rejoice in the liberty of the Gospel, that they are not the Lord's freemen, but still slaves to sin and Satan, still under the reigning power of sin; and, consequently, not partakers of Christ's salvation. Now, lest any of these, whose hearts the Lord would not have made sad, &c.
Answer. If they are overwhelmed with distress, and slaves to sin and Satan, and under the reigning power of sin, they have no more right to rejoice in the liberty of the Gospel than Satan has, who is reserved in chains of darkness. The sinner here described is overcome by Satan; and of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage; if he is, and binds himself to be a slave to sin and Satan, he is free from righteousness. His members are not yielded as instruments of righteousness, nor is he, nor can he be, a servant of righteousness; he is holden with the cords of his sin, and Satan has the mastery over him. In this quotation, a slave to sin and Satan is allowed to have a right to rejoice in the liberty of the Gospel; a sinner overwhelmed with distress, and under the dominion of sin, yet the Lord would not have his heart made sad. This is, I think, rank Antinomianism; for it is encouraging rash presumption, encouraging a slave to the devil to rejoice in the liberty of the Gospel.
Quotation. Now, lest any of these should be made sad, by any thing contained in this treatise.
Answer. There is no fear of any real sadness of heart ensuing upon the perusal of this treatise; for there is no more force, power, or edge, to this sword, than there is to an eider-down quilt; it is calculated for nothing else but to bolster up and to harden hypocrites in their hypocrisy. As to God's people, no soul that ever was enlightened and quickened by the Lord would ever give it a second reading, nor even house-room, unless it be admitted into the water-closet.
Quotation. I would wish to observe that where ever sin is hated, not only in its consequences and punishment, but in its nature and practice; where it is struggled with, fought against, prayed against, watched against, and groaned under, it hath no dominion.
Answer. Is a sinner's hating, struggling: fighting, watching, and groaning, of any avail in subduing the power of sin? Do the Scriptures ever muster such a band of pismires as these, to destroy the works of the devil? Here is no blood of atonement, no shield of faith, no sin-subduing, and super-abounding, grace. Sin has no dominion, saith this book, because it is fought against, watched against, prayed against, and groaned under: if groaned under, it must lie heavy upon the sinner; and will, till God's strength be made perfect in his weakness, and all-sufficient grace be communicated to him. Satan reaps no small advantage from such books as these; he that esteems iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood, who drove the mad Gadarene from his chains, will never refuse the challenge of this fighting sinner, nor start at his groans. If my reader will now observe, we shall find that this precious soul, whom the Lord would not have made sad, who has a right to rejoice in the liberty of the Gospel, is in want of but one thing, and that is, power.
Quotation. These things are quite incompatible with the reigning love and power of sin. It may fight hard; it may rage desperately; it may, for a time, play the tyrant; but, during this time, the soul, though a captive, is not a slave. The tyrant is detested: and the soul wants nothing but power to throw off the iron yoke.
Answer.. If this fancied saint has no power, he has no faith; if destitute of power, the kingdom of God is not set up in his heart, for that stands not in word, but in power; and if he is a captive to Satan, he can have no right to rejoice in the liberty of the Gospel. Captivity is as opposite to liberty as slavery; nor will any child of God be brought to believe that Satan shew such lenity to his captives as to let them stand all the day idle. He that is a captive the devil is a slave; he that is under the jurisdiction of that father will do the lusts of that father. This fancied saint is next set down with Paul and Job; and the promise of the Gospel is applied to him, though God has not made bare his arm.
Quotation. It is evident such an one has been taught by Christ, the great Prophet, a good degree of self knowledge: the understanding is enlightened to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the spirituality of the law of God; and therefore the man cries out, with Paul - I am carnal, sold under sin. And with Job, I am vile! It is also evident, his will is renewed, and his affections in part sanctified, for the evil he does, he allows not, I bid. Nay, he hates it.
Answer. Here is a man renewed in his will, and his affections in part sanctified; and he also taught of Christ, whose word to the heart is always attended with power, to make the dead live, and the prisoner go free. And yet this man has no power, for he cannot throw off the iron yoke.
Quotation. And could he be delivered from the very being of sin, and from the possibility of sinning, it would be the triumph of his heart, and the joy of his soul.
Answer. Thousands in despair, and on the verge of hell, would be glad of this, who never knew the grace of God, and who never will be saved. For if a man be delivered from the being of sin he can have no inducement, or motion to it; and if from the possibility of it, he is in no danger, consequently in no fear. The saint's obedience is the reverse of all this; he obeys God against the inclinations of self and the enticements of sin.
Quotation. If this is the habitual frame of thy mind, Gentle Reader, thou art one of those happy ones to whom the promise declares, Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the Law, but under grace.
Answer. There is one great difficulty, which must devolve upon these authors; and that is, to make this Gentle Reader, who is a captive to sin and Satan, though not a slave; who, though renewed and sanctified, is yet destitute of power to throw off the iron yoke - I say, it is a difficulty to make such a prisoner believe that he is one of those happy ones, (upon a level with Paul and Job) to whom the promise declares, that sin shall not have dominion over him, because he is not under the Law, but under grace - I say, to make a man believe that has a right to rejoice in Gospel liberty, when holden in the cords of his sins; and that sin has no dominion over him while a captive to it; and that he is not under the Law, though he has no power to throw off the iron yoke; and that he is under grace, though no salvation from has ever been applied to him: this, I say, must be difficult work by faith. Maria told Mr. George King, that this book does contain Ryland's sentiments; and if so, I will be bold to affirm that such a faith never was hatched any where, either in heaven or earth, but at Enfield.
Quotation. Thou art not under the Law, for Christ hath redeemed thee from it: it is dead to thee as a covenant of works; and thou art dead to it, that thou mayest be married to another husband.
Answer. The Antinomianism which this book has all along reprobated; yea, the very doctrine that I hold, and for the preaching of which I am represented in this book as black as Satan himself; yea, the whole of it, is advanced in this last quotation, only we differ with respect to application. Maria applies it to them only to whom salvation from sin has never been given; who are destitute of power, under the iron yoke, and in a state of captivity to sin. Whereas, I apply it to none but those who are born again of the Spirit; who are purged from guilt and dead works, delivered from the reign of sin, and made free by the Spirit; who are no more servants, but sons; and not sons of the bond woman, but of the free. Thus we agree in doctrine, and only differ in application. This captive, in his iron yoke, is farther comforted by many applications.
Quotation. And he is the God of grace: he giveth grace and glory. The Father hath blessed thee with all spiritual blessings in Christ.
Answer. This is another difficult branch of Faith; that is, for this gentle reader to believe that he is blessed with all spiritual blessings, while he is cursed with the iron yoke of bondage, in captivity to sin, and destitute of the power of divine grace. For my part, I should not wonder if God should give such authors up to the buffetings of Satan; to be stripped, even of their rationality, for such ignorant meddling, base handling, and falsely applying, the Gospel, and the promises of it.
Quotation. Nothing is so great an enemy to heart-holiness as Unbelief.
Answer. The greatest enemy to holiness throughout this book has all along been the Antinomian, for not bringing the believer under the Law, as his only rule of life. He that holds not this point is, according to this book, the vilest sinner, and even a child of the devil. And this Antinomian, after all, is unbelief. He is the adversary, and the greatest enemy heart-holiness; and I think, as our opponents have caught unbelief, they ought to let Huntington go his way. If they charge unbelief with all the crimes, then are the children free.
Quotation. Nothing is so great an enemy to heart-holiness as unbelief: Satan hates it, but he cannot rob us of it; but unbelief robs us of it, or rather, prevents our receiving it. Faith works it in the soul.
Answer. The heart-holiness of a saint consist in his soul being the seat, and his body the temple, of the Holy Ghost; as God hath said - I will dwell in them, and walk in them. Unbelief, we are informed, can rob us of this; unbelief can prevent our receiving this: but faith works it in the soul. Unbelief, therefore, must be more than almighty; and faith, instead of being a work, a fruit, or a grace, of the Spirit, he is the worker of the Spirit in us, for he works holiness in the soul. Blessed be Almighty God, who hath opened my blind eyes to see, and breathed eternal life into my senseless soul, to feel the operations of his Spirit, and the dominion of his grace; and to see through the dark and iniquitous designs of such Authors, and such arch deceptions, as these. To speak without lightness, and without prejudice, I have read this book till my hair has moved upon my head, and my flesh upon my bones - to see persons, so destitute of the common ideas of a work of grace, make such havoc with sacred matters, and publish such confusion to the Church and the world!
Quotation. This is the will of God, even your sanctification. Herein is my Father that ye bear much fruit.
Answer. But how can a man be holy who is captive to sin, and destitute of power? And how can he be fruitful who never was made partaker of the fruits? All the applications this 64th page are made to the gentle reader, who is under the iron yoke of bondage, and has no power to throw it off.
Quotation. Should these pages fall into the hands of a professor of religion, who can hear of Christ, and talk much about Christ, and the riches of his grace, and the wonders of his salvation; and yet is careless and indifferent whether he, as an individual, is made partaker of the riches of that grace, and the wonders of that salvation, by the power of the Spirit of God, &c.
Answer. If these pages should fall into the hands of such a professor, he will not condemn this book, nor will this book condemn him; for there is no more rich grace, and wondrous salvation, in this book, nor described, by the Authors of it, than such a professor has got in him. The one is a drum, the other a tinkling cymbal, and nothing but emptiness in either. Besides, where is the difference between the graceless professor last described, and the gentle reader to whom the blessings were applied? The former is a captive to sin, the latter destitute of grace; the former, no power to cast off the iron yoke; the latter, without the wonders of salvation. Here is no more difference between the former saint, and the latter hypocrite, than between my two eyes: they are both under the power of the devil; only one is sinking like Judas, and the other comforting himself like Esau.
Quotation. Who can live loosely, and allow himself in sinful dispositions, and sinful practices, under the idea that there is no Law, and consequently, no sin, to a believer?
Answer. It were well if all Authors had dispositions and practices agreeable to their best words. How well Maria lives up to this, shall leave to God and her own conscience, who know what she is in works, from what she seems by words; nor shall I ever wish to copy after her - for then, indeed, I should be an Antinomian both in heart and practice. But this I insist on, that if the Law is the believer's rule of life, by which he is to live and conduct himself; and that he is under the precept of it, to obey it; and that all that is amiss in him, or done amiss by him, is to be laid to that rule, as the only rule of right and wrong, or the only rule to shew what is sin; and by that rule he is to be punished for sin, sin being the transgression of no other Law but that, according to this book - then I say that Christ profits nothing; that the active and passive obedience of the Saviour is a mere phantom; the former not delivering the saint from the yoke of the precept, nor the latter from the sentence.
And that the believer differs nothing from a sinner who is dead in sin: for the Law is no more than such a rule to him; it has no more than a precept, and a sentence, for him; it is no more than a rule of life, or a rule of conduct, (which you please) to him.
But, if our opponents reply - the believer is under the Law to Christ; I answer - so are all sinners; all in the flesh are under the Law. But if you say - not under the Law to Christ; I answer, They are all under the Law, and all are accountable to Christ. We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. I know of no other judge: the blessing and the curse will be pronounced by Christ, as the only judge of quick and dead.
And, if the Law be all this, let our opponents shew us how the Law has ceased to exist as a covenant of works, in any sense; or, whether it ever can differ from a covenant of works, seeing God doth not, will not, minister the Spirit by it, or by the works of it.
For, if it is not a covenant of works, how can the reward be reckoned of debt to him that works?
And, if it be not a covenant of works, but a Law of Love to the believer; then I ask, how a saint can go from the enjoyment of his liberty, from the profits of Christ, and be entangled with it as a yoke of bondage, only by seeking perfection by it?
And, if the Law has ceased to exist as covenant of works, how it can be called a Law, and whence its authority to govern, convince and punish the believer, can be derived? For, if it has ceased to exist, who stood by at its exit, and saved the life of its authority?
And, if the system of faith be not a rule of right and wrong, according to this book, how it can be called a Law? And how a believer can be said to receive grace for obedience thereto? And how a man that hears it can be damned for his infidelity, or disobedience to the Gospel?
And, if it be no rule to convince, and to inflict chastisements on a believer; how God, as a gracious Father, not as an angry Judge, in covenant love, not in the wrath of the Law, can visit the sins of his children with a rod, and their iniquities with scourges, for transgressing this life-giving commandment; and yet not take the promised life of this commandment nor loving-kindness, the bond of this covenant, from them?
Or, if he proceeds against them according to your rule, and the believer be under that rule; which way God can appear just, the Law be the only invariable rule, and they escape eternal fire? The Decalogue says nothing about salvation by grace.
And, if heart-holiness, in reality, is the thing you enforce and contend for how you come to be so ignorant of its nature and operation, as not to be able to give a description of one branch of it, consistent either with Scripture or experience?
Do not you say, Faith is created in us; and then assert that this creature works heart-holiness in us, which is the Holy Ghost?
Does the Spirit create faith? If so, is not faith a creature? And does this creature, then, work the Spirit of holiness in the sinner's heart?
Can any wise or sober man ever think that any thing like holiness had ever operated on a person; that gives such a scandalous description of it?
And, if you are for good works indeed and in truth, how come you to traduce those who are fruitful, and walk in them? when yourselves, by ocular demonstration, are altogether barren in this respect!
And, if you can justly charge the Antinomian you traduce with as many evils in ten years as your own conscience can lay to your charge in ten weeks, why do you not publish his evil deeds to the world?
And, if there be any one doctrine advanced in all this piece, that is not plainly contradicted in another part; let the Authors shew me what that doctrine is, and where it stands, and I will (if God permit) prove that it is so.
And, if this is not vain jangling, let them send me word that the Apostle means by those words.
Quotation. Verily, verily, says the Son of God himself, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin, (that is, habitually continues in the love and practice of it) is the servant of sin.
Answer. But Christ makes his elect free from that service, and such are free indeed. But, if the Authors of this book have no more experience than their gentle reader, who is a captive to Sin; no more power than their blessed Disciple, who cannot throw off the iron yoke; no more holiness than what their created faith has worked in them; no other bond of union, no other sword to cut them off from the old stock, than this new-made faith; they are on the old stock, and under a terrible master, to this day for these are not the things that accompany salvation, nor any thing like them. These are nothing but chimeras of a disordered brain; there is nothing of this to be found in the Bible, nor in the experience of God's children.
Reader, when our opponents have given me another job of this kind, I will, if time permit, delineate this Treatise a little more; and set their self-contradictions against each other, page against page, that thou mayest have a short and concise view of the productions of vain-janglers, and of the judgment that appears in their goings. And of this, reader, be assured, that if any good treasure ever flows into thee, or from thee; if any real good works are ever performed by thee; if ever thou art at a certainty with thy state, and at a point in thy doctrine: thou must have a stronger bond of union than these Authors hold forth; a better faith than they teach; a better hope than they exhibit; more grace in heart than they in shew; better holiness than they can feign; be more mighty in deeds than they in words; have a better spirit than they can counterfeit; and be a better saint than they can describe - or thou wilt be empty in heart, and barren in life, to the day of thy death! So I conclude, and so thou mayest affirm.