The Moral Law not Injured by the Everlasting Gospel.


"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;" TITUS 2:11,12

William Huntington (1745-1813)


THE vile reproaches unjustly cast upon you and your doctrine, by the Rev. Rowland Hill, have long grieved the minds of many simple and godly souls, and served as a stumblingblock to many of Zion's feeble travellers.

The unchristian-like disposition he manifested against you, when he refused to preach in the same place with you at Greenwich; but more especially, his offering to preach in opposition, whenever you should be given out for the new place at Deptford; has further evidenced his rooted malignity, and not a little added to the astonishment of those who wish for the peace and prosperity of Zion.

Hearing he was to preach on Tuesday last, in opposition to you, at Deptford, I, with some friends, attended, for the purpose of taking the sermon in shorthand, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word might be established, or overthrown.

As the occasion of Mr. Hill's preaching was so generally known, I presume, notwithstanding your name is not literally mentioned in it, that you will need no apology, either to the church or to the world, for considering it as addressed to yourself, and, consequently, giving it a full answer, so far as truth is concerned. For that purpose, sir, we herewith commit it to your perusal and custody; sincerely wishing and praying the Lord may direct your heart and hand for the good of his chosen, and his own glory.


Reverend Sir,

HAVING been repeatedly informed of the many public cautions and warnings that you have given to various congregations against me and my doctrine, which have all been drawn from the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel; I have therefore presumed to shew mine opinion of every text in that chapter which you have either opened, brought forth, or mentioned: and, having published them, I send the first copy for your perusal, and the rest to the church at large, that our brethren may judge betwixt us, Gen. xxxi. 37.

The sermon that you delivered against me at Deptford, I have got in my hand, and have deliberately considered it. I did not treat it with that contempt with which you treated a book of mine, which you took up with a pair of tongs, and ordered your servant to take it down stairs, and do what she would with it. A testimony of divine truth is not fit fuel for fire.

No small degree of anger has burnt in your heart against me, for the space of almost seven years, ever since I published my Tidings from Wallingford; which so exasperated you in the company of Mr. Carnal at Woburn, that you said, you cared not what I might have said or written against you, but the great offence was writing against your friend. They are the best friends, sir, who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth. The gentleman whom I opposed, either does preach the doctrines of the Church of England, which he subscribed, or he does not. If he does, why do you not vindicate his doctrine? But, if he does not, and my Tidings are true, why am I become your enemy for telling you the truth? Gal. iv. 16. Are we not commanded by God himself to stop the mouths of subverters? Certainly we are.

Your warning your society almost three years, I will not say day and night with tears, Acts xx. 31; not to read my books, or even to hear me preach, was needless; for I have no desire to take one sheep out of your fold, or he-goat out of your stall.

Your digging into all the follies of my youth, and bringing them forth at your church-meeting before an hundred people, concerning my name, child, &c. &c. which I had published to the world at large, can never be called fulfilling the royal law, James ii. 8. Yea, yourself had some doubts whether this would bear the light, because you enforced a Roman edict, and enjoined secrecy; but, alas! as it was in the beginning, it is now; the more you charged them, the more they spread it abroad. If God sends his ministers to plead against his own children their reproach, much might have been said against Moses's killing the Egyptian; against Paul, for persecution and bloodshed; and against Peter, for excess of wine, reveling, banqueting, and abominable idolatries. But they left this branch of the work to the accuser of the brethren, and preached the gospel; and it would be no grief of heart to you, sir, in a dying hour if you were to go and do likewise.

Furthermore, if you were kept entirely free and pure from every vice throughout your childhood and youth, all the better: glory in this. I neither envy nor covet either your purity or happiness, any more than the prodigal son, in his ring and robe, envied his elder brother, who had never at any time transgressed the commandment.

But you would never preach in Greenwich Tabernacle while I was permitted to speak there. Be it so. I took no offence at that; nor will I say that you are without a precedent in so doing: other pious souls as well as you, have said "Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou." And far be it from me to make you less holy than you are. When your absence, sir, and other holy brethren's dislike, had procured my dismission from Greenwich, I took it patiently without gainsaying; and I thought that, when I had opened a place for myself in another parish, the offence would have ceased, but no: for although you would never appear in Greenwich pulpit while I was admitted there, yet you have never appeared there once since, and left me out of it. I must not go in, yet you carry me in; and, though I may not speak for myself, you are sure always to speak of me.

Your charge to the people to read the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel before they came to hear me, I have considered; and, lest they should not be obedient to you in all things, and to let you know that I am not afraid to read that chapter, I have published an explanation of those texts that you referred them to, and beg of you to refute me, if you think I am wrong.

At Mr. T ...... d's meeting, you informed them that, if you should say the law is not a rule of life, you should expect horns to grow out of your head, and your feet to be cloven. Then, sir, what must Paul be, who tells us that the believer is not under the law, but under grace; and that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them that believe; and that the grace of God teaches men to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in the world?

You quoted a passage out of my Arminian Skeleton in B ..... fields; and said, Before a man got into the pulpit, and advanced such things, he should put on a fool's cap. Does asserting that God is our Father, and the church our mother, entitle a man to such an ornament? Can you prove the saying to be either false or foolish? If you can, it lies upon you to do it, and upon me to defend it. If you can disprove any doctrine that I hold, you know they are published to the world, do it; and if you cannot, or will not, then leave off calling me antinomian, bad spirit, that fellow, and spiritual blackguard. That first word is sadly matched; for the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel gives no license for such hard speeches, especially against a servant of Christ, whose doctrines you cannot overthrow, whose, usefullness you cannot deny, and whose life you cannot censure. But I am informed, by one of your own people, that you have long wished that I would take up my pen against you, that you might prosecute me for a libel. If every minister of the gospel, who vindicates his life and doctrine against scandal, who preaches against errors, and who writes against false doctrines, or false evidences, is to be sued at law for libels, we should soon cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. Peter might have prosecuted Paul for this, for he withstood him to the face: and, indeed, the scriptures are full of such libels; and who can escape them, and be faithful? "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law?" 1 Cor. vi. 1. Indeed, Moses says, an eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth: but I have not injured you at all. Sure I am, that the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel gives no license for such a practice. It tells me to give my cloak to him that sues for my coat; but you shall most surely have both my cloak and coat, without suing at law, if you send for them.

But I trust, reverend sir, that your weapons are not carnal, and that the sword of the Spirit is sufficient for you in all matters of controversy. Flying to the temporal sword, in such cases, is making the law the only rule of life with a witness. But I am persuaded better things of you, sir, though you may have thus spoken; for I cannot believe that a man of such holiness, who refuses even to occupy a pulpit defiled by me, would ever act like the Jewish Pharisees, who provoked the Saviour to speak many things, that they might catch something out of his mouth, in order to betray him into the hands of the governor. That be far from my brother Rowland, and from every other fellow-labourer in the kingdom and patience of Christ.

We are to do as we would be done by. If I have deviated from this rule in my conduct towards you, reverend sir, convince me of it; and if you have acted agreeably to this rule yourself, you will be no more offended at my addressing my sermon to you for your perusal, than I was at your leveling your sermon against me, to represent me as giving license to sin. For my part, I am willing to come up to my brother Rowland's standard in every good work: if we differ, it shall only be about words, or about which shall be the greatest; and, if we must strive for mastery, I hope that he, and only he, will be crowned, who strives lawfully. I have this comfort, however, that if all the courts of law in Great Britain were to be moved against me, they would never drive a worse trade with me than Moses did: he took both body and goods; he stripped me, not only of my coat, but of every other covering that I had; he took my cloak of hypocrisy, and my bed from under me; and, at last, took my life also. For, as Paul says, "When the commandment came, sin revived, and I died;" and at length he left me poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked; and, though I gained my point in the end, yet this was all that I got by law.

I shall now beg leave to make a few remarks on the discourse that you levelled at my doctrine, and shew you wherein we differ, and submit them to your judgment. This, I trust, can give no offence: for the Spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets; and those that are instructed in the Word, are to communicate to him that teacheth in all good things. Your text is; "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven," Matt. v. 20. What you have said upon the text, may be put into a very small compass, and be answered with a very ? few words.

Quot. Now I dare venture to say, that some of you expect, from this text, that I should give you the following interpretation of it: That since the Scribes and Pharisees made a great bustle about righteousness, that the righteousness here meant is the righteousness of Christ. But that is not the meaning of this text. Are you alarmed at it? No; the text don't relate to justification, but-to sanctification.

Answ. I think my brother Rowland is entirely wrong here; and that he does contradict the Saviour himself, who, in this text, shews the need of what he had said before. The Lord had, in a preceding verse, blessed them that did hunger and thirst after righteousness, and said they should be filled: and then goes on to tell them, that he came to fulfil the law. Which fulfilling obedience of his was to fill them that hungered and thirsted after righteousness. And without this excellent obedience of his being imputed to them, which exceeds all the obedience of the Scribes and Pharisees, they could in no sense be filled, nor in any case enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is righteousness, sir, that gives us a right and title to the kingdom; and it is sanctification that gives us a meetness for it. Righteousness, and not sanctification, is what the text means.

Quot. There is a meaning in these words, and it must be a solemn one: "Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." And now I will be bold to say, that the righteousness of Christ, here mentioned, is this: that when the Pharisees thought they should be justified by an external righteousness of their own performance, our Lord gives them to understand, that a man will never enter into the kingdom of heaven, that does not talk of being justified by it. But he will never go to heaven, he will never be in a kingdom of grace in time, he will never be in glory to eternity; unless in his personal state, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, he is made more righteous than a Scribe or a Pharisee, inwardly, and experimentally, and internally. That is the meaning of my text.

Answ. I must confess, reverend and dear sir, that I do not understand this. You here call it the righteousness of Christ mentioned. Before, you said, that it was not Christ's righteousness meant in the text, &c. It is justification that brings a man into a state of grace, and it is the same that gives a man a title to heaven: The righteous nation, that keepeth the truth, shall enter in. "Whom God justifies, them he glorifies." This act of justifying includes sanctification, both by the blood of Christ and by the Spirit of God, for it is always accompanied with it. It is the Spirit that works faith in the heart to believe; it is the Spirit that applies the atonement; it is the Spirit that takes the righteousness of Christ, and shews it to us, and reveals it in us, and bears his soul-satisfying witness to the glorious work: "We are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." The righteousness of faith, and the testimony of the Spirit, always go together: "He that believes hath the witness in himself."

Quot. I am speaking of Mr. Hart's Hymns: and, was he to rise out of the grave, and his dear elect soul again to be embodied, I am sure, at this present day, those things that many people of lax and wanton dispositions are likely to fall into, he would draw forth such a sword, and brandish it in such a manner, as would give you to understand there is no sword so well calculated to cut down sin to the very ground, as the glorious sword of a free grace gospel, through Jesus Christ. So that I simply ask you to look at the meaning of my text, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Answ. I do not rightly comprehend this, sir. You say, at one place, that the text means sanctification. Secondly, You say your text hath a meaning, and it must be a solemn one. Thirdly, To be made righteous by the Spirit internally, is the meaning of the text. And, Fourthly, The sword of a flee grace gospel is the meaning of it, which you go on to confirm.

Quot. I preached from this text not long ago before: and I was saying to one, a worthy, good minister, I often wondered why people are so unobserving, not to know the meaning of that text. 'Why,' says he, 'I confess, to my shame, when reading it so a little while ago, I was so grieved to think I should fancy that word could mean anything but regeneration:' Except your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes, &c. &c.

Answ. This, sir, is all the explanation that you have given of the text; and it hath left me full as dark as the good minister himself. However, I will be bold to say, that the law is by no means, nor in any sense, established by this discourse; not one truth made plain, nor one doctrine that I hold either disproved or touched. And you may call me antinomian, devil, an encourager of sin, a fellow, a blackguard, or what you please; your tongue is your own, and you may depend upon it that I shall never sue you for damages; but I declare before God, that I would not be found standing up in God's name, and thus darkening counsel by words without knowledge, for a million worlds.

Quote. Why does it not strike you as being horrid, that a man should make out a licence to commit sin?

Answ. Yes, sir; this is enough to strike any good man with horror. And was I to stand up in a congregation, as you did, and throw out such reproachful hints as these against a servant of God, who I knew in my conscience exceeded me in experience, power, knowledge, usefullness, and conversation, I should have thought that I had made out a license to commit sin, with a witness. For in the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel, this is called breaking the commandments, and teaching men so. It is hating a brother without a cause, which is murder. And Christ says, the man that thus reprobates the just is in danger of hell fire. And I will leave you to judge who the man is that does these things. I have been in the ministry almost nineteen years, and you can prove no charge of evil against my life or doctrine; nor could you overthrow, by the scriptures of truth, one doctrine that I hold, if you was to preach or write a thousand years. Nor was I ever once so left of God in the whole course of my ministry, as to deliver so inconsistent a discourse as this. If you will lay aside your prejudice and controvert the point, I will undertake to prove to your face, that there is not one page consistent with the oracles of God in it.

Quot. Don't you think that man preaches like a devil-sent minister, that teaches men that they may break God's commandments, that breaks God's commandments himself, and teaches men the same?

Answ. These are the charges, but I defy him to bring one proof. This is the good man that keepeth the law, that threatens men with prosecution for a libel! Who shall vindicate their character and doctrine, and prove a false accuser to be what he really is? This is an heavier charge than was brought against Paul; whose accusers said, "We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes; who also hath gone about to profane the Temple: whom we would have judged [or prosecuted for a libel] according to our law; but Captain Lysias took him out of our hands," Acts xxiv. 5, 6. But you go on;

Quot. We have no ground for repentance, but under a sense of our sins, and a feeling that our sins are detestable, damnable, and abominable. Then a man will repent.

Answ. Repentance is not of the will of man, sir; nor of the will of the flesh, but of God. Judas felt his sins detestable and damnable, and he repented himself, and hanged himself. Repentance is the grant of the Father, and the gift of the Son; and is produced, under the operations of pardoning love, by the Spirit; and it is reflecting with inward contrition on the long forbearance of God, that leads to it. Pardon must be sealed, love felt, God must appear pacified, and the sinner raised to hope, before any evangelical repentance, such as needs not to be repented of, can take place. When God appeared to Job, in order to turn his captivity, he abhorred himself, and repented. When God turned Ephraim, and called him his dear son, Ephraim repented: and when the prodigal got the kiss, the ring, and the robe, then he repented. Man is not driven to repentance by a sense of sin, but drawn to it by a sense of pardon. When man's misery and God's mercy meet together on the soul; when the self-despairing child and the loving parent meet; there is repentance indeed.

Quot. If God has cleansed our hearts by his Holy Spirit, we shall feel an abhorrence of those sins that are near to us: nay, the nearer they are to us, the more we abhor them.

Answ. What proof do you give, sir, of this doctrine being practised by you? Is going to Greenwich, Uxbridge, Bristol, &c. &c. telling the people that, if ever they admitted me into their pulpit, you would never appear there any more, doing the work of a peacemaker? or is this abhorring evil? Doth not envy, hatred, and malice, against me, lie near to you, and that without cause? And can casting the vilest names, such as you have cast upon me, be any proof of an inward abhorrence of evil? or can such a discourse as this be called the produce of divine inspiration?

Quot. Our Lord talks: It does not signify, he preached the gospel. I do believe he preached a great deal about holiness; "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets." Nobody will come to do that but the devil.

Answ. I cannot think that the devil would wish to destroy the law which God has given to men, if he had it in his power; for, had there been no law in Paradise, Satan could not have tempted our parents to a transgression of it; for where there is no law, there can be no transgression. He took an advantage of the law, and tempted to a breach of it; at which breach sin and Satan came in, and took possession of the disobedient; and they have worked in the children of disobedience ever since. It is the law, sir, that delivers the sinner to the judge, and the judge delivers him to the officer, to be cast into prison. The officer could have no prisoners to wreak his rage upon, if there were no law to curse the sinner. Satan is not divided against himself. Those preachers who opposed Paul's gospel with circumcision and the law of Moses, are expressly called Satan's own ministers transformed. The Galatians, who turned their backs upon Christ, and went to the law to be made perfect by the flesh, are declared to be bewitched; and we know that all witchcraft comes from Satan. All the sinners that ever this trading Justice has got into his dismal cave, have died under the law; and all the slaves that Satan ever has lost, have been delivered from the law, and saved from sin and hell, by the grace of God revealed in the everlasting gospel. The Saviour did preach up holiness. He pronounced the blessing of justification upon his elect followers, which absolved and acquitted them from all penal evil: "Now ye are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you." He gave them notice that he would cleanse them from all future defilement by his blood and Spirit, which he signified by washing their feet; and he promised to send the Holy Ghost to abide with them for ever, and bid them abide in him as the branch does in the vine; and that such souls should bring forth much fruit: but without him they could do nothing. But the holiness preached up in this sermon has little or no resemblance of this. Let us now see how you preach it up.

Quot. If you cannot stand behind your counter under the influences of the Holy Spirit, stand there no more; if you cannot eat your food with a single eye to glorify God, rather starve than feed; if you cannot lie down upon your beds to rest with a desire that, by your rest, you may be recruited to serve God, rest no more.

Answ. If none but such persons as are here described were to stand behind a counter, there would not be shopkeepers enough in all the world to serve the inhabitants of London, so as for every one to get one article in a week; and were none but such persons to eat, as you describe, the world would be thin enough of inhabitants in six weeks. From all self-murder, and from sudden death, good Lord, deliver us!

Quot. Though a man, in his carnal, unconverted state, will hardly keep himself from anger; yet he can easily keep himself from murder.

Answ. That a man can easily keep himself from murder, appears plain by Hazael. Elisha told him, that he should slay the young men of Israel, dash their children, and rip up their women with child: who answered; Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And the next day he killed his own sovereign; and soon after acted all the rest of the bloody tragedy, 2 Kings, Chap. viii. To make men their own keepers is a poor doctrine: they are better kept that God keepeth.

Quot. People, if they are ever so vile, can keep themselves from outward actions; and generally do, for fear of the consequences that attend them. The thievish man may keep himself from thievish actions through fear of punishment. Man may restrain himself from many outward acts of violence.

Answ. This doctrine of self-keeping, sir, has a tendency to keep men from looking to Him who is called Jesus, because he shall save his people from their sins. The scriptures say, that the strong man, armed, keeps possession of the palace; and that the devil takes the sinner captive at his will. If so, where is the sinner's power to keep himself, if God leaves him? And surely we have few empty gaols, maiden-assizes, or barren hanging-days, to prove the truth of this doctrine. "Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain:" and if God takes off his restraint, the sinner runs to mischief; the fear of hell fire is not enough to deter him, much less the fear of a gallows.

Quot. A man may subscribe to his meeting, and come to his meeting; he may pay his tithes, and go to his church; he may go to a shop, and pay his debts, &c.

Answ. I do not agree with my friend Rowland in these assertions. Providence must have a hand in all this. If a man subscribes to a meeting, God must give him money and inclination. The gold and silver is the Lord's, and so is a heart to do good therewith. A man cannot pay tithes unless God enable him to keep a farm, give him crops, and a good market. And, if he pays his debts, God's providence must favour him; for Moses says, it is God that gives him power to get wealth. Read Deut. Chap. viii.

Quot. Where I preach one sermon upon justification, I hope I shall preach half a dozen upon sanctification.

Answ. If you were to preach twelve dozen, sir, upon the subject, unless you are more explicit than you are in this, there is not a soul living that would understand your meaning. Without a distinction in the sounds, we cannot tell what is piped or harped. A man may as well preach upon multiplication as mortification, unless he gives us the explication or signification.

What I have here quoted is pretty nearly all the matter that is drawn from the text. The other parts will hardly bear transcribing. Smiting the empty sugar-tub, which makes a famous fine sound; sending the cleanly person into the pigs pound; the card-player's dexterity at the sight of friend Rowland; and the man in a comfortable frame tumbling over the threshold, drunk, into the meeting, which I take to be an oblique throw at the comforts of the gospel, are things that will not bear public inspection: and therefore, to let friend Rowland know that I bear lighter upon his folly than he does on my character, I only touch them. But, if he proceeds with his false charges and unjust slander, I may in time send the whole of them forth, and my dissection of them; for he that sins openly, is to be rebuked before all, that others may fear. And I ask further, whether the above-mentioned stories can be called sound speech, that cannot be condemned, or speaking as the oracles of God, or doing the work of an evangelist? By no means. And I think friend Rowland himself was aware of this; otherwise, why should he threaten me with a prosecution for a libel, but from a consciousness that what he has said in secret would not bear the house-top?

To conclude, friend Rowland. Should you, at any future period, happen to come out of any street or lane, and unexpectedly clap your eyes upon me, as you once did by St. Paul's church, do not leap up and run from me at that distracted rate you then did. Never fly, sir; unless you are pursued. As yet I do not understand the way in which you go; and, till I do, you may depend upon it that I never shall become a follower of you: "The wisdom of the wise is to understand his way." That you may discover less pepper, and more purity; less heat, and more holiness; that you may perform more good works, and say less about them; that you may part with your tea-table stories for heavenly tidings, and your old wives fables for gospel doctrines; that you may sound the gospel trumpet more, and your own trumpet less ? is the desire and prayer of him who frankly forgives you all that is past, and hopes to take patiently all that's to come.

W. H. S. S.



THOU art here presented with another discourse on the old subject; which I believe will ever be the controversy of Zion, as long as freeborn sons and bond children are together. It began between Cain and Abel; it appeared in Noah's family; in Sarah and Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac; between Esau and Jacob; between the Apostles and the Jewish Scribes; and it will be ended when the lamp of the law affords no oil to the foolish virgins, and when the lamp of salvation will burn to eternity in the hearts of the wise.

If my reader be one of Paul's living epistles, known and read of all men; on the fleshly tables of whose heart the Spirit of the living God has written the laws of faith, truth, love, and liberty, he will know by happy experience what Paul means by the law's being abolished, 2 Cor. iii. 13. He will feel and enjoy the blessed effects of it in his own experience; by finding revealed wrath, and his carnal enmity; legal bondage, and servile fear; the dread of damnation, and a train of torments; the galling yoke of precept, and the terrifying sentence, abolished from his heart, blotted out in the Saviour's atonement, and banished from his soul by the wonderful operations of the Spirit of love, which casteth out all fear, and which is the fulfilling of the law. Such a soul, once shut up in unbelief, and now enlarged by the Spirit of liberty, will prize the Saviour's yoke, and understand the Apostle's meaning, and none else. Such a soul is delivered from the destroying power of the law of sin, and from the penal power of the law of death: "Sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law, but under grace." Nevertheless, we being born under the law, and shut up under it, and being habituated to a legal way of working for life, we are prone to lean this way, when we lose sight of our interest in Christ. This Satan is aware of. Hence it is that he has furnished the world and pestered the church from age to age with ministers to revile the gospel, and cry up the law; traducing the former as a licentious doctrine, and extolling the works of the latter as consummate holiness: whose work is to beguile the unstable, entangle the unwary, deceive the simple, and call passengers back to the law, who go right on their way. For my own part, I never knew a child of God yet, who stood so fast in his liberty, as never to take a second trip to Horeb. Let any one simple soul, in his first love, or in the sweetest liberty, attend a legal orator, a man of much scripture, parts, abilities, and fiery zeal, but one month, he shall find himself zealously affected; and soon after, a false confidence shall spring up, and stand in the wisdom of man; a fiery zeal shall influence him; to work in his own strength he goes; pride and self-sufficiency follow upon it; the Spirit is grieved, and ceases to operate as a Comforter; narrowness of heart ensues, and sensible bondage follows; although, all this time, the poor soul may be ignorant, and never once suspect the person that communicated his legal fetters to him. The law genders to bondage, and we are prone to lean that way; and the effects of it are a straitened spirit, and a gloomy countenance, flaming jealousy, and inward anger and hatred at the happiness of those who abide in the simplicity of Christ, humble at his feet, and in comfortable union with him. A young Christian, just crawled out of the shell, will not credit this; for sometimes such are wiser than the ancient. The foolish Galatians were wiser in this point than Paul the aged. But, before he has been twenty years in the school of Christ, it is ten to one but he agrees with me.

Furthermore, that my reader may not be blindfolded, confused, and misled, by every person who in a pulpit pronounces the word, sanctification, I will endeavour to drop a few hints upon it.

When God appointed the seventh day to be a day of rest for his creatures, and appropriated it to his service, it was called sanctifying of it: "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it."

God's taking of the first-born of Israel to himself, both of man and beast, when he slew the first-born of Egypt; and afterwards taking the Levites into his service, instead of all the first-born of Israel; is called sanctifying them: "For all the first-born of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast. On the day that I smote every first-born in the land of Egypt, I sanctified them for myself; and I have taken the Levites for all the first-born of the children of Israel," Numb. viii. 17, 18.

The day of rest above-mentioned prefigured the gospel day, in which the believer rests from impious rebellion and war with his Maker, from legal labour for life, and from the intolerable burden of sin; as well as an eternal rest from the indwelling of sin in heaven: as it is written, "Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "We that believe do enter into rest." And, with respect to the heavenly glory, Paul says, "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."

The first-born of beast being sanctified, was intended to point out the grand sacrifice of Christ, who is the first-born of every creature, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. The first-born of Israel typified God's elect, called the first-born, whose names are written in heaven. These being exchanged for the Levites, was to shew that, in the days of Christ, every believer, Jew or Gentile, should be a priest, or a Levite, Isa. lxvi. 21; yea, the whole church a royal priesthood, made kings and priests to God, to offer up spiritual sacrifices.

Again, sanctifying, under the law, consisted in abstaining from wives, washing the flesh, washing the clothes, and having a sacrifice offered for sins: which sacrifice pointed to the sacrifice of Christ; and the washing pointed out regeneration, that believers in Christ's days should be saved by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Washing the clothes typified the clean linen garments of praise, of humility, and of imputed righteousness, in which the believer should approach a mercy-seat, and minister to God in private, in his family, and at the house of God. Abstaining from wives, was to shew, that the lawful embraces of a wife would be kept in their proper place; and that she should be loved with a moderate, and not with an inordinate affection, when the soul is espoused to Christ; and this to be given up, wife and all, when the worship, service, or cause of God, required it: "He that loveth wife, or children, better than me, is not worthy of me;" and he that said, I have married a wife, and therefore cannot come, was excluded the supper.

Sanctification, as it respects us, is, in the highest sense, God's act of predestinating us to the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ, his choosing us in him, appointing our redemption by him, and our meetness for glory by the Spirit through him: all which was complete in God's secret purpose, and as sure to be done as he willed it to be done; on which account we are said to be sanctified by God the Father, in his purpose; preserved in Jesus Christ, in whom we were chosen; and called, by God, to the fellowship of Christ, as our covenant head; as it is written, "To them that are sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Christ Jesus, and called," Jude 1.

Such were the fowls, four-footed beasts, and creeping things, in Peter's sheet; which he refused to kill and eat, calling them things common and unclean; till the voice told him, "What God hath cleansed, that call thou not common."

Again, sanctification is by the death of Christ, who by his death blotted out the penal sum of our sins, magnified the law, and appeased the offended Majesty of heaven: in whose death God viewed the whole mystical body of Christ redeemed and cleansed in their head; who is one with the elect; who, by his one offering, hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified, Heb. x. 14. This was according to the pre determinate counsel, purpose, and will, of God; "By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

Once more. Sanctification is by the Holy Ghost; who subdues the will, renews the mind, enlightens the understanding, and sheds abroad the love of God in the heart: "That the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost," Rom. xv. 16. All this is willed and determined by the secret counsel of God; as it is written, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification."

Lastly, That such an highly-favoured soul should live, walk, and act, becoming an object of God's choice, the purchase of a Saviour's blood, and as a living temple of the Holy Ghost, redeemed from among men, set apart by the Spirit, and ordained for heaven, is called walking in sanctification: "That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour," 1 Thess. iv. 4.

This appears to me to be, in short, a scriptural account of sanctification, and so far I understand it. But as to the sanctification that most men preach up in our days, I know no more what they mean by it, than they do who preach it.

Lastly, Thou wilt find, reader, the introduction to this sermon to be new, not mentioned when it was preached; but I was rather obligated to this by some few texts that have been handled against me. The method likewise differs from the discourse when delivered, but the substance is nearly the same. That thou mayest read without prejudice, and profit by reading, is the desire of,

Thine to command,

In the Lord Jesus Christ,

W. H.


"Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do, and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees; ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." MATTHEW 5:17-20

THIS text has been no less than three times handled, or rather mangled, to knock your humble servant about the head, by a certain minister of the gospel.

When I was dismissed from Greenwich Tabernacle, which was accomplished through the instrumentality of the above gentleman, and other holy men, who refused to occupy a pulpit defiled by an elect sinner, I went and opened a place at Deptford The good man, previous to this, gave the people a timely warning; telling them to go, and read the fifth chapter, of Matthew's gospel, before they came to hear me. 'What had nobody any brains till he came!' &c. Soon after my opening the place at Deptford, I went to give them a lecture on a Wednesday evening: and some of my friends were informed that the same person intended to oppose me and my doctrine in an adjacent meeting-house the same night; which was accordingly done, and the opposition to my doctrine was drawn from the last verse of my text. And since that, the same text has been handled at Hammersmith; so that, upon the whole, Antinomianism, as the gospel is called, has received a deadly blow: therefore, it is needful that we examine the text, and see what it says against us and our doctrine, and so let my Antinomianism appear in public print.

In the beginning of this chapter, the Saviour ascends a certain mountain, and his disciples follow him; and, when he was seated, he opened his mouth and taught them. This was done in allusion to the two mountains, Ebal and Gerizim. Six tribes of Israel were to stand on Mount Ebal, to curse; and six on Mount Gerizim, to bless, Deut. xxvii. 12. And when they had so done, the blessing was to be put on Mount Gerizim, and the curse upon Mount Ebal, Deut. xi. 29. These two mountains were to represent Mount Sinai and Mount Zion. For Ebal, signifying a collection of old age, or a mass that disperses, fitly represents the bond children, who are in the flesh, collected together, and standing fast in the old Adam, under the yoke of Moses; which, at last, will be all dispersed, and carried away as with a flood. While Gerizim signifies piercers, or cutters and fitly represents the elect in union with the Saviour, in whose strength they speak like the piercings of a sword, and who are the Lord's wood-cutters, his battle-axe, and weapons of war, Jer. Li. 20. And so, in the spiritual signification, here are the first Adam and his family; and the second Adam and his family; or the children of the flesh, and the children of God; or, in other words, the bondwoman, and the free woman. Hagar is, in the figure, Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem, which is, and is in bondage with her children: but the heavenly Jerusalem is free, and is the mother of us all. Paul fixes the curse upon Mount Sinai; "As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse." And David fixes the blessing on Mount Zion; Upon Mount Zion hath God commanded the blessing; even life for evermore, Psal. cxxxiii.3. In allusion to Gerizim, the Saviour ascends this mount; and, having got his little church with him, which he had just founded, and which church is to stand to the world's end, he opens his mouth, and pronounces the blessings of the everlasting gospel upon them: and, to let us know that his little church was Mount Zion, he calls it a city set on a hill that cannot be hid; which city is Zion, the city of the great King; and which hill is God's holy hill of Zion. The city, the hill, and the church, are one and the same thing; and upon that mount Christ executes his Father's command: he pronounces the blessing.; and so he was commanded to do. For upon Mount Zion God commanded the blessing, and set his King upon that holy hill, to bestow it. Mount Calvary was to communicate all the blessings of dying love to Mount Zion, and pregnant Zion was to spread her little hills on every side; while the mountains should bring peace to the people, and the little hills by righteousness. "There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains: the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon." Here is the first fulfilment of that prophecy; here is Christ, the first handful of corn, the firstfruits; and here is his little church, the firstfruits of his creatures. And as the cedars of Lebanon, when shaken with the wind, scatter their cones, and spread their seed; by which means thousands of young plants spring up, under the blessing of Providence, without human labour; so this handful of corn, and the fruits of it, being shaken from the Mosaic dispensation, and scattered by persecution, have, under the strong gales of the Holy Ghost, spread the word of eternal life throughout the world, while numerous young plants of righteousness have sprung up, the right-hand planting of God, that he may be glorified. But,

The Saviour carefully describes the case and inward state of those gracious souls upon whom his blessings are pronounced; no random arrows are discharged from his bow, nor is any uncertain artillery taken from his quiver, nor discharged by his valiant men of Israel; for though they fight, they never beat the air. He first discovers the case, and then pours in the oil.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." True spiritual poverty stands in a person's being made sensible, under the convincing and convicting operations of the Holy Spirit of power, that he is destitute of all true riches: he has no righteousness to appear in before God; but is miserable and entirely naked, exposed to wrath, to shame, and everlasting contempt, unless divine clemency interfere.

He owes five hundred pence, and has nothing to pay with. He owes obedience to the law; but has neither a heart to it, nor ability for it. He feels the arrow of spiritual famine; he is in want, husks he cannot now fill his belly with, and the bread of life is not as yet broken to him; he feels his need of it, and hears of it, which sharpens his appetite after it. "How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!" Nor has he got the hand of faith to feed himself with, therefore he cannot receive Christ, he cannot mix faith with the word, he cannot apply a promise, and faith not being strong enough to attend his prayers, he can bring no comfort home; he faints, because he cannot believe.

Such a poor soul has no certain dwelling-place; he eau place no confidence in the flesh, because of the plague of his heart; nor find any rest in his bones, because of his sin; nor can he see his soul sheltered in the cleft of the rock; he is exposed to the tempest, without a covert; and to the storm, without a hiding-place.

No beggar ever so ragged, so miserable, so destitute, so deplorable at the brass knocker, as such a soul at mercy's door; he is poor and wretched, miserable, blind, and naked, and he knows it; and what is still worse, he feels himself liable to eternal imprisonment. This is the poor and needy man who waits at Wisdom's gate, and watches every motion at the posts of her door: he hears that Wisdom hath killed her beasts and mingled her wine; and he pays all possible attention to her maidens, to see if his case is touched, his character described, or his name included when they bid the guests.

This is the poor man that useth entreaties; he is not too proud to beg, though he is unable to dig; nor is he above prayer; many a heavy sigh, many a silent groan, many a longing wish, many a bitter cry, many a humble confession, is poured forth in the midst of all unutterable shame and blushing. These are the poor in spirit; and as it is with poor beggars, so it is with such, they are despised, kicked and cuffed by all; devils, sinners, and hypocrites, are always sure to smite such. Nevertheless, these are the elect that cry day and night, and put their mouth in the dust, when they sue for a hope in God's mercy, and

Blessed are such. To be blessed, in the first place, is to have one's neck delivered from the legal yoke of precept, and one's soul redeemed and delivered from the terrible sentence of the law. The blessing and the curse never were put upon one and the same mountain, nor upon one and the same soul, at one and the same time. The sinner must come from Sinai, before he can get the blessing at Zion.

2. It is by faith that he comes from the ministration of death to the promise of life, or passes, as Christ saith, from death to life, so as to come no more into condemnation; such a believing soul is blessed with faithful Abraham, who obtained his blessing by faith, when he saw the Saviour's day on Mount Moriah. Such an one receives the promise of the Spirit through faith; the Spirit of life, and word of life, come both together; the word comes with power, in the Holy Ghost, and much assurance, and immediately union with the living vine and fellowship with the living God take place; and such have got the blessing in the best sense, and in every sense, which is life for evermore.

3. The whole cluster of blessings that attend the blessing of life now follow and flow in, in all their sweetness; a divine power sensibly guards and keeps the soul, the light of a propitious Father shines in the face of Jesus without a cloud and without a frown, which draws us nigh, and encourages to an holy freedom and familiarity; while pardoning, humbling, and comforting grace, heals the wounds, closes the breaches, and polishes out all the scars and wrinkles made by the fiery law, sin, and Satan; while the countenance of God shines upon the heart, and the way, when reconciliation, friendship and peace, flow like a river, and drive infidelity, devil and misery, all before them. This, says Jehovah, is my blessing. "The Lord bless thee and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." "Blessed are the poor in spirit,"

"For theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Poverty of Spirit goes before, to empty us of self; to sap the empire of sin and Satan; to prepare the way, and make room. The kingdom follows after, and is set up and established on the ruins of the former. The poor soul comes out of the strong hold of Satan before he is crowned with grace: for, as the wise man saith, "Out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor," Eccles. iv. 14. Even the crowned head must become poor in spirit, if he be saved; or poor and wretched to all eternity, if he be lost. Spiritual poverty humbles the sinner's proud spirit, dissolves his stubbornness, and reduces him to a lowly mind and child-like disposition: which is needful; for Christ declares that, "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."

The kingdom of heaven, first, signifies the gospel, with all its blessings, promises, and power. Hence it is called the gospel of the kingdom; and preaching it is called preaching the kingdom of God. Hence a person who is blessed with a savoury unctuous experience of the power of the gospel, and who is enlightened into the mysteries of it, is called a scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven.

2. The kingdom of heaven signifies the empire of grace in the saints of God; where Satan is dethroned and cast out, and a superior power put forth and displayed; which, Christ says, is the kingdom of heaven within us; that as sin has reigned unto death by Adam's fall, so grace should reign unto life through the righteousness of Christ.

This kingdom within us stands not in word, which a fool may prate; nor in particular meats and drink, which the Pharisee may use; nor in meat and drink, which a Papist may refuse; but in a divine power which none but God's elect know. It stands, First, in justification; Secondly, in reconciliation and friendship; Thirdly, in regeneration; Fourthly, in the unutterable happiness and holy triumphs of, the soul under the Saviour's sceptre; and, Fifthly, in the habitual and perpetual indwelling and abiding of the Holy Ghost. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

But sometimes the kingdom of heaven means ultimate glory, which was prepared for the elect from the foundation of the world, and which it is God's good pleasure to give us, and into which the Saviour will one day introduce us. Whether, therefore, the kingdom of heaven means the gospel, the mysteries of the kingdom; or whether it means grace, or whether it means glory; the poor in spirit are heirs of it; to them it is given to know the mysteries, and to them God will give grace and glory. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

"Blessed are they that mourn," under a sight and sense of their own sin and sinful state; sensible of their rebellion against a good and gracious God; who look at the Saviour whom they have pierced, and mourn with inward regret and contrition, with self-despair, self-abhorrence, and self-loathing; and who mourn at the abominations of a sinful world, and at the dreadful insults that are hourly offered to the majesty of heaven. "They shall be comforted;" their mourning shall be turned into rejoicing; their sackcloth shall be put off, and they shall be girded with gladness: Beauty shall be given for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

The tenderness, the affection, the loyalty, of such a pious mourner, shall be made manifest; and a sense of everlasting love shed abroad in the heart by the spirit, shall satisfy such a soul of the approbation of heaven. Enlargement of heart and unutterable love, faith in exercise and hope in vigour, heavenly smiles and pregnant promises, immortal sensations and glorious prospects, inward feelings and distant views, the operations of the Spirit and the coming of Titus, shall all conspire together to make such a soul drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. "Thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me." "His anger endureth but a moment: in his favour is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." That blessed Spirit that convinces them of sin, shall be their everlasting Comforter.

"Blessed are the meek." Not such as are naturally so, or those whose passions are soon touched, and easily moved, and upon which the empty orator plays his accursed game: for fleshly meekness, or native compassion and pity, has nothing but flesh and blood in view, and is often attended with hatred to God; it savours not the things of God, but those that be of men. The Arminian may have this, while the worst of war against God is carried on in the heart. This is not what is meant in my text. "That which is born of the flesh, is flesh." "Corruption cannot inherit incorruption." Natural affections are corrupt, and so is all meekness that flows from them. Nor does this meekness consist in a few crocodile tears, such as Esau might pour forth, or such as those shed who howled upon their beds, and yet assembled by troops in harlots houses. The meekness here meant is a fruit of the Spirit; and is produced under his operation, when he has convinced the sinner, convicted him, brought him in guilty by the word of God, stopped his mouth, and made him tremble. It is felt when the sinner ceases to kick, to murmur, to complain, to resist, and to rebel; when the heart is broken, and all human efforts are found to be useless; when the sinner's strength is all gone, and he is still, and knows that the Lord he is God; when the soul is resigned, submissive, and lies passive, viewing the justice of God, and confessing the justice of the sentence; sensible it can urge no plea in its own behalf, nor make any reply against the expected execution. This is real meekness and quietude. Come life, come death, come heaven, or come hell, such a soul appears as if he should no more resist. The Saviour, who was meek and lowly, and of whom we are all to learn, exercised this grace in the highest, when he said, "Not my will, but thine, be done." This is the last stage at which the awakened sinner arrives before the blessing comes. This brings him sensibly into the way of life. "The meek will he guide in judgment, the meek will he teach his way." With meekness the ingrafted word is received; and a meek and quiet spirit, in the sight of God, is of great price. But this meekness is of the Spirit of God; The fruit of the Spirit is meekness, temperance, Gal. v. 23. This grace comes with the Spirit from the fullness of the Saviour, and is called his. "I beseech you by the meekness of Christ." It is a grace exercised toward him, under his hand, and in his cause; and is always attended with self-dislike, with lowliness of mind, and with quietude of heart. "Blessed are the meek,"

"For they shall inherit the earth." Not the present earth, as it now stands, for this is given into the hand of the wicked; but rather the new heaven, and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, and no wickedness; or righteous men, and no sinners. This is the heavenly country that Abraham sought, the land which is very far off, where the King is to be seen in all his beauty.

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness." The sinner that hungers after righteousness, is sensible that he has none of his own: he is condemned on every hand for the want of righteousness; if he reads the law, it condemns him for his transgressions; if he reads the gospel, he is condemned because he cannot believe; if he looks to conscience, it accuses him of unrighteousness. He condemns himself in every thing he does; if he hears the word, he is condemned in the congregation of the righteous, and he knows and feels, that the unrighteous cannot enter the kingdom. The sentence of condemnation awakens a whole troop of terrors against him; and servile fear, with a train of torments, attend him; Moses, Satan, and conscience, accuse him, and he has no righteousness to answer for him. His nakedness, guilt, and shame, confound him; and the thoughts and terrible apprehensions of appearing before God, angels, and saints, in such a predicament, in the great and terrible day, distract him. These dreadful views, sensations, and expectations, make him hunger, thirst, and pant, for righteousness, as the chased hart for the water-brook; for he knows he must perish without it, and he cannot rest till he has it. And blessed are such hungry souls, "For they shall" most surely

"Be filled." Not with their own righteousness; for human performances can never satisfy the capacious desires of an immortal soul, which are kindled by the Spirit of judgment, and by the Spirit of burning, for he cannot stand before a divine law, without a divine righteousness. Man's iniquities are infinite, Job xxii. 5; committed against an infinite Being; and he that redeems and justifies, must be an infinite person. The Saviour's obedience to the law, and not the sinner's own, is that in which he must be found, if ever he appears righteous. The dignity of the person that obeyed in the sinner's room, makes his obedience of infinite value. "He thought it not robbery to be equal with God, yet took on him the form of a servant, and became obedient;" and by the obedience of this Holy One shall many be made righteous: with this righteousness God is well pleased; this he accepted on our account; the gospel reveals it as the righteousness of God; God brings it near, and imputes it; faith puts it on; and the Spirit lets us know it is done, and bears his witness to the glorious work. We are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. This righteousness, and only this, can fill the soul, as the text says. When this change of raiment is put on, Satan skulks off, filled with the furious rebukes of God, like a betrayed; malicious villain, as he is; Moses, with his accusations, vanishes, and is lost in the glorious vision, and we know not what is become of him; and being so taken up with the King in his beauty, we neither ask, nor wish to know where he died, nor where he was buried; Jesus is all in all, and at such times he leaves no room for another. This righteousness enables the sinner to lift up his head to God, and to look conscience out of countenance; yea, to look to the day of judgment with celestial triumph, mercy rejoicing against judgment. The fiery law appears quenched in a Saviour's blood, and the everlasting gospel shines like a million suns. "Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound." What poor, patched-up, pitiful linsey-woolsey garments of righteousness, do those preachers bring forth, who are strangers to the King's wardrobe! A bed too short for a weary soul to rest on, and a covering too narrow for a soul convinced of its nakedness to wrap itself in, Isai. xxviii. 20. Souls once enrobed with the royal raiment of needle-work, will never fetch their apparel from Ragfair; for the nakedness and beggary of such preachers appear conspicuous enough, to souls thus enlightened, in all they say, in all they do, in all they preach, and in all they write; none covet their state, or envy their happiness, but fools and blind.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Not the mercy of carnal men is meant, for the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel; and though sinners love sinners, and give to sinners, yet they have not the reward of eternal inheritance for that; it is not done to the least of Christ's brethren, and so it is not done to him. Natural men, by their liberal acts, may procure a sort of ceremonial consecration on what they have; as the Saviour said to the Pharisees, "Give alms of such things as ye have, and behold all things are clean unto you." But though this righteousness may profit the sons of men, what does such a person give to God? Job xxxv. 7, 8. These things can neither merit, nor procure the sure mercies of David, they come without any procuring cause in man; besides, whatsoever is not of faith, is sin; and without faith it is impossible to please God, much less merit at his hands. Moreover, these blessings are pronounced on the disciples of Christ, who believed in him, and followed him, and who themselves had obtained mercy so to do. Merciful men, in the language of scripture, are righteous persons and heirs of heaven. "The righteous perish, and no may layeth it to heart; merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken from the evil to come: he shall enter into peace," Isai. lvii. 1, 2. These disciples were chosen in Christ, and given to him; God had blessed them in him, and sent him to bless them, and he was now about it. As they had obtained mercy, to make them merciful, he blessed the merciful, and promised that they should obtain more mercy, which they would want to help them in every time of need: As Paul says, "Having obtained mercy, I continue to this day." A merciful man is merciful to the souls of men, which he shews in praying for them, warning them, holding forth the word of life clearly and unadulterated to them, anti declaring faithfully the whole counsel of God; which is sowing to ourselves in righteousness, and reaping in mercy. Such a subject of divine mercy feels for troubled souls, sympathizes with them, succours them, and bears a part of their burdens, gives them wholesome advice and counsel, and anoints them with fresh oil in the name of the Lord; whereas a graceless sinner, an empty professor, or a legal preacher, is nothing but a barren wilderness, or a physician of no value.

God's sovereign mercy is the sure mercies of David, which God gave to Jesus the son of David, that be might communicate the same to the whole household of David, which is his own church; and when this mercy is bestowed on men, it makes them merciful men. This mercy appears in God's revealing his Son in us, and uniting us to him: "But God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ." It appears in the gift of the Spirit: "Of his own mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Such souls having obtained mercy, they faint not, either in preaching mercy, or in shewing mercy, either to the bodies or souls of men, though they meet with much opposition in it, and cruel treatment for it. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy;" not only to help them in every time of need, while in a militant state, but such shall find mercy of the Lord in that great day, Tim. i. 18.

"Blessed are the pure in heart." This purity of heart is, not the external varnish of a Pharisee, nor the boasted perfection of an hypocrite, nor the empty dream of the carnally secure; for though they are pure, yet it is only in their own eyes, not being washed from their filthiness, Prov. xxx. 12. Nor is it the double portion of sanctity that those claim, "Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou." These pious souls are a smoke in God's nose, and a fire that burneth all the day, Isa. lxv. 5. Nor does it consist in the final destruction or entire removal of the inbeing of sin, for "who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" Nor is it to be found in those who by a little decent carriage, and conformity to the letter of the law, aim at purity. For they that sanctify themselves, and they that purify themselves, shall both be consumed together, Isai. lxvi. 17. This purity of heart stands in having the heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, and that by the blood of sprinkling, which speaks pardon, peace, and reconciliation, which are better things than that of Abel. Such an one, and only such, can serve God with a pure conscience. It is the faith of God's elect that first applies the atonement; and ever after has recourse to that fountain in every time of need, not only to wash the feet, but also the hands and the head, from all the imperfections, failings, infirmities, short-comings, &c. that cleave to our best performances; "For in many things we offend all." Thus God purifies our hearts by faith, Acts xv. 9. Men who are destitute of this faith, and who never received this atonement, are as destitute of internal purity as the prince of devils. "Unto the pure all things are pure, but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled." The man whose sins are forgiven him, and whose conscience is purged from guilt and dead works, who is renewed by the Spirit, who is a believer in Jesus, and holds fast the truth of the gospel as it is in Christ, is the man that holds the mystery of faith in a pure conscience. These are the people to whom the Lard turns a pure language, and such bring to the Lord a pure offering.

Purity of heart stands in soundness, integrity, constancy, and sincerity; being purged by the Spirit, and in the furnace, from the dross and tin of self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, deceit, guile, craftiness, hypocrisy, and dissimulation. "I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried;" I will take away all their dross and tin, and make a man more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir, Isai. xiii. 12. Such a soul hates deceit, and loves sincerity; and, "He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips, the King shall be his friend." And so it seems; for thus saith the King, "Blessed are the pure in heart,"

"For they shall see God." "God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." This is no less than seeing him who is invisible; it is seeing him in his own rays, by faith, who is invisible to mortal sight. But the text means that such souls shall not be separated or banished from God and his presence; but they shall see him with acceptance, and with approbation, as their dear and everlasting Father. "In that day, I shall shew you plainly of the Father;" you shall see his face without a cloud, and hear his voice without a proverb. The text means an eternal abiding with him, in whose favour is life, in whose presence is fullness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore. It means further, a perfect deliverance from the remains of the old veil, the napkin, and the weeds that are at present wrapped about our heart and head, which too often blindfold and hoodwink us; and, when we creep out of the dark regions, we go blinking and nodding like an owl in the sun, being not able to bear the light: For we know but in part, and prophesy in part; we look through a glass darkly; but in that day the glass will give way to the face; we shall not wrap our face in a mantle, nor will God dwell in thick darkness: the vail will be rent from the top to the bottom; and, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father," for ever and ever; we shall then see as we are seen, and know as we are known. The winding-sheet and the napkin shall both be left in the tomb; and mortality, with all her rags and tatters, be swallowed up of life, and immortality be all in all. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

"Blessed are the peacemakers." Peacemakers must have peace in possession; they must be sons of peace before they can make peace. An unbeliever is a very improper person to stand in the gap, or make up a breach, either between Christ and his children, or between saint and saint; for he is an enemy to both parties, and can never wish well to either. We may say of such peacemakers, as Jehu said of the son of witchcraft, "What hast thou to do with peace? Get thee behind me." Peace flows from the counsel of heaven: For mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace kissed each other, in the person of Christ, when he undertook to satisfy righteousness, fulfil and honour truth, open a way for mercy, and make peace by the blood of his cross.

Peace presupposes a war subsisting between two parties, and is brought about by the interposition of a middle person, who appears in the character of a mediator; and this mediator is Christ, who suffered the sword of Justice to be sheathed in his own heart, that peace between God and elect sinners might be proclaimed upon honour able and everlasting terms.

To this peace we were predestinated and ordained from eternity; on which account we are called sons of peace, before peace is revealed to us. "Into whatsoever house ye enter, say, peace be to this house; and if the son of peace be there, your peace shall come upon it; if not, it shall turn to you again."

Peace, in the revelation of it to the sinner's father loves and provides for his offspring, sees to their education, and endeavours to lay up some. thing for them. So Christ is the everlasting Father; the elect are his seed; he gives them eternal life, and the promise of the life that now is. All his children are taught of him; they are trained up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and it is not yet known what that goodness is that he has laid up for them that trust in him before the sons of men. I come now to treat of the blessed effects of this mystical union.

And, first, persons in real union are divested of all prejudice to, and have a mutual affection for, each other. And so the sinner is sweetly reconciled to his reconciling Lord, and loves him above every object in heaven above or in the earth beneath. "Whom have I in heaven but thee, nor is there any upon earth that I desire in comparison of thee." Christ and his church, in union, deal with each other as real friends; they are well-wishers to each other's state, to their welfare, their family, and all that they have. And so souls in union with Christ wish well to Zion, to her watchmen, and desire the universal spread of the gospel, the salvation of the elect, and that Christ may be glorified in and by them all.

Christ deals not with those who are in union with him as he does with bond servants and hypocrites. "The servant knoweth not what his Lord doth," nor does Christ take into his privy council the treacherous heart. "But Jesus did not commit himself to them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man." But to his own elect he reveals all his heart. "Henceforth I call you not servants, but, friends, for all things that I have heard of the Father I have made known unto you." Yea, "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his covenant." But these things are hid from the wise and prudent, for none of the wicked shall understand.

None but the elect, in friendship with the Lord, are admitted to his banquets of wine, or to the feast of fat things on Zion's holy mountain. The marriage feasts, the feast of tabernacles, the feast of harvest, and the feast of the passover, are all for Israelites. The enemy, the sophist, the bond slave, and the hypocrite, are no more than lookers-on at these entertainments; who envy every smiling countenance, are provoked at every contrite heart, and filled with infernal jealousy at every quiet spirit, at every penitential tear, at every rapture of joy, at every expression of thankfullness; and inwardly grudge every token for good, every savoury morsel, every drop of honey, and every sweet word, that savours of truth, peace, and righteousness; but, notwithstanding all their grudging and dissatisfaction, the kind invitation and hearty welcome reaches to all the friends of the bridegroom, and none else. "Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved."

Persons who are in union with the Saviour find help in every time of trouble; while the worlding, when his earthly god is gone, and the hypocrite, when Iris sandy foundation and vain confidence give way, are obliged to fly, like Judas, to a dumb dog, or go, like Saul, to the witch of Endor, or, like Demas, to the world, or, like Ahithophel, to the halter, or, like Alexander, to the blasphemers of Christ, or, like the sons of Sceva the Jew, into the madness or distraction of Satan, or else, like the foolish virgins, to buy oil of the wise when fearfullness surprises the hypocrites; but Zion comes up out of the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved, whose strength is made perfect in her weakness. "Zion shall never be moved; God is in the midst of her; God shall help her, and that right early."

The hypocrite may walk with the righteous, as Ahithophel walked with David, to the house of God in company; and such may go to and fro to the place of the holy, and be forgotten in the city where they had so done. But Zion, like Enoch and Noah, walks with God; she shall never be forgotten, "The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance."

The believer knows that the government of both the church and the world is laid upon Christ's shoulders, who lends his friendly aid to those that trust in him in every time of need; and, when they are pressed beyond measure, insomuch that they despair even of life, they have the sentence of death in themselves, that they should not trust in themselves, but in God who raiseth the dead. Such souls cast their burdens on the Lord, and pour out their soul before him, who gives power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Thus, when two walk together, if one fall, the other will lift up his fellow; but wo to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to lift him up.

Furthermore, the soul that is in union with the Saviour is often alarmed, warned, and previously cautioned, of approaching dangers, while the judgments of God are far above out of the sight of the wicked. A wise man discerns both time and judgment, he foresees the evil, and hides himself; when the wicked pass on, and are punished. "When he, the Comforter, is come, he will guide you into all truth, and he shall shew you things to come;" but the wicked cry, Peace and safety, when sudden destruction cometh.

Souls in union with Christ daily correspond with each other. They talk to him in confession, in prayer, in praises, in meditation, and in thanksgiving; and he talks to them in his word upon their hearts, in providences, by the cross, by internal changes of heart, or by some evident token for good. But the bond child and the hypocrite have no familiarity with Christ, no access to him, nor intercourse with him. All their talk is not to God, but to be heard of men; to seek honour from them, and to set themselves up in the affections of the simple, as rivals to God; which is a prelude to their ruin; for they that exalt themselves shall be abased, but those that humble themselves shall be exalted.

The soul that is in union and friendship with Christ cannot bear any distance, coldness, frown, shyness, or controversy, with him. This is worse to them than death itself, esteeming his favour better than life, anti the words of his month more than their necessary food; hence the following complaints; "Why hidest thou thy face from me?" "Shew me the reason wherefore thou contendest with me." "The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me." The Comforter, that should relieve my soul, is far from me. O Lord, why shouldest thou be as a man astonished, why shouldest thou be as a wayfaring man that turneth aside and tarrieth but for a night; O when wilt thou come and comfort me? Jer. xiv. 8, 9.

But the mystical courtship and love visits that pass between Christ and his spouse; the little fits of jealousy, and provocations to it; the trial of each other's affections, and the sifting of each other's sincere intentions to the bottom; the restlessness, While one doubt or suspicion remains; and the racking anxiety, till every thing be settled upon a sure, honourable, and lasting foundation, to the satisfaction of each party; is all a riddle to the formalist and to the hypocrite. The whole work of such lies in their head; thinking passes for believing, presumption for the assurance of faith, an external reformation is called conversion to God, legal bondage goes for the workings of the old man, the checks of an honest conscience is called the temptations of Satan, and being buffeted for their faults is being persecuted for righteousness sake; the preacher, who preaches to sap such a sandy foundation, is one that makes the hearts of the righteous sad; while he that heals them slightly, and prophesies smooth things, is a builder up; and he that cries, Peace, peace, where God has not spoken peace, is a man of candour, a man of a sweet and excellent spirit. This is the rest and security of an hypocrite, and hard work he has to keep things together; scripture, con, science, and every experimental and discerning child of God, are against him, and are continually making breaches in this supposed rest and refuge. The soul and Christ, who are in sweet union together, have a tender feeling for each other, and a tender regard for each other's honour. The sufferings of Christ often fill such a soul with cutting grief and contrition; and all that touch such a believer, saith the Lord, shall offend. Such souls cannot endure to see or hear the Lord slightly or evil spoken off "I hate them that hate thee," saith the Psalmist; and they that hate Zion shall be desolate, saith the Saviour. They care not how lightly themselves are esteemed, so as their Lord is glorified; and the Lord is as much concerned for the honour of them. "They that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed."

But not so the hypocrite; he pays no regard to the honour of God, so as he can but exalt himself in the eyes of men. They that cleave to him, admire him, and listen with astonishment to the uncertain sound of his trumpet, however evil in life and empty in heart, are his best friends; but all that are enlightened to see his deception are the worst enemies he has; nor will he go to the wise, nor to him that reproves him; he hates the light, and that is his condemnation.

Furthermore, Christ and his church are not only united in the bond of the covenant, and in mutual affections, but they are of one judgment. What he reveals, they consent to; what he says, they credit; what he applies, they embrace; what he speaks to them, the Spirit seals on them; and they set their hand, and bear their testimony, to his seal that God is true. The seal is a confirming assurance, and their setting to their seal is their ? honest confession of what they feel and enjoy. This faith gives glory to the Lord; and thus to believe is the saint's glory and wisdom. To be ;vise above what is written is devilish or infernal wisdom; to disbelieve or contradict truth, is to make God a liar, and charge infinite wisdom with ignorance, and to debase him to a level with Satan, than which nothing can be more vile and damnable. From this perilous path the fear of God keeps the saints. What they have seen in the Lord's light they testify; what they have heard from him they proclaim upon the house top; what they have felt they declare; and what is undiscovered they pray and wait for; but what is not revealed they dare not enter into; and what is not discovered to them they will not decide upon, lest Satan should get an advantage of them, and their dear Lord be dishonoured. All that an heretic draws out of the mouth of a child of God is sure to be pondered over in secret, and his lips are kissed when a right answer has been given.

O happy soul that is thus united to, and humbly walks with, his Saviour! The Lord guides him by his blessed Spirit, his eye, and his unerring counsel; while faith observes his motions and directions, and treads in his steps.

He plants his fear in his heart; and the believer walks, as in his immediate presence, before him in love; and considers himself under the eye of his everlasting friend, who ponders all his goings.

He feels a bar of equity erected in his own heart; to which, upon every recollection of misdoing, he cites himself; and will hold himself guilty, and culpable, till acquitted by the Spirit of God and his own conscience, and enlarged by a manifestation of pardoning love and the soul-humbling smile of his Saviour and his Judge.

The Lord daily proclaims his name to him, and causes all his goodness to pass before him; while the believer follows after and observes his wondrous ways, the work of his hands, the leadings of his providence, the communications of his grace, and the inward motions of his Spirit. "He that will observe these things, even he shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord."

The eye of faith discerns the narrow path; and by the inward guidance of the Spirit, he shuns the rocks of error, the stumblingblocks and stumbling stones, where thousands dash and fall: he sees a harmony in the scriptures of truth, and a sweet harmony in the attributes of God, and in the glorious work of each person in the Godhead. A heavenly ray discovers the ancient footsteps of the flock, and his path shines more and more unto perfect day.

While he walks humbly by faith, he finds himself sensibly upheld by a free spirit; the omnipresence of his blessed Lord encompasses him about as with a shield, which lifts his soul above the shackles of legal bondage, and rescues his mind from the gloomy regions of the shadow of death, and from the melancholy meditations of terror. "He dwells on high, his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks, bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure; thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty, they shall behold the land that is very far off."

The dear Lord often condescends to pay such humble souls his love visits: he sometimes meets them in their thoughts, and speaks upon their hearts; sometimes he meets them in his word, and makes them feel all that he says; meets them in their lawful calling, and puts his blessing on the work of their hands; meets them in their difficulties, and makes crooked things straight; meets them in his house of prayer, and gives them sometimes a reproof, and sometimes a promise. Thus the Almighty is with them, and his visitations preserve their spirits. I will bear thee, saith the Lord, from the belly, and from the womb, and to your old age I am he, and to hoary hairs will I carry you.

Christian reader, cleave thou to thy God, and shun the path of the destroyer; stand not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor meddle with them that are given to Change. Novelty suits an itching ear; but a circumcised ear will not give heed to a naughty tongue, nor will the unctuous heart be carried about with divers and strange doctrines. "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causes thee to err from the words [and ways] of wisdom." "Stolen waters are sweet" to a proud stomach, and "bread of deceit is pleasant" to the palate of those who carry the poison of asps under their lips; but in the day of temptation his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

I charged Mr. Loud, when with me, with having written some books, and of his intention to publish them, and with his having endeavoured to circulate his heresies to the injury of some of the weaklings in faith. All which he denied. But I am informed that he is now determined to publish them, if he pawns his clothes to do it. This shews that he will not stick at a lie. However, I must leave him where God has left him, to the perverseness of his own will, and the hardness of his own heart. He may serve as a fan, to blow away a little chaff from the floor, which we shall not be sorry for; and he may leave a testimony against his own soul; and the Judge of all the earth, who takes the wise in their own craftiness, may judge him out of his own mouth; but he shall never finally deceive one of God's elect. False doctrines, which are called the deceivableness of unrighteousness, never work effectually, only in them that perish. No soul shall embrace, hold fast, and go down to the grave with his lies in their hand, but those that were of old ordained to this condemnation. And I would advise him to send out his system as compact, and as closely put together, as possible; or else it is ten to one but the King of Zion, who teaches Judah the use of the bow, will furnish me with some arrows from his quiver that will make a way through all the joints of his harness. He that loveth and maketh lies should have a strong memory; and every lie must be well swaddled, and well varnished, or else truth will discover it. And let Mr. Loud take care never to mention the words, Son of man, as applicable to Christ, for the Godhead of Christ is the Father of all men by creation. "All things were made by him." But the father of all creatures can be the offspring of no creature. Neither divinity abstractedly considered, nor divinity incarnate, is the son of man, or son of David, but David's Lord. No nor even divinity transubstantiated into flesh and blood, according to Lord's notion, can ever be the fruit of David's loins; because, according to his tenet, the Godhead was changed into flesh in the virgin's womb, and took no more of her nature than his handkerchief. According to this, it never was in David's loins; consequently could never be a fruit that sprung from his body; for there was nothing of his body, or from his loins, in it. And by this doctrine what becomes of the oath of God? Psalm cxxxii. 11. But the human nature of Christ was once in the loins of Adam, and once in the womb of eve, and in the loins of forty-two ancients from Abraham to Mary; for all these, touching his human nature, were his ancestors and his fathers; of whom, as concerning the flesh, he came. But these fathers, who obtained such favour as to be the ancestors of such a wonderful and mysterious offspring, must now, in point of conversation, give way to the numerous offspring of their Son; whose children are much more talked of in the New Testament than the fathers are in the Old; as it is written, "Instead of thy fathers, shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth. I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations, therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever."

Reader, fare thee well. Peace and truth be with thee. May God the Holy Ghost, our teacher, guide, and comforter, in our pilgrimage, bless this testimony to thy soul's profit; which I believe to be a true testimony, and a testimony that will not be easily contradicted; and which will never be overthrown by arguments drawn from the word of God. "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and good will towards men." Amen and amen.


Sunday, Jan. 5, 1794.

I THANK my God for the grace given unto you, in that you are enabled in a measure to make a bold defence in behalf of the truth; also to divide the same according to the proportion of faith contained in the word of truth.

This morning I was comforted in beholding your steadfastness and order in your discourse. I looked pretty close at your steps. I saw that they were toward the highway. I do not remember of any dangerous turning you took in that sermon. You gave a good description of the countries I have passed through, corresponding with my own records thereof.

I heard you on Tuesday evening last at Monk-well street. You seemed to be favoured with great enlargement of heart, and fervour of spirit; but there was one thing you advanced that I cannot agree with; that rod and sceptre in scripture have the same meaning, is a thing which no man can solder together, let him blow the coals and smite the anvil as long as he will. For I have passed under the rod before I was brought into the bond of the covenant. The rod is for the fool's back; and those, that are not favoured with a touch of the sceptre, the rod will break in pieces, because they were not made wise and teachable; and because they kissed not the Son, in his wrath they perish from the way of touching the sceptre of his kingdom for ever; and those his enemies, his rod is heavy upon them. Blessed be the King for his mercy, that endureth ever.

Yours for the truth's sake,

Great Arthur street.
Goswell street.


GRACE and truth be with thee, and with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth. I received yours; and hope ever to be thankful to God for enabling me to speak so as to agree with the Spirit's testimony in the hearts of any of his children; which, in part, you seem to acknowledge. But you must allow that the best of men, more especially the worst, are but fallible creatures, though the Spirit of God is an infallible Spirit. The Psalmist, who declared that he had more understanding than his teachers, in humility asks, "Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults." It was in God's light that he saw light; but, if God withdrew his rays, he cries, "I am a stranger with thee; hide not thy commandment from me." It is more easy to hear a sermon, sir, than it is to deliver one; nor does it require half the labour and wisdom to find fault with a discourse, that it does to put a good one together. No man, much less Wisdom's children, is to make a man an offender for a word, nor to lie in wait for him that reproves in the gate. Many a hearer has made a sad handle of one blunder in a discourse; whereas, had he himself been in the pulpit, he would, in all probability, have made an hundred. For my part, I would sooner preach before an hundred men really wise, than before one man that thinks himself so. Hearers are no more infallible than preachers; and more frequently err in finding fault than the Lord's servants do in preaching. If God sets an eye in the body mystical, he generally shines so in him as to give light to all that are in the house; and what he sees that he declares; while many in the house may think he is wrong, because themselves are not right; and find fault with what they do not understand; and this, sir, is your case. The very one thing that you cannot agree with me in, is what all the scriptures do agree to declare; and what you say no man can solder together, is put together by God himself, without any human soldering. If you have passed under the rod into the bond of the covenant, it is well for you; but I should suppose it is but lately; if otherwise, I fear you have too often played truant, instead of sitting humbly at the Lord's feet, and receiving his words; for it is evident that humility and wisdom are much wanting in your letter. Pride and ignorance are no proofs of divine teaching; these materials are from the ruins of the fall, not from the covenant of grace.

A sceptre, sir, in the literal sense, is a short staff, or small rod, carried in the hand of a royal sovereign, which is a sign or emblem of royal power and authority, granted by the King of kings and Lord of lords, by whom kings reign; and it is fulfilled in us, who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Now the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in the church.

  1. By the imputation of Christ's righteousness for our justification, Rom. v. 19.
  2. By the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, which is our sanctification, Rom. xv. 16.
  3. By God's circumcising our hearts, to love him with all our heart, and with all our soul, that we may live, love to God being the first and great commandment of the law.
  4. By the indwelling of God's good word, and by the good treasure of his grace.

First, What is the law? It is a just law, and is the rule of righteousness. "And it shall be our righteousness," says Moses, "If we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us." Christ's obedience to the law, imputed to us, answers this: "By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." This is justification from all things; and makes the believer a just man, as the law is just.

Secondly, The law is holy: and the soul of the saint is the seat, and his body the temple, of the Holy Ghost, which dwelleth in us, and makes the believer holy, as the law is holy.

Thirdly, The law requires love to God above all things else; and the saint of God is blessed with the love of God, Father, Son, and Spirit, shed abroad in his heart; and has fellowship with the Father, Son, and Spirit. He dwells in God, who is love; and God dwells in him. He is joined to the Lord, and is one spirit with him. This answers the requirement of the great command.

Fourthly, The law is spiritual, and the law is good. The saint of God is a spiritual man, and a good man. He is a partaker of God's good Spirit; the good treasure of grace is in him; the good word of God is in him; the good work of regeneration has passed on his soul; and the whole perfecting work of grace is carried on, and will be completed in him; which makes him a good man, as the law is good.

Lastly, The law promises life, but eternal life it could never give. The believer, therefore, has got what the law could not give: "He that believeth hath everlasting life, and shall never come into condemnation." If this is antinomianism, it is precious antinomianism! This is the man in whom the righteousness of the law is fulfilled; who is redeemed from the law, and brought to the gospel; redeemed from the curse, and crowned with the blessing; no more under the law, but under grace; not under wrath, but under love; no more under the schoolmaster to Moses, but under the law of the Spirit, to Christ; no more a bondservant, but a freeborn son; no more a stranger, but knows God, and is known of him; no more a child of the bondwoman, but of the free; no longer a foreigner, but a fellow-citizen with the saints, and of the household of God. "Verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be [thus] fulfilled" in the elect of God. They shall all be justified, they shall all be sanctified, they shall all be made meet for the inheritance with the saints in light. These are the genuine offspring of Abraham, which Sarah bears unto Abraham. These do the works of Abraham, namely, the works of faith, labours of love, and patience of hope. These look to Abraham their father, and to Sarah that bare them; and keep their Father's commandment, and forsake not the law of their mother. They keep their Father's commandment, which is the commandment of life; which kept Abraham from considering his own body dead at a hundred years old. These forsake not the law of their mother, which is the law of faith; by which Sarah received strength to conceive seed, judging him faithful who had promised. Through faith they obtain witness that they are righteous; and through faith they obtain this good report; "As many as are of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham." These are they that commend not themselves, but them whom the Lord commendeth: on whom the most high God put such high encomiums, reported so good a report, and gave so glorious a testimony, that it stands recorded by the hand of heaven in the eternal annals: which mysterious record, in its genuine sense, will prove an everlasting task to every bondchild, every legal workmonger, every proud doer, every Uzzite, every infant of the flesh, to the world's end. It is a promise to the heirs of promise, as well as an eternal testimony to the Father of the heirs: "I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed: because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." Let those who traduce us explain Abraham's obedience to God's voice, the charge which he kept, together with the commandments, statutes and laws, to which he was so obedient, four hundred years before the law was given. I come to my third particular, that the law is,

Thirdly, Imperfectly fulfilled, in the exercise of grace, by the saint. "Owe no man any thing but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Love is the fulfilling of the law." This fulfilling of the law is not perfect obedience; for though the law is perfectly fulfilled in the saint, all God's work being perfect; yet it is not perfectly fulfilled by the saint, because he hath a principle in him that lusteth to envy. However, every saint under heaven shall be brought to love the brotherhood. "They that hate the righteous shall be desolate." "He that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes." "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." For though the spirit in man lusteth to envy, yet he shall be purged from it, otherwise he shall never be saved: for, as the merciless creditor, who had no compassion on his fellow-servant, was delivered to the tormentors, "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses:" for, till Leaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, even in this sense, till all be fulfilled.

Fourthly, The penal part of the law shall be effectually and eternally fulfilled in the damnation of the wicked. The law, which is spiritual, and reaches to the actions of body and soul, Shall then appear as a fiery law. The works of the flesh, and their heart-sins, shall both be punished; the body in unconsuming and unconsumed brimstone, and the soul in unquenchable wrath. Their little sins, as they are often called, shall appear infinite, and not a jot or tittle of the law fail in the discharge of its dreadful artillery: "I will spend mine arrows upon them." Every plague, every threatening, every curse, and every sentence, shall be righteously, justly, and fully executed. I was obedient unto death, to redeem mine elect; and they shall be subject to eternal death, that die in their sins. The gulph fixed shall never be moved; the sentence shall never be recalled; their worm shall never die, their fire shall never be quenched. The smoke of their torments shall ever ascend. Yea, the third heaven, the residence of God himself, shall as soon pass away, as a jot or tittle of the law can fail cursing them that die under it. The third heaven shall never be moved; and out of utter darkness the criminal shall never come, till he has paid the utmost mite; which mite is obedience to the jot or tittle of the law. But suffering the sentence can never be obeying the precept; therefore there can be no coming out thence: for not a jot or tittle shall in any wise pass from the law till all in this sense, be punctually fulfilled. And I have begun to fulfil it, as a righteous Judge, in this sense already. They who refuse my gospel, to them it is a savour of death unto death. They are not only cursed to death by the law, but damned to death, as infidels, by the gospel: "He that believeth not shall be damned." "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." They that mock, their bands shall be made strong, Isaiah xxviii. 22. They are bound on earth, and in heaven they are bound. They that believe not are condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on them. "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. "For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind." As a Judge, I have begun to fulfil, in the souls of mine enemies, the penal sanction of the law already; and my gospel shall be preached in all the world, for a witness against such, and then shall the end come. All my disciples shall love their brethren, and from their heart forgive every one his brother their trespasses; otherwise my heavenly Father shall never forgive them. Righteousness will I lay to the line of the precept, and judgment to the plummet of the sentence; the hail shall sweep away the refuges of lies, and the floods of wrath shall overflow the hiding-places. "For till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be [punctually] fulfilled." But I will send the Holy Spirit into the hearts of my dear disciples, which shall slay such envy, make them forget anger, and forgive and love their brethren, as I have loved them. The law worketh wrath; but the love of the Spirit worketh no ill to a neighbour, much less to a brother in faith. The kingdom of heaven within them shall deliver them from such evils. They shall be angry at sin, and at sinners; at evil doctrines, and evil practices. Thus "they shall be angry, and sin not." But anger against a brother shall not rest in them; for they are not fools, but the children of wisdom.

Moses and Elias shall both resign their offices to me; and my people shall have one prophet, one lawgiver, one mediator, and one shepherd. They shall all be taught of their God, Isa. liv. 13, and a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light to them, Isa. li. 4. I will be their daysman, mediator, intercessor, and advocate; and they shall be the humble sheep of my fold, under one shepherd. They shall pass from the ministration of death to the promise of everlasting life. I will deliver them from the yoke, do and live; and from the dreadful burden of "Cursed is he that continueth not." And they shall take my yoke upon them, and learn of me, who am meek and lowly; and find my yoke to be easy, and my burden light. "The law and the prophets were until John;" "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." "Since that time, the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it," Luke xvi. 16. And none shall enter into that kingdom that do not receive it as a little child. The subjects of my kingdom shall be kept by my power; none shall pluck them out of my hand, nor shall the gates of hell prevail against them. I will deliver them from that anger that rests in the bosom of fools, and from that envy that slays the silly one. The murderer shall not reign and rule in their hearts. I will give them power to tread on serpents, scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt them, Luke x. 19.

"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments. The Saviour having said this, he goes on to shew what his meaning is.

  1. "That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment," Ver. 22. He shall be in danger of the judgment of Zion, who should judge him unworthy of communion; or rather, in danger of being arraigned at the bar of the law, and left in bondage to it, and to the buffetings of Satan.
  2. "Whosoever shall say unto his brother, Raca, [or, vain, empty fellow,] shall be in danger of the council." By the Jewish laws, and by the counsel of God, it is deemed an offence or scandal, and wo be to him through whom the scandal cometh! Or, "Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." It doth not mean an idiot, but calling him a wicked reprobate, judging his inmost soul, and fixing his final doom. And he that thus judges, shall doubtless be judged; for it is the judgment of a child of the devil. For, first, he is angry with his brother without a cause, which is murder. Secondly, his malice breaks out into words: he calls him empty and vain fellow; and then proceeds to try his reins, and at last to fix him in hell. "If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked mind!"

It is easy to see that the Lord, in this discourse, strikes hard at the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees. This appears plain, by the gift, or free-will offering being left at the altar till the offerer had reconciled himself to his brother; which altar and offerings the saints are delivered from. And terribly must this discourse have cut those who were so desperately angry and envious at Christ and his followers, who, according to the flesh, were their brethren. And they were angry without a cause; and had not only called them Raca, and fools, but they judged them. They called the Lord a fellow, and a deceiver; yea, Beelzebub. And cursed all his followers: "This people, who knoweth not the law, are cursed." Yea, they cast them out, excommunicated them, reprobated them, and passed the curse of the law on them.

Secondly, The Lord here handles the law lawfully; and shews the spiritual meaning of it, its unfathomable reach to the inmost soul, and its unlimited demands; so as to make every sensible sinner for ever despair of help from it, or any salvation by it. He doth not dress it up as an evangelized covenant, nor call it the believer's only rule of life; but tells the sinner, that a mouthful of malice spit at a fellow-creature, does by this law expose a man to the danger of hell fire.

Thirdly, The Saviour strikes hard, in this discourse, at the hypocrite also, who gets into the church before his first husband be dead. This appears from the breakers of these commandments being called least in the kingdom of heaven. If they were not in the church, they could not be said to be in the kingdom of heaven at all. These tares getting among the wheat, are the children of the wicked one getting among the children of the kingdom; and being in bondage to the law, which worketh wrath, and destitute of saving grace, they are the most desperate at the grace, gifts, happiness, usefullness, and pure doctrine, of God's faithful ones. And that these men are destitute of the Spirit is plain from their causeless anger, hatred, and unrighteous judgment. And that they are under the law, and not under grace, appears plain also, by their being in danger of hell fire: which a justified soul, in a state of grace, is not; for Christ says, he shall never come into condemnation; yea, he shall never die; he hath everlasting life. There is no hellfire nor condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus: nor is it sin in a man of God to call a hypocrite, a wicked man, or an opposer of the gospel, a fool: "Thou fool," says Paul, "that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die." The Lord goes on:

"Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Here the Lord enforces the spirituality of the law: that it reaches the soul and spirit of a man; yea, the inmost thoughts and desires of the heart, as well as words and actions; and that all above yea, yea, and nay, nay, cometh of evil; and for every idle word, the sinner that dies in his sin, sand under this law, must give an account at the day of judgment. The Lord here shews the need of salt in the corrupt spring of the human heart; for the law is so far from destroying lust, that it works the more vigourously by it: "But sin taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence; for without the law sin was dead." "For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sin, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death." Therefore the sinner must become dead to the law by the body of Christ, and be married to another, before he can bring forth fruit unto God. Terrible as this law is, the Saviour sent every self-sufficient inquirer to it, as his only rule of life; but he never sent one humble suppliant, or sensible sinner to it, during the whole of his ministry. However, the soul that is espoused to Christ sees his old man, yea, the whole body of the sins of the flesh, condemned in his surety, and crucified in his death; and he feels the old man put off when Christ takes possession of the heart. A new creature is formed, and the old man is dethroned. The will, mind, heart, and affections, are made loyal to Christ, and take part with the new man; while the old man, like a rebel in alliance with Satan, wars against both the believer and his grace: "Now then it is no more I that do it," says Paul, "but sin, that dwelleth in me." But my blessed master goes on to preach, and his own servant follows him, to catch what he can.

"Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, committeth adultery." Fornication is unlawful connexion between unmarried people, This crime, when committed by married persons, is adultery, not fornication. The sin for the which such a woman might be divorced, appears to have been committed previous to her marriage. The husband finding her not a virgin, and finding himself deceived and imposed on by a vitiated person; in such a case, the marriage seems to be void, according to Deut. Chap. xxii. And, indeed, such a woman, in the sight of God, is the wife of him who first humbled her, Deut. xxii. 29; though perhaps the Saviour, by fornication here, includes adultery also. However, if she had been guilty of fornication with one man, and afterwards marries another, the marriage is null and void, for she is the wife of the first man; and if she commits adultery afterwards, she breaks the marriage-bond herself. In such cases, and only such, might she be put away. The Lord goes on; "Swear not at all;" "Resist not evil;" "Love your enemies," &c. In all which he explains what he means by breaking one of these least commandments. He that is angry with his brother without cause; he that calls him vain, empty fellow; he that calls him a wicked reprobate; he that has eyes full of adultery, &c. He that breaketh the least of these commandments,

"And shall teach men so." What, then, shall we say of them who hate the ministers that Christ hath sent! and in whose hearts envy has rested for years together! and who call them antinomians, bad spirits, devils, bubbles of the day, and blackguards, without any just charge either of error or immorality! Is not this breaking the commandments, and teaching men so? Did I ever tell you, in the course of my ministry, that you should have more Gods than one? that you should make images, take the Lord's name in vain, profane his day of rest, ridicule parents, kill, steal, commit adultery, bear false witness, and covet your neighbour's goods? Did you ever see any thing of this in my practice, or did you ever hear any thing of it from my mouth? I trow not. I have enforced regeneration by the Spirit, as the only way to make men holy; and I have preached up a divorce from the law, and union with Christ, as the only way to make men fruitful. I have insisted on a walk in the Spirit, as the only way for men to escape fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. And I have urged a life under the influence of grace, as the only way to get disentangled from the reign of sin: and that sin shall have dominion only over them that are under the law; it shall not have dominion over them that are under grace. But can this be called breaking the commandments, and teaching men so? What, does the grace of God encourage sin? Or is the law against the promises of God? Or does this doctrine make void the law? Nay, it is established this way, and no other. Again, do you find the advocates for free grace, who are sound in their principles, and experimental in their souls, loose livers? Do you see those who are in the closest connexion with me, breakers of God's commandments, and, by example, teachers of the same? Nay, so far from it, that if you would find an ignorant, uninformed people; if a dead, sleepy congregation; if a light, vain, frothy community, who are envious in their minds, empty in heart, and scandalous in life, you must look for them among those who have little or nothing but the law of Moses set before them. The law worketh wrath, the law makes nothing perfect, but the better hope does. The Hagarenes shall never beat the children of Zion at good works, for root and branch are both wanting. Then what is all this desperate outcry against me for? Why, for this one voice that I cried among them, The law of Moses is not the saint's rule of life. For this word I am made an offender; and they that make it such an offence, cannot bring one text in God's book against it. Yea, further; the best commentators now extant, who have advanced the law as the saint's rule of life from one text, have themselves contradicted it from another, as plainly as calling light darkness, and darkness light: and though all commentators have followed one another in that track, not one, that ever I have seen, has proved it from God's book. The master's commanding will is the bondservant's rule; it is the creditor's handwriting, and the debtor's account-book; but the goodwill of the Father is the son's rule. These are the two covenants. And what the law requires, the gospel gives; and what Christ commands, he works in his saints by his Spirit to obey, and their obedience is the obedience of faith. Neither justification, sanctification, salvation, hope, or help, life or love, come from the law, or by the law. Ministers of the Spirit, and those evangelical servants who serve God in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter, are not breakers of God's commandments: they are delivered from the law, and wedded to Christ, that they might bring forth fruit unto God. He that breaks the least of these commands,

"And shall teach men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven." He that is angry at a brother without cause; he that calls him vain fellow; he that calls him a wicked reprobate; he that has eyes full of adultery; he that swears; he that resists evil with evil; he that smites the just; he that, to gratify his malice, sues him at the !aw for coat or cloak, &c. these things are breaking the commandments, and by speech and example they teach others to do the same. The names antinomian, and bad spirit, that have been cast at me, are in the mouths of thousands of poor ignorant souls, who know no more what they mean by such names than the image of Jupiter that fell from the moon. And their hearts are filled with malice against me, and their mouths with reproach, who never heard me, but having learnt it from the pulpit. And wo be to him, and to them, through whom the offence or scandal cometh; for they that live in such sins, and teach men so,

"Shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven." By the kingdom of heaven, here, is meant the church, or church state. And who is this least person in the church? Not the most humble soul, who is like a little child; for he is neither a breaker of the commandments, nor a teacher of men so. The least person here, in Christ's sense of the words, is not a hypocritical professor, but a hypocritical false teacher: and he is least esteemed by Christ; a man of the least value in the church, and one of the least and last in God's account. This is the man: he is an impostor, a hypocrite, and a sinner; and, as he teaches men so, he must be a teacher, and a wicked teacher too. And he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; and so he is to them to whom God discovers him, and that have light to see through him.

The Saviour, in his application, clearly shews, that his disciples are the brethren that are hated without a cause; and who are called empty fellows, fools, and reprobates. And counsels them how to behave under such reproach. Whosoever shall smite thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other. If he sue thee at the law for thy coat, give him thy cloak also. If he compel thee to go a mile, go twain. If he ask, give; if he will borrow, lend to him. If he is your enemy, love him; if he curse you, do you bless him; if he hate you, do good to him; if he persecute you, and use you despitefully, pray for him; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. By children, here, is not meant reprobates, for Christ never calls them children of his heavenly Father: nor does he allow them to call themselves so, but calls them children of the devil. This application shews plain enough, that it is the children of God that are hated, persecuted, and slandered; and that it is pharisees, hypocrites, and false teachers, that break the commandments, and teach men so; and such are, and shall be, called the least in the militant church, or kingdom of heaven; and sure I am that such are the furthest, of all men, from the triumphant church, or kingdom of glory. We go on;

"But whosoever shall do [these commandments] and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." We will inquire,

  1. What the Saviour says about the great things of the law.
  2. What by doing these things.
  3. What by teaching them. And,
  4. In what sense such a teacher may be said to be great.

First, What the Saviour says about the great things of the law. We will follow his advice; we will swallow the camel first, and strain at the gnat afterward. The Lord Jesus begins: "Wo unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin; and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." According to this text, the natural inference to be drawn is this, that every preacher who is destitute of judgment, mercy, and faith, is a carnal scribe, a self-righteous pharisee, an hypocrite, and a blind guide; and his preaching is nothing but fly-catching, or, as Christ says, it is straining at gnats: for the Lord does not say, that he catches the gnat. In Luke, xi. 42, it is thus worded: "But wo unto you Pharisees, for ye tithe mint, rue, and all manner of herbs; and pass over judgment, and the love of God. These ought ye to have done." According to our dear Lord's preaching, judgment, mercy, faith, and the love of God, are the great things of the law, which all good preachers must do. These things ought ye to have done. And these things are to be preached to others, by them that are great in the kingdom. "Whosoever shall do, and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Here we see, as in a glass, who is great in the kingdom, and who is the hypocrite and blind guide. Now we will take notice,

  1. Of judgment.
  2. Of mercy.
  3. Of faith.
  4. Of the love of God. For, if we are destitute of these things, our profession, or preaching, is nothing but a noise.

He that has no judgment, is an ignorant man, that knows not God: and He that made him will have no mercy on him; and he that created him will shew him no favour.

He that hath not mercy, is in a carnal, hardened state. God hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will he hardeneth.

He that hath not faith, is condemned already, and cannot please God. The righteousness of the law is not fulfilled in him, nor one precept kept by him; "For whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

And he that hath not the love of God, or charity, in his heart, is nothing but sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. I come to the first head.

First, What is judgment? Why, in the first place, it signifies the righteous sentence of the law executed on the Saviour, who stood as man's surety; by which justice got satisfaction, and the law got judgment done. "He was taken from prison, and from judgment." This was done, that a throne of grace might be erected, without any injury to law or justice. "Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne; mercy and truth shall go before thy face."

Secondly, Judgment sometimes signifies God's arraigning an elect sinner at the bar of the law, and appearing, according to the sinner's views, in a judicial way against him: He is convinced of all, he is judged of all; and thus are the thoughts of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face, he will report that God is in you of a truth, 1 Cor. xiv. 25. Which trial ends in a fatherly chastisement, and in the justification of the soul: "But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."

Thirdly, It signifies the law of faith, or the gospel; which, to the believer, is the Saviour's judgment of him, of every body's state, and of every thing in doubt about his state; which the elect sinner receives, in which he believes, to which he yields his obedience, by which he is ruled, by which he lives, by which he walks and worships, and by which he rules all his actions. "Hearken unto me, my people, and give ear to me, O my nation; for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people."

Fourthly, It signifies the inward and righteous sentence of a person who knows the scriptures, and the power of God; who judges not according to appearance, but judges righteous judgment. For the want of which the Saviour rebuked the Jews: "Yea, and why even of your own selves judge ye not what is right?"

Fifthly, It signifies the knowledge that a saint has of God, of his word and ways, and of his own worship, faith and practice; for the want of which the ignorant are complained of: "There is no judgment in their goings."

Sixthly, It signifies shewing the sentence of scripture, between any of God's children who may have a doctrine, a practice, or a wrong, in dispute. "Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? but brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers."

Seventhly, It signifies the judicious proceedings of a just judge, who has his eye to God and to justice, and accepts no man's person in judgment. For the want of which integrity God complains: "How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Ye shall be destroyed, every one of you." Hence wrong judgment proceedeth. By this first weighty matter of the law, the Saviour shews, in a spiritual sense, that when the sinner's mouth is stopped, himself brought in guilty before God by the law, and he is justified by faith in his Surety's righteousness; that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in him, and that all other branches of righteousness spring from hence: which is, in effect, telling us, that whatsoever is not of faith is sin; and that he that believes not shall be damned, be he who he may, or do what he will. I come to the second general head, or weighty requirement of the law, which is,

Mercy. Mercy, here, is intended to shew, that all good to men, all good in men, all good by men, and all good from men, is owing to the sovereign clemency of heaven. Mercy is a perfection, or attribute, of God, which in a way of providence, or in a way of grace, is exercised over all his works. Sometimes it signifies God's kind providence: "God give you mercy," says Jacob to his sons, "before the man." And again, Abraham's servant observes it, in his success of taking Rebekah to Isaac: "God hath not left destitute my master of his mercy." But, in a spiritual sense, God shews it in the gift of his Son, and in the pardon of sins; God hath raised us up a horn of salvation, "in remembrance of his mercy." "To give knowledge of salvation, by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God." Deliverance from the curse of the law, from the power of sin, and from the precept, Do, and live, and all this by the Spirit of God, is called mercy revealed: "But according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Preaching the pure gospel faithfully; revealing the whole counsel of God, and not fainting in it through opposition, temptation, and persecution, that may befal us in exercising the mercy of God received, in the discharge of the ministry, is owing to mercy: "As we have received mercy, we faint not." Receiving courage to be faithful and singular in an apostate and degenerate age, is owing to the mercy of God: "I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful." These are the sure mercies of David given to Christ, and entailed upon the household of faith by the decree of God, which secures the salvation of all the elect; and in their glorification mercy will be built up for ever. He, therefore, that is a stranger to the mercy of God in the gift of his Son, and to the knowledge of salvation, by the pardon of sin; a stranger to regeneration, by the gift of the Spirit; is a stranger to, and destitute of, this weighty matter of the law. He is in his sin, a wicked man, and the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel, therefore little worth. Such a man sees not the end of the law, that it was intended to train a sinner up to mercy, and to shew him the need of mercy. And he is a stranger to the door of hope that God threw open by Moses, when he prophesied of Christ, and said, God will be merciful to whom he will be merciful. I go to the next weighty requirement, which is

Faith. For although the law is not of faith, nor faith of the law, yet the word of faith, and the righteousness of faith, are witnessed both by the law and the prophets. Besides, the whole Old Testament is often included in the word law: "But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause." Which words stand in the Psalms; and in which it appears plain that Jesus himself is one of the brethren that the Pharisees were angry with without cause. Furthermore, the Lord brings in faith as a weighty matter of the law, because the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them that believe, and without faith it is impossible to please God; and because faith goes before love, and always works by it: which love is the fulfilling of the law; for it is the grand hinge upon which hang all the law and the prophets, and without which no works can be performed but dead works, no obedience can be given to God, nothing but the eye-service of a bond slave. Faith is a blessed fruit of the Spirit, and is produced under his operation. It generally lays a fast hold of the law and the justice of God first; and the sinner believes that he is the character described and condemned by the law: he views it and feels it in all its spiritual meaning and dreadful consequences: "I have believed thy commandments," says the Psalmist. He believes, and trembles, and calls upon God in his trouble: and, "He that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." God, by faith, leads the sinner from death in the law, to life in Christ: "None can come to me, except my Father draw him." Faith deals with Christ's blood for pardon, righteousness, and peace; and makes application of it. Faith mixes its power with the word, and brings the promises home. Faith is a looking to Jesus for every needful help, and a going out of self to the Saviour's fullness to fetch it in. It is by the hand of faith that all our spiritual provisions are brought in. And it is by the assurance of faith that the strong Christian finds himself confirmed and sealed: "After that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise:" under which impression a comfortable degree of assurance, touching one's personal interest in Christ, is enjoyed. Which leads me to the next weighty requirement of the law, which is

Love. The sovereign and everlasting love of God is the grand spring-head, or fountain, from which every stream of mercy flows; and Christ crucified is the only medium or channel through which every stream flows. There is no love to God for his holiness, purity, or beauty, as some talk. No appearance, or view of God, will ever draw love to him from a carnal heart, that is enmity against him. It is God's love to us, shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost that draws the heart to love God. "Not that we loved God, but that he loved us. We love him, because he first loved us." This love, in the enjoyment of it, always follows pardon of sin. "I love the Lord, because he hath forgiven the iniquity of my sin." "Her sins which are many, are forgiven, for she loveth much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." This love will teach us to love all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and in truth, and one's neighbour as one's self; for anger can never rest in a heart blessed with the enjoyment of everlasting love; and he that walks in love, as Christ hath loved us, walks by faith, and in all the commandments of the Lord, blameless. We have seen what the Saviour means by the least commandments, and what he means by the weightier matters of the law; and he that doeth and

Teacheth them, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. He that doeth them; he who is a righteous, or justified person; whose judgment is passed; who hath judgment of the goodness of his own state; who has a good judgment of God's ways, of God's word, and of men's hearts; and who is capable of judging between truth and error, right and wrong, and between man and man; and preaches so.

He that hath obtained covenant mercy of the Lord, and preaches the sure mercies of David; being merciful to the bodies and souls of men, as God is merciful.

He that has faith in his heart, and preaches the faith as it was once delivered to the saints; who holds the mystery of faith in a pure conscience, and deals it out from thence.

He that has the love of God shed abroad in his own heart, and preaches it in all its branches; the manifestation of it in the death of Christ; the revelation of it by the Spirit; the effects of it, pardon and peace.

He that is not angry with his brother without a cause; he that is saved and kept from uncleanness; he that resists not evil with evil; and he that gives his cloak to them that sue him at law for his coat; this is the man, and no other, that doth the commandments, and teaches them. And he

"Shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." He is a true, real, genuine, and loyal sub-jeer, of the kingdom of heaven; he is not in bondage to the law, to sin, nor to Satan; he is redeemed, justified, and saved; the mysteries of the kingdom are with him; the kingdom of grace is in-him; and he is an heir of the kingdom of glory before him, and shall be

Called great in the kingdom of heaven. He acknowledges himself a great sinner, and tells others what great things God has done for him. Great grace is upon him, and he is a good steward of the manifold grace of God. He is saved with a great salvation, and it is an unconditional salvation that he preaches. He is a man of God, a mouth for God, and an ambassador sent from God. He is an evangelist, and does the work of one lie is a good steward, and is found faithful. He is a minister of the Spirit, and makes full proof of his ministry, by stopping the mouths of gainsayers, by cutting up elect sinners, and by steering a course that God owns and honours. In short, he is an able minister of the new testament, and shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven by all those who know wherein true greatness consists. Which leads me to the last verse of my text:

"For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Phariseees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." There have been six or seven discourses lately delivered from this text by different ministers; and they all agree in this, that the righteousness of Christ is neither intended nor included in the text; which is a point that I intend to examine. By entering into the kingdom of heaven, these things are meant.

First, Taking the vail of ignorance from the understanding, and enlightening the mind into the mysteries of the kingdom; which is leading the soul out of darkness into marvellous light.

Secondly, It is leading a soul out of bondage into liberty; out of a condemned into a justified state; out of a state of enmity into a state of reconciliation; out of a state of sin into a state of grace; out of a state of alienation into a state of friendship; out of a state of legal labour into a state of rest: which is called translating the sin-net out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God's dear Son.

Thirdly, The Saviour's introducing his elect, body and soul, into the glories of heaven, is called an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 51 Pet. i. 10, 11.

But then, what righteousness is this that can procure such an entrance? Paul's mind was enlightened into the mysteries of the kingdom, as soon as the Lord shined upon him, and into his heart: and he entered into a state of grace, or into the kingdom of heaven, as soon as he arose, and received the Holy Ghost. But what righteousness had he got, to procure, or pave the way for, such an entrance? Paul was a Pharisee, we know: but it could not be his pharisaical righteousness that procured his entrance; for the text says, it must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. And, I think, it could not be the malice and murder of his heart, nor his bloody commission, nor the death warrants that he had in his pocket. The righteousness in the text is obedience to the law, which the Pharisees boasted of, and in which the child of God must exceed the Pharisee. It must be either the sinner's obedience, or the obedience of the Surety, that procures an entrance here; for the unrighteous cannot enter the kingdom. But Paul, though one of the strictest sect of the Pharisees, had no righteousness to procure an entrance here; it profited him nothing in this case: "I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works, for they shall not profit thee," Isa. lvii. 12. The supplicating publican, and Mary Magdalen, both entered the kingdom of heaven, but not by their own righteousness. No righteousness but the righteousness of Christ imputed, can procure an entrance, either into the knowledge of God, or into a state of grace, which Stands in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; into all which the sinner enters by faith in Christ alone.

Nor can I think that any righteousness, but that of the Saviour, can procure an entrance into glory: not Paul's righteousness, for that, he says, is dung and dross; nor Zion's righteousness, for that is filthy rags; nor the righteousness of Peter, James, and John, for in many things they all offended. And sure I am, that an imperfect righteousness can never pave the way, either into God's favour, or into his presence. The thief went from the cross to Paradise; but his prayer, his confession of Christ, his rebuking his fellow thief, and confessing the justness of his punishment, is no part of obedience to the moral law, which is the rule of righteousness; and Christ's obedience to that rule, is the righteousness meant in my text, in which Paul hoped to be found when he should enter the kingdom of glory: as it is written, "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law; but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." This is the righteousness that God imputed to Paul's faith, and by which he entered into the kingdom of grace; and in this he hoped to enter into the kingdom of heaven itself: "for we, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith," which alone can answer for us in that day. No creature righteousness, no imperfect righteousness, no inherent righteousness, can ever admit a man into the kingdom of grace, or into the kingdom of glory. No righteousness but Christ's spotless obedience to the law, imputed by God to the sinner, can ever give him right or title, procure an entrance or admission into grace or glory.

But you will say, 'There is one word in the text which you overlook, the word, your: Except your righteousness shall exceed,' &c.

Answ. What God freely bestows on us, becomes ours: we receive the abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness, Rom. v. 17. And God, who gives this righteousness to us, calls it ours: "This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." They have no righteousness but what is of me, saith the Lord; and that is an imputed one, freely given, and freely bestowed. And Christ himself shews this plainly in the chapter out of which my text is taken; and that any man may clearly see that ever was enlightened at all. "Blessed," saith Christ, "are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Which shews three things;

First, That these poor souls had no righteousness of their own; feeling which made them hunger and thirst.

Secondly, The righteousness there meant comes by promise: They shall be filled.

Thirdly, That righteousness must be perfect and complete, answering every demand of law and justice; and every end and expectation of the distressed sinner; such as, delivering him from guilt and wrath, fear and torment, death and damnation. And it must procure God's favour here, and secure glory hereafter, otherwise the sinner never can be satisfied, much less filled with it. This is the righteousness meant in my text that far enough exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. And this righteousness gives right and title to the kingdom: for Christ is made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. No other righteousness, reader, shall ever admit any soul living, either into the kingdom of grace, or the kingdom of glory. In this raiment of needle-work shall the church be brought unto the King, and shall enter into the King's palace; and they that are not found in this wedding-garment shall be cast into outer darkness. Reader, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

I come now to shew the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, and the excellency of Christ's righteousness, which is unto all, and upon all, that believe. The scribes were writers and expounders of the law and the prophets, and pretended to very extraordinary wisdom. The Pharisees were very observant of the lesser matters of the law, in which their self-righteousness chiefly stood; and they pretended to no small degree of sanctity, on which account others were not allowed to touch the hem of their robes. The scribe and the Pharisee were the two first, in the judgment of the poor and ignorant Jews, that would enter the kingdom of heaven; but Christ displaces them, and sets the publican and the harlot in their room. They walked in long robes and were very desirous of it; they made many long prayers; they observed numbers of feasts and fasts; they loved greetings in the markets, and chief rooms at feasts; they appeared very righteous before men, and loved to be called Rabbi, Rabbi; they practised a deal of washing of feet, hands and head, cups and platters; they compassed sea and land to make converts, and sounded a trumpet before them when they gave their alms; they bound grievous burdens on men's shoulders, but never touched one part of the load; they got into Moses's seat, to give laws, and contradicted in life all that they said by word. "They say, and do not." This was their righteousness; and now you shall see their zeal in defence of it. They were desperate enemies to the power of godliness, the truth of the gospel, and the wisdom that comes from above. They were implacable opposers of antinomians, bad spirits, and all that were not the professed disciples of Moses. They ridiculed the God of heaven, calling him Beelzebub; they cursed the objects of his choice, blasphemed the Holy Ghost, and required a sign from heaven. They traduced Paul as profaning the temple, and giving licence to sin, by preaching up evil that good might come; and with teaching people to forsake Moses, with being a heretic, a turner of the world upside down, a mover of sedition, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: but after the way which they called heresy, so worshipped Paul the God of his fathers. They opposed the Apostles in every city, in every town, in every synagogue, and in every house, with the doctrine of the law as the only rule of life; "Except ye be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, ye cannot be saved." They came in privily to spy out the saints liberty, that they might bring them into bondage. They opposed the gospel, rent their clothes, cast dust into the air, gnashed their teeth at the saints, resisted and blasphemed, and abused the name of the Saviour upon madmen and devils; and all this in zeal for the law, for purity, and for inherent holiness. They went about to establish their own righteousness, as those do who exclude the righteousness of Christ from my text; and so stumbled at the Rock of ages, were broken off by unbelief, and scattered into all winds, and remain to this day without a king, without a priest, without a prophet, without an ephod, without a teraphim, and without a sacrifice. And all that they got by their religion, and for their pretended zeal for the law, was the destruction of themselves, as a church, state, and nation; and, what is more dreadful, they imprecated and procured the innocent blood of Christ and the curse of heaven upon their own offspring, from age to age, yea, to more than twenty generations. But I have no call to go any further in describing a Pharisee, for the church of Christ swarms alive with them; and in this glass the reader, if he has any eyes, may see his hundreds, if not his thousands.

But the righteousness of the saints far enough exceeds the righteousness of the scribes: for they receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of their salvation. "This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O God of Jacob," Psalm xxiv. 5, 6. The righteousness that God bestows on his saints, is a divine, a perfect, and an everlasting one; and without a perfect righteousness no soul can stand in God's presence, or find access to him in this world: for, if we have access with confidence, it is by the faith of Christ; and if we enter heaven, and see God's face with acceptance in the world to come, it is because we are made righteous in our elder brother, and hold the truth as it is in him. "Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in." This is the wisdom of God, and the glory of the saints; the other is the invention of men, and the snare of fools: but "their rock is not as our Rock, our enemies themselves being judges? So I preach, and so you believe; and neither such preaching, nor such believing, shall ever be in vain in the Lord.

We have seen what the Redeemer says of the weighty matters of the law; which is the first table, and which respects God: and we find those things are wrought in all the saints.

We have seen, likewise, the lesser matters, or the least commandments; which are the second table, and respect brethren and neighbours: and we find that they are the Pharisees in heart, and the false preachers in the church, who break them; and that they are broken by those who hate, slander, censure, and condemn, the children of God; under which we are exhorted to be patient and submissive, that we may appear to be the children of our Father which is in heaven, who suffers as much dishonour from their neglecting the weighty matters of the law, as we do by their breaking the least commandments in hating and reviling us. But does the Pharisee and hypocrite's breaking the Commandments entail the name of an antinomian and a devil upon those who have the righteousness of the law fulfilled in them, and who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit? Does their exposing themselves to the just judgment of God, for condemning the just, bring a yoke of bondage on them that are made free by the Holy Ghost? or, what Christ applies to the Pharisees and hypocrites, can it be fastened on those whom he hath formed for himself, and to whom he will never impute sin? or can it be thought that they are the persons that are in danger of hell fire, whom Christ himself declares, shall never come into condemnation?

Does the Saviour's telling us that the believer passes from death unto life, imply that the believer is under the ministration of death as his rule of life? Or, does his telling us to take his yoke upon us, which is easy, imply that the yoke of bondage, which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear, is to be added to it? Does the Lord's telling me to abide in him, imply that I am to go to Moses? or, does his affirming that those who abide in him bring forth much fruit, imply that nothing but licentiousness is intended?

Can any man separate the precept of the law from the sentence? Is the law divided? Can any man bring my neck under the yoke of the precept, and keep my soul from the curse? No; he that is under the precept, is under the sentence: "As many its are of the works of the law, are under the curse" of the law. And they who go to the law for justification, in any sense, or even to be made perfect, Christ shall profit them nothing. God has made a new covenant with his people: not according to the old; that was written by his finger on tables of stone; this, by the Spirit, on the tables of the heart; that was the law of works, this is the law of faith, truth, and liberty; and surely such a soul is not without law to God. The law of faith is written on the believer's heart, and with the mind he serves the law of God. The law of the Spirit of life is in Christ, and he is under that law to Christ. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ that frees him from the law of sin and death: such an one is not under the law, but under grace; not under the law of works in the hand of Christ, for that cannot be proved, but under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ. And such men are the most pure, the most happy, and the most useful men, in the church; and their followers are the most bright and fruitful in the world, and the most evangelical worshippers of God. "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered," says Paul, "by us; written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart. God hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For, if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For if that which was done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing, then, that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: and not as Moses, who put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished," 2 Cor. chap. iii.

Let our opponents tell us what that law is which was engraven on tables of stone; and let them prove it to be the ceremonial law, if they can. Then let them shew who those precious souls, called living epistles, are; and then let them prove that Paul's twice asserting that the ministration of death, engraven on stones, being done away and abolished, means that the law is their only rule of life. And, if this be antinomianism, let them father it upon the Holy Ghost: he is the author of the scriptures; for holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

'Why, then,' you will say, 'what is become of the law with respect to the saint of God?' Paul tells you; "Blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." But, then, what law is that which is against us? The law that works wrath, and curses us, must be, I think, the most against us. And what law is that, the ceremonial law? Nay, saith Paul, it is the law engraven on tables of stone that ministreth death. And what law is that which is contrary to us? 'Why,' say you, 'the ceremonial law.' No; for that was so far from being contrary to the Jews, that they liked it. "Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free-will offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord." And who was Paul writing to, when he told the people that the hand-writing was blotted out? Why, he was writing to the Gentile believers at Colosse, who had felt the force of the moral law as their account or debt-book opened against them. Had Paul meant the ceremonial law, they would not have well understood him; for the ceremonial law was never given to the Gentiles: but the moral law was written on all their hearts, and was their debt-book, and a handwriting against them; and so they will find who die under it, whether Jew or Gentile. He that sins in the law, shall be judged by the law; and he that sins against the law in his conscience, shall be a law to himself, and perish by the same. I conclude, the law is the saint's first husband and schoolmaster; and it is the bond servant's only rule: but "they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts; and against such there is no law." I conclude with insisting, that that righteousness which shall silence every accuser at the bar of God, and give a title to heaven, is an imputed one. "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord."

I have no doubt but our opponents will be found in that which they describe: but God grant, for Christ's sake, that we may be found in this. Amen.

I add no more.