Imagens das páginas

Toweth eiled the cons of it

Answ. I purpose, in this discourse, to omit controversies; only, in a word, thus : 1. It is promised only to persevering believers, and not to any particular persons by name. 2. It is purposed, with all the conditions of it, and means to it, to a determinate number, called the elect, and known by name, which evidently followeth these plain propositions :

1. There is few will deny that God foreknows, from eternity, who these are, and shall be, numerically, personally, by name.

2. To purpose it only to such, and to know that only these will be such, is, in effect, to purpose it only to these.

3. Especially, if we know how little knowledge and purpose, in God, do differ.

4. However, we must not make his knowledge active, and his purpose idle, much less to contradict each other, as it must be, if, from eternity, he purposed salvation alike to all, and yet from eternity knew that only such and such should receive it.

5. To purpose all persevering believers to salvation, and not to purpose faith and perseverance absolutely to any particular persons, is to purpose salvation absolutely to none at all ; yet I know much more is necessary to be said to make this plain, which I purpose not (at least here) to medule with.

Sect. 4. I. Quest. Is it to the people of God, upon certainty, or only upon possibility ?

Answ. If only possible, it cannot thus be called theirs.

1. While they are only elect, not called, it is certain to them, we speak of a certainty of the object, by divine purpose, for they are ordained to eternal life first, and therefore believe; and not first believe, and therefore elected. · 2. When they are called according to his purpose, then it is certain to them by a certainty of promise also, as sure as if they were named in that promise; for the promise is, to believers, which they may, though but imperfectly, know themselves to be; and though it be yet upon condition of overcoming, and abiding in Christ, and enduring to the end, yet that condition being absolutely promised, it still remaineth absolutely certain

k 1. Theirs, by purpose, besore conversion. Acts xiii. 48. 2. Theirs in law title, or by promise, after conversion. “ Quum æquilibriuin illud hoc unum præstat juxta Arminium, ut reddat salutem hominum rem contingentem, et libratam in aucipiti, isne rem tantam impense affectasse dicendus est qui vult esse collocatam iu loco tam lubrico, ac veluti tenui filo pendentem, adeo ut vel levissimo momento impellatur ad perniciem?-Amyrul. Defens. Doct. Calvini, p. 115.

upon promise : and, indeed, if glory be ours only upon a condition, which condition depends chiefly on our own wills, it were cold comfort to those that know what man's will is, and how certainly we should play the prodigals with this, as we did with our first stock. But I have hitherto understood, that in the behalf of the elect, Christ is resolved, and hath undertaken, for the working and finishing of their faith, and the full effecting his people's salvation; and not only gives us a (feigned) sufficient grace, not effectual, leaving it to our wills to make it effectual, as some think; so that, though still the promise of our justification and salvation be conditional, yet God, having manifested his purpose of enabling us to fulfil those conditions, he doth thereby show us a certainty of our salvation, both in his promise and his purpose. Though God's eternal purpose gives us no right to the benefit whatsoever, (some lately say to the contrary,) it being the proper work of God's law or covenant, to confer right or due; yet the event or fruition of it is made certain by God's unchangeable decree, his eternal willing it, being the first and infallible cause, that, in time, it is accomplished or produced.


This Rest defined. Sect. 1. Now let us see, 1. What this rest is. 2. What these people, and why so called. 3. The truth of this, from other Scripture arguments. 4. Why this rest must yet remain. 5. Why only to this people of God. 6. What use to make of it.

1. And though the sense of the text includes in the word “rest," all that ease and safety, which a soul, wearied with the burden of sin and suffering, and pursued by law, wrath, and conscience,

hath with Christ in this life, the rest of grace ; yet, because it · chiefly intends the rest of eternal glory, as the end and main part, I shall confine my discourse myself to this last.

1 I doubt nut but the Holy Ghost, by this sabbatism, or rest, intends the whole estate of reconciliation, peace, and happiness purchased by Christ : but because that fulness and perfection in glory is the chiefest part, in comparison whereof the beginning in this life is very small, I may very well extend the text to that which itself intends as the principal part ; but I exclude not the beginnings here, though I purpose not the handling of them.


Definition. Rest is the end and perfection of motion. The saint's rest, here in question, is the most happy estate of a Christian, having obtained the end of his course : or, it is the perfect, endless fruition of God, by the perfected saints, according to the measure of their capacity, to which their souls arrive at death; and both soul and body must fully, after the resurrection and final judgment.

Sect 2. I. I call it the estate of a Christian, though perfection consists in action, as the philosopher thinks, to note both the active and passive fruition, wherein a Christian's blessedness lies, and the established continuance of both.m Our title will be perfect, and perfectly cleared ; ourselves, and so our capacity, perfected; our possession and security for its perpetuity perfect ; our reception from God perfect; our motion or action in and upon him perfect: and, therefore, our fruition of him, and consequently our happiness, will then be perfect. And this is the estate which we now briefly mention, and shall afterwards more fully describe and open to you, and which we hope, by Jesus Christ, very shortly to enter upon, and for ever to possess.

Sect. 3. II. I call it the most happy estate, to difference it, not only from all seeming happiness, which is to be found in the enjoyment of creatures, but also from all those beginnings, foretastes, earns, first fruits, and imperfect degrees, which we have here in this life, while we are but in the way. It is the chief good which the world hath so much disputed, yet mistaken or neglected, without which the greatest confluence of all other good leaves a man miserable; and with the enjoyment of whichi, all misery is inconsistent. The beginnings, in our present state of grace, as they are a real part of this, may also be called a state of happiness : but, if considered disjunctly by themselves, they deserve not that title, except in a comparative sense, as a Christian is compared to men out of Christ.

Sect. 4. III. I call it the estate of a Christian, where I mean only the sincere,regenerate, sanctified Christian, whose soul, having discovered that excellency in God through Christ, which is not in the world to be found, thereupon closeth with him, and is cordially set upon him. I do not mean every one that, being born where Christianity is the religion of the country, takes it up as other fashions, and is become a Christian he scarcely knows how,

m Beatis non actus proprie, sed status convonit, inquit. Guil. Gibouuf, quod tamen caute intelligendum est.

or why; nor mean I those that profess Christ in words, but in works deny him. I shall describe this Christian to you more plainly afterwards. It is an estate to which many pretend, and that with'much confidence; and because they know it is only the Christians, therefore they all call themselves Christians. But multitudes will at last know, to their eternal sorrow, that this is only the inheritance of the saints, and only those Christians shall possess it, who are not of the world : and, therefore, the world hates them who have forsaken all for Christ, and having taken up the cross, do follow him, with patient waiting, till they inherit the promised glory."

Sect. 5. IV. I add, that this happiness consists in obtaining the end, where I mean the ultimate and principal end, not any end, secundum quid, so called subordinate, or less principal. Not the end of conclusion, in regard of time; for so every man hath his end ; but the end of intention, which sets the soul to work, and is its prime motive in all its actions. That the chief happiness is in the enjoyment of this end, I shall fully show through the whole discourse, and, therefore, here omit. Everlasting wo to that inan who makes that his end here (to the death), which, if he could attain, would not make him happy. Oh, how much doth our everlasting state depend on our right judgment and estimation of our end! *****

Sect. 6. But it is a great doubt with many, whether the obtainment of this glory may be our end; nay, concluded, that it is mercenary; yea, that to make salvation the end of duty, is to be a legalist, and act under a covenant of works, whose tenour is, ‘Do this and live.' And many that think it may be our end, yet think it may not be our ultimate end, for that should be only the glory of God.' I shall answer these particularly and briefly. .

1. It is properly called mercenary, when we expect it as wages for work done;" and so we may not make it our end ; otherwise it is only such a mercenariness as Christ commandeth. For, consider what this end is; it is the fruition of God in Christ: and, if seeking Christ be mercenary, I desire to be so mercenary.

2. It is not a note of a legalist neither : it hath been the ground of a multitude of late mistakes in divinity, to think that

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Col. i. 12; Acts xxvi. 18, and xx. 32; John xv. 19; Matt. x. 38; Luke xiv. 27; Heb. x. 36, and vi. 15.

• Viz. By way of merit strictly so called.

“Do this and live,” is only the language of the covenant of works.P It is true, in some sense it is ; but in other, not. The law of works only saith, “Do this,” that is, perfectly fulfil the whole law, “and live,” that is, for so doing: but the law of grace saith, “Do this and live” too; that is, believe in Christ, seek him, obey him sincerely, as thy Lord and King ; forsake all, suffer all things, and overcome; and by so doing, or in so doing, as the conditions which the Gospel propounds for salvation, you shall live. If you set up the abrogated duties of the law again, you are a legalist : if you set up the duties of the Gospel in Christ's stead, in whole or in part, you err still. Christ hath his place and work; duty hath its place and work too: set it but in its own place, and expect from it but its own part, and you go right; yea, more, how unsavoury soever the phrase may seem, you may, so far as this comes to, trust to your duty and works; that is, for their own part; and many miscarry in expecting no more from them, as to pray, and to expect nothing the more, that is, from Christ, in a way of duty : for if duty have no share, why may we not trust Christ, as well in a way of disobedience as duty ? In a word, you must both use and trust duty in subordination to Christ, but neither use them nor trust thein in co-ordination with him. So that this derogates nothing from Christ: for he hath done, and will

P It was Simon Magus's doctrine, that men are not saved according to relie gious works, but according to his grace, as Irenæus repeateth it.-Lib. ii. advers. Hæres. c. 20.

9 Notandum est alium esse loquendi modum contra Judaismum et contemptum gratiæ, alium contra securitatem et abusum gratiæ. Cum disputatur contra Judaismum sive justitiam operum, ut Paulus in Rom. et alibi fecit, tum docemur sola fide hominem justificari, h. e. Nihil in uobis placere Deo nisi per abnegationem meriti et acceptationem contra doni evangelici. At cum disputatur contra securitatem, et docetur quid respectu amicitiæ divinæ nobis agendum sit, ut Jacobus fecit, et hodie vel maxime necesse est, ut D. Tossanus in disp.contra pseude evangelicos, et alii pie et prudenter jam pridem monuerint; tunc negatur solam fidem sufficere et præcipiuntur omnia quæ quoquo modo prosunt; sive disponant ad fidem, sive in iis consummetur fides : sicut quæ. que res fine et effectibus suis consummatur, &c., sive præsens jam amicitia per illa firmetur iti dissiliat, vel etiam augeatur quod ad effectus aliquos et hoc modo quasi impleatur.-Conrad. Berg. Prax.Cathol.Dissert. vii. r. 991. Saith Pareus : Videtur notandum quod Deus præstationem promissionum suarum videtur à nostra obedientia suspendere: non suspendit, sed illam cum ista con. nectit tanquam cohærentia, &c. Infidelibus promissiones facta sunt irritæ, non Dei culpa, sed ipsorum perfidia : quoniam promissiopes fæderis sunt mutuæ obligationis. Nec ideo sunt incertæ : quoniam Deus in electis obedientiam operatur per gratiam suam immutabiliter.- Par, in Gen, xviii. 19, p. (mihi) 1163.


« AnteriorContinuar »