Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

do all his work perfectly, and enable his people to do theirs : yet he is not properly said to do it himself ;" he believes not, repents not, &c., but worketh these in them: that is, enableth and exciteth them to do it. No man must look for more from duty than God hath laid upon it; and so much we may and must,

Sect.7. II, If I should quote all the scriptures that plainly prove this, I should transcribe a great part of the Bible: I will bring none out of the Old Testament; for I know not whether their authos rity will here be acknowledged; but I desire the contrary minded, whose consciences are tender of abusing Scripture, and wresting it from the plain sense, to study what tolerable interpretation can be given of these following places, which will not prove that life and salvation may be, yea, must be the end of duty. “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John v. 39, 40.) “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matt. xi, 12.) “Strive to enter in ag the strait gate.” (Matt. vịi, 13; Luke xiii, 24.) “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil. ii, 12.) “To them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life. Glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good,” &c. (Rom, ii, 7, 10.) “So run that you may obtain.” (1 Cor, ix. 24.) “A man is not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (2 Tim. ii. 5.) “If we suffer with him, we shall reign with him.” (2 Tim. ii. 12.) “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Tim. vi. 12.) “ That they do good works, lay up a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Tim, vi, 18, 19.) “ If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead ; I press toward the mark for the prize of the highcalling,” &c. (Phil. iii. 14.) “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and enter in by the gates into the city.” (Rev, xxii. 14.) “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit, &c. For I was hungry, and ye,” &c. (Matt. xxv.) “Blessed are the pure in heart, &c, They that hunger and thirst, &c, Be glad and rejoice, for great is your reward in heaven." (Matt. ix.) “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke xi. 28.) Yea, the escaping of hell is a right end of duty to a believer. “Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should

1 Christ believed for us legally, or so far as the law required faith, but not as it is the condition or command of the new covenant.

ES

seem to come short of it.”. (Heb. iv. 1.) « Fear him that is able to destroy both soul and body in hell; yea, whatsoever others say, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Luke xii. 5.) “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away.” (1 Cor. ix. 27.) Multitudes of scriptures and Scripture arguments might be brought, but these may suffice to any that believe Scripture."

Sect. 8. III. For those that think this rest may be our end, but not our ultimate end, that must be God's glory only : I will not 11 gainsay them. Only let them consider, what God hath joined, 1 man must not separate. The glorifying himself, and the saving of his people, as I judge, are not two decrees with God, but one decree, to glorify his mercy in their salvation ; though we must say, that one is the end of the other : so I think they should be with us together intended. We should aim at the glory of God, not alone considered, without our salvation, but in our salvation. Therefore, I know no warrant for putting such a question to ourselves, as some do, Whether we could be content to be damned, so God were glorified? Christ hath put no such question to us, nor bid us put such to ourselves. Christ had rather that men would inquire after their true willingness to be saved, than their willingness to be damned. Sure I am, Christ himself is offered to faith in terms for the most part respecting the welfare of the sinner, more than his own abstracted glory. He would be received as a Saviour, Mediator, Redeemer, Reconciler, Intercessor, &c. And all the precepts of Scripture, being backed with so many promises and threatenings, every one intended of God as a motive to us, do imply as much. If any think they should be distinguished as two several ends, and God's glory preferred; so they separate them not asynder, I contend not. But I had rather make that high pitch, which Gibieuf and many others insist on, to be the mark at which we should all aim, than the mark by which every weak Christian should try himself.

s I speak the more of this, because I find that many moderate men, who think they have found the mean between the antinomian and the legalist, yet do foully err on this point. As Mr. F., in the Marrow of Modern Divinity,' a book applauded by so many eminent divines, in their commendatory epistles, before it : and because the doctrine " That we must act from life, but not for life; or in thankfulness to him that hath saved us, b:it not for the obtaining of salvation,' is of such dangerous consequence, that I would advise all men to take heed of it, that regard their salvation. 1 Cor. xv. ult. ; 2 Cor. iv. 17, and y, 10, 11; 2 Pet. i. 10, 11. I here undertake to prove that this fore-mentioned doctrine, reduced tu practice, will certainly be the damnation of the practiser : but I hope many antinomians do not practise their own doctrine.

on must be

yation. Thus, drinking

Sect. 9. IV. In the definition, I call a Christian's happiness, the end of his course, thereby meaning, as Paul, (2 Tim. iv, 7,) the whole scope of his life. For as salvation may, and must be, our end, so not only the end of our faith, though that principally, but of all our actions; for as whatsoever we do, must be done to the glory of God, whether eating, drinking, &c., so must they all be done to our salvation. That we may believe for salvation, some will grant, who yet deny that we may do, or obey for it. I would it were well understood, for the clearing of many controversies, what the Scripture usually means by faith. Doubtless, the Gospel takes it not so strictly, as philosophers do; but, in a larger sense, for our accepting Christ for our King and Saviour. To believe in his name, and to receive him, are all one:U but we must receive him as King, as well as Saviour : therefore, believing doth not produce heart-subjection as a fruit, but contains it as an essential part :'except we say, that faith receives Christ as a Saviour first, and so justifies before it take him for King, as some think ; which is a maimed, unsound, and no Scripture faith. I doubt not but the soul more sensibly looks at salvation from Christ, than government by him, in the first work : yet, whatever precedaneous act there may be, it never conceives of Christ, and receives him to justification, nor knows him with the knowledge which is eternal life, till it conceive of him, and know him, and receive him for Lord and King, Therefore there is not such a wide difference between faith and Gospel obedience, or works, as some judge. Obedience to the Gospel is put for faith ; and disobedience put for unbelief, ofttimes in the New Testament. But of this I have spoken more fully elsewhere. · V. Lastly: I make happiness to consist in this end obtained ; 'for it is not the mere promise of it that immediately makes perfectly happy, nor Christ's mere purchase, nor our mere seeking, but the apprehending and obtaining, which sets the crown on the saint's head. When we can say of our work, as Christ of the price paid, “It is finished ;” and as Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course : henceforth is laid up for ' * The scriptures before cited, do prove both. - u John i. 12.

v See more of this bereafter. x In this point of works concurring in justification, I am wholly of Davenant's judgment, De Justicia Actuali. I will not speak so harshly for works, nor in describing faith, as Mr. Mead's sermon doth : yet I believe he meant orthodoxly. See Diodate's notes on James ii., and abundauce more cited in my 'Confession.'

me a crown of salvation.” (2 Tim. iv. 7,8.) O that we did all heartily and strongly believe, that we shall never be truly happy till then. Then should we not so dote upon a seeming happiness here.

CHAP. III.

What this Rest presupposeth. SECT. I. For the clearer understanding yet of the nature of this rest, you must know:

1. There are some things necessarily presupposed to it:
2. Some things really contained in it.
1. All these things are presupposed to this rest.

1. A person in motion, seeking rest. This is man here in the way; angels and glorified spirits have it already: and the devils and damned are past hope.

Sect. II. 2. An end toward which he moveth for rest: which ! end must be sufficient for his rest; else, when it is obtained, it deceiveth him. This can be only God, the chief good. He that taketh any thing else for his happiness, is out of the way the first step. The principal damning sin, is to make any thing besides God, our end or rest. And the first true saving act, is to choose God only for our end and happiness.

Sect. III. 3. A distance is presupposed from this end ; else there can be no motion towards it. This sad distance is the woful case of all mankind since the fall : it was our God that we principally lost, and were shut out of his gracious presence, y Though some talk of losing only a temporal, earthly felicity; sure I am, it was God that we fell from, and him we lost, and since are said to be without him in the world ; and there would have been no death, but for sin; and to enjoy God without death, is neither an earthly, nor temporal enjoyment: nay, in all men at age, here is supposed, not only a distance from God, but also a contrary motion : for sin hath not overthrown our being, nor taken away our motion : but our well-being, and the rectitude of our motion. When Christ comes with regenerating, saving grace, he finds no man sitting still, but all posting to eternal ruin, and making haste towards hell; till, by conviction, he first brings them to a stand; and by conversion, turn first their hearts,

y The only cause of this evil is aversion from good; as a coachman, if he let the horses run headlong over banks, or which way they will, &c.—Athanas, lib, i, cont. Gent.

and then their lives, sincerely to himself. Even those that are sanctified and justified from the womb, are yet first the children of Adam, and so of wrath : at least, in order of nature, if not in time.

Sect. IV. 4. Here is presupposed knowledge of the true ultimate end, and its excellency, and a serious intending it. For so the motion of the rational creature proceedeth : an unknown end is no end; it is a contradiction. We cannot make that our end, which we know not ; nor that our chief end, which we know not, or judge not to be the chief good. An unknown good moves not to desire or endeavour : therefore, where it is not truly known that God is this end, and containeth all good in him; there is no obtaining rest in an ordinary, known way, whatsoever may be in ways that by God are kept secret,

Sect. V. 5. Here is presupposed, not only a distance from this rest, but also the true knowledge of this distance. If a man have lost his way, and know it not, he seeks not to return; if he lose his gold, and know it not, he seeks it not : therefore, they that never knew they were without God, never yet enjoyed him; and they that never knew they were naturally and actually in the way to hell, did never yet know the way to heaven. Nay, there will not only be a knowledge of this distance, and lost estate, but also affections answerable. Can a man be brought to find himself hard by the brink of hell, and not tremble? or, to find he hath lost his God and his soul, and not cry out, “I am undone;' or can such a stupid soul be so recovered ? This is the sad case of many thousands, and the reason why so few obtain this rest: they will not be convinced, or made sensible, that they are, in point of title, distant from it; and in point of practice, con: trary to it. They have lost their God, their souls, their rest, and do not know it, nor will believe him that tells them so. Whoever travelled towards a place which he thought he was

z Bonum illud quod est finis hominis, operatis malum, bonum est particu. lare, non universale et summum. Ut Augustin. Peccare est deficere ab eo quod summum est, ad id quod minus est. Prolabitur et propria imbecillitate et depravatione deturbatur ac dejicitur ad bonum particulare, et infe. rius, frustra ibi quærens rationem summi boni.-Gibieuf. 1. 2. de Liber. c. 20. séct. 2. p. 424. Nemo felices dixerit, quibus non est fælicitatis intellectus : ut Senec. De Vit. Beat.' c. 5.

a I speak all this of men of age, converted by the word, not of those sanctified in infancy.

b I mean those that were converted at years of discretion, and received not holiness insisenbly in their infancy, as I doubt not but many thousands do,

« AnteriorContinuar »