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the Son hath also testified his. “ Inherit;” no longer bondmen, nor servants only, nor children under age, who differ not in possession, but only in title from servants; (Gal. iv. 1, 5–7;) but now we are heirs of the kingdom, (Jam. ii. 5,) coheirs with Christ. “The kingdom ;' no less than the kingdom. Indeed, to be a King of kings, and Lord of lords, is our Lord's own proper title; but to be kings and reign with him, is ours. The fruition of this kingdom, is as the fruition of the light of the sun, each have the whole, and the rest nevertheless.“ Prepared for you;” God is the alpha as well as the omega of our blessedness, Eternal love hath laid the foundation. He prepared the kingdom for us, and then prepared us for the kingdom. This
is the preparation of his counsel and decree, for the execution whereof Christ was yet to make a further preparation. “For you;” not for believers only in general, who without individual persons are nobody ; nor only for you, upon condition of your believing, but for you personally and determinately, for all the conditions were also prepared for you. “From the foundation of the world;" not only from the promise after Adam's fall, as some, but, as the phrase usually signifieth though not always, from eternity. These were the eternal thoughts of God's love towards us, and this is it he purposed for us. (Matt. xxv. 20, 21, 34, 35; Rev. ii. and iii.)
But a greater difficulty ariseth in our way.m In what sense is our improvement of our talent, our well-doing, our overcoming, our harbouring, visiting, feeding, &c., Christ, in his little ones, alleged as a reason of our coronation and glory? Is not it the purchased possession and mere fruit of Christ's blood? If every man must be judged according to his works, and receive according to what they have done in the flesh, whether good or evil; and God “will render to every man according to his deeds ;” (Rom. ii, 6, 7 ;) and give eternal life to all men, if they patiently continue in well-doing, and give right to the tree of life, (Rev. xxii. 14,) and entrance into the city, to the doers of his commandments : and if the last absolving sentence. be the
m See what is after cited in cap. vii. sect. 2. In die judicii quoniam fædus gratiæ vim legis seu juris obtinet (promulgatum est enim in toto orbe terrarum per præcones iduneos) id unum probandum erit: nimirum, nos habuisse conditionem fæderis gratiæ, scilicet fidem. Itaque proferenda erunt in medio opera; prescrtim charitatis tanquam illius conditionis, hoc est, fidei, effecta atque argumenta demonstrativa, ut vulgo loquuntur à posteriori.-D. Jo. Placeus, in Thes. Salmur. vol. 1, p. 31; Lege et Thesin, 43-45, of that most sulid dispute of Justification.
completing of our justification, and so “ the doers of the law be justified;"(Rom. ii. 13;) why, then, what is become of free grace; or justification by faith only; of the sole righteousness of Christ to make us accepted? Then, the papists say rightly, That we are righteous by our personal righteousness; and good works concur to justification.
Answ. I did not think to have said so much upon controversy; but because the difficulty is very great, and the matter very weighty, as being near the foundation, I have in another book added to what I said before, certain brief positions, containing my thoughts on this subject; which may tend to the clearing of these and many other difficulties hereabouts, to which I refer you.
But that the plain, constant language of Scripture may not be perverted or disregarded, I only premise these advertisements by way of caution, till thou come to read the fuller answer.
1. Let not the names of men draw thee one way or other, nor make thee partial in searching for truth; dislike the men for their unsound doctrine ; but call not doctrine unsound, because it is theirs ; nor sound, because of the repute of the writer.
2. Know this, that as an unhumbled soul is far apter to give too much to duty and personal righteousness, than to Christ; so an humble, self-denying Christian is as likely to err on the other hand, in giving less to duty than Christ hath given, and laying all the work from himself on Christ, for fear of robbing Christ of the honour; and so much to look at Christ without him, and think he should look at nothing in himself: that he forgets Christ within him. As Luther said of Melancthon's self-denying humility, “ Soli Deo omnia deberi tam obstinate asserit, ut mihi plane videatur saltem in hoc errare, quod Christum ipse fingat longius abesse cordi suo quam sit revera—Certe nimis nullus in hoc est Philippus.” He so constantly ascribes all to God, that to me he seems directly to err, at least in this, that he feigneth or imagineth Christ to be further off from his own heart than indeed he is. Certainly he is too much nothing in this.
* Read Mr. Rich. Hooker's Discourse of Justification,' how far works concur: and Mr. Mede's Sermon on Luke ii. 13, 14; and on Matt. vii. 21 ; and on Acts x, 4; and on Nehem. xiii. 14, 22; and Matt. x. 41. And, Davenant de Justitia Habituali et Actuali, most fully and solidly. Agnitionem accepit humo boni et mali; bonum est autem obedire Deo et credere ei, et custodire ejus præceptum, et hoc est vita hominis. Quemadmodum non obedire Deo malum, et hoc est mors ejus.--Iræneus adv. Hæreses, 1. iv, c. 76,
3. Our giving to Christ more of the work than Scripture doth, or rather our ascribing it to him out of the Scripture way and sense, doth but dishonour, and not honour him ;o and depress, but not exalt his free grace; while we deny the inward, sanctifying work of his Spirit, and extol his free justification, which are equal fruits of his merit, we make him an imperfect Saviour.
4. But to arrogate to ourselves any part of Christ's prerogative, is most desperate of all, and no doctrine more directly overthrows the Gospel, almost, than that of justification by the merits of our own, or by works of the law.
And thus we have, by the line and plummet of Scripture, fathomed this fourfold stream, and seen the Christian safely landed in paradise ; and, in this four-wheeled fiery chariot, conveyed honourably to his rest. Now, let us a little further view those mansions, consider his privileges, and see whether there be any glory like unto this glory; read and judge, but not by outward appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
The next thing to be handled is, the excellent properties of this rest, and admirable attributes, which, as so many jewels, shall adorn the crown of the saints. And first, before we speak of them particularly, let us try this happiness by the rules of the philosophers, and see whether they will not approve it the most transcendently good : not as if they were a sufficient touchstone, but that both the worldling and the saint may see, when any thing stands up in competition with this glory for the pre-eminence, reason itself will conclude against it. Now, in order of good, the philosopher will tell you, that by these rules you may know which is best.
Sect. I. 1. That which is desired and sought for itself, is better
• Take heed lest thou love the Gospel, because it hath always glad tidings, and thou canst not abide the precepts or threatenings, because they speak hard things to thee. Tbere may be a carnal gospeller, as well as a popish legalist.Mr. Burgess, of Justification, lect. xxviii. p. 256. Dicimus Deum judicare secundum opera, quia prout illa fuerint vel bona vel mala, aut æternam vitam consequemur, aut æternam damnationem. Sed non inde sequitur, opera causas esse nostræ salutis.-Pet. Mart, in Rom. ii. p. (mihi) 88.
than that which is desired for something else: or the end, as such, is better than all the means. This concludeth for heaven's pre-eminence. All things are but means to that end. If any thing here be excellent, it is because it is a step to that; and the more conducible thereto, the more excellent. The salvation of our soul's is the end of our faith, our hope, our diligence, of all mercies, of all ordinances, as before is proved. It is not for themselves, but for this rest, that all these are desired and used. (1 Pet. v. 9; 1 Thess. v. 8; 2 Tim. ii. 10.) Praying is not the end of praying, nor preaching the end of preaching, nor believing the end of believing. These are but the way to him, who is the way to this rest. Indeed, Christ himself is both the way and the rest, the means and the end, singularly desirable as the way, but yet more as the end. (John xiv. 6.) If any thing that ever you saw or enjoyed, appear lovely and desirable, then must its end be so much more.
Sect. II. 2. In order of good, the last is still the best; for all good tends to perfection. The end is still the last enjoyed, though first intended. Now, this rest is the saints' last estate, Their beginning was as a grain of mustard-seed, but their perfection will be an estate high and flourishing. They were taken with David from the sheep-fold, to reign as kings for ever. Their first day was a day of small things, but their last will be an everlasting perfection. They sowed in tears, but they reap in joy. If their prosperity here, their res secunde, were desirable, much more their res ultimæ, their final blessedness. (Psal. cxxvi. 5.) Rondeletius saw a priest at Rome, who would fall down in an ecstasy whenever he heard those words of Christ, Consummatum est, “It is finished ;” but observing him careful in his fall ever to lay his head in a soft place, he, suspecting the dissimulation, by the threats of a cudgel quickly recovered him. But, methinks, the forethought of that consummation and last eatate we spake of, should bring a considering Christian into such an unfeigned ecstasy, that he should even forget the things of the flesh, and no care or fear should raise him out of it. Surely, that is well which ends well, and that is good which is good at last; and, therefore, heaven must needs be good.
Sect. III. 3. Another rule is this : That whose absence or loss is the worst or the greatest evil, must needs itself be best, or the greatest good : and is there a greater loss than to lose this rest? If you could ask the restless souls that are shut out of it, they
P Rondeletius, in Method. Curan. c. de Catalep. p. 98.
would tell you more sensibly than I can; for as none know the sweetness like those who enjoy it, so none know the loss like those who are deprived of it. Wicked men are here senseless of the loss, because they know not what they lose, and have the delights of flesh and sense to make them up, and make them forget it: but when they shall know it to their torment, as the saints do to their joy, and when they shall see men; from the east and west, sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God, and themselves shut out; (Luke xiii. 29 ;) when they shall know both what they have lost, and for what, and why they lost it, surely there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. He that loses riches may have more, and he that loseth honour may repair it; or if not, yet he is not undone. He that loseth life may save it; but what becomes of him that loseth God; and who, or what, shall repair his loss ? (Mark viii. 35.) We can bear the loss of any thing below : if we have it not, we can either live without it, or die, and live 'eternally without it: but can we do so without God in Christ? (Matt. vi. 33.) As God gives us outward things as auctaries, as overplus, or above measure, into our bargain; so when he takes them from us he takes away our superfluities, rather than our necessaries, and pareth but our nails, and toucheth not the quick. But can we so spare our part in glory? You know whose question it is, “ What shall it profit a man to win all the world, and lose his own soul?” Will it prove a saving match? Or, “What shall a man give for the ransom of his soul ?” (Matt. xvi. 26.) Christians, compare but all your losses with that loss, and all your sufferings with that suffering; and I hope you will lay your hand upon your mouth, and cease your repining thoughts for ever.
Sect. IV. 4. Another rule is this : That which cannot be given by man,'or taken away by man, is ever better than that which can; and then I hope heaven will carry it; for, who hath the key of the everlasting treasures, and who is the disposer of the dignities of the saints ? Who saith, " Come ye blessed, and go ye cursed ?” Is it the voice of God, or of mere man? If “ every good and perfect gift cometh from above, from the Father of lights,” (James i. 17,) whence, then, cometh the gift of eternal light with the Father ? Whose privilege soever it is to be key-keepers of the visible churclies here below; sürely no mere man, but the man of sin, will challenge the keys of that kingdom, and undertake to shut out, or take in, or to dispose