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by faith in him, as a poor Turk doth Mahomet, for a room in his beastly paradise. How common and fearful a thing is this in this land and city!
When we come to deal with a poor awakened sinner, who seeth his lost state, and that he is condemned by the law of God; we find the same principles working in him ; for they are natural, and therefore universal in all men, and hardly rooted out of any.
We find him sick and wounded: we tell him where his help lies, in Jesus Christ; what his proper work is, to apply to him by faith. What is his answer ? “ Alas! saith the man, I have ben and I am so vile a sin“ner, my heart is so bad, and so full of plagues and corrup“ tions, that I cannot think of believing on Christ. But if I “had but repentance, and some holiness in heart and life, and "such and such gracious qualifications, I would then believe:" when indeed this his answer is as full of nonsense, ignorance, and pride, as words can contain or express. They imply, 1. “ If I were pretty well recovered, I would employ the Physi“cian, Christ. 2. That there is some hope to work out " these good things by myself, without Christ. 3. And when “ I come to Christ with a price in my hand, I shall be wel
4. That I can come to Christ when I will.” So ignorant are people naturally of faith in Jesus Christ; and no words or warnings repeated, nor plainest instructions, can beat into mens heads and hearts, that the first coming to Christ by faith, or believing on him, is not a believing we shall be saved by him ; but a believing on him, that we may be saved by him. And it is less to be wondered at, that ignorant people do not, when so many learned men will not understand it.
When we deal with a proud, self-righteous hypocrite, we find the same principles of enmity against the grace of the gospel. A profane person is not so enraged at the rebukes of sin from the law, as these Pharisees are at the discovery of their ruin by unbelief. They cannot endure to have their idol of self-righteousness touched ; neither by the spirituality of God's law, that condemns all men, and all their works, while out of Christ; nor by the gospel, which reveals another righteousness than their own, by which they must be saved: but they
will have God's ark of the covenant to stand as a captive in the temple of their Dagon of self-righteousness, until the vengeance of God's despised covenant overthrow both the tema ple, and idol, and worshippers.
There is not a minister that dealeth seriously with the souls of men, but he finds an Arminian scheme of justification in every unrenewed heart. And is it not sadly to be bewailed, that divines should plead that same cause, that we daily find the devil pleading in the hearts of all natural men and that instead of casting down, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. they should be making defences for such strong holds, as must either be levelled with the dust, or the rebel that holds them out must eternally perish?
It is no bad way of studying the gospel, and of attaining more light into it, that may be used in dealing particularly with the consciences of all sorts of men, as we have occasion, More may be learned this way, than out of many large books. And if ministess would deal more with their own consciences, and the consciences of others, in and about these points, that are moșt properly cases of conscience, we should find an increase of gospel-light, and a growing fitness to preach aright; as Paul did, 2 Cor. iv. 2. By manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
Let us keep up, in our hearts and doctrine, a reverend regard of the holy law of God, and suffer not a reflecting, disa paraging word or thought of it. The great şalvation is contrived with a regard to it; and the satisfaction given to the law by the obedience and death of Christ our surely, hath made it glorious and honourable, more than all the holiness of saints on earth, or of the glorified in heaven, and than all the torments of the damned in hell; though they do also magnify the law, and make it honourable. But if men will teach, that the law, and obedience unto it, whether perfect or sincere, is the righteousness we must be found in, and stand in, in our pleading for justification ; they neither understand what they say, nor whereof they afirm, 1 Tim. i. 7. They become debtors to it, and Christ profits them nothing, Gal. ii. 21. and v. 2, 5. And we know what will become of that man, that hath his debts to the law to pay, and hath no interest in the surety's payment. Yet many such offer their own silver, which, what
ever coin of man be upon it, is reprobate, and rejected both by law and gospel.
Let us carefully keep the bounds clear betwixt the law and gospel; which “ whosoever doth, is a right perfect divine," saith blessed Luther, in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians : a book that hath more plain sound gospel, than many volumes of some other divines. Let us keep the law as far from the business of justification, as we would keep condemnation, its contrary. For the law and condemnation are inseparable, but by the intervention of Jesus Christ our surety, Gal. iii. 10,- 14. But in the practice of holiness, the fulfilled law given by Jesus Christ to believers as a rule, is of great and good use to them; as hath been declared.,
Lastly, Be exact in your communion and church-administrations. If any walk otherwise than it becometh the gospel, if any abuse the doctrine of grace to licentiousness; draw the rod of discipline against them the more severely, that ye know so many wait for your halting, and are ready to speak evil of the ways and truths of God.
The wisdom of God sometimes orders the different opi. nions of men about' his truth, for the clearing and confirming of it; while each side watch the extremes that others may be in hazard of running into. And if controversy be fairly and meekly managed this way, we may differ, and plead our opinions, and both love and edify them we oppose, and may be loved and edified by them in their opposition.
I know no fear possesseth our side, but that of Arminianism. Let us be fairly secured from that; and as we ever hated true Antinomianism, so we are ready to oppose it with all our might. But having such grounds of jealousy as I have named, (and it is well known that I have not named all), men will allow us to fear, that this noise of Antinomianism is raised, and any advantage they have by the rashness and imprudence of some ignorant men, is improved to a severe height, by some, on purpose to shelter Arminianism in its growth, and to advance it further amongst us; which we pray and hope the Lord will prevent.
THIS paper presented to thee, was in its first design intended as a private letter to a particular brother, as the title bears. How it comes to be published, I shall not trouble the world with an account of. I thirik, lat Dr Owen's ex. cellent book of justification, and Mr Murshall's book of the mystery of sanctification by faith in Jesus Christ, are such vindications and confirmations of the Protestant doctrine, against which I fear no citectual opposition. Dr Owen's name is so savoury and famous, his soundness in the faith, and ability in learning for its defence, so justly reputed, that no sober man will attempt him. Mr Marshall was a holy retired person; and is only known to the most of us by his book published lately. The book is a deep, practical, well-jointed discourse; and requires a more than ordinary attention in the reading of it with pront. And if it be singly used, I look
upon it as one of the most useful books the world hath seen for many years. Its excellency is, that it leads the serious reader directly to Jesus Christ, and cuts the sinews and overturns the foundation of the new divinity, by the same argument of gospel-holiness by which many attempt to cverturn the old. And as it hath already the seal of high approbation by many judicious misristers and Christians that have read it; so I fear not but it will stand firm as a rock against all opposition, and will prove good seed, and food, and light and life, to many hereafter.
All my design in publishing this, is, plainly and briefly, to give some information to ordinary plain people, who either want time or judgment to peruse large and learned tractates, about this point of justification, wherein every one is equally concerned.
The theme of justification hath suffered greatly by this, that many have employed their heads and pens, who never had their hearts and consciences exercised about it. And they must be frigid and dreaming speculations that all such are taken up with, whose consciences are not enlivened with heir pe rsonal concern in it.
These things are undoubted: 1. That as it is a point of highest concern to every man, so it is to the whole doctrine of Christianity. All the great fundamentals of Christian truth, center in this of justification. The Trinity of persons in the God-head; the incarnation of the only begotten of the Father; the satisfaction paid to the law and justice of God, for the sins of the world, by his obedience, and sacrifice of himself in that flesh he assumed; and the divine authority of the scriptures, which reveal all this; are all straight lines of truth, that center in this doctrine of the justification of a sinner by the imputation and application of that satisfaction. No justification without a righteousness; no righteousness can be, but what answers fully and perfectly the holy law of God; no such righteousness can be performed, but by a divine person; no benefit can accrue to a sinner by it, unless it be some way his, and applied to him; no application can be made of this, but by faith in Jesus Christ. And as the connection with, and dependence of this truth upon the other great mysteries of divine truth, is evident in the plain proposal of it; so the same hath been sadly manifest in this, that the forsaking of the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ's righteousness, hath been the first step of apostasy in many, who have not stopped till they revolted from Christianity itself. Hence so many Arminians, and their chief leaders too, turned Socinians. From denying justification by Christ's righteousness, they proceeded to the denying of his satisfaction; from the denial of his proper satisfaction, they went on to the denying of the divinity of his person.
And that man's charity is excessive that will allow to such blasphemers of the Son of God, the name of Christians. Let not then the zeal of any so fundamental a point of truth, as that is of the justification of a sinner by faith in Christ, be charged with folly. It is good to be always zealously affected in a good thing : and this is the best of things.
2. It is undoubted that there is a mystery in this matter of justification. As it is God's act, it is an act of free grace and decp wisdom. Herein justice and mercy kiss one another in saving the sinner. Here appears God-man, with the righteousness of God, and this applied and imputed to sinful