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THE WHOLE 



WORKS 

OF THE - 

REV. MR. JOHNTLAVEL, 

LATE MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL AT DARTMOUTH, DEVON. 



TO WHICH IS ADDED, 

AN ALPHABETICAL TABLE 

OF THE PRINCIPAL MATTERS CONTAINED IN THE WHOLE. 



IN SIX VOLUMES. 



VOL. II. 



LONDON: 

PRINTED FOR W. BAYNES AND SON, 23 & 54, PATERNOSTER- ROW; 
WAUGH AND INNES, EDINBURGH, AND M. KEENE, DUBLIN. 

1820. 



I 

THE (LOGIC 



METHOD OF GRACE * 



IN THE 



GOSPEL-REDE3IPTIOX 



THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

2 7 o the Worshipful John Upton, o/" Lupton, Esq. and the most 
accompli shed and virtuous Lady, his dear Consort, the Author 
wishes Grace ', Mercy, and Peace. 

HONOURED AND WORTHY FRIENDS, 

AT was a comfortable expression, which Ambrose used in his fu- 
neral oration, at the death of Theodosius ; " * That though 
" he were gone, yet he was not wholly gone ; for he had left 
* ; Honorius, with others of his children, behind him, in whom 
iC Theodosius still lived. 1 " Your renowned and worthy ancestors 
are gone, yet (blessed be God) they are not wholly gone ; whilst 
the prudence, piety, and publicness of their spirits, still live and 
nourish in you, the top branch of a renowned and religious fa- 
mily. It is a great truth, which Philo Judseus recommends to the 
observation of all posterity, " f That it is not a natural descent 
" from the most honourable and illustrious progenitors, nor the 



' Tkedosius tantus imperator recessit a nobis, sed non totus recesait ; reliquit enini nobis 
libera* suos, in quibus debevues cum agnoscere. Ambros. in obit. Theod. 

* To/? 6s u/jj)/x<jt rr,v zvysvsictv tug /xsy/s'Oi/ ayo&ov x,ai (js-yaJhw ayaQuv airtov, 
a fiilptwg itiflifitireoVf z: rrpwrov psv otovrat rag z% irakou*g%itrw zou na\awdO(*m 
suytvsic, /x/jrs ruv trpoyovuv a<p w a-jyjsi ysvsff&ai. — BaXr.diig yap o &20; civ, 
y^i^brr\}(x xai (piXccv&po'Xiav -/.at crap 7j/x/v rxQ tdovdacdai, vsuv a%ion'ge'TtSsgov srrt 
yr,g ay sug£ "koyttffut xpeirla yag vug ayaK/xalo(poPzi to ayudo',, xav avrtgwa 
rtvig rm ,n>v\ yevactfAhm coxiag 7, yukzsm axgojg. Philo Jiidccus <ztoi Euysvaa:, 
a book fit for the hands of all gentlemen, translated by Laurentius Ilum- 
phredus in his excellent tract de Kouilitate. 

Vol. II. A 



4 THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

" greatest affluence of riches and pleasures that makes a man ei- 
" ther honourable or happy ; but the habitation of God in his 
" soul, as in his temple, tho" (saith he) those that never tasted re- 
" hgion, nor have seen its glory, will not credit this assertion." 
" The soul which is filled with God, (saith * Plotinus) and brings 
u forth the beautiful fruits of righteousness, this is the truly noble 
"soul:" Our new birth makes us more honourable than our na- 
tural birth, let our birth-right dignities be what they will. The 
children of nobles are, by nature, the children of wrath, even 
as others : Omnis Sanguis concolor, all blood is of one colour : it is 
all tainted in Adam, and mingled together in his posterity. " There 
" is no king, saith -j- Seneca, which rose not from a servant ; there 
" is no servant which rose not from a Mng : these things have been 
" blended, and jumbled to and fro in a long tissue of changes, 
" ever directed by an all- wise Providence. ,, 

But though the privileges of natural birth signify nothing as to 
eternal salvation, yet in civil and political respects and considera- 
tions, those that by birth, education, or estate, possess an higher 
station in the world, differ from the vulgar, as stars of greater mag- 
nitude and lusture : their interest and influence are great in these 
things, and the welfare of kingdoms J greatly depends upon 
them. 

It is therefore a great design of the enemy of mankind, to cor- 
rupt persons of eminent rank and quality both in religion and mor- 
ality ; and by their influence and example, to infect and poison 
the whole body politic ; and his success herein deserves to be 
greatly lamented and bewailed. Persons of eminency are more 
especially § obliged to shun base and sordid actions. Hierom pro- 
fessed || he saw nothing desirable in nobility, except this, that such 
persons are bound by a certain kind of necessity, not to degenerate 
from the probity, or stain the glory of their ancestors. But alas ! 



* 'i-jyr, vrktigudiKfa Qm yzvva ro '/.u}.?.o;, yzvvct rr t v 5/xa/otfw/jv. Plotinus. 

| Neminem regem non ex tends esse oriundum, neminem servum non ex regibus : omnia 
ista longa varietas ?niscnit, et sursum deorsum Jbrluna versavit. Sen. Ep. 44. 

\ Who manages the reins of government. Mho is present at, and presides over, 
both private and public matters, but persons of eminent rank and quality ? Who 
moderates in the senate, presides in courts, commands at home and abroad ? Chief 
men and nobles surely. Who command and arrange, act and counteract, manage 
and canvass all affairs, who make laws and rescind them, who govern the state in 
the time of peace, and command the forces in time of war, but great men and no- 
bles ? No wonder that the management of public affairs be committed to him, 
who both by personal merit and renown of his ancestors hath recommended himself, 
to the good report end esteem of mankind. Laurent. Humphred on Nobility. 

§ In maxima Jbrtuna, minima est Ucentia. Exalted stations Ought to hedge up the 
way of those who fill them, from every vicious practice. Salust. 

\ Xihil aliud video in nobilitate apjietmdum, nisi qiwd nobiles auadam necessitate con- 
stnnguntur, ne ab anqwrum probitate degenerent, Hieron. 



THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 5 

how many in our times have not only exposed Christianity to con- 
tempt, but obscured * the glory of their own families, and the 
kino-dom in which they had their birth and breeding; so that if 
you will take right marks of your way to heaven you will have 
little direction from those of your own rank. As *f- mariners take 
their direction at sea, by looking up to the heavens, so must you. 
In this general corruption it is very hard to escape infection; 
many (as Salvian complained) \ are compelled to be evil, lest they 
should be accounted vile, and incur the offence of God, to avoid 
the slights and censures of men. Although there is no more rea- 
son why they should be offended at the rational and religious plea- 
sures you and other pious gentlemen take in the ways of godliness, 
than there is, that you should envy the sinful pleasures they take 
in the ways of wickedness. It was an excellent apology that Ter- 
tullian made for the Christians of his time, against the Gentiles. 
" Wherein (saith § he) do we offend you, if we believe there are 
" other pleasures ? if we will not partake with you in your de- 
" lights, it is only for our own injury : we reject your pleasures, 
" and you are not delighted with ours.'' 1 

But by how much the infection spreads and prevails among those 
of your order, by so much the more we have reason to value you, 
and all those that remain sound and untainted, both in religion and 
morality, as persons worthy of singular respect and honour : and 
blessed be God there is yet a number of such left. 

Sir, It was a special happiness, which Chrysostom earnestly re- 
commended to persons of quality, that they would so order their 
conversations, that their parents might rather glory in them, than 
they in their parents ; " Otherwise (saith || he) it is better to rise 

* God grant that the end proposed may be obtained, that the ancient and truly 
venerable nobility may at length return, who by the honour of prudence and know- 
ledge, and lustre of renowned deeds, may obscure the same progenitors, and quite 
remove and wipe off the stain brought on its august name. Humph, on Nobility. 

f In the same manner, you ought to seek the path of life, as the mariners at 
sea seek the designed course of their ships, who, if they observe not some luminary 
in the heavens, steer but an uncertain course, but whosoever is resolved to keep iu 
the right path of life, must not look down to the earth but to heaven ; and (to speak 
more plainly) he ought not to follow men but God; therefore if thou woulde^t al- 
ways keep thine eyes fixed on heaven, and observe the sun whence he ariseth, and 
take him as thy guide, thy feet of themselves will keep straight in the way. Lactant. 
lib. 1 . c. 8. 

\ Mali esse coguntur, ne viles habeantur, Salv. de Gubernat. 

§ Quo vos offendimus i>i alias preesumitmis vrfuptates? si oblectari nolnmvs, nostra inju- 
ria est ; reprobamus quceplacent vobis> nee vos nostra delectant. Tertul. Apolog. adv. Gcnr. 

|| Melius est de contemptibili Jieri durum, quam de claro genere contemptibilem esse, 
Chrysost. in Mat. 4. Nee Jieri potest quia hunc comiletur ignobilitos etiamsi vel uvis, id 
proavis natus sil vita inculpatis, qui ab curum studu's alienvs est, segue longissime linn die/is, 
lumfactis a nobilitate disjunct. Nor can aught but ignominy pursue the wretch, who, 
though nobly descended, bespatters the escutcheon of his worthy ancestors by his an- 
worthy conduct. 

A 2 



6 THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

" to honour from a contemptible parent, than to be contemptible 
" from an honourable parent j" but blessed be God, you and your 
worthy ancestors reflect honour upon each other. 

Had God suffered you to degenerate, as many do, it would have 
been but a poor consolation to have said, My progenitors were men 
of honour, the love and delight of their country. This, as * one 
excellently expresseth it, would be the same thing, as if one that 
is blind himself, should boast what a sharp and piercing sight his 
father had ; or one that is lame himself, should glory in those 
feats of activity his grandfather performed; but God (to whose 
bounty therefore you are doubly obliged) hath made you the inhe- 
ritor of their virtues, as well as of their lands, and therein fulfilled 
many thousand prayers, which have been poured out to God upon 
your account. But I must forbear, lest I provoke others to envy, 
and draw upon myself the suspicion of flattery. What hath 
been already said may serve for a sufficient reason of this dedica- 
tion. I know the ■(• agreeableness of such discourses to the pious 
dispositions of your souls, is of itself sufficient to make it welcome 
to you. It is a treatise of Christ, yea, of the Method of Grace, in 
the application of Christ ; than which no subject can be more ne- 
cessary to study, or sweet to experience. % All goodness is attrac- 
tive, how powerfully attractive then must Jesus Christ be, who is 
the ocean of all goodness, from whom all streams of goodness are 
derived, and into whom they all empty themselves ? § If Pindarus 
could say of the lovelv Theoxenus, that whosoever saw that august 
and comely face of his, and was not surprised with amazement, 
and enflamed with love, must have an heart of adamant or brass ; 
what then shall we resemble that man's heart unto, that hath 
no ferverous affections kindled in it by the incomparable beauty of 
Christ ! a beauty, which excels in lustre and brightness, that visible 
light which so dazzles our eyes |], as that light doth darkness itself; 
as Plato speaks of the divine light Christ is wrefiaKkovrus xoJ.o;, an 

■ What profit is the sharp- sighted ness of ancestors to their offspring, deprived of 
sight ? What help can it give the man that is dumb, for attaining the power of 
speech, that his parents and grandfathers had the voice of orators ? In like manner, 
just parents cannot help their unjust children; nor the temperate those who are 
luxurious : nor at any rate, can the good communicate goodness to the bad. Pkilo. 
vrsoi 'E-jyiVctac. 

f When the mind of the hearer is good and gracious, it easily assents to speeches of 
truth. Chiysost. Horn. 26. in Mat. 

J Ovb-'j a'/./.o g£/v a Bouffiv avOgwroi ?j ns ayaGx aveXxsi rratra, y^ avafrTra* 
raii otxziaig O.a'A-^/ZGu ug v'/joc. Plato. 

§ A'A7i)/ag T0ocwvrs iia^aoTi^isaag ooaTitig og /x« rroOo) '/.v/auivitou, u; 
aba xavrog. 

1| To vor t Tov <pug, ro o. r f/j7'j-(j\i tiavluv roffsrca ra ogam Ijifjnrgursgov rs iy 
avfoetbs&gw u<pn ^r'/.iog tf%otsg. 



THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 7 

inexpressible beauty, and all other beauties are but tntdv, **/ <r*/« an 
image, nay, a shadow of his beauty. How was holy Ignatius ra- 
vished with desires after Christ, when * he cried out, O how I 
long to be thrown into the jaws of those lions, which I hear roar- 
ing for me ! and if they will not dispatch me the sooner, x K/ 
«<T£o<rS/a<ro//,a/, I will enforce them to it by violence, that I may en- 
joy the sight of my blessed Jesus. O my heart, (saith -f- another) 
how is it thou art not drawn up by the very root, by thy desires 
after Christ ? The necessity, and the trial of our union with, and 
interest in, this lovely Loud Jesus, is the main subject of this 
discourse. Without the personal application of Christ by faith, 
our hopes of heaven are but deluding dreams, Heb. iii. 11. "I 
u sware in my wrath, u sifcXsvgovrai, if they shall enter into my 
" rest :" What then ? Nay, there is all : but it is a dreadful AposU 
opes is (as one calls it) such a pause as may justly shake every vein 
of the unbeliever's heart : If they shall enter : as if he had said, If 
ever they come into my glory, then say, I am no God, for I have 
sworn the contrary. 

I will not be tiresome, but conclude all in a few requests to you 
and to God for you both. That which I request of you is, 

(1.) That you will search and try your own hearts by these 
truths, especially now, when so great trials are like to be made 
of every man's root and foundation in religion. Account that your 
first work, which Bellarmine calls " the first error of Protestants,** 
to make sure your interest in Christ ; J every thing is as its foun- 
dation is : a true diamond will endure the smartest stroke of the 
hammer, but a false one will fly. 

(2.) That you be humble under all that dignity and honour, 
which God hath put upon you ; be ye clothed with humility. It 
was the glory of the primitive Christians, that they § did not speak 
but live great things : humility will be the lustre of your other ex- 
cellencies : estates and honours are but appendants and fine trap- 
pings, which add not any real worth, yet || how are some vain 



* O s/Mg sou; gjaugwra/ k, xx. i$iv sv s/xoi to tup ro <ptXov\ov, aXX vdw 
a>Xoix,ivov y &c. uwi/AYiv ruv S^o/wy, vjcl ra lyte Xgizx flr/ru^gtt. lgnatii Epist. 

f cor meum quomodo non te evellis post tantum decorem ? Nioremberg. Vivera 
rejiuo, ut Cliristo vioavu 

\ Primus Hcereticorum error est, posse fideles earn notitiam habere de sua gratia, ut 
certajide statuant sibi remissa esse peccata. The principal heresy of Protestants is. that 
saints may attain to a certain assurance of their gracious and pardoned estate before 
God. liellarm. de Just. lib. 5. cap. o. 

§ Non eloquimur magna, sed vivimus. Tertul. Apolog. 

|| They report that Bucephalus, without his furniture, would suffer a groom on 
his back, but when dressed with royal trappings and studded bridles, would suffer 
none to mount him but the king himself; so it is truly the case with these upstart 
nobles among us, &c. 

A3 



8 THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

minds puffed up with these things! But ye have not so learned 
Christ. 

(3.) That you steadily persevere in those good ways of God, in 
which you have walked, and beware of heart, or life-apostasy. 
You expect happiness whilst God is in heaven, and God expects 
holiness from you whilst you are on earth. It was an excellent 
truth which Tossanus * recommended to his posterity in his last 
will and testament, from his own experience : " I beseech you, 
" (saith he) my dear children and kindred, that you never be 
u ashamed of the truths of the gospel, either by reason of scan- 
" dais in the church, or persecutions upon it : truth may labour 
* f for a time, but cannot be conquered ; and I have often found 
" God to be wonderfully present with them that walk before him 
" in truth, though for a time they may be oppressed with troubles 
" and calumnies." 

(4.) Lastly, that you keep a strict and constant watch over your 
own hearts, lest they be ensnared by the tempting, charming, and 
dangerous snares attending a full and easy condition in the world. 
There are temptations suited to all conditions. Those that are 
poor and low in estate and reputation, are tempted to cozen, cheat, 
lie, and flattter, and all to get up to the mount of riches and ho- 
nours ; but those that were born upon that mount, though they be 
more free from those temptations, yet lie exposed to others no less 
dangerous, and therefore we find, " Not many mighty, not many 
" noble are called," 1 Cor. i. 26. Many great and stately ships, 
which spread much sail, and draw much water, perish in the 
storms, when small barks creep along the shore under the wind, 
and get safe into their port. Never aim at an higher station in 
this world than that you are in •(* : Some have wished in their dying 
hour, they had been lower, but no wise man ever wished himself at 
the top of honour, at the brink of eternity. 

I will conclude all with this hearty wish for you, that as God hath 
set you in a capacity of much service for him in your generation, 
so vour hearts may be enlarged for God accordingly, and that you 
may be very instrumental for his glory on earth, and may go safe, 
but late to heaven. That the blessings of heaven may be multiplied 

* Obtestor etiam vos liberos, et generos carrisimos ne illius veritatis evangelicee unauam 
vos pudeat : potest enim laborare, sed non vinci Veritas : et non semel expertus sum Domi- 
num Deum viirabiliter adrsse its qui coram ipso ambulayit, et in sua vocatione sedulo et 
intpgre vcrsantur ; licet ad tempus, odiis, aut simultatibus, aut calumniis agilentur. Melch. 
Adam us, in vita Tossani. 

| Hermanus, when dying, bewailed that he had bestowed more time and pains on 
his palace than on the temple of God, and encouraged the luxury and wickedness 
of the court, which he ought to have restrained : Thus, with much grief for sin, 
his hope of mercy from God greatly wavering, by-standers being filled with great 
horror, and himself doubtful of his state, his soul entered into eternity. Hist. Ba- 
henu lib. 11. 



THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 9 

upon you both, and your hopeful springing branches : and that 
you may live to see your children's children, and peace upon Israel. 
In a word, that God will follow these truths in your hands with the 
blessing of his Spirit; and that the manifold infirmities of him that 
ministers them, may be no prejudice or bar to their success with 
you, or any into whose hands they shall come ; which is the hearty 
desire of 



YOUR MOST FAITHFUL FRIEND, 

AND SERVANT IN CHRIST, 

JOHN FLAVFL. 



A 4 



[ io ] 

THE EPISTLE TO THE READER. 

JbiVERY creature, by the instinct of nature, or by the light of 
reason, strives to avoid danger, and get out of harm's way. The 
cattle in the fields presaging a storm at hand, fly to the hedges 
and thickets for shelter. The fowls of heaven, by the same na- 
tural instinct, perceiving the approach of winter, take their timely 
flight to a warmer climate. This naturalists * have observed of 
them, and their observation is confirmed by scripture testimony. 
Of the cattle it is said_, Job xxxvii. 6, 7, 8. " He saith to the snow, 
" Be thou on the earth, likewise the small rain, and the great rain 
" of his strength ; then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their 
" places." And of the fowls of the air it is said, Jer. viii. 7. 
" The stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times, and the 
" turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their 
" corning." 

But man being a prudent and prospecting creature hath the 
advantage of all other creatures in his foreseeing faculty : " For 
" God hath taught him more than the beasts of the earth, and 
6i made him wiser than the fowls of heaven," Job xxxv. 11. 
u And a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment," 
Eccl. viii. 5. For as there are natural signs of the change of the 
weather, Matt. xvi. 3. so there are moral signs of the changes of 
times and providences ; yet such is the supineness and inexcusable 
regardlessness of most men, that they will not fear till they feel, nor 
think any danger very considerable, till it become inevitable. 

We of this nation have long enjoyed the light of the glorious 
gospel among us ; it hath shone in much clearness upon this sinful 
island, for more than a whole century of happy years : but the 
longest day hath an end, and we have cause to fear our bright sun 
is going down upon us ; for the shadows in England are grown 
greater than the substance, which is one sign of approaching night, 
Jer. vi. 4. " The beasts of prey creep out of their dens and coverts," 
which is another sign of night at hand, Psal. civ. 20. " And the 
" workmen come home apace from their labours, and go to rest," 
which is as sad a sign as any of the rest, Job vii. 1, 2. Isa. lvii. 1, 
2. Happy were it, if, in such a juncture as this, every man would 
make it his work and business to secure himself in Christ from the 
storm of God's indignation, which is ready to fall upon these sinful 
nations. It is said of the Egyptians, when the storm of hail was 
coming upon the land, Exod. ix. 20. " He that feared the word 



• Plin. 1. 18. c. 35. Virg. Georg. 1. 1, 



THE EPTSLTE TO THE READER. 11 

u of the Lord made his servants and cattle flee into the houses." 
It is but an odd sight to see the prudence of an Egyptian out-vying 
the wisdom and circumspection of a Christian. 

God, who provides natural shelter and refuge for all creatures, 
hath not left his people unprovided with, and destitute of defence 
and security, in the most tempestuous times of national judgments. 
It is said, Mic. v. 5. " This man (meaning the man Christ Jesus) 
" shall be the peace when the Assyrian shall come into our land, 
" and when he shall tread in our palaces." And Isa. xxvi. 20. 
" Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy 
" doors about thee ; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, 
" until the indignation be overpast." 

My friends, let me speak as freely, as I am sure I speak seasonably. 
A sound of judgment is in our ears ; " The Lord's voice crieth 
<f unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name : hear 
" ye the rod, and who hath appointed it," Mic. vi. 9. All things 
round about us seem to posture themselves for trouble and distress. 
Where is the man of wisdom that doth not foresee a shower of 
wrath and indignation coming ? " We have heard a voice of trcm- 
" bling, .of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether 
" a man doth travail with child ? Wherefore do I see every man 
" with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces 
" are turned into paleness ? Alas, for that day is great, so that 
" none is like it ; it is even the day of Jacob's trouble, but he shall 
" be delivered out of it," Jer. xxx. 5, 6, 7. 

Many eyes are now opened to see the common danger, but some 
foresaw it long ago ; when they saw the general decay of godliness 
every where, the notorious profanity and atheism that overspread 
the nations ; the spirit of enmity and bitterness against the power 
of godliness wherever it appeared: and though there seemed to be 
a present calm, and general quietness, yet those that were wise in 
heart could not but discern the distress of nations, with great per- 
plexity, in these seeds of judgment and calamity : but as the ephah 
fills more and more, so the determined wrath grows more and more 
visible to every eye ; and it is a fond thing to dream of tranquillity 
in the midst of so much iniquity. Indeed, if these nations were 
once swept with the besom of reformation, we might hope God 
would not sweep them with the besom of destruction ; but what peace 
can be expected, whilst the highest provocations are continued? 

It is therefore the great and present concernment of all to provide 
themselves of a refuge before the storm overtakes them ; for, as 
Augustin well observes, Non facile inven'utntur prcrjidia in adver- 
sitate, qua* nonfuerint in pace qmvsita. O take up your lodgings 
in the attributes and promises of God before the night overtake you ; 
view them often by faith, and clear up your interest in them, that 



12 THE EPISTLE TO THE READER. 

you may be able to go to them in the dark, when the ministers 
and ordinances of Christ have taken their leave of you, and bid 
you good night. 

Whilst many are hastening on the wrath of God by prof wieness, 
and many by smiting their fellow-servants ; and multitudes resolve, 
if trouble come, to fish in the troubled waters for safety and pre- 
ferment, not doubting, (whensoever the overflowing flood comes) 
but they shall stand dry. O that you would be mourning for their 
sins, and providing better for your own safety. 

Reader, it is thy one thing necessary to get a cleared interest in 
Jesus Christ ; which being once obtained, thou mayest face the 
storm with boldness, and say, come troubles and distresses, losses 
and trials, prisons and death, I am provided for you ; do your 
worst, you can do me no harm : let the winds roar, the lightnings 
flash, the rains and hail fall never so furiously, I have a good roof 
over my head, a comfortable lodging provided for me ; " My place 
" of defence is the munition of rocks, where bread shall be given 
" me, and my waters shall be sure," Isa. xxxiii. 16. 

The design of the ensuing treatise is to assist thee in this great 
work ; and though it was promised t© the world many years past, 
yet providence hath reserved it for the fittest season, and brought 
it to thy hand in a time of need. 

It contains the method of grace in the application of the great 
redemption to the souls of men, as the former part contains the 
method of grace in the interpretation thereof by Jesus Christ. The 
acceptation God hath given the former part, signified by the desires 
of many, for the publication of this, hath at last prevailed with me 
(notwithstanding the secret consciousness of my inequality to so 
great an undertaking) to adventure this second part also upon the 
ingenuity and candour of the reader. 

And I consent the more willingly to the publication of this, be- 
cause the design I first aimed at, could not be entire and complete 
without it ; but especially, the quality of the subject matter, which 
(through the blessing and concurrence of the Spirit) may be useful 
both to rouse the drowsy consciences of this sleepy generation, and 
to assist the upright in clearing the work of the Spirit upon their 
own souls. These considerations have prevailed with me against 
all discouragements. 

And now, reader, it is impossible for me to speak particularly 
and distinctly to the case of thy soul, which I am ignorant of, ex- 
cept the Lord shall direct my discourse to it in some of the following 
suppositions. 

If thou be one that hast sincerely applied, and received Jesus 
Christ by faith, this discourse (through the blessing of the Spirit) 
may be useful to thee, to clear and confirm thy evidences, to melt 



THE EPISTLE TO THE READER. 13 

thy heart in the sense of thy mercies, and to engage and quicken 
thee in the way of thy duties. Here thou wilt see what great 
things the Lord hath done for thy soul, and how these dignities, 
as thou art his son or daughter, by the double title of regeneration 
and adoption, do oblige thee to yield up thyself to God entirely, 
and to say from thy heart, Lord, whatever I am, I am for thee, 
whatever * I can do, I will do for thee ; and whatever I can 
suffer, I will suffer for thee ; and all that I am, or have, all that 
I can do or suffer, is nothing to what thou hast done for my soul. 

If thou be a stranger to regeneration and faith ; a person that 
makest a powerless profession of Christ ; that hast a name to live, but 
art dead ; here it is possible thou mayest meet with something that 
will convince thee how dangerous a thing it is to be an old crea- 
ture in the new creature's dress and habit ; and what is it that 
blinds thy judgment, and is likeliest to prove thy ruin ; a season- 
able and full conviction whereof will be the greatest mercy that can 
befal thee in this world, if thereby at last God may help thee to 
put on Christ, as well as the name of Christ. 

If thou be in darkness about the state of thy own soul, and wil- 
ling to have it faithfully and impartially tried by the rule of the 
word, which will not warp to any man's humour or interest, here 
thou wilt find some weak assistance offered thee, to clear and dis- 
entangle thy doubting thoughts, which, through thy prayer, and 
the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, may lead thee to a com- 
fortable settlement and inward peace. 

If' thou be a proud, conceited, presumptuous soul, who hast too 
little knowledge, and too much pride and self-love, to admit any 
doubts or scruples of thy state towards God, there are many 
things in this treatise proper for thy conviction and better infor- 
mation ; for wo to thee, if thou shouldst not fear, till thou begin 
to feel thy misery, if thy troubles do not come on till all thy hopes 
are gone off. 

I know all these things are performed by me with much infir- 
mity ; and that the whole management is quite below the dignity 
of the subject. But when I consider that the success of sermons 
and books in the world hath but little relation to the elegancy of 
language, and accuracy of method, and that many may be useful, 
who cannot be excellent, I am willing in all humility and sincerity 
to commit it to the direction of Providence, and the blessing of the 
Spirit. 

One thing I shall earnestly request of all the people of God, into 
whose hands this shall fall, that now at last they will be persua- 
ded to end all their unbrotherly quarrels and strifes among them- 
selves, which have wasted so much precious time, and decayed the 
vital spirits of religion, hindered the conversion of multitudes, 



14 THE EPISTLE TO THE READER, 

and increased and confirmed the atheism of the times, and now at 
last opened a breach, at which the common enemy is ready to enter 
and end the quarrel to our cost. O put on, as the elect of' God, 
bowels of mercy, and a spirit of charity and forbearance, if not for 
your own sakes, yet for the church's sake : Si non vis tlbi parcere, 
parce Carthaglni. 

I remember it is noted in our English history as a very remarkable 
thing, that when the Severn overflowed part of Somersetshire, it 
was observed that dogs and hares, cats and rats, to avoid the com- 
mon destruction, would swim to the next rising ground, and abide 
quietly together in that common danger, without the least discovery 
of their natural antipathy. 

The story applies itself, and O that Christians would every 
where depose their animosities, that the hearts of the fathers might 
be turned to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest God 
come and smite the earth with a curse. 

O that you would dwell more in your closets, and be more fre- 
quently and fervently upon your knees. O that you would search 
your hearts more narrowly, and sift them more" thoroughly than 
ever, before the day pass as the chaff, and the Lord's fierce anger 
come upon you : look into your Bibles, then into your hearts, and 
then to heaven., for a true discovery of your conditions ; and if this 
poor mite may contribute any thing to that end, it will be a great 
reward of the unworthy labours of 

THY SERVANT IN CHRIST, 

JOHN FLAVEL. 



I 13 ] 
SE11M0N I. 

The general Nature of effectual Application stated. 

1 Cor. i. 30. 

But of him. are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us 
wisdom, and righteousness, and santification, and redemption. 

XiE that enquires what is the just value and worth of Christ, 
asks a question which puts all the men on earth, and angels in hea- 
ven, to an everlasting non-plus. 

The highest attainment of our knowledge in this life, is to know, 
that himself and his love do pass knowledge, Eph. iii. 19. 

But how excellent soever Christ is in himself, what treasures of 
righteousness soever lie in his blood, and whatever joy, peace, and 
ravishing comforts, spring up to men out of his incarnation, hu- 
miliation, and exaltation, they all give down their distinct benefits 
and comforts to them, in the way of effectual application. 

For never was any wound healed by a prepared, but unapplied 
plaister. Never any body warmed by the most costly garment 
made, but not put on : Never any heart refreshed and comforted 
by the richest cordial compounded, but not received : Nor from 
the beginning of the world was it ever known, that a poor deceived, 
condemned, polluted, miserable sinner, was actually delivered out 
of that woful state, until of God, Christ was made unto him, wis- 
dom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption. 

For look * as the condemnation of the first Adam passeth not to 
us, except (as by generation) we are his ; so grace and remission 
pass not from the second Adam to us, except (as by regeneration) 
we are his. Adam's sin hurts none but those that are in him : 
And Christ's blood profits none but those that are in him : How 
great a weight therefore doth there hang upon the effectual appli- 
cation of Christ to the souls of men ! And what is there in the 
whole world so awfully solemn, so greatly important, as this is ! 
Such is the strong consolation resulting from it, that the apostle, 
in this context, offers it to the believing Corinthians, as a super- 
abundant recompence for the despicable meanness, and baseness of 
their outward condition in this world, of which he had just before 



* Parisicnsis de causis, cur Deus homo, cap. 9. Qucmad?*odum non transit Ada 
damnatio, nisi per generationem in carnaliter ex eo generates : sic non transit Christi gra- 
tia, et peccatorum rem/ssio, nisi per regenerationem ad spiritualiter per ipsum regenerates. 
Strut delictum Ada; non nocet, nisi suis. in eo auod sui sunt : sic nee gratia Christi prodes*., 
nisi suis } in eo quid sui sunt. 



16 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. I, 

spoken in ver. 27, 28. telling them, though the world contemned 
them as vile, foolish, and weak, yet " of God Christ is made 
" unto them wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemp- 
" tion." 

In which words we have an enumeration of the chief privileges 
of believers, and an account of the method whereby they come to 
be invested with them *. 

First, Their privileges are enumerated, namely, wisdom, righte- 
ousness, sanctification, and redemption, mercies of inestimable value 
in themselves, and such as respect a fourfold misery lying upon sin- 
ful man, viz. ignorance, guilt, pollution, and the whole train of 
miserable consequences and effects, let in upon the nature of men, 
yea, the best and holiest of men, by sin. 

Lapsed man is not only deep in misery, but grossly ignorant, both 
that he is so, mid how to recover himself from it : Sin hath left 
him at once senseless of his state, and at a perfect loss about the 
true remedy. 

To cure this, Christ is made to him wisdom, not only by im- 
provement of those treasures of wisdom that are in himself, for the 
benefit of such souls as are united to him, as an head, consulting 
the good of his own members ; but also, by imparting his wisdom 
to them by the Spirit of illumination, whereby they come to dis- 
cern both their sin and danger ; as also the true way of their reco- 
very from both, through the application of Christ to their souls by 
faith. 

But alas ! simple illumination doth but increase our burden, and 
exasperate our misery as long as sin in the guilt of it is either 
imputed to our persons unto condemnation, or reflected by our 
consciences in a way of accusation. 

With design therefore to remedy and heal this sore evil, Christ 
is made of God unto us righteousness, complete and perfect righte- 
ousness, whereby our obligation to punishment is dissolved, and 
thereby a solid foundation for a well-settled peace of conscience 
firmly established. 

Yea, but although the removing of guilt from our persons and 
consciences be an inestimable mercy, yet alone it cannot make us 
completely happy : For though a man should never be damned for 
sin, yet what is it less than hell upon earth, to be under the domi- 
nion and pollution of every base lust ? It is misery enough to be 
daily defiled by sin, though a man should never be damned 
for it. 

To complete therefore the happiness of the redeemed ; Christ is 

* He ascribes a fourfold commendation of Christ, which comprehends all his virtue, 
and all the good we receive from him. Calvin on the place, 



SERM. I. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 17 

not only made of God unto them wisdom and righteousness , the one 
curing our ignorance, the other our guilt ; but he is made sanctifi- 
cation also, to relieve us against the dominion and pollutions of our 
corruptions : " He comes both by water and by blood, not by 
" blood only, but by water also," 1 John v. 6. purging as well as 
pardoning: How complete and perfect a cure is Christ ! 

But yet something is required beyond all this to make our hap- 
piness perfect and entire wanting nothing ; and that is the removal 
of those doleful effects and consequences of sin, which (notwithstand- 
ing all the fore-mentioned privileges and mercies) still lie upon the 
souls and bodies of illuminated, justified, and sanctified persons. 
For even with the best and holiest of men, what swarms of vanity, 
loads of deadness, and fits of unbelief, do daily appear in, and op- 
press their souls ! to the imbittering of all the comforts of life to 
them ? And how many diseases, deformities, and pains oppress their 
bodies, which daily moulder away by them, till they fall into the 
grave by death, even as the bodies of other men do, who never 
received such privileges from Christ as they do ? For if " Christ 
" be in us (as the apostle speaks, Rom. viii. 10.) the body 
" is dead, because of sin :" Sanctification exempts us not from mor- 
tality. 

But from all these, and whatsoever else, the fruits and conse- 
quences of sin, Christ is redemption to his people, also: This seals 
up the sum of mercies : This so completes the happiness of the 
saints, that it leaves nothing to desire. 

These four, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, 
take in all that is necessary or desirable, to make a soul truly and 
perfectly blessed. 

Secondly, We have here the method and way, by which the 
elect come to be invested with these excellent privileges : the ac- 
count whereof, the apostle gives us in these words, " Who of 
" God is made unto us," in which expression, four things are re- 
markable. 

First, That Christ and his benefits go inseparably and undividedly 
together : it is Christ himself who is made all this unto us : we can 
have no saving benefit separate and apart from the person of 
Christ : many would willingly receive his privileges, who will not 
receive his person; but it cannot be; if we will have one, we 
must take the other too: Yea, we must accept his person first, 
and then his benefits : as it is in the marriage covenant, so it is 
here. 

Secondly, That Christ with his benefits must be personally and 
particularly applied to us, before we can receive any actual, saving 
privilege by him ; he must be [made unto us] i. e. particularly ap- 
plied to us ; as a sum of money becomes, or is made the ransom 



18 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. T. 

and liberty of a captive, when it is not only promised, but paid 
down in his name, and legally applied for that use and end. 
When Christ died, the ransom was prepared, the sum laid down ; 
but vet the elect continue still in sin and misery, notwithstanding, 
till by effectual calling it be actually applied to their persons, and 
then they are made free, Rom. v. 10, 11. reconciled by Christ's 
death, by whom " we have now received the atonement." 

Thirdly, That this application of Christ is the work of God, and 
not of man : " Of God he is made unto us :" The same hand that 
prepared it, must also apply it, or else we perish, notwithstanding 
all that the Father hath done in contriving, and appointing, and all 
that the Son hath done in executing, and accomplishing the design 
thus far. And this actual application is the work of the Spirit, by 
a singular appropriation. 

Fourthly) and lastly, This expression imports the suitableness of 
Christ, to the necessities of sinners ; what they want, he is made 
to them ; and indeed, as money answers all things, and is convertible 
into meat, drink, raiment, physic, or what else our bodily ne- 
cessities do require ; so Christ is virtually, and eminently all that 
the necessities of our souls require; bread to the hungry, and 
clothing to the naked soul. In a word, God prepared and furnish- 
ed him on purpose to answer all our wants, which fully suits the 
apostle's sense, when he saith, " Who of God is made unto us 
" wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption." The 
sum of all is, 

Doct. That the Lord Jesus Christ, with all his precious benefits, 
becomes ours, by God's special and effectual application. 

There is a twofold application of our redemption, one primary, 
the other Secondary : The former is the act of God the Father, ap- 
plying it to Christ our surety, and virtually to us in him : the lat- 
ter is the act of the Holy Spirit, personally and actually applying it 
to us in the work of conversion : The former hath the respect and 
relation of an example, model, or pattern to this ; and this is pro- 
duced and wrought by the virtue of that. What was done upon 
the person of Christ, was not only virtually done upon us, consider- 
ed in him as a common public representative person, in which 
sense, we are said to die with him, and live with him, to be cruci- 
fied with him, and buried with him, but it was also intended for a 
platform, or idea, of what is to be done by the Spirit, actually upon 
our souls and bodies, in our single persons. As he died for sin, 
so the Spirit applying his death to us in the work of mortification, 
causes us to die to sin, by the virtue of his death : And as he was 
quickened by the Spirit, and raised unto life, so the Spirit applying 



IEEM. I. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 19 

unto us the life of Christ, causeth us to live, by spiritual vivification. 
Now this personal, secondary, and actual application of redemption 
to us by the Spirit, in his sanctifying work, is that which I am en- 
gaged here to discuss and open ; which I shall do in these follow- 
ing propositions. 

Prop. 1. The application of Christ to us, is not only comprehen- 
sive of our justification, but of all those works of the Spirit which 
are known to us in scripture by the names of regeneration, voca- 
tion, sanctification, and conversion. 

Though all these terms have some small respective differences 
among themselves, yet they are all included in this general, the 
applying and putting on of Christ, Rom. xiii. 14. " Put ye on the 
" Lord Jesus Christ." 

Regeneration expresses those supernatural, divine, new qualities, 
infused by the Spirit into the soul, which are the principles of all 
holy actions. 

Vocation expresses the terms from which, and to which, the soul 
moves, when the Spirit works savingly upon it, under the gospel- 
call. 

Sanctification notes an holy dedication of heart and life to God : 
Our becoming the temples of the living God, separate from all pro- 
fane sinful practices, to the Lord's only use and service. 

Conversion denotes the great change itself, which the Spirit 
causeth upon the soul, turning it by a sweet irresistible efficacy 
from the power of sin and Satan, to God in Christ. 

Now all these are imported in, and done by the application of 
Christ to our souls : for when once the efficacy of Christ's death, and 
the virtue of his resurrection, come to take place upon the heart 
of any man, he cannot but turn from sin to God, and become a 
new creature, living and acting by new principles and rules. So 
the apostle observes, 1 Thess. i. 5, 6. speaking of the effect of this 
work of the Spirit upon that people, " Our gospel (saith he) came 
" not to you in word only, but in power ; and in the Holy Ghost :" 
There was the effectual application of Christ to them. " And 
" you became followers of us, and of the Lord," ver. 6. there was 
their effectual call. " And ye turned from dumb idols to serve 
" the living and true God, ver. 9. there was their conversion. 
" So that ye were ensamples to all that believe," ver. 9. there 
was their life of sanctification or dedication to God. So that all 
these are comprehended in effectual application. 

Prop. 2. The application of Christ to tli<e souls of men is that 
great project and design of God in this world, for the accomplish- 
ment whereof all the ordinances and all the officers of the gospel are 
appointed and continued in the world. 

This the gospel expresslv declared to be its direct end, and the 

Vol. II. B 



20 THE METHOD OE Git ACE. SERAf. I. 

great business of all its officers, Eph. iv. 11, 12. " And he gave 
" some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and 
" some pastors ahd teachers ; till we all come in the unity of the 
" faith, and the 7 knowledge of the Son of God ; to a perfect man, 
" unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,* i. e. 
the great aim and scope of all Christ's ordinances and officers, are 
to bring men into union with Christ, and so build them up to per- 
fection in him ; or to unite them to, and confirm them in Christ : 
and when it shall have finished this design, then shall the whole 
frame of gospel-ordinances be taken down, and all its officers dis- 
banded. " The kingdom (i. e. this present ceconomy, manner, 
" and form of government) shall be delivered up," 1 Cor. xv. 24. 
What are ministers, but the bridegroom's friends, ambassadors 
for God, to beseech men to be reconciled ? When therefore all 
the elect are brought home in a reconciled state in Christ, when 
the marriage of the Lamb is come, our work and office expire to- 
gether. 

Prop. 3. Such is the importance and great concernment of the 
personal application of' Christ to us by the Spirit, that whatsoever 
the Father hath done in the contrivance, or the Son hath done in the 
accomplishment of our redemption, is all inavailable and ineffectual 
to our salvation without this. 

It is confessedly true, that God's good pleasure appointing us 
from eternity to salvation, is, in its kind, a most full and sufficient 
impulsive cause of our salvation, and every way able (for so much 
as it is concerned) to produce its effect. And Christ's humiliation 
and sufferings are a most complete and sufficient meritorious cause 
of our salvation, to which nothing can be added to make it more 
apt, and able to procure our salvation, than it already is : yet 
neither the one nor the other can actually save any soul, with- 
out the Spirifs application of Christ to it ; for where there are di- 
vers social causes, or concauses, necessary to produce one effect, there 
the effect cannot be produced until the last cause hath wrought. 
Thus it is here, the Father hath elected, and the Son hath redeem- 
ed ; but until the Spirit (who is the last cause) hath wrought his 
part also, we cannot be saved. For he comes in the Father's and 
in the Son s name and authority, to put the last hand to the work 
of our salvation, by bringing all the fruits of election and redemp- 
tion home to our souls in this work of effectual vocation. Hence 
the apostle, 1 Pet. i. 2. noting the order of causes in their opera- 
tions, for the bringing about of our salvation, thus states it, " Elect, 
u according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through 
" sanctificatioH of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the 
" blood of Jesus Christ." Here you find God's election and 
Christ's blood, the two great causes of salvation, and yet neither of 



gEEM, 1. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 21 

these alone, nor both together can save us : there must be added 
the sanctification of the Spirit, by which God's decree is executed ; 
and the sprinkling (i. e. the personal application of Christ's blood) 
as well as the shedding of it, before we can have the saving benefit 
of either of the former causes. 

Prop. 4. The application of Christ, with his saving benefits, is 
exactly of the same extent and latitude with the Father's election, 
and the Son's intention in dying, and cannot possibly be extended 
to one soul farther. 

" Whom he did predestinate, them he also called ," Rom. viii. 
30. and Acts xiii. 48. " As many as were ordained to eternal life, 
" believed ;" 2 Tim. i. 9. " Who hath saved and called us with 
" an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to 
" his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Jesus Christ, 
" before the foundation of the world." 

The Father, Son, and Spirit, (betwixt whom was the council 
of peace) work out their design in a perfect harmony and con- 
sent : as there was no jar in their council, so there can be none 
in the execution of it : those whom the Father, before all time, 
did chuse ; they, and they only, are the persons, whom the Son, 
when the fulness of time for the execution of that decree was come, 
died for, John xvii. 6. " I have manifested thy name unto the 
" men, which thou gavest me out of the world ; thine thev were, 
" and thou gavest them me ;" and ver. J 9- " For their sakes I 
" sanctify myself; 1,1 i. e. consecrate, devote, or set myself apart 
for a sacrifice for them. And those for whom Christ died, are 
the persons to whom the Spirit effectually applies the benefits and 
purchases of his blood : he comes in the name of the Father and 
Son. " But the world cannot receive him, for it neither sees, nor 
" knows him," John xiv. 17. " They that are not of Christ's 
" sheep, believe not," John x. 26. 

Christ hath indeed a fulness of saving power, but the dispensa- 
tion thereof is limited by the Father's will ; therefore he tells us, 
Mat. xx. 23. " It is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them 
" for whom it is prepared of my Father." In which words he no 
ways denies his authority, to give glory as well as grace ; he only 
.shews that in the dispensation proper to him, as Mediator, he was 
limited by his Father's will and counsel. 

And thus also are the dispensations of grace by the Spirit, in like 
manner, limited, both by the counsel and will of the Father and 
Son. For as he proceeds from them, so he acts in the administra- 
tion proper to him, by commission from both. John xiv. 26. 
u The Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in my name :" and 
as he comes forth into the world by this joint commission, so his 
dispensations are limited in his commission ; for it is said, John xvi. 

B 2 



22 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. I. 

13. " He shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, 
" that shall he speak ?* i. e. He shall in all things act according to 
his commission, which the Father and I have given him. 

The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Fa- 
ther do, John v. 19- And the Spirit can do nothing of himself, 
but what he hears from the Father and Son ; and it is impossible it 
should be otherwise, considering not only the unity of their nature, 
but also of their will and design. So that you see the application 
of Christ, and benefits by the Spirit, are commensurable with the 
Father's secret counsel, and the Son's design in dying, which are 
the rule, model, and pattern of the Spirit's working. 

Prop. 5. The application of Christ to souls, by the regenerating 
work of the Spirit, is that which makes the first internal difference 
and distinction among men. 

It is very true, that in respect of God's fore-knowledge and pur- 
pose, there was a distinction betwixt one man and another, before 
any man had a being, one was taken, another left : and with re- 
spect to the death of Christ, there is a great difference betwixt one 
and another ; he laid down his life for the sheep, he prayed for 
them, and not for the world ; but all this while, as to any relative 
change of state, or reed change of temper, they are upon a level with 
the rest of the miserable world. The elect themselves are " by 
u nature the children of wrath, even as others," Eph. ii. 3. And 
to the same purpose the apostle tells the Corinthians, 1 Cor. vi. 11. 
(when he had given in that black bill, describing the most lewd, 
profligate, abominable wretches in the world, men whose practices 
did stink in the very nostrils of nature, and were able to make the 
more sober Heathens blush ; after this he tells the Corinthians) 
" And such were some of you, but ye are washed," §c. q. d. 
look, these were your companions once: as they are, you lately 
were. 

The work of the Spirit doth not only evidence and manifest that 
difference which God's election hath made between man and man, 
as the apostle speaks, 1 Thes. i. 4, 5. But it also makes a two- 
fold difference itself, namely in state and temper f whereby they vi- 
sibly differ, not only from other men, but also from themselves ; 
after this work, though a man be the who, yet not the what he was. 
This work of the Spirit makes us new creatures, namely ; for qua- 
lity and temper, 2 Cor. v. 17. " If any man be in Christ, he is a 
" new creature ; old things are past away, behold, all things are 
" become new." 

Prop. 6. The application erf Christ, by the work qf regeneration > 
is that which yields unto men all the sensible sweetness and refresh- 
ing coynforts that they have in Christ, and in all that he hath done, 
suffered, or purchased for sinners. 



SERM. I. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 23 

An unsanctified person may relish the natural sweetness of the 
creature, as well as he that is sanctified; lie may also seem to relish 
and taste some sweetness in the delicious promise* and discoveries 
of the gospel, by a misapplication of them to himself. But this is 
like the joy of a beggar, dreaming he is a king ; but he awakes 
and finds himself a beggar still : but for the rational, solid, and 
genuine delights and comforts of religion, no man tastes them, 
till this work of the Spirit hath first passed upon his soul : it is an 
enclosed pleasure, a stranger intermeddles not with it. " The white 
" stone, and the new name, 11 (denoting the pleasant results and 
fruits of justification and adoption) " no man knows but he that 
" receives it, 11 Rev. ii. 7. There are all those things wanting in 
the unsanctified (though elect) soul, that should capacitate and en- 
able it to relish the sweetness of Christ and religion, namely, pro- 
priety, evidence, and suitableness of spirit. 

Propriety is the sweetest part of any excellency; therefore Luther 
was wont to say, that the sweetness of the gospel lay mostly in 
pronouns, as me, my, thy, &c. who loved [me] and gave himself for 
me, Gal ii. 20. Christ Jesus [my] Lord, Phil. hi. 18. So Matt, 
ix. 2. Son, be of good cheer, [thy] sins are forgiven. Take away 
propriety, and you deflower the very gospel of its beauty and deli- 
ciousness : and as propriety, so 

Evidence is requisite to joy and comfort ; yea, so necessary, that 
even interest and propriety afford no sensible sweetness without it. 
For as to comfort, it is all one not to appear, and not to be. If I am 
registered in the book of life, and know it not, what comfort can my 
name there afford me ? Besides, to capacitate a soul for the sweet- 
ness and comfort of Christ there is also an agreeable temper of spirit 
required ; for how can Christ be sweet to that man's soul, whose 
thoughts reluctate, decline, or nauseate so holy and pure an object ? 
Now, all these requisites being the proper effects and fruits of the 
Spirit's sanctifying operations upon us, it is beyond controversy, that 
the consolations of Christ cannot be tasted, until the application of 
Christ be first made. 

Prop. 7. The application of Christ to the soul effectually, though 
it be so far xcrought in the first saving work of the Spirit, as truly 
to unite the soul to Christ, and save itjrom the danger of perishing ; 
yet it is a work gradually advancing in the believer's soul, whilst it 
abides on this side heaven and glory. 

It is true, mdeed, that Christ is perfectly and completely applied 
to the soul in the first act for righteousness. u Justification being 
" a relative change *, properly admits no degrees, but is perfected 

* Ntdhi prnprie dictos gradus admittit, sed nnico aclu si/nut ac semel eristit perficla, 
fuamm, quoad tnanifestationejn, sensum, et effecta, varios habeut gradus, Ames. 

B3 



24 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SERM. T. 



" together, and at once, in one only act ; though as to its manifesta- 
" tion, sense, and effects, it hath various degrees." But the appli- 
cation of Christ to us, for wisdom and sanctification, is not perfected 
in one single act, but rises by many, and slow degrees to its just 
perfection. 

Ana though we are truly said to be come to Christ when we first 
believe, John vi. 35. yet the soul after that is still coming to him by 
farther acts of faith, 1 Pet. ii. 4. " To whom [coming] as unto a 
" living stone ;" the participle notes a continued motion, by which 
the soul gains ground, and still gets nearer and nearer to Christ ; 
growing still more inwardly acquainted with him. The knowledge 
of Christ grows upon the soul as the morning light, from its first 
spring to the perfect day, Prov. iv. 18. Every grace of the Spirit 
grows, if not sensibly, yet really ; for it is in discerning the growth 
of sanctification, as it is in discerning the growth of plants, which we 
perceive rather crevisse, quam crescere ; to have grown, rather than 
grow. And as it thrives in the soul, by deeper indications of the 
habits, and more promptitude and spirituality in the actings; so 
Christ, and the soul proportionablv, close more and more inwardly 
and efficaciously, till at last it is wholly swallowed up in Christ's full 
and perfect enjoyment. 

Prop. 8. Lastly, Although the several privileges and benefits be- 

Jbrementioned are all truly and really bestowed with Christ upon 

believers, yet they are not communicated to them in one and the same 

way and manner; but differently and diver sly, as their respective 

natures do require. 

These four illustrious benefits are conveyed from Christ to us in 
three different ways and methods ; his righteousness is made ours 
by imputation : his wisdom and sanctification by renovation : his 
redemption by our glorification. 

I know the communication of Christ's righteousness to us by im- 
putation, is not only denied, but * scoffed at by Papists ; who own 
no righteousness, but what is (at least) confounded with that which 
is inherent in us ; and for imputative (blasphemously stiled by them 
putative) righteousness, they flatly deny it, and look upon it as a 
most absurd doctrine, every where endeavouring to load it with 
these and such like absurdities, That if God imputes Christ's 
righteousness to the believer, and accepts what Christ hath per- 
formed for him, as if lie had performed it himself; then we may 
be accounted as righteous as Christ. Then we may be the redeem- 
ers of the world. False and groundless consequences ; as if a man 
should say, my debt is paid by my surety, therefore I am as rich 
as he. " When we say the righteousness of Christ is made ours 

* A phantom sprung of Luther's brain. Stnpleton. 



SERM. I. TIIE METHOD OF GRACE. 9.T) 

" by imputation *, we think not that it is made ours according to its 
" universal value, but according to our particular necessity : not 
" to make others righteous, but to make us so : not that we have 
" the formal intrinsical righteousness of Christ in us, as it is in him, 
" but a relative righteousness, which makes us righteous, even as 
" he is righteous ; not as to the quantity, but as to the truth of 
" it : nor is it imputed to us, as though Christ designed to make 
" us the causes of salvation to others, but the subjects of salvation, 
" ourselves ;" it is inhesively in him, communicatively it becomes 
ours; by imputation, the sin of the first Adam becomes ours, and 
the same way the righteousness of the second Adam becomes ours, 
Horn. v. 17. This way the Redeemer became sin for us, and this 
way we are made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. v. 21. 
This way Abraham the father of believers was justified, therefore 
this way all believers, the children of Abraham, must be justified 
also, Rom. iv. 22, 23. And thus is Christ's righteousness made ours. 

But in conveying and communicating his "wisdom and sanctifica- 
tion, he takes another method, for this is not imputed, but really 
imparted to us by the illuminating and regenerating work of the 
Spirit: these are graces really inherent in us: our righteousness 
comes from Christ as a surety, but our holiness comes from him as 
a quickening head, sending vital influences unto all his members. 

Now these gracious habits being subjected and seated in the souls 
of poor imperfect creatures, whose corruptions abide and work in 
the very same faculties where grace hath its residence ; it cannot 
be, that our sanctification should be so perfect and complete, as our 
justification is, which inheres only in Christ. See Gal. v. 17. Thus 
are righteousness and sanctification communicated and made ours : 
but then, , 

For redemption, that is to say, absolute and plenary deliverance 
from all the sad remains, effects, and consequences of sin, both 
upon soul and body ; this is made ours, (or, to keep to the terms) 
Christ is made redemption to us by glorification ; then, and not be- 
fore, are these miserable effects removed ; we put off these together 
with the body. So that look, as justification cures the guilt of sin, 
and sanctification, the dominion of sin, so glorification removes, to- 
gether with its existence and being, all those miseries which it let in 
(as at a flood-gate) upon our whole man, Eph. v. 26, 27. 

And thus of God, Christ is made unto us *f* wisdom and righ- 



* Non farmali intrinsica juslitia, ted relation ; non quoad quant itakm sed verikUem ,• fit 
enim Jinita ajnilicatio infinite JustUiee ; si a liter, acquejusd essemus ut Ckristus, at von : 
juxtitia Christi fa nostra, non quoad vnioersalem va/~»rm, sal particularcm necesiitatern ; et 
imputatur nobis, nonut causis salvationis, sed vt subjectis talvandu. Uradsli. de Ju^tilicat. 

f But it is said he is made unto us, wisdom, righteousntss, sanctification, and 
redemption, therefore any worth or merit in us is excluded. Whence it likewise fol- 
lows, that we were foolish, unrighteous, unholv, ami slaves of the devil. 

B 4' 



26 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM, t. 

teousness, sanctification and redemption; namely, by imputation, 
regeneration, and glorification. 

I shall next improve the point in some useful inferences. 

Inference 1. Learn from hence, what a naked, destitute, and 
empty thing, a poor sinner is, in his natural unregenerate state. 

He is one that naturally and inherently hath neither wisdom, 
nor righteousness, sanctification nor redemption; all these must 
come from without himself, even from Christ, who is made all 
this to a sinner, or else he must eternally perish. 

As no creature (in respect of external abilities) comes under more 
natural weakness into the world than man, naked, empty, and 
more shiftless and helpless than any other creature ; so it is with his 
soul, yea, much more than so : all our excellencies are borrowed ex- 
cellencies, no reason therefore to be proud of any of them, 1 Cor. 
iv. 7. " What hast thou that thou hast not received ? Now, if thou 
" didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not re- 
" ceived it ?" q. d. What intolerable insolence and vanity would 
it be for a man that wears the rich and costly robe of Christ's righ- 
teousness, in which there is not one thread of his own spinning, 
but all made by free-grace, and not by free-will, to jet proudly up 
and down the world in it, as if himself had made it, and he were 
beholden to none for it ? O man ! thine excellencies, whatever they 
are, are borrowed from Christ, they oblige thee to him, but he 
can be no more obliged to thee, who wearest them, than the sun 
is obliged to him that borrows its light, or the fountain to him that 
draws its water for his use and benefit. 

And it hath ever been the care of holy men, when they have 
viewed their own gracious principles, or best performances, still to 
disclaim themselves, and own free-grace as the sole author of all. 
Thus holy Paul, viewing the principles of divine life in himself, 
(the richest gift bestowed upon man in this world by Jesus Christ) 
how doth he renounce himself, and deny the least part of the 
praise and glory as belonging to him, Gal. ii. 20. " Now I live, 
" yet not I ; but Christ liveth in me :*" and so for the best duties 
that ever he performed for God : (and what mere man ever did 
more for God ?) Yet when, in a just and necessary defence, he was 
constrained to mention them, 1 Cor. xv. 10. how carefully is the 
like [Yet not I] presently added? " I laboured more abundantly 
" than they all ; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with 
" me." 

Well then, let the sense of your own emptiness by nature hum- 
ble and oblige you the more to Christ, from whom you receive all 
you have. 

Infer. 2. Hence we are informed, that none can claim benefit by 
imputed righteousness, but those only that live in the power of in- 



5ERM. I. THE METHOD OF Git ACE. 27 

herent holiness ; to whomsoever Christ is made righteousness, to him 
lie also is made sanctification. 

The gospel hath not the least favour for licentiousness. It is 
every way as careful to press men to their duties as to instruct them 
in their privileges, Tit. iii. 8. " This is a faithful saying; and these 
" tilings I will that ye affirm constantly ; that they which have be- 
" lieved in God, might be careful to maintain good works." It 
is a loose principle, divulged by libertines, to the reproach of Christ 
and his gospel, that sanctification is not the evidence of our justifi- 
cation. And Christ is as much wronged by them who separate ho- 
liness from righteousness (as if a sensual vile life were consistent 
with a justified state) as he is in the contrary extreme* by those 
who confound Christ's righteousness with man's holiness, in the 
point of justification ; or that own no other righteousness, but 
what is inherent in themselves. The former opinion makes him a 
cloak for sin, the latter a needless sacrifice for sin. 

It is true, our sanctification cannot justify us before God ; but 
what then, can it not evidence our justification before men? Is 
there no necessity, or use for holiness, because it hath no hand in 
our justification? Is the preparation of the soul for heaven, by 
altering its frame and temper, nothing ? Is the glorifying of our 
Redeemer, by the exercises of grace in the world, nothing ? Doth 
the work of Christ render the work of the Spirit needless ? God 
forbid : " He came not by blood only, but by water also," 1 John 
v. 6. And when the apostle saith, in Rom. iv. 5. " But unto 
" him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the 
" ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness :" the scope 
of it is neither to characterize and describe the justified per- 
son, as one that is lazy and slothful, and hath no mind to work, nor 
the rebellious and refractory, refusing obedience to the commands 
of God ; but to represent him as an humbled sinner, who is con- 
vinced ol his inability to work out his own righteousness by the 
law, and sees all his endeavours to obey the law fall short of righ- 
teousness, and therefore is said, in a law-sense, not to work, because 
he doth not work so as to answer the purpose and end of the law, 
which accepts of nothing beneath perfect obedience. 

And when (in the same text) the ungodly are said to be justified, 
that character describes not the temper and frame of their hearts 
and lives, after their justification, but what it was before; not as 
it leaves, but as it found them *. 

Infer. 3. How unreasonable, and worse than brutish, is the sin of 
infidelity, by which the sinner rejects Christ, and with him all those 
mercies, and benefits, which alone can relieve and cure his misery ! 

» God justifies the ungodly antecedently not consequently. Par. 



28 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. I* 

He is by nature blind and ignorant, and yet refuses Christ, who 
conies to him with heavenly light and wisdom ; he is condemned 
by the terrible sentence of the law to eternal wrath, and yet rejects 
Christ, who renders to him complete and perfect righteousness : he 
is wholly polluted and plunged into original and actual pollutions 
of nature and practice, yet will have none of Christ, who would 
become sanctification to him. He is oppressed in soul and body, 
with the deplorable effects and miseries sin hath brought upon him, 
and yet is so in love with his bondage, that he will neither accept 
Christ, nor the redemption he brings with him to sinners. 

O ! what monsters, what beasts hath sin turned its subjects 
into ! " You will not come to me that ye may have life," John v. 
40. Sin hath stabbed the sinner to the heart, the wounds are all 
mortal, eternal death is in his face; Christ hath prepared the 
only plaister that can cure his wounds, but he will not suffer him to 
apply it *. He acts like one in love with death, and that judges it 
sweet to perish. So Christ tells us, Prov. viii. 36. " All they that 
" hate me, love death :" not in itself but in its causes, with which 
it is inseparably connected. They are loth to burn, yet willing to 
sin ; though sin kindle those everlasting flames. So that in two 
things the unbeliever shews himself worse than brutish, he cannot 
think of damnation, the effect of sin, without horror ; and cannot 
yet think of sin, the cause of damnation, without pleasure ; he is 
loth to perish to all eternity without a remedy, and yet refuses and 
declines Christ as if he were an enemy, who only can and would 
deliver him from that eternal perdition. 

How do men act therefore, as if they were in love with their 
own ruin ! Many poor wretches now in the way to hell, what an 
hard shift do they make to cast themselves away ! Christ meets 
them many times in the ordinances, where they studiously shun him : 
many times checks them in their way by convictions, which they 
make an hard shift to overcome and conquer. Oh how willing are 
they to accept a cure, a benefit, a remedy, for any thing but their 
souls ! You see then that sinners cannot, (should they study all 
their days to do themselves a mischief), take a readier course to 
undo themselves, than by rejecting Christ in his gracious offers. 

Surely the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is less than this sin. 

Mercy itself is exasperated by it, and the damnation of such as 
reject Christ, (so prepared for them, with whatever they need, and 
so seriously and frequently offered to them upon the knee of gos- 
pel intreaty), is just, inevitable, and will be more intolerable than 
to any in the world beside them. It is just, for the sinner hath but 

* Not that any one is so mad, as willingly and knowingly to love death, which we 
all naturally abhor; but because that is the fruit of despising the wisdom of God, which 
at length brings death on us. Lavat. on the place. 



BfeSM. I. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 29 

his own option, or choice : he is but come to the end which he 
was often told his way would bring him to. It is inevitable, for 
there is no other way to salvation, but that which is rejected. 
And it will be more intolerable than the damnation of others, be- 
cause neither heathens nor devils ever aggravated their sins by 
such an horrid circumstance, as the wilful refusing of such an apt, 
offered, and only remedy. 

Infer. 4. What a tremendous symptom of wrath, and sad char* 
aeter of death, appears upon that marl's soul, to which no effectual 
application of Christ can be made by the gospel. 

Christ, with his benefits, is frequently tendered to them in the 
gospel ; they have been beseeched once and again, upon the knee 
of importunity, to accept him ; those entreaties and persuasions have 
been urged by the greatest arguments, the command of God, the 
love of Christ, the inconceivable happiness or misery which una- 
voidably follow the accepting or rejecting of those offers, and yet 
nothing will affect them : all their pleas for infidelity have been 
over and over confuted, their reasons and consciences have stood 
convinced ; they have been speechless, as well as Christless : not 
one sound argument is found with them to defend their infidelity : 
they confess in general, that such courses as theirs are, lead to 
destruction. They will yield them to be happy souls that are in 
Christ ; and yet, when it comes to the point, their own closing 
with him, nothing will do ; all arguments, all entreaties, return to 
us without success. 

Lord ! what is the reason of this unaccountable obstinacy ? In other 
things it is not so : If they be sick, they are so far from rejecting a 
physician that offers himself, that they will send, and pray, and 
pay him too. If they be arrested for debt, and any one will be a 
surety, and pay their debts for them, words can hardly express 
the sense they have of such a kindness : but though Christ would 
be both a physician and surety, and whatever else their needs re- 
quire, they will rather perish to eternity, than accept him. What 
may we fear to be the reason of this, but because they are not of 
Christ's sheep, John x. 26. The Lord open the eyes of poor sin- 
ners, to apprehend not only how great a sin, but how dreadful a 
sign this is. 

Infer. 5. If Christ, with all his benefits, be made ours, by Gotfs spe- 
cial application, what a day of mercies then is the day of conversion! 
what multitudes of choice blessing's visit the converted soul in that day! 

" This day. (saith Christ to Zaccheus, Luke xix. 9.) is 
" salvation come to this house. 1 ' In this day, Christ cometh 
into the soul, and he comes not empty, but brings with him 
all his treasures of wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and 
redemption. Troops of mercies, yea, of the best of mercies, 



30 THY METHOD OF GliACE. SERM. T. 

come with him. It is a day of singular gladness and joy to the 
heart of Christ, when he is espoused to, and received by the be- 
lieving soul : it is a coronation day to a king. So you read, Cant. 
iii. 11. " Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king 
" Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in 
" the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his 
" heart." 

Where, under the type of Solomon in his greatest magnificence 
and glory, when the royal diadem was set upon his head, and the 
people shouted for joy, so that the earth did ring again, is shadow- 
ed out the joy- of Christ's heart, when poor souls, by their high 
estimation of him, and consent to his government, do, as it were, 
crown him with glory and honour, and make his heart glad. 

Now, if the day of our espousals to Christ be the day of the 
gladness of his heart, and he reckons himself thus honoured and 
glorified by us, what a day of joy and gladness should it be to our 
hearts, and how should we be transported with joy, to see a King 
from heaven, with all his treasures of grace and glory, bestowing 
himself freely, and everlastingly upon us, as our portion ! No won- 
der Zaccheus came down joyfully, Luke xix. 6. that the eunuch 
went home rejoicing, Acts viii. 39. that the gaoler rejoiced, be- 
lieving in God with all his household, Acts xvi. 34. that they that 
were converted, did eat then- meat with gladness, praising God, 
Acts ii. 41, 46. that there was great joy among them of Samaria, 
when Christ came among them in the preaching of the gospel, 
Acts viii, 5, 8. I say, it is no wonder we read of such joy accom- 
panying Christ into the soul, when we consider, that in one day, 
so many blessings meet together in it, the least of which is not to 
be exchanged for all the kingdoms of this world, and the glory of 
them. Eternity itself will but suffice to bless God for the mercies 
of this one day. 

Infer. 6. If Christ be made all this to every soul, unto whom he is 
effectually applied, •what cause then have those souls, that a,re under 
the preparatory work of the Spirit, and are come nigh to Christ and 
all his benefits, to stretch out their hands, with vehement desire to 
Christ, and give him the most important invitation into their souls ! 

The whole world is distinguishable into three classes, or sorts of 
persons ; such as are far from Christ ; such as are not far from 
Christ ; and such as are in Christ They that are in Christ have 
heartily received him. Such as are far from Christ, will not open 
to him ; their hearts are fast barred by ignorance, prejudice, and 
unbelief against him : But those that are come under the prepara- 
tory workings of the Spirit, nigh to Christ, who see their own in- 
dispensible necessity of him, and his suitableness to their necessities, 
in whom also encouraging hopes begin to dawn, and their souls 



gEfttf. T. THE METHOD OF CEACE. 31 

are waiting at the foot of God for power to receive him, for an 
heart to close sincerely and universally with him ; what vehe- 
ment desires ! what strong pleas ! what moving arguments should 
.•such persons urge, and plead to win Christ, and get possession of 
him ! they are in sight of their only remedy ; Christ and salva- 
tion are come to their very doors ; there wants but a few things 
to make them blessed for ever. This is the day in which their 
souls are exercised between hopes and fears : Now they are much 
alone, and deep in though tfulness, they weep and make supplica- 
tion for a heart to believe, and that against the great discourage- 
ments with which they encounter. 

Reader, if this be the case of thy soul, it will not be the least 
piece of service I can do for thee, to suggest such pleas as in this 
case are proper to be urged for the attainment of thy desires, and 
the closing of the match between Christ and thee. 

First, Plead the absolute necessity which now drives thee to 
Christ : Tell him thy hope is utterly perished in all other refuges. 
Thou art come like a starving beggar to the last door of hope. Tell 
him thou now beginnest to see the absolute necessity of Christ. 
Thy body hath not so much need of bread, water, or air, as thy 
soul hath of Christ, and that wisdom and righteousness, sanctifi- 
cation and redemption, that are in him. 

Secondly, Plead the Father's gracious design in furnishing and 
sending him into the world, and his own design in accepting the 
Father's call. Lord Jesus, wast thou not " anointed to preach 
" good tidings to the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, and 
" to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the pri- 
" son to them that are bound ?" Isa. lxi. 1, 3. Behold an object 
suitable to thine office : whilst I was ignorant of my condition, I 
had a proud rebellious heart, but conviction and self-acquaintance 
have now melted it : my heart was harder than the nether mill- 
stone, and it was as easy to dissolve the obdurate rocks, as to thaw 
and melt my heart for sin ; but now God hath made my heart 
soft, I sensibly feel the misery of my condition. I once thought 
myself at perfect liberty, but now I see what I conceited to be per- 
fect liberty, is perfect bondage ; and never did a poor prisoner 
sigh for deliverance more than I. Since then thou hast given me 
a soul thus qualified, though still unworthy, for the exercise of 
thine office, and execution of thy commission ; Lord Jesus, be, 
according to thy name, a Jesus unto me. 

Thirdly, Plead the unlimited and general invitation made to such 
souls as you are, to come to Christ freely. Lord, thou hast made 
open proclamation ; " Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to 
u the waters, Isa. lv. 1. and Rev. xxii. 17. " Him that is a-thirst 



32 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. I. 

" come." In obedience to thy call, lo, I come ; had I not been 
invited, my coming to thee, dear Lord Jesus, had been an act of 
presumption, but this makes it an act of duty and obedience. 

Fourthly <, Plead the unprofitableness of thy blood to God ; Lord, 
there is no profit in my blood, it will turn to no more advantage 
to thee to destroy, than it will to save me : if thou send me to hell, 
(as the merit of my sin calls upon thy justice to do,) I shall be 
there dishonouring thee to all eternity, and thje debt I owe thee 
never paid. But, if thou apply thy Christ to me for righteousness, 
satisfaction for all that I have done will be laid down in one full, com- 
plete sum ; indeed, if the honour of thy justice lay as a bar to my 
pardon, it would stop my mouth : but when thy justice, as well as 
thy mercy, shall both rejoice together, and be glorified and pleased 
in the same act, what hinders but that Christ be applied to my 
soul, since, in so doing, God can be no loser by it ? 

Fifthly., and lastly, Plead thy compliance with the terms of the 
gospel : tell him, Lord, my will complies fully and heartily to all 
thy gracious terms. I can now subscribe a blank : let God offer 
his Christ on what terms he will, my heart is ready to comply ; I 
have no exception against any article of the gospel. And now, 
Lord, I wholly refer myself to thy pleasure ; do with me what 
seemeth good in thine eyes, only give me an interest in Jesus Christ; 
as to all other concerns I lie at thy feet, in full resignation of all 
to thy pleasure. Never yet did any perish in that posture and 
frame ; and I hope I shall not be made the first instance and 
example, 

Inf\ 7. Lastly, If Christ, with all his benefits, be made ours, by 
a special application ; how contented, thankful, comfortable, and 
hopeful, should believers be, in every condition which God casts them 
into in this world ! •% 

After such a mercy as this, let them never open their mouths 
any more to repine and grudge at the outward inconveniencies of 
their condition in this world. What are the things you want, 
compared with the things you enjoy ? What is a little money, 
health, or liherty, to wisdom, righteousness, sanctifi cation, and 
redemption ? All the crowns and sceptres in the world, sold to 
their full value, are no price for the least of these mercies. But I 
will not insist here, your duty lies much higher than contentment. 

Be thankful, as well as content, in every state. " Blessed be 
" God, (saith the apostle) the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
•* who hath blessed us with all [spiritual blessings] in heavenly 
" places in Christ :" O think what are men to angels, that Christ 
should pass by them to become a Saviour to men ? And what art 
thou among men, that thou shouldst be taken, and others left! 
And among all the mercies of God, what mercies are comparable. 



SERM. II. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 38 

to these conferred upon thee ? O bless God in the lowest ebb of 
outward comforts, for sueh privileges as these. 

And yet you will not come up to your duty in all this, except 
you be joyful in the Lord, and rejoice evermore, after the receipt 
of such mercies as these, Phil. iv. 4. " Rejoice in the Lord ye 
" righteous, and again I say rejoice." For hath not the poor 
captive reason to rejoice, when he hath recovered his liberty ? The 
debtor to rejoice when all scores are cleared, and he owes nothing ? 
The weary traveller to rejoice, though he be not owner of a shil- 
ling, when he is come almost home, where all his wants shall be 
supplied ? Why this is our case, when Christ once becomes yours : 
you are the Lord's freemen, your debts to justice are all satisfied 
by Christ ; and you are within a little of complete redemption 
from all the troubles and inconveniences of your present state. 
Thanhs be to God for Jesus Christ. 



>®-x-ee» 



SERMON II. 

Wherein the Union of the Believer with Christ, as a 
principal Part of effectual Application, is stated and prac- 
tically improved. 

John xvii. 23. 
/ in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one. 

JL HE design and end of the application of Christ to sinners is the 
communication of his benefits to them ; but seeing all communica- 
tions of benefits necessarily imply communion, and all communion 
as necessarily presupposes union with his person : I shall therefore, 
in this place, and from this scripture, treat of the mystical union 
betwixt Christ and believers ; this union being the principal act, 
wherein the Spirit's application of Christ consists, of which I spake 
(as to its general nature) in the former sermon. 

In this verse (omitting the context) we find a threefold union, 
one betwixt the Father and Christ, a second betwixt Christ and 
believers, a third betwixt believers themselves. 

First, Thou in me : This is a glorious ineffable union, and is 
fundamental to the other two. The Father is not only in Christ, 
in respect of dear affections, as one dear friend is in another, who 
is as his own soul ; nor only essentially, in respect of the identity 
and sameness of nature and attributes, in which respect Christ is 
the express image of his person, Heb. i. 3. But he is in Christ 
also as Mediator, bv communicating the fulness of the Godhead, 



34 Tin; method of grace. seem. ii. 

which dwells in him as God-man, in a transcendent and singular 
manner, so as it never dwelt, nor can dwell in any other, Col. 

Secondly, I m them : Here is the mystical union betwixt Christ 
and the saints, q. d. Thou and I are one essentially, they and I are 
one mystically : and thou and I are one by communication of the 
Godhead, and singular fulness of the Spirit to me as Mediator ; 
and they and I are one, by my communication of the Spirit to 
them in measure. 

Thirdly, From hence results a third union betwixt believers 
themselves ; that they may be made perfect in one ; the same Spirit 
dwelling in them all, and equally uniting them all to me, as 
living members to their Head of influence, there must needs be a 
dear and intimate union betwixt themselves, as fellow-members of 
the same body. 

Now my business, at this time, lying in the second branch, name- 
ly, the union betwixt Christ and believers, I shall gather up the 
substance of it into this doctrinal proposition, to which I shall 
apply this discourse. 

Doct. That there is a strict and dear union betwixt Christ and 
all true believers. 

The scriptures have borrowed from the book of nature four 
elegant and lively metaphors, to help the nature of this mystical 
union with Christ into our understandings ; namely, that of pieces 
of timber united by glue ; that of a graft' taking hold of its stock, 
and making one tree ; that of the husband and wife, by the mar- 
riage-covenant, becoming one flesh ; and that of the members and 
head animated by one soul, and so becoming one natural body. 
Every one of these is more lively and full than the other : and what 
is defective in one, is supplied in the other ; but yet, neither any 
of these singly, or all of them jointly, can give us a full and com- 
plete account of this mystery. 

Not that of two pieces united by glue, 1 Cor. v. 17. " He that 
" is joined to the Lord is one spirit," xoXkaixwog, glued to the Lord. 
For though this cementeth, and strongly joins them in one, yet 
this is but a faint and imperfect shadow of our union with Christ; 
for though this union by glue be intimate, yet not vital, but so is 
that of the soul with Christ. 

Nor that of the grafF and stock, mentioned Rom. vi. 5. for 
though it be there said, that believers are tfu/xf uro/, implanted, 
or ingrafted by way of incision, and this union betwixt it and the 
stock be vital, for it partakes of the vital sap and juice of it ; yet 
here also is a remarkable defect, for the grafF is of a more excellent 



SERM. TT. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 35 

kind and nature than the stock, and, upon that account, the tree 
receives its denomination from it, as from the more noble and 
excellent part ; but Christ, into whom believers are ingrafted, is 
infinitely more excellent than they, and they are denominated 
from him. 

Nor yet that conjugal union, by marriage-covenant, betwixt a 
man and his wife ; for though this be exceeding dear and intimate, 
so that a man leaves father and mother, and cleaves to his wife, 
and they two become one flesh ; yet this union is not indissolvable, 
but may and must be broken by death ; and then the relict lives 
alone without any communion with, or relation to, the person that 
was once so dear ; but this betwixt Christ and the soul can never 
be dissolved by death, it abides to eternity. 

Nor, lastlv, that of the head and members united by one vital 
spirit, and so making one physical body, mentioned Eph. iv. 15, 
16. for though one soul actuates every member, yet it doth not 
knit every member alike near to the head, but some are nearer, 
and others removed farther from it ; but here every member is 
alike nearly united with Christ the Head ; the weak are as near 
to him as the strong. 

Two things are necessary to be opened in the doctrinal part of 
this point. 1. The reality. 2. The quality of this union. 

First, For the reality of it, I shall make it appear, that there is 
such a union betwixt Christ and believers ; it is no Ens ration is 
empty notion, or cunningly devised fable, but a most certain de- 
monstrable truth, which appears, 

First, From the communion which is betwixt Christ and be- 
lievers ; in this the apostle is express, 1 John i. 3. " Truly our 
" fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ ;" 
xotvuvia. It signifies such fellowship or copartnership, as persons 
have by a joint interest in one and the same enjoyment, which 
is in common betwixt them. So Heb. iii. 14. we are f^ro^oi, 
partakers of Christ. And Psal. xlv. 7. -puma, here the saints 
are called the companions, consorts or fellows of Christ ; " and 
" that not only in respect of his * assumption of our mortality, and 
" investing us with his immortality, but it hath a special reference 
" and respect to the unction of the Holy Ghost, or graces of the 
" Spirit, of which believers are partakers with him and through 
" him." Now this communion of the saints with Christ is in- 
tirely and necessarily dependent upon their union with him, even 
as much as the branch's participation of the sap and juice depends 
upon its union and coalition with the stock : take away union, and 

* Ij>$e venit in sorfevi nostra: mortalitatis, ut in sortem yios addveeret sues immorktlitis, 
ilonim aiitem est, hie agi de consorlibus uvctionis : qnales sunt omnes Jidelcs qui unctionis 
i>articipesji)ivl. Rivet. 

Vol. II. C 



36 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. U. 

there can be no communion, or communications, which is clear 
from 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23. " All is yours, and ye are Christ's, and 
" Christ is God's." Where you see how all our participation of 
Christ's benefits is built upon our union with Christ's person. 

Secondly, The reality of the believer's union with Christ, is evi- 
dent from the imputation of Christ's righteousness to him for his 
justification. That a believer is justified before God by a righte- 
ousness without himself, is undeniable from Rom. iii. 24. "Being 
" justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is 
" in Christ Jesus." And that Christ's righteousness becomes ours 
by imputation is as clear from Rom. iv. 23, 24. but it can never 
be imputed to us, except we be united to him, and become one 
with him : which is also plainly asserted in 1 Cor. i. 30. " But of 
" him are ye (in Christ Jesus) who of God is made unto us wis- 
a dom and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." He 
communicates his merits unto none but those that are in him. 
Hence all those vain cavils of the Papists, disputing against our 
justification by the righteousness of Christ, and asserting it to be 
by inherent righteousness, are solidly answered. 

When they demand, How can we be justified by the righteous- 
ness of another ? Can I be rich with another man's money, or pre- 
ferred by another man's honours ? Our answer is, Yes, if that 
other be my surety or husband. Indeed Peter can not be justified 
by the righteousness of Paul ; but both may be justified by the 
righteousness of Christ imputed to them ; they being members, 
jointly knit to one common Head. Principal and surety are one 
in obligation and construction of law. Head and members are one 
body, branch and stock are one tree ; and it is no strange thing 
to see a graft live by the sap of another stock, when once it is in- 
grafted into it. 

Thirdly, The sympathy that is betwixt Christ and believers, 
proves a union betwixt them ; Christ and the saints smile and sigh 
together. St. Paul in Col. i. 24. tells us, that he did " fill up that 

" which was behind," ra -j^^/xarcc, the remainders of the 

" sufferings of Christ in his flesh :" not as if Christ's sufferings 
were imperfect, (" for by one offering he hath perfected for ever 
" them that are sanctified," Heb. x. 14.) but in these two scrip- 
tures, Christ is considered in a twofold capacity ; he suffered once in 
corpore pfoprxo, in his own person, as Mediator ; these sufferings 
are complete and full, and in that sense he suffers no more : he 
suffers also in corpore mystico, in his church and members, thus he 
still suffers in the sufferings of every saint for his sake ; and though 
these sufferings in his mystical body are not equal to the other, 
either pondere et mensura, in their weight and value, nor yet design- 
ed (\v officio, for the same use and purpose, to satisfy by their proper 



SERM. II. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 3? 

merit, offended justice ; nevertheless they are truly reckoned the 
sufferings of Christ, because the head suffers when the members 
do ; and without this supposition, that place, Acts ix. 5. is never 
to be understood, when Christ, the Head in heaven, cries out, 
" Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?" when the foot was trod 
upon on earth : How doth Christ sensibly feel our sufferings, or 
we his, if there be not a mystical union betwixt him and us ? 

Fourthly, and lastly, The way and manner in which the saints 
shall be raised at the last day, proves this mystical union betwixt 
Christ and them ; for they are not to be raised as others, by the 
naked power of God without them, but by the virtue of Christ's 
resurrection as their Head, sending forth vital, quickening influen- 
ces into their dead bodies, which are united to him as well as their 
souls. For so we find it, Rom. viii. 11. "But if the Spirit 
" of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that 
" raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal 
" bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you ;" even as it is in our 
awaking out of natural sleep, first the animal-spirits in the head 
begin to rouse and play there, and then the senses and members 
are loosed throughout the whole body. 

Now it is impossible the saints should be raised in the last resur- 
rection, by the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them, if that Spirit 
did not knit and unite them to him, as members to their head. 
So then by all this, it is proved, that there is a real union of the 
saints with Christ. 

Next, I shall endeavour to open the quality and nature of this 
union, and shew you what it is, according to the weak apprehen- 
sions we have of so sublime a mystery ; and this I shall do in a 
general and particular account of it. 

First, More generally, it is an intimate conjunction of believers 
to Christ, by the imparting of his Spirit to them, whereby they 
are enabled to believe and live in him. 

All divine and spiritual life is originally in the Father, and 
cometh not to us, but by and through the Son, John v. 26. to 

him hath the Father given to have an avro^cr/j, a quickening, 

enlivening power in himself; but the Son communicates this life 
which is in him to none but by and through the Spirit, Rom. 
viii. 2. " The Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, hath made 
" me free from the law of sin and death. 11 

The Spirit must therefore first take hold of us, before we can 
live in Christ ; and when he doth so, then we are enabled to exert 
that vital act of faith, whereby we receive Christ ; all this lies 
plain in that one scripture, John vi. 57. " As the living Father 
" hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, 
i% (that is bv faith applies me) even he shall live by me." So that 

C 2 



38 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SE11M. II. 

these two, namely, the Spirit on Christ's part, and faith, his work 
on our part, are the two ligaments by which we are knit to 
Christ. 

So that the Spirit's work in uniting or ingrafting a soul in 
Christ, is like the cutting off the graff from its native stock (which 
he cloth by his illuminations and convictions) and closing it with 
the living, when it is thus prepared, and so enabling it (by the in- 
fusion of faith) to suck and draw the vital sap, and thus it becomes 
one with him. Or as the many members in the natural body, 
being all quickened and animated by the same vital spirit, become 
one bodv with the head, which is the principal member, Eph. iv. 
4. " There is one body and one spirit."" 

More particularly, we shall consider the properties of this union, 
that so we may the better understand the nature of it. And here 
I shall open the nature of it both negatively and affirmatively. 

First, Negatively, by removing all false notions and misappre- 
hensions of it. And we say, 

First, The saints union with Christ is not a mere mental union 
onlv in conceit or notion, but really exists extra meniem, whether 
we conceit it or not. I know the atheistical world censures all 
these things as fancies and idle imaginations, but believers know 
the reality of them, John xiv. 20. " At that day you shall know 
" that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 11 This 
doctrine is not fantastical, but scientincal. 

Secondly, The saints union with Christ is not a physical union, 
such as is betwixt the members of a natural body and the head ; 
our nature indeed is assumed into union with the person of Christ, 
but it is the singular honour of that blessed and holy flesh of Christ, 
to be so united as to make one person with him ; that union is 
hvpostatical, this only mystical. 

Thirdly, Nor is it an essential union, or union with the divine 
nature, so as our beings are thereby swallowed up and lost in the 
Divine being. 

Some there be indeed that talk at that wild rate, of being god- 
ded into God, and christed into Christ ; and those unwary expres- 
sions of Greg. Naz. Qsorromv, and Xuco.-ostv, do but too much counte- 
nance those daring spirits ; but oh, there is an infinite distance 
betwixt us and Christ, in respect of nature and excellency, not- 
withstanding this union. 

Fourthly, The union I here speak of, is not a federal union, or 
an union by covenant only : such an union indeed there is betwixt 
Christ and believers, but that is consequential to and wholly de- 
pendent upon this. 

F'tfthly, and lastlv, It is not a mere moral union by love and 
affection ; thus we say, one soul is in two bodies, a friend is another 



PERM. IT. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 39 

self; tlie lover is in the person beloved ; such an union of hearts 
and affections there is also betwixt Christ and the saints, but this is 
of another nature; that we call a moral, this is a mystical union; 
that only knits our affections, but this our persons to Christ. 

Secondly, Positively. And, Ffo*$t, Though this union neither 
makes us one person nor essence with Christ, yet it knits our per- 
sons most intimately and nearly to the person of Christ. The 
church is Christ's body, Col. i. 24. not his natural, but his mysti- 
cal body ; that is to say, his body is a mystery, because it is to 
him as his natural body. The saints stand to Christ in the 
same relation that the natural members of the body stand to the 
head, and he stands in the same relation to them, that the head 
stands in to the natural members ; and consequently they stand re- 
lated to one another, as the members of a natural body do to each 
other. 

Christ and the saints are not one, as the oak and the ivy that 
clasps it are one, but as the graff and stock are one ; it is not an 
union by adhesion, but incorporation. Husband and wife are not 
so near, soul and body are not so near, as Christ and the believing 
soul are near to each other. 

Secondly, The mystical union is wholly supernatural, wrought 
by the alone power of God. So it is said, 1 Cor. i. 30. " But of 
" him are ye in Christ Jesus." We can no more unite ourselves to 
Christ, than a branch can incorporate itself into another stock ; it is 
of him, i. e. of God, his proper and alone work. 

There are only two ligaments, or bands of union betwixt Christ 
and the soul, viz. the Spirit on his part, and faith on ours. But 
when we say faith is the band of union on our part, the meaning 
is not, that it is so our own act, as that it springs naturally from 
us, or is educed from the power of our own wills; no, for the 
apostle expressly contradicts it, Eph. ii. 8. " It is not of yourselves, 
" it is the gift of God." But we are the subjects of it, and though 
the act on that account be ours, yet the power enabling us to be- 
lieve is God's, Eph. i. 19, 20. 

Thirdly, The mystical union is an immediate union ; immediate 
I say, not as excluding means and instruments, for several means 
and many instruments are employed for the effecting of it ; but 
immediate, as excluding degrees of nearness among the members 
of Christ's mystical body. 

Every member in the natural body stands not as near to the head 
as another, but so do all the mystical members of Christ's body to 
him: every member, the smallest as well as the greatest, hath an im- 
mediate coalition with Christ, 1 Cor. i. 2. " To the church of God, 
" which is at Corinth, to them that arc sanctified in Christ Jcsus > 

C 3 



40 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. SER3I. II*- 



" called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the 
k * name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours." 

Among the factions in this church at Corinth, those that said, 
/ am of Christ, as arrogating Christ to themselves, were as much a 
faction, as those that said, / am of Paul, 1 Cor. i. 30. To cure 
this he tells them, he is both theirs and ours. Such inclosures are 
against law. 

Fourthly, The saints mystical union with Christ is a fundamental 
union ; it is fundamental by way of sustentation ; all our fruits of 
obedience depend upon it, John xv. 4. " As the branch cannot 
" bear fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except 
" ye abide in me." It is fundamental to all our privileges and 
comfortable claims, 1 Cor. iii. 23. "All is yours, for ye are 
" Christ's." And it is fundamental to all our hopes and expec- 
tations of glory ; for it is " Christ in you the hope of glory," Col. 
i. 27. So then, destroy this union, and with it you destroy all our 
fruits, privileges, and eternal hopes, at one stroke. 

Frf'thJy, The mystical union is a most efficacious union, for 
through this union the divine power flows into our souls, both to 
quicken us with the life of Christ, and to conserve and secure that 
life in us after it is so infused. 

Without the union of the soul to Christ, which is to be con- 
ceived efficiently as the Spirit's act, there can be no union for- 
mally considered ; and, without these, no communications of life 
from Christ to us, Eph. iv. 16. And as there is that wepyesa, or 
effectual working of the spirit of life in every' part, which he there 
speaks of, (as though you should say, the first appearances of a new 
life, a spiritual vitality diffused through the soul, which ere while 
was dead in sin) yet still this union with Christ is as necessary to 
the maintaining, as before it was to the producing of it. 

For why is it that this life is not again extinguished, and wholly 
suffocated in us, by so many deadly wounds as are given it by 
temptations and corruptions ? Surely no reason can be assigned 
more satisfying than that which Christ himself gives us, in John 
xiv. 19. " Because I live, ye shall live also :" q. d. whilst there is 
vital sap in me the root, you that are branches in me cannot 
wither and die. 

Sixthly, The mystical union is an indissoluble union : there is 
an everlasting tye betwixt Christ and the believer ; and herein also 
it is beyond all other unions in the world ; death dissolves the dear 
union betwixt the husband and wife, friend and friend, yea, be- 
twixt soul and body, but not betwixt Christ and the soul, the bands 
of this union rot not in the grave. " What shall separate us from 
" the love of Christ ?" saith the apostle, Rom. viii. 35, 38, 39. 
He bids defiance to all his enemies, and triumphs in the firmness 



SERM. II. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 41 



of his union over all hazards that seem to threaten it. It is with 
Christ and us, in respect of the mystical union, as it is with Christ 
himself, in respect of the hypostatical union ; that was not dissolved 
by his death, when the natural union betwixt his soul and body was, 
nor can this mystical union of our souls and bodies with Christ be 
dissolved, when the union betwixt us and our dearest relations, 
yea, betwixt the soul and body, is dissolved by death. God calls 
himself the God of Abraham, long after his body was turned into 
dust. <, 

Seventh!?/, It is an honourable union*, yea, the highest honour 
that can be done unto men ; the greatest honour that was ever 
done to our common nature, was by its assumption into union with 
the second person hypostaticaUy, and the highest honour that was 
ever done to our single persons, was their union with Christ 
mystically. To be a servant of Christ is a dignity transcendent to 
the highest advancement among men ; but to be a member of 
Christ, how matchless and singular is the glory thereof! And vet, 
such honour have all the saints, Eph. v. 30. " We are members 
" of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." 

Eighthly, It is a most comfortable imion: yea, the ground of all 
solid comfort, both in life and death. Whatever troubles, wants, 
or distresses befal such, in this is abundant relief and support, 
Christ is mine, and I am his ; what may not a good soul make out 
of that! If I am Christ's, then let him take care for me, and, in- 
deed, in so doing, he doth but take care for his own. He is my head, 
and to him it belongs to consult the safety and welfare of his own 
members, Eph. i. 22, 23. He is not only an head to his own, by 
way of influence, but to all things else, by way of dominion, for 
their good. How comfortably may we repose ourselves, under 
that cheering consideration, upon him at all times and in all diffi- 
cult cases ! 

Ninthly, It is a. fruitful imion ; the immediate end of it is fruit, 
Rom. vh. 4. " We are married to Christ, that we should bring 
" forth fruit to God." All the fruit we bear before our ingraf- 
ture into Christ is worse than none ; till the person be in Christ, 
the work cannot be evangelically good and acceptable to Gml : 
" We are made accepted in the Beloved," Eph. i. 6*. Christ is a 
fruitful root, and makes all the branches that live in him so too, 
John xv. 8. 

Tcnthly, and lastly, It is an enriching union ; for, by our union 
with his person, we are immediately interested in all his riches, 



* Christ is the head, summit, and crown of all dignity, without whom there is 
nothing (truly) noble in all this sublunary world, who has heaven tor his throne, and 
the earth for his footstool. The earth, 1 say, with all the persons of high rank and sta- 
tion in it are put under his feet. Luur. Humplired. on JfuOility. 

C 4 



42 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEBM. Tf. 

1 Cor. i. 30. How rich and great a person do the little arms of 
faith clasp and embrace ! " All is yours/' 1 Cor. iii. 22. All that 
Christ hath becomes ours, either by communication to us, or im- 
provement for us: His Father, John xx. 17. His promises, 2 Cor. 
i. 20. His providences, Horn. viii. 28. His glory, John xvii. 24. 
It is all ours by virtue of our union with him. 

Thus you see briefly what the mystical union is. Next we shall 
improve it. 

Inference 1. If there he such a union betwixt Christ and believers, 
Oh then whtat transcendent dignity hath God put upon believers. 

Well might Constantine prefer the honour of being a member 
of the church, before that of being head of the empire * ; for it is 
not only above all earthly dignities and honours, but, in some 
respect, above that honour which God hath put upon the angels of 
glory. 

Great is the dignity of the angelical nature : the angels are the 
highest and most honourable species of creatures ; they also have 
the honour continually to behold the face of God in heaven, and 
yet, in this one respect the saints are preferred to them, they 
have a mystical union with Christ, as their head of influence, by 
whom they are quickened with spiritual life, which the angels have 
not. 

It is true, there is an avaxz<pa}.aic,rfic, or gathering together of all 
in heaven and earth under Christ as a common head, Eph. i. 10. 
He is the Head of angels as well as saints, but in different respects. 
To angels he is an head of dominion and government, but to saints 
he is both an head of dominion, and of vital influence too ; they are 
his chief and most honourable subjects, but not his mystical mem- 
bers : they are as the Barons and Nobles in his kingdom, but the 
saints as the dear Spouse and Wife of his bosom. This dignifies 
the believer above the greatest angel. And as the nobles of the 
kingdom think it a preferment and honour to serve the Queen, so 
the glorious angels think it no degradation or dishonour to them to 
serve the Saints ; for to this honourable office they are appointed, 
Heb. i. 14. to be ministering or serviceable spirits, for the good of 
them that shall be heirs of salvation. The chiefest servant dis- 
dains not to honour and serve the heir. 

Some imperious grandees would frown, should some of these per- 
sons but presume to approach their presence ; but God sets them 
before his face with delight, and angels delight to serve them. 

Infer. 2. If there be such a strict and inseparable union betwioct 

* If thou wouldst be called a man of power, put on Christ who is the power and 
wisdom of God, and in all things join thyself to the Lord, that thou mayest be 
one spirit with him, and then thou shalt become a man of power, Orig. Horn, m 
Kum. xxxi. 



SF.KM. II. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 43 

Christ and believers, then the graee of be/levers can never total/// 
fail; ImmortaUtj) is the privilege of grace, because sanctified per- 
sons arc inseparably united to Christ the Fountain of life : " Your 
" life is hid with Christ in God,"" Col. iii. 3. Whilst the sap of life 
is in the root, the brandies live by it. Thus it is betwixt Christ 
nm\ believers, John xiv. 19- " Because I live, ye shall live also.* 1 
See how Christ binds up their life in one bundle with his own, plainly 
intimating, that it is as impossible for them to die, as it is for him- 
self; he cannot live without them. 

True it is, the spiritual life of believers is encountered by many 
strong and fierce oppositions : It is also brought to a low ebb in 
gone, but we are always to remember, that there are some things 
which pertain to the essence of that life, in which the very being of 
it lies, and some tilings that pertain only to its well-being. All 
those things which belong to the well being of the new-creature, 
as manifestations, joys, spiritual comforts, &c. may, for a time, fail, 
vea, and grace itself may suffer great losses and remissions in its 
degrees, notwithstanding our union with Christ ; but still the essence 
of it is immortal, which is no small relief to gracious souls. When 
the means of grace fail, as it is threatened, Amos viii. 11. when tem- 
porary formal professors drop away from Christ like withered leaves 
from the trees in a windy day, 2 Tim. ii. 18. and when the natural 
union of their souls and bodies is suffering a dissolution from each 
other by death, when that silver cord is loosed, this golden chain 
holds firm, 1 Cor. iii. 23. 

Inf. 3. Is the union so intimate betivixt Christ and believers t 
How great and powerful a motive then is this, to make us open- 
handed and liberal in relieving the necessities and wants of every 
gracious person ! For in relieving them, we relieve Christ himself. 

Christ personal is not the object of our pity and charity, he is at 
the fountain-head of all the riches in glory, Eph. iv. 10. but Christ 
mystical is exposed to necessities and wants, he feels hunger and 
thirst, cold and pains, in his body the church * ; and he is refresh- 
ed, relieved, and comforted, in their refreshments and comforts. 
Christ the Lord of heaven and earth, in this consideration is 
sometimes in need of a penny ; he tells us his wants and poverty, 
and how he is relieved, Matt. xxv. 35, 40. A text believed and un- 
derstood by very few, " I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat : 
" I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye 
" took me in. Then" shall the righteous answer, Lord, when saw 
" we thee an hungered, &c. And the KingpShall answer, and say 

• He who is not moved with the condition of a brother in the church, let him be 
moved with the contemplation of Christ : and he who does not regard his fellow servant 
in straits and want, let him regard the Lord, dwelling in that man whom he despises. 
Cyprian on Iforks and Charity. 



41 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. II 

" unto them, verily I say unto you, in as mucli as ye have done 
" it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it 
" unto me."' 

It was the saying of a great divine, that he thought scarce any 
man on earth did fully understand and believe this truth, and he 
conceives so much hinted in the very text, where the righteous 
themselves reply, " Lord, when saw we thee sick," &c. intimating 
in the question, that they did not thoroughly understand the near- 
ness, yea, oneness of those persons with Christ, for whom they did 
these things. And, indeed, it is incredible that a Christian can be 
hard-hearted and close-handed to that necessitous Christian, in re- 
freshing and relieving of whom, he verily believes, that he mini- 
sters refreshment to Christ himself. 

O think again and again upon this scripture ; consider what for- 
cible and mighty arguments are here laid together, to engage relief 
to the wants of Christians. 

Here you see their near relation to Christ ; they are mystically 
one person ; what you did to them, you did to me. Here you see 
also how kindly Christ takes it at our hands, acknowledging all 
those kindnesses that were bestowed upon him, even to a bit of 
bread : He is, you see, content to take it as a courtesy, who 
might demand it by authority, and bereave you of all immediately 
upon refusal. 

Yea, here you see one single branch or act of obedience, (our 
charity to the saints) is singled out from among all the duties of 
obedience, and made the test and evidence of our sincerity in that 
great day, and men blessed or cursed according to the love they 
have manifested this way to the saints. 

O then, let none that understand the relation the saints have to 
Christ, as the members to the head, or the relation they have to 
each other thereby, as fellow-members of the same body, from hence- 
forth suffer Christ to hunger, if they have bread to relieve him, or 
Christ to be thirsty, if they have wherewith to refresh him : this 
union betwixt Christ and the saints affords an argument beyond all 
other arguments in the world to prevail with us. Methinks, a lit- 
tle rhetoric might persuade a Christian to part with any thing he 
hath for Christ, who parted with the glory of heaven, yea, and his 
own blood for his sake. 

Inf. 4. Do Christ and believers male but one mystical person ? 
How unnatural and absurd then are all those acts of unkindness, 
whereby believers wound and grieve Jesus Christ! This is as if 
the hand should wound its own head, from which it receives life, 
sense, motion, and strength. 

When satan smites Christ by a wicked man, he then wounds him 



SERM. II. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 45 

with the hand of an enemy ; but when his temptations prevail upon 
the saints to sin, he wounds him as it were with his own hand : 
As the eagle and tree in the fable complained, the one that he ,was 
wounded by an arrow winged with J) is own feathers ; the o*ther, 
that it was cleaved asunder by a wedge hewn out of its own 
limbs. 

Now the evil and disingenuity of such sins are to be measured 
not only by the near relation Christ sustains to believers as their 
Head ; but more particularly from the several benefits they receive 
from him as such ; for in wounding Christ by their sins, 

First, They wound their Head of influence, through whom they 
live, and without whom they had still remained in the state of sin 
and death, Eph. iv. 16. Shall Christ send life to us, and we re- 
turn that which is death to him ! O how absurd, how disingenu- 
ous is this ! 

Secondly, They wound their Head of government. Christ is a 
guiding, as well as a quickening Head, Col. i. 18. He is your wis- 
dom, he guides you by his counsels to glory : but must he be thus 
requited for all his faithful conduct ! What do you, when you sin, 
but rebel against his government, refusing to follow his counsels, 
and obeying, in the mean time, a deceiver, rather than him. 

Thirdly, They wound their consulting Head, who cares, provides, 
and projects, for the welfare and safety of the body. Christians, 
you know your affairs below have not been steered and managed by 
your own wisdom, but that orders have been given from heaven for 
your security and supply from day to day. " I know, O Lord, 
" (saith the prophet) that the way of man is not in himself, neither 
" is it in him that walks to direct his own steps," Jer. x. 23. 

It is true, Christ is out of your sight, and you see him not : but 
he sees you, and orders every thing that concerns you. And is 
this a due requital of all that care he hath taken for you ? Do you 
thus requite the Lord for all his benefits ? What recompense evil 
for good ! O let shame cover you. 

Fourthly, and lastly, They wound their Head of honour. Christ 
your Head is the fountain of honour to you : This is your glory 
that you are related to him as your head : You are, on this account, 
(as before was noted) exalted above angels. 

Now then consider, how vile a thing it is to reflect the least dis- 
honour upon him, from whom you derive all your glory. O con- 
sider and bewail it. 

Inf. 5. Is there so strict and intimate a relation and union be- 
twixt Christ and the saints? Then surely they can never want 
what is good for their souls or bodies. 

Every one naturally cares and provides for his own, especially 
for his own body : yet we can more easily violate the law of nature, 



46 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. II. 

and be cruel to our own flesh, than Christ can be so to his mys- 
tical body *. I know it is hard to rest upon, and rejoice in a pro- 
mise, when necessities pinch, and we see not from whence relief 
should arise ; but O ! what sweet satisfaction and comfort might 
a necessitous believer find in these considerations, would he but 
keep them upon his heart in such a day of straits. 

Firsts Whatever my distresses are for quality, number, or de- 
gree, they are all known even to the least circumstance, bv Christ 
my Head: He looks down from heaven upon all my afflictions, 
and understands them more fully than I that feel them, Psal. 
xxxviii. 9. " Lord all my desire is before thee, and my groaning 
" is not hid from thee." 

Secondly, He not only knows them, but feels them as well as 
knows them ; " We have not an High-priest that cannot be touch- 
" ed with the feeling of our infirmities," Heb. iv. 15. In all your 
afflictions he is afflicted ; tender sympathy cannot but flow from 
such intimate union ; therefore in Matt. xxv. So. he saith, I was 
an hungered, and I was athirst, and I was naked. For indeed 
his sympathy and tender compassion gave him as quick a resent- 
ment, and as tender a sense of their wants, as if they had been his 
own. Yea, 

Thirdly, He not only knows and feels my wants, but hath 
enough in his hand, and much more than enough to supply them 
all ; for all things are delivered to him by the Father, Luke x. 22. 
All the storehouses in heaven and earth are his, Phil. iv. 19. 

Fourthly, He bestows all earthly good things, even to superfluity 
and redundance upon his very enemies, " They have more than 
" heart can wish," Psal. lxxi'ii. 7. He is bountiful to strangers ; 
he loads very enemies with these things, and can it be supposed 
he will in the mean time starve his own, and neglect those whom 
he loves as his own flesh ? It cannot be. Moreover, 

Fifthly, Hitherto he hath not suffered me to perish in any for- 
mer straits ; when, and where was it that lie forsook me ? This is 
not the first plunge of trouble I have been in ; have I not found 
him a God at hand ! How oft have I seen him in the mount of 
difficulties ! 

Sixthly, and lastly, I have his promise and engagement that he 
will never leave me nor forsake me, Heb. xiii. 5. and John xiv. 
18. a promise which hath never failed since the hour it was first 
made- If then the Lord Jesus knows and feels all my wants, hath 
enough, and more than enough to supply them, if he gives even 



* Qui misit JUium, immisit spiritum, promisit vullum, quid tandem denegnbit ? i. e. 
He who hath sent his Son, put the Spirit within us, and promised his smiles, What 
« ill he deny us ? 



SERM. II. THE METHOD OF CEACE, 47 

to redundance unto his enemies, hath not hitherto forsaken me, 
and hath promised he never will ? Why then is my sold thus dis- 
quieted in me ! Surely there is no cause it should be so. 

Inf. 6. If the saints are so nearly united to Christ, as the mem- 
bers to the head ; O then, how great a sin, and full of' danger is it 
for any to wrong and persecute the saints! For in so doing, they 
must needs persecute Christ himself 

" Saul, Saul, (saith Christ) why persecutest thou me ?" Acts ix. 
4. * The righteous God holds himself obliged to vindicate op- 
pressed innocency, though it be in the persons of wicked men ; how 
much more when it is in a member of Christ ? " He that toucheth 
" you toucheth the apple of mine eye," Zech. ii. 8. And is it to 
be imagined that Christ will sit still, and suffer his enemies to hurt 
or injure the very apples of his eyes? No, " He hath ordained 
" his arrows against the persecutors, 1 ' Psalm vii. 13. 

O it were better thine hand should wither, and thine arm fall 
from thy shoulder, than ever it should be lifted up against Christ, 
in the poorest of his members. Believe it, sirs, not only your vio- 
lent actions, but your hard speeches are all set down upon your 
doomVday book ; and you shall be brought to an account for 
them in the great day, Jude 15. Beware what arrows you shoot, 
and be sure of your mark before you shoot them. 

Inf. 7. If there be such an union betwixt Christ and the sa'mts, 
as hath been described, upon what comfortable terms then may be- 
lievers part with their bodies at death ? 

Christ your Head is risen, therefore you cannot be lost : nay, lie 
is not only risen from the dead himself, but is also " become the 
" first-fruits of them that slept," 1 Cor. xv. 20. Believers are 
his members, his fulness, he cannot therefore be complete without 
you : a part of Christ cannot perish in the grave -(*, much less burn 
in hell. Remember, when you feel the natural union dissolving, 
that this mystical union can never be dissolved : the pangs of death 
cannot break this tye. And as there is a peculiar excellency in the 
believer's life, so there is a singular support, and pecidiar comfort in 
his death ; " To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain," Phil, 
i. 21. 



* Agesilaus Mas wont to say, That he very much wondered, that those were 
not reckoned up in the number of sacrilegious persons, who injured those who 
made supplication to God, or worshipped him : By which he signified, that not only 
those should be reckoned injurious, who robbed the gods themselves, or their 
temples, but even these chiefly who affronted their servants or heralds. sEmt/L 
Frob. 

f To say that the temple of God, in which the Spirit of the Father dwells, the 
members of Christ, shall not partake of salvation, but be brought into perdition ? 
what is it but the greatest. blasphemy ? Iren. lib. 5. 



48 THE METHOD OF GRACE. BE EM. II. 

Inf. 8. If there be such an union betwixt Christ and believers, 
How doth it concern every man to try and examine his state, whe- 
ther he is really united with Christ or not, by the natural and pro- 
per effects which always flow from this union ? As, 

First, The real communication of Christ's holiness to the soul. 
We cannot be united with this root, and not partake of the vital 
sap of sanctifi cation from him ; all that are planted into him, are 
planted into the likeness of his death, and of his resurrection, Rom. 
vi. 5, 6. viz. by mortification and vivifi cation. 

Secondly, They that are so nearly united to him, as members to 
the head, cannot but love him and value him above their own 
lives ; as we see in nature, the hand and arm will interpose to save the 
head. The nearer the union, the stronger always is the affection. 

Thirdly, The members are subject to the head. Dominion in 
the head must needs infer subjection in the members, Eph. v. 24. 
In vain do we claim union with Christ as our head, whilst we are 
governed by our own wills, and our lusts give us law. 

Fourthly, All that are united to Christ do bear fruit to God, 
Rom. vii. 4. Fruitfulness is the next end of our union ; there are 
no barren branches growing upon this fruitful root. 

Inf. 9. Lastly, How much are believers engaged to walk as the 
members of Christ, in the visible exercises of all those graces and 
duties, which the consideration of their near relation to him exacts 
from them. As, 

First, How contented and well pleased should we be with our 
outward lot, however providence hath cast it for us in this world ? 
O do not repine, God hath dealt bountifully with you ; upon 
others he hath bestowed the good things of this world ; upon you, 
Jiimself in Christ. 

Secondly, How humble and lowly in spirit should you be under 
your great advancement ! It is true, God hath magnified you 
greatly by this union, but yet do not swell. " You bear not the 
" root, but the root you," Rom. xi. 18. You shine, but it is as 
the stars, with a borrowed light. 

Thirdly, How zealous should you be to honour Christ, who hath 
put so much honour upou ! Be willing to give glory to Christ, 
though his glory should rise out of your shame. Never reckon 
that glory that goes to Christ, to be lost to you : when you lie at his 
feet, in the most particular heart-breaking confessions of sin, yet 
let this please you, that therein you have given him glory. 

Fourthly, How exact and circumspect should you be in all your 
ways, remembering whose you are, and whom you represent ! 
Shall it be said, that a member of Christ was convicted of unrigh- 
teousness and unholy actions ! God forbid. " If w r e say, we have 
" fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie," 1 John i. 6. 



SERM. III. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 49 

" And he that saith he abideth in him, ought also himself to walk 
" even as he also walked, 11 1 John ii. 6. 

Fifthly, How studious should you be of peace among yourselves, 
who are so nearly united to such a Head, and thereby are made 
fellow-members of the same body ! The Heathen world was never 
acquainted with such an argument as the apostle urges for unity, 
in Eph. iv. 8, 4. 

Sixthly, and lastly, How joyful and comfortable should you be, 
to whom Christ, with all his treasures and benefits, is effectually 
applied in this blessed union of your souls with him ! This brings 
him into your possession : O how great ! how glorious a person do 
these little weak arms of your faith embrace ! 

Thanhs be to God for Jesus Christ. 



SERMON III. 



Of the Nature and Use of the Gospel-ministry, as an exter- 
nal Mean of applying Christ. 

2 Cor. v. 20. 

Now then, ice are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did be- 
seech you by us: we pray you in Christ s stead, be ye reconciled 
to God, 

1 HE effectual application of Christ principally consists in our 
union with him ; but, ordinarily, there can be no union with- 
out a gospel-tender, and an overture of him to our souls ; for, 
" How shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard ? 
" and how shall they hear without a preacher ? and how shall they 
" preach, except they be sent?" Rom. x. 14. 

If God be upon a design of espousing poor sinners to his Son, 
there must be a treaty in order to it ; that treaty requires interlo- 
cution betwixt both the parties concerned in it ; but such is our 
frailty, that, should God speak immediately to us himself, it would 
confound and overwhelm us : God therefore graciously condescends 
and accommodates himself to our infirmity, in treating with us in 
order to our union with Christ, by his ambassadors, and these not 
angels, whose converses we cannot bear, but men like ourselves, 
who are commissionated for the effecting of this great business be- 
twixt Christ and us. " Now then, we are ambassadors for God.' 1 
drc. In which words you have, 

First, Christ's ambassadors commissioned. 

Secondly, Their commission opened. 



50 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. III. 

First, Christ's ambassadors commissioned. " Now then, we 
" are ambassadors for Christ" The Lord Jesus thought it not suf- 
ficient to print the law of grace and the blessed terms of our union 
with him in the scriptures, where men may read his willingness to 
receive them, and see the just and gracious terms and conditions 
upon which he offers to become theirs ; but hath also set up and 
established a standing office in the church, to expound that law, 
inculcate the precepts, and urge the promises thereof; to woo and 
espouse souls to Christ, " I have espoused you to one Husband, 
" that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ," 2 Cor. xi. 20. 
and this not simply from their own affections and compassion;; to 
miserable sinners, but also by virtue of their office and commission, 
whereby they are authorised and appointed to that work. " We 
" then are ambassadors for Christ. 1 " 

Secondly, Their commission opened : Wherein we find, 

1. Their work appointed, 

2. Their capacity described, 

3. And the manner of their acting in that capacity prescribed. 

First, The work whereunto the ministers of the gospel are ap- 
pointed, is to reconcile the world to God ; to work these sinful, vain, 
rebellious hearts, which have a strong aversion from God naturally 
in them, to close with him according to the articles of peace con- 
tained in the gospel, that thereby they may be capable to receive 
the mercies and benefits purchased by the death of Christ, which 
they cannot receive in the state of enmity and alienation. 

Secondly, Their capacity described : They act in Chrisfs stead, 
as his vicegerents. He is no more in this world to treat personally 
with sinners, as he once did in the days of his flesh ; but yet he 
still continues the treaty with this lower world, by his officers, 
requiring men to look upon them, and obey them as they would 
himself, if he were corporeally present, Luke x. 16. " He that 
4 * heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth 
t; me/* 

Thirdly, The manner of their acting in that capacity prescribed ; 
and that is, by humble, sweet, and condescending entreaties and 
beseeching*. This best suits the meek and lamb-like Saviour whom 
they represent : thus he dealt with poor sinners himself, when he 
conversed among them ; he " would not break a bruised reed, nor 
" quench the smoking flax," Isa. xlii. 3. This is the way to allure 
and win the souls of sinners to Christ. 

From hence the note is, 

Doct. That the pr caching of 'the gospel by Chrisfs ambassadors, 
is the mean appointed for the reconciling and bringing home 
of sinners to Christ. 



SKlfM. 111. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 51 

This is clear from Rom. x. J 4. 1 Cor. i. 81. and many other 
scriptures. 

Here we shall take into consideration these three things. 

First, What is implied in Christ's treating with sinners by his 
ambassadors or ministers. 

Secondly, What is the great concernment they are to treat with 
sinners about. 

Thirdly, What, and when is the efficacy of preaching, to bring 
sinners to Christ. 

First, We will open what is implied and imported in Christ's 
treaty with sinners, by his ambassadors or ministers. 

And here we find these six things implied. 

1. It necessarily implies the defection and fall of man, from his 
estate of favour and friendship with God : If no war with heaven, 
what need of ambassadors of peace ? The very office of the ministry 
is an argument of the fall. Gospel-ordinances and officers came in 
upon the fall, and expire with the Mediator's dispensatory-king- 
dom, 1 Cor. xv. 24, 25. " Then shall he deliver up the kingdom 
" to God, even the Father :" Thenceforth no more ordinances, 
no more ministers ; What use can there be of them, when the 
treaty is ended ? They have done and accomplished all they were 
ever intended and designed for, when they shall have reconciled 
to God all the number of his elect, that are dispersed among the 
lost and miserable posterity of Adam, and have brought them home 
to Christ in a perfect state, Eph. iv. 12, <$fc. 

2. It implies the singular grace and admirable condescension of 
God to sinful man. That God will admit any treaty with him at 
all, is wonderful mercy, it is more than he would do for the angels 
that fell, Jude, ver. 6. " They are reserved in everlasting chains, 
" under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day." Christ 
took not on him their nature, but suffered myriads of them to 
perish, and fills up their vacant places in glory, with a number 
of sinful men and women, to whom the law awarded the same 
punishment. 

But that God will not only treat, but entreat and beseech sin- 
ful men to be reconciled, is yet more wonderful. Barely to pro- 
pound the terms of peace had been an astonishing mercy; but to 
woo and beseech stubborn enemies to be at peace, and accept their 
pardon, oh, how unparalleled was this condescension. 

3. It implies the great dignity and honour of the gospel-ministry. 
We are ambassadors for Christ* f Ambassadors represent and per- 
sonate the prince that sends them ; and the honours or contempts 

* We are ambassadors among those who serve the king of Kings ; we represent the 
person of God and Christ: never any yet despised us with impunity, nay, without 
being injurious to God and Christ. Boivles' Pro-fat. ad Past. Evan. 

Vol. II. D 



52 1HE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. III. 

done to them, reflect upon, and are reckoned to the person of 
their master, Luke x. 16. " He that heareth you, heareth me ; 
" and he that despiseth you, despiseth me." 

Neither their persons, nor parts, are the proper ground and 
reason of our respects to them ; but their office and commission 
from Jesus Christ 

We are fallen into the dregs of time, wherein a vile contempt 
is poured, not only upon the persons, but the very office of the 
ministry ; and I could heartily wish that scripture, Mai. ii. 7, 8, 9. 
were thoroughly considered by us ; possibly it might inform us of 
the true cause and reason of this sore judgment : but surely Christ's 
faithful ministers deserve a better entertainment than they ordi- 
narily find in the world ; and if we did but seriously bethink our- 
selves, in whose name they come, and in whose stead they stand, 
we should receive them as the Galatians did Paul, Gal. iv. 14. as 
angels of God, even as Christ Jesus. 

4. Christ's treating with sinners by his ministers, who are his 
ambassadors, implies the strict obligation they are under to be 
faithful in their ministerial employment. Christ counts upon their 
faithfulness whom he puts into the ministry, 1 Tim. i. 12. They 
■are accountable to him for all acts of their office, Heb. xiii. 17. 
If they be silent, they cannot be innocent : " Necessity is laid 
" upon them, and woe to them, if they preach not the gospel," 

1 Cor. ix. 16. 

Yea, necessity is not only laid upon them to preach, but to keep 
close to their commission in preaching the gospel, 1 Thess. ii. 3, 4, 
5. " Our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor 
" in guile, but as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with 
" the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who 
" trieth our hearts:" the word is not to be corrupted to please men, 

2 Cor. ii. 17. their business is not to make them their disciples, but 
Christ's; not to seek theirs, but them, & Cor. xii. 14. to keep close 
to their instructions, both in the matter, manner, and end of their 
ministry. So did Christ himself, the treasure of wisdom and know- 
ledge; yet, being sent by God, he saith, John vii. 16. "My doc- 
" trine is not mine, but his that sent me." And so he expects 
and requires that his ambassadors keep close to the commission he 
hath given them, and be (according to their measure) faithful to 
their trust, as he was to his. Paul is to deliver to the people, that 
which he also received from the Lord, 1 Cor. xi. And Timothy 
must keep that which was committed to him, 2 Tim. i. 14. 

5. It implies the removal of the gospel-ministry to be a very 
great judgment to the people. The remanding of ambassadors pre- 
sages an ensuing war. If the reconciling of souls to God be the 
greatest work, then the removal of the means and instruments 



SEEM. HI. 



THE METHOD OF GEACE» 53 



thereof, must be the sorest judgment. Some account " the falling 
" of the salt upon the table,' 1 ominous ; but surely the falling of 
them whom Christ calls the salt of the earth, is so indeed. 

What now are those once famous and renowned places, from 
whence Christ, (as he threatened) hath removed the candlestick, 
but magna latrocinia, dens of robbers, and mountains of prey ! 

6. And lastly, It implies both the wisdom and condescension of 
God to sinful men, in carrying on a treaty of peace with them by 
such ambassadors, negociating betwixt him and them. Without a 
treaty, there would be no reconciliation ; and no method to carry 
on such a treaty like this ; for had the Lord treated with sinners 
personally, and immediately, they had been overwhelmed with his 
awful Majesty. The appearances of God confound the creature, 
" Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, (saith 
" Israel) neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not : 
" Yea, so terrible was that sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly 
" fear and quake," Deut. xviii. 16. Heb. xii. 21. 

Or, had he commissioned angels for this employment, though 
they stand not at such an infinite distance from us as God doth, 
vet such is the excellence of their glory (being the highest species 
and order of creatures) that their appearances would be more apt to 
astonish than persuade us ; besides, they being creatures of another 
rank and kind, and not partaking with us, either in the misery of 
the fall, or benefit of the recovery by Christ, it is not to be sup- 
posed they should speak to us so feelingly and experimentallv, as 
these his ministers do; they can open to you the mysteries of 
sin, feeling the workings thereof daily in their own hearts ; they 
can discover to you the conflicts of the flesh and Spirit, as being 
daily exercised in that warfare ; and then, being men of the same 
mould and temper, they can say to you as Elihu did to Job, chap, 
xxxiii. 6, 7. " Behold, I am according to thy wish, in God's 
" stead, I also am formed out of the clay ; behold, my terror 
" shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy 
" upon thee." 

So that, in this appointment, much of the Divine wisdom and 
condescension to sinners is manifested : " We have this treasure 
" in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of 
" God, and not of us," 2 Cor. iv. 7. God's glory and man's ad- 
vantage are both promoted by this dispensation. 

Secondly, Next we are to consider that great concernment about 
which these ambassadors of Christ are to treat with sinners ; and 
that (as the text informs us) is their reconciliation to God. 

Now reconciliation with God, is the restoring of men to that for- 
mer friendship they had with God, which was broken by the 

D2 



54 THE METHOD OE GRACE. 3ERM. III. 

fall *, and is still continued by our enmity and aversation whilst we 
continue in our natural and unregenerate state. Now this is the 
greatest and most blessed design that ever God had in the world ; 
an astonishing and invaluable mercy to men, as will clearly appear, 
by considering these particulars following. 

First, That God should be reconciled after such a dreadful 
breach as the fall of man made, is wonderful ; no sin, all things 
considered, was ever like to this sin : other sins, like a single bul- 
let, kill particular persons, but this, like a chain-shot, cuts off mul- 
titudes as the sand upon the sea-shore, which no man can number. 

If all the posterity of Adam in their several generations, should 
do nothing else but bewail and lament this sin of his, whilst this 
world continues, yet would it not be enough lamented ; for a man 
so newly created out of nothing, and admitted the first moment 
into the highest order, crowned a king over the works of God's 
hands, Psal. viii. 5. a man perfect and upright, without the least 
inordinate motion, or sinful inclination : a man whose mind was 
most clear, bright, and apprehensive of the will of God, whose 
will was free, and able to have easily put by the strongest tempta- 
tion : a man in a paradise of delights, where nothing was left to 
desire for advancing the happiness of soul or body : a man under- 
standing himself to be a public, complexive person, carrying not 
only his own, but the happiness of the whole world in his hand : 
so soon, upon so slight a temptation, to violate the law of his God, 
and involve himself and all his posterity with him, in such a gulf 
of guilt and misery ; all which he might so easily have prevented ! 
O wonderful amazing mercy, that ever God should think of being 
reconciled, or have any purposes of peace towards so vile an apos- 
tate creature as man. 

Secondly, That God should be reconciled to men, and not to 
angels, a more high and excellent order of creatures, is yet more 
astonishing ; when the angels fell they were lost irrecoverably ; 
no hand of mercy was stretched out to save one of those myriads 
of excellent beings, but chains of darkness were immediately clap- 
ped on them, to reserve them to the judgment of the great day, 
Jude 6. 

That the milder attribute should be exercised to the inferior, and 
the severer attribute to the more excellent creature, is just matter 
for eternal admiration. Who would cast away vessels of gold, and 
save earthen potsherds ! Some indeed undertake to shew us the 
reasons, why the wisdom of God made no provision for the reco- 
very of angels by a Mediator of reconciliation ; partly from the 

* To reconcile is nothing else than to make up that friendship which was broke 
by some grievous offence, and thus to bring enemies back into their former state oi 
concord. Dav. on Col, i. 20. 



SERM. III. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 55 

high degree of the malignity of their sin, who sinned in the light 
of heaven ; partly because it was decent, that the first breach of the 
Divine law should be punished, to secure obedience for the future. 
And besides, the angelical nature was not entirely lost, myriads of 
angels still continuing in their innocency and glory ; when as all 
mankind was lost in Adam. 

But we must remember still the law made no distinction, but 
awarded the same punishment, and therefore it was mercy alone that 
made the difference, and mercy for ever is to be admired by men ; 
how astonishing is the grace of God, that moves in a way of recon- 
ciliation to us, out of design to fill up the vacant places in heaven, 
from which angels fell, with such poor worms as we are ! Angels 
excluded, and men received. O stupendous mercy ! 

Thirdly ', That God should be wliolly and thoroughly reconciled to 
man, so that no fury remains in him against us ; according to that 
scripture, Isa. xxvii. 4. is still matter of further wonder. 

The design he sends his ambassadors to you about, is not the al- 
laying and mitigating of his wrath, (which yet would be matter of 
great joy to the damned) but thoroughly to quench all his wrath, 
so that no degree thereof shall ever be felt by you. O blessed em- 
bassy ? " Beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that 
" bring such tidings." God offers you a full reconciliation, a 
plenary remission. 

Fourthly, That God should be freely reconciled to sinners, and 
discharge them without any, the least satisfaction to his justice from 
them is, and for ever will be, marvellous in their eyes. 

O what mercy would the damned account it, if after a thousand 
years torment in hell, God would at last be reconciled to them, 
and put an end to their misery ! But believers are discharged with- 
out bearing any part of the curse, not one farthing of that debt is 
levied upon them. 

Object If you say, how can this be, when God stands upon full 
satisfaction to his justice before any soul be discharged and restored 
to favour? freely reconciled, and yet fully satisfied, how can this 
be? 

Solid. Very well, for this mercy comes freely to your hands, 
how costly soever it proved to Christ ; and that free remission, and 
full satisfaction, are not contradictory and inconsistent tilings, is 
plain enough from that scripture, Rom. iii. £4. " Being justified 
" freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Je- 
" sus :" freely, and yet in the way of redemption. 

For though Christ, your Surety, hath made satisfaction in your 
name and stead, yet it was his life, his bloody and not yours, that 
went for it, and this Surety was of God's own appointment, and 

D3 



56 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. III. 

providing, without your thoughts or contrivance. O blessed re- 
conciliation ! happy is the people that hear the joyful sound 
of it. 

Fifthly, and lastly, that God should be finally reconciled to sin- 
ners, so that never any new breach shall happen betwixt him and 
them any more, so as to dissolve the league of friendship, is a most 
ravishing and transporting message. 

Two things give confirmation and full security to reconciled 
ones, viz. the terms of the covenant, and the intercession of the 
Mediator. 

The covenant of grace gives great security to believers, against 
new breaches betwixt God and them. It is said, Jer. xxxii. 40. 
" And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will 
" not turn away from them to do them good, but I will put my 
" fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." The 
fear of the Lord is a choice preservative against second revolts, and 
therefore taken into the covenant. It is no hinder ance, but a special 
guard to assurance. 

There is no doubt of God's faithfulness : that part of the pro- 
mise is easily believed, that he will not turn away from us to do us 
good : all the doubt is of the inconstancy of our hearts with God, 
and against that danger, this promise makes provision. 

Moreover, the intercession of Christ in heaven secures the saints 
in their reconciled state, 1 John ii. 1,2. " If any man sin, we have 
" an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he 
" is the Propitiation."" He continually appears in heaven before 
the Father, " as a lamb that had been slain," Rev. v. 6. And as 
the bow in the clouds, Rev. iv. 3. So that as long as Christ thus 
appears in the presence of God for us, it is not possible our state of 
justification and reconciliation can be again dissolved. 

And this is that blessed embassy gospel-ministers are employed 
about ; he hath committed to them the word of this reconcilia- 
tion. 

In the last place, we are to enquire what, and whence is this ef- 
ficacy of preaching, to reconcile and bring home sinners to 
Christ. 

That its efficacy is great in convincing, humbling, and changing 
the hearts of men, is past all debate and question. " The wea- 
" pons of our warfare (saith the apostle) are not carnal, but migh- 
" ty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds, cast- 
" ing down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth 
" itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity 
" every thought to the obedience of Christ," 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. No 
heart so hard, no conscience so stupid, but this sword can pierce 
and wound ; in an instant it can cast down all those vain reason- 



SERM. III. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 57 

ings and fond imaginations, which the carnal heart hath heen 
building all its life long, and open a fair passage for convictions of 
sin, and the fears and terrors of wrath to come, into that heart that 
never was afraid of these things before. So Acts ii. 37. " When 
" they heard this, they were pricked to the heart, and said unto 
" Peter, and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what 
" shall we do ?" 

What shall we do ? is the doleful cry of men at then* wits end ; 
the voice of one m deepest distress : and such outcries have been 
no rarities under the preaching of the word ; its power hath been 
felt by persons of all orders and conditions ; the great and honour- 
able of the earth, as well as the poor and despicable. The learned 
and the ignorant, the civil and profane, the young and the old, 
all have felt the heart-piercing efficacy of the gospel. 

If you ask, whence hath the word preached this mighty power ? 
The answer must be, neither from itself nor him that preaches it, 
but from the Spirit of God whose instrument it is, by whose bles- 
sing and concurrence with it, it produceth its blessed effects upon 
the hearts of men. 

First, This efficacy and wonderful power is not from the word 
itself; take it in an abstract notion, separated from the Spirit, it can 
do nothing : it is called " the foolishness of preaching,"" 1 Cor. i. 
21. Foolishness, not only because the world so accounts it, but 
because in itself it is a weak and unsuitable, and therefore a very 
improbable way to reconcile the world to God; that the stony 
heart of one man should be broken by the words of another man ; 
that one poor sinful creature should be used to breathe spiritual life 
into another ; this could never be, if this sword were not managed 
by an omnipotent hand. 

And besides, we know what works naturally, works necessarily ; 
if this efficacy were inherent in the word, so that we should suppose 
it to work as other natural objects do, then it must needs convert 
all to whom it is at any time preached, except its effect were mira- 
culously hindered, as the fire when it could not burn the three chil- 
dren ; but alas, thousands hear it, that never feel the saving power 
of it, Isa. liii. 1. and 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. 

Secondly, It derives not this efficacy from the instrument by which 
it is ministered : let their gifts and abilities be what they will, it is 
impossible that ever such effects should be produced from the 
strength of their natural or gracious abilities, 2 Cor. iv. 7. " We 
" have this treasure (saith the apostle) in earthen vessels, that the 
" excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." 

The treasure of the gospel-light is carried tv ospaxmig ffKvitrtv, in 
earthen vessels, as Gideon and his men had their lamps in earthen 
pitchers, or in oyster-shells, for so the word also signifies ; the oyster- 

D4 



58 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 8ERM. Ill, 

died is a base and worthless thing in itself; however, there lies the 
rich and precious pearl of so great value. And why is this precious 
treasure lodged in such weak, worthless vessels? Surely it is upon 
no other design but to convince us of the truth I am here to prove, 
that the excellency of the power is of God, and not of us ; as it 
follows in the next words. To the same purpose speaks the same 
apostle, 1 Cor. iii. 7. " So then, neither is he that planteth any 
" thing, neither he that watereth ; but God that giveth the in- 
" crease.' 1 

Not any thing ! What can be more diminutively spoken of the 
gospel-preachers ? But we must not understand these words in a 
simple and absolute, but in a comparative and relative sense ; not as 
if they were not necessary and useful in their place, but that how 
necessary soever they be, and what excellent gifts soever God hath 
furnished them with ; yet it is neither in their power nor choice 
to make the word they preach effectual to men ; if it were, then 
the damnation of all that hear us must needs lie at our door ; then 
also, many thousands would have been reconciled to God, which 
are yet in the state of enmity, but the effect of the gospel is not in 
our power. 

Thirdly, But whatever efficacy it hath to reconcile men to God, 
it derives from the Spirit of God, whose co-operation and blessing 
(which is arbitrarily dispensed) gives it all the fruit it hath. 

Ministers, saith one *, are like trumpets which make no sound, 
if breath be not breathed into them. Or like EzekiePs wheels, 
which move not unless the Spirit move them ; or Elisha's servant, 
whose presence doth no good except Elisha's spirit be there also. 
For want of the Spirit of God how many thousands of souls do 
find the ministry to be nothing to them ? If it be something to the 
purpose to any soul, it is the Lord that makes it so. This Spirit is 
not limited by men's gifts or parts ; he concurs not only with their 
labours who have excellent gifts, but oftentimes blesses mean, des- 
picable gifts with far greater success. 

Suppose, saith f Austin, there be two conduits in a town, one 
very plain and homely, the other built of polished marble, and 
adorned with excellent images, as eagles, lions, angels ; the water 
refreshes as its water, and not as it comes from such or such a 
conduit. It is the Spirit that gives the word all that virtue it hath : 
he is the Lord of all saving influences : he hath dominion over the 
word, over our souls, over the times and seasons of conversion ; and if 

* Mr. Anthony Burgess. 

f What is the reason why of two adult ungodly persons, the one is so called as to 
follow him who calls, the other not ? Do not thou judge, if thou wouldst not err : the 
judgments of God are unsearchable, and he hath mercy on whom he will. Aug. de 
bono persec. cap. 8. 



SERM. III. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 59 



any poor creature attend the ministry without benefit, if he go asv ay 
as he came, without fruit, surely we may say in this case, as Mar- 
tha said to Christ, in reference to her brother Lazarus, Lord, if 
thou hadst been here, my brother had not died ; so, Lord, if thou 
hadst been in this prayer, in this sermon, this poor soul had not 
gone dead and carnal from under it. And what now remains, but 
that we apply this truth in those uses that it gives us. 

First use qfbiformation. 

Is the preaching of the gospel by Chrisfs ambassadors, the way 
which God takes to reconcile sinners to himself? Then how inex- 
cusable are all those that continue in their state of enmity, though 
the ambassadoi-s of peace have been with them all their lives long, 
wooing and beseeching them to be reconciled to God ? 

O invincible, obstinate, incurable disease, which is aggravated 
by the only proper remedy ! Hath God been wooing and beseeching 
you by his ambassadors so many years to be reconciled to him, and 
will you not yield to any intreaties ? Must he be made to speak in 
vain, to charm the deaf adder ? Well, when the milder attribute 
hath done with you, the severer attribute will take you in hand. 

The Lord hath kept an account of every year and day of his 
patience towards you, Luke xiii. 7. " These three years I came 
" seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none ;" and Jer. xxv. 3. 
" These three and twenty years have I spoken unto you, rising 
" early and speaking, but you have not hearkened." 

Well, be you assured, that God hath both the glass of your time, 
and the vials of his wrath, by him ? and so much of his abused 
patience as runs out of one, so much of his incensed wrath runs 
into the other. There is a time when this treaty of peace will 
end, when the Master of the house will rise up, and the doors be 
shut, Luke xiii. 25. Then will you be left without hope, and 
without apology. 

We read, indeed, of some poor and ineffectual pleas that will 
be made by some at the last day ; so Matt. vii. 22. " We have 
" prophesied in thy name," fyc. These pleas will not avail ; but 
as for you, what will you plead ? Possibly many thousand ideots, or 
poor weak-headed persons, may perish ; many young ones that 
had little or no time in the world to acquaint themselves with 
matters of religion, or understand the way of salvation. Many 
millions of Heathens that never heard the name of Christ, nor 
came within the sound of salvation, who will yet perish, and that 
justly. 

Now whatsoever apologies any of these will make for themselves 
in the last day, to be sure you can make none. God hath given 
you a capacity and competent understanding; many of you are 



60 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. III. 

wise and subtle in all your other concernments, and only shew 
your folly in the great concernments of your salvation. You can- 
not plead want of time, some of you are grown grey-headed under 
the gospel; you cannot plead want of means and opportunities, 
the ordinances and ministers of Christ have been with you all your 
life long to this day ; sure if you be Christless now, you must also 
be speechless then. 

Inf. 2. Hence it also follows, That the world owes better enter- 
tainmcnt than it gives to the ministers of Christ: Chrisfs ambas- 
sadors deserve a better welcome than they find among men. 

Your respects to them is founded upon their office and employ- 
ment for you, Heb. xiii. 17. and 1 Thes. v. 12. They watch for 
your souls, dare any of you watch for their ruin ? They bring glad 
tidings, shall they return with sad tidings to him that sent them ? 
They publish peace, shall they be rewarded with trouble ? O un- 
grateful world ! We read in Eph. vi. 20. of an ambassador in bonds, 
and he no ordinary one neither. We read also of a strange challenge, 
made by another at his own death, Acts vii. 52. " Which of all 
" the prophets have not your fathers persecuted ? And they have 
" slain them which shewed before the coming of the just One." 
Some that brake the bread of life to you, might want bread to eat, 
for any regard you have to them. The office of the ministry 
speaks the abundant love of God to you; your contempt and 
abuse of it, speaks the abundant stupidity and malignity of your 
hearts towards God. What a sad protestation doth Jeremiah make 
against his ungrateful people, Jer. xviii. 20. " Shall evil (saith he) 
" be recompensed for good ? for they have digged a pit for my 
" soul ; remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, 
" and to turn away thy wrath from them." 

God's mercy is eminently discovered in the institution of, and 
Satan's malice is eminenty discovered in the opposition to, the 
ministerial office. Satan is a great and jealous prince, and it is no 
wonder he should raise all the forces he can to oppose the ambassa- 
dors of Christ ; when, saith * one, the gospel comes into his domi- 
nions, it doth, as it were, by sound of trumpet and beat of drum, 
proclaim liberty to all his slaves and vassals, if they will quit that 
tyrant that hath so long held their souls in bondage, and come 
under the sweet and easy government of Christ. And can the devil 
endure this, think you ? If Christ sends forth ambassadors, no 
wonder if Satan sends forth oppos-ers ; he certainly owes them a 
spite, that undermine his government in the world. 

Infer. 3. Hence it follows, That it nearly concerns all Chrisfs 



* .Air. GurnaTs Christian Armour. 



SERM. III. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 61 



ambassadors, to see that they be in a state of reconciliation with 
God themselves. 

Shall we stand in Christ's stead by office, and yet not be in Christ 
by union ? Shall we entreat men to be reconciled to God, and yet 
be at enmity with him ourselves ? O let us take heed, " Lest after 
" we have preached to others, we ourselves should be cast-a-ways," 
1 Cor. ix. 27. Of all men living we are the most miserable, if we 
be Christless and graceless : our consciences will make more terri- 
ble applications of our doctrine to us in hell, than ever we made 
to the vilest of sinners on earth. O, it is far easier to study and 
press a thousand truths upon others, than to feel the power of one 
truth upon our own hearts ; to teach others facienda quamfaci- 
endo : duties to be done, than duties by doing them. 

They are sad dilemma's with which a learned * writer poses such 
graceless ministers ; If sin be evil, why do you live in it ? If it be 
not, why do you dissuade men from it ? If it be dangerous, how 
dare you venture on it ? If it be not, why do you tell men so ? If 
God's threatenings be true, why do you not fear them ? If they be 
false, why do you trouble men needlessly with them, and put them 
into such frights without a cause ? 

Take heed to yourselves, lest you should cry down sin and not 
overcome it ; lest while you seek to bring it down in others, you 
bow to it, and become its slaves yourselves : it is easier to chide at 
sin than to overcome it. That is a smart question, Rom. ii. 21. 
" Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? A pro- 
fane minister was converted by reading that text once, but how 
many have read it as well as he, who never trembled at the consi- 
deration of it as he did ! 

2. Use for conviction. 

Is this the method God uses to reconcile men to himself; O, 
then examine yourselves, whether yet the preaching of the gospel 
hath reconciled you to God. It is too manifest that many among 
us are in a state of enmity unto this day. We may say with the 
prophet, Isa. liii. 1. "Who hath believed our report? and to 
" whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?" We offer you peace 
upon gospel-terms and articles, but our peace returns to us again ; 
enemies you were to God, and enemies you still continue. The 
evidence is undeniable : for, 

1. Evidence. Many of you were never convinced to this day of 
your state of enmity against God ; and without conviction of this, 
reconciliation is impossible; without repentance there can be no 
reconciliation, and without conviction there can be no repentance. 
When we repent, we lay down our weapons, Isa. xxvii. 4, 5. But 



• Gildas Salv. p. 15, 16. 



62 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 8ERM. III. 

how few have been brought to this ? Alas ! if a few poor, cold, 
heartless, ineffectual confessions of sin, may pass for a due convic- 
tion, and serious repentance, then have we been convinced, then 
have we repented ; but you will find, if ever the Lord intend to 
reconcile you to himself, your convictions and humiliations for sin, 
will be other manner of things ; and will cost you more than a few 
cheap words against sin, % Cor. vii. 11. "In that ye sorrowed 
" after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what 
" clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, 
" yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge ? 

% Evidence. Many of us never treated seriously with the Lord 
about peace, and how then are we reconciled to him ? What, a 
peace without a treaty ? Reconciliation without any consideration 
about it ? It can never be. When was the time, and where was the 
place, that you were found in secret upon your knees, mourning 
over the sin of your nature, and the evils of your ways ? Certainly 
you must be brought to this ; you must with a broken heart bewail 
your sin and misery. 

Friend, that stony heart of thine must feel remorse and anguish 
for sin, it will cost thee some sad days and sorrowful nights, or 
ever thou canst have peace with God : it will cost thee many a groan, 
many a tear, many a hearty cry to heaven. If ever peace be made 
betwixt God and thee, thou must " take with thee words, and 
" turn to the Lord, saying, Take away all iniquity and receive 
" me graciously." O for one smile, one token of love, one hint 
of favour ! The child of peace is not born without pangs and ago- 
nies of soul. 

3. Evidence. Many of us are not reconciled to the duties of re- 
ligion, and ways of holiness, and how then is it possible we should 
be reconciled to God? What, reconciled to God, and unrecon- 
ciled to the ways of God ? By reconciliation we are made nigh : 
in duties of communion we draw nigh ; and can we be made nigh 
to God, and have no heart to draw nigh to God ? It can never be. 

Examine your hearts, and say, Is not the way of strictness a 
bondage to you ? Had you not rather be at liberty to fulfil the 
desires of the flesh, and of the mind ? Could you not wish that 
the scriptures had not made some things else your sins, and other 
things your duties : do you delight in the law of God after the inner 
man, and esteem his judgments, concerning all things to be right ? 
Do you love secret prayer, and delight in duties of communion 
with God : or rather, are they not an ungrateful burden, and irk- 
some imposition ? Give conscience leave to speak plain. 

4. Evidence. Many of us are not enemies to sin, and how then 
are we reconciled to God? What, friends with God, and our 
lusts too ? It cannot be. Psal. xcvii. 10. " Ye that love the Lord 



sm:M. III. THE METHOD OF CRACK. 63 

?« hate evil." The same hour our reconciliation is made with God, 
there is an everlasting breach made with sin : this is one of the articles 
or conditions of our peace with God, Isa. lv. 7. " Let the wicked 
" forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let 
" him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him ; and to our 
" God, and he will abundantly pardon." 

But it is manifest in many of us, that we are no enemies to sin ; 
we secretly indulge it, what bad names soever we call it. We will 
commit ten sins to cover one : we cannot endure the most serious, 
faithful, seasonable, private tender, and necessary reproofs for sin, 
but our hearts swell and rise at it ; sure we are not reconciled to God, 
whilst we embrace his enemy in our bosoms. 

5. Evidence. We love not the children of God, nor are we recon- 
ciled to them that bear his image, and how then can we be recon- 
ciled to God ? 1 John v. 1. " He that loveth him that begat, 
" loveth them also that are begotten." What, at peace with the 
Father, and at war with the children ? It cannot be. Do not some 
that hope they have made their peace with God, hate, revile, and 
persecute the children of God ? Surely, in that day we are recon- 
ciled to the Lord, we are reconciled to all his people : we all then 
love a Christian as a Christian, and by this we may know that we 
are passed from death to life. 

6. Evidence. Lastly, How can any man think himself to be re- 
conciled to God, who never closed heartily with Jesus Christ by faith, 
who is the only days-man, and peace-maker : the alone Mediator of 
reconciliation betwixt God and man. 

This is a sure truth, that all whom God accepts into favour, are 
" made accepted in the beloved," Eph. i. 6. If any man will 
make peace with God, he must take hold of his strength, accept 
and close with Christ who is the power of God, or he can never 
make peace, Isa. xxvii. He must be made " nigh by the blood of 
" Christ," Eph. ii. 13. But alas ! both Christ and faith are stran- 
gers to many souls, who yet persuade themselves they are at peace 
with God : O fatal mistake ! 

III. Use of Exhortation. 

Lastly, This point deserves a close, vigorous application in a 
threefold exhortation. 

First, To Christ's ambassadors, who treat with souls in order to 
their reconciliation with God. 

Secondly, To those that are yet in their empty and unreconciled 
state. 

Thirdly, To those that have embraced the terms of peace, and 
submitted to the gospel-overtures. 

First, To the ambassadors of reconciliation* God hath put a great 



64 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. III. 

deal of honour upon you in this high and noble employment ; 
great is the dignity of your office ; to some you are " the savour of 
" death unto death, and to others a savour of life unto life; and 
" who is sufficient for these things? 11 % Cor. ii. 16. But yet the 
duty is no less than the dignity. O what manner of men should 
we be for judgment, seriousness, affections, patience, and exam- 
plary holiness, to whom the management of so great a concern be- 
twixt God and man is committed. 

First, For judgment and prudence, how necessary are these in 
so weighty and difficult a business as this ! He had need be a man 
of wisdom that is to inform the ignorant of the nature and necessity 
of this great work, and win over their hearts to consent to the ar- 
ticles of peace propounded in the gospel ; that hath so many subtle 
temptations to answer, and so many intricate causes of conscience 
to resolve : there are many strong holds of Satan to be battered, 
and many stout and obstinate resistances made by the hearts of sin- 
ners, which must be overcome ; and he had need be no novice in 
religion, to whom so difficult a province is committed. 

Secondly r , Let us be serious in our work as well as judicious. Re- 
member, O ye ambassadors of Christ, you bring a message from 
the God of heaven, of everlasting consequence to the souls of men. 
The eternal decrees are executed upon them in your ministry : to 
some you are " the savour of life unto life, and to some the savour of 
" death unto death, 11 2 Cor. ii. 16. Heaven and hell are matters 
of most awful and solemn consideration. O, what an account have 
we also shortly to give unto him that sent us ! 

These are matters of such deep concernment, as should swallow 
up our very spirits ; the least they can do, is to compose our hearts 
unto seriousness in the management of them. 

Thirdly, Be filled with tender affections toward the souls of men, 
with whom you treat for reconciliation : you had need be men of 
bowels, as well as men of brains*: you see a multitude of poor 
souls upon the brink of eternal misery, and they know it not, but 
promise themselves peace, and fill themselves with vain hopes of 
heaven : and is there a more moving, melting spectacle in the world 
than this ! O think with what bowels of commisseration Moses 
and Paul were filled, when the one desired rather to be blotted 
out of God's book, and the other to be accursed from Christ, than 
that Israel should not be saved, Exod. xxxii. 33. and Rom. ix. 3. 
Think how the bowels of Christ yearned over Jerusalem, Mat. xxiii. 
37. And over the multitude, Mat. ix. 36. " Let the same mind 
" be in you, which also was in Christ Jesus." 

Fourthly, Be patient and long-suffering towards sinners : such is 

* See Bowie's Pastor, Evang. p. 156. 



S»EM. III. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 6£ 

the value of one soul, that it is worth waiting all our days to save it 
at last : " The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle 
" unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing them 
" that oppose themselves, if God peradventurc will give them re- 
" pentance," 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. The Lord waits with patience 
upon sinners, and well may you. Consider yourselves, how long 
was God treating with you, ere you were won to him ? Be not dis- 
couraged, if your success presently answer not your expectation. 

Fifthly, and lastly, Be sure to back your exhortations with draw- 
ing examples ; else you may preach out your last breath before you 
gain one soul to God. The devil, and the carnal hearts of your 
hearers, will put hindrances enough in the way of your labours ; 
do not you put the greatest of all yourselves. O study not only to 
preach exactly, but to live exactly ; let the misplacing of one ac- 
tion in your lives, trouble you more than the misplacing of words 
in your discourses ; this is the way to succeed in your embassy, and 
give up your account with joy. 

Secondly, The exhortation speaks to all those that are yet in a 
state of enmity and unreconciled to God unto this day. O that 
my words might prevail, and that you would now be entreated to be 
reconciled to God ! The ambassadors of peace are yet with you, the 
treaty is not yet ended, the Master of the house is not yet risen up, 
nor the door of mercy and hope finally shut : hitherto God hath 
waited to be gracious ; O that the long-suffering of God might be 
your salvation : a day is hasting when God will treat with you no 
more, when a gulph shall be fixed betwixt him and you for ever, 
Luke xvi. 26. what will you do when the season of mercv, 
and all hopes of mercy shall end together ! When God shall be- 
come inaccessible, inexorable, and irreconcileable to you for ever- 
more. 

O, what wilt thou do, when thou shalt find thyself shut up under 
eternal wrath ! when thou shalt feel that misery thou art warned 
of! Is this the place where I must be ! Are these the torments I 
must endure ! What, for ever ! yea, for ever : Will not God be 
satisfied Math the sufferings of a thousand years ? no, nor millions 
of years ? Ah, sinners, did you but clearly see the present and fu- 
ture misery of unreconciled ones, and what that wrath of the great 
and terrible God is, which is coming as fast as the wings of time 
can bring it upon you, it would certainly drive you to Christ, or 
drive you out of your wits. O it is a dreadful thing to have God 
for your eternal enemy : to have the great and terrible God causing 
his infinite power to avenge the abuse of his grace and mercy. 

Believe it, friends, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of 
the living God: knowing the terrors of the Lord we persuade 
men : an eternal weight hangs upon an inch of time. O that you 



6G THE METHOD OF GEACE. SERM. Ilf. 

did but know the time of your visits t ion ! that you would not dare 
to adventure, and run the hazard of one day more in an unrecon- 
ciled state. 

Thirdly, and lastly, This point speaks to those who have be- 
lieved our report, who have taken hold of God's strength, and 
made peace with him : who had not obtained mercy, but now have 
obtained mercy : who once were afar off, but now are made nigh 
by the blood of Christ : with you I would leave a few words of ex- 
hortation, and I have done. 

First, Admire and stand amazed at this mercy. " I will praise 
" thee, O Lord, (saith the church, Isa. xii. 1.) Though thou wast 
" angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest 
" me."" O how overwhelming a mercy is here before you ! God 
is at peace, at peace with you that were " enemies in your minds 
" by wicked works," Col. i. 21. At peace with you, and at 
enmity with millions as good by nature as you ; at peace with 
you that sought it not : at peace for ever ; no dissolving this friend- 
ship for evermore. O let this consideration melt your hearts be- 
fore the Lord, and make you cry, What am I, Lord, that mercy 
should take in me, and shut out fallen angels, and millions of men 
and women as capable of mercy as myself ! O the riches ! O the 
depths of the mercy and goodness of God ! 

Secondly, Beware of new breaches with God : God will speak 
" peace to his people and to his saints, but let them not turn 
** again to folly, Psal. lxxxv. 8. What though this state of friend- 
ship can never be dissolved, yet it is a dreadful thing to have it 
clouded : You may lose the sense of peace, and with it all the joy 
of your hearts, and the comforts of your lives in this world. 

Thirdly, Labour to reconcile others to God : especially those that 
are endeared to you by the bonds of natural religion : When Paul 
was reconciled to God himself, his heart was full of heaviness for 
others that were not reconciled ; for his " brethren and kinsmen 
* according to the flesh," Rom. ix. % 3. When Abraham was 
become God's friend himself, then, " O that Ishmael might live 
" before thee P Gen. xvii. 18. 

Fourthly, and lastly, " Let your reconciliation with God relieve 
" you under all burdens of affliction you shall meet with in your 
" way to heaven :" Let them that are at enmity with God droop 
under crosses and afflictions ; but do not you do so. Tranquillus 
Deus tranquillat omnia, Rom. v. 1, % 3. Let the peace of God 
keep your hearts and minds. As nothing can comfort a man that 
must go to hell at last ; so nothing should deject a man that shall, 
through many troubles, at last reach heaven. 



SERM. IV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 67 



SERMON IV. 

Concerning the work of the Spirit, as the internal, and most 
effectual Mean of the Application of Christ. 

John vi. 44. 

No man can come to me, except the Father, "which hath sent met 

draw him. 

\J\JR last discourse informed you of the usefulness and influence 
of the preaching of the gospel, in order to the application of Christ 
to the souls of men. There must be (in God's ordinary way) the 
external ministerial offer of Christ, before men can have union with 
him. 

But yet, all the preaching in the world can never effect this union 
with Christ in itself, and in its own virtue, except a supernatural 
and mighty power go forth with it for that end and purpose. Let 
Boanerges and Barnabas try their strength, let the angels of heaven 
be the preachers ; till God draw, the soul cannot come to Christ. 

No saving benefit is to be had by Christ, without union with his 
person, no union with his person without faith, no faith ordinarily 
wrought without the preaching of the gospel by Christ's ambassa- 
dors, their preaching hath no saving efficacy without God's draw- 
ings, as will evidently appear by considering these words and the 
occasion of them. 

The occasion of these words is found (as learned * Cameron 
well observes) in the 42d verse, " And they said, is not this Jesus 
" the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?" Christ 
had been pressing upon them in his ministry, the great and neces- 
sary duty of faith ; but notwithstanding the authority of the preach- 
er; the holiness of his life; the miracles by which he confirmed his 
doctrine ; they still objected against him, " is not this the carpen- 
" ter's son ?*" From whence Christ takes occasion for these words ; 
" No man can come unto me, except my Father which hath sent 
" me, draw him," q. d. In vain is the authority of my person 
urged ; in vain are all the miracles wrought in your sight, to con- 
firm the doctrine preached to you ; till that secret, almighty power 
of the Spirit be put forth upon your hearts, you will not, you 
cannot, come unto me. 

The words are a negative proposition, 

In which the author, and powerful manner of divine operation 
in working faith, are contained: there must be drawing before 



* Camcronis Mumthec. p. 139. 

Vol. II. E 



68 THE METHOD OF GRACE, SERM. IV. 

believing, and that drawing must be the drawing of God : every 
word hath its weight : we will consider them in the order they lie 
in the text. 

Ovdeig, No Man] not one, let his natural qualifications be 

what they will, let his external advantages, in respect of means and 
helps, be never so great : it is not in the power of any man ; all 
persons, in all ages, need the same power of God, one as well as 
another ; every man is alike dead, impotent, and averse to faith in 
his natural capacity. No man, or — not one, among all the sons 
of men. 

A-jvara/, Caii\ or is able : he speaks of impotency to special 

and saving actions, such as believing in Christ is: no act that is 
saving can be done without the concurrence of special grace. Other 
acts that have a remote tendency to it, are performed by a more 
general concourse and common assistance; so men may come to 
the word, and attend to what is spoken, remember and consider 
what the word tells them ; but as to believing or coming to Christ, 
that no man can do of himself, or by a general and common assist- 
ance. No man can. 

E^£/i/ Kgo$ //,£, Come unto me,] i. e. believe in me unto salvation. 

Coming to Christ, and believing in him, are terms equipollent, 
and are indifferently used to express the nature of saving faith, 
as is plain, ver. 35. " He that cometh to me shall never hunger, 
" and he that believeth on me shall never thirst :" it notes the 
terms from which and to which the soul moves, and the voluntari- 
ness of the motion, notwithstanding that divine power by which 
the will is drawn to Christ. 

Eay /Ay o IlarrjO, — Except my Father] not excluding the other two 
Persons; for every work of God relating to the creatures is com- 
mon to all the three Persons ; nor only to note that the Father is 
the first in order of working : but the reason is hinted in the next 
words. 

O rrz/x^ag ,m, — ivho hath sent me,] God hath entered into covenant 
with the Son, and sent him, stands obliged thereby, to bring the 
promised seed to him, and that he he doth by drawing them to Christ 
by faith : so the next words tell us the Father doth, 

EXxvtf?) avrov. Draw him.] That is, powerfully and effectually 

incline his will to come to Christ : " * Not by a violent co-action, 
" but by a benevolent bending of the will which was averse ;" and 
as it is not in the way of force and compulsion, so neither is it by 
a simple moral suasion, by the bare proposal of an object to the will, 
and so leaving the sinner to his own election ; but it is such a per- 



* Non violenla cnactio immediata, sed voluntatis a Deo averscc benevolo Jleclio. Glas. 
Rhot. Sacra, p. 250'. 



SEItM. IV. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE* 69 



suasion, as hath a mighty overcoming efficacy accompanying it : of 
which more anon. 

The words thus opened, the observation will be this : 

Doet. That it is utterly impossible Jbr any man to come to Jesus 
Christ, unless he be drawn unto him by the special and mighty 
power of' God. 

No man is compelled to come to Christ against his will, he that 
cometh, comes willingly, but even that will and desire to come is 
the effect of grace, Phil. ii. 13. " It is God that worketh in you, 
;i both to will and to do of his own good pleasure." 

" If we desire the help and assistance of grace, (saith * Fulgen- 
" tius) even the desire is of grace ; grace must first be shed forth 
" upon us, before we can begin to desire it." " By grace are ye 
" saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of 
" God," Eph. ii. 8. Suppose the utmost degree of natural ability ; 
let a man be as much disposed and prepared as nature can dispose 
or prepare him, and to all this, add the proposal of the greatest 
arguments and motives to induce him to come ; let all these have 
the advantage of the fittest season to work upon his heart ; yet no 
man can come till God draw him : we move as we are moved : as 
Christ's coming to us, so our coming to him are the pure effects of 
grace. 

Three things require explication in this point before us. 

First, What tlie drawing of the Father imports. 

Secondly, In what manner he draws men to Christ, 

Thirdly, How it appears that none can come till they be so drawn. 

First, What the drawing of the Father imports. 

To open this, let it be considered, that drawing is usually dis- 
tinguished into physical and moral. The former is either by co- 
action, force, and compulsion ; or, by a sweet congruous efficacy 
upon the will. As to violence and compulsion, it is none of God's 
way and method, it being both against the nature of the will of 
man, which cannot be forced, and against the will of Jesus Christ, 
who loves to reign over a free and willing people, Psal. ex. 5. 
" Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." Or, as 
that word may be rendered, they shall be voluntarinesses, as willing 
as willingness itself. It is not then by a forcible co-action, but in a 
moral way of persuasion, that God the Father draws men to Jesus 
Christ : He draws with the bands of a man, as they are called, Hos. 



* Ut ergo desideremus arfjulorium, hoc quotpuc e&t gratice ; ipsa nnmque incijrit effundi 
ut incipit posci. Fulgen. Epist; 6. ad Tlieod. 

E2 



^0 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SEEM. IV- 



xi. 14. i. e. in a way of rational conviction of the mind and con- 
science, and effectual persuasion of the will. 

But yet by moral persuasion, we must not understand a simple 
and bare proposal or tender of Christ and grace, leaving it still at 
the sinner's choice, whether he will comply with it or no. * For 
though God does not force the will contrary to its nature, yet 
there is a real internal efficacy implied in this drawing, or an im- 
mediate operation of the Spirit upon the heart and will, which, in 
a way congruous and suitable to its nature, takes away the rebellion 
and reluctance of it, and of unwilling, makes it willing to come to 
Christ. And, in this respect, we own a physical, as well as a moral 
influence of the Spirit in this work ; and so scripture expresses it, 
Eph. i. 19, 20. " That we may know what is the exceeding great- 
" ness of his power towards us who believe, according to the work- 
" ing of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he 
" raised him from the dead." Here is much more than a naked 
proposal made to the will ; there is a power as well as a tender ; 
greatness of power ; and yet more, the exceeding greatness of his 
power ; and this power hath an actual efficacy ascribed to it, he 
works upon our hearts and wills according to the working of his 
mighty power which he wrought in Christ, when he raised himjrom 
the dead. Thus he fulfils in us all the good pleasure of his will, 
and the work of faith with power, 2 Thess. i. 11. 

And this is that which the schools call gratia efficax, effectual 
grace ; and others victrix delectatio, an overcoming, conquering 
delight-)-: thus the work is carried on with a most efficacious 
sweetness. So that the liberty of the will is not infringed, whilst 
the obstinacy of the will is effectually subdued and over-ruled. 
For want of this, there are so many almost Christians in the world ; 
hence are all those vanishing and imperfect works which come to 
nothing, called in scripture, a morning cloud, an early dew. Had 
this mighty power gone forth with the word,, they had never va- 
nished or perished like embryos as they do. So then, God draws 
not only in a moral way, by proposing a suitable object to the will, 
but also in a physical way, or by immediate powerful influence 
upon the will ; not infringing the liberty of it, but yet infallibly 
and effectually persuading it to come to Christ. 

Secondly, Next let us consider the marvellous way and manner 
in which the Lord draws the souls of poor sinners to Jesus Christ, 
and you will find he doth it, 

• We do not see God preaching, writing, and teaching, yet we believe as if we saw 
these; for all truth hath a power of inclining the mind to assent ; the greater truth, 
the greater power, and the greatest truth, the greatest power of all. But why then do 
not all believe the gospel ? I answer, because all are not drawn by God. Baptist. 
Manluanus tie jxiticntia, lib. 5. cap. 2. 

f A certain heavenly sweelness. Jansenius Jug. lib. iv. cap. I. 



SERM. IV 



THE METHOD OF GKA( F. 71 



1. Gradually, 4. Effectually, 

2. Congruously, and 
8". Powerfully, 5. Finally. 

First, This blessed work is carried on by the Spirit gradually ; 
bringing the soul step by step in the due method and order of the 
gospel to Christ ; illumination, conviction, compunction, prepare 
the way to Christ; and then faith unites the soul to him: without 
humiliation there can be no faith, Matt. xxi. 32. " Ye repented 
" not, that ye might believe.'" It is the burdensome sense of sin, 
that brings the soul to Christ for rest, Matt. xi. 28. " Come unto 
" me all ye that are weary and heavy laden." But without con- 
viction there can be no compunction, no humiliation ; he that is 
not convinced of his sin and misery, never bewails it, nor mourns 
for it. Never was there one tear of true repentance seen to drop 
from the eye of an unconvinced sinner. 

And without illumination there can be no conviction ; for what 
is conviction, but the application of the light which is in the un- 
derstanding, or mind of a man, to his heart and conscience ? Acts 
ii. 37. In this order, therefore, the Spirit (ordinarily) draws souls 
to Christ, he shines into their minds by illumination ; applies that 
light to their consciences by effectual conviction ; breaks and 
wounds their hearts for sin in compunction ; and then moves the 
will to embrace and close with Christ in the way of faith for life 
and salvation. 

These several steps are more distinctly discerned in some Chris- 
tians than in others ; they are more clearly to be seen in the adult 
convert, than in those that were drawn to Christ in their youth ; 
in such as were drawn to him out of a sta^ of profaneness, than 
in those that had the advantage of a pious education ; but in this 
order the work is carried on ordinarily in all, however it differ 
in point of clearness in the one and in the other. 

Secondly, He draws sinners to Christ congruously, and very 
agreeably to the nature and way of man, so he spesks, Hos. xi. 4. 
" I drew them with the * cords of a man, with bands of love ;" 
Not as beasts are drawn ; but as men are inclined and wrought to 
compliance, by rational conviction of their judgments, and power- 
ful persuasion of their wills : the minds of sinners are naturally 
blinded by ignorance, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. and their affections bewitch- 
ed to their lusts, Gal. iii. 4. and whilst it is thus, no arguments or 
entreaties can possibly prevail to bring them off from the ways of 
sin to Christ. 

The way therefore which the Lord takes to win and draw them 

* Funibus hominum (i. e.) humanis : mm quibus trmti ac deduci solent boves. ' 

E3 



72 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IV 



to Christ, is by rectifying their false apprehensions, and shewing 
them infinitely more good in Christ than in the cteature and in 
their lusts ; yea, by satisfying their understandings, that there is 
goodness enough in Jesus Christ, to whom he is drawing them. 

First, Enough to out-bid all temporal good, which is to be de- 
nied for his sake. 

Secondly, Enough to preponderate all temporal evils, which are 
to be suffered for his sake. 

First, That there is more good in Christ than in all temporal 
good things, which we are to deny or forsake upon his account. 
This being once clearly and convincingly discovered to the under- 
standing, the will is thereby prepared to quit all that which en- 
tangles and with-holds it from coming to Christ. There is no man 
that loves money so much, but he will willingly part with it, for 
that which is more worth to him than the sum he parts with to 
purchase it, Matth. xiii. 56, 46. " The kingdom of heaven is like 
" to a merchant-man, seeking goodly pearls, who when he hath 
" found one pearl of great price, goeth and selleth all that he hath 
" and buyeth it." 

Such an invaluable pearl is Jesus Christ; infinitely more worth 
than all that a poor sinner hath to part with for him ; and is a 
more real good than the creature. These are but vain shadows ; 
Prov. xxiii. 5. Christ is a solid, substantial good : yea, he is, and 
by conviction appears to be a more suitable good than the creature : 
The world cannot justify and save, but Christ can. Christ is a 
more necessary good than the creature, which is only for our tem- 
poral convenience, but he is of eternal necessity. He is a more 
durable good than any creature comfort is, or can be: " The 
" fashion of this world passeth away," 1 Cor. vii. 13. But dura- 
ble riches and righteousness are in him, Prov. viii. 17. Thus 
Christ appears in the day of conviction, infinitely more excellent 
than the world; he out-bids all the offers that the world can 
make ; and this greatly forwards the work of drawing a soul to 
Jesus Christ. 

Secondly, And (then to remove every thing out of the way to 
Christ) God discovers to the soul enough in him to preponderate, 
and much more than will recompense all the evils and sufferings it 
can endure for his sake. 

It is true, they that close with Christ close with his cross also : 
they must expect to save no more but their souls by him. He tells 
us what we must trust to, Luke xiv. 26, 27. " If any man come to 
" me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, 
" and brethren and sisters ; yea, and his own life also, he cannot 
w be my disciple." And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and 
come after me, cannot be my disciple. 

To read such a text as this, with such a comment upon it, as 



.SERM. IV. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 73 



Satan and our flesh can make, is enough to fright a man from 
Christ for ever. Nor is it possible by all the arguments in the 
world to draw any soul to Christ upon such terms as these, till the 
Lord convince it, that there is enough, and much more than 
enough in Jesus Christ to recompense all these sufferings and losses 
we endure for him. 

But when the soul is satisfied that those sufferings are but ex- 
ternal upon the vile bod?/, but that the benefit which comes by 
Christ is internal in a man's own soul ; these afflictions are but 
temporal, Rom. viii. 18. But Christ and his benefits are eternal: 
This must needs prevail with the will to come over to Christ, 
notwithstanding all the evils of suffering that accompany him, 
when the reality of this is discovered by the Lord, and the power 
of God goes along with these discoveries. Thus the Lord draws 
us in our own way, by rational convictions of the understanding, 
and allurements of the will. 

And it is possible this may be the reason why some poor souls 
mis-judge the working of the Spirit of God upon themselves, 
thinking they never had that wonderful and mighty power of God 
in conversion, acting upon their hearts, because they find all that 
is done upon their hearts that way is done in the ordinary course 
and method of nature; They consider, compare, are convinced, 
and then resolved to chuse Christ and his ways ; whereas they ex- 
pect to feel some strange operations, that shall have the visible cha- 
racters of the immediate power of God upon them, and such a 
power they might discern, if they would consider it as working in 
this way and method: but they cannot distinguish God's acts from 
their own, and that puzzles them. 

Thirdly, The drawings of the Father are very powerful. " The 
" arm of the Lord is revealed in this work," Isa. liii. 1. It was 
a powerful word indeed that made the light at first shine out of 
darkness, and no less power is required to make it shine into our 
hearts, 2 Cor. v. 14. That day in which the soul is made willing 
to come to Christ, is called, " the day of his power, 1,1 Psal. ex. 3. 
The scripture expresseth the work of conversion by a threefold 
metaphor, viz. 

That of a resurrection from the dead, Rom. iv. 4. 

That of creation Eph. ii. 10. And 

That of victory or conquest, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. All these set forth 
the infinite power of God in this work ; for no less than Almighty 
Power is required to each of them, and if you strictly examine 
the distinct notions, you shall find the power of God more and 
more illustriously displayed in each of them. 

To raise the dead, is the effect of Almighty Power ; but then 
the resurrection supposeth pre-existent matter. In the work of 

E 4 



74? THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. IV. 

creation, there is no pre-existent matter ; but then there is no op- 
position : That which is not, rebels not against the power which 
gives it being. But victory and conquest suppose opposition, all the 
power of corrupt nature arming itself, and fighting against God : 
but vet not able to frustrate his design. 

Let the soul whom the Father draws, struggle and reluctate as 
much as it can, it shall come, yea, and come willingly too, when 
the drawing power of God is upon it * O the self-conflicts, the 
contrary resolves, with which the soul finds itself distracted, and 
rent asunder ! The hopes and fears ; the encouragements and dis- 
couragements ; they will, and they will not : but victorious grace 
conquers all opposition at last. We find an excellent example of 
this in blessed \ Augustin, who speaks of this very work, the draw- 
ing of his soul to Christ, and how he felt in that day two wills in 
himself, " one old, the other new ; one carnal, the other spiritual ; 
" and how in these their contrary motions and conflicts, he was 
" torn asunder in his own thoughts and resolutions, suffering that 
" unwillingly which he did willingly . r> And certainly, if we 
consider how deep the soul is rooted by natural inclination, and 
long continued custom in sin, how extremely averse it is to the 
ways of strict godliness and mortification ; how Satan, that invidious 
enemy, that strong man armed, fortifies the soul to defend his pos- 
session against Christ, and intrenches himself in the understanding, 
will, and affections, by deep-rooted prejudices against Christ and ho- 
liness, it is a wonder of wonders to see a soul quitting all its beloved 
lusts, and fleshly interests and endearments, and coming willingly 
under Christ's yoke. 

Fourthly, the drawings of God are very effectual : There is in- 
deed a common and ineffectual work upon hypocrites and apostates, 
called in scripture a " morning cloud and early dew," Hos. yi. 4. 
These may believe for a time, and fall away at last, Luke viii. 13. 
Their wills may be half won, they may be drawn half way to Christ, 
and return again. So it was with Agrippa, Acts xxvi. 28. 
iv Q}jyu pu vufoig, within a very little thou persuadest me to be a 
Christian : But in God's elected ones it is effectual : J Their wills are 
not only almost, but altogether persuaded to embrace Christ, and 
quit the ways of sin, how pleasant, gainful, and dear soever they 

* A sweet moving from the word, and a powerful drawing on God's part. For 
there is a certain kind of voluntary necessity. Moulin. Amut. Armin. 

f Ita duce voluntates mece, una vetus, alia nova, ilia camalis, ilia spiritualis confiigebant 
inter s*, ataue discordando dissipabant animam meam—ibi enim magisjam non ego, quia, 
ex magna parte id pntiebar iuvitus, quodfacibam volens. Aug. confes. lib. 8. cap. 5. 

i Suasion is the act of one using endeavours : persuasion the act of an efficient-cause. 
He uses suasion, who gives advice; persuasion is the deed of him who determines a 
man to what he pleases. Erawiux. 



SERM. IV. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 75 



have been to them. The Lord not only draws, but draws home 
those souls to Christ, John vi. 37. " All that the Father hath given 
" me, shall come to me. 11 

It is confessed, that in drawing home of the very elect to Christ, 
there may be, and frequently are, many pauses, stands, and demurs ; 
they have convictions, affections, and resolutions stirring in them, 
which, like early blossoms, seem to be nipt and die away again. 
There is frequently, (in young ones especially), an hopeful appear- 
ance of grace ; they make conscience of avoiding sins, and per- 
forming duties : they have sometimes great awakenings under the 
word, they are observed to retire for meditation and prayer ; and 
delight to be in the company of Christians : and after all this, 
youthful lusts and vanities are found to stifle and choak these 
hopeful beginnings, and the work seems to stand, (it may be some 
years), at a pause ; however, at last, the Lord makes it victorious 
over all opposition, and sets it home with power upon their 
hearts. 

Fifthly, To conclude, those whom the Father draws to Christ, 
he draws them finally and for ever. " The gifts and calling of 
" God are without repentance,"' Rom. xi. 29. they are so, as to 
God the giver ; he never repents, that he hath called his people 
into the fellowship of his Son Christ Jesus : and they are so on the 
believer's part; he is never sorry, whatever he afterwards meets 
with, that he is come to Christ. 

There is a time when Christians are drawn to Christ, but there 
shall never be a time in which they shall be drawn away from 
Christ, John x. 9Q. There is no plucking them out of the Fa- 
ther's hand. It was common to a proverb, in the primitive times, 
when they would express an impossibility, to say, " You may as 
" soon draw a Christian from Christ, as do it." When Christ 
asked that question of the disciples, " Will ye also go away ? 
" Lord, (said Peter, in the name of them all), to whom shall we 
" go ? Thou hast the words of eternal life,' 1 John vi. 68. They 
who are thus drawn, do with full purpose of heart, cleave unto the 
Lord. And thus of the manner and quality of effectual draw- 

Thirdly, In the last place, I am to evince the impossibility ot 
coming to Christ without the Father s drawings ; and this will evi- 
dently appear upon the consideration of these two particulars. 

First, The difficulty of this work is above all the power of na- 
ture to overcome. 

Secondly, That little power and ability that nature hath, it will 
never employ to such a purpose as this, till the drawing power of 
God be upon the will of a sinner. 

First, If all the power of nature were employed in this design, 



76 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IV. 

yet such are the difficulties of this work, that it surmounts all the 
abilities of nature. This the scripture very plainly affirms, Eph. ii. 
8. " By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, 
* it is the gift of God." To think of Christ is easy, but to come to 
Christ, is to nature impossible. To send forth cold and ineffectual 
wishes to Christ we may, but to bring Christ and the soul together, 
requires the Almighty Power of God, Eph. i. 19. The grace of 
faith by which we come to Christ, is as much the free gift of God, 
as Christ himself, who is the object of faith, Phil. i. 29- " To you 
" it is freely given to believe." And this will easily appear to your 
understandings, if you do but consider 

r Subject, ij 
The -< Act, and >• of this work of faith, or coming to Christ. 
t Enemies ) 
First, Consider the subject of faith in which it is wrought; or 
what it is that is drawn to Christ : It is the heart of a sinner which 
is naturally as indisposed for this work, as the wood which Elijah 
laid in order upon the altar was to catch fire, when he had poured 
so much water upon it, as did not only wet the wood, but also filled 
up the trench round about it, 1 Kings xviii. 33. For it is naturally 
a dark, blind, and ignorant heart, Job xi. 12. And such an heart 
can never believe, till he that commanded the light to shine out of 
darkness do shine into it, 2 Cor. iv. 6. 

Nor will it avail any thing to say, though man be born in dark- 
ness and ignorance, yet afterwards he may acquire knowledge in 
the use of means, as we see many natural men do to a very high 
degree : For this is not that light that brings the soul to Christ, yea, 
this natural unsanctified light blinds the soul, and prejudices it more 
against Christ than ever it was before, 1 Cor. i. 21, 26. 

As it is a blind, ignorant heart, so it is a selfish heart by nature : 
All its designs and aims terminate in self; this is the centre and 
weight of the soul ; no righteousness but its own is sought after, 
that, or none, Rom. x. 3. Now, for a soul to renounce and deny 
self, in all its forms, modes, and interests, as every one doth that 
cometh to Christ; to disclaim and deny natural, moral, and religi- 
ous self, and come to Christ as a poor, miserable, wretched, 
empty creature ; to live upon his righteousness for ever, is as su- 
pernatural and wonderful, as to see the hills and mountains start 
from their bases and centres, and fly like wandering atoms in the 
air. 

Nay, this heart which is to come to Christ, is not only dark and 
selfish, but full of pride. O, it is a desperate proud heart by na- 
ture, it cannot submit to come to Christ, as Benhadad's servants 
came to the king of Israel, with sackloth on their loins, and 
ropes upon their heads. To take guilt, shame, and confusion 



6ERM. IV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 77 

of face to ourselves, and acknowledge the righteousness of God in 
our eternal damnation ; to come to Christ naked and empty, as 
one that justifies the ungodly. I say, nature left to itself, would 
as soon be damned as do this ; the proud heart can never come to 
this, till the Lord hath humbled and broken it by his power. 

Secondly, Let us take the act of faith into consideration also, as 
it is here described by the soul's coming to Jesus Christ ; and you 
will find a necessity of the Father's drawings ; for this evidently 
implies, that which is against the stream and current of corrupt 
nature, and that which is above the sphere and capacity of the most 
refined and accomplished nature. 

First, It is against the stream and current of our corrupt nature 
to come to Christ. For let us but consider the term from which 
the soul departs, when it comes to Christ. In that day it leaves 
all its lusts, and ways of sin, how pleasant, sweet, and profitable 
soever they have been unto it, Isa. lv. 7. " Let the wicked forsake 
" his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him 
" return unto the Lord." Way and thoughts, i. e. both the prac- 
tice of, and delight he had in sin, must be forsaken, and the out- 
ward and inward man must be cleansed from it. Now there are 
in the bosoms of unregenerate men such darling lusts, that have 
given them so much practical and speculative pleasure, which have 
brought so much profit to them, which have been born and bred 
up with them ; and which, upon all these accounts, are endeared 
to their souls to that degree, that it is easier for them to die, than 
to forsake them ; yea, nothing is more common among such men, 
than to venture eternal damnation, rather than suffer a separation 
from their sins. 

And which is }*et more difficult in coming to Christ, the soul 
forsakes not only its sinful self, but its righteous self, i. e. not only 
its worst sins, but its best performances, accomplishments, and 
excellencies. Now this is one of the greatest straits that nature 
can be put to. Righteousness by works was the first liquor that 
ever was put into the vessel, and it still retains the tang and savour 
of it, and will to the end of the world, Rom. x. 3. " For they, being 
" ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish 
" their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the 
" righteousness of God." ax, w&raynmv, they have not submitted. 
To come naked and empty to Christ, and receive all from him as 
a free gift, is, to proud corrupt nature, the greatest abasement and 
submission in the world. 

Let the gospel furnish its table with the richest and costliest 
dainties that ever the blood of Christ purchased, such is the pride 
of nature, that it disdains to taste then), except it may also pay for 
the same. If the old hive be removed from the place where it 



78 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IV. 

was wont to stand, the bees will come home to the old place, yea, 
and many of them you shall find will die there, rather than go to 
the hive, though it stand in a far better place than it did before. 
Just so stands the case with men. The hive is removed, i. e. we 
are not to expect righteousness as Adam did, by obeying and work- 
ing, but by believing and coming to Christ; but nature had as 
soon be damned as do this : It still goes about to establish its own 
righteousness. 

Virtues, duties, and moral excellencies, these are the ornaments 
of nature ; here is nature set off in its sumptuous attire, and rich 
embellishments, and now to renounce it, disclaim and contemn it, 
as dross and dung, in comparison of Christ, as believers do, Phil, 
iii. 8. this, I say, is against the grain of nature. We reckon it 
the strange effect of self-denial in Mahomet the Great *, who being 
so enamoured with his beautiful Irene, would be persuaded, upon 
reasons of state, with his own hand to strike off her head : and 
that even when she appeared in all her rich ornaments before him, 
rather like such a goddess, as the poets in their ecstasies use to 
feign, than a mortal creature. And yet certainly this is nothing 
to that self-denial which is exercised in our coming to Christ. 

Secondly, And if we look to the other term to which the soul 
moves, we shall find it acting as much above the sphere and ability 
of improved nature, as here it acts and moves against the stream 
and current of corrupted nature : for how wonderful and superna- 
tural an adventure is that, which the soul makes in the day that 
it comes to Jesus Christ. 

Surely, for any poor soul to venture itself for ever upon Jesus 
Christ whom it never saw, nay, upon Christ, whose very existence 
its own unbelief calls in question whether he be or no : and that 
when it is even weighed down to the dust, with the burdensome 
sense of its own vileness and total unworthiness, feeling nothing in 
itself but sin and misery, the workings of death and fears of wrath : 
to go to Christ, of whose pardoning grace and mercy it never had 
any the least experience, nor can find any ground of hope in it- 
self that it shall be accepted ; this is as much above the power of 
nature, as it is for a stone to rise from the earth, and fix itself 
among the stars. Well might the apostle ascribe it to that Al- 
mighty Power which raised up Christ from the dead, Eph. i. 19, 
20. If the Lord draw not the soul, and that omnipotently, it can 
never come from itself to Christ. And yet farther, 

Thirdly, The natural impossibility of coming to Christ, will more 
clearly appear, if we consider the enemies to faith, or what blocks 
are rolled by Satan and his instruments into the way to Christ : 

* Knolle's History of the Turks. 



SERM. IV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 79 

to mention, in this place, no more but our own carnal reason, as it 
is armed and managed by the subtilty of Satan, what a wonder is it 
that any soul should come to Christ ? 

These are the strong holds, (mentioned 2 Cor. x. 4.) out of 
which those objections, fears, and discouragements sally, by which 
the soul is fiercely assaulted in the way to Christ. 

Wilt thou forsake all thy pleasures, merry company, and sensible 
comforts, to live a sad, retired, pensive life ? Wilt thou beggar 
and undo thyself, let go all thy comforts in hand, for an hope of 
that which thine eyes never saw, nor hast thou any certainty that it 
is any more than a fancy ! Wilt thou that hast lived in reputation 
and credit all thy life, now become the scorn and contempt of the 
world ? Thinkest thou thyself able to live such a strict, severe, mor- 
tified, and self-denying life, as the word of God requires ? And 
what if persecution should arise, (as thou mayest expect it will,) 
canst thou forsake father and mother, wife and children, yea, and 
give up thine own life too, to a cruel and bloody death ! be advised 
better, before thou resolve in so important a matter. What think- 
est thou of thy forefathers, that lived and died in that way thou 
art now living ? Art thou wiser than they ? Do not the generality 
of men walk in the same paths thou hast hitherto walked in ? If 
this way lead to hell, as thou fearest it may, think then how many 
millions of men must perish as well as thyself; and is such a sup- 
position consistent with the gracious and merciful nature of God ? 
Besides, think what sort of people those are, unto whom thou art 
about to join thyself in this new way ? Are there not to be found 
among them many things to discourage thee, and cool thy zeal ? 
They are generally of the lower and baser sort of men, poor and 
despicable : Seest thou not, though their profession be holy, how 
earthly, carnal, proud, factious, and hypocritical, many of them 
are found to be ! And doubtless, the rest are like them, though 
their hypocrisy be not yet discovered. • 

O what stands and demurs, what hesitations and doubts, is the 
soul clogged with in its way to Christ ! But yet none of these can 
withhold' and detain the soul when the Father draws : Greater 
then is he that is in us, than he that is in the world. And thus 
you see the nature, manner, and efficacy of divine drawings, and 
how impossible it is for any soul to come to Christ without them. 

The inferences and improvements of the point follow. 

Inference 1. How deeply and thoroughly is tlie nature of man 
corrupted, and what an enemy is every man to his own happiness* 
that he must be drawn to it? John v. 40. "You will not come 
" unto me, that ye might have life.^ 

Life is desirable in every man's eyes, and eternal life is the most 



80 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IV. 

excellent : yet, in this, the world is rather agreed to die and 
perish for ever than come to Christ for life. Had Christ told us 
of fields and vineyards, sheep and oxen, gold and silver, honours 
and sensual pleasures, who would not have come to him for 
these ? But to tell of mortification, self-denial, strictness of life, and 
sufferings for his sake, and all this for an happiness to be enjoyed 
in the world to come, nature will never like such a proposition as 
this. 

You see where it sticks, not in a simple inability to believe, but 
in an inability complicated with enmity ; they neither can come, 
nor will come to Christ. It is true, all that do come to Christ, 
come willingly ; but thanks be to the grace of God, that hath 
freed and persuaded the will, else they never had been willing to 
come. Who ever found his own heart first stir and move towards 
Christ ? How long may we wait and expect before we shall feel 
our hearts naturally burn with desires after, and love to Jesus 
Christ? 

This aversion of the will and affections from God is one of the 
main roots of original sin. No argument can prevail to bring the 
soul to Christ, till this be mastered and overpowered by the Fa- 
ther's drawing. In our motions to sin we need restraining, but in 
all our motions to Christ we as much need drawing. He that comes 
to heaven may say, Lord, if I had had mine own way and will, I 
had never come here : if thou hadst not drawn me, I should never 
have come to thee. O the riches of the grace of God ! Oh unpa- 
ralleled mercy and goodness ! not only to prepare such a glory as 
this for an unworthy soul, but to put forth the exceeding great- 
ness of thy power, afterwards to draw an unwilling soul to the 
enjoyment of it. 

Infer. 2. What enemies are they to God and the souls of men, that 
do all they can to discourage and hinder the conversion of men to 
Christ? God draws forward, and these do all that in them lies to 
draw backward, L e. to prejudice and discourage them from coming 
to Jesus Christ in the way of faith : this is a direct opposition to 
God, and a plain confederacy with the devil. 

O how many have been thus discouraged in their way to Christ 
by their carnal relations, I cannot say friends ! Their greatest ene- 
mies have been the men of their own house. These have pleaded 
(as if the devil had hired and fee'd them) against the everlasting 
welfare of their own flesh. O cruel parents, brethren, and sisters, 
that jeer, frown, and threaten, where they should encourage, 
assist, and rejoice ! Such parents are the devil's children. Satan 
chuses such instruments as you are, above all others, for this work : 
he knows what influence and authority you have upon them, and 
over them ; and what fear, love, and dependence they have for 



SEltM. IV. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 81 



you, and upon you ; so that none in all the world are like to 
manage the design of their damnation so effectually, as you are 
like to do. 

Will you neither come to Christ yourselves, nor suffer your dear 
relations that would ? Had you rather find them in the ale-house 
than in the closet ? Did you instrumentally give them their being, 
and will you be the instruments of ruining for ever those beings 
they had from you ? Did you so earnestly desire children, so ten- 
derly nurse and provide for them ; take such delight in them ; 
and, after all this, do what in you lies to damn and destroy them ! 
If these lines shall fall into any such hands, O that God would Bet 
home the conviction and sense of this horrid evil upon their hearts. 

And no less guilty of this sin are scandalous and loose professors, 
who serve to furnish the devil with the greatest arguments he hath 
to dissuade men from coming to Christ ; it is your looseness and 
hypocrisy by which he hopes to scare others from Christ. It is 
said, Cant. ii. 7. " I charge you by the roes and hinds of the field, 
" that ye stir not up, nor awake my beloved till he please." 

Roes and hinds, like young converts and comers towards Christ, 
are shy and timorous creatures, that start at the least sound, or 
yelp of a dog, and fly away. Take heed what you do in this 
case, lest you go down to hell under the guilt of damning more 
souls than your own. 

Infer. 3. Learn hence the true ground and reason of those strange, 
amazing, and supernatural effects, that you behold and so admire in 
the world, as often as you see sinners forsaking their pleasant, pro- 
fitable corruptions and companions, and embracing the ways of 
Christ, godliness, and mortification. 

It is said, 1 Pet. iv. 4. " They think it strange, that you run 
" not with them into the same excess of riot." The word is 
tv to ^vjiZrjvrai, they stand at a gaze, as the hen that hath hatched 
partridge eggs doth, when she sees them take the wing and fly 
away from her. 

Beloved, it is the world's wonder to see their companions in sin 
forsake them ; those that were once as profane and vain as them- 
selves, it may be more, to forsake their society, retire into their 
closets, mourn for sin, spend their time in meditation and prayer, 
embrace the severest duties, and content to run the greatest hazards 
in the world for Christ ; but they see not that Almighty Power that 
draws them, which is too strong for all the sinful ties and engage- 
ments in the world to withhold and detain them. 

A man would have wondered to see Elisha leave the oxen, and 
run after Elijah, saying, " Let me go, I pray thee, and kiss my 
" father and mother, and then I will follow thee ; when Elijah 
had said nothing to persuade him to follow him only as he passed 



82 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IV, 

by him, he cast his mantle on him, 1 Kings x. 19, 20. Surely 
that soul whom God draws, must needs leave all and follow Christ, 
for the power of God resteth on it. All carnal ties and engage- 
ments to sin break and give way, when the Father draws the soul 
to Christ in the day of his power. 

Infer. 4. Is this the find spring of spiritual motion (ifter Christ ? 
Learn then from hence, how it comes to pass that so many excellent 
sermons and powerful persuasions are ineffectual, and cannot draw 
and win one soul to Christ. Surely it is because ministers draw 
cdone ; and the special saving power of God goes not forth at all 
times alike with their endeavours. 

Paul was a chosen vessel, filled with a greater measure of gifts 
and graces by the Spirit, than any that went before him or fol- 
lowed after him ; and, as his talents, so his diligence in improving 
them was bevond any recorded example we read of amongst men ; 
" He rather flew like a seraphim, than travelled upon his Master's 
" errand about the world *." Apollos was an eloquent preacher, 
and mighty in the scriptures, yet Paul is " nothing, and Apollos 
" nothing ; but God that gives the increase,' 1 1 Cor. iii. 7. We 
are too apt to admire men, yea, and the best are but too apt to go 
forth in the strength of their own parts and preparations ; but God 
secures his own glory, and magnifies his own power, frequently, 
in giving success to weaker endeavours, and men of lower abilities, 
when he withholds it from men of more raised, refined, and ex- 
cellent gifts and abilities. 

It is our great honour, who are the ministers of the gospel, that 
we are tvngy*, workers together with God, 1 Cor. iii. 9. in his 
strength we can prevail ; " the weapons of our warfare are mighty 
*4 through God," 2 Cor. x. 4. But if his presence, blessing, and 
assistance be not with us, we are nothing, we can do nothing. 

If we prepare diligently, pray heartily, preach zealously, and 
our hearers go as they came, without any spiritual effects and fruits 
of our labours, what shall we say, but as Martha said to Christ, 
u Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died :" Had 
the Spirit of God gone forth with his especial efficacy and blessing, 
with this praver, or that sermon, these souls had not departed 
dead and senseless from under it. 

Infer. 5. Doth all success and efficacy depend upon the Fathers 
drawings ? Let none then despair of their unregenerate and carnal 
relations, over ichose obstinacy they do, and have cause to mourn. 

What, if they have been as many years under the preaching of 
the gospel, as the poor man lay at the pool of Bethesda, and hitherto 
to no purpose ? A time may come at last, (as it did for him) when 

* i\z ~rr,vog rr^ or/.x>i,svriv ; %tu u; ucu'jluto; oizhza>Li. Chrysost. 



SERM. IV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 80 

the Spirit of God may move upon the waters ; I mean put a quick- 
ening and converting power into the means, and then the desire of 
your souls for them shall be fulfilled. 

It may be you have poured out many prayers and tears to the 
Lord for them ; you have cried for them as Abraham for his son, 
" O that Ishmael might live before thee V O that this poor hus- 
band, wife, child, brother, or sister, might live in thy sight ; and 
still you see them continue carnal, dead, and senseless : Well, but 
yet give not up your hopes, nor cease your pious endeavours, the 
time may come when the Father may draw as well as you, and 
then you shall see them quit all, and come to Christ ; and nothing 
shall hinder them. They are now drawn away of their own lusts ; 
they are easily drawn away by their sinful companions ; but 
when God draws, none of these shall withdraw them from the Lord 
Jesus. What is their ignorance, obstinacy, and hardness of heart, 
before that mighty power that subdues all things to itself? Go 
therefore to the Lord by prayer for them, and say, Lord, I have 
laboured for my poor relations in vain, I have spent my exhorta- 
tions to little purpose ; the work is too difficult for me, I can carry 
it no farther, but thou canst : O let thy power go forth ; they shall 
be willing in the day of thy power. 

Infer. 6. If none can come to Christ except the Father draw them, 
then surely none can be drawn from Christ except the Father leave 
them : That power which at first drew them to Christ can secure 
and establish them in Christ to the end. John x. 29. " My Father 
" which gave them me is greater than all, and no man is able to 
" pluck them out of my Father's hand." 

When the power of God at first draws us out of our natural 
state to Christ, it finds us not only impotent but obstinate, not 
only unable, but unwilling to come ; and yet this power of God 
prevails against all opposition ; how much more is it able to pre- 
serve and secure us, when his fear is put into our inward parts, so 
that we dare not depart, we have no will to depart from him ? Well 
then if the world say, I will ensnare thee ; if the devil say, I will 
destroy thee; if the flesh say, I will betray thee; yet thou art 
secure and safe, as long as God hath said, " I will never leave thee 
" nor forsake thee," Heb. xiii. 5. 

Infer. 7. Let this engage you to a constant attendance upon the 
ordinances of God, in which this drawing power of God is some- 
times put forth upon the hearts of men. 

Beloved, there are certain seasons in which the Lord comes nigh 
to men in the ordinances and duties of his worship ; and we know 
not at what time the Lord cometh forth by his Spirit upon this 
design : he many times comes in an hour when we think not of 
him ! " I am found of them that sought me not," Isa. lxv. 1. It 

Vol. II. F 



84 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IV. 

is good therefore to be found in the way of the Spirit. Had that 
poor man, that lay so long at the pool of Bethesda, reasoned thus 
with himself, So long have I lain here in vain expecting a cure, it 
is to no purpose to wait longer, and so had been absent at that very 
time when the angel came down, he had, in all likelihood, carried 
his disease to the grave with him. 

How dost thou know but this very sabbath, this sermon, this 
prayer, which thou hast no heart to attend, and are tempted to 
neglect, may be the season and instrument wherein, and by which, 
the Lord may do that for thy soul which was never done before ? 

Infer. 8. To conclude, How are all the saints engaged to put 
forth all the power and ability they have for God, who hath put 
forth his infinite Almighty Power to draw them to Christ ? 

God hath done great things for your souls ; he hath drawn you 
out of the miserable state of sin and wrath ; and that when he let 
others go, by nature as good as you, he hath drawn you into 
union with Christ, and communion with his glorious privileges. O 
that you would henceforth employ all the power you have for God 
in the duties of obedience, and in drawing others to Christ, as much 
as in you lies, and say continually with the Church, " Draw me, 
" we will run after thee," Cant. i. 4. 

Tl tanks be to God for Jesus Christ. 



SERMON V. 



Of the Work of the Spirit more particularly, by which the 
Soul is enabled to apply CHPasT. 

Eph. ii. 1. 
And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. 

XN the former sermons we have seen our union with Christ in the 
general nature of it, and the means by which it is effected, both ex- 
ternal, by the preaching of the gospel, and internal, by the draw- 
ing of the Father. We are now to bring our thoughts yet closer 
to this great mystery, and consider the bands by which Christ and 
believers are knit together in a blessed union. 

And if we needfully observe the scripture expressions, and pon- 
der the nature of this union, we shall find there are two bands 
which knit Christ and the soul together, viz. 

1. The Spirit on Christ's part. 

% Faith on our part. 



SERM. V. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 85 

The Spirit, on Christ's part, quickening us with spiritual life, 
whereby Christ first takes hold of us, and faith on our part, when 
thus quickened, whereby we take hold of Christ ; accordingly, this 
union witli the Lord Jesus is expressed in scripture sometimes by the 
one and sometimes by the other of the menus or bands by which 
it is effected. Christ is sometimes said to be in us ; so Col. i. 27. 
" Christ is in you the hope of glory." And Rom. viii. 10. " And 
" if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin." At 
other times it is expressed by the other band on our part, as 1 
John v. 20. " We are in him that is true, even in his Son Christ 
" Jesus." And 2 Cor. v. 17. " If any man be in Christ, he is a 
" new creature." 

The difference betwixt both these is thus aptly expressed by a 
late author*. Christ is in believers by his Spirit, 1 John iv. 13. 
" The believer is in Christ by faith, John i. 12. Christ is in the 
" believer by inhabitation, Rom. iii. 17. The believer is in Christ 
" by implantation, Rom. vi. 35. Christ is in the believer as the 
" head is in the body, Col. i. 18. As the root in the branches, 
" John xv. 5. Believers are in Christ as the members are in the 
" head, Eph. i. 23. or as the branches are in the root, John 
u xv. 1, 7. Christ in the believer implieth life, and influence 
" from Christ, Col. iii. 4. The believer implieth communion and 
"fellozvship with Christ, 1 Cor. i. 30. When Christ is said to be 
" in the believer, we are to understand it in reference to sanctifi- 
" cation. When the believer is said to be in Christ, it is in order 
" to justification." 

Thus we apprehend, being ourselves first apprehended by Jesus 
Christ, Phil. iii. 12. AVe cannot take hold of Christ till first he 
take hold of us ; no vital act of faith can be exercised till a vital 
principle be first inspired : of both these bands of union we must 
speak distinctly, and first of " Christ quickening us by his Spirit, 
" in order to our union with him," of which we have an account 
in the scripture before us, " You he hath quickened, who were 
" dead in trespasses and sins :" In which words we find these two 
things noted, viz. 

1. The infusion of a vital principle of grace. 

2. The total indisposedness of the subject by nature. 

First, The infusion of a vital principle of grace, You hath he 
quickened. These words [hath he quickened] are a supplement made 
to clear the sense of the apostle, which else would have been more 
obscure, by reason of that long parenthesis betwixt the first and 
fifth verses, u for as the •)• learned observe, this word vpag, you, is 



* Mount Pisgah, p. 22, 23. 

| Nud vua: regitur a <rj',t?wroir,<fe, v. 5. est igitur hoc teco ct hyperbaton & 

F 2 



86 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. V. 

" governed by the verb <fvv-/£uo-7roir t <ys, hath he quickened, ver. 5. So 
" that here the words are transposed from the plain grammatical 
" order, by reason of the interjection of a long sentence, there- 
" fore, with good warrant our translators have put the "verb into 
" the first verse, which is repeated, ver. 5. and so keeping faith- 
" fully to the scope, have excellently cleared the syntax and order 
" of the words." Now this verb o-vs^uoxoir^s, hath he quickened. 
imports the first vital act of the Spirit of God, or his first enliven- 
ing work upon the soul, in order to its union with Jesus Christ : 
For look, as the blood of Christ is the fountain of all merit, so the 
Spirit of Christ is the fountain of all spiritual life ; and until he 
quicken us, i. e. infuse the principle of the divine life into our souls, 
we can put forth no hand, or vital act of faith, to lay hold upon 
Jesus Christ. 

This his quickening work is therefore the first in order of nature 
to our union with Christ, and fundamental to all other acts of 
grace done and performed by us, from our first closing with Christ 
throughout the whole course of our obedience ; and this quicken- 
ing act is said, ver. 5. to be together with Christ. Either noting 
(as some expound it) that it is the effect of the same power by 
which Christ was raised from the dead, according to Eph. 1. 19. 
or rather, to be quickened together with Christ, notes that new 
spiritual life which is infused into our dead souls in the time of our 
union with Christ : " For it is Christ to whom we are conjoined 
" and united in our regeneration, out of whom, as a fountain, all 
" spiritual benefits flow to us, among which this vivification or 
" quickening is one *, and a most sweet and precious one." 

Zanchy Bodius, and many others, will have this quickening to 
comprize both our justification and regeneration, and to stand op- 
posed both to eternal and spiritual death, and it may well be al- 
lowed ; but it most properly imports our regeneration, wherein the 
Spirit, in an .ineffable and mysterious way, makes the soul to live 
to God, yea, to live the life of God, which soul was before dead 
in trespasses and sins. In which words we have, 

Secondly, In the next place, the total iridisposedness of the sub- 
jects by nature : For, as it is well noted by a f learned man, " the 
" apostle doth not say of these Ephesians that they were half 
" dead, or sick, and infirm, but dead wholly ; altogether dead, 



synobm et wroxvzn rr\i m^ioba, qua est species rx avavraT&ooca, cuius quidem ano- 
maluv causa est £fi l 'Js£o/.'/j mtery&vo sentenlice prolirioris. Piscator. Pool's Synop. 

* Ex Christo conjuncto ?iobiscum, ut capite cum membris, pmjluunt in nos omnia bencfi- 
cia, in quorum numtro est Hvificatio. Rolloc. in Loc. 

f Non vocat hie semimortnos aut eegrotos ac inJi?~mos> sed prorsus mortuos, omni facul- 
iatc bene cogitandi aut agendi destituti. Rolloc. in Loc. 



SERM. V. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 8? 

" destitute of any faculty or ability, so much as to think one good 
" thought, or perform one good act." You were dead in respect 
of condemnation, being under the damning sentence of the law, and 
you are dead in respect of the privation of spiritual life ; dead in 
opposition to justification, and dead in opposition to regeneration 
and sanctification : And the fatal instrument by which their souls 
died is here shewed them ; you were dead in, or by trespasses and 
sins, this was the sword that killed your souls, and cut them off 
from God. Some do curiously distinguish betwixt trespasses and 
sins, as if one pointed at original, the other at actual sins ; but I 
suppose they are promiscuously used here, and serve to express the 
cause of their ruin, or means of their spiritual death and destruc- 
tion : this was their case when Christ came to quicken them, dead 
in sin ; and being so, they could not move themselves towards union 
with Christ, but as they were moved by the quickening Spirit of 
God. Hence the observation will be this, 

Doct. That those souls which have union with Christ, are quick- 
ened with a supernatural principle of life by the Spirit of God 
in order thereunto. 

The Spirit of God is not only a living Spirit, formally considered ; 
but he is also the Spirit of life, effectively or casually considered ; 
And without his breathing, or infusing life into our souls, our union 
with Christ is impossible. 

It is the observation of learned * Camero, '''that there must be 
" an unition before there can be an union with Christ. Unition is 
" to be conceived efficiently as the work of God's Spirit, joining 
u the believer to Christ, and union is to be conceived formally, the 
" joining itself of the persons together :" We close with Christ by 
faith, but that faith being a vital act, pre-supposes a principle of 
life communicated to us by the Spirit ; therefore it is said, John 
xi. 26. " Whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die :" 
The vital act and operation of faith springs from this quickening 
Spirit : So in Rom. viii. 1, % The apostle, having in the first 
verse opened the blessed estate of them that are in Christ, shews 
us in the second verse how we come to be in him : " The Spirit of 
" life (saith he) which is in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from 
" the law of sin and death.'" 

There is indeed a quickening work of the Spirit, which is sub- 



* Observandum est umonem et unitionem inter se differe : unio est rerum actus, quijlrma 
rationem habet, nempe actus rerum unitarum qua unite sunt ; vnitio autem actus significat 
causes efficientis, $c. Camero de Eccles. p. 222. 

F3 



SS THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SEEM. V, 



sequent to regeneration, consisting in his exciting, recovering, and 
actuating of his own graces in us ; and from hence is the liveliness 
of a Christian ; and there is a quickening act of the Spirit in our 
regeneration, and from hence is the spiritual life of a Christian ; of 
this I am here to speak, and that I may speak profitably to this 
point, I will in the doctrinal part labour to open these five particu- 
lars. 

First, What this spiritual life is in its nature and properties. 

Secondly, In what manner it is wrought or inspired into the soul. 

Thirdly, For what end, or with what design, this life is so in- 
spired. 

Fourthly, I shall shew this work to be wholly supernatural. 

And then, Fifthly, Why this quickening must be antecedent to 
our actual closing with Christ by faith. 

First, We shall enquire into the nature and properties of this 
life, and discover (as we are able) what it is. And we find it to 
consist in that wonderful change which the Spirit of God makes upon 
the frame and temper of the soid, by his infusing or implanting the 
principles of grace in all the powers and faculties thereof 

A change it makes upon the soul, and that a marvellous one, no 
less than from death to life ; for though a man be physically a living 
man, i. e. his natural soul hath union with his body, yet his soul 
having no union with Christ, he is theologically a dead man, Luke 
xv. 24. and Col. ii. 18. Alas, it deserves not the name of life, to 
have a soul serving only to season and preserve the body a little 
while from corruption : to carry it up and down the world, and 
only enable it to eat, and drink, and talk, and laugh, and then die : 
Then do we begin to live, when we begin to have union with Christ 
the Fountain of life, by his Spirit communicated to us : From this 
time we are to reckon our life * as some have done : There be many 
changes made upon men besides this, many are changed from pro- 
faneness to civility, and from mere civility to formality, and a shadow 
of religion, who still remain in the state and power of spiritual death, 
notwithstanding : but when the Spirit of the Lord is poured out 
upon us, to quicken us with the new spiritual life, this is a wonderful 
change indeed : It gives us an esse supernaturale, a new supernatural 
being, which is therefore called a new creature, the new mam, the 
hidden man qf the heart: The natural essence and faculties of 
the soul remain still, but it is divested of the old qualities, and en- 
dowed with new ones, 2 Cor. v. 17. " Old things are passed away, 
" behold, all things are become new." 

And this change is not made by altering and rectifying the dis- 
orders of the life only, leaving the temper and frame of the heart 

* Hicjacet Similis, cvjus tetas midtoremannorumJv.it, ipse septan duntaxat annos vixit. 



SEliM. V. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 89 



still carnal ; but by the infusion of a supernatural permanent prin- 
ciple into the soul, John iv. 14. " It shall be in him a well ol' water:'" 
principles are to a course of actions, as fountains or springs are to 
the streams and rivers that flow from them, and are maintained by 
them : and hence is the evenness and constancy of renewed souls 
in the course of godliness. 

Nor is this principle or habit acquired by accustoming ourselves 
to holy actions, as natural habits are acquired by frequent acts, 
which beget a disposition, and thence grow up to an habit or second 
nature, but it is infused, or implanted in the soul by the Spirit of 
God. So we read, Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26. " A new heart also will 
" I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you :" It grows not 
up out of our natures, but is put or infused into us : as it is said of 
the two witnesses, Rev. xi. 11. who lay dead in a civil sense, three 
days and a half, that the Spirit of life from God entered into them : so 
it is here in a spiritual sense, the Spirit of life from God enters into 
the dead, carnal heart : it is all by way of supernatural infusion. 

Nor is it limited to this or that faculty of the soul, but grace or 
life is poured into all the faculties : " Behold, all thing are be* 
" come new, 11 2 Cor. v. 17. The understanding, will, thoughts, 
and affections, are all renewed by it : the whole inner man is 
changed ; yea, the tongue and hand, the discourses and actions, even 
all the ways and courses of the outward man are renewed by it. 

But more particularly, we shall discern the nature of this Spiri- 
tual If e, by considering the properties of it; among which, these 
are very rema?'kable. 

First, The soul that is joined to Christ is quickened with a di- 
vine life, so we read in 2 Pet. i. 4. Where believers are said to be 
partakers of the divine nature : a very high expression, and warily 
to be understood. Partakers of the divine nature : not essentially ; 
so it is wholly incommunicable to the creature, nor yet hypostatically, 
and personally ; so Christ only was a partaker of it ; but our par- 
ticipation of the divine nature, must be understood in a way pro- 
per to believers ; that is to say, we partake of it by the inhabita- 
tion of the Spirit of God in us, according to 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17. 
" Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit 
" of God dwelleth in you P 11 The Spirit, who is God by nature 
dwells in, and actuates the soul whom he regenerates, and by 
sanctifying it, causes it to live a divine life : from this life of God 
the unsanctified are said to be alienated, Eph. iv. 18. but believer3 
are partakers of it. 

Secondly, And being divine, it must needs be the most excellent, 
and transcendent life that any creature doth, or can live in this 
world : it surmounts the natural, rational, and moral life of the 

F4 



90 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 5EKM. V. 

unsanctified, as much as the angelical life excels the life of flies and 
worms of the earth. 

Some think it a rare life to live in sensual pleasures ; but the 
scripture will not allow so much as the name of life to them ; but 
tells us, " they are dead whilst they live,'" 1 Tim. v. 6. certainly it 
is a wonderful elevation of the nature of man to be quickened with 
such a life as this. There are two ways wherein the blessed God 
hath honoured poor man above the very angels of heaven. One 
was by the hypostatical union of our nature, in Christ, with the di- 
vine nature : the other is by uniting our persons mystically to Christ, 
and thereby communicating spiritual life to us : this latter is a most 
glorious privilege, and in one respect a more singular mercy than 
the former ; for that honour which is done to our nature by the 
hypostatical union, is common to all, good and bad, even they that 
perish have yet that honour ; but to be implanted into Christ by re- 
generation, and live upon him as the branch doth upon the vine, 
this is a peculiar privilege, a mercy kept from the world that is to 
perish, and only communicated to God's elect, who are to live eter- 
nally with him in heaven. 

Thirdly, This life infused by the regenerating Spirit, is a most 
pleasant life. All delights, all pleasures, all joys, which are not 
fantastic and delusive, have their spring and origin here, Rom. viii. 
6. " To be spiritually minded is life and peace," i. e. a most serene, 
placid life ; such a soul becomes, so far as it is influenced and sanc- 
tified by the Spirit, the very region of life and peace : when one 
thing is thus predicated of another, in casu recto, (saith a learned 
man) it speaks their intimate connection : peace is so connatural to 
this life, that you may either call it a life that hath peace in it, or a 
peace that hath life in it : yea, it hath its enclosed pleasures in it, 
" such as a stranger intermeddles not with," Prov. xiv. J 0. Rege- 
neration is the term from which all true pleasure commences ; you 
never live a cheerful day, till you begin to live to God : therefore 
it is said, Luke xv. 24. when the prodigal son was returned to his 
father, and reconciled, then they began to be merry. 

None can make another, by any words, to understand what that 
pleasure is which the renewed soul feels diffused through all its fa- 
culties and affections, in its communion with the Lord, and in the 
sealings and M'itnessings of his Spirit. That is a very apt and well 
known similitude, which Peter Martyr used, and the Lord blessed 
to the conversion of that noble marquis Galeacus : if, said he, a 
man should see a company of people dancing upon the top of a re- 
mote hill, he would be apt to conclude they were a company of 
wild distracted people ; but if he draw nearer, and behold the ex- 
cellent order, and hear the ravishing sweet music that are among 



SERM. T. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 91 

them, he will quickly alter his opinion of them, and be for dancing 
himself with them. 

All the delights in the sensual life, all the pleasure that ever your 
lusts gave you, are but as the putrid, stinking waters of a corrupt 
pond, where toads lie croaking and spawning, compared to the 
crystal streams of the most pure and ple&s&nt ^fountain. 

Fourthly, This life of God, with which the regenerate are quick- 
ened in their union with Christ, as it is & pleasant, so it is also a 
growing increasing life, John iv. 14. " It shall be in him a well of 
" water springing up into everlasting life." 

It is not in our sanctification, as it is in our justification ; our 
justification is complete and perfect, no defect is found there; but 
the new creature labours under many defects : all believers are 
equally justified, but not equally sanctified. Therefore you read, 
2 Cor. iv. 16. that " the inward man is renewed day by day :* 
And 2 Pet. iii. 18. Christians are exhorted " to grow in grace, and 
" in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour :" if this work were 
perfect, and finished at once, as justification is, there could be no 
renewing day by day, nor growth in grace. Perfectum est cui nihil 
deest $ cui nihil addi potest ; i. e. that is perfect which wants no- 
thing, and to which nothing can be added. The apostle indeed 
prays for the Thessalonians, " that God would sanctify them, 1 ' 
o'aoIsXsi;, — wholly, perfectly, 1 Thes. v. 23. And this is matter of 
prayer and hope ; for, at last, it will grow up to perfection ; but 
this perfect holiness is reserved for the perfect state in the world to 
come, and none but * deluded, proud spirits boast of it here : but 
when " that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part 
" shall be done away," 1 Cor. xiii. 9, 10. And upon the imper- 
fection of the new creature in every faculty, that warfare and 
daily conflict spoken of, Gal. V. 17. and experienced by every 
Christian, is grounded ; grace rises gradually in the soul, as the 
sun doth in the heavens, " which shineth more and more unto a 
" perfect day," Prov. iv. 18. 

Fifthly, To conclude; This life with which the regenerate are 
quickened, is an everlasting life. " This is the record, that God 
" hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son," 1 John 
v. 11. This principle of life, is the seed of God; and that remains 
in the soul for ever, 1 John iii. 9- It is no transient, vanishing 
thing, but a fixed, permanent principle, which abides in the soul 
for ever ; a man may lose his gifts, but grace abides'; the soul may, 
and must be separated from the body, but grace cannot be sepa- 
rated from the soul : when all forsake us, this will not leave us. 

* Perfection of sanctification is not found in this life, unless in the dreams of 
&orae fanatics. Ajnes. 



92 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. V. 

This infused principle is therefore vastly different, both from the 
extraordinary gifts of prophecy, wherein the Spirit was sometimes 
said to come upon men, under the Old Testament, 1 Sam. x. 
6, 10. and from the common vanishing effects he sometimes pro- 
duceth in the unregenerate, of which we have frequent accounts 
in the New Testament, Heb. vi. 4. and John v. 35. It is one 
thing for the Spirit to come upon a man in the way of present in- 
fluence and assistance, and another thing to dwell in a man as in 
his temple. 

And thus of the nature and quality of this blessed work of the 
Spirit in quickening us. 

Secondly, Having seen the nature and properties of the spiritual 
life, we are concerned in the next place to enquire into the way 
and manner in which it is wrought and infused by the Spirit, and 
here we must say, 

First of all, that the work is wrought in the soul very mysterious- 
ly ; so Christ tells Nicodemus, John iii. 8. " The wind bloweth 
" where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst 
" not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth, so is every one 
" that is born of the Spirit." There be many opinions among 
philosophers about the original of wind ; but we have no certain 
knowledge of it ; we describe it by its effects and properties, but 
know little of its original : and if the works of God in nature be 
so obstruse, and unsearchable, how much more so are these sub- 
lime, and supernatural works of the Spirit ? 

We are not able to solve the Phaenomena of nature, we can give 
no account of our own formation in the womb, Eccl. xi. 5. Who 
can exactly describe how the parts of the body are formed, and the 
soul infused ? " It is curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the 
" earth," as the Psalmist speaks, Psal. cxxxix. 16. but how, we 
know not. Basil saith, divers questions may be moved about a. fly, 
which may puzzle the greatest philosopher : we know little of the 
forms and essences of natural things, much less of these profound, 
and abstruse spiritual things. 

Secondly, But though we cannot pry into these secrets by the eye 
of reason, yet God hath revealed this to us in his word, that it is 
wrought by his own Almighty Power, Eph. i. 19. The apostle 
ascribes this work to the exceeding greatness of the power of God ; 
and this must needs be, if we consider how the Spirit of God ex- 
presses it in scripture by a new creation ; i. e. a giving being to 
something out of nothing, Eph. ii. 10. In this it differs from all 
the effects of human power, for man always works upon some pre- 
existent matter, but here is no such matter ; all that is in man, 
the subject of this work, is only a passive capacity, or receptivity, 
but nothing is found in him to contribute towards this work ; this 



8ERM. V. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 9$ 

supernatural life is not, nor can it be educed out of natural prin- 
ciples; this wholly transcends the sphere of all natural power; but 
of this more anon. 

Thirdly, This also we may affirm of it, that this divine life is in- 
fused into all the natural faculties and powers of the soul, not one 
exempted, 1 Thes. v. 23. The whole soul and spirit is the reci- 
pient subject of it ; and with respect to this general infusion into 
all the faculties and powers of the soul, it is called a new creature, 
a new man, having an integral perfection, and fulness of all its 
parts and members ; it becomes light in the mind, John xvii. 3. 
Obedience in the will, 1 Pet. i. 2. In the affections an heavenly 
temper and tenderness, Col. hi. 1, 2. And so is variously deno- 
minated, even as the sea is from the several shores it washes, 
though it be one and the same sea. And here, we must observe, 
lies one main difference betwixt a regenerate soul and an hypocrite ; 
* the one is all of a piece, as I may say, the principle of spiritual 
life runs into all, and every faculty and affection, and sanctifies or 
renews the whole man ; whereas the change upon hypocrites is. 
but partial and particular ; he may have new light, but no new 
love ; a new tongue, but not a new heart ; this or that vice may 
be reformed, but the whole course of his life is not altered. 

Fourthly, and lastly, This infusion of spiritual life is done instan- 
taneously, as all creation work' is ; hence it is resembled to that plas- 
tic power, which, in a moment, made the light to shine out of dark- 
ness; just so God shines into our hearts, 2 Cor. iv. 6. 

It is true, a soul may be a long time under the preparatory 
works of the Spirit, he may be under convictions and humiliations, 
purposes and resolutions a long time ; he may be waiting at the 
pool of Bethesda, attending the means and ordinances, but when 
the Spirit comes once to quicken the soul, it is done in a moment : 
even as it is in the infusion of the rational soul, the body is long 
ere it be prepared and moulded, but when once the embryo or mat- 
ter is ready, it is quickened with the spirit of life in an instant : so 
it is here ; but O what a blessed moment is this ! Upon which the 
whole weight of our eternal happiness depends ; for it is Christ in 
us, i. e. Christ formed in us, who is the hope of glory, Col. i. 27. 
And our Lord expressly tells us, John iii. 3. That except we be 
regenerate and born again, we cannot see the kingdom of God. 
And thus of the way and manner of its infusion. 

Thirdly, Let the design and end of God, in this his quickening- 

* AL uno desuper jninct'jno quod covvenienter voluntati operatur dependent prima, sccun- 
da el tertia. Qucmadmodum minima pars Jem lapidis magnet is spirit u movetur, per mul- 
tos annulos ferrcos ertensa : ita etiam qui sunt virtute prccdili, divine spirit u atlracti, cum 
prima monsione, conjungantar, deinceps autem alii usque ad postremam. Clem. Alexand. 
Strom, lib. 7. 



94 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SE11M. V. 

rcork, be next considered ; for what end and with what design and 
aim this work is wrought. And if we consult the scriptures in 
this matter, we shall find this principle of life is infused in order 
to our glorifying God, in this world, by a life of' obedience, and our 
enjoying of God in the world to come. 

First, Spiritual life is infused in order to a course of obedience in 
this world, whereby God is glorified : So we read in Eph. ii. 10. 
" Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath be- 
" fore ordained that we should walk in them :" habits are to ac- 
tions, as the root is to the fruit, it is for fruit sake that we plant the 
root, and ingraft* the branches. So in Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. " A 
" new spirit will I also put within you, and cause you to walk in 
" my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them. r> 
This is the next or immediate design and end, not only of the 
first infusion of the principle of life into the soul, but of all the 
exciting, actuating, and assisting works of the Spirit afterwards. 
Now this principle of spiritual life infused, hath a twofold influ- 
ence into obedience. 

First, This makes a sincere and true obedience, when it flows 
from an inward vital principle of grace. The hypocrite is moved 
by something db extra, from without, as the applause of men, 
the accommodation of fleshly interests, the force of education : or 
if there be any thing from within that moves him, it is but self- 
interest, to quiet a disturbing conscience, and support his vain 
hopes of heaven ; but he never acts from a new principle, a new 
nature, inclining him to holy actions. Sincerity mainly lies in the 
harmony and correspondency of actions to their principles : from 
this infused principle it is, that men hunger and thirst for God, 
and go to their duties as men do to their meals, when they find 
an empty craving stomach. 

O reader, pause a little upon this ere thou pass on, ask thy heart 
whether it be so with thee : are holv duties connatural to thee ? 
Doth thy soul move and work after God by a kind of supernatural 
instinct ? This then will be to thee a good evidence of thy in- 
tegrity. 

Secondly, From this infused principle of life results the excellency 
of our obedience, as well as the sincerity of it ; for by virtue and 
reason thereof, it becomes free and voluntary, not forced and 
constrained, it drops like honey, and of its own accord, out of the 
comb, Cant. iv. 11. or as waters from the fountain, without 
forcing, John iv. 14. An unprincipled professor must be pressed 
hard by some weight of affliction, ere he will yield one tear, or 
pour out a prayer, Psal. lxxviii. 34. " When he slew them, then 
" they sought him." 

Now the freedom of obedience is the excellency of it, God's eye 



I5ERM. V. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 95 

is much upon that, 1 Cor. ix. 17. yea, and the uniformity of our 
obedience, which is also a special part of the beauty of it, results 
from hence : he that acts from a principle acts fluently and uni- 
formly, and there is a proportion betwixt the parts of his conver- 
sation ; this is it which makes us holy, £v <ra<r>j avatgopri, in all man- 
ner of' conversation, or in every point and turning of our conversa- 
tions, as the word imports, 1 Pet. i. 15. Whereas he that is 
moved by this or that external accidental motive, must needs be 
very uneven, " like the legs of a lame man," as the expression is, 
Prov. xxvi. 7. " which are not equal." Now a word of God, and 
then the discourse runs muddy and profane or carnal again ; all 
that evenness and uniformity that are in the several parts of a Chris- 
tian's life, are the effect of this infused principle of spiritual life. 

Thirdly, Another aim and design of God in the infusion of this 
principle of life, is thereby to prepare and qualify the soul for the 
enjoyment of himself in heaven : " Except a man be born again 
" he cannot see the kingdom of God," John iii. 3. All that shall 
possess that inheritance must be begotten again to it, as the apostle 
speaks, 1 Pet. i. 3, 4. This principle of grace is the very seed of 
that glory ; it is eternal life in the root and principle, John xvii. 3. 
by this the soul is attempered and qualified for that state and em- 
ployment. What is the life of glory but the vision of God, and the 
soul's assimilation to God by that vision ? From both which results 
that unspeakable joy and delight which passeth understanding : but 
what vision of God, assimilation to God, or delight in God, can 
that soul have which was never quickened with the supernatural 
principle of grace ? The temper of such souls is expressed in that 
sad character, Zech. xi. 8. " My soul loathed them, and their soul 
" also abhorred me." For want of this vital principle it is, that 
the very same duties and ordinances which are the delights and 
highest pleasures of the saints, are no better than a mere drudgery 
and bondage to others, Mai. i. 13. Heaven would be no heaven 
to a dead soul ; this principle of life, in its daily growth and im- 
provement, is our meetness, as well as our evidence, for heaven : 
these are the main ends of its infusion. 

Fourthly, In the next place, according to the method proposed, 
I am obliged to shew you, that this quickening- work is wholly super- 
natural ; it is the sole and proper work of the Spirit of God. So 
Christ himself expressly asserts it, in John iii. 6, 8. " That which 
" is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit 
" is spirit : the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou nearest 
" the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor 
" whither it goeth ; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." 

Believers are the birth or offspring of the Spirit, who produceth 



96 THE METHOD OF GBACE. SEItM. V. 

the new creature in them in an unintelligible manner, even to 
themselves. So far is it above their own ability to produce, that it 
is above their capacity to understand the way of its production : as 
if von should ask, Do vou know from whence the wind comes ? 
No* : Do vou know whither it goes ? No : But you hear and feel 
it when it blows ? Yes : Why, so is every one that is born of the 
Spirit ; he feels the efficacy, and discerns the effects of the 
Spirit on his own soul, but cannot understand or describe the 
manner of then production. This is not only above the carnal, 
but above the renewed mind to comprehend ; we can contribute 
nothing, I mean activelv, to the production of this principle of life, 
we mav indeed be said to concur passively with the Spirit in it ; i. e. 
there is found in us a capacity, aptness, or receptiveness of this 
principle of life : our nature is endowed with such faculties and 
powers as are meet subjects to receive, and instruments to act this 
spiritual life : God onlv quickens the rational nature with spiritual 
life. 

It is true also, that in the progirss ofsanctificatio?u a man doth 
activelv concur with the Spirit, but in the first production of this 
spiritual principle he can do nothing : he can indeed perform those 
external duties that have a remote tendency to it, but he cannot 
by the power of nature perform any saving act, or contribute anv 
thing more than a passive capacity to the implantation of a new 
principle : as will appear by the following arguments. 

Arg. 1. He that actively concurs to his own regeneration, 
makes himself to differ ; but this is denied to all regenerate men, 
1 Cor. iv. 7. ki Who maketh thee to differ from another ? And 
w what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" 

Arg. 2. That to which the scripture ascribes both impotency and 
enmity, with respect to grace, cannot activelv, and of itself, concur 
to the production of it : but the scripture ascribes both impotency 
and enmitv to nature, with respect to grace. It denies to it a power 
to do anv thing of itself, John xv. 5. And, which is less, it denies to 
it a power to speak a good word, Mat. xii. 34. And, which is least 
of all, it denies it power to think a good thought, 2 Cor. hi. 5. 
This impotencv, if there were no more, cuts off all pretence of our 
active concurrence : but then if we consider that it ascribes enmity 
to our natures, as well as impotency, how clear is the case ! See 
Rom. viii. 7. " The carnal mind is enmity against God." And 
Col. i. 21. " And vou that were enemies in your minds by wicked 
* ; work-." So then nature is so far productive of this principle, as 
impotencv and enmity can enable it to be so. 

Arg. l o. That which is of natural production, must needs be 
subject to natural dissolution ; that which is born of the flesh is 
flesh, a perishing thing, for every thing is as its principle is, and 



SERM. V. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 97 

there can be no more in the effect, than there is in the cause : but 
this principle of spiritual life is not subject to dissolution, it is the 
water that springs up into everlasting life, John iv. 14. The seed 
of God, which remaineth in the regenerate soul, 1 John iii. 9. 
And all this, because it is " born not of corruptible, but of incor- 
k < ruptible seed," 1 Pet. i. 23. 

Arg. 4. If our new birth be our resurrection, a new creation, 
yea, a victory over nature, then we cannot actively contribute to 
its production ; but under all these notions it is represented to us 
in the scriptures ; it is our resurrection from the dead, Eph. v. 14. 
And you know the body is wholly passive in its resurrection : but 
though it concurs not, yet it gives pre-existent matter : therefore 
the metaphor is designedly varied, Eph. iv. 24. where it is called 
a creation : in which there is neither active concurrence, nor pre- 
existent matter ; but though creation excludes pre-existent matter, 
yet in producing something out of nothing, there is no reluctancy 
nor opposition : therefore to shew how purely supernatural this 
principle of life is, it is clothed and presented to us in the notion of 
a victory, 2 Cor. x. 4. And so leaves all to grace. 

Arg. 5. If nature could produce, or but actively concur to the 
production of this spiritual life, then the best natures would be 
soonest quickened with it ; and the worst natures not at all, or at 
last, and least of all : but contrarily, we find the worst natures 
often regenerated, and the best left in the state of spiritual death : 
with how many sweet homilitical virtues was the young man adorn- 
ed ? Mark x. 21. yet graceless : and what a sink of sin was Marv 
Magdalen, Luke vii. 37. yet sanctified. Thus beautiful Rachel 
is barren, while Leah bears children. And there is scarce anv 
thing that affects and melts the hearts of Christians more than 
this comparative consideration doth, when they consider vessels of 
gold cast away, and leaden ones chosen for such noble uses. So 
that it is plain enough to all wise and humble souls, that this new 
life is wholly of supernatural production. 

Fifthly, and lastly, I shall briefly represent the necessary ante- 
cedency of this quickening work of the Spirit, to our first closing 
with Christ by faith : and this will easily let itself into your under- 
standings, if you but consider the nature of the vital act of faith ; 
which is the soufs receiving of Christ, and resting upon him for 
pardon and salvation : in which two things are necessarily included, 
viz. 

1. The renouncing of all other hopes and dependencies. 

2. The opening of the heart fully to Jesus Christ. 

First, The renouncing of all other hopes and dependencies what- 
soever. Self in all its acceptations, natural, sinful, and moral, is 
now to be denied and renounced for ever, else Christ can never be 



t)8 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEItM. V. 

received, Rom. x. 3. not only self in its vilest pollutions, but self 
in its richest ornaments and endowments : but this is as impossible 
to the unrenewed and natural man, as it is for rocks or mountains 
to start from their centre, and fly like wandering atoms in the air : 
nature will rather chuse to run the hazard of everlasting damna- 
tion, than escape it by a total renunciation of its beloved lusts, or 
self-righteousness: this supernatural work necessarily requires a 
supernatural principle, Rom. viii. 2. 

Secondly, The opening the heart fully to Jesus Christ, without 
which Christ can never be received, Rev. iii. 20. but this also is the 
effect of the quickening Spirit, the Spirit of life which is in Christ 
Jesus. Sooner may we expect to see the flowers and blossoms open 
without the influence of the sun, than the heart and will of a sinner 
open to receive Christ without a principle of spiritual life first de- 
rived from him : and this will be past doubt to all that consider, 
not only the impotence, but the ignorance, prejudice, and 
aversations of nature, by which the door of the heart is barred, 
and chained against Christ, John v. 40. So that nature hath nei- 
ther ability nor will, power nor desire, to come to Christ : if any 
have an heart opened to receive him, it is the Lord that opens it by 
his Almighty Power, and that in the way of an infused principle 
of life supernatural. 

Quest. But here it may be doubted and objected, against this 
position. If we cannot believe till we are quickened with spiritual 
life, as you say, and cannot be justified till we believe, as all say, 
then it will follow, that a regenerate soul may be in the state of con- 
demnation for a time, and consequently perish, if death should 
befal him in that juncture. 

Sol. To this I return, That when we speak of the priority of this 
quickening work of the Spirit to our actual believing, we rather 
understand it of the priority of nature, than of time, the nature 
and order of the work requiring it to be so : a vital principle must, 
in order of nature, be infused before a vital act can be exerted. 
First, Make the tree good, and then the fruit good : and admit 
we should grant some priority in time also to this quickening prin- 
ciple, before actual faith, yet the absurdity mentioned would be 
no way consequent upon that concession ; for as the vital act of 
faith quickly follows the regenerating principle, so the soul is 
abundantly secured against the danger objected : God never be- 
ginning any special work of grace upon the soul, and then leaving 
it and the soul with it in hazard, but preserves both to the finish- 
ing and completing of his gracious design, Phil. i. 6. 

First Use of Information. 

Infi 1. If such be the nature and necessity of this principle of 



SERM. V. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 99 

divine life, as you have heard it opened in the foregoing discourse, 
then hence it follows, That unre 'generate men are no better than dead 
men. So the text represents them. " You hath he quickened 
" who were dead in trespasses and sins :" i. e. spiritually dead, 
though natually alive ; yea and lively too as any other persons in 
the world. There is a threefold consideration of objects, viz. 

1. Naturally. 

2. Politically. 

3. Theologically. 

First, Naturally, To all those things that are natural, they are 
alive: they can understand, reason, discourse, project, and con- 
trive, as well as others ; they can eat, drink, and build, plant, and 
suck out the natural comfort of these things, as much as any 
others. So their life is described, Job xxi. 12. " They take the 
" timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ ; they 
" spend their days in wealth," &c. And James v. 5. " Ye have 
" lived in pleasure upon earth,'' as the fish lives in the water its 
natural element, and yet this natural sensual life is not allowed the 
name of life, 1 Tim. v. 9. such persons are dead whilst they live ; 
it is a base and ignoble life, to have a soul only to salt the body, or 
to enable a man for a few years to eat, and drink, and talk, and 
laugh, and then die. 

Secondly, Objects maybe considered politically, and with respect 
to such things, they are alive also : they can buy and sell, and ma- 
nage all their worldly affairs with as much dexterity, skill, and policy 
as other men : yea, " the children of this world are wiser in their 
" generation than the children of light," Luke xvi. 8. The entire 
* stream of their thoughts, projects, and studies, running in that 
one channel ; having but one design to manage, they must needs 
excel in worldly wisdom : But then, 

Thirdly, Theologically considered, they are dead ; without life, 
sense, or motion, towards God, and the things that are above : 
their understandings are dead, I Cor. ii. 14. and cannot receive 
the things that are of God ; their wills are dead, and cannot move 
towards Jesus Christ, John vi. 65. Their affections are dead, even 
to the most excellent and spiritual objects ; and all their duties are 
dead duties, without life or spirit. This is the sad case of the unre- 
generate world. 

Inf. 2. This speaks encouragement to ministers and parents, to 
wait in hopes of success at last, even upon those that yet give them 
little hope of conversion at the present. 

The work you see is the Lord's ; when the Spirit of life comes 
upon their dead souls, they shall believe, and be made willing ; 

* May God free me from him who is a man only of one business. Bern. ^ 

Vol. II. G 



100 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEltM. V. 

till then, we do but plough upon the rocks : yet let not our hand 
slack in duty, pray for them, and plead with them : you know not 
in which prayer, or exhortation, the Spirit of life may breathe upon 
them. Can these dry bones live ? Yes, if the Spirit of life from 
God breathe upon them, they can, and shall live : what though 
their dispositions be averse to all things that are spiritual and seri- 
ous, yet even such have been regenerated, when more sweet and 
promising natures have been passed by, and left under spiritual 
death. 

It was the observation of Mr. Ward, upon his brother Mr. Da- 
niel Rogers, (who was a man of great gifts and eminent graces, 
yet of a very bad temper and constitution) Though my brother 
Rogers, saith he, hath grace enough for two men, yet not half 
enough for himself. 

It may be you have prayed and striven long with your relations 
and to little purpose, yet be not discouraged. How often was Mr. 
John Rogers, that famous and successful divine, a grief of heart 
to his relations in his younger years, proving a wild and lewd 
young man, to the great discouragement of his pious friends ; yet, 
at last, the Lord graciously changed him, so that Mr. Richard 
Rogers would say, when he could exercise the utmost degree of 
charity or hope, for any that at present were vile and naught, / 
will neve?' despair of any man for John Rogers'* sake. 

Inf. 4. How honourable are Christians by their new birth ! 
" They are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the 
" will of man, but of God," John i. 13. i e. not in an impure, 
or mere natural way, but in a most spiritual and supernatural man- 
ner : they are the offspring of God, the children of the Most 
High, as well by regeneration as by adoption ; which is the great- 
est advancement of the human nature, next to its hypostatical 
union with the second person. Oh, what honour is this for a poor 
sinful creature, to have the very life of God breathed into his 
soul ! All other dignities of nature are trifles compared with this ; 
this makes a Christian a sacred hallowed thing, the living temple 
of God, 1 Cor. vi. 19. The special object of his delight. 

Inf. 4. How deplorable is the condition of the unregenerate worlds 
in no better case than dead men f Now to affect our hearts with the 
misery of such conditions, let us consider and compare it in the fol- 
lowing particulars, 

First, There is no beauty in the dead, all their loveliness goes 
away at death ; there is no spiritual beauty or loveliness in any that 
are unregenerate : It is true, many of them have excellent moral 
honiiUtical virtues, which adorn their conversations in the eyes of 
men ; but what are all these, but so many sweet flowers strewed 
over a dead corpse ? 



SERM. V. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 101 

Secondly, The dead have no pleasure nor delight; even so the 
unregenerate are incapable of the delights of the Christian life ; 
" to be spiritually minded is life and peace," Rom. viii. 6. i. e. 
this is the only serene, placid, and pleasant life: when the prodigal, 
who was once dead, was alive, then he began to be merry, Luke 
xv. 24. They live in sensual pleasures, but this is to be dead while 
alive, in scripture-reckoning. 

Thirdly, The dead have no heat, they are as cold as clay ; so are 
all the unregenerate towards God and things above : their lusts are 
hot, but their affections to God cold and. frozen : that which makes 
a gracious heart melt, will not make an unregenerate heart move. 

Fourthly, The dead must be buried, Gen. xxiii. 4. " Bury my 
" dead out of my sight :* So must the unregenerate be buried out 
of God's sight for ever : buried in the lowest hell, in the place of 
darkness, for ever, John iii. 3. Wo to the unregenerate, good 
had it been for them had they never been born ! 

Infer. 5. How greatly are all men concerned to examine their 
condition with respect to spiritual life and death ! It is very common 
for men to * presume upon their union with, and interest in Christ. 
This privilege is, by common mistake, extended generally to all that 
profess the Christian religion, and practise the external duties of 
it, when, in truth, no more are or can be united to Christ, than are 
quickened by the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, Rom. viii. 
1, 2. O try your interest in Christ by this rule, if I am quicken- 
ed by Christ, I have union with Christ. And, 

First, If there be spiritual sense in your souls, there is spiritual 
life in them : there are a/<£b?r?j£/a, senses belonging to the spiritual 
as well as to the animal life, Heb. v. 14. They can feel and sensibly 
groan under soul pressures and burdens of sin, Rom. vii. 24. The 
dead feel not, moan not under the burdens of sin, but the living 
do : they may be sensible indeed of the evil of sin, with respect to 
themselves, but not as against God ; damnation may scare them, 
but pollution doth not ; hell may fright them, but not the offend- 
ing of God. 

Secondly, If there be spiritual hunger and thirst, it is a sweet sign 
of spiritual life ; this sign agrees to Christians of a day old, 1 Pet. 
ii. 2. Even " new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word : n 
If spiritual life be in you, you know how to expound that scrip- 
ture, Psal. xlii. 1. without any other interpreter than your own 
experience : you will feel somewhat like the gnawing of an empty 
stomach making you restless during the interruption of your daily 
communion with the Lord. 

Thirdly, If there be spiritual conflicts with sin, there is spiritual 

■ By presuming thev hope, and by hoping thev perish. Ames. 

G 2 



/ 



102 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VI. 

life in your souls, Gal. v. 17. Not only a combat betwixt light in 
the higher, and lust in the lower faculties ; not only opposition to 
more gross external corruptions, that carry more infamy and hor- 
ror with them than other sins do : but the same faculty will be the 
seat of war ; and the more inward and secret any lust is, by so 
much the more will it be opposed and mourned over. 

In a word, the weakest Christian may, upon impartial observa- 
tion, find such signs of spiritual life in himself (if he will allow 
himself time to reflect upon the bent and frame of his own heart) 
as desires after God ; conscience of duties ; fears, cares, and sor- 
rows, about sin ; delight in the society of heavenly and spiritual 
men; and a loathing and burden in the company of vain and 
carnal persons. 

Object. O but I have a very dead heart to spiritual things ! 

Sol. It is a sign of life that you feel, and are sensible of that 
deadness ; and besides, there is a great deal of difference betwixt 
spiritual deadness and death ; the one is the state of the unregene- 
rate, the other is the disease of regenerate men. 

Object. Some signs of spiritual life are clear to me, but I cannot 
close with others. 

Sol. If vou can really close with any, it may satisfy you, though 
you be dark in others ; for if a child cannot go, yet if it can suck ; 
but if it cannot suck, yet if it can cry ; yea, if it cannot cry, yet 
if it breathe, it is alive. 

SERMON VI. 

Of that Act on our Part, by which we do actually and effec- 
tually apply Christ to our own Souls. 

John i. 12. 

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the 

sons of God ; even to them that believe on his name. 

J^l O sooner is the soul quickened by the Spirit of God, but it 
answers, in some measure, the end of God in that work, by its 
active reception of Jesus Christ, in the way of believing : What 
this vital act of faith is upon which so great a weight depends, as 
our interest in Christ and everlasting blessedness, this scripture 
before us will give you the best account of; wherein (omitting the 
consideration of the coherence and context of the words) we have 
three things to ponder. 



SERM. VI. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 105 



First, The high and glorious privilege conferred, viz. 6( Power 
" to become the sons of God." 

Secondly, The subject of this privilege described, " As many as 
" received him." 

Thirdly, The description explained, by way of opposition, " Even 
" as many as believe on his name." 

First, The privilege conferred is a very high and glorious one, 
than which no created being is capable of greater ; " power to be- 
" come the sons of God :" this word efyfftav is of large extent and 
signification, and is, by some, rendered " this * right, by others 
" this dignity, by others this prerogative, this privilege or honour :" 
It implies a title or right to adoption, not only with respect to the 
present benefits of it in this life, but also to that blessed inheritance 
which is laid up in heaven for the sons of God. And so Grotius 
rightly expounds it of our consummate sonship, consisting in the 
actual enjoyment of blessedness, as well as that which is inchoate : 
not only a right to pardon, favour, and acceptance now, but to 
heaven and the full enjoyment of God hereafter.' O what an 
honour, dignity, and privilege is this ! 

Secondly, The subjects of this privilege are described ; " As many 
" as received him." This text describes them by that very grace, 
faith, which gives them their title and right to Christ and his be- 
nefits ; and by that very act of faith, which primarily confers their 
right to his person, and secondarily to his benefits, viz. receiving 
him: there be many graces besides faith, but faith only is the 
grace that gives us right to Christ ; and there be many acts of faith 
besides receiving, but this receiving or embracing of Christ, is the 
justifying and saving act : " As many as received him," o<roi ds sXa/Sov 
aurw,] as many, be they of any nation, sex, age, or condition. For 
" there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision, nor uncircum- 
" cision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free : but Christ is all, and 
" in all," Col. iii. 11. 

Nothing but unbelief bars men from Christ and his benefits. 
As many as [received"^ him;] the word signifies " ta accept, take," 
or, (as we fitly render it), to receive, assume, or take to us ; a word 
most aptly expressing the nature and office of faith, yea, the very 
justifying and saving act; and we are also needfully to note its 
special object, sXaZov avrov : The text saith not aura, his, but avrov, 
him, i. e. his person, as he is clothed with his offices, and not 



* Beza, hoc jus ; Piscator, hanc dignitatem. Lightfoot, preerogativam. Heinsiu?, 
privilegium ; nee multo aliter voce s^affiag Hellenistce usi videntur cum Chaldceorum. 
J137W expresserunt. 

t Aa,aCa»{/v and vjciPoiXa^aniv, both signify to receive. 

G3 



104; THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VI. 

only his benefits and privileges. These are secondary and conse- 
quential things to our receiving him * So that it is a receiving, 
assuming, or accepting the Lord Jesus Christ, which must have 
respect to the tenders and proposals of the gospel, " for therein is 
" the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith," Rom. i. 
17. therein is Jesus Christ revealed, proposed, and offered unto 
sinners, as the only way of justification and salvation ; which gospel- 
offer, as before w r as opened, is therefore ordinarily necessary to 
believing, Rom. x. 11, 12, 13, $c. 

Thirdly, This description is yet further explained by this addi- 
tional exegetical clause, [even to them that believe on his name ,] here 
the terms are varied, though the things expressed in both be the 
same ; what he called receiving there, is called believing oil his name 
here, to shew us that the very essence of saving faith consists in 
our receiving of Christ. By his name, we are to understand 
Christ himself: it is usual to take these two, believing in him, and 
believing in his name, as terms convertible, and of the same im- 
portance, inuri 172W ; Nirr, Kirr — Ipse est nomen suum, et nomen ejus 
■ipse est f : His name is Himself, and Himself is his name. So that 
here we have the true nature and precious benefits of saving faith 
excellently expressed in this scripture, the sum of which take in 
this proposition ; 

Doct. That the receiving of the Lord Jesus Christ is that saving 
and vital act of faith which gives the soul right both to his 
'person and benefits. 

We cannnot act spiritually till we begin to live spiritually: There- 
fore the spirit of life must first join himself to us, in his quicken- 
ing work, (as was shewn you in the last sermon), which being 
done, we begin to act spiritually, by taking hold upon, or receiving 
Jesus Christ, which is the thing designed to be opened in this 
sermon. 

The soul is the life of the body, faith is the life of the soul, and 
Christ is the life of faith. There are several sorts of faith besides 
saving faith, and in saving faith there are several acts, besides the 
justifying or saving act; but this receiving act, which is to be our 
subject this day, is that upon which both our righteousness and 
eternal happiness do depend. " This, as a form, differences sa- 



* The gospel offer is God's act, made by means of the word : acceptance is 
man's act ; vet so, as it is also the gift of God ; for a man cannot receive the Me- 
diator, unless faith, which is the instrument of this acceptance, be given him by 
God. 

| Drusius. 



SEBM. VI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 105 

" vino- faith from all other kinds or sorts of faith * ;" by this it is 
that we are justified and saved. " To as many as received him, 
" to them gave he power to become the sons of God :" yet it doth 
not justify and save us by reason of any proper dignity that is found 
in this act, but by reason of the object it receives or apprehends. 
The same thing is often expressed in scripture by other terms, as 
" Coming to Christ," John vi. 35. Trusting or staying upon 
Christ, Isa. 1. 10. But whatever is found in those expressions, it 
is all comprehended in this, as will appear hereafter. Now, the 
method into which I shall cast my discourse on this- subject, 
that I may handle it with as much perspicuity and profit as 1 can, 
shall be, 

First, To explain and open the nature of this receiving of Christ, 
and shew you what it includes. 

Secondly, To prove that this is the justifying and saving act of 
faith. 

Thirdly, To shew you the excellency of this act of faith. 

Fourthly, To remove some mistakes, and give you the true ac- 
count of the dignity and excellency of this act. 

Fifthly, And then bring home all, in a proper and close appli- 
cation. 

First, In the first place then, I will endeavour to explain and 
open the nature of this receiving of Christ, and shew you what is 
implied in it. 

And, indeed, it involves many deep mysteries, and things of 
greatest weight. People are generally very ignorant and unac- 
quainted with the importance of this expression ; they have very 
slight thoughts of faith who never passed under the illuminating, 
convincing, and humbling work of the Spirit : but we shall find 
that saving faith is quite another thing, and differs in its whole 
kind and nature from that traditional faith, and common assent, 
which is so fatally mistaken for it in the world f . 



* Forma vel aliquid formce analogum ponitur differentia loco. 
f There are divers other expressions by which the nature of saving faith is expres- 
sed in scripture, viz. Eating Christ's flesh, and drinking his blood, John vi. 40. 
Coming to Christ, Matt. xi. 28. Having the Son, 1 John v. 12. Trusting or de- 
pending upon him, for which the Hebrew uses three emphatical word?, }EN; riJ32, 
and non. The first signifies a firm and stable trust. The second, to lean, or de- 
pend with security. The third, to betake one's self to a sanctuary for protection. 
All which is supposed or included in our receiving of the Lord Jesus Christ : In 
eating and drinking we must receive meat and drink : coming to Christ is neces- 
sarily supposed in receiving him, for there is no receiving at a distance. Having 
the Son, and receiving him, are notions of the same importance ; and for trusting, 
relying with security, and betaking ourselves to Christ for refuge, they are all in- 

G4 



106 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VI, 

For, First, It is evident that no man can receive Jesus Christ in 
the darkness of natural ignorance : we must understand and dis- 
cern who and what he is, whom we receive to be the Lord our 
righteousness. If we know not his person, and his offices, we do not 
take, but mistake Christ. It is a good rule in the civil law, Non 
consentit qui non seniit. A mistake of the person invalidates the 
match. He that takes Christ for a mere man, or denies the satis- 
faction of his blood, or divests him of his human nature, or denies 
any of his most glorious and necessary offices, let them cry up as 
high as they will, his spirituality, glory, and exemplary life and 
death, they can never receive Jesus Christ aright. This is such a 
crack, such a flaw in the very foundation of faith, as undoes and 
destroys all. Ignorantis non est consensus: All saving faith is 
founded in light and knowledge, and therefore it is called knowledge, 
Isa. liii. 11. and seeing is inseparably connected with believing, John 
vi. 40. Men must hear and learn of the Father before they can 
come to Christ, John vi. 45. The receiving act of faith is directed 
and guided by knowledge. I will not presume to state the degree 
of knowledge which is absolutely necessary to the reception of Christ ; 
I know the first actings of faith are, in most Christians, accompanied 
with much darkness and confusion of understanding : but yet we 
must say in the general, that wherever faith is, there is so much 
light as is sufficient to discover to the soul its own sins, dangers and 
wants, and the all-sufficiency, suitableness, and necessity of Christ, 
for the supply and remedy of all ; and without this, Christ cannot 
be receded. " Come unto me, all ye that labour, and I will give 
" you rest/' Matt. xi. 28. 

Secondly, The receiving of Christ, necessarily implies the assent 
of the understanding to the truths of Christ revealed in the gospel, 
viz. his person, natures, offices, his incarnation, death, and satis- 
faction ; which assent, though it be not in itself saving faith, yet 
is it the foundation and ground work of it ; it being impossible the 
soul should receive, and fiducially embrace, what the mind doth 
not assent unto as true and infallibly certain *. Now, there are 
three degrees of assent ; conjecture, opinion, and belief. Conjecture 
is but a slight and weak inclination to assent to the thing propound- 
ed, by reason of the weighty objections that lie against it. Opinion 
is a more steady and fixed assent, when a man is almost certain, 
though yet some fear of the contrary remains with him. Belief is 



solved in the receiving act ; for as God offers him to us as the only prop of our hearts 
and hopes, so we receive him to rely upon him. And as he is held forth in the gospel 
as the only Asylum, or city of refuge, so we take or receive him, and accordingly betake 
ourselves to him for refuge. 

* See Dr. Sclater on Rom. iv. 5. 



SERM. VI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 10T 

a more full and assured assent to the truth ; to which the mind 
may be brought four ways. 

First, By the perfect intelligence of sense, not hindered or de- 
ceived. So I believe the truth of these propositions, Fire is hot, 
water is moist, honey is sweet, gall is bitter. 

Secondly, By the native clearness of self-evident principles. 
So I believe the truth of these propositions, The whole is more 
than a part ; the cause is before the effect. 

Thirdly, By discourse, and rational deduction. So I believe the 
truth of this proposition, Where all the parts of a thing are, th re 
is the whole. 

Fourthly, By infallible testimony, when any thing is witnessed 
or asserted by one whose truth is unquestionable *. And of this 
sort is the assent of faith, which is therefore called our receiving 
the witness of God, 1 John v. 9. our setting to our seal that God 
is true, John iii. 33. This prima Veritas, divine verity, is the very 
formal object of faith : into this we resolve our faith. Thus saith 
the Lord, is that firm foundation upon which our assent is built. 
And thus we see good reason to believe those profound mysteries 
of the incarnation of Christ ; the hypostatical union of the two 
natures in his wonderful person ; the mystical union of Christ and 
believers ; though we cannot understand these things, by reason of 
the darkness of our minds. It satisfies the soul to find these mys- 
teries in the written word ; upon that foundation it firmly builds its 
assent : and without such an assent of faith, there can be no em- 
bracing of Christ : all acts of faith and religion, without assent, 
are but as so many arrows shot at random into the open air, they 
signify nothing for want of a fixed determinate object. 

It is therefore the policy of Satan, by injecting or fomenting 
atheistical thoughts, (with which young converts use to find them- 
selves greatly infested) to undermine and destroy the whole work 
of faith. But God makes his people victorious over them : yea, 
and even at that time they do assent to the truths of the word, 
when they think they do not ; as appears by their tenderness and 
fear of sin, their diligence and care of duty. If I discern these 
things in a Christian's life, he must excuse me if I believe him not, 
when he saith he doth not assent to the truths of the gospel. 

Thirdly, Our receiving Christ necessarily implies our hearty ap~ 
probation, liking and estimation ; yea, the acquiescence of our very 

* It is not becoming, that God, when he should speak to men, should confirm his 
words with arguments, as if otherwise he was not to be believed ; but, as becomes him- 
self, he speaks as the supreme Judge of all things, whose [prerogative] it is, not to argue, 
but to pronounce what is truth, &c. Lactan. de falsa relighne, p. (mihij 179. Faith 
fails, where the divine authority of the scripture is wanting. 



10S THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERAI. VT, 

souls in Jesus Christ, as the most excellent, suitable, and complete 
remedy for all our wants, sins, and dangers, that ever could be 
prepared by the wisdom and love of God for us : We must receive 
him with such a frame of heart, as rests upon, and trusts in him, if 
ever we receive him aright ; " To them that believe he is precious, 1 ' 
1 Pet. ii. 7. This is the only sovereign plaister in all the world 
that is large enough, and efficacious enough, to cure our wounds : 
And therefore as Christ is most highly esteemed, and heartily ap- 
proved, as the only remedy for our souls ; so the sovereign grace 
and wisdom of God are admired, and the way and method he hath 
taken to save poor souls, by Jesus Christ, most heartily approved 
as the most apt and excellent method, both for his glory and our 
good, that ever could be taken : for it is a plain case, that none will 
espouse themselves with conjugal affections, to that person whom 
they esteem not as the best for them that can be chosen : None will 
forsake and quit all for his sake, except they account him as the 
spouse did, " The chiefest of ten thousand." 

There are two things in Christ, which must gain the greatest 
approbation in the soul of a poor convinced sinner, and bring it to 
rest upon Jesus Christ. 

First, That it can find nothing in Christ that is distasteful, or un- 
suitable to it, as it doth experimentally find in the best creatures. 
In him is no weakness, but a fulness of all saving abilities ; " Able 
" to save to the uttermost :" No pride, causing him to scorn and 
contemn the most wretched soul that comes to him: No incon- 
stancy or levity, to cause him to cast off the soul whom he hath 
once received : No passion but a Lamb for meekness and patience : 
There is no spot to be found in him, but " He is altogether lovely," 
Cant v. 16. 

Secondly, As the believer can find nothing in Christ that is dis- 
tasteful, so it finds nothing wanting in Christ that is necessary, or 
desirable : Such is the fulness of wisdom, righteousness, sanctifica- 
tion, and redemption that is in Christ, that nothing is left to desire 
but the full enjoyment of him. O, saith the soul, how completely 
happy shall I be, if I can but win Christ! I would not envy the 
nobles of the earth, were I but in Christ. I am hungry and athirst, 
and Christ is meat indeed, and drink indeed ; this is the best thing 
in all the world for me, because so necessary and so suitable to the 
needs of a soul ready to perish. I am a law-condemned and a 
self-condemned sinner, trembling for fear of the execution of the 
curse upon me every moment ; in Christ is complete righteousness 
to justify my soul ; O there is nothing better for me than Christ. 
I see myself plunged, both in nature and practice, into the odious 
pollutions of sin, and in Christ is a fountain opened for sin and for 
uncleanness : His blood is a fountain of merit, his spirit is a fountain 



SERM. Vr. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 109 

of holiness and purity : None but Christ, none but Christ. O the 
manifold wisdom and unsearchable love of God, to prepare and 
furnish such a Christ so fully answering all the needs, all the dis- 
tresses, all the fears and burdens of a poor sinner ! Thus the be- 
lieving soul approves of Christ as best for it. And thus in believing, 
it gives glory to God, Rom. iv. 21. 

Fourthly, Receiving Christ consists in the consent and choice of 
the 10 ill; and this is the opening of the heart and stretching forth of 
the soul to receive him : Thy people shall be willing in the day of 
" thy power, 11 Psal. ex. 3. 

It is the great design and main scope of the gospel, to work over 
the wills of poor sinners to this : And this was the great complaint 
of Christ against the incredulous Jews, John v. 40. " Ye will not 
" come unto me that ye might have life." 

It is disputed by some, whether faith can be seated in two dis- 
tinct faculties, as we seem to place it, when we say it involves both 
the approbation of the judgment and the consent of the will. I will 
not here entangle my discourse with that fruitless dispute. I am of 
the same judgment with those divines, that think faith cannot be 
expressed fully by any one single habit, or act of the mind or will 
distinctly, for that (as * one well notes) there are such descriptions 
given of it in scripture, such things are proposed as the object of it, 
and such is the experience of all that sincerely believe, as no one 
single act, either of the mind or will, can answer unto : Nor do I 
see any thing repugnant to scripture or philosophy if we place it in 
both faculties. Consent (saith •(• Vasquez) seems to denote the 
concourse of the will with the understanding ; but to leave that, 
it is most certain the saving, justifying act of faith lies principally in 
the consent of the will, which consent is the effect of the Almighty 
Power of God, Eph. i. 19. He allures and draws the will to 
Christ, and he draws with the cords of a man, i. e. he prevails with 
it by rational arguments : For the soul being prepared by convic- 
tions of its lost and miserable estate by sin, and that there is but 
one door of hope open to it for an escape from the wrath to come, 
and that is Christ ; being also satisfied of the fulness and complete- 
ness of his saving ability, and of his willingness to make it over for 
our salvation, upon such just and equal terms ; this cannot but 
prevail with the will of a poor distressed sinner, to consent and 
chuse him. 

Fifthly, and lastly, The last and principal thing included in our 

* Dr. Owen in his doctrine of Justification, p. 135. 

| Consent seems to denote the concurrence of the will with the understanding, by 
relishing the same thing which the understanding doth perceive, 12. Q. 15. a. 1. Faith 
is not a simple act, but consists of divers parts, knowledge, assent, and trust, which do 
not all belong to the same faculty. WendeU Theol. p. 450. 



110 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. VI. 

receiving of Christ, is the respect that this act of acceptance hath 
unto the terms upon which Christ is tendered to us in the gospel J, 
to which it is most agreeable, 1 Cor. xv. 11. " So we preach, and 
" so ye believed :" Faith answers the gospel-offer, as the impress 
upon the wax doth the engraving in the seal ; and this is of prin- 
cipal consideration, for there is no receiving Christ upon any other 
terms but his own, proposed in the gospel to us; He will never 
come lower, nor make them easier than they are for any man's sake 
in the world ; we must either receive him upon these, or part with 
him for ever as thousands do, who could not be content to agree 
to some articles, but rather chuse to be damned for ever than sub- 
mit to all : This is the great controversy betwixt Christ and sinners; 
upon this, many thousands break off the treaty, and part with 
Christ, because he will not come to their terms ; but every true 
believer receives him upon his own, i. e. their acceptance of him 
by faith, is in all things consentaneous to the overtures made of 
him in the written word. So he tenders himself, and so they 
receive him ; as will be evident in the following particulars. 

First, The gospel offers Christ to us sincerely and really, and so 
the true believer receives and accepts him, even with a faith un- 
feigned ; 1 Tim. i. 5. If ever the soul be serious and in earnest in 
any thing, it is so in this : Can we suppose the heart of him that 
flies for his life to the refuge city, to be serious and in earnest to 
escape by flight the avenger of blood who pursues him ? Then is 
the heart of a convinced sinner serious in this matter ; for under 
that notion is the work of faith presented to us, Heb. vi. 18. 

Secondly, Christ is offered to us in the gospel entirely and undi- 
videdly, as clothed with all his offices, priestly, prophetical, and 
regal ; as Christ Jesus the Lord, Acts xvi. 31. and so the true be- 
liever receives him ; The hypocrite, like the harlot, is for dividing, 
but the sincere believer finds the need he hath of every office of 
Christ, and knows not how to want any thing that is in him. 

His ignorance makes him necessary and desirable to him as a 
prophet: His guilt makes him necessary as a priest : His strong and 
powerful lusts and corruptions make him necessary as a king: and 
in truth, he sees not any thing in Christ that he can spare ; he needs 
all that is in Christ, and admires infinite wisdom in nothing more 
than the investing Christ with all these offices, which are so suited 
to the poor sinner's wants and miseries. Look, as the three offices 
are undivided in Christ, so they are in the believer's acceptance ; 
and before this trial no hypocrite can stand ; for all hypocrites re- 

f Rom. iv. 17. viryxkaarz hi zx. xaoSiag ag ov tfaptdvfyre rvrrov bthayjis. The 
will like melted metal, is delivered into the gospel-mould, where it receives the same 
form and figure that the mould gives. 



SEEM. Vr. THE METHOD OF GRACE. Hi 

ject and quarrel with something in Christ ; they like his pardon 
better than his government. They call him indeed, Lord and 
Master, but it is but an empty title they bestow upon him; for let 
them ask their own hearts if Christ be Lord over their thoughts, 
as well as words ; over their secret, as well as open actions ; over 
their darling lusts, as well as others ; let them ask, who will appear 
to be Lord and Master over them, when Christ and the world 
come in competition ? When the pleasure of sin shall stand upon 
one side, and sufferings to death, and deepest points of self-denial, 
upon the other side? Surely it is the greatest affront that can be 
offered to the Divine Wisdom and Goodness, to separate in our 
acceptance, what is so united in Christ, for our salvation and hap- 
piness. As without any one of these offices, the work of our sal- 
vation could not be completed, so without acceptance of Christ in 
them all, our union with him by faith cannot be completed. 

The gospel-offer of Christ includes all his offices, and gospel- 
faith just so receives him ; to submit to him, as well as to be re- 
deemed by him ; to imitate him in the holiness of his life, as well 
as to reap the purchases and fruits of his death. It must be an 
entire receiving of the Lord Jesus Christ *. 

Thirdly, Christ is offered to us in the gospel exclusively, as the 
alone and only Saviour of sinners ; with whose blood and interces- 
sion nothing is to be mixed ; but the soul of a sinner is singly to 
rely and depend on him, and no other, Acts iv. 2. 1 Cor. iii. 11. and 
so faith receives him, Psal. lxxi. 16. "I will make mention of thy 
" righteousness, even of thine only."" Phil. iii. 9. " And be found 
" in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, 
" but that which is through the faith of Christ" To depend 
partly upon Christ's righteousness, and partly upon our own, is to 
set one foot upon a rock, and the other in a quick-sand ; either 
Christ will be to us alj in all, or nothing at all, in point of righte- 
ousness and salvation ; he affects not social honour ; as he did the 
whole work, so he expects the sole praise ; if he be not able to 
save to the uttermost, why do we depend upon him at all ? and if 
he be, why do we lean upon any beside him ? 

Fourthly \ The gospel offers Christ freely to sinners as the gift, 
not the sale of God, John iv. 10. Isa. Iv. 1. Rev. xxii. 17. and even 
so faith receives him. The believer comes to Christ with an empty 
hand, not only as an undeserving, but as an hell -deserving sinner ; 
he comes to Christ as to one that justifies the ungodly, Rom. iv. 5. 
" Unto him that worketh not, but believeth in him that justifieth 

* A man may as lawfully join saints or angels in his mediation with Christ, as graces. 
It is gross idolatry to make the works of God a God, and it is but a more subtle idola- 
try to make the works of Christ a Christ. Burgees de Lege. 



112 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VI. 

" the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Where by 
him that worketh not, he means a convinced, humbled sinner, 
who finds himself utterly unable to do the task the law sets him, 
i. e. perfectly to obey it ; and therefore in a law sense is said not to 
work ; for it is all one as to the intent and purpose of the law, not 
to work, and not to work perfectly. This is he convinced of, and 
therefore comes to Christ as one that is in himself ungodly, ac- 
knowledging the righteousness, by which alone he can stand be- 
fore God, is in Christ, and not in himself, in whole, or in part ; 
and by the way, let this encourage poor souls that are scared and 
daunted for want of due qualifications, for closing with and em- 
bracing Christ. There is nothing qualifies a man for Christ more 
than a sense of his unworthiness of him, and the want of all 
excellencies or ornaments, that may commend him to divine ac- 
ceptance. 

Fifthly, The gospel offers Christ orderly to sinners, first his per- 
son, then his privileges. God first gives his Son, and then with 
him, or as a consequent of that gift, he gives us all things, Rom. 
viii. 32. In the same order must our faith receive him. The be- 
liever doth not marry the portion first, and then the person, but to 
be found in him is the first and great care of a believer. 

I deny not but it is lawful for any to have an eye to the benefits 
of Christ. Salvation from wrath is, and lawfully may be intended 
and aimed at : " Look unto me, and be saved all ye ends of the 
" earth," Isa. xlv. 22. Nor do I deny but there are many poor 
souls, who being in deep distress and fear, may, and often do, look 
mostly to their own safety at first ; and that there is much confu- 
sion, as well in the actings of their faith, as in their condition ; but 
sure I am, it is the proper order in believing, first to accept the per- 
son of the Lord Jesus : Heaven is no doubt very desirable, but 
Christ is more : " Whom have I in heaven but thee ?" Psal. lxxiii. 
25. Union with Christ is, in order of nature, antecedent to the 
communication of his privileges, therefore so it ought to be in the 
order and method of believing. 

Sixthly, Christ is advisedly, offered in the gospel to sinners, as the 
result of God's eternal counsel, a project of grace upon which his 
heart and thoughts have been much set, Zech. vi. 13. The counsel 
of peace was betwixt the Father and the Son. And so the believer 
receives him, most deliberately weighing the matter in his most deep 
and serious thoughts ; for this is a time of much solicitude and 
though tfulness. The souFs espousals are acts of judgment, Hos. 
ii. 19. on our part, as well as on God's ; We are therefore bid to 
sit down and count the cost, Luke xiv. 28. Faith, or the actual 
receiving of Christ, is the result of many previous debates in the 
soul : The matter hath been pondered over and over : The objeo. 



SERM. VI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 113 

tions and discouragements, both from the self-denying terms of the 
gospel, and our own vileness and deep guilt, have been ruminated, 
and lain upon our hearts day and night, and after all things have 
been balanced in the most deep consideration, the soul is deter- 
mined to this conclusion, I must have Christ, be the terms never so 
hard, be my sins never so great and many, I will yet go to him, and 
venture my soul upon him ; if I perish, I perish. I have thought 
out all my thoughts, and this is the result, union with Christ here, 
or separation from God for ever must be my lot. 

And thus doth the Lord open the hearts of his elect, and win 
the consent of their wills to receive Jesus Christ upon the deepest 
consideration and debate of the matter in their own most solemn 
thoughts: They understand and know, that they must deeply 
deny themselves, take up his cross and follow him, Matt. xvi. 24. 
renounce not only sinful but religious self ; these are hard and dif- 
ficult things, but yet the necessity and excellency of Christ make 
them appear eligible and rational : by all which you see faith is 
another thing than what the sound of that word (as it is generally 
understood) signifies to the understandings of most men. This is 
that fiducial receiving of Christ here to be opened. 

Secondly, Our next work will be to evince this receiving of 
Christ as hath been opened, to be that special saving faith of God's 
elect : This is that faith of which such great and glorious things are 
spoken in the gospel, which, whosoever hath shall be saved, and 
he that hath it not shall be damned ; and this I shall evidently 
prove by the following arguments or reasons. 

Arg. 1. First, That faith which gives the soul right and title to 
spiritual adoption, with all the privileges and benefits thereof, is 
true and saving faith. 

But such a receiving of Christ as hath been described, gives the 
soul right and title to spiritual adoption, with all the privileges and 
benefits thereof. 

Therefore such a receiving of Christ as hath been described is 
true and saving faith. 

The major proposition is undeniable, for our right and title to 
spiritual adoption, and the privileges thereof arise from our union 
with Jesus Christ ; we being united to the Son of God, are, by 
virtue of that union, reckoned or accounted sons, Gal. iii. 26*. 
" You are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ :" The 
effect of saving faith is union with Christ's person, the consequent 
of that union is adoption, or right to the inheritance. 

The minor is most plain in the text : " To as many as received. 
" him, to them gave he power or right to become the sons o\ 
" God :" A false faith hath no such privilege annexed to it ; no 



114 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. VI. 

unbeliever is thus dignified: No stranger entitled to this in- 
heritance. 

Arg. 2. Secondly, That only is saving and justifying faith, which 
is in all true believers, in none but true believers, and in all true 
believers at aD times. 

But such a receiving of Christ as hath been described, is in all 
true believers, in none but true believers, and in all true believers 
at all times. 

Therefore such a receiving of Christ as hath been described, is 
the only saving and justifying faith. 

The major is undeniable, that must needs contain the essence of 
saving faith, which is proper to every true believer at all times, 
and to no other. 

The minor will be as clear, for there is no other act of faith, but 
this of fiducial receiving Christ as he is offered, that doth agree to 
all true believers, to none but true believers, and to all true be- 
lievers at all times. 

There be three acts of faith, * assent, acceptance, and assurance: 
The Papists generally give the essence of saving faith to the first, 
viz. assent. The Lutherans, and some of our own, give it to the 
last, viz. assurance : But it can be neither way so. Assent doth 
not agree only to true believers, or justified persons. Assurance 
agrees to justified persons, and them only, but not to all justified 
persons, and that at all times. 

Assent is too low to contain the essence of saving faith ; it is 
found in the unregenerate as well as the regenerate : yea, in devils 
as well as men, James ii. 19- it is supposed and included in justi- 
fying faith, but it is not the justifying or saving act. Assurance is 
as much too high, being found only in some eminent believers : 
and in them too but at some times. There is many a true be- 
liever to whom the joy and comfort of assurance is denied; they 
may say of their union with Christ, as Paul said of his vision ; 
whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell ; so they, 
whether in Christ or out of Christ, they cannot tell -f\ 

A true believer may " walk in darkness, and see no light," Isa. 
1. 10. Nay a man must be a believer before he know himself to be 
so ; the direct act ofjaith is before the reflex act : so that the justi- 
fying act of faith lies neither in assent nor in assurance. Assent 
saith, I believe that Christ is, and that he is the Saviour of the elect. 

* The act of faith consists in assent, by which one assents to any proposition reveal- 
ed by God on the authority of the revealer. Becan. TheoU Sc/iol. Tom. 3. cap. 8. 
Q.4. 

f Many new born Christians live like the new bom babe, Vivit, et est vitas nescius ipse 
sua ■ The whole stock of many a believer consists in the bare direct acts of faith. 



SERM. VT. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 115 

Assurance saith, I believe and am sure that Christ died for me, 
and that I shall be saved through him. So that assent widens the 
nature of faith too much, and assurance upon the other hand 
straitens it too much ; but acceptance, which saith, I take Christ in 
all his offices to be mine, this fits it exactly, and belongs to all true 
believers, and to none but true believers ; and to all true believers 
at all times. This therefore must be the justifying and saving act 
of faith. 

Arg. 3. Thirdly, That and no other is the justifying and saving 
act of faith, to which the properties and effects of saving faith do 
belong, or in which they are only found. 

But in the fiducial receiving of Christ are the properties and 
effects of saving faith only found. 

This therefore must be the justifying and saving act of faith. 

First, By saving faith, Christ is said to " dv/ell in our hearts," 
Eph. iii. 17. but it is neither by assent, nor assurance, but by ac- 
ceptance, and receiving him that he dwells in our hearts ; not by 
assent, for then he would dwell in the unregenerate ; nor by 
assurance, for he must dwell in our hearts before we can be assured 
of it : therefore it is by acceptance. 

Secondly, By faith we are justified, Rom. v. 1. But neither 
assent nor assurance, for the reasons above, do justify; therefore 
it must be by the receiving act, and no other. 

Thirdly, The scripture ascribes great difficulties to that faith by 
which we are saved, as being most cross and opposite to the corrupt 
nature of man ; but of all the acts of faith, none is clogged with 
like difficulties, or conflicts with greater oppositions than the re- 
ceiving act doth ; this act is attended with the greatest difficulties, 
fears, and deepest self-denial. In assent, a man's reason is con- 
vinced, and yields to the evidence of truth, so that he can do no 
other but assent to the truth. In assurance there is nothing against 
a man's will or comfort, but much for it ; every one desires it : but 
it is not so in the acceptance of Christ, upon the self-denying terms 
of the gospel, as will hereafter be evinced. We conclude there- 
fore, that in this consists the nature and essence of saving faith. 

Thirdly, Having seen what the receiving of Jesus Christ is, and 
that it is the faith by which we are justified and saved, I next come 
to open the dignity and excellency of this faith, whose praises and 
encommms are in all the scriptures ; there you find it renowned by 
the title of precious faith, 2 Pet. i. 7. enriching faith, Jam. ii. 5. 
the work of God, John vi. 29. the great mystery of godliness, 1 
Tim. iii. 16. With many more rich epithets throughout the scrip- 
tures bestowed upon it. 

Now faith may be considered two ways, viz. either qualitatively 
or relativelv. 

Vol. 11/ H 



116 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEItM. VI, 



Considered qualitatively, as a saving grace, it hath the same ex- 
cellency that all other precious saving graces have; as it is the 
fruit of the Spirit, it is more precious than gold, Prov. viii. 11, 19. 
And so are all other graces as well as faith ; in this sense they all 
shine with equal glory, and that a glory transcending all the glory 
of this world : but then consider faith relatively, as the instrument 
by which the righteousness of Christ is apprehended and made ours, 
and in that consideration it excels all other graces. 

This is the grace that is singled out from among all other graces, 
to receive Christ, by which office it is dignified above all its fellows : 
as Moses was honoured above the many thousands of Israel, when 
God took him up into the mount, admitted him nearer to himself 
than any other of all the tribes might come ; for they stood with- 
out the rail, while Moses was received into the special presence of 
God, and was admitted to such views as others must not have : so 
faith is honoured above all its fellow-graces, in being singled out, 
and solemnly anointed to this high office in our justification : this 
is that precious eye that looks unto Christ as the stung Israelites 
did to the brazen serpent, and derives healing virtue from him to 
the soul. It is the grace which instrumentally saves us, Eph. ii. 
8. As it is Christ's glory to be the door of salvation, so it is faith's 
glory to be the golden key that opens that door. 

What shall I say of faith ? It is the bond of union ; the instrument 
of justification ; the spring of spiritual peace and joy ; the means of 
spiritual life and subsistence ; and therefore the great scope and drift 
of the gospel ; which aims at and presseth nothing more than to 
bring men and women to believe. 

First, This is the bond of our union with Christ; that union is 
begun in our viviflcation, and completed in our actual receiving of 
Christ ; the first is the bond of union on the Spirit's part, the second 
a bond of union on our part. " Christ dwelleth in our hearts by 
" faith, 1 * Eph. hi. IT. And therein it is a door opened to let in 
many rich blessings to the soul ; for, by uniting us to Christ, it 
brings us into special favour and acceptation with God, Eph. i. 6. 
Makes us the special objects of Christ's conjugal love and delight, 
Eph. v. 29. Draws from his heart sympathy and a tender sense of 
all our miseries and burdens, Heb. iv. 15. 

Secondly, It is the instrument of our justification, Rom. v. 1. 
Till Christ be received (thus received by us) we are in our sins ; 
under guilt and condemnation ; but when faith comes, then comes 
freedom : " By him all that believe are justified from all things *." 

* The being found in Christ has a tacit reference to the judgment of God ; to us 
there is no condemnation, because he finds us clothed with a righteousness, such as he 
requires, i. e. completely perfect, even the righteousness of Christ by faith, imputed to us. 
Bern, m Ike jdace. 



SERM. VI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 117 

Acts xiii. 38. Rom. viii. 1. For it apprehends or receives the pure 
and perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus, wherein the soul, how 
guilty and sinful soever it be in itself, stands faultless and spotless 
before the presence of God ; all obligations to punishment are, upon 
believing, immediately dissolved ; a full and final pardon sealed. 
O precious faith ! Who can sufficiently value it ! 

What respect, reader, wouldst thou have to that hand that 
should bring thee a pardon when on the ladder or block ? Why, 
such a pardon, which thou canst not read without tears of joy, is 
brought thee by the hand of faith. O inestimable grace ! This 
clothes the pure righteousness of Jesus upon our defiled souls, and 
so causes us to become the "righteousness of God in him," or as it 
is 1 John iii. 7. " Righteous as he is righteous :" Non formali 4* 
intrinsica justitia, sed relativa : Not with a formal inherent righte- 
ousness of our own, but with a relative imputed righteousness from 
another. 

I know this most excellent and most comfortable doctrine of im- 
puted righteousness, is not only denied but derided by Papists. 
Stapleton calls it spectrum cerebri Lutherani : The monstrous birth 
of Luther's brain ! But, blessed be God, this comfortable truth is 
well secured against all attempts of its adversaries. Let their blas- 
phemous mouths call it in derision, as they do putative righteousness, 
i. e. a mere fancied or conceited righteousness : Yet we know as- 
suredly Christ's righteousness is imputed to us, and that in the 
way of faith. If Adam's sin became ours by imputation, then so 
doth Christ's righteousness also become ours by imputation, Rom. 
v. 17. If Christ were made a sinner by the imputation of our sins 
to him, who had no sin of his own, then we are made righteous 
by the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us, who have no 
righteousness of our own, according to 1 Cor. v. 21. This 
was the way in which Abraham, the father of them that be- 
lieve, was justified ; and therefore this is the way in which all be- 
lievers, the children of Abraham, must, in the like manner, be 
justified, Rom. iv. 22, 23, 24. Who can express the worth of 
faith in this one respect, were this all it did for our souls ? 

But, Thirdly, It is the spring of our spiritual peace and joy : and 
that as it is the instrument of our justification. If it be an instru- 
ment of our justification, it cannot but be the spring of our conso- 
lation, Rom. v. 1. " Being justified by faith, we have peace with 
" God." In uniting us with Christ, and apprehending and apply- 
ing his righteousness to us, it becomes the seed or root of all the 
peace and joy of a Christian's life. Joy, the child of faith, there- 
fore bears its name, Phil. 1. 25. " The joy of faith." So 1 Pet. 1. 
8, 9. " Believing we rejoice with joy unspeakable." We cannot 
forbear rejoicing when by faith we are brought to the sight and 

H2 



118 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. Vt, 

knowledge of such a privileged state ; when faith hath first given 
and then cleared our title to Christ, joy is no more under the 
soul's command ; we cannot but rejoice, and that with joy un- 
speakable. 

Fourthly, It is the means of our spiritual livelihood and subsist- 
ence : all other graces, like birds in the nest, depend upon what 
faith brings in to them ; take away faith, and all the graces lan- 
guish and die : joy, peace, hope, patience, and all the rest, depend 
upon faith, as the members of the natural body do upon the vessels 
by which blood and spirits are conveyed to them. " The life which 
" I now live (saith the apostle) is by the faith of the Son of God, 1 ' 
Gal. ii. 20. It provides our ordinary food, and extraordinary cor- 
dials, Psal. xxvii. 13. " I had fainted, unless I had believed." And 
seeing it is all this to our souls, 

Fifthly, In the last place, it is no wonder that it is the main scope 
and drift of the gospel, to press and bring souls to believing : it is 
the gospel's grand design to bring up the hearts of men and women 
to faith. The urgent commands of the gospel aim at this, 1 John 
iii. 23. Mark i. 14, 15. John xii. 36. Hither also look the great 
promises and encouragements of the gospel, John vi. 35, 37. So 
Mark xvi. 16. And the opposite sin of unbelief is every where fear- 
fully aggravated and threatened, John xvi. 8, 9. John iii. 18, 35. 
Ana 1 this was the third thing promised, namely, a discovery of the 
transcendent worth and excellency of saving faith. 

Fourthly, But lest we commit a mistake here, to the prejudice 
of Christ's honour and glory, which must not be given to another, 
no not to faith itself; I promised you in the fourth place, to shew 
you upon what account faith is thus dignified and honoured ; that 
so we may give xm\.o faith the things that are faith's, and to Christ 
the things that are Christ's. 

And I find four opinions about the interest of faith in our justi- 
fication : some will have it to justify us formaVy, not relatively : i. e. 
upon the account of his own intrinsical value and worth ; and this 
is the popish sense of justification by faith. Some affirm, that 
though faith be not our perfect legal righteousness, considered as 
a work of ours, yet the act of believing is imputed to us for righte- 
ousness, i. e. God graciously accepts it instead of perfect legal 
righteousness, and so, in his esteem, it is our evangelical righte- 
ousness. And this is the Arminian sense of justification by faith. 

Some there are also, even among our reformed divines, that 
contend that faith justifies and saves us, as it is the condition of the 
new covenant. And lastly, others will have it to justify us as an 
instrument apprehending or receiving the righteousness of Christ; 
with which opinion I must close. When I consider my text calls it 
a receiving of Christ Most certain it is, 



SERM. VI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 119 

That, First, It doth not justify in the popish sense, upon the ac- 
count of its own proper worth and dignity : for then, 

First, Justification should be of debt, not of grace ; contrary to 
Rom. iii. 23, 24. 

Secondly, This would frustrate the very scope and end of the 
death of Christ ; for if righteousness come by the law, i. e. by the 
way of works and desert, then is Christ dead in vain, Gal. ii. 21. 

Thirdly, Then the way of our justification by faith would be so 
far from excluding, that it would establish boasting, expressly con- 
trary to the apostle, Rom. iii. 26, 27. 

Fourthly, Then there should be no defects or imperfections in 
faith, for a defective or imperfect thing can never be the matter of 
our justification before God: if it justify upon the account of its 
own worth and proper dignity, it can have no flaw or imperfection 
in it, contrary to the common sense of all believers. Nay, 

Fifthly, Then it is the same thing to be justified by faith, and to 
be justified by works, which the apostle so carefully distinguisheth 
and opposeth, Phil. iii. 9. and Rom. iv. 6. So that we conclude it 
doth not justify in the Popish sense, for any worth or proper ex- 
cellency that is in itself. 

Secondly, And it is as evident, it doth not justify us in the Armi- 
nian sense, viz. as the to credere, the act of believing is imputed or 
accepted by God, as our evangelical righteousness, instead of per- 
fect legal righteousness. In the former opinion you have the dregs 
of Popery, and here you have refined Popery. Let all Arminians 
know, we have as high an esteem for faith as any men in the world, 
but yet we will not rob Christ to clothe faith. We cannot embrace 
their opinion, because, 

First, We must then dethrone Christ to exalt faith : we are 
willing to give it all that is due to it, but we dare not despoil Christ 
of his glory for faith's sake : " He is the Lord our righteousness,' 1 
Jer. xxiii. We dare not set the servant above the master. We 
acknowledge no righteousness but what the obedience and satis- 
faction of Christ yields us. His blood, not our faith ; his satis- 
faction, not our believing it, is the matter of our justification be- 
fore God. 

Secondly, We dare not yield this point, lest we undermine all 
the comfort of Christians, by setting their pardon and peace upon 
a weak imperfect work of their own. Oh how tottering and un- 
stable must their station be, that stand upon such a bottom as this ! 
What alterations are there in our faith, what mixtures of unbelief 
at all times, and prevalency of unbelief at some times ; and is this 
a foundation to build our justification and hope upon ? Dcbilcjiin- 
damcntum fallit opus : If we lay the stress here, we build upon very 

H3 



120 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VI, 

loose ground, and must be at a continual loss both as to safety and 
comfort. 

Thirdly \ We dare not wrong the justice and truth of God at that 
rate, as to affirm that he esteems and imputes our poor weak faith 
for perfect legal righteousness*. We know that the judgment of 
God is always according to truth ; if the justice of God require full 
payment, sure it will not say, it is fully satisfied by any acts of ours, 
when all that we can do amounts not to one mite of the vast sum 
we owe to God. So that we deservedly reject this opinion also. 

Thirdly, And for the third opinion, That it justifies as the con- 
dition of the new covenant ; though some of great name and worth 
among our Protestant divines seem to go that way, yet I cannot 
see, according to this opinion, any reason why repentance may not 
as properly be said to justify us as faith, for it is a condition of the 
new covenant as much as faith ; and if faith justify as a condition, 
then every other grace that is a condition must justify as well as 
faith. I acknowledge faith to be a condition of the covenant, but 
cannot allow that it justifies as a condition. And therefore must 
profess myself best satisfied in the last opinion, which speaks it an 
instrument in our justification : it is the hand which receives the 
righteousness of Christ that justifies us, and that gives it its value 
above all other graces ; as when we say a diamond ring is worth 
one hundred pounds, we mean not the gold that receives, but the 
stone that is set in it, is worth so much. Faith, considered as an 
habit, is no more precious than other gracious habits are, but con- 
sidered as an instrument to receive Christ and his righteousness, so 
it excels them all ; and this instrumentality of faith is noted in these 
phrases, an rr, visa, Rom. iii. 28. and ha rr,$ m&us, Rom. iii. 22. 
By faith, and through faith. And thus much of the nature and 
excellency of saving faith. 

* Because faith receives Christ our righteousness, and ascribes all to the grace of 
God in him ; therefore we are said to be justified by it, only on account of Christ, and 
not as it is our work. Confes. Uelv. 



SERM. VII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 121 



SERMON VII. 

John i. 12. 

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the 
sons of God ; even to them that believe on his name. 

X HE nature and excellency of saving faith, together with its 
relation to justification, as an instrument in receiving Christ and 
his righteousness, having been discoursed doctrinally already ; 
I now come to make application of it, according to the nature of 
this weighty and fruitful point. 

And the uses I shall make of it will be for our, 

1. Information, 3. Exhortation, and, 

2. Examination, 4. Direction. 

First Use of Information. 

Use 1. And in the first, this point yields us many great and 
useful truths for our information : As, 

Irference 1. Is the receiving of Christ the vital and saving act 
of faith, which gives the soul right to the person and privileges of 
Christ ? Then it follows, That the rejecting of Christ by unbelief, 
must needs be the damning and soul-destroying sin, which cuts a 
man off from Christ, and all the benefits purchased by his blood. If 
there belife in receiving, there must needs be death in rejecting Christ. 

There is no grace more excellent than faith ; no sin more exe- 
crable and abominable than unbelief. Faith is the saving grace, 
and unbelief the damning sin, Mark xvi. 16. " He that believeth 
" not shall be damned." See John iii. 18, 36. and John viii. 24. 

And the reason why this sin of unbelief is the damning sin is this, 
because, in the justification of a sinner, there must be a co-opera- 
tion of all the con-causes that have a joint influence on that blessed 
effect. As there must be free grace for an impulsive cause, the 
blood of Christ as the meritorious cause, so, of necessity, there 
must be faith, the instrumental cause, to receive and apply what 
the free grace of God designed, and the blood of Christ purchased 
for us. For where there are many social causes, or con-causes to 
produce one effect, there the effect is not produced till the last 
cause be in act. 

" To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name, 
" whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins," Acts 
x. 43. Faith in its place is as necessary as the blood of Christ in 
its place : " It is Christ in you the hope of glory/ 1 Col. i. 27. Not 
Christ in the womb, not Christ in the grave, nor Christ in heaven> 
except he be also Christ in you. 

H4 



122 THE METHOD OF GKACE. 5ERM. VII. 

Though Christ be come in the flesh ; though he died and rose 
again from the dead ; yet if you believe not, you must for all that 
die in your sins, John viii. 24. And what a dreadful thing is this ! 
better die any death whatever than die in your sins. If you die 
in your sins, you will also rise in your sins, and stand at the bar of 
Christ in your sins : you can never receive remission, till first you 
have received Christ. O cursed unbelief, which damns the soul : 
dishonours God, 1 John v. 10. slights Jesus Christ, the wisdom of 
God, as if that glorious design of redemption by his blood, the 
triumph and master-piece of divine wisdom, were mere foolishness, 
I Cor. i. 23, 24. frustrates the great design of the gospel, Gal. iv. 
11. and consequently it must be the sin of sins ; the worst and 
most dangerous of all sins ; leaving a man under the guilt of all his 
other sins. 

Inf. 2. If such a receiving of Christ, as hath been described, be 
saving and justifying faith, then faith is a work of greater difficulty 
than most men understand it to be, and there are but few sound be- 
lievers in the world. 

Before Christ can be received, the heart must be emptied and 
opened : but most men's hearts are full of self-righteousness and 
vain confidence : this was the case of the Jews, Rom. x.' 3. " Being 
" ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish 
" their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the 
" righteousness of God." 

Man's righteousness was once in himself, and what liquor is first 
put into the vessel, it ever afterwards savours of it. It is with Adam's 
posterity as with bees, which have been accustomed to go to their 
own hive, and carry all thither ; if the hive be removed to another 
place, they will still fly to the old place, hover up and down about 
it, and rather die there than go to a new place. So it is with most 
men. God hath removed their righteousness from doing to believ- 
ing; from themselves to Christ; but who shall prevail with them 
to forsake self? Nature will venture to be damned rather than do 
it : there is much submission in believing, and great self-denial : a 
proud self-conceited heart will never stoop to live upon the stock 
of another's righteousness. 

Besides, it is no easy thing to persuade men to receive Christ 
as their Lord in all things, and submit their necks to his strict and 
holy precepts, though it be a great truth that " * Christ's yoke 
" doth not gall, but grace and adorn the neck that bears it ;* that 
the truest and sweetest liberty is in our freedom from our lusts, 
not in our fulfilling them ; yet who can persuade the carnal heart 
to believe this ? And much less will men ever be prevailed withal, 

* Jugum Christi non deterit, sed honestat colla. Bern. 



SEItM. VII. 



THE METHOD 03? GRACE. 123 



to forsake father, mother, wife, children, inheritance, and life it- 
self, to follow Christ : and all this upon the account of spiritual and 
invisible things : and yet this must be done by all that receive the 
Lord Jesus Christ upon gospel terms ; yea, and before the soul 
hath any encouraging experience of its own, to balance the mani- 
fold discouragements of sense, and carnal reason, improved by the 
utmost craft of Satan to dismay it: for experience is the fruit and 
consequent of believing. So that it may well be placed among the 
great mysteries of godliness, that Christ is believed on in the world, 
1 Tim. iii. 16. 

Inf. S. Hence it will follow, That there may be more true and 
sound believers in the world, than know, or dare conclude themselves 
to be such. 

For, as many ruin their own souls by placing the essence of 
saving faith in naked assent, so some rob themselves of their own 
comfort, by placing it in full assurance. Faith, and sense of faith, 
are two distinct and separable mercies : you may have truly re- 
ceived Christ, and not receive the knowledge or assurance of it, 
Isa. 1. 10. Some there be that say, Thou art our God, of whom God 
never said, You are my i people : these have no authority to be called 
the sons of God : others there are, of whom God saith, These are 
my people, yet dare not call God their God : these have authority to 
be called the sons of God, but know it not. They have received 
Christ, that is their safety, but they have not yet received the know- 
ledge and assurance of it ; that is their trouble : the Father owns 
his child in the cradle, who yet knows him not to be his Father. 

Now there are two reasons why many believers, who might argue 
themselves into peace, do yet live without the comforts of their 
faith : and this may come to pass, either from, 

First , The inevidence of the premises. 

Secondly, Or the weighty importance of the conclusion. 

First, It may come to pass from the inevidence of the premises. 
Assurance is a practical syllogism, and it proceeds thus : 

All that truly have received Christ Jesus, they are the children 
of God. 

I have truly received Jesus Christ. 
Therefore I am the child of God. 

The major proposition is found in the scripture, and there can 
be no doubt of that. The assumption depends upon experience, or 
internal sense ; / have truly received Jesus Christ ; here usually is 
the stumble : many great objections lie against it, which they can- 
not clearly answer : As, 

Ob). 1. Light and knowledge are necessarily required to the 
right receiving of Christ, but I am dark and ignorant ; many car,. 



124 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VII, 

nal, unregenerate persons know more than I do, and are more able 
to discourse of the mysteries of religion than I am. 

Sol. But you ought to distinguish of the kinds and degrees of 
knowledge, and then you would see that your bewailed ignorance 
is no bar to your interest in Christ. There are two kinds of 
knowledge : 

1. Natural. | 2. Spiritual. 

There is a natural knowledge, even of spiritual objects, a spark of 
nature blown up by an advantageous education ; and though the 
objects of this knowledge be spiritual things, yet the light in which 
they are discerned is but a mere natural light. 

And there is a spiritual knowledge of spiritual things, the teach- 
ing of the anointing, as it is called, 1 Johnii. 27. i. e. the effect and 
fruit of the Spirit's sanctifying work upon our souls, when the ex- 
perience of a man's own heart informs and teach eth his under- 
standing, when by feeling the workings of grace in our own souls, 
we come to understand its nature ; this is spiritual knowledge. 
Now, a little of this knowledge is a better evidence of a man's in- 
terest in Christ, than the most raised and excellent degree of natu- 
ral knowledge : As the philosopher truly observes ; Prcestat pau- 
cula de meliori scientia degustasse, quam de ignobilori multa : One 
dram of knowledge of the best and most excellent things, is better 
than much knowledge of common things. So it is here, a little spi- 
ritual knowledge of Jesus Christ, that hath life and savour in it, is 
more than all the natural, sapless knowledge of the unregenerate, 
which leaves the heart dead, carnal, and barren : it is not the quan- 
tity, but the kind, not the measure, but the savour : If you know 
so much of the evil of sin, as renders it the most bitter and burden- 
some thing in the world to you, and so much of the necessity and 
excellency of Christ, as renders him the most sweet and desirable 
thing in the world to you, though you may be defective in many 
degrees of knowledge, yet this is enough to prove yours to be the 
fruit of the Spirit : you may have a sanctified heart, though you 
have an irregular or weak head : many that knew more than you 
are in hell: and some that once knew as little as you, are now in 
heaven : In absoluto etjacili stat ceternitas : God hath not prepared 
heaven only for clear and subtle heads. A little sanctified and 
effectual knowledge of Christ's person, offices, suitableness, and 
necessity, may bring thee thither, when others, with all their cu- 
rious speculations and notions, may perish for ever. 

Obj. 2. But you tell me, that assent to the truths of the gospel 
is necessarily included in saving faith, which, though it be not the 
justifying and saving act, yet it is pre-supposed and required to it. 
Now I have many staggerings and doubtings about the certainty 
and reality of these things ; many horrid atheistical thoughts, 



BEftll VII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 12£ 

which shake the assenting act of faith in the very foundation, and 
hence I douht I do not believe. 

Sol. There may be, and often is, a true and sincere assent found 
in the soul, that is assaulted with violent atheistical suggestions 
from Satan ; and thereupon questions the truth of it. And this is 
a very clear evidence of the reality of our assent, that whatever 
doubts, or contrary suggestions there be, yet we dare not in our 
practice contradict or slight those truths or duties which we are 
tempted to disbelieve, ex. gr. We are assaulted with atheistical 
thoughts, and tempted to slight and cast off all fears of sin, and 
practice of religious duties, yet when it comes to the point of prac- 
tice, we dare not commit a known sin, the awe of God is upon us ; 
we dare not omit a known duty, the tie of conscience is found 
strong enough to hold it close to it : in this case, it is plain we do 
really assent, when we think we do not. A man thinks he doth 
not love his child, yet carefully provides for him in health, and is 
full of griefs and fears about him in sickness : why now, so long as 
I see all fatherly duties performed, and affections to his child's 
welfare manifested, let him say what he will as to the want of love 
to him, whilst I see this, he must excuse me if I do not believe 
him, when he saith he hath no love for him. Just so is it in this 
case, a man saith I do not assent to the being, necessity, or excel- 
lency of Jesus Christ ; yet, in the mean time, his soul is filled with 
cares and fears about securing his interest in him, he is found pant- 
ing and thirsting for him with vehement desires, there is nothing 
in all the world would give him such joy, as to be well assured of 
an interest in him ; while it is thus with any man, let him say or 
think what he will of his assent, it is manifest by this he doth 
truly and heartily assent, and there can be no better proof of it 
than these real effects produced by it. 

Secondly, But if these, and other objections were never so fully 
answered for the clearing of the assumption, yet it often falls out, 
that believers are afraid to draw the conclusion; and that fear 
partly arises from, 

First, The weighty importance of this matter. 

Secondly, The sense of the deceitfulness of their own hearts. 

First, The conclusion is of infinite importance to them, it is the 
everlasting happiness of their souls, than which nothing is, or can be 
of greater weight upon their spirits : things in which we are most 
deeply concerned, are not lightly and hastily received by us : it 
seems so great and so good, that we are still apt (if there be any 
Toom for it) to suspect the truth and certainty thereof, as never 
being sure enough. 

Thus when the women that were the first messengers and wit- 
nesses of Christ's resurrection, Luke xxiv. 10, 11. came and told 



120 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SEItM. VII. 



the disciples those wonderful and comfortable tidings, it is said, 
" That their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they be- 
" lieved them not." They thought it was too good to be true ; 
too great to be hastily received ; so it is in this case. 

Secondly , The sense they have of the deceitfulness of their own 
hearts, and the daily workings of hypocrisy there, makes them 
afraid to conclude in so great a point as this is. 

They know that very many daily cozen and cheat themselves in 
this matter ; they know also that their own hearts are full of false- 
ness and deceit ; they find them so in their daily observations of 
them ; and what if they should prove so in this ? Why then they 
are lost for ever ! They also know there is not the like danger in 
their fears and jealousies, that would be in their vain confidences 
and presumptions ; by the one, they are only deprived of their 
pi sent comfort, but by the other, they would be ruined for ever : 
and therefore chuse rather to dwell with their own fears (though 
they be uncomfortable companions) than run the danger of so 
great a mistake, which would be infinitely more fatal. And this 
being the common case of most Christians, it follows that there 
must be many more believers in the world than do think, or dare 
conclude themselves to be such. 

Inf. 4 If the light receiving of Jesus Christ, be true, saving, 
and justifying faith, then those that have the least, and hzcest degree 
and measure of saving faith, have cause for ever to admire the 
bounty and riches of the grace of God to them therein. 

If you have received never so little of his bounty by the hand 
of providence, in the good things of this life, yet if he have given 
you any measure of true saving faith, he hath dealt bountifully in- 
deed with you : this mercy alone is enough to balance all other 
wants and inconveniences of this life, " poor in the world, rich 
" in faith," James ii. 5. O, let your hearts take in the full sense 
of this bounty of God to you ; say with the apostle, Eph. i. 3. 
" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who 
" hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in 
u Christ Jesus:" and you will in this one mercy, find matter 
enough of praise and thanksgiving, wonder and admiration to your 
dying day, yea, to all eternity : for, do but consider, 

First, The smallest measure of saving faith which is found in 
any of the people of God, receives Jesus Christ ; and in receiving 
him, what mercy is there which the believing soul doth not re- 
ceive in him, and with him ? Rom. viii. 32. 

O believer, though the arms of thy faith be small and weak, yet 
they embrace a great Christ, and receive the richest gift that ever 
God bestowed upon the world : no sooner art thou become a be- 
liever, but Christ is in thee the hope of glory ; and thou hast au- 



SERM. VII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 1£7 

thority to become a son or daughter of God ; thou hast the broad 
seal of heaven to confirm thy title and claim to the privileges of 
adoption, for "to as many as received him, to them gave he power 
u to become the sons of God." [To as many] be they strong, or 
be they weak, provided they really receive Christ by faith ; there 
is authority or power given, so that it is no act of presumption in 
them to say, God is our Father, heaven is our inheritance. O 
precious faith ! the treasures of ten thousand worlds cannot pur- 
chase such privileges as these : all the crowns and sceptres of the 
earth, sold at full value, are no price for such mercies. 

Secondly, The least degree of saving faith brings the soul into 
a state of perfect and full justification. For if it receives Jesus 
Christ, it must needs therefore in him, and with him, receive a 
free, full, and final pardon of sin : the least measure of faith re- 
ceives remission for the greatest sins. " By him all that believe 
" are justified from all things," Acts xiii. 39. It unites thy soul with 
Christ, and then, as the necessary consequent of that union, there 
is no condemnation, Rom. viii. 1. ahzv xulazoifia, not one condem- 
nation, how many soever our sins have been. 

Thirdly, The least measure or degree of saving faith, is a greater 
mercy than God hath bestowed, or ever will bestow upon many 
that are far above you in outward respects : All men have not faith : 
nav, it is but a remnant among men that believe. Few of the no- 
Met and potentates of the world have such a gift as this: they have 
houses and lands, yea, crowns and sceptres, but no faith, no Christ, 
no pardon ; they have authority to rule over men, but no autho- 
rity to become the sons of God, 1 Cor. i. 26, 27. 

Say therefore in thy most debased, straitened, afflicted condition, 
u Return to thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt boun- 
" tifully with thee." 

Fourthly, The least degree of saving faith is more than all the 
power of nature can produce. There must be a special revelation 
of the arm of the Lord in that work, Isa. liii. 1. Believers are 
not " born of the flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but 
" of God," John i. 12, 13. All believing motions towards Christ, 
are the effects of the Fathers drawing, John vi. 44. A glorious 
and irresistible power goes forth from God to produce it, whence 
it is called "the faith of the operation of God," Col. ii. 12. 

So then, let not believers despise the day of small things, or 
overlook that great and infinite mercy which is wrapt up in the 
least degree of saving faith. 

Infer. 5. Learn hence the impossibility of their salvation, icho 
neither know the nature, nor enjoy the means of saving faith. 
My soul pities and mourns over the infidel world. Ah I what 



128 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. VII, 

will become of the millions of poor unbelievers ! there is but one 
door of salvation, viz. Christ ; and but one key of faith to open that 
door : and as that key was never given to the Heathen world : so it 
is laid aside, or taken away from the people by their cruel guides, all 
over the Popish world ; were you among them, you should hear 
nothing else pressed as necessary to your salvation but a blind, im- 
plicit faith, to believe as the church believes ; that is, to believe 
they know not what. 

To believe as the pope believes ; that is as an infidel believes, 
for so they confess he may be, * and though there be such a thing 
as an explict faith sometimes spoken of among them, yet it is very 
sparingly discoursed, very falsely described, and exceedingly slighted 
by them as the merest trifle in the world. 

First, It is but sparingly discoursed of: they love not to ac- 
custom the people's ears to such a doctrine ; one of themselves 
confesses that there is so deep a silence of explicit, particular faith 
in the Romish church, that you may find many every where, that 
believe no more of these things than Heathen philosophers *f\ 

Secondly, When it is preached or written of, it is falsely de- 
scribed : for they place the whole nature and essence of justifying 
and saving faith in a naked assent, which the devils have as well 
as men, James ii. 19. No more than this is pressed upon the people 
at any time, as necessary to their salvation. 

Thirdly, And even this particular explicit faith, when it is spo- 
ken or written of, is exceedingly slighted. I think if the devil 
himself were in the pulpit, he could hardly tell how to bring men 
to a more low and slight esteem of faith ; to represent it more as 
a very trifle, or a quite needless thing, than these his agents have 
done. Some \ say if a man believe with a particular explicit faith, 
i. e. if he actually assent to the scripture-truths once in a year, it 
is enough. Yea, and others § think it too much to oblige people 
to believe once in twelve months ; and, for their ease, tell them, 
if they believe once in twelve years it is sufficient ; and, lest this 
should be too great a task, others || affirm, that if it be done but 
once in their whole life, and that at the point of death too, it is 
enough, especially for the rude and common people. Good God ! 
what a doctrine is here ! It was a saying long ago of Gregory (as 
I remember,) Mains minister est nisius diaboli : A wicked minister 
is the devil's gooshaivk, that goes a birding for hell ; and O what 



* For the pope's internal faith is not necessary to the church. Canus in loc. Theel. 
p. 344. 

f Navarr. cap. 1 1. p. 142. 
j Petr. a S. Joseph, sum. Art. i. p. G. 
§ Bonacina. Tom. 2. in I precept. 
|| Jo. San. Disp. 41. n. 32, 



SEBM. VII. THE METHOD OF GBACE. 129 

game have these hawks of hell among such numerous flocks of 
people ! O, bless God while you live for your deliverance from 
popery ; and see that you prize the gospel, and means of grace you 
enjoy at an higher rate, lest God bring you once more under that 
yoke, which neither you nor your fathers could bear. 

Second use for examination. 

Doth saving faith consist in a due and right receiving of the 
Lord Jesus Christ ? Then let me persuade you to examine your- 
selves in this great point of faith. Reflect solemnly upon the 
transactions that have been betwixt Christ and your souls ; think 
close on this subject of meditation. 

If all you were worth in the world lay in one precious stone, and 
that stone were to be tried by the skilful Lapidary ', whether it were 
true or false, whether it would fly or endure under the smart stroke 
of his hammer, sure your thoughts could not be unconcerned about 
the issue. Why all that you are worth in both worlds depends upon 
the truth of your faith which is now to be tried. 

O therefore read not these lines with a running, careless eye, 
but seriously ponder the matter before you. You would be loth 
to put to sea, though it were but to cross the channel, in a rotten 
leaky bottom : And will you dare to venture into the ocean of 
eternity in a false rotten faith ! God forbid. You know the Lord 
is coming to try every man's faith as by fire, and that we must 
stand or fall for ever with the sincerity or hypocrisy of our faith. 
Surely, you can never be too exact and careful about that, on 
which your whole estate depends, and that for ever. 

Now there are three things upon which we should have a very 
tender and watchful eye, for the discovery of the sincerity of our 
faith, and they are, 

f Antecedents ~\ 
The < Concomitants >- of Faith. 
( Consequents J 

As these are, so we must judge and reckon our faith to be. And, 
accordingly, they furnish us with three general marks or trials of 
faith. 

First, If you would discern the sincerity of your faith, examine 
whether those antecedents, and preparative works of the spirit, were 
ever found in your souls, which use to introduce and usher it into 
the souls of God's elect : Such are illumination, conviction, self- 
despair, and earnest cries to God. 

First, Illumination is a necessary antecedent to faith : You can- 
not believe till God hath opened your eves to see your sin, your 
misery by sin, and your remedy in Jesus Christ alone : You find 
this act of the Spirit to be the first, in order both of nature and 



130 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. VII, 

time, and introductive to all the rest, Acts xxvi. 18. " To turn 
" them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to 
" God." As faith without works (which must be a consequent to 
it) is dead, so faith without light, which must be an antecedent to it, 
is blind : Faith is the hand by which Christ is received, but know- 
ledge is the eye by which that hand is directed. 

Well then, hath God opened your eyes to see sin and misery in 
another manner than ever you saw them before ? For certainly, if 
God hath opened your eyes by saving illumination, you will find as 
great a difference betwixt your former and present apprehensions 
of sin and danger, as betwixt the painted lion upon the wall or a 
sign-post, and the real living lion that meets you roaring in the 
way. 

Secondly, Conviction is an antecedent to believing : Where this 
goes not before, no faith can follow after : The Spirit first con- 
vinces of sin, then of righteousness, John xvi. 8. So Mark i. 15. 
" Repent ye, and believe the gospel :" Believe it, O man ! that 
breast of thine must be wounded, that vain and frothy heart of 
thine must be pierced and stung with conviction, sense, and sorrow 
for sin : Thou must have some sick days, and restless nights for 
sin, if ever thou rightly close with Christ by faith. It is true, there 
is much difference found in the strength, depth, and continuance 
of conviction, and spiritual troubles in converts ; but sure it is, the 
child of faith is not ordinarily born without some pangs. Convic- 
tion is the application of that light which God makes to shine in 
our minds, to our particular case and condition by the conscience ; 
and sure, when men come to see their miserable and sad estate by 
a true light, it cannot but wound them, and that to the very 
heart. 

Thirdly, Self-despair, or a total and absolute loss in ourselves 
about deliverance, and the way of escape, either by ourselves, or 
any other mere creature, doth, and must go before faith. 

So it was with those believers, Acts ii. 37. " Men and brethren, 
<( what shall we do p" They are the words of men at a total loss : 
It is the voice of poor distressed souls, that saw themselves in 
misery, but knew not, saw not, nor could devise any way of escape 
from it, by any tiling they could do for themselves, or any other 
creature for them : And hence the apostle uses that emphatical 
word, Gal. iii. 23. gvyy.sxksiff,u,mi 9 i. e. shut up to the faith, i. e. as 
men besieged and distressed in a garrison in a time of storm, when 
the enemy pours in upon them through the breaches, and over- 
powers them : There is but one sally-port or gate, at which they can 
escape, and to that they all throng, as despairing of life, if they 
take any other course. Just so do men's convictions besiege them, 
distress them, beat them off from all their holds and intrench- 



SERM. vtT. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 131 

ments, and bring them to a pinching distress in themselves, shut- 
ting them up to Christ as the only way to escape. Duties cannot 
save me, reformation cannot save me ; nor angels, nor men can save 
me ; there is no way but one, Christ, or condemnation for 
ever. 

I thought once, that a little repentance, reformation, restitution, 
and a stricter life, might be a way to escape the wrath to come ; but 
I find the bed is too short, and the covering too narrow : All is 
but loss, dung, dross, in comparison with Jesus Christ ; if I trust 
to those Egyptian reeds, they will not only fail me, but pierce and 
wound me too : I see no hope within the whole Horizon of sense. 

Fourthly, Hence come vehement and earnest cries to God for 
faith, for Christ, for help from heaven, to transport the soul out of 
this dangerous condition, to that strong rock of salvation ; to bring 
it out of this furious, stormy sea of trouble, where it is ready to 
wreck every moment, into that safe and quiet harbour, Christ. 

O when a man shall see his misery and danger, and no way to 
escape but Christ, and that he hath no ability himself to come to 
Christ, to open his heart thus to receive him, but that this work 
of faith is wholly supernatural, the operation of God ; how 
will the soul return again, and again upon God, with such cries as 
in Mark ix. 24. "Lord, help my unbelief F" " Lord, enable me to 
w come to Christ ; give me Christ or I perish for ever ; What pro- 
n fit is there in my blood ? Why should I die in the sight and 
" presence of a Saviour ? O Lord, it is thine own work, a most 
" glorious work : Reveal thine arm in this work upon my soul, I 
" pray thee ; give me Christ, if thou deny me bread ? give me 
u faith, if thou deny me breath. It is more necessary that I be- 
" lieve, than that I live."' 1 

G Reader, reflect upon the days and nights that are past, the 
places where thou hast been conversant : Where are the bed-sides, 
or the secret corners where thou hast besieged heaven with such 
cries ? If God have thus enlightened, convinced, distressed thy soul, 
and thus set thee a mourning after Christ, it will be one good sign 
that faith is come into thy soul ; for here are certainly the harbin- 
gers and forerunners of it, that ordinarily make way for faith into 
the souls of men. 

Secondly, If you would be satisfied of the sincerity and truth of 
your faith, then examine what concomitants it is attended with in 
your souls. I mean, what frames and tempers your souls were in, 
at that time when you think you received Christ. For certainly, 
in those that receive Christ, (excepting those into whose hearts 
God hath in a more still and insensible way infused faith betimes, 
by his blessing upon pious education) such concomitant frames of 
spirit may be remarked as these following. 

Vol. II. I 



13& THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VII, 

First, The heart is deeply serious, and as much in earnest in this 
matter, as ever it was, or can be, about any thing in the world. 
This vou see in that example of the gaoler, Acts xvi. 29. " He 
" came in trembling and astonished :" It is the most solemn and 
important matter that ever the soul had before it in this world, or 
ever shall, or can have : How much are the hearts of men affected 
in their outward straits and distresses, about the concernments of 
the body ? Their hearts are not a little concerned in such questions 
as these, " What shall I eat ? what shall I drink ?" wherewithal 
shall I and mine be fed and cloathed ? but certainly the straits that 
souls are in about salvation, must be allowed to be greater than 
these ; and such questions as that of the gaoler's, " Sirs ! What 
must I do to be saved ?*" make deeper impressions upon the heart, 
than what bhall I eat or drink ? Some indeed have their thoughts 
sinking deeper into these things than others : These thoughts lie 
with different degrees of weight upon men : but all are most so- 
lemnly and awfully concerned about their condition : All frothiness 
and frolics are gone, and the heart settles itself in the deepest 
earnest about its eternal state. 

Secondly, The heart that receives Jesus Christ is in a frame of 
deep humiliation and self-abasement. O, when a man begins to 
apprehend the first approaches of grace, pardon, and mercy by 
Jesus Christ to his soul : When a soul is convinced of its utter un- 
worthiness and desert of hell ; and can scarce expect any thing 
else from the just and holy God but damnation, how do the first 
dawnings of mercy melt and humble them ! " O Lord, what am I 
" that thou shouldst feed me, and preserve me ! that thou 
" shouldst but for a few years spare me and forbear me ! but that 
" ever Jesus Christ should love me, and give himself for me ; that 
" such a wretched sinner as I should obtain union with his person, 
" pardon, peace, and salvation by his blood ! Lord, whence is this 
" to such a worm as I ? and will Christ indeed bestow himself 
" upon me ? shall so great a blessing as Christ ever come within the 
" arms of such a soul as mine ? will God in very deed be recon- 
" ciled to me in his Son ? what, to me ! to such an enemy as I 
" have been ! shall my sins which are so many, so horrid, so much 
" aggravated, beyond the sins of most men, be forgiven ? O what 
" am I, vile dust? base wretch, that ever God should do this for 
" me i" And how is that scripture fulfilled and made good, Ezek. 
xvi. 63. " That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and 
" never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I 
" am pacified towards thee for all that thou hast done, saith the 
6i Lord God." Thus, that poor broken-hearted believer stood be- 
hind Christ weeping, and washing his feet with tears, as one quite 



SEItM. VII. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE, 133 



melted down, and overcome with the sense of mercy to such a vile 
sinner, Luke vii. 38. 

Thirdly, The soul that receives Jesus Christ is in a weary com. 
dition, restless, and full of disquietness, neither able to bear the 
burden of sin, nor knowing how to be discharged from it, except 
Christ will give it ease, Mat. xi. 28. " Come unto me," that is, be- 
lieve in me, " you that are weary and heavy laden :" If they do 
not look into their own souls, they know there is no safety, and if 
they do, there is no comfort O ! the burdensome sense of sin over- 
weighs them ; they are ready to fall, to sink under it. 

Fourthly, The soul that rightly receives Christ, is not only in a 
weary, but in a longing condition : never did the hart pant more 
earnestly for the water-brooks : never did the hireling desire the 
shadow : never did a condemned person long for a pardon more than 
the soul longs after Jesus Christ. O, said David, that one would 
give me of the water of the well of Bethlehem to drink. O, saith 
the poor humbled sinner, that one would give me of the opened 
fountain of the blood of Christ to drink ! O for one drop of that 
precious blood ! O for one encouraging smile from Christ ! O now 
were ten thousand worlds at my command, and Christ to be 
bought, how freely would I lay them all down to purchase him ! 
but he is the gift of God. O that God would give me Christ, if I 
should go in rags, and hunger and thirst all my days in this world ! 

Fifthly, The soul in the time of its closing with, or receiving 
Christ, is in a state of conflict : It hangs between hopes and fears, 
encouragements and discouragements, which occasions many a sad 
stand and pause in the way of Christ ; sometimes the number and 
nature of its sins discourage it, then the riches and freeness of the 
grace of Christ erects his hopes again : there is little hope, saith 
unbelief; nay, it is utterly impossible, saith Satan, that ever such 
a wretch as thou shouldst find mercy ; now the hands hang down. 
O but then there is a necessity, an absolute necessity ; I have not 
the choice of two, but am shut up to one way of deliverance ; 
others have found mercy, and the invitation is to all that are 
weary, and to all that are athirst : he saith, him that cometh to him, 
he will in no wise cast out : now new hopes inspire the soul, and 
the hands that did hang down are strengthened. 

These are the concomitant frames that accompany faith. 

3. Mark. Lastly, Examine the consequents and effects of faith, 
if you would be satisfied of the truth and sincerity of it : And such 
are, 

First, Evangelical meltings, and ingenuous thawings of the 
heart under the apprehensions of grace and mercy : Zech. xii. 
10. " They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and shall 
" mourn. 1 ' 

12 



134 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VII, 

Secondly, Love to Christ, his ways and people, Gal. v. 6. Faith 
worketh by love, i. e. represents the love of God, and then makes 
use of the sweetness of it by way of argument, to constrain the soul 
to all acts of obedience, where it may testify the reality of its love 
to God and Christ. 

Thirdly, Heart-purity, Acts xv. 9. " Purifying the hearts by 
" faith :" It doth not only cleanse the hands but the heart. No 
principle in man, besides faith, can do this : Morality may hide 
corruption, but faith only purifies the heart from it. 

Fourthly, Obedience to the commands of Christ, Rom. xvi. 26. 
The very name of faith is called upon obedience : for it accepts 
Christ as Lord, and urges upon the soul the most powerful argu- 
ments in the world to draw it to obedience. 

In a word, let the poor doubting believer, that questions his 
faith, reflect upon those things that are unquestionable in his own 
experience, which being well considered, will greatly tend to his 
sstisfaction in this point. 

It is very doubtful to you whether you believe, but yet in the 
mean time, it may be past doubt, (being a matter of clear experi- 
ence) that you have been deeply convinced of sin, struck off from all 
carnal props and refuges, made willing to accept Jesus Christ upon 
what terms soever you might enjoy him. You doubt whether 
Christ be yours, but it is past doubt that you have a most high and 
precious esteem of Christ, that you heartily long for him, that 
you prize and love all, whether persons or things, that bear his 
image : that nothing in the world would please your hearts like a 
transformation into his likeness : that you had rather your souls 
should be filled with his Spirit, than your houses with gold and 
silver. It is doubtful whether Christ be yours, but it is past doubt 
that one smile from Christ, one token of his love would do you 
more good than all the honours and smiles of the world ; and no- 
thing so grieves you, as your grieving him by sin doth. You dare 
not say that you have received him, nor can you deny but that 
you have had many sick days and nights for him ; that you have 
gone into many secret places with yearning bowels after him. Whe- 
ther he be yours or not, you cannot tell ; but that you are resolved 
to be his, that you can tell. Whether he will save you is but a 
doubt, but that' you resolve to lie at his feet, and wait only on 
him, and never look to another for salvation, is no doubt. 

Well, well ; poor pensive soul, if it be so, arise, lift up thy de- 
jected head, take thine own Christ into thine arms. These are un- 
doubted signs of a real closure with Christ ; thou makest thyself 
poor, and yet hast great riches : Such things as these are not found 
in them that despise and reject Christ by unbelief. 



SERM. VII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 135 

3. Use of Exhortation. 

3. Use. This point is likewise very improveable by way of ex* 
hortation, and that both to 

Unbelievers and Believers. 

First, To unbelievers, who from hence must be pressed, as ever 
they expect to see the face of God in peace, to receive Jesus Christ 
as he is now offered to them in the gospel. This is the very scope 
of the gospel ; I shall therefore press it by three great considera- 
tions, viz. 

First, What is in Christ whom you are to receive. 

Secondly, What is in the offer of Christ by the gospel. 

Thirdly, What is in the rejecting of that offer. 

First Motive. 

First, Consider well what is in Christ, whom I persuade you this 
day to receive : Did you know what is in Christ, you would never 
neglect or reject him as you do : For, 

First, " God is in Christ," 2 Cor. v. 19. the Deity hath chosen 
to dwell in his flesh ; he is " God manifest in flesh," 1 Tim. iii. 16. 
a Godhead dwelling in flesh is the world's wonder ; so that in re- 
ceiving Christ, you receive God himself. 

Secondly, The authority of God is in Christ, Exod. xxiii. 21. 
" My name is in him : Him hath God the Father sealed," John 
vi. 27. he hath the commission, the great seal of heaven to redeem 
and save you. All power in heaven and earth is given to him, 
Matth. xxviii. 18. he comes in his Father's name to you, as well 
as in his own name. 

Thirdly, The wisdom of God is in Christ, 1 Cor. i. 24. " Christ 
" the wisdom of God," yea, " in him are hid all the treasures of 
" wisdom and knowledge," Col. ii. 3. Never did the wisdom of 
God display itself before the eyes of angels and men as it hath done 
in Christ. The " angels desire to look into it," 1 Pet. i. 12. yet 
they are not so much concerned in the project and design of this 
wisdom in redemption as you are. 

Fourthly, The fulness of the Spirit is in Christ ; yea, it Alls him 
so as it never did, nor will fill any creature, John iii. 34. " God 
" giveth not the Spirit by measure to him :* all others have their 
limits, stints, and measures ; some more, some less ; but the Spirit 
is in Christ without measure. O how lovely and desirable are 
those men that have a large measure of the Spirit in them ! but 
he is anointed with the Spirit of holiness above all his fellows, Psal. 
xlv. 2, 7. Whatever grace is found in all the saints, which makes 
tliem desirable and lovely, wisdom in one 3 faith in another, pa* 

13 



136 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VIT, 

tience in a third ; they all centre in Christ as the rivers do in the 
sea, quae faciunt dlvisa beatum, in hoc mixta fiuunt. 

Fifthly, The righteousness of God is in Christ, by which only a 
poor guilty sinner can be justified before God, 2 Cor. v. 21. we 
are "made the righteousness of God in him t 11 he is lapis mn* 
" the Lord our righteousness," Jer. xxiii. 6. i. e. " * the author 
" of our righteousness," or the Lord who justifies us ; by that 
name he will be known, and called by his people, than which 
none can be sweeter. 

Sixthly, The love of God is in Christ ; vea, the very yearning 
bowels of divine love are in him : What is Christ, but the love of 
God wrapt up in flesh and blood ? 1 John iv. 9, 10. " In this Avas 
" manifested the love of God towards us :" and herein is love, that 
God sent his Son ; this is the highest flight that ever divine love 
made ; and higher than this it cannot mount. O love, unparal- 
leled and admirable ! 

Seventhly, The mercies and compassions of God are all in Christ, 
Jude, ver. 21. Mercy is the thing that poor sinners want, it is that 
they cry for at the last gasp ; it is the only thing that can do them 
good. O what would they give to find mercy in that great day ? 
Why, if you receive Christ, you shall with him receive mercy ; but 
out of him there is no mercy to be expected from the hands of 
God ; for God will never exercise mercy to the prejudice of his jus- 
tice ; and it is in Christ that justice and mercy meet and embrace 
each other. 

Eighthly, To conclude, The salvation of God is in Christ, 
Acts iv. 12. " Neither is there salvation in any other."" Christ is 
the door of salvation, and faith is the hey that opens that door to 
men. If you therefore believe not, i. e. if you so receive not Jesus 
Christ, as God hath offered him, vou exclude yourselves from all 
hopes of salvation. The devils have as much ground to expect 
salvation as you. You see what is in Christ to induce you to receive 
him. 

Motive 2. 

Next, I beseech you, consider what there is in the offer of Christ 
to sinners, to induce you to receive him. Consider well to whom 
and how Christ is offered in the gospel. 

First, To whom is he offered ; not to the fallen angels, but to 
you ; they lie in chains of darkness, Jude, ver. 6. as he took not 
their nature, so he designs not their recovery ; and therefore will 
have no treaty at all with them : but he is offered to you, creatures 
of an inferior rank and order by nature ; nor is he offered to the 
damned, the treaty of peace is ended with them : Christ will never 

* Auttremjustitice nostrce, Calv. in loc. 



SEItM. VII. TITE METHOD OF GRACE. 137 

make them another tender of salvation ; nor is he offered to 
millions as good as you, now living in the world. The sound 
of Christ and salvation is not come to their ears, but he is offer- 
ed to you by the special favour and bounty of heaven ; and will 
you not receive him ? Oh ! then how will the devils, the damned, 
and the Heathen upbraid your folly ! and say, had we had one 
such tender of mercy, of which you have had thousands, we would 
never have been now in this place of torments. 

Secondly, Consider how Christ is offered to you, and you shall 
find that he is offered, 

1. Freely, as the gift of God, to your souls ; you are not to pur- 
chase him, but only to receive him, Isa. lv. i. " Ho, every one 
" that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no 
" money, let him come, 11 &c. 

2. Christ is offered importunately, by repeated intreaties, 2 Cor. 
v. 20. " As though God did beseech you, we pray you in Christ's 
" stead, be ye reconciled to God. 1 "' O ! what amazing conde- 
scension is here in the God of mercy ! God now beseeches you, 
will you not yield to the intreaties of your God ? O then what 
wilt thou say for thyself, when God will not hear thee, when thou 
shalt intreat and cry for mercy ? Which brings us to 

Motive 3. Consider the sin and danger that there is in refusing 
or neglecting the present offers of Christ in the gospel, and surely 
there is much sin in it ; the very malignity of sin, and the sum of 
all misery lies here ; for in refusing Christ, 

1. You put the greatest contempt and slight upon all the at- 
tributes of God that is possible for a creature to do : God hath 
made his justice, his mercy, his wisdom, and all his attributes to 
shine in their brightest glory in Christ. Never was there such a 
display of the glory of God made to the world in any other way. 

O then, what is it to reject and despise Jesus Christ, but to offer 
the greatest affront to the glory of God that it is possible for 
men to put upon it ? 

2. You hereby frustrate and evacuate the very design and im- 
portance of the gospel to yourselves ; you " receive the grace of 
" God in vain," 2 Cor. vi. 1. As good, yea, better had it been 
for you, that Christ had never come into the world, or, if he had, 
that your lot had fallen in the dark places of the earth, where you 
had never heard his name ; yea, good had it been for that man 
if he had never been born. 

3. Hereby a man murders his own soul. " I said therefore 
" unto you, that you shall die in your sins ; for if ye believe not 
" that I am he, ye shall die in your sins," John viii. 24. Unbe- 
lief is self-murder ; you are guilty of the blood of your own souls ; 
life and salvation were offered you, and you rejected them. Yea> 

14 



138 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VIT. 

4. The refusing of Christ by unbelief will aggravate your dam- 
nation above all others that perish in ignorance of Christ. O, it 
will be more tolerable for Heathens than for you ; the greatest 
measures of wrath are reserved to punish the worst of sinners ; and 
among sinners, none will be found worse than unbelievers. 

Secondly, To believers, this point is very useful to persuade them 
to divers excellent duties ; among which, I shall single out two 
principal ones, viz. 

1. To bring up their faith of acceptance, to the faith of as- 
surance. 

2. To bring up their conversations to the principles and rules of 
faith. 

1. You that have received Jesus Christ truly, give yourselves 
no rest till you are fully satisfied that you have done so ; acceptance 
brings you to heaven hereafter, but assurance will bring heaven into 
your souls now. O, what a life of delight and pleasure doth the 
assured believer live ! What pleasure is it to him to look back and 
consider where he once was, and where he now is ? To look for- 
ward, and consider where he now is, and where shortly he shall 
be ! I was in my sins, I am now in Christ ; I am in Christ now, 
I shall be with Christ, and that for ever, after a few days. I was 
upon the brink of hell, I am now upon the very borders of hea- 
ven ; I shall be in a very little while among the innumerable com- 
pany of angels and glorified saints, bearing part with them in the 
song of Moses, and of the Lamb, for evermore. 

And why may not you that have received Christ, receive the 
comfort of your* union with him ? There be all the grounds and 
helps of assurance furnished to your hand ; there is a real union 
betwixt Christ and your souls, which is the very ground-work of 
assurance. * You have the scriptures before you which contain the 
signs of faith, and the very things within you that answer those 
signs in the word. So you read, and so, just so, you might feel it 
in your own hearts, would you attend to your own experience. The 
Spirit of God is ready to seal you, it is his office and his delight 
so to do. O therefore, give diligence to this work, attend the 
study of the scriptures and of your own hearts more, and grieve 
not the holy Spirit of God, and you may arrive to the very desire 
of your hearts. 

2. Bring up your conversations to the excellent principles and 
rules of faith ; " As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so 
" walk in him," Col. ii. 6. Live as you believe ; you received 
Christ sincerely in your first close with him, O maintain the like 
seriousness and sincerity in all your ways, to the end of your lives : 

* The power and constancy of a firm hope reigns in us. Cypr. Serm. de patientia. 



3EKM. VII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 139 

you received him intirely and undividedly at first, let there be no 
exceptions against any of his commands afterward. You received 
him exclusively to all others, see that you watch against all self- 
righteousness and self-conceitedness now, and mingle nothing of 
your own with his blood, whatever gifts or enlargements in duty 
God shall give you afterwards. 

You received him advisedly at first, weighing and considering the 
self-denying terms upon which he was offered to you ; O shew 
that it was real, and that you see no cause to repent the bargain, 
whatever you shall meet with in the ways of Christ and duty af- 
terwards : convince the world of your constancy and cheerfulness 
in all your sufferings for Christ, that you are still of the same mind 
you were, and that Christ, with his cross, Christ, with a prison, 
Christ, with the greatest afflictions, is worthy of all acceptation : 
" As ye have received him, so walk ye in him." Let him be as 
sweet, as lovely, as precious to you now, as he was in the first mo- 
ment you received him ; yea, let your love to him, delights in 
him, and self-denial for him, increase with your acquaintance with 
him, day by day. 

Use of direction. 
Use : Lastly, I will close all with a few words of direction to 
all that are made willing to receive the Lord Jesus Christ ; and sure 
it is but needful that help were given to poor Christians : in this 
matter, it is a time of trouble, fear, and great temptation ; mistakes 
are easily made of dangerous consequence ; attend needfully, 
therefore, to a few directions. 

Direction 1. First, In your receiving Christ, Beware you do not 
7)iistake the means for the end. Many do so, but see you do not. 
Prayer, sermons, reformations, are means to bring you to Christ, 
but they are not Christ ; to close with those duties is one thing, 
and to close with Christ is another thing. If I go into a boat, my 
design is not to dwell there, but to be carried to the place whereon 
I desire to be landed : so it must be in this case, all your duties 
must land you upon Christ; they are means to bring you to 
Christ. 

Direct. 2. Secondly, See that you receive not Christ for a present 
help, but for your everlasting portion. Many do so; they will en- 
quire after Christ, pray for Christ, cast themselves (in their way) 
upon Christ, and the satisfaction of his blood, when the efficacy 
and terror of conscience is upon them, and thev feel the sting of 
guilt within them ; but as soon as the storm is over, and the rod 
that conscience shaked over them laid by, there is no more talk of 
Christ then : alas ! it was not Christ/ but quietness that they 
sought ; beware of mistaking peace for Christ. 

Direct. 3. Thirdly, In receiving Christ, come empty-handed unto 



140 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VII, 

him: "believing on him who justifies the ungodly," Rom. iv. 5. 
and know that the deepest sense of your own vileness, emptiness, 
and unworthiness, is the best frame of heart that can accompany 
you to Christ. Many persons stand off from Christ for want of 
Jit qualifications ; they are not prepared for Christ as they should 
be, i. e. they would not come naked and empty, but have some- 
thing to commend them to the Lord Jesus for acceptance. O ! 
this is the pride of men's hearts, and the snare of the devil. Let 
him that hath no money come: You are not to come to Christ 
because you are qualified, but that you may be qualified with 
whatever you want ; and the best qualification you can bring with 
you, is a deep sense that you have no worth nor excellency at all in 
you. 

Direct. 4. Fourthly, In receiving Christ, beware of dangerous 
delays. O follow on that work till it be finished. You read 
of some that are almost persuaded, and of others not far from the 
kingdom of God ; O take heed of what the prophet says, Hosea 
xiii. 13. Delays here are full of danger, life is uncertain, so are 
means of grace too. The man-slayer needed no motives to quicken 
his flight to the city of refuge. 

Direct. 5. Fifthly, See that you receive all Christ, with all your 
heart. To receive all Christ, is to receive his person clothed with all 
his offices ; and to receive him Avith all your heart, is to receive him 
into your understanding, will, and affections, Acts viii. 37. As there 
is nothing in Christ that may be refused, so there is nothing in you 
from which he must be excluded. 

Direct. 6. Lastly, Understand that the opening of your hearts 
to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, is not a work done by any power 
of your own, but the arm of the Lord is revealed therein, Isa. liii. 
1. It is therefore your duty and interest to be daily at the feet 
of God, pouring out your souls to him in secret, for abilities to be- 
lieve. And so much, as to our actual reception of Christ. 

Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ. 



SERM. VIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 141 

SERMON VIII. 

Setting forth the Believer's Fellowship with Chkist, the 
next End of his Application to them. 

Psalm xlv. 7. 

Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness 
above thy fellows. 

X HE method of grace in uniting souls with Jesus Christ, hath 
been opened in the former discourses ; thus doth the Spirit, (whose 
office it is) make application of Christ to God's elect : The result 
and next fruit whereof is communion with Christ in his graces 
and benefits. Our mystical union is the very ground-work and 
foundation of our sweet, soul-enriching communion and participa- 
tion of spiritual privileges ; we are first ingrafted into Christ, and 
then suck the sap and fatness of the root : first married to the per- 
son of Christ, then endowed and instated in the privileges and bene- 
fits of Christ. This is my proper work to open at this time, and 
from this scripture. 

" The words read, are a part of that excellent song of love *, that 
" heavenly Epithalamium, wherein the spiritual espousals of Christ 
" and the church are figuratively and very elegantly celebrated 
" and shadowed. The subject matter of this psalm is the very 
" same with the whole book of the Canticles ;" and in this psalm, 
under the figure of king Solomon, and the daughter of Egypt, 
whom he espoused, the spiritual espousals of Christ and the church 
are set forth and represented to us. Among many rapturous and 
elegant expressions in praise of this glorious bridegroom, Christ, this 
is one, which you have before you : " God, thy God, hath anoint- 
" ed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows :*" i. e. enriched 
and filled thee, in a singular and peculiar manner, with the ful- 
ness of the Spirit, whereby thou art consecrated to thy office : and 
by reason whereof thou out-shinest and excellest all the saints, who 
are thy fellows or copartners in these graces. So that in these 
words you have two parts; viz. First, The saints' dignity, and 
Secondly, Christ's pre-emincncy : 

First, The saints' dignity, which consists in this, that they are 
Christ's fellows. The Hebrew word f is very full and copious, 

* Hie Psalmus propketicus est, conlinelque Epilathamium quo Christi cumecclesin nup- 
tioc eclebrantur, idetiu/ue habet argumentum quod canticum canticurum ejusque videtur 
esse epitome. Cocceius in loc. 

T Tn^ntt Consortes, participes, sodales, socii. Vox Hcbrcca quodcunque societatis sive 
communionis genus significat. Muis. 



142 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SERM. VIIX. 



and is translated " comsorts, companions, copartners, partakers : 
or, as ours read it, fellows :" i. e. such as are partakers vvith him 
in the anointing of the Spirit, who do, in their measure, receive 
the same Spirit, every Christian being anointed, modo sibi propor- 
tionate, with the same grace, and dignified with the same titles, 1 
John ii. 27. Rev. i. 6. Christ and the saints are in common one 
with another : Doth the spirit of holiness dwell in him ? so it doth 
in them too. Is Christ King and Priest ? Why, so are they too by 
the grace of union with him. He hath made us kings and priests to 
God, and his Father. This is the saints' dignity to be Christ's fel- 
lows, consorts, or copartners ; so that look, whatever spiritual grace 
or excellency is in Christ, it is not appropriated to himself, but 
they do share with him : for indeed he was filled with the fulness 
of the Spirit, for their sakes and use : as the sun is filled with light, 
not to shine to itself, but to others ; so is Christ with grace. And 
therefore, some translate the text, not prce conso?*tibus, above thy 
fellows; but propter consortes, for thy fellows*. Making Christ the 
first receptacle of grace, who first and immediately is filled from 
the fountain, the Godhead : but it is for his people, who receive 
and derive from him, according to their proportion. 

This is a great truth, and the dignity of the saints lies chiefly in 
their partnership with Christ, though our translation, above thy f eh 
lozvs, suits best, both with the importance of the word, and scope of 
the place. 

Secondly, But then, whatever dignity is ascribed herein to the 
saints, there is, and still must be, a pre-eminency acknowledged, 
and ascribed to Christ: if they are anointed with the Spirit of 
grace, much more abundantly is Christ: " God, thy God, hath 
" anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." 

By the oil of gladness understand the Spirit of holiness, com- 
pared here with oil, of which there was a double use under the 
law, viz. a civil and a sacred use. It had a sacred and a solemn 
use, in the inauguration and consecration of the Jewish kings and 
high-priests ; it had also a civil, and common use, for the anoint- 
ing their bodies -f*, to make their limbs more agile, expedite, and 
nimble; to make the face shine, for it gave a lustre, freshness, 
and liveliness to the countenance. It was also used in lamps, to 
feed and maintain the fire, and give them light. These were the 
principal uses of oil. Now, upon all these accounts, it excellently 



* Rivet. 

f Oil itself is pure and clear, which supplies and feeds the flame with fuel ; hence 
the metaphor of anointing with oil used in scripture, frequently signifies the internal il- 
lumination of the mind by the Holy Spirit, and the communication of the true know- 
ledge of God, and suitable affections of soul to it. Moller. on the ])lace. 



SERM. VIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 143 

expressclli, and figuratively, represents to us the Spirit of grace 
poured forth upon Christ and his people. For. 

First, By the Spirit poured out upon him, he was prepared for, 
and consecrated to his offices, he was anointed with the Holy 
Ghost and with power, Acts x. 38. 

Secondly, As this precious oil runs down from Christ, the head, 
to the borders of his garments, I mean, as it is shed upon be- 
lievers, so it exceedingly beautifies their faces, and makes them 
shine with glory. 

Thirdly, It renders them apt, expedite, and ready to every good 
work : Non tardat uncta rota. 

Fourthly, It kindles and maintains the flame of divine love in 
their souls, and, like a lamp, enlightens their minds in the know- 
ledge of spiritual things ; the anointing teaches them. 

" And this oil is here called the oil of gladness *, because it is the 
" cause of all joy and gladness to them that are anointed with it :" 
Oil was used (as you heard before) at the instalment of sovereign 
princes, which was the day of the gladness of their hearts ; and, 
among the common people, it was liberally used at all their festivals, 
but never upon their days of mourning. Whence it becomes ex- 
cellently expressive of the nature and use of the Spirit of grace, who 
is the cause and author of all joy in believers, John xvii. 13. 

And with this oil of gladness is Christ said to be anointed above 
his fellows, i. e. to have a far greater share of the Spirit of grace 
than they : " For to every one of the saints is given grace accord- 
" ing to the measure of the gift of Christ," Eph. iv. 7. But to 
him the Spirit is not given by measure, John iii. 84. " It hath 
" pleased the Father, that in him should ail fulness dwell," 1 Col. 
i. 19- and " of his fulness we all receive grace for grace, 1 '' John i. 
16. The saints partake with him, and through him in the same 
Spirit of grace, for which reason they are his fellows; but all the grace 
poured out upon believers comes exceeding short of that which 
God hath poured out upon Jesus Christ. The words being thus 
opened, give us this note, 

Doct. That all true believers have a real communion or fellow- 
ship with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

From the saints 1 union with Christ, there doth naturally and im- 
mediately result a most sweet and blessed communion and fellow- 
ship with him in graces and spiritual privileges, Eph. i. 3. " Blessed 

EXcciov ayaXX/atfewg dlciturid quod causam dai summi ^uadii. Grot, in Ileb. i. 9. 
Auro; v/uv curio; rr t ; ouDiag ra mvjpctrcc, xai sz^sc-rracafmog xaiio ssiv 
•tvSrg&MTOS, ro vrveu/JM '/ma U/x/v fLirabag. i. e . Ke is the cause of the gift of the 
Spirit to you, and being anointed with the Spirit as he is man, he communicates 
the Spirit to us also. Scum, 



144 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VIII. 

" be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath 
" blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (or 
" things) in Christ : in giving us his Son, he freely gives us all 
" things, ' Rom. viii. 32. So in 1 Cor. i. 30. " Of him are ye 
" in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, righte- 
" ousness, sanctification and redemption. " And once more, 1 
Cor. iii. 22, 23. " All are yours, and ye are Christ's." What 
Christ is and hath is theirs by communication to them, or improve- 
ment for them ; and this is very evidently implied in all those ex- 
cellent scripture metaphors, by which our union with Christ is 
figured and shadowed out to us ; as the marriage-union betwixt a 
man and his wife, Eph. v: 31, 32. You know that this conjugal 
union gives the wife interest in the estate and honours of the hus- 
band, be she never so meanly descended in herself*. The natural 
union betwixt the head and members of the body, by which also 
the mystical union of Christ and believers is set forth, 1 Cor. xii. 
12. excellently illustrates this fellowship or communion betwixt 
them, for from Christ "the whole body fitly joined together, 
" and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according 
" to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh 
" increase of the body," as the apostle speaks, Eph. iv. 16. The 
union betwixt the graff and the stock, which is another emblem of 
our union with Christ, John xv. 1. imports, in like manner, this 
communion or partnership betwixt Christ and the saints ; for no 
sooner doth the graff take hold of the stock, but the vital sap of 
the stock is communicated to the graff, and both live by one and 
the same juice. 

Now, that the scope of this discourse be not mistaken, let the 
reader know that I am not here treating of the saint's communion 
or fellowship with God in his duties, as in prayer, hearing, sacra- 
ments, $c, but of that interest which believers have in the good 
things of Christ, by virtue of the mystical union betwixt them 
through faith : there is a twofold communion of the saints with 
Christ. 

The first is an act. 

The second is a state. 

There is an actual fellowship or communion the saints have with 
Christ in holy duties, wherein Christians let forth their hearts to 
God by desires, and God lets forth his comforts and refreshments 
again into their hearts ; they open their mouths wide, and he fills 
them : this communion with God is the joy and comfort of a be- 
liever's life, but I am not to speak of that here. It is not any act 
of communion, but the state of communion, from which all acts of 



Uti ego Cojus tu Caja. Uxor clarescit in radiis mariti. 



SERM. VIII. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 145 



communion flow, and upon which they all depend, that I am now 
to treat of; which is nothing else but the joint interest that Christ 
and the saints have in the same things ; as when a ship, an house, 
or estate, is among many partners, or joint heirs, every one of them 
hath a right to it, and interest in it, though some of them have a 
greater, and others a lesser part. So it is betwixt Christ and his 
people ; there is a xoivuvia, i. e. a fellowship or joint interest betwixt 
them, upon which ground they are called co-heirs with Christ, Horn, 
viii. 17. This communion or participation in Christ's benefits, de- 
pends upon the hypostatical union of our nature, and the mystical 
union of our persons with the Son of God ; in the first he partakes 
with us, in the second we partake with him ; the former is the re- 
mote, the latter the next cause thereof. 

In the explication of this point, I shall speak to these four things : 

1. What are those things in which Christ and believers have 
fellowship. 

2. By what means they come to have such a fellowship with 
Christ. 

3. How great a dignity this is to have fellowship with Jesus 
Christ. 

4. And then apply the whole in divers practical inferences. 
First, What are those things in which Christ and believers have 

fellowship, to which I must speak both negatively and positively. 

1. Negatively, The saints have no fellowship with Jesus Christ 
in those things that belong to him as God ; such as his consubstan- 
tiality, co-equality, and co-eternity with the Father. It is the blas- 
phemy of the wicked Familists to talk of being godded into God, 
and christed into Christ. Neither men nor angels partake in these 
things ; they are the proper and incommunicable glory of the Lord 
Jesus. 

2. The saints have no communion or fellowship in the honour 
and glory of his mediatory works, viz. his satisfaction to God, or 
redemption of the elect. It is true, we have the benefit and fruit 
of his mediation and satisfaction : his righteousness also is imputed 
to us for our personal justification, but we share not in the least 
with Christ in the glory of this work ; nor have we an inherent 
righteousness in us as Christ hath; nor can we justify and save 
others as Christ doth : we have nothing to do with his peculiar ho- 
nour and praise in these things. Though we have the benefit of 
being saved, we may not pretend to the honour of being Saviours, 
as Christ is to ourselves or others. " * Christ's righteousness is 



* Justitia Christ/ fit nostra, non quoad universalem valorem sed particularem necessitate™ . 
et itnputatur noOis non ut causis salvalionis, sed ut subjectis salvandis. Bradshaw de Jus- 
Hiicutioce. 



146 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEltM. VIII. 

w not made ours as to its universal value, but as to our particular 
" necessity ; nor is it imputed to us as to so many causes of salva- 
u tion to others, but as to so many subjects to be saved by it our- 
" selves." 

Secondly, But then there are many glorious and excellent things 
•which are in common betwixt Christ and believers, though in them 
all he hath the pre-eminence ; he shines in the fulness of them, as 
the sun, and we with a borrowed and lesser light, but of the same 
kind and nature as the stars. Some of these I shall particularly, 
and briefly unfold in the following particulars. 

First, Believers have communion with Christ in his navies and 
title*; they are called Christians from Christ, Eph. iii. 15. from him 
the whole family in heaven and earth is named : this is that worthy 
name the apostle speaks of, James ii. 7. He is the Son of God, 
and they also, by their union with him, have power or authority 
to become the sons of God, John i. 12. He is the heir of all 
things, and they are joint-heirs with him, Rom. viii. 17. He is 
both King and Priest, and he hath made them kings and priests, 
Rev. i. 6. But they do not only partake in the names and titles, 
but this communion consists in things as well as titles. And there- 
fore, 

Secondly, They have communion with him in his righteousness. 
i. e. the righteousness of Christ is made theirs, 2 Cor. v. 21. and 
he is " the Lord our righteousness,' 1 Jer. xxiii. 6. It is true, the 
righteousness of Christ is not inherent in us, as it is in him ; but 
it is ours by imputation, Rev. iv. 5, 11. and our union with him 
is the ground of the imputation of his righteousness to us, 2 Cor. 
v. 21. " We are made the righteousness of God in him," Phil. iii. 
9. for Christ and believers are considered as one person, in con- 
struction of law ; as a man and his wife, a debtor and surety, are 
one : and so his payment or satisfaction is in our name, or upon our 
account. 

Now, this is a most inestimable privilege, the very ground of all 
our other blessings and mercies. O, what a benefit is this to a poor 
sinner, that owes to God infinitely more than he is ever able to pay, 
by doing or suffering ; to have such a rich treasure of merit as lies 
in the obedience of Christ, to discharge, in one entire payment, all 
his debts to the last farthing ? " Surely shall one say, in the Lord 
" have I righteousness," Isa. xlv. 24. even as a poor woman that 
owes more than she is worth, in one moment is discharged of all her 
obligations, by her marriage to a wealthy man. 

Thirdly, Believers have communion with Christ in his holiness 
or sanctification, for of God he is made unto them, not only righ- 
teousness, but sanctification also ; and as in the former privilege, 
they have a stock of merit in the blood of Christ to justify them ; 



SEItM. VIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 147 

so here, the\ r have the Spirit of Christ to sanctify them, 1 Cor. i. 
30. and therefore we are said of his fulness to receive "grace for 
grace," John i. 16. i. e. say some, grace upon grace, manifold 
graces, or abundance of grace ; or grace lor grace, that is, grace 
answerable to grace : as in the seal and wax, there is line for line, 
and cut for cut, exactly answerable to each other ; or grace for 
grace, that is, say others, the free grace of God in Christ, for the 
sanctification or filling of our souls with grace : be it in which sense 
it will, it shews the communion believers have with Jesus Christ 
in grace and holiness. Now, holiness is the most precious thing 
in the world, it is the image of God, and chief excellency of 
man : it is our evidence for glory, yea, and the first fruits of glory. 
In Christ dwells the fulness of grace, and from him, our head, it 
is derived and communicated to us ; thus he that sanctifieth, and 
they that are sanctified, are all of one, Heb. ii. 11. You would 
think it no small privilege to have bags of gold to go to, and enrich 
yourselves with, and yet that were but a very trifle in comparison to 
have Christ's righteousness and holiness to go to for your justifi- 
cation and sanctification. More particularly, 

Fourthly, Believers have communion with Christ in his death ; 
they die with him, Gal. ii. 20. " I am crucified with Christ, 17 
i. e. the death of Christ hath a real killing and mortifying influ- 
ence upon the lusts and corruptions of my heart and nature : true 
it is, he died for sin one way, and we die to sin another way : he 
died to expiate it, we die to it, when we mortify it : the death of 
Christ is the death of sin in believers ; and this is a very glorious 
privilege ; for the death of sin is the life of your souls ; if sin do not 
die in you by mortification, you must die for sin by eternal dam- 
nation. If Christ had not died, the Spirit of God, by which you 
now mortify the deeds of the body, could not have been given 
unto you : then you must have lived vassals to your sins, and died 
at last in your sins ; but the fruit, efficacy, and benefit of Christ's 
death is yours for the killing those sins in you, which else had 
been your ruin. 

Fifthly, Believers have communion with Christ in his life and 
resurrection from the dead ; as he rose from the dead, so do they ; 
and that by the power and influence of his vivification and resur- 
rection. It is the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus that makes 
us free from the law of sin and death, Rom. viii. 2. Our spiritual 
life is from Christ, Eph. ii. 1. "And you hath he quickened who 
" were dead in trespasses and sins :" and hence Christ is said to 
live in the believer, Gal. ii. 20. " Now I live, yet not I, but Christ 
" liveth in me :" and it is no small privilege to partake of the very 
life of Christ, which is the most excellent life that ever any creature 

Vol. II. K 



1 48 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VIII. 

can live ; yet such is the happiness of all the saints, the life of Christ 
is manifest in them, and such a life as shall never see death. 

Sixthly, To conclude, believers have fellowship with Jesus Christ 
in his glory, which they shall enjoy in heaven with him : they 
" shall be ever with the Lord," 1 Thes. iv. 17. and that is not 
all, (though, as one saith, it were a kind of heaven but to look 
through the key-hole, and have but a glimpse of Christ's blessed 
face) but they shall partake of the glory which the Father hath 
given him; for so he speaks, John xvii. 22, 24. and more par- 
ticularly, they shall sit with him in his throne, Rev. iii. 21. and 
when he comes to judge the world, he will come to be glorified in 
the saints, 2 Thes. i. 10. So that you may see what glorious and 
inestimable things are, and will be in common betwixt Christ and 
the saints. His titles, his righteousness, his holiness, his death, 
his life, his glory. I do not say that Christ will make any saint 
equal with him in glory ; that is impossible, he will be known from 
all the saints in heaven, as the sun is distinguished from the stars ; 
but they shall partake of his glory, and be filled with his joy there ; 
and thus you see what those things are that the saints have fellow- 
ship with Christ in. 

Secondly, Next I would open the way and means by which we 
come to have fellowship with Jesus Christ in these excellent privi- 
leges ; and this I shall do briefly in the following positions. 

Position 1. 

First, No man hath fellowship with Christ in any special saving 
privilege by nature, howsoever it be cultivated or improved; but only 
by faith uniting him to the Lord Jesus Christ ; It is not the pri- 
vilege of' our first, but second birth. * This is plain from John i. 
12, 13. " But to as many as received him, to them gave he power 
" to become the sons of God, even as many as believe on his name, 
" who are born not of flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, 
" but of God." We are by nature children of wrath, Eph. ii. S. 
we have fellowship with Satan in sin and misery : the wild branch 
hath no communication of the sweetness and fatness of a more 
noble and excellent root until it be ingrafted upon it, and have 
immediate union and coalition with it, John xv. 1, 2. 

Position 2. 

Believers themselves have not an equal share one with another, in 
all the benefits and privileges of their union with Christ, but in some 
there is an equality, and in others an inequality ; according to the 
measure and gift of Christ, to every one. 

In justification they are all equal : the weak and the strong bc- 

* The truly faithful only are members of Christ, not as they are men, but as 
they are Christians ; not by their first, but second birth. Polan. Syntag. Book G> 
chap. 55. 



SERM. VIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 149 

lievcr are alike justified, because it is one and the same perfect 
righteousness of Christ,' which is applied to the one and to the 
other, so that there are no difFerent degrees of justification, but all 
that believe are justified from all things, Acts xiii. 39- and " there 
" is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, 11 Rom. viii. 
1. be they never so weak in faith, or defective in degrees of grace. 
But there is apparent difference in the measures of their sanctifi- 
cation, some are strong men, and others are babes in Christ, 1 Cor. 
iii. 1. The faith of some flourishes and grows exceedingly, 2 Thes. 
i. 3. the things that are in others are ready to die, Rev. iii. 2. It 
is a plain case, that there is great variety found in the degrees of 
grace, and comfort among them that are jointly interested in 
Christ, and equally justified by him. 

Position 3. 
The saints have not fellowship and communion with Christ, hi 
the fore-mentioned benefits and privileges by one and the same me- 
dium, but by various mediums and ways, according to the nature of 
the benefits, in which they participate. 

For instance, they have partnership and communion with Christ, 
as hath been said, in his righteousness, holiness, and glory, but 
they receive these distinct blessings by divers mediums of commu- 
nion : we have communion with Christ in his righteousness, by the 
way of imputation ; we partake of his holiness, by the way of in- 
fusion ; and of his glory in heaven, by the beatifical vision. Our 
justification is a relative change, our sanctification a real change, 
our glorification a perfect change, by redemption from all the re- 
mains both of sin and misery. 

Thus hath the Lord appointed several blessings for believers in 
Christ, and several channels of conveying them from him to us ; 
by imputed righteousness, we are freed from the guilt of sin : by 
imparted holiness, we are freed from the dominion of sin, and by 
our glorification with Christ, we are freed from all the relics and 
remains both of sin and misery let in by sin upon our natures. 

Position 4. 

That Jesus Christ imparts to all believers, all the spiritual blessings 
that he is filled with, and withholds none from any that have union, 
with him, be these blessings never so great, or they that receive them 
never so weak, mean, and contemptible in outward respects, Gal. iii. 
27. "Ye are the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. 11 The 
salvation that comes by Jesus Christ is stiled the common salvation y 
Jude 3. and heaven the inheritance of the saints in light, Col. i. 
12. "There is neither Greek nor Jew, (saith the apostle, circum- 
" cision, nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, 
" but Christ is all, and in all, 11 Col. iii. 11. He means, there is no 
privilege in the one to commend them to God, and no want of 

K2 



150 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. VI U. 

any thing in the other to debar them from God ; let men have or 
want outward excellencies, as beauty, honour, riches, nobility, 
gifts of the mind, sweetness of nature, and all such like ornaments, 
What is that to God ? He looks not at these things, but respects 
them, and communicates his favour to them as they are in Christ : 
He is all, and in all. The gifts and blessings of the Spirit are 
given to men as they are in Christ, and without respect to any ex- 
ternal differences made in this world among men : hence we find 
excellent treasures of grace in mean and contemptible persons in 
the world ; poor in the world and rich in faith, and heirs of the 
kingdom ; and as all believers, without difference, receive from 
Christ, so they are not debarred from any blessing that is in Christ: 
" All is yours, for ye are Christ's, 1 Cor. iii. ult. With Christ God 
" freely gives us all things," Rom. viii. 32. 

Position 5. 
The communion believers have with Christ, in spiritual "benefits* 
is a very great mystery, Jar above the understandings of natural 
men. There are no footsteps of this thing in all the works of crea- 
tion ; therefore the apostle calls it " The unsearchable riches of 
Christ," Eph. iii. 8. an^iyjiagov xXx-ov r* Xetsx: The word signifies, 
that which hath no footsteps to trace it by : yea, it is so deep a 
mystery, that the angels themselves stoop down to look into it, 1 
Pet. i. 12. " Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered 
i( into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for 
" them that love him : but God hath revealed them unto us by his 
« Spirit," 1 Cor. ii. 9, 10. 

Thirdly, and lastly, I shall, in a few particulars, open the dignity 
and excellency of this fruit of our union with Christ, and shew 
you, that a greater glory and honour cannot be put upon man, than 
to be thus in fellowship with Jesus Christ, John xvii. 22. " The 
" glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may 
" be one, as we are one :" And therefore, more particularly, let it 
be considered, 

First, With whom we are associated, even the Son of God ; with 
him that is over all, God blessed for ever. Our association with 
angels is an high advancement, for angels and saints are fellow- 
servants in the same family, Rev. xix. 10. and through Christ we 
are come to an innumerable company of angels, Heb. xii. 22. But 
what is all this to our fellowship with Jesus Christ himself, and that 
in another manner than angels have ? For though Christ be to them 
an head of dominion, yet not an head of vital influences, as he is to 
liis mvstical body the church ; this therefore is to them a great 
mystery, which they greatly affect to study and pry into. 

Secondly, What' we are that are dignified with this title, the feU 



SERM. VIIT. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 151 

lows or co-partners with Jesus Christ: not only dust by nature, 
(Dust thou art), but sinful dust ; such wretched sinners, as, by na- 
ture, and the sentence of the law, ought to be associated, with 
devils, and partakers with them of the wrath of the Almighty God 
to all eternity. 

Thirdly, The benefits we are partakers of, in and with the Lord 
Jesus Christ ; and, indeed, they are wonderful and astonishing- 
things, so far as they do already appear, but yet we see but little 
of them comparatively, to what we shall see, 1 John hi. 1, 2. 
" Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what 
u we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall 
" be like him, for we shall see him as he is." O, what will that 
be ! to see him as he is, and to be transformed into his likeness ! 

Fourthly, The way and manner in which we are brought into 
this fellowship with Christ ; which is yet more admirable. The 
apostle gives us a strange account of it m 2 Cor. viii. 9- " For you 
" know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was 
" rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his 
" poverty might be rich :" he empties himself of his glory, that 
we might be filled ; he is made a curse, that we might enjoy the 
blessing ; lie submits to be crowned with thorns, that we might be 
crowned with glory and honour ; he puts himself into the number 
of worms, Psal. xxii. 6. that we might be made equal to the an- 
gels. O, the inconceivable grace of Christ ! 

Fifthly, The reciprocal nature of that communion which is be- 
twixt Christ and believers ; we do not only partake of what is his, 
but he partakes of what is ours : he hath fellowship with us in all 
our wants, sorrows, miseries and afflictions ; and we have com- 
munion with him in his righteousness, grace, sonship and glory: 
he takes part of our misery, and we take part of his blessedness ; 
our sufferings are his sufferings, Col. i. 24. O, what an honour is 
it to thee, poor wretch, to whom a great many would not turn 
aside to ask how thou dost ; to have a King, yea, the Prince of all 
the kings of the earth, to pity, relieve, sympathize, groan and 
bleed with thee, to sit by thee in all thy troubles, and give thee 
his cordials ; to say thy troubles are my troubles, and thy afflic- 
tions are my afflictions : whatever toucheth thee, toucheth me also. 
O what name shall we give unto such grace as this is ! 

Sixthly, and lastly, Consider the perpetuity of this privilege : 
Your fellowship with Christ is interminable, and abides for ever. 
Christ and the saints shall be glorified together, Rom. viii. 17. 
while he hath any glory they shall partake with him. It is said 
indeed, 1 Cor. xv. 24. that there shall be a time when Christ will 
deliver up the kingdom to his Father ; but the meaning is not that 

K3 



152 THE METHOD OF GRACE- &ERM. VIIL 

ever he will cease to be the Head of his saints, or they from being 
his members : No, the relation never ceases ; justification, sancti- 
fication and adoption, are everlasting things, and we can never 
be divested of them. 

Inference 1. Are the saints Christ's fellows? What honourable 
persons then are they ! and how should they be esteemed and valued 
in the world ! If a king, who is the fountain of honour, do but raise a 
man by his favour, and dignify him by bestowing some honourable 
title upon him, what respect and observance is presently paid him 
by all persons ? But what are all the vain and empty titles of 
honour, to the glorious and substantial privileges with which be- 
lievers are dignified, and raised above all other men by Jesus 
Christ ? He is the Son of God, and they are the sons of God 
also : he is the Heir of all things, and they are joint-heirs with 
Christ : he reigns in glory, and they shall reign with him i he sits 
upon the throne, and they shall sit with him in his throne. O that 
this vile world did but know the dignity of believers, they would 
never slight, hate, abuse, and persecute them as they do ! And 
O that believers did but understand their own happiness and privi- 
leges by Christ, they would never droop and sink under every small 
trouble at that rate they do ! 

Inf. 2. How abundantly hath God provided for all the necessities 
and wants of believers ! Christ is a storehouse filled with blessings 
and mercies, and it is all for them : from him they " receive abun- 
" dance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness," Rom. v. 17. 
" Of his fulness they all receive grace for grace," John i. 16. All 
the fulness of Christ is made over to them for the supply of their 
wants : " My God shall supply all your needs, (saith the apostle) 
" according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ," Phil. iv. 19. 
If all the riches of God can supply your needs, then they shall be 
supplied. Say not, Christ is in the possession of consummate glory, 
and I am a poor creature, struggling with many difficulties, and 
toiling in the midst of many cares and fears in the world ; for care 
is taken for all thy wants, and orders given from heaven for their 
supply : My God shall supply all your need. O say Mith a melting 
heart, I have a full Christ, and he is filled for me : I have his 
pure and perfect righteousness to justify me, his holiness to sanctify 
me, his wisdom to guide me, his comforts to refresh me, his power 
to protect me, and his all-sufficiency to supply me. O be cheer- 
ful, be thankful, you have all your hearts can wish ; and yet be 
humble ; it is all from free-grace to empty and unworthy creatures. 

Inf. 3. How absurd, disingenuous, and unworthy of a Christian, 
is it to deny, or withhold from Christ any thing he hath, or by which 
he may be served or honoured ? Doth Christ communicate all he hath 
to you, and can you withhold any thing from Christ ? On Christ's 



SERM. VIII. TITE METHOD OF OK ACE. 153 

part it is not mine, and thine, but ours, or mine and yours ; John 
xx. 17. "I ascend to my Father, and your Father ; to my God, 
" and vour God."" But O this cursed idol self I which appro- 
priates all to its own designs and uses. How liberal is Christ ! 
and how penurious are we to him ! Some will not part with their 
credit for Christ, when yet Christ abased himself unspeakably for 
them. Some will not part with a drop of blood for Christ, when 
Christ spent the whole treasure of his blood freely for us ; yea, how 
loth are we to part with a shilling for Christ, to relieve him in his 
distressed members, when as yet " we know the grace of our Lord 
" Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he bc- 
" came poor, that we through his poverty might be rich !" O un- 
grateful return ! O base and disingenuous spirits P 1 The things 
Christ gives us are great, and the things we deny to him are small : 
he parts with the greatest, and yet is denied the least. The 
things he communicates to us are none of ours, we have no right 
nor title by nature, or any desert of ours to them ; the things we 
deny or grudge to Christ are by all titles his own, and he hath the 
fullest and most unquestionable title to them all ; what he gives 
to us, he gives to them that never deserved it ; what we withhold 
from him, we withhold from one that hath deserved that, and in- 
finitely more from us than we have or are. 

He interested you freely in all his riches when you were enemies ; 
you stand upon trifles with him, and yet call him your best and 
dearest friend : he gave himself and all lie hath to you, when you 
could claim nothing from him ; you deny to part with these things 
to Christ, who may not only claim them upon the highest title, 
his own sovereignty, and absolute property, but by your own act, 
who profess to have given all in covenant to him : what he gives 
you return no profit to him ; but what you give or part with for 
him is your greatest advantage. O that the consideration of these 



things might shame and humble your souls 

Inf. 4. Then certainly no man is, or can be supposed to be a loser 
by conversion, seeing from that day, whatever Christ is or hath be- 
comes his. 

O what an inheritance are men possessed of by their new birth ! 
Some men cry out, Religion will undo you ; but with what eyes 
do these men see ? Surely, you could never so reckon, except 
your souls were so incarnated, as to reckon pardon, peace, adop- 
tion, holiness, and heaven, for nothing; that invisibles are non- 
entities, and temporals the only realities. It is true, the convert- 
ed soul may lose his estate, his liberty, yea, his life for Christ ; 
but what then ? Are they losers that exchange brass for gold ? or 
part with their present comforts for an hundred-fold advantage ? 
Mark x, 29. So that none need be frightened at religion, for the 

K4 



154 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEKM. VIII. 

losses that attend it, whilst Christ and heaven are gained by it : 
they that count religion their loss have their portion in this life. 

Inf. 5. How securely is the saints inheritance settled upon them, 
seeing they are in common with Jesus Christ f Christ and his saints 
are joint-heirs, and the inheritance cannot be alienated but by his 
consent. ; he must lose his interest, if you lose yours. Indeed 
Adam's inheritance was by a single title, and moreover, it was in his 
own hand, and so he might, (as indeed he soon did) divest himself 
and his posterity of it ; but it is not so betwixt Christ and believers ; 
we are secured in our inheritance by Christ our co-heir, who will 
never alienate it : and therefore it was truly observed by the father, 
Faelicior Job in sterquilinio, quam Adamus in paradiso : Job was 
happier upon the dunghill, than Adam was in paradise. The cove- 
nant of grace is certainly the best tenure ; as it hath the best mer- 
cies, so it gives the fullest security to enjoy them. 

Inf. 6. How rich and full is Jesus Christ, who communicates 
abundantly to all the saints, and yet hath infinitely still more in him- 
self', than hath ever been received by them all. 

Take all the faith of Abraham, all the meekness of Moses, all 
the patience of Job, all the wisdom of Solomon, all the zeal of 
David, all the industry of Paul, and all the tender-heartedness of 
Josiah ; add to this, all the grace that is poured, (though in lesser 
meaure,) into all the elect vessels in the world, yet still it is far 
short of that which remains in Christ ; " He is anointed with the 
" oil of gladness above his fellows :" And in all things he hath, 
" and must ever have the pre-eminence. There are many thou- 
sand stars glittering above your heads, and one star differs from 
another star in glory, yet there is more light and glory in one sun, 
than in many thousand stars. Grace beautifies the children of 
men exceedingly, but still that is true of Christ, Psal. xlv. 2. 
" Thou art fairer than the children of men, grace is poured into 
" thy lips. 1 " For all grace is secondarily, and derivatively in the 
saints, but it is primitively and originally in Christ, John v. 16. 
Grace is imperfect and defective in them, but in him it is in its 
most absolute perfection and fulness, Col. i. 19. In the saints it 
is mixed with abundance of corruption, but in Christ it is altoge- 
ther unmixed, and exclusive of its opposite, Heb. vii. 26. So that 
as the Heathen said of moral virtue, I may much more say of 
Christ, That were he to be seen with mortal eyes, he would com- 
pel love and admiration from all men, for " he is altogether 
lovely," Cant. v. 16. 

Inf. 7. What delight and singular advantage must needs be in the 
communion of the saints, who have communion with Jesus Christ in 
all his graces and benefits. 

4( That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, 



SERM. Vfll. THE METHOD OF QSJLi I 153 

"that ye also may have' fellowship with us: And truly our fel- 
" lowship is with the Father, and with hi;, Son Jesus Christ,"' 
1 John i. 3. O it is sweet to have fellowship with those that have 
fellowship with God in Jesus Christ. Christ hath communicated 
to the saints varieties of graces, in different measures and degrees ; 
and as they all receive from Christ the fountain, so it is sweet and 
most delightful to be improving themselves by spiritual communion 
one with another: Yea, for that end one is furnished with one 
grace more eminently than another, that the weak may be assisted 
by the strong, as a modern divine * well observes. Athanasius was 
prudent and active, Basil of an heavenly, sweet temper, Chrysos- 
tom laborious, without affectation, Ambrose resolved and grave, 
Luther courageous, and Calvin acute and judicious. Thus every 
one hath his proper gift from Christ, the fountain of gifts and 
graces, 1 Cor. vii. 7. One hath quickness of parts, another soli- 
dity of judgment, but not ready and presential ; one is zealous, but 
ungrounded ; another well principled, but timorous ; one is wary 
and prudent ; another open and plain ; one is trembling and melt- 
ing ; another cheerful and joyous ; one must impart his light, 
another his heat : The eye, the knowing man, cannot say to the 
hand, the active man, I have no need of thee. And O how sweet 
would it be, if gifts, graces, and experiences were frequently and 
humbly imparted : But idle notions, earthly mindedness, self-inte- 
rests, and want of more communion with Christ, have almost 
destroyed the comfort of Christian fellowship every where in the 
world. 

Inf. 8. In a word, those only have ground to claim interest in 
Christ, who do really participate of his graces, and In zc/wm are 
found the effects and fruits of their union and communion rclth him. 
If you have interest in Christ, you have communion in his graces 
and benefits ; and if you have such communion, it will appear in 
your maintaining daily actual communion with God in duties; 
whereby will be produced, 

First, The increase of your sanctification, by fresh participations 
from the fountain ; as cloth which is often dipt into the vat receives 
the deeper dye, and livelier tincture ; so will your souls by assiduous 
communion with God. It will also be discerned, 

Secondly, In your deeper humiliation, and spiritual sense of your 
own vileness : The more any man partakes of God, and is acquaint- 
ed with him, and assimilated to him, the more base and vile in his 
own sight he still grows, Job xlii. 5, 6. Isa. vi. 5. 

Thirdly, It will appear in your more vehement longings after the 
full enjoyment of God in heaven, 1 Pet. i. 8. and Rom. viii. 23. 



* Mr. Torshcl. 



156 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IX, 

You that have the first fruits will groan within yourselves after the 
full harvest, and satisfying fruition ; you will not be so taken with 
things below, as to be content with the best lot on earth for your 
everlasting portion. O ! if these communicated drops be so sweet, 
what is there in Christ the fountain ? 

And thus I have opened the method of grace in bringing home 
Christ and his benefits to God's elect by union, in order to commu- 
nion with him. 

Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ. 



SERMON IX. 

Containing the first general Use of Exhortation, inviting 
all Men to apply Jesus Christ. 

Matth. xi. 28. 

Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy luden, and I will 

give you rest. 

X HE impetration of our redemption by Jesus Christ, being 
finished in the first part, and the way and means by which Christ 
is applied to sinners in the foregoing part of this treatise ; I am 
now orderly come to the general use of the whole ; which in the 
first place shall be by way of exhortation, to invite and persuade all 
men to come to Christ; who, in all the former sermons, had been 
represented in his garments of salvation, red in his apparel, prepared 
and offered to sinners as their all-sufficient and only remedy : And 
in the following sermons, will be represented in his perfumed gar- 
ments coming out of his ivory palaces, Psalm xlv. 8. to allure and 
draw all men unto him. 

For a general head to this use, which will be large, I have cho- 
sen this scripture, " Come unto me all ye that labour, and are 
" heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 

These words are the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ himself, in 
which there is a vital, ravishing sound : It is your mercy to have 
such a joyful sound in your ears this day. And in them I will 
consider their dependence, parts, and scope. 

As to their dependence, it is manifest they have an immediate 
relation to the foregoing verse, wherein Christ opens his commis- 
sion, and declares the fulness of this authority and saving power, 
and the impossibility of coming to God any other way- " Ail 
" things are delivered to me of my Father, and no man knoweth 
" the Son but the Father : Neither knoweth any man the Father 



SK11M. IX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 157 

" save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him," 
ver. 27. 

The 28th verse is brought in proleptically to obviate the dis- 
couragements of any poor, convinced, and humbled soul, who might 
thus object : Lord, I am fully satisfied of the fulness of thy saving 
power, but greatly doubt whether ever I shall have the benefit 
thereof; for I see so much sin and guilt in myself, so great vilencss 
and utter unworthiness, that I am over weighed, and even sink 
under the burden of it: My soul is discouraged because of sin. 
This objection is prevented in the words of my text, " Come unto 
" me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden," q. d. Let not the 
sense of your sin and misery drive you from your only remedy : Be 
your sins never so many, and the sense and burden of them never so 
heavy, yet, for all that, Come unto me : You are the persons whom 
I invite and call. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to 
repentance. 

In the words, three things are especially remarkable. 

1. The soul's spiritual distress and burthen: Weary and heavy 
laden. 

2. Its invitation to Christ under that burthen : Come unto me. 

3. Its encouragement to that great duty : / will give you rest. 
First, The souPs spiritual distress and burthen expressed in two 

very emphatical words *, ot %o^imnc, y,a,i vspopriffptvoi " Ye that la- 
" hour and are heavy laden." The word which we translate 
labour, signifies a labouring even to faintness and tiring, to the con- 
sumption and waste of the spirits; and the other word signifies 
such a pressure by a burthen that is too heavy to be borne, that we 
do even sink down under it. 

There is some difference among expositors about the quality of 
this burthen. Chrysostom, and some others after him, expound 
it of the burthen of the legal rites and ceremonies, which was a 
heavy burthen indeed, such as neither they, nor their fathers could 
bear. Under the task and burthen of these legal observances, 
they did sweat and toil to obtain a righteousness to justify them be- 
fore God, and all in vain : and this is a pious sense : But others 
expound it of the burthen of sin in general ; the corruption of na- 



* 0/ xofivamc, i. e. They who labour even to fainting and tiring, for this Greek 
word to xoriav differs by this emphasis from the word xoveiv, which signifies only 
in general to labour. Piscator on the place, explains it thus, Ye who feel the burden 
of your sins, and yet do not sink under the weight thereof. Chrysostom expounds 
it of those who are burdened with the legal rites and ceremonies ; but we under- 
stand it in general, of all those who being pressed with the burden of their sins, and 
the sense of the malignity of their corrupt natures, do strive with all their might to 
throw off this depravity, and to obtain righteousness. Musculus on the place. 



158 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IX. 

ture, and evils of practice, which souls are convinced have brought 
them under the curse, and will bring them to hell, and therefore 
labour and strive, all that in them lies, by repentance and reforma- 
tion, to clear themselves from it ; but all in vain, whilst they strive 
in their own strength. Such are they that are here called to come 
to Christ, which is the second thing ; namely, 

Secondly, The invitation of burthened souls to Christ : " Come 
" unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden : Come unto 
" me, 1 ' i. e. believe in me, lean and rest your burthened souls upon 
me. I am able to ease all your burthens ; in me are that righte- 
ousness and peace which you seek in vain in all the legal rites and 
ceremonies ; or in your repentance, reformations, and duties ; but 
it will give you no ease, it will be no benefit to you, except you 
come unto me. Faith is often expressed under this notion, see John 
vi. 37. and John vii. 37. and it is to be further noted, that [all] 
burthened souls are invited to come, " All ye that labour." What- 
ever your sin or guilt have been, whatever your fears or discourage- 
ments are, yet come, i. e. believe in me. 

Thirdly, Here is the encouragement Christ gives to this duty, 
And I will give you rest : um<rav<fu pag, * I will refresh you, I will 
give you rest from your labour, your consciences shall be pacified, 
your hearts at rest and quiet in that pardon, peace and favour of 
God which I will procure for you by my death. But here it must be 
needfully noted, that this promise of rest in Christ is not made to 
men simply as they are sinners, nor yet as they are burthened and 
heavy laden sinners, but as they come to Christ, i. e. as they are be- 
lievers *(•* For let a man break his heart for sin, let him weep out 
his eyes, let him mourn as a dove, and shed as many tears for 
sin (if it were possible) as ever there fell drops of rain upon the 
ground, yet if he come not to Christ by faith, his repentance shall 
not save him, nor all his sorrows bring him to true rest. Hence 
note, 

Doct. 1. That some souls are heavy laden with the burtliensome 
sense of sin. 

Doct. 2. That all burthened souls are solemnly invited to come to 
Christ. 

Doct. 3. That there is rest in Christ for all that come to him 
under the heavy burthen of'ain. 

* Why doth thou seek that where thou canst not find it ? I am he only that can 
help thee. Mus. on the place. 

f The objects of the invitation are sinners, as such, to cficourage and warrant 
them to believe. Editor, 



SERM. IX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 159 

Doct. 1. Some souls are heavy laden with the burthensome sense of 

sin. 
I do not say all are so, for " fools make a mock at sin," Prov. 
xiv. 9. It is so far from being burthensome to some, that it 
is a sport to them, Prov. x. 23. But when a man's eyes are opened 
to see the evil that is in sin, and the eternal misery that follows 
it, (sin and hell being linked together with such strong chains as 
nothing but the blood of Christ can loose) then no burden is like 
that of sin : " A wounded conscience who can bear ?" Prov. xviii. 
14. For let us but consider the efficacy that the law of God hath 
upon the consciences of men, when it comes in the spirtuality and 
power of it, to convince and humble the soul of a sinner. For 
then, 

First, The memory of sin long since committed, 
is refreshed and revived, as if it had been but yes- What inward 
terday : There are fresh recognitions of sin long troubles for sin 
since acted and forgotten, as if they had never been : are. 
What was done in our youth is fetched back a- 
again, and by a new impression of fear and horror set home upon 
the trembling conscience, Job xiii. 26. " Thou writest bitter things 
" against me, and makest me to possess the sins of my youth." 
Conscience can call back the days that are past, and draw up a 
new charge upon the score of old sins, Gen. xlii. 21. All that 
ever we did is recorded and entered into the book of conscience, 
and now is the time to open that book, when the Lord will con- 
vince and awaken sinners. We read in Job xiv. 17. of sealing up 
iniquities in a bag, which is an allusion to the Clerk of the assizes, 
that takes all the indictments that are made against persons at the 
assizes, and seals them up in a bag, in order to a trial. This is the 
first office and work of conscience ; upon which 

The second, namely, its accusations, do depend. These accusa- 
tions of conscience are terrible things ; who can stand before them ? 
They are full, they are clear, and all of them referring to the ap- 
proaching judgment of the great and terrible God. 

Conscience dives into all sins *, secret as well as open, and into 
all the circumstances and aggravations of sin, as being committed 
against light, against mercy, against the strivings, warnings, and 
regrets of conscience. So that we may say of the efficacy of con- 
science, as it is said, Psal. xix. 6. of the influence of the sun, 
" nothing is hid from the heat and power thereof." " Come 
(saith the woman of Samaria) see a man that hath told me all that 



* This is the first punishment of sin, that no guilty person can be acquitted in L 
cwn conscience. Jul. lib. 13.1.2. 



160 THE METHOD OF GRACE, SERM. IX. 

" ever I did," John iv. 29. Christ convinced her but of one sin 
by liis discourse, but conscience, by that one, fetched in, and 
charged all the rest upon her. And as the accusations of con- 
science are full, so they are clear and undeniable. A man becomes 
self-convinced, and there remains no shift, excuse, or plea, to de- 
fend himself. A thousand witnesses cannot prove any point more 
clearly than one testimony of conscience doth. Mat. xxii. 12. 
" The man was speechless, a mute ; muzzled (as the word signi- 
fies *) by the clear testimony of his own conscience. These accusa- 
tions are the second work of conscience, and they make way for 
the third, namely, 

Thirdly, The sentence and condemnation of conscience : And truly 
this is an insupportable burthen : The condemnation of conscience 
is nothing else but its application of the condemning sentence of 
the law to a man's person : The law curseth every one that trans- 
gresseth it, Gal. iii. 10. Conscience applies this curse to the guilty 
sinner. So that it sentences the sinner in God's name and autho- 
rity, from whence there is no appeal : The voice of conscience is 
the voice of God, and what it pronounces in God's name and au- 
thority, he will confirm and ratify, 1 John iii. 20. " If our hearts, 
u (i. e.) our consciences condemn us, God is greater than our 
" hearts, and knoweth all things." This is that torment which 
no man can endure. See the effects of it in Cain, in Judas, 
and in Spira ; it is a real foretaste of hell-torments : This is that 
worm that never dies, Mark ix. 44. For look, as a worm in the 
body is bred of the corruption that is there, so the accusations and 
condemnations of conscience are bred in the soul by the corruption 
and guilt that are there. As the worm in the body preys and bites 
upon the tender, sensible, inward parts, so doth conscience touch 
the very quick. This is the third effect, or work, to sentence and 
condemn ; and this also makes way for a fourth, namely, 

Fourthly, To upbraid and reproach the sinner under his misery : 
and this makes a man a very terror to himself: To be pitied in 
misery is some relief, but to be upbraided and reproached, double 
our affliction. You know it was one of the aggravations of Christ's 
sufferings to be reproached by the tongues of his enemies, whilst 
he hanged in torments upon the cursed tree; but all the scoffs and 
reproaches, the bitter jeers and sarcasms in the world, are nothing 
to those of a man's own conscience, which will cut to the very 
bone. 

O ! when a man's conscience shall say to him in a day of trouble, 
as Reuben to his afflicted brethren, Gen. xliii. 22. " Spake I not 
" unto you, saying, do not sin against the child, and ye would not 

* O ds itpi/Auftrj, et ilk cnpistratvs est. 



SERM. IX. THE METHOD OV GRACE. 161 

" hear ; therefore behold also his blood is required." So con- 
science, did I not warn you, threaten you, persuade you in time 
against these evils, but you would not hearken to me, therefore 
behold now you must suffer to all eternity for it. The wrath of 
God is kindled against thy soul for it : This is the fruit of thy own 
wilful madness and obstinacy. Now thou shalt know the price 
of sinning against God, against light and conscience. O, this is 
terrible ! Every bite of conscience makes a poor soul to startle, and 
in a terrible fright to cry, O the worm ! O, the bitter foretaste of 
hell ! A wounded spirit who can bear ? 

This is a fourth wound of conscience, and it makes way for a 
fifth ; for here it is as the pouring out of the vials, and the sound- 
ing of those woe-trumpets in Revelations ; one woe is past, and 
another cometh. After all these deadly blows of conscience upon 
the very heart of a sinner, comes another as dreadful as any that 
is yet named ; and that is, 

Fifthly, The fearful expectation of wrath to come, which it be- 
gets in the soul of a guilty sinner : Of this you read, Heb. x. 27. 
" A fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation.' 1 And 
this makes the stoutest sinner faint and sink under the burthen of 
sin. For the tongue of man cannot declare what it is to lie down 
and rise with those fearful expectations. The case of such sinners is 
somewhat like that which is described in Deut. xxviii. 65, 66, 67. 
66 The Lord shall give thee a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, 
" and sorrow of mind. And thy life shall hang in doubt before 
M thee, and thou shalt fear day and night, and shall have no assu- 
" ranee of thy life. In the morning thou shalt say, would to God 
" it were even : And at even thou shalt say, would to God it were 
" morning : For the fear of thine heart, wherewith thou shalt 
" fear," &c. Only in this it differs, in this scripture you have the 
terror of those described, whose temporal life hangs in doubtful 
suspense, but in the persons I am speaking of, it is a trembling 
under the apprehensions and expectations of the vengeance of 
eternal fire. 

Believe it, friends, words cannot express what those poor crea- 
tures feel, that lie down, and rise up under these fears, and frights 
of conscience. Lord, what will become of me ! I am free among 
the dead, yea, among the damned. I hang by the frail thread of 
a momentary life, which will, and must, break shortly, and may 
break the next moment, over the everlasting burnings : No plea- 
sant bread is to be eaten in these days, but what is like the bread 
of condemned men. 

And thus you see what the burden of sin is, when God makes 
it to bear upon the consciences of men, no burden of affliction is 



1G£ THE METHOD OF GKACE. SEKM. IX, 

like it : losses of dearest relations, sorrows for an only son, are not 
so pungent and penetrating as these : For, 

First, No creature-enjoyment is pleasant under these inward 
troubles : In other troubles they may signify something to a man's 
relief; but here they are nothing; the wound is too deep to be 
healed by any thing but the blood of Jesus Christ ; conscience re- 
quires as much to satisfy it, as God requires to satisfy him. When 
God is at peace with thee, (saith conscience) then will I be at peace 
•with thee too ; but, till then, expect no rest nor peace from me. 
All the pleasures and diversions in die world shall never stop my 
mouth : go where thou wilt, I will follow thee like thy shadow : 
be thy portion in the world as sweet as it will, I will drop in gall 
and wormwood into thy cup, that thou shalt taste no sweetness in 
anv thing, till thou hast got thy pardon. 

These inward troubles for sin alienate the mind from all former 
pleasures and delights ; there is no more taste or savour in them, 
than in the white of an egg. Music is out of tune ; all instruments 
jar and groan. Ornaments have no beauty ; what heart hath a 
poor creature to deck that body, in which dwells such a miserable 
soul ! to feed and pamper that carcase that hath been the soul's in- 
ducement to, and instrument in sin, and must be its companion in 
everlasting misery ! 

Secondly, These inward troubles for sin put a dread into death, 
beyond whatever the soul saw in it before. Now it looks like the 
King of terrors indeed. You read in Heb. ii. 15. of some that 
through fear of death are all their life long subject to bondage. O 
what a lively comment is a soul in this case able to make upon such 
a text ! They would not scare at the pale horse, nor at him that 
sits on him, though his name be called Death, if it were not for 
what follows him, Rev. vi. 8. but when they consider that hell 
follows, they tremble at the very name or thoughts of death. 

Thirdly, Such is the nature of these inward troubles of spirit, 
that they swallow up the sense of all outward troubles. Alas! these 
are all lost in the deeps of soul-sorrows, as the little rivulets are in 
the vast sea; he that is wounded at the heart will not cry Oh, at 
the bite of the smallest insect. And surely no greater is the pro- 
portion betwixt outward and inward sorrows. A small matter for- 
merly would discompose a man, and put him into a fret ; now ten 
thousand outward troubles are lighter than a feather : For, saitli 
he, " why doth the living man complain ?" Am I yet on this side 
of eternal burnings ! O let me not complain then whatever my con- 
dition be. Have I losses in the world, or pains upon my body ? 
Alas ! these are not to be named with the loss of God, and the feel- 
ing pf his wrath and indignation for evermore. Thus you see what 
troubles, inward troubles for sin be. 



SERM. IX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. I6<3 

Secondly, If you ask in the second place, ff 
how it comes to pass that any soul is sup- ted under 

ported under such strong troubles of spirit, J j ,, 

that all that feel them do not sink under them; 
that all that go down into these deep waters of sorrow, are not 
drowned in them ? The answer is, 

First, Though this be a very sad time with the soul (much like 
that of Adam, betwixt the breach of the first covenant, and the 
first promise of Christ made to him) yet the souls that are thus 
heavy laden, do not sink, because God hath a most tender care 
over them, and regard to them ; underneath them are the ever- 
lasting arms, and thence it is they sink not: were they left to 
grapple with these troubles in their own strength, they could never 
stand. But God takes care of these mourners, that their spirits 
do not fail before him, and the souls that he hath made ; I mean 
those of his elect, whom he is this way preparing for, and bringing 
unto Christ. 

Secondly, The Lord is pleased to nourish still some hope in the 
soul under the greatest fears and troubles of spirit. Though it 
have no comfort or joy, yet it hath some hope, and that keeps up 
the heart. The afflicted soul doth, in this case, as the afflicted 
church, Lam. hi. 29- " He putteth his mouth in the dust, if yet 
" there may be hope :" He saith, " It is good for a man to hope, 
" and quietly to wait for the salvation of God."* There are usually 
some glimmerings or dawnings of mercy through Christ, in the 
midnight darkness of inward troubles ; non dantur puree tenabrce. 
In hell, indeed, there is no hope to enlighten the darkness, but it is 
not so upon earth. 

Thirdly, The experiences of others, who have been in the same 
deeps of trouble, are also of great use to keep up the soul above 
water. The experience of another is of great use to prop up a 
desponding mind, whilst as yet it hath none of its own ; and, in- 
deed, for the support of souls in such cases, they were recorded. 
1 Tim. i. 16. " For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first 
" Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pattern 
" to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlast- 
" ing.'" For an encouraging * Pattern, an eminent precedent to 
all poor sinners that were to come after him, that none might ab- 
solutely despair of finding mercy through Christ. You know if a 
man be taken sick, and none can tell what the disease is, none can 

* The word TcroruTwcv; as well as Tvrrog (which the word rendered Pattern in 
1 Tim. i. 16.) signifies the first draught of a picture, it is here taken for example, that 
men might see what they might expect from God : That grace much more abound--, 
and is more powerful than sin, and that no believer may be diffident of the forgiveness 
provided for him. Pol. Sr/nops, on the place. 

Vol. II. L 



164 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IX- 

say that ever they heard of such a disease before, it is exceeding- 
frightful ; but if one and another, it may be twenty, come to the 
sick man's bed-side, and tell him, sir, be not afraid, I have been in 
the very same case that you now are in, and so have many more, 
and all did well at last ; why this is half a cure to the sick man. So 
it is here a great support to hear the experiences of other saints. 

Fourthly , As the experiences of others support the soul under 
these burdens, so the riches of free grace through Jesus Christ up- 
hold it. It is rich and abundant, Psal. cxxx. 7, 8. plenteous re- 
demption ; and it is free, and to the worst of sinners, Isa. i. 18. 
And under these troubles it finds itself in the way and proper me- 
thod of mercy, for so my text (a text that hath upheld many 
thousand drooping hearts) states it. All this gives hope and en- 
couragement under trouble. 

Fifthly, and lastly, Though the state of the soul be sad and 

sinking, yet Jesus Christ usually makes haste in the extremity of 

trouble to relieve it by sweet and seasonable discoveries of his 

grace; cum dupllcantur later is, re nit Moses*, in the mount of the 

Lord it shall be seen. It is with Christ as it was with Joseph, 

whose bowels yearned towards his brethren, and he was in pain 

till he had told them, " I am Joseph your brother." This is 

sweetly exhibited to us in that excellent parable of the prodigal, 

Luke xv. when his father saw him, being yet a great way off, he 

ran and fell upon his neck, and kissed him. Mercy runs nimbly 

to help, when souls are ready to fall under the pressure of sin. 

And thus you see both how they are burdened, and how upheld 

under the burden. 

TJ7-7 j ,j /. j 7 Thirdly. If it be enquired, in the last 

Why doth God make ■, ,*.** i i .i i j * • 

, 7 r ,J j ,, ■ 7 . place, why God makes the burden ot sin 

the burden of sin be r ' s -, , L r 

7 „ ~ .j ; press so neavy upon the hearts ot poor 

so heavy upon The souls r - , T . J r j r 

~* err f r-1 ,„ ,9 sinners ? It is answered, 

of some sinners ? r . . TT , A • . V *t. ■ t. 

u First, He aoth it to divorce their hearts 

from sin, by giving them an experimental taste of the bitternesss 

and evil that is in sin. Men\s hearts are naturally glued with 

delight to their sinful courses ; all the persuasions and arguments in 

the world are too weak to separate them from their beloved lusts. 

The morsels of sin go down smoothly and sweetly, they roll them 

with much delectation under their tongues, and it is but need that 

such bitter potions as these should be administered " to make their 

" stomachs rise against sin," as that f word used by the apostle in 

2 Cor. vii. 11. signifies, in that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, 

•what indignation it wrought? It notes the rising of the stomach 

with rage, a being angry even unto sickness ; and this is the way, 

* When the tale of bricks is doubled, Closes arrives. 

t Aya,va.z,rr l <Jt; ) indignatio) stomachatio. Leigh's Critica, in verb. 






SERM. IX. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 165 



the best and most effectual way to separate the soul of a sinner from 
his lusts; for, in these troubles, conscience saith, as it is in Jer. iv. 
18. " Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto 
" thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is great, because it 
" reacheth unto thy heart. 11 

Secondly, The Lord doth this to make Jesus Christ most welcome 
and desirable to the souk Christ is not sweet till sin be made bitter 
to us. Matth. ix. 12. " They that be whole need not a physician, 
" but they that are sick." If once God wounds the heart of a 
sinner, with the stinging sense of sin, then nothing in the world 
is so precious, so necessary, so vehemently desired and panted for 
as Jesus Christ ! O that I had Christ, if I did go in rags, if I did 
feed upon no other food all my days, but the bread and water of 
affliction ! This is the language of a soul filled with the sense of 
the evil of sin. 

Thirdly, The Lord doth this to advance the riches of his free 
grace in the eyes of sinners. Grace never appears grace till sin ap« 
pear to be sin. The deeper our sense of the evil of sin is, the 
deeper our apprehensions of the free grace of God in Christ will be. 
The louder our groans have been under the burden of sin, the 
louder will our acclamations and praises be for our salvation from it 
by Jesus Christ. " To me (saith Paul) the chiefest of sinners, was 
" this grace given, 11 1 Tim. i. 15. Never doth the grace of a prince 
so melt the heart of a traitor, as when trial, sentence, and all pre- 
parations for his execution have passed, before his unexpected par- 
don comes. 

Fourthly, The Lord doth this to prevent relapses into sin : " In 
" that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought V 
2 Cor. ii. 7. The burnt child dreads the fire, the bird that is de- 
livered out of the talons of the hawk, trembles afterwards at 
the noise of his bells. " After such a deliverance as this, should we 
"again break thy commandments? 11 Ezra ix. 13, 14. Ask a 
poor penitent soul, that hath been in the deeps of sorrow for sin, 
Will you return to your former course of sin again ? And it sounds 
in his ears, as if you should ask him, Will you run into the fire ? 
Will you go to the rack again ? O no, it hath cost him dear already *. 

Fifthly, Lastly, This the Lord doth, to make them both skilful 
and compassionate in relieving others that are under like inward 
troubles. None can speak so judiciously, so pertinently, so feeling- 
ly to another's case, as he that hath been in the same case himself f ; 

* Nolo tanti emere pcenitentiam. i. e. I will not purchase repentance at so dear a 
rate. 

f Haud ignara mali, miser is succurere disco. Virg. 
Like you, an alien in a land unknown, 
I learn to pity woes, so like mine own. Ihyden. 

L2 



1(56 



THE METHOD OF GKACE. SERM. IX, 



this furnishes them with the tongue of the learned, to speak a word 
in season to the weary soul ; by this means they are able to " com- 
" fort others with the same comforts wherewith they themselves 
" have been comforted of God," 2 Cor. i. 4. 

Thus you have had a brief account, what the burden of sin is, 
how souls are supported under that burden, and why the Lord 
causes sin to lie so heavy upon the souls of some sinners. The im- 
provement of all will be in a double use, viz. 

Of information and direction. 
First use for information. 

Inference 1 . Is there such a load and burden in sin? What then 
was the burden that our Lord Jesus Christ felt and hare for us, 
upon ichom the whole ice'iglit of all the sins of all GocVs elect lay ! 
Isa. liii. 6. " He hath made the iniquities of us all to meet on him.'" 
Our burden is heavy, but nothing to Christ's. O there is a vast 
difference betwixt that which Christ bare, and that which we bear. 
We feel but the single weight of our own sins ; Christ felt the 
whole weight of all our sins. You do not feel the whole weight 
that is in any one sin ; alas, it would sink you, if God should let 
it bear in all its aggravations and effects upon you. Psal. exxx. 2, 
3. "If thou, Lord, should st mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall 
" stand !* You would sink presently, you can no more stand under 
it, than under the weight of a mighty mountain. But Christ 
bare all the burden upon himself; his understanding was deep and 
large ; he knew the extent of its evil, which we do not : we have 
many reliefs and helps under our burden, he had none ; we have 
friends to counsel, comfort, and pity us ; all his friends and fami- 
liars forsook him, and fled in the day of his trouble : we have 
comforts from heaven, he had frowns from heaven : " My 
" God, my God, (saith he in that doleful day) why hast thou for- 
saken me? 11 There is no comparison betwixt our load and 
Christ's. 

Inf. 2. If there be such a burden in sin, then certainly sinners will 
pay dear for all the pleasure they find in sin hi the days of their 
vanity. " What * one saith of crafty counsels, we may say of all 
6 sins ; though they seem pleasant in their first appearance, they 
" would be found sad in the event :" they are honey in the mouth, 
but the gall of asps in the belly ; they tickle the fancy, but rend 
the conscience. O sinner, thy mirth will certainly be turned into 
mourning, as sure as thou livest ; that vain and frothy breast of 
thine shall be wounded ; thou shalt feel the sting and pain, as well 
as relish the sweet and pleasure of sin. O that thou wouldst but 



* Cojisilia callida prima specie leeta ; tractatu dura ; eventu tristia. Livy. 

| Prov. xx. 7. Ibid, xxiii. 31,32. Job xx. 12, 13, 14. James i. 15. Rom. vi. 21. 



SERM. IX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 167 

give thyself the leisure seriously to ponder those * scriptures in the 
margin; methinks they should have the same effect that the hand, 
writing upon the plaister of the wall had upon that jovial king in 
the height of a frolic, Daniel v. 5. Reason thus with thine own 
heart, and thou wilt find the conclusion unavoidable ; either I 
shall repent for sin, or I shall not : If I shall not, then must I 
howl under the wrath of God for sin, in the lowest hell for evermore. 
If I shall, then by what I have now read of the throbs and wounds 
of conscience, I see what this heart of mine, this vain heart of mine, 
must feel in this world. () how much wiser was the choice that 
Moses made, Heb. xi. 25. the worst of sufferings rather than the 
best of sin, the pleasures of sin, which are but for a season ! 

Inf. 3. Is there such a burden in sin, then the most tender com- 
passion is a debt due to souls afflicted and heavy laden with sin. 
Their condition cries for pity, whatever their tongues do ; they seem 
to call upon you, as Job upon his friends ; " Have pity, have pity 
" upon me, O ye my friends, for the hand of God hath touched 
" me, Job xix. 21. And O let all that have felt the wounds and 
anguish of an afflicted conscience themselves, learn from their own 
experience tenderly to pity and help others. Gal. vi. 1. " You 
" that are spiritual, restore (+ or set him in joint again) in the spirit 
" of meekness, considering thyself. 1 '' 

Israel was commanded to be kind to strangers, for, saith God, 
you know the heart of a stranger. And surely if any case in the 
world require help, pity, and all compassionate tenderness, this 
doth ; and yet how do some slight spiritual troubles upon others ? 
Parents slight them in their own children, masters in their servants ; 
the more brutish and wicked they ! O had you but felt yourselves 
what they feel, you would never treat them as you do. But let 
this comfort such poor creatures, Christ hath felt them, and will 
pity and help them ; yea, he therefore would feel them himself, 
that he might have compassion upon you. If men will not, God 
will pity you ; if men be so cruel to persecute him whom God hath 
smitten, God will be so kind to pour balm into the wounds that sin 
hath made : if they pull away the shoulder from you, and will not 
be concerned about your troubles, except it be to aggravate them, 
God will not serve you so : but certainly you that have paNsed 
through the same difficulties, you cannot be without compassion to 
them that are now grappling with them. 

Inf. 4. How inexpressibly dreadful is the state of the damned, 
toko must bear the burden of all their sins upon themselves, without 
reliefs or hope of deliverance ! Mark ix. 44. " where their worm, 
" dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." 

* Prov. xx. 7. Ibid, xxiii. 31, 32. Job xx. 12, 13, 14. James i. 15. Rom. xl 21, 
T KaraortZslSj luxata membra in suum locum restilucre. 

L3 



1G8 THE METHOD OF GEACE. SEEM. IX. 

O ! If sin upon the soul that is coming to Christ for deliverance, 
be so burdensome, -what is it upon the soul that is shut out from 
Christ, and all hopes of deliverance for ever ! For, do but ponder 
these differences betwixt these two burdens. 

First, No soul is so capacious now, to take in the fulness of the 
evil and misery of sin, as thev are who are gone down to the place 
of torments. Even as the joys of God's face above are as much 
unknown to them that have the fore-tastes and first fruits of them 
here by faith, so the misery of the damned is much unknown, even 
to them that have in their consciences now, the bitterest taste and 
sense of sin in this world : as we have the visions of heaven, so we 
have the visions of hell also, but darkly through a glass. 

Secondly, No burden of sin presseth so continually upon the soul 
here as it doth there. Afflicted souls, on earth, have intermissions, 
and breathing times ; but in hell there are no lucid intervals, the 
wrath of God there is still flowing; it is mjluccu continuo, Isa. xxx. 
S3, a stream of brimstone. 

Thirdly, No burden of sin lies upon any of God's elect so long 
as on the damned, who do, and must bear it : our troubles about 
sin are but short, though they should run parallel with the line of 
life ; but the troubles of the damned are parallel with the endless 
line of eternity. 

Fourthly, Under these troubles, the soul hath hope, but there, 
all hope is cut off: all the gospel is full of hope, it breathes nothing 
but hope to sinners that are moving Christ- ward under their trou- 
bles ; but in hell the pangs of desperation rend their consciences 
for ever. So that, upon all accounts, the state of the damned is 
inexpressibly dreadful. 

Inf. 5. If the burden of sin be so heavy, how sweet then must the 
pardon of sin be to a sin-bur de?ied soul ! Is it a refreshment to a pri- 
soner to have his chains knocked off? A comfort to a debtor to have 
his debts paid, and obligations cancelled ? What joy must it then be 
to a sin-burthened soul, to hear the voice of pardon and peace in his 
trembling conscience ! Is the light of the morning pleasant to a 
man after a weary, tiresome night ? the spring of the year pleasant 
after a hard and tedious winter ? They are so indeed ; but nothing 
so sweet as the favour, peace, and pardon of God, to a soul that 
hath been long restless, and anxious, under the terrors and fears of 
conscience. For, though after pardon and peace a man remem- 
bers sin still, yet it is as one that remembers the dangerous pits, 
and deep waters, from which he hath been wonderfully delivered, 
and had a narrow escape. O the inconceivable sweetness of a par- 
don ! Who can read it without tears of joy ? Are we glad when 
the grinding pain of the stone, or racking fits of the cholic are 
over ? And shall we not be transported, when the accusations and 



SEItM. IX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 169 

condemnations of conscience are over ? Tongue cannot express what 
these tilings are ; his joy is something that no words can convey to 
the understanding of another, that never felt the anguish of sin. 

Inf. 6. Lastly, In how sad a case are those that never felt any bur- 
den in sin, thai never were kept waking and restless one night for 
sin? 

There is a burdened conscience, and there is a benumbed conscience. 
The first is more painful, but the last more dangerous. O it is a 
fearful blow of God upon a man's soul, to strike it senseless and 
stupid, so that though mountains of guilt lie upon it, it feels no 
pain or pressure : and this is so much more sad, because it incapa- 
citates the soul for Christ, and is a presage and fore-runner of 
hell. It would grieve the heart of a man, to see a delirious person 
in the rage and height of a fever, to laugh at those that are weep- 
ing for him, call them fools, and telling them he is as well as any 
of them: much so is the case of many thousand souls; the God of 
mercy pity them. 

Second use for counsel. 
The only further use I shall make of this point here, shall be to 
direct and counsel souls that are weary and heavy laden with the 
burden of sin, in order to their obtaining true rest and peace. 
And first, 

First counsel. 
Satisfy not yourselves in fruitless complaints to men. Many do 
so, but they are never the nearer. I grant it is lawful in spiritual 
distresses to complain to men, yea, and it is a great mercy if we 
have any near us in times of trouble that are judicious, tender and 
faithful, into whose bosoms we may pour out our troubles ; but to 
rest in this, short of Christ, is no better than a snare of the devil to 
destroy us. Is there not a god to go to in trouble ? The best of 
men, in the neglect of Christ, are but physicians of no value. Be 
wise and wary in your choice of Christian friends, to whom you open 
your complaints ; some are not clear themselves in the doctrine of 
Christ and faith, others are of a dark and troubled spirit, as you 
are, and will but entangle you more. " As for me (saith Job) is 
" my complaint to man, and if it were so, why should not my 
" spirit be troubled ?" Job xxi. 4. One hour betwixt Christ and 
thy soul in secret, will do more to thy true relief than all other 
counsellors and comforters in the world can do. 
Second counsel. 
Beware of a false peace, which is more dangerous than your trouble 
for sin can be. Many men are afraid of their troubles, but I think 
they have more cause to fear their peace a great deal. There is a 
twofold peace that ruins most men, peace in sin, and peace with 
sin : O how glad are some persons when their troubles are gone ; 

L4 



170 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IX. 

but I dare not rejoice with them. It is like him that rejoices his 
ague is gone, that it hath left him in a deep consumption. You 
are got rid of your troubles, but God knows how you have left 
them ; your wounds are skinned over, better they were kept open. 
Surely they have much to answer for, that help on these delusions, 
healing the hurt of souls slightly, by crying, Peace, peace, when 
there is no peace. The false peace you beget in them, will be a 
real trouble to yourselves in the issue, Jer. vi. 14. 

Third counsel. 
Let all that are under inward troubles for sin, tale heed of' draw- 
ing desperate conclusions against tltcmsclves, and the jinal state of 
their own souls. Though your case be sad, it is not desperate ; 
though the night be troublesome and tedious, keep on in the way to 
Christ, and light will spring up. To mourn for sin is your duty ; 
to conclude there is no hope for you in Christ, is your sin. You 
have wronged God enough already, do not add a further and greater 
abuse to all the rest, by an absolute despair of mercy. It was your 
sin formerly to presume beyond any promise, it is your sin now to 
despair against many commands. I would say as the apostle in 
another case, I would not have you mourn as men that have no hope : 
your condition is sad as it is, but yet it is much better than once it 
was. You were once full of sin and void of sense, now you have 
the sense of sin, which is no small mercy. You were once quite 
out of the way and method of mercy, now you are in that very 
path wherein mercy meets the elect of God. Keep hope, therefore, 
at the bottom of all your troubles. 

Fourth counsel. 

Observe whether your troubles fir sin produce such fruits and 
effects in your soids as theirs do, which end at last in Christ and 
everktstmg peace. 

First, One that is truly burdened with sin, will not allow himself 
to live in the secret practice of sin ; either your trouble will put an 
end to your course of sinning, or your sinning will put an end to 
your troubles. Consult 2 Cor. vii. 11. 

Secondly, True sorrow for sin, will give you very low and vile 
thoughts of yourselves ; as you were covered with pride before, so 
you will be covered with shame after God hath convinced and hum- 
bled you, Rom. vi. 21. 

Thirdly, A soul really burdened with sin will never stand in his 
own justification before God, nor extenuate and mince it in his con- 
fessions to him, Psal. li. 3, 4. 

Fourthly, The burdens of sin will make a man set light by all 
other burdens of affliction, Lam. iii. 22. Micah vii. 9. The more 
you feel sin, the less you feel affliction. 

Fifthly, A soul truly burdened for sin will take no hearty joy or 



SERM. IX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 1T1 

comfort in any outward enjoyment of this world, till Christ come 
and seek peaee to the soul, Lam. iii. 28. Just so the soul sits alone 
and keepcth silence ; merry company is a burden, and music is but 
howling to him. 

Fifth counsel. 

Jteware qftho.se things that make your troubles longer than they 
ought to be. There be several errors and mistakes that hold poor 
souls mueh longer in their fears and terrors than else they might 
be ; and such are, 

First, Ignorance of the nature of saving faith, and the necessity 
of it. Till you come to believe, you cannot have peace; and while 
you mistake the nature, or apprehend not the necessity of faith, 
you are not like to find that path of peace. 

Secondly, Labouring to heal the wounds that the law hath made 
upm your consciences, by a more strict obedience to it for the 
future, in the neglect of Christ and his righteousness. 

Thirdly, In observance of what God hath already done for you, 
in these preparatory works of the law, in order to your salvation 
bv Jesus Christ. ()! if you would but compare what you now 
are, with what you lately were, it would give some relief. But the 
last and principal thing is this : 

Sixth counsel. 

Hasten, to Christ in the way of faith, and you shall find rest ; and 
till then all the world cannot give you rest. The sooner you trans- 
act witli Christ, in the way of faith, the sooner you shall be at peace 
and enter into his rest ; for those that believe do now enter into 
rest. You may labour and strive, look this way and that, but all 
in vain ; Christ and peace come together. No sooner do you come 
to him, and roll your burden on him, receive him as he offers 
himself, but the soul feels itself eased on a sudden ; u being 
"justified by faith, we have peace with God," Rom. v. 1. And 
thus in finishing the first, we are brought home to the second ob- 
servation. 

Doct. 2. Tliat sin-burdened souls are solemnly invited to come to 
Christ. 

This point sounds sweetly in the ear of a distressed sinner ; it is 
the most joyful voice that ever the soul heard : the voice of bles- 
sing from mount Gerizim, the ravishing voice from mount Sion, 
" Ye are come to Jesus the Mediator. 11 In opening of it I will 
shew, 

1. What it is to come to Christ. 

2. How Christ invites men to come to him. 

3. Why his invitation is directed to burdened souls. 



172 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SEHM. IX. 



First, We will enquire what it is to come to Christ, and how 
many things are included in it. 

.In general, to come to Christ, is a phrase equipollent, or of the 
same amount with believing in Christ. It is an expression that 
carries the nature and necessity of faith in it, and is reciprocated 
with believing. John vi. 35. " He that cometh so me shall never 
" hunger ; and he that believeth in me shall never thirst? 
Coming to Christ, is believing in Christ ; and believing in Christ, 
is coming to Christ ; they are synonymas, and import the self same 
thing. Only in this notion of faith, there are many rich and ex- 
cellent things hinted to us, which no other word can so aptly con- 
vey to our minds. As, 

First, It hints this to us, That the souls of convinced and bur- 
dened sinners do not only discern the reality of Christ, or that he 
is, but also the necessity of applying Christ, and that their eternal 
life is in their union with him : for this is most certain, that the 
object of faith must be determinate and fixed ; the soul must believe 
that Christ is, or else there can be no emotions of the soul after 
him : all coming pre-supposes a fixed term to which we come, Heb. 
xi. 6. " He that cometh to God, must believe that God is." Take 
away this, and all motions after Christ presently stop. No wonder 
then that souls, in their first motions to Christ, find themselves 
clogged with so many atheistical temptations, shaking their assent 
to the truth of the gospel at the very root and foundation of it ; but 
they that come to Christ, do see that he is, and that their life and 
happiness lie in their union with him, else they would never come 
to him upon such terms as they do. 

Secondly, Coming to Christ implies the soul's despair of salvation 
any other way. The way of faith is a supernatural way, and souls 
will not attempt it until they have tried all natural ways to help 
and save themselves, and find it all in vain ; therefore the text 
describes these comers to Christ as weary persons, that have been 
labouring and striving all other ways for rest, but can find none ; 
and so are forced to relinquish all their fond expectations of salva- 
tion in any other way, and come to Christ as their last and only 
remedy. 

Thirdly, Coming to Christ notes a supernatural and almighty 
power, acting the soul quite above its own natural abilities in this 
motion. John vi. 44. " No man can come unto me, except my 
" Father which hath sent me draw him." It is as possible for the 
ponderous mountains to start from their bases and centres, mount 
themselves aloft into the air, and there fly like wandering atoms 
hither and thither, as it is for any man, of himself, i. e. by a pure 
natural power of his own, to come to Christ. It was not a stranger 
thing for Peter to come to Christ, walking upon the waves of the 



SEEM. IX. THE METHOD OF Git ACE. 17$ 

sea, than for his, or any mans soul, to come to Christ in the way 
of faith. 

Fourthly, Coming to Christ notes the voluntariness of the soul 
in its motion to Christ. It is true, there is no coming without the 
Father's drawing ; but that drawing hath nothing of coaction in it ; 
it doth not destroy, but powerfully, and with an overcoming sweet- 
ness, persuade the will. It is not forced or driven, but it comes ; 
being made " willing in the day of God's power,' 1 Psal. ex. 3. 
Ask a poor distressed sinner in that season, Are you willing to come 
to Christ? O rather than live ! life is not so necessary as Christ is 1 
O ! with all my heart, ten thousand worlds for Jesus Christ, if he 
could be purchased, were nothing answerable to his value in mine 
eyes ! The soul's motion to Christ is free and voluntary, it is 
coming. 

Fifthly, It implies this in it, That no duties, or ordinances, 
(which are but the ways and means by which we come to Christ), 
are, or ought to be central and terminative to the soul : i. e. the 
soul of a believer is not to sit down, and rest in them, but to come 
by them or through them to Jesus Christ, and take up his rest in 
him only. No duties, no reformations, no ordinances of God, how 
excellent soever these things are in themselves, and how necessary 
soever they are in their proper place and use, can give rest to the 
weary and heavy laden soul : it cannot centre in any of them, and 
you may see it cannot, because it still gravitates and inclines to ano- 
ther thing, even Christ, and cannot terminate its .motion till it 
be come to him. Christ is the term to which a believer moves ; 
and therefore he cannot sit down by the way, or be as well satis- 
fied as if he were at his journey's end. Ordinances and duties 
have the nature and use of means to bring us to Christ, but not to 
be to any man instead of Christ. 

Sixthly, * Coming to Christ, implies an hope or expectation 
from Christ in the coming soul. If he hath no hope, why doth 
it move forward ? As good sit still, and resolve to perish where it is, 
as to come to Christ, if there is no ground to expect salvation by 
him. Hope is the spring of motion and industry; if you cut off 
hope, you hinder faith : it cannot move to Christ, except it be sa- 
tisfied, at least, of the possibility of mercy and salvation by him. 
Hence it is, that when comers to Christ are struggling with the 
doubts and fears of the issue, the Lord is pleased to enliven their 
faint hopes, by setting home such scriptures as these, John vi. 37. 
" He that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." And Heb. 
vii. 25. "He is able to save to the uttermost, all that come unto 

* Come unto me, i. e. with the graces of faith, religious hope, and desire. J3ru- 
gensis on the place. 



1*4 THE METHOD OF GRACE, SERM. IX, 

" God by him*" This puts life into hope, and hope puts life into 
industry and motion. 

Seventhly, Coming to Christ for rest implies, that believers have, 
and lawfully may have an eye to their own happiness, in closing 
with the Lord Jesus Christ. The poor soul comes for rest ; it 
comes for salvation ; its eye and aim are upon it ; and this aim of 
the soul at its own good, is legitimated, and allowed by that ex- 
pression of Christ, John v. 40. " Ye will not come unto me, that 
" ye may have life." If Christ blame them for not coming to him, 
that they might have life, sure he would not blame them, had they 
come to him for life. 

Eighthly, but Lastly, and which is the principal thing in this ex- 
pression ; Coming to Christ, notes the all-sufficiency of Christ, to 
answer all the needs and wants of distressed souls, and their be- 
taking themselves accordingly to him only for relief, being content 
to come to Christ for whatever they need, and live upon that ful- 
ness that is in him. If there were not an all-sufficiency in Christ, 
no soul would come to him ; for this is the very ground upon 
which men come. Heb. vii. 25. " He is able to save to the ut- 
" termost, all that come to God by him :" Big to Tua^nXig, to the 
uttermost : In the greatest plunges, difficulties, and dangers. He 
hath a fulness of saving power in him, and this encourages souls to 
come unto him. One beggar uses not to wait at the door of ano- 
ther, but all at the doors of them they conceive able to relieve 
them. And as this notes the fulness of Christ as our Saviour, so 
it must needs note the emptiness and humility of the soul as a 
comer to him. This is called submission, in Rom. x. 3. Proud 
nature must be deeply distressed, humbled, and moulded into ano- 
ther temper, before it will be persuaded to live upon those terms, 
to come to Christ for every thing it wants, to live upon Christ" s ful- 
ness in the way of grace and favour, and have no stock of its own 
to live upon. O ! this is hard, but it is the Avay of faith. 

Secondly, In the next place, let us see how Christ invites men to 
come to him, and you shall find the means employed in this work, 
are either internal, and principal, namely, the Spirit of God, who 
is Christ's vicegerent, and comes to us in his name and room, to 
persuade us to believe, John xv. 26; or external, namely, the 
preaching of the gospel by commissioned ambassadors, who, in 
Christ } s stead, beseech men to be reconciled to God, i. e. to come to 
Christ by faith, in order to their reconciliation and peace with God. 
But all means and instruments employed in this work of bringing 
men to Christ, entirely depend upon the blessing and concurrence 
of the Spirit of God, without whom they signify nothing. How 
long may ministers preach, before one soul comes to Christ, except 
the Spirit co-operate in that work ! Now as to the manner in which 



SERM. IX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 175 

men are persuaded, and their wills wrought upon to come to 
Christ, I will briefly note several acts of the Spirit, in order there- 
unto. 

First, There is an illustrating work of the Spirit upon the minds 
of sinners, opening their eyes to see their danger and misery ; till 
these be discovered, no man stirs from his place: It is sense of dan- 
ger that rouzes the secure sinner, that distresses him, and makes 
him look about for deliverance, crying, What shall I do to be saved? 
And it is the discovery of Christ's ability to save, which is the 
ground and reason, (as was observed above,) of its motion to 
Christ. Hence, seeing the Son, is joined with believing, or coming 
to him, in John vi. 40. 

Secondly, There is the authoritative call, or commanding voice 
of the Spirit in the word ; a voice that is full of awful majesty and 
power. 1 John iii. 23. " This is his commandment, that we 
" should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ." This 
call of the Spirit to come to Christ, removes one great ob- 
struction, namely, the fear of presumption out of the souPs way to 
Christ, and, instead of presumption in coming, makes it rebellion, 
and inexcusable obstinacy, to refuse to come. This answers all 
pleas against coming to Christ from our unworthiness and deep 
guilt ; and mightily encourages the soul to come to Christ, what- 
ever it hath been, or done. 

Thirdly, There are soul-encouraging, conditional* promises, to 
all that do come to Christ in obedience to the command. Such is 
that in my text, / will give you rest : And that in John vi. 37. 
" Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." And these 
breathe life and encouragement into poor souls that fear, and are 
daunted through their own unworthiness. 

Fourthly, There are dreadful threatenings denounced by the Spi- 
rit in the word, against all that refuse or neglect to come to Christ, 
which are of great use to engage and quicken souls in their way to 
Christ. Mark xvi. 16. "He that believes not shall be damned: 
" Die in his sins," John viii. 14. " The wrath of God shall remain 
" on him," John iii. ult. Which is as if the Lord had said, Sin- 
ners, do not dally with Christ, do not be always treating, and never 
concluding, or resolving : for if there be justice in heaven, or fire 
in hell, every soul that comes not to Christ, must, and shall perish 
to all eternity. Upon your own heads let the blood and destruc- 
tion of your own souls be for ever, if you will not come unto him. 

Fifthly, There are moving examples set before souls in the word, 
to prevail with them to come, alluring and encouraging examples oi 

* Promises which imply the connection of the end with the means. Editor. 



KG THE METHOD OF GRACE. BERM. IX. 

such as have come to Christ, under the deepest guilt and discou- 
ragement, and yet found mercy. 1 Tim. i. 15, 16. " This is a 
" faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ 
" came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief: how- 
" beit, (or nevertheless) for this cause I have obtained mercy, that 
" in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for 
" a pattern to them which should hereafter believe in him to life 
" everlasting." Who would not come to Christ after such an ex- 
ample as this ? And if this will not prevail, there are dreadful ex- 
amples recorded in the word, setting before us the miserable con- 
dition of all such as refuse the calls of the word to come to Christ. 
1 Pet. iii. 19, 20. " By which also he went and preached to the 
4i spirits which are in prison, which sometime were disobedient, 
<; when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of 
" Noah. 1 ' The meaning is, the sinners that lived before the 
flood, but now are in hell, clapt up in that prison, had the offers of 
grace made them, but despised them, and now lie for their disobe- 
dience in prison, under the wrath of God for it, in the lowest 
hell. 

Sixthly, and lastly ', There is an effectual persuading, overcoming 
and victorious work of the Spirit upon the hearts and wills of sin- 
ners, under which they come to Jesus Christ. Of this I have 
spoken at large before, in the fourth sermon, and therefore shall 
not add any thing more here. This is the way and manner in 
which souls are prevailed with to come to Jesus Christ. 

Thirdly, In the last place, if you enquire why Christ makes his 
invitations to weary and heavy laden souls, and to no other, * the 
answer is briefly this : 

Fh'st, Because in so doing, he follows the commission which he 
received from his Father: so you will find it runs, in Isa. lxi. 1. 
" The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath 
" anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek, he hath sent 
" me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the 
" captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. 
You see here how Christ's commission directs him : his Father sent 
him to poor broken-hearted sinners, and he will keep close to his 
commission. " He came not to call the righteous, but sinners, (i. e. 
" sensible burdened sinners) to repentance." Matth. ix. IS. " I 
" am not sent (saith he,) but unto the lost sheep of the house of 

* Though weary and heavy laden souls only, and in the issue, will believe; yet sin- 
ners, without exception, and as sinners, are the objects of the gospel- proclamation. It 
is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ came into the world to 
save sinners, 1 Tim. i. 15. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth on him, should not perish, but have everlasting life, John 
iii. IC. Editor, 



SERM. IX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 177 

* Israel." Thus his instructions and commission from the Father 
limit him only to sensible and burdened souls, and he will be faith- 
ful to his commission. 

Secondly, The very order of the Spirit's work in bringing men 
to Christ, shews us to whom the invitation arid offers of grace in 
Christ are to be made. For none are convinced of righteousness, 
i. e. of complete and perfect righteousness, which is in Christ for 
their justification, until first they be convinced of sin ; and, conse- 
quently, no man will, or can come to Christ by faith, till convic- 
tions of sin have awakened and distressed him, John xvi. 8, 9. 
This being the due order of the Spirit's operation, the same order 
must be observed in gospel-offers and invitations. 

Thirdly, It behoves that Christ should provide for his own glory, 
as well as for our safety ; and not to expose one to secure the other; 
but save us in that way which will bring him most honour and 
praise. And certainly such a way as this, by first convincing, hum- 
bling, and burdening the souls of men, and then bringing them 
home to rest in himself. 

Alas ! let those that never saw, or felt the evil of sin, be told 
of rest, peace, and pardon in Christ, they will but despise it as a 
thing of no value, Luke v. 31. " The whole need not a physician, 
u but those that are sick." Bid a man that thinks himself sound 
and whole go to a physician, and he will but laugh at the motion ; 
if you offer him the richest composition, he will refuse it, slight it, 
and it may be, spill it upon the ground. Ay, but if the same man 
,did once feel an acute disease, and were made to sweat and groan 
under strong pains, if ever he come to know what sick days and 
restless nights are, and to apprehend his life to be in imminent 
hazard ; then messengers are sent, one after another, in post-haste 
to the physician ; then he begs him with tears to do what in him 
lies for his relief: he thankfully takes the bitterest potions, and 
praises the care and skill of his physician with tears of joy. And 
so the patient's safety and the physician's honour are both secured. 
So is it in this method of grace. The uses follow. 

Infer. 1. If sin-burdened souls are solemnly invited to come to 
Christ, Then it follows, that 'whatever guilt lies upon the conscience 
of a poor humbled sinner, it is no presumption, but his duty to come 
to Christ, notwithstanding his own apprehended vileness and great 
unworthiness. 

Let it be carefully observed, how happily that universal particle 
all, is inserted in Christ's invitation, for the encouragement of sin- 
ners ; " Come unto me, [all] ye that labour ;" q. d. Let no bro- 
ken-hearted sinner exclude himself, when he is not by me ex- 
cluded from mercy : my grace is my own, I may bestow it where 
I will, and upon whom I will. It is not I, but Satan that impales 
and incloses my mercy from humbled souls that are made willing to 



178 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IX. 

come unto me ; he calls that your presumption, which my invita- 
tion makes your duty. 

Objec. 1. But I doubt my case is excepted by Christ himself, in 
Mat. xii. 31. where blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is exempted 
from pardon, and I have had many horrid blasphemous thoughts 
injected into my soul. 

Sol Art thou a burdened and heavy laden soul ? If so, thy case 
is not in that, or any other scripture exempted from mercy ; for the 
unpardonable sin is always found in an impenitent heart : as that 
sin finds no pardon with God, so neither is it followed with con- 
trition and sorrow in the soul that commits it. 

Objec. 2. But if I am not guilty of that sin, I am certainly guilty 
of many great and heinous abominations of another kind, too great 
for me to expect mercy for ; and therefore I dare not go to Christ. 

Sol The greater your sins have been, the more need you have to 
go to Jesus Christ. Let not a motive to go to Christ be made an 
obstacle in your way to him. Great sinners are expressly called, Isa. 
i. 18. great sinners have come to Christ and found mercy, 1 Cor. vi. 
7. and to conclude, it is an high reproach and dishonour to the 
blood of Christ, and mercy of God, which flows so freely through 
him, to objeet the greatness of sin to either of them. Certainly 
you have not sinned beyond the extent of mercy, or beyond the 
efficacy of the blood of Christ : but pardon and peace may be had, 
if you will thus come to Christ for it. 

Objec. 3. Oh ! but it is now too late ; I have had many thou- 
sand calls by the gospel, and refused them ; many purposes in my 
heart to go to Christ, and quenched them ; my time therefore is 
past, and now it is to no purpose. 

Sol. If the time of grace be past, and God intends no mercy for 
thee, how comes it to pass thy soul is now filled with trouble and 
distress for sin ? Is this the frame of a man's heart that is past 
hope. Do such signs as these appear in men that are hopeless ? 
Beside, the time of grace is a secret hid in the breast of God ; but 
coming to Christ is a duty plainly revealed in the text : And why 
will you object a thing that is secret and uncertain, against a duty 
that is so plain and evident? Nor do you yourselves believe -what 
you object ; for at the same time that you say your seasons are 
over, it is too late, you are, notwithstanding, found repenting, 
mourning, praying, and striving to come to Christ. Certainly, if 
Vou knew it were too late, you would not be found labouring in 
the use of means. Go on, therefore, and the Lord be with you. 
It is not presumption, but obedience, to come when Christ calls, 
as he here doth, " Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are 
" heavy laden." 

Infer. 2. Hence it follows, That none have cause to be troubled, 



SERM. 7K. THE METHOD OF GRACfc. ] 7j) 

when God makes the souls of their friends or relations sick with the 
sense of sin. It was the saying (as I remember) of Hieron to Sa- 
binian, Nothing (said he) makes my heart sadder, than that nothing 
can make my heart sad. It is matter of joy to all that rightly under- 
stand the matter, when God smites the heart of any man with the 
painful sense of sin; of such sickness it may be said, " This sick- 
" ness is not unto death, but for the glory of God. 1 "' Yet how 
do many carnal relations lament and bewail this as a misery, as an 
undoing to their friends and acquaintances; as if then they must 
be reckoned lost, and never till then, that Christ is finding and 
saving them. O ! if your hearts were spiritual and wise, their 
groans for sin would be as music in your ears. When they go 
alone to bewail their sin, you would go alone also to bless God for 
such a mercy, that ever you should live to such a happy day : 
You would say, Now is my friend in the blessed pangs of the new 
birth ; now is he in the very way of mercy ; never in so hopeful a 
condition as now. I had rather he should groan now at the feet 
of Christ, than groan hereafter under the wrath of God for ever. 
O ! parents, beware, as you love the souls of your children, that 
you do not damp and discourage them, tempt or threaten them, 
divert or hinder them in such cases as this, lest you bring the blood 
of their soids upon your own heads. 

Inf. 3. It also follows from hence, That those to whom sin zca.« 
never any burthen, are not yet come to Christ, nor have any interest 
in him. We may as well suppose a child to be born without any 
pangs, as a soul to be born again, and united to Christ, without any 
sense or sorrow for sin. I know many have great frights of consci- 
ence, that never were made duly sensible of the evil of sin ; many are 
afraid of burning, that never were afraid of sinning. Slight and 
transient troubles some have had, but they vanished like an early 
cloud, or morning dew. Few men are without checks and throbs of 
conscience at one time or other ; but instead of going to the closet, 
they run to the alehouse or tavern for cure. If their sorrow for 
sin had been right, nothing but the sprinkling of the blood of 
Christ could have appeased their consciences, Heb. x. 22. How 
cold should the consideration of this thing strike to the hearts of 
such persons ! Methinks, reader, if this be thy case, it should send 
thee away with an aking heart ; thou hast not yet tasted the bit- 
terness of sin, and if thou do not, thou shalt never taste the sweet- 
ness of Christ, his pardons and peace. 

Inf. 4. How great a mercy is it for sin-burthened souls to be within 
the sound and call of Christ in the gospel ! 

There be many thousands in the Pagan and Popish parts of the 
world, that labour under distresses of conscience as well as we, but 
have no such reliefs, no such means of peace and comfort as we 

Vol. II, M 



180 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IX, 

have that live within the joyful sound of the gospel. If the conscience 
of a Papist be burdened with guilt, all the relief he hath, is to af- 
flict his body to quiet his soul ; a penance, or pilgrimage, is all the 
relief they have. If a Pagan be in trouble for sin, he hath no 
knowledge of Christ, nor notion of a satisfaction made by him ; the 
voice of nature is, Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, 
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ? The damned endure 
the terrible blows and wounds of conscience for sin, they roar under 
that terrible lash, but no voice of peace or pardon is heard among 
them. It is not, " Come unto me, ye that labour, and are heavy 
" laden," but " depart from me, ye'eursed." 

Blessed are your ears, for you hear the voice of peace ; you are 
come to Jesus the Mediator, and to the blood of sprinkling. O, 
you can never set a due value upon this privilege. 

Inf. 5. How siceet and ztnspeakably relieving is the closing of a 
burthened soul with Jesus Christ, by faith ! It is rest to the weary 
soul. 

Soul-troubles are spending, wasting troubles ; the pains of a dis- 
tressed conscience are the most acute pains. A poor soul would 
fain be at rest, but knows not where; he tries this duty and that, 
but finds none. At last, in a way of believing, he casts himself, 
with his burden of guilt and fear, upon Christ, and there is the rest 
his soul desired. Christ and rest come together ; till faith bring you 
to the bosom of Jesus, you can find no true rest : The soul is rolling 
and tossing, sick and weary, upon the billows of its own guilt and 
fears. Now the soul is come like a ship tossed with storms and 
tempests, out of a raging ocean into the quiet harbour ! or like a 
lost sheep that hath been wandering in weariness, hunger, and dan- 
ger, into the fold. Is a soft bed in a quiet chamber sweet to one 
that is spent and tired with travel ? Is the sight of a shore sweet 
to the shipwrecked mariner, who looked for nothing but death ? 
Much more sweet is Christ to a soul that comes to him pressed in 
conscience, and broken in spirit under the sinking weight of sin. 

How did the Italians rejoice, after a long and dangerous voyage, 
to see Italy again ! crying, with loud and united voices which 
made the very heavens ring again, * Italy ! Italy ! But no shore is 
so sweet to the weather-beaten passenger, as Christ is to a broken- 
hearted sinner : This brings the soul to a sweet repose. Heb. iv. 
3. " We, which have believed, do enter into rest." And this en- 
dears the way of faith to their souls ever after. 

Inf. 6. Learn hence the usefulness of the law to bring souls to 
Jesus Christ. It is utterly useless, as a covenant, to justify us ; but 
exceeding useful to convince and humble us ; it cannot relieve nor ease 



Italiam, Italiam, Iceto clamorc sahttant. Virg. 



SERM. IX. T'HE METHOD OF GRACE. ISl 

us, but it can and doth awaken and rouse us. It is a fair glass to shew 
us the face of sin, and till we have seen that we cannot see the face 
of Jesus Christ. 

The law, like the fiery serpent, smites, stings, and torments the 
conscience ; this drives us to the Lord Jesus, lifted up in the gos- 
pel, like the brazen serpent in the wilderness, to heal us. The use 
of the law is to make us feel our sickness ; this makes us look out 
for a Physician : " I was alive once, without the law, (saith Paul) 
" but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died," 
Rom. vii. 9> The hard, vain, proud hearts of men require such an 
hammer to break them to pieces. 

Inf. 7. It is the immediate duty of weary and heavy-laden sinners 
to come to Christ by faith, and not stand off from Christ, or delay 
to accept him upon any terms whatsoever. 

Christ invites and commands such to come unto him ; it is there- 
fore your sin to neglect, draw back, or defer whatever seeming rea- 
sons and pretences there may be to the contrary. When the gaoler 
was brought (where I suppose thee now to be) to a pinching distress, 
that made him cry, " Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?" The very 
next counsel the apostles gave him was, " Believe on the Lord Jesus 
" Christ, and thou shalt be saved," Acts xvi. 30, 31. And, for 
your encouragement, know, that he who calleth you to come, knows 
your burden, what your sins have been and troubles are, yet he calls 
you : if your sin hinder not Christ from calling, neither should it 
hinder you from coming. He that calls you, is able to ease you, " to 
" save to the uttermost, all that come to God by him," Heb. vii. 25. 
Whatever fulness of sin be in you, there is a greater fulness of 
saving power in Christ. Moreover, he that calls you to come, never 
yet rejected any poor burdened soul that came to him ; and hath said 
he never will. John vi. 37. " Him that cometh unto me, I will in 
" no wise cast out." Fear not, therefore, he will not begin with thee, 
or make thee the first instance and example of the feared rejection. 

And, Lastly, Bethink thyself, what wilt thou do, and whither 
wilt thou go, in this case, if not to Jesus Christ ? Nothing shall 
ease or relieve thee till thou dost come to him. Thou art under 
an happy necessity to go to him ; with him only is found rest for the 
weary soul ; which brings us to the third and last observation, 

Doct. 3. That there is rest in Christ, for all that come unto hhu 
under the heavy burden of sin. 

Rest is a sweet word to a weary soul ; all seek it, but none but 
believers find it. We which have believed, (saiih the apostle) * do 

Nun dicit s/^/Oo/xa, i n g ress i sumvs, scd U<fBf>%pfie§a i ingredimur, signi/icans, 
'.\it a quietis fideles nunc habere t - plenum rpiietem siio tempore comrcuturos. JPareus in )os, 

M2 



1S~ THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IX. 

enter into rest, Heb. iv. 3. " He doth not say, they shall, but they 
" do enter into rest ; noting their spiritual rest to be already begun 
" by faith on earth in the tranquillity of conscience, and shall be 
" consummated in heaven, in the full enjoyment of God." There 
is a sweet calm upon the troubled soul after believing, an ease, or 
rest of the mind, which is an unspeakable mercy to a poor weary 
soul. Christ is to it as the ark was to the dove, when she wandered 
over the watery world, and found no place to rest the sole of her 
foot. Faith centres the unquiet spirit of man in Christ, brings it to 
repose itself and its burden on him. It is the soufs dropping anchor 
in a storm, which stays and settles it. 

The great debate which cost so many anxious thoughts is now 
issued into this resolution ; I will venture my all upon Christ, let 
him do with me as seemeth him good. It was impossible for the 
soul to find rest, whilst it knew not where to bestow itself, or bow 
to be secured from the wrath to come ; but when all is embarked 
in Christ for eternity, and the soul fully resolved to lean upon 
him, and to trust to him, now it feels the very initials of eter- 
nal rest in itself : it finds an heavy burden unloaded from its 
shoulders ; it is come, as it were, into a new world ; the case is 
strangely altered. The word rest, in this place, notes *, (and is so 
rendered by some) a recreation ; it is restored, renewed, and re- 
created, as it '/ere, by that sweet repose it hath upon Christ. 
Believers, know that faith is the sweetest recreation you can take. 
Others seek to divert and Jose their troubles, by sinful recreations, 
vain company, and the like; but they little know what the re- 
creation and sweet restoring rest that faith gives the soul is. You 
find, in Christ, what they seek in vain among the creatures. Be- 
lieving is the highest recreation known in this world. But to pre- 
vent mistakes, three Cautions need to be premised, lest we do, in 
ipso limine impingere, stumble at the threshold, and so lose our way 
all along afterward. 

Caution 1. 

You arc not to conceive, that all tlie souVsJears, troubles and sor- 
rows are presently over and at an end, as soon as it is come to Christ 
by faith, -j- They will have many troubles in the world after that, 
it may be, more than ever they had in their lives : " Our flesh 
<; (saith Paul) had no rest," 2 Cor. vii. 5. They will be infested 
with many temptations after that ; that, it may be, the assaults of 
Satan may be more violent upon their souls than ever. Horribilia 



* I will give you recreation from weariness, troubles and burdens. Vatab. et 
Erasm. 

f Luther, upon his conversion, was so buffeted by Satan, that neither heat, blood, 
sensation, or speech remained. 



SffctM. TX. THE METHOD OF GRAMS. 183 

de Deo, terribilia de fide : injections that make the very bones to 
quake, and the belly to tremble. They will not be wholly freed 
from sin ; that rest remains for the people of God ; nor from in- 
ward trouble and grief of soul about sin. These things are not to 
be expected presently. 

Caution 2. 

We may not think edl believers d\) Immediately enter into the full, 
actual sense of rest and comfort, but they presently enter Into the 
state of rest " Being justified by faith, we have peace with God," 
Rom. v 1. i. e. we enter into the state of peace immediately. " Peace 
" is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart, 1 ' 
Psal. cxvii. 11. And he is a rich man that hath a thousand acres 
of corn in the ground, as well as he that hath so much in his barn, 
or the money in his purse. They have rest and peace in the seed 
of it, when they have it not in the fruit ; they have rest in the 
promise, when they have it not in possession ; and he is a rich man 
that hath good bonds and bills for a great sum of money, if he 
have not twelve-pence in his pocket. All believers have the pro- 
mise, have rest and peace granted them under God's own hand, 
in many promises which faith brings them under; and we know 
that the truth and faithfulness of God stands engaged to make 
good every line and word of the promise to them. So that though 
they have not a full and clear actual sense and feeling of rest, they 
are, nevertheless by faith come into the state of rest. 

Caution S. 

We may not conceive that faith itself is the souFs rest, but the 
means and instruments of it only. We cannot find rest in any 
work or duty of our own, but we may find it in Christ, whom faith 
apprehends for justification and salvation. 

Having thus guarded the point against misapprehensions, by 
these needful cautions, I shall next shew you how our coming to 
Christ by faith brings us to rest in him. And here let it be con- 
sidered what those things are that burden, grieve and disquiet the 
soul before its coming to Christ ; and how it is relieved and eased 
in all those respects, by its coming to the Lord Jesus; and you 
shall find, 

First, That one principal ground of trouble is the guilt of sin 
upon the conscience, of which I spake in the former point. The 
curse of the law lies heavy upon the soul, so heavy that nothing is 
found in all the world able to relieve it under that burden ; as you 
see in a condemned man, spread a table in prison with the great- 
est dainties, and send for the rarest musicians, all will not charm 
his sorrow : but if you can produce an authentic pardon, you ease 
him presently. Just so it is here, faith plucks the thorn out of 

M3 



184 the method of gbace. sekm. ix, 

the conscience, which so grieved it, unites the soul with Christ, and 
then that ground of trouble is removed : for " there is no condem- 
" nation to them that are in Christ Jesus," Rom. viii. 1. The 
same moment the soul comes to Christ, it hath passed from death 
to life, is no more under the law, but grace. If a man's debt be 
paid by his surety, he need not fear to shew his face boldly abroad ; 
he may freely meet the Serjeant at the prison-door. 

Secondly, The soul of a convinced sinner is exceedingly burden- 
ed with the uncleanness and filthiness wherewith sin hath defiled 
and polluted it. Conviction discovers the universal pollution of 
heart and life, so that a man loathes and abhors himself by reason 
thereof: if he do not look into his own corruptions, he cannot be 
safe ; and if he do, he cannot bear the sight of them ; he hath no 
quiet ; nothing can give rest, but what gives relief against this evil ; 
and this only is done by faith uniting the soul with Jesus Christ. 
For though it be true that the pollution of sin be not presently and 
perfectly taken away by coming to Christ, yet the burden thereof 
is exceedingly eased ; for, upon our believing, there is an heart- 
purifying principle planted in the soul, which doth, by degrees, 
cleanse that fountain of corruption, and will at last perfectly free 
the soul from it. Acts xv. 9. " Purifying their hearts by faith ;" 
and being once in Christ, he is concerned for the soul as a member 
now of his own mystical body, to purify and cleanse it, that at last 
he may present it perfect to the Father, without spot or wrinkle, 
or any such thing, Eph. v. 26. The reigning power of it is gone 
immediately upon believing, and the very existence and being of 
it shall at last be destroyed. O, what rest must this give under 
those troubles for sin : 

Thirdly, It was an intolerable burden to the soul to be under the 
continual fears, alarms, and frights of death and damnation; its 
life hath been a life of bondage, upon this account, ever since the 
Lord opened his eyes to see his condition. Poor souls lie down 
witli tremblings, for fear what a night may bring forth. It is a 
sad life indeed to live in continual bondage of such fears; but faith 
sweetly relieves the trembling conscience, by removing the guilt 
which breeds its fears. The sting of death is sin. When guilt is 
removed, fears vanquish. " Smite, Lord, smite, said Luther, 
" for my sins are forgiven *." Now, if sickness come, it is another 
thing than it was wont to be. Isa. xxxiii, 24. " The inhabitant 
" shall not say, I am sick, the people that dwell therein shall be 
" forgiven their iniquities." A man scarce feels his sickness, in 
comparison to what he did, whilst he was without Christ and hope 
of pardon. 



* Feri, Vomme, jkri t nan a yeccatis vicis absolvtus sum. Luther. 



S*RM. IX. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 185 



Fourtlily, A convinced sinner, out of Christ, sees every thing 
against him ; nothing yields any comfort, yea, every thing increases 
and aggravates his burden, when he looks to things past, present, 
or to come. If he reflect upon things past, his soul is filled with 
anguish, to remember the sins committed and the seasons neglect- 
ed, and the precious mercies that have been abused ; if he look 
upon things present, the case is doleful and miserable ; nothing 
but trouble and danger, Christless and comfortless ; and if he look 
forward to things to come, that gives him a deeper cut to the heart 
than any thing else ; for though it be sad and miserable for the 
present, yet he fears it will be much worse hereafter ; all these are 
but the beginning of sorrows. And thus the poor, awakened sin- 
ner becomes a Magor Missabib ; fear round about. 

But, upon his coming to Christ, all things are marvellously al J 
tered ; a quite contrary face of things appears to him ; every thing 
gives him hope and comfort, which way soever he looks. So speaks 
the apostle, 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23. " All things are yours, (saith he) 
" whether life or death, or things present, or things to come ; all 
u is yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's :" They are- 
ours, i. e. for our advantage, benefit, and comfort. More particu- 
larly upon our coming to Christ, 

First, Things past are ours, they conduce to our advantage and 
comfort. Now the soul can begin to read the gracious end and 
design of God, in all its preservations and deliverances ; whereby 
it hath been reserved for such a day as this. O ! it melts his heart 
to consider his companions in sin and vanity are cut off, and he 
spared ; and that for a day of such mercy, as the day of his espousals 
with Christ is. Now all his past sorrows, and deep troubles of 
spirit, which God hath exercised him with, begin to appear the 
greatest mercies that ever he received ; being all necessary and in- 
troductive to this blessed union with Christ. 

Secondly, Things present are ours, though it be not yet with us 
as we would have it ; Christ is not sure enough, the heart is not 
pure enough ; sin is too strong, and grace is too weak ; many 
things are yet out of order; yet can the soul bless God for this, 
with tears of joy and praise, being full of admiration and holy as- 
tonishment, that it is as it is ; and that he is where he is, though he 
be not yet where he would be. O ! it is a blessed life to live as a 
poor recumbent, by acts of trust and affiance, though, as yet, he have 
but little evidence ; that he is resolved to trust all with Christ, 
though he be not yet certain of the issue. O this it a comfortable 
station, a sweet condition to what it was, either when the soul wallow- 
ed in sin, in the days before conviction, or was swallowed up in fears 
and troubles for sin after conviction ; now it hath hope, though it 
want assurance : and hope is sweet to a soul coming out of such 

Hi 



186 THE METHOD OF GfiACE. SERM. IX. 

deep distresses. Now it sees the remedy, and is applying it ; whereas 
before the wound seemed desperate. Now all hesitations and de- 
bates are at an end in the soul ; it is no longer unresolved what 
to do ; all things have been deeply considered, and after considera- 
tion, issued into this resolve, or decree of the will : I will go to 
Christ ; I will venture all upon his command and call ; I will em- 
bark my eternal interests in that bottom ; here I fix, and here I 
resolve to live and die. O ! how much better is this than that 
floating life it lived before, rolling upon the billows of inward 
fears and troubles, not able to drop anchor any where, nor know- 
ing where to find an harbour ? 

Thirdly, Things to come arc ours ; and this is the best and sweet- 
est of all : Man is a prospecting creature, his eye is much upon 
things to come, and it will not satisfy him that it is well at present, 
except he have a prospect that it shall be so hereafter. But now 
the soul hath committed itself and all its concernments to Christ 
for eternity, and this being done, it is greatly relieved against evils 
to come. 

I cannot (saith the believer) think all my troubles over, and that 
I shall never meet any more afflictions ; it were a fond vanity to 
dream of that : but I leave all these things where I have left my 
soul : he that hath supported me under inward, will carry me 
through outward troubles also. I cannot think ah my tempta- 
tions to sin past ; O! I may yet meet with sore assaults from Satan, 
yet it is infinitely better to be watching, praying, and striving against 
sin, than it was when I was obeying it in the lusts of it. God, that 
hath delivered me from the love of sin, will, I trust, preserve me 
from ruin by sin. I know also death is to come ; I must feel the 
pangs and agonies of it : but yet the aspect of death is much more 
pleasant than it was. I come, Lord Jesus to thee, who art the 
death of death, whose death hath disarmed death of its sting : for 
I fear not its dart if I feel not its sting. And thus you see briefly, 
how by faith believers enter into rest ; how Christ gives rest, even 
at present, to them that come to him, and all this but as a begin- 
ning of their everlasting rest. 

Inference 1. Is there rest in Christ for weary souls that come unto 
him ? Then, certainly it is a design of Satan against the peace and 
ivclfare of men's souls, to discourage them from coming to Christ 
in the way of faith. 

He is a restless spirit himself, and would make us so too ; it is 
an excellent note of * Minutius Felix. " Those desperate and rest- 
" less spirits (saith he) have no other peace but in bringing us to 
ki the same misery themselves are in :" He goeth about as a roar- 

* Ad solamen calamitatis sua, nm desimmt perditi perdere, Minut. Felix. 



SERM. IX. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 187 



ing lion, seeking whom he may devour. It frets and grates his 
proud and envious mind, to see others find rest when he can find 
none; an effectual plaister applied to heal our wound, when his 
own must bleed to eternity : And he obtains his end fully, if he 
can but keep off souls from Christ. Look therefore, upon all those 
objections and discouragements raised in your hearts against coming 
to Christ, as so many artifices and cunning devices of the devil, to 
destroy and ruin your souls. It is true they have a very specious 
and colourable appearance ; they are gilded over with pretences 
of the justice of God, the heinous nature of sin, the want of due 
and befitting qualifications for so holy and pure a God, the lapsing 
of the season of mercy, and an hundred others of like nature : but 
I beseech you, lay down this as a sure conclusion, and hold it fast ; 
that whatever it be that discourages and hinders you from coming 
to Christ, is directly against the interest of your souls, and the hand 
of the devil is certainly in it. 

Infer. 2. Hence also it follows, that unbelief' is the true reason of 
all that disquictuess and trouble, by which the minds of poor sinners 
are so racked and tortured. 

If you will not believe, you cannot be established ; till you come 
to Christ, peace cannot come to you : Christ and peace are undi- 
vided. Good souls, consider this ; you have tried all other ways, 
you have tried duties, and no rest comes ; you have tried reforma- 
tion, restitution, and a stricter course of life ; yet your wounds are 
still open, and fresh bleeding : these things, I grant, are in their 
places both good and necessary ; but, of themselves, without Christ, 
utterly insufficient to give what you expect from them : why will 
you not try the way of faith ? Why will you not carry your bur- 
then to Christ ? O ! that you would be persuaded to it, how soon 
would you find what so long you have been seeking in vain ! How 
long will you thus oppose your own good ? How long will you keep 
yourselves upon the rack of conscience ? Is it easy to go under the 
throbs and wounds of an accusing and condemning conscience ? 
You know it is not : you look for peace, but no good comes ; for 
a time of healing, and behold trouble. Alas ! it must and will be 
so still, until you are in the way of faith, which is the true and only 
method to obtain rest. 

Inf. 3. What cause have we all to admire the goodness of God, in 
providing for us a Christ, in whom we may find rest to our souls ! 

How hath the Lord filled and furnished Jesus Christ with all 
that is suitable to a believer's wants ! Doth the guilt of sin terrify 
his conscience ? Lo, in him is perfect righteousness to remove that 
guilt, so that it shall neither be imputed to his person, nor reflect- 
ed by his conscience, in the way of condemnation as it was before. 
In him also is a fountain opened, for washing and for cleansing the 



188 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. IX, 

filth of sin from our souls; in him is the fulness both of merit, and 
of spirit, two sweet springs of peace to the souls of men : well might 
the apostle say, " Christ the wisdom of God," 1 Cor. i. 30. and 
well might the Church say, " He is altogether lovely ," Cant. v. 
16. Had not God provided Jesus Christ for us, we had never 
known one hour's rest to all eternity. 

Inf. 4. How unreasonable, and wholly inexcusable, in believers, 
is the sin of backsliding from Christ! Have you found rest in him, 
when you could not find it in any other ! Did he receive, and ease 
your souls, when all other persons and things were physicians of no 
value ? And will you, after this, backslide from him again ? O what 
madness is this ! " Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon, which 
" cometh from the rock of the field ? Or shall the cold, flowing 
" waters, that come from another place, be forsaken ?" No man 
that is in his wits would leave the pure, cold, refreshing stream of 
a crystal fountain, to go to a filthy puddle, lake, or an empty cis- 
tern ; such the best enjoyments of this world are, in comparison with 
Jesus Christ. 

That was a melting expostulation of Christ's with the disciples, 
John vi. 67, 68. when some had forsaken him, "Will ye also 
" go away ?" And it was a very suitable return they made, Lord, 
whither away from thee should we go ! q. d. From thee, Lord ! 
No, where can we mend ourselves ? be sure of it, whenever you 
go from Christ, you go from rest to trouble. Had Judas rest ? 
Had Spirarest? and do you think you shall have rest? No, no, "The 
" backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways," Prov. xiv. 14. 
" Cursed be the man that departeth from him, he shall be as the 
" heath in the desert, that seeth not when good cometh, and shall 
" inhabit the parched places of the wilderness," Jer. xvii. 5. If fear 
of sufferings, and worldly temptations, ever draw you off from 
Christ, you may come to those straits and terrors of conscience that 
will make you wish yourselves back again with Christ in a prison, 
with Christ at a stake. 

Infer. 5. Let all that come to Christ learn to improve him to the 
rest and peace of their own souls, in the midst of all the troubles 
and outward distresses they meet with in ilie world. 

Surely rest may be found in Christ in any condition ; he is able 
to give you peace in the midst of all your troubles here. So he tells 
vou in John xvi. 33. " These things have I spoken to you, that in 
" me you might have peace ; in the world ye shall have tribula- 
" tion." By peace he means not a deliverance from troubles, by 
taking off affliction from them, or taking them away by death 
from all afflictions ; but it is something they enjoy from Christ in 
the very midst of troubles, and amidst all their afflictions, that quiets, 
and gives them rest, so that troubles cannot hurt them. Certainly* 



SERM. X. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 189 

believers, you have peace in Christ, when there is little in your 
own hearts; and your hearts might be filled with peace too, it' 
you would exercise faith upon Christ for that end. It is your own 
fault if you be without rest in any condition in this world. Set 
yourselves to study the fulness of Christ, and to clear your interest 
in him ; believe what the scriptures reveal of him, and live as you 
believe, and you will quickly find the peace of God filling your 
hearts and minds. 

Blessed be God for Jesus Christ. 



SERMON X. 



Wherein the general Exhortation is enforced by one Mo- 
tive drawn from the first Title of Christ. 

Matth. ix. 12. 

But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole- 
need not a physician, bid they that are sick. 

XXAVIXG opened, in the former discourses, the nature and 
method of the application of Christ to sinners ; it remains now that 
I press it upon every soul, as it expects peace and pardon from God, 
to apply and put on Jesus Christ, i. e. to get union with him by 
faith, whilst he is yet held forth in the free and gracious tenders of 
the gospel. To which purpose I shall now labour in this general 
use of 'exhortation, in which my last subject engaged me ; wherein 
divers arguments will be further urged, both from 

1. The titles, and 

2. The privileges of Jesus Christ. 

The titles of Christ are so many motives or arguments fitted to 
persuade men to come unto him. Amongst which, Christ, as the 
Physician of souls, comes under our first consideration, in the text 
before us. 

The occasion of these words of Christ, was the call of Matthew 
the publican, who, having first opened his heart, next opened his 
house to Christ, and entertains him there. This strange and un- 
expected change, wrought upon Matthew, quickly brings in all 
the neighbourhood, and many publicans and sinners resorted 
thither ; at which the stomachs of the proud Pharisees began to 
swell. From this occasion they took offence at Christ, and, in this 
verse, Christ takes off the offence, by such an answer as was fitted 
both for their conviction and his own vindication. But when Jesus 



190 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SEItM. X. 



heard that, he said unto them, " The whole have no need of a 
" physician, but they that are sick." 

He gives it, saith one, as a reason why he conversed so much with 
Publicans and sinners, and so little among the Pharisees, because 
there was more work for him ; Christ came to be a physician to 
sick souls ; Pharisees were so well in their own conceit, that Christ 
saw that they would have little to do with him, and so he applied 
himself to those who were more sensible of their sickness. 

In the words, we have an account of the temper and state both 
of, 

1. The secure and unconvinced sinner, 

2. The humbled and convinced sinner. And, 

3. Of the carriage of Christ, and his different respect to both. 
First, The secure sinner is here described, both with respect to 

his own apprehensions of himself, as one that is whole, and also by 
his low value and esteem for Christ, he sees no need of him ; 
" The whole have no need of a physician." 

Secondly, The convinced and humbled sinner is here also de- 
scribed, and that both by his state and condition, he is sick ; and 
by his valuation of Jesus Christ, he greatly needs him : tkey that 
are sick need the physician. 

Thirdly, We have here Chrises carriage, and different respect 
to both ; the former he rejects and passeth by, as those with whom 
he hath no concernment ; the latter he converseth with in order to 
their cure. 

The words thus opened, are fruitful in observations. I shall 
neither note nor insist upon any beside this one, which suits the 
scope of my discourse, viz. 

Doct. That the Lord Jesus Christ is the only physician for side 
souls. 

The world is a great hospital, full of sick and dying souls, all 
wounded by one and the same mortal weapon, sin. Some are sense- 
less of their misery, feel not their pains, value not a physician ; 
others are full of sense, as well as danger : mourn under the ap- 
prehension of then- condition, and sadly bewail it. The merciful 
God hath, in his abundant compassion to the perishing world, sent 
a physician from heaven, and given him his orders under the great 
seal of heaven, for his office, Isa. lxi. 1, S. which he opened and 
read in the audience of the people, Luke iv. 18. " The Spirit of 
;: the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach 
M good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the 
* broken-hearted," &c. He is the tree of life, whose leaves are 
for the healing of the nations : he is Jehovah Rophe, the Lord that 



SEEM. X. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 191 

healeth us ; and that as he is Jehovah Tzidkenu, the Lord our 
righteousness. The brazen serpent that healed the Israelites in the 
wilderness, was an excellent type of our great physician, Christ, 
and is expressly applied to him, John iii. 14. He rejects none that 
come, and heals all whom he undertakes ; but more particularly, 
I will, 

First, Point at those diseases which Christ heals in sick souls, 
and by what means he heals them. 

Secondly, The excellency of this physician above all others : there 
is none like Christ, he is the only physican for wounded souls. 

First, We will enquire into the diseases which Christ the phy- 
sician cures, and they are reducible to two heads, viz. 

1. Sin, and, 

2. Sorrow. 

First, The disease of sin ; in which three things are found ex- 
ceeding burdensome to sick souls. 

1. The guilt, 

2. The dominion, 

3. The inherence of sin ; all cured by this physician, and how. 
First, The guilt of sin ; this is a mortal wound, a stab in the 

very heart of a poor sinner. It is a fond and groundless distinc- 
tion that Papists make of sins mortal and venial ; all sin, in its own 
nature is mortal, Rom. vi. 23. " The wages of sin is death."" Yet 
though it be so in its own nature, Christ can and doth cure it by 
the sovereign balsam of his own precious blood, Eph. i. 7. " In 
u whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness 
" of sins, according to the riches of his grace. 1 ' This is the 
deepest and deadliest wound the soul of man feels in this world. 
What is guilt but the obligation of the soul to everlasting punish- 
ment and misery? It puts the soul under the sentence of God to 
eternal wrath ; the condemning sentence of the great and terrible 
God; than which, nothing is found more dreadful and insupport- 
able : put all pains, all poverty, all afflictions, all miseries, in one 
scale, and God's condemnation in the other, and you weigh but so 
many feathers against a talent of lead. 

This disease, our great physician, Christ, cures, by remission, 
which is the dissolving of the obligation to punishment ; the loos- 
ing of the soul that was bound over to the wrath and condemnation 
of God, Col. i. 13, 14. Heb. vi. 12. Micah vii. 17, 18, 19. This 
remission being made, the soul is immediately cleared from all its 
obligations to punishment. Rom. viii. 1. "There is no condem- 
nation." All bonds are cancelled., the guilt of all sins is healed 
or removed, original and actual, great and small. This cure is 
performed upon souls by the blood of Ckrisi ; nothing is found in 



192 iHE MHTIIOD OF GJtACl! St.uU. X 

heaven or earth, besides his blood that is able to heal this disease. 
Heb. ix. 22. " Without shedding of blood there is no remission ; w 
nor is it any blood that will do it, but that only which dropped from 
the wounds of Christ. Isa. liii. 5. " By his stripes we are healed." 
His blood only is innocent and precious blood, 1 Pet. i. 19. blood 
of infinite worth and value ; blood of God, Acts xx. 18. blood 
prepared for this very purpose, Heb. x. 5. This is the blood that 
performs the cure ; and how great a cure is it ! for this cure, the 
souls of believers shall be praising and magnifying their great Phy- 
sician in heaven to all eternity, Rev. i. 5, 6. " To him that loved 
" us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, fyc. to him 
u be glory and dominion, for ever and ever.* 

Secondly, The next evil in sin cured by Christ, is the dominion 
of it over the souls of poor sinners. Where sin is in dominion, the 
soul is in a very sad condition ; for it darkens the understanding, 
depraves the conscience, stiffens the will, hardens the heart, mis- 
places and disorders all the affections ; and thus every faculty is 
wounded by the power and dominion of sin over the soul. Hoay 
difficult is the cure of this disease ! It passes the skill of angels or 
men to heal it ; but Christ undertakes it, and makes a perfect cure 
of it at last, and this he doth by his Spirit. As he cures the guilt 
of sin by pouring out his blood for us ; so he cures the dominion 
of sin by pouring out his Spirit upon us. Justification is the cure 
of guilt, sanctification the cure of the dominion of sin. For, 

First. As the dominion of sin darkens the understanding, 1 Cor. 
ii. 14. so the Spirit of holiness which Christ sheds upon his 
people, cures the darkness and blindness of that noble faculty, and 
restores it again, Eph. v. 8. They that were darkness are hereby 
light in the Lord ; the anointing of the Spirit teacheth them all 
things, 1 John ii. 27. 

Secondly, As the dominion of sin depraved and defiled the con- 
science, Tit. i. 15. wounded it to that degree, as to disable it to 
the performance of all its offices and functions ; so that it was nei- 
ther able to apply, convince, or tremble at the word : So, when 
the Spirit of holiness is shed forth, O what a tender sense fills the 
renewed conscience ! For what small things will it check, smite, 
and rebuke ! How strongly will it bind to duty, and bar against 
sin. 

Thirdly. As the dominion of sin stiffened the will and made it 
stubborn and rebellious, so Christ, by sanctifying it, brings it to 
be pliant and obedient to the will of God. " Lord, (saith the sin- 
il ner) what wilt thou have me to do !" Acts ix. 6. 

Fourthly, As the power of sin hardeneth the heart so that no- 
thing could affect it, or make any impression upon it ; when sane- 
lifieation comes upon the soul, it thaws and breaks it, as hard as 



SERM. X. . THE METHOD OF GRACE. 193 

it was; and makes it to dissolve in the breast of a sinner in godly 
sorrow, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. " I will take away the heart of stone out 
" of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." It will now 
melt ingenuously under the threatenings of the word, 2 Kings xxii. 
19. or the strokes of the rod, Jer. xxxi. 18. or the manifestations 
of grace and mercy, Luke vii. 38. 

Fifthly, As the power of sin misplaced and disordered all the af- 
fections, so sanctification reduces them again and sets them right, 
Psal. iv. 6, 7. And thus you see how sanctification becomes tlie 
rectitude, health, and due temper of the soul, so far as it prevails, 
curing the diseases that sin in its dominion filled the soul with. 
True it is, this cure is not perfected in this life ; there are still 
some remains of the old diseases in the holiest souls, notwithstand- 
ing sin be dethroned from its dominion over them : but the cure 
is begun, and daily advances towards perfection, and at last will 
be complete, as will appear in the cure of the next evil of sin , 
namely, 

Thirdly, The inherence of sin in the soul : this is a sore disease, 
the very core and root of all our other complaints and ailes. This 
made the holy apostle bemoan himself and wail so bitterly, Rom. 
vii. 17. because of " sin that dwelt in him." And the same misery 
is bewailed by all sanctified persons all the world over. 

It is a wonderful mercy to have the guilt and dominion of sin 
cured, but we shall never be perfectly sound and well, till the ex- 
istence or in-dwelling of sin in our natures be cured too : when 
once that is done, then we shall feel no more pain nor sorrows 
for sin : and this our great Physician will at last perform for us and 
upon us. But as the cure of guilt was by our justification, the cure 
of the dominion of sin by our sanctification : so the third and last, 
which perfects the whole cure, will be by our glorification : and 
till then, it is not to be expected. For it is a clear case, that sin 
like ivy in the old walls, will never be gotten out till the walls be 
pulled down, and then it is pulled up by the roots. This cure 
Christ will perform in a moment, upon our dissolution. For it is 
plain, 

First, That none but perfected souls, freed from all sin, are ad- 
mitted into heaven, Eph. v. 27. Heb. xii. 23. Rev. xxi. 27. 

Secondly, It is as plain, that no such personal perfection and free- 
dom is found in any man on this side death and the grave, 1 John 
i. 8. 1 Kings viii. 46. Phil. hi. 12. a truth sealed by the sad expe- 
rience of all the saints on earth. 

Thirdly, If such freedom and perfection must be before we earn 
be perfectly happy, and no such thing be done in this life, it re- 
mains that it must be done immediately upon their dissolution, and 
at the very time of their glorification. As sin came in at the time 



19^ THE METHOD OF GRACE, „ SERM. X. 

of the union of their souls and bodies in the womb, so it will go 
out at the time of their separation by death ; then will Christ put 
the last hand to this glorious work, and perfect that cure which 
hath been so long under his hand, in this world ; and thenceforth 
sin shall have no power upon them, it shall never tempt them 
more, it shall never defile them more, it shall never grieve and 
sadden their hearts any more : henceforth it shall never cloud their 
evidences, darken their understandings, or give the least inter- 
ruption to their communion with God. When sin is gone, all 
these, its mischievous effects, are gone with it So that I may 
speak it to the comfort of all gracious hearts, according to what 
the Lord told the Israelites, in Deut. xii. 8, 9. (to which I allude 
for illustration of this most comfortable truth) " Ye shall not do 
" after all the things that ye do here this day, every man whatso- 
" ever is right in his own eyes, for ye are not as yet come to the 
" rest, and to the inheritance which the Lord your God giveth 
" you." Whilst you are under Christ's cure upon earth, but not 
perfectly healed, your understandings mistake, your thoughts 
wander, your affections are dead, and your communion with God 
is daily interrupted ; but it shall not be so in heaven, where the 
cure is perfect : you shall not there know, love, or delight in God 
in the manner you do this day ; for you are not as yet come to the 
rest, and to the inheritance which the Lord your God giveth you. 
And so much as to the diseases of sin, and Christ's method of 
curing them. 

Secondly, As sin is the disease of the saints, so also is sorrow ; 
the best saints must pass through the valley of Baclia, to heaven. 
How many tears fall from the eyes of the saints, upon the account 
of outward as well as inward troubles, even after their reconciliation 
with God ? Through much tribulation we must enter into the 
" kingdom of God," Acts xiv. 22. It would be too great a di- 
gression in this place, to note but the more general heads under 
which almost infinite particulars of troubles and afflictions are 
found ; it shall suffice only to shew, that whatever distress or 
trouble any poor soul is in, upon any account whatsoever, if that 
soul belongs to Jesus Christ, he will take care of it J'or the present, 
and deliver it at last by a complete cure. 

First, Christ cures troubles, by sanctifying them to the souls of 
his that are under affliction, and makes their very troubles medici- 
nal and healing to them. Trouble is a scorpion, and hath a deadly 
<ting, but Christ is a wise physician, and extracts a sovereign oil 
out of this scorpion, that heals the wound it makes. By afflictions, 
our wise Physician purges our corruptions, and so prevents or 
nviYcs greater troubles by lesser ; inward sorrows by outward ones 



SERM. X. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 195 

Isa. xxvii. 9. " By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be 
" purged, and this is all the fruit to take away his sin. 11 

Secondly, Christ cures outward troubles by inward consolations, 
which are made to rise in the inner man as high as the waters of 
affliction do upon the outward man, 2 Cor. i. 5. One drop of 
spiritual comfort is sufficient to sweeten a whole ocean of outward 
trouble. It was an high expression of an afflicted father, whom 
God comforted, just upon the death of his dear and only son*, 
with some clearer manifestations of his love than was usual : " O, 
" (said he) might I but have such consolations as these, I could 
M be willing (were it possible) to lay an only son into the grave 
" every day I have to live in this world. 1 ' Thus all the troubles 
of the world are cured by Christ. John xvi. 33. " In the world 
" ye shall have trouble, but in me ye shall have peace. 11 

Thirdly, Christ cures all outward sorrows and troubles in his 
people by death, which is their removal from the place of sorrows 
to peace and rest for evermore. Now God wipes all tears from their 
eyes, and the days of their mourning are at an end ; they then put 
off the garments and spirit of mourning, and enter into peace, Isa. 
lvii. 2. They come to that place and state where tears and sighs are 
things unknown to the inhabitants; one step beyond the state of this 
mortality, brings us quite out of the sight and healing of all troubles 
and lamentations. These are the diseases of souls ; sin, and sor- 
row ; and thus they are cured by Christ, the Physician. 

Secondly, Next I shall shew you that Jesus Christ is the only 
Physician of souls, none like him for a sick sinner ; and this will 
be evident in divers respects. 

First, None so wise and judicious as Jesus Christ, to understand 
and comprehend the nature, depth and danger of soul-diseases. 
O how ignorant and unacquainted are men with the state and case 
of afflicted souls ! But " Christ hath the tongue of the learned, 
" that he should know how to speak a word in season to him that 
" is weary, 11 Isa. 1. 4. He only understands the weight of sin, 
and depth of inward troubles of sin. 

Secondly, None so able to cure and heal the wounds of afflicted 
souls as Christ is ; he only hath those medicines that can cure a 
sick soul. The blood of Christ, and nothing else, in heaven or 
earth, is able to cure the mortal wounds which guilt inflicts upon 
a trembling conscience ; let men try all other receipts, and costly 
experience shall convince them of their insufficiency. Conscience 
may be benumbed by stupefactive medicines, prepared by the devil, 

*NUiil corpus sentit in nervo, cum anima sit incalo, i. e. The body has no feeling when 
the soul is in heaven. 

Vol. II. N 



196 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SERM. X. 



for that end ; but pacified it can never be but by the blood of 
Christ, Heb. xvi. 22. 

Thirdly, None so tender-hearted and sympathizing with sick 
souls as Jesus Christ ; he is full of bowels and tender compassions 
to afflicted souls ; he is one that can have compassion, because he 
hath had experience, Heb. v. 2. If I must come unto the sur- 
geon's hands with broken bones, give me such an one to chuse 
whose own bones have been broken, who hath felt the anguish in 
himself. Christ knows what it is by experience, having felt the 
anguish of inward troubles, the weight of God's wrath, and the 
terrors of a forsaking God, more than any or all the sons of men : 
this makes him tender over distressed souls. Isa. xlii. 3. " A 
" bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not 
" quench. 1 ' 

Fourthly, None cures in so wonderful a method as Christ doth ; 
he heals us by his stripes, Isa. liii. 5. The Physician dies that the 
patient may live : his wounds must bleed, that ours may be cured ; 
he feels the smart and pain, that we might have ease and comfort. 
No physician but Christ will cure others at this rate. 

Fifthly, None so ready to relieve a sick soul as Christ ; he is 
within the call of a distressed soul at all times. Art thou sick for 
sin, weary of sin, and made truly willing to part with sin ? lift up 
but thy sincere cry to the Lord Jesus for help, and he will quickly 
be with thee. When the prodigal, the emblem of a convinced, 
humbled sinner, said, in himself, I will return to my father, the 
father ran to meet him, Luke xv. 20. He can be with thee in a 
moment. 

Sixthly, None so willing to receive and undertake all distressed 
and afflicted souls as Jesus Christ is ; he refuses none that come to 
him. John vi. 37. " He that cometh unto me, I will in no wise 
ii cast out." Whatever their sins have been, or their sorrows 
are ; however they have wounded their own souls with the deepest 
gashes of guilt ; how desperate and helpless soever their case ap- 
pears in their own or others eyes, he never puts them off, or dis- 
courages them, if they be but willing to come, Isa. i. 18, 19. 

Seventhly, None so happy and successful as Christ ; he never fails 
of performing a perfect cure upon those he undertakes ; never was 
it known that any soul miscarried in his hands, John hi. 15, 16. 
Other physicians, by mistakes, by ignorance, or carelessness, fill 
church-yards, and cast away the lives of men ; but Christ suffers 
none to perish that commit themselves to him. 

Eighthly, None so free and generous as Christ; he doth all gratis; 
he sells not his medicines, though they be of infinite value ; but 
freely gives them; Isa. lv. 1. "He that hath no money, let him 
M conic." If any be sent away, it is the rich, Luke i. 53. not the 



SERM. X. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 197 

poor and needy : those that will not accept the remedy as a free 
gift, but will needs purchase it at a price. 

Ninthly, and lastly, None rejoice in the recovery of souls more 
than Christ doth. 6 ! it is unspeakably delightful to him to see the 
efficacy of his blood upon our souls; Isa. liii. 11. "He shall see 
" the travail of his soul, (i. e. the success of his death and suffer- 
" ings) and shall be satisfied." When he foresaw the success of 
the gospel upon the world, it is said, Luke x. 21. " In that hour 
" Jesus rejoiced in Spirit." And thus you see there is no physician 
like Christ for sick souls. 

The uses of this point are, 

For information and direction. 

First, From whence we are informed of many great and neces- 
sary truths deducible from this : As, 

Inference 1. How inexpressible is the grace of God, in providing 
such a physician as Christ, for the sick and dying souls of sinners! 

blessed be God that there is a balm in Gilead, and a Physician 
there ! that their case is not desperate, forlorn and remediless, as 
that the devils and damned is. There is but one case exempted from 
cure, and that, such as is not incident to any sensible, afflicted soul, 
Matth. xii. 31. and this only excepted, all manner of sins and dis- 
eases are capable of a cure. Though there be such a disease as is 
incurable, yet take this for thy comfort, never any soul was sick, 
i. e. sensibly burdened with it, and willing to come to Jesus Christ 
for healing ; for under that sin the will is so wounded, that they 
have no desire to Christ. O inestimable mercy ! that the sickest 
sinner is capable of a perfect cure ! There be thousands, and ten 
thousands now in heaven and earth, who said once, Never was 
any case like theirs ; so dangerous, so hopeless. The greatest of 
sinners have been perfectly recovered by Christ, 1 Tim. i. 15. 

1 Cor. vi. 11. O mercy, never to be duly estimated ! 

Lifer. 2. What a powerful restraint from sin is the very method 
ordained by God for the cure of it ! Isa. liii. 5. " By his stripes we 
" are healed." The Physician must die, that the patient might live ; 
no other thing but the blood, the precious blood of Christ, is found 
in heaven or earth able to heal us, Heb. ix. 22, 26. This blood 
of Christ must be freshly applied to every new wound sin makes 
upon our souls, 1 John ii. 1, 2. every new sin wounds him afresh, 
opens the wounds of Christ anew. O think of this again and 
again, you that so easily yield to the solicitations of Satan. Is it so 
easy and so cheap to sin as you seem to make it ? Doth the cure of 
souls cost nothing ? True, it is free to us, but was it so to Christ ? 
No, it was not ; he knows the price of it, though you do not. 
Hath Christ healed you by his stripes, and can you put him under 
fresh sufferings for you so easily ? Have you forgot also your own 

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198 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. X, 

sick days and nights for sin, that you are careless in resisting and 
preventing it ? Sure it is not easy for saints to wound Christ, and 
their own souls, at one stroke. If you renew your sins, you must 
also renew your sorrows and repentance, Psal. li. title. 2 Sam. xii. 
13. you must feel the anguish and pain of a troubled spirit again, 
things with which the saints are not unacquainted ; of which they 
may say, as the church, " Remembering my affliction, the worm- 
" wood and the gall, my soul hath them still in remembrance, 1 *' 
Lam. iii. 19- Yea, and if you will be remiss in your watch, and 
so easily incur new guilt, though a pardon in the blood of Christ 
may heal your souls, yet some rod or other, in the hand of a dis- 
pleased father, shall afflict your bodies, or smite you in your out- 
ward comforts, Psal. lxxxix. 23. 

Inf. 3. If Christ be the only physician of sick souls, what sin and 
Jolly is it for men to take Chrisfs xvork out of his hands, and at- 
tempt to be their own physician. 

Thus do those that superstitiously endeavour to heal their souls 
by afflicting their bodies ; not Chrisfs blood, but their own, must 
be the plaister : and as blind Papists, so many carnal and ignorant 
Protestants strive, by confession, restitution, reformation, and 
stricter course of life, to heal those wounds that sin hath made upon 
their souls, without any respect to the blood of Christ : but this 
course shall not profit them at all. It may, for a time divert, but 
can never heal them : the wounds so skinned over, will open and 
bleed again. God grant it be not when our souls shall be out of 
the reach of the true and only remedy. 

Inf. 4. How sad is the case of those souls, to wlwm Christ hath 
not yet been been a physician ? They are mortally wounded by sin, 
and are like to die of their sickness ; no saving, healing applications 
have hitherto been made unto their souls : and this is the case of 
the greatest part of mankind, yea, of them that live under the 
discoveries of Christ in the gospel. Which appeal's by these sad 
symptoms. 

First, In that their eyes have not yet been opened, to see their 
sin and misery ; in which illumination the cure of souls begin, Acts 
xxvi. 18. To this day he hath not given them eyes to see, Deut. 
xxix. 4. but that terrible stroke of God which blinds and hardens 
them, is too visibly upon them, mentioned in Isa. vi. 9, 10. No 
hope of healing, till the sinner's eyes be opened to see his sin and 
misery. 

Secondly, In that nothing will divorce and separate them from 
their lusts ; a sure sign they are not under Christ's cure, nor were 
ever made sick of sin. O if ever Christ be a physician to thy soul, 
he will make thee loathe what now thou lovest, and say to thy moat 
pleasant and most profitable lusts, Get ye hence, Isa. xxx. 22. 



SERM. X. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 199 

Till then, there is no ground to think that Christ is a physician to 
you. 

Thirdly, In that they have no sensible and pressing need of 
Christ, nor make any earnest enquiry after him, as most certainly 
you would do, if you were in the way of healing and recovery. 
These, and many other sad symptoms, do too plainly discover the 
disease of sin, to be in its full strength upon your souls ; and if it 
so continue, how dreadful will the issue be ? See Isa. vi. 9, 10. 

Inf. 5. What cause have they to be glad, that are under the hand 
and care of Christ, in order to a cure, and who do find, or may, 
upon due examination, find their souls are in a very hopeful way of 
recovery ! Can we rejoice when the strength of a natural disease is 
broken, and nature begins to recover ease and vigour again ? And 
shall we not much more rejoice, when our souls begin to mend, and 
recover sensibly, and all comfortable signs of health and life ap- 
pear upon them? particularly, when the understanding, which 
was ignorant and dark, hath the light of life beginning to dawn 
into it ; such is that in 1 John ii. £7. When the will which was 
rebellious and inflexible to the will of God, is brought to 
comply with that holy will, saying, " Lord, what wilt thou 
" have me to do ?"" Acts ix. 6. When the heart, which was 
harder than an adamant, is now brought to contrition for sin, and 
can mourn as heartily over it, as ever a father did for a dead son, 
a beloved and only son ; when its aversations from God are gone, 
at least have no such power as once they had ; but the thoughts 
are now fixed much upon God, and spiritual things begin to grow 
pleasant to the soul ; when times of duty come to be longed for, 
and the soul never better pleased than in such seasons : when the 
hypocrisy of the heart is purged out, so that we begin to do all that 
we do heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men, Col. iii. 23. 
1 Thess. ii. 4. when we begin to make conscience of secret sins, 
Psal. cxix. 113. and of secret duties, Matth. vi. 5, 6. when we 
have an equal respect to all God's commandments, Psal. cxix. 8. 
and our hearts are under the holy and awful eye of God, which 
doth indeed over-awe our souls, Gen. xvii. 1. O what sweet signs 
of a recovering soul are these ! Surely such are in the skilful hand 
of the great Physician, who will perfect what yet remains to be 
done. 

Second use for direction. 

In the last place, this point yields matter of advice and direc- 
tion to poor souls that are under the disease of sin ; and they are of 
two sorts, which I will distinctly speak to : viz. First, Such as are 
under their first sickness of spiritual sorrow for sin, and know not 
what course to take : or, Secondly, Such as have been longer in the 

N3 



200 THE METHOD OF GRACE, SERM. X, 

hands of Christ the Physician, but are troubled to see the cure ad- 
vance so slowly upon them, and fear the issue. 

First, As to those that are in their first troubles for sin, and 
know not what course to take for ease and safety ; I would address 
to them these following counsels. 

First, Shut your ears against the dangerous counsels of carnal 
persons, or relations; for as they themselves are unacquainted 
with these troubles, so also are they with all proper remedies : and 
it is very usual with the devil to convey his temptations to distres- 
sed souls, by such hands ; because, by them, he can do it with least 
suspicion. It was Augustine's complaint, that his own father took 
little care for his soul ; and many parents act, in this case, as if they 
were employed by Satan. 

Secondly, Be not too eager to get out of trouble, but be con- 
tent to take God's way, and wait his time. No woman that is wise, 
-would desire to have her travail hastened one day before the due 
time ; nor will it be your interest to hasten too soon out of trouble. 
It is true, times of trouble are apt to seem tedious ; but a false peace 
will endanger you more than a long trouble : a man may lengthen 
his own troubles to the loss of his own peace, and may shorten 
then 1 , to the hazard of his own soul. 

Thirdly, Open your case to wise, judicious, and experienced 
Christians, and especially the ministers of Christ, whose office it 
is to counsel and direct you in these difficulties ; and let not your 
troubles lie, like a secret, smothering lire, always in your own 
breasts. I know men are more ashamed to open their sins under 
convictions, than they were to commit them before conviction : 
but this is your interest, and the true way to your rest and peace. 
If there be with you, or near you, an interpreter, one of a thou- 
sand, to shew you your righteousness, and remedy, as it lies in 
Christ ; neglect not your own souls, in a sinful concealment of 
your case : it will be the joy of their hearts to be employed in such 
work as this. 

Fourthly, Be much with God in secret, open your hearts to him, 
and pour out your complaints into his bosom. The cii. Psalm bears 
a title very suitable to your case and duty; yea, you will find if 
your troubles work kindly, and God intend a cure upon your souls, 
that nothing will be able to keep God and your souls asunder : 
whatever your incumbrances in the world be, some time will be 
daily redeemed, to be spent betwixt God and you. 

Fifthly, Plead hard with God in prayer for help and healing. 
" Heal my soul, (saith David) for I have sinned against thee,' 1 Psal. 
xli. 4. Tell him Christ hath his commission sealed for such as you 
are : he was sent to " bind up the broken-hearted," Isa. lxi. 1. 
Tell him he came into the world, " to seek and save that which 



SERM. X. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 201 

" was lost," and so are you now, in your own account and appre- 
hensions. Lord, what profit is there in my blood ? Wilt thou 
pursue a dried leaf? And why is my heart wounded with the 
sense of sin, and mine eyes open to see my danger and misery ; 
Are not these the first dawnings of mercy upon sinners ? O 
let it appeal*, that the time of mercy, even the set time, is now 
come. 

Sixthly, Understand your peace to be in Christ only, and faith 
to be the only way to Christ and rest ; let the great enquiry of your 
souls be after Christ and faith ; study the nature and necessity of 
these, and cry to God day and night for strength to cany you to 
Christ in the way of faith. 

Secondly, As to those that have been longer under the hands of 
Christ, and yet are still in troubles, and cannot obtain peace, but 
their wounds bleed still, and all they hear in sermons, or do in the 
way of duty, will not bring them to rest ; to such I only add two 
or three words for a close. 

First, Consider whether you have rightly closed with Christ 
since your first awakening, and whether there be not some way of 
sin, in which you still live : if so, no wonder your wounds are Kept 
open, and your souls are strangers to peace. 

Secondly, If you be conscious of no such flaw in the foundation, 
consider how much of this trouble may arise from your constitution 
and natural temper, which being melancholy, will be doubtful and 
suspicious ; you may find it so in other cases of less moment, and 
be sure Satan will not be wanting to improve it. 

Thirdly, Acquaint yourselves more with the nature of true justi- 
fying faith ; a mistake in that hath prolonged the troubles of 
many ; if you look for it in no other act but assurance, you may 
easily overlook it as it lies, in the mean time, in your affiance or ac- 
ceptance. A true and proper conception of saving faith would go 
far in the cure of many troubled souls. 

Fourthly, Be more thankful to shun sin, than to get yourselves 
clear of trouble : it is sad to walk in darkness, but worse to lie 
under guilt. Say, Lord, I would rather be grieved myself, than be 
a grief to thy Spirit. O keep me from sin, how long soever thou 
keep me under sorrow. Wait on God in the way of faith, and in 
a tender spirit towards sin, and thy wounds shall be healed at last 
by thy great Physician. 

Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ, 



N4« 



202 THE METHOD OF GRACE. ' SEItM. XI, 

SERMON XL 

Containing the Second Motive to enforce the general Ex- 
hortation, from a second Title of Chuist. 

Luke i. 72. 

To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and remember his 

holy covenant. 

JL HIS scripture is part of Zechariah's prophecy, at the rising 
of that bright star, John, the harbinger and fore-runner of Christ : 
They are some of the first words he spake after God had loosed 
his tongue, which, for a time, was struck dumb for his unbelief. 
His tongue is now unbound, and at liberty to proclaim to all the 
world, the unspeakable riches of mercy through Jesus Christ, in a 
song of praise. Wherein note, 

The mercy celebrated, viz. redemption by Christ, ver. 68. 

The description of Christ by place and property, ver. 69. 

The faithfulness of God in our redemption this way, ver. 70. 

The benefit of being so redeemed by Christ, ver. 71. 

The exact accomplishment of all the promises made to the fathers 
in sending Christ, the mercy promised, into the world, ver. 72. 
" To perform the mercy promised to our fathers," &c. In these 
words we find two parts, viz. 

1. A mercy freely promised. 

2. The promised mercy faithfully performed. 

First, You have a mercy freely promised, viz. by God the Fa- 
ther, from the beginning of the world, and often repeated and 
confirmed in several succeeding ages, to the fathers, in his cove- 
nant-transactions. 

This mercy is Jesus Christ, of whom he speaks in this prophecy ; 
the same which he stiles " An horn of salvation in the house of 
" David," ver. 69. 

The mercy of God in scripture, is put either for, 

1. His free favour to the creature. Or, 

% The effects and fruits of that favour. 

It is put for the free and undeserved favour of God to the crea- 
ture, and this favour of God may respect the creature two ways, 
either as undeserving, or as ill-deserving. 

It respected innocent man, as undeserving, for Adam could put 
no obligation upon his benefactor. It respecteth fallen man, as ill- 
deserving. Innocent man could not merit favour, and fallen man 
did merit wrath : the favour or mercy of God to both is every 
way free; and that is the first acceptation of the word mercy: 



SERM. XI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 203 

but then it is also taken for the effects and fruits of God's favour, 
and they are either, 

1. Principal and primary: or, 

2. Subordinate and secondary. 

Of secondary and subordinate mercies, there are multitudes, 
both temporal, respecting the body, and spiritual, respecting the 
soul ; but the principal and primary mercy is but one, and that is 
Christ, the first-born of mercy ; the capital mercy, the compre- 
hensive root-mercy, from whom are all other mercies ; and there- 
fore called by a singular emphasis in my text, The mercy; i. e. the 
mercy of all mercies ; without whom no drop of saving mercy can 
flow to any of the sons of men ; and in whom are all the tender 
bowels of divine mercy yearning upon poor sinners. The mercy, 
and the mercy promised. The first promise of Christ was made to 
Adam, Gen. iii. 15. and was frequently renewed afterwards to 
Abraham, to David, and as the text speaks, unto the fathers, in 
their respective generations. 

Secondly, We find here also the promised mercy faithfully per- 
formed ; " To perform the mercy promised.'' 1 What mercy soever 
the love of God engaged him to promise, the faithfulness of God 
stands engaged for the performance thereof. Christ, the promised 
mercy, is not only performed truly, but he is also performed ac- 
cording to the promise in all the circumstances thereof, exactly. 
So he was promised to the fathers, and just so performed to us 
their children : Hence the note is, 

Doct. That Jesus Christ, the mercy of mercies, was graciously 
promised and faithfully performed by God to his people. 

Three things are here to be opened. 

First, Why Christ is stiled the mercy. 

Secondly, What kind of mercy Christ is to his people. 

Thirdly, How this mercy was performed. 

First, Christ is the mercy, emphatically so called : the peerless, 
invaluable, and matchless mercy : Because he is the prime fruit of 
the mercy of God to sinners. The mercies of God are infinite ; 
mercy gave the world and us our being ; all our protection, pro- 
vision, and comforts in this world are the fruits of mercy, the 
free gifts of divine favour : but Christ is the first and chief; afl 
other mercies, compared with him, are but fruits from that root, 
and streams from that fountain of mercy ; the very bowels of 
divine mercy are in Christ, as in ver. 78. according to the tender 
mercies, or as the Greek, the yearning bowels of the mercy of 
God. 

Secondly, Christ is the mercy, because all the mercy of God to 



204 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XI. 

sinners is dispensed and conveyed through Christ to them, John i. 
16. Col. ii. 3. Eph. iv. 7. Christ is the medium of all divine com- 
munications, the channel of grace, through him are both the de- 
cursus et recursus gratiarum ; the flows of mercy from God to us, 
and the returns of praise from us to God. Fond and vain therefore 
are all the expectations of mercy out of Christ ; no drop of saving 
mercy runs beside this channel. 

Thirdly, Christ is the mercy, because all inferior mercies derive 
both their nature, value, sweetness, and duration from Christ, the 
fountain-mercy of all other-mercies. 

First, They derive their nature from Christ ; for out of him, 
those things which men call mercies, are rather traps and snares, 
than mercies to them, Prov. i. 32. The time will come when the 
rich that are christless, will wish, O that we had been poor ! And 
nobles, that are now ennobled by the new birth, O that we had been 
among the low rank of men ! All these things that pass for valuable 
mercies, like cyphers, signify much when such an important figure as 
Christ stands before them, else they signify nothing to any man's 
comfort or benefit. 

Secondly, They derive their value as well as nature from Christ : 
For how little, I pray you, doth it signify to any man to be rich, 
honourable, politic, and successful in all his designs in this world, 
if after all he must lie down in hell ? 

Thirdly, All other mercies derive their sweetness from Christ, and 
are but insipid things without him. There is a twofold sweetness 
in things; one natural, another spiritual: Those that are out of 
Christ can relish the first, believers only relish both. They have 
the natural sweetness that is in mercy itself, and a sweetness super- 
natural from Christ and the covenant, the way in which they re- 
ceive them. Hence it is, that some men taste more spiritual sweet- 
ness in their daily bread, than others do in the Lord's supper ; and 
the same mercy, by this means, becomes a feast to soul and body at 
once. 

Fourthly, All mercies have their duration and perpetuity from 
Christ ; all christless persons hold their mercies upon the greatest 
contingencies and terms of uncertainty ; if they be continued du- 
ring this life, that is all : there is not one drop of mercy after 
death. But the mercies of the saints are continued to eternity ; 
the end of their mercies on earth, is the beginning of their better 
mercies in heaven. There is a twofold end of mercies, one per~ 
fective, another destructive ; the death of the saints perfects and 
completes their mercies ; the death of the wicked destroys and 
cuts off their mercies. For these reasons, Christ is called the 
mercy. 

Secondly, In the next place, let us enquire what kind of mercy 



SERM. XT. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 205 

Christ is ; and we shall find many lovely and transcendent proper- 
ties to commend him to our souls. 

First, He is free and undeserved mercy, called upon that ac- 
count, The gift of God, John iv. 10. And to shew how free this 
gift was, God gave him to us when we were enemies, Rom. v. 8. 
Needs must that mercy be free, which is given, not only to the un- 
deserving, but to the ill-deserving ; the benevolence of God was 
the sole, impulsive cause of this gift, John hi. 16. 

Secondly, Christ is a full mercy, replenished with all that answers 
to the wishes, or wants of sinners ; in him alone is found whatever 
the justice of an angry God requires for satisfaction, or the neces- 
sities of souls require for their supply. Christ is full of mercy, both 
extensively, and intensively ; in him are all kinds and sorts of mer- 
cies; and in him are the highest and most perfect degrees of 
mercy ; " For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness 
" dwell," Col. i. 19. 

Thirdly, Christ is the seasonable mercy, given by the Father to 
us in due time, Rom. v. 6. In the fulness of time, Gal. iv. 4. a 
seasonable mercy in his exhibition to the world in general, and a 
seasonable mercy in his application to the soul in particular ; the 
wisdom of God pitched upon the best time for his incarnation, 
and it takes the very properest for its application. When a poor 
soul is distressed, lost, at its wits end, and ready to perish, then 
comes Christ. All God's works are done in season, but none more 
seasonable than this great work of salvation by Christ. 

Fourthly, Christ is the necessary mercy, there is an absolute ne- 
cessity of Jesus Christ ; hence in scripture he is called the " bread 
of life," John vi. 41. he is bread to the hungry; he is the " water 
of life," John vii. 37. as cold water to the thirsty soul. He is a 
ransom for captives, Mat. xx. 28. a garment to the naked, Rom. 
xiii. ult. Bread is not so necessary to the hungry, nor water to the 
thirsty, nor a ransom to the captive, nor a garment to the naked, 
as Christ is to the soul of a sinner : The breath of our nostrils, the 
life of our souls is in Jesus Christ. 

Fifthly, Christ is a fountain-mercy, and all other mercies flow 
from him : A believer may say with Christ, " All my springs are 
" in thee ;" from his merit, and from his spirit, flow our redemp- 
tion, justification, sanctification, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost, and 
blessedness in the world to come : " In that day shall there be a 
" fountain opened," Zech. xiii. 1. 

Sixthly, Christ is a satisfying mercy ; he that is full of Christ, can 
feel the want of nothing. " I desire to know nothing but Jesus 
kt Christ, and him crucified," 1 Cor. ii. 2. Christ bounds and 
terminates the vast desires of the soul : He is the very sabbath of 
the soul. How hungry, empty, and straitened on every side is the 



~°6 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XT, 

soul of man in the abundance and fulness of all outward things, till 
it come to Christ ? the weary motions of a restless soul, like those of 
a river, cannot be at rest till they pour themselves into Christ, the 
ocean of blessedness. 

Seventhly, Christ is & peculiar mercy, intended for, and applied 
to a remnant among men ; some would extend redemption as large 
as the world, but the gospel limits it to those only that believe; 
and those believers are upon that account called a peculiar people, 
1 Pet. ii. 9. The offers of Christ indeed are large and general, 
but the application of Christ is but to few, Isa. liii. 1. The greater 
cause have they to whom Christ comes, to lie with their mouths 
in the dust, astonished and overwhelmed with the sense of so pecu- 
liar and distinguished a mercy. 

Eighthly } Jesus Christ is a suitable mercy, suited in every respect 
to all our needs and wants, 1 Cor. i. 20. wherein the admirable 
wisdom of God is illustriously displayed ; " Ye are complete in 
" him," (saith the apostle) Col. ii. 20. Are we enemies ? He is 
reconciliation : Are we sold to sin and Satan ? He is redemption : 
Are we condemned by the law ? He is the Lord our righteous- 
ness : Hath sin polluted us ? He is a fountain opened for sin, and 
for uncleanness : Are we lost by departing from God ? He is the 
way to the Father. Rest is not so suitable to the weary, nor bread 
to the hungry, as Christ is to the sensible sinner. 

Ninthly, Christ is an astonishing and wonderful mercy ; his Name 
is called wonderful, Isa. ix. 6. and as his name is, so is he ; a won- 
derful Christ: His Person is a wonder, 1 Tim. hi. 16. " Great is 
" the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh.'" 

His abasement is wonderful, Phil. ii. 6. His love is a wonderful 
love ; his redemption full of wonders ; angels desire to look into 
it. He is, and will be admired by angels and saints to all eter- 
nity. 

Tenthly, Jesus Christ is an incomparable and matchless mercy ; 
" as the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved 
" among the sons," (saith the enamoured spouse) Cant. ii. 3. 
Draw the comparison how you will betwixt Christ and all other 
enjoyments, you will find none in heaven nor on earth to equal him : 
He is more than all externals, as the light of the sun is more than 
that of a candle : Nay, even the worst of Christ is better than the 
best of the world ; his reproaches are better than the world's plea- 
sures, Heb. xi. 25. He is more than all spirituals, as the fountain 
is more than the stream. He is more than justification, as the cause 
is more than the effect ; more than sanctification, as the person him- 
self is more than the image or picture. He is more than all peace, 
all comfort, all joy, as the tree is more than the fruit. Nay, draw 
the comparison betwixt Christ and things eternal, and you will 



SERM. XI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 207 

find him better than they ; for what is in heaven without Christ, Psal. 
lxxiii. 25. " Whom have I in heaven but thee ?" If Christ should 
say to the saints, take heaven among you, but as for me I will 
withdraw myself from you ; the saints would weep, even in heaven 
itself, and say, Lord, heaven will be no more heaven to us, except 
thou be there, who art by far the better half of heaven. 

Eleventhly, Christ is an unsearchable mercy ; who can fully ex- 
press his wonderful name ? Prov. xxx. 4. Who can tell over his 
unsearchable riches ? Eph. iii. 8. Hence it is that souls never tire 
in the study or love of Christ, because new wonders are eternally 
rising out of him. He is a deep which no line of any created un- 
derstanding, angelical or human, can fathom. 

Twelfthly, and lastly, Christ is an everlasting mercy ; " the same 
" yesterday, to day, and for ever," Heb. xiii. 8. All other en- 
joyments are perishable, time-eaten things ; time, like a moth, 
will fret them out ; but the riches of Christ are durable riches, 
Prov. viii. 18. The graces of Christ are durable graces, John iv. 
14. All the creatures are flowers, that appear and fade in their 
month ; but this Rose of Sharon, this Lily of the Valley never 
withers. Thus you see the mercy performed with its desirable 
properties. 

Thirdly, The last thing to be opened is the manner of God's 
performing his mercy to his people ; which the Lord did, 

1. Really and truly, as he had promised him. 

2. Exactly agreeable to the promises and predictions of him. 
First, Really and truly ; as he had promised, so he made good 

the promise. Acts ii. 36. " Let all the house of Israel know assu- 
" redly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye crucified, 
" both Lord and Christ." 

The manifestation of Christ in the flesh was no phantasm or de- 
lusion, but a most evident and palpable truth. 1 John i. 1. 
" That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, 
" which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled." 
A truth so certain, that the assertors of it appealed to the very ene- 
mies of Christ for the certainty thereof, Acts ii. 22. Yea, not only 
the sacred, but profane writers, witness to it ; not only the evan- 
gelists and apostles, but even the heathen writers of those times, both 
Roman and Jewish, as Suetonius, Tacitus, Plinius the younger, 
and Josephus the Jewish antiquary, do all acknwledge it. 

Secondly, As God did really and truly perform Christ the pro- 
mised mercy, so he performed this promised mercy exactly agree- 
able to the promises, types, and predictions made of him to the 
fathers, even the most minute circumstances thereof. This is a 
great truth for our faith to be etablished in: let us, therefore, 



208 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. Xf. 

cast our eyes both upon the promises and performances of God, 
"with respect to Christ, the mercy of mercies. See how he was re- 
presented to the fathers long before his manifestation in the flesh ; 
and what an one he appeared to be when he was really exhibited 
in the flesh. 

First, As to his person and qualifications, as it was foretold, so it 
v, T as fulfilled. His original was said to be unsearchable and eternal, 
Micah v. 2. and so he affirmed himself to be, Rev. i. 11. "I am 
" Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." John vi. 31, 32. 
" Before Abraham was, I am."" His two natures, united into one 
person, were plainly foretold, Zech. xiii. 7. The man my Fellow ; 
and such a one God performed, Rom. ix. 5. His immaculate pu- 
rity and holiness were foretold, Dan. ix. 24. " To anoint the 
" most Holy ;" some render it, the great Saint, the Prince of 
Saints ; and such an one he was indeed, when he lived in this 
world. John viii. 46. " Which of you convinceth me of sin ?"" 
His Offices were foretold, the prophetical Office predicted, Deut. 
xviii. 15. and fulfilled in him, John i. 18. His priestly Office 
foretold, Psal. ex. 4. fulfilled, Heb. ix. 14. his kingly Office fore- 
told, Micah v. 2. and in him fulfilled ; his very enemies being- 
judges, Matth. xxvii. 37. 

Secondly, As to his birth, the time, place, and manner thereof 
were foretold to the fathers, and exactly performed to a tittle. 

First, The time prefixed, more generally in Jacob's prophecy, 
Gen. xliv. 10. When the sceptre should depart from Judah, as, 
indeed, it did in Herod the Idumean : More particularly in Da- 
niel's seventy weeks, from the decree of Darius, Dan. ix. 24. an- 
swering exactly to the time of his birth ; so cogent and full of proof, 
that Porphyry, the great enemy of Christians, had no other eva- 
sion, but that this prophecy was devised after the event : Which 
yet the Jews (as bitter enemies to Christ as himself) will by no means 
allow to be true. And, lastly, the time of his birth was exactly 
pointed at in Haggai's prophecy, Hag. ii. 7, 9. compared with Mai. 
iii. 1. He must come while the second temple stood ; at that time 
was a general expectation of him, John i. 19. and at that very 
time he came, Luke ii. 38. 

Secondly, The place of his birth was foretold to be Bethlehem 
Ephrata, Micah v. 2. and so it was, Matth. ii. 5, 6. to be brought 
up in Nazareth, Zech. vi. 12. " Behold the man whose name is 
" the Branch." The word is Netzer, whence is the word Naza- 
rite. And there indeed was our Lord brought up, Mat. ii. 23. 

Thirdly, His parent was to be a virgin, Isa. vii. 14. punctually 
fulfilled, Matth. i. 20, 21, 22, 23. 

Fourthly, His stock, or tribe, was foretold to be Judah, Gen. 



SERM. XI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 209 

xlix. 10. and it is evident, saith the apostle, " that our Lord sprang 
" out of Judah," Heb. vii. 14. 

Fifthly, His harbinger, or forerunner was foretold, Mai. iv. 5, 
6. fulfilled in John the Baptist, Luke i. 16, IT. 

Sixthly, The obscurity and meanness of his birth were pre- 
dicted, Isa. liii. 2. Zech. ix. 9. to which the event answered, Luke 
ii. 12. 

Thirdly, His doctrine and miracles were foretold, Isa. xvi. 1, 2. 
xxxv. 4, 5. the accomplishment whereof in Christ is evident in the 
history of all the eva?igelists. 

Fourthly, His death for us was foretold by the prophets, Dan. 
ix. 26. " The Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself:' 1 Isa. 
liii. 5. " He was wounded for our transgressions." And so he was, 
John xi. 50. The very kind and manner of his death was pre- 
figured in the brazen serpent,, his type ; and answered in his death 
upon the cross, John hi. 14. 

Fifthly, His burial in the tomb of a rich man was foretold, Isa. 
liii. 9- and accomplished most exactly, Matth. xxvii. 59, 60. 

Sixthly, His resurrection from the dead was typed out in Jonah, 
and fulfilled in Christ's abode three days and nights in the grave, 
Matth. xii. 49- 

Seventhly, The wonderful spreading of the gospel in the world, 
even to the Isles of the Gentiles, was prophesied of, Isa. xlix. 6. 
to the truth whereof we are not only the witnesses, but the happy 
instances and examples of it. Thus the promised mercy was per- 
formed. 

Inference 1. If Christ be the mercy of mercies, the medium of 
conveying all other mercies from God to men ; then in vain do men 
expect and hope for mercy of God out of Jesus Christ. 

I know many poor sinners comfort themselves with this, when 
they come upon a bed of sickness ; I am sinful, but God is merci- 
ful: and it is very true God is merciful; plenteous in mercy ; his 
mercy is great above the heavens ; mercy pleaseth him ; and all 
this they that are in Christ shall find experimentally, to their com- 
fort and salvation. But what is all this to thee, if thou art Christ- 
less ? There is not one drop of saving mercy that comes in any 
other channel than Christ to the soul of any man. 

But must I then expect no mercy out of Christ ? This is a hard 
case, very uncomfortable doctrine. Yes, thou mayest be a Christ- 
ies, and covenantless soul, and yet have variety of temporal mer- 
cies, as Ishmael had, Gen. xvii. 20, 21. God "may give thee the 
fatness of the earth, riches, honours, pleasures, a numerous and 
prosperous posterity ; will that content thee ? Yes, yes, if I may 
haw heaven too : No, neither heaven, nor pardon, nor any other 
spiritual or eternal mercy may be expected out of Christ, Jude, 



210 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XI. 

ver. 21. O deceive not yourselves in this point ; there are two 
bars betwixt you and all spiritual mercies, viz. the guilt of sin, and 
the filth of sin ; and nothing but your own union with Christ can 
remove these, and so open the passage for spiritual mercies to your 
souls. 

Why, but I will repent of sin, strive to obey the commands of 
God, make restitution for the wrongs I have done, Gry to God for 
mercy, bind my soul with vows and strong resolutions against sin 
for time to come : will not all this lay a ground- work for hope of 
mercy to my soul ? No, this will not, this cannot do. 

First, All your sorrows, tears and mournings for sin cannot ob- 
tain mercy ; could you shed as many tears for any sin that ever you 
committed, as all the children of Adam have shed upon any ac- 
count whatsoever, since the creation of the world ; they will not 
purchase the pardon of that one sin ; for the law accepts no short 
payment; it requires plenary satisfaction, and will not discharge 
any soul without it ; nor can it acknowledge or own your souls to 
be such. The repentance of a soul finds, through Christ, accep- 
tance with God, but out of him it is nothing. 

Secondly, All your strivings to obey the commands of God, and 
live more strictly for time to come, will not obtain mercy. Matth, 
v. 20. " Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness 
" of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the 
" kingdom of heaven.'' 

Thirdly, Your restitution, and reparation of wrongs you have 
done, cannot obtain mercy. Judas restored, and yet was damned. 
Man is repaired, but God is not. Remission is the act of God, it 
is he must loose your consciences from the bond of guilt, or they 
can never be loosed. 

Fourthly, All your cries to God for mercy will not prevail for 
mercy, if you be out of Christ, Matth. vii. 22. Job xxvii. 29. 
A righteous judge will not reverse the just sentence of the law, 
though the prisoner at the bar fall upon his knees, and cry, Mercy, 
mercy. 

Fifthly, Your vows and engagements to God for time to come 
cannot obtain mercy ; for they being made in your own strength, 
it is impossible you should keep them ; and if you could, yet it is 
impossible they should obtain remission and mercy : should you 
never sin more for time to come, yet how shall God be satisfied 
for sins past ? Justice must have satisfaction, or you can never have 
remission, Rom. iii. 25, 26. and no work wrought by man can 
satisfy divine justice ; nor is the satisfaction of Christ made over to 
any for their discharge, but to such only as are in him : therefore 
never expect mercy out of Christ. 



gfcajfi XL THE METHOD OF GRACE, 211 

Inf. 2. Is Christ, the mercy of mercies, greater, better, and more 
necessary than all other mercies : then let no inferior mercy satisfy 
you for your portion. 

God hath mercies of all sorts to give, but Christ is the chief, the 
prime mercy of all mercies ; O be not satisfied without that mercy. 
When * Luther had a rich present sent him, " he protested God 
" should not put him off so ;* and David was of the same mind, 
Psal. xvii. 14. If the Lord should give any of you the desires of 
your hearts in the good things of this life, let not that satisfy you, 
whilst you are Christless. For, 

First, What is there in these earthly enjoyments, whereof the 
vilest men have not a greater fulness than you ? Job xxi. 7, 8, 9, 
10, 11. Psal. xvii. 10. and Ixxiii. 3, 12. 

Secondly, What comfort can all these things give to a soul al- 
ready condemned as thou art ; John iii. 18. 

Thirdly, What sweetness can be in them, whilst they are all un- 
sanctified things to you ? enjoyments and sanctification are two 
distinct things, Psal. xxxvii. 16. Prov. x. 22. Thousands of un- 
sanctified enjoyments will not yield your souls one drop of solid 
spiritual comfort. 

Fourthly, What pleasure can you take in these things, of which 
death must shortly strip you naked ? You must die, you must die ; 
and whose then shall all those things be, for which you have 
laboured ? Be not so fond, to think of leaving a great name behind 
you : it is but a poor felicity (as Chrysostom well observes) to be 
tormented where thou art, and praised where thou art not f : the 
sweeter your portion hath been on earth, the more intolerable will 
your condition be in hell ; yea, these earthly delights do not only 
increase the torments of the damned, but also prepare (as they are 
instruments of sin) the souls of men for damnation, Prov. i. 32. 
" Surely the prosperity of fools shall destroy them." Be restless, 
therefore, till Christ, the mercy of mercies, be the root and foun- 
tain, yielding and sanctifying all other mercies to you. 

Inf. 3. Is Christ, the mercy of mercies, infinitely better than all other 
mercies f then let all that be in Christ be content, and well satisfied, 
whatever other inferior mercies the wisdom of God sees ft to deny 
them. You have a Benjamin's portion, a plentiful inheritance in 
Christ ; will you yet complain ? Others have houses, splendid and 
magnificent upon earth ; but you have " an house made without 
hands, eternal in the heavens, 1 ' 2 Cor. v. 1. Others are clothed with 
rich and costly apparel, your souls are clothed with the white, pure 
robes of Christ's righteousness. Isa. lxi. 10. "I will greatly re- 



* Valde protest rj us sujn, me voile sic ab eo satin i Luth. 

f For then the devouring flame burns up those whom carnal pleasure pollutes 

Vol. II. O 



212 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEItM. XI, 



" joice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he 
" hath clothed me with the garment of salvation, he hath covered 
" me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh him- 
" self with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels." 
Let those that have full tables, heavy purses, rich lands, but no 
Christ, be rather objects of your pity, than envy : it ik better, like 
store-cattle, to be kept lean and hungry, than with the fatted ox, to 
tumble in flowry meadows, thence to be lead away to the shambles. 
God hath not a better mercy to give than Christ, thy portion ; in 
him all necessary mercies are secured to thee, and thy wants and 
straits sanctified to thy good. O ! therefore, never open thy mouth 
to complain against the bountiful God. 

Inf. 4. Is Christ the mercy, i. e. he in whom all the tender mer- 
cies of God towards poor sinners are ; then let none be discouraged 
in going to Christ, by reason of the sin and unworthiness that are 
in them : his very name is mercy, and as his name is, so is he. Poor 
drooping sinner, encourage thyself in the way of faith ; the Christ 
to whom thou art going, is mercy itself to broken hearted sinners 
moving towards him in the way of faith ; doubt not that mercy 
will repulse thee ; it is against both its name and nature so to do. 
Jesus Christ is so merciful to poor souls that come to him, that he 
hath received and pardoned the chiefest of sinners; men that 
stood as remote from mercy as any in the world, 1 Tim. i. 15. 
1 Cor. vi. 11. Those that shed the blood of Christ, have yet 
been washed in that blood from their sin, Acts ii. 36, 37. Mer- 
cy receives sinners, without exception of great and heinous ones. 
John vii. 37. " If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink." 
Gospel invitations run, in general terms, to all sinners that are 
heavy laden, Mat. xi. 28. When Mr. Bilney the martyr heard a 
minister preaching at this rate, O thou old sinner, who hast been 
serving the devil these fifty or sixty years ; dost thou think that 
Christ will receive thee now ? O ! said he, what a preaching of 
Christ is here ? Had Christ been thus preached to me in the day 
of my trouble for sin, what had become of me ? But, blessed be 
God there is a sufficiency both of merit and mercy in Jesus Christ 
for all sinners, for the vilest among sinners, whose hearts shall be 
made willing to come unto him. So merciful is the Lord Jesus 
Christ, that he moves first, Isa. lxii. 1, 2. so merciful, that he up- 
braids none, Ezek. xviii. 22. so merciful, that he will not despise 
the weakest, if sincere, desires of souls, Isa. xlii. 3. so merciful, 
that nothing more grieves him than our unwillingness to come 
unto him for mercy, John v. 40. so merciful, that he waiteth to the 
last upon sinners to shew them mercy, Rom. x. 21. Mat. xxiii. 37. 
in a word, so merciful, that it is his greatest joy when sinners come 
unto him, that he may shew them mercy, Luke xv. 5, 22. 



SERM. XL THE METHOD OF GRACE. £13 

Object. But yet it cannot enter into my thoughts that I should 
obtain mercy. 

Sol. First, You measure God by yourselves, 1 Sam. xxiv. 19. 
"If a man find his enemy, will lie let him go well away ?" Man 
will not, but the merciful God will, upon the submission of the 
enemies to him. 

Secondly, You are discouraged, because you have not tried. Go 
to Jesus Christ, poor distressed sinners ; try him, and then report 
what a Christ thou findest him to be. 

Object. But I have neglected the time of mercy, and now it is too 
late. 

Sol. How know you that ? Have you seen the book of life, or 
turned over the records of eternity ? Or do you not unwarrantably 
intrude into the secrets of God, which belong not to you ? Besides, 
if the treaty were at an end, how is it that thy heart is now distress^ 
ed for sin, and solicitous after deliverance from it ? 

Object. But I have waited long, and yet see no mercy for me. 
Sol. May not mercy be coming, and you not see it ? Or have 
you not waited at the wrong door ? If you wait for the mercy of 
God through Christ, in the way of humiliation and faith, and con- 
tinue waiting, assuredly mercy shall come at last. 

Inf. 5. Hath God performed the mercy promised to the Fathers, 
the great mercy, the capital mercy, Jesus Christ ; then let no man 
distrust God for the performance qf lesser mercies contained in any 
other promises qf the scripture. The performance of this mercy- 
secures the performance of all other mercies to us. For, 

First, Christ is a greater mercy than any other which yet re- 
mains to be performed, Rom. viii. 32. 

Secondly, This mercy virtually comprehends all other mercies, 
1 Cor. iii. 21, 22, 23. 

Thirdly, The promises that contain all other mercies, are ratified 
and confirmed to believers in Christ, 2 Cor. i. 20. 

Fourthly, It was much more improbable that God would bestow 
his own Son upon the world, than that he should bestow any other 
mercy upon it. Wait, therefore, in a comfortable expectation of 
the fulfilling of all the rest of the promises in their seasons. Hath 
he given thee Christ ? He will give thee bread to eat, raiment to 
put on, support in troubles, and whatsoever else thy soul or body 
stands in need of : The blessings contained in all other promises 
are fully secured by the performance of this great promise; thy 
pardon, peace, acceptance with God now, and enjoyment of him for 
ever shall be fulfilled : The great mercy, Christ, makes way for all 
other mercies to the souls of believers. 

Inf. 6. Lastly, How mad are they that part with Christ, the best 
of mercies, to secure and preserve any temporal lesser mercies to 

02 



214 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XII. 

themselves ! Thus Demas and Judas gave up Christ to gain a little 
of the world ; O soul-undoing bargain ! How dear do they pay for 
the world, that purchase it with the loss of Christ, and their owh 
peace for ever ! 

Blessed be God for Jesus Christ ; the Mercy of mercies. 



SERMON XII. 



Containing a third Motive to enliven the general Exhor- 
tation from a third Title of Christ. 

Cant. v. Part of Verse 16. 
Yea, He is altogether lovely. r 

AjT the ninth verse of this chapter, you have a query propounded 
to the spouse, by the daughters of Jerusalem, " What is thy be- 
loved more than another beloved ?" To this question the spouse re- 
turns her answers in the following verses, wherein she asserts his 
excellency in general. Ver. 10. " He is the chiefest among ten 
thousands ;* confirms that general assertion, by an enumeration of 
his particular excellencies, to ver. 16. where she closes up her cha- 
racter and encomium of her beloved, with an elegant epiplwnema, in 
the words that I have read : " Yea, he is altogether lovely." 

The words, vou see, are an affirmative proposition, setting forth 
the transcendent loveliness of the Lord Jesus Christ ; and naturally 
resolve themselves into three parts, viz. 

1. The subject. 

2. The predicate. 

3. The manner of predication. 

First, The subject, He, Viz. the Lord Jesus Christ, after whom 
she had been seeking, for whom she was sick of love ; concerning 
whom these daughters of Jerusalem had enquired : whom she had 
endeavoured so graphically to describe in his particular excellencies. 
This is the great and excellent subject of whom she here speaks. 

Secondly, The predicate, or what she affirmeth or saith of him, 
viz. That he is a lovely one, Machamaddim, desires ; according to the 
import of the * original, " which signifies earnestly to desire, covet, 
" or long after that which is most pleasant, grateful, delectable, 
" and admirable." The original word is both in the abstract, and 



* Significat affletere, expetere quod jocundum, gratum, voluptuosum, utile et amubile est, 
Pag. 



M£KM. XII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 215 

of the plural number, which speaks Christ to be the very essence of 
all delights and pleasures, the very soul and substance of them. As 
all the rivers are gathered into the ocean, which is the congregation 
or meeting-place of all the waters in the world : so Christ is that 
ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet. 

Thirdly, The manner of predication ; He is [altogether] lovely, 
Totus, totus desiderabilis ; lovely in all, and in every part ; as if 
she had said, Look on him in what respect or particular you will ; 
cast your eye upon this lovely object, and view him any way ; turn 
him in your serious thoughts which way you will ; consider his 
person, his offices, his works, or any other thing belonging to him; 
you will find him altogether lovely, There is nothing ungrateful in 
him, there is nothing lovely without him. Hence note, 

Doct. That Jesus Christ is the loveliest person souls can set their 
eyes upon, Psal. xlv. % " Thou art fairer than the children 
" of men." 

That is said of Jesus Christ, which cannot be said of any crea- 
ture ; that he is " altogether lovely." In opening this lovely point 
I shall, 

1. Weigh the importance of this phrase "altogether lovely." 

2. Shew you in what respect Christ is so. 

First, Let us weigh this excellent expression, and particularly 
consider what is contained in it, and you shall find this expression 
M altogether lovely." 

First, That it excludes all unloveliness and distastefulness from 
Jesus Christ. So * Vatablus ; " There is nothing in him which is 
" not amiable." The excellencies of Jesus Christ are perfectly ex- 
clusives of all their opposites ; there is nothing of a contrary nature 
or quality found in him to alloy or debase his excellency. And in 
this respect Christ infinitely transcends the most excellent and love- 
liest creatures. For whatsoever loveliness is found in them, it is 
not without a distasteful tang ; the fairest pictures must have their 
shadows : The most orient and transplendent stones must have their 
foils to set off their beauty ; the best creature is but a bitter sweet 
at best : If there be somewhat pleasing, there is also somewhat dis- 
tasting ; if there be gracious and natural excellencies in the same 
person to delight us, yet there is also some natural corruption in- 
termixed with it to distaste us : But it is not so in our altogether 
lovely Christ ; his excellencies are pure and unmixed ; he is a sea 
of sweetness without one drop of gall. 



• Nihil in eo quod non est emabUe, 

03 



216 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XtT. 

Secondly, * Altogetlier lovely, i. e. as there is nothing unlovely 
found in him, so all that is in him is wholly lovely ; as every ray 
of God is precious, so every thing that is in Christ is precious : 
Who can weigh Christ in a pair of balances, and tell you what his 
worth is ? " His price is above rubies, and all that thou canst desire 
" is not to be compared with him," Pro v. viii. 11. 

Thirdly, Altogether lovely, i. e. He is comprehensive of all things 
that are lovely : he seals up the sum of all loveliness : Quwjaciunt 
divisa beatum, in hoc mixta fluunt : Things that shine as single stars 
with a particular glory, all meet in Christ as a glorious constellation. 
Col. i. 19. " It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness 
" dwell." Cast your eyes among all created beings, survey the 
universe, observe strength in one, beauty in a second, faithfulness 
in a third, wisdom in a fourth ; but you shall find none excelling 
in them all as Christ doth. Bread hath one quality, water another, 
raiment another, physic another; but none hath all in itself as 
Christ hath: He is bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, a 
garment to the naked, healing to the wounded ; and whatever a 
soul can desire is found in him, 1 Cor. i. 30. 

Fourthly, Altogether lovely, i. e. Nothing is lovely in opposition 
to him, or in separation from him. If he be altogether lovely, then 
whatsoever is opposite to, or separate from him can have no love- 
liness in it ; take away Christ, and where is the loveliness of any 
enjoyment ? The best creature-comfort out of Christ, is but a bro- 
ken cistern ; it cannot hold one drop of true comfort, Psal. lxxiii. 
26. It is with the creature, the sweetest and loveliest creature, as 
wdth a beautiful image in the glass : turn away the face and where 
is the image? Riches, honours, and comfortable relations are 
sweet when the face of Christ smiles upon us through them ; but 
without him, what empty trifles are they all ? 

Fifthly, Altogether lovely, i. e. Transcending all created excellen- 
cies in beauty and loveliness ; so much it speaks. If you compare 
Christ and other things, be they never so lovely, never so excel- 
lent and desirable ; Christ carries away all loveliness from them ; 
" He is (saith the apostle) before all things," Col. i. 17. Not only 
before all things in time, nature, and order ; but before all things in 
dignity, glory, and true excellency : In all things he must have the 
pre-eminence. For let us but compare Christ's excellency with the 
creature's in a few particulars, and how evidently will the transcen- 
dent loveliness of Jesus Christ appear ! For, 

First, All other loveliness is derivative and secondary ; but the 
loveliness of Christ original and primary. Angels and men, the 

* The more excellent he is, the more he is to be sought after, by earnest prayer and 
desires. Bri^htman, 



«,ERM. XII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 217 

world and all the desirables in it, receive what excellency they 
have from him ; they are streams from the fountain. But as the 
waters in the fountain itself are more abundant, so more pure and 
pleasant * than in the streams. And the farther any thing departs, 
and is removed from its fountain and original, the less excellency 
there is in it. 

Secondly, The loveliness and excellency of all other things, is 
but relative and respective, consisting in its reference to Christ, and 
subserviency to his glory ; but Christ is lovely, considered abso- 
lutely in himself: He is desirable for himself, other things are so 
for him. 

Thirdly, The beauty and loveliness of all other things is fading 
and perishing ; but the loveliness of Christ is fresh to all eternity : 
the sweetness of the best creatures is a fading flower ; if not be- 
fore, yet certainly at death it must fade away. Job iv. 21. " Doth 
" not their excellency, which is in them, go away ?" Yes, yes, 
whether natural excellencies of the body, or acquired endowments 
of the mind, lovely features, amiable qualities, attracting excellen- 
cies ; all these like pleasant flowers are withered, faded, and de- 
stroyed by death ; " but Christ is still the same, yesterday, to day, 
" and for ever," Heb. xiii. 8. 

Fourthly, The beauty and holiness of creatures are ensnaring 
and dangerous ; a man may make an idol thereof, and dote be- 
yond the bounds of moderation upon them, but there is no danger 
of excess in the love of Christ. The soul is then in the healthiest 
frame and temper when it is most sick of love to Christ, Cant, 
v. 8. 

Fifthly, The loveliness of every creature is of a cloying and glut- 
ting nature ; our estimation of it abates and sinks by our nearer 
approach to it, or longer enjoyment of it : creatures, like pictures, 
are fairest at a due distance, but it is not so with Christ; the nearer 
the soul approacheth him, and the longer it lives in the enjoyment 
of him, still the more sweet and desirable is he. 

Sixthly, and lastly, All other loveliness is unsatisfying and strait- 
ening to the soul of man ; there is not room enough in any one, 
or in all the creatures for the soul of man to dilate and expatiate 
itself; but it still feels itself confined and narrowed within those 
strait limits -f : And this comes to pass from the inadequateness and 
unsuitableness of the creature, to the nobler and more excellent 



* Dulcius ex ipsofonte bibuntur aqua. Waters drink more pleasantly from the foun- 
tain itself. 

f Unus Pellceo juveni non svfficit orbis ; 
uEstuat infcclix angusto in limite mundi. 
The world is not sufficient for the Macedonian youth (vis. Alexander ;) he frets at 
being confined within the narrow boundary of the world. 

04 



218 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XII. 

soul of man, which like a ship in a narrow river hath not room to 
turn ; and besides, is ever and anon striking ground and founder- 
ing in those shallows. But Jesus Christ is every way adequate to 
the vast desires of the soul ; in him it hath sea-room enough ; 
there it may spread all its sails, no fear of touching the bottom. 
And thus you see what is the importance of this phrase, Altogether 
lovely. 

Secondly, Next I promised to shew you in what respects Jesus 
Christ is altogether lovely. And, 

First, He is altogether lovely in his person : a Deity dwelling in 
flesh, John i. 14. The wonderful union and perfection of the 
divine and human nature in Christ, render him an object of ad- 
miration and adoration to angels and men, 1 Tim. iii. 16. God 
never presented to the world such a vision of glory before : And then 
consider how the human nature of our Lord Jesus Christ is reple- 
nished with all the graces of the Spirit, so as never any of all the 
saints was filled ; O how lovely doth this render him ! John iii. 34. 
" God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." This makes 
him fairer than the children o£ men, grace being poured into his 
lips, Psal. xlv. 2. If a small measure of grace in the saints make 
them such sweet and desirable companions, what must the riches 
and fulness of the Spirit of grace filling Jesus Christ without mea- 
sure, make him in the eyes of believers ? O what a glory and 
lustre must it stamp upon him ! 

Secondly, He is altogether lovely in his offices : for let us but 
consider the suitableness, fulness, and comfortableness of them. 

First, The suitableness of the offices of Christ to the miseries 
and wants of men ; and we cannot but adore the infinite wisdom of 
God in his investiture with them ; we are, by nature, blind and 
ignorant, at best but groping in the dim light of nature after God, 
Acts xvii. 27. Jesus Christ is a light to lighten the Gentiles, Isa. 
xlix. 6. When this great prophet came into the world, then did 
the day-spring from on high visit us, Luke i. 78. The state of na- 
ture is a state of alienation from, and enmity against God ; Christ 
comes into the world an atoning sacrifice, making peace by the 
blood of his cross, Col. i. 20. All the world, by nature, are in 
bondage and captivity to Satan, a lamentable thraldom ; Christ 
comes with kingly power, to rescue sinners, as a prey from the 
mouth of the terrible one. 

Secondly, Let the fulness of his offices be also considered, by rea- 
son whereof he is able " to save to the uttermost, all that come to 
" God by him," Heb. vii. 25. The three offices, comprising in 
them all that our souls do need, become an universal relief to all 
our wants ; and therefore, 

Thirdly, Unspeakably comfortable must the offices of Christ be to 



SERM. XII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 219 

the souls of sinners. If light be pleasant to our eyes, how pleasant 
is that lio-ht of life springing from the Sun of righteousness ! Mai. 
iv. &. If a pardon be sweet to a condemned malefactor, how sweet 
must the sprinkling the blood of Jesus be to the trembling con- 
science of a law-condemned sinner ? If a rescue from a cruel tyrant 
be sweet to a poor captive, how sweet must it be to the ears of en- 
slaved sinners, to hear the voice of liberty and deliverance pro- 
claimed by Jesus Christ ? Out of the several offices of Christ, as 
out of so many fountains, all the promises of the new covenant 
flow, as so many soul-refreshing streams of peace and joy : all the 
promises of illumination, counsel and direction flow out of the 
prophetical office ; all the promises of reconciliation, peace, pardon, 
and acceptation flow out of the priestly office, with the sweet streams 
of joy, and spiritual comforts depending thereupon ; all the pro- 
mises of converting, increasing, defending, directing, and supply- 
ing grace, flow out of the tengly office of Christ ; indeed, all pro- 
mises may be reduced to the three offices : so that Jesus Christ 
must needs be altogether lovely in his offices. 

Thirdly, Jesus Christ is altogether lovely in his relations. 

First, He is a lovely Redeemer, Isa. lxi. 1. He came to open the 
irison-doors to them that are bound. Needs must this Redeemer 
e a lovely one, if we consider the depth of misery from which he 
redeemed us, even " from the wrath to come," 1 Thess. i. 10. How 
lovely was Titus, in the eyes of the poor enthralled Greeks, whom 
he delivered from their bondage ! this endeared him to them to 
that degree, that when their liberty was proclaimed, they even trod 
one another to death to see the herald that proclaimed it ; and all 
the night following, with instruments of music, danced about his 
tent, crying with united voices, " a Saviour, a Saviour. 1 ' Or, 
whether we consider the numbers redeemed, and the means of their 
redemption. Rev. v. 9. And they sang a new song, saying, 
" Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals there- 
" of: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy 
* blood, out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and na- 
" tion. 1 ' He redeemed us not with silver and gold, but with his 
own precious blood, by way of price, 1 Pet. i. 18, 19- with his 
out-stretched and glorious arm, by way of power, Col. i. 13. he 
redeemed us freely, Eph. i. 7. fully, Rom. viii. 1. seasonably, Gal. 
iv. 4. and out of special and peculiar love, John xvii. 9. In a word, 
he hath redeemed us for ever, never more to come into bondage, 
1 Pet. i. 5. John x. 28. O how lovely is Jesus Christ in the re- 
lation of a Redeemer to God's elect ! 

Secondly, He is a lovely bridegroom to all that he espouses to 
himself. How doth the church glory in him, in the words fol- 
lowing my text ; " this is my Beloved, and this is my Friend, 



I 



220 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XIL 

" O ye daughters of Jerusalem !" q. d. Heaven and earth cannot 
shew such another : which needs no fuller proof than the follow- 
ing particulars. 

First, That he espouses to himself, in mercy and in loving-kind- 
ness, such deformed, defiled, and altogether unworthy souls as we 
are ; who have no beauty, no excellency to make us desirable in 
his eyes ; all the springs of his love to us are in his own breast, 
Deut. vii. 7. he chuseth us, not because we were, but that he might 
make us lovely, Eph. v. 27. he passed by us when we lay in our 
blood, and said unto us, Live ; and that was the time of love, 
Ezek. xvi. 5. 

Secondly, He expects nothing with us, and yet bestows himself, 
and all that he hath, upon us. Our poverty cannot enrich him, 
but he made himself poor to enrich us, 2 Cor. viii. 9. 1 Cor. 
iii. 22. 

Thirdly, No husband loves the wife of his bosom, as Christ 
loved his people, Eph. v. 25. He loved the church and gave him- 
self for it. 

Fourthly, None bears with weaknesses and provocations as 
Christ doth ; the church is stiled " the Lamb's wife," Rev. 
xix. 9. 

Fifthly, No husband is so immortal and everlasting a husband 
as Christ is ; death separates all other relations, but the soul's 
union with Christ is not dissolved in the grave ; yea, the day of a 
believer's death, is his marriage day, the day of his fullest enjoyment 
of Christ. No husband can say to his wife, what Christ saith to 
the believer, " I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee," Heb. 
xiii. 5. 

Sixthly, No bridegroom advanceth his bride to such honours by 
marriage, as Christ doth ; he relates them to God as their father, 
and from that day the mighty and glorious angels think it no dis- 
honour to be their servants, Heb. i. 14. they are brought in ad- 
miring the beauty and glory of the spouse of Christ, Rev. xxi. 9. 

Seventhly, and lastly, No marriage was ever consummated with 
such triumphal solemnity, as the marriage of Christ and belie- 
vers shall be in heaven, Psal. xlv. 14, 15. " She shall be brought to 
" the king in raiment of needle-work, the virgins, her compani- 
" ons that follow her, shall be brought unto thee ; with gladness 
" and rejoicing shall they be brought ; they shall enter into the 
" king's palace." Among the Jews the marriage-house was called 
Bethillula, the house of praise ; there was joy upon all hands, but 
none like the joy that will be in heaven, when believers, the spouse 
of Christ, shall be brought thither : God the Father will rejoice, to 
behold the blessed accomplishment and confirmation of those glo- 
rious designs of his love. Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, will rejoice 



SERM. XII. THE METHOD OF GRACE, 221 

to see the travail of his soul, the blessed birth and issue of all his 
bitter pangs and agonies, Isa. liii. 11. The Holy Spirit will rejoice 
to see the completion and perfection of that sanctifying design 
which was committed to his hand, 2 Cor. v. 5. to see those souls 
whom he once found as rough stones, now to shine as the bright, 
polished stones of the spiritual temple. Angels will rejoice : great 
Avas the joy when the foundation of this design was laid, in the in- 
carnation of Christ, Luke ii. 13. great therefore must their joy be, 
when the top-stone is set up with shouting, crying, Grace, grace, 
The saints themselves shall rejoice unspeakably, when they shall 
enter into the King's palace, and be for ever with the Lord, 1 Thes. 
iv. 17. Indeed there will be joy on all hands, except among the 
devils and damned, who shall gnash their teeth with envy at the 
everlasting advancement aud glory of believers. 

Thus Christ is altogether lovely, in the relation of a Bride- 
groom. 

Thirdly, Christ is altogether lovely, in the relation of an Advo- 
cate. 1 John ii. 1. "If any man sin, we have an advocate with 
" the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the Propitia- 
" tion ;" it is he that pleads the cause of believers in heaven ; ap- 
pears for them in the presence of God, to prevent all new breaches, 
and continues the state of friendship and peace betwixt God and 
us. In this relation Christ is altogether lovely. For, 

First, He makes our cause his own, and acts for us in heaven, as 
for himself, Heb. iv. 15. He is touched with the tender sense of 
our troubles and dangers, and is not only one with us, by way of re- 
presentation, but also one with us in respect of sympathy and af- 
fection. 

Secondly, Christ our Advocate, follows our suit and business in 
heaven, as his great and main design and business ; therefore, in 
Heb. vii. 25. he is said to " live for ever to make intercession for 
" us i" as if our concernments were so minded by him there, as to 
give up himself wholly to that work, as if all the glory and honour 
which is paid him in heaven would not satisfy him 5 or divert him 
one moment from our business. 

Thirdly, He pleads the cause of believers by his blood ; it satis- 
fies him not, as other advocates, to be at the expence of words and 
oratory, which is a cheaper way of pleading ; but he pleads for us 
by the voice of his own blood, Heb. xii. 24. where we are said to 
be come " to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things 
" than that of Abel :" Every wound he received for us on earth, 
is a mouth opened to plead with God on our behalf in heaven ; 
Quot vulnera, tot ora. And hence it is, that in Rev. v. 6. he is re- 
presented standing before God, as a lamb that had been slain ; as it 
were, exhibiting and opening in heaven those deadly wounds re- 



222 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. XII- 

ceived on earth, from the justice of God, on our account. Other 
advocates spend their breath, Christ his blood. 

Fourthly, He pleads the cause of believers freely. Other advo- 
cates plead for reward, and exhaust the purses, while they plead 
the causes of their clients. 

Fifthly, In a word, he obtaineth for us all the mercies for which 
he pleads ; no cause miscarries in hi.s hand, which he undertakes, 
Rom. viii. 33, 34. O what a lovely Advocate is Christ for be- 
lievers ! 

Fourthly, Christ is altogether lovely in the relation of a friend, 
for in this relation he is pleased to own his people, Luke xii. 4, 5. 
There are certain things in which one friend manifests his affection 
and friendship to another, but none like Christ. For, 

First, No friend is so open-hearted to his friend as Christ is to his 
people : he reveals the very counsels and secrets of his heart to them. 
John xv. 15. " Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant 
" knoweth not what his Lord doth ; but I have called you friends ; 
" for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made 
" known unto you." 

Secondly, No friend in the world is so generous and bountiful to 
his friend, as Jesus Christ is to believers ; John xv. 13. he parts 
with his very blood for them ; " Greater love (saith he) hath no 
" man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." 
He hath exhausted the precious treasures of his invaluable blood 
to pay our debts. O what a lovely friend is Jesus Christ to be- 
lievers ! 

Thirdly, No friend sympathizes so tenderly with his friend in af- 
fliction, as Jesus Christ doth with his friends : " In all our afflic- 
" tions he is afflicted," Heb. iv. 15. He feels all our sorrows, 
wants and burdens as his own. Whence it is that the sufferings of 
believers are called the sufferings of Christ, Col. i. 24. 

Fourthly, No friend in the world takes that complacency in his 
friend, as Jesus Christ doth in believers. Cant. iv. 9. " Thou 
" hast ravished my heart, (saith he to the spouse) thou hast ravish- 
" ed my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. 1 ' 
The Hebrew, here rendered ravished, signifies to puff up, or to 
make one proud : how is the Lord Jesus pleased to glory in his 
people ! how is he taken and delighted with those gracious orna- 
ments which himself bestows upon them ! No friend so lovely as 
Christ. 

Fifthly, No friend in the world loves his friend with so fervent 
and strong affection as Jesus Christ loves believers. Jacob loved 
Rachel, and endured for her sake the parching heat of summer 
and cold of winter ; but Christ endured the storms of the wrath of 
God, the heat of his indignation, for our sakes. David manifested 



SERM. XII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. OO3 

his love to Absalom, in wishing, " O that I had died for thee !" 
Christ manifested his love to us, not in wishes that he had died, 
but in death itself, in our stead, and for our sakes. 

Sixthly, No friend in the world is so constant and unchangeable 
in friendship as Christ is, John xiii. 1. " Having loved his own 
" which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." He 
bears with millions of provocations and injuries, and yet will not 
break friendship with his people. Peter denied him, yet he will 
not disown him ; but after his resurrection he saith, " Go, tell the 
" disciples, and tell Peter," q. d. Let him not think he hath for- 
feited, by that sin of his, his interest in me ; though he have de- 
nied me, I will not disown him, Mark xvi. 7. O how lovely is 
Christ in the relation of a friend ! I might farther shew you the 
loveliness of Christ in his ordinances and in his providences, in 
his communion with us and communications to us, but there is 
no end of the account of Christ's loveliness : I will rather chuse to 
press believers to their duties towards this altogether lovely Christ, 
which I shall briefly dispatch in a few words. 

Use. First, Is Jesus Christ altogether lovely, then I beseech you 
set your souls upon this lovely Jesus. Methinks such an object as 
hath been here represented, should compel love from the coldest 
breast and hardest heart. Away with those empty nothings, away 
with this vain deceitful world, which deserves not the thousandth 
part of the love you give it ; let all stand aside and give way to 
Christ. O did you but know his worth and excellency, what he is 
in himself, what he hath done for, and deserved from you, you 
would need no arguments of mine to persuade you to love him. 

Secondly, Esteem nothing lovely but as it is enjoyed in Christ, or 
improved for Christ. Affect nothing for itself, love nothing sepa- 
rate from Jesus Christ. In two things we all sin in love of creatures, 
viz. in the excess of our affections, loving them above the rate and 
value of creatures ; and in the inordinary of out affections, i. e. in 
loving them out of their proper places. 

Thirdly, Let us all be humbled for the baseness of our hearts, that 
are so free of their affections to vanities and trifles, and so hard to 
be persuaded to the love of Christ, who is altogether lovely. O how 
many pour out streams of love and delight upon the vain and empty 
creature ; whilst no arguments can draw forth one drop of love 
from their obdurate and unbelieving hearts to Jesus Christ ! I 
have read of one Joannes Mollius, who was observed to go often 
alone, and weep bitterly ; and being pressed by a friend to know 
the cause of his troubles ; O ! said he, it grieves me that I cannot 
bring this heart of mine to love Jesus Christ more fervent 1} \ 

Fourthly, Represent Christ, as he is, to the world, by your car- 



S24< THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XII, 

riage towards him. Is he altogether lovely ; let all the world see 
and know that he is so, by your delights in him and communion 
with him ; zeal for him, and readiness to part with any other lovely 
thing upon his account ; proclaim his excellencies to the world, as 
the spouse here did ; convince them how much your beloved is 
better than any other beloved ; display his glorious excellencies in 
your heavenly conversations ; hold him forth to others, as he is in 
himself, altogether lovely. See that you " walk worthy of him 
" unto all well-pleasing," Col. i. 10. " Shew forth the praises of 
" Christ," 1 Pet. ii. 19. Let not that "worthy name be blas- 
" phemed through you," James ii. 7. He is glorious in himself, 
and will put glory upon you ; take heed ye put not shame and dis- 
honour upon him ; he hath committed his honour to you, do not 
betray that trust. 

First, Never be ashamed to own Christ : he is altogether lovely ; 
he can never be a shame to you ; it will be your great sin to be 
ashamed of him. Some men glory in their shame ; be not you 
ashamed of your glory : if you be ashamed of Christ now, he will 
be ashamed of you when he shall appear in his own glory, and the 
glory of all his holy angels. Be ashamed of nothing but sin ; and 
among other sins, be ashamed especially for this sin, that you have 
no more love for him who is altogether lovely. 

Sixthly, Be willing to leave every thing that is lovely upon earth, 
that you may be with the altogeilier lovely Lord Jesus Christ in hea- 
ven. Lift up your voices with the spouse, Rev. xx. 20. " Come 
u Lord Jesus, come quickly." It is true, you must pass through 
the pangs of death into his bosom and enjoyment ; but sure it is 
worth suffering much more than that to be with this lovely Jesus. 
" The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and the pa- 
" tient waiting for Jesus Christ," 2 Thes. hi. 5. 

Seventhly, Strive to be Christ-like, as ever you would be lovely 
in the eyes of God and man. Certainly, my brethren, it is the Spi- 
rit of Christ within you, and the beauty of Christ upon you, which 
only can make you lovely persons ; the more you resemble him in 
holiness, the more will you discover of true excellency and loveli- 
ness ; and the more frequent and spiritual your converse and com- 
munion with Christ is, the more of the beauty and loveliness of 
Christ will be stamped upon your spirits, changing you into the 
same image, from glory to glory. 

Eighthly, Let the loveliness of Christ draw all men to him. Is 
loveliness in the creature so attractive ? And can the transcendent 
Joveliness of Christ draw none ? O the blindness of man ! If you 
see no beauty in Christ why you should desire him, it is because 
the god of this world hath blinded your minds. 



SERM. XIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 225 

SERMON XIII. 

Alluring the Hearts of Men to come to Christ, by a fourth 
Motive contained in another Title of Christ. 

Haggai ii. 7. 
And the desire of all nations shall come. 

JL HE former chapter is mainly spent, in reproving the negli- 
gence of the Jews, who, being discouraged from time to time, 
had delayed the rebuilding the temple : and, in the mean time, 
employed their care and cost in building and adorning their 
own houses : but, at last, being persuaded to set about the work, 
they met with this discouragement, that such was the poverty of 
the present time, that the second structure would no way answer 
the magnificence and splendor of the first. In Solomon's days 
the nation was wealthy, now drained ; so that there would be no 
proportion betwixt the second and the first. To this grand dis- 
couragement the prophet applies this relief; that whatsoever should 
be wanting in external pomp and glory, should be more than re- 
compensed by the presence of Jesus Christ in this second temple. 
For Christ, " the desire of all nations," saith he, shall come into 
it. Which, by the way, may give us this useful note : That the 
presence of Jesus Christ gives a more real and excellent glory to 
the places of his worship, than any external beauty or outward or- 
naments whatsoever can bestow upon them. Our eyes, like the dis- 
ciples, are apt to be dazzled with the goodly stones of the temple, 
and, in the mean time, to neglect and overlook that which gives 
it the greatest honour and beauty. 

But to return. In these words we have both the description of 
Christ, and an index pointing at the time of his incarnation : he is 
called " the desire of all nations ;" and the time of his coming 
in the flesh, is plainly intimated to be whilst the second temple 
should be standing. Where, by the way, we find just cause to 
admire at and bemoan the blindness that is happened to the Jews, 
who, owning the truth of this prophecy, and not able to deny the 
destruction of the second temple, many hundred years past, will 
not yet be brought to acknowledge the incarnation of the true 
Messiah notwithstanding. 

But to the point. The character, or description of Christ, stiled 
the desire of all nations, who was to come into the world in the time 
of the second temple, Mai. iii. 12. and that, after grievous con- 
cussions and shakings of the world, which were to make way for 



226 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEKM. XIII, 

his coming ; for so our prophet here speaks, " I will shake all na- 
" tions, and the desire of all nations shall come, 1 ' to which the 
apostle alludes, in Heb. xh. 26. applying this prophecy to Jesus 
Christ, here called the " desire of all nations :" putting the act 
for the object, desire for the thing desired : as in Ezek. xxiv. 16. 
" The desire of thine eyes, 1 ' i. e. the desirable wife of thy bosom; 
so here, the " desire of all nations, 1 ' i. e. Christ, the object of the 
desires of God's elect, in all nations of the world : a Saviour infi- 
nitely desirable in himself, and actually desired by all the people of 
God, dispersed among all kindreds, tongues, and nations of the 
world. From whence this note is, 

Doct. That the desires ofGouVs elect in all kingdoms, and among 
all people of the earth, are, and shall be drazcn out after, and 
jixed upon the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The merciful God beholding the universal ruins of the world 
by sin, hath provided an universal remedy for his own elect, in 
every part of the earth. Christ is not impropriated to any one 
kingdom or nation in the world ; but intended to be God's salva- 
tion to the ends of the earth ; and accordingly speaks the apostle, 
Col. ii. 11. " There is neither Greek, nor Jew, Barbarian, Scy- 
" thian, bond nor free ; but Christ is all and in all." In the ex- 
plication of this point two tilings must be enquired into. 

1. Whv Christ is called the desire of all nations. 

2. Upon what account the people of God, in all nations, desire 
him. 

First, Why he is called the desire of all nations, and what that 
phrase mav import ; and there are divers things that are supposed, 
or included in it. 

First, That God the Father hath appointed him as a common 
remedy for the sins and miseries of his people, in all parts and 
quarters of the world. So in the covenant of redemption, betwixt 
the Father and the Son, the Lord expresseth himself, Isa. xlix. 6. 
and he said, " It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant, 
" to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of 
" Israel : I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou 
" may est be my salvation unto the end of the earth." Suitable 
whereunto is that prophecy, Isa. lii. 15. " He shall sprinkle many 
" nations." If God had not appointed him for, he could not be 
desired by all nations. 

And, indeed, herein the grace of God doth admirably shine 

forth in the freeness of it, that even the most barbarous nations 

are not excluded from the benefits of redemption by Christ. This 

bat the apostle admires, that Christ should he preached to the 



SERM. XIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 227 

Gentiles, 1 Tim. iii. 16. a people that seemed to be lost in the dark- 
ness of idolatry; yet even for them Christ was given by the 
ther, "Ask of me (saith he) and I will give thee the Heathen for 
" thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy 
k ' possession." 

Secondly, Christ, the desire of nil nations, plainly notes the suffi- 
ciency that is in him, to supply the wants of the whole world ; as 
the sun in the heavens suffices all nations for light and influence, 
so doth the Sun of righteousness suffice for the redemption, justifi- 
cation, sanctification and salvation of the people of God all over 
the world ; Isa. xlv. 22. " Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye 
" ends of the earth." 

Thirdly, It implies the reality that is in godliness. It shews you 
that religion is no fancy, as the atheistical world would persuade 
us ; and this evidently appears in the uniform effects of it upon the 
hearts of all men, in all nations of the world, that are truly reli- 
gious : all their desires, like so many needles touched by one and 
the same loadstone, move towards Jesus Christ, and all meet to- 
gether in one and the same blessed object, Christ. Were it possible 
for the people of God to come out of all nations, kindreds and 
languages in the world, into one place, and there confer and com- 
pare the desires and workings of their hearts, though they never 
saw each other's faces, nor heard of each other's names, yet, as 
face answers to face in a glass, so would their desires after Christ 
answer to each other. All hearts work after him in the same man- 
ner ; what one saith, all say : These are my troubles and burdens, 
these my wants and miseries ; the same things my desires and 
fears : one and the same Spirit works in all believers throughout 
the world ; which could never be if religion were but a fancy, as 
some call it ; or a combination or confederacy, as others call it : 
fancies are as various as faces ; and confederacies presuppose mu- 
tual acquaintance and conference. 

Fourthly, Christ, the desire of all nations, implies the vast extent 
his kingdom hath, and shall have in the world ; out of every na- 
tion under heaven some shall be brought to Christ, and to heaven 
by him ; and though the number of God's elect, compared with 
the multitudes of the ungodly in all nations, is but a remnant, a 
little flock ; and, in that comparative sense, there are few that shall 
be saved ; yet considered absolutely, and in themselves, they are a 
vast number, which no man can number, Matth. viii. 11. " Many 
" shall come from the east, and from the west, and shall sit 
" down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom 
" of heaven." In order whereunto, the gospel, like the sun in 
the heavens, circuits the world. It arose in the east, and takes 
its course towards the western world; rising, bv degrees, upon the 

Vol. II. P 



228 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEHM. XIII. 

remote, idolatrous nations of the earth : out of all which a num- 
ber is to be saved, even " Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands to 
" God," Psal. lxviii. 31. And this consideration should move us 
to pray earnestly for the poor Heathens, who yet sit in darkness, 
and the shadow of death ; there is yet hope for them. 

Fi, thly, It holds forth this, that when God opens the eyes of 
men to see their sin and danger by it, nothing but Christ can give 
them satisfaction : it is not the amenity, fertility, riches and plea- 
sures, the inhabitants of any kingdom of the world do enjoy, that 
can satisfy the desires of their souls : when once God touches their 
hearts with the sense of sin and misery, then Christ, and none 
but Christ is desirable and necessary, in the eyes of such persons. 
Many kingdoms of the world abound with riches and pleasures ; 
the providence of God hath carved liberal portions of the good 
things of this life to many of them, and scarce left any thing to 
their desires that the world can afford. Yet all this can give no 
satisfaction without Jesus Christ, the desire of all nations, the one 
thing necessary, when once they come to see the necessity and ex- 
cellency of him : then take the world who will, so they may have 
Christ, the desire of their souls. Thus we see upon what grounds 
and reasons Christ is stiled the desire of all nations. 

Object. But there lies one great objection against this truth, 
which must be solved ; viz. if Christ be the desire of all nations, 
how comes it to pass, that Jesus Christ finds no entertainment in so 
many nations of the world among whom Christianity is hissed at, 
and Christians not tolerated to live among them ? Who see no 
beauty in him that they should desire him. 

Sol. First, We must remember the nations of the world have 
their times and seasons of conversion ; those that once embraced 
Christ, have now lost him, and idols are now set up in the places 
where he once was sweetly worshipped. The sun of the gospel is 
gone down upon them, and now shines in another Hemisphere ; 
and so the nations of the world are to have their distinct days and 
seasons of illumination. The gospel, like the sea, gaineth in one 
place what it loseth in another ; and in the times and seasons ap- 
pointed by the Father, they come successively to be enlightened in 
the knowledge of Christ; and then shall the promise be fulfilled, 
Isa. xlix. 7. " Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his 
" holy One, To him w ? hom man despiseth, to him whom the na- 
" tion abhorreth, to a servant of rulers ; kings shall see and arise. 
" princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful." 

Secondly, Let it also be remembered, that although Christ be 
rejected by the rulers and body of many nations ; yet he is the 
desire of all the elect of God dispersed and scattered among those 
nations. 



SERM. XIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 229 

In the next place, Secondly, we are to enquire upon what account 
Christ becomes the desire of all nations, i. e. of all those in all the 
nations of the world, that belong to the election of grace. And 
the true ground and reason thereof is, because Christ only hath 
that in himself which relieves their wants, and answers to all their 
need. As. 

First, They are all, by nature, under condemnation, Rom. v. 16, 
18. under the curse of the law ; against which, nothing is found 
in heaven or earth, able to relieve their consciences, but the blood 
of sprinkling, the pure and perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus: 
and hence it is, that Christ becomes so desirable in the eyes of poor 
sinners, all the world over. If any thing in nature could be found 
to pacify and purge the consciences of men from guilt and fear, 
Christ would never be desirable in their eyes; but finding no 
other remedy but the blood of Jesus, to him, therefore, shall all 
the ends of the earth look for righteousness, and for peace. 

Secondly, All nations of the world are polluted with the filth of 
sin, both in nature and practice, which they shall see, and bitterly 
bewail, when the light of the gospel shali shine amongst them ; 
and the same light, by which this shall be discovered, will also dis- 
cover the only remedy of this evil to lie in the spirit of Christ, the 
only fountain opened to all nations for sanctification and cleansing : 
and this will make the Lord Jesus incomparably desirous in their 
eyes. O how welcome will he be that cometh unto them, not by 
blood only, but by water also, John i. 5, 6. 

Thirdly, When the light of the gospel shall shine upon the na- 
tions, they shall then see, that by reason of the guilt and filth of 
sin, they are all barred out of heaven ; those doors are chained up 
against ihern,, and that none but Christ can open an entrance for 
them into that kingdom of God ! that " no man cometh to the 
" Father but by him," John xiv. 6. " Neither is there any name 
" under heaven given among men, whereby they must be saved, 
u but the name of Christ," Acts iv. 12. Hence the hearts of sin- 
ners shall pant after him, as a hart panteth for the water-brooks. 
And thus you see upon what grounds Christ becomes the desire of 
all nations. The improvement of all followeth, in five several uses 
of the point ; viz. 

1. For information. 

2. For examination. 

3. For consolation. 

4. For exhortation. 

5. For direction. 

First use for information. 
First, Is Christ the desire of all nations ? hoiv vile a sin is it then 
in any nation, upon whom the light of the gospel hath shintd, to reject 

P 2 



230 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XII f- 

Jesus Christ ? And say, as those in Job xxi. 14. " Depart from us, 
" we desire not the knowledge of thv ways. 11 To thrust away his 
worship, government, and servants from amongst them ; and in 
effect to say, as it is Luke xix. 14. " We will not have this man 
*' to reign over us." Thus did the Jews* Acts xiii. 46. they put 
away Christ from among them, and thereby judged themselves 
unworthy of eternal life. This is at once a fearful sin, and a dread- 
ful sign. How soon did vengeance overtake them like the over- 
throw of Sodom ? O, let it be for a warning to all nations to the 
end of the world. He would have gathered the children of Israel 
under his wings as a Mil doth her brood, even when the Roman 
Eagle was hovering over them, but they would not ; therefore 
their houses Mere left unto them desolate, their city and temple 
made an heap. 

Secondly, If Jesus Christ be the desire of all nations, hmv incom- 
parably happy then must that nation be, that enjoys Christ in the 
power and purity of his gospel-ordinances ! If Christ, under a vail 
made Canaan a glorious land, (as it is called) Dan. xi. 41. what a 
glorious place must that nation be, that beholds him with open 
lace in the bright sun-shine of the gospel ! O England, know thy 
happiness and the day of thy visitation : what others desire, thou 
enjoyest : provoke not the Lord Jesus to depart from thee, by cor- 
rupting his worship, longing after idolatry, abusing his messengers, 
and oppressing his people, lest his soul depart from thee. 
Second use for examination. 

If Christ be the desire of all nations, examine whether he be the 
desire of your souls in particular ; else you shall have no benefit by 
him. Are your desires after Christ true spiritual desires ? Reflect, 
I beseech you, upon the frames and tempers of your heart. Can 
you say of your desires after Christ, as Peter did of his love to 
Christ ? Lord, thou knowest all things ; thou knowest that I de- 
sire thee. Try your desires as to their sincerity by the following 
characters : 

First, Are they vehement and ardent ? Hath Christ the supreme 
place in your desires ? Do you esteem all things to be but dross and 
dung in comparison of the excellencies of Jesus Christ your Lord? 
Phil. hi. 8. Is he to you as the refuge-city to the man-slayer ? 
Heb. vi. 18, 19. As a spring of water in a dry place, as the sha- 
dow of a great rock in a weary land ? Isa. xxxii. 2. Such vehe- 
ment desires are true desires. 

Secondly, Are your desires after Christ universal ; i. e. is every 
thing in Christ desirable in your eyes ? The hypocrite, like the har- 
lot, is for a divided Christ; they would be called by his name, but 
live upon their own stock, Isa. iv. 1. If his holiness and govern- 



SERM. XIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. . 231 

ment, his cross and sufferings be desirable for his sake : such uni- 
versal desires are right desires. 

Thirdly, Are your desires after Christ industrious desires, using 
all the means of accomplishing what you desire ! You say you de- 
sire Christ, but what will you do to obtain your desires ? If you 
seek him carefully and incessantly in all the ways of duty ; if you will 
strive in prayer, labour to believe, cut off right hands, and pluck 
out right eyes, i. e. be content to part with the most profitable and 
pleasant ways of sin that you may enjoy Christ, the desire of your 
souls; then are your desires right desires. 

Fourthly, Are your desires after Christ permanent desires, or 
only a sudden motion or fit which goes off again without effect ? If 
vour desires after Christ abide upon your hearts, if your longings 
be after him at all times, though not in the same height and de- 
gree, then are your desires right desires. Christ always dwells in 
the desires of his people ; they can feel him in their desires, when 
they cannot discern him in their love or delight. 

Fifthly, Will your desires after Christ admit no satisfaction, nor 
find rest any where but in the enjoyment of Christ ? then are your 
desires right desires. The soul that desires Christ, can never be at 
rest till it come home to Christ, 2 Cor. v. 2, 6. Phil. i. 23. The 
devil can satisfy others with the riches and pleasure of this world, 
as children are quieted with rattles; but if nothing but Christ can 
rest and terminate your desires, surely such restless desires are right 
desires. 

Sixthly, Do your desires after Christ spring from a deep sense of 
your need and want of Christ ? Hath conviction opened your eyes 
to see your misery, to feel your burthens, and to make you sensible 
that your remedy lies only in the Lord Jesus ? then are your desires 
right desires. Bread and water are made necessary and desirable 
by hunger and thirst ; by these things try the truth of your desires 
after Christ. 

Third use for consolation. 

Do you indeed, upon serious trial, find such desires after Christ 
as were described above ? O, bless the Lord for that day wherein 
Christ, the desire of all nations, became the desire of your souls; 
and for your comfort, know that you are happy and blessed souls 
at present. 

First, Blessed in this, that your eyes have been opened to see 
both the want and worth of Christ. Had not Christ applied his 
precious eye- salve to the eyes of your mind, you could never have 
desired him ; you would have said with them in Isa. liii. 2, 3. 
" He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him, 
" there is no beauty that we should desire him :" Or, as they to 

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232 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEttM. XIIE 

the spouse, Cant. v. 9. " What is thy beloved more than another 
" beloved ?" O, blessed souls, enlightened of the Lord, to see those 
things that are hid from them that perish ! 

Secondly ', You are blessed in this, that your desires after Christ 
are a sure evidence that the desire of Christ is towards you : had 
he not first desired you, you could never have desired him. We 
may say of desires, as it is said of love, we desire him because he 
first desired us : your desires after Christ are inflamed from the de- 
sires of Christ after you. 

Thirdly, Blessed in this, that your desires shall surely be satis- 
fied, Matt. v. 6. " Blessed are thev that hunger and thirst after 
" righteousness, for they shall be filled. , " > Prov. x. 24. " The de- 
" sires of the righteous shall be granted." God never raised such 
desires as these in the souls of his people, to be a torment to them 
for ever. 

Fourthly, Blessed in this, that God hath guided your desires to 
make the best choice that ever was made in the world ; whilst the 
desires of others are hunting after riches, pleasure, and honour in 
the world; toiling themselves like children in pursuit of a painted 
butter-flv? which when they have caught, doth but daub their 
fingers : God, meanwhile, hath directed your desires to Christ, 
the most excellent object in heaven or earth. Any good will satisfy 
some men ; O, happy soul, if none but Christ can satisfy thee ! 
Psal. iv. 6. 

F'rfthly, Blessed in this, that there is a work of grace certainly 
wrought upon thy soul ; and these very desires after Christ are a 
part thereof. 

Sixthly, Blessed in this, that these desires after Christ keep thy 
soul active and working after him continually in the ways of duty, 
Psal. xxvii. 4. " One thing have I desired, that will I seek after.' 1 
Desire will be a continual spring to diligence and industry in the 
wavs of duty ; the desire of the end quickeneth to the use of 
means, Prov. xviii. 1. Others may fall asleep and cast off duty, 
but it will be hard for you to do so, whose souls burn with desire 
after Christ. 

Seventhly, Blessed in this, that your desires after Christ will 
make death much the sweeter and easier to you, Phil. i. 23. " I de- 
" sire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, which is far better. 1 * 
When a Christian was once asked. Whether he was willing to die ? 
He returned this answer*, " Let him be unwilling to die, who is 
" unwilling to go to Christ. 11 And much like it, was that of 
another, Vivere renao, ut Christo vivam : I refuse this life, to live 
with Christ. 

* Jllius est nolle inori, ci'jiis nolle ire ad Christum. 



SEEM. XIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. O33 

Fourth use for exhortation. 

In the fourth place, let me exhort and persuade all to make 
Jesus Christ the desire and choice of their souls. And here I fall 
in with the main scope and design of the gospel. And O that I 
could effectually press home this exhortation upon your hearts ; 
let me offer some moving considerations to you, and may the 
Lord accompany them to your hearts. 

First, Every creature naturally desires its own preservation ; do 
not you desire the preservation of your precious and immortal 
soul ! If you do, then make Christ your desire and choice, with- 
out whom they can never be preserved, Jude, ver. 1. 

Secondly, Do not your souls earnestly desire the bodies they live 
in ? How tender are they over them, how careful to provide for 
them ? though they pay a dear rent for those tenements they live 
in. And is not union with Christ infinitely more desirable than the 
union of soul and body ? O covet union with him ! then shall your 
souls be happy, when your bodies drop off from them at death, 
2 Cor. v. 1, 3. yea, soul and body shall be happy in him, and with 
him for evermore. 

Thirdly, How do the men of this world desire the enjoyments of 
it ? They pant after the dust of the earth ; they rise early, sit up 
late, eat the bread of carefulness ; and all this for very vanity : 
Shall a worldling do more for earth, than you for heaven ? Shall 
the creature be so earnestly desired, and Christ neglected ? 

Fourthly, What do all your desires in this world benefit you, if 
you go christless ? Suppose you had the desire of your hearts in 
these things, how long should you have comfort in them, if you 
miss Christ? 

Fifthly, Doth Christ desire you, who have nothing lovely or de- 
sirable in you ? And have you no desires after Christ, the most 
lovely and desirable one in both worlds ? " His desires are towards 
" you," Prov. viii. 31. O make him the desire and choice of your 
souls. 

Sixthly, How absolutely necessary is Jesus Christ to your souls ? 
Bread and water, breath and life, are not so necessary as Christ is ; 
"One thing is necessary," Luke x. 42. and that one thing is 
Christ. If you miss your desires in other things, you may yet be 
happy ; but if you miss Christ you are undone for ever. 

Seventhly, How suitable a good is Christ to your souls ! com- 
prising whatsoever they want, 1 Cor. i. 30. Set your hearts where 
you will, none will be found to match and suit them, as Christ 
doth. 

Eighthly, How great are the benefits that will redound to you 
by Jesus Christ! In him you shall have a rich inheritance settled 

P4 



234 THE METHOD OF GRACE. ^ERM. XIII. 

upon you : all things shall be yours, when you are Christ's, 1 Cor. 
iii. 22. And is not such a Christ worth desiring ? 

Ninthly, All your well-grounded hopes of glory are built upon 
your union with Christ, 1 Cor. i. 21. If you miss Christ, you must 
die without hope. Will not this draw your desires to him ; 

Tenthty, Suppose you were at the judgment-seat of God, where 
you must shortly stand, and saw the terrors of the Lord in that 
day ; the sheep divided from the goats ; the sentences of absolu- 
tion and condemnation passed, by the great and awful Judge, upon 
the righteous and wicked : would not Christ be then desirable in 
your eves ? As ever you expect to stand with comfort at that bar, 
let Christ be the desire and choice of your souls now. 
Fifth use for direction. 
Do these, or any other considerations, put thee upon this en- 
quiry ; how shall I get my desires kindled and enflamed towards 
Christ ? Alas ! my heart is cold and dead, not a serious desire 
stirring in it after Christ. To such I shall offer the following di- 
rections. 

Direct. 1. Redeem some time every day for meditation ; get 
out of the noise and clamour of the world, Psal. iv. 4. and seri- 
ouslv bethink yourselves how the present state of your soul stands, 
and how it is like to go with you for ever : here all sound conver- 
sion begins, Psal. lxix. 59. 

Direct. 2. Consider seriously of that lamentable state, in which 
you came into the world ; children of wrath by nature, under the 
curse and condemnation of the law : so that either your state must 
be changed, or you inevitably damned, John iii. 3. 

Direct. 3. Consider the way and course you have taken since 
you came into the world, proceeding from iniquity to iniquity. 
What command of God have you not violated a thousand times 
over ? What sin is committed in the world, that you are not one 
way or other guilty of before God ? How many secret sins upon 
your score, unknown to the most intimate friend you have in the 
World ? Either this guilt must be separated from your souls, or 
your souls from God to all eternity. 

Direct. 4. Think upon the severe wrath of God due to every 
sin ; " The wages of sin is death," Rom. vi. 23. And how into- 
lerable the fulness of that wrath must be when a few drops 
sprinkled upon the conscience in this world, are so insupportable, 
that hath made some to chuse strangling rather than life ; and yet 
this wrath must abide for ever upon you, if you get not interest in 
Jesus Christ, John iii. 36. 

Direct. 5. Ponder well the happy state and condition they are 
in who have obtained pardon and peace by Jesus Christ, Psal. xxxii. 
12. And seeing the grace of God is free, and you are set under 



SEEM. XIV 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 235 



the means thereof; why may not you be as capable thereof as 
others ? 

Direct 6. Seriously consider the great uncertainty of your 
time, and preciousness of the opportunities of salvation, never to be 
recovered, when they are once past, John ix. 4. Jet this provoke 
you to lay hold upon those golden seasons whilst they are yet with 
you ; that you may not bewail your folly and madness, when they 
are out of your reach. 

Direct. 7. Associate yourselves with serious Christians ; get into 
their acquaintance, and beg their assistance ; beseech them to pray 
for you ; and see that you rest not here, but be frequently upon 
vour knees, begging of the Lord a new heart, and a new state. 

In conclusion of the whole, let me beseech and beg all the peo- 
ple of God, as upon my knees, to take heed, and beware, lest by 
the carelessness and scandal of their lives they quench the weak 
desires beginning to kindle in the hearts of others. You know what 
the law of God awards for striking a woman with child, so that her 
fruit go from her, Exod. xxi. 22, 23. O shed not soul-blood, by 
stifling the hopeful desires of any after Christ. 

Blessed be God for Jesus Christ, the desire of all nations. 



*■ -9 &-.■+-•?*' "V.T ♦ t. 



SERMON XIV. 

Containing the fifth Motive to apply Christ, drawn from 
another excellent Title of Christ. 

1 Cor. ii. 8. 

Which none of 'the princes of this world have known, for had they 
known him, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 

AN this chapter the apostle discourses to the Corinthians, of the 
excellency of his ministry, both to obviate the contempt which 
some cast upon it for want of human ornaments, and to give the 
greater authority unto it among all : and whereas the spiritual sim- 
plicity of his ministry laid it under the contempt of some, he re- 
moves that several ways, by shewing them, 

First, That it was not suitable to the design and end of his mi- 
nistry, his aim being " to know nothing among them, save Jesus 
" Christ, and him crucified,"" ver. 1, 2. 

Secondly, Neither was it for the advantage of their souls ; it 
might indeed tickle their fancies, but could be no solid foundation 
to their faith and comfort, ver. 4, 5. 



236 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEIiM. XIV, 

Thirdly, Though his discourses seemed jejune and dry to carnal 
hearers, yet they had a depth and excellency in them, which 
spiritual and judicious Christians saw and acknowledged, ver. 6, 7. 

Fourthly, Therefore this excellent wisdom which he preached 
far transcended all the natural wisdom of this world ; yea, the most 
raised and improved understandings of those that were most re- 
nowned and admired in that age for wisdom, ver. 8. " which none 
" of the princes of this world knew. 1 ' 

In which words we have, 

1. A negative proposition. 

2. The proof of the proposition. 

First, A negative proposition : None of the princes of this world 
knew that spiritual wisdom which he taught. By princes of this 
world, or rather, principes seculi, the princes of that age, he means, 
as Cameron well notes, the learned Rabbies, Scribes, and Pha- 
risees, renowned for wisdom and learning among them ; and ho- 
noured upon that account as so many princes : but he adds a dimi- 
nutive term, which darkens all their glory : They are but the prin- 
ces of this world, utterly unacquainted with the wisdom of the other 
world. To which he adds, 

Secondly, A clear and full proof; " For had they known it, they 
*' would not have crucified the Lord of glory." In which words 
we find one of Christ's glorious and royal titles, The Lord of glory : 
upon which title will be my present discourse. The words being 
fitly rendered, and nothing of ambiguity in them, they give us this 
observation, 

Doct. That Christ crucified is the Lord of glory. 

Great and excellent is the glory of Jesus Christ, the scriptures 
every where proclaim his glory : yea, we may observe a notable 
climax, or gradation, in those scriptures that speak of his glory. 
The prophet Isaiah, speaking of him, calls him glorious ; Isa. iv. 2. 
" In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glo- 
" rious." John, speaking of his glory, rises a step higher, and 
ascribeth to him a " glory as of the only begotten Son of the 
" Father, 1 ' John i. 14. i. e. a glory meet for, and becoming the 
Son of God : proper to him, and incommunicable to any other. 
The apostle James rises yet higher, and doth not only call him 
glorious, or glorious as the only begotten of the Father, but the 
glory, James ii. 1. glory in the abstract; "My brethren, (saith he) 
" have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glory, with 
" respect of persons ;*" For the word Lord, which is in our trans- 
lation, is a supplement ; Christ is glory itself, yea, the glory em- 
phatically so stiled ; the glory of heaven ; the glory of Sion ; the 



SERM. XIV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 237 

glory of our souls for ever. The author to the Hebrews goes yet 
higher, and calls him not simply the glory, but "the brightness 
" of the Fathers glory *," Heb. i. 3. as though he should say, the 
radiancy, sparkling, or beaming forth of his Father's glory ; the 
very splendor or refulgency of divine glory. O what a glorious 
Lord is our Lord Jesus Christ ! the bright, sparkling diamond of 
heaven; who shines in glory there, above, the glory of angels and 
saints, as the glory of the sun excels the lesser, twinkling stars. 
When he appeared to Paul, Acts xxvi. 13. " I saw (saith he) a 
" light from heaven above the brightness of the sun, shining 
" round about me :" Needs must the glory of Christ be unspeak- 
able, who reflects glory upon all that are with him, John xvii. 24. 
and stamps glory upon all that belong to him. His works on earth 
were glorious works, Luke xiii. 17. the purchased liberty of his 
people, a glorious liberty, Rom. viii. 21. the church his mystical 
body, a glorious church, Eph. v. 27. the gospel which reveals him 
is a glorious gospel, 1 Tim. i. 11. 

But more particularly let us consider the glory of Christ, as it is 
distinguished into his either, 

1. Essential, or, 

2. Mediatorial glory. 

First, The essential glory of Christ, which he hath as God from 
everlasting ; which is unspeakable and inconceivable glory : For 
(saith the apostle, Phil. ii. 6.) " He being in the form of God, 
" thought it no robbery to be equal with God," i. e. he has a 
peerage or equality with his Father in glory ; John x. 30. " I and 
" my Father are one." And again, John xvi. 15. " All things 
" that the Father hath are mine :" the same name, the same 
nature, the same essential properties, the same will, and the same 
glory. 

Secondly, The mediatorial glory of Christ is exceeding great. 
This is proper to him, as the head of the church, which he hath 
purchased with his own blood. Of this glory the apostle speaks, 
Phil. ii. 9, 10. " Wherefore God also hath exalted him, and given 
" him a name, which is above every name, fyc. v^v^ugi, exalted 
above all exaltation. Now the mediatorial glory of our Lord Jesus 
Christ consisteth either, 

1. In the fulness of grace inherent in him ; or, 

2. In the dignity and authority put upon him. 

First, In the fulness of grace inherent in him : The humanity 
of Christ is filled with grace, as the sun with light : John i. 14. 
" Full of grace and truth." Never any creature was filled by the 
Spirit of grace, as the man Christ Jesus is filled; for "God gives 



* An(Kvyct.<r/La rr\c bo'ty: 



.9,38 THE METHOD OF GRACE, SEKM. XIV. 

" not the Spirit to him by measure," John iii. 34. By reason of 
this fulness of grace inherent in him, he is " fairer than the chil- 
" dren of men," Psal. xlv. 2. excelling all the saints in spiritual 
lustre and gracious excellencies. 

Secondly, In the dignity and authority put upon him. He is 
crowned King in Sion ; all power in heaven and earth is given unto 
him, Matth. xxviii. 18. he is a law-giver to the church, James iv. 
12. all acts of worship are to be performed in his name; prayer, 
preaching, censures, sacraments, all to be administered in his 
name. Church officers are commissioned by him, Eph. iv. 11. 
The judgment of the world in the great day will be administered 
by him ; Matth. xxv. 31. " Then shall he sit upon the throne of 
" his glory." 

To conclude, Jesus Christ shall have glory and honour ascribed 
to him for evermore, by angels and saints, upon the account of his 
mediatorial work ; this some divines call his passive glory, the 
glory which he is said to receive from his redeemed ones. Rev. 
v. 8, 9, 10. " And when he had taken the book, the four beasts, 
" and the four and twenty elders, fell down before the Lamb, 
" having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of 
" odours, which are the prayers of the saints ; and they sung a 
" new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to 
" open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed 
" us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and 
" people, and nation," Sfc. And thus you see that our Lord 
Jesus Christ is upon all accounts the Lord of glory. The uses 
follow. 

Inference 1. How wonderful was the love of Christ, the Lord of 
glory, to be so abased and humbled, as he zvasfor us, vile and sin- 
ful dust f It is astonishing to conceive that ever Jesus Christ should 
strip himself of his robes of glory, to clothe himself with the mean 
garment of our flesh : O what a stoop did he make in his incar- 
nation for us ! If the most magnificent monarch upon earth had 
been degraded into a toad ; if the sun in the heavens had been 
turned into a wandering atom ; if the most glorious angel in hea- 
ven had been transformed even into a fly ; it had been nothing to 
the abasement of the Lord of glory. This act is every where cele- 
brated in scripture as the great mystery, the astonishing wonder of 
the whole world, 2 Tim. iii. 16/ Phil. ii. 8. Rom. viii. 3. The 
Lord of glory looked not like himself, when he came in the habit 
of a man ; Isa. liii. 3. " We hid, as it were our faces from him :" 
Nay, rather like a worm than a man ; Psal. xxii. 6. "A reproach 
" of men, and despised of the people." The birds of the air and 
beasts of the earth were here provided of better accommodations 
than the Lord of glory, Matth. viii. 20. * O stupendous abase- 



SERM. XIV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 239 

ment ! O love unspeakable ! " Though lie was rich, yet for our 
" sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be 
" rich," 2 Cor. viii. 9. He put off the crown of glory to put on 
the crown of thorns; Quanto pro me vilior, tanto mihi charior> 
said Bernard ; The lower he humbled himself for me, the dearer he 
shall be to me. 

Inf. 2. How transcendently glorious is the advancement of be- 
lievers, by their union with the Lord of glory f This also is an ad- 
mirable and astonishing mystery ; it is the highest dignity of which 
our nature is capable, to be hypostatically united ; and the greatest 
glory of which our persons are capable is to be mystically united to 
this Lord of glory ; to be bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. 
O what is this ! Christian, dost thou know and believe all this, and 
thy heart not burn within thee in love to Christ ? O ! then, what a 
heart hast thou ? What art thou, by nature, but sinful dust, a 
loathsome sinner, viler than the vilest creature, cast out to the loath- 
ing of thy person in the day of thy nativity ! O that ever the Lord 
of glory should unite himself to such a lump of vileness ! take such 
a wretch into his very bosom ! Be astonished, O heavens and earth, 
at this ! this is the great mystery which the angels stooped down to 
look into : Such an honour as this could never have entered into 
the heart of man. It would have seemed a rude blasphemy in us, 
once to have thought or spoken of such a thing, had not Christ 
made first the motion thereof; yet how long didst thou make this 
Lord of glory wait upon thy undetermined will, before he gained 
thy consent ? Might he not justly have spurned thee into hell, 
upon thy first refusal, and never have made thee such another 
offer ? Wilt thou not say, Lord, what am I, and what is my fa- 
ther's house, that so great a King should stoop so far beneath him- 
self, to such a worm as I am ! That strength should unite itself to 
weakness, infinite glory to such baseness ! O grace, grace, for ever 
to be admired ! 

Inf. 3. Is Jesus Christ the Lord of glory ? Then let no man count 
himself dishonoured by suffering the vilest indignities for his sake : 
The Lord of glory puts glory upon the very suffering you under- 
go in this world for him. " Moses esteemed the reproaches of 
" Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt," Heb. xi. 26. 
he cast a kingdom at his heels, to be crowned with reproaches, for 
the name of Christ. The diadem of Egypt was not half so glorious 
as self-denial for Christ. This Lord of glory freely degraded him- 
self for thee; wilt thou stand hesitating with him upon terms? It 
is certainly your honour to be dishonoured for Christ, Acts v. 41. 
to you it is given, in behalf of Christ, not only to believe, but also 
to suffer for his sake, Phil. i. 29. The gift of suffering is there 



240 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XIV. 

matched with the gift of faith ; it is given as an honorarium, a badge 
of honour to suffer for the Lord of glory. As all have not the 
honour to wear the crown of glory in heaven, so few have the ho- 
nour to wear the chain of Christ upon earth. * Thanus reports 
of Ludovicus Marsacus, a knight of France, that being led to 
suffer with other martyrs, who were bound, and he unbound, be- 
cause a person of honour ; he cried out, " Why don't you honour 
" me with a chain too, and create me a knight of that noble 
" order P" 1 My brethren count it all joy when ye fall into divers 
temptations, James i. 2. i. e. trials by sufferings. David thought 
it an honour to be vile for God, and that is a true observation that 
disgrace itself is glorious when endured for the Lord of glory. 

I?if. 4. Is Christ the Lord of glory ? How glorious then shall the 
saints one day be, when they shall be made like this glorious Lord, 
and partake of his glory in heaven f John xvii. 22. " The glory 
" which thou gavest me, I have given them :" Yea, the vile bodies 
of believers shall be made like to the glorious body of Christ, Phil, 
iii. 21. What glory then will be communicated to their souls ? 
True, his essential glory is incommunicable ; but there is a glory 
which Christ will communicate to his people. " When he comes 
<f to judge the world, he will come to be glorified in his saints, and 
" to be admired in all them that believe, ,, 2 Thes. i. 10. Thus he 
seemeth to account his social glory, which shall result from his 
saints, a great part of his own glory : As we have now fellowship 
with him in his sufferings, so we shall have a fellowship or com- 
munion with him in his glory : When he shall appear, then shall 
we also appear with him in glory ; then the poorest believer shall 
be more glorious than Solomon in all his royalty. It was a pious 
saying of Luther, that he had rather be Christianus rusticus, quarri 
Ethnicus Alexander ; a Christian clown, than a Pagan emperor. The 
righteous is more excellent than his neighbour, though he live next 
door to a graceless nobleman : But it doth not yet appear what they 
shall be. The day will come, it certainly will come, for the Lord 
hath spoken it, when they shall shine forth as the sun in the king- 
dom of their Father. 

Inf. 5. How hath the devil blindfolded, and deluded them that are 
frighted off from Christ, by the fears of being dishonoured by him? 
Many persons have half a mind to religion, but when they consider 
the generality of its professors to be persons of the lowest and mean- 
est rank in the world, and that reproaches and sufferings attend 
that way ; they shrink back as men ashamed, and as Salvian saith, 
Mali esse coguntur, ne viles habeantur ; they chuse rather to remain 
wicked, than to be esteemed vile : But to them that believe, Christ is 

* Cur me non qaoqite donas, et insignis hvjus ordinis militem creas ? Thuanus, 



SEEM. XIV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 241 

an honour; as the word whicli we translate precious might be ren- 
dered, 1 Pet. ii. 7. Till God open men's eyes thus, they will 
put evil for good, and good for evil. But O dear bought honours, 
for which men stake their souls and everlasting happiness ! Paul 
was not of your mind: for birth he was an Hebrew of the 
Hebrews ; for dignity and esteem, a Pharisee ; for moral accom- 
plishments, touching the law, blameless : Yet all this he trampled 
under his feet, counting it all but dross and dung in comparison of 
Jesus Christ. Moses had more honour to lay down for Christ than 
you ; yet it was no temptation to him to conceal or deny the faith 
of Christ. Noble Galeacius would not be withheld from Christ 
by the splendor and glory of Italy ; but O, how doth the glory of 
this world dazzle and blind the eyes of many : " How can ye be- 
" lieve (saith Christ) who receive honour one of another P" John 
v. 44. Saints and sinners, upon this account, are wonders one 
to the other. It is the wonder of the world to see Christians glo- 
rying in reproaches ; they wonder that the saints run not with them 
into the same excess of riot ; and it is a wonder to believers, how 
such poor toys and empty titles (rather than titles of honour) should 
keep the world as it doth from Jesus Christ, and their everlasting 
happiness in him. 

Inf. 6. If Christ be the Lord of glory, how careful should all be 
who profess him, that they do not dishonour Jesus Christ, whose 
name is called upon by them ? Christ is a glory to you, be not you 
a shame and dishonour to him. How careful had Christians need to 
be, to draw every line and action of their lives exactly : The more 
glorious Christ is, the more circumspect and watchful ye had need 
to be. How lovely would Jesus Christ appear to the world, if the 
lives of Christians did adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour, in 
all things i Remember, you represent the Lord of glory to the 
world ; it is not your honour only, but the honour of Christ which 
is engaged and concerned in your actions. O let not the careless- 
ness or scandal of your life, make Jesus Christ ashamed to be 
called your Lord. When Israel had grievously revolted from God, 
he bids Moses rise and get. down from thence ; for (saith he) thy 
people, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt, have cor- 
rupted themselves, Deut. ix. 12. as if the Lord were ashamed to own 
them for his people any longer. It was a cutting question, James 
ii. 7. apt to startle the consciences of these loose professors ; " Do 
" they not blaspheme that worthy name by which ye are called P w 
Your duty is to adorn the gospel by your conversations, Titus ii. 
10. The words signify to deck, trim, or adorn the gospel, to make 
it trim, neat, and lovely, to the eyes of beholders. When there 
is such a beautiful harmony, and lovely proportion betwixt Christ's 
doctrine and your practices, as there is in the works of creation, 



242 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SE11M. XIV, 



wherein the comeliness and elegancy of the world much consists. 
(for to this the apostle's word here alludes) then do we walk suit- 
ably to the Lord of glory. 

Inf. 7. What delight should Christians take in their daily con- 
verse with Jesus Christ in the way of duty ? * Your converses in 
prayer, hearing, and meditation, are with the Lord of glory : The 
greatest peers in the kingdom count it more honour to be in the 
presence of a king, bare-headed, or upon the knee at court, than to 
have thousands standing bare to them in the country. When you 
are called to the duties of communion with Christ, you are called to 
the greatest honour, dignified with the noblest privilege creatures 
are capable of in this world : Had you but a sense of that honour 
God puts upon you by this means, you would not need so much 
pressing and striving, to bring a dead and backward heart into the 
special presence of Jesus Christ. When he saith, Seek ye my face, 
your hearts would echo to his calls ; Thy face, Lord, will we seek. 
But alas ! the glory of Christ is much hid and veiled by ignorance 
and unbelief, from the eyes of his own people ; it is but seldom the 
best of saints, by the eye of faith, do see the King in his glory. 

Inf. 8. If Christ be so glorious, how should believers long to be 
with him, and behold him in his glory above? Most men need pa- 
tience to die, a believer should need patience to live. Paul thought 
it well worth enduring the pangs of death, to get a sight of Jesus 
Christ in his glory, Phil. i. 23. " The Lord direct your hearts into 
" the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ,''' (saith the 
apostle) 2 Thess. iii. 5. intimating that the saints have great need of 
patience, to enable them to endure the state of distance and separa- 
tion from Christ, so long as they must endtire it in this world. 
The spirit and the bride say, come, and let him that heareth say, 
come, and let him that is a-thirst come : even so, come Lord Jesus, 
and be thou as a swift roe upon the mountains of separation. 
Blessed be God for Jesus Christ, the Lord of' glory. 



* Suppose (saith Mr. Rutherford) there were no letter of command, yet there is a 
suitableness betwixt the law engraven on the heart, and the spiritual matter com- 
manded. There is an heaven in the bosom of prayer, though there were not a granting 
of the suit. Rutherford's Treatise of the Covenant, p. 71. 



.F.RM. XV. THE METHOD OF GRACE, £43 

SERMON XV. 

Opening the sixth Motive to come to CmusT, contained in 
the sixth and last Title of Christ. 

Luke ii. 25. 
Waiting for the [Consolation] of Israel. 

J5 E VERAL glorious titles of Christ have been already spoken to, 
out of each of which much comfort flows to believers : It is com- 
fortable to a wounded soul to eye him as a Physician ; comfortable to 
a condemned and unworthy soul to look upon him under the notion 
of mercy : The loveliness, the desirableness, and the glory of Christ, 
are all so many springs of consolation. But now I am to shew you, 
from this scripture, that the saints have not only much consolation 
from Christ, but that Christ himself is the very consolation of be- 
lievers : He is pure comfort wrapped up in flesh and blood. 

In this context, you have an account of Simeon's prophecy con- 
cerning Christ ; and in this text, a description of the person and 
quality of Simeon himself, who is described two ways. 

1. By his practice. 

2. By his principle. 

His practice was heavenly and holy ; he was a just and devout 
man : The principle from which his righteousness and holiness did 
flow, was his faith in Christ ; " he waited for the consolation of 
" Israel. 1 " In which words, by way of periphrasis, we have, 

1. A description of Christ, the consolation of Israel. 

2. The description of a believer, one that waited for Christ. 
First, That the consolation of Israel is a phrase descriptive of 

Jesus Christ, is beyond all doubt, if you consult ver. 26. where he, 
i. e. Simeon is satisfied by receiving Christ into his arms, the conso- 
lation for which he had so long waited. 

Secondly, * And that waiting for Christ is a phrase describing the 
believers of those times that preceded the incarnation of Christ is 
past doubt ; they all waited for that blessed day : But it was Si- 
meon's lot to fall just upon that happy point of time, wherein the 
prophecies and promises of his incarnation were fulfilled. Simeon 
and others that waited with him, were sensible that the time of the 
promise was come, which could not but raise (as indeed it did) a 
general expectation of him, John ix. 19. But Simeon's faith was 

* It was a phrase common and well known among the Jews at that time, by which 
the coining of Christ was signified. Lutlov. Capell. 

Vol. II. Q 



244 THE METHOD 01 GRACE. SEHM. XV. 

confirmed by a particular revelation, ver. 26. That he should see 
Christ before he saw death, which could not but greatly encourage 
and raise his expectation to look out for him, whose coming would 
be the greatest consolation to the whole Israel of God. The conso- 
lation vrugaxAvjffic. The Spirit is frequently called in scripture, 
a-agoxXijnjs, the Comforter: But Christ in this place is called a-agaxXjjtf/g, 
confort, or consolation itself: The reason of both is given in John 
xvi. 14. " He shall take of mine and shew it unto you :" Where 
Christ is said to be the matter, and the Spirit, the applier of true 
comfort to the people of God. Now this consolation is here ex- 
pressed both with a singular emphasis [the consolation^ intimating 
that there is nothing of consolation in any thing besides him ; all 
other comforts compared with this, are not worth naming. And as 
it is emphatically expressed, so it is also limited and bounded within 
the compass of God's Israel, i. e. true believers, stiled the Israel 
of God, whether Jews or Gentiles, Gal. vi. 16. From whence the 
point of doctrine is, 

Doct. That Jesus Christ is the only consolation of believers, and 
of none besides them. 

So speaks rhe apostle, Phil. iii. 3. " For we are the circumci- 
" sion, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ. 
u Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." Those that worship 
God in the Spirit are sincere believers ; to such sincere believers, 
Christ is consolation, our rejoicing is in Christ Jesus : And they 
have no consolation in any thing beside him ; nothing in the world 
can give them comfort without Christ, We have no confidence in the 
fiesh. The gospel is glad tidings of great joy ; but that which 
makes it to be so is Jesus Christ, whom it imparts and reveals to 
us, Luke ii. 10, 11. In the opening of this comfortable point, four 
things must be spoken to, for the right stating the method of our 
discourse, viz. 

1. What is meant by consolation. 

2. That Christ, and he only, is consolation to believers. 

3. That believers only have consolation in Christ. 

4. How it comes to pass that any believer should be dejected, 
since Christ is consolation to all believers. 

The first thing to be opened, is the nature of consolation, which 
is nothing else but the cheerfulness of a mans spirit, whereby he is 
upheld, and fortified against all evils felt, or feared. Consolation 
is to the soul what health is to the body after wasting sickness ; or 
the reviving spring to the earth after a long and hard winter. And 
there are three sorts of consolation, or comfort, suitable to the dis- 
position and temper of the mind, viz. 



SERM. XV. THE METHOD OP GRACE, 245 

Natural, 
Sinful, and 
Spiritual. 
Natural comfort is the refreshment of our natural spirits by the 
good creatures of God, Acts xiv. 17. " Filling their hearts with 
" food and gladness." Sinful comfort is the satisfaction and plea- 
sure men take in the fulfilling of their lusts, by the abuse of the 
creatures of God, James v. 5. " Ye have lived in pleasure upon 
" earth," i. e. your life hath been a life of sensuality and sin. 

Spiritual comfort is the refreshment, peace, and joy, gracious 
souls have in Christ, by the exercise of faith, hope, and other graces, 
Rom. v. 2. And this only deserves the name of true solid consola- 
tion : To which four things are required. 

First, That the matter thereof be some spiritual, eminent, and 
durable good ; else our consolation in it will be but as the crack- 
ling of thorns under a pot, a sudden blaze, quickly extinct with 
the failing matter of it. Christ only gives the matter of solid, du- 
rable consolation ; the righteousness of Christ, the pardon of sin, 
the favour of God, the hopes of glory, are the substantial mate- 
rials of a believer's consolation, Rom. v. 2. Mat. ix. 2. PsaL iv. 6, 
7. 2 Pet. i. 8. Things are as their foundations be. 

Secondly, Interest and propriety in these comfortable things, are 
requisite to our consolation by them, Luke i. 47. " My spirit re- 
" joiceth in God my Saviour." It is no consolation to him that is 
hungry to see a feast ; to him that is poor to see a treasure ; if the 
one may not taste, or the other partake thereof. 

Thirdly, Knowledge, and evidence of interest, in some degree is 
requisite to actual consolation, though without it a man may be in 
the state of consolation ; for that which appears not, is (in point of 
actual comfort) as if it were not. 

Fourthly, In order hereunto, the work of the Spirit upon our 
hearts is requisite, both to give, and clear our interest in Christ 
and the promises: And both these ways he is the Comforter, 
" The fruit of the Spirit is joy," Gal. v. 22. And thus briefly of 
the nature of consolation. 

Secondly, Next I will shew you that Christ, and he only, is mat- 
ter of consolation to believers : which will demonstratively appear 
by this argument. 

First, He that brings to their souls all that is comfortable, and 
removes from their souls all that is uncomfortable, must needs be 
the only consolation of believers. 

But Jesus Christ brings to their souls all that is comfortable, and 
removes from their souls all that is uncomfortable. 

Therefore Christ only is the consolation of believers. 

First, Jesus Christ brings whatsoever is comfortable to the souls 

Q2 



246 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XV> 



of believers. Is pardon comfortable to a person condemned? No- 
thing can be matter of greater comfort in this world. Why, this 
Christ brings to all believers, Jer. xxiii. 6. " And this is the name 
" whereby he shall be called the Lord our righteousness." This 
cannot but give strong consolation ; righteousness is the foundation 
of peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, Rom. xiv. 17. " The work 
" of righteousness shall be peace ; and the effect of righteousness, 
" quietness and assurance for ever," Isa. xxxii. 17. Come to a 
dejected soul, labouring under the burden of guilt, and say, cheer 
up, I bring you good tidings, there is such an estate befallen you, 
or such a troublesome business comfortably ended for you ; alas I 
this will not reach the heart : If you can bring me (saith he) good 
news from heaven, that my sins are forgiven, and God reconciled, 
how soon should I be comforted ! And therefore (as one well ob- 
serves) this was the usual receipt with which Christ cured the souls 
of men and women, when he was here on earth ; Son or daugh- 
ter, " be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee." And, indeed, 
it is as easy to separate light and warmth from the beams of the sun, 
as cheerfulness and comfort from the voice of pardon. 

Are the hopes and expectations of heaven and glory comfortable ! 
Yes sure, nothing is comfortable if this be not, Rom. v. 2. " We 
" rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Now, Christ brings to 
the souls of men all the solid grounds and foundations upon which 
they build their expectations of glory, Col. i. 27. " Which is 
" Christ, in you, the hope of glory." Name any thing else that is 
solid matter of comfort to the souls of men, and the grounds thereof 
will be found in Christ, and in none but Christ ; as might easily 
be demonstrated by the enumeration of multitudes of particular in- 
stances, which I cannot now insist upon. 

Secondly, Jesus Christ removes from believers whatever is uncom- 
fortable; therein relieving them against all the matters of their 
affliction and sorrow. As namely, 

First, Is sin a burden and matter of trouble to believers? Christ, 
and none but Christ, removes that burden, Rom. vii. 24, 25. 
" O wretched man that I am ! (saith sin-burdened Paul) who will 
" deliver me from the body of this death ? I thank God through 
" Jesus Christ our Lord." The satisfaction of his blood, Eph. v. 
2. The sanctification of his Spirit, John i. 5, 6. His perfect de- 
liverance of his people from the very being of sin at last, Eph. v. 
26, 27. This relieves at present, and removes at last the matter 
and ground of all their troubles and sorrows for sin. 

Secondly, Do the temptations of Satan burden believers ? O yes, 
by reason of temptations, they go in trouble and heaviness of spirit. 
Temptation is an enemy under the walls ; temptation greatly en- 
dangers, and therefore cannot but greatly afflict the souls of be- 



SERM. XV. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 247 



lievers ; but Christ brings the only matter of relief against tempta- 
tions. The intercession of Christ is a singular relief at present, 
Luke xxii. 32. " But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail 
" not. 1 "' And the promises of Christ are a full relief for the future ; 
" The God of peace shall shortly tread Satan under your feet, 11 
Born. xvi. 20. 

Thirdly, Is spiritual desertion, and the hiding of God's face, mat- 
ter of affliction and casting down to believers ? Yes, yes, it dis- 
tresses their hearts, nothing can comfort them ; " Thou hidest thy 
" face, and I was troubled," Psal. xxx. 7. Outward afflictions do 
but break the shin, this touches the quich ; they like rain fall only 
upon the tiles, this soaks into the house ; but Christ brings to be- 
lievers substantial matter of consolation against the troubles of de- 
sertion : He himself was deserted of God for a time, that they 
might not be deserted for ever. In him also the relieving promises 
are made to believers, that notwithstanding God may desert them 
for a time, yet the union betwixt him and them shall never be dis- 
solved, Heb. xiii. 4. Jer. xxxii. 40. Though he forsake them for 
a moment, in respect of evidenced favour, yet he will return again 
and comfort them, Isa. liv. 7. Though Satan pull hard, yet he 
will never " be able to pluck them out of his Father's hand," John 
x. 20. O, what relief is this ! What consolation is Christ to a de- 
serted believer. 

Fourthly, Are outward afflictions matter of dejection and trouble ? 
Alas, who finds them not to be so ? How do our hearts fail and 
our spirits sink under the many smarting rods of God upon us ? 
But our relief and consolation under them all is in Christ Jesus; 
for the rod that afflicts us is in the hand of Christ that loveth us, 
Rev. iii. 29- " Whom I love, I rebuke and chasten." His design 
in affliction is our profit, Heb. xii. 10. That design of his for our 
good shall certainly be accomplished, Rom. viii. 28. And after that 
no more afflictions for ever. Rev. xxi. 3, 4. " God shall wipe 
" away all tears from their eyes." So that upon the whole, two 
things are most evident. 

First, Nothing can comfort the soul without Christ ! he is the 
soul that animates all comforts ; they would be dead things with- 
out him. Temporal enjoyments, riches, honours, health, relations 
yield not a drop of true comfort without Christ. Spiritual enjoy- 
ments, ministers, ordinances, promises, are fountains sealed and 
springs shut up ; till Christ open them, a man. may go comfortless 
in the midst of them all. 

Secondly, No troubles, sorrows, or afflictions can deject or sink 
the soul that Christ comforteth, 2 Cor. vi. 20. <f As sorrowful, 
" yet always rejoicing." A believer may walk with a heart full o£ 

Q 3 



248 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XVJ 

comfort amidst all the troubles of this world : Christ makes the 
darkness and troubles to be light round about his people. So that 
the conclusion stands firm, and never to be shaken, that Christ, and 
Christ only, is the consolation of believers; which was the thing to 
be proved. 

In the third place, I am to shew you that believers, and none 
but believers, can have consolation in Christ ; which will convin- 
cingly appear from the consideration of those things which we laid 
down before as the requisites to all true spiritual consolation. For, 

First, No unbeliever hath the materials, out of which spiritual 
comfort is made, which (as I there told you) must be some solid, 
spiritual, and eternal good, as Christ and the covenant are : what 
do unregenerate men rejoice in but trifles and mere vanities, in a 
thing of nought ? Amos vi. 13. See how their mirth is described 
in Job xxi. 12. " They take their timbrel and harp, and rejoice at 
" the sound of the organ. " He doth not say, they take the Bible, 
turn to the promises, and rejoice in Christ and the covenant ; it is 
not the melody of a good conscience, the joy of the Holy Ghost ; 
no, no, they have no acquaintance with such music as that ; but the 
rejoicing of believers is in those things, 2 Cor. i. IS. and this is 
well built consolation, which reaches the heart. 

Secondly, I told you that propriety and interest in Christ and the 
promises are required to all spiritual consolation : but no unbe- 
liever hath any title or interest in Christ and the promises, and so 
they can signify nothing to him in point of comfort. It is not ano- 
ther man's money, but my own, that must feed, clothe and com- 
fort me ; nor is it another man's Christ, but my own Christ, that 
must justify, save, and comfort my soul. 

Thirdly , You were told, that evidence of a man's peace and re- 
conciliation with God, is necessary to his actual consolation, which 
no unbeliever can possibly have ; he hath neither grace within him 
to make him a qualified subject of any special promise, nor any 
witness or seal of the Spirit, to confirm and clear his propriety in 
Christ ; for he never seals, but where he first sanctifies. So that 
it is beyond all contradiction, that believers, and none but believers 
are partakers of the consolations that are in Christ Jesus. 

Fourthly and lastly, There is one inquiry remains to be satisfied ; 
namely, seeing Jesus Christ is consolation to believers, how it 
comes to pass, that so many believers in the world should walk so 
dejectedly as they do, without any spiritual consolation ? 

First, This need not be wondered at, if we consider that the con- 
solations of Christ are of two sorts ; seminal and in preparation, or 
actual in present possession. Every believer in the world hath the 
root and seed of comfort planted and sown for him, Psal. xcvii. 11. 
to Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in 



SEKM. XV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 249 

" heart. 1 ' They have Christ and the promises, which are the seeds 
of consolation, and will bring forth joy at last, though at present 
they have no actual consolation ; the seed of all joy is sown, and in 
due time they shall reap the full ripe fruit thereof. 

Secondly, It must be remembered, that interest and evidence are 
distinct blessings, every believer hath interest in Christ : but every 
believer hath not the evidence thereof, Isa. 1. 10. " Who is among 
" you, that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of his servant ; 
" that walketh in darkness, and hath no light ?" Every child of 
God is not of sufficient age to know his Father, or take comfort in 
that blessed inheritance whereunto he is begotten again, 1 Pet. i. 
3, 4. 

Thirdly, Every believer doth not walk with like strictness, and 
exact holiness : all do not exercise faith in a like degree. Among 
Christians some are strong in grace, rich in faith, strict in obedience, 
tender of sin to an eminent degree ; these usually are owners of 
much consolation: but others are weak in grace, poor in faith, 
comparatively careless of their hearts and ways, frequently grieving 
the good Spirit of God, and wounding their own consciences (the 
vessel into which spiritual consolation is poured ;) and these are 
usually denied the joy and comfort which others abound withal. 

Fourthly, The consolations of Christ are arbitrarily dispensed 
by the Spirit, who is the Comforter, and giveth to every man in 
such proportions, and at such seasons, as pleaseth him : whence it 
comes to pass, that he that is rich in comfort to-day, may be poor 
to-morrow ; and, contrarily, the heart that is quite full of sorrow 
one hour, is filled with peace and joy in believing in the next. 
Things that are necessary to the being of a Christian, are fixed and 
stable ; but things belonging only to the well-being of a Christian, 
come and go, according to the good pleasure and appointment of 
the Spirit. The use of all follows. 

Inf. 1. Hence it follows, That the state of unbelievers is the most 
sad and unconifortable state in the world, having no interest in 
Christ, the consolation of Israel. It is true, they abound in creature- 
comforts ; they live in pleasure upon earth ; joy displays its colours 
in their faces ; but for all this, there is not the least drop of true 
consolation in any of their hearts ; they have some comfort in the 
creature, but none in Christ : that little they gather from the crea- 
ture now, is all their portion of joy, Luke vi. 24. " Ye have received 
" your consolation:" as this is all they have, so they shall enjoy it but 
a little while, Job xxi. 13, 17. And while they do enjoy it, it is mix- 
ed with many gripes of conscience, Job xiv. 13. " Even in laughter 
" the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness." 
Whatever consolation any unbeliever speaks of besides this, is but by 
rote; for when the day of his distress cometh, and the terrors of con-*. 

Q4 



250 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEK. XV. 

science shall awake him out of his pleasant dreams, all his sensual 
joys will vanish from him, and the doors of true consolation will 
be shut against him. Let him go to Jesus Christ, knock at that 
door, and say, Lord Jesus, thy name is consolation : my heart is 
readv to burst within me; hast thou no consolation for me? O 
Lord, for one drop of spiritual comfort now ; but alas there is none, 
no not in Christ himself, for any unbeliever. It is children's bread, 
the saints privilege ; comfort and grace are undivided. Let him 
return into himself, search his own conscience for comfort, and 
say, O conscience ! thou art more than a thousand witnesses, and 
thousands have been comforted by thee ; where thou speakest 
comfort, none can speak trouble ; hast thou no consolation for me 
in my deepest distress ? Alas, no ; if God condemn thee, where- 
withal shall I comfort thee ? I can speak neither more nor less 
than the scriptures put into my mouth, and I find not one word 
in all the book of God warranting me to be thy comforter. Be- 
lieve it is an undoubted truth (though the sense of the bewitched 
world over-rules it) that the state of unbelievers, even at the 
best, is a sad and dismal state. 

Inf. 2. Let all believers fetch all their coinfort out qf Christ, who 
is the consolation of his people : "We rejoice (saith the apostle) in 
Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." That is the true 
temper of a believing soul : take heed you live not partly upon Christ 
and partly upon the creature for your comfort ; much rather beware 
that you forsake not Christ, the fountain of living waters, and hew 
out cisterns for yourselves which can hold no water, Jer. ii. 13. If 
you make any creature the spring and fountain of your comfort, as- 
suredly God will dry up that spring. If your souls draw their com- 
fort from any creature, you know they must out-live that creature, 
and what then will you do for comfort ? Besides, as your comforts 
are, so are you. The food of every creature is suitable to its na- 
ture. You see divers creatures feeding upon several parts of the 
same herb, the bee upon the flower, the bird upon the seeds, the 
sheep upon the stalk, and the swine upon the root, according to 
their nature so is their food. Sensual men feed upon sensual things, 
spiritual men upon spiritual things ; as your food is, so are you. 
If carnal comforts can content thy heart, sure thy heart must then 
be a very carnal heart. Yea, and let Christians themselves take 
heed, that they fetch not their consolations out of themselves in- 
stead of Christ. Your graces and duties are excellent means and 
instruments, but not the ground-work and foundation of your 
comfort, they are useful buckets to draw, but not the well itself in 
which the springs of consolation rise. If you put your duties in 
the room of Christ, Christ will put your comforts out of the 
reach of your duties. 



SERM. XV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 251 

hif. 3. If Christ be the consolation of believers, what a comfort- 
able life should all believers live in the world f Certainly, if the 
fault be not your own, you might live the happiest and comfortablest 
jives of all men in the world. If you would not be a discomfort to 
Christ, he would be a comfort to you every day, and in every con- 
dition, to the end of your lives. Your condition abounds with all 
the helps and advantages of consolation. You have the command 
of Christ to warrant your comforts, Phil. iv. 4. You have the Spi- 
rit of Christ for a spring of comfort ; you have the scriptures of 
Christ for the rule. 1 -, of comfort; you have the duties of religion 
for the means of comfort. Why is it then that you go comfortless ? 
If your afflictions be many in the world, yet your encouragements 
are more in Christ. Your troubles in the world have been turned 
into joy, but your comforts in Christ can never be turned into 
trouble. Why should troubles obstruct your comfort, when the 
blessing of Christ upon your troubles makes them subservient to 
promote your happiness? Rom. viii. 28. Shake off despon- 
dency then, and live up to the principles of religion. Your de- 
jected life is uncomfortable to yourselves, and of very ill use to 
others. 

Inf. 4. If Christ be the consolation of believers, then let all that 
desire comfort in this world, or in that to come, embrace Jesus Christ, 
and get real union with him. The same hour you shall be in Christ, 
you shall also be at the fountain-head of all consolations : thy soul 
shall be then a pardoned soul, and a pardoned soul hath all reason 
in the world to be a joyful soul : in that day the conscience shall 
be sprinkled with the blood of Christ ; and a sprinkled conscience 
hath all the reason in the world to be a comforting conscience : in 
that day you become the children of your Father in heaven, and 
he that hath a Father in heaven, hath all reason to be the joyfullest 
man upon earth ; in that day you are delivered from the sting and 
hurt of death ; and he that is delivered from the sting of death, 
hath the best reason to take in the comfort of life. O come to 
Christ ! come to Christ ! till you come to Christ, no true comfort 
can come to you. 



252 THE METHOD OF GRACE SERM. XVE 



SERMON XVI. 

Ed forcing the general Exhortation, by a seventh Motive 
drawn from the first Benefit purchased by Christ. 

Eph. i. 7. 

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of 
sins according to the riclies of his grace. 

J5lX great motives have been presented already from the titles 
of Christ, to draw the hearts of sinners to him ; more are now 
to be offered from the benefits redounding to believers by Christ ; 
essaying, by all means, to win the hearts of men to Christ. To 
this end I shall in the first place, open that glorious privilege of 
gospel-remission, freely and fully conferred upon all that come to 
Christ by faith, " in whom we have redemption by faith,' 1 &c. 

In which words we have, first, a singular benefit, or choice mercy 
bestowed, viz. redemption, interpreted by way of opposition, the 
remission of sins : this is a privilege of the first rank, a mercy by 
itself ; none sweeter, none more desirable among all the benefits 
that come by Christ. And therefore. 

Secondly, You have the price of this mercy, an account what it 
cost, even the blood of Christ, in whom we have redemption [through 
his blood :] precious things are of great price ; the blood of Christ 
is the meritorious cause of remission. 

Thirdly, You have here also the impulsive cause, moving God 
to grant pardons at this rate to sinners, and that is said to be the 
riches of his grace : where, by the way, you see that the freeness 
of the grace of God, and the fulness of the satisfaction of Christ, 
meet together without the least jar in the remission of sin, contrary 
to the vain cavil of the Socinian adversaries : " In whom we have 
" redemption, even the remission of sins, according to the riches of 
" his grace." 

Fourthly, You have the qualified subjects of this blessed privilege, 
viz. Believers, in whose name he here speaks, [we] have remission, 
i. e. We the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus, ver. 1. We 
whom he hath chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, 
and predestinated unto the adoption of children, ver. 4, 5. We 
that are made accepted in the beloved, ver. 6. It is we, and we 
only, who have redemption through his blood. Hence observe, 



SERM. XVI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 253 

Doct. That all believers, and none but believers, receive the re- 
mission of their sins through the riches of grace, by the blood 
of Jesus Christ. 

In the explication of this point three things must be spoken to. 

1. That all that are in Christ are in a pardoned state. 

2. That their pardon is the purchase of the blood of Christ. 

3. That the riches of grace are manifested in remission. 

First, That all that are in Christ are in a pardoned state : where 
I will first shew you what pardon or remission of sin is. 

Secondly, That this is the privilege of none but believers. 

First, Now remission of sin is the gracious act of God, in and 
through Christ, discharging a believing sinner from all the guilt 
and punishment of his sin, both temporal and eternal. 

It is the act of God ; he is the author of remission ; none can for- 
give sins but God only, Mark ii. 7. Against him only, i. e. prin- 
cipally and especially, the offence is committed, Psal. Ii. 4. To 
his judgment guilt binds over the soul ; and who can remit the 
debt but the creditor? Matth. vi. 12. 

It is an act of God, discharging the sinner ; it is God's loosing 
of one that stood bound, the cancelling of his bond or obligation, 
called therefore remission or releasing in the text ; the blotting out 
of our iniquities, or the removing of our sins from us, as it is called 
in other scriptures; see Psal. ciii. 11. Micah vii. 18, 19. 

It is a gracious act of God, the effect of pure grace, done for his 
own name's sake, Isa. xliii. 25. discharging us without any satis- 
faction at all by us : there is much grace in that ; and providing a 
surety for us every way able to pay our debt, there is more grace 
in that. 

It is the gracious act of God in and through Christ : the satis- 
faction of Christ is the procuring cause of our remission, and so God 
declares himself just in the remission of our sin, Rom. iii. 25. 
" Gracious is the Lord and righteous," Psal. cxvi. 5. Justice and 
mercy meet here, and embrace each other ; " in whom (saith the 
" text) we have remission :" no other price could purchase this 
privilege, Micah vi. 6, 7. not rivers of oil, or of human blood. 

And this gracious act of God discharges the pardoned soul both 
from guilt and punishment. Guilt is nothing else but the force 
and power that is in sin, to oblige the sinner to undergo the pen- 
alty due to sin ; therefore sinners are said to be guilty of helUfire. 
Matth. v. 22. Guilty of eternal judgment, Mark iii. 29- To be 
under the judgment of God, Rom. iii. 19. Remission takes away 
both guilt and punishment together ; it takes away all guilt, Acts 
xiii. 38, 39. and all punishment. And so much of the first thing 
to be opened, namely, what the remission of sin is. 



254 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XVI. 

Secondly, Now that this remission of sin is the privilege of be- 
lievers, is most apparent, for all the causes of remission are in con- 
junction to procure it for them ; the love of God, which is the 
impulsive cause of pardon ; the blood of Christ, which is the meri- 
torious cause of pardon ; and saving faith, which is the instru- 
mental cause of pardon, do all co-operate for their remission, as is 
plain in the text. 

Besides, all the promises of pardon are made to them, Jer. xxxi. 
34. Micah vii. 18. And, lastly, all the signs of pardon are found 
in them, and in them only, that love God, Luke vii. 47. Merci- 
fulness to others, Matth. vi. 14. A blessed calmness and peace in 
the conscience, Rom. v. 1. So that it is a truth beyond contro- 
versy, that all that are in Christ are in a pardoned state. 

Secondly, Next I will shew you, that the pardon of believers is 
the purchase of the blood of Christ : nothing but the blood of Christ 
is a price equivalent to the remission of sin, for this blood was in- 
nocent and untainted blood, 1 Pet. i. 19. the blood of a Lamb 
without spot ; this blood was precious blood, blood of infinite 
worth and value, the blood of God, Acts xx. 28. It was prepared 
blood for this very purpose, Heb. x. 5. Prepared by God's eternal 
appointment; prepared by Christ's miraculous and extraordinary 
production by the operation of the Spirit ; prepared by his volun- 
tary sequestration, or sanctification of himself to this very use and 
purpose. 

The blood of Jesus is not only innocent, precious, and prepared 
blood, but it is also blood actually shed and sacrificed to the justice 
of God, for the expiation of guilt, and procurement of our dis- 
charge, Isa. liii. 5. To conclude, the severe justice of God could 
put in no exception against the blood of Christ ; it is unexception- 
able blood, being, (as before was noted,) untainted by sin, and 
dignified above all estimation by the person whose blood it was. 
Justice required no less, and could demand no more; and this is 
the price at which our pardons are purchased, and without which 
no sin could be pardoned ; for " without shedding of blood, (such 
" blood as this) there is no remission," Heb. ix. 22. 

Thirdly, The last thing to be opened is, That God hath mani- 
fested the riches of his grace, in the remission of our sins. So 
speaks the apostle, Rom. v. 20. " Where sin abounded, grace did 
" much more abound : And, 1 Tim. i. 14. " The grace of our 
" Lord (viz. in the pardon of sin) was exceeding abundant." 
Which will appear, if we bring our thoughts close to 'the matter, 
in several particulars. 

First, From the nature of the mercy, which is the richest of all 
mercies, except Christ the purchaser of it : No mercy sweeter 
than a pardon to a condemned sinner ; no pardon like God's par- 



SERM. XVI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. £55 

don to a man condemned at his bar ; all the goodness of God is 
made to pass before our eyes in his pardoning acts of grace, Exod. 
xxxiii. 19- 

Secondly, The very riches of grace must needs be in the pardon 
of sin, if we consider the method in which pardons are dispensed, 
which is, as the text speaks, " through his blood. 1 '' Herein 
" God commends his love to us," Rom. v. 8. He commends it 
more than if he had pardoned sin without such a sacrifice ; for 
then he had only displayed his mercy, but not caused mercy and 
justice to meet and triumph together. 

Thirdly, The riches of his grace shine forth in the peculiarity of 
the mercy. Remission is no common favour ; it is never extended 
to the fallen angels, nor to the greater part of the children of men, 
but only to a little flock, a small remnant of mankind, Luke xii. 32. 
John xvii. 9. 

Fourthly, The riches of grace are manifested in remission, if we 
consider the subjects of this privilege, who are not only equally 
plunged into sin and misery with others by nature, Eph. ii. 3. but 
many of the Lord's pardoned ones have been actually guilty of a 
deeper-dyed abomination than many unpardoned ones, in the ci- 
vilized world, are defiled with. " To me, (saith Paul), the greats 
" est of sinners, one that was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, 
" 4*c. yet to me is this grace given ; I obtained mercy ," 1 Tim. 
i. 15. "And such were some of you, but ye are justified,^ 1 Cor. 
vi. 11. Yea, God singles out the most base, despised, poor, and 
contemptible ones among men, to be the subjects of this glorious 
privilege, 2 Cor. i. 26. " You see your calling, brethren," Sfc. 

Fifthly, More of the riches of grace still appear, if we view the 
latitude and extent of this act of grace. O how innumerable are 
our transgressions ! " Who can understand his errors ?" Psal. xix. 
12. " Yet the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin," 1 John 
i. 7. Small and great sins, open and secret sins, old and new sins, 
all pardoned without exception. O the riches of grace ! O the 
unsearchable goodness of God ! " With the Lord there is mercy. 
" and with him there is plenteous redemption ; and he shall re- 
" deem Israel from all his iniquities," Psal. cxxx. 7, 8. 

Sixthly, and lastly, The riches of grace shine forth in the irre- 
vocableness and perpetuity of remission. As grace pardons all sins 
without exception, so the pardons it bestows are without revoca- 
tion : The pardoned soul shall " never come into condemnation," 
John v. 24. " As far as the east is from the west, so far hath lie 
" removed our transgressions from us," Psal. ciii. 10. The cast 
and west are the two opposite points of heaven, which can never 
come together ; neither shall the pardoned soul and its sins ever 



£56 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. XVT. 

meet any more. " Thou hast cast, (saith Hezekiah) all my sins 
" behind thy back." The penitent believer sets his sins before his 
face, but the merciful God casts them all behind his back, never 
to behold them more, so as to charge them upon his pardoned 
people. And thus you see what the pardon of sin is, what the 
price that purchaseth pardon is, and what riches of grace God 
manifesteth in the remission of a believer's sins ; which were the 
things to be explained and opened in the doctrinal part. The im- 
provement of the whole you will have in the following uses. 

Inference 1. If this be so, that all believers, and none but believers, 
receive the remission of their sins through the riches of grace, by 
the blood of Christ ; What a happy condition then are believers in I 
Those that never felt the load of sin may make light of a pardon ; 
but so cannot you, that have been in the deeps of trouble and fear 
about it ; those that have been upon the rack of an accusing and 
condemning conscience, as David, Heman, and many of the saints 
have been, can never sufficiently value a pardon. " Blessed is the 
" man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered ; bles- 
f e sed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity," 
Psal. xxxii. 1, 2. or, O the blessedness and felicities of the par- 
doned man ! as in the Hebrew *. Remission cannot but appear 
the wonder of mercies, if we consider through what difficulties 
the grace of God makes way for it to our souls ; what strong bars 
the love of God breaks asunder, to open our way to this privilege ; 
for there can be no pardon without a Mediator ; no other Media- 
tor but the Son of God : the Son of God cannot discharge our 
debts, but by taking them upon himself as our surety, and making 
full payment, by bearing the wrath of God for us ; and when all 
this is done, there can be no actual pardon, except the Spirit of 
grace open our blind eyes, break our hard hearts, and draw them 
to Christ in the way of believing. And as the mercy of remission 
comes to us through wonderful difficulties, so it is in itself a complete 
and perfect mercy : God would not be at such vast expence of the 
riches of his grace ; Christ would not lay out the invaluable trea- 
sures of his precious blood to procure a cheap and common bles- 
sing for us. Rejoice then, ye pardoned souls, God hath done 
great things for you, for which you have cause to be glad. 

Inf. 2. Hence it follows, That interest in Christ by faith, brings 
the conscience of a believer into a state of rest and peace, Rom. v. 1. 
44 Being justified by faith, we have peace with God." I say not 
that every believer is presently brought into actual peace and tran- 
quillity of conscience ; there maybe many fears, and much trouble- 
even in a pardoned soul; but this is an undoubted truth, that 



n^N viri beaiitudines ! 



SERM. XVI. THE METHOD OF CEACE. 257 

faith brings the pardoned soul into that condition and state, where 
lie may find perfect rest in his conscience, with respect to the guilt 
and danger of sin. The blood of Christ sprinkles us from an evil 
(that is, an accusing, condemning) conscience. We are apt to 
fear, that this or that special sin, which has most terrified and 
affrighted our conscience, is not forgiven : but if there be riches 
enough in the grace of God, and efficacy enough in the blood of 
Christ, then the sins of believers, all their sins, great as well as 
small, one as well as another, without limitation or exception, are 
pardoned. 

For let us but consider, If Christ remits no sin to any man, but 
with respect to the blood of Christ, then all sins are pardoned, as 
well as any one sin ; because the dignity and desert of that blood is 
infinite, and as much deserves an universal pardon for all sins, as 
the particular pardon of any, even the least sin : moreover, remis- 
sion is an act of God's fatherly love in Christ ; and if it be so, 
then certainly no sin of any believer can be retained or excluded 
from pardon ; for then the same soul should be in the favour of 
God, so far as it is pardoned, and out of favour with God, so far 
as it is unpardoned, and all this at one and the same instant of 
time : which is a thing both repugnant to itself, and to the whole 
strain of the gospel. 

To conclude : What is the design and end of remission, but the 
saving of the pardoned soul ? But if any sin be retained or exclu- 
ded from pardon, the retaining of that sin must needs make void 
the pardon of all other sins ; and so the acts of God must cross 
and contradict each other, and the design and end of God miscarry 
and be lost ; which can never be. So then we conclude, faith brings 
the believing soul into a state of rest and peace. 

Inf. Hence it also follows, That no remission is to be expected by 
any soul, without an interest by faith in Jesus Christ : no Christ, no 
pardon ; no faith, no Christ. Yet how apt are many poor deluded 
souls to expect pardon in that way, where never any soul yet did, 
or ever can meet it. Some look for pardon from the absolute mercy 
of God, without any regard to the blood of Christ, or their 
interest therein : we have sinned, but God is merciful ! Some 
expect remission of sin by virtue of their own duties, not Christ's 
merits : I have sinned, but I will repent, restore, reform, and 
God will pardon ! But little do such men know how they therein 
diminish the evil of sin, undervalue the justice of God, slight the 
blood of Christ, and put an undoing cheat upon their own souls 
for ever. To expect pardon from absolute mercy, or our own 
duties, is to knock at the wrong door, which God hath shut up to 
all the world, Rom. iii. 20. Whilst these two principles abide 
firm, that the price of pardon is only in the blood of Christ, and 



?ioS THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XVI, 

the benefit of pardon, only by the application of his blood to us ; 
this must remain a sure conclusion, that no remission is to be ex- 
pected by any soul, without an interest by faith in Jesus Christ 
Repentance, restitution, and reformation are excellent duties in 
their kind, and in their proper places, but they were never meant 
for saviours, or satisfaction to God for sin. 

Inf. 4. If the riches of grace be thus manifested in the pardon 
of sin, How vile an abuse is it of the grace of God, to take the more 
liberty to sin, because grace abounds in the pardon of it! 

" Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound ? God for- 
" bid r Rom. vi. 1, 2. Will nothing cheaper than the grace of 
God serve to make a cloak for sin ? O vile abuse of the most ex- 
cellent thing in the whole world ? Did Christ shed his blood to 
expiate our guilt, and dare we make that a plea to extenuate our 
guilt ? God forbid ! 

If it be intolerable ingratitude among men, to requite good with 
evil, sure that sin must want a name bad enough to express it, 
which puts the greatest dishonour upon God for the greatest mercy 
that ever was given by God to the world. " There is mercy 
" with thee, (saith the Psalmist,) that thou mayest be feared, 1 '' 
not that thou mayest be the more abused, Psal. cxxx. 4. Nay, let 
me say, the devils never sinned at this rate ; they cannot abuse 
the pardoning grace of God, because such grace was never offered 
unto them. And certainly, if the abuse of the common mercies 
of God, as meat and drink, by gluttony and drunkenness, be an 
heinous sin, and highly provoking to God ; then the abuse of the 
riches of his grace, and the precious blood of his Son, must be out 
of measure sinful, and the greatest affront we can put upon the 
God of mercy. 

Inf. 5. To conclude : If this be so, as ever you expect pardon 
and mercy from God, come to Christ in the way of faith ; receive 
and embrace him noxv in the tenders of the gospel. 

To drive home this great exhortation, I beseech you, as in the 
bowels of Christ Jesus, and by all the regard and value you have 
for your souls, let these following considerations sink down in your 
hearts. 

First, That all christless persons are actually under the condem- 
nation of God, John iii. 18. " He that believeth not is condemned 
" already :" and it must needs be so, for every soul is concluded 
under the curse of the law, till Christ make him free, John viii. 36. 
Till we are in Christ, w r e are dead by law ; and when we believe 
unto justification, then we pass from death to life. A blind mis- 
taken conscience may possibly acquit you, but assure yourselves God 
condemns you. 

Secondly, Consider what a terrible thing it is to lie under the con- 



SEEM. XVI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 259 

damnation of God ; the most terrible things in nature cannot sha- 
dow forth the misery of such a state; put all sicknesses, all poverty, 
all reproaches, the torments invented by all tyrants into one scale, 
and the condemnation of God into the other, and they will be all 
found lighter than a feather. Condemnation is the sentence of 
God, the great and terrible God ; it is a sentence shutting you up 
to everlasting wrath : it is a sentence never to be reversed, but by 
the application of Christ in the season thereof. O souls ! you can- 
not bear the wrath of God ; you do not understand it, if you 
think it tolerable : One drop of it upon your consciences now, is 
enough to distract you in the midst of all the pleasures and com- 
forts of this world : yet ail that are out of Christ, are sentenced to 
the fulness of God's wrath for ever. 

Thirdly, There is yet a possibility of escaping the wrath to come; 
a door of hope opened to the worst of sinners ; a day of grace is 
offered to the children of men, Heb. hi. 15. God declares himself 
unwilling that any should perish, 2 Pet. iii. 9- O what a mercy is 
this ! Who, that is on this side heaven or hell, fully understands 
the worth of it ? 

Fourthly, The door of mercy will be shortly shut, Luke xii. 
25. God hath many ways to shut it : he sometimes shuts it by 
withdrawing the means of grace, and removing the candlesticks ; 
a judgment at this time to be greatly feared. Sometimes he shuts 
it by withdrawing the Spirit and blessing from the means, whereby 
all ordinances lose their efficacy, 1 Cor. iii. 7. But if he shut it 
not by removing the means of grace from you, certain it is, it will 
be shortly shut by your removal from all the means and oppor- 
tunities of salvation by death. 

Fifthly, When once the door of mercy is shut, you are gone be- 
yond all the possibilities of pardon and salvation for evermore. The 
night is then come, in which no man can w r ork, John ix. 4. All 
the golden seasons you now enjoy, will be irrecoverably gone out 
of your reach. 

Sixthly, Pardons are now daily granted to others : some (and 
they once as far from mercy as you now are,) are at this day read- 
ing their pardons with tears of joy dropping from them. The 
world is full of the examples and instances of the riches of pardon- 
ing grace. And whatever is needful for you to do in the way of 
repentance and faith to obtain your pardon, how easily shall it be 
done, if once the day of God's power come upon you ? Psal. ex. 
%. O therefore, lift up your cries to heaven, give the Lord no 
rest, take no denial till he open the blind eye, break the stony 
heart, open and bow the stubborn will, effectually draw thy soul to 
Christ, and deliver thy pardon signed in his blood. 

Vol. II. * R 



260 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEAM. XVII. 



SERMON XVII. 



Opening the eighth Motive to come to Chkist, drawn from 
the sixth Benefit purchased by Christ for Believers. 

Eph. i. 6. 

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made lis 
accepted in the Beloved. 

J-Nour last discourse we opened to you the blessed privilege of re- 
mission of sin, from the following verse ; in this verse lies another 
glorious privilege, viz. the acceptation that believers have with God 
through Jesus Christ; both which comprise (as fhe two main 
branches) our justification before God. In the words read, (to omit 
many things that might be profitably observed from the method 
and dependence of the apostle's discourse) three things are observa- 
ble, viz. 

1. The privilege itself, 

2. The meritorious cause, 

S. The ultimate end thereof. 

First, The privilege itself, which is exceeding rich and sweet 
in its own nature; "he hath made us accepted ;'' the word is 
tyjzoirortiv wag, he hath ingratiated us, or brought us into the grace, 
favour and acceptance of God the Father ; endeared us to him, so 
that we find grace in his sight. 

Secondly, The meritorious cause, purchasing and procuring this 
benefit for us, noted in the words, ev ru Yiyaxri/Mvu, in the Beloved ; 
which words are a periphrasis of Christ, who is here emphatically 
stiled the Beloved, the great favourite of heaven, the delight of 
God's soul, the prime object of his love : it is he that obtaineth 
this benefit for believers : he is accepted for his own sake, and we 
for his. 

Thirdly, The ultimate end and aim of conferring this benefit 
upon believers ; " To the praise of the glory of his grace ;" or, to 
the end that his grace might be made glorious in praises : there are 
riches of grace in this act of God ; and the work and business of 
believers, both in this world and in that to come, is to search and 
admire, acknowledge and magnify God for his abundant grace 
herein. Hence the note is, 

Doct. That Jesus Christ hath purchased and procured special fa- 
vour and acceptation with God for all that are in him. 

This point lies plain in scripture, Eph. ii. 13. "But now in 



SERM. XVir. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 261 

" Jesus Christ, ye who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by 
" the blood of Christ," iy/uj eyswj^jjre, made nigh, a term of en- 
dearedness : nothing is taken into the very bosom and embraces 
but what is very dear, precious and acceptable ; and in Rev. ii. 5, 
6. believers are said to be made by Jesus Christ " kings and priests 
" unto God, and his Father," i. e. dignified favourites, upon 
whom the special marks of honour are set by God. 

In opening of this point three things must be doctrinally discussed 
and opened, viz. 

1. What the acceptation of our persons with God is? 

2. How it appears that believers are so accepted with God ? 

3. How Christ the Beloved procures this benefit for believers ? 
Firsts What the acceptation of our persons with God is ? To 

open which, it may be proper to remember, that there is a two- 
fold acceptance of persons mentioned in scripture. 

1. One is the sinful act of corrupt man. 

2. The other the gracious act of a merciful God. 

Firsts Accepting of persons is noted in scripture as the sinful act 
of a corrupt man ; a thing which God abhors, being the corrup- 
tion and abuse of that power and authority which men have in 
judgment; overlooking the merit of the cause through sinful re- 
spect to the quality of the person whose cause it is ; so that the 
cause doth not commend the person, but the person the cause. 
This God every where brands in men, as a vile perverting of judg- 
ment, and utterly disclaims it himself, Gal. ii. 6. " God accepteth 
" no man's person;" Rom. ii. 11. "There is no respect of persons 
with God." 

Secondly) There is also an accepting of persons, which is the gra- 
cious act of a merciful God ; whereby he receives both the persons 
and duties of believers into special grace and favour for Christ's 
sake ; and of this my text speaks. In which act of favour three 
things are supposed or included. 

First) It supposes an estate of alienation and enmity ; those only 
are accepted into favour that were out of favour ; and indeed so 
stood the case with us, Eph. ii. 12, 13. "Ye were aliens and 
" strangers, but now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were afar 
" off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ :" So the apostle 
Peter, in 1 Pet. ii. 10. " Which in time past were not a people, but 
" now are the people of God ; which had not obtained mercy, 
" but now have obtained mercy." The fall made a fearful breach 
betwixt God and man. Sin, like a thick cloud, intercepted all 
the beams of divine favour from us ; the satisfaction of Christ dis- 
solves that cloud, Isa. xliv. 22. " I have blotted out, as a thick 
" cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins." This dark 
cloud thus dissolved, the face of God shines forth again with cheer- 

R2 



26'2 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SE11M. XVIf 

ful beams of favour and love upon all, who, by faith, are interested 
in Jesus Christ. 

Secondly, It includes the removing of guilt from the persons of 
believers, by the imputation of Christ's righteousness to them, 
Rom. v. 1, 2. " Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, 
" through our Lord Jesus Christ : by whom also we have access 
" by faith into this grace wherein we stand :" for the face of God 
cannot shine upon the wicked ; the person must be first made 
righteous, before he can be made accepted. 

Thirdly, It includes the offering up, or tendering of our persons 
and duties to God by Jesus Christ. Accepting implies presenting 
or tendering : believers indeed do present themselves to God, Rom. 
xii. 1. But Christ's presenting them makes their tender of them- 
selves acceptable to the Lord ; Col. i. %% " In the body of his 
" flesh through death to present you holy, and unblameable, and 
" unreproveable, in his sight. 1 ' Christ leads every believer, as it 
were, by the hand, into the gracious presence of God ; after this 
manner bespeaking acceptance for him : " Father, here is a poor 
" soul that was born in sin, hath lived in rebellion against thee all 
" his days ; he hath broken all thy laws, and deserved all thy 
" wrath ; yet he is one of that number which thou gavest me be- 
" fore the Avorld was. I have made full payment by my blood for 
" all his sins : I have opened his eyes to see the sinfulness and 
" misery of his condition : broken his heart for his rebellions 
" against thee ; bowed his will in obedience unto thy will ; united 
" him to myself by faith, as a living member of my body : and 
'* now, Lord, since he is become mine by regeneration, let him 
" be thine also by special acceptation : let the same love with 
" which thou lovest me embrace him also, who is now become 
" mine." And so much for the first particular, viz. What ac- 
ceptation with God is. 

Secondly, In the next place I must shew you how it appears that 
believers are thus ingratiated, or brought into the special favour of 
God by Jesus Christ. And this will be evinced divers ways. 

First, By the titles of love and endearedness, with which the 
Lord graceth and honoureth believers, who are sometimes called 
the household of' God, Eph. ii. 19. the friends of God, James ii. 23. 
the dear children of God, Eph. v. 1. the peculiar people of God, 1 
Pet. ii. 9- a crown of glory, and a royal diadem in the hand of their 
God, Isa. lxii. 3. The object of his delight and pleasure, PsaJ. 
cxlvii. 10, 11. O what term* of endearedness doth God use towards 
his people ! Doth not all this speak them to be in special favour with 
him ? Which of all these alone doth not signify a person highly in 
favour with God. 

Secondly, The gracious manner in which he treats them upon 



SERM. XVII. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. %63 



the throne of grace, to which he allows them to come with bold- 
ness, Heb. iv. 16. This also speaks them in the special favour of 
God ; he allows them to come to him in prayer, with the liberty, 
confidence and filial boldness of children to a father ; Gal. iv. 6. 
" Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son 
" into your hearts, crying Abba, Father ;" the familiar voice of 
a dear child : yea, which is a wonderful condescension of the great 
God to poor worms of the earth, he saith, Isa. xlv. 11. " Thus 
" saith the Lord, the holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me 
" of things to come concerning my sons ; and concerning the work 
" of my hands command ye me :" an expression so full of grace 
and special favour to believers, that it needs great caution in read- 
ing and understanding such an high and astonishing expression : 
the meaning is, that God hath, as it were, subjected the works of 
his hands to the prayers of his saints ; and it is as if he had said, 
if my glory, and your necessity shall require it, do but ask me in 
prayer, and whatever my Almighty Power can do, I will do it for 
you. However, let no favourite of heaven forget the infinite dis- 
tance betwixt himself and God. Abraham was a great favourite 
of heaven, and was called the friend of God ; yet see with what hu- 
mility of spirit and reverential awe he addresseth God, Gen. xviii. 
27. " Behold now I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, 
" which am but dust and ashes." So that you see the titles of fa- 
vour above-mentioned are no empty titles. 

Thirdly, God's readiness to grant, as well as their liberty to ask, 
speaks them the special favourites of God, The heart of God is 
so propense, and ready to grant the desires of believers, that it is 
but ask and have, Matth. vii. 7. The door of grace is opened by 
the key of prayer. That is a favourite indeed, to whom the king 
gives a blank to insert what request he will : " If ye abide in me, 
" and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it 
" shall be done unto you," John xv. 7. O blessed liberty of the 
sons of God ! David did but say, " Lord, turn the counsel of 
" Ahithophel into foolishness," and it was done as soon as asked, 
2 Sam. xv. 31. Joshua did but say, " Thou sun stand still in 
" Gibeon," and a miraculous stop was presently put to its swift 
motion in the heavens; nay, which is wonderful to consider, a 
prayer, yet unborn, I mean conceived in the heart, and not yet 
uttered by the lips of believers, is often anticipated by the propen- 
siveness of free grace, Isa. lxv. 24. " And it shall come to pass, 
" that before they call I will answer, and whilst they are yet 
" speaking I will hear." The prayers of others are rejected as an 
abomination, Prov. xv. 8. God casts them back into their faces, 
Mai. ii. 3. But free grace signs the petitions of the saints more 

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264 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEItM. XVII. 

readily than they are presented ; we have not that freedom to ask 
that God hath to give : it is true, the answer of a believer's pray- 
ers may be a long time suspended from his sense and knowledge ; 
but every prayer, according to the will of God, is presently grant- 
ed in heaven, though, for wise and holy ends, they may be held 
in a doubtful suspense about them upon earth. 

Fourthly, The free discoveries of the secrets of God's heart to 
believers, speak them to be his special favourites : men open not 
the counsels and secrets of then* own hearts to enemies or strangers 
but to their most inward and intimate friends : " The secret of the 
" Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his 
" covenant," Psal. xxv. 14. When God was about to destroy So- 
dom, he would do nothing in that work of judgment until he 4iad 
acquainted Abraham his friend, with his purpose therein, Gen. 
xviii. 17. " And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that 
" thing which I do ? For I know him," fyc. So when a king was to 
be elected for Israel, and the person whom God had chosen was 
yet unknown to the people, God, as it were, whispered that secret 
unto Samuel the day before, 1 Sam. ix. 15. " Now the Lord had 
" told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came :" according to 
the manner of princes with some special favourite. 

Fifthly, The Lord's receiving every small thing that comes from 
them with grace and favour, when he rejects the greatest things 
offered by others, doth certainly bespeak believers the special fa- 
vourites of God. There was but one good word in a whole sen- 
tence from Sarah, and that very word is noted and commended 
by God, 1 Pet. iii. 6. " She called him Lord." There were but 
some small beginnings or buddings of grace in young Abijah, and 
the Lord took special notice thereof, 1 Kings xiv. 13. " Because 
" in him there is found some good thing toward the Lord God of 
" Israel, in the house of Jeroboam." Let this be an encourage- 
ment to young ones, in whom there are found any breathing de- 
sires after Christ ; God will not reject them if any sincerity be 
found in them ; a secret groan, uttered to God in sincerity, shall 
not be despised, Rom. viii. 26. The very bent of a believer's will, 
when he had no more to offer unto God, is an acceptable present, 
2 Cor. viii. 11. The very intent and purpose that lie secretly in 
the heart of a believer, not yet executed, are accepted with him, 
1 Kings viii. 18. " Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house 
" to my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart." Thus 
small things offered to God by believers find acceptance with him, 
whilst the greatest presents, even solemn assemblies, sabbaths, and 
prayers from others are rejected : " They are a trouble unto me ; 
" (saith God) I am weary to bear them," Isa. i. 14, 15. " Incense 
<; from Sheba, the sweet cane from a far country" are not accept- 



SERM. XVII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 265 

able, nor sacrifices sweet from other hands, Jer. vi. 20. From all 
which it appeal's beyond doubt, that the persons and duties of be- 
lievers are accepted in the special favour of God by Jesus Christ ; 
which was the second thing to be spoken to, and brings us to the 
third general, viz. 

Thirdly, How Christ, the beloved, procures this benefit for be- 
lievers ? And this he doth four ways. 

First, By the satisfaction of his blood, Rom. v. 10. " When we 
" were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his 
** Son." No friendship without reconciliation, no reconciliation 
but by the blood of Christ : therefore the new and living way, by 
which believers come unto God with acceptance, is said to be con- 
secrated for us through the veil of Christ's flesh ; and hence be- 
lievers have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Je- 
sus, Heb. x. 19, 20. 

Secondly, The favour of God is procured for believers, by their 
mystical union with\Christ, whereby they are made " members of his 
" body, of his flesh, and of his bones, Eph. v. 30. So that as 
Adam's posterity stood upon the same terms that he their natural 
head did, so believers, Christ's mystical members, stand in the 
favour of God, by the favour which Christ their spiritual head 
hath, John xvii. 33. " I in them, and thou in me, that they may 
" be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou 
" hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me." 

Thirdly, Believers are brought into favour with God by Chrisfs 
becoming their altar, upon which their persons and duties are all of- 
fered up to God : The altar sanctifies the gift, Heb. xiii. 10. And 
this was typified by the legal rite mentioned Luke i. 9, 10. Christ 
is that golden altar from whence all the prayers of the saints as- 
cend to the throne of God, perfumed with the odours and incense 
of his merits, Rev. viii. 34. " And another angel came and stood 
" at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given unto 
" him much incense that he should offer it, with the prayers of 
" all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne ; 
" and the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of 
" the saints ascended up before God out of the angel's hand." 
And thus you see how the persons and duties of believers are 
brought into favour and acceptance with God by Jesus Christ 
The uses follow. 

Inf. 1. If all believers be in favour with God, how great a mercy 
is it to have the prayers of such engaged on our behalf? Would we 
have our business speed in heaven, let us get into the favour of God 
ourselves, and engage the prayers of his people, the favourites of 
heaven for us. Vis unitafortior, one believer can do much, many 
can do more : When Daniel designed to get the knowledge of that 

R4 



£65 THE METHOD OF GRACE- &ERM. XVII, 

secret, hinted in the obscure dream of the king, which none but 
the God of heaven could make known, it is said, Dan. ii. 17. 
" Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known un- 
" to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions ; that they 
" would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this 
" secret." The benefit of such assistance in prayer by the help of 
other favourites with God, is plainly intimated by Jesus Christ to 
us, Mat. xviii. 19. " If two of you shall agree on earth as touching 
" any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my 
" Father which is in heaven." God sometimes stands upon a 
number of voices, for the carrying of some public mercy, because 
he defighteth in the harmony of many praying souls; and also 
loves to oblige and gratify many in the answer and return of the 
same prayer. I know this usage is grown too formal and comple- 
mental among professors ; but certainly it is a great advantage to be 
sincere with them who are so with God. St. Bernard, prescribing 
rules for effectual prayer, closes them up with this wish, et cum talis 
fueris, momento mei, when thy heart is in this frame, then remem- 
ber me. 

Inf. 2. If believers be such favourites in heaven, in what a desper- 
ate condition is that cause and those persons, against whom the gen- 
erality qf believers are daily engaged in prayers and cries to heaven P 

Certainly Rome shall feel the dint and force of the many mil- 
lions of prayers that are gone up to heaven from the saints for 
many generations ; the cries of the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, 
joined with the cries of thousands of believers, will bring down 
vengeance at last upon the man of sin. It is said, Rev. viii. 4, 5, 
6. " That the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers 
" of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's 
" hand :" And immediately it is added, ver. 5. " And the angel 
u took the censer and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it 
" into the earth, and there were voices, and thunderings, and 
" lightnings, and earthquakes ; and the seven angels, which had 
€i the seven trumpets, prepared themselves to sound.'" The prayer 
of a single saint is sometimes followed with wonderful effects, 
Psal. xviii. 6, 7. " In my distress I called upon the Lord, and I 
" cried unto my God : he heard my voice out of his temple, 
44 and my cry came before him, even into his ears : then the earth 
" shook and trembled ; the foundation also of the hills moved and 
u were shaken, because he was wroth :" what then can a thunder- 
ing legion of such praying souls do ? It was said of Luther, Iste 
vir potuit cum Deo quicquid voluit, that man could have of God 
what he would; his enemies felt the weight of his prayers, and the 
church of God reaped the benefit thereof. The queen if Scots 



SERM. XVII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 267 

professed she was more afraid of the prayers of Mr. Knox *, than of 
an army of ten thousand men : these were mighty wrestlers with 
God, however contemned and vilified among their enemies. There 
will a time come, when God will hear the prayers of his people, 
who are continually crying in his ears, How long? Lord, how 

long? 

inf. 3. Let mo believer be dejected at the contempts and slightings 
of men, so long as they stand in the grace and favour of God. It is 
the lot of the best men to have the worst usage in the world : those 
of whom the world was not worthy, were not thought worthy to 
live in the world, Heb. xi. 38. Paul and his companions were 
men of choice and excellent spirits; yet, saith he, 1 Cor. iv. 12. 
" Being defamed, we intreat; we are made as the filth of the 
" world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day." 
They are words signifying the basest, most contemptible, and ab« 
horred things among men. How are heaven and earth divided in 
their judgments and estimations of the saints ? Those whom men 
call filth and dirt, God calls a peculiar treasure, a crown of glory, 
a royal diadem. But trouble not thyself, believer, for the unjust 
censures of the blind world ; they speak evil of the things they 
know not : " He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself 
" is judged of no man," 1 Cor. ii. 14. You can discern the 
earthliness and baseness of their spirits : they want a faculty to dis- 
cern the excellency and choiceness of your spirits : he that carries a 
dark lantern in the night can discern him that comes against him, and 
yet is not discerned by him. A courtier regards not a slight in the 
country, so long as he hath the ear and favour of his prince. 

Inf. 4. Never let believers fear the want of any good thing ne- 
cessary for them in this world. The favour of God is the fountain 
of all blessings, provisions, protections, even of all that you need. He 
hath promised that he will withhold no good thing from them that 
walk uprightly, Psal. lxxxiv. 11. He that is bountiful to his ene- 
mies will not withhold what is good from his friends. The favour 
of God will not only supply your needs, but protect your persons, 
Psal. v. 12. " Thou wilt bless the righteous, with favour wilt thou 
" compass him as with a shield." 

Iff. 5. Hence also it follows, that the sins of believers are very 
piercing things to the heart of God. The unkindness of those whom 
he hath received into his very bosom, upon whom he hath set his 
special favour and delight, who are more obliged to him than all 
the people of the earth beside, O this wounds the very heart of 
God. What a melting expostulation was that which the Lord 

* Jacobus Songius, the Sorbonne doctor, who wrote the lives of Luther, Knox, 
and Calvin, speaks as if the devil had hired his pen to abuse those precious servants 
of Christ. 



268 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XVII. 

used with David, 2 Sam. xii. 7, 8. ' ' I anointed thee king over 
" Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul, and I gave 
" thee thy master s house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, 
" and gave thee the house of Israel and Judah, and if that had 
" been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee sueh and 
" such things : wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the 
" Lord ?" But reader, if thou be a reconciled person, a favourite 
with God, and hast grieved him by any eminent transgression, 
how should it melt thy heart to hear the Lord thus expostulating 
with thee : I delivered thee out of the hand of Satan ; I gave thee 
into the bosom of Christ ; I have pardoned unto thee millions of 
sins ; I have bestowed upon thee the riches of mercy ; my favour 
hath made thee great : and, as if all this were too little, I have 
prepared heaven for thee : for which of all these favours dost thou 
thus requite me ? 

htf. 6. How precious sliould Jesus Christ be to believers, by whose 
blood they are ingratiated with God, and by whose intercession they 
are, and shall for ever be continued in his favour ? When the apos- 
tle mentions the believer's translation, from the sad state of nature 
to the blessed privileged state of grace, see what a title he bestows 
upon Jesus Christ, the purchaser of that privilege, calling him the 
dear Son, Col. i. 13. Not only dear to God, but exceeding dear 
to believers also. Christ is the favourite in heaven, to him you owe 
all the preferment there: Take away Christ, and you have no 
ground on which to stand one minute in the favour of God. O 
then let Jesus Christ, the fountain of your honour, be also the 
object of your love and praise. 

Inf. 7. Estimate by this the state and condition of a deserted saint, 
upon whom the favour of God is eclipsed. If the favour of God be 
better than life, the hiding of it from a gracious soul must be more 
bitter than death : Deserted saints have reason to take the first 
place among all the mourners in the world : The darkness before 
conversion had indeed more danger, but this hath more of trou- 
ble. Darkness after light is dismal darkness. Since therefore the 
case is so sad, let your preventing care be the more ; grieve not the 
good Spirit of God ; you prepare but for your own grief in so 
doing. 

Inf. 8. Lastly, Let this persuade all men to accept Jesus Christ, 
as ever they expect to be accepted with the Lord themselves. It is a 
fearful case, for a man's person and duties to be rejected of God ; to 
cry and not be heard : And much more terrible to be denied audi- 
ence' in the great and terrible day. Yea, as sure as the scriptures 
are the sealed and faithful sayings of God, this is no more than 
what every christless person must expect in that day, Mat. vii. 22. 
Luke xiii. 26. trace the history of all times, even as high as Abel, 



SEKM. XVIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 269 

and you shall find that none but * believers did ever find ac- 
ceptance with God ; all experience confirms this great truth, that 
they that are in the flesh cannot please God, Reader, if this be thy 
condition, let me beg thee to ponder the misery of it in a few sad 
thoughts. 

Consider how sad it is to be rejected of God, and forsaken by all 
creatures at once ; what a day of straits thy dying day is like to be, 
when heaven and earth shall cast thee out together. Be assured 
whatever thy vain hopes for the present quiet thee withal, this 
must be thy case, the door of mercy will be shut against thee ; no 
man cometh to the Father but by Christ. Sad was the case of 
Saul, when he told Samuel, " the Philistines make war against 
" me, and God is departed from me," 1 Sam. xxviii. 15. The 
saints will have boldness in the day of judgment, 1 John iv. 17. 
But thou wilt be a confounded man ; there is yet, blessed be the 
God of mercy, a capacity and opportunity for reconciliation, 2 Cor. 
v. 19. Isa. xxvii. 5. But this can be of no long continuance. O 
therefore, by all the regard and love you have for the everlasting 
welfare of your own souls, come to Christ ; embrace Christ in the 
offers of the gospel, that you may be made accepted in the be- 
loved. 



SERMON XVIII. 

The Liberty of Believers opened and stated. 

John viii. 36. 
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 

Ml ROM the 30th verse of this chapter unto my text, you have 
an account of the different effects which the words of Christ had 
upon the hearts of his hearers : Some believed, ver. 30. These 
he encourageth to continue in his word, ver. 31. giving them this 
encouragement, ver. 32. " Ye shall know the truth, and the truth 
" shall make you free." Hereat the unbelieving Jews take of- 
fence, and commence a quarrel with him, ver. 33. " We be Abra- 
" ham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man." We are 
of no slavish extraction ; the blood of Abraham runs in our veins. 
This scornful boast of the proud Jews, Christ confutes, ver. 34. 
where he distinguisheth on a two-fold bondage ; one to men, ano- 

* If any one desires to know the will of God, let him be a friend of God. Aug. 



270 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XVIII. 

ther to sin ; one civil, another spiritual : Whosoever committeth 
sin is the servant of sin, then tells them, ver. 36. " The servant 
" abideth not in the house for ever, but the Son abideth for ever. 1,1 
Wherein he intimateth two great truths, viz. That the servants 
and slaves of sin may for a time enjoy the external privileges of the 
house or church of God ; but it would not be long before the mas- 
ter of the house would turn them out of doors : But if they were 
once the adopted children of God, then they should abide in 
the house for ever. And this privilege is only to be had by their 
believing in, and union with the natural Son of God, Jesus Christ 
which brings us fairly to the text ; " If the Son therefore shall 
" make you free, ye shall be free indeed."" In which words we 
have two parts ; viz. 

1. A supposition. 

2. A concession. 
First, A supposition, " If the Son therefore shall make you free/* 

q. d. The womb of nature cast you forth into the world in a state 
of bondage ! in that state you have lived all your days ; servants 
to sin ; slaves to your lusts ; yet freedom is to be obtained : And 
this freedom is the prerogative belonging to the Son of God to 
bestow : " If the Son shall make you free." 

Secondly, Christ's concession upon this supposition, " Then shall 
" ye be free indeed,'" i. e. you shall have a real freedom, an ex- 
cellent and everlasting freedom : No conceit only, as that which 
you now boast of is : If ever therefore you will be free men indeed, 
belive in me. Hence note, 

Doct. That interest in Christ sets the soul at liberty from all that 
bondage whereunto it was subjected in its natural state. 

Believers are the children of the new covenant, the denizons 
of Jerusalem which is above, which is free, and the mother of 
them all, Gal. iv. 26. The glorious liberty, viz. that which is 
spiritual and eternal, is the liberty of the children of God, Rom. 
viii. 21. Christ, and none but Christ, delivers his people out of the 
hand of their enemies, Luke i. 74. 

In the doctrinal part of this point, I must shew you, 

First, What believers are not freed from by Jesus Christ in this 
world. 

Secondly, What that bondage is from which every believer is 
freed by Christ. 

Thirdly, What kind of freedom that is which commences upon 
believing. 

Fourthly, Open the excellency of this state of spiritual free- 
dom. 



: 



SERM. XVIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 271 

First What those things are from which believers are not made 
free in this world : We must not think that our spiritual liberty by 
Christ, presently brings us into an absolute liberty, in all respects, 

For, 

First, Christ doth not free believers from obedience to the moral 
law : It is true we are no more under it as a covenant for our justi- 
fication ; but we are, and must still be under it, as a rule for our di- 
rection. The matter of the moral law is unchangeable, as the nature 
of good and evil is, and cannot be abolished except that distinction 
could be destroyed, Mat. v. 17, 18. The precepts of the law are 
still urged under the gospel to enforce duties upon us, Eph. vi. 12. 
It is therefore a vain distinction, invented by Libertines, to say it 
binds us as creatures, not as Christians ; or that it binds the unre- 
generate part, but not the regenerate : but this is a sure truth, that 
they who are freed from its penalties are still under its precepts. 
Though believers are no more under its curse, yet they are still 
under its conduct : The law sends us to Christ to be justified, and 
Christ sends us to the law to be regidated. Let the heart of every 
Christian join therefore with David's in that holy wish, Psal. cxix. 
4, 5. " Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently ; 
" O that my heart were directed to keep thy statutes." It is ex- 
cellent when Christians begin to obey the law from life, which 
others obey for life ; because they are justified, not that they may 
be justified. It is also excellent when duties are done in the strength, 
and for the honour of Christ, which is evangelical ; and not in our 
own strength, and for our own ends, which is servile and legal obe- 
dience : Had Christ freed us from obedience, such a liberty had 
been to our loss. 

Secondly, Christ hath not freed believers, in this world, from the 
temptations and assaults of Satan : even those that are freed from 
his dominion, are not free from his molestation. It is said indeed, 
Rom. xvi. 20. " God shall shortly bruise Satan under your feet F 
But mean time he hath power to bruise and buffet us by his injec- 
tions, 2 Cor. xii. 7. He now bruiseth Christ's heel, Gen. iii. 15. 
i. e. bruiseth him in his tempted and afflicted members : Though 
he cannot kill them, yet he can and doth afflict and fright them, 
by shooting his fiery darts of temptation among them, Eph. vi. 16. 
It is true, when the saints are got safe into heaven they are out 
of gunshot ; there is perfect freedom from all temptation. A be- 
liever may then say, O thou enemy, temptations are come to a 
perpetual end. I am now arrived there, where none of thy fiery 
darts can reach me : But this freedom is not yet. 

Thirdly, Christ hath not yet freed believers, in this world, from 
the motions of indwelling sin ; these are continually acting, and 



272 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SE RM. XV11I, 

infesting tlie holiest of men, Rom. vii. 21, 23, 24. Corruptions, 
like Canaanites, are still left in the land to be thorns in your eyes, 
and goads in your sides. Those that boast most of freedom from 
the motions of sin, have most cause to suspect themselves still under 
the dominion of sin. All Christ's freemen are troubled with 
the same complaint : who among them complains not as the apostle 
did, Rom. vii. 24. " Oh wretched man that I am ! who shall de- 
" liver me from the body of this death ?" 

Fourthly, Jesus Christ doth not free believers, in this world, from 
inward troubles and exercises of soul, upon the account of sin. 
God may let loose Satan, and conscience too, in the way of ter- 
rible accusations, which may greatly distress the soul of a believer, 
and woefully eclipse the light of God's countenance, and break the 
peace of their souls. Job, Heman, and David were all made free 
by Christ, yet each of them hath left upon record his bitter com- 
plaint upon this account, Job vii. 19, 20. Psal. lxxxviii. 14, 15, 
16. Psal. xxxviii. unto ver. 11. 

Fifthly, Christ hath not freed believers, in this world, from the 
rods of affliction. God, in giving us our liberty, doth not abridge 
his own liberty, Psal. lxxxix. 32. All the children of God are 
made free, yet what son is there whom the father chasteneth not ? 
Heb. xii. 8. Exemption from affliction is so far from being the mark 
of a free man, that the apostle there makes it the mark of a slave. 
Bastards, not sons, want the discipline and blessing of the rod : 
To be free from affliction would be no benefit to believers, who 
receive so many benefits by it. 

Sixthly, No believer is freed by Christ from the stroke of death, 
though they are all freed from the sting of death, Rom. viii. 10. 
The bodies of believers are under the same law of mortality with 
other men, Heb. ix. 27. We must come to the grave as well as 
others ; yea, we must come to it through the same agonies, pangs, 
and dolours that other men do : The foot of death treads as heavy 
upon the bodies of the redeemed, as of other men. Believers, 
indeed, are distinguished by mercy from others, but the distin- 
guishing mercy lies not here. Thus you see what believers are not 
freed from in this world : If you shall now say, what advantage 
then hath a believer, or what profit is there in regeneration ? I 
answer, 

Secondly, That believers are freed from many great and sad mi- 
series and evils by Jesus Christ, notwithstanding all that hath been 
said. For, 

First, All believers are freed from the rigour and curse of the 
law : The rigorous yoke of the law is broken off from their necks, 
and the sweet and easy yoke of Jesus Christ put on, Matth. ix. 28. 
The law required perfect working, under the pain of a curse, Gal. 



SEBM. XVIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 273 

iii. 10. accepted of no short endeavours ; admitted no repentance; 
gave no strength : It is not so now ; proportionable strength is given, 
Phil. iv. 13. Evangelical sincerity is reckoned perfection, Job i. 1. 
Transgression brings not under condemnation, Rom. viii. 1. O 
blessed freedom ! when duty becomes light, and failings hinder 
not acceptance ! This is one part of the blessed freedom of believers. 

Secondly, All believers are freed from the guilt of sin ; it may 
trouble, but it cannot condemn them, Rom. viii. 33. The hand- 
writing which was against us is cancelled by Christ, nailed to his 
cross, Col. ii. 14. When the seal and hand- writing are torn off 
from the bond, the debtor is made free thereby : Believers are to- 
tally freed, Acts xiii. 39- " Justified from all things :" And finally 
freed, John v. 24. " They shall never come into condemnation." 
O blessed freedom ! How sweet is it to lie down in our beds, yea, 
in our graves, when guilt shall neither be our bed-fellow, nor 
grave-fellow ! 

Thirdly, Jesus Christ frees all believers from the dominion as well 
as the guilt of sin. " Sin shall not have dominion over you, for 
" ye are not under the law, but under grace," Rom. vi. 1 4. 
" The law of the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, hath made 
" me free from the law of sin and death," Rom. viii. 2. Now, who 
can estimate such a liberty as this ? What slavery, what an into- 
lerable drudgery is the service of divers lusts, from all which be- 
lievers are freed by Christ ; not from the residence, but from the 
reign of sin. It is with sin in believers as it was with those beasts 
mentioned Dan. vii. 12. " They had their dominion taken away, 
" yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time." 

Fourthly, Jesus Christ sets all believers free from the power of 
Satan, in whose right they were by nature, Col. i. 13. they are 
translated from the power of darkness into the kingdom of Christ. 
Satan had the possession of them, as a man of his own goods ; but 
Christ dispossesseth that strong man armed, alters the property, 
and recovers them out of his hand, Luke xi. 21, 22. There are 
two ways by which Christ frees believers out of Satan's power and 
possession; namely, 

1. By price. 

2. By power. 

First, By price. The blood of Christ purchaseth believers out of 
the hands of justice, by satisfying the law for them, which being done, 
Satan's authority over them falls of course, as the power of a gaoler 
over the prisoner doth, when he hath a legal discharge, Heb. ii. 14. 
" Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood ; 
" he also himself took part of the same, that through death he 
" might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." 
The cruel tyrant beats and burdens the poor captive no more after the 



274 THE METHOD OF GRACE, 



SEEM. XVIIT, 



ransom is once paid, and he actually freed ; and therefore Christ 
delivers his, 

Secondly, By power. Satan is exceeding unwilling to let go his 
prey : He is a strong and malicious enemy ; every rescue and deli- 
verance out of his hand is a glorious effect of the Almighty Power 
of Christ, Acts xxvi. 18. 2 Cor. x. 5. How did our Lord Jesus 
Christ grapple with Satan at his death, and triumph over him. 
Col. ii. 15. O glorious salvation ! blessed liberty of the children 
of God ! 

Fifthly, Christ frees believers from the poisonous sting and hurt 
of death : Kill us it can, but hurt us it cannot, 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56. 
u O death I where is thy sting ? O grave ! where is thy victory ? 
<( The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law : But 
" thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord 
" Jesus Christ. " If there be no hurt, there should be no horror 
in death : It is guilt that arms death, both with its hurting and ter- 
rifying power. To die in our sins, John viii. 24. To have our 
bones full of the sins of our youth, which shall lie down with us 
in the dust, Job xx. 11. To have death, like a dragon, pulling a 
poor guilty creature as a prey into its dreadful den, Psal. xlix. 14. 
In this lies the danger and horror of death : But from death, as a 
curse, and from the grave, as a prison, Christ hath set believers at 
liberty, by submitting to death in their room ; and by his victorious 
resurrection from the grave, as the first-born of the dead, death is 
disarmed of its hurting power. The death of believers is but a sleep 
in Jesus. 

Thirdly, The next thing to be briefly spoken to, is the kind and 
nature of that freedom and liberty purchased and procured by 
Christ for believers. 

Now liberty may be considered two ways ; viz. 

1. As civil. 

2. As sacred. 

As to civil freedom, or liberty, it belongs not to our present bu- 
siness : Believers, as to their civil capacity, are not freed from the 
duties they owe to their superiors. Servants, though believers, are 
still to be subject to their masters, according to the flesh, with fear 
and trembling, Eph. vi. 5. nor from obedience to lawful magis- 
trates, whom we are to obey in the Lord, Rom. xii. 1, 4. Reli- 
gion dissolves not the bonds of civil relations ; nor is it to be used 
as an occasion to the flesh, 1 Pet. ii. 16. It is not a carnal, but a 
spiritual freedom Christ hath purchased for us: And this spiritual 
freedom is again to be considered, either as, 

1. Inchoate. 

2. Consummate. 

The liberty believers have at present is but a beginning liberty : 



SERM. XVIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 275 

they are freed but in part from their spiritual enemies ; but it is a 
growing liberty every day, and will be eonsummate and complete 
at last. 

To conclude, Christian liberty is either, 

1. Privative, or, 

2. Positive. 

The liberty believers are invested with is of both kinds : They 
are not only freed from many miseries, burdens and dangers, but 
also invested by Jesus Christ with many royal privileges and inva- 
luable immunities. 

Fourthly, And this brings us to the fourth and last thing; name- 
ly, the properties of this blessed freedom which the saints enjoy by 
Jesus Christ; and, if we consider it duly, it will be found to be, 

First, A wonderful liberty, never enough to be admired. How 
could it be imagined that ever those who owed unto God more than 
ever they could pay by their own eternal sufferings ; those that 
were under the dreadful curse and condemnation of the law, in the 
power and possession of Satan the strong man armed ; those that 
were bound with so many chains in their spiritual prison ; their un- 
derstanding bound with ignorance, their wills with obstinacy, their 
hearts with impenetrable hardness, their affections with a thousand 
bet witching vanities, that slight their state of slavery so much, as 
industriously to oppose all instruments and means of deliverance ; 
for such persons to be set at liberty, notwithstanding all this, is the 
wonder of wonders, and will be deservedly marvellous in the eyes 
of believers for ever. 

Secondly, The freedom of believers is a peculiar freedom; a 
liberty which few obtain ; the generality abiding still in bondage 
to Satan, who, from the multitude of his subjects, is stiled the god 
of this world, 2 Cor. iv. 4. Believers in scripture are often called 
a remnant, which is but a small part of the whole piece : The more 
cause have the people of God to admire distinguishing mercy. 
How many nobles and great ones of the world are but royal slaves 
to Satan, and their own lusts ! 

Thirdly, The liberty of believers is a liberty dearly purchased by 
the blood of Christ. What that captain said, Acts xxii. 28. 
" With a great sum obtained I this freedom, 1 " 1 may be much more 
said of the believers' freedom : It was not silver or gold, but the 
precious blood of Christ that purchased it, 1 Pet. i. 18. 

Fourthly, The freedom and liberty of believers is a growing and 
increasing liberty ; they get more and more out of the power of 
sin, and nearer still to their complete salvation every day, Rom. 
xiii. 11. The body of sin dieth daily in them: they are said to 
be crucified with Christ : the strength of sin abates continually in 
them, after the manner of crucified persons, who die a slow, "but 

Vol. II. S 



27G THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SERM. XVIII, 



sure death : And look in what degree the power of sin abates, pro- 
portionally their spiritual liberty increases upon them. 

Fifthly, The freedom of believers is a comfortable freedom : 
the apostle comforts Christians of the lowest rank, poor servants, 
with this consideration, 1 Cor. vii. 22. " He that is called in the 
" Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman,*' q. d. Let not 
the meanness of your outward condition, which is a state of subjec- 
tion and dependence, a state of poverty and contempt, at all trou- 
ble you : you are the Lord's freemen, of precious account in his 
eyes. O it is a comfortable liberty ! 

Sixthly, and Lastly, It is a perpetual and final freedom ; thcy 
that are once freed bv Christ, have their manumission and final dis- 
charge from that state of bondage they were in before : sin shall 
never have dominion over them any more: it may tempt them 
and trouble them, but shall never more rule and govern them, 
Acts xxvi. 18. And thus you see what a glorious liberty the li- 
berty of believers is. 

Tiie improvement whereof will be in the following inferences. 

Inf. 1. How rational is the joy of Christians, above the joy of all 
others in the world ? Shall not the captive rejoice in his recovered 
liberty ? the very birds of the air (as one observes) had rather be 
at liberty in the woods, though lean and hungry, than in a golden 
cage with the richest fare : every creature naturally prizes it ; none 
more than believers, who have felt the burden and bondage of 
corruption, who in the days of their first illumination and convic- 
tion have poured out many groans and tears for this mercy. What 
was said of the captive people of God in Babylon, excellently sha- 
dows forth the state of God's people under spiritual bondage, with 
the way and maimer of their deliverance from it, Zech. ix. 11. 
" By the blood of the covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners 
44 out of the pit, wherein is no water." Believers are delivered 
by the blood of Christ, out of a worse pit than that of Babylon ; 
and look, as the tribes in their return from thence were over- 
whelmed with joy and astonishment, Psal. exxvi. 1, 2. " When the 
" Lord turned again the captivity of Sion, we are like them that 
" dream : Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our 
64 tongue with sino•ino;.' >, 

They were overwhelmed with the sense of the mercy : So 
should it be with the people of God. It is said, Luke xv. 24. 
when the prodigal son (there made the emblem of a returning, 
converting sinner) was returned again to his father's house, that 
there was heard music and dancing, mirth and feasting in that 
house. The angels in heaven rejoice when a soul is recovered out 
of the power of Satan : And shall not the recovered soul, imme- 
diately concerned in the mercy, greatly rejoice? Yea, let them re- 



SERM. XVIII. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 277 



joice in the Lord, and let no earthly trouble or affliction ever have 
power to interrupt their joy for a moment, after such a deliverance 
as this, 

Inf.% How unreasonable and icholl/j inexcusable is the sin of' apos- 
tasy from Jesas Christ ? What is it but for a delivered captive to put 
his feet again into the shackles ; his hands into the manacles; his 
neck into the iron yoke, from which he hath been delivered ? It is 
said, Mat. xii. 44, 45. " When the unclean spirit is gone out of a 
" man, he walkcth through dry places, seeking rest and findeth none: 
" Then he saith, I will return into mine house from whence I came 
" out ; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and 
" garnished ; then goeth he, and taketh with him seven other 
" spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell 
" there, and the last state of that man is worse than the first." 
Even as a prisoner that hath escaped, and is again recovered, is 
loaded with double irons. Let the people of God be content to 
run any hazard, endure any difficulties in the way of religion, 
rather than return again into their former bondage r to sin and 
Satan. O Christian ! if ever God gave thee a sight and a sense of 
the misery and danger of thy natural state, if ever thou hast felt the 
pangs of labouring and distressed conscience, ami, after all this, 
tasted the unspeakable sweetness of the peace and rest that are in 
Christ, thou wilt rather chuse to die ten thousand deaths, than to 
forsake Christ, and go back again into that sad condition. 

Inf. 3. How suitable and well-becoming is a free spirit in be- 
lievers to their state of liberty and freedom ? Christ hath made 
your condition free, O let the temper and frame of your hearts be 
free also ; do all that you do for God with a spirit of freedom ; net 
by constraint, but willingly. Methinks, Christians, the new na- 
ture that is in you should stand for a command, and be instead of 
all arguments that use to work upon the hopes and fears of other 
men. See how all creatures work according to the principle of 
their natures. You need not command a mother to draw forth 
her breasts to a sucking child ; nature itself teaches and prompts to 
that. You need not bid the sea ebb and flow at the stated hours. 
O Christian ! why should thy heart need any other argument, than 
its own spiritual inclination, to keep its stated times and seasons of 
communion with God? Let none of God's commandments be 
grievous to you : let not thine heart need dragging and forcing to 
its own benefit and advantage. Whatever you do for God, do it 
cheerfully; and whatever you suffer for God suffer it cheerfully. 
It w r as a brave spirit which actuated holy Paul, " I am ready 
" saith he) not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for 
* the name of the Lord Jesus," Acts xxi. 13. 
Inf. 4. Let no man wonder at the enmity and opposition of Satan to 

S2 



378 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. XVIII. 

the preaching of the gospel: for by the gospel it is that souls are re- 
covered out of his power, Acts xxvi. 18. It is the express work of 
ministers "to turn men from darkness to light, and from the 
" power of Satan unto God." Satan (as one saith) is a great and 
jealous prince : he will never endure to have liberty proclaimed by 
the ministers of Christ within his dominions. And, indeed, w r hat 
is it less, when the gospel is preached in power, but as it were by 
beat of drum, and sound of trumpet, to proclaim liberty, spiritual, 
sweet, and everlasting liberty, to every soul sensible of the bondage 
of corruption and the cruel servitude of Satan, and will now come 
over to Jesus Christ? And O what numbers and multitudes of 
prisoners have broken loose from Satan at one proclamation of 
Christ, Acts ii. 41. But Satan owes the servants of Christ a spite 
for this, and will be sure to pay them if ever they come .within his 
reach ; persecution is the evil genius of the gospel, and follows it as 
the shadow doth the body. 

Inf. 5. How careful should Christians be to maintain their 
spiritual liberty in all and every point thereof ! " stand fast (saith 
" Paul) in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and 
" be not again entangled in the yoke of bondage," Gal. v. 1. 
And again. " Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants 
" of men." It is Christ's prerogative to prescribe the rules of his 
own house ; he hath given no man dominion over your faith, 
2 Cor. i. 24. One man is no rule to another, but the word of 
Christ is a rule to all : follow not the holiest of men one step far- 
ther than they follow Christ, 1 Cor. xi. 4. Man is an ambitious 
creature, naturally affecting dominion ; and dominion over the 
mind rather than over the body. To give law to others, feeds 
pride in himself; so far as any man brings the word of Christ to 
warrant his injunctions, so far we are to obey, and no farther ; 
Christ is your Lord and Lawgiver. 

Inf. 6. Lastly, Let this encourage and persuade sinners to come 
to Christ ; for with him is sweet liberty to poor captives. Oh 
that you did but know what a blessed state Jesus Christ would 
bring you into ! " Come unto me (saith he) ye that labour and are 
" heavy laden :" and what encouragement doth he give to comers ? 
Why this, " My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." The 
devil persuades you, that the ways of obedience and strict godliness 
are a perfect bondage ; but if ever God regenerate you, you will 
find his wavs, " ways of pleasantness, and all his paths peace : you 
" will rejoice in the wav of his commandments as much as in all 
" riches :" you will find the worst work Christ puts you about, 
even suffering work, sweeter than all the pleasures that ever you 
found in sin. O therefore open your hearts at the call of the gos- 
pel : Come unto Christ, then shall you be free indeed. 



SERM. XIX. THE METHOD OF GRACE 279 

SERMON XIX. 

The Saints coming home to God by Reconciliation and 
Glorification, opened and applied. 

1 Pet. iii. 18. 

For Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that 
he miglit bring us to God. 

J_ HE scope of the apostle in this place is to prepare and 
fortify Christians for a day of suffering. In order to their cheer- 
ful sustaining whereof, he prescribeth two excellent rules of mighty 
use for all suffering Christians. 

First, To get a good conscience within them, ver. 16, 17. hie 
mums aheneus esto. 

Secondly, To set the example of Christ's sufferings before them, 
ver. 18. " For Christ hath once suffered for sinners ;" the suffer- 
ings of Christ for us, is the great motive engaging Christians to 
suffer cheerfully for him. 

In the words before us we have, 

First, The sufficiency and fulness of Christ's sufferings intimated 
in that particle [once] ; Christ needs to suffer no more, having 
finished and completed that whole work at once. 

Secondly, The meritorious cause of the sufferings of Christ, and 
that is sin, Christ once suffered for sins ; not his own sins, but ours ; 
as it follows in the next clause, which is the third thing here ob- 
servable, viz. 

Thirdly, The admirable grace and unexampled love of Christ to 
us sinners, the just for the unjust ; in which words the substitution 
of Christ in the room and place of sinners, the vicegerence of his 
death is plainly expressed. Christ died not only nostra bono, for our 
good, but also nostro loco, in our stead. 

Fourthly, Here is also the final cause or design and scope of the 
sufferings of Christ, which was to bring us to God. 

Fifthly, Here is also the issue of the sufferings of Christ, which 
was the death of Christ in the flesh, and the quickening of Christ 
after death by the Spirit. Many excellent observations are lodged 
in the bosom of this scripture ; all which I must pass over in silence 
at this time, and confine my discourse to the final cause of the suf- 
ferings of Christ, namely, that he might bring us to God : where 
the observation will be plainly and briefly this, 

S3 



280 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. XIXV 

Doct. That the end of Christ's eursed death, and bitter sufferings, 
icas to bring all those for whom he died unto God. 

In the explication and preparation of this point for use, two 
tilings must be spoken unto. viz. 

1. What Christ's bringing us to God imports ? 

2. What influence the death of Christ hath upon this design of 
bringing us to God ? 

First, What Christ's bringing us to God imports ? And certain- 
ly there be many great and excellent things contained in this ex- 
pression : more generally it notes our state of reconciliation, and 
our state of glorification. By reconciliation we are brought nigh 
to God, Eph. ii. 13. " Ye are made nigh," i. e. reconciled, 
" by the blood of Christ," Heb. xii. 22, 23. Ave are said " to come 
" to God the Judge of all. 11 By reconciliation we are brought 
nigh unto God now ; by glorification we shall be brought home to 
God hereafter, 1 Thes. iv. 17. " We shall be ever with the Lord." 
But more particularly this phrase, " that he might bring us to 
" God, 11 imports, 

First, That the chief happiness of man consisteth in the enjoy- 
ment of God : that the creature hath as necessary dependence upon 
God for happiness, as the stream hath upon the fountain, or the 
image in the glass upon the face of him that looks into it For as 
the sum of the creature's misery lies in this, depart from me ; sepa- 
ration from God being the principal part of damnation ; so, on the 
contrary, the chief happiness of the creature consisteth in the en- 
joyment and blessed vision of God, 1 John iii. 2. Psal. xvii. 15. 
" I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness. 11 

Secondly, It implies man's revolt and apostasy from God, Eph. 
ii. 12. " But now in Christ Jesus, ye who were some time afar off, 
" are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 11 Those whom Christ 
bringeth unto God were before afar off from him, both in state 
and condition, and in temper and disposition : we were lost crea- 
tures, and had no desire to return to God *. The prodigal was 
said to go into a far country, Luke xv. 30. 

Thirdly, Christ's bringing us to God, implies our inability to re- 
turn to God of ourselves ; we must be brought back by Christ, or 
perish for ever in a state of separation from God : the lost sheep is 
made the emblem of the lost sinner, Luke xv. 5. The sheep re- 
turns not to the fold of itself, but the shepherd seeks it, finds it, 
and carries it back upon his shoulders. And the apostle plainly 
tells us, Rom. v. 6. That when we zvere without strength, i. e. any 



* Although the faculties of the soul were not extinguished by the fall, yet their 
inclination to spiritual objects was wholly lost. Zccem on the image of God. 



*KR3r. XIX. THE METHOD OF OB ACE. 281 

ability to recover, help, or save ourselves, in due time Christ died 
Jbr the ungodly. 

Fourthly, Christ bringing us to God evidently implies this, that 
God's unsatisfied justice was once the great bar betwixt him and 
man. Man can have no access to God but by Christ : Christ, 
brings us to God by no other way but the way of satisfaction by 
his blood : " He hath suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that. 
" he might bring us to God." Better ten thousand worlds 
should perish for ever, than that God should lose the honour of his 
justice. This great obex, or bar to our enjoyment of God, is ef- 
fectually removed by the death of Christ, whereby God's justice 
is not only fully satisfied, but highly honoured and glorified, Rom. 
iii. 24. And so the way by which we are brought to God is again 
opened (to the wonder and joy of all believers) by the blood and 
sufferings of Christ. 

Fifthly, and lastly, It shews us the peculiar happiness and privi- 
lege of believers above all people in the world : these only are they 
which shall be brought to God by Jesus Christ in a reconciled state : 
others, indeed, shall be brought to God as a Judge, to be con- 
demned by him : believers only are brought to God in the Media- 
tor's hand, as a reconciled Father, to be made blessed for ever in 
the enjoyment of him : every believer is brought singly to God at 
his death, Luke xvi. 22. And all believers shall be jointly and 
solemnly presented to God in the great day, Col. i. 22. Jude, ver. 
24. They shall be all presented faultless before the presence of his 
glory with exceeding joy. Now the privilege of believers in that 
day will lie in divers things. 

First, That they shall be all brought to God together. This 
will be the general assembly mentioned, Heb. xii. 22. There shall 
be a collection of all believers, in all ages of the world, into one 
blessed assembly ; they shall come from the east, and zvest, and 
north, and south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God, Luke 
xiii. 29. O what a glorious train will be seen following the Re- 
deemer in that day ! 

Secondly, As all the saints shall be collected into one body ; so 
they shall be all brought or presented unto God, faultless and with- 
out blemish, Jude, ver. 24. " A glorious church, without spot or 
" wrinkle, or any such thing," Eph. v. 27. For this is the general 
assembly of the spirits of just men that are made perfect, Heb. xii. 
23. All sin was perfectly separated from them when death had se- 
parated their souls and bodies. 

Thirdly, In this lies the privilege of believers, that as they shall 
be all brought together, and that in a state of absolute purity, and 
perfection, so they shall be all brought to God : they shall see his 
face, in the vision whereof is " fulness of joy, and at whose right- 

S4 



282 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XIX. 

" liand are pleasures for evermore,'" Psal. xvi. 11. The objective 
blessedness of the saints consisteth in their fruition of God, Psal. 
Ixxil 25. To see God in his word and works, is the happiness of 
the saints on earth ; but to see him face to face, will be the fulness 
of their blessedness in heaven, 1 John iii. 2. This is that intuitive, 
transforming, and sanctifying vision, of which the scriptures fre- 
quently speaks, Psal. xvii. 15. 1 Cor. xv. 28. Rev. vii. 17. 

Fourthly , To be brought unto God, must needs imply a state of 
perfect joy and highest delight. So speaks the apostle, Jude 14. 
Christ shall present, or bring them to God with exceeding joy. 
And more fully the joy of this day is expressed, Psal. xlv. 15. 
" With joy and rejoicing shall they be brought ; they shall enter 
" into the king's palace." It will be a day of universal joy, when 
all the saints are brought home to God in a perfected state. For, 

1. God the Father will rejoice when Christ brings home that pre- 
cious number of his elect, whom he redeemed by his blood : he 
rejoiceth in them now, though imperfect, and under many distaste- 
ful corruptions and weaknesses, Zeph. iii. 17. How much more 
will he rejoice in them when Christ presents them without spot or 
wrinkle to him, Eph. v. 27. 

2. Jesus Christ will exceedingly rejoice ; it will be the day of 
the gladness and satisfaction of his heart ; for now, and not till now, 
he receives his mystical fulness, Col. i. 24. beholds all the blessed 
issues of his death, which cannot but give him unspeakable con- 
tentment, Isa. liii. 11. " He shall see of the travail of his soul, and 
* shall be satisfied." 

3. The day in which believers are brought home to God, will 
be a day of unspeakable joy to the Holy Spirit of God himself. 
For unto this all his sanctifying designs in this world had respect : 
to this day he sealed them : towards this day he stirred up desires, 
and groanings in their hearts that cannot be uttered, Eph. iv. 30. 
Rom. viii. 26. Thus the great and blessed persons, Father, Son, 
and Spirit, will rejoice in the bringing home of the elect to God. 
For as it is the greatest joy to a man to see the designs which his 
heart hath been long projecting, and intently set upon, by an or- 
derly conduct, at last brought to the happy issue he first aimed at ; 
much more will it be so here ; the counsel and hand of each person 
being deeply concerned in this blessed design. 

4. The angels of God will rejoice at the bringing home of belie- 
vers to him : the spirits of just men made perfect, will be united in 
one general assembly, with an innumerable company of angels, Heb. 
ii. 22. Great is the affection and love of angels to redeemed ones ; 
they greatly rejoiced at the incarnation of Christ for them, Luke 
ii. 13. They greatly delighted to pry into the mystery of their 
redemption, 1 Pet. i. 12. They were marvellously delighted at 



SERM. XIX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 283 

their conversion, which was the day of their espousals to Christ, 
Luke xv. 10. They have been tender and careful over them, 
and very serviceable to them in this world, Heb. i. 14. and there- 
fore cannot but rejoice exceedingly, to see them all brought home 
in safety to their father's house. 

5. To conclude, Christ's bringing home all believers unto God, 
will be matter of unspeakable joy to themselves ; for, whatever 
knowledge and acquaintance they had with God here, whatever 
sights of faith they had of heaven and the glory to come in this 
world, yet the sight of God and Christ the Redeemer will be an 
unspeakable surprise to them in that day. This will be the day 
of relieving all their wants, the day of satisfaction to all their de- 
sires ; for now they are come where they would be, arrived at the 
very desires of their souls. 

Secondly, In the last place, let it be considered, what influence 
the death of Christ hath upon this design, and you shall find it 
much every way. In two things especially, the death of Christ 
hath a blessed casualty and influence in this matter, viz. 

1. It effectually removes all obstacles to it. 

2. It purchase th (as a price) their title to it. 

First, The death of Christ removes all obstacles out of the way 
of this mercy : such were the bars hindering our access to God as 
nothing but the death of Christ could remove, and thereby open 
a way for believers to come to God. The guilt of sin barred us 
from his gracious presence, Rom. i. 2, 3. Hos. xiv. 2. The filth 
of sin excluded us from God, Hab. i. 23. Heb. xii. 14. The en- 
mity of our nature perfectly stopped up our way to God, Col. i. 
21. Rom. viii. 7. by reason hereof fallen man hath no desire to 
come unto God, Job xxi. 14. The justice of God, like a flaming 
sword, turning every way, kept all men from access to God. And 
Lastly, Satan, that malicious and armed adversary, lay as a lion in 
the way to God, 2 Pet. v. 8. O, with what strong bars were the 
gates of heaven shut against our souls ! The way of God was 
chained up with such difficulties, as none but Christ was able to 
remove ; and he by death hath effectually removed them all : The 
way is now open, even the new and the living way, consecrated for 
us by his blood. The death of Christ effectually removes the guilt of 
sin, 1 Pet. ii. 24. washes off the filth of sm, 1 John v. 6. takes away 
the enmity of nature, Col. i. 20, 21. satisfies all the demands of 
justice, Rom. iii. 25, 26. hath broken all the power of Satan, Col. 
ii. 15. Heb. ii. 14. and consequently the way to God is effectually 
and fully opened to believers by the blood of Jesus, Heb. x. 20. 

Secondly, The blood of Christ purchased for believers their light 
and title to this privilege, Gal. iv. 4, 5. " But when the fulness of 
" time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, 



284 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM\ XIX. 

" made under the law ; to redeem them that were under the law, 
" that we might receive the adoption of sons," i. e. both the re- 
lation and inheritance of sons. There was value and worth enough 
in the precious blood of Christ, not only to pay all our debts to 
justice, but over and above the payment of our debts, to purchase 
for us this invaluable privilege. We must put this unspeakable 
mercy of being brought to God, as my text puts it, upon the ac- 
count, and to the score of the death of Christ : no believer had 
ever tasted the sweetness of such a mercy, if Christ had not tasted 
the bitterness of death for him. The use of all you will have in 
the following deductions of truth. 

Deduction 1. Great is the preciousness and worth of 'souls ', that the 
life of Christ should be given to redeem and recover them to God. As 
God laid out his thoughts and counsel from eternity, upon them, 
to project the way and method of their salvation, so the Lord 
Jesus, in pursuance of that blessed design, came from the bosom of 
the Father, and spilt his invaluable blood to bring them to God. 
Nowise man expends vast sums to bring home trifling commodities: 
how cheap soever our souls are in our estimation, it is evident by 
this they are of precious esteem in the eyes of Christ. 

Deduct 2. Redeemed souls must expect no rest or satisfaction on, 
this side heaven, and the full enjoyment of God. The life of a be- 
liever in this world, is a life of motion and expectation : they are now 
coming to God, 1 Pet. ii. 4. God, you see, is the centre and rest 
of their souls, Heb. iv. 9. As the rivers cannot rest till they pour 
themselves into the bosom of the sea, so neither can renewed souls 
find rest till they come into the bosom of God *. There are four 
things which do and will break the rest, and disturb the souls of 
believers in this world ; afflictions, temptations, corruptions, and 
absence from God. If the three former causes of disquietness were 
totally removed, so that a believer were placed in such a condition 
upon earth, where no affliction could disturb him, no temptation 
trouble him, no corruption defile or grieve him, yet his very ab- 
sence from God must still keep him restless and unsatisfied, 2 Cor. 
v. 6. " Whilst we are at home in the bod}', we are absent from 
" the Lord." 

Deduct. 3. What sweet and pleasant thoughts should cdl believers 
liave of death ! When they die, and never till they die, shall they 
be fully brought home to God. Death to the saints, is the door 
by which they enter into the enjoyment of God : the dying Chris- 
tian is almost at home, yet a few pangs and agonies more, and 
then he is come to God, in whose presence is the fulness of joy. 

* Thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are unsatisfied till they rest in thee. 
Aug. Confes.lib. 1. c. 1. 



SERM. XIX. THE METHOD OE GRACE. 285 

" I devsire (saith Paul) to depart, and to be with Christ, which is 
" far better," Phil. i. 23. It should not affright us to be brought 
to death, the king of terrors, so long as it is the office of death to 
brino- us to God. That dreaming opinion of the soul sleeping 
after de«th, is as ungrounded, as it is uncomfortable : the same day 
we loose from this shore, we shall be landed upon the blessed 
shore, where we shall see and enjoy God for ever. O, if the friends 
of dead believers did but understand where, and with whom their 
souls are, whilst they are mourning over their Ixxlies, certainly a 
few believing thoughts of this would quickly dry up their tears, 
and fill the house of mourning with voices of praise and thanks- 
giving ! 

Deduct. 4. How conifortahle and sweet sloould the converses and 
communication of Christians be one with another, in this world I 
Christ is bringing them all to God through this vale of tears : they 
are now in the way to him ; all bound for heaven ; going home to 
God, their everlasting rest in glory : every day, every hour, every 
duty brings them nearer and nearer to their journey's end, Rom. xiii. 
11. " Now (saith the apostle) is our salvation nearer than when 
" we believed.' 1 O, what manner of heavenly communications 
and ravishing discourses should believers have with each other as 
they walk by the way ! O, what pleasant and delightful converse 
should they have with one another about the place and state 
whither Christ is bringing them, and where they shall shortly be ! 
What ravishing, transporting, transforming visions they shall have 
that day they are brought home to God ! How surprizingly glori- 
ous to them the sight of Jesus Christ will be, who died for them 
to bring them unto God ! how should such discourses as these, 
shorten and sweeten their passage through this Avorld, strengthen 
and encourage the dejected and feeble-minded, and exceedingly 
honour and adorn their profession ? Thus lived the believers of 
old, Heb. xi. 9, 10. " By faith he sojourned in the land of pro- 
" mise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac 
" and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise ; for he 
" looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and 
" maker is God." But, alas ! most Christians are either so entangled 
in the cares and troubles, or so ensnared by the delights and plea- 
sures which almost continually divert and take up their thoughts 
by the way, that there is but little room for any discourses of Christ 
and heaven, among many of them : but certainly this would be as 
much your interest as your duty. When the apostle had enter- 
tained the Thessalonians with a lovely discourse of their meeting 
the Lord in the air, and being ever with the Lord, lie charges it 
upon them as their great duty, to comfort one another with these 
words, 1 Thes. iv. IT, 18. 



286 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XIX, 

Deduct. 5. How unreasonable are the dejections of believers upon 
the account qf those troubles which theymeet with in this world I It 
is true, afflictions of all kinds do attend believers in their way to 
God ; through many tribulations we must enter into that kingdom. 
But what then? must we despond and droop under them as other 
men ? Surely no ; If afflictions be the way through which you must 
come to God, then never be discouraged at affliction ; troubles and 
afflictions are of excellent use, under the blessings of the Spirit, to 
further Christ's great design in bringing you to God. How often 
would you turn out of that way which leads to God, if he did not 
hedge up your way with thorns, Hos. ii. 6. Doubtless when you 
come home to God, you shall find you have been much beholden 
(it may be a great deal more) to your troubles than to your com- 
forts, for bringing you thither : however, the sweetness of the end 
will infinitely more than recompense the sorrows and troubles of 
the way : nor are they worthy to be compared with the glory that 
shall be revealed in you, Rom. viii. 18. 

Deduct. 6. How much are all believers obliged, in point of interest, 
to follow Jesus Christ whithersoever he goes ! Thus are the saints 
described, Rev. xiv. 4. " These are they which follow the Lamb 
" whithersoever he goeth : these were redeemed from among 
" men, being the first-fruits unto God, and to the Lamb." If it 
be the design of Christ to bring us to God, then certainly it is our 
duty to follow Christ in all the paths of active and passive obe- 
dience through which he now leads us, as ever we expect to be 
brought home to God at last : " We are made partakers of Christ, 
u if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the 
ii end," Heb. iii. 14. If we have followed him through many 
sufferings and troubles, and shall turn away from him at last, we 
lose all that we have wrought and suffered in religion, and shall 
never reach home to God at last. The crown of life belongs only 
to them who are faithful to the death. 

Deduct. 7. Let all that desire, or expect to come to God hereafter y 
come to Christ by faith now. There is no other way to the Father, 
but by Christ ; no other way to Christ but faith. How vain there- 
fore are the hopes and expectations of all unbelievers ? Be assured 
of this great truth, Death shall bring you to God as an avenging 
Judge, if Christ do not bring you now to God as a reconciled 
Father : without holiness no man shall see God : the door of hope 
is shut against all christless persons, John xiv. 6. " No man cometh 
" unto the Father but by me." O what a sweet voice cometh 
clown from heaven to your souls this day, saying, As ever you ex- 
pect or hope to come to God, and enjoy the blessing that is here, 
come unto Christ, obey his calls, give up yourselves to his conduct 
and government, and you shall certainly be brought to God ! As 



£ERM. XX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 287 

sure as you shall now be brought to Jesus Christ by spiritual union, 
so sure shall you be brought to God in full fruition. 

Blessed be God for Jesus Christ, the new and living way to the 
Father. 

And thus I have finished the motives drawn from the titles and 
benefits of Christ, serving to enforce and quicken the great gospel- 
exhortation of coming to, and effectually applying the Lord Jesus 
Christ in the way of faith. O that the blessings of the Spirit might 
follow these calls, and fix these considerations as nails in sure 
places ! But seeing the great hindrance and obstruction to faith is 
the false opinion and persuasion of most unregenerate men, that 
they are already in Christ ; my next work therefore shall be, in a 
second use of conviction, to undeceive men in that matter ; and 
that, by shewing them the undoubted certainty of these two 
things : 

First, That there is no coming ordinarily to Christ without the 
application of the law to our consciences, in a way of effectual con- 
viction. 

Secondly, Nor by that neither, without the teachings of God, in 
the way of spiritual illumination. The first of these will be fully 
confirmed and opened in the following sermon. 



SERMON XX. 

The great usefulness of the Law or Word of God, in order 
to the Application of Christ. 

Rom. vii. 9. 

For I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment 
came, sin revived, and I died. 

A HE scope of the apostle in this epistle, and more particularly 
in this chapter, is to state the due use and excellency of the law, 
which he doth accordingly. 

Fira&i By denying to it a power to justify us, which is the pecu- 
liar honour of Christ. 

Secondly, By ascribing to it a power to convince us, and so pre- 
pare us for Christ *. 

Neither attributing to it more honour than belongeth to it, nor 
yet detracting from it that honour and usefulness which God hath 
given it. It cannot make us righteous, but it can convince us that 

* The author means that it shews us our need of Christ. Editor. 



288 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XX. 

we are unrighteous ; it cannot heal, but it can open and discover 
the wounds that sin hath given us ; which lie proves in this place 
by an argument drawn from his own experience, confirmed also 
by the general experience of believers, in whose persons and names 
we must here understand him to speak ; " For I was alive without 
" the law once ; but when the commandment came, sin revived, 
" and I died." Wherein three particulars are very observable. 

First, The opinion Paul had, and all unregenerate men have of 
themselves before conversion : / was alive once. By life, under- 
stand here liveliness, cheerfulness, and confidence of his good 
estate and condition : he was full of vain hope, false joy, and pre- 
sumptuous confidence ; a very brisk and jovial man. 

Secondly, The sense and opinion he had, and all others will have 
of themselves, if ever they come under the regenerating work of the 
Spirit in his ordinary method of working : I died. The death he 
here speaks of, stands opposed to that life before mentioned ; and 
signifies the sorrows, fears, and tremblings that seized upon his 
soul, when his state and temper were upon the change : the ap- 
prehensions he then had of his condition struck him home to the 
heart, and damped all his carnal mirth : / died. 

Thirdly, The ground and reason of this wonderful alteration and 
change of his judgment, and apprehension of his own condition; 
the commandment came, and sin revived: The commandment came, 
i. e. it came home to my conscience, it was fixed with a divine and 
mighty efficacy upon my heart : the commandment was come be- 
fore by way of promulgation, and the literal knowledge of it ; but 
it never came till now in its spiritual sense and convincing power 
to his soul ; though he had often read, and heard the law before, 
yet he never clearly understood the meaning and extent, he never 
felt the mighty efficacy thereof upon his heart before ; it so came 
at this time, as it never came before. From hence the observa- 
tions are, 

Doct. 1. That unregenerate persons are generally full of ground- 
less confidence and cheerfulness, though their condition be sad 
and miserable. 

Doct. 2. That there is a mighty efficacy in the word or law of 
God, to kill vain confidence, and quench carnal mirth in the 
hearts of men, when God sets it home upon their consciences. 

We shall take both these points under consideration, and improve 
them to the design in hand. 

Doct. 1. That unregene? ate persons are generally full of ground- 



SERM. XX. THE METHOD OF GGACE. 289 

less confidence and cheerfulness, though their condition be sad 
and miserable ; Rev. iii. 17. Because thou sayest I am rich, 
and increased with goods, and have need of nothing ; and 
knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, 
and blind, and naked ; 'Fills is the very life that unregt- 
nerate men do live. 

In opening whereof, I shall shew you, 

1. What is the life of the unregeneratc. 

2. What maintains that life. 

3. How it appears that this is the life the generality of the world 
do live. 

4. The danger of living such a life as this : and then apply it. 

First, What is the life of the unregenerate, and wherein it con- 
sists ? Now there being, among others, three things in which the 
life of the unregenerate doth principally consist, viz. 

Carnal security, 
Presumptuous hope, and 
False joy, 

Of these briefly in their order. 

First, There is in unregenerate men a great deal of carnal secu- 
rity ; they dread no danger ; Luke xi. 21. " When a strong man 
" armed keepeth his palace, his goods are at peace :" There is 
generally a great stillness and silence in the consciences of such men ; 
when others, in a better condition, are watching and trembling, 
they sleep securely : so they live, and so oftiraes they die, Psal. 
lxxiii. 4. " They have no bonds in their death,''' [Hebrew, on 
knots], no difficulties that puzzle them. It is true, the consciences 
«f few men are so perfectly stupified, but that some time or other 
they twang and gird them ; but it seldom works to that height, 
or continues with them so long as to give any considerable inter- 
ruption to their carnal peace and quietness. 

Secondly, The life of the unregenerate consisteth in presumptuous 
hope : this is the very foundation of their carnal security. So 
Christ tells the Jews, John viii. 54, 55. " Of whom ye say that 
" he is your God, and yet ye have not known him." The world 
is full of hope without a promise, which is but as a spider's web, 
when a stress comes to be laid upon it, John xxvii. 8. Unregene- 
rate men are said indeed to be without hope, Ephes. ii. 12. but the 
meaning is, they are without any solid, well-grounded hope ; for in 
scripture-account, vain hope is no hope, except it be a lively hope, 
1 Pet. i. 'j. A hope flowing from union with Christ, Col. i. 27. 
A hope nourished by experience, Rom. v. 4. A hope for which 
a man can give a reason, 1 Pet. iii. 15. a hope that puts men upon 
heart-purifying eudeavours, 1 John iii. 3. It is in the account 



290 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XX. 

of God a cypher, a vanity, not deserving the name of hope ; and 
yet such a groundless, dead, christless, irrational, idle hope is that 
which the unregenerate live upon. 

Thirdly, The life of the unregenerate consisteth in false joy, the 
immediate offspring of ungrounded hope, Mat. xiii. 28. The stony 
ground receive the word with joy. 

There are two sorts of joy upon which the unregenerate live, 
viz. 

1. A sensitive joy in things carnal. 

2. A delusive joy in things spiritual. 

They rejoice in corn, wine, and oil, in their estates and children, 
in the pleasant fruitions of the creature ; yea, and they rejoice also 
in Christ and the promises, in heaven and in glory : with all which 
they have just such a kind of communion as a man hath in a dream 
with a full feast and curious music ; and just so their joy will va- 
nish when they awake. Now these three, security, hope, and joy, 
make up the livelihood of the carnal world. 

Secondly, Next it concerns us to enquire what are the things that 
maintain and support this security, hope and joy in the hearts of 
unregenerate men ; and if we consider duly, we shall find that 
church-privileges, natural ignorance, false evidences of the love of 
God, slight workings of the gospel, self-love, comparing themselves 
with the more profane, and Satan's policy managing all these in 
order to their eternal ruin, are so many springs to feed and main- 
tain this life of delusion in the unregenerate. 

1. First, Church privileges lay the foundation to this strong de- 
lusion. Thus the Jews deceived themselves, saying in their hearts, 
" We have Abraham for our father," Mat. iii. 9. This propt up 
the vain hopes that Abraham's blood ran in their veins, though 
Abraham's faith and obedience never wrought in their hearts. 

2. Secondly, Natural ignorance ; this keeps all in peace : they 
that see not, fear not. There are but two ways to quiet the hearts 
of men about their spiritual and eternal concernments, viz. the way 
of assurance and faith, or the way of ignorance and self-deceit; by 
the one we are put beyond danger, by the other beyond fear, 
though the danger be greater. Satan could never quiet men, if 
he did not first blind them. 

3. Thirdly, False evidences of the love of God is another spring 
feeding this security, vain hope, and false joy in the hearts of 
men : see the power of it to hush and still the conscience, Mat. 
vii. 22. " Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we 
" not prophesied in thy name ?*" &c. The things upon which 
they built their evidence and confidence, were external things in 
religion ; yet they had a quieting power upon them, as if they had 
been the best evidences in the World. 



SEEM. XX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 291 

4. Fourthly, Slight workings of the gospel ; such are transient 
motions of the affections under the word* Ileb. vi. 8. the working 
of their desires about spiritual objects. John vi. 34. Math. xxv. 8. the 
external change and reformation of their ways, Mat. xii. 43. all 
which serve to nourish the vain hopes of the unregenerate. 

5. Fifthly, Self-love is an apparent reason and ground of secu- 
rity and false hope, Mat. vii. 3. It makes a man to overlook great 
evils in himself, whilst he is sharp-sighted to discover and censure 
lesser evils in others : self-love takes away the sight of sin, by bring- 
ing it too near the eye. 

6. Sixthly, Mens comparing themselves with those that are more 
profane and grossly wicked than themselves, serves notably to quiet 
and hush the conscience asleep; " God, I thank thee, (said the 
" Pharisee), I am not as other men, or as this publican. 7 ' O what 
a saint did he seem to himself, when he stood by those that were 
externally more wicked. 

7. Seventhly, and lastly, The policy of Satan to manage all these 
things to the blinding and ruining of the souls of men, is another 
great reason they live so securely and pleasantly as they do, in a state 
of so much danger and misery, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. " The god of this 
" world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not." 

Thirdly, You have seen what the life of the unregenerate is, 
and what maintains that life. In the next place, I shall give you 
evidence that this is the life the generality of the world do live ; a 
life of carnal security, vain hope, and false joy ; this will evidently 
appear, if we consider, 

First, The activity and liveliness of men's spirits in pursuit of 
the world. O how lively and vigorous are their hearts in the ma- 
nagement of earthly designs ! Psal. vi. 4. " Who will shew us any 
" good ?" The world eats up their hearts, time, and strength. 
Now this could never be, if their eyes were but opened to see the 
danger and misery their souls are in. How few designs for the 
world run in the thoughts of a condemned man ? O if God had 
ever made the light of conviction to shine into their consciences, 
certainly the temptations would lie the quite contrary way, even in 
too great a neglect of things of this life ! But this briskness and 
liveliness plainly shew the great security which is upon most men. 

Secondly, The marvellous quietness and stillness that is in the 
thoughts and consciences of men, about their everlasting concern- 
ments, plainly shews this to be the life of the unregenerate : How 
few scruples, doubts, or fears shall you hear from them? How 
many years may a man live in carnal families, before he shall hear 
such a question as this seriously propounded, " What shall I do to 
" be saved ?" There are no questions in their lips, because no fear 
or sense of danger in their hearts. 

Vol. II. T 



292 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XX. 

Thirdly, The general contentedness, and professed willingness of 
carnal men to die, give clear evidence that such a life of security 
and vain hope is the life they live ; " Like sheep they are laid in 
" the grave," Psal. xlix. 14. O how quiet and still are their con- 
sciences, when there are but a few breaths more between them 
and everlasting burnings ! Had God opened their eyes to appre- 
hend the consequences of death, and what follows the pale horse, 
Rev. vi. 8. it were impossible but that every unregenerate man 
should make that bed on which he dies shake and tremble under him. 
Fourthly, and lastly, The low esteem men have for Christ, and 
the total neglect of, at least the mere trifling with, those duties in 
which he is to be found, plainly discover this stupid secure life to 
be the life that the generality of the world do live ; for were men 
sensible of the disease of sin, there could be no quieting them with- 
out " Christ the physician,' 1 Phil. iii. 8. All the business they 
have to do in this world could never keep them from their knees, or 
make them strangers to their closets ; all which, and much more that 
might be said of the like nature, gives too full and clear proof of this 
sad assertion, that this is the life the ungenerate world generally lives. 
Fourthly, In the last place, I would speak a few words to disco- 
ver the danger of such a life as hath been described ; to which pur- 
pose let the following brief hints be seriously minded. 

First, By these things souls are inevitably betrayed into hell and 
eternal ruin ; this blinding is in order to damning, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 
4. " If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost ; whose 
" eyes the god of this world hath blinded. 1 ' Those that are turn- 
ed over into eternal death are thus generally hoodwinked and 
blinded in order thereunto, Isa. vi. 9. 10. " And he said go and 
" tell this people, hear ye indeed, but understand not: and see 
" ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the hearts of this people 
" fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes ; lest they 
" see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand 
<{ with their hearts, and convert, and be healed. 11 

Secondly, As damning is the event of blinding, so nothing makes 
hell a more terrible surprize to the soul than this doth : By this 
means the wrath of God is felt before its danger be apprehended ; 
a man is past all hope, before he begins to have any fear : his 
eternal ruin, like a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, 
cometh suddenly at an instant, Isa. xxx. 13. and as it damns surely 
and surprizingly, so, 

Thirdly, Nothing more aggravates a man's damnation than to 
sink suddenly into it, from amidst so many hopes, and high confi- 
dence of safety : For a man to find himself in hell, when he thought 
and concluded himself within a step of heaven, O what a hell will 
it be to such men ! The higher vain hopes lifted them up, the 



SERM. XX. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 293 

more dreadful must their fall be, Matth. vii. 22. And as it damns 
surely, surprizingly, and with highest aggravations, so, 

Fourthly, This life of security and vain hope frustrates all the 
means of recovery and salvation, in the only season wherein they 
can be useful and beneficial to us : By reason of these things the 
word hath no power to convince men's consciences, nothing can 
bring them to a sight and sense of their condition: Therefore 
Christ told the self-confident and blind Jews, Matth. xxi. 21. 
" That the publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of God be- 
" fore them :" And the reason is, because their hearts lie more 
open and fair to the strokes of conviction and compunction for sin 
than those do, who are blinded by vain hopes and confidences. 

Inference 1. Is this the life that the unregenerate world lives ? 
Then it is not to be wondered at that the preaching of the gospel 
hath so little success : " Who hath believed our report ? (saith the 
" prophet) and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?" Isa. liii. 
1. Ministers study for truths apt to awaken and convince the con- 
sciences of them that hear them, but their words return again to 
them : They turn to God, and mourn over the matter ; we have 
laboured in vain, and spent our strength for nought : And this se- 
curity is the cause of all ; vain hopes bar fast the doors of men's 
hearts against all the convictions and persuasions of the word. The 
greater cause have they to admire the grace of God, who have 
found, or shall find the convictions of the word sharper than any 
two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of the soul and 
spirit ; to whose hearts God brings home the commandment by an 
effectual application. 

Inf. 2. If this be the life of the unregenerate world, what deadly 
enemies are they that nourish and strengthen the groundless con- 
fidences and vain hopes of salvation in men ? This the scripture 
calls the healing of the hurt of souls slightly, by crying, " Peace, 
" peace, when there is no peace," Jer. vi. 14. The sewing of 
pillows uuder their arm-holes, Ezek. xiii. 18. That they may lie 
soft and easy under the ministry ; and this is the doctrine which the 
people love : but oh, what will" the end of these things be ! And 
what an account have those men to give to God for the blood of 
those souls by them betrayed to the everlasting burnings ! Such 
flattery is the greatest cruelty : Those whom you bless upon earth, 
will curse you in hell, and the day in which they trusted their souls 
to your conduct. 

Inf. 3. How great a mercy is it to be awakened out of that general 
sleep and seurity which is fallen upon the world ! You cannot esti- 
mate the value of that mercy, for it is a peculiar mercy. O that 
ever the Spirit of the Lord should touch thy soul under the ministry 
of the word, startle, and rouse thy conscience, w r hilst others are left 

T 2 



294 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XX, 

in the dead sleep of security round about thee ! When the Lord 
dealt with thy soul much after the same manner he did with Paul 
in the way to Damascus, who not only saw a light shining from 
heaven, which those that travelled with him saw as well as he, 
but heard that voice, from heaven which did the work upon his 
heart, though his companions heard it not. Besides, it is not only 
a peculiar mercy, but it is a leading, introductive mercy, to all 
other spiritual mercies that follow it to all eternity. If God had 
not done this for thee, thou hadst never been brought to faith, to 
Christ, or heaven. From this act of the Spirit all other saving 
acts take their rise ; so that you have cause for ever to admire the 
goodness of God in such a favour as this is. 

////' 4. Lastly, Hence it follows that the generality of the world 
are in the direct way to eternal ruin ; and whatever their vain con- 
fidences are, they cannot be saved. " Narrow is the way, and strait 
'* is the gate that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." 
Hear me all you that live this dangerous life of carnal security and 
vain hope, whatever your persuasions and confidences are, except 
you give them up, and get better grounds for your hope, you 
cannot be saved. For, 

First, Such hopes and confidences as yours are directly contra- 
dictory to the established order of the gospel, which requires re- 
pentance, 4-cts v. 31. faith, Acts xiii. 39. and regeneration, John 
iii. 3. in all that shall be saved. And this order shall never be 
altered for any man's sake. 

Secondly, If such as you be saved, all the threatenings in scrip- 
ture must be reversed, which lie in full opposition to your vain 
hopes, Mark xvi. 16. John iii. 16. Rom. iii. 8, 9. Either the 
truth of God, in these threatenings must fail, or your vain hopes 
must fail. 

Thirdly, If ever such as you be saved, new conditions must be 
set to all the promises ; for there is no condition of any special pro- 
mise found in any unregenerate person *. Compare your hearts 
with these scriptures, Matth. v. 3, 4, 5, 6. Psal. xxiv. 4. Psal. 
lxxxiv. 11. Gen. xvii. 1, 2. 

Fourthly, If ever such a hope as yours bring you to heaven, then 
the saving hojre of God's elect is not rightly described to us in the 
scriptures. Scripture-hope is the effect of regeneration, 1 Pet. i. 3. 
And purity of heart is the effect of that hope, 1 John iii. 3. Nay, 

Fifthly, The very nature of heaven is mistaken in scripture, if 
such as you be subjects qualified for its enjoyment : For assimila- 
tion, or the conformity of the soul to God ir\ holiness, is, in the 



* The author by condition must be understood here, as meaning evidence of interest 
in -these promises. Editor, 



SERM. xxr. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. &95 



scripture account, a principal ingredient of that blessedness : By all 
which it manifestly appears that the hopes of most men are in vain, 
and will never bring them to heaven. 



SERMON XXI. 

Rom. vii. 9- 



For I was alive without the law once : But when the commandment 
came, sin revived, and I died. 

Doct. 2. X HAT there is a mighty efficacy in the word or law 
of God, to kill vain confidence, and quench carnal mirth in the 
hearts of men, when God sets it home upon their consciences. 
" The weapons of the word are not carnal, but mighty through 
" God ; to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imagina- 
" tions, and every thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge 
" of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedi- 
" ence of Christ," 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. 
In the opening of this point I shall, 

1. Demonstrate the efficacy of the word or law of God. 

2. Shew wherein the efficacy thereof lies. 

3. From whence it hath all this mighty power and efficacy. 
First, I shall give you some demonstrations of the mighty power 

and efficacy that there are in the word or law of God ; which will 
appear with the fullest evidence, 

First, From the various subjects upon whom it works : The 
hearts and consciences of men of all orders and qualities, have 
been reached and wounded to the quick by the two-edged sword 
of God's law. Some, among the great and honourable of the earth, 
(though indeed the fewest of that rank) have been made to stoop 
and tremble under the word, Acts xxiv. 16. Mark vi. 20. 1 Sam. 
xv. 24. The wise and learned of the world have felt its power, 
and been brought over to embrace the humbling and self-denying 
ways of Christ, Acts xvii. 34. Thus Origen, Hierom, Tertullian, 
Uradwardine, and many more, came into Canaan laden with the 
Egyptian gold, as one speaks, i. e. they came into the church of 
God abundantly enriched and furnished with the learned arts and 
sciences, devoting them all to the service of Christ. Yea, and 
which is as strange, the most simple, weal:, and illiterate have been 
wonderfully changed, and wrought upon by the power of the 
word : " The testimonies of the Lord make wise the simple :" Men 



296 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEBM. XXI. 



of weak understandings, in all other matters, have been made wise 
to salvation by the power of the word, Matth. xi. 25. 1 Cor. i. 27. 
Nay the most malicious and obstinate enemies of Christ have been 
wounded and converted by the word, 1 Tim. i. 13. Acts xvi. 25. 
Those that have been under the prejudice of the worst and most 
idolatrous education, have been the subjects of its mighty power, 
Acts xix. 26. To conclude, men of the most profligate and debauched 
lives have been wonderfully changed and altered by the power of 
the word, 1 Cor. vi. 10, 11. 

Secondly, The mighty efficacy of the law of God appears in the 
manner of its operation ; it works suddenly ; strikes like a dart 
through the hearts and consciences of men, Acts ii. 37. A won- 
derful change is made in a short time : And, as it works quickly 
and suddenly, so it works irresistibly, with an uncontrouled power 
upon the spirits of men, 1 Thes. i. 5. Rom. i. 16. Let the soul 
be armed against conviction with the thickest ignorance, strongest 
prejudice, or most obstinate resolution, the word of God will 
wound the breast even of such a man, when God sends it forth in 
his authority and power. 

Thirdly, The wonderful power of the law or word of God is 
evidently seen in the strange effects which are produced by it in the 
hearts and lives of men. For, 

First, It changes and alters the frame and temper of the mind : 
It moulds a man into a quite contrary temper, Gal. i. 23. " He 
" which persecuted us in times past, now t preacheth the faith, 
" which once he destroyed :" Thus a tyger is transformed into a 
lamb, by the power of the word of God. 

Secondly, It makes the soul, upon which it works, to forego and 
quit the dearest interests it hath in this world for Jesus Christ, Phil, 
iii. 7, 8, 9. Riches, honours, self-righteousness, dearest relations, 
are denied and forsaken. Reproach, poverty, and death itself, 
are willingly embraced for Christ's sake, when once the efficacy of 
the word hath been upon the hearts of men, 1 Thes. i. 6. Those 
that were their companions in sin, are declined, renounced, and 
cast off with abhorrence, 1 Pet. iv. 3, 4. In such things as these 
the mighty power of the word discovers itself. 

Secondly, Next, let us see wherein the efficacy of the word 
upon the souls of men principally consisteth : and we find in scrip- 
ture it exerteth its power in five distinct acts upon the soul ; by all 
which it strikes at the life, and kills the very heart of vain hopes. 
For, 

First, It hath an awakening efficacy upon secure and sleepy sin- 
ners : It rouses the conscience, and brings a man to a sense and 
feeling apprehension, Eph. v. 13, 14. The first effectual touch of 
the word startles the drowsy conscience. A poor sinner lies in his 



SERM. XXI Till: METHOD OF GRACE. 297 

sins, as Peter did in his chains, fast asleep, though a warrant was 
signed for his execution the next day : but the Spirit in the word 
awakens him as the angel did Peter : And this awakening power 
of the word is in order, both of time and nature, antecedent to all 
its operations and effects. 

Secondly, The law of God hath an enlightening efficacy upon 
the minds of men : It is eye-salve to the blinded eye, Rev. iii. 18. 
A light shining in a dark place, 2 Pet. i. 19. A light shining into 
the very heart of man, 2 Cor. iv. 6. When the word comes in 
power, all things appear with another face : The sins that were hid 
from our eyes, and the danger which was concealed by the policy 
of Satan from our souls, now lie clear and open before us, Eph. 
v. 8. 

Thirdly, The word of God hath a convincing efficacy : It sets 
sin in order before the soul, Psal. 1. 21. As an army is drawn up 
in an exact order, so are the sins of nature and practice, the sins of 
youth and age, even a great and terrible army is drawn up before 
the eye of the conscience ; the convictions of the word are clear 
and full, 1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25. The very secrets of a sinner's heart 
are made manifest ; his mouth is stopped ; his pleas are silenced ; 
his conscience yields to the charge of guilt, and to the equity of 
the sentence of the law, so that the soul stands mute, and self- 
condemned at the bar of conscience : It hath got nothing to say- 
why the wrath of God should not come upon it to the uttermost, 
Rom. iii. 19. 

Fourthly, The law of God hath a soul- wounding, an heart-cut- 
ting efficacy : It pierces into the very soul and spirit of man, Acts 
ii. 37. " When they heard this, they were pricked at their hearts, 
" and said unto Peter, and to the rest of the apostles ; men and 
" brethren, what shall we do ?" A dreadful sound is in the sin- 
ner's ears ; his soul, is in deep distress ; he knows not which way 
to turn for ease ; no plaister but the blood of Christ can heal these 
wounds which the word makes : No outward trouble, affliction, 
disgrace, or loss, ever touched the quick as the word of God doth. 

Fifthly, The word hath a heart-turning, a soul converting ef- 
ficacy in it : It is a regenerating, as well as a convincing word, 1 
Pet. i. 23. 1 Thes. i. 9. The law wounds, the gospel cures ; the 
law discovers the evil that is in sin, and the misery that follows it ; 
and the Spirit of God, working in fellowship with the word, effec- 
tually turns the heart from sin. And thus we see in what glorious 
acts the efficacy of the word discovers itself upon the hearts of 
men ; and all these acts lie in order to each other : For, until the 
soul be awakened, it cannot be enlightened, Eph. v. 14. Till it 
be enlightened, it cannot be convinced, Eph. v. 13. Conviction 
being nothing else but the application of the light that shines in 

T4 



298 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXI. 

the mind to the conscience of a sinner : Till it be convinced, it can- 
not be wounded for sin, Acts ii. 37. And until it be wounded for 
sin, it will never be converted from sin, and brought effectually to 
Jesus Christ. And thus you see what the power of the word is. 

Thirdly, In the last place, it will concern us to enquire whence 
the word of God hath all this power ? And it is most certain, that 
it is not a power inherent in itself, nor derived from the instru- 
ment by which it is managed, but from the Spirit of the Lord, 
who communicates to it all that power and efficacy which it hath 
upon our souls. 

1. Its power is not in, or from itself: It works not in a, physical 
7cay, as natural agents do ; for then the effect would always follow, 
except it were miraculously hindered : But this spiritual efficacy is 
in the word, as the healing virtue was in the waters of Bethesda, 
John v. 4. " An angel went down at a certain season into the pool, 
" and troubled the water : Whosoever then first, after the troub- 
" ling of the water, stept in, was made whole of whatsoever disease 
u he had. 11 It is not a power naturally inherent in it at all times, 
but communicated to it at some special seasons. How often is the 
word preached, and no man awaked or convinced by it ! 

2. The power of the word is not communicated to it by the in- 
strument that manageth it, 1 Cor. iii. 7. "Neither is he that. 
" planteth any thing, neither he that wateredi." Ministers are 
nothing to such an effect and purpose as this is ; he doth not mean 
that they are useless and altogether unnecessary, but insufficient of 
themselves to produce such mighty effects : It works not as it is 
the word of man, 9. Thess. ii. 13. Ministers may say of the ordi- 
nary, as Peter said of the extraordinary effects of the Spirit, Acts 
iii. 12. " Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this ? or why look 
" ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness 
" we had made this man to walk ?" If the effects of the word 
were in the power, and at the command of him that preacheth it, 
then the blood of all the souls that perish under our ministry must 
lie at our door, as was formerly noted. 

3. If you say, whence then hath the word all this power ? Our 
answer is, It derives it all from the Spirit of God *, 1 Thes. ii. 13. 
" For this cause thank we God without ceasing, because when ye 
" received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it 
" not as the word of man, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, 
" which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 11 It is a suc- 
cessful instrument only when it is in the hand of the Spirit, with- 
out whose influence it never did, nor can convince, convert, or save 



* What is commanded by the word, is given by the Spirit. Aug. Ep. 157. 



SERM. XXI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 299 

any soul. Now, the Spirit of God hath a sovereignty over three 
things in order to the conversion of sinners. 

1. Over the word which works. 

2. Over the soul wrought upon. 

3. Over the time and season of working. 

First, The Spirit hath a glorious sovereignty over the word itself 
whose instrument it is to make it successful or not, as it pleaseth 
him, Isa. lv. 10, 11. " For as the rain cometh down, and the snow 
" from heaven, &c. so shall my word be that goeth out of my 
" mouth :" as the clouds, so the word is carried and directed by 
divine pleasure. It is the Lord that makes them both give down 
their blessings, or to pass away fruitless and empty : yea, it is from 
the Spirit that this part of the word works, and not another. 
Those things upon which ministers bestow greatest labour in their 
preparation, and from which accordingly they have the greatest 
expectation ; these do nothing, when, mean time, something that 
dropped occasionally from them, like a chosen shaft, strikes the 
mark and doth the work. 

Secondly, The Spirit of the Lord hath a glorious sovereignty over 
the souls wrought upon : it is his peculiar work " to take away the 
" stony heart out of our flesh, and to give us an heart of flesh, ,, 
JEzek. xxxvi. 26. We may reason, exhort, and reprove, but no- 
thing will abide till the Lord set it home. The Lord opened the 
heart of Lydia under Paul's ministry : he opens every heart that is 
effectually opened to receive Christ in the word : if the word can 
get no entrance, if your hearts remain dead under it still, we may 
say concerning such souls, as Martha did concerning her brother 
Lazarus ; " Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not 
" died. 11 So, Lord, if thou hadst been in this sermon, in this prayer, 
or in that counsel, these souls had not remained dead under them. 

Thirdly, The Spirit hath dominion over the times and seasons of 
conviction and conversion. Therefore the day in which souls are 
wrought upon is called " the day of his power, 11 Psal. ex. 3. That 
shall work at one time, which had no efficacy at all at another 
time ; because this, and not that, was the time appointed. And 
thus you see whence the word derives that mighty power it hath. 

Now this word of God, when it is set home by the Spirit, is 
mighty to convince, humble, and break the hearts of sinners, John 
xvi. 9. " The Spirit when it cometh shall convince the world of 
" sin. 11 The word signifies conviction by such clear demonstration 
as compelleth assent : it not only convinces men in general that 
they ue sinners, but it convinceth men particularly of their own 
sins, and the aggravations of them. So in the text, Sin revived, 
that is, the Lord revived his sins, the very circumstances and ag- 
gravations with which they were committed i and so it will be 



300 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXT. 

with us when the commandment comes; sins that we had for- 
gotten, committed so far back as our youth or childhood ; sins that 
lay slighted in our consciences, shall now be roused up as so many 
sleepy lions to affright and terrify us : for now the soul hears the 
voice of God in the word, as Adam heard it in the cool of the 
day and was afraid, and hides itself; but all will not do, for the 
Lord is come in the word ; sin is held up before the eyes of the 
conscience in its dreadful aggravations and fearful consequences, as 
committed against the holy law, clear light, warnings of conscience, 
manifold mercies, God's long-suffering, Christ's precious blood, 
many warnings of judgment, the wages and demerit whereof, by the 
verdict of a man's own conscience, is death, eternal death, Rom. vi. 
23. Rom. i. 32. Rom. ii. 9. Thus the commandment comes, sin 
revives, and vain hope gives up the ghost. 

Inf. 1. Is there such a mighty power in the word? then certain!?/ 
the word is of divine authority. There cannot be a more clear and 
satisfying proof that it is no human invention, than the common 
sense that all believers have of the Almighty power in which it works 
upon their hearts. So speaks the apostle, 1 Thes. ii. 13. " When 
" ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received 
" it not as the word of man, but (as it is in truth) the word of 
" God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." Can the 
power of any creature, the word of a mere man, so convince the 
conscience, so terrify the heart, so discover the very secret thoughts 
of the soul, as to put a man into such tremblings ? No, a greater 
than man must needs be here ; none but a God can so open the 
eyes of the blind, so open the graves of the dead, so quicken and 
enliven the conscience that was seared, so bind over the soul of a 
sinner to the judgment to come, so change and alter the frame and 
temper of a man's spirit, or so powerfully raise, refresh and com- 
fort a drooping dying soul ; certainly the power of God is in all 
this ; and, if there were no more, yet this alone were sufficient to 
make full proof of the divine authority of the scriptures. 

Inf. 2. Judge from hence what an invaluable mercy the preaching 
of the word is to the world: It is a blessing far above our estimation 
of it ; little do we know what a treasure God committeth to us in 
the ordinances, Acts xiii. 25. " To you is the word of this salva- 
" tion sent." It is the very power of God to salvation, Rom. i. 
16. And salvation is ordinarily denied to w r hom the preaching of 
the word is denied, Rom. x. 14. It is called the word of life, Phil. 
n. 16. and deserves to be valued by every one of us as our life. 
The eternal decree of God's election is executed by it upon our 
souls ; as many as he ordained to eternal life shall believe by the 
preaching of it. Great is the ingratitude of this generation, which 
so slights and undervalues this invaluable treasure ; which is a sad 



SERM. XXI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 301 

presage of the most terrible judgment, even in the removing our 
candlestick out of its place, except we repent. 

Inf. 3. How sore and terrible a judgment lies upon the souls of 
t/iose men to whom no word of God is made powerful enough to con- 
vince and awaken them ! Yet so stands the case with thousands, who 
constantly sit under the preaching of the word ; many arrows are 
shot at their consciences, but none goes home to the mark, all fall 
short of the end ; the commandment hath come unto them many 
thousand times, by way of promulgation and ministerial inculcation, 
but yet never came home to their souls by the Spirit's effectual ap- 
plication. O friends ! you have often heard the voice of man, but 
you never yet heard the voice of God ; your understandings have 
been instructed, but your consciences to this day were never tho- 
roughly convinced. " We have mourned unto you, but ye have not 
" lamented," Matth. xi. 17. "Who hath believed our report? 
" And unto whom is the arm of the Lord revealed F" Alas ! we 
have laboured in vain, we have spent our strength for nought ; 
our word returns unto us empty; but O what a stupendous judg- 
ment is here ! Heb. vi. 7, 8. " The earth which drinketh in the 
" rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for 
" them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God ; but 
" that which beareth thorns and briars is rejected, and is nigh 
" unto cursing, whose end is to be burned.'" What a sore judgment 
and sign of God's displeasure would you account it, if your fields 
were cursed ; if you should manure, dress, plow, and sow them, 
but never reap the fruit of your labour ; the increase being still 
blasted ? And yet this were nothing, compared with the blasting of 
the word to your souls : that which is a savour of life unto life unto 
some, becomes the savour of death unto death to others, 2 Cor. ii. 
16. The Lord affect our hearts with the terrible strokes of God 
upon the souls of men ! 

Use of Exhortation. 

I shall conclude this point with a few words of exhortation to 
three sorts of men, viz. 

1. To those that never felt the power of the word. 

2. To those that have only felt some slight and common effects 

thereof. 

3. To those unto whose very hearts the commandment is come, 

in its effectual and saving power. 
First, You that never felt any power in the word at all, I beg 
you in the name of him that made you, and by all the regard and 
value you have for those precious souls within you, that now at last 
such considerations as these may find place in your souls, and that 
you will bethink yourselves. 



302 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXI, 

Consideration 1. 
Whose word is that which cannot gain entrance into your hearts ? 
Is it not the word of God which you despise and slight ? " Thou 
" casteth my word behind thy back,"" Psal. 1. 17. O what an 
affront and provocation to God is this ! You despise not man, but 
God ; the great and terrible God, in whose hand your breath and 
soul are : This contempt runs higher than you imagine. 

Consideration 2. 

Consider, that however the word hath no power upon you, the 
commandment cannot come home to your hearts ; yet it doth work, 
and comes home with power to the hearts of others : Whilst you 
are hardened, others are melted under it ; whilst you sleep, others 
tremble ; whilst your hearts are fast locked up, others are opened. 
How can you choose but reflect with fear and trembling upon these 
contrary effects of the word ; especially when you consider that the 
eternal decrees, both of election and reprobation, are now executed 
upon the souls of men, by the preaching of the word ; some believe, 
and others are hardened. 

Consideration 3. 

That no judgment of God, on this side hell, is greater than a 
hard heart and stupid conscience under the word ; it were much 
better that the providence of God should blast thy estate, take 
away thy children, or destroy thy health, than harden thy heart, 
and sear thy conscience under the word : So much as thy soul is 
better than thy body, so much as eternity is more valuable than 
time, so much is this spiritual judgment more dreadful than all 
temporal ones. God doth not inflict a more terrible stroke than 
this upon any man in this world. 

O therefore, as you love your own souls, and are loth to ruin 
them to all eternity, attend upon every opportunity that God af- 
fords you ; for you know not in which of them the Lord may work 
upon your hearts. Lay aside your prejudices against the word or 
the weaknesses and infirmities of them that preach it ; for the word 
works not as it is the word of man, as it is thus neat and elegant, 
but as it is the word of God. Pray for the blessing of God upon 
the word ; for except his word of blessing go forth with it, it can 
never come home to thy soul. Meditate upon what you hear ; for, 
without meditation, it is not like to have any effectual operation 
upon you. Search your souls by it, and consider whether that 
be not your very case and state which it describes ; your very 
danger whereof it gives warning. Take heed, lest after you have 
heard it, the cares of the world choke what you have heard, and 
cause those budding convictions which begin to put forth, to blast 



»ERM. XXI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 308 

and wither. Carefully attend to all those items and memorandums 
your consciences give you under the word, and conclude that the 
Lord is then come nigh unto you. 

Secondly, Let this be matter of serious consideration and caution 
to all such as have only felt some slight, transient, and ineffectual 
operations of the gospel upon their souls : The Lord hath come 
nigh to some of our souls ; we have felt a strange power in the 
ordinances, sometimes terrifying, and sometimes transporting our 
hearts ; but, alas ! it proves but a morning-dew, or an early cloud, 
ITos. vi. 4. We rejoice in the word, but it is but for a season, 
John iii. 25. Gal. iv. 14, 15. They are vanishing motions, and 
come to nothing. Look, as in nature there are many abortives, as 
well as perfect children, so it is in religion ; yea, where the new 
creature is perfectly formed in one soul, there be many abortives 
and miscarriages in others ; and there may be three reasons assigned 
for it, viz. 

First, The subtilty and deep policy of Satan, who never more 
effectually deceives and destroys the souls of men, than in such a 
method, and by such an artifice as this ; for when men have once 
felt their consciences terrified under the word, and their hearts at 
other times ravished with the joys and comforts of it, they now 
seem to have attained all that is necessary to conversion, and con- 
stitutive of the new creature ; these things look so well like the 
regenerating effects of the Spirit, that many are easily deceived by 
them. The devil beguiles the hearts of the unwary by such false 
appearances : for it is not every man that can distinguish betwixt 
the natural and spiritual motions of the affections under the word : 
It is very frequently seen that even carnal and unrenewed hearts 
have their meltings and transports, as well as spiritual hearts. The 
subject-matter upon which the word treats, are the weighty things 
of the world to come ; heaven and hell are very awful and affecting 
things, and an unrenewed heart is apt to thaw and melt at them : 
Now here is the cheat of Satan, to persuade a man that these must 
needs be spiritual affections, because the objects about which they 
are conversant are spiritual ; whereas it is certain the objects of the 
affections may be very spiritual and heavenly, and yet the workings 
of man's affections about them may be in a mere natural way. 

Secondly, The dampening efficacy of the world is a true and pro- 
per cause of these abortions and miscarriages under the word, Luke 
viii. 12, 13, 14. There are hopeful and promising beginnings and 
buddings of affections in some persons, especially in their youth ; 
but when once they come to be engaged in the world, how soon 
are they damped and quenched ! As the cares of a family grow on, 
so does the care of salvation wear off. It is not as it was wont to 
be, What shall I do to be saved ? How shall I get interest in Christ? 



304 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXL 

But what shall I eat, and drink, and wherewith shall I, and mine, 
be maintained ? Thus earth justles out heaven, and the present 
world drowns all thoughts of that to come. Good had it been for 
many men, they had never been engaged so deep in the world as 
they are ; their life is but a constant hurry of business, and a per- 
petual diversion from Christ, and things that are eternal. 

Thirdly, and lastly. The deceitfulness and treachery of the heart, 
which too easily gives way to the designs of Satan, suffers itself to 
be imposed upon by him, is not the least cause why so many hope- 
ful beginnings come to nothing, and the effects of the word vanish. 
Pride and self-love are very apt to over-rule every little good, and 
slight or undervalue every ill that is in us ; and so quickly choke 
those convictions that begin to work in our souls. 

But oh ! that such men would consider, that the dying away of 
their convictions is that which threatens the life of their souls for 
ever ; now is the bud withered, the blossom blasted : and what ex- 
pectation is there of fruit after this, except the Lord revive them 
again ? The Lord open men's eyes to discern the danger of such 
things as these are ! Jude 12. Heb. x. 58. Yet I deny not but 
there are many stands and pauses in the work of conversion ; it 
seems to die away, and then revives again ; and revive it must, or 
we are lost. But how many are there who never recover it more ! 
This is a sore judgment of a most terrible consequence to the souls 
of men ! 

Thirdly, In the last place, let it be a word of counsel and advice 
to them, upon whom the word works effectually and powerfully ; 
to whose hearts the commandment is come home to revive sin, and 
kill their vain hopes ; and these are of two sorts. 

1. Embryos under the first workings of the Spirit. 

2. Complete births of the Spirit, regenerated souls. 

Fii'st, Embryos that are under the first workings of the Spirit in 
the word. O let it not seem a misery, or unhappiness to you, that 
the commandment is come, and sin revived, and your former 
hopes overthrown. It must be thus, if ever God intend mercy 
for you. Had you gone on in that dangerous security you were in 
before, you had certainly been lost for ever : God hath stopt you 
in that path that leads down to hell, and none that go in there do 
ever return again, or take hold of the paths of life. O ! it is better 
to weep, tremble, and be distressed now, than to mourn without 
hope for ever. Let it not trouble you that sin hath found you out ; 
you could never have found out the remedy in Christ, if you had 
not found out the disease and danger, by the coming of the com- 
mandment. And I beseech you carefully to observe, whether the 
effects and operations of the word upon your hearts be deeper and 
more powerful than they are found to be in such souls as miscarry 



SERM. XXI. THE METHOD GF GRACE. 305 

under it : the commandment comes to them, and shews them this 
or that more gross and startling sin. Doth it come to you, and 
shew you not only this or that particular sin, but all the evils of 
vour heart and life ; the corruption of your natures, as well as the 
transgressions of your lives ? If so, it promises well, and looks 
hopefully and comfortably to you. The commandment comes to 
others, and startles them with the fears of damnation for their 
sin : it puts them into a grievous fright at hell, and the everlasting 
burnings : but doth it come to thee and discover the infinite evil 
that is in thy sin, as it is committed against the great, holy, righte- 
ous, and good God, and so melts thy heart into tears for the wrong- 
that thou hast done him, as well as the danger into which thou hast 
brought thyself? This is a hopeful work, and may encourage thee. 
It comes to others, and greatly shakes, but never destroys and 
razes the foundation of their vain hopes : if it so revive sin as to 
kill all vain hopes in thee, and send thee to Christ alone, as thy 
only door of hope, fear not ; these troubles will prove the greatest 
mercies that ever befel thee in this world, if thus they work, and 
continue to work upon thy soul. 

Secondly, Others there are upon whom the word hath had its 
full effect as to conversion. O bless God for ever for this mercy ; 
you cannot sufficiently value it ! God hath not only made it a 
convincing and wounding, but a converting and healing word to 
your souls ; he hath not only revived your sins, and killed your 
vain hopes, but begotten you again to a lively hope ; see that you 
be thankful for this mercy. How many have sate under the same 
word, but never felt such effects of it ? As Christ said in another 
case, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, but 
unto none of them was the prophet sent, save unto Sarepta, a city 
of Sidon, to a certain widow there, Luke iv. 46. So I may say, 
in this case, there were many souls in the same congregation, at the 
same time, but unto none of them was the word sent with a com- 
mission to convince and save, but such a one as thyself; one as im- 
probable to be wrought upon as any soul there. O let this beget 
thankfulness in your souls ; and let it make you love the word as 
long as you live : " I will never forget thy precepts, for by them 
" thou hast quickened me," Psal. cxix. 93. 

But above all, I beseech you make it appear that the command- 
ment hath come home to your hearts, with power to convince you 
of the evil of sin, by your tenderness and care to shun it as long as 
you live. If ever you have seen the face of sin, in the glass of the 
jaw of God ; if your hearts have been humbled and broken for it 
in the days of your trouble and distress, certainly you will choose 
the worst affliction rather than sin : It would be the greatest folly 
in the world to return again to iniquity, Psal. Lxxxv. 8. You that 



306 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEAM. XXII. 

have seen so much of the evil that is in it, and the danger that fol- 
lows it ; you that have had such inward terrors and fears of spirit 
about it, when that terrible representation was made you, will be 
loth to feel those gripes and distresses of conscience again, for the 
best enjoyment in this world. 

Blessed be God if any word has been brought home to our hearts, 
which hath been instrumental to bring us to Christ ! 

SERMON XXII. 

The Teachings of God opened, in their Nature and Necessity. 

John vi. 45. 

It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God- 
Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the 
Father, cometh unto me. 

XAOW necessary to our union with Jesus Christ, the application 
of the law, or coming home of the commandment to the heart of a 
sinner is, we have heard in the last discourse ; and how impossible 
it is, either for the commandment to come to us, or for us to come 
to Christ without illumination and instruction from above, you shall 
hear in this. 

This scripture hath much of the mind of God in it ; and he 
that is to open it, had need himself to be taught of God. In the 
foregoing verses, Christ offers himself as the bread of life unto the 
souls of men : against this doctrine they oppose their carnal reason, 
ver. 41, 42. Christ strikes at the root of all their cavils and ob- 
jections in his reply, ver. 43, 44. "Murmur not among yourselves : 
" no man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me 
" draw him ;" q. d. you slight me because you do not know me ; 
you do not know me because you are not taught of God ; of these 
divine teachings, the prophets of old have spoken, and what they 
foretold is at this day fulfilled in our sight ; so many as are taught 
of God, and no more, come unto me in the way of faith : it is 
impossible to come without the teachings of God, ver. 44. It is as 
impossible not to come, or to miscarry in their coming unto me, 
under the influence of these divine teachings, ver. 45. 

The words read, consist of two parts, viz. 

1. An allegation out of the prophets. 

2. The application thereof made by Christ. 

First, An allegation out of the prophets : " It is written in the 
£ prophets, And they shall be all taught of God." The places in 



SERM. XXII. TIIE METHOD OF GRACE. 307 

the prophets to which Christ seems here to refer, are, Isa. liv. 13. 
" And all thy children shall he taught of the Lord ;" and, Jer. 
xxxi, 34 u And they shall teach no more every man his neigh- 
" hour, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord ; for 
" they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest 
" of them, saith the Lord. 11 These promises contain the great 
blessings of the new covenant, viz. Divine instruction and heavenly 
illumination, without which no man can obtain an interest in the 
new covenant. 

Secondly, We have here the application of these testimonies out 
of the prophets, made by Christ himself; " Every man therefore 
" that hath heard, and learned of the Father, come unto me. 11 

In which words we have both the necessity and the efficacy of 
these divine teachings ; without them no man can come, and under 
them no man can miscarry. The words being fitly rendered, and 
the sense obvious, 

The notes are, 

Doct. 1. That the teachings of God arc absolutely necessary to 
every man that cometh unto Christ, in the way of faith. 

Doct. 2. No man can miss of Christ, or miscarry in the way of 
faith, that is under the special instructions and teachings of the 
Father. 

Doct. 1. That the teachings of God are absolutely necessary to 
every man that cometh unto Christ, in the way of faith. 

Of the necessity of divine teaching, in order to believing, the apos- 
tle speaks, in Eph. iv. 20, 21. " But ye have not so learned Christ; 
" if so be that you have heard him, and been taught by him, as 
" the truth is in Jesus ;" i. e. Your faith must needs be effectual, 
both to the reformation of your lives, and your perseverance in 
the ways of holiness, if it be such a faith as is begotten and intro- 
duced into your hearts by divine teachings *. Now, in the explica- 
tion of this point, I shall speak distinctly to the following enqui- 
ries. 

1. Plow doth God teach men, or what is imported in our being 
taught of God ? 

2. What those special lessons are, which all believers do hear, 
and are taught of God ? 



* They who believe, by means of the preacher speaking to them outwardly, 
hear and learn inwardly of the Father ; they who believe not, hear outwardly, but 
not inwardly. Aug. on Predest. chap. 8. 

Vol. II. U 



308 . THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SERM. XXII. 



3. In what manner doth God teach these things to men in the 
day of their conversion to Christ ? 

4. What influence God's teaching hath upon our believing ? 

5. Why it is impossible for any man to believe, or come to 
Christ v, ithout the Father's teachings. 

First, How doth God teach men, or what is imported in our 
being taught of God ? To this I will speak both negatively and 
positively, for your clearer apprehension of the sense and meaning 
of the Spirit of God in this phrase. 

First, The teaching of God, and our hearing and learning of 
him, is not to be understood of any extraordinary visional appear- 
ances, or oraculous and immediate voice of God to men : God in- 
deed hath so appeared unto some, Numb. xii. 8. Such voices 
have been heard from heaven, but now these extraordinary ways 
are ceased, Heb. i. 1, 2. and we are no more to expect them ; we 
may sooner meet with satanical delusions than divine illuminations 
in this way. I remember, the learned Gerson tells us that the de- 
vil once appeared to an holy man in prayer, personating Christ, 
and saying, I am come in person to visit thee, for thou art worthy. 
But he with both hands shut his eyes, saying, Nolo hie Christum vi- 
dere, satis est ipsum in gloria videre ; i. e. I will not see Christ 
here ; it is enough for me to see him in glory. We are now to at- 
tend only to the voice of the Spirit in the scriptures : this is a more 
sure word than any voice from heaven, 2 Pet. i. 19. 

Secondly, The teachings of God are not to be understood as op- 
posite unto, or exclusive of the teachings of men. Divine teachings 
do not render ministerial teachings in vain or useless. Paul was 
taught of God, Gal. i. 12. and his conversion had something 
extraordinary in it, yet the ministry of Ananias was used and ho- 
noured in that work, Acts ix. 4, 17. compared. Divine teachings 
do indeed excel, but not exclude human teachings. I know that 
scripture, Jer. xxxi. 24. to which Christ here refers, is objected 
against the necessity of a standing ministry in the church, " They 
" shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man 
" his brother," &c. But if those words should be understood ab- 
solutely, they would not only overthrow all public ordinances of 
God's own institution, 1 Cor. xii. 28. and deprive us of a princi- 
pal fruit of Christ's ascension, Eph. iv. 11. 12. but, for the same 
reason, would destroy all private instructions and fraternal admoni- 
tions also. Such a sense would make the prophet to contradict the 
apostle, and spoil the consent and harmony of the scriptures : the 
sense thereof cannot be negative, but comparative ; it shews the 
excellency of divine, but doth not destroy the usefulness of human 
teachings; Subordinate non pugnant. The teachings of men are 



SERAI. XXII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 309 

made effectual by the teachings of the Spirit ; and the Spirit in 
his teachings Avill use and honour the ministry of man. 

Thirdly, But to speak positively, the teachings of God are no- 
thing else but that spiritual and heavenly light, by which the Spi- 
rit of God sbineth into the hearts of men, to give them " the light 
" of the knowledge of the glory of Go.d in the face of Jesus 
" Christ,- 1 as the apostle speaks, 2 Cor. iv. 6. And though this 
be the proper work of the Spirit, yet it is called the teachings of 
the Father, because the Spirit who enlightens us is commissioned 
and sent by the Father so to do, John xiv. 26. Now these teach- 
ings of the Spirit of God, consist in two things, viz. in his, 

1. Sanctifying impressions. 

2. Gracious assistances. 

First, In his sanctifying impressions or regenerating work upon 
the soul, by virtue whereof it receives marvellous light and insight 
into spiritual things ; and that not only as illumination is the first 
act of the Spirit in our conversion, Col. iii. 10. but as his whole 
work of sanctification is illuminative and instructive to the convert- 
ed soul, 1 John ii. 27. " The anointing which you have received 
" of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach 
" you, but as the same anointing teacheth you.'" The meaning 
is that sanctification gives the soul experience of those mysterious 
things which are contained in the scriptures, and that experience 
is the most excellent key to unlock and open those deep scripture- 
mysteries ; no knowledge is so distinct, so clear, so sweet, as that 
which the heart communicates to the head, John vii. 17. " If any 
" man do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." A man that 
never read the nature of love in books of philosophy, nor the 
transports and extasies thereof in history, may yet truly describe 
and express it by the sensible motions of that passion in his own 
soul ; yea, he that hath felt, much better understands, than he 
that hath only read or heard. O what a light doth spiritual sense 
and experience cast upon a great part of the scriptures ! for indeed 
sanctification is the very copy or transcript of the word of God 
upon the heart of man ; Jer. xxxi. 33. " I will write my law in their 
u hearts :" so that the scriptures and the experiences of believers, 
by this means answer to each other, as the lines and letters in the 
press answer to the impressions made upon the paper ; or the 
figures in the wax, to the engravings in the seal. When a sanc- 
tified man reads David's psalms, or Paul's epistles, how is he sur- 
prized with wonder to find the very workings of his own heart so 
exactly decyphered and fully expressed there ! O, saith he, this 
is my very case, these holy men speak what my heart hath felt. 

Secondly, The Spirit of God teacheth us, as by his sanctifying 
impressions, so by his gracious assistances^ which he gives us pro re 

U 2 



810 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXIT. 

nata, as our need requires, Mat. x. 19. " It shall be given you in 
" that same hour what ye shall speak, John xiv. 26. " He shall 
" bring all things to your remembrance : he assisteth both the un- 
derstanding in due apprehensions of truth, and the heart in the 
spiritual improvements of truth. And so much briefly of the first 
particular. 

Secondly, In the next place we are to enquire what those special 
truths are which believers hear and learn of the Father, when they 
come to Christ. 

And there are divers great and necessary truths, wherein the 
Spirit enlightens men in that day. I cannot say they are all taught 
every believer in the same degree and order ; but it is certain they 
are taught of God such lessons as these are, which they never so 
understood before. 

Lesson 1. First, They are taught of God that there is abundantly 
more evil in their sinful natures and actions, than ever they dis- 
cerned or understood before : " the Spirit when he cometh shall 
u convince the world of sin," John xvi. 8, 9. Men had a general 
notion of sin before ; so had Paul, when a Pharisee : but how vastly 
different were his apprehensions of sin, from all that ever he had in 
his natural state, when God brought home the commandment to his 
very heart ? There is a threefold knowledge of sin, viz. traditional, 
discursive, and intuitive. The iirst is the more rude and illiterate 
multitude. The second is more rational and knowing men. The 
third is onlv found in those that are enlightened and taught of 
God. And there is as great a difference betwixt this intuitive know- 
ledge of sin, whereby God makes a soul to discern the nature and 
evil of it in a spiritual light, and the two former, as there is be- 
twixt the sight of a painted lion upon the wall, and the sight of a 
living lion that meets us roaring in the way. The intuitive sight of 
sin is another thing than men imagine it to be : it is such a sight as 
wounds a man to the very heart, Acts ii. 37. for God doth not 
only shew a man this or that particular sin, but in the day of 
conviction, he sets all his sins in order before him, Psal. 1. 21. 
yea, the Lord shews him the sinfulness of his nature as well as 
practice. Conviction digs to the root, shews and lays open that 
original corruption, from whence the innumerable evils of the life 
do spring, James i. 14, 15. and which is yet more, the Lord 
shews the man whom he is bringing to Christ the sinful and mi- 
serable estate which he is in by reason of both, John xvi. 9. And 
now all excuses, pleas and defences of sin are gone, he shews him 
" how their iniquities have exceeded,"' 1 Job xxxvi. 8, 9. exceeded 
in number, and in aggravations of sinfulness ; exceeding many, 
and exceeding vile ; no such sinner in the world as I ; can such 
sins as mine be pardoned? The greatness of God greatens my 



SERM. XXII. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 311 



sin ; the holiness of God makes it beyond measure vile ; the good- 
ness of God puts unconceivable weight into my guilt. O, can there 
be mercy for such a wretch as I ! If there be, then there will not 
be a greater example of the riches of free grace in all the world 
than I am. Thus God teacheth the evil of sin. 

Lesson 2. Secondly, God teacheth the soul whom he is bringing to 
Christ, what that wrath and misery are which hang over it in the 
ihreatenings because of sin. Scripture-threatenings were formerly 
slighted, now the soul trembles at them : They once apprehended 
themselves safe enough, Isa. xxviii. 15. Psal. 1. 21. They thought, 
because thev heard no more of their sins after the commission of them, 
that therefore they should never hear more ; that the effect had 
been as transient a thing as the act of sin was ; or if trouble must 
follow sin, they should speed no worse than others, the generality 
of the world being in the same case ; and besides, they hoped to 
find God more merciful than sour and precise preachers repre- 
sented him. But when a light from God enters into the soul, to 
discover the nature of God, and of sin, then it sees that whatever 
wrath is treasured up for sinners in the dreadful threatenings of the 
law, is but the just demerit of sin, the recompence that is meet : 
" The wages of sin is death,' 1 Rom. vi. 23. The penal evil of 
damnation is but equal to the moral evil of sin : So that in the 
whole ocean of God's eternal wrath, there is not one drop of in- 
justice ; yea, the soul doth not only see the justice of God in its 
eternal damnation, but the wonderful mercy of God in the suspen- 
sion thereof so long. O, what is it that hath withheld God from 
damning me all this while ! How is it that I am not in hell ! Now 
do the fears and awful apprehensions of eternity seize the soul, and 
the worst of sensitive creatures is supposed to be in a better condi- 
tion than such a soul. Never do men tremble at the threatenings 
of God, nor rightly apprehend the danger of their condition, until 
sin, and wrath, and the wages of sin be discovered to them by a 
light from heaven. 

Lesson 3. Thirdly, God teaches the soul whom he brings to Christ 
that deliverance from sin, and wrath to come, is the gi'eatest and 
most important business it hath to do in this world. Acts xvi. 30. 
" What must I do to be saved ?" q. d. O direct me to some effec- 
tual way (if there be any) to secure my poor wretched soul from 
the wrath of God. Sin, and the wrath that follows it, are things 
that swallow up the souls, and drink up the very spirits of men : 
Their thoughts never conversed with things of more confessed truth 
and awful solemnity : These things float not upon their fancies as 
matters of mere speculation, but settle upon their hearts day and 
night, as the deepest concernment in aU the world : They now 

US 



312 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXII. 

know much better than any mere scholar, the deep sense of that 
text, Matth. xvi. 26. " What is a man profited, if he should gain 
" the whole world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man 
" give in exchange for his soul F" 

Five things shew how weighty the thoughts and cares of salva- 
tion are upon their hearts. 

First, Their continual though tfulness and solicitude about these 
things : if earthly nffairs divert them for a while, yet they are still 
returning again to this solemn business. 

Secondly, Their careful redeeming of time, and saving the very 
moments thereof to employ about this work : Those that were 
prodigal of hours and days before, look upon every moment of time 
as a precious and valuable thing now. 

Thirdly, Their fears and tremblings lest they should miscarry, 
and come short at last, shew how much their hearts are set upon 
this work. 

Fourthly, Their inquisitiveness and readiness to embrace all the 
help and assistance that they can get from others, evidently disco- 
ver this to be their great design. 

F\fthly, and lastly, The little notice they take of all other troubles 
and afflictions, tells you their hearts are taken up about greater 
things. This is the third lesson they are taught of God. 

Lesson 4. Fourthly, The Lord teaches the soul that is coming to 
Christ, that though it he their duty to strive to the uttermost for sal- 
vation ; yet all strivings, in their own strength, are insufficient to 
obtain it. This work is quite above the power of nature : u It is 
" not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God 
" that sheweth mercy." The soul is brought to a full conviction of 
this, by the discovery of the heinous nature of sin, and of the rigour 
and severity of the law of God. No repentance nor reforma- 
tion can possibly amount unto a just satisfaction, nor are they 
within the compass and power of our will. It was a saying that 
Dr. Hill often used to his friends, speaking about the power of 
man's will ; he would lay his hand upon his breast, and say, 
" Every man hath something here to confute the Arminian doc- 
" trine." 1 This fully takes off the soul from all expectations of 
deliverance that way ; it cannot but strive, that is its duty ; but to 
expect deliverance, as the purchase of its own strivings, that would 
be its sin. 

Lesson 5. Fifthly, The soul that is coming to Christ by faith, is 
taught of God, that though the case it is in be sad, yet it is not des- 
perate and remediless : There is a door of hope, a way of escape for 
poor sinners, how black and fearful soever their own thoughts and 
apprehensions are ; there is usually at this time a dawning light of 
hope in the soul that is under the Father's teachings ; and this com- 



SERM. XXn. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 31 S 

monly arises from the general and indefinite encouragements and 
promises of the gospel, which, though they do not presently secure 
the soul from danger, yet they prop and mightily support it against 
despair : For though they be not certain that deliverance shall be 
the event of their trouble ; yet the possibilities, and much more the 
probabilities of deliverance are a great stay to a sinking soul. The 
troubled soul cannot but acknowledge itself to be in a far better case 
than the damned are, whose hopes are perished from the Lord, 
and a death-pang of despair hath seized their consciences. And 
herein the merciful and compassionate nature of God is eminently 
discovered, in hasting to open the door of hope, almost as soon as 
the evil of sin is opened. It was not long after Adam's eyes were 
opened to see his misery, that God opened Christ, his remedy, in 
that first promise, Gen. iii. 15. And the same method of grace is 
still continued to his elect offspring, Gal. iii. 21, 22. Rom. iii. 21, 
22. These supporting hopes the Lord sees necessary to encourage 
industry in the use of means ; it is hope that sets all the world 
awork ; if all hope were cut off, every soul would sit down in a 
sullen despair, yielding itself for hell. 

Lesson 6. Sixthly, The Lord teaches those that come to Christ, that 
there is a fulness of saving power in him, whereby any soul that duly 
receives him, may be perfectly delivered from all its sin and misery, 
Heb. vii. 25. Col i. 19. Matth. xxviii. 18. This is a great and ne- 
cessary point for every believer to learn and hear from the Father ; 
for unless the soul be satisfied of the fulness of Christ's savi no- 
power, it will never move forward towards him ; and herein also 
the goodness of God is most sweetly and seasonably manifested ; 
for, at this time, it is the great design of Satan to fill the soul 
with despairing thoughts of a pardon ; but all those black and 
heart-sinking thoughts vanish before the discovery of Christ's all- 
sufficiency. Now the sin-sick soul saith with that woman, Matth. 
ix. 21. " If I may but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be 
" healed." How deep soever the guilt and stain of sin be, yet the 
soul which acknowledges the infinite dignity of the blood o£ Christ, 
the offering it Up to God in our room, and God's declared satis- 
faction in it, must needs be satisfied that Christ is " able to save, 
" to the uttermost, all that come unto God by him ;" which is 
the sixth lesson believers are taught of God. 

Lesson 7. Seventhly, Every man that cometh to Christ is taught 
of God, that he can never reap any benefit by the blood of Christ, ex- 
cept he have union with the person of Christ, 1 John v. 12. Eph. iv. 
16. Time was when men fondly thought nothing was necessary to 
their salvation but the death of Christ ; but now the Lord shews 
them that their union with Christ by faith is as necessary, in the 
place of an applying cause, as the death of Christ is, in the place of 

U4 



314 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXII. 

a meritorious cause : The purchase of salvation is an act of Christ 
without us, whilst we are yet sinners ; the application thereof is by 
a work wrought icWrin us, when we are believers, Col. i. 27. In 
the purchase all the elect are redeemed together by way of price ; 
in the application they are actually redeemed, each person, by way 
of power. Look, as the sin of the first Adam could never hurt 
us, unless he had been our head by way of generation ; so the 
righteousness of Christ can never benefit us, unless he be our head 
by way of regeneration. In teaching this lesson, the Lord, in 
mercy, unteaches and blots out that dangerous principle, by which 
the greatest part of the christianized world do perish, viz. that the 
death of Christ is, in itself, effectual to salvation, though a man 
be never regenerated or united to him by saving faith. 

Lesson 8. Eighthly, God teaches the soul, whom he is bringing' to 
Christ, that whatever is necessary to be wrought in us, or done by us, 
in order to our union with Christ, is to be obtained from him in the 
way of prayer, Ezek. xxxvi. 37. And it is observable, that the soul 
no sooner comes under the effectual teachings of God, but the Spi- 
rit of prayer begins to breathe in it, Acts ix. 8. " Behold, he pray- 
" eth. v Those that were taught to pray by men before, are 
now taught of the Lord to pray : To pray did I say ? yea, and to 
pray fervently too, as men concerned for their eternal happiness ; 
to pray not only with others, but to pour out our souls before the 
Lord in secret ; for their hearts are as bottles full of new wine, 
which must vent or break. Now the soul returns upon its God 
often in the same day ; now it can express its burdens and wants, 
in words and groans which the Spirit teacheth. They pray, and 
will not give over praying, till Christ come with complete salvation. 

Lesson 9. Ninthly, All that come to Christ are taught of God to 
abandon their former ways and companions in sin, as ever they expect 
to be received unto mercy, Isa. lv. 7. 2 Cor. v. 17. Sins that were 
profitable and pleasant, that were as the right hand, and right eye, 
must now be cut off. Companions in sin, who were once the de- 
light of their lives, must now be cast off. Christ saith to the soul 
concerning these, as he said in another case, John xviii. 8. " If 
" therefore ye seek me, let these go their way." And the soul 
saith unto Christ, as it. is, Psal. cxix. 115. " Depart from me, ye 
" evil-doers, for I will keep the commandments of my God." 
And now pleasant sins and companions in sin, become the very 
burden and shame of a man s soul. Objects of delight are be- 
come objects of pity and compassion : No endearments, no union 
of blood, no earthly interests whatsoever, are found strong enough 
to hold the soul any longer from Christ : Nothing but the effectual 
teachings of God are found sufficient to dissolve such bonds of ini- 
quity as these. 



SERM. XXII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 815 

Lesson 10. Tenthly, All that come unto Christ are taught of God, 
that there is such a beauty and excellency in the warn and people of 
God, as is not to be equal led in the whole ivorld, PsaL xvi. 3. When 
the eyes of strangers to Christ begin to be opened, and enlightened 
in his knowledge, you may see what a change of judgment is 
wrought in them, with respect to the people of God : and towards 
them especially, whom God hath any way made instrumental for 
the good of their souls, Cant. v. 9. they then call the spouse of 
Christ, the fairest among women. The convincing holiness of the 
bride then began to enamour and affect them, with a desire of 
nearer conjunction and communion: We will seek him with thee; 
with thee that hast so charged us, that hast taken so much pains 
for the good of our souls ; now, and never before, the righteous 
appeareth more excellent than his neighbour. Change of heart is 
always accompanied with change of judgment, with respect to the 
people of God : thus the gaoler, Acts xvi. 33. washed the apostle's 
stripes, to whom he had been so cruel before. The godly now 
seem to be the glory of the places where they live ; and the glory 
of any place seems to be darkened by their removal ; as one said 
of holy Mr. Barrington, " Methinks the town is not at home when 
" Mr. Barrington is out of town." They esteem it a choice mercy 
to be in their company and acquaintance ; Zech. viii. 23. " We 
" will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." 
No people like the people of God now ; as one said, when he heard 
of two faithful friends, Utinam tertius essem ! O that I might make 
the third ! Whatever vile or low thoughts they had of the people 
of God before, to be sure now they are the excellent of the earth, 
in whom is all their delight : The holiness of the saints might have 
some interest in their consciences before, but they never had such 
an interest in their estimation and affections, till this lesson was 
taught them by the Father. 

Lesson 11. Eleventhly, All that come to Christ are taught of God y 
that whatever difficulties they apprehend in religion, yet they must 
not, upon pain of damnation, be discouraged thereby, or return 
again to sin, Luke ix. 62. " No man having put his hand to the 
" plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." 
Ploughing-work is hard work ; a strong and steady hand is required 
for it : he that ploughs must keep on, and make no balks of the 
hardest and toughest ground he meets with. Religion also is the 
running of a race, 1 Cor. ix. 24. there is no standing still, much less 
turning back, if ever we hope to win the prize. 

The devil, indeed, labours every way to discourage and daunt 
the soul, by representing the insuperable difficulties of religion to 
it ; and young beginners are but too apt to be discouraged, and 
fall under despondency ; but the teachings of the Father are en- 



316 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXIT, 

couraging teachings ; they are carried on from strength to strength 
against all the oppositions they meet with from without them, and 
the many discouragements they find within them. To this con- 
clusion they are brought by the teaching of God, We must have 
Christ, we must get a pardon, we must strive for salvation, let the 
difficulties, troubles, and sufferings in the way be never so great or 
many. As he said, Necesse est ut earn, non ut vivam ; it is necessary 
that I go on, it is not necessary that I live : So saith the soul that 
is taught of God ; it is easier for me to dispense with ease, honour, 
relations, yea, with life itself, than to part with Christ, and the 
hopes of eternal life. 

Lesson 12. Twelfthly, They that come to Christ, are taught of 
God, that whatever guilt and unworthiness they discover in them- 
selves, and whatever fears and doubts are upon their hearts, as to 
pardon and acceptance ; yet as the case stands, it is their wisdom 
and great interest to venture themselves in the way of faith, upon 
Jesus Christ, whatever the issue thereof be. 

Three great discouragements are usually found upon the hearts 
of those that come to Christ in the way of faith. 

First, The sensible greatness of guilt and sin. How can I go to 
Christ that am in such a case, that have been so vile a wretch ? 
And here measuring the grace and mercy of Christ, by what it 
finds in itself, or in other creatures, 1 Sam. xxiv. 19. the soul is 
ready to sink under the weight of its own discouraging and mis- 
giving thoughts. 

Secondly, The sense they have of their own weakness and inabi- 
lity to do what God requires, and must of necessity be done, if ever 
they be saved. My heart is harder than adamant, how can I break 
it ? My will is stubborn, and exceeding obstinate, I am no way able 
to bow it ; the frame and temper of my spirit is altogether carnal, 
and earthly ; and it is not in the power of my hand to alter and 
change it ; alas ! I cannot subdue any one corruption, nor perform 
one spiritual duty, nor bear one of those sufferings and burdens 
which religion lays upon all that follow Christ : this also proves a 
great discouragement in the way of faith. 

Thirdly, And, which is more than all, the soul that is coming to 
Jesus Christ, hath no assurance of acceptance with him, if it should 
adventure itself upon him : it is a great hazard, a great adventure ; 
it is much more probable, if I look to myself, that Christ will shut 
the door of mercy against me. 

But under all these discouragements the soul learns this lesson 
from God, That, as ungodly as it is, nevertheless it is every way 
its great duty and concernment to go on in the way of faith, and 
make that great adventure of itself upon Jesus Christ : and of this 
the Lord convinceth the soul by two things, viz. 



SERM. XXII. THE METHOD OF GRACE, 317 

1. From the absolute necessity of coming. 

2. From the encouraging probabilities of speeding. 

First, The soul seeth an absolute necessity of coming : necessity- 
is laid upon it, there is no other way, Acts iv. 12. God hath shut 
it up by a blessed necessity to this only door of escape, Gal. iii. 23. 
Damnation lies in the neglect of Christ, Heb. ii. 3. The soul hath 
no choice in this case ; angels, ministers, duties, repentance, refor- 
mation cannot save me ; Christ, and none but Christ can deliver 
me from present guilt, and the wrath to come. Why do I dispute, 
demur, delay, when certain ruin must inevitably follow the neglect 
or refusal of gospel-offers ? 

Secondly, The Lord shewcth those that are under his teaching, 
the probabilities of mercy, for their encouragement in the way of 
believing. And these probabilities the soul is enabled to gather 
from the general and free invitations of the gospel, Isa. Iv. 1, 7. 
Rev. xxii. 17. from the conditional promises of the gospel, John vi. 
37. Mat. xi. 28. Isa. i. 18. from the vast extent of grace, beyond 
all the thoughts and hopes of the creatures, Isa. Iv. 8, 9. Heb. vii. 
25. from the encouraging examples of other sinners, who have 
found mercy in as bad a condition as they, 1 Tim. i. 13. 2 Chron. 
xxxiii. 3. 2 Cor. vi. 10, 11. from the command of God, which 
warrants the action, and answers all the objections of unworthiness 
and presumption in them that come to Christ, 1 John iii. 23. and 
lastly, from the sensible changes already made upon the temper and 
frame of the heart. Time was, when I had no sense of sin, nor 
sorrow for sin ; no desire after Christ, no heart to duties. But it 
is not so with me now ; I now see the evil of sin, so as I never saw 
it before ; my heart is now broken in the sense of that evil ; my 
desires begin to be enflamed after Jesus Christ ; I am not at rest, 
nor where I would be, till I am in secret mourning after the Lord 
Jesus ; surely these are the dawnings of the day of mercy ; let me 
go on in this way. It saith, as the lepers at the siege of Samaria, 
2 Kings vii. 3, 4. " If I stay here, I perish :" If I go to Christ I can 
but perish. Hence believers bear up against all objected discourage- 
ments, certum exitium commutemus incerto ; it is the dictate of wis- 
dom, the vote of reason, to exchange a certain for an uncertain ruin. 
And thus you have here what those excellent lessons are, which all 
that come to Christ are taught by the Father. 



SIS THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXHL 

SERMON XXIII 

John vi. 45. 

It is written in the Prophets, And they shall be all taught of God: 
Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the 
Father, cometh unto me. 

XN the former sermon, you have been taught this great truth ; 

Doct. That the teachings of God are absolutely neceesary to every 
soul that cometh imto Christ, in the way of faith. 

What the teachings of God import, hath been formerly opened ; 
and what those special lessons are, which all believers hear and learn 
of the Father, was the last thing discoursed : that which remains to 
be further cleared about this subject, before I come to the applica- 
tion of the whole, will be to shew you, 

1. What are the properties of divine teachings. 

2. What influence they have in bringing souls to Christ. 

3. Why it is impossible for any man to come to Christ without 
these teachings of the Father. 

First, What are the properties of divine teachings ? Concerning 
the teachings of God, we affirm in general, that, though they ex- 
clude not, yet they vastly differ from all human teachings : as the 
power of God in effecting transcends all human power, so the wis- 
dom of God in teaching transcends all human wisdom. For, 

1. God teacheth powerfully ; he speaketh to the soul with a 
strong hand ; when the word cometh accompanied with the Spirit, 
it is " mighty through God, to cast down all imaginations,' 1 2 Cor. 
x. 4. Now the gospel " comes not in word only, (as it was wont 
to do,) but in power, 1 '' 1 Thes. i. 4, 5. a power that makes the 
soul fall down before it, and acknowledge that God is in that word, 
1 Cor. xiv. 25. 

2. The teachings of God are sweet teachings. Men never relish 
the sweetness of a truth, till they learn it from God, Cant. i. 3. 
" His name is as ointment poured forth." Cant. v. 16. " His 
" mouth is most sweet." O how powerfully and how sweetly 
doth the voice of God slide into the hearts of poor melting sinners ! 
how jejune, dry, and tasteless are the discourses of men, compared 
with the teachings of the Father ! 

3. God teacheth plainly and clearly : He not only opens truths 
to the understanding, but he openeth the understanding also to 
perceive them, 2 Cor. hi. 16. In that day the vail is taken away 



SERM. XXIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 319 

from the heart ; a light shineth into the soul ; a clear beam from 
heaven is darted into the mind, Luke xxiv. 45. Divine teachings 
are fully satisfying ; the soul doubts no more, staggers and hesitates 
no more, but acquiesces in that which God teaches ; it is so satisfied, 
that it can venture all upon the truth of what it hath learned from 
God ; as that martyr said, / cannot dispute, but I can die for Christ. 
See Prov. viii. 8, 9. 

Fourthly, The teachings of God are infallible teachings. The 
wisest and holiest of men may mistake, and lead others into the 
same mistakes with themselves ; but it is not so in the teachings of 
God. If we can be sure that God teacheth us, we may be as sure 
of the truth of what he teacheth ; for his Spirit guidcth us into all 
truth, John xvi. 3. and into nothing but truth. 

Fifthly, The teachings of God are abiding teachings ; they make 
everlasting impressions upon the soul, Psal. cxix. 98. they are ever 
with it : The words of men vanish from us ; but the words of God 
abide by us : what God teacheth, he writeth upon the heart, Jer. 
xxxi. 33. and that will abide ; liter a scripta manet. It is usual 
with souls, whose understandings have been opened by the Lord, 
many years afterward to say, I shall never forget such a scripture 
that once convinced, such a promise that once encouraged me. 

Sixthly, The teachings of God are saving teachings ; they make 
the soul wise unto salvation, 2 Tim. iii. 15. There is a great deal 
of other knowledge that goes to hell with men : The pavement of 
hell (as one speaks) is pitched with the skulls of many great 
scholars, but eternal life is the teachings of God, John xvii. 3. 
" This is the eternal life, to know thee the only true God, and 
" Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 1 ' This is deservedly stiled the 
light of this life, John viii. 12. " In this light we shall see tight,* 
Psal. xxxvi. 9. 

Seventhly, The teachings of God make their own way into the 
dullest and weakest capacities, Isa. xxxii. 4. " The heart also of 
" the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the 
" stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly. 1 '' Upon this account 
Christ said, Matth. xi. 25. " I thank thee, O Father, Lord of 
" heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the 
" wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." It is 
admirable to see what clear illuminations some poor illiterate Chris- 
tians have in the mysteries of Christ and salvation, which others, 
of great abilities, deep and searching heads, can never discover with 
all their learning and study. 

Eighthly, To conclude, The teachings of God are transforming 
teachings ; 2 Cor. iii. 18. they change the soul into the same image ; 
God casts them, whom he teacheth, into the very mould of those 



320 TUH METHOD OF GRACE. HEME. XXIII. 

truths which they learn of him, Rom. vi. 17. These are the teach- 
ings of God, and thus he instructeth those that come to Christ. 

Secondly, Next let us see what influence divine teachings have 
upon souls, in bringing them to Christ ; and we shall find a three- 
fold influence in them. 

1. They have an influence upon the external means, by which 
they come to Christ. 

2. They have an influence upon the mind, to remove what hin- 
dered it from Christ. 

3. They have an influence upon the will, to allure and draw it 
to Christ. 

First, They have an influence upon the means by which we come 
to Christ ; the best ordinances are but a dead letter except the 
Spirit, the teaching and quickening Spirit of God, work in fellow- 
ship with them, 2 Cor. iii. 6. The best ministers, like the dis- 
ciples, cast forth the net, but take nothing, win not one soul to 
God, till God teach as well as they. Paul is nothing, and Apollos 
nothing, but God that giveth the increase, 1 Cor. iii. 7. Let the 
most learned, eloquent, and powerful orator be in the pulpit, yet 
no man's heart is persuaded till it hear the voice of God ; Cathe- 
dram in ecrtis habet, qui corda docet 

Secondly, They have influence upon the mind, to remove what 
hindered it from Christ. Except the minds of men be first un- 
taught those errors, by which they are prejudiced against Christ, 
they will never be persuaded to come unto him ; and nothing but 
the Father's teachings can unteach those errors, and cure those 
evils of the mind. The natural mind of man slights the truths of 
God, until God teach them ; and then they tremble with an aw- 
ful reverence of them. Sin is but a trifle, till God shews us the 
face of it in the glass of the law, and then it appears ex- 
ceeding sinful, Rom. vii. IS. We think God to be such a one as 
ourselves, Psal. 1. 21. until he discover himself unto us in his infi- 
nite greatness, awful holiness, and severe justice; and then we' 
cry, who can stand before this great and dreadful God ! We 
thought it was time enough hereafter, to mind the concernments 
of another world, until the Lord open our eyes, to see in what 
danger we stand upon the very brink of eternity ; and then no- 
thing alarms us more, than the fears that our time will be finished 
before the great work of salvation be finished. We thought our- 
selves in a converted state before, till God made us to see the neces- 
sity of another manner of conversion, upon pain of eternal dam- 
nation. We readily caught hold upon the promises before, when 
we had no right to them ; but the teachings of God make the pre- 
sumptuous sinner let go his hold, that he may take a better and 
surer bold of them in Christ. We once thought that the death 



SERM. XXIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 521 

of Christ, in itself, had been enough to secure our salvation ; but, 
under the teachings of God, we discern plainly the necessity of a 
change of heart and state ; or else the blood of Christ can never 
profit us. Thus the teachings of God remove the errors of the 
mind, by which men are withheld from Christ. 

Thirdly, The teachings of God powerfully attract and allure the 
will of a sinner to Christ, Hos. ii. 14. But of these drawings 
of the Father I have largely spoken before, and therefore shall sav 
no more of them in this place, but hasten to the last thing pro- 
pounded, viz. 

Thirdly, Why it is impossible for any man to come to Christ 
without the Father's teachings ; and the impossibilities hereof will 
appear three ways. 

1. From the power of sin. 

2. From the indisposition of man. 

3. From the nature of faith. 

By all which, the last point designed to be spoken to from this 
.scripture, will be fully cleared, and the whole prepared for appli- 
cation. 

First, The impossibility of coming to Christ without the teachings 
of the Father, will appear from the power of sin, which hath so 
strong an holdfast upon the hearts and affections of all unregene- 
rate men, that no human arguments or persuasions whatsoever can 
divorce or separate them ; for, 

First, Sin is connatural with the soul, it is born and bred with a 
man ; Psal. Ii. 4. Isa. xlviii. 8. It is as natural for fallen man to 
sin, as it is to breathe. 

Secondly, The power of sin hath been strengthening itself from 
the beginning, by long continued custom, which gives it the force 
of a second nature, and makes regeneration and mortification na- 
turally impossible, Jer. xv. 23. " Can the Ethiopian change his 
" skin, or the leopard his spots ? Then may he also do good that 
" is accustomed to do evil." 

Thirdly, Sin is the delight of a sinner : " It is sport to a fool 
" to do mischief," Prov. x. 23. Carnal men have no other plea- 
sure in this world, but what arises from their lusts ; to cut off their 
corruptions by mortification, were at once to deprive them of all 
the pleasure of their lives. 

Fourthly, Sin being connatural, customary, and delightful, doth 
therefore bewitch their affections and inchant their hearts, to that 
degree of madness and fascination, that they rather chuse damna- 
tion by God, than separation from sin : " Their hearts are fully 
" set in them to do evil," Eccles. viii. 1J. they rush into sin, as 
the " horse rusheth into the battle," Jer. viii. 6. And now, what 
think you can separate a man from his beloved lust, except the 



3. 1 22 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXIII, 

powerful and effectual teachings of God ? Nothing but a light from 
heaven can rectify and reduce the inchanted mind ; no power, but 
that of God, can change and alter the sinful bent and inclination 
of the will ; it is a task above all the power of the creature. 

Secondly, The impossibility of coming to Christ, without the 
Father's teachings, evidently appears from the indisposedness of 
man, the subject of this change ; " The natural man receives not 
" the things which are of God," 1 Cor. ii. 14. Three things must 
be wrought upon man, before he can come to Christ : His blind 
understanding must be enlightened ; his hard and rocky heart must 
be broken and melted ; his stiff, fixed, and obstinate will must be 
conquered and subdued : but all these are effects of a supernatural 
power. The illumination of the mind is the peculiar work of 
God, 2 Cor. iv. 6. Rev. iii. 17. Eph. v. 8. The breaking and 
melting of the heart is the Lord's own work ; it is he that giveth 
repentance, Acts v. 31. It is the Lord that " takes away the heart 
*' of stone, and giveth an heart of flesh, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. It is he 
that poureth out the spirit of contrition upon man, Zech. xii. 10. 
The changing of the natural bent and inclination of the will, is the 
Lord's sole prerogative, Phil. ii. 13. All these things are effect- 
ually done in the soul of man, when God teacheth it, and never 
till then. 

Thirdly, The nature of faith, by which we come to Christ, 
plainly shews the impossibility of coming without the Father's 
teaching. Every thing in faith is supernatural ; the implantation 
of the habit of faith is so, Eph. ii. 8. It is not of ourselves, but 
the gift of God ; it is not an habit acquired by industry, but infused 
by grace, Phil. i. 29. The light of faith, by which spiritual things 
are discerned, is supernatural, Heb. xi. 1, 27. It seeth things that 
are invisible. The adventures of faith are supernatural ; for 
'* against hope, a man believeth in hope, giving glory to God," 
Rom. iv. 18. By faith a man goetli unto Christ, against all the 
dictates and discouragements of natural sense and reason. The 
self-denial of faith is supernatural ; the cutting off the right-hand, 
and plucking out of right-eye sins, must needs be so, Matt. v. 29. 
The victories and conquests of faith do all speak it to be superna- 
tural ; it overcomes the strongest oppositions from without, Heb. 
xi. 33, 34. It subdueth and purgeth the most obstinate and deep- 
rooted corruptions within, Acts xv. 9. It overcometh all the 
blandishments and charming allurements of the bewitching world, 
1 John v. 4. All which considered, how evident is the conclusion, 
that none can come to Christ without the Father's teachings ? The 
uses follow. 

First use for information. 

Inference 1. How notoriously false and absurd is that doctrine 



SERM. XXIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 823 

which assertcth the possibility of believing without the efficacy of 
supernatural grace? The desire of self-sufficiency was the ruin of 
Adam, and the conceit of self-sufficiency is the ruin of multitudes of 
his posterity. This doctrine is not only contradictory to the current 
st ream of scripture, Phil. ii. IS. 1 John i. IS. 'With many other scrip- 
tures ; but it is also contradictory to the common sense and experi- 
ence of believers ; yet the pride of nature will strive to maintain 
what scripture and experience plainly contradict and overthrow. 

Inf. 2. Hence ice may also triform ourselves, how it cometh to pass 
that so many rational, wise and learned men miss Christ, whilst the 
simple and illiterate, even babes in natural knowledge, obtain interest 
in him, and salvation by him. The reason hereof is plainly given 
us by Christ, in Matth. xiii. 11. "To you it is given to know the 
" mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given." 
It is the dropping and dews of divine teaching upon one, and not 
upon another, that dryeth up the green tree, and maketh the drv 
tree to flourish. Many natural men have very fine brains, search- 
ing wits, solid judgments, nimble fancies, tenacious memories ; 
they can search out the mysteries of nature, solve the phcenomena, 
satisfy the enquiries of the most curious ; they can measure the 
earth, discover the motions of the heavens ; but after all take 
up their place in hell, when, in the mean time, the statutes of the 
Lord (by the help of his teachings) make zoisc the simple, Psal. xix. 
17. It is no matter how dull and incapable the scholar be, if God 
undertake to be the teacher. I remember, Austin speaks of one 
who was commonly reputed a fool, and yet he could not but judge 
him to be truly godly, and that by two signs of grace which ap- 
peared in him ; one was, his seriousness when he heard any dis- 
courses of Christ ; the other was, his indignation manifested against 
sin. It was truly said by those two Cardinals, (who, riding to the 
council of Constance, overheard a. poor shepherd in the fields with 
tears bewailing his sins) Surgent indoeti ct rapient caelum ; The 
unlearned will rise and take heaven, whilst we with all our learning 
shall descend into hell. 

hif.3. This also informs Us of the true reason of the strange and 
various successes of the gospel upon the souls of men. Here we see 
why the ministry of one man becomes fruitful, and another's barren ; 
yea why the labours of the same poor man prosper exceedingly at one 
time, and not at another ; these things are according as the teach- 
ings of God do accompany our teachings. We often see a weaker 
and plainer discourse blessed with success, whilst that which is 
more artificial, neat and laboured, comes to nothing. St. Austin 
hath a pretty similitude to illustrate this ; Suppose, saith he, two 
conduits, the one very plain, the other curiously carved and adorn- 
ed with images of lions, eagles, $c. the water doth not refresh 

Vol. II. X 



324 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXIII. 



and nourish as it cometh from such a curious conduit, but as it is 
water. Where we find most of man, we frequently find least of 
God. I speak not this to encourage carelessness and laziness, but 
to provoke the dispensers of the gospel to more earnestness and 
frequent prayer for the assistance and blessing of the Spirit upon 
their labours, and to make men less fond of their own gifts and 
abilities ; blear-eyed Leah may bear children, when beautiful Ra- 
chel proves barren. 

Inf. 4. Learn hence the transcendent excellency of saving, spiritual 
knowledge, above that which is merely literal and natural. One 
drop of knowledge taught by God, is more excellent than the whole 
ocean of human knowledge and acquired gifts, Phil. hi. 8. John 
xvii. 3. 1 Cor. ii. 2. Let no man therefore be dejected at the 
want of those gifts with which unsanctified men are adorned. If 
God have taught thee the evil of sin, the worth of Christ, the ne- 
cessity of regeneration, the mystery of faith, the way of communion 
with God in duties ; trouble not thyself because of thine ignorance in 
natural or moral things : thou hast that, reader, which will bring 
thee to heaven ; and he is a truly wise man that knows the way of 
salvation, though he be ignorant and unskilful in other things : 
thou knowest those things which all the learned doctors and libra- 
ries in the world could never teach thee, but God hath revealed 
them to thee ; others have more science, thou hast more savour and 
sweetness; bless God, and be not discouraged. 
Second use for examination. 
If there be no coming to Christ without the teachings of the Fa- 
ther : then it greatly concerns us to examine our own hearts, whe- 
ther ever we have been under the saving teachings of God, during 
the many years we have sat under the preaching of the gospel. 
Let not the question be mistaken ; I do not ask what books you 
have read, what ministers you have heard, what stock of natural 
or speculative knowledge you have acquired ; but the question is, 
whether ever God spake to your hearts, and hath effectually 
taught you such lessons, as were mentioned in our last discourse? 
O there is a vast difference betwixt that notional, speculative, and 
traditional knowledge which man learneth from men, and that 
spiritual, operative, and transforming knowledge which a man 
learneth from God. If you ask how the teachings of God may be 
discerned from all other mere human teachings ; I answer, they 
may be discerned, and distinguished by these six signs. 

Sign 1. The teachings of God are very humbling to the soul that 
is taught. Human knowledge puffeth up, 1 Cor. viii. 1. but the 
teachings of God do greatly abase the soul, Job xlii. 5. " I have 
" heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth 
" thee ; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes :* 



SX3AT. XXIII. THE METHOD OF GKACE. 325 

the same light which discovers to us the holiness, justice, greatness, 
and goodness of God, disco vereth also the vileness, baseness, emp- 
tiness, and total unworthiness of men ; yea, of the best and holiest 
of men, Isa. vi. 5. 

Sign 2. The teachings of God are deeply affecting and impressive 
teachings; they fully reach the heart of man, Hos. ii. 14. "I will 
" allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak com- 
" fortably unto her ;" or, as it is in the Hebrew, I will speak to 
her heart. When God sheweth unto man the evil of sin, he so 
convinceth the soul, that no creature-comforts have any pleasure 
or sweetness in them ; and when he sheweth unto man his righte- 
ousness, pardon, and peace in Christ, he so comforteth and refresh- 
eth the heart, that no outward afflictions have any weight or bit- 
terness in them : one drop of consolation from heaven, sweetens a 
sea of trouble upon earth, Psal. xciv. 19. " In the multitude of my 
" thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my soul." 

Sign 3. The teachings of God are sanctifying and renewing 
teachings ; they reform and change the heart, Eph. iv. 21, 22, 23. 
" If so be that you have heard him, and been taught by him, as the 
" truth is in Jesus ; that ye put off concerning the former conver- 
ifc sation the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful 
" lusts : and be renewed in the spirit of your mind," &c. See 
here what holiness and purity are the effect of divine teaching ! 
Holiness, both external and internal, negative and positive : holiness 
of every kind follows the Father's teachings : all the discoveries 
God makes to us of himself in Christ, have an assimilating quality, 
and change the soul into their own likeness, 2 Cor. iii. 18. 

Sign 4. All God's teachings are practical, producing obedience. 
Idle notions and useless speculations are not learned from God. As 
God's creating words, so his teaching words are with effect : as 
when he said, " Let there be light, and there was light :" so when 
he saith to the soul, Be comforted, be humbled ; it is effectually 
comforted, Isa. lxvi. 13. it is humbled, Job xl. 4, 5. As God 
hath in nature made no creature in vain, so he speaks no word in 
vain : every thing which men hear, or learn from the Father, is 
for use, practice, and benefit to the soul. 

Sign 5. All teachings of God are agreeable with the written word< 
The Spirit of God, and the word of God do never jar, John xiv. 
26. " He shall take of mine, and shew it unto you." When God 
speaketh unto the heart of man, whether in a way of conviction, 
consolation, or instruction in duty, he always either maketh use of 
the express words of scripture, or speaks to the heart in language 
every way consentaneous and agreeable to scripture : So that the 
written word becomes the standard to weigh and try all divine 
teachings, Isa. viii. 20. u To the law, and to the testimonv : If 

X2 



326 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXIII. 

" they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no 
" light (or morning) in them." Whatever is disagreeing or jarring 
with the scripture must not pass for an inspiration of God, but a 
deluding sophism, and insinuation of Satan. 

Sign 6. The teachings of' God are very satisfying teachings to the 
soul of man: The understanding faculty, like a dial, is enlightened 
with the beams of divine truth sinning upon it : this no man's teach- 
ings can do : Men can only teach objectively, by propounding truth 
to the understanding ; but they cannot enlighten the faculty itself, 
as God doth, 1 John v. 20. He giveth man understanding as well as 
instructions, to be understood ; he opens the eyes of the under- 
standing, as well as propoundeth the object, Eph. i. 1 8. And thus 
we may discern and distinguish the teachings of God from all 
other teachings. 

Third use of exhortation. 

The last use I shall make of this point, shall be a word of exhor- 
tation, both to them that never were vet effectually taught of God, 
and to them also that have heard his voice, and are come to 
Christ. 

First, To those that never yet heard the voice of God speaking 
to their hearts ; and truly this is the general case of most men and 
women, in the professing world : They have heard the sound of 
the gospel, but it hath been a confused, empty, and ineffectual 
sound in their ears ; they have heard the voice of man, but have 
never yet heard the voice of God. The gifts and abilities of preach- 
ers have, in a notional and mere human way, improved their un- 
derstandings, and sometimes slightly touched their affections : All 
this is but the effect of man upon man. O that you would look 
for something which is beyond all this : satisfy not yourselves with 
what is merely natural and human in ordinances ; come to the 
word with higher ends and more spiritual designs, than to get some 
notions of truth which you had not before, or to judge the gifts 
and abilities of the speaker : If God speak not to your hearts, all 
the ordinances in the world can do you no good, 1 Cor. iii. 7. O 
remember what a solemn and awful thing it is to come to those 
ordinances, and attend upon that ministration, in and by which the 
eternal decrees of heaven are to be executed upon your souls, 
which must be to you the " savour of life unto life, or of death 
" unto death ;" Wrestle with God by prayer for a blessing upon the 
ordinances. Say, Lord, speak thyself to my heart, let me hear 
" thy voice, and feel thy power in this prayer, or in this sermon : 
" Others have heard thy voice, cause me to hear it : It had been 
" much better for me if I had never heard the voice of preachers, 
" except I hear thy voice in them.* 1 

Secondly, Let all those that have heard the voice of God, and 



sCUM. XXIII. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 327 

are come to Christ in the virtue of his teachings, admire the won- 
derful condescension of God to them. O that God should speak 
to thy soul, and be silent to others ! There be many thousands 
living at this day under ordinances, to whom the Lord hath not 
given an ear to hear, nor an heart to obey, Deut. xxix. 4. " To you 
" it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but 
" to them it is not given,' 1 Mat. xiii. 11. And I beseech you, walk 
as men and women that have been taught of God. When Satan 
and your corruptions tempt you to sin, and to walk in the ways of 
the carnal and careless world; remember then that scripture, Eph. 
iv. 20, 21. " But ye have not so learned Christ, if so be that you 
" have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in 
" Jesus." To conclude, see that you be exceeding humble, and 
lowly in spirit. Humility qualifies you for divine teachings, Psal. 
xxv. 9. The meek he will teach ; and the more ye are taught of 
God, the more humble you will still be. 

And thus you see, that no man can come to Christ without the 
application of the law, and the teachings of the Father ; which being 
considered, may be very useful to convince us, (which indeed is the 
design of it) that among the multitudes of men and women, living 
under the ordinances of God, and the general profession of religion^ 
there are but few, very few to be found, who have effectually re- 
ceived the Lord Jesus Christ by saving faith. 

And now, reader, I suppose by this time thou art desirous to 
know by what signs and evidences thy union with Christ by faith 
may be cleared up, and made evident to thee ; and how that great 
question, whether thou hast yet effectually applied Christ to thy 
soul or no, may be clearly decided ; which brings me to the third 
general use of the whole, viz. 

The examination of our interest in Christ, by 

1. The donation of the Spirit, from 1 John iii. 24. 

2. The new creation, from 2 Cor. v. 17. 

3. The mortification of sin, from Gal. v. 24. 

4. The imitation of Christ, from 1 John ii. 6. 

Of each of these trials of our interest in Christ I shall speak in 
their order : And, first, of the donation of the Spirit 



X3 



328 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXIV. 

SERMON XXIV. 

Of the Manner and Importance of the Spirit's Indwelling. 

1 John in. 24. 

And hereby we know that he abideth in tis, by the Spirit which 
he hath given us. 

A HE apostle in this chapter is engaged in a very trying dis- 
course ; his scope is to discriminate the spirits and states of sincere 
believers, from merely nominal and pretended Christians ; which he 
attempts not to do by any thing that is external, but by the internal 
effects and operations of the Spirit of God upon their hearts. His 
enquiry is not into those things which men profess, or about the 
duties which they perform, but about the frames and tempers of 
their hearts, and the principles by which they are acted in religion. 
According to this test, he puts believers upon the search and study 
of their own hearts ; calls them to reflect upon the effects and opera- 
tions of the Spirit of God, wrought within their own souls, assuring 
them, that these gracious effects, and the fruits of the Spirit in their 
hearts, will be a solid evidence unto them of their union with Jesus 
Christ, amounting to much more than a general, conjectural ground 
of hope, under which it is possible there may subesse falsum, lurk 
a dangerous and fatal mistake : But the gracious effects of the Spirit 
of God within them, are a foundation upon which they may build 
the certainty and assurance of their union with Christ : Hereby we 
know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. 
In which words we have three things to consider, viz. 

1. The thing to be tried, our union with Christ. 

2. The trial of it, by the giving of his Spirit to us. 

3. The certainty of the trial this way : Hereby we know, 
First, The thing to be tried ; which is indeed the greatest and 

weightiest matter that can be brought to trial in this world, or in 
that to come, namely, our union with Christ, expressed here by 
his abiding in us ; a phrase clearly expressing the difference be- 
twixt those who, by profession and common estimation, pass for 
Christians among men, though they have no other union with Christ, 
but by an external adhesion to him in the external duties of religion, 
and those whose union with Christ is real, vital, and permanent, 
by the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ in their souls. John xv. 
5, 6. opens the force and importance of this phrase, * c I am the 
« vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me and I in him, 



SEIOI. XXIV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 329 

" the same bringeth forth much fruit : If a man abide not in me, he 
" is cast forth as a branch, and is withered.'" The thing then 
to be tried is, Whether we stand in Christ as dead branches in a 
living stock, which are only bound to it by external ligatures or 
bonds that hold them for a while together ; or whether our souls 
have a vital union and coalition with Christ, by the participation of 
the living sap of that blessed root ? 

Secondly, The trial of this union, which is by the giving of the 
Spirit to us : The Spirit of Christ is the very bond of union betwixt 
him and our souls. I mean not that the very person of the Spirit 
dwelleth in us, imparting his essential properties to us ; it were a rude 
blasphemy so to speak ; but his saving influences are communicated 
to us in the way of sanctifying operations ; as the sun is said to 
come into the house, when his beams and comforting influence 
come there. Nor yet must we think that the graces or influences 
of the Spirit abide in us in the self-same measure and manner they 
do in Christ ; " for God giveth not the Spirit to him by measure ;" 
in him all fulness dwells. He is anointed with the Spirit above 
his fellows ; but there are measures and proportions of grace dif- 
ferently communicated to believers by the same Spirit ; and these 
communicated graces, and real operations of the Spirit of grace in 
our hearts, do undoubtedly prove the reality of our union with 
Christ ; as the communication of the self-same vital juice or sap of 
the stock, to the branch whereby it lives, and brings forth fruit 
of the same kind, certainly proves it to be a real part or a member 
of the same tree. 

Thirdly, Which brings us to a third thing; namely, the cer- 
tainty of the trial this way, ev ww yivuexopev, in this, or by this we 
~know : We so know that we cannot be deceived. To clear this, 
let us consider two things in grace, viz. 



1. Somewhat constitutive, \ f ; ts u * no . 

2. Somewhat manifestative, ) 



There is something in grace which is essential, and constitutive of 
its being ; and somewhat that flows from grace, and is manifestative 
of such a being : We cannot immediately and intuitively discern 
the essence of grace, as it is in its simple nature. So God only 
discerns it, who is the author of it ; but we may discern it mediately 
and secondarily, by the effects and operations of it. Could we see 
the simple essence of grace, or intuitively discern our union with 
Christ, our knowledge would be demonstrative, a priori ad postcrius, 
by seeing effects, as they are lodged in the cause : But we come to 
know the being of grace, and the reality of our union with Christ, 
a posteriori, by ascending in our knowledge from the effects and 
operations, to their true cause and being. 

And, accordingly, God hath furnished us with a power of self- 

X4 



830 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXIV. 

intuition and reflection ; whereby we are able to turn it upon our 
own hearts, and make a judgment upon ourselves, and upon our 
own acts. The soul hath not only power to project, but a power 
also to reflect upon its own actions ; not only to put forth a direct 
act of faith upon Jesus Christ, but to judge and discern that act 
also, 2 Tim. i. 12. I know whom. I have bdicjed: And this is the 
way in which believers attain their certainty and knowledge of their 
union with Christ : from hence the observation will be, 

Doct. That interest in Christ may be certainly gathered and con- 
cluded from, the gift of the Spirit to us : " No man (saith the apostle) 
" hath seen God at any time ; if we love one another, God dwelleth 
" in us, and his love is perfected in us : Hereby know we that we 
" dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his 
" Spirit," 1 John iv. 12, 13. The being of God is invisible, but 
the operations of his Spirit in believers, are sensible and discern- 
able. The soul's union with Christ is a supernatural mystery, yet 
it is discoverable by the effects thereof, which are very perceptible 
in and by believers. 

Two things require explication and confirmation in the doctrinal 
part of this point. 

1. What the giving of the Spirit imports and signifies. 

2. How it evidences the soul's interest in Jesus Christ. 

First, As to the import of this phrase, we are to enquire what 
is meant by the Spirit, and what by the giving of the Spirit. 

Now the Spirit is taken in scripture two ways, viz. 

Essentially, or personally. 

In the first sense it is put for the Godhead, 1 Tim. iii. 16. 
Justified in the Spirit, i. e. By the power of his divine nature, 
which raised him from the dead. In the second sense it denotes 
the third person, or subsistence in the glorious and blessed Trinity; 
and to him this word Spirit is attributed, sometimes properly 
in the sense before-mentioned, as denoting his personality ; at other 
times metonymically, and then it is put for the effects, fruits, graces, 
and gifts of the Spirit communicated by him unto men, Eph. v. 
11. Be ye filled -with the Spirit. Now' the fruits or gifts of the 
Spirit are either, 

1. Common and assisting gifts : Or, 

2. Special and sanctifying gifts. 

In the last sense and signification, it must be taken in this place; 
for, as to the common assisting and ministering gifts of the Spirit, 
they are bestowed promiscuously upon one as well as another; 
such gifts in an excellent degree and a large measure, are found in 
the unregenerate, and therefore can never amount to a solid evi- 
dence of the soul's union with Christ : but his special sanctifying 
gifts, being the proper effect and consequent of that union, must 



SERM. XXIV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 331 

needs strongly prove and confirm it. In this sense therefore we 
are to understand the Spirit in this place ; and by giving the Spirit 
to us, we are to understand more than the coming of the Spirit upon 
us : The Spirit of God is said to come upon men in a transient way, 
for their present assistance in some particular service, though in 
themselves thev be unsanctificd persons: Thus the Spirit of God 
at me upon Balaam, Num. xxiv. 2. enabling him to prophesy of 
ihings to come: And, although those extraordinary gifts of the 
Spirit be now ceased, yet the Spirit ceaseth not to give his ordi- 
nary assistances unto men, both regenerate and unregenerate, 
1 Cor. xii. 8, 9, 10, 31. compared: But, whatever gifts he gives 
to others, he is said to be given, to dwell, and to abide only in be- 
lievers, 1 Cor. hi. 6. " Know ye not that ye are the temple of 
" God, and that the Spirit of God dwelkth in you ?" An ex- 
pression denoting both his special property in them, and gracious 
familiarity with them. There is a great difference betwixt the 
assisting and the indwelling of the Spirit ; the one is transient, 
the other permanent. That is a good rule the schoolmen give us, 
Ilia tantum dicuntur inesse, (pice insunt per modum quietis : those 
things are only said to be in a man, which were in him by way of 
rest and permanency, and so the Spirit is in believers : Therefore 
they are said to live in the Spirit, Gal. v. 25. to be led by the Spirit, 
ver. 18. to be in the Spirit, and the Spirit, to dwell in them, Rom. 
viii. 9- And so much of the first thing to be opened, viz. What 
we are to understand by the giving of the Spirit. 

Secondly, In the next place we are to enquire and satisfy our- 
selves, how this giving of the Spirit evidently proves and strongly 
concludes that soul's interest in Christ unto whom he is given : and 
this will evidently appear by the consideration of these five particu- 
lars. 

1. The Spirit of God in believers is the very bond by which 
they are united unto Christ: If therefore we find in ourselves the 
bond of union, we may warrantably conclude, that we have union 
with Jesus Christ: This is evidently held forth in those words 
of Christ, John xvii. 22, 23. " The glory which thou gavest me, 
" have I given them, that they may be one, even as we are one. 
" I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in 
" one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and 
" hast loved them as thou hast loved me.' 1 It is the glory of 
Christ's human nature to be united to the Godhead : " This 
" (said Christ) thou gavest me, and the glory thou gavest me, I 
" have given them, 11 i. e. By me they are united unto thee. 
And how this is done, he sheweth us more particularly, / in them ; 
there is Christ in us, viz. mystically : And thou in me ; there is 
God in Christ, viz. hypoatatkally : So that in Christ, God and be* 



332 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXIV. 

lievers meet in a blessed union : It is Christ's glory to be one with 
God ; it is our glory to be one with Christ, and with God by him : 
But how is this done? Certainly no other way but by the giving 
of his Spirit unto us ; for so much the phrase, / in them, must needs 
import : Christ is in us by the sanctifying Spirit, which is the bond 
of our union with him. 

Secondly, The scripture every where makes this giving, or in- 
dwelling of the Spirit, the great mark and trial of our interest in 
Christ ; concluding from the presence of it in us, positively, as in 
the text ; and from the absence of it, negatively, as in Rom. viii. 
9. " Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none 
" of his," Jude, ver. 19- " Sensual, not having the Spirit.' 1 This 
mark therefore agreeing to all believers, and to none but believers, 
and that always, and at all times, it must needs clearly infer the 
soul's union with Christ, in whomsoever it is found. 
* Thirdly, That which is a certain mark of our freedom from the 
covenant of works, and our title to the privileges of the covenant 
of grace, musjt needs also infer our union with Christ, and special 
interest in him ; but the giving or indwelling of the sanctifying Spirit 
in us, is a certain mark of our freedom from the first covenant, 
imder which all Christless persons still stand, and our title to the 
special privileges of the second covenant, in which none but the 
members are interested ; and, consequently, it fully proves our union 
with the Lord Jesus. This is plain from the apostle's reasoning, 
Gal. iv. 6, 7. " And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the 
" spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father : Where- 
" fore thou art no more a servant, but a son : and if a son, then 
" an heir of God, through Christ." The spirit of the first covenant 
was a servile spirit, a spirit of fear and bondage, and they that 
were under that covenant were not sons, but servants ; but the 
spirit of the new covenant is a free, ingenuous spirit, acting in the 
strength of God, and those that do so, are the children of God ; 
and children inherit the blessed privileges and royal immunities 
contained in that great charter, the covenant of grace : they are 
heirs of God, and the evidence of this their inheritance, by virtue 
of the second covenant, and of freedom from the servitude and 
bondage of the first covenant, is the Spirit of ' Christ in their hearts, 
crying, Abba Father; So Gal. v 18. " If ye be led by the Spirit, 
" ye are not under the law." 

Fourthly, If the eternal decree of God's electing love be executed, 
and the virtues and benefits of the death of Christ applied by the 
Spirit, unto every soul in whom he dwelleth, as a spirit of sanctifi- 
cation ; then such a giving of the Spirit unto us must needs be a 
certain mark and proof of our special interest in Christ ; but the de- 
cree of God's electing love is executed, and the benefits of the blood 



SERM. XXIV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 333 

of Christ are applied to every soul in whom he dwelleth, as a spi- 
rit of sanctification. This is plain from 1 Pet. i. 2. " Elect accord- 
" ing to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctifica- 
" tion of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of 
" Jesus Christ :" Where you see both God's election executed, 
and the blood of Jesus sprinkled or applied unto us by the Spirit, 
which is given to us as a Spirit of sanctification. There is a bles- 
sed order of working observed as proper to eacli person in the God- 
head ; the Father electeth, the Son redeemeth, the Spirit sanctifi- 
eth. The Spirit is the last efficient in the work of our salvation ; 
what the Father decreed, and the Son purchased, that the Spirit 
applieth ; and so puts the last hand to the complete salvation of 
believers. And this some divines give as the reason why the sin 
against the Spirit is unpardonable, because he being the last agent, 
in order of working, if the heart of a man be filled with en- 
mity against the Spirit, there can be no remedy for such a sin ; 
there is no looking back to the death of Christ, or to the love of 
God for remedy. This sin against the Spirit is that obex infernalis, 
the deadly stop and bar to the whole work of salvation ; Oppositely, 
where the Spirit is received, obeyed, and dwelleth in the way of 
sanctification ; into that soul the eternal love of God, the inesti- 
mable benefits of the blood of Christ run freely, without any inter- 
ruption ; and, consequently, the interest of such a soul in Jesus 
Christ is beyond all dispute. 

Fifthly, The giving of the Spirit to us, or his residing in us, as 
a sanctifying Spirit, is every where in scripture made the pledge 
and earnest of eternal salvation, and consequently must abundantly 
confirm and prove the soul's interest in Christ, Eph. i. 13, 14. 
" In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that 
" holy Spirit of promise ; which is the earnest of our inheritance," 
#c> So, 2 Cor. i. 22. " who hath also sealed us, and given the 
" earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 1 ' And thus you have the 
point opened and confirmed. The use of all followeth : 

Use. Now the only use I make of this point shall be that which 
lieth directly, both in the view of the text, and of the design for 
which it was chosen ; namely, by it to try and examine the truth 
of our interest in, and the validity of our claim to Jesus Christ. In 
pursuance of which design, I shall first lay down some general rules, 
and then propose some particular trials. 

First, I shall lay down some general rules for the due informa- 
tion of our minds in this point, upon which so much depends. 

Rule 1. Though the Spirit of God be given to us, and worketh in 
us, yet he worketh not as a natural and necessary, but as a free and 
arbitrary agent : He neither assists, nor sanctifies, as the fire burn- 
etii, ad ultimum sui posse, as much as he can assist or sanctify, but as 



33-i THE METHOD OF GRACE, SEEM. XXIV, 

much as he pleaseth : dividing to every man severally as he will," 
1 Cor. xii. 11. Bestowing- greater measures of gifts and graces 
upon some than upon others ; and assisting the same person more 
at one season than another ; and all this variety of operation flow- 
eth from his own good pleasure. His grace is his own, he may 
give it as he pleaseth. 

Rule 2. There is a great difference in the manner of the Spirifs 
working before and after the work of regeneration. Whilst we are 
unregenerate, he works upon us as upon dead creatures that work 
not at all with him ; and what motion there is in our souls, is a 
counter-motion to the Spirit ; but after regeneration it is not so, 
he then works upon a complying and willing mind ; we work, and 
he assists, Rom. viii. 26. Our conscience witnessed), and he bear- 
eth witness with it, Rom. viii. 16. It is therefore an error of dan- 
gerous consequence to think that sanctified persons are not bound 
to stir and strive in the way of duty, without a sensible impulse, 
or preventing motion of the Spirit, Isa. lxiv. 7. 

Rule 3. Though the Spirit of God be given to believers, andzoork- 
eth in them, yet believers themselves may do or omit such things as 
may obstruct the working, and obscure the very being of the Spirit 
of God i?i tliem. Ita notis tractat, ut a nobis traciatur : He dealeth 
with us in his evidencing and comforting: work, as we deal with him 
in point of tenderness and obedience to his dictates ; there is a griev- 
ing, yea, there is a quenching of the Spirit by the lusts and corrup- 
tions of those hearts in which he dwelleth ; and though he will not 
forsake his habitation, as a Spirit of sanctification, yet he may for a 
time desert it as a Spirit of consolation, Psal. li. 11. 

Rule 4. Those things which discover the indwelling of the Spirit 
in believers are not so much the matter of their duties, or substance 
of their actions, as the more secret springs, holy aims, and spiritual 
manner qf their doing or performing of them. It is not so much 
the matter of a prayer, the neat and orderly expressions in which it 
is uttered, as the inward sense and spiritual design of the soul ; it is 
not the choice of elegant words, whereby our conceptions are clothed, 
or the copiousness of the matter with which we are furnished, for 
even a poor stammering tongue, and broken language, mav have 
much of the Spirit of God in it. This made Luther say, he saw 
more excellency in the duty of a plain rustic Christian, than in all 
the triumphs of Caesar and Alexander. The beauty and excel- 
lency of spiritual duties is an inward hidden thing. 

Rule 5. All the motions and operations qf the Spirit are always 
harmonious, and suitable to the written word, Isa. viii. 20. " To the 
" law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, 
u it is because there is no light in them.'" The scriptures are by 
the inspiration of the Spirit, therefore this inspiration into the 



SEMI. XXIV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 

hearts of believers must either substantially agree with the scrip- 
tures, or the inspiration of the Spirit be self-repugnant, and 
contradictory to itself. It is very observable, that the works 
of o-race wrought by the Spirit in the hearts of believers, are re- 
presented to us in scripture, as a transcript, or copy of the written 
word, Jer. xxxi. 33. " I will write my law in their hearts.' 1 Now, 
as a true copy answers the original, word for word, letter for let- 
ter, point for point; so do the works of the Spirit in our soui-i 
harmonize with the dictates of the Spirit in the scriptures ; what- 
soever motion therefore shall be found repugnant thereto, must 
not be fathered upon the Spirit of God, but laid at the door of its 
proper parents, the spirit of error and corrupt nature. 

Rule 6. Although the works of the Spirit, in all sanctified persons, 
do substantially agree, both with the written word, and with one ano- 
ther, (as ten thousand copies, penned from one original, must needs 
agree within themselves ;) yet as to the manner of infusion and 
operation, there are found many circumstantial differences. The 
Spirit of God doth not hold one and the same method of working 
upon all hearts : The work of grace is introduced into some souk 
with more terror and trouble for sin, than it is in others ; he wrought 
upon Paul one way, upon Lydia in another way ; he holds some 
much longer under terrors and troubles than he doth others; in- 
veterate and more profane sinners find stronger troubles for sin, and 
are held longer under them, than those are, into whose heart grace 
is more early and insensibly infused by the Spirit's blessing upon 
religious education ; but as these have less trouble than the other 
at first, so commonly they have less clearness, and more doubts and 
fears about the work of the Spirit afterwards. 

Rule 7. There is a great difference found betwixt the sanctifying 
and the comforting influences of the Spirit upon believers, in respect 
of constancy and permanency. His sanctifying influences abide for 
ever in the soul, they never depart ; but his comforting influences 
come and go, and abide not long upon the hearts of believers. 
Sanctification belongs to the being of a Christian, consolation only 
to his well-being : The first is fixed and abiding, the latter various 
and inconstant. Sanctification brings us to heaven hereafter, con- 
solation brings heaven unto us here ; our safety lies in the former, 
our cheerfulness only in the latter. There are times and seasons. 
in the lives of believers, wherein the Spirit of God doth more 
nally and eminently seal their spirits, and ravish their hearts with 
joy unspeakable. But what Bernard speaketh is certainly true in 
the experience of Christians : " * It is a sweet hour, and it is but 



* Rara hora, brevit mora ; sapit quidem suavlssime, zed gnstatur rarisrimc. Bern. 



336 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SEIiM. XXIV., 



" an hour ; a thing of short continuance : the relish of it is exceed- 
" ing sweet, but it is not often that Christians taste it/' And so 
much may suffice for the general rules about the inbeing and work- 
ings of the Spirit in believers, for the better information of our 
understandings, and prevention of mistakes in this matter : I shall 
next, according to promise, lay down the particular marks and 
trials by which we may discern whether God hath given us his 
Spirit or no, by which grown Christians, when they are in a due 
composed frame, may, by the assistance of the Spirit of God, (for 
which therefore they are bound to pray), discern his indwelling and 
working in themselves. 

Evidence 1. In whomsoever the Spirit of Christ is a Spirit qj 
sanctifieation, to that man or woman he hath been, more or less, a 
Spirit of conviction and humiliation. This is the order which the 
Spirit constantly observes in adult or grown converts, John xvi. 8, 
9. " And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of 
" righteousness, and of judgment: of sin because they believe not 
" on me." This, you see, is the method he observes all the world 
over ; he shall reprove or convince the world of sin. Conviction of 
sin hath the same respect unto sanctification, as the blossoms of trees 
have to the fruits that follow them : A blossom is but Jructus imper- 
Jectus, et ordinabilis ; an imperfect fruit in itself, and in order to a 
more perfect and noble fruit. Where there are no blossoms, we can 
expect no fruit ; and where we see no conviction of sin, we can ex- 
pect no conversion to Christ. Hath then the Spirit of God been a 
Spirit of conviction to thee ? Hath he more particularly convinced 
thee of sin, because thou hast not believed on him ? i. e. hath he 
shewn thee thy sin and misery, as an unbeliever ? Not only terri- 
fied and affrighted thy conscience with this or that more notorious 
act of sin, but fully convinced thee of the state of sin that thou art 
in by reason of thy unbelief, which, holding thee from Christ, 
must needs also hold thee under the guilt of all thy other sins. 
This gives, at least, a strong probability that God hath given thee 
his Spirit, especially when this conviction remains day and night 
upon thy soul, so that nothing but Christ can give it rest, and 
consequently the great enquiry of thy soul is after Christ, and none 
but Christ. 

Evidence 2. As the Spirit of God liath been a convincing, so he is 
a quickening Spirit, to all those to whom he is given ; Rom. viii. 2. 
" The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free 
*' from the law of sin and death :" He is the Spirit of life, i. e. the 
principle of spiritual life in the souls whom he inhabiteth ; for, 
uniting them to Christ, he unites them to the fountain of life ; and 
this spiritual life, in believers, manifests itself as the natural life 
doth in vital actions and operations. When the Spirit of God 



SERM. XXIV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 337 

comes into the soul of a man that was dead and senseless under sin, 
" O (saith he) now I begin to feel the weight and load of sin, 
" Rom. vii. 24. now I begin to hunger and thirst after Christ 
" and his ordinances, 1 Pet. ii. 2. now I begin to breathe after 
4 ' God in spiritual prayer, 1 '' Acts ix. 11. Spiritual life hath its 
spiritual senses, and suitable operations. O think upon this you 
that cannot feel any burden in sin, you that have no hungering 
or thirstings after Christ ; how can the Spirit of God be in you ? 
I do not deny but there may, at some times, be much deadm s 
and senselessness upon the hearts of Christians, but this is their 
disease, not their nature ; it is but at some times, not always, and 
when it is so with them, they are burdened with it, and complain 
of it as their greatest affliction in this world ; their spirits are not 
easy and at rest, in such a condition as yours are ; their spirits are 
as a bone out of joint, an arm dislocated, which cannot move 
any way without pain. 

Evidence 3. Those to wliom God giveth his Spirit have a tender 
sympathy with all the interests and concernments of Christ. This 
must needs be so, if the same Spirit which is in Christ dwelleth also 
in thy heart ; if thou be a partaker of his Spirit, then what he loves, 
thou lovest, and what he hateth, thou hatest. This is a very plain 
case ; even in nature itself, we find that the many members of the 
same natural body being animated by one and the same spirit of 
life, " whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with 
" it ; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with 
" it : Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular," 
1 Cor. xii. 26, 27. For look, as Christ, the head of that body is 
touched with a tender sense and feeling of the miseries and troubles 
of his people, he is persecuted when they are persecuted, Acts ix. 
4. so they that have the Spirit of Christ in them, cannot be with- 
out a deep and tender sense of the reproach and dishonours that 
are done to Christ : This is " as it were a sword in their bones," 
Psal. xlii. 3. If his public worship cease, or the assemblies of his 
people are scattered; it cannot but go to the hearts of all, in 
whom the Spirit of Christ is : " They will be sorrowful for the so- 
" lemn assemblies ; the reproach of them will be a burden, 11 Zeph. 
iii. 18. Those that have the Spirit of Christ do not more earnestly 
long after any one thing in this world, than the advancement of 
Christ's interest by conversion and reformation in the kingdoms of 
the earth, Psal. xlv. 3, 4. Paul could rejoice that Christ was 
preached, though his own afflictions were increased, Phil. i. 16, 
18. and John could rejoice that Christ increased, though he him- 
self decreased ; yet therein was his joy fulfilled, John iii. 29. So 
certainly the concernments of Christ must and will touch that heart 
which is the habitation of his Spirit. I cannot deny, but even a 



bd& THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEBM. XXIV. 

good Baruch may be under a temptation to seek great things for 
himself, and be too much swallowed up in his own concernments, 
when God is plucking up and breaking down, Jer. xlv. 4, 5. But 
this is only the influence of a temptation : the true temper and spi- 
rit of a believer inclines him to sorrow and mourning, when things 
are in this sad posture : Ezek. ix. 4. " Go through the midst of 
" the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon 
(i the foreheads of the men that sigh, and that cry for all the 
" abominations that be done in the midst thereof." 

O reader, lay thine hand upon thine heart : Is it thus with 
thee ? Dost thou sympathize with the affairs and concernments of 
Christ in the world ? or, carest thou not which way things go with 
the people of God, and gospel of Christ, so long as thine own 
affairs prosper, and all things are well with thee ? 

Evidence 4. Wherever the Spirit of God dicellcth, he doth in some 
degree, mortify and subdue the evils and corruptions of the soid in 
which he resides. This Spirit lusteth against the flesh, Gal. v. 7. 
and believers, " through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the 
body," Rom. vih. 13. This is one special part of his sanctifying 
work. I do not say he kills and subdues sin in believers, as that it 
shall never trouble or defile them any more : No ; that freedom be- 
longs to the perfect state in heaven, but its dominion is taken away, 
though its life be prolonged for a season. It lives in believers still, 
but not upon the provision they willingly make to fulfil the lust of 
it, Rom. xiii. 27. The design of every true believer, is co-incident 
with the design of the Spirit, to destroy and mortify corruption : 
They long after the extirpation of it, and are daily in the use of 
all sanctified means and instruments, to subdue and destroy it ; the 
workings of their corruption are the afflictions of their souls, 
Rom. vii. 24. " O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me 
" from the body of this death ?" And there is no one thing that 
sweetens the thoughts of death to believers (except the sight and 
full enjovment of God) more than their expected deliverance from 
sin doth. 

Evidence 5. Wherever ilie spirit of God dzcelleth in the way of 
sanctification, in all such he is the Spirit of prayer and supplication, 
Rom. vih. 26. " Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities, 
" for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the 
" Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which 
" cannot be uttered :* Wherever he is poured out as the Spirit 
of grace, he is also poured out as the Spirit of supplication, Zech. 
xii^lO. His praying and his sanctifying influences are undivided. 
There is a threefold assistance that the Spirit gives unto sanctified 
persons in prayer. He helps them before they pray, by setting an 
edge upon their desires and affections : He helps them in prayer, 



r,ERM. XXIV. THE METHOD OP GRACE. * 339 

by supplying matters of request to them, teaching them what they 
should ask of God : He assisteth them in the manner of prayer, 
supplying them with suitable affections, and helping them to be 
sincere in all their desires to God. It is he that humbles the pride 
of their hearts, dissolves, and breaks the hardness of their hearts ; 
Out of deadness makes them lively; out of weakness makes them 
strong. He assisteth the spirits of believers after prayer, helping 
them to faith and patience, to believe, and wait for the returns and 
answers of their prayers. O reader, reflect upon thy duties, con- 
sider what spirituality, sincerity, humility, broken-heartedness, and 
melting affections after God, are to be found in thy duties : Is it 
so with thee ? Or dost thou hurry over thy duties as an interrup- 
tion to thy business and pleasures ? Are they an ungrateful task, 
imposed upon thee by God, and thy own conscience ? Are there 
no hungerings and thirstings after God in thy soul ? Or, if there 
be any pleasure arising to thee out of prayer, is it not from the 
ostentation of thy gifts ? If it be so, reflect sadly upon the carnal 
state of thy heart ; these things do not speak the Spirit of grace 
and supplication to be given thee. 

Evidence 6. Wherever the Spirit of grace inhabits, there is an 
heavenly i, spiritual frame of mind accompanying, and evidencing the 
indicelling of the Spirit, Rom. viii. 5, 6. "For they that are after 
" the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh ; but they that are after 
" the Spirit, the things of the Spirit : for to be carnally minded 
" is death : but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." By 
the mind, understand the musings, reasonings, yea, and the cares, 
fears, delights and pleasures of the soul, which follow the work- 
ings and meditations of the mind. As these are, so are we ; if 
these be ordinarily and habitually taken up, and exercised about 
earthly things, then is the frame and state of the man carnal, and 
earthly : The workings of every creature follow the being and na- 
ture of it. If God, Christ, heaven, and the world to come, en- 
gage the thoughts and affections of the soul, and the temper of 
such a soul is spiritual, and the Spirit of God dwelleth there ; this 
is the life of the regenerate, Phil. iii. 20. " Our conversation is in 
" heaven ;" and such a frame of heart is life and peace : A serene, 
placid, and most comfortable life. No pleasures upon earth, no 
gratifications of the senses, do relish and savour, as spiritual 
things do. Consider, therefore, which way thy heart ordinarily 
works, especially in thy solitudes and hours of retirement. These 
things will be a great evidence for, or against thy soul. David 
could say, " How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God ! 
" How great is the sum of them : if I should count them, they 
" are more in number than the sand ; when I awake, I am still 
" with thee," Pail, cxxxix. 17, 18. Yet it must be acknowledged, 

Vol. II. Y 



840 THE METHOD 01 GRACE. SERM. XXIV, 

for the relief of weaker Christians, that there is a great differ- 
ence and variety found in this matter, among the people of God : 
For the strength, steadiness, and constancy of a spiritual mind, re- 
sult from the depth and improvement of sanctification : The more 
grace, still the more evenness, spirituality, and constancy there is 
in the motions of the heart after God. The minds of weak Chris- 
tians are more easily entangled in earthly vanities, and more fre- 
quently diverted by inward corruptions ; yet still there is a spiri- 
tual Pondus, inclination and bent of their hearts towards God ; 
and the vanity and corruption which hinders their communion with 
him are their greatest grief and burthen under which they groan in 
this world. 

Evidence 7. Those to whom the Spirit of grace is given, are led 
by the Spirit, Rom. viii. 14. "As many as are led by the Spirit of 
" God, they are the sons of God :" Sanctified souls give themselves 
up to the government and conduct of the Spirit ; they obey his 
voice, beg his direction, follow his motions, deny the solicitations of 
flesh and blood, in obedience to him, Gal. i. 16. And they that 
do so, they are the sons of God. It is the office of the Spirit to 
guide us into all truth ; and it is our great duty to follow his 
guidance. Hence it is, that in all enterprises and undertakings, 
the people of God so earnestly beg direction and counsel from him. 
" Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness, (saith David) make 
" thy way straight before my face," Psal. v. 8. They dare 
not, in doubtful cases, lean to their own understandings ; yea, in 
points of duty, and in points of sin, they dare not neglect the one, 
or commit the other, against the convictions and persuasions of 
their own consciences ; though troubles and sufferings be unavoid- 
able in that path of duty, when they have balanced duties with 
sufferings, in their most serious thoughts, the conclusion and re- 
sult will still be, it is better to obey God, than man, the dictates 
of the Spirit, rather than the counsels of flesh and blood. 

But, before I leave this point, I reckon myself a debtor unto 
weak Christians, and shall endeavour to give satisfaction to some 
special doubts and fears, with which their minds are ordinarily 
entangled in this matter ; for it is a very plain case, that many 
souls have the presence and sanctification of the Spirit without 
the evidence and comfort thereof. Divers thing are found in be- 
lievers, which are so many fountains of fears and doubts to them. 
And, 

Objection 1. First, I greatly doubt the Spirit of God is not in 
me, (saith a poor Christian) because of the great darkness and 
ignorance which clouds my soul ; for I read, 1 John ii. 27. that he 
enlighteneth the soul which he inhabiteth. " The anointing which 
" ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that 



RERM. XXIV. 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. 341 



" any man teach you, but as the same anointing teachetli you of 
" all things," &c. but alas, my understanding is weak and cloudy, 
I have need to learn of the meanest of God's people : This only I 
know, that I know nothing as I ought to know. 

Sol. Two things are to be regarded in spiritual knowledge ; viz. 
the quantity, and the efficacy thereof. Your condition doth not 
so much depend upon the measures of knowledge ; for, haply, you 
are under many natural disadvantages, and want those helps and 
means of increasing knowledge, which others plentifully enjoy. 
It may be you have wanted the helps of education, or have been 
incumbered by the necessities and cares of the world, which have 
allowed you but little leisure for the improvement of your minds : 
But if that which you do know, be turned into practice and obe- 
dience, Col. i. 9, 10. If it have influence upon your hearts, and 
transform your affections into a spiritual frame and temper, 2 Cor. 
hi. 17, 18. If your ignorance humble you, and drive you to God 
daily for the increase of knowledge, one drop of such knowledge 
of Christ, and yourselves as this, is more worth than a sea of hu- 
man, moral, unsanctified, and speculative knowledge. Though 
you know but little, yet that little, being sanctified, is of great 
value : Though vou know but little, time was when you knew 
nothing of Jesus Christ, or the state of your own souls. In a word, 
though you know but little, that little you do know will be still 
increasing, " like the morning light, which shineth more and more 
" unto the perfect day," Prov. iv. 18. If thou knowest so much 
as brings thee to Christ, thou shalt shortly be where thy knowledge 
shall be as the light at noon-day. 

Object % I sometimes find my heart raised, and my affections 
melted in duties, but I doubt it is in a natural way, and not from 
the Spirit of God : could I be assured those motions of my heart 
were from the Spirit of grace, and not merely a natural thing, it 
would be a singular comfort and satisfaction to me. 

Sol. First, Consider whether this be not the ground of your fear 
and doubting, because you are fain to take pains in the way of 
meditation, prayer, and other duties, to bring your hearts to relish 
and savour the things of God ; whereas, it may be, you expect 
your spiritual enlargements and comforts should flow in upon you 
spontaneously, and drop from heaven immediately of their own 
accord, without any pains or industry of yours. Here may be, 
(and probably is) a great mistake in this matter ; for the Spirit of 
God works in the natural method, wherein affections use to be 
raised, and makes use of such duties as meditation and prayer, as 
instruments to do that work by, Ezek. xxxvi. 37. So David was 
forced to reason with, and chide his own heart, Psal. xlii. 5. Thy 

Y2 



342 THE METHOD OF GAACE. SERM. XXIV- 

comfort and enlargement may nevertheless be the fruit of the Spirit, 
because God makes it spring up, and grow upon thy duties. 

Secondly, Take this as a sure rule, Whatsoever rises from self, 
always aims at, and terminates in self. This stream cannot be car- 
ried higher than the fountain ; if therefore thy aim, and end in 
striving for affections and enlargements in duty, be only to win 
applause from men, and appear to be what in reality thou art not, 
this, indeed, is the fruit of nature, and a very corrupt and hypo- 
critical nature ; but if thy heart be melted, or desire to be melted 
in the sense of the evil of sin, in order to the further mortification 
of it ; and, under the apprehensions of the free grace and mercy 
of God in the pardon of sin, in order to the engaging of thy soul 
more firmly to him ; if these, or such like, be thy ends and de- 
signs, or be promoted and furthered by thine enlargements and 
spiritual comforts, never reject them as the mere fruits of nature : 
A carnal root cannot bring forth such fruits as these. 

Object. 3. Upon the contrary, spiritual deadness, and indis- 
posedness to duties, and to those especially which are more secret, 
spiritual, and self-denying than others, is the ground upon which 
many spiritual souls, who are yet truly gracious, do doubt the in- 
dwelling of the Spirit in them. O, saith such a soul, if the Spirit 
of God be in me, Why is it thus ? Could my heart be so dead, so 
backward and averse to spiritual duties ? No ; these things would 
be my meat and my drink, the delights and pleasures of my life. 

Sol. First, These things indeed are very sad, and argue thy heart to 
be out of frame, as the body is, when it cannot relish the most desira- 
ble meats or drinks : But the question will be, how thy soul behaves 
itself in such a condition as this is ? whether this be easy or burden- 
some to be borne by thee ? * and if thou complain under it as a bur- 
den ; then M'hat pains thou takest to ease thyself, and get rid of it ? 

Secondly, Know also, that there is a great difference betwixt spi- 
ritual death, and spiritual deadness ; the former is the state of the 
unregenerate, the latter is the disease and complaint of many thou- 
sand regenerate souls : If David had not felt it as well as thee, he 
would never have cried out nine times in the compass of one 
Psalm, Quicken me, quicken inc. Besides, 

Thirdly, Though it be often, it is not so always with thee ; there 
are seasons wherein the Lord breaks in upon thy heart, enlarges 
thy affections, and sets thy soul at liberty ; to which times thou 
wilt do well to have an eye, in these dark and cloudy days. 

Object. 4. But the Spirit of God is the comforter, as well as a 

* He who inclines to that which is good, and is averse to that which is evil, has a de- 
sire of pleasing God, though sometimes, being seduced by evil concupiscence, through 
infirmity he may commit that which is displeasing to God. Daven. 



SERM. XXIV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 343 

sanctifier : He doth not only enable men to believe, but after they 
believe, he also seals them, Eph. i. 13. But I walk in darkness, and 
am a stranger to the sealing and comforting work of the Spirit : 
How therefore can I imagine the Spirit of God should dwell in me, 
who go from day to day in the bitterness of my soul, mourning as 
without the sun ? 

Sol. There is a twofold sealing, and a two-fold comfort : The 
Spirit sealeth both objectively, in the work of sanctification ; and 
formally, in giving clear evidence of that work. Thou mayest be 
sealed in the first, whilst thou art not yet sealed in the second sense: 
If so, thy condition is safe, although it be at present uncomforta- 
ble. And, as to comfort, that also is of two sorts, viz. seminal, or 
actual: in the root, or in the fruit; Light U sown for the righteous, 
Psal. xcvii. 11. though the harvest to reap and gather in that joy 
and comfort be not yet come. And there are many other ways 
beside that of joy and comfort, whereby the indwelling of the Spi- 
rit may evidence itself in thy soul : If he do not enable thee to re- 
joice, yet if he enable thee sincerely to mourn for sin ; if he do not 
enlarge thy heart in comfort, yet if he humble and purge thy heart 
by sorrows : if he deny thee the assurance of faith, and yet give thee 
the dependence of faith, thou hast no reason to call in question, or 
deny the indwelling of the Spirit in thee for that cause. 

Object. 5. But the apostle saith, a They that walk in the Spirit, 
" do not fulfil the lusts of the flesh," Gal. v. 16. but I find myself 
entangled, and frequently overcome by them : Therefore I doubt 
the Spirit of God is not in me. 

Sol It is possible the ground of your doubting may be your mis- 
take of the true sense and meaning of that scripture : It is not the 
apostle's meaning in that place, that sin in believers doth not work, 
tempt, and oftentimes overcome, and captivate them ; for then lie 
would contradict himself in Rom. vii. 23. where he thus com- 
plains, " But I see another law in my members, warring against 
" the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law 
" of sin which is in my members.'" But two things are meant by 
that expression, " Ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh." 

First, That the principle of grace will give a check to sin in its 
first motions, and cause it to miscarry in the womb, like an un- 
timely birth, before it come to its full maturity ; it shall never be 
able to gain the full consent of the will, as it doth in the un- 
regenerate. 

Secondly, If, notwithstanding all the opposition grace makes to 
hinder the birth or commission of it, it doth yet prevail, and break 
forth into act ; yet such acts of sin, as they are not committed 
without regret, so they are followed with shame, sorrow, and true 

Y3 



344 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEItM. XXIV. 

repentance : And those very surprisals, and captivities of sin at one 
time, are made cautions and warnings to prevent it at another time. 
If it be so with thee, thou dost not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. 

And now, reader, upon the whole, if upon examination of thy 
heart by these rules, the Lord shall help thee to discern the saving 
work of the Spirit upon thy soul, and thereby thine interest in 
Christ, What a happy man or woman art thou ! what pleasure 
will arise to thy soul from such a discovery ! Look upon the frame 
of thine heart absolutely as it is in itself at present, or comparatively r , 
with what once it was, and others still are, and thou wilt find enough 
to transport and melt thy heart within thee : Certainly this is the 
most glorious piece of workmanship that ever God wrought in the 
world upon any man, Eph. ii. 10. The Spirit of God is come down 
from heaven, and hath hallowed thy soul to be a temple for him- 
self to dwell in ; as he hath said, " I will dwell in them, and walk 
" in them, and I will be their Gad, and they shall be my people," 
2 Cor. vii. 16. Moreover, this gift of the Spirit is a sure pledge 
and earnest of thy future glory : Time was, when there was no 
such work upon thy soul. And, considering the frame and tem- 
per of it, the total aversation, strong opposition, and rooted enmity 
that was in it; it is the wonder of wonders, that ever such a work 
as this should be wrought upon such a heart as thine : that ever 
the Spirit of God, whose nature is pure and perfect holiness, should 
chuse such an unclean, polluted, abominable heart to frame an ha- 
bitation for himself there to dwell in ; to say of thy soul (now his 
spiritual temple) as he once said of the material temple at Jerusa- 
lem, Psal. exxxii. 13, 14. " The Lord hath chosen it, he hath de- 
" sired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever : Here will 
" I dwell ; for I have desired it," O what hath God done for thy 
soul ! 

Think, reader, and think again : Are there not many thousands 
in the world of more ingenuous, sweet, and amiable dispositions 
than thyself, whom yet the Spirit of God passe th by, and leaveth 
them as tabernacles for Satan to dwell in ? Such a one thou lately 
wast, and hadst still remained, if God had not wrought for thee, 
beyond all the expectations and desires of thine own heart. O bless 
God that you have received not the spirit of the world, but the 
Spirit which is of God ; that ye might know the things which are 
freely given unto you of God. 



SEKM. XXV. THE METHOD OF GRA< E $45 

SERMON XXV. 

Of the Nature and Necessity of the New Creature. 

2 Cor. v. 17. 

Therefore if any man be in Christ , he is a new creature : old things ■ 
are passed aicay ; behold, all things are become new. 

JL OU have seen one trial of an interest in Christ, in our last dis- 
course, namely, hy the donation of the Spirit. We have here ano- 
ther trial of the same matter, from one of the greatest, and most 
noble effects of the Spirit upon our souls ; namely, his work of re- 
novation, or new creation : " If any man be in Christ, he is a new 
" creature. 1 '* The apostle's scope in the immediate context, is to 
dissuade Christians from a carnal, sinful partiality, in their respects 
to men : Not to despise them after the manner of the world, ac- 
cording to the external differences, but the real internal worth and 
excellency that is in men. This the apostle presses by two argu- 
ments; one drawn from the end of Christ's death, ver. 15. which 
was to take off from these selfish designs and carnal ends by which 
the whole world is swayed. Secondly, From the neto spirit, by 
which believers are actuated : they that are in Christ are to judge 
and measure all things by a new rule : " If any man be in Christ, 
" he is a new creature : Old things are passed away ;" q. d. we have 
done with that low, selfish spirit of the world, which was wholly 
governed by carnal interest ; we are now to judge by a new rule, 
to be actuated from a new principle, aim at a new and more noble 
end ; " Behold, all things are become new." In these words we 
have three general parts, to be distinctly considered, viz. 

1. The great question to be determined, " If any man be in 
« Christ r 

2. The rule by which it may be determined, viz. " he is a new 
" creature." 

3. This general rule more particularly explained, " Old things 
" are passed away ; behold, all things are become new." 

First, We have here the great question to be determined, 
Whether a man be in Christ ? A question upon the determination 
whereof, we must stand, or fall for ever. By [being in Christ] the 
apostle doth not here mean the general profession of Christianity, 
which gives a man the reputation of an interest in him ; but by be- 
ing in Christ, he means an interest in him, by vital union with his 
person, and real participation of his benefits. Now this is the 
question to be determined, the matter to be tried ; than which, 
nothing can be more solemn and important in the whole world 

Y4 



346 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXV. 

Secondly, The rule by which this great question may be deter- 
mined, viz. The new erratum ; " If any man be in Christ, he is a new 
" creature." By this rule all the titles and claims made to Christ 
in the professing world, are to be examined. [If' any man] be he 
what he will, high or low, great or small, learned or illiterate, 
young or old, if he pretend interest in Christ, this is the standard 
by which he must be tried : if he be in Christ, he is a new creature ; 
and if he be not a new creature, he is not in Christ, let his endow- 
ments, gifts, confidence, and reputation be what they will : [A new 
creature'] not new physically, he is the same person he was ; but 
a new creature, that is, a creature renewed by gracious principles, 
newly infused into him from above, which sway him and guide him 
in another manner, and to another end than ever he acted before ; 
and these gracious principles not being educed out of any thing 
which was pre-existent in man, but infused de novo, from above, 
are therefore called, in this place, a new creature : This is the 
rule by which our claim to Christ must be determined. 

Thirdly, This general rule is here more particularly explained ; 
" Old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become 
" new." He satisfies not himself to lay down this rule concisely, 
or express it in general terms, by telling us, the man in Christ must 
be a new creature ; but more particularly, he shews us what this 
new creature is, and what the parts thereof are, viz. Both 

1. The privative part ; " Old things are passed away." 

2, The positive part thereof; " All things are become new." 
By old things, he means all those carnal principles, self-ends, 

and fleshly lusts belonging to the carnal state, or the old man : all 
these are passed away ; " * not simply, and perfectly, but only in 
" part at present, and wholly in hope and expectation hereafter." 
So much briefly of the privative part of the new creature, " Old 
" things are passed away." A word or two must be spoken of the 
positive part ; " All things are become new." He means not that 
the old faculties of the soul are abolished, and new ones created in 
their room ; but as our bodies may be said to be new bodies, by 
reason of their new endowments and qualities super-induced, and 
bestowed upon them in their resurrection, so our souls are now re- 
newed by the infusion of new gracious principles into them, in the 
work of regeneration. These two parts, viz. the privative part, 
the passing away of old things ; and the positive part, the renew- 
ing of all things, do, betwixt them, comprize the whole nature of 
sanctifi cation, which, in other scriptures, is expressed by equiva- 
lent phrases ; sometimes by putting off the old, and putting on 



* Non simpliciter, et prrfecte, sed partim spe. Estius in loc. 



SKRM. XXV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 347 

the new man, Eph. iv. 24. sometimes by dying unto sin, and liv- 
ing unto righteousness, Rom. vi. 11. which is the self-same thing 
the apostle here intends, by the passing away of old things, and 
making all things new. And because this is the most excellent, 
glorious, and admirable work of the Spirit, which is, or can be 
wrought upon man in this world ; therefore the apostle asserts it 
with an ecce, a note of special remark and observation, " Behold, 
" all things are become new ;" q. d. Behold and admire this sur- 
prizing, marvellous change which God hath made upon men ; they 
are come out of darkness into his marvellous light, 1 Pet. ii. 9. 
out of the old, as it were, into a new world ; " Behold, all things 
" are become new." Hence note, 

Doct. That God's creating of a new supernatural work of grace 
in the soul of any man, is that maris sure, and infallible evi- 
dence of a saving interest in Jesus Christ. 

Suitable hereunto are those words of the apostle, Eph. iv. 20, 
21, 22, 23, 24. " But ye have not so learned Christ ; if so be that 
" ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth 
" is in Jesus : That ye put off, concerning the former conversation, 
" the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts : 
" and be renewed in the Spirit of your mind : and that ye put on 
" the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and 
" true holiness." Where we have, in other words of the same 
importance, the very self-same description of the man that is in 
Christ, which the apostle gives us in this text. Now, for the 
opening and stating of this point, it will be necessary that I shew 

1. Why the regenerating work of the Spirit is called a new 
creation. 

2. In what respect every soul that is in Christ is renewed, or 
made a new creature. 

3. What are the remarkable properties and qualities of this 
new creature. 

4. The necessity of this new creation to all that are in Christ. 

5. How this new creation evidences our interest in Christ. 

6. And then apply the whole in the proper uses of it. 

First, Why the regenerating work of the Spirit is called a new 
creation. This must be our first enquiry. And, doubtless, the 
reason of this appellation is the analogy, proportion, and simili- 
tude which is found betwixt the work of regeneration, and God\s 
work in the first creation. And their agreement and proportion 
will be found in the following particulars. 

First, The same almighty Author who created the world. 



348 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXV. 

createth also this work of grace in the soul of man, 2 Cor. iv. 6. 
" God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath 
" shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of 
" the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 1 ' The same power- 
ful word which created the natural, createth also the spiritual 
light. * It is equally absurd for any man to say, I make myself 
to repent, or to believe, as it is to say, I made myself to exist, 
and be. 

Secondly, The first thing that God created in the natural world, 
was light, Gen. i. 3. and the first thing which God createth in 
the new creation, is the light of spiritual knowledge, Col. iii. J 0. 
" And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge 
" after the image of him that created him." 

Thirdly, Creation is out of nothing ; it requires no pre-existent 
matter ; it doth not bring one thing out of another, but something 
out of nothing ; it gives a being to that which before had no being : 
So it is also in the new creation, 1 Pet. ii. 9, 10. " Who hath 
" called you out of darkness into his marvellous light ; which in 
" time past were not a people, but are now the people of God ; 
" which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." 
The work of grace is not educed out of the power and principles 
of nature, but it is a pure work of creation. The Heathen philo- 
sophers could neither understand, nor acknowledge the creation 
of the world, because that notion was repugnant to this maxim of 
reason, ex nihilo nihil Jit, out of nothing, nothing can be made. 
Thus did they insanire cum ratione, befool themselves with their 
own reasonings ; and after the same manner some great pretenders 
to reason among us, voting it an absurdity to affirm, that the work 
of grace is not virtually and potentially contained in nature, the 
new creation in the old. 

Fourthly, It was the virtue and efficacy of the Spirit of God, 
which gave the natural world its being by creation ; Gen. i. 2. 
the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters; it hovered 
over the chaos, as the wings of a bird do over her eggs, as the 
same word is rendered, Deut. xxxii. 11. cherishing, as it were by 
incubation, that rude mass by a secret quickening influence, by 
which it drew all creatures into their several forms, and particular 
natures : So it is in the new creation ; a quickening influence must 
come from the Spirit of God, or else the new creation can never 
be formed in us ; John iii. 8. " So is every one that is born of the 
" Spirit." And ver. 6. " That which is born of the Spirit, is 
" spirit." 

* Minus est, tejecisse hominem, quam sanctum, i. e. We may sooner make ourselves, 
men, than saints,. 



SERM. XXV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 349 

Fifthly, The word of God was the instrument of the first crea- 
tion ; Psal. xxxiii. 6, 9- " By the word of the Lord were the 
" heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his 
" mouth : For he spake, and it was done ; he commanded, and 
" it stood fast" The word of God is also the instrument of the 
new creation, or work of grace in man ; 1 Pet. i. 23. " Being 
" bom again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible ; by 
" the word of God, which liveth, and abideth for ever." So 
James i. 18. " Of his own will begat he us, with the word of 
" truth." Of his own Kill; that was the impulsive cause; with 
the word of truth ; that was the instrumental cause. Great respect 
and honour, love, and delight, is due to the word upon this ac- 
count, that it is the instrument of our regeneration, or new cre- 
ation. 

Sixthly, The same power which created the world, still under- 
props and supports it in its being : the world owes its conservation, 
as well as its existence, to the power of God, without which it 
could not subsist one moment. Just so it is with the new creation, 
which entirely depends upon the preserving power, which first 
formed it; Jude ver. 1. "Preserved in Christ Jesus," and 1 Pet. 
i. 5. " Who are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto 
si salvation." As in a natural way " we live, move, and have our 
" being in God," Acts xvii. 28. so in a spiritual way, we continue 
believing, repenting, loving, and delighting in God ; without 
whose continued influence upon our souls, we could do neither. 

Seventhly, In a word, God surveyed the first creation with com- 
placence and great delight ; he beheld the works of his hands, and 
approved them as very good, Gen. i. 31. So this also in the second 
creation ; nothing pleaseth and delights God more than the works 
of grace in the souls of his people. It is not an outward privilege 
of nature, or gift of providence, which commends any man to God ; 
" Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but a new 
" creature," Gal. vi. 15. And thus you see upon what grounds 
the work of regeneration in man is stiled a new creature ; which 
was the first thing to be opened. 

Secondly, Next we must enquire, in what respects every soul that 
is in Christ is renewed, or made a new creature : and here we shall 
find a threefold renovation of every man that is in Christ, viz. 

1. In his state and condition. 

2. In his frame and constitution. 

3. In his practice and conversation. 

First, He is renewed in his state and condition : for he passeth 
from death to life in his justification, 1 John iii. 14. He was con- 
demned by the law, he is now justified freely by grace, through the 
redemption which is in Christ : he was under the curse of the first 



350 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXV, 

covenant ; he is under the blessing of the new covenant : he was 
afar off, but is now made nigh unto God ; an alien, a stranger 
once, now of the household of God, Eph. ii. 12, 13. O blessed 
change, from a sad to a sweet and comfortable condition ! " There 
" is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus," 
Rom. viii. 1. 

Secondly, Every man in Christ is renewed in his frame and con- 
stitution ; all the faculties and affections of his soul are renewed by 
regeneration : his understanding was dark, but now is light in the 
Lord, Eph. v. 8. his conscience was dead and secure, or full of 
guilt and horror, but is now become tender, watchful, and full of 
peace, Heb. ix. 14. his will was rebellious, stubborn, and inflexi- 
ble ; but is now made obedient and complying with the will of 
God, Psal. ex. 2. his desires did once pant and spend themselves in 
the pursuit of vanities, now they are set upon God, Isa. xxvi. 8. 
his love did fondly dote upon ensnaring earthly objects, now it is 
swallowed up in the infinite excellencies of God and Christ, Psal. 
cxix. 97. his joy was once in trifles and things of nought, now his 
rejoicing is in Christ Jesus, Phil. iii. 3. his fear-s once were about 
noxious creatures, now God is the object of the fear of reverence, 
Acts ix. 31. and sin the object of the fear of caution, 2 Cor. vii. 
11. his hopes and expectations were only from the world present, 
but now from that to come, Heb. vi. 19- Thus the soul in its fa- 
culties and affections is renewed ; which being done, the members 
and senses of the body must needs be destinated and employed by 
it in new services ; no more to be the weapons of unrighteousness, 
but instruments of service to Jesus Christ, Rom. vi. 19- And thus 
all that are in Christ are renewed in their frame and constitu- 
tion. 

Thirdly, The man in Christ is renewed in his practice and con- 
versation : the manner of operation always follows the nature of 
beings. Now the regenerate not being what they were, cannot 
walk and act as once they did ; Eph. ii. 1, 2, 3. " And you hath 
" he quickened, who were once dead in trespasses and sins ; 
" wherein ye walked according to the course of this world." 
They were carried away, like water by the strength of the tide, 
by the influence of their own corrupt natures, and the customs and 
examples of the world ; but the case is now altered. So in 1 Cor. 
vi. 11. the apostle shews believers their old companions in sin, and 
tells them, " Such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye 
" are sanctified," &c. q. d. the world is now well altered with 
you, thanks be to the grace of God for it. This wonderful change 
of practice, which is so universal and remarkable in all the regene- 
rate, and immediately consequent upon their conversion, sets the 
world a wondering at them ; 1 Pet. iv. 4. Wherein they think it 



SE11M. XXV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 35l 

strange, that you run not " with them into the same excess of riot, 
" speaking evil of you. They think it strange :*" * The word sig- 
nifies to stand and gaze, as the hen doth which hath brooded, 
and hatched partridge eggs, when she seeth the chickens which she 
hath brought forth, take the wing and fly away from her. Thus 
do the men of the world stand amazed to see their old companions 
in sin, whose language once was vain and earthly, it may be, pro- 
fane and filthy, now to be praying, speaking of God, heaven, and 
things spiritual, having no more to do with them, as to sin, exc< pt 
by way of reprehension and admonition : this amazes the world, 
and makes them look with a strange admiring eye upon the people 
of God. 

Thirdly, In the next place let us enquire into the properties and 
qualities of this new creature, and shew you, as we are able, what 
they are ; yet, reader, expect not here an exact and accurate ac- 
count of that which is so great a mystery ; for if questions may be 
moved about a silly fly, which may puzzle the greatest philosopher 
to resolve them ; how much more may we conceive this great and 
marvellous work of God, the most mysterious and admirable of all 
his works, to surmount the understandings of the most illuminated 
Christians ? O how little do we know of the nature, properties, 
and operations of this new creature ! So far as God hath revealed 
it to our weak understandings, we may speak of it. And, 

First, The scripture speaks of it as a thing of great difficulty to 
be conceived by man, John iii. 8. " The wind bloweth where it. 
" listeth, and thou nearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell 
" whence it cometh and whither it goeth : So is every one that is 
" born of the Spirit. 11 The original of winds is a question of great 
difficulty in philosophy : We hear the voice of the wind, feel its 
mighty force, and behold its strange effects ; but neither know 
whence it comes, or whither it goes. Ask a man, Do you hear 
the wind blow ? Yes. Do you feel it blow ? Yes, very sensibly. 
Do you see the effects of it, rending and overturning the trees ? 
Yes, very plainly. But can you describe its nature, or declare" its 
original ? No, that is a mystery which I do not understand. Why 
just so it is with him that is born of the Spirit. The holy Spirit of 
God, whose nature and operations we understand but little of, 
comes from heaven, quickens and influences our souls, beats down 
and mortifies our lusts by his Almighty Power : These effects of 
the Spirit in us we experimentally feel, and sensibly discern : But 

Ev u ^zvi^ovlcu, i. e. Then stand amazed, as at the sight of an uncommon thing. 
Bern. lis se trouvent toics nouveaux, et co7nme en tin autre mande, i. e. They find them- 
selves ell new, and as in another world. 



352 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 5ERM. XXV. 

how the Spirit of God first entered into, and quickened our souls, 
and produced this new creature in them, we understand little 
more of it than how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is 
with child, Eccles. xi. 5. Therefore is the life of the new creature 
called a hidden life, Col. iii. 3. The nature of that life is not only 
hidden totally from all carnal men, but in a very great measure it 
is an hidden and unknown life unto spiritual men, though them- 
selves be the subjects of it. 

Secondly ', But though this life of the new creature be a great 
mystery, and secret in some respects ; yet so far as it is known, 
and appears unfo us, the new creature is the most beautiful and 
lovely creature that ever God made ; for the beauty of the Lord 
himself is upon it : " The new man is created after God," Eph. 
iv. 24. As the picture is drawn after the man, it is a draught of 
God himself delineated by the Spirit, that admirable Artist, upon 
the soul of man. Holiness is the beauty and glory of God ; and 
in holiness the new creature is created after God's own image, Col, 
iii. 10. The regenerate soul hereby becomes holy, 1 John iii. 3. 
not essentially holy, as God is, nor yet efficiently holy; for the re- 
generate soul can neither make itself, nor others holy : But the 
life of the new creature may be said to resemble the life of God in 
this, that as God lives to himself, so the new creature wholly lives 
to God ; as God loves holiness, and hates the contrary, so doth the 
new creature ; it is in these things formed after the image of God 
that created it When God creates this creature in the soul of man, 
we are said then to be " partakers of the divine nature," 2 Pet. i. 
4. So that there can be nothing communicated unto men which 
beautifies and adorns their souls as this new creation doth : Men do 
not resemble God as they are noble, and as they are rich, but as 
they are holy : no gift, no endowment of nature embellishes the 
soul as this new creature doth : An awful Majesty sits upon the 
brow of the new creature, commanding the greatest and worst of 
men to do homage to it, Mark vi. 20. Yea, such is the beauty of 
the new creature, that Christ, its author, is also its admirer, Cant, 
iv. 2. " Thou hast ravished mine heart with one of thine eyes."" 

Thirdly, This new creature is created in man, upon the highest 
design that ever any work of God was wrought : the end of its crea- 
tion and infusion is high and noble : salvation to the soul in which 
it is wrought ; this is both the finis operis, and the finis operands : 
It is the design both of the work and of the workman that wrought 
it. When we receive the end of our faith, we receive the salva- 
tion of our souls ; salvation is the end of faith : as death is the 
end of sin, so life eternal is the end of grace. The new creature 
doth, by the instinct and steady direction of its own nature, take 
its course as directly to God., and to heaven, the place of its full 



SERM. XXV. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 353 

enjoyment, as the rivers do to the ocean ; it declares itself to be 
made for God, by its restless workings after him ; and as salva- 
tion is the end of the new creature, so it is the express design and 
end of him that created it. 2 Cor. v. 5. " Now he that hath 
" wrought us for the self-same thing, is God ;*" by this workman- 
ship of his upon our souls, he is now polishing, preparing, and 
" making them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints 
" in light," Col. i. 12. 

Fourthly, This new creation is the most necessary work that 
ever God wrought upon the soul of man : the eternal well-being 
of his soul depends upon it ; and without it no man shall see God, 
Heb. xii. 14. and John i. %, 5. " Except ye be regenerate, and 
" born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God." Can you 
be saved without Christ? You know you cannot. Can you have 
interest in Christ without the new creature ? My text expressly 
tells you it can never be ; for, " If any man be in Christ, he is a 
" new creature." O reader, whatever slight thoughts of this mat- 
ter, and with what a careless and unconcerned eye soever thou 
readest these lines ; yet know thou must either be a new creature, 
or a miserable and damned creature for ever. If civility without 
the new creature could save thee, why are not the moral Heathens 
saved also ? If strictness of life without the new creature could save 
thee, why did it not save the Scribes and Pharisees also ? If an 
high profession of religion without the new creature can save thee, 
why did it not save Judas, Hymenseus and Philetus also ? Nothing 
is more evident than this, that no repentance, obedience, self-denial, 
prayers, tears, reformations or ordinances, without the new creation, 
avail any thing to the salvation of thy soul : The very blood of 
Christ himself, without the new creature, never did, and never will 
save any man. Oh how necessary a work is the new creation ! 
" Circumcision avails nothing, and uncircumcision nothing : but a 
" new creature." 

Fifthly, The new creature is a marvellous and wonderful crea- 
ture : there are many wonders in the first creation, " The works 
" of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have plea- 
" sure therein," Psal. cxi. 2. But there are no wonders in nature, 
like those in grace. Is it not the greatest wonder that ever was 
seen in the world, (except the incarnation of the Son of God) to 
see the nature and temper of man so altered and changed as it is 
by grace ? to see lascivious Corinthians, and idolatrous Ephesians, 
become mortified and heavenly Christians? to see a fierce and cruel 
persecutor, become a glorious confessor and sufferer for Christ ? Gal. 
i. 23. to see the carnal mind of man, which was lately fully set in 
a strong bent to the world, to be wholly taken oft' from its lusts, 
and set upon things that are spiritual and heavenly ? Certainly it 



354 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXV, 

was not a greater miracle to see dead Lazarus come out of his se- 
pulchre, than it is to see the dead and carnal mind coming out of 
its lusts to embrace Jesus Christ ; it was not a greater wonder to 
see the dead and dry bones in the valley to move and come to- 
gether, than it is to see a dead soul moving after God, and moving 
to Christ in the way of faith. 

Sixthly, The new creature is an immortal creature, a creature that 
shall never see death, John iv. 14. it is in the soul of man, a well 
of water, springing up unto eternal life. I will not adventure to 
say, it is immortal in its own nature, for it is but a creature, as my 
text calls it ; and we know, that essential interminability is the in- 
communicable property of God: The new creature hath both 
a beginning and succession ; and therefore might also have an end, 
as to any thing in itself, or its own nature. Experience also shews 
us, that it is capable both of increasing and decreasing, and may 
be brought nigh unto death, Rev. iii. 2. The work of the Spirit 
in believers, may be ready to die ; but though its perpetuity flow not 
out of its own nature, it flows out of God's covenant and promises, 
which make it an immortal creature : when all other excellencies 
in man go away, as at death they will, Job iv. 21. this excellency 
only remains: our gifts may leave us, our friends leave us, our 
estates leave us, but our graces will never leave us ; they ascend 
with the soul (in which they inhere) into glory, when the stroke 
of death separates it from the body. 

Seventhly, The new creature is an heavenly creature ; " It is not 
" born of flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but of 
" God," John i. 13. its descent and original is heavenly, it is spi- 
rit born of spirit, John iii. 6. its centre is heaven, and thither are 
all its tendencies, Psal. lxiii. 8. its proper food, on which it lives, 
are heavenly things, Psal. iv. 6, 7. It cannot feed, as other crea- 
tures do, upon earthly things ; the object of all its delight and love 
is in heaven, Psal. lxxiii. 26. " Whom have I in heaven but thee ?" 
The hopes and expectations of the new creature are all from hea- 
ven ; it looks for little in this world, but waits for the coming of 
the Lord. The life of the new creature upon earth, is a life of 
patient waiting for Christ ; his desires and longings are after hea- 
ven, Phil. i. 93. The flesh indeed lingers, and would delay, but 
the new creature hastens, and would fain be gone, 2 Cor. v. 2. It 
is not at home whilst it is here ; it came from heaven, and cannot 
be quiet, nor suffer the soul, in which it dwells, to be so, until it 
comes thither again. 

Eighthly, The new creature is an active and laborious creature ; 
no sooner is it born, but it is acting in the soul. Acts ix. 6. Be- 
hold he praycth ! Activity is its very nature. Gal. v. 25. " If we 
" live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit." Nor is it to be 



SEEM. XXV. THE METHOD OF GRACE, 355 

admired, that it should be always active and stirring in the soul, 
seeino- activity in obedience was the very end for which it was 
created. " For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus 
" unto good works," Eph. ii. 10. and he that is acted in the duties 
of religion, by this principle of the new creature, or nature, will 
(so far as that principle acts him) delight to do the will of God ; 
rejoice in the way of his commandment, and find the sweetest 
pleasure in the paths of duty. 

Ninthly, The new creature is a thriving creature, growing from 
strength to strength, 1 Pet. ii. 2. and changing the soul in which 
it is subjected, from glory unto glory, 2 Cor. iii. 18. The vigor- 
ous tendencies, and constant striving of this new creature, are to 
attain its just perfection and maturity, Phil. iii. 11. It can endure 
no stints and limits to its desire, short of perfection ; every de- 
gree of strength it attains, doth but whet and sharpen its desires 
after higher degrees : Upon this account, it greatly delights 
in the ordinances of God, duties of religion, and society of the 
saints ; as they are helps and improvements to it, in order to its 
great design. 

Tenthly, The new creature, is a creature of wonderful preserva- 
tions* : There are many wonders of divine providence in the pre- 
servation of our natural lives, but none like those whereby the life 
of the new creature is preserved in our souls : There are critical 
times of temptation and desertion, in which it is ready to die, Rev. 
iii. 2. the degrees of its strength and liveliness, are sometimes sadlv 
abated, and its sweet and comfortable workings intermitted, Rev. 
ii. 4. the evidences by which its being in us was wont to be dis- 
covered, may be, and often are darkened, 2 Pet. i. 9- and the soul 
in which it is may draw very sad conclusions about the issue and 
event ; concluding its life not only to be hazarded, but quite ex- 
tinguished, Psal. Ii. 10, 11, 12. but though it be ready to die, 
God wonderfully preserves it from death ; it hath as well its re- 
viving, as its fainting seasons. And thus you see, what are the 
lovely and eximious properties of the new creature. In the next 
place, 

Fourthly, We will demonstrate the necessity of this new creation 
to all that are in Christ, and by him expect to attain salvation ; and 
the necessity of the new creature will appear divers ways. 

First, From the positive and express will of God, revealed in 

* Grace indeed cannot be totally intermitted, nor finally lost, but there may be 
an omission of the act, though not an omission of the habit; the act may be 
perverted, though faith cannot be subverted; it may be shaken, though not 
shaken out; its fruits may fall, but its sap lies hid in the root; the effect of jus- 
tification may be suspended, but the state of the justified cannot be dissolved, 
Suffrag. Brit. 

Vol. II. Z 



356 THE METHOD OF GRACE. 



SEKM-. xxr 



scripture, touching this matter: Search the scriptures, and you 
shall find God hath laid the whole stress and weight of your eter- 
nal happiness, by Jesus Christ, upon this work of the Spirit in 
your souls. So our Saviour tells Nicodemus, John iii. 5. " Ve- 
{t rily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water, 
" and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." 
Agreeable whereunto are those words of the apostle, Heb. xii. 14. 
" Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.'" And whereas 
some may think, that their birth-right privileges, enjoyment of or- 
dinances, and profession of religion, may commend them to God's 
acceptance, without this new creation ; he shews them how fond 
and ungrounded all such hopes are. Gal. vi. 15. " For in Christ 
" Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircum- 
" cision, but a new creature.' 1 Christ and heaven are the gifts of 
God, and he is at liberty to bestow them, upon what terms and 
conditions he pleaseth: and this is the way, the only way, and 
stated method in which he will bring men, by Christ, unto glory. 
Men may raze out the impressions of these things from their own 
hearts, but they can never alter the settled course and method of 
salvation. Either we must be new creatures, as the precept of the 
word command us, or lost, and damned creatures, as the threaten- 
ings of the word plainly tell us. 

Secondly, This new creation, is the inchoative part of that great 
salvation which we expect through Christ, and therefore, without 
this, all hopes and expectations of salvation must vanish. Salva- 
tion, and renovation, are inseparably connected. Our glory in 
heaven, if we rightly understand its nature, consisteth in two 
things: namely, our assimilation to God, and our fruition of 
God : and both these take their beginning and rise from our re- 
novation in this world. Here we begin to be changed into his 
image, in some degree, 2 Cor. iii. 18. for the new man is created 
after God, as M'as opened above. In the work of grace, God is said 
to begin that good work, which is to he finished, or consummated, in 
the day of Christ, Phil. i. 6. Now nothing can be more irrational, 
than to imagine that ever that design, or work should be finished 
or perfected, which never had a beginning. 

Thirdly, So necessary is the new creation to all that expect sal- 
vation by Christ, that without this, heaven would be no heaven, 
and the glory thereof no glory to us, by reason of the unsuitable- 
ness and aversion of our carnal minds thereunto; " The carnal 
" mind is enmity against God," Rom. viii. 7. and enmity is ex- 
clusive of all complacency and delight. There is a necessity of a 
suitable and agreeable frame of heart to God, in order to that 
complacential rest of our souls in him : And this agreeable tem- 
per is wrought by our new creation. 2 Cor. v. 5. " He that hath 



SEBM. XXV. THE METHOD OF GRACE, 357 

" wrought us for the self-same thing, is God." Renovation, you 
see, is the working or moulding of a man's spirit into an agreeable 
temper, or as it is in Col. i. 12. the making of us meet for the 
inheritance of the saints in light. 

From all which, it follows, that seeing there can be no compla- 
cence, or delight in God, without suitableness and conformity to 
him, as it is plain, from 1 John iii. 2. as well as from the reason 
and nature of the thing itself; either God must become like us, 
suitable to our sinful, corrupt and vain hearts, which were but a 
rude blasphemy once to imagine; or else we must be made agree- 
able and suitable to God, which is the very thing I am now prov- 
ing the necessity of. 

Fourthly, There is an absolute necessity of the new creature to 
all that expect interest in Christ, and the glory to come, since all 
the characters, marks, and signs of such an interest, are constantly 
taken from the new creature wrought in us. Look over all the 
marks and signs of interest in Christ, or salvation by him, which 
are dispersed through the scriptures, and you shall still find purity 
of heart, Mat. v. 8. Holiness both in principle and practice, Heb. 
xii. 14. Mortification of sin, Rom. viii. 13. Longing for Christ's 
appearance, 2 Tim. iv. 8. with multitudes more of the same nature, 
to be constantly made the marks and signs of our salvation by 
Christ. So that either we must have a new bible, or a new heart ; 
for if these scriptures be the true and faithful words of God, no 
unrenewed creature can see his face ; which was the fourth thing to 
be opened. 

Fifthly, The last thing to be opened is, how the new creation is 
an infallible proof and evidence of the soul's interest in Christ ; and 
this will appear divers ways. 

First, Where all the saving graces of the Spirit are, there interest 
in Christ must needs be certain ; and where the new creature is, 
there all the saving graces of the Spirit are : For what is the new- 
creature but the frame or system of all special saving graces ? It is 
not this or that particular grace, as faith, or hope, or love to God, 
which constitutes the new creature ; for these are but as so many 
particular limbs or branches of it ; but the new creature is compre- 
hensive of all the graces of the Spirit, Gal. v. 22, 23. " The fruit 
" of the Spirit is love, peace, joy, long-suffering, gentleness, good- 
" ness, faith, meekness, temperance," Sec. Any one of the saving, 
special graces of the Spirit gives proof of our interest in Christ : 
how much more, then, the new creature, which is the complex frame 
or system of all the graces together ? 

Secondly, To conclude ; Where all the causes of an interest in 
Christ are found, and all the effects and fruits of an interest in 
Christ do appear ; there, undoubtedly, a real interest in Christ is 

Z 2 



358 THE METHOD OE GRACE. SERM. XXVI, 

found : but wherever you find a new creature, you find all the 
causes and all the effects of an interest in Christ : For there you 
shall find, 

First, The impulsive cause, viz. The electing love of God, from 
which the new creature is inseparable, 1 Pet. i. %. with the new 
creature also, the meritorious, efficient, and final causes of interest 
in Christ, and union with him, are ever found, Eph. ii. 10. chap. i. 
4, 5, 6. 

Secondly, All the effects and fruits of interest in Christ are found 
in the new creature ; there are all the fruits of obedience, for we 
are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, Eph. ii. 10. Rom. 
vii. 4. there is true spiritual opposition to sin. 1 John v. 18. 
" He that is begotten of God, keepeth himself, and that wicked 
" one toucheth him not." There is love to the people of God ; 
1 John iv. 7. " Every one that loveth is born of God." There 
is a conscientious respect to the duties of both tables ; for the new 
creature is created after God in righteousness and true holiness, 
Eph. iv. 25. There is perseverance in the ways of God to the very 
end, and victory over all temptations ; for whosoever is born of God, 
overcometh the world, 1 John v. 4. It were easy to run over all 
other particular fruits of our union with Christ, and shew you every 
one of them in the new creature. And thus much of the doctrinal 
part of this point. 

— *««» »> - 

SERMON XXVI. 

2 Cor. v. 17. 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things 
are passed away ; behold, all things are become new. 

./IlFTER the explication of the sense of this scripture, we ob- 
served, 

Doct. That God's creating of' a new supernatural work of grace 
in the soid of any man, is that man's sure and infallible evi- 
dence of a saving interest in Jesus Christ. 

You have heard why the regenerating work of the Spirit is called 
a new creation ; in what respect every soul in Christ is renewed ; 
what the eximious properties of this new creature are ; the indis- 
pensibleness and necessity thereof have been also proved ; and how 
it evidences our interest in Christ, was cleared in the doctrinal part : 



SEIIM. XXVI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 359 

Which we now come to improve, in the several uses serving for 
qur 

1. Information. 

2. Conviction. 

3. Examination. 

4. Exhortation. 

5. Consolation. 

First use, for information. 

Is the new creature the sure and infallible evidence of our saving 
interest in Christ ? From hence then we are informed, 

Inference 1. How miserable and deplorable an estate all unrenewed 
souls are in ; who can lay no claim to Christ during that state, and 
therefore are under an impossibility of salvation. O reader ! if this 
be the state of thy soul, better had it been for thee not to have been 
God's natural workmanship as a man, except thou be his spiritual 
workmanship also, as a new man. I know the schoolmen determine 
otherwise, and say, that damnation is rather to be chosen than, 
annihilation : a miserable being is better than no being : and it is 
very true, with respect to the glory of God, whose justice shall 
triumph for ever in the damnation of the unregenerate ; but, with 
respect to us, it is much better never to have been his creatures, 
in the way of generation, than not to be his new creatures, in the 
way of regeneration. So Christ speaks of Judas, that son of perdi- 
tion, Mark xiv. 21. " Good had it been for that man if he had 
never been born :" For what is a being without the comfort of it ? 
What is life without the joy and pleasure of it ? A damned being is 
a being without comfort ; no glimpse of light shines into that dark- 
ness ; they shall, indeed, see and understand the felicity, light, and 
joy of the saints in glory ; but not partake, in the least measure, of 
the comfort, Luke xiii. 28. " They shall see Abraham, and Isaac, 
" and Jacob, in the kingdom of God, but they themselves shut out:" 
Such a sight is so far from giving any comfort, that it will be the 
aggravation and increase of torment. O it is better to have no being 
at all, than to have a being only to capacitate a man for misery ; to 
desire death, while death flies from him, Rev. iv. 6. The opinion of 
the schoolmen will never pass for sound doctrine among the damned. 
Think on it, reader, and lay it to thine heart, better thou hadst 
died from the womb, better the knees had prevented thee, and the 
breasts which thou hast sucked, than that thou shouldst live 
and die a stranger to the new birth, or that thy mother should 
bring thee forth only to increase, and fill up the number of the 
damned. 

Inf. 2. And, on the contrary, zee may hence learn, what cause re- 
generate 60uls have to bless God, for the day wherein they were born, 

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360 



THE METHOD OF GRACE. SEEM. XXVf, 



O what a privileged state doth the new birth bring men into ! It is 
possible, for the present, they understand it not ; for many be- 
lievers are like a great heir lying in the cradle, that knows not to 
what an estate and honour he is born : nevertheless, on the same 
day wherein we become new creatures by regeneration, we have a 
firm title and solid claim to all the privileges of the sons of God, 
John i. 12, IS. God becomes our Father by a triple title, not 
only the Father of our beings by nature, which was all the relation 
we had to him before, but our Father by adoption, and by regene- 
ration : which is a much sweeter, and more comfortable relation. 
In that day the image of God is restored, Eph. iv. 24. this is both 
the health and beauty of the soul. In that day we are begotten 
again to a lively hope, 1 Pet. i. 3. a hope more worth than ten 
thousand worlds, in the troubles of life, and in the straits of death : 
this is a creature which lives for ever, and will make thy life happy 
for ever. Some have kept their birth-day as a festival, a day of 
rejoicing ; but none have more cause to rejoice that ever they were 
born, than those that are new-born. 

Inf. 3. Learn from hence, that the work of grace is wholly super- 
natural ; it is a creation, and a creation-work is above the power of 
the creature. No power but that which gave being to the world, 
can give a being to the new creature : Almighty Power goes forth 
to give being to the new creature. This creature is not born of 
flesh, or of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God, John i. 13. 
The nature of this new creature speaks its original to be above the 
power of nature ; the very notion of a new creation spoils the proud 
boasts of the great asserters of the power and ability of the will of 
man. When God, therefore, puts the question, who maketh thee 
to differ ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received ? Let thy 
soul, reader, answer it with all humility and thankfulness. It is 
thou, Lord, thou only, that madest me to differ from ano- 
ther; and what I have received, I have received from thy free 
grace. 

Inf. 4. If the work of grace be anew creation, let not the parents, 
and friends of the unregenerate utterly despair of the conversion of 
their relations, how great soever their present discouragements are. 
If it had been possible for a man to have seen the rude and indigested 
chaos before the Spirit of God moved upon it, would he not have 
said, Can such a beautiful order of beings, such a pleasant variety of 
creatures, spring out of this dark lump ? Surely it would have been 
very hard for a man to have imagined it. It may be, you see no 
dispositions or hopeful inclinations in your friends towards God 
and spiritual things ; nay, possibly they are totally opposite, and 
filled with enmity against them ; they deride and jeer all serious 
piety wherever they behold it ; this, indeed, is very sad ; but yet 



?£RM. XXVI. THE METHOD OF GRACE. 361 

remember the work of grace is creation- work : though there be no 
disposition at all in their wills, no tenderness in their consciences, 
no light or knowledge in their minds ; yet God, that commanded 
the light to shine out of darkness, can shine into their hearts, to 
give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face 
of Jesus Christ : he can say to the dry bones, live ; to the proud 
and stubborn heart, come down and yield thyself to the will of 
God ; and if he command, the work is done. God can make thee 
yet to rejoice over thy most uncomfortable relations ; to say with 
the father of the prodigal, Luke xv. 24. " This my son was dead, 
" and is alive again ; he was lost and is found ; and they began to 
be merry." Difficulties are for men, but not for God : he works, 
in conversion, by a power which is able to subdue all things unto 
itself. 

Inf. 5. If none but new creatures be in Christ, how small a rem- 
nant among men belong to Christ in this world ! Among the multi- 
tude of rational creatures inhabiting this Avorld, how few, how very 
few, are new creatures ? It is the observation of the learned Mr. 
Brerewood, that if the world be divided into thirty parts, nineteen 
parts are heathenish Idolaters ; six parts Mahometans, and onlv five 
out of thirty which may be, in a large sense, called Christians ; of 
which the far greater part is overspread with Popish darkness : se- 
parate from the remainder, the multitudes of profane, merely civil, 
and hypocritical professors of religion ; and how few will remain 
for Jesus Christ in this world ? Look over the cities, towns, and 
parishes in this populous kingdom, and how few shall you find that 
speak the language or do the works of new creatures ? How few 
have ever had any awakening convictions on them ? And how 
many of those that have been convinced have miscarried, and never 
come to the new-birth ? The more cause have they, whom God 
hath indeed regenerated, to admire the riches of God's distinguish- 
ing mercy to them. 

Inf. 6. If the change by grace be a new creation, hoiv universal 
and marvellous a change doth regeneration make upon men ! The 
new creation speaks a marvellous and universal alteration, both upon 
the state and tempers of men ; they come out of darkness, gross, 
hellish darkness, into light, a marvellous and heavenly light, 1 Pet. 
ii. 9- Eph. v. 8. their condition, disposition, and conversation, (as you 
have heard) are all new ; and yet this marvellous change, as great 
and universal as it is, is not alike evident, and clearly discernible in 
all new creatures : and the reasons are, 

First, Because the work of grace is wrought in divers methods 
and manners in the people of God. Some are changed from a state 
of notorious profaneness unto serious godliness ; there the change 
is conspicuous and very evident ; all the neighbourhood rings of 

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362 THE METHOD OF GRACE. SERM. XXVI. 

it : but in others it is more insensibly distilled in their tender years, 
by the blessing of God, upon religious education, and there it is 
more indiscernible. 

Secondly, Though a great change be wrought, yet much natural 
corruption still remains for their humiliation and daily exercise; 
and this is a ground of fear and doubting ; they see not how such 
corruptions are consistent with the new creature. 

Thirdly, In some, the new creature shews itself mostly in the 
affectionate part, in desires and breathings after God ; and but 
little in the clearness of their understandings, and strength of th