Oct 23, 2010

William Rushton Refutes Andrew Fuller's view of Imputation

"A voluntary obligation to endure the punishment of another is not guilt, any more than the consequent exemption from obligation in the offender, is innocence. Both guilt and innocence are transferable in their effects, but in themselves, they are untransferable. To say that Christ was reckoned or counted in the divine administration as if he were the sinner, and came under an obligation to endure the curse or punishment due to our sins, is one thing; but to say he deserved that curse, is another. Guilt, strictly speaking, is the inseparable attendant of transgression, and could never therefore for one moment occupy the conscience of Christ." -Fuller

"That the Scriptures represent believers as receiving only the benefits of the effects of Christ’s righteousness in justification, is a remark of which I am not able to see the fallacy: nor does it follow that his obedience itself is not imputed to them. Obedience itself may be, and is imputed, while its effects only are imparted, and consequently received. Neither sin nor righteousness are in themselves transferable." -Fuller

"I apprehend, then, that many important mistakes have arisen from considering the interposition of Christ under the notion of paying a debt. * * Sin is a debt only in a metaphorical sense: properly speaking it is a crime, and satisfaction for it requires to be made not on pecuniary, but on moral principles. The reason of this difference is easily perceived. Debts are transferable, but crimes are not. A third person may cancel the one, but he can only obliterate the effects of the other: the desert of the criminal remains." -Fuller

William Rushton responds to Fuller's view on imputation in these words,

"...I cannot pass by the very exceptionable manner in which Mr. Fuller has explained himself on the subject of imputation. I have quoted his words in my first letter, to which I beg leave to refer you, and also to the original. We are there informed what the term signifies: we are also told that, like many other words, it has a proper and an improper meaning. We are informed, moreover, that the word, in a proper sense, means so and so; and in an improper sense, it means so and so; the conclusion of all which is, that when the Scripture speaks of the imputation of sin to Christ, or of righteousness to the sinner, the term is to be taken not in a proper, but in an improper sense. Now, all this sounds very philosophically; but what real instruction or comfort can such a detail communicate to a sincere, inquiring soul? Such a one, on meeting with this explanation of Mr. Fuller, would immediately start, and say, "Alas! I did indeed think that all my sins were imputed to the Lord Jesus, and this was the ground of my comfort; but Mr. Fuller tells me that this was so only in what he calls an improper sense. And I have comforted myself with the thought that Christ’s righteousness was mine, being truly imputed to me; but Mr. Fuller has perplexed and distressed me, for he says this is not properly the case." In this manner would Mr. Fuller’s philosophy be worse than thrown away. But his whole statement on this subject is badly illustrated, and essentially deficient.

In the first place, then, the statement itself is liable to be misunderstood, owing to the indistinct and confused manner in which he has attempted to illustrate it. To give an instance or two. The proper sense of imputation, we are told, is, "the charging, reckoning, or placing to the account of persons and things THAT WHICH PROPERLY BELONGS TO THEM." And the very first instance of the imputation in a proper sense, which Mr. Fuller has adduced, is the case of Eli charging Hannah with drunkenness. "Eli thought she had been drunken." Now there is reason to think that many of Mr. Fuller’s readers would not clearly comprehend his meaning here; and if they did not understand the deep metaphysical sense of the word "proper," they wouldbe weak enough to imagine that Eli’s imputation was an improper imputation. But even amongst those who are more expert in the meaning of words, there may be some, who, being aware that Eli charged Hannah unjustly, would perhaps not find it so easy to understand how he imputed to her "that which properly belonged to her." Equally at a loss would some readers be to find that the Lord’s not imputing iniquity to men, is to be understood in a proper sense; that is, he does not properly impute iniquity to his people. They would be still more at a loss, on reflecting that Mr. Fuller understands the imputation of sin to Christ in an improper sense, and might naturally conclude that, as the Lord does not properly impute sin to his people, nor yet to Christ, that their sin is never properly imputed at all. It is truly a pity to find so important, and yet so simple a subject darkened as it is in Mr. Fuller’s explanation. Indeed, the artificial distinctions and scholastic phrases are sometimes worse than useless, and often good for nothing but to increase the importance of the teacher, and to serve the same purpose in divinity as a barbarous kind of Latin is made to answer in law and in physic.

But Mr. Fuller’s explanation of this important subject is not only confused and indistinct, but it is essentially deficient. In short, the imputation of sin to Christ is explained away. According to Mr. Fuller, sin was not really, or, as he terms it, properly imputed to Christ, but only in appearance. He was treated as though sin were really imputed to him; he suffered as though he were guilty; but yet, according to Mr. Fuller, guilt itself was not truly imputed to him. Not to dispute about words, the subject may be illustrated by transactions among men. When one man imputes sin or crime to another, this is the same thing as charging him with that crime. Thus Saul imputed treason to Ahimelech, when he charged him with it. But such imputation may be real, or it may be only in appearance; an imputation may be just, or it may be unjust. When Nathan charged David with sin in the matter of Uriah, the imputation was both real and just. When Joseph imputed bad motives to his brethren, he charged them not really, but only in appearance, for he knew they were not spies; and when Eli imputed drunkenness to Hannah he did so really, but he did so unjustly. Now, when God imputed sin to Christ he charged him either really, or only in appearance, justly or unjustly. With respect to justice we shall not now inquire; but the question relates to the former, namely whether God really imputed sin to Christ, as a sinner’s surety, or whether he did so only in appearance. Mr. Fuller denies that he did so really, or that Christ suffered real and proper punishment; and although he does not say, in the very words, that this imputation was only in appearance, yet this is his meaning. He tells us that the imputation of sin to Christ is to be understood in an improper sense. By imputation in an improper sense, he understands "charging, reckoning, or placing to the account of persons and things that which does not properly belong to them, as though it did." As an instance of this improper imputation, he gives us the complaint of Job, "Wherefore hidest thou thy face and holdest me for thine enemy?" Now the Lord did not really count Job for an enemy; he imputed enmity to him only in appearance, or he dealt with him as though he were an enemy. Yet in this very sense does Mr. Fuller understand the imputation of sin to Christ. "He was counted," says he, "in the divine administration, as if he were, or had been the sinner, that those who believe in him might he accounted as if they were, or had been righteous." The plain meaning of which is, that God gave his Son to suffer, as though sin had been found upon him, or, in other words, that Christ bore the punishment of guilt, but not guilt itself. Now, for Christ to suffer instead of theguilty is one thing, but to have guilt itself imputed to him is another. The difference is so manifest that it scarcely needs the following illustration. A certain man is found guilty of high treason, and condemned to die. His brother, from mere compassion, offered to die in his stead. The ransom was accepted, and the innocent man underwent the penalty of the law as a voluntary substitute for his guilty brother. Now, in this case, the innocent man bore the punishment of his brother’s guilt, but not the guilt itself. He underwent, indeed, the sentence of the law, but treason was not imputed to him—justice forbade that it should. He was treated .as though he were guilty, and that is one thing, but to lie under the imputation of guilt is another. Thus Mr. Fuller explains away the doctrine of imputation. By denying the transfer of our guilt to Christ, he admits of no real imputation of our sins to him, but only a transfer of punishment. Imputation of sin, therefore, in Mr. Fuller’s improper or figurative sense, means no real imputation at all." -William Rushton

Oct 22, 2010

James 2:14-26 - Robert Hawker

James 2:14-26
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (15) If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, (16) And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (17) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (18) Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. (19) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (20) But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (21) Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? (22) Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? (23) And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. (24) Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (25) Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? (26) For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

I include all these verses, under one reading, as willing to bring the doctrine contained in them, into one view. Perhaps, no part of the word of God, hath been so little attended to, with an eye to the divine teaching, as this short but interesting passage of the Apostle; and conclusions have been drawn from it by the carnal; yea, and (for want of asking wisdom from God upon the occasion) by not a few of the Lord's people also, who have been much exercised in mind, unable to enter into a clear apprehension of the meaning. I beg the Reader to grant me a few moments indulgence. And I venture to hope, under the Lord the Spirit's enlightening grace, we shall find that nothing can be more clear than the Apostle's intention, in what is here said.

And, first, in order to give the fullest scope to the supposed misunderstanding, between Paul and James, onthe subject of faith, I shall beg to bring before the Reader the words of each. The first of these great Apostles speaks so decidedly of justification only by faith, and without the deeds of the law; that no form of language can possibly be stronger, in confirmation of the doctrine. By the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in his sight. Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Romans 3:20; Romans 3:24. But to him that worketh not; but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. For the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed through the law; but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect, Romans 4:5; Romans 4:13-14. Christ is become of no effect to you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace, Galatians 5:4. Not of works, lest any man should boast, Ephesians 2:9. Nor if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain, Galatians 2:21. So much for Paul on the subject of faith.

I need not go over what the second of those great Apostles James, hath said on the subject: it is now before us. And nothing can be more plain, or express, in his statement on the subject of works. His concluding sentence, sums up all he had said before. For as the body without the spirit is dead; so faith without works is dead also. Now on the supposition, that both those holy men, taught, and inspired, as both were by the Holy Ghost, were speaking of one and the same thing; there would be indeed much cause for suspension, which to regard. Sentiments in that case, so very opposite, would raise fears and doubts, and distresses in the awakened and regenerated mind. But blessed be God, there is not the smallest cause for exciting any apprehension; The Apostles are in perfect harmony with each other. And James, so far from militating against what Paul hath said on the subject, doth very blessedly confirm the whole, and his observations, when rightly considered, strengthen the precious arguments of Paul, on the great subject of justification alone by faith. And this under the Lord's grace, will fully appear by the few following considerations.

First. Let us enquire what works those were, which James so much dwells upon? We may safely answer at once; not works of godliness or morality. For the two persons James brings forward in proof, when speaking of their being justified by works, very plainly manifests to the contrary. Was not Abraham our father jus*tified by works? Abraham, when called of God, was an idolater. And Paul speaking of Abraham's good works; declared that he had not whereof to glory before God, Romans 4:2. An idolater indeed, could have nothing to glory of before God. The Lord had declared before, concerning man, that all flesh had corrupted itself, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart, was only evil continually, Genesis 6:5. And was Abraham an exception? And with respect to Rahab the harlot, could she be justified by the works of religion, or by works of virtue or morality; who, though faithful to God, was certainly unfaithful to man? Can any thing upon earth be more plain and self-evident, from the history of these very persons, the Apostle brings forward in proof, that whatever works James had in view when he declared faith without works was dead being alone, it was impossible he could mean works of godliness, or virtue, or morality.

Secondly. Upon the supposition, that the good works James insisted upon as evidences of faith, and without which he saith faith itself is dead, being alone, had respect to the holiness and purity of a man's own heart; this would be directly contrary to the whole system of the Gospel; which, through all the word of God, is declared to be a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ came into the world to save sinners, 1 Timothy 1:15. And in this sense, neither Abraham nor Rahab, nor all the Patriarchs, Apostles, or Prophets, could find justification in themselves before God. The doctrine of grace, is wholly founded in the reverse of good works. For if it be of works, then is it no more of grace; otherwise grace is no more grace. And the first and last, and ultimate design of the Gospel is, that in the Lord, shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory, Isaiah 45:25.

Thirdly, There is a striking difference in the manner of expression; between those great Apostles. In all the writings of Paul, in relation to justification, he is uniformly speaking of the method of a sinner's justification before God. James, on the contrary, is solely considering the subject, in respect to our being justified in the sight of men. Paul, never loseth sight of the cause of justification, which is Christ. James is speaking of the effect. Hence we hear the former, observing, concerning Abraham, that if he had been justified by works, whereby he had to glory! yet still not before God, Romans 4:2. Whereas James puts the case of a brother or sister, being destitute of food; and one say, depart in peace, be ye warmed or filled; notwithstanding ye gave them not those things that are needful; what doth it profit? Even so saith he, faith is dead, being alone, that is alone in justification before men. The world can form no judgment whatever, by what a man professeth; but by what he practiseth. And therefore (saith James) what doth it profit the world, that a man have faith, if that faith be unaccompanied with deeds?

Hence then it appears, that on the supposition of this last statement, Paul is speaking of the method of a sinner's justification before God; and James of our being justified in the view of men; those great Apostles differ altogether in the subject they are upon, and not in sentiment, upon the one momentous doctrine, of the method of salvation by Jesus Christ.

Fourthly, and lastly, therefore, I venture from all that hath been before offered, to observe, that God the Holy Ghost the Almighty Author by inspiration of all Paul's writings and those of James no less, hath himself explained the whole, and settled the point, by placing the great doctrine of faith on its own proper basis; and in so clear, and circumstantial a manner, as, under his divine instruction cannot be mistaken.

In proof of this, I beg the Reader once more, and somewhat more particularly to notice James's words. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the Altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was made perfect. Now, not to notice again what hath been before observed that the works which made perfect Abraham's faith, hath no respect whatever to works of morality, or virtue; it must strike every man's mind with full conviction, that James hath no other meaning what*ever, by what is here said of works, than works of faith. The faith of Abraham was proved to be real, by his proceeding to act upon it. And God the Holy Ghost explains this in another part of his sacred writings, when he saith: by faith Abraham when he was tried offered up Isaac. And he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. Of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called. Accounting that God was able to raise him even from the dead, from whence also he received him in a figure, Hebrews 11:17- 19. Now let the Reader pause over this statement, which, let him remember, is God the Holy Ghost's own. And then let him say, is not this whole transaction of the Patriarch's faith, and faith only, in the deeds of faith acting upon faith? What is the plain sense of it but this? God promised Abraham a son. God declared with this son that the promised seed, meaning Christ after the flesh, should, in process of time, come from him. Abraham believed what God had said; and took God at his word. Soon after, Abraham receives a command to offer up this son, as a burnt-offering. Being strong in faith and concluding that God was able to raise his son again from the dead, he proceeded to obey God. Here then was faith carried into practice. Now, saith James, was not Abraham our father justified by works? Yes! most assuredly: for his faith was hereby proved, not to be a dead faith, but a living faith, and acted upon by the works or faith. But what hath this to do with works of morality, or good deeds among men? This was a transaction wholly between God and the Patriarch, in the concern of his own soul, and had no reference whatever to the transactions of common life between man and man. It must be prejudice indeed, and of no ordinary kind, that would here from draw conclusions, that morality, and good deeds, among men, were the works James had in view when he said, and by works was Abraham's faith made perfect; when it is plain, the Apostle is, wholly discoursing upon this subject, in reference to the solemn transaction between God and the Patriarch.

In like manner, as a further proof, in the instance of Rahab. No one for a moment can suppose, that the Apostle, when speaking of this woman being justified by works, alluded to works of goodness or morality. A woman of ill-fame could not be thought exemplary for any of these. And, with respect to her conduct towards her country, blessed as her faith, and works on that faith, were in the sight of God; yet, in the world's dictionary, she was treacherous towards man. When, therefore, we hear the Apostle demanding, was Yes! Her receiving the spies in peace, was a work of faith indeed, which proved how true, and genuine her faith was; and became the precious effect of that sure cause. And God the Holy Ghost elsewhere bears testimony to this act of her's, upon the faith the Lord had given her, when he saith: by faith the harlot Rahab perished not, with them that believed not, Hebrews 11:31. But how totally foreign are both these instances to the doctrine some have raised from this Chapter; which, while the Apostle is directly producing instances to shew, that a lively faith (as in those cases) must, and will everlast*ingly be acted upon, in proof that it is not a dead, unprofitable faith they draw conclusions, as if faith without morality was dead, being alone, and cannot justify before God.

From the whole, therefore, I cannot hesitate to conclude, that the Apostles Paul and James, were both taught of God; both inspired by the Holy Ghost when writing their Epistles; both had the same views of that faith, which is of the operation of God; and both knew, that the Church hath justification before God in Christ alone, without the deeds of the law, and solely in the blood and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. James, therefore, is only strengthening his brother Paul's statement of faith, in shewing, and in two such memorable instances as he produceth, how real living faith is always acted upon by real living principles; and thereby becoming subject of joy in the faithful soul, when such blessed effects spring out of so blessed a cause.

I must not suffer the Reader to pass on from this Chapter before that he hath first paused, and considered with me, the blessedness of what is here said concerning the Patriarch Abraham, in that he was called the friend of God. What title among all the sons of men can come up to this? James, no doubt, gathered it from these passages, 2 Chronicles 20:7 and Isaiah 41:8, for otherwise, we do not find the very phrase, as James hath here worded it, in all the Bible. Every thing proves it, indeed, in the whole of Abraham's history; and that's enough. And Jesus so called his disciples, John 15:15. But what I particularly beg the Reader to remark in it, is the foundation of this friendship. It is all in God. Abraham's friendship to God, which God condescends to accept, is the effect of God's friendship to him. But it is God's friendship which is the sole cause. And let the Reader further remark, how sweetly the Lord proved Abraham's faith, by the trial of demanding his son. True faith hath true properties.

Reader! do not overlook the design of the Holy Ghost, in this precious record of the Patriarch. These things are our examples. Every son and daughter of faith is, in like manner, the friend of God; and proved to be so by the same effects. Am I speaking to a truly regenerated child of God, who, like Abraham, hath been brought to believe the record God hath given of his dear Son. Then doth he know, as Abraham knew, God's friendship to him. My Brother! What was it but the antient, everlasting, unchanging love and friendship of God in Christ, which gave his Son to you, and for you, and chose you in him, before the foundation of the world? And what was it but from the everflowing streams of the same un*alterable friendship, which gave Christ to the cross, and the Holy Spirit to the regeneration of your soul, when you neither knew that friendship, or your need of it, and was altogether unconscious of either, and was living without God, and without Christ in the world? Do you not thereby prove God's friendship to you?

Now, then, see for the effects arising from such a cause, which, like Abraham, may testify, that you are also the friend of God. Nay, start not back, nor shrink at the comparison, though your faith is not so illustrious as this great father of the faithful. Have you made no sacrifice to the Lord? Have you no Isaacs, noofferings to give up, on which nature would wish to lean? Doth not every regenerated child of God, in deed, and in truth, sacrifice his Isaacs, and all that nature would fain cherish, when laying low in the dust before God, desiring to be stripped of every thing, so that Christ be glorified in his salvation? Surely, however small the grace of faith, though but like a grain of mustard-seed it be, in the heart of every child of God; yet is it of the same source, which the Lord gave to Abraham, when, in the exercise of it, he manifested himself as the friend of God. It is not the greatness of our attainments; but the Lord's love, in taking it so kindly of his redeemed ones, when at any time they are enabled to bear testimony to the word of his grace. And, what the Lord said to David, he in effect saith to all the seed of our Almighty Spiritual David; whereas it was in thine heart to build an house to my name; thou didst well, that it was in thine heart, 1 Kings 8:18. It were well if God's children would live more upon the Lord's love to them, than form conclusions of their interest in the Lord's friendship from their love to him. The faithful in Christ Jesus, will at length sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom. And it will then be discovered, that the Lord'sfriendship, and not our deservings, hath been, and everlastingly must be, the source of all our blessedness. If we love him, it is because he first loved us, 1 John 4:19.

Oh! for grace, while reading what God the Holy Ghost hath said in this Chapter, in reproving any respect of persons, in his house of prayer; that I may everlastingly keep in view the Lord's pleasure, and so have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, as to regard the rich more than the poor; but to love the Lord's poor with pecu*liar delight for Jesus's sake; and God's chosen may be my chosen; and the poor of this world, if rich in faith, and heirs of the king*dom, may be the excellent in whom is all my delight.

Blessed and Eternal Spirit! keep my soul from all error, in the right apprehension of all thy gracious truths. Teach me, Lord, that if it were possible for a man to keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. And, as we have all sinned, and come short of thy glory, never may my soul seek the smallest justification by the deeds of the law.

And I do beseech thee, O Lord, who leadeth thy people unto all truth, that I may so fully learn, from what thou hast here taught the Church, how unprofitable the dead faith of merely acknowledging divine truths, while not living under the influence of them, is before God; that my faith, like the faith of Abraham and Rahab, may be works of faith; in proof, that my profession and practice are in perfect correspondence to each other. Let my soul abhor the thought, and much more the conduct, of professing love to a poor brother or sister, while withholding from them the tokens of that love. And in the higher concerns with my God and Savior, far be it from me, O Lord, to profess, that I know God, but in works deny him! Oh! for grace, while seeking justification before God, upon the sole footing of the Person, blood-shedding, and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, to be found an eminent example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity!" -Robert Hawker

Oct 17, 2010

DUTY FAITH by Stanley Phillips

An Article in The Sovereign Grace Message (July, 1982) on “Calminians” (a term describing a mixture of Calvinism and Arminianism) states in part: “Hardshellism and Arminianism are informed by the same basic principle. They both believe that ability limits responsibility. The hardshell with this principle denies duty faith and duty repentance of natural men under the hearing of the gospel. He believes that because the natural man does not have the ability to truly believe the gospel, in repentance from those things which are contrary to this faith, that he does not have the responsibility to.” Where the author gained such an opinion of the cause of our objection to duty faith, we do not know. In no way do we believe that man’s inability destroys his responsibility. We only question what standard constitutes the basis for man’s responsibility, the extent and limitations thereof, and who sets the standard by which all men shall be judged upon failure of compliance.

DUTY - RELIGION by Stanley Phillips

“Let us hear the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God, and keep His commandments: for
this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes

“For if the Gentiles have been made
partakers of their (Jews) spiritual things,
their duty is also to minister unto them in
carnal things.” (Romans :27)

“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done ALL
those things which are commanded you, say,
We are unprofitable servants: we have done
that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10)
In the realm of natural things, we find
many things which apply closely to things in
the spiritual realm. In nature, one might have
a kindly disposition to help a neighbor
perform some needful task. Afterwards, the
neighbor feels deep within, that he ought to
pay for this service performed, and often will
attempt to do so. When this occurs, the one
who helped his neighbor willingly, feels
embarrassed at such an offer, and modestly
declines to accept anything for his services.
Surely we have all experienced that
awkwardness in our social relationships.
Then again, there are some people so
covetous as to expect payment for any and
every thing they do for another. In our
American culture, when such characters are
discovered, they are shunned by all decent
men, and seldom are allowed to give help
under any circumstances.

Vomiting forth their antichristian divinity - William Rushton

"When Christianity became corrupted, nominal conversions took the place of regeneration and the kingdom of the clergy began to rise. The nations professing Christianity had no love for the truth, and as for the Spirit they knew him not. The simple gospel was exchanged for a scholastic theology founded on the philosophy of this world and the wisdom of Aristotle. Then were universities instituted, that by them men might he fitted for the Christian ministry. These have been the nurseries of the clergy in all ages, vomiting forth their antichristian divinity like the smoke of the bottomless pit, out of which a carnal priesthood, like locusts, have proceeded and overspread the earth." -William Rushton

To die joyfully - William Rushton

"I shall only add, in the last place, that indefinite redemption is too weak to support the mind in the solemn hour of dissolution . Nothing short of a personal application of the atoning blood can destroy the fear of death. To die joyfully we must possess the assurance that Christ hath loved us and given himself for us, but his assurance we cannot have if Christ died only for sin and not for particular persons. Our safety, indeed, does not depend upon this assurance, but our joyfulness does." -William Rushton

Beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing - William Rushton

"If the sins of believers are blotted out, obliterated, and put away; if the righteousness of Christ is transferred to them, and this entitles them to reign in life with him, then it will follow that those who are engaged, from one Lord’s day to another, in teaching that "neither sin nor righteousness are in themselves transferable;" that believers in justification, "receive only the benefits or effects of Christ’s righteousness," are false witnesses for God, and are engaged in speaking lies in the name of the Lord. And it should never be forgotten, that although the heavenly Comforter, the Holy Ghost, is the author of all meekness, and in his influences he is compared to a dove, yet he has inspired his servants, the prophets, to write the severest things against those who "utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and cause the drink of the thirsty to fail." And, notwithstanding all the pretensions of such men to universal charity and liberality of sentiment, he exposes the secret iniquity of their hearts, and calls them by very foul names. He calls them liars, and churls, and vile persons and workers of iniquity because they "devise wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right." In perfect accordance with this, was the conduct of our Lord. His whole character was made up of meekness, kindness, and love; yet how severe were his invectives against those builders, the Scribes and Pharisees. In this also he is imitated, in measure, by all his faithful disciples, whom he has so earnestly warned to "beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing." For in the same proportion believers are humbled with spiritual discoveries of the divine glory in the grand plan of salvation, will their holy zeal be inflamed against every corruption of the gospel, so as not to bear them that are evil, not even to receive them unto their house, nor to bid them God’s speed." -William Rushton

His only support in the hour of death - William Rushton

"I never heard or read of an individual, who had been led into the glories of sovereign grace, who did not cling to the same truth as his only support in the hour of death. I never heard that any such when they came to die regretted that they had carried the doctrine of grace too far or exalted Christ too much." -William Rushton

Died, Feb. 6, 1838, triumphing in the glorious gospel of the blessed God, Mr. William Rushton, Jun. of Liverpool, author of '' Letters on Particular Redemption, addressed to a Baptist Minister." For many years he conducted the evening service of Lime Street Chapel, Liverpool, the church under the pastoral care of the Rev. James Lister; and his labours his Master crowned with success. He was made through the power of the Holy Ghost the honoured instrument of building up God's elect in their most holy faith; and the glorious truths he preached to others, were his only consolation in his dying moments. He had no isms in his creed, but took the scriptures as revealed by the Divine Spirit. He considered the gospel to be the everlasting love of God to his elect, by which he distinguishes them from all other people in the world. Their complete righteousness and justification by the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus imputed to them ; their certain, infallible, effectual calling to the knowledge and enjoyment of Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost, and their final perseverance unto the end; and that their eternal salvation shall reflect everlastingly all the praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by whose boundless grace it was alone effected. These truths it was his delight to declare from Sabbath to Sabbath, and God the Holy Spirit testified his approval of them, by comforting many of Zion's drooping pilgrims.

Liverpool. W. R. SEN."

Oct 16, 2010

Head knowledge, void of heart influence, is the bane of the present day - Robert Hawker

"And, added to what is there said, I would just remark, that the expressions here made use of by the Apostle, of confession with the mouth, and belief in the heart, very decidedly shew, that Paul considered those principles as living principles, not floating merely in the understanding, but influencing the mind and conscience. Head knowledge, void of heart influence, is the bane of the present day. Thousands, it is to be feared, are resting in a name to believe, while virtually dead beforeGod. Paul saith, it is with the heart (not the head) man believeth unto righteousness. And elsewhere he prayed for the Church, thatChrist might dwell in their hearts by faith,Ephesians 3:17." - Robert Hawker, commentary on Romans 10:5-13

Oct 14, 2010

The Lord reckons them no longer theirs, when he hath made them once to be Christ's - Tobias Crisp

"You know that text in Isa. 53:6, "He hath laid on him the iniquities of us all; and you know that place in 2 Cor. 5:21, "He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Now I ask this question, Whose are the sins that believers commit? When Christ became their sin, are they not his? and if they are his, are they any longer theirs, that did commit them? 2 Cor. 5:19, shews plainly, that the Lord reckons them no longer theirs, when he hath made them once to be Christ's; God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;  as much as to say, "I will never reckon them thine any more; I will never impute them to thee; all that I look for in respect of thy sins, I look for at the hands of Christ; "for he was made sin for us," saith the text." - Tobias Crisp

Oct 13, 2010

This doctrine sets aside at once all arminianism - William Huntington

"…the covenant of promise belongs to the heirs of promise; and that the ministration of the Spirit is sent with power to none but to the heirs of eternal life; and that the gospel reveals the righteousness of God to all those that are predestinated to be called, justified, and glorified. Therefore, to preach a pure gospel, that reveals God’s righteousness, and no other, a gospel that sets forth the Saviour as the believer’s all in all, and to enforce and maintain subjection to the gospel of Christ, and an experience of the life and power of it, obedience to it, a life, walk, and conversation in it, to insist on the fruits of the Spirit, the works of righteousness, the works of faith, and labours of love, is the only way to be useful to God’s elect, and the only way to glorify Christ. This doctrine sets aside at once all arminianism, and all Arminians or bond children, and fixes them on their own covenant with the rest of the world, and under the commands and threatening of that law on which they build, and to which they look for righteousness and perfection."

Oct 11, 2010

The highest reproach upon the dignity of the Son of God, and the merit of his blood - George Whitefield

“I would hint further, that you unjustly charge the doctrine of reprobation with blasphemy, whereas the doctrine of universal redemption, as you set it forth, is really the highest reproach upon the dignity of the Son of God, and the merit of his blood. Consider whether it be not rather blasphemy to say as you do, “Christ not only died for those that are saved, but also for those that perish.” The text you have misapplied to gloss over this, see explained by Ridgely, Edwards, Henry; and I purposely omit answering your texts myself so that you may be brought to read such treatises, which, under God, would show you your error. You cannot make good the assertion that Christ died for them that perish without holding (as Peter Bohler, one of the Moravian brethren, in order to make out universal redemption, lately frankly confessed in a letter) that all the damned souls would hereafter be brought out of hell. I cannot think Mr. Wesley is thus minded. And yet unless this can be proved, universal redemption, taken in a literal sense, falls entirely to the ground. For how can all be universally redeemed, if all are not finally saved? Dear Sir, for Jesus Christ’s sake, consider how you dishonour God by denying election. You plainly make salvation depend not on God’s free grace, but on man’s free-will. And if thus, it is more than probable, Jesus Christ would not have had the satisfaction of seeing the fruit of his death in the eternal salvation of one soul. Our preaching would then be vain, and all invitations for people to believe in him would also be in vain. But, blessed be God, our Lord knew for whom he died. There was an eternal compact between the Father and the Son. A certain number was then given him as the purchase and reward of his obedience and death. For these he prayed (Jn. 17:9), and not for the world. For these elect ones, and these only, he is now interceding, and with their salvation he will be fully satisfied.” -George Whitefield (From his letter to John Wesley)

A brief Bio of Whitefield:
“More than 18,000 sermons were to follow in his lifetime, an average of 500 a year, or ten a week, of course these were not all original, but as a travelling evangelist Whitefield was able to use many of them again and again in vary forms. It is to be regretted that less than 90 of these sermons have survived in any form… The largest audience he ever addressed was at Cambuslang, not far from Glasgow, where he spoke to around 100,000 people! He preached for an hour and a half to the tearful crowd. Converts from that one meeting numbered up to 10,000. Once he preached to 30,000; another day he had five services with 20,000 people at each. Afterwards he went on to the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh where he preached to another 20,000. In travelling from Glasgow to Edinburgh he preached to 10,000 souls every day. He loved it so much he cried out, “May I die preaching,”

Quoted from:

Hebrews 2:9 - Robert Hawker

CHRIST is said to have tasted death for every man. The
phrase is an expression to intimate knowledge of death. It is a
figure borrowed from the common circumstances of mankind, such
as when, in order to ascertain what a thing is, and to have a
personal knowledge of it, we taste it. Such was the case here, in
allusion to CHRIST’s death. By the grace of GOD he tasted it; that is,
he endured it. When it is added, for every man, it is not to be
supposed, that his death was intended a ransom for every
individual of the human race; but for every one of his brethren, the
heirs of salvation, as they are called: Hebrews 1:14. And the
following verses, of the many sons he is to bring to glory; the
persons whom he is not ashamed to call brethren; and the children
whom GOD hath given him: these terms very plainly define, and
mark the characters of those, for whom CHRIST tasted death.

Martyred because of Particular Redemption - Gottschalk of Orbais

These are some quotes from a man named "Gottschalk of Orbais" from the 9th century:

"Indeed, just as He [God] predestined all of the elect to life through the gratuity of the free grace of His kindness, as the pages of the Old and New Testaments very clearly, skillfully, and soberly show those seeking wisdom on this matter, so also He altogether predestined the reprobate to the punishment of eternal death, of course, through the most righteous judgment of His immutable justice." (Fragment from Hincmar of Rheims, De pradestinatione, 5 [PL 121, p. 365 - translation Genke & Gumerlock]; similar comments are found in Godescalc's own Longer Confession).

"... the one who says that the Lord suffered generally for all, for the salvation and redemption of both the elect and reprobate, contradicts God the Father Himself" (Tome to Gislemar - translation Genke & Gumerlock)

"... Therefore, if God gave His Son even for all of the reprobate, then He has given to them with Him all good things, and through this also eternal life. But He has not given them with Him all good things. Therefore, He did not give Him up for them ... Therefore, if Christ died even for the reprobate, then the reprobate too, having been justified in His blood, will be saved from wrath through Him. But the reprobate will not be saved from wrath through Him. Therefore, Christ did not die for the reprobate." (Answers to Various Questions - translation Genke & Gumerlock)

Gottschalk was actually imprisoned and eventually murdered for his views on predestination and limited atonement. "The Synod deposed Gotteschalk from the priesthood, ordered his books to be burned, ordered him to be shut up in a monastery, and had him publicly whipped. But the cruel Hincmar was not yet finished with his "rebellious" monk. Evidently unable to tolerate any disagreement with his position, he was determined to force Gotteschalk to recant. Within the walls of the monastery Gotteschalk was whipped so severely that he nearly died. But as he lay on the floor of his torture chamber, bloody and near death, he continued to refuse to retract his position. Even the rage of Hincmar could not elicit from this saint a denial of what he believed to be God's truth. The treatment of Gotteschalk was so cruel that it was protested by some leading clerics of his day. ...After twenty years of imprisonment, Gotteschalk died at the age of 62 or 63 in the year 868."

Oct 6, 2010

A blessed bond of union among the family of God - J.C. Philpot

“Now grace in the heart of one child of God will ever unite with grace in the heart of another. If there be jars and divisions, if there be dispute and contention in churches and among individuals, let not these be fathered on religion. It is not grace but lack of it that gives them birth and maintains them in being. So far as grace rules and reigns, so far as the life of God is made manifest in the conscience, there is a blessed bond of union among the family of God. This bond of union may indeed lie very deep or be much hidden and covered—the brook of love that once flowed strong and clear may be diminished to a trickling rill—circumstances may separate the chief friends—ministers may be divided, churches split, congregations dispersed, the dearest ties severed—because iniquity abounds the love of many may wax cold.

But love itself can never die, for life and love are so one that love can only die with life, and life the with love. It is one of the three abiding graces; and as faith never ceases out of the believer’s heart, nor hope quite dies out of his soul, so love, however low it may sink or cold it may grow, never gives up the spirit. If a man could cease to love he would cease to believe; and if he could cease to believe he would cease to live; and if he ceased to live he would die out of the body of Christ as a dead branch out of a tree. But this we know is impossible with the people of God. “My sheep shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand;” “Because, I live, you shall live also.” -J.C. Philpot

Matthew 6:14-15 - John Gill

Matthew 6:14

Ver. 14. For if ye forgive men their trespasses,.... Christ here refers to the petition in Mt 6:12 which is enforced with this reason and argument, "as", or "for", so Lu 11:4 "we forgive our debtors"; which he repeats and explains: and the reason why he singles out this particularly is, because he knew the Jews were a people very subject to revenge; and were very hardly brought to forgive any injuries done them: wherefore Christ presses it upon them closely to "forgive men their trespasses"; all sorts of injuries done them, or offences given them, whether by word or deed; and that fully, freely, from the heart; forgetting, as well as forgiving; not upbraiding them with former offences; and even without asking pardon, and though there might be no appearance of repentance. Now to this he encourages by saying,

your heavenly Father will also forgive you; will hear your prayers, and manifest his forgiving love to you: not that the forgiveness of others is the procuring cause of forgiveness with God, which is the blood of Christ; or of the manifestation and application of it, that is, the advocacy of Christ; nor the moving cause of it, that is, the free grace of God: but this enters into the character, and is descriptive of the persons, to whom God is pleased to make a comfortable discovery, and give a delightful sense of his pardoning grace; such persons, so disposed and assisted by his grace, may expect it of him.

Matthew 6:15

Ver. 15. But if you forgive not men their trespasses,.... On the other hand, where men are not of a forgiving temper to their fellow creatures and fellow Christians, how can they expect forgiveness at the hands of God? or what sense of pardoning grace can there be upon their minds? Had they any right apprehensions of the grace and goodness of God, in the forgiveness of their sins, this would influence their minds, and engage their hearts to forgive such who have offended them: wherefore, where this is wanting, it may be concluded of, and said to such persons,

neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. It is a plain case, that your Father has not given you a true sense of the pardon of your sins, nor can you be certain that he will; nor have you any reason to expect it, when you are so cruel and revengeful to others. There is a considerable emphasis lies upon the word "men", to which "heavenly Father" is opposed, and the sense, according to it, is, that if men, who are upon an equal foot with each other, should not forgive one another, how should it be expected that our Father which is in heaven, who is so much above, and no ways obliged to us, should forgive us?

Oct 3, 2010

Psalm 112 Prayer - While my soul unceasingly beholds thee by Robert Hawer

Psalm 112
"Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies. He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish."

"PRECIOUS JESUS! while my soul unceasingly beholds thee, in thy divine nature, as one with the FATHER, over all, GOD blessed for ever, give me grace, in the perusal of sweet scriptures, like this psalm, to behold thee with an equal delight, as the man, the very man, CHRIST JESUS. For hadst thou not condescended to leave the bosom of the FATHER, and taken upon thee the nature of man, never could my poor nature have been taken into the family of GOD in CHRIST, and been made a child of GOD by adoption and by grace. It was thy wonderful undertaking that first led to this hope. Thou, becoming a very man, in order to become the sinner's Surety, and in the holiness of thy nature fulfilling all righteousness, and satisfying both thy FATHER’S law and justice in our place and room: this, and this, alone, created hope and confidence in the souls of thy people. Lost as they all were in themselves, and totally incapable of doing one act of perfect obedience towards GOD, yet when in the same nature thou camest to fulfil all righteousness, and became sin for us, when thou knewest no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of GOD in thee; here faith, taught by the HOLY GHOST, was encouraged to look up, and to see how GOD can be just and yet the justifier of poor ungodly sinners, who believe in JESUS. Yes, blessed LORD, in thee we behold a suitable righteousness, a complete, a covenant, an everlasting righteousness! And what endears it to every true believer's heart, is, that this righteousness is our own in thee; for thou art our Husband, our Head, our Surety, our JESUS. GOD our FATHER hath declared himself well pleased in thee; and thy people are beheld and accepted in thee. It is thou thyself, blessed JESUS, hast said it: the word is gone out of thy mouth, neither wilt thou have it to return: thou hast said that thou art one with thy people, and they one with thee; and that the world may know that the FATHER hath loved them, as the FATHER hath loved thee! And shall not my soul everlastingly rejoice in knowing thee, and loving thee, as the man CHRIST JESUS? Shall not I unceasingly behold thee, in thy one person, GOD and Man united? And shall not I sing this sweet psalm, beginning with Hallelujah, because JESUS, the GOD-man, hath feared the LORD, and greatly delighted in his commandments; because his seed shall be mighty in his might, and righteous in his righteousness; and because JESUS will cause them to inherit substance, and fill all their treasures? Oh blessed, forever blessed! be the LORD JEHOVAH, FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST, for JESUS CHRIST." -Robert hawker

A spurious charity, which rejoiceth not in truth - William Rushton

“But because the truth itself is fallen in our streets, therefore the love of the brethren for the truth’s sake faileth also. There is, however, a kind of charity prevalent amongst us, a spurious charity, which rejoiceth not in truth. It is now thought an evidence of a bigoted spirit, to contend earnestly for the peculiar doctrines of grace; and it is considered the mark of a candid disposition to bear with doctrines opposed to the truth, and to cover such opposition with the mantle of charity and forbearance.” -William Rushton

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