Nov 29, 2010


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."

The first evidences of the renewed life - Robert Hawker

"...What were the secondary means which the Lord in his providence was pleased to employ, it is not so interesting to the reader to be informed of, as to behold their efficacy under grace. It will be sufficient for him to know, that from an ardent pursuit, like that of the generality of the world, of the several objects which attract attention in the circle of life, I found my mind suddenly arrested by matters of an higher nature; and among the first evidences of the renewed life, I discovered two or three leading principles manifesting the mighty change. As for example—from being occupied in an unremitting regard to things temporal, I now found my heart earnest to pursue the things which are eternal—and if at any time the necessary and unavoidable claims of the world broke in upon me, to call off my attention, my heart, like the needle under magnetic influence, which cannot be long diverted from the object of its attraction, soon was turned again to its favorite pursuit. In like manner the troubles of life and the disappointments necessary to the present preliminary state, which in the days of my unregeneracy operated with all their severity, now lost their power, or at least became lessened, in the great anxiety of what might be my situation in the world to come. This, like the ocean, whose boundless bosom takes in all the rivers flowing into it, swallowed up every lesser stream of sorrow; and an awakened concern for the "one thing needful," made me forget every other consideration.

Add to these, I had been exceedingly prodigal of time, while I knew not its value; and have been literally sending out into the streets and lanes of the city to invite passengers to take it off my hands; but when it pleased God to call me by his grace, I found every part of it to be so precious, that, like the fugitive man-slayer hastening to the gate of Refuge, I dreaded every moment lest the adversary should seize me before I had found a sanctuary from his fury. As well as I recollect (and great cause have I to recollect everything connected with a situation so critical) I was in this state of mind when my desires were first awakened to an inquiry after Zion—and the question involuntarily was bursting from the fullness of my heart, "Who will show me any good? Lord, lift up the light of your countenance upon me; and it shall put more gladness in my heart than in the time when corn, and wine, and oil increase!"

Awakened to a concern which I had never before experienced, and called upon continually by a voice from within, which neither the engagements of pleasure nor the clamor of business could wholly stifle, I found myself, insensibly as it were, entered upon the road to Zion, eagerly disposed to ask everyone by the way, "Who will show me any good?" though unconscious at that time what that good meant, or whether there were any means of attaining it."

"[At a later time in the story, the gospel is preached to him and he then writes]... I knew not what to reply, and therefore remained silent. The poor man, bidding me farewell, left me to ruminate on the solemn inquiry, "How should man be just with God?" (Job 9:2.)

I felt the same force of what he said. It was a harsh sound; and the vibration long dwelt upon my ear, "How shall man be just with God?" It followed me to what Job calls the "visions of the night;" (Job 4.) and even then, like the spectre which he saw, the same expostulating voice seemed to cry, "How shall man be just with God?"

The stern demand rang through all the chambers of the conscience, as if a thousand voices had concurred to proclaim the utter impossibility of answering the question in the very moment of proposing it; and as an echo reverberates from broken walls, so the sound of conviction returned from my broken heart. "By the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified in his sight." (Rom. 3:20.)

It is with some degree of grateful recollection that I look back upon this part of my history; and bless God, while I trace his divine hand graciously interposing by the instrumentality of this poor man, to rescue me from the dangerous path of delusion into which I had turned, when seeking justification by the deeds of the law. I can now enter into the participation of David's experience upon a similar occasion, and feel somewhat of that spirit which he felt in the instance of the wife of the Carmelite, when under a deep conviction of that sin-preventing providence, he cried out, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me; and blessed be your advice, and blessed be you." (1 Sam. 25:32.) In like manner I find cause to bless God in the review of this instance as the Author, the poor man as the instrument, and his advice as the means, which the Lord was pleased to commission, for the emancipation of my mind from a self-confidence which, if cherished, must have ultimately ended in my eternal ruin."

Worship God in spirit and in truth - William Huntington

"...we "worship God in spirit and in truth, for God seeks such worshippers to worship him," John, iv. 23. To "worship God in the Spirit" shews that a man must be inspired, and approach God with a spiritual mind, with a spiritual understanding, 1 Cor. xiv. 15; with spiritual affections; and to pray as the Spirit operates on him, 2 Sam. vii. 27; and "gives him utterance," Acts, ii. 4. "The words of his mouth must be the meditation of his heart," Psal. xix. 14. He must pray in spiritual faith, James, i. 6. He must plough in spiritual hope, Prov. xiii. 12. And in spiritual expectation, Hab. ii. 1. Yea, he must pray against every thing of which the Spirit convinces him to be evil, 1 Cor. iv. 10. And he must pray for every blessing which the Spirit convinces him of the need of, Heb, iv. 16. And he will find this blessed Spirit will help his weaknesses, and kindle a willing frame when he is reluctant; a fervent frame when he is lifeless; yea, a bold frame when he has cause to blush and take shame to himself, Dan. ix. 7-9. Yea, and a believing frame, to enable him to call Godfather, as the prodigal son did, even "when he was in a far country," Luke, xv. 18. This blessed "Spirit makes intercession for us according to the will of God" revealed in his word and never contrary to it, Rom. viii. 26, 27. To worship God in truth, implies that a man prays for what he truly feels the want of, Matt. v. 6; and that he prays to the only true God, whom he hath a scriptural and an experimental knowledge of; that he, by the Spirit, sees how all the glorious attributes of God harmonize together in Christ Jesus, the true substance and sacrifice of all the ceremonial types, figures, and shadows. To worship God in truth, is to let our lips and our hearts go together, Prov. iii. 26; to pray against every sin and error that the Spirit points out to us; to pray for every blessing that God has promised to give, and to take a scriptural warrant for it; and so address God in his own language, Hoses, xiv. 2. This is spiritual, and this is true worship; and, if my reader tries this way, he will find "the Spirit help his infirmities, and make intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered," even when he has grieved him. And, under the fervent influences of the Spirit's intercession, he will be brought to know the very thoughts of the Lord concerning himself, Psalm, cxxxix. 17; and to "pour out his very soul before him, and shew him all his trouble," Psalm, cxiix. 2; and leave his burdens with him, Psalm, lv. 22; like Hannah, that sweet female wrestler, when she went from her knees at Shiloh, with her blessed "countenance no more sad," 1 Sam. i. 18." -William Huntington

Nov 26, 2010

On the difference of Myself from Myself - Ambrose Serle

"LORD, how variable a creature am I! Unstable as water, changeable as wind, different as the weather, when I am left, in any instance or degree, to myself. One of our English kings, from is slackness, was called the unready; and the same name, with respect to my best concerns, will too often serve for me.

Sometimes I have a fair day of comfort and hope; but the clouds come on again, and gather blackness over my soul. Suavis hora, brevis mora: Short and sweet was the hour of my spiritual delight; but the time of my dullness and drooping has been frequent and long.

Blessed be your name, O Lord, that my real state with you does not depend upon my vigor, liveliness, and constancy, but upon those only sure grounds, your faithfulness, mercy, omnipotence, and truth. Whatever I am or may be in myself, you are and will be always the same, and always the same to me.

The time, or rather the eternity, is at hand, when my state will be unchangeable, and my frames will be unchangeable too. The crowns of glory cannot fade; nor those, who wear them, alter or decay. I shall both know, as I am known, and in all things shall be like to my immutable and glorious Savior, when I get into his kingdom.

Why then should my present variations distress me? I live not by them, nor for them, but upon a higher principle, and for a more exalted end. This is the time of faith, in which I must wrestle, and labor, and strive against all the disadvantages of an evil nature and an evil world: and I am to look for strength from Christ, who will be honored in my weakness and deficiency, which compel me to give up myself incessantly to him. He is engaged to preserve me by his own oath and unchangeable covenant; and therefore, come fair, come foul: let me have either comfort or sorrow: all must be well at the last, for he has promised, and most assuredly will give me, a safe and abundant entrance into heaven." - Ambrose Serle

Nov 25, 2010

We are here charged with blaming God - William Button

"...there is a most unworthy reflection (at least it appears so to me) cast on those who differ from Mr. F.'s (Fuller) sentiments concerning faith. After attacking the Arminians, he adds, “others, that err as much on the opposite side, seem willing that God should have all the praise for the good; but then they are determined as well, eh shall have all the blame for the bad, for they will have none of it” (p. 7). The persons here alluded to, I conceive to be those who with me think the reason why many believe not, is, because they are not predestinated to eternal life, for as many as are so do believe, Acts 10:48, and our Lord gives this as a reason of unbelief, in John 10:26. Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, and because this is our sentiment we are here charged with blaming God. This is illiberal; we believe the Lord dispenses the blessings of his grace, and faith amongst the rest, according to his sovereign good will and pleasure, that he is the absolute proprietor of his own grace; that he gives it when, and where, and to whom he pleases; but are we to be considered as blaming God for not bestowing these blessings on all? We disdain the thought. There were, it seems, in the Apostle's days, some who drew such an unjust conclusion from his doctrine, which made him with earnestness reply to the adversary, “Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.” No, instead of blaming God for not bestowing special faith on all, we adore his sovereignty, and admire his grace in bestowing it on any. Were I disposed to return the attack, I might ask, who casts the most blame on God, Mr. F. who asserts, it is the duty of all men to believe with a special faith, with that faith which is peculiar to the elect, which is out of their power to obtain, and the want of it is the cause of damnation; or we who believe that because this faith is a new covenant blessing, peculiar to the elect, none will be condemned by God for the want of it? But I forbear, as I am persuaded Mr. F. does not by any means intend to cast any blame on the Divine Being, however his sentiment may appear to carry that in it. I should have been glad if he had spared this invective." -William Button

Nov 22, 2010

He supposes to find himself more holy - Robert Hawker

"He [a child of God] feels at times such a deadness to divine things, that he is at a loss to ascertain any growth in the divine life. But the truth is, the growth he is looking for, is to be found in the reverse of what he expects to find. He supposes to find himself more holy: whereas, the holiness, the HOLY GHOST is ripening him in, is in CHRIST, He doth indeed make great progress, when, from making every day more discoveries of his own unholiness, he becomes more and more longing for the holiness in JESUS. When a sense of the remains of indwelling sin, makes him more out of love with himself and more in love with CHRIST. This is indeed, from small beginnings, to arise to large attainments; because, as it begins in CHRIST, so it ends in CHRIST. And CHRIST is the tree of life, under whose branches, his people find both a banquet and a shadow. Song Of Solomon 2:3-4." -Robert Hawker [Commentary on Mark 4]

Nov 14, 2010

Sanctification by J. C. Philpot

By J. C. Philpot

As from the cross flows all salvation, so from the cross flows all sanctification.
What have not men done, to make themselves holy; and by this means render
themselves, as they have thought, acceptable to God! What tortures of body,
what fastings, scourgings, self-imposed penances to sanctify their sinful
nature, and conform their rebellious flesh to the holiness demanded by the
law! And with what success? They have landed either in self-righteousness or
despair—though at opposite points of the compass.

The flesh cannot be sanctified. It is essentially and incurably corrupt; and
therefore, if we are to possess that inward holiness, "without which no man
shall see the Lord," it must be by Christ being "of God, made unto us
sanctification," as well as righteousness—sanctifying us not only "with his
own blood," (Heb. 13:13,) but by his Spirit and grace. If we believe in Him, we
shall love him ("unto you which believe, he is precious;") if we love him, we
shall seek to please, and fear to displease him; if we believe in Him, by the gift
and work of God, this divine and living faith will purify our heart, overcome
the world, produce that spiritual mindedness which is life and peace, give
union and communion with the Lord of life and glory; and every believing
view of him, every act of faith upon him, and every visit from him, will
conform us to his likeness, as the Apostle speaks: "But we all, with open face
beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image
from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Cor. 3:18.)
If, then, we are to feel an inward power sanctifying our hearts, drawing up
our minds to heavenly things, subduing our sins, meekening and softening our
spirit, separating us from the world, filling us with holy thoughts, gracious
desires, and pure affections, and thus making us "meet for the inheritance of
the saints in light," this inward sanctification must flow wholly and solely
from the Blessed Spirit, as the gift of a risen Jesus: as he himself said,
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if
I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will
send him unto you." "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and
shall show it unto you" (John 16:7, 14).

It is not, then, the hair-shirt, the monk's cell, the midnight vigil, the
protracted fast; no, nor the soothing strains of the swelling organ, the
melodious chant of surpliced choristers, the "dim religious light" of the
stained Gothic window; no, nor the terrors of the Law, the accusations of
conscience, the tears, cries and resolutions of a heart that still loves sin,
though professing to repent of it; no, nor gloomy looks, neglected apparel,
softly uttered words, slow walk, holiness of face, manner, and gesture, hollow
voice, demure countenance, a choice assortment of Scripture words and
phrases on every occasion, or no occasion; no, nor all the array of piety and
sanctity which Satan, transformed into an angel of light, has devised to
deceive thousands, that can purge the conscience from the guilt, filth, love,
power and practice of sin, or raise up that new man, which after God is
created in righteousness and true holiness.

Like the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the
unclean, they may, and even that very imperfectly, sanctify to the purifying of
the flesh; but it is the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered
himself without spot to God, which can alone purge the conscience from filth,
guilt, and dead works, to serve the living God; and it is the work of the blessed
Spirit alone which, by revealing Christ, and forming him in the heart, "the
hope of glory," can create and bring forth that new man of grace which is
renewed in knowledge after the image of him who created him.

The Two Natures in a Believer By J. C. Philpot

The Two Natures in a Believer
By J. C. Philpot

Among those branches of divine truth which, without special teaching, we
cannot enter into, is, that of the two natures in a believer. And yet, though
every child of God must in all ages have been experimentally acquainted with
the inward conflict between flesh and spirit, nature and grace; and though
authors innumerable have written on such subjects as sanctification, the trial
of faith, the strength of grace, the power of sin, the deceitfulness of the heart,
the commencement and progress, decline and restoration, of the life of God in
the soul, yet how few even of these really spiritual and experimental writers
have laid out the truth of the case as made known in the Scriptures, and felt in
the experience of the saints! How blind have many gracious writers, as, for
instance, Dr. Owen, and most of the Puritan authors, been to the distinctness
of flesh and spirit! In fact, as it seems to us, many good men have been afraid
of the real, actual truth. Our Puritan ancestors especially, living in a day when
profanity and ungodliness ran down the streets like water, and holiness,
therefore, of heart and life was powerfully urged as the distinctive feature of
the children of God, intuitively shrank from anything that seemed in its
faintest coloring opposed to their view of gospel sanctification. They feared to
believe, and dreaded to proclaim, that "the carnal mind is enmity against
God; that it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed could be." They
seemed to think, if they once admitted that the flesh, the carnal mind,
underwent no spiritual change; in other words, could not be sanctified; it was
opening a wide and open door to the worst Antinomianism.

There is a distinction between "the flesh" and "the carnal mind." The flesh is
the corrupt principle itself: the carnal mind is the breathing, moving, and
acting of the corrupt principle. The flesh is, as it were, the body, the carnal
mind the soul of sin; the flesh is the still atmosphere, pregnant with disease
and death; the carnal mind is the same air in motion, carrying with it the
noisome pestilence; the flesh is a giant, but lying down or asleep; the carnal
mind is the giant awake and hurling his weapons of defiance against heaven
and earth.

On no one point, it may be remarked, are the minds of men professing some
measure of truth so sensitive as upon that of the believer's personal
sanctification. You may be three parts an Arminian, and four-fifths of a
Pharisee, and men will speak well of you and of your religion; no, many even
of God's children will think favorably of you. But be in their eyes one-tenth of
an Antinomian, and they will unchristianise you in a moment, if you had the
experience of Hart, the gifts of Huntington, the godly life of Romaine, and the
blessed death of Toplady. Now, nothing so much exposes a man to the
suspicion of secret Antinomianism as his denying the sanctification of the
flesh. The cry is at once raised, "You are an enemy to holiness; you turn the
grace of God into licentiousness; you allow people to live as they list; you
encourage men under a profession of religion to continue in sin."
Who does not know the charges which they ring on this peal of bells against
all who assert that the flesh is incurably corrupt, and cannot be molded
afresh, or new modeled, or sanctified, or conformed to the image of Christ,
but remains to the last what it was at the first, "the old man which is corrupt
according to the deceitful lusts?" We may oppose to these clamorous
reproaches a godly life, a gospel walk, a spiritual mindedness, a heavenly
conversation, a filial fear, a tender conscience, a separation from evil, a
liberality to the poor and needy, and a deadness to the world of which our
opponents profess little and manifest less; but all in vain. The very suspicion
that we deny the holiness of the flesh, present or possible, makes us viewed by
most of the "very religious" people of our day much as the Protestant heretic
is looked upon by the staunch Papist—a kind of horrid being, who may,
perhaps, by a death-bed conversion to their views, and a full recantation of his
own, escape hell, but who, at present, is in a very awful and dangerous

But leaving these poor ignorant creatures who speak evil of things that they
know not, and who are actuated by much the same principle and spirit as
those of old who said of the Lord himself, "He has a devil, and is mad; why
hear you him?" let us look for a few moments at a very different class of
people to whom the mystery of the two natures is but little known. These are
the honest and sincere, the tender in conscience and broken in heart of the
children of God, who, for want of divine light on this point, are often deeply
tried and perplexed, and sometimes almost at their wit's end from what they
feel of the inward workings and strength of sin. They are told, and their
naturally religious mind, their traditionary creed, and their unenlightened
understanding, all fully fall in with what they hear enforced on their
conscience, that the sanctification of the soul, without which there is no
salvation, is a gradual progress from one degree of holiness to another, until,
with the exception of a few insignificant "remains" of sin, which, from some
unknown cause, obstinately resist the sanctifying process, the believer
becomes thoroughly holy, in body, soul, and spirit. Sin, they are told, may
occasionally stir up a bad thought or two, or now and then a carnal desire
may most unaccountably start up; but its power is destroyed, the rebellious
movement is immediately subdued, the hasty spark, which straight is cool
again, is put out at once without further damage, and the process of
sanctification keeps going on as harmoniously and uninterruptedly as before,
until the soul is almost as fit for heaven as if it were already there.
Beautiful theory! but as deceptive and as unsubstantial as the mirage of the
desert, or the summer evening cloud bathed in the golden glow of the sinking
sun. And so those sincere, honest-hearted children of God find and feel when
"the motions of sin which are by the law," stirred and roused from their
torpid inactivity by its application, work in their members to bring forth fruit
unto death.

The doctrine of progressive sanctification, implying, as it does, in the mouth of
its strenuous advocates, the gradual extirpation of sin and the molding of the
carnal mind into the image of Christ, is to the honest and tender conscience a
torturing doctrine, pregnant with guilt, bondage, and despair. To a man who
merely plays with religion, all doctrines are pretty much alike. None cause
him trouble, and none cause him joy. The holiness of God, the spirituality and
curse of the law, the evil of sin, the helplessness of the creature, the sinfulness
of the flesh, the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of the heart, as long as
they are mere doctrines, have no more effect upon the conscience than a
narrative of the battle of Alma or an account of the fight at Inkermann. To a
professor of religion dead in his unregeneracy, the fall of man is nothing like
so stirring as the fall of Sebastopol; and the recovery by Christ does not give
him half so much pleasure as the recovery from a bad cold. These are the men
to preach progressive sanctification; and none urge it so continually, and
press it so forcibly, except, perhaps, those that are living in sin, who are
usually the greatest advocates for holiness, either as a mask of their practice,
or on the principle of a set off, that, having none of their own, they may get as
much as they can of other people's. "In for a penny, in for a pound," is the
maxim of a man who runs into debt without meaning to pay.

And so, if a man means to pay God nothing of the obedience and holiness
which he urges upon others, he thinks he cannot do better than get into debt
as deep as he can. None set the ladder so high as the master who stops at the
foot, and urges his man on to the topmost round. None lay such heavy
burdens on men's shoulders as those who themselves never touch them with
one of their fingers; and none wield so unmercifully the whip as those who
have never felt the end of the lash. To all such miserable taskmasters the tried
and distressed in soul may well say, "What is play to you is death to us; you
are in jest, but we are in earnest; you are at your ease, we are laboring to
attain unto what you only talk about. The holiness that you are preaching we
are striving to practice. Your flashes of exhortation are but summer lightning,
and your denunciations but stage thunder; while we are at the foot of the
mount that burned with fire, and where there was blackness and darkness
and tempest.

The sanctification of the flesh that you urge may do for you who have learned
your lesson at the academy, and preach what you neither know, nor
understand, nor feel—blind leaders of the blind, as you and your tutors are.
Such a doctrine lies with no more weight on your conscience than the
preacher's gown upon your back, or the gold ring upon your little finger; but
it is not so with us, who are daily and hourly groaning beneath a body of sin
and death. It is the load of sin that so deeply tries us, and our utter inability to
bring forth the holiness that you urge upon our sore and bleeding consciences.
It is our base backslidings, our sins against love and blood, our barrenness
and deadness; the dreadful depravity of our hearts; our getting every day
worse instead of getting every day better, that so deeply tries us: and your
doctrine rubs salt into our bleeding, gaping wounds."

To such tried and distressed souls as these, who have been harassed almost to
death by the doctrine of progressive sanctification, how reviving and
encouraging it is when the mystery of the two natures is opened up to their
spiritual understanding, and sealed upon their conscience by the Blessed

Spread abroad in tracts by thousands - J.C. Philpot

"That which is the peculiar, the sole privilege of the sheep of Christ; that which our Lord expressly tells us no man can do except he be specially taught and drawn of the Father; that which is the particular act of a living faith, such as is given to none but the elect; that which is intended for, and addressed to the hungry, the thirsty, the weary and heavy-laden, the outcast and ready to perish, is now made to be the duty of all men, an easy and simple act which everybody is bound to do, and which anybody can do if he likes. "Come to Jesus" is spread abroad in tracts by thousands; is printed in all types, sets, and sizes; is thrown down area steps, spread about broad-cast at fairs, horseraces, and executions; and is the standing stock-in-trade of every beardless youth who, on a Sunday afternoon, can get round him a knot of idlers to preach to in the parks." - J.C. Philpot

This is a Day of Compromise - J.C. Philpot

[quoted from the Gospel Standard Reviews by J.C. Philpot volume 2]

This is a day of compromise. The sharp, salient
edges of truth are mostly pared away with the nicest care, and rounded off
with the greatest assiduity, for fear, we suppose, lest any babe in grace should
inadvertently run against them and get a sad hurt. Should such a distressing
accident happen to any of the little ones who are just beginning to run alone,
how the tender nurses catch him up at once in their arms to soothe his
sorrows; and how they call out against that great, ugly table, or that naughty
chair, which has so hurt the little dear. "It is this ever preaching election
which does so much mischief; this telling the people that Christ died only for
just a particular few, and not throwing wide open the arms of mercy; this
always talking about a work of grace upon the heart; and how we must feel
the curse of the law and convictions of sin before we can know the comforts of
the gospel. This kind of preaching distresses the little ones, and puts a
stumbling-block in the way of those who are being drawn by love. Our way is
to preach Christ at once, and offer him, without exception, to all who will
accept him, and that immediately, without all this unnecessary bondage and
distress. No wonder there are so few rejoicing Christians. No wonder there is
so much moping, so much groaning and sighing, and hanging the head down
like a bulrush. What we like to see is, happy Christians; and the religion
which we think the best of is, cheerful piety, taking God at his word, believing
the promises, and living above doubts and fears.
" Now is not this just the
language of the day the in staple of scores of books and tracts, and the cry of
hundreds of popular pulpits? Need we, then, be surprised that our amiable
writers and our soft, mild, gentle preachers, with such views as these, are so
afraid of giving pain to their susceptible readers and their tender-hearted
hearers that, instead of blowing the trumpet in Zion, and sounding an alarm
in the holy mountain, they rather sing a perpetual lullaby. Nothing, they
think, is worse, or more alarming to the people, than brandishing before their
eyes a drawn sword; and the very idea of plunging it deep into the conscience
of any of their decidedly pious and most consistent and respectable hearers
fills them with the same feminine tenderness of blood and suffering as we may
suppose a recruit feels when he first screws on the bayonet, and advances to
the charge. Such writers and preachers are as tremblingly sensitive to the
tears of suffering on Christian faces as any mother whose darling boy has
fallen down and hurt himself. Deep distress of conscience, agonising fears of
the wrath to come, powerful convictions of sin, putting away of all hope or
comfort which does not come direct from the Lord, doubts, fears, and slavish
bondage under the curse of the law and the apprehended wrath of the
Almighty—such and similar experience is now almost universally set aside as
unnecessary to the new birth; and an easier path is held forth as equally safe
and far more comfortable. But, however plausible it may appear in theory,
and however pleasing it may be to the flesh, especially when dressed up with
eloquent language and enforced with strong appeals to the natural feelings,
what is all this soft and gentle preaching and writing but doing the very thing
which God has so denounced in his holy word? How he testifies against those
prophets who prophesy smooth things; who prophesy deceits; who know not
the way of the Lord, nor have walked in his counsel, but "prophesy a false
vision and divination, and a thing of nought and the deceit of their heart."
(Jer. 14:14.) How, too, the prophet Ezekiel denounces the false prophets of his
day, of whom one built up a wall, and others daubed it with untempered
mortar. How he testifies against those foolish women that sew pillows to all
armholes; and how he declares what the effect of all such smooth preaching is:
"With lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made
sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from
his wicked way, by promising him life." (Ezek. 13:10, 18, 22.)

There is no greater mark of false ministers given in the word of truth than
healing the hurt of the daughter of God's people slightly, saying, Peace, peace,
when there is no peace. (Jer. 8:11.) If we carefully read the book of Jeremiah,
we shall see that the great sin and the chief deception of all the false prophets
who sprang up in scores during the period of his ministry was to build up the
people in a false hope; to assure them that they had no reason to fear the
judgments of God, for that the Lord would not execute against them what he
threatened. They therefore hardened the people in sin and disobedience, took
them off all repentance and forsaking of their sins, led them to trifle with and
despise the judgments of God, and built them up in a false confidence that,
because they were the people of God by external profession, they were his also
by regenerating grace. Thus they took the very doctrine of God's having a
peculiar people, whom he loved and would never forsake, and abused it to the
building up of an ungodly professing people upon the foundation of God's love
and faithfulness to his own elect. If our eyes were fully open to see the effect of
the false teaching of our day, we should see it equally dishonouring to God,
and pregnant with equally awful consequences. We should see hundreds of
dead professors built up without a foundation ever having been laid in their
consciences of repentance toward God. We should see sin made a little matter
of, the awful anger of the Almighty against it, and his terrible indignation
against transgressors passed by as a thing of little moment. We should see the
strait and narrow path widened out in all directions; the promises and
invitations torn away from their connexion; the distinguishing truths of the
gospel beaten down into, and amalgamated with, the grossest errors; the
precepts of the word dislocated and distorted; and the clear revelation of
God's mind and will given in the New Testament softened and accommodated
to the reasoning mind, and the proud self-righteousness of man. And it needs
must be so; for the word of grace is such a consistent and harmonious whole
that, unless it is held by the teaching of the Spirit in the hand of a living faith,
all attempts to interpret it must issue in confusion.

But to show more clearly the emptiness and inconsistency of the current
ministry of the day, let us take one familiar instance. There is, then, as it
appears to us, no greater or more widely-spread delusive teaching both in
town and country than the constant cry both from pulpit and press, addressed
to all, without explanation or exception, "Come to Jesus." We shall therefore,
attempt briefly to show the real nature and tendency of this ever-recurring

That which is the peculiar, the sole privilege of the sheep of Christ; that which
our Lord expressly tells us no man can do except he be specially taught and
drawn of the Father; that which is the particular act of a living faith, such as
is given to none but the elect; that which is intended for, and addressed to the
hungry, the thirsty, the weary and heavy-laden, the outcast and ready to
perish, is now made to be the duty of all men, an easy and simple act which
everybody is bound to do, and which anybody can do if he likes. "Come to
Jesus" is spread abroad in tracts by thousands; is printed in all types, sets,
and sizes; is thrown down area steps, spread about broad-cast at fairs, horseraces,
and executions; and is the standing stock-in-trade of every beardless
youth who, on a Sunday afternoon, can get round him a knot of idlers to
preach to in the parks. We may seem to be severe on this point; but to show
the fallacy and deceptiveness of this universal call to come to Jesus, at first
sight so scriptural and evangelical, let us assume that it is listened to and acted
upon. Step into that crowded chapel where, amidst the blaze of gas and
warmed with his subject, the fervid preacher is calling on his hearers to come
to Jesus, and to come at once. Assume that, wrought upon by his ardent
eloquence and his urgent appeals, the whole congregation, as if moved by an
uncontrollable impulse, at once started upon their feet, and cried aloud, as
with a universal shout, "Sir, we will do what you bid us, and we will do it now.
We will and do all of us come to Christ this very moment." Now would this
determination of theirs, or this act of coming, following upon their
determination, bring them one step nearer to heaven? If all of them, men,
women, and children, were to come to Christ in the feelings of their mind, as
well as the expression of their lips, without any divine breathing upon their
soul, without any teaching or drawing of God, without any descent of the Holy
Ghost upon their heart, as at the day of Pentecost, what would all this coming
to Christ be but an act of the natural mind, an emotion of and in the flesh, and
therefore neither pleasing to God, (Rom. 8:8,) nor of any profit to them?
(John 6:63.) Where, in all this mere mental, natural, carnal coming to Christ,
would be the new birth, without which there is neither seeing nor entering
into the kingdom of God? Where repentance unto life? Where any translation
from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son? Where any
divine light, life, or power? Where any teaching or testimony, work or witness
of the Holy Ghost? Where any one of his heavenly graces or spiritual fruits? It
is, in fact, man's substitute for the work of God, an insidious way of throwing
over the new birth, and of trampling down the strait gate and the narrow way.
It is putting the special prerogative of Christ, ("The Son quickeneth whom he
will,") into the hands of every man to do for himself, and thus, in fact, make
man his own saviour. All such preaching and all such coming begin and end in
the flesh. It is at best, therefore, but a kindling a fire and walking in the
sparks of it, of which the end at God's hand, if grace prevent not, will be to lie
down in sorrow.

Nov 12, 2010

Earnestness for the salvation of others - Robert Hawker

"I stay not to remark, what might otherwise be very profitably attended to in the several circumstances of this man’s case, the disease of his body; but I have so much to say in relation to the state of his soul, and the souls of GOD’s people, who are all so highly concerned in what is here said, that I fear I shall trespass, and exceed the limits I ought to observe, before that I have said all I wish to say on a subject so abundantly interesting. But otherwise, here would be ample opportunity to enlarge upon such a subject, as a misery of nature, in the painful crippled state of a poor Paralytic, and the mercy of JESUS in healing him. But it is the palsy of the soul, which this of the body became a lively emblem of, that demands our special notice; and may the LORD render our contemplation of it profitable to our hearts. Think, Reader! what a crippled, benumbed, and helpless state our whole nature is reduced to by the fall! And behold, as in the instance of this man, he had no power of himself to come to CHRIST; so neither have we. See, in proof, John 6:44. But what a beautiful lesson is read to us in the friends of this poor creature, in the earnestness with which they brought him to CHRIST. No throng, no obstructions, will they allow to stop them. Even the house-top shall be opened, but CHRIST shall have him brought before him. Oh! that the LORD’s people, who know, in their own cases, the blessedness of JESUS’ grace, would feel somewhat of the same earnestness for the salvation of others. Methinks I would bring to ordinances, and also in private approaches, to the mercy seat, the whole of my carnal, graceless relations; and do as they did by this man, lay them down before the presence of JESUS. More than this I am not able to do; but thus far I am encouraged to do. And that compassionate LORD, who hath healed my crippled soul, can cure theirs." -Robert Hawker [commentary on Mark 2]

Nov 7, 2010


Luther's free offer and universally sufficient atonement makes faith the obedience which causes the death of Christ to be effectual on our behalf. This implies that we are justified on the ground (or because) of our faith, rather than simply declared righteous in our conscience through faith. Luther's teaching on the atonement is contrary to the gospel of God's grace.

Luther taught - Christ offers His righteousness to all
"Christ, Like Adam, Affected All Men Isaiah here uses the word “many” for the word “all,” after the manner of Paul in Rom. 5:15. The thought there is: One has sinned (Adam), One is righteous (Christ), and many are made righteous. There is no difference between “many” and “all.” The righteousness of Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, our Lord and Savior, is so great that it could justify innumerable worlds. “He ‘shall justify many,” says he, that is to say, all. It should, therefore, be understood of all, because He offers His righteousness to all, and all who believe in Christ obtain it. (W 40 III, 738 f–E op ex 23, 523 f – SL 6, 720). Cited from: Ewald M. Plass, What Luther Says (Saint Louis, Missouri: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), 2:601. [Note: this lecture was first delivered in 1544, but only later put into print in 1550.]

Luther taught - Christ offers a kiss of love to those who perish in hell
"In this way the Holy Spirit with one word gathers up the whole world with all its wisdom, righteousness, merits, services, adorations, and chastisements, and transposes it all into the Sons kiss. “If you kiss the Son, good. If not, you will perish in the way. For it will come to pass,” He says, “that the Son will at last be angry. Now He offers you a kiss so that He may receive your kiss in turn. Truly He embraces the whole human race with extraordinary love. For He comes in our flesh not to judge or condemn, but in order to kiss us and show us the love with which He surrounds us. If, then, you will not kiss Him in return, no religion, no righteousness, no wisdom will save you. You will simply remain under His wrath and perish in His anger." Martin Luther, “Selected Psalms,” in Luther’s Works, 12:89.

Luther taught - Christ died sufficiently for those who perish in hell
"...Christ did not effectively give His ransom for Judas and the Jews, He certainly gave it sufficiently. It is rather that they did not accept it. Therefore it should not be denied that it was given, but rather it should be denied that the benefit of the propitiation was accepted. Again, putting “man” in the accusative in place of in the nominative is more a guess than an explanation. Again, construing the “wise” here as the wise of this world does not seem to make sense, since there follows immediately the senseless and the fool shall perish together. For that reason the former explanation seems better." Martin Luther, “First Lectures on the Psalms,” in Luther’s Works 10:228.

Luther taught - That he [Luther] had power to redeem infants by baptizing them
"At the present time, thanks to the boundless kindness of God, we have the most glorious honor of Christ, as is clear from our sermons and the whole ministry. Look at Baptism, the Lords Supper, absolution, and the Gospel. These great gifts of the Holy Spirit should be praised and proclaimed by all, and in them God, who has given such power to men (cf. Matt. 9:8), should be acknowledged and praised. I am not the patriarch Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. But observe what I do. I take an infant, and by baptizing it I redeem it from death, the devil, and sins, and translate it from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. This a pastor of the church does, and in an emergency any Christian does so. Therefore it is meet and right that we should wonder at and proclaim such great mercy and goodness of God. He blesses us with an eternal and spiritual blessing, so that the devil is compelled to flee when he sees an infant being baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. For here I am not destroying the kingdom of the Turk or of Augustus or of the king of the Persians. No, I am destroying the kingdom of the prince and god of this world." Martin Luther, “Lectures on Genesis,” in Luther’s Works, 8:182.

Common Redemptive Grace Refuted - John Brine
"[Brine informs a friend about Baxterian errors] Sir, the Opinion of a Day, or Season of Grace, appointed to Men in common, supposes that God loves them, that he willed their Happiness, and has provided for it; that Christ died for them to save them, and that the Holy Spirit works upon them with the same gracious Design; but thro’ their Folly and Obstinacy, God’s Love is turned into Hatred, his Purpose to save them, is changed into a Resolution to damn them, that Christ died in vain with Respect to them, that the Holy Spirit is disappointed of the End he proposed to himself, in his benign Influences upon them. These are not, Sir, you well know the Doctrines of the free Grace of God, which this Writer [the Baxterian writer that Brine is correcting] pretends to have an Approbation of. They are as contrary to those Doctrines, as Light is to Darkness: you see that under a Pretence of maintaining the Opinion of evangelical Repentance and special Faith being the Duties of Sinners, he is for conducting us into rank Arminianism." -John Brine

Nov 2, 2010

James 2:14-26 - William Huntington

James shewed his faith by such works as these
"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works."
James still pursues this prating fool. Before this man is
represented as saying, "I have faith;" and this report,
conveyed by sounding his own trumpet, goes abroad, and
another circulates it, and says, "Thou hast faith;" then says
James, "I have works." But "shew me thy faith without thy
works:" which is what no man can do; for faith is as a grain of
mustard seed in the heart, which is hid from all but God, and
the possessors of it. "I will shew thee my faith by my works,"
says James. Faith overcomes the world, and separates us
from it, insomuch that our old companions can see it, "and
wonder that we run not with them to the same excess of riot,
speaking evil of us." Faith centres in Christ. "We all meet in
the unity of the faith," that is, in our covenant Head; and the
believer abides in him, and abides by him, both in faith and
affection, while others despise him. Faith obtains promises,
and mixes itself with the word, which may be known by sound
doctrine, sound words, sound speech that cannot be
condemned, and by the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus
Christ, spoken in faith and love. Faith is attended with the light
of life, "for he that believeth in Christ shall not abide in
darkness, but shall have the light of life;" and this light is to
shine before men, and is attended with good works, such as
holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience, a
willingness to live honestly, not walking in craftiness, nor
handling the word of God deceitfully; which are some of the
blackest of all crimes: by manifestation of the truth, setting it
forth in all its freeness and fullness, appealing to every man's
conscience in the sight of God; dealing faithfully with souls,
and setting light by the world; abhorring covetousness, and
willing to relieve the poor of the flock; watching over each
other for good, seeking the welfare of their souls, guarding
them against all those who lie in wait to deceive, especially
the free-willers, who hold the "leaven of the Pharisees, which
is hypocrisy;" and by a warm attachment to Christ, and a
steady adherence to truth; not like the "simple, that believeth
every word," but like a "wise man, that looks well to his way."
James shewed his faith by such works as these." -William Huntington

A bare assent of the natural mind
"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well." This is
a bare assent of the natural mind, founded upon divine
history, which is what none but a heathen will deny. But true
faith exceeds this assent, and confession too; "it sees him that
is invisible" to the eye of the body, and to the light of nature; it
gives credit to God's word, and flies to him as to the great
rewarder of all that diligently seek him; and receives the
blessings of life, and peace, love, and comfort, that are in him,
and views him as the greatest of all treasure; such "are rich in
faith, and rich towards God." -William Huntington

Such acts are far enough above the reach of nature
"But wilt thou know, vain man, that faith without works is
dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he
had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?"
Was not this act of obedience by Abraham a full proof that
Abraham's faith was of divine origin, a faith that is of the
operation of the Spirit of God? and which always gives credit
to God's word, and yields the obedience of faith? For could
the faith of nature, or the false confidence of the most refined
hypocrite, which is nothing else but a carnal assent, ever give
credit to this, that a man's murdering his own child could be
pleasing to God, when this law was gone forth into the hearts
of the children of men ever since Cain's slaughter of Abel,
"that he that sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be
shed?" But this deed is the highest act of obedience that ever
Abraham's faith produced. This faith is of the same kind as
Jonah's was, who told the mariners that he was a Hebrew,
and one that feared God that made the sea and the dry land;
and that he had fled from his presence, and on his account
the singular storm fell upon them; and that the only remedy,
the only way to appease God, and obtain a calm, was to
drown him; which is what no natural man in his senses would
ever believe, and they themselves could not; therefore they
rowed hard; and, when all was in vain, and they were brought
to this strait, either to sink him or sink themselves, they were
obliged to cry to God, whom they had never known, not to lay
innocent blood to their charge: and they were so astonished to
see the storm and the prophet both sink together, that they did
that which they never had done before; they sacrificed to God,
and made vows. Some people talk of rational religion; they
may as well talk of human divinity; for sure I am that such a
faith as this is not the produce of nature, and such acts are far
enough above the reach of nature." -William Huntington

Abraham was manifested to be a righteous person
"And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed
God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness;" the
scriptures having before asserted that, when God promised to
Abraham that his seed should be as the stars of heaven, he
believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness.
This testimony went long before; and, when the long looked
for and much expected seed came, he was bid to offer it up to
God; which he did; and by this his obedience it was proved,
upon trial, that the former testimony to Abraham's faith was
true, and it was fulfilled hereby, for Abraham was manifested
to be a righteous person, that yielded the real obedience of
faith. "And he is called the friend of God," being justified by
faith, he had peace with God; and, receiving by faith the
promisedMediator, his natural enmity was slain, reconciliation
took place, communion and fellowship with God followed;
peace, harmony, and friendship, succeeded, and ever
subsisted between Abraham and his God." -William Huntington

Justified freely through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
"Moreover, to shew us that we are justified freely from all
things; if the suggestions of Satan, and the workings of
unbelief, should terrify us, that we have no screen from the
future curse of the law, and terrify us with the terrible
expectations of wrath to come, we are said to be "justified
freely through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Christ
endured the curse of the law, and the wrath of God, and
redeemed and ransomed us from both. And "God is faithful
and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness;" and, as a righteous judge, to "give us the
crown of righteousness in that day." Now this ransom-price,
which Christ paid for us, is to redeem us from the pit, and from
all future demands of law and justice; hence we are said to be
"justified by his blood, and saved from wrath through him."
Faith is an eye which apprehends this righteousness.
Abraham, who was "justified by faith, saw the promised seed
at a distance," and by the hand of faith "embraced him;" and
faith has this honour of putting this robe on the sinner; it is
"revealed from faith to faith," and "is unto all and upon all that
believe;" therefore, instrumentally or applicatory,
"We are justified by faith." -William Huntington

Justified by words
"In the next place, we are "justified by words." "For by thy
words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be
condemned." A man is justified by words, when the words of
his mouth agree with the oracles of God and with God's testimony
of man, and when his heart and mouth go both together.
For instance: the publican in the temple dares not lift up his
eyes to heaven, conscious of his guilt, shame, and confusion
of face; he feels his guilt, and smites upon his breast, where
the wound lay; he confesses honestly his true state and case,
and has nothing to look to, hope in, or sue for, but the sure
mercies of David, which are in Christ; not one good work or
good word does he plead, but guilty he pleads before God.
And what was the consequence! Why he went home to his
house justified. Justified by his words, for he had confessed
the truth; and justified in his hungry soul by the imputation of
the righteousness of Christ to him." -William Huntington

Justified in Christ
"We are also said to be justified in Christ; "for in him shall all
the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory." Christ is our
covenant head, in whom we are all chosen, and in whom we
are all accepted; and to the fellowship of whom we are all
called in one hope of our calling: to this "Shiloh the gathering
of the people is to be;" and by him, and in him, the whole
family of heaven and earth are called.
And, as we all find pardon in his blood, rest in the satisfaction
he has made, and peace with God through the blood of his
cross, so in him all God's elect are to confess that "in the Lord
have I righteousness and strength," and to him shall all men
come; that is, for justification towards God, and for
acceptance with him. In this sense it is that "all the seed of
God's Israelites indeed are justified in God's sight, and in him
they shall all glory." -William Huntington

The dreadful consequences attending such errors

"He will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail." The drink of the thirsty soul is the efficacy of the Saviour's blood, or the atonement of Christ received and enjoyed under the operations of the Spirit of grace. The water of life is the quickening energy of the Spirit; and the river of God's pleasure is the love of God in Christ Jesus, which is felt under the influence of God's Spirit, and which fills the soul with joy, peace, and divine consolation, in believing. But as pardon and eternal peace with God, through the blood of the Lamb, are denied by this vile person; and as the everlasting inhabitation of the Spirit is opposed and denied also; and the doctrine of the eternal love of God reprobated; and the gift of eternal life exploded, by asserting that all these things may be forfeited and lost? the dreadful consequences attending such errors must be, that divine refreshment, the pure stream of life and peace, will be rarely found; the Spirit is grieved, and ceases to operate." - William Huntington

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions