Feb 25, 2011

The law of faith - John Bunyan

"Yea, a little after you tell us, that ‘The
doctrine of his sending the Holy Ghost, was to
move and excite us to our duty, and to assist,
cheer, and comfort us in the performance of it.’
Still meaning our close adhering, by the purity
of our human nature, to the dictates of the law,
as written in our hearts as men. Which is as
false as God is true. For the Holy Ghost is sent
into our hearts, not to excite us to a compliance
with our old and wind-shaken excellencies, that
came into the world with us; but to write new
laws in our hearts; even the law of faith, the
word of faith and of grace, and the doctrine of
remission of sins, through the blood of the
Lamb of God, that holiness might flow from
thence." -John Bunyan

The way to come to Christ - John Bunyan

"This is a legal and old-covenant spirit that
secretly persuades the soul that if ever it will be
saved by Christ, if must be fitted for Christ by
its getting of a good heart and good intentions
to do this and that for Christ; I say, that the
soul when it comes to Christ may not be
rejected or turned off; when in deed and in
truth this is the very way for the soul to turn
itself from Jesus Christ, instead of turning to
Him; for such a soul looks upon Christ rather
to be a painted Saviour or a cypher than a very
and real Saviour. Friend, if thou canst fit
thyself, what need hast thou of Christ? If thou
cant get qualifications to carry to Christ that
thou mightst be accepted, thou dost not look to
be accepted in the Beloved. Shall I tell thee?
Thou art as if a man should say, I will make
myself clean, and then I will go to Christ that
Do not think that I am against the order of the Gospel.

He may wash me; or like a man possessed, that
will first cast the devils out of himself, and then
come to Christ for cure from Him. Thou, must,
therefore, if thou wilt so lay hold of Christ as
not to be rejected by Him; I say, thou must
come to Him as the basest in the world, more
fit to be damned, if thou hadst thy right, than
to have the least smile, hope, or comfort from
Him. Come with the fire of Hell in thy
conscience, come with thy heart hard, dead,
cold, full of wickedness and madness against
thy own salvation; come as renouncing all thy
tears, prayers, watchings, fastings; come as a
blood-red sinner; do not stay from Christ till
thou hast a greater sense of thy own misery, nor
of the reality of God’s mercy; do not stay while
thy heart is softer and thy spirit in a better
frame, but go against thy mind, and against the
mind of the devil and sin, throw thyself down
at the foot of Christ, with a halter about thy
neck, and say, Lord Jesus, hear a sinner, a hardhearted
sinner, a sinner that deserveth to be
damned, to be cast into Hell; and resolve never
to return, or to give over crying unto Him, till
thou do find that He hath washed thy
conscience from dead works with His blood
virtually, and clothed thee with His own
righteousness, and make thee complete in
Himself; this is the way to come to Christ." -John Bunyan

"If one should ask thee what ground thou hast to think thou shalt be saved..." -John Bunyan

"That man doth act from a legal spirit who
maketh the strictness of his walking the ground
of his assurance for eternal life. Some men, all
the ground they have to believe that they shall
be saved, it is because they walk not so loose as
their neighbours, they are not so bad as others
are, and therefore they question not but that
they shall do well. Now this is a false ground,
and a thing that is verily legal, and savours only
of some slight and shallow apprehensions of the
old covenant. I call them shallow
apprehensions, because they are not right and
sound, and are such as will do the soul no
good, but beguile it, in that the knowledge of
the nature of this covenant doth not appear to
the soul, only some commanding power it hath
on the soul, which the soul endeavouring to
give up itself unto, it doth find some peace and
content, and especially if it find itself to be
pretty willing to yield itself to its commands.
And is not this the very ground of thy hoping
that God will save thee from the wrath to
come? If one should ask thee what ground thou
hast to think thou shalt be saved, wouldst thou
not say, Truly, because I
have left my sins, and
because I am more inclinable
to do good, and to learn, and get more
knowledge; I endeavour to walk in church
order, as they call it, and therefore I hope God
hath done a good work for me, and I hope will
save my soul. Alas, alas! this is a very trick of
the devil to make souls build the ground of
their salvation upon this their strictness, and
abstaining from the wickedness of their former
lives, and because they desire to be stricter and
stricter. Now, if you would know such a man
or woman, you shall find them in this frame—
namely, when they think their hearts are good,
then they think also that Christ will have mercy
upon them; but when their corruptions work,
then they doubt and scruple until again they
have their hearts more ready to do the things
contained in the law and ordinances of the
Gospel. Again, such men do commonly cheer
up their hearts, and encourage themselves still
to hope all shall be well, and that because they
are not so bad as the rest, but more inclinable
than they, saying, I am glad I am not as this
publican, but better than he, more righteous
than he (Luke 18:11)." -John Bunyan

"That man doth bring himself under the Covenant of Works, by Gospel ordinances..." -John Bunyan

"That man doth bring himself under the Covenant of Works, by Gospel ordinances, when he cannot be persuaded that God will have mercy upon him except he do yield obedience to such or such a particular thing commanded in the Word. This is the very same spirit that was in the false brethren (spoken of Acts 15; Galatians, the whole Epistle), whose judgment was, that unless such and such things were done, “they could not be saved.” -John Bunyan

"If it were by doing, then, saith Paul, “Grace is not grace,” seeing it is obtained by works" -John Bunyan

"To him that is athirst will I give; He doth not say, I will sell; but, I will give him the water of life freely (Rev 21:6). Now, if Christ doth give it, and that freely, then He doth not sell if for anything that is in the creature; but Christ doth give Himself, as also doth His Father, and that freely, not because there is anything in us, or done by us, that moves Him thereunto. If it were by doing, then, saith Paul, “Grace is not grace,” seeing it is obtained by works; but grace is grace, and that is the reason it is given to men without their works. And if it be by grace, that is, if it be a free gift from God, without anything foreseen as done, or to be done, by the creature, then it is not of works, which is clear; therefore it is grace, without the works of the law. But if you say, Nay, it is of something in the man done by him that moves God thereunto; then you must conclude that either grace is no grace, or else that works are grace and not works. Do but read with understanding (Rom 11:6)." -John Bunyan

"Men may do things from a legal or old covenant spirit" - John Bunyan

"Men may do things from a legal or old covenant
spirit when they content themselves
with their doing of such and such a thing, as
prayers, reading, hearing, baptism, breaking of
bread, or the like; I say, when they can content
themselves with the thing done, and sit down at
ease and content because the thing is done. As,
for instance, some men being persuaded that
such and such a thing is their duty, and that
unless they do do it, God will not be pleased
with them, nor suffer them to be heirs of His
kingdom, they from this spirit do rush into and
do the thing, which being done, they are
content, as being persuaded that now they are
without doubt in a happy condition, because
they have done such things, like unto the
Pharisee, who, because he had done this and the
other thing, said therefore, in a bragging way,
“Lord, I thank thee that I am not as this
publican”; for I have done thus and thus; when,
alas! the Lord [gave] him never a good word for
his labour, but rather a reproof." -John Bunyan

"...a man in or with a legal spirit should not, nay, cannot..." -John Bunyan

I shall show you the very manner and
way that a legal, or old-covenant-converted
professor, bear with the terms, doth take both
in the beginning, middle, and the end of his
doing of any duty or command, or whatsoever
it be that he doth do. 1. He thinking this or that
to be his duty, and considering of the same, he
is also presently persuaded in his own
conscience that God will not accept of him if he
leave it undone; he seeing that he is short of his
duty, as he supposeth, while this is undone by
him, and also judging that God is angry with
him until the thing be done, he, in the second
place, sets to the doing of the duty, to the end
he may be able to pacify his conscience by
doing of the same, persuading of himself that
now the Lord is pleased with him for doing of
it. 2. Having done it, he contents himself, sits
down at his ease, until some further convictions
of his duty to be done, which when he seeth
and knoweth, he doth do it as aforesaid, from
the same principle as he did the former, and so
goeth on in his progress of profession. This is to
do things from a legal principle, and from an
old-covenant spirit; for thus runs that covenant,
“The man that doth these things shall live in
them,” of “by them” (Lev 18:5; Gal 3:12; Rom
10:5). But more of this in the use of this

Object. But, you will say, by these words of
yours you do seem to deny that there are
conditional promises in the Gospel, as is clear,
in that you strike at such practices as are
conditional, and commanded to be done upon
the same.

Answ. The thing that I strike at is this, that a
man in or with a legal spirit should not, nay,
cannot, do any conditional command of the
Gospel acceptably, as to his eternal state,
because he doth it in an old-covenant spirit.
“No man putteth new wine into old bottles”;
but new wine must have new bottles, a Gospel
command must have a Gospel spirit, or else the
wine will break the bottles, or the principle will
break the command.

Object. Then you do grant that there are
conditional promises in the New Testament, as
in the moral law, or Ten Commands.
Answ. Though this be true, yet the
conditional promises in the New Testament do
not call to the same people in the same state of
unregeneracy to fulfill them upon the same

The Law and the Gospel being two distinct
covenants, they are made in divers ways, and
the nature of the conditions also being not the
same, as saith the Apostle, the righteousness of
the law saith one thing, and the righteousness
of faith saith another (Rom 10:4-6). That is, the
great condition in the law is, If you do these
things, you shall live by them; but the
condition, even the greatest condition laid
down for a poor soul to do, as to salvation—for
it is that we speak of—is to believe that my sins
be forgiven me for Jesus Christ’s sake, without
the works or righteousness of the law, on my
part, to help forward. “To him that worketh
not,” saith the Apostle [that is] for salvation,
“but believeth on Him that justifieth the
ungodly, his faith”—mark, “his faith is counted
for righteousness” (Rom 4:5). So that we, saith,
he, “conclude that a man is justified by faith
without”—mark again, “without the deeds of
the law” (Rom 3:28).

But again; there is never a condition in the
Gospel that can be fulfilled by an unbeliever;
and therefore, whether there be conditions or
whether there be none, it makes no matter to
thee who art without the faith of Christ; for it is
impossible for thee in that state to do them, so
as to be ever the better as to thy eternal estate;
therefore, lest thou shouldst split thy soul upon
the conditions laid down in the Gospel, as thou
wilt do if thou go about to do them only with a
legal spirit; but, I say, to prevent this, see if
thou canst fulfill the first condition; that is, to
believe that all thy sins are forgiven thee, not
for any condition that hath been or can be done
by thee, but merely for the Man’s sake that did
hang on Mount Calvary, between two thieves,
some sixteen hundred years ago and odd. And,
I say, see if thou canst believe that at that time
He did, when He hanged on the Cross, give full
satisfaction, for all thy sins, before thou in thy
person hadst committed ever a one. I say, see if
thou canst believe this; and take heed thou
deceive not thyself with an historical, notional,
or traditional acknowledgment of the same.
And, secondly, see if thou canst so well fulfill
this condition, that the very virtue and efficacy
that it hath on thy soul will engage thee to
fulfill those other conditions, really in love to
that Man whom thou shouldst believe hath
frankly and freely forgiven thee all, without any
condition acted by thee to move Him thereto,
according to that saying in 2 Corinthians 5:14,
15; and then thy doing will arise from a
contrary principle than otherwise it will do—
that is, then thou wilt not act and do because
thou wouldst be accepted of God, but because
thou hast some good hope in thy heart that
thou art accepted of Him already, and not on
thine, but wholly and alone upon another
man’s account..."

No man putteth new wine into old bottles - John Bunyan

"a man in or with a legal spirit should not, nay,
cannot, do any conditional command of the
Gospel acceptably, as to his eternal state,
because he doth it in an old-covenant spirit.
“No man putteth new wine into old bottles”;
but new wine must have new bottles, a Gospel
command must have a Gospel spirit, or else the
wine will break the bottles, or the principle will
break the command." -John Bunyan

Feb 19, 2011

"If duty faith were a truth... salvation would be as universal as the spread of the gospel... if all men had but done their duty... It is to say, "that Christ hath wrought no redemption at all" by John Foreman

Many are following the path of Andrew Fuller's universal sufficiency through their duty-faith universalism. Duty-faith is a form of Hypothetical Universalism

John Foreman took careful notice of this,

Salvation as universal as the spread of the gospel... if all men had but done their duty
"If duty faith were a truth, it must have some meaning with God in regard to salvation; and such a meaning too, as that if it were the universal duty of all men, wherever the gospel comes, to believe unto salvation, then salvation would be as universal as the spread of the gospel, if all men did but do their duty. And the great reason at last -why salvation is not as universal as the spread of the gospel, will be because all men did not do their duty. And so salvation finally, will not be so extensive as it might have been, if all men had but done their duty; nor so extensive as it ought to have been, if all men ought as their duty to have believed unto salvation; nor so extensive as God himself expected, if, as a duty, he expected all men where the gospel came to believe unto salvation. This brings all the counsels, purposes, covenant settlements, revealed truths, promises, and acts of the grace of God unto salvation, into immediate subjection to, and a waiting for the duty of man; and that too in such a way, as that the duty of man, and not the good pleasure of God's will, shall and must determine the final issue of the whole! I can make nothing more or less than this, of the duty of all, where the gospel comes, to believe unto salvation." -John Foreman

It is to say, "that Christ hath wrought no redemption at all"
"We are not opposed to a large redemption, but to the notion of any being lost whom Christ hath redeemed; and to that of his having done any part of his saving work for those who will be lost. In my opinion, it is as far off from the truth of God, and as awfully opposed to the truth of God, to say that Christ, who is the God-Man mediator of the better covenant, hath wrought out a universal redemption, but which will prove all in vain, perish, and come to nothing, from certain causes in man, as far as salvation fails to be universal, as it is to say, `that Christ hath wrought no redemption at all, and that he only lived a good and holy life, and died a martyr, to set us an example, that by following the same we may go to heaven by a good moral life.' Both these notions are alike opposed to the truth of God, only one holds that he hath done the greatest and most glorious of all his works, to a vast extent in vain; and the other holds that he hath done no such work at all. Both these are strongholds of Satan, but the first in the present day commands the popular piety." -John Foreman

2 Cor 5:19 - John Foreman

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself

`To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them,' 2 Cor v 19. This text, from its sound, has been taken to deny the personal divinity of Christ; but it was never intended to express the personal constitution of Christ, so much as it is the nature, order, economy and design of the incarnate life, deeds, and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. For when Jesus as mediator moved in obedience, worth and merit, the Triune God moved in design. And what was that design? Reconciliation! Of whom? The world; Gentiles of all nations, and Jews of all ranks. How? `Not imputing,' charging or reckoning `their trespasses unto them.' `Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin,' Rom iv 8. So that as far as God hath and doth reconcile, so far he imputeth not sin; and so far blessed is the man, the men, or the people to whom the Lord will not impute sin. And, consequently, if reconciliation were individually universal, nonimputation of sin must be so too, and then blessedness must be individually universal accordingly, without fail; but neither the word of God, nor the face of things by the operations of the hand of God, have ever borne any testimony to such universality of grace, either in purpose, thought, word or deed.

The word reconciliation, in scripture truth, has evidently three branches of application. First, legal, as by the meritorious blood-shed and perfect righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby justice is satisfied, the law is magnified, all righteousness is fulfilled, and the insulted honours of God's holiness are vindicated and established for ever in behalf of the ransomed. Second, personal, whereby the redeemed, by virtue of the work and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, for them in the first point, are, by the power of the Holy Ghost, brought personally into vital heart and soul reconciliation and agreement with God, on the endearing plan of grace in Christ Jesus, for their eternal life. Third, practical, whereby the man of God, and the church of God, confess and acknowledge the righteous government, works and ways of the Lord, and bow to his commands and ordinances, in obedience acquiescence and active agreement with all his revealed will, declared for the order and observance of is church, and his saints' personal and social obedience in faith and love; and to which the apostle exhorted and besought the confused and disordered church of Christ at Corinth, 2 Cor v 20. Now duty faith and universal invitation men, to make things to look to agree with their generalizing scheme, turn the first of these three points into something of an indefinite provision; and then chiefly deny the true nature of the second, and the effective power of God alone therein; and then put the third in the place of the second, and then make out the apostle, not to be, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, exhorting and beseeching the church to order and consistency among themselves, as becometh saints, but to be exhorting and beseeching the whole world of ungodly men to be reconciled to God, on the authority of a something of universal provision supposed to be in the first point. It certainly is to me a most strange and unaccountable thing, that in Paul's writing to the church as he does at verse 20, for reasons so plain and self evident through both epistles, any man living and professing `the wisdom of the just,' should take him to be exhorting and beseeching the ungodly world to be reconciled to God, while in his real and direct addresses to the world, in different places and under various circumstances, not one word or breath of the kind is anywhere to be found expressed or implied; and surely if he had ever meant any such thing, when writing to the church behind the world's back, he would, at some time, and in some way, have declared it to the world, when speaking to their face.

William Rushton on "An Atonement sufficient for the salvation of the whole world"

"...we must either acknowledge an objective fullness in Christ’s atonement sufficient for the salvation of the whole world, were the whole world to believe in him..." -Andrew Fuller

Rushton's responds:

"It has just been asserted that the sufficiency which Mr. Fuller attributes to the atonement is the same which the Arminians ascribe to their universal redemption. Whatever difference exists between him and them on other points, on redemption there is only a verbal variation. When Mr. Fuller asserts that the atonement of Christ is sufficient for all mankind, he does not mean that Christ so died for all mankind as to render their salvation certain: he only means that the atonement is sufficient for their salvation conditionally that is, if they will believe. Dr. Whitby, the champion of Arminanism, explains his doctrine thus: "When we say that Christ died for all, we do not mean that he died for all, or any absolutely, or without any conditions to be performed on their part, to interest them in the blessings of his passion; but only that he died for all conditionally, or so that they should be made partakers of the blessings of his salutary passion, upon condition of their faith, repentance, &c." Here we find no essential difference between Mr. Fuller and Dr. Whitby on the atonement of Christ; the only difference between them relates to the purpose of God in reference to its application. Both agree in regarding the death of Christ as conditionally sufficient for all mankind; but the Doctor denies that the purpose of God ascertains the application of the atonement to any man; and in this respect he is more consistent with himself than Mr. Fuller.

The coincidence of indefinite redemption with the Arminian scheme, may be further confirmed by comparing Mr. Fuller’s words with another quotation from the acute and learned Whitby. Mr. Fuller defines reconciliation to be a "satisfaction of divine justice, by virtue of which nothing pertaining to the moral government of God, hinders any sinner from returning to him; and it is upon this ground that sinners are indefinitely invited to do so." He considers the atonement "as a divine extraordinary expedient for the exercise of mercy consistently with justice, and that is in itself equally adapted to save the world as an individual, provided a world believed in it." Now, let us hear the Doctor express the very same sentiments in other words: "He (that is, Christ) only by his death hath put all men in a capacity of being justified and pardoned, and so of being reconciled to, and having peace with God, upon their turning to God, and having faith in our Lord Jesus Christ: the death of Christ having rendered it consistent with the justice and wisdom of God, with the honor of his majesty, and with the ends of government, to pardon the penitent believer." Would to God that Mr. Fuller had been found in better company!

If it be necessary to pursue this "yea and nay" system still further, it is only to disclose more inconsistencies and more absurdities. If, as Mr. Fuller allows, Christ intended that only some should be benefited by his death, then he accomplished his intention according to particular redemption, by paving their ransom only. It is absurd to represent Christ as paying a ransom sufficient for all, when he intended only to redeem some! Or to affirm that Christ is a sufficient Saviour of those whom he never intended to save!

Whenever the Scriptures speak of the sufficiency of redemption, they always place it in the certain efficacy of redemption. The atonement of Christ is sufficient because it is absolutely efficacious, and because it carries salvation to all for whom it was made. It is sufficient, not because it affords men the possibility of salvation but because, with invincible power, it accomplishes their salvation. Hence the word of God never represents the sufficiency of the atonement as more extensive than the design of the atonement, which Mr. Fuller has done. The Scriptures know nothing of a sufficient redemption which leaves the captive to perish in slavery, nor of a sufficient atonement which never delivers the guilty; but they speak of a redemption every way sufficient and efficacious a redemption which cannot be frustrated, but which triumphantly accomplishes the salvation of all its objects. "Let Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities." Ps. cxxx. 7, 8."

Feb 3, 2011

"How! think thou must believe in Christ, when..." - John Bunyan

"How! think thou must believe in Christ, when thou seest not thy need of Him! Thou neither seest thy original nor actual infirmities; but hast such an opinion of thyself, and of what thou doest, as plainly renders thee to be one that did never see a necessity of Christ's personal righteousness to justify thee before God. How, then, dost thou say, I believe in Christ?" - Christian to Ignorance, Pilgrim's Progress

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