Jul 29, 2011

Isaiah 1:4-9 - Sin, like an epidemic disease - Robert Hawker

"Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. (5) Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. (6) From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. (7) Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. (8) And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. (9) Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah." [Isaiah 1:4-9]

How affecting are these verses! It is as if GOD paused over the state of his church. Their sin, like an epidemic disease, was universal. It did not break out in one or two instances of transgression; but the whole body became virtually all sin. They are laden with it.—And where should they be unladen, but upon CHRIST, the almighty burden bearer?—Reader! do not fail to remark, in the very opening of the prophecy, how in the view of universal corruption, the HOLY GHOST is preaching CHRIST? And, Reader, do not fail to connect with this view also, another sweet gospel truth; namely, how the LORD, in such deplorable times, had preserved to himself a remnant according to the election of grace. Sodom's history was well known, and Abraham's intercession on that occasion could not have been forgotten. When therefore we hear it said, Except the LORD had left a very small remnant, how blessed is it to trace the LORD’S hand, and to give to the LORD all the glory! Genesis 18:20-33. Romans 9:29. Then read Romans 11:5, and bless GOD for distinguishing mercy! Precious JESUS! to whom but to thee shall the glorious cause be ascribed! Oh how blessed to mark the little flock of thy kingdom, Luke 12:32.

On Justification By Christ Alone - William Kiffen

Justification By Christ Alone Sets Forth the True Place of Faith in Salvation As An Evidence of Interest In Christ But Not A Join-Partner With Christ

Truly amongst those who are the beloved ones of our Lord Jesus, who have a like share and interest in Him as their life and peace, there is an aptness in men to miscarry in the knowledge of this rich grace of God. Some being apt to conceive that there is no Justification of a creature in no sense before and without faith, and so make Faith a joint-partner with Christ in the business of Justification. For, indeed, this is to me a certain truth, that whatsoever gives a being to a thing must needs be a part of that thing which it gives being to, and therefore, if there be no Justification in no sense considered, but as it has respect to faith. It is much to be feared, that that opinion claimed a great share of that glory which is peculiar to Christ Jesus alone. That the Scripture holds forth justification by faith in a sense is very clear, but yet under no other consideration, but by way of evidence, Heb. 11:1, 2. As it respects the taking away of sin from off the Conscience: For indeed the debt is paid by the blood of Christ alone, and we are therefore said to be justified by His blood, Rom. 5:9. For indeed, as Christ Jesus our Lord has paid the debt, "The Lord having laid upon him the iniquities of us all," so does He declare this satisfaction and acceptation of us in Christ by faith. Faith is the eye of the understanding whereby the soul comes to see the great things which God the Father has prepared for them who love Him.

A sure sign, of some coming blessing - Robert Hawker

Reader, not to overlook what is said, of their continuing in prayer. No doubt, the Lord inclined their hearts, to be in this waiting, praying frame, for the mercy they were now so earnestly expecting of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It is always a sure sign, of some coming blessing, whensoever the Lord sets his people a praying for it. Prayer brings the promise, and the God of the promise together. And when any of the praying seed of Jacob can follow up Jacob's importunity, of wrestling with God, with an earnestness like him; very sure it is, that all the family soon find, as those Apostles did, a promising God is a performing God.

The Saviour of sinners neither welcomes nor receives untruthful applicants - Israel Atkinson

It is beyond doubt that the most unrighteous, unholy, and evil sinner in the world is warranted to come to Christ, if he can cone to him in truth. If he has the power to appreciate in any degree, only one of the remedial excellencies of the character of Christ, of which God has borne testimony in the Word, the gracious Saviour will not cast him out. In other words, if he has ears to hear, he may hear. If he can come to Christ, he may. He will be accepted as graciously and forgiven as freely as was the woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee. But while a conscious need in any degree of only one known form of the excellency of Christ will be a sufficient warrant for the guiltiest of mankind to exert a depending faith on him for salvation, it must be obvious that the Saviour of sinners neither welcomes nor receives untruthful applicants, nor mimics, nor triflers. All such will be dealt with as was the man who presumed to enter into the marriage feast without having on him a wedding garment. Sick persons may apply to the great Physician with the fullest assurance, because they have the most complete warrant in the Word ; but let imitators of persons spiritually sick know that God has no heavier woes than those that are pronounced on hypocrites.


WHAT has been called the warrant of faith has exercised and perplexed men's minds a great deal more as theologians than as sinners. Whatever different opinions and contentions there may have been about this subject, but very little practical difficulty has ever been experienced about a warrant to believe by any that have desired to exert a depending belief on Christ for salvation. Practically, awakened and humbled sinners experience a vast deal more anxiety and doubt about the quality of their faith in Christ than about their warrant to believe.

On this point the excellent Abraham Booth seems to have been led into a mistake. Speaking of the discouragements of the awakened sinner in the matter of believing, he says, "" He wants to find himself distinguished from others by holy tempers and sanctified affections as a proper object of mercy. This is his grand embarrassment. In other words, he considers himself as not sufficiently humbled under a sense of sin ; as not having a suitable abhorrence of it ; and as not possessing those fervent breathings after holiness which, as he supposes, are necessary before he can be warranted to believe in Jesus with a wellgrounded hope of success." This is clearly a mistake. All these exercises, and many more, it is well enough known, do take place in the awakened sinner about believing; but at the same time they in nothing hinder him from exerting a depending act of belief on Christ for salvation. The distinctions which are so painfully, and, indeed, so justly sought by him, are not desired to encourage a dependence for salvation, but to certify him that he bears the description of those whom the promise of salvation assures that they shall be saved. In other words, he seeks for these distinctions in himself, not that he may believe God's testimony of fact and truth concerning his Son as the Saviour of sinners, and dependingly trust on the word believed, but that he may find in himself the peculiar features of character belonging to those that come within the promise of salvation, and of whom it is said that they " shall be saved."

Anxious as every godly minister of Christ ought to be to preserve the doctrine of the freeness of grace from the least taint of corruption and from any weakening of the warrant of a sinner to believe, in a practical sense, in Christ for salvation ; it will yet be a mistake to suppose that all subjective considerations are unnecessary, and to be denied. On this point, too, Mr. Booth does not seem quite clear. Zealous to preserve the warrant of faith in its purity, he seems to have been drawn into a mistake of the meaning of an author, Dr. Hopkins, whom he rather severely criticises. Dr. Hopkins said, it appears, "A hearty submission to, and acquiescence and delight in the law of God, rightly understood, and so a true hatred of sin, must take place in order to any degree of true approbation of the gospel, and faith and trust in Christ. The sinner who comes to Christ for salvation, comes as a true penitent ; and that repentance is necessary to this faith." Against these statements Mr. Booth enters upon a very long argument which it is not necessary to follow. So far as the sentiments of Dr. Hopkins may be gathered from this quotation, he never supposed that these things were required, as being the germs of a true holiness, before a sinner is warranted to dependingly believe on the word of salvation, but as forming that peculiar condition of mind, the want of which, in the very nature of things, renders a depending faith on Christ in his remedial character simply impossible. Supposing this to have been the opinion of Dr. Hopkins, there can be no just exception taken against it; but if he demanded these things as including a holy disposition, or, indeed, any holiness, as such, at all, as a warrant for a sinner to believe in Christ for salvation, he was clearly in error. A good deal of argument too is wasted by Mr. Booth upon the repentance requisite to precede faith.

He acknowledges, indeed, that repentance goes before faith, but only in part. Taken as a change of mind and a conviction of sin, he allows repentance to go before faith ; but not as a sorrow for sin, and an aversion from it. This seems to be a fiddling observation, that is quite unworthy of that good man. It would be wholly useless to follow him seeing that the whole matter is so plain and may be disposed of very briefly.

It is beyond doubt that the most unrighteous, unholy, and evil sinner in the world is warranted to come to Christ, if he can cone to him in truth. If he has the power to appreciate in any degree, only one of the remedial excellencies of the character of Christ, of which God has borne testimony in the Word, the gracious Saviour will not cast him out. In other words, if he has ears to hear, he may hear. If he can come to Christ, he may. He will be accepted as graciously and forgiven as freely as was the woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee. But while a conscious need in any degree of only one known form of the excellency of Christ will be a sufficient warrant for the guiltiest of mankind to exert a depending faith on him for salvation, it must be obvious that the Saviour of sinners neither welcomes nor receives untruthful applicants, nor mimics, nor triflers. All such will be dealt with as was the man who presumed to enter into the marriage feast without having on him a wedding garment. Sick persons may apply to the great Physician with the fullest assurance, because they have the most complete warrant in the Word ; but let imitators of persons spiritually sick know that God has no heavier woes than those that are pronounced on hypocrites.

Those, therefore, who may contend for this warrant of faith without limit, that is, independently of all subjective considerations, are clearly in error. It has been said, and perhaps is commonly, and that, too, in a very offhand manner, when speaking of the testimony of God to unbelievers, " Never mind your feelings, believe it." Persons who speak thus, it is quite evident, have yet to learn the very elements of moral and religious truth. They speak as if it were possible to realize forgiveness without a consciousness of wrong; or that a consciousness of wrong, coupled with a desire that the wrong may be pardoned, could exist without repentance. They seem to imagine that the truths of salvation can be appreciatively believed independently of any sensibleness of the evil of the term from, which the deliverance takes place. They appear to ignore the fact that man is a moral being. With a deplorable ignorance, however commendable their zeal, they are

heard saying, "Believe! Only believe ! Believe now!" and the like ; and if a response is made by any one to their passionate address, such as, " I believe," this is thought to be enough to set a whole congregation singing Hallelujahs that another sinner is saved. But if these persons could perceive the force of their notions, they would see that they were singing Hallelujahs, be cause such a one had, in the discharge of a supposed duty, and according to an imaginary warrant, raised himself out of the surrounding mass of unbelievers by the exercise of believing; or, what seems to be taken as equal, by the simple utterance of a kind of cabalistic saying. What such a person is exhorted to believe, and what he means when he says, " I believe," are things which do not very clearly appear ; and, indeed, seem to be regarded as inconsiderable trifles. But are they such ?

Unquestionably, testimony is the object of faith, is that which is to be believed. In this case, it is the testimony that God hath testified concerning his Son. Therefore, the question first to be considered in the warrant of faith, if this is to be taken without limit, is, what of this testimony are all men indiscriminately, and independently of all subjective considerations, warranted to believe ? Not that they are saved, because this great fact is not in evidence before faith. Not that they shall be saved, for there is no promise of salvation made to men indiscriminately, but to those only who bear a distinct description ; consequently, the promise of salvation can be no evidence that any shall be saved who are without the described distinction. Neither, apart from all subjective considerations, that is, apart from all feeling, are they warranted to believe, in the sense of trusting, in order to their being saved. One of the first requisites of calling upon the name of the Lord, and in coming to Christ, is truth. But as the whole need not a physician, so for such to apply for healing is to mimic and to lie ; and no man can be warranted to put on the hypocrite's garb, and to speak lies in coming to Christ. All the mediatorial fulness of Christ is remedial, and a remedy is for a real and an experienced mischief. . Christ is made of God unto sinners, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. But these are all appreciable remedies. In the nature of things it is impossible for any man to come to Christ in truth for any one of these things while he remains unconscious that he wants it ; and it is utterly unwarrantable for him to render to the Saviour of sinners a lip homage of mimicry, by asking the Lord Jesus to be, or to do, or to give, something to him for which no need is felt. The completion of a gift is its reception ; but God's gifts are saving ones, and for these to be asked for and received in truth, they must be begged and accepted as what they are. Pardon, for instance, can only be asked for in truth, and received as what it is, by one who has amoral conviction of his guiltiness, and this cannot exist without some feeling. So of all the rest. In sum, then, the truth is, that men, indiscriminately, are not warranted to believe the testimony of God concerning his Son beyond what it is their duty to believe ; and this is, all the facts and truths, as such, which are therein revealed. But this inevitable conclusion in nothing hampers or hinders those who would believe the promise of salvation in Christ. For it may be said with the greatest confidence, and accepted with the fullest assurance, that the warrant of faith is as wide as the want and the wish to believe. He that neither wants to experience, nor, for this reason wishes to obtain the blessings of salvation, is not warranted to ask God, nor to depend on Christ for them ; but he that from any consciousness of need does, may ask, and Welcome - depend, and WELCOME. Moreover, he that so asks and depends may, be reminded that he already believes, that all who believe are now justified, and that all who are justified shall be glorified.

Jul 24, 2011

The Writings of Job Hupton (1762-1849)

Writings of Job Hupton (156 pages)
Thoughts Upon the Date of Justification (20 pages)

In early life he re­ceived deep re­li­gious im­press­ions from the teach­ings of a pi­ous mo­ther, yet he would not al­low them to in­flu­ence his life. On the con­tra­ry, he hard­ened his heart against them. From his ear­ly years, work­ing at a forge, he passed his lei­sure hour in the so­ci­e­ty of evil com­pan­ions; but the pray­ers of his mo­ther fol­lowed him. When twen­ty-two year of age, while in a pub­lic house, his con­science was awak­ened, and he was led to see his lost con­di­tion. Short­ly af­ter, at Wal­sall, near Birm­ing­ham, the truth was still more deep­ly im­pressed up­on him by a ser­mon preached by Rev. John Brad­ford, cur­ate of Frils­ham, Bed­ford­shire, one of La­dy Hunt­ing­don’s preach­ers; but still he did not find ac­cept­ance with God. Anx­ious days fol­lowed but at length, while at his forge, the dark­ness passed from his mind as he was med­i­tat­ing up­on the words of Isai­ah, Arise, shine, for thy light is come.

With his con­ver­sion there came a call to the Gos­pel min­is­try, and he spent a few months at La­dy Hunt­ing­don’s col­lege in Tre­vec­ca, Wales. For sev­er­al years he de­vot­ed him­self to evan­gel­i­cal work in dif­fer­ent parts of the count­ry. In Sep­tem­ber, 1794, hav­ing adopt­ed Bap­tist views, he ac­cept­ed a call to the pas­tor­ate of the Bap­tist church in Clax­ton, Norfolk. Here he had a long and use­ful min­is­try. He died…hav­ing been a preach­er of the Gos­pel for more than six­ty-four years.

From 1803, to 1809, he wrote much in po­et­ry and prose for the Gos­pel Mag­a­zine. A few years be­fore his death his prose con­tri­bu­tions to the Mag­a­zine were brought to­ge­ther in a volume entitled “The Truth as it is in Je­sus.” His “Hymns and Spir­it­u­al Po­ems,” with a brief mem­oir, were col­lect­ed and pub­lished in 1861, by Mr. Dan­iel Sedg­wick. Some of his po­et­ry, says Dr. Hat­field, has great merit.

Burrage, pp. 114-5 (quoted from

J. K. Popham Books (1847-1937)

Duty Faith (6 pages)

James Kidwell Popham (1847-1937)
"For 55 years pastor of Galeed Chapel Brighton. Editor of the Gospel Standard from 1905-1937. Beside being a minister of the gospel he was a gifted writer and theologian. He was called upon to deal with many controversial issues of the times. His booklet Spiritual Counsel to the Young is still in print as are many of his sermons. A book on the life of letters of J.K.Popham was written by J.H.Gosden. Under the title 'Valiant For Truth' it is still available." (Quoted from

John Rowe Books (-1885-)

John Rusk Books (1771-1834)

Jul 23, 2011

Samuel Richardson Books (1602-1658)

Divine Consolations (91 pages)
Justification by Christ Alone (50 pages)
The Saints Desire (283 pages)

"Eye Christ only, mind him, meditate upon him, and his rich and free grace, fetch all thy comforts from him, who is made to thee, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption, 1 Cor. 1. 30. If thou attends only to God in his promise, thou shall find Rest, Psal. 116. 7. O believer, eye not so much thy self, or thy sins, as Christ’s full and perfect satisfaction, which was offered and accepted for all thy sins, Heb. 10. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Oh therefore live, and rest thy soul upon thy sweet Lord Jesus Christ alone, & place all thy confidence in him. Dost thou not hear God say to thee, Cast away all thy fears, and come to me, I will settle thee, comfort, quicken, uphold thee, and be better to thee then thy self can be; I will be all in all unto thee?" -Samuel Richardson

Jul 22, 2011


In 1768 there were in England, including Wales, two hundred and thirtyeight Particular Baptist churches, twenty of which were located in London. Soon after this, Mr. Fuller, a Particular Baptist preacher, introduced his new doctrine on the atonement. It is here frankly admitted, that as a polemical writer, Mr. Fuller has had few equals in strength of mind, and depth and originality of thought; but his ingenuity of arrangement, in opposing the doctrine of special atonement, by introducing principles inconsistent with it, instead of a direct opposition, in common with the Arminian, evinces an evil design, or a palpable delusion. If the former, then how are we to account for his able defence of many glorious truths? But if the latter, then it illustrates a great truth, that zeal, erudition and power of intellect are no security against error.

It is no part of our purpose to sift the abstruse disquisitions of Mr. Fuller on this subject. There may not, however, be any impropriety in stating a few of his bold assertions, and leave the reader to draw his own inferences, viz: "Both guilt and innocence are transferable in their effects, but in themselves they are untransferable.' '"Neither sin nor righteousness are in themselves transferable, "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."

A few quotations from the Bible, by way of contrast, and the subject will be dismissed: Typical—"And when He hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat, and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited; and he shall let go the goat into the wilderness."

Here we have a real transfer of sin, transgression, and iniquity—and that too of the Israelites, a peculiar people. Prophetical—"By his Knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities." Isaiah liii and ii. Here is another clear case of transfer. Declarative—"For he hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Cor. v, 21. Again, "Who his own self bear our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins should live unto righteousness." 1 Peter, ii, 24. Many more quotations might be given, of the same import, showing clearly that Christ did bear the sins of his people, as well as the effects.

Our object in calling Mr. Fuller's doctrine on the atonement a new idea was to distinguish it from that for which the Arminians contend. For when his arguments are critically examined, it will be found that he contends for an indefinite atonement. But his disquisitions on this subject are so refined and obscure, that most of his followers suppose him in favor of a general atonement—while those who do understand him, can occupy a position between the Arminian and Predestinarian, and cozen the former on the atonement, and the latter on the application.

- Griffin's History (1853)

Jul 21, 2011

Andrew Fuller's 7 Points of Controversy

The following quote is from Fuller's "The Gospel worthy of all Acceptation" The blue Comments are by the author of this blog

"The following particulars are premised, for the sake of a clear understanding of the subject: --
First, There is no dispute about the doctrine of election, or any of the discriminating doctrines of grace. They are allowed on both sides; and it is granted that none ever did or ever will believe in Christ but those who are chosen of God from eternity. The question does not turn upon what are the causes of salvation, but rather upon what are the causes of damnation. "No man," as Mr. Charnock happily expresses it, "is an unbeliever, but because he will be so; and every man is not an unbeliever, because the grace of God conquers some, changeth their wills, and bends them to Christ."* Discourses, Vol. II. p. 473.  [This is false. There is much dispute in regards to Fuller's governmental view of the atonement which is contrary to the doctrine of particular redemption. See William Rushton and John Steven's reply to the Fuller.]

Secondly, Neither is there any dispute concerning who ought to be encouraged to consider themselves as entitled to the blessings of the gospel. Though sinners be freely invited to the participation of spiritual blessings; yet they have no interest in them, according to God's revealed will, while they continue in unbelief; nor is it any part of the design of these pages to persuade them to believe that they have. On the contrary, the writer is fully convinced that, whatever be the secret purpose of God concerning them, they are at present under the curse.  [This is false; Saving faith cannot be separated from the blessings received in the gospel. If one makes it the duty of the proud natural man to walk and live by faith in Christ, one must also make it the natural man's duty to consider himself entitled to the blessing of the gospel, or one must teach that these blessing are received in some other way than faith in Christ... i.e. works. The implications of Fuller's view is in effect an anti-gospel doctrine.]

Thirdly, The question is not whether men are bound to do any thing more than the law requires, but whether the law, as the invariable standard of right and wrong, does not require every man cordially to embrace whatever God reveals; in other words, whether love to God, with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, does not include a cordial reception of whatever plan he shall at any period of time disclose[The question still remains, what does God reveal to the natural man to believe in scripture? Surely not that it is every man's duty by law to embrace Christ by faith unto salvation]

Fourthly, The question is not whether men are required to believe any more than is reported in the gospel, or any thing that is not true; but whether that which is reported ought not to be believed with all the heart, and whether this be not saving faith.  [Here is one of Fuller's great errors. Scriptures define saving faith as the "assurance of things hoped for"; They that have this faith have "believed in hope" and "believed the love that God has for us". Faith unto salvation cannot be separated from the blessings of hope in Christ that are received by faith. In Fuller's view, faith unto salvation is believing the record of scripture with love for God. But, this is a duty in the law, a work of the law, and transgression of the law if omitted. It is not denied that the natural man ought believe the revealed record of the gospel and love God. But, it is denied that the law of works commands anyone to receive and embrace the hope of Christ. That which the law requires is not saving faith. The law is not of faith.]

Fifthly, It is no part of the controversy whether unconverted sinners be able to turn to God, and to embrace the gospel; but what kind of inability they lie under with respect to these exercises; whether it consists in the want of natural powers and advantages, or merely in the want of a heart to make a right use of them. If the former, obligation, it is granted, would be set aside; but if the latter, it remains in full force. They that are in the flesh cannot please God; but it does not follow that they are not obliged to do so; and this their obligation requires to be clearly insisted on, that they maybe convinced of their sin, and so induced to embrace the gospel remedy. [Though the natural man ought to be sensible to his sins, no where does the law command the natural man to embrace the gospel remedy in Christ. This is a blessing of grace from the Spirit of Christ and not a duty in the law which shall be cursed if omitted.]

Sixthly, The question is not whether faith be required of sinners as a virtue, which, if complied with, shall be the ground of their acceptance with God, or that on account of which they may be justified in his sight; but whether it be not required as the appointed means of salvation. The righteousness of Jesus believed in is the only ground of justification, but faith in him is necessary to our being interested in it. We remember the fatal example of the Jews, which the apostle Paul holds up to our view. "The Gentiles," saith he, "who followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith: but Israel, who followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but, as it were, by the works of the law; for they stumbled at that stumbling-stone." Though we had not been elsewhere told (1 Pet. 2:8) that in doing this they were disobedient, yet our judgments must be strangely warped by system if we did not conclude it to be their sin, and that by which they fell and perished. And we dare not but charge our hearers, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear, to beware of stumbling upon the same stone, and of falling after the same example of unbelief. [Fuller rightly denies that faith is the ground of our justification. But, he teaches the false doctrine that it is the righteousness of Christ "believed in" as the ground of our justification. Note: he says not that it is the righteousness of Christ alone, but the righteousness of Christ "believed in". Thus, like the Arminians, he makes the righteousness of Christ plus his faith as the ground of his justification. In other words, Fuller's faithfulness to perform his duty plus the righteousness of Christ is the ground of his justification. Next Fuller teaches that his obedience to not sin is the essence of his saving faith. It is true that by disobedience one stumbles at the stumbling stone of Christ by not believing His revealed report. But, this is either a disobedience to believe the report of the gospel with love for God or it is a disobedience to hope in Christ. The jews were not required by the law of works to embrace Christ as their hope, nor were they cursed for not receiving Christ as their hope. Their damnable disobedience was to the law of works and they were cursed by the law of works. These Jews may also be identified by their disobedience to the gospel law of faith in the grace of Christ. But, it does not follow that is the natural man's duty to be obedient to the law of faith or that man is cursed by the law of faith. The law of faith bids thirsty and needy souls to embrace Christ as our hope; not the law of works.]

Finally, The question is not whether unconverted sinners be the subjects of exhortation, but whether they ought to be exhorted to perform spiritual duties. It is beyond all dispute that the Scriptures do exhort them to many things. If, therefore, there be any professors of Christianity who question the propriety of this, and who would have nothing said to them, except that, "if they be elected they will be called," they are not to be reasoned with, but rebuked, as setting themselves in direct opposition to the word of God. The greater part of those who may differ from the author on these subjects, it is presumed, will admit the propriety of sinners being exhorted to duty; only this duty must, as they suppose, be confined to merely natural exercises, or such as may be complied with by a carnal heart, destitute of the love of God. It is one design of the following pages to show that God requires the heart, the whole heart, and nothing but the heart; that all the precepts of the Bible are only the different modes in which we are required to express our love to him; that, instead of its being true that sinners are obliged to perform duties which have no spirituality in them, there are no such duties to be performed; and that, so far from their being exhorted to every thing excepting what is spiritually good, they are exhorted to nothing else. The Scriptures undoubtedly require them to read, to hear, to repent, and to pray, that their sins may be forgiven them. It is not, however, in the exercise of a carnal, but of a spiritual state of mind, that these duties are performed." [Here Fuller misunderstand spiritual duties and duties required in the law. The law requires love to God, but the law does not direct souls to live by faith because of the love of God in Christ. Living by Faith is to live by the Spirit of Christ and to live upon promises of free grace; this spiritual life is not required or commanded in the law of works. It is a life directed by the law of faith in the the grace of God and not a law with the threat of the curse for non-performance.]

Jul 18, 2011

Our Time Salvation [Gospel Rest] - A Dialogue between W.M. Mitchell and D. Richardson

Our Time Salvation

Written by W.M. Mitchell

The Gospel Messenger—May 1897

With regard to the controversy that has been going on for some time in several Primitive Baptist papers concerning what is called our “time salvation,” as to whether it is conditional or unconditional, I have not felt, as yet, inclined to engage in the contest.

But I will say this, that during nearly all my re­ligious life I have been trying to learn two short lessons so perfectly that they might abide with me con­tinually, by day or by night, in trouble or in joy.

One is that “salvation is of the Lord,” and the other is “that I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Phil. iv. 13. It strikes me at this moment, while I write, that these two texts clearly set forth the true principles embraced in the whole subject of controversy as to eternal and time salva­tion. That our eternal salvation is wholly and en­tirely of God from first to last, it seems to me, there can be no question among Primitive Baptists. The subjects of eternal salvation are entirely passive in that great and glorious work. They are “without strength.” They are guilty, condemned, and dead in sins. Salvation from all these things is of God. The revealed and written word of God declares this, and the experience of every one who is born of God testi­fies to the same truth.

But now, when one is born of God he is born into the kingdom of Christ and is under law to Christ in His kingdom, and he is commanded to “take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls.” Our brethren all believe this, but some say here is a conditional salvation, or a conditional rest promised to the obedient one. Well, it is evident that the poor child of God has something to do here in the way of dutiful obedience to find rest, and he has the principle of that obedience written in his heart inclining him to do the very things he is commanded to do, and the very thing that he most de­sires to do. “To will is present with me,” says one, “but how to perform that which is good, I find not.” Rom. vii. What a terrible struggle there is here be­tween right and wrong, good and evil, flesh and spirit!

But here comes in the other little short lesson that I have so ardently desired to learn in my every-day practical life: “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” And here come in the blessed words of Jesus to His disciples, “without Me ye can do nothing.” Ye can neither pray nor sing in the spirit of true worship, preach or do any other Christian duty, only as Christ strengthens you for the work. Salvation is by grace, and grace carries its own conditions and qualifications in itself; it de­mands nothing of its subjects but what it furnishes. It writes the law of the new covenant in the new heart, and puts it in the mind and gives the poor soul a will and desire to do the very things commanded to be done. And when he has done all that is commanded, he is taught by the Spirit and grace of God, as well as by the written word, to feel and say, “we are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.”

And now I feel inclined to say no more on this line at present. I have written in great haste. But let us ever try to keep in memory that “salvation is of the Lord,” and also remember that “we can do all I things” required of us, only as Christ the Lord shall strengthen us for the work assigned to us.


Time Salvation - Again 

Response by D. Richardson

The Gospel Messenger—July 1897

DEAR BROTHER MITCHELL: While lying upon my bed last night I was thinking of you and others, and I felt like I wanted to write you a short letter. Through your writings I have learned to love you for the truth’s sake.

But the subject chiefly on my mind to write now is ‘Our Time Salvation.” You and Elders Chick and Bartley have all written upon the subject, and though you all three are favorite writers to me, somehow I am not quite satisfied with any of you on this point.

Do not time blessings come to us when we do those things that please God? And, on the other hand, does not the chastening rod come upon us when we fail to do them? If so, is not the doing of them the condition? I do not mean that we are our own keeper by the doing of these things: nor do I believe for a moment that any of God’s children can finally be lost or perish. They are kept by the power of God. But consider such Scriptures as, “Take heed unto thyself and to the doctrine; continue in them, for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.” 1 Tim. iv. 16. I understand this saving to be in no other sense than a saving from troubles that errors bring upon us: but that is salvation, and I can see it in no other light as et but what it is conditional. Another Scripture reads, “Save yourselves from this on toward, generation.” Another says. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” I notice, in all your writings on the subject, you all speak of those who have lived obedient lives in the church and who have had the sweet fellowship of the church and that you feel to give God all the glory, which, indeed, is right and you feel that you have done nothing (meritorious). Yet dear brethren, you have done what some others of God’s children have not done, viz., you have obeyed the Lord’s commandments while some others have not.

I now think of two brethren who once were lively church members, and I believe they are God’s children. But both of them so gave way to the thirst and influence of whiskey and bad temper that the church cut them off from church fellowship. Both of them seemed to become more and more worldly minded, and one of them so much so as to allow a dance in his house. Now, are such not lost to the gospel rest that they might now have been enjoying had they been obedient? Is this salvation not conditional?

I read in the GOSPEL MESSENGER of May, 1897, a letter from F. M. Hearndon, which also goes far to prove to my mind that his view is correct. He says: “I am now seventy-five years old, and I humbly hope that thirty years ago I was enabled to rejoice, in Christ Jesus as my Saviour, the chiefest among ten thousand and altogether lovely, and this is my only hope yet; but feeling so unworthy, and fearing I might be wrong or mistaken, I never united with the church till last August, when I was baptized into the fellowship of the church at Mt. Paron, Walton county. Ga., and since that time I have enjoyed more than ever before, and have found that rest that is found in obedience —found in wearing the yoke of Christ and learning of Him in obedience we have the application of some of the promises and can claim them as ours.

Dear brethren and sisters, you who are halting and hesitating let me admonish you not to do as I have done, but labor to enter into that gospel rest that remaineth for the people of God, even in this time state. And again, ‘Take heed lest a promise being left you of entering into rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.’ I have come short, but, thank God, I hope I now enjoy that rest.”

I have given the above extract because of its clearness to my mind on the subject. And, my dear and precious old brother, does not this set forth a conditional time salvation or gospel rest, and is it not true? Somehow I am of the opinion that all this seeming difference results from want of understanding each other, but I think all can get to a better understanding of this subject soon.

You can publish this with a reply in the MESSENGER. I hope it will tend to a better understanding on the subject.

Your brother in bonds of love, D. RICHARDSON

Remarks By Elder Mitchell—Most heartily I agree with the sentiment of Bro Herndon ‘s letter front which Bro. Richardson has taken an extract (see MESSENGER, May. 1897), and I also agree with the concluding remarks of Elder Richardson that “all this seeming difference is for want of understanding each other.” It is evidently (in most instances) “strife of words to no profit,” from the very fact that there is no essential principle of gospel truth or doctrine ignored or set aside by the disputants on either side. And why should we make a man an offender for a word when there is no gospel truth set aside or perverted?

I have long believed, preached and written that the eternal salvation of sinners, from sin, death and hell is wholly of God from first to last: and I have also believed, preached and written that there is a peace of mind, a rest of soul and joys of God’s salvation, more fully realized in this present time state by faithful and obedient Christians than ever can be realized in this life by the un­faithful and disobedient. If others think best to express the same thing by the use of the words “conditional” and “time salvation, “ let them do so—I shall not contend about words to no profit, where there is no essential principle of difference involved. But if by the use of an unscriptural phrase such as “Conditional time Salva­tion,” or ‘‘Absolute predestination of all things,” hearers and read­ers are thereby confused and led astray by a strife of words, would it not be better and more in accord with the letter and spirit of the gospel to discontinue the use of such terms and endeavor, if we can, to express tile same truth in words ‘‘easy to be understood by the hearer so that the church might be edified’’ by what is spoken or written?

For many un scriptural terms and phrases which have caused much contention among brethren during this century, no higher authority can be claimed for them than the ‘‘tradition of the fathers,’’ and to continue their use at the sacrifice of peace and fellowship among the saints would be wrong, and possibly might perpetuate a mere human tradition for generations to come. Extremes in either religion or politics are always hurtful, and when once inaugurated, factious parties spring up, heated controversies arise, and in the end there is frequently more strife for the mastery and to obtain a victory over each other than there is to edify or promote peace and unity among brethren.

Another evil is, that if a preacher or writer maintains a calm, unbiased position in the “old paths” of the gospel, and does not fall in line with one or the other of the extremists, and adopt their peculiar manner of expression, he is soon regarded with suspicion and distrust by both parties “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again unto the Lord.” Lam. iii. 4o.—”Take heed to thyself and the doctrine, continue in them; for in doing this (not for doing) thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.” I believe this and every other text Bro. R. has quoted as fully as he, but may not choose his way of ex­pressing the same truth. Can he bear with me? W. M. M.

Time Salvation by Merideth Hodges

Written by Merideth Hodges

Dear Friends,

Below is an article on Time Salvation by Elder M. (Meredith) Hodges of Tennessee.
Elder Hodges was raised in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, but upon searching the Scriptures, he could find no validity for the infant baptism that they practiced. He left the Presbyterians and joined the Primitive Baptists in 1823. In 1839, he was ordained to the ministry. He had a long and fruitful life and passed away in 1888 in his 95th year.

David Montgomery

Zion’s Advocate-May 15, 1858

Time Salvation

To the readers of Zion’s Advocate.

DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS.-It seemed good to me at this time to address a short epistle of love to you to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance, that you stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. Relieving that much of our spiritual enjoyment in this life depends upon our conformity to the admonitions and precepts of Christ and the apostles; that there is a Time Salvation to be enjoyed in obedience only. The humble and faithful child of grace that devotes itself to the duties laid down in the New Testament will be more spiritually minded than the careless negligent one; to such the cross will be easier and the burden lighter, he or she will have the answer of a good conscience and peace of mind, enjoy fellowship with Christ and his people, and be able in a good degree to resist the temptations of the devil, and to mortify their own fleshly lust. While we live in a careless indifferent state, we are sure to grow carnally minded, which will be succeeded by blindness, coldness, indifference and darkness, which will give the enemy the advantage of us, and we pierced through with many sorrows, lose sight of our acceptance with God, and perhaps the fellowship of the saints, and become as salt that has lost its savor. How important then that we watch and pray, take up our cross daily and follow Jesus through evil and good report; be careful to maintain good works at all times and in every place, that we watch ourselves with constant guards. Then would our light so shine that others seeing our good works would glorify our father, which is in heaven.

Dear brethren and sisters let us take the admonition of St Paul to the Philippians “Work out your own salvation with fear and with trembling, for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” This is not God’s salvation that saves souls from death. God’s salvation was wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ on Mount Calvary, and by his holy spirit wrought in his people in the work of regeneration, and is that which worketh in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure and which qualifies us for working out our own salvation with fear and with trembling. As before hinted, our own salvation here mentioned is a time salvation, and we must work it out or go without it. God has only in the gospel, commanded his people to do that which they can do by his “working in them the will and to do,” and if we do it not then we may expect the rod with many stripes. But if we work it out, we honor God and our Lord Jesus Christ, and save ourselves from the evils that we are subject to, and that are incident upon a wayward life. This is a delightful work when we are in the right frame of mind for it, and to be in the right frame we must go to work (not to the law but to the gospel) and in performing our duty, our minds become spiritualized enough for another and so on throughout the whole.

One great duty is prayer, both secret and family prayer, another is giving attendance at prayer meetings, especially monthly meetings, but no light excuse keeps us away from meetings. Another duty is attending to the ordinances in due season, another is cultivating love with the brethren and watching over them for good (not for evil) and especially watching over ourselves, endeavoring to shun every appearance of evil. I do not believe that by anything we can do, will alter our relation with God as parent and children. But by obedience, we draw nigh to God, and he draws nigh to us with an approving smile. While the disobedient child lives under his frowns and the sore chastisements of his righteous and just rod.

In conclusion, dear brethren and sisters, permit me to say what I understand close walking with God is, simply taking Bible directions; therein we honor God and realize the benefits ourselves.- Finally read the scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.


Fountain Head, Tenn., March 11, 1858.

Duty Faith And The Covenants by John Foreman

You consider that the obligation of every man to believe unto salvation, depends on 'The rule of universal obedience, which is the very essence of God's law.' This is a most sorry huddling together of things which are fundamentally dissimilar in their nature, order and design, Into one confused, unintelligible and erroneous mass; for it is a making creation obligations, and salvation favours and blessings; the possession of Eden, and the obtaining of heaven, with all the grace, love and glory of God to eternal life there, to be originally by the spirit, mind, and intent of one and the very self-same law and covenant of divine claims and creature obligations. 0 dear, sir, what a medley!

Adam covenant

There is properly, nothing without covenant system and order, of all things that are of God with man; whether they be gifts or claims, obligations or blessings. For when the Lord made Adam, and the whole human race in him as their head, he made a covenant with him, Gen 2:15-17, and according to which he gave him the good of Eden, and thereby all the good of pure creation; with fixed obligations according to the nature of that good, and the constituted powers and qualifications of Adam personally, and also in him, equally to do what was required, as to enjoy what was given. And as the nature of the good, such was the nature of the obligations; and as the extent of the good, such was the extent of the obligations; and this covenant could never devolve on man obligations it never qualified him to perform; nor could it devolve the obligations of another covenant altogether different in its nature, construction and design. Pure natural man was made with greatest fitness to this covenant of A natural good; and this covenant was made with equal fitness to sinless natural man. Man's capacity to enjoy the good of this covenant, and his capacity with happiness to perform the obligations of this covenant, were of the same holy length and breadth. This covenant could not secure a good beyond its own nature, nor devolve an obligation beyond its own good. just as universal as the good of this covenant is, so universal, and no more, are the obligations of obedience to this covenant. Angels were never partakers of the good of this covenant in its covenant form, as it was never made with them; and so they were never under any of its particular forms of obligation to obey; and by the same rule, man by this covenant is not a partaker of the order of angelic good, and so is not subject to the angelic order of obligations to obey. God has never put to any covenant the obligations of obedience before interest in the privileges or good of it, but after; and so Adam and his race were in the good of this covenant made with him, before they were subject to its claims of obedience; at any rate, God made Adam before he claimed obedience of him; and made him with faculties before he made it his duty to exercise them in any way; and let the same only be said of the new creation, and new creatureship, and the divine covenant therewith in Christ Jesus, and we would lay down the pen and say no more.

Abraham covenant

God made a covenant with Abraham, by which he gave to him and his seed the land of Canaan, and all the good thereof. The whole race of Adam universally were never within this covenant with Abraham and his seed, nor intended to be so; and so they, accordingly, were never universally partakers of its peculiar form of privileges, and so, accordingly, were not under its peculiar form of obligations to obey its claims. And the obligations of this covenant with Abraham were according to its own nature only, and which were in accordance with its own privileges in particular. And these covenanters were as naturally equal to their obligations, as their privileges were suited to their happiness in that order; for as the enjoyment of their privileges was conditional on their obedience, there was nothing in the claims but what was happily practicable, and within their uniform ability to discharge. But the peculiar claims of this covenant with Abraham and his seed, were not the universal duty of the whole race of Adam to obey, because they were not bound to obedience by its privileges; and the Lord has never set up a covenant with claims, but as those claims should righteously grow out of the real privileges of such covenant. Man has, therefore, nothing to do with the obligations, nor with the privileges, of any covenant with God, but as he has really to do with the covenant, and as the covenant has really to do with him; and only let this truth be admitted, and all to the contrary be cast be away, in regard to the gospel covenant of the free and sovereign grace of God, and we should hear no more of the natural man's duty to believe unto salvation. But your idea of universal obedience in kind and extent by one and the self-same law only, goes to deny of all this, and to say that all covenant distinctions and relations are nothing at all with you, in regard to the nature and order of obedience, although so clearly and distinctly stated in the word of God.

Covenant of grace

The Lord saith, I have made a covenant with my chosen,' Ps 89:3,4, meaning with David as the type and figure, but with Christ as the true antitype and head, and with his seed, the chosen in him, of the redeemed and represented by him. And this is called, an everlasting covenant, Heb 13: 20 the covenant of peace that shall not be removed, Isa. 54:10 "a covenant that God will not break, Psa.89:34 "that he hath remembered for ever, Psa.105:8 a covenant on by which he will be a God to the house of Israel, and they shall be to him a people, Heb 8:10 an everlasting covenant by which he will do good to all those whom It concerns, with whom it has to the do, and they with that; and will not turn away from them, but to will put his fear in their hearts, that they shall not turn away from and him; but that he will with his whole heart and with his whole soul rejoice over them to do them good, Jer. 32:40, 41 a covenant of but sure mercies, Isa. 55:3. And this is called the better covenant, as surpassing all before it, and as so much also differing from all other be covenants, having Christ for the mediator of it, Heb 8: 6. And this covenant, by another form of expression, is called a testament, a better testament, the new testament, or will, made out in due form, and published and declared to be God's last will and testament; distinct from all others in form and nature, and for its heirs it is better, having Christ for its surety, as God's surety to the people, and the people's surety to God, Heb 9: 15; chap 7: 22. This covenant, as God's will and testament, is sure and without uncertainties, and shall stand fast and unbroken with Christ for his seed for ever, Ps 89: 28-37. This covenant is not indifferent, but special; not general, but particular; not universal, but select; being made only with God's chosen. This covenant is the great scope and scale of eternal life and salvation, as by purpose determined, and by promise declared; and the gospel is but the public proclamation of the truth of this covenant, for the obedience of faith and salvation of the chosen of all nations, in the name of Jesus, and by the forgiveness of sin through his blood.

The error of mixing the covenants

Now I cannot see what the obligations of the Eden covenant of nature can have to do with faith in this covenant of mercy, by a surety's blood, as a duty; because the most perfect obedience maintained in Eden could in no way, from its very nature, be any title, or even any sort of introduction, to any of the mercy favors: of this covenant. And as the Eden covenant, which was but a fair legal contract between sinless man and his holy Maker, could not, from its very nature, embrace one single salvation blessing of this covenant of mercy, so neither could it devolve one single obligation on man, in regard to the parental and household requirements of this covenant of forgiving mercy to those whom the law of that covenant at once condemns. The law of works is the standard of the natural man's legal, and of the sinful man's penal, obligations to God, according to the Eden covenant; and by that law it was, and is, every natural man's duty to be naturally pure and sinless, as Adam was at the first, and all in him, and had power so to be; but it is no man's duty to be a saint in Christ Jesus; it is a great favor to be so, and it is divine favor only that makes any man to be so, and it is the power of divine favor only, that makes any poor sinner to know, believe, rejoice, and live to God under the truth of it. And this being on so different a foundation altogether to that of the natural covenant with pure human nature in Eden, duty faith in this covenant of mercy to the guilty could never come as an obligation on any man from that covenant with sinless nature; which will not even now know any thing but innocency or death; repentance and faith being no part of the obedience or state of man required by the law of works.

And we might very property ask, are the favors of the covenant of life and peace universal, while the covenant itself is undeniably declared to be particular? Are election, predestination, redemption, justification, peace, pardon, sanctification, and final glory in heaven with Christ, universal favors? Because if they are not, to believe them so, Is to believe a lie; and to teach so, is to teach a lie; and to teach any one thing that justly leads to the conclusion that all the rest, to be consistent, must be universal, is but little better than at once teaching of lies altogether. And it must be very fallacious to talk about universal faith without universal interest, since faith and interest are inseparable, according to the word of God. And since faith is the sign of interest, by the promise of God, can it be the duty of all to believe and wear the sign universally, of what is not universally warranted by promise? And are the promises universal? Because, no promise, no ground for faith; for even grace does not give faith where it has not given promise. Or is it the duty of all men to believe unto salvation in such a way, as that by believing they may make that eternally general, which God himself has made eternally particular and discriminate?

Compassionate their ignorance, in the recollection of my own - Robert Hawker

...Some modern Writers, in the awful day in which the Church of GOD now is, have ventured, in contradiction to those most plain truths of Scripture, to insinuate, as if the inculcation of such doctrines as salvation by CHRIST alone, were dangerous. They have, indeed, made a violent blow, at all the great articles by which the faith once delivered unto the saints are distinguished. And were those blessed foundation truths within the reach of their arm, they would wish to dig them up, and reduce the whole Gospel to a mere system of morality, and the miserable piety of fallen, sinful creatures. But this is as futile, as throwing snow-balls at the sun. The sovereignty of GOD the FATHER, in his electing love of the Church; the redemption of the Church, by the sole labors, righteousness, and death, of the SON OF GOD; and the final perseverance of the saints, by the graces, influences, and renewing strength, of GOD the HOLY GHOST: these soul-supporting doctrines, are not in danger of suffering harm, much less of annihilation, by an arm of flesh, or all the powers of darkness. They have stood all the ravages of time, and all the revolutions of empires; and must stand, though all the time-state of the Church, like the divine Author of our holy faith, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.

But, is the Reader astonished at the attack made on those fundamental articles of the faith which was once delivered unto the saints? So am not I. We are taught to expect it, and especially in the last times. 1 Timothy 4:1. Paul told the Church at Ephesus, that after his departure, not only from without, grievous wolves would enter in among them, not sparing the flock: but, what was more distressing to hear; I know, (said he,) that also of your ownselves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Acts 20:29, 30. And the word of GOD traceth the evil to its source. For, as long as men are unacquainted with the plague of their own heart, their employment in sacred things will give them but a very superficial knowledge, either of their own corruptions before GOD, or of the infinite extent of malignity in sin, which can yield to nothing to do away, but the blood, and righteousness of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. There is in every man by nature, a free-will righteousness, in his very heart. We are all born with it. And so closely is it woven into the very texture of the old Adam-nature of the body, that even after a work of grace hath passed upon the soul of the child of GOD; it lurks still in the flesh, and some taints of it he carries with him, even to his grave. And, in instances where the mere form of godliness appears, in much seeming zeal, without the power by regeneration; there the utmost bitterness will manifest itself, in opposing the doctrines of free grace. Paul felt this to the full, in the days of his unregeneracy; and made a very honest confession of it, when by conversion the LORD led him to see it. I verily thought (said he) with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of JESUS of Nazareth. Acts 26:9.

And if, after mentioning the name, and testimony, of so great an Apostle, the humble writer of this Poor Man's Commentary, may venture to speak of himself, he would, with the deepest self-abasement of spirit say, that many a year did he conceive the same. Indeed, there is scarce a spot of ground, marked by the feet of daring unbelief, and disputation, against GOD'S sovereignty in his election of grace, with the many sweet, and precious blessings, which take their rise from that fountain of everlasting love, and make glad the Church of GOD, but I have trodden. I have gone over the whole of the field of controversy, on these grand points; and, inch by inch, con-tended on the awful side of unbelief, until driven out by the overwhelming testimony of divine truth, brought home to my heart, by the arrows of conviction, from the hand of GOD the HOLY GHOST. I can, therefore, readily enter into a full apprehension of those men's feelings, who contend on that ground, by what my own once were. And under the hope, that He who hath taught me, will teach them; I can, and do, truly pity, and compassionate their ignorance, in the recollection of my own. When GOD the HOLY GHOST shall have brought them into a clearer view of things, on those glorious truths, (as I bless his Majesty, he hath me,) they will look back, as I now do, and stand astonished, which to admire most; the LORD'S forbearance, or man's presumption.

But, in the mean time, as an old man going out of life, it behoves me, having received his testimony, to set to his seal, that GOD is true. John 3:33. I hesitate not to say, therefore, that all such writers, or preachers, if a work of grace from GOD the SPIRIT, is happily began in their heart, (and with all others I have nothing at present to do,) the LORD, for wise and gracious purposes, hath not as yet brought them into a full acquaintance; (as he will at length do,) with, the plague of their own heart. They have been convinced of sin, no doubt; for this is among the first works of GOD the SPIRIT, after regeneration. But they have not fully learnt, as hereafter they will learn, what Paul calls; the old man of sin; and that sin by the commandment, might become exceeding sinful. Romans 7:13. GOD the HOLY GHOST doth by his children, as we for the most part do by our's. In our system of education, we instruct them, as their tender capacities will bear. Here a little, and there a little. When the LORD brought his Israel out of Egypt, he would not lead them through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for GOD said, lest peradventure the people repent, when they see war, and return to Egypt. Exodus 13:17. So is it now, in the LORD'S deliverance of his Israel, from spiritual Egypt. He doth not bring his people all at once acquainted with the depth of sin in their fallen nature, lest they should despond, at the prospect of such a war. But the LORD leads them into this knowledge, as they are enabled to bear it. Hence, those persons to whom I am now alluding, are not, while they so write, or preach, brought into a thorough acquaintance with the plague of their own heart. They have not descended, like the Prophet, into the chambers of imagery, from one degree of information to another, to discover the greater abominations of themselves, and their own corruptions. Ezekiel 8:8-13. They see only, as the poor man did in part, when JESUS first touched his eyes, and beheld men, as trees walking. But, if they are the LORD'S, and He hath began the good work in their souls; they will have their spiritual apprehensions exercised, into larger discoveries, both of their own totally helpless, lost estate, and of the ability in CHRIST alone for salvation. And then, like Paul, they will preach the faith which once they labored to destroy. Some such, I myself have known. And, as it was with the Church in his instance, so hath it been upon those occasions, with me, in their's: I have glorified GOD in them. Galatians 1:23, 24.

Jul 17, 2011

The word All - John Bunyan

“All that the Father giveth me.” This word all, is often used in Scripture, and is to be taken more largely, or more strictly, even as the truth or argument, for the sake of which it is made use of, will bear. Wherefore, that we may the better understand the mind of Christ in the use of it here, we must consider, that it is limited and restrained only to those that shall be saved, to wit, to those that shall come to Christ; even to those whom he will “in no wise cast out.” Thus, also, the words all Israel, is sometimes to be taken, although sometimes it is taken for the whole family of Jacob. “And so all Israel shall be saved” (Rom 11:26). By all Israel here, he intendeth not all of Israel, in the largest sense; “for they are not all Israel which are of Israel;” “neither because they are of the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Rom 9:6-8).

This word ALL, therefore, must be limited and enlarged, as the truth and argument, for the sake of which it is used, will bear; else we shall abuse Scripture, and readers, and ourselves, and all. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,” said Christ, “will draw ALL men unto me” (John 12:32). Can any man imagine, that by ALL, in this place, he should mean all and every individual man in the world, and not rather that all that is consonant to the scope of the place? And if, by being “lifted up from the earth,” he means, as he should seem, his being taken up into heaven; and if, by “drawing ALL men after him,” he meant a drawing them unto that place of glory; then must he mean by ALL men, those, and only those, that shall in truth be eternally saved from the wrath to come. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Rom 11:32). Here again you have all and all, two alls; but yet a greater disparity between the all made mention of in the first place, and that all made mention of the second. Those intended in this text are the Jews, even all of them, by the first all that you find in the words. The second all doth also intend the same people; but yet only so many of them as God will have mercy upon. “He hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” The all also in the text, is likewise to be limited and restrained to the saved, and to them only. But again; — The word “giveth,” or “hath given,” must be restrained, after the same manner, to the same limited number. “All that the Father giveth me.”...

“This is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39). “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28). “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. Thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word; I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.” “Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:1,6,9,10,24).

All these sentences are of the same import with the text; and the alls and manies, those, they, &c., in these several sayings of Christ, are the same with all the given in the text. “All that the Father giveth.” So that, as I said before, the word ALL, as also other words, must not be taken in such sort as our foolish fancies or groundless opinions will prompt us to, but do admit of an enlargement or a restriction, according to the true meaning and intent of the text. We must therefore diligently consult the meaning of the text, by comparing it with other the sayings of God; so shall we be better able to find out the mind of the Lord, in the word which he has given us to know it by.

If we fetch assurances from our duties, we boast - Samuel Crisp

"I will touch on two of his reasons that we must fetch assurance from

our own duties.

1. “He that believes shall be saved, and believing is our act,
therefore, etc.” I must answer, though God says, “Believe, and thou
shalt be saved;” he does not say, believe, and thence raise your
assurance from your graces and duties: he excludes boasting, and
saith, “it is by faith, not of works, lest any boast;” but if we fetch
assurances from our duties, we boast.

2. His second reason is in folio 77, “We are without the law of works
or of Moses, but Jesus Christ hath made us a law of grace; this hath
precepts, promises, and threats; he that performs the condition is
righteous in the sense of this law.” (Here is virtually a clear
negation of Christ's righteousness imputed to us to make us
righteous;) it is our performance of the condition, that is, our
repentance and sincere obedience (as folio 54,) makes us righteous in
the sense of this law; or he that performs it, is righteous in the
sense of this law; therefore we must raise our assurance on this. Here
is much fallacy in the argument; he does not say plainly, “our
performance makes us righteous,” folio 75, but he saith it in effect,
folio 54, “Repentance and sincere obedience are parts of the condition
of the new covenant.” So that we are delivered by grace from one
covenant of works, from the duty of being legally righteous, to
another covenant of works of repentance and sincere obedience, which
acts are our evangelical righteousness, (as folio 78.) So that we are
clearly brought from Moses's yoke of bondage, to Antichrist's yoke of
a new-fangled evangelical righteousness of sincere obedience to
justify us. I always thought our Lord Jesus Christ was made of God to
us righteousness, and that was our evangelical righteousness, however
termed Antinomian doctrine; but now we have a new law of threats, and
precepts, and promises, and he that performs the condition, is
righteous in the sense of this law."

Jul 12, 2011

Acts 7:51 - Hassell

Q. What is meant by "resisting the Holy Ghost" (Acts 7:51)?

A. Resisting or opposing the Spirit of God in His ministers, and persecuting those servants of God (Acts 7:51-53; Neh. 7:30). No human being can withstand the almighty power of the Holy Spirit in regeneration (John 3:8).

2 Corinthians 6:1 - Hassell

Q. In II Cor. 6:1 the Apostle Paul, in the King James Version, says, "We then, as workers together with Him, beseech You also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain;" what does he mean?

A. The words "with Him" and "You" are in italics, which shows that Paul did not write them. The exact language of Paul is: "But we also, working together, exhort that you receive not the grace of God in vain." By "we" he means himself and Timothy (II Cor. 1:1), and of course all other gospel ministers. And by exhorting the Corinthians (and of course all other) Christians not to receive the grace of God in vain, he means to exhort them to manifest the grace of God in their conduct and conversation, not to hide the light which God had given them, but to let it shine, to abound in good works in which God had before ordained them to walk, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, to prove that Christianity is not an empty profession, but a Divine reality (I Cor. 15:10; Matt. 5:16; Eph. 2:10; Tit. 2:11-15).

Ephesians 5:14 - Sylvester Hassell

Q. What does Paul mean when he says, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14)?

A. That the church, the children of God should arouse from their state of carnal security, slothfulness, worldliness, and indifference, which seems like spiritual death, and live more reverently, soberly, righteously, and affectionately, toward one another, more self-denyingly, like Christ, and the Lord would increase their heavenly light and comfort (Rom. 13:7-14).

Acts 2:40 - Sylvester Hassell

Q. What is the meaning of Peter's exhortation to his penitent hearers on the day of Pentecost, "Save yourselves from this untoward (crooked, perverse, wicked) generation" (Acts 2:40)?

A. The verb here rendered "save yourselves" is not in the middle voice with the reflexive sense, as this translation implies, but it is the passive voice, and literally means "be ye saved," that is, "be willing for God to save you from the character and doom of this wicked generation," which was soon to perish in the unparalleled suffering of the siege and capture of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus. And being divinely wrought upon, his penitent hearers gladly received his word, and were baptized, and were thus added by the Lord to the church (Acts 2:41,47).

Jul 10, 2011

Death alone dissolves the marriage tie! - J.C. Philpot’s

“The marriage union is the closest and most sacred of all earthly unions. Woe be to anyone who interferes with its sanctity!” “Alas! that today the marriage bond should be considered by many as temporary, casually undertaken and soon released upon flimsiest pretexts.” “The happiness of thousands of lives has been shattered through thoughtless entrance upon matrimony.” “Now we fearlessly assert that, according to God’s word, nothing but death…can dissolve the tie between man and wife. The Lord Jesus has settled this point with his own lips.”

“We assert, therefore, that neither by the law of God or man can a woman marry again in the lifetime of her first Husband, without committing adultery. How express – is Paul here! “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” (Romans 7:2-3)

“Absence or desertion is cruel and ungodly conduct, and most truly pitiable is a woman’s case, to be abandoned for years and left in ignorance whether her legitimate husband and protector is dead or alive; but neither his desertion nor her uncertainty dissolves the tie.”

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” (1 Cor 7:15) that is, to follow him and, press to live with him if he have deserted her. But does he say anything about or sanction her marrying again? Where does he say that desertion dissolves the marriage tie? On the contrary, in the very same chapter he decides the exact opposite: “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but,if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will, only in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:39) How clearly he decides the matter that death alone dissolves the marriage tie!

Jul 9, 2011

Robert Hawker on Duty-Faith and the Free Offer

"...They make offers of CHRIST to such, in direct contradiction to Scripture: and, instead of inviting, as JESUS did, the weary and heavy laden only; and as his servants were commanded to do, the thirsty; they invite all. Reader! I beseech you for a moment to consider this subject, and, if the LORD be your teacher, you will soon discover the fallacy of it; and learn, that such men are guided by the pride and vanity of their own heart, (as if they possessed the power of persuasion,) and are not taught of GOD... Invitations to come to CHRIST, And exhortations to follow CHRIST, are addressed only to the Church. Paul's exhortation in this place begins, finally brethren. And all his Epistles, are to the faithful in CHRIST JESUS, and the called to be saints... Cast out the bond-woman and her son, is the language of the HOLY GHOST: for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 2 Corinthians 1:29. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. Galatians 4:22. to the end. Upon what grounds can men make offers of CHRIST to the world at large, in the face of these scriptures? It is like holding money to the view of a prisoner looking through his iron window on those passing by; but holding it out beyond all possibility of his reaching it... I expect that great opposition will be made to this statement, if it so happens, that my Poor Man's Commentary should fall under the eye of any of the Pharisaical characters I have been alluding to. But these things affect me, not. Those evidences I have brought, are sound, and scriptural. To show such men, that the powers of persuasion they think they possess, are more sound without meaning, as to do by them, as by the idols of Micah: taking away their gods, and what have they more? Judges 18:24... If men would, or could, read their Bibles under GOD the SPIRIT'S teaching, they would soon discover, the mighty difference, between preaching the Gospel, and inviting men to CHRIST, or making offers of CHRIST, whom GOD invites not, and to whom no offers are made. Preaching the Gospel, or preaching CHRIST, which is one and the same, is to be done to the mixed multitude, as the Apostles did. Reader! ponder well the subject; for it is highly important. If we would, or could discern, between preaching CHRIST, which, as I said before, if truly ordained by the HOLY GHOST, they are directed to do; and offering CHRIST, which is little short of blasphemy to attempt: they would shudder at the latter, and go forth with the deepest humility, and not fleshly pride, to the former. And yet, so little apprehensive are some of these self-taught men, of the vast difference, in the work; that they not only offer CHRIST without reserve, to all they meet, both in their preachings, and writings; but they urge their hearers, or readers; to an instant accepting, and to lay hold of the present opportunity, lest another should not be afforded them. If the subject was not so truly solemn as it is, one might be tempted to smile, at such ignorance, and presumption. As if their persuasion, and not GOD'S grace, was the cause of acceptance. And as if that grace depended upon the will of man, to improve it, in the moment of man's offer, or it would be lost forever. Oh! what a different statement the LORD the SPIRIT gives, of those, who received CHRIST which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of GOD. John 1:12, 13." Robert Hawker, Commentary from Philippians 4

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions