A DISCOURSE OF The True Nature OF THE GOSPEL; DEMONSTRATING That it is no NEW LAW, but a pure DOCTRINE of GRACE. In Answer to the Reverend Mr. Lorimer's Apology.

Levi (que) certamine docet vanam esse sine viribus Iram.

Liv. Hist. Lib. 1.

By THO. GOODWIN, Pastor of a Church of Christ at Pinnor in Middlesex.

Phil. 2. 3.

Let nothing be done through strife, or vain-glory, but in low­liness of Mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

London, Printed by J. Darby. 1695.

To the READER.

I Had so honest a Design in writing the following Discourse, which I have endeavoured to compose in cool and calm Thoughts undisturb'd with Heat or Passion, as I am arm'd against their Censures, who will perhaps resent it very ill to see their Darling Notions expos'd. My poor Labours are recommended by the alone consideration of the Truths, in whose Defence they are employ'd, and this is abundantly sufficient; and therefore I need only to desire thee to consider the Arguments with an impartial Mind. If thou lovest the Gospel, do not suffer thy Thoughts, looking on it, to be distorted by Prejudice or Passion. As the Truths here asserted are of great moment, so they deserve thy most serious Attention. If they were only subtle Niceties for a trial of Wit, or to make an Experiment who could make Words to dance most nimbly, I would never have misimploy'd my self in writing this Discourse, nor caused thee to mispend so much time in reading it. But since I can assure thee that I have asserted nothing but what I not only really believe to be true, but to be of high Importance to the Salvation of my own Soul, (which is very clear Evidence that a Man is in good Earnest) I hope thou wilt consider, whether it may not concern thine too. There are two great Rocks which threaten the hazard of a Shipwrack, Popery and Ar­minianism; and for my own part I am terribly afraid of coming in any near­ness to the danger. Popery hath been so uncas'd of its Disguise, that it ap­pears in its natural figure; and those who know any thing of the Gospel, startle at the first Entrance of its affrighting Shape: But Arminianism surprizes the Vncautious, appearing with a fairer Face and more specious Colour; and yet really, if the Holy Ghost speaks truly to us in the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, (as I am sure he doth) this almost generally belov'd Doctrine is as contrary to the Gospel as Popery it self; and if God speaks true, it is undoubted, that what the Arminians tell us is false. God tells us, that in him we live, and move, and have our being: The Arminians would dispute us out of this great Privilege, and endeavour to perswade us, that when God hath once form'd us and thrown us out of his Hands, we may move alone without him. God teach­eth us, that he effectually accomplisheth the Counsels of his Will, and that nothing can obstruct or frustrate the success: The Arminians tell us, that God is hearti­ly desirous of the Salvation of all Men, but cannot save the greatest part of them, because they are unwilling. God plainly tells us his own Mind, that none are saved, but whom he hath eternally ordain'd to that happy State: But the Ar­minians insinuate, that those may be sav'd whom God never thought of for such a Design, and that he will be surpriz'd at the arrival of new Colonies in Hea­ven, which he never appointed to come thither. God, who justifies the Vngodly, expresly declares, that we must be justified freely of his Grace, not by our own but Christ's Righteousness. The Arminians bring us to a new Court of Judica­ture, where God sits not, nor hath any thing to do; for there our Faith in obe­dience [Page] to the Gospel, is pleaded instead of perfect Obedience owing to the Law, and the Plea is admitted; for (as that Prodigy of Learning Grotius speaks) as a Work grateful to God, it meets with acceptance. In a Word, their Opinions tear the Volume of God's Word to pieces, and un-God God himself: They pull him out of his Throne, and strike the Scepter out of his Hands, and snatch the Crown from his Head. Their Opinions take aim to destroy the very Being of the Divi­nity; for take away his Perfections and Attributes of absolute Power and Wis­dom, and God is an imaginary Nothing: Who can conceive of him but as an inde­pendent Soveraign? and yet their Doctrine allows less Power to him in the dis­posal of his Creatures, than a petty Negro Prince hath over his Subjects within the Compass of his narrow Dominions. Who can think of God but as All-know­ing, and having at one view a certain Prospect of all Persons and Things, past, present, and to come? and yet their Doctrine makes him to guess at the Future, as an Astrologer by the Stars.

Ay but it will be said, What is all this to the Purpose of the present Controver­sy, wherein we have not to do with Arminians? 'Tis true we have not, but it con­cerns every Minister of the Gospel, to put a stop to any Opinion which hath the least tendency to Arminianism. We are not as idle Spectators, to stand by with pati­ence to see the Truths of the Gospel, either openly invaded, or secretly supplan­ted; but as long as we are able to frame a Thought, or hold a Pen, it is our Duty to make a vigorous Opposition. We have the Example of those worthy Divines in France, the old Du Moulin, and others, to animate and encourage us. When Testard and Amyrault advanc'd some new Opinions to meet Arminianism in the middle Course, which were soon, by an unhappy Wind, wafted over into England; these worthy Persons (who were as firmly resolv'd that the old Gospel should not be alter'd, as we English are zealous that our old Fundamental Laws be not chang'd) presently took the Alarm, and resisted the Invasion. Complaints were made in their Synod against Testard and Amyrault, as Corrupters of the Prote­stant Doctrine, and they werea openly censur'd. The Pastorsb and Profes­sors of the Church of Geneva, c the Professors of Divinity in the Vniversities of Leyden and Groningen sent their Letters, protesting against these Innovations in the old Protestant Doctrine. And the Famousd Du Moulin, who with so much Wit and Learning wrote against Popery and Arminianism, sends a Letter par­ticularly to the same Synod, and with an Apostolical Zeal and Plainness, com­plains that these Innovators corrupted the Antient Faith, and chang'd the very Nature of God, of the Law, and of the Gospel. These Examples should teach us to be earnest for the same Truths which they maintain'd so vigorous and I have endeavour'd to be zealous for them without being angry.



The general Design of this Discourse, is not to promote Controversies, or to propagate Quarrels, but to maintain the Truths of the Gospel in their first native Purity. The State of the Question concerning the Gospel's being a Law.

I Am so far from inventing, or defending any new dividing Opini­ons, to trouble the Peace of the Churches, that I heartily lament the fatal Disturbances which are produced by them; and instead of fomenting the prevailing Heat of our Contentions, or blowing a Fire which is but too great, I would willingly contribute all my poor Endeavours to quench the Flames. It is not therefore out of an hu­mour of Disputing that I engage in this Debate, nor to promote the In­terest of a Party: I know no Interest, and by the Grace of God will never espouse any, but that of Christ and his Gospel. It is an apprehen­sion of the Injury offered to this, which is the Motive of my undertaking its Defence. It is the Interest of wronged Truth that I assert, which all who love, have indispensable Obligations to vindicate. It is the pure Gospel, by so many various Attaques assaulted, that I stand to guard; and which being Eternal, tho it may be invaded, yet can never be op­press'd nor sink for want of Support, tho my Strength prove unequal to so great a Performance. It is that Gospel which was taught by our [Page 2] Lord Christ, and his Apostles, which was own'd in the first and best Ages of the Primitive Church, and is now professed in all the Confessions of Faith of the Reformed; which not all the Arts, and Power, neither of Rome Heathen, nor which is worse, Antichristian, were able to extir­pate; which not two Ages ago was recovered out of the Darkness of Antichrist by the first Reformers, and vigorously asserted by them, against all the Subtleties and cunning Evasions, both of Papists and others, to shift off the Force of Truth; and is from those our worthy Ancestors of the Protestant Religion deliver'd down to us; which was seal'd by the Blood of Martyrs, which was maintained against all the Powers of the Earth arm'd for its Ruin; and is, and will be (I doubt not) by a greater Power preserved to survive the Ashes of the World, though it is in more danger of being betray'd by its pretended Friends, than ever it was of being conquered by an open War of its declared Enemies.a And indeed the Antichristian Party gain a grea­ter Advantage by Protestants starting such new Opinions, which seem to favour their Errors, than ever they could by their open and undis­guised opposition to the Truth. For not to debate whether the Jesuits have not a great Hand in promoting these Controversies, who can easily turn themselves into all Shapes to gain their Ends; yet 'tis certain they rejoice, and triumph in our Dissentions; where, whatever the Success be, they are sure of an Advantage. For if these Erroneous Doctrines of Justification prevail among the People, they are brought so much the nearer to Popery; or, if Truth prove victorious, as (I do not at all doubt) it will in the End, yet by the first starting these disputable Opi­nions, a hopeful Union among Protestants is broken, and those troublers of Israel have shattered us to pieces, and may bring us within a Point of our Ruin; and so what they unsuccessfully attempted by Power and Per­secution, they will effect (if God doth not avert) by our own sad Divi­sions.

It is this oppos'd Gospel which I love and value above all things, and by the help of my Lord Jesus Christ, I will defend its pure Truths en­tire and unmangled. And as it is this Gospel which teaches me not to treat any of its Ministers with insolent Contempt, however I may differ from him, in my Sentiments, so I will endeavour to observe its Dictates, in avoiding all base and scurrilous Reflections (being but the Follies of an im­potent [Page 3] Passion) when I write for those Truths which are calm, peaceful, and gentle, Jam. 3. 17. And indeed ever since the Light of common Rea­son began to dawn upon my Mind, as well as since God gave me a greater, I always abhorr'd that Method of managing Controversies in Religion, wherein Arguments are mingled with Invectives, and the De­ficiences of Reason made up with Calumnies and Reproaches. Tho the double injury done both to Truth, and my Friend, the one of which is equally insulted with an haughty fierceness, as the other is openly af­fronted, might tempt a Man of the greatest Moderation to some passio­nate Resentments; yet nothing shall move me from my fixed Resolution of not being angry. I write not from an Humour of Strife, nor for Pride and vain Glory, but for Truth, and therefore shall concern my self no further than I find that to be interested; which if I thought to be on my Learned Brother's Side, I should be so far from contesting it with him, that I would join in the Defence. This Truth lies between us, and should not be lost in a crowd of angry Words; tho this is the Fault of most Disputes in Religion, and is a Reproach to what we all profess, that when Philosophers and Heathens discours'd their different Opinions with a Calmness of Mind, we Christians, for whom our Great Lord died, that God might be reconciled to us, and we to one another, are inflamed with all Passions, because we do not think and speak the same Things. We every one of us dispute, because we think we are in the right, when we so order the loud Disputation, that Truth which speaks softly cannot be heard, its still Voice being drowned in the Cla­mour of our Contentions. Now then that nothing may disturb a Sere­nity of Mind, which ought to be in a Person who argues not for In­terest, but purely for the Truth, I shall only consider in my Reve­rend Brother's Discourse, what carries the Face and Appearance of Reason, without suffering my Thoughts to be diverted or rufled by his Invectives. In a Word, I will not change a Defensive War for the com­mon Interests of our Christian Religion, into a private Quarrel, since it is not any Man's Person, but the Truth which I have undertaken to vin­dicate. And indeed the Reputation for Piety and Learning of those whom he insults, is so glorious, that any Attempt to defend them is al­together needless. As for Bradwardine and Dr. Owen, on whom he is pleas'd to bestow some disadvantageous Remarks, they are so great Names, and have deservedly obtain'd such an high Esteem among Men, that they are equally above his little Reflections, as beyond any Endeavours I can imploy for their Vindication. They are both known Champions against two the most malignant Heresies which ever infected the Church, Pela­gianism, (to which that of the Arminians is very nearly related) and [Page 4] Socinianism. And as for Mr. Marshal, that very Book which our Au­thor so much vilifies, discovers a pious Heart, joined with a closeness and consistency of Thought. And all who know that other worthy Per­son, against whom his Passion is more furiously fired, must give his Cha­racter very different from that, by which, with an unsuccessful attempt of Wit, he endeavours to represent him. But as in Debates of Reli­gion, all little Efforts of Wit (if I had any) would be very unsuta­ble and impertinent; I shall only seriously argue the Cause in question by Scripture and Reason, since also I do not think that People are oblig'd to mispend their Time to read long Discourses, to entertain themselves unprofitably with those personal Reflections, with which such are usual­ly stuff'd, more than with Arguments; since it doth not concern them to know, whether such or such a Man be so wise and so rational as he is ap­prehended to be, or silly and ridiculous, but only what is Truth, and the Danger of [...] in the Faith, which may be clear'd to them in very few words: I [...] accordingly study brevity and plainness as much as ever I can; and shall reduce my following Discourse to as narrow a Compass as possible, and so consider in that of the Learned Mr. Lorimer no more than what seems most to the Purpose. I will not at all affect Niceties, or subtile Evasions; and indeed any Opinion which needs them, and I know not how many perplexing Distinctions to maintain it, may very well be suspected: for Truth never seeks Corners to hide in, nor can endure to be set in a false Light, but loves to appear in its pure native Brightness. And it is our Duty, who by Office and Commission, as Ministers of Christ, are to teach the Gospel to the People, that we do not scatter Mists about them, as if throwing Dust in their Eyes was the way to clear their Sight; that we do not amuse them with new Terms fetch'd from the Civil Law, and make it necessary for them to study Justinian, Bartolus, and Cujacius; to read the Pandects and the Codes, that they may know how they are justified. This, instead of instructing, would be to confound those whom we are to lead into the Truth, by the clearest Expressions of God's Holy Word, and to inform them in the plainest manner that we can.

What I have proposed to my self to debate in the present Discourse, is, Whether the Gospel be a new Law? Without multiplying words, which doth but obscure the clearness of Things, the Question in dispute is not, Whether the Gospel be a new Law, if by that Word is meant a Doctrine of Grace newly reveal'd, after the Covenant of Works was broken, wherein God hath declared in what Order and Manner he will save guilty condemned Sinners. If by a new Law no more is meant than this, it is presently granted, and the Controversy is at an end. What [Page 5] is denied is this, That the Gospel is a Law commanding new Precepts, as Conditions of obtaining its Blessings, and established with a Sancti­on, promising Life and Happiness to the observance of them, and threatning the Neglect.

Tho according to the Laws of a Discourse, I should first urge Argu­ments to prove, that the Gospel is not such a Law; yet my first Design being to answer the Reverend Mr. Lorimer's Apology, I shall first shew how little to his Purpose he eagerly catches at the word Law, where­ever he can meet with it in the Scriptures, or in the Writings of Men.

And first I shall demonstrate, that where-ever the Gospel is nam'd a Law, either in the Old or New Testament, only a Doctrine of Grace is to be understood by it.


That the word Law is of a various and doubtful meaning. From the original Signification of the Heb. [...] it is proved, that then the Gospel is called a Law in the Old Testament, no more is intended than a Doctrine. This is evinc'd and confirm'd from the Interpretation of several Scriptures, Psal. 1. 2. Psal. 19. 7. Psal. 119. 97, 98, &c. Jer. 31. 33. Isa. 2. 3. Micha 4. 2.

THE word Law is of such various Signification, that it is not at all strange if we find the Gospel called by that Name, both in the Scriptures, and among the Antient Fathers, and later Protestant Wri­ters; when yet neither the Holy Ghost nor any of those Authors, meant to describe the Gospel as a new Rule of Works enacted with a milder Sanction.

When that stated Order of Things, whereby the Actions even of in­animate Creatures are regulated according to the Appointment of the great Creator's Will, (when he first framed them, and push'd them in­to Motion) is called the Law of Nature; we cannot apprehend it as a Precept, or Rule of Duty establish'd with a Sanction to those things, which being without Sense or Life, know nothing of the Matter. This Law is not a Precept given to such Creaturesb, but the Power of God [Page 6] working in them, and acting them to move according to that Order which he hath set for the Administration of all things in the Universe. Who will say, that the Sun doth its Duty in performing its constant la­borious Course, or that a Reward is due when it hath done its Work? And yet it is by a Law, tho not any Precept, that it moves so orderly; and a Law it is, without any promise of Recompence for observing and keeping duly the mark'd-out Course, or threatning a Penalty for devia­ting from it. It is by the same Law of Nature that the Fire always burns, the Planets perpetually move, the Earth never totters from its Centre, and yet they are not to be recompenc'd for such their exact Ob­servance. And if on the contrary, the Fire should freeze us, the Pla­nets stop their orderly Dance, or march so irregularly as to break all their Ranks, and the Earth shake and fall from its plac'd Foundation, they would not be liable to undergo any Punishment. And now, Fire, Air, Earth, and Water, and the Heavenly Bodies, are well enough said to act by a Law, tho they have no Rule of Duty given them, nor are obnoxious either to Rewards or Punishments. Well then, as the settled Order of the Universe is called a Law, the Gospel may obtain the same Name in that Sense. It is without doubt a most cer­tain establish'd Orderc of our Salvation by Christ alone, and this more unchangeable and irreversible than all the Laws of the Crea­tion, since it is more impossible to be pardon'd and justify'd in any other Method, than that set by God of applying Christ's Blood, and having his Righteousness imputed, than for all the Heavenly Bodies to move contrary to their stated Courses. In this sense the Gospel is a Law, without being a Rule of Duty, since it only tells us the Order God hath set of our being saved purely by his Grace: And a Law it is too, like that of the Medes and Persians, unalterable, and which will not admit of the least Change, not so much as to compose the Differences of contending Parties, with prejudice to any of its Truths.

If we take the word Law in a farther meaning, as it signifies any Do­ctrine publish'd and made known to the People, it will be easily granted that the Gospel is such a Law, since there is nothing more sure, than that it is a Doctrine of Grace. Now every one knows that the word Law is us'd in this comprehensive Sense.

First, For the Hebrew [...] Torah, Law, it denotes any Instructi­on given us; not only by the Precepts, but the Promises of God. The [Page 7] Root from which it is deriv'd, proves this to be its genuine meaning; for [...] Jarah, signifies to cast or throw Darts, or any other thing: and metaphorically in the Conjugation Hiphil, the word [...] Horah, signifies to cast the Meaning of one's Mind, or a Doctrine and Instructi­on, into the Thoughts of the Hearers, as Mercer d a Critic beyond exception in this Language, very well observes. And what is God's teaching us effectually, but the throwing the quick and powerful Darts of his Truths into our Souls, and his fastning them in our Hearts? not to give us any mortal Wound, but only a vital piercing Sense to rouze us out of our Lethargy in pernicious Errors and Sin. Whereas it is the fiery Darts of the Devil of which the Apostle speaks, Eph. 6. 6. corrupt Doctrines, which he is so diligent to throw into our Souls, which give us our Death's Wounds. This is enough to show how natural the Metaphor is, that from. [...] Jarah, he casts Darts, in Hiphil [...] Horah, should signify he teacheth or scattereth any Doctrine: And thus it is us'd in 2 King. 12. 2. and in Ps. 119. 102. And from hence [...] Moreh, a Doctor, or Teacher, Job 36. 22. And from hence too is the Name of a Place [...] Mo­riah, Gen. 22. 2. Which as Mercer notes, signifies the Doctrine of the Lord God, which from that Hill (it being situated at one side of Mount Sion where the Temple was built) was to spread through the World. And indeed it was at Mount Zion, nay in the Temple it self, that our Lord Jesus taught his Glorious Doctrine of the Gospel; and there also it was preached by the Apostles before they had a particular Commission to go to the Gentiles. And sutable to this, is that place in Isa. 2. 3. And many People shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the Moun­tain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his Ways, and we will walk in his Paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem; that is, a Doctrine shewing to Sinners the Way of Justification.

Thus from [...] Horah he teacheth, the word [...] Torah, used in the Old Testament for Law, proceeds by a free and unforc'd deri­vation, which is enough to evince, that in its original and native Mean­ing, it signifies no more than a Doctrine which is taught us: and to con­firm it, I shall produce several places of Scripture where it is us'd in this Sense.

By this word [...] Torah, sometimes is expressed any Doctrine or Instruction, which Parents give to their Children, or a Man to his Friend. Thus in Prov. 3. 1. Prov. 4. 2. Prov. 7. 3. Prov. 13. 14.

In other places it is imploy'd to signify the whole Doctrine of Truth contained in God's Word, both of the Old and New Testament. Thus in Psal. 1. 2. But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in his Law doth he meditate Day and Night. The Design of the Psalmist being to give the entire Character of a Person truly blessed, the Description must be so comprehensive, as to take in, not only his delighting in the Precepts of the Moral Law, (which a Turk or Heathen may do, and the old Philo­sophers really did) but an inward feeling of a ravishing Pleasure in the Knowledg of the Gospel, and in meditating on the admirable free Grace of God display'd in the Salvation of a Sinner. And it is this pleasing Sense, resulting from the Apprehension of the Doctrine of Grace, which is the distinguishing Mark of that blessed Believer, whom the Psalmist with such wonderful Eloquence describes. So then the Law in which the Believer delights, is not the old Law of Works, nor a new one of a resembling Nature, but it is the Doctrine of the Gospel, as opening the hidden and unsearchable Riches of God's Grace and Love in Christ Jesus. And thus the most Learn'da Commentators, both Papists, as well as those of the Reformed Religion, explain the word Law in this extensive Meaning, as not meerly signifying Precepts, and Commands, but that delightful Instruction which the Knowledg of E­vangelical Truths affords the happy Believer.

More expresly the Doctrine of Grace in the Gospel is called a Law, Psal. 19. 7. The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the Soul: the Testi­mony of the Lord is sure, making wise the Simple. That it is not a Law of Works, but the Word of Grace, is evident from Scripture, which is the best interpreter of it self. For the Apostle Paul, who best knew the Psalmist's meaning, applies the 4th Verse of this Psalm 19. to illustrate the swift spreading of the Doctrine of the Gospel, and the Teaching and Instruction of it coming to all Nations; Rom. 10. 17, 18. So then, Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their Sound went into all the Earth, and their Words unto the Ends of the World. That as the Sun, and Moon, and Stars, in a Day and Night's Journey look round all the Earth, and tell to all the Nations the Power and Wisdom of the Creator, tho they say not a Word of his Mercy and Grace: So the Preaching of the Gospel shall give a Sound through the whole World, not meerly to proclaim the Great Majesty and Goodness of God who made it, but his Infinite Grace undiscernable by Reason; and the Love of our Saviour, which is [Page 9] above all our Thoughts. Now then, as the plain Intention of the Psal­mist is by a Comparison to shew, that as the Heavens manifest God's Adorable Perfections, so his Law, vers. 7. hath a more excellent Sound and Instruction, in the Discoveries which it makes of his Grace: the Apostle's taking one part of this Comparison, and applying it to the Word, or Doctrine of the Gospel, necessarily infers, that he under­stood the Psalmist to intend by his Law no other, than this Doctrine of Grace, which as the Sun, and all the other Lights of Heaven, spreads so swiftly and universally. If we consider too the Psalmist's Sense as ex­pressed by himself, we shall find that the Effects which he ascribes to his Law, cannot be produced but by a pure Doctrine of Grace.

From these Effects, of converting the Soul, and making wise the Simple, it is evident, that it cannot be understood a Law of Works in any Sense, for that instead of converting the Sinner, would but frighten him from God; and so far is it from driving the guilty Cri­minal to Christ, that without the Gospel proclaim'd, the natural Ten­dency of it is to hurry him into Despair. It could not let into the Soul the least Glimmerings of Hope; for such a Law proposeth Salvation upon the Condition of Obedience to it, and yet at the same time convinceth the poor wretched Sinner of his own utter Disability to perform it. It is then the pure Doctrine of Grace, encouraging the Soul to trust and hope in Christ, by directing him to that perfect Saviour for Pardon, and Righteousness, and Life; which is in the properest Sense the converting Law: And this Virtue and Efficacy our Lord Christ appropriates to his Gospel, John 17. 17. Sanctify them through thy Truth; thy Word is Truth. By Truth there is more emphatically meant the Doctrine of Free Grace, which Christ was sent into the World to teach unto Men; and this, and this only, is the effectual Means which God useth to turn Sinners to him­self, and really to sanctify them.

And in other places where David (the Man after God's own Heart, because of that Evangelical Spirit which was in him) speaks of the De­light which he took in God's Law, and the inconceivable Pleasure which sprung up in his Soul, when his Thoughts were employ'd in me­ditating on it, by the word Law he understands the Gospel, and that not as a new Law of Works, but a Doctrine of Grace: For as such it reveals those astonishing Mysteries concerning the Redeemer, and makes those surprising Discoveries of Grace, which only are capable of giving that pleasing entertainment of Mind, which the Psalmist so much mag­nifies as having enjoy'd it in his own. Thus in Psal. 119. 97, 98. O how love I thy Law! it is my Meditation all the Day. Thou, through thy Com­mandments, hast made me wiser than mine Enemies; for they are ever with me. [Page 10] Where it is evident, that he speaks of a Doctrine, by the Knowledg of which he had arrived to a higher Degree of the most excellent Wis­dom, than any who lived in the same Age and Nation with him, a Wis­dom which he pursued with the most eager and inquisitive Search; and the discovery of one Mystery did but animate him to an impatient en­quiry after more, and make him earnest in his Petitions, that God would reveal to him higher Measures of that admirable and most useful Knowledg, Psal. 119. 18. Open thou mine Eyes, that I may behold wondrous Things out of thy Law. By which especially is meant (as Mr.a) Clark very well remarks) the Mysteries of the Gospel. Here then we have the Gospel called a Law, not as a System of Precepts, or a Statute-Book of a new Edition; but as it at once instructs and amazes us in the Won­ders of our Redemption, and affects our Hearts with the thoughts of the Redeemer's Love.

When the Psalmist also expresses those refreshing Comforts, which slow'd into his Soul from the inexhaustible Spring of God's tender Mer­cies, he useth the same word Law; and consequently means by it, not a Doctrine of Works, which can in no sense give any Solace to a guilty Mind, but a Doctrine of Grace, such as the Gospel, which display'd those Riches of Grace to the Psalmist's Sight, and in which he so chear­fully hop'd, and rejoic'd, Psal. 119. 77. Let thy tender Mercies come unto me, that I may live; for thy Law is my Delight; i. e. Let me experience thy tender Mercies, let me feel my own Part and Interest in them, that I may live joyfully: for my most fervent Desire, O Lord, is to search into the Depths of thy Mercy and Love; and therefore my whole De­light is in that Word of Truth which contains these inestimable Trea­sures of thy Mercy, and exposeth them all open to the view of my Faith. Thus again the Gospel is called a Law, but no otherwise than as it is a comfortable Instruction to poor convinc'd Sinners, what Riches of Mercy there are in store, and as it teacheth them how they may trust and hope in the God of all Grace.

In another place we read the Psalmist informing us what supported his Spirit under inward Troubles and outward Afflictions which oppress'd him; And what was it but the Law of God? not the Precepts or Com­mands, for how could they have sustain'd his sinking Spirit, since they only tell us our Duty, but offer us no help in the sad Circumstances of our Case? They shew us indeed what God would have us to do, but declare nothing what he will do for us, and so discover not any support [Page 11] to our languid Spirits fainting under a Calamity. This is the Nature, and the proper and peculiar Office of the Promises, and the Gospel con­sequently, as a Body of them, is called by the Psalmist a Law, in which he delighted, because it thus sustained him under his Afflictions, Psal. 119. 92. Vnless thy Law had been my Delights, I should then have perished in mine Affliction. A Law, that is (as the before-mentioneda judicious Annotator observes) the whole Word of God, chiefly the Promises of Support and Deliverance.

If we consider those Places which are more expresly urg'd to prove the Gospel to be a new Law, it will appear that they only evince it to be a new Doctrine of Grace. As,

1. That clear Place in the Prophet Esa, where by Law is expressed solely the Doctrine of Grace in the Gospel, Isa. 2. 3. And many Peo­ple shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his Ways, and we will walk in his Paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. It is manifestly the Design of the Prophet, in the first and second Verses, to shew how large a Church, not straiten'd within the narrow Confines of Judea, but spreading through all Nations of the Universe, should be gathered and established. Then he tells us by what Way and Means such a great and wonderful Work should be accomplished. Christ doth not raise Armies to sub­due the Earth to himself, nor come to give new Laws to the conquered People, but he sends his Apostles to preach the glad Tidings of Salvati­on by him: And the Light of this glorious Doctrine of Grace breaks forth from Zion with such Swiftness and Violence, as suddenly to illu­minate all Parts of the Earth, and with a ravishing Sweetness irresistibly to draw every Mind and Heart, whom God hath appointed to Salva­tion, to assent to it and embrace it, ver. 3. It is the Doctrine of Grace alone, and not any new Precepts or Commands, or any new Sanction of a Law, which carries in it so admirable Force able to produce these asto­nishing Effects. This is the Law which goes forth out of Zion so succes­fully: It is the Doctrine of Grace which is thus victorious, and invin­cibly prevails, when the Doctrine of Works, in the Experience of ma­ny Ages, could not subject one stubborn Sinner to God's Kingdom, nor make one stiff and hardened Heart to bow to his Scepter of Righteous­ness. And that by the Law out of Zion, he means this effectual Doctrine of the Gospel, the next words, [And the Word of the Lord from [Page 12] Jerusalem] as explanatory of the former, undeniably provea.

If we look next on that place of Scripture in Micah 4. 2. which is not meerly parallel to the forecited in Esa, but perfectly agreeing with it, we shall see it imports Christ, not as a new Legislator, to have given a new Law of Works on more moderate Terms, but to have taught a pure Doctrine of Grace. The words of Micah 4. 2. are these, And many Nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, and to the House of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his Ways, and we will walk in his Paths: for the Law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. The Hebrew [...] Torah, in our English Version translated Law, is by Junius and Tremellius, as well as by Piscator, rendred Doctrine; Out of Zion goes forth the Doctrine. And Piscator in his short Notes on the Text, critically observes, that however the word Torah is rendred by others Law, yet it will not ac­cord with the genuine meaning of this Text, because it speaks of the Gospel. And in his brief Exposition on the next Words, [And the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem]; This, says he, is the Word of Grace, i. e. concerning the Grace toward those who believe on Christ: Which way of explaining of the former Expression Law to be the Doctrine of the Gospel, by the following Words, [the Word of the Lord] as exegetical of those other, Calvin, that Apostle of the Refor­med Religion, also takes;b This (says he) is but the Repetition of the former Sentence as 'tis usual. Therefore by [...] Torah, the Prophet in­tended nothing else but Doctrine. But further, to shew, that all but Papists, Socinians and Arminians, harmoniously agree in explaining such places, after such a manner, as may not give the least colour to the Opinion of the Gospel's being a new Law, in the sense of the three mentioned Parties, Tarnovius a Lutheran (between whom, and the Calvinists, what great, and at present irreconcileable Differences in other Points of Religion there are, all the World knows) perfectly accords with Calvin in this Interpretation of the Prophet Micah; c ‘It is such a [Page 13] Law, (of which the Prophet speaks) that in the Hebrew (says he) is cal­led [...] Torah; which word, by the Force of its Etymology, notes all and every Doctrine, since it is from the Root [...] Jarah, which in Hiphil signifies, he hath taught: that it is frivolous to design from this Text to prove the Gospel to be a new and more perfect Law made by Christ in the New Testament, whenas tho indeed by this He­braism the Gospel is call'd a Law by the Apostle, Rom. 8. 2. as also by the Psalmist, Psal. 19. 8. yet with a Restriction; but the Law is ne­ver called a Gospel.’ And the latter Words [the Word of the Lord] he makes consonantly with Calvin, to be exegetical of the former Law, &c. as demonstrating, that nothing but the Doctrine of the Gospel is thereby signified. But really there need no more than carefully to review the Context, to be satisfied, that by the word Law here is meant the Doctrine of Grace in the Gospel: For all this 4th Chapter of Micah is a Word of Consolation to an afflicted People, from the re­freshing Springs of its gracious Promises, ase Junius notes. The Law then by consequence must signify the Doctrine wherein those are con­tained: And the Acclamations too of the rejoicing People proclaim the same thing, who mutually exhort one another in the second Verse, to go up to this glorious Mountain, because there Christ would teach them this Doctrine of Grace, Micah 4. 2. And many Nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, and to the House of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his Ways, and we will walk in his Paths: for the Law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusa­lem. I know it may be objected, that the Phrase [And we will walk in his Paths] seems to imply a Precept and Command, and so a Law in the strictest Sense, to which they vowed Obedience: But this may as easily be denied, as 'tis asserted precariously: for since, according to the usu­al Language of God's Word, to walk in God's Paths, is to observe his Orders and Appointments, the Expression here may denote no more than that they would punctually keep to the Way of Salvation, mark'd out by him, (which I wish, with all my Soul, was the hearty Resolve of all who hear the Gospel) and seek to be justify'd no otherwise than by Christ's Blood and Righteousness, as the Law or Doctrine of the Go­spel prescribes.

There is a Difficulty remains, arising from the third Verse; which at first sight seems to point to us, that the Gospel is such a Law, by which Christ exerciseth Judgment as on a Tribunal, and executes Justice. But [Page 14] the Appearance of Difficulty is so slight and thin, that it will vanish as soon as seen, if we do but consider that the word Judg may very well import no more, than that Christ will judg what Course of Salvation is best for us to take, that he will determine the Case; and it is better for us to acquiesce in the Decision of his unerring Judgment, which cannot be deceiv'd, nor ever will mislead us, than to pursue our own mistaken Apprehensions, which bewilder us continually.

But if we take his Judging, as having an Influence or Effect upon those who are under his Kingdom and Judgment; it may be considered, not as the Act of a Judg pronouncing Sentence, and Condemning, but as thea Administration of a Wise, Good, and Gracious King pre­serving and protecting his Subjects, and defending them against their Enemies. That the word Judging is taken in such a large Sense in the Hebrew Language, there needs no more to prove it, than that the Prin­ces of Israel, whom God rais'd up, and spirited to be the Liberators of his People from the Tyranny of Moab, Ammon, and Midian, and to defend them against those cruel and implacable Enemies, are not only call'd Judges, but the Book which contains the History of their Admini­stration and Government, is titled by that Name. Or if we attribute to Christ the rigorous Administration of a severe Judg, and that he comes in all the terrible Solemnities of Justice; yet this doth not belong to the Dispensation of his Gospel, but to the Oeconomy of his Laws, when he comes to avenge the Violation of them by Sinners. To those who live and die under a Covenant of Works, he is a Judg to be sure, and a dreadful One too; and they who seek Righteousness by the Works of any Law, he will deal with in that way of Trial, which they have put themselves upon, and they shall stand at the Bar of Judgment, which by their own Consent they have so foolishly chosen. Thus Christ will be all Justice, without any mixture of Mercy, to the Despisers of his Grace, and to those who refuse him as a Saviour, and as the Lord their Righteous­ness. But this is no measure belongs to the Administration of his Go­spel, as any part of it, nor appertains to the Office of a Redeemer, but is the proper Royalty and Authority of a Creator, of him who is the Soveraign, the supream Lord, and God the Judg of all. If we consider the Scope and Design of the Text, it will seem very much to look toward such a Meaning, that Christ will not judg those to whom he hath made such a promulgation of his Law, or Doctrine of his Grace, which he had spoke of ver. 2. if by Faith they had received it, and an­swerably [Page 15] embraced the Redeemer. But for their sakes he would exe­cute Justice on the Nations, who are their Enemies, and who know him not, or hate him. That he will break their Force and Power, or turn the Points of those Swords upon their own Breasts, which were be­fore employed against his People; so that now these shall not need Ar­mies or Fleets to defend them, but may change their Weapons of War into Instruments of Husbandary, or the Utensils of a Family, and other Implements of Peace. Thus Christ for his Church's Safety, governs in the midst of his Enemies, Psal. 110. 1, 2, 5, 6. The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right Hand, until I make thine Enemies thy Footstool. The Lord shall send the Rod of thy Strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine Enemies. The Lord at thy right Hand shall strike through Kings in the Day of his Wrath. He shall judg among the Heathen, he shall fill the Places with the dead Bodies: he shall wound the Heads over many Coun­tries. And he so rules, that when they have an hearty Will, and de­sign'd Malice, yet it shall not be in their Power to destroy in all his Holy Mountain, Isa. 65. 25.

Or what if we understand it, that Christ will so judg among the Na­tions, as in his Providence to manage Affairs, and order in that man­ner the Spirits of the Troublers of his Churches, as to dispose them unto peaceful Counsel, which may move them universally to lay down their Arms, that his People may enjoy an undisturbed Repose in the pub­lick Tranquillity of the World? At Christ's first appearance among Men, thus calm and smooth was the Face of Things throughout the whole Earth, and the Prince of Peace was born in such a Time, as there were not the least Tumults to disquiet the Beginnings of his Reign. A little before Christ's Birth, all the World was up in Arms, and no­thing was heard but the shrill sound of Trumpets, and the Alarms of War: But the Prince of Peace no sooner makes his Entrance, than the Scene is quite altered, and an universal Calm succeeded the foregoing Disorders and Confusion. Thus Christ began to judg among the Nati­ons, at his first appearance on Earth, by settling their Affairs in a quiet and peaceful Posture; and the Time will surely come, when the Effects of this his judging will be more openly illustrious. Thus in whatever Sense we understand Christ to judg among the Nations, his being a new Legislator, and his governing them by new Laws, is entirely excluded.


That by the word Law, when applied to the Gospel, may be understood a Do­ctrine, prov'd from the signification of the Greek [...], Nomos, a Law, as us'd by Grecian Authors, and by the Sacred Writers of the New Te­stament. Gal. 2. 19. explain'd.

AS I have prov'd, that when the Gospel is named a Law in the Old Te­stament, according to the signification of the Hebrew word, a Doctrine only may be understood; so if we consider how the Greek word is us'd by Au­thors who have wrote in that Language, it will appear, that it is with no certainty concluded by my Reverend Brother, from the Gospel's being call'd a Law in the New Testament, that it is a Rule of Works establish'd with Pro­mises to the Performers, and with Threatnings against the Disobedient.

I know very well that it is inferr'd from the Etymology of the Greek word [...], Nomos, a Law, that a Rule of Duty, enacted with a Sanction of Penalty or Recompence, is signified by it. But I know, that as no great weight can be laid on Arguments drawn from an Etymology; so if that de­rivation of the Greek [...], Nomos, Law, from [...], Nemo, signifying the distribution of what is due, (which is pleaded) be the most natural, yet nothing can be argued from it: For sutable Doctrine may be distributed a­mong Men, as well as Rewards and Punishments. But this commonly re­ceiv'd Derivation is not perhaps the truest: for if we may give Credit to Plato in his own Language, in which he was equally fam'd for Eloquence as for Philosophy and Reason, [...] Nomos, a Law, is more fitly deduced from [...] Noos, the Minda; which as it seems very natural, there want­ing only the interposition of the Letter [...] to make it the same Word; so it plainly denotes a Law, in its original meaning, to be a Doctrine or Instru­ction, of which the Mind is the principal Subject and Seat. There is no need of Criticisms to prove a Truth of the Gospel, and therefore I wave them. I shall neither insist on that Sense which is assign'd to the Greek [...] Nomos, as signifying the Measures of a Verse, or Tuneb, tho from thence it is probable, the Word was transferr'd to signify the Statutes establish'd among Men, to regulate the Actions of their Lives, since the most antient Laws were written in Verse, that they might be more readily committed unto, and be [Page 17] more faithfully retain'd in Memory. I need only hint these things, as al­so that the Greek Tragedian d useth the word [...] Nomos, Law, to ex­press the Inclinations and Manners of a Person, to shew that no valid Reason can be rais'd from the meer sound of the word Law, to convince us that the Gospel, when describ'd by that Name, is a Rule of Works with a Sanction since the Word admits of so many other Sgnifications.

I may however urge it as very natural to my Purpose, of proving the Go­spel to be a pure Doctrine of Grace; that the Septuagint, when they translate those places of Scripture, wherein I have prov'd that the Hebrew [...] hath this signification, render that word by [...] Nomos, as most fitting to express such a Sense. We may then very well conclude, that the Greek word (when the Gospel is named by it) hath the same Sense in the New Testament, as the Hebrew had in the Old.

We answerably find that the Doctrine of Salvation by Christ, as revealed in the Old Testament, is expressed by this Name, John 12. 34. The People an­swered him, We have heard out of the Law, that Christ abideth for ever: and how saist thou, The Son of Man must be lift up? Who is this Son of Man? Where not the Decalogue, or Levitical Book of Statutes is intended, but the Doctrine concerning the Redeemer to come; as appears from those Texts in Psal. 110. 4, 5. Isa. 9. 6. to which John 12. 34. hath a manifest regard. It is then plain from this Place of the Evangelist, that among the Jewish Peo­ple, when our Saviour lived on Earth, not only Exodus and Leviticus, but the Instructions which they had concerning their so much desir'd and expected Messiah, and Salvation by him, in any of the Books of the Old Testament, were call'd and known by the Name of a Law.

And to this common Notion of the People, according to which they nam'd the whole Doctrine reveal'd by God, whether it were Precepts or Promises, a Law, the Apostle Paul accommodates his way of writing, in stiling the Gospel a Law, in Rom. 3. 27. (which I shall afterwards more fully vindicate from my Reverend Brother's imposed meaning) and in Gal. 2. 19. which I now shall consider.

These are the Apostle's Words, Gal. 2. 19. For I through the Law am dead to the Law, that I might live unto God. He writes to the Galatians, among whom it was a prevailing Opinion, that tho Christ had abated the too rigo­rous observation of the Law of Works, yet Justification was to be obtain'd by some lower degrees of Obedience. To shew them how opposite this Do­ctrine was to the Gospel preach'd by him, the Apostle tells them what were the Experiences of his own Soul; I am dead, says he, to the Law of Works, [Page 18] and have not the least Heart to seek Justification by it. And how was he thus mortified to the Law of Works? What, by a new Law of Works lower'd to more moderate Conditions? No; for such an one would rather have che­rished and encouraged the Life of his Hopes in his own Obedience. By the Law then, that is, by the pure Doctrine of Grace in the Gospel revealing Christ's Righteousness as that alone by which a Sinner can be justified, the Apostle is quite deaden'd as to any hopes of Justification by his own Righteousness, and hath not the least motion in his Soul to seek it in that manner.

What very much weighs with me, is, That Luther (who so excellently hath wrote on this Epistle, and who successfully prevailed against the Errors of An­tichrist, about Merit of Works, by subverting the great Foundation of them, which is this Assertion of the Gospel's being a milder Law of Works) inter­prets the Apostle to mean by that Law, which had such a mortifying Efficacy upon him, the pure Doctrine of Grace in the Gospel.a The Law of the Decalogue (says he) did bind me, against it I have now another Law, viz. of Grace, which is not a Law to me, neither binds me, but frees me. But it is a Law against the damning LAW. THIS it binds, that it may no longer bind me. If Luther thus calls the Gospel a Law, signifying no more by that Name than a pure Doctrine of Grace; it is no wonder that others of the Re­formed Religion, cited by my Reverend Brother, call it so too, tho not in his Sense; but designing Luther's Meaning, who ruin'd the greatest Strength of Popery, by denying the Gospel to be a new Law of Works, and by asserting it on all Occasions to be meerly a Doctrine of Grace.

But it is not the Authority of this Great Man which solely prevails with me; the Design and Scope of the Apostle in this second Chapter of his Epistle to the Galatians, hath the greatest Force to perswade me, that by the Law which made him dead to the Law of Works, he intends the sincere and unmuddied Doctrine of free Justification by Christ's Righteousness alone. His Design is plainly to refute an Error prevailing among the Galatians; who tho professing the Gospel, and to be justified by Faith in Christ, yet would make this Gospel to be a new Law, exacting Works as necessary to Justification. He answera­bly disclaims every Law of Works, whether the old Jewish, or that new Evangelical One so lately invented among these Christians, and made to look with the polish'd and smooth Face of the Gospel. He excludes the Obser­vances of any Duties, or any Act of Obedience, from having an Interest in our Justification, assigning the whole Business of it to Faith alone; ver. 16. Knowing that a Man is not justified by the Works of the Law, but by the [Page 19] Faith of Jesus Christ: even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the Faith of Christ, and not by the Works of the Law; for by the Works of the Law shall no Flesh be justified. It is thus he demonstrates this Proposition, [That we are not justified by the Works of any Law] That they who were Jews, to whom the Law was more especially given, yet they having been instructed by the Doctrine of Grace, that they could not be justi­fied by Obedience to the Law; and having by the Gospel, which brings in a better Righteousness, been convinc'd of the Defects of their own; and there­fore knowing that God had not appointed any Law whereby he would justi­fy a Sinner, they answerably had believed on Christ, that so according to the Doctrine of the Gospel they might be justified by his Righteousness alone. This is undoubted that we must be justified by some Righteousness or other; not by our own, for then Justification would be by the Works of a Law; and so our Faith in another's Righteousness would be insignificant, and to little or no purpose: For why should we entirely trust in another Person, for that which we could so well accomplish our selves? If then not our own, it must be Christ's Righteousness only that can have this desir'd Effect; and knowing this by the Law or Doctrine of the Gospel, we have (says the Apostle) for this very purpose believ'd on Jesus. This, without any Shuffles or intricate Windings, is the plain Sense of this 16th Verse. And among other Causes which morti­fied in him, and the other Believers, any Inclinations to seek Justification by the Law, Pareus numbers the Doctrine of the Gospel, as that which had the strongest and most efficacious Influencea. It is now then very agreeably, that the Apostle says of himself, That this Law or Doctrine of Grace had made him dead to the Law of Works, but alive unto God. What is it to be dead to the Law? To renounce it in the Matter of our Justification, to be freed from its galling Yoke of Servitude and Bondage, whereby it keeps guilty unbe­lieving Sinners perpetually under the Tortures of slavish Fears and amazing Terrors. To be dead to the Law, is to disclaim our Justification by Works of our own, and not to trust in any Obedience which we can perform to it; and being convinced that it condemns and dooms us to Death, not to seek Life by it any more, and no longer to have the least Commerce with it in the Affairs of our Justification: or to be dead to the Law, is no more to be ob­noxious to its condemning Sentence, in that it cannot exact from thee its threaten'd Punishments; tho indeed as a Rule of Duty it always unalterably requires Obedience. To be dead to the Law, is no longer to be under its Dominion and Reign, as it is a Covenant of Works. Thus a King hath no Authority over a Subject, whom Death hath transported out of his Territories into the Regions of another World; nor can the Power of the Greatest reach [Page 20] beyond the Confines of the Grave. In all these Meanings the Apostle asserts himself to be dead to the Law: And what was it made him so? What! but the Law or Doctrine of Grace revealed in the Gospel, which so happily in­structed him in the knowledg of free and compleat Justification by Christ. This Sun no sooner riseth, but all those little wandering Stars, which as false Lights had before so wretchedly misled him, do set presently; and all his na­tural and rooted Inclinations, to seek Justification by the Works of the Law, lessen, and at last wholly vanish and disappear at the glorious Appearance of the Sun of Righteousness, who comes with healing in his Wings. All those treacherous Hopes which he repos'd before in his Obedience to the Law, in the severe Observance of its Precepts, and strict Performances of Duties, are ut­terly extinguished; and all the Sparks of them being quite dead, do not scat­ter any longer the least Glimmerings in his Soul. Thus the Law, or Doctrine of the Gospel, teaching him, how that Christ his Surety being made under the Law for him, hath redeem'd him from its Curse, answered all its Demands, and silenced every Accusation, hath stopp'd its Mouth, and taken away its Strength; and not only so, but depriv'd it of Life as well as Voice: the A­postle's Mind being thus illuminated with the Light of his new Law, or Hea­venly Doctrine, to know more than ever he did before, that Christ hath slain the Law as it is a Covenant of Works, as well as the Enmity which Sin had caused between God and miserable Sinners; he accordingly looks on the Law as a dead Thing, which can neither hurt in respect to Condemnation, nor do him any good as to Salvation and Life. He answerably regards it with o­ther Eyes than before; and his former Zeal and Affection he had to it for the Purposes of Justification, are not only abated, but extirpated out of his Heart; not meerly cool'd and damp'd, but perfectly quench'd and dead.

Now then that the Gospel is called a Law by the Apostle, not in the strict Sense, as importing Works of any kind, but as a meer Doctrine of Grace, is evident from all these Effects which it produc'd. It perfectly mortified him to a Law of Works, and therefore could not be one it self, unless we can ima­gine that the Apostle became dead, as to seeking Justification by the Works of any Law whatever; and that no otherwise than by giving entertainment to, and putting himself under the Conduct of a new Law of Works; which things do not seem very well to agree.

And that by Law, when the Gospel is so nam'd in this Gal. 2. 19. the A­postle means a pure Doctrine of Grace, and not a more moderated Law of Works, appears from ver. 21. I do not frustrate the Grace of God: for if Righteousness come by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain. It is as if he should have said, ‘However others despise the Grace of God, and think it too mean and ignoble to owe their Life to it, it shall be my great Zeal to magnify it, to illustrate its Glory, and to pay unto it the highest Honour. However others are Obstacles to its Progress, and endeavour to put a stop to its Victo­ries [Page 21] and Triumphs, or attempt to render all its Power and Force vain and in­effectual, yet for my part I will neither say nor do any thing to frustrate it; and none of my Actions, nor any Article of Doctrine which I teach, shall in the least degree have such a Tendency. I will not let fall a Word, which may but seem to lessen or disparage the Favours of my blessed Redeemer, who lo­ved me, and gave himself for me. And can there be a greater Slight, than when he hath done, and suffered so much to save me, not to rest satisfied with his Undertaking and Work as compleat, but to be solicitously endeavouring how to supply the Deficiencies, and to perfect it my self? To esteem Christ as insufficient, is certainly to despise him in the highest measure, and he doth not suffice mea, if I join my own Righteousness to his, or add Works done by me in Obedience to any Law unto his great Performances: Nay, if I should assert Righteousness to come by any Law, whether New or Old, I should dishonour Christ so much as to insinuate, that he died very unwisely or unadvisedly: For what could be more unadvised, than to come and suffer all sorts of Miseries, and at last to expire in Torments, and that only to the Purpose of effecting what might have been done very well without such ex­pence of his inestimable Blood? For if by my Obedience to some Law I may be justified, and the Works of that can be my Righteousness, why should Christ die? or to what purpose was he obedient, since no other Ends of his Death and Obedience are assigned, but the Justification of a Sinner? And if this Business can be effected by this Sinner's own Works of what Nature so­ever, the Blood and Righteousness of Christ comes in uncalled for, and when there is no great or urgent need of themb. But far be it from me to defeat the Designs of the God of all Grace, to misprize the greatest Fa­vours which can be bestowed upon a Creature, or to darken and obscure the Glory of the Grace it self; and therefore I am firm to it, and will unmove­ably maintain it, that Righteousness comes by no Law whatever; nor are Sin­ners [Page 22] justified by the performance of any Conditions in obedience to it. And therefore when I before, ver. 19. call'd the Gospel a Law, you must by no means understand it to be a soften'd and milder Law of Works, but a Doctrine of Grace; in which Sense I also us'd the word Law in my Epistle to the Ro­mans; where I call the Gospel a Law of Faith, Rom. 3. 27.’ Thus I have endeavour'd to give briefly the Apostle's Sense in this Text, which proves his Meaning in the other, where he calls the Gospel a Law, that he understands only a Doctrine of Grace by that Word.


That the Fathers of the Primitive Church, when they call'd the Gospel a Law, meant only a Doctrine by it, proved by a few Instances out of Clemens Alexandrinus, Eusebius, Theodoret, Origen, and Chrysostom.

THIS might be enough, if my Learned Brother did not appeal to other Authorities than that of the Holy Scriptures, which is the greatest: But since he leads me into the numerous Volumes of the Fathers, I will follow him too there. And if I shew that those Antient Writers of the Church who wrote in the Greek Language, (as for the Latin Fathers, I shall afterward con­sider them) us'd the word [...] Nomos, Law, to signify a Doctrine by it; then the uncertainty of Citations from those Authors for his Purpose, will be abundantly demonstrated. Clemens Alexandrinus calls the Law,a the Light of our Way; and the Gospel as a pure Doctrine of Grace is such be­yond all dispute. He also defines a Lawb to be a true and good Opinion of a Thing, whereby any Doctrine of Truth and Goodness may be signi­fied.

Eusebius, who lived above an hundred Years after him, having occasion to mention those Texts of the Old Testament, which speak of Christ as the Great Author of the Gospel; and particularly explaining that Text in Isa. 2. 3. speaks in these words,c What Law is that going out of Zion, and differing from that coming from the Desart promulgated by Moses in Mount [Page 23] Sinai, but the Evangelical Word going forth out of Zion by the Ministry of our Saviour Jesus Christ and his Apostles, and passing through all Nations? For it is manifest, that from Jerusalem, and Mount Sion adjacent to that City, (where our Lord and Saviour delivered most of his Discourses and Do­ctrines) the Law of the new Covenant beginning its Progress, and going from thence to all Men, shin'd with the greatest brightness. Which very well a­grees to the Doctrine of the Gospel, that so swiftly spread, and with such dif­fusive Beams, that in a few Years after Christ's Death, it illuminated the whole Earth.

Chrysostom also, who calls the Gospel a Law very often, and particularly in his Sermon on Gal. 2. 19. which I have before cited, if we may think (as we ought to do of the greatest Preacher in the Primitive Church) that he speaks consistently with himself, means no more by this Phrase than a Do­ctrine of Grace: For when in his Sermon on Psal. 49. he draws the dividing Lines between the Law of Works and the Gospel, he in these Words gives his Judgment,d That the Law of Works was the Rudiments of Children, and an Introduction, and also the Ministry of Condemnation and Death: But this (says he, speaking of the Gospel) is Grace and Peace. There is nothing can be more plain than his meaning, that the Law requir­ing Works, denounc'd nothing but Death to a Sinner unable to perform them; but the Gospel, as a Doctrine of Grace, reliev'd him, by proclaim­ing Peace.

To evince that among the Fathers, the word [...] Nomos, Law, did not always signify a System of Precepts and Commands, I may also introduce Origen, who, as a competent Judg in the Case, declares that* he very well knew the Psalms to be called a Law, as also the Prophecy of Esa: And to prove it, he brings in those Texts of Scripture, John 15. 25. Psal. 35. 19. 1 Cor. 14. 21. And his Authority is to be the more regarded, as to the Deci­sion of the Question in present Debate, because, as he complains (in the be­ginning of this his 9th Chapter cited by me) of the Confusion which the ambiguousness of the Word Law did breed in Mens Minds, (which is the Case now too) so he employs this whole Chapter to clear its various Signifi­cations.

But I need give no other Instances, than from what Theodoret writes in his short Exposition on Isa. 2.

e It is (says he) therefore very well manifest, that he intends the New Testament from thence (that is Sion, of which the Prophet speaks) delivered by the first Apostles, and by the same afterward exhibited to all Nations. He doth not therefore only prophesy that the Law, but that the Word should go out from thence, giving this Name to the preaching of the Gospel: For this also blessed Luke teacheth us, Luke 1. 2. Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were Eye-witnesses, and Ministers of the Word. By the Word then in that place, he doth not name God the Word, but the Doctrine of God's Word: For God the Word did not go out of Sion, but he taught the Truth in Zion.

Photius, who lived in the 9th Century, was not more famous for his Learn­ing, than for that firm Resistance he made against the Usurpations of Anti­christ, who design'd, and strongly endeavour'd to have spread his Wings as far over the Eastern, as he had over the Western World. By what this Pa­triarch of Constantinople writes, it appears, that however in the Course of so many Ages, very great Corruptions had wrought for themselves an entrance into the Grecian Churches; yet the Doctrine of Grace, not as establishing a Law of Works, but displacing it, was preserv'd among them: Or at least we may know what his own Belief was from his own Words, which are these. He first tells Sergius, (in an Epistle wrote to him) thatf the Law was not contrary to Grace, as he surmis'd it was; and then shews its use in subserviency to Grace, That it was a Preparation, and made way for the discovery of Grace, and leads us to it. But when Grace comes, the Law (says he) departs, as the Stars when the Sun appears, or as the Night the Day shining. And having illustrated it with many other Similitudes, Thus (says he) Grace having an Existence, the Law is vacated, tho not perfectly dissolv'd. It ceaseth, but is not disannulled. Christ fulfilled it, not violating the least Tittle of it; and performing it, entirely remov'd it.

It is against my Inclination that I thus summon Men, tho of deserved Re­pute, to bear Witness for the Truth of the Gospel. The Testimony of the Holy Ghost in his own Word, is infinitely greater than ten thousand such Evi­dences. It was therefore to him that I first appeal'd; but since my Reverend [Page 25] Brother brings the Cause into a lower Court, I am very willing that it should there also be tried. The Proofs which I gave out of God's Word, have (as I think) sufficiently demonstrated, that this new Law of Works is not the Everlasting Gospel; and these Testimonies from Humane Writings may e­vince, that it is not only far distant from Eternity, but neither so venerable for Age, as he fancies it: for it was a Doctrine unknown in the first Years of Christ's Church, and had its Original only with the Birth of Antichrist, and (I am very well assur'd) will end with the Period of that Man of Sin.


How uncertain an Argument is fram'd, from the sound of the word Law, to prove the Gospel to be such, evinc'd from the various significations of that Word as us'd by Roman Authors. That the Latin Fathers nam'd the Gospel a Law, as it is the Doctrine of Christ.

I Now should heartily rejoice to be excus'd from searching any other Records but those of the Bible, if my Learned Brother did not bring me from Greek to Latin Authors, whom he musters in greater multitudes. To rescue them therefore from his Abuse, in fastning on them a Meaning of which they never had a thought, it will be needful to state the Sense of the word Law in the Roman Language, as well as I have done it in the Hebrew and Greek.

That Lex, or Law, may signify any Doctrine, as well as a Precept, ap­pears from the Derivation of it given by Isidore, à Legendo, from Reading a, which agrees very well to a Doctrine: And among the Romans, their Laws were inscrib'd on Brass Tables, and publickly hung up that they might be read by the Peopleb; and I wish the Doctrine of the Gospel was more com­monly read and known. The same Word is also sometimes imploy'd to sig­nify the Rules of any Science or Art, which are purely instructive, but not obliging by the Force of any Sanction. Thus Juvenal, Sat. 6. v. 450, 451, 452.

Hanc ego quae repetit, volvit (que) Palemonis Artem
Servatâ semper Lege, & ratione loquendi.

And speaking of himself, that he seem'd to transgress the Rules of Satyr, [Page 26] by inserting such affrighting Instances of Vice, which were fitter for a Trage­dy, he says, Sat. 6. v. 634, 335.

Scilicet, & finem egressi, Legem (que) priorum
Grande Sophocleo carmen bacchamur hiatu
Montibus ignotum Rutulis, coelo (que) Latino.

And yet I am confident the Poet was not apprehensive of his having violated any enacted Law, or of being obnoxious to a Penalty, did not at all fear the Roman Axes, or Fasces, tho his Verses did a little deviate from the generally approv'd Doctrine of Satyr. Another Roman Poet, by the same Word, ex­presseth the due disposition, or orderly placing of things.

Vitta coercebat positos sine Lege Capillos.
Ovid. Metamorph. lib. 1. v. 477.

Innumerable Examples might be given, but a few may suffice to shew how little stress is to be laid upon the uncertain sound of a Word, which in all these Languages is so variously us'd; and to direct us, that wherever we find the Gospel nam'd a Law, in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, or in the Greek of the New, or in the Greek and Latin Fathers, or Protestant Divines, we must not, unless we would suffer our selves to be easily impos'd on by an ambi­guous Phrase, presently imagine it to mean a new Rule of Duty enacted with a Sanction.

I shall only add, that Cicero when he defines a Law in the general Notion of it, as comprehending the Law of Nature, as well as others, makes no mention of a Sanction, but describes it only to be thea highest Reason implanted in Nature, which commands what is to be done, and forbids the contrary.

Thus also the Roman Lawyers, of whose vast Volumes lost by the Inju­ries of Time we have a Breviate in the Pandects, define a Law, without mentioning a Sanction;b The Law (says Papinian) is a common Instru­ction, the Decree of prudent Men. By which no more can be understood, than a Doctrine which teacheth us what is best for us to do, if we will be taught by the Counsel of those who are wiser than our selves. And in this Sense I will easily grant the Gospel to be a Law; for it is the Instruction of [Page 27] God (whose Wisdom is, beyond all denial, infinitely superiour to ours) to our perishing Souls; and thrice blessed is that Person whom his enlightning Grace hath made so wise as to follow it. It is too the Decree of God's Eter­nal Counsel, that we shall not be justified by any Righteousness, but that of Christ alone.

Thus also the publish'd Will of the Soveraign may be call'd a Law, tho the Sanction is wanting: And the Decrees of the Roman Senate might be stil'd by that Name, before the Consent of the People obtain'd, which was necessary to enact them. Nay, a Statute is a Law, tho no Duty be prescrib'd, but only Benefits conferr'd, and some Privileges ratified. And when the Emperors had the absolute unlimited Power, those Edicts which declared a Donative,a or which gave and confirm'd any Privileges to the People, were as well call'd Laws, as those which were all Commands, and fill'd with Threats against Disobedience.

Now these are the properest Judges to decide the Signification of a Word in that Language, wherein they not only wrote, but it was their native Tongue, which their Mothers taught them as soon as they were able to form a Voice.

There then nothing more remains needful to remove my Learned Brother's multiplied Citations out of the Latin Fathers, and Protestant Writers, which he thinks to be very much to his Purpose, but to shew that they frequently by the word Law mean no more than a Doctrine; and when I shall have, by some few Instances, done this, all his Authorities will be easily answer'd.

Cyprian, whom he summons as a Witness for his Cause, (and the mistaken Evidence we shall afterward examine) means no more by the Evangelical Law, than the Doctrine which Christ hath given us. For having before ex­press'd, how Christ had by his Example and Word taught us the manner of administring the Lord's Supper, this our Instruction from our Saviour he calls the Evangelical Law. b And concerning this thing also, (says he) we may send our Epistles to our Brethren, that the Evangelical Law, and the declar'd Doctrine of our Lord, may be observed, and that they may not depart from what Christ hath taught and practis'd.

Augustine, the next Testimony who is call'd, tells us,c That by the word Law we may apprehend, not meerly a Statute, but any other Doctrine; since he stiles, not only the five Books of Moses, but the Prophets, (in whose Writings there are so many gracious Promises of the Gospel) by that Name.


That the Divines of the Reformed Religion assert the Gospel to be a pure Do­ctrine of Grace. When they call it a Law, they intend the Word in that Sense.

I Will now prove, that when the Reformed Divines call the Gospel a new Law, they mean no more than a fresher and clearer Discovery of God's Mercy and Grace. I shall produce Testimonies from their own Words of two forts; first, To manifest that when they professedly define, or describe the Gospel, they bring nothing into their Definition, but that it is a Revelation of our Salvation, and free Justification by Christ; and then I shall bring plain Instances, that when they sometimes call the Gospel a new Law, they tell us also at the same time, in express words, they mean by it only a Doctrine of Grace.

First, Then if nothing but Grace is express'd in their Definitions of the Gospel, it is but reasonable to require that it should be granted me, that they never thought the Gospel to be a Law in the strict Sense, as including Works in it, and being establish'd with Sanction. For since it is one of the Rules of a Definition, that it should contain the whole Nature of the Thing; if it be known to us, or can be comprized, we may be assur'd that these truly ve­nerable Persons for Learning, as well as Piety, and the true Knowledg of Christ, knew so well all the Arts of Reason, as they would not leave out of their Definitions of the Gospel, any of the Parts constituent of its Being. But neither is the word Law, as the Genus, or the general Notion wherein all that are so, agree, put into the Definition, nor any mention made of Works. Thus those who compil'd the Confession of Faith, which was sub­scrib'd by seven Protestant Princes of Germany, and the Senates and Magi­strates of two Cities, and presented to Charles V. Emperor, An. 1530. af­ter having declar'd their Belief concerning Justifying Faith, and how it is wrought by the Holy Ghost in those who hear the Gospel; the Sum of this Gospel they give in these few words,a That God, not for our Merits, but on the account of Christ justifies those who believe that they are receiv'd into favour for Christ's sake. And in the Apology for that Confession publish'd by Melancthom, the Gospel is describ'd, that it is properly the Promise of Pardon of Sins, and of Justification on Christ's Account.

Luther plainly described the Gospel to be a pure Doctrine of Grace with­out Works. And as he had before divided the whole Word of God in­to these two Parts, of Precepts and Promises, and the former he entitled purely to the Law; so he then defines the Gospel to be the other Part of God's Word, distinct from the Law: And how? Only as it is a compleat Sy­stem of gracious Promises to us, that we shall possess all these inestima­ble Blessings in Christ. And he very sutably a little after says,a There­fore the Promises of God belong to the New Testament, yes, and are the New Testament it self. Which is in few words to express his Sense to be, That the Nature of the Gospel, and Covenant of Grace, strictly and proper­ly taken, consists only in Promises. And the more deference is to be given to what this Great Man says here, because it was a Discourse which he compos'd on purpose to clear himself of those vile Aspersions which the clamorous Monks perpetually bawl'd out to the People, That he was an Enemy to Holi­ness, disparaged good Works, and by his preaching and writing the pure Doctrines of Grace, encourag'd all manner of Licentiousness and Villanies. To vindicate himself, he compil'd, and sent this Discourse to Pope Leo the Tenth, Anno Dom. 1520. before there was an open Ruptureb Where­fore tho his Adversaries basely reproached him as a Man of a boisterous Spirit, who, for want of a due Temper of Mind, was immoderately hurried, by a fiery Zeal, to speak and write he knew not what; yet we may be sure, that in this his little Treatise of Christian Liberty, there are no Thoughts but what are calm, and compos'd with mature deliberation: For he would not write like an enraged Man against Popery before War was proclaim'd, nor would suffer his Passion to transport him, or overcloud and distemper his Judg­ment, when he pleaded his Cause before the Pope, who to be sure had no very favourable Opinion of him.

Philippus Melancthon, contemporary with Luther, and greatly assistant to him in the Reformation of Religion, and whom God made a glorious Instru­ment to clear the Light of the Gospel from the Darkness and Corruptions of Antichrist, doth as plainly describe this Gospel to be meer Doctrine of Grace. Having first inferr'd, that the Name of the Gospel is not a Word framed at pleasure, because that the Apostle John propounds a clear distincti­on between the Law and Gospel, John 1. 17. For the Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ. c For it is necessary (says he) that the Precepts and Pardon of Sin be discriminated, and that a [Page 30] Difference be put between Precepts and Promises, and also between the Pro­mises of meer Grace, and those which are not so. And by these Lines he draws the Description of the opposite Natures of Law and Gospel; that the first is a Doctrine of Precepts, the other a Doctrine of Promises. Says he a little af­ter, Our Adversaries (speaking of the Papists) tho they bawl out that they teach the Gospel, yet because they do not instruct People concerning Reconcilation with God freely of pure Grace, they leave Consciences in doubt, and for the Gospel teach the Law. Now in all this there is not the least hint of the Gospel's be­ing a new Law; nay, so far is he from the seeming appearance of such an As­sertion, that he will not allow it, in its true and proper Nature, to contain Pre­cepts, but Promises alone. In what Sense it may be said, that the Gospel in­structs uc concerning Repentance, which Melancthon allows to it, and that herein it doth not exercise its proper and peculiar Office, but only employs the Ministry of the Law, I shall afterward shew.

John Calvin, to mention whose Name sufficeth, without attempting to give the Charater which he deserves, whenever he speaks of the Gospel, forms no other Notion of it, than as meerly a Doctrine of Free Gracea According to the Mind of this truly Great Man, if you take the Gospel in the more extensive Sense of the Word, it sounds nothing but Promises, tho com­prehending those too which were offer'd to the Saints of the Old Testament: but take the word in the strictest Sense, and it signifies the clearer and fuller Discoveries of God's Infinite Mercies and Free Grace, as revealed in Christ Jesus. And as for investing Christ with a new Legislative Power, and digni­fying the Gospel with the Title of a new Law, he calls it a meer Fiction. b They who have not apprehended (says he) these things, (viz. that Christ did not come to give new Laws, but to interpret the Old, and to restore it to its true spiritual Meaning, of which he largely discourses before) they have feigned Christ to be another Moses, the maker of an Evangelical Law, which should have supplied the Defect of that of Moses.

Beza is as well known as Calvin; and tho from the Decisions of the best of Men, in Matters of Faith, there must always be an Appeal to the Scriptures, yet by all to whom the Truths of the Gospel are dear and precious, there hath ever been a great Deference paid to the Judgment of these two Learned Men in Divinity. He briefly tells the comprehensive Sum of the Gospel, without one Word inserted about Law or Works.c The Sum of the Gospel (says he) [Page 31] which is the Power of God to Salvation to every Believer, is this, that it teach­eth us to lay hold on Christ, as made to us of God Wisdom, Righteousness, San­ctification and Redemption. In another of his Discourses, demonstrating that the Papists know the use neither of Law nor Gospel:a For whereas (says he) the Gospel propounded by Moses under Legal Figures, &c. was therefore publish'd to the World, that we may be freely justified and sanctified in Christ, apprehended by Faith, as we have in its proper place copiously demonstrated; They (viz. the Papists) on the contrary think the Evangelical Doctrine to be nothing else but a certain Law, more perfect than that of Moses. Thus this Pious and Learned Man, when he gives the Summary of the Gospel, makes not the least Figure to denote Law or Works; so that according to his reckoning, they belong not to the Sum, since he leaves them out in his Ac­count. And in the other Instance, he, with some Indignation, rejects the Notion of the Gospel's being a Law, as an Article of the Popish Faith. The same Worthy Author, writing against Sebastianus Castalio, (for he had not only the perplexing Trouble to refute the Reasons of the Papists, but to an­swer the Cavils of the Semi-Pelagians) makes the distinguishing Mark of the Gospel from the Law to be this, that the Gospel is no other than the Doctrine of the Free Grace of God. For proving that there are two Parts of God's Will reveal'd; one which concerns meerly our Duty, which is the Law; and the other, which contains nothing but the joyful discovery of God's gracious Purposes to save us by Christ the Redeemer;b There is yet no mention (says he) of this Benefit in the Law: For the Declaration of this Will belongs to the other Part of the Divine Word, which is called the Gospel.

This Truth is so rooted in the Hearts of true Christians, that it will grow, tho in various Climates and Soils, where they have different Habitations. Tho separated by Seas and vast Lakes, and unpassable Mountains, all who love Jesus Christ agree in asserting the pure Doctrine of his Grace.

Henricus Bullingerus, one of the known and fam'd Reformers of Religion in Switzerland, joins his Testimony to that of Beza, in asserting the Gospel to [Page 32] be a pure Doctrine of Grace unmingled with Law or Works.a The Gospel (says he) is defin'd almost by all in this manner. The Gospel is a good and sweet Word, and a most certain Testimony of the Divine Favour towards us in Christ exhibited to Relievers. Or, The Gospel is the most clear Sentence of the Eternal God, brought down to us from Heaven, absolving all Believers from their Sins, and that freely for Christ's Sake alone, and promising Eternal Life.

Hieronymus Zanchius was an Italian, who left his Country with Peter Mar­tyr for the Sake of the Gospel, in whose Writings, as the Truths for which he suffer'd the loss of all things, are nobly vindicated, so a Vivacity of Spirit, which is so natural to that Nation, shines in them. And it is a Wonder in him, as well as Calvin, that a Man who wrote so much, should write so well. He gives us his Suffrage also for the same Truth, and in every Page almost of his three large Volumes, he asserts the Gospel to be a sincere Doctrine of Grace without any Mixture. And on all Occasions doth clear the distinct Nature of Law and Gospel from that Confusion, in which by some in his Time they were involv'd. Having first divided the whole Word of God in­to two Parts, Law and Gospel, and not to confound the Natures of Things so distinct, having describ'd the Law in its Being, Properties and Office, that 'tis peculiar to it, to instruct us what Duties to perform, what Sins to avoid; that it points to us what is a Crime, and shews what it deserves, and accuseth Sinners, and reveals the Wrath of God, and threatens the meri­ted Punishment: Having thus clearly and distinctly stated the Nature of the Law, of which the Gospel partakes not in the least, and having assign'd its several Offices, with which the Gospel intermeddles not at all, nor crowds it self into them, he then as distinctly explains the Nature of this Gospel. b But the Gospel (says he) which is the other essential Part of the Ho­ly Scripture, is a Doctrine or Scripture which declares free Salvation in Christ by Faith. And a little after, The Office of this is to proclaim, that Sal­vation is to be had freely in Christ through Faith alone. And in another Dis­course [Page 33] he ascends higher, and tells us, That the Gospel is the joyful Preaching of that Eternal and free Love of God (this is Eternal Election) toward us in his beloved Son Christ.

To these I might add a Cloud of other Witnesses, to evince that it was the Faith which universally obtain'd among all the Reformed Churches in several Nations, and was earnestly maintain'd by all the Protestant Writers against the Papissts, that the Gospel, in the peculiar Nature of it, is no other than a System of Promises, a Disvoery of God's Mercy and Grace in Christ, and a Proclamation of Free Pardon and Justification.a Lambertus Da­naeus, b Martinus Chemnitius, c Osualdus Myconius, d David Pa­reus, e Daniel Chamier, f Joannes Gerrardus, g Antonius Wa­leus, h Altingius, i Andreas Rivetus, with innumerable others, write har­moniously in the same strain.

I will yet add the Testimony of our own Whitaker.k Since the Gospel (says he) is nothing else but the Narrative and Declaration of the Grace and Mercy of God, which Christ merited for us by his Death; it cannot be denied that principally to be the Evangelical Doctrine, which most fully expounds this Benefit and joyful Message; and for that Reason the Gospel to be most copiously and clearly taught in Paul's Epistles, and Paul to be the best Evangelist. He scruples not to attribute the Title of Gospel more to the Epistles of that Apo­stle, than to the Sermon on the Mount, tho preach'd by the Saviour of Men; and that on this Account, because in these more abundantly are display'd the Mysteries of our Redemption, when the Import of that was to explain and urge Precepts which belong properly to the Law.

But it will be needful to produce one Evidence more, who is the more material, because it is the same Person whom my Reverend Brother brings as a Witness for the Cause which he maintains of the Gospel's bring a Law. It is Gomarus himself, who gives this Definition of it;a The Gospel is a Di­vine Doctrine, in which the secret Covenant of God, concerning Salvation out of pure Free Grace by Christ, is declar'd to Men fallen into Sin: and with the Elect it is begun, and preserv'd to their Salvation, and the Glory of God the Saviour. Here he speaks nothing of the Gospel, but that it is meerly a Declaration of Grace, and the manifestation of the secret Purposes of it which were before hid in God's Heart; when therefore a little after he calls the Go­spel a Law, in the Place cited by my Reverend Brother, he must necessarily understand the word Gospel in the large extensive Sense, as it signifies all the second Part of the Bible, not in the strict and properest Sense, as it implies only God's Covenant of Grace discovered to Man.

But what need was there that I should mention the Testimonies of Men, when Witness offers it self from Heaven? At the Birth of our Redeemer, God the Father sends down his Messengers, not only to tell us that his Son was born into the World, but to assure us that he brought nothing with him but Grace and Peace, and the Reconciliation of a God before angry, unto lost and desperate Rebels. It is thus the Angels, (who certainly with the greatest Exactness discharg'd their Commission) without one word of Christ's being a new Legislator, or coming as a second Moses to deliver a new Law from Mount Zion, as he did from Sinai, proclaim the Gospel to be a most solemn Declaration of God's gracious Designs and Purposes to Sinners unworthy of his Favour, Luke 2. 13, 14. And suddenly there was with the Angel a multi­tude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth Peace, good Will towards Men. Thus in the first de­livery of this glad Message, there is no Voice but of Peace, no stounding Claps of Thunder, as from Sinai at the Promulgation of the Law, but the Songs of Angels rejoicing in the restor'd Happiness of Elect Men, their Fel­low-Creatures; no affrighting Flashes of Lightning, but a soft and gentle Brightness shining from the Face of a reconciled God, and diffusing it self through the Air without any hurtful or consuming Flame; Luk. 2. 9. And lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them, and the Glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. Tho they were a little astonish'd at the first appearance of so strange and unusual a Sight, yet the Sense which they had, that it was only an innocent lambent Fire about their Heads; and the encou­raging [Page 35] words of the Angel reassur'd them, ver. 10, 11. It is not a Judg, but a Saviour who is come into the World; nor are there any Threatnings de­nounc'd as at the giving of a Law are necessary, but they hear Promises of Mer­cy. There is no Sentence of Death given, nor Warrants issued out for the Execution of guilty Criminals; but God the Father honours his Son's Birth­day with a large and very comprehensive Act of Pardon. When this his Son, his Solace and Delight in Eternal Ages, before any Creatures made, steps down from Heaven, he doth not meerly declare the great Pleasure and Sa­tisfaction he hath in this glorious God-Man, but he evidenceth how dear this infinitely excellent Person is to him, in the most surprizing Effects of Good­ness and Grace. He proclaims, that for his sake only he can regard his Elect of Men with Eyes of Favour and Kindness, who in their own Persons were only Objects of Detestation and Abhorrence. And therefore tho he freely lov'd them from Eternity, his Benevolence was never openly publish'd till now. As it is only for the sake of Christ, whom God infinitely loves, that he can take any delight in his chosen Children of Men, so 'tis not till this his great and adorable Son comes upon Earth, that he proclaims Peace and Good­will to Men.

Thus God from Heaven, and some of the best Men who ever liv'd upon Earth, do plainly tell us that the Gospel is no Law, but a pure Act of Grace. And as God sent these Men into the World to restore his Truth, to recover it out of the Darkness of Popery, in which the Nations of the Earth had for so many Ages lost themselves, and been wretchedly deluded by the worst of Er­rors, dress'd up in the faint Resemblance of Truth; they were answerably faithful to the performance of that Work which God had sent them to do. They were careful to distinguish the Gospel from a Law, and would by no means suffer Works, tho insinuating themselves under never so specious pre­tences, to invade the Prerogative of Grace. They very well knew (as both a Chemnitius andb Beza inform us) that playing with the Ambiguity of the word Law, confounded Law and Gospel, laid the Root of the most pernicious Errors to spring up and overspread the Church with nothing but Tares, or worser Weeds, in the room of nourshing Corn. They were a­ware that the perplexed Thoughts of Law and Gospel chain'd together, by [Page 36] the unnatural Mixture gave Birth to that monstrous Metamorphosis by which the Monks transform'd the Gospel into a Law; and as they were not at all ig­norant that the proper Remedy to cure these distemper'd Thoughts, was ex­actly to distinguish between the one and the other, they sutably made a good and successful use of it: They would give every thing its proper Name sutable to its Nature. If they spoke of Works, they meant a Law prescribing them, and commanding Obedience under severe Penalties; but then in thus think­ing, speaking, or writing, the Gospel never came into their Minds, nor was form'd in their Voice, nor dropp'd from their Pens. But whenever an Idea or Notion of Grace arose in their Minds, then indeed the next following Thought was the Gospel of Christ. By thus reducing these two Notions into due Rank and Order, they baffled all the sophistical Cavils of the Monks, and afterward of the more cunning Jesuits, and made War against Antichrist with Success and Victory: for to drive that Man of Sin out of his dark Corners, and hiding-Places, is indeed to conquer him. In pursuing such a Conquest, these fam'd Divines of the first Reformation, once too much ador'd, and now as much despis'd, wrote and preach'd the pure sincere Grace of the Gospel to the People. It was by this alone Doctrine, unassisted by any humane Policy or Force, that they blew up all the Forts of the dark Papal Kingdom; and conquering all before them, planted the glorious Ensigns of our Blessed Lord Jesus, in the Room of the Roman Standards. Thus Chemnitius, who was a perfect Master in the Art of attaquing Antichrist in her strongest Holds; since he so prosperously storm'd and demolish'd the Council of Trent, shews what were the Instruments of this Spiritual Warfare us'd by him that had the greatest Force.a What other Light (says he) hath dispers'd the most thick Darkness of the Papal Kingdom, but this chiefly, the true Difference of the Law and Gospel before demonstrated? And this Difference he had stated, that the Law consists purely of Works, and the Gospel of all Grace.

This might be sufficient to inform us, in what Sense we are to apprehend the Expressions of any of the Reformed Divines, when they give the Name of a Law to the Gospel: for since this signifies no more among them than the joyful News of God's Mercy and Love, and his being reconciled to Sinners in the Blood of his Son, the meaning of the Word Law, when attributed to this Gospel, that it may be sutable and consistent with such a Notion of it, must design nothing more than a Doctrine of Grace and Peace. But if I now bring Instances, that they tell us in so many express words, that when they call the Gospel a Law, they intend the Word in no other Sense than this alledg'd, it will clear the puzzled Cause, and leave no remaining Doubt of their true [Page 37] Sense and Meaning. I will not multiply Citations, one or two are enough; and indeed Luther and Calvin are an Army alone.

Luther tells us, a That all Justiciaries esteem Christ to be a new Legislator, and judg the Gospel to be no other than a Book which contains new Laws con­cerning Works; as the Turks dream about their Alcoran: But there are Laws enough in Moses. The Gospel therefore is a preaching concerning Christ, that he forgives Sins, gives Grace, justifies and saves Sinners. But now that Pre­cepts are found in the Gospel; those are not the Gospel, but Expositions of the Law, and Appendixes of the Gospel.

Now any one would think, that this Luther would never call the Gospel a Law; and yet so he doth, expounding a little after the 19th Verse, and is before cited by me. And in what Sense he means the Gospel to have that Name, he informs us plainly, in his Comment on Isa. 2. 3. Out of Zion shall go forth the Law.b This is the Cause (says he) of the Multiplication of the Church, and of the Amplification of Christ's Kingdom, viz. the Preaching of the Gospel: For he here promiseth a new Word. For unless he signified a new Doctrine, what need was there at length to promise a Law, which had been made so many Years before? And he manifestly signifies the difference, in that he adds, out of Zion: As if he should say, I first gave a Law in Sinai, I will now give another in Mount Zion, which shall not be a Doctrine of Works, but of Faith; not of Laws, but of Grace; not accusing, but bestowing pardon of Sins, &c.

Calvin also agrees with Luther in this: And indeed those two Holy Men, tho they differed in some things, yet they very well accorded in the main Substance of the Gospel. They believed on the same Jesus, and lov'd the Truth of his Grace. Calvin likewise says, that when the Gospel is called Law, a Doctrine of Salvation is only meant by it; For (says he, explaining [Page 38] Isa. 2. 3.)a since the Rule of Holiness is to be fetch'd from the Law, by a Synecdoche they were accustomed to comprehend the whole Doctrine of God un­der that Name, as also the Worship of God under the Name of an Altar. Now as it would be absurd to infer, that the Ministers of Christ are Levitical Priests, because the Apostle says, that they ought to be partakers with the Al­tar, and live by the Gospel; or to endeavour to prove, that the old Jewish Worship is yet standing, and that Sacrifices should be offer'd under the New Te­stament, because the Apostle speaks of an Altar too, to which Believers came, and of which they have right to eat, Heb. 13. 10. So the way of arguing would be equally impertinent, to conclude from the Gospel's being nam'd a Law, that it is a Doctrine of Works.

Musculus also tells us how we must apprehend the word Law, when made use of to signify the Gospel.c The Prophet (says he) understands no other by the Law, than the Word of the Lord; nor by Zion, than Jerusalem. Nor can it be understood of any other Doctrine, than what is Evangelical.

And Rodolphus Gualther, explaining what the Apostle means when he calls the Gospel a Law:d After the manner of the Jews (says he) he speak­ing of a Doctrine, useth the word Law; and he calls the Law of Works that Doctrine which asserts that we are justified by Works, but the Law of Faith that Doctrine, which shews Righteousness in the Merit of Christ, who is appre­hended by Faith alone.

When the Holy Ghost himself, who inspir'd the Minds, and guided the Pens both of the Prophets and Apostles; and not only suggested things to their Thoughts, but the fittest Words too by which to express them: If this holy infallible Spirit, calling the Gospel a Law, means no other than a Do­ctrine of Grace; any one would think, that we could not be at a loss how to understand the Word. I need not therefore multiply Instances, a few more may suffice.

Zacharias Vrsinus, when he calleth the Gospel a new Form of Law, takes care to direct us to his right Sense, and punctually tells us, that he means no [Page 39] more by it, than a new Doctrine of Grace. a The Prophet (says he, ex­pounding Isa. 2. 3.) signifies that a new Manifestation of God, and a new Form of Law and Worship, is to be expected out of Zion; that is to say, Christ being reveal'd, and the Ceremonies abolish'd. But when he says that the Law shall go forth out of Zion, it is queried, Whether by this, and the like Places, the Opinion of the Papists is established, who will have it, that Christ came that he might be a new Law-giver, who should publish a better and more perfect Law than had been before delivered by Moses; that Men for the future, living accord­ing to that Law, might by this their Obedience please God, and obtain Eternal Life? The Answer is easy from this most usual Phrase in Scripture, by which, under the Name Law, the whole Doctrine is understood, &c. Therefore that Mon­kish Opinion is to be avoided, as the Plague and Subversion of all Christianity, and an obscuring of the Offices and Benefits of Christ; and as not differing from the Opinions of Heathens, Jews, Turks, and other Sects, concerning our Justification before God.

Chemnitius also gives direction how to understand the word Law, when employ'd to denote the Gospel. b That also (says he) is a general signi­fication of the Word, when under the name of a Law, the universal Doctrine divinely revealed is understood; as Psal. 19. 8, 9. and Psal. 119. where the Law is said to comfort and edify Hearts. So Esa speaks of the Gospel, Chap. 2. v. 3. The Law shall go forth out of Zion. Rom. 8. 2. The Law of the Spi­rit of Life. Rom. 3. 27. The Law of Faith. Gal. 2. 19. I by the Law am dead to the Law. But it is a Hebrew Phrase, in which Law [...] Torah, hath its name from Instructing and Teaching.

To these Antient Worthies, I might add the concurrent Testimonies of Modern Divines, who are Orthodox in the Faith: But whereas I might pro­duce [Page 40] many, I will content my self to alledg one, which is that of Whittichius, the present Learned Professor of Divinity (if not lately dead) in the Univer­sity of Leyden; and who, tho he espous'd the New Philosophy, yet it had no Malignant Influences to infect him with any new-contrived Schemes to solve the Phenomena's in Divinity. He in his short, but full and clear Exposition on the Romans, explaining Chap. 3. ver. 27. tells us what the Apostle intends by that Phrase, a Law of Faith. a The exclusion of Boasting (says he) is made by the Law of Faith, which here denotes, by way of Eminency, the Do­ctrine of Faith, as it is taught in the New Testament, without Obligation to any Works, as the Cause of Justification, (as the Works of the Moral Law perfectly, and constantly perform'd by Adam would have been) or as the necessa­ry Prerequisite of Justification.

Well then, when we meet with the word Law, if we would not be im­pos'd on by the meer Sound of a Word, we must carefully view the Text on all sides, and survey and consider all its Circumstances. When what is pro­per to the Gospel is attributed to the Law, the word Law is not to be appre­hended in the strict Sense, as signifying a Rule of Duty, and threatning Pe­nalties to the Disobedient; or as importing a Doctrine of Works, but a Do­ctrine of Grace. Thus when the Law is said to turn the Soul, and to re­joice the Heart, Psal. 19. 8, 9. since these are not the Effects of the Law, as a Doctrine of Works; for that rather effects a Sense of Wrath, than any hope in the Heart of a guilty condemned Sinner; and its Efficacy is more suted to wound him with anxious Fears, or tormenting Despair, rather than to comfort him, Rom. 4. 15. we must by no means conceive a proper Law, consisting of Precepts and Menaces, to be meant, but the Doctrine of the Mercies of God in Christ, which only can have those Virtues and Influences. And so when the Apostle too calls the Gospel a Law of Faith, since he makes the Righteousness of the Law opposite to the Righteousness which is of Faith, Rom. 10. 4, 5, 6. and Rom. 3. 20, 21, 22. he must consequently mean not a Law in the strict Sense, not a Doctrine of Works, but of pure Grace. And by this Rule we are to proceed; when we find the Gospel call'd a Law, we are not to understand it in the strict meaning, as a Rule of Duty with a Sanction, which is the proper and peculiar Nature of the Moral Law, but as a revealed Instruction to us, what the Mind of God is concerning our Recovery and Salvation by Christ. And when we hear of the Precepts and Threatnings of the Gospel, and read them in that part of the Bible which we [Page 41] call the New Testament, whether in the Sermons of our Saviour, or in the Writings of the Apostles, we are not to surmise presently, that these are any Parts of the Gospel, properly so titled, as it is a Word of Grace, and the Doctrine of our Redemption by Jesus, tho they are contain'd in that Book to which we commonly give that Name: For this would be to perplex our No­tions of Things which are entirely distinct in their Natures and Idea's, and to jumble them so confusedly together, that we should not be able, upon sight, to discern and know one from the other. For by the same Method of proceeding, I might frame an Imagination to my self, and strive to impose it on other Men, that the Moral Law is the Gospel, because there are so many Declarations of God's Love to Sinners, of his Mercies to pardon them, and so many Pro­mises of Grace interspers'd in the Psalms and Prophets, and other Books of the Old Testament; all which, tho so much of the Gospel be contain'd in it, is so frequently call'd the Law, both by Christ and his Apostles, the Primi­tive Fathers, and Protestant Divines. So that in a Word, as the Promises of the Gospel spread through the Books of Moses and the Prophets, is no Argu­ment to prove the Law to be the Gospel: So it is as false a Demonstration that the Gospel is a Law, because there are so many Precepts and Threatnings re­peated in the Evangelists and Epistles. All that can be concluded is, that as there are Promises in one Volume of the Bible, so there are Commands and Menaces in the other: But yet as it is the Gospel which promises Grace in the First, so it is the Law which commands and threatens in the Second. And to clear the Equation, it is only needful to bring all the Precepts in both to one side, and the Promises to another, and then we have distinct Law and Gospel.


The Arguments us'd by the Apologist, to prove the Gospel to be a new Law, examin'd. That from the Precepts, Commands urg'd, and Threatnings denounc'd in the New Testament, nothing can be concluded to this Pur­pose.

IT is now very easy to answer my Reverend Brother's Arguments, and with one gentle Stroke to wipe off all his Citations, since they all are establish'd meerly upon the Ambiguities of the word Law. Such reasoning is very fal­lacious, to endeavour to prove the Gospel to be a new Rule of Duty, forti­fied with a Sanction, because we find it to be nam'd a Law, both in the Scriptures and Humane Writings: for the Sum of the whole Demonstration amounts to no more than this, a Law is a Law, the Gospel is a Law, there­fore the Gospel is a Law; which is a pretty way of arguing, and without [Page 42] doubt unanswerable. But the clearing the Sense of the Terms, answers all without any more to do; which I think I have done, and the more largely, because I would do all the Justice to a bad Cause as could reasonably be ask'd, and allow to it the fullest Scope and Play possible. I have therefore offer'd Ar­guments for it my self, I have consider'd what might be alledg'd, I have pro­duced those Scriptures which with any colour may be urg'd to prove the Go­spel to be a new Law, omitted by my Learned Brother; and yet as aware that they might be summon'd, I have brought them in, and endeavour'd to clear their Words from that false Meaning which might be fasten'd on them to so ill a Purpose. I shall now particularly consider those which he brings, and shew that they do not prove the Matter in Dispute.

His first set of Scriptures are such as express the Gospel to be either giving Precepts, and issuing out Commands, and prescribing what is our Duty; or reproving the Negligent, or threatning the stubborn Offenders, or promising Blessings on the Condition of such Duties perform'd as are requir'd. It would make this Discourse too large, which is, I know not how, grown under my Hands to a greater Bulk than I first design'd, if I should particularly examine every Text; it will be enough to shew, that however there are Precepts and Commands in the Books of the New Testament, yet these are not properly the Gospel, but parts of the Law, only employ'd in its Service; that the Threatnings denounc'd do not properly belong to the Covenant of Grace, (for what hath Love, and Mercy, and Favour, to do with Wrath, and Justice, and Expressions of Vengeance?) but it useth the Ministry only of a violated Law, whose proper Office it is to threaten the Disobedient, to condemn the Unbelieving and Impenitent Sinner, and to demand Justice against him. If I also shew at last that those places of Scripture (which look like Promises of Blessings to us, on condition that we perform the commanded Duties) view­ed nearly, prove to be no more than so many Declarations of the Con­nexion of the Blessings of Grace; and that as Faith is the first bestow'd, it goes not alone, but is attended with a numerous Off-spring: When all this is done, then the right Sense of those Texts which seem to infer to be a Condition of our Justification by this Evangelical Law, will be fully clear'd; the meaning of the alledg'd Scriptures will be so plain, as it will appear that they do not so much as look towards the favouring that Opinion of the Go­spel being a new Law, for which they are produc'd.

That the Precepts which the Gospel employs, are not any Parts of it self, but borrowed from the Law, will be undoubted, if we consider what is their Nature and Use. They are design'd as the Rule of our Actions; they in­struct us what to do; they draw the Lines of our Duty, and set the Limits of our Obedience; and all this is the proper Office of the Moral Law, which it compleatly discharges, without calling in any Assistance. It is the eternal and unalterable Rule of Manners, and a Doctrine directing the whole Conduct of [Page 43] Humane Life: There is no Defect in it, which it was needful to supply by a­nother new Law; to assert that, would be to impeach the Wisdom of God as deficient, as not knowing at first all that was Good and Righteous, and necessary to be commanded to his Creatures, and to be done by them; or as so short in its Foresight, as not able to discern at the first all the Duties which Men were bound to perform in the Circumstances of their State, but was ob­lig'd afterward, taught by Experience, to supply the Failures by a new Law, or by an Addition of new Precepts suted to Man's present state of Sin, Weak­ness and Misery. If then the Moral Law did not comprehend in it all Precepts of Duties, it would not be God's Law, for his is perfect; he is not like short-sighted Men, who cannot foresee what the Consequences of a Law made by them may be within the Compass of one Age; nor whether Circumstan­ces of Affairs altering, it may not prove hurtful or unnecessary; and therefore all Governments find themselves oblig'd to repeal old Laws, or to add some Clauses to sute them to a present Posture of Affairs, or to make new Ones to repair the Defects, to which all Humane Wisdom in her best Provisions is ob­noxious, for want of a certain Foreknowledg of the Future. But who can have such a Thought of God, that these Infirmities of a Man should ever befal him in making his Laws, that he should be forc'd, tho not to repeal what he had made so many Ages before, yet to promulgate a new one, with additional Precepts accommodated to the present Case of his miserable Crea­ture Man? And as it is repugnant to God's Perfections to make new Laws, so it would infer that his antiquated Law was imperfect, and so no Rule; and this would unavoidably follow, if any Duties are to be perform'd which it neither regulates, nor gives any direction about them. But Christ tho as Me­diator he is no Law-giver, yet perfectly knows the Nature of the Law given at Mount Sinai; that the Law contains all Duties, for he makes the Sum of it to consist in Love to God, and in a due degree of Love to our selves, and in loving our Neighbour, Matth. 22. 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40. Then one of them which was a Lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great Commandment in the Law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Mind. This is the first and great Commandment. And the Second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy self. On these two Com­mandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. Now it will be very difficult to give an Instance of any Duty which we owe to him our Great Creator, or to our selves, or to Men our Fellow-Creatures, which are not included in one of those two Tables, or to name a Precept which may not be reduced to them. The Scripture alledg'd is the more demonstrative for this Reason, that our Lord Christ's Answer is to a Man enquiring concerning his Duty; and then, if at any time, there was occasion to mention this new Law, and to have told him the additional Precepts, had there been any such things. But Christ sends him [Page 44] to the Moral Law, as comprehending all that Man was to do, and as a perfect Rule of Duty sufficient compleatly to instruct him. And indeed what more can be requir'd of Man, than to love God with all the Powers and Faculties of his Soul, and to love himself as he ought to do, and his Neighbour in like measure?

When Christ also comes into the World, and was made under the Law, which never had before, nor will ever have again so glorious a Subject, it is this Law he not only explains in its spiritual and comprehensive Meaning, but obeys it, and therein fulfils all Righteousness, Mat. 5. 17. Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Mat. 3. 15. And Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all Righteousness. Then he suffered him. And what! is that Law imperfect, which was the Rule of the most perfect Obedience that ever was, and which excell'd that of Angels? Are any Pre­cepts wanting in it? how then did Christ compleat all Righteousness in the most exact observance of it? Well then, if the Law be perfect, there is no Duty but what comes within the Verge of its Authority, and what it enjoins under the severest Penalties; and no Precepts were given even by Christ himself, but what particularly appertain to it, and not to the Gospel as a new Law: It is not only our Schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but it commands to believe on him; for Faith in God (and Christ is so) is contain'd in its first Precept: it not only shews us our Sin, and convinceth us of our Misery and lost State; but when we have believ'd, tho it be no longer a condemning, vexing, torment­ing Law, yet 'tis a commanding One still: It is a Rule of Gratitude, it pre­scribes, that we ought to be thankful to Christ in all Returns of Love and Du­ty, it is the Rule of all that Holy Life of a Christian, which is the Fruit of Faith, and which is call'd Evangelical Obedience, not because it is so to the Gospel, but in respect of those Principles of Faith and Love from which it flows, in respect of the Evangelical Motives which animate and encourage it. It is not hurried on by legal Terrors, nor prick'd forward by sharp-pointed Threatnings, but is sweetly drawn and enliven'd by the Promises. It is not the Fruits of Fear, but the genuine Effects of the heartiest Affection to Christ, and of the most earnest Desires and solicitous Cares to please him.

I know that it will be said, That tho those Precepts in the Gospel, which command and direct Moral Duties, appertain to the Moral Law, yet Faith in Christ the Redeemer, and Repentance, do not seem to be in the least so much as hinted in any of its Commands: For since the Law was given as a Rule of the Actions of Holy and Innocent Creatures, who needed not a Redeemer, there could be no occasion to command them to believe on One; and Adam in his State of Integrity, was no more oblig'd to such a Faith, than the Bles­sed Angels are to believe on the Saviour of lost and wretched Men. And since Repentance is a Duty too, which presupposeth the Person engag'd to it, to [Page 45] be an Offender, and guilty, How could it be commanded to a Creature who had never sinned? How could it be a Duty for him to own his Crime with Shame and Sorrow, who never yet had transgressed, or prevaricated in his Obedience? Since therefore Faith in Christ, and Repentance, are Duties which suppose the Man to be a Sinner, it would seem that such Precepts are not im­plied in a Law given to him before his Fall; but are the proper Precepts of a second Remedial Law, which God hath provided for the Relief and Help of this miserable Creature.

This I must confess looks very plausible at first sight, and the Argument seems to be strongly conclusive. But if we consider the Nature of Faith, it will be manifest, that it was not only commanded to Adam in Innocence, and that it was his Duty, but that it is absolutely necessary to every holy and good Creature: For if we take it as an Act of the Mind, assenting readily to all that God reveals, as infallibly true, it is that to which every Creature in the right Constitution of his Being, is indispensably oblig'd. It is the Duty of Angels themselves to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he is the Saviour of Elect Men; that the Pardon and Justification of a Sinner, is by his Blood and Righteousness alone; that God's Justice is satisfied by the Sacrifice of his Son. For all these Truths being publish'd, and made known by God for the Illustra­tion of his infinite Mercy among all his rational Creatures; and that the Praises of his Free Grace might resound as well in the Songs of Angels, as from the Mouths of Men; it is needful, and required as a Duty from them both, who are to honour God in the Celebration of all his Attributes, that they heartily be­lieve all these Truths of the Gospel, in which alone God's Perfections of Mercy and Grace do illustriously shine forth. And as for Man in Innocence, though it was not in express Terms required from him to believe the Gospel not yet revealed to him, or to act Faith on Christ undiscovered; yet such a Command was included, and implied in that general one, that he should without any Doubt or Hesitancy give Credit to all that God said: and that as he was to believe the Sincerity of God's Promise, and the Reality of his Threatnings when the Covenant of Works was made with him, and without doubt he acted such a Faith; so by the same Precept he was commanded and bound to be­lieve every word which God afterward should speak to him, and without scru­pulous disputing presently assent to those Truths which were to be reveal'd, assoon as it appear'd to him that they were so. So that indeed the Belief of the Gospel, and Faith in Christ Jesus, were comprehended in this general Pre­cept of Believing in God: and indeed Christ himself tells us so, and useth it as an Argument why they should act Faith on him, because they were oblig'd to it by the same Command which required them to believe on God; John 14. 1. Let not your Heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. If we regard too the other Act of Faith, which is a firm Reliance of the Soul upon God, and heartily trusting of him, and chearfully committing all our [Page 46] Concernments, our Life, our Happiness, all we enjoy or hope for, to his faithful Love and Care; this was certainly our first Father's Duty, and given in Precept to him in the Law, as well as the other of assenting to all that God declared as undoubtedly true. And indeed, if it was Adam's Duty in his Primitive Con­dition to believe in God, it was commanded by the Law; for that only could make it become so. And what! can we ever wildly imagine, that our first Fa­ther was not bound to act Faith on God his Creator, and constant Benefactor, and upon whom he was to have a perpetual Dependance, or he could not live a moment? What! can we think, that to have rejected God's Word as of su­spected Truth, to have refused, or but to have suspended his Assent to it when propos'd, had been no fault in him? That to have distrusted God, to have renounced Dependance on him, would not have been a Crime the greatest as could be committed by him? But all this is the unavoidable Consequence of this Assertion, That the Precept of Faith is not in the Law; for neither would Faith have been a Duty, nor Unbelief a Sin to Adam, had not the Law, which was the only Rule of his Obedience, commanded the one and forbidden the other. Were it not for this, he might have been a stubborn obstinate Unbe­liever without being a Sinner; when on the contrary, it appears from the short Relation of his Apostacy, that Unbelief was his very first Sin. For what is Faith, but to trust in God upon his Word and Promise for all our Life and Happi­ness? and what is Unbelief but to distrust him? And was not Adam, while flourishing in his State Innocence, a real and sincere Believer? and so long as he persisted in acting Faith, did he not continue to be happy? And was it not the Neglect of the due Exercise of Faith, which at last plung'd him into the Depths of Misery and Despair? As long as he believed God, and entirely con­fided in him; as long as he lived in constant Dependance upon the Love and Care of his Creator; as long as he thankfully acknowledged, that he received all the Blessings of Life as the Fruits of his Bounty; as long as he trusted in God upon his Word, that he would not only continue them unto him, but bestow greater to come, which by the Promise he had reason to hope for and expect; all this time he liv'd by Faith, and his Days were clear and happy, and it was Unbelief made all his Glories set in a gloomy Evening. It was this begun his Apostacy, not exercising Faith any longer, he would throw off his Dependance upon God, and seek to be bless'd in some new and fond Way of his own. He indulg'd a surmizing Thought, that God, whose solemn Promise he had so freshly heard, either could not, or was not willing to make him so happy as he aspir'd to be, and that he refused to advance him to those degrees of Bliss, of which he fancied himself capable: And thus he ceas'd acting that Faith in God, on which depended his Life and Blessedness; he disbelieved God, and believed the Devil his greatest Enemy, and sinned, and died. And I know not but that he deserved the Execution of the Sentence and Curse pro­nounced against him, more by his Unbelief than by Eating the Apple: And [Page 47] that even the Law of Works condemn'd him as much for that Sin, as for the outward Act of his Disobedience. Ay, but it will be said, All this doth not prove that Faith in Christ was commanded by the Law, and required of him as his Duty. No, it is enough that Faith in God was so, to prove that the Pre­cept belongs to the Law. For if it is sufficient to argue from the Law's not directing this its own commanded Act, to such an Object as Christ the Re­deemer, that therefore it gives no Precept and Command of Believing, but that it is the peculiar Office of the Gospel to do so; that because this particu­lar Kind of Faith is not specified, and this Way of Acting it on Christ particu­larly express'd, that therefore the Duty of Believing comes not within the Li­mits of its Commands: I might at this rate of Arguing, prove that the Act of Eating the fatal Fruit was no Sin, because not expresly forbidden by the Law; for that regarded it as a thing indifferent, as indeed it was before the Prohibi­tion: and yet this destroying Act of his was a Sin, and forbidden by the Law, tho not in a particular Precept, yet as involv'd in that great One, which commanded him to obey God in whatever he should require.

It doth not therefore by any consequence follow, that the Gospel is a new Law because it commands Faith as a Duty, and threatens Unbelief, since the old Law had done the same before, and the Gospel only imploys its Precepts, and applies them to its own Design and Use. To say that we are enjoin'd in the Gospel to believe on Christ as the Redeemer, to deliver us from Sin and Death, will not weaken the Force of the Argument urg'd; for the Act even of this Faith is commanded by the Law, and is its proper Precept: That which belongs to the Gospel, is to direct this Act to an Object suted and proportio­ned to help us in the Misery of our present sinful State. Adam was by the Law commanded to believe, and trust in God for the Preservation and Continu­ance of him in Happiness. And we are commanded to trust in the same God for the Restoring this lost Happiness, and our Recovery of it again. The Act and Object of Faith, is the same (Christ being God), and all the Difference is only made by that which is the Circumstance (tho a deplorable one) of our own Persons. But this will not alter the Nature of the Faith it-self; for if so, then according to the Variety of these sad Cases and Exigences wherein we trust on Christ, our Faith would alter to a different Nature. Since then the Faith of Adam, which the Moral Law commanded him to act on God, was a Trust in him that he would preserve his innocent Creature in all the Blessedness of his primitive Condition; and the Faith of a Sinner coming to Christ for Life, is a Trust in the same God, (he being the second Person of the Divinity) that he will restore his wretched Creature to its lost Happiness, the Faith is the same in both Instances as to the Nature of it, (tho the Circumstan­ces of the Persons are different:) and therefore if our first Father was by the Moral Law commanded to believe on God, the same Precept requires, and ob­ligeth Sinners to believe on the eternal Son of God.

I know that with a scornful Smile it will be said, that it is an absurd Asser­tion to affirm the Precept of Faith to belong to the Law, when the Command of believing on Christ is perpetually repeated in the Gospel, which only disco­vers this Saviour of Sinners. It is granted, that we meet with this Precept in all the Books of the New Testament; but then the Objectors must also grant, that we find there too the Precepts of loving Christ, of abandoning all things, and denying our selves for his Sake, of loving our Enemies, of the Obedi­ence due from Children to their Parents, of the sincere Service which Servants owe to their Masters: and now if the Gospel is not a New Law in requiring these Duties, which were all commanded by the old one, it will no more be a new Law for commanding us to believe, since this hath been demonstrated to be a Precept of the old Law as well as any of the other. All therefore which can be inferr'd is, that the Gospel borrows these Precepts from the old Moral Law, (and then they are not properly its own Commands) and employs them in its Service, and for the Interests of our Salvation; or to speak briefly and clearly, in the Words of the Holy Ghost himself, Gal. 3. 19. the Moral Law is in the hands of Christ our Mediator, and made by him to subserve his gracious Designs.

The other pretended peculiar Precept of this new Law, is Repentance; and if I then prove, that by virtue of the old Law, which was a perfect Rule of Duty, this also was enjoin'd, and Sinners oblig'd to it, this will evince, that neither this is the proper Command of the Gospel. It cannot be denied, that all which is justly due from one Person to another, is required in the Moral Law; for it is a compleat Rule of Righteousness. It can as little be disputed that an hearty Acknowledgment of the Wrong with Shame and Sorrow, from a Man who hath injur'd another, is due to the offended Party; and common Reason and Justice doth engage Men to this, tho no other Reparations can be made. The owning then of our Offences with the most inward Mourning, and deepest Detestation of them, is much more due to God, our Sovereign and Supream Lord, tho we are incapable by all this of making him the least Satis­faction. To confess a Fault, and to express a real Trouble for having done it, is indeed among Men a making some amends to the wronged Person; for it is some Security that he shall not be hurt by a second Injury: But all our Sorrow, and Confession of Sins with Tears, cannot in any degree satisfy, nor repair the Dishonour and Indignity offer'd unto God. It is yet our Duty to throw our selves at his Feet, to express an Abhorrence of our hainous Rebellion against him; and it is a Duty to which we are bound as Creatures to our Maker, and Subjects to our Soveraign, who is Lord over all, God blessed for ever. But what! it will be said, doth the Law require Repentance when it made no Pro­posals of Pardon for the Crime? Doth it require a sorrowful Acknowledgment of the Fault; and yet the whole Design of it is, that all this shall do the Of­fender no good, since it provides not the least Relief for the penitent Sinner? [Page 49] To what purpose is such a Command, when tho the Sinner sheds floods of Tears, and mourns out a Life lasting to Eternity of Ages, there is yet no Re­medy tendred by this Law to prevent his being eternally miserable? Yes, for all this, such a Command of Repentance in the Moral Law, is not only to great purpose, but absolutely necessary: for to own to God, with Shame and Sorrow, the Injury we have done him by our Sins, is a Duty which we owe to him our offended Soveraign, tho he had never promis'd to forgive us; nay, tho he had plainly declar'd that he would never be reconcil'd. It is a Duty then to which Adam, after his Fall, was bound by the same Law which he obey'd in his Innocency; to which he was bound, when amaz'd with all the Horrors of a despairing Mind, looking for nothing but Vengeance and Ruin from the Anger and arm'd Power of the Almighty. It is a Duty to which he was tied before any new Covenant of Grace made, and before God had re­veal'd any Thoughts of Favour to him, or any Purposes of Grace in that first Promise of the Seed of the Woman breaking the Serpent's Head. If then it was Adam's Duty to repent, before he had receiv'd any Promises of Mercy, there must be some Precept obliging him to it: since that, and Duty, mutually infer one another, no Precept could it be of the Gospel, for that was not yet proclaim'd, and therefore it must be the proper Precept of the Mo­ral Law, which was the thing to be prov'd.

If any one will peremptorily deny Repentance to have been Adam's Duty before God had promis'd Mercy, the same Person must consequently assert, that it was no Fault in him to run from God; that he did very well in excu­sing himself, in throwing the great Part of the Guilt upon God, in standing upon his own Justification; and that if he had continued an obdurate har­den'd Wretch, if he had acted as a bold desperate Rebel, and instead of con­fessing his Crimes, and expressing his Sorrow, had further dar'd and out­brav'd offended Justice, he had been innocent in all this, and had not in the least broken any Precept of the Law, nor transgress'd the Bounds of his Duty. For if Repentance was not commanded before the Gospel publish'd, then the worst Impenitence in Adam would have been no Sin, because forbidden by no Law.

I know very well that Arminius boldly affirms all this;a That the Covenant of Works being broken, the Law was abrogated too, and that God no longer required Obedience from his sinful Creature, till he brought in a new Law, which is the Gospel, commanding Faith and Repentance; and that God accepts this Obedience to the Precepts of this his new Law, instead of perfect Obedience to the old violated Moral Law. But I know too very well, that most prodigious and amazing Absurdities will be the natural Products of [Page 50] this monstrous Opinion. It will follow, that the first Sin dethron'd God, not only out of Man's Heart, but out of his Seat of Majesty in Heaven too, until to regain his Crown and Dominion, and for the recovery of his lost Sovereign Power, he was forced to condescend to treat with his Rebels upon lower Terms, and to propose a new and milder Law, accommodated to the weaker Cir­cumstances of their State. Thus God loseth his Soveraignty by the Disobe­dience of his Creature, and his Laws signified so little, that they were all re­peal'd and disannull'd, when Man would observe them no longer. And who can once think that the Great God should lose his Power to command, when his Creatures refus'd any more to obey him, and that Man by becoming a Rebel, should cease to be a Subject; and that therefore a new Law, giving new Precepts, and proposing other more moderate Conditions, was abso­lutely needful to adjust the desperate Affair, and to set all things right again?

Adam also by his Fall having, according to the Assertion of Arminius, broken all Ties and Bonds of Obedience, if before the Promulgation of the Gospel or new Law to him, he had blasphem'd God, had sworn and forsworn, had dis­sembled kindness to his Wife with the deepest Oaths, while he had nothing in his Heart but Thoughts of Malice, and Designs of Revenge against her for be­traying him to ruin, had most barbarously murder'd her, and afterward kill'd himself, he yet had not sinned in all this; because before the new Law given, he was oblig'd to no Duty. Believe this who will, for my part I cannot.

And now, what is the Ground of this desperate Assertion? Why truly on­ly this, That because the Law once broken, there were no longer any Pro­mises made to the Obedience of a Sinner; therefore the Covenant between God and Man was entirely vacated, and so the Sinner was no longer bound to obey, till a new Law came with other Precepts of Faith, and making Pro­mises to lower degrees of Duty; and then upon this new Account the Crea­ture stands bound again. Now all this is founded upon one grand Mistake; which is, that our Obedience to God is establish'd upon his Covenant with us; and that the only Tie upon us, are Promises or Threatnings: Whereas our Duty to God immediately results from the infinite Greatness of his Being, which is therefore supream, and hath an undoubted Right to command, and from the unalterable Relation of a Creature to his Maker. So that Adam, as soon as he had Existence, was presently bound to obey God in all that he would command him, tho he had made no Promise to him of any Reward. And if God had plac'd him in a dismal Desart, instead of settling him in Pa­radise; if he had sharpen'd his Life with Sorrows and Miseries, in the room of those Blessings and Comforts which he enjoy'd, yet he might have com­manded him all that he pleas'd, and it would have been his Duty to have paid a ready Obedience. And this clears the Difficulty lying in our way, that tho the Law made no Promises to Sinners, as the Gospel doth, yet that hin­ders it not from commanding and engaging them to repent; for by what I [Page 51] have prov'd, it appears, that Promises do not lay the Foundation of a Duty, but are only the Encouragements of it. Well then, tho Adam saw not any thing in the Law to renew Life to a Penitent Offender, tho he could not read in it one Syllable of a Pardon, yet the same Law which requir'd Obedience of him, commanded after he had sinn'd, to repent, and return to his Duty; tho he had no hopes of succeeding in it, and had no assurance that a justly provoked and angry God would forgive, and descry'd not the least Promise shining in Heaven to favour him.

And as it was Adam's Duty to repent, so it is the Duty of all Men now living upon Earth: A Duty, to which Heathens who are not under the Dispen­sation of the Gospel, to whom this new-stil'd Law never came, who never heard a word of its pretended Precepts or real Promises, are indispensably oblig'd. Whence have they this binding Precept of Repentance? From the Gospel? How can that be, when the least Sound of it never arriv'd to their Ears? It must therefore necessarily be a Precept and Command of the Moral Law to them, which more or less is manifested to all, even the most savage and barbarous Nations of the Earth.

The Design and Office of the Law doth also manifest, that the Precept of Repentance doth properly belong to it: For it was not only appointed as a Rule of Obedience to Adam, but God certainly knowing that Man would fall into a State of Sin and Death, intended the Law for the Conviction of Sinners, to shew them their Sinfulness and Danger, Rom. 3. 19, 20. Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law; that every Mouth may be stopped, and all the World may become guilty before God. Therefore by the Deeds of the Law, there shall no Flesh be justified in his sight: for by the Law is the Knowledg of Sin. Rom. 7. 7. He design'd it to rouse and alarm the poor negligent Creatures. And now if it convinceth them of Sin, its malignant Nature and direful Effects, it consequently tells them, that it is their Duty to bewail their Miscarriages, which bring all Mise­ries upon them, and to reform their evil Courses, and to turn from Sin to God. This the Law preacheth to Men, and these are the natural Dictates of it in their Consciences; and it is impossible to perswade them (till God comes with the Power of his Grace, and works Faith) against putting their Confidence in their Sorrow and repenting, to obtain Pardon by it, and against trusting to their Resolutions of living better for the future; and against their fond Presumption of being justified for their endeavours of Amendment, These legal Principles are natural in Men, they arise not from the Gospel, for that instructs us to put our whole and entire Confidence in Christ, and his Righteousness alone; they must then spring from the Law, and consequently Repentance, which this Law not only urgeth Men unto, but moveth them to build their Hopes of Life upon it, must be one of its Precepts. The Law commands it, the Gospel as a Proclamation of Grace, and [Page 52] an Offer of Pardon only, invites and encourageth it.

Thus it is sufficiently prov'd, that Sinners were by the Moral Law oblig'd to own their Sins with the most bewailing Expressions of Grief, tho that Law gave them no Encouragement and Hope; and that Adam after his Fall was engag'd to this Sorrow and Contrition, before any promise of Pardon and Acceptance tendred. If we now consider the other and chiefest part of Re­pentance, it will be evident that this was not only requir'd of the Father of Mankind fallen, but that it was his Duty, and what he practis'd in all the time of his Innocence and flourishing Condition: For what is Repentance mainly, but an hearty abhorrence of Sin, join'd with a most careful Avoi­dance of it, and a most firm Resolution against it? Now this was as surely in Adam, when continuing the same upright Creature which God had made him, as it is certain that then he was holy, Holiness and hatred of Sin being altogether inseparable; and therefore unless we will suppose our first Father to have been unholy in his original Being, we must not doubt of his daily acting of this principal and most considerable part of Repentance. I call it so, be­cause it is that which to bring forth the other is appointed: for we are not commanded to mourn, and to bewail our Follies and Miscarriages, meerly for the sake of vexing and tormenting our selves, or as if by the inward An­guish of our Souls, we were to do Penance to pacify a displeased God; but all this trouble of Mind for Sin, is intended and requir'd to imbitter it to us, and to render us vile in our own Eyes, and to throw us humbled before the Throne of Grace. For tho we are Sinners, and poor and miserable, yet we are naturally proud, and therefore a Sense of our Sin and Misery is requisite to bring down our haughty Spirits; tho we also daily feel the dismal Mischiefs of Sin, yet our deprav'd Natures render us too prone, and readily inclin'd un­to it; and therefore a piercing Sorrow is necessary to bring us to that true Re­pentance of which I am speaking, which consists in hating Sin, and turning from it. It is but needful that an aking Wound make us sensible of the ma­lignant Mischief of Sin, to render it the Object of our highest Aversion. Well then, it is hatred of Sin, and an hearty resistance of it, which is the last and chiefest Act of Repentance, since our Sorrow is design'd only to produce this Effect, and so after all to hate Sin; and most carefully to avoid it, is most truly to repent of it. And this Repentance our first Father, even in his In­nocence, acted to a higher degree than we do, since his detestation of Sin was greater; and till the sad Moments of his Fall, he opposed it more firmly and successfully.

But it will be objected, Repentance supposeth the Person to have sinn'd, and therefore a Precept of it to Adam in his Uprightness was altogether need­less. No not at all, for a Precept to oblige Man to what is due and just, is necessary for him in every Condition; and nothing can be more due than to acknowledg a Wrong done: And what is Repentance, but an hearty own­ing [Page 53] and lamenting the highest Injury offer'd to God by our Sins? And besides, God in making a Law, gave such a perfect Rule as was sufficient to bind Man to his Duty in all Circumstances of his Case; and therefore it was not only mo­dell'd to oblige him to perfect Obedience, but to ingage him to repent when he had fail'd of his Duty.

Well, but some may argue against what I before said concerning Faith's be­ing a Precept of the Original Law given to Adam, that tho it is true, that Faith in God is required in the first Commandment, yet there is no Faith in a Re­deemer express'd. What then? It is yet plainly implied, since this our Redeemer is God, and therefore a general Command to trust on God at all Times, and according to the various Necessities of our State, must include a Precept to be­lieve on Christ the Redeemer, when the sad State of our Case doth require it.

Ay, but the Law (will they object) was given to Man in Innocence, and therefore only tied him to such Acts of Obedience as were proper to that Condition; and therefore such Duties which result from Man's being a Sin­ner, such as Faith and Repentance, were not inclos'd within the compass of this Law. Yes, but they were, and that for the same Reason as such Duties which arise from the present Relations which Men bear to one another, which are the Consequents of Adam's Fall, are comprehended in the Precepts of the Moral Law. By this a Slave is obliged to perform Service to his Master; and yet if Man had not sinned, there had been no such thing as Slavery. By this also Judges are bound to do Justice in punishing Malefactors, and yet in Man's Primitive State of Integrity, there were no Rogues and Villains, nor any need of Judges or Sheriffs.

This is strange indeed (it will be said) to deny the Gospel to be a Law commanding Faith and Repentance, when nothing is more frequently inculca­ted and earnestly urg'd in the Sermons of Christ, and the Writings of the Apostles, than that Sinners should repent, and should believe on him. 'Tis readily confess'd; but yet from what hath been argued, it must be own'd, that these are Precepts of the Law made use of by the Gospel, and encourag'd by its Promises. We are not presently to fasten every thing on the Gospel, strictly taken, as it is the Word of Salvation which we find in the Books of the New Testament; and because Christ and his Apostles give us Rules of Holiness, immediately name the Gospel a New Law. For after this rate of Reasoning, we may infer too that it is a Book of Lives, because the Life and Death of our Saviour, and the Acts of the Apostles, are recorded in it; that it is the Levitical Law, because the Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, insists on so many Particulars of it. That it is the Ceremonial Law, because the said Apostle circumcis'd Timothy, Act. 16. 1. That it is a Sacred Chro­nicle, and the Annals of the Church, because it contains the History of the Beginnings and first Progress of Christianity. Thus if we frame Argu­ments by these Measures, we may make the Gospel any thing that we please, or would fancy it to be.

I have thus (as I think) clear'd the Difficulty which ariseth from our finding the Precepts of Faith and Repentance, so frequently enjoin'd in the New Testament, and have demonstrated that all such Instances will not serve the Purpose of evincing the Gospel to be a new Law. The next Rank of Arguments to be broken is this, that it is alledg'd that the Gospel denounceth Threatnings against unbelieving and impenitent Sinners, and makes general Promises, that every one who believes and repents, in obedience to its Com­mand, shall certainly be sav'd. If I now then prove that these Threatnings are not of the Gospel, but that it only leaves the Sinner, who by Faith hath no Interest in Christ, to the condemning Sentence of the Law, without any Defence or Plea, or the least Excuse for himself: And if I also prove, that the Gospel makes no such universal Promises of Eternal Life to all Men, on con­dition they believe, I shall then clear the Way through my Reverend Brother's first thick Set of Arguments, form'd from twenty Texts of Scripture enume­rated by him.

One plain Text of Scripture evinceth, that the Gospel judgeth and con­demneth no Man, but leaves the unbelieving Sinner to a fair Trial at Law, and to make the best of it that he can. 'Tis what Christ, who came to save Sinners, and perfectly knew his own Design and Work, tells us, John 3. 17. For God sent not his Son into the World to condemn the World; but that the World through him might be saved. What could he have said more to assure us, that in the Declaration of the Gospel he did not threaten Death, but pro­mise Salvation to Sinners, whom the Law menac'd, and who were condemn'd by its Sentence; that he came not as a new Legislator, to give new Laws, and to pronounce a fatal Doom against those that disobey'd them, but to res­cue poor sentenc'd Criminals from the rigorous Judgment of the Law, and to assure them of a Pardon? He came not to condemn the World, but to save all those whom God had appointed to Life, and consequently to believe on him. But if Christ had brought in a new Law, with Precepts and Threatnings, then one Design of his coming had been to condemn the Disobedient. Our Blessed Redeemer took an effectual Care that we should not have such a Thought of him; and therefore he repeats the same Assertion, John 12. 47. And if any Man hear my Words, and believe not, I judg him not; for I came not to judg the World, but to save the World. He doth not threaten, much less judg and condemn an Unbeliever: He knew that Salvation of Sin­ners was the Work which he came into the World to perform, and that the Office of a Judg did not belong to a Mediator. He accordingly disowns it, and leaves to the Law its proper Duty, which is to pass Sentence of Death on eve­ry Sinner, who cannot plead the Blood and Righteousness of Christ for his Discharge; and this all Unbelievers dying in that woful Condition are unca­pable to do. Thus the Gospel condemns no Man, but it is the Law; and those who believe not, shall be judg'd by it, for violating its just and righteous [Page 55] Commands, and are expos'd defensless and liable to Justice. Those who believe not on Christ, are presently condemned by the old Law in force against them who have in the least Instance disobey'd it; and there is no need that any Sentence of a new Law should be pass'd against them to this Effect. If any should deny the Argument, I am yet confident they will have a regard to the express Words of Christ himself, which are to the same Pupose, John 3. 18. He that believeth on him, is not condemned; but he that believeth not, is con­demned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God. What is this but to say, that he introduced no new Law to con­demn the wretched and desperately lost Sinner for not believing on him, since he was before condemned for the Offences committed against the Moral Law? But it will be urg'd, What is more frequently pronounc'd by Christ and his Apostles, against all Unbelievers, than an unavoidable Ruin and Damnation? such Threatnings are almost as thickly scatter'd in the New Testament, as the Promises of Grace. What then! will it thence follow that the Gospel, which is a Doctrine of Grace, is also a dreadful threatning Law? No certain­ly, for these two are altogether inconsistent. All then which can be conclud­ed, is only this, that the Gospel repeats the Threatnings of the Law, to shew Sinners their Danger if they do not believe. This Gospel only tells them what severe Measure they will have from a violated Law, if they are not in­clos'd within the compass of the Mediator's Favour and Blessings. It plain­ly and sincerely declares to them, that they can expect nothing but certain Death from a Law which kills the Sinner, if they refuse the only healing Re­medy which Christ offers. Thus it is told to a Patient, That he will cer­tainly die, if he takes not the prescrib'd Physick: And yet who will say that this Threatning is any part of the Medicine? Thus the Physician pronounceth Death to a Man, who when mortally Sick, wilfully refuseth to observe his Di­rections. And how absurd is it from this to imagine, that he who came to cure, design'd to murder him, when it is only the Disease, and his own Ob­stinacy, which have this fatal Effect?

'Tis true indeed, that an Unbeliever's Guilt is aggravated by his Contempt of the Gospel; and by rejecting Mercy, and despising the Riches of God's Grace, he lays himself open to a severer Sentence, brings an heavier Ruin on his Head, and sharpens his own Punishment. For as the Fire of Hell is the Wrath of God, and the avenging Furies of Conscience, those Flames will burn with more fierceness in a Soul, which makes terrible Reflections how while it lived in this World, it slighted that Grace and that Redeemer, by which others were saved. Thus a Pardon offer'd to Rebels, doth not condemn them for not accepting it; the Refusal only leaves them expos'd to the Severity of the Law, by which the unpardon'd Offender is judg'd and condemn'd: Tho in­deed the Criminal recalling to mind the Pardon once offer'd him, and his own obstinate Contempt of Mercy, will, with greater Horrors of Soul, at the [Page 56] Place of Execution, curse his own Folly and Madness, as the Cause of his in­famous Death.

There now remains nothing more than to shew, that the Promises of Eter­nal Life made to the Believer, and the Ruin denounc'd against every Unbe­liever, do not prove the Gospel to be a new Law; and that such Expressions as these, which we so often meet, He who believes shall be sav'd; and except you repent, you shall all likewise perish, do not speak Faith and Repentance to be properly commanded by the Gospel, nor promises Pardon and Justifica­tion, on condition these Precepts are obey'd, nor threatens Death if they are neglected. That it is not the Gospel, but the Law which threatens Death, I have already proved; that the Promises of the Gospel are not made unto Men, on condition of Obedience perform'd to it, is evident from this, that if they were so, they would not differ in their Nature from the Promises of the Law, and so the Covenant of Grace would be a Covenant of Works: which if the Apostle Paul says true, (as I really believe he doth) is a flat Contradiction, Rom. 11. 6. And if by Grace, then is it no more of Works: otherwise Grace is no more Grace. But if it be of Works, then is it no more Grace; otherwise Work is no more Work. For the Promises of the Law were made to Men, on condition that its Precepts were obey'd. If now the Promises of the Gospel are also made to Men, on condition that its Precepts are obey'd, then the Promises, both of the one and the other, are of the same Nature and King, being both made to Obedience. It is but a poor shifting Evasion, to say, that there is a great difference, because that the Law requires perfect un­sinning Obedience, and the Gospel insists only on lower degrees of Duty: for this will not so much as prove the Obedience to be of different Kinds, but on­ly of greater or lesser Measures, which, as every one knows, doth not alter the Species. But if it should be granted, that Obedience to the Law is of a vari­ous Nature from that enjoin'd by the Gospel, yet the Promises made to them both must be of the same Kind, for both of them are Works: since to obey a Precept, is to do a Work, or I know not what to make of it; and all the Dif­ference then is, that the Promises of the Covenant of Works were made to Obedience to the old Law, and the Promises of the new Covenant of Grace were made to Obedience unto the new Law. Both are Promises to the Obedience of Laws, and the two Laws will be distinguished no otherwise, than that the one proves to be older than the other by many Ages. And thus the Gospel will be only the superannuated Law of Works reviv'd, with some Abatements of its requir'd Duties. And if this be not as utterly false as there is Truth in the Scriptures, (as I am sure there is) let all unprejudic'd Men judg. And yet this absurd Confusion of Law and Gospel, is the unavoi­dable Consequence of this Annertion, that the Gospel promises Justification and Eternal Life to Men, on condition they perform the Obedience which it com­mands.

If also from this Proposition, He that believeth shall be saved, we argue that the Gospel is a new Law, promising Life upon the observance of this its Precept, it will follow, that God in the promulgation of this new Law, of­fers Life universally to all Men, to Tartars, Negroes, and the Savages in A­merica; to all the Nations from Peru to Japan, on condition they obey the Command of the Gospel, and believe and repent: For if God in giving his Moral Law to all reasonable Creatures, said universally to Angels and Men, Do this, and you shall live; by the same Rule, if the Gospel is a new Law, God speaks generally to all Men, Believe, and you shall live. Now from this, two amazing Absurdities will naturally spring; the one is, that God should by this his new Law promise Pardon and Life, on condition they believe on his Son, to People who have never heard that there is such a thing as the Christian Religion in the World, nor such a Person as Christ, and to whose Ears not so much as the sound of his Name ever arriv'd. Doth this become the Wisdom of God to act so preposterously? How can we think that the Depths of that Knowledg, as the Apostle speaks, Rom. 11. 33. hath such shallow Designs, as to proclaim a Pardon to all Men, on condition they believe, and yet to make no Provision that the least Syllable of this gracious Proclamation should ever come to their Ears? It is also as repugnant to the Wisdom and Goodness of God, to pro­mise a Pardon to all Men, on condition they believe, when he knows that the Performance is impossible to them all, by their mere natural Powers deprav'd as they are; when he knows also, that without his All-conquering Grace they cannot believe and repent: To promise to them all Life, on condition they do so, and at the same time to resolve to withhold this Grace from the greatest part of Mankind, without which it is impossible for them to do it, what is this but to illude Men? For any one to offer Food to a Wretch, who hath not a Limb whole, starving in a Dungeon, on condition that he would come up and receive it, and yet refuse to put forth a Finger to give him the least lift, what would this be but to mock him, and to make a sport of his Misery? To avoid these Absurdities, the Arminians, who do not want Wit or Reason to discern the Consequences of their Opinions, as boldly own and maintain them: And as they assert, that God offers and promiseth Life to all, on con­dition they perform Obedience to this new Law; they speak consistently with themselves, and affirm too, that all Men have sufficient Means afforded them to do it, and that God gives them Helps enough to enable them to believe if they will, and whenever themselves please. If we are then fond of any Arminian Opinions, we must take the whole System of them together, and assert roundly, as they do, without mincing the Matter, what hath an inseparable Connexion with a false Proposition: for there are Consequences among Errors, as well as Truths; and as the one are chain'd, the other are link'd together.

We may then be certain, that these Expressions in Scripture, [He that be­lieveth, shall be sav'd; but he that believeth not, shall be damn'd, Mark 16. 16. And whoever believeth on Christ, shall receive remission of Sins, Acts 10. 43. And except you repent, you shall all likewise perish, Luke 13. 5.] which are urg'd by my Reverend Brothera, do not signify that God passeth his Word to all Men, by a new Law establish'd among them, that if they obey it, and believe and repent, they shall assuredly be saved: for God always speaks the Purposes of his Mind, and none of his Words contradict his Heart; but he never decreed, either absolutely or conditionally, that all Men should be eternally happy; for if he had, he would have taken effectual Care that they should be so, since the Intents of his Mind and Will always obtain infallibly their desir'd Effect.

If we also understand that Expression, He who believes, shall be sav'd, that it is promis'd to all, that on the performance of this Condition they shall be thus eternally bless'd; then by the same Rule we must say, that eternal Death and Ruin is threaten'd to them, on condition they do not believe. But the Threatnings of this Wo are not denounc'd against Men for not believing, but as due to them for not perfectly obeying the Law of Works; and their Unbelief only leaves them in that perishing Condition wherein they were born, as I have prov'd before, tho, as I said, their Unbelief aggravates the Misery, and inflames the Anguish of it.

But what meaning then must we apprehend these Scriptures to bear? Why truly they have the same Sense as that Text in Heb. 12. 14. Follow Peace with all Men, and Holiness, without which no Man shall see the Lord. What! is Holiness the Condition of obtaining the Beatifical Vision? No; tho it doth naturally dispose the Soul, and make it meet for and capable of this blissful En­joyment. No more therefore is meant, than that Holiness, and this Vision of God, are inseparably join'd together, and that no unholy Soul can possibly come to his Presence and Sight. Thus it is also true, that he who believes, shall be sav'd; which imports no more than this, that all Believers are sav'd, and none but they; and that there is such an unchangeable Connexion between the Blessings of the Gospel, that Faith, Repentance and Holiness, are indis­solubly fasten'd with Pardon, Justification, and Eternal Life, in the same Per­son; or in a Word, that God justifies and saves no Man, but whom at his own due appointed Time he makes a Believer, brings him to Repentance, (I speak in this of Adult Persons) and sanctifies his Nature: and who­ever asserts this, is no Antinomian, nor so much as like to such an exe­crable Monster, however invidious Names are flung about as thick as Stones in the Streets.

I might insist more largely on this Argument, but I begin to think that the Consideration of it will more properly belong to another Discourse, wherein I design, with the Assistance of my Lord Jesus Christ, (who hath help'd me in this, beyond the natural Abilities of my own Mind, to him be all the Glory) to prove, that the Covenant of Grace doth not promise nor confer the Blessings on condition of performing Duties requir'd.


Those Texts of Scripture (which are urg'd by the Apologist, as expresly giving the Name of a New Law to the Gospel) recover'd to their right Sense. His Testimonies out of the Fathers, and Protestant Writers, evinc'd to be useless to serve his Design.

I Shall now examine those Texts alledg'd by my Dear Brother, wherein the Gospel is call'd a Law; and the Citations produc'd by him, wherein the Fathers and Protestant Authors give to it the same Name. I shall do it but briefly, for I need not be large, since any Reader who hath, with any inten­tion of Mind, perus'd my poor Writing, may resolve them all at first sight.

The first Text produc'd is, that known one in Rom. 3. 27. Where is boast­ing then? It is excluded. By what Law? of Works? Nay, but by the Law of Faith. Without looking on the Context, we may be satisfied by what the Apostle saith in the same Verse, that by the Law of Faith, he means no more than that Doctrine of Grace which declares a believing Sinner to be justified by the Righteousness of Christ, which by Faith he receiveth; for it is such a Law of Faith that excludes all boasting. Now then, if it commanded Faith, and promis'd Justification, on condition that this its Precept was o­bey'd, Boasting would not be excluded, but rather a great Occasion would be given to promote it: For why should not a Man glory in his Faith, if it be an Act of Obedience to this new Law, which by the Statute of it makes his Justification to depend on this his Performance? He may then as well plead that he hath done what was requir'd; and so he may as well claim Life and Happiness, on the Account of having done all that this new Law made neces­sary to Salvation; as Adam, if continuing in his Primitive State, might have form'd a Plea of his Right to Life, for having discharg'd all that Duty which the Law of Works commanded and propos'd, as the Condition of his being eternally Blessed. If he might have boasted for having faithfully observ'd the Covenant of Works, the Believer too may assume some Glory to himself for having acted his Duty punctually to the Law of Faith; if the Constitu­tion of this Law be such, that it makes the promis'd Salvation dependant up­on this his Obedience in believing. It will signify nothing to say, that the [Page 60] Law by which Adam was to have been justified, enjoin'd Works as the Terms of his being so; but that this new Law insists only on two Acts of Obedience, Faith and Repentance, as all that it requires for our Justification: For these two are Works done by us, and so we might boast that we have done some­thing, tho not arising to that height of Duty incumbent on our first Father; by which, according to the Tenor of this new Law, we are justified. By the Opposition which the Apostle makes of the Law of Faith to a Law of Works, it is also manifest, that by the first he intends a pure Doctrine of Grace, and by the other a Law, commanding something to be done: For if the Law of Faith requires any Works, and constituted them to be Conditions of our obtaining the Blessings; make these Works as few as you will, and call them by what Names you please, Faith and Repentance, yet this will re­sult from it, that both are Laws of Works; only with this difference, that the one rigorously insists on more Works than the other: which how this may consist with that Opposition the Apostle forms between them, I cannot very well apprehend.

We must therefore by the Law of Faith understand, not a Law in the strict and proper Sense, prescribing Works of any sort as Conditions, but only the Doctrine of Faith, and of the Believer's Justification by Christ's Righteous­ness which Faith receives. It is thus all the right Protestant Divines, who have commented on this Epistle, interpret the Apostle's meaning; tho the Popish Annotators wrest it to the same Purpose for which it is brought in by my Reverend Brother, as I shall prove by many Instances.

It would be tedious to multiply Citations of the hundredth part of Pro­testant Expositors on this Epistle; Calvin and Beza may alone suffice.* The Name of Law indeed (says Calvin) is improperly attributed to Faith. By what Law, that is, (says Beza) by what Doctrine.

The Popish Commentators indeed universally interpret this Rom. 3. 27. to design the Gospel to be a new Gracious Law. Thusa Aquinas, and the Cardinalb Cajetan; c Arias Montanus; d Ambrosius Catharinus, Bi­shop of Minori; e Cornelius Mussus, Bishop of Bitonto; the four Jesuits, f Benedictus Justinianus, g Cornelius a Lapide, h Estius, andi A­damus [Page 61] Contzen. This last orders his Commentary on the Epistle to the Ro­mans, in a way of Disputation, to refute the Hereticks, as he calls all those who believe the pure Truths of the Gospel. One great Doctrine of these No-Hereticks is, that the Gospel is no Law. This suppos'd Error the Jesuit ap­plies himself to confute; and in resolving that Question, What is the Law of Works? and what the Law of Faith? he first propounds Bellarmine's De­cision of it; the Sum whereof is, that the Gospel is a Law of Works too, but accompanied with Grace. But there is an Objection of Paraeus in the way, That if the Gospel be a Law, as containing in it Precepts and Com­mands, then the Distinction which the Apostle makes between the Law of Faith, and Law of Works, cannot be preserv'd; for both of them will agree in commanding Works, however different those Works may be which they enjoin, and therefore they both of them must necessarily be Laws of Works; unless any one will be so accurate a Disputant, as to deny a Law to be a Law, or Works to be Works. To remove this Objection, Contzen, (who being a Jesuit, was very well skill'd in all the Arts of Shuffling as well as any Man, and knew the necessary Doubles and Turnings when he was hunted) like a Politician in Divinity, makes this evasive Answer; That both Laws command, and yet the Law of Faith is not a Law of Works, though it commands Works; because it hath the Aids of Grace, by which the Works are perform'd. There­fore the Law of Faith is a Law of Grace, the Law of Works is without Grace. This is strange indeed; What! the Gospel commands, and yet is not a Law of Works; that is, the Gospel commands, without bidding us to do any thing; or to do, is not to work, but I know not what without a Name. Ay, but it is not a Law of Works, because it contains in it Grace, as a supply of Suc­cour to enable us to perform them. But this only proves the Works of their new Gospel to be easier, not that they are none at all. The best which can be made of it amounts to no more than this, that their Gospel is a gracious Law of Works, a Law whose Exactions are not so hard and cruel as those of the Tyrannical Egyptians, to require Brick without Straw, a Law whose Commands are moderated, and its lesser degrees of Duty accommodated to the weakness of our present State; and therefore it is not all Work, bu there is an Alloy of a great mixture of Grace. This seems to be fairly offer'd to com­pound the Business: but what if the Apostle refuseth the Composition? And indeed, in my poor Judgment, (if a Man may know his Meaning by his Words) it will not be admitted by him; for he opposeth the Gospel, or Law of Faith, to any Law of Works whatever, and however named gracious, or rendred attractive by any other amiable Titles.

But in the Close of the Dispute, this Jesuit Contzen joyfully cries out, Victo­ry; And what animated his Courage? Really it was only this, that he thought any more of his Learned Labours in this Affair were wholly superseded, by a great many of the Protestants owning the same Assertion (which he en­deavoured [Page 62] to prove) of the Gospel's being a new Law. But what are the Trophies of Conquest which he shews to this purpose? only Bertius the Ar­minian, who afterward turn'd Papist, and was advanc'd by the French King to be Professor of History at Paris *.

I wish that my Reverend Brother had not offer'd that place in Gal. 6. 2. not only on the account of its perfect refusal to serve his Design, but because the Papists and Arminians press it to the same purpose, of proving from it the Gospel to be a new Law, and Christ a new Law-giver, and I would not have him to be seen in such Company; the entire words of the Verse are these, Gal. 6. 2. Bear ye one anothers Burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ. There needs no more than to read them, to be satisfied that they sig­nify nothing to the Intent for which they are introduc'd: For the Law of Christ doth not import the Gospel, but (as all Commentators agree) only that particular Precept of the Moral Law urg'd by Christ, Joh. 13. 34. A new Commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. And we may as well prove from hence, that there are Eleven Commandments, as that the Gospel is a new Law. The Arminian Vorstius, and the Jesuit Estius, the better of the two, infer the same Error from this Gal. 6. 2. as my Learned Brother doth;a From all it is manifest, (says Estius) that Christ is not only given to Men as a Redeemer, to whom they may trust, (as the Hereticks will have it) but also as a Legislator, whom they may obey. b Christ is to be acknowledg'd, (says Vorstius) not on­ly as a Saviour, but also as a Law-giver, inasmuch as his chiefest Law is Love, which as a new Law he hath commanded to us in a new manner, and hath confirm'd it by a new Example. This is that Vorstius who denied the Om­nipresence of the Infinite God, and who advanc'd a wicked Opinion, not on­ly to imprison him in Heaven, but to bind the immense Divinity in Chains to his Throne there; and who asserted God to be mutable, and to change his Mind and Will as often as a fickle inconstant Manc.

The other place of Scripture, Isa. 42. 4. cited by my Learned Brother, is [Page 63] no more effectual to prove his Assertion than any of the former: The whole Verse is thus, Isa. 42. 4. He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till he have set Judgment in the Earth: and the Isles shall wait for his Law. That by his Law is meant a Declaration of Free Grace, is apparent from the genuine Sense of the Hebrew word, which in our English Bibles is translated, [they shall wait for his Law] the Hebrew word [...], signifies they shall hope, with earnest Desires expect it: And thus Piscator, who had an unquestionable Skill in that Language, renders it. We may then by a necessary Consequence conclude, that by Law here is meant, a publication of Free Grace by Christ, since the poor Sinners of the Gentiles could not desire or hope for any other. But without any Criticisms on the Hebrew Language, the foregoing Verse of the Prophet Isaiah, instructs us to a right understanding of the following, Isa. 42. 3. A bruised Reed shall he not break; and the smoking Flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth Judgment unto Truth. Now if Christ had brought in a new Law, with Precepts superadded to the old One, this would have been to break the bruis'd Soul with repeated Strokes in greater strength and fierceness.

There is another Scripture produc'd by my Learned Brother to be examin'd, which he urgeth to prove, That the Gospel as a new Law promiseth Blessings to the Performers of its Precepts, and threatens to punish all those who neglect them; Luke 19. 27. But those mine Enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. Now as I think, who am very willing to be better inform'd, our blessed Lord Jesus asserts on­ly his Right as Universal Monarch of the World; which we are so far from denying, that we heartily pray that his Kingdom may come in all the Shine of its Glory, as we are sure it will at the determin'd Time.

Well, but to soften the harsh word Law, he adds the more allaying one of Grace. But this will not do the Business, for a Law prescribing Works is no Covenant of Grace, if it be true what the Apostle says, Rom. 11. 6. And if by Grace, then is it no more of Works: otherwise Grace is no more Grace. But if it be of Works, then is it no more Grace: otherwise Work is no more Work. Therefore his no angry Brethren, are in no Passion to hear the Voice of the Law, if the old Moral One, as a continuing Rule to Believers, is meant; and they are very glad of the joyful Sound of Grace, they only gaze and ad­mire at the strange Prodigy of those two unnaturally join'd together, to com­pound a Covenant of Grace.

And tho with the greatest rejoicing we most thankfully accept God's new Covenant of Grace, yet we cannot own a new Law of his making, till we hear it more clearly proclaim'd by God himself.

I must confess I was a little surpriz'd at what I next read in my Reverend Brother's Learned Discourse; The Law of Grace we speak of, (says he) is both New and Old in different respects: It is New in respect of the Covenant [Page 64] of Works made with Adam in his State of Innocency a. What! is it a new Law of a fresher Date, that the old One being useless, God saw it needful to promulgate another, lower'd to lesser degrees of Duty, and so suted to the present Estate of Sinners? I am confident my Learned Brother will not assert this, tho it unhappily falls out that his Words seem to imply itb.

There remains nothing more than to examine his Humane Authorities; which I will do, tho there is the greatest uncertainty in the Citation of Au­thors to abet an Opinion, when Men only take care and labour to wrack and torture them to a forced Confession of their own Sense: For if the Words of the Holy Ghost himself, who deliver'd his Meaning most distinctly, and with the greatest exactness, are yet wrested and perverted to contrary Purposes, all Humane Writings are much more liable to be disfigur'd by wrong Interpreta­tions.

I will yet consider in order the several Authorities alledg'd; and first as to that of Justin Martyr. Any one who distinctly regards the Design of that Father's Writing, will see, that however he makes use of the word Law, by which to name the Gospel, yet by Law he means no more, than a new Do­ctrine or Dispensation of Grace. For his Design is to prove, against a Jew who was a great Admirer of his own Law, and its august Ceremonies and Worship, That all that solemn Pomp was excelled by the plain Evangelical Doctrine; that this new Discovery of the Blessings of Grace in the real and solid Substance, was infinitely preferable to all the old Representations and Shadows of those good Things: And therefore by this new Law, or this new Instruction of Grace coming, those old Rudiments go off as useless to teach us any longer. The Gospel as a new Doctrine of Grace appearing, the old Institutions of Sacrifices and External Rites, civilly are to withdraw, to give place to a superiour and better Instructor. To prove this is the Design of that Father's Dialogue against the Jew; and all that can be gather'd from his cal­ling the Gospel a New Law, is only this, that it is a fuller and clearer Revela­tion of the Grace of God in Christ, as is evident from what follows a little after those Words cited by my Learned Brother, where Justin Martyr expres­seth his Meaning about the Gospel's being a New Law,c that it is so as it is a new and clearer Dispensation of Grace: for having cited that Place in Isa. 55. 3, 4. expressing the Nature of the Gospel, and upbraiding the Jew for his Confidence in old Legal Performances, in Circumcision, in eating unlea­vened Bread, in washing in the Laver of Water, in the Blood of Sheep and [Page 65] Goats, and the Ashes of an Heifer; It is not by these, says he, that Sinners are purified, but by the Blood of Christ, and his Death; who died for that very Purpose, as Esa himself hath spoketh it. And then he largely recites the six last Verses of the 52d Chapter, and Chap. 53. entire, and the six first Verses of the 54th Chapter of that Prophet; which contain the most clear and full Dis­covery of the Doctrine of Grace, as is in all the old Testament. So that all which the Father intends by the Name of a new Law given to the Gospel, is, that it is a Doctrine of Grace newly revealed: And in this Sense, I am very willing to call it so too.

But let us see if Cyprian gives his Vote for my Learned Brother. It is true, that he speaks frequently in his 11th Epistle of the Law of the Gospel; but it is certain, that as he wrote this Epistle to complain of, and to rectify the Re­laxation of Discipline in the Churches, that those who had fallen into great, and notorious Sins, were yet re-admitted into Communion before they had given any Testimony of their Repentance; so by the Law of the Gospel he means only that due Discipline, which ought to be observed in all the Chur­ches of Christa.

When Cyprian also speaks of a new Law which was to be given, he writing against the Jews, and proving the Abolition of their Ceremonial Worship, means no more by the new Law than what Justin Martyr did; that is, a new Doctrine, and Institution of Grace: And this the very words of Cyprian, ci­ted by my Learned Brother, wherein he calls this new Law, Another Admi­nistration, and that by it the old intolerable Yoke of Ligal Observances was re­mov'd, do evidence.

The next Father, who is forc'd to come in to give witness to this new Law, is Augustine: But what he says will not at all serve the Cause. For in that his Discourse of Grace and Free-will, his Design is to prove against the Pelagians, that Man by the best use of his natural Powers, cannot obey the Pre­cepts of the Moral Law; but that the Grace of the Gospel is absolutely neces­sary to strengthen a Christian to that Obedience which be pays; tho imper­fectly, to the old Law as the Rule of his Actions. And that great Light of his Age makes the Difference between the new and old Law to be this that the old Law consisted wholly in Precepts and Commands, and so was a killing Letter to the Sinner; but the Nature of the Gospel is to promise, and give Grace:b When it is said, (says he) 1 Joh. 4. 7. Let us love one another; this is Law: when it is said, Because Love is of God, this is Grace. He asserts [Page 66] that there are Precepts in the New Testament, and none ever had so little Un­derstanding as to deny it; but these Precepts do not properly belong to the pure Nature of the Gospel, but are only repeated and urg'd in it: but it is that Grace which promises Pardon to the Sinner, and that Grace which makes the Believer holy and obedient, that are the native Streams which are deriv'd from this Spring. And it is apparent from the Words of Augustine, cited by my Reverend Brother, that this Father makes the old Law to be a Doctrine of Works, and so a killing Letter without Grace; that is, without the Gospel, which as a pure Doctrine of Grace, shews how the Law is satisfied by Christ, and how the Sinner and the Ungodly may be justified; and affords Supplies of Grace sutable to all the various Needs of the Believer. The other Place cited out of Augustine, proves no more than that we are freed from the Con­demnation of the Law by the Law of Faith, which how it is to be understood of the Doctrine of Faith, I have before shewn in resouing Rom. 3. 27. from its perverted Meaning, Page 59. of this Discourse.

Salvian's Testimony proves no more than that the Christian Law, or the Doctrine of Grace, was dishonour'd by some Mens abusing it to Licentiousness. Bradwardine I must confess speaks plainly to my Reverend Brother's Pur­pose; but it is no wonder: for tho with incomparable Strength, and Close­ness of Reason, he refuted the Pelagian Heresies, yet he was a Papist, and con­sequently firm to the Belief of the Roman Creed, the principal Article of which is Merit. He accordingly, tho utterly disclaiming Works done by Na­ture, yet asserts Works done by Grace to be meritorious. To support this As­sertion, the Writers of the Church of Rome have taken care to lay down ano­ther as its main Foundation, that the Gospel is a new Law; and therefore by obeying of the Precepts of it, which are made the Conditions, we deservedly (as they assert) obtain, by virtue of God's Covenant stipulated with us on such Terms, the promised Rewards. Bradwardine accordingly maintains the Gospel to be a new Law, and that whoever shall keep this Christian Law, shall receive eternal Glory. a So that this Man's Authority in the present Case (however great and excellent he is in other Points) will not reflect any Glory on this Hypothesis; but rather doth disparage it, since it evinceth how near this Opinion of the Gospel's being a new Law, approacheth to Popery, tho I cannot entertain a thought, that any of my Reverend Brethren do designedly make the least advancing step to it.

As to the Testimony of the Leyden Professors, they only mean that the Go­spel in a large and improper Sense may be term'd a Law, because there are Precepts, Commands, and Threatnings in the Books of the New Testament. But those worthy Professors, when they treat of the Gospel in its strict Signi­fication, [Page 67] they define it to be only a pure Word of Grace. For, says Polyander, who was one of them;a The Gospel specially taken, and restrain'd to the Exhibition of Christ, first denotes the History of Christ manifested in the Flesh, Mark 12. Secondly, it is us'd for the joyful Doctrine and Preaching concerning the Reconciliation of Men who are Sinners, with God, by the free Remission of their Sins obtain'd for them by the expiatory Death of Christ, indifinitely offer'd to any one, reveal'd to the Poor in Spirit, and Babes; but singularly apply'd to the Believers, for their Salvation, and for the Manifestation, and eternal Glory of the Divine Mercy in Conjunction with Justice: 1 Cor. 9. 14, 15. This is in the same Disputation cited by my Brother. And a little after the same Learned Polyander renounceth the Opinion of the Schoolmen and Monks, asserting the Gospel to be a new Law; and disclaims the Arminian and Socinian Doctrines, which attribute to the Gospel as a new Law, new Precepts that are proper and peculiar to it. Whether then these Reverend Professors ever once thought the Gospel, strictly and properly taken, to be a Law, let any one judg.

It is easy also to judg, that Gomarus understands the Gospel in its larger Ac­ceptation, when he calls it a Law in the Place cited by my Reverend Brother; for when before in the same Disputation he defines the Gospel, (and then to be sure he took it in its strict and proper Sense) he makes not the least mention of a Law, nor of Commands of Threatningsb: As I have before given the Instance from his own words, Page 34. of this Discourse.

It is wearisome to follow my Learned Brother through all his Citations, and particularly to consider them; there is no need to do it largely: and tho what he transcribes out of Dr. Twiss takes up almost three Pages, yet a short Answer will take off this Testimony too, and shew that it is nothing to the Purpose. In a word, all that can be concluded from the Words of Dr. Twiss is only this, that God hath appointed a set and stated Order in our Salvation, accord­ing to which he proceeds. As he is not a God of Confusion, he saves us regular­ly, and bestows his Blessings in a due Series; so that in a becoming Manner one may follow the other: And how the Gospel is such a regular Order and Harmony of Blessings, I have shewed before, Page 6. of this Discourse.

And by this Way we may soberly and sincerely deal with a poor dying Sin­ner (to whom my Reverend Brothera next brings me) without encoura­ging his Presumption in the general Notions which even wicked Men have of God's being merciful, and Christ's dying for Sinners; or throwing him into the Convulsions of Despair. If I should tell him just dying, of a new Law which must be obey'd by him, before he can entertain any hopes; that this new Law requires Obedience from him, and till he hath done it, he must look for nothing but Condemnation from its severe Sentence: If I tell him that one Condition of this Law is that he reform the Course of a Life, of which he is come within a point of the Period; and that unless he live better he cannot be saved, when he hath but a few Moments longer to live: He would certainly look very ghastly upon me, and think that I made his Mittimus to Hell. But if I tell him, that the Blessings of the Covenant are inseparable, and where God gives one, they are followed with all the other; That where God confers his Favour, he plants Grace too, and works Faith in the Heart of those whom he hath decreed to save: That this Faith, if true, is accompanied with Love; and the natural Product of that is a sincere Resolution to please Christ, and o­bey him; and if he can lay his Hand on his Heart, and find these Blessings there, he may be assured of his Interest in the other, and that believing he is justified by the Obedience of Christ to the Law performed for him. This Declaration of the Gospel to a startled Sinner, who hath not one Minute longer to promise to his affrighted Spirit, may (God making it the Power of God unto Salvation) revive, and give new Life unto-him in the Agonies of Death. But to amaze him with a Discourse of new Laws, and Commands, and Threat­nings, would be to stab him to the Soul, and to murder him more cruelly than his Disease.


That this Opinion of the Gospel's being a New Law, too much agrees with the Popish and Arminian Doctrines, proved by several Instances out of their Authors.

SINCE Popery and Arminianism, under various Names, and in pursuit of different Ends, make the same stated Opposition to the Design of the Gospel; every Opinion which agrees with their Errors, deserves to be su­spiciously regarded, and is unworthy of any favourable reception. If it then doth appear that this Doctrine of the Gospel's being a new Law, hath been strongly maintain'd by the Romish Church in several Ages, as that which lays the surest Foundation for that dear Article of their Faith, the Merit of Works; and hath all been zealously espoused by the Arminians and Socinians, as a most effectual Engine to overthrow Justification by the imputed Righteousness of Christ: Then all who love Jesus the Redeemer, or are careful of their own Salvation by him, will be very wary of giving a welcome Entertainment to this new Law. That the Doctors of the Romish Church have all along as­serted the Gospel to be a new Law, will be evident from a few Instances.

Petrus Lombardus, the Master of the Sentences, who flourish'd An. Dom. 1141. explaining the Difference between the Old Law, and the New Law the Gospel. a The Precepts of them (says he) are different as to Ceremonials: For as to Morals they are the same, but are more fully contain'd in the Go­spel.

Alexander Alensis who liv'd Anno Dom. 1230. resolving that Question, Whether the Observance of the Old or New Law be the most burdensome? says,b ‘That the Precepts of the Gospel, simply and absolutely, are more difficult, and of a greater Burden than the Precepts of the Mosaical Law.’

Gulielmus Altissiodorensis, who flourish'd Anno Dom. 1240. resolves the same Question, with this Distinction;c ‘The Difficulty or Weight is two­fold, [Page 70] one Carnal, the other Spiritual. As to the Carnal Burdensomness, the old Law was heavier than the Gospel; but as to the Spiritual Difficulty, the new Law is more difficult.’

Albertus Magnus, who lived Anno Dom. 1260. clearing, how tho the Letter of the Law kills, yet the Spirit makes alive.d ‘The Spirit (says he) is the Grace of the Spirit, in which the Holy Ghost is given; and this is given in the making of the new Law, not in that of the Old.’

Thomas Aquinas, who lived Anno Dom. 1265. in resolving that Question, Whether the new Law can justify a Man? positively affirms, ‘Thate the E­vangelical Law, since it is the Grace it self of the Holy Spirit, doth necessari­ly justify a Man.’

Joannes Dunscotus, who flourish'd Anno Dom. 1300. explaining how the new Law is easier to be obey'd than the old One, tho it hath all the Moral Precepts of that with the superaddition of new Ones:f ‘But (says he) on the Part of the new Law, the Multitude and Efficacy of the Aids doth more alleviate the Difficulty of its Moral Precepts.’

Raynerius de Pisis, who also flourish'd Anno Dom. 1300. discourseth large­ly about this new Law, and its Excellence and eminent Prerogative above the old One:g ‘Which new Law (says he) hath four notable and excellent Conditions; for it is a Law of Charity, of Liberty, Facility, and Necessity; and with a tedious prolixness he insists on all those Particulars.’

The Cardinal, Petrus Aureolus, who flourish'd Anno Dom. 1317. gives eight Differences between the new Law and the Old; and among the rest as­signs this, ‘Thath the old Law commanded, but afforded no Aid, it was intent on the Letter which kills; but the New gives Spirit and Grace, which quickens.’

i ‘That the new Law frees us from the Burdens of the old Law, is true, (says Durandus à S. Porciano, who liv'd Anno Dom. 1320.) both because it imposeth on us fewer Burdens, and also lighter, and which belong to the Cure of the Disease of Sin, and to the preservation of Spiritual Health.’

k ‘There are two Parts of the Divine Law, both the Old and the New, (says Dionysius Carthusianus, who lived Anno Dom. 1450.) viz. Testimo­nies and Precepts; Testimonies concern things to be believ'd, Precepts those which are to be done.’

Dominicus Soto, who was Father Confessor to the French King Francis I. Anno Dom. 1535. disputes largely about the New Law, or the Evangelical Law; and among other things he tells us, ‘Thatl it is a Law proper to Christians, when the Moral Law, written on the Hearts of Men, belongs to all Nations. That this Law is the Gospel it self.’

And then determining that Question, Whether this new Evangelical Law hath the Virtue of justifying a Man? he decides it in these two Propositions; m ‘1. The Evangelical Law, if its pure Instructions and Commands, and Substance of its Works be considered, doth no more in it self justify than the old Law, or the Law of Nature it self. 2. The Evangelical Law, if its in­ternal Virtue is consider'd, justifies a Man.’

Albertus Pighius, who lived at the same Time, speaking of the Cup in the Sacrament:n ‘This is the Cup, (says he) not of that old Testament, which was then presently to be disannull'd, but of the New and Eternal Cove­nant, of the new Law promulgated in a new manner.’

If we go to the more Modern Doctors of the Church of Rome, who liv'd in this present Age, we shall find that they all write in the same Strain. [Page 72] o ‘But the Law, says Estius, (shewing the Difference between the two Laws) accompanied with Grace, such as the new Law is understood to be, doth not only shew what is to be done, but doth administer Spirit and Virtue, by which what is given in Precept may be fulfill'd.’

Suarez, who for strength of Mind, and clearness of Thought, is the best of all the Schoolmen, spends the whole tenth Book of his large Volume a­bout Laws, to explain the Nature of this new Evangelical Law. He at the very first lays down these two Assertions.p ‘1. That Christ was not only a Redeemer but a true and proper Legislator. 2. That the Law of Christ, or the new Law, is a true and most proper preceptive Law.’

And then afterward assoiling that Difficulty, How this his new Law can ju­stify, since it consists in Precepts as well as the Old, and so could have no more justifying Virtue in it than that:q ‘But to this Difficulty (says he) there is also a common Answer, That Grace doth agree to the new Law in it self, and as proper to it: but it was not join'd to the old preceding Laws from their own force and Virtue, and as proper to them, but with respect to the Law of Grace: And therefore Justification is simply attributed to the Law of Grace, but not to the former Laws.—For this Reason therefore the Spirit of Grace is said to be proper to the new Law, because this new Law was given in which the Author of Grace was now come, and consummated the Redemption of Men, and merited Grace for all. Yes, he himself is the Author, both of this Law and of Grace.’

I will name one more, the Cardinal Bellarmine, who as he fiercely oppos'd the Doctrine of Grace, reviv'd by the first Reformers, he earnestly sat himself to assert the Gospel to be a new Law. And as he knew very well, that he could not maintain the Merit of Works and Justification by them, without this Assertion of the Gospel's being a new Law, he begins his fourth Book [Page 73] of Justification which is concerning the Righteousness of Works, with eager Endeavours to vindicate this Assertion against the Protestants. Among other things, too long here to relate, he tells us; ‘Thatr indeed if we speak of the Grace of the New Testament, the Law is not distinguish'd from the Gospel in this, that the Law requires Works, but the Gospel doth not require Works: But in that the Law teacheth what is to be done, the Gospel affords Strength to do it. So that according to him, the new Law tho requiring Works, is yet a Law of Grace, because accompanied with Grace.’

Thus it is evident, that for many past Ages down to our own, this Opinion of the Gospel's being a new Law was the constant Doctrine of the Anti-christi­an Church, and eagerly maintain'd to support the Merit of Works. The So­cinians and Arminians, as they join'd with the Church of Rome in denying the Imputation of Christ's Righteousness, so they readily embrac'd this Figment of the new Law; under the covert of which, they introduc'd an Evangelical Righteousness of our own in conformity to it, by which we are to be justified. I shall not be large in prosecuting this Business, because my Revernd and Learned Brother, Mr. Stephen Lobb, will do it sufficiently. I will only offer two fair Evidences; the one of Socinus himself, the other of Episcopius. s ‘Tho Christ (saith Socinus) hath his Law, and promulgated it in the Name of God to the World; yet is he not call'd simply a Law-giver, since his Law was nothing else but a Complement, and Perfection of the Mosaical Law: nor indeed did he chiefly come into the World for that End, that he might make Laws, and be our Legislator; but that he might save us, for which End also he gave to us his Law.t The Remonstrants confess (says Episcopius) that they are delighted with that Manner of Speaking, [viz. that Christ is a certain new Law-giver] not because it savours of this or that Author, much less because they borrowed it from Socinus; but because it is the Phrase of God, and of Scripture, and because it is the Heart and Marrow of all Reli­gion; [Page 74] and they believe nothing to be more necessary, than that it should be believ'd that Christ is the Maker of a new Law.’

It is plain then that this Assertion of the Gospel's being a new Law, is a Po­pish, and Socinian, and Arminian Doctrine. What then shall I brand my Re­verend Brother with any of these hated Names? No, I am so far from doing it, that I do not so much as think him to be on the Side of any of the three Parties, tho he is so liberal in bestowing Titles of Dishonour upon those who differ from him, as to call them Antinomians; and so by virtue of an hard Word, to name them the greatest Villains which can live upon Earth.

I know very well that the Papists, together with asserting the Gospel to be a Law, assert the Merit of Works; which is disclaim'd by my Brother, and yet is really included in his Hypothesis: For what is Merit, but when the Re­ward is due to some Work done? And now if the Gospel be in that respect a Law, that it requires Duties as Conditions of having a Claim to its Blessings, and promises them to the Performance of those Conditions, then to them per­form'd, tho of never so little Consideration, the Blessings must be given not as the Fruits of meer Grace, but as the Results of a just Debt. However, tho the Opinion is not professedly so rank as Popery, and Arminianism; yet in the least Nearness to those destructive Errors there is Danger, and within the very Confines dwell Plagues and Death. The People cannot then with too much Zeal, be warned of the hazardous Approaches which lead them on to be be­tray'd into the Enemies Camp. They understand not the Niceties of Contro­versy, and of Errors so refin'd that they escape their discerning they are not afraid, and yet all the while the Venom works more desperately for being subtiliz'd, and the invisible Spirits of it mortally seize their Brains, when they startled at the sight of the Poison offer'd in its grosser Bulk. I hope then my Reverend Brother, and all others, will pardon me if my Love to the Truth hath stirr'd me with some just Indignation against the Opinions, which fa­vour those dangerous Errors concerning Justification by Works, and if I have been moved to represent them in their own exact Shape and natural Colours. For tho I will not avow these newly advanc'd Doctrines to be rank Popery, and Arminianism; yet I must say, that they want but little of taking that De­gree, and that even in this respect they are the more hurtful. For when a gross Error is wire-drawn to a slender Thred, it is the more mischievous in being not easily discernable, since so it slides insensibly into the Minds of the Unwary. What tho the Merit of good Works is disclaim'd; what tho the So­cinian and Arminian Inferences from the Gospel's being a new Law, are dis­own'd; yet would it not be better for the Preservation of the Truth in its Pu­rity, and for the Safety of the Souls of the People, to forbear such Phrases and Modes of Speech, which by the Enemies of the Gospel are made use of to very ill Purposes? Let all of us be sway'd by the Words of a Man, whose Memory we all love and revere: It is the admirable Beza; who writing against Clau­dius [Page 75] de Xaintes, contests with him that the Gospel was not a new Law, nor ought so to be named;u ‘I confess (says he) that Paul makes mention in one place of the Law of Faith, which he opposeth to the Law of Works; but besides that the Name of Faith added takes away all Ambiguity, I say that nei­ther so indeed doth that Place favour thee. I read in the same Apostle, the Law of Christ express'd, but meant for the Command of mutual Love renewed by Christ, to which is oppos'd the external, and especially the Pharisaical Obser­vation of the Law. I deny that the perfect Law of Liberty, which James mentions, belongs to this naming of a new Law. But I remember that Cal­vin in one place uses your Phrase, but with an Interpretation added; and that too only, that all might understand what he would disprove in you. But do not think that I contend with you about a Triffle, tho some of the Antient Fathers, as Augustine (which yet he did very rarely) attributed sometimes the Name of a Law, and indeed of a new, or second Law, to the New Testament or Gospel. That pernicious, and plainly detestable Error of your's, by which you take away the chief Difference of the Law and Gospel, makes me to judg that this Phrase, viz. [a new Law] unusual in the Scriptures, ought wholly to be thrust out of the Church.’



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