The Law, our School-Master.

A SERMON, Preached at Litchfield June 8, 1756. Before the Association of Litchfield County.

By Joseph Bellamy, A. M. Minister of the Gospel at Bethlem.

Published with great Enlargements

For I through the Law am dead to the Law, that I might live unto God.

St. Paul.

NEW-HAVEN: [...]ted by JAMES PARKER, and COMPANY, at the Post-Office.



  • THE Character of the Galatians. Their Notion of Justification by the Deeds of the Law. Page 2
  • [...] Manner [...]easoning with them. Page 4
  • A general View of the Law given on Mount Sinai. Page 8
  • It required perfect Obedience. Page 11
  • On that Condition promised eternal Life. Page 12
  • For the least Failing threatned eternal Misery. Page 13
  • No Flesh can be justified by it. Page 17
  • Yet all were obliged heardly to approve of it as strictly just. Page 18
  • Which would prepare them for the Gospel-Way of Life. Page 19
  • Which was painted out by various Types. Page 21
  • The State of the Gentiles under the Law of Nature. Page 25
  • [...]jections answered Page 28
  • [...] Arminian Scheme inconsistent with St. Paul's. Page 37
  • [...] are justified by Faith, not for Faith Page 49
  • [...] Necessity and Nature of Preparation for Christ. Page 56
  • [...] Nature of justifying Faith. Page 61
  • [...] Belief that our Sins are forgiven quite a different Thing from true Faith. Page 66
  • [...]n important Case of Conscience resolved Page 70
  • The true State of a Christless Sinner Page 71
  • The only Way of Relief Page 75
[Page 1]

The Law, our School-Master.


WHEREFORE the Law was our School-Master to bring us unto CHRIST, that we might be justified by Faith.

THE chief Design of the present Dis­course is to give the true Sense of this Text; which will go far towards leading us into the Nature of the Jewish Religion, and of the Christian; and help to remove several dangerous Mistakes, which Mankind have been apt to run into.—Now, in Order to understand any Text of Scripture, we are to consider the various Circumstances of the Discourse; such as, the Character of the Per­sons spoken to, the Manner how the Text is intro­duced, and for what Purpose: That, we, seeing the Occasion of what is written, and the Scope and De­sign of the inspired Writer, may the more readily and certainly discern the true Sense of the Passage.— Here, therefore let us enquire into—the Character of the Persons St. Paul had to deal with—the Occa­sion and Design of these Words, and how they were introduced in the Thread of his Argument—and the Grounds he saw in the Nature of the Mosais Dispen­sation [Page 2]for this Observation, That the Law was [...] School-Master to bring us to Christ.

I. As to the Character of the Persons St. Paul had to deal with.—They, at least the Ring-leaders of them, were, by Birth Jews, by Education Pharisees, and now lately converted to Christianity; but yet zea­lous for some of their old Pharisaical Notions, fond of making Proselytes to their own Scheme, a Scheme, in the Apostle's Opinion, subversive of Christianity.

WHILE of the Sect of the Pharisees, before their Conversion to Christianity, they expected Justification wholly by the Deeds of the Law. (Rom. x. 3.) But now, since their Conversion to Christianity, they ex­pected Justification by the Deeds of the Law; and yet it seems, not wholly; for they hoped that Christ would profit them some, be of some Effect, and they had some Dependence on Grace, as is implied in the Apostle's Manner of Reasoning in Gal. v. 2, 3, 4.—As to their Notions of the Law of Moses, by which they expected Justification, it seems, they considered it, not at all, as a Dispensation preparitory to Christianity, suited to shew them their Need of Christ, and to lead them to Faith in him by Types and Shadows; but only as a Rule of Life, to which, if they conformed, they should be saved. And it seems they did not doubt, but that such a Conformity to it, as they were capable of, would answer the End: Little consider­ing, that if they depended upon their Circumcision, and their others Works for Life, they were obliged to keep the whole Law.—Just as now a Days there are those, who ignorantly imagine, that if they en­deavour to do as well as they can, they shall be saved; little thinking, that if they depend upon their own Righteousness for Salvation, they ought to yield a perfect Obedience, as they would not finally be dis­appointed.

HAD they viewed the Law of Moses as a Dispensa­tion preparatory to Christianity, they might more rea­dily have soon the Propriety of its being abolished, and [Page 3]giving Place to the Gospel of Christ; but while they considered it, with all its Rites and Ceremonies, only, as a Rule to which they were to Conform, as a Con­dition of Salvation, Christ only making up for their Deficiencies, it was natural to think it of perpetual Obligation; and that not only to themselves, but also to the Gentile Converts. When therefore they observed St. Paul constantly preaching Justification by Faith alone without the Deeds of the Law, and the Gentile Converts received and embraced as good Christians, without their paying any Regard to the Rites and Ce­remonies of the Mosaic Law, they were chagrined, and set up themselves to oppose St. Paul, affirming ‘that unless the Gentile Converts were circumcised and kept the Law of Moses they could not be saved.’ Act. XV. 1, 5.

AND as the Jews were, in tho [...] early Times, the greatest Enemies Christianity had, and the most bitter Persecutors, enraged to see the Rites of Moses's Law neglected; so these Pharisaical Christians, by their Zeal for Moses's Law, ingratiated themselves very much, in the Favour of these bitter Enemies of Christianity, which made them the more zealous in their Way, that they might not only avoid Persecu­tion from the unbelieving Jews, but also have it to glory in, that they had proselyted so many Gentiles to be circumcised. Gal. vi. 12, 13.—So that they were not only bigoted to their Scheme by their Edu­cation while Jews, and attached to it, as it suited their self-righteous Temper; but also proud of it, as it freed them from the chief Odium of Christianity, and screened them from the Malice of its bitterest Ene­mies.—And they were in some Places more than a Match for St. Paul with all his extraordinary Gifts. They raised such a Dust at Antioch, as that Paul and Bar­nabas could not settle the Point; but were obliged to refer it to the Apostles at Jerusalem. And they made such sad Work in the Churches in Galatia, that altho' the Converts there, once, could have even plucked [Page 4]out their Eyes and given to St. Paul, yet they were now much disaffected towards him, and even become his Enemies. And these Seducers were in eminent Dan­ger of even overthrowing Christianity in all that Country; which at last obliged St. Paul to write this Epistle to the several Churches in Galatia.

II. Now these were the Men the Apostle had to deal with; and the Method he took, which was wisely adapted to let in Light upon, their Minds and tho­roughly convince their Judgments, may be fully seen, if we carefully read thro' this Epistle: But I may now only give you a brief and cursory View of some Parts of it, just to let you see his Manner of Address, and his Way of Reasoning, and how our Text is in­troduced in the Thread of the Apostle's Argument.— Which take as follows—

‘THIS Epistle is sent to the Churches of Galatia, from Paul, an Apostle, who received his Mission not of Men, neither by Men, but immediately from Jesus Christ: And it is approved by all the Brethren with him, and it comes wishing you all Blessings.—But I am astonished and greatly mar­vel, after all the Pains I have taken with you to instruct you into the true Nature of Christianity, to see you so soon drawn away by these Seducers, to quite another Kind of a Gospel; which indeed is no Gospel: But is a most dangerous Scheme.— These Seducers, how plausible soever they appear, ought not to be regarded. Yea, if an Angel from Heaven should preach any other Gospel, than that I have preached, let him be ACCURSED.—I speak plainly: For I am no TRIMMER. I do not make it my ultimate End to please Man; but mean, in the Uprightness of my Heart, to be faithful to Jesus Christ.—And I know, I received the Gospel I preached to you by immediate Revelation from God, after, as it was publickly known, I had been exceedingly zealous in the Pharisaical Scheme; be­ing met with in a very extraordinary Manner, as I [Page 5]was going to Damascus: Ever since which Time, I have constantly preached this Gospel; being in­structed, not even by any of the Apostles, but by immediate Revelation.—And I have constantly maintained, that the Gentiles need not be Circum­cised, or keep the Law of Moses; and that no Man is justified by the Deeds of the Law, but only by Faith in Christ. &c. Chapters i, and ii.’

‘NOT that I countenance Licentiousness. For at the same Time, that I thro' the Law am dead to all Hopes of Justification by the Law, I am but hereby prepared to live with a single Eye to the Glory of God: Still having all my Hopes of Ac­ceptance founded on Christ.—And indeed I could not consistently preach up Justification by the Law. For if I did, I should quite overthrow the Gospel. For if Righteousness and Justification come by the Law, and is to be obtained by our own Works, then there was no Need of Christ: But he is dead in vain. Chap. ix. 17.21.’

‘O FOOLISH, infatuated Galatians, may I not ap­peal even to your own Experience? Cannot you recollect that an extraordinary Outpouring of the Spirit, in his miraculous Gifts, has attended the Preaching of the Doctrines of Grace, and not of the Pharisaical Scheme, as in all the Churches, so also among you? And is not this a sufficient Confirma­tion that they are from God? And were not even you yourselves converted to Christianity by these Doctrines attended with a divine Influence? And can you think to perfect yourselves now by going off from this spiritual, divine Scheme, to one, so mean and low? Chap. iii. 1—5.’

‘AND this indeed, is not any new Doctrine. It is the old Way of Justification. Your Father Abraham was, two Thousand Years ago, justified in this Way. And in this Way all his Children are justified. Ver. 6—9.’

[Page 6] ‘BESIDES, you cannot be justified by the Law, if you are ever so desirous of it. All your Hopes are built upon ignorant and mistaken Notions. For it is evident that the Law requires sinless Perfection under the severest Penalty.—Therefore, so far from being justified will you be, if you adhere to this Way of Justification, that every Man of you, who does so, will inevitably fall under the Curse. For it is expressly written, cursed is every one, that con­tinueth not in all Things, which are written in the Bock of the Law, to do them. Ver. 10.—And there­fore, see you remember, that if you are circum­cised, and intend to be saved by the Law, that you yield a sinless Perfection. For I Paul assure every Man of you, that is circumcised under that Notion, that he is a Debtor to keep the whole Law, he is bound to yield a perfect Obedience, as he hopes to be saved. For if you go this Way to obtain Justi­fication, I assure you, whatever you think, Christ will profit you nothing: You shall, however you may flatter yourselves, have no Benefit from him: But must stand, or fall, as you yield a perfect Obedience, or not. Chap. v. 2, 3, 4.

[Page 7] ‘AND if to all this you should object, and say— And what was the Law given for, if we are not to justi­fied by it?—I reply, it was given to answer many wise Ends, as for Instance, to check and restrain Vice. Chap. iii. 19. But especially to be a School-Master, to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by Faith. For by the Law all Sin was forbid under the highest Penalty. And so by it we were shut up under Sin and Condemna­tion. and shut up to the Faith. There was no Way to escape the Curse, but by Faith. All o­ther Ways were shut up. And thus the Law was to teach us our Need of Christ and free Grace: And to bring us to look this Way for Justification and eternal Life. Ver. 22, 23, 24.’ And thus we see the Occasion of the Words, and how they were introduced in the Thread of the Apostle's Ar­gument.

[Page 8] III. AND now that we may more fully under­stand them, let us turn back to the sacred Books of Moses, and take a View of the Law given on Mount-Sanai, that we may see what Foundation there was in that Dispensation, for this Observation of the inspired Apostle.

LET us begin then with the xixth Chapter of Ex­odus, and see the particular Steps divine Wisdom took to introduce that Dispensation, after that God had already in general prepared the Way for it, by redeeming the Children of Israel out of Egypt, by an out-stretched Hand, by Signs and Wonders, and led them through the Red-Sea.—Two Months they had now been in the Wilderness (miraculously sup­plied were they with Water out of the flinty Rock, and with Bread from Heaven) when they came to the Mount of God—and all to teach them, that the God of Abraham was the MOST HIGH GOD; and to make them sensible, that they were under the greatest and strongest Obligations to him.

ISRAEL pitched in the Wilderness of Sinai, and there they camped before the Mount. And that it might be seen whether they would receive his Law, God called unto Moses out of the Mountain, and sent him to the House of Jacob, and bid him tell the Children of Israel,—"Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on Eagle's Wings, and brought you unto my self. Now therefore if ye will obey my Voice indeed, and keep my Covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar Treasure to me above all People: For all the Earth is mine." To which the Children of Israel made Answer—"All that the Lord hath spoken will we do."—"And Moses told the Words of the People unto the Lord."—And the Lord sent him to sanctify the People that Day, and the next, that they might be ready against the third Day, when he would come down in the Sight of all the People upon Mount Sinai.—"And it came to pass on the third Day in the Morning, that there were Thunders and Light­nings, [Page 9]and a thick Cloud upon the Mount, and the Voice of the Trumpet exceeding loud: So that all the People that was in the Camp trembled."—Upon which "Moses brought forth the People out of the Camp to meet with God. And Mount Sinai," to look to, "was altogether on a Smoke. And the Smoke thereof ascended as the Smoke of a Furnace: And the whole Mount quaked greatly. And the Voice of the Trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder." Exod. xix. "And the Sight of the Glory of the Lord was like DEVOURING FIRE on the Top of the Mount, in the Eyes of the Children of Israel." Chap. xxiv. 17.—And all this, to fill the Hearts of the whole Congregation with a Sense of the Greatness and Majesty of God, and their infinite Obligations to be obedient.

Now from the Mountain, with all these solemn and awful Things attending, God gave forth his Law, with a Voice so exceeding loud, as to be heard by the whole Congregation, containing perhaps near three Millions of Souls: Which filled the whole Congregation with so great Terror, that they besought that God would not speak any farther to them in this awful Manner, lest they should die under it. Chap. xx. 18.19.

"AND God spake all these Words, saying,"

"I AM THE LORD THY GOD, which have brought the out of the Land of Egypt, out of the House of Bondage."

"THOU shalt have no other Gods before me."

"THOU shalt not make unto thee any graven Image," &c.

"THOU shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain," &c.

"REMEMBER the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy," &c. &c. &c.

Even Ten Commandments.

THE Sum of all which was "thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart.—And thy Neigh­bour as thyself."

[Page 10] AND it was charged upon the Children of Israel, when they had passed over Jordan, that they should stand, Part on Mount Gerizzim, and Part on Mount Ebal: and that the Levites should say, "CURSED be the Man, that maketh any graven, or molten Image," &c.—"And all the People shall say, AMEN." And the CURSE was to be repeated twelve Times, accord­ing to the Number of the twelve Tribes of Israel, and all the People were to say AMEN.—And to sum up the Whole, the Levites were to say, "CURSED be the Man that confirmeth not all the Words of this Law, to do them." (Or according to St. Paul, "that continueth not in all Things, written in the Book of the Law, to do them.") "And all the People shall say, AMEN."—Thus the Law, as requiring sinless Perfection under the Penalty of the CURSE, was, in this public Manner, and with the utmost Solemnity, to be approved by the whole Congregation, as holy, just and good. And all the People shall say, AMEN. Deut. xxvii.

IN Case of any Trangression, the only Way pro­vided and prescribed to obtain Pardon; was by Shed­ding of Blood. And without shedding of Blood, there was no Remission. * The Transgressor was to bring a Bullock for a Sin-offering to the Tabernacle, and pre­sent it before the Lord; and having laid his Hands on the Head of the Bullock, the Priest was to slay him, sprinkle the Blood, burn the Bullock, and so make an Atonement for the Sin: And in this Way, it should be forgiven.

ONCE in every Year, on the great Day of Atone­ment, the High-Priest, drest in his holy Robes, with the Names of the twelve Tribes of Israel on his Heart, and with the Blood of Atonement in his Hands, was to enter into the most holy Place, even into the immediate Presence of God, who dwelt there, over the Mercy-Seat, in the Cloud of Glory, to make Atonement for the whole Congregation.—After [Page 11]which, on the same solemn Day, the High Priest was to lay both his Hands on the Head of a live Goat, and confess over him all the Iniquities of the Chil­dren of Israel, and all their Transgressions in all their Sins, putting them on the Head of the Goat, and then send him away by the Hand of a fit Man into the Wilderness: and the Goat was to bear upon him all their Iniquities, unto a Land not inhabited. *

AND thus the Law, by its requiring prefect Obe­dience, and denouncing a CURSE for the least failing, discovered the Necessity of an Atonement. And thus the Law by its Sin-Offerings, and its Blood of Atone­ment, and its scape Goat, pointed out Christ. And thus the Law was in its Nature suited to be a School-Master to bring them to Christ that they might be jus­tified by Faith.

IV. BUT that this Point may stand in the clearest Light, and the Justness of the Apostle's Observation be seen in the plainest Manner, these following Particulars may be distinctly noted and illustrated.

1. "THAT the Law given on Mount Sinai re­quired sinless Perfection of the whole Congregation of Israel."—If sinless Perfection be defined to be, "a feeling and acting towards intelligent Beings, as being what they are;" this, their Law required. For it required them, "to love God with all their Heart, and obey him in every Thing; and to love their Neighbours as themselves, and to do as they would be done by:" Which would have been to feel and act towards God and their Neighbours, as being just what they were.—Or, if sinless Perfection consists in always doing that, "which is right and fit and beau­tiful to be done, all Things considered:" Still it comes to the same Thing. To love God with all our Heart, and obey him in every Thing; and to love our Neighbours as ourselves, and do as we would be done by; is the Sum of what is to be done by us, "as right and fit and beautiful."—Or, if sinless Perfection consists in a perfect Conformity of Heart [Page 12]and Life to the Will and Law of God:" This was plainly required. For it is essential to every Law, to require an exact, and entire Conformity to itself. And it is a plain Contradiction to suppose, that God did not require them to do all that he did require them to do. They were always to obey God, and never to disobey him. And the Law respected their Hearts and Lives, their Thoughts, Words and Acti­ons; all their inward Tempers, and all their outward Behaviour: And it was never lawful for them to commit the least Sin, or to omit the least Duty; but, as to all Things written in the Book of the Law, they were to do them.—And

2. THIS perfect Obedience was the Condition, upon which, the Law promised Life."—"Ye shall keep my Statues and my Judgments, which if a Man do, he shall live in them. Lev. xviii. 5. This is re­peated four Times more in the Old-Testament; once in Neh. ix. 29. thrice in Ezek. xx. 11, 13, 21. And twice in the New-Testament; once in Rom. x. 5. and once in Gal. iii. 12.

AND, that this Life, thus promised in Moses's Law upon Condition of perfect Obedience, implied in it ETERNAL LIFE and Happiness, is evident from the Testimony of our Blessed Saviour, in Luke x. 25—28. "What shall I do to inherit ETERNAL LIFE?" Said a certain Jew to Christ. To whom our Saviour re­plied, turning him back to the Law of Moses with these Questions, "what is written in the Law? How readest thou?"—To which the Man answered and said,—"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Strength, and with all thy Mind; and thy Neigh­bour as thyself."—This he gives, as the Sum of Moses's Law.—To which our Saviour replied,—"Thou hast answered right. This do, and thou shalt live." i. e. Inherit ETERNAL LIFE.—The same Reply our Saviour made to another Man, who also came to him, to know, what he should do that he might have [Page 13]ETERNAL LIFE:—"If thou wilt enter into Life, keep the Commandments." Said our Blessed Saviour, Matt. xix. 16, 17.—It is plain, that in both these Passages, our Saviour means to declare how Eternal Life was to be obtained by the Law: And he gives the same Answer that Moses had done before. Which, if a Man do he shall live in them. So that according to our Saviour's Interpretation of the Law of Moses, ETERNAL LIFE was implied in the Life therein pro­mised.

THIS also is plain from the Testimony of St. Paul, in Rom. x. Where opposing the Way to Justification and eternal Life by the Law, to that which is by the Gospel, and shewing the Difference, he says, ver. 5. "Moses describeth the Righteousness which is of the Law, that the Man that doth those Things, shall live by them." And then adds, ver. 6. "that the Righte­ousness which is by Faith speaketh on this wise, &c. &c.—He that believeth shall be saved." ver. 9, 10, compared with Gal. iii. 12. Where he intimates that the Law does not promise Justification to Faith, but to perfect Obedience; plainly taking it for granted, that the Life, promised in the Law, implied ETER­NAL LIFE.—I have insisted the longer on this, be­cause, if the Life promised in Moses's Law implied eternal Life; no doubt, the Death threatned, implied eternal Death: Which seems to be the Meaning of Rom. vi. 23. "The Wages," (i. e. according to Law) "of Sin is Death." i. e. Eternal Death and Misery: Even as "the Gift of God is eternal Life thro' our Lord Jesus Christ."—Therefore I may venture to affirm

3. "THAT the CURSE threatned in Moses's Law, against the Man that broke it in any one Point, im­plied in it, ETERNAL DAMNATION, and that with­out any Abatements made on Account of their in­ability."

How great their Impotency was, whether from their native Corruption, or from their contracted bad [Page 14]Habits, I shall not pretend now to determine. But, as they were Descendants of Adam, and had been educated in Egypt; so, I suppose, they were, at least, as bad as the Generality of Mankind.—But, be it so they were ever so bad, ever so disinclined to yield this perfect Obedience in Heart and Life, yet the Law is not brought down to their vitiated Taste, and corrupt Hearts; but they are still required, to love God with all their Hearts, and obey him in every Thing, under the Penalty of the Curse.—

Now that the Law did curse every One, who con­tinued not in all Things written in the Book of the Law to do them, is plain from Deut. xxvii.—and that this Curse comprised the Sum total of the Punish­ment due to Sin, according to the Law, there is no Doubt.—And that ETERNAL DAMNATION was im­plied in the Punishment threatned in the Law, and comprised in the Curse in Deut. xxvii. I think is evident.—

FOR otherwise the wicked Jews, who died in their Sins, were not exposed to Hell: But we see they were exposed to Hell, from the Representation Christ gives in his Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. "The rich Man died and was buried, and in HELL he lift up his Eyes being in Torments." Luke xvi. 22, 23. —This Parable was spoken to the Jews, then under Moses's Law.—But they could not have been exposed to Hell, unless it were by their own Law, for St. Paul expressly affirms, that they should be judged by that, and by no other: "As many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law." * And therefore if their Law had not threatned Hell, they would not have been exposed unto it.

BESIDES if the Jews, who enjoyed the Benefit of divine Revelation, were not exposed to Hell for their Sins; it is not to be supposed, that the benighted Gentiles were.—And if neither Jew nor Gentile were in Danger of Hell, previous to the coming of Christ, [Page 15]why did Christ come, and die, to save both Jew and Gentile from the Wrath to come? *

INDEED it is plain from the three first Chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, that St. Paul takes it for granted, as an indisputable Point, that the Jews by their Law; as well as the Gentiles by the Law of Na­ture, were exposed to the Wrath of God, for the least Sin. And that this Wrath should be revealed and ex­ecuted at the Day of Judgment. § When, as we know, the Wicked of all Nations are to go away into everlasting Punishment. So that if the New Testament may be allowed to explain the Old, there can be no Doubt but eternal Damnation was implied in the Curse of Moses's Law.—And every unbiassed Reader will naturally view that Passage in Gal. iii. 10, 13. in this Light. "As many as are of the Works of the Law, are under the Curse. For it is written, Cursed is every One that continueth not in all Things written in the Book of the Law to do them.—But Christ hath redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, that the Blessing of Abraham might come upon us."—For as the Blessing of Abraham implied eternal Life and Hap­piness; so the Curse of the Law, from which Christ redeemed us, implied eternal Death and Misery; as St. Paul viewed the Case. *—So that, as the Law [Page 16]required sinless Perfection of the whole Congregation of Israel, and promised eternal Life upon that Condi­tion; [Page 17]so it threatned eternal Death and Misery for the least Failing: And that, all their Inability notwith­standing. Therefore,

4. "BY the Deeds of the Law no Flesh could be justified in the Sight of God." * But every Jew whose Conscience was thoroughly awakened, would by Ex­perience find, that, the Law which was ordained to Life, which promised Life upon perfect Obedience, did sentence him to Death. Indeed, if the Law could have given Life, then Men might have been justified this Way. And so the Death of Christ had been needless: For if Righteousness might have come by the Law, then Christ had died in vain. ** But the Law was weak thro' the Flesh, unable to give Life by reason of human Depravity. †{inverted †} It could convince of Sin ‖‖ if Conscience was before ever so stupid, and Men's false Hopes ever so high and strong; yet, if the Com­mandment was set home, it could cause Sin to revive, and all their false Hopes to die. *** And it could work Wrath, and fill the guilty Creature with Terror. ††† For it shut him up under Sin, ‖‖‖ and bound him over to eternal Condemnation, and so was to him a Mi­nistration of Death: ¶¶ But it was impossible he should ever obtain the Favour of God and eternal Life this Way. For neither his Circumcision, nor any of his Duties, would profit him, unless he kept the whole Law. ¶¶¶ He was a Debtor, he was bound, to keep the whole Law, ** in order to Life. Therefore the Jew wa [...] properly shut up under Sin, Guilt and Con­demnation, and bound over to eternal Wrath, nor [Page 18]was there any other Way to obtain Pardon, but by Shedding of Blood. * But the Blood of Bulls and Goats could not take away Sin. Therefore the Jew was shut up from all other Ways, and driven to an abso­lute Necessity, to look to the promised Mesiah, that he might be justified by Faith in him. And thus the Law was so constituted, as to be adapted, not to give Life, but to be a School-Master to bring them to Christ, that they might be justified by Faith.— Which will still farther appear if we consider,

5. "THAT the whole Congregation of Israel were obliged, even in the Sight of God, who searcheth the Heart, to approve of the Law, in all its Rigour, as strictly just." For in the most public and solemn Manner, all the Congregation of Israel, when the Curse was denounced twelve Times going from Mount Ebal, were twelve Times to answer, and say, AMEN. And this was to be in the Sight of God, their Law-Giver, who looks at the Heart: And who would esteem their saying, Amen, a mere Mockery, unless their Hearts approved of it, at the same Time their Lips pronounced Amen to it.—And indeed, had they not heartily approved the Law, they must have ap­peared, in the Character of Enemies and Rebels, in the Eyes of their Law-Giver. Even the least Degree of Disapprobation of the Law, being just so great a Degree of Enmity against God their Law-Giver, who in His Law to them had given a Transcript of his Nature. To dislike the Law in such a Case, [...] been the same Thing in effect, as to dislike God himself.— And, besides, had they not heartily approved the Law, in all its Rigour, as strictly just; their ever pretending to bring a Bullock, or a Goat before the Lord, and there lay their Hands on the Head of the conse­crated Animal, and deliver it to the Priest to kill, to sprinkle the Blood, and to burn the C [...]rcass, in order to make Atonement for them, that their Sin might be for­given, I say, all this must have been a mere Farce. [Page 19]For, if the Jew who had sinned a Sin, did not deserve the threatned Curse, why did he bring his Atonement to God? Why did he practically say, "my Blood de­serves to be shed, as this Bullock's is; and I deserve to be consumed in the Fire of God's Wrath; as this Bullock in this Fire?" If he did not approve the Law, as strictly just, what was all this, but lying to God? *—From all which, it is plain; that the Children of Israel were obliged heartily to approve of their Law in the Sight of God, in all its Rigour as strictly just. And to say, with St. Paul, the Law is holy, the Com­mandment is holy, [...]ust and good.

6. "BUT if they had such a View of Things, and such a Temper, [...]s would lay a Foundation for them heartily to approve the Law, the same View of Things, and the same Temper, would prepare and dispose them heartily to approve of the Gospel, and comply with it: And so, their School-Master would bring them to Christ, to be justified by Faith."

IT was impossible the Jews should heartily approve their Law, in its requiring them, "to love God with all their Hearts, and obey him in every Thing;" unless under a View of his supreme Excellency, his entire Right to them, and absolute Authority over [Page 20]them, attended with an answerable Frame of Heart. —Nor could they possibly approve of it, as equal and right, that the Favour of God, should, by their Law, be suspended on this Condition; unless they saw, that no Creature is worthy to be beloved by God, but those, who love him with all their Hearts, and give unto him, in all Respects, and at all Times, the Honour and Glory which is his Due.—Nor could they heartily approve of it, that the least Contempt, by them, cast upon the DEITY, should expose them to his everlasting Displeasure; unless they saw the in­finite Evil of such a Crime, resulting from God's being infinitely worthy, to be loved with all the Heart, and obeyed in every Thing.—Nor could they heartily take all the Blame to Themselves, notwith­standing their Inability to yield perfect Obedience; unless they felt, that their Inability did not lessen their blame.—Nor could they reconcile the eternal Torments of Hell, threatned by their Law, to the infinite Wisdom and Goodness of the supreme Go­vernor; unless they saw, that Sin deserved so great a Punishment; that it is a wise and good Thing, for the supreme Governor of the World, to punish those, that treat him with Contempt, according to their Deserts; that this Honour and Respect, herein shewn to the DEITY, is due to his sacred Majesty, and is needful to establish his Authority, and secure the Honour of his Government.

But let a Jew have these Views, and an answerable Frame of Heart; even, such a supreme Respect to the Deity, and Regard for his Honour, as, in the Nature of the Thing, is absolutely necessary to recon­cile him to the Law, and induce him heartily to ap­prove of it; and he would at the same Time be dis­posed to approve of, and comply with the Gospel.— If the Law, altho' a Ministration of Death, appeared glorious, to the Jews; as being suited to exalt God, to secure to him his just Rights, to maintain the Ho­nour of his Government and Authority, to deter from [Page 21]every Instance of Rebellion: Much more would the Gospel appear glorious; as being suited, not only to answer these Ends to the best Purpose; but being also, at the same Time, a Ministration of Life.—If it appeared Glorious to the Jew that these Ends should be answered, altho' by the eternal Damnation of the Sinner; much more glorious would it appear, if these Ends could be all answered, and yet the Sinner eter­nally Saved. If therefore he approved of the Law, he would be even ravished with the Gospel; which not only exalts God, and discountenances Sin: But also humbles and saves the Sinner, and glorifies Grace, as it it written, "the Letter killeth:" i. e. The Law dooms the Sinner to eternal Death: "But the Spirit giveth Life:" i. e. The Gospel gives eternal Life to the Sinner. Now therefore, "If the Ministration of Death was glorious," as in­deed it was, "the Glory of Moses's Countenance," be­ing a visible Emblem of it; "shall not the Mini­stration of the Spirit be rather glorious? If the Mi­nistration of Condemnation be GLORY, much more doth the Ministration of Righteousness," and Justi­fication unto Life, "exceed in GLORY?" *

7. AND the Jew being used to see Bulls and Goats brought to the Tabernacle, and presented before the Lord, and substituted to die in the Room of the Transgressor of the Law: and having often himself brought a Bullock, or a Goat before the Lord, and laid his Hands on the Head of the Animal, that it might die in his Room, and make Atonement for his Sin: I say, the Jew being thus used to see, that which was without Spot or Blemish substituted to die for the Guilty, and this Method of Atonement hav­ing grown familiar by long Custom, he would be prepared to understand the Gospel, and to take in the Idea which it exhibited of the Death of Christ, on whom the Iniquities of us all were laid and who died the Just for the Unjust, §— being brought as the [Page 22]Bullock of Old, and set forth to be a Propitiation for Sin,—that by Faith in his Blood we might be justi­fied, *— himself being made a Curse for us, that the Blessing of Abraham might come on us.

AND the Jew, on the great Day of Atonement, from Year to Year, all his Life long, having been used to see the High-Priest, drest in his holy Robes, with the Names of the Children of Israel upon his Heart, and Holiness to the Lord written in his Forehead, enter the Tabernacle, to go into the most holy Place, into the immediate Presence of God, with the Blood of Atonement in his Hand, —would be hereby pre­pared understandingly to behold our great HIGH-PRIEST, CHRIST JESUS, with his own Blood, enter into Heaven, there to appear in the Presence of God for us. § And thus the Law was, in its whole Con­stitution, wisely framed and suited to be a School-Master, to bring the Jew to Christ, that he might be justified by Faith.

AND thus we have gone thro' what was proposed, have considered the Occasion of the Words—viewed the Character of the Persons the Apostle had to deal with—seen how these Words were introduced in the Thread of the Apostle's Argument—and particularly considered what Ground there was in the Nature and Constitution of the Mosaic Dispensation for this Obser­vation—from [Page 23]all which, the exact Sense of the Words may be clearly determined.

And that which may, if Need [...] still farther con­firm us in it, that we have entered into the Apostle's very Sentiments in this Point, is, that this Sense of the Text seems exactly to harmonize with St. Paul's own Experience in the Case.—For he was born a Jew, and educated a Pharisee, and was once very zealous in the Scheme he is now confuting, and now and then in his Epistles he drops a Hint, or rather plainly declares, how he himself was brought off from the Phari­saical Scheme of Justification, to an entire Dependence on Christ Jesus for Salvation.—While he was a Pha­risee, he had the same superficial, indistinct and con­fused Notion of the Law, as the Rest of that Sect had; as a Rule, to which, if he conformed his Life, he should enjoy the Favour of God, and eternal Happiness: Not once imagining, that it required sinless Perfection on pain of eternal Damnation.‘No, so far from it, that I not only thought I could, but thought I actually did, live up to what the Law required. For as touching the Righteousness which is in the Law, I was blameless, for I was then without the Law, without any Knowledge, or Sense of its true Meaning: And this was the Reason my Sinfulness was by me unobserved. For in those Days, I saw little, or no Corruption in my Heart: And what I did see, did not terrify me: I apprehended no Danger. For while I was without the Law, Sin was Dead.—And now in these Days I was an Enemy to Christianity, and per­secuted it, and did all I could to suppress it.—For I was alive without the Law at that Time, confident of my own Goodness, and of God's Favour, and in high Expectations of eternal Life upon the Foot of my own Virtue, ignorant of God, and of his Law, and of my own Heart.—But when the Commandment, as requiring sinless Perfection on Pain of eternal Damnation, came into View, and was set [Page 24]home upon my Heart and Conscience by the Spi­rit of God, my fancied Goodness began to appear as Dung, a Heap of Filth, and Sin revived, even all the [...]ckedness of my Heart and Life rose up into clear View, and stared me in the Face; and I immediately felt myself under the Curse, and ex­posed to have it executed in a Moment.—I stood Guilty before God—I was shut up under Sin—I saw no Way to escape—my Heart failed me—I died—I felt I was a dead Man, a lost Man, by Law; and I gave up all Hopes of ever obtaining Life this Way.—The Law which was ordained to Life, and by which I thought Life was to be obtained, I found to be unto Death. It slew me. It killed all my false Religion, and all my self-righteous Hopes, and made me for ever despair of obtaining Life by my own Goodness. And my Mouth was stopped, I had nothing to say, because I saw the Law was holy, and the Commandment holy, just and good.—And thus I thro' the Law, became dead to the Law.—But ever since that solemn Hour, when Jesus Christ, and the Way of Salvation by free Grace thro' him, was revealed in me, I have sought to he found in Christ, and expected to be justified by Faith without the Deeds of the Law. And in a Word, all my Hopes and Expectations are so en­tirely built on Christ, that I may truly say, that the Life I live in the Flesh, is by Faith on the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. So St: Paul experienced, and so he believed, and so he preached, and so he wrote in all his Epistles. See Rom. iii. 19, 20 [...] And Chap. vii. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Gal. i. 13—16. And Chap. ii. 16, 19, 20. Phil. iii. 3—9. *

[Page 25] AND now, there is but one Thing more, that needs to be observed, in order to our full Under­standing of the Apostle's Reasonings upon this Sub­ject, and to prepare the Way to apply all, that has been said, to us, who are not Jews, who were never under Moses's Law, but are by Nature Gentiles. viz.

THAT the Law given at Mount Sinai, as to its moral Precepts, was nothing more than a new and plainer Edition and Republication of the Law of Nature, which had been in Force from the Beginning of the World, and was equally binding to all Na­tions, and in all Ages. To love God with all the Heart, and our Neighbour as our Selves, being [Page 26]equally the Duty of the Gentiles, as of Jews; and the least Sin exposing Gentile, as well as Jew to the everlasting Wrath of God.

ALL this is implied in Rom. i. 18. The Wrath of God is revealed from Heaven, against all Ungodliness and Unrighteousness of Men—He means, be they, Jews, or Gentiles, as is plain from what follows.—One as well as the Other, is exposed to the Wrath of God, for any Ungodliness, or Unrighteousness; i. e. for any Neglect of Duty to God, or Man; i. e. for any Defect of per­fect Holiness, in Heart, or Life. And that, which makes it evident this is his true Meaning, is, that in these Words he designedly lays down a Maxim, upon which to build his whole Argument, by which to prove the whole World to be guilty before God, and that no Flesh, whether Jew or Greek, could be justified in the Sight of God, by their own Virtue and good Deeds. The Sum of his Argument is this—"every Sin ex­poses to the everlasting Wrath of God: But both Jew and Gentile ha [...] sinned: Therefore both Jew and Gentile are exp [...]ed to the everlasting Wrath of God." The whole World stand Guilty before God. "No Man can be justified by Law, unless he yield a per­fect Obedience: But there is none Righteous, no not One in this Sense: Therefore no Flesh can be justified in the Sight of God by Law."—This, I say, is the Sum of his Argument.—Which plainly supposes, that the Gentile was bound by the Law of Nature to sinless Perfection, just as the Jew was by the Law of Moses: And was equally exposed to the Wrath of God for any Neglect.—For otherwise, the Apostle's Reason­ing, altho' it might prove, that no ONE Jew could be justified by the Law of Moses, which he was un­der: Yet it would not prove, that no ONE Gentile could be justified by the Law of Nature, which he was under. Which yet the Apostle intended to prove; that the Gentile, as well as the Jew, might be con­vinced of his Need of Christ and Gospel-Grace.—

[Page 27] BESIDES, if the Gentile could be justified by the Law of Nature, he might justly reject the Gospel of Christ, upon the same Ground, upon which, the unbelieving Jews, unjustly rejected it. They rejected the Gospel, because they thought they could be justi­fied by their Law. But if they could have obtained justification by their Law, the Apostle virtually owns their Conduct was reasonable. For, he grants, that, if there had been a Law given, which could have given Life, verily Righteousness should have been by the Law. * And he grants, that, if Righteousness come by the Law; then Christ is dead in vain. Which Positions, the Gen­tile might have l [...]id hold of, and turned against the Apostle, and out of his own Mouth have demonstrated, that there was no Necessity of Christ's dying for them, if the Law of Nature, which they were under, did not require sinless Perfection, under pain of eternal Damnation, as did the Jews's Law: but only re­quired them, as some seem vainly to imagine, sin­cerely to endeavour to do as well as they could, and to be sorry for their Failings, and study Amendment, and to trust in the Mercy of God.—If Life might have been had in this Way by the Gentiles, then Christ had died in vain, as to them.

AND if this had been the Case, as to the Gentiles, that they might have been thus saved by the Law of Nature; it will follow, that there never had been any Need of Christ's Death for the Jewish Nation, had it not have been for the Law given on Mount Sinai. Had they remained only under the Law of Nature, they might have been saved by it too, as well as the Gentiles. And so the Death of Christ was made necessary merely by the Sinai-Law. And so in­stead of being a School-Master to teach the Jews their Need of Christ, it was the only Thing that made Christ needful. To suppose which, would overthrow Law and Gospel too.—All which Absurdities, plainly fol­lowing on the present Hypothesis, do sufficiently prove [Page 28]it to be false; and demonstrate that the Law of Nature did require sinless Perfection on Pain of eternal Dam­nation of the Gentiles, just as the Law from Mount Sinai did of the Jews.—And now the Apostle's Argu­ment will be conclusive, and no Flesh, whether Jew or Gentile, by their own good Deeds can be justified in the Sight of God.—For neither the Law of Na­ture, nor the Law from Mount Sinai could give Life.—And there was a Necessity for Christ to die for the Gentile, as well as the Jew.—All having sinned—and the whole World standing guilty before God.

To conclude, it may be added, that Sin did, ac­cording to Reason and strict Justice, deserve eternal Damnation, antecedent to the giving of the Law from Mount Sinai, or it did not.—If it did; then, by the Law of Nature, eternal Damnation was Due.—If it did not; then, the Law from Mount Sinai was too severe, in threatening a greater Punish­ment for Sin than in strict Justice it deserved. But God forbid! For we are sure the Judgment of God is ac­cording to Truth, says the inspired Apostle in this very Case. * And again, is God unrighteous who taketh Ven­geance? God forbid: For then how shall God judge the World?

IF it should be said, (and what is there that will not be said by guilty Sinners, rather than own they deserve eternal Damnation for their Rebellion against the GREAT GOD?) If it should be said, that "neither the Law of Nature, nor the Law from Mount Sinai threatened eternal Damnation for Sin—it must be said by the same Men, in order to be consistent with Themselves, that neither did Christ come to save Jew or Gentile from eternal Damnation; as antecedent to the coming of Christ, not One of Mankind was in danger of eternal Damnation, according to them.— And as Christ himself said, he did not come into the World to condemn the World, but that the World thro' him might be saved; so these Men will not say, that [Page 29]Christ's coming exposed the World to an eternal Hell, they were in no Danger of before.—No: So far from it, that the same first Principles that will carry Men to say as above, will naturally carry them one Step farther, to say, that those who die impenitent from under the Light of the Gospel, are in no Danger of eternal Damnation. *

AND yet will Any be so inconsistent as to say thus, when the Eternity of Hell Torments is as expressly asserted in the BIBLE, as the Eternity of Heaven's Joys? They grant the Happiness of Heaven will be Eternal; and will they deny the Eternity of Hell-Torments, which is expressed in just the same Lan­guage? These shall go away into everlasting Punishment: But the Righteous into li [...]e Eternal. Christ has said, that their Worm shall never die, their Fire never be quenched, and repeated it over and over. And this Fire is [...] designed for their Purification, as some Dream, [...] expressly for their DESTUCTION, § for their second DEATH, for their EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT, than which nothing can be plainer to determine a­gainst their Notion. The Righteous will be considered as the Wheat, and the Wicked as the Chaff, and the Tares, which are not to be purified, but to be burnt, and that with unquenchable Fire, and the Smoke of their Torments shall ascend for ever for ever. ‖‖ And this [Page 30]is so far from being out of Love to them, as being designed at last for Happiness, that in them God means to shew his Wrath, and make his Power known, as being Vessels of Wrath fitted for Destruction. *—Thus God reaches us his Word; nor can Any with the least Shew of Reason say, but that the Eternity of Hell-Torments, and that under the Notion of a Punishment, is as plainly and fully expressed, as tho' God had intended we should believe it.—Why then is a guilty World so loth to believe it? Doubtless it is, because they do not feel that they deserve it. And not being sen­sible, that they deserve eternal Damnation, they ven­ture to disbelieve it, and endeavour to evade the Testimony of divine Revelation; and then proceed to raise Objections from Reason against it.

As to their Methods of evading the Testimony of divine Revelation, they need no particular Answer; because these Men Themselves are sensible, that the Scriptures speak quite plain enough. And if they would, for once, speak out their Hearts, they would say, that it is not because the Eternity of Hell-Tor­ments is not plainly revealed in Scripture, but only be­cause they do not like to believe the Doctrine, that makes them doubt it. It seems too severe that the Sinner should lie in Hell to all Eternity. Therefore they set Themselves to evade Scripture, and to raise Objections against it.—And no sooner will these Men have heard, what has now been advanced concerning the Law of Moses, and the Law of Nature, as re­quiring perfect Obedience on Pain of eternal Dam­nation; but these Objections will be in their Minds.

1. "IT is not right for God to require of his Creatures more than they can do, under the Penalty of any Punishment at all."

2. "IF some Sins do deserve some Punishment: Yet no Sin, how great soever, deserves eternal Damnation."

[Page 31] 3. "OR rather, strictly speaking, Sin deserves no Punishment at all."

Now, these Positions, every One will soon discern, need no particular Answer from divine Revelation. Be­cause, the Whole of divine Revelation is itself a standing Confutation of them.—Did not God from Mount Sinai require the whole Congregation of Israel, to love the Lord their God with all their Heart, and obey him in every Thing? And was not the Curse de­nounced against the Man that should fail in any one Point? Now could the whole Congregation yield this sinless Perfection every Day of their Lives, without the least Defect in Heart, or Life? And did not the Curse, mean, at least, some Punishment? And thus the whole Law of Moses is a standing Confutation of their first Mo [...]im.—And as for the other Two, if any Regard was to be had to the plain Declarations of the New-Testament, Sin not only deserves Punishment, but everlasiing Punishment; and, at the Day of Judgment, it will be inflicted on all Christless Sinners.—But it is no Satisfaction to these Men, to have their Objections answered, and their Mouths stopped, by the Word of God. For, altho' they pretend to believe the holy Scriptures to be Divine; yet, finding so many Things in the BIBLE, that do, by no Means, suit them; they do, as St. Paul did in another Case, appeal to CESAR, as the higher Power, and where he hoped to have better Justice done him. So, with the same View, these Men appeal to REASON; nor will they believe the Scriptures mean this, or that, how plainly soever expressed, unless it quadrates with their Noti­ons, and so appears to them RATIONAL.—Now were there no Depravity in their Hearts, to blind and biass their Minds, I should have no Fear of joining Issue according to their Desire, and submit these Points to be decided solely by REASON. For I believe they can be demonstrated from Reason as fully, altho' not so easily, as from Scripture. The Scripture has given us an Edition of the Law of Nature much plainer and [Page 32]more legible, than that which we have by Nature. And this indeed is the true Cause, that these Men appeal from it, as the Light of Truth there, shines too in­sufferably bright, and refer Themselves to Reason, which, our Depravity being so great, they can more easily shut their Eyes against.—However, who knows, but that their Hearts may be touched, when the GREAT GOD is brought into View, and set before their Eyes!—Therefore

LET us place ourselves before the awful Tribunal of Christ, and attentively view these Points, in the Light, in which, they will stand, at that solemn Day, when every Man's Conscience will be convinced, that God's Law is strictly just.

WHEN Christ comes in the Glory of his Father, and all the holy Angels with him, and the insinite Majesty and Greatness of the invisible GOD shines forth in Him, and it appears that all the Nations of the Earth are as the small Dust of the Ballance, or Drop of the Bucket before Him: Yea, that the whole created System is as Nothing and Vanity, when compared to God, THE GREAT BEING, THE ALMIGHTY CREATOR, now each of these Objections will be sapped at their very Foundation. §—When God appears, and appears in [Page 33]his infinite Greatness, cloathed with infinite Majesty, vested with an Authority insinitely binding, the Com­mandment will come, Sin revive, and the Sinner die. Reason and natural Conscience will be fully convinced, that the Law was strictly just. And every guilty Creature will be forced to say, when doomed to de­part into everlasting Fire, the LORD is righteous!— Then the bold Libertine, in the utmost Horror, will see the Weakness of all his former Pleas. Methinks, I hear him say, trembling before the Bar of Christ,

‘WHAT did I mean, stupid Wretch that I was, to say, that Sin deserved no Punishment?—What! Was it no Crime to affront the dread Majesty of Heaven and Earth to his Face, as I did in every Sin? Was it no Crime to treat with Con­tempt, HIM, whom all Heaven adores? Was it no Crime to turn my Back upon my Maker and revolt from my rightful Sovereign? And by my [Page 34]Example to encourage Others to go on boldly in Rebellion? And if these were Crimes, and dread­ful Crimes I now see they were, does it not now be­come the righteous Governor and Judge of the World to be displeased, and to testify his Displea­sure, and to make his wrath Smoke against such a Wretch?—I once scoffed at serious Piety, and ri­diculed strict Godliness, and was really an open Enemy to Jesus Christ: And is it not sit that He should now treat me according to my Character? And with Indignation banish me for ever from his Presence! And from the Presence of all his Saints, whom once I despised! To dwell for ever with Devils, whose Interest I served!’

‘THIS is the GOD, the infinitely GREAT GOD, whose Law I said was too severe! The Heighth of what he required of me was to love him with all my Heart; as I now see yonder Saints, and An­gels love him. But I did not love him! I did not like his Ways! I loved my vain Companions, and my sinful, carnal Pleasures! His threatning to Punish me for it, instead of reclaiming, did but make me hate his Law and Government the worse. And I loved to indulge hard Thoughts of him, as being too severe; pretending for my Excuse, that I had no Power to love him; only, alas, because I was not suited with him; but hated all his Ways.—In this, I was like the Devil, that I had no Heart for God, to love him, or live to him; but was disposed to walk contrary to him in all Things: And for this, God may justly hate me, and cast me off, with the Devil for ever.—For such a Kind of Inability, I never thought, excused any of my Fellow-Creatures, whotreated me with Disrespect and Ill-Nature on Earth. And if they alledged, that they could not help hating me, by Way of Excuse, if the Fault was not in me, but in Them­selves; I never thought them the less to blame, but the more. Their saying, they could not help [Page 35]hating me; instead of excusing the Fault, always made it seem worse.—Now, this GREAT GOD will deal with me by the same Rule. I said, I could not love him; but the Fault was not in Him, but in me. For, to other Beings he appears infinitely amiable; and I only am [...]o blame, that he does not appear so to me: And, it is right and just, I should be punished.’

‘AND now I behold the Judge ready to pronounce my final Doom, the dreadful Sentence,—Depart ye Cursed into everlasting Fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels. *—I would not believe Hell-Tor­ments to be eternal, altho' expressly a [...]erted in God's Word. I, stupid Wretch that I was, did not feel that I deserved everlasting Punishment. I was like the Fool, who said in his Heart, there is no God. But now I see, there is a God—an infinitely GREAT GOD—whom All are under infinite Obliga­tions to honour and obey.—I might have been before convinced, that God was infinitely worthy to be loved, honoured and obeyed—and that his infinite Worthiness laid me under an infinite Obli­gation—and that an infinite Obligation rendered me infinitely to blame—and that infinite Blame deserved infinite Punishment, i. e. the eternal Torments of Hell.—I might have known this before: But I shut my Eyes against the Light.— I pretended, that because I could not comprehend his infinite Gr [...]es and Glory, that therefore I could not [...] under an infinite Obligation thereby.—But I might have known, that a Con­viction of his infinite Greatness and Glory did infi­nitely oblige.—Conviction, without Comprehension, I always knew did obl [...]e in others Cases. As when I have been convinced, that Others had more Know­ledge and Wisdom than myself, I never doubted but that I was thereby obliged, so much the more, to pay them a superior Respect on that Account, [Page 36]altho' their Knowledge and Wisdom were above my full Comprehension. Nor did I ever doubt, but that those who were convinced, that the Torments of Hell were eternal, were guilty of infinite Folly, in rushing into such an endless Misery, altho' dread­ful infinitely beyond their Comprehension.—And why might not I have known, that a Conviction, without a Comprehension, of God's infinite Worthi­ness to be loved, honoured and obeyed, would render me infinitely to blame, in treating him with Disrespect and Contempt!—I might have known it: But I loved Darkness rather than Light.—I loved the Ways of Sin—and God was not in all my Thoughts! But now, alas! The Day is come! And I am at the Bar, ready to receive my final Doom!—God is just! My Mouth is stopped! I am self-condemned!’ Thus, at the Day of Judgment, the Sinner's Reason and Conscience will be thoroughly convinced,—that he deserves to be punished—all his Impotency notwithstanding—and that, even with the eternal Torments of Hell. And so, that will be, not only a Day of Wrath; but also, of the Revelation of the righteous Judgment of God, *— And since all Mankind must see the Justice of God's Law sooner, or later; would it not be wiser, for them, who esteem Themselves the Wits of the World, instead of endeavouring to blind their Minds by false Reasonings, rather to lay open [...] Minds honestly to the Light, while there is yet [...] in their Case? Since otherwise, with all [...] [...]asted Wit, they Themselves, to their unspeak [...] [...] Regret, will eternally think, they acted the Part [...] [...]ools.

THUS, then, to sum [...] in a few Words, it appears, that the Law from Mount Sinai, given im­mediately by God himself, [...] the whole Congregation of Israel,—required sinle [...] [...]erfection—as the Condi­tion of eternal Life—an [...] [...]or the least Failing threat­ned eternal Damnation— [...]nd therefore, by this Law [Page 37]not any could be justified in the Sight of God—and yet the whole Congregation were obliged heartily to approve this Law to be strictly just in all its Rigour —which, if they did, would prepare them to under­stand, believe, approve of and comply with the Gospel—and so the Law was, in its own Nature, suited, to be a School-Master to bring them to Christ, that they might be justified by Faith.—And the Law of Nature, being, for Substance, the same with that from Mount Sinai, is suited to answer the same End, with Respect to the Gentile Nations, who were never under the Jewish Dispensation. And so Jew and Greek are all under Sin—the whole World stand guilty before God—And by their own Virtue or Goodness no Flesh can be justified in his Sight—and so all stand in absolute, perishing Need of Christ, and free Grace. —And now upon a Review of all that has been said, the following Remarks and Inferences may justly be made.

1. ‘THE Law of Moses and St. Paul's Manner of Reasoning upon it, are inconsistent with the Arminian Scheme of Religion, and do as effectually confute it, as the Scheme of the Pharisees, and Pharisaical Chris­tians of that Age.’

ONE of the most fundamental Maxims in the Ar­minian Scheme, is,—‘That, in the Nature of Things, it is not just for God to require more of his Creatures than they can do, and then threaten to punish them for not doing.’ * And when they are [Page 38]told that we ought to distinguish between that Ina­bility, which consists in, or results from the Want of natural Faculties; as a Man that has no Legs cannot walk, a Man that has no Hands cannot work, &c. in which Cases, Men ought not to be commanded to do what they cannot, and then punished for not doing, it being manifestly unjust, as is acknowledged on all Sides:—I say, when they are told, that we ought to distinguish between such a Kind of Inability, and that which consists in and results from a BAD and WICKED HEART; as, "Joseph's Brethren hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him," * the Pharisees "hated Christ, and could not hear his Words," &c. in which Cases, Common-Sense teaches, that Men are not the less to blame for their Inability, and may justly be commanded to do their Duty, and punished, if they do it not:—I say when the Arminians are told of this Distinction, they say, ‘there is nothing in it, it is a mere metaphysical Nicety, Inability is Ina­bility, if Men can't they can't, and it is impossible [Page 39]it should be just in God to require of his Creatures what they cannot do, and then damn them for not doing.’

WELL,—be it so—How then will they reconcile their Scheme with the Law of Moses?—Did not the Law of Moses require perfect Obedience? It is plain it did. It is a Fact that cannot be denied. Arminians Pelagians, Socinians, that are Men of Learning do not pretend to deny it.—Well, had the whole Congre­gation of Israel POWER, in the Sense Arminians use the Word, to yield perfect Obedience, in Heart and Life, all their Lives long, without ever failing in the least Degree, in any one Point, at any one Time? It is plain they had not. Yea, no Arminian ever pretended they had.—Well, when the Levites said, Cursed be the Man, that confirmeth not all the Words of this Law, to do them; were not all the People to say, Amen, and so approve the Law in all its Rigour? This again is plain Fact.—So that here, the Armi­nian has no metaphysical Niceties, (as he loves to call those clear Distinctions, and conclusive Arguments, which he is not able fairly to get rid of,) to grapple with; but plain Facts. Facts acknowledged on all Hands.—Now Facts are stubborn Things.—Here we see, God gave a Law, required more than they could do, denounced the Curse against the Man, that failed in the least Point; and yet, in express Contradiction, the Arminian says, ‘it is absolutely unjust for God to require more of his Creatures than they can do, and then threaten to punish them for not doing.’ Wherefore, it is manifest, that the Arminian Scheme is, in this, directly inconsistent with the Law of Moses. And therefore, if the Law of Moses came from God, their Scheme in this fundamental Maxim, and in all that depends upon it, is false.

THIS is a short and easy Way to confute the Ar­minian Scheme, quite level with the Capacity of com­mon People, who are not so well able to attend to a long Chain of Arguments. And it was designed by [Page 40]a God of infinite Wisdom, who knows how to let in Light upon weak and ignorant Minds, in Effect, for this very Purpose. For it was designed to convince Men, that, in Themselves, they are absolutely lost and undone.—And every Thing meets in this Me­thod of confuting the Arminian Scheme, which could be desired, to give the fullest Satisfaction to the Minds of Men. For the Argument is not founded upon, here and there, a dark Text of Scripture, of doubtful Signification, and seemingly capable of se­veral different Meanings; but upon the plain Nature of the whole Mosaic Dispensation; upon Facts, so evi­dent, as to be acknowledged on all Hands. Nor is there so much as Room left to suspect, that we misun­derstand the Mosaic Dispensation, and view the Facts in a wrong Light, inasmuch as St. Paul has led the Way before us, and, under divine Inspiration, has shewn this to be the Nature and Design of the Mosaic Dispensation, viewing the Facts in the same Light, and arguing from them in the same Manner, as has been already observed. That if we may give Credit to the Law of Moses, or to the great Apostle of the Gentiles, or to a Method of Reasoning full of Light and Demonstration, or to all together, we may sit down here fully satisfied.

AND as the Law of Moses, and the Gospel of Christ, are in a perfect Harmony; and, as on this Account, what is inconsistent with one, must be with the other: So it is manifest from the Apostle's Man­ner of reasoning, that the aforesaid Arminian Maxim is quite inconsistent with the Gospel. For, according to that Maxim, Mankind have power to do that, which would entitle them to the Favour of God, if Christ had never died. But, says St. Paul, if there had been a Law, which could have given Life, verily Righteousness had come by the Law. And if Righteousness come by the Law, then Christ is Dead in vain. Gal. ii. 21. and Chap. iii. 21. *

[Page 41] I THINK, in this, the [...] are much more consistent. For, while they maintain, "that God cannot justly require more of us than we can do Our­selves," they add, "that we did not need Christ to obey or die in our Stead," and accordingly, they say, "He never designed any such Thing." But then, if God Almighty had designed to guard against their Scheme, and to prepare the Way for the Reception of the Doctrine of Atonement by the Blood of Christ, it is hard to say, how he could possibly have done it to better Purpose, than he has done in the Mosaic Dis­pensation.

No serious, pious Jew, who understood the Law, as requiring sinless Perfection under Pain of eternal Damnation, and who had heard the CURSE, and heartily said AMEN, could have embraced the Armi­nian [Page 42]Scheme, or ever once believed their fundamen­tal Maxim.—Nor, could any serious, pious Jew, who had seen the High-Priest, from Year to Year, on the great Day of Atonement, lay his Hands on the Head of the Scape-Goat, and confess over him, and lay upon him, all the Iniquities and Sins of the Chil­dren of Israel; and who had, himself, Scores of Times, with a humble and broken Heart, brought a Bullock, or a Ram before the Lord; and laid his Hands on his Head, that he might die in his Room, and make Atonement for his Sin, that it might be for­given him—I say, no such pious Jew could possibly have embraced the Socinian Scheme, or ever rejected the Doctrine of Christ's Atonement.

THE Arminians and Socinians are angry at Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms; because they are taught to Children, and tend to Prejudice the rising Generation against their Scheme. But no Creeds, no Confessions, no Catechisms, were ever so framed to prejudice one against Arminianism and Socinianism, as the Law of the GREAT GOD given at Mount Sinai. Creeds, Con­fessions, Catechisms contain only a Number of Words and Sentences. But here in the Law of Moses every Thing was acted over, and that exceedingly to the Life. God spake the Law HIMSELF, and that with an exceed­ing loud Voice. It thundered and lightned, the Mountain quaked and trembled, God appeared like the Flame of a devouring Fire in the Eyes of all the Congregation of Israel. And thus the Greatness and Majesty, the Holi­ness and Authority of God were represented, and brought into clear View; and thus the Law was set home.— And Half the Tribes stood on Mount Gerizzim, and half the Tribes stood upon Mount Ebal, and while the Le­vites, before all the Congregation, repeated the Curse twelve Times going, all the People answered, and said, AMEN. And thus, the Reasonableness and Equity of the Law was visibly represented in this public Trans­action.—And yearly, and monthly, and weekly, and daily, in a Variety of most significant, solemn and pub­lic [Page 43]Transactions, the Substitution of Christ, as of a Lamb without Spot, to die as an Atonement for Sin, that Sin might be forgiven, was visibly represented.—So, that it seems beyond the Art of Man to contrive any Method more wisely suited, to set the guilty, lost, perishing State of the Sinner, and the Doctrine of Atonement, in a more clear and striking Light, than it is in the Law of Moses; especially, as now ex­plained to us, by the Gospel of Christ.—Well, there­fore, in so clear a Case, and in Points of so great Im­portance, might the divinely inspired Apostle say, as in Gal. i. 8, 9. if Any, tho' an Angel from Heaven, preach any other Gospel, let him be ACCURSED. Nor have Those, who after all venture to do so, just rea­son to expect, to escape the Apostle's repeated Curse. —In all Things lawful, the Apostle would readily, become all Things, to all Men, for he was of a very condescending Disposition. But when any of the great Doctrines of the Gospel were assaulted, he would not abate one Hair; for he was no Trimmer; he was no Man-Pleaser; but a Servant of Jesus Christ. Nor are those Ministers, who seek to please an un­godly World, by curtailing the Gospel of Christ, any of them, the Servants of Christ, according to the Judgment of the inspired Apostle. Gal. i. 10. If I pleased Man, I should not be the Servant of Christ.

INDEED, there have been, by Those who expect to be justified by their sincere Obedience, various Ways contrived, to evade the Apostle's Arguments, and escape his Curse; but all equally vain. Which Way soever they turn, St. Paul is ready to answer them, and stop up their Way, and shut them up un­der Sin, and shut them up to the Faith.

SOMETIMES they say, ‘The Galatians expected to be justified by Circumcision, and observing the other Rites of the ceremonial Law, which being abolished, there was no Virtue in these their unre­quired Duties, and so they could not be justified by them.’—But St. Paul's Argument was not— [Page 44]"you trust in Duties, which God does not require: Therefore by these Duties you cannot be justified."— But it was this—"you do not yield perfect Obedience to the whole Law; therefore you cannot be justified." —Therefore

THEY say, ‘'tis true, we cannot be justified by a Law that requires sinless Perfection, nor do we expect it. But this does not prove, but that our sincere Obedience will justify us thro' Christ, ac­cording to the Gospel.’—But St. Paul's Argu­ment was not—"you expect to be justified by sinless Perfection, but cannot."—But it was this—"you expect to be justified by an Obedience short of sinless Perfection: But no Obedience short of sinless Per­fection will justify you. For Christ will not make up for your Defects. He Will profit you nothing, if you go this Way for Justification." *

[Page 45] AGAIN, they say, ‘The Obedience of the Gala­tians was not sincere. And that was the Reason they could not be justified by it. But our Obedi­ence is sincere.’—But St. Paul's Argument was not—"your Obedience is not sincere; therefore you cannot be justified by it."—But it was—"your Obedience is not perfect. Therefore you cannot be justified by it."

AGAIN, they say, ‘Christ has purchased an Abatement of the Law. And promised Justifica­tion to our sincere Obedience.’—But St. Paul says, "the Law is not abated one Title; but requires sinless Perfection still: And Curses the Man, that ever at any Time fails in the least Point. Nor will any Obedience justify, short of Perfection."—So that, which Way soever they turn, St. Paul meets them. And there is no escape.

"YES," say they, ‘we hold Justification by Faith, just as St. Paul did. By Faith, he meant, sincere Obedience, and so do we.’—"No, no," says St. Paul, "if by Faith, you mean sincere Obe­dience, you cannot be justified by it. For I con­stantly affirm, that no Obedience short of sinless Per­fection can justify you. If you will be justified by Obedience, it must be perfect. Sincere Obedience will not answer. For it is written, cursed is every Man, that continueth not in all Things, written in the Book of the Law, to do them."

SEEING then, nothing is to be done with St. Paul, but still he will be against them, therefore they run to St. James to help them against St. Paul, and look all over the Bible for Help. And so having strengthened Themselves, by perverting some Passages of Scripture, they venture out, and boldly say, ‘That if St. Paul does in Fact mean, that our sincere Obedience will not justify us, he contradicts almost the whole Bi­ble, which constantly declares,—that Repentance is absolutely necessary to Forgiveness—that we are justified by our Works and not by Faith only— [Page 46]that none but good Men shall ever be saved—yea, that keeping the Commands is what gives a Right to the Tree of Life.’

DOUBTLESS, these Men, had they lived in the Apostle's Day, would have been as zealous against St. Paul, as ever any were at Galatia, or Antioch. Nor would his single Authority have satisfied them. And, if a Word, or Sentence, of another Sound, at any Time, dropped from any other of the Apostles, on whatever Subject they were preaching, it would have been picked up with Joy, to prove St. Paul's Scheme to be singular.—It was this same Spirit, which obliged St. Paul to write this laboured Epistle, to vin­dicate himself, and establish the Truth. And he plainly demonstrates that their Scheme was contrary to the Law of Moses, and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and pronounceth the Man accursed, that ven­tured to preach it.—Vain is it, therefore, now, to bring in a detached Sentence, or two, from here and there in the Bible, to overset a Doctrine, that, St. Paul affirms and proves, cannot be overset, without over­setting both LAW and GOSPEL.—These Men must prove, that St. Paul's Words did actually mean some other Thing, or they must believe him to be right, or they must call his Inspiration into Question, as Some, of the same Stamp, did 1700 Years ago.— But it is not all the Wit of Man can ever shew St. Paul's Words capable of any Sense consistent with the common Arminian Scheme. They have tried, but all in vain, this many a Year, till many have argued Themselves into downright Infidelity; for he could not have framed his Argument better, had he been to have written against Arminianism in its very present Dress.—As to the Sentences of a different Sound, here and there in the Bible, which they refer to, their Consistence with St. Paul's Doctrine, hath been often shewn by Divines, and till these Men have, at least, attempted an Answer, it is needless to [Page 47]offer much at present. *—However, I will just ob­serve,

FIRST. THAT it is true, "that Repentance is absolutely necessary to the Forgiveness of Sins." For it belongs to the very Essence of justifying Faith, which implies in its Nature, such a Sense of the great Evil of Sin, as effectually turns the Heart from it, to God, to be on his Side, and on the Side of his Law, against Sin and Self, as I shall presently shew. And yet this is Nothing against St. Paul's Doctrine, as I shall also make appear under the next Inference.

SECONDLY. "THERE is not the least Difficulty, in what St. James says, of Abraham's being justified by Works, and not by Faith alone."—It being so very plain, in what Respect, he was justified by Works, when he offered up his Son Isaac.—Only turn back to the twenty second Chapter of Genesis, and there you may read the whole Story, and you cannot be at a Loss. And it came to pass after these Things, i. e. fifty Years after Abram had been in a justified State, (Heb. xi. 8.) that God did tempt, (i. e. try) Abraham.—Take now thy SON, thine ONLY SON ISAAC, whom thou LOVEST, and get thee into the Land of Moriah, and offer HIM there for a BURNT OFFERING, &c.—Abraham, whose Love to God was Supreme, readily obeyed.— Now follows his Justification, in these very Words— ver. 12. NOW I KNOW THAT THOU FEAREST GOD, seeing thou hast not withheld thy SON, thine ONLY SON.—And indeed this was sufficient Proof that he did fear God.—And thus he shewed his Faith, [Page 48]which he had had about 50 Years, by his Works.— And now he might with peculiar Propriety be called the Friend of God.—And in this same Sense all true Believers are justified by Works. i. e. by external, vi­sible acts of Obedience, under great Trials, it becomes manifest that they do fear God: While stony Ground Hearers at the same Time fall away. *—All which, has not the least Shew of Inconsistency with our being justified by Faith, without Works, in the Sense, and ac­cording to the Language of St. Paul.

THIRDLY. AND if the whole Bible does constantly declare, "that none but good Men shall ever be saved."—So does St. Paul too.—But this does not prove, "that they are saved by their Goodness."

FOURTHLY. Yea, it it constantly maintained by St. Paul, and by all the Apostles, "That Perseverance in all holy living, thro' all the great Trials they may meet with, is absolutely necessary to an Admit­tance into Heaven at Last.—Compare Rev. ii. 7, 11, 17, 26. and Chap. iii. 5, 12, 21. with Rev. xxi. 7. and Chap. xxii. 14.—Yea, St. Paul, speaking to true Believers, says, if ye live after the Flesh ye shall die. But this does not prove, that they are justified, or saved by this their Goodness. Yea, notwithstanding all this, and in a perfect Consistence with all this, it remains true, that we are saved by Grace, thro' Faith, not of Works. —But how?—Why thus the Difficulty may be easily solved.—We are all the Children of God, by Faith in Jesus Christ. § And if Children, then Heirs; Heirs of God, and joint Heirs with Christ to the heavenly Inheritance. And if our actual Enjoyment of the hea­venly Inheritance is suspended, upon our being the Followers of God, as dear Children; this is but a pro­per Test to determine our Character. For, some, who profess to be Children of God, fall away, like the Stony-Ground-Hearers, who indeed never had any Root in Themselves, when a Time of Trial comes. {inverted †} Now, [Page 49]if we persevere thro' all Trials, it proves our Since­rity; and demonstrates, that we were not merely the Children of God in Name; but in Truth. And shews that we did really believe in Christ, not with a dead, but with a true and living Faith.—Thus Abraham, in this Sense was justified by his Works. And thus, in this Sense; They, that do the Commandments, have Right to the Tree of Life.—For, NOW I KNOW THAT THOU FEAREST GOD—Now I KNOW thou art a TRUE CHILD of God—becomes applicable to Such.—And if Children, then Heirs, according to the Tenour of the New-Covenant.

YEA, I may add, that, to persevere in all holy living, is but to show the Heart, and act up to the Character, of a true Child of God. It is, in Effect, but to maintain the Temper of a Child. And this is but the same Thing, viewed in another Point of Light, with that Faith whereby we become Children. For justifying Faith implies in it every filial Grace, as we shall after­wards see.—So that Perseverance in all holy living, is implied, in our Perseverance in Faith. But it is necessary, we should persevere in Faith, in Order to our final Admittance into Heaven, for the same Reason, that it was necessary that we should be first united to Christ by Faith, in Order to our being interested in him. Let the Marriage Union be dissolved between the Husband and the Wife, and the Woman has no longer any Right in the Man's Estate. It is necessary that they continue united, in Marriage, that she may have Right to his E­state. So, it is necessary that we continue in Christ, that we may remain the Children of God thro' him; that be­ing Children, we may be Heirs, and so have Right to the Tree of Life. *—But to prevent Misunderstandings, it is needful to observe, the Contents of the next Inference, which, now at Length, I proceed unto.

2. FROM what has been said, we may learn, "That, altho', we are justified by Faith; yet we are [Page 50]not justified for Faith." That is, our faith, considered, as Something holy, virtuous and good in us, is not that which recommends us to God, in Whole, or in Part. Nor has it, viewed in this Point of Light, any Hand in our Justification.—For

THE true Believer, considered as in himself, with­out any Relation to Christ, does, in strict Justice, deserve Damnation, after he believes, as much as he did before. The Act of Faith makes no Amends for his past Sins, none at all. The Account stands just as it did. Only, as he falls short of sinless Per­fection every Moment; so every Moment he merits Damnation afresh; according to Law: A Law holy, just and good.—And indeed, it must in Reason be so. For if we should perfectly devote Ourselves to God in Heart and Life for the Time to come; we should but give God his just Due: For we are His: wholly his. But doing our Duty for the Future, cannot make up for past Neglects; any more than our paying the Debts we may contract for the Time to come, will sa­tisfy for Debts contracted in Time past.—Besides, our Sins are infinite Evils: But our Virtues are of finite Worth: But Finite put in Ballance to Infinite is No­thing. For when it is substracted, the Remainder is still infinite. Therefore only the mere defects, at­tending our best Services, our highest Exercises of Grace, in this imperfect State, merit eternal Damna­tion: Nor does all the Grace and Goodness in us make the least Amends.—So that the Believer, in his purest and highest Act of Faith, considered as in himself, without any Relation to Christ, merits eternal Dam­nation; instead of Justification to eternal Life.

OR, if we leave Speculation, and come to Experience; still the Point before us appears to be true. "For the Believer feels that Hell is his proper Due, that very Moment he exercises Faith in Christ."—For why else does he apply to the Atonement of Christ? For if he does not deserve to go to Hell, he does not need the Sacrifice of Christ to save him from Hell. [Page 51]His looking to Christ by Faith, to be saved from Hell supposes, he feels Hell to be his proper Due. Elfe, 'tis a mere Mockery.

BUT it is plain from Moses, and from St. Paul, "That no Goodness short of sinless Perfection can entitle us to the Favour of God." Faith, as it is our Virtue, cannot do it, any more than Repentance, or sincere Obedience. For nothing short of sinless Perfection can do it. But Faith is not sinless Perfection. There­fore we cannot be justified on the Account of our Faith.—In a Word. St. Paul's Reasonings do as effectually prove, that Faith cannot justify us in this Sense, as that Works cannot. And, indeed, Faith, viewed in this Light, is as much a Work, as any other Christian Grace whatsoever, or as any external Act of Obedience a Man can do. And he that depends upon his Faith to recommend him to God, depends upon his own Righteousness, as much as the Galatians did. He is in the same Scheme, only a little refined. There is no essential Difference.—The Galatians trusted in their own Righteousness: So do these.—The Galatians nevertheless hoped and expected that Christ would be of some Effect to them, and profit them some: And so do these.—The Galatians had never had the Law sufficiently set home upon their Hearts: So it is with these.—The only Difference is, that the Galatians seem to have trusted chiefly in their external religious Performances; and these trust chiefly in the internal religious Frame of their Hearts. But, as there was Nothing of the Nature of true Virtue, in the Duties of the self-righteous Galatians; so there is Nothing of the Nature of true Faith, in the Faith of these self-righteous Believers: It being as inconsistent with the Nature of Faith in Christ, for a Man to make a Righteousness of his Faith; as it is to make a Righteousness of any Thing else.

IF it should be enquired, "in what Sense then, are we justified by Faith?"—I answer.—When the Jew brought a Bullock for a Sin-Offering, and pre­sented [Page 52]it before the Lord, and laid his Hands on the Head of it, that it might die in his Stead, and make an Atonement for his Sin, that it might be forgiven; if he acted understandingly, and uprightly, it implied, an hearty Approbation of the Law; which he could not have, without a supreme Love to God; which would naturally lay the Foundation for Repentance, and sincere Obedience: Yet, it was not, that Ap­probation of the Law, nor that Love to God, nor that Repentance, nor that sincere Obedience, nor his bringing the Bullock, nor his laying his Hands on his Head, which was to make Atonement for his Sin; but the Blood of the Bullock: According to the constant Language of the Law of Moses.—So, altho' true Faith in Christ implies, an hearty Approbation of the Law; which cannot be without a supreme Love to God; which will naturally lay a Foundation for Repentance, and sincere Obedience: Yet, it is not this hearty Approbation of the Law, nor this supreme Love to God, nor this Repentance, nor this sincere Obedience, no, nor the Act of Faith itself, that makes Atonement for Sin; but only the Blood of Christ; according to the constant Language of the New-Testament. Nor are any of these, therefore, to be depended upon; but only Jesus Christ.—Nor can Faith do any Thing towards justifying us, unless as it UNITES us to Christ. For in the very Act of Faith, all Pretences to the divine Favour, on our own Account, are given up; and Hell is owned to be our Due. And we look only to the Merits and Atonement of Christ. —Leave all other Refuges, and fly hither.—Are divorced from the Law, and married to Christ. Accord­ing to the Language of St. Paul. *—And the married Wife, we know, is interested in her Husband's Estate. For they Two are become one Flesh. They are One in Law. And in Consequence of this Relation, this Union, or Oneness, she is interested in all his Riches and Honour. Even, if he is a Prince; and she, before, [Page 53]but a poor, despised Maid. And this Marriage Union, St. Paul considers, as resembling the Union between Christ and Believers, and dwells upon it at large, in Eph. v. 23—32.—And as the Husband pays his Wife's Debts; so Christ GAVE HIMSELF for his Church, to pay the ten Thousand Talents she owed, and to redeem her to himself, to be his Wife.—To be for ever One with Him, as He and His Father are One. * —And therefore a new Convert is said, to be es­poused to Christ. For in the first Act of Faith, the Match is made, for Eternity.—And the whole Church, being but One mystical Body, is called the BRIDE, the LAMB's WIFE. And, if the Church is the Lamb's Wife; then the Church is God's Daughter: God's Child: And every true Believer is a Child of God. As it is written, as Many as received him, to them gave be Power, or a Right, to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on his Name. § Wherefore they are All the Children of God by Faith in Jesus Christ, And if Children then Heirs; Heirs of God, and joint Heirs with Christ. And thus, by Faith we are united to Christ; and so interested in him, and in all Blessings thro' him. And this is the Reason, that Believers, in the constant Language of the New-Testament, are said, to be IN CHRIST. But Christ is God's beloved SON; and so we are accepted IN the BELOVED. ** And after our Persons are accepted; then also our spiritual Sacrifices, all our religious Duties and holy Exercises, in which we present Ourselves to God, as a living Sacri­fice; are acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. —And thus we are Justified by Faith, not as an holy Act, re­commending us to God; but as an uniting Act, unit­ing us to Christ.—Just as a married Wife, being One in Law with her Husband, is consequently interested in his Estate. Not because her marrying her Husband [Page 54]was an Act of Virtue; but because her Marriage made her One with him.

St. PAUL dearly loves, in his Writings, to illustrate Gospel-Truths by Jewish Types; that People, their Law, and almost all God's Dispensations towards them, being designed by God to be Shadows of good Things to come.—The earthly Canaan was a Type of the heavenly; and Isaac, the promised Son, was a Type of Christ, the promised Seed. And, as the Israelites were entitled to the earthly Canaan, not by Law, but by Promise, the Promise made to Abraham in Gen. xii. in which God made a Grant of all that Country to him, and to his Seed; so it was not any Goodness in A­braham's Seed, but only their Relation to Abraham, that gave them a Title to that good Land. If They were Abraham's Seed, they were Heirs according to the Promise. The Law, which was given 430 Years after, not being designed to disannul their former Title, or to appoint any new Terms. (Rom. iv. 14. Gal. iii. 16, [...]7, 18.)—Even so it is in this Case, says the Apostle. Our Title to the heavenly Canaan is not by Law, not by any Goodness in us, but if we are Christ's, then are we Abraham's Seed, and Heirs according to the Promise. (ver. 29.) For the Promise was to Abraham and to his Seed; not to Seeds, as of many; but as of One, to thy SEED, which is Christ. (ver. 16.) And so Christ was appointed Heir of all Things. (Heb. i. 2.) Now therefore, if we are Christ's, i. e. if we are in Christ by Faith we are joint Heirs with him. And so our Title to the heavenly Canaan results, not from any Goodness in us; but only from our Relation to Christ. Therefore Faith justifies us, not as an holy Act recommending us to God; but as an unit­ing Act, uniting us to Christ. Just as a Descendant of Abraham was entitled to the earthly Canaan by Birth; not because it was a Virtue to be born of Jewish Pa­rents, but only because by this Means he was a Child of Abraham: And so an Heir according to Promise.

AND thus we are saved by Grace, thro' Faith, not of Works, lest any Man should beast. * Not in the least [Page 55]Degree, or in any Respect, for any Goodness in us considered merely as in Ourselves, that there might not be the least Ground of Boasting: But that all the Glory might be given to free Grace thro' Jesus Christ. *Armimans and Neonomians suppose it is, in some Degree, for some Goodness in us; and to take some of the Glory to Themselves and give the Rest to Christ, and free Grace.—Socinians suppose they are justified wholly for their own Goodness; and to take the whole Glory to Themselves. For, they consider Christ, on the Cross, not as a Sacrifice of Atonement; but only as a Martyr.—But St. Paul gives quite all the Glory to Christ and free Grace.—And the Reason is, because the very best Man on Earth, afresh, merits eternal Damnation, every Hour, according to Law, and strict Justice; and all his Goodness does not make the very least Amends. So, the Law, which is School Master, by divine Appointment, teacheth.—O, learn this! and then you will understand the Doctrine of Justification by Faith, and know why St. Paul after all his Attainments so earnestly desired to [...] found in Christ.

3. FROM what has been said, we may see "What Views, and Dispositions are absolutely necessary, in Order to a Sinner's, understandingly and consistently, exercising Faith in Christ, to the End he may be justified through him.—He must have a View of him­self, as he is, compared with the Law; and of his State, as it is, according to Law: And heartily approve the Law, as being strictly just."

As when the Children of Israel were about to enter into the Land of Canaan, which was a Type of Hea­ven, the Law was by Moses repeated in the Plains of Moab; and, just as they took Possession of the holy Land, they were obliged to signify their hearty Approbation of the whole Law, in its utmost Rigour, by answering, AMEN, twelve Times going, as the Levites denounced the Curse; so before a Sinner can come to Christ, and be, thro' him, entitled to the [Page 56]heavenly Canaan, the Commandment must come, be set home on his Conscience, that Sin may revive, and his guilty State appear, and all his Hopes grounded on his own Goodness die. Nor can he, consistently, apply to Christ, the great Atonement, unless, from his Heart, he approves the Law, by which he stands condemned, as strictly just.

As the Israelites had no Title to the Land of Ca­naan by Law, in Consequence of their own Righteous­ness, being a stiff-necked People, but only by the Pro­mise made to Abraham: * So it was fit, they should see and be thoroughly sensible, that God did not do those great Things for them, for their Righteousness. And therefore such a Method was, by God, taken, with that Generation, for the Space of Forty Years, as had the most direct Tendency to answer this End. And so it is, in a resembling Manner with Sinners, according to God's ordinary Way of preparing them for Christ; and a Title to eternal Life through him. For they were our Ensamples, and their History was written for our Instruction. §

BUT, inasmuch as the Necessity of a preparitory Work, is denied by Some, and the Nature of it, is still more misunderstood; therefore let us stop here a few Minutes, and see what Light, the Subject we have been upon, will pour in upon these Points.

THE Necessity of Preparation for Christ, must, without Dispute, be granted; or we shall undermine the Jewish Dispensation, which was, by God, de­signed for this very Purpose.—God intended that the Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine into this benighted World—He intended it, in the Days of Moses—But the World was not prepared for it then. Therefore, first, he gives the Law; ap­points that, to be a School-Master; and keeps up the School, for near two Thousand Years; to prepare the Way for the Gospel-Revelation: That it might be the better understood, the more readily believed and [Page 57]embraced.—God saw many preparatory Lessons needed to be taught, and that the Necessity was so great, as that it was best to delay the Gospel Dispen­sation, and set up a preparatory School, and appoint a preparatory School-Master.—So that, there needs, no farther Proof, of the Necessity of Preparation, in Order to Faith in Christ; as the Mosaic Dispensation takes this for granted, and was chiefly designed to answer this End. 87 For, as if any Man should boldly say, that Mankind have no Need of a Saviour, it would wholly undermine and overthrow the Gospel Revelation; which takes it for granted, that Man­kind do need a Saviour, and just such a Saviour as is provided: So, if any Man should boldly say, that Nothing is wanting to prepare a Sinner for Christ, it would undermine and overthrow the Mosaic Dispensa­tion, which takes it for granted, that Sinners did need Preparation, and just such a Preparation, as that Dispensation was suited to work.

Now, read through the whole Law of Moses, with the History interspersed in those sacred Books, of God's Dealings with the Children of Israel, those Forty Years in the Wilderness; and it will appear, [Page 58]that the Whole is admirably suited, to realize the Being and Perfections of God; to shew us exactly how he looks upon Himself, and how he stands af­fected towards Sin. "I AM THE LORD," He says, an Hundred Times, he speaks it with the Majesty of a GOD, and he shews an infinite Regard to his own Honour, and expects All to love and worship him, to fear and obey him, on Pain of Death. If his Anger waxes hot, behold! the Earth opens her Mouth, and swallows up Hundreds! Or, the Plague rages, to kill Thousands in a Moment! And if he is pleased to have Mercy, and not execute all his Wrath; it is, like an absolute Sovereign, over Criminals, that have no Claim. I will have Mercy, on whom I will have Mercy: And I will have Compassion, on whom I will have Compassion. * Thus they are in the Hands of a Sovereign God.—Mean While, the Law teaches, that no Mortal can, on the Account of his own Goodness, be approved of God, unless he is per­fectly holy in Heart and Life. And that, the least Defect merits and exposes to eternal Damnation. And yet, at the same Time, forbids a complaining Thought, and obliges to an hearty Approbation. Nor could the poor, guilty, helpless Jew, without an hearty Approbation of the Law, with any Con­sistency, lay his Hands on the Head of the consecra­ted Animal, and present it to die in his Room. And yet, this was the only Door of Hope: For, without shedding of Blood, there was no Remission. And now it is plain, what Views and Dispositions, all this, effectually realized to the Mind, and set home upon the Heart, was suited to work.—‘It would effectu­ally awaken his Conscience, and bring the Jew to feel, what he was, by Nature, and by Prac­tice, in the Sight of God, and compared with his Law; and what he stood exposed unto; without any possible Way of Escape, but by the Blood of Atonement; which, yet, he could not, consistent­ly, [Page 59]have recourse unto; unless, first, he heartily approved the Law, in all its Rigour, as strictly just.’—And herein, as in a Glass, we may see, the true Nature of that Preparation, which is neces­sary, in Order to exercise Faith in Christ.

AND impartial Reason approves it all. For—is it fit the Sinner should be pardoned, before he sees and owns, what he is, and wherein, and how much, he has been to blame?—Or, is it fit, the Sinner should be pardoned, till he clearly sees he deserves to be pu­nished?—Or, is it fit, a Sinner should be pardoned, by God, the Lawgiver, before he sees and feels the Law is just, by which he stands condemned; so as to cease complaining; yea, so as actually to approve, justify, and acquiesce in it, as quite right and altogether equitable?—Or, can a Sinner, till then, see any pro­per and rational Ground for an Atonement? Or, dis­cern his Need of Christ? Or, see the true Beauty and Glory of the Gospel-Way of Life? Or, heartily acquiesce in it?

OR, may not these be laid down, as Maxims, near, or quite, self-evident?—I must see, wherein I have been to blame, and how much, before I can see wherein, and how much, I need a Pardon.—I must see, I, altogether, deserve the threatned Punishment; before I can see it, altogether, free Grace, to be de­livered from it. I must see it, reasonable, fit and beauti­ful, that Sin should be, so punished, as the Law threat­ens; before I can see the Law, reasonable, fit and beau­tiful, in threatning, so to punish Sin.—I must see the Law reasonable, fit and beautiful; before I can be satisfied at Heart, that it was ever best it should be executed upon the Sinner, or upon Christ his Surety: —I must see it, to be of infinite Importance that God be honoured, and Sin discountenanced; before the Severity of the Law will appear beautiful, or the Death of Christ needful, or the Way of Life thro' his Blood glorious, or I heartily approve of the Law, [...] cordially acquiesce in the Gospel.—I must heartily [Page 60]acquiesce in the Gospel-Way of Life; or I cannot sincerely, and from the Heart, fall in with it.—

Now, these, and, each of these Particulars, are essential to the Exercise of Faith in Christ, for Pardon and Justification. Nor, need any Thing farther be added, in Order to determine exactly, the Nature of that Preparation, which is necessary, to the Exercise of Faith in Christ.—Precisely, how much of this, is wrought in the true Convert, previous to Regeneration, and goes into the Idea, of what is called legal Humi­liation, and how much is consequent upon Regenera­tion and divine Light, and belongs to what is called evangelical Humiliation, I shall not stand to deter­mine. *—But this, I desire, may be remembred, that there can be no Exercise of Faith in Christ, for Par­don, and Justification, by a new Convert, or by an [...]ld Saint, without these Views and Tempers, at least, [Page 61]for the Substance of them. 90 They are so essential to justifying Faith, that it cannot exist, without them. Which, after all that has been said, seems too plain and evident, to need any farther Proof.—There­fore.

4. WHAT has been said, may serve to determine these following Things, concerning the Nature of jus­tifying Faith.

[Page 62] (1.) IN General. It implies an hearty Approbation of the Law, and an hearty Acquiescence in the Gos­pel; as being suited to honour God, and discoun­tenance Sin:—And therefore more particularly,

(2.) IT implies, a Conviction, and some realizing Sense, of the infinite Greatness and Glory of God; as also a supreme Love to God, and Regard to his Honour. For otherwise, we can never approve the Law, from the Heart; nor will it ever appear beau­tiful, or agreeable, that God's Honour is so much consulted and set by, both in the Law and Gospel.

(3.) IT implies Regeneration. Or, that a new, spiritual, divine Nature, Taste and Relish, is com­municated to us from God. For, there is no Princi­ple in unrenewed Nature, from which, a Man may have such a supreme Regard to God and his Honour, as from the Heart to approve the Law, in requiring sinless Perfection on Pain of eternal Damnation. The Law never appeared Glorious to an unregenerate Heart. But every unregenerate Heart is at Enmity against it. Rom. viii. 7.

(4.) IT implies a Conviction, and some realizing Sense, of the infinite Evil of Sin, as it is against a God or infinite Glory. For otherwise it cannot appear as an agreeable, amiable Thing in God to punish it with eternal Damnation: And so the Law cannot be real­ly approved of and liked.

(5.) IT implies true Repentance. In that, we are thus heartily turned against Sin, to God, to be on his Side, to approve and justify his Law, and stand for his Honour. For now the Rebel is become, and has the Heart of a loyal Subject.—And so,

(6.) IT implies a Principle of new Obedience.— Yea,

(7.) IT implies the Seeds of every moral Virtue, and every christian Grace. For, they are comprised in a hearty Approbation of the Law, and Acqui­escence in the Gospel.—And so,

[Page 63] (8.) IT implies, virtually, a Preparedness of Heart, to deny Ourselves, take up our Cross, and follow Christ, and be true to him at all Adventures.—A Character absolutely essential to every true Christian. Luke xiv. 25—33.—And so beyond all Dispute,

(9.) Justifying Faith is an HOLY ACT.—And yet.

(10.) IT implies, that we have no Dependence, no, not the least, on any Goodness, of any Kind, which is inherent in us, to recommend us to God's Favour and Acceptance.—For,

(11.) IT implies, that we see and feel, that eter­nal Damnation is, at that Moment, our proper Due, according to Law and Reason, according to strict and impartial Justice.—Yea,

(12.) IT implies, that we are so far from a Dis­position to think hard of God, and complain of his Law, as too severe; that on the Contrary, we are disposed to think well of God, and to think the Law to be just what it should be, quite right, altogether right, just and fair.—Yea,

(13.) IT implies, that the Law, altho' a Mini­stration of Death, appears to be glorious. For, other­wise, it cannot appear fit and beautiful, that the Ho­nour of it should be secured, by the Blood of the SON OF GOD. And yet, unless this does appear fit and Beautiful, the Gospel-Way of Life cannot be heartily acquiesced in.

(14.) AND if the Law, altho' a Ministration of Death, appears to be glorious, as it is suited to ho­nour God and discountenance Sin; the Gospel will appear much more exceedingly glorious: as being wisely calculated, not only to answer these Ends, to even better Advantage than the Law; but also to humble and save the Sinner, and glorify Grace.— And therefore, in the Exercise of Faith, the Gospel-Way of Life by free Grace thro' Jesus Christ, will be admired, loved, esteemed, rejoiced in, as being full of the manifold Wisdom of God; while we behold, [Page 64]how Satan is disappointed, God exalted, the Law honoured, God's Authority established, Sin punished, the Sinner humbled and saved, and Grace glorified, all at once.

(15.) Justifying Faith, these Views and Tempers, being thus supposed and implied, consists more espe­cially in a cordial Compliance with the Gospel-Way of Life, by trusting in and entirely depending upon Jesus Christ,—that Lamb of God, typically slain in daily Sacrifices from the Foundation of the World; who, in the Fulness of Time, bare our Sins in his own Body on the Tree—died, the Just for the Unjust—being set forth, as the Bullock of old, to be a Propitiation for Sin, that God might be just—and who is now ascended into Hea­ven, to appear, as our great High-Priest, in the Presence of God—and is able to save to the Uttermost, all that come to God by him.—So the pious Jew, with an hum­ble and broken Heart, laid his Hands on the Head of the Bullock, or the Goat, which he had pre­sented before the Lord, to die in his Room. The consecrated Animal was slain, his Blood sprinkled, his Carcass burnt, and so Atonement was made. Without shedding of Blood, there was no Remission. Even so now, we are justified by FAITH IN CHRIST'S BLOOD. i. e. by an entire Trust, Dependence, Reliance, on the Atonement, Merits, and Mediation of Christ, for Pardon and Acceptance in the Sight of God, and for eternal Life.—This FAITH IN CHRIST'S BLOOD— is St. Paul's Definition of justifying Faith. in Rom. iii. 25.—And

(16.) It implies a firm Belief of the Truth of the Gospel. For, otherwise, a Sinner, so wide awake, would not dare, to venture his Soul and eternal Con­cerns, thus wholly and entirely, upon it, without any other Dependence.—And lastly,

(17.) IT implies a supreme Value for the Favour of God, above all the World. As this will naturally arise from a Sense of his supreme Dignity, Greatness and Glory.

[Page 65] THESE Things are all so easy to be understood, and so evidently true, from what has been alrea­dy said, that they need neither farther Illustration, nor farther Proof.

AND thus, from the Nature of the Law, and of the Gospel,—from the very Frame and Constitution of these two Dispensations, we learn the Nature of the preparatory Work, and the Nature of Saving Faith.— And nothing can be more satisfactory than to see these two Things, which lay the Foundation for all experimental Religion, i. e. for all real Religion, thus growing up, as it were, out of the whole Bible, not resulting from, here, and there, a detached Sentence; but the natural and necessary Consequence of both Dispensations, jointly viewed. And this joint View set in a divine Light, by the great Apostle of the Gentiles, before our Eyes.—And thus, the Religion of the Heart answers exactly to the Bible; as Face answers to Face in a Glass. As it is written, we all beholding, as in a Glass, the Glory of the Lord, are chang­ed into the same Image. * i. e. beholding the Glory of the Lord, as shining in the Law; which, altho' a Ministration of Death, was glorious: And in the Gospel, which much exceeds in Glory: We are chang­ed into the same Image, are transformed into an exact Resemblance, into a Frame of Heart, that is exactly answerable.—This Image is begun at Con­version, and it increases, from Glory to Glory, by the continual Influences of the Spirit of the Lord; who begins, carries on, and compleats this glorious Re­novation.

AND from these Things, it is evident, that justify­ing Faith is entirely of a different Nature, from a­ny Thing, an unregenerate Man experiences; who has neither these Views, nor these Tempers, which are implied in it, and properly belong to its Essence, And accordingly, we find, that he, who faith, He that believeth not, shall be damned: Saith also, Except [Page 66] a Man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. —And particularly

WE may now, in the Light of all these Truths, see, as in the Light of Noon-Day, that for a Man, merely, to believe that his Sins are pardoned, and that God loves him, has in it nothing of the Nature of jus­tifying Faith; but is altogether a different Thing.

(1.) JUSTIFYING Faith is a Grace, it is an holy Act. But there is nothing of the Nature of Holiness, mere­ly, in believing my Sins are forgiven. Yea, many a graceless Sinner believes so.

(2.) JUSTIFYING Faith is a saving Grace. But Sal­vation is no where promised to a Man's firmly believ­ing his Sins are forgiven.

(3.) JUSTIFYING Faith is wrought, and can be wrought in the Heart by none but the Spirit of God. But this Belief may be the Effect of a Man's own Presumption, or of the Devil's Delusion.

(4.) JUSTIFYING Faith implies all the Seeds of Holiness in it, and so naturally lays a Foundation for a holy Life. But this Belief, as there is no Ho­liness in it; so it may naturally lay a Foundation for a wicked Life: As it tends to embolden a graceless Heart in Sin.

(5.) JUSTIFYING Faith implies Regeneration, and cannot exist without it. But this Belief may be with­out it. There is no Necessity of Regeneration in Order to its Existence.

(6.) JUSTIFYING Faith implies a thorough Convic­tion of Sin. But a thorough Convicton of Sin would be a Hindrance to this Faith. If They saw how bad they were, they would not be so apt to believe their Sins forgiven. Yea, thorough Conviction would ef­fectually prevent this Belief, and keep them from this Delusion, and shew them their Need of Christ indeed. Sudden Terrors, without any deep Conviction, are Preparation enough for this Belief. Yea, the Mora­vians, who think this Belief true Faith, are against [Page 67]any Convictions, or Terrors, as doing more Hurt than Good.

(7.) JUSTIFYING Faith supposes, that eternal Damnation is seen to be justly due: Nor can there be an Act of Faith without it. But deluded Sinners may be strong in this Belief, when quite secure in Sin, and at the greatest Remove from a Sense of their Desert of Damnation.

(8.) JUSTIFYING Faith supposes, that the Law is approved of, and loved. But this Belief may be in an Antinomian Heart, that hates the Law.

(9.) JUSTIFYING Faith supposes the Way of Sal­vation, by free Grace thro' Jesus Christ, is rightly understood; as it results herefrom. But a right Understanding of the Gospel-Way of Life is not needful to this Belief; as it does not take its Rise from the Gospel, but from a new Revelation. Yea, a clear Insight into the Gospel-Way of Life, would do more Hurt than Good; as it would tend to convince them of their Delusion.

(10.) JUSTIFYING Faith supposes, that we believe the Gospel to be true. But that Belief a Heretick may have. Yea, a professed Infidel may have it: A Turk, or a Jew may as firmly believe that his Sins are forgiven, as any Christian. And doubtless some of them do.

(11.) JUSTIFYING Faith supposes, that the Gos­pel is heartily approved of and loved. But this Be­lief is consistent with an habitual Enmity to the Gos­pel, as well as the Law.

(12.) JUSTIFYING Faith hath for its Object, Jesus Christ. But this Belief has for its Object, no Being; but only a supposed Fact. viz. That my Sins are forgiven.

(13.) JUSTIFYING Faith, is that, by which, we are justified. But this Belief supposes the Man was justified, that his Sins were actually pardoned before he believed.—Therefore,

[Page 68] (14.) As justifying Faith is founded only on Truth; so this Belief is founded only on Falshood.— And

(15.) As justifying Faith is founded only on Truths revealed in the written Word; so this Belief is only on a supposed Fact, no where revealed in the written Word. Yea, contrary to the written Word, which teaches, that before Faith our Sins are not pardoned: But the Wrath of God abideth on us. *

(16.) JUSTIFYING Faith is wrought by the Spirit of God, enlightening our Minds, spiritually to under­stand the Truths of the Gospel already revealed in the written Word. But this Belief is begotten by an immediate Revelation, of a Fact never revealed before.—Yea, of a Fact not true.

(17.) JUSTIFYING Faith attaches the Heart to that whole System of Truths revealed in the Gospel. But this Belief leaves the Heart open to Error, and inclines it to Antinomianism.

(18.) IT is every Sinner's Duty, that hears the Gospel, to believe on Christ with a justifying Faith, But it is not every Sinner's Duty to believe his Sins are forgiven.

(19.) AN Aversion to the Exercise of true Faith in Christ, is a Sin in all Cases. But a Backwardness to believe his Sins are forgiven, is no Sin, in one, who is unpard [...]ed.

(20.) JUSTIFYING Faith, the stronger it is, so much the better, always. But this Belief, the strong­er it is, in a self-deceived Hypocrite, so much the worse.

(21.) JUSTIFYING Faith works by Love to God, as glorious and amiable in himself. But this Belief works only by Self-Love. As the Israelites, at the Red-Sea, were, from Self-Love, filled with Joy, in a Sense of their Deliverance, without any true Love to God in their Hearts; so a Man may be filled with Joy, in a firm Belief that his Sins are forgiven; [Page 69]and yet be [...] [...]stitute of true Grace, as were that ungodly [...], to whom God sware in his Wrath, that they should never enter into his Rest.

(22.) THE true Believer naturally makes Holiness of Heart and Life his Evidence of a good Estate, as this is the natural Fruit of true Faith. But this Be­lief naturally leads Men to make, what they call, the immediate Witness of the Spirit, their only fun­damental Evidence; as all their Faith, and all their Religion, arises from it, and is entirely dependent on it: And disposes them to think Sanctification, a very dark, unsteady, uncertain Evidence; their own religious Frames being such.

(23.) THE first and fundamental Article of a true Believer's Creed, and that on which all his Religion and Hopes are built, is, that the Scriptures of the Old and New-Testament are the Word of God. * But the first and fundamental Article of the other Sort, and that on which all their Religion and Hopes are built, is, that the immediate Discovery they have had of the Love of God, and that their Sins are pardoned, is from God.—Shake them here, and you Shake their very Foundation.—Destroy this Belief, and you destroy all their Religon and all their Hopes, and leave them quite uncertain in every Thing.

(24.) IN justifying Faith the Believer is married to Christ, becomes One with him; and so is interest­ed in all his Benefits. But in this Belief, They are persuaded, that the Benefits of Christ are Theirs, with­out being ever married to Him.—To render this perfectly familiar to the weakest Capacity, let me add, —That the Church, in Scripture, is called, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife. And being thus united to Christ, is considered, as being IN CHRIST, and so interested in all his Benefits.—Now there arises this Question— What is the Nature of that Faith, whereby the Soul is thus united to Christ?—When a Woman is married to a Man, there is, (1.) the Transaction itself, in and [Page 70]by which, they are married. (2.) A Consciousness of the Transaction, at that Time. (3.) A Remembrance of it afterwards. (4.) Duties and Privileges flowing from it. So it is in true Faith.—But what if a Woman should take it in her Head, without ever be­ing married, to believe, (1.) such a Man is my Hus­band. (2.) He has paid all my Debts and given me all his Estate.—Objection. No, but you are not married to him.—Answer. Yes, I am. For Marriage consists in believing he is my Husband, and has paid all my Debts.—Might it not in this Case be affirmed?— Believing I am married, is not the whole Essence of the Marriage-Covenant, nor any Part of it.—So it is equally plain and certain, that—believing that Christ is mine, and that my Sins are pardoned, is not the whole Essence of justifying Faith, nor any Part of it. * To proceed

5. FROM what has been said, the following Case of Conscience may be easily and safely resolved.—viz.—‘A Man is greatly at a Loss about the State of his Soul. He has been awakened, and has been com­forted, and has frequently had something like Communion with God. He makes Conscience of all his Ways. And yet, for several Reasons, is at a great Loss, whether, what he has experi­enced, be a common, or saving Work of the Spirit.— He opens his Case to his christian Friends; they are afraid to speak comfortably, lest it should settle [Page 71]him down on a false Foundation, if all still be wrong. But they dare by no Means speak dis­couraging; because, according to his Account, his Case is hopeful, altho' not clear. So they know not what to say.—Now what is the best Advice that can be given to a Man in such a Case?’

TELL him, that altho' he is at a Loss, about his State; yet these three Things he may be certain of. They are true, and may be depended upon. viz. He is a Sinner—the Gospel is true—and it is his Duty to comply with it.—Thus tenderly address him.

‘Altho' you are Conscientious in all your Ways, yet you know, you have been, and still are a Sinner. Your Heart is not what it ought to be. Your Temper towards God, Christ and divine Things is not as it should be. Nor do you take that Pains in the Use of Means, in Prayer, Meditation, keeping the Heart, &c. as you might.—You are to blame.—You are wholly to blame.—God is righteous in his present Dealings with you.—Yea, you deserve infinitely worse than all this: Even, to be sent immediately to Hell.— Wherefore, see it; own it; come down, and lie in the Dust at the Foot of God. And learn habi­tually to understand, realize and approve of God's Law, as holy, just and good.’

‘AND, as it is true, that you are a Sinner, and deserve Hell; so it is equally true, that Christ has died for Sinners, and God is ready, thro' him, to be reconciled to all that believe.—And the Truth of these glad Tidings may be depended upon. And you cannot reasonably desire, that God should be reconciled to you, in any other Way than this, which is so perfectly adapted and suited to ho­nour God, discountenance Sin, humble the Sinner and glorify Grace.’

‘Now whether you was ever savingly converted or not; yet it is equally your Duty, in a Sense, that Hell is your proper Due, and that you are [Page 72]absolutely helpless and undone in Yourself, and in a firm Belief of the Truth of the Gospel, to apply to the great Atonement of Christ, and to look to the free Grace of God thro' him, for Mercy to pardon, and Grace to help according to all your Needs.—And thro' Christ to devote and give up Yourself to God, to love him, live to him, and to be for ever His.—And in this Way your State may be cleared up, and your Doubts removed.’

OBJECTION. But is there not Danger, that all This may Jettle him down on a false Hope; if as yet be never was converted?

ANSWER. (1.) IF he never was converted, then he never yet heartily approved of the Law, or really believed the Gospel, or ever heartily complied with it. Therefore, putting him upon these Things, will tend to convince him, that he never did. For it will tend to show him, that it is not in his Heart to do it. And consequently, that there is no Seed of Grace there: But that he is quite dead in Sin. And that, therefore, unless he is born again, he shall never see the Kingdom of God.—I say, it will tend to con­vince him of all this; and if, after all, he remains unconvinced, the Fault will be his own.

(2.) IF he has been savingly converted, then this Method of dealing with him, will be like pointing out the Way to One lost in a Wilderness.—He likes the Directions—he takes them—he hastens towards the Road—he finds it—he remembers it—he rejoices —and takes better Heed to keep the right Path thro' the Rest of his Journey. For the true Convert, altho' under great Backslidings, has still the Root of the Matter in him. Has it in his Heart to justify the Law, to be pleased with the Gospel-Way of Life, and to look to free Grace through Jesus Christ for all Things.—Like Jonah in the Belly of Hell, when the Weeds wrapt about his Head, and he was ready to say, that he was cast out of God's Sight; and his Soul fainted within him. Then he remembred God, and looked [Page 73]again towards his holy Temple, where God dwelt in the Cloud of Glory over the Mercy-Seat, under which the Law was laid up in the Ark, in the most holy Place of the HOLY of HOLIES, into which the High-Priest entered once a Year with the Blood of Atonement.—He looked hither—his former Ideas of God revived: He remembered the Lord: And a Sense of God, as there manifested, encouraged him to pray. —He prayed, and God heard him, and delivered him out of all his Distresses.—And many a poor broken hearted Backslider has done in like Manner, and found it good to draw near to the Lord. And thus the Truth clearly held forth to the Conscience, as it tends to kill the false Hopes of a self-deceived Hy­pocrite; so it tends to awaken and encourage the true Saint to such Exercises of Grace, as may be plainly discernible, and lay a Foundation for a full Assu­rance. To conclude

6. FROM what has been said, "the true State of the Christless Sinner appears in a clear Light." For, while we view the Sinner, as under a Law, that re­quires sinless Perfection under Pain of eternal Dam­nation, we may easily see how the Case stands with him.—He is under the Curse—he cannot obtain De­liverance, by any Works of Righteousness, which he can do—he daily runs deeper into Debt [...]—he has no Claim to any Mercy, of any Kind, temporal, or spiritual—till he sees this to be his Case, and hear­tily approves the Law, by which he stands con­demned, it is impossible he should see his Need of Christ, or approve of or fall in with, the Way of Salvation by him.

"HE is under the Curse." For as many as [...] of the Works of the Law, i. e. of a Disposition to trust in their own Doings, (as All are, until thro' the Law, they are become dead to the Law) are under the Curse. And that, as really as if Christ had never died. For Christ will profit them nothing, will be of no Effect to [...]—as it is written, Behold, I Paul say unto you, [Page 74] that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. * Christ is become of no Effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the Law; ye are fallen from Grace. — Not that Circumcision, simply and in itself, proved them to have no Interest in Christ. (For Paul circum­cised Timothy. ) But if they were circumcised under a Notion of recommending Themselves to God by their Duties, and obtaining the Favour of God by their own Righteousness, as was professedly the Case with some of them, then it was a sufficient Evidence of their Temper, and of their State.—They were of the Works of the Law; and so under the Curse. §— Wherefore, let it be observed, that, according to St. Paul, every self-righteous Sinner is out of Christ, and every Sinner out of Christ is under the Curse. Being actually under a Law, which requires sinless Perfection on Pain of [...]ternal Damnation, he is by this Law doomed to eternal Destruction. For They are Debtors to do the whole Law. And therefore the Curse takes hold of them, if they fail in any one Point.—Therefore,

"THE Christless Sinner cannot obtain Deliverance, by any Works of Righteousness which he can do." Because nothing short of sinless Perfection will entitle him to Life.—And it is too late for this.—He has sinned already—and so is a lost Creature—nor is there any Hopes in his Case, on Account of any Thing he can do—he is quite undone in himself—and his Case hourly grows Worse.—For,

"HE continually runs deeper into Debt." As his Sins are constantly multiplying, and his Guilt in­creasing, and nothing done, in the least, to make amends so he is constantly treasuring up Wrath.

"A [...] he has no Claim to any Mercy, of any Kind, temporal or spiritual." He can claim nothing by Law; unless he had fulfiled the Law. And he can claim nothing by Christ, unless he were IN Christ. [Page 75]And so having no Claim by Law, or Gospel; he has no Right to any Thing. No Right to his Life. That is forfeited, and all the good Things of this World are forfeited. And his Soul is forfeited. Yea, he is actually under the Sentence of Condemnation. * It is true, he is reprieved; but it is only of God's Sove­reign pleasure. He dies, he drops into Hell, when God pleases. He has no Claim to the Day of Grace, or Means of Grace, or to any Help from God.— Hell is his due—he can claim nothing better.—Hell is his present Due, and he can claim no Forbearance. In every Respect, he lies at God's sovereign Mercy.

"WHEN he sees this to be his Case, and heartily approves the Law by which he stands condemned;" then, and not till then, is there any Door of Hope, or any Way of Escape. But he is shut up under Sin. and bound down under Wrath. § For until this, it is impossible, he should—understand—or believe—or approve of—or acquiesce in, the Gospel-Way of Life.—Or trust in Christ, as therein set forth.

UNLESS he thus heartily approves of the Law he cannot understand the Gospel-Way of Life. For while it does not appear best, that Sin should be so pu­nished, he cannot understand why Christ died. He can­not understand what good End needed to be answered, or was answered, by his Death. He cannot understand his Need of him, or what it is to believe on him. It is all hid from him . It is all profound Darkness. And all the Seeds of Infidelity are in his Heart.

HE cannot realy believe the Gospel to be from God. For While he does not see what Ends needed to be answered, it must appear incredible, that the SON OF GOD should become INCARNATE and DIE.

HE cannot approve of the Gospel. For this would imply an hearty Approbation of the Law. If it does not appear reasonable, fit and beautiful, that he should be punished, as the Law threatens; it cannot appear [Page 76]reasonable, fit and beautiful, that the SON of GOD should bear the Curse in his Stead. If the Law is too severe, it ought to be repealed.

THEREFORE, he cannot acquiesce, heartily acqui­esce, in such a Way of Life. It does not suit his Heart. He is not pleased with it.

AND so he can have no genuine Disposition to look to, and trust in Christ as set forth in the Gospel, the whole Plan being virtually disliked, while it does not appear best, and a Thing desireable, that Sin should be punished with so great Severity.—There­fore, he must remain in profound Darkness, shut up under Sin, bound down under Wrath, and in fearful Expectations of everlasting Destruction, until his un­circumcised Heart is humbled. *

BUT no sooner is the Sinner brought, heartily to approve the Law, under a Sense of the infinite Greatness and Glory of God, so as sincerely to say, AMEN to it; but every Thing appears in a different Light. The Controversy is now at an End. The Enmity is slain. The Sinner, the Rebel, is turned to be on God's Side, is become a Friend; and, even, rejoices to see God's Honour so effectually secured.— And the Gospel is understood, believed, approved of, acquiesced in; yea, with all his Heart he com­plies with this Way of Life. Trusting in Christ, as set forth to be a Propitiation for Sin, that God might be just, and yet justify and save Sinners thro' him. —In Consequence of which, he is justified,—hath Peace with God—and rejoiceth in Hope of the Glory of God. —And being now dead to Sin, he can live no longer therein. § For thro' the Law, be is dead to the Law, that he might live to God. And he is married to Christ, that he might bring forth Fruit to God. And being now a Child of God, the Spirit of Adoption is sent forth into his Heart, Crying, Abba, Father. ** And so he follows [Page 77] God as a dear Child. * And from this Day, and for­ward is kept by the Power of God, thro' Faith, unto Salvation. Growing in Grace, and in the Knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. §—And all from the good Pleasure of God's Will, to the Praise of the Glory of his Grace. Amen.



Page 1 Line 1 read Galatians, p. 5. 1. 2. r. Chap. ii. 17. 21. p. 7 1. 2 r. not to be last 1. Mar. r. Gal. iii, 10. p. 24 l. 2 from Bot­tom, r. know, p. 32 1. 2. Mar. r. grow up, p. 33. 1. 7 r. moral, p. 41 l. 2 r. Arminians, p. 55 1. 6 & 9, r. and so take, p. 61 1. [...] Margent, r. those Legal.

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