UNIVERSAL DAMNATION, AND SALVATION, CLEARLY PROVED BY THE SCRIPTURES OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT. Specially recommended to the perusal of those who believe in the SALVATION of all Mankind.

It is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

GAL. chap. iii. ver. 10.

He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

ACTS, chap. i. ver. 7.

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

1st COR. chap. iv. ver. 5.




THE following Discourses (said to be the production of a respectable Clergyman in the Episcopal Church) were found in manuscript among the papers of a deceased member of the First Church of Universalists in Boston. A number of the mem­bers of that Church having perused them, and finding them to contain very clearly the doctrine and senti­ments which they profess—have contemplated the plan of publishing them: And they presume, the coincidence of the Principles they inculcate with their own religious belief (although they were writ­ten by a gentleman of different persuasion) will plead their apology to the Author (if living) for publish­ing them without his previous knowledge.




For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

THE business of a minister of the gos­pel is to preach PEACE both to them that are afar off, and to them that are nigh, and to testify to those who believe in Jesus that they are not under the law but under grace; yet those who have pro­faned christianity even in the days of the apostles, and ever since, generally have had an unaccount­able fondness for being under the law, though the law was a ministration of death as St. Paul expressly testifies; and the apostle of the Gentiles had much trouble with the Galations in this matter, they had been led away by those who taught them that their salvation depended on their keeping the law themselves, which made the apostle say, Knowing that a man is not justi­fied by the works of the law, for I through the law am lead to the law, that I might live unto GOD, I am crucified with CHRIST! nevertheless I live: yet not I, but CHRIST liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of GOD, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of GOD: for if righ­teousness come by the law, then CHRIST is dead [Page 4]in vain. He calls them foolish, and inquires who hath be witched them; —to let go the truth of the gospel which they had embraced; to take hold of the law, and reasons with them, by in­quiring if they received the spirit by the works of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel; know­ing that they had received the spirit by the hav­ing of faith, he inquires, Are ye so foolish? hav­ing begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Having received the spirit by hearing the glad tidings of the gospel, do you look to be made perfect by the observation of the law?— the law that made nothing perfect, only had its use in bringing in a better hope by which we draw nigh to GOD. And he lets them know that as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them. After which says he, Ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? I am afraid of you, says he, left I have bestow­ed upon you labour in vain. If we were to take a critical view of those who profess to believe in Christ at the present day, I believe we should find them to be chiefly Galatians. Though Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth before their eyes in the New Testament, crucified among them, —crucified in that mystical body of which he is the HEAD and they the MEMBERS,—tasting death, the wages of sin, for every man,—being made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Yet they generally cry out this will not do, this is an easy way to heaven: No, no, there is something for us to do, we must do something. One says, we can get no title to heaven unless we believe: Another says, [Page 5]we must repent before we shall have any title: Another says, we must believe, repent and be bap­tized, and be holy both in life and heart.— These are the conditions of our having a title to heaven. A title must come from an owner, an heir, or purchaser. Jesus Christ saith, All things that the Father hath are mine, and this power, right or privilege is given, that he should give eternal life to as many as are thus given him.— Again, he is the appointed heir of all things, therefore our title must flow from divine love, Behold what manner of love the Father hath be­stowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of GOD, and if a son then an heir of GOD through CHRIST. It is true, we have been captivated and alienated from our owners, to whom we belonged by right of heirship; and in our alienated estate have been guilty of breach of law, which curses every one that continues not in all things written in the book of the law to do them. But praised be his name, in his love and pity he hath redeemed us from our captivity, and hath delivered us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us; there­fore we are his by purchase, for he hath purcha­sed eternal redemption for us. In short, if Jesus had not been made of God unto us wisdom, righ­teousness, sanctification and redemption—if he had not been the Lord our righteousness, repen­tance would have been to no purpose; we should have found no place for repentance, though we had sought it ever so carefully with tears! for God who changeth not, had pledged his truth, that the soul that sinned should die.—But we are told that those speak smooth things who tell us that the gospel is a proclamation of peace and good tidings. As the Holy Ghost foretold by the [Page 6]evangelical prophet, that the gospel would be say­ing, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that publisheth peace, that bringeth glad tidings of good—that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Sion thy God reigneth! thy watchmen shall lift up the voice, with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Sion. For the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare his arm in the eyes of the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. We are also told, that Jesus himself read in the synagogue of Nazareth, this passage of the prophet Esaias, where it is written, The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the bro­ken-hearted; to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind; to set at li­berty them that are bruised; to preach the accepta­ble year of the Lord—and he closed the book, and began to say to them, this day is the scripture ful­filling in your ears. But if any thing like this is now taught to be the spirit of the gospel, we are told it is an easy religion—too easy to be true; even by those who esteem themselves experienced christians: It is, I say, called daubing with untem­pered mortar: As though no mortar would satisfy them but what bears a striking resemblance to a sort of mortar sometimes used in the eastern parts of the world, which mortar is called Bitumen, and with which the walls of ancient Babylon were cemented, as historians tell us; which mor­tar is so tempered as to be exceeding hard when dry: yet contains so much sulphureous matter that when fire is applied it will burn like pitch, and consume with intense heat. But since the walls of [Page 7]the ancient literal Babylon were cemented with sulphureous mortar, that the wall of the mystical Babylon, of which the literal was a figure, should be cemented with mortar strongly tempered with brimstone or sulphur, is no great wonder, especial­ly when we consider that mystical Babylon is the kingdom of Satan! which is the abomination of the earth.

MANKIND, since the fall of Adam, have pretty generally shown an aversion to what they esteem an easy religion. It was upon this principle that the vengeance of GOD was not to be averted, un­less they themselves did some very great thing to appease his anger, to satisfy his justice, and to pro­cure his favours, which is a very natural conceit for a blind and timid mind. Accordingly we read that the prophets of Baal upon mount Carmel, when Elijah was present, not only called upon their god from morning till evening, but also leapt upon their altars, and cut themselves with knives and lancets, till the blood ran down; thinking no doubt that their god would be moved with compassion to them and graciously answer them, when he saw how hard and severe a service they offered him: this I am sure was no easy religion, or any way pleasant. Another deity was not to be approached by his followers except through a stream of their own sons and daughters blood, and none but the children they loved most, could be accepted to pass through the fire for a sacrifice, to pacify Molock's rage. But I never heard any that profess christianity applaud that religion for the hardness and severity of the services, though I think it must appear indeed very hard and severe to any that ever felt parental affection.

[Page 8] THE Jews, it seems, were very much pleased with this hard religion, and quite sick of the wor­ship of JEHOVAH, it was so easy, though an heavy yoke, and under the Jewish economy, when com­pared to the service of love and gratitude which Christianity recommends! But I think the same notion is very common among those who profess christianity.

THE Papists think that the Protestants have an easy religion, too loose and easy to be good; he does not take that pains the Papist does to re­concile his God to him: The Papist perhaps goes a long pilgrimage, walks barefoot with an hair cloth next his skin; at certain times whips him­self severely! and the more he afflicts his flesh the more he pleases and reconciles his god to him; as he supposes his religion is an hard, severe reli­gion, and therefore in his esteem must be the sa­fest.—When a man undergoes so much to gain the good will of God, the Papist thinks he must gain it;—just so among Protestants, they that make their religion the most hard and pain­ful task, think with a pleasing reflection, that they have done so much for God—or at least been such faithful labourers in his service, that they must be more high in his esteem, so more safe than others. Thus painful and industrious are men in general who have any zeal for the re­ligion they profess, to make out a wedding gar­ment of their own filthy rags. How much be­neath the dignity of the God of love, are all these notions!—It is true that God's law was viola­ted by us in our first [...], and we were all be­come objects of punishment: His justice could by no means excuse the guilty. But what could we do to reinstate the honour of this law, and to [Page 9]satisfy his justice—Nothing but suffer the penalty of the law—eternal death! and then justice would have been ever inflicting without ever being satis­fied! But God whose ways are as much above our ways, and his thoughts above our thoughts, as the heavens are high above the earth; instead of looking to us for satisfaction, he provided an am­ple satisfaction to his justice in our own behalf. He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; that with him he might also freely give us all things! How infinitely noble was this!— It was an act indeed worthy of GOD, who is love! When the eternal God in the brightness of his glory, and transcendent wishes of his love, has made mercy, and the very truth of justice to meet and embrace each other in his Son! so that our sins are no more forever;—how low and pitiful does every attempt of ours to appease his justice now appear.

BUT after all that has been said, if no religion can be safe but an hard one, that requires something very great & severe to please the Almighty, let it be taken notice of and remembered, that the religion which is accused of being so easy a way to heaven, points out the hardest method of satisfaction to divine justice, and the most costly manner of purchasing heaven for men, that the professors of any reli­gion ever thought of, even an infinite satisfaction or infinite sacrifice! No less than the blood and agonies of the Son of God himself. One would think that this is a method of satisfying justice and procuring a title to heaven and eternal happiness, sufficiently hard to satisfy any man in his senses. Mankind in general have had a notion that some great things must be done; some hard or dear sa­crifice must be made to God, to honour his justice [Page 10]and procure a title to his favour and eternal happi­ness: and so far as their knowledge extended they have judged very right in this particular, but then God himself has provided this great something, this dear sacrifice: he has been to us an infinite and everlasting Father, has provided himself a lamb for a sacrifice, infinitely more dear and precious to him than all the wisdom and ingenuity of the whole world could ever contrive. But after all this, men who think themselves greatly skilled in divine knowledge, cry this will never do; we must do something; if this is all, the justice of God will never be satisfied for us, we shall never have a title to heaven if CHRIST's merits are not sufficient to satisfy justice, even to the last mite, and to purchase for us an eternal inheritance in heaven! then Christ is dead in vain, and our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain, ye are yet in your sins, then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished, and Christ never rose again for our justification, nor purchased eternal redemption for us; though St. Paul expressly says he did. Heb, ix. 12. By his own blood he entred once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

BUT only figure to yourself a poor criminal confined in irons for treason against his king, condemned by a fair and righteous trial, of a just and equitable sentence of death pronounced upon him: The king says to his son, let us procure a release for this poor criminal; such an one as shall be consistent with strict justice and the highest honour of the law—the prince, the king's son, re­plies, I am ready and rejoice to do thy will. The son goes, even to the prison, and there pays down an immense sum for the ransom of the prisoner, even before his eyes, and also procures, he purchases [Page 11]for him an ample and clear deed to a most elegant house in the city and a plentiful maintenance for life! The prince steps up to the poor forlorn criminal, with all the chearful benevolence that could possibly adorn the most lovely person of a man, and knocks the irons off the prisoner, and delivers him his pardon, signed and sealed, acknowledged and recorded, to an elegant seat, and plentiful maintenance for life in the royal city! at the same time pulls off his dirty, greasy, vile rags with which he was covered, and clothes him with a new, rich and beautiful, neat and clean robe, and says to him in the most obliging man­ner you are heartily welcome to my father's pre­sence and mine, to your elegant house and fortune and to all the privileges of the royal city. The poor prisoner not a little coufused, looks round him! —carefully picks up his old clothes which in­stead of being worth any thing, are a vile and abominable nuisance, and says to the prince, I must do something for the king your father, otherwise I shall never get clear of the gallows after all, nor see the fine house you tell of: I have nothing in the world to give the king but these old clothes, there are some spots of dirt and grease upon them I con­fess, but as you take them home you will be so good as to wash out these spots before you present them to your father: there are a few rents and holes too in them I think, but you can carefully darn them up so curiously, and where it is wanted set in here and there a new piece of cloth so neatly that they will never be seen; this you will do too be­fore you present them! I wish I had something better to present to your father, he is an excellent king, but this is the best, nay all that I have.—The prince, with an air of kindness nobly shining in his [Page 12]countenance, replies, my father and I did this kind­ness knowing that you had no reward to give us, if you had been able to have recompensed us, you would have been able to have helped yourself: we ransom'd you because you had nothing to pay but your life, no recompense to offer—my father and I have every thing to enjoy, and stand in need of nothing; enjoy what's given you with gratitude, that's enough for you! my father and I, have the pleasure and honour of doing you this kindness, and that's enough for us:—The poor bewilder'd man stares a little and then replies, aye you don't mean as you say, nor as the writings say which you gave me—It is a conditional bargain (or covenant I might have said) and a very good one if I come up to the conditions. I plainly see that you mean a condition, though you don't expressly say it, (and I can easily infer it from this that) if the gift was certain and free without conditions says one, I should immediately become abominably licen­tious! If I knew that the fine house and mainte­nance, and city privileges were certainly mine, I should no longer feel any relish for them, I should not care any thing about them, and to tell you the truth, it I knew that my ransom from the gallows was compleat and certain, I should not feel one spark of gratitude to you nor your father, for all you have done for me! but since it is a con­ditional ransom, the thoughts of being brought with solemn pomp and parade to be publicly ex­ecuted, so strikes my soul through and through with their terrors, that I am absolutely afraid not to feel grateful and thankul in some degree! A poor sort of gratitude and praise indeed, says the prince; if my father had been pleased to require any con­ditions of you as a sort of requital for shewing this [Page 13]mercy, how heartily would he despise the shud­dering services that proceed from abject fears.— Well, says the ransomed criminal, you must take my old clothes and make the best of them you pos­sibly can; some places in them I see are entirely wanting, you must set in little slips of this fine new robe where they are wanted: I hope that will please your father!—But a new piece of cloth, put into an old garment, says the prince, makes the much worse you know, and besides, he does not want your old clothes.—I hope he will ac­cept of them, says the infatuated man, but they look so bad I am afraid he won't, and then I shall be undone, for I have nothing else to give him, and I must do something you know.—Present yourself to him, says the prince, with your new robe on, which I gave you.—That won't do, says the man, I repeat it again, I must do something for him!— Poor deluded man, (says the prince) you are beside yourself. The goal-keeper has used you very ill, he has amused you with so many follies and false­hoods, and kept you in a dark room, so dark that you are become hardly capable to judge rationally of any thing I say to you; this goal-keeper it was that seduced you into the act of treason at first, and has been insensibly seducing and deceiving you ever since; he will be punished in due time:—by-and-by I will send my servants with an order to the goal keeper, to thrust you out, and when my servants shall lead you out in the fresh air, where you will behold the plea­sant rays of the sun, from which you have been long hid, then you will come to yourself again, and be joyfully led to your new seat; where I will meet you, and give you joy of your new habitation!

[Page 14] THUS, however firmly men are assured that CHRIST has purchased eternal redemption for them, and secured their title to heaven, yet talk of conditions, and insist upon doing something to get a title! even those who cry out against works have this something to do to gain a title to happi­ness, as well as others, though they are careful to call that something they have to do by a different name from works! But what says the Almighty to the prophet Isaiah, He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man: he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol.—Thus far is any thing that we ourselves can do from purchasing for us a title to the favour of GOD or an inheritance in his king­dom. —Every attempt of this kind we make, is no better than a smoke in the nose of our GOD.

To the same purpose is the 10th chapter of St. Paul's epistle to the Hebrews, It is not possible, says he, that the blood of bulls or of goats should take away sins: wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, the son of God saith to his Father, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body haft thou prepared me: in burnt-offerings and sacri­fices for sin thou hast had no pleasure: Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, OGod. Above when he said, Sacri­fice, &c. thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein, which are offered by the law. By the way don't you imagine that the Jews thought that GOD had pleasure in those sacrifices of theirs, which were offered by the law? Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God: By the which will, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all, saith the apostle. Jesus [Page 15]performing this will of GOD once, sanctifies us. The apostle adds, for by one offering he hath per­fected forever them that are sanctified, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more saith the Lord; now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sins. You will observe that here is not one in­timation that we have something to do to become perfect forever, but the contrary, we see Jesus hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. This is not to be done, but done already. Jesus hath done it.

BUT by this time, I fancy some of you want to put me in mind of the words of my text lest I should lose sight of them, and so forget to give you a particular account of them.—The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is elernal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, as it stands in the original.— The original of the New Testament is the truth, even the very words of the Apostles, as they wrote them, but the translation into English which you read, is the work of men in England, about an hundred years ago, and so far as they have given you an exact translation, or an exact meaning in English of the apostles words, so far its the truth as it is in JESUS, but no farther.

I PURPOSE to examine each part of my text dis­tinctly, and give you the meaning of the words as near as I am able to, and

  • 1. What is here meant by Wages:
  • 2. What is meant by Sin:
  • 3. What is meant by Death:
  • 4. What is meant by the Gift of God:
  • 5. What is meant by eternal Life:
  • 6. What is meant by the assertion that this eternal Life is in CHRIST JESUS our LORD.

But the Consideration of these distinct parts of my text I shall defer till another opportunity.

[Page 16]



The wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

IN my former discourse on these words, after a number of general observations, I proposed to examine each part of my text distinct­ly, and in their natural order.

  • 1. What is here meant by Wages:
  • 2. What is meant by Sin:
  • 3. What is meant by Death:
  • 4. What is meant by the Gift of GOD:
  • 5. What is meant by eternal Life: and,
  • 6. What is meant by the assertion that this eternal Life is in CHRIST JESUS our LORD.

1st. What is meant by this expression in the text,—Wages.—The Wages of Sin is Death.

WAGES are what is due to any one for what he does, what he deserves either of reward or pun­ishment. —The payment of what any one has mer­ited, and what he is supposed to expect, commonly in consequence either of a promise or threatening.

WAGES are generally supposed to arise from a pre-contract: this is the case here. The law of GOD is called a covenant of Works; consisting of promises of life and happiness, as the reward of obedience; and threatenings of death and misery, as [Page 17]the punishment of disobedience. He that docth those things shall live in them, says the law. If he keep all my statutes and do that which is lawful and right he shall surely live; in his righteousness that he hath done fe shall live: But behold, saith the LORD GOD, all SOULS are mine, the SOUL that SINNETH it shall DIE: in the day thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die, saith the LORD GOD to Adam.—And again, the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him: Thus you see the Wages of the righteous are also denounced to them by the law; the soul that sinneth shall die, for the wages of sin is death. Such are the Wages of sin, and justice never suf­fers them to go unpaid! Another thing to be con­sidered in Wages is, that they become due at a cer­tain period of time; and this time is commonly mentioned in the contract, if not, they are imme­diately due when merited.

THE law says, in the day thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die; and the giver of this law never had the character of refusing to pay labourers their Wages. Vengeance is mine saith the LORD, I will repay. Nor had he ever justly the charac­ter of withholding any part of the Wages: 'Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled says JESUS CHRIST. And again, if thou be cast into prison, verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence till thou hast paid the utter­most farthing! In another Evangelist, the last mite! So that you may be sufficiently assured of this, that no one ever merited any kind of Wages of GOD, either of reward or punishment, that ever was or ever will be defrauded of any part of them, even the least mite; for it is written, the recompense of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him: for he is [Page 18]faithful that hath promised, and will bring it to pass; he is a just God, he is a God of truth: you may indeed rely upon his word; he won's alter the thing that is gone out of his mouth.

But I hasten to the 2d thing proposed, which was to examine, what is meant in the text by Sin.

THE apostle John tells us that all unrighteous­ness is sin; and that whosoever committeth sin, transgresseth the law, for sin is the transgression of the law. And Jesus himself tells us, that the first great Commandment in the Law is, thou shall love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind: and the second is like unto it: thou shall love thy neighbours as thyself: on these two commandments, hang all the law and the prophets. Hence it is easy to see, that whatever there is in us, that is in any respect incon­sistent with loving God with all our hearts, or any neglect of loving our neighbour as ourselves, is sin, if we prefer any personal pleasure or personal safety, to doing (his) GOD's will; or if we at any time love ourselves better than our neigh­bours, we com­mit sin.—If we have any desire that our neigh­bours should meet with any trouble or difficulty; or take any degree of pleasure in the sufferings of any one, or attempt to injure any one, tho' in the smallest degree, whatever provocation he offers us, we commit sin! the certain wages of which is death.—What! says one, the least offence possible the most trifling misconduct punished with death! Yes—Is this certain? Indeed it is, it is not said the Wages of great sins is death but not of little ones: The law curses every one that continueth not in all things contained in the law.—But, all things! I thought says one, that he who commits murder, or blasphemy, or some such capital crime, and did [Page 19]not repent, was entitled to death, but that every offence, even the smallest, would incur death, is what I did imagine no one believed; does any af­firm that every offence, even the least, merits so severe a condemnation as Death!—What saith the Scripture, He that offends in one point is guilty of all. I should think, continues he, that the infinite kind­ness and clemency of GOD would rather overlook petty faults, than thus heavily punish them.—No, we are plainly told that GOD will by no means clear the guilty: but for every idle word which men speak, shall they give account in the day of judgment!—What then will become of us all, says he, by such doctrine? for there is not a man in the world without his faults.—True, we are told plainly that there is not a man that liveth and sinneth not; in many things we offend all, says the apostle; and my doctrine is not mine but the word of GOD.—But what is to be done with us all? says the man: what will become of us?—Why just what the Word of GOD says, By the deeds of the law shall no ftesh be justified in his sight, for every mouth shall be stopped and the whole world become guilty before GOD. See Rom. iii. 19. They shall be all proved guilty of sin; and the wages of sin it death.—I thought, says the man, here you was preaching up the salvation of all men, but now you seem to be preaching up the damnation of all men! This is explaining the law which many think to be a very principal part of preaching the gospel of peace: This is showing the condemna­tion of all men by the law; for we are plainly told of the law that it is a ministration of death; but do none escape this death which is the wages of sin; do none escape this condemnation?—Not one of all the race of Adam, for they have all sin­ned! [Page 20]And we are told that the whole world shall become guilty before GOD, and we are told that he will by no means clear the guilty!—Worse and worse says the man: I think, says he, the mortar you daub with is tempered as high with brim­stone as any body's; nay more so, for I don't hear that you clear any, but condemn all the world! The most censotious besides you, leave at least room enough to creep out themselves, but you don't do that!—No, we think with the apostles, are we better than they? no in no wise, for the scripture hath concluded all under sin: But to be plain with you, says he, don't you think that so much as one of the human race will finally be saved? The answer to this question will be most seasona­ble and perhaps fall in its proper place, when we consider the latter part of the words of the text.

I THINK, says he, you have at this time, preach­ed up the law strict enough for any body—indeed those of your way of thinking, though they don't incline to preach very much upon the law, yet when they take it in hand they make thorough work of it, meaning, I suppose to do this piece of work so effectually that it shan't need to be taken in hand so often. For my part says he, I had ra­ther have more of the law preach'd, but then I would chuse to have it a little more mild; for I don't after all see why the law mayn't justify, or at least excuse those who honestly mean to keep the law, though they often break it, through infir­mity or surprise, or ignorance, or through want of consideration! but if they try to do as well as they can, and are sincere and habitually obedient and lament their backslidings, it looks hard in­deed that they shan't be accepted: surely the law of God can't be so rigid. When a man has done [Page 21]as well as he can, he can't do any better; and what would you have him do? I answer in the words of the great apostle to the Gentiles, If there had been a law given which would have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law, but the scripture hath concluded all under sin.—Says he, and you know the wages of sin is death.—How fond are people of trying to make the law a mi­nistration of life; how many attempts to mitigate the severity of it: though after all it will look them in the face, and make them afraid, as long as they seek to be justified by it: however they take great pains to smooth the terrors of it, and to ex­plain away the severity of it, the Wages of Sin is Death; especially great acts of sin, they imagine; if they be not repented of, but continued in.— No, the law condemns them if they are guilty of but one breach of it! For he that offends in one point, we are told, is guilty of all! and cursed, if he continues not in all things written in the book to do them, but they will endeavour to get clear of all those plain and stubborn declarations by asserting that they don't mean as they say, and so take for doctrines the commandments of men, making void the law of God through their tradi­tions, as we are told the Jews did. This they do because they see no way of escaping the sentence of the law, but by mitigating the strictness and se­verity, and by making the law more pliable, for they must at all events, contrive some way them­selves of living excused by the law, since the law­giver has plainly told them; that he will by no means clear the guilty. See Exod, xxxiv. 7. But the soul that sinneth shall die. See Ezekiel 18th chap. But to avoid being slain by the law, men will seek out many inventions. I was alive to the law once [Page 22]says St. Paul. He could find out how he might be justified, or at least excused by it; but when the commandments came says he, it appear'd in its true light, exceeding broad; sin revived and I died, he saw himself condemned to death by the law, the slightest sins in the esteem of men are notwith­standing mortal in the sight of GOD, as they are devi­ations from the rules of equity and righteousness.

IT is absurd to conceive that man, created in the image of God, and bound by every tie of alle­giance to be subject and obedient to his infinite Cicator. It is wretchedly absurd to conceive, that in these circumstances, man should sin at all and not be punished; to sin venially as the Papists call it, so slightly as that GOD will put up with it without punishing it, is not to sin at all, the very pretence is a contradiction; for every sin is noth­ing else: Even the least sin that ever was commit­ted is nothing less than the transgression of the law! and therefore incurs the penalty of the law, which penalty is death, the curse. Consequently by sin, the text means all manner and degrees of sin, none of which are venial, but all give us a sure title to death. The transgression of the law of God, even the least of them, do far more justly merit death than the greatest oftenders against the law of man, the dignity of our divine law-giver, and the obli­gations both of right and gratitude to him are pro­digious aggravations to the sins we commit against the precepts and commands of our supreme sove­reign, for who can express the infinite disproportion there is between us and him? Are not we his creatures, the work of his hands, and has he not a full right and unlimited property in us? Where­fore are not our oftences against him, yea, the least of them, sufficiently provoking and criminal to [Page 23]deserve death? Undoubtedly they are! They give us a sure infallible title to death, which is denoun­ced in many other passages of scripture, as well as my text, to be the just reward and appointed wa­ges of sins.

BUT I pass on to examine in the 3d place, WHAT is meant in the text by Death, that death which all sin has a sure title to.—Death in its utmost limits, no doubt contains every thing that is in any measure grievous or destructive, either to soul or body: Thus Pharaoh besought Moses to intreat the LORD his GOD that he would take away this death, only alluding to the Locusts that had overspread the country, and eat up every herb which the hail had left.

So St. Paul says, he was in deaths oft; and this besides, the different views he had, that the law condemned to death; it was the stripes and labours and imprisonments, with that long cata­logue of troubles he endured, which besides their present pain, tended evidently to the temporal destruction of his body: And so upon that account are perhaps stiled so many distinct deaths, or ra­ther degrees of death! But the death of the body is completed in its absolute separation from the soul in its dissolution! Death also comprehends all the darkness, terrors and afflictions of the mind, all that remorse and inward distress and confusion of soul which are the consequences of sin, and every painful idea that arises from a sense of guilt and the fear of punishment. All the guilt, distress, darkness and fears of the soul are its death; this is spiritual death, or the death of the soul, thus de­nounced by the law; the soul that sinneth shall die; this death of the soul or spirit is called spi­ritual death.—When it is complete in an absolute [Page 24]and perfect separation and cessation from every kind and degree of hope, comsort or any thing pleasing, it is the very blackness of darkness in the mind, and the compleat anguish of distress and horror! not admitting the least view of divine fa­vour, or the least degree of sense of the beauty of holiness, a perfect deadness to all goodness, righ­teousness or happiness, and a continuance in this state forever, is eternal death, the wages of sin!

A MAN is said to be dead in trespasses and sins in the language of scripture, when he is devoted to the service of sin, and sees himself condemned by the law, and is ignorant of the salvation of GOD, has no relish for holiness; but his mind, dead to every thing spiritually good, his mind is under the the sentence of the law, which is death; like a cri­minal sentenced to death by human laws, who knows of no certain way to escape the execution threatened, that he may have some flattering hopes, that seem to bewilder without reason or foundation.

THOSE who are dead in trespasses and sins, fre­quently feel much sorrow and inward heaviness at times. When evil accidents befal them, they are often alarmed: particularly when sickness threat­ens them, it is not uncommon for them to be in great dread, fearing that a summons is sent to call them to that impartial reckoning, in which the Devil and their own guilty minds will prove ac­cusers; in this state of fearful expectation, the in­cessant clamour of an enraged conscience must be distressing beyond expression! how extreme the agonies of a guilty mind. If we had never felt any thing of this kind, by experience it would be difficult if not impossible to paint the severity of them. We could not figure to ourselves, if we were utter strangers to them, how sad, how severe [Page 25]and insupportably gloomy they are many times, vastly worse than a temporal death: and sometimes put the miserable object upon the project of forc­ing themselves out of the world to avoid them. However, these guilty agonies are a sad, though lively figure of spiritual eternal death, the wages of sin; which after as many thousands, as many millions of ages of years, as there are sands on the sea shore or atoms in this whole globe of earth, is no nearer a period or conclusion than at the first moment of its beginning. These are the wages of every sin, even of the least that was ever com­mitted against the law of God: It deserves death, temporal and spiritual; the death both of the body and soul, and this death to remain forever: to be without end or intermission. I need not un­dertake a particular proof of this duration of death, bodily and spiritual, and eternal, being the sentence of the law of GOD for fin; for I think it is even a common phrase, that sin deserves and is threat­ened with death, temporal, spiritual and eternal.

THE law that denounces the wages of sin to be death, gives not even the least hint or intimation of any cessation or release from that death! so that would we know what is meant in the text by that death which is the wages of sin, we must form in our minds a compleated apprehension of all ill, of all the pains and distresses of the body, together with its separation from the soul, its utter dissolu­tion, and of all the extreme agonies of the soul, with­out one spark of joy or hope, for an eternal dura­tion; and then consider that this is the sentence of GOD's law upon every son and daughter of Adam, for St. Paul tells us plainly that the scripture hath concluded all under sin; there is none of them righteous; no not one—in many things we offend [Page 26]all: and lest we should try to excuse some, we are told that by the offence of Adam, judgment came upon all men to condemnation.—I hope that none who hear me shall think that I am faulty, for not preaching up the terrors of the law.

IF any of you are fond of what some term law works, I think they must be satisfied, for to declare, as I do, that every, even the least offence against the law of GOD, merits the death of soul and body to all eternity, and that all the evils we can conceive of as pertaining to the man, forever are to be taken into this idea of death:— and that all the natural descendants of Adam, without exception have been proved guilty and sentenced to this death by the law, and that no one jot or tittle of this law could ever fail or be excused from taking effect, is, I think, preaching the law strict enough for any body.

YE that talk of keeping the law or obeying the commands of GOD, in order to be saved by it, what do you think of it? I know that this method of preaching the law must be strict enough for you.— Perhaps some one might make this reply, I know that by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be jus­tified in his GOD's sight, but then if I believe and repent, and strive to keep the commandments of GOD, and do generally, and habitually keep them, I expect that CHRIST will satisfy for those instan­ces in which I fail of my duty.—Then you sup­pose that a new piece of cloth put into an old gar­ment won't make the rent worse, though CHRIST was of opinion that it would: You think then that a garment, consisting of some old cloth and some new, if joined together, will make a perfect garment, fit to appear in before an infinitely just GOD! But it seems that JESUS himself is not wil­ling [Page 27]to put a piece of his new cloth into our old gar­ment, because he judges that it will make the rent worse! for the new cloth won't fasten to the old nor by any means adhere to it;—the old would break away in the attempt. And if it would ad­here, the garment after all would be but a patch'd thing, and would not look like the coat of JESUS, which we are told was without seam, woven from the top throughout, and not suffered to be rent even by the soldiers. John xix. 23. And though his body was pierced and his blood poured out, yet his seamless coat was by no man rent: therefore you have suf­ficient assurances that Jesus will never tare up his seamless coat to patch your's; besides, a patch'd coat would hardly look like a wedding garment. So that it is very plain that you must fail in that attempt.

ST. Paul never made any mention in any of his epistles, of mending our old garment with slips or pieces of CHRIST'S new robe of righteousness!— He exhorts indeed to put off the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eph. iv. 22-24. Observe, my brethren, the apostle don't say, put off part of the old man which is partly corrupt, according to the lusts that are partly deceitful, nor put on some little part of the new man, which is partly created in righteousness and true holiness.

ST. Paul says to the Colosians, chap. iii. verses 9, 10, and so on, Ye have put off the old man with his deeds: and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where (says he) there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: no part of the old man [Page 28]remaining: but says he, Christ is all and in all. Take notice that the apostle don't say, that CHRIST is part and in part of all, but, CHRIST is all and in all.

BUT, says the objector, Do you agree with the doctrine of the church of England in this matter, and her interpretation of scripture concerning this doctrine, that no part of our old garments, or righ­teousness can be accepted in GOD's sight? as com­ing up to the demands of the law, the church of England in her articles of Religion has set to her seal that it is true.—Article 13th.—Works done before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of his spirit, are not done as GOD hath willed and commanded them to be done; no doubt but they have the nature of sin;—but this, says the objector, condemns but only part of our works, and those too which are before the grace of CHRIST and the inspiration of his spirit; but does not at all con­demn as defective, those works of ours which are the fruits of faith in CHRIST, which proceed from a true and lively faith. This is but a poor way of proving that the whole of any thing is condemned as defective because some part of it is. Well then, let us examine the 12th article in which are these words: Albeit that good works which are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of GOD's judgment. Here then you see that the articles of the church of England condemn our works, both before and after faith, as defective; even those that are the fruits of faith cannot endure the severity of GOD's judgment: though in the close of this 12th article they are said to spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a live­ly faith may be as evidently known as a tree dis­cerned by its fruit. This, says the objector, has [Page 29]a plausible appearance of condemning all we do as defective in the sight of GOD's law, I must own; but yet I cannot think, that the church of England ever meant to condemn them all as defective: I think they could not.—Well, let as examine further then; article 11th has these words, We are accounted righteous before GOD only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST, for says the 18th article, Holy scripture doth set out unto us only the name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved. Thus fully has the church of England set her seal to the truth of this doctrine, and I feel happy that my following the exact truth of scripture in this point, and closely adhering to it, does not expose me to any just im­putation of departing from the doctrine of the church of England. But I may freely declare that no works of ours whatever from our birth to our death will stand the strict test of righteousness in the fight of GOD, or bear the impartial exami­nation of his justice, and let us desire with St. Paul, to be found in Christ not having our own righteousness, which is of the law, but the righteousness of GOD, and that we may know him and the power of his re­surrection, who rofe from the dead for our juslification.

THE law was given by Moses, and was a mini­stration of death; but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ; and though the letter killeth yet the spirit giveth life. My words, or the words I speak unto you, said Jesus, are spirit, and they are life. We are told the first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickning spirit: had it not been for sin, man might have lived pros­perous and happy in an earthly paradise:—his life, free from cares and unmixed with sorrow. Sin first made man acquainted with trouble, and it is [Page 30]our guiltiness of mind, under a sense of the law, that increases the number and heightens the ma­lignity of all our afflictions. It is the conscious­ness of our manifold sins, and the dread of Al­mighty vengeance, in minds destitute of the light of life, that arms the disasters of the world with such a killing force, and sometimes makes the load of temporal evils too heavy for men to bear, when the mind seems the only part immediately effected. When men have lively notions of the terrors of wickedness, what is it but only this one evil that can indeed wound their spirit with trembling con­cern, and the most cutting anguish; and would they not think it a happy deliverance to be set free from that dreadful bondage to fear, which has made many go into a compleat destruction, and many to cut their own throats, to drown their sense of the fear of eternal death, the wages of sin, in a deluge of their own blood! Would not they who are tormented with such outrageous fear, think it a blessed deliverance, now to be saved from it?— and like the man that was among the tombs, to be set calm and in their right mind at JESUS' feet?— Would they not think it of some benefit to man now to have the gospel of peace proclaimed, tho' it was represented as good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.

BUT to shew what is an effectual deliverance now from this awful bondage to fears, belongs to the consideration of the remaining part of my text, which I hope will be the matter of our agreeable contemplation at a future opportunity.

[Page 31]



The wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

IN discoursing heretofore on these words, I proposed to examine distinctly,

  • 1. What is meant by Wages:
  • 2. What is meant by Sin:
  • 3. What is meant by Death:
  • 4. What is meant by the Gift of GOD:
  • 5. What is meant by eternal Life: and,
  • 6. What is meant by the assertion that this eternal Life is in CHRIST JESUS our LORD.

THE first three of these I have carefully consi­dered; and shewn that Wages are that which is due either of reward or punishment: to every one according to what they have done: the payment of what every one merits by the tenure of the di­vine law, which is a covenant of works, consisting of promises of life and happiness for the reward of unfailing obedience, and of threatnings of death and misery for the punishment of every instance, for every kind and degree, of disobedience: he that doth the things contained in the law, shall live in them, but the soul that sinneth shall die, says the law, and that GOD never did nor ever will defraud any of their wages, not even of the least farthing of [Page 32]them, but the recompence of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him. Secondly, I show'd what was meant by Sin, that all unrighteousness is sin, every instance, in thought, word or deed, that is contrary to or not fully up to loving GOD with all the heart, and our neighbours as ourselves; and I proved by the most plain and full testimony of scripture, that every one of the natural descendants of Adam are finners, and have merited the Wages of Sin, which is Death; that nothing which any one of them do from their birth to their death, comes fully up to the demands of the divine law, and that to this truth the church of England hath set her seal, particularly in her 11th, 12th, 13th and 18th articles of Religion. Thirdly, I show'd what Death it is that is threatned to every one for the wages of sin: That it comprehends all the evils that can take hold either of body or mind; all the pains of the body together with its total dissolution, and all the guilty agonics of the soul, together with its compleat separation from every spark of joy or hope; and this stare both of soul and body to con­tinue for ever and ever; this is what is commonly called death, temporal, spiritual and eternal, and that by the holy and just law of GOD, this sentence passed upon every son and daughter of Adam, the scrip­ture having concluded all under sin, and that GOD, who is true, has declared that he will by no means clear the guilty. So that since the fall of Adam, it was never possible that either he or any one of his descendents should escape this punishment, this curse, even death, the just wages of sin: and though the law of GOD is holy, just and good, yet to us it is no other than a ministration of death, as St. Paul expressly testifies.

[Page 33] THUS I have explained the law to you, and used my endeavour, that no part of the truth of it should be kept back from you; and though upon the last interview I brought you no farther on your way than under the very centre of this dark cloud, the ministration of condemnation, and there left you for a little space, but not without an intima­tion that I purposed to carry you farther, yet now I have met you here, to conduct you from the clouds of darkness and fear, to that great mountain which GOD by the mouth of his prophet Daniel, has promised shall fill the whole earth, where is fulness of light and joy, and though it is an estab­lished truth, that no one of the guilty race of Adam could escape the curse of the law which is death: but sentence of condemnation has passed upon all: for the word of GOD is sure, yet I now come to you in the fullness of the blessings of the gospel of peace, to testify to you in the words of the Holy Ghost, delivered by the prophets Isaiah and Jeremith, that your warfare is accomplished, that you have receiv­ed double for all your sins; the Lord has accom­plished his fury; for as St. Paul testifies, Christ has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. I am come to declare unto you, that the gift of God is eternal life, in Christ Jesus our Lord. What a glo­rious light is this—the thunderings and lightnings, the clouds and thick darkness that overshadow mount Sinai, with all their terrors, are dispersed, and the Son of Righteousness has arisen with heal­ing in his wings.

I NOW come to the consideration of the 4th par­ticular in my text, to show, What is meant by the Gist of GOD.

THE thing given, the apostle declares in my text to be, eternal life. St. John tells us, that God [Page 34]hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his son. See 1st John, v. 11. The tradition of the world, says, that God will give eternal life to those who now obey him, and believe the gospel; but to none else; and to the believers God will not give eternal life, till the day of judgment! but we see the apostle of our Lord differs from this tradition of men. St. Paul in my text, does not say the gift of God will be eternal life sometime or other; but he says, it is eternal life. And St. John says, God hath given to us eternal life: as already given, not as something to be given hereafter.—When GOD gave his Son, he gave us eternal life: They speak of this eternal life as already given, not as something to be given hereafter. When GOD gave his Son, he gave us eternal life, for this life is his Son. And JESUS said, I am the way, the truth and the life. Ye are dead, (says St. Paul,) and your life is hid with Christ in God. And we are told that when he who is our life shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory! So that JESUS is said to be our life, because he not only redeemed us from death, the wages of sin, but procured for us life by his obedience to the law; for life is the reward of righ­teousness by the law, and he is the head of every man; and being righteous for every man, because he is the Lord our righteousness, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him: For he, we are told, was made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. So that we being the righteousness of GOD in him, have life, the reward of righteousness. We live because he lives; he is the vine and we the branches: we received our life from him, he is the root that supports us; the head of every man is CHRIST: We are expressly told, and if the head lives the whole body lives. [Page 35]So that GOD'S giving his Son, includes the gift of eternal life to us; for we are expressly told, that this life is in his son. Again, the gift of God is free; no purchase of ours: It is unconditional respecting us; no condition required but what CHRIST has already fulfilled. To give and then require of us to purchase the gift is beneath the dignity of our heavenly Father. No, the gift of GOD is free; for says St. Paul, in the 5th chapter of his epistle to the Romans, Not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For it through the offence of one, many be dead; much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judg­ment was by one [i. e. one oftence,] to condemnation; but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

BUT says the objector, We are exhorted to repent, therefore this is a condition of our receiving this gift. I answer, this gift is already given, GOD hath given to us eternal life, says the apostle John. Yes, says the objector, he had given eternal life to them whom the apostle was talking to, for they had re­pented. I answer, St. Paul in his epistle to the Romans, chap. 11. verses 28, 29, says of the unbe­lieving, impenitent Jews, as touching the election, they are beloved for the Fathers sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For (says he) God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that What? that he might damn them all? No; that he might have mercy upon all. So that if you will believe St. Paul, the gift of God is free and with­out repentance; nay, even those who are conclud­ed in unbelief, as all the nations of the Jews were; were not these concluded unbelievers, that all, or even any one of them might perish, but that GOD might have mercy upon all of them—that our mer­ciful [Page 36]high priest might have compassion upon the igno­rant, and those that are out of the way, as the same apostle tells us in his epistle to the Hebrews, and though the Jews stumbled at that stumbling stone, as it is written, Behold I lay in Zion a stum­bling stone and rock of offence, yet (says the apostle) have they stumbled that they should fall, God forbid. Though they stumbled, yet he abhorred the very idea of their being lost: no, it could not be; those who stumbled were to rise again; as God told Simeon, when he took up the child Jesus in his arms being in the temple, and the Holy Ghost be­ing upon him, says to Mary the mother of Jesus, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel. So that those who stumble or fall were however to rise again: so that the more you exa­mine the gospel of God's grace, the more plainly you will see that the gift of God is free—his grace is free—for God, we are told, commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He did not wait for our faith or re­pentance, no; when we were enemies, we were re­conciled to God by the death of his Son. See Rom. 8&10. —And if this is by grace (St. Paul tells us) then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace—every one who believes in the true Christ, who is the head of every man: for we are told, there should be many false Christs, and that they should de­ceive many; but every one who believes in the trueChrist, who, we are told is the saviour of all men, will see that he is the end of the law for righteous­ness. And if he is the end of the law, the law came to an end in him. The demands of the law fully answered and satisfied by him, then what can be left for us to do to purchase this gift, which is al­ready given us? But if we have something to do to [Page 37]obtain this gift, then it is no longer a gift, much less a free gift, but a bargain. But says the objector, is not the gospel called a covenant, —the new cove­nant; and better than the old covenant; and does not a covenant suppose conditions to be performed? Yes, the gospel of the grace of GOD is called the New Covenant, and GOD promised by Isaiah, to give his son for a covenant of the people. And as JESUS is our covenant—the covenant of the people, the conditions to be performed were all due from Jesus alone, and he has performed them so that the covenant is finished forever. Hence St. Paul calls the blood of JESUS, the blood of the everlasting covenant.

THE first covenant was broken by us, and so came to an end. We being unfaithful GOD would trust us no more, but gave his Son for our covenant, which perfectly secured the performance of the conditions on our side; JESUS has already per­formed every tittle that was required: so that it is not left in our power to break this covenant; it is already compleated, and so must last forever: therefore the blood of JESUS is stiled the blood of the everlasting covenant—the covenant that will last forever. The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee! neither shall the covenant of my peace be re­moved, saith the Lord, that bath mercy on thee: in a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee saith the Lord thy redeemer: And every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. See Isaiah xv. 8, 10, 17. Therefore as our righteousness is of the LORD, it is perfect, and the covenant secured forever, and no conditions re­quired [Page 38]of us as individuals; it is the gift of GOD, and his gift is free. The new covenant in Christ's blood is the sure mercies of David; our sins and iniquities will GOD remember no more.

Now says St. Paul, where remission of these is there is no more offering for sins. But many think they have still an offering to make; some condi­tions to perform; in order to fulfil their part of the covenant of grace, which if true, would make it a covenant of works as much as the first cove­nant was, and then the new covenant might be broken by us; and then how would it be an ever­lasting covenant—how would it be the sure mercies of David. If it was left to us to keep or break, how would it be sure at all? GOD has promised that the covenant of his peace shall not be remov­ed: Because our righteousness is of him, it does not depend on ourselves, but our eternal life is the gift of GOD, we don't purchase it—for it is freely given.

GOD sent his Son to redeem us—to sulfil the law for us—to do every thing for us that was necessary, in order to GOD's being just, and at the same time the justifier of the sinner. Therefore it is all of GOD—his free gift already given—It is GOD that justifieth, who is be that contemneth: it is CHRIST that dieth, yea, rather that is risen again. This is our security—this is our rejoicing—this is our life —this is the gift of GOD: for not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by his mer­cy he saved us—it is already compleat—Though all we have gone astray, every one to his own way, yet the just Judge has laid upon JESUS the iniqui­ties of us all, and JESUS has already put away our sins by the sacrifice of himself. This sacrifice alone was sufficient without any of our doings, to put away the sins of the whole world.

[Page 39] JSEUS was the lamb of GOD, that took away the sin of the world: that tasted death for every man; that gave himself a ransom for all; that was made a curse for us; that was made sin for us; that finished the transgressions and made an end of sin: for he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, says the apostle, but for the sins of the whole world.

BUT says the objector, don't you depart from the doctrine of the church of England, when you say that the sacrifice of Christ alone is sufficient without any of our doings, to put away the sins of the whole world. I remember, says he, that you undertook to prove upon a former occasion, that by the articles of the church of England, all our righteousness from our birth to our death, even the best of it, even that which proceeds from a true and lively faith, is defective, and will not stand the test of GOD's justice, or the severity of his judg­ment; and you seemed to have more to say for yourself than one would have imagined; but when you assert that CHRIST has already done all that is necessary to reconcile the justice of GOD to us, without any doings of our own, I don't see how you will prove that to be consistent with the doc­trine of the church, that we have nothing left for us to do, to escape eternal death—the wages of sin, but that CHRIST has done all, Well then, let us hear the beginning of the prayer of consecration in the communion service, which is this: "Almighty GOD, our heavenly Father, who of thy tender mer­cy didst give thy only Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption, who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, ob­lation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world!"—What can be more express than this? If CHRIST's death upon the cross, is a full, perfect [Page 40]and sufficient satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, what can infinite justice do more? Would it be just to require more than what is a full, per­fect and sufficient satisfaction to justice? But says the objector, I can't think that this was meant to exclude our faith, repentance, and all our obedi­ence from being necessary to satisfy the justice of GOD: so that now his law has no demands upon us.

BUT do you suppose that the church of Eng­land would offer that to satisfy the demands of GOD's law which she has declared in express words will not endure the severity of GOD's judgment; would she offer more than what she has pronounc­ed sufficient satisfaction? This would be works of supererogation, which she condemns in her 14th article. But says the objector, do you think it is the doctrine of the church that what Christ has done already, is sufficient to satisfy the justice of God for the sins of every man in the world? so that our repentance, or any thing we can do, is not necessary to satisfy the demands of the law?

HEAR what she says in her 31st article, in which are these words,—The offering of CHRIST once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both actual and original, and there is none other satis­faction for sin but that alone. And the 11th article says, we are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and not for our own works or deservings. Is this the doctrine of the church of England? says the objector.—I answer, Yes; if you will take her word for it: these are her words, which I have recited; the very words: as you may easily find by looking into her articles of Religion, which I promised to preach agreeable to, when I was ordained. Says the objector, I used to have a good opinion of the [Page 41]church of England, but if she holds to such doc­trines, I am quite out with her, I never mistrusted that she held licentious doctrines: according to this I may live as wicked as I please, and get to heaven at last; for if the justice of God is already satisfied, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual, this justice can never take hold of me. —This is licentious, abominably licentious, I an­swer: I have shown you the doctrine of the church of England, but do not ask or desire you to call it licentious. St Paul in the 2d chap. of his epistle to Titus, at the 11th verse, expressly says, as it stands in the original,—hath appeared the grace of GOD, bringing salvation to all men; and the angel of the LORD, who brought the news of a Saviour born, says, I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be to all people: Yet the apostle Jude, in the 4th verse of his epistle, tells us of ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasci­viousness; but did that prove that it was not the grace of our God, because they turned it into lasci­viousness? No, by no means.

BUT having considered the gift of GOD; though not near so fully as I intended, for want of time, I mean to say more of it when I come to the close of my subject; yet I think I have proved it to be a free gift and no purchase of ours, and a durable gift, without depending on any conditions to be performed by us; the gifts and callings of GOD being without repentance, and so cannot be lost by us, but must last forever, and I having shewn this to be agreeable to the doctrine of the church of England, and I am now ready to enter upon the next particular in my text, which is Eternal Lise, the thing given; but this must be referred to another opportunity.

[Page 42]



The wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is aternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I HAVE in former discourses, considered the particulars of Wages, Sin, Death, and the gift of God ; now therefore I come to con­fider the thing given—eternal Life.

THE expression, eternal Life, has in the New Testament, several meanings: Jesus Christ himself is called Life, and eternal Life, not only because as GOD he is perfection of life and independent exist­ence, but also as our mediator and head; he is the fountain and author of our spiritual and eternal life, for says St. John, the life was manifest and we have seen it and shew unto you that eternal life which was with the father and was manisest unto us and we are in him: that is true, even in his son Je­sus Christ this is the true God and eternal life; and Jefus says, I am the very truth and the life—he that hath the son bath life. Again, eternal life means an eternal duration of pertect and compleat hap­piness in the future world.

THEY who asked Christ, What they should have, having forsaken all and followed him? he says, in the world to come, eternal Life. It is called an eternal inheritance; a city that hath foundation, [Page 43]whose builder and maker is GOD—where there shall be no more death, crying or sorrow, where all tears shall be wiped off all faces.—GOD's favour which is life—his presence which is fulness of joy —a place at his right hand, where are pleasures for evermore. It is styled entering into the joy of our Lord—the redeemed of the Lord, shall obtain gladness and joy—and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. It is called joy—crown of rejoicing— being presented before God faultless, with exceed­ing joy; being with Christ to see his glory—a state of incorruption, immortality,—and many other expressions are used to paint it out.

AGAIN, the present knowledge of our title to eternal happiness, and knowing Christ, who is our title, is called life eternal: to know Jesus Christ is life eternal, we are told—He that hath the son, that is, the knowledge of him, hath life; he that hath not the son, hath not life; i. e. he is desti­tute of the knowledge of salvation: So he that be­lieveth on the son, hath everlasting life. 1st John. c.5. Not shall have it but hath it now, i. e. the know­ledge of it. He that believeth in me though he were dead, his body separated from the soul, yet he shall live, the knowledge of JESUS would be to his soul, life and joy; and he that liveth is possest of temporal life in his body, and believeth in me shall never die, said Jesus; i. e. the knowledge of his title to eternal life, and happiness in Christ, will ever be a source of life and joy to his soul: whether in the body or out of it. Life and im­mortality are said to be brought to light by the gos­pel, i. e. the gospel brings to us the knowledge of our title to life and immortality: But the matter is so plain I need not multiply proofs. Every one must be sensible that whenever he comes to the [Page 44]knowledge of his having a sure title to any good thing, his mind immediately comes into a com­fortable possession of it, thought it is not yet come. And in temporal things it often happens, that the prospect of a good is a greater enjoyment than the actual possession of it—but in spiritual it is not so: however when we come to the knowledge of our sure title in Christ to eternal life: our mind, en­ter into immediate possession we enjoy the comfort of it the mind feels a sense of its spiritual life, the soul begins to live; it begins its eternal life, for as the Father hath life in himself so hath he given to the son to have life in himself. John v. 26. and the bread of God which cometh down from heaven is he which giveth life unto the world. John vi. 30.— So Jesus the fountain and author of our spiritual and eternal life, communicates to us by his spirit the knowledge of himself; then the spirit taking of the things of Jesus and showing them to us; we are refreshed and begin to live, the branches re­ceive nourishment from their vine, and became thrifty and flourishing.—The Members receive nourishment from their head.—And this know­ledge of our being made perfect in our head, is in us, a well of water springing up to everlasting life.

AGAIN, the expression eternal Life, in scripture, sometimes means our title to eternal life. St. Paul exhorts Timothy to hold on eternal life, i.e. to ad­here closely to his title to eternal happiness—to keep a lively remembrance of his title to eternal life, to lay fast hold of it with his mind; I suppose I need not tell you that this eternal life was not an object to be literally laid hold of with his bodily hands, Jesus said to the Jews, John v. 39. search the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life.— How, eternal life in the scriptures! why certainly no more than a title could be meant.

[Page 45] You have so many acres of land in such a place says one—How does that appear—Search your deed from such a man, says he, and there you will find it—not so many acres of earth, with rocks and trees, literally rapt up, in a piece of paper, but such and such words written, which give you a title to it;—Search the scriptures, yes, not only read them but search them, as one searches for hid treasures, and then you will find that they testify of JESUS, and clearly point out your title in him, to a blessed and eternal inheritance. If people would search and critically examine the scriptures, as they generally do the last will and testament of a rich parent,—what then? Why then, the chil­dren of this world, would not be so much wiser in their generation than the children of light, as they now are. Our spiritual Father is rich indeed, and we are told, rich unto all, and is not his last will and testament, worthy of a close examination? cer­tainly it is, but how few of his children know what is convey'd were men as superficial in the examina­tion of matters of a temporal kind, as of the scrip­tures, the interest of this world, would be in a much more confused situation than at present it is—But to return, eternal life, in the language of scripture commonly means a title to everlasting happiness, gain'd not only by the perfect obedience of Christ, to all the commands of the law: but also by his suffering death, the wages of sin, the penalty of the law; and thereby having obtained eternal redemp­tion for us, made our title clear to eternal life, as St. Paul testifies. For all that stood in our way, to keep us from eternal happiness, was the curse of the law for disobedience, and the want of per­fect righteousness or obedience to the law, which obedience, strictly merited eternal life by the terms [Page 46]of law He that doeth the things contained in the law shall live in them; if he keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live he shall not die.

Now JESUS was made a curse for us—the ini­quities of us all were laid upon him, and he tasted death for every man, and so acting for every man, when he died, we were all dead, the whole sentence of the law executed upon us, if one died for all, says St. Paul; and for this cause says the apostle, He is mediator of the new testament; that by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance—So that the curse of the law for disobedience was taken away by Jesus —and he being righteous having kept the law per­fectly, for he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; brought in everlasting righteous­ness, as we are told, and being the Lord our righ­teousness; consequently nothing remained to hin­der our title to eternal life, of which St. Paul speaks, Rom. v. 18. Therefore, as by the offence of one, judg­ment came upon all men to condemnation: even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

THIS is the gift of GOD which the text informs is eternal life, God gave his Son to satisfy the de­mands of the law—and to purchase for us a title to eternal life: so that this gift of eternal life is in Christ alone; and therefore not at all in any thing we have done, or can do.—When God gave us his Son he gave us the merit of his death, to free us from the contemning sentence of his law; and when God gave us his Son he gave us the spotless purity of his life, for our title to eternal life.

[Page 47] ALL this was contained in the gift of his Son; and all this was a free gift; for God so loved the world, while we were yet sinners, that he gave his son;—when we were enemies he spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all. How shall he not with him also freely give us all things. For we are told God sent not his son, to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. The righteousness of Christ was given to us. St. Paul mentions our receiving the gift of righteous­ness, Romans, v. 17, and says of CHRIST, that he is made of God unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctifi­cation, and redemption; and his name is, the Lord our righteousness; so that eternal life, which is the reward of righteousness, is already given, for when GOD gave his Son for a covenant of the people, he gave a convenant well ordered in all things, and sure; for when God promised that in the seed of Abra­ham, all the families of the earth should be blessed, he spake not of seeds as of many, but of one, which is Christ, and to him the promises were made; and we are told that the promises in Christ Jesus are not yea and nay; but yea and amen to the glory of God: that is sure and certain, for GOD we are told, will have all men to be saved, Jesus gave himself a ran­som for all, to be testified in due time.—This is the mystery which St. Paul tells us, hath been hid from ages and generations, but now is made manifest to his saints; to whom GOD would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; the gift of eternal life is directly opposite to death—the wages of sin; death de­manded by the law for transgression, is endless mi­serys. Life, the gift of GOD, is endless happiness, death was our just due; but life is a free gift; one we could merit; the other we could not: [Page 48]death contains every thing evil and distressing; eternal life contains every thing good and joyful. The law was a ministration of death; the gospel the word of life: we are not under the law but un­der grace; we are dead to the law, but alive to GOD; our death by the sentence of the law was end­less, but Christ in whom we died, was God as well as man, and so by means of his infinite dignity and excellence, paid the whole debt, in a very short space of time. How precious this gift of GOD! It destroys death, and introduce life: it is perhaps the gift which Solomon spake of which is, says he, as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it, whithersoever it turneth it prospereth.

THIS gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus, is what all the rhetoric in the world cannot fully express the greatness of, nor our most extensive thoughts comprehend. For the very objects of wrath and death, in the sight of God himself, should by a bleeding dying Saviour God, be ransom'd to eter­nal life, is a gift which surpasses every thing, for greatness, but the very giver himself.

IT is worthy of a GOD!

THIS gift of God is by grace; and not on con­dition of our doing something ourselves; God has himself given the conditions—the spotless life of Christ, and his precious blood: God has given the condition with the gift; and made it sure to all the seed: God has not given us another cove­nant of works,—for then St. Paul tells us, the re­ward would be of debt, and not of grace; but now the reward is all of grace; eternal life is not the re­ward of our doings or deservings, it is the gift of God.

UPON the last Lord's Day, I left you to medi­tations upon the holy law of God—to contemplate upon his perfect justice. I left you at the foot of [Page 49]mount Sinai, in plain view of the mount that might not be touched, that burned with fire, which was covered all over, every part of it, with blackness and darkness and tempest, and where there was the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words, which they that heared, intreated, they should not be spo­ken to them any more, for they could not endure that which was commanded. And if so much as a beast touch the mountain it shall be stoned or thrust through with a dart: and so terrible was the sight, that Moses himself, the servant of the Lord said, I exceedingly sear and quake: But this day I have been leading you or at least attempting to lead you from that mountain of darkness and fear: to the delightful view of mount ZION, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, of which many excellent things are said; particularly that it is a city at unity in itself, and the joy of the whole earth, not a part of the earth.

I HAVE been leading you also to a view of the general assembly and church of the first born, which are written in heaven: and to a view of God the judge of all; and of the spirits of just men made perfect, to a view of Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and of the blood of sprinkling, which speak­eth better things than the blood of Abel, which crieth to heaven for vengeance on his brother, for this blood of sprinkling hath satisfied all vengence of justice and proclaims the joyful sound of peace and eternal life to all, even to those who shed it, for­giveness and reconciliation in Christ Jesus our Lord —the words of the dying Saviour were, Father for­give them for they know know not what they do.

THE last particular in my text, I hope will be the matter of our agreeable contemplation at a future opportunity.

[Page 50]



The wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

IN my former discourses upon these words, I have considered the expressions of Wages, Sin, Death, the Gift of GOD, and, eternal Life; But now I come in the 6th and last place to ex­amine what is meant by the assertion, that this gift of GOD which is eternal Life, is in JESUS CHRIST our LORD.

FROM what I said in my last discourse upon this text, I think it did appear that this expression, eternal life, has a particular reference to our title to eternal life: You know it is a very common way of speaking with every person, to say, that an inheritance or any thing else is given, when no more than a clear title is given, and the person to whom the title is given many times comes not into the actual and full possession of the thing given, till a considerable time after; and sometimes the person given to, knows nothing of the gift, even for years afterwards, though all that time his title is full, and every whit as clear in itself as it is when he comes to the knowledge of it; and though the thing is said to be given to him and to be his, yet it is often said he has it not, till he comes to the [Page 51]actual possession of it; and sometimes we say he has it, because the title is given, though the actual possession has not yet taken place: So St. John tells us, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The apostle means the title, and not the full and actual possession, yet in our own person. I think it must be evident to any one that does at all consider the matter, because we are not in actual possession ourselves, what Christ has done is our title, and God gave his son to do what he did; in a figurative way of speaking indeed we may be said to possess eternal life now, as those who be­lieve enjoy a comfortable knowledge of it.

AGAIN, those who believe and those who do not, already partake of some of the negative effects of it, i. e. the sentence of eternal death is not ac­tually executed upon them personally, and for this reason, because this sentence was fully executed upon their head and surety, who therefore con­tains their exemption from death, and their title to life in himself: again, we may in a figura­tive way of speaking be said to possess eternal life, because we live free from any damnation of death in Jesus the head of every man; our first fruits is gone to appear in the presence of GOD for us. It is within the vail, into the most holy place, in Hea­ven itself, that Jesus the forerunner is for us entered, as we are expressly told; and has sat down at the right hand of GOD; and therefore has taken pos­session of our eternal inheritance for us; conse­quently, we by him who acts for us as our Medi­ator, have already taken possession, when christ ascended, of that everlasting inheritance of glory which is the reward of all his toils even of his blood and sweat and perfect innocence, and in the eye of the law he is their all.

[Page 52] AND he keeps possession of that precious reward purchased for the whole body of human nature by him the head, and so will bring all his members where he himself is at the time appointed, then the whole harvest will be collected into that heavenly garner, where the first fruits went formerly, to make way, even a free and open passage for us the whole harvest, into that blessed place, where we are told there are many mansions, but we ourselves as individuals are not yet actually entered into that e­ternal inheritance to which we are now heirs, and therefore we have literally as individuals, a secure title in him who is the covenant of the people, the everlasting covenant, that is already fulfill'd and perfect, and so can never be broken, that co­venant which we are not only told, is well ordered, but is also sure, therefore this eternal life is the gift of God; our title is by promise, it is by grace, St. Paul tells us, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed—but if it was not by grace but a promise by our works, it would be sure to none of the seed, because they all sin.

I THINK that I have opened my way, and made it clear to the business immediately before me; at least it appears to me so—and I hope it does or will appear so to you who hear me.

THE business immediately before us is, to show that the gift of God which is eternal life; i. e. our sure title to it is in Christ Jesus our Lord. And that I may do this to the best advantage, I will enter upon it in two ways.

FIRST negatively, that this eternal life or title to it which is the gift of God cannot possibly be any where out of Christ, and then show, secondly, how this gift of eternal life our title to eternal blessed­ness is in Christ; but first negatively, that our title [Page 53]cannot, possibly be any where out of Christ, let us search a little: but where shall we look? look to God says one, but the sure word of prophecy tells that God was in Christ reconciling the world to him­self, not imputing their trespasses unto them—why not imputing them? because Christ took them away, so that the first attempt to run away from Christ, we have run into him—God was in Christ —and we don't read of his being out of him since; but let us once consider things that are not, as tho' they were—let us consider the divine nature as not united with the human: well where shall we look for our life in God, distinct from the man Je­sus? —What shall we look to in God, shall we look to his justice? justice won't clear the guilty, it con­demns us; shall we look to goodness for mercy? mercy cannot oppose justice, for God is one: he is not opposed to himself, his truth is concerned in the matter, that justice should have its course— Shall we look to wisdom? it cannot be the wisdom of God to exercise one attribute in opposition to ano­ther. If justice condemns us, no one of his attri­butes will oppose justice, how does he save us by grace or mercy at all then? he saves us in Jesus, who suffered the demands of justice; so that jus­tice and mercy are united in him and go hand in hand, consequently we can find no God our saviour out of Christ.

WELL then, shall we look to ourselves for a title to life? we are sinners and the wages of Sin is Death: shall we look to the law of God—that cur­ses every one that continues not in all things written in it to do them. That as a ministration of Death, shall we look to the scriptures for life—they testify of Jesus: shall we look to the gospel in particular, that knows nothing save Jesus Christ and him cru­cified: [Page 54]Shall we look where else, to any name out of Christ, or sect, or denomination of religion, any where possibly to be found that promises life or salvation out of him. But there is no o­ther name given under heaven, among men, whereby we must be saved. Well then, it is ne­cessary at last to look to Christ for life, since we cannot find it any where out of him—but can we find our life in Christ? yes, there it is to be found, blessed be God, God hath given to us eternal life and this life is in his son.

BUT this brings me to show, SECONDLY, How this gift of eternal life, our title to eternal blessedness, is in Jesus Christ our Lord: that our title to everlasting happiness is in Christ Jesus, not only my text, but many other passages of scripture do fully assert, particularly St. John's words, which I just now recited, are as express as it is possible for words to be; God says, He has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

THAT our title to life eternal, if we have any title, is in Christ, is plain and certain; you cannot deny it I am sure, I think that you will not. The scripture is so very express in this point, that it appears that none that reverence the oracles of truth, and hear what they say respecting this mat­ter will have the hardiness to dispute the point; yet how general people assert what is plainly and totally, opposite or contrary to it, for instance, one of your aquaintance dies, we attend his funeral, the question is, what is become of him? why, there is reason to hope for good Estate, that he will appear at Christ's right hand: what reason? he was an upright, sober, religious, good sort of a man:— here you see people look to the man himself to find [Page 55]his title to eternal life: they pretend to find in him and by the works of the law too, tho' by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified: but he showeth marks and evidences of his having made his peace with God; says one: but had the poor miserable man, no mediator to act for him, that he was obliged to undertake the business himself; of making his peace with God? St. Paul in his e­pistle to the Ephes. 2d chap. 13 verse and onward, says to the Gentiles, to whom he wrote. But now in Christ Jesus, ye who were sometimes afar off, i. e. ye Gentiles, are made nigh by the blood of Christ: for be is our peace, who hath made both one, i. e. Jew and Gentile, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contain'd in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both, i. e. both Jew and Gentile, unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.

HERE you see, St. Paul never thought of our ma­king our own peace with GOD ourselves, but talks altogether of Christ's being our peace, and of his reconciling us to God, in one body by the cross: you see he seems to think that Christ has made our peace with God already, and therefore our title to peace is in him.

ANOTHER of our acquaintance dies—the word is, there is little or no hope of him. But why? He was a poor creature, a hardened sinner. He has no title to heaven then you think. No. What's the matter, why has not he a title? Because he was a wicked, impenitent wretch. But don't St. Paul say to Timothy, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. [Page 56]But he died impenitent. What then? Why, he cannot be saved. But don't St. Paul say—the gifts and calling of God, are without repentance!— Here, I think, you must all see, that people in general look for a man's eternal life in the man himself: they don't appear to suspect that it is to be found any where else: they expect to find the man's title to happiness in him. They seek the living among the dead. There is not a man in the world that can show any title to eternal life in himself. God hath given us eternal life in his Son, and no where else.—How vain and unserip­tural are the traditions of men!

BUT it is high time for me to show particularly how our title to eternal life is in Christ Jesus; but what hinders or prevents from our having a title to eternal life in ourselves without a Me­diator.

GOD made man at first upright, and in his own image, and if he had continued so, none of you can harbour the least doubt, but that his life would have been eternally happy: But he fell into sin: What then? Why the sentence of death passed upon him: For what? For sin; for the wages of sin is death the text tells us; but what else is there, that prevents us from having a title to eter­nal life in curselves? It is the want of a perfect righteousness; for in Romans, x. 5, St. Paul says, Moses describeth the righteousness of the law, that the man that doeth those things shall live by them. But we are told that Cursed is he that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them. So that the righteousness that gives us a title to life, must be perfectly faultless; the least failure or defect destroys us forever; so that noth­ing is wanting in us for a title to eternal life in our­selves, [Page 57]but these two things, a freedom from sin, and a perfect righteousness; which is a full com­pliance with every thing the law commands. If there is any thing wanting in us besides these two things, I shall be exceedingly obliged to any man in the world to let me know it—to point it out to me: But it is evident to a moral demonstration, that nothing else but these two things are wanting in us, in order to a title in ourselves to eternal life. We want in ourselves a freedom from sin and a perfect righteousness, nothing else is wanting; for take away sin, and there is no condemnation; and let us have a perfect righteousness, and then the promise is, The man that doeth these things, shall live by them. God says, If a man keep all my sta­tutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die: but every one that knows any thing about the scripture or himself, must at once confess, that none of us, have either of these two requisites in ourselves: neither a freedom from sin, nor a perfect faultless righteousness, for we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is not a man that liveth and sinneth not, there is none righteous no not one: the scripture hath concluded all under sin. In many things we offend all, says the apostle; therefore we have no perfect, righteousness in ourselves; therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified in God's sight; But Christ Jesus is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, having put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. We are told death was what all men were sentenced to for sin; we are likewise told Christ tasted death for every man.

We thus judge, says St. Paul, that if one died for all, then were all dead, and he died for all, says he; so that death the wages of sin for every man, [Page 58]God has paid to Christ already; laying upon him the iniquities of us all, Isaiah liii. 6. And God was not unjust, he did not withhold or keep back any part of the wages; he paid the whole of our wages, to the Captain of our salvation. So that here is a perfect freedom from sin, from guilt, from transgression, from condemnation, from death; but where is it? Not in ourselves, but in Christ Jesus: so that a freedom from sin, which we be­fore observed, was necessary to a title to life, is sound in Christ Jesus, and no where else; no atone­ment for sin any where else. In Christ Jesus our Lord, we can find this purgation or purification from sin for all the world—in his bloody sweat which was in the garden—by the holes made by the thorns on the head—by the scourge on his back —by the nails in his hands and feet—and by the spear thrust into his side: We can find the atone­ment, in his blood, which was shed for the remis­sion of sins. Well, then we found at least, one re­quisite or necessary condition to a title to life which is a freedom from sin, but this is found in Christ, even in his death and suffering.

Now then let us look for the other thing ne­cessary in order to a title to life,—and that is, a perfect righteousness, an unsailing compliance with all the commands of God's law.

I SUPPOSE none of you will deny that Christ was righteous: He was the lamb without spot; he did no sin we are told, neither was guile found in his mouth; he came to do the will of God, and declar'd that one jot or tittle should in no wise pass from the law till all was fulfilled. He is called Jesus the righteous, his name is the Lord our righteousness; he suffered the just for the unjust. Well then, we have found that which the perfect [Page 59]and holy law of God promises, life; even a perfect righteousness, in Christ, who is our surety, so that we have found both the conditions of a title to life, and we have found them in Christ, even a perfect atonement for sin, by which the sin of the world is taken away and a perfect righteousness of one by which the many are made righteous as we are told: now what is there wanting to our title to eternal life? surely nothing, the gift of God is eter­nal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Then we have found our title there: there we have found every thing that gives a title, we have found death the wages, fully suffered, the whole penalty inflicted, death tasted for every man, and that perfect righte­ousness of one by which the many individuals of mankind are made righteous, all this we have found in Christ; when God gave his son, he gave all the conditions of our eternal life in him, so that our title is in him, it is given in him: this, even a distant view of it, made the prophet Daniel, speak of the seventy weeks, at the end of which the Mes­siah, even Jesus was to come, to finish the trans­gression, and to make an end of sin; and to make reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlast­ing righteousness. Daniel ix. 24. This made David say, to his Lord who was also his son, all my springs are in thee, Psalms lxxxvii. 7. And God says of his people, their righteousness is of me, and he has given it to us in Christ. So if any ask you: where is your title to heaven? do not deny the Lord that bought you, by sitting up any thing in yourselves for a title, but tell them your title is in Christ. But have you no title in yourselves? no, we had a title to eternal death, because in ourselves we were sin­ners, and are so still in ourselves, and the wages of sin is death, but we have lost our title to death.— [Page 60]How lost your title to death? Because the sentence of death was executed upon us. Where? In Christ, when in Christ! When he died on the cross, and put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. If one died for all then were all dead. But how is your title to heaven in Christ? Because he was holy, harmless and undefiled, as we are told. But what's that to you? Why, He was of God made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption: he is the Lord our righteousness.— But how does his righteousness give you a title to heaven? It is the reward God promised to obedi­ence; Jesus was obedient, and so had a title to the reward, in point of strict justice, and God never withholds the wages he promises, for he is a just God.—God gave his righteousness, and will give the reward of it.

But the world being ignorant of God's righte­ousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God, says St. Paul: For, says he, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth: Every one that believes he has done all for us, that the law required, don't undertake to keep the law in order to get a title to heaven; they don't go about to establish their own righteousness to get a title, for they have found the end of the law, even Jesus Christ, who fulfilled even the last tittle of it, so that they look to Christ as their title to eternal life.

CHRIST is expressly stiled the saviour of all men, the saviour of Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel, and all who lived before the flood, of all who lived before the child Jesus was born; as much as he is of Paul, or Peter, or any of the Apostles, or any of us, who live since his coming into the world: [Page 61]the saviour of all men, from Adam to his youngest son he will ever have born. For Jesus Christ, the righteous, we are told, is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. The eleventh chapter of Saint Paul's epistle to the Hebrews, is surely a list of men, from Abel to David, and the Prophets, who believed the promises of God, which were to be accomplished in Christ; for the restitution of all things was, we are told, what God spake by the mouth of all his holy prophets, ever since the world began.

AN intimation of life, and happiness in Christ Jesus, immediately followed the sin of our first parents in paradise; the seed of the woman was promised to bruise the serpent's head. The assu­rance of a Redeemer was renewed to the patriarch Moses, who we are told, esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. The very law of Moses, particularly the ceremo­nial part of it, pointed to eternal life in Christ Jesus: their sacrifices of propitiation, figured out the death of that lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world. His promises of a land flowing with milk and honey, were designed for no more than figures of the glory and riches of the heavenly canaan; the ordinances of the Jewish worship, pointed out re­demption of mankind in one body in Christ.

BUT what must distinguish between the Jews having these privileges under the dispensation of the law as it was given by Moses, and their hav­ing them by the law:—for they did not belong to the law as such; for it was only the Mosaic dispen­sation of the law prefigured? The gospel—the gospel was that better covenant, which brought in a better hope, and was established upon better [Page 62]promises; and published to Abraham for an hun­dred and thirty years before the law was given at Sinai:—a promise which the law, with all its thunder and terrors could not disannul. For was there ever any other name whereby men could be saved, but the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.— This is the true foundation, upon which men have ever been building, wood, hay and stubble, as well as gold and precious stones, and they suffer loss when their works are tried, and burnt; yet them­selves shall be saved, though it be so as by fire: for this foundation, even Jesus, was and still is, the end of the law; the sum and substance of every promise; the life of every ordinance; for all out of him, was but a dead letter. But now the sha­dows of the law are dispelled, the veils laid aside; the true sacrifice for sin offered; death abolished by Jesus Christ, and life and immortality brought to light by the gospel.

WHAT remains of this subject, is an answer to several objections, which I must put off till another opportunity.

[Page 63]



The wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I HAVE heretofore considered each parti­cular of my text in their natural order: After a short review of what has been already said, what now remains is to answer some objections which are made against the doctrine contained in the words of my text.

WHEN I first made choice of these words for the subject of our meditations, I expected to have finished what I had to say upon them, in two dis­courses; but after I had entered upon this ground, I found it a field so extensive, that I sound it im­possible to do it any tolerable justice, without tak­ing somewhat of a distinct view of each particular part: which has made it necessary for me to en­tertain you with the most grand and principal views, that this extensive field afforded: for no less than three weeks successively I made choice of this particular text, because it held up to our view in one single verse, a complete summary of both, the law and the gospel, of the covenant of works and the covenant of grace; of the death of the human world, and its restoration to life: of the just seve­rity of God's judgment, and the everlasting cove­nant [Page 64]of his peace, of the condemnation of the whole body of human nature, to endless misery under one head, and of the complete ransom of the very same body, and its clear title to everlasting happiness, under another head. The first head was of the earth, earthy; the second head was spiritual, even the Lord from heaven: The first covenant, under the first head, gendered to bondage universally; the second covenant, under the second head, is an universal introduction into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

THE first covenant condemns the whole body of human nature in its head, without a single excep­tion; the second justifies and saves the whole body of the same human nature in its second head, without a single exception. In short, the first covenant condemns Adam and all his posterity to everlasting damnation. The second covenant jus­tifies Adam and all his posterity, to eternal life. The first covenant was but of short continuance, and made way for the second; the sccond is the everlasting covenant of God's peace; which on our part is fulfilled already to the last title; and on God's part he has promised expressly, that it shall never be broken.

I CHOSE this passage of scripture, that I might discover to you, both the law and the gospel in one single view, that you might learn to know them apart—that you might know what is law and what is gospel. I presented them to you, both in one field, that you might view them both at once, with­out any thing between them, except a single word, a particle which denotes distinction; contrariety: The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life; that you might so critically distinguish them, as to be able to know the law wherever you [Page 65]meet with it in scripture,—particularly in the part of it called the New Testament; and that you might be able to know the gospel wherever you meet with it in scripture, as well in what is called the Old Testament as the New: for people gene­rally run into this grand mistake, that all that is contain'd in those books of scripture, commonly called the Old Testament is law, and that all that is contain'd in those books wrote by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter and Jude, commonly called the New Testament, is gospel, every word of it: But the gospel was preached to Adam and Eve, by Christ himself, when they re­ceived the promise of the seed of the woman to bruise the serpent's head. Christ the son of God, conversed with men frequently, in a sensible way, even from the creation of Adam, till his own incar­nation, and then till his ascention into heaven. But of God, even the Father, we are told, no man hath seen him at any time. And again, God whom no man hath seen or can see.

BUT Christ preached the gospel to Abraham, St. Paul says, Galatians iii. 8. The scripture fore­seeing that God would justify the heathen througb faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, say­ing, In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. This was the gospel of peace. All such like un­conditional promises of good, were the preaching of the gospel of peace. But promises, on condi­tion of perfect obedience were law. David preach­ed the gospel, and even Moses, himself, and all the prophets; the prophecies of Isaiah, are a very great part if not almost all gospel—But besides preaching by words, it was preaching by Hiero­gliphicks or figures pretty constantly, from Adam's time till Christ the substance of all those figures, [Page 66]came in person: For what were the sacrifices, of Abel, Noah, and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but preaching Christ by figure and pointing to him as the true sacrifice for sin? And what was the Jewish tabernacle, and temple, and their whole worship, their ceremonies of purification and all their sacrifices, but preaching gospel by figure, and pointing out Christ the saviour of the world? Again, What is commonly called the New Testament, is far from being all gospel, for what is the greatest part of Christ's sermon upon the mount, and several o­ther discourses to the Jews, but law, even the most perfect explanation of God's law, the covenant of works, that ever appeared in the world.

WHAT are all the quotations from the law which are to be found in St. Paul's Epistles, where he introduces the law, to shew its insufficiency for salvation.

WHAT are all these but plain law; the cove­nant of works? And what is the first part of my text? The wages of sin is death, but a view of the whole substance of the law of God, the covenant of works. So far as we have any thing to do with it since the fall of Adam, for being sinners, all the claim we could lay to the law was only threaten­ings; we had nothing to receive from the cove­nant of works but condemnation; but the prom­ises of good things annexed to obedience in the law, we in ourselves are nothing to do with, be­cause we had not that obedience which was the indispensible condition. But all the promises of good things, and all the declarations of good things given to us, without any thing required of us, as the condition of our title, whether found in the Old Testament or in the New, are the gospel of the grace of God; they are gifts by grace and not [Page 67]of debt; for the gift of God is eternal life, in Christ Jesus our Lord: and the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, without any con­ditions required of us, the gospel is the covenant of God's peace—It is good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for the head of every man is Christ—He is the Saviour of the body, the Saviour of all men we are expressly told, by the word of truth, but methinks I hear an objector to this purpose, how comes it to pass that of all the clergy of the Church of England, you are the only one, that ever found out that is the doctrine of the Bible, that all men have a title in Christ to eternal Life; that all men will finally be saved, and how does it become you as a clergyman of the Church of England, to teach a doctrine so contrary to what is, and ever has been taught by that Church, so no difference to be paid to any of her bishops, or the judgment or opinion of any other, of her great and learned men, nor indeed to the opinion of the whole Christian church, for seventeen hundred years; I answer, I am not the only one of all the clergy of the Church of England, that has found this doctrine in the Bible; and if I was the only one, surely I have a right to preach the gospel even the truth as it is in Jesus if I find it, whether I a­gree with another man or not, unless the authority of men is greater than the authority of God; cer­tainly I have no right to preach, what I think to be inconsistent with the truth, however as a clergy­man of the Church of England, I have a right to judge for myself, of the promises of God, for the church of England in the close of her seventeenth article of religion directs thus, even these very words, we must receive God's promise, in such wise as they be generally set forth in the holy scriptures; but as [Page 68]she has not told in her articles howGod's promises are to be understood, except as they are generally set forth in the holy scriptures, she certainly leaves it to me to judge for myself of these promises, and I do judge them to be, promises of eternal life to all mankind without exception in Christ Jesus our Lord: and the articles of the church of England, as I have heretofore, taken notice, do set forth the offering of Christ once made as a perfect re­demption, propitiation and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual: now I ask, if there is perfect satisfaction made by Christ, for every sin of the whole world, how jus­tice can ever condemn, or execure the sentence of the law for sin, upon any one individual of the hu­man race? when a perfect satisfaction is already made to God, for all the sins of men, to demand the payment over again is evidently the highest injustice—As great injustice, as it would have been, to have punished all mankind with everlasting mi­sery if no one of them had ever sinned; if every sin of the whole world is satisfied for; it is plain and evident that every man must be saved: For what can condemn any man if the sins of all are satis­fied for? if they are not saved, it is plain they can­not be punished; but there is no middle way be­tween salvation and damnation, so that you must see the church of England, has in her articles, taught the salvation of all men, at least implicity; and am I to be condemn'd for differing from all the church clergy in doctrine because I preach up the doctrine of the 39th article? is this a crime to preach up the doctrine contain'd in the articles of the church of England, because it is said none of the rest of the clergy teach so, but the contrary? Will the preaching up the doctrine of the church [Page 69]of England contradict the doctrine of her clergy? This would be a sad thing indeed: Can preach­ing the doctrine of the church of England, be showing disrespect to her Bishops, or great writers, or Clergy who composed the 39 articles? Was it not the Bishops and Clergy of the church of Eng­land, and was it their doctrine; or did they set forth a doctrine for the church of England, diffe­rent from their own doctrine? But my teaching that all mankind will finally be happy, is not preaching contrary to what is, and ever has been taught by all the rest of the Clergy of the church of England. For no less a man than archbishop Tillotson, has been wrote against for preaching this doctrine; and at least in one of his sermons, he did intimate that this was his opinion, though at the same time, he appeared to be in darkness and doubt about it, and several others of the clergy of the church, have taught the salvation of ALL MEN. Mr. Murdon, a church clergyman now living I suppose, has for a number of years, preached the same doctrine, as I do openly and fully; and has printed a book upon the subject, and yet is in full and regular standing under his Bishop. Dr. Steed, a clergyman of the church of England, who died a few years ago, and was greatly admired as a preacher, in most parts of England, styled by late writers, the ingenious Dr. Steed, in a sermon which he delivered in St. Paul's Cathedral Church in Lon­don, speaking upon the Redemption has these words; Our Saviour laid down his life for the sins of the whole world, be came, that as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive: that as by one man's disobedience many, the many, or mankind in general, were made sinners, treated as such, and made subject to death, the wages of [Page 70]sin; so by the obedience of one many were made righteous.’ Again, speaking of Christ, says he, ‘The sphere of his beneficence extended back­wards to the foundation of the world, and reaches forward to the last conflagration, he became the saviour of all ages: from the first birth of time to its last period: The father of mankind, from the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same. The blessings of his coming into the world are as extensive as the world, and as last­ing as eternity.’ Says he, ‘Behold the Son of God, pouring forth his blood, as well as pray­ers, even for those that shed it; behold him at once bearing the insults, expiating the sins, and procuring happiness for mankind, till at last he bows his sacred head, and shuts up the solemn scene, with these short but comprehensive words, IT IS FINISHED: —the great, the slupendous work is done. The universal sacrifice, which shall take in all mankind, and which all mankind shall contemplate throughout eternity with aw­ful joy and gratitude, is compleated:—the bene­fit of whose actions and sufferings reaches to all ages, all nations, all mankind. Our Saviour was a person born for the whole world, for which he died, a blessing to all mankind, from the beginning of time, and whom all mankind will have reason to bless, when time shall be no more.’

YOU may depend on it, that these words were preached in St. Paul's church in London; so that as a Church Clergyman I am not teaching a doc­trine which is contrary to, what is or ever has been taught all the rest of the Clergy of the Church of England. I don't know that I have ever said any thing that more strongly points out the salvation of all men, than these words of Dr. Steed, I have [Page 71]just now recited, though I must confess, that in some other passages of his sermons, he says what seems inconsistent with those passages I recited; but what I did recite he no doubt said. But I am supposed to differ from the whole body of the Christian Church, for seventeen hundred years; I answer, this would be a melancholy consideration indeed, if it were true: But can the tradition of the whole body of the christian church, make void the gospel, the everlasting covenant of God's peace, but then, the tradition or opinion of the christian church, pretty universally for a thousand years out of this seventeen hundred, has been in favour of popery; therefore if the opinion of the body of the christian church is a sure proof of what is the true meaning of scripture, then surely, we ought all to become Roman Catholics immediately, for popery has the opinion of the whole body of the christian church pretty universally in its favour for ten hun­dred years, and the main body of the christian church against her, for no more than about seven hundred years, and two hundred years of these seven, if the opinion of the whole christian church had been taken, I strongly suspect that the vote would have turned in favour of Popery: If the general opinion of the christian church is any proof, to de­termine what is right and true: Why are not you all Papists? If it is no proof, why is it alledged against me? The truth concerning the christian church, I take to be this:—The opinion of those that called themselves christians almost universally through the world, was in favour of Popery, from about the year fifteen hundred; since the year fif­teen hundred, Christians have been divided into two great classes, being generally Roman Catho­lics or Protestants; but the Roman Catholics [Page 72]most numerous. From the Apostles time till the introduction of Popery, is a period of about four or five hundred years; in which time, the general opinion of the Bishops and Clergy of the Christian church was, that all mankind would be finally and everlastingly happy, if we believe Dr. Whitby, who was esteemed a great and learned divine of the church of England; and very profound in his knowledge of antiquity, having spent much time in searching the records of the primitive church, and cannot be supposed to give this account through any prejudice in favour of this doctrine, that all men will be saved; for he wrote a considerable treatise against bishop Tillotson, for intimating, or hinting in a sermon that all men would finally be saved. Says Dr. Whitby, ‘This hath been the constant doctrine of the church of Christ, owned by the Greek and Latin fathers;—among the Greek fathers Chrisostom, whose words are these, When the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, then all Israel shall be saved, at the time of Christ's second coming, and the consummation of all things.—They of the people of Israel, who for their unbelief were deserted that God's mercy might be showed to you: they shall not always be left in unbelief, says Origen: But when the dispensation of the sulness of the Gen­tiles is compleated, they also shall find mercy; Israel may then also enter; for if the sulness of the Gentiles be come in, then all Israel shall be saved, and there shall be one fold, and one Shep­ard.’ Dr. Whitby adds these words ‘All the Latin fathers who have left us any commenta­ries, or notes on this epistle, meaning the epistle to the Romans, are plainly of the same mind, as you may see by consulting Hilary the Deacon, [Page 73]Primasius, Sedutius, and Haymo: from those of the prophet Hosea; The children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an altar, and without an ephod, and without a tera­phim: afterward shall the children of Israel re­turn and seek the Lord their God: and David their king, and shall fear the Lord, and his good­ness, in the latter days. Hosea, chap. iii. ver 4, 5. which St. Augustin produced, to prove, that the carnal Israelite who now will not believe, shall hereafter do so. He saith, Nothing is more manifest, than that by David their king, the prophet meaneth Jesus Christ, in whom they now believe not.—St. Cyrel saith, Here is a manifest declaration of what shall hereafter hap­pen to the adulterous synagogue, and that she shall be received again, that Israel should not always be rejected, but being recalled and con­verted again to the faith, should own Christ, according to the flesh, to be the king of all, and that his glorious grace should be afforded to her to the end of the world.—St. Jerome, having cited those words of Christ, spoken to the barren fig tree, Let no fruit grow on thee forever, Mat. xxi. 19, he bids us diligently consider, that he saith not forever and ever, but only in seculum, for that age; and when that age is past, and when the fulness of the Gentiles is come in, then shall this fig tree bring forth her fruits, and all Israel be saved.—Dr. Whitby immediately adds these words, So generally did this doctrine obtain among the ancients: and, says he, this doctrine hath the sufferage of all the ancient fathers.’

Now my hearers, you are able to determine whether by preaching up the salvation of all men, [Page 74]I have departed from the opinion of the whole christian church; for so long a period as seventeen hundred years. I am sure you will throw out of the question the opinion of the christian church, when almost swallowed up in Popery for a thou­sand years, then I have the opinion of the whole body of the christian church, according to Dr. Whitby's account, in favour of the doctrine I preach, for a period of between four and five hun­dred years, and that immediately after the apostles: But exclusive of popery, you may believe that part of mankind perish everlastingly; have the opinion of almost half the christian church, I mean the Prorestant part, for a period of between two and three hundred years; so that throwing Popery out of the question, the christian church speak in my favour, for about double the time, that part of them give their voice in your favour; they give their voice in my favour immediately after the Apostles left them: Part of them now give their voice in your favour, after forsaking some of the supersti­tious fears of Popery.

Now were the primitive Christians as likely to derive errors from the Apostles, as the Protestants to derive errors from the Papish Church, out of which they came? surely not. But, says the Ob­jector, It this doctrine of the salvation of all men be true, what good does preaching do? for all men are safe upon this plan whether they know it or not. I answer, that the common notion is, that the pur­pose of preaching is to shew men how to get a title to heaven; but this never was the true meaning or purpose of preaching the gospel:—the purpose of preaching the gospel is to show people that they have in Christ a title to heaven already: it is the gospel of the grace of God, good tidings of great [Page 75]joy, which shall be to all people. It was promised to Abraham, that in him; in his promised seed, all the nations shall be blessed. This you know St. Paul calls preaching the gospel to Abraham. Gal. iii. 8. It was not telling Abraham or the nations, how to get a blessing but only making it known that they were to be blessed; life and immortality are brought to light thro' the gospel, we are told, but preaching the gospel do not make life nor immor­tality; it only brings them to light, what was not known before, light we are told maketh manifest, but it cannot make manifest, that which is not; it can only make that manifest that is in being already! bring that thing to our knowledge, which we did not know before; mankind did not know that there was life or immortality for them, but there was really both; otherwise the gospel could never have brought them to life: the preaching of the gospel, does not tell us how to make our peace with God, but tells us that Jesus is our peace, that Jesus hath reconciled both Jew and Gentile unto God, in one body on the Cross, so making peace; St. Paul, tells us what was the purpose of his preaching. See Col. i. 25, 26, 27, I am made a minister, says he, accord­ing to the dispensation of God given to me, for you, to fulfit the word of God, i. e. what God hath promis­ed, even the mystery which hath been hid from ages, and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles. —And further on he says, that he laboured for them, but for what purpose was all this to them? he tells; that, their hearts might be comforted being knit together in love, and unto all riches of full assurance of understanding to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ, [Page 76]in whom are bid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge: Now (says he in another place) the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing: the gospel is preached that people may believe it, and the defired effect is, that they may be filled with all joy and peace in believing? People think it would be very kind in God, to show them how they themselves, may certainly get a title to eternal life: is it not quite as kind in God, to give them a title freely, and then make it known to them, that they have a title? Does it do people no good to fill them with joy and peace in believing; 'tis true, preaching the gospel of peace, does not teach people how to get a title to eternal life, but it does better, it shows them that they have a title alrea­dy, and is not this worth showing? had not you rather be brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God, now, than to remain in bondage to fear; if you have a title to life in Christ, is it not worth knowing? Is it as well for you to be in darkness, fear, perplexity, under the cloud; thun­dering terrors of the law, for a hundred or a thou­sand years! as to be all that time in a state of joy and peace in believing? You know those that believe the gospel of peace have joy and peace in be­lieving; but faith comes by bearing, says St. Paul: and how shall they bear, says he, without a preacher? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and publish glad ti­dings of good.

It is true the title of all mankind to eternal life is secure, whether they know it or not, for their life is not in their own custody, but is hid with Christ in God, and tho' the ravenous vulture, devoured their first life, which was by the law, yet they have another life by grace, hid in a secure place where [Page 77]this vulture's eye never saw—A place secure from moth and rust, that mocks the sly approach and baffles all the presumptuous violence of pilfering thieves; but does it give men satisfaction to know their security? the gospel of peace is preach'd that you may know Jesus who is your life, your peace, your security, whom to know, we are told, is life eternal, he is shown, that you may now begin to be refreshed with spiritual life and joy, and that when you die you may die in peace and sleep in Jesus, and when you awake be satisfied with his likeness, that you may have part in the first resur­rection; for the dead in Christ shall rise first, and boly and blessed are they that have part in the first resurrection, over such the second death hath no power, that death in trespasses and sins, in which others will continue till the book of life is open'd to them and they read, The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

To you the gospel is preached, that you may now read your new name in that book, which contains your life, and shews you in Christ passed from death to life; that when you first rise from the grave, your heads may be encircled with bril­liant crowns of glory, and seated upon thrones with Christ, to judge the world, and to judge angels, not the holy angels, but those goats which are on Christ's left hand, who we read, are reserved in chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day, when God shall bruise Satan under our feet, and then cause him to depart into the fire prepared for him and his angels. Is not a part in the first resurrection worth having, think ye? If your title to life is sase, don't you want to know it? If the glory of the riches of God's grace is free, is it therefore unworthy of preaching? If your title to [Page 78]life is sure, is it no matter if the things which make for peace, is long hid from your eyes? Is a conti­nuance in bondage through lear of eternal death, as good a way of spending your time as any? Is not the glorious liberty of the children of God now worth enjoying? Is it as comfortable to die in the fearful looking for of judgment, as to die in peace? Is it as eligible to die in sin as to sleep in Jesus? Is it no matter whether we rife with a sense and apprehension of everlasting shame and contempt, or with a crown of rejoicing? Is it no matter whether we stand at the last day before God, dead with guilty fear, having our mouths slopt with a sense of guilt, waiting to be slain by the sword that proceedeth out of the mouth of the judge, which bring into a condition of being made spiritually alive again, by the opening of the book of life, or whether we sit all that time on thrones in judgment with Christ? and at last, is it no matter whether we are some of the greatest or least of Christ's brethren; whether we are to be greatest or least in the kingdom of heaven, because we are to be finally in it? Sr. Paul says, As one star differ­eth from another star in glory, so shall the resurrection of the dead be: all the stars in the firmament shine, you know, yet one star differeth from another star in degree of glory, one star is said to be of the first magnitude, another of the second, and another quite small in comparison with the first, yet they all shine, and have their degree of glory.

By this time, I hope you are all satisfied that, the gospel is worth preaching, if it does bring life and immortality to light, but if you are not satisfi­ed, yet we are told the foundation of God standeth sure, and though you should not believe the record God has given of his son, and so as the apostle ex­presseth [Page 79]it, make God a liar, yet as the same apos­tle immediately adds; This is the record, that God has given to us, eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

AND my text tells us, the gift of God is eternal life, in Christ Jesus our Lord; There it is, whether we have now a view of it, or not, whether this great thing in this our temporal day, be hid from our eyes, or not, but that this mystery of the gospel of the grace of God may be now manifested in all our eyes; that we may be comforted and knit together in love; the God and Father of the spirits of all flesh grant through Jesus Christ.

Now therefore to the one infinitely wise, good, and eternal GOD, in Christ, be rendered all ho­nour and glory, thanksgiving and praise, might, majesty and dominion, world without end.


ERRATUM—Page 6, line 19, for "bruised" read bound.

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