The Doctrines Of God’s Everlasting Love To His Elect, And Their Eternal Union With Christ: by John Gill


The Doctrines Of God’s Everlasting
Love To His Elect, And Their Eternal
Union With Christ:
by John Gill
(London: Aaron Ward, 1732)
Thou hast given a standard to them that fear thee;
that it may be displayed because of the truth
— Psalm 60:4
SERMON 9
Together With Some Other Truths,
Stated And Defended,
IN A LETTER TO DR. ABRAHAM TAYLOR.
SIR,
HAVING had the happiness of hearing, and since of reading, your two
Discourses, Of the Insufficiency of Natural Religion; I cannot but express
a satisfaction with your method of treating the argument; nor would you
have heard from me in this public manner, had you not, in your
performance, fallen foul on some of your friends, whilst you was engaging
with the common adversary.
When I heard your first discourse on this subject, I observed a paragraph
which gave me some uneasiness. I determined to take notice of it to you,
as I had opportunity and knowing I should be present when you
condescended to submit your discourses to the correction of some friends,
I purposed humbly to offer some reasons for either dropping or altering the
paragraph; but, to my great satisfaction, I found myself under no necessity
of doing it. The passage I refer to being omitted in reading, I concluded
from hence, that upon a revisal of your discourses, you had seen reason in
your own mind to strike it out but, since reading your sermons, now made
public, I find it stands, and, if I mistake not;, with some additional keenness
and severity: your reason for this you best know. Your words are these
f1
“It has been said, that during the times of our civil commotions,
there was little preached up but faith in Christ; and that the duties
of morality were little insisted on: it is certain that some ignorant
enthusiastic preachers insisted then much on eternal union with.3
Christ, and that sin could do a believer no harm; but all wise and
thoughtful men abhorred such immoral conceits.”
What I have to complain of in this passage, is as follows:
I. The lameness and impertinence of it. You observe,
“It has been said, that during the times of our civil commotions,
there was little preached up but faith in Christ, and that the duties
of morality were little insisted on.”
One would have expected that you would have given an answer to this
charge, and it looks as if you had designed it, by your making mention of it,
but you neither grant nor deny it; and, instead of doing either, as you ought
to have done, you put off the objection, by saying, “that some ignorant
enthusiastic preachers insisted then much on eternal union with Christ, and
that sin could do a believer no harm.” Things which are not in the charge,
and no way to your purpose to make mention of. Without taking upon me
to be a dictator to you, you might have with truth allowed, that during
those times, faith in Christ was very much preached up, though not to the
exclusion of moral duties; and, with a great deal of justness, you might
have observed, that the power of godliness very much prevailed; that the
duties of religion were much practiced; that the Lord’s day was strictly and
religiously observed; that social worship was attended on constantly; that
family and closet-devotion were kept up with much strictness; and that
morality, in all its branches, was in a very flourishing condition in those
times, when faith in Christ was so much insisted on. This I am very sensible
you are capable of observing; but you chose rather to fling at the doctrine
of eternal union with Christ, and to introduce that in an awkward way, and
by joining it with a disagreeable notion of sin’s doing a believer no harm, to
draw an odium upon some good men in those times, whom you call
“ignorant enthusiastic preachers,” and through them to strike at some who
are now in being.
II. It does not appeal’ to me matter of fact, that in those times eternal
union with Christ, and that sin could do a believer no harm, were much
insisted on, as you say. I know not, indeed, what acquaintance you may
have with the pulpit performances of those times. For my own part I can
only judge of their preaching by what they have printed; and, I presume,
that if these doctrines are any where to be met with, they are to be found in
the writings of such, who, in those times, were branded for Antinomians;.4
such as Eaton, Saltmarsh, Simpson, Town, Richardson, and Crisp; whose
writings I have carefully perused, and find no reason to conclude that those
doctrines were much insisted on, as you say. By reading the works of these
authors, I have been confirmed in the truth of an observation made some
years ago, by the learned Hoornbeeck:
f2
“For I perceive, says he, while heads of doctrine are made up by the
adversaries, rather than the authors themselves, out of their
dissertations, books, and sermons, that sometimes their sense is not
sufficiently taken, nor happily expressed; and that both here and
there a great deal, indeed, is said, but not much to the purpose; and
that they either do not understand, or mistake the thing in dispute.”
As to the doctrine of eternal union with Christ, however consistent it may
be with some principles of theirs, I do not perceive that they take any
notice of it; and some of them seem to have no notion of it, but tread in the
common beaten path of union by the Spirit of Christ, and faith in Christ.
Eaton, in his Honey-Comb of Free Justification, has these words
f3
“Christ will have no foul leprous members united and made one
with him; and therefore he first washeth us in his own blood, and
makes us clean from all our sins, and then knits and unites us as fit
members into his ownself. The order also and natural dependence
of these benefits (that is, justification and union) upon one another,
confirm the same; for we cannot be knit into Christ before we have
the Holy Ghost dwelling in us: the Holy Ghost comes not to dwell
in us before we be reconciled to God; and we are not reconciled to
God before we have all our sins abolished out of God’s sight, but
when all our sins are abolished, and we made perfectly holy and
righteous, from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely, then the
Holy Ghost comes and dwells in us, and knits and unites us, as fit
members, into the blessed body of Jesus Christ; then we are, by the
wedding garment alone of Christ’s righteousness, made, above our
sense and feeling, fit brides for so glorious a Bridegroom.”
And in another place, he has these words
f4
“This union and conjunction then is the cause that I am separated
from myself, and translated into Christ and his kingdom, which is a
kingdom of grace, righteousness, peace, joy, life, salvation, and.5
glory; yea, by this inseparable union and conjunction, which is
through faith, Christ and I are made, as it were, one body in spirit.”
Simpson, another of those men who were called Antinomians in those
times, expresses himself on the subject of union after this manner, when he
is speaking of the use of faith in justification
f5
“So that by faith, says he, though we are assured of God’s love in
the first place, yet we are not only assured, but likewise Christ is
applied unto us; we are united unto him, and do enjoy all things in
him, and receive all good things from him.”
And in another place
f6
“A believing man is bone of the bone, and flesh of the flesh, and
one spirit with the Lord Jesus: there is a close and near union and
application of Christ to the soul by faith.”
Saltmarsh says nothing in what I have seen of his, concerning eternal
union; and what he says of union itself, is not very intelligible; yet it seems
as though he had no other notion of being in Christ, or of being united to
Christ, but by faith. He observes
f7
“That the pure spiritual and mystical fountain of the mortification of
sin, is the being planted together in the likeness of Christ’s death,
our old man being crucified with him (

Romans 6:6). Our union
with Christ our Head, our Righteousness, our Vine.”
And, a little after, he has these words:
“Now that power wherein we are perfectly mortified, is our union
with Christ, our being planted in the fellowship of his death, &c.
and that wherein we are imperfectly, or in part mortified, is in that
transformed nature, or spiritual nature, the body of sin being in a
believer, more or less, till he lay down this body and take it up a
more glorious one; so as a believer is to consider himself dead to
sin, only in the fellowship of Christ’s death mystically, and to
consider himself only dying to sin in his own nature spiritually: so
as in Christ he is only complete, and in himself imperfect at the
best. We are complete in him, saith the apostle (

Colossians
2:10), yet there is such a power and efficacy, and mighty working
in this mystical union and fellowship with Christ, that he shall find.6
sin dying in him from this, the Spirit working most in the virtue of
this.”
And in another place, he says
f8
;
“A believer hath a twofold condition, in Christ, in himself; yet he
ought ever to consider himself in Christ by faith, not in himself.”
And elsewhere he observes
f9
:
“The word says, that we are complete in Christ, and righteous in
Christ; but when I repent, or love, or obey, I believe, I am in Christ;
and therefore my love, and repentance, and obedience, is such as I
may believe, though not in themselves, yet in him to be good and
spiritual.”
Town, another writer of those times, who was much charged with
Antinomianism, says nothing of eternal union, but has many expressions in
his writings, which shew that he had no other notion of union, but by the
Spirit of God, and by the grace of faith, in one of his books he has these
words
f10
“The righteousness of faith unites them, that is, the saints, to Christ,
their Lord, head and Governor, that so henceforth they may be led
by his free Spirit and swayed by the scepter of his kingdom.”
And in the same treatise, he asks
f11
,
“Where doth the, law speak a syllable of our conjunction and union
with Christ through faith, whereby Christ and the believer become
one body in spirit?”
And in another place
f12
;
“By faith we being united and married to Christ, do by him bring
forth fruits to God, even perfect obedience imputatively, and
inchaotive holiness through the operation of his Spirit, received by
the ministry and doctrine of faith, and not of the law.”
Though, in another passage in the same book
f13
, he makes the ordinance of
water baptism to be the saints union with, and insition (grafting) into Christ.
His words are these:.7
“That ordinance, speaking of baptism, is a true, spiritual, and real
engrafting of them into Christ (

1 Corinthians 12:13), so that
faith is but the revelation of what was secret and hid before, or an
evident testimony, and lively and comfortable apprehension and
application in the conscience of the person of what was conferred
and made his before;”
that is, if I understand him, in baptism. In another of his hooks, he has
these expressions
f14
:
“Let the poor sinful, miserable, and lost soul, first be united and
married to him, in whom dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead, and
in whom she is then complete, wanting nothing (

Colossians 2:9,
10), then tell of duties.”
Again
f15
,
“If you do truly good works, you do them in Christ, abiding in him
(

John 15:4), in whom you are alive, and walk continually by
faith.—Now the soul cannot walk in Christ, nor have union with
him, save by faith.”
Once more
f16
, “Can man’s nature be changed, says he, till he be united and
engrafted into Christ, the true Vine? And doth not virtue come by that
insition and union?” And in some pages after
f17
,
“It is by the Spirit that the soul cometh to union with Christ.”
And, in another of his treatises
f18
, he has these words
“Faith cometh by hearing, and after faith comes actual union.”
The only writers, in the times referred to, that I have met with, who assert
even union before faith, are Richardson
f19
, and Crisp
f20
, who yet speak not
a word of eternal union; neither do they, or the writers above-mentioned,
professedly treat of the doctrine of union in any sense, but only take notice
of it as it falls in their way. I read their books with greedy expectation of
frequently meeting with the doctrine of eternal union, in hopes of finding
arguments for the confirmation of it, and of receiving more light into it,
which I believe to be an eternal truth. Eternal union was so far from being
a subject much insisted on in those times, as you say, that I do not find it
was insisted on at all..8
As to the notion of sin’s doing a believer no harm, Eaton, Saltmarsh,
Simpson, and Town, say nothing of it; nor have they any thing like it, that I
have met with, in their writings; and I could easily fill up whole pages with
passages out of them in which they express their abhorrence and
detestation of sin, and their great regard to a holy life and conversation.
Richardson and Crisp are the only writers, in those times, that I have
observed to make use of any expressions of this kind. As for Richardson,
he has but one single passage which looks any thing like this notion, that
sin does a believer no harm; which is this
f21
:
“If all things work together for our good, then, says he, all falls,
pains, diseases, crosses, afflictions, &c. do us no hurt, but work for
our good; all things work for our good (

Romans 8:28).”
And yet this is no more than what many sound divines have said, who
never were charged with Antinomianism; when they assert, that all things,
even the sins of God’s people, are overruled by a kind and good
Providence for their good, as their afflictions and crosses are; and by falls
into sin doing no hurt, he means the hurt of punishment, as is evident from
the whole of his reasoning and argument in that place. He clearly hints, in
many places, at the hurt that comes by sin, with respect to a believer’s
peace and comfort, the damage it does to others, and the dishonor it brings
to God;
“Be afraid to sin, says he
f22
, and use means to prevent it; consider
God hath forbidden it (Romans 6). Consider sin in the nature of it,
in the root and fruit of it: it is the price of blood; there is no true
sweetness in sin, no contentment no satisfaction in it, why you
should desire it? it fills the soul with wounds, sorrow, bitterness,
shame; let experience speak.”
And, in another place, he says
f23
:
“We should be afraid to sin,
1. because it is forbidden by God.
2. It is dishonorable to him.
3. It encourageth others to sin..9
4. It will fill our souls with sorrow to sin against so loving a Father and
to dishonor him, &c.
Having sinned, if but in the least measure, we should be so fain
from covering it with any pretence or excuse, that we should abhor
it, and ourselves for it, with the greatest detestation?”
And elsewhere he says
f24
;
“Be sure ye allow yourself in no sin, but in the strength of God hate
and abhor, with the greatest indignation, all sin, and the appearance
of it; it is better to die than to sin. There is that which accompanieth
sin, which strikes at a believer’s peace and comfort; it will damp,
straiten, and oppress the soul; it will hinder their comfort, joy, and
peace in God, unless God doth wonderfully strengthen their faith in
him; we find by experience, that sin is a lett to our faith and
comfort, it having often unsettled and disquieted us in our peace
and comfort, though we ought not to he so.”
Crisp is the only writer that expresses himself freely and largely on this
subject:, and with the least guard
f25
; and yet when he says, that “believers
need not be afraid of their sins, his meaning is not, that they need not be
afraid of sins committed, as Hoornbeeck,
f26
Witsius,
f27
and Chaunecy
f28
,
have justly observed; and when he says, that “the sins of believers can do
them no hurt: by hurt he means, the hurt of punishment, penal evil, or the
penal effects of sin which believers are freed from, and therefore shall
never enter into a state of condemnation, Christ having bore their sins, and
made satisfaction to justice for them; but then he speaks of sin, in its own
nature, as odious and dreadful to believer’s, and of bitterness and evil, as
the certain fruits of it. The Doctor, I verily believe, used these expressions
in a sound sense, and with a good design; not to encourage persons in sin,
but to relieve and comfort the minds of believers, distressed with sin; yet, I
must confess, I do not like the expressions, but am of opinion they ought
to be disused.
And now surely, Sir, this single author’s using of this expression, and that
not in the gross and vile sense of it, cannot be sufficient to bear you out, in
saying, that sin s doing a believer no harm, was much insisted on in those
times: I can hardly think you have any reference to Archer’s book, called
Comfort for Believers about their Sin and Troubles; in which the author
exhorts believers not to be oppressed and perplexed for their sins
f29
:.10
though he acknowledges that godly sorrow and true shame become them,
and says, that till they have it, God will not own them. He asserts in so
many words,
f30
“that we may safely say, that God is, and hath an hand in, and is the
author of the sinfulness of his people.”
(Horresco referens!) and what is enough to make one shudder at the
reading of, he says, that
f31
“all the sins which believers are left to, they are through and
because of the covenant of grace left to them; and the covenant
implies a dispensation of sinning to them, as well as other things:”
And adds,
“By sins are they as much nurtured and fitted for heaven, as by any
thing else.”
All which is blasphemous, vile and abominable; and for which if I mistake
not, the book was ordered to he burnt by the common hangman. I say, I
can hardly think you can have reference to this author; for though he
asserts this notion in the grossest sense, and in the vilest manner, yet it
unhappily falls out for you, that this man was not for eternal union, but for
union by faith; he frequently observes,
f32
that faith immediately unites to
Christ, and is the bond of union to him, and what brings the Holy Ghost
into the soul. If you had this author and his book in your eye, you should
rather have said, that “union by faith, and sin’s doing a believer no harm,
were much insisted on in those times.” But,
III. What I have further to complain of, is your joining the harmless
doctrine of eternal union with that hurtful one, as it may be taken, of sin’s
doing a believer no harm. You could have no other view, than to bring the
doctrine of eternal union into disgrace, and an odium upon the asserters of
it, as if there was a strict connection between these two, and as if those
who espoused the one, held the other. The notion of sin’s doing a believer
no harm, was never a received tenet of any body or society of Christians
among us; no, not even those who have been called Antinomians. It is not
the sentiment of those who are branded with the name in this day. I am
well informed, that some churches, who are despised as Antinomian, have
cast some out of their communion, for holding this notion in the gross
sense of it. I wish some churches, that reckon themselves more orthodox,.11
would shew a like zeal against ,Arianism, and in the behalf of Christ’s
proper Deity. There are, indeed, I hear, a scattered scandalous set of
persons in the Fen Country, the disciples of one David Culey, who was cut
off from a church in Northamptonshire, and was infamous for his
blasphemy and scandalous life, who have imbibed this notion, and live
answerably to it, but are disregarded by all persons of seriousness and
sobriety. It was not a general received notion of those who are called
Antinomians, a little before or during the time of our civil commotions. Dr.
Crisp is the only person that speaks it out, and yet not in the gross sense of
it, as has been observed. All that their adversaries have said of them, is not
to relied on; such unworthy writers as Edwards and Paget, I give no credit
to. Mr. Crandon
f33
speaks of some Antinomians in Somersetshire, with
whom he was acquainted, and he gives us a catalogue of their sentiments;
but nothing like this is taken notice of by him: nay, it does not appear that
the Antinomians in Germany, the follower of Islebius Agricola, from
Luther’s account of them
f34
, I held any such notion. Sledian,
f35
in his
Commentaries, takes notice of them, and of their tenets. His short account
of them is this:
“This year, that is, 1538, sprung up the sect of them who are called
Antinomians; they say, that repentance is not to be taught out of
the decalogue, and oppose those who teach, that the gospel is not;
to be preached, but those whose hearts are first shaken and broken
by the preaching of the law: they also assert, that whatever a man’s
life may be, and how impure soever, yet is he justified, if he only
believes the promises of the gospel.”
This last assertion of theirs ins somewhat ambiguous, and may seem to
favor this notion, of sin’s doing a believer no harm, as this author has
delivered it: if his meaning is that they held that a man may be justified by
faith in the gospel-promise, without sanctification; or though he allows
himself in a continued impurity of life, this is a contradiction to the grace of
God; but if his meaning is that they held that a man may be truly justified
by faith in Christ, though his former life has been never so impure; this is a
truth of the gospel, and gives no countenance to this doctrine. Of all that I
have met with, none more roundly assert it than Eunomius, and his
followers, who lived in the fourth century.
“It is reported of this man
f36
, that he was such an enemy to good
manners, that he should assert that the commission of any sin.12
whatever, and a continuance therein, could not hurt any one, if he
was but a partaker of that faith which was taught by him.”
This man was a disciple of Aetius, whose followers were called from him
Aetians; of whom Epiphanius writes
f37
, that they were unconcerned about
holiness of life, or any of the commands of God, and spoke very slightly of
sin. Iræneus has a passage concerning the Valentinians, which comes up to
this notion; it is this:
f38
“As that which is earthly cannot partake of salvation, for they say it
is incapable of it; so again, that which is spiritual, by which they
mean themselves, cannot receive corruption, by whatsoever actions
they may be concerned in. Just as gold being put into dirt, does not
lose its beauty, but retains its nature, nor can it receive any hurt
from the dirt: so they say, that they may be concerned in some
material actions, and not be at all hurt, or lose the spiritual
substance: hence the most perfect of them do all those things which
are forbidden, without any manner of fear.”
And then instances eating things sacrificed to idols, attending on the
worship of the heathens, frequenting the theatres, and indulging themselves
in all fleshly lusts. The Gnostics, Carpocratians, Saturninians, Basilidians,
with many others, embraced such-like impure notions: which, it is
probable, they received from Simon Magus, the Father of heresies, who
allowed those who believed in him and his Helena, to live as they list!
f39
These things I take notice of, to shew by whom this tenet has and has not
been received; and, to support the justness of my complaint against you, in
joining the doctrine of eternal union with it, when they never went
together, as I can learn, or were ever received by the same persons.
IV. I observe that you call the doctrine of eternal union, as well as that of
sin’s doing a believer no harm, an immoral conceit. I do not well know
what you mean by an immoral conceit; every imagination of the thoughts
of the heart being only evil, is an immoral conceit; all sinful lusts in the
mind are so:
When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth, sin; and sin, when it is
finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:15).
An immoral conceit, properly speaking, I apprehend, is the first motion,
thought, and imagination of sin rising up in the mind; how this is applicable.13
to the doctrine of eternal union, I see not: but, I suppose, your meaning is,
that the doctrine of eternal union is a conceit and fiction of some men’s
brains, which has a tendency to promote immorality, and encourage
persons in it. That it is no conceit, which has its foundation only in the
fancy and imagination of some men, but a truth contained in the sacred
scriptures, I hope to make appear. Was it a mere conceit, why you should
reckon it an immoral one, I know not; if it is a conceit, it is an harmless
one; nor can it he reasonably thought to have a tendency to promote
immorality and profaneness any more than the doctrine of eternal election
has, by which the holiness of God’s people is infallibly secured unto them;
for
God has chosen them in Christ before the foundation of the world,
that they should be holy, and without blame before him in love
(

Ephesians 1:4).
Now how persons can be in Christ, chosen in him, and yet not united to
him, or how there can be an eternal election of persons in Christ, and yet
no eternal union of them to him, is what I do not understand; and as eternal
election secures the holiness of the saints, so does eternal union. It is
because Christ has loved them with an everlasting love, and by loving
them, has united them to himself, and become the Head of them, and one
with them, therefore he has given himself for them,
that he might redeem them from all iniquity, and purify unto himself
a peculiar people, zealous of good works (

Titus 2:14);
and does also send down his Spirit into their hearts, to renew and sanctify
them; to implant grace in them, to enable them to perform good works, in
which he has before ordained that they should walk, and to hold on in faith
and holiness to the end. Redemption from sin, the sanctification of our
hearts, all the good works done in faith, and perseverance in grace to the
end, are the fruits and effects of eternal union to Christ. In what sense then
it is an immoral conceit, or how it tends to promote immorality, you would
do well to tell us, or acknowledge that you have abused it.
V. You call the persons who, you say, insisted much on eternal union,
“ignorant, enthusiastic preachers.” One would have thought you might
have spared this severe reflection, for the sake of some, who have asserted
an eternal union, that are above your contempt, and very far from any just
charge of ignorance and enthusiasm. Dr. Goodwin. speaks of an election-.14
union, a virtual and representative one, which the elect have in Christ
before the foundation of the world
f40
:
“As in the womb, says he, head and members are not conceived
apart, but together, as having relation to each other; so were we
and Christ (as making up one mystical body unto God) formed
together in the eternal womb of election.”
Again
f41
,
“Were you so chosen in Christ, as that God never purposed you a
being but in Christ, and then gave you this subsistence in Christ,
never casting a thought upon you out of him; then reckon of no
other being but what you have in Christ. Reckon not of what you
have in honour, or what you are in greatness or parts; but reckon of
what you were in him, before this world was, and of all the spiritual
blessings wherewith he then blessed you; and likewise of what you
are now in him, by an actual union, as then by a virtual and
representative one.”
And in another place
f42
,
“We were one with Christ before the world was: there is one way
of union then; Jesus Christ in the human nature cometh down and
represents us, doth what we have to do; here is now another way of
union; Why? This is the reason; for we were one with Christ, by his
undertaking for us only from everlasting; but we were one with
him, by an active representation, when below on earth.”
And elsewhere he says
f43
:
“There is a threefold union with Christ; the first is relative, whereby
we are said to be his, and he ours; as you know he is called our
husband, and the church is called his wife; and before husband and
wife company together there is such a relation made by marriage;
and the husband may be in one place, and the wife in another, so
that there can be no communion between them and yet be man and
wife; so is the union between Christ and you as complete in the
relation, before he acts any thing upon you, though he be in heaven,
and you on earth, as if you were in heaven with him.”.15
And so in another part of his works
f44
; he makes union to Christ to be
before the Spirit, or faith, or any grace is given: His words are these:
“Union with Christ is the first fundamental thing of justification,
and sanctification, and all: Christ first takes us, and then sends his
Spirit; he apprehends us first; it is not my being regenerate that puts
me into a right of all those privileges; but it is Christ takes me, and
then gives me his Spirit, faith, holiness, &c. It is through our union
with Christ, and the perfect holiness of his nature, to whom we are
united, that we partake of the privileges of the covenant of grace.”
Witsius says, the elect
“are united to Christ,—
1. In the eternal decree of God.—
2. By the union of the eternal compact, in which Christ was
constituted, by the Father, the Head of all those who are to be saved.
3. By a true and real union, but what on their part is only passive, they
are united to Christ when the Spirit of Christ first lays hold on them,
and infuses a principle of new life;”
f45
And a little after adds;
“Moreover, since faith is an act flowing from a principle of spiritual
life, it is plain, that it may be said in a sound sense, that an elect
man may be truly and really united to Christ before actual faith.”
It is evident, that he allows not only an union to Christ in God’s eternal
purpose, but a federal union with him from eternity, as the Head of the
elect. Now for the sake of these men and others that might be named, you
might have forbore the heavy charge of ignorance and enthusiasm; and if
not for the sake of them, yet surely for the sake of your own Father, who
asserts an eternal representative union of the elect with Christ, and that in a
book of which you yourself was the editor
f46
. His words are these
“It must, indeed be granted, that God, from eternity, decreed to
justify elect sinners through Christ: and that as none but they are
ever justified, so all that were decreed for justification are certainly
justified. It must also be granted, that God, from eternity, entered
into a covenant of grace with Christ, as the Head of elect sinners;.16
wherein Christ as their surety, undertook for their justification.—It
must likewise be granted, that there was a gift of all grace made to
Christ for elect sinners, as he was their Head and Surety from
eternity (

2 Timothy 1:9). It must be farther granted, that all elect
sinners had a representative union with Christ from eternity. When
Christ was chose as their Head, they were chose together with him,
as his members.”
In another page, he says:
“Believers may, with the greatest delight and comfort, take a survey
of their justification, in the different gradations, or progressive steps
of it. God decreed their justification, and they had a representative
union with Christ, as their Head and Surety, from eternity. This
lays such a sure foundation for their justification, as cannot be
overturned by the joint power of men and devils: they had a legal
union with Christ, and were federally justified in him when he rose
from the dead. This gave them a fundamental right to justification:
they are actually united to Christ when they believe, and are then
actually justified.”
You see that all wise and thoughtful men do not abhor eternal union as an
immoral conceit: if you say that these men plead for a real and actual union
by faith, you cannot deny that they also assert an union before faith, yea, an
eternal union in some. sense; whereas you have reproached it, as an
immoral conceit, and the preachers of it, as ignorant and enthusiastic,
without any exception or explanation. You would do well to explain your
sense, and clear yourself. For my own part, I should not greatly care to be
reckoned ignorant, and especially enthusiastic, and yet think I may, in a
safe and sound sense, insist upon the doctrine of eternal union.
And now, Sir, if it would not be thought tedious, I would freely give you
my sentiments concerning the doctrine of union. I am persuaded we shall
not differ about the persons who are united to Christ, that these are God’s
elect, and they only; nor about the nature of the union itself, that it is an
union of the whole persons, souls and bodies, of God’s people to the whole
person of Christ; though it is not a personal union, that is, such an one as
the union of the divine and human natures in Christ; that it is real, solid,
substantial, and not imaginary; that it is complete and perfect, and not
gradual, or brought about by degrees, but finished at once, as our
justification is; that it is exceeding close and near, and indissoluble, of.17
which there can be no separation. What we are most likely to differ about,
is, when God’s elect are united to Christ, and what is the bond of their
union to him. It is generally said that they are not united to Christ until they
believe, and that the bond of union is the Spirit on Christ’s part, and faith
on ours. I am ready to think that these phrases are taken up by divines, one
from another, without a thorough consideration of them. It is well, indeed,
that Christ is allowed any part or share in effecting our union with him;
though one should think the whole of it ought to be ascribed to him, since
it is such an instance of surprising love and grace, than which there cannot
well be thought to be a greater. Why must this union he pieced up with
faith on our part? This smells so prodigious rank of self, that one may
justly suspect that something rotten and nauseous lies at the bottom of it. I
shall therefore undertake to prove, that the bond of union of God’s elect to
Christ, is neither the Spirit on Christ’s part, nor faith on their part.
1. It is not the Spirit on Christ’s part. The mission of the Spirit into the
hearts of Cod’s elect, to regenerate, quicken, and sanctify them, to apply
the blessings of grace to them, and seal them up to the day of redemption,
and the bestowing of his several gifts and graces upon them, are in
consequence, and by virtue of a previous and antecedent union of them to
the Person of Christ. They do not first receive the Spirit of Christ, and then
by the Spirit are united to him; but they are first united to him, and, by
virtue of this union, receive the Spirit of him. To conceive otherwise,
would be as preposterous as to imagine, that the animal spirits, which have
their seat in the head, should be communicated to, and diffused throughout
the several parts of the body, without union to the head, or antecedent to
an union, and in order to effect it; as this would be justly reckoned an
absurdity in nature, so is the other no less an absurdity in grace. A person
is first joined, glued, closely united to Christ, and then becomes one Spirit
with him; that is, receives, enjoys, and possesses in measure, the same
Spirit as he does, as the members of an human body do participate of the
same spirit the head does, to which they are united: he that is joined unto
the Lord, is one spirit (

1 Corinthians 6:17). The case is this; Christ, as
the Mediator of the covenant, and Head of God’s elect, received the Spirit
without measure, that is, a fulness of the gifts and graces of the Spirit:
These persons being united to Christ, as members to their Head, do, in his
own time, receive the Spirit from him, though in measure. They are first
chosen in him, adopted through him, made one with him, become heirs of
God, and joint-heirs with Christ; and then, as the apostle says,.18
Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into
your hearts, crying, Abba, Father (

Galatians 4:6).
Besides, the Spirit of God, in his personal inhabitation in the saints, in the
operations of his grace on their hearts, and in the influences of his power
and love on their souls, is the evidence, and not the bond of their union to
God or Christ, and of their communion with them: For hereby we know,
says the apostle John (

1 John 3:24),
that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
And in another place (

1 John 4:13),
Hereby know we, that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he
hath given us of his Spirit.
There is, indeed, an union which the Spirit of God is the efficient cause of;
but this is not an union, of God’s elect to the Person of Christ, but an union
of believers one with another in a church-state; which the apostle designs,
when he says,
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be
Jews or Gentiles, whether we he bond or free; and have been all
made to drink into one Spirit (

1 Corinthians 12:13).
The bond of this union is peace and love; hence the saints are exhorted to
walk
with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one
another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the
bond of peace (

Ephesians 4:2, 3).
2. Neither is faith the bond of union to Christ. Those who plead for union
by faith, would do well to tell us whether we are united to Christ, by the
habit or principle of faith implanted, or by the act of faith; and since there
are different acts of faith, they should tell us by which our union is, and
whether by the first, second, third, &c. acts of believing. If we are united to
Christ by the habit or principle of faith infused, then our union is not by
faith on our part; because faith, as a principle or habit, is a gift of grace, of
the operation of God, and which Christ is the author and finisher of. And if
we are united to Christ by faith, as an act of ours, then we are united to
Christ by a work, for faith, as an act of ours, is a work; and if by a work,
then not by grace; for,.19
if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more
grace; but if it be of works, then is it no more grace, otherwise
work is no more work (

Romans 11:6).
I have often wondered that our divines should fix upon the grace of faith to
be the bond of union to Christ, when there is nothing in it that is of a
cementing and uniting nature: it is not a grace of union but of communion.
Had they pitched upon the grace of love, as the bond of union, it would
have appeared much more plausible; for love is of a knitting and uniting
nature; it is the bond of friendship among men; it was this which knit the
soul of Jonathan to the soul of David, so that he loved him as his own
soul. This is the bond of union of saints one with another: their hearts are
knit together in love. Hence charity or love is called the bond of
perfectness (

Colossians 2:2; 3:14). It was this which so closely joined
and cemented the hearts of the first Christians one to another, insomuch
that
the multitude of them that believed, were of one heart and of one
soul (

Acts 4:32).
Had our divines, I say, fixed upon this grace, as the bond of union to
Christ, it would have looked more feasible, and might perhaps, have been
the means of leading them into the truth of the matter. Some, indeed, tell
us, that we are united to Christ by faith and love; but then they do not
consider love as a part of the bond of union, but only as an evidence of that
faith by which we are united; or their meaning is, that that faith by which
we are united to Christ, is a faith that works by love. Dr. Jacomb
f47
indeed,
having treated of a mystical union between Christ and his people, the bond
of which he makes to be the Spirit on Christ’s part, and faith on theirs, and
of a legal union between Christ and believers, the ground of which is
Christ’s suretyship, speaks of a moral union between them, the bond of
which is love, even
“a mutual, reciprocal, hearty love between Christ and believers; he
loves them, and they love him, and by virtue of this mutual love,
there is a real and close union betwixt them.”
And besides him, the learned Alsted is the only divine I have met with, who
makes the bond of union to be the mutual love of Christ and his people.
“This union, says he,
f48
is the mutual love of Christ and believers, or
a mutual obligation of Christ and believers, to love one another.”.20
Now though there is something of truth in this, yet it is not the naked,
pure, and unmixed truth of the matter; for it is not our love to Christ, but
his love to us, which is alone the real bond of our union to him; he loves his
people, and by loving them, unites them to himself: and this is the ground
and foundation of all their communion and fellowship with him, both in
grace and glory.
Faith is no uniting grace, nor are any of its acts of a cementing nature.
Faith indeed, looks to Christ, lays hold on him, embraces him, and cleaves
unto him; it expects and receives all from Christ, and gives him all the
glory; but then hereby a soul can no more be said to be united to Christ,
than a beggar may be said to be united to a person to whom he applies, of
whom he expects alms, to whom he keeps close, from whom he receives,
and to whom he is thankful. Faith is a grace of communion, by which
Christ dwells in the hearts of his people, which is an act (of) fellowship, as
a fruit of union, by which believers live on Christ, receive of his fulness,
grace for grace, and walk on in him as they have received him. Union to
Christ is the foundation of faith, and of all the acts of believing, as seeing,
walking, receiving, &c. A man may as well be said to see, walk, and
receive without his head, or without union to it, as one can be said to
believe, that is, to see, walk, and receive in a spiritual sense, without the
head, Christ; or as an antecedent to union to him, or, in order to it. To talk
of faith in Christ before union to Christ, is a most preposterous, absurd,
and irrational notion.
Faith is the fruit and effect of union, even of what is commonly called vital
union. Faith stands much in the same place in things spiritual, as reason
does in things natural. There must first be an union of the soul and body of
man, before he can be said to live; and there must be life in him before
there can be reason, or the exercise of it; man must first become a living
soul, before he can be a reasonable one; so there must be an union of the
soul to Christ before it can spiritually live; and there must be a principle of
spiritual life before there can be any faith, or the exercise of it. Now as
reason and the exercise of it, is a second remove from the union of the soul
and body; so is faith, and the exercise of it, a second remove from person’s
union to Christ. There must be first a vital union to Christ, before there can
be any believing in him. This is fitly and fully exemplified in the simile of
the vine and branches, which Christ makes use of to express the union of
his people to him: Abide in me, and I in you, says he (

John 15:4, 5),.21
as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine;
no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 1 am the Vine, ye are the
branches he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth
forth much fruit.
Now faith is a fruit of the Spirit, which grows upon the branches, that are
in Christ the Vine; but then these branches must first be in the vine, before
they bear this fruit; for the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit (

Proverbs
12:12). The branches of the wild olive tree must first be engrafted into the
good olive tree, become one with it, and so partake of the root and fatness
of it, before they can bring forth good fruit. Could there be the fruit of faith
in Christ’s people before their union to him, then the branches would bear
fruit without the vine, without being in it, or united to it, contrary to our
Lord’s express words. From the whole, it may safely be concluded, that
union to Christ is before faith, and therefore faith cannot be the bond of
union; no, not on our part. Vital union is before faith. There always was a
fulness of life laid up and reserved for all those who were chosen in Christ;
there was always life in Christ the Head for all his members, which he,
when it pleases him, in regeneration, communicates to them, and implants
in them, though there is no activity or exercise of this life until they believe.
f49
The everlasting love of God, the Father, Son, and Spirit, is the bond of the
elect’s union to the sacred Three. What may he said of the three divine
Persons in general, is true of each of them in particular. They have all three
loved the elect with an everlasting love, and thereby have firmly and
everlastingly united them to themselves. Christ has loved them with an
everlasting and unchangeable love, whereby his heart is knit unto them as
Jonathan’s was to David. He loved them as his own soul, as his own body,
and the members of it. This is that cement which will never loosen, that
union knot which can never be untied, that bond which can never be
dissolved, from whence there can be no separation; for who shall separate
us from the love of Christ? I am persuaded, says the apostle (

Romans
8:35, 38, 39),
that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor
powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor
depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the
love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord..22
There are several unions which arise from or are branches of this
everlasting love-union, which are all antecedent to our faith in Christ.
1. There is an election-union in Christ from everlasting:
God hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world
(

Ephesians 1:4).
This is an act and instance of everlasting love, by which the persons chosen
are considered in Christ, and one with him. Christ was chosen as an head,
his people as members with him. Nothing is more commonly said by those
who are esteemed sound divines,
f50
than this: Now how Christ can be
considered as an head, and the elect as members of him in this eternal act
of election, without union to him, is hard to conceive.
Arminius and his followers,
f51
the Remonstrants, have frequently urged the
text now mentioned in favor of election from faith foreseen, and their
argument upon it is this:
“None are chosen to salvation but in Christ; none are in Christ but
believers, who are engrafted into Christ, and united to him by faith,
therefore none are chosen to salvation, but those who are believers
in sin Christ, are engrafted into him, and united with him.”
For they had no other notion of being in Christ, but by faith; like some
others, who yet would be thought to be far from being in their scheme. But
then, among other replies, they have been told by the Anti-Remonstrants,
f52
“That it is certain that we are chosen and regarded in Christ before
we were believers; which is fully proved from several places of
scripture, which plainly make it appear, that the elect have some
existence in Christ, even before they believe; for unless there had
been some kind of union between Christ and the members, Christ
would not have been their head, nor could he have satisfied for
them.”
2. There is a legal union between Christ and the elect from everlasting: they
are one in a law-sense, as surety and debtor are one; the bond of this union
is Christ’s suretyship, which is from everlasting, and in which Christ
engaged, as a proof of his strong love and affections to his people. He is
the surety of the better Testament, the egiuV, that drew near to God the
Father in the name of the elect, substituted himself in their place and stead,.23
and laid himself under obligation to pay their debts, satisfy for their sins,
and procure for them all the blessings of grace and glory. This being
accepted of by God, Christ and the elect were looked upon, in the eye of
the law, as one person, even as the bondsman and the debtor, among men,
are one, in a legal sense; so that if one pays the debt, it is the same as if the
other did it. This legal union arising from Christ’s suretyship-engagements,
is the foundation of the imputation of our sins to Christ, and of his
satisfaction for them, and also of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness
to us, and of our justification by it. Christ and his people being one, in a
law-sense, their sins become his, and his righteousness becomes theirs.
3. There is a federal union between Christ and the elect from everlasting.
As they were considered as one, he as head, and they as members, in
election; they are likewise considered after the same manner in the
covenant of grace. Christ has a very great concern in the covenant; he is
given for a covenant to the people; he is the Mediator, Surety, and
Messenger of it. It is made with him, not as a single person, but as a
common head, representing all the elect, who are given to him, in a federal
way, as his seed and posterity. What he promised in the covenant, he
promised for them, and on their account; and what he received, he received
for them, and on their account. Hence grace is said to be given to them in
him before the world began (

2 Timothy 1:9); and they are said to be
blessed with
all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ
(

Ephesians 1:3).
4. There is a natural union between Christ and his people; for both he that
sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one; that is, of one
nature;
for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren
(

Hebrews 2:11).
This is an union in time, but is the effect of Christ’s love before time;
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he
also himself likewise took part of the same (

Hebrews 2:14).
The nature he assumed is the same with that of all mankind, but was taken
to him with a peculiar regard to the elect, the children, the spiritual seed of
Abraham, who are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones..24
Now this natural union, which is the fruit of Christ’s everlasting love, is
antecedent to the faith of New Testament saints.
5. It is sufficiently evident, that there is a representative union between
Christ and the elect, both from everlasting and in time, which is
independent on, and prior to their believing in him. He represented them as
their head in election, and in the covenant of grace, as has been already
observed; and so he did, when upon the cross, and in the grave, when he
rose from the dead, entered into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of
God. Hence they are said to be crucified with him, dead with him, buried
with him, risen with him, yea, to be made to sit together in heavenly places
in Christ Jesus.
Now all these several unions take their rise from, and have their foundation
in, the everlasting love of Christ to his people; which is the grand original,
strong and firm bond of union between him and them, and is the spring of
all that fellowship and communion they have with him in time, and shall
have to all eternity. It is from hence that the Spirit of God is sent down into
our hearts to regenerate and renew us, and faith is wrought in our souls by
the Spirit. Faith does not give us a being in Christ, or unite us to him; it is
the fruit, effect, and evidence of our being in Christ and union to him. It is
true, indeed, that God’s elect do not know their being in Christ and union
to him, until they believe; then what was before secret is made manifest;
and because things are sometimes said to be, when they are only
manifested to be, hence the people of Christ are said to be in Christ, when
they are made new creatures; if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature
(

2 Corinthians 5:17). Being a new creature, does not put a man into
Christ, but is the evidence of his being there; and without which he neither
knows, nor ought he to profess himself to be in Christ: And so likewise, in
another place, it is said,
If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his
(

Romans 8:9).
He may be one of his chosen and redeemed ones, though he has not the
Spirit of Christ as yet; but he cannot know this until he has the Spirit of
Christ; for no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, that is, his Lord, but by
the Holy Ghost (

1 Corinthians 12:3). The apostle Paul takes notice of
some that were in Christ before him (

Romans 16:7); all God’s elect
were chosen together in Christ, not one before another: They had all
together a being in him; but this in conversion is made known to one before.25
another. There are different manifestations of union to different persons,
and to the same persons at different times; for which Christ prays, when he
says,
that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee;
that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that
thou hast sent me; and the glory which thou gayest me, I have
given them, that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them,
and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the
world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as
thou hast loved me (

John 17:21-23).
The full manifestation of it will be in heaven, when the saints shall be with
Christ where he is, and behold his glory, and enjoy uninterrupted
communion with him, as the fruit of their eternal union to him.
I should now, Sir, have closed this letter, were it not for a passage in your
discourse Of the Doctrine of Grace as it Encourageth Holiness; in which,
I apprehend, you have poured much contempt on several valuable and
excellent truths of the gospel: I will repeat your words, and take leave to
make some few strictures on them. They are these:
“There have been some, who, by their life and conversation, have
shewed, that they were far from being enemies to holiness, who
have amused themselves with fancies about God’s loving and
delighting in his elect, while they were in a state of nature; of his
seeing no sin in his people, and good works not being necessary to
salvation; and who have been forward to condemn pressing men to
duty, as legal preaching; and to speak of exhorting to repentance,
mortification, and self-denial, as low and mean stuff
f53
.”
I. I observe that you esteem the doctrine of God’s loving his elect, while in
a state of nature, a fancy; and that those who hold this doctrine do but
amuse themselves with a fancy. I must beg leave to say, that if it is a fancy,
it is a scriptural one: I would not willingly say or write any thing that is
contrary to the purity and holiness of God, or has a tendency to embolden
vicious persons in a course of sin and wickedness; and yet cannot help
saying, that the doctrine of God’s everlasting, unchangeable, and invariable
love to his elect, through every state and condition into which they come,
is written as with a sunbeam in the sacred writings..26
1. God’s love to his elect is not of yesterday; it does not begin with their
love to him,
We love him, because he first loved us (

1 John 4:19).
It was bore in his heart towards them long before they were delivered from
the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son. It
does not commence in time, but bears date from eternity, and is the ground
and foundation of the elect’s being called in time out of darkness into
marvelous light: I have loved thee, says the Lord to the church,
with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I
drawn thee (

Jeremiah 31:3);
that is in effectual vocation. Many are the instances which might be given
in proof of the antiquity of God’s love to his elect, and as it is antecedent
to their being brought out of a state of nature. God’s choosing them in
Christ before the foundation of the world, was an act of his love towards
them, the fruit and effect of it; for election presupposes love. His making
an everlasting covenant with his Son, ordered in all things, and sure, on
account of those he chose in him; his setting him up as the Mediator of the
covenant from everlasting; his donation of grace to them in him before the
world began; his putting their persons into his hands, and so making them
his care and charge, are so many demonstrative proofs of his early love to
them; for can it ever be imagined that there should be a choice of persons
made, a covenant of grace so well formed and stored, a promise of life
granted, and a security made, both of persons and grace, and yet no love all
this while?
2. The love of God to his elect is unchangeable and unalterable; it is as
invariable as his own nature and being; yea, God
is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in
him (

1 John 4:16).
Hence it is that the blessings of his grace are irreversible, because they are
gifts of him, who is the Father of lights, with whom there is no
variableness, nor shadow of turning. Hence also it is that the salvation of
God’s elect does not stand upon a precarious foundation, as it would, if his
love changed as theirs does; but he is the Lord, who changes not, and
therefore the sons of Jacob are not consumed. The several changes the
elect of God pass under, through the fall of Adam, and their own actual.27
transgressions make no change or alteration in the love of God. The love
of God makes a change in them when he converts them, but no change or
alteration is made in God’s love; that does not admit of more or less; it
cannot be said to be more ardent and intense at one time, than at another, it
is always invariably the same in his heart. Love produced a wonderful and
surprising change in him, who was afterwards the great apostle of the
Gentiles, and of a blaspheming, persecuting, and injurious Saul, made a
believer in Christ, and a preacher of the everlasting gospel: but then this
produced no change in God, nor in his love. God sometimes changes the
dispensations of his providence to his people, but he never changes his
love; he sometimes hides his face from them, and chides them in a fatherly
manner; but at all times he loves them: he loves when he rebukes and
chastens, and though he hides his face for a moment from them, yet with
everlasting kindness will he have mercy on them; for he has said,
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 (

Isaiah 54:10).
There is, indeed, no sensible manifestation of God’s love to his elect before
conversion, or while they are in a state of nature; and it must be allowed,
that the manifestations of it to their souls after conversion, are not always
alike; and that God’s love appeal’s more evident in some instances and acts
of it, than in others; yet still this love as in his own heart, is unchangeably
and invariably the same, as it needs must be, if he is God. Since then God’s
love to his elect is from everlasting, and never changes upon any
consideration whatever, why should God’s love to his elect, while in a state
of nature, be accounted a fancy, and those who maintain it, be represented
as amusing themselves with a fancy?
3. There are instances to be given of God’s love to his elect, while they are
in a state of nature: I have already observed some instances of it to his
elect, from eternity. I will just mention one or two instances of it to them in
time, and which respect them, while in a state of nature. Christ’s coming
into this world, and dying in the room and stead of the elect, are, at once,
proofs, both of his own and his Father’s love to them; God so loved them,
as to give his only begotten Son; and Christ so loved them as to give
himself for then, in a way of offering and sacrifice for their sins; at which
time they were considered as ungodly, as being yet sinners, as enemies in.28
their minds, by wicked works, and without love to God: for the apostle
says (

Romans 5:6, 8, 10),
When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the
ungodly. God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we
were yet sinners, Christ died for us; for if when we were enemies
we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more
being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Now certainly these persons were in a state of nature, who are said to be
“without strength, to be ungodly, sinners, and enemies;” and yet God
commended his love towards them, when and while they were such, in a
matchless instance of it: and so the apostle John makes use of this
circumstance, respecting the state of God’s elect, to magnify, to set off,
and illustrate the greatness of God’s love (

1 John 4:10):
Herein is love, says he, not that we loved God, but that he loved us,
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
From whence it may strongly be concluded, that God loved his people
while in a state of nature, when enemies to him, destitute of all grace,
without a principle of love to him, or faith in him. Again, the quickening of
God’s elect, when dead in trespasses and sins, the drawing of them to
Christ with the cords of powerful and efficacious grace in effectual
vocation, are instances of his special grace and favor, and fruits and effects
of his everlasting love to them.
God who is rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith he loved us,
even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with
Christ (

Ephesians 2:4, 5).
The time of the effectual vocation of God’s people being come, fixed in his
everlasting counsels and covenant, it is a time of open love to their souls,
and that time becomes a time of life; for seeing them wallowing in their
blood, in all the impurities of their nature, fulfilling the desires of the flesh,
and of the mind, he says unto them, when in their blood, live; yea, when in
their blood he says unto them, live. The spirit of God, as an instance of
God’s love, is sent down into their hearts in order to begin, carry on, and
finish a work of grace, when he finds them in a state of nature, dead in sin,
devoid of all grace, impotent to all that is spiritually good: We ourselves
also, says the apostle (

Titus 3:3-6),.29
were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts
and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one
another, ote, when the kindness and love of God our Saviour
toward man appeared; not by works of righteousness which we
have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing
of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on
us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
If God did not love his elect, while in a state of nature, they must for ever
remain in that state, since they are unable to help themselves out of it; and
it is only the love, grace and mercy of God, which engage his almighty
power to deliver them from thence. There are three gifts and instances of
God’s love to his people before conversion, which are not to be matched
by any instance or instances of love after conversion; the one is the gift of
God himself to them in the everlasting covenant; which covenant runs thus:
I will be their God, and they shall be my people: The other is the gift of his
Son, to suffer and die in their room and stead, and so obtain eternal
redemption for them the third is the gift of his Spirit to them, to convince
them of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. And now what greater
instance is there of God’s love to his people after conversion? If the
heavenly glory, with all the entertaining joys of that delightful state, should
be fixed upon, I deny it to be a greater instance of God’s love, than the gift
of himself, his Son, and Spirit; and, indeed, all that God does in time, or
will do to all eternity, is only telling his people how much he loved them
from everlasting; all is but as it were, a comment upon, and an opening of
that ancient act of his; nor has this doctrine any tendency to licentiousness,
or to discourage the performance of good works. The consideration of
this, that God loved me before I loved him, nay, when I was an enemy to
him that his thoughts were employed about my salvation, when I had no
thoughts of him, nor concern for myself, lays me under ten thousand times
greater obligations, to fear, serve and glorify him; than such a consideration
as this, that he began to love me when I loved him, or because I have loved
him, can possibly do. Why then should this doctrine be accounted a mere
fancy, which has so good a foundation, both in the word of God, and in the
experience of his people; and the maintainers of it traduced as amusers of
themselves with fancies?
II. Perhaps you will say, it is not merely the notion of God’s loving his
elect in a state of nature, but his loving them so as to delight in them, while
in that state, that you condemn as a fancy, and the defenders of it, as.30
amusing themselves with a fancy; since you join love and delight together,
when you express yourself so freely on this head. There is a distinction
which you may imagine will help you, which is that of a love of pity and
benevolence, and of complacency and delight; with the first of these, say
some, God loved his elect before conversion, and while in a state of nature,
but not with the latter. It is an idle and ill grounded distinction of some
ignorant, trifling, popish schoolmen, which some of our grave divines have
been fond of, and have used, when they have thought it would serve their
purpose; though it is subversive of the very nature and perfections of God,
and represents him as altogether such an one as ourselves, subject to
change; that his love, like ours, alters, and by degrees increases, and, from
a love of pity and benevolence, passes into a love of complacency and
delight; it supposes that God first views his elect in a miserable state and
condition, with whose misery he is touched, and is filled with bowels of
compassion and pity towards them, which occasion some velleities or
wishes in his mind for their good; and these rise up at length into
resolutions and purposes to do them good; which when he has, at least in
some measure, executed, his affections glow, his love grows more ardent,
and issues in complacency and delight. If this is not to make God
changeable, and bring him down into the rank of mutable creatures, I know
not what is. I could tell the friends of this distinction, though it may be no
news to them, and perhaps they may find their account in it, that these
same popish schoolmen have distinguished the love of God into amor
ordinativus, a love in ordination, purpose and design, and into amor
collativus, a love in gift, which is actually bestowed. This may suit well
enough with the divinity of some men, who seem to be ready to give into
such schemes as these; that God’s love to his elect, before conversion, is
only a purpose to love them when they are converted; that eternal election,
is only a decree to elect persons in time; that the everlasting covenant is
made with persons when they believe, of which faith, repentance and
sincere obedience, are the conditions; and that there is no reconciliation of
God’s elect to him before faith; that the sufferings and death of Christ only
make God reconcilable, but not reconciled; with such-like things as these,
which I am almost tempted to call low and mean stuff. It is high time that
these distinctions about the love of God, with that of an antecedent and
consequent one, were laid aside, which so greatly obscure the glory of
God’s unchangeable love and grace. It must be an odd sort of love among
men, that is separate from delight in the object loved. The philosopher tells
me,
f54
that benevolence is properly neither friendship nor love; and that as.31
benevolence is the beginning of friendship, so delight and pleasure, at the
sight of the object, is the beginning of love; and that no man can be said to
love, who is not first delighted with the form or idea of the object. Indeed,
I cannot see that that can be love, which is without any delight in the object
said to be loved: if a man should say to his wife, I love you well, I wish you
well and am willing to do you all the good offices I am able: but, at the
same time, I can take no delight in your person, nor pleasure in your
company; would not this be esteemed a contradiction to his expressions of
love to her? So if a father should say to his child, I wish you well, I pity
you in what yon do amiss, and I design to do something for you, which
may be for your good, but I can take no delight and pleasure in you as a
child of mine; what kind of love would this be thought to be? The same
may be observed in many other such-like instances.
God’s love to his Son, as a Mediator, is an everlasting love; Thou lovedst
me, says Christ (

John 17:24), before the foundation of the world. This
love was a love of complacency and delight; for Christ as Mediator, was
from everlasting, then by him, that is, the Father (

Proverbs 8:30),
as one brought up with him, and was daily his delight, rejoicing
always before him.
Now God loves his elect with the same love he loves his Son as Mediator.
Hence Christ prays for the open and manifest union between him and his
people; That says he (

John 17:23),
the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them,
as thou hast loved me.
If God therefore has loved his Son, as Mediator, from everlasting, with a
love of complacency and delight, and he has loved his elect from
everlasting with the same love he has loved him, then he must have loved
his elect from everlasting with a love of complacency and delight: and,
indeed how can it otherwise be, since the elect were always in Christ their
Head, in whom they were chosen before the foundation of the world? And
they could not be considered in him but as righteous persons, through his
righteousness, with which God is always well pleased, because by it the
law is magnified, and made honorable; and so Christ is often said to be
God’s beloved Son, in whom not with whom, he is well pleased
(

Matthew 3:17;

2 Peter 1:17); which designs not his person only.32
singly, but all the elect, as considered in him, who together with Christ, are
the objects of God’s eternal delight and pleasure.
It is certain that Jesus Christ has, from everlasting, loved the elect with a
love of complacency and delight; for
“from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was, when
there were no depths nor fountains, before the mountains and hills
were brought into being, while as yet God had not made the earth,
nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world, Christ’s
delights were with the sons of men” (

Proverbs 8:31).
The word y[ç[ç
f55
in the Hebrew rendered delights, is expressive of the
most intimate, sweet, ravishing delight and pleasure; and it being not only
in the plural number, but also having its radical letters, especially its two
first radical letters, doubled,
f56
which, in the Hebrew language, increases
the signification of the word;
f57
it sets forth, that exceeding great delight
and pleasure which Christ had in his people from everlasting; nay, he not
only took delight in the persons of the elect, as they were presented to him
in the glass of his Father’s purposes and decrees, but took pleasure also in
the fore-views of the very spots of ground where he knew his people
would dwell: and hence he says, that he was rejoicing in the habitable part
of his earth (

Proverbs 8:31). Now why God the Father should not,
from everlasting, love the elect with the same love his son did, I know not.
Nothing is more evident than that God’s choosing his people in Christ
before the foundation of the world, is an act of love; and I will venture to
say, it is an act of love, founded upon, and springing from his delight in
them; even as God’s loving and choosing of Israel (which was an emblem
and representation of his special love to, and choice of the true and
spiritual Israel of God) is owing to that delight he had in them; for it is
said,
The Lord had a delight in thy fathers, to love them; and he chose
their seed after them, even you above all the people, as at this day
(

Deuteronomy 10:15).
And, indeed, all the favors and blessings which God bestows on his people
in time, arise from his delight in them. His bringing them out of darkness
into light, out of a state of nature into a state of grace, out of distresses and
difficulties of every kind, springs from his delight in them He brought me.33
forth also into a large place, says David (

Psalm 18:19); he delivered
me, because he delighted in me. In a word, the whole salvation of the elect
is owing to God’s love of delight, with which he loves them. The Lord
taketh pleasure in his people; and, as a fruit and effect of that he will
beautify the meek with salvation: He has promised to rejoice over them, to
do them good; and it is said,
he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; and he will rest in
his love, he will rejoice over thee with singing (

Psalm 149:4).
Some, perhaps, will say, that the elect, while in a state of nature, are
destitute of faith, which is very true; and since without faith it is impossible
to please God (

Hebrews 11:6), he can take no delight in them, while in
that state. The Remonstrants have urged this text in favor of election, ex
fide prævisa;
f58
and their argument upon it is this:
“That if it is impossible to please God without faith, it is impossible
that any should be “chosen by God unto salvation, without faith:
seeing to be chosen unto salvation, is the highest instance of God’s
love and good-will to man that he can shew him:”
But
“they have been told, by the Anti—Remonstrants, that though
election is an act of God’s great love and good pleasure, yet it may
be without faith, since there is a sense in which persons may be said
to please God before faith;
f59
for God is said even to manifest his
love to his enemies,(

Romans 5:8, 10). If then he loved them
when enemies, they must needs please him before they believed;”
and that
“although whatsoever is done without faith may be displeasing to
God, yet God may be said to love some persons, whose actions
displease him; so he loved the person of Paul before he was
converted to the faith of Christ; yea, that there is a certain
complacency in the person, if it be proper so to say, before his
works and faith please God.”
f60
And it is easy to observe, that the apostle is speaking, not of the
complacency which God has in the persons of his people, but of that which
he has in their works and actions. Now no works without faith can please.34
God, such as praying, reading, hearing, and the like because whatsoever is
not of faith, is sin. It is in this sense, that they that are in the flesh, that is,
who are unregenerate, are in a state of nature, cannot please God
(

Romans 8:8); for it may be as well expected to gather grapes of
thorns, and figs of thistles, as that good works well-pleasing to God
should be done by an evil man: but though man can do nothing without
faith, that can please God, yet this does not hinder, but that the persons of
God’s elect, as considered in Christ, may be well pleasing to God before
faith, and without it.
It may be further objected, that God’s elect, while in a state of nature, are
children of wrath, even as others, and therefore cannot be the objects of
God’s love and delight; for how can they be children of wrath, and yet
objects of love at one and the same time? To which I reply, that
“a person may be the object of love and delight, and of displeasure
and wrath, at one and the same time, in a different respect.”
It is said of the Jews (

Romans 11:28), as concerning the gospel, they
are enemies for your sakes; but touching the election, they are beloved for
the fathers’ sakes. But this will be bettor exemplified in the instance of
Jesus Christ,
“who standing in two different relations, and sustaining two
different capacities, was at one and the same time the object of his
Father’s love and wrath; as he was the Son of God, he was always
the object of his love and delight; but as he was the sinner’s surety,
and while bearing the sins of his people in his own body on the tree,
he was the object of his displeasure and wrath, which he sensibly
felt, and therefore it is said (

Psalm 89:38),
Thou hast cast off and abhorred; thou heat been wrath with thine
anointed.
And yet even then, when he poured out his wrath to the uttermost
on him, on the account of his people’s sins, when he ordered justice
to draw its sword, and sheath it in him, his love towards him, as his
Son, was not in the last abated.”
Thus the elect of God, being considered in different views, may be truly
said to be children of wrath, and objects of love at one and the same time;
consider them in Adam, and under the covenant of works, they are children.35
of wrath, they are deserving of the wrath of God, and are exposed to the
curse of the law; but then as considered in Christ, and under the covenant
of grace, they always were, and ever will be, the objects of God’s love and
delight.
This doctrine, I apprehend, is no ways contrary to the purity and holiness
of God’s nature; it does not follow, that because God loves and delights in
his elect, while in a state of nature, that he loves and delights in their sins:
God is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look upon sin, with
any approbation or delight (

Habakkuk 2:13; Psalm 5). He is not a God
that hath pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with him. We are
obliged to distinguish between the persons and sins of God’s people after
conversion; it is allowed that God loves and delights in their persons,
though he hates their sins. Now why the same distinction may not be
allowed before conversion, as after, I see not; since it is not any thing that
is done by them, nor any thing that is wrought in them, that is the ground
and foundation of God’s love to and delight in them; but his love to and
delight in them is the ground and foundation of all that he does for them, or
works in them. No doubt, what he works in them is well-pleasing in his
sight, but their acceptance with God, and their persons being well-pleasing
to him, does not lie in this, but in the beloved. When, Sir, these things are
considered by you, I hope you will no longer esteem it a fancy, that God
should love and delight in his people while in a state of nature. But I go on,
III. To consider another evangelic truth, which, indeed, is the sum and
substance of the gospel, and with the proof of which the scripture abounds,
though you are pleased to condemn it is a fancy, and that is, that “God sees
no sin in his people.” I know this doctrine has been most odiously
traduced, and most widely misrepresented; but, I hope, when some few
things are observed, it will plainly appear not to be a fancy, or a freak of
some distempered minds, but a most glorious and comfortable doctrine of
the gospel, and without which the gospel must cease to be good news and
glad tidings to the sons of men.
1st, When it is asserted that God sees no sin in his people, the meaning is
not, that there is no sin in believers, nor any committed by them, or that
their sins are no sins, or that their sanctification is perfect in this life.
1. Sin is in the best of saints; to say otherwise is contrary to scripture, and
to all the experience of God’s people;.36
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is
not in us (

1 John 1:8).
The ingenuous confession of the saints, their groans and complaints, and
that continual war between flesh and spirit they feel in themselves, are so
many proofs of sin’s being in them; nay, it is not only in them, but it lives in
them. It is true, indeed, they do not live in sin, for then there would be no
difference between them and unregenerate persons; to live in sin, is not
only unbecoming, but contrary to the grace of God: but still sin lives in
believers; though there is an inward principle of grace, and a mortification
of the outward actions of sin, and a putting off concerning the former
conversation the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful
lusts; yet this old man is not changed, nor removed, much less destroyed.
Moreover, sin is not merely in believers now and then, by fits and starts, as
we say, but it dwells in them. Hence the apostle calls it, Sin that dwelleth in
me (

Romans 7:17, 20); where it is not idle, but active and busy; it
hinders all the good, and does all the mischief it can; it makes war against
the soul, and sometimes brings it into captivity.
2. Sin is not only in the best of saints, but is also committed by them:
There is not a just man upon earth, that doth good and sinneth not
(

Ecclesiastes 7:20);
nor is there any sin, but what has been, or may be committed by believers,
excepting the sin against the Holy Ghost: their daily slips and falls, their
frequent prayers for the discoveries of pardoning grace, and the application
of Christ’s blood, which cleanseth from all sin, confirm the truth of this. It
is true, the apostle John says, that
whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his seed
remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God
(

1 John 3:9);
that is, as born of God, he neither does, nor can commit sin. What is that
which is born of God? The new creature; the other I, distinguished from
sin that dwelleth in him this never did, nor can commit sin; there are an old
man and a new man in regenerate persons; the new man never sins, the old
man does nothing else but sin; there are flesh and spirit in the saints; all
sinful works are the works of the flesh, as all good works are the fruits of
the Spirit. The work of grace, though imperfect, is not impure; nothing
impure springs from it, nor is any thing impure to be attributed to it..37
3. The sins of believers are sins, as well as the sins of others; they are of the
same kind, and are equally transgressions of the law, as others are murder
and adultery, committed by David, were sins in him, as well as they are as
committed by others; yea, oftentimes the sins of believers are attended with
more aggravating circumstances than the sins of other men, being acted
against light and knowledge, love, grace and mercy. Though believers are
justified from all sin by Christ’s righteousness, and have all their sins
pardoned through Christ’s blood, yet their sins do not hereby cease to be
sins. Justification from sin by Christ’s righteousness, and pardon of sin
through Christ’s blood, free them from obligation to punishment due to sin,
but do not destroy the nature of sin.
4. The work of sanctification is imperfect in this life it is a good work
begun, but not finished; there is something lacking in the faith of the
greatest believer; love is not come to its full growth and as for knowledge,
it is but in part. There is a twofold sanctification; the one in Christ, this is
complete and perfect; the other is derived from Christ, and wrought in the
soul by the Spirit of. Christ; this at present is imperfect. There is indeed a
perfection of parts, but not of degrees; that is to say, the new creature has
all its parts, but these are not grown up to the perfection they will arrive
unto. The best of saints need fresh supplies of grace, which they would not,
were they perfect: they disclaim perfection in themselves, though they wish
for it both in themselves and others; when therefore it is said that “God
sees no sin in his people,” neither of these things are designed by it.
2dly, God’s seeing no sin in his people, does not impeach his omniscience:
nor is it to be considered as referring to the article of providence, but to the
article of justification as I shall shew presently. God is omniscient, he
knows and sees all persons and things; nothing is or can be hid from his all-seeing
eye:
His eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings;
there is no darkness nor shadow of death, where the workers of
iniquity may hide themselves (

Job 34:21, 22).
All the actions of men, whether good or bad, are known to him, with their
secret springs and principles from whence they flow; he sees the sins of his
own people, as well as the sins of others, both in their first motions, and in
their open productions;.38
The Lord’s throne is in heaven, his eyes behold, his eyelids try the
children of men! the Lord trieth the righteous (

Psalm 11:4, 5).
About this there is no debate; they must be stupid indeed, if there be any;
for my part, I never heard of any who deny that the omniscience of God
extends to the sins of his people; it never was thought of, or designed, by
this assertion, to limit or deny the omniscience of God; nor is it limited or
denied by it. Though the phrases of seeing and knowing, are used as
synonymous in the article of providence, yet never in the article of
justification; there they are always distinguished: knowledge and sight are
two things the one belongs to the attribute of God’s omniscience, the other
to the attribute of his justice: when therefore it is said, that God sees no sin
in his people, the meaning is not, that he does not with his omniscient eye,
see and know sin to be in them; but he does not see any iniquity in them
with his eye of justice, or so as to punish them for their sins, or require
satisfaction at their hands for them.
3rdly, Nor is the meaning of this proposition, that “God sees no sin in his
people,” that he takes no notice of them, nor resents them, nor chastises
them, in a fatherly way, on the account of them. God does not, indeed,
punish his people for their sins in a way of vindictive wrath and justice; for
this is contrary to his justice, and must overthrow the satisfaction of Christ;
for either Christ has perfectly satisfied for the sins of his people, or he has
not; if he has not, they must satisfy for them themselves; if he has, it is
contrary to the justice of God to punish for sin twice, or to require
satisfaction, both of the surety and the sinner: but though God does not
punish his people for their sins, yet he chastises them in a fatherly way; he
takes notice of their sins, lays his hand upon them, in order to bring them
to a sense and acknowledgement of them;
If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if
they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will
I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with
stripes; nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from
them, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail (

Psalm 89:30-33).
4thly, Though God sees sin in his people, as being but in part sanctified,
yet he sees no sin in them, as they are perfectly justified; though he sees sin
in them, with his eye of omniscience, yet not with his eye of revenging
justice; though he sees them, in respect of his providence, which reaches all
things, yet not in respect of justification; though he takes notice of his.39
people’s sins so as to chastise them in a fatherly way, for their good; yet he
does not see them, take notice of them, and observe them in a judicial
way, so as to impute them to them, or require satisfaction for them:
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing
their trespasses unto them (

2 Corinthians 5:9):
No, he has imputed them to Christ, he has beheld them in him, he has
charged them to him, and Christ has made full satisfaction for them; and
therefore
who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that
justifieth: Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died
(

Romans 8:33, 34).
God will not require satisfaction at the hands of his people for their sins; he
will not punish them on the account of them; they shall never enter into
condemnation; for
there is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who
walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit (

Romans 8:1).
Was God to see sin in his people in this sense, and proceed against them in
a forensic way, he must act contrary to his justice and set aside the
satisfaction of his Son. A few things will make it plainly appear that God
sees no sin in his justified ones, as such:
First, This will be evident, if we consider what Christ has done with
respect to the sins of his people. These have been removed from them to
him; they have been placed to his account, imputed to him, and laid upon
him.
All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to
his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all
(

Isaiah 53:6);
which he has bore in his own body, on the tree; yea, he is the Lamb of God
which taketh away the sin of the world; he has removed the iniquity of his
people in one day: As he was wounded for their transgressions, and
bruised for their sins, so he has washed them from their sins in that blood
of his which cleanseth from all sin; by his righteousness he justifies them
from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of
Moses; and by the sacrifice of himself, he has put away sin for ever; yea,.40
he has finished transgression, made an end of sin, has made
reconciliation for iniquity, and has brought in everlasting righteousness.
This is the language both of the Old and New Testament, and if this be the
case, as it certainly is, God does not, and cannot see iniquity in his people,
since all their iniquity has been transferred on Christ, and it is all done away
by him.
Secondly, This will be yet more evident, if we consider what God the
Father has done on the account of the blood, righteousness, sacrifice, and
satisfaction of his Son. He has freely forgiven all the sins of his people for
Christ’s sake; he has covered them with a covering of mercy, so as they are
not visible; he has blotted them out of his sight, so as they are not legible to
the eye of justice; yea, he has cast them all behind his back, and into the
depths of the sea; insomuch that the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for,
and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be
found: such strong expressions as these from the mouth of the Lord of
hosts, will sufficiently bear us out in asserting, that “God sees no sin in his
people.”
Thirdly, Add to this, the view in which the people of God are to be
considered, and are considered by Father, Son, and Spirit, being clothed
with the righteousness of Christ, and washed in his blood; they are
complete in Christ; they are without fault before the throne, without spot or
wrinkle, or any such thing: Christ says to them, Thou art all fair, my love;
and there is no spot in thee (

Song of Solomon 4:7). The church is a
perfection of beauty in his esteem; all the saints are perfectly comely
through the comeliness he has put on them; yea, they are, in the sight of
God, in the eye of justice, unblameable and unreproveable; and if so, then
surely God sees no iniquity in them. One must transcribe a considerable
part of the Old and New Testament to give the full proof of this doctrine.
If this is a fancy, it is the glory of the Bible, and the marrow of the Gospel;
what most displays the riches of God’s grace, the efficacy of Christ’s
blood, the completeness of his righteousness, and the fulness of his
satisfaction it is the foundation of all solid hopes of future happiness, what
supports the life of faith, and is the ground of a believer’s triumph. One
would have thought, Sir, you might have forbore so severe a reflection on
this truth, of God’s seeing no sin in his people, since it is the to rhton, the
express words of the sacred oracles:.41
He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen
perverseness in Israel (

Numbers 23:21).
I proceed,
IV. To another truth decried by you as a fancy; the assertors or which are
ridiculed, as amusers of themselves with a fancy, which is, that “good
works are not necessary to salvation.” I am sensible, in some measure,
what controversies have been in the world about this subject, and what
extremes have been run into on both sides the question. There was a sharp
contention among the Lutherans on this head. George Major asserted, that
“good works are necessary to salvation:” on the other hand, Nicholas
Amsdorsius said, that they were “noxious and pernicious to salvation:”
neither of these positions are defensible, as they thus stand: Not the former;
for though good works are necessary, upon many accounts, to answer
several valuable ends and purposes, yet not necessary to salvation; though
they ought to be performed by all God’s justified and saved ones, yet not in
order to their justification and salvation; though the people of God ought
to maintain good works for necessary uses, yet these necessary uses do not
design salvation, but other things, as I shall shew presently. Nor is the
latter of these positions to be defended; for though good works are not
necessary to salvation, yet not noxious and pernicious to it, unless when
they are placed in the business of salvation, to the displacing of Christ and
his righteousness; and then they are so far from helping forward, that they
hinder the salvation of souls, being an ignis fatuus, which leads out of the
way of salvation. The Papists and Protestants have warmly contested this
point: the former say that good works are necessary to salvation, per viam
efficientiæ, “by way of efficiency or causality,” to merit or procure
salvation; which is the only sense in which the proposition can well be
understood for if good works are necessary to salvation, it must be to
procure it; for in what sense else can they be necessary to it? This is denied
by the latter, and by them fully confuted; though some have made use of
some distinctions, in order to qualify and soften this proposition, that good
works are necessary to salvation, by which they have betrayed the truth
into the hands of the enemy, I shall attempt to shew,
First, That good works are in no sense necessary to salvation.
Secondly, What they are necessary to, or what are the necessary uses
of them.42
First, I affirm that good works are not necessary to salvation in any sense.
1st, They are not necessary to salvation by way of causality, as having any
causal influence on our salvation, or any part of it. Christ is the sole author
of salvation; he came into this world to effect it; he has done it, it is
finished, it is complete and perfect in itself; it needs nothing to be added to
it to make it so: Christ is a rock, and his work is perfect; he is a Saviour in
whole, and not in part; he will admit of no copartner or assistant in this
matter. Good works have no concern, as causes, in our salvation; God, in
saving persons, does not act according to them, nor by them, nor in
consideration of them;
for he hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not
according to our works, but according to his purpose and grace,
which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began
(

2 Timothy 1:9).
And says the same inspired writer elsewhere (

Titus 3:5);
not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but, according
to his mercy, he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and
renewing of the holy Ghost.
God saves his elect by Christ a way of pure grace and mercy, to the
exclusion of good works having any hand therein; For by grace ye are
saved, says the apostle (

Ephesians 2:8, 9),
through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of
works, lest any man should boast.
Good works are not to be placed in any rank of causes of our salvation
whatever.
1. They are not the impulsive or moving causes of salvation. Nothing out
of God can move him to do any thing; good works did not move him to
take any one step relating to the salvation of his people; they did not move
him to choose them unto salvation by Jesus Christ; he chose them in Christ
before the foundation of the world, before they had done either good or
evil; and so not because they were, but that they might be holy. This act of
his sprung from his good will and pleasure, and is an instance of pure
grace. Hence it is called the election of grace (

Romans 11:5, 6); and,
adds the apostle,.43
if by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more
grace; but if it be of works, then is it no more grace, otherwise
work is no more work.
Good works are the fruits, not the causes of electing grace; nor did these
move God to make a covenant of grace with his elect in Christ, in which
the scheme of salvation was fixed, the whole of it secured, and all blessings
and promises put into the hands of the Mediator; nor was it good works
that moved God to send his Son to obtain salvation, but his own free love
and grace; nor what moved Christ to give himself for his people, since at
that time they were without strength, ungodly, sinners, and enemies to
him; in a word, it is not good works, but grace, which moves God to
justify, pardon, adopt, regenerate, sanctify and glorify any of the sons of
men.
2. Good works are not the efficient, procuring, or meritorious causes of
salvation; for they are imperfect in the best of men; and were they perfect,
yet the requisites of merit are wanting in them; for,
(1.) That by which we would merit, must not be due to him, of whom
we would merit. Now all our works are previously due to God; he has
a right to all our obedience, prior to the performance of it; and
therefore when we have done all those things which are commanded
us, we have done but that which was our duty to do.
(2.) That by which we would merit, must be some way or other be
profitable to him, of whom we would merit:
but can a man be profitable to God, as he that is wise may be
profitable to himself? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that thou
art righteous? or is it any gain to him that thou makest thy ways
perfect? If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what
receiveth he of thine hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man, as
thou art, and thy righteousness may profit the son of man
(

Job 22:2, 3; 35:7, 8).
(3.) That by which we would merit, must be done in our own strength,
and not in the strength of him, of whom we would merit: we must not
be obliged to him for any thing in the performance of it; whereas all our
sufficiency to think a good thought, or do a good action, is of God
without him we can do nothing; it is by the grace of’ God we are what.44
we are; and it is by the grace of God we do what we do; and therefore
to him all the glory belongs.
(4.) There must be some proportion between that by which we would
merit, and that which we would merit. Now there is a just proportion
between sin and the wages of it, but none between good works and
eternal salvation;
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through
Jesus Christ our Lord (

Romans 6:23).
In fine, if good works were the efficient procuring causes of salvation, then
Christ died in vain; his obedience and sufferings must be useless, and of no
effect; besides, boasting would not be excluded, which is God’s design in
fixing the method of salvation in the manner line has; for if men were saved
by works, they would have whereof to boast.
3. Good works are not coefficient causes or con-causes of salvation, with
Christ; they are not adjuvant or helping causes of it; they do not assist in,
or help forward the business of salvation; it is done without them; Christ
will not admit of any rival-ship in this matter: his own arm has brought
salvation to him; be has alone effected it, and is the sole author of it; and
therefore good works are needless in this respect. It is a rule in philosophy,
Quod potest fieri per pauca, non debet fieri per plura; “What can be done
by few, ought not to be done by more.” There is a fulness, a sufficiency in
Christ to salvation, therefore good works are not necessary to salvation.
4. Good works are not causa sine qua non, of salvation they are not
conditions of salvation, or that without which persons cannot be saved; as
is evident from the instances of the thief upon the cross, of elect infants
dying in infancy, and of multitudes of others, as it is hoped, whom God
calls in the last hour, upon their death—beds, who live not to perform
good works. Now if good works are necessary to salvation, and persons
cannot be saved without them, there none of those persons mentioned can
be saved.
2dly, There are some worthy divines who utterly deny the efficiency or
causality of good works in salvation, who yet think that this proposition,
that “ good works are necessary to salvation,” may stand safely, and in a
good sense, admitting some distinctions, which I shall briefly take notice
of, and are as follow;.45
Some say, that good works are not necessary to salvation as causes, yet
they are necessary, as means. This cannot be true, because every mean is
the cause of that unto which it is a mean: and then good works must be tire
causes of salvation, which has been disproved already. If good works are
the means of salvation, they must be either the means of procuring it, or of
applying it, or of introducing God’s people into the full possession of it;
they are not the means of procuring salvation, for that is procured by
Christ. alone without them; nor are they the means of applying it in
regeneration or effectual vocation, because, properly speaking, before
regeneration, or effectual vocation, there are n good works done by the
sons of men they must be first regenerated, and called by grace; there must
be an application of salvation; the gospel must become the power of God
unto salvation, before they are capable of performing good works: We are
his workmanship, says the apostle (

Ephesians 2:10),
created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before
ordained that we should walk in them.
Nor are they the means of introducing God’s people into the full
possession of salvation; for they that die in the Lord, rest from their
labours, and their works follow them. They do not go beforehand to
prepare the way for them, or to introduce them into the heavenly glory.
Good works are not necessary, as means, either for the application or
possession of salvation, neither for the incohesion or consummation of it.
Others make use of a distinction, which is Bernard’s: which is, that though
good works are not causa regnandi, “the cause of reigning,” yet they are
via ad regnum, “ the way to the kingdom.” But it ought to be observed,
that Bernard does not say that they are via ad regnum, but via regni, “ the
way of the kingdom;“ between which there is a great difference; for good
works may be the way or course of such, who are of the kingdom of grace
and belong to the kingdom of glory, when they are not the way to either.
Christ is the way, the truth and the life; the only true, way to eternal life.
Good works are to be performed by all that are in the way, Christ: they are
the business of all such that walk in this way but they themselves not the
way, unless it can be thought that good works are Christ.
Others say, that good works are necessary to justification and salvation;
not quoad efficientiam, “as to the efficiency of them,” but quoad
præsentiam, “as to the presence of them;“ and though they have no causal
influence on salvation, yet the presence of them is necessary to salvation..46
That the presence of good works is necessary to all those who are justified
and saved, that are capable of performing then, and have time and
opportunity to perform them, I allow but that it is necessary to their
justification and salvation, I deny; for if it is necessary, it must be necessary
either as a cause, or a condition, or a mean of justification and salvation;
either of which has been disproved already.
Others say, that they are necessary antecedent to salvation, and that they
are necessary to it, as the antecedent to the consequent: but, from the
instances before mentioned, of the thief on the cross, of elect infants dying
in infancy, with those whom God calls by his grace on their death-beds, it
appears that salvation is where good works do not go before. It is true,
indeed, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord (

Hebrews
12:14), that is, without internal holiness, without a principle of holiness in
the heart. This must be supposed to be in the persons instanced in; but then
there may be this, where there is no external holiness, or any performance
of good works before men; and that either through incapacity, or through
want of time and opportunity. And now lest it should be thought that I
imagine that the performance of good works are unnecessary, I shall
proceed,
Secondly, To shew in what sense they are necessary, and what are the
necessary uses of them; for to say, that because they are not necessary to
salvation, that therefore they are unnecessary to any thing else, is very
illogical; though the scriptures no where say that they are necessary to
salvation, yet they direct us to learn to maintain good works for necessary
uses (

Titus 3:14); which are these following:
1. They are necessary on the account of God, who has commanded them;
We are under his law as creatures, and ought to do his will and pleasure;
and as new creatures are under greater obligation still; we ought to
perform good works in respect to the commands of God, to testify our
obedience and subjection to him, and to shew the grateful sense we have of
his mercies, both spiritual and temporal, as well as to answer some ends of
his glory: Herein, says Christ (

John 15:8),
is my Father glorified, that ye bear ,much fruit.
Nay, we not only glorify God ourselves by our good works, but are the
means of others glorifying him likewise: Hence, says our Lord
(

Matthew 5:16),.47
let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
2. Good works are necessary on the account of ourselves. They are useful
to evidence the truth of our faith to the world, and discover to them the
certainty of our election and vocation, who have no other way of judging
of either, but by our outward conversation; hereby we adorn the profession
we make of Christ and his gospel; so that his name, his ways, truths, and
ordinances, are not blasphemed, or spoke evil of through us: yea, hereby
we exercise a conscience void of offence, both towards God and man.
3. Good works are necessary on the account of our neighbors, who as they
are often injured by evil works, are helped and profited by good works.
One part of the moral law is, to love our neighbor as ourselves: now as a
turning from this holy commandment tends to our neighbor’s injury, so a
conformity to it issues in his good.
4. Good works are necessary on the account of the enemies of religion. A
good conversation recommends the Gospel, and the truths of it, and may
be a means of winning persons over to it; and if not, yet it silences the
ignorance of foolish men, and shames such, and stops the mouth of those
who reproach the Gospel of Christ, as a licentious doctrine, and falsely
accuse the good conversation of the saints. From the whole, I hope, it
appears on the one hand, that good works are necessary, and not trifling
and indifferent things, that may, or may not, be done; or that they are
useless, unnecessary, and insignificant; and on the other hand, that it is no
fancy, but matter of faith, and what ought to be abode by, that good works
are not necessary to salvation.
V. I observe that you describe such as assert that God loves and delights in
his elect, while in a state of nature; that he sees no sin in his people, and
that good works are not necessary to salvation, as persons
“forward to condemn pressing men to duty, as legal preaching; and
to speak of exhorting to repentance, mortification and self-denial,
as low and mean stuff.”
The same complaint you make in another place.
f61
1st, I cannot but wonder that you should esteem such culpable or blame-worthy,
who condemn pressing men to duty, as legal preaching; for
pressing men to duty, can be no other than legal preaching, or preaching of.48
the law since duty can be referred to nothing else but the law, which
obliges to it. Should they condemn pressing men to duty, as criminal, or
deny that there ought to be any preaching, or that there is any use of the
law, you might justly have blamed them. The duties which the law requires,
ought to be in their place insisted on in the ministry of the word; they
should be opened and explained; men should be taught their duty to God
and one another; they should be pressed: that is, if I understand it, be
exhorted unto it, with gospel-motives and arguments, such as the apostles
frequently make use of in their epistles. They should, at the same time, be
told where grace and strength lie, and are to be had to assist them in it. The
preaching of the law is of use both to saints and sinners; it is made useful
by the Spirit of God to convince of sin;
By the law is the knowledge of sin (

Romans 3:20);
though by it is no knowledge of a Saviour from sin; it shews the exceeding
sinfulness of sin, the deformity of nature, the imperfection of man’s
obedience, and what is requisite to his justification before God; though it
leaves him ignorant of that righteousness which can only answer its
demands, and render him acceptable in the sight of God. The law is a rule
of walk and conversation to believers, as it is in the hands of Christ, and
given out by him, as King of his church it contains the perfect and
acceptable will of God; it points out what is, or what is not to be done; it is
in its own nature spiritual, just and good, and very agreeable to the
regenerate man, who delights in the law of God, after the inward man. But
then pressing men to duty, is preaching the law, and that must needs be
legal preaching, though it ought not to be branded within any odious or
invidious character; for all duty belongs to a law; grace and promises of
grace, belong to the gospel, but precepts and duty to the law. We have had
a controversy among us lately about preaching Christ, in the latitude and
restrictive way; and, no doubt, the people have been much edified and
instructed by it; but men may controvert to the end of the world, it can
never be proved, that preaching good works is preaching Christ, or that
pressing men to duty, is preaching the gospel; unless it can be thought that
good works are Christ and that the law is gospel. I am entirely for calling
things by their right names; preaching duty, is preaching the law; preaching
the free grace of God, and salvation by Christ, is preaching the gospel; to
say otherwise, is to turn the gospel into a law and to blend and confound
both together. Some very worthy divines, whose names I forbear to
mention, did formerly talk of gospel-commands, gospel-threatenings, and.49
gospel-duties, which, to me, are contradictions in terms; and I fear that this
loose and unguarded way of talking, tended to pave the way for
Neonomianism among us, which some few years ago, gave the churches so
much disturbance, and the bad effects of which we still feel.
2dly, “Exhorting to repentance, you say, is spoken of by these persons as,
“low and mean stuff;” but you do not tell us what kind of repentance is
meant, or with what views, or upon what considerations an exhortation to
it is given. There is an evangelical and a legal repentance: Evangelical
repentance has God for its object, and is called repentance toward God
(

Acts 20:21). It is the gift of Christ, who
is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto
Israel, and forgiveness of sins (

Acts 5:31);
and is one of the graces of the Spirit of God, which he implants in the
hearts of his people. It is that sorrow and concern for sin, which springs
from and is heightened and increased by the discoveries of God’s love; it is
accompanied with views, or, at least, hopes of pardoning grace and mercy;
it is a godly sorrow (

2 Corinthians 7:10), h kata Qeon luph, “a
sorrow according to God,” agreeable to the mind and will of God; a divine
sorrow, which springs from divine principles, and proceeds on divine
views: or it is a sorrow for sin, as it is committed against a God of holiness,
purity, grace and mercy; which godly sorrow worketh repentance unto
salvation, not to be repented of; and therefore by no means to be spoken
slightly of. Nor can exhortations to such kind of repentance, be treated as
low and mean stuff, without casting contempt on. John the Baptist
(

Matthew 3:2;

4:17), Christ, and his apostles: who made use of
them, either to shew the necessity of repentance, or to encourage the
exercise of this grace in the saints, or to stir them up to an open profession
of it, and to bring forth fruits in their conversation meet for the same.
Legal repentance is a work of the law, and consists in outward confession
of sin, and external humiliation for it, and an inward horror, wrath and
terror, upon the account of it. It is a sorrow and concern for sin, not as it is
in its own nature exceeding sinful, or as it is an offense to God, and a
breach in of his law, but as it entails upon the sinner ruin and destruction;
This is the sorrow of the world, which worketh death; and may be where
true evangelical repentance never was, nor never will be, and therefore is
not to be valued and regarded. Now to exhort to this kind of repentance,
or even to evangelical repentance, as within the compass of the power of.50
man’s will, and as a condition of the covenant of grace, and a term of
acceptance with God, and in order to make peace with God, and gain the
divine favor, which you know is the rant of some men’s ministry; I say, to
exhort to repentance within such views, and on such considerations as
these, is low and mean stuff, too mean for, below, and unworthy of, a
minister of the gospel.
3dly, You mention exhorting to mortification and self-denial, as treated by
some, in the same slight and contemptuous manner. You know very well
that much of what has been said and written concerning mortification, is
low, mean, and trifling, and it would be mortification enough to be obliged
to hear and read it. I confess, I have often been at a loss what divines mean
by mortification of sin; if they mean a destroying the being of sin, a killing,
a taking away the life of it in believers, which seems to be their meaning;
this is contrary both to Scripture and all the experience of God’s people.
The word of God assures us, that sin is in believers, and they find it to be in
them; yea, to be alive in them, though they do not live in sin. The old man
is, indeed, put off, concerning the former conversation, but not put to
death; he remains and is alive, and is sometimes very active, though he lies
in chains, and is under the power and dominion of mighty and efficacious
grace. There is a mortification of sin by the death of Christ;
The old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be
destroyed (

Romans 6:6).
Christ has abolished, destroyed, made arm end of sin; through Christ’s
bearing the sins of his people in his own body on the tree, and through his
death they are dead to sin, and live unto righteousness. But sin is not dead
in them; there is no such thing as a mortification, a killing or destroying the
inward principles of sin in believers, nor is it to be expected in this life. If,
indeed, by mortification of sin, is meant a weakening the power of sin, so
as that it shall not have the dominion over the saints; this is readily granted
to be found in them: but then it will be difficult to prove that ever this is
called mortification in Scripture. The mortification the Scripture speaks of,
and exhorts to, does not design the mortification of the inward principles of
sin, but the outward actings of it; it is a mortification of an external course
of living in sin, and not a taking away the life of sin in the soul, as is
evident from those places where any mention is made of it; mortify
therefore, says the apostle (

Colossians 3:5, 7),.51
your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness,
inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is
idolatry; in which ye also walked some time when ye lived in them;
which last words shew, that the apostle has respect to a walk, a
conversation, a course of living in these sins; so when he says (

Galatians
5:24),
they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with the affections
and lusts,
he means the works of the flesh, and the actings of unruly passions and
deceitful lusts, as appears from the context; and when exhortations to
mortification of sin, in this sense, are given, a special regard should be had
to the gracious influences of the blessed Spirit; for, as the apostle says
(

Romans 8:13),
If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall
live.
As for self-denial, perhaps no persons are found more in the practice of it,
than those you have described, however averse they may be to exhortations
to it, made without taking any notice of the grace and assistance of the
Spirit of God, as necessary to the exercise of it. They choose to suffer
reproach, the loss of good name and reputation, to forego popularity,
wealth, and friends, to be traduced as Antinomians, and reckoned any
thing, rather than to drop, conceal, or balk any one branch of truth,
respecting Christ and free grace. None are more ready to deny self-righteousness
than they are, and to submit to the righteousness of Christ,
on which they alone depend for justification before God, and acceptance
with him; nor are any persons more powerfully and effectually taught to
deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and
godly, in this present world. And, you, Sir, are so kind as to say, that such
who have amused themselves with what you call fancies, “by their life and
conversation have shewed that they were far from being enemies to
holiness.” And you further add, “Far be it from us to charge some, who
have gone into this way of thinking and talking, with turning the grace of
God into wantonness.”
I conclude, Sir, with assuring you, that I write not this with an angry and
contentious spirit; I am willing to submit these things to the Scriptures of
truth, which are the only rule of faith and practice; and would gladly enter.52
into a sober controversy, and try whether they be mere fancies, or parts of
that faith which was once delivered to the saints. If, Sir, you should think
fit to give me an answer to this letter, I desire you would not so much
attend to my inaccuracies in writing, which I know you are able to correct,
as to the truths themselves herein asserted and defended. I wish you
success in your learned studies.
I am, SIR, With all due respect,
Yours, &c..53
FOOTNOTES
ft1 – (A Defence if some important Doctrines of the Gospel, by several
Ministers, Vol. I, p.48).
ft2 – Namque video, dum ex integris ipsorum dissertationibus libellis &
concionibus theses conficiuntur per scriptores adversarios magis quam
per auctores ipsos nonnunquam haud satis feliciter illorum sensus capi
& exprimi & tum hinc tum inde multa quidem dici at non multum & vel
non intelligi vel non peti tomenon. Hoornbeeck Summ Controv.
1. x. de Brownistis, p. 701. 702
ft3 – (Chp. 15. Pp.437-38):
ft4 – (Page 443)
ft5 – (Sermon III on Ephesians 2:8, 9; p. 116)
ft6 – (Ibid. p. 129)
ft7 – (Free Grace, or the Flowings of Christ’s Blood Freely to Sinners, p.
66-7)
ft8 – (Ibid. p. 141)
ft9 – (Ibid. p. 156-7) I have seen two other pieces of Saltmarsh’s one is
called “Shadows flying away” being a reply to Gataker; the other, “The
Smoke in the Temple” and chiefly respects church government nor is
there any thing in either of them concerning union with Christ
ft10 – (The Assertion of Grace, p. 4):
ft11 – (Page 74)
ft12 – (Page 118)
ft13 – (page 11, 12)
ft14 – (The Re-assertion of Grace, p. 12)
ft15 – (Ibid. p. 20)
ft16 – (Ibid. p. 105)
ft17 – (Ibid. p.126)
ft18 – (Monomachia; or a single Reply to Mr. Rutherford, &c. p. 37)
ft19 – (Answer to Dr. Homes, p. 111-12).54
ft20 – (Christ Alone Exalted, Vol. I, Sermon VII, p. 104, Vol. III, Sermon
VII, p. 597, 599, 600; Sermon VIII p. 609, 614-617)
ft21 – (Justification by Christ Alone, p. 21)
ft22 – (Counsels, p. 98)
ft23 – (Counsels, p. 150-51)
ft24 – (Divine Consolations, p. 245)
ft25 – (Christ Alone Exalted, Vol. I. Sermon X, p. 157; Vol. III. Sermon I,
p. 509-14; Sermon II, p. 528-29; Sermon III, p. 46, &c.)
ft26 – Summ. Controv. l. x. de Brownistis p. 714
ft27 – Animadvers. Irenieae c. 12 6 p. 148
ft28 – Neonomian unmasked part III debate 17. p. 26
ft29 – page 18-20
ft30 – page 98
ft31 – page 125
ft32 – page 34, 42, 49, 53, 69, 173
ft33 – Against Baxter, part 1. chap. 22. p. 264, 265, &c.
ft34 – Vid. Hoornbeeck. Sum. Controv. 1. 10, p. 690, 691.
ft35 – Hoc anno secta prodiit corum qui dicunter Antinomini; hi
poenitentiam ex decalogo non esse decendam dicunt; & illos
impugnant, qui docent, non esse praedicandum evangelium, nisi
primum quassatis animis atqne fractis per explicationem legis; ipsi vero
statuunt, quaecunque tandem sit hominis vita & quantumvis impura,
justificari tamen cum, si modo promissionbus evangelii credat. Sleidan.
Comment. 1. 12. p. 33.
ft36 – Fertur etiam usque adeo fuisse bonis morbus inimicus ut asseveraret
quod nihil cuiquam obesset quorumlibet perpetratio, ac perseverantia
peccatorum, si hujus, quae ab illo docebatur, fidei particeps esset.
August. de Haeres. cap. 54.
ft37 – Contra Haeres. 76.
ft38 – Wv gar to coikon adunaton swthriav metascein (ou gar
einai leigousin autoi dektikon authv) outwv palin to
pneumapikon qelousin oi autoi, einai adunaton fqoran
katadexasqai kan opoiaiv sugkatagenwntai praxesin on gar
tropon crusov en borborw katateqeiv ouk apoballei thn.55
kallonhn autou alla thn idiam fusin diafulattei tou
borborou mhden adikhsai ton cruson outo de kai antouv
legousi kan en opoiaiv ulikaiv praxesi katage nontai mhden
autouv parablaptesqai mhde apoballein thn pneumatikhn
upovasin dio de kai ta apeirhmena panta adewv oi
teleiotatoi prattousin autwn. Irenaeus adv. Haeres. 1. 1. c. 1. p.
26. edit. Paris.
ft39 – Hi qui in cum & Helenam ejus spem habent & ut liberos agere quae
velint. Irenaeus adv. Haeres 1.1. c. 20 p. 116
ft40 – (Vol. I. Part I, p. 62)
ft41 – (Vol. I. Part I, p. 64)
ft42 – (Ibid. Part II, p. 215)
ft43 – (Ibid. Part III, p. 40)
ft44 – (Vol. III. Book V, Chp. 20, p. 347)
ft45 – Unito sunt Christo,–In oeterno Dei decreto.–2. Unione
confoederationis aeternae, qua Christus a Patre eonstitutus est caput
omnium servandorum.–3. Vera & reali unione, sed quae ab ipsorum
parte duntaxat passiva est, uniuntur Christo, quando Spiritus Christi
eos primum occupat, & novae vitae principium infundit.–Porro qumn
fides sit actus ex principio spiritualis vitae emanans, palam est sano
sensu dici posse, quod homo electus vere & realiter Christo unitus sit
ante actualem idem. Wits. Iren. Animadv. c. 6. &. 1–3.
ft46 – (Mr. Richard Taylor’s Scripture Doctrine of Justification, pp. 14, 15)
ft47 – On Rom. 8:1. p. 51.
ft48 – Haec unio est mutuus inter Christum & fideles amor, sive mutua
Christi & fidelium obligatio ad sese mutuo amandum. Alsted Lexicon
Theolog. c. 10. p. 189.
ft49 – For the further proof of what I assert, see Mr. Cotton’s arguments for
union before faith, in Dr. Chauncy’s Neonomianism unmasked, part 2.
debate 11. p. 225.
ft50 – Vid. Act. Synod. Dordrect. p. 4, 83, 86, 87. Ames. Medull. Theolog.
c. 25. & 27. Walaei opera, tom 1. p. 330. Polani Syntag. Theolog. p.
248. Synops. Pur. Theolog. disput. 24. thes. 26. p. 281. Zanch. in Eph.
1:4. Dr. Goodwin, vol. 1. part 1. p. 62. Mr. Richard Taylor on
Justification, p. 15. with many others..56
ft51 – Armin. Examen Praedest. Perkins. p. 512, 594, 599. inter opera ejus
edit. 1631, 4to. Script. advers. Coll. Hag p, 64. Apolog. pro Confess.
Remonstr. c. 18. p. 197. Corvid. contr. Molin. c. 19. p. 284, 285. &
advers. Bogerman. par. 2. c. 23. p. 552. Vorst. Amic. Collat. cum
Piscat. &. 112. p. 233.
ft52 – Certum est nos esse electos & respectos in Christo antequam essemus
fideles. quod probatur invictis his locis, Eph. 5:25. Rom. 5:8. 1 John
4:10. 2 Tim. 1:9. Haec loco evincunt, electorum aliquam in Christo
existentiam fuisse etiam, antequam crederent. Nisi enim aliqua fuisset
unio inter Christum & membra, Christus non esset caput eorum, & pro
iis satis facere non potuisset. Walaeus de electione, iter opera ejus,
tom. 1. p. 239. Vid. etiam p. 358, 359. & tom. p. 227. & Synops. Pur.
Theolog. disput. 24. thes. 27. p. 281.
ft53 – (See a Defense of Some Import Doctrines of the Gospel by Several
Ministers, Vol. II, p. 512)
ft54 – H dh eunoia filia men eoiken ou men esin ge filia All oude
filhsiv esin eioke dh arch filiav einai wsper tou eran h
dia thv oyewv hdonh mh gar prohqeiv th idea ouqeiv era,
Aristotel. Ethic. 1. 9. c. 5.
ft55 – Vocem µy[wç[ç quod attinet, novies eandem deprehendimus in
sacris, & semper quidem de oblectatione intima, multiplici,
suavissimmaque, quando rem aliquam non satis intueri, meditari aut
amplexari possumus, ulteriori semper eo propendentes cupidine; nam
radix est h[ç aspexit, ubi geminatio radicalium radicis quoque geminat
significatum. Gejer. in Prov. 8:30.
ft56 – Vid. Aben Ezra in Psalm 65:2.
ft57 – So ltltp is very perverse,

Deut. 32:5. qrqry very yellow,

Psalm 69:12. trjrjç very black,

Cant. 1:6. typypy
exceedingly fairer,

Psalm 65:2. wrmrmj very much troubled,

Lam. 1:20. with many other instances of the like kind.
ft58 – Vid. Script. Advers. Coll. Hag. p. 63.
ft59 – Dicitur enim Deus etiam dilectionem suam manifestare erga hostes
suos, Rom. 5:8, 10. si ipsos dilexit etiam quum hostes essent, necesse
est placuerint ipsi antequam crederent. Ibid. p. 71..57
ft60 – Quamvis autem Deo displiceat, quicquid sit sinc fide, potest tamen dici
Deum amare quasdam personas, quarum facta ei displicent; sic
personam Pauli amabat, prius quam ad fidem Christi convertereter-de-nique
est quaedam (si fas ita loqui) complacentia personae antequam
ejus opera & fides Deo placeant. Molinaei Enodatio Graviss. Quaest.
Tract. 7. c. &. p. 269, 270
ft61 – Sermon of the Causes of the Decay of Practical Religion, p. 584. in
Vol. 2. of the Defence of some important Doctrines of the Gospel.

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