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Duty Faith
Part I
by John Foreman

The Reason for writing these remarks

Sir,

I am, from the truth, example, and authority of the new testament word of God, a Strict Baptist communionist, knowing most assuredly, that no man, living under the profession of the name of Christ, can really regard and solemnly take that holy word for the standard of his faith and sole rule of his life, and not be so. But having, on the 17th of December last, received some papers, in the form of circulars, from the above association, giving an outline of the plan upon which the same is to be considered organized, and requesting my answer, as to whether I approve of, and am prepared to act upon, the suggested plan, and of course to unite with that association; and for me to send my reply to you accordingly, I hereby send you my reply. This is, that I cannot unite with that association, because it has in it those who hold duty faith, or the duty of all men where the gospel comes, to repent and believe unto salvation; and which you have stated to be an article of your faith, in the doctrinal plan you laid down for the organization of that association. And, although your plan has not been adopted, because the majority over-ruled that that point should not be printed as a professed point of the association's faith, still it is there; and it will only wait for an opportunity to break forth, and will nothing alter for the better by concealment. So that to unite with that association for the purpose of maintaining Strict Baptist communion, I must at once be in fellowship with duty faith; and that I can never be till I really believe the point for myself; and that can never be till the whole system and matter of my faith, hope and experience, be quite broken down upon the ground that salvation is of the Lord only, by purpose and by deed; and by grace only, either as a matter of right, of expectation, of promise, or of final effect; and be remodeled in figure, and exchanged in the nature thereof, into something very different, and upon altogether new premises.

The above, I suppose, will be a sufficient answer to the request of the committee of the above association. But feeling it to be my duty to state why I spurn and abhor the very name of duty faith, as being neither rational nor spiritual, by either the law of works, or the covenant of life and peace; and as being the very spawn of at least one half the errors there are in the professing world, I shall address myself more immediately to you; and especially so, as I am requested to send my reply to you; and also because you belong to that association, and have so fully avowed duty faith to be your own sentiment, both in the doctrinal plan you drew up for that association, and in your reply to Mr. Wright's letter in the Primitive Church Magazine.

Duty Faith And The Covenants

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

Adam covenant 

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

Abraham covenant 

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

Covenant of grace 

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

The error of mixing the covenants 

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

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

Duty faith makes the gospel a ministration of cruelty and injustice, but men are damned for law-breaking not for failing to savingly believe 

I think we have shown sufficiently plain above, that duty faith in a covenant of grace unto salvation, could never grow out of, nor come from the Eden covenant of works; so that such an obligation, to exist at all, must be new, and peculiar to the gospel dispensation as its cause. And then, in reply to this, we ask, and does the gospel give universal life and strength to all where it comes, to become such as the word of God declares to be believers unto salvation? We know it does not, for a natural man under the gospel is no more than a natural man anywhere else. And has any natural man in and of himself, or even had in Adam at first by that covenant, the power to make himself what the word of God declares a believer unto salvation? I say, no; and very few will venture to say, against all truth, that he has. And yet men holding duty faith, will say that the natural man ought to believe, and that it is his duty; and many, if not all of them, will go so far as to say, 'That though the natural man has not the power to believe unto salvation, yet that he will be damned for not believing! But this is charging God foolishly, and turning the precious gospel of the grace of God into a ministry of cruelty and self-inconsistency; because it makes it to set up divine claims, for which, in no state, has the natural man by the hand of God been capacitated, or made equal. And this would at once make the false charge of the Israelites against the Lord true, saying, 'The way of the Lord is not equal,' Ezek 18: 25. And it would also make true the false charge against the Lord, as set forth by our Lord in a parable, saying, 'Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed,' Matt 25: 24. But, contrary to all this, our God never demands usury, but in accordance with his own deposit of principle, Matt 25: 27; and, therefore, if the natural man never was in his nature from its original, capacitated by the laws of his creation to make himself what the word of God really calls a believer unto salvation, then duty faith is usury without principle, and is consequently ungodly and untrue. 

Adam had his duties in Eden, but he had capacities equal to them, and consequently, defect is his fault, and the fault of all is in him. Abraham had his duties and his seed with him, by the covenant made with them, but they had capacities equal to them, and their defect was consequently their fault. And the heaven-born man of God and of covenant favour has his christian duties, as a son, a servant, &c; but he is capacitated to every command, and to all that is meant in the commands of his Lord, and his omissions of right, or commissions of wrong, according to the New Testament, are his faults, and will be chastised; as the above, according to the different laws of the different covenant conditions, or states. Man by sinning only, lost his ability to fulfill all the Eden duties of his rational and pure creatureship, so that his disobedience to the law of works, his lack of obedience, and his inability perfectly to obey that law, are justly to his condemnation, and all his seed in him, as confirmed by their personal practical transgression. But what man never was, is not required of him; nor is he condemned for not possessing what he never had at the hand of God. 

A gospel damnation I have never yet been able to understand; I have at no time been brought to fear it from any conviction, or to know anything of such a point as taught by the word of God. And so for any man to be damned to hell for not believing unto salvation, the very idea appears to me to be as silly as it is false and cruel; because it conceals and denies the just cause of sinning man's condemnation, and condemns him to death without real cause; that is, not for disobedient law-breaking, but for not obtaining favour by means that God himself never put in natural man's power. I know it is written, 'He that believeth not, shall be damned,' Mark 16: 16; but the gospel does not bring that condemnation upon the unbeliever; not does the lack of faith, or the non-believing of the gospel unto salvation, create, make, cause, or bring that damnation; but leave the soul under it, as by law for sin, denounced upon every sinner., as death's sentence by law is passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. But as it is the Lord's pleasure to deliver, and save from the wrath, death, curse, and damnation denounced by the law, all on whom he will have mercy, the believing soul through grace, according to the assurances and descriptions of the word of God, is the escaping, saved, and delivered person, from the denounced condemnation; while the unbeliever remains under the death sentence of the law, as though there had been no mercy nor salvation in Christ for any. And so we read, 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that belleveth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abidetb on him, John 3: 36. 'We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother, abideth in death,' 1 John 3: 14. And therefore, the turning of the gospel of the grace of God into a penal ministry, is of the pharisaic spirit of anti-christ, and of the devil himself in that character. Because, by that notion, both the law and the gospel are robbed of their real, distinct, and respective honours; and the state of sinful man is misrepresented, for that instead of his being shewn up in truth as he is, a divine law breaker, and upon whom, as such, the sentence of death by the law is already passed, and that he is a dead man in law, and must remain so to endless condemnation, but as the Lord, by his grace and mercy, may be pleased to deliver and save him, he is made out to be a gospel sinner only, for not possessing the grace of a gospel-blest character, and because he does not without ever having had the power in his nature to do so, or any promise from the Lord of any such favour, believe unto salvation, whether the Lord has purposed it, and will save him, or not. 

The distinction between the two permanent covenants The law of works and the law of faith 

Of the several covenants mentioned in the word of God, there are but two which we may properly call un-circumstantially permanent, and of eternal consequences to the soul of man. The one being the nature covenant with Adam and all the human race in him, having the law of works for its ministry; and which, through man's sin, is called the ministration of death. And the other, the covenant of grace with Christ and all his seed in him, having the law of faith for its ministry, called the ministration of life, because it is the gospel of the grace of God only. And every man of the whole human race is under one or the other of these two laws; either by legal right and contract under the former, or by favour it only under the latter. 

If a man by the Holy Spirit, and regenerating grace and favour of God, be under grace, and so under the law of faith, he is not, nor can he be under the law of works at the same time; even so the natural man being under the law of works, cannot be under grace and the law of faith at the same time. And a man's duties and obligations, both in the nature and extent of them, are prescribed and determined by the law that he is under. The truth of this, I consider the apostle most clearly sets forth, by comparing the law  that the soul is under to a husband, and the soul to be bound to the law exclusively under which it is; and so much so, that the soul must be dead to the one law, before it can be under the other, either in a way of obligation or of privilege, see Rom 7. So that every natural man is under the law of works, and is bound thereby exclusively to it, as a woman is bound by the law of her husband to him exclusively, so long as he lives. And while we receive this apostolic argument in the force of infallible truth, it must fairly amount to this, that it can no more be the natural man's duty under the law of works, by the law of faith to believe unto salvation, than it is a woman's duty to think of, yield her person and affections to, and secure to herself, a second husband before her first be dead; she having no liberty whatever from her first obligations, nor another husband any demand whatever, till she be freed from her first husband; and then by marriage only to another, does she come under the new obligations to a second husband. But no natural man is dead to the law of works by the body of Christ, and consequently is not married to Christ: and so neither Christian duties nor privileges are his province or his property; but to keep the whole law of works, and be as naturally pure as Adam was at the first, or death eternal is all that belongs to him as a sinful natural man. 

Perhaps this mode of argument will be considered too rigid an adherence to covenant distinctions, order and arrangement; but I feel confident that it Is no more than the word of God intends and fully supports, to the very utmost exactness and unfaltering certainty, in drawing the line of order and distinction, between the living by grace, and the dead in sin; the man who is under the law, and the man who is under grace; and also between the law of works and its claims, and law of faith and its blessings; and in the systematic terms and characters also by which those distinctions are denominated. For beside the above-cited scripture from Rom 7, the apostle is very clear and pointed on those distinctions in Rom 4: 14, saying, 'For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is of none effect. I think from this text nothing can be more plain than the fact, that that which is of the law, is not of faith; and that that which is of faith, is not of the law; and that these premises of law and faith are as perfectly distinct, as they are different in their nature; and so perfect is the distinction, that the same thing cannot belong to both. And how then duty faith unto salvation can grow out of 'the essence of God's law,' I am at a loss to know, and believe I shall remain so to eternity; for the law has no power, nor is it any way in its nature or design to command any man to believe the promise of mercy unto salvation. And whatsoever can be found to be the natural man's duty toward God, is, in truth, most certainly of the law of works only, and is what the word of God would call a work of the law; and to say therefore, that faith unto salvation is the natural man's duty, is at once to say, that faith unto salvation is of the works of the law; for that it cannot be otherwise, to be the duty of the natural man, because all his duties are of the works of the law, and not of grace. But we are sure that nothing can be more opposite to the truth, sound and sense of the word of God, than to say that faith in the promise of God unto salvation is of the law of works; for the law was never given nor entered to command faith in a Saviour, but directly to the contrary, 'That the offence might abound,' Rom 5: 20, and that 'sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful' Rom 7: 13. And that law which arrests, convicts, and condemns the guilty man, can never make it that guilty man's duty to escape from its hand and power to punish him; and then make it further crime, and punish him much more for not escaping. 

Whatever is man's duty is God's claim; and whatever is man's duty is demanded to be of him; and consequently if faith unto salvation be the natural man's duty, then faith is accordingly demanded of man, and should be of him, and a great and grievous fault must lie against the natural man for not having faith of himself. This is how the matter must stand for faith to be of man, and to be the natural man's duty. But this is altogether opposed to the apostle's inspired testimony of faith, saying, 'By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast, Eph 2: 8,9. These words were not spoken in any way to find fault with the Ephesians because their faith was not as a matter of duty produced of themselves, nor yet to say that it should have been of themselves, but to commend the great love and free favour of God, and to cut off all occasion of boasting after the flesh, either about the matter of their salvation, or the means by which they obtained and enjoyed it; shewing that the one was as perfectly of grace, and of grace only from first to last, as the other is; saying, that faith is not only the gift of God, but that it is not Of man, either by human production, or by divine requirement; for that God had determined that it should not be of works, and so not of duty, lest any man should boast. 

When faith is named descriptively, it is always stated as expressive of grace, in opposition to the duties and works of the law, in the matters of salvation; and it is spoken of as God's own method of grace, to make the promise of his grace sure to all the seed; saying, 'Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed,' Rom 4: 16. Now nothing can be more uncertain than duty faith unto salvation, except it be of a certain failure altogether; and so that can make no promise sure; and therefore duty faith cannot be the faith named in the above text, nor any thing related to it. And as the faith named in the sacred word is named in a way to commend and set forth the perfectly free grace salvation of the Lord, above all law duties and works of the law, that cannot be duty faith; because instead of commending the richness, freeness, fullness, unfallibility, and absolute sovereignty of the grace of God to whom he will be gracious, duty faith goes to generalize all the matters of the gospel and grace of God into a loose, indefinite uncertainly; and by introducing impracticable obligations, turns the ministry of eternal love into eternal hatred, of free favour into wrath, of pure mercy into condemnation, of life into death, of peace into hostility, of redemption into a sentence of imprisonment, and of free grace salvation into final banishment to darkness and endless ruin. And all this, properly speaking, so far as I can understand it, because the natural man does not, beyond all power that ever was in him, believe unto salvation; and because the Lord will only have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and will hide the salvation matters of the gospel and of his kingdom from whom he will, even from ,the wise and prudent;' and will reveal them only to whom he will, 'even unto babes,' Matt 11: 25; and will call by his grace to the life and faith of the gospel only those whom he hath chosen by his grace, I Cor 1: 26-29.

And for these two reasons, as real and sole causes, so far as I can see, duty faith goes to say that all where the gospel comes, who do not universally believe unto salvation shall be damned! And this conclusion does but fairly accord with the expressed sentiments of the late Mr. A Fuller, who, on some public occasion, speaking on duty faith, told his hearers 'that every gospel sermon which they heard and did not savingly profit by, the same would rise up in judgment against them, and be to their greater condemnation at the last great day.' And after the service, a person present said to the late Mr. E Vorley, (many years minister of the gospel at Leicester,) 'Well, brother Vorley, and what do you think of Mr. Fuller's sermon?' when Mr. Vorley replied, 'If I could believe all Mr. Fuller has said, I would never hear another gospel sermon as long as I live.' And to this I must add, that my opinion is, that if the above remarks of Mr. Fuller were the truth of God, it would be safest for all people, against the last great day, to keep out of the reach of the gospel sound; and that it would be as heavy a judgment as it would be any sort of mercy, for the Lord to send his gospel into any country, or among any people; and that all people might justly look upon all gospel ministers as upon men likely to be to them the greatest of all evils, and most dreadful mischief-makers to their souls. Alas, for duty faith while it brings us to this!* 

{*Publisher's Note: What is being said is that Fullerite, preaching requires the natural man to perform a duty which he has never been capacitated to do, and that he shall be damned for not doing it. As tbe Author explains elsewhere the natural man is damned for breaking the law, not for lack of saving faith. Under gospel preaching his condemnation is greater because the requirements of the law are seen in their clearest light and his rebellion against that law rendered the more reprehensible.}

Implications of faith unto salvation being the natural man's duty 

The two words law and faith are very comprehensive systematical terms; very different in their nature, and occupying perfectly distinct

premises. The law occupies the entire premises and dominion of death through sin; and faith occupies the entire premises of life and salvation, by divine promise, through the blood and righteousness of the Son of God. So that we may observe, that as faith cannot be separated from any part of its connection and interest, then, 

First. If faith unto salvation be the natural man's duty, then it must be the natural man's duty to be all that the actual believer, through grace unto salvation, really and properly is. And then it must be the natural man's duty to be of God's chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world - to be of the predestinated unto the adoption of sons - to be of the foreknown predestinated to bee conformed to the image of the Son, to be called, to be justified, and to be glorified - to be a vessel of mercy afore prepared unto glory - to be redeemed by the blood of Christ - to be born of the Spirit - to be quickened together with Christ - to be God's own workmanship of new creation in Christ Jesus  to be of God's will begotten with the word of truth - to be a kind of first  fruit of his creatures - to be a saint in Christ Jesus - to be an heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ - to be loved of God with an everlasting love - to be ordained, not unto wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ - to be made meet by God the Father, to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light - to be loved of Christ and washed from sin in his own blood to be by Christ made a king and a priest unto God to reign with him for ever, and to be kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation. All this, the real believer, through grace unto salvation is, and by the riches of grace is most mercifully made to be; so that a man cannot be a believer unto salvation without being all this by grace; and so all this must be the natural man's duty to be, if faith unto salvation be his duty. 

Second. If faith unto salvation be the natural man's duty, then it must be the natural man's duty to have all what the actual believer through grace unto salvation truly and properly has, according to the word of God. And then it must be the natural man's duty to have the fear of God put in the heart, and his law written in the inward parts, by the Lord's own hand, according to his promise to his own, Jer 32: 40 - to have the hope of the promise, the hope of God's calling, the hope laid up in heaven, the hope of righteousness, the hope of eternal life, the good hope through grace, the hope of glory - to have the faith of God's elect, the faith of the operation of God, the faith that is not of man or of works, but God's gift only, the common faith of the household of God, and to be of that household; the faith that is the pledge, earnest, title deed and note-of-hand substance of all things hoped for on the promise of God to the heirs of salvation - to have the heritage of them that fear the Lord - to have the seed of God in the soul which the wicked one toucheth not - to have redemption in Christ - to have fellowship with God - to have the Holy Spirit as a teacher and leader into all truth, as a testifier and glorifier of Jesus, and as a comforter dwelling in and with the soul -to have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ - to have an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved

in heaven - to have a name written in heaven by the hand of electing love, in the Lamb's book of life by the hand of redeeming love, and in the book of life by the hand of quickening love - to have the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost - to have that repentance and remission of sins that Christ, as a Prince and a Saviour is exalted to give - to have all the fruits of the Spirit - to have a mansion prepared, a house of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens - to inherit all things at the last, and to have a crown of life, righteousness and glory laid up against that day. All this, by divine favour, is the happy lot, property and portion, of all those who through grace do believe unto salvation; and if faith unto salvation be the duty of the natural man, then it must be the duty of the natural man to possess and enrich himself with all this divine property of faith, by sacred promise given to the chosen, redeemed, adopted, and consequent believing heirs of salvation. 

Third. If it be the natural man's duty to believe unto salvation, then it must be the natural man's duty for God himself to be to him all what by promise and gift he is to those who through grace do believe unto salvation; and then it must be the natural man's duty for the eternal God to be to him a covenant God - a Redeemer - a Shepherd - a Saviour - a Preserver - a Comforter - a Rock, Refuge, Sun, Shield, High Tower, Horn of Salvation, and Strength - the God of all grace - a Guide - a Father and portion for ever. All this the Lord is to them who through grace do believe unto salvation; and all this is by promise inseparable from believing unto salvation; and it must consequently be the natural man's duty for God to be all this to him by promise, if faith unto salvation be his duty. 

Fourth. If it be the natural man's duty to believe unto salvation, then it must be the natural man's duty for God to do for him, and give to him, all what by promise he does and gives to those who through grace do really believe unto salvation. And so it must be the natural man's duty for God to give him eternal life - to pardon all his sins put away his iniquities, cleanse him from all unrighteousness, and give him peace - to bless him with all spiritual blessings in Christ - to hold him safe in his hand - to keep him as the apple of his eye - to iinstruct him in the way that he should go, and guide him with his eye - to make to him all crooked things straight, and rough places plain - to make all things work together for his good - to see that all his wants are supplied out of the riches in glory by Christ Jesus - to hold him in that safety so as that nothing shall separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus to give him the kingdom of heaven, and a crown of life there for ever. This the Lord does and gives to those who through grace believe unto salvation; and if it be the duty of the natural man to believe unto salvation, then it must be his duty to secure all this to himself, by the promise of it all, made to them who through grace do believe unto salvation. The above may be considered pressing the point beyond its due measure, but if faith as the root be a duty, every inseparable branch must consequently be included, as the one, according to the Scriptures, cannot be without the other. 

Fifth. If duty faith were a truth, it must have some meaning with God in regard to salvation; and such a meaning too, as that if it were the universal duty of all men, wherever the gospel comes, to believe unto salvation, then salvation would be as universal as the spread of the gospel, if all men did but do their duty. And the great reason at last -why salvation is not as universal as the spread of the gospel, will be because all men did not do their duty. And so salvation finally, will not be so extensive as it might have been, if all men had but done their duty; nor so extensive as it ought to have been, if all men ought as their duty to have believed unto salvation; nor so extensive as God himself expected, if, as a duty, he expected all men where the gospel came to believe unto salvation. This brings all the counsels, purposes, covenant settlements, revealed truths, promises, and acts of the grace of God unto salvation, into immediate subjection to, and a waiting for the duty of man; and that too in such a way, as that the duty of man, and not the good pleasure of God's will, shall and must determine the final issue of the whole! I can make nothing more or less than this, of the duty of all, where the gospel comes, to believe unto salvation. Nor can I make any thing more or less than this of your answer to Mr. Wright's Letter in the Primitive Church Magazine. But, in my view, this is as opposite to every Bible truth, to every thing in the name and nature of the grace of God, to every thing belonging to the great and gracious name of God which he will have glorified, and to the nature of lost man's condition, in relation to the eternal salvation of souls, as darkness is to light, and as Belial is to Christ:

see Rom  9: 15,16, 18, 23, 24; 11: 5-7; Isaiah 66: 8; John 1: 13; John 15: 16; Prov 19: 21; John 10: 26. And how any man can hold the above ideas of duty faith unto salvation, and have the countenance at the same time to profess to hold election, and particular redemption, and for the real sight of, and entry into, the kingdom of God, the necessity and indispensability of regeneration, or the new birth, by the immediate agency of the Holy Ghost, I am entirely at a loss to know, for I cannot make it out. 

Duty faith fights against God's gospel 

Perhaps it will be said that duty faith, as held by those who embrace it, is but one among many glorious points of Bible truth and doctrine which they hold, and, therefore, not of sufficient importance to divide about. But I must say, from thirty years' observation, that whatever other doctrines are held in connection with It, I have always seen that duty faith is leaven that leavens the whole lump. And that as a disease is contrary to the health, and alters the natural figure and countenance of a person, until he looks not at all like the man of his name; even so is duty faith contrary to the very spirit, healthy fulness, richness, freeness, harmony, and beauty of every truth by which salvation by grace only is revealed and declared, until the whole countenance of gospel truth is altered thereby, and made of doubtful appearance as to which takes the greatest share, man's duty or the grace of God in the salvation of a sinner. 

To my apprehension, duty faith is no part of the moral law or covenant, equitably instituted on the day of creation, between God the creator and man the creature. It is no part of, nor any way belongs to the covenant of grace with Christ for the chosen seed, or to the law of the Spirit of life in him, Heb 13: 20; Rom 8: 2. And so it is neither a doctrine of the law nor of the gospel, but a muddling denial of the true spirit of both, agreeing with neither. Because it is opposed to the spirit of the doctrine of God's for knowledge and purpose of election before time, it is opposed to the proper surety-ship of Christ, to his real and proper redemption, to the plainly stated fact that the saved by grace are the bought with a price, and to the settled imputation of the Saviour's righteousness as the only way of a sinner's justification of life. It is opposed to the Holy Spirit's divine agency in the economy of triune grace, as being the only quickening power by which the sinner first comes into the life of godliness, the natural man is made a spiritual man *  to understand and receive the things of the Spirit, and the carnal man has his enmity smitten to the ground, and he reconciled to God by the peace-making, peace-speaking, and pardoning-love-declaring blood of Christ. It is opposed to the truth of the real state of the sinner in his nature state, as that of bring really dead in sin till actually quickened by the power of the Holy Ghost; for death under the law, and duty to have the very life of God's favour, can never be made to agree; and, indeed, duty faith appears to put every thing out of order and agreement, in relation to the salvation of lost sinners, and the display of divine favour. 

{ * Publisher's Note: Yes, speaking in broad terms. Strictly speaking, the old man of sin, the old nature, remains so, and does not become spiritual. The Holy Spirit, at regeneration, creates a new nature, the new man of grace, that which is spiritual. Thus there are two opposing natures in the believer.} 

And so we may observe, that between parties in a matter of duty, the oblige acts first, as must be the case in duty faith, for duty faith to mean any thing at all; but in a matter of favour, the benefactor acts first, as is the stated fact in the sacred word , in every named case and character of personal faith unto salvation. 

Man should be the author and finisher of his own faith, if faith unto salvation be the natural man's duty; but Christ alone is the only author and finisher of faith, and of all the saving faith known in the word of God. 

For faith unto salvation to be the duty of the natural man, it must be by man produced from human nature; but the only true and precious faith unto salvation known in the word of God, is obtained through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1: 1.

For faith unto salvation to be the natural man's duty it must be man's duty to believe unto salvation previous to the new birth; but the word of God puts believing unto salvation after the new birth, as a spiritual consequent of it, saying, 'But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, John 1: 12,13. 

The word of God makes previous secret relation and interest in grace to be the cause of personally believing unto salvation, John 10: 26; but duty faith avows a denial of this, and makes believing to be the cause of relation and interest unto salvation. 

God himself was the author of all the difference in which Israel stood from other nations, and did himself put a difference between Israel and Egypt, Ex 11: 7; but duty faith goes to say that it was the duty of all nations to be exactly what the Lord by choice and favour made Israel to be, and that it was the Egyptian's duty not to allow, but at once to destroy the difference which God himself had put between them and Israel. 

God called Abraham out alone, and blessed him, Isaiah 51: 2; but duty faith goes to say, that it was the duty of all the rest of themselves to have come and been as blest. 

Duty faith, to be properly named, should be called the faith of all men; but the only faith unto salvation known in the word of God, is the faith of God's elect; according to which faith Paul was made an apostle, Tit.1:1. 

Duty Faith puffs up man in self righteousness 

Faith unto salvation considered and enforced as the natural man's duty, is not of grace, nor of the spirit of grace; but it is, (1) Of the spirit of that zeal by which the Jews went about to establish their own righteousness, not submitting themselves unto the righteousness of God, Rom 10: 3. (2) It is of that spirit of the five foolish virgins whose vessels were without oil, who made creatures their first recourse, and then thought by the natural duty, like self-effort of purchase, to establish a right to, and acquire to themselves the possession of all things, which the five wise virgins had and took, without any account of money, price, purchase, or duty faith; but the Lord answered them, 'I know you not.' Not you are come too late, the door being shut; but, 'I know you not,' Matt 25: 12. (3) It is of the spirit of the many who will come saying, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?' All done in the Lord's name, but all self and duty faith like doings, and to whom the Lord will profess, 'I never knew you, depart from me,' Matt 7: 22,23. (4) It is of the spirit of those many, who shall seek to enter in at the strait gate, and shall not be able, Luke 13: 24; because they sought it on duty faith grounds; or, 'as it were by the works of law,' Rom 9: 32. (5) Duty faith is of the very spirit of all those 'that kindle a fire, and compass themselves about with sparks;' who are bid to follow the delusion they have chosen and loved more than the truth, saying, 'Walk in the light of your own fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled.' But hear the solemn end, for that is the main thing with never dying souls: 'This shall ye have at mine hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow,' Isaiah 50:2. 

Ancient Pharisaism was self-righteousness with the name of Moses for authority, falsely attached to it; and duty faith is Modern Pharisaism, with the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for authority, falsely attached to it; and done up so nicely too, with 'great,' learned, clever, and pious 'signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it able, they shall deceive and seduce the very elect,' Matt. 24: 24; Mark. 13:22. 

Examples of confusion in duty faith pronouncements 

Duty faith unto salvation says in the Midland Counties Association, that the power of salvation lies sufficiently in religious means; but the Bible faith says, that the power of salvation lies alone in God the Saviour, sovereignty and severally as he will, Matt 7:13; 2 Cor 4:7; 1 Cor 12: 2.

Duty faith in Mr. H., treating a spiritual state with disdain, as the mere invention of fancy, says, that the natural man can know and receive the things of the Spirit, and that the common intellect of man is sufficient of itself savingly to comprehend all such things; but the faith of the Bible says, 'What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man that is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit,' I Cor 2: 2,14,10. 

Duty faith in Mr. H., Sudbury goes on to say, that God had committed the salvation of the world into the hands of the church, and of the ministers, and that the ministers and the church are responsible for the salvation of the world. If this were true, such men as Mr. H. would be the most accursed wretches under the sun, if they did not save every one living all around about them. But do they labour to do so? Not a bit of any thing of the kind. But is such faith the truth? No; for the Bible faith of the gospel says, 'Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So, then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase,' 1 Cor 3: 5-7.

Duty faith in Mr. W N., says, that it is the duty of the natural man by absolute command, to believe unto salvation, and, consequently, to come savingly to Christ; but the faith of the gospel of Christ says, 'No man can come to me except the Father which sent me draw him, John 6: 44. 'Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father, John 6: 65.

The gospel of Christ in the world is according to what Christ himself was in the world, and nothing contrary; and the faith of the gospel says, that Christ is 'harmless,' Heb 7:26; 'Came not into the world to condemn the world, John 3:17; and will not be an accuser to the Father, saying, 'Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father, there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust, John 5:45. But duty faith in a Mr. James, who was co-pastor with an old minister of the duty faith mixed communion Baptist Church at Devizes, in the year 1817, denies this testimony, and sets up the contrary altogether; for after some considerable conversation, in which of course, we did not agree, Mr. James plainly said, 'The Lord has so altered the dispensation of things, as that he does not condemn any man by the law, but sends them the gospel of his salvation, and that if they do not believe and receive that unto salvation, they shall be damned for not believing. I said in reply to this, that the people would do very well as they are, but to send them the gospel was at once to put them in danger of damnation, if this were the truth. The apostle rejoiced that through divine wisdom, mercy and power, he had not frustrated the grace of God, meaning the gospel, nor made void the law; but had maintained both ministries in their due and distinct nature and order, Gal 2:21; Rom 3: 31. But not so Mr. James, for he confounds both. And to my apprehension, duty faith does really and indeed make void the law, and turns the gospel of the grace of God into law - conceals the pure favour of God - denies the sovereignty of the divine will in the gift of eternal life - makes the promises of God conditional, denying their being all yea and amen in Christ, to the glory of God the Father - turns the purposes of God which he hath purposed in himself, Eph 1: 9,10, into mere proposals to man - makes out God to will and desire, as to numbers, a larger salvation of sinners from his own wrath to come, than his own love, grace, and arm of his power will ever effect; instead of his working all things after the counsel of his own will, Eph 1: 11, doing what his soul desireth, Job 23: 13 - sends men to hell for not going to heaven by grace - makes man, though a sinner, to have the option of his own will over his own eternal state, and God not to determine, but to wait the final issue, with a kind of would be gracious to whom he could; denying him the entire will to be gracious to whom he will be gracious,' Rom 9: 15; Ex 33: 19; and also denying the fact, that 'he hath mercy on whom he will,' Rom 9:18, 22-24.

Duty Faith speaks in the terms of the Mosaic covenant

Duty faith goes by proposals to put the world of sinners in the same position for heaven and eternal salvation, as Moses addressed the Israelites, saying, 'I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live,' Deut 30: 19. As though the world had only to make their own choice in believing, and so obtain salvation, or lose it; yea, more, be damned for not believing unto salvation when it was so proposed to them. But these cases are not at all parallel, because Moses did not hereby propose to the heathen world, much less made it their penal obligation to make themselves Israelites of the seed of Abraham and his seed, so as to possess that land in common with them, or to be cut off from the face of the whole earth for not being and doing all this. But Moses was speaking to them as Israelites, who were already Israelites of the seed of Abraham, not by their own doing, but of the Lord's own will and power, and who were already initiated into all their privileges as the seed of Abraham, and into all the ordinances, statutes, and judgments of the Lord peculiar to the seed of Abraham. And the possession and enjoyment of their privileges in the promised land of Canaan, was their life here intended; and the loss of the enjoyment and possession of their privileges, through disobedience to the Lord's statutes in the land of promise, was their death here intended. They were not hereby required to put themselves into any new character, as that of from unbelievers to believers, and from sinners dead in sin, to living saints; nor to put themselves upon any new premises; as that from aliens to citizens of the household of God; but honorably to maintain their character as the already distinguished seed of Abraham, by obediently observing the ordinances, statutes, and judgments of the Lord, in which they were now already initiated, and in which they now stood as a people, and which was the way of their figurative, civil and covenant life; while  the disobedient neglect thereof was the way of their figurative, civil and covenant death as a people, Ezek 18; Hos 13:I. And as they did depart from the statutes of the Lord, and die in the sense intended, see their correspondent resurrection, at least of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, in Ezek 37. So that this portion of sacred truth cannot, in a gospel light and meaning, with any authority and parallel consistency, be applied to the world that lieth in wickedness; but it belongs to the admonitory and exhortatory branches of truth to the called and believing church of Christ, for their honorable regard of, and obedience of faith to the whole revealed will of God, as their own gracious God, Father and Saviour; and which is the way of life to their comforts, peace, and credit as Christians and professed followers of the Lord. As it is written, 'in the way of righteousness is life, and in the pathway thereof there is no death,' Prov 12: 28. 'The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. Moreover, by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them is great reward,' Psalm 19: 9,11. And ,they that observe lying vanities, forsake their own mercy,  Jonah 2: 8.

Duty Faith puts salvation in man's own hands

If for believing the sinner should be saved, or for not believing he should be damned, and such faith to be the natural man's duty, this would indeed be putting salvation into man's own hands. And if the Lord had thus put salvation into man's own hands as a charge, together with the endowment of sufficient ability at any time to be able to keep and perform that charge, then man would be justly subject to capital punishment, as a sort of spiritual murderer, if he neglected to exercise his given ability to the salvation of his soul.

But is the case so? Is this in fact the truth? No; for Job was a believing  man of God, Job 1: 8; but as he was not by experience quite strip,  emptied, and brought down to the dust of self-nothingness in the  temperature of his mind, but in some few things talked somewhat  like a duty faith preacher, the Lord, to bring him quite out of all  false conceit, put him as a child of his mercy, under a little further  instruction, saying unto him, 'Who is this that darkeneth counsel  by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man;  for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Canst thou lift up  thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?  Canst thou send lightning, that they may go, and say unto thee,  here we are? Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency, and array thyself with glory and beauty. Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low. Then will I confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee, Job 38: 2,3,34,35;40: 9,10,12,14. This lecture to job fully shews that neither salvation, nor the possession of properties that shall ensure it, are any-part of man's responsibility before God his creator; and its effects upon job were consequently, stripping and humbling until he cried, 'Behold, I am vile,' 40: 4; I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes, Job 42: 3, 6.

To me, nothing can appear more plain and self evident, from the above lecture to job, than that the Lord himself intends  (1) To say that it is as easy for a man to answer the above great questions in the practical affirmative, as it is for him to save himself, or of himself effectually to do any thing in part thereof. (2) That salvation is no more man's own work and business to perform, and that he is no more responsible for the performance of any thing in whole or in part thereof, than it is man's work, business and responsibility to do and to have the affirmative of the above questions, of himself and in his own person. (3) To say that any sentiment or thought in the mind of man, or language on his lips, as that of the performance, or that it is his duty from God to perform any thing as a part of his salvation, is as proud, vain, false and fruitless, as for a man to say that he can, or that it is his duty, practically to produce and sustain an affirmative to the above great questions. (4) That none but he who can practically answer and sustain an affirmative to the above questions, can save a soul in whole or in part, or can with truth say it is his business so to do. (5) That the Lord's appeal produced a full conviction and humble confession of the truth of this in job. (6) That when any poor, proud, conceited soul is brought to hear and see that of the Lord, and of himself in the light of the majesty and glory of the Lord that job was, he will never after it be able to hold any thing of the duty faith profession. (7) That God will bring all the vessels of his mercy, and heirs of his salvation, as much off duty speculations and expediencies after the flesh, into the true experience of their own entire vileness, and nothingness but guilty helplessness, as he brought job, before he takes them to heaven. (8) With all job's possessions, fine parts and abilities, he never was so largely and manifestly blest before, as he was after being brought to the fully humbling scene and confession, saying, 'I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes, Job 42: ,6,12.

A doctrine opposed to God's Free grace

Duty faith, or the duty of the natural man to believe unto salvation, is a doctrine, in my opinion, really bad in its nature, being altogether  opposed to the spirit, nature, and truth of God's purely free grace salvation; and, consequently, that it is bad in all its branches, forms, and degrees, in which and to which it is carried out by its different advocates. Some hold it in a manner quite contradictory to their other professed sentiments; while others, to be self-consistent, carry it openly to a more awful length, as we have before shewn in the cases noted down; but in any degree it Is in itself opposed to the truth and to the spirit of grace, in the salvation of a sinner from his sin's demerit in the dark pit of death, to the glory seat of endless life in the kingdom and presence of God.

THE UNIVERSAL INVITATIONS OF THE DUTY FAITH SYSTEM

One radical and very fruitful evil in the spirit of duty faith is, that it turns all the particular invitations of the gospel into general ones, saying, 'they belong to all alike, and not to any particular characters,' as are named in the invitations. The invitations of the gospel are a very rich and precious part of the word of God, and in them are contained four jewel ingredients of precious truth for special purposes, and which are, first, the nature of a promise; second, the welcome character described; third, the adapted blessing named; and fourth, the welcome expressed, come, &c. And the invitations of the gospel are in every point and property as sure and infallibly amen in Christ Jesus, as the more simple promises are; for the truth of the Lord, of which the invitations are a most gracious part, 'endureth for ever.' Divine truth never did fail, nor in part of it can it fail, in the use and end that God himself intends thereby; and if any part fail in the way that man takes it up and applies it, that is a clear and undeniable proof at once, of its being taken up wrong, and in a way and for an end the Holy Spirit of truth never intended. And nothing is more self-evident than that universal invitations have failed, do fall, and must fail; many of the invited being in a state in which it is impossible for them to come, and are without any warrant from the Lord that they ever will be in a possible state to come, and if the invited to the eternal salvation of God never come, does not the invitation fall? Because it cannot be said in this case as in a mere natural one, 'That I sent for them to come if they please, or stay away if they please;' for the Lord knows that without his quickening and regenerating power and grace, no soul under the heavens can possibly come into the personal state, character, and blessings of Christianity and endless life. Nor are the invitations vindictive, as seeking a further, occasion of condemnation against them who are already under the death sentence of the law, and cannot possibly of themselves stir from thence; but they are gracious only, benefiting many and injuring none. The invited of God have always come, do come, and will come; and so the invitations have always stood good and effectual to the end of God's purpose and grace in them. For as no part of God's truth is or can be without an effectual end and design, the evident design of the gospel invitations is, the conducting of those very characters described in the invitations, to the blessings, and hope of the blessings named in them, as most happily adapted to their described condition.

Gospel doctrines, as so many truths of standing matters of fact, are to be preached to all men of all nations, for the special purpose In the hand of the Holy Ghost, of convincing men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, John 16: 8-11, according to the Saviour's redemption of sinners out of all nations of the whole world; and the invitations are for the gracious welcome and gathering together into the comforts and blessings of Christ unto salvation, all those who are convinced and reduced in soul state, experimentally to the character described in the invitations; and this is the effectual order of every part of the infallible word of God. But duty faith men do not consider that sinners are preached to, unless universal invitations are held out to them, and which is altogether like saying that the whole of God's infallible truth is not preached, unless something fallible, useless, and irreconcilably opposed to it, be served up with it! I have myself been asked, 'Do you preach to sinners, sir?' meaning, do you invite all? And to which my answer has been, 'Yes, I preach to all sorts of sinners, and never had the honour to preach to any one else;' while I do not consider, that inviting the dead in sins to the living feast of   saints, to be preaching the truth at all. But on universal invitations we may further observe:-

Universal invitations conflict hopelessly with the particular provisions of grace

First, that universal invitations can never be made to agree with particular, fixed, and eternal purposes; a particular covenant that shall never be broken, is everlasting, immovable, ordered in all things and sure; a particular redemption that is real and eternal; particular promises that are all yea and amen in Christ; and a particular provision which God 'will abundantly bless.' And it is most certain, that if universal invitations cannot be made to agree with those great points, they can form no part of the ministry of those great points, and so, no part of the ministry in the communication of the blessings thereof. The economy of grace can only be sure, as it is particular, and must be as particular as it is really sure. And that it is particular must be admitted, if the Bible be admitted as the standard law-book of the case; for the Lord knew the end from the beginning, Isaiah 46: 10; 'For he himself knew what he would do, John 6: 6; 'That the purpose of God according to election might stand, Rom 9: 11; 'Even so, then, there is at this present time a remnant according to election of grace; and if by grace, then it is no more of works,' Rom 9: 5,6; 'Our God is in the heavens, and he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased,' Psalm 115: 3: 'Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight,' Matt 11: 25-27. 'So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy,' Rom 9: 16; Now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe, John 14: 29; that in purpose, God's works were finished from the foundation of the world,' Heb 4: 3.

*The provisions of grace are not only made for the certain support and eternal salvation of all them that come to Christ by faith, but are equally and altogether as much made for the purpose of quickening, disposing, and bringing by faith to Christ, all and every one that shall be saved by him; none have ever come to Christ in any other way than by the power of grace, that we can find in any one personal testimony recorded in the sacred word; and none can now say that they have ever come into the life of true godliness and hope of salvation, but by the Lord's own power and operations of grace; and that he alone has made them all that they are as believers unto eternal life, according to the testimony that Paul the apostle bears of his own case, saying, 'By the grace of God I am what I am," I Cor.15: 10. As it was in the fullness of grace that the Saviour came in the flesh and dwelt among men for their salvation, so it is in the power of the same grace only, by which sinners do or can come into the Spirit to dwell safely with Christ. And as it is by grace only that sinners are savingly brought to Christ for salvation, every thing to the contrary of this fact being unknown by any testimony of truth under the whole heavens; if the provisions of grace, both in fullness and power, be not  particular, but general, how is it that all are not by grace made to be for salvation, what grace made Paul to be? The apostle saith, 'Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works; but according to his own purpose and grace given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,' 2 Tim 1 9. If the provisions of grace be not particular only, why are not all men saved, and called with an holy or sanctifying calling, not according to their works, but according to God's purpose and grace given to all in Christ Jesus before the world began? We know it is not so, and what is the reason it is not, but that grace is sovereign and particular only?

And was Paul quite right with the truth of God, in putting  salvation by grace in purpose, before calling by grace, so as for the former to ensure the effectuality of the latter? And if he was right with truth in this, what part of the truth of God is it right with to call all men by universal invitations first, and after that, they are to be saved if they come, and if they do not come they will not be saved at all, after so called, but be damned for not coming? The Ephesians saints had been dead in sin, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others, but God quickened them together with Christ, and raised them up together with him, and made them sit together in heavenly places with him; and all this was done for the great love wherewith he loved them, even when they were dead in sins, Eph 2: 4-6. Now if the provisions and intentions of grace be not particular, but general, and this great love be general too, how is it that all men are not quickened, and raised up together with Christ, and blest, as the Ephesians were? For it is impossible to find any in a worse, or more helpless state, than God found the Ephesians in, when he put forth the power of his grace upon them.

The apostle, in speaking to the saints at Corinth, in the Christian confidence of having for a happy hereafter, 'A building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,' says, 'Now he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who hath also given unto us the earnest of the Spirit, 2 Cor 5: 1,5. If the provisions, intentions, and operations of grace be not particular, but general, how is it that all men are not declared to have the like house of God eternal in the heavens, and they wrought into fitness for the self-same thing, as Paul and the Corinthians were, by the Lord himself only? The Lord saith, 'I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come, and see my glory,' Not, I wish to gather, and it will be most piously prudent for them to bethink themselves and come; but I will gather, and they shall come, and see my glory, Isaiah 66: 18. It is therefore plain beyond all fair contradiction or reasonable doubt, that the coming of any sinner into the life and saving truth of the faith of Christ, is of the operative power of grace only, and that such operations of grace are sovereign and particularly only, and so at direct war with duty faith and universal invitations to salvation.

All grace unto salvation, and all gospel truth that proclaims it and makes it known, 'come by Jesus Christ, John 1: 17; and they are and must be agreed, for Christ is not divided, nor opposed in his truth, to himself in his grace; if grace was universal, truth in its intent would be so, and salvation would be so accordingly. These three agree in one mind, and divine deeds best tell what that mind is, beyond all theories.

If the invitations of the gospel unto salvation, or to a par-taking of the blessings of the gospel that are unto eternal life, had ever been by the Lord himself intended to be general and all men alike, there never would have been that particularization and description of character which cannot be denied to be contained in them all, but they would have been given out without any such restrictions to character as is now contained in them, and which is as clearly stated a point as the blessing itself is plainly named, and as that the welcome is purely gracious to the sensibly needy. As salvation is determined of God, "according to the election of grace," and according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord, Eph 3: 11, so every truth of the gospel, and, consequently, the invitations of the gospel as a part of such truth, are according to the election of grace, and the purpose of God in Christ Jesus, and as entirely so too as the existence of a 'remnant' of God-fearing, truth-believing, grace-saved people 'at this present time' is according to the election of grace, Rom 11: 5. And as all the blessings of the grace of God are determined according to his own purpose and the good pleasure of his will,' in such a manner only he speaks, and in such a manner only he works, as "after the counsel of his own will;" and he authorizes no man or angel to speak otherwise in his name. And, consequently, there is a character described in the invitations as suited to them, and as to whom the invitations are suited; because the very character under which they are described, marks them out as the undeniable heirs of promise, to whom the blessing named in the invitation belongs, and for whom the provisions of the gospel are truly and without fall made. So that the invitations of the gospel are special property, and are consequently maintained as sacred, and made as effectually infallible in all their properties above described, and to their full intent accordingly, as are all other parts of the truth of the Lord that endureth for ever.'

Are the self-conflicting doctrines of the duty faith system to be held in tension?

The fact that universal invitations cannot be made to agree with any doctrine of particular grace and ensured salvation, is forced to be admitted by some of those duty-faith ministers who profess to hold election, particular redemption, free Justification, and such like doctrines of grace. But they endeavour to excuse themselves in their evident self inconsistency, by saying, that 'truth is no system, and that it is impossible for any man to reconcile the mode of address to sinners, authorized by the word of God, with the counsels of God.' See James Smith's Warrant, &c. However this may appear to others, to me it appears one of the most awful conclusions that any man can come to, in the name of the great Fountain of all wisdom and order for the support of a point. Surely our God is not chargeable with this strife, this war, this opposition, this contradiction, this say and unsay with himself in his word; for he is not the author of such confusion, 1 Cor. 14: 33. What! When there is not a term used among men significant of system, but what the Holy Ghost has summoned as a figure whereby to express the systematical economy and settled order of the grace of God to men, as that of the Vine and its branches, and God the Father its husbandman; the Shepherd and his flock, the Husband and his bride, the Father and his family, the Head and its body, the covenant and the Mediator, the Testament, or will, and the Surety, &C.; and yet the truth of it, truth by which it is published, and by which only it is made known to the sons of men in the power of the Holy Ghost, is no system! There cannot be a more pointed self-contradiction. If truth be no system, then God can have no determined method, boundary, harmony of parts, or end in his truth, but all must lie in the hazardous posture of an uncertain adventure. What an awful reproach upon the wisdom of God, and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Beside, it is a bold falsehood, for that divine truth is a system, and there is nothing in divine revelation that is out of system; whether speaking to and of man in general, and things as they belong to man in general, or whether speaking to and of the Jews, and of the things that belonged to the Jews, and as they belonged to them peculiarly in regard to the covenant in which they were related to God, Rom ix 4,5; or whether speaking on matters at all relating to eternal salvation, or of persons interested therein, or evidently connected therewith.

In a witness, self-irreconcilable inconsistency invalidates and destroys all his evidence. Now, ministers are professed witnesses for God, as his own ministers of truth really are; but behold a duty-faith preacher in his witness box, the pulpit, preaching what neither himself nor any man upon the earth can reconcile with itself, as to one part with another! Is such an one a very pious witness in the name of the most High God? Is such an one likely to convince man of their errors and inconsistencies, and to stop the mouth of gainsayers? Is such preaching likely to convert deep­read, thinking, scrutinizing infidels? Does it not commend the wisdom of God in the gospel? Is it `sound doctrine?' Titus ii 1. And `sound speech that cannot be condemned, that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed,' verse 8. Things that cannot be reconciled are opposed to one another, are against each other, and go to destroy and overturn each other. And Mr Smith himself tells us, what we really did think before was the truth, namely, - that universal invitations, which he calls `address to sinners,' are really so opposed, that no man can reconcile them with the counsels of God. As we therefore cannot be consistent to hold and preach both, we will endeavour, by the help of the Lord, to abide by the whole counsel of God, as Paul did, opposed to universal invitations; and leave Mr Smith and his companions in duty faith, by their universal invitations, which are admitted to be irreconcilable with the counsels of God. But did not Paul preach the whole counsel of God? Acts xx 27. And what more does he say, that he preached, so as to be clear of the blood of all men? verse 26. And did he not preach to sinners, even where Christ was not named? Rom xv 20. And did he preach what neither himself nor any one else could reconcile, and plead that too, for a justification of his preaching as he did? No, he would be ashamed of it; for amen promises only were his confidence, and amen doctrines only constituted the gospel he preached, saying, `But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay,' 2 Cor i 17,18; `for we are not as many which corrupt the word of God,' ii 17; `but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully,' 2 Cor iv 2.

Universal invitations misapply the addresses of the word of God

Second. Universal invitations are supported, and can only be supported, by a perversion and misapplication of the addresses of the word of God. It is pretended that universal invitations are used in the word of God, and accordingly to be used now on that authority, although no man can bring them into harmony with any truth of a particular nature. I have read those who have collected their supposed authority from the sacred word, and the whole appears to me to be altogether without the true mind and intent of one text cited for the purpose; and to be a direct misapplication of them, both to persons and things; and a mere catching at sounds, with a gross perversion of sense, to make it fit to the predetermined favourite point. I am confident that with such a catching at sounds, irrespective of the real mind and intent of the text, which is evident from the connection, the occasion, the parties addressed, the nature, subject, and design of the address, opponents may find as much and just about as good ground in the sacred word for the denial of the divinity of Christ, the personality of the Holy Ghost, the Trinity of persons in the Godhead, salvation as all of grace, the final perseverance of the saints, the endless punishment of the wicked, &c., as they have already done. And if by such a catching at mere sounds, irrespective of sense, and directly opposite also to the greatest truths in the Bible, as is made for the support of duty faith and universal invitations, one sentiment is considered made good and supported as by due authority, why may not any sentiment be so, however bad and opposed to the mind and spirit of all divine truth? For a point being a favourite one and going down well and sweet among men, does not made it one particle the better, or less false, with such an authority only for its support.

The Lord himself made a difference between the Jews and the heathen nations, putting the former into a peculiar situation by the covenant of the land of Canaan that he made with them, and according to which he was their God and they were his people, Rom xi 4. And the Lord himself put a real difference between the personally called disciples of our Lord, and the Jews as a nation, Rom ix 7,8. And the Lord himself puts the vital difference there is between the quickened in distress, and the dead in sins, Luke vi 21,25. And the Lord himself has put a vital and salvation difference also between the churches of his called saints and the world that lieth in wickedness, 1 John v 19; 1 Cor i 2. And a distinct address to these respectively, according to their state, is intended in the sacred word; and which is as proper to observe always as their difference of state is real; for the same kind of address to all alike can never be applicable, nor consistent with their different states; and which must consequently always involve the truth of God in confusion and self-contradiction, as we have above shewn and complained. But if these distinctions are duly observed in scripture addresses, according to the mind of the Spirit, there would be no jar between one part and another of God's holy truth; ministers would not belie themselves in God's name, with contradictions which neither themselves nor any one else can reconcile; and there would then be none of the now pretended authority for universal invitations, or duty faith either; nor would it have to be said, as an excuse for self-contradiction, that `truth is no system,' nor that the truth of God can never be reconciled with itself.

Our Lord observed and marked the distinction there is between the living by quickening grace, and the dead in sins, and between the churches and the world, saying, `He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,' &c Matt xi 15; xiii 9,43; Mark iv 9, 23; Luke viii 8; xiv 35. And in Rev ii and iii it is seven times said, `He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.' And our Lord said to his disciples, 'Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear,' Matt xiii 16. And on the manner of our Lord's speaking to others, `The disciples said unto him, why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but to them it is not given,' Matt xiii 10, 11. And the apostles, in all their epistles, particularized the characters to whom they wrote, and what is said to them belongs to them, and to persons in their state and character, and belongs to such only; except what is said of others, and then their characters too are described, as according with what is said of them. And if truth in the name of the Lord, in its reality and harmony, be a man's object to have and maintain, this irrefutable rule must always be maintained.

Universal invitations contradict the doctrine of regeneration

Third. Universal invitations fully imply and really breathe the spirit of a total denial of that personal change of state, which, according to the word of God, must take place in the person for the soul to be saved; and which change of personal state is declared to have been wrought in all them who, according to New Testament record, have been believers unto salvation, and that also to have been God's own work only. And this indispensable personal change of state is set forth in the word of God, by such figures of expression as defy any commixture of agency in the thing itself, and all power but the power of God alone to produce the same. And out of the many, we will take notice of four of those forms of expression by which this change of state for the kingdom of God is set forth.

1) It is set forth under the figure of being generated, saying, `Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,' James i 18. Surely the Holy Ghost never inspired this figure without a correspondent meaning; and with this fact duly considered as the truth of God in his own holy word, universal invitations must appear most senseless and opposed to all the laws of truth, unless it be good sense and quite consistent with the laws of truth, to invite the unbegotten to beget themselves into a new begotten state, and to say that is it the duty of the unbegotten so to beget themselves. And if, according to the word of God, no person can come into the christian state, and the blessings of that state, without being thus begotten, then universal invitations must be an inviting of people to beget themselves into a new begotten state, and duty faith must go to say, that it is the duty of all men to beget themselves into a new begotten state! If such a thing were possible, and any one did in very deed so beget himself, he would belong to no race or family ever yet heard of in heaven or on earth, and so not at all to the family of God, for they are all begotten by himself, `of his own will,' and `according to his abundant mercy,' into all they are, and unto all they have and shall have, as a Bible people in state and character for the kingdom of heaven.

2) The indispensable change in personal state of the soul for the kingdom of God is compared to a birth, saying, 'Ye must be born again,' John iii 7. All therefore who are believers indeed unto eternal salvation, are first born of God, John i 13; and `of incorruptible seed,' 1 Pet i 23; and are come into divine life `as new-born babes,' 11 2. Now we know nothing of inviting the unborn to effect their own birth, and we know nothing of duties devolving on the unborn, as relating to an after-birth life; and we know nothing of children remaining in the womb to die and rot, because they do not produce their own birth as a matter and course of duty; and yet duty faith and universal invitations, with their awful penalties, amount to all this to the soul, in regard to that spiritual birth which must take place for the soul to enter the kingdom of heaven; and which, by our Lord's double verily, must be wrought of God himself, and which is accordingly compared to the mystery and power of the wind blowing where it listeth, as to any power there is in man to cause it or prevent it, for that like the wind's blowing it is of God only, John iii 8. And why is this all-important and indispensable point of fact to be smothered over, concealed, and tacitly denied by duty faith and universal invitations? Why is not this point of truth maintained as plainly as our Lord stated it, since its indispensability and importance are not at all abated? Why? because pulpit men, many of them, however, are vain enough to think that they can effect more good to souls by their fleshly pleasing schemes of piety, than God himself will do through an honest and simple statement of his own plain truth. And so, instead of the great first point in all true personal godliness, the new birth by the Spirit and power of God, being kept most prominent as its real importance demands, duty faith and universal invitations are substituted in the place thereof, and a mere change of habits, with an outward profession, is put for newness of personal state; not saying, 'Ye must be born again,' as the solemn truth is.

3) The indispensable change in the personal state of the soul for the kingdom of God, is compared to creation, and every believer unto salvation is such a piece of divine workmanship as that of being `created in Christ Jesus.' A man must be all this, to be a believer unto salvation; and no soul is a believer unto salvation with less than this newness of state by the creating hand of God. For a believer unto eternal life is in Christ, and a man cannot be a believer unto salvation without being so in Christ, and a man cannot be in Christ without being a new creature. `Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new; and all which new things are of God,' 2 Cor v 17,18. This is called creation, to show that none but the creator of all things could effect it, and that it is his work, and his prerogative alone to do it. And it is called new creation, to shew that it is not a mere reformation of the old creation state, but is distinct from it, is no part of it, is in principle altogether a new state of being, which was not included in, nor in any way of principle, privilege, or duty, belonging to the first creation state of man. And as all the duties of creation must lie within itself, and cannot lie beyond itself by any sort of anteriority, even so, it is no more the duty of any man to create himself anew in Christ Jesus, than it was the duty of nonentity to create dust, and then form that dust into a man, and make that man to become a living soul in the first creation; nor is there any more truth, reason or propriety, in the talk of duties, and invitations to such duties in the one case, than in the other; while short of a new creature in Christ Jesus, the soul has no mark or property for the kingdom of God.

4) The indispensable change in the personal state of the soul for the kingdom of God, is called a quickening, and raising up together with Christ. This is and must be God's work alone; and as none but God himself can quicken and raise the common dead, so none but God alone can quicken and raise a soul into spiritual and newness of life in Christ Jesus; and to declare which as the truth of the case, the figure of speech used is employed in our text, Eph ii 5,6. And it is no more the duty of the soul to quicken itself into new life in Christ, than it is the duty of the dead in the grave to raise themselves up into the life of the world to come; and there is no more truth or propriety in universal invitations, or invitations to the dead, in the one case than in the other.

I am aware that the force of the above figures of speech will be artfully attempted to be shuffled and frittered away, as not meaning all they would seem to imply. But let them mean much or little, what is meant, is so called as to set forth what none but God alone could perform or produce, and to mark it as God's work alone, and as that which must be as much out of man's duty, as it is of God's grace only. And, therefore, according to the fair import and evident truth of the Holy Ghost in the above forms of expression, duty faith and universal invitations must, to say anything at all, go plainly to say, that it is the duty of the unbegotten to beget themselves, and should be invited to do so. That it is the duty of the unborn to produce an after-birth state, and should be invited to do so; and that, too, whether conceived or not. That it is the duty of nonentity to create existence, and should be invited to do so. That it is the duty of the dead to quicken themselves, and should be invited to do so! Wonder, 0 heavens! at the wisdom, experience, and honesty of duty faith preachers on these points; and be astonished, 0 earth! at the people's blindness and folly in receiving such stuff for the gospel of the grace of God, the glorious gospel of the blessed God!

 

 

Did the Lord take opportunities to preach duty faith and universal invitations?

If duty faith and universal invitations unto salvation were really truths of the divine mind, and of revelation, they would claim a place in the gospel ministry as first principles, and would have been held by our Lord and his apostles as of so much importance, as, for that reason and for our example, to have used them on every fair occasion, and not let one real opportunity escape the enforcing of them upon unbelieving persons. And did they do so? and have they set us any such an example? No, but altogether the contrary, as the following examples of their conduct will shew: `Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was the Christ,' Matt xvi 20. On duty faith and universal invitation principles, we should suppose that all men would have been invited to come, that through seeing they might all believe, not missing

such a fine opportunity, if duty faith and universal invitations had ever been in the Lord's meaning; but instead of which it was `tell no man' to come and see.

And when our Lord talked with the woman of Samaria, he neither told her that it was her duty to believe unto salvation nor invited her to do so, but pointed at her conscience through the medium of her rationality, saying, `If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water,' John iv 10. Here our Lord preached a cluster of truths in few words to this unconverted woman, and that without any contradiction to other truths, or jar with the free and sovereign grace counsels of God; and also without telling her that it was her duty to believe unto salvation, or inviting her to do so; but it was a shewing of her, that if she were convinced of the truth and knew what was true, she would pray; and that if she were a praying person she should obtain, as all praying souls shall and do obtain, the blessings prayed for. `Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband and come hither,' verse 16. This was neither duty faith nor universal invitations to salvation; but a home appeal to her conscience, through the medium of her conduct in life; for Jesus knew that she had no husband, verse 17, and an honest statement of God's truth will find out all such things by the power of the Holy Ghost, without the minister's even knowing the person; whilst duty faith and universal invitations neither detect nor destroy them, but cover them over, and deceive the soul with a false piety. And our Lord further said, 'Ye worship ye know not what,' verse 22. This was an appeal to her conscience through the blindness of her devotion; while true worship must embrace in it a knowledge of God who is worshipped, and the heart engaged accordingly. If we want to know how to address sinners in the name of the Lord, here is an example which cannot be excelled, an example which needs no reconciling with the counsels of God, an example that is in harmony with all the particular truths of free, sovereign, and absolute grace, an example from the spirit of which we have no warrant to deviate in the ministration of the gospel of the grace of God.

When the Jews were on one occasion disputing with our Lord about his being the Christ, he said unto them, 'Ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep, as I said unto you,' John x 26. Sometimes our Lord spoke to the Jews in a manner peculiar to them in relation to the covenant under which they were, as we have before hinted, and shall make some further observations upon before we close these remarks; while at other times he spoke to them on things immediately relating to external salvation; and then it was in a manner agreeing with every special doctrine of the gospel of salvation, as is the fact in our text, in which our Lord did not tell them it was their duty to make themselves sheep, and then to believe in him as such; nor did he tell them it was their duty to believe, and so become his sheep; but plainly told them that their state was that which bore no mark of a sheep, and so no mark for eternal life; chewing, also, that God and not man, grace and not human duties or works, are first in a soul's belief unto salvation; striking, also, at the pharisaical pride of man, which strove then as it does now, to place human works and duties first in the order of action to salvation interest with God.

Did Peter, Philip and Stephen take opportunities to preach duty faith?

There could not have been three more favourable opportunities for the enforcement of duty faith and universal invitations than Peter the apostle had. First. In opening his gospel commission, in the first really and properly new testament sermon to the Jews, on the person, death and resurrection of Christ, Acts ii. Second. In his explanatory defence before the high priest and the Jewish council, Acts iv 9-12; v 29-32. And Third. In opening his gospel commission in the first properly new testament sermon that was preached to the Gentiles, Acts x 34 to the end of the chapter. Now these were not only opportunities, but occasions which must have made it Peter's duty to have enforced duty faith and universal invitations, if any such things had been in his gospel commission from his Lord and Master; but we hear nothing about any such thing, as though nothing of the kind was ever known, thought of, or heard of, by him, either from the scriptures, the Lord's own mouth, or the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. On all those occasions Peter spoke out plainly and boldly, as being filled with the Holy Ghost, but on none did he advance anything in address to the unconverted that was not in perfect harmony with the counsels of God and the doctrines of sovereignty and distinguishing grace. Not one word is found of duty faith in Philip's address to the eunuch Acts viii 35; nor yet in his address to sinners at Samaria, or of universal invitations either, for he `preached Christ unto them,' verse 5. Nor is there the least shadow of duty faith and universal invitations unto salvation in the forcible appeals made in the speech of Stephen, Acts vii; and we might have expected by all means to have found them in such a speech as that, had they been any part of the truth of God, or any way belonged to the gospel.

Did Paul take opportunities preach duty faith?

`And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ,' Acts xxiv 24. This was a most favourable opportunity for duty faith and universal invitations to have been advanced and enforced; and such an opportunity too, as could not have justly or innocently been suffered to pass by unembraced and unimproved, had any such doctrines, sentiments, principles, thoughts or ideas been contained and known in the apostle's great commission `to bear the Lord's name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel,' Acts ix 15. But is there anything of the kind to be found here in Paul's address? No, not one word, for at verse 25, chap xxiv it is said, `And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgement to come, Felix trembled.' Here was no duty faith nor universal invitations in this, but a fair and honest statement of facts, supported by sound and solemn reasoning. This was a mode of address to a Gentile sinner that needed no reconciling with the counsels of God and other truths of the faith of Christ.

`And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds,' Acts xxvi 29. Here was a good opportunity, and one in which we might reasonably expect to find something of duty faith and universal invitations principles, in some one form of countenance or another, if any such thing had been in either Paul's creed or commission. For 'Agrippa said unto Paul, almost thou persuadest me to be a christian,' verse 28. And why did not Paul snatch up this opportunity that was so widely opened before him, and at once tell Agrippa and all that heard him that day, that it was their duty to believe unto salvation, and to be altogether as he was in the faith of Christ: and accordingly exhort and invite, and enforce upon them to be so without delay? He did not do so, and his not doing so could not be from fear, for he spoke freely before the king, verse 26; nor could it be from a want of zeal for the cause of God, for he counted not his life dear compared to that, Acts xx 22-24; nor for want of love to souls, because he wished all that heard him that day to be altogether as he was in the faith and hope of the gospel, if the Lord's will. But he did not appeal to Agrippa and the rest, or any of them, on duty faith principles, saying that it was their duty, and that they ought to be so; but made his appeal to God, if it were his will, to make them so; as that it was in God's power only to make them so, and that the divine will, and not man's, must determine whether it should be or not; and that with all his best wishes, Paul had no authority to speak otherwise of the matter. Here the apostle said not a word that was not in harmony with the counsels of God, and all the truths of the free grace gospel and sovereign salvation of God. And why did he not? but first, because he had no such thing in his commission from the Lord; second, because he knew of no such thing in his own faith; and, third, because he knew of no such thing as duty faith and universal invitations in his own personal coming into the faith of Christ and hope of eternal life: nor as any way relating to his own free grace salvation, which he so fully maintained to be by the power of God, according to eternal purpose.

In the two epistles to Timothy, and in the one to Titus, in which Paul the apostle gives them respectively his most solemn, faithful and affectionate charge, in the name of the Lord, on the truths, and on the order and manner of life they should be careful to maintain in their ministry and example to the end of their days, not a verse, line or word, can be found which can, even in sound, be decently made to imply the least shadow of a charge, hint or intimation to enforce, preach or name faith unto salvation as the natural man's duty; nor anything of universal invitations, or invitations of the dead in sin to believe and come into the love, peace and blessings of God's salvation.

No apostolic example for duty faith preaching

And to what can we possibly attribute this apostolic silence on points which, if true, must give feature and figure to all other points of the gospel of God? I cannot possibly, for myself, account for this dead silence on duty faith and universal invitations otherwise than that these points were nonentities in the apostolic gospel of God; and that it is of the devil, antichrist, and the pride and false piety of men, that they have either name, place or being for gospel, the truth of God, or anything related thereunto now. Duty faith men make duty faith and universal invitations to give countenance and cast to the whole of their gospel; and how is this, that our duty faith men make that to be so much in every thing, which the apostles were as silent upon as death in every thing? This awful difference has not come from God, but from the parent of those spirits, 1 John iv 1, and is of their fraternity only.

Our God is of one uniform mind, and the Spirit of truth speaketh one and the same thing, in the same ministry, through all ages, without contradiction. And most certainly, that which was not gospel truth in the mouth of the apostles' public ministration of the `whole counsel of God,' of `all the words of this life,' declaring all that they had heard, seen, and handled of the `word of life,' 1 John i 1,2, cannot now belong to the truth of God, the gospel of his grace, and ministry of the word of life, as delivered by the understanding, inspiration, and public labours of the apostles; and I know not, for myself, by what law, in the name of the Lord, we are to take that for gospel truth, that has no apostolic testimony or example.

The apostles, in their ministry, fully and plainly maintained the very same doctrinal truths, to the very letter of them, as those which the prophets had done, concerning Christ, and salvation by grace in him only; according to the sovereignly settled will of God the Father, and operative power of the Holy Ghost in Christ's name, Acts xxvi 22, 23. And in my opinion there cannot be a greater evidence of a spirit of error in the ministry of any age, than when that is made of all things most prominent which the apostles were totally silent upon; and that which the apostles maintained most prominently, as paramount points of revealed truth, is kept most carefully and cautiously in almost total silence; and which to an awful degree is the unconcealable and undeniable case in the present day. And in proportion as duty faith is maintained, the doctrines of sovereign, determined, and distinguishing favour must be kept out of sight; these two being in absolute opposition, and impossible to be maintained together in relation to eternal salvation. And as duty faith, in the very nature and spirit of it, does and must deny all necessity of the Holy Spirit's agency and power, and being also, in most sweet and perfect harmony and agreement with the universal pride and delusion of fallen human nature, about doing something as a duty whereby to acquire eternal life, this of course takes best among men, is most popular, as the very sentiment of nature without one word of revelation; and this buttered side being discovered by the schools, the ministers keep this side most upwards, as standing first in importance, and as giving the only allowable countenance to all other things relating to godliness, although it be in direct opposition, First. To the state of man, as `without strength' under the law. Second. To the sovereignty of the divine pleasure of the universally offended Lawgiver, who saith, `I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.' Third. To the fact that eternal life is the free gift of God, and divine gift only. Fourth. To the total silence of our Lord and his apostles on every thing that belongs to duty faith unto salvation; which silence we have above observed, and shall further observe in due order.

Is it the duty of all men to be what grace makes a christian?

It has been said, `That it is the duty of all men to be what grace makes the christian.' This is plain, and the plainer it is the better we can understand it, and the less likely we are to make mistakes. But in reply to this, let us observe:­

First. That so it would be the duty of all men, if Adam had been as a head to his whole posterity exactly what Christ is as a head to his believing church, and the whole posterity of Adam had been in him at the first exactly what the quickened and called church is in Christ; but not otherwise, since it cannot be any man's duty now, to be more than man was at the first. And taking Adam as a pattern of the whole, that he was in his moral uprightness, in his life and standing in Eden, and in his meetness for Eden, just what

the christian man by grace is unto salvation; and that the man of God by grace unto eternal salvation, is but a repetition of Adam's first constitutional state and standing figure before God in Eden, either personally, systematically, properly, or prospectively, I challenge and defy any duty faith man under the heavens to prove by any one text in all the word of God. For that while Adam had in his first state but a pure earthly paradise, he stood in the very height and perfection of the bliss for which he had a personal meetness, and that on condition only of his upright continuance in the moral rectitude in which God had made him; while the christian, by grace `a new creature,' has a meetness for the incorruptible inheritance of heaven itself, and that ensured to him in the very life of Christ, John xiv 19. The word of God, in speaking of Adam in his own order of first state, never calls him a spiritual man, but a natural man; and in speaking of the man of God by grace, in his own order as such, never calls him a natural man, but a spiritual man; and according to the word of God, these two cannot mean the same thing and the same state of being, but differ as greatly and distinctly in meaning as does the law and the gospel, the letter and the spirit, the ministration of death and the ministration of the Spirit, the old and the new covenant, the earthy and the heavenly, 1 Cor xv 47, 48; 2 Cor iii.

Second. The idea of its being the duty of all men to be what grace makes the christian, reduces, lowers, diminishes, and levels down the whole work of our Lord Jesus Christ, and all the quickening, teaching, comforting, Christ-glorifying work of the Holy Spirit, to the mere restoration and re-establishment of the first natural Adam state and obedience as required of man by creation law. And which idea also goes to declare, that all that is so richly said in the word of God of the great, the everlasting, unchangeable, and inseparable love of God; of his great and everlasting mercy, his manifold grace, his deep counsels, his mighty works, his truth which endureth for ever, his many exceeding great and precious promises, his covenant that he will not break, nor remove, but remember for ever; and all his gracious names that he savingly bears in his holy word; and all that is therein said by his saints with grateful wonder and praise for all his greatness in goodness, love, and mercy toward them, is only about God's doing for some men what was the duty of all men to do for themselves, and amounting to nothing more at!! 0 what a robbery is the notion of duty faith unto salvation, upon the exceeding riches of grace, upon salvation's deep and sweet mystery, and upon God's holy and gracious honour and glory! 0 what a pious fraud is duty faith unto salvation, gravely played off upon the self-willed, self-righteous, gracelessly pious multitudes, who like to have it so! And 0 how liberal and free is all this too from all such heavenly and Bible religious bigotry which holds, with so much narrow-mindedness, that a soul must be born again of the Spirit and grace of God to be a christian, or to commence one step in the path which leads to eternal life, and that salvation is wholly in and of the will, pleasure, hand, and power of God only! But how will it be in the end?

Third. The idea of its being the duty of all men to be what grace makes the christian, makes our Lord Jesus Christ to be nothing more as a head to his grace-made christian seed, than Adam was and would have been to his whole natural posterity had he continued to stand and had not sinned. And so all those high and glorious, spiritual and heavenly distinctions of gracious and salvation excellency, which the word of God ascribes to Christ alone, as Head of his church, and to his church in him, by an everlasting covenant of life and peace, above, and all surpassing Adam, and his natural posterity in him at the first, are by duty faith at once thrown down, denied, and destroyed, to make room for itself, in the place of the things of the Spirit, while itself is but of natural origin, and not of the Spirit by saving grace.

Man's original state must embrace every duty of the natural man, and as those duties were in accordance with nature's constitution, and within nature's own inherently constituted power to perform them, we call them natural duties to God the Creator by the law of nature. And if it be the duty of every man to be what grace makes the christian, while it cannot be the duty of any natural man to be any thing more or less or any thing otherwise than as God made man at the first, then the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ must be after all nothing more than the religion of nature, and Christ must be only a natural head, as Adam was at the first, of natural religion; and so, godliness altogether by grace is but the mere restoration of the religion that Adam lost; and so, according to this, all that is said of the mystery of godliness, the mystery of Christ, and of the mysteries of the kingdom of God, &c, they are nothing more than what were the commonplace things of nature before Adam fell! Only you must be a duty faith saint to believe this!

We see, however, by this idea of every man's duty, that duty faith is but natural faith, the faith of nature by the law, in nature's Author and Lawgiver; and which natural faith took the lead in Adam's pure nature, in his obedience to God's law of nature to man in the Eden state. We do not deny natural faith, but believe in the truth of it, and that it is a natural duty under the law of nature toward the Lawgiver; and that the obedience to this natural faith is the fulfilling and keeping the law of God's common revelation of himself, as at first made to Adam. But if every man had as much of this natural faith as Adam had at the first, and as pure, it would not then be the faith of the gospel that is unto salvation, nor any thing related to it; for so taking it is a deadly deception altogether; and here lies the awful but popular error about duty faith, as having any thing to do with salvation.

And here, I perceive, lies your own great mistake, Sir, about christian obedience and faith unto salvation, as growing out of, and as being `the essence of God's law.' I am aware that the duty faith system virtually, and some at least of its advocates declaratively, deny there being more than one kind of faith; and then the faith of nature under the law, is blindly, fondly, and self-righteously taken up for, and made out to be, all the faith the Bible means, and to stand for every purpose, end, and intent of faith; while the supernatural `faith of God's elect,' `that is of the operation of God,' is obtained `through the righteousness of God,' and that is not of man, nor of works, nor of duty, is artfully put away as no reality; and natural faith, which is a duty under the law, is turned into a duty faith unto salvation under the gospel; and this is the thing I oppose under the character of duty faith. The faith of nature under the creation law of divine claims and human obligations, and the faith of the seed of Abraham under the law of conditional privileges by the land of Canaan covenant, and the faith of God's elect, made to stand in the power of God, and within the saving grace of the everlasting covenant with Christ the elect head for the whole `election of grace,' are by no means the same thing; but are as different as the respective premises are, and as much so, as the fact is, that the two first could hold nothing of Eden or of Canaan secure, but on the respective conditions of human doings; while the latter has all in free promises in Christ, secured by divine faithfulness in him, `Yea and amen;' `that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed,' Rom iv 16.

CHRIST'S REDEMPTIVE WORK MAULED TO JUSTIFY UNIVERSAL INVITATIONS

As it is impossible to give any thing of a tolerable countenance to universal invitations on particular redemption premises, so, as a sort of plea for universal invitations to salvation, the work of our Lord Jesus Christ is mauled about into all manner of shapes and forms of a something universal; but forced to be therewith of consequent uncertainty, and perishable fallibility. Because none pretend to affirm that salvation is or will finally be universal, but intimate that on the work of Christ being universal, salvation might be if men would But according to this, so far as salvation fails to be universal, just so far the whole work of our Lord Jesus Christ in life, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ever living intercession, must fail, prove in vain, perish, and come to nothing. Universal invitation principles must bring us to this awful, God-dishonouring, yea, God-denying conclusion; because, according to the word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ took on him the nature of the seed of Abraham, came into our world, and did, suffered, and accomplished all he `finished,' with no other object, aim, end, and intent, than that of salvation; so that if salvation fail in any one instance, the work of our Lord Jesus Christ is declared to fail, perish, be in vain, and come to nothing in every such case. Universal invitation men must admit and come to this conclusion, or accurse their own universal notions to the public gibbet of condemnation, there to hang till they be dead; and God in the glorious Trinity of his persons, and in all his perfection, and in all his God-like works and ways, be honoured, magnified, and declared God over all, blessed for ever, in having mercy on whom he will have mercy, and in saving with an everlasting salvation all whom he will save.

 

Did Christ die intentionally for the elect and provisionally for the rest?

It has been said, that `Christ died intentionally for the elect, and provisionally for all the rest of mankind, and that there is merit enough in the blood of Christ for the redemption of all men, if they would apply for it.' This is as easy said as any thing else, and is very pleasant to flesh and blood, but it is not easy to be proved and sustained for truth by any one text in all the word of God; because in relation to eternal salvation, God has borne no such testimony in any part of his word, either of man, or of himself, of his will and intention, or of his work, or the worth that is in it. The Lord's plans are all drawn in his own mind before he begins his work; the counsel of his own will, indeed, is his one great and entire plan, and to this plan he will work all things until he has fulfilled all he has purposed, promised, meant and intended; for as he is of infinite understanding, and sees the end from the beginning, all his provisions, operations, promises and intentions, are in conformity to, and all tend infallibly to secure that full end and design; for `I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever; nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it,' Eccl iii 14; so that `All God's works shall praise him, and his saints shall bless him.'

Did Christ die for all sin, not persons in particular?

It has been said, `That Christ died for sin, for all sin, and not for persons in particular.' This is a very convenient loop-hole for the bringing in of universal invitations, and human conditions for the personal acquirement of eternal life; but is this the truth of God that endureth for ever? Death is the wages of sin, and if Christ died for all sin, then is there now no more death for sin to any one. Death is the full penalty of sin, and so much of sin as Christ hath died for, so much of death that came by sin hath Christ for ever destroyed. And if Christ died for all sin, then hath he for ever abolished, swallowed up in victory, and destroyed all death, that came by sin, or by dying he hath not destroyed death at all, and in that case what has he done by dying? But according to the truth of the word of God, so far as Christ hath died for sin, so far death that came by sin, and is the wages and penalty of sin, is destroyed, so as to have no more power or existence in relation to the sin for which Christ died; and as far as sin was condemned in the flesh of Christ, so far is condemnation for ever ended on the sin for which Christ died, Rom viii 1,3. For wherein Christ by dying for sin is death's destruction, there, and to that full extent, is he life's sure, full and happy fountain for ever, John xi 25,26; and to this truth the Holy Ghost leads the convinced heirs of salvation for the hope of eternal life, and to realize, by humble persuasion under his divine testimony, that on the ground of this truth, `the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made and doth make them free from the law of sin and death,' Rom viii 2; with the happy, `Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died,' verse 34. Sin is called a debt, and that Christ should pay off that debt by dying, without an immediate regard to the debtor, appears to me most senseless. Sin is an offence, and that Christ should suffer death, which is the utmost penalty for the offence, without an immediate regard to the offender, and his sure escape too, appears to me to be anything but divine truth, reason or common sense; because we might just as well say, that Christ died to pay debts and to suffer penalties without any regard whatever to either debtor or creditor, offender or offended; or without any real design.

Is redemption universal but men do not avail themselves of it?

It has been said, `That redemption is universal, and that the reason why salvation is not universal, is because men do not avail themselves of the advantages of redemption.' This gives plenty of scope for universal invitations, and just suits the pride of the human heart, because it gives to man a sort of self-dispensing power over the eternal favours of God, and denies God's sovereignty in the dispensations of his own blessings. This also makes the redemption work of Christ to come a certain distance toward the sinner, but not to reach all the way to him as a sinner, without strength, dead in sins, and at enmity against God, in order to fetch him out from that very state. But if the ladder which Jacob saw had not come all the way to the earth, it could have marked out no way of intercourse for him with heaven, or heaven with him: and so the work of Christ would do nothing if it did not reach all the way to the sinner's case as a sinner. But quite contrary, and very happily so, to the above nonsense of the sinner's availing himself, the apostle Paul declares the work of our Lord Jesus Christ to extend to the sinner as a sinner considered, and not to him merely considered as a coming saint: saying, `When we were yet without strength, Christ died for the ungodly,' Rom v 6; `While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,' verse 8; `When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,' verse 10. And this the apostle calls God's commendation of his love to us, verse 8; and considering this being done in the great love of God, that there is now a much more abundant certainty, that all shall be finally saved from wrath, for whom this work of Christ has thus been done.

And this notion of man's `availing himself of the advantages of redemption,' leaves the Holy Spirit's work out altogether, as having nothing to do with the matter of personal godliness and salvation in such gentlemen's theology; although our Lord himself hath so plainly said, `When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,' John xvi 8-11; `He shall testify of me,' xv 26; `He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you,' xvi 14. And this notion of self­availing' goes also to say, that man's not availing himself of certain things in his own strength and of his own will, does more for the saint's everlasting ruin in hell, than all the good will, the love, the promises, and all the gracious works of the Lord will finally avail to save it; and that Christ has redeemed in vain, or redeemed with a redemption that may turn out to be no redemption at all, unless the ruined will consent to its being effectual! And I think how happy and pleased such men as the above must feel in their dear good selves, as being so good as to avail themselves of the advantages of redemption, while there are so many who are so much more naughty and wicked as not so to avail themselves, Luke xviii 9. But when God by mercy shall take in his prodigals, and righteously turn out his never-offending, and shew up the full truth to effect, that nothing but God's workmanship, and none but new creatures in Christ Jesus, who are born of God and of incorruptible seed, shall inherit the kingdom of God, how will this self-availing scheme stand then in the judgment of God?

The work of Christ is particular'and effectual, not universal and uncertain

It has been said, `That redemption is universal, but the application particular; and that a universal redemption is a necessary preliminary to a particular application.' What can men of learning

and talent think the redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ really to be, to speak of it in this way? For the word redemption itself must be well known to have no such meaning, acceptation, or use among men by any analogy under the whole heavens. It is well known that the word signifies buying back, a rescue, a release, a reclaim, a freedom obtained by an adequate price paid for the same, with the consideration that there is no such freedom without such price, and that no such price is paid without such freedom being obtained and secured without any further consideration, and which is accordingly called `The price of redemption.' Lev xxv 51,52. And the word redeem will apply to land mortgaged, to any thing put in pledge for money, to a person who has forfeited his liberty by misdeeds, and to persons taken prisoners in the field of battle, and led away captive by the conqueror; and in all these and such like cases where redemption is required, and is to be effected, the price of redemption is the full price of complete freedom and deliverance always. Deliverance by power, without any other immediate outlay, is called redemption, Jer xxxi 11; but no sort of price paid is ever called redemption without deliverance effected and secured thereby. The apostle useth the word in regard to saving of time by christian diligence, watchfulness, &c., saying, `Redeeming the time,' Col iv 5. Now it is the time saved, the deliverance wrought, the rescue and freedom actually effected and secured, that is called, and is properly the redemption; and not the diligence employed, the power outlaid, or the price paid, for they are but the means; so that whatever be the price paid, the power or outlay employed, the deliverance and salvation itself only is the redemption, as we so fully and plainly read in the word of God saying, `The angel which redeemed me from all evil,' Gen xlviii 16; `The Lord liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity,' 2 Sam iv 9; `Out of all distress,' 1 King i 29; `Who redeemeth thy life from destruction,' Psalm ciii 4; `I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death,' Hosea xiii 14; `That he might redeem us from all iniquity,' Tit ii 14; `Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,' Gal iii 13; `From your vain conversation,' 1 Peter i 18; `Which were redeemed from the earth,' Rev xiv 3; `These were redeemed from among men,' verse 4; `Which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt,' 2 Sam vii 23; `And hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation,' Rev v 9.

From the word of God, therefore, so full and so plain on the point, it is undeniably evident, that a real deliverance only effected and ensured is redemption; and that without a real, proper, and actual deliverance and freedom ensured from the thraldom considered, whatever is done, it is in no shape redemption at all, by any known meaning and proper use of the terms redeem, redemption, redeemeth, redeemed, redeemest. And on what ground, then, our Lord Jesus Christ's proper redemption of souls, by the full price of `Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,' Ex xxi 23-25, in suffering, bloodshed, and obedience even unto the death of the cross, should be so mauled about as above, and subjected to those drawbacks, imbecilities, failures and defects, contrary to all and every idea of a real and proper redemption in every other matter, case or instance known among men, for which the true and proper sense and meaning of the word redemption is known to stand, I cannot make out or understand; otherwise than that such men, professing to receive the truth of God, at the same time cannot bear the plain, free, discriminating, absolute grace, shape and order of that truth, and, consequently, not its real nature and design.

I hope I have as large a heart and soul for the salvation of sinners as any man living, and subject to the sovereign will and operative power of God, work as hard at least as any second-rate labourer in the Lord's name, to promote that end; but I must confess that I have never been able to make that out to be redemption at all, which does not really and properly redeem, but leaves its intended objects, from certain still existing causes, enthralled, undelivered, unrescued, and liable, after all, to all the misery and woe to which exposed without such a falsely called redemption. Nor that to be atonement that does not really and properly atone, by `making amends for the harm done,' Lev v 16, by `covering the sin,' Ps xxxii 1, so as to ensure forgiveness of all offences concerned, according to the word of the Lord, saying, `And the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him,' Lev iv 26,30,31,35; v 10,13,16,18; vi 7. Nor that to be reconciliation that does not really and properly reconcile, but leaves the disagreement so far unsettled, as that the parties concerned are liable to be as far off as ever on the old grounds of offence. Nor that to be a propitiation that does not really and properly propitiate, but leaves all the offence, anger and frown, liable to remain and to break out in full effect after all; and even the more so by far, from what has been done to appease than otherwise, according to the duty faith gospel! Nor that to be justification that does not really and properly justify its intended objects from all condemnation and the causes thereof, but leaves them still subject to certain liabilities of charge and condemning consequents. The above five plain words (i.e. redemption, atonement, reconciliation, propitiation and justification) are employed in the sacred scriptures, to declare the good will and truth of God in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; but there is not one of them that is or can be allowed, by the duty faith and universal invitation system, to have its proper meaning finally and effectually carried out and established by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ alone, without being suspended on the hazard of some creature conditions, which subjects the whole to a wide extent, according to that scheme, to an entire failure; but which failure, and the system that must admit it, duty faith men are much more prepared to receive, love and hold fast, than they are to embrace the divine doctrine of `I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy;' but in which form will the last great day shew up the dispensation of God's favours?

The work of Christ is salvation; and whatever he has done for the salvation of one soul, the very same he has done for the salvation of every soul for whom he has done any thing at all for salvation. So that if the work of Christ to save be universal in any part of it, it must be universal in every part of it; and in such case every part of the work of Christ must fail and be in vain in the case of every soul that is lost. But if the work of Christ be salvation to one or more, as it really is, and from which alone he is called the Saviour, how is it that every one is not saved by the work of Christ, if that work was done alike for all?

I think I may safely challenge all the duty faith schools, divines, and advocates in the world, to prove from the sacred text that the redemption of souls by our Lord Jesus Christ is more or less than one complete and uniform redemption, or that it is at all divisible into sections of different lengths, strength, character, design, or effectuality, in relation to any different portions of the redeemed, as arising from any difference of circumstances whatever on their own part. If such a thing can be proved, where is the sacred text in the evident mind of the Spirit to prove it? We claim the right to take our stand at this point, because if this cannot be proved by the word of God, then redemption in itself must be as particular as salvation is and has been in all ages discriminate; by redemption I hereby mean the entire saving work of Christ as a systematical whole; for redemption being but one, what it is to one soul, it must be to all the redeemed; and what it is not to all the redeemed, it cannot be to any one. If one redeemed soul be lost, why not all? And if the redemption of Christ be the salvation of one soul, so it is and must be of all the redeemed; and the reason why all men are not saved, is that they are not redeemed; for while the eternal salvation of the soul lies, by divine purpose, embodied and secured in redemption, the available essence of redemption lies in the worth and merit of it, solely as wrought out and obtained by Christ himself in his life and death; the gospel of it, operative power about it, application and personal evidence of it, being no additions whatever to it, but consequents growing out of it, as ensured by it. For as redemption can and doth make singers of its redeemed, while singers cannot make nor add anything to redemption, Rev xiv 3; so redemption grace will make and produce believers, but believing never did nor can make or add any thing of interest or security to redemption, but openly declare, as by grace given evidence, such souls to be redeemed ones; for `the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their head,' Isaiah li 11. They are not redeemed for returning, but return because they are redeemed; nor are they redeemed for singing, but their redemption shall make them all sing for joy; because it is the redeemed, without pointing to any part, or to any circumstance relating to one part of them more than another, for God names only their being the redeemed, as the who shall return, and as the why they shall return.

We are not opposed to a large redemption, but to the notion of any being lost whom Christ bath redeemed; and to that of his having done any part of his saving work for those who will be lost. In my opinion, it is as far off from the truth of God, and as awfully opposed to the truth of God, to say that Christ, who is the God-Man mediator of the better covenant, hath wrought out a universal redemption, but which will prove all in vain, perish, and come to nothing, from certain causes in man, as far as salvation fails to be universal, as it is to say, `that Christ hath wrought no redemption at all, and that he only lived a good and holy life, and died a martyr, to set us an example, that by following the same we may go to heaven by a good moral life.' Both these notions are alike opposed to the truth of God, only one holds that he hash done the greatest and most glorious of all his works, to a vast extent in vain; and the other holds that he hath done no such work at all. Both these are strongholds of Satan, but the first in the present day commands the popular piety.

Scriptures which seem to support universal redemption

Whether universal redemption as the ground-plot of universal invitations, will universally stand, or be particular only in its final effects, perhaps may be considered to be not so much our business to enquire, as it is at once to admit that redemption in itself is in some way universal, by the clearest Bible testimony, which at once plainly declares that Christ did die for all; and that `as it is so said in the holy word, it is for us so to believe, receive, and speak of it.' But while with heart and soul we receive and revere the Bible as the infallible truth of God, and believe that every sound of it is intended to convey some true and solemn sense, we ask, is there not a possibility of taking sounds in a sense never intended? Spiritual things would bear comparing with spiritual things in the apostle's day, and by their harmony gave instruction, confirmation, and consolation, by the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth, 1 Cor ii 13. And as spiritual things are now just what they always were, I think in order to come at the truth of God and the mind of the Spirit in the sacred word, we cannot do better than compare spiritual things with spiritual things now, by the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth.

And if upon examination it should be found, that the word all, &c used in the holy revelations of the will of God, in relation to other parts of the salvation work of the Lord, cannot possibly in truth be taken with universal intent, meaning and design, would it be quite safe to conclude that the word all, &c as used in relation to the redemption work of Christ, is by the Holy Spirit intended to express individual universality of all men? And would it be doing injustice to the mind and intent of the sacred text, to take those ails in relation to redemption, as other ails of equally universal sound in the sacred word must be taken? If there be an evident good sound sense and reason for the use of the words all and all men, in regard to other parts of the salvation work of the Lord, without a possibility of their meaning in truth universally all men individually, will not the same evident good sound sense and reason for the use of the words all and all men, equally apply and stand well in regard to the redemption work of Christ, without the universality of all men being ever meant or thought of? I am of the opinion that the same reason there is for, and propriety there is in the use of the words all and all men, in relation to one part of the soul salvation work of our God, there is in regard to every part of it, and that that sense and meaning upon the words all and all men, that will not possibly in truth apply to every part of the soul salvation work of the Lord, was never intended by the eternal Spirit of truth to be applied to any part of it, and so not to the redemption work of Christ in particular.

Entreating to be guided by the Spirit of all truth, we will now collect, compare, and so try the ails used in the word of God in regard to the salvation of souls, and classing them off in their own order, we will - First, notice some of those which relate to the deeds, dying and redemption work of our Lord Jesus Christ, such as the following:

`Who gave himself a ransom for all'

`Who gave himself a ransom for all,' 1 Tim ii 6. This evidently and simply means, all sorts and grades of society of men, whom the apostle exhorted Timothy that they should be prayed for, verse 1,2, `that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness;' and also because that such all men `God will have to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth,' and the same to be testified in due time.' It is not said God would have all men to be saved, nor would have had all men to be saved; but `Will have all men to be saved,' and this will extends quite as far as the gift of the ransom; and all intended by both sayings is `to be testified in due time.' Now take the whole connexion from the first to the close of the seventh verse, and then take the testimony of these now for ever gone by eighteen hundred years, and see whether any thing like individual universality in either the `will' or the `ransom,' could ever be understood and intended by the apostle, as by any sort of `testimony' that can be gathered to have been borne in any way whatever to that point, through all this length of time now gone by. For the apostle tells us most plainly that the truth he stated, and intended by his statement, should `be testified in due time:' and while in the conduct of providence, the ministry of the gospel, and the manner of the effectually working power of God therewith, it has long and mercifully been `testified' that all sorts of characters and grades of society of men, are included in the `will' and `ransom for all' in our text, there is in no shape the least testimony borne to individual universality of souls unto salvation as being ever intended. And while the Lord did out of one savage blood-thirsty persecutor, raise up and make one `apostle to the Gentiles,' how is it that thousands of such preachers were not raised up and sent at once into every kingdom, province, city, and village of the whole world to testify the same, if the will of God was to have all universally saved, and as universally `come to the knowledge of the truth?' Was the will of God ever limited by his want of power? Could he not raise up workmen for a universal work, if such had been his will? Was God ever really short of workmen for his own purposes of grace, further than to make it a matter of prayer with the church for him to send, as well as prosper them he hath sent into the ministry?

 

 

Use of the word world'

`For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved,' John iii 17. `And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world,' John vi 5. `And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world,' 1 John ii 2. These portions of sacred truth, from the use of the words world, and the whole world, are considered to involve an evident universal intention and consequent universal virtue, provisional­ly, if not determinately, in the redemption work of Christ. But while God in the Trinity of his persons is as mighty to save as he is willing to save, and saving being the sole act of his own good will and pleasure, and the saving display and conduct of his power having been in all ages discriminate only, I cannot take any text to mean any thing of individual universality of intention, provision, or virtue, in the redemption work of Christ; while, notwithstand­ing, every text and every sound has a meaning harmonious in the perfect whole.

It is well known that the Gentiles are called the world, in distinction from the Jews, and such passages as the above are intended to declare the Gentiles equally included with the Jews in the redemption work and salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Jewish notions and prejudices generally, as a body, were that they exclusively were to partake of the benefits of Messiah's work, and be of his kingdom; and these sayings of the world, in relation to the redemption work of our Lord Jesus Christ, are intended to destroy all such notions, and to declare that with God there is no difference of national distinction, in the great matters and designs of Calvary. And while some of the Jews, from their own prophets, held that the Gentiles should partake, yet this was but a partial notion, and that such favours were only to be extended to such nations of the Gentiles as were distantly related to them, (the Jews,) by the blood of their forefathers, and to such as had been most friendly towards them, or who had done them any kindness as a people; so that the favour was to be for their sakes only, and so applying Deut ii; while all the rest of the Gentile nations should be destroyed. And the words, `every creature,' `all nations,' `the whole world,' `all men every where,' are beyond a doubt, in my opinion, used to contradict and destroy every thing of this notion, and to declare that, by the will of God, without any such secondary cause or reason, redemption and salvation eternal should extend to every nation under heaven equally, as to the Jews in due order and time. But this does not declare the redemption word of Christ to be in any thing individually universal, nor any thing beyond the election of grace, of all nations, kingdoms, kindred, tongues, and people; any more than the apostle's speaking so much of the manhood of Christ to the Jews, in the beginning of the gospel ministry, for the establishment of the fact of his being in truth the promised seed of Abraham, and son of David, according to the flesh, was any denial of his proper divinity, as the Unitarians would have us to believe.

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself

`To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them,' 2 Cor v 19. This text, from its sound, has been taken to deny the personal divinity of Christ; but it was never intended to express the personal constitution of Christ, so much as it is the nature, order, economy and design of the incarnate life, deeds, and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. For when Jesus as mediator moved in obedience, worth and merit, the Triune God moved in design. And what was that design? Reconciliation! Of whom? The world; Gentiles of all nations, and Jews of all ranks. How? `Not imputing,' charging or reckoning `their trespasses unto them.' `Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin,' Rom iv 8. So that as far as God hath and doth reconcile, so far he imputeth not sin; and so far blessed is the man, the men, or the people to whom the Lord will not impute sin. And, consequently, if reconciliation were individually universal, non­imputation of sin must be so too, and then blessedness must be individually universal accordingly, without fail; but neither the word of God, nor the face of things by the operations of the hand of God, have ever borne any testimony to such universality of grace, either in purpose, thought, word or deed.

The word reconciliation, in scripture truth, has evidently three branches of application. First, legal, as by the meritorious blood-shed and perfect righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby justice is satisfied, the law is magnified, all righteousness is fulfilled, and the insulted honours of God's holiness are vindicated and established for ever in behalf of the ransomed. Second, personal, whereby the redeemed, by virtue of the work and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, for them in the first point, are, by the power of the Holy Ghost, brought personally into vital heart and soul reconciliation and agreement with God, on the endearing plan of grace in Christ Jesus, for their eternal life. Third, practical, whereby the man of God, and the church of God, confess and acknowledge the righteous government, works and ways of the Lord, and bow to his commands and ordinances, in obedience acquiescence and active agreement with all his revealed will, declared for the order and observance of his church, and his saints' personal and social obedience in faith and love; and to which the apostle exhorted and besought the confused and disordered church of Christ at Corinth, 2 Cor v 20. Now duty faith and universal invitation men, to make things to look to agree with their generalizing scheme, turn the first of these three points into something of an indefinite provision; and then chiefly deny the true nature of the second, and the effective power of God alone therein; and then put the third in the place of the second, and then make out the apostle, not to be, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, exhorting and beseeching the church to order and consistency among themselves, as becometh saints, but to be exhorting and beseeching the whole world of ungodly men to be reconciled to God, on the authority of a something of universal provision supposed to be in the first point. It certainly is to me a most strange and unaccountable thing, that in Paul's writing to the church as he does at verse 20, for reasons so plain and self evident through both epistles, any man living and professing `the wisdom of the just,' should take him to be exhorting and beseeching the ungodly world to be reconciled to God, while in his real and direct addresses to the world, in different places and under various circumstances, not one word or breath of the kind is anywhere to be found expressed or implied; and surely if he had ever meant any such thing, when writing to the church behind the world's back, he would, at some time, and in some way, have declared it to the world, when speaking to their face.

Some scripture alls' which cannot be universal

Having set down some of the principal texts which from their sound are, on duty faith principles, considered to declare the redemption work of Christ, to be in some way universal, we will now try that conclusion by a second class of ails, &c, which in their sound must imply as much universality as any one of the ails used in regard to redemption; while the sense and truth of which it is impossible to make out universal; such as the following.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together'

`And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together;' not may see it, might see it, or ought to see it, but shall see it, `for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it,' Isaiah xl 5. Now we know there cannot be a more universal sound than this of `all flesh,' while here it is declared from the Lord's own mouth, that all flesh together shall see the glory of the Lord, and which glory is declared to be `the salvation of the Lord,' Luke iii 6; and so it is declared that `all flesh shall see the salvation of God.' And here are now eighteen hundred years passed away, and not a single feature of evidence has ever appeared to give the truth, meaning, and intent of this text, a universal countenance; and it is too late, by all that time, possibly to give it that countenance now.

And it shall come to pass, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh'

`And it shall come to pass, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh;' not would, nor would have done, but will, Joel 11 28. There is no word used in relation to the redemption work of Christ that sounds more universal than this text, and we know that nothing universal has ever yet been made of its meaning, and that it is too late to take it in any possible truth with that meaning now. And beside, the apostle Peter applies this text to the out-pouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, saying, `This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: and it shall come to pass in the last days saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,' Acts ii 16, 17. And now we know all flesh individually universal were not present on the day of Pentecost, nor was the Spirit poured individually upon all that were present, for some `mocked,' verse 13; but `there were devout men out of every nation under heaven,' verse 5, both Jews and Gentiles, pretty well of all sorts, tongues, and countries; and to these the apostle applies as the divine meaning and intent of the text, the words `all flesh;' agreeable to the words of God by the prophet, saying, `I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my glory,' Isa lxvi 18; my salvation, Luke iii 6; and according to our Lord's words saying, `And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me,' John xii 32. All nations of men individually have never been gathered to see the salvation glory of the Lord; nor has the Lord drawn all men individually of all nations unto him, nor all men individually of any one nation, nor has the Lord ever, in any age, sent out ministers, or employed other means, in any such way, shape, or form; and, consequently, no such individual universality could ever be intended.

General comment on universal sounding texts

To me it appears the plain truth of God, and mind of the Spirit, that the alls and universal sounds, in texts relating to the redemption work of Christ, are of the very same meaning and intent as those in the texts relating to all flesh seeing the salvation glory of the Lord - of the Spirit's pouring out upon all flesh - of all nations and tongues being gathered to see the glory of the Lord - of all men being drawn unto Christ - and of the Holy Spirit's reproving or convincing the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, John xvi 8. And now to attach individual universality to the first class of these ails, &c must be to hold a perishable redemption, with the wreck of all involved in it, to an extent as far as the whole world is not saved. And to attach individual universality to the second class of these ails, must be at once to give God the lie, and say that his truth does not `endure for ever,' nor his `word for ever settled in heaven.' In my opinion, however, it is a decided error to consider that either of these classes of ails are at all intended to express personal numbers, few or many, in the redemption and salvation work of the Lord; but to declare the extension of the redemption and salvation work and goodness of the Lord to all nations every where, as in truth has been, is, and shall be done; and which meaning they sing with so much joy before the throne, as though nothing indeed is lost that God ever meant to save, and as through redemption itself is certain salvation; saying, 'Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation,' Rev v 9. `These were redeemed from among men,' Rev xiv 4. If all men alike individually and universally, were redeemed, it would not be common sense to say, that with the same redemption some were redeemed out of and from amongst the rest.

The personal numbers of the redeemed, as comprehended in the mind and will of God, are set forth in the sacred word as well known, but that is in a different form of expression to the above two classes of ails, as in the following manner, `By the obedience of one, many shall be made righteous,' Rom v 19. `The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many,' Matt xx 28. `By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities,' Isaiah liii 11. `I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb,' Rev vii 9; `Having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his,' 2 Tim ii 19. And thus, if a proper distinction be made between reference to all nations alike, and that of the personal numbers redeemed out of all nations, much error, confusion, and contradiction is easily avoided; for that while the Lord's redeemed and saved church is out of all people, tongues, and nations of the whole world, the whole world of all people, tongues, and nations, are not the Lord's redeemed and saved, for it is out of, and from among, and so not the universal whole, first redeemed and then lost.

Some scripture nails' which eliminate any notion of conditional uncertainty

There is another, and which for order sake we may call a third class of ails, which may not be amiss here to set down, but I shall not stop to remark thereon, otherwise than just observe, first, that they are chiefly connected with some divine fact stated, which at once does away with all notions of any conditional uncertainty. Second, that they include a whole, but evidently upon a definite relationship; some of them referring to the headship of Christ, in contrast to that of the headship of Adam; and others referring to the whole church, as under equal obligation, without partiality, boasting, or cause for pride, fear, or strife; and which are the following: `For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,' 1 Cor xv 22. `Even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life,' Rom v 16. `If one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again,' 2 Cor v 14,15. `But the manifestation of the spirit is given to every man to profit withal,' 1 Cor xii 7,11,12. `That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus,' Col 128; from this verse to the end of the epistle is a most excellent comment on these words, in regard to the faith, life, and good order desired of the whole church, as the every man. I cannot, for myself, see how any thing loose, indefinite, general, conditional, and so, uncertain, can be made out of these ails, as a bit of food for the poor appetite of duty faith and universal invitations; and they cannot live nor find being in God's purely free grace certainties.

The Lord's intercessory prayer shows that his redemption is particular

Our Lord's prayer in John xvii evidently stands opposed to, as at once condemning every notion about any thing loose, indefinite, general, conditional, and so, uncertain, about his redemption work, or its final effects; unless as Mediator he would pour out his soul unto death for those for whom, as Mediator, he would not pray, saying, `I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine,' John xvii 9. This prayer was not for them that believed only, but `for those also who shall believe,' verse 20. `Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, them also I must bring,' John x 16. `All that the Father hath given me,' vi 37; `that of all that the Father hath given me, I should lose nothing,' verse 39.

Let us consider, first, why our Lord prayed for them that he did. (1) It was because they were God the Father's peculiar and especial own; `For they are thine.' (2) Because they are Christ's own: 'Thine are mine,' verse 10; `which thou gayest me out of the world,' verse 6. (3) Because `they are in the world,' verse 11. (4) Because `they are not of the world,' verse 14. (5) Because `He was no longer in the world,' in personal presence to be any longer so seen by them, verse 11.

Second. Observe what he prayed for on their behalf. (1) That the Father should keep them through his own name, verse 11. (2) That Christ's joy might be fulfilled in them,' verse 13. (3) That they should be kept from the evil of the world, verse 15. (4) That they should be sanctified through the truth, verse 17. (5) That they might be united in one, verse 21. (6) That they might be made perfect in one, verse 23. (7) To declare the love with which they are loved, verse 23. (8) That the love with which they are loved might be in them, and himself in them, verse 26. (9) To assure them that they should be with him where he is, to behold his glory, verse 24.

Now since there is scarcely a point in the mediationship of Christ, nor branch of christian interest in Christ, that this all­comprehensive prayer, which lies along in full length through the christian's whole course, even to heaven itself, does not in some sweet and important way refer to, can it be possible, that that is a redeemed world by the love, power, blood, soul suffering, and atoning death of Christ, which he himself, before the throne of majesty, wisdom, goodness, and final judgment, so fully and distinctly declared to be excluded from all interest and petition in this prayer? I am sure both truth and reason must say, no! But perhaps some will say, If all the world had believed, they would have been prayed for, and would accordingly have had the benefits of redemption.' It is true that all believers are included, but how is it that there is a world not prayed for, and yet there are those prayed for who had not believed? And if a person's believing be considered a causation of interest in Christ, and not a `fruit of the Spirit,' on the ground of previous grace interest, how is it that the prayed for by our Lord, were in the order of love and wisdom's arrangements, God the Father's purely divine property, before they were Christ's mediatory property, according to our Lord's words, saying, 'Thine they were, and thou gayest them me?' John xvii 6. Mediationship must precede all saving faith, because the whole of faith's salvation business with God is through the Mediator only. And our Lord declares an interest for the prayed for, above mediationship; and which is the cause of mediationship, and of faith unto salvation in the Mediator too. For 'thou gayest them me;' and then Christ is given to them, and faith is given to them to believe in and receive Christ, and then he openly receives and saves them, as the `called according to God's purpose.' But this allows no truck for duty faith, nor trade for universal invitations, but is it not the truth?

There are five points of glorification determined on, as the ensured issues of the Lord's own economy of grace, and which are, (1) Christ's glorification of the Father, in the honour of finishing to full effect the work which he gave him to do, John xvii 4. (2) The Father's glorification of Christ, in the honour of approving, with every blessing, the work done, to the full and final design, verse 1. (3) The Holy Spirit's glorification of Christ, by his full and effectual testification of the things, works, and person of Christ, John xv 26; xvi 14. (4) Christ's glorification in them, to whom it is the Father's will that he should give eternal life, John xvii 2,3,10. And is not this all the redeemed? (5) The Lord's glorification of his church, in making her to be what in his love he hath purposed and promised her to be, and will have her to be; saying, `I will glorify the house of my glory,' Isaiah lx 7. `And thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God,' Isaiah lxii 3. `And upon her head a crown of twelve stars,' not one truth of the twelve failing, nor one soul of the redeemed missing, Rev xii 1. A loseable redemption could not ensure all this; nor can the anomalous and ineffective notions of duty faith and universal invitations to eternal salvation, ever be made to accord with this; for this can only be the result of settled fore-knowledge and determined counsel of grace; so to testify before-hand the sufferings of Christ, and, with equal confidence, the glory that shall follow, 1 Pet i 11.

 

 

Universal invitations incompatible with the very concept of redemption

We are aware that while the arminians will, irrespective of what the truth of God really is, or what awful consequents such a saying must involve, as that of making out God to be but like one of themselves in the final issues of the mightiest work of his arm, unreservedly say that `There are thousands in hell for whom Christ died, who might have been in heaven.' Many of the duty faith and universal invitation men will not out and out say so much, nor speak so plain on the absolute failure and coming to nothing of the redemption work of Christ; but with much more studied cunning, aim at a sort of middle way, by so construing Christ's

redemption as that all men individually might go to heaven by it, and so as to make it out the duty of all men to do so, and that all men should be exhorted and invited to do so accordingly; and so making out the redemption of Christ as a kind of might be universal, and yet so as to be complete, and in no way failing, though it be finally but particular only in its real saving effects.

And to establish this more cunning than wise, more subtle than true, more diabolical than righteous and divine scheme, no pains have been spared to denounce and discard every thing in the shape and character of a direct and honourable commercial transaction from the atonement and redemption work of Christ; because any thing in the nature, order, and character of a commercial transaction considered therein, would determine the work of Christ to be too exact, definite, particular and certain, on grounds of equity, and not leave it loose, vague, indiscriminate, unmeaning and uncertain enough, to allow place for universal invitations with any sort of countenance; and so it has been said, `The redemption work of Christ is no bargain.' But the very word redemption of itself carries every thing in it that belongs to the nature, order and character of a commercial transaction; as in that of a real outlay or price paid, one that pays it, one that receives `the price of redemption,' and an object freed and rescued by such price paid, or outlay made. Sins are compared to debts, sinners to debtors, and the offended to a creditor, Matt vi 12; Luke xi 4; vii 41,42. And the church is said to be `bought with a price,' 1 Cor vi 20; and to be the Lord's `purchased possession,' Eph i 14, `which he hath purchased with his own blood,' Acts xx 28. If to purchase with a price ever was a commercial transaction, the redemption of Christ is hereby declared to be in the very nature and order of such a transaction, by a real purchase, with a real price, to a real possession. And as to a'bargain,' there is so much of the specificate nature and order of a determinate bargain in the redemption work of Christ, that he is at once called a surety, with an `Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?' Heb vii 22; Luke xxiv 26. And from whence comes this ought on Christ, but from a contract-like engagement entered into according to all the afore-written scriptures concerning him? Luke xxiv 44,46. And what is this glory that he ought and will enter into, but the entire possession of all the mediatorial rights and claims stipulated to him on his accomplishment of his sufferings? Luke ix 30,31. And what are those rights and claims of Christ, as Mediator, less than the full and immortal possession and life, in his own life, of

all and every one for whom he made `amends for the harm done,' Lev v 16, whom he redeemed from the curse of the law, unto God by his blood, made peace for, and reconciled to God by the death of his cross, through his full discharge of his contracted ought of sufferings for them, saying, `It is finished?' The glory of Christ lies not in his sufferings, but in the issues perfectly secured, according to the purposed ends and designs thereof; and so he suffers first, and then enters into his glory of a perfect possession of the fruits thereof, without defect or failure; even as the Holy Spirit in the prophets `testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.'

Now to say, for the purpose of making out some sort of a plea for universal invitations, that Christ's redemption is really in any way or form universal, while salvation evidently is not so to a large extent, is, - (1) To say there was none of that order and regularity in it, nor final issue determined, as recorded of it in the truth of the above scriptures. (2) That there is that in the redemption of Christ that might be for good, but will in reality be altogether fruitless and in vain to as large an extent as salvation is not universal. (3) That the sins of all those who are not saved, will, contrary to all laws, human and divine, be twice punished, and that in the full penalty of the guilt thereof by law each time; first, in Christ being made a curse to the full amount the righteous law of God could curse their sins on him as their surety, and next in their being fully damned for the same sins, as though Christ had not suffered for those sins at all; while the sins of those who go to heaven, are but once punished in the sufferings of Christ; and which sufferings were for them a complete atonement and eternal redemption obtained, without once consulting their goodwill or their illwill, whereby to make it to them effectually, eternal redemption. (4) That the will of men, and not the sufferings of Christ, is to determine his entry into his final salvation glory, and the final number of the redeemed inhabitants of heaven. (5) That in regard to the lost, God the Father knowingly punished Christ in vain, and that Christ suffered knowingly in vain, or God the Father must be denied the perfection of his foreknowledge of the 'end from the beginning;' and Christ's Godhead and foreknowledge must be denied, and he be considered to suffer in ignorance, and as a short-sighted man only, as to the final effects thereof.

These appear to me to be awful conclusions, and yet they are only what universal notions of redemption, as an only plea for universal invitations, must bring us to. The first sin on earth was a sort of religious sin, in man's aspiring to be as God; and now the awful religious sin on the earth is, a making God out to be as one of us, and to wait for the will of man; but without this there is no footing, countenance, or plausible plea whatever, that can be made out for universal invitations; as they must ever stand a direct contradiction to every doctrine of discriminating and sovereign grace; and especially so to the scripture truth of the atonement and redemption of Christ as particular, and as the infallibly determinate boundary of God's salvation covenant, purpose, and promise in, and by Christ Jesus our Lord; and for these reasons I have drawn out my remarks to the length I have on redemption, and shall now pursue another course of ideas on duty faith.

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