Chapter 14

Of Mr. John Hunt’s 10th, 11th and 12th Disparagements of Christ.

I am under a necessity of studying more brevity in many of the things that follow.

The tenth open disparagement of Christ in this writer I appear against, whilst vindicating the Excellency of Christ, is touching the matter of Christ’s Sufferings on the Cross. This disparagement tells us, that in the article of his Crucifixion he was speechless, and only uttered some dying sobs and groans. The passages is this, “his mouth which was most sweet, and which had spoke as never man spoke {his enemies being judges} is now speechless, and only utters some dying sobs and groans.”

I did fairly presume that this disparagement, especially as to the speechlessness of Christ’s mouth, did not reach the utmost latitude of time in the article of his Crucifixion, so as to mean that Christ’s mouth spake no words at all on the cross; till at the second reading, I took notice of more of his words in his beginning that connection thus, “let us take a more exact view of the blessed Jesus hanging in this dying condition.” Here I saw the disparagement must be more extensive than I first apprehended. It is obvious to believe this writer could not but remember that Christ hung upon the cross three hours. Nay, I find his words a little before are these, “how many hours was he nailed to the tree?” ‘Tis strange nothing occurred to his thoughts which Christ had graciously uttered in all that time. The time was long, it was three hours, as plainly appears by the Evangelists compared. The space of his crucifixion was no less, as Mark saith, “it was the third hour, and they crucified him.” Mk.15:25. Matthew and Luke relate it from the sixth hour to the ninth, Matt.27:44-46; Lk.23:44, which necessarily falls it upon three hours by an easy reconciliation, when all is put together. The third hour which the Evangelist Mark relates it in was the Roman hour; and good reason for it, not only because the Gentiles had a hand in the death of Christ, when the Romans and Jews were gathered together, Acts 4:27, in the crucifying of him, but Jerusalem {where it was done} and all the country of Judea {or the Jews country} belonged at that time unto the Romans, as a part of the Roman empire; and moreover, the fruit of Christ’s death in converting many of the Gentile-Romans was in a short time to arrive, Rom.1:7, at Rome itself {from whence the word Roman derives} and to be dispersed over the several parts of the Roman empire. Thus, the Holy Ghost prepared and sanctified the vulgar computation, having his eye thereon upon the said grounds, and guiding one of the penman of the word accordingly. On these prospects {since different Evangelists were used in penning the several matters} it was very expedient in one of the computations to go by the Roman hour. The time of the crucifixion lasted by that account one Roman hour. This was the large hour, according to their computation; and to this Roman hour there is no doubt but Christ referred himself in each of those places, Mt.26:45, where he doth so punctually call the time of his sufferings on the cross, his hour. As much as to say, when it comes to the upshot, the Romans, the Gentiles, must have a hand in it, as well as the Jews. Also, in this phrase and sense of his hour, the beloved disciple hath spoken of him in other places. Jn.7:30, 8:20. Four of these large hours in the Roman computation made of twelve hours of Jewish compute, in measuring the space of an artificial day {consisting of 12 hours, as the natural day consist of 24 hours.} The third Roman hour therefore of their four hours in the day began at 12 o’clock, and ended at three in the afternoon, being three Jewish hours or, the same as we reckon the hour of the day now. This made it fall exactly with the two other Evangelists, Matthew and Luke, who fix it on the sixth and ninth hours; to wit, of the Jewish computation, or reckoning; for “are there not twelve hours in the day,” as Christ said to his disciples. Jn.11:9. Why then, the sixth hour of those twelve must be twelve at noon, because it is said from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land, Mt.27:45; therefore it must be from twelve o’clock at midday that both the Darkness and Crucifixion began; and ‘tis added unto the ninth hour; this falls then upon three in the afternoon, when the darkness ended, and the life of Christ expired. Thus, all the account of the time is reconciled, and both Roman and Jewish accounts stand true.

Now, though Christ hung upon the cross a certain time expressed; it was an hour. His hour, of Roman reckoning, or three hours of Jewish; yet this brother leaves it under an uncertain date. “How many hours was he nailed to the tree?” However that be, {for he neither resolves it, if it be a question, nor corrects the interrogatory mis-pointing, if it be a mistake;} for who would have thought, since he had remembered and mentioned it was many hours, but it must have come into his mind too, how in all that time Christ uttered several speeches? For he is there taking the exact view of the blessed Jesus, as he tells us, in this dying condition, so many hours; and yet to give us no other account of his mouth upon the cross but “speechless,” and only uttering some “dying sobs and groans,” is a very surprising character. Therefore, I do him but justice {however he may resent it} to take notice of the latitude of this reproach. For although he undertook in the page I quote {his page 103} to go over and enumerate the several parts of Christ’s body in his viewing him on the cross; his head, {and which was as great an oversight in Mr. Hunt to say,} his locks {in this dying condition, between 12 at noon and three in the afternoon} wet with the drops of the night; {as it was in his printer to style it his “looks,” because that passage in the Song, “wet with the drops of the night,” Song.5:2, must be taken of his life when he was free, and comes to the spouse, and bids her let him in at the doors, when he had been upon a mountain, Lk.6:12, and continued all night in prayer to God. And not so misapplied to the time when he was bound to the horns of God’s altar, Psal.118:27, and nailed on the tree. Then his eyes, his cheeks, his hands, his legs, his countenance, and his mouth; for he goes over that whole order according to the description of the Person of Christ in Song of Solomon 5:11-16. Though he opens nothing but what exposes his talent on the Canticles; howbeit, when he comes to this, “of his mouth is most sweet,” instead of insisting on the sweetness which distilled from his mouth upon the cross {or, as his own phrase is, taking a more exact view of the blessed Jesus hanging in this dying condition} he first passes it all over in silence, and exposes nothing in this part of his view but a loose disparagement of the blessed Jesus; telling us very disgracefully, that his mouth which was most sweet, is now speechless.

The Evangelists recite several speeches he uttered in that hour, Lk.22:53, and the power of darkness. 1. Christ uttered an Intercession for his elect crucifiers then engaged in open enmity against him, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” Lk.23:34, so that his mouth was not speechless, but continued to be most sweet in his dying condition. 2. Christ uttered that notable consolation on the cross he gave the believing malefactor, eyeing him as the Lord Jesus Christ, who “shall save his people from their sins,” Mt.1:21, “verily I say unto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Lk.23:43. Was his mouth speechless now, or rather, did it not manifestly, by such an open distillation of his love, continue, in this dying condition, most sweet? 3. He uttered those savory, and to us balmy words, Psal.22:1, of his severe dereliction, “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” Matt.27:46, Mk.15:34, for each of them relate this saying of our Lord upon the cross. The sweetness of his mouth, though in the bitterness of his sorrows, wonderfully appeared by this expression, in that the elect should hereby see their remedy, by seeing their Eternal Surety, Heb.7:22, under the wrath of God {righteously forsaking Christ} in their room and stead. Because God and Christ intended that the elect in their own trouble, when their souls should be pressed down to Hell, should yet be raised with this relief of “looking unto Jesus,” Heb.12:2, once forsaken on the behalf of his elect by his Father on the cross, not forsaken for Himself ultimately; but forsaken of God for me, and for thee, poor deserted souls, and so was deserted in Himself directly, because of his bearing our iniquities, Isa.53:11, that all our clouds and confusion may vanish by eyeing him, who, through his own All-Sufficiency, as the Sun of Righteousness, Mal.4:2, dispelled his own cloud {as a Representative Person} for us. And if he saved himself directly by abilities to wholly satisfy the Justice of God, he hath proved Himself able enough to save thee ultimately; and therein to show thee that his willingness, and will too to save thee ultimately, shall not be in vain. Now, Christ could have kept silence on the cross, and restrained these words in the fullness of his might, and “travailing in the greatness of his strength,” Isa.63:1, without uttering a word of what himself had felt {though he had gone through the reproach of being speechless in his dying condition} had not the words to express his feeling, and so to make way to express his after-satisfactions, when his own Infinite Power had paid our soul-debts, been designed as a sweet and balmy distillation from his mouth ultimately to comfort both thee and me, and raise us out of our lowest derelictions. Was his mouth speechless now, or rather did it not openly continue most sweet, in uttering precious, needful words, in his dying condition? 4. He uttered the speech, “I thirst, that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” Jn.19:28, and then when this was accomplished in the matter, he uttered the speech of consummation, the consummation of that dereliction-hour, the consummation of his soul-agony on the tree, as well as in the garden; and so the fulfilling of the Scripture, which foreshowed what he was to endure upon the cross; that every way it was the true speech of consummation, in the consummate payment of our soul-debts, being that evangelical honey which dropped from his lips, saying, “it is finished.” Jn.19:30. Only our body-debts were not yet discharged fully, he must to the grave, Psal.16:9, after all. Thus we see Christ was not speechless in the latitude of his dying condition.

Notwithstanding all this proof of the fact, ‘tis sad I must tell you, whoever you are that know the Lord Jesus, the plain Truth of the Gospel in its sacred Report is outfaced; for if this brother had read his Bible when he took his exact view, and compared spiritual things with spiritual, I Cor.2:13, he could not but have seen the open truth of Christ, how his mouth, out of which in his Preaching the Gospel so many gracious words had proceeded, Lk.4:22, continued most sweet, even upon the cross, when he gave his life a “ransom for many.” Mt.20:28. It’s marvelous to me the brother had seen no more, than to let fly such a disparagement in the view of all this evidence. What remains now, {if I go on,} but to suppose his thoughts chiefly run off from the latitude of time in the Crucifixion to the strictness of it, at the closure of this Article in Christ’s last pains on the Cross, and say the last minute of that time, albeit this is very odd, when he is taking an exact survey of the matter, as it lasted many hours? Let us see what will come of this. If Christ was speechless in this dying condition, and his mouth only uttered some dying sobs and groans {as the ill words of the view expresses it} then there must be allowed some small portion of time for it, before his actual Expiration; and if this be granted, what a calumny still remains of Christ, wherewith this new expositor of the second of the Canticles blackens Truth, who tells us, “my design is in course to go through this whole chapter.” Let me examine his confidence therefore in the most plausible escape of his reproach.

Particularly, the Word of truth tells us of no sobs and groans at the time of our Lord’s expiring. This was a bold stroke of his own unruly pen. Our Lord’s mouth at dying was so far from speechless, that he uttered distinct words; his dereliction-words were but just before, it was about the ninth hour, Mt.27:46, Jesus cried, saying, “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The ninth hour was the last part of the time. Again, it was near his Expiration that his mouth had uttered speech, and to fulfill the Scripture, Jn.19:28, had said, “I thirst.” Now the whole connection of the matter shows his Death to have been at hand. For “straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink,” Mt.27:48, and “when Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” Jn.19:30. So that everything finished and ended, Jesus uttered his voice and said “it is finished.” He gives his own Testimony as to what the Scriptures had foretold of this dying condition of Himself upon the cross; and in the close of this condition continues his speech to the very last. And when all was wound up that was spoken of him in the Prophets under this hour, then, to show what a strength still he had remaining, “he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” His mouth at dying was so far from speechless, that as Christ uttered distinct words, he cried them with a loud voice, and then spake again, dying with those sweet words in his mouth, “Father, into thine hands I commend my spirit.” Lk.23:46. The whole verse runs thus, “and when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit; and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice.” How? What, with some dying sobs and groans, speechless, as Mr. Hunt’s reproach is of this matter? Oh! No. It was when he had cried with a loud voice in distinct words again, for so the connection runs in Matthew 27. Of his crying the latter time with a loud voice, verse 50, compared with his crying the former time about the ninth hour, verse 46, requires us to understand it. How did he cry with a loud voice, in verse 46? In words, the text tells us, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Therefore when he cried again with a loud voice, it must still be in words, either the desertion-words again, or some other words. And then after this second crying with a loud voice, whatever the words were, Jesus immediately therefore said, “Father, into thine hands I commend my spirit.” Lk.23:46. Now, here it plainly appears, Christ upon the cross was so far from dying speechless, that contrary to the weak expirings of other dying men, he extended his utterance, and cried with a loud voice, when he uttered the words preceding his soul-resignation. This second loud voice was most probably uttered again unto his Father, and then having his Father’s satisfying answer, he gave up the Ghost with those last and recommendatory dying words, “Father, into thine hands I commend my spirit.” Oh! How different is all the account which the pen of the Holy Ghost has given us in the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, from the pen of this disparager.

Here are no dying sobs and groans! No speechlessness! Here be used no such suggested in-articulations! No; here are all distinct expressions distilled, from his blessed mouth, “if we take a more exact account of the blessed Jesus hanging in this dying condition” {as Mr. Hunt’s words are in the place I am answering.} The closure was with a powerful voice, that the whole circle of his crucifying bystanders might observe and discern, by the evidence of the fact that he was no mere Man, though true Man, who was able after such a vast expense of blood and sufferings, to cry with a loud voice! Who was able to discover to all the multitude, Psal.109.30, in his expiring moments such an in-exhausted strength! Who had strength left him to summon the whole frame of nature, Mt.27:51-52, with his dying breath! Who with his last words {when he had his Father’s smiles for us} unclothed the Sun of its preternatural mourning, and under the joy that was set before him, Heb.12:2, clothed it with light again, after an astonishing eclipse in that hour of blackness, the small moment in which the Church too was forsaken, Isa.54:7, that had covered the earth with a veil of darkness! As the Scriptures had foretold, Joel 2:2, with Joel 2:10, and Joel 3:15; where the Jews are called upon to behold both their sin and punishment in the signs, I Cor.1:22, of Heaven? This powerful voice of Christ, in his dying condition, was that voice which preceded the following signal he gave out his commission by, to death, as the Executioner, to fetch the dividing stroke! Then it was by his own Authority, as the Son of God, that death had leave to separate his Human Nature from its self, the soul from the body of Christ, as the Son of Man! And thus, his comforted soul went off into his Father’s hands after all, from the beginning of his first trouble, Jn.12:27, in the approaching storm of his hour, and that first cup in the sorrows of the Garden, as well as this last draught of his gall and wormwood, in his cloudy dereliction on the Cross! He uttered loud words, and still knows what he says at the parting stroke which divided his refreshed Spirit from his mangled Body! Thus it was with Christ at his Death. And could he only utter some dying sobs and groans, though you search for them at the moment of his expiring, when as the Holy Ghost hath signified that he both cried with loud, and spake with distinct words, “Father, into thine hand I commend my Spirit?”

How inconsistent is it to be speechless, and yet to cry with a loud voice, both, in the same dying condition! What a contradiction to be speechless, and yet to utter his words so vehemently, as if, for the manner of them, it had been in his life-time? As suppose in the last day, that great day of the feast {the Feast of Tabernacles} when Jesus stood and cried, saying, “if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” Jn.7:37. On the Cross he cried loud at expiring before the multitude, as in the last day of the Festival he cried loud unto them. By the way, observe how Jesus ended the Feast of Tabernacles, Jn.7:2, better than the Jews began it. For, if in the close of the First Day of the Feast {as the learned tell us} four of the younger priests were wont to have bottles in their hands that contain full 120 logs, or 7 gallons and one half, every log, Lev.14:10,12,15, containing the quantity of about half a pint of our measure; then still Jesus out-did their abundance, as well as excellency in the Water of Life; for this young priest, over the House of God, Heb.10:21, {being at that Feast in the 7th of John, not much more than 30 years of age, Lk.3:23, according to the flesh} hath all the wine of his Kingdom at command, even the Spirit of God, and the graces of him to bestow; and what were the four young priest’s belly-bottles of seven gallons and a half, to the belly, Jn.7:38, that should flow rivers of living water? For, this spake he of the Spirit, Jn.7:39, which they that believed on him should receive; and he stood and cried, saying, “if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” So I say, Jesus, in the last minute of his expiring on the Cross, as if he had never tasted the anguish of the piercing nails, Psal.22:16, or felt the Human Nature drawing on, or the blood, spirits, and pulse of the Man, yielding towards a dissolution, cried with a loud voice, and then commended his Spirit into his Father’s hands! Lk.23:46. Now it is an open affront to Truth, and impious disparagement of Christ in his sufferings, to conceal all the speeches of his mouth, when he was in this dying condition on the cross, and in the room thereof substitute a lie of dying sobs and groans, which represent nothing else but the mere infirmities of other dying men, in the ordinary course of nature! Men die with sighs and groans under their bodily load, because they are but mere men; whereas, the Holy Ghost has represented the Death of Christ to be answerable to what he was above them all, God-Man forever!

Now though he had sighed at unstopping the ears of the deaf man, when he wrought such a miracle in his life-time, taking him aside from the multitude, Mk.7:33,34, and though he had sighed deeply, Mk.8:12, at the unbelief of the Pharisees, in requiring a sign contemptuously against all the open signs he gave; and though we read that he had groaned in the spirit at the grave of Lazarus, Jn.11:33, because of the unbelief of that Generation, which rendered it needful to work a new miracle, and raise a man from the dead to die again, and therein put Lazarus to double pains and groans when he must die twice, by dying again after raising him. And though nevertheless, it was expedient to raise him for very weighty reasons, yet such was the tenderness and compassion of this Man towards Lazarus, that being touched with the feeling of our infirmities, Heb.4:15, he compassionately groaned in going about the same piece of work. He groaned the text says. Who knows what he felt in addressing himself to that work? And yet it was necessary to be done, to convince the Jews that he who could raise another, could raise himself likewise, Jn.10:17-18, and would do it still with greater power, when the Jews were engaged in destroying that Temple, Jn.2:19, of his body. Howbeit, we never read that he used any such emotions for himself, when he died in our room. For whilst he was brought as a Lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth, Acts 8:32, {being guilty of all the crimes of his elect that were being charged to his account,} yet in this he was not speechless. He had the natural power of speech at that time, though the Son of Man kept silence. He held his tongue, and yet was not unable to use it. It cannot be argued he was speechless, because he restrained his words, nor had anything at that time, when he was examined before Pilate, Matt.27:13-14, and before Herod, Lk.23:8-9, under the questions put to him, whilst he answered to never a word, Mt.27:14, been done against him to exhaust nature in him; neither was Christ speechless at this other time, when dumb before those shearers, Is.53:7, {the soldiers} who stripped him of his own clothes, yet had not fastened, or nailed him to his Cross, which came on afterwards. I am at a loss therefore to devise for this preacher when Christ could only utter these sobs and groans, and not utter speech; and do wonder how a man can with grimace, and the pretext of other argument, publish such stuff! This phrase of uttering sobs, as he applies it to Christ, in his dying condition, is odious. It is an abominable slander to impute such a thing to Jesus Christ either in his Life, or at his Death, and abounds in the reproach.

What is this sobbing he pretends? We know it is a thing mostly incident to children; sometimes to the adult, but never to Christ. Children sob and cry when they are beaten, crossed, or in any displeasing way restrained from their wills. It is such an imperfection that in the act of their crying they cannot prevent a sudden snatching up of their breath, as if they were troubled with the hiccough; that if they attempt to utter words in that singultient or sobbing condition, their speech doth so vibrate and shake, ‘tis a very hard thing to understand their words. Whereas, I have shown Christ’s dying words were attended with no such imperfection, one way or another, but were most plain, articulate, distinct and intelligible, and were sounded out loud in that numerous assembly of the wicked that pierced his hands and his feet. “For dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.” Psal.22:16. His mouth most sweet uttered many precious words; and as if no weakness had seized his scorched heart or affections {though his strength was dried up like a potsherd - a broken piece of ceramic material - to evince the reality of his Manhood, the extremity of his Sufferings, and the Nature of his Death, a Sacrifice, by fire which came down from Heaven upon him, and consumed this burnt-offering, II Chron.7:1, in the fire of God’s wrath, as well as other causes; yet} is last expiring voice of the Evangelical Trumpet was most distinct and audible, for it gave no uncertain sound, I Cor.14:8, when he cried with a loud voice about the ninth hour. So that when I read the history of the Crucifixion in Four Evangelists, and yet not one of them mentioned the secret of his now pretended groans, nor a word of that Character of Him, expiring with dying sobs while he hung upon the tree, I Pet.2:24, I do justly expose it under the open brand of a vilifying the Lord of Glory! And do conclude that this surcharging stroke of the Book is consistent with no man who meddles with these matters, but what is a very loose and dissolute writer in his style and argument.

The Eleventh open Disparagement of Christ, which I find him guilty of, is again touching the Sufferings of Jesus Christ, in sharing that Description of them among his people, which his Word of Prophecy in the Holy Oracle has made peculiar to himself, as if their cross and his cross were prophesied together in one and the same text and words. Says he, “there is no Christian that truly believes in Jesus, but hath some cross to carry after his Lord;” {thus it is evident that Mr. Hunt speaks of his people’s cross, the next words are these,} “they must with their Forerunner drink of the Brook by the way before they lift up the head.”

Now, though we all, who know anything to purpose of Christ, do therewith know, that if we are faithful, we shall suffer for Christ; yet that our sufferings for him should be expressed in the words of any Prophecy of his own sufferings for us, we abhor the thought; and this is such a peculiar way of setting forth Roman Abomination, that he himself must account for it. There is none that will stand up for him upon this text; for though this mixture is a downright slice of Popery, yet it is so inartificially wrought up, that even a Roman Catholic would never meddle with it, because he hath spoiled the ingredients. The Papists are bold enough to confound Christ’s Sufferings with their own; their own scratches, whippings and lacerations, with Christ’s nailings and piercings; and are not only wont to mingle the Virgin’s milk and St. Peter’s tears with our Saviour’s blood, but run their own cross too into Christ’s! However it be I could never find they have done it in expressing that mixture of sufferings, by such an open mixture of these words of the Psalmist. They have more common sense, though not more honesty. Consequently, though he goes upon the exact principle of the Papists, {the error, but not the artifice of Popery,} yet ignorantly grounding, though boldly asserting, the open calumny of the Papist, I must do him the justice to free him from the cunning of the Papist, and excuse him from being acquainted with their method of doing it plausibly upon any one bottom of text which the Roman order bring.

Whoever applied the words of this text to the sufferings of the saints before? Were the saints intended or brought in to do or suffer in these matters? What an opposite text is this! A place that might even have beaten him off from so ill a use of it by the sound of the words! Sometimes Interpreters mislead the blind who rely on their conduct; but this text has been confined {as it ought} to the Sufferings of Christ alone, by all the Interpreters of the Christian side {which I have seen} of the sundry persuasions against the Jew. Neither have I ever read any illusion to this place in setting out the cross of Christians, {till I read Mr. Hunt’s more bold than welcome way of borrowing,} I mention this of Interpreters, because it is now and then Mr. Hunt’s phrase of protection, when it hath looked as if he knew not what to say on a text till he had first consulted them, to salve his own reputation, for it is a well-known ‘fact’ that Interpreters do generally understand. Now, why could he not have saved his reputation, and gone by Interpreters here {unless he had been able to give a manifest reason for not going by this rule} on Psal.110:7, and forborn his own mixing gloss? Because by drinking of the Brook in the way, &c., all Interpreters generally understand the sufferings and triumphs of Jesus Christ alone. This brother took the same depending course on Luke 15:22, “bring forth the best robe,” by which Interpreters {says he} do generally understand the Robe of Christ’s Righteousness. {Page 204} He has likewise taken the same way on Hebrews 10:26, “for if we sin willfully, &c.,” for by sinning willfully {says he} Interpreters do generally understand rejecting of Christ. {Page 166} Again, ‘tis a piece of his Confession in his infant’s faith, “since I have been a student in Divinity, {says he,} I have been taught, both out of God’s Word and from our most worthy authors.” {Page 26} But now here upon Psalm 110:7, he crosses his being taught both out of God’s Word and from our most worthy authors, and applying those words of drinking the Brook in the way to Christians, together with their Forerunner, when they are neither spoken of Christ as a Forerunner, nor of any other except Christ, who, in quite another sense, was a forerunner. Heb.6:20.

This 110th Psalm is so universally taken up in a direct speech of the Father to Christ about Christ himself {which speech the Church doth but repeat from the Father and the Spirit’s dictates} that the people of Christ are mentioned in it but in one clause of the whole; viz., verse 3, “thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,” {and that speaks of their Conversion too, not of their cross and sufferings.} Now verse 3 is far enough from verse 7, where this clause of drinking of the Brook in the way, is used. The Psalm is otherwise filled up all with Christ’s Person, Exaltation and Government he hath received of the Father, as the ultimate scope of proposed means in what the Father lays open of the Mystery of Godliness, I Tim.3:16, God-Man; and therefore is then filled up with his Gospel and the Victories of it by the Holy Ghost, the Influential and Meritorious Cause of all being founded both in the Efficacy and Perpetuity of his Priestly Office, as distinct from the Priesthood of Aaron’s order, carried on through Messiah’s Sufferings and Sacrifice, and from thence rising into Triumphs of his open rule in the Salvation of his Church, and the ruin of his and her Enemies; and this is the substance of the Psalm. But how a man can find room so directly to cross the intention of the Holy Ghost, and super-induce foreign matter of saint’s crosses, I am able to give no other account for it in Mr. Hunt, than that ever since he has been a student in divinity {as his late phrase puts me in mind} he has been a poor raw divine, and has not known how to handle and open the last verse of the 110th Psalm; for if he had, he would never have spoiled it at one touch.

But to come a little into the words themselves. 1. The Holy Ghost hath applied it singularly, “he shall drink,” “he shall judge,” and he shall “lift up the head.” Not they shall do so, for ‘tis not rendered in the plural. Whence it is plain spoken of such a personal drinking, and personal triumphing, as is peculiar to Jesus Christ Personally; and not a social drinking and triumphing, that the phrase will bear, to set out what is common to them both, Christ and Christians too, as Mr. Hunt promiscuously adapts the words. 2. This Brook was Kidron, or Cedron, the black and filthy water; yea, the Curse-Brook into which our iniquities were cast, II Chron.29:16, 30:14, when Christ drank the bitter, dreggy cup of God’s Wrath, mingled with our sins, as I may show more distinctly in one of the chapters about stating the matter how, and opening the grounds why any poor souls come with the filth of their sins in their new-born state to Christ. Now over this Brook that ran in the way Christ passed, when he went the way of Suffering, into the Garden to drink the cup from his Father’s hands, before he tasted of the Vinegar, Psal.69:21, which was given him in his thirst to drink upon the Cross. This mystical Kidron-draught was therefore designed in the Psalm a Brook-cup of which none could drink but Christ. It was peculiar to our Lord to drink of that stream that arose from such fountains as man’s sin, and God’s wrath, which made it both Kidron-filth and Kidron-curse. What have Mr. Hunt’s Christians then {of which he speaks of} to do at Cedron, or who hath required this at their hand, to drink little or much of Christ’s bitter draught at Kidron, it being his own cup in the Garden of Cedron? Besides, 3, this was “in” the way; though Mr. Hunt has carelessly perverted and expressed it “by” the way. An obvious difference! By the way is what I do not, in keeping my way, pass over; for, I may go along by a river, or brook, and yet not go over it. But if it runs in my way, crossing it from another point of the compass, I must go over it, or through it, if I go forwards. 4. His heedlessness of the distinction, running in the way, not running by the way in this text, as also of the promiscuous application of the whole verse after his fashion, take off a pregnant argument that Christians otherwise have in hand against the Jews, to prove Messiah is come; as indeed, all mixed Interpretations, by applying Prophecies of Christ to any other sense, gives the Jews the same advantage, when we bring those prophecies against them. Oh! They might object to what we assert in bringing the argument of Psalm 110:7, to prove the Messiah come, because all these Sufferings were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth? For, if all this text may be applied to the Christians, as well as any other ways, there is no cogency in the particular and specific application of it to Jesus of Nazareth, any more than to another suffering, {and then victorious,} Man, as Messiah. Thus it weakens us by plural application; whereas, the Holy Ghost hath mightily strengthened us by the singular evidence. It is plain this whole place, “he shall drink of the Brook in the way, therefore shall he triumph, and lift up the head,” is spoken of none but Messiah, and of nothing but Messiah’s sufferings, and the glory, I Pet.1:11, that shall follow. This must be held, if I keep my ground against the Jew. It’s the unhappiness of the Jew, that when a text is plainly spoken of Christ, their Rabbis have invented one shift or other to turn it off from the Son of God to some mere man. Now let this brother learn in applying, as well as opening Scripture, to come nearer over with his cross to the Christian’s side, lest by running half-way to the Jew he betrays the Head of the Christians. Let him not think I count him and deal with him in this as an enemy, and compare him with the Jew {for I know, poor man; that he is weak enough to misinterpret} I do not; but merely admonish him, II Thes.3:15; and though he may apprehend that there is no such danger of giving any advantage to the Jew, so long as he does not break off the Christian argument, but continues to apply the same words to Christ; yet let him remember that I have shown him that he weakens it by bending it the wrong way; and now I will add further to dissuade him from persisting in it, that an envious Jew will find it to be much the less labor, when he goes on with it, and gives it the perfect snap. And thus, as the matter of his gloss befriends the Papist, so the form of it unwarily exposes us to the Jew, and both ways is a mischievous assault upon the text.

I will add nothing else upon this disgrace, but a remark upon Mr. Hunt’s further inconsistence with himself in his book {which indeed carries with it more self-contradictions, and is less of a piece with itself, than any book I have seen.} “Christ, {says he,} resolved to engage alone with all the black legions of that infernal lake, to the end that he might divide the spoil with the strong, Isaiah 53:12.” Now, I would ask, if the 110th Psalm, and seventh verse be not as clearly meant of Christ’s engaging alone, as the 53rd of Isaiah and the 12th? For, why should Christ engage alone to divide the spoil with the strong, and yet Christ not engage alone to triumph and lift up the Head? Why should he not drink alone of the Brook that runs in the way, {and no believers put into the same words with him,} as well as engage alone, and take the prey from the mighty, {and none joined in these latter words with him?} And yet the latter words too are the very words which Mr. Hunt uses at the same page. If both texts are meant of Christ alike, why are they applied so diversely? That in Isaiah to Christ alone, and the other in the Psalms to believers likewise? In short, if Christ resolved to engage alone in Isaiah 53:12, why must we not allow that parallel text, Psalms 110:7, to stand alone in Christ’s engagement to make good his own resolve, and apply it no other ways? Let Mr. Hunt answer this in his next, when he wipes off the calumny.

The Twelfth Open Disparagement is of the Righteousness of Christ, both in what he did and suffered {for I am against the opinion of Piscator,1 who thought the Passive Righteousness alone without the Active in conjunction is imputed to us.} Mr. Hunt’s words are these, “thus you have heard how we may judge of our interest in Christ by our conformity to him, by doing what he commands, and by hating and forsaking what he forbids. But, reader is it thus with thee? Art thou willing to cut off a right hand, and to pluck out a right eye, at Christ’s command? Canst thou say in sincerity to every idol of thy heart, get ye hence, what have I to do anymore with idols? Canst thou say, Christ is that one Lover thou hast espoused, and after him will I go? And art thou yielding thyself to the Lord in a humble and holy walk? Is the Law of God written in thy heart? And art thou conforming thereto in all things in thy life? If so, thou hast reason to take comfort as one that is interested in this lovely Jesus; but not else.” {Page 141}

Oh pitiable Disciple Didymus, Jn.20:24, that was not with the other disciples when Jesus came! What Thomas have we here! “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Jn.20:25. “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” vs.29. This doctrine of the test is an utter overthrow to all pure, sheer Faith, in a sound Conversion to Christ, on Christ’s Person and Righteousness, for the sake of what he is to me, and has done for me. The Divinity before transcribed out of this motley manual I answer, is matter more agreeably calculated for the meridian of Cracow,2 which shuts out all the virtue of Christ’s Righteousness and Blood, than it ought to be for the meridian of Northampton! It’s that which gives me influential interest in this lovely Jesus, is that by which I am to judge of my settled interest; but it is the virtue of the Righteousness of Christ in the Free-Grace of God by the Holy Spirit that gives me my influential interest in this lovely Jesus; therefore it is by the virtue of the Righteousness of Christ Alone in the Free-Grace of God by the Holy Spirit, that I have reason to take comfort as one that hath settled interest in this lovely Jesus. And therefore in the trial of my interest I will make no such use of his test-divinity. Does Mr. Hunt lay Salvation, {for I know of no other Salvation than an interest in Christ, and the issues of it in Glory. Does he lay it, I say,} radically in Obedience to the Law of God, and place it in a holy, humble walk? And if it be not in this, I can’t judge of it by this, for I am to judge of it where it is, not where it is not; why then this is just as the Socinians do indeed! He is and these things are so near the Socinian-party, that there is not one distinguishing word in the whole test but what might, since his open degeneracy from some of his own preceding pages, argue him a student in their New Law on Matthew 5th, 6th , & 7th chapters. I know that there is no falling from a State of Grace, and so if friend Hunt is an “Israelite indeed,” Jn.1:47, then his standing is sure and certain in Christ; but that he is woefully degenerated in his principles, and presently fallen in all this from the Doctrine of Grace, Gal.5:4; I shall give my reader his own words for it, touching the Grace-Part he hath made use of against himself, for seeing is believing.

“By nature, {says he,} we have high thoughts of ourselves, and being ignorant of God’s Righteousness, we go about to establish our own righteousness, Rom.10:3, we see no need of Christ, but think ourselves full and rich; and if conscience begins at any time to smite us, and to set our sins in order before us, the only plasters we use to heal this wound, is to reform our lives, and to make vows and promises of living better for the time to come; and thus we spend our carnal days. Ah, but when once the Spirit comes to work savingly in us, he demolishes this strong hold, leaves not one stone upon another of this Babel, though before we thought its height would reach unto heaven. This Dagon falls now flat to the earth before the ark, and only the stump remains. He now plucks down these false props on which we leaned, and removes those pillars on which we so long had securely slept. Now when all confidence in the flesh fails, and the poor soul sees no help at hand, Lord, thinks the soul, what shall I do? What will become of me? Where shall I fly for help? But now the Spirit goes further {but now? He should have made true English of it, and have said, then the Spirit goes further} and shows the soul, that though there is no help to be had in itself, yet God has laid help upon one Mighty to save, and now points the soul to a crucified Jesus; see yonder thy help is to be had in that bleeding, dying sacrifice; he now shows the soul the infinite value of his blood, and that he is the Father’s Free Gift to lost sinners; and that they may come to him without money, and without price; and that he that cometh to him he will in no wise cast out.” Thus far Mr. Hunt in pages 132-133.

Here now is no judgment of interest in the lovely Jesus by signs of active conformity to him, much less so rigorously insisted on, that there is “not else” to take the comfort of this interest in, as he most disparagingly has turned it up in that page, against the Righteousness of Christ; but on the other hand now in this page, he brings us to remember the Father’s Free Gift to lost sinners; and here is our passive endowment before any conformity to commands can take place. Here on pg.133, you have an acknowledgment how the Spirit points the soul to a crucified Jesus, with a “see yonder thy help is to be had in that Bleeding, Dying Sacrifice!” Though the Spirit of Christ points the soul to the Lord our Righteousness, Jer.23:6, in doing through his Life, as well as dying on the Cross; but on pg.141, {when he had forgotten both himself and the truth,} he tells us, ‘tis “a conforming to the Law of God written in thy heart; and a conforming thereto in all things in thy life. If so, thou hast reason to take comfort as one that is interested in this lovely Jesus; but not else,” says he. On pg.132, he shows us, that by nature we have high thoughts of ourselves, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish our own; but on pg.141, he takes no notice at all of this, but makes the sign to be “yielding thyself to the Lord in a humble and holy walk,” and that in the way of my trial, how to take comfort in Christ. In one place, abundance of our own righteousness to make the judgment by; in another, all instances of Free Grace to the same purpose.

In one, there is a test to judge of it by the Law of God; in the other, the trial only made out by the Free Gift of God. Law-conformity in one page, {which is by nature all the money and price we insist on,} in another page, coming to Christ without money and without price. Isa.55:11. In the one you must come with a great deal of cost, it must cost you a right hand cutting off, a right eye plucking out; in the other you may come without any cost at all, and him that so cometh to Christ he will in no wise cast out. Now ‘tis strange, that when the soul comes thus naked to Christ, and Christ accepts it for nothing, and clothes it for nothing; I say, ‘tis strange the soul {if we go this way to work in stating Justification} should see nothing, feel nothing, taste nothing of interest by all this in the lovely Jesus, till it stays out it’s time for judging of interest by conformity to the Law of God, {which is a thing, too, quite of another nature, than the Free Gift, or the Righteousness of Christ.} Alas! The Righteousness of Christ, in the Applicatory Work of the Spirit, comes home to me with such Virtue by the Promise of the Father, Lk.24:49; that, blessed be God for Free Grace, I can judge {if spiritual senses, Heb.5:14, may be believed in spiritual things, as natural senses are in things natural} sweetly up on the spot my interest, by seeing Him in whom I have now believed on. I need not stay to take comfort, II Tim.1:12, till I have time to put in practice my preacher’s set of directions; for he gives them all to a base end. Let me come in to the order of the Gospel after this, upon directions and rules of Christ for my holy way of cleaving to Ordinances and Worship, when I have experience how one limb of the body of death mortifies after another; and by the New Life received, how each piece of old Adam may be taken out, and separated from me without pain {for if the Spirit takes me in hand under the Apprehending Righteousness of Christ, it is done without pain;} and blessed be God, I know something of this. I can see something, I say; feel something; be assured of something, when I am brought to believe on Christ without the works of the Law, Rom.3:28; yea, to believe on him, though I am the chief of sinners, I Tim.1:15; I am no dead one, no senseless one in the Spirit’s hand. Well, it is plain by comparing these two contrary descriptions that have been given us by the same writer, of the ground a soul must go upon, to judge of its interest in Christ, that this poor man must be very much in the dark himself! He knows not whither to go for his judgment; for sometimes he remits us to the Law, to conformity thereunto, {to judge this by,} at other times he sets before us the Gospel, and remits us to the Free Gift, insomuch that he is in and out. Neither do I see how poor souls can tell safely were to take him; for he brings in my obedience to the very same end and purpose of discovery in one page, that he brings in Christ’s Righteousness to answer in another.

To give the reader therefore some help, in some short state of the matter, in a consistence, a harmony, according to the Word of God; a yea and yea, not a yea and a nay, in self-contradiction. For I would fain beat this brother out of conceit with his scribbling humor, which I verily believe will but make him work to repent when he is old, what no persuasions have been able to work on him to believe, while he is young, if the Lord hath indeed designed him for riper years and experience.

Let us, as wise and understanding what the will of the Lord is, Eph.5:17, look at a right Conversion to the Kingly Office of Christ. For all sound Christians of any standing, in Conversion to Christ, must less or more, at one time or another, be Convinced by the Holy Ghost of this, and to what distinct end from true Saving Conversion. This Conversion to the Kingly Office and Government {and to talk of your humble, holy walk without this, is no more than mere branches of moral virtue, that make useful to men, but not at all serviceable to Jesus Christ; I say, this Conversion to the Kingly Office and Government} of Christ can never be brought about in the Soul and Life before Conversion to the Priestly branch of the Mediator; though it is done by the Power of the King to dispense the Grace of God, in the Light of the Teaching Office, or what we call the Prophetical Office of Christ, under the virtue of the healing in his Wings, Mal.4:2, or his Priestly Office in the Gospel, to which as our Object in the Person of Christ we must be first turned. For Conversion, or the Act of Turning, is always to do again, and be repeated, after every act of Departure from the Living God, Heb.3:12, though it be but a departure from him in our thoughts; although Regeneration was wrought at once in the same instant; and when we are brought to New Acts of Conversion, or turning again and again {I mean from self, from sin and creatures} to eye Him and receive Him, as our Gospel-Salvation, still the same, Mal.3:6, even amidst our continual departings, and the sins of each day, we must out of Regeneration, or the first Principle of our New Life, be turned, or influenced, excited and fresh drawn again from all to Christ; and to that in Christ which at our first Conversion of all we were turned to, {when turned right,} even his Priestly Office, the Office of Christ in the matters of his Righteousness and Blood, whether Sacrificed on the Cross, or pleaded in Advocacy on the Throne. In the light of this we discern his Teachings by the Holy Spirit; and in the Peace and Love of this shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto us, Rom.5:5, we are prepared to turn to him as our King, and Husband under his own sweet and easy Laws suited to our New Relation in Christ by the Holy Ghost {for all newness comes in to us, and upon us, by time-workings of the Holy Ghost.}

Well then, till by fresh experience I sense his Blood and discern his Sacrifice, his once offering of Himself, I am sure, I can never yield afresh unto his Sceptre, as in my first experience when I felt and discerned them antecedently to my yielding and turning in a way of repentance. All Mr. Hunt’s way now in his proposed state of trying your interest in Christ does but bewilder a poor soul! ‘Tis the Blood of Christ, which the Spirit in his Work uses on me, which takes away the stony heart, Ezek.36:26, within me. I know nothing else but this matchless result of Free Grace which the Spirit brings home, and applies sweetly to dissolve it. Now at the dissolving of this stone by blood, the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanseth from all sin, I Jn.1:7, before I can find one law of Christ, Heb.8:10, written in my heart, I can better and more reasonably take comfort in what I discern of it in my new heart of flesh, than in any act of my own bowing that arises out of it; or what I may flatter myself in calling a conforming thereto in all things in my life. ‘Tis his gracious yielding to me that is my all alone comfort, my yielding to Him is but my duty, and the fruit of that comfort. I am assured of this truth, and can say I truly experience it, I never yielded up my heart to Christ, till Christ yielded down his hand to my heart. I always found the spiritual part of the work impossible; nay, I could not spiritually put forth one act in it, till Grace initiated and engaged my mind and affections towards Christ. My heart was a heart of stone contrary to yielding, till his hand was a hand of love, in the time of love, Ezek.16:8, contrary to disobeying, and fully reached my heart. The Word is plain in Ezekiel 36:25-27, there is cleansing of my person before the softening of my nature; as a dirty stone may be washed before dissolving. The whole applicatory work of the Gospel begins with God’s Effectual Calling us, at the first work of Influential Grace, and sprinkling clean water on us; that is, washing, which is pardoning us by the Spirit shed down upon us, I Cor.6:11, and this makes way for the rest; for then, after the washing, there comes the softening virtue, before any motion of the heart’s yielding. ‘Tis first of all, “I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” This follows the cleansing part; and then lastly, here are the principles of yielding to the Kingly Office, “and I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” All this now is done in a precise order, and not confusedly, as it is wont to be preached, and especially as it is printed, and distractedly published in the book examined.

Furthermore, a holy and humble walk is durable, ‘tis no transient act. Now, if a poor soul be put this way by his Preacher to discover or find out whether he be interested in the Lovely Jesus, he must take up a long time to discover it, for he cannot search, weigh and examine it {unless he takes up a notable piece of self upon trust} till he hath spent a good part of his life; yea, I may say all of his life in this way of trial and error. Because I find spiritual pride, if the Spirit discovers me to myself, where another finds humility; I see that to be pride, if I see by the Spirit, which another sees to be humility by the flesh. If the Spirit rips me every day, and upon every occasion, open, I can’t say that I am humble, because still by the Spirit I have my eye, and ought to have it, upon the proud-part of my nature. Nevertheless, if I am humble, as the Lord himself {not I} will judge of me by his Grace, in making me in my self what I do not see myself to be; why, it is he alone that shall look on that humility, for I shall see nothing of it, to take the least comfort from it, but as it is in Himself, and I too in Himself, perfect in Christ. He’ll show me more of my pride in myself, to keep myself humble, whilst he shows me my perfection in Christ to keep me looking to Him, and believing! Now then, if I must take up this comfort of my Interest in Christ by my holy, humble walk, I must stay so long, and go so far about, even in coming up to the top of the common professors mark, that my prayers will be hindered; because I can’t yet see this way in which God and I am agreed; and this kills all praying, as is said of a man and his wife in the family, that if conjugal duties be omitted between them, and being heirs together of the Grace of Life, I Pet.3:7, their prayers, their joint-prayers in that family, will be hindered. And as my prayers will unavoidably stop this way, {I don’t mean my chattering, Isa.38:14, and wording it, but my praying indeed,} so consequently, my praises too for what God hath wrought and done in a Gracious Measure upon my poor soul, by God the Comforter. These must all stop; for I can’t with a loud voice return and glorify God, Lk.17:15, upon feeling that I am healed, as the Leper did; why? Because I must be beaten off of this. This is enthusiasm with most of our poor preaching wretches in city and country at this day that can’t be reconciled to the Foolishness of Preaching, I Cor.1:21, for they are for making their wise-work of it! Nor, must I come to God with the sweetest errand I have in all my life to the Throne of Grace, Heb.4:16, to confess to him his Mercy just now to my poor soul on the spot, without the deeds of the Law, Rom.3:28, for this is branded as Antinomianism. Thus, my Preacher would hedge me out from God, and making God’s Work and Christ’s Work for me, Antinomianism; and the Spirit’s Work in me, Enthusiasm; and bids me find some other way; let me go round about his bushes {poor thing} and stay for a practical discovery of my interest a great while hence, that I may prove it hereafter, {for with his leave I cannot before,} by my humble and holy walk! Well, thanks be unto God, II Cor.9:15, who hedges up none of my way, Hos.2:6, with these thorns, as he threatens there in Hosea; for I still find my ways to God in the Ancient and Everlasting, Jer.6:16, paths! And so I regard none of this Preacher’s Self-Examination doctrine scrutinized; for I am for none of your humble pride, to find out my interest in Christ thereby; nor desire any of your proud humility, to take comfort from thence as one that is so interested in this lovely Jesus, but not else.

Once more, if I must go many miles round by the bow, before ever I can take comfort that I am interested in this Lovely Jesus, which comfort I know and feel the Gospel works in me on the spot; what differences are there in the argument of the Gospeler against the Jew to prove Messiah is come from God, and gone to God, Jn.13:3, in point of comfort, by the Doctrine of it infallibly stamped upon the heart by the power of the Holy Ghost, more than in the Argument of the Jew against the Gospeler that it is not so; if the Gospeler had not been able, upon a Naked View, or Discovery, and Seal of the Spirit from the Word on the Heart, to take comfort on the spot immediately, but must, as the Jew, Rom.10:3, go about to take it up in a humble and holy walk, which must take up a great deal of time to prove? And, says the Jew, I will take comfort that way in a Humble, Holy, Ten-Commandment walk, as soon as you. Otherwise, says the Jew, if you take comfort in anything you see, say, by Faith, and not in Obedience itself you work out, your walk is proud. ‘Tis a proud thing in you, says the Jew, to believe thus in Christ, as if he was God, Jn.14:1; for this is the Jew’s Calumny, and the Stumbling, Rom.9:32, at the Stumbling-Stone. Aye, but now my heart being filled with Comfort at one look from Jesus of Nazareth that was Crucified without the Gates of Jerusalem, Heb.13:13, as God’s own look to my soul, overwhelming me in a Moment, that I can tell you nothing of my Conversion, but what I see, hear and feel by Spiritual Senses; {“that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ,” I Jn.1:1-3,} as Paul could tell nothing else to Agrippa, Acts 26, but what he had in the extraordinary way of his own case seen by spiritual senses; and all this Evidence made clear before there is any time to prove things to one’s self, or to another man, by one’s Humble and Holy Walk. Here’s a vast difference in the strength of my argument {between my Evidence that Messiah is come, and is my Righteousness to God, Jer.23:6, because I have heard, seen and handled, I Jn.1:1, the Word of life, and have felt the effects thereof} from the Jew’s argument, that his comfort must come in by the righteousness of a humble, holy walk, who gathers up all his evidences unto himself and yet feels nothing of God’s Unlimited and Super-abounding Grace laying prostrate the soul at the feet of Christ. Besides, ‘tis all my life’s work to be Conforming to Christ. What a foreign way then have we got up here {in this Divinity of the practical test} for comfort of my interest in Christ, which is but in other words to take up my Justification by Christ from my own works! But if my comfort from Election through the Righteousness and Blood of Christ, in the After-Fall Dispensations of Grace towards me, as well as my Election to it in the same way through these means, be by Grace, then is it no more of works, Rom.11:6, otherwise Grace is no more Grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more Grace, otherwise work is no more work. My comfort comes not into my soul from God the same way as my practical loyalty to Christ goes out before the world; but I have another way to my own heart, even the New and Living way, Heb.10:20, to take in all my comfort from God, and come by that which I dare stand up and own to be from Him alone. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” {Heb.10:19-22}

My Querist now asks me, “is the Law of God written in thine heart?” I answer him, yes; but this is no more than a natural work in me, common with the work of the Law of God written in the hearts of the very heathen. The heathen have it too, and every natural man has it, as the Apostle tells us, Romans 2:14,15; so this is a poor thing for my comfort now, is it not? Why, if I have not Christ first, and know it first, without this, this Law of God written in my heart shall be a thousand times more my terror, in any time of trouble or judgment, if my conscience be not asleep, than it shall be my comfort. This is all against me! This is all on this side of Justice! Here’s nothing for me on the score of Grace or Mercy! I am cast aside by this and undone forever! See now, how far Mr. Hunt and I differ in our Experiences of the way of taking comfort. Again, the Gospel Promise is not about writing the law in the heart, as it was the Law of God written in the heart of Christ, who says, “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart,” Psal.40:8, but about writing the Laws of Christ in the hearts of the justified, as the phrase in the singular number, in Jeremiah, is expounded by the Holy Ghost in the Hebrews. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people, &c.,” Jer.31:33, and it’s corresponding Gospel Echo in the New Testament of Christ, “for this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people, &c.,” Heb.8:10. The Gospel Promise, or, the Promise, “I will put my Law {singularly} in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts,” is explained plurally, “I will put my Laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts,” and so “Law” in the singular is made “Laws” plurally; distinct Laws from the Law of God by Moses. Consequently, not the Law of God to show us that they are not God’s Law in a first Acceptation to secure Interest in Christ, but Christ’s Laws in the second Acceptation, as means to carry on Communion in that Interest, even as I so distinguished it in the former chapter. These Laws of Christ {being Supernatural Religion, under a Continued and Further Work of the Holy Ghost, after Conversion to the Person and Righteousness of Christ} none but true believers “without the deeds of the Law,” Rom.3:28, the Sinai-Law, or, without Conformity in the true Law-Sense do find written in their hearts. ‘Tis not the Law of God at large, for that is Mr. Hunt’s, and other men’s gross mistake to call it the Law of God, as if it was so at large, and make no vital distinction. It is something Evangelical in the very Institution; for Christ’s Laws are Gracious Laws of Government, Worship and Ordinances that serve the Gospel. These come in the very nature of them after the Gospel. They are not natural-moral, as Mount Sinai’s law was. The Gospel Promise is first and foremost, and the Laws of Christ promised to be written in the heart are next; and these come after the Gospel to serve it. Now still my comfort comes in by the Gospel Portion which the Laws of Christ wait on, not by the Duty-Part which serves, and is to be all my life-time gathering up. Further, if I take right comfort, I must first know Christ set against the Sin of my Nature, before I ever know any good in my nature by any Spiritual Communication from Christ; and so take comfort in Christ, though I can’t tell you, whether the Laws of Christ be written in my heart, or no. To know anything of it from Laws of Christ distinct from Gospel-Evidence requires abundance of spirituality and rooting into Christ, Col.2:7, and the very growth of Grace to discern the Reality of Grace. Whereas, the Spirit of God in Gospel-Evidence hath a way of discovering to me the Being of Grace {when any Grace is bestowed} without the immediate increase or fruits thereof; for these are proper to be brought forth in season, Psal.1:3, and not just when the graft is put into the Stock. I can discern Christ the first moment I have true comfort, as the immediate Cause of that comfort; but I can’t discern the Laws of Christ written in my heart the first moment I am given “everlasting consolation and good hope through Grace,” II Thes.2:17, and comforted in Christ.

However, says this Querist further, {after he hath set up the Law of God, and confounded it with the Laws of Christ, written in the heart,} “and art thou conforming thereto in all things in thy life?” No sir, my answer is already in the negative; for I have not conformed to the Law of God written in my heart in any one thing, as the Commandment means; so far am I from conforming thereto in all things in my life, that I have conformed in nothing. And yet, through God’s Matchless Grace in Christ, I take comfort! Yeah, I take comfort exceedingly! I take comfort unutterably! I am not able to set out in words the comfort I take, which is full of glory! “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” I Pet.1:8. And yet I am conformed to no one thing of this Law of God written in my heart, otherwise, than I am conformed thereunto in and by my Surety! God’s being all in all to me in Glory to Eternity is effectually secured by Christ’s becoming all in all to me in his Grace here. Art thou conforming thereunto in all things? What did the man mean, if not to sit out a Tuesday’s Lecture at Salters’ Hall,3 in which lecture the Everlasting Antinomian-Gospel is excluded! And yet this poor, inconsistent man at Northampton hath other strokes too that are against the consent of that Tuesday’s Pulpit. “Art thou conforming thereto in all things in thy life? If so, thou hast reason to take comfort, as one that is interested in this lovely Jesus; but not else,” says he. Here’s Christ struck out at one dash by the stroke of a hasty and inconsistent pen! Besides, if this conformity lie in all things, then no man can take comfort till he comes to die, and is assured without any hesitation that he has conformed to all the Law of God written in the heart, {for the words of this test are absolute conformity thereunto.} Now, until a man hath finished that which he derives his comfort from, he may not, that is, he cannot, take his comfort. {I am well assured all my comfort I take from Christ’s Conformity to the Law of God, II Cor.5:21, written in his heart, arising out of his Suretyship Accomplishments, which if I were to meddle with would only spoil.} Moreover, it’s impossible to be certain of the matter in hand, that I have conformed in all things; nay, I will put in the soft phrase, for I cannot know that I have sincerely desired in all things to conform; for I can’t know this to my satisfaction when I come to die; as I can no more go to my sincere conformity, and my desired conformity to all God’s Law written in my heart, than I can go to my universal conformity thereunto, and take up my comfort thence. So that by this scheme of projected consolation, it is impossible I should have any real consolation in all this life. And then it will fit hand-alley to a hairs-breadth, which drives you on to perform the so-called Conditions of the Covenant of Grace, {for this is the New-Law style,} and then you shall have comfort in Heaven, no matter whether you have it here. But I bless the Lord for this; for I know no Door that lets in comfort into my soul, but that which lets in salvation; and I know no Door that lets in Salvation which shuts out the comfort of Salvation, less or more. And as I am saved by Grace, I am comforted by Grace, and am spiritually refreshed no other way. Nevertheless, this same universal conformity to the Law written in my heart is made such an absolute test of interest in Christ, as well as comfort in my soul, that if all this plan and project of Mr. Hunt’s own consolation be obeyed {which I am sure he never did nor will} then I may take comfort as one interested in his lovely Jesus, but not else!

Well, throw this man’s {and all his abettors} Divinity, in point of this test, out-of-doors; and hear what “the Spirit saith unto the churches,” Rev.2:7, as the Foundation and Encouragement of my confident opposition to this Interest-test before laid down. “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.” Isa.40:1-2. Here the Lord comforts his people upon their receiving Christ in his Person and Righteousness, which is the double, these two going always together in true Gospel-Faith. ‘Tis receiving Christ, both as to what Christ is, and as to what Christ hath accomplished, even to death. As to what he is, God in our Nature manifest, as to what he has done a Surety-Righteousness in our stead accepted. The ground of her comfort lay all together in what she had received, and in that which God had finished for her; not at all in what she had done and conformed to. The Foundation of this comfort, and speaking comfortably unto her, is laid in no creature-conformity to the Law of God written in her own heart; but it’s laid entirely in Christ. No, she was not to be comforted from required doings, nor to take it up from conforming to his Laws, though her debt lay in conformity thereunto. The Laws of Christ are later, and when they come, they are appointed to another end than that of comfort; her comfort was founded upon all that God did for her, apart and without her, in breaking off her Warfare, and accomplishing that for her which should no longer oblige, wherein she had always failed. God would put her no more to contend for the Sacrifices and Worship of the Old Testament, Psal.40:6, which she had almost in every age corrupted, Hos.6:6; she should cease her hard task of it to keep up Temple-Purity of instituted Church-Worship; she had turned aside, and turned back in the Day of Battle, Psal.78:9,57, and warped in the times of Apostasy; she had, instead of standing out vigorously to resist Idolaters and Corrupters of the ways of God, lost her ground in the Field of Battle! The carnal Jew revolted, and yet now her Warfare is accomplished! Jerusalem had contended coldly for the Truths of God; her weariness of the conflict for the very Worship of a Prophesied Christ, Mal.1:13, her standing up for Types and Shadows of good things to come, Heb.10:1, was now completely over, and summed up in one Word of Grace, her Warfare is Accomplished. And though she had spoiled all her Law-Work, yet she should have an Evangelical Reward of Grace, and Experience of precious soul-comfort in receiving Christ and his Righteousness, as the better things intended by those Sacrifices and Worship. This was of the Lord’s doing for her, not her own, to put an end to this Warfare. Again, she was to take comfort in this, that her iniquity was forgiven her, and her sins put away. This was still of the Lord’s doing, Psal.118:22-23, as the open Foundation of it in the Corner-Stone discovered. And both these, the Accomplishing of her Warfare, and the Pardoning her Iniquity, were works of Grace without and apart from her, that God had accomplished for her; and all the work of God’s Grace within her brought under Observation for the taking up her comfort, was her being by the Holy Ghost enabled to receive and perceive the Gift of this Blessed Dispensation. She has received the Gift of God, the Lord’s Christ at the Lord’s hand; and upon this the voice cries, “comfort you, comfort you my people, saith your God.”

Look further into Matthew 9:2, and there the word saith, “son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” Christ does not tell that man when his sins were forgiven him, but that they were forgiven him. This man {for ought we see} was so far from that faith too, which men are wont to call justifying and saving Faith, that by what the Holy Ghost has penned of the matter, we do not read he had the faith of miracles; or as for that matter any faith to be healed in his body of his palsy, by Christ’s Word of power, Psal.107:20; for all that sort of faith which had preceded the cure is mentioned to have been only in the persons who brought him, and sought means how to lay the diseased man before Jesus {not to be easily come at for the crowd;} it was the Faith of his bringers which set them upon uncovering the roof where Jesus was, and that let him down through the tiling, Lk.5:18-19, in the midst of the throng before Jesus. We don’t read of the man’s own faith or desires; not so much as a cry, or a word spoken to be healed! We have no account that he besought his friends or neighbors to carry him in his bed to Jesus Christ; for though he could not go, he being so weakened with this paralysis {the distemper wherewith he lay afflicted} yet he might have asked to be carried forth. To be sure, in such cases the Holy Ghost is not behind hand, in declaring how the matters stood; he usually setting forth finer details and lesser circumstances than the faith of a healed person. For ought therefore which appears in any of the Evangelists this paralytic man was openly a wicked and profane wretch, guilty of very notorious sinning with his lips, as so many poor bed-ridden creatures have been, and yet withal, at this time of bringing him in the bed, restrained, and a poor creature awed, perhaps loath of himself to be brought; perhaps afraid such a Holy Man as Christ, when he was brought before him, would notably round him in the ear, for all his open wickedness, and put him to shame before the multitude, when they should bring such a guilty sinner, and set him down before the presence of the Just One! Acts 3:14. Therefore it does not seem as if the man himself had been very forward, when they brought him to Christ. However it be, Christ seeing “their” faith {it is said} who were looking for a Miracle; our Lord doth, as it were, say, you shall see a miracle for soul and body, wrought upon this poor, palsy-creature, before all the multitude, to go vastly beyond the expectations of your Faith, looking no farther unto me than for the cure of this man’s body; for “he saith unto the sick of the palsy, son be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.” Be of good cheer; for here is no taking comfort if thou conformist to the Law written in thy heart. But by this pattern, if the Lord speaks this word to my Conscience, {for he can speak what, when and to whom he will,} “be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee;” I presently take comfort from a Word of Christ’s mouth, though I can’t tell whether there is a dram of Grace {that Grace which Mr. Hunt lays his whole test in} in my heart. Here is comfort upon what Christ speaks, not upon what I can appeal to him of good that I have done before him. And on this Argument alone it is easier to amass enough from the Scriptures to fill a volume, than to maintain the absurdities of the other side. And in a word, than it is to defend this last coherence of the disparaging stamp I have overthrown.

But lastly, as I begun this section by turning Mr. Hunt against himself, so his book is fruitful enough in self-contradictions, to show my reader I must end with it; and still give the clinching opposition to Hunt out of master John, and set one piece of his name against the rest. I shall call in two witnesses against him {enough to confirm the testimony I undertake} out of his pages 155 and 166.

One place tracked with these lines speaks thus. “As there is nothing in this lower world comparable to Christ, so the love of the Father doth in nothing so discover itself as in giving Christ to us. Here he opens his most tender bowels towards us.”

“In this lower world;” mind, he does not say of this lower world; for, then he must plainly have meant the worldly things thereof, though in any of the outward mercies, and creature-comforts bestowed; but he goes further in his expression, and says “in this lower world.” Why now, my humble and holy walk is in this lower world. When the laws of Christ are written in my heart, they are written in my heart in this lower world. Do I conform thereto in my life? It is in this lower world still. Well, says he, “there is nothing in this lower world comparable to Christ.” Why then give me liberty to argue, there is nothing I have in this lower world, nothing I have, whether a humble, holy walk in it, or the Law of God written in my heart in this lower world comparable to Christ. There is nothing I have in my humble, holy walk in this world, or in the Law of God written in my heart in this world to take comfort from, comparable to Jesus Christ. Judge then, reader, when he lays the ground of my taking comfort as one interested in Christ, if my walk be humble and holy, if the Law of God be written in my heart, and when he expressly tells me in words in length, “not else,” whether he does not contradict himself, by matching something I have in this world, nay preferring it, to take my comfort from, of interest in Christ, which is not Christ, to whom yet now he says all other things are not comparable. If Mr. Hunt will hold to his own proposition on one side, “there is nothing in this world comparable to Christ,” it will truly follow he ought to hold likewise, there is nothing in this world, no mark, no sign {to take comfort from as interested in Christ} comparable to Christ Himself to take up the comfort of the same interest from; who himself by his Spirit from the written Word makes it out to me. He is a Sun that brings his own evidence of shining in my heart; a light that we need not light our own candles to. And then on the other hand, he must drop his other proposition of taking the comfort not from Christ, but from a humble, holy walk, and from the Law of God written in the heart. Or, if he will hold them both, he must give me liberty to tell him that he holds self-inconsistence, and hath nowhere in the Book reconciled his contradiction. Well, there is nothing in this lower world enjoyed, no, not my humble, holy walk, nor the Law of God written in my heart comparable to Christ Himself who gives me the Holy Spirit from the Father, to take comfort, as one interested in the Lovely Jesus. Again, there is nothing I do in this lower world to judge of my interest in Christ {as his other words are} comparable to Christ himself. My “doing what he commands, my hating and forsaking what he forbids, my cutting off a right-hand, and plucking out a right eye, at Christ’s command,” still there is not comparable to Christ himself, whereby I may judge of my own interest in him. “My saying in sincerity to every idol of my heart, get ye hence, what have I to do anymore with idols? Nay, my saying Christ is that one Lover I have espoused, and after him will I go,” is not comparable to Christ himself and his espousing me, to judge of my interest in Christ by. Indeed, “my conforming to the law of God in all things in my life,” is not comparable to Christ himself, to know how I may judge of my interest in Christ. Thus, Mr. Hunt displaces Christ to bring in duty, and marks of interest, where it is by Christ alone, and not by them I judge for myself; {another must judge for me this way, who can’t see my own experience;} and yet he entitles his book, “Christ the most Excellent.”

Moreover, if the Love of the Father does in nothing so discover itself as in giving Christ to us in this lower world, then I see nothing {I must profess to men} that we can take our comfort from, of being interested in Christ, and nothing in this world how to judge of our interest in Christ, like as we may take the comfort of it from the Love of the Father in giving Christ to us, by an act of the Third Person in God. Alas! The mischief is, that when we have such poor carnal professing, which is not spiritual enough to judge of these things, either by a discovery of Christ to the soul; or, by an operation of Christ by the Spirit of God upon the soul, we have likewise such poor carnal preaching, as only flatters old Adam, and compliments fallen nature {and indeed all that Mr. Hunt lays down in his how to judge of an interest in Christ is no better;} hence you shall never have spiritual evidences rise after such carnal marks of profession; nor spiritual believing and growing in faith and holiness {which must throw down all the frame of the carnal} out of such dead preaching, as takes it for warrantable to displace Truths by the sound of the words.

Again, if in giving Christ to us, here the Father opens his most tender affections towards us; surely then, if I believe what I say, or write, I should both judge of my interest, and take my comfort as one interested, not from the Preacher’s marks in my poor frames and performances; but from the Father’s opening his most tender affections towards me, in bestowing of Christ by the Holy Spirit on me, as that which I first see my interest in, before I can prove anything to make a judgment by myself in Laws and Obedience. Consequently too, I cannot take all for gold that glitters; for I do plainly see multitudes of our preachers and professors who teach others, II Tim.2:2, also {and oh; that the Lord hath made them able;} have no clear work of Grace wrought upon them; and I fear a great many of these multitudes have no true Work of Grace; and so they make a commotion to sell off their dross for pure gold. Alas! I must have something to take comfort from in the views of my dis-conformity; and that is, as has been well expressed to my hand, the Father’s opening his most tender affections towards me, as the ground of my faith, the cause of my strength, the beginning of my life, and therein and therewith my present comfort, before one act of my conforming to the King’s Laws, or to Christ’s Commands as King, in any point of Gospel Obedience. For to conform to Christ’s Laws thus, is a spiritual act of my choice, in the spiritual view of my Object, under a spiritual free-inclination of my principle, by the spiritual conduct of my Rule from Christ; and my spiritual discerning the wise end why I do all. For, “if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit,” Gal.5:25; and I am assured in these things, that my Antinomian-holiness {for I speak the language of the times, as Paul did, when he calls Gospel-Preaching the foolishness, I Cor.1:21, of preaching} which holiness the common professor tells me is a turn-off to licentiousness, or at least an encouragement so to do, {for this must be the consequence of it, says he,} will yet be found a stricter holiness in the Nature of it, a surer holiness in the Foundations of it, a more sensible holiness to the New Creature in the experience of it, and a far more consistent holiness in the Entire Mystery of it, with all the Revealed Doctrines of the Christian Religion, than my Adversary’s holiness in his marks and signs the other way {whoever he is} can be. The Spirit of God brings me after this manner to conform to Christ, whenever I conform, and if there be not the things in it laid down about Spirituality, ‘tis no conforming to Christ. Nevertheless, the same Spirit antecedently to it all is Himself bestowed on me, and for and through Christ is first put within me, before there is one of these conformities; and when he helps me to take my comfort, ‘tis altogether in the views and absorption of my Object, and not the mere exercise and putting forth of my own acts towards it; for I am under the Conduct and Management of God the Comforter in my very comfort. He doth not leave me to take up my own comfort; nor when Himself takes it up for me, does he bear witness of Himself immediately, and of his own work in me, but he begins with bearing witness of Another, Jn.15:26, in whose Name he comes; and I am sure the Comforter never began my Consolation, where the school-master {that lashes and drives me too with blows and violence} has begun and prescribed it.

Thus I have argued out of one of the instances I spake of, to bring against himself, and have further confused him by turning on him his self-contradiction.

The other instance is this; says he, “God in much mercy has fixed on this way {Christ} to save sinners, that by believing we might have life, but with a resolve, that such as believe not shall not see life.” Now is not this strange inconsistence {for I must dispatch it in a word} that I can have life by believing, which is the greater, and yet not judge of this life, not take comfort in this same life, by believing upon Christ, which judging and taking comfort in the life is far the less than believing? Must my comfort come in by my conformity to laws, when my life itself {the greater} comes in by believing upon the Object, who is above those Laws?

1 Johannes Piscator, 1546 -1625, German Reformed theologian. “A Learned and Profitable Treatise of Man’s Justification,” 1599.

2 Cracow, also known as Kraków, Poland, was the home of Faustus Socinus, founder of the heretical school of thought now known as Socinianism.

3 In the year 1672, when King Charles II issued a Declaration suspending the penal laws against Dissenters; numerous Congregations were soon formed; and, to illustrate the Harmony between Presbyterians and Independents on the leading Doctrines of Grace; as well as to support the Doctrines of the Reformation against the prevailing Errors of Popery, Arminianism, Socinianism, and Infidelity, a weekly lectureship {through the contributions of the principal merchants and tradesmen of their persuasion in London} was established, in which four Presbyterian and two Independent ministers officiated in rotation. Initial speakers included Dr. Bates, Dr. Manton, Dr. Owen, Mr. Baxter, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Jenkyn; and so these weekly lectures were delivered in Pinners’ Hall, an ancient building in Old Broad Street, London. Toward the close of the year 1694, an open rupture took place among the lecturers of Pinners’ Hall, and another lecture was set up by a few Independents or Congregationalists, as they began now to be called, at Salters’ Hall. The occasion of this breach was the re-publication of the Sermons of Tobias Crisp, {this was in 1690, by Crisp’s son, Samuel,} a book whose distinctive tendency was to overthrow the religion of man, whilst maintaining clear Law/Gospel Distinctions and setting forth Christ’s Pre-eminent Glory, which Gospel Truths thus simply set forth, essentially revived the spirit of the faithful, at a time when men whose limp {mere creedal} grasp of the Everlasting Gospel, began a down-grade towards Arminianism, as many who professed the truths known as the Doctrines of Grace were drifting away from their Foundational Pillars. In attempts to quench the light of Crisp’s distinct setting forth of the Glory of Christ, and to diminish the Glory of Free Grace, Richard Baxter in a lecture on Jan.28th, 1690 at Pinners’ Hall, and in his book, “Scripture Gospel Defended,” immediately lashed out, and in his book principally succeeded in utterly distorting the views of Tobias Crisp; to which the son of Crisp swiftly came to his father’s defense in a pamphlet of his own entitled, “Christ made Sin,” {Samuel Crisp, London, 1691.} In the light of Baxter’s death in 1691, a few of the Presbyterian ministers of London deputed Daniel Williams {a disciple of Richard Baxter} to send forth a reply to the book of Sermons by Crisp, which he did in the following year, in a book entitled, “Gospel Truth Stated and Vindicated” {1692.} {Williams not only attacked Crisp, but the Congregational Preacher Richard Davis, whom he accused of Antinomianism, when Davis visited London in 1692.} This book was met with much resistance, as the ‘orthodoxy’ of Williams was impeached, and charges of Neonomianism, Arminianism and Socinianism were hurled against him by Ministers such as the Congregationalist Stephen Lobb and by Isaac Chauncey, who was an Independent. In 1693, Chauncey, {who would become Williams’ chief opponent} wrote {in defense of Crisp} his three-part “Neonomianism Unmasked,” and soon thereafter Williams was prohibited from preaching in Pinners' Hall. Many accordingly withdrew and established their own Lecture at Salters' Hall, leaving the Independents in possession of the Pinners' Hall lectures.