Chapter 15

Of Mr. John Hunt’s 13th Disparagement of Christ, concerning the Redeeming Efficacy of the Lord Jesus.

The 13th Disgrace is this, “but know, he has already made Satisfaction for sin, yea, for as great sins as thine, yea, for thy sins, if thou hast a heart to come to him, and believe on him.”

How would the Socinians triumph, if we had no better Champions to defend the Doctrine of Christ’s Satisfaction properly, against the improprieties wherewith their Socinian fraternity and Arminian classis have loaded it! How would the Arminians insult the Defense of the Absolute Doctrine of its individuation, and particular Application to every one of the elect, if the state of the matter had been laid down by the Orthodox with such precautions in their books of Controversy! {I do not see how it can serve our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel to send abroad severed limbs of the new formed body of Socinianism and Arminianism prepared to pass at this Day up and down in the compromised and middle way?} If they had only defended Mr. Hunt’s precarious Ransom, and had built an Individual Redemption on the hearts of them that come and believe on Christ! The truth is, as a proper Satisfaction was made to God by Christ, so that proper Satisfaction {or Atonement and complete Sacrifice} was an Infallible, Particular One, for all the sins of the elect, to include severally every “thine” and “mine” throughout all the sins of the whole Mystical Body given to Christ their Head, and settled in Him, by the secret and mystical Union from Everlasting. This is the Doctrine of the Scriptures. This state of it defended makes out the completest Defense against Socinians and Arminians, it being most opposite to them. Moreover, my encouragements in Christ, and the comfort I reap in that Doctrine, under and against all my sins, are raised thereon and received therefrom accordingly; and they are the necessary antecedents of my coming to Christ, when I have strength from the Holy Ghost to walk, if ever I come to Christ with mine eyes open.

My fundamental comfort in the Doctrine is founded upon this, that Christ’s Satisfaction to God for the sins of all the elect is founded upon God’s will, Heb.10:7, and Christ’s Covenant-Mediation as my Surety, Heb.7:22 with Gal.2:20; the Responsibleness of my Surety is founded on his Deity, as the Son of God, and the Qualifications of his Sacrifice; or the Offering to pay my debt is founded upon his Covenant, as Mediator, and particularly, the Man in God; and either way hath no precarious relation to my willingness, or unwillingness, to my heart, mind or will in the matter. “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.” “Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you; be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.” Ezek.36:22,32. ‘Tis suspended or advanced upon none of this creature-footing; and here is my first and fundamental comfort in the Doctrine of Christ’s Satisfaction.

My Superstructure-Consolation, or next Comfort, is this, a Sight, a Discovery in the Spirit’s first work in my soul, a discerning Faith that Christ’s Satisfaction was made for me. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” I Jn.5:20. Therefore, through Grace I’ll believe it was made for me, Gal.1:4, before my motion-faith; that is, before I come to Christ, I am experimentally encouraged to believe that Christ’s Satisfaction was particularly for me. It was Satisfaction made to God for me, and therefore made to procure my motion, as well as my sight before that motion. To procure my heart, Rom.8:32, to come to Christ, and to take up my pardon with him, as mine own, by the Free Gift. Rom.5:16. For Christ procureth upon Advocacy, or the Throne-plea of his Crucifixion-Sacrifice, the Holy Spirit for my heart to take this comfort, II Cor.1:3-4, and then enable me to come to Christ for the confirming evidence of it by more Faith, after the convincing Evidence thereof by initial Faith in the Eye of the soul. “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” Eph.1:18. I take no comfort at all in it, that it is a Satisfaction made for my sins, but forever distrust it through the prevalency of Unbelief, Jn.20:17, if I suspend the belief of it to be for “my sins” until I have a heart to come; and that I must come before I am made to believe this Satisfaction was made for me! Oh! Away with your blind faith, Psal.38:10, upon acts of coming to you don’t know whom, or what! And the Lord be pleased to give me Gospel-Faith, Jn.6:68-69, discerning faith upon Satisfaction made, and made for me, and made for my sins already; not to be made at this Day, before I set out of doors. And though I can’t bring my heart to come, yet the Satisfaction which Christ has made, Rom.5:11, for my sins can and does bring me to come to the Glory of God by Christ. I am enabled to see the Prevalency of the Satisfaction made, and the Propriety of the Satisfaction settled, settled in the Lord’s Covenant to be for me, and I see this by Gospel-light of God the Spirit, I Jn.4:13-14, if ever I come to Christ, I say, with mine eyes being opened; and not as the preachers do generally teach me to come to Christ blindfold; for they make no distinction in the acts of believing, as if all faith lay in one act, or, in the act of coming.

Away with all your precarious satisfactions, your precarious consolations! I look to what I see, the Effectual and Proper Satisfaction made by Christ for me, and by the Lord Jesus for all my sins, before I had a heart to come. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Eph.1:7. And when any man comes {“all that the Father giveth me shall come to me,” Jn.6:37,} so as not to be cast out, it is by knowing, {“this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent,” Jn.17:3,} whom he comes to, {“ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship,” Jn.4:22,} and what he comes for, {“then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go; thou hast the words of eternal life; and we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jn.6:69,} in a sight of his all absorbing Object Christ, by the Lord’s own discovering work upon the comer’s understanding; and then comes the heart as the immediate principle of the same motion. “It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” Jn.6:45. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Phil.2:13. Oh! What a confused pressing and talking is there of faith amongst preachers, whilst few of them seem to know what it is! {“Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar…and if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil; and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil; offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person; saith the LORD of hosts.” Mal.1:7-8.} And many prove it to me, as they have never rightly discerned to preach upon that Subject, Jn.4:23, unto this day! {“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual; 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.” I Cor.2:13-14.} I find abundant Encouragement to Assent to this Proposition as Faithful and True, that the Satisfaction of Christ made to God was for me, in order to procure a believing heart to come, even when I had no heart-motion to come, and rest my soul on Christ, because I have the Discoveries already which were procured by the same Satisfaction. I had sweet encouragement in mine eye; as I beheld, Jn.6:40, his Righteousness and Blood were for me in particular; and when I came in Motion-Faith adventuring it was because I had this Sight {“mine eyes have seen thy Salvation,” Lk.2:30,} distinctly before I came {though others, to the injury both of Faith and the Faithful, make these twain, one.} For, when I came, I came to Christ upon a Certainty Discovered, Satisfaction was made for me; not to Christ upon any doubtful, Mk.11:23, supposition of the Satisfaction, Mic.7:18, which he had made for me; as to conceive he had made it for me, only if I had a heart to come. Alas! If I look to the coming, on the side of my act, before I discern the Satisfaction Christ has made for me, even for me, on the side of his Love, all that coming spiritually {and not in the presumptuous confidence of the flesh} will and must be doubtful, whether ever I shall attain it, yea or no. For what should ever bring me to it, Rom.7:18, if I do not see it is for me, before I am brought. Conversion to Christ is no blind motion, {“whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul,” Acts 16:14;} though conversion to all other objects, as conversion to parties, to churches, to professions, to duties, to ordinances, to preaching and hearing the word itself, is all, without Conversion to Christ, above and beyond them, blind enough. Rev.3:17. My heart never spiritually set out to Christ, Mt.4:16, upon a peradventure {though my preacher had given me abundance of these arbitrary and haphazard encouragements; instancing ignorantly in the natural, and so a foreign act, of the four leprous men before the Gate of Samaria, II Kings 7:3,4, who ventured without knowing anything upon the mercy of the Syrian Camp;} indeed, when I went no further than to come to Ordinances, and there stuck, thinking in my very soul that coming to them seriously was coming to Christ, I went then all upon the peradventures, I Kings 20:31, Gen.32:20, as others do; but when I was brought home to Christ, it was far otherwise! {“Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength; even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.” Isa.45:24.} I did not come to Him upon any persuasive if’s {if I come, Satisfaction to God is made for all my sins; if I bring my hand, Jesus Christ will bring my Pardon; no, when I came home to Christ, I did not come thus;} but I came upon positive drawings to the Object, God-Man, in Clear and Distinct Discoveries of his Person, Righteousness and Grace to my poor soul! Indeed I did find a Ransom! Job 33:24. I distinctly felt his Power after I beheld his fullness; I saw it to be for me before I had a heart, courage, strength, Psal.143:4, and will bestowed upon me to go and take it up. Again, Christ efficaciously drew me to himself, he clothed me with his Robe, melted my heart, and overcame me with his Beauty, in the very Discoveries of Himself, when he had opened himself unto me. The motion of my steps had never been, if the views and joy of my soul, Psal.4:7, looking unto Jesus, Heb.12:2, never had preceded. If these holy Discoveries had not taken off Uncertainties, Jn.20:20, I am sure, there had been no Effectual Influence ever on my will, to bow me, and incline mine heart to Christ. The certainty of it in my views made me run, {“I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart,” Psal.119:32,} as I gained more ground now in a single thought {“the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave,” Rev.1:1,} that I used to get under a whole set of motives and directions! “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isa.40:31. Oh! Gospel-faith is no blind faith, {“look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else,” Isa.2:11,} no melancholy faith, no roundabout faith! No proud faith to aspire, my heart should come to Christ’s Satisfaction, before Christ’s Satisfaction comes to my heart! {“The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.” Isa.2:11.} “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God,” Heb.3:12, and so to look about you to see and put something of the creature in your own hands; and like Jacob to the Lord of Egypt, “carry down the man a present,” Gen.43:11, looking for him in some low performance, before you see full Satisfaction made, and all in Christ’s hands for me! And as Gospel-Faith in the discerning act {“for with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light,” Psal.36:9,} has the view of its Object as distinct and certain, in order to further gospel-faith in coming; so I cannot experience that I am left to omit or delay my coming and believing on his name. Jn.20:31. If I see my Object certain it efficaciously draws my heart to him; I cannot often behold his smiles, but I must be changed, II Cor.5:17, in the whole frame of all I see by them. The sweetness of love in the Certainty of the Object overcomes all, Psal.110:3, thus showing himself, and I come by the same Grace which I perceive dwelleth in Him; and in Him on the behalf of his elect! But he always reveals his love, and displays his arm in the Light of God’s countenance, even before I move forwards! The light shines and takes mine eye before I approach the same Object, and then am made at length to roll myself entirely on Christ, to rely and cleave, to trust and repose my entire confidence in him; “my Lord, my God!” Jn.20:28. “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day; and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” {Psal.89:15-16}

Faith is a very Orderly Grace in the Spirit’s Workmanship, though, as preachers for the most part ignorantly and carelessly lay it down, I Cor.3:10, it is a most disorderly and confused thing, without the Holy Ghost’s Distinctions. There is a great deal of Old Adam’s coming to Christ, Acts 8:13; I know {not only by the way of experiencing it, but that which I discern to be in others} by their Old Adam’s way of preaching it, Acts 21:18-24, which {though propagated by zeal, yet} never rose out of the Discerning which the Holy Ghost works in all who are efficaciously brought to Christ, the New Adam. Faith there is of the wrong kind; ‘tis but nature’s blunder, fancy’s dream, the creature’s gospel; but nothing of the Holy Ghost’s work, who begins it with an Opening the Eyes of the Understanding. {“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know, &c.” Eph.1:18. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” II Cor.4:6.} I am led positively to know by the Holy Scriptures to whom this Satisfaction was made. Psal.40:6-8 – Heb.10:5-10. It was made to God who hath received it certainly, and discovers it in the same Certainty by the Pure Gospel, when his children are brought off from the Mixed Gospel. Gal.1:6-7. And these Preachers of the Mixed Gospel, II Cor.11:13, think because Duty is much neglected, and that there is more of a need of Preaching Duty, {and so there is; but ‘tis mostly among such as have genuine faith to receive it, and do it; yet they think} they have nothing so much to do as to jump presently into preaching duty; but let a poor worm tell these ministers, that themselves have too little of the Practical Mysteries of Faith in Discerning and Coming to Christ broke into their own souls, Tit.3:5-7, to be yet ripe enough for the Duty-Portion of the Holy Scriptures or skillful enough in their proper Gospel-Application. The Pure Gospel, when it shines out of Darkness by the Holy Ghost in my heart shows me, that as Satisfaction was certainly made to God, so in that Certainty it was made for me, II Sam.7:18 with 23:5, and thus engages my heart to come. II Cor.4:6. Whereas if my heart must be somehow cleansed first, before I can declare a Satisfaction on my behalf, under the Spirit’s work begun in opening mine eyes, ‘tis a mere labyrinth, a maze, and a bewildering me, and making nothing, Isa.53:3, of all which Christ has done for me; I am speaking still of a soul under the Holy Ghost’s Discerning Work in opening the eyes of Understanding-Faith, Eph.1:18, to “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” in the Person of Jesus Christ, II Cor.4:6; {so far am I from laying the foundation of nature’s presumptuous claims on the one hand, on a real enthusiasm, I Jn.4:1 with II Cor.11:14, which cannot be accounted for by those who experience it, on the other.} Whereas in going the other way, by the heart to come to Christ, with no vital Discernings of Christ, Jer.33:3, before the heart comes, there’s no way left for me to know, whether the Satisfaction Christ has made to God was made for me, or not? For, if it was uncertainly and indeterminately made to God for any sinner who hath no heart to come, and the Determination of it to any one must be known by the posture of that heart; ‘tis a mere deception to think it must be so known to me, as it was never known to God, Acts 15:18, in the Order of the thing. My heart must be determined under the Satisfaction made, II Cor.5:18, not the Satisfaction made determined under my heart. For, if the Satisfaction itself does not determine it for me above and beyond my heart, I have poor encouragement to trust a deceitful heart, Jer.17:9, when it comes. What ground the more could I have to discern it, determinedly made for me, and taking notice, and finding I had a heart to come, if mine eye was inwards to mine heart, and not outwards to the Object of my heart? Isa.65:1. A man may have a heart from natural desires to possess that which is not to be had; neither can I have any evidence that the desires are Spiritual, and a true work of the Holy Ghost, because they come before Discernings of Christ, what he is in Himself, and what he hath, and possesses, certainly, by Settlement and Donation of the Father, for me; and so is a greater argument against me to keep me back from Christ, than any argument for me to move me to come unto him. “All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” Mt.11:27. Such a blind heart rather argues I would come to that which is not, the Satisfaction of Christ for me, than do that which is, the Satisfaction of Christ for me. God forbid therefore, that I should go by man’s heart, and not God’s heart, as he determines and guides me by his Spirit and Word in this important matter. “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.” Psal.79:9.

Again, when God gives me this heart to come to Christ, ‘tis because he has provided Satisfaction for me; and here he does only renew the first Assurance or Earnest of my personal interest in the Satisfaction of Christ I had by discerning it, to embolden and authorize my Motion-Faith to Christ. “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” II Cor.5:5. For, I have already had the first Ground of Interest-Hope in the Objective Evidences, I Tim.1:15, of the Spirit’s Testimony, or Revelation, working in me and upon me by and from the Word, viz., from the Doctrine of Satisfaction, or the Atonement in itself, Rom.5:11; or from some other Objective Word as it pleases the Holy Spirit to unveil the beauties of Christ to my enquiring mind and ravished heart; then the second ground of encouragement which was for me, is, that it is so powerfully revealed to and in me, Gal.1:16, so that I can no way disprove it to be for me, though I do not yet come to Christ, but still feel a hard heart, and a captive soul. {“Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God; for our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” I Thes.1:4-5.} This may be thy case; though peradventure, thou art the soul, who canst not yet come for thy bonds, Exod.2:23, and venture thy Self and Condition entirely upon Jesus Christ; thou art yet straitened with abundance of ensnaring self-matters, Lk.9:59, 61, and canst not get out of thy prison of self and these shackles of thy own imprisonment, to come to Jesus with that Gospel-Freedom, as both Lord and Christ, Acts 2:36, which thou seest other Saints have done. The Lord hath opened thine eyes to see thy full remedy, and thou hast tasted so much that the Lord is gracious, I Pet.2:3, as though thou dares not question but his Satisfaction was made for thee; and yet such hardness in thine heart still, as thou wantest, Mk.9:24, a coming power added unto thy seeing eye, to come and venture all that thou art and hast, Sin and Grace, upon Jesus Christ; that the One {sin, guilt and condemnation} cannot hurt or displease him if thou comest with it to him; and that the other {Grace in its perception} has lain dead and useless in thy soul, ever since thy first Awakenings, because you have set up Inherent Grace in thy thoughts, and bowed down in thy soul unto it; and then no wonder if thou are bowed down in thy soul for it! {“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jer.2:13.} Thou hast bowed unto it, and honored Grace in thy soul, as if Grace was Christ; as if frames were Christ, Psal.36:9 with I Cor.1:30, as if dawnings and stirrings and hopes begun were Christ; and thus, poor soul, thou hast been kept at home in self-graces, {in essence, working out thine own righteousness, Rom.8:4,} and wantest a heart, Hos.6:6, yet to come to Christ. Poor soul! What must I say unto thee? Mine errand is this. Hear what the Spirit saith unto them that mourn in Zion. “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isa.61:1-3. Come poor soul, mind the next Discoveries; see, if the Spirit doth not show thee more in Christ than thou hast seen in meekness; more in Christ than thou hast seen in patience; more in Christ than thou hast seen in the law of love and kindness written upon any heart of flesh; {“for all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD; but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word,” Isa.66:2;} see if there be not more in the “still small voice,” I Kngs.19:12, passing by before thee, and proclaiming “the LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,” Ex.34:6, when the Spirit shows you Christ’s Glory, than thou hast seen all thy days, of Christ, by reflection, looking into thine heart, and poring on your graces. “Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Mic.7:7. Come then, poor soul, at the Lord’s Proclamations of thy release in Christ; yea, without thy money and without thy price, Isa.55:1, and freely give up all your charters, Isa.45:13, into Christ’s, the Lord Christ’s hands! And see, there is a more excellent way, I Cor.12:31, than making so much of, and trusting so much unto, inherent grace. Give it all up at one word, at one mighty lift of the Spirit of Jesus, Phil.1:19, into Christ’s hands, and live upon Jesus Christ alone. {“How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God; therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light.” Psal.36:7-9.} ‘Tis the way too to have more Grace than ever; for thus, hast thou been kept at home in self-graces, and wantest a heart {till thou hast a heart for this} yet to come to Christ. How ignorant then is that notion of the Satisfaction of Christ made to God for all thy sins which reacheth not, Mt.9:28, the Doctrine of the Satisfaction of Christ made to God for all your sins, before thou comest to him, and by Motion-Faith believest on him? How ignorant is that conceit which teaches you to receive and take up his Satisfaction, as a mere speculative notion, if you come unto him. II Tim.2:1,13. For, it is most certain that Christ made Complete Satisfaction to God for all my sins, even before I came to Christ! Though mine unbelieving, treacherous and conceited preacher would never tell me so. Mine unbelieving preacher; for, he did not believe this a way to direct me out of the Discerning Faith, and so on by the Motion-Faith home to Jesus Christ Discerned; when yet I was by such a way converted. My treacherous preacher! {“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it; neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him; but it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” Psal.55:12-14.} To betray me deeper into sin and snares, through the ignorance he kept me under, in the very way of instructing me. My conceited preacher! {“And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.” Rom.2:19-20.} For he conceives still within himself, that if this Free Way of Grace comes out among the people, and the old bondage-faith {I call it old, because so much of old Adam is in it, before we put on the “new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of Him that created him,” Col.3:10, thus he seems concerned that if his old Legal-System} goes down, and his confused notion of coming to Christ be overthrown; then farewell all Faith, Neh.6:8, what need the sinner believe, if the Satisfaction be made to God by Christ for him, whether he believes, or whether he believes not! And farewell all holiness, and all duties of profession at this rate; for thus he conceits; now can there be a more conceited preacher than this? {“The proud have forged a lie against me; but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.” Psal.119:69.} Let a wise and experienced soul, I Cor.10:15, judge by seeing him in his conceits, his farewells, and conceited way of taking leave of everything that’s good, if we admit the Free Gospel, Rom.3:31 with Rom.6:15, whether this Preacher be not a individual enormously conceited? “But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.” Job 13:4.

Nevertheless, here I begin my comfort upon Objective Evidence; I begin to tell it you, as the Spirit Orderly began it in his first shining in, {“for thou wilt light my candle; the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness,” Ps.18:28,} and fastening my eyes upon the Object, Christ. Here I have stays, and mighty underproppings that bear me up, {“the eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms,” Deut.33:27,} while I view the same Discoveries. I have an Instantaneous Hope, Gen.45:27, in mine eye, a Christ, the Christ of God in all his Fitness, Heb.7:25, in all his Fullness, Col.2:9, and in all his Freeness, Eph.2:8, set before me! My heart is raised, and yet again mine heart desponds! Mine eye hath hope, and yet mine heart is treacherous! Mine eye is full of encouragement, and yet mine heart {for I carry about me such a body of this death,} is fearful! I see the fairest-face, Psal.45:2, in Zion; the chiefest, Song.5:10, of ten-thousands! The first-born of paradise! Adam’s Elder! Angel’s Sovereign! The Eldest Glory-Son! And all the angels of God bowing before him! I see him brought down! I see his face marred and body mangled, Isa.52:14, on the cross! I see that it was for me, and yet my heart, oh, Psal.40:12, my heart! I know not how to come, to take, to hold the same fast. It wears off again, Hos.6:4, and I seem to be but where I was! I have most pure Discoveries, and yet my heart’s unclean! Jer.4:14. I see thy Glory-Word, forever, O Lord, settled in Heaven, Psal.119:89, and yet my heart, Oh; my heart is wandering! Psal.56:8. I have better sights without me than ever, and yet my heart, Oh; my heart is worse within than ever! Psal.38:5. ‘Tis a heart called to come, and yet it comes not. Whatever it may be in my non-coming, I dare not deny my begun comfort in Discerning. Lam.3:24. These views have not been without the voice of the Shepherd-Christ, Jn.10:27, heard and recognized! {“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me, and being turned, I saw, &c.,” Rev.1:12.} Christ hath said to me, to my heart, “be of good cheer!” Mt.9:2. Here’s now a Discerning Faith which lets in my comfort, though it be not yet blossomed into Motion-Faith, to make up that which the Scriptures do mean by coming to Jesus Christ. Jn.6:40. And this Discerning Faith is distinct from Coming, ‘tis seeing the Son; and blessed be God, though I am often in my bonds, I can see the Son of God still!

Well, next is the Coming-Faith, or, the Antinomian Venture! To Christ, without the deeds of the Law! Rom.3:28. Motioning-Faith to Christ, under more of the Spirit’s immediate work, Rom.8:3, with freedom-steps; as Discerning Faith was within myself, from Christ shining, II Cor.4:6, in by Free Encouragement. I would open it a little from some gracious experience, II Tim.1:12, for I know it is a Mystery; Isa.8:11, Prov.6:22, and I may say with Truth, I never knew what the Doctrine of Coming to Christ was; I could have no right thought, Isa.55:8-9, of it by all my conjectures of the Practical Way of performing it; coming, coming, coming to Christ did but make a sound, till the Holy Ghost inwardly taught it, I Jn.5:20, me by my own Experience, and then led me on in coming, and coming, I Pet.2:3-4, still to Christ oftener. Well then, it was thus with me, as I am going to set it forth. The gracious Spirit of God made me willing to drop all my cargo, Phil.3:7, on the spot, all my goods and treasure, Lk.12:19, laid up for many years. Laid up? Aye, laid up for heaven, I thought, as often as I thought anything of it by the Common Faith. I was prevailed on to renounce and give up all my preparations! My qualifications! Tit.3:5. My hearing! The tears I had shed in the view of Hell-torments! My obeying! My preaching! Rom.2:19. My praying! Taking pains, &c., as to my own flesh, Jn.3:6, in these, the corruption of the creature, the wickedness of my own heart in all, Jer.17:9; all this would stick, Ezek.16:6, when the first dawns of Grace made the burden, of what was wicked, drop, that it should be no hindrance to motion, though self-defiled; and as to all that appeared materially good in the things afore recited, Grace strengthens me in the change to resign them up, Heb.11:26, and trust not one of them. {“Then said I, Woe is me; for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” Isa.6:5-7.} And so I stood stripped, while disburdened, of all things, which I had taken up once, in Profession, to save me without Christ, Rev.3:17-18; that in this naked condition when I came to Christ, {“and he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus,” Mk.10:50,} I found that I came with Light and Joy in my soul, and the burden of sin dropped off upon those Distinct Views of Grace and Glory in Christ that were granted me. {“Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD; this gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.” Psal.118:19-20.} Now this was the opening of my way, and fitting of my soul by Christ to come unto Himself. My first coming lay thus, in the posture and motions of my soul.

“My Lord, Job.7:20, I have nothing, my Lord, I am nothing. To thee I come, my dearest Lord, with nothing! I come to thee, naked, because I see my clothing provided, my riches gathered, my robe, and all, Isa.45:24, in thine Hand ready! Thy fitness, as God, as Man, answers my Condition; as God, thou hast taken off all discouragements, enlightened my darkness, and broke my bands in sunder! {“For thou wilt light my candle; the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.” Psal.18:28.} As Man, thou hast waited to receive me, and yet art God that waits. {“And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; for the LORD is a God of judgment; blessed are all they that wait for him.” Isa.30:18.} Thy fullness hath not only broken in upon my heart, but hath broke up all my secret thoughts and ways before me, and has broken off all my old excuses! {“O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.” Psal.139:1-4.} Thy Infinite Mercy in coming down, in coming down for me to make the Satisfaction, and that so freely in thy love, before I sensed any need of Thee. Thy freeness, to do it for me, when so many thousands, Rom.9:27, were passed by! Thy freeness to me by Grace, when so many visibly brave and illustrious souls, Isa.10:16, pass their days in the Spring of nature, run their course {through man’s prosperity} in nature’s Summer, and yet like leaves, drop off in Autumn are cast into Hell in Winter, Isa.10:18, and never see one spiritual beam of Discovery from thee the Glory-Sun! {“For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.” Isa.10:23.} How free is thy Grace! ‘Tis to me, and not another! {“I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother, saith the LORD; yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” Mal.1:2-3.} Thy discoveries of it to me, when I was fighting against thee in my carnal ways! Thy freeness, to loose my bonds, Psal.116:16, that now I am got from self and home, and come to thee the Gate of Mercy! To thee the Door of Life; who art proposed by the Father, Rom.3:25, to be believed on. Mine heart is false, but thou art Faithful and True! Rev.19:11. I venture upon the Fitness, Fullness, and Freeness of thine own true Grace, and dare not despond, Mk.5:36, Jn.11:40, notwithstanding the treachery of mine own heart!

Thou art all Life, which is set against my death! Thou art Immortality, II Tim.1:10, and I come to thee, whose Immortality is set against mine own body, Rom.7:24, of death! I come to thy Light against my own darkness; and yet I come with thy Word, thy Lantern at my feet, and the Morning Star, Rev.22:16, in view! {“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psal.119:105.} Mine heart is darkness, yet thou hast made mine eye Light; and I venture to thee by thine own Light upon me, and about me! Since thou hast said unto my heart, be not fearful, but believing! Be not faithless, Jn.20:27, but believing! Lord, I come, I come to trust, I come to trust thee with all that pertains to my Life and Salvation! Though I have this body of death, Rom.7:24, yet I am come by thy Grace to cleave to thy Life! I have the basest nature, surely, in the world, but I come to the Lamb without a spot, I Pet.1:19, for me! I come to thy Beauty, and set thine Holiness for me, against all the accusations of Law and Conscience, Rom.8:2, in the place of my wreckage by sin! I am come to thy Holiness to set it against the Sin and Abomination in my heart, and in all mine own ways! I come with the blackest heart and hands and feet to thee! I come with an Ethiopian’s skin, Jer.13:23; lo, here be Adam’s spots upon me! And yet I come with thy Spirit! I come above this Condition of corrupt nature, because thou once didst exchange Conditions with me, by thy Surety-Covenant! Thou hast taken all my sin, II Cor.5:21, and yet wast never sinful! It could not work its stain, I Pet.1:19, upon thee! And therefore still, whether I look to Saints or Angels for compare, Psal.89:6, thou hast the fairest Face in Heaven! And I have no other way, Acts 4:12, to come to God but thee! I have a crooked heart within me, but thy Spirit of Grace and Supplications in this happy moment has brought me straight to thee; and whilst my way appeared round about me, thou hast left it all, and made the straighter steps above me! {“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” Zech.12:10.} I come to thee against a thousand heart reproaches, I Jn.3:20, and yet thine Perfect Righteousness I set against mine own hypocrisy! I have a fading heart, I Pet.1:24, in all my best complexions; the Grace-colors of the New Nature wear out, and wash off in the daily using, and yet I come to thee! {“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go; thou hast the words of eternal life.” Jn.6:68.} I come to thee in Distinct Views of Gospel Truth and Grace, and under safest conduct am continually being drawn to Thee; I come believing, knowing this Robe in thy hand shall be openly put upon my Person before the world, as thou didst secretly put it on my soul in the day I knew not what thou didst; and the nearer I approach in Faith to thy Light, the more I see reflexively that I am clothed, who thought myself naked. {“And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty; for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezek.16:14.} So, I am comely, through thy comliness which thou hast put upon me; I am one with thee in thy Robe and no Spot is in me.” {“Hear me speedily, O LORD; my spirit faileth; hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust; cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” Psal.143:7-8.}

And now, brethren, I do wish I could speak it to all the Church of God on Earth, as I speak it, and have spoken it, before the Head of the Church in Heaven! This is the Experimental Portion of my Venturing, Antinomian Faith {and some call it enthusiasm, cant, madness, &c.,} and yet in this I venture still; or, I should go down in Faith to be as dead as the times! Yea, if I had not set out in this Faith to Christ, I had never been a Believer; that is to say, a Comer to Christ, in the Motion-Faith, to this Day; but had lain soaking and rotting in my sins, wrapped up in all this Dead Divinity which overflows our Land!

Thus, when Christ shows me the vileness of my heart, as much in some proportion as there is in Hell {I think} yet I find comfort upon viewing the Doctrine of Christ’s Complete Satisfaction, I Cor.15:3, and am refreshed to know that he has died for my sins; because herein he enables me to perceive and gaze upon his Fullness, the Fullness of his Blood, and the Abomination of my own sin beside; and it is a settled fixation, Isa.32:17 – Job 34:29, in my Heart to behold the Remedy in the Son of God provided, and set against my own corrupt affections; which Remedy I see doth vastly out-balance and surmount the destruction, damage and pain, I Cor.15:57, of all that which resides within my heart can do unto me. It revives me that though I look into this black heart of mine, and see not one dram of holiness, but behold filthiness and putrefying sores, Is.1:6, every time I search, to know how it is with me; yet ‘tis an altogether Gracious Relief amidst all this wretchedness, Rom.7:24-25, that this Physician, Christ, is mine. But how do I know? By the Faith of seeing, Jn.1:36; because I graciously see him stand before me; Christ having visited my soul, having opened my wounds, and made me to know my own deformity; and though I do not see that I am cured of sin, nor do yet feel what I so anxiously desire, {strength in my soul to come with all my heart unto Christ;} no rather, for whilst I look into my heart I go backwards, and sink too deep in that mire to leave my sins, Psal.69:2, and to come to him. Nevertheless, when I have Gospel-Views of Christ, and see the Human Nature in his Sufferings for my sins sink in the mire for me, I am relieved in searching my heart under all the views of sin in me. And yet I come not; though I can see it is for me; and yet my backward heart sinks, Psal.69:14, my heart does not come to Christ; I find it impossible to gain one inch of ground from my self. What then? I can see that these views refresh me, as I feel a Rock beneath the mire supporting my fainting spirit. The Lord being pleased to give me a sight of all my sin, that is, all manner of corruption in me, Rom.7:21-23; as I behold all the filthiness of Abomination in my ways amassed together in my heart; and I take notice, that the holier I strive to be in my duties, and the more I seek to come up to an acceptable pitch and height of holiness, {as I have apprehended holiness in many conceptions I have had of it,} yet the more filthy, under all these endeavors, do I amazingly behold my self, in my self, that I often think that holiness of Truth is impossible, Eph.4:24, and that surely I can never be holy, seeing myself so loathsome and abominable in the pure Light of these discoveries, that present my Nature and Condition to be entirely viewed in fallen Adam, and a fallen descendent in and from him! Oh, the ups and downs, the faint glimmerings and frequent withdrawings! The long and manifold Work of Christ upon the souls of many, wherein they have relief, supports, and views of that Satisfaction of Christ which was made for them, before they are given a heart to come! Ah! Is this work of God upon the soul, the soul’s own coming to Christ? No, ‘tis a far greater Work of Faith in-wrought, Col.2:12 – Phil.1:29, than the out-wrought part of Faith itself is in coming! My first act in Eyeing Christ, which also rises out of the Spirit’s Antecedent Work, must be before my next sort of Act in coming to him from the Spirit’s further work, though in both sort of acts it is Believing, and true Gospel-Faith. I view Christ, and am refreshed, though I do not yet, through the further Operations of Effectual Grace, come up to him, as the Quickening Spirit and Invigorating Gospel directs, and is prepared for me, to bring me to it in God’s time. Nevertheless, though I am stopped in motion by my own heart, I am not therefore prevented of my Consolation by it; for, when the Lord breaks in, and shows me the reverse, that I have a Superior Excellency in Christ {which I never lost in Adam, because never committed to him} than I have in Adam. That I have more kept for me in Christ, Rom.5:15, than I have lost by Adam and myself! {“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Eph.1:3-6.} Consequently, that I am more holy and beautiful in Christ, II Tim.2:1, notwithstanding all the holiness and beauty I have lost in Adam, than I am for this latter cause unholy and deformed in myself! What furtherance is this to coming in Motion-Faith, when I come upon Revelation-Certainty in Revelation-Grace and Discerning-Faith? It is facilitated, made more easy, by discerning; as on one hand, I discern I am sold under sin, Rom.7:14, from the Law of Sin and Death which takes me down from motion, as it did Paul; he doing the things he would not, Rom.7:15-16, and sinking deeper still into self, {as we always do, in doing the things we should not by the Rule, in doing the things we would not with the Principle,} and this is not coming to Christ, but keeping from Christ; even as gracious hearts do thousands and thousands of times after their New Birth; so on the other hand, though under this spirit of Oppression I have views of my Object that supports me. ‘Tis a bondage still before the Glorious Liberty, Rom.8:21; and yet the saint born in light lives to come to Christ, even by Grace, again and again after it. He that is New Born in the light doth not receive the spirit of bondage, a mark and a sign of Grace, as he took it up before; and as he or she new-born in the dark, and not brought forth to the Light, continues to take up this spirit of bondage for the mark still; indeed, for the highest evidence of Grace and Divine Favor. The truth is, the bondage comes upon me now and then forcibly, and takes me up, but still it is with the Holy Ghost’s difference, I do not take that up, nor go and receive it again to fear, Rom.8:15; that is, to question my State, my Foundation in Christ, my Union in the Mediator. I do not take it up thus, though a dark child of God doth, and in the dark must, who thinks it is his duty to yield and consent to the bondage or be carried off; but the spiritual one sees more, cries out at the invasion, and looks, Lk.2:38, for Redemption. Therefore, though in the light I see that I am sold under sin, yet I have views which present an Infinite Virtue-Ransom too that hath purchased my Pardon, and hath proclaimed my Freedom. This Satisfaction Price being a most Certain Redemption in itself, and a Particular Redemption to me {upon evidences to be further by and by displayed} doth give me, under the Spirit’s first opening work, instantaneous views of Peace; which I feel supports, and am secretly persuaded upon what I see and feel in reference to the safety of my standing in Christ, my Ransom-Surety. And though this loosens my chain, it does not entirely break my bonds; as this must be further, and more of the same Grace still. A hope there is set before me, Heb.6:18, of strong consolation in Christ; as I have my imminent Rock in view, but yet my feet stick in the miry clay, though I do not sink and perish, because my supporting Rock is under me. “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings; and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.” Psal.40:1-3. Darkness does not hide the face of God, though weakness keeps back the heart of this poor worm! Oh! I am weak, I am so weak; I cannot come to my Rock, I cannot stir to Christ. As I did not by my own lighted candle behold him, so I find I do not by self-strength come unto him; and his Strength for Motion does not come as soon as his Light for Vision, and I know this is the case of many a poor soul; as it was with me, ‘tis with them; and ‘tis often with me, as ‘tis with them still! Howbeit, in this Faith I lift up mine head, though I cannot get forwards; Christ who is my all, is still set before me. I conceive the Lord to be the Free Gift, Rom.5:16, for me; and this is the View that gives me the gracious hopes, the stays, the sweet encouragements of my safest interest in Christ. Ah! In these views I sometimes see, that if I had thousand times, ten thousand times more sin, if it had been possible that I have, yet my sin, my sins would not have reached as far as what the sins and spots of the thousandth part of the whole elect have been, distributed and shared among them whom he hath cleansed.

All my filthiness therefore, whatever it be inherently, is notwithstanding, in that fundamental cleansing once for all, mystically cleansed away in that Union-Relation in which I mystically stand in Christ, and by Christ to God, even whilst sin continues in me inherently, and I am now by virtue of this radical cleansing, complete, Col.2:10, and without spot in him. Sometimes I see this, and rejoice before I come, having the life of it in order to engage my coming, whether I actually come, or no. Sometimes I come upon apprehending, and in the very act of my coming, am maintained in my views to apprehend. A soul may see abundance of Christ in its first experiences; abundance of light and love by Faith, the Discerning Faith, and may believe on Christ by the eye of the soul, in order to come by Motion-Faith, with the foot of the soul {as I may say to the new creatures who know these things,} in a holy confidence, I Jn.3:21, to God-Man; that soul sees it all, and the way clear, before he comes, and ventures to cast himself upon Jesus Christ alone. This is my Faith of Knowledge, even whilst I am often blocked up in my Faith of Motion unto Christ, and for a while am stopped in my access to God by him; because my views at first are but instantaneous and flashy, one thing or another shuts up my heart again, that strength does not come in with the light, and so having not presently a settled light, deficient in immediate strength, my heart cannot trust, nor get too far beyond its initial glimpses. Until that light abides in the Operation of the Holy Spirit in and with me, I am not brought quite out of my own darkness to come to Christ. For coming to Christ is a coming in the light, knowing that I am justified by Grace in the Free Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ unto me; ‘tis not a believing that I am justified after I come; but it is a motion to Christ because my heart now believes that I am justified; it sees this, and the heart comes to Christ accordingly. My coming, if it be according to the Scriptures of Truth, is not a coming blindfold; I say, mine, in the light of the Gospel, is not coming in the dark, Isa.50:10; for if it be dark with me, I stay on my God, as I am helped, and do not venture in the dark to come, but wait both for my Light and Guide; and when both these approach, I come, being called out of darkness, I Pet.2:9, into marvelous light. Ay, says the preacher, here it is Presumption with a witness! Ay, say I, so there is, as he must apprehend it; and never do I expect to come to Heaven without abundance of that to carry me on thither, which this preacher calls Presumption. Well, to reconcile and clear it more, I look objectively on the Truth revealed in the written Word, and there I find that Christ died, and made Satisfaction point-blank for such a soul, for such a sinner as I, who had stood afar off, and had no heart to come. I look again Objectively and Subjectively together, on the Truth, Christ, and on my heart compared. Here I find by the purity of the Ransom-Blood of Christ, and the foulness of my own diseased heart; by the Freeness of the Gift, and the backwardness of my disposition {my convictive backwardness, which the Holy Ghost has laid me under} to come and take up this Ransom-Blood as mine. I find by the strength of the Quickening Arm that will work what and when the Lord will, that he will work more in me when he sees it meet; and I find by my own unbelief, having obtained help, Acts 26:22, to discern the true ground of it, till that Arm of the Lord, Isa.53:1, be Revealed to work this Imminent Faith, that ‘tis I, ‘tis I, ‘tis I; by all signs this “lot” devolves to me, {“in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will,” Eph.1:11, the word “obtained” there in the Greek is an “inheritance by lot,”} let it fall how it will unto another; and by all tokens in my object, it must be a Satisfaction surely made on my behalf!

Yea, if I measure it out by heart-tokens too, though I have not in such or such a frame a heart to come; yet I see it is a Ransom-Cure for the hardest heart, and both a price and a plaster before I received my wound! And no heart was ever a harder heart than mine. Oh! Therefore ‘tis to me, tis’ to me! By this I am instructed in the Doctrine of Christ’s Satisfaction made to God for me, that it does not suspend in it self, nor ought, as a doubt in my own soul, to suspend, till I come to Christ. For come or not come presently, Satisfaction is made for me, to make me come presently; the Satisfaction of Christ is not to make, though the Drawing of the Spirit and the Coming of the Soul are both yet to do. I discern in the first true Discovery of the very Doctrine that there is certainly enough in it, and encouragement enough in my own sure Interest known to God and Christ in the same certainty, that takes away all my Foundation-scruples, and bears me up till I do at large come willingly in the Day of Christ’s Power. Psa.110:3. I find upon this Principle I am helped to more approaches of my soul to Jesus Christ Spiritually in a day, than I was wont to find or do carnally with the other Divinity in these seven years past; nay, than in all the time I had known anything of and in the Religion of Christ; and plainly perceive now, that I never did since my Conversion to Christ, nor can so long as I even live under it, make one spiritual approach to Christ the other way. The Spirit in Quickening me always uses this New and Living way upon me, Heb.10:20, antecedaneously to all my Acts of Coming. Indeed, I was once, like other men loth it should go here, when I had but the jealous notion, which most have entertained; the fleshly consequences of this Doctrine; but now do see that jealousy to be as fleshly, and anti-spiritual, as any thought I ever entertained. Yea, never had submitted to the Truth to this day, if I had not felt the power. I Thes.1:5. I know, the Spirit in a souls first gospel-evidence, Gal.4:6, even at his first stroke, taking off much of the darkness, and in a moment gives the same comfort for kind, which more frequently renews, and in the sweetness of it more fixedly abides afterwards. Whatever it be, in begun Consolations springing from the Dawns of thine Object, thou canst neither yet lay hold, poor heart, of Christ nor comfort. No, I know you cannot lay hold of comfort, because you are not yet come up to take hold of Christ, Col.2:2, in whom that comfort is founded, from whom it flows, by whom it is conveyed. What then, soul, through Grace thou seest him, Jn.6:40, and in him you see {in the sight of Him that you discern} that your very first Comfort is darted in as a Sun-beam of Heaven into the inner chamber of thine heart. Thy Faith is yet but an embryo, the shape of it is not yet all perfected in the womb of thy heart, as a Faith to reach all the lively, designed proportions of it; ‘tis an imperfect thing, for the coming, or motion of Faith is a more ripening Act than the sight of Faith. To see and believe is the first act, Jn.6:40, to come and believe is a further act, vs.44, and quite another, and a far stronger act. Here’s the Brazen Serpent-Faith, Num.21:8,9, to eye mine Object, when sick and wounded, that I can’t make an act of approach, {for the riper saints can’t always do this, make approaches,} and yet must have healing on the spot, or I’m gone; and there is my Golden-Sceptre-Faith, not only after I am converted, but when by the same Holy Spirit who converted me, I am more emboldened, as Esther was towards King Ahasuerus, and know I am the King’s beloved, by what has passed between us. It is then I approach and come to Jesus, by a higher, by a bolder act, and an act of Faith quite of another kind than discerning.

Mr. Hunt shows himself to go on more as Faith is set forth confusedly in books {of many writers} and to state his ill and dark notion of the sinners coming to Christ out of my Gospel-Feast, published fourteen years ago; when, as appears by my hints of coming to Christ, instead of the Pure Gospel, I wanted the Day-Light of the Gospel in some places to open the Mysteries of the Gospel; and particularly, the Great Mystery of the souls Motion-Faith in coming to Christ, as distinguished from Discerning Faith, {made out here to be in the soul upon the spot before it hath a heart to come.} The truth is, we were then generally angry with the Gospel through the Nation, and labored hard to put out the eyes of a Discerning Faith; and though it did not come to the general assault so early, as fourteen years ago; yet we were generally by the evil spirit stirred up at that time to darken counsel by words without knowledge, Job 38:2, and because more of the Light of Christ was come into the world {as there must more and more in every age, Prov.4:18, upon the path of the just, till that true Light returns, and comes again into the world in flaming fire,} we had loved darkness, rather than light, because our deeds were evil, Jn.3:19; publishing that for the Gospel, which, as to a great part of it, rose but little higher than the light of nature, and no higher than the corrupt part of man’s reason, molding and misshaping Religion to hide the Gospel! And we saw, this had been always so contrary, in and out of the Pulpit {that if these things were so, or if suffered to go on, without zeal to suppress them, rather than pray and study for more light to explain them} we must ourselves in all our own scheme and way of Preaching be overthrown! And corruption will never bewail corruption, or cover, or lessen it. In short, we were generally agreed to run down the glorious Gospel, {wherein the Truth resides, and shines in the minds of poor souls to bring them out of darkness, and break, Psal.107:14, their bands asunder!} And we labored to do it, by loading it with the reproaches of Antinomianism, Crispianism, Davisism, and I know not what, which I am afraid the body of us have not been humbled for, II Cor.12:21, nor repented of to this day! And what a sad condition will Christ one day discover those men to be in, whom he shall judge according to their own Gospel of Repentance, and Universal, Sincere Obedience, as the Conditions of the Covenant of Grace! Now, I say, when I was likely to be ensnared by a vain conversation with these men, I Pet.5:18, and got so far myself under the influence of these muttering old hags that I was ashamed to own my first, Discerning Faith; then no wonder, if the Lord righteously left me to entangle my Motion-Faith, and shut up all my steps in darkness for a little while. I was unable to open the nature of the souls coming to Christ from any distinct experience of that coming in my own soul out of the then fore-past Discernings. If I have therefore contributed anything in that book towards the misleading of Mr. Hunt, whom I can easily discern to have been tampering with it in his “Rose of Sharon,” {give me leave only for distinctions sake to call a book by the excellent name of the text} I am herein the more abundantly obliged to contribute my utmost to relieve him; even to a faithful acknowledging of my own former labors to have been very inconsistent, short, and mistaken, and upon what accounts so! {If my book, the “Gospel Feast,” contributed towards Mr. Hunt’s mistakes, I am the more bound to acknowledge my own mistakes in it.} Especially, when he hath so far improved my own mistakes, as to erect downright Disparagements of Christ upon some of them; and therefore, I have given a very plain and naked account of matters, as well as consistent with what I have elsewhere represented, and am farther to represent before the labors of this Vindication of Christ are finished. I have also distinctly unfolded {through the Lord’s help} a little of the Mystery of Faith, I Tim.3:9, as it has been in my own Experience. There hath been the more need of these things likewise, because the Nature and Acts of Faith have been generally confounded, huddled, and little understood. Neither have I designed here to go over all the Acts of Faith; but have especially confined my explication to the gross error of Mr. Hunt about the Satisfaction of Christ made to God, for such or such a particular soul, grounded upon a heart to come to Christ, whereby as he destroys the true Nature of the Satisfaction, so he blinds the Nature and Acts of Faith, instead of opening them, under those admirable phrases of the Holy Ghost, the Believing on Christ, and the Coming to him. It appears plain to me, that he goes more by book-notions of naming Faith, and using the phrases of Coming and Believing, than by the true heart-life of explaining Faith, according to the Book of God. He hath not distinctly gathered up what falls upon soul-cases in the soul-travels of those that are under this work of God, Jn.6:29; to show us how himself hath believed, that any poor soul may trust him. It will be a great Mercy if the Lord shall be pleased to make him to be less a stranger to clear soul-work. For, if the Lord leaves any man to himself, such is the corruption of man’s nature, that he is more likely to quarrel at Faith than open it. And what he himself shall do, time must discover. I do in these things leave him and all, as to resignation of events, under him who hath the key of David, he that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth. “These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.” Rev.3:7.

Blessed be the Lord in whom all light dwelleth, who hath made the Difference, and enabled me to distinguish it in my own soul, as well as in these writings; and therefore in these writings, because within my own soul; for I have believed, II Cor.4:13, and therefore have I spoken. I have plainly seen the Beholding-Act of Faith, distinct from the venturing, or Coming-Faith, and that the former is sometimes in the soul a long time before the latter. And I know moreover, that comfort is never rightly taken up from the heart, because of its Coming to Christ, but is taken up into the heart from the Object-Christ, because of the soul’s discerning, under the Opening Work of God the Spirit. My brazen Serpent-Faith is eyeing my Object for ease and recovery as I am sick and stung; but my golden Sceptre-Faith is approaching my Object, as I am made strong by God the Spirit, being married to the same Lord, who holds his Grace forth of bestowing what I ask. Made strong by Grace, and married to the Lord, to approach him as my Husband; and that in the most hazardous circumstances of the Relation, that an approach can be made, upon the most important matters, to my Lord Husband. Now I say, soul-comfort in both these acts does not lie in a heart for either, but in Christ for both. I am not comforted because I am free to cast mine Eye, but I am comforted, because mine eye beholdeth the Satisfaction. ‘Tis from the Satisfaction flowing to mine eye, not from mine eye flowing from mine heart, or my heart flowing to my eye. Again, I am not comforted, because I am free to come to my Lord and Husband, but because I see my Lord and Husband’s Favor. Take Esther’s faith in adventuring and coming in to the inner court to Ahasuerus, who had not her comfort in her heart she found to come, or go in unto the King to that inner court, without calling, which was not according to the Law; her heart long misgave her, and at length her heart gave her not relief; but the Golden Sceptre when she saw it! {“All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden Sceptre, that he may live.” Est.4:11.} If her heart had, she had never uttered those heart-terrifying words, “so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” {4:16} Ah! There could be no comfort in the dark, under the probability of perishing! She had not her comfort in her heart to come; but she had her comfort in her Object, when she saw the Sceptre held forth. Accordingly, in all my comfort, I take it from mine Object-Christ, and there ‘tis a lively comfort, never from mine act, that would quickly be the way to loose life in my act, by losing my Object in consulting mine act before it. And ‘tis the same thing to lay it upon the heart. He that lays Christ’s Satisfaction or his own comfort-interest, in his heart to come to Christ, lays it upon the creature, not upon Christ Himself; and so proclaims and un-acquaintance with all Gospel-Mystery of it and spiritual interest in it. He must be a great stranger to Christ who puts me upon looking back to the qualifications of my heart, when I should be looking forwards with mine eye. The way is forwards which the Spirit takes to bring me to a true sight of my case, and as feeling that my heart is mended; that is, inclined, drawn, stirred sweetly up by what mine Eye beholds in Christ. Most certainly, to tell me, that Satisfaction is made for my sins, if I have a heart to come, argues, that that man hath never ventured much upon that Satisfaction in sight of the Object, but under the flattery of his heart. Alas! I have a hard heart! A thousand and a thousand times hardened! I am like metal, that if melted over the fire, am always hard when taken off again, and the fire be not still under! This I find daily! And what Disposition is there in this metal to run into the mold, if it be not again melted? My heart will not stir, and all your flattery will not make it. What then? God is greater than my heart, I Jn.3:20; as he draws and melts it when it pleases Him. He gives me Views, when he does not give me Motion. I can through Grace believe Christ has made Satisfaction for my sins in Particular, and this Faith of my discerning is the impetus of my Approaching to Jesus Christ in it. As Esther knew Ahasuerus to be her husband before she ventured into the king’s presence; so if I come to Christ, it is because in my Views I have known the same. I did not come to Christ, till I believed this Doctrinally, and when I believe this Doctrinally, that Christ had made Complete Satisfaction for my sins in Particular, I did upon that persuasion fiducially come unto him, and on him rest. And there my soul and burden lies still; and I find rest unto my soul. Mt.11:28. So that I have had comfort before coming, comfort in coming, comfort in staying with Christ after coming, and not coming back from Christ to my heart to dwell in self without Him! Comfort began in Views, comfort increased in Motion-Faith, or coming after looking unto Jesus, Heb.11:2, comfort stays by dependence on him, and all these Comforts are through him by the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

And this Distinction of Faith in the seeing the Son and believing on Him, and coming to the Lord Christ and believing on Him, I mean coming Spiritually to his Person beyond coming visibly to the means, is a distinction that ought to be heedfully attended to. The matter is well illustrated by the Brazen Serpent, and the Golden Sceptre, the wounded Israelites and the Queen Esther. The stung Israelites in looking to the Object appointing for their healing, are considered as a company of poor diseased hospitallers that want their limbs, by reason of the raging contagion in the parts bitten; here the Brazen Serpent is brought unto them, and set up among them, even the Physician healing by his Blood and Balm on the tree; as the Physician comes to the hospital, and the Surgeon to the cripple, so the Brazen Serpent accordingly is brought in and lifted up among the bitten ones. {“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Jn.3:14-15.} This now in the Discerning Faith; whereas, Esther’s approach to the golden Sceptre of Ahasuerus is quite another sort of act. She is his Queen, Est.2:17, and so by her Relation, in her royal apparel, now comes to him; he, the King, does not come to her. So Christ in the Coming-Faith of the loyal spouse hath given her a heart by his Spirit in his Blood to come to him with his Sceptre in the inner court, to come to his Sceptre as a Golden Sceptre. This is an act of strong Faith put forth by such as know their Relation, though sometimes too they may doubt of the success, Gen.18:23-24, of their errand.

Oh! I love to see things kept distinct and not muddled and entangled, as Mr. Hunt hath done, that shuts up poor souls in darkness for want of his own experience to give us any account, Job 26:2, as to how this work of Faith has been wrought in his own soul. {“The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the LORD.” Jer.23:28.} A man is but a Dogmatical Writer upon Faith, or Coming to Christ, till he comes to this. He speaks mere Opinion, not Faith, if he doth not speak the Faith of his own clear and distinct Experience; neither is that Man made fit to meddle, I Cor.2:14, with the Mysteries of the Gospel. {“Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.” Jer.23:30.} For this cause indeed there are very few to be found in the Churches of Christ, Gal.3:3, able to do it; if these should undertake to bring in Faith, they will either content themselves to mention it, or if they go about to explain it, they put us off with Natural Religion, and there’s an end. {“And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more; for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.” Jer.23:36.} Sometimes if a man is able upon long Experience to do something of it, he is unwilling. {“For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state; for all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” Phil.2:20-21.} It may be, his early scribbling hath prevented him, that now if he does anything to purpose, he must contradict himself. Acts 20:24. Oh! And if Christ may gain by it let me contradict a thousand selfs! Or, it may be, he is loath to give us any thing of his own Experience in it, because he judges it to be more taking, if not more establishing to go all by opinion, in the common votes, Acts 21:20-22; or else in the words of some extraordinary precedent, to sway me and defend himself by what this, or that, or the other Doctor, or Great Man hath held; and if so, then a piece of the Gospel may go down glib. “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” I Cor.2:5.

But now lastly, to conclude this chapter; Mr. Hunt be compared, and you shall see that for want of spiritual judgment in laying down things by principles of the gospel, and being pinched with a kind of necessity to go on and say something, he has taken the old liberty of contradicting himself. His self-repugnancy in the matter is this “when Christ was on the cross he made a plenary satisfaction to divine justice for all the sins of all the elect to the world’s end.” Page 43. Here it is absolute. But alas! When the man was got 162 pages further, he had forgot his absolute proposition, and thanks to fob us off, with a conditional one. “But know (says he) he has already made satisfaction for sin, yea, for as great sins as thine, yea, for thy sins, if thou hast a heart to come, and believe on him.” Page 201. In the first proposition he tells us it was a plenary satisfaction, that is, a full satisfaction; and so full for all the elect to the world’s end, that there is not so much as a syllable here of my heart to come, and eke it out. But when the tables are turned, Mr. Hunt forgot what he wrote before, and then it is no longer plenary satisfaction, but probable satisfaction with an if. For if he did not forget himself, but thought the other passage might make him pass too much for an antinomian and so designed another upon the same topic to redeem his credit, he deals then with divinity, as your gamesters that Cogg the die, and handles the Word of God deceitfully, which the Apostle renounced among the other hidden things of dishonesty. He likewise kept his yea and nay out of the same pulpit and epistle; and never, like this brother, suffered his yeas and his nays to go in couples under the same subject, but made them keep their places and divide. His next words that follow upon the plenary satisfaction are an absurd confusion, thus “that when they come by grace (says he) to be enabled to believe in him, they might have that applied to them which before was purchased for them. As if Grace enabled the elect to believe (as he makes the order of the words) antecedently to the application of the purchase. What preposterous confusion is here! Putting of principles within me by enabling me to believe, before the application of the materials for the same principles. He should have said therefore, “that they might have that applied to them, when they come by grace to be enabled to believe in him, which before was purchased for them.” Then he had spoken distinctly and orderly, but as he lays it down, it is most preposterous and confused. Enabling to believe first, and application of the purchase last.