Chapter 19

Of Mr. John Hunt’s Five Reflections upon the Glory and Excellency of Christ’s Righteousness.

The Sixth Reflection he hath thrown upon Christ falls upon the Righteousness of Christ, which opens the Application of the Pardoning Grace of God. Mr. Hunt’s words in the matter are these, “so that {says he} there is no just cause for thee to fear thy sins are too great to be pardoned by Christ, if they are not too dear to be parted with for him.” {Page 201}

‘Tis plain here, that he makes some just cause to fear a compounding {of what is certainly divided} in the case before us, that sins are too great to be pardoned where they are too great to be parted with. As if God’s Pardon through the Righteousness of Christ was wont to be at a stand-still, and could not go on, because it meets with sins in the elect too great to be parted with. Ye see this Divine at the bottom is as sound in the use things as a pear is wider at the top. What just cause is there to fear that the sins of any of the elect of God will be found in the day of Mighty Grace too great to be parted with? Indeed, none can reflect upon the Righteousness of Christ imputed {I say imputed; for we are got into a sleepy age where men generally go no farther than the Righteousness of Christ offered} but they must withal {Grace is so coherent in the golden chain} cast their slur upon Election too. Here is the Divinity of this new-law test again, that great sins to be pardoned are made to depend upon great sins to be parted with. Now the question is, {and let my test take which side of the question nature chooses,} whether of these two greats {Sin or Grace, “but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,” Rom.5:20,} is superior towards a chosen vessel of Mercy, Acts 9:15, the great pardoning him upon the Mediatorial Obedience and Sacrifice which Christ hath yielded, and once offered up to God upon the Tree, I Pet.2:24, in the room and stead of this chosen vessel; or his great sins, so great that they must be supposed too dear to be parted with? Now, whilst nature chooses the religious nature-part, and determines in a non-Pardon on the side of the great sins against the Righteousness of Christ, my soul is still helped of the Lord to choose the religious Grace-part, and to determine it to be in and by Christ a full Gospel-Pardon on the side of Christ’s Righteousness, and the Free Grace of God imputing it, against all my great sins; {which, if I look into two things, my old Adam’s heart, and this preacher’s old Adam’s divinity, are my sins too great to be parted with; and yet;} there let the Great Righteousness of Christ, and the Great Pardon of my God predominantly contend against all the other predominancy of my great sins that have made me see by experiment that they are too dear to me parted with by or through all the religious pieces of old Adam put together! “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” Rom.5:17. “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom.5:21.

Come all ye religious cheats, whoever ye are, that deceive your own souls, and other men’s; bring out all your rank insinuations against the Righteousness of Christ, and the Pardoning Grace of God, after the Gospel has been preached so many years in England, before any of our present day were born, and tell me, was that Gospel perfected, Prov.4:18, to come up to the Scripture-Pattern in Two Ages? Hath it not required more time to build up God’s Temple since the darkness and smoke, the dust and ruins of the Papal Interest among us? And are we got no farther in this Generation, as to the point of the Remission of our Sins, Lk.1:77, than to blaze it abroad from mere sparks, Isa.50:11, of our own kindling, {never taken off the Altar, Psal.118:27, where God’s own Sacrifice provided was bound and laid on,} to condition the Forgiveness of sins upon our willingness to part with them, in saying that “there is no just cause for thee to fear thy sins are too great to be pardoned by Christ, if they are not too dear {for there lies their greatness in this argument, their dear greatness, or their great dearness} to be parted with for him?” Are we got no farther into the Greatness of Pardoning Grace at this Day, than to be at a stand with it upon the greatness of our sins, too dear to be parted with for Christ? What do we make of the Great God all this while? What do we make of the Great Ransom Price, I Cor.6:20, that was not too dear to be parted with? And will we now at last go about to make people believe this must stop Christ’s Kingdom, in finding out and bringing in the elect, if these elect ones have sins too dear to be parted with for Christ? What stuff is this! What confusion and turning things topsy-turvy!

Thus ye see, I take in the “greats” and “dears” of both sides. If I am great and dear in God’s Account, {greatly beloved and dearly embraced in Christ,} not only as to Pardon but Adoption, I say, if this be the case, my case or thy case; then we are too great and dear to God for God to part with us for dirt, who hath bought us with a Price! {“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot; who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your Faith and hope might be in God.” I Pet.1:18-21.} And as God is greater than ourselves, ‘tis not our sins too dear for us to part with, that must go and frustrate the Eternal Purpose of God, Gal.2:21, of his Covenant-Faithfulness in Redemption; that God must part with us, because we have sins too dear to part with for Him. No; for the LORD has his Effectual Way at last to make us all agreed to cut off root and branch every sin, Heb.12:1, and to part with them, as dear as they are, and use us in his Service to confess Conquering Grace in Christ, {“nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” Rom.8:37.} {“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Cor.7:1.} Let another cast it upon the Prevalency or Sweetness of great sins too dear to be parted with for Christ; I dare not but lay the final Prevalency over Sin upon the Absoluteness of the Spirit’s Effectual Work, according to his own Gracious Covenant-Obligation to the other Persons, the Father and Christ, to come down upon and into every one of the elect in a Special way of Grace, applying God’s Grace in a harmony with what the Father and the Son have done therein; and so make it to be Grace Experimentally in my soul, reigning through Righteousness unto eternal life. {“That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom.5:21.} Thus, I take and lay all these great and dear things of both sides, in my Examination of the matter, and lay them one against another, to show my readers which is the greater. Accordingly, you see here is great upon great, and one dear thing weighed against another dear thing. Moreover, I love to take up the Great Things of Christ and his Gospel upon the Certainties which the Holy Ghost hath laid them down by in the Word, and weigh them against other Certainties, even all my certain Sins and Corruptions; and then I don’t know among all the elect of God, I profess to men, where to find sins too great either to be pardoned or to be parted with. I am clearly for issuing of things upon Gospel-Principles, and not upon Conditional yeas and nays, ifs and buts; for I am for going upon Fundamental Efficacies and Assurances, and not making all the main things of the Gospel Doubtful. {“But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” II Cor.1:18-20.} ‘Tis sad, when a man hath spoken any thing that God will own, that that man should in a breath eat his own words again, as {I must show anon upon this head} Mr. Hunt hath done, and will not for a dozen lines together stand to his own testimony, when he hath spoken on the side of Full and Free Grace.

‘Tis sad to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, Rom.1:16, and just zip the matter up, that when I run away with it to the next man to find out who would stand by me, I may come off among some of the Ministers, and rake up my encouragements from this sickly Vogue of the Times; whether it is the Voice of God from his own work in my heart, or no; for if it be, and that ‘tis clearly my Message from God’s Word, the Lord himself having called me to it; what then hath another man to do to judge that over again for me, which the Spirit of God doth from his Word, and in his Work on the Understanding and Heart, hath determined for me already? Suppose it now to be altogether of God, in a way wherein I have acknowledged him, and he hath directed my paths, Prov.3:6, and I have not leaned unto my own understanding, Prov.3:5, why should I not see it most reasonable to trust him with it, with all my heart? And if he hath enabled me to trust in him, why should I call for my trust again out of his hands, and refer it to this or that or the other Minister, against my own positive Commission, Jer.23:28, from God’s Word? It is a strange confidence in the flesh, Phil.3:4, that I think it not enough to trust the Lord with his own Counsel, but I’ll ride about, {as Mr. Hunt hath done in these matters,} make interest, report stories, bespeak friends, and deal at last with the Truths of the Gospel by the voice and the poll, {the popular vote,} as if I was acting the free-holder in my Country, and making everything ready to choose Parliament-Men. Why do I refer that which God hath made out to me from his Word to be right? For, let it be never so right, as it may happen, it is ten thousand to one; but under my Experiment, God will leave the next good man, I Kings 13:18, the next minister {for I will make that which is counted the best of it} to contradict me, to dissuade me, to disappoint me; and why? To try my spirit, whether I will believe God or man, be set down by God, or man, after all? Here’s God hath said this to me, and I durst venture my soul on it; yet I will be riding about, trying experiments; for I must first hear what my neighbor says, I’ll ride over yonder to such a minister, for he’s a godly man, and I’ll hear what he says; and all in a matter too where God does not bid me ask his Counsel; and yet such is my folly that I’ll do it, when either Himself hath decided it, or myself hath been resolved to go on; let my counselor, my neighbor, or my godly minister say what he will. Doth not such a man show now that he hath sins too dear to be parted with for Christ? No, he will not sit down with Christ’s Instruction, but will put them to the popular vote; and if that course be taken, then he is fain to blend and dash his papers, Mt.22:16, with now and then a taking stroke, such as this now before me {which condemns him that uses it, and yet he does not see it} “thy sins are not too great to be pardoned by Christ, if they be not so dear to be parted with for him;” or else there had been some cause to fear, that such passages as, “Christ’s coming into the world to finish Transgression; and he hath finished this Work; he died the just for the unjust; he was made sin &c.,” would have looked {though it be all God’s Word} a little too Antinomian-like; and therefore he will give it one of his own hand-alley dashes in the next words; “thy sins are not too great to be pardoned, if not too dear to be parted with.” Aye, now this does pretty well; such sparkling dashes are the most prosperous ones in the trade of voice-gathering, to make up a settlement, and this way of expressing it by irony, I Kings 18:27, is better than the practice.

This is a way now wherein men discover they are much Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Oh! But how shall I know it to be the Gospel of Christ, if another man, a good man be not agreed in it, especially, if the Ministers constantly blow upon it? Know it, says Paul? Know it by the Power of God, an in-wrought Power in your own souls that brought you to all your right Grace-Faith in Christ. This is the way to know it, “for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” Rom.1:16, “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.1:5, therefore do I discerningly perceive {am I convinced by spiritual sight and affection too} that it was the sheer Power of God unto Salvation that makes me believe the Truth of the Glorious Gospel of Christ, I Tim.1:11, against natural principles, against common persuasions, against my own righteousness, above my own frames at other times, above my own enlargements, above all the ordinances in their own common nature; yea, even above the Scriptures, which without Christ are a killing letter in my hands, II Cor.3:6, in a task of so many chapters a day, or such a portion of them to be read in a constant round, {without examining the Scriptures, Jn.5:39,} morning and evening? Do I discern this, I say, and feel this, in a matter where I go much alone? Other men’s sins therein are too great to be parted with? They won’t be beaten off their old way for Christ way. Which side now shall I believe about this one point? Which are the sins too dear to be parted with, and which are not? Shall I shut my own eyes in all the light God hath by Sovereign Grace allotted me, and determine the Matters of God upon the votes of the people? Away with them, for they will not deal with me by Gospel-Arguments and giving me any Account how God brought them to Christ. Or shall I believe the Lord of Glory, who hath in abundance of things we have been apt to take up for Religion and Truth, spoken against us all; and discovered that there are many things we have mistaken for Grace, which really after all the demonstrations of humility and modesty, are deadly Pride, and become the very sins which indeed are too dear with us to be parted with, for Christ? The Lord makes nothing of it to give it against your good men, as he did against those three good men in the case of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. Job 42:7-9. The Lord hath spoken against me too, in everything where I have not hearkened unto the voice of his Word and Spirit in Conjunction; for ‘tis sad to see how men generally divide these, and look to the Word without the Spirit, or the Spirit without the Word.

Now if I believe God, if I experience his Power going forth with his Word in my soul, and find this power loosening my heart from my sins, whenever, or upon what case soever, this Power comes into act in my soul; why now, I can confess and sit down thereby, and be assured, though all men, for my trial, were to stand by and contradict me, that there is no Gospel-Believing one moment, without a touch upon the heart from Heaven by this Power. It is a dead Faith {if Nature do prevail to heave it up at all} when Divine Power is not Sovereignly Dispensed and Asserted to set Faith into Motion. Again, I see and can through the same Grace find it thus in my own soul, that there is no Non-Believing, where the Power of God unto Salvation comes. Here are no too great sins to be parted with where the Power of the Most High is put forth, which is the bringing in, and the only means of bringing in, every one that believeth. And these are to be found nowhere but amongst the elect. Oh! I hate to mince the Gospel, as if the Gospel freighted me, and we were got into a Doctrine fit to scare men out of their wits! When I know, as I know the sweetness of my food by a hungry appetite, that the Revelation of the Grace of Christ is the sweetest Doctrine under the sun; and is that which hath put its sweetness into all the rest of the Doctrines of the Everlasting Gospel. Rev.14:6. What, shall I believe Election, an Election of select number of Adam’s race into a number of believers, and yet raise a doubt upon the Righteousness of Christ imputed to every one that believeth, that my sins are not too great to be pardoned, only if they are not too great to be parted with? How dare I come and flutter it over thus with creature performances? As if the creature was above God and his Grace; and God and his Grace must stand by, in anticipation to see whether or not an Elect Vessel of Mercy will barter or exchange his sins for the Righteousness of Christ; and that in the day of Christ’s power too? {“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Psal.110:3.} Yes, it should seem so by this toxic admixture of Truth with Error! Oh! Contradicting spirit of this preacher that sets the matter out with a vulgar face, as if God and Christ could do nothing by the Holy Spirit to purpose, till they find worm-creature free to part with his sins and agree with God about the Pardon. {“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Heb.13:20-21.} Come, come, O my soul, believe him not, {“O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united, &c.” Gen.49:6,} this is this preacher’s lie wherewith he hath been wont to make the heart of the righteous sad, whom the Lord hath not made sad, and has strengthened the hands of the wicked {by a mixed Gospel} that he should not return {by the pure Gospel} from his wicked way, by promising him Life upon conditions, qualifications, if’s, and I know not what else; and not suffering the Justified to rest upon the Righteousness of God alone, though he be Jehovah our Righteousness, Jer.23:6; to rest upon him for Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, Redemption, I Cor.1:30, and All, as well as Pardoning Grace. {“Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life; therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations; for I will deliver my people out of your hand; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” Ezek.13:22-23.} Besides, how unfruitful are these sort of preachers in a Day when the Gospel is risen more upon England, for the Lord will not make use of the same sort of men in every Age, and in every Day of Grace alike! For my own part, when I make inquiry how the Work of God goes on, I can hear of no body that parts with their sins among the blockaders of Free Grace and Righteousness, Interest, Pardon and Acceptation with their ‘ifs’ and ‘ands.’ But I take notice that these preachers are sure to hold their sins of self-righteousness fast; for I can discern that their sins are too dear to part with for Christ, and that these good-men-preachers are in a worse condition, and a far greater sinners by propagating spiritual wickedness in high places, Eph.6:12, than their poor hearers, whom they charge to part with their sins and come to Christ! Oh! What a dreadful disappointment will it be, when such a great company of our zealous Reformation Preachers against profaneness and corporal wickedness, shall be found Enemies of the Cross of Christ! Phil.3:8. And that their spiritual sins in warm Sermons and sharp Exhortations {I mean all their soul-ruining way of Preaching, whilst they represent the Mighty Gospel as a bugbear to the people} are sins too dear to be parted with for Christ. This is the heart-life of their Anti-Antinomian Doctrine, and their Anti-Union Gospel, “thy sins are not too great to be pardoned by Christ, if they are not too great to be parted with for Christ.” I observe these men believe all they believe in the dark, and will have nothing, no, not so much as a candle with them in the dark to make any thing of God’s work upon the soul clear. They will not so much as hear of a Relation to Christ without the soul, before the soul doth come, for fear of the Antinomian-Venture; and yet when they preach their best, they forget themselves, and set forth the soul’s coming to Christ confusedly {and inconsistently with their own principles} by Esther’s coming into the King Ahasuerus in the inner court, Esther 4:11,16, which was not according to the Law.

To issue it, this is the Doctrine, through Grace, I abide by with my soul, and venture into Eternity with, that ‘tis the Great Pardon applied in the Virtue of the Righteousness and Blood-shed of Jesus Christ which determines my parting with the great sins, otherwise too dear to corrupt nature to be departed with for Christ; and not this wild notion that parting with the great sins and the dear and darling corruptions is that which determines the Great and Full Pardon. ‘Tis the Greater that must influence the less, not the less that influences the Greater. ‘Tis not so much for me to part with my sins, as for God to Pardon them. When I, as a wicked wretch, in my thoughts and ways, am helped in the New Creation to part with them through the Virtue of Real Pardon, the Pardon still opens, and I see what I saw not, more and more of the Glory thereof, breaking up into my views in a Pardon more abundantly, according to Isaiah 55:7, “let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” God accounts every man a wicked man that is not brought off from a Mixed Gospel. {“Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul; be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompense.” Jer.51:6.} For so long as he stands or seeks to stand in his own Righteousness, together with a notion of Christ’s Righteousness mixed, he is a wicked person, and is in his own way, not God’s way of saving him; he is an unrighteous man, that has thoughts of Religion and Salvation and Preaching and Catechizing, that must every one be changed, {though yet he finds his sinful thoughts in these ways of his righteousness too dear, his righteousnesses being his very sins, to be parted with for Christ.} Nevertheless, if the Gospel-way of Pardon he strikes at, changes his own way and thoughts, it must be by a pre-occupation of his heart with the real virtue {not the notion} of Christ’s Righteousness imputed to his person; for the Spirit falls with it into the heart, whilst this Righteousness comes upon the whole man from Christ by Real Imputation, and all done openly to Faith of the Spirit’s Operation in that Revelation Time by Divine Quickening, as beams of Gospel Light follow the rising of the sun immediately, and all according to the Secret Pattern of the same works of Grace wrought, as the Father had viewed the elect in and by Jesus Christ before the Foundation of the World. Christ in his Gospel-Righteousness hath a power to change the heart and nature by the Spirit, as well as Justify and Absolve the whole person by Authority from Condemnation.

The unrighteous man in his way and thoughts of Pardon strikes at Christ, if he steps in with his Pardon before the soul is ready for it in Conditions fulfilled {sins not too dear to be parted with} and Qualifications attained. His notion is, if I believe first and come to Christ for my Pardon, I may have it. Aye, but this poor Notionalist is yet in prison, {and who but the Spirit of Christ can make him believe that, so long as he finds he has liberty to ascend the pulpit?} Nevertheless, when the Pardon comes home, and is issued out to begin his first Spiritual Convictions about it, it will come and find him in Prison, a stronger Prison than New-Gate, shut up under the Works of the Law, Gal.3:23, and there demonstratively will convince him, he never did or could come to his Pardon, but his Pardon arrived, and shined into him; viz., in the openings of things according to the Everlasting Settlements of them before time, through Redemption-Operations which came in between their Settlements and Application. Aye, but till God come in by his Mighty Power thus, he will continue to strike at the Gospel, and all in a zeal to maintain what he calls Justification. What do ye think the wicked man in his way, and the unrighteous man in his thoughts will give Justification the preference to Faith? No, he will set Faith, as the elder, {as a prerequisite,} before Justification. Faith which he acts before Justification that God acts.

Objection: Why do you allow yourself to call such as do this, wicked and unrighteous? Most of our worthy divines have done this; and so is it fit to call, or account these wicked and unrighteous? I answer, the Text spares none, whose way and thoughts are not God’s way and thoughts, as the 8th and 9th verses do expound the 7th. {Isa.55:7-9} It must be laid upon God’s way and thoughts, and not upon the worthy divines, if ever God own it. Besides, a man, many a man at this rate, may slip by in the crowd who is a wicked man to God, that hath all along passed for a good man to men; so there is many an Unrighteous Man to God who is a Righteous Man to men. And lastly, the best of men, so long as sin dwells in them, have abundance of wickedness in them, and unrighteousness in their thoughts towards God, and there is nothing takes it off that we ought to esteem them righteous for, towards God, except the Righteousness of Christ alone. And for confirmation of this, I have taken notice, even among your worthy divines, that when they have come to die, God has so effectually convinced, and touched some of their hearts upon this point, as it has caused them to renounce their own way and thoughts therein, having seen abundantly beyond it, as the Foundation of their parting with those sins, which before had been too dear to part with for Christ. They would not hear of that upon a death-bed, which they had zealously pressed as the main of all at other times. Oh! Says a poor creature under a little natural Christianity, or the Gospel molded and fashioned by men after the common ideas of nature in them that receive its notions; you must believe first and come to Christ for Pardon, and then when you have closed with him upon Gospel-offers, {and be sure to do it now, before your day of Grace is past,} then God begins to Pardon and Justify you and not before; here’s now the unrighteous man’s way and thoughts to be forsaken. And turn to the Lord, says he, and ye shall obtain Pardon; aye, but God says in the turning to the Lord Christ, to Jehovah our Righteousness, God will more abundantly Pardon. {“In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Jer.23:6.} He will lead into that Pardon that hath not only begun with me to make me forsake my way and thoughts, but opens so increasingly upon my thoughts {swallowed up in God’s thoughts of the matter} that now I am led into Pardon more abundantly, and then beaten off from all my old dead thoughts of the way of obtaining it. The Gospel is that Pardon in the Application of it, that it comes first without Faith in a strong virtue into my heart for Faith; and then in the virtue of it brings me the Spirit to discern and receive it, and come to Christ, with Christ, out of the Virtue of this Righteousness upon me. Now so long as in the Judgment of God’s Word, a man is wicked in his way, and unrighteous in his thoughts, this man does not only run on in his notion, and keeps his way and thoughts, but if there be opportunity and occasion given to show his Zeal, then he lays you open to what he verily thinks with himself he ought to do. {“I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” Acts 26:9.} Oh! Says he, we must not bear with these Antinomians! Here’s a way of Justification indeed! This is such a presumptuous coming to Christ, that ‘tis the ready way for the soul to be turned off and not pardoned at all. Hold, hold, brother-zealous, {for whatever you are to God, I’ll brother you, according to what you appear in your best to men,} you are mistaken. This text, “and let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly Pardon,” must be opened in the light of all other texts, where the Foundation of Pardon in God is laid firmly within himself; as to say, individually to a man all known to God, Acts 15:8, who every one of these persons are for. Accordingly, this text being but Superstructure, must be carried according to the gradual openings of the whole Mystery in all the Futurities {the Purpose of Grace within the LORD himself} and successive advances of those Acts accomplished in God, and then down again afresh from God by the First Patterns proceeding down to our Knowledge and Experience thereof, by Application of the Holy Ghost, as his Superstructure through Christ upon God’s Foundation. {“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his.” II Tim.2:19. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph.2:19-22.} So then, let him turn to the Lord in the virtue of what hath already made him forsake his own way and thoughts; and let him turn to the Lord upon the Truth and Certainty of the contrary Evidence of the things to what he hath thought, as they lie in Christ, and to our God under these Evangelical Discoveries {for the best of them in Isaiah’s time had but stood upon legal points} for he will {in the openings of things, even in Demonstration of the Spirit and of Power, I Cor.2:4,} abundantly Pardon. The other way in which I took up my notions of Pardon, the other thoughts in which I conceived of Pardoning Grace, made it a dead, distant thing in the Apprehensions of my soul; for Pardon lay all then rolled up, and I could see nothing, and yet the Scripture insists so much upon seeing the Son, Jn.6:40, &c. Pardon that way never opened, never enlarged itself, never filled my soul or engaged my mind with fresh and glorious thoughts, never raised up my soul into wonderful Truths, nor came near any Gospel Conceptions of the Abundant Entrance into the Everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. {“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” I Pet.2:9.} Aye, but now under these Unveilings of Grace in the Foundation of God I am amazed! Now it is I have an abundant Pardon! Oh! How it grows upon my thoughts, whilst it can be never increased in itself! Now I see the Glory, Influences, Life and Encouragements of it grow upon my poor heart, every day, and I am led in more into the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Oh! This is the life of my soul! Now strike at this all you of the other side of the hedge, and my heart shall rejoice still in God my Saviour, for he hath remembered me in my low estate, having long humbled me for my pride in way and thoughts of setting up your way and thoughts of Righteousness and Pardon {“thy sins are not too great to be pardoned by Christ, if they are not too dear to be parted with for him.”} Alas! When I part with my sins, it hath been through the Virtue of my Antecedent Pardon.

In parting with my Sins under his Mighty Pardoning Grace that took off the Condemnation before I believed, I did but the duty I was bound to, Lk.17:10, but when he pardoned them, he did so upon such a Glorious Foundation within himself, originally {according to the Rise and Order of the After-Fall Dispensations of Unconditional Grace,} as took the start of my Believing, even in the very Order of the Holy Ghost’s applying; and then in the Eternal Original {or the Before-Fall Decrees of Absolute and Total Grace} how free was the LORD in Himself, and not bound to connect such a chain of matchless wonders in the varieties of his Proposed and Settled Grace for me! {“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Rom.8:30.} Therefore this Greater on the side of Grace, must and will Influence and Compel me to part with my Sins; as it is both impossible to effect, and preposterous to suppose it, that the less should influence the Greater; that is to say, my parting with my Sins influence his Pardon of my Sins. And I am also sure, where the Influence precedes; there the Pardon precedes my act. “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers; hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.” Jn.8:10-11. She had not parted with her sins, for she had been just then taken in adultery in the very act, 8:4, yet Christ condemned her not, but bid her go, and, upon that Declaration of Pardon and Non-Condemnation, mend, and sin no more.

Let me now further argue the inconsistence of the supposition, “if thy sins are not too dear to be parted with for Christ,” out of Mr. Hunt’s own unwilling orthodoxy. I will produce now a separate part of his coherence, and then tell me upon a review of the matter, whether he does not make a woeful medley of it all, when he afterwards compounds his way and thoughts, and dashes the Gospel with his own Invention?

The Gospel he uses is this, “God hath from Heaven proclaimed him his Son, in whom he is well pleased, Matthew 3:17.” {Page 201} Now, is God well pleased with his chosen in Christ, for it is “in” whom, not “with” whom, that the Word is spoken? What room then can be found for this remote and reflecting Supposition I am removing from the Righteousness of Christ in Pardoning? He goes on, “the great end of Christ’s coming into the world was to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make Reconciliation for Iniquity, Daniel 9:24, and he has finished this work.” {Page 201} Still if sin be finished, and an end of sins made, and this by Christ’s making Reconciliation for iniquity, what can be a more disparaging dash, and what can be clearer proof of this Mixed Gospel, than this at the tail of it, quite out of all Scripture-Language and the tendency of it, “so that there is no just cause to fear thy sins are too great to be pardoned by Christ, if they are not too dear to be parted with for him?” Is this now all of a piece? Is his “so that,” or conclusive divinity, either gold, or silver, or precious stone upon the One Foundation? I Cor.3:11-13. He proceeds, “Christ died a bloody sacrifice, the just for the unjust; he was made sin for us that knew no sin.” {Page 201} Here again is none of the wild supposition-form, “there is no cause to fear, he died a bloody sacrifice, if thy sins be not too dear to be parted with for Christ.” Then here it is positively that Christ died the just for the unjust; and that is Christ died in the room of the Sinner and Unjust, according to the energy of the Greek preposition. And what now; must it all vanish in an hypothesis? Must there be no such thing as either Commutation {Substitution} of persons, or Efficacy in it to effect Pardon, if the sinner and unjust hath sins too dear {for so he hath a long while, after his Pardon is effected and kept in Christ’s hands, sins too dear} to part with for Christ? What stuff is this? How does this expose the Doctrine of Christ’s Righteousness to be mocked at by Socinians. It’s a thousand pities we have men in the Ministry pretending to quote History and the Latin sentences, who not only know very little of the faculties, but especially never studied that useful and necessary part of giving attendance unto reading, I Tim.4:13, the Anti-Socinian Controversies. On page 107, his words are these, “a man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine,” Eccles.8:1; “that is, says he, it is an excellent ornament, and makes him admired by others. Where shall we find that person that would not be thought wise? The greatest fool will be provoked to anger if ye tell him so; and as all are ambitious {he adds} to be esteemed wise, so what pains do some take in studying such things as will truly render them so?” “Again, says he, when men have dived deep into nature’s secrets, and have more especially made some good progress in the knowledge of Divine Mysteries, what an ornament is it.” Thus Mr. Hunt, page 107; and thus, there is a warrant and ground enough from his own gloss upon Ecclesiastes 8:1, and the observations he lays thereon together, to pity his neglects of the Anti-Socinian writings. What an ornament is it, says he, to make some good progress in the Knowledge of Divine Mysteries? Aye, but through mere un-acquaintance with the answers of other men to Socinus and his followers {under a plain defect of judgment in his own thoughts without such assistance} he hath obliged us the more frequently to run over his wretched perverting of the Truth; otherwise we would have been so indulgent to Orthodoxy, as to have dispensed with his lack of Ornament.

Having thus cleared the Righteousness of Christ from aspersion in this sixth Reflection, a very few words will suffice for the rest of my Vindication thereof in this chapter depending, I mean proportionately.

His seventh Reflection upon the Righteousness of Christ is this, “we may judge of our Interest in Christ by doing, &c.” {Page 141}

I shall call over nothing which hath been already answered in judging of our Interest in Christ by the like Argument largely insisted on elsewhere; but to these few abstracted words of our Author shall only set down his own answer, with some remarks upon the Contradiction.

“Oh! The sad mistakes, says he, some make; for some think, with Simon, to buy the Gifts of God with money, Acts 8:18, and go to Rome for Pardon; others, under no less dangerous mistake, think to work it out with the hard labor of their own hands.” {Page 45} If we must judge of our Interest in Christ by doing, who would not judge they must work it out then, with the hard labor of their own hands?

Observe here in the first place, to go about to work out a Pardon one’s self, is acknowledged to be no less a dangerous mistake, than going to Rome for Pardon. Working out the one in a man’s thoughts with the hard labor of his own hands, is equivalent to the working out the other with the hard labor of the feet. 2. Observe, he who judges of his Interest in Christ by any means, judges of his Interest in Christ’s Righteousness too, and Pardon, by the same means; because Christ and the Benefits of Christ, do go together. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Rom.8:32. 3. He who judges of his Interest in Christ by doing, judges of his Interest in the Righteousness of Christ and Pardon, for the Cause before laid down. 4. He who judges of his Interest in Christ, and his Righteousness and Pardon by doing, judges of it by what has been the hard labor of his own hands. 5. He that judges of it by the hard labor of his own hands, judges of it by what is acknowledged no less dangerous than going to Rome for Pardon. 6. Mr. Hunt hath laid down these Divided Rules of Judgment on both sides of him; doing what Christ Commands, as the Evidence of our Interest, by one Rule; and setting out the labor of our own hands towards the Interest itself, by going to Rome for Pardon, as another Rule. 7. When both ends of the Matter are put together, and Mr. Hunt placed in the midst between them each, they have no other expedient left towards an Accommodation, than himself in the center of the Union, to make peace between the two extremes of the Contradiction. 8. Lastly, I observe with remorse, that he has shut out all the Spirit’s Evidence and Work in the soul to know these things by, and has brought in the Flesh, which is as unfit to guide our Judgment of Interest in the Spiritual Matters of the Gospel, as going to Rome for Pardon is unfit to secure an Interest in the Remission of our Sins, and obtain it. We can no more by our own doings judge for God’s Spirit, and take his work into our hands {the only Evidence of the Judgment} to clear our Interest in Christ and his Righteousness, then the Pope’s Indulgences can do the work of God and the Mediator, to bestow that Interest.

He goes on, “give over this foolish building in time, lest to thy shame men laugh at thee ever long, saying this man began to build, but was not able to finish, since it is only for the sake of Christ’s Righteousness imputed to us, that God pardons any soul.” {Page 45}

What can be sounder to give us Interest in Pardon, than Christ’s Righteousness imputed to us; and what can be un-sounder to give us Evidence of Pardon than shutting out the virtue of that Righteousness through Christ, by the work of the Spirit applying it on the heart, to bring us unto obedience, through Sanctification of the Spirit, I Pet.1:2, and sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ? How reflecting is it upon the Righteousness of Christ imputed, to fall presently upon abstracted Obedience, in doing what Christ commands, as our Evidence of Interest in this Righteousness, without any due regard, or a notice taken of the Virtue of the same Righteousness, unto the Gift of the Holy Ghost for it? For, our Evidences must as certainly lie in the virtue of the Righteousness of Christ imputed, as our Pardon lie there.

His eighth Reflection upon the Righteousness of Christ comes on next, in a place where he is speaking of Inherent Righteousness, by the instance of Paul, “he would not {says our author} have that his only garment, lest the shame of his nakedness should appear.” {Page 17}

It can never be proved that Paul hath called his Inherent Righteousness a garment at all; for he never speaks of putting on Inherent Righteousness as a garment, but as the New Man, Col.3:10 with Eph.4:24, after the image of God. Inherent Righteousness is an image or new creature, the hidden man of the heart, I Pet.3:4, and this is a distinct thing from putting on Righteousness as a garment. Putting on Christ, Gal.3:27 with Rom.13:14, is putting on both under the work of God’s Spirit, when we are made by gracious acts of our own to put on Christ outwardly in our Profession, answerably to Christ’s own putting on his Righteousness upon us, in our Condition. The Righteousness of Christ is put upon us, as our garment to God; and in the virtue of this we are graciously brought in holy walking to put on Christ, Gal.3:27, in the exercise of such and such outward graces, from the Spirit as our Inward Principle; which outward graces are our garments in the face of men, that cover and adorn us in our Profession of the Gospel, as we live among them. Neither of these sort of garments are our Inherent Righteousness. This is no garment that covers and adorns us in the sight of God or Men. Inherent Righteousness, though an ornament in the sight of God, I Pet.3:4, as all spiritual beauty in the saints is, through the virtue, the transforming virtue of the Righteousness of Christ; yet is no garment in the sight of God, in which the justified are found; so God will have no garment, Isa.61:3, upon them but the Righteousness of Christ. Again, Inherent Righteousness, though ‘tis the principle of open good works and of a becoming conversation in the sight of men, Tit.3:8, I Pet.2:12, yet Inherent Righteousness is not the garment of the saints in the sight of men; because a garment is an open thing upon me but Inherent Righteousness is a sacred thing within me. Therefore, as I have one garment alone in which I lie open to the sight of God, though many ornaments; so I have distinct garments, or more garments than one, as I lie open to the sight of men, which are neither Imputed Righteousness, the garment alone in which I lie open to God {that is, openly clothed, whilst all my shame is hid, as taken away, and cast behind his back, Isa.38:17, in a Gospel-sense} nor Inherent Righteousness which is hid from men. My several garments to men are open things, distinct from Inherent Righteousness. My garments to men are things I am seen in among them. ‘Tis not my inward Sanctification, which they cannot see, and which is neither my garment to God, nor my garments to men. But ‘tis my outward Sanctification working among men from my Inward Principle through the Spirit of God which creates and maintains it, quite hidden from the view of all the world.

Accordingly, saith the Holy Ghost by John, under the pouring out of the Sixth Vial, Rev.16:15, “blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” It is his “garments,” not his garment; and so it is all his garments; and these are all of them outer, for garments are no Inherent things. In regards to these garments of the believer: 1. His garment, singly, even the Righteousness of Christ. This is an outer thing, and so properly a spiritual garment between Christ and me in which I am found in the sight of God. {“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Isa.61:10.} 2. His garments, plurally, of outward Sanctification. Thus, all his garments are meant. His garment of the Righteousness of Christ, in the Doctrine of the free and full Imputation of it to and upon all them that believe, Rom.3:22, {for their believing comes out of the virtue of it imputed, and not the Imputation of it out of the virtue of their believing.} Whereas, if this Doctrine be let go, and the soul of the believer doth not watch about it to keep it from all Doctrinal Mixtures, but give way to them that would throw this garment of his out of place and use, this Believer will quickly walk naked; he will so discover himself that men will see his shame and scandal upon him. This is that which must give life and virtue to all he openly hath and doth in Profession. Therefore, if I let go this, wherein all the Virtue comes to endue me with Principles by the Holy Spirit, {descending into my heart in this Righteousness} to enable me to put on my outer garments, and clothe myself outwardly, both in the face of the Church of God, and in the face of the world, I am presently left of God for my sin to be naked, both before the saints and before the world too. For, all the opening of my gifts and performances, which men take notice of, will be proportional to the Flourishing or Decay of my soul in the Doctrine of the Righteousness of Christ Imputed. {“Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Rom.4:6-8.} My decay, for instance, in the regards due to this Doctrine will leave me naked to the saints; my gifts will wither, my performances grow carnal and formal, that the saints who are spiritual, and kept up tight in the Doctrine will presently see my Shame. It will expose and leave me also naked to the world, in other respects, for I may for Conviction of my Sin be left to fall into that which the world cries shame upon, as immoralities, injustice, open wickedness, &c. Every man here may justly reproach me for being a Libertine, Hypocrite, Deceiver, &c. Thus I walk naked, and they see my shame, though they cannot see the bottom of the cause. Now, notwithstanding all that I am to God, in the Righteousness of his Son, that I may not be an empty professor to men, and scandalous, but a credit and an honor to the Holy Gospel in the very face of the world; I shall, if I am under the virtue of Christ’s Righteousness {my garment to God} watch, as to the outer parts of my Sanctification {my garments to men} having the Image and Principle of true Gospel-Sanctification, Gal.5:16, or Inherent Righteousness within. {The fruit of my garment open to God, which is the Righteousness of Christ upon me.} Thus the Exercise of morality, justice, temperance, love, patience, meekness, bounty to the poor, &c., are so many several garments of my outer Sanctification, because of my Inner Principle. I put on to men, according to Christ’s Commands, being for the honor of our Lord Christ and his Gospel, the open garments of praise, virtue, honor and a good repute among men. {“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, &c.” Col.3:12.} And the lack of these is my shame; for even so for I am beheld to degenerate into the contrary vices, and live in spiritual nakedness in the face of men. Thus, we see how all this differs from Inherent Righteousness, and whilst that within me is only {and so distinctly} my Principle, New Image, &c., it is the outer parts of Sanctification which are my garments. A man can be clothed spiritually but two ways, to God, to men; and both these I have opened. To God, by the Righteousness of Christ alone Imputed, and thus my clothing, or garment, is upon me, and not within me. What is within me is a new creature, II Cor.5:17, what is upon me is my true garment. Again, to men, by external Sanctification, it is only a garment to men when it is openly worn where men are able to see it. This is the State of the Case.

Now in a word to apply it; to make Inherent Righteousness a garment is manifestly a reflection upon the Righteousness of Christ imputed. None but God can see what is within me; if I make what is within me then a garment, it is a garment not only out of all place, {garments being designed to be only without one, and upon one,} but must be injurious in the use this garment is put, to the Righteousness of Christ Imputed; for if it be put for a Garment, it must be put for a Covering, as a garment necessarily covers where it comes. To men it cannot cover, because what is Inherent is out of their sight. And if you make it a covering for me to God, who alone sees what is inherent, you do unavoidably put it to the same use which the Righteousness of Christ imputed to me, and found of God upon me, is put; and then if this be not a reflection cast upon the Righteousness of Christ, I don’t know what is so. Let our author in the title look to it in his setting forth Paul about Inherent Righteousness, as if that had been one of Paul’s garments, as well as the Righteousness of Christ imputed to him, as appears by the said authors unworthy Reflection upon Christ in that of Paul, “he would not have that his only garment, lest the shame of his nakedness should appear.” Thus, he speaks of Righteousness in Paul.

In the raising of Inherent Righteousness thus into the use of a garment which is to clothe and cover {and because it lies off from the eyes of Man, and only naked and open before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do, Heb.4:13, must be a garment, if it be one, open to God, to clothe us with that which covers sin, Psal.32:1, and hides it from the Eye of his Justice; and then in this corrupt notion of it} he has notably again struck himself down by the Doctrine of Imputed Righteousness. Says he, “Paul saw all his doings, {and a great part of his doings were inherent acts of Sanctification, faith, love, reverence, joy, &c.,} would avail him nothing in point of Justification.” {Page 46} Why then they would not serve to make a garment for him in the Eye of God; for my garment in the Eye of God is my wedding-garment, and that justifies me. He goes on, “had some one of us the righteousness of all the saints on earth, if that was all, we could no more answer the demands of Justice, then he that wanted the wedding garment could answer that question, friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment, Matt.22:12, and it is said that he was speechless; and so shall we, if we are not clothed with the wedding garment, which he wanted.” {Page 46} By all this it appears, how he contradicts himself, when he raises Inherent Righteousness into clothing and into a garment; for I can stand in no garment before God but the wedding-garment. He hath made no Righteousness my garment, but my Wedding-Garment-Righteousness. “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Isa.61:10.

He overthrows likewise his own advanced notion of Inherent Righteousness, by giving imputed Righteousness all the glory {and therefore the garment-glory, the covering-glory of it} in another place. “Hast thou been made to glory {says he} in nothing but the cross of Christ, as Paul was, Gal.6:14, and to say, I will make mention of thy Righteousness, and of thine only.” Psal.71:16. {Page 135}

Here is no elevation of Inherent Righteousness into anything, which in the least is able to make a Garment of, or serve as a Covering. One would think now in point of garment, or a believers clothing in the sight of God, our author gave it all away to the Righteousness of Christ imputed; and what, must inherit Righteousness nevertheless in another place be a garment too, distinctly? And will he not hold to it to have the Righteousness of Christ to be his only garment to God? {Inherent Righteousness being no garment at all to God, nor men, as I have proved, though divers of our Divines have led one another into this mistake, so our brother Hunt is not alone herein.}

His Ninth Reflection upon Christ is likewise touching his Righteousness in these words, “Christ within a little while will clear off all debts.” {Page 179} What debts can the Lord Christ be in to us? {For, so says he, “Christ is a Good Pay-Master.”} Examine the matter by sifting it far short of the bran, and you will find it Popish. To clear off all debts is to make up what is behind in payment. Arrearage sets out the obligation of paying a debt, or the residue of a sum due which is behind hand, and the remainder of that which ought to be paid. How disagreeable now is this language and claim to the Nature of Grace and the Free Gift to us for the Righteousness of Christ alone? Is such language fittest for the Church or the Army? Or can men make it Janus-like1, with two faces, to look both ways? Does he mean Heaven by all debts? The Apostle tells us that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom.6:23. Does he mean the reward of our services? Why, that is of Grace too, not of debt. Rom.4:4. Our Lord Christ tells us enough to take off all thoughts of his being in debts with us, “so likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, we are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.” Lk.17:10. He does not bid his Disciples say, “Master, within a little while thou wilt clear off all debts;” but say, “we are unprofitable servants.” And again, Job 35:7, “if thou be righteous, what givest thou him, or what receiveth he of thine hand?” What debts then has he to clear off? “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reigneth over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort; for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” I Chron.29:11-14.

His Tenth Reflection upon Christ is likewise of the same bran, of making us amends. “O what a shame is it, says he, for us, and a Dishonor to Christ, when we turn our back before the Enemy? How do we hereby undervalue Christ, and give the world occasion to think, that his Glorious Person we talk so much of, and seem to glory so much in, is not able to requite a few days suffering for him, and that that Glory that shall be revealed, that Inheritance and Kingdom above which Christ hath promised for them that suffer for him, and are faithful unto death, are not all worthy to be compared with these light afflictions, nor able to make us amends for them?” {Page 209}

What pity it is in this Excellent Matter about the Glorious Person of Christ, the Inheritance of the saints, Col.1:12, and the Kingdom of Christ to come, wherein the saints shall reign with him; that the Glory and Blessedness of the saints in the Eternal State to come, should not have been expressed rather, by God’s wiping away all tears from their eyes, and that there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, Rev.21:4, neither shall there be any more pain; and rather, by the Glory which shall be revealed in us, Rom.8:18, and pleasures at God’s right hand, Psal.16:11, by entering into our Master’s joy, Mt.25:21, and our bodies fashioned like unto his Glorious Body, Phil.3:21, and we caught up in the clouds, I Thes.4:17, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. It is a pity I say, it had not been rather expressed thus, than by those ill words of requiring and making us amends.

As to Christ’s requiting a few days suffering for him, I can see no foundation for such a phrase in all God’s Word; but oppositely, that God’s Act of requiting is a Vindictive Act upon the Instruments of Evil. “Hear thou from heaven, {saith Solomon,} and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head.” II Chron.6:23. Thus Judges 1:7, “as I have done, {saith tyrannical Adonibezek,} so God hath requited me.” Again, when the Holy Ghost is threatening Babylon in the Old Testament, his words are to be taken still in the Vindictive Sense, when he adds, “because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken; for the LORD God of recompenses shall surely requite.” Jer.51:56. And we know how it was spoken to a wicked branch of the house of Ahab, who had shed blood that began with the blood of Naboth; for which saith the text, “surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the LORD; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the LORD.” II Kings 9:26. So, Psalms 10:13-14, “wherefore doth the wicked contemn God; he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand.”

And even when David uses it of God’s act that once, II Samuel 16:12, “it may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.” 1. It is expressed as a peradventure, not a certainty, “it may be the Lord will,” says David. 2. That which David aimed at must be a turning the matter still into some vindictive act against the Enemies of David, and his Throne, and so was but reflexively, and at secondhand, requiting good; still direct and first-hand requiting {in the Scripture} is requiting evil, where the desert lies. 3. The text in Samuel speaks of no more than what is Providential; ‘tis said, “this day,” and so does not reach to a warranty of expression in setting out the State of Blessedness in the world to come. 4. David speaks it there evidently in his own dejected spirit, at the time of Shimei’s cursing him, when David’s sins and God’s threatening came up fresh in his own remembrance. 5. It is never used in all the Bible for a requiting of good, much less in the sense Mr. Hunt hath used it, when the Holy Ghost speaks a Revelation, distinctly from a Report; or when he opens the certainty of events in doctrine {to which belongs the saints future blessedness} a part from all history of fact, as there in Samuel. 6. And lastly, ‘tis the only place that proves God’s act of requiting the good, even as to a Providential Probability, and in this life; and in all but according to human apprehensions too. Besides, no other text gives Mr. Hunt any advantage in the very sound, but this; and yet he tops against God’s Grace and Christ’s Righteousness a requiting with Heaven in the other life.

As to Christ’s making us amends, ‘tis Nature’s Divinity, none of Christ’s. To make amends, if you put it into other language, is to pay, as a guest pays his host; so much for so much. “And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” Lk.10:35. God gives all, and pays nothing in his own Free Rewards. Such words, as requiting and making amends, when applied to the Gift of Heaven, naturally tend to lessen men’s thoughts of receiving Heaven upon the foot of God’s Grace and Christ’s Righteousness, and to exalt a conceit of the worth of our own performances, though either their modesty or custom may excuse it, and tell us they do not mean, or intend merit. However, they do not express what God means, nor what the force of original words in these matters, the Free Gift, and Gift, import, far wide enough from God’s requiting, and the making amends. The Righteousness of Christ, through which the Gift comes to us, suffers by these means.

Let us see, if he be consistent again with himself, in using this phrase of making amends elsewhere. Speaking of the sad mistakes of some, he tells us of them, “if God will Pardon what is past, they hope to be able some time or other to make him amends. But {says he very well} take heed of this soul-damning mistake, to think there is virtue enough in their prayers or tears, or in any works of Righteousness which you have done, or can do, to purchase Pardon for the least sin.” {Page 45} Observe here, that making amends is set out by virtue of purchasing; none can purchase of God but Christ. Well then, when God gives for Christ’s sake, does he make amends in the Gift to him who suffers for him {because doing and suffering in this case are alike} since it lay not in the power of the person who receives a gift to purchase it? Now that he should bring up such a phrase in the glorious matters of Heaven upon Christ’s Donations {or bestowments of eternal life upon the glorified} when he had well beaten down the conceit of making God amends, as a soul-damning mistake, doth no ways agree in one piece of Orthodoxy. Doth God make us amends in giving Heaven for Christ, and giving Christ for our wherewithal, in service to him and sufferings for him, when we are, in all we do and suffer, no ways capable to secure his Glory in the Cause of our Fall? Neither was it enough {it seems} for Mr. Hunt to corrupt the Doctrine of bestowing Heaven upon the saints in his ill way of phrasing it once, but he must be at it again, in another place of his book, where his words are these, “O how will the first view of this Glorious Person make thee amends for all the labor, sorrow, and sufferings that ever thou didst undergo for him all thy days!” {Page 215} And so much for this chapter.

1 In the ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, and thereby of gates, doors, doorways, passages and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. The Romans named the month of January in his honor.