Chapter 35

Of Mr. John Hunt’s four errors in the Article of Effectual Grace, and one in that of Perseverance.

His first error against Effectual Grace, “Christ is able to save thee, if thou hast but a heart to come to him, and to rely sincerely upon him.” {Page 200} Now let anyone tell me, if this man had been clear in the Gospel, and neither Arminian, nor Arminianized, why his sixth motive here {as he calls it} should be chosen rather by him a motive raised upon man’s heart, than chosen to move upon Effectual Grace? Don’t they say {to a man of them} who hold the Doctrine of Arminius, Episcopius, and Limborch, that a man may be saved if he will? ‘Tis his own fault, they tell you, that he is not; and whereas they talk of the Grace of God, see my six and twentieth chapter, or a brief Account of Arminianism in general; and there behold what a deceitful notion they have got of the Grace of God. Now Mr. Hunt is exactly fallen into it with his heart, {for “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it,” Jer.17:9;} as he makes Christ an able Saviour, provided we have but a heart to come unto Him; and what will he mean by this but man’s power and readiness to obey, under a common acceptation of what they call God’s Grace? {For they make Grace as Universal as nature where Baptism comes.} All Efficacy of Grace to come to Jesus Christ and do what they call, working out a man’s own Salvation; {not at all understanding the scope of the Apostle’s words there in Philippians 2:12,} is excluded, and a man’s heart set up to run away with all. The Apostle there in Philippians 2:12 builds it all upon Efficacy of Grace. “Work out your own Salvation” is meant in all out-workings of Grace, or visible profession of our own upon the Bottom and Pattern of Grace; as we should work it, concerning our Duty and Practical Religion outermost, or openly on the outside before man, while men behold our work, and seeing our good works glorify our Father which is in Heaven, Mt.5:16; that is, thanking God for the share and benefit themselves have in them. Now, says he, when ye are thus usefully upon the out-works, take heed you do not in your hearts, injure your Bottom, {God’s Grace,} by your out-works; especially as men stand by and see your good works, {a Church of Christ, a city, being upon a hill that cannot be hid, Mt.5:14,} and so ye lie under some danger from your own works, which must not be neglected, and yet the danger lies too in the performance of them. You work in sight, men see you and God sees you, take heed you do not, in out-working, or outer-side working, wrong the Grace of God. Let men see your works; but at the same time, do you see, or look ye to it on the inside all be wrought on the outside, as springing out of your Salvation, and built upon your Salvation {as a thing distinct by itself without any of these works} not working out a Salvation to complete it from one already incomplete without your own works, as Arminians hold it. And because you have hearts and hands prone to spoil this sampler, to mar this beauty piece, the Original, Salvation alone by Grace, therefore work all your work out of this your Salvation, with fear and trembling; fear lest you mar the Pattern, and tremble to injure the Ground Work, upon which your own out-works must be wrought and stand. This is soon done, if you think to go on further or faster than the Holy Ghost worketh all in you into a meetness for this out-work upon the inner glory. Or, if you ascribe anything to your selves, and not all Effectual Grace to the Mighty Work of God’s Spirit, in the Salvation you have seen, and under the Influences you have felt, you err. “For it is God {says he in the next verse} which worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure.” Now the rendering of this reason in the 13th verse for working out your own Salvation with fear and trembling in the 12th verse, can admit of no other just or consistent interpretation. So much for the Arminian evasion answered in Philippians 2:12; and for Mr. Hunt’s fearlessness, contrary thereunto, to make so much of a heart to come to Christ, and rely sincerely upon him, whilst like an Arminian, he makes nothing of God’s Effectual Grace in all his motives to come by that heart.

His second pins upon his former, thus, “Christ wants not a Virtue to cleanse thee, if thou wantest not a heart to receive him, and to make use of that Virtue that is in Him. {Page 41} What a strange thing is it, that there should be Virtue, and yet no Effectual Virtue, or influential Virtue upon the heart to which that Virtue is appointed! Again, that there should be Effectual Virtue upon the heart to which it is appointed, and yet that heart not a heart to receive Christ! Who would believe this man knew how to preach or print motives, as a Gospeler? For he that is not consistent with the stating of Effectual Grace, I Thes.2:13, Eph.3:7, but runs it all into the active voice of creature-moving, without New Creation-motives, can’t preach nor print motives, according to the harmonious tenor of the Gospel of Grace. Now Effectual Grace is a Work of the third Person of God upon the heart, and so a main Foundation of the Gospel, without which there can be nothing either experimental on the soul to move it, or practical in the Life and Walk of a Christian to be the rule of one, as becomes the Gospel. I’ll state and argue the point of Effectual Grace, if the Lord please, and let Mr. Hunt see {if the Lord will please to open his eyes} that his motives to Faith and Conversion are all wrong; not one of them is proposed under the exaltings of Efficacious Grace! Let him therefore know the Grace of External Calling, Counseling, &c., is not Effectual Grace, Jeremiah 7:13-14; Psalms 81:13-14. {I have now neither room nor time to open the many texts in this Section.}

Secondly, the Grace that is proposed and merely offered {as men speak} in the world, is not so. The doctrine of Grace may be proposed, Acts 7:51; II Timothy 3:8, but ‘tis the Gift of Grace is Effectual. ‘Tis proposed to and among the non-elect, not to save them, but whilst God is saving his elect hereby, that they look to it they don’t injure them, or go about to deprive them of the present benefits of so great Salvation; if they do, it shall be more to their peril, than other sins whatever, committed against God under the mere light of nature, or the Revelation of the Moral Law.

Thirdly, the Common Grace of temporary Profession is not Effectual Grace, Luke 8:13; John 6:66; I Timothy 1:19; II Peter 2:21; II Peter 2:1; Hebrews 6:6. Cooperating Grace in the Godly themselves is not Effectual Grace, Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:15-19, and upon this footing it is that the Scripture speaks often of grieving, tempting, and quenching the Spirit of the Lord, Ephesians 4:30; I Thessalonians 5:19; Acts 15:10; Acts 5:9.

On the other hand, Effectual Grace is. First: To shed down the Spirit upon a person. This is an Effectual act of God’s Grace. Titus 3:6; John 3:5; Acts 4:33.

Secondly: To take away the Iniquity of a person by the work of the Holy Ghost, whilst he takes of Christ’s, and shows it unto us, is Effectual Grace. Hosea 14:2; Colossians 1:21; John 16:14-15; Romans 5:15-20; Titus 3:7.

Thirdly: To regenerate a man’s nature under the Effusion of the Spirit, giving him a new being purely in a passive way, is an Operation of God’s Effectual Grace in Christ. John 3:3; John 1:13; II Corinthians 6:1; Ephesians 4:24; John 5:25; Ephesians 2:5; John 11:43; John 1:16, by comparing which places, it is plain, a Creation Act, Ephesians 4:24; II Corinthians 5:20; II Corinthians 6:1, in reference to Christ as King in His own Church-Government and the Gospel-way of holiness, which can rise out of nothing else but God’s Grace Efficaciously bestowed through Christ’s blood, as he is a High-Priest forever.

Fourthly: God’s Word expresses this work in Efficacious terms, as circumcision of the heart, Deuteronomy 30:6; the Lord’s turning it, Jeremiah 31:18; his pouring forth the Spirit, Zechariah 12:10; his giving eyes to see and ears to hear, Deuteronomy 29:4. It is called a new heart, Ezekiel 36:26-27; and writing the law upon the heart, Jeremiah 24:7; Jeremiah 31:33; also, a effectual opening of the heart. Acts 16:14. All this is the language of Effectual Grace. It lies all in God’s hands, and none of it in the creatures.

Fifthly: Means that to flesh and blood are visibly weak, yet do produce mighty and astonishing effects on the souls of men. Compare Isaiah 53:2; Matthew 9:9; Matthew 4:21-22; I Kings 19:20.

Sixthly: There is such an Efficacy put forth with the Grace of God upon them that savingly believe as exceeds all created power, Ephesians 1:18-19; Colossians 2:12-13; II Thessalonians 1:11; II Peter 1:3; and that in translating out of darkness, I Peter 2:9; Colossians 1:13, and implanting the mind into Christ. Romans 6:5. This is above all creature power, and therefore is Efficacious Grace. Then fixing, settling, quieting and staying the heart against all opposition. Psalms 112:7. Philippians 4:7. All this comes upon men in Conversion when it finds them with no heart to receive Christ.

Seventhly: All Effectual Grace is conveyed by the love of God, and the Spirit shed abroad upon the heart, curing all the natural resistance. Romans 5:5; Titus 3:5-6.

Eighthly: The subduing the corruptions of a man’s nature is an Effectual Act of Grace. Romans 6:6; I John 4:4; I Thessalonians 5:23.

Ninthly: If Grace were not Irresistible, it should follow that many who have the Spirit of God, yet are not Converted by him; but all are converted who have the Spirit of God. Romans 8:14; John 14:17; I John 4:13.

Tenth: If Grace were not Efficacious, but only moral, inviting, persuasive, and like Mr. Hunt’s ineffectual motives, it should be free for man’s will to admit or hinder the Efficacy of the Grace of God; for then God should do no more in converting a man, than Satan does in perverting a man, and bringing a man to sin. But Satan can’t do as much towards unbelief, as God does towards Regeneration and Faith. For, God subdues the will, Psalms 110:3; and this is more than Satan can do oppositely in dissuading the will. The Lord breaks a man’s stubbornness, Psalms 65:10, or softens a man’s hardness. Ezekiel 36:26. 3. He quietly composes the tumults and lawless affections in a man’s heart; makes him of unwilling, willing; makes him obedient, governable, and sways him how he will in a moment. Psalms 65:7; I Thessalonians 5:23. The Lord does it without force and coaction; he discharges the corruption, and the faculty freely comes in drawing. So that it is God, not we, that secures the heart in believing, repenting, performing; and God has a heart for it towards the elect, even whilst the elect have none. Look then that all God’s expressions of duty and commands, of faith, love and obedience, be first sealed on thy heart by Christ’s Power in the Holy Ghost, causing impressions on thy heart, before thou cast do any of the practical will of God thou art obliged to, towards Christ. Ezekiel 18:31 with Ezekiel 36:26; Mark 1:15 with Acts 5:31. Lastly, watch the difference between drawing out thy heart to God in Christ under the Holy Ghost’s Power, be it in any holy act of obedience, or driving and terrifying thee there unto, whipping, lashing, and scourging of thy conscience {as our schoolmaster doth all through with his motives} through a fear of Hell and wrath, if thou dost not come up to that preacher’s marks, {and poor man; he never learned half the lesson he pretends to stand with rod in hand over thy head to teach thee,} Romans 7:6; Psalms 119:32, and compare these places with thy whip-cord obedience under thy tart preacher leaving thee helpless for want of this same, Isaiah 16:12, for Effectual Grace in the loving kindness of the Lord he conceals from thee.

His third error is of the same stamp, “if thou desirest nothing more than Christ, thou shalt be put off with nothing less.” {Page 202} Aye, but what is the conclusion of a poor soul? Oh! Says he, but I find my sinful heart desires many things more than Christ, and if this be sound divinity, that if I desire nothing more than Christ, I shall be put off with nothing less; then on the other hand, because I experience that I do desire some things more than I can desire Christ, {for my nature is corrupt, and often desires Christ not at all,} therefore I shall be put off with something less than Christ. And by this it appears that Mr. Hunt in his motive has neither understood the malady, nor the patient, nor the Physician. Nature is nature wheresoever she exists, and in whomsoever she works. I must have Effectual Grace against my desires, above my desires, without my desires, to bring me to desires, or I am for my very blind desires of Christ {if left under them} undone forever! Ah, so many Preachers do sadly agree {may the Lord grant us some division in the matter} about old Adam’s heart, old Adam’s desires, old Adam’s marks and signs! For abundance of ministers agree with Mr. Hunt in these things.

Hear my dissuader, “I have not seen Mr. Hunt’s book; and can on that account, say nothing for, or against it; but could say something for an harmonious accord among the ministers of Christ, if I were not speaking to one, who can say ten times more upon that, or any other head of Divinity.” Let every man take heed how he speaks, and that he don’t exceed the measures of his own belief. Whatever it be, I may hint these two things. 1. I have transcribed the whole sentence to complete the sense. 2. I keep the original copy by me in manuscript. Now having thus hinted the matter, I would faithfully answer it; and my faithful answer is this, that so long as the ministers of Christ are agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord, Acts 5:9, {by such doctrines as appear abroad under the name of Effectual Grace Vindicated, and copiously hinted.} Happy is that other minister of Christ who in these things not only refuses to accord with them in the popular harmony, but opposes them as openly as the same things fly abroad.

Oh! But “engage the profane and superstitious; draw out against the Philistines, but let not any of the sons of Zion feel your pen.” This is good advice in Saul’s reign, but it does not hold in David’s. For if the people turned aside after Absalom, whilst young Absalom cries up your hearts and your desires; and speaks little or nothing of him that begets these good, fair hearts and desires! Also, speaks smooth things whereby the hearts of the men of Israel are stolen away from Christ; then sound a trumpet against Absalom, and the people of the holy mountain itself; pursue the sons of Zion, and give them no quarter, till Absalom be taken in the wood of Ephraim. II Sam.18:6.

Mr. Hunt’s fourth error against Effectual Grace. “And to enable thee to come, as filthy as thou art, or canst be, have been cleansed.” {Page 40} As this expression is manifestly elliptical in grammar, and so defective as scarcely to make out sense; it is as evidently wanting in the Gospel-Part to make out Sound Doctrine. Lo! Here is a proposition for strength, not the Power of God. A consideration, not Christ Himself. This will never enable any to come to Christ, to make a proposal {as filthy as thou art, or canst be, have been cleansed;} but that which enables the soul indeed to come to Christ, is to secure the conveyance of Almighty Strength and Love that draws it on Efficaciously. The other is the persuasive divinity of Arminians, not the operative divinity of the Gospel. The one is moral suasion, and this is infinitely short of the Mighty Power of God. Eph.1:19. The other is Spiritual Efficacy that forms the new creature, derives its life and birth from Heaven. It is the blood of Christ cleansing from all sin, I Jn.1:7, and the cleansing Virtue of the same blood, in the applicatory Operation of the same blood for discovery, is that which truly enables thee in the motion-faith to come to Christ; and it is not the consideration of the blood itself, or the consideration of the Virtue of it, {that as filthy as thou art, or canst be, have been cleansed,} enables one soul to come. It is in the cleansing Power and Effect of it upon me God-wards, before one stroke of my own acting or working from it Christ-wards, that I am enabled afterwards to come to Christ, or empowered to come, when I do come unto him.

More particularly, a consideration laid down, made up of remote ingredients, and not things that immediately constitute a power, will never enable. 2. ‘Tis to no purpose to lay the Efficacy of the work of the Spirit on an Extrinsic Cause. 3. The mischief of all is, he shuts out the Internal Worker, even the Lord the Spirit, who, in working within a man, works by Irresistible Grace. To illustrate it, suppose you talk of light shining in another room, a man may deny there’s any; but let the lamp or candle be presently brought into his own room, where he sits, or lies in darkness, he then sees it, and is irresistibly persuaded that there is light kindled. So let the light of the Gospel shine into, or in a man, and another man that is in darkness perhaps will not believe it. But if the Holy Ghost brings the lamp of the Word, and lightens his own candle with it, by renewing the understanding of that man in spiritual wisdom, he then beholds the light irresistibly, and he cannot deny it. Neither does this force the will, but change it. It drives out darkness, and it draws the faculty. A man that sees light is not forced against his own persuasion, but is irresistibly persuaded.

So much for his Arminianism in this place against Effectual Grace; for I shall dismiss the remainder of what he is faulty in of this nature, till I come directly to the chapter of his excluding the Holy Ghost out of his work, and his introducing the creature in the Spirit’s room.

The other error I shall take notice of is in the fifth and last article of Arminianism {the apostasy of the saints,} against their being kept infallibly through faith unto Salvation. The words are these, “the approbation of one known sin proves that person to be under the Covenant of works.” {Page 140} This is false, for the saints of the Lord under a temptation, and left to themselves do approve not only of one known sin, but for ought I know, and agreeably to their Nature-Constitution, may approve of any known sin in the world. I know of no more power in a saint to do good, or keep from evil spiritually, who is not kept by inward Grace; nor morally, who is not kept by outward Grace {for I must always set the crown upon the head of Grace, and own every good thing to be of God, and not of man} than I know of power in an unregenerate man to do either.

What did David do less to Bathsheba and Uriah than an unregenerate man that had not restraining Grace would have done? Or what would an unregenerate man have done more than David that was born again? I see not but David, when he committed those sins, approved of them as much as any unregenerate man in the world. So Peter and Solomon, Sampson and Jephthah, Abraham and Noah, Jonah and Jeremiah, and many others, whom the Scriptures have notwithstanding registered for eminent saints, have all of them approved of their own several sins, at the time when they committed them; though Grace would not always leave them there in their approbation of them. However it be, it is certain the saints do often approve of known sins {and have but patience, and shortly you shall see that eminent saints, Mr. Hunt himself, approve of a very known sin which he has preached and written against!} Yet once in the Covenant of Grace, Psal.37:24; Prov.24:16, and ever in the Covenant of Grace; our Covenant changes not with our facts, Psal.38:4 with verses 15,22; but the change of it is passive, and lies in something God does upon us, not in something we do ourselves. I am speaking of the Everlasting Covenant in Christ, not of the Church-Covenant of saints where ‘tis otherwise. II Chron.15:2. God does something upon us in changing us from the Covenant of works to the Covenant of Grace; but he never does anything upon us in changing us from the Covenant of Grace to the Covenant of Works. And the Everlasting Covenant of Grace depends not upon our facts, and so changes not with them. He that holds it does, inevitably therewith involves the Arminian article of the apostasy of the saints, and holds a loss of interest in Christ today, by being under the Covenant of Works tomorrow. “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, destroy them.” Deut.33:27. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.” Jude 24,25.

Besides, when my man was galloped about 70 pages from this stage, he had forgotten what he delivered here, and then very bravely prints against himself, {for the other was his self indeed,} “a saint {says he} may lose his reputation in the world, he may lose his health, yea, his life, but can never lose his Christ; he will have this Pearl of Price in his lowest condition.” {Page 211} Now to have Christ, and yet to be under a Covenant of Works, as he puts the having of Christ in this place; to have him under saintship, to have Christ so as to be saints upon it; and I say, yet upon the approbation of one known sin to be under the Covenant of Works, is a contradiction in Mr. Hunt’s yea and nay-doctrine. So to be a saint and yet approve of known sin, is confessedly another contradiction, a practical contradiction in that saint, till He who is always the same God, and of power to keep us from falling, and present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, Jude 24, shall be pleased to put forth his new and daily power on the soul.

To conclude this branch about Arminianism, hath all Mr. Hunt’s labor in these things been preaching Christ? Says he, “it is but beating about the bush till we preach Christ, till Christ is preached the most weighty matter is omitted.” {Page 183} Now where is preaching of Christ for strength, for a will, for a heart in all this, as the Scriptures have revealed Him? He is one that hath fullness, John 1:16; Colossians 1:19; that hath power to give a new heart, Ezekiel 36:26-27; he is the treasury of strength, Isaiah 45:24; Psalms 27:1; with a superlative Virtue to wash the heart and conscience, Isaiah 1:18; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:22; together with a multitude of other places. But I shut up the further enlarging upon these things. Thus I have traced Mr. Hunt in his book through all the articles of Arminianism.