The First resolution of the question. We must preach the Gospel, as it agrees with the Reconciliation of God to sinners, and sinners to God, through the gift by Grace, Rom. 5:15, in the Imputation of the Righteousness of God in Christ to them; for not as the offence, so also is the Free gift; it is a gift by Grace, and that by one Man, even by Jesus Christ, abounding unto many. Let me begin and make out the doctrine of Imputation from Rom. 4:22-23. “And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him.” It? What was this it? Abraham’s act of faith say some. No; I answer, the “it” was the Object of that act of faith, called the promise, or the hope of Israel. Acts 26:6-7. {Gen.15:6, “and he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness,” along with Gal.3:6, “even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness;” the “it” being the “faith” of verse 7, “faith” there being the Gospel, as verse 8, “foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham,” and as in Gal. 1:23, “but they had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed,” the faith of the Gospel being preached, “that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith,” or the Gospel, or more particularly Christ, who is the Promise of Acts 26:6- 7, or the ONE that is promised.} For, the Scriptures do everywhere in an analogy, lay the stress of the matter upon the Object; that is to say, upon Christ, upon his Righteousness and Blood to justify; and therefore that Object must be the matter of the Imputation here meant. If any will forcibly wrest it to mean faith, because of the coherence, verse 18, Abraham “who against hope believed in hope,” also the context speaks, verse 19, of his being “not weak in faith,” and verse 20, of his staggering not “at the promise of God through unbelief;” likewise, verse 20, of his being “strong in faith,” and verse 21, of his being “fully persuaded,” Heb. 11:13, all which bespeaks faith, and that this faith is the “it” which was imputed; I must still answer and say, that faith was not the “it” which was imputed. One place must be expounded by many, not many places by one. Therefore, by the “it” is to be understood that the thing he had in his eye was imputed; as if I should say, my sight tells me, then the meaning is, these things seen tells me. {“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” I Cor. 1:30.} So if this faith, which is the spiritual eye-sight of the soul be interpreted to be the “it” which was imputed, it must be understood, according to sound doctrine, that it was the thing imputed to Abraham, which his faith, his spiritual eye-sight had discerned, which thing was the object Abraham believed in, namely, Christ and his righteousness. {“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” II Cor. 5:21.} Besides, we have Scripture enough to justify us in this interpretation of it, to destroy any notion of a mere act of faith being imputed. This appears by the common instances of a catachresis, or a figure of speech which signifies the use of a word beyond the common acceptation. As, Jer. 46:10, “the sword shall devour;” for here to devour, which is the property of a living creature with teeth, is catachrestically applied to the sword. So, Rev. 1:12, “I turned to see the voice;” it is seeing the voice, which by this figure is used for seeing him that uttered it. And so, Psal. 132:5, “let my right hand forget her cunning;” here forgetting is applied to the right hand, as in the same way of speech as it is put for the memory failing, to direct and employ the right hand in the skilful management of instruments in music. Likewise, Hos. 4:8, “they eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.” Sin properly cannot be eaten with the natural mouth, but the meaning is, with their mind they feed upon wickedness, or they live at the idol’s table, or that they eat the sacrifices that are offered to false gods. So, Prov. 30:15, “the horseleech hath two daughters,” i.e., hath two young ones of her own kind. So a ewe-lamb of the first year in the Levitical Sacrifices is called in the Hebrew phrase, a daughter, Lev. 14:10; a kid of the goats is said to have a mother, “thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.” Exod. 23:19. By the same figure the ants are a people, and the conies a feeble folk. Prov. 30:25-26. After this same manner, if faith be understood to be the “it” that is imputed for righteousness to Abraham, it is but metaphorically spoken, by ascribing the imputation to the Act which strictly belongs to the Object of that act; namely, the imputation of what faith discerned and laid hold on of a justifying nature in Christ. This is the “it” which in the faith of Abraham was imputed to him for righteousness.

Furthermore, it is expressly applied to the promise in the verse before, verse 20, “he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief,” and what was contained in this promise but the seed, or Messiah, verse 18, “so shall thy seed be,” which seed is Christ. “He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” Gal. 3:16. Christ the Head, and all his numerous members, heirs of the faith of Abraham, more in number than the stars of Heaven, Gen. 15:5, or the sand of the sea shore. All this was promised Abraham, as a type of Christ, which should come to pass in his seed, in, by, and through Christ the anti-type. The meaning then of those words, Rom. 4:21, “and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform,” must respect the promised righteousness of the seed, Christ, and so resolves what the “it” must mean, in verse 22. It was imputed or accounted to him, namely, the righteousness of God, II Pet. 1:1, which had been promised in this seed; which plainly expounds that radical text in Gen. 15:6, {“and he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness,”} from whence the other in the Romans is first derived. {“Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” Psal. 32:2.} And Abraham believed God {in his promise, at verse 5} and “it,” the promised blessing in the Seed Christ, was counted to him for righteousness. It, not the faith, but what the faith beheld; for it is in the seed promised, Gen. 3:15, “it shall bruise thy head,” as Elohim threatened the serpent, respecting the victory to be obtained over him by Christ, who should bear our sins in his own body on the tree, I Pet. 2:24, from which tree or cross we should fetch our spiritual food, and feast upon it as a sacrifice from the Altar, Heb. 13:10, to be the fruit of the Tree of Life, Rev. 22:2, in a better Eden than that wherein we lost our first righteousness; for it shall be in the Glorious Kingdom of Christ, which is said to be in the midst of the Paradise of God, Rev. 2:7, where we shall better know him than now we do, both as Christ is Alpha in the upper, and Omega in the under-way. {“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Rev. 22:13.} Well, this “it” that’s imputed is definitively Christ; and plainly meant of the Imputation of the righteousness of this promise, or the Righteousness of God in Christ, that is lodged in the bowels of this promise, and by comparing the place again with Rom.4:11, the thing is more plain, that it speaks of a righteousness imputed.

Further, whereas they lay so much stress upon an act of faith, the Scriptures, foreseeing the disorder in men’s thoughts, have quite shut the mention of faith out, and ascribe the whole of Justification to the blood, where the virtue of the mystery lies. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Rom. 5:9. Here the Object of faith is expressly mentioned without the act of faith. The blood that paid our debt, while neither our eye beheld it, nor our hand received it. This now governs our construction of the matter, and well explains the “it” to be meant of the blood of Christ, I Pet. 1:19, wherein his consummate righteousness, which paid our debt, lay. {“Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Rev. 1:5.} It is Christ’s blood that stamps all virtue upon our faith. No virtue or influence whatever can be added by our faith, to or upon that blood. Observe, how in Rom. 5:9, it is “justified by his blood,” and faith not at all expressed.

Aye, but you will say, no doubt but it is implied, for the Romans were justified by faith. Rom. 5:1. Well, be it so; then is not justification by the blood implied, notwithstanding it is in words expressed that we are justified by faith? And is not the blood again implied, where it is said that “it was imputed to him for righteous- ness.” What is expressed of faith, verse 1, is but an open expression, and leads to the mystery of what is expressed in the blood, couched under it, and expressed elsewhere, and all is to signify that the Holy Ghost under the imputation of the Righteousness of God in Christ hath wrought faith in the blood of Christ, whereby, even by which blood we are justified. {“In thy name shall they rejoice all the day; and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” Psal. 89:16.} That text, Isa. 54:17, plainly discovers, and sweetly speaks of the Imputation of the Righteousness of God. “Their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord,” of the LORD, consequently from the LORD, and so must come upon them by Imputation. And faith also comes in virtue of the blood of Christ, through the righteousness of God, witnessed by II Pet. 1:1, to “them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” not that the Righteousness of God comes to us in virtue of, or for our faith; no; nor in virtue of, or for any thing we have, or can have, in ourselves. I shall now observe, that offers of Grace do not stand with this great truth of the Gospel, even the free gift by Grace, in the Imputation of the Righteousness of God.

Offers of the Gospel are no ways or means of bringing home the imputed righteousness of God in Christ, which is God’s Free Gift of Grace to sinners. {“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 3:24.} This Righteousness of God is imputed, never offered. Preach Imputation then, and not proposals of the righteousness of Christ. The doctrine of Imputation will always answer the name God calls the Gospel by, good news; but the notion of propounding Salvation upon an acceptance of the offer, is ill news. For I find no heart to accept of Christ upon proposal, but to keep my sins rather, and walk in unbelief; because my sins are stronger than my resolutions; whereas, I sense my heart finds hope upon the view and virtue of Imputation, beholding the Righteousness of God in Christ imputed to me, which necessitates some power independent of my own, there the Spirit quickly makes sinners sensible as to where the remedy lies, and that there the virtue consists which is to deliver them from the power and condemnation of sin.

Offering the Gospel is no way of advancing the infinite value of Imputation. Now to preach up the fruits of imputed righteousness, advances the Grace of God, because it shows poor sinners how, Rom. 8:33-34, one branch of Free Grace streams out of another branch of Free Grace; that being justified by his Grace {see, I am to lay all upon Grace} we are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Tit. 3:7. Offers do not advance the imputation of righteousness, so much as they advance the creature’s supposed power in the acceptance. But, I am to preach and insist that where sin abounded, Grace did much more abound. Rom. 5:20.

But offers cannot speak thus; no, you that barter the Gospel, who serve tabernacles, have no right to eat at this table. {“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s Table, and of the table of devils.” I Cor. 10:21.} It destroys the nature of offers to bring them into plain language, as nothing abounds towards guilty helpless sinners; when I come to my offers I lose sight of wisdom’s enlarged views, because I leave instruction, and err from the way of understanding, therefore must remain in the congregation of the dead while the offer stands so darkly before me, like a curtain of the night; whereas Grace abounding to the chief of sinners, swallows me up; but there is nothing that abounds in an offer, so as to make the thing offered mine. What signifies the offer blow beating about my faculty? I want the view of a complete unconditional and advanced righteousness, to be applied to and put on my person. What do men mean, but to knock me on the head with their offers? ‘Tis the blood that I want freely proclaiming salvation through Christ! They tell me I must lay hold of their offers, but I want to hear of something that will lay hold on me; Christ’s righteousness, when advanced, how sweetly it takes hold of a poor sinner, because it suits his case.

The preacher spurs me on, as he says that I must make no delay. But all this time he does not lift up this Righteousness of God high enough for me to see it. I want to find the Spirit of God in a Ministry causing me to perceive it, whilst Christ is exalted over my head, that I may see I am under the covert of his righteousness. {“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Jn. 12:32.} This must be done for me, before I can set one step towards Heaven! {“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.} The effect may be easily known, for the Imputation of Righteousness takes away all iniquity, and turns us to the LORD. {“Take with you words, and turn to the LORD; say unto him, take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously; so will we render the calves of our lips.” Hos. 14:2.} And to preach thus to sinners advances Imputed Righteousness and Free Grace; but he that offers Salvation to sinners upon their own acceptance, covers no iniquity with the mantle of Christ’s righteousness, nor advances the Imputation of the righteousness of God, that does so. Offers in no wise serve to advance the virtue of imputed righteousness, as of a comprehending righteousness, that contains within it the grant of the Spirit, {the Spirit is given in the Righteousness of Christ,} as given in Office to work Regeneration, or the new creature; faith, the visual power of the new creature and repentance, the effect of both. This brings me now to answer you in another particular, how you must preach the Gospel to Sinners, if you do not offer the Gospel to sinners.

The second resolution of the question. We must preach the Gospel, as the Gospel is the way or means of God’s bestowing the Holy Spirit on the elect, and the way and means of our exalting the Gift of God herein. It is God’s gift of the Spirit must be exalted, but an offer exalts not the gift of God’s Spirit. We must preach the Gospel in showing Glad Tidings to the people, namely, that God’s gift of the Spirit, or internal pre-operation on the faculty, that secures a sinner’s acceptance of Christ in the preaching of the Gospel; whereas an external offer is a mere delusion, for offers are without men, not within men.

We preach the blessed gift of the Spirit of Grace, and not abuse it in pretending to turn it into an offer of Grace. What God hath granted freely, we should not go about to propose or bargain for. This is acting like Simon Magus’s disciples. God pours out his Spirit, Zech. 12:10, so what business have we to tender the Holy Ghost? Wherever the Righteousness of God is imputed, the Spirit of God is bestowed, to reveal and apply it. In this way Saving Grace is given to all the elect of God. It is of Special Grace when God gives men his Holy Spirit, but it is not of Special Grace when ministers offer grace to men. The Spirit is exalted in the bestowment of Himself upon us. But how is the rich Grace of God exalted, if you descend from a gift to a proffer of the Holy Ghost? How shall we preach, you say? I say preach down offers, and exalt the good news of what God has revealed in the Gospel, namely, that of bestowing His Free Spirit upon us. If God helps you by His Spirit, to preach the efficacy of His Spirit, under the righteousness of His Son, you will do this work faithfully. And you will tell sinners, that through your vain offers, the Lord has not given you an heart to perceive, nor eyes to see, or ears to hear to this day. Deut. 29:4. Tell the elect of God that in their participation of the Holy Ghost put within them, {through and under the Righteousness of his Son put upon them,} all is a Free gift, and not one dram of it a Free offer. ‘Tis no proposal, but an absolute power with and under God’s appointment. {“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” Acts 10:44.}

Tell the elect, that by this gift of power they are experimentally differenced from all others in the world, upon whom this gift is not bestowed. This is to exalt the gift of God, and not to abuse it as an offer doth. For to presume to speak thereof as the Scripture doth not speak, is a plain abuse of the gift of God. We must preach the Gospel so as to honour the Spirit in preaching. {Rom. 8:9; I Cor. 6:11; I Cor. 2:10-12.} We must be filled in exalting the Spirit, and not speak one word for offers and proffers throughout our ministry. We ought not to preach at all in this form, since I have been helped to set before you the Scripture forms that alone are accompanied by God’s power in giving the blind, eyes to discern the beauty of Christ. Offers do not honour the Spirit, but absolutely dishonour him. The Apostle’s argument to the foolish Galatians is, “received ye the Spirit, by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Gal. 3:1-2. So I argue, how is the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven with the Gospel? I Pet. 1:12. Is he given into the heart of a sinner by Gospel Efficacy or by Gospel offers, by Gospel Truth or by Gospel tenders of truth? That place, Tit. 3:5-6, tells us that the Holy Ghost is shed on “us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” Then exalt the shedding him on us, and not exalt the proposing and tendering him unto us. Mind what the Holy Ghost saith, Acts 4:33, “and with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all.” Here was a pre-operation of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostle’s ministry, and so that ministry became a witness with greater power, and wrought mightily with Grace upon all them that heard the witness, for “they were all of one heart and one mind.” The Spirit came not on them by offers of Grace, but by the witness which the apostles gave of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Don’t you see here how to preach the Gospel? {“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Rom. 1:16.} Fall under the authority of the Spirit and give witness to these eminent truths of the Gospel struck at, as the Apostles did there to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus that was struck at in that day, and I’m persuaded that the LORD will prosper in his time. {“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isa. 55:11.} The LORD will own his own word forty times more than whilst you stand fiddling with your offers. Don’t you see how the Spirit is given? Exalt God’s Free Grace then in the pouring out of the Spirit upon sinners. Exalt Grace in the putting of the Spirit within sinners, and do not tamper with the Gospel in propositioning Christ or proposing of the Spirit to sinners. {“Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.” Jer. 23:32.} We ought to preach the Spirit, {who is an undertaker in the work of Grace and Salvation of the elect,} as positively as we preach the Father, or the Son; whereas on the contrary, what a poor ineffectual Helper, do most men in their preaching make the Spirit of God appear to be.

The Third Resolution of the question is that we must preach the Gospel as it is most fitted unto Effectual Grace; and who is such an ill-informed one that will presume to talk of an effectual Offer? The LORD saith, “thou shalt not steal;” and again, “will a man rob God?” Yet he who dares give the attributes of the Gospel of God’s Grace in Christ {which Gospel hath such a revelation of power therein, “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,} to those of his own offers, {for they have no revelation of power at all in them,} steals from God to dress up his own idol, and robs God of the glory due to his name, Psal. 29:2, by ill placing it; and notwithstanding the poor creatures boldness in his sinning, I know not how he will answer it at the judgment seat of Christ. Rom. 14:10. For when light is come into the world, Jn. 3:19, and men slight it, and would rather walk in darkness, and go on, not only as they have been accustomed to by oversight and mistake, but with a flaming zeal towards that which God’s Word teacheth to have a holy indignation against, II Cor. 7:11, it is plain that men’s idols are set up in the room of God’s glory; and I fear such an idol is made by some of the offers, since the time that men have taken notice of what was last {though briefly} written against it, according to the mind of Christ. The Gospel, because it is the Gospel of Power, is fitted to the creating of a capacity of Effectual Grace, before the Holy Ghost hath fitted it to effectual choice in a practical submission to its truths. The Gospel of Christ is particularly fitted to the acceptance of the elect in the Salvation parts thereof, and fitted thereunto without any offer of Christ, as to what is done upon sinners, that comes down from God upon them.

As the sprinkling of clean water on them, in justifying them, and cleansing them from all iniquity, {“then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you,” Ezek. 36:25,} and proclaiming the forgiveness of sins through this Man {“be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins,” Acts 13:38,} as the channel of Effectual Grace, as to what is also done within sinners, in the renewing of a right spirit within them, {“create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” Psal. 51:10,} even that same Effectual Faith which receives this proclamation of pardon in the forgiveness of sins through his name. I Thes.2:13. And is not this Good News! And doth it not do far more good than that ineffectual and incompetent phrase, “come, sinners, here I offer you Christ, accept him?” The Gospel must be preached as a proof of Christ speaking in you, II Cor. 13:3, not as a proposal of Christ speaking through you. For an internal proposal either in speaker or hearer is a reckless impossibility! We must preach the Gospel whereof we are made ministers, according to the gift of Grace, the Grace of God given unto us, by the effectual working of his power, Eph. 3:7, and this Effectual Grace must be preached by exalting the Operations of God the Spirit.

We must preach the Operations of Grace, and throw away from us, and put out of our mouths these vain offers, or what men are pleased to call evangelical offers. We are to preach the Spirit’s efficacy, as absolutely as we preach the Father’s Election and the Son’s Redemption; all beside is delusion. For want of this the entire work of preaching hath been spoiled. {“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” I Cor. 2:5.} Effectual Grace is to be held forth in passive phrases; and we must so preach the Gospel as it is most suited to the work of God, on helpless subjects. Nothing short of this is good news. Then preach thus, and away with your offers.

In this branch of the discourse, may be further advanced the Operations of Free Grace, in the room and place of Grace offers. For Grace Conveyances may be proved effectual and operative, or prevalently by the Gospel in the hand, or office, of Jehovah the Spirit on all the elect of God. {“And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Isa. 58:11.} Operations of Grace are wise as well as efficacious; but offers of Grace are foolish, for an offer of Grace supposes immediately a practical acceptance upon a mere supposition of the creature’s own ability, and not upon an advancement of the Spirit’s work in creating a capacity for the sinner’s relish of Christ and heavenly things, Jn. 3:12, and for acceptance of Christ in Effectual Grace. If the preacher believed this, and saw it in its proper light as he ought, he would turn his old offers into thankful admirations of the Operations of the Grace of God! Whereas, instead of the effectual and attested Gospel of Christ, he brings Saul’s unproved armour to put upon God’s David, I Sam. 17:39, but when they come to have more light in the Gospel, Prov. 4:18, and clearer views of things, they will confess these empty offers are nothing to them, for they went to put on many things before they had proved them. If a sinner receives Christ, he will have some experience of the Effectual working of Him first in his own soul. For I am confident this doctrine of passiveness under the Gospel preached, or Effectual Grace to be wrought in the soul by the Spirit, will overturn their offers and proffers, according to the manner in which men now pretend to offer Christ, tendering him and eternal Salvation to the soul of men.

I shall next {if the Lord will} present such arguments against these devices of men’s purblind reason, in behalf of their sermonizing, as may, if blessed of the Lord, advance the Effectual Operations of His own Grace upon the elect of God. Offers cannot stand before Effectual Grace, because they consist not in a close advancement of a passive submission in the sinner to stand still and see the Salvation of God; but consist partly of an active work in what the preacher does; as, “here I offer you Christ,” and partly of an active motion, required of the creature, and insisted on by its self to be done towards Christ by the sinner, and pressed upon him as to “accept Christ.” Whereas, it is in the light and power of effectual and purifying Grace, Isa. 4:4, bestowed and experienced, that a sinner believes in Christ unto Salvation, renouncing all that is his own; nor can he do otherwise in a real experience of Christ. But offers agree not with this doctrine of passive obedience, advanced in speaking the word of God to sinners. It is not suited, it does not agree, with an offer of Christ to advance, commend, praise, and set forth a distinguishing work of Grace upon the soul.

It pleased the Holy Ghost by Luke {in his history of the Acts of the Apostles} when he relates the conversion of Lydia, Acts 16:14, to extol the passive work, {“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,” Eph. 1:17, “then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,” Lk. 24:45,} or that which was done upon her by the Lord. It is “whose heart the Lord opened,” and it pleased the Holy Ghost to say no more of what Paul did towards it, but only that “the things” whereby the Lord did this work upon her soul, were spoken by him. “She attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” It may be that Paul was telling her how effectual the Gospel of Grace had been upon his own soul in causing him to fall under its efficacious power. Whatever it be the Holy Ghost doth not say that Paul was offering Christ onto her. But now on the other hand, when men talk of offering Christ, propounding Salvation or tendering Grace to sinners, and the like, it sounds as if preacher and hearers were to think that now man made some contribution indeed towards his acceptance before the LORD. Something that was more than preaching Christ, and more than speaking of Christ, though the Lord knows, and oh, that I could say, Israel shall know, that the preacher doth a great deal less.

We must preach the new birth, the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. {“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Tit. 3:5-7.} This is far beyond the tender, and far better than the doctrine of the offer. We are to preach this new birth, as men born from above, and therein born of the Spirit, Jn.3:5, and born of God. I Jn. 5:1. We must preach that which is productive, not that which is fruitless. {“Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Jn. 1:13.} An offer produces nothing towards Grace; but an Operation of the Spirit produces the new birth. Preach Operations then, and preach down offers. How can the new birth be offered men; and yet by the new birth Christ is formed in them, Gal.4:19; men’s offers, therefore, are most inconsistent with the glory of the Spirit’s work! We should preach the Gospel, which is consistent with the praise of the Spirit’s work in Regenerating Grace as it is consistent with the praise of the Father’s act in Election Grace; and yet I am sure the preaching of very few tends to this end.

We are to preach the new man, {“and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” Eph. 4:24,} the hidden man of the heart, {“the hidden man of the heart,” I Pet. 3:4,} the inward man, {“though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day,” II Cor. 4:16,} of the inward parts and the hidden, {“behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom,” Psal. 51:6,} all which tells us it must be Operations, not offers of Grace, that are to be used of God and proclaimed by man. We must preach the circumcision of the heart, {“he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter,” Rom. 2:29,} the new nature {“that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” Jn. 3:6,} the new heart, {“a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh,” Ezek. 36:26,} a clean heart, {“create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” Psal.51:10,} all which passive phrases show, that a great and effectual door is opened of the Lord, I Cor.16:9, in preaching; though there are many adversaries ready to cry out against Operations of Grace, in opposition to offers of Grace.

God’s Grace is wrought effectually, and never tendered effectually. It’s effectually conveyed, not effectually proposed. It’s our work in the Ministry of Christ to preach the Efficacy of Divine Grace in begetting the soul in an Evangelical sense, and begetting a people to God above the work of nature. So, I Cor. 4:15, “for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” ‘Tis not, here I have offered you Christ, why won’t you take him.” The Holy Ghost doth not say thus, nor doth he tell you he means thus; but he speaks and means efficacy, and that no less a thing than Regeneration, which cannot be offered to a sinner, but is a blessing fitted only to the passive, to be wrought in him by that preaching which by the Spirit exalts the Spirit’s work. “In Christ Jesus have I begotten you,” says Paul; for here was the Apostle’s closing act under the efficacy of God the Holy Ghost. The Apostle as God’s instrument in the work, and as he was used of the Lord Jesus, came in upon their hearts, and so through the Gospel he witnessed, he spake, he preached, {which are the Holy Ghost’s ordinary and usual words to set forth the ministry of the Gospel by,} and through the Gospel in Christ Jesus begat them, and not by and through offers of Grace, being set right in his ministry, and then helped to make homework thereof. Proposals stand-off ineffectually, and keep their distance, until a creature acceptance determines them; but an Operation of the Spirit is effectual apart from the consent of man. An offer always keeps aloof from the man, never closes him nor changes him, but clucks, “here I offer you Grace, I offer you Christ, I propose him to your acceptance,” which never effects anything, never comes home upon him. Offers are not through the Gospel, and so can never be effectual as Operations are. Every offer act is an ineffectual act, because a distant act that stands off, never closes the faculty, but takes up its station and fixes upon midway block; and so old Adam and the offer never join, but agree to keep asunder in the midst between preacher and hearer.

Preaching the Gospel is effectually honoured by the Holy Ghost to beget souls anew to God in Christ, and it’s impossible to be done by offers of Grace, because they are distant acts. A home offer is an absurdity. The Everlasting Father makes use of ministers as his instruments to beget souls spiritually by preaching the Gospel, which is an Ordinance of the Lord Jesus, and so he honours it efficaciously, by working mightily in them that minister in the Word, or that serve our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel in opening it. Thereby to teach every man in all wisdom of the mystery of Revelation, that men may be presented of a perfect stature in Christ, Col. 1:28, and not such dwarfs, as most preaching is but fitted to present the saints, in an under-growth. But now the Lord will not diminish the glory of his Grace at that rate, to come and do the same upon souls by offers of Grace. It never was done by the offer-part of a sermon since the Gospel was preached. Faith sees it by the Word, and there may be enough to show it in this treatise. For as to what saving good men have been owned in, to do upon sinners in Conversion work, it hath been always wrought as they have been enabled from above to preach Christ, and not as they have offered Christ to souls. And yet I know that men are ready to abuse the Gospel in confounding distinct things. Some are prone hereunto the rather, because it hath been all along their old way, {“can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots; then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil,” Jer. 13:23,} and so without mighty Grace to humble and lessen them in their own eyes {for that is the nature of God’s Grace towards all his ministers, whatever their preaching had been} they will stand up for their own, and then think they stand up for the Gospel, and study and lay about them how to make it out in sermons to the people for the Gospel. Others take it up from an ill pattern in an author of credit, which presently through a defect of their own understanding swarms among themselves into an argument, and suffices them where the Scripture leaves them. {“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools; for they consider not that they do evil.” Eccl. 5:1.} Others again see no harm in it; and some may fall into the offer language incogitantly, because they scarce give themselves time to weigh and examine the matter, and think from a due notation of the Word, what an offer or proposal of Grace is. {“And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity; and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.” Isa. 30:28.} Be sure, they do not allow a due time impartially to examine what they preach, whilst they lavish into their ineffectual offers.

Offers cannot stand before the test of Effectual Grace, which speaks in positive terms respecting the new creation, because offers are more fitted to man as a reasonable worker, than as a spiritual workmanship, or as clay in the hands of the potter. How can the Spirit’s workmanship in the soul that is created be effected by proposals? We are said to be the workmanship of God. Eph. 2:10. In the original it is the poem or epistle. Can such an epistle write? It is itself a piece of workmanship contrived and wrought by the manifold wisdom of God. Eph. 3:19. For how is a poem made? Is it by proposing to pen, ink, and paper, or is it done by an Operation of the understanding? In the same manner, we also are the workmanship of God not by offers to us, to partake of the workmanship, but by Operations on us forming us into the workmanship or poem itself, “ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.” II Cor. 3:2. For though in natural religion men’s hearts and thoughts are not pen, ink, and paper, but unstable cogitations and dictions, yet respecting spiritual and supernatural things, they are so when made subject to them. Before the Spirit’s workmanship antecedently men are not blank paper, but blotted nature, and can a blot accept of a proposal to become an epistle of Christ? What is there in nature that can bring men to Gospel compliance with Gospel offers? Offers cannot perform any of the Spirit’s work. They cannot guide and lead the soul to Christ, or keep the soul in Him. And if there be something more than nature in Gospel believing, then the work of the Spirit of Christ must be therein. If these are truths, why do we then stand offering, when we should be wonderfully exalting Christ, and the free gift of the Spirit, and his effectual operations? If it be necessary that the Spirit be efficaciously given to convince sinners before they can receive Christ, then offering of Christ is in vain, since Christ is the first gift of the Father to none but His elect. If Christ could be given in the offer, so might the Spirit of Christ; if not, how comes the glorious gift of God to be abused by a nickname? Do men think to cover it, saying by offer they mean gift? If so, let me ask, does an offer change the nature of a sinner, or create a new heart, which is the workmanship of God? The gift does, the gift of Christ, the gift of the Spirit, changes the nature of a sinner, and created a new heart, which is the workmanship of God.

Now let me question a little respecting this offer, for after a sinner has received the Holy Ghost, previous to the proposal and antecedently, is the proposal to be made to such an one? If you say Yes, I answer, if Effectual Grace came by the Spirit, without and before the offer, then what need any offer or proposal to be made? The Gospel preached in the power of God having the Holy Spirit descending on it will alone do the work of Conversion. You may venture to trust it; if God teaches you, you will never try your offers more; it will do very well without proposals, and carry all before it in the strength of the Holy One of Israel. The gift of the Holy Ghost with the Gospel is Effectual, but your proposals stand aloof, unnoticed by the Spirit, therefore they are ineffectual. How weak then is it to glory in proposals, to plead for proposals, in order to make a fair show in this poor piece of proud ineffectual flesh!

How are offers suited to a translation of men out of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son? Col. 1:13. And out of darkness into marvellous light? I Pet. 2:9. How do offers suit with a work that is above all created power? For so is Faith declared to be. {“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” Eph. 1:19-20.} The offer doctrine is in a style and way of preaching more fitted to things done by us as men in weakness and formal profession, than to things done upon us, by the infinite Grace and Power of Jehovah. It is not fitted at all to passive subjects, under the efficacy of the Holy Ghost therein. It agrees much better with the free agency of the old man, than the life and formation of the new creature. More with self-justification, than justification by Grace. It is suited more to a disposal of our own goods, upon a proposal made, than to the adoption of sons, by Grace. {“To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Gal. 4:5.} More to an ordering of our own faculties, than to a renewing of them, by the shedding of the Holy Spirit upon us. More to an act of natural morality, than to a Sanctification of the Spirit. {“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” II Thes. 2:13.} More to a power of signing some personal treaty, than to a being written upon, as an epistle of Christ. Or than its fitted to the supernatural style of the Holy Ghost, in putting Christ’s laws within our hearts, Jer.31:33, and giving them an heart to know the Lord, as in the same Prophet, Jer. 24:7. In a word, man’s offers are not fitted to exalt God’s Operations.

This new creation and workmanship of God hath a personal Worker who is to be exalted, not an offer of Grace to be set up and defended. For the heart of a sinner is drawn to Christ in Effectual Grace, personally and by a Person; “and you that were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” Col. 1:22. “Now hath he reconciled;” it is not, now has the offer reconciled; or, now has tendering the Salvation done it, notwithstanding some love to magnify the offer, more than they dare magnify the preaching of Christ. But it is, “now hath he reconciled;” that is, Christ hath, and an offer hath no part whatsoever in this matter. Paul exalts Christ, but he does not defend an offer. It is that the LORD himself that has reconciled you, and not your faith, as some tell us; but he by the Spirit has wrought your faith, never by an offer. The Father too is to be exalted in effectually believing, not an offer of Grace. “No man can come to me,” says Christ, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Jn. 6:44. Christ inculcates the same, verse 65, “therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” And so Christ is to be exalted, but not the offer. “Draw me, we will run after thee.” Song 1:4. Here Christ is exalted for faith, as the Worker of it, but not offers of Grace, that works nothing. The apostles exalted Christ when they said, Lord, increase our faith. Lk. 17:5. We are to set forth the Lord, and not stand pleading for offers, if we would preach Effectual Grace. The issue of choosing Christ is in consequence of the application of Christ to the soul, and the Operation of the Spirit of Christ in Salvation, not by offers and tenders of Salvation. And you hath he quickened, Eph. 2:1, Christ is our Quickener by the Holy Spirit. As God is our Father, and quickens us by Christ, so Christ quickens us from the Father by the Spirit. Thus God’s gift of the Spirit quickens and converts to Christ savingly. I Jn .4:13; Rom. 8:14; Jn. 14:17.

We must therefore preach Effectual Grace. We must preach to sinners God’s new creation by Christ Jesus. That it is not by the work of the offer, but independent of the offer, by Grace operating, that produces a new creation. We must not preach men’s being new-born according to the will of the offerer or of the acceptor, but according to the will of God, “which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of the will of God.” Jn. 1:13. The Spirit commands this; waits for this, as he is the gift of the Father, to enter the sinner’s nature, as the voice drops into sinner’s ears. {“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” Acts 10:44.} When a sinner under any Preacher of the Gospel hath been made to hear the voice of the Son of God and live, as is effectually promised, Jn. 5:25, it hath been as God hath used these words spoken under his authority, and by his power. God uses ministers’ tongues as instruments in preaching, but they are not to use their own whims in offering. It has been by God the Spirit, applying as ministers of Christ have been directed to speak home, that any good has been done; not while they have made offers and overtures, and stood aloof with propositions; as if the ministers themselves did not believe the efficacy of their own message to sinners, or Effectual Grace, by pre- Operation of the Spirit upon their own hearts. {We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.” II Cor. 4:13.} Regeneration out of which true Conversion arises as a motion from a principle of acting is brought about in the soul by Grace working through the Gospel, and so Free Grace is Effectual Grace, and never sinks on the Foundation into a free offer, or an effectual tender. This would be the way to debase the true Glory of the Spirit’s Efficacy in his passive work on sinners. How then will it serve to propose to them a change?

We must preach in the passive style, as comes up unto a being planted together in the likeness of his death, Rom. 6:5, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; and to a being turned, upon an Act of God’s turning us. “Turn Thou me, and I shall be turned.” Jer. 31:18. In our being brought to preach thus, we may first hope God will own us, before we can groundlessly hope sinners will hear us. Remember, nothing is done to purpose without a new creation; then we ought to preach Christ’s influencing, not Christ proffering to the soul, nor Christ proffered, nor ourselves proposing. Did God, when he would make the world, propose to the world, or did he create the world? Was the world consulted for co- operation, or was it formed by pure creation? Why then are proposals made to an old dead creation about making a new creature? Or to produce a new creation? Faith, repentance, regeneration, are of a new creation, and parts of a new creature. They are all distinguished in the soul, but they cannot be separated. Regeneration is the new creature stirring; repentance is the new creature made sensible of the evil of sin, darkness, unbelief, etc., and melted under Grace; faith is the new creature opening its eyes. Now in the first creation God said, “let there be light, and there was light.” Gen. 1:3. This was a command, and creation of light followed it. So in the new creation, God answers to his former work in the old creation, by passives in Operation upon the human faculty. “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. Christ breaks in upon the soul, and through the eye created, shines in the true nature of light, whilst the Gospel is freely and absolutely preached to all the elect of God. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Rom. 5:5. Do we think a soft tongue breaketh the bones, Prov. 25:15, and yet the love of God shed abroad in the heart breaketh not the heart? Love takes away the stony heart out of our flesh, and gives us an heart of flesh! {“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezek. 36:26.} May the Lord humble preachers more, that they may lie in the dust, and never open their mouths again to tell sinners they offer them Christ, since there is such a large theme of Effectual Grace to preach the true God and eternal life, both to saints and sinners of the elect of God, by exalting the Saviour. Saving Conversion-work is wrought by exalting Christ in the face of sinners, not by offers and tenders of Christ to sinners; by the absolute Grace of renovation, to all the elect of God. For these sinners are the elect of God; neither hath his Grace singled out any one object in the whole world, except these. Suppose, as to a couple of men, the one chosen in Christ, the other not; the Spirit of God never mistakes the Father’s choice, so as to sanctify the non-elect, or to pass by the chosen vessel. {“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Jn. 6:37.} Nor hath the Third Person’s Power ever gone beside the Father’s Purpose, or the Son’s Particular Purchase. Therefore, man’s free will and power never superseded the Father’s purpose, or the Son’s particular purchase, however he may work and tug. Now preaching the Operations of the Spirit is fitted to exalt the Sovereignty of Grace, in singling out all our New Births according to the Settlements of Grace, by the will of God and our Father. {“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” Gal.1 :4.} But offers of Grace can never be thus Effectual, because they are not fitted to express or convey what the Operations of the Spirit in every way to perform. We should then under our own personal tastes of Effectual Grace, leave off these offers, and never talk more of proposals, Jer. 16:19, but tell the people continually in every sermon, II Cor. 1:12, by the very passive frame and style of our expressions, that man’s heart is entirely under God’s Operations, and that the best of us all in preaching the Gospel are but pens in his hand, and not Lord-dictators to make or utter our own proposals. We ought to tell the people with all becoming confidence, when we speak unto them in Christ’s Name unto them, that our preaching the Gospel to them is God the Spirit’s means of bringing it home to ourselves, and that as we have received this earnest of the Spirit in our own hearts, II Cor. 1:22, so we graciously hope that he also may bring home the same word upon your hearts, sinners also too. He has taken room enough in the method of his Grace to do it! We wait therefore, upon our ministry, and trust the Lord with the rest, as to begetting power in your souls, Jam.1:18, and causing the word to abide upon you! Such a hint may be more effectual in knitting the heart to Christ, when Jehovah the Spirit has taught us to open a thing out of his own word, in a clear and lively manner, rather than by whole sermons shaped and contrived to make the most specious appearance in offers. Jer. 2:8. It’s a ministry that is always exalting the passive and effectual work of God the Spirit that’s most likely by the LORD the Spirit to be set home, and so to find the way to poor sinners, and enter in through the direction of the LORD CHRIST. Oh! It’s brave to preach the Father’s Grace in the Operations of his Spirit! These give a seal of the Truths in ourselves, while we feel them to make every subject of the Grace of the Gospel Effectual. And this Effectual preaching is searching preaching; ‘tis not daubing with un-tempered mortar. Ezek. 13:12. Oh, I have known proud nature to be humbled under faithful preaching, whilst a poor sensible sinner has been broken down and melted under it! The ministers of Christ ought to preach what they effectually feel and soundly believe; if they do not, they are not faithful, nor fit to preach Christ. I am sure of this, that when I do not feel what I preach, it is the grief and burden of my soul that I am obliged to stand before the people as if I were offering the Gospel instead of preaching the Gospel. Rom. 7:18. Whereas preaching of the Gospel under the unction of the Holy Ghost is certain to work some change by the Gospel. Paul was effectually led by Christ to beget many; and of these Corinthians he writes sweetly, “in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel.” I Cor. 4:15. Herein he exalts the Gospel, but not offers of the Gospel, he lifts up Christ, and shows us that all his ministerial virtue lay entirely in Him. He knows nothing about offers, neither here nor elsewhere, nor of tenders and proposals, according to the degenerate and corrupt language of these latter days and perilous times. II Tim.3:1. Even whilst we are come to the cleansing of the sanctuary, Dan. 8:14, it was under the apostle’s preaching of Free and Absolute Grace {for in that day wherever Paul came, the conduits ran with new wine, Zech. 9:17,} that the Holy Ghost gave to some a draught, and to every one of the elect, more or less, he gave a taste. Ah, there it was, under such preaching, as now we lack in most churches of the saints, that the Holy Spirit opened blind eyes, and showed to sinners through a clear eye of faith bestowed {whilst looking unto Jesus, Heb. 12:2, in the glass of the Gospel,} that the very efficacy of the work in the new birth and its consequences, are all a free gift indeed! {“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight.” Isa. 42:16.} An offer produces nothing, but an Operation of the Spirit produces the whole workmanship of God. We must preach the Gospel so as it is an effectual means in the Spirit’s hand to create and effect the Spirit’s Workmanship.

We are to hold forth and preach that the Spirit works this workmanship-creation by his Operations in the discharge of his Office. He works it jointly from Christ’s living Intercession and the Father’s grant. These are Operations of the Spirit, and not offers of the Gospel, which answer in Regeneration to the Mystical Quickening before spoken of, Eph. 2:5, and how do they answer? By an implanting of sinners into the likeness of Christ’s resurrection by the co-quickening pattern. {“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” Rom. 6:5.} Operations of the Spirit do produce the whole workmanship of God in the soul. {“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.} Is this Good News? Yes, it is; then why do not you preach it? The inwrought part of religion, to wit, Christ formed in the soul, the hope of glory, Gal. 4:19, and Salvation by Grace, written on the heart, are wrought by God the Spirit in the souls of all the elect of God. But in offers of the Gospel there is no preaching the Gospel, much less of the inwrought part thereof; no, not so much an acceptance of a good part of the notion, or the doctrine itself; as the Holy Ghost is the Author and Principle of working that doctrinal conformity to the truth of the Gospel upon all those whom he brings to Christ. {“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” I Jn. 2:27.} Offers produce nothing, as they attempt a thing which they never accomplish, being so pathetically enfeebled above their own sphere to effect; and being conscious of their own weakness, they are obliged to call in pomp and parade, raving, sweating and boiling, as Baal’s priests did; yet notwithstanding all their fits and rants, their noise and show, they produce nothing. An offer assays and assays, it promises and vows, stamps and stares, but being weak and unproved, it is above its own sphere to effect anything, till, like the snuff of a candle, it goes out with a stink. Now is this good news? No, you will say. Then where are your evangelical offers? Never preach them anymore. We are to exalt the Spirit in preaching the Gospel, and not offers, which are but windy conceptions, and untimely births at best. The Spirit is far above them, and checks man’s assay when he will, as Acts 16:7, “after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia; but the Spirit suffered them not.” The Israelites could prevail by faith of the Operation of God, Col. 2:12, and go through the Red Sea which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned. Heb. 11:29. But now hath God ever assayed, and not wrought? Is not the Spirit in an Operation efficacious? “Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” Deut. 4:34. No, he never assayed for another nation what he undertook for Israel; and whatsoever he hath undertaken he hath accomplished, whether by his Grace or Providence. “What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?” Isa. 5:4. What could have been done? Answer, nothing could have been done more by another to the Lord’s vineyard, Matt. 21:33, that the LORD himself had not done. Nothing was done further by the Lord himself in such a general and common way of favour that the Lord had not done therein, by the general dispensation according to natural favour which was demonstrably shown. II Chron. 36:15-16. For that Dispensation of God towards the Jews was a general and common dispensation of favour agreeable to nature, Matt. 23:37, not a Gospel-dispensation {only as it related to Christ} which is above nature, and works a powerful change upon it, according to the nature of Effectual Grace. So that according to that common Dispensation he did not go further.

We must preach the word of Christ as it is most suited to God’s husbandry. For so it is again expressed in the passive style, I Cor. 3:9, “ye are God’s husbandry.” This is altogether against the doctrine of offers, in a way of the people’s becoming so by the Gospel. We must preach the Gospel as it is suited to an engrafted word, as in James 1:21, “receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” As if he had said, do not fly out against the Gospel, when it’s delivered in such passives as will make Old Adam suffer for it. As suppose in sawing off an old member of the body of death, Rom. 7:24, cleaving into the stock, piercing a heart of flesh; and all to let in the graft deep into the quick. {“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezek. 36:26.} This is exactly suited, we see, to an evangelizing in the passive style. It’s to preach according to passives, and effectual Grace. The evangelized word of the Gospel, Acts 15:7, being an engrafted word, can be no offered word, no proposed word of Grace. The word of faith being engrafted, is united to the heart, and rooted there, as the effect of God’s Operations in his husbandry, and not so united from any offers of his Grace. {“The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith.” Rom. 10:8.}

All propounding of an offer, and all language in the offer-form, do fall woefully short of a passive reception of Grace. And indeed, let it be considered, according to the energy of the similitude in husbandry. How are trees and orchards planted and grafted? How are fields and vineyards sown and husbanded? Is it done in the way some men pretend to preach the Gospel? Is a piece of husbandry upon an estate effected by the owner or husbandman’s offering to graft trees and plant vines? Is it by proposing of grafts to the stock? Is it by tenders of his seed to the ploughed lands? Sure sowing is quite another act than what can be represented by an offer, or tender of the seed. Isaiah saith of the ploughman, “doth the ploughman plow all day to sow? Doth he open and break the clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.” Isa. 28:24-26. How much do these acts of the husbandman transcend and put to shame the acts of many preachers of the word, who stand in their own natural strength and wisdom? For their natural wisdom is that which hath pitched upon this way of offering Christ to sinners, as the best way they can think of to preach the Gospel to sinners. But lo, here it is said of the ploughman, {which carries along with it in the eye of the Holy Ghost by the pen-man, a spiritual analogy, or a re- speaking of something further in it than mere ploughing, and that is preaching of the Gospel,} that his God does instruct him to discretion. And being so instructed, he does not bring his seed forth to the ground, and stand over the ploughed lands, making overtures, motions, and offers of what he hath brought, nor propose any quality of the seed; nor tender the fitches, the cummin and the principal wheat. No, he doth not attempt this, for his God doth instruct him to discretion. And in that discretion of his God, what doth he do, if he doth not offer his seed to the ground, nor propose and tender it? Why, he doth cast it abroad, he doth scatter it, he does cast it into the mouldy earth. Now let any man search the Scriptures, and see if these three phrases in God’s Word, casting abroad, scattering, and casting in, do not far outweigh the other three phrases, so frequently in the mouths of some spiritual seeds-men, viz., offering, proposing, and tendering the seed of the Gospel {for the Doctrines and Salvation they preach are the seed of the Gospel} which they profess to preach. Aye, aye, we see that Preaching the Gospel is quite another thing than offers of Grace. It’s casting abroad the precious seed of the word; it is scattering it about, as near, among, and within our auditories, as we are enabled, letting it fall how the Lord pleases, either upon the stone of the heart, or upon the mouldy earth; so long as it is within the bounds of our convinced auditories, the ploughed lands. He that preacheth the Word faithfully lets the Word go; not stopping his hand, and saying, maybe the seed will fall upon the stones, and then my labour will be lost; but he throws it upon the ploughed lands; that is enough. It will fall well in the main part of it, though it may prove absolutely lost on some. “According to your faith,” Matt. 9:29, oh, ye seeds-men, so be it unto you. We must not keep back our hands in sowing the doctrine of Free Grace among the people who sit under our preaching constantly, who have, by the Lord’s blessing on the other parts of our ministry, been ploughed up quite through the outside of their natural religion, natural duties, natural righteousness, and natural Grace, into a sensible conviction of their sin and natural misery without Christ. When Christ’s sowers have got thus far on ploughed land, it is time to sow the field with mercy, righteousness, and faith, of the Gospel kind, lest heavy tidings sink them too much into ‘em, and make deeper impression on them than is meet; even whilst no impressions are made upon the common world, never ploughed up by the Doctrine of the Lord the Spirit. {“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hos. 10:12.}

It’s the Spirit put into men, under searching doctrine in the ministry of the true Gospel which rips them up, saint or sinner; and that Holy Spirit of God will thoroughly search their nature, and turns all in the main, like a plough that enters the lands, upside down; afterwards doctrine that drops as the rain, and more gracious words in Gospel speech, {“and all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth,” Lk. 4:22,} distils upon the heart as dew, whilst an increase of the word maketh it soft with showers, Psal.65:10, and when this is done, cast the seed abroad into such mellow earth among poor lost sinners, instead of misspending your precious time in offering of Christ to them. {“My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.” Deut. 32:2.} Well, on the whole, we see by the light of the Scriptures, that God’s husbandry lies in an actual planting, sowing, and engrafting, not in offering to sinners that they may do these things. The Lord Himself bestows his Grace, but doth not offer His Grace even to the elect of God. It is Grace bestowed, {not men’s preaching short of this, mixing and blending it with fair shows in the flesh about an offer,} which makes the elect to be God’s field, orchard, &c., in converting sinners, and planting them in his husbandry. We should preach therefore nothing but what is God’s own appointed means for making them so. And these means are not offers, but Effectual Grace, which he hath brought home to his elect, into their very souls. The pure Gospel is of an operative nature in the hearts of the elect, because herein the Lord the Spirit waits that he may be gracious, as under the Old Testament the Lord Christ waited till the fulness of time that He might be gracious. {“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.} How often hath Grace been sealed with the Effectual Operations of the love of God on the hearts of elect sinners, in the day that the Lord makes the elect his husbandry! {“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Psal.110:3.} Now then, if this be accomplished in Free-Grace preaching, which is the only Effectual Preaching, then the other is but an idle prating, a mere form. We may be satisfied that preaching the Gospel, and speaking these mysteries of Christ to souls effectually, by which this husbandry is wrought, is to be done by no offer of the Grace of God, no tender of Salvation to men; it must be by the doctrine of Free-Grace, scattered upon them in the preaching of the Gospel through the Spirit, and thereby is Salvation itself cast in upon them.

Again, as the husbandmen’s seed, when his God doth teach him discretion, as how to use that seed, is scattered and cast into the ground, so should we, who are ministers of Christ, scatter abroad the Gospel liberally, through the whole ploughed auditory, even among a people whose fallow ground is not broken up by offers of the plough, but by the actual ploughing of the Spirit, by the truth of the Gospel breaking upon their very thoughts, and subjecting them unto Christ. When men were wholly at ease, it is he that has oft broken them asunder. {“I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder; he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.” Job 16:12.} Thus should we cast in the principal wheat, by sowing the word of Christ among them, that the Spirit may root it in their hearts, who attends while the seed of the Gospel is cast in; but he minds not the seed which is held fast in your hands by parley-offers, whilst you refuse so boldly to let it go, and cast it into the ground beneath you. An offer produces not a graft, nor is instrumental towards the propagation of the seed in God’s husbandry; as only an Operation of the Spirit propagates God’s husbandry.

We must preach Effectual Grace, it being most suited to further God’s building. So the words are in I Cor.3:9, “ye are God’s building.” To this purpose, the Holy Ghost delights much to use the word instruction, which signifies a building upon. ‘Tis instructing sinners, building up their principles, as grace, life and power upon Christ, which the Holy Ghost hath first laid into their hearts by the preaching of the Gospel. An Operation of the Spirit carries on God’s building; but offers of Grace, proposals, or tenders of Salvation, neither instruct nor build up God’s elect in the true mysteries of Grace and Salvation. Right preaching is a building of the new-born soul upon God’s foundation, Christ. For why do I preach Grace, if God does not work by Grace? Better put on sackcloth and lie in the dust, and cry, Lord, show me thy truth, and let me not go on my own errand. {“Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” Psal.25:4-5.} Howbeit, if I see my way before me, as Christ’s minister, whom he sends with the sufficient furniture, both of spiritual and common gifts, then do I see preaching is a building upon his foundation of Grace in Christ, or a raising up something that must appear upon God’s foundation. This is the nature of instructing, it is building up, and building upon Grace bestowed, the Grace which is in Christ; building upon the things of God and of Christ, which the Spirit shows the soul, agreeable to what I preach, {“he shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you,” Jn. 16:14,} as a beginning in knowledge, and that by my very preaching unto this soul, before me. This now is instructing a man in Christ. It is edifying him upon what he has seen of Christ from the Lord’s own work upon him. Now this view of my ministry raises my own soul quite out of sight of men’s carnal reason; and fetching the materials of my ministry far above short-sighted nature, even out of Jesus Christ, I can instruct through Grace, whilst I see what I do, by aiming in the Holy Spirit’s light and strength, to break in upon poor souls with the glorious Gospel. What, if but one spot of ground receive a grain of seed, or but a corner of the building rises that day, or even a handful of the auditors, here and there, whom Christ has chosen, Jn. 15:16, be wrought upon, I shall rejoice, having nevertheless wrought with God that day, I Sam. 14:45, by working upon God’s foundation, both as the Spirit was given to be in me, and also as he was given to be in that corner of the building among the remnant, Rom. 9:27, at laying in the materials of the building in the time of God’s power. {“And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand; and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” Rev. 11:13.}

Furthermore, in preaching the Gospel I have good hope through Grace, among such a congregation of mixed souls, uncalled as well as called, that I preach the Gospel to the elect of God to purpose. I may expect that the Lord takes up my words, and seals my message upon their hearts to this or that man. But now offers of Christ are no instruction upon Christ, as a soul’s bottom given it secretly in Free Grace already. They come far short of any such instruction into Christ. They carry on no instructing whatsoever or building act on the basis of Grace, God’s foundation, which he hath laid before, because instructing in the truth of the Gospel, is building upon Christ the foundation, and is causing experience to abound where soul-tribulation has abounded, Rom. 5:3-4, by an increase of something that is of the same piece of Grace with the foundation, as it is conveyed of the Lord, through our hands, towards raising up the structure upon the foundation already laid in Christ. Whereas, offers of Grace add nothing towards building upon the foundation that Grace has laid. Therefore, to offer Grace is not to instruct in Grace, nor in truth. It’s not to build Grace, nor to build upon Grace, so as to bring it up to this pitch of efficacy, as here in I Cor. 3:9, “ye are God’s building.” According to Paul, the building is made up all of Free Grace, from the first stone laid, and the first true stroke of work done. Thus he exalts Grace, not offers of Grace both in the way and success of preaching, and we should do it in the same way, whilst we are looking for the same success. We ought not to give any appearance of evil, I Thes. 5:22, as if we carried it unto a people whom we were not desirous of Instructing, nor of building them upon God’s foundation laid in their souls, under all foregoing matter of the sermon. As to what men call offers of Christ to sinners, it is neither laying the foundation in the soul’s view, nor Christ in the soul, nor yet building gold, silver, or precious stones. I Cor. 3:12. It neither instructs them to propose to them, nor does it raise them upon the Cornerstone, to commend Christ to them. The tendering of Christ is a treating poor sinners that hear, as if they had a will and power of their own to choose God; and it is a sort of preaching that is too nigh of kin to the Arminians, who freely tell us that man has a will and power for compliance with the tenders of Salvation; otherwise, we render him a mere machine, and cast a bad reflection upon his noble reason. Indeed, you may rationally propose natural duties to a natural man, duties of several ranks and sorts, whilst at the same time the man hath so much reason and free power of action, as that a proposal of these duties may, in a common way, work upon his thoughts, and persuade his mind to it. But I must not go and propose the mysteries of the Gospel to men in that way, making them tenders of Salvation, as if it were a mere creature’s business that rested only between them and me! For proposals imply in a manner, equal terms on both sides; but in Effectual Grace God can and doth sovereignly impose Himself by the Gospel on his own, II Tim.2:19; and yet in that imposing act they are made a willing people. He puts his own Gospel on them, as afterwards Christ’s yoke, Matt. 11:30, but he puts not on them another Gospel, nor confounds the Law with the Gospel, but keeps them both distinct. He puts his Gospel on them, before they take any clear evangelical impression, {“that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter,” Rom.7:6,} or serve in any evangelical duty. The image is before the yoke, and Christ is formed in them before the will of God is done by them. Now an offer suits not with God’s sovereign act upon sinners in raising the building of his Grace; for in Effectual Grace this is the tenor of God’s covenant promise and resolve, “I will and they shall.” {“I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Ezek. 36:27. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jer. 31:33.} Therefore our preaching unto sinners must not be a preaching of proposals, as to urge proposals of Grace, but the irresistible Operations and Power of God’s Grace. A proposal is what stands to the courtesy of men to entertain or reject; at least, it is what approaches in all outward view towards it, though men wipe it off with their obligatory offer. But now the preaching of the Gospel is set home ministerially as it stands with the good pleasure of God to reveal, give, and work in us efficiently, touching his own love unto the elect in Christ, that hereby we may go and preach, having received it in good earnest. Well, “ye are God’s building,” says Paul; that is, ye are made up of Free Grace, and are not made what you are made by free offers. For is any building raised up by proposing to stone, brick, and timber, to accept of the offer to come together into a building? No; building is a passive work, not done by proposals. How can natural men accept of being a spiritual house, before a change be made? Can it be? Any more than brick, stone, timber, mortar, glass, and lead, etc., can be persuaded to present the form of a house, upon proposals made to the said materials, to come together into an architectural structure? Now, as a building is raised by laying the proper materials in their proper places, fitted and framed together, workman-like, and by erecting one thing upon another. {“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. 2:21- 22.} So in preaching, which hath been effectual to the conversion of sinners, and raising them into God’s building, there hath been a laying in proper materials, and an instructing or building up the elect upon God’s Free Grace in Christ Jesus, as effectual preaching hath fitted them {under the grand operation of the Holy Ghost in the soul} and framed them together, to their use in the said building, without offers. Offers to sinners to turn and build themselves, never accomplish the desire of the offerer; but it is preaching which breaks in upon a sinner, turns him and builds him up in Christ. And so much for this chapter in the fundamentals of Effectual Grace.



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