This proposition is a direct reverse, or quite contrary theme to the triumphs of the plea about offers; yea; it’s contrary to the very mending clause of their article suggested so plausibly before in favour of offers. The emendation of defects discovered in their article is this, that while the offer of Christ, say they, is propounding in the external means to sinners, the Spirit of Christ may be working an internal ability in these sinners to close in savingly with the offer. {“And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed; for I know their imagination which they go about, even now.” Deut. 31:21.} I design, if the Lord will, in this chapter, a direct confutation of this vain confidence. For it is an error injuriously vented to the dishonour of Free Grace. {“This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood.” Jer. 13:25.} And it is also a corrupt principle of some men very wrongfully held to the dishonour of the Holy Spirit and his work! Psal. 29:2.

Now the arguments I shall bring against this false opinion, in order to pull down so specious a piece of old Adam, are such scriptural proofs of the Free Gift of Grace, as by the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, may be carried on in this chapter. These blessed truths may be wrought up sweetly, higher and higher, unto what surmounts all the Doctrine of your offers in the low lands of this waste wilderness. {“For we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves.” Isa. 28:15.} And in hope that God peradventure will give men repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, II Tim. 2:25, a few things shall be made known, which may prove Effectual of God to wound and slay the sore-plea, I Thes. 2:13, which is so injurious to the Grace of God.

Argument 1. Offers of Grace and tenders of Salvation are no means of a saving ability to close in with Christ,[1] because they are neither means of Christ’s Institution, nor of the Holy Spirit’s Operation. God hath appointed the preaching of the Gospel, and Christ hath commanded it, II Tim. 4:2, to preach the Word, and to bear his name, Acts 9:15, but neither hath God appointed, nor Christ commanded, the propounding of the Gospel, as the means to work his Grace. And however God the Spirit works upon the preaching, yet he works not upon a proposal, nor fills up an offer of Grace with any of his own presence of Grace, to accompany such a pretended offer to the saving change of a sinner. The Gospel is no means of working by a proposal, but it is a means of working in the Spirit’s hand by the Spirit’s fore-operation on the Gospel, Jn. 5:4, in order to work with it an internal ability in the Sinner. The Spirit works by Fore-Operation on the Gospel, as the Gospel is a Revelation and an Institution of Christ according to the Fore-Ordination of God the Father. Also, that fore-operation of the Spirit on the Gospel, according to God’s fore-ordination is performed by him in an act of Christ’s Minister’s Evangelizing, or in their preaching the Gospel, they having a taste of it in their own souls by the Spirit pre-operatively, while they are delivering it. {“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” I Jn. 1:3.} And that before it is followed with any distinct and consequent Operation of the Holy Ghost in the soul of any elect sinner it is preached to, unto Conversion, and so to any certain object to be converted to Jesus Christ with Power, the Spirit comes down from Heaven with the Gospel, I Pet. 1:12, fills it, and fills the minister’s soul, and so makes it efficacious to an elect sinner in the congregation, Ezek. 37:7, and to the elect alone, in respect to Saving knowledge; and that so distinctly and discerningly, that every one of such say, surely it is to me; this is preached, this is brought unto me, and thus poured into me! What reason then is there here, to expect the blessing of the Gospel in offers of Christ, Rom. 15:29, when as indeed it is none of the means of the blessing? The Spirit is concerned in the preaching of Christ, but he is not concerned in tendering of Christ. Jer. 5:31. He regards not proffers, if ever he reveals the arm of the Lord with power. Isa. 53:1. Proposing is no apt means in itself, as it is no appointed means to attain the end. It is preaching the Doctrine and Salvation united, which the Holy Spirit delights to work by, Jn. 16:14, that is the means pre-ordained of God, and which God takes up, and puts a Divine stamp upon, graciously working therewith in the Conversion of the elect. And as the doctrine is to be preached to the non-elect for other ends than Salvation, {of which hereafter in a separate chapter,} so neither Doctrine nor Salvation are means to be offered or tendered to any sinners for acceptance; but the doctrine is to be preached, even to the non-elect, for acceptance or refusal, and so is to be preached to all promiscuously. The Doctrine and Salvation are both to be preached, as the joint means of faith and comfort to the elect of God. For so long as a minister preaches the Gospel, he uses Christ’s means, and these are apt means to convert souls; but when he degenerates into offers, Christ leaves him to sound forth a dead letter. II Cor. 3:6. {The purpose of the Evangel or Gospel is to call out or convert the quickened elect, and not a means of regeneration, which is the work of the Holy Spirit alone.} Men whose principles are to offer Christ, do, without doubt, presumptuously take upon them a way of dispensing the Word which Christ hath never instituted. Paul’s preaching the kingdom of God, Acts 20:25, was carried on by this apt means, to testify the Gospel of the Grace of God, verse 24, not by this unapt device of the creature in offering the Gospel and tendering the Grace of God.

Argument 2. Proposing the offer in the external means, can be no means at all of the Spirit’s working an internal ability in sinners to close savingly with the offer, because it is the Spirit Himself who is the Author of this internal ability. The faculty, though sanctified, is no self- mover in the sanctification, but is led to Christ by God the Spirit. Gal. 5:18. Now the Holy Spirit, who is the Author of the internal ability or himself the worker of it, is neither offered, nor indeed can be. The Spirit is sent, as God’s hand, stretched out through Christ in the Office of Comforter. {“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Jn. 14:26.} It is the Comforter whom the Father will send. “Behold, {saith Christ,} I send the promise of my Father upon you.” Lk. 24:49. And in John 15:26, “but when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” And again, John 16:7, “nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” This was also secretly meant in the breathings of the Old Testament, as Psalm 144:7, testifies, “send thine hand from above,” yea, thy Christ, the Man of thy right hand, Psal. 80:17, and then thy Spirit through Him. Next, rid me, and deliver me out of great waters; that is, out of great depths of sin and sorrows, out of sins and sufferings, from out of corrupt doctrines {that are foul waters, Jer. 8:14,} entertained by strangers to the truth, out of great trials for my faithful standing it out, and my not receiving them, as others do. Deliver me from the hand of strange children, that I may be neither drowned in a spirit of error, nor persecuted for the spirit of truth by strange or hypocritical children that believe not the glorious Gospel of the Grace of Christ. {“Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.” Psal. 144:11.} Now is it necessary this should be done under an act of Providence, as well as under an act of Grace, in translating out of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son? Col. 1:13. Is it necessary to free the soul from the bondage of men, and not necessary to free the soul from the slavery of Satan? Eph. 2:2. If the Spirit is the author of an escape from outward opposition and the hatred of the world, how much more is he the Author of every deliverance from the inward power of lust and corruption, in his Operation of a full ability to believe on the Lord Jesus, and to close savingly with him in the revelation of eternal life.

How sweetly is the sending of the Spirit, as well as the sending of Christ from the Father, hinted in the Old Testament? As Psalm 110:2, “the LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion.” And it is plain that the promise was to take place, after Christ was ascended and gone to Heaven. What was that promise then of the rod of his strength, to be sent after Christ was gone into Heaven, I Pet. 3:22, but the Holy Spirit, who should be sent down from Heaven, I Pet. 1:12, to carry on the Gospel and Government of Christ in this world, in spite of all the enemies of Christ, whether among the Jews or Gentiles? Acts 4:27. The request is, Psalm, 43:3, “O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.” Here is Christ and the Spirit, whom the Father was to send. For, says Christ, “I am come a light into the world,” Jn. 12:46, and saith the apostle, speaking of Christ, “the darkness is passed, and the true light now shineth.” I Jn. 2:8. So God’s truth, joined with God’s light, may well be interpreted of the Spirit, because the Spirit is Truth. I Jn. 5:6. These two were prayed for to be sent forth as Persons, though under the similitude of qualities; because the substance of the Old Testament Doctrine and Types about Christ and the Spirit ran in these two streams of similitude, Light and Truth. These Two in God, Christ and the Spirit, were to be sent by the Father, as Persons, to guide the soul to Mount Zion, the true church, where God’s presence remains and dwells; of which literal Mount Zion was the figure; and so was the temple upon it, in times of old. {“For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” Psal. 132:13-14.} It is an act proper to a person to conduct and lead others; and so these, the Christ of God, and the Spirit of Christ, are for spiritual conduct. “O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles,” Psal. 43:3, to thy Gospel churches, wherever these churches shall be planted, while Gospel times exist.

The Spirit is said to come, John 16:17, “nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” The Comforter will not come unto you. Will not; for he hath a will of His own! The will of the Comforter is the will of God, because the Comforter is God; and He will not come unto you, if I go not away. Likewise John 15:26, “but when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” When the Comforter, is come, &c., this is the character of Him in relation to His office, for He is the One that comes. Talk not then of sinners coming to Christ before you duly insist upon the Comforter’s coming unto sinners; for when He is come, saith Christ, Jn. 16:8, “he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Again, verse 13, “howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” It is his Divine Office still to come. Again, Acts 1:8, “but ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” It is a wonder to me, that while the Scriptures speak so much of the Spirit’s coming to the creature, ministers should still insist so much upon the coming of the creature to Christ, without the Spirit, expressly. But what will not men do to uphold their offers and their offices when we see they seek to turn the Holy Spirit and His Operations out of place?

The Spirit is said to fall, Acts 10:44, “while Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word,” and so, Acts 8:16, “for as yet he {the Holy Ghost} was fallen upon none of them.” So Acts 11:15, “and as I began to speak, {says Peter, rehearsing the matter, of which he was accused by the Jewish brethren for going in to the Gentiles,} the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.”

The Spirit, who is the Author of an internal ability to close with Christ, is shed forth, Acts 2:33, “therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” He is shed on, Tit. 3:4-6, “but after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 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.” {“They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light.” Psal. 36:8-9.} He is, as this Divine Agent and Worker of all inward strength, faith, love, and joy, shed abroad, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Rom. 5:5. Thus the Scriptures witness.

Now let me step to the use of it, and weigh it in the balance of the sanctuary. Job 31:6. Is the Spirit sent in an offer of the Spirit, or is your offer a means of sending Him? Is the Spirit not sent in the promise? {“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Gal. 3:14.} Or rather, is He not sent in evangelizing, and preaching the Father’s promise, Christ’s ascension to God, and His intercession there at the right hand of God, to send His Spirit? Is God’s hand of power in the Office of the Spirit stretched out through Christ by means of propounding Christ, or propounding the Spirit to the flock; or by virtue of the righteousness of God by Christ, Rom. 3:21, preached, even as God sent His Son by virtue of God’s own love freely to us, I Jn. 4:9- 10, according to the preaching which hath been spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets, Acts 3:21, since the world began? Does the Spirit come by means of offers of Christ, or by preaching the mission of Christ, which made way for the mission of the Spirit? Did not the Spirit’s coming depend upon Christ’s going to the Father? And is not the preaching of the Gospel a means of his coming still; not as a so called means of Grace offered, but as filled with Christ’s presence?

Again, does the Spirit descend or fall to work an ability by your offers of Christ as the external means; or by advancing the Person of Christ as the true cause; and by advancing His office, His dignity, glory, fulness, &c., as so many arguments for the Holy Spirit’s descending upon an elect sinner to work faith? {“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” Acts 10:44.} It is the preaching of the Gospel, not offering, that advances the mysterious and hidden cause of the Spirit’s falling in and with the Word. “Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith,” Gal. 3:2, as the apostle says to the foolish Galatians. Mind, by the hearing, not the offering of faith. For if a sinner lays hold of Christ, before the Spirit lays hold of him, he must receive the Spirit of life, Rev.11:11, afterwards by works of the law, and not by the hearing of faith; not by the Gospel, to be sure, for that tells us that the Spirit of the Father works in the sinner before the sinner comes to Christ. {“It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” Jn. 6:45.} Is the Spirit shed forth, or shed on, or shed abroad for this internal ability of coming and closing {as they will have it} with the offer, as the offer is propounded; or, is he shed down to work this ability to believe in Christ, as the Gospel is advanced? Suppose a minister, in the darkness of his spirit, should say, “Lo, here, I offer you the Spirit, sinners, take him!” Would it not be strange doctrine? And yet why not, “here I offer you the Spirit,” as well as, “here I offer you Christ?” {“In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.” Isa. 59:13.} For as Christ, in regard of Divine Order and Priority, is, if possible, a greater gift than the Gift of the Spirit, so Christ cannot be closed with, in a way of Salvation Grace, without the Spirit to create or work that faith, which is “of the operation of God.” Col. 2:12. The Spirit cannot come, or fall, or be shed on, to do this separately from Christ; for he comes in God’s gift of Christ to the soul, and one cannot be without the other. Why then I have Christ by God’s Donation antecedently to my having the Spirit of Christ as a worker of the ability to close with Christ; so likewise, I have the Spirit antecedently to my having the faith which the Spirit works in me. So that none of this can be offered me, for my internal ability to receive Christ, how then is an offer of Christ, as an external means, a means of my ability wrought in me to close with Christ? {“It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty; or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.” Isa. 29:8.} “I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.” I Cor. 10:15.

Argument 3. Proposing the offer in the external means can be no means of the Spirit’s working an internal ability in a sinner to close in savingly with the offer, because the Spirit is the living principle of a saving ability, and continues to work in the soul by and from principle into all the Acts that are correspondent with it. {“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13.} Principles for closing with Christ can never be offered consistently with the Gospel, for it is in consequence of a prior interest in those principles that I am ever brought freely to close with Christ. I cannot have a new heart to close with Christ, but as the Spirit of Christ must be the indwelling principle of that new heart, in which the new heart must subsist as its substantial Principle. {“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” I Cor. 2:12.} “All my springs are in Thee,” Psal. 87:7, says David. Otherwise, how can I be in the Spirit, Rom.8:9, live in the Spirit, Gal. 5:25, and pray in the Spirit? Eph. 6:18. How can I worship God in the spirit, or in the Holy Ghost, if the Holy Spirit be not my Principle of life, Gal. 3:3, the life of my praying, and of my Gospel worship? {“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Phil. 3:3.} For the text tells me that, “God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Jn. 4:24. What is the meaning of that phrase “in spirit?” The meaning is evident, that to worship God in spirit, is to worship him in the power and unction of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of God being the principle of worship in those who are brought to a full participation of the mystery of Gospel-worship. It is plain that the phrase, “in spirit” is expounded and meant elsewhere of the Holy Ghost, as in Matthew 22:43, where Christ says to them, “how then doth David in spirit call him Lord?” There it must be understood of the Holy Ghost, this signifying, Heb. 9:8, as the apostle’s phrase is. For the Holy Ghost was the Principle, as well as the Author, of that bright discovery of the Messiah to the soul of David, which inspired and guided him by the Spirit of prophecy. {“Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Rev. 19:10.} Therefore to worship God in Spirit then cannot be meant of joining the soul with the external performances, as Dr. Hammond[2] hath paraphrased it.

There are clear reasons against it. 1. Because then there would be no more excellence in the Christian worship as to the Principle than had been common before in the Jewish worship, where the soul was joined with the external performances. 2. Such low a conjunction as the soul joined with outward performances and ceremonies, will never agree with so high a description of the state of the worshippers as is there given, so as to bring it up to the character of the text, Jn. 4:23, “but the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” Such? Whom? Why, such having the Spirit to be their Principle in worship, thereby to know what they worship. Jn. 4:22. And thus having the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, they as true worshippers, Jn. 4:23, have Christ together with the Father, for the object of their Gospel-worship. {“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.} This Spirit of wisdom, the Holy Spirit, is also the Spirit of revelation of the object, as well as the Spirit in which God is rightly worshiped, and the only principle thereof. Spiritual worship does not consist in a bare soul-union with external performances of the Christian religion. 3. When Spirit is joined with Truth, it does not mean in Scripture phrase of our spirit only, but God’s Spirit. To this agree the testimonies of I Jn. 4:6, I Pet. 1:22, Jn. 14:17, Jn.16:3, &c. 4. When soul is joined with spirit it is not joined with truth, but with the body, and that in divers places. This plainly shows us when to interpret spirit as meant of the companion of the body. As in the following texts, James 2:26, I Cor. 6:20, I Cor. 5:3, so the conjunction of body with spirit as in other texts which clear it, that the phrase in spirit, {“God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth,” Jn. 4:24,} can bear no interpretation of that nature. To shut it up with one instance, I Thess. 5:23, about spirit, soul and body. {“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”} Your whole spirit, that is, the frame and temper of your mind under all Providences, and soul {which hath all the reasonable faculties, understanding, conscience, will and affection,} and body, {which consisteth of the several members,} be presented blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus.

Well, how can I be, and live, and pray, and worship in the Spirit, if God the Spirit be not my vital Principle, in and from which, through Christ, I live in the Spirit, and pray in the Holy Ghost? Now can a minister from the pulpit say to a sinner, speaking of the Spirit as a principle, “here I offer you the first indwelling principle, the Spirit?” Or can he say of what is commonly reckoned the first principle of Grace, a new heart, “here is a new heart for thee, sinner; here is regeneration, here is faith for you; come sinner, take these principles of life, and come and lay hold of Christ?” Why, how would this divinity sound from our pulpits! How would the holy doves by the rivers of waters, Song. 5:12, be scared out of their wits at a preacher that should come among them, and talk at this rate! But if ministers are not wont to say thus to sinners, concerning the Spirit, as a principle of Divine life, of motion in the soul, working faith for closing {looking to Christ for all of Salvation} with Salvation, and all other grace in the soul; then why should men accustom themselves to say thus of Salvation, “here I offer you Salvation, take it?” {“If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.” Mic.2:11.} Why do not they at once openly say, “come sinner, here is the Spirit, which is the first principle of all this faith and willingness, by which you have an internal ability to close with the offer; here, I do now therefore offer you this Spirit of God, and tender this principle; here, take into yourselves the means of this new heart which I offer you, accept of this ability, and therein close with the Free offer!” {“Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee; and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment.” Lam. 2:14.}

On the other hand, if they are ashamed openly to say this, nor after this manner, then why should they accustom themselves to say, “here I offer you Christ?” It is readily granted, that such supposed tenders of the Spirit of Grace, Zech. 12:10, as a First Principle in the soul, and the propounding of other principles of the soul that are spiritual, and that according as the Spirit pleaseth to work them, would be strange doctrine, when put up thus in offers, and sent along to the ears of men. And yet why may not the sound be, “come I offer you the Spirit and Spiritual principles, I offer you the very ability to close with the offer,” as well as “I offer you Christ, and I offer you Salvation?” For these latter blessings, which men still venture and pretend to offer are the greatest of all blessings. Christ is the greatest gift of God’s love. And what is the greatest gift of God’s love to be offered and tendered to men, and yet they will not readily offer and tender you the less; namely, the saving ability itself to close with the main blessing of all? By all their twisting then, it is plain, that offering Christ can be no means of obtaining Christ, because it’s no means of obtaining an ability to close with Christ upon offers. {“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Rom. 16:17.}

If an offer of the inward ability, be the means of that inward ability, why are men so unfaithful in their offers of Christ, as not to offer the ability too, and urge it home upon them touching Christ, as they urge it upon them to accept Christ? Why not? “Here I tender you faith, the power of closing with Christ practically; I offer you regeneration, I reach out a heart, I tender you a will to do it.” Thou dost offer Christ to a sinner. Oh, vain and blind man! Why not the Spirit of Christ to a sinner too? If you offer a sinner privileges above nature, why do you not offer that sinner principles above nature to receive them? Surely one may as well be done as the other. Well, I am sure that both Christ and his Spirit may be exalted, and must be too; but who will say that both may be offered, and must be too, Christ and the Spirit too, as the principle of closing with him? Oh, it shows that offers are not the means to work an internal ability, to quicken the faculty of a soul that does savingly close with Christ, much less to become the true life principle of the soul afterwards. Exalting of the Father, and exalting of his Christ, Acts 4:26, are the Spirit’s means of working this inward ability. For the glorious Name of God in the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost, are to be lifted up in preaching the Gospel. These are means of imparting spiritual light. But your offers lift up nothing, except your own folly and darkness! Isa. 2:11. Oh, to exalt the Spirit while preaching the Father and Christ, as the fountain of life and motion in the soul, is a means of conversion to many; but propounding an offer of I know not what, while all the glorious Mystery of God and Christ are veiled by the very tender and proposal of this mock benefit, is a means to delude many, but convert none, to strengthen none, or work the saving ability, no not in one soul. The Spirit Himself must be the strengthening principle of my soul’s faculties, Rom. 8:13, as well as the Author of its renovation, to cause me to act in a saving embrace of Christ by faith. For, after all, the soul’s faculty renewed, is not the sinner’s principle. It is but the instrument for the use and motion of Grace in the Spirit’s hand. The Spirit Himself by indwelling is the Principle without which, II Tim. 1:14, without whose abiding influence, after he had become the Author of Sanctification, and renewed the faculties, the man would relapse into a total deprivation of the habits and abilities of the new creature. Grace as a habit or quality, could never subsist in the faculty of a man, separate from the Spirit as his principle, to maintain by continual indwelling, what he once created by in- working. {“In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph. 2:22.} Now are offers of Christ and Salvation to the sinner the means of working this inward ability of the sinner to close with Christ, when as this inward strength of power wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit, quickening the faculty, and abiding the very principle of the powers, I Jn. 3:24, and so enabling the faculty quickened, to will, to choose, and to lay hold? And this principle the Spirit becomes, by an indwelling adobe, as well as he is the inward worker of that power in the soul. {“And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.” I Jn. 5:6.}

His first Operation on the faculty, as the effect of his gracious influence, turns the soul toward Christ. The Scripture is full to this purpose. “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, {as a Person of the Godhead in the Trinity,} and shall be in you,” Jn. 14:17, as a delegate from the Father, one called, and so named the Paraclete, carrying on Salvation with the Messiah, and as a principle of far clearer and stronger experience and influence in believing, as well as a principle of influence for gladness and consolation. This, as to the principle of conversion, is the substance of that prayer in Ephraim, Jer. 31:18, last words, “turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.” So the absolute promise, Ezek. 36:27, “I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” There is the Holy Spirit as the cause and worker. Then, Ezek. 37:14, “and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land; then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.” The Holy Ghost is there signified as the principle of life. And in chapter 11:19, “and I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you.” How? Why, to be sure, as an inward worker of the ability, and as the principle of the ability together. Again, II Cor. 1:22, “who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts,” i.e., a principle of Grace, which is of the same piece with glory. {“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Eph. 1:13-14.} The LORD is to us here, only in a lower measure, what he will be in a higher measure hereafter. For as God fills us with Himself, and dwells in us Himself, who is our portion; so inhabiting us more abundantly, He will be in us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, II Cor. 4:17; a glory to be revealed in us, Rom.8:18, and the revealer of it to be admired in all them that believe. For, as earnest money is the same species, though not of the same value, as the full sum is to be of, which is behind; so the Spirit is given as an earnest in our hearts, is God bestowing Himself upon us, through Christ, by the Spirit, in giving us of the same kind of blessedness, which He will bestow upon us with Him in Heaven. {“The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup; thou maintainest my lot.” Psal. 16:5.}

Thus, II John 1:2, the apostle speaks of “the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.” Doubtless it is one of the titles of the Holy Ghost, who is there spoken of, whom the faithful were enabled to call by the name of Truth in that daring generation of professors, I Jn. 2:27, who were headed by Ebion and Cerinthus[3] in their blasphemies against the Holy Ghost, and also of the Son of God; and no doubt but they counted and called the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the saints, as their principle of Divine Life, a lie. Therefore to do the Spirit honour, in the face of that formal generation, the apostle calls him the Truth, and professes his love to the elect wrought on by the truth of the Gospel, II Jn. 1:1, and was knit to them “for the Truth’s sake which dwelleth in us.” Yea, it is expressly the Spirit’s title, I Jn. 5:6, “the Spirit is Truth,” and I Jn. 4:12, “God dwelleth in us,” i.e., dwells in the believer as the principle of life, motion, and obedience to Christ. Likewise, verses 15-16, “whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” God dwells in him that confesses Jesus is the Son of God; it being in that erroneous day which the apostle bent his style against, esteemed both a fanatical and dangerous point to hold. And it cost the saints much to be faithful to Christ in that age; and, it seems, not one in that day was able to come up to this sound, holy and bold confession, that Jesus was the Son of God, Rom.10:9, unless he had God the Holy Ghost dwelling in him, the principle of the same confession. Likewise, verse 16, “and we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” He that dwelleth in love; {for in that day too the faithful were hated for holding supernatural truths,} he that dwelleth in love, therefore of the Truth, and of them that hold it, “dwelleth in God,” as his Principle of it, and God dwelleth in him, as his possession and heritage forever. So II Tim. 1:14, “that good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us,” a powerful Maintainer of his own interest, and of the image of Christ in us. II Cor. 3:18. To which add I Cor. 3:16, “know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” And how dwelleth the Spirit of God in you? The answer is, in you, as ye are his temples to inhabit, and as he is your principle to actuate you. {“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Rom. 8:9.} The indwelling of the Spirit is acknowledged as a known case in the saints of the New Testament, and his abiding in them, as their principle is shown by his falling on them. “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead {i.e., the Spirit of God; for God raised Christ from the dead,} dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Rom. 8:11. It is plain, that this was the indwelling principle of the saints, for by this principle they “walked after the Spirit,” verse 1, and by this principle they “minded the things of the Spirit,” verse 5. Now this was from a holy similitude between the principle in them and the objects before them. And that the Spirit of God was their principle so to walk in the Spirit, and so to mind the things of the Spirit, as is further evident in what the Apostle supposes of these Romans, verse 9, “if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” Thus the Spirit of God after sanctification and possession of the faculty, moves the faculty towards the Object, both as the gracious author, and the gracious principle of the motion. But yet still, to take in more of the bowels of the mystery, I proceed to a fourth argument.

Argument 4. The Spirit’s working an internal ability in sinners, is an Operation of God’s Grace which he works under the Imputation, Rom. 4:22, of the Righteousness of God, Rom. 3:22, to the elect in Christ, according as he has chosen us in Him. Eph. 1:4. How does the Spirit work faith to lay hold of Christ? Without all doubt his Operation of Faith and all Grace is in and under the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ, Phil. 3:9, because of the antecedent virtue of this righteousness to appease God’s Justice, II Pet. 1:1, and remove the obstacles in the way of God’s mercy. For how can I think the Spirit works an ability to close with Christ, before Christ closeth with the sinner by the Holy Ghost? And how can Christ close with the sinner by his Spirit, except in the righteousness of God? Rom. 1:17. And how can Christ close with the sinner by the Holy Ghost in the righteousness of God, unless it be under that righteousness? And then it must be under the same righteousness that he works faith; because it is in the virtue and use of that righteousness of God wrought in Christ, II Cor. 5:21, that the Spirit, or Holy Ghost, works all the ability in the heart of a sinner to close with Christ. Besides, the Father hath treasured up all the Applicatory Store in Christ, Col. 2:3, of which fulness we receive, as it is called, Jn. 1:16, the Spirit officially brings in his Office, and must therefore necessarily be understood to work under the righteousness of Christ, imputed to and found upon the elect of God, as the over-ruling and predestinating Cause of their believing, since all Power is put into Christ’s hands of the Father. Matt.11:27, 28:18. Otherwise we take in wrong conceptions of the Spirit’s working, as if the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, who is the Spirit of Christ from the Father, wrought on the sinner to believe without the glorifying of Christ. Jn. 16:14. But this must not be admitted; for the Spirit takes of the things of Christ, and shows them unto us. Jn. 16:15. Again, faith is obtained through the righteousness of God, II Pet. 1:1, from whence it is plain, that the Spirit who is the Author and Principle of it from Christ, Heb. 12:2, both works it, and dwells in us, to maintain the use of it under the righteousness of God, II Cor. 5:19; and so becomes unto us in his Operations and Supplies, a Worker and a Principle, in the very virtue of God’s Righteousness wrought in Christ, Rom.10:3, through the death and blood of his Son. Now to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, Rom. 4:5, what do your offers signify, either as to God’s Imputation of Righteousness, Isa. 54:17, or as to God’s Operation of Faith under it? It is evident that all this Doctrine of Christ is fitted to preaching the Gospel, but it is not fitted to the doctrine of the offer; as it is erroneous to suppose that an offer can be any means of an inward ability to close with Christ, which doth so absolutely depend entirely upon the Operation of the Spirit under the Righteousness of God.

This ability or power comes upon us, is wrought upon us, and therefore cannot be proffered to us. The Spirit will not, and cannot honourably work without the Imputation of Christ, I Cor. 1:30, but offers of Christ are without a due regard of the Imputation of Christ’s righteousness, or the work of the Spirit, therefore are not fit means to work this ability. {“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. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Ezek. 36:26-27.} How can the working of the ability in sinners by the Spirit be expected under that sort of pretended preaching which exalts nothing of the Imputation of Christ’s to the person of a sinner, Gen. 15:6, nor insists at all upon it as the comprehensive act of God’s Grace, wherein the Operation of the Spirit is included? {“Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” Psal. 32:2.}

Would they have an internal ability without an internal Worker thereof, {“according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,” Eph. 4:16,} under the Righteousness of God? Would they have faith to come and lay hold of Christ without an internal Manager of that faith, and without an indwelling Principle of strength in the soul to stay and uphold the workmanship of God? And that whilst there is an absolute need of this strength to uphold it, against all the opposite powers of lust, darkness, unbelief, and self-love? Now as the Righteousness of God in Christ abides on a sinner, Rom.8:33, so in this righteousness abiding there is a Foundation of God’s Free Grace Justifying, Dan.9:26, upon which the Spirit doth not only work renewing Grace, I Pet. 1:2, as faith, repentance, humility, watchfulness, and the entire effects of sanctification, as joy, comfort, stability, and perseverance therein; but the Spirit abides in the soul as the living principle of Grace, dwelling there secretly, silently, surely, faithfully and federally, Isa. 59:21, {“hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit,” I Jn. 4:13,} even though he may at times suspend his gracious Operations, when he reproves our follies, and corrects our disorders in this life; and when he is grieved, Eph. 4:30, to a ceasing of his joyous Operations and his glad witness with our spirits, Rom.8:16, thereby putting us to grief, and making our hearts sad, by the testimonies, texts and arguments, which he brings against our follies. II Cor. 7:9-11. Thus, he changes the theme that he used to insist on, and alters his voice in the Gospel into heavy tidings, which will make any new creature to be sad in heart, and full of grief and heaviness! Forasmuch then as he is the principle of this grief in the soul, he Himself is said to be grieved in the provocation of it. For which cause, he further convinces us of the sin of quenching the Spirit in his operations. I Thes.5:19. All this latitude now, which is consistent Gospel, and respects the Spirit and his work, falls in with preaching of the Gospel, and preaching of the Righteousness of God, as the chariot of his praise, in which He rides to take possession of the sinner’s heart. But apply it to your offers, and all this sinks and dies; it is lost, for you hear nothing of it in your free tenders. The propounding of the offer is no external means; it’s not the chariot of Praise, State and Honour, in which the Spirit comes to execute his office, under Christ’s Mediatorial righteousness.

Argument 5. To go on, the Holy Spirit’s Operation in all these respects, namely, on the Gospel, on the heart in moving the faculty of it towards the Object, both as the Worker and the Principle of the motion, and all under the Righteousness of God through Christ, depends upon a cause, and so will work Salvation by nothing that is below that cause, as the true means in the hand of that cause. The cause of the Spirit’s working Salvation is jointly the Father and the Son. The preacher then ceaseth to preach the Gospel, while by sinking into his offers, he ceases to ascribe Glory to the Father and Son, in the joint cause of the Spirit’s Operation. Now the foundation of that cause is a foreordination of the elect to Salvation by an act of the Father, and redemption of the elect to that Salvation by an act of the Son, and fore-Operation of the Spirit upon the means of that Salvation, in his applicatory work, while he is applying Salvation from the Father and the Son, who have certainly begun it, and advanced it in and by Jesus Christ. Salvation, as it is managed by the Holy Ghost, depends entirely upon the joint cause of Salvation in the Everlasting Covenant of Grace, in the Father and Son, respecting what had been wrought long ago by God and Christ, for the ability of a sinner in the work of Faith. This traces the work of Salvation by the Holy Ghost still on further from the beginning thereof. The Spirit works all his works towards Salvation, by the Father’s pattern, Jn. 5:17, and by Christ’s sampler. {“As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Jn. 10:15.} Accordingly, the Spirit works them in Salvation upon all the elect alone, as well as in Providence for the elect’s sake, Matt. 24:22, according to what the Father and Christ have done and purposed. The Spirit’s Operation produces a new creature in the work of faith, Gal.6:15, which is called the Operation of God. Col. 2:12. So that God and Christ do cause Salvation to be wrought off by the Spirit’s pre- operation upon fit means. And salvation in believing is wrought through the Sprit’s working effectually on the Gospel, to make it a right preaching from the joint cause thereof. Then it is the Spirit forms Christ in the soul, Gal. 4:19, lets in the object of faith through the eye of faith, to fall in directly upon the new born soul that now hath this ability created in it to discern Christ; and so Christ is formed in the heart, after the manner any outward object is formed in the eye. When I say I have such a man or object in my eye, ‘tis not meant that the man or object are in my eye locally, that is impossible; but they are in my eye objectively, I see them. So when it is said that Christ is formed in us, or Christ is in us the hope of glory; it is not to be understood that Christ, who is now corporeally at the right hand of God, is locally and substantially formed in us, or is so in us the hope of Glory; but that Christ, who is at the right hand of God, is the object of faith, the substantial object of faith, let in spiritually to the soul born from above, so that the soul sees Christ by a living act of faith, just as he is represented in the Word. And this is Christ formed in us. When we come spiritually to have a complete sight of Christ in the Glass of the Gospel, and this also is Christ in us the hope of Glory.

Neither are these, as the Quakers have urged that we make them, two Christs, one without us and another within us; whereas they have no Christ, but call the light within them by that name. Christ is not divided; there is but one Lord Jesus Christ, I Cor.8:6, and he is at the right hand of God, and we believe on him as risen and exalted there. Neither doth Christ formed in us, or Christ in us the hope of glory, suppose two Christs, any more than a conception of the object; or of a man seen, supposes two objects, or two men, one in the eye, and another before the eye. ‘Tis but one object, or one man still; even while the conception is in the eye, and the object without the eye. It is here also, as with the face of a man seen in water; for when a man looks into the water, and sees a face there formed by reflection, which directly answers to the face formed without the water; there are not two faces, but one face represented. One face is seen, which casts its own single reflection on the water. Well, it’s the Spirit’s work from a certain cause to form Christ in the soul. He produces Faith as an eye to discern God in Christ; and thence by discerning Christ’s Person and Righteousness, to feel a heart wrought to stoop to Christ, and the righteousness of God in Christ, and to use a hand wrought in faith to lay hold upon what is brought to the new creature, convinced of self-weakness; and to use a foot, or the new creature’s ability for walking, to go or come to Christ, as the soul is ordered and trained up under divers exercises of Providence, fitted to the said motions, before faith, through the Spirit’s Office under the righteousness of God, can be enabled in the said acts and motions, to discern, to stoop, to receive and lay hold of what is brought; also to go or come, and lay hold again of what is set down in the eye of the soul at a further distance. All such acts as these show that the work of Grace is begun and carried on in the soul by Operations of Grace, and not by offers of Grace; and whilst preaching Christ is the Spirit’s way of bestowing spiritual light, offers of Grace engender mere darkness.

Argument 6. The true means of Salvation in the hand of the Cause to work the ability of believing, are by the Everlasting Covenant of God’s Grace, far advanced above offers of Grace. The Everlasting Covenant of Grace which was made by and among all the three glorious Persons of Jehovah, Jehovah the Father, Jehovah the Son, and Jehovah the Spirit, upon the foundation of God’s electing love in his own Supreme Will and Free Grace. Also, the Father’s gracious mission of the Holy Ghost, as Comforter, in the name of God’s Son, as Christ, according to the Free and Everlasting Covenant, do neither of them signify the least provision made towards the blessing of these offers, but do confer all the signification of the blessing upon the Operation of the Spirit, as provided in the Covenant with Christ, {“I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house,” Isa. 42:6-7,} which provisions of Grace are evangelizing, or preaching Effectual Grace and Salvation by Jesus Christ, as begun, advanced, and perfected by the Glorious Three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nothing short of which is properly glad tidings! It is said of the Spirit, Jn. 15:26-27, “when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me, {the Person and accomplishments of Christ,} and ye also shall bear witness.” Christ could say this to his disciples, for he knew the Covenant that it should be so. But now if an offer could bear witness, yet he that hears the offer cannot from the offer bear witness, because it is not provided in the Covenant to be a means of Conversion; neither is it provided that he who hears the offer shall bear witness; but it is provided in the Covenant that he who hears the right Gospel-Preaching, even the Holy Ghost’s pre- operated and prepared Gospel, Jn.16:13-14, which exalts the witness of the Spirit, Jn. 14:26, shall believe under the hearing, and bear witness too of what he hears. Oh, to come forth, and to preach God’s Covenant Operations of Grace, and not to put off poor sinners with your uncovenanted proffers! If you preached the true means of Salvation and did not put souls off with an offer of the Great Salvation, Heb. 2:3, you would be ministers and workmen, indeed, that need not be ashamed! II Tim. 2:15. And it would be a mighty argument that the Spirit of God attended your ministry! Then you would be enabled to go on and do great things in God’s name, and in God’s hand, let who would oppose you, in so bright an advancement of the Glory of God by Christ! The Lord grant, that the Holy Spirit may teach us to preach Jesus Christ faithfully, and burn up our chaff {of which offers of Christ are some part} with unquenchable fire, Matt. 3:12, even the holy trying and refining Operations of God the Spirit. Mal. 3:2-3.

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[1] Note that throughout this treatise when we come across such phrases as “closing in with Christ,” “closing with Christ,” “close with Christ,” &c., we may understand a saving embrace or grasp of Gospel Salvation as it resides in Christ, to a degree of measurable Spirit–wrought Assurance or Faith that Christ hath indeed redeemed us by his blood, and by virtue of his righteousness imputed or reckoned to our account, we stand in a state of Justification before God.
[2] Henry Hammond, 1605-1660, Church of England; a pioneer Anglican theologian, much influenced by Richard Hooker and Lancelot Andrewes, but also by that form of Arminianism as found in Hugo Grotius, whom he defended in his writings.
[3] Cerinthus was the founder of one of the earliest heretical sects of those who claimed to be followers of Christ. He was brought up in Egypt but removed to Asia Minor, where he propagated his false doctrines. In regards to Ebion, Jerome believed that he lived at the time of the Apostle John and had been refuted by John for not believing in Crist’s Pre-Existence. In a book called “Against All Heresies,” an anonymous work once attributed to Tertullian, Ebion is referred to as the successor to Cerinthus.



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