Joseph Hussey, God's Operations Of Grace But No Offers Of His Grace (Complete)

Chapter 6: Some Distinct Resolutions Of The Puzzling Question; How Must We Preach The Gospel To Sinners, If We Do Not Offer The Gospel?

I need not speak much by way of recapitulation, having so much to add by way of enlargement. And yet I shall not utterly reject all coincidence neither. Well then, we must preach the Gospel as the things of the Gospel are, and not as the things of the Gospel are not. We must preach the Gospel and lay open the things of God, to the glory of God in Christ, and to the glory of God by Christ, and to the glory of God through Christ. In Christ, in the deeds and settlements of God the Father. By Christ, in the purchase and conveyance by God the Mediator; and through Christ, in the springs of influences by God the Comforter; which influences through Christ, by the Spirit, are quite distinct from all manner of speculations concerning Christ.

We must preach the Gospel as the things of it are in Christ, by a Settlement of God the Father. We must preach the Gospel so as to honour and commend the Father’s love, Matt. 11:27, and that in his choosing the elect in Christ before the foundation of the world. {“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” Eph. 1:4.} Here is a special sort of union in God’s act. Now preaching the Gospel is carrying the Gospel altogether, as it stands in all parts of it, fulfilling of our ministry, Acts 20:24, with this election-union. Offers agree not with election-union; for though men who talk of offers may hold election faintly, Jer. 2:19, yet it is very little they hold, and none of it in the strength of Christ; neither do they live by the doctrine they pretend to hold, notwithstanding all their pretended temptations they have to drop it; as men so warped, did for forty years of the last century, who only prepared matters for this generation for men to deny election, and hate it the more in the present day; and very few of these offering-men who pretend to hold election do seek heartily to take part with God therein, Rom. 16:17; but men sleep and nod, till perhaps the noise of a book is got out among them, that lays the sleepy disease for a time, Matt. 25:5, and in a few weeks it all wears off, and then to nodding again. Whatever it be, it’s plain that some who pretend to hold election, do it half-heartedly; for they insist not upon election-union, or the election of Grace, as it stands in the Everlasting Covenant in Christ Jesus. And then as if a creature could be chosen in Christ before believing on Christ, and yet that there could be no Election-Union of that creature, nor Justification, and other Grace given him comprehensively in Christ, before his believing on him. {“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” II Tim. 1:9.}

The term “in Christ” is used in scripture, under a diversity of comprehensive phrases, as in II Tim. 2:1, “thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 1:3, “blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” {Justification of the Elect is in Christ before believing.} We have, therefore, all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, conferred upon us in Christ our Covenant Head already. So II Cor. 5:29, “to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.”

The second phrase of the Holy Ghost to express it is “in the Lord.” Isa. 45:24, “surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength.” So, Isa. 45:17, “but Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation.” Isa. 61:10, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Another phrase of the Holy Ghost is, “in Him.” The places are II Tim. 1:9; Col. 1:19; Jn. 1:4; II Cor. 1:20; Col. 2:10; Eph. 1:4, which speech “in Him” is meant in Christ; and in some of the places named it’s meant of Election-Union, viz., II Tim. 1:9; Eph. 1:4 and Col. 2:10, the phrase in those places implies a distinct mystery of the Union far beyond the mystery of it in the letter, or in respect of instrumental union, which we have sensibly in Christ, by the conveyance of the Life of Grace, when Faith comes. And that this Election-Union, the root of all the other unions, is so great and deep a Mystery of Grace, appears by what is said of it in the same phrase, “in Him” in two other places of Scripture, Colossians 3:3 & John 14:20. The phrase “in Him” in the other texts mentioned doth not strictly import the Election-Union of our persons in Christ, but something else in Christ. Yet it’s still a comprehension of phrase, as I designed, that takes in the other Settlements of God the Father which he appointed in Christ, though they are distinct from the election of our persons in Him. Particularly, that place, John 1:4, “in him was life; and the life was the light of men,” which discovers that all fulness of nature, and the common blessings of life, are all settled in Christ. The other place, Col. 1:19, “for it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell,” speaks more comprehensively, as the extensive fulness of Nature, Grace, and Glory which dwells in Christ by the Father’s settlements. {“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Heb. 1:3.} Then lastly, that text, II Cor. 1:20, “for all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us,” comprehending the perfect unity, harmony, and stability of all the promises founded of God in Him. II Pet.1:4. Thus, as the Father’s Settlements stand, all is sure in Christ. But now as to Electing-Grace, the Father’s Settlement makes us one in Christ, as the Union is a root, or radical interest, that in time brings forth our conversion. II Cor.5:18. It is said, Proverbs 12:12, “the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.” Who is the root of the righteous but Christ? The true Messiah is here distinguished from the wicked one. Matt. 13:38. For its plain, that all the righteous ones are first comprehended as righteous in Christ, even as branches in a common root that bears them. {“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious.” Isa. 11:10.} There is a notable comprehending phrase in Acts 26:18, “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” This goes deep into the mystery of the Pardon of Sin, for it takes in forgiveness, both as already prepared, without which it could not be forgiveness, and forgiveness bestowed, without which it could not be received. Receiving it implies clearly that the thing received was made ready in the fulness of Christ, and had a being in Christ, as ours by Free Grace, long before our receiving it. Besides, if things {as if all the blessings wherewith we are blessed in heavenly places} be in Christ before they by him and through him, then sure they must be in Christ, before there can be faith on Christ, or before what the Holy Ghost calls faith into Christ. As the same, Acts 26:18, hath it, “by faith that is in me,” {or as it is in the original, “by faith into me,”} says Christ there to Paul, in giving him his commission to go and preach the Gospel successfully to the Gentiles. But now, when men have gone and preached against these eternal truths, and they know they have, to this day, sermons lying by them quite opposite to the doctrines of eternal election, or what we call the first truths; alas, here is their temptation, for though they may of their error be a little convinced, they do not find in their hearts {one of a score of them} to venture for Christ, and go and alter their tone! They had rather stick by their empty notions of offers, &c. {“Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, they do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.” Heb. 3:10.} They are run into offers of Christ, and there they think to keep. Now offers of Christ do stand directly with the anti-union doctrine, and the anti-election doctrine, and the anti-comprehending doctrine; and all to give more honour to Faith, the creature’s act, than they give to the Father’s own act in Election-Grace. Men have got an anti-scriptural maxim about election. What is that? Why it is, say they, election neither gives, nor takes away anything; neither fixes a thing nor removes it; a pretty election indeed, but that is a mistake.

See what it is for men to leave the Holy Oracles of God, Acts 7:38, and to paddle in other streams where the muddy divinity swims down upon us. For the Scripture is as contrary to that notion as can be. Says the LORD, Psa. 2:6, “yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.” Now is this setting of his King upon his holy hill of Zion no election, no bestowment? Was here nothing fixed do you think? Do men and systems that teach us the maxim, make nothing of this King elected, set, put, and bestowed, all the time of the Old Testament dispensation? Yet the next words are, concerning the Everlasting Decree of this King’s election of God, {verse 7} “I will declare the decree; the LORD hath said unto me, thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” “Thou art my Son,” says the LORD, this is the Father’s decree towards Christ. Here is a regal Son and a filial King, and yet a King and a Son in decree, before the decree in David’s time had openly brought forth Christ. If our wills, therefore, rightly bow to the truth as it is in Christ, we shall cheerfully own, even that which is clearly revealed, that God’s Election-Decrees do put forth something, or bestow something in God’s account. For putting or granting the thing is setting it, and setting it is settlement, which is God the Father’s act, before it comes to any open and subordinate act of ours in believing. To be chosen in Christ implies a union in the choice answerable to the choice itself.

Now offers of Christ suit not with this doctrine of Eternal Union, but agree best with that doctrine of proud nature, which denies all sorts of Union before Faith. Offers stand not with any one Gospel-Mystery, as the truth is in Jesus, but stand with all as the things are only concerning Jesus. They stand not with the mystical quickening of the elect in their Head, much less of their being set down together with Him in heavenly places. How shall we preach, you cry? How? Preach the Gospel as Christ hath commanded; as the Father hath absolutely declared, and hath raised us up together with Christ, even when we were dead in sins, as saith the Holy Ghost, Eph. 2:5, which quickening and raising up was certain and sure even before we believed on Him. For Christ rose from the dead long before the Ephesians were converted; and they were quickened in him virtually, when they were unbelievers in themselves. Therefore offering of God’s Grace, which was eternally settled in Christ, does wickedly and directly strike at these Covenant Settlements. Shall we then dare preach the Gospel against these settlements of the Gospel? If we do, after all our boasting of faith, and pressing of faith, and offering of Christ, it’s plain that we have little or no faith in the foundation, or we should not want to lay another foundation. {“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 3:11.} We must not preach the Gospel so as to suit the errors of the Anti-Unionists, for they give no testimony that they know the things of God savingly and experimentally by the power of the Holy Ghost in vital implantation of Gospel truth, but merely take them upon sport, one from another. {“Alas, master, for it was borrowed.” II Kings 6:5.} Neither will they bear with any other union in Christ, than by a few dry notions, or a form of empty words! A mere sentimental and time union or a work of natural reason. But where is any mention of that Ancient and Eternal Union in Christ? “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered,” Jn. 15:6, here indeed is the branch-union, and we own it, because it’s effected influentially by the Spirit, in faith and love, knitting us to Christ; but never as severed from Christ himself, in that Eternal Union which is the basis and impetus of all that the believer possesses in Christ. Beside this, where is their root-union? Is not that root of David a more ancient union than the branch-union, or than their husbandry? {“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Rev. 22:16.} Oh, how little does their doctrine of offers acquaint sinners with the Ancient of Days, Dan. 7:9, or with the ancient Settlements of Grace, given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began! {“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” II Tim. 1:9.} For, to talk of a choice of persons in Christ, and a gift of the elect to Christ, or a gift of Grace to us in Christ, as this gift and choice are eccentrical {or moving at an unequal distance from the centre of relation in Election-Union} to an Election-Union in Christ, is empty talk indeed that tendeth to penury, but a sight of nothing of the true essence of Gospel Truth as it resides in Christ.

We must preach the Gospel as its essential elements are by Christ in the purchases of conveyance, as given into the hands of Christ, to be dispensed to whomsoever He will. {“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Col. 1:19-20. “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” I Cor. 8:6. “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses.” Acts 13:39.} Thus all is by Christ as he is our Redeemer.

We must preach the Gospel as the things of it are by a Redemption which the elect of God have in Christ that was accomplished and brought about by Him, even before they believed, or ever heard of His name. So we have the redemption fixed and invariable in Christ at all times the same, which redemption was brought about by him transiently, in the taking away the whole iniquity of a land {Emanuel’s} in one day. {“For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes; behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.” Zech. 3:9.} And the full stock lies in Christ, in whom we have complete redemption, as Eph. 1:7, Col.1:14, and “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” I Cor. 1:30. There it lies in Christ, settled and fixed, whether we believe, or whether we believe not. For “if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself,” II Tim. 2:13, or lessen Himself of this Redemption wrought out once for all. Throw down the pretences of your offers then, ye ministers of the dead letter, and preach Christ thus! For instead of offers of Christ to sinners, its plain we should be opening of Christ to sinners, when we preach the Gospel to them. We must preach the Gospel to sinners, as the issues of it are by Christ, as the worker, procurer, and conveyer of redemption to and in their believing. This is the gift by Special Grace. Thus must we preach the Gospel, and not abuse the Lord our Righteousness, Jer. 23:6, nor our Redeemer that is mighty, as his character is rendered, Prov. 23:11, by sinning against the light, in hiding the conveyance of the purchase to God’s elect. For if their Redeemer be entitled mighty to stand up for his people in defence of their own land-marks, and to plead against the oppressor, who enters the fields of the fatherless, Prov. 23:10; how will he deal with those men, who do in the worst sense remove the old landmark which the LORD set up in the beginning of his way, Prov. 8:22, before his works of old; hiding and razing out, as it were, the doctrine of his everlasting love, Jer. 31:3, and making his love to begin with our believing in time? And then not content with this, instead of advancing the power and purchase of the conveyance, after sin had entered, dwindle the purchase and conveyance into the purchase of an offer of Grace! How will the Lord deal with men who corrupt the preaching of the Gospel, turning it into another thing? {“And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols; and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.” Ezek. 6:9.}

It’s preaching the Good News of an Accomplished Salvation in Christ, which is appointed to make the heirs of Salvation, Heb.1:14, meet for their inheritance of the saints of light or undefiled, I Pet. 1:4, as Peter calls it. How doth the LORD now punish men by further degrees of blindness, hardness and sleepiness, who are agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord, Acts 5:9, in keeping back part of the price; which is no less than the purchase of conveyance, making it a mere offer of Grace. It must be a grievous and presumptuous offence of bold men to alter the Lord’s own prerogative of redemption, into an offer of his grace! As if the sinners we preached to were now to take up a new right from a profferer, instead of taking up the only proper and ancient right from the Settler, and their present right from the Purchaser of its sure and certain conveyance. Oh, this is an impudent lessening of redeeming love, wherever it is persisted in! Offers abuse the Redeemer, for they insist upon the acceptance of a sinner, but not at all upon Christ’s redemption, who hath procured the conveyance. For it is in this very conveyance purchased that the acceptance must come, and be wrought by the power of God.

A proffer of Christ operates not as a conveyance of Christ does; for in that, all obstacles are done away by Christ, but operates as the things are accepted by the sinner, and the last rub in the way taken out of it by the sinner’s own acceptance. A tender of Salvation to all or any that come under the sound of the Gospel, advances the reception of it more as it comes in by the creature, than it advances the procurement, as the conveyance of the work of redemption was wrought out by Jesus Christ, which work is wrought out and brought home to the elect of God. God hath appointed the purchased and effectual conveyance of it to them, not in a casual propounding of an offer of Universal Grace, according to this doctrine of offers, teaching men to rest in an arm of flesh; no, but as a certain and free bestowal of Grace by Christ. Some certain men’s labours would be more acceptable to God, if they made more noise about Christ, the means of acceptance, and less noise about men’s performances in the act of acceptance. {“Thus saith the LORD; cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” Jer. 17:5.}

We must preach the Gospel as it is revealed and comes from the Father, to the elect of God, through Christ, and not preach the Gospel merely concerning Christ, or about Christ, as the common way is. We may say many pretty things about Christ, but if we do not set forth and advance the Holy Spirit’s work, which is wrought through Christ, our preaching, if it may be so called, is vain, in point of usefulness, as it shuts out God the Spirit. So Rom. 11:36, {“for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever,”} speaks of all things through Christ in the applicatory pursuits of Grace by Jehovah the Spirit, as well as all things of him, or from him, as Jehovah the Father, and all things to him as Jehovah the Mediator. For Christ and the Father are ONE, Jn. 10:30, and “all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” Jn. 5:23. When the Spirit is given in his effectual operations on the mind, as the working principle of our faith in Christ, then it is, that in believing we have life through his name. {“These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Jn. 20:31.} So, when it comes to believing by a work of the Spirit of God, it is a believing wherein we have life through his name. {“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43.} So that when it comes to be through Christ, it is brought about efficaciously to be unto the sinner’s acceptance of Christ. The election accept of him, when the rest are blinded. {“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Rom. 11:7.} Offers do never exalt the Effectual Provision in, by, and through Christ for sinners acceptance of Gospel Salvation. Nevertheless, we must preach the Gospel thus, otherwise we abuse the Efficacious Gift of God to the elect. Now offers do but abuse the efficacious gift of God to the elect. For God hath appointed the Effectual gift of special Grace to the elect, who cannot be seduced, Mk. 13:22, though they may be abused by what falls too short of the special grant, that is by this common offer. And so much the more abused, by how much the more men sugar it, to make it go down as a free offer. We are to preach Grace as freely given, and Christ as given, and the Spirit as given, and all the benefits of Christ as freely given to poor sinners, and to be brought home by the Holy Spirit to a poor sinner’s heart, under the preaching of the Gospel. This meets with the elect of God, because it comes to them through Christ, and converts them. Whereas your offers do but abuse them, by debasing God’s gift into a proffer of your own, and his truth into a lie. {“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.}

The elect are to receive under our preaching, if we are ministers of Christ, the special gift of the Father, in bestowing his Christ and Salvation on them; yea, and all that accompanies the Salvation of God with Christ. Whereas, if ministers in their errand stand proffering the Grace of God to poor sinners, they do not preach in and through Christ, but only hold forth something in a general way concerning Christ. And so bring no more Salvation ministerially to the elect, than they bring or show to the non-elect, and what a gross abuse of the elect is this by them who seem to profess election! The non-elect have the common notion of Salvation already concerning Christ; that is, they have the common doctrine of the Gospel, that Jesus Christ died for sinners, that they are sinners, and the like. Therefore the common salvation concerning Christ in the Doctrine is theirs, that is, convenient, appointed number of the non-elect believe with a temporary faith, a rational faith, an external faith concerning Christ, which is faith made providentially serviceable, as a sort of barrier or external defence placed round about the inward glory of the Sanctuary, as to what is effectual through Christ, in the converted number of the absolute elect of God. What is taught concerning Christ in externals is made of great use towards that which is taught through Christ in internals. Thus in all ages, especially since the times of Constantine the first Christian Emperor, God hath made use of men who have had but a name to live, Rev. 3:1, and have been but notoriously and externally converted to the Faith, and to but some of it neither concerning Christ, to be a sort of earth to help the woman, Rev. 12:16, and do a kindness to the Church, that hath been converted through him unto Himself. As for the Church, so far as made up of the true elect of God, {I mean such as were chosen in Christ to everlasting life before the foundation of the world, Eph. 1:4, and not chosen merely to common faith and privileges, as the son of perdition, Jn. 17:2, Judas was,} have comparatively in all ages been but a handful. Now such a small number could no ways have visibly subsisted by the common methods of Providence, if the Lord had not made use of others to help them, and render the external interest of the Gospel in the world in things concerning Christ, some ways capable of resisting the spiteful opposition of Jew and Pagan. Hence, the first preaching of the Gospel was attended with miracles, which were as a suitable means to work a common belief of the Gospel concerning Christ, upon the non-elect, as to work the same common belief upon the elect of God themselves. And most certainly this method was taken, next to the good pleasure of God, that there might be brought into the outworks a great company of outer-court people to believe the Gospel with a general faith concerning Christ, and such a faith as common education and general instruction hath kept up in the world ever since. Nevertheless at that day formally, the Spirit of God in a common way did make the general preaching of the Gospel concerning Christ, a means to work a general faith upon Jew and Pagan; and by a common work of the Spirit in all ages since, men have sprung up into the same common faith, partly by education and precept of men, partly by example and interest of the world, &c. For all the first prejudices to the Gospel concerning Christ in the lump are clean gone out of these parts of the world, which yet were strong prejudices in that former day by a contrary education, example, preposition, &c., and so there was a greater common work of the Spirit upon men in that day as necessary to bring them up to the common faith in Christianity. This common and general faith and reception of the Gospel in the general lump concerning Christ was needful in all nations to carry on God’s work more covertly under the fair show of the out-works, and more particularly within and under this general entertainment of the Gospel by Jew and Pagan. So that hereby Conversion Power in the glory of the Gospel, hid itself as under a veil, to another end, while the souls of the elect were so secretly discriminated, as that all the world should not be capable of judging about the mystery, since the elect of God as to their natural condition and external character were close fastened to all this lump and cluster of mankind, in matters concerning Christ. And hence the first preaching of the Gospel was answerable to the state of the Jewish and Pagan world, for both were set against the very notion of the Gospel. And as to the power, none knew it till they lay under the proper means of the notion, and the doctrine concerning Christ was then proposed to nature, reason, and the common intellect of mankind, and all to an outer-court serviceableness towards the hiding of the inner-court glory in a far less company than the outer court consisted of. Now whilst the doctrine of Salvation concerning Christ was first proposed unto all, the nature of Salvation through Christ was preached into the elect alone, who are the only saved number for whom the kernel was intended; though they were not to come by this kernel, but as others around about them accepted of the cluster and the shell inclosing it. Accordingly, in that day God having a visible professing people to be taken out of the two worlds, the Jewish world and the Pagan world, as the term ‘world’ is sometimes taken, we must needs suppose, that the preaching of the Apostles, and so the Scriptures we have from them about the common Salvation concerning Christ, are parallel to this design, and to this design only. This hath prepared a way for the future success of the Gospel in more discriminate operations of the Spirit by his power and teachings; all which discriminate teachings effect a supernatural discerning within the compass of the form, when the form is spread to its full extent.

But now since the whole world {where our preaching at least comes} is in a manner brought to receive God’s Grace, in Christ’s blood, notionally, in creeds, catechisms and the common confessions of our faith, we are now in our preaching more confined as to matters concerning Christ. That is to say in showing some few doctrines concerning Christ that will not go down notionally with the Times. Now here Christ in such doctrinal points should be preached to all men, and we should look for common operations of the Spirit to make the common belief of those notions concerning Christ in some, serviceable to others who receive the power and life of them.

We are for the sweet loaf to our own children, not the parings separately. We are for the substance of Christ to be preached to elect sinners, through him by the Spirit of God {for this Comforter is the Conveyancer} that the elect of God may not be put off with ineffectual offers of Christ. A superficial offer of Christ in the notional and external part of the doctrine is enough perhaps to satisfy some preachers, but do they think it is the way to proclaim liberty to the captives? No, it is not the way. Now the question is this, do you offer the Gospel concerning Christ, or do you offer the Gospel through Christ? If it be but concerning Christ, pray do not think your ministerial free offer shall be a means to save men. It may serve externally to cultivate and dress up some of the non-elect, in a mere profession, for some external service of the church of God, as the elect may want assistance from the non-elect in some of their doctrinal notions of Gospel truths, that so by these notions of Christ in some of the non-elect without any Salvation-Interest in Christ, they may be some ways serviceable to the Gospel in its outworks. Preach concerning Christ absolutely, among all, to all, and before all, that hereby the doctrine may reach some of the elect, if it be possible, while Salvation goes forth in Operation to, and upon the elect of God. Indeed, an effectual knowledge of the Gospel, and the power of the Gospel can never be separated, but they will, in Conversion-Season fall in life and sweetness on the elect alone, notwithstanding a knowledge of some parts of the Gospel, as the history and form of it, are separable from the power; so that the former may be in many of the non- elect, who are utterly destitute of the latter. Ministers of Christ therefore should preach the Gospel with clear distinctions between what they have to say concerning Christ, and what they have to say through Christ. But the evil is, that instead of this, men quite beside all rules of Scripture example, proffer Christ in the lump, either to those who have already received him in the lump, or proffer him so for Salvation to sinners; whereas, Christ was never so proffered by either apostles or prophets, in all the Scriptures, but Salvation was preached through Christ, to sinners, as therein Christ was put, formed by the Holy Ghost, in the hearts of the elect, and the elect alone, among numbers of them who perhaps partook of nothing but the cluster and shell of Christianity in the same Sermons.

Apostolic preaching aimed at Conversion among Jew and Pagan; and that conversion to be effected on some notionally concerning Christ, in others powerfully through Christ. But preaching at this Day runs altogether along different channels of conveyance. We are now to aim more for a Conversion to mere forms and parties, than conversion to Christ spiritually; or a Conversion to Christ spiritually out of such notional professions of Gospel Truth. And we want many such Conversions to be yet wrought both in ministers and in people. If so be then our preaching now runs all upon offers of Christ to sinners, and upon general and common invitation of sinners to Christ, we having no true scope at this Day for such a way of preaching of the Gospel, as the Apostles had, who were called to alter the Jewish and Pagan forms into the Christian Model; whereas these things are done {blessed be God} to our hands already. The Kingdom of Heaven hath been as a net that hath gathered of every kind, Matt. 13:47, both good and bad. The foundation in the common draughts hath been laid. Our work is to bring men to receive these Doctrines of the Gospel which they have not received, and so go on unto perfection, Heb. 6:1, and that is to preach Christ with power, and so the Gospel through him may find out the elect, and distinguish them, from among others of all persuasions, who live and die in a form of godliness, II Tim. 3:5, but either deny, or are destitute of the power thereof.

To preach the pure, though despised doctrines of the Gospel, both concerning Christ and his Kingdom to all, and through Christ to the elect; I mean such doctrines as the antiquity of the Human Nature of Christ, the root as well as the offspring of David, Rev. 22:16, {root and branch in Christ and believers are both of one Human substance, so Eph. 5:30, &c.,} and the incomprehensible glory of it, as the Alpha and Glory-Man, subsisting in the Son of God. Likewise, the everlasting love of the Father to the elect of God in Christ. Also, the Salvation of the elect in Christ, as the Representative Person, and the root of all election, before their Salvation, by influences and conveyances through Christ, as the living branches in Christ identify and discern their own Union in the Tree of Life. Further, the doctrine of the Righteousness of God through the obedience, sufferings and blood of Christ, imputed or reckoned, and put to and upon sinners as the true cause of their believing, {“to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” II Pet. 1:1,} through the Spirit of Christ, in the act of this Imputation, revealed within them to bring them under it, without any imputing either of trespasses, II Cor. 5:19, or their deeds of the Law. {“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law.” Rom. 3:28.} Now herein lies the despised doctrine and that scriptural form of preaching which is everywhere spoken against.

Also, in preaching, if we go on unto perfection, Heb. 6:1, the Scriptures must be opened out of themselves, and not out of any other book at random. {“To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isa. 8:20.} There must be a distinguishing between foundation and superstructure, or fundamental texts and superstructure texts, that superstructure texts and the sense of them are to be carefully built upon the fundamental, and not the fundamental upon the superstructure, as the corrupt manner hath been. {“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 3:11.} There must be also a right knowledge and use of the three distinct Offices of the Mediator, in their season and order. Without this, in no Sermon are we rightly led into the best and most profitable way of preaching, so as to show distinctly what pertains to Absolute Salvation, and what to the Absolute Providential Government of Christ, for His church’s sake, for the service of it throughout the life of Grace, to the glory of the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, through Him by the Spirit of our God. {“For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.” Isa. 33:22.} Hence there ought to be an exact altering of the entire form of our common applications, into an advancement of the work of God the Spirit, throughout all the practical parts of his Operations and Motions; such as believing, repenting, duties, and services, upon and under the Operations of Jehovah the Comforter, as these Operations are still deeper, working by and under the righteousness of Christ. Lastly, we should preach the congregational order of Christ in his church, and when we have done, take heed we do not practically pull it down, by steering under Presbytery and Synods. We should preach these points, and many such as these; and thus you have, in a few words, a draught of Gospel Preaching, since Preaching and the Scriptures have been so corrupted and neglected while we keep to a clear distinction of the Person of the One God, Father, Son, and Spirit, and their Operations in, by and through the Mediator in all his Offices. And while we keep to what else of the Gospel is most despised by worldly preachers and professors, we shall do well. {“Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things; they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.” Ezek. 22:26.} I am persuaded, if more of our ministers of Christ were helped to preach these distinguishing points of the Gospel, {as a few of the ministers of Christ I hope do, though they labour against a strong tide of opposition,} they would in a few years find that the Holy Ghost had owned them, to the conversion of sinners, the edification and strengthening of the churches, against all opposition, beyond their expectations. For my own part, I declare I have graciously found it so; and I am confident others would, far beyond their own expectations in Christ, and far beyond what they ever met with in the ministry, both as to the life of Grace in their own souls, and the flourishing state of their churches. {“But the word of God grew and multiplied.” Acts 12:24. “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.” Col. 1:5-6.} Oh, what strength and succours, relief and a sweet presence of the Lord have I met with, {“God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son,” Rom. 1:9,} through these doctrines in temptations, fiery darts of the wicked, Eph. 6:16, reproaches, envyings and evil speakings, such as men of fine, smooth, yielding and concealed principles never met with in their days!

If we preach now at this day the despised doctrines of the mysteries of the Gospel, we shall do most good; I mean such mysteries of the Gospel as are despised among those who call themselves Calvinistic; whether we preach concerning Christ, or through Christ; whether to plant the notion and doctrine, or promote the life of Grace. The common doctrine of Christ in the lump seems to be despised by none, even whilst that distinguishing “truth as it is in Jesus,” Eph. 4:21, is universally spoken against. {“And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, they are laid desolate, they are given us to consume.” Ezek. 35:12.} Well then, our work in preaching, if we go on to perfection, is not to confine our ministry to the common doctrine of the Gospel concerning Christ, for we are not to be ever laying the foundation, or to preach the Gospel in our congregations, as if we were beginning to preach the Gospel to every creature, and to every nation; or after the manner it should be first done, if we were just going forth to preach the Gospel in Turkey and India, where it is not at all received, even in the common notion, as the Apostles did in the Pagan and Gentile world. Neither should it suffice us to preach any doctrines concerning Christ, unless we preach them through His name, and therein preach the life of Christ, and Salvation by Christ through Him, which are wrapped up in these special doctrines that are taught concerning Him.

Now these things being to be preached, and preached thus, can by no means be proffered. The elect have their interest in them by another means, we see; and the non-elect have no right to them by any means whatsoever, except only to the cortex, the cluster, the shell and common rind of their life in the orthodox notion and doctrine, and that is all. He that receives the Salvation of God, even the life of Christ through Christ into his own soul, receives quite another thing than he that receives the mere doctrine concerning God and Christ; and what signify proposals concerning Christ and offers to natural men, in things were they are already general believers? Indeed it is much our mercy, that men and women have generally received Christ as they have received him, though it be but in their own natural way of Christianity after an old Adam’s fashion, and though in many special points we are as it were to begin absolutely again; however, we fare the better for a natural religion that obtains and takes place in the world about Christ. We can here bring in men’s principles and prayers against themselves, and strengthen the cause of Christ by turning man’s own weapons against their own holding of the truth in unrighteousness, Rom.1:18, which hath been no little service to the Church of God in all Ages, that we can go everywhere to the Bible to condemn the professors of the Bible, and need not confine Heathenism to condemn amongst ourselves a generation of Pagans. It’s our rich mercy through the growth of a common Christianity, that we are not put to argue for truth in the lump, as a Justin Martyr was, who wrote his Apology for the Christians in the second century, about the year 163. Nor as a Tertullian was put to it, against the blasphemies and idolatries of the heathen, who wrote his Defence in the end of the second century, about the year 200. Nor as Origen was fain to do, who wrote his Disputations against Celsus in the year 230. Nor as Arnobius did, who vindicated Christianity at large against the Gentiles in the year 300. Nor as Lactantius was necessitated, who did it at the same time in a plainer style against the false religion of the Gentiles. Nor as Julius Firmicus Maternus was compelled, who wrote against the profane religion of Gentilism in the fourth century about the year 350, in a book he dedicated to two emperors, Constantine and Constans. No, all these were fain to vindicate the Christian doctrine in the lump, but we have the same advantages in defending particular doctrines of the Gospel against the corrupters of the Truth, where the general lump of it is received, as Tertullian had and used against Praxeas, the patripassian, a heretic who maintained there was but one Person in God, and that the Father suffered on the cross. And we have the same advantages as Cyprian had in his day about the year 250, against the Novatians from one Novatus, who affirmed that sins committed after adult baptism, or the baptism of believers, could never be repented of. And we have the same as Athanasius of Alexandria had, who had a notable advantage from that part of the Gospel which his opposites held, whilst he wrote against the Arians about the year 340. And as Gregory of Nazianzus had, when he drew his arrow out of the quiver of the Gospel which Julian had professed, when that acute pen-man wrote his invectives against the same apostate Emperor. And as the great Augustine of Hippo had, when he used his assistances from the Gospel only, in his being so effectual a maul to Pelagius and his followers, about the year 410. We fare the better, I say, who are the elect of God, for a natural and notional religion about Christ. It is the better for us who are the chosen of God of all persuasions; and this also is for the elect’s sake, Mk. 13:20, for what had become of the Israel of God, Gal. 6:16, among all believing persuasions {for the Lord hath some who are peculiarly his own among all tolerable persuasions} if they had dwelled in some country by themselves, and had had one hundred Turks or other Pagans to one believer dwelling round about them, Gen. 34:30, and among them, and ready at every moment to break in upon them, and devour them! But now Divine Providence contempering one professor of Christianity with another in twenty, perhaps forty times the extent of the Christian world, to what the elect of God and the called by Grace may be, here’s a balance made against Jew, Turk and Pagan of all sides. Why then the matter at present standing thus, if men will propose Christ to increase the outer surface of the Gospel, it must be either in truths of the Gospel not yet received by professing Christians, or by going out into the Pagan and Mahometan world, outside of the Christian bounds, there to offer Christ to sinners. Whereas here within the bounds of our preaching is best of all, when it is properly preaching of the Gospel to the elect of God through Christ, to sever one professor from another, and bring men to cease from their own wisdom, and from resting thereon; as also to bring them off from their own righteousness, holiness and moral goodness, in such a manner, and no otherwise than to depend upon no Salvation or Acceptance with God but through the Person and Righteousness of God in Christ. “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low.” Isa. 2:11-12.}

Our preaching should be through Christ to exalt Christ and debase the creature. The elect shall find the life of this, as there are promises annexed to it. And others that take up peaceably and quietly with a bare notion of it shall be made serviceable, and rewarded in a greater stock of common blessings wherein it will be profitable to themselves. {“For bodily exercise profiteth little; but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” I Tim. 4:8.} The truth is, we who preach, want more sensibleness of our own insufficiency, and to be brought up more and more to a dependence upon Christ’s all sufficiency. {“LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us; for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.” Isa. 26:12.} Instead of this, how many profess to depend upon Christ, who yet proudly ramble forth from the proffer of confused notions of notes and outlines, and high presumption, and the way to not be put out, and esteemed by more ingenuous and topping sort of auditors, Jn. 5:44, to depend but a quarter so much upon Christ for preaching the Gospel of God through him? {“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” I Pet. 4:11.} Alas, who of the book gifted amongst us, or the men of letters, as they love to call themselves, dare speak to men, though men have but their breath in their nostrils, Isa. 2:22, with the same liberty and boldness which God commands them! This is every jot of it wrong, because it savours of the fear of man.

However, the elect of God shall never be deceived. The special Salvation bestowed, being wrapped up within the cover and outward extent of the common Salvation revealed, is safely settled upon the elect of God in Christ; whereas, offers of Grace are not appointed of God to effect the conversion of the elect. That is done by His own Operations.

The Operations of God are Divine Principles; your offers {if you make them} are nothing but promiscuous propositions. For which cause, the elect by meeting with no more under your ministry {so far as the LORD worketh by means} than what you bring to the non-elect, mere conditions, and empty sounds, are woefully wronged by what you call your Ministerial Free Offers. What! Must Special Grace to those souls who are given to Christ stand still, and be debarred, waiting upon common offers, which you propose to all men? Must the elect whose portion lies in Special Grace, perish for lack of bread, while you propose Common Grace to sinners? You do no more than preach a Universal Grace when you offer Christ to all sinners. Proffers are made up of free will and human power. For Christ hath been already skilfully revealed in a common way to all, while the Common Salvation has been openly shown in the sight of the Heathen. {“The LORD hath made known his salvation; his righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the heathen.” Psal.98:2.} The Grace of God that bringeth Salvation hath appeared to all men; ‘tis not said, hath been offered to all men. And please to observe, that an offer or proffer of special Grace, is another special absurdity. Ministers of Christ are to preach special Salvation to the elect, that they may not be abused in having less than God’s own gift faithfully declared under the declaration of the Lord’s Counsel concerning Christ. Mere professors, or outward- court worshippers, have their share still, as to matters of form concerning Christ; that is, they have the common doctrine of Christ, testified in due time, I Tim. 2:6, which is their share, and so, they cannot be abused while they have the lot they are best pleased with; even whilst, on the other hand, the Gospel is preached through Christ, the elect in all ages receive pardon and peace through Him, in that special Salvation which He alone bestows. Special Grace cannot be offered, as the nature of it is to be conveyed. ‘Tis not merely what is received concerning Christ, but what is so received through Him by the Operation of JEHOVAH the Spirit. {“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.} There may indeed be a moral persuasion wrought in men by words, or by arguments and reasons proposed to them, so as to gain an orthodox persuasion of truth, opposed to any heterodox persuasion of error in the mind. Yet such persuasion, such an empty, dead and corrupt faith, “cometh not of Him that calleth you.” Gal. 5:8. The Holy Ghost in Effectual Calling sanctifies the judgment, and works up the thoughts of the heart into principles of truth, forming a sound mind. Howbeit, a mere moral persuasion of the truth falls very far short of the faith of God’s elect, Tit. 1:1, which by preaching the Gospel of Christ is conveyed through Christ. In a word, the Lord never offers Saving Grace to those whom He never intends to save, because he cannot act fallaciously; but yet the Lord will send the report faithfully unto them, and that to answer ends of another sort, even where he has never appointed nor intended men to believe unto Salvation. To the one the Gospel is “the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life, and who is sufficient for these things?” II Cor. 2:16.

Joseph Hussey (1660-1728) was a Congregational preacher. He was converted to Christ in 1686 after reading Stephen Charnock’s, “The Existence And Attributes Of God.” In 1688, he was ordained to the Gospel Ministry and was appointed the Pastor of a church in Hitchen. In 1691, he was appointed the Pastor of a church in Cambridge. In 1719, he was appointed the Pastor of a church in Petticoat Lane, London. He nurtured high views of sovereign grace, setting out a clear case against the free offer of the gospel. His teachings on this subject were published in a book called, “God’s Operations Of Grace But No Offers Of His Grace” (1707).

Joseph Hussey, God's Operations Of Grace But No Offers Of His Grace (Complete)