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

Chapter 10: A Reply Made Unto Sundry Pleas Urged Against What Is Written

Plea #1. “This point in your book of Offers, Invitations and Exhortations, I must take some notice of, having prepared some manuscripts which I know not but I may publish, to justify my own and the practice of others, or rather the Gospel itself.”

Reply. It’s a pity that it was not thought on by this writer, that neither he nor his practice should have been taken notice of to be justified, but that the Lord alone was to be exalted. For it is plain he brings down the Gospel to himself and his practice, who should have brought up himself and his practice to the Gospel, had he pleaded in the light and teachings of the Lord the Spirit. It is certain that our own and other men’s practices without the Spirit of Christ, is none of the Gospel, call it what we will; but an eclipse of the Gospel that darkens the sun at noonday. It’s a veil hung up before the Gospel; and if ever the holy of holies be made manifest, this veil must antecedently be rent, and the pieces of it, like the curtains of the Jewish night, must be all laid by, when we come to see that every veil is done away in Christ. {“But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.” II Cor. 3:14.} We are poor things in preparing manuscripts before the Holy Ghost hath prepared our hearts; and what evidence is it that he hath prepared our hearts, where the preaching of Election and of God’s Effectual Grace, God’s Choice and God’s Power, are made so slight of through all these pleas?

Plea #2. “We ought to preach Christ without concerning ourselves whether we preach him to the elect or the non-elect.”

Reply. Marvelous darkness! Who would not think that this man was pleading for Christ under an eclipse of the sun? Do not the Scriptures tell us of Christ, that God hath made a Covenant with his chosen, Psal. 89:3, that Christ is the living stone, chosen of God and precious, I Pet. 2:4, that Christ is his servant whom he hath chosen, Isa.43:10, Matt. 12:18, that Christ is his elect in whom his soul delighteth, Isa. 42:1; all which was very eminently shadowed out in the choice of David, in opposition to Saul. The Lord chose me before thy Father, II Sam. 6:21, says David to Michal, when she despised him for dancing before the ark, verse 16; and says the LORD, “I chose David to be over my people,” II Chron. 6:5,6, and again, “David whom I chose;” and “he chose David his servant.” Psal. 78:70. Well now, is all this spoken of the Head, and hath our profession and learning of Christ brought us no further among the members, than to plead that we ought to preach him without concerning ourselves whether we preach Christ to the elect or the non-elect? Are not Christ {chosen} and they that are chosen in Christ, both of one piece of Free Grace? Is it not the Father’s Free Grace to choose Christ the Head of the members, and to choose the elect the members of Christ? Sure then, if we believe that God hath chosen the Christ of Israel, is it nothing so to preach him, whether we preach him to the Israel whom he hath chosen or no? Ezek. 20:5. Is not the plea but remnants of a carnal mind which is enmity with God? Rom. 8:7. The heart doth plainly rise against God, being hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, Heb. 3:13, though men may try to bring off their notion with palliations and pretensions. Suppose Election had been in the heart of God after the manner it appears in the plea laid down, do we think we should have ever seen what we do see of it {blessed be God} in the Holy Scriptures? Ah, how can the building prosper that hath no regard to the Foundation? Christ is not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matt. 15:24; and must we still preach him without concerning ourselves, whether we preach him to the elect or the non-elect? “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” II Cor. 4:3. Then surely we are to concern ourselves with the matter of whom we preach it to. There is enough for us to guide our ministry in God’s Word; and the Spirit where he works upon the understanding of the preacher, Acts 20:20, will never depart from his own work which he hath begun with in the Scriptures.

Plea#3. “When you pray for the conversion of hearers, of children, of servants, how do you consider them? Doubtless this may be, abstracting from the consideration of them as elect, or otherwise. Oh that Ishmael might live! Doth this suppose that the elect may not, or that others besides them may be saved? And if we may use arguments with God without prejudice to the doctrines of Election and Non-Election, doubtless we may use arguments with men, to whom God works upon as reasonable creatures.”

Reply. If I consider the objects mentioned under the work of the Spirit, which is a principle of new-born strength in the faculty for conversion, I must consider them likewise in the Father’s Grace which is Election, Jn. 6:27; for none are converted by the Spirit, who are not chosen of the Father. {“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Jn. 6:37.} And why should I pray with a peculiar eye to the glory of God the Spirit for conversion of hearers, children and servants, and yet think I am not bound to consider Grace from God our Father in Election Grace, II Cor. 1:2, whilst praying for their Conversion? Let another reconcile this with the foundations of the Christian Religion, for I cannot. I do not look upon one unconverted hearer, child or servant, but I see as a great reason to judge he is elected, as to judge that he will be converted. Rom. 8:29. For can any be converted who are not elected; and again, can any be elected, who never were, are, or shall be converted? What, if I pray naturally in my own spirit, do I think now under the Gospel that in my natural praying the Spirit maketh intercession in me? Rom. 8:26. No, then how can I think that in spiritual praying the Holy Ghost should teach me, and yet not lead me to honour the Father in his works distinctly? Conversion is a Supernatural Mercy, and the question is not how I pray for it naturally, but how I pray for conversion, when I pray supernaturally. If I pray under nature, I say, “oh, that Ishmael might live before thee!” If I pray under the unction of Spirit, mine eye is graciously cast towards God’s Choice and God’s Covenant; and the Spirit which lays children upon my heart, lays them there under the Father’s work, and under Christ’s work. “I can do nothing of myself,” says Christ, “but what I see the Father do.” Jn. 5:19. So the Spirit is to act from Another, he is to take of Christ’s, and show it unto us, Jn. 16:14; and who is he that can experience a spirit of Gospel praying, and yet finds not that Holy Spirit of the Lord carrying him out to eye Election, as the bottom of all the conversions he asks of God, even whilst he asks Conversion of God for hearers, children and servants in Christ’s name? I could not conscientiously join with that man in prayer that asks Conversion at the hands of God, and did not ask it of God with an eye cast towards the foundation of it in Electing Love. I have the same grounds to believe the Election of everyone whose conversion I pray for, as I have grounds to pray for that conversion; for they are both of one pure piece of Grace, as the Father and the Spirit are one in one God. Abraham’s praying for Ishmael seemed not at all to be praying for his conversion, but for his life under God’s providence. {“And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” Gen. 17:18.}

1. For Abraham seemed at that time to be under questionings and disbelief of the promise made unto him of another seed by Sarah, verse 17, “then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old, and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” I know that some interpreters here distinguish of a laugh of faith in admiration piously to Abraham’s praise, from Sarah’s laugh of unbelief; yet I see no solid reason for the conjecture, for it is certain that Abraham had sinned by unbelief in the unlawful way of his begetting Ishmael upon his maid Hagar as appears, Gen. 16:2,3, and it is clear to me that he sinned by unbelief again, touching the same promise; and so wishes he might have Ishmael continued, of whom he thought there was a clear way made for the promise to take effect; whereas he seems to have lost the noble spirit of his faith, and knew not in this chapter how to depend upon the sure accomplishment of the Promise in any other way. This is the more probable, because at verse 19, the LORD said, “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him;” or in other words, thou thinkest that I will not be as good as my word, but laughing as it is a thing not likely to come to pass, because so long deferred; but I will tell thee, the thing shall be done, after all thy laughing; and besides, thou shalt call his name Laughter too; a name that shall comport well enough with joy at the mercy, shall be the name which shall take in with it a remembrance of thy sinful laughter, when thou saidst in thy heart, shall it be so and so done to one that’s a hundred, and to another that’s ninety years old? As to Abraham’s staggering not at the promise of God through unbelief, Rom.4:20, it refers manifestly to his faith in the Promise, at Genesis 15, and not to this latter carriage of his in Genesis 17, where his faith failed him after his sin in chapter 16; and indeed nothing is more common with the children of Abraham, who know anything in their souls of a bright communion with the Persons of God through Christ, than to be up in faith today, and especially after sinning down in faith tomorrow, as faith ebbs and flows. It was spring- tide with Abraham in the 15th chapter, and ebb-tide in the 17th. He that staggered not just before, although he looked up to Heaven and told the stars, Gen. 15:5, as a sign of multiplying his seed by Sarah, now falls down, and upon the ground laughs within himself, as much as to say, nature is quite exhausted in me and in my wife; and how can this thing be? This set his mind more a hankering after the life of Ishmael, and posterity by him who was the son of the bondwoman. Gal. 4:30.

2. God answers Abraham touching Ishmael with temporal blessings upon Ishmael and his offspring, and tells Abraham in verse 20, that he had heard him, which could not be, if Abraham had prayed for his Conversion. Because the words that God saith are only these, “and as for Ishmael, I have heard thee; behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” This was God’s hearing of Abraham, when Abraham said to God, “O that Ishmael might live before thee;” so that Abraham prayed for Ishmael’s life, and the seed of the Covenant by him in the face of Divine Providence, and not for the conversion of his person according to what the light of the Gospel now reveals to be Conversion. But suppose that Abraham had prayed for the Conversion and Salvation of Ishmael, or suppose that he did so pray, {which however appears not,} this argument nevertheless is very improper to urge against our eying of Election, in praying for the Conversion of our children, &c., because at this day we see things in the face of the New Testament; and there we see that Election from Everlasting is settled, as the foundation of all, in a clearer light than Abraham could see it in his day, especially at the time of this prayer, “O that Ishmael might live before thee!” How then is this an argument to ask things of God for the eternal state of our hearers, children and servants, without an eye upon the Election of their persons in Christ, and upon an Election of their Conversion to him? And how doth this prove offers of saving Grace and tenders of eternal Salvation to the non-elect, in our using arguments with them as reasonable creatures? Effectual Grace doth not work upon men as reasonable creatures, though upon men who are reasonable creatures, but upon men as the elect of God. Grace comes not upon men as qualified with reason, &c., but as chosen of God in Christ. The Gospel of Christ is not preached to men’s reason, for then it should come in the excellency of words, and of man’s wisdom, but it is preached to the wants of the men, as those wants are discovered to be wants above nature. In one word, if I pray for conversion, I pray for none but such as are chosen to conversion.

Plea #4. “Those texts as Gal. 3:1 & Phil. 2:16, will justify the expression of setting forth, or holding forth of Christ and preaching the Gospel.”

Reply. As to Gal. 3:1, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” The word for “set forth” is not a word that signifies offered or proposed, but rather fore-written, and graphically described in the doctrine of Christ’s blood and suffering. This was no offer of Christ, but an emblem of Christ, as we also behold it livelily represented in the ordinance of our Lord’s Supper. However, Christ may in a good sense that will bear it, far enough removed from offers and proposals in Gal. 3:1, be set forth according to the sense of such texts of Scripture as speak of showing Christ for mercy, for communion, for entertainment in his relation to the souls of the elect; that he may be looked upon, conversed with, fed on, delighted in, and enjoyed in his Word and Ordinances, as the great Gospel Object of Faith unto those souls who have the Spirit of God working in them from and towards this Object. {“Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day.” Psal. 96:2.} But what is this to offers of Christ or proposals of Christ to sinners and strangers for their acceptance, as urged from this text.

As to Phil. 2:16, “holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” It is not spoken of the minister’s holding forth the word of life by preaching, but it is meant of the people’s holding it forth by promoting the credit of it, in their walking as became the Gospel, I Pet. 2:12, and this is easily proved, by the duty inculcated upon these Philippians, verse 14, “do all things without murmurings and disputings.” 2. By the plural contexture, verse 15, “that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world,” which brings it again into the plural at this 16th verse, holding forth the word of life. {“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16.} So that it’s plainly spoken of the whole body of the Philippian Church to whom the Apostle wrote. 3. It appears more discernibly in the Greek word to him that understands the original, for albeit the phrase in English at the 16th verse doth not so obviously explain itself without a dependence of construction upon the coherence, as to determine from itself whether the phrase “holding forth” be of the singular or plural number, yet the Greek word doth from itself determine that matter to be plural. 4. This plurality cannot be spoken of an act in Gospel preachers to offer Christ, as is supposed to be in the plea, but of an act of holding forth the word of life in Gospel professors, having their behaviour among men suitable to that light they have of Christ, and were to shine with before men. And what is this to justify Grace- offers in the speech they go about to build upon this text? 5. That it is spoken of the people’s holding forth the Word of Life, and not of the preachers offering Christ to sinners, as is insinuated, maybe easily proved by the scope of the Apostle in this place. For it is no more than a duty which was meet for him to inculcate upon them all, one as well as another, in that Philippian fellowship. For church members {and the Philippians there were such} having taken upon them {in the yoke of Christ} a professed subjection to the Gospel, II Cor. 9:13, are under rules as well as obligations to demonstrate by their life and conversation before the unbelievers, that the hearing of faith, Gal. 3:2, hath not been in vain, as is plain in the residue of the verse. Let it be seen that your separation from the world is a fruit of the Gospel, “that I may rejoice,” says he, “in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” Phil. 2:16. Hold forth the Word of Life, says he, in your own lives, that it may be discerned that you have not embraced a powerless Gospel, but that the kingdom of God hath come upon you efficaciously; and not only in word, but in power. {“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” I Cor. 4:20.} And especially, believers are counselled herein, as to the world, because the world, to wit, our carnal neighbours, kindred, acquaintances, &c., cannot see the secret power of God, nor believe there is such a power any other way but this. Therefore they must have a living copy and open, undeniable proofs before them of some power in the Gospel, by shining with the light and truth thereof before them. {“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16.} This may convince some of them that your separation from the world hath been to embrace the truths of Christ. {“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” I Pet. 2:12.} For the truth of God works in the lives of believers, as the Lord the Spirit uses it by a working power upon the heart. The children of God should be as bright lanterns in a dark world to hold forth the candle of the Lord, Prov. 20:27, or the understanding that he hath given them to know him that is true, and to know that they are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. I Jn. 5:20. For being lights, says the Apostle, any small matter will darken and eclipse you in the world, if your light be not held forth; for inasmuch as the Gospel hath made you so bright and observable to every eye that beholds you, you should be always shining with some of that lustre holding forth the Word of Life. I hope that by this time, none can argue rightly for their offers of Grace to be preached to sinners from this text.

Plea #5. “Offers of Christ is a phrase that is directed to sinners by those who were very far from Arminianism, you are well aware, as Mr. Cole of Faith and Repentance, pg. 105, and so tenders of Grace, pg. 108.”

Reply. We are not to follow the Apostle Paul himself further than he hath followed Christ, “be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” I Cor. 11:1. {“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.” Eph. 5:1.} Besides, the further men have been from Arminianism, the further they should have been from Arminian phrases that eclipse the effectual Grace of God. Neither do I think the Gospel shines at all so brightly in those two pages, as it shines in the book everywhere else. Whatever it be, I’ll suppose a man was to argue with those of our Congregational brethren, {who use offers of Christ and tenders of Salvation to sinners, and who plead for the Congregational way,} and should argue thus, “Mr. Calvin who was very far from Popery, as you are well persuaded, hath set up a Presbyterian model of church government at Geneva, and there practiced it accordingly.” Now the question is, whether our Congregational brethren would look upon this plea, as a substantial argument for the introduction of Calvin’s model into the churches of Christ? I assume not; and yet the exemplariness is every jot as pledable a form of practicing from human authority, as the other, that we may use offers of Christ and tenders of Grace, for they are so used by Mr. Cole in his book of Faith.

Plea #6. “The use of the word should not be an offense, on account of some impropriety which may be in it.”

Reply. This is just what they have said in defence of their words “sacrament” which I have largely answered in my greater volume. Howbeit, I will give you a few distinct answers to it in this place. 1. When a thing is proved erroneous by clear arguments, there is a great deal more in it than impropriety in the word or phrase. 2. The use of the word, or phrase, contended against, should be an offense, on account of a great deal of impertinence in it as it appertains not to the way of honouring the Holy Ghost in speaking of Divine Mysteries. 3. We should be offended at what covers over so ill a thing at the bottom, and that is Arminianism {offers of Grace to sinners} which doth look naturally all like gold, but search it, and its rank Arminianism, dross carefully covered over. 4. We are justly offended at what argues a very great corruption of manners, but so doth the use of this phrase; for whilst men believe that the Scripture abounds with phrases of an equipollent nature, and in their reckoning expresses it variously with what they esteem tantamount to offers of Grace, tenders of Salvation, &c., {though indeed the Scriptures are of a powerful and prevailing nature, or in phrases quite above it,} yet they will bring in these unscriptural phrases, rather than adhere to the light of the Spirit which discovers so much of their darkness. Oh, it is a gross sign of obstinacy, sleepiness, and heedlessness in some, as it is of obstinacy and human veneration in others.

Plea #7. “Though not all, yet many things intended by offers amongst men, may agree thereto as used in this matter.”

Reply. I have proved in this treatise, that no offer of Grace, as used amongst men, agrees unto the pure Gospel of Effectual Grace, but falls in with Arminianism, though men talk and protest never so much against it.

Plea #8. “That the preaching of Christ in the Gospel has something of the nature of an offer, and that it is truly so, appears from the following particulars. Where God sets forth and proposes Jesus Christ, and that for acceptance; or in other words, where it is his revealed will that men should accept him and believe upon him, there is an offer of Christ or something so very like it that it is not easy to distinguish therefrom. Christ is proposed and set forth in the Gospel, as appears, Rom. 3:25, “whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, &c.”

Reply. The Spirit’s breaking in upon the souls of the elect by the preaching of the Gospel can never be sunk into an offer of Grace, by any solid proof of the matter in this text. Neither doth the text speak of the revealed will of God, but of the purposing will of God. The word is not “set forth” but it is “fore-ordained,” as the fountain language tells you. Now fore-ordained or fore- appointing is an act of God purposing, fixing, setting and settling it in Christ the Mercy Seat, how and after what manner the doctrine and preaching of Christ should be made effectual; namely, as God’s foreordination of Christ, I Pet. 1:20, is an Object of truth spiritually conveyed into the soul through the eye of the new creature, faith, faith in his blood. So that the original makes it far enough from encouraging any offers of Grace held forth in this word. Let me here make an observation or two upon this text. I observe, that in all the variety of learned authors in the greater critics, there is but one man of them, and that is Vatablus, who takes notice of the original word, so as to render it decreed; whom God hath decreed; far enough from this conceit, whom God hath offered. Nor have I seen any author amongst the multitude of our English writers who touches upon it, except Dr. Owen, who hath this note on the force of the word, “the Eternal Purpose of making way by the blood of Christ to the dispensation of pardon,” on Psalm 130, page 93. I observe that in all my hearing of sermons and conversing with practical writers, that I have never met with one man that has preached upon this text; whereas undoubtedly if Election had not been concerned in it, but the Greek had run as clear for offers of Grace, I might have seen treatises and sermons in abundance upon it, as well as upon other common texts. I also observe that the next word translated “propitiation” is not the word used for propitiation in I Jn. 4:10 & I Jn. 2:2, where in both places it signifies a thing accomplished in the death of Christ. But the word here is a mercy-seat, which the Apostle likewise calls it in Hebrews 9:5, “and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly;” and which signifies the mysterious way of accomplishing Salvation in the sufferings of Christ through the Human Nature of God-Man; and so is a close allusion to the typical figure of the Human Nature of Christ in the mercy-seat. {“And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.” Ex. 25:17.} For indeed the Holy Ghost in this text of the Romans hath used the same word which the Septuagint has used to express the mercy-seat by, they in Exodus 25, in their translating of the Hebrew word “kapporeth.” Now the mercy-seat in Exodus was not an offer of Grace amongst the Jews, but was an effectual gift of God’s love, so far as then to be a positive type of a greater Mercy- Seat, which God had within himself {long before} in his certain preordination of the sufferings of the Human Nature of Christ, as the way of our Justification by Grace.

Plea #9. “And here is the testimony of all the Three in Heaven, thus and thus hath Christ done, obeyed, suffered, &c., I Jn. 5:6-11, a Saviour, a Saviour is the loud proclamation of the Gospel. My Son, &c., Matt. 17:5, saith the Father; behold me, behold me, saith Christ, Isa. 65:1; the Spirit also bearing witness.”

Reply. Who would think that any man was so void of sense as to plead that any of this made for offers of Grace? Every word is an effectual Constitution of Grace that secures Salvation and effects it without offers. The witness of the Apostle John is a demonstration of the Grace of God to establish our faith, and not to propose to our acceptance. It is to strengthen us in our souls against heretics, such as Ebion and Cerinthus were, against whom the Apostle John wrote about the year 96, and it is not otherwise, to lie before our thoughts, and wait for our acceptance. This was not the design of that testimony, nor of John’s writing it; but it was to decide a controversy made of it in the world, not to tender Salvation by it to the world; for says he, in the same epistle, “we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” I Jn. 5:19. He did not go and offer them Salvation, but wrote it strenuously to confirm the elect in the joy of their faith, and to preserve the truth of the things with all authority, for their use to whom they belonged. {“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” I Jn. 1:4.} Here is nothing at all in this testimony of the Three in Heaven like a tender of Salvation to the elect or non-elect. Furthermore, the truth of that relation in Christ, a Saviour, a Saviour to the elect, we own it in full authority, but yet not to exclude Christ Headship, as he is Alpha to the elect of God, upon which his Saviour-ship, as Omega, is built. {“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Rev. 1:8.} Is a king or queen that is proclaimed in the Government, offered to the crown or tendered to its subjects? Is Christ proclaimed in his blood as well is in his sceptre, and still must he be offered do we think to cleanse sinners of their sin and to reign in Zion? What can be a blinding conceit or a more ignorant thought amongst us? And then as to that text in Matthew 17:5, “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him,” it is not the Father’s offer of his Son, but the Father’s attestation to him. {“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:17.} God witnessed of him, that he was delighted and well pleased in him. ‘Tis not Grace proposed for acceptance, but Grace proclaimed in acceptance. It’s a testimony of Grace, but in no wise a tender thereof. Lastly, Isaiah 65:1, “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not; I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name,” is so far from a blind offer, that it’s a proof of Effectual Grace how Christ’s Spirit puts an eye in the soul, and how he stands in the Mount before this eye of faith in the preaching of the Gospel, with this encouragement, with this assurance, that the soul shall not be left to seek Salvation in another, Matt. 18:11, but must take notice that here it’s all his own in Him, “behold me, behold me!” Art thou a sinner all over? See I am a Saviour all over! A greater Saviour than thou canst be a sinner! {“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Heb. 7:25.} And so he strikes in upon the heart immediately, and gathers up the heart unto Himself, by presenting himself thus prevailingly in the prospects of his Suretyship engagements; and what is this at all of the kin to an offer? {“My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish; thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.” Psa. 73:26-28.}

Plea #10. “In the Gospel Christ is set forth as the brazen serpent was lifted up upon the pole, Jn. 3:14, and what is it which answers to that lifting up in type; but that whosoever believeth upon him shall not perish, &c., verse 16, and so did not God offer healing to the Israelites by the institution and ordinance of the brazen serpent lifted up amongst them?”

Reply. How can this doctrine of a crucified Christ, or that of the brazen serpent that typified it in the wilderness be an offer of Grace, since in all offers and proposals there is a consulting the will of the party to whom the offer and proposal is made; but God consulted not with man in the matter of his Son’s death; for he was delivered up “by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” Acts 2:23. So in the brazen serpent that typified him, God consulted not with the Israelites about the type, but positively told Moses what he would do, and bid him go to work upon it presently. {“And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.” Num. 21:8.} And as the type was positively and absolutely set up to be looked upon, so the anti-type is positively and absolutely prepared for sinners to be eyed believingly, whilst the Holy Ghost works in them a freed will to cast the eye of their faith upon Christ crucified.

{“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Jn. 3:14-15.} What is here of an offer? ‘Tis all Sovereign and Effectual Grace closing with the remedy, and joining the heart unto it. It’s truth overcoming, and no tender to consult with flesh and blood.

Plea #11. “How did Peter wind up his teachings to Cornelius, and his neighbours and kindred. Acts 10:43?”

Reply. Far enough I am sure from offers in that passage of Scripture, “to him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” It’s strange that places of Scripture which plainly demonstrate a truth of the Gospel, and bear witness to the truth of the Gospel, should be so perverted into so distant a meaning, as to interpret them about offers of Grace and tenders of Salvation! The words are an establishment of the doctrine and a testifying of the great Name of Christ, Acts 20:21, not a proposal of tenders. Also, they are the conveyance part of the Gospel in bringing home the remission of sins as a clear thing in Christ, and let in upon the soul from Christ through the eye of the new creature, even faith of the Operation of God. All this still is Effectual Grace working all for them and in them, according to the good pleasure of God, far above tenders and proposals of any sorts. Peter wound up his teachings to Cornelius bravely, and to his neighbours and kindred, making all the Gospel to be one piece of Grace; he making the delivery of his report to be preaching to the people, Isa. 53:1, and testifying the truth of the Gospel. {“And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:42-43.} Peter did not wind up or lace his discourse of Christ with offers. He made faith to be of Grace, as well as remission of sins to be of Grace; and that faith, being wrought of the Spirit, who cannot work it evangelically in the soul, but through and under “the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” II Pet. 1:1, receives a thing which hath a mystical being in Christ, and doth not make a thing to have an existence towards me out of the creature which had no pattern being of it before in Christ. {“So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Rom. 9:16.} Peter wound up his doctrine thus, but the evil is, there have come preachers since who wind up their teachings in a way of free-will application, or what too much looks that way, that as much exalts the creature for believing, as their way exalts the blood of Christ for remission. The frame of their discourse doth, and all the contexture of that kind of exhortations which they effect, do only exalt a man’s self in the business of faith, which kind and way of preaching, Jehovah the Spirit will more effectually pull down in time to come, and will not lose the things which he hath wrought. The Spirit is Jehovah, as appears Isaiah 48:17 compared with I Corinthians 2:13; he is God, Acts 5:3-4; he is the Lord the Spirit, as the original of II Cor.3:18 testifies. Consequently, his glory he will not give to another in the winding up of doctrinals by a company of dead, blind and ineffectual offers. {“I am the LORD; that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Isa. 42:8.}

Plea #12. “So Paul issues his sermon, Acts 13:38- 39, which also he enforces with awakening motives, verses 40-41.”

Reply. So Paul? Why, if he issues it so as Peter did, we have seen it’s far enough from the device I oppose. It’s evident he issues not his sermon in the place cited with the fault I have been complaining of; for when the Apostle winds up his doctrinals with application, {as you call it,} he makes the latter to be of one piece of Grace with the former; that as he had preached the doctrine of Christ to the Jews, so he continued to preach the doctrine of the forgiveness of sin through the same Man, Christ Jesus, to the Jews. What else can be gathered out of his application, “be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:38-39. Until the elect believe they are not justified in their own consciences, as they are, when under the same righteousness by a work of the Holy Ghost they do believe. This is far from offering them the forgiveness of their sins. The doctrine of forgiveness preached to a mixed auditory is one thing, and the benefit of forgiveness which the elect obtain in their own consciences at believing, is quite another thing. {“And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” I Cor. 6:11.} He preached the doctrine of Christ, Acts 20:21, witnessing to the ears, but never offering any aspect of that Salvation for their acceptance. Besides, it is manifest that his awakening motives, verses 40-41, were not because the Jews were in danger of not receiving the blessings of the Gospel, to which the non- elect were never appointed; but because they were in danger of aggravating their sin and account, by rejecting the doctrines and miracles of the Gospel, as the truth of God, to the preaching of which doctrine they were appointed, and to the accepting of which doctrine they were commanded. And so his awakening motives were to prevent the judgments of God upon the Jews, by accrediting the doctrine of everlasting life, before he carried all away unto the Gentiles, and left them under greater hardness and condemnation; as is plain in those words at verses 40-41, “beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you,” at Antioch, as Paul afterwards declared it to the others of the Jews at Rome, which they would not believe when it was told them, Acts 28:26-28, viz., what invincible and judicial hardness God would give them up unto, Rom.11:8, for despising the doctrines in which others found that Salvation which resided in Christ. {“And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive; for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” Acts 28:24-28.} Oh, that preachers now could distinguish in winding up their doctrines with awakening motives to believe the doctrine and report of Christ which men so despise, and not so unskilfully to wind up what ought to be again unravelled.

Plea #13. “This is as essential to our work and the message we have to deliver as the doctrine of Election, and to be first proposed.”

Reply. We see what is essential to our work and message which we have to deliver; and it is to deliver the apostolic doctrine in the apostolic spirit, Acts 2:42; and we should then never wind up our doctrinal messages so unskilfully or forwardly, as to overthrow the doctrine of Election, and then go about to convert a people to God besides his own foundation, and without any regard thereto; and that as the offense which I am striking at evermore doth. {“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his.” II Tim.2:19.}

Plea #14. “What did Paul mean, when he declared, that to you is preached forgiveness? Did he mean that you are forgiven? Or that it was held forth and proposed for their acceptance?”

Reply. I have shown that he meant neither, but preached the doctrine of Christ to them, without offering the blessing of forgiveness at all. This was conveyed to the elect under the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, and the rest simply heard the doctrine preached and were blinded. {“The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Rom. 11:7.}

Plea #15. “I cannot think but that the denying of such a necessary, applicatory way of preaching tends to harden the Arminians in their disbelief of the Gospel, while we shall own the absurdities they use to fasten, as indeed flowing from the doctrine we hold.”

Reply. Suppose that it doth. Is the Gospel the worst for that? Is the sun worse for hardening the clay? Read those places of Scripture, Rom. 11:8, Jn. 12:40, Matt. 13:14, Isa. 6:9, Mk. 4:12, Acts 28:26, Lk. 8:10, &c., and see if the Bible doth not hold as severe doctrine {which without a work from the Lord the Spirit tends to harden the Arminians in their disbelief of Effectual Grace} as we profess to hold. Ah, this cowardice is a stain upon our character, and is like to be one upon all our profession! Where are the men upon earth that should be valiant for the truth? {“And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies; but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.” Jer. 9:3.} Even for that truth of God which most stumbles and hardens the Arminians. Shall we trim it, conceal our principles, give up truths, and alter them to gain a better esteem of our doctrine amongst the Arminians? Away, away with such suggestions! The Lord help me to stand fast in those glorious liberties wherewith Christ hath made me free. Gal. 5:1. I have heard hundreds of choice and free experiences told in Zion, {for though we desire the saints to make a profession of Christ, Isa. 43:21, Rom. 10:10, we force none to declare the work of God upon their souls,} yet I have never heard of one soul that had received any benefit by the corrupt human forms of application in offering and tendering them Christ; but I have heard many bewail how this preaching has entangled them, puzzled them, darkened the work of Grace, thrown them down from steadfastness in attending upon the true Gospel, and hath made them lose all the sensible benefits they had received under the preaching of Christ; and merely because the Holy Ghost that hath been accredited in their doctrine of Christ, hath been grieved by their mangling way of application; and since Arminians will be hardened at the doctrine of God’s Grace, let it be so; for if our Gospel be hid, it is hidden to them that are lost, II Cor. 4:3; and better all the Arminians in the world were hardened, who strike at God’s Grace and Christ’s Righteousness, and plainly declare they have no work of God’s Spirit upon them above nature, and wrought in them to bow to God’s Sovereign Grace, then that one of God’s little ones, under the Imputation of that Righteousness, should be made sad, offended, injured, entangled and bewildered, Ezek. 13:22, in whose souls God hath wrought Effectual Grace to begin to detect the deceit, though he has not bestowed upon them such a discerning measure of the Holy Spirit, to fully discern and recognize that the fault lies in this mangling of the Truth of the Gospel, and in these unskilful applications and dark offers, as well as in their dark selves!

Plea #16. “An invitation suppose to a dinner or supper, is an offer of a participation of the provision there made; and the Gospel is such an invitation, to whosoever will come to this marriage feast, and thus feed upon Christ.”

Reply. This argument to uphold offers of Grace is wide from the cause, Jer. 2:18, for an offer of Grace is no invitation, nor is an invitation any offer of Grace. I defer the proof till the next chapter, where the full answer comes in upon the head of invitations.

Plea #17. “The Gospel proposes the heavenly Canaan to souls, in such sort as the earthly Canaan was proposed to the people of Israel. I speak not of the terms, but of the nature of the proposal itself. Heb. 3:18-19; 4:1- 3. The Divine Determination was according as we see the event to have been; yet they had an offer of Canaan, which their unbelief prevented; and so here, a promise is left us, the Gospel is preached concerning the spiritual rest, as to them in type concerning the literal Canaan rest.”

Reply. Under these good words this writer hath very corruptly shrouded a most woeful parcel of Arminianism; which whoever doth take up, as this scheme {in a notorious perverting the things spoken of in the Hebrews} frames them, I will be bold to say of him, he doth by none of this doctrine so perverted enter into rest. I will be particular in my reply.

First. Those sweet phrases, the Heavenly Canaan and the Spiritual Rest, so far as this writer means them of the saints Everlasting Rest in Heaven, do no ways match the design of the Holy Ghost in the texts that are brought out of the Hebrews, nor do they at all bear up the supposition they are made in the plea to serve; and if so, where is the proof in producing the said texts for the nature of a proposal of Heaven to men, in such sort as the earthly Canaan was proposed {for so saith this writer} to the people of Israel? What will become of the offer of the spiritual rest if Heaven, or the rest of Glory, be that same rest? Or, how will it comport with the promise of Canaan, supposing that both these texts be proved to be nothing to the purpose, to set forth offers of Grace and propose Eternal Life to sinners? For, God’s Canaan rest which he sware the Israelites should not enter into, Heb. 3:18, and which we see they could not enter into, because of unbelief, verse 19, could not be that earthly Canaan rest, as a type of Heaven, and therefore was not so proposed, because such Israelites as did enter into Canaan by faith in the promise of that land, whence it is called the land of promise, Heb. 11:9, entered not into it by the blood of the legal sacrifices, a type of the blood of Christ; whereas all that enter into Heaven, the holiest of all, do enter in by the blood of Jesus, the Gospel Sacrifice, whether they enter by faith, or by fruition at the souls putting off its earthly tabernacle, II Pet. 1:14, its body of flesh and blood. {“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” Heb. 10:19-22.} So that the Canaan rest could be no type of the Gospel rest in Heaven; it must therefore be a type of some other rest besides. The rest which is spoken of, Heb. 4:1, is a glorious rest, yet not the glory rest neither which will be in Heaven, and that to all eternity. Howbeit it is a glorious rest! What glorious rest you’ll say? I answer, the glorious rest at the latter day in Christ’s Kingdom. It’s the promise rest of soul and body in a glorious kingdom, when the Saints that now have bodies resting in their graves, shall be raised in the same bodies, fashioned like unto his glorious body, Phil. 3:21, who is their Head, and shall enter with their souls into this promise rest in that latter day. Now the land of Promise and the Israelite’s entering into the land of Canaan, were a type of this paradise, and fruition of the promise rest in Christ’s glorious kingdom, that great Sabbath of the thousand years, even that long Lord’s Day rest upon earth, wherein the earthly Canaan will be turned into heavenly Canaan, II Pet. 3:13, Isa. 65:17-18, a heavenly Canaan indeed! Yet though heavenly it will be but a Canaan upon earth, and not the eternal rest in Heaven. Now inasmuch as this thousand years Rest, or glorious Sabbath, is what Christ in the New Heavens and his saints in the New Earth, will openly enter into, after the week of labours, or of six thousand years toil {now almost ended from the Creation} is completely over. Therefore this fourth chapter of the Hebrews doth reveal to us that the Lord’s day {our present Christian Sabbath} is a sacred day of communion rest with Christ in Ordinances, as an earnest of the other great Sabbath to come at last; and this earnest, or earnest rest is the spiritual rest of the Gospel, and ought to be a bodily rest from labour too, since our bodies are bought with a price, I Cor. 6:20, as much as is consistent with our present imperfect state and circumstances. The spiritual rest of the Sabbath, as it’s made up of spiritual refreshments with Christ, in Worship and Ordinances of his own Appointment, is that rest which is spoken of in verse 3, that we which have believed do enter into, Heb. 4:3, as an earnest of that Kingdom rest laid down as the main text, verse 1, which he illustrates by the Sabbath, and proves by the sacred Day of Rest, till he issues it in the same Kingdom Rest of verse 11, which he began with, verse 1, so that the Apostle here is not at all speaking of Heaven’s Rest. Once more observe, that this Sabbath Rest of church communion with Christ, in the worship and ordinances of Christ, which we that have believed do enter into, is made out substantially for the Lord’s Day, and founded by Christ upon his ceasing from the works of Redemption, and entering into his rest, or Sabbath, by keeping this First Day Sabbath with his disciples, after he was risen from the dead, Jn.20:19; as God ceased from the works of Creation and entered into Rest, or a Sabbath, upon the Seventh Day; by the same patterns and after the same manner, will it be in the end of our labour in the Lord, I Cor. 15:58; to wit, when the Great Week is ended, and all the saints have done their weekly toil, then comes the great keeping of a Sabbath in that Rest which remaineth for the people of God. Heb. 4:9. And how shall we enter into it? Why, as God entered into his rest, and as Christ entered into his rest. 1. As God entered into his rest at the end of six days work, so we shall enter into our rest at the end of the Great Week, the Millenary Week, after all the saints in all ages have finished their six thousand years of labour. 2. As Christ entered into his rest on the morning of the Sabbath by rising from the dead, after finishing his work, Jn.19:30, so we shall enter into his rest who have the promise made us, Heb. 4:1, when we rise from the dead in the morning of the latter day, or very early on the last Sabbath to be enjoyed in time; and then we shall be all Seventh Day’s Men, when the date of our First Day is ended, and the latter Sabbath is fully come. This glorious rest now is so far from being proposed, as the offer-plea urges on the behalf of the Heavenly Canaan, that it’s plainly made known in the Old Testament by a promise, compare Hebrews 4:1 with Genesis 17:8, which promise is made good under the New Testament in an earnest of the Promise by enjoying the blessings of the Sabbath, and shall be made good in the final culmination of all things at the Coming of Christ in the latter day. So that the good words being opened, which this writer has urged, his mask will be quickly taken off, and the Arminianism underneath disclosed, though I cannot warrant you, but some Anti-Kingdom Men may be offended at the Report of this Promise Rest.

Secondly. What a grand mistake is it to make an offer and a promise to be both one! As if Canaan of old was offered to Israel and so the promise was to be overlooked. Yet ‘tis called the land of promise, Heb.11:9, and not the land of proposal. If Canaan was not offered to them of old in the type, how can Heaven and Glory {supposing Canaan typified Heaven, which yet I have proved did not} be now offered in the preaching of the Gospel to sinners in the truth of the type?

Thirdly. Here is a woeful parcel of Arminianism sugared over. {“Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD.” Heb. 9:6.} To evince it I need only go over the parts. The Gospel {saith the offer-plea} proposes the heavenly Canaan to souls, in such sort as the earthly Canaan was proposed to the people of Israel, as to the nature of the proposal. Now the nature there of the proposal lay in a promise of Canaan to the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; also the nature of that promise lay in the terms of it. For strip it of the terms of the Canaan promise, and you strip it of the nature of the Canaan promise. Therefore it was a caution without any foundation for itself in this writer, to say, that I speak not of the terms, but of the nature of the proposal; for this is a plain Arminian gloss foisted in upon the place of the Hebrews, lest indeed we should harden the Arminians. {“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.” Lk. 2:34.} For as they call it terms, so we must put on something that apes the fashion, and colour over the whole Gospel of Christ in the nature of a proposal, and in such a nature too as supposes an offer of the land of Canaan. Zech. 10:2. Now, this confounds the Law and the Gospel state in a New Law, as the Arminians from the Papists do. For in the Law state they had no Grace or Strength given them from Sinai’s Law to be obedient to the Commandment in the wilderness, but they were only commanded to be obedient, and so enter the promise after their obedience, and were punished if they were not so, Psal. 78:21, both with an exclusion from Canaan, and with death in the wilderness. Well then, if Hebrews 4:1- 3, built upon chapter 3:18-19, {as made a type of Heaven} be supposed to speak of an offer of Heaven and Glory to us, in the nature of the transactions of God towards Israel, Isa. 24:5, you do therewith cut off all the Grace, Springs, Influences and Secret Causes of Gospel Faith and Obedience, and level our state with the Law, in point of all these, as the Arminians do. {“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Gal. 5:4.}

So, you likewise make the enjoyment of Heaven to depend as nearly upon the sinner’s acceptance of a proposal of Heaven in Faith and Obedience, as the enjoyment of the earthly Canaan depended upon what you call a proposal of Canaan to them upon their behaviour in the wilderness. For this was the very nature of their entering Canaan, viz., upon “ifs” and suppositions of personal obedience. {Note: Romans 4:24, “but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,” in which text the “if” is absolutely excluded by the original; so that Gospel blessings are not, as Canaan’s blessings were, upon any “ifs”, but are the sure mercies of David. Imputation of the righteousness of God depends upon no “if.” “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” II Cor. 1:20.} Hence their terms and your proposals are {in matters of the Gospel} grown out of one rank stalk of Arminianism.

More so, they all failed in the Wilderness after their coming out of the land of Egypt, except two, Num. 32:11, and never entered Canaan, so would thousands and ten thousands, and all under Heaven, miss of Heaven, if we and they were to enter Heaven, as the Israelites entered Canaan. For who is there that ever came up to acceptance upon the nature of a proposal, if you strip Heaven of the Pure Gift and the Deed of Settlement? The gift of God is eternal life, Rom. 6:23, and as for Grace whereby we are made meet for Heaven, Col. 1:12, it is as much the gift of God, as Heaven itself is the gift of God. If any desire to see those texts elsewhere cleared from the common mis- applications he may, if he hath my last book of the Glory of Christ Unveiled, consult its pages.

Plea #18. “The Gospel must be first preached, and the proposal of Christ made to the Jews, which they rejecting, it was then carried to the Gentiles.”

Reply. Preaching of the Gospel and proposing of the Gospel are two things very wide one from another, as this treatise hath shown enough. The Gospel must first be preached to the Jews, which did contain in it Eternal Life and Glory, because in preaching it to the Jews, there was among them an elect number, even a remnant, Rom. 9:27, to be laid hold on by the Gospel preached; but the Scriptures speak of no proposing of the Gospel to the Jews. This is a sort of Neonomian quill dipped in the Arminian ink, and cast abroad into nature’s blot, on purpose to amuse and confuse the people about the true preaching of the Gospel.

Plea #19. “Thus was the Commission, Luke 24:47.”

Reply. Let us read this Commission, for the words of the text are, “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” That the Gospel must be first preached to the Jews is so clear from this text that none can deny it; but that the Gospel therein must be at all proposed to the Jews appears not; for God stood not to the courtesy of any man or creature under Heaven, in his receiving the Gospel. Therefore in order to its acceptance, it would have been an inapt and unbecoming means for God to have proposed it to Jew or Gentile. On the other hand, the elect were to be conquered by it, Psal. 110:3, and to be conquered at Jerusalem; that the others seeing it might not be able to maintain their own doctrinal infidelity out of the Old Testament, and therein might have their sins ripened to their own destruction, as is plain by the Scriptures, in God’s hardening them under the Gospel and casting away the non-elect. {“Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Rom. 9:18.} And what is this Commission then to preach the Gospel in Christ’s name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem, to offers of Grace and proposals of Christ? Nothing! Oh, how powerfully did the preaching of the Gospel discriminate the elect from the non-elect at Jerusalem! It presently severed them into two companies. It broke their carnal union; but your offers accomplish nothing in a congregation, when you make them to blind sinners. No, sinners come, and sinners go as they come. Oh, but if we preached the Gospel as we should, they would very few of them come and go from time to time as we first found them all, all holding in a string to exalt self, instead of exalting the Lord alone. {“And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.” Isa. 2:17.} No, they would be divided into two companies, the comers unto a living Stone, “disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,” I Pet. 2:4, and the goers that went back, Jn.6:66, and walked no more with him. The Gospel would have some notable work upon them speedily; for there would be a true work which would break out into a clear work afterwards. The non-elect on the other hand, would growl, murmur, cavil and be gone and nestle under their silk and satin preachers, as they do sometimes here in this place after a morning’s trial of the Everlasting Gospel in the leaking times of Stourbridge Fair! Where perhaps the place, while a live coal is taken off the altar, Isa. 6:6, that just warms God’s children, and burns up some of their lusts in the forepart of the day, Isa. 4:4, is too hot to hold some other professors in an afternoon! Nay, I have seen some of them run out of the place, and have had no patience upon the points that give all the glory to God in Three Persons, and exalt the work of Conversion upon Election, Redemption and Regeneration! Now there must be some notable trial and discrimination of men by and under the preaching of the Gospel, Dan. 12:10, if it be right preaching and such as the Lord himself commissions us to and owns. Such a discrimination there was an Jerusalem, at Antioch, at Rome, &c., but now your un-commissioned offers cheat men, your proposals beget in them false conceptions of the freedom of the will, and leave them utter strangers to the influences of the Lord the Spirit through and under Imputed Righteousness. {“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” II Pet. 2:1.} You propose {their coming to Christ and going to Heaven} by such a nature of preaching, that they frame to themselves, {where they have never felt the power of corruption, nor have been in bondage under the Law,} an imagination of self strength to be going and doing under your doctrine, as easily, if they be not wanting to themselves, as they might take a place for London in the stagecoach. The truth is, till I was under greater convictions than Arminians generally are, I thought so too. Now the Scripture tells us, that as in water, face answers to face, so the heart of a man to man, Prov. 27:19, then, if these were my thoughts to hear men offering me Christ, why may I not believe that they are also many other men’s thoughts, when they hear you offer Christ and Grace to them? {“Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.” Deut. 27:18.} You may tell them perhaps that you don’t mean this, nor mean that, nor mean the other, nor would have them mistake you; yet they will mistake you, so long as you harp upon your offers and mistake yourselves.

Plea #20. “Thus it was meet it should be and necessary, Acts 13:46, but they to whom forgiveness was preached, verse 38, put it from them and judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life, verse 46, unto them first God sent his Son Jesus, viz., in the Gospel, Acts 3:26; and so was there here no tender of Christ? No offer of Grace or Salvation?”

Reply. It was meet that the Gospel should be first preached to the Jews, because they were in an elder church-state than the Gentiles. Isa. 54:1. And whether they would hear the doctrine or forbear the doctrine preached, {for it was no offer of Grace and Christ to them,} it was meet for the stopping of their mouths against the free dispensation to all sorts of sinners, that they should not be able to say that the dispensation of the Apostolic Doctrine was worse than the dispensation of Ezekiel’s, for he was to go and tell them the truth, though they were a rebellious house, whether they would hear, or whether they would forbear. Ezek. 2:7. So the same rebellious house which had killed the heir, Matt. 21:38, should be first told of it, and told of it too roundly through both their ears. If the Holy Ghost would open the event prosperously, and discover an Election of Grace amongst them, then this Gospel should lay hold of them in the virtue of the blood they shed; and if not, yet it should clearly discriminate them, by the very opposition to the Gospel they should be left to raise, and make it known to the Apostles that they were of the non-election whom God would cast away, Rom. 11:1,7, and show the Apostles their duty from whom they ought to turn unto the Gentiles, Acts 13:46; and so it was meet the Gospel should be first preached unto the seed to be cast off, Rom. 9:7, to clear the righteous way of God’s Dispensations in the Jews reflection.

Again, it was necessary; for without this discrimination of elect and non-elect by a powerful and effectual Gospel preached, to stumble the Jews and enlighten the Gentiles at Antioch, {which could not have been done by a proposed or offered Gospel,} there had been no way made for the Apostle’s clearly to reject the Jews, for some people must be rejected where the true Gospel comes in the unction of the Spirit. But if men will club together to accept of a Gospel upon their own agreed proposals, it must be another Gospel that everybody can easily agree upon before their eyes are opened, which is not the Gospel, for the Gospel of Christ cannot be so served. {“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel; which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Gal. 1:6-8.} Well, it was necessary according to the deep and wise counsel of God, Eph. 1:11, that the Apostles should first preach the Gospel to the Jews at Antioch in this 13th of the Acts, where I am opening the 46th verse, that the issue might be effectual and discriminating, in an orderly way, upon another sort of people, and so the Apostles might leave the rebellious Synagogue, and go amongst the Gentiles. {“The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever.” Psal. 33:11.} And as this was the foundation of that famous church in Antioch, the Cornerstone being laid in when the Jews had stumbled thereat, it was after the same manner in other parts of the world. {“Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” I Pet. 2:6.} The elect Gentiles were not to receive the Gospel, and be taken into a church state, till the non-elect Jews had stumbled at Christ, Rom. 9:32, and rejected the Gospel in his Name. It is their fall brought about by the discriminant preaching of God’s Settlements and Christ’s Sufferings which stumbled them, and which hath also set in motion that Salvation in Christ, Rom. 11:11, upon the Gentile world. {“Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” Rom. 11:12.} But now wherein was it necessary that the Gospel should be first preached to the Jews by a company of cold offers? What would these have done? Would they have stumbled the Jews? In no wise! They would but have diverted them into a fit of laughter, and have made them look upon the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas, to have been a couple of clowns. Whereas a powerful opening of the Mystery of God in Christ, of which that sermon at Antioch consisted, {far enough from an offer of Grace,} presently stumbled them, that the counsel of God, as to election and non-election, touching Jew and Gentile, openly took effect. And why? Because they preached according to that doctrine of good old Simeon, “behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.” Lk. 2:34. Offers would have propagated a mixed Gospel, but these were Operations of the Holy Ghost which severed the wheat from the chaff, the elect from the non-elect, and preserved the pure Gospel entire. The Apostles were of a brave and faithful spirit; for they would not run in an old Adam’s mixture, Jn. 3:6, into a carnal composition in the nature of proposals, {one side abating, and the other side advancing,} such as hath since obtained, though it might have carnally united a mixed congregation, and hypocritically there at Antioch have comprehended both Jew and Gentile. {“But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.” II Cor. 1:18-19.} But they were brave and peremptory, such as if men are in any degree for Christ now, they are presently branded for schismaticks or breakers of churches. {“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Acts 13:46.} But how is that to be understood, you judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life? Not as sinners troubled in conscience, Psal. 88:14, but as adversaries engaged with displeasure against the Gospel, and so had made a judgment of themselves to the Apostles, how base and unworthy they were in the Apostles eyes to have the Gospel of Everlasting Life preached unto them again; inasmuch that by this plain and full discovery of the Jews, the Apostles saw it to be their duty to turn unto the Gentiles. {“But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” Acts 13:45.} Then as to that, Acts 3:26, “unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities;” here again is no offer of Christ, but a positive sending of Christ unto them in Effectual Grace.

For here is a blessing them in turning away every one of them from their iniquities. How is that? Why, every one of those three thousand souls, Acts 2:41, that had been converted in the former chapter, and were added to the number of the names which in the first chapter had been about one hundred and twenty, Acts 1:15; and these had been blessed in being turned away every one of them from their iniquities, according to Christ’s prayer for the elect part of them, Jn. 17:9, though they crucified him. And further, every one of those who should be found converted, as a fruit of it, in that next sermon in this third chapter of the Acts, which upon scrutiny made of their further number appears, Acts 4:4, to be about five thousand souls. {“And of Zion it shall be said, this and that man was born in her; and the highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.” Psal. 87:5-6.} Thus it’s plain, the same forgiveness prayed for in their behalf by Christ upon the cross, Lk. 23:34, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” was brought home unto them from Christ now upon the throne. So that it opens in blessing the elect, and in turning away every one of the elect from their iniquities. {“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” Micah 7:18-20.} And what is all this to an offer to bless? Or an offer to turn away every one of the elect from their iniquities? Or what is this to an offer of Grace to bless the non-elect sinners, who are never blessed? And a offer of Grace to turn away every one of the non-elect from their iniquities, when yet not one of them ever are, nor shall be turned away from them? {“Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins; whither I go, ye cannot come.” Jn. 8:21.} Oh, that all this might be as a sponge to wipe away all such offer-pleas from authors that would endorse the same, and to give future additions of the churches writings in a fairer copy; and again, as a sponge upon paper to blot out all these Nonconformist offers.

Plea #21. “This same slighted Gospel was brought to the Gentiles, Acts 28:28, so that if it were an offer of Christ to them, it is so to us.”

Reply. Very good! It was brought to the Gentiles, and then the reverse of this plea will make the answer; that if it were not an offer of Christ to them, then it is not so to us. Now to the place, for the words of the text are, “be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” Is there anything here that looks like an offer of Salvation to the Gentiles among all this? Let us examine the matter. This is positively called the Salvation of God which should go to the Gentiles, whereas under a latitude of expression at verse 23, it is called the kingdom of God, Lk. 17:21, which concerned elect and non-elect, subject and rebel too, as it came unto the Jews, according to what I have distinguished in Doctrine and Salvation, in some of the fore-parts of this treatise. And yet when it is styled the kingdom of God there at verse 23 to the Jews, it’s said of it in Paul’s ministry, that he expounded and testified, and not that he proposed, offered or tendered the kingdom of God. But here is no such thing; and then when it goes higher, even to the elect, it’s accompanied with a merciful and effectual Operation, and is called the Salvation of God. This Salvation of God is sent, and is never offered. If a lord sends his coach to fetch home his children, doth he offer his coach? No, for this would be to a stranger, but it cannot be so to his children; and neither doth Christ offer his chariot, but sends it, paved with love, to bring home the elect daughters of Jerusalem. The Gospel is our message, not our proposal; it is God’s Operation and none of our offer; for all to whom the Gospel is sent will hear it. Will hear it? How? With free will or with a freed will? It must be one or the other. If it be free will, then men it seems must be supposed all of a piece who talk of their offers, for they show us professedly where they had them, even under the standard of Arminius. If with a freed will, then it’s done by Operation, and not by offers. For God doth not free the will by an offer of Grace, but by an Operation of Grace. Let me then preach home the points of Grace, as they lie in God’s hands, and not wander into a parcel of offers that lie in creature bounds. {“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” Heb. 8:10.}

Plea #22. “Where the issue is either choosing or refusing a proposed advantage or benefit, there is always an offer.”

Reply. The Truths of the Gospel are to be preached first of all absolutely, as matters of God’s Glory. Besides, how can we think that the advantage and benefit of the creature can rise up separately? The truth of the doctrine, because it belongs to the kingdom of God, should be argued, opened, witnessed and inculcated to a persuasion of the notion and report of it, if possible, whether it rebounds to the saving advantage and benefit of the person, or not. On supposition of benefit to the elect, if there was a closing with the heart by the power of Christ, before there was any closing with Christ by a choosing the benefit; then it is plain that the benefit was not proposed, but applied by means of preaching, and so in bringing home of the benefit by the Holy Ghost there was no offer. {“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Rom. 1:16.}

Plea #23. “Some choose Christ, so Mary, as she had chosen that good part, which would not be taken away from her. Lk. 10:42.”

Reply. Mary chose not upon an offer, but upon a pursuit of God’s choice of Mary that took hold of her heart; and so it is in all who have a will freed from the bondage of corruption, and will hear Christ speaking in the Gospel. ‘Tis by no offer of Grace, that a man is born not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Jn. 1:13.

Plea #24. “Some refuse him, Lk. 19:27, so the Jews, and are accountable for so doing.”

Reply. They refused him not upon an offer of Salvation, for this is plain, but upon the devil’s sin that they would not be subject to Christ. Lk. 19:27. Christ’s enemies are the devil’s children, Jn. 8:44, and like their Father the devil, Jn. 8:41, do quarrel about dominion. The Jews would stoop to God, they pretended; but when it came to Christ, they cried out, “as for this fellow we know not from whence he is.” Jn. 9:29. It’s upon this refusal now that the text, Lk. 19:27, is discovered to be a law of dominion, and not an offer of Salvation. The kingdom of God to the non-elect is not Grace proposed, but dominion and subjection imposed, because they {the non-elect} are under the Law, and not under Grace. {“For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Rom. 6:14.} They disobey upon Christ’s right to govern, and will be crushed under the sceptre of the disobeyed Prince for their daring rebellion! Psal. 45:5. How is it then a refusing upon offers of Grace? He has propounded no such thing, for he was sent to none but the lost sheep, Matt. 15:24, and what had the dogs to do to fly upon the Shepherd? He will hang them up for their cursings. “Beware of dogs,” Phil. 3:2, says the Apostle.

Plea #25. “I contend not that ministers must use that exact form, ‘I tender or offer you Christ,’ but that the Gospel includes such a tender in the nature of it while Christ is preached.”

Reply. You may as well contend for the form, as practice the scope of it. If I have a warrant to practice the scope of an offer from the Scriptures, then offers are in the Scriptures, and I may contend for the form of them. Why should not a minister of Christ contend for that form which the Gospel includes in the nature thereof, while Christ is preached? Here’s either giving up the cause or betraying it. The form of an offer is less than the nature of an offer; sure then if the Gospel included the nature of it, the minister of the Gospel should contend for the form of it, because it would then be the form of sound words, II Tim. 1:13, which a man ought to hold fast. This discovers the offer to be an anti-evangelical cheat, in that ministers need not contend for that form of the Gospel, which yet the nature of the Gospel includes.

Plea #26. “God will have it told to his elect and to others who his Son is, and what he has done; and now {saith he} soul, is he worth thy accepting. See what thou wilt say, and they all practically return some answer.”

Reply. It is granted, that it’s far better in this writer to bring in the elect here, than to despise Election with a trifle, or to say it’s insignificant, as in the third plea, to suppose the elect may not, or that others besides them may be saved, when we abstract from the consideration of hearers, children and servants, the point concerning them as elect, though we pray for the conversion of them. For without doubt, that must carry with it a very great contradiction, which abstracts Election from persons in our praying for them, Jn. 17:9, and yet doth pronounce an Election of them in our preaching to them, in order to their conversion. I have all along owned and proved that the doctrine of Christ is to be preached to the others, if by the others you mean, as the Holy Ghost doth, the rest, Rom. 11:7, which hear that doctrine and are blinded. What is this preaching the doctrine of Christ to the rest, to a proposing of Christ to those others {besides the elect} for acceptance unto Salvation? How will that conclusion hold from Gospel premises? {“Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I.” Isa. 52:6.} Furthermore, it is an ill drawing up forms of proposals for God, and then building our confidence in the fact that God will stand to those forms, and convert sinners to his Son by them.

Plea #27. “But the business is, some are left to their own choice, and they are sure to refuse Christ; whilst others are determined by Divine Grace, and enabled by Divine Power in a day of power to choose him.”

Reply. There’s enough in this, for let men keep close to this preaching, and not crack with the times; for though they be earthen vessels, II Cor. 4:7, yet they’ll carry such treasure in them as will null all the offer doctrine. Herein Father, Son and Holy Ghost are exalted in their Councils and Operations. Let not men now be weary of well doing, Gal .6:9, deny matter of fact, and undo all again.

Plea #28. “But God will make men see what is in men, for we have nothing to do to discern or distinguish vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy in preaching Christ to men, and that preaching is proposing, and that is in effect an offer of Grace.”

Reply. Oh, in and out! Have we nothing to do to discern or distinguish vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy, Rom. 9:22-23, in preaching Christ to men? Then how could this writer say before that some are left to their own choice, and they are sure to refuse Christ? These are the vessels of wrath distinctly; so that is not here a plain discerning and distinguishing of the vessels of wrath from the vessels of mercy? Again, how could this writer say that others are determined by Divine Grace, and enabled by Divine Power in a day of power to choose Christ? We know of no discerning or distinguishing of the vessels of mercy but what is of the same piece of Free Grace with the aforesaid concession. What a strange contradiction do these two pleas hold forth one against another! How dangerous and anti-evangelical is the assertion in itself, that we have nothing to do to discern or distinguish vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy in preaching Christ to men! We are to discern the doctrine in our preaching, and eye it to give God the glory of our labours. Otherwise what means those texts, “but if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost,” II Cor. 4:3, “but ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me,” Jn. 10:26-27, “to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life,” II Cor. 2:16, “though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved,” Rom. 9:27, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” Matt. 15:24, “he that is of God heareth God’s words; ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God,” Jn. 8:47, “so then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy,” Rom. 9:16, “therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth,” Rom. 9:18, “for many be called, but few chosen,” Matt. 20:16, &c.

If we preach the doctrine of Christ right, we shall soon discern the two companies severed by this, the vessels of wrath and the vessels of mercy. And we may be confident that offers are none of the right doctrine, because they plead contrary to a discerning and a distinguishing of the elect and the rest. And this is quite against the strain of the Scriptures too. See Acts 13:48, “and when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” “Disposed to eternal life, and so found in a good temper and disposition to be wrought on,” as erroneously suggested by your oracle Limborch. But I answer, that can never be the meaning of the word “ordained” there in the Acts, because this word used in other texts is {radically} quite of another signification. I’ll instance but in one place, viz., Rom. 13:1, “the powers that be are ordained of God.” What is that? Disposed of God? And so wrought to become the powers, being found in a good disposition towards it? Where then would the right of Monarchy quickly be, Isa. 49:23, if a Republican usurper should be disposed to set up a Commonwealth against it? Which for the honour of Christ’s monarchy in the Person of God’s Son, Isa. 9:6, Isa. 33:22, the Lord forbid should ever come to pass in Great Britain! Furthermore, Christ saith of men that “you shall know them by their fruits,” Matt. 7:16, as to say that grapes shall be discerned from thorns, figs shall be distinguished from thistles. Now thorns and thistles, Heb. 6:8, which bring forth their prickles by the same influences of earth, rain and sun, which cause vines to bring forth their grapes, are such as elsewhere are called vessels of wrath, II Tim. 2:20; and grapes and figs which are brought forth upon their proper branches, while the same influences that produced them work hurtful effects in others, Isa. 32:13, are called elsewhere vessels of mercy, in opposition to the said vessels of wrath. So that I may say of the doctrine in the plea to the writers who stand by it, as the Apostle said to the Galatians, cometh this persuasion of him that calleth you? Gal. 5:8.

Plea #29. “Now this answers God’s end, even the discovery of what is in men, and rendering them inexcusable, as all shall be; but not all necessarily under greater condemnation by the Gospel, but so far as it is doctrinally and professedly embraced and encouraged, it will be an extenuation of sin and misery, which you also think, and which smiles on this doctrine of the Gospel containing an offer of Christ-Man.”

Reply. It is the Holy Ghost who uses God’s means which discovers God end. {“He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” Jn. 16:14.} The Lord’s means I have proved are preaching of the Gospel home to the elect; and it’s this only that discovers what is in men. Offers never make any discovery of men further then what is consistent with an un-renewed nature and hypocrite. {“But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.” Jer. 23:22.} The Scripture declares that that which leaves men without apology, or without excuse, Rom. 1:20, is sinning against the light of nature, and not refusing tenders of Salvation. The phrase hath nothing to do here, according to the wisdom of the Spirit, but is altogether misapplied, as if all shall be inexcusable for not having an interest in Christ, because you have proffered them an interest under this dark preaching. {“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come.” Jn. 16:13.} It is against the light of nature in reason, Acts 5:38,39, to hate, persecute, disturb and revile the open effects of the power of the Gospel, and under doctrinal discoveries of the power of that light, still to cleave to man’s own dark way, and serve the Lord not as he is God revealed, nor regard to glorify God according to those open doctrinal discoveries, which men’s own judgments are professedly convinced of, Rom. 1:21, touching the first foundation of the Christian Religion, as to the Divine Essence of God and his Gracious Operations, but to serve him with mixtures of men’s own devices, though he is a Pure and Un-Mixed Being, Jn. 4:24, having no glory but his own within himself, and his Grace so far from composition, that it is the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ. II Cor. 11:3. To do thus now is against the light of reason, and reason is the light of nature, assisted by the checks of conscience. Rom. 2:15. Then to hate all of those faithful who will not by open and professed mixtures do so too, is against the light of reason or nature in its creature dependence upon God, and so brings men necessarily under greater damnation where the Gospel comes, not as it comes amongst Christ-less men, but as the Christ-less men oppose it. {“And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Matt. 21:44.} This is that which renders men without excuse; this also increases it, that they will not have the King to teach them by his Holy Spirit, how to glorify and serve the Lord as Supreme God in Christ. But now you come with your offers, and proffer men an interest in Christ if they will accept him. You’ll pretend to proffer an everlasting possession in Christ, but only if sinners will accept him. Wherein doth your offer here fall short of the offer of Arminius, or the conditional offer of the Neonomians? The truth of it is, in offers of Grace their principles are all of a consistent piece, but your offers of Grace are no more of one piece than a rope of sand!

Plea #30. “It is as to the elect not an offer barely, and left there, and they left to themselves as it is with others, but when Christ is tendered to them in an outward administration, he is given to them by a positive work, an inward Revelation and Operation of the Holy Ghost.”

Reply. The outward administration is a contradiction to an offer at all, for the outward administration is God’s positive outward work, as the God of Grace, in conveying the doctrine and sounding of the trumpet, I Cor. 14:8, which makes preachers labourers together in faithfully proclaiming the truth of Christ. For in the outward conveyance of the Gospel from the mouth of the speaker to the ear of the hearer, they are at the outer gate of knowledge, the Spirit within, still further as the God of Grace, takes up the word by an inward positive work that answers to the outward; and so by an inward Revelation in Operation of the Holy Ghost, Gal. 1:16, he then distinguishes the elect from the non-elect, to whose ears only he had conveyed the sound of the Gospel, as the Sovereign God, and had there left it. Yet still this is done without offers of Grace and tenders of Salvation. The Lord goes not so far towards the non-elect, Matt. 15:26; and again, he comes not so short to the elect of God; for though the preacher doth not discern who the elect individually be, and who they be not, yet the Holy Ghost doth, both in his outward and in his inward work. {“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his.” II Tim. 2:19.}

Plea #31. “At the same time God saith, here is my Son, soul, wilt thou have him? He also saith, here he is, thou shalt have him, and bows the will to choose him. Then he owns that choice, Mary hath chosen, &c., though it’s altogether of God.”

Reply. I find nothing like such a question to the elect of God {of whom the writer speaks} in all the Holy Scripture. I am certain that all the texts which in this matter are to the purpose, and speak in the language of Effectual Grace, do prove that God puts no such question, nor makes any such proposal to the elect, but that the Lord works all his Grace positively in them by making them willing, and not putting the question, Mic. 5:7, whether they are willing, or not. That which is made an amplification of the matter, “he also saith here is my Son thou shalt have him, and bows the will to choose him,” ought to have been laid down only as a restriction of the matter, that he only saith thus, and bows the heart upon it in the day of Christ’s power. {“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:17. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Psal. 110:3.} We read of no offers upon which Mary chose. {“O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame?” Psal. 4:2.} Mary chose upon a discovery of Grace, Lk. 10:42, not a proposal, but upon an effectual Operation of the Spirit, and upon no offer whatsoever. The Lord broke in with that good part upon her soul, whereby in the views she had of Christ Person and Doctrine, she saw it better to sit at Christ’s feet, Lk. 10:39, and to hear his word, than to be cooking with her sister Martha in the kitchen. Martha saw not what her sister did behold, and so chose according to her other sight of reason, she thinking that dinner might be spoiled if she herself did not look after it, &c. It was Preventing and Effectual Grace which took hold of Mary, Isa. 65:1, out of which Preventing Grace she chose, and that act of choice the Lord owned in her own personal making it, because she did it as a child of electing love, Rom. 9:13, and because he loved her as a one of his own. Even as when a little child of ours hath done anything through a great deal of assistance to bring the child to it, yet anyone of us that’s a parent of the child, {and it’s a because we love our offspring, and are for encouraging the child,} own it all as upon the child’s score, and say now my child hath done it!

Plea #32. “We have no hope nor aim to save the non-elect.”

Reply. When men are driven to it, then they confess this; whereas still the drift of their preaching speaks another thing {so wide is it from truth} in God’s sight, and in common apprehensions. If it was not so, why is the Gospel ordinarily preached among you with no more visible discrimination? {“For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.” Isa. 32:6.} Why are the elect so seldom insisted on by men who speak so much of offers, unless when they are driven to some apology, some self- defence in their way of preaching the Gospel? Why should the Epistles be so full of distinguishing doctrine, {to a distinguished and elect group of people; namely, the saints in Christ, II Pet. 1:2, I Cor. 1:3, Phil. 1:2, &c.,} and our sermons and praying commonly so empty thereof? This is no sign that we have no hope nor aim to save the non-elect. For my own part, I profess to the glory of God the Father through Jesus Christ by his own good Spirit, that neither my soul nor ministry grew in the Lord, Acts 19:20, until the Lord the Spirit brought me on without fear, and under distinct discernings of the Gospel, to adhere firmly unto that doctrine which maketh a man to differ. I Cor. 4:7.

Plea #33. “But we use all means of God’s appointing that the elect may obtain the Salvation which is in Christ, viz., already wrought, among which I reckon the preaching, proposing and tendering of Christ freely.”

Reply. God hath appointed the preaching of Christ freely as a deliverance to the captives. {“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Lk. 4:18-19.} But to propose and tender Christ freely to sinful and enslaved captives, as all are by nature, Eccl. 7:29, and to offer Christ freely to them, in order to their deliverance, is a thing altogether of a man’s free devising, and not of God’s free appointing. {“For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me; and many such things are with him.” Job 23:14.} Oh, if you knew how to preach as you ought from Isa. 49:9-10, 42:6-7 & 45:13, you would never offer Christ anymore, nor expect to see captives in sin released out of the condition they are in by such empty proposals. The Holy Ghost slights this means, for it is none of the way he blesses, I Sam. 12:21, to tender the Gospel to them that are bound. Surely, if your souls had been in bondage so long as I have been, before I received the gracious Spirit of Adoption, Rom. 8:15, you would never stand up thus for these useless offers, and proposals which gendereth to bondage. Though I confess that the heart is deceitful here too. Jer. 17:9. I remember some years ago I visited a minister in despair, and knowing that his way in the pulpit had been to run upon proposals, and make the offer to sinners, I asked him what he thought of it now? Oh, says he, all is wrong! Why then said I, what think you of God’s power exerted on the behalf of all such as look to Christ exclusively for the entirety of their Salvation? Ah, he could speak nothing but of the power of God’s wrath against him! However, God raised up that bruised reed again, but instead of magnifying God’s Grace in Christ, he fell to his old way of proposals again, and never that I could hear, exalted the power of God in the conversion of the elect, but sunk into the conditions, terms and offers of the Gospel as a New Law where I could never yet see the Holy Ghost follow men. {“Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked everyone in the imagination of their evil heart; therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not.” Jer. 11:8.} And as to the instance of this nature so well-known at hand, I am bound in duty to Christ, and conscience, no longer to smother it. {The sad fruits of ministers who preach notions, but evermore neglect to preach the Gospel of Christ.} The Salters Hall people have laid out abundance of their money now for ten years together, and under a succession of near twenty ministers they have provided and sent down to Cambridge, {though it may be that many lately have become weary of it,} to uphold a parcel of Divinity at Green Street, which both this treatise and another {far larger} hath overthrown. What has been the issue? Why, we who have lived all along upon the spot do not hear of one miserable soul that hath been so much as awakened under their strange admixture of Law and Gospel, much less brought to Christ after all. Whereas, if there had been known to be a thorough experience of the work of Grace upon the heart, as has been known, felt and confessed by hundreds, under the contrary Doctrine of Christ in the room of conditions, terms and proffers, then it had been also known that the Holy Ghost had owned the undertaking of the men above, Jer. 23:21, and of the doctrine they have sent below, and that God had prospered the word in that place, Acts 12:24, as he has done in many places elsewhere!

Plea #34. “When I offer Christ to all within the sound {here’s Christ dear souls, a sweet Saviour, whosoever thirsts come and drink} I firmly believe Election, as to keep it in mine eye, knowing that as many as are ordained to eternal life shall close with this tendered Jesus, not as merely an offer, but as the gift of the Father, and no more.”

Reply. Then why don’t you preach Holy Spirit Regeneration, Effectual Calling in the Workmanship of God in a passive work, Irresistible Grace that conquers the will, and the rest of the Operations of God in the Power of the Holy Ghost, which are all of one piece of Pure Grace with Election? Why do you keep so good a thing in your eye as Election, and so bad a thing in your mouths, as that doctrine which hath nothing to do with it, Rev. 22:17, as I have shown in the last chapter, nor with the Holy Ghost’s honour in what men count the way of a soul’s Conversion to Christ? Again, who speaks most consistently, the Arminian and Neonomian, that talk of an offer to all within the sound upon the belief of a General Redemption to support it? Or the reputed Orthodox, who plead for the general offer of Salvation to sinners upon their professing of a Particular Redemption by the Free Grace of God, through the blood of Christ? Surely one would think that this nonsense had a greater tendency to harden the Arminians, than something else hath to harden them, which was objected to before. What Arminian of them all will not say that he firmly believes Election too, {such,} an Election as seems to be here laid down, that to free it of absurdity, is consistent with an offer of Christ to all within the sound? Judge of this particular man, whoever he is, by his words, that he has openly set his bias towards the Arminian ground, though he professes himself to be on the other side of the Calvinists at delivering it. Neither is he alone, but hundreds more join him; nor can mine be a greater opposition to him in the principle, than it is to hundreds more in the same matter.

Plea #35. “I steadfastly believe Particular Grace, and lodged in the Holy Ghost’s hands to bestow it on none but the elect. Nor is the tendering of Christ any contradiction here too, any more than the preaching of Christ to all.”

Reply. We may steadfastly believe more than we closely practice. We may receive that truth in our understanding, about which we may be such prudential cowards, Jonah 1:3, as that we will not preach it, if we can well avoid it, and divert to a more agreeing subject. Jer. 14:14. I am afraid we have too many of us that are guilty of this, who scarce ever preach to the full of our light, Jer. 1:6-7, and a steadfast belief within ourselves of that to be true in the Gospel of Christ, which we dare not utter. There is never a minister of Christ in the world that grows in his soul, but he’ll find temptations enough to check him in his duty, under the soft and deceitful charm that he do not go too far. So if a man be resolved to offer Salvation to all within the sound, he must resolve likewise, unless his prudential auditory agree not to put him to the blush, conceal upon the housetops, Lk. 12:3, his steadfast belief of Particular Grace. For should he insist upon such a contradiction, the rational part of the auditory must in charity conclude he had overspent himself, awakened to some disorder, or mislaid his notes!

Plea #36. “Seeing the Gospel, as preaching, in the very nature of it, carries all we mean by an offer, viz., a setting forth or proposing of Christ for acceptance, where nevertheless Grace determines to that acceptance.”

Reply. This hath been answered enough throughout the second chapter, that the nature of preaching the Gospel lies not in an offer of Grace, and that the Gospel carries nothing like it in the nature thereof, nor in the preaching thereof, as preaching according to the mind of the Holy Spirit. I need only to observe here, that though they professed to mean nothing else by an offer except preaching, yet they do palpably utter a thing very alien from preaching the Gospel; and that the proposing of Christ for acceptance is so contrary to the nature of the Gospel that it hath been plenteously disproved in this treatise. Furthermore, that Grace never determines upon any proposal, has been likewise proved in the third chapter of this book against offers, wherein is shown that proposals are not the Holy Ghost’s external way and means of determining the heart to a saving acknowledgment of Christ in the Gospel.

Plea#37. “Nevertheless preachers may carry this offering of Christ and tendering of Christ too far, as when they seem to lay all there, and carry it to three extremes. For I confess: 1. That the offer of something equally to many among men seems to imply that the heart of the Lord who offers is equally affected towards those many. 2. Where some act required should determine the possession or enjoyment to one rather than another of those many, the offer seems to be properly conditional, and the thing offered not absolutely a gift. 3. The offer or tender of somewhat to men’s acceptance seems to imply that the person’s to whom the offer is made has power to accept, and that it is of their own will that they do so. If the Gospel therefore is an offer after this sort, the first brings in Universal Grace, the second brings in a Covenant of Works, and the third brings in Free Will. An Arminian need desire no more, but none of these things are necessarily implied in the nature of offers, nor are owned by the Orthodox who use this term.”

Reply. It is too far to go one step out of God the Spirit’s way. {“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Gal. 5:25.} When we are dealing with men about their souls, we should be exalting of God the Spirit’s work in all the new creature acts, instead of setting out offers to justify men’s own practices, they are to set forth the glorious operations of the third Person of God, to pull down the creature, and exalt the Lord alone. {“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Lk. 14:11.} If preachers do not lay all upon offers, they still lay more than God hath laid, if they lay anything at all, and that hath appeared enough out of the Scriptures brought forth. The Arminian offers founded in Universal Grace and Free Will, together with the Neonomian offers founded upon Conditions do give being to all other sorts of offers. Whatever it be, other sorts of men having far less learning and cunning to manage them than Arminians have had, do most injuriously expose themselves, and amuse the common sort of people, by calling their new offers evangelical offers, ministerial offers, free offers, effectual offers, obligatory offers, etc., all true but disguised daughters of one and the same mother Arminianism. Nevertheless in all these, because men have departed out of the Holy Ghost’s way they would fain make people believe it’s no such thing, but that their steps have been just, orthodox and gospel-like.

Plea #38. “Here then is the mind that hath wisdom to keep the defined order of the Gospel, and a just balance in preaching the divers, but not contrary doctrines of the Gospel. So may we be guided by Christ’s unerring Spirit.”

Reply. Here then is a very great fallacy, and not the mind that has honesty, nor wisdom neither, in predicating contrary doctrines of the Gospel. For doctrines may be contrary to the Gospel, but none that are contrary are doctrines of the Gospel. Again, suppose it to be spoken of things contrary to the Gospel, as Arminianism and offers are, how can there be a defined order of the Gospel and a balance between these? For the nearer it comes to what is contrary to the Gospel to make your defined order, the further you depart from the Gospel. {“A false balance is abomination to the LORD; but a just weight is his delight.” Prov. 11:1.} For the Gospel, after all this unwary choice of a medium, lies in an Absolute extreme to what is contrary thereunto, and not in a medium, though you sugar it over with a “defined order” between itself and that that’s none of itself; and so as to all the diverse doctrines of the Gospel, they are all of one piece of Sovereign Grace. But the misery is, that few men see either the nature or place of what is revealed and instituted in things that concern the Gospel, and to serve the Gospel; which yet is no diverse doctrine of the Gospel, but to be kept still distinct therefrom. The Good Lord teach us all by his Holy Spirit, and lead us more into the mind of Christ in every separate Congregation; and then it may be said, lo, here is the mind that hath wisdom to preach by the defined order of the Gospel, let man’s own wisdom from beneath call it what he will; and let the Holy Ghost be exalted on the bottom of the Father’s works, and on Christ’s works in all the power of God, throughout the whole works of Application, and this will be a just balance of the honour, according to the scales of the Sanctuary, equally due to all the Three Persons in One God, beheld, worshipped and possessed in Jesus Christ. And herein shall all men that are Christ’s disciples indeed, see that we are guided by Christ’s unerring Spirit. {“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Jn. 8:31-32.} For the Spirit depends not upon the mind of man that hath wisdom, but the mind of man that hath wisdom depends upon the unerring Spirit. “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. 22:20.

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)