Having handled the matter of this treatise through the Father’s Donation of Christ, and through the Spirit’s Operation with Christ, I have beaten down, as an instrument in the Lord’s hand, the minister’s dishonourable oblation of Christ. The substance hath been to show, that whilst an offerer of Christ preaches Christ {as he calls it} immediately for acceptance, a faithful steward of the mysteries of Christ {not handling the word of God deceitfully, but workmen like, II Cor. 4:2,} preaches Christ first of all in the Father’s preparations, next in the Son’s procurements, and last of all, under the same communications of the anointing, he preaches Christ in the Spirit’s principles to discern and receive him. I now therefore come to some brief account of the invitation of sinners to come to Christ.

Plea#1. “I find that you do not so express about the Invitation of sinners to Christ; but surely an Invitation of sinners to Christ stands or falls with the former about offers of Christ. So I have learned from, II Cor. 5:18-20, that there are two parts of a minister’s work. 1. A declaration concerning what God and Christ have done in reconciliation made by Christ, verses 18 & 19. 2. An invitation and earnest exhortation to accept it, verse 20, it is the ministry committed to them before they preached to the Corinthians, and which had been their work in preaching to them, whereof he puts them in mind; as though God did beseech you by us {as for instance while we speak to you} be you reconciled to God. This is your work and message, thus to sinners.”

Reply. Since I have learned Christ, Eph. 4:20, I have never understood that that place, II Cor.5:18-19, was an exhortation to sinners, distinct from Saints and apart from the New Born. I’ve never took it since Conversion, I Jn. 2:20, to be spoken of the elect’s first coming to Christ, or of their coming to Christ as a Priest in his Righteousness and Blood, to receive the atonement. {“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Rom. 5:11.} Indeed before my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, Eph. 3:3, {for this was the ground of my Conversion to Christ} I had taken it so as others do, while they profess conversion to Christ, but through Free Grace rectifying the mistake, I now see to take it otherwise. My arguments are these.

First Argument: Though the first argument hath been laid down already, yet I’ll just here reinforce it. The words are spoken as part of the Epistle, and that under the same style, as it was directed in the salutation. But the style of salutation was not to sinners, as it was directed unto the Church of God at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia, I Cor. 1:2; whereas if this had been an Invitation of Grace to sinners, or an Invitation of Christ to men’s first coming unto Christ {who while invited were not yet Saints} then it would not have been to the purpose, to run it along thus without any difference in the style, as to say “us,” “he hath reconciled us,” and verse 21, “he hath made him to be sin for us.” No, for then he would have said here, as the Nonconformists do, if it had been right, “you sinners, come to Christ; you that are distinguished from us who are come to Christ already, do you lay hold, that it may be for you.” This is too much like a Nonconformists language on the text, but blessed be God there is no such language in the Corinthian chapter, nor anything of comparison like unto it that can come up to this peculiar doctrine.

Second Argument: The whole 18th and 19th verses are purely doctrinal, and Absolute doctrine too, as they are no invitation at all, as appears in the words, “and all things are of God who hath reconciled us, &c.” {“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Rom. 11:36.} The text being briefly opened, I shall take notice, that the minister’s work in the declaration part of it, as he calls it, is not only concerning what God and Christ have done in Reconciliation, but what God is principally in that work, even God in Christ, verse 19, and God distinct from Christ, verse 18, which yet is not at all minded in the plea. Further I observe, that the text doth not say only as the plea doth, that Reconciliation is made by Christ, but that God hath made it by Christ. God hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, verse 18, which is very distinct from a declaration concerning what God and Christ have done in Reconciliation made by Christ. For this latter touching declaration, though it be the whole of what is allowed us in the plea, is so short a note, that it’s exclusive of much of the Grace of God, and sets all upon the Redemption in Christ separately; whereas that Redemption in Christ depends entirely upon the Grace of God. {“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Eph. 1:7.} But to argue further that the 20th verse is no Invitation and Earnest Exhortation to accept of Christ in the sinner’s first reconciliation to him, consider the following.

Third Argument: What’s that? It’s earnest pleading or supplication, {“we pray you, &c.,”} at verse 20, for that’s no invitation or earnest exhortation to the doctrinal Reconciliation that God hath made by Christ; but it’s a secondary wooing of the Corinthians in godly jealousy, whom he had espoused as a chaste virgin to Christ, II Cor. 11:2, to be reconciled to Christ’s Orders in his house, as he was their Husband whom he had already espoused unto Himself. {“For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Isa. 54:5.} It’s no primary or initial wooing them, as if first of all {whilst poor beggars} they were courted to match with Christ and his Righteousness. And this argument suits with the other two already given.

Fourth Argument: These Corinthians were very disloyal to their Husband-King. They were not come clean out from occasional conformity with the pagan world, as is clearly manifest in this Epistle. II Cor. 6:15-18. {“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness; and what communion hath light with darkness?” II Cor. 6:14.} Now as they had corrupted the Lord’s Table, even the Lord’s Supper in the former epistle, I Cor. 11:30, so he writes to them that they might be ashamed and mended here. As if he had said, “now saints, you see your relation, II Cor. 7:1, learn your duty; be reconciled to the King in the orders of his house. He will have it so and so. Don’t stand upon your own wills, nor set up your own unbecoming practices in the profession of the Gospel of Christ, for this is nothing less than scandalous. What will become of the credit of the Gospel, &c.?” {Some no doubt in the Church of God at Corinth thought Paul an arbitrary man because he stood up so much for Church Order.} Now if we take it thus, it all opens of one piece of Grace, for here is no bias towards the Arminian side. The Gospel and the Government of the Gospel must be coupled, though the loops are first made in the new creature, II Cor. 5:17, to tack these two together in the Church of God. Moreover, we find that all of us by nature, though it be of us saints who have tastes of God’s love and mercy in Christ, if it be whilst we are left alone in our own spirit, are ready to grow secure, carnal, presumptuous and disobedient. We are not always so ready and forward as we should be for strictness in church order and holy walking, to adorn the Gospel and the Doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, Tit. 2:10, even in the out-workings of our profession. Now the Apostle here labours to reform a fault in the Corinthians that’s very rise amongst us, namely, contempt of church order, II Cor. 12:20-21; as much as to say, the Spirit hath done so and so to make you saints in the inner-workings of Regenerating Grace, in the new creature; he hath enlightened your understandings, purged your consciences, renewed your hearts, drawn your wills, sanctified your affections in the main; now upon this bottom of Grace be more strict and conscientious in all the out-workings of a life devoted and consecrated to Christ. Thus it was with godly Paul and godly Timothy, II Thes. 2:10-12, they would not allow looseness, nor breach of Church Order in church members, II Cor. 13:2,10; they would not bear to see them walk inconsistently with their church relation, as espoused unto Christ, II Cor. 11:2, their Husband. But alas! It’s otherwise now in a great measure, as the strictness of Gospel Government in the duty of church watchfulness are sinfully laid down, and remitted by looser times. Ministers give grains of allowances to the conversations of their people, and take grains of allowances in conversation to themselves. So some of the people did in Corinth, and among the saints in Achaia, though they had a Paul and a Timothy of Gospel Order and Strictness to watch over them. And they were not fully reconciled to the Sceptre of Christ in Government, even whilst they were reconciled by Grace to be saved by his blood alone. Now say Paul and Timothy in those matters, “we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

Fifth Argument: These servants of Christ, Paul and Timothy, plead with the Corinthians on the behalf of Christ as they were ambassadors, and employed by Christ as King; and therefore his beseeching them at the 20th verse to be reconciled to God, was to God in his Constitution of Christ to be their King, Head and Husband, Psal.2:6; Christ having received all this Power, Honour and Glory of God for the Church. Jn. 5:22-23. {“His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isa. 9:6-7.} A lesson it should seem the Corinthians were slow to learn {search the marginal texts in the last argument} and reluctant to fully bow to, though they were saints; that is, though they were already loved and washed from their sins in Christ’s own blood. Rev. 1:5. And we find it’s the same thing now, for are there not too many saints in the world, who are very much estranged from, and opposite unto Christ’s Government in the churches? Some are in the world, and not embodied in the churches at all; some are in the churches under a Corinthian looseness, as if they were in the world; and do choose rather to live without the yoke of Christ, Matt. 11:29-30, than to live under it. These still in the main, “as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves,” Isa. 6:13, having God’s Grace in and through Christ at the bottom, {which though it secures them from sinning the devil’s sin which is unpardonable, I Jn. 3:6-9,} must be exhorted to fall under the Governmental Reign of Grace through Christ in the Assemblies of the saints. That is, to bow to Christ’s Absolute Sceptre, and live more strictly than ever they have done, both in the churches and in their private conversations. I Pet. 2:12. And indeed under the Spirit of Christ this is the sweetest way of living. {“How sweet are thy words unto my taste; yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psal. 119:103.} It’s made so, it’s found so, I have found it so through Grace, let them talk what they will. Now ministerial exhortations of saints to be reconciled to God in the taking up of Christ’s yoke, is quite a distinct consideration from any first conversion to Christ. Ministers therefore do make a woeful mistake upon this 20th verse, and carry on their work very inconsistently, when they make the meaning of it to be an invitation of sinners, as sinners, to come to Christ. For let them consider, are they ambassadors from the King of saints? Why then, they are not sent ambassadors to treat with rebels, but to treat with children who are constituted in the Everlasting Covenant between God and Christ; and so ambassadors are sent to treat with them from the Great King, that they may all come into the grand alliance against the devil and the world, and be openly made unto our God kings, by becoming subjects unto Christ. The words then are a plain obsecration of his ambassadors; their beseeching of the saints to submit to Christ, to be reconciled to God in him, and be ruled by Christ according to the law of their espousals unto this Lord and Husband. And what’s all this saint’s duty of practical reconciliation to the sceptre, {I would ask} to prove a sinners invitation to accept of that Grace of doctrinal reconciliation which God hath made by Jesus Christ, as the plea hath urged out of this text?

Plea#2. “Another part of the application is to believers, chapter 6:1, that you receive not the Grace of God in vain.”

Reply: It is plain in the face of all the foregoing light, to him that doth not shut his eyes, Jn.3:19, that the object of the application is not changed, but is the same in this text, II Cor.6:1, as it was in the former text, II Cor. 5:20. They were the same persons before as here, and they are the same persons here as before. The application to the subject is all one part and one piece. And oh, that it would teach us indeed to make our applications so too, and not so wandering, dead, and formal {under the blinded notion of an invitation of sinners to come to Christ} as our vain and degenerate customs have rendered them, Jer. 23:36; and then we might not receive the Grace of God so much in vain, as most preachers do, who, notwithstanding all they have been taught of it, pull down at one end, {exactly in the nature of these pleas,} what they have doctrinally built at the other end, II Cor. 1:18; and all through a wrong and unskilful way of application. {“The priests said not, where is the LORD; and they that handle the law knew me not; the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.” Jer. 2:8.”} And however the carnal part in the minds of some good men may be such as cannot yet stoop to a conviction in this matter, and may look upon all this to be too much exposing {as they have said} an invitation of sinners to come to Christ; yet the Lord keeps up the same thoughts of severity towards this way of the invitation {so notoriously crooked} as I have admonished to urge against it in my last book, and in other places of that work. {“Therefore thus saith the LORD, if thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me; and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth; let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.” Jer. 15:19.} For such a way, as appears by the taste of it already in those Corinthian texts, can never be made out to be according to the mind of Christ, but is very injurious to the Wise Revelation of Grace, in that the practical part is not managed according to the influential springs of Grace, Phil. 2:13, which flow from that Wise and Gracious Revelation; I mean the Revelation of God in Christ reconciling the world, II Cor. 5:19, even that whole world of sinners, I Jn. 2:2, unto Himself, for whom the propitiation was effected. A whole world distinct from that other whole world which lies evermore in wickedness, I Jn. 5:19, and is a generation that is not washed, Prov. 30:12, from their filthiness. Now ministers may be sure, that God himself works not with us in our invitations, when we are so left as to go on contrary to God the Holy Ghost, Isa. 63:10, and therein do spoil his own work in the Holy Scriptures, in order to make ours hang together in the pulpit.

Plea#3. “Nor can I be persuaded but that, ‘come unto me, &c.,’ Matt. 11:28, is an invitation to saving faith; for he speaks to the multitudes, verse 7, whose legs had brought them to him. And why should it have a particular meaning here from all other ‘comings’ in the New Testament that are at all parallel? Coming is believing, Jn. 6:35; and besides, Christ proposes himself as a Saviour for soul-rest, and there lay his work and employment, and so it is therefore a suitable coming. Besides, the experience of many souls under their troubles and conflicts finding it a sweet invitation unto spiritual coming to, or believing on Christ, bears testimony to this sense. And doubtless it stands upon record for usefulness, as well as it might be so when spoken by Christ.”

Reply: This text hath been partly expounded in my other book, and was produced there as an invitation to no spiritual act, such as saving faith is, but to the natural and local act of coming to Christ, Jn. 3:19-21, when Christ should be gone to another place, and to a frequent or constant attending upon his ministry. It was to come to Christ, even out of their cities into the wilderness, in the ministry of his flesh, which coming and attendance had a promise of blessing {in an experimental rest made unto it} if they should come from principles of Divine Grace. I say on this supposition, or what you’ll call it, laid underneath, Christ speaks to the multitudes whose legs, while the Lord was in their cities, verse 1, had brought them to him. But what then? It is consistent enough to invite such as were present {out of curiosity} to come again another time and in another place out of principles of judgment. {“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” Jn. 8:31.} And as now they were building all their expectations of Rest and Salvation upon their Temple and its legal services, so they should come to one Greater than the Temple, Matt. 12:6, and make an exchange, expect that Rest and Salvation from Christ alone, Acts 4:12, and therein come and take up Christ’s Institutions, Lk. 14:26-27, from a principle of laying down all other things that be inconsistent with Him. To what hath been briefly hinted according to the former treatise, I will add a little more of what the Lord hath shown me, Isa. 43:21, by way of reply and answer to the foregoing plea. The “come” {as I’ve expounded upon Matt. 11:28,} hath no such particular meaning, as to say a singular interpretation here in this one instance, II Pet. 1:20, and not the same elsewhere, when it’s applied to a natural and local act from all other “comes” in the New Testament, I Cor. 2:13, but is parallel to the same meaning in divers other texts. Indeed sometimes “come” in the Evangelists must be interpreted to signify believing. I’ll produce some instances. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Jn. 6:44. Here coming to Christ must be believing on him with that kind of believing which is called saving faith, Heb. 10:39, because no man can exert or act it towards Christ, except he that is drawn by the Father to him. So, verse 45, “it is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me,” is likewise a place which plainly speaks of saving faith, for the like reason with the cause foregoing. Again, verse 65, “therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” This is a plain owning of coming to Christ to be believing upon him, Phil. 1:29, for still it insists upon the same cause. The place instanced in the plea is next, viz., Jn. 6:35, “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” This is expressly called believing, {in the next words,} so we cannot doubt of the sense of the word to be used for saving faith here. And it’s the same below at verse 37, “all that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” For whatsoever faith is thus laid upon the Father’s gift must be spiritual and supernatural believing or saving faith. Lastly, we must allow it at Jn. 7:37, because it is so expounded in that contexture, “in the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” Here the Holy Ghost calleth coming unto Christ a believing on him. Therefore here they are one and the same thing, as the next verse proves, “he that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” But, verse 39, “this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.” {“For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.” Isa. 44:3.} It’s twice called believing, and it can be interpreted in no other sense; and besides these places I have brought forth, I scarce know another parallel for spiritual coming.

Nevertheless “come” is much oftener used in the New Testament of a natural and local act, than of a spiritual and mental act. How then hath the “come” in Matt. 11:28, a particular meaning there, if interpreted of a natural and local coming, from all other “comes” in the New Testament that are at all parallel? That is, which hath any relation or business belonging to men’s souls about Christ, though it doth now lie immediately in saving faith in the word “come”? Come then, let us examine the places which are already at hand, and see if “come” as interpreted in Matt. 11:28, of a natural and local act, hath no such parallel sense in other texts of the New Testament, as coming unto Christ in a place.

I begin with John 3:26, “and they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.” What “coming” can this be to Christ, but a natural and local coming to him? First, it was a coming to Christ, for John here, upon a question arising between some of his disciples and the Jews about purifying, verse 25, bear witness to Christ, “he must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all; he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth; he that cometh from heaven is above all, &c.” {“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” Phil. 2:9.} It is the Person to whom John bare witness before, that {when this question was moved about purifying} did then baptize, but this Person was Jesus, “behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him,” said they to John, verse 22 with verse 26 compared. So they are said to come to him who baptized distinctly from John, and that without confession of sins, as John had done it upon men confessing their sins. Matt. 3:6. Therefore it was coming to Jesus Christ that is spoken of in this text of the Gospel according to John. Secondly, it was a natural and local coming to Christ into the Land of Judea, for they came to him there where he was baptizing, verse 22. Besides, how could all men; that is, the multitudes, come unto him at that time and place spoken of, otherwise than by a natural and local coming unto Christ, Jn. 10:41, in his Humbled State? So that I prove the sense of “come” in Matthew 11:28 as interpreted of a natural and local coming to Christ, to be no interpretation of such particular meaning, but what agrees with some other parallel “come” in the New Testament, in point of the act.

I next proceed to Matt. 19:14, “Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” None can think this was believing, yet it’s called coming to Christ. In the words before it is thus, “they were brought unto him little children;” and it is plain this was a natural and local bringing of children, and so a coming of children with legs and arms to Christ. So that Matt.11:28, {“come unto me, all ye that labour, &c,”} though interpreted of a natural and local coming, yet hath other parallel texts in the New Testament to justify it.

Next I bring Mark 2:18, “they come and say unto him, why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?” Here was a coming to Christ, but what coming? It was not a coming by an act of the mind, Jn. 17:3, but by an act of the body. It was not a spiritual coming, but a natural coming. It was not faith’s motion, but local-motion even a local coming unto Jesus. It was place-coming, and not a believing-coming.

Likewise I produce Mark 5:15, “and they come to Jesus;” that is, the men of that country of the Gadarenes did come unto him, upon his delivering the possessed with the legion of devils, and his permission of the devils to enter into the herd of swine, &c. Fame made many to go out and see what it was that was done, and it follows, “and they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind; and they were afraid.” Here again is a natural and a local coming unto Jesus. They came out of curiosity, and trembled, not out of a holy principal, and believed. So that by way of parallel exposition, it was the same kind of natural and local act which they were exhorted to in Matthew 11:28, only to be stripped of its defect and faultiness.

Again, Mark 2:3, “and they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, &c.” Here is palpably coming to Christ with a natural and a local motion, coming with their legs. It’s the action of their bodies, not the action of their mind which is spoken of. “Come” then in Matthew 11:28, {though it be interpreted naturally in motion on their legs to come and partake of Gospel ordinances,} hath places enough to support the interpretation against a weak displeasure.

So how can Matthew 22:4, “come unto the marriage,” and the same in Luke 14:17, “come; for all things are now ready,” be interpreted consistently, except of a natural and local coming to the means of Grace, in order unto a due conviction that Messiah was come in the flesh? For, as the Jews require a sign, I Cor. 1:22, they might have seen enough of it, Lk. 12:56, according to the Scriptures, in that Marriage, if they had not been moody, quarrelsome, made excuses, &c., but had gone forth to see Jesus. Jn.12:21. The invitation of coming was to the means, not to the act of saving faith. Come with your legs, wait there to be born in Zion, Psal. 87:5, and then to be fed in the house of God, where the children are new born.

To these places I add John 1:46, “come and see,” John 1:39, “Jesus saith come and see.” It is plain that these texts speak of coming to Christ, and it is equally clear that they speak of coming to him in a natural and local manner with body and legs, the very way that my exposition heretofore on Matthew 11:28 has been so ridiculed by these ignorant zealots.

Lastly, I will name no more than John 21:12, where Jesus saith unto the disciples, “come and dine.” It was no less than an invitation to dine with him that was risen from the dead. This was not an invitation to saving faith, but to a natural and local act of approach. So that there are parallel texts enough to justify my interpretation of Matthew 11:28 to be meant of a natural and local coming to the means of Grace, Psal. 27:4, and not an invitation to the act of saving faith, as hath been hostilely contended in some pulpits, out of a mere opposition, the last winter, to truth broken out the summer before.

Now since there are so many texts to favour it, why may not the interpretation of Matthew 11:28 be justified the same way? And why may not other good men who interpret the “come” there of an act of saving faith be carried away to it more by incogitancy than forceful reason? Only some younger men than the divines of the last age, by mere preposition are resolved to maintain, if they can do it, what the elder men have said, and this at best is all that can be made of it.

As to John 5:40, “and ye will not come to me, that ye might have life,” the sense of the word can never justly be meant of saving faith. No, it’s plainly meant of a natural reasonable faith, distinct from a spiritual and supernatural believing. It’s such a human faith as they must needs have had on Christ, if they would, being convinced that no man could do the works he did, except Messiah. It’s spoken also of such a life as they might have had if they would have humanly embraced him, when they saw his works. Thus they might have taken care to have saved themselves outwardly by a natural stooping unto Jesus, as a man may save himself from drowning who will be advised and ruled, and not run himself into a deep water that lies before him, though he be certainly told he must perish, if he tries to ford it over. This was just the case of the Jews in that flood of mighty waters overflowing, Isa. 28:2, the people of the Roman power, raised it up to an overspreading of desolation for the overspreading of abominations, Dan. 9:27, which in a little time swept away all the doctrinal unbelievers before it, who would obstinately try, Acts 22:18, in rejecting of Messiah to ford through it. Whereas Christ was a Rock above the floods, Psal. 40:2, and they might have seen by the light of his doctrine and his mighty works, that “surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him,” Psal. 32:6; and whereas in the prophetic Psalm that described these matters, God saith in Christ unto the single hearted believer, verse 8, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye;” and so he speaks with a rational advice unto the multitude, that they don’t like the beasts rush into the mighty waters, verse 9, “be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” The Lord restrained them awhile, otherwise they had come in so near to his interest in Judea, as visibly to have destroyed it, so far as lay in the Jewish power. And while he predicts upon a foresight of their headstrong wills to reject all means of their rational conviction, verse 10, that “many sorrows shall be unto the wicked,” Christ doth but take up the same prediction and carry it on agreeably in this John 5:40, “ye will not come on to me that you might have life.” So that here is a coming unto Christ suggested in a kind of believing, which is short of saving faith. “You will not come to me,” as much as to say, you act with as unreasonable a stupidity as the brutes, Isa. 1:3, and will not, according to the faculty of mankind, exercise a believing reason. I have produced so many reasonable arguments both in my doctrine and miracles to persuade you unto reason, that there is nothing more to be done towards convincing you, Isa. 5:4, and subduing you to reason, that can fall within the sphere of a reasonable and common operation. This is the consistent meaning, and all this makes it appear that the “come” in Matthew 11:28 hath divers parallels, instead of no parallel in the New Testament, to justify that there is a coming to Christ in Scripture, {naturally,} distinct from coming to him, {spiritually,} in saving faith, which latter is the coming that men now in the preaching of the Gospel mean, Rom. 10:10, when they invite sinners from Matthew 11:28 though present under the means, and in the very assembly of the multitude gathered together, still to come to Christ.

To all that I have said I add further, that it could be no spiritual coming that is meant in the invitation of sinners, Matt. 11:28, because the Spirit of Christ was not then indeed {in the humbled State of our Saviour} given for any act of coming in a spiritual sense, Jn. 7:39, as is suited to the spiritual act of a believer in the times of an Exalted Jesus. The freedom of sinners for spiritual acts lay in a supernatural power of believing. Gospel coming is another thing in one text, than natural coming, Jn. 6:5, {whether locally or reasonably,} in other texts. The true freedom of souls created for the spiritual act, lay in an after-drawing up of their hearts in a spiritual sense to Christ; that is, to follow him by motion-faith which stays in nothing of its own, and to ascend after him, entering into that within the veil, Heb. 6:19, 10:19, when he should be gone out of this world. And therefore none could come to Christ in his state of Humiliation with that inward freedom to take up Salvation in and with him, according to the Mystery of the Gospel, any more than afterwards he could go to Christ in his Exalted State to take up the same Salvation, except the Father irresistibly draw him. Now drawing argued a distance of the object, as well as a disease within the faculty. {“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jn. 6:44.}

Again, that the coming to Christ in Matt. 11:28, signified but a coming locally to Christ, Jn. 4:40, in means of Grace with a natural act of motion, with their legs; only at another time and in another place with better principles than curiosity, Jer. 29:13, and with better persuasions of Messiah than these weary and heavy laden souls had entertained to that day, appears in that the use of the phrase “coming to Christ” is found only in these historical books of the New Testament, which treat historically of what Christ began both to do and teach, Acts 1:1, whilst he was below upon earth, and so could and ought to be “come” {or resorted, and repaired} “unto.” It was most proper for Christ in his state of Humiliation to say to sinners “come unto me,” but it’s improper for us in the ministry of the Gospel to say now unto sinners in Christ’s Exalted State, that they must come to Christ. No, Christ is not here, he is risen and ascended, Matt. 28:6, and sinners therefore ought to be instructed and taught in the preaching of the Gospel to go to Christ, instead of being invited to come to Christ, which carries along with it an ill favoured construction, as if Christ was still on earth, and was not gone into Heaven! Our common preachers, when inviting sinners to come to Christ, and not being not aware of this, for unless they are speaking of a local and external act of coming to means, do really speak nonsense. For Christ is in Heaven, I Pet. 3:22, and they should rather call upon sinners to go to Christ, if they mean saving faith, than to come to Christ. Christ is above, he is risen, he is risen above ordinances, he is not here, “God is gone up with a shout,” Psal. 47:5, and then why do you bid them come, as if he were here? I observe agreeably hereunto, that in the historical book of the Acts of the Apostles, when Christ was gone to Heaven, there the phrase of coming to Christ, or the Evangelists phrase of invitation used before to come to Christ, ceased, for there was no more to be heard of it. Faith under that form of words appears no longer. The phrase is not once used in all the Acts of the Apostles. It’s there only expressed by faith and believing, but no coming to Christ is spoken of. This admirably strengthens the sense of that same “come to me” in Matthew 11:28, to be meant literally of a local coming to Christ, fitted in the Jews to Christ’s State of Humiliation. Zech. 9:9, Matt. 21:5, Isa. 62:11. Besides too, in the doctrinal books of the New Testament, I do not find this form of Invitation of sinners to come to Christ used in all Paul’s Epistles to the Gentiles. There is spoken indeed in his writings to the Jews of a coming to God by Christ, who is to be found in the use of Gospel-means; and this coming is spoken as a thing effected Supernaturally by Grace. {“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 also once more it is written in the Hebrews, “let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of Grace, &c.,” Heb. 4:16, the meaning is, let us now, by reason of the priesthood and blood of Jesus Christ {whom as the High Priest the Apostle had been setting forth in the verses before, verses 14-15,} come boldly, and without disturbing fear, to the Majesty which is now open in Christ’s discoveries of himself, for because he sitteth on the right hand of God in the Heavens, Col. 3:1, he sitteth also below in his house in the ordinances of his Grace, which ordinances he hath erected in his spiritual Tabernacle and Temple, the Gospel Church, which is his rest. {“We will go into his tabernacles; we will worship at his footstool.” Psal. 132:7.} Let us therefore come unto it boldly there in worship. But still this doth not reach a minister’s sense of inviting sinners to come to Christ, to close with his Person in their first act of believing. It’s not at all as a form of invitation to be used in the preaching of the Gospel, for as to say, “come to Christ, sinners; here is Christ; I have been preaching Christ, now let me invite you; come, now will you come and have him? Will you come and take him? I invite you to come. Why can I not prevail, &c.,” I say, that I see nothing like this whatsoever in all the Holy Scriptures, but it’s quite another thing; and this more plainly makes it appear that the “coming” spoken so much of in the historical books, treating of things as they were transacted whilst Christ was upon the earth, was for the most part a local coming to the Man Jesus of Nazareth where he was, and following him as he went about doing good, Acts 10:38, which is sometimes called a coming after him, Matt. 19:21, Matt.16:24, so they should be more and more convinced by all his conduct, that at the bottom of the Man Jesus, that Man in another and higher nature was God. {“I and my Father are one.” Jn. 10:30.} By all it’s plain, that in a Matthew 11:28 the invitation then was to a coming unto Christ on their feet for the use of means in hearing of the word of God, and in beholding of the miracles which were wrought by Jesus of Nazareth, towards a reasonable conviction that he was the true Messiah.

Now says he, “come unto me all ye that labour for a thing of nought, Isa. 55:2, and spend your money for the lambs of the flock and the calves of the stall, Mal. 4:2, and know not what they mean. Come unto me all ye that weary yourselves, and labour in the fire of mine altar for very vanity, casting off me, who when sacrificed will put a sure end unto all of it. Come to me you weary worshipers that are heavy laden in all your common attendance upon the Mosaic Institutions, and are under a ceremonial yoke of legal bondage, Gal. 5:1, in carrying on the observation of so many typical rights or ceremonies, Heb. 9:1, as the temple worship requires. Some of you have a load of offerings, Hos. 8:13, to go up withal, and all of you have a heavy load of flesh to go up constantly with to the top of Zion-Hill. Come to me in the true worship of the Gospel, Jn. 4:21, and I will give you rest. Come to me in my daily teaching; come to me, and hear the doctrine I bring from Heaven, for albeit you are here in person today, yet in heart you are all running away again, Jn. 6:66, and tomorrow will think to rest in the labours and burdens of the temple! What do you think always to do there? Be ready to lay it all down, and take up your cross {in mockery and persecution} and come and follow me. I’ll make the service easier.” Come to me in another place than this, for my stay to teach and to preach in their cities here is short, Matt. 11:1, and it’s known in the next chapter, that it was not long after Jesus withdrew himself from thence, Matt.12:15, and this proves that the invitation of Christ there to come unto him, was surely meant of a local coming unto Christ, or a following him on their legs when Christ should be gone from thence.

“But Christ there proposes himself as a soul- Saviour for soul-rest, and their lay his work and employment.”

Answer: It appears not but it might be a bodily rest they should have in his risen state at hand, for the service and yoke of Christ, {“take my yoke upon you,” verse 29,} is not one quarter of the toil for the body, though you travel seven or ten miles to a meeting, as the service of Moses was unto it; traveling with weary limbs hundreds of miles perhaps, and with costly sacrifices to ascend into the hill of the Lord at Mount Moriah. {“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD, or who shall stand in his holy place?” Psal. 24:3.}

When we take it of soul-rest, it cannot necessarily be understood of salvation-rest, or any other soul-rest beyond the easiness of the mind fully resolved about the rational inquiry, or the puzzling scruple as to who the Messiah is, or where he is, whether he came or not. So that “I will give you rest” may be interpreted thus, I will give you quietness in your minds about the main scruple, “art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” Matt. 11:3. Come then to me, even when I am gone from hence, and see my works there in the wilderness; keep close to my doctrine when I shall leave your cities, and you’ll be convinced that I am he, even the Messiah you look for. {“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” Isa. 35:5-6.} Come to me again and again for satisfaction, don’t come once either through a kind of necessity now that I’m in town or with curiosity or presuppositions, and then be gone, running away with stories to the Pharisees, and never returning; but come at all times, and you’ll see and hear that which is more apt to convince, quiet and satisfy your minds, who is the Christ of God, Lk. 9:20, and to give you soul-rest and conscience-rest in the enquiry {even more at one time} then you may hear and see today in your cities, or at another time in town. Come unto me all you too that are especially troubled in mind upon this matter, come to me, when I have a blind man next to cure, or when I have a dumb or a maimed man brought before me, and see how I will raise the infirm with a word, Matt. 12:22-23, and then consider with yourselves, whether the prophecy of Messiah and the history of Messiah don’t agree? And whether the scruple upon your minds about the coming of Christ into the world doth not vanish? Thus in Matthew it’s an invitation to the outward means of a doctrinal conviction, and that was the main thing then to be looked at and accomplished, among the dissatisfied and restless inquirers, where and who is Messiah? {“Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, this is the Christ; but some said, shall Christ come out of Galilee?” Jn. 7:41- 42.} Come, says Christ, to untie the knot upon this argument, be not detained by the ordinary and common pullbacks from attending on me and on my faithful ministry, Heb. 3:2, so long as I keep in these quarters, and you’ll be at ease from your pain upon this inquiry by what you’ll see and hear, even before I visit another region of Judea, that then too you’ll hear and follow me, when I go to another side of the country. I tell you, come, and let not the stir and clamour of the town and country, Jn. 7:12, keep you back from me at these meetings, and you shall find rest unto your souls in this grand point resolved, whether I am the Christ, or no? Accordingly, his sheep did hear his voice and follow him, and from doctrinal conviction where it began, it went on and came from faith to faith, Rom. 1:17, or from faith into the report that he was Messiah, to faith into the Person of Messiah himself, and after his crucifixion for our sins and resurrection for our justification, Rom. 4:25, the faith of the elect arose under a more glorious work of the unction, I Jn. 2:20,27, in their anointings by the Holy Ghost, even as Christ had been promised it should be afterwards. And all this began with “coming unto him” on their feet, their bodily feet, according to the Invitation, “come.” This now is plain and consistent with our own experience of Grace. For we find rest comes in from Christ into our souls by a continuing and waiting upon God in ordinances of Christ filled with God’s love, power and presence. And therefore when we take it as it is meant of soul-rest, yet this affords a third answer. {“Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Mic. 7:7. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isa. 40:31.}

Though you may understand it of soul-rest, you’ll find spiritual privileges are often the issues of natural action, and that from other springs and principles than the action itself. For instance, a natural looking to the brazen serpent, Num. 21:9, cured the Israelites of the contagion of their wounds, not from the nature of the act, but from the virtue, verse 8, of the institution. So coming on the legs to an Ordinance of Christ, even with a design to scoff hath been issued in God’s time with the privilege of the New Birth, though the new birth never flowed from the scoffing principle of coming to hear the Word of the Lord. Accordingly there is in Matthew 11:28. Soul-rest is a spiritual privilege and yet was a natural act of coming to Christ in the days of his flesh, Mk.6:33, and of attendance on the ordinance of instruction or hearing the Gospel preached, and seeing the miracles that were wrought, and might be issued, and often had been so in this soul-rest. {“And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle; but all things that John spake of this man were true. And many believed on him there.” Jn. 10:41-42.} This coming also is consistently agreeable in another kind, though not specifically agreeable in the same kind. That is, it follows not, that because it is a soul- rest, therefore it is a soul-coming, for now it may be a soul-rest upon a bodily coming to a place to hear the Gospel, when there is only formed and begotten in the soul a spiritual looking up to Christ there, and no actual coming. For the coming and looking acts of faith are not the same act of faith. {“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Isa. 45:22.}

Objection: “Experience hath found it a sweet invitation to spiritual coming.”

Answer: Experience hath found it a sweet invitation to local ordinances. Experience hath found the local ordinances sweet under an Operation of the Spirit. The faith which the Spirit hath wrought hath been sometimes discerning-faith in soul views, when it hath been no coming-faith in a soul-motion unto Christ, though it can’t now so properly in Christ’s state of Exaltation be called a coming unto Christ, as it may be called a going unto Christ. Oh, that we learned wisdom when we speak of these things, and did look more into the things we speak of, and not take them up from mere traditions or sounds of words. Oh, that we could distinguish of the Humiliation state of Christ in the Evangelists, where faith is called a coming to Christ agreeable with his local descent on earth, and of the Exaltation state of Christ, where faith is not called a coming to Christ, but only a believing on him. It confines much to the latter phrase, for coming to Christ doth but sometimes signify a believing on him. It doth not in the word always, and necessarily signify believing, as I have enough shown, nor {for ought I see in the word} may believing on Christ, as faith is set out in the holy writings under the Exaltation state of Christ, Phil.2:9, be called a coming unto Christ. And so it stands upon record for usefulness to distinguish of the two states of Christ, the one on Earth and the other in Heaven. Also to prize Christ in his Institutions, Psal. 27:4, and to rectify our own carnal mistakes about the absolute limitation of a soul-rest.

But wherein doth all this yield any argument that Matthew 11:28 is an invitation to saving faith, and not rather an invitation to come and take up Christ’s Institutions, from a principle of laying down all other things that be inconsistent with them? {“And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” I Jn. 3:24.} I am persuaded in the face of all this light, that good men have nothing in the main to say for the other way of carrying this text, except that Mr Jeremiah Burroughs {whose memory I also honour as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ according to his light, Isa. 2:5,} hath written his whole treatise on the 11th chapter of Matthew[1] upon the other sense of the words.

To conclude this, it’s very plain to me that this “come” in the place opened, is a coming on their feet to Christ when he preached and wrought miracles upon the earth, because it would have been preposterous to invite to come in faith, before they saw in faith. Jn. 6:40 & Jn. 12:44-45. For when coming is interpreted in other texts of believing, it’s motion-faith which surely is not the first-act of believing, but the after-act. Seeing is the first- act, John 6:40, as we cannot suppose that Christ would begin in faith with the motion of the heart, without an eye of the understanding, Jn. 14:7, the foot is not the first member in the new creature, but the eye. Accordingly, the Scriptures do everywhere set forth the beginning of saving faith with spiritual sight upon the Revelation of Jesus Christ. “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. “And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” Num. 21:9. Also: Isa. 45:22; I Jn. 3:6; Isa. 65:1; Jn. 17:3; I Jn. 5:20; Psal. 34:5; Jn. 12:45; Jn. 14:17; Job 42:5; III Jn. 11; Heb.11:27, &c., faith is an eye to discern the object, before it is a foot to approach the object. {“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” I Jn. 5:20.}

And here it may be proper and seasonable briefly to lay open the office, place and use of faith, the faith of the Operation of God towards Christ, Col. 2:12, according to their Scriptures in their latitude, for they speak not of all faith in one text. I am here speaking of that spiritual faith towards Christ which is wrought in the soul after it hath come naturally and locally to that place where the Gospel may be heard, to those Ordinances wherein Christ may be found, to those Appointments where Truth may be effectually conveyed.

Faith is an eye in the soul, a spiritual eye, and the light {of which Christ is the Object} is led into the soul through it. Hence the plenteous phrase of the New Testament, “through faith.” Rom. 3:25; Acts 3:16; II Tim. 3:15; Col. 2:12; Rom. 3:30,31; Gal. 3:8,14; I Pet. 1:5; Phil. 3:9, and often in Hebrews, chapter 11. Is it now through faith? Then justification is established in Christ above faith and before faith, Rom.8:33,34, because it is clearly conveyed through faith into the soul. {“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” II Tim. 1:9.} Establishment of a deed in the whole of its articles must be before the conveyance thereof, though the conveyance too must necessarily be, after the establishment and fixing of the several articles. Faith is a beholding the Glory and Divinity of Christ’s Person. {“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jn. 1:14.} Now this discerning and beholding of Christ, is as the object is let in upon the eye of the soul through the workmanship and operation of God the Spirit. {“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:10.} In spiritual vision there is {after the manner of corporal vision} a fixing of the rays, or species, of the object by a gracious irradiancy upon the very retina {as it is known in optics} or the inmost fine wrought part of the eye of faith. Thus through faith, the eye of the new-born soul, Christ is let in, or Christ is received. John 1:12 & John 1:29. So it is called at the Lord’s table a discerning of the Lord’s body. I Cor. 11:24 & I Cor. 11:29. Men of natural understandings, or of the most physical abilities and enlargements, as the word is in the original {take them in all their best ornaments, their clearest parts and most intellectual studies} yet before spiritual renovation, are unfit spiritually to discern Christ. {“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jn. 3:3. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. I Cor. 2:14.}

Faith is a spiritual will and heart to submit and stoop, and there must be this will to stoop, and there is so upon a spiritual discerning of Christ, before there is the coming-faith, even to the throne of Grace boldly, Heb. 4:16, though Christ in the outward ministry of his word. Oh, what need, what Absolute need is there of God’s creating Spirit! {“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psal. 51:10.} For if Christ be only let into the soul through a rational eye, for so he may, so far as the nature-part of Christ and the out-works of Christ are fitted to reason, yet that soul through a prevailing law, Rom. 7:23, in its members doth still rebel, {for brevity obliges me to contract it in all hints,} as Christ must be let in through a renewed eye upon a renewed heart, and then it is that the soul receives him. Rom. 10:10; Lk. 2:25-30. {“And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isa. 25:9.} Faith is a spiritual cure with God’s strength put into the soul through the Holy Ghost’s indwelling and inward operation, to enable the soul for its spiritual journey through flesh, world and the oppositions of the devil, to set out in a further operation of faith, under the Spirit still. {“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” I Jn. 5:4.}

Then comes faith spiritually, and to the throne of Grace boldly with its footing in Christ. So it came to Christ in the days of his flesh, as coming to Christ was then fitted both in soul and body to his humiliation state, while Christ waited below upon earth for the motion of poor sinners. John 6:35,37. {“And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; for the LORD is a God of judgment; blessed are all they that wait for him.” Isa.30:18.} And so it goes to Christ in the days of his Exaltation state, as faith in this sort of motion is fitted to Christ’s being gone into Heaven before us. I Pet. 3:22. {“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Heb. 4:14.} {“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” Psal. 40:1-2.}

Faith is a spiritual hand, to lay hold. See Prov.3:18, with Luke 11:49, which tells us that wisdom there laid hold upon, as a Tree of Life, is the Person of Jesus Christ crucified, I Cor. 2:2, and then risen for our life, and set forth as a Tree, in opposition to the fruit of that forbidden tree, Gen. 2:17, whereof we ate and died. See also, Heb. 6:18; Isa. 64:7; I Tim. 6:12,19; Phil. 3:12. Faith also is a hand to open the door to Christ, upon visits either of reproof or of communion love unto the church. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Rev. 3:20. “Behold I stand,” says Christ, at visible ordinances, which are the door of the church to keep out strangers, and admit her own to sit and sup together in sweet Gospel fellowship as seated at the feet of Christ. Lk. 10:39. I stand and knock at my own Institutions to have them set open to me, that I may be more accredited and owned in what is owned and professed within. “If any man open the door,” though it be but the door of his lips for me, Psal. 141:3, confessing my name, Rom. 10:9-10, subjecting himself to the ordinances of my appointment, opening for me, who has stood knocking, though unheard, and speak for the honour of me and my own governing in the House of God, Heb. 10:21, I’ll come into his very soul and sup with him, and he and I will have a feast together, while the rebellious who shut me out, and yet cry up the church, the church, Jer. 7:4, and will admit of no Reformation therein, shall dwell and starve as in a barren land. Psal.68:6. The Church of Christ upon his own foundation opens the door upon heart-smitten sinners, Jer. 31:19, and opens the door by repentance, after any disorder hath barred it up. This the Spirit brings the church of Christ unto. Christ doth it by his Spirit, Ezek. 36:27, so she prepares the outer parts of the ordinances, through which Christ enters for Communion, while she is brought and kept to walk according to the Gospel Rule, taking due care that all the Ordinances of Christ fitted to communion, and of which the church hath seals, II Cor. 1:22, be kept pure and uncorrupted, and also that they be not cast aside, but duly kept up in order to the same Communion.

Faith is a new creature presented all in the stature {as I may say from the crown of the head unto the soul of the foot} full of burden, want, weariness and self- insufficiency, to lie down upon a well-known Christ, and rely on the Mercy and Strength of God in Christ, Psal. 37:7, and there rest and cast itself, I Pet. 5:7 & Psal. 55:22, upon Jehovah our righteousness. {“In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Jer. 23:6.}

Faith is the same new creature under pursuits by the flesh, by Satan and the world to hide itself in Christ. {“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found; surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” Psal. 32:5-7.}

Lastly, faith is the spiritual loyalty and fidelity of a wife to trust her most faithful Husband Christ. {“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” Isa. 12:2. “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Psal. 18:2.}

So that as all this faith is wrought of God through Christ under Divine Conveyances of sheer Grace, and the ordinances of the Gospel, viz., Gospel preaching, Gospel praying, Gospel praising, so poor souls should make use of this text, Matt. 11:28, as an invitation to them to come out of their cities and houses, and out of their villages to a Christ in open ordinances. {“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Heb. 10:25.} For there they may find by experience under their troubles and conflicts, a sweet and gracious easing them of many a doubt and burden, and likewise in the nearer matters of Salvation too, they may find an easing them with the power of Christ in the Gospel rest, which they that have believed, {to any establishment in Grace,} do enter into, as the Apostle speaks, Heb. 4:1, and as hath been opened before. Under this experience of the virtue of Christ received by coming to outward ordinances, viz., by coming to a meeting and hearing the Gospel in such a village, or in such a street of the city, Lk. 14:21, will find it far outweighing their pains in coming, though they have taken many a weary step to Zion, and outweighing their cost, II Sam. 24:24, in being at charges to maintain the Ordinances of Christ. All which bears a full and clear testimony to this sense of Matt.11:28, and that the “come unto Christ” there is not immediately spiritual believing, as the first thing of all, but is an outward coming to the ordinances of the Gospel, which God hath set up in Christ. Thus doubtless, it stands upon record for usefulness, as well as it was of use in the same nature when the words were spoken by Christ. {“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Rom. 15:4.}

Invitations are not made immediately to saving Grace, but to those resources of saving Grace that are treasured in Christ. Not to special acts which fall under a work of the Spirit above nature, but to common acts which are promiscuous, and related to good and bad. Thus sinners cannot be invited immediately to a saving apprehension of the Grace of God in Christ, for neither the Scriptures, nor the nature of the thing admits it. Invitations have a foundation in the Scriptures, but then it’s to common acts. Thus Samuel invited the people to eat of the remainders of the sacrifices. I Sam. 9:24. But invitations to any supernatural acts, such as the exercise in putting forth of saving faith into the Person of Christ, have no footing in the Sacred Oracles. This is altogether fit matter for an Operation of the Spirit, but altogether unfit for an invitation to deal with. An invitation is a means used towards the absent, either absent in body or spirit, to make them and keep them present on the outworks of Grace. From hence, an Operation of the Spirit must deal with them further, and make them discern Christ and willingly embrace the Son of God. Invitation hath for its object a person or persons habitually residing in local distance, though actually and by the bye just met upon the spot. {“And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.” Ezek. 16:6.} Whereas the same person, as the object of Divine Operation, is considered in his sinful distance, where all invitation must leave him, when invitation hath gained him fixedly to a local presence at the Ordinances of Grace. The immediate or next means which the Spirit now uses in Operation upon the sinner under the word, is instruction by the word, not invitation. It’s teaching the elect of God in the great mysteries of Salvation, it is leading them into the knowledge of Christ’s Person and Righteousness, set in opposition to all that other conviction which the Spirit hath wrought in me about my sin and Adam, and in my own nature, as well the truth concerning myself, Eccles. 7:29, especially as to my nature in the sin of unbelief, Jn.16:9, or my not going to Christ to receive life, but rather my taking it up for granted, that I may have more sin and unrighteousness in myself, than I have righteousness, strength, holiness and all Grace in Christ, as a Second Adam that hath died and rose again for me, Rom. 8:34, even in my room and stead.

Instruction in the ministry of the word, which the Holy Ghost uses to lead any sinner into this transcendent and amazing knowledge of Christ, is soon issued in a further work of the Spirit of Christ knitting the heart of that sinner unto him, and drawing him after Christ. {“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” I Jn. 5:20.} This is saving knowledge and saving faith which cannot be wrought by an invitation to come to Christ, but must be wrought by instruction, and such an instruction as I have shown about Christ, who is the way of the Lord. Teaching Christ is quite another thing, and far superior to an act of inviting sinners to Christ. Teaching is tincturing the mind with some efficacious experience of the things taught. Teaching sinners in the way of Christ, as Christ is the way from the Father unto us, and from us through him again unto the Father, is the way to convert them to Heaven and Salvation in truth. {“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jn. 14:6.} Inviting sinners to come to Christ, as men talk at random, is but ignorant noise, I Tim. 1:7, and no proper and effectual means whatsoever. Let invitation have its proper object and bounds in duty, and then it is but a means to Christ, not to Christ Himself. Invitation carries me to means, Operation carries me to Christ. {“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” I Thes. 2:13.} Invitation is but as it were bidding to the Meeting, and therein pointing sinners to the means at such or such a place. This is also in Scripture called a preparing the way of the Lord. {“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isa. 40:3.} So the meetings of John the Baptist were bid in the wilderness, and thither they went out to him in the desert; and hereby the multitudes made a path {made his paths straight} to the meetings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus making straight in the desert a highway for our God, Matt. 3:3, even a beaten way to go out soon after John, and hear the Gospel of the Christ of God, Lk. 9:20, preached at the mouth of the Lord himself in the same places. But now it is an direct Operation of God in his Grace that brings the soul into Christ; for invitation where it is most successful brings the person but to the means. The converting power of the ministry to the unconverted, lies in a Demonstration of the Holy Ghost before the converted, I Cor. 2:4, and that demonstration never appears {that I can see} in men’s ordinary management of their invitation. Demonstration of Salvation is some of the glory of Free Grace. {“That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:7.} The cause of it is in God’s own good pleasure; that is “the immutability of his counsel.” Heb. 6:17. The original rise of it is in the Father’s love. {“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I Jn. 4:10.} The prepared fountain of it is in the Mediator’s blood. {“For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light.” Psal. 36:9.} The procurement also of conveyance, even the conveyance by deed of purchase, in the Obedience and Sufferings of Christ, is through the Redemption that is in Jesus Christ, notwithstanding all temporary obstacles in the current of free Grace by the entrance of sin. {“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 3:24.} Now these and the like pieces of the Gospel are all a glorious display of what a bright Salvation those elected in Christ are interested in, Psal. 34:2-3, as it is settled and prepared for us in Another, and conveyed unto us through that Other. It’s God’s demonstration of it to my soul through Operation of the Spirit on my soul, Jer. 33:6, to behold it as mine own by his free gift. {“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us.” I Thes. 5:10.} It is this message of the Gospel that I am commissioned as an ambassador of Christ to faithfully preach. And thus I am to deal with poor sinners towards their conversion. This is that also which I do preach to sinners, and this being the great frame and coherence of truth struck at, I daily find it to be filled up with more power in my own and other men’s souls and ministry! {“And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.” Jer. 1:19.} Showing of these glad tidings in God’s Salvation to the soul is the means in which the Spirit falls, and converts the sinner unto Christ. {“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43.} It’s by this means the object seen suitably falls into the very soul through the eye of faith, and gives it a most lovely and effectual prospect of the same object, such as no eye of any sinner that ever perished without Christ hath seen. {“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Jn. 14:17.} Now here I might bring in offers again, and take notice that the said sweet and transcendent objects do never shine forth through them; nor do their golden beams glitter with the transcendencies of Everlasting Love, Jer. 31:3, in a faint and duskish proposal. Offers do not strike in upon the very retina of the new eye of faith, nor present the object in the Salvation of God, as the object itself presents itself, whilst showing and granting of this Salvation, Psal. 85:7, to sweetly run together. But I will rather keep to the argument, as the title of the chapter falls, about the invitation of sinners to come to Christ.

Invitation to Grace-Means can be no invitation into Christ himself. Invitations to come and see, Jn. 1:39, invitations to come and hear, invitations to come as guests to Gospel truths, though men come without the wedding garment, Matt. 22:12, and invitations to them to cease and forbear to come as wanderers {to divert a carnal mind and delight a carnal ear, if anything possibly might be picked up as delightful to it} are all vastly distinguished from invitations to Christ in saving faith, as men pretend they make, when they preach the Gospel. Jer.9:6. For I must say what I know upon spiritual sight, II Cor. 4:2, albeit therefore that these things are never so much darkened by men, Job 38:2, whether it be partly through their inability to receive, Jn. 3:27 & Matt. 13:9, to think, to ponder, to weigh and deeply consider in their thoughts concerning the nature of these things; or, whether it be partly that God hath not made their heart discerning enough in faith to meditate terror, Isa. 33:18, and not be afraid to think that while the Election hath obtained, the rest are blinded, Rom. 11:7; or, whether it be partly through self-esteem, because what they call inviting sinners to come to Christ, hath been their own way, and their old way of mingling things that are and must be distinguished, and so they would fain have it to be the Gospel way and the Scripture way, Rom. 10:2, because it hath been their way to confound an invitation of sinners to saving Grace with an invitation of sinners to means of Grace, and so to outer Grace, and to the hearing of Effectual Grace preached in and about the inner work of Grace to elect sinners alone. Albeit, I say, the things about invitation have been never so much and so improperly confounded, whereby some preachers make them to be all one, which yet are really so very distinct; we must say, that the distinction is very plain, unless we pull down one part of the Bible into dust to make the other part disappear. Deut. 20:19-20. Inviting of persons to the Gospel, {as it set forth in the Gospel by a bidding of them to a dinner or supper, the instance of which is so clear in Matt. 22:3-8 & Lk. 14:7-24, is a plain allusion to common feasts and entertainment of guests invited, or bidden and called to banquets and good cheer. See Esther 5:12 & II Sam. 13:23,} is an outward calling them to partake of the outward parts of the Gospel in the cluster, Matt. 20:16, before a visible separation of the kernel and shell are made. Now they are outwardly called, because the outer case and shell fall to their own share, according to their outward capacity, Exod. 16:21, of receiving them. Thus, invitation is immediately made unto a duty of performance, to come or go where the Ordinances of Grace are, and so to an outward Grace very separable from the inward grace or kernel, Rom. 4:7-8, at the bottom of all this Grace cluster. All are invited to the means promiscuously, Matt. 22:10, especially such as are by a natural custom or habit religiously disposed, and yet though they have so much of the Pharisee in them, are very great publicans besides, Isa. 58:1-3; but after the general invitation to means, the Holy Ghost, under the same means, inwardly falls on the elect of God, Acts 11:15, converts them by Effectual Power, and in Sovereign Wisdom passes by the rest, and leaves them to themselves, under the same means of Grace, that it may be next time you hear of him, they are fighting, Acts 13:45, against the Grace which hath conquered another, Acts 13:48, to Salvation. {“For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Matt. 13:15.} Yet all the non- elect may peradventure not be thus headstrong, invitations therefore may be further made to such as do not openly appear malignants, because the inviter’s know not yet what they’ll prove, Matt. 13:47-48, so they may counsel them to a further attendance upon the means of Grace, Rom. 11:22, outwardly to persevere, and go on to retain the outward part and form of the Gospel, for indeed their very retaining of the form, as I have shown, is of singular use to God’s children who receive the power.

There ought to be counsel seasonably given them not to forsake the assemblies, Heb.10:25, nor cast off the visible profession of the Gospel, Phil. 3:16, so far as they have already attained. Also, that they rise not up against the doctrines of Supernatural Grace, that they rebel not against the light, Job 24:13, by setting up a separate outer-court frame to strike at an inner-court worship. When men are present in the assembly of the saints by invitation, many such considerations as befit their reasonable capacities may be suggested. Acts 17:22-31. Whatever it be, I will speak it mainly as to the elect of God. When invitation hath done its part towards them, and that in the promiscuous call, and they are all present before God to hear, Acts 10:33, {if devout, as Cornelius and his company were before they knew Christ,} what God hath commanded to be said to their souls in the Gospel of his Son; for then the Operation of the Holy Ghost begins and sets in with imposing power, Rom. 1:16, in the affirmative preaching of Christ {the Living Seed} cast into their souls, {they having been often enough, at least some or others of them, under the plough,} which direct preaching of the Gospel the Holy Ghost carries home into their hearts, and there impregnates it with a heavenly operation; that is, fills it to a bearing of fruit through a spiritual sap and juice in the proper nourishment of life. Thus the word lives and grows in their hearts. By all it is plain, that there is no fit joint or space left for invitation of sinners to come to Christ’s Person in saving faith, but to come to Christ’s provisions only in ordinances of means towards it, and this rightly states the doctrine of invitations. For I know of no invitation in the Scriptures made immediately unto saving Grace, nor yet immediately to the act of saving faith. I may invite sinners, for instance, to come unto the doctrine of God, to the report and witness of God which he hath testified of his Son, I Jn. 5:9, for this is a piece of the material Gospel. But how can I invite sinners to come into the Person of Jesus Christ; for faith is a spiritual motion into his Person. So how can I invite them into regeneration, as to say, into the Mystery and Experience thereof. I must invite them to come often by a natural act to the Gospel, but must not deceive them to invite them to come into the Gospel. That’s not put into my commission, Jonah 3:2, but is referred to the peculiar honour of the Holy Ghost in his own Operation. I am to invite them to come to the doctrine of the Spirit of God, Rev. 3:22, but not to come into the Spirit of God. This is a thing above invitation. Let preachers have but patience to preach so, as believing there is an Election of Grace before them in their assemblies, Rom. 11:5, and no matter in the act of their preaching, whether they discern who they be or not, for the issue will be safely determined at last, as the Spirit of God will make it plain. This hath through Grace been many years my own practice at Cambridge, to speak as believing an elect number of the unconverted before me, Acts 18:10, and so to speak to them to see the Lord to bring them to conversion, as I speak to the converted, II Cor. 13:5, to know their conversion; that is, I speak by Exalting Christ to one in the presence of the other, even as Christ spake to the disciples in the presence of the multitude, Matt. 5:1-2, and it hath been with more success, than when I used the common way of preaching, which still takes with the greatest part. Indeed, when a minister of Christ is opening of God’s work upon the soul, as God the Spirit teaches that servant of Christ, Exod.4:12, and speaks according to what he hath seen and heard, I Jn. 1:3, not as he hath gleaned from books, and collected from dead authors, Jer. 23:30, nor delivers by the standard of his paper-form; the Holy Ghost will certainly own, and carry this Gospel Message, Jer. 23:28, because it is a fruit of his own Divine Operation, {and therefore evangelical, distinguishing and a clear proclamation of the Person and Work of Christ,} further than he will ever take up the dark way of men’s common managery, II Cor. 4:6; that is, he will work clearly, spiritually, experimentally to the saving of the soul, Heb. 10:39, by that preaching which is clear, spiritual and experimental in its self; but he will not work with that preaching which is quite another thing, Deut. 1:42, though there may indeed be some truths and many good things mixed with it. God first fortifies and fits his own channel of Divine conveyances, Psal. 61:7, and then works his end by them, but preachers often seem determined to fit a foreign means for him, and so never live to see the Holy Ghost, Gal. 6:8, clearly in their labours. Men may speak of the work of faith, and yet not of the work of faith distinctly. There are plainly three things in it that are distinct. 1. The work of faith, as it is the Holy Ghost’s workmanship in the soul. 2. To the work of faith, as it is the exercise or act of faith out of that workmanship, still by the Holy Ghost’s own guidance in influences from Christ. 3. The work of faith, as the object or employment thereof, about which it ought to be conversant in Gospel service unto the glory of Christ. Howbeit, the work of faith is so doubtfully expressed and muddled by preachers without clear opening, that no man can tell you perhaps which of these three they mean, since some men only mean one of the three, and others mean only another of the three, and very few speak distinctly like men taught of God, to distinguish any of the three. {“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” I Cor. 14:8.} {“It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” Jn. 6:45.}

We ought not to be troubled that God hath appointed our ministry to two sorts of men, to the elect and to the non-elect. To the one we are the savour of life unto life in the power and unction of the Holy Ghost, and to the other we are the savour of death unto death in the form. II Cor. 2:16. We are a sweet savour of Christ unto God in both, II Cor. 2:15, in them that are saved, and in them that perish. Both favour the word; the elect of God do favour the power, the non-elect do favour the form without the power. {“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.” II Tim. 3:5.} Whether men are capable only of the invitation to come under the means of Grace, or of the Operation of the Spirit to come into Christ, Jn. 6:29, both take their own appointed lot. Outer Grace-parts are determined, as well as inner Grace-parts. The Scripture is both to all intents fulfilled, for God is differently glorified upon men, Isa. 43:21, whether they be elect or non-elect, and that in the way of their passing either into Salvation or Condemnation. {“The LORD hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” Prov. 16:4.} His mercy and free Grace are glorified in free conveyances and operation of the inner Grace-parts of the Gospel, Tit. 3:6 & Eph. 2:7, to, upon and within the elect. The Lord’s justice is glorified in the scornful rejection of the doctrine of his Grace, or of the outer Grace part of the Gospel, by the non-elect. The Lord hath commanded Hagar to attend upon Sarah, and the outer- court faith, and fruits of it, to wait upon inner-court faith, and the fruits thereof. Rom. 9:12. Now here God justly finds occasion against them, being persuaded that a grand body of evil men in the world, being the devil’s seed, Jn. 8:44 & Isa. 57:3-4, will never comply, I Jn. 3:8, so much as with this distinction {if it came among them} of an outer-court faith, and the fruits thereof, to wait upon an inner-court faith and the fruits thereof, which do issue according to an Election and a Non-Election of persons cast under means, in God’s Councils before the foundation of the world. {“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” Eph. 1:4-5.}

Consequently, the world, who cannot receive the Spirit of truth, as Christ saith, Jn. 14:17, do break and will break with God, even as their doom was foretold by our Lord himself, Jn.8:44, and as they fulfil their purpose by nature from their father the devil before them. For when he was an angel of light in Heaven, II Pet. 2:4, he there broke upon an upper-way revelation of Christ’s Headship over the entire angelical nature and order, Col. 1:16, in the Comprehensive Settlements of our Mediator, or for the Father’s Constitution of him to be the comprehending Alpha, Rev. 1:8, or Head of Nature, Grace and Glory. Also, a revelation was made of heavenly church order, that all the angels of God should attend upon the Glory-Man, and minister to the Glory-Man accordingly. Jn. 17:5 & Psal. 8:1. Hereupon the whole rout of devils, according to what they are now, {and according to this view of Creation Order and Settlement,} immediately broke with God upon this one point, and so sinfully chose to depart their stations in Heaven, Jude 6, and confederate into a power or kingdom of their own forming, Col. 1:13, and set up a head in their own nature over it, rather than they would submit to Christ, upon the Revelation of Grace made unto them and among them.

And here I take it, that our church order in Gospel days, according to the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, Eph. 1:17, comes in. I’m sure it did upon this joint prevail with me, when I first embraced judgment, Isa. 42:4, or church order, according to the Scriptures, in that form I will heartily embrace; namely, the Congregational Way of Churches. Acts 14:27 & Acts 15:30 & Acts 2:1 & I Cor. 5:4. For in other forms of church administration, I found that a man might be convinced by mere reason, books, common arguments and common establishments, such as are most fitted to times, together with the opinions and practices of learned, great and good men, &c., and that, whether a man had the Spirit of God {either to increase or assist his conviction of a church way} or no. But to be convinced of judgment, Jn. 16:11, or church order {as I was} and brought to submit to it by the Holy Ghost upon this foot, that this judgment as the prince of this world is judged, and cast out of Heaven; this is a conviction in the very bottom and foundation of church government, that most certainly belongs to the Spirit of God to teach from his own Word, for be sure Satan was cast out of Heaven upon the point of Christ’s Kingly Office, the truth he abode not in, Jn. 8:44, or that glorious Church Government which was there set up amongst the angels. Hence the angels that sinned, sinned primarily in this one point, II Pet. 2:4, that they would not be subject unto the Son of God, as he was Alpha, and revealed the Glory-Man, but they would gather a new empire of their own nature and order, Matt. 12:26, which should be vested in one of their own number over all the rest, and that one aiming to be like the Most High, Isa. 14:14, God-Man, or God in Christ, and every Headship with him; they all broke with God, and resolved this new empire of theirs should not be subject to the Mediator, to Christ, as their Head in the Open Commander thereof. Accordingly, Gen. 3:1, Satan deceived our first parents with those words, “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil,” verse 5; that is, you shall be as the angels that sinned, are. These are the Elohim, {“gods,”} which the devil meant, though our first parents were deceived by him, and understood it of the Triune Elohim, even God Himself, thinking that the fruit of that tree would render them like unto God. The devil meant they should be like himself, the god of this world, II Cor. 4:4, and like his angels, who knew good and evil by the woeful experiment; that is, good by the loss of it, and evil by the punishment thereof. And then after this Satanical deceit, he set up a kingdom of worship and church government in the pagan world, {mimicking that of the true church & worship of God,} among a great part of Adam’s fallen posterity in his own name, II Thes. 2:4, the now pagan religion of this world system, II Chron. 32:17, or gods of the nations. The Old Testament church was gathered in, Psal. 135:4, from this open empire of the devil, as appears, Deut. 14:2; Exod. 19:5; Acts 14:16; Isa. 41:8-9, &c. But when Christ came in the flesh who is over all God blessed for ever, Rom. 9:5, and through death had destroyed him that had the power of death, Heb. 2:14, that is the devil, the Lord Christ did then by his Spirit in the Apostles, and all the primitive pastors, whom the Holy Ghost had made overseers of the flock of God, Acts 20:28, and in all the first saints of the New Testament, wonderfully shake the demonic realm or the devil’s empire throughout the pagan world, Eph. 2:2-3, brought in the glorious Gospel, the Kingdom of God’s dear Son, Col. 1:13, into which the elect of God were translated out of pagan darkness. By which means a great part of the pagan world was taken out of the devil’s hands, or he was cast out of a great part of his own model and regiment in Heaven, Rev. 12:9, as to men’s worshiping of the sun, moon and stars, &c., and all of which defileth, worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, Rev. 21:57, which system he had formed into another kingdom, distinct from that of the Gospel, even a kingdom of his own, and so had larger territories here below amongst men, who placed all their happiness in doing service to them, Gal. 4:8, {the imaginary divinities in the planetary heavens,} which by nature were no gods, as the Apostle says. Now out of this dominion he is cast, and thus the prince of this world is judged by the government and kingdom of the Gospel in Christ’s own Administration, and so Satan is once cast out again by means of the birth and dominion of the Christian Religion in the hands of Jesus Christ. {“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.” Eph. 1:22.}

Now here I was helped of God to see that Church Government which by the holy strictness of it in its close dependence upon Christ, wherein the prince of this world is still most judged, is a Church-Order most of God and of Christ. And likewise I found God strengthening my heart by his Spirit, Isa. 40:29, in bowing my will to submit to the goodness of this, as well as I found him convincing my understanding, Eph. 3:21, to discern the truth of this mystery. Then I was enabled to cleave to that which originally depends upon the Primitive and Ancient Kingship of Christ, Acts 11:23, and leans upon that High Constitution which the devil was cast out of, II Pet. 2:4, for despising and rejecting. Yea, and which the prince of this world was judged for, in not submitting to the Government of Christ, as it was first set up in Heaven, of which the devil was again put in mind, when he was cast out of so much of the pagan world, Rev. 12:9, as was taken in to be the kingdom of Christ by the preaching of the Gospel.

To thus conclude this section, casting out the bondwoman and her son, Gal. 4:30, out of the church in Abraham’s family, as Hagar was a type of the church which Christ hath not founded, and as Ishmael was a type of the non-elect, was intended and executed of the Lord as of a similar punishment to the casting of the devil from the rest of the angels, out of Heaven. Again, excision, or cutting off from a church where Christ keeps up his Presence, or putting away from among ourselves, I Cor. 5:13, for immoralities an evil doer, though it’s nowhere called by the Holy Ghost by so bad a name as “casting out,” because the action of rebuke is done by brethren, verse 4, or by the ruling part of the church who cannot discern, whether the person be a vessel of wrath, {for very often it appears otherwise,} yet nevertheless in a Church of Christ, so far as Christ owns the church, and the church walks by Christ’s rules, which among others are visible unspotted holiness, I Thes. 4:7, of the members in all their worldly conversation, I Pet. 2:12, is a dreadful rebuke {as the word “punishment” in II Corinthians 2:6, signifies, and signifies neither censure so commonly in use, nor punishment as the word is ill translated} inflicted of many; and because in the very act of rebuking by putting the person away into the world, there is still a delivering such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, I Cor. 5:5, because the world is Satan’s domain and kingdom, so far as it is unruly and disobedient to Christ; and so far as Satan is revealed to be the god of this world, and a prince and spirit that now is at work in the children of disobedience. Eph. 2:2. Thus I have finished all I intended to say about invitations, wherein the false pleas have been replied to, the matter stated, the objects determined, and the issue of the matters summed up into obedience and disobedience touching Church-Order.

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[1] Four books on the eleventh of Matthew. I. Christ inviting sinners to come to him for rest. II. Christ the great teacher of souls that come to him. To which is added a treatise of meekness and of anger. III. Christ the humble teacher of those that come to him. IV. The only easy way to heaven. By Jeremiah Burroughs, preacher of the Gospel at Stepney and Cripplegate, London. 1659.



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