Preaching the Unsearchable Riches of Christ

When preachers do neglect to ground in the people’s heart great joy for the greatness of the free given treasures of Christ that work and cause filial fear, loving inclination, dutiful, and true sincere affections; and go about to square God’s children, according to the corrupt pattern of natural children, corrupted with slavish fear, with blows and beatings; they do quench in them the true filial fear, and establish in them the servile fear that should be cast out; {I Jn.4:18;} and cause in the children of God this eye service, which if it be taught in sanctified servants to their earthly masters, {as the Apostle saith, Eph.6:6,} how abominable is that much more in the children of God to their heavenly Father, and makes but hypocrites. – When preachers of the Gospel, not seeing in their hearts the vigor and power of the free given treasures of Christ, do not trust to, nor rely upon the pressing of them as sufficient {where they are felt and enjoyed} operative causes of all holy walkings and godly conversation; then they do degenerate and decline thereby to the legal teaching of the Old Testament, more agreeable to the light of nature described of constraining men to holiness and righteousness with legal arguments of large blessings, if they do well; and with terrors of correction and punishment for their evil doings, which either does little good at all, or at the best makes but self-deceiving zealous hypocrites, and so go not with a right foot to the truth of the Gospel, {Gal.2:14,} and purity of apostolic preaching of constraining men to holiness and righteousness by joy and love, by preaching with joyful inflamed hearts and fiery tongues, {Acts 2:4,} the exceeding excellency and glory of the unsearchable riches of Christ; which as it was the true course of the first manner of preaching of the Gospel in the primitive Church, as is evident in the Scriptures; {Acts 8:8, 38-39, 13:38,39, 42-44, 52, I Pet.1:8;} and which Paul defines to be the very essence of a true preacher of the Gospel, {Eph.3:8,} saying in the person of all true preachers of the Gospel, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;” {Eph.3:8;} so it is the only means sanctified with the blood of Christ, to cause people to abound in all godly and zealous conversation. And thus I have somewhat the more largely hunted and taken this little fox, {Cant.2:15,} because it is so nourished not only by the Papists that press it exceedingly out of the examples of the Old Testament against the perfection of justification maintained by Protestants; but also some of the Protestants by lisping the language of Ashdod do go about with the same to undermine the very root of the Lord’s Vine; that is, free justification, by going about to prove by it, that we are not by the wedding garment of Christ’s righteousness made perfectly holy and righteous from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely, full sufficient of itself {the more it is rightly known} to constrain us with all joy to holiness and righteousness, not by fear, but by love and evangelical zeal as strong as fire and death. {Cant.8:6,7, Tit.2;14} (John Eaton, Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642).

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