Archive for the ‘Great Quotes’ Category

Justification by Christ Alone

January 26, 2017

But, you will say; the apostle Paul saith (Romans 5:1,) “That being justified by faith, we have peace with God;” and since the Holy Ghost saith, “we are justified by faith,” we must not dispute against it. I will answer in brief, and desire one thing of you, and that is to consult Beza upon this place; he renders the words out of the original, “Being justified by faith we have, peace with God,” without any stop from the first to the last. Our translators render the words thus, “Being justified by faith,” and then put a comma; but as Beza renders them (who is accounted a most sincere renderer of the original) he makes no stop: and, if that be true, why may not they be as well rendered thus; “Being justified, by faith we have peace with God?” And so ascribe justification to Christ, as a thing done before, let faith have reference to our peace; being justified by Christ, by faith we come to have peace with God, which stands current with the analogy of faith, and truth of the gospel: “For it is God that justifieth,” Romans 8:34.

Justification is truly and properly the work of God himself, and cannot be the work of faith. But, Secondly, suppose the words to run as they are commonly rendered; I answer, then are we to distinguish in faith two things; there is the act of believing, and the object on which we believe; and so the words may be understood thus, “Being justified” by the righteousness of faith, or by the righteousness of Christ which we believe, “we have peace with God;” and so ascribe our justification to the object of our believing, the righteousness of Christ, and not to the act of believing. The truth is, beloved, the act of believing is a work, and as much ours, as our fear, prayer, and love are; and the apostle should contradict himself when he saith, “We are saved by grace, through faith, not of works,” if he mean the act of faith; he might as well have said, we are not justified by works, but we are justified by them.

An ungodly person, after he is justified, believes; but you must understand it, it is not the faith of the man that simply and properly justifies, but it is that Christ in whom he believes; believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly: it is he that justifieth, that is Christ. It is not believing that justifies. Mark well that phrase; him that justifieth. Justification is an act of Christ, it is not an act of faith. But you will say, It is an act of Christ by faith. I answer, Then Christ justifies not alone. Is faith Christ himself? If not, then Christ must have a partner to justify, or else faith doth not justify, but Christ alone doth it. Nay, I say more, Christ justifies a person before he believes; for, he that believes is justified before he believes; for I ask you, whether in justification a man must believe a truth or a falsehood? You will say, he must believe a truth; then say I, it is a truth that he is justified before he believes it; he cannot believe that which is not, and if he be not justified, that he may believe it, he then believes that which is false. But he is first justified before he believes, then he believes that he is justified. But what then serves faith for? I answer, It serves for the manifestation of that justification which Christ puts upon a person by himself alone: that you by believing on him, may have the declaration, and manifestation of your justification. Faith is the evidence of things, it is not the being of things; and it is the evidence of things not seen. A man is justified, and that by Christ alone. “Faith is an evidence;” faith gives evidence to this thing, faith makes it known; by faith we come to apprehend it; by faith we come to rejoice in it, as we apprehend it to be our own. Tobias Crisp {Christ Alone Exalted}

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Sins Blotted Out by Christ

January 11, 2017

First; Concerning the grace that the Lord is pleased to hold forth to his people here, namely, “The blotting out their transgressions and not remembering their sins.” First, let us consider what it is for the Lord to blot out transgressions; it is an usual phrase in the scripture, and imports much comfort in it. It is an allusion, or an allegorical expression; wherein the Lord is pleased to hold forth his love to man, after the manner of men; to set forth his carriage to men, according to theirs one to another.

It is a phrase borrowed from the practice of men, that keep their debt-books, wherein they cuter, and record the several debts men owe them; that so, for the better helping of their memory, they may find what is due, and know what to demand and call for; I say, the Lord here speaking of “blotting out of transgressions,” hath reference to such debt books, wherein he hath recorded the several debts, or sins, which he enters as men commit them; now the blotting out is nothing else, but that, whereas there were such and such transgressions in the record of God, he draws a blot over them. And that he here hath reference to such kind of dealing, in blotting out transgressions, you may see clearly manifested unto you, in Colossians 2:14, where this phrase of blotting out, is explained: “You being dead in your sins, hath he quickened, together with Christ, having forgiven you all trespasses;” now, mark what follows: “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances which was against us, and was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” what “the hand-writing of ordinances” there is, you may plainly perceive by the words going before, namely, “All our trespasses, and all our sins.” Now the taking away of sin, is called a “blotting it out,” and expressed thus; “The blotting out of the hand-writing that was against us,” because they were, as it were, written down; but the Lord hath razed and blotted them out.

You are not to conceive that there are really such things with God, that he did indeed keep a book, and enter down in it all the several actions of men, and so calling men to account, will open it, and will read out the several firings there written; but the phrase is only an allusion spoken for our better capacity. And, for this cause, you shall find the scripture frequently makes mention of such books God hath. When the seventy disciples came to Christ, rejoicing that the devils were made subject unto them, he replies, “Rejoice not that the devils are made subject unto you, but rejoice, rather, that your names are written in the book of life.” Here is a book, and the names of the disciples written in it; but, if you will mark Revelation 20:12, you will find, there is not only the book of life, but other books besides, out of which the dead, both small and great, were judged, according to their works that they had done; as if he had said, besides the book of life, there is the book of works, wherein the several actions of men are recorded, by which, at the great day, men are to be judged as they are found in them; according to the several debts that are therein, they are to receive their sentence.

Mark, now, for the better apprehension of our weak capacity, the Lord hath taken up such a kind of illustration of his dealing with men; namely, by recording our debts in books; yet, he tells us for our comfort, that, though there be such books, we need not fear; though they shall be opened, yet whatsoever was written in them, in reference to us, is all crossed and blotted out; and, when we come to account, there shall be nothing reckoned unto us, as a fault (Jude 1:24.).                             (Tobias Crisp, Christ Alone Exalted)

Christ: The Life of the Believer

January 10, 2017

Mark what the apostle saith, “Our life is hid with Christ in God.” It is true, there is a natural life, that may be destroyed as well as the life of a wicked man; but yet the soul of a believer is not destroyed; it is cannon proof, all the devils in hell cannot destroy it; “Christ himself is our life; now, when he shall appear, then shall we appear with him in glory.” So that Christ himself must be killed, before our lives shall be destroyed by the enemies. You that are believers have this advantage of your enemies, the unbelievers; you may take away their lives, but they cannot take away yours; they have but one life, a natural life but they that are believers, have a life in Christ; nay he is their life.

Beloved, the Lord intends only your good in all your changes, and that which is best, he provides for you; though your life be taken away from you, where is the hurt or loss? Consider it well, beloved, death is but the opening of the prison doors to let you out; it is but the arrival of a vessel into the haven of rest. What doth the sword do when it enters into a believer? It makes but a change of immortality for mortality, of life for death, of strength for weakness, of glory for shame, of holiness for sin; it doth but pull down a rotten house of clay, to give possession of mansions of glory; it doth but take persons from a cottage at will, to enter into a lordship of inheritance; for it gives full possession of an eternal one. The sword that enters into the breast of a believer, doth but put him into the chamber of the bridegroom, and consummates the marriage of the Lamb to him; it is the fulfilling of the great cry of the saints, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly;” and, “I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ.” It takes the bride into communion with her long looked-for beloved, and gives her possession of those things she longed for.

Mistake me not, I speak not all this while against holiness and righteousness, that becomes a people to whom Christ is a way; for holy and righteous they shall be; Christ will make them holy, and put his spirit into them, to change their hearts and to work upon their spirits; but this is not the condition required to partake of Christ. Christ himself gives himself, and then he bestows these things when he is given. I say, Christ is given to men first, before they do anything in the world; and all they do, they do by Christ present in them; “I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God.” We do not so much live, but by the life of Christ, which is life in us. All the actions of life proceed from the soul, now present; how then comes the actions of the soul to be a condition to partake of the soul, that gives life, and, by its presence, works such actions? Christ is the soul of every believer, that animates, and acts the believer in all things whatsoever. Must not this life, Christ, be put into a believer, before he can actuate life, which is a stream springs from that life? How then can this be a condition to receive, to have Christ.

When Christ is first come, by whom these things, that are called conditions, are afterwards wrought, he himself being present to work them? So, say I, God bestows Christ upon men to be a way to bring them to the Father; he is an absolute and free gift. There is no other motive that Christ should be any one’s saviour, than merely the good pleasure of the Father, the bowels of God himself; “Not for thy sake, but for my own sake; not for thy sake, thou art a rebellious and stubborn people, but for my own sake.” Here is the freeness of Christ, to a person coming to him, when he comes merely for God’s sake; and God merely upon his good pleasure will do it, because he will; “He hath mercy upon whom he will have mercy, and whom he will, he hardeneth; it is not in him that willeth, (saith Paul, Romans 9.) nor in him that runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy.” So that Christ becomes a way unto them, not out of their will, not out of their disposition, not out of their holy walkings, but out of that mercy that proceeds out of the mere will of God; his own good pleasure is the only fountain and spring of it. (Tobias Crisp, Christ Alone Exalted)

Great Quotes

November 26, 2016

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Acts 8:23 “For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”

Romans 7:14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

Galatians 4:3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.

The natural free will is put by Arminians to act above its own sphere, spiritually, while it is but a natural will. Making use of Christ as a Physician, believing, repenting, &c., are looked upon by Arminians to be in the power of every natural man; and these are spiritual, supernatural acts, or acts that do arise from the bestowment of grace, which raises the agent in those proper acts to act above nature. {Phil.1:29, Eph.2:8} Man’s will hath a natural freedom for natural acts, as he is a reasonable creature; but he hath no free will for spiritual acts, though he be a reasonable creature. For these are acts above his capacity as a natural man. {John 6:44}

The will of man in unregeneracy is a dead will, a hard, stony, inflexible will. The wills of all natural men are at enmity with God. Their wills cannot freely bow to will that which God wills. No will can say, without eminent sanctification, not my will, but thine be done. {Luke 22:42} The will of the creature is of itself a blind, enslaved, disobedient faculty; and for this will to be put immediately upon making use of Free Grace, and coming to Christ as he is the Great Physician, is putting it to act spiritually before it is made spiritual. It is bid to discern and look while it is blind. To come, while it is tied and bound with the chain of its own sin. Vitally to look to Christ before it is quickened by Him.

Now sinner let me not flatter thee, but in faithfulness give thee more encouragement, thy dead will must be quickened by a being born from above, life and motion of another kind than what thou hast from Adam to hear, and pray, and read, and give alms, must be put into thee by a supernatural power, even by the Holy Ghost Himself, given to be and dwell in thee {I Cor.3:16, II Tim.1:14;} so that this dead will of thine must be quickened by the Divine will, and willingness of Another. {James 1:18, John 3:8} The quickening of this will and freeing it must be Pure Grace! These things must proceed in the will and act of God, and do so, before a vital act of faith. For a dead will cannot believe, because faith on the Son of God is a living act. Deut.29:2, John 6:44. The will must be taught of the Father, by sending down the Holy Spirit before the will goes to Christ.

We must preach the Gospel so as it is fitted, under the exalted Operations of the Spirit, to beat down the practical Arminianism of all our natures. We are ready to think that Arminianism lies only in the book, or the apostate churches; and that if we profess or protest against the ‘Acta Synodalia Remonstrantium’ {a book compiled by the Remonstrants in 1620, in explanation and defence of their five articles against the decisions of the Synod of Dort} against the Canons of the Synod of Dort all is well. But this is just another mistake. Arminianism is the universal nature of mankind. It is by nature everybody’s principle; and there is no more religion in it than reasonable nature under corruption. It is our own state by nature; and I find it as natural in me to be an Arminian, as it is to breathe.

I will own it, that every man before the Power of Grace changes him, hath free will, or rather slavish will to be an Arminian by nature. We were all born so, and without the Power of Grace we die so. Now we that are Ministers under that power, must preach the Gospel so as to beat down Arminianism. If we lay down the Gospel in a Gospel way of Truth, we are delivered from the abominations of the Arminians; neither is there room for their subtleties to bring men into such labyrinths, as the things have been stated against offers of grace in this treatise of Gospel Truth. {Is.30:1,2} I must here profess my sorrow and burden for some of our present day Non-Conformists, who have lost so much ground to serve the Gospel in their learning, as well as in their zeal for orthodoxy, {Rom.10:2,} that they seem at this day to be mere strangers to everything in the Arminian controversy, but the bare name of it.  (From the site Supralapsarian.com)

Great Quotes

November 18, 2016

The Necessity of Righteousness – “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Rom.3:21,22). Here he handles the principle and chief point of salvation, which is concerning Christian Righteousness, or concerning Christian wisdom, or the glory of Christ. For if we seek at God’s hand for salvation; that is, for life, we must first seek for Righteousness; by which being reconciled unto God, we being thus in His favor, do obtain life. For that we may be beloved of God, we must first of necessity be righteous, seeing He hates unrighteousness. For whereas the Gospel is said to be the power of God unto salvation, even therefore, because it reveals the righteousness of God, we must therein mark the necessity of righteousness unto eternal life; such a necessity antecedence there is of righteousness, as that without it there is no hope to be saved; God’s justice inclining Him to punish, His purity to hate all unrighteousness.

For God is of pure eyes and cannot see evil, He cannot behold wickedness, but He must needs destroy the sin or the sinner (Habak.1:13). Because God being the sovereign Righteousness, He must needs hate us, whilst He sees us in our sins; then stands it in hand for us to be made righteous, before we can be in God’s favor. Yea, I add further, that it must be with such a righteousness, so completely perfect, as that it may endure the strict censure of God’s justice (Gal.3:10). Now then the exhortation of our Savior easily follows; that we should therefore first and principally above all things seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mat.6:33). Such a righteousness as may stand before God, and endure the trial of his justice. Therefore is Justification the very sum of the Gospel; yea, this is the sum of all the benefits of Christ; for with them that are made righteous and reconciled, God is present; He endues them with new light, and with eternal life, He hears them, and defends them in all their troubles.

Therefore he handles here the principle and chief point of our salvation; namely – Justification; the pure knowledge whereof alone saves the Church; for it is the knowledge of the truth and of life, for which the Gospel is called the power of God unto salvation. On the contrary, when this knowledge of Justification is lost, together with it is lost Christ, and life, and the Church; neither any judgment of doctrines or of spirits is left, but darkness and blindness possesses all things. Therefore it is the duty of a good Pastor, that he suffer not himself to be drawn away with any disputations from the daily and continual handling of this point. So strange it is to carnal reason, so dark to the world, so many enemies it has, that except the Spirit of God from above reveal it, learning cannot reach it, wisdom is offended, nature is astonished, devils do not know it, men do persecute it.

Briefly; as there is no way to life so easy, so there is none so hard. Easy to whom it is given from above; hard to the carnal sense not yet inspired. The ignorance thereof is the root of all errors, sects, and divisions in the world. Yea, I do therefore so much beat upon it, because I know that Satan goes about nothing more, than that he may take away this knowledge from the sight and minds of men. Hitherto principally tend all the stirs which he raises up both publicly and privately, that men busying their heads in new disputations, should forget this article; for Satan feels the force and power of this article. For Justification, by which of unjust we are made just before God, is the strong Rock and foundation of Christian Religion. Upon this foundation of God’s free promise and grace first built the patriarchs, kings, and prophets. Upon the same foundation also Christ the Lord built His Church. For this doctrine advances and sets forth the true glory of Christ, and suppresses the vain glory of man; this whosoever denies, is not to be reputed for a Christian man, nor for a setter forth of Christ’s glory, but for an adversary to Christ and His gospel.

By the preaching of this doctrine the Devil is overthrown, his kingdom is destroyed; the law, sin, and death, {wherewith as most mighty and invincible tyrants, he hath brought all mankind in subjection under his dominion} are wrested out of his hands. Briefly, his prisoners are translated out of the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of light and liberty. Should the Devil suffer all this? Should not the father of lies employ all his force, and subtle policies to darken, to corrupt, and utterly root out this doctrine of salvation and everlasting life? Indeed Paul complains in all his epistles that even in his days the Devil showed himself a cunning work-man in his business, by darkening and hindering this doctrine of justification.

Now for us, let this suffice in this place, to stir up God’s children by these and the like reasons, to fortify their judgments in this main point of Christian faith. The Article of Justification is the very sum of the Gospel; that once corrupted, there can be no soundness; that truly and thoroughly understood, and believed, and applied, arms against all assaults of Satan; and let us be exhorted, as to edify ourselves in all other points of our most holy faith; so specially in this, which who so holds not aright, surely he holds not the Head, nor ever can be saved. Thus we see the necessity of earnest teaching, and diligent learning of this doctrine of Justification! (John Eaton Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642, Taken from Supralapsarian.com)

Great Quotes

October 1, 2016

Therefore we may conceive of the origin of religion in a more inward and spiritual manner still. It is not so much given of God as itself is something of God in the soul; as the soul is not so properly said to give live, as to be the life of man. As the conjunction of the soul with the body is the life of the body, so verily the life of the soul stands in its conjunction with God by a spiritual union of will and affections. God doth not enlighten men’s minds as the sun enlightens the world, by shining unto them and round about them, but by shining into them; by enlightening the faculty, as I said before, yea, which seems to be somewhat more, by shining in their hearts, as the apostle phrases it (II Cor 4:6). He sets up a candle, which is his own light within the soul; so that the soul sees God in his own light, and loves him with the love that he has shed abroad in it; and religion is no other than a reflection of that divine image, life, and light, and love, which from God are stamped and imprinted upon the souls of true Christians. God is said to enlighten the soul, but it is not as the sun enlightens, that you see; so he draws the soul too, but not from without only, as one man draws another with a cord; but, as the sun draws up earthly vapors by infusing its virtue and power into them; or, as the loadstone draws the iron, so he draws the soul by the powerful insinuations of his grace.

God does not so much communicate himself to the soul by way of discovery, as by way impression; and indeed not so much by impression neither, as by a mystical and wonderful way of implantation. Religion is not so much something from God, as something of God in the minds of good men, for so the Scripture allows us to speak; it is therefore called his image (Col 3:10), and good men are said to “love according to God in the spirit” (I Peter 4:6); but, as if that were no high enough, it is not only called his image, but even a participation of his divine nature (II Peter 1:4); something of Christ in the soul, and infant Christ as one calls it, alluding to the apostle (Galatians 4:19) where the saving knowledge of Christ is called Christ himself, “until Christ be formed in you.” True religion is, as it were, God dwelling in the soul and Christ dwelling in the soul, as the apostles John and Peter express it: yea, God Himself is pleased thus to express his relation to the godly soul in Isaiah 57:15; “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a humble spirit;” and again in II Corinthians 6:16, “As God has said, I will dwell in them and walk in them.”

Pure religion is a beam of the Father of lights; it is a crop of that eternal fountain of goodness and holiness, the breath of the power of God, a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty, the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspoiled mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness, more beautiful than the sun, and above all the orders of stars. What is spoken of the eternal Son of God (Heb 1:3), may, in a sense, be truly affirmed of religion in the abstract, that “offspring or branch of heaven,” that it is, “the effulgency or beaming forth of divine glory;” for there is more of the divine glory and beauty shining forth in one godly soul than in all things in the world beside. The glorious light of the sun is but a dark shadow of the divine light, not to be compared with the beauty of holiness.

An immortal soul does more resemble the divine nature than any other created being; but religion in the soul is a thousand times more divine than the soul itself. The material world is indeed a darker representation of divine wisdom, power, and goodness; it is as it were the footsteps of God; the immaterial world of angels and spirits represent him more clearly, as the face of God; but holiness in the soul does most nearly resemble him of all created things; one may call it the beauty and glory of his face. Every creature partakes of God indeed; he had no copy but himself and his own essence to frame the world by; so that all these must needs carry some resemblance of their Maker. But no creature is capable of such communications of God as a rational, immortal, spirit is; and the highest that angel or spirit, or any created nature, can be made capable of, is to be holy as God in holy.

Samuel Shaw, Immanuel; or True Religion A Living Principle in the Minds of Men

Great Quotes

September 11, 2016

Thirdly, because God would exercise the Faith and other graces of his Spirit in his own Children, that they might believe in and love Jesus Christ for his spiritual Beauty, though {at particular seasons} there appears nothing but spiritual Beauty, and no outward Beauty, as no outward Kingdom doth appear, but he reign as a Spiritual King only. It was a great and a glorious thing, in those three wise men that came to Christ that offered Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh to Christ when he was in a Manger; and so for God’s people now to believe in him, now to love, now to rejoice in him, now to offer all to him; for now his Kingdom is darkened, now he doth appear so despised as he is; for this is a glorious work of Faith, and we should desire much to be found in this way of faith, in looking upon this Spiritual Beauty that is in Christ, and satisfying our souls in that; that so we may not be offended at the darkening of Christ’s Kingdom outwardly in the world; and the less Christ doth appear to reign outwardly in the world, the less glorious his Kingdom doth appear outwardly, the more let us labor to bring our hearts under his spiritual Reign of Grace. The more others say, “we will not have this man reign over us,” the more let our souls subject themselves to him, and say, “Christ is our KING,” and may he reign forever over us; yea, let us labor to sympathize with Jesus Christ in the darkening of his glory and of his Kingdom.

Jesus Christ, though he be the glory of his Father, “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his Person,” yet is he contented to have his glory darkened for a season. Therefore who are we that we must have glory in this world and outward excellencies, when Christ is willing to be without them? Let us be willing to go like the Witnesses, clothed in Sackcloth, till Christ comes to reign. There are white shining garments prepared, but that time is not yet, though it will not be long. The Bridegroom yet seems to be absent, and therefore it is fit for the Spouse to go low and mean in the mourning weeds as a widow; the trimming of the Bride in her outward glory, may come hereafter, when Christ shall come in glory into the World. Lastly, the Kingdom of Christ is darkened for a while outwardly, and therefore it should teach us to bless God so much the more for that opportunity that we have of setting up Christ as King amongst us; for thus far, the Voice is not heard much, that the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth abroad in the world, though lately some noise we have heard; but, blessed be God, in our Congregations amongst us, may we hear the Voice, that the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.

It is through our own wretched wickedness, if his Kingly Power be not fully set up amongst us in all his Ordinances; and that we should have an opportunity to set up his Kingly Power amongst us here, while it is so much opposed, and so little known in the world, it is a great mercy indeed. Therefore let us take heed of abusing that opportunity we have, for darkening the Kingly Power of Christ, which we profess to set up; especially in these {apostate} times, when there comes to be a Voice, though confusedly, from the Multitude, and some kind of Voice of thunder from the great ones. But though it be dark for a while, certainly he shall reign, and the Voice will be glorious and distinctive, saying, “Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

William Kiffin {Glimpse of Zion’s Glory, or the Churches Beauty Specified, 1641}
Copied from Supralapsarian.com

Great Quotes

September 10, 2016

Though Christ’s Kingdom be for a while darkened, yet certainly Christ will reign in his Church gloriously, at the which the saints will sing Hallelujah. Why, did not Christ reign before? Yes, but not in that manner that now he is to reign, for the Kingdom of Christ hath been exceedingly darkened in the World; though it now begins to appear a little more brightly, it hath been exceedingly darkened. When Christ came in his own Person, how did he appear to reign, and be the Lord God Omnipotent? I mean outwardly, for he was a man of sorrows; one that was rather a worm than a man; as it is said of him, He was one, in whom appeared no Form and Beauty; for which he should be desired. {Is.53:2} He was bruised by his Father; he was in the form of a servant; yea, made in the likeness of men; being made sin for us, and beaten like a condemned malefactor; yea, made a curse for us; and so how did he reign? They made him a king in way of derision, put a reed into his hand instead of a scepter, and bowed the knee in scorn, and called him the King of the Jews; and thus he reigned outwardly, and not otherwise, in his own Person. And afterwards in the primitive times how did he appear to be Lord God, and to reign there, when the Heathen Emperors reigned over his Subjects, and had their wills imposed upon them? His Subjects were but a company of poor distressed and forlorn people, wandering up and down, persecuted, and destitute of all comforts.

Afterwards when God brought Constantine the Emperor and others to reign, the Church enjoyed a little Peace, though this was but for a little time. In the 8th of the Revelation, it is said there was silence in Heaven for half an hour, which may perhaps be applied to that little time of respite that the Church had in Constantine’s time; for when Licinius who was joined with Constantine in the Empire, presently fell off, and grew a Persecutor, then spread Arianism over all the World, that all the World seemed to be an Arian, so that Christ was not acknowledged Lord God; and therefore not {recognized as} reigning. Then Antichrist spread himself, and he set himself up as Lord God, and prescribed laws to the consciences of men, and Christ was cast out {in the hearts of degenerate men} of his Throne; yea, to this day how little hath Christ reigned as to any outward display of his power? The Devil himself appears a greater king, I mean in regard of the multiplicity of his subjects. Divide the World into thirty parts, and there are not above five of those that even acknowledge Christ; and out of those five take them where Antichrist reigns, and how little doth Christ appear to reign? And among them where Christ is acknowledged, and Antichrist rejected, how is his Kingdom persecuted; and of the better sort, how is his Kingdom slighted, and many forward professors and zealous Ministers have trifling thoughts thereof. Yea, even among those that set up his Kingdom, in regard of their miscarriages his Kingdom is darkened; so that Christ doth appear to have but a little reign in the World; and it is a glorious thing spoken of to John, that Christ, “the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.” What shall we say to these things? That Christ should be King of Heaven and Earth, and should appear so diminutive in his reign as he hath done, and yet doth to this day.

Let us stay a little here, and admire at the infinite Depth and Wisdom of God’s Counsels that are past finding out. What God should aim at and indicate {if we may speak with holy reverence} to order these things, that his own Son so infinitely dear unto him, should have his glory so darkened in the World as he hath. We may think of some reasons why God doth ordain this; but what his aim and intentions are in the depth of his Counsels, is infinitely beyond us. It may be it is to be a stumbling-block to wicked and ungodly men in his just Judgment that they should see and not understand. {Mt.13:14} And it was upon this ground that God suffered his Kingdom to be darkened hitherto, that Antichrist might prevail, because of much Glory {that is, vindicate Glory as made known in the “day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”} that he intended to bring out of the prevailing of Antichrist in the World; therefore in his Providence he hath so ordained it, as that the Kingdom of his Son for many years should indeed be darkened. And {my Brethren} if the Kingdom of Christ had been kept in Congregations, in that way that we and some other Churches are in, it had been impossible that Antichrist should have got head. But God in his Providence, because he would so order Antichrist to rise and to Rule for a long time, as he had many things to bring out of the Kingdom of Antichrist, to work for his Glory; therefore God hath left this particular truth {that of his absolute sovereignty & complete reign} to be so dark; that is, the setting up of Christ in his Kingly Office.

(William Kiffin {Glimpse of Zion’s Glory, or the Churches Beauty Specified, 1641})

Great Quotes

September 3, 2016

The question is not so much about the time, and terms, and matter of our Justification, but how we are made righteous in the sight of God, which the Scriptures do affirm, to be by the perfect righteousness of Christ alone, which God doth impute to all his seed freely, without works and conditions performed by us. 1. Consider if the righteousness by which we are justified, be a perfect righteousness, then we are not justified by our obedience to Gospel precepts, but the righteousness whereby we are justified is a perfect righteousness, which is the righteousness of Christ alone, {Heb.1:8, Mt.6:33, Rom.4:6,} an everlasting righteousness, {Psal.119:142, 22:31, 35:28,} that righteousness which justifieth us before God, as it is not ours, so it is not in us. But as it is Christ’s righteousness, so it is in him, “In me you shall have righteousness and strength,” {Ps.71:15,16,19,24,} “I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.”

Justice and mercy do both meet in this Justification. Justice, in that he will not justify a sinner without a perfect righteousness; and yet mercy, in that he will accept him for such a righteousness; that is, neither in him, nor done by him, but by his Surety for him. {The joy of a Believer would always be unspeakable, did he always apprehend his happiness in and by Christ alone. In a word, the pure, glorious, matchless and spotless righteousness of Christ is a souls righteousness and resting place. “I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only,” for thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness. “In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.” – Jer.33:16 – the perfection of Christ’s righteousness is held forth unto us, and always lieth before us, that we may be thankful for it, and peaceable with it, and rejoice in the Bestower of it.}

2. Consider the Apostles all along were very careful to keep this Doctrine of Justification by grace distinct from all other things, they all along do oppose the Law and grace, works and faith, our righteousness and Christ’s righteousness, teaching us thereby how needful it is they should be kept asunder. Justification by grace hath been and will be the bone of contention till the next coming of Christ. Why so? Because learning cannot reach it, natural wisdom is confounded at it, evil spirits do not know it, most men do persecute it, as being bereaved of the knowledge of it, or else corrupt it in the simplicity of it. Consider we should not be justified by grace, if any condition were required of us, in order to our justification; for the condition whatsoever performed, makes the Covenant a due debt; then justification should not be of grace, but of debt, contrary to the express words of Scripture. – This Doctrine is as the foundation and basis of all Christian Religion. This Doctrine is the inlet of all spiritual divine peace and consolation. This is the root and spring of all Gospel obedience. This Doctrine is the great stop and bar to keep out all floods of error. This Doctrine is the main support of a soul under all trials. This is the great Doctrine by which Satan’s kingdom is undermined and overthrown. This is the Doctrine that Satan doth most war against, either to pervert or corrupt. This Doctrine is the hardest piece to be learned, it being wholly supernatural in every part of it, above the reach of nature, and all things in us do oppose it. This Doctrine is the Root and Spring of all Gospel obedience, whatsoever men call obedience, if it ariseth not from hence, it is but forced and legal; for we must get up Gospel principles, if we would keep up Gospel practices. This Doctrine received, and the heart therein established, will be a stop and bar to keep out all floods of error. The floods of all error flow in at the pipe of ignorance, and especially ignorance of this very thing; namely, the Doctrine of Grace.

The error of the Papists {the Papists hold that we are not justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed, but by the righteousness of Christ inherent in us, and righteous actions done by us} of building and resting upon works, springs from their ignorance of this blessed Doctrine; the error of the Quaker springs purely from hence; the error of the Arminian springs in at the same pipe, partly by works, and partly by grace; they not seeking salvation by grace, but as it were by the works of the Law, they stumbled and fell. {Rom.9:32} And all the instability, formality, legality that there is at this day appearing amongst the Presbyterian, Independent and Baptist, or any other people professing godliness, doth arise from their ignorance or their little knowledge in this great mystery; nay farther, did you ever read, or from any true Christian hear, that any man or woman that was acquainted with, and in some good measure established in this Doctrine of grace {by the Spirit’s direct infusion of this truth into the heart, thereby generating a deep love to the same – “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved”} infected with, and overcome by these floods of error, that doth now swarm among us? Oh how doth Satan pollute and defile the souls and judgments of men, with Christ-dishonoring and soul undoing opinions. Robert Purnell {A Little Cabinet Richly Stored, 1657}

Great Quotes

August 20, 2016

If God is, dominion must belong to him. If he were not Lord, he would not be God. But God is, and “He is Lord of All.” An absolutely supreme dominion is his by right, and in fact. But the sovereignty he has and exerts over his intelligent creatures is not solely that of a proprietor, but also that of a moral governor. As such he subjected man to a law which is holy, just, and good. This law may be taken as a transcript, so far as any law can be, of his own nature; and it may be confidently concluded that, while he will suffer none who are subject to this law to break a single precept ‘with impunity, he himself, in any of the acts of his sovereignty, will never violate its principles. In the outworking of his sovereignty, then, there will be nothing unholy, unjust, nor evil. If, therefore, nothing apart from God controls his sovereignty, the immutable excellencies of his own nature will ever secure its beneficial exercise. “Thou art good,” said the Psalmist, “and doest good.”

Seizing thus on this fundamental truth of God’s nature, we may grasp with unmistaken certainty the fixed relation of that truth to all God’s acts, and may hold fast our confidence against all the opposition of apparent contradictions. For the existence of apparent contradictions we do not deny. To do so would be fanaticism. No man can open his eyes without seeing such presentments. He cannot but see that, however much power has been exerted to preserve physical order in the universe, moral disorder abounds ; that if some of the angels have been upheld to keep their first estate, others of them were left miserably to fall; and that moral order has been overthrown in the person of the father of our race with fearfully calamitous con-consequences to all his posterity.

Losing sight of God’s sovereignty herein, men have come to deny his excellency, and the necessary result of assuming these false premises has been the adoption of the fool’s conclusion, “There is no God.” If, say they, God is good, he is not almighty; or if almighty, he is not good. Ignoring thus God’s sovereignty, and judging only from appearances, their reasoning to them is irrefutable. Their mistake lies in ignoring the lordship of God. Only as we acknowledge the sovereignty of God exerting almightiness under the direction of wisdom and holiness and justice and goodness, both as to way and end, can the mind find rest. Simple faith in God, in other words, is here the only anchor of the soul. This gives quiet.

Divine sovereignty is especially illustrated in the existent occasion for the atonement, in the admission of a substitute, in the provision of the Substitute, and in the appointment of the beneficiaries…

But divine sovereignty has more than admitted an atonement; the Sovereign has provided the Substitute. Milton, having introduced the Father as admitting a substitute for offending man, represents the Supreme as asking the assembled choir of heaven where such a one might be found, having a “charity so dear,” as to be-come a substitute, and who, being tiling, should be able to “pay the rigid satisfaction, death for death.”

“He asked, but all the heavenly choir stood mute, And silence was in heaven.”

To have admitted a substitute, without providing one, would have left the sinner in helpless ruin. But offended Majesty provided the Substitute. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” —” He spared not his own Son.’

It will appear from this that if the great business of reconciliation through the atonement of Christ be represented as a merely personal affair of sacrifice and propitiation between the Father and the Son on behalf of others, the representation will be false and misleading. In the atonement of Christ it is not to be considered that the Father is determined to have a personal revenge on sinners; that the Son, moved with pity towards them, is willing to interpose himself and to let the Father’s revenge be wreaked on him ; that the Father is pleased, therefore, to wound his innocent Son in their stead and to satisfy his vengeance and pacify his wrath; and that, his vengeance being satisfied through the shedding of innocent blood and his wrath relieved, he is willing to release the offenders from the pains of hell and to advance them to the pleasures of heaven. Such a representation may befit a pagan atonement, but by no means clear the guilty; but the object of the punishment is not to wreak a personal revenge and to appease a personal fury, and so to obtain such a personal consolation as a gratified revenge affords; but to vindicate holiness, righteousness, and goodness, in the justification of the ungodly.

God willed to lave mercy. This mercy is a natural element of his goodness; and the purpose to shew mercy is a sovereign outcome of his goodness. But in order to vindicate his justice and holiness as represented in his law, he, in showing mercy, admits and provides a Substitute who makes a proper atonement for those to whom mercy is shown.  Hence the admission of an atonement and the provision of the Substitute are at once the manifestation and the commendation of his love. The Judge, indeed, punished the Surety, and vindicated the Lawgiver in the atonement of Christ; but here everything is official. Of the personal God in the whole of this wondrous transaction, it should ever be proclaimed that, “Yea, he loved the people!”    Israel Atkinson