December 17, 2014

John Diodati (1576-1649) on Deuteronomy 33:3 and God's Common Love

"V. 3. Yea he loved] The Ital. Though thou loved: viz. O Lord, though thou through common love, causest all men to feel some effects of thy goodness, yet thou bearest thy People a special affection, whom thou hast sanctified, and taken as proper to thy self, to have them under thy care and protection."
John Diodati, Pious and Learned Annotations Upon the Holy Bible: Plainly Expounding the Most Difficult Places Thereof, 2nd Edition (London: Printed by Miles Flesher, for Nicholas Fussell, 1648), 131.

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December 16, 2014

Benjamin Keach (1640-1704) on Abusing Offers of Love and Preparation for Death

"And that I might enforce this word upon you, let me lay before you a few Motives and awakening Considerations.

First, Consider what a great favour and mercy it is that God hath let you and I live so long. Others are long ago cut down and sent to the grave; he hath not [willed that] it may be given [to] many half of those days which thou hast had: Look upon this as a mercy indeed, considering thy life was forfeited before thou wert born.

Sirs we came into the World with the Sentence of death upon us; and if Jehovah had cut us down in our sins many years ago, it would have been but a piece of Justice. And what is the end of God in sparing of us, but that we might be fitted for the place whither we are going. Oh how unwilling is God to strike the fatal blow, to cut men down before they are prepared for death. He is not willing they should perish, and that is the reason of his patience, longsuffering, and forbearance, sinners lay it to heart.

Secondly, Consider what dreadful provocations you and I have given him to take us away, and command death in his name to arrest us. Have we not grieved, burdened, yea even wearied him with our iniquities? Nay, have we not pierced him? May he not cry out, as  being pressed as a Cart is pressed that is full of sheaves, Amos 2.13. Is it not a sad and most lamentable thing, thus to deal with a loving and gracious God?

Thirdly, How often hath the Lord called you, and yet you have rebelled? Hath not he stretched out his hand all the day long, and yet you have not hearkened; but have rejected his counsel and cast his word and reproofs behind you; yea, and often resisted his Holy Spirit in the common motions and workings thereof? Have you not many of you refused his Grace, Son, and divers sweet and precious Calls and Offers of Love. And certain I am, you have had many of these in this place. Nay, how many warnings have you had of the near approach of death? Nay, awakening summons to prepare for the grave, as you would answer it before the dreadful Judge of Heaven and Earth; by my dear Brother that is fallen asleep [John Norcot]; whom we shall hear no more? Oh what pains did he take with some of you, that so you might be ready? Have not you and I notwithstanding all this hearkened to a base deceitful heart, and enticing and tempting Devil? Have you stouted it out against all Pains and Endeavours used for Spiritual awakenings, and are you yet alive? Then consider how much this calls upon you to be ready to die. Will any dare, that are sensible of the worth of their Immortal Souls, neglect this concern any longer?

4. Consider, That the abuse of Mercy and Goodness will greatly aggravate thy misery in the day of wrath: Oh remember what it is to sin against Light, Love, and Patience. Shall the goodness of God, that should lead to repentance, encourage and harden thee in thy iniquity? How dost thou think to escape the Judgement of God? Or despisest thou, as saith the Apostle, the riches of his goodness, forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance; but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds, Rom. 2:4-6. Sentence is past against a sinner, but because it is not speedily executed, therefore the hearts of men are fully set within them to do wickedly, Eccl. 8.11. Christ knocks at the door and yet sinners will not hear. Christ may speak of sinners as God speaks of Israel of old, My people will have none of me, Psal. 81. 11. Oh what have you to answer for abused mercy and favour! What will you do hearafter, when Christ, who waits upon you now to save you, will then turn his face from you in the day of your calamity, and plead against you to condemn you? see Prov. 1. 28."
Benjamin Keach, A Summons to the Grave. Or, The Necessity of a Timely Preparation for Death (London: Printed for Ben. Harris at the Stationers Arms in Sweethings Rents, near the Royal Exchange, 1676), 23-27.

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December 15, 2014

James Rawson (d.1673) on God's Love and Hate in Romans 9

"Sir, for the resolving of your question, and satisfying of the scruple, I must tell you, first, that God is said to have hated Esau before he was born, or that he had done either good or evil; that is called hatred, comparatively, in respect of that love he showed unto Jacob; he may be said to hate him because he loved him less than he did Jacob: Thus Leah was said to be hated by Jacob, comparatively with the love showed to Rachel, because she was less beloved than Rachel: so he that serves two masters, will hate the one, and love the other, (i.e.) will love him less than the other: And thus God loves the reprobates less than he does the elect; but it cannot be concluded, that the Lord doth absolutely hate any creature of his own making, for they were all good, yea very good: and Wisd. 11.24. thou lovest all things that are, and abhorrest nothing that thou hast made. Tis true God hates sin, because he made it not, and this hatred hath an influx upon the sinner, as he is a sinner, because God made him not so: But God hates not a non-elected person, or a reprobate, as he is a reprobate, neither does he condemn him, or decree to condemn him, for his negative reprobation, which is God's act, but for his sin, which is man's act."
James Rawson, Gerizim, Election, and Ebal, Reprobation. Or, the Absolute Good Pleasure of Gods Most Holy Will to All the Sons of Adam Specificated, viz. to Vessels of Mercy in their Eternal Election, and to Vessels of Wrath in their Eternal Reprobation (London: Printed by John Owsley, for Henry Shephard, and are to be sold at his shop under St. Swithins Church in Canning street near London-Stone, 1658), 170.

Note: I only post this to show that Rawson, a high Calvinist, believed God, in a sense, loves the reprobate, not that I entirely agree with his interpretation of the love/hate contrast in Romans 9. I prefer to see the contrast in terms of a love of election vs. a hatred of preterition, which may or may not be compatible with Rawson's view. Also, I think he should have said, "God hates not a non-elected person, or reprobate, as he is God's creature," instead of saying, "...as he is a reprobate." That seems to be Rawson's point anyway, as he references the Book of Wisdom, and distinguishes between God's love for a person as His creature and God's hate for that same person as he is a sinner. I think he was using the term "reprobate" in this context in the sense of one merely passed over (and therefore "loved-less") in God's decree, or for the non-elect as such, not in the sense of a person existing in a state of sinful rebellion.

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James Rawson was a high predestinarian and eventually a nonconformist. He may have also been a presbyterian.

December 10, 2014

Samuel Willard (1640-1707) on God's Good Will in the Gospel Offer

"And what greater discovery of good will could there be?

3. In the free offers that he maketh of it to men. He hath not only made way for it, by the Obedience of his Son, who paid the price for our Redemption, but published it in the Gospel, and tendered it to all that come within the sound of that Proclamation: And there are two things that set forth his readiness to apply this forgiveness to Sinners.

1. That he maketh offer of, and invites Sinners to accept it. He hath ordered that man be told that he hath forgiveness, and that they be bidden to come for it. He doth not wait till miserable Sinners cry to him for it; which yet would be a rich favour, if so they might find it at his hands, but because they sought it not, nor ever would have done so, he sends them an Embassy about it, Isa. 65:1, 2. 2 Cor. 5:20. And would he do so, did he not delight in pardoning?

2. That he offereth it freely. And if he did not do so, the Sinner must forever go without it, for he had nothing to purchase it with. The Gospel Invitations come as freely as can be supposed, Isa. 55:1. Rev. 22:17. If it be here objected; you teach that there are Gospel Conditions on which it is only to be had; how then can it be said to be free? it may readily be replied; there are no other Conditions required in the Gospel, but what among men are required in order to receiving and being invested with the freest gift that can be: there is nothing but acceptance of this gift, and acknowledgment of the kindness of the bestower; faith is the hand that receiveth it, whereas unbelief puts it away; and is it not meet that he who would have the benefit of a gift, do accept of it? or doth such acceptance derogate from the grace of the Giver? and what is our Obedience, but our thankfulness to God for so unspeakable a gift? and shall any say the gift was not free, because I was thankful for it? the Sinner was worthy of death, and deserved no pardon, and yet he may have it for receiving, and is not God willing
3. In the urgent entreaties he useth with men to accept of this forgiveness. He not only offers it, but pleads and is very urgent and importunate with them, as if it were a kindness done him to take it of him, as well as to them in their having it; he useth all sorts of arguments to persuade them by; he tells them what need they stand in of it, that their eternal welfare depend upon it, that they are condemned and going to Execution, and must need perish, if they be not pardoned, and therefore how much they will stand in their own light, and be guilty of their own blood if they refuse it, Ezek. 33:11. He acquaints them how much it cost his own Son to purchase it, else they had been hopeless; and hence how great an affront it will be to all that kindness of his, to despise it: It will be to trample on that precious blood, and to make their escape desperate, Heb. 2:3. He urgeth on them the consideration of the vanity of all other objects, and course[?] from saving them from the Wrath to come, and that these refuges of lies will leave them naked and exposed to God's Indignation: he telleth them how acceptable it will be to him, if they take hold of this offer, and make their peace with him, and how much his grace will be illustrated thereby: he puts them in mind how gracious and merciful he is, Jer. 3:13. Obviates all the discouragements that Satan and a misgiving heart offer to throw in the way to make them despair of obtaining pardon: and he doth all this with greatest urgency, beseeching them to be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5:10."
Samuel Willard, The Truly Blessed Man (Boston in N.E.: Printed by B. Green, and J. Allen, for Michael Perry, 1700), 254-257.

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December 7, 2014

Richard Baxter (1615-1691) Answers the Double Payment Question

"Cont. 28. Is it not unjust to punish him that Christ died for, even one sin twice? 
Ans. No, Unless it were the same person that suffered, or the very same punishment that was due (and all that was due) were expected again; and unless it were against our mediators will. But all is contrary in this case. 1. The Law bound no one to suffer but the offender. 2. Therefore Christ suffering was not the same punishment which the Law did threaten, but it was Satisfaction instead of it; which is the Tantundem, not the idem quod debitum suit, but redditio æquivalentis alias indebiti, as the Schoolmen call it. For noxa caput sequitur; the Law threateneth not a surety, but only the sinner, and ubi alius solvit, simul aliud solvitur. 3. And Christ himself never satisfied with any other intent; and therefore it is according to his will, that they that tread under foot the blood of the Covenant wherewith they were Sanctified, as an unholy thing, and do despite to the Spirit of Grace, should suffer the far sorer punishment, Heb. 10. Yea it is Christ himself that will have it so, and that doth so judge, them, and inflict this punishment for the contempt of grace.

And it is his will that his own members be punished by correction, notwithstanding his sufferings: As many as he loveth he doth rebuke and chasten: And Christ doth not wrong himself: The end of his suffering never was to execute the redeemed from all suffering, nor to make believers lawless."

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Thomas Larkham (1602-1669) on God Begging and Yearning Over Lost Mankind

"Learn then we may hence, that there is no want of mercy in God: sooner can the Sea want water, and Hell want fire, and torments for ungodly men; than God can want mercy. If ye be not all saved (O ye sinners) it is not out of any defect in God: His bowels yearn over lost mankind: Ye are self-murderers; if ye come not all to Heaven. He persuades you, entreats you, begs you and complains of you; that ye will not come to him, that ye might have life. And what would ye have more? I say again, if any of you be damned, tis not God, but yourselves that cause it. See what God hath done to others: men saved already next the devils, have been greatest objects of pity that could be, because vile sinners and enemies to God in their mind by wicked works; bloody Manasseth, persecuting Saul, abominable Mary Magdalen, and the Thief upon the Cross, even dropping into the jaws of Hell. And for Saul who I named but just now, when he was breathing out threatenings and slaughters against the disciples of the Lord: Even then was God breathing out his mercies upon him. These are glorious suns that shine in the crown of our merciful God. He hath mercy of all sorts, for all conditions: and nothing displeaseth him more, then when men take up narrow thoughts of his infinite bowels."
Thomas Larkham, "The Mercy of God," in The Attributes of God Unfolded, and Applied. Divided into Three Parts (London: Printed for Francis Egelsfield, and are to be sold at the Mary-gold in Pauls Church-yard, 1656), 1:133.

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DNB

Other men within the Augustinian tradition who use the metaphor of God begging are the following:

Augustine (Early Church Father), Hugh Latimer (Early English Reformer), Isaac Ambrose (Puritan), Daniel Burgess (Puritan), Jeremiah Burroughs (Westminster divine), Richard Baxter (Puritan), Joseph Caryl (Westminster divine), Thomas Case (Puritan), Stephen Charnock (Puritan), John Collinges (Puritan), John Flavel (Puritan), Theophilus Gale (Puritan), William Gearing (Puritan), Andrew Gray (Puritan), William Gurnall (Puritan), Robert Harris (Westminster divine), Thomas Manton (Puritan), John Murcot (Puritan), George Newton (Puritan), Anthony Palmer (Puritan), Edward Reynolds (Westminster divine), John Richardson (Puritan), Samuel Rutherford (Westminster divine), John Shower (Puritan), Richard Sibbes (Puritan), Sydrach Simpson (Westminster divine), William Strong (Westminster divine), George Swinnock (Puritan), John Trapp (Puritan), Ralph Venning (Puritan), Nathaniel Vincent (Puritan), Thomas Watson (Puritan), Samuel Willard, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Solomon Stoddard, Samuel Davies, Ralph Erskine, Charles Spurgeon, Thomas Chalmers, Walter Chantry, Erroll Hulse, John MacArthur and Fred Zaspel.

December 6, 2014

Richard Baxter (1615-1691) on the Arrogancy of Some in Believing Half-Truths

"4. Another expression of this Arrogant Ignorance is, When men will not believe the several truths of God, because they are not able to reconcile them, and place each one in its own order, and see the Method and Body of Truth in its true Locations and Proportion: Nay, perhaps they will believe none, because they cannot discern the harmony.

What abundance of seeming contradictions in Scripture do rise up in the eyes of an Ignorant Infidel? as strange apparitions do to a distracted man; or as many colors do before the inflamed or distempered eye. These self-conceited ignorant Souls, do imagine all to be impossible which exceedeth their knowledge; and because they cannot see[?] the sweet consent of Scripture, and how those places do suit, and fortify each other, which to them seemed to contradict each other, therefore they think that no one else can see it; no not God himself. They are like an ignorant fellow in a Watch-makers shop, that thinks nobody can fix[?] all the loose pieces together, and make a Watch of them, because he cannot. When he hath tried many ways, and cannot[?] hit it, he casts all by, and concludeth, that it's impossible.

And upon this account many cast away particular truths, though they will not cast away all. Some cannot reconcile the efficiency of the Spirit, with that of the Word, in the Conversion and Confirmation of sinners; and therefore some exclude one, and some the other, or own by the empty names; some cannot reconcile the Law, and the Gospel: And too great a part of the Teachers, in the Christian World, have been so troubled to reconcile God's grace, with man's free-will, that of old, many did too much exclude the natural liberty of the will, upon a supposition of the inconsistency; only the names of both were still owned.

Many cannot reconcile the sufficiency of Christ's satisfaction, with the necessity of man's endeavors, and inherent righteousness; and therefore one must be strained or denied. Many cannot reconcile common love and grace, with that which is special and proper to the Elect; and therefore some deny one, and some another. The like might be said of many other cases, wherein the Arrogancy of man's wit hath cast out God's truth: If both parts be never so express, yet they are upon this unbelieving questioning strain, [How can these things be?] How can these agree together? How can both be true? when yet it is evident, that God hath owned both.

It is certain, that the Truths of God's Word are one perfect well-jointed Body; and the perfect symmetry or proportion, is much of its beauty: It is certain, that Method is an excellent help in knowing Divine things: and that no man can know God's truths perfectly, til he see them all as in one Scheme or Body, with one view, as it were, and so sees the Location of each Truth, and the respect that it hath to all the rest; not only to see that there is no contradiction, but how every Truth doth fortify the rest. All this therefore is exceeding desirable, but it is not every man's lot to attain it, nor any man's in this world perfectly, or near to a perfection: It is true, that the sight of all God's frame of the Creation, uno intuitus, in all its parts, with all their respects to each other, would acquaint us with abundance more of the glory of it, then by looking on the Members peace-meal we can attain: But who can see them thus, but God? at least, what mortal eye can do it? And we shall never in this life attain to see the full Body of Divine Revealed-Truths, in that method and due proportion, as it necessary to the knowledge of its full beauty. It is a most perfectly melodious Instrument; but every man cannot see it in tune, so as to perceive the delectable harmony.

What then? because we cannot know all, shall we know nothing, or deny all? Because we cannot see the whole frame of the world, in its junctures and proportion, shall we say, That there is no world, or, that the parts are not rightly situated: or feign one to be inconsistent with the rest? we must rather receive first that which is most clear, and labor by degrees to see through the obscurities that beset the rest. And if we first find from God, that both are truths, let us receive them, and learn how to reconcile them after, as we can: And if we cannot reach it, its arrogancy therefore to think that it is not to be done, and to be so highly conceited of our own understandings."
Richard Baxter, The Arrogancy of Reason Against Divine Revelations, Repressed. Or, Proud Ignorance the Cause of Infidelity, and of Mens Quarrelling with the Word of God (London: Printed by T. N. for Tho. Underhil, 1655), 21-24. Some of the English has been updated.

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December 5, 2014

Lazarus Seaman (d.1675) on God's Common, Special and Peculiar Love

"By all which there is a lively demonstration, that besides the common love of God to mankind, and his special love towards his Church and children, there is a singular and peculiar love wherein he abounds towards some according to his good pleasure. 
And this serves first to manifest and magnify the exceeding riches of his grace, Eph. 2:7.

As also, secondly to quicken us unto a holy emulation amongst our selves, that each of us may strive to be better than other[s], and to do and suffer more for Christ, because God can make us more than a proportionable recompence, even in point of love.

It serves also, thirdly, to show the reason of that variety which is found in God's providence towards his own children; some rich, some poor, some noble and fitting among Princes, others are made the dung and offscouring of all things, & yet all equally chosen in Christ, called according to his purpose, justified, adopted, sanctified, and heirs of glory.
And yet further, fourthly, to reprove our slothfulness for neglecting God, as usually we do. This singularity of his love is no matter of discouragement, as some may think, but rather an invitation and incitement unto all. We have every one of us a full breast of consolation in the promises, Ask, and it shall be given you, &c. Matt. 7:7. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it, saith Christ our advocate. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we aske anything according to his will he heareth us. We have also the spirit to help our infirmities. The spirit of supplication and grace. God doth every day new and strange things for his people. And which of us have not some blessing or other which we must needs acknowledge to be our own peculiar?"
Lazarus Seaman, Solomons Choice (London: Printed by E. G. for J. Rothwell, and are to be sold at his shop at the signe of the Sun, in Pauls Church-yard, 1644), 5-6.

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Thomas Watson (c.1620-1686) on God's Choicest and Common Love

"2. God is in the midst of his Church, because of the entire live which he bears to it. Ps. 132:13, 14, 15. The Lord hath chosen Sihon, he hath desired it for his habitation, this is my rest for ever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it. God loves his people with the choicest of his love, they have the spirits of his love distilled; and to show this, he calls them by those Titles which denote love; the apple of his eye, Deut. 32:10. The dearly beloved of his soul, Jer. 12:7. His Treasure, Ps. 135:4. His Turtle-dove, Ps. 74:19. His Spouse, Cant. 5:2. His Orchard of Pomgranates, Cant. 4:13. His glory, Isa. 46. ult. God loves the World with a more common love, his Church hath the cream of his love: 'Tis one love wherewith a man loves his Bird, and another wherewith he loves his Child; and God cannot but love his people, because he sees his own image shining in them. They are adorned with the graces of his Spirit, as a chain of pearl: And as they have the beauty of inherent holiness, so they have an interest in the unspotted holiness of Christ. God's love to his Church is vehement, like the Coals of Juniper, or the Sun-beams contracted in a burning Glass, which are more intense and ardent; and because he loves Sion, therefore he is in the midst of it, to defend and bless it. Zeph. 3.17. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty, he will save, he will rejoice over thee, he will rest in his love."
Thomas Watson, ΠΑΡΑΜΥΘΙΟΝ: Or, A Word of Comfort for the Church of God (London: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, at the three Crowns at the lower end of Cheapside, 1662), 6-7.

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William Strong (d.1654) on Mere Common Love Ending in Everlasting Hatred

"2dly. The greatness of the gift is seen in the love of the giver. There was a love manifested in the first Covenant; but yet it was not such by which he did intend that any of the Sons of men should be saved: He has said, That by the works of the law shall no man be justified; and the inheritance is not by the law, &c. But the second Covenant did proceed from God's electing love, which is exactly suited thereunto; for Eph. 1:3, 4. he doth observe the same order in the benediction, that he did in election: And the more difficulties love breaks through, the greater it is, Cant. 8:7. Now our Covenant-breaking might provoke God to withdraw his love; and yet the greatness of his love is seen in the duration of it: The first Covenant was broken, and thereby that love was turned into hatred, and God became our enemy, as common love will end in everlasting hatred; but this [New Covenant] is from his everlasting love, and therefore it is an everlasting Covenant."
William Strong, A Discourse of the Two Covenants (London: Printed by J. M. for Francis Tyton at the Three Daggers in Fleet-street, and for Thomas Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns at the lower end of Cheapside near Mercers Chapel, 1678), 148. This work is also available at the Westminster Assembly Project.

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William Strong (d.1654) on the Rich Young Ruler, God's Restraining Grace, and Common Love

"Seeing that all men are sinners in Adam alike, and sin in one man is as much improved as in another; that all men are not alike sinful in this life, and alike miserable in the life to come, (for there be degrees of wrath;) and that all men do not sin against the Holy Ghost, and are not by Satan hurried on to the great Transgression; it is not thanks to the man but merely to restraining Grace! So in Mar. 10:21 the young man that came to Christ, Christ is said to love him; he was proud, and stood upon his own righteousness, and was covetous, and did part with Christ to reserve to himself an Estate, and went away from him as being offended at his Doctrine, and never returned again; and yet it is said that Christ loved him; what was there lovely in such a man? Here Interpreters distinguish [1] of the act, [2] of the object. [1] Of the Act, they say there is a double love of Christ, so Cartwright; a Human and Divine; a Divine love, that is to Salvation; so he loves only the Saints; but there was a human love, and so he loved his friends and kindred according to the flesh, who yet did not believe in him. And some say there is a double love of God, and of Christ as God; there is a peculiar and fatherly love, and this he bears only to his own people; but there is also a common love, whereby he loves whatever is of his own in any of the Creatures. So Beza* and Calvin. But I should rather call them the common works of the Spirit of Christ, dispensed unto unregenerate men under the Gospel. [2] They distinguish of the Object, he loved the remainder of his own Image, or rather the works of his own Spirit in him, though they were common, that he was preserved unchangeable, in tanta morum corruptela, where there was such a general and universal overspreading of wickedness; and this was Donum Dei gratuitum naturale illam pravitatem non quidem immutantis, sed in quibus illi placet paulatim reprimentis, Bernard. i.e. Not mortifying but restraining sin. So that all this was grounded upon the restraining Grace of the Lord did vouchsafe unto him [the rich young ruler] in his younger years; for to be preserved is a good thing, a great gift, it is a great mercy not to be tainted with the common corruption, and not to wallow in the common mire of the times, nor to be given over thereunto." 
*Quia illi grata est humani generis conservatio, ideoque politicas virutes amare dicitur Tenues & paulatim per se evanescentes imaginis suae relinquias. - Beza
William Strong, A Discourse of the Two Covenants (London: Printed by J. M. for Francis Tyton at the Three Daggers in Fleet-street, and for Thomas Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns at the lower end of Cheapside near Mercers Chapel, 1678), 101. This work is also available at the Westminster Assembly Project.

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William Strong (d.1654) on the Motions of the Spirit, Offers of Grace, and Kneeling Mercy

"[4] All the motions of the Spirit of God: as the giving of the Spirit doth belong to the second Covenant: This is the Covenant says the Lord, that I will make with them, my Spirit that is upon them, &c. And it is the Gospel that is the ministration of the Spirit, for it is Christ the Prince of the Covenant that doth send the Spirit: and what is the end of the Spirit's coming? it is only to advance the Covenant of Grace: He shall take of mine, says Christ, and show it unto you: that he may bring you into Union with Christ, and so into Covenant with God by him: and therefore it is the Spirit of the second Covenant, and the healing motions, and strivings, and impressions of the Spirit of God with man, are all to this end, to bring them within the bounds of the Covenant: and though they may receive many gifts, and common graces, and common works; yet the Spirit is grieved, resisted, and quenched, if this great work be not wrought, that the spirit may become a spirit of adoption; and all those glorious works of the Spirit as a witness, as a seal, and as an earnest, they do all come under the second Covenant, and belong to the spirit as the spirit of the Gospel.

[5] If thou be not translated into the Covenant of Grace, thou art left in a remediless condition: for thy first Covenant being broken does bring thee under a curse, and there is but one remedy against the sting of the Serpent, and that's the brazen Serpent: there's no avoiding the curse of the Covenant but by being translated out of it; and this translation thou wilt not accept of, therefore thou art in a helpless condition: for thy disease is mortal of itself, and thou wilt not accept of a remedy, and so thou art left to the punishment of the first Covenant's curse, John 3:33, He that believes not, the wrath of God abides upon him; not comes upon him only, but abides upon him. There is ira transiens, and ira permanens, transient wrath, and permanent wrath. All sin brings a man under wrath, but there is no sin leaves a man under wrath but unbelief, because a man will not accept of peace, and reconciliation that is made to him. And let me tell thee, O soul, whoever thou art in such a condition, thy misery will be so much the greater, that thou hast had a second Covenant offered, and yet despisest it, and in this Sodom and Gomorrah will come in against thee, and will condemn thee; for if they had had the offers that thou hast had, they would have accepted of them, yet thou hast rejected them: nay, the Devils themselves will be brought in against thee for thy condemnation; and in this as thy sin is greater; so will thy judgment be, for they never had an offer of any terms of peace made to them; they found themselves shut up under wrath without hope, but thou hast had offers and hopes all thy days; and this will be matter for that never-dying worm to feed upon at the last and great day, when the soul shall reflect seriously upon its by-past life: I neglected hopes and possibility, and it's now unrecoverable, thou there was a time that the offers of mercy were made to me, and treaties of Grace made with me, by the common works of the Spirit of God, which I rejected; mercy was upon her knees to me, and I had as great possibility and probability to have found mercy as any other: there are some that lived under the same Ordinances and offers of Grace with me, and many of them had never the opportunities that I have had, and yet I see them sit down with Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of God, and I have left out. And this will be the great misery of many, I may say of most of the children of the Kingdom, they that live in the Church at the last and great day."
William Strong, A Discourse of the Two Covenants (London: Printed by J. M. for Francis Tyton at the Three Daggers in Fleet-street, and for Thomas Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns at the lower end of Cheapside near Mercers Chapel, 1678), 71. This work is also available at the Westminster Assembly Project.

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