Saturday, June 30, 2007

A cloud of witnesses

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
(Heb 12:1-2)
Matthew Henry:
Here observe what is the great duty which the apostle urges upon the Hebrews, and which he so much desires they would comply with, and that is, to lay aside every weight, and the sin that did so easily beset them, and run with patience the race set before them. The duty consists of two parts, the one preparatory, the other perfective.
I. Preparatory: Lay aside every weight, and the sin, etc. 1. Every weight, that is, all inordinate affection and concern for the body, and the present life and world. Inordinate care for the present life, or fondness for it, is a dead weight upon the soul, that pulls it down when it should ascend upwards, and pulls it back when it should press forward; it makes duty and difficulties harder and heavier than they would be. 2. The sin that doth so easily beset us; the sin that has the greatest advantage against us, by the circumstances we are in, our constitution, our company. This may mean either the damning sin of unbelief or rather the darling sin of the Jews, an over-fondness for their own dispensation. Let us lay aside all external and internal hindrances.
II. Perfective: Run with patience the race that is set before us. The apostle speaks in the gymnastic style, taken from the Olympic and other exercises.
1. Christians have a race to run, a race of service and a race of sufferings, a course of active and passive obedience.
2. This race is set before them; it is marked out unto them, both by the word of God and the examples of the faithful servants of God, that cloud of witnesses with which they are compassed about. It is set out by proper limits and directions; the mark they run to, and the prize they run for, are set before them.
3. This race must be run with patience and perseverance. There will be need of patience to encounter the difficulties that lie in our way, of perseverance to resist all temptations to desist or turn aside. Faith and patience are the conquering graces, and therefore must be always cultivated and kept in lively exercise.
4. Christians have a greater example to animate and encourage them in their Christian course than any or all who have been mentioned before, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ: Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, Heb_12:2. Here observe,
(1.) What our Lord Jesus is to his people: he is the author and finisher of their faith - the beginning, perfecter, and rewarder of it. [1.] He is the author of their faith; not only the object, but the author. He is the great leader and precedent of our faith, he trusted in God; he is the purchaser of the Spirit of faith, the publisher of the rule of faith, the efficient cause of the grace of faith, and in all respects the author of our faith. [2.] He is the finisher of our faith; he is the fulfiller and the fulfilling of all scripture-promises and prophecies; he is the perfecter of the canon of scripture; he is the finisher of grace, and of the work of faith with power in the souls of his people; and he is the judge and the rewarder of their faith; he determines who they are that reach the mark, and from him, and in him, they have the prize.
(2.) What trials Christ met with in his race and course. [1.] He endured the contradiction of sinners against himself (Heb_12:3); he bore the opposition that they made to him, both in their words and behaviour. They were continually contradicting him, and crossing in upon his great designs; and though he could easily have both confuted and confounded them, and sometimes gave them a specimen of his power, yet he endured their evil manners with great patience. Their contradictions were levelled against Christ himself, against his person as God - man, against his authority, against his preaching, and yet he endured all. [2.] He endured the cross - all those sufferings that he met with in the world; for he took up his cross betimes, and was at length nailed to it, and endured a painful, ignominious, and accursed death, in which he was numbered with the transgressors, the vilest malefactors; yet all this he endured with invincible patience and resolution. [3.] He despised the shame. All the reproaches that were cast upon him, both in his life and at his death, he despised; he was infinitely above them; he knew his own innocency and excellency, and despised the ignorance and malice of his despisers.
(3.) What it was that supported the human soul of Christ under these unparalleled sufferings; and that was the joy that was set before him. He had something in view under all his sufferings, which was pleasant to him; he rejoiced to see that by his sufferings he should make satisfaction to the injured justice of God and give security to his honour and government, that he should make peace between God and man, that he should seal the covenant of grace and be the Mediator of it, that he should open a way of salvation to the chief of sinners, and that he should effectually save all those whom the Father had given him, and himself be the first-born among many brethren. This was the joy that was set before him.
(4.) The reward of his suffering: he has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Christ, as Mediator, is exalted to a station of the highest honour, of the greatest power and influence; he is at the right hand of the Father. Nothing passes between heaven and earth but by him; he does all that is done; he ever lives to make intercession for his people.
(5.) What is our duty with respect to this Jesus. We must, [1.] Look unto him; that is, we must set him continually before us as our example, and our great encouragement; we must look to him for direction, for assistance, and for acceptance, in all our sufferings. [2.] We must consider him, meditate much upon him, and reason with ourselves from his case to our own. We must analogize, as the word is; compare Christ's sufferings and ours; and we shall find that as his sufferings far exceeded ours, in the nature and measure of them, so his patience far excels ours, and is a perfect pattern for us to imitate.
(6.) The advantage we shall reap by thus doing: it will be a means to prevent our weariness and fainting (Heb_12:3): Lest you be weary and faint in your minds. Observe, [1.] There is a proneness in the best to grow weary and to faint under their trials and afflictions, especially when they prove heavy and of long continuance: this proceeds from the imperfections of grace and the remains of corruption. [2.] The best way to prevent this is to look unto Jesus, and to consider him. Faith and meditation will fetch in fresh supplies of strength, comfort, and courage; for he has assured them, if they suffer with him, they shall also reign with him: and this hope will be their helmet.

I like these verses. They say that a Christian is never alone on his way to God. Of course God is always with him, but here we learn that not only there are other witnesses, but also that we are surrounded by them, living in a direct proximity of love and spiritual protection. Every time we have doubts and moments of weakness, their example of endurance and faith is there for us to strengthen us and support us.
All these wonderful men of God, living presently, preaching the Word, confirming their standing every day, showing love to the sheep of God, taking care of their flocks...
I pray for them - may the Lord grant them long lives and much wisdom.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The happiness of achieving a goal ???

Ok. So I know the world is a mad place. And I know what to expect. But still, every time I see something like this, I get a shock reaction.
Romans 1:32
and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Why? This article is about Jenny who became a priest in the Lutheran Church of Sweden. Only this fact should rise my eyebrow - but since next year marks 50th anniversary of women as priests in Sweden, nobody drops a jaw anymore. What does rise an eyebrow is another fact, namely, her family status. The article says that she is married to Linda. Linda is an unbeliever. Linda is a woman.

Lord, what do You want me to do? How should I react to this? She works where I work, she is going to be welcome to my workplace in order to preach the gospel of tolerance to my students. Lord, help me to bear witness to Your Truth, despite the circumstances, despite my fears and weaknesses. Lord, Glorify Your Name in this, I pray.

PS. James Swan has blogged on a similar topic here. Thank you, James, for this one.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


These days it seems like everybody is talking about Mormons. Well, I thought this was not my problem, until... my husband met two of them in his work and invited them to our home. There is a straightforward reason why he would do such a thing, and we are not going to get into it for some personal motives. Suffice to say, they showed up at our doorstep, and not only once, but twice, fortunately, the first time was while I was absent.
I must say that the training they have obtained at the Temple Missionary School (or whatever they call it) made them very kind and considerate people. Or maybe it was the fact of them being women? Who knows... Young and nice girls, anyway. They had their rucksacks full with various "holy scriptures", and were very apprehensive and eager. My husband introduced himself and during this hour (yes, he can talk, that man is a speaker seldom met) he presented his postmodern philosophy of religion. This was a good move on his side (or so he thought), because the Mormon guests became a bit weary and less eager. He also informed them of the common state of Polish religious affirmation, that being Roman Catholicism, thus putting their hopes higher again. Obviously after his po-mo speech they jumped at the opportunity of converting his Catholic wife. I saw that sparkle in their eyes...
When they asked me what I thought, I produced my KJV Bible and said that as a Reformed Baptist my ideas of God are very Bible oriented. I could hear their jaws drop on the floor.
After they had picked them up, we actually had a nice talk, thanks to Dr. James White and his providing me with materials to study the Mormon doctrine of faith. We did not convince each other, but we were able to listen and part in peace.
These are very deceived people, not even knowing the entirety of their church's doctrine. they are like sheep led to a slaughter, repeating anything the elders tell them to memorize, twisting the truth, questioning the veracity of Scriptures, believing in necessity of new revelation, following false prophets.
To think how much joy it would be in Heaven if those zealots surrendered to true Christ...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

About conduct

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

There is this temptation to pay back. So easy, when hurt, we want to do justice on our own, following the ways of the world. It still seems fair to trust in your own power and judgement.
Christian - you are not your own anymore. you have been bought, and you have Him to take care of any injustice done to you. Your task is to shine to the glory of God, and to proclaim His love that is in you.
This is a wicked world. We are not to be wicked.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Building a kingdom

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Matthew 6:19-20

Joseph is a great example of this as he prepared for the future. He stored up in advance for lean and difficult times. And because he did, he saved people from death.

Just like Joseph, we are to so live and to so give…to so prepare for the future…that we can be used by God to help save others from eternal death! Isn’t that our mission? Isn’t that our ministry?

It is a fatal flaw, a mistake, to assume that God’s goal for your life is material success or prosperity. God looks at your life not based upon your net worth, but upon your real worth. And your real worth is based upon who you are in Christ!

There are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who are building their own kingdom…and there are those who are building the kingdom of God. So which one are you? Is your life wrapped up in building a kingdom for yourself…of material success and “prosperity”? Or is your life wrapped up in building for the future…building the kingdom of God?

Because you’re either building your own personal kingdom or you’re partnering with God in building His kingdom…the only thing that will last forever!

Are you building God’s Kingdom… or are you building your own?

Jack Graham

Monday, June 25, 2007

No anxiety

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

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Thank you for your prayers and kind comments on the previous post. I am now a baptized Christian.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Trust Him

“The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

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What a fitting text for my Sunday. This very special Sunday, Lord's Day, when I will be baptized and formally accepted into my church.
As soon as it is done, there will be some pictures for you to see.

I need your prayers!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

An atheist in predicament :) (as told by Doc)

An atheist was walking through the woods. "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!," he said to himself. As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a seven-foot grizzly bear charge towards him! He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him.The atheist looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with its left paw and raising its right paw to strike him.
At that instant the atheist cried out, "Oh Dear Lord. Please Help Me!"
Time stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent. As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky. "You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?"
The atheist looked directly into the Light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps You could make the bear a Christian?"
"Very well," said the Voice.
The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped its right paw, brought both paws together, bowed its head, and spoke, "Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Fourth Pastoral Letter

by Robert Murray McCheyne

God the Answerer of Prayer.

Edinburgh, February 20, 1839.

TO all of you, my dear flock, who are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blame before Him in love, your pastor again wishes grace and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are many sweet providences happening to us every day, if we would but notice them. In the texts which ministers choose, what remarkable providences God often brings about! I have often felt this, and never more than now. Some of you may remember that the last chapter of the Bible which I read to you in the church was 1 Kings 19, where we are told of Elijah’s going away into the wilderness for forty days and forty nights to the mount of God, where he was taught that it is not by the! nor the earthquake, nor the fire, that God converts souls, but by the still small voice of the gospel. May not this have been graciously intended to prepare us for what has happened?

Another providence some of you may have noticed. For several Thursday evenings before I left you I was engaged in explaining and enforcing the sweet duty of believing prayer. Has not God since taught us the use of these things? “Trials make the promise sweet.” “Trials give new life to prayer.” Perhaps some of us were only receiving the information into the head; is not God now impressing it on our hearts, and driving us to practice the things which we learned?

I do not now remember all the points I was led to speak upon to you, but one, I think, was entirely omitted—I mean the subject of answers to prayer. God left it for us to meditate on now. Oh, there is nothing that I would have you to be more sure of than this, that “God hears and answers prayer.” There never was, and never will be, a believing prayer left unanswered. Meditate on this, and you will say, “I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplication” (Ps. 116:1).

First, God often gives the very thing His children ask at the very time they ask it. You remember Hannah (1 Sam. 1:10): she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. “Give unto thine handmaid a manchild.” This was her request. And so she went in peace, and the God of Israel heard and granted her petition that she had asked of Him; and she called the child’s name Samuel, that is, “Asked of God.” Oh, that you could write the same name upon all your gifts! You would have more joy in them and far larger blessings along with them.

You remember David, in Psalm 138: “In the day that I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.” You remember Elijah, (1 Kings 17:21, 22): “O Lord my God! I pray thee let this child’s soul come into him again. And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.”

You remember Daniel (Dan. 9:20, 21): “While I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin, and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.” Oh, what encouragement is here for those among you who, like Daniel, are greatly beloved, who study much in the books of God’s Word, and who set your face unto the Lord to seek by prayer gifts for the Church of God! Expect answers while you are speaking in prayer. Sometimes the vapors that ascend in the morning come down in copious showers in the evening. So may it be with your prayers.

Take up the words of David, Psalm 5:3: “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” You remember, in Acts 12, Peter was cast into prison, “but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” And, behold, the same night the answer surprised them at the door. Oh, what surprises of goodness and grace God has in store for you and me, if only we pray without ceasing! If you will pray in union to Jesus, having childlike confidence towards God, having the spirit of adoption, crying Abba within you, seeking the glory of God more than all personas benefits, I believe that in all such cases you will get the very thing you ask, at the very time you ask it. Before you call, God will answer; and while you are speaking, He will hear.

Oh, if there were twenty among you who would pray thus, and persevere therein like wrestling Jacob, you would get whatever you ask! Yea, the case of Daniel shows that the effectual fervent prayer of one such believer among you will avail much. “Delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Ps. 37:4).

Second, God often delays the answer to prayer for wise reasons. The case of the Syrophoenician woman will occur to you all (Matthew 15:21–28). How anxiously she cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David! But Jesus answered her not a word.” Again and again she prayed, and got no gracious answer. Her faith grows stronger by every refusal. She cried, she followed, she kneeled to Him, till Jesus could refuse no longer. “O woman, great is thy faith! Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”

Dear praying people, “continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgivings.” Do not be silenced by one refusal. Jesus invites importunity by delaying to answer. Ask, seek, knock. “The promise may be long delayed, but cannot come too late.” You remember, in the parable of the importunate widow, it is said, “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily” (Luke 18:1–8). This shows how you, who are God’s children, should pray. You should cry day and night unto God. This shows how God hears every one of your cries, in the busy hour of the daytime, and in the lonely watches of the night. He treasures them up from day to day; soon the full answer will come down: “He will answer speedily.” The praying souls beneath the altar, in Revelation 6:9–11, seem to show the same truth, that the answer to a believer’s prayers may, in the adorable wisdom of God, be delayed for a little season, and that many of them may not be fully answered till after he is dead.

Again, read that wonderful passage, Revelation 8:3, where it is said that the Lord Jesus, the great Intercessor with the Father, offers to God the incense of His merits, with the prayers of all saints, upon the golden altar which is before the throne. Christ never loses one believing prayer. The prayers of every believer, from Abel to the present day, He heaps upon the altar, from which they are continually ascending before His Father and our Father; and when the altar can hold no more, the full, the eternal answer will come down.

Do not be discouraged, dearly beloved, because God bears long with you—because He does not seem to answer your prayers. Your prayers are not lost. When the merchant sends his ships to distant shores, he does not expect them to come back richly laden in a single day: he has long patience. “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” Perhaps your prayers will come back, like the ships of the merchant, all the more heavily laden with blessings, because of the delay.

Third, God often answers prayer by terrible things. So David says in Psalm 65: “By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation.” And all of you who are God’s children have found it true. Some of you have experienced what John Newton did when he wrote that beautiful hymn, “I asked the Lord that I might grow.” 3You prayed with all your heart, “Lord, increase my faith.” In answer to this, God has shown you the misery of your connection with Adam. He has revealed the hell that is in your heart. You are amazed, confounded, abashed. You cry, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” You cleave to a Savior God with a thousand times greater anxiety. Your faith is increased. Your prayer is answered by terrible things. Some of us prayed for a praying spirit, “Lord, teach us to pray.” God has laid affliction upon us. Waves and billows go over us. We cry out of the depths. Being afflicted, we pray. He has granted our heart’s desire. Our prayer is answered by terrible things.

Fourth, God sometimes answers prayer by giving something better than we ask. An affectionate father on earth often does this. The child says, Father, give me this fruit. No, my child, the father replies; but here is bread, which is better for you. So the Lord Jesus dealt with His beloved Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7–9). There was given to Paul a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him. In bitterness of heart he cried, “Lord, let this depart from me.” No answer came. Again he prayed the same words. No answer still. A third time he knelt, and now the answer came, not as he expected. The thorn is not plucked away—the messenger of Satan is not driven back to hell; but Jesus opens wide His more loving breast, and says, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Oh, this is something exceeding abundant above all that he asked, and all that he thought. Surely God is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).

Dear praying believers, be of good cheer. God will either give you what you ask, or something far better. Are you not quite willing that He should choose for you and me? You remember that even Jesus prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me!” That desire was not granted, but there appeared unto Him an angel from heaven strengthening Him, Luke (Luke 22:43). He received what was far better—strength to drink the cup of vengeance. Some of you, my dear believing flock, have been praying that, if it be God’s will, I might be speedily restored to you, that God’s name might be glorified; and I have been praying the same. Do not be surprised if He should answer our prayers by giving us something above what we imagined. Perhaps He may glorify Himself by us in another way than we thought. “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.”

These things I have written, that you may come boldly to the throne of grace. The Lord make you a praying people. “Strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all, making request with joy.”

Now, the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like–minded one towards another, according to Christ Jesus. “The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing; and the God of peace be with you all. Amen.”

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A thought

It is just one of these days when a person knows that her energy is gone. Completely drained, I live by Grace this week. Last day of work today, then the long-awaited holiday.

Thank You Lord for sustaining me through this year, my first year of walking with You, my time full of questions, trials and moments of happiness.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just as...

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,” (Ephesians 5:25-26)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

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Abusive marriages are reality. Sad, persistent reality in every country in the world. Abuse is being justified by religion and tradition, and caused by human selfishness and pride, human greed for power and pleasure.
My today's prayer goes thinking about all abused women who never experienced Christ in their marriage...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Chaos

On the lighter side of things :)

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough–
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give it up!!!

—Gerald Nolst Trenite (1870-1946)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Necessity of fear

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;” (Psalm 103:13)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

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And why shouldn't He? Or why should He have compassion on those who reject Him?
This modern world has lost respect for the positive notion of fear. All the fine pomo terms aside, because they will not breed peace, opposing to their wishes and assumptions. We can see the results everywhere, the examples of disobedience and disorientation, caused by the humanistic freedom of choice. The postmodern philosophy assumes that men are good and capable of being even better. What does the Bible teach?
That men are depraved and dead in sins - not a very popular picture, right? And the picture that puts God in the centre, God as the Saviour and Redeemer, instead of man. Man should fear God, love God and fear Him - because He is God.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

By John Piper

“The doctrine of election tends to give firmness and fiber to flabby minds. It tends to produce robust, thoughtful Christians who are not swept away by trendy, man-centered ideas. It has an amazing preservative power that works to keep other doctrines from being diluted and lost. In general it tends to press onto our minds a God-centered worldview built out of real objective truth.”

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Great Debate on Purgatory

Oh boy. I have just listened to the Great Debate on Purgatory from 2001. James White vs Stravinskis. I honestly was hoping for - well, for sound and grounded catholic arguments, but this was just embarrassing. Doc shredded this priest into pieces. I was actually feeling sorry for the man, sort of... I mean somebody who claims to have such credentials, and stands speechless in front of the Word of God, and - facing that - is in total denial!!!
Way to go, Doc. At the same time, an immense sadness, because it is precisely the men like this priest who keep deceiving my mother and lead people to hell, under the pretense of truth.
A debate won brilliantly is one thing, the souls lost forever is quite another.

By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 10:10, NKJV

Friday, June 15, 2007


“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:20)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

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How often do we forget about it, tangled in fighting and pride of one nation being better than another one. How many wars could have been avoided if only the nominal Christianity were true one...
Patriotism is a good thing, but the foremost allegiance of a Christian is in Heaven - to his King sitting on the heavenly throne.
Nationalism is definitely a bad thing, a direct reason of conflicts and wars. People are equal. But, contrary to the worldly belief that they are equally good, we know that they are equally bad, dead in sin, and worth of the eternal condemnation. We are brothers in sin. Can our patriotism redeem us of it? Can out citizenship do the trick? Can the number of won wars make this nation better over that nation?

The only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. He is the only Ruler we want to serve. Amen?

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Important observation: I need to lose weight. Again. This is not good, to start this fight again, and have the perspective of arduous struggle that will take months. But hey, I do not have much choice and I know I can do it. Perspective that does not include this fight is even more scary.
My goal? 10 kg less by Christmas. I think it is possible.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Observations from a traveler's perspective 2

Talking about Bible to an old catholic woman is a task that demands my all faculties. This old woman is my mother.
'Mama, have you ever read the Bible?'
'No, never, it is enough what I hear in church, and besides, I have bad sight and it is difficult to read.'
'Mama, but you are watching silly TV series all the time, how come your sight is capable to handle those?'
'Oh, stop talking about Bible to me, I am too old for that nonsense, anyway.'

And so it goes. Another old woman cuts into our conversation, she seems somewhat more friendly to listen. I go on telling her that I read various English Bible translations, and KJV is written in this beautiful English.
'Is it approved by Rome?' she asks.
'Well, I am not a catholic any longer,' I try to point out, and go on explaining the historic background of KJV. The conversation dies out.

Dear God, Our Father, it is only Your Grace that makes it possible for people to see Your Glory and the beauty of Your Word. Grant this Grace to my Mom, In Jesus Name, Amen.

Update to this one:
I just had a most interesting conversation with my mother. I tried, prayerfully and respectfully, to tell her about the Gospel. To no avail, because she firmly says that she does not want to listen to me. In the light of her non-existent knowledge of Scriptures this is very sad. She, to tell you the truth, equates anybody using Bible as a source of argument, with Jehovah's Witnesses. I have no staring point anywhere, it is like hitting the wall. She gets angry immediately and because she knows she is not able to discuss these matters, she goes into
'I respect you so please respect me and please let us be silent'.

Now, I can understand people who have arguments, like those catholic forums members who really use Scriptures hoping to win the ground. But what I have here, in my own family, is beyond me. Why am I saying that? Well, this is the same mother who pushed me into higher education, who had enormous ambitions regarding my scientific career, who was crushed when I did not pursue the Ph.D. And the same person, who on the one hand respects my reason and abilities, on the other hand denies those faculties as far as God is concerned.
If anything, this only confirms me in my belief in the sovereignty of God and in Doctrines of Grace...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Talking to an atheist (CARM)

The things that are in the Bible and describe evil deeds of people are not necessarily things that God approves of. God is righteous - he must punish the evil.
An atheist says he wants God to amaze him in the Bible. He says he finds nothing of the sort. Now presented with the resurrection he calls it magic.
This proves the Bible - that an unbeliever will not believe provided with miracles, unless the Grace is upon him.

How a forced atheism deals with Christians? Read this:
The Power of God’s Word

Monday, June 11, 2007

Great quotations from Piper

• "We know that we have tasted pleasures at his right hand, and that our desires for them are pitifully small compared to their true worth."
• I have found for thirty years that preaching and teaching about God's demand that we delight in him more than in anything else breaks and humbles people, and makes them desperate for true conversion and true Christianity.
• Esteeming God less than anything is the essence of evil.
• A person who has no taste for the enjoyment of Christ will not go to heaven. "If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed" (1 Cor. 16:22).
• Believing means trusting Jesus not only as our all-sovereign Lord and all-sufficient Savior, but also as our all-surpassing Treasure.
• But today, by and large, there is a devil-may-care, cavalier, superficial attitude toward the ongoing, daily intensity of personal joy in Christ, because people do not believe that their eternal life depends on it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Observations from a traveler's perspective 1

Hello friends. I decided to blog off-line and publish this post after coming home. Being away from Internet has its advantages, although some withdrawal symptoms are already quite apparent. Well, nothing to do about it, unless I find some Internet cafe to check my mail and let #pros know I am alive... Otherwise, patience and waiting.
My journey last Friday, June the 1st, was one I will never forget. Some word of advice: if you can afford regular airlines - go for it. Cheap airlines are... cheap. And unreliable, and make one tired. Suffice to say, that the flight that was suppose to leave Stockholm at 19.05, left Stockholm at 03.00 a.m. The delay was due to some technical problem with the machine that was supposed to fly us, and resulted in rearrangement of many flights around Europe in order to make all of them possible. We were compensated with a free dinner, but otherwise it proved to be quite an ordeal for all of us. I must commence my students - they were all extremely mature and accepting of the situation, and I love them for it.
What was I doing? Well, that is the good part in all this. I actually spent 9 lovely hours on-line, thanks to WiFi at the airport and my iBook. And most of this was together with #pros. If any #pro is reading this right now - I am blessed by knowing you and being able to spend my time with you. We used to have some usual and casual conversations before, and this special night was even better - when you were my life line and support. And Doc - thank you for all the laughs and goofiness, as well as for adopting me to MyFamily. I intend to be an active user and contributor, as soon as I come back home.
I discovered that the term jet-lag can be quite real even without the time zone change, 'cause loosing of one whole night sleep still haunts me, two days later. Humorously speaking - now Doc is not the only one who may brag about troubles in travels, not to mention legendary horror stories from Phil Johnson's escapades.
Home - is fine. Seeing my parents after 10 months brings some sobering thoughts and wakes memories of the better times. Pa is very ill. He does not recognize me at all, and his existence is narrowly limited to basic physiology. It is painful to see a man whose main organ was brains reduced to this vegetative condition. It is humbling to see Ma fighting for his well-being and sacrificing her life for him. They have been married for 49 years now. It has basically been a good marriage, loving and faithful, struggling with the usual problems of life. I am sad that it looks like this today. But what an excellent example of steadfastness and marital love my mother leaves in my memories...
You know, she has been a fighter all her life. Fighting against her first marriage (the horrors of which are almost impossible to fathom, and the repercussions of which has been influencing her whole life), and running a good race in this present one.
Some religious reflection on the subject: although the first marriage ended in a divorce, Rome never granted her the right to divorce the man according to Rome's rules (though the circumstances were more than sufficient biblically). So she accepted that, and married my dad anyway, never being able to participate fully in Rome's sacraments (lots of pain because of that, but never any bitterness). When I look at this today, as a new-born believer,, I want to scream with anger at the injustice done to my parents by the dogmatic and erroneous teachings of Rome. My parents are THE perfect example of faithful catholics who never question what the Mother Church teaches. They never take the Bible and read it... I really disintegrate in face of this realization. The stronghold Rome has on her followers is immense.
My parents' apartment is over-decorated with images of Mary, late pope and saints. Wherever I look, I see idols. At the same time, I feel the sincerity in mom's heart for God, and her fear of abandoning her faith for an unknown protestant idea. She feels safe where she is. All the apologetics studied by me makes very little use here, apart from the Grace of God and prayer... But I will try to look for a window of opportunity, to make her listen to Gospel like she had never heard it before. I will always be trying.
Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Third Pastoral Letter

by Robert Murray McCheyne

How God Works by Providences.

Edinburgh, February 13, 1839.

TO all of you, my dear friends and people, who are and shall ever be followers of the Lamb, whithersoever He goeth, your pastor again wishes grace and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I long very much that this grace may again be given unto me to preach among you face to face “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” “Oftentimes I purpose to come unto you, but am let hitherto.” Still I feel it a great privilege that, even in my retirement, I can send you a word, to the end that you may be established. I feel as if one door was left open to me by the Lord. Believe me, it is the foremost desire of my heart that Christ may be glorified in you, both now and at His coming, that you may be a happy and a holy people blessed and made a blessing. For the sake of variety, let me guide your thoughts to a passage of God’s own Word, and there I will speak to you as if I were yet present with you, and half forget that you are not before me.

In Job 23:8–10 you will find these solemn words: “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him. But he knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

You all know the afflictions which came upon Job. “He was a perfect and upright man,” and the greatest of all the men of the East, yet he lost his oxen and his asses, his sheep and camels, and his ten children, in one day. Again, the breath of disease came upon him, and he sat down among the ashes. In all this Job sinned not with his lips. He blessed the hand that smote him: “What! shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?”

And yet when his troubles were prolonged, he knew not what to think. Learn how weak the strongest believer is; a bruised reed, without Christ, we are, and can do nothing. When Job’s brethren dealt deceitfully with him “as a brook,” when he felt God hedging him in, and God’s arrows drinking up his spirit—then clouds and darkness rested on his path, he could not unravel God’s dealings with his soul; then he cried, “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me!” He longed to get an explanation from God: “Oh, that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him.” You have here, then, in the eighth and ninth verses, a child of light walking in darkness—an afflicted soul seeking, and seeking in vain, to know why God is contending with him.

Dear friends, this is not an uncommon case; even to some of you God’s providences often appear inexplicable. I hear that God has been at work among you, and “his way is in the sea.” He has tried you in different ways: some of you by the loss of your property, as He tried Job; some of you by the loss of dear friends; some by loss of health, so that “wearisome nights are appointed you;” some by the loss of the esteem of friends, aye, even of Christians. “Your inward friends abhor you.” Perhaps more than one trouble has come on you at a time—wave upon wave, thorn upon thorn. Before one wound was healed, another came, before the rain was well away, “clouds returned.” You cannot explain God’s dealings with you, you cannot get God to explain them; you have drawn the Savior’s blood and righteousness over your souls, and you know that the Father Himself loveth you; you would like to meet Him to ask, “Wherefore contendest thou with me?” “Oh, that I knew where I might find him!”

My dear afflicted brethren, this is no strange thing that has happened unto you. Almost every believer is at one time or another brought to feel this difficulty: “God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me.” Is it in anger, or is it in pure love, that He afflicts me? Am I fleeing from the presence of the Lord, as Jonah fled? What change would He have wrought in me? If any of you are thinking thus in your heart, pray over this word in Job. Remember the word in Psalm 46, “Be still, and know I am God.” God does many things to teach us that He is God, and to make us wait upon Him. And, still further, see in the tenth verse what light breaks in upon our darkness: “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

Observe, first “He knoweth the way that I take.” What sweet comfort there is in these words: He that redeemed me—He that pities me as a father—He who is the only wise God—He whose name is love—“He knoweth the way that I take!”

The ungodly world does not know it; the world knoweth us not, even as it knew Him not. A stranger doth not intermeddle with the joys or sorrows of a child of God. When the world looks on your grief with unsympathizing eye, you feel very desolate. “Your soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those who are at ease.” But why should you? He that is greater than all the world is looking with the intensest interest upon all your steps.

The most intimate friends do not know the way of an afflicted believer. Your spirit is lonely, even among God’s children; for your way is hid, and the Lord hath hedged you in. Still be of good cheer, the Father of all, the best of friends, knows all the way that you take.

You not know your own way. God has called you to suffer, and you go, like Abraham, not knowing whither you go. Like Israel going down into the Red Sea, every step is strange to you. Still, be of good cheer, sufferer with Christ! God marks your every step. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way.” He that loves you with an infinite, unchanging love, is leading you by His Spirit and providence. He knows every stone, every thorn in your path. Jesus knows your way. Jesus is afflicted in all your afflictions. “Fear not, for I have redeemed thee. I have called thee by my name, thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

Second, “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” This also is precious comfort. There will be an end of your affliction. Christians must have “great tribulation;” but they come out of it. We must carry the cross; but only for a moment, then comes the crown. I remember one child of God’s saying, that if it were God’s will that she should remain in trials a thousand years, she could not but delight in His will. But this is not asked of us: we are only called “to suffer a while.” There is a set time for putting into the furnace, and a set time for taking out of the furnace. There is a time for pruning the branches of the vine, and there is a time when the husbandman lays aside the pruning hook. Let us wait His time; “he that believeth shall not make haste” God’s time is the best time.

But shall we come out the same as we went in? Ah, no! “we shall come out like gold.” It is this that sweetens the bitterest cup; this brings a rainbow of promise over the darkest cloud. Affliction will certainly purify a believer. How boldly he says it: “I shall come out like gold!” Ah, how much dross there is in every one of you, dear believers, and in your pastor! “When I should do good, evil is present with me.” Oh that all the dross may be left behind in the furnace! What imperfection, what sin, mingles with all we have ever done! But are we really fruit–bearing branches of the true vine? Then it is certain that when we are pruned, we shall bear more fruit. We shall come out like gold. We shall shine more purely as “a diadem in the hand of our God.” We shall become purer vessels to hold the sweet–smelling incense of praise and prayer. We shall become holy golden vessels for the Master’s use in time and in eternity.

To the many among you who have no part nor lot in Christ, I would say, “See here the happiness of being a Christian in time of trouble.” It is no small joy to be able to sing Psalm 46 in the dark and cloudy day. I have often told you, and now tell you when I am far from you, “We are journeying to the place of which the Lord hath said, I will give it you: come then with us, and we will do thee good, for God hath spoken good concerning Israel.”

Finally, pray that your pastor may come out of his trials like gold. All is not gold that glitters. Pray that everything that is but glittering dross may be taken away, and that, if it be His will, I may come unto you like the fine gold of Ophir. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving, withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ.”

My chief comfort concerning you is, that “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Brethren, farewell! Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and of peace shall be with you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all Amen.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Second Pastoral Letter

by Robert Murray McCheyne

Past Times of Privilege Reviewed—Privileges Still Remaining.

Edinburgh, February 6, 1839.

TO all of you, my dear flock, who have chosen the good part which cannot be taken away, your pastor wishes grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The sweet singer of Israel begins one of his psalms with these remarkable words: “I will sing of mercy and judgment; unto thee, O God, will I sing.” This is the experience of all God’s servants in time of trouble. Even in the wildest storms the sky is not all dark; and so in the darkest dealings of God with His children, there are always some bright tokens for good. His way with us of late has been “in the sea, and his path in the deep waters.” Yet some of you may have felt that His own hand was leading us like a flock (Ps. 77:19, 20). One great token of His loving–kindness has been the way in which He has supplied the absence of your stated minister. Ordained messengers, men of faith and prayer, have spoken to you from Sabbath to Sabbath in the name of the Lord. Awakening, inviting, comforting messages you have had; and even your meetings on Thursday evenings He has continued to you; the gates of the house of prayer, like the gates of the city of refuge, have been as open to you as ever, inviting you to enter in and behold by faith what Jacob saw in Bethel, “the ladder set on earth, and the top of it reaching into heaven,” inviting you to meet with Him with whom Jacob wrestled till the breaking of the day.

Think how often, in times of persecution, the apostles were constrained to leave the seed they had sown, without leaving anyone to water it but “the Lord on whom they believed” (see Acts 13:50, 52, and 14:23, and 16:40). How often, in times of persecution in the Church of Scotland, our faithful pastors had to leave their few sheep in the wilderness, without any human shepherd to care for their souls, commending them to God and to the Word of His grace! These times may come again. God may be preparing us for such fiery trials. But He has not yet dealt so with us. He that tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, and “who stays his rough wind in the day of his east wind,” has mingled mercy with judgment; and even when He humbles us, gives us cause for praise. “Oh, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

Another mark of His loving–kindness to us is His suffering me to pray for you. You remember how the apostles describe the work of the ministry, Acts 6:4, “We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Now, God is my record that this has been my heart’s desire ever since my coming among you. I have always felt myself a debtor to you all, both to the wise and to the unwise; so as much as in me is I have been ready to preach the gospel unto you; but God has for a time withdrawn me from that part of the work amongst you. To me that grace is not now given to preach among you the unsearchable riches of Christ. (Oh, how great a grace it is! how wonderful that it should ever have been given to me!) Still He allows me to give myself unto prayer. Perhaps this may be the chief reason of my exile from you, to teach me what Zechariah was taught in the vision of the golden candlestick and the two olive trees (Zech. 4:6), that it is not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit, obtained in believing, wrestling prayer, that the temple of God is to be built in our parishes. I have hung my harp upon the willow, and am no more allowed “to open to you dark sayings upon the harp,” nor “to speak of the things which I have made touching the King,” who is “fairer than the children of men.”

Still my soul does not dwell in silence. I am permitted to go in secret to God, my exceeding joy, and, while meditating His praise, I can make mention of you all in my prayers, and give thanks for the little flock, who, “by patient continuance in welldoing, seek for glory, and honor, and immortality.” “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning; if I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.”

I feel it is another gift of grace that I am suffered to write to you. You remember how often the apostles cheered and strengthened the disciples, when absent from them, by writing to them. 2What a precious legacy of the Church in all ages have these epistles been! every verse like a branch of the Tree of Life, bearing all manner of fruit, and the leaves for the healing of the nations. You remember how holy Samuel Rutherford, and many of our persecuted forefathers in the Church of Scotland, kept the flame of grace alive in their deserted parishes by sending them words of counsel, warning, and encouragement, testifying, not face to face, but with ink and pen, the gospel of the grace of God. I do feel it a great privilege that this door is open to me, and that, even when absent, I can yet speak to you of the things pertaining to the kingdom.

“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you, in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance; yea, I think it meet, so long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.”

1. Abide in Him, little children, whom I have always preached unto you, that when He shall appear he may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. Let every new sight of your wicked heart, and every new wave of trouble, drive your soul to hide in Him, the Rock of your salvation. There is no true peace but in a present hold of the Lord our Righteousness.

2. Enjoy the forgiveness of sins—keep yourselves in the love of God. If you abide in Christ, you shall abide in His love: your joy let no man take from you. “These things write we unto you that your joy may be full.”

3. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk even as he walked.” Ah, how many falls will I have to mourn over when I return, if God send me back to you, how many unseemly quarrellings and miscarriages among you that are God’s own, how many unlovely tempers among those who follow Him who is altogether lovely! Oh, take heed, do not give the enemy cause to blaspheme; naming the name of Christ, depart from all iniquity.

4. Continue in prayer. How many messages have been carried to you publicly and from house to house, and yet how little success! I bless God for all the tokens He has given us, that the Spirit of God has not departed from the Church of Scotland—that the glory is still in the midst of her. Still the Spirit has never yet been shed on us abundantly. The many absentees on the forenoon of the Sabbaths, the thin meetings on Thursday evenings, the absence of men from all meetings for the worship of God, the few private prayer meetings, the little love and union among Christians—all show that the plentiful rain has not yet fallen to refresh our corner of the heritage. Why is this? This is the day of Christ’s power—why are the people not made willing? Let James give the answer: “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” “Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

Finally, dear brethren, farewell. Day and night I long to come to you, but still God hinders me. Do not omit to praise Him for all the great grace He has mingled in our cup of bitterness. “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.” When passing through the waters He has been with us, and in the rivers they have not overflowed us; and, therefore, we may be sure that when we pass through the fire we shall not be burned, neither shall the flames kindle upon us.

Now, may the God of peace Himself give you peace always, by all means, and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirits. Amen.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

First Pastoral Letter

by Robert Murray McCheyne

View of What God Has Done,—How It Should Affect Them.

Edinburgh, January 30, 1839.

TO ALL OF YOU, my dear friends and people, who are beloved of God, and faithful in Christ Jesus, your pastor wishes grace and peace from God the Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord.

As several of you have expressed a desire to hear from me, and as He who at first sent me to you to bear witness of the Lord Jesus has for many weeks withdrawn me, and still lays His afflicting but gentle hand on me, it has seemed good to me, not without prayer, to write to you from week to week a short word of exhortation. May the Holy Spirit guide the pen, that what is written may be blessed to your comfort and growth in grace!

God is my record how greatly I long after you all in the affection of Jesus Christ; and the walls of my chamber can bear witness how often the silent watches of the night have been filled up with entreaties to the Lord for you all. I can truly say with John, “that I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth;” and though many of you were in Christ before me, and were living branches of the true Vine before I was sent into the vineyard, yet, believe me, it is true of you also, I have no greater joy than to know that you are more and more filled with the Holy Ghost, and bear more and more fruit to the glory of God the Father. “Herein is the Father glorified, that you bear much fruit.”

You remember what Paul, when he was a prisoner of the Lord, wrote to the Philippians (Phil. 1:12), “I would that ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” I am very anxious that you and I should understand the very same, in the things which have happened unto me, that we may vindicate God in all His dealings with us, and “not despise the chastening of the Lord.” I know too well that there are many amongst you who would feel it no grievance if all the Lord’s ministers were taken out of the way. Ah! how many are there who would rejoice if they were forever left to sin unreproved, and to do what was right in their own eyes! Still, am quite sure that to you, “who have obtained like precious faith with us,” to you who are the Lord’s people, the present is a season of affection, and you feel, as Naomi felt, that the hand of the Lord is gone out against us. My present object in writing to you is shortly to persuade you that “it is well”—“the Lord doeth all things well”—and that it may be really for the furtherance of the gospel among you. In many ways may this be the case.

First, with respect to myself. It does not become me here to show what benefit it may be to me. Suffice it to say that it has been a precious opportunity in which to reflect on the sins and imperfections of my ministry among you. A calm hour with God is worth a whole lifetime with man. Let it be your prayer that I may come out like gold, that the tin may be taken away, and that I may come back to you, if that be the will of God, a better man, and a more devoted minister. I have much to learn, and these words of David have been often in my heart and on my lips, “I know that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me” (Ps. 119:75). Ministers are God’s tools for building up the gospel temple. Now you know well that every wise workman takes his tools away from the work from time to time, that they may be ground and sharpened; so does the only–wise Jehovah take His ministers oftentimes away into darkness and loneliness and trouble, that He may sharpen and prepare them for harder work in His service. Pray that it may be so with your own pastor.

Second, with regard to you, my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, this time of trial is for your furtherance. Does not God teach you, by means of it, to look beyond man to the Savior, who abides ever? Is not God showing you that ministers are earthen vessels, easily broken, and fit only to be cast aside like a broken pitcher out of mind? Is He not bidding you look more to the treasure which was in them, and which flows in all its fullness from Christ? It is a sad error into which I see many Christians falling, that of leaning upon man, mistaking friendship toward a minister for faith in the Son of God.

Remember that before Moses was sent to deliver Israel, his hand was made leprous, as white as snow, to teach them that it was not the might of that hand that could deliver Israel (Ex. 4:6, 7). It has been the fault of some of you to lean too much on man. Now God is teaching you that, though the cistern may break, the fountain abides as open and full and free as ever—that it is not from sitting under any particular ministry that you are to get nourishment, but from being vitally united to Christ. Ministers “are not suffered to continue by reason of death, but Christ, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood” (Heb. 7:23).

Third, with regard to those among you who are almost, but not altogether, persuaded to be Christians, does not this providence teach you to make sure of an interest in Christ without delay? You thought you would have the Savior held up to you for an indefinite number of Sabbaths, little thinking that your Sabbaths and mine are all numbered. Many a time you have said to me in your heart, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season I will call for thee.” You did not think that a time might come when you may call for your teachers, and they be silent as the grave.

I find many godly people here are looking forward to a time when God’s faithful witnesses shall be put to silence, and anxious souls shall wander from sea to sea, seeking the Word of God, and shall not find it. Be entreated, O wavering souls, to settle the question of your salvation now. Why halt ye between two opinions? It is most unreasonable to be undecided about the things of an endless eternity, in such a world as this, with such frail bodies, with such a Savior stretching out His hand, with such a Spirit of love striving with you. Remember you are flesh—you will soon hear your last sermon. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have put before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut. 30:19).

Fourth, there is another class who are not of you, and yet are on every hand of you, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you, even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose god is their belly, who glory in their shame, who mind earthly things. Ah! you would not believe if I were to tell you the great heaviness and continual sorrow that I have in my heart for you, and yet I hope my absence may be blessed even to you. Just think for a moment, if God were to remove your teachers one by one, if He were to suffer the church of our covenanted fathers to fall before the hands of her enemies, if He were to suffer Catholicism again to spread its dark and deadly shade over the land; where would you be?—you that despise the Sabbath, that care little for the preached Word, you that have no prayer in your families, and seldom in your closets, you that are lovers of pleasure, you that wallow in sin! You would have your wish then: you would have your silent Sabbaths indeed—no warning voice to cry after you—no praying people to pray for you—none to check you in your career of wickedness—none to beseech you not to perish. Learn from so small a circumstance as the absence of your stated minister what may be in store for you, and flee now from the wrath to come. “It may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zeph. 2:3).

Finally, my brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, abide all the more in Christ because of my absence, and maintain a closer walk with God, that when I return; as God gives me good hopes now of doing, I may rejoice to see what great things God has done for your souls. God feeds the wild flowers on the lonely mountainside, without the help of man, and they are as fresh and lovely as those that are daily watched over in our gardens. So God can feed His own-planted ones without the help of man, by the sweetly falling dew of His Spirit. How I long to see you walking in holy communion with God, in love to the brethren, and burning zeal for the cause of God in the world! I will never rest, nor give God rest, till He make you a lamp that burneth—a city set upon a hill that cannot be hid. Now strive together with me, in your prayers to God for me, that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Owen's Glory of Trinity 5

Of The Satisfaction Of Christ

The last thing to be inquired into, upon occasion of the late opposition to the great fundamental truths of the gospel, is the satisfaction of Christ. And the doctrine hereof is such as, I conceive, needs rather to be explained than vindicated. For it being the center wherein most, if not all, the lines of gospel promises and precepts do meet, and the great medium of all our communion with God in faith and obedience, the great distinction between the religion of Christians and that of all others in the world, it will easily, on a due proposal, be assented unto by all who would he esteemed disciples of Jesus Christ. And whether a parcel of insipid cavils may be thought sufficient to obliterate the revelation of it, men of sober minds will judge and discern.

For the term of satisfaction, we contend not about it. It does, indeed, properly express and connote that great effect of the death of Christ which, in the cause before us, we plead for. But yet, because it belongs rather to the explanation of the truth contended for, than is used expressly in the revelation of it, and because the right understanding of the word itself depends on some notions of law that as yet we need not take into consideration, I shall not, in this entrance of our discourse, insist precisely upon it, but leave it as the natural conclusion of what we shall find expressly declared in the Scripture. Neither do I say this as though I did decline the word, or the right use of it, or what is properly signified by it, but do only cast it into its proper place, answerable unto our method and design in the whole of this brief discourse.

I know some have taken a new way of expressing and declaring the doctrine concerning the mediation of Christ, with the causes and ends of his death, which they think more rational than that usually insisted on: but, as what I have yet heard of or seen in that kind, has been not only unscriptural, but also very irrational, and most remote from that accuracy whereunto they pretend who make use of it; so, if they should publish their conceptions, it is not improbable but that they may meet with a scholastic examination by some hand or other.

Our present work, as has been often declared, is for the establishment of the faith of them who may be attempted, if not brought into danger, to be seducers by the sleights of some who lie in wait to deceive, and the clamors of others who openly drive the same design. What, therefore, the Scripture plainly and clearly reveals in this matter, is the subject of our present inquiry. And either in so doing, as occasion shall be offered, we shall obviate, or, in the close of it remove, those sophisms that the sacred truth now proposed to consideration has been attempted withal.

The sum of what the Scripture reveals about this great truth, commonly called the “satisfaction of Christ,” may be reduced unto these ensuing heads: First, that Adam, being made upright, sinned against God; and all mankind, all his posterity, in him, Gen. 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Gen. 3:11: “And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” Eccles. 7:29: “Lo, this only have I found, that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” Rom. 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Rom. 5:18: “Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” Rom. 5:19: “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.”

Second, that, by this sin of our first parents, all men are brought into an estate of sin and apostasy from God, and of enmity unto him, Gen. 6:5: “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Ps. 51:5: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Rom. 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Rom. 8:7, “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Eph. 4:18: “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart”(Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13).

Third, that in this state all men continue in sin against God, nor of themselves can do otherwise: Rom. 3:10–12: “There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Fourth, that the justice and holiness of God, as he is the supreme governor and judge of all the world, require that sin be punished: Ex. 34:7: “That will by no means clear the guilty.” Josh. 24:19: “He is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.” Ps. 5:4–6: “For thou art not a God that has pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing.” Hab. 1:13: “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look upon iniquity.” Isa. 33:14: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” Rom. 1:32: “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death.” Rom. 3:5, 6: “Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?” 2 Thess. 1:6: “It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you.” Heb. 12:29, “For our God is a consuming fire;” from Deut. 4:24.

Fifth, that God, has also engaged his veracity and faithfulness in the sanction of the law, not to leave sin unpunished: Gen. 2:17: “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Deut. 27:26: “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.” In this state and condition, mankind, had they been left without divine aid and help, must have perished eternally.

Sixth, that God out of his infinite goodness, grace, and love to mankind, sent his only Son to save and deliver them out of this condition. Matt. 1:21: “Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shalt save his people from their sins.” John 3:16, 17: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” Rom. 5:8: “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 1 John 4:9: “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:10: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 Thess. 1:10: “Even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

Seventh, that this love was the same in Father and Son, acted distinctly in the manner that shall be afterward declared; so, vain are the pretenses of men, who, from the love of the Father in this matter, would argue against the love of the Son, or on the contrary.

Eighth, that the way, in general, whereby the Son of God, being incarnate, was to save lost sinners, was by a substitution of himself, according to the design and appointment of God, in the room of those whom he was to save: 2 Cor. 5:21: “He has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” Gal. 3:13: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” Rom. 5:7, 8: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet per adventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 8:3: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.” 1 Pet. 2:24: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” 1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” All these expressions undeniably evince a substitution of Christ as to suffering in the stead of them whom he was to save; which, in general, is all that we intend by his satisfaction, namely, that he was made “sin for us,” a “curse for us,” “died for us,” that is, in our stead, that we might be saved from the wrath to come. And all these expressions, as to their true, genuine importance, shall be vindicated as occasion shall require.

Ninth, this way of his saving sinners is, in particular, several ways expressed in the Scriptures.

A. That he offered himself a sacrifice to God, to make atonement for our sins; and that in his death and sufferings: Isa. 53:10: “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.” John 1:29: “Behold the lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.” Eph. 5:2: “Christ hath loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet–smelling savour.” Heb. 2:17: Was “a merciful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Heb. 9:11–14: “But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls,” etc., “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your consciences from dead works?”

B. That he redeemed us by paying a price, a ransom, for our redemption, Mark 10:45: “The Son of man came to give his life a ransom for many.” 1 Cor. 6:20, 7:23: “For ye are bought with a price.” 1 Tim. 2:6: “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Titus 2:14: “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity.” 1 Pet. 1:18, 19 “For ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

C. That he bare our sins, or the punishment due unto them, Isa. 53:5, 6: “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isa. 53:11: “For he shall bear their iniquities.” 1 Peter 2:24: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.”

D. That he answered the law and the penalty of it, Rom. 8:3,4: “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.” Gal. 3:13: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” Gal. 4:4, 5: “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.”

E. That he died for sin, and sinners, to expiate the one, and in the stead of the other, Rom. 4:25: “He was delivered for our offenses.” Rom. 5:10: “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” 1 Cor. 15:3: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” 2 Cor. 5:14: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead”(1 Thess. 5:9, 10).

F. Hence, on the part of God it is affirmed, that “he spared him not, but delivered him up for us all”(Rom. 8:32); and caused “all our iniquities to meet upon him”(Isa. 53:6).

G. The effect hereof was, (1.) That the righteousness of God was glorified. Rom. 3:25, 26 “Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.” (2.) The law fulfilled and satisfied, as in the places before quoted (Rom. 8:3, 4; Gal. 3:13, 4:4, 5). (3.) God reconciled. 2 Cor. 5:18, 19 “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Heb. 2:17: “he made reconciliation for the sins of the people.” (4.) Atonement was made for sin. Rom. 5:11: “By whom we have now received the atonement;” and peace was made with God. Eph. 2:14, 16 “For he is our peace, who has made both one, . . . that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” (5.) He made an end of sin. Dan. 9:24: “To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness.” The glory of God in all these things being exalted, himself was well pleased, righteousness and everlasting redemption, or salvation, purchased for sinners. Heb. 9:14: For in that “the chastisement of our peace was upon him,” and that “by his stripes we are healed,” he being punished that we might go free, himself became a captain of salvation unto all that do obey him.

I have fixed on these particulars, to give every ordinary reader an instance how fully and plainly what he is to believe in this matter is revealed in the Scripture. And should I produce all the testimonies which expressly give witness unto these positions, it is known how great a part of the Bible must be transcribed. And these are the things which are indispensably required of us to believe, that we may be able to direct and regulate our obedience according to the mind and will of God. In the explanation of this doctrine unto farther edification, sundry things are usually insisted on, which necessarily and infallibly ensue upon the propositions of Scripture before laid down, and serve to beget in the minds of believers a due apprehension and right understanding of them; as, first, that God in this matter is to be considered as the chief, supreme, absolute rector and governor of all, as the Lord of the law, and of sinners; but yet so as an offended ruler: not as an offended person, but as an offended ruler, who has right to exact punishment upon transgressions, and whose righteousness of rule requires that he should so do.

Second, that because he is righteous and holy, as he is the supreme Judge of all the world, it is necessary that he do right in the punishing of sin; without which the order of the creation cannot be preserved. For sin being the creature’s deduction of itself from the order of its dependence upon, and obediences unto, the Creator and supreme Lord of all, without a reduction of it by punishment, confusion would be brought into the whole creation.

Third, that whereas the law, and the sanction of it, is the moral or declarative cause of the punishment of sin, and it directly obliges the sinner himself unto punishment; God, as the supreme ruler, dispenses, not with the act of the law, but the immediate object, and substitutes another sufferer in the room of them who are principally liable unto the sentence of it, and are now to be acquitted or freed; that so the law may be satisfied, requiring the punishment of sin; justice exalted, whereof the law is an effect; and yet the sinner saved.

Fourth, that the person thus substituted was the Son of God incarnate, who had power so to dispose of himself, with will and readiness for it; and was, upon the account of the dignity of his person, able to answer the penalty which all others had incurred and deserved.

Fifth, that God, upon his voluntary susception of this office, and condescension to this work, did so lay our sins, in and by the sentence of the law, upon him, that he made therein full satisfaction for what ever legally could be charged on them for whom he died or suffered.

Sixth. That the special way, terms, and conditions, whereby and wherein sinners may be interested in this satisfaction made by Christ, are determined by the will of God, and declared in the scripture.

These, and the like things, are usually insisted on in the explication or declaration of this head of our confession; and there is not any of them but may be sufficiently confirmed by divine testimonies. It may also be farther evinced, that there is nothing asserted in them, but what is excellently suited unto the common notions which mankind has of God and his righteousness; and that in their practice they answer the light of nature and common reason, exemplified in sundry instances among the nations of the world. I shall therefore take one argument from some of the testimonies before produced in the confirmation of this sacred truth, and proceed to remove the objections that are commonly bandied against it.

If the Lord Christ, according to the will of the Father, and by his own counsel and choice, was substituted, and did substitute himself, as the mediator of the covenant, in the room and in the stead of sinners, that they might be saved, and therein bare their sins, or the punishment due unto their sins, by undergoing the curse and penalty of the law, and therein also, according to the will of God, offered up himself for a propitiatory, expiatory sacrifice, to make atonement for sin, and reconciliation for sinners, that the justice of God being appeased, and the law fulfilled, their might go free, or be delivered from the wrath to come; and if therein, also, he paid a real satisfactory price for their redemption; then he made satisfaction to God for sin: for these are the things that we intend by that expression of satisfaction. But now all these things are openly and fully witnessed unto in the testimonies before produced, as may be observed by suiting some of them unto the several particulars here asserted: As, first, what was done in this matter, was from the will, purpose, and love of God the Father (Ps. 40:6–8; Heb. 10:5–7; Acts 4:28; John 3:16; Rom. 8:3).

Second. It was also done by his own voluntary consent (Phil. 2:6–8).

Third. He was substituted, and did substitute himself, as the mediator of the covenant, in the room and stead of sinners, that they may be saved (Heb. 10:5–7, 12:22; Rom. 3:25, 26, 5:7, 8).

Fourth. And he did therein bear their sins, or the punishment due to their sins (Isa. 53:6, 11; 1 Peter 2:24). And this, fifth, by undergoing the curse and penalty of the law (Gal. 3:13); or the punishment of sin required by the law (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 8:3).

Sixth. Herein, also, according to the will of God, he offered up himself a propitiatory and expiatory sacrifice, to make atonement for sin and reconciliation for sinners (Eph. 5:6; Rom. 5:6; Heb. 9:11–14); which he did, that the justice of God being satisfied, and the law fulfilled, sinners might be freed from the wrath to come (Rom. 3:25; 1 Thess. 1:10).

Seventh. And hereby also he paid a real price of redemption for sin and sinners (1 Peter 1:18, 19; 1 Cor. 6:20). These are the things which we are to believe concerning the satisfaction of Christ. And our explication of this doctrine we are ready to defend when called whereunto.

The consideration of the objections which are raised against this great fundamental truth shall close this discourse. And they are of two sorts: First, in general, to the whole doctrine, as declared, or some of the more signal heads or parts of it. Second, particular instances in this or that supposal, as consequences of the doctrine asserted. And, in general, first, they say “This is contrary to, and inconsistent with, the love, grace, mercy, and goodness of God, which are so celebrated in the scripture as the principal properties of his nature and acts of his will wherein he will be glorified; especially contrary to the freedom of forgiveness, which we are encouraged to expect, and commanded to believe.” And this exception they endeavor to firm by testimonies that the Lord is good and gracious and that he does freely forgive us our sins and trespasses.

Answer: First. I readily grant that whatever is really contrary to the grace, goodness, and mercy of God, whatever is inconsistent with the free forgiveness of sin, is not to be admitted; for these things are fully revealed in the Scripture, and must have a consistency with whatever else is therein revealed of God or his will.

Second. As God is good, and gracious, and merciful, so also he is holy, righteous, true, and faithful. And these things are no less revealed concerning him than the others; and are no less essential properties of his nature than his goodness and grace. And as they are all essentially the same in him, and considered only under a different habitude or respect, as they are exerted by acts of his will; so it belongs to his infinite wisdom, that the effects of them, though divers, and produced by divers ways and means, may no way be contrary one to the other, but that mercy be exercised without the prejudice of just ice or holiness, and justice be preserved entire, without any obstruction to the exercise of mercy.

Third. The grace and love of God, that in this matter the scripture reveals to be exercised in order unto the forgiveness of sinners, consists principally in two things: A. In his holy eternal purpose of providing a relief for lost sinners. He has done it, “to the praise of the glory of his grace”(Eph. 1:6). B. In the sending his Son in the pursuit and for the accomplishment of the holy purpose of his will and grace. Herein most eminently does the Scripture celebrate the love, goodness, and kindness of God, as that whereby, in infinite and forever to be adored wisdom and grace, he made way for the forgiveness of our sins. John 3:16: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” Rom. 3:25: “Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.” Rom. 5:8: “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”(Titus 3:4; 1 John 4:9, 10). Herein consists that ever to be adored love, goodness, grace, mercy, and condescension of God. Add hereunto, that, in the act of causing our iniquities to meet on Christ, wherein he immediately intended the declaration of his justice, Rom. 3:25: “not sparing him, in delivering him up to death for us all,” Rom. 8:32: there was a blessed harmony in the highest justice and most excellent grace and mercy. This grace, this goodness, this love of God towards mankind, towards sinners, our adversaries in this matter neither know nor understand; and so, indeed, what lies in them, remove the foundation of the whole gospel, and of all that faith and obedience which God requires at our hands.

Fourth. Forgiveness, or the actual condonation of sinners, the pardon and forgiveness of sins, is free; but yet so as it is everywhere restrained unto a respect unto Christ, unto his death rind blood shedding. Eph. 1:7: “We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Eph. 4:32: “God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” Rom. 3:25, 26 “God has set him forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.” It is absolutely free in respect of all immediate transactions between God and sinners.

A. Free on the part of God.

(1.) In the eternal purpose of it, when he might justly have suffered all men to have perished under the guilt of their sins. (2.) Free in the means that he used to effect it, unto his glory. First, in the sending of his Son; and, second, in laying the punishment of our sin upon him. Third, in his covenant with him, that it should be accepted on our behalf. Fourth, in his tender and proposal of it by the gospel unto sinners, to be received without money or without price. Fifth, in the actual condonation and pardon of them that do believe.

B. It is free on the part of the persons that are forgiven; in that, (1.) It is given and granted to them, without any satisfaction made by them for their former transgressions. (2.) Without any merit to purchase or procure it. (3.) Without any penal, satisfactory suffering here, or in a purgatory hereafter. (4.) Without any expectation of future recompense; or that, being pardoned, they should then make or give any satisfaction for what they had done before. And as any of these things would, so nothing else can, impeach the freedom of pardon and forgiveness. Whether, then, we respect the pardoner or the pardoned, pardon is every way free, namely, on the part of God who forgives, and on the part of sinners that are forgiven. If God now has, besides all this, provided himself a lamb for a sacrifice; if he has, in infinite wisdom and grace, found out a way thus freely to forgive us our sins, to the praise and glory of his own holiness, righteousness, and severity against sin, as well as unto the unspeakable advancement of that grace, goodness, and bounty which he immediately exercises in the pardon of sin; are these men’s eyes evil, because he is good? Will they not be contented to be pardoned, unless they may have it at the rate of despoiling God of his holiness, truth, righteousness, and faithfulness? And as this is certainly done by that way of pardon which these men propose, no reserve in the least being made for the glory of God in those holy properties of his nature which are immediately injured and opposed by sin; so that pardon itself, which they pretend so to magnify, having nothing to influence it but a mere arbitrary act of God’s will, is utterly debased from its own proper worth and excellency. And I shall willingly undertake to manifest that they derogate no less from grace and mercy in pardon, than they do from the righteousness and holiness of God, by the forgiveness which they have feigned; and that in it both of them are perverted and despoiled of all their glory.

But they yet say, “If God can freely pardon sin, why does he not do it without satisfaction? If he cannot, he is weaker and more imperfect than man, who can do so.”

Answer. First. God cannot do many things that men can do, not that he is more imperfect than they, but he cannot do them on the account of his perfection. He cannot lie, he cannot deny himself, he cannot change; which men can do, and do every day.

Second. To pardon sin without satisfaction, in him who is absolutely holy, righteous, true, and faithful, the absolute, necessary, supreme Governor of all sinners, the author of the law, and sanction of it, wherein punishment is threatened and declared, is to deny himself, and to do what one infinitely perfect cannot do.

Third. I ask of these men, why God does not pardon sins freely, without requiring faiths repentance, and obedience in them that are pardoned; yea, as the conditions on which they may be pardoned? For, seeing he is so infinitely good and gracious, cannot he pardon men without prescribing such terms and conditions unto them as he knows that men, and that incomparably the greatest number of them, will never come up unto, and so must of necessity perish for ever? Yea, but they say, “This cannot be: neither does this impeach the freedom of pardon; for it is certain that God does prescribe these things, and yet he pardons freely; and it would altogether unbecome the holy God to pardon sinners that continue so to live and die in their sins” But do not these men see that they have hereby given away their cause which they contend for? For, if a prescription of sundry things to the sinner himself, without which he shall not be pardoned, do not at all impeach, as they say, the freedom of pardon, but God may be said freely to pardon sin notwithstanding it; how shall the receiving of satisfaction by another, nothing at all being required of the sinner, have the least appearance of any such thing? If the freedom of forgiveness consists in such a boundless notion as these men imagine, it is certain that the prescribing of faith and repentance in and unto sinners, antecedently to their participation of it, is much more evidently contrary unto it, than the receiving of satisfaction from another who is not to be pardoned can to any appear to be. Second, if it be contrary to the holiness of God to pardon any without requiring faith, repentance, and obedience in them (as it is indeed), let not these persons be offended if we believe him when he so frequently declares it, that it was so to remit sin, without the fulfilling of his law and satisfaction of his justice.

Second. They say, “There is no such thing as justice in God requiring the punishment of sin; but that that which in him requires and calls for the punishment of sin is his anger and wrath; which expressions denote free acts of his will, and not any essential properties of his nature.” So that God may punish sin or not punish it, at his pleasure; therefore there is no reason that he should require any satisfaction for sin, seeing he may pass it by absolutely as he pleases.

Answer. First. Is it not strange, that the great Governor, the Judge of all the world, which, on the supposition of the creation of it, God is naturally and necessarily, should not also naturally be so righteous as to do right, in rendering unto every one according to his works?

Second. The sanction and penalty of the law, which is the rule of punishment, was, I suppose, an effect of justice, of God’s natural and essential justice, and not of his anger or wrath. Certainly, never did any man make a law for the government of a people in anger. Draco’s laws were not made in wrath, but according to the best apprehension of right and justice that he had, though said to be written in blood; and shall we think otherwise of the law of God?

Third. Anger and wrath in God express the effects of justice, and so are not merely free acts of his will. This, therefore, is a tottering cause, that is built on the denial of God’s essential righteousness. But it was proved before, and it is so elsewhere.

Fourth. They say, “That the sacrifice of Christ was only metaphorically so,” that he was a metaphorical priest, not one properly so called; and, therefore, that his sacrifice did not consist in his death and blood shedding, but in his appearing in heaven upon his ascension, presenting himself unto God in the most holy place not made with hands as the mediator of the new covenant.

Answer. First. When once these men come to this evasion, they think themselves safe, and that they may go whither they will without control. For they say it is true, Christ was a priest; but only he was a metaphorical one. He offered sacrifice; but it was a metaphorical one. He redeemed us; but with a metaphorical redemption. And so we are justified thereon; but with a metaphorical justification. And so, for aught I know, they are like to be saved with a metaphorical salvation. This is the substance of their plea in this matter: Christ was not really a priest; but did somewhat like a priest. He offered not sacrifice really; but did somewhat that was like a sacrifice. He redeemed us not really; but did somewhat that looked like redemption. And what these things are, wherein their analogy consists, what proportion the things that Christ has done bear to the things that are really so, from whence they receive their denomination, it is meet it should be wholly in the power of these persons to declare.

Second. What should hinder the death of Christ to be a sacrifice, a proper sacrifice, and, according to the nature, end, and use of sacrifices, to have made atonement and satisfaction for sin? A. It is expressly called so in the Scripture; wherein he is said to “offer himself, to make his soul an offering, to offer himself a sacrifice”(Eph. 5:2; Heb. 1:3, 9:14, 25, 26, 7:27). And he is himself directly said to be a “priest,” or a sacrificer (Heb. 2:17). And it is nowhere intimated, much less expressed, that these things are not spoken properly, but metaphorically only. B. The legal sacrifices of the old law were instituted on purpose to represent and prepare the way for the bringing in of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, so to take away the sin of the world; and is it not strange, that true and real sacrifices should be types and representations of that which was not so? On this supposition, all those sacrifices are but so many seductions from the right understanding of things between God and sinners. C. Nothing is wanting to render it a proper propitiatory sacrifice. For, (1.) There was the person offering, and that was Christ himself, Heb. 9:14: “He offered himself unto God.” “He,” that is, the sacrificer, denotes the person of Christ, God and man; and “himself,” as the sacrifice, denotes his human nature whence God is said to “purchase his church with his own blood”(Acts 20:28); for he offered himself through the eternal Spirit. So that, (2.) there was the matter of the sacrifice, which was the human nature of Christ, soul and body. “His soul was made an offering for sin” (Isa. 53:10); and his body, “The offering of the body of Jesus Christ”(Heb. 10:10), his blood especially, which is often synecdochically mentioned for the whole. (3.) His death had the nature of a sacrifice. For, (a.) therein were the sins of men laid upon him, and not in his entrance into heaven; for “he bare our sins in his own body on the tree”(1 Peter 2:24). God made our sins then “to meet upon him”(Isa. 53:6); which gives the formality unto any sacrifices. “ Quad in ejus caput sit,” is the formal reason of all propitiatory sacrifices, and ever was so, as is expressly declared (Lev. 16:21, 22); and the phrase of “bearing sin,” of “bearing iniquity,” is constantly used for the undergoing of the punishment due to sin. (b.) It had the end of a proper sacrifice; it made expiation of sin, propitiation and atonement for sin, with reconciliation with God; and so took away that enmity that was between God and sinners (Heb. 1:3; Rom. 3:25, 26; Heb. 2:17, 18, 5:10; Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19). And although God himself designed, appointed, and contrived, in wisdom, this way of reconciliation, as he did the means for the atoning of his own anger towards the friends of Job, commanding them to go unto him, and with him offer sacrifices for themselves, which he would accept (Job 42:7, 8); yet, as he was the supreme Governor, the Lord of all, attended with infinite justice and holiness, atonement was made with him, and satisfaction to him thereby.

What has been spoken may suffice to discover the emptiness and weakness of those exceptions which in general these men make against the truth before laid down from the Scripture. A brief examination of some particular instances, wherein they seek not so much to oppose as to reproach the revelation of this mystery of the gospel, shall put a close to this discourse. It is said, then, first, “That if this be so, then it will follow that God is gracious to forgive, and yet it is impossible for him, unless the debt be fully satisfied.”

Answer. A. I suppose the confused and abrupt expression of things here, in words scarcely affording a tolerable sense, is rather from weakness than captiousness; and so I shall let the manner of the proposal pass.

B. What if this should follow, that God is gracious to forgive sinners, and yet will not, cannot, on the account of his own holiness and righteousness, actually forgive any, without satisfaction and atonement made for sin? The worst that can be hence concluded is, that the scripture is true, which affirms both these in many places. C. This sets out the exceeding greatness of the grace of God in forgiveness, that when sin could not be forgiven without satisfaction, and the sinner himself could no way make any such satisfaction, he provided himself a sacrifice of atonement, that the sinner might be discharged and pardoned. D. Sin is not properly a debt, for then it might be paid in kind, by sin itself; but is called so only because it binds over the sinner to punishment, which is the satisfaction to be made for that which is properly a transgression, and improperly only a debt. It is added, Second. “Hence it follows, that the unite and impotent creature more capable of extending mercy and forgiveness than the infinite and omnipotent Creator.”

Answer. A. God being essentially holy and righteous, having engaged his faithfulness in the sanction of the law, and being naturally and necessarily the governor and ruler of the world, the forgiving of sin without satisfaction would be no perfection in him, but an effect of impotency and imperfection, a thing which God cannot do, as he cannot lie, nor deny himself. B. The direct contrary of what is insinuated is asserted by this doctrine; for, on the supposition of the satisfaction and atonement insisted on, not only does God freely forgive, but that in such a way of righteousness and goodness, as no creature is able to conceive or express the glory and excellency of it. And to speak of the poor having pardons of private men, upon particular offenses against themselves, who are commanded so to do, and have no right nor authority to require or exact punishment, nor is any due upon the mere account of their own concernment, in comparison with the forgiveness of God, arises out of a deep ignorance of the whole matter under consideration.

Third. It is added by them, that hence it follows, “That God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son to save it; and yet that God stood off in high displeasure, and Christ gave himself as a complete satisfaction to offended justice.”

Answer. Something these men would say, if they knew what or how; for, A. that God so loved the world as to give his only Son to save it, is the expression of the Scripture, and the foundation of the doctrine whose truth we contend for. B. That Christ offered himself to make atonement for sinners, and therein made satisfaction to the justice of God, is the doctrine itself which these men oppose, and not any consequent of it. C. That God stood off in high displeasure, is an expression which neither the Scripture uses, nor those who declare this doctrine from thence, nor is suited unto divine perfections, or the manner of divine operations. That intended seems to be, that the righteousness and law of God required the punishment due to sin to be undergone, and thereby satisfaction to be made unto God; which is no consequent of the doctrine, but the doctrine itself.

Fourth. It is yet farther objected, “That if Christ made satisfaction for sin, then he did it either as God or as man, or as God and man.”

Answer. A. As God and man. Acts 20:28: “God redeemed his church with his own blood.” 1 John 3:16: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us”(Heb. 9:14). This dilemma is proposed, as that which proceeds on a supposition of our own principles, that Christ is God and man in one person: which, indeed, makes the pretended difficulty to be vain, and a mere effect of ignorance; for all the mediatory acts of Christ being the acts of his person, must of necessity be the acts of him as God and man. C. There is yet another mistake in this inquiry; for satisfaction is in it looked on as a real act or operation of one or the other nature in Christ, when it is the apotelesma or effect of the actings, the doing and suffering of Christ, the dignity of what he did in reference unto the end for which he did it. For the two natures are so united in Christ as not to have a third compound principle of physical acts and operations thence arising; but each nature acts distinctly according to its own being and properties, yet so as what is the immediate act of either nature is the act of him who is one in both; from whence it has its dignity. D. The sum is, that in all the mediatory actions of Christ we are to consider, (1.) The agent; and that is the person of Christ. (2.) The immediate principle by which and from which the agent works; and that is the natures in the person. (3.) The actions; which are the effectual operations of either nature. (4.) The effect or work with respect to God and us; and this relates unto the person of the agent, the Lord Christ, God and man. A blending of the natures into one common principle of operation, as the compounding of mediums unto one end, is ridiculously supposed in this matter. But yet, again; it is pretended that sundry consequences, irreligious and irrational, do ensue upon a supposition of the satisfaction pleaded for. What, then, are they?

First. “That it is unlawful and impossible for God Almighty to be gracious and merciful, or to pardon transgressors.”

Answer. The miserable, confused misapprehension of things which the proposal of this and the like consequences does evidence, manifests sufficiently how unfit the makers of them are to manage controversies of this nature. For, A., it is supposed that for God to be gracious and merciful, or to pardon sinners, are the same; which is to confound the essential properties of his nature with the free acts of his will.

B. Lawful or unlawful, are terms that can with no tolerable sense be used concerning any properties of God, all which are natural and necessary unto his being; as goodness, grace, and mercy, in particular, are. C. That it is impossible for God to pardon transgressors, according to this doctrine, is a fond imagination; for it is only a declaration of the manner how he does it. D. As God is gracious and merciful, so also he is holy, and righteous, and true; and it became him, or was every way meet for him, in his way of exercising grace and mercy towards sinners, to order all things so, as that it might be done without the impeachment of his holiness, righteousness, and truth. It is said, again, secondly, “That God was inevitably compelled to this way of saving men; the highest affront to his noncontrollable nature.”

Answer. A. Were the authors of these exceptions put to declare what they mean by God’s “uncontrollable nature,” they would hardly disentangle themselves with common sense; such masters of reason are they, indeed, whatever they would vain pretend to be. Controllable or uncontrollable, respects acting and operations, not beings or natures.

B. That, upon the principle opposed by these men, God was inevitably compelled to this way of saving men, is a fond and childish imagination. The whole business of the salvation of men, according unto this doctrine, depends on a mere free, sovereign act of God’s will, exerting itself in a way of infinite wisdom, holiness, and grace.

C. The meaning of this objection (if it has either sense or meaning in it) is, that God, freely purposing to save lost sinners, did it in a way becoming his holy nature and righteous law. What other course Infinite Wisdom could have taken for the satisfaction of his justice we know not; that justice was to be satisfied, and that this way it is done we know and believe.

Third. They say it hence follows, “That it is unworthy of God to pardon, but not to inflict punishment on the innocent, or require a satisfaction where there was nothing due.”

Answer. A. What is worthy or unworthy of God, himself alone knows, and of men not any, but according to what he is pleased to declare and reveal; but, certainly, it is unworthy any person, pretending to the least interest in ingenuity or use of reason, to use such frivolous instances in any case of importance, which have not the least pretense of argument in them, but what arises from a gross misapprehension or misrepresentation of a doctrine designed to opposition. B. To pardon sinners, is a thing becoming the goodness and grace of God; to do it by Christ, that which becomes them, and his holiness and righteousness also (Eph. 1:6, 7; Rom. 3:25). C. The Lord Christ was personally innocent; but “he who knew no sin was made sin for us”(2 Cor. 5:21). And as the mediator and surety of the covenant, he was to answer for the sins of them whom he undertook to save from the wrath to come, by giving himself a ransom for them, and making his soul an offering for their sin. D. That nothing is due to the justice of God for sin, that is, that sin does not in the justice of God deserve punishment, is a good, comfortable doctrine for men that are resolved to continue in their sins whilst they live in this world. The Scripture tells us that Christ paid what he took not; that all our iniquities were caused to meet upon him; that he bare them in his own body on the tree; that his soul was made an offering for sin, and thereby made reconciliation or atonement for the sins of the people. If these persons be otherwise minded, we cannot help it.

Fourth. It is added, that “This doctrine does not only disadvantage the tribe virtue and real intent of Christ’s life and death, but entirely deprives God of that praise which is owing to his greatest love and goodness.”

Answer. A. I suppose that this is the first time that this doctrine fell under this imputation; nor could it possibly be liable unto this charge from any who did either understand it or the grounds on which it is commonly opposed. For there is no end of the life or death of Christ which the Socinians themselves admit of, but it is also allowed and asserted in the doctrine now called in question. Do they say, that he taught the truth, or revealed the whole mind and will of God concerning his worship and our obedience? We say the same. Do they say, that by his death he bare testimony unto and confirmed the truth which he had taught? It is also owned by us. Do they say, that in what he did and suffered he set us an example that we should labor after conformity unto? It is what we acknowledge and teach: only, we say that all these things belong principally to his prophetical office. But we, moreover, affirm and believe, that as a priest, or in the discharge of his sacerdotal office, he did, in his death and sufferings, offer himself a sacrifice to God, to make atonement for our sins, which they deny; and that he died for us, or in our stead, that we might go free: without the faith and acknowledgment whereof no part of the gospel can be rightly understood. All the ends, then, which they themselves assign of the life and death of Christ are by us granted; and the principal one, which gives life and efficacy to the rest, is by them denied. Neither, B., does it fall under any possible imagination, that the praise due unto God should be eclipsed hereby. The love and kindness of God towards us is in the Scripture fixed principally and fundamentally on his “sending of his only begotten Son to die for us.” And, certainly, the greater the work was that he had to do, the greater ought our acknowledgment of his love and kindness to be. But it is said, fifth, “That it represents the Son as more kind and compassionate than the Father; whereas if both be the same God, then either the Father is as loving as the Son, or the Son as angry as the Father.”

Answer. A. The Scripture refers the love of the Father unto two heads: (1.) The sending of his Son to die for us (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 1John 4:9, 10). (2.) In choosing sinners unto a participation of the fruits of his love (Eph. 1:3–6). The love of the Son is fixed signally on his actual giving himself to die for us (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:25; Rev. 1:5). What balances these persons have got to weigh these loves in, and to conclude which is the greatest or most weighty, I know not.

B. Although only the actual discharge of his office be directly assigned to the love of Christ, yet his condescension in taking our nature upon him, expressed by his mind (Phil. 2:5–8), and the readiness of his will (Ps. 40:8), does eminently comprise love in it so.

C. The love of the Father in sending of the Son was an act of his will; which being a natural and essential property of God, it was so far the act of the Son also, as he is partaker of the same nature, though eminently, and in respect of order, it was peculiarly the act of the Father.

D. The anger of God against sin is an effect of his essential righteousness and holiness, which belong to him as God; which yet hinders not but that both Father, and Son, and Spirit, acted love towards sinners.

They say again, sixth, “It robs God of the gift of his Son for our redemption, which the Scriptures attribute to the unmerited love he had for the world, in affirming the Son purchased that redemption from the Father, by the gift of himself to God as our complete satisfaction.”

Answer. A. It were endless to consider the improper and absurd expressions which are made use of in these exceptions, as here; the last words have no tolerable sense in them, according to any principles whatever.

B. If the Son’s purchasing redemption for us, procuring, obtaining it, do rob God of the gift of his Son for our redemption, the Holy Ghost must answer for it; for, having “obtained” for us, or procured, or purchased, “eternal redemption,” is the word used by himself (Heb. 9:12); and to deny that he has laid down his life a “ransom” for us, and has “bought us with a price,” is openly to deny the gospel.

C. In a word, the great gift of God consisted in giving his Son to obtain redemption for us.

D. Herein he “offered himself unto God,” and “gave himself for us;” and if these persons are offended herewithal, what are we, that we should withstand God?

They say, seventh, “Since Christ could not pay what was not his own, it follows, that in the payment of his own the case still remains equally grievous; since the debt is not hereby absolved or forgiven, but transferred only; and, by consequence, we are no better provided for salvation than before, owing that now to the Son which was once owing to the Father.”

Answer. The looseness and dubiousness of the expressions here used makes an appearance that there is something in them, when indeed there is not. There is an allusion in them to a debt and a payment, which is the most improper expression that is used in this matter; and the interpretation thereof is to be regulated by other proper expressions of the same thing. But to keep to the allusion:

A. Christ paid his own, but not for himself (Dan. 9:26).

B. Paying it for us, the debt is discharged; and our actual discharge is to be given out according to the ways and means, and upon the conditions, appointed and constituted by the Father and Son.

C. When a debt is so transferred as that one is accepted in the room and obliged to payment in the stead of another, and that payment is made and accepted accordingly, all law and reason require that the original debtor be discharged.

D. What on this account we owe to the Son, is praise, thankfulness, and obedience, and not the debt which he took upon himself and discharged for us, when we were nonsolvent, by his love. So that this matter is plain enough, and not to be involved by such cloudy expressions and incoherent discourse, following the metaphor of a debt. For if God be considered as the creditor, we all as debtors, and being insolvent, Christ undertook, out of his love, to pay the debt for us, and did so accordingly, which was accepted with God; it follows that we are to be discharged upon God’s terms, and under a new obligation unto his love who has made this satisfaction for us: which we shall eternally acknowledge.

It is said, eighth, “It no way renders men beholden or in the least obliged to God, since by their doctrine he would not have abated us, nor did he Christ, the least farthing; so that the acknowledgments are peculiarly the Son’s: which destroys the whole current of Scripture testimony for his goodwill towards men. O the infamous portraiture this doctrine draws of the infinite goodness! Is this your retribution, O injurious satisfactionists?”

Answer. This is but a bold repetition of what, in other words, was mentioned before over and over. Wherein the love of God in this matter consisted, and what is the obligation on us unto thankfulness and obedience, has been before also declared; and we are not to be moved in fundamental truths by vain exclamations of weak and unstable men.

It is said, ninth, “That God’s justice is satisfied for sins past, present, and to come, whereby God and Christ have lost both their power of enjoining godliness and prerogative of punishing disobedience; for what is once paid, is not revocable, and if punishment should arrest any for their debts, it argues a breach on God or Christ’s part, or else that it has not been sufficiently solved, and the penalty complete sustained by another.”

Answer. The intention of this pretended consequence of our doctrine is that, upon a supposition of satisfaction made by Christ, there is no solid foundation remaining for the prescription of faith, repentance, and obedience, on the one hand; or of punishing them who refuse so to obey, believe, or repent, on the other. The reason of this inference insinuated seems to be this, that sin being satisfied for, cannot be called again to an account. For the former part of the pretended consequence, namely, that on this supposition there is no foundation left for the prescription of godliness, I cannot discern any thing in the least looking towards the confirmation of it in the words of the objection laid down. But these things are quite otherwise; as is manifest unto them that read and obey the gospel.

For, A. Christ’s satisfaction for sins acquits not the creature of that dependence on God, and duty which he owes to God, which (notwithstanding that) God may justly, and does prescribe unto him, suitable to his own nature, holiness, and will. The whole of our regard unto God does not lie in an acquitment from sin. It is, moreover, required of us, as a necessary and indispensable consequence of the relation wherein we stand unto him, that we live to him and obey him, whether sin be satisfied for or no. The manner and measure hereof are to be regulated by his prescriptions, which are suited to his own wisdom and our condition; and they are now referred to the heads mentioned, of faith, repentance, and new obedience.

B. The satisfaction made for sin being not made by the sinner himself, there must of necessity be a rule, order, and law–constitution, how the sinner may come to be interested in it, and made partaker of it. For the consequent of the freedom of one by the suffering of another is not natural or necessary, but must proceed and arise from a law–constitution, compact, and agreement.

Now, the way constituted and appointed is that of faith, or believing, as explained in the scripture. If men believe not, they are no less liable to the punishment due to their sins than if no satisfaction at all were made for sinners. And whereas it is added, “Forgetting that every one en must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive according to the things done in the body, yea, and every one must give an account of himself to God;” Closing all with this, “But many more are the gross absurdities and blasphemies that are the genuine fruits of this so confidently believed doctrine of satisfaction:”

I say it is, C. Certain that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive according to the things done in the body; and therefore, woe will be unto them at the great day who are not able to plead the atonement made for their sins by the blood of Christ, and an evidence of their interest therein by their faith and obedience, or the things done and wrought in them and by them whilst they were in the body here in this world. And this it would better become these persons to retake themselves unto the consideration of, than to exercise themselves unto an unparalleled confidence in reproaching those with absurdities and blasphemies who believe the Deity and satisfaction of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who died for us; which is the ground and bottom of all our expectation of a blessed life and immortality to come.

The removal of these objections against the truth, scattered of late up and down in the hands of all sorts of men, may suffice for our present purpose. If any amongst these men judge that they have an ability to manage the opposition against the truth as declared by us, with such pleas, arguments, and exceptions, as may pretend an interest in appearing reason, they shall, God assisting, be attended unto. With men given up to a spirit of railing or reviling, though it be no small honor to be reproached by them who reject with scorn the eternal Deity of the Son of God, and the satisfactory atonement that he made for the sins of men, no person of sobriety will contend. And I shall farther only desire the reader to take notice, that though these few sheets were written in a few hours, upon the desire and for the satisfaction of some private friends, and therefore contain merely an expression of present thoughts, without the least design or diversion of mind towards accuracy or ornament; yet the author is so far confident that the truth, and nothing else, is proposed and confirmed in them, that he fears not but that an opposition to what is here declared will be removed, and the truth reinforced in such a way and manner as may not be to its disadvantage.