« PreviousContinue »
saying, I am the God of the whole universe; a just God, and cannot in no wise clear the guilty, except there be an atonement made as a sufficient satisfaction so as to satisfy my divine justice; but as great as my justice is, so great is my love and mercy. And now, to satisfy my justice so as to claim pardon for fallen man, there must be one which is sufficient and will descend to the earth, and assume or take upon him man's nature in the flesh, and obey my holy law in all things, and withstand all the temptations and assaults of that old serpent the devil; and he also must offer up his life, that is, he must shed his blood; that is* he must offer up his life upon the earth for the salvation of man—for without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Therefore, who in heaven is sufficient for this, so as to desend from heaven unto the earth in Adam's room and stead, and to obey me in all things, and to suffer and to die, so that my creature, man, and all his posterity, may have the way of life set open, so that whosoever will repent and embrace the Gospel, may be saved and delivered out of the hand of the enemy of his soul; and it may be that there was silence in heaven, and that none of the high orders of the angels of heaven durst come forward as to offer themselves upon this occasion; but yet at the same time, methinks their souls panted and longed for the salvation of fallen man; and then, methinks, stood up the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David. (Rev. v. 5.) The holy begotten Son of God, even the express image of his person (Heb. i. 3.), saying I, lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will 0 God. (Heb. x. 7.) I will freely interpose my precious blood for him so as to make up the breach, and do all that thou hath required, to the intent that the kingdom of heaven may be opened to all that repent and truly believe in my name. But you may say, will they all repent and believe to the salvation of their souls; no, it appears not, and now comes in the text, or those words which may be requested of me to explain, that is, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand, he shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied. First, then he shall see his seed, which is, I think these blessed children which embrace his Gospel call, and receive the seed of his word, which seed springeth up in them and beareth much fruit to his honour and glory. Second, he shall prolong his days, that is,
probable; as man's days of happiness and glory was cut off by reason of his trans.gres?ions; but now the clnldrt n oi God are all true believers, their days shall be prolonged by their Redeemer's righteousness in everlasting glory. Third, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand, that is, I believe that the Father had pleasure in the salvation of man as well, or as much as the son, and that he was pleased to see that his will and pleasure would prosper in his hand; and methinks, that the angels of heaven rejoiced to see that the pleasure of the Lord would prosper in his hand. Fourth, he shall see the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied, that is to say, I believe, that he saw the result and effect of all his whole sufferings, and the benefit to the souls of men thereby, and was satisfied. But now, perhaps you may say to me, should you think then that Christ foresaw that his sufferings and death would avail for all,—why, I believe that Christ foresaw that his sufferings and death was available, and sufficient for all; but yet at the same time it may be that he foresaw that some vt ould withstand and oppose the offers of his grace and mercy, and by so doing they will not let his blood avail for them. Therefore, by this, perhaps you may say to me, do you think then, if in case Cnrist had have foreseen that no soul would have accepted the offers of his love and mercy, shall you suppose then that Christ would have died for the sins of the whole world in vain,—my answer is no; I should rather think not; then perhaps you may say, that the effect of his holy life and death may be only for the penitent believers,—yes, my reader, and I believe that his holy life and death is especially for those according to his foreknowledge; but still I believe that his holy life and death is sufficient as to save all the world, if they would but repent and embrace ihe offers of his grace and mercy; for I cannot find in all the holy Scripture, that the holy God of Love predestinateth, or designs, or decrees any man to be lost before he first giveth them a possibility of being saved. Therefore, I cannot find that we dare to say any more of final and absolute election, unless it be by the foreknowledge of God. Therefore, I do not see that it is right for me to limit or confine the saving power of the efficacious blood of Christ to a certain or singular number, or, how dare I as to say that his precious blood is not sufficient for all. 0, thou blessed Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world, was there ever love like thine, what could thou have done more for to save Us all, than that which thou hath done. Oh! surely methinks, that thou could not have done any more at all, than that which thou hast already done. Therefore,. by this, I believe that there is a sufficient redemption through thy blood tor all, and that thy saving grace and mercy are held forth unto all, and that thou art ready and willing to save all them that will obey. But still, O Lord, I dare not as to limit thy foreknowledge, therefore, from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God, and foresees them that will believe, and them that will obey. Therefore, I believe, by this, that the Lord knoweth them that are his, from, or before the foundation of the world.
But now, 0 Lord, my God, if I am not completely perfect concerning my serious thoughts and reflections, be thou pleased through the righteous merit of thy Son, to pardon me, for I know that thy judgments are unsearchable, and thy ways past finding out; but still thou knowest that I have written these words in the integrity of my heart, and that by thy help to strengthen the weak, and for the good of thy cause and people, and also to put to silence the infidels, and to convince the unbeliever. Therefore, O Lord, be thou pleased to remember me for good, and pardon me where, or at which place I seem to come short, by reason of my weakness and inability, for Christ's sake.
And as for thy foreknowledge and predestination, I dare not to say but little about, because that is best known to thyself, therefore I would rather speak of thy free grace and forgiving love which is held out to the chief of sinners, of whom 1 am one—but thou hath died for me—but although I believe this, yet there may be some poor trembling sinner who hath been convinced of his sins, and feels the sting of a guilty conscience, but yet hath not found the pardoning love of God, through Christ, shed abroad in his heart as to show him his sins are foregiven; therefore, the poor sinner may say, where can I find any way of repentance, or forgiveness, or rest, or peace, or consolation for my poor sinful soul, seeing I am so far from God, and so much involved in sin and iniquity: if I look unto man, he cannot save me, for he is no better than myself, and stands in need of the same help that I do, and if I look unto the gods of this world, they are all vanity and foolishness, and cannot help themselves. Oh, happy, happy, should I be if I could find forgiveness, and to know that Christ hath died for me. Oh, my fellowsinners, may Almighty God, through Christ, give thee grace and power to pray, and to meditate upon these lines: then if it be so, thou wilt find thy sins pardoned, and much peace and comfort to thy soul. Come—
All you that do these lines behold,
Not all the world in its gay show,
Where my Redeemer is arrayed in love,
But who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him: he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afHicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for iniquities: the chastisemeut of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; and have turned every one his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah liii. 1.) And again in another place, Saint Paul saith, By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification. (Rom v. 18.) And again, hear what our Blessed Lord saith, I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, •which I will give for the life of the world. (John vi. 51.) Therefore, he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things. (Bom. viii. 32.) I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth, for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all to be testir fied in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, saith St. Paul, I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not, a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. (Tim. 2.) But again, we see Jesus, who was made a. little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Heb. ii. 9.) And he is the propitia* tion for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John ii. 2.) For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue, and people and nation. (Rev. v. 9.)
Now, when I consider and meditate upon these holy passages of the word of God, it appears to me, by a clear demonstration, that thou my Lord Jesus hast died for all; hut some men will say that he died for many, even for his elect, as follows: he bare the sins of many (Isaiah liii. 12.); but see verse the 6th, and there it saith, All. And again, hear what our blessed Lord saith, And he took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the new testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But see John the vi, 51., and there he saith, His flesh is bread l'or the life of the world. But O, how rightly St. Paul speaks, and saith he is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe. Arid this is my faith, for it appears to be the sum and substance of all, and he is a sufficient Saviour for all; but yet it doth not say that they will all believe, but at the same time he fulfilled the holy law of God that man had broken, .and he satisfied Divine Justice for all, that is, there is a way open for all, so that whosoever calleth upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, for I believe that there is a measure of the grace of God given to every man to profit thereby. Therefore, whosoever sincerely repents and humbleth his soul before God, in the'name of his Redeemer shall be saved.