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drinking the blood of the Son of man.” And yet, till tnis difficulty be surmounted in greater or lesser measure, be can never be said to believe in Christ, or receive and rest upon him for salvation. The very taking or receiving must needs presuppose a giving of Christ ; and this giving may be, and is, for the most part, where there is no receiving; but there can be no receiving of Christ for salvation where there is not revelation of Christ in the word of the gospel, affording warrant to receive him, and then, by the effectual operation of the Spirit, persuading and enabling the sinner to embrace him upon this warrant and offer. “ A man,” says the Spirit of God, John iii. 27,
can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." Hence Mr. Rutherford, in his “Christ Dying and Drawing,” &c. page 442, says, that "reprobates have as fair a warrant to believe as the elect have.”
As to the second part of this question, i.e. “Is this grant made to all mankind by sovereign grace ? and, Whether is it absolute or conditional ?" we answer, that this grant, made in common to lost mankind, is from sovereign grace only; and it being ministers' warrant to offer Christ unto all, and peoples' warrant to receive him, it cannot fail to be absolutely free ; yet so as none can be possessed of Christ and his benefits, till by faith they receive him.
Query XI.- Is the division of the law, as explained and applied in the Marrow, to be justified, and which cannot be rejected without burying several gospel truths ?
Ans.We humbly judge the tripartite division of the law, if rightly undertood, may be admitted as orthodox ; yet, seeing that which we are concerned with, as contained in our representation, is only the division of the law into the law of works and the law of Christ, we say, that we are still of opinion, that this distinction of the law is carefully to be maintained ; in regard that by the law of works we, according to the Scripture, understand the covenant of works, which believers are wholly and altogether delivered from, although they are certainly under the law of the ten commandments in the hand of a Mediator. And if this distinction of the law, thus applied, be overthrown and declared groundless, several sweet gospel truths must unavoidably fall in the ruins of it. For instance, if there be no difference put between the law as a cove. pant and the law as a rule of life to believers, in the hand of Christ, it must needs fola low, that the law still retains its covenant form with respect to believers, and that they are still under the law in this formality, contrary to Scripture, Rom. vi. 14, and vii. 1-3, and to the Confession of Faith, chap. xix. $ 6. It would also follow, that the sins of believers are still to be looked upon as breaches of the covenant of works, and consequently that their sins not only deserve the wrath and curse of God, (which is a most certain truth) but also makes them actually liable to the wrath of God, and the pains of hell for ever, which is true only of them that are in a state of black nature ; Less. Cat. quest. 19, and contrary to Confess. of Faith, chap. xix. $ 1. It will likewise follow, that believers are still to eye God as a vindictive and wrathful Judge, though his justice be fully satisfied in the death and blood of their blessed Surety, apprehended by faith. These and many other sweet gospel truths, we think, fall in the ruins of the foresaid distinction condemned as groundless.
Query XII.-- Is the hope of heaven and fear of hell to be excluded from the motives of the believer's obedience ? And if not, how can the Marrow be defended, that expressly excludes them, though it should allow of other motives?
Ans.—Here we are referred to the third particular head, wherein we think the Marrow injured by the Assembly's act, which for brevity's sake we do not transcribe :
but agreeable both to our representation and the scope of the Marrow, we answer, That taking heaven for a state of endless felicity in the enjoyment of God in Cbrist, we are so far from thinking that this is to be excluded from being a motive of the beJiever's obedience, that we think it the chief end of man, next to the glory of God ; Psalm lxxxiii. 25, “ Whom have I in heaven but thee ?" &c. Heaven, instead of being a reward to the believer, would be a desolate wilderness to him, without the enjoyment of a God in Christ. The Lord and the Lamb are the light of that place. God himself is the portion of his people; he is their shield and exceeding great reward. The very cope-stone of the happiness of heaven lies in “ being for ever with the Lord, and in beholding of his glory;" and this indeed the believer is to have in his eye, as the recompense of reward, and a noble motive of obedience. But to form conceptions of heaven as a place of pleasure and happiness without the former viers of it, and to fancy that heaven is to be obtained by our own works and doings, is unworthy of a believer, a child of God, in regard it is slavish, legal, mercenary, and carnal.
As for the fear of hell being a motive of the believer's obedience, we reckon it one of the special branches of that glorious liberty wherewith Christ hath made his people free, that they yield obedience to the Lord, not out of slavish fear of hell and wrath, but out of a child-like love and willing mind; Confess. chap. xx. § 6, “Christ bath delivered us out of the hands of our enemies, that we might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, all the days of our lives," Luke i. 74, 75. A filial fear of God and of his fatherly displeasure, is worthy of the believer, being a fruit of faith, and of the Spirit of adoption ; but a slavish fear of hell and wrath, from which he is delivered by Christ, is not a fruit of faith, but of unbelief. And in so far as a believer is not drawn with love, but driven on in his obedience with a slavish fear of hell, we think him, in so far, under a spirit of bondage. And judging this to be the Marron's sense of rewards and punishments with respect to a believer, we tbink it may and ought to be defended.
And this doctrine, which we apprehend to be the truth, stands supported not only by Scripture and our Confession of Faith, but also by the suffrages of some of our sound. est divines; for instance Mr. Rutherford :—"Believers," says he, " are to be sad for their sins, as offensive to the authority of the Lawgiver and the love of Christ, though they be not to fear the eternal punishment of them;" for sorrow for sin, and fear for sin, are most different to us. Again, says the same author, “servile obedience, under apprehension of legal terror, was never commanded in the spiritual law of God to the Jews, more than to us."
Durham, (loco citato) “ The believer (says he) being freed from the law as a covenant, his life depends not on the promise annexed to the law, por is he in danger by the threatenings adjoined to it, both these to believers being made void through Christ." And to conclude, we are clearly of Dr. Owen's mind agent the use of the threatenings of everlasting wrath with reference unto believers, who, though he owns them to be declarative of God's hatred of sin, and his will to punish it, yet in regard the execution of them is inconsistent with the covenant, and God's faithfulness there.
“ The use of them cannot be to beget in believers an anxious, doubting, solicitous fear about the punishment threatened, grounded on a supposition that the person fearing shall be overtaken with it, or a perplexing fear of hell-fire ; which though it ofttimes be a consequence of some of God's dispensations towards us of our own sins, or the weakness of our faith, is not any where prescribed unto us as a duty, nor is the ingenerating of it in us the design of any of the threatenings of God." His reasons, together with the nature of that fear, wbich the threatening of eternal wrath ought to beget in believers, may be viewed among the rest of the authorities.
These are some thoughts that have offered to us upon the queries, which we lay before the Reverend Commission with all becoming deference, humbly craving, that charity, which thinketh no evil, may procure a favourable construing of our words, so as no sepse may be put upon, nor inference drawn from them, which we never intended. And in regard the tenor of our doctrine, and our aims in conversation, have (though with a mixture of much sinful weakness) been sincerely pointed at the honour of the Lord Jesus as our king as well as priest, as our sanctification as well as our righteousness, we caunot but regret our being aspersed, as turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and casting off the obligation of the boly law of the ten commands ; being persuaded that the damnation of such as either do or teach so, is just and unavoidable, if mercy prevent it not. But now if, after this plain and ingenuous declaration of our priociples, we must still lie under the same load of reproach, it is our comfort, that we have the testimony of our conscience clearing us in that matter, and doubt not the Lord will in due time bring forth our righteousness as the light, and our judgment as the noon-day. We only add, that we adhere to our representation and petition in all points; and so much the rather that we have already observed the sad fruits, and bad improvement made of the Assembly's deed, therein complained of.
These answers, contained in this and the preceding pages, (viz. of the maquscript given in) are subscribed at Edinburgh, March 12th, 1722 years, by us, Messrs. JAMES HOG, Carnock.
THOMAS BOSTON, Ettrick.
Being a Sermon preached at the administration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Sup.
per, August, 1714.
Hos, ii. 19, And I will betroth thee unto me for ever. This solemn ordinance we are called to partake of, is the feast of the espousals betwixt Jesus Christ and believers, as also the seal thereof; wherefore it is necessary the guests be such as are espoused to Christ, being brought "into the bond of the marriage covenant,” otherwise the seal is but profaned. The text slows us, that all is ready for these espousals on Christ's part; there is nothing to hinder the happy match, if sinners be willing. Our eyes do see this day, that even the seal of the covenant, the holy sacrament is ready for us; and thus we have fair occasion to advance our eternal interest. There is such affinity betwixt marriage and death, that every marriage-contract amongst men has a clause of death in it. Our marriage-vows run in these terms, “ Till God shall separate us by death :" so that the dying day must needs stare the parties in the face on their marriage-day; and the marriage-bed is but a preamble to the death-bed. But, behold, here is a marriagecontract without that shocking clause, nay, plainly excluding it; “I will betroth thee unto me for ever.”
I have already explained these words; but I shall put you in remembrance of the nature of betrothing or espousing, as it was used amongst the Jews, seeing it gives light into the text. Betrothing or espousing was the bridegroom's taking the bride into a marriagecovenant. It was done publicly before witnesses, under a canopy or tent set up for that purpose : and hereunto it is thought the Psalmist alludes, Psalm xix. 4, 5, “In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun : which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber.” Some competent time intervened betwixt the espousals and the solemnizing and consummating of the marriage. Nevertheless, by the espousals, they were truly husband and wife, as appears from