The Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption
by John Flavel
File 2
(... continued from file 1)

Sermon 1. 
The general Nature of effectual Application stated 
1 Cor. 1: 30 
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us 
wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 
    He that enquires what is the just value and worth of Christ, 
asks a question which puts all the men on earth, and angels in 
heaven, to an everlasting non-plus. 
    The highest attainment of our knowledge in this life, is to 
know, that himself and his love do pass knowledge, Eph. 3: 19. 
    But how excellent soever Christ is in himself, what treasures 
of righteousness soever lie in his blood, and whatever joy, peace, 
and ravishing comforts, spring up to men out of his incarnation, 
humiliation, and exaltation, they all give down their distinct 
benefits and comforts to them, in the way of effectual application. 
    For never was any wound healed by a prepared, but unapplied 
plaister. Never any body warmed by the most costly garment made, but 
not put on: Never any heart refreshed and comforted by the richest 
cordial compounded, but not received: Nor from the beginning of the 
world was it ever known, that a poor deceived, condemned, polluted, 
miserable sinner, was actually delivered out of that woeful state, 
until of God, Christ was made unto him, wisdom and righteousness, 
sanctification and redemption. 
    For look as the condemnation of the first Adam passeth not to 
us, except (as by generation) we are his; so grace and remission 
pass not from the second Adam to us, except (as by regeneration) we 
are his. Adam's sin hurts none but those that are in him: and 
Christ's blood profits none but those that are in him: How great a 
weight therefore does there hang upon the effectual application of 
Christ to the souls of men! And what is there in the whole world so 
awfully solemn, so greatly important, as this is! Such is the strong 
consolation resulting from it, that the apostle, in this context, 
offers it to the believing Corinthians, as a superabundant 
recompence for the despicable meanness, and baseness of their 
outward condition in this world, of which he had just before spoken 
in ver. 27, 28. telling them, though the world condemned them as 
vile, foolish, and weak, yet "of God Christ is made unto them wisdom 
and righteousness, sanctification and redemption." 
    In which words we have an enumeration of the chief privileges 
of believers, and an account of the method whereby they come to be 
invested with them. 
    First, Their privileges are enumerated, namely, wisdom, 
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, mercies of 
inestimable value in themselves, and such as respect a fourfold 
misery lying upon sinful man, viz. ignorance, guilt, pollution, and 
the whole train of miserable consequences and effects, let in upon 
the nature of men, yea, the best and holiest of men, by sin. 
    Lapsed man is not only deep in misery, but grossly ignorant, 
both that he is so, and how to recover himself from it: Sin has left 
him at once senseless of his state, and at a perfect loss about the 
true remedy. 
    To cure this, Christ is made to him wisdom, not only by 
improvement of those treasures of wisdom that are in himself; for 
the benefit of such souls as are united to him, as an head, 
consulting the good of his own members; but also, by imparting his 
wisdom to them by the Spirit of illumination, whereby they come to 
discern both their sin and danger; as also the true way of their 
recovery from both, through the application of Christ to their souls 
by faith. 
    But alas! simple illumination does but increase our burden, and 
exasperate our misery as long as sin in the guilt of it is either 
imputed to our persons unto condemnation, or reflected by our 
consciences in a way of accusation. 
    With design therefore to remedy and heal this sore evil, Christ 
is made of God unto us righteousness, complete and perfect 
righteousness, whereby our obligation to punishment is dissolved, 
and thereby a solid foundation for a well-settled peace of 
conscience firmly established. 
    Yea, but although the removing of guilt from our persons and 
consciences be an inestimable mercy, yet alone it cannot make us 
completely happy: For though a man should never be damned for sin, 
yet what is it less than hell upon earth, to be under the dominion 
and pollution of every base lust? It is misery enough to be daily 
defiled by sin, though a man should never be damned for it. 
    To complete therefore the happiness of the redeemed; Christ is 
not only made of God unto them wisdom and righteousness, the one 
curing our ignorance, the other our guilt; but he is made 
sanctification also, to relieve us against the dominion and 
pollutions of our corruptions: "He comes both by water and by blood, 
not by blood only, but by water also," 1 John 5: 6. purging as well 
as pardoning: How complete and perfect a cure is Christ! 
    But yet something is required beyond all this to make our 
happiness perfect and entire wanting nothing; and that is the 
removal of those doleful effects and consequences of sin, which (not 
withstanding all the fore-mentioned privileges and mercies) still 
lie upon the souls and bodies of illuminated, justified, and 
sanctified persons. For even with the best and holiest of men, what 
swarms of vanity, loads of deadness, and fits of unbelief, do daily 
appear in, and oppress their souls! to the embittering of all the 
comforts of life to them? And how many diseases, deformities, and 
pains oppress their bodies, which daily boulder away by them, till 
they fall into the grave by death, even as the bodies of other men 
do, who never received such privileges from Christ as they do? For 
if "Christ be in us (as the apostle speaks, Rom. 8: 10.) the body is 
dead, because of sin:" Sanctification exempts us not from mortality. 
    But from all these, and whatsoever else, the fruits and 
consequences of sin, Christ is redemption to his people also: This 
seals up the sum of mercies: This so completes the happiness of the 
saints, that it leaves nothing to desire. 
    These four, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and 
redemption, take in all that is necessary or desirable, to make a 
soul truly and perfectly blessed. 
    Secondly, We have here the method and way, by which the elect 
come to be invested with these excellent privileges: the account 
whereof the apostle gives us in these words, "Who of God is made 
unto us," in which expression, four things are remarkable. 
    First, That Christ and his benefits go inseparably and 
undividedly together: it is Christ himself who is made all this unto 
us: we can have no saving benefit separate and apart from the person 
of Christ: many would willingly receive his privileges, who will not 
receive his person; but it cannot be; if we will have one, we must 
take the other too: Yea, we must accept his person first, and then 
his benefits: as it is in the marriage covenant, so it is here. 
    Secondly, that Christ with his benefits must be personally and 
particularly applied to us, before we can receive any actual, saving 
privilege by him; he must be [made unto us] i.e. particularly ap 
lied to us: as a sum of money becomes, or is made the ransom and 
liberty of a captive, when it is not only promised, but paid down in 
his name, and legally applied for that use and end. When Christ 
died, the ransom was prepared, the sum laid down; but yet the elect 
continue still in sin and misery, notwithstanding, till by effectual 
calling it be actually applied to their persons, and then they are 
made free, Rom. 5: 10-11. reconciled by Christ's death, by whom "we 
have now received the atonement". 
    Thirdly, That this application of Christ is the work of God, 
and not of man: "Of God he is made unto us:" The same hand that 
prepared it, must also apply it, or else we perish, notwithstanding 
all that the Father has done in contriving, and appointing, and all 
that the Son has done in executing, and accomplishing the design 
thus far. And this actual application is the work of the Spirit, by 
a singular appropriation. 
    Fourthly and lastly, This expression imports the suitableness 
of Christ, to the necessities of sinners; what they want, he is made 
to them; and indeed, as money answers all things, and is convertible 
into meat, drink, raiment, physic, or what else our bodily 
necessities do require; so Christ is virtually, and eminently all 
that the necessities of our souls require; bread to the hungry, and 
clothing to the naked soul. In a word, God prepared and furnished 
him on purpose to answer all our wants, which fully suits the 
apostle's sense, when he saith, "Who of God is made unto us wisdom 
and righteousness, sanctification and redemption." The sum of all 
    Doct. That the lord Jesus Christ, with all his precious 
    benefits, becomes ours, by God's special and effectual 
    There is a twofold application of our redemption, one primary. 
the other secondary: The former is the act of God the Father, 
applying it to Christ our surety, and virtually to us in him: the 
latter is the act of the Holy Spirit, personally and actually 
applying it to us in the world of conversion: The former has the 
respect and relation of an example, model, or pattern to this; and 
this is produced and wrought by the virtue of that. What was done 
upon the person of Christ, was not only virtually done upon us, 
considered in him as a common public representative person, in which 
sense, we are said to die with him, and live with him, to be 
crucified with him, and buried with him, but it was also intended 
for a platform, or idea, of what is to be done by the Spirit, 
actually upon our souls and bodies, in our single persons. As he 
died for sin, so the Spirit applying his death to us in the work of 
mortification, causes us to die to sin, by the virtue of his death: 
And as he was quickened by the Spirit, and raised unto life, so the 
Spirit applying unto us the life of Christ, causeth us to live, by 
spiritual vivification. Now this personal, secondary, and actual 
application of redemption to us by the Spirit, in his sanctifying 
work, is that which I am engaged here to discuss and open; which I 
shall do in these following propositions. 
    Prop. 1. The application of Christ to us, is not only 
comprehensive of our justification, but of all these works of the 
Spirit which are known to us in scripture by the names of 
regeneration, vocation, sanctification, and conversion. 
    Though all these terms have some small respective differences 
among themselves, yet they are all included in this general, the 
applying and putting on of Christ, Rom. 13: 14. "Put ye on the Lord 
Jesus Christ." 
    Regeneration expresses those supernatural, divine, new 
qualities, infused by the Spirit into the soul, which are the 
principles of all holy actions. 
    Vocation expresses the terms from which, and to which, the soul 
moves, when the Spirit works savingly upon it, under the gospel 
    Sanctification notes an holy dedication of heart and life to 
God: our becoming the temples of the living, God, separate from all 
profane sinful practices, to the Lord's only use and service. 
    Conversions denotes the great change itself, which the Spirit 
causeth upon the soul, turning it by a sweet irresistible efficacy 
from the power of sin and Satan, to God in Christ. 
    Now all these are imported in, and done by the application of 
Christ to our souls: for when once the efficacy of Christ's death, 
and the virtue of his resurrection, come to take place upon the 
heart of any man, he cannot but turn from sin to God, and become a 
new creature, living and acting by new principles and rules. So the 
apostle observes, 1 Thess. 1: 5, 6. speaking of the effect of this 
work of the Spirit upon that people, "Our gospel (saith he) came not 
to you in word only, but in power; and in the Holy Ghost:" There was 
the effectual application of Christ to them. "And you became 
followers of us, and of the Lord," ver. 6. there was their effectual 
call. "And ye turned from dumb idols to serve the living and true 
God, ver. 9. there was their conversion. "So that ye were ensamples 
to all that believe," ver. 9. there was their life of sanctification 
or dedication to God. So that all these are comprehended in 
effectual application. 
    Prop. 2. The application of Christ to the souls of men is that 
great project and design of God in this world, for the 
accomplishment whereof all the ordinances and all the officers of 
the gospel are appointed and continued in the world. 
    this the gospel expressly declared to be its direct end, and 
the great business of all its officers, Eph. 4: 11, 12. "And he gave 
some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some 
pastors and teachers; till we all come in the unity of the faith, 
and the knowledge of the Son of God; to a perfect man, unto the 
measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," i.e. the great aim 
and scope at all Christ's ordinances and officers, are to bring men 
into union with Christ, and so build them up to perfection in him; 
or to unite them to, and confirm them in Christ: and when it shall 
have finished this design, then shall the whole frame of 
gospel-ordinances be taken down, and all its officers disbanded. 
"The kingdom (i.e. this present oeconomy, manner, and form of 
government) shall be delivered up," 1 Cor. 15: 24. What are 
ministers, but the bridegroom's friends, ambassadors for God, to 
beseech men to be reconciled? When therefore all the elect are 
brought home in a reconciled state in Christ, when the marriage of 
the Lamb is come, our work and office expire together. 
    Prop. 3. Such is the importance and great concernment of the 
personal application of Christ to us by the Spirit, that whatsoever 
the Father has done in the contrivance, or the Son has done in the 
accomplishment of our redemption, is all unavailable and ineffectual 
to our salvation without this. 
    It is confessedly true, that God's good pleasure appointing us 
from eternity to salvation, is, in its kind, a most full and 
sufficient impulsive cause of our salvation, and every way able (for 
so much as it is concerned) to produce its effect. And Christ's 
humiliation and sufferings are a most complete and sufficient 
meritorious cause of our salvation, to which nothing can be addled 
to make it more apt, and able to procure our salvation, than it 
already is: yet neither the one nor the other can actually save any 
soul, without the Spirit's application of Christ to it; for where 
there are divers social causes, or concauses, necessary to produce 
one effect, there the effect cannot be produced until the last cause 
has wrought. Thus it is here, the Father has elected, and the Son 
has redeemed; but until the Spirit (who is the last cause) has 
wrought his part also, we cannot be saved. For he comes in the 
Father's and n the Son's name and authority, to put the last hand to 
the work of our salvation, by bringing all the fruits of election 
and redemption home to our souls in this work at effectual vocation. 
Hence the apostle, 1 Pet. 1: 2. noting the order of causes in their 
operations, for the bringing about of our salvation, thus states it, 
"elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through 
sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the 
blood of Jesus Christ." Here you find God's election and Christ's 
blood, the two great causes of salvation, and yet neither of these 
alone, nor both together can save us: there must be added the 
sanctification of the Spirit, by which God's decree is executed; and 
the sprinkling (i. e. the personal application of Christ's blood) as 
well as the shedding of it, before we can have the saving benefit of 
either of the former causes. 
    Prop. 4. The application of Christ, with his saving benefits, 
is exactly of the same extent and latitude with the Father's 
election, and the Son's intention in dying, and cannot possibly be 
extended to one soul farther. 
    "Whom he did predestinate, them he also called," Rom. 8: 30. 
and Acts 13: 48. "As many as were ordained to eternal life, 
believed;" 2 Tim. 1: 9. "Who has saved and called us with an holy 
calling, not according to our works, but according to his own 
purpose and grace, which was given us in Jesus Christ, before the 
foundation of the world." 
    The Father, Son, and Spirit, (betwixt whom was the council of 
peace) work out their design in a perfect harmony and consent: as 
there was no jar in their council, so there can be none in the 
execution of it: those whom the Father, before all time, did chose; 
they, and they only, are the persons, whom the Son, when the fulness 
of time for the execution of that decree was come, died for, John 
17: 6. "I have manifested thy name unto the men, which thou gavest 
me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me;" and 
ver. 19. "For their sakes I sanctify myself;" i.e. consecrate, 
devote, or set myself apart for a sacrifice for them. And those for 
whom Christ died, are the persons to whom the Spirit effectually 
applies the benefits and purchases of his blood: he comes in the 
name of the Father and Son. "But the world cannot receive him, for 
it neither sees, nor knows him," John 14: 17. "They that are not of 
Christ's sheep, believe not," John 10: 26. 
    Christ has indeed a fulness of saving power, but the 
dispensation thereof is limited by the Father's will; therefore he 
tells us, Mat. 20: 23. " It is not mine to give, but it shall be 
given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father." In which words 
he no ways denies his authority, to give glory as well as grace; he 
only shows that in the dispensation proper to him, as Mediator, he 
was limited by his Father's will and counsel. 
    And thus also are the dispensations of grace by the Spirit, in 
like manner, limited, both by the counsel and will of the Father and 
Son. For as he proceeds from them, so he acts in the administration 
proper to him, by commission from both. John 14: 26. "The Holy Ghost 
whom the Father will send in my name:" and as he comes forth into 
the world by this joint commission, so his dispensations are limited 
in his commission; for it is said, Johns 16: 13. "He shall not speak 
of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak?" i.e. 
He shall in all things act according to his commission, which the 
Father and I have given him. 
    The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father 
do, John 5: 19. And the Spirit can do nothing of himself; but what 
he hears from the Father and Son; and it is impossible it should be 
otherwise, considering not only the unity of their nature, but also 
of their will and design. So that you see the application of Christ, 
and benefits by the Spirit, are commensurable with the Father's 
secret counsel, and the Son's design in dying, which are the rule, 
model, and pattern of the Spirit's working. 
    Prop. 5. The application of Christ to souls, by the 
regenerating work of the Spirit, is that which makes the first 
internal difference and distinction among men. 
    It is very true, that in respect of God's fore-knowledge and 
purpose, there was a distinction betwixt one man and another, before 
any man had a being, one was taken, another left: and with respect 
to the death of Christ, there is a great difference betwixt one and 
another; he laid down his life for the sheep, he prayed for them, 
and not for the world; but all this while, as to any relative change 
of state, or real change of temper, they are upon a level with the 
rest of the miserable world. The elect themselves are "by nature the 
children of wrath, even as others," Eph. 2: 3. And to the same 
purpose the apostle tells the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 6: 11. (when he 
had given in that black bill, describing the most lewd, profligate, 
abominable wretches in the world, men whose practices did stink in 
the very nostrils of nature, and were able to make the more sober 
Heathens blush; after this he tells the Corinthians) "And such were 
some of you, but ye are washed," &c. q. d. look, these were your 
companions once: as they are, you lately were. 
    The work of the Spirit does not only evidence and manifest that 
difference which God's election has made between man and man, as the 
apostle speaks, 1 Thes. 1: 4, 5. But it also makes a twofold 
difference itself; namely in state and temper? whereby they visibly 
differ, not only from other men, but also from themselves; after 
this work, though a man be the "who", yet not the "what" he was. 
This work of the spirit makes us new creatures, namely; for quality 
and temper, 2 Cor. 5: 17. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new 
creature; old things are past away, behold, all things are become 
    Prop. 6. The application of Christ, by the work of 
regeneration, is that which yield unto men all the sensible 
sweetness and refreshing comforts that they have in Christ, and in 
all that he has done, suffered, or purchased for sinners. 
    An unsanctified person may relish the natural sweetness of the 
creature, as well as he that is sanctified; he may also seem to 
relish and taste some sweetness in the delicious promises and 
discoveries of the gospel, by a misapplication of them to himself. 
But this is like the joy of a beggar, dreaming he is a king; but he 
awakes and finds himself a beggar still: but for the rational, 
solid, and genuine delights and comforts of religion, no man tastes 
them, till this work of the Spirit has first passed upon his soul: 
it is an enclosed pleasure, a stranger intermeddles not with it. 
"The white stone, and the new name," (denoting the pleasant results 
and fruits of justification and adoption) "no man knows but he that 
receives it," Rev. 2: 7. There are all those things wanton, in the 
unsanctified (though elect) soul, that should capacitate and enable 
it to relish the sweetness of Christ and religion, namely, 
propriety, evidence, and suitableness of spirit. 
    Propriety is the sweetest part of any excellency; therefore 
Luther was wont to say, that the sweetness of the gospel lay mostly 
in pronouns, as me, any, thy, &c. who loved [me] and gave himself 
for me, Gal. 2: 20. Christ Jesus [my] Lord, Phil. 3: 18. So Matt. 9: 
2. Son, be of good cheer, [thy] sins are forgiven. Take away 
propriety, and you deflower the very gospel of its beauty and 
deliciousness: and as propriety, so 
    Evidence is requisite to joy and comfort; yea, so necessary, 
that even interest and propriety afford no sensible sweetness 
without it. For as to comfort, it is all one not to appear, and not 
to be. If I am registered in the book of life, and know it not, what 
comfort can my name there afford me? Besides, to capacitate a soul 
for the sweetness and comfort of Christ there is also an agreeable 
temper of spirit required; for how can Christ be sweet to that man's 
soul, whose thoughts reluctate, decline, or nauseate so holy and 
pure an object? Now, all these requisites being the proper effects 
and fruits of the Spirit's sanctifying operations upon us, it is 
beyond controversy, that the consolations of Christ cannot be 
tasted, until the application of Christ be first made. 
    Prop. 7. The application of Christ to the soul effectually, 
though it be so far wrought in the first saving work of the Spirit, 
as truly to unite the soul to Christ, and save it from the danger of 
perishing; yet it is a work gradually advancing in the believer's 
soul, whilst it abides on this side heaven and glory. 
    It is true, indeed, that Christ is perfectly and completely 
applied to the soul in the first act for righteousness. 
"Justification being a relative change, properly admits no degrees, 
but is perfected together, and at once, in one only act; though as 
to its manifestation, sense, and effects, it has various degrees." 
But the application of Christ to us, for wisdom and sanctification, 
is not perfected in one single act, but rises by many, and slow 
degrees to its just perfection. 
    And thought we are truly said to be come to Christ when we 
first believe, John 6: 35. yet the soul after that is still coming 
to him by farther acts of faith, 1 Pet. 2: 4. "To whom [coming] as 
unto a living stone;" the participle notes a continued motion, by 
which the soul gains ground, and still gets nearer and nearer to 
Christ; growing still more inwardly acquainted with him. The 
knowledge of Christ grows upon the soul as the morning light, from 
its first spring to the perfect day, Prov. 4: 18. Every grace of the 
Spirit grows, if not sensibly, yet really: for it is in discerning 
the growth of sanctification, as it is in discerning the growth of 
plants, which we perceive rather crevisse, quam crescere; to have 
grown, rather than grow. And as it thrives in the soul, by deeper 
radications of the habits, and more promptitude and spirituality in 
the acting; so Christ, and the soul proportionally, close more and 
more inwardly and efficaciously, till at last it is wholly swallowed 
up in Christ's full and perfect enjoyment. 
    Prop. 8. Lastly, Although the several privileges and benefits 
before mentioned are all true and really bestowed with Christ upon 
believers, yet they are not communicated to them in one and the same 
day and manner; but differently and divers, as their respective 
natures do require. 
    These four illustrious benefits are conveyed from Christ to us 
in three different ways and methods; his righteousness is made ours 
by imputation: his wisdom and sanctification by renovation: his 
redemption by our glorification. 
    I know the communication of Christ's righteousness to us by 
imputations is not only denied, but scoffed at by Papists; who own 
no righteousness, but what is (at least) confounded with that which 
is inherent in us; and for imputative (blasphemously stiled by them 
putative righteousness, they flatly deny it, and look upon it as a 
most absurd doctrine, every where endeavouring to load it with these 
and such like absurdities, That if God imputes Christ's 
righteousness to the believer, and accepts what Christ has performed 
for him, as if he had performed it himself; then we may be accounted 
as righteous as Christ. Then we may be the redeemers of the world. 
False and groundless consequences; as if a man should say, my debt 
is paid by my surety, therefore I am as rich as he. "When we say the 
righteousness of Christ is made ours by imputation, we think not 
that it is made ours according in its universal value, but according 
to our particular necessity: not to make others righteous, but to 
make us so: not that we have the formal intrinsical righteousness of 
Christ in us, as it is in him, but a relative righteousness, which 
makes us righteous, even as he is righteous; not as to the quantity, 
but as to the truth of it: nor is it imputed to us, as though Christ 
designed to make us the causes of salvation to others, but the 
subjects of salvation, ourselves," it is inhesively in him, 
communicatively it becomes ours, by imputation, the sin of the first 
Adam becomes ours, and the same way the righteousness of the second 
Adam becomes ours, Rom. 5: 17. This way the Redeemer became sin for 
us, and this way we are made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. 
5: 21. This way Abraham the father of believers was justified, 
therefore this way all believers, the children of Abraham, must be 
justified also, Rom. 4: 22, 23. And thus is Christ's righteousness 
made ours. 
    But in conveying, and communicating his wisdom and 
sanctification, he takes another method, for this is not imputed, 
but really imparted to us by the illuminating and regenerating work 
of the Spirit: these are graces really inherent in us: our 
righteousness comes from Christ as a surety but our holiness comes 
from him as a quickening head, sending vital influences unto all his 
    Now these gracious habits being subjected and seated in the 
souls of poor imperfect creatures, whose corruptions abide and work 
in the very same faculties where grace has its residence; it cannot 
be, that our sanctification should be so perfect and complete, as 
our justification is, which inheres only in Christ. See Gal. 5: 17. 
Thus are righteousness and sanctification communicated and made 
ours: but then, 
    For redemption, that is to say, absolute and plenary 
deliverance from all the sad remains, effects, and consequences of 
sin, both upon soul and body; this is made ours, (or, to keep to the 
terms) Christ is made redemption to us by glorification; then, and 
not before, are these miserable effects removed; we put off these 
together with the body. So that look, as justification cures the 
guilt of sin, and sanctification the dominion of sin, so 
glorification removes, together with its existence and being, all 
those miseries which it let in (as at a flood-gate) upon our whole 
man, Eph. 5: 26, 27. 
    And thus of God, Christ is made unto us wisdom and 
righteousness, sanctification and redemption; namely, by imputation, 
regeneration, and glorification. 
    I shall next improve the point in some useful inferences. 
    Inference 1. Learn from hence, what a naked, destitute, and 
empty thing, a poor sinner is, in his natural unregenerate state. 
    He is one that naturally and inherently has neither wisdom, nor 
righteousness, sanctification nor redemption; all these must come 
from without himself, even from Christ, who is made all this to a 
sinner, or else he must eternally perish. 
    As no creature (in respect of external abilities) comes under 
more natural weakness into the world than man, naked, empty, and 
more shiftless and helpless than any other creature; so it is with 
his soul, yea, much more than so: all our excellencies are borrowed 
excellencies, no reason therefore to be proud of any of them, 1 Cor. 
4: 7. "What hast thou that thou hast not received? Now, if thou 
didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received 
it?" q. d. that intolerable insolence and vanity would it be for a 
man that wears the rich and costly robe of Christ's righteousness, 
in which there is not one thread of his own spinning, but all made 
by free-grace, and not by free-will, to jet proudly up and down the 
world in it, as if himself had made it, and he were beholden to none 
for it? O man! thine excellencies, whatever they are, are borrowed 
from Christ, they oblige thee to him, but he can be no more obliged 
to thee, who wearest them, than the sun is obliged to him that 
borrows its light, or the fountain to him that draws its water for 
his use and benefit. 
    And it has ever been the care of holy men, when they have 
viewed their own gracious principles, or best performances, still to 
disclaim themselves, and own free-grace as the sole author of all. 
Thus holy Paul, viewing the principles of divine life in himself, 
(the richest gift bestowed upon man in this world by Jesus Christ) 
how does he renounce himself, and deny the least part of the praise 
and glory as belonging to him, Gal. 2: 20. "Now I live, yet not I; 
but Christ liveth in me": and so for the best duties that ever he 
performed for God: (and what mere man ever did more for God?) Yet 
when, in a just and necessary defence, he was constrained to mention 
them, 1 Cor. 15: 10. how carefully is the like [Yet not I] presently 
added? "I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the 
grace of God which was with me." 
    Well then, let the sense of your own emptiness by nature humble 
and oblige you the more to Christ, from whom you receive all you 
    Infer. 2. Hence we are informed, that none can claim benefit by 
imputed righteousness, but those only that live in the power of 
inherent holiness; to whomsoever Christ was made righteousness, to 
him he also was made sanctification. 
    The gospel has not the least favour for licentiousness. It is 
every way as careful to press men to their duties as to instruct 
them in their privileges, Tit. 3: 8. "This is a faithful saying; and 
these things I will that ye affirm constantly; that they which have 
believed in God, might be careful to maintain good works." It is a 
loose principle, divulged by libertines, to the reproach of Christ 
and his gospel, that sanctification is not the evidence of our 
justification. And Christ is as much wronged by them who separate 
holiness from righteousness (as if a sensual vile life were 
consistent with a justified state) as he is in the contrary extreme, 
by those who confound Christ's righteousness with man's holiness, in 
the point of justification; or that own no other righteousness, but 
what is inherent in themselves. The former opinion makes him a cloak 
for sin, the latter a needless sacrifice for sin. 
    It is true, our sanctification cannot justify us before God; 
but what then, can it not evidence our justification before men? Is 
there no necessity, or use for holiness, because it has no hand in 
our justification? Is the preparation of the soul for heaven, by 
altering its frame and temper, nothing? Is the glorifying of our 
Redeemer, by the exercises of grace in the world, nothing? Does the 
work of Christ render the work of the Spirit needless? God forbid: 
"He came not by blood only, but by water also," 1 John 5: 6. And 
when the apostle saith, in Rom. 4: 5. "But unto him that worketh 
not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is 
counted for righteousness", the scope of it is neither to 
characterise and describe the justified person, as one that is lazy 
and slothful, and has no mind to work, nor the rebellious and 
refractory, refusing obedience to the commands of God; but to 
represent him as an humbled sinner, who is convinced of his 
inability to work out his own righteousness by the law, and sees all 
his endeavours to obey the law fall short of righteousness, and 
therefore is said, in a law-sense, not to work, because he does not 
work so as to answer the purpose and end of the law, which accepts 
of nothing beneath perfect obedience. 
    And when (in the same text) the ungodly are said to be 
justified, that character describes not the temper and frame of 
their hearts and lives, after their justification, but what it was 
before; not as it leaves, but as it found them. 
    Infer. 3. How unreasonable, and worse than brutish, is the sin 
of infidelity, by which the sinner rejects Christ, and with him all 
those mercies, and benefits, which alone can relieve and cure his 
    He is by nature blind and ignorant, and yet refuses Christ, who 
comes to him with heavenly light and wisdom, he is condemned by the 
terrible sentence of the law to eternal wrath, and yet rejects 
Christ, who renders to him complete and perfect righteousness: he is 
wholly polluted and plunged into original and actual pollution of 
nature and practice, yet will have none of Christ, who would become 
sanctification to him. He is oppressed in soul and body, with the 
deplorable effects and miseries sin has brought upon him, and yet is 
so in love with his bondage, that he will neither accept Christ, nor 
the redemption he brings with him to sinners. 
    O! what monsters, what beasts has sin turned its subjects into! 
"You will not come to me that ye may have life," John 5: 40. Sin has 
stabbed the sinner to the heart, the wounds are all mortal, eternal 
death is in his face; Christ has prepared the only plaister that can 
cure his wounds, but he will not suffer him to apply it. He acts 
like one in love with death, and that judges it sweet to perish. So 
Christ tells us, Prov. 8: 36 "All they that hate me, love death:" 
not in itself but in its causes, with which it is inseparably 
connected. They are loth to burn, yet willing to sin; though sin 
kindle those everlasting flames. So that in two things the 
unbeliever shows himself worse than brutish, he cannot think of 
damnation, the effect of sin, without horror; and cannot yet think 
of sin, the cause of damnation, without pleasure; he is loth to 
perish to all eternity without a remedy, and yet refuses and 
declines Christ as if he were an enemy, who only can and would 
deliver him from that eternal perdition. 
    How do men act therefore, as if they were in love with their 
own ruin! Many poor wretches now in the way to hell, what an hard 
shift do they make to cast themselves away! Christ meets them many 
times in the ordinances, where they studiously shun him: many times 
checks them in their way by convictions, which they make an hard 
shift to overcome and conquer. Oh how willing are they to accept a 
cure, a benefit, a remedy, for any thing but their souls! You see 
then that sinners cannot, (should they study all their days to do 
themselves a mischief), take a readier course to undo themselves, 
than by rejecting Christ in his gracious offers. 
    Surely the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is less shall this sin. 
    Mercy itself is exasperated by it, and the damnation of such as 
reject Christ, (so prepared for them, with whatever they need, and 
so seriously and frequently offered to them upon the knee of gospel 
entreaty), is just, inevitable, and will be more intolerable the to 
any in the world beside them. It is just, for the sinner has but his 
own option, or choice: he is but come to the end which he was often 
told his way would bring him to. It is inevitable, for there is no 
other way to salvation, but that which is rejected. And it will be 
more intolerable than the damnation of others, because neither 
heathens nor devils ever aggravated their sins by such an horrid 
circumstance, as the wilful refusing of such an apt, offered, and 
only remedy. 
    Infer. 4. What a tremendous symptom of wrath, and sad character 
of death, appears upon that mans' soul, to which no effectual 
application of Christ can be made by the gospel. 
    Christ, with his benefits, is frequently tendered to them in 
the gospel; they have been beseeched once and again, upon the knee 
of importunity, to accept him; those entreaties and persuasions have 
been urged by the greatest arguments, the command of God, the love 
of Christ, the inconceivable happiness or misery which unavoidably 
follow the accepting or rejecting of those offers, and yet nothing 
will affect them: all their pleas for infidelity have been over and 
over confuted, their reasons and consciences have stood convinced, 
they have been speechless, as well as Christless: not one sound 
argument is found with them to defend their infidelity: they confess 
in general, that such courses as theirs are, lead to destruction. 
They will yield them to be happy souls that are in Christ; and yet, 
when it comes to the point, their own closing with him, nothing will 
do; all arguments, all entreaties, return to us without success. 
    Lord! what is the reason of this unaccountable obstinacy? In 
other things it is not so: If they be sick, they are so far from 
rejecting a physician that offers himself, that they will send, and 
pray, and pay him too. If they be arrested for debt, and anyone will 
be a surety, and pay their debts for them, words can hardly express 
the sense they have of such a kindness: but though Christ would be 
both a physician and surety, and whatever else their needs require, 
they will rather perish to eternity, than accept him. What may we 
fear to be the reason of this, but because they are not of Christ's 
sheep, John 10: 26. The Lord open the eyes of poor sinners, to 
apprehend not only how great a sin, but how dreadful a sign this is. 
    Infer. 5 If Christ, with all his benefits, be made ours, by 
God's special application, what a day of mercies then is the day of 
conversion! What multitudes of choice blessings visit the converted 
soul in that day! 
    "This day (saith Christ to Zaccheus, Luke 19: 9) is salvation 
come to this house." In this day, Christ comes into the soul, and he 
comes not empty, but brings with him all his treasures of wisdom and 
righteousness, sanctification and redemption. Troops of mercies, 
yea, of the best of mercies, come with him. It is a day of singular 
gladness and joy to the heart of Christ, when he is espoused to, and 
received by the believing soul: it is a coronation day to a king. So 
you read, Cant. 3: 11. "Go forth, O ye daughters of Sion, and behold 
king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the 
day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart." 
    Where, under the type of Solomon in his greatest magnificence 
and glory, when the royal diadem was set upon his head, and the 
people shouted for joy, so that the earth did ring again, is 
shadowed out the joy of Christ's heart, when poor souls, by their 
high estimation of him, and consent to his government, do, as it 
were, crown him with glory and honour, and make his heart glad. 
    Now, if the day of our espousals to Christ be the day of the 
gladness of his heart, and he reckons himself thus honoured and 
glorified by us, what a day of joy and gladness should it be to our 
hearts, and how should we be transported with joy, to see a King 
from heaven, with all his treasures of grace and glory, bestowing 
himself freely, and everlastingly upon us, as our portion! No wonder 
Zaccheus came down joyfully, Luke 19: 6; that the eunuch went home 
rejoicing, Acts 8: 39. that the gaoler rejoiced, believing in God 
with all his household, Acts 16: 34. that they that were converted, 
did eat their meat with gladness, praising God, Acts 2: 41, 46. that 
there was great joy among them at Samaria, when Christ came among 
them in the preaching of the gospel, Acts 8: 5, 8. I say, it is no 
wonder we read of such joy accompanying Christ into the soul, when 
we consider, that in one day, so many blessings meet together in it, 
the least of which is not to be exchanged for all the kingdoms of 
this world, and the glory of them. Eternity itself will but suffice 
to bless God for the mercies of this one day. 
    Infer. 6. If Christ be made all this to every soul, unto whom 
he is effectually applied, what cause then have those souls, that 
are under the preparatory work of the Spirit, and are come nigh to 
Christ and all his benefits, to stretch out their hands, with 
vehement desire to Christ, and give him the most important 
invitation into their souls! 
    The whole world is distinguishable into three classes, or sorts 
of persons; such as are far from Christ; such as are not far from 
Christ; and such as are in Christ. They that are in Christ have 
heartily received him. Such as are far from Christ, will not open to 
him; their hearts are fast barred by ignorance, prejudice, and 
unbelief against him: But those that are come under the preparatory 
workings of the Spirit, nigh to Christ, who see their own 
indispensable necessity of him, and his suitableness to their 
necessities, in whom also encouraging hopes begins to dawn, and 
their souls are waiting at the foot of God for power to receive him, 
for an heart to close sincerely and universally with him; O what 
vehement desires! what strong pleas! what moving arguments should 
such persons urge, and plead to win Christ, and get possession of 
him! they are in sight of their only remedy; Christ and salvation 
are come to their very doors; there wants but a few things to make 
them blessed for ever. This is the day in which their souls are 
exercised between hopes and fears: Now they are much alone, and deep 
in thoughtfulness, they weep and make supplication for a heart to 
believe, and that against the great discouragements with which they 
    Reader, if this be the case of thy soul, it will not be the 
least piece of service I can do for thee, to suggest such pleas as 
in this case are proper to be urged for the attainment of thy 
desires, and the closing of the match between Christ and thee. 
    First, Plead the absolute necessity which now drives thee to 
Christ: Tell him thy hope is utterly perished in all other refuges. 
Thou art come like a starving beggar to the last door of hope. Tell 
him thou now beginnest to see the absolute necessity of Christ. Thy 
body has not so much need of bread, water, or air, as thy soul has 
of Christ, and that wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and 
redemption, that are in him. 
    Secondly, Plead the Father's gracious design in furnishing and 
sending him into the world, and his own design in accepting the 
Father's call. Lord Jesus, was thou not "anointed to preach good 
tidings to the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, and to proclaim 
liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that 
are bound?" Isa. 61: 1, 3. Behold an object suitable to thine 
office: whilst I was ignorant of my condition, I have a proud 
rebellious heart, but conviction and self-acquaintance have now 
melted it: my heart was harder than the nether millstone, and it was 
as easy to dissolve the obdurate rocks, as to thaw and melt my heart 
for sin; but now God has made my heart soft, I sensibly feel the 
misery of my condition. I once thought myself at perfect liberty, 
but now I see what I conceited to be perfect liberty, is perfect 
bondage; and never did a poor prisoner sigh for deliverance more 
than I. Since then thou hast given me a soul thus qualified, though 
still unworthy, for the exercise of thine office, and execution of 
thy commission; Lord Jesus, be, according to thy name, a Jesus unto 
    Thirdly, Plead the unlimited and general invitation made to 
such souls as you are, to come to Christ freely. Lord, thou hast 
made open proclamations; "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to 
the waters, Is. 55: 1. And Rev. 22: 17. "Him that is a-thirst come". 
In obedience to thy call, lo, I come; had I not been invited, my 
coming to thee, dear Lord Jesus, had been an act of presumption, but 
this makes it an act of duty and obedience. 
    Fourthly, Plea the unprofitableness of thy blood to God; Lord, 
there is no profit in my blood, it will turn to no more advantage to 
thee to destroy, than it will to save me: if thou send me to hell, 
(as the merit of my sin calls upon thy justice ot do,) I shall be 
there dishonouring thee to all eternity, and the debt I owe thee 
never paid. But, if thou apply thy Christ to me for righteousness, 
satisfaction for all that I have done will be laid down in one full, 
complete sum; indeed, if the honour of thy justice lay as a bar to 
my pardon, it would stop my mouth: but when thy justice, as well as 
thy mercy, shall both rejoice together, and be glorified and pleased 
in the same act, what hinders but that Christ be applied to my soul, 
since, in so doing, God can be no loser by it? 
    Fifthly, and lastly, Plead thy compliance with the terms of the 
gospel: tell him, Lord, my will complies fully and heartily to all 
thy gracious terms, I can now subscribe a blank: let God offer his 
Christ on what terms he will, my heart is ready to comply; I have no 
exception against any article of the gospel. And now, Lord, I wholly 
refer myself to thy pleasure; do with me what seems good in thine 
eyes, only give me an interest in Jesus Christ; as to all other 
concerns I lie at thy feet, in full resignation of all to thy 
pleasure. Never did any perish in that posture and frame; and I hope 
I shall not be made the first instance and example. 
    Inf. 7. Lastly, If Christ, with all his benefits, be made ours, 
by a special application; how contented, thankful, comfortable, and 
hopeful, should believers be, in every condition which God casts 
them into in this world! 
    After such a mercy as this, let them never open their mouths 
any more to repine and grudge at the outward inconveniences of their 
condition in this world. What are the things you want, compared with 
the things you enjoy? What is a little money, health, or liberty, to 
wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption? All the 
crowns and sceptres in the world, sold to their full value, are no 
price for the least of these mercies. But I will not insist here, 
your duty lies much higher than contentment. 
    Be thankful, as well as content, in every state. "Blessed be 
God, (saith the apostle) the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who 
has blessed us with all [spiritual blessings] in heavenly places in 
Christ:" O think what are men to angels, that Christ should pass by 
them to become a Saviour to men? And what art thou among men, that 
thou shouldst be taken, and others left! And among all the mercies 
of God, what mercies are comparable to these conferred upon thee? O 
bless God in the lowest ebb of outward comforts, for such privileges 
as these. 
    And yet you will not come up to your duty in all this, except 
you be joyful in the Lord, and rejoice evermore after the receipt of 
such mercies as these, Phil. 4: 4. "Rejoice in the Lord ye 
righteous, and again I say rejoice." For has not the poor captive 
reason to rejoice, when he has recovered his liberty? The debtor to 
rejoice when all scores are cleared, and he owes nothing? The weary 
traveller to rejoice, though he be not owner of a shilling, when he 
is come almost home, where all his wants shall be supplied? Why this 
is our case, when Christ once becomes yours: you are the Lord's 
freemen, your debts to justice are all satisfied by Christ; and you 
are within a little of complete redemption from all the troubles and 
inconveniences of your present state. 
                 Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ. 

The Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption
(continued in file 3...)

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