(Guthrie, The Christian's Great Interest. part 7)

welcometh all that come, as we find in the gospel, and commendeth those 
who come, as the centurion and the woman of Canaan (Matt. 8: 10; 15: 28); 
and chideth for not coming and closing with Him, 'Ye will not come to Me, 
that ye might have life' (John 5: 40); and condemneth for not closing so 
with Him: 'He that believeth not is condemned already' (John 3: 18);--but 
He also commandeth all to believe on Christ: 'This is His commandment, 
that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ.' (1 John 3: 
23.) So that a man is not to question the Lord's willingness to receive 
men who go to Christ honestly, for God has abundantly cleared that in 
Scripture. Unless a man know so much, he will scarcely dare to lay his 
heart open for that noble device of saving sinners, or adventure the 
whole weight of his salvation upon Christ Jesus. 
   The fourth thing pre-required is, The man who would close with Christ 
Jesus, must resolve to break all covenants with hell and death--'Because 
ye have said, we have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at 
agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not 
come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have 
we hid ourselves.' (Isa. 28: 15.) Whatsoever known evil men are engaged 
in, they must resolve to forego it; for there is no concord between 
Christ and Belial. (2 Cor. 6: 14-18.) The Lord requireth that they who 
would expect 'Him to be for them, should not be for another.' (Hos. 3: 
3.) This is far from evangelical repentance, which I grant does not 
precede a man's closing with Christ by faith: there is little here beyond 
a disregard of those things into which a man was formerly devoted, and a 
slighting what he was mad upon, because he sees himself destroyed 
thereby, and relief now offered; upon which his heart beginneth to be 
more intent that formerly it was. After this when Christ is looked upon 
alone, His worth and beauty do appear, so as among all the gods there is 
none like unto Him, and He appeareth as a sufficient covering of the eyes 
to all who obtain Him: upon which the heart loves God's device in the new 
covenant, and desires to lay its weight upon Christ rather than any other 
way, bending towards Him; and so the man becomes a believer. 
   Now, I will not say that all these things, whereof we have spoken, are 
formally, orderly, and distinctly found in every person before he close 
with God in Christ; for the way of the heart with Christ may be added to 
'the four wonderful things.' (Prov. 30: 18.) It is hard to trace the 
heart in its translation from darkness to light; yet we hold out the most 
ordinary and likely way to him who does ask the way; debarring thereby 
ignorant and senseless persons from meddling, and discharging them from 
pretending to any interest in Him whilst they remain such. 
IV.--Some of the properties and native consequences of true believing 
The fourth thing we proposed to speak to is, The properties of this duty, 
when rightly gone about. I shall only mention a few. 
   1. Believing on Christ must be personal; a man himself and in his own 
proper person must close with Christ Jesus--'The just shall live by his 
faith.' (Hab. 2: 4.) This saith, that it will not suffice for a man's 
safety and relief, that he is in covenant with God as a born member of 
the visible church, by virtue of the parent's subjection to God's 
ordinances: neither will it suffice that the person had the initiating 
seal of baptism added, and that he then virtually engaged to seek 
salvation by Christ's blood, as all infants do: neither does it suffice 
that men are come of believing parents; their faith will not instate 
their children into a right to the spiritual blessings of the covenant; 
neither will it suffice that parents did, in some respects, engage for 
their children, and give them away unto God: all these things do not 
avail. The children of the kingdom and of godly predecessors are cast 
out. Unless a man in his own person have faith in Christ Jesus, and with 
his own heart approve and acquiesce in that device of saving sinners, he 
cannot be saved. I grant, this faith is given unto him by Christ; but 
certain it is, that it must be personal. 
   2ndly, This duty must be cordial and hearty--'With the heart man 
believeth unto righteousness.' (Rom. 10: 10.) A man must be sincere, and 
without guile, in closing with Christ, judging Him the only covering of 
the eyes, not hankering after another way. The matter must not swim only 
in the head or understanding, but it must be in the heart: the man must 
not only be persuaded that Christ is the way, but affectionately 
persuaded of it, loving and liking the thing, having complacency in it; 
so that 'it is all a man's desire,' as David speaketh of the covenant. (2 
Sam. 23: 5.) If a man be cordial and affectionate in anything, surely he 
must be so here in this 'one thing that is necessary.' It must not be 
simply a fancy in the head, it must be a heart-business, a soul business; 
yea, not a business in the outer court of the affections, but in the 
flower of the affections, and in the innermost cabinet of the soul, where 
Christ is formed. Shall a man be cordial in anything, and not in this, 
which comprises all his chief interests and his everlasting state within 
it? Shall 'the Lord be said to rejoice over a man as a bridegroom 
rejoiceth over his bride?' (Isa. 62: 5); and 'to rest in His love with 
joy?' (Zeph. 3: 17); and shall not the heart of man go out and meet Him 
here? The heart or nothing; love or nothing; marriage-love, which goes 
from heart to heart; love of espousals, or nothing--'My son, give me 
thine heart.' (Prov. 23: 26.) 'Though I bestow all my goods to feed the 
poor and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it 
profiteth me nothing.' (1 Cor. 13: 2.) I will not say that there is in 
all, as soon as they believe, a prevailing sensible love, which maketh 
sick; but there must be in believing, a rational and kindly love, so well 
grounded and deeply engaged, that 'many waters cannot quench it. It is 
strong as death, and jealousy in it burneth as fire. ' (Cant. 8: 6, 7.) 
   3. The third property or qualification of believing, as it goes out 
after Christ, is that it must be rational. By this I mean that the man 
should move towards God in Christ, in knowledge and understanding, taking 
up God's device of saving sinners by Christ as the Scripture holds it 
out; not fancying a Christ to himself otherwise than the gospel speaketh 
of Him, nor another way of relief by Him than the word of God holdeth 
out. Therefore we find knowledge joined to the covenant between God and 
man as a requisite--'And I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am 
the Lord; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.' 'And 
they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his 
brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the 
least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord.' (Jer. 24: 7; 
31: 34.) I mean also, that a man must be in calmness of spirit, and as it 
were in his cold blood, in closing with Christ Jesus; not in a simple fit 
of affection, which soon vanisheth--'He that received the seed into stony 
places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth 
it' (Matt. 13: 20); nor in a distemper through some outward distress, as 
the people were, 'when He slew them, then they sought Him; and proved not 
steadfast in the covenant' (Psa. 78: 34); nor under a temptation of some 
outward temporary interest, as Simon Magus was when he believed. A man 
must act here rationally, as being master of himself, in some measure 
able to judge of the good or evil of the thing as it stands before him. 
   4. The fourth is faith; as it goes out rationally, so it goes out 
resolutely. The poor distressed people in the gospel did most resolutely 
cast themselves upon Christ. This resoluteness of spirit is in respect to 
all difficulties that lie in the way; violence is altered to these. The 
man whose heart is a laying out for Christ Jesus, cannot say, 'There is a 
lion in the street.' (Prov. 26: 13.) If he cannot have access by the 
door, he will break through the roof of the house. (Luke 5: 19.) He often 
does not regard that which the world calls discretion or prudence, like 
Zaccheus, climbing up on a tree to see Christ, when faith was forming in 
his bosom. (Luke 19.) This resoluteness of spirit foresees what 
inconveniences may follow, and disregards all these; at least resolving 
over all these, like a wise builder who reckoneth the expense beforehand. 
(Luke 14: 28.) This resoluteness is also in regard to all a man's idols, 
and such weights as would easily beset him, if he did not follow after 
Christ over them all, like that blind man who did cast his garment from 
him when Christ called him. (Matt. 10: 50.) This resoluteness in the soul 
proceedeth from desperate self-necessity within the man, as it was with 
the jailer (Acts 16: 30); and from the sovereign command of God, obliging 
the man to move towards Christ--'This is His commandment, that we should 
believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ' (1 John 3: 23); and from the 
good report gone abroad of God, that 'He putteth none away that come unto 
Him through Christ' (John 6: 37); but commends such as do adventure over 
the greatest difficulties, as the woman of Canaan. (Matt. 15: 28.) But, 
above all, this resoluteness does proceed from the arm of JEHOVAH, 
secretly and strongly drawing the sinner towards Christ--'No man can come 
to Me, except the Father, which has sent Me, draw him.' (John 6: 4.) 
   I will not say that every one, closing with Christ in the offers of 
the gospel, has all the above thoughts formally in his mind; yet, upon 
search, it will be found, if he be put to it, or put in mind of these 
things, they are then uppermost in the soul. 
   By what is said, it manifestly appears that many in the visible church 
had need to do somewhat further for securing of their soul, when they 
come to years of discretion, than is found to have been done by them 
before, in the covenant between God and the church, sealed to them in 
   From what is said also, there is a competent guard upon the free grace 
of God in the gospel, held out through Christ Jesus; so that ignorant, 
senseless, profane men, cannot with any shadow of reason, pretend to an 
interest in it. It is true, believing in Christ, and closing with Him as 
a perfect Saviour, seemeth easy, and every godless man saith that he 
believes on Him: but they deceive themselves, since their soul has never 
cordially, rationally, and resolutely gone out after Christ Jesus, as we 
have said. It may be, some wicked men have been enlightened (Heb. 6: 4); 
and have found some reality in their fear--'Felix trembled' (Acts 24: 
25);--or in their joy--'He that received the seed into stony places, the 
same is he that hearth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it' (Matt. 
13: 20); and Herod heard John 'gladly' (Mark 6: 20);--but not having 
engaged their heart in approaching to God (Jer. 30: 21), have either sat 
down in that common work, as their sanctuary, until the trial came--'When 
tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is 
offended' (Matt. 13: 21);--or, 'they return back with the dog to their 
vomit,' from which they had in some measure 'escaped by the knowledge of 
the Lord and Saviour' (2 Peter 2: 20-22); or they utterly fall away to 
the hatred and malicious despising and persecuting of Christ and His 
interests, from whence hardly can they be recovered--'For it is 
impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the 
heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted 
the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall 
fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to 
themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.' 'For if 
we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, 
there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.' 'Of how much sorer 
punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under 
foot, the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, 
wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto 
the Spirit of grace?' (Heb. 6: 4-6; 10: 26-29.) Which things should 
provoke men to be serious in this great business. 
V.--Some of the effects of saving faith 
"We come now to speak to the fifth thing proposed, and that is, What are 
the native consequences of true believing? I shall reduce what I have to 
speak of them to these two, namely, Union with God, and communion. First, 
then, I say, When a sinner closets with Christ Jesus, there is presently 
an admirable union, a strange oneness between God and the man. As the 
husband and wife, head and body, root and branches, are not to be 
reckoned two but one; so Christ, or God in Christ, and the sinner closing 
with Him by faith, are one--'We are members of His body, of His flesh, 
and of His bones.' (Ephes. 5: 30.) He that is so 'joined unto the Lord is 
one spirit' (1 Cor. 6: 17); as the Father is in the Son, and Christ in 
the Father, so believers are one in the Father and the Son; they are one, 
as the Father and Son are one. The Father in Christ, and Christ in 
believers, that they may be 'made perfect in one.' O what a strange 
interweaving and indissoluble union here! (John 7: 21-26.) 
   Because of this union betwixt God and the believer, 1. They can never 
hate one another. Henceforth the Lord will never hate the believer--'As 
no man hateth his own flesh at any time, but cherisheth and nourisheth 
it,' so does Christ His people. (Eph. 5: 29.) He may be angry, so as to 
correct and chastise the man that is a believer; but all He does to him 
is for his good and advantage--'All the Lord's paths must be mercy and 
truth to him.' (Psa. 25: 10.) 'All things work together for good to him.' 
(Rom. 8: 28.) On the other side, the believer can never hate God 
maliciously; for--'He that is born of God sinneth not.' (1 John 3: 9.) 
For the Lord has resolved and ordained things so, that His hand shall 
undoubtedly so be upon all believers for good, that they shall never be 
permitted to hate Him, and so be plucked out of His hand. 
   2. Because of this union there is a strange sympathy and 
fellow-feeling between God and the believer: the Lord is afflicted with 
the man's affliction. (Isa. 63: 9.) He does tenderly, carefully, and 
seasonably resent it, as if He were afflicted with it. He who toucheth 
the believer, toucheth the apple of the Lord's eye (Zech. 2: 8)--'He is 
touched with the feeling of their infirmities' (Heb. 4: 15); and 
'precious in His sight is their death.' (Psa. 116: 15.) In a word, what 

is done to them, is done unto Him; and what is not done unto them, is not 
done unto Him--'He that receiveth you, receiveth Me.' (Matt. 10: 40.) 
'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, 
ye have done it unto Me: inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of 
these, ye did it not to Me.' (Matt. 25: 40, 45.) On the other part, the 
'zeal of His house' occupieth the heart of the believer. (Psa. 69: 9.) 
'The Lord's reproach' lighteth on the believer. If it go well with His 

affairs, that is the business of His people. So there is a strange 
sympathy between God and believers, all by virtue of the union between 
them; because of which, men should hate everything which would compete 
with Him in their love or affections, and should disdain to be slaves to 
the creatures, since these are the servants of their Lord and husband, 
and their servants through Him. What a hateful thing for a queen to 
disgrace herself with the servants of her prince and husband! It is also 
a shame for a believer to be 'afraid of evil tidings,' since the Lord, 
with whom he is one, alone ruleth all things, 'and does whatsoever 
pleaseth Him in heaven and earth.' 'All things are yours, and ye are 
Christ's, and Christ is God's.' 'Surely he shall not be moved for ever, 
he shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in 
the Lord; his heart is established, he shall not be afraid.' 'Our God is 
in the heavens, He has done whatsoever He pleased.' (1 Cor. 3: 21, 23; 
Psa. 112: 6, 7; 115: 3.) 
   The other great consequence of believing, is an admirable unparalleled 
communion, by virtue whereof, 1. The parties themselves do belong each to 
the other. The Lord is the God of His people; He Himself, Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost, is their God, in all His glorious attributes; His justice 
as well as His mercy; His wisdom, power, holiness, etc., for He becomes 
the God of His people, as He often speaks in the covenant. On the other 
part, believers are His people. In their very persons they are His, as 
the covenant does speak; they shall be His people; their head, their 
heart, their hand, etc.; whatsoever they are, they are His. 
   2. By virtue of this communion they have a mutual interest in one 
another's whole goods and property, so far as can be useful. All the 
Lord's word belongs to the believer; threatening as well as promises are 
for his good; all His ways, all His works of all sorts, special 
communications, death, devils, even all things so far as can be useful-- 
'All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, 
or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours, 
and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.' (1 Cor. 3: 21-23.) On the 
other side, all that belongs to the believer is the Lord's; heritage, 
children, life, wife, credit, etc., all is at His disposing; if any of 
these can be useful to Him, the believer is to forego them, else he 
falsifies that communion, and declares himself in so far unworthy of 
Christ. 'If any man come to me, and hate not his father; yea, and his own 
life also, he cannot be my disciple.' (Luke 14: 26.) 
   3. By virtue of this communion, there should be much intimacy and 
familiarity between God and the believer. The Lord may interfere with any 
thing which belongs to the believer, and do unto him what seemeth good to 
Him; and the man is not to mistake, or say unto God, 'What does Thou' 
except in so far as concerns His duty: yea, He is still to say, in every 
case, 'Good is the word and will of the Lord.' (Isa. 38: 8; 2 Kings 4: 
23, 26.) On the other part, the believer may, in a humble way, be homely 
and familiar with God in Christ; He may come with 'boldness to the throne 
of grace' (Heb. 4: 16); and present his addresses unto God. He is no more 
a stranger unto God, so that he needs not speak unto God as one who has 
acquaintances to make every hour, as many professors do; which makes a 
great inconsistency in their religion. 
   The believer also may lay open all his heart unto God--'I have poured 
out my soul before the Lord' (1 Sam. 1: 15); and impart all his secrets 
unto Him, and all his temptations, without fear of a mistake. The 
believer also may inquire into what God does, in so far as may concern 
his own duty, or in so far as may ward off mistakes respecting the Lord's 
way, and reconcile it with His words: so Job says, 'Though He slay me, 
yet will I trust in Him; but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.' 
(Job 13: 15.) The believer is a friend in this respect, as 'knowing what 
the Master does;' see Gen. 18: 23; Jer. 12: 1; Isa. 63: 17. 
   The believer also may draw near daily unto God with all his failings, 
and seek repentance, pardon, and peace, through the advocacy of Christ-- 
'Him has God exalted with His right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, 
to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.' (Acts 5: 31.) 'If 
any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the 
righteous.' (1 John 2: 1.) O how often in one day may the believer plead 
pardon, if he intend not to mock God, nor turn His grace into 
licentiousness! The Lord has commanded men to forgive seventy times seven 
in one day; and has intimated there, in a parable of a king who took 
account of his servants, how much more the Master will forgive. (Matt. 
18: 22-28.) 
   The believer also may intrust God with all His outward concerns, for 
He cares for these things 'If God so clothe the grass of the field, shall 
He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore, take no 
thought, saying, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or 
wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye 
have need of all these things.' (Matt. 6: 30-32.) 'Casting all your care 
upon Him, for He cares for you.' (1 Peter 5: 7.) Yea, the believer may 
humbly put God to it to make Him forthcoming to him in all such cases as 
beseemeth, and to help him to suitable fruit in every season, 'even grace 
in time of need.' (Heb. 4: 16.) Yea, how great things may believers seek 
from him in Christ Jesus, both for themselves and others! 'If we ask 
anything according to His will, He heareth us.' (1 John 5: 14, 15.) 
'Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.' (John 14: 13.) 'Ask 
of me things to come concerning my sons: and concerning the work of my 
hands, command ye me.' (Isa. 45: 11.) It is the shame and great prejudice 
of His people that they do not improve that communion with God more than 
they do: Christ may justly upbraid them, 'that they ask nothing in His 
name.' (John 16: 24.) 
   By what is said, it appears of how great consequence this duty of 
believing is, by which a man closes with Christ Jesus, whom the father 
has sealed and given for a covenant to the people. It is so honorable to 
God, answering His very design, and serving His interest in the whole 
contrivance and manifestation of the gospel; and it is so advantageous to 
men, that Satan and an evil heart of unbelief do mightily oppose it, by 
moving objections against it, of which I shall notice the most ordinary. 
Chapter III.--Objections and Difficulties Answered and Explained 
I.--The sinner's baseness rendering it presumption to come to Christ 
Object. I am so base, worthless, and weak of myself that I think it were 
high presumption for me to meddle with Christ Jesus, or the salvation 
purchased at the price of His blood. 
   Ans. It is true, all the children of Adam are base and wicked before 
Him, 'who chargeth His angels with folly.' (Job 4: 18.) 'All nations are 
less than nothing and vanity before him.' (Isa. 40: 17.) There is such a 
disproportion between God and man, that unless He Himself had devised 
that covenant, and of His own free will had offered so to transact with 
men, it had been high treason for men or angels to have imagined that God 
should have humbled himself, and become a servant, and have taken on Him 
our nature, and have united it by a personal union to the blessed 
Godhead; and that He should have subjected Himself to the shameful death 
of the cross; and all this, that men, who were rebels, should be 
reconciled unto God, and be made eternally happy, by being in His holy 
company for ever. 
   But I say, all this was His own device and free choice; yea, moreover, 
if God had not sovereignly commanded men so to close with Him in and 
through Christ, no man durst have made use of that device of His--'Ho, 
every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that has no 
money: come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money 
and without price.' (Isa. 40: 1-3.) 'And this is His commandment, that we 
should believe on the name of His son Jesus Christ.' (1 John 3: 23.) So 
then, although with Abigail I may say, 'Let me be but a servant, to wash 
the feet of the servants of my Lord' (1 Sam. 25: 41); yet, since He has 
in His holy wisdom devised that way, and knows how to be richly glorified 
in it--'The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may 
know, what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints' 
(Eph. 1: 18); 'All Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and I am glorified 
in them' (John 17: 10); and has commanded me, as I shall be answerable at 
the great day, to close with Him in Christ, I dare not disobey, nor 
inquire into the reasons of His contrivance and commands, but must comply 
with the command, as I would not be found to 'frustrate the grace of God' 
(Gal. 2: 21); and in a manner disappoint the gospel, and falsify the 
record which God has borne of His Son, 'that there is life enough in Him 
for men' (1 John 5: 10,11), and so 'make God a liar,' and add that 
rebellion to all my former transgressions. 
II.--The singularity of his sin barring the way 
Object. I am a person singularly sinful, beyond any I know: therefore I 
dare not presume to go near to Christ Jesus, or look after that salvation 
which is through His righteousness. 
   Ans. Is your sin beyond the drunkenness and incest of Lot; adultery 
covered with murder in David; idolatry and horrid apostasy in Solomon; 
idolatry, murder, and witchcraft in Manasseh; anger against God and His 
way in Jonah; forswearing of Christ in Peter, after he was forewarned, 
and had vowed the contrary; bloody persecution in Paul, making the saints 
to blaspheme? etc. But woe to him who is emboldened to sin by these 
instances recorded in Scripture, and adduced here to the commendation of 
the free and rich grace of God, and to encourage poor penitent sinners to 
flee unto Christ; I say, are your sins beyond these? Yet all these 
obtained pardon through Christ, as the Scripture showeth. 
   Know, therefore, that all sins are equal before the free grace of God, 
'who loveth freely' (Hos. 14: 4); and looketh not to less or more sin. If 
the person have a heart to 'come unto Him through Christ, then He is able 
to save to the uttermost.' (Heb. 7: 25.) Yea, it is more provoking before 
God, not to close with Christ, when the offer comes to a man, than all 
the rest of his transgressions are; for 'he that believeth not has made 
God a liar,' in that record He has borne of life in the Son. (1 John 5: 
10,11.) 'And he who does not believe, shall be condemned for not 
believing on the Son of God.' (John 3: 18.) That shall be the main thing 
in his indictment; so that much sin cannot excuse a man, if he reject 
Christ, and refuse His offer; since God has openly declared, that 'this 
is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus 
came to save sinners, whereof I am chief.' Even he who is chief of 
sinners in his own apprehension, is bound to believe and 'accept this 
saying.' (1 Tim. 1: 15.) 
III.--Special aggravations a hindrance 
Object. My sins have some aggravating circumstances beyond the same sins 
in other persons, which does much terrify me. 
   Ans. What can the aggravations of thy sins be, which are not 
parallelled in the foregoing examples? Is thy sin against great light? So 
were many of those of whom we spoke before. Was it against singular 
mercies and deliverances? So was that of Lot's and Noah's drunkenness. 
Was thy sin done with much deliberation? So was David's, when he wrote 
the letter against Uriah. Was it against or after any singular 
manifestation of God? So was Solomon's. Was it by a small and despicable 
temptation? So was that of Jonah and of Peter, if we consider the 
heinousness of their transgressions. Hast thou reiterated the sin, and 
committed it over again? So did Lot, so did Peter, so did Jehoshaphat, in 
joining with Ahab and Jehoram. (1 Kings 22:; 2 Kings 3.) Are there many 
gross sins concurring together in thee? So were there in Manasseh. Hast 
thou stood long out in rebellion? That, as all the former, is thy shame; 
but so did the thief on the cross; he stood it out to the last gasp. 
(Luke 23: 42, 43.) If yet 'thou hast an ear to hear,' thou art commanded 
'to hear.' (Matt. 13: 9.) Although thou hast long 'spent thy money for 
that which is not bread' (Isa. 55: 1, 3), thou hast the greater need now 
to make haste and to flee for refuge; and if thou do so, He shall welcome 
thee, and 'in no wise cast thee out' (John 6: 37); especially, since He 
has used no prescription of time in Scripture. So that all those 
aggravations of thy sin, will not excuse thy refusing the Lord's offer. 
IV.--Sins not named a barrier 
Object. In all those instances given, you have not named the particulars 
of which I am guilty; nor know I any who ever obtained mercy before God, 
being guilty of such things as are in me. 
   Ans. It is difficult to notice every particular transgression which 
may vex the conscience; yea, lesser sins than some of those I have 
mentioned may very much disquiet, if the Lord awaken the conscience. But, 
for thy satisfaction, I shall refer to some truths of Scripture, which do 
reach sins and cases more universally than any man can do particularly: 
Exod. 34: 7--'God pardoneth iniquity, transgression, and sin;' that is, 
all manner of sin. If a man turn from all his wickedness, it shall no 
more be remembered, or prove his ruin. (Ezek. 18: 21, 22, 30.) 'Him that 
comets He will in nowise cast out' (John 6: 37); that is, whatsoever be 
his sins, or the aggravations of them. 'Whosoever believeth shall have 
everlasting life' (John 3: 16); that is, without exception of any sin or 
any case. 'He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God 
through Him' (Heb. 7: 25); no man can sufficiently declare what is God's 
uttermost. 'All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men' 
(Matt. 12: 31); that is, there is no sort of sin, whereof one instance 
shall not be forgiven in one person or other, 'except the sin against the 
Holy Ghost.' These and the like scriptures carry all sorts of sin before 
them: so that let thy sins be what they will, or can be, they may be sunk 
in one of these truths; so that thy sin can be no excuse to thee for 
refusing the offers of peace and salvation through Christ, since 'any man 
who will,; is allowed to 'come and take.' 
   We will not multiply words: the great God of heaven and earth has 
sovereignly commanded all who see their need of relief to retake 
themselves unto Christ Jesus, and to close cordially with God's device of 
saving sinners by Him, laying aside all objections and excuses, as they 
shall be answerable unto Him in the day when He shall judge the quick and 
the dead; and shall drive away from His presence all those who would dare 
to say, their sins and condition were such as that they durst not 
adventure upon Christ's perfect righteousness for their relief, 
notwithstanding of the Lord's own command often interposed, and, in a 
manner, His credit engaged. 
V.--The sin against the Holy Ghost alleged 
Object. I suspect I am guilty of the 'sin against the Holy Ghost,' and so 
am incapable of pardon; and therefore I need not think of believing on 
Christ Jesus for the saving of my soul. 
   Ans. Although none should charge this sin on themselves, or on others, 
unless they can prove and establish the charge according to Christ's 
example 'And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall 
be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall 
not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come' 
(Matt. 12: 5, 26, 32): yet for satisfying of the doubt, I shall, 1. Show 
what is not the sin against the Holy Ghost, properly so called, because 
there be some gross sins which people do unwarrantable judge to be this 
unpardonable sin. 2. I shall show what is the sin against the Holy Ghost. 
3. I shall draw some conclusions in answer directly to the objection. 
I.--What it is not 
As for the first, There be many gross sins, which although, as all other 
sins, they be sins against the Holy Ghost, who is God equal and one with 
the Father and the Son, and are done against some of His operations and 
motions; yet are they not that sin against the Holy Ghost which is the 
unpardonable sin. As, 1. Blaspheming of God under bodily tortures is not 
that sin; for some saints fell into this sin--'And I punished them oft in 
every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme' (Acts 26: 11); much 
less blaspheming of God in a fit of distraction or frenzy; for a man is 
not a free rational agent at that time; and 'He that spareth His people, 
as a father does the son that serveth him, and pitieth them that fear 
Him, as a father pitieth his children' (Mal. 3: 17; Psa. 103: 13); so 
does He spare and pity in these rovings; for so would our fathers 
according to the flesh do, if we blasphemed them in a fit of distraction. 
Much less are horrid blasphemies against God darted in upon the soul, and 
not allowed there, this unpardonable sin; for such things were offered to 
Christ, and are often cast in upon the saints. (Matt. 4: 1-11.) 
   2. The hating of good in others, whilst I am not convinced that it is 
good, but according to my light, judge it to be evil; yea, the speaking 
against it, yea, the persecuting of it in that case, is not the sin 
against the Holy Ghost; for all these will be found in Paul before he was 
converted; and he obtained mercy because he did these things ignorantly. 
   3. Heart-rising at the thriving of others the work and way of God, 
whilst I love it myself; yea, the rising of the heart against Providence, 
which often expresses itself against the creatures nearest our hand; yea, 
this rising of heart entertained and maintained (although they be horrid 
things leading towards that unpardonable sin, yet) are not that sin; for 
these may be in the saints proceeding from self-love, which cannot endure 
to be darkened by another, and proceeding from some cross in their idol 
under a fit of temptation: the most part of all this was in Jonah, chap. 
   4. Not only are not decays in what once was in the man, and falling 
into gross sins against light after the receiving of the truth, this 
unpardonable sin; for then many of the saints in Scripture were undone; 
but further, apostasy from much of the truth is not that sin; for that 
was in Solomon, and in the church of Corinth and Galatia; yea, denying, 
yea, forswearing of the most fundamental truth, under a great temptation, 
is not this sin: for then Peter had been undone. 
   5. As resisting, quenching, grieving, and vexing of the Spirit of God 
by many sinful ways, are not this unpardonable sin; for they are charged 
with these who are called to repentance in Scripture, and not shut out as 
guilty of this sin: so neither reiterated sin against light is the sin 
against the Holy Ghost, although it leads towards it, for such was 
Peter's sin in denying Christ; so was Jehoshaphat's sin in joining with 
Ahab and Jehoram. 
   6. Purposes and attempts of self-murder, and even purposes of 
murdering godly men, the party being under a sad fit of temptation; yea, 
actual self-murder (although probably it is often joined in the issue 
with this unpardonable sin, which ought to make every soul look upon the 
very temptation to it with horror and abhorrence, yet) is not the sin 
against the Holy Ghost. The jailer intended to kill himself upon a worse 
account than many poor people do, in the sight and sense of God's wrath, 
and of their own sin and corruption; yet that jailer obtained pardon 
(Acts 16: 27, 34); and Paul, before his effectual calling, was accessory 
unto the murder of many saints, and intended to kill more, as himself 
granteth--'I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many things 
contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in 
Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having 
received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to 
death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every 
synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme: and, being exceedingly mad 
against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.' (Acts 26: 
   Although all these are dreadful sins, each of them deserving wrath 

(continued in part 8)

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