F A I T H: 
An Exposition of the History of Christ’s
dispossessing of the daughter of the woman of Canaan. 
Delivered in SERMONS;

In which are opened,

The Victory of Faith; 
The condition of those that are tempted; 
The excellency of Jesus Christ and Free-Grace;

Some special Grounds and Principles of Libertinism 
and Antinomian Errors, discovered 
Divinity in the University of St. Andrews.


REV. 2:28. 
And I will give to him (that overcometh) the morning star.


Published by Authority.

L O N D O N: 
Printed by John Field, and are to be sold by Ralph Smith,
at the Sign of the Bible in Cornhill near the ROYALL 
E X C H A N G E: 1645.

The Trial and Triumph of Faith

_To The Right Honourable The Lady Jane Campbell, Viscountess of Kenmure; Sister To The Right Noble and Potent, The Marquis of Argyle, Grace and Peace.

posted 24 Mar 2014, 18:11 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 24 Mar 2014, 18:13 ]






I should complain of these much-disputing and over-writing times, if I were not thought to be as deep in the fault as those whom I accuse: but the truth is, while we endeavour to gain a grain-weight of truth, it is much if we lose not a talent-weight of goodness and Christian love. But, I am sure, though so much knowledge and light may conduce for our safe walking, in discerning the certain borders of divine truths from every false way; and suppose that searching into questions of the time were a useful and necessary evil only; yet the declining temper of the world’s worst time, the old age of time, eternity now so near approaching, calleth for more necessary good things at our hands. It is unhappy, if, in the nick of the first breaking of the morning sky, the night-watch fall fast asleep, when he hath watched all the night. It is now near the morning-dawning of the resurrection. Oh, how blessed are we, if we shall care for our one necessary thing!

It is worthy our thoughts, that an angel[1], standing in his own land, “his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,” hath determined by oath, a controversy moved by scoffers—2 Peter 3:3; [[“yea, and with his hand lifted up to heaven, sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that are therein, and the earth, and things that therein are, and the sea, and things that are therein, that there should be time no longer.”>>Rev. 10:5, 6]]. If eternity be concluded judicially by the oath of God, as a thing near to us, at the door, now about sixteen hundred years ago, it is high time to think of it; what we shall do, when the clay house of this tabernacle, which is but our summer house, that can have us but the fourth part of a year, shall be dissolved. Time is but a short trance[2]; we are carried quickly through it: our rose withereth, ere it come to its vigour: our piece of this short-breathing shadow, the inch, the half-cubit, the poor span-length of time, fleeth away as swiftly as a weaver’s shuttle—Job 7:6, which leapeth over a thousand threads in a moment. How many hundred hours in one summer doth our breathing clay-post skip over, passing away as [[“the ships of desire, and as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.”>>Job 9:25-26]]. If death were as far from our knowledge, as graves and coffins[3] are near to our senses, even casting the smell of death upon our breath, so as we cannot but rub skins with corruption; we should not believe either prophets or apostles, when they say, “All flesh is grass,” and, “It is appointed for all to die.” Eternity is a great word, but the thing itself is greater: death, the point of our short line, teacheth us what we are, and what we shall be.

Should Christ, the condition of affairs we are now in, the excellency of free grace, be seen in all their own lustre and dye, we should learn much wisdom from these three. Christ speedeth little in conquering of lovers: because we have not “seen his shape at any time,” we look not upon Christ, but upon the accidents that are beside Christ; and therefore, few esteem Christ a rich pennyworth. But there is not a rose out of heaven, but there is a blot and thorn growing out of it, except that one only rose of Sharon, which blossometh out glory. Every leaf of the rose is a heaven, and serveth “for the healing of the nations;” every white and red in it, is incomparable glory; every act of breathing out its smell, from everlasting to everlasting, is spotless and unmixed happiness. Christ is the outset, the master-flower, the uncreated garland of heaven, the love and joy of men and angels. But the fountain-love, the fountain-delight, the fountain-joy of men and angels is more; for out of it floweth all the seas, springs, rivers, and floods of love, delight, and joy. Imagine all the rain and dew, seas, fountains, and floods, since the creation, were in one cloud, and these multiplied in measures, for number to many millions of millions, and then divided in drops of showers to an answerable number of men and angels;—this should be a created shower, and end in a certain period of time; and this huge cloud of so many rivers and drops, should dry up, and rain no more. But we cannot conceive so of Christ: for if we should imagine millions of men and angels to have a coeternal dependent existence with Christ, and they eternally in the act of “receiving grace for grace out of his fullness,” the flux and issue of grace should be eternal, as Christ is. For Christ cannot tire or weary from eternity to be Christ; and so, he must not, he cannot but be an infinite and eternal flowing sea, to diffuse and let out streams and floods of boundless grace. Say that the rose were eternal; the sweet smell, the loveliness of greenness and colour must be eternal.

Oh, what a happiness, for a soul to lose its excellency in His transcendent glory! What a blessedness for the creature, to cast in his little all, in Christ’s matchless all-sufficiency! Could all the streams retire into the fountain and first spring, they should be kept in a more sweet and firm possession of their being, in the bosom of their first cause, than in their borrowed channels that they now move in. Our neighbourhood, and retiring in, to dwell forever and ever in the fountain-blessedness, Jesus Christ, with our borrowed goodness, is the firm and solid fruition of our eternal happy being. Christ is the sphere, the connatural first spring and element of borrowed drops, and small pieces of created grace. The rose is surest in being, in beauty, on its own stalk and root: let life and sap be eternally in the stalk and root, and the rose keep its first union with the root, and it shall never wither, never cast its blossom nor greenness of beauty. It is violence for a gracious soul to be out of his stalk and root; union here is life and happiness; therefore the Church’s last prayer in canonic Scripture is for union—Rev. 22:20. “Amen: Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” It shall not be well till the Father, and Christ the prime heir, and all the weeping children, be under one roof in the palace royal. It is a sort of mystical lameness, that the head wanteth an arm or a finger; and it is a violent and forced condition, for arm and finger to be separated from the head. The saints are little pieces of mystical Christ, sick of love for union. The wife of youth, that wants her husband some years, and expects he shall return to her from oversea lands, is

often on the shore; every ship coming near shore is her new joy; her heart loves the wind that shall bring him home. She asks at every passenger news: “Oh! saw ye my husband? What is he doing? When shall he come? Is he shipped for a return?” Every ship that carrieth not her husband, is the breaking of her heart. What desires hath the Spirit and Bride to hear, when the husband Christ shall say to the mighty angels, “Make you ready for the journey; let us go down and divide the skies, and bow the heaven: I will gather my prisoners of hope unto me; I can want my Rachel and her weeping children no longer. Behold, I come quickly to judge the nations.” The bride, the Lamb’s wife, blesseth the feet of the messengers that preach such tidings, “Rejoice, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments; thy King is coming.” Yea, she loveth that quarter of the sky, that being rent asunder and cloven, shall yield to her Husband, when he shall put through his glorious hand, and shall come riding on the rainbow and clouds to receive her to himself.

(1.) The condition of the people of God in the three kingdoms calleth for this, that we now wisely consider what the Lord is doing. There is a language of the Lord’s “fire in Zion,” and “his furnace in Jerusalem,” if we could understand the voice of the crying rod. The arrows of God flee beyond us, and beside us, but we see little of God in them: we sail, but we see not shore; we fight, but we have no victory. The efficacy of second causes is the whole burden of the business, and this burden we lay upon creatures[4], and not upon the Lord. God is crying lameness on creatures and multitude, that his eminency of working may be more seen.

(2.) Many are friends to the success of reformation, not to reformation. Men’s faith goes along with the promises, until providence seem to them to belie the promise. Through light at a key-hole many see God in these confusions in the three kingdoms; but they fall away, because their joining with the cause, was violent kindness to Christ. It is not a friend’s visit, to be driven to a friend’s house to be dry in a shower, and then occasionally to visit wife and children. Christ hath too many occasional friends; but the ground of all is this, “I love Jesus Christ, but I have not the gift of burning quick for Christ.” Oh, how securely should faith land us out of the gun-shot of the prevailing power of a black hour of darkness! Faith can make us able to be willing, for Christ, to go through a quarter of hell’s pain. Lord, give us not leave to be mad with worldly wisdom.

(3.) When the temptation sleepeth, the madman is wise, the harlot is chaste; but when the vessel is pierced, out cometh that which is within, either wine or water: yet, if we should attentively lay our ears to hypocrites, we should hear, that their lute-strings do miserably jar; for hypocrisy is intelligible, and may be found out.

Would Parliaments begin at Christ, we should not fear that which certainly we have cause to fear; “One woe is past, and another woe cometh.” The prophets in the three kingdoms have not repented of the superstition, will-worship, idolatry, persecution, profanity, formality, which made them “vile before the people;” and the judges and princes, who “turned judgment into gall and wormwood,” are not humbled, because they were “a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.” No man repenteth, and “turneth from his evil way;” no man “smiteth on his thigh, saying, what have I done?” It is but black Popery[5], to think the by-past sins of the land are by-past, and a sort of reformation for time to come is satisfactory to God ex opere operato[6]. Yea, the divisions in the church are a heavier plague than the raging sword. These same sins against the first and second Table; the reconciling of us and Babylon, pride, bribing, extortion, filthiness and intemperance unpunished, blood touching blood and not revenged, vanity of apparel, the professed way of salvation by all kinds of religions whatsoever; are now acted in another stage, by other persons, but they are the same sins. If that Headship that flattering prelates took from Jesus Christ, and gave to the king, be yet taken from Christ, and given to men;—if Christ’s crown be pulled off his head, no matter whose head it warm; it is taken from Christ both ways. I shall pray, that the fatness of the [[“flesh of Jacob, for this, do not wax lean,”>>Isa. 17:4]], and that the warfare of Britain be accomplished. But if the faithful watchmen know what hour of the night it is now, there is but small appearance, that it is near to the dawning of Britain’s deliverance, or that our sky shall clear in haste. Would God the year 1645 were with child, to bring forth the salvation of Britain! It was once as incredible that the enemy should have entered [[“within the gates of Jerusalem.”>>Lam. 4:12]], as it is now, that they can enter within the ports of London, Edinburgh, Dublin. I speak not this to encourage Cavaliers[7], for certainly, God watcheth over them for vengeance; but that we go not on further to break with Christ. The weakness of new heads, devising new religions, and multiplying gods[8], “according to the number of our cities,” must come from rottenness of our hearts. Oh, if we could be instructed “before the decree,” that is with child, of plagues to the sinners in “Zion, bring forth a man-child; and before the long shadows of the evening be stretched out on us!”

But of this theme no more. Grace is the proposition of this following treatise. When either grace is turned into painted, but rotten nature, as Armenians do, or into wantonness, as others do, the error to me is of a far other and higher elevation, than opinions touching church government. Tenacious adhering to Antinomian errors, with an obstinate and final persistence in them, both as touching faith to, and suitable practice of them, I shall think, cannot be fathered upon any of the regenerated; for it is an opinion not in the margin and borders, but in the page and body, and too near the centre and vital parts of the gospel. If any are offended, I desire to anger them with good will to grace; I shall strive and study the revenge only of love and compassion to their souls.

If some of these sermons came once to your Honour’s ears; and now, to your eyes, it may be, with more English language, I having staid possibly till the last grapes were somewhat riper; I hope it shall be pardoned, that I am bold to borrow your name; which truly I should not have done, if I had not known of your practical knowledge of this noble and excellent theme, the Free Grace of God. I could add more of this; but I had rather commend grace, than gracious persons. I know that Jesus Christ, who perfumeth and flowereth heaven with his royal presence, and streweth the heaven of heavens to its utmost borders with glory, is commended that he was full of grace, a vessel filled to the lip—Psalm 45:2; John 1:16. Yea, grace hath bought both our person and our service—1 Pet. 2:24, 25, even as he that buyeth a captive, gives money not only for his person, but for all the motion, toil, and labour of his body, legs, and arms. And redeeming grace is so perfect, that Satan hath power possibly to bid, but not to buy any of the redeemed, no more than a merchant can buy another man’s bought goods without his consent. All our happiness that groweth here on the banks of Time, is but thin sown, as very strawberries on the sea-sands. What good parts of nature we have without grace, are like a fair lily, but there is a worm at the root of it; it withereth from the root to the top. Gifts wither apace without grace: gifts neither break nor humble; grace can do both. Grace is so much the more precious and sweet, that though it be the result of sin, in the act of pardoning and curing sinful lameness; yet it hath no spring, but the bowels of God stirred and rolled within him only by spotless and holy goodness. Grace is of the king’s house from heaven only; the matter, subject, or person it dwelleth in, contributed nothing for the creation of so noble a branch. Christ, for this cause especially, left the bosom of God, and was clothed with flesh and our nature, that he might be a mass, a sea, and boundless river of visible, living, and breathing grace, swelling up to the highest banks of not only the habitable world, but the sides also of the heaven of heavens, to over-water men and angels. So that Christ was, as it were, grace speaking—Psalm 45:2; Luke 4:22; grace sighing, weeping, crying out of horror, dying, withering for sinners, living again—Heb. 2:9; John 3:16; Rom. 8:32, 33; and is now glorified grace, dropping down, raining floods of grace on his members—Eph. 4:11-16; John 14:7, 13, 16, 17. Christ now interceding for us at the right hand of God, is these sixteen hundred years the great apple tree dropping down apples of life; for there hath been harvest ever since Christ’s ascension to heaven, and the grapes of heaven are ripe; all that falleth from the tree, leaves, apples, shadows, smell, blossoms, are but pieces of grace fallen down from Him who is the fullness of all, and hath filled all things. We shall never be blessed perfectly, till we all sit in an immediate union under the apple tree. This is a rare piece, by way of participation, of the divine nature. Christ passed an incomparable act of rich grace on the cross; and doth now act, and advocate for grace, and the applying of the grace of propitiation, in heaven—1 John 2:1, 2; and by an act of grace, hath all the elect and ransomed ones engraven as a seal on his heart: and Christ being the fellow of God—Zech. 13:7, the man that standeth straight opposite to his eye, the first opening of the eye-lids of God is terminated upon the breast of Christ, and on the engravening of free grace. All the glory of the glorified is, that they are both in the lower and higher house, even when they are the Estates and Peers of heaven, the everlasting tenants and freeholders of grace; so that a soul can desire no fairer inheritance, than the patrimony, lot, and heritage of free grace. Now, to this grace commending your spirit, as an heir of grace, I rest, —Your Honour’s at all obliged respectiveness in the grace of God.


[1] Never created, as I conceive.

[2] A narrow covered passage.

[3] Which to our eyes preach death.

[4] And it is more than they can bear.

[5] The name being changed, not the thing.

[6] By the deed done.

[7] Royalists, who persecuted the Presbyterians.

[8] For two sundry and contrary religions, argue interpretatively two sundry gods.

Sermon 1. — Mark 7:24. — “And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and went into an house, and would that no man should know it: but he could not be hid.” — Matthew 15:21, 22. — “Then Jesus went from thence, and came into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David, for my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” — Mark 7:25, 26. — “For a certain woman whose young (little) daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came, and fell at his feet: (The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him, that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.”

posted 24 Mar 2014, 18:06 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 24 Mar 2014, 18:07 ]

SERMON 1. [1]

Mark 7:24. — “And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and went into an house, and would that no man should know it: but he could not be hid.”

Matthew 15:21, 22. — “Then Jesus went from thence, and came into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David, for my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.”

Mark 7:25, 26. — “For a certain woman whose young (little) daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came, and fell at his feet: (The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him, that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.”

[1] In the sermons and theological treatises of the seventeenth century, it was usual to introduce illustrations from the learned languages; and Rutherford, himself an accomplished scholar, has followed the general example. But as Latin, Greek, and Hebrew phrases, are unsuited to the taste of the present age, and would only interrupt the generality of our readers, the critical remarks of this kind are thrown into the form of foot-notes (which have Rutherford’s name appended, to distinguish them from the occasional illustrations of the Editor,) so that the entire text of our author is preserved.

This text being with child of free grace, holdeth forth to us a miracle of note: and because Christ is in the work in an eminent manner; and there is here also much of Christ’s new creation, and a flower planted and watered by Christ’s own hand, a strong faith in a tried woman; it requireth the bending of our heart to attention: for, to any seeking Jesus Christ, this text crieth, “Come and see.” The words for their scope, drive at the wakening of believers in praying[1], to a fixed and resolved lying and dying at Christ’s door, by continuing in prayer till the King come out and open, and answer the desire of the hungry and poor. 2. For the subject, they are a history of a rare miracle wrought by Christ, in casting forth a devil out of the daughter of a woman of Canaan: and for Christ to throw the devil out of a Canaanite, was very like the white banner of Christ’s love displayed to the nations, and the King’s royal standard set up to gather in the heathen under his colours. The parts of the miracle are,

I. The place where it was wrought—Matt. 15:21.

II. The parties on whom; the mother and the possessed daughter: she is described by her nation.

III. The impulsive cause: she hearing, came, and prayed to Jesus for her little daughter: in which, there is a dialogue between Christ and the woman, containing,

Firstly, Christ’s trying of her,

1st, with no answer;

2nd, with a refusal;

3rd, with the reproach of a dog.

Secondly, Her instancy of faith,

1st, in crying till the disciples interposed themselves;

2nd, her going on in adoring;

3rd, praying;

4th, arguing, by faith, with Christ, that she had some interest in Christ, though amongst the dogs; yet withal[2], not envying, because the morning market of Christ, and the high table, was the Jews’ due, as the King’s children, so she might be amongst the dogs, to eat the crumbs under Christ’s table; knowing, that the very refuse of Christ, is more excellent than ten worlds.

IV. The miracle itself, wrought by the woman’s faith: in which, we have,

(1.) Christ’s heightening of her faith;

(2.) The granting of her desire;

(3.) The measure of Christ’s bounty, “As thou wilt;”

(4.) The healing of her daughter.

Mark saith, that the woman came to Christ in a house. Matthew seemeth to say, that she came to him in the way, as these words do make good, “Send her away, for she crieth after us.” Augustine thinketh, that the woman first came to Christ while he was in the house, and desired to be hid, either because he did not[3] openly offer himself to the Gentiles, having forbidden his disciples to go to the Samaritans; or, because he would have his glory hid for a time; or rather, of purpose he did hide himself from the woman that her faith might find him out: and then refusing to answer the woman in the house, she still followeth him in the way, and crieth after him, as Matthew saith. For,

(1.) Christ’s love is liberal, but yet it must be sued; and Christ, though he sell not his love for the penny-worth of our sweating and pains, yet we must dig low, for such a gold mine as Christ.

(2.) Christ’s love is wise: He holdeth us knocking, till our desire be love-sick for him, and knoweth that delays raise and heighten the market and rate of Christ. We under-rate anything that is at our elbow. Should Christ throw himself in our bosom and lap, while we are in a morning sleep, he should not have the marrow and flower of our esteem. It is good there be some fire in us meeting with water, while we seek after Christ.

(3.) His love must not only lead the heart, but also draw. Violence in love is most taking, and delay of enjoying so lovely a thing as Christ, breedeth violence in our affections; and suspension of presence oileth the wheels of love, desire, joy: want of Christ is a wing to the soul.

Interpreters ask, what woman she was? Matthew saith, a Canaanite, not of any gracious blood; a Syrophenician; for Syrophenicia was in the border between Palestine and Syria, and it was now inhabited by the relics of the Canaanites; a Greek; not by birth, but because of the Greek tongue, and rites brought thither by Alexander, and the succeeding kings of Syria. All the Gentiles go under the name of Greeks in Scripture language, as—Rom. 1:14; Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 1:22, 24., not because they are all Greeks by nation and blood; but, because conquest, language, and customs, stand for blood and birth. However, it standeth as no blemish in Christ’s account-book, who was your father, whether an Amorite, or an Hittite, so ye come to him: he asketh not whose you are, so you be his; nor who is your father, so you will be his brother, and be of his house.

Mark 7:24. — “And from thence he arose, and went into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.”

Christ wearied of Judea, had been grieved in spirit with the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and the provocation of that stiff-necked people. He was chased away to the profane Pagans. The hardening of the Jews, maketh way to Christ’s first and young love laid upon the Gentiles. Christ doth but draw aside a lap of the curtain of separation, and look through to one believing heathen: the King openeth one little window, and holdeth out his face, in one glimpse, to the woman of Canaan. So, Christ’s works of deep Providence, are free mercy and pure justice interwoven, making one web. He departeth from the Jews, and setteth his face and heart on the Gentiles.

Consider the art of Providence here:

1st, The devil sometimes shapeth, and our wise Lord seweth; Babylon killeth, God maketh alive; sin, hell, and death, are made a chariot to carry on the Lord’s excellent work.

2nd, The Providence of God hath two sides; one black and sad, another white and joyful. Heresy taketh strength, and is green before the sun; God’s clearing of necessary and seasonable truths, is a fair side of that same providence. Adam’s first sin, was the devil and hell digging a hole through the comely and beautiful frame of the creation of God; and that is the dark side of Providence: but the flower of Jesse springing up, to take away sin, and to paint out to men and angels the glory of a heaven, and a new world of free grace—that is a lightsome side of Providence. Christ scourged; Christ in a case, that he cannot command a cup of water; Christ dying, shamed, forsaken, is black: but Christ, in that same work redeeming the captives of hell, opening to sinners forfeited paradise, that is fair and white. Joseph, weeping in the prison for no fault, is foul and sad; but Joseph brought out to reign as half a king, to keep alive the Church of God in great famine, is joyful and glorious. The apostles whipped, imprisoned, killed all the day long, are sad and heavy: but sewed with this, that God causeth them always to triumph, and show the savour of the knowledge of Christ; and Paul triumphing in his iron chains, and exalting Christ in the gospel, through the court of bloody Nero, —maketh up a fair and comely contexture of divine Providence. 3rd, God, in all his works, now, when he raineth from heaven a sad shower of blood on the three kingdoms, hath his one foot on justice, that wrath may fill to the brim the cup of malignants, prelates, and papists; and his other foot on mercy, [[“to wash away the filth of the daughter of Zion, and to purge the blood of Jerusalem in the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.”>>Isa. 4:4]]. And this is God’s way and ordinary path-road—Psalm 25:10. And in one and the same motion, God can walk both to the east and to the west, and to the north and the south.

USE.—It is our fault, that we look upon God’s ways and works by halves and pieces; and so, we see often nothing but the black side, and the dark part of the moon. We mistake all, when we look upon men’s works by parts; a house in the building, lying in an hundred pieces; here timber, here a rafter, there a spar, there a stone; in another place, half a window, in another place, the side of a door: there is no beauty, no face of a house here. Have patience a little, and see them all by art compacted together in order, and you will see a fair building. When a painter draweth the half of a man; the one side of his head, one eye, the left arm, shoulder, and leg, and hath not drawn the other side, nor filled up with colours all the members, parts, limbs, in its full proportion, it is not like a man. So do we look on God’s works by halves or parts; and we see him bleeding his people, scattering parliaments, chasing away nobles and prelates, as not willing they should have a finger in laying one stone of his house: yet do we not see, that in this dispensation, the other half of God’s work makes it a fair piece. God is washing away the blood and filth of his church, removing those from the work who would cross it. In bloody wars, malignant soldiers ripping up women with child, waste, spoil, kill; yet are they but purging Zion’s tin, brass, and lead, and such reprobate metal as themselves. Jesuits and false teachers are but God’s snuffers, to occasion the clearing and snuffing of the lamps of the tabernacle, and make truth more naked and obvious. 

[1] When an answer is not given at the first.

[2] As grace hath no evil eye.

[3] For offending the Jews.

Sermon 2. — Mark 7:24. — “And he went into a house, and would that no man should know it.”

posted 24 Mar 2014, 18:01 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 24 Mar 2014, 18:03 ]


Mark 7:24. — “And he went into a house, and would that no man should know it.”

This will, according to which, it is said, “he would that no man should know it,” was his human will, according to which, the Lord Jesus was a man as we are, yet without sin; which was not always fulfilled. For his divine will, being backed with omnipotency, can never be resisted; it overcometh all, and can be resisted by none.

Consider what a Christ we have; one who as God, hath a standing will that cannot fail—Isa. 14:24. “He doth all his pleasure.” His pleasure and his work are commensurable—Isa. 46:10, 11; Psalm 135:6; Psalm 115:3. Yet this Lord did stoop so low, as to take to himself man’s will, to submit to God and law. And see how Christ, for our instruction, is content that God should break his will, and lay it below providence—Matt. 26:39. Oh! so little and low as great Jesus Christ is! All is come to this, “O my Father, remove the cup; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Christ and his Father have but one will between them both: [[“I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father that sent me.”>>John 5:30]]. [[“For even Christ pleased not himself.”>>Rom. 15:3]]. It is a sign of conformity with Christ, when we have a will so mortified, as it doth lie level with God’s providence. Aaron’s sons are killed, and that by God immediately from heaven with fire, a judgment very hell-like—Lev. 10:3, and Aaron held his peace. A will lying in the dust under God’s feet, so as I can say, “Let his will, whose I am, enact to throw me in hell, he shall have my vote,” is very like the mother-rule of all sanctified wills, even like Christ’s pliable will. There is no iron sinew in Christ’s will, it was easily broken; the tip of God’s finger, with one touch, broke Christ’s will: [[“Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.”>>Heb. 10:9]].

Oh, but there is a hard stone in our will: the stony heart is the stony will; hell cannot break the rock and the adamant, and the flint in our will—1 Sam. 8:19, “Nay, but we will have a king,” whether God will or no. God’s will standeth in the people’s way, bidding them return. They answer, [[“There is no hope, but we will walk after our own devices.”>>Jer. 18:12]]. Hell, vengeance, omnipotency, crossed Pharaoh’s will, but it would neither bow nor break. [[“But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he would not let the people go.”—Exod. 9:27]].

There be two things in our will,

(1.) The natural frame and constitution of it.

(2.) The goodness of it. The will of angels and of sinless Adam is not essentially good, for then, angels could never have turned devils; therefore, the constitution of the will needeth supervenient goodness, and confirming grace, even when will is at its best. Grace, grace now is the only oil to our wheels. Christ hath taken the castle, both in-works and out-works, when he hath taken the will, the proudest enemy that Christ hath out of hell. When Saul renders his will, he renders his weapon. This is mortification, when Christ runneth away with your will; as Christ was like a man that had not a man’s will. So Saul—Acts 9:6]], “trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” It is good when the Lord trampleth upon Ephraim’s fair neck—Hosea 10:11.

There is no goodness in our will now, but what it hath from grace; and to turn the will from evil to good, is no more nature’s work, than we can turn the wind from the east to the west. When the wheels of the clock are broken and rusted, it cannot go. When the bird’s wing is broken, it cannot fly. When there is a stone in the sprent and in-work of the lock, the key cannot open the door. Christ must oil the wheels of misordered will, and heal them, and remove the stone, and infuse grace[1]: if not, the motions of will are all hell-ward.

“But he could not be hid, for a certain woman,” etc. Christ sometimes would be hid, because he hath a spirit above the people’s windy air, and their hosanna. It is a spirit of straw, naughty and base, that is burnt up with that which hindered Themistocles to sleep. [2] “Honour me before the people,” was cold comfort to Saul, when the prophet told him God had rejected him. But Christ desired not to be hid from this woman; he was seeking her, and yet he flieth from her. Christ, in this, is such a flier as would gladly have a pursuer.

2. Faith findeth Christ out when he is hid. [[“Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself;”>>Isa. 45:15]]. But faith seeth God under his mask, and through the cloud; and, therefore, faith addeth, “O God of Israel, the Saviour!” Thou hidest thyself, O God, from Israel, but Israel findeth thee—Isa. 45:17, “Israel shall be saved in the Lord, with an everlasting salvation.” God casteth a cloud of anger about himself, he maketh darkness his pavilion, and will not look out; yet Job seeth God, and findeth him out many hundred miles—Isa. 19:26, “Yet in my flesh shall I see God.”

3. Reason, sense, nay, angels, seeing Christ between two thieves dying, and going out of this world, bleeding to death, naked, forsaken of friend and lover, they may wonder and say, “O Lord, what dost thou here?” Yet the faith of the thief found him there, as a king, who had the keys of Paradise; and he said in faith, [[“Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”>>Luke 23:42]].

4. Faith seeth him as a witness, and a record in heaven, as Job—16:19, 20, even when God cleaveth his reins asunder, and poureth out his gall upon the ground, ver. 13. Believe then, that Christ gloometh, that he may kiss; that he cuts, that he may cure; that he maketh the living believer’s grave before his eyes, and hath no mind to bury him alive. He breatheth the smoke and the heat of the furnace of hell on the soul, when peace, grace, and heaven is in his heart. He breaketh the hollow of Jacob’s thigh, so as he must go halting all his days, and it is his purpose to bless him. Whereas we should walk by faith, we walk much, even in our spiritual walk, by feeling and sense; we have these errors in our faith, we make not the word of promise the rule of our faith, but only God’s dispensation.

Now, God’s dispensation is spotless, and innocent, and white, yet it is not Scripture to me; nor all that dispensation and providence seemeth to speak, the word of God. Ram-horns speak no taking of towns in an ordinary providence, as spear and shield and a host of fighting men do. “Killed all the day long, and estimated as sheep for the slaughter,” speaketh not to me, that God’s people are [[“more than conquerors through him that loved us.”>>Rom. 8:36, 37]].

(1.) Our faith, in reference to dispensation, is to do two things:

(1.) To believe in general, though dispensation be rough, stormy, black, yet Christ is fair, sweet, gracious; and, that hell and death are servants to God’s dispensation toward the children of God. Abraham must kill Isaac; yet in Isaac, as in the promised seed, all the nations of the earth are blessed. Israel is foiled, and falleth before the men of Ai; yet Israel shall be saved by the Lord. Judah shall go into captivity, but the dead bones shall live again. Read the promise in general, engraved upon the dispensation of God. Garments are rolled in blood in Scotland and England. The wheels of Christ’s chariot, in this reformation, go with a slow pace: the prince is averse to peace, many worthies are killed, a foreign nation cometh against us; yet all worketh for the best to those that love God.

(2.) Hope biddeth us to await the Lord’s event. We see God’s work, it cometh to our senses; but the event that God bringeth out of his work lieth under ground. Dispensation is as a woman travailing in birth, and crying out for pain; but she shall be delivered of two men-children, —Mercy to the people of God, Justice to Babylon. Wait on till the woman bring forth, though you see not the children.

2. We trust possession in our part, more than law, and the fidelity of the promise on God’s part. Feeling is of more credit to us than faith; sense is surer to us than the word of faith. Many weak ones believe not life eternal, because they feel it not: heaven is a thing unseen, and they find no consolation and comfort, and so, are disquieted. If we knew that believing is a bargaining and a buying, we should see the weakness of many. Should any buy a field of land, and refuse to tell down the money, except the party should lay all the ridges, acres, meadows, and mountains on the buyer’s shoulders, that he might carry them home to his house, he should be incredulously unjust. If any should buy a ship, and think it no bargain at all, except he might carry away the ship on his back, should not this make him a ridiculous merchant? God’s law of faith, Christ’s concluded atonement, is better and surer than your feeling. All that sense and comfort saith, is not canonic Scripture; it is adultery to seek a sign, because we cannot rest on our husband’s word. 

[1] Which is wings to the bird.

[2] Themistocles used to roam the streets of Athens at midnight, complaining, that the trophies of Marathon would not let him sleep.

Sermon 3. — Mark 7:24. — “And he went into a house, and would that no man should know it.”

posted 24 Mar 2014, 17:58 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 24 Mar 2014, 18:00 ]


Mark 7:24. — “And he went into a house, and would that no man should know it.”

Question. But cannot Christ be hid? 

Answer. Not of himself. It is hard to hide a great fire, or to cast a covering upon sweet odours, that they smell not. Christ’s name is as a sweet ointment poured out: he is a mountain of spices, and he is a strong savour of heaven, and of the higher paradise. You may hide the man, that he shall not see the sun: but you cannot cast a garment over the body of the sun, and hide day-light.

From which it appeareth, that Christ cannot be hid,

1. In his cause and truth. The gospel is scourged and imprisoned, when the apostles are so served; yet it cometh to light, and filleth Jerusalem, and filleth all the world. What was done to hide Christ? When he and his gospel are buried under a great stone, yet his fame goeth abroad. Death is no covering to Christ. Papists burn all the books of Protestants; they kill and slay the witnesses. Antiochus and the persecuting emperors throw all the Bibles in the fire; but this truth cannot be hid, it triumpheth. As soon pull down Jesus from his royal seat at the right hand of God, as Babylon, prelates, papists, malignants, in these three kingdoms, can extinguish the people and truth of Christ.

2. Believers cannot hide and dissemble a good or an ill condition in the soul; the well-beloved is away, and the church’s bed cannot keep her: all the watchmen, all the streets, all the daughters of Jerusalem, yea, heaven and Christ must hear of it—Cant. 3:1-3; 5:6-8. Mary Magdalene’s bed, and a morning sleep, and the company of angels and apostles, cannot dry her cheeks. “Woman, what ails thee?” saith the angel. “Oh,” she weepeth, “Oh, what aileth me? They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. O apostles! where is he? O Sir, angel, tell me if you saw him? O grave! O death! Show me, is my Lord with you?” The love of Christ is no hypocrite. I grant, some can for a time put a fair face on it, when Christ is absent; but most of the saints look as a bird fallen from the raven; as a lamb fallen out of the lion’s mouth; as one too soon out of bed in the morning. Oh, sick of love! Oh, show him! I charge you tell him, watchmen, daughters of Jerusalem, that I am sick of love. Love is a paining, feverous, tormenting sickness: grace cannot put on a laughing mask, when sweet Jesus is hidden; love hath no art to conceal sorrow. The countenance of David—Psalm 42:5, is sick; there is death in his face, when God is not the light of his countenance.

3. The joy of his presence cannot be hid: she cannot but tell and cry out, O fair, O white day! He is come again: [[“It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loved.”>>Cant. 3:4]]. She numbered all the miles she had traveled while her Lord was absent: Joy will speak, it is not dumb: [[“The roof of thy mouth [is] like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.”>>Cant. 7:9]], [[“Can the children of the bed-chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them?”>>Matt. 9:15]]. i.e. They cannot choose but rejoice.

4. Grace in a sincere professor, and Christ, cannot be hid. There came a good fair breath, with a blast of a sweet west-wind of heaven, on Joseph of Arimathea: the time was ill, Christ was dead; and he can dissemble no longer—Mark 15:43. With much daring and boldness, he went unto Pilate with a petition: “I beseech you, my Lord Governor, let me but have this Jesus his dead body:” There was some fire of heaven in this bold profession. What would this be thought of, to see a noble and honourable Lord-Judge, with a dead and crucified man’s body in his arms? But faith knoweth no blushing; grace cannot be ashamed. There was a strait charge laid on the apostles, [[“Preach no more in the name of Jesus.”>>Acts. 4:18]]. Peter and John boldly say, “We cannot but speak the things we have heard and seen.” Lay as heavy weights as death, burning quick [alive], sawing asunder, on the sincerity of faith in the martyrs, it must up the mountain. David’s grace was kept in, as with a muzzle put upon the mouths of beasts—Psalm 39., it was as coals of fire in his heart, and he behoved to speak even before the wicked: [[“I believed, therefore I spake.”>>Psalm 116:10]].

5. When Jeremiah layeth unlawful bands on himself, to speak no more in the name of the Lord, there is a spirit of prophecy lying on him—he is not lord of his own choice. [[“But his word was in my heart, as a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”>>Jer. 20:9]]. There is a majesty of grace on the conscience of the child of God, that must break out in holy duties: though temptation should hide Christ in his grace, tempted Joseph is overawed with this, [[“How can I then do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”>>Gen. 39:9]]. This awful majesty of the grace of God’s fear, causeth Joseph see nothing in harlotry, but pure, unmixed guiltiness against God. There is an overmastering apprehension of Christ’s love—2 Cor. 5:14, that constraineth Paul to own the love of Christ, in dedicating himself to the service of the gospel. Though Paul would not have preached, yet he had a sum to pay; [[“I am debtor both to the Greeks and the Barbarians, both to the wise and the unwise.”>>Rom. 1:14]]. Grace awed him, as a debt layeth fetters on an ingenuous mind; he cannot but relieve his free and honest mind in paying what he oweth.

6. God’s desertion cannot so hide and over-cloud Christ, but against sense, the child of God must believe; yea, and pray in faith, [[“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? O my God, I cry by day.”>>Psalm 22:1-2]]. Though sin over-cloud Christ, and David fall in adultery and blood, there is a seed of Christ that must cast out blossoms; he cannot but repent and sorrow. God’s decree of grace in the execution of it, may be broken in a link by some great sin; but Christ cannot but solder the chain, and raise the fallen sinner.

It shall be useful then for the saints, when the Spirit cometh in his stirrings and impetuous acts, to co-operate with him, and to answer his wind-blowing. It is good to hoist up sail, and make out, when a fair wind and a strong tide calleth. Sometimes grace maketh the heart as a hot iron; it is good then to smite with the hammer. When your spirit is docile, and there cometh a gale of Christ’s sweet west-wind, and rusheth in with a warmness of heart, in a praying disposition to retire to a corner, and pour out the soul before the Lord; as we are to take Christ at his word, so are we to take Christ’s Spirit at his work. He knocketh; knock thou with him. His fingers make a stirring upon the handles of the bar, and drop down pure myrrh;—let thy heart make a stirring with his fingers also. I grant, wind maketh sailing, and all the powers on earth cannot make wind; yet when God maketh wind, the seamen may draw sails, and launch forth. God preventeth in all these. The spirit beateth fire out of our flint, we are to lay to a match and receive; reach in the heart, under the stirrings of free grace; obey dispositions of grace, as God himself. When the sun riseth, the birds may sing, but their singing is no cause of the sun rising.

It is no truth of God that some teach, that the justified in Christ are of duty always tied to one and the same constant act of rejoicing, without any mixture of sadness and sorrow. For so they cannot,

(1.) Obey and follow the various impressions of the Lord’s absence and presence of Christ’s sea-ebbing and flowing, of his shining and smiling, and his lowring and frowning.

(2.) The faith of a justified condition doth not root out all affections; nay, not love, faith, desire, and joy: if there be sin remaining in the justified, there is place of sadness, for fear, for sorrow; for the scum of affections is removed by Christ, not the affections themselves.

(3.) Christ for mere trial sometimes, for sin at other times, doth cover himself with a cloud and withdraw the sense of his favour; and it is a cursed joy that is on foot, when the Lord hideth his face. The love of Christ must be sick and sad; I mean, the lover, when the beloved is under a cloud. It is not the new world with the regenerate man here; nor a land where there is nothing but all summer, all sun, neither night nor clouds, nor rain nor storm: that is the condition of the second Paradise, of the better Adam.

(4.) It is a just and an innocent sorrow, to be grieved at that which grieveth the Holy Spirit; and when the lion roareth, all the beasts of the field are afraid. Grace maketh not Job a stock, nor Christ a man who cannot weep.

Matt. 15, Mark 7. — “And behold, a woman of Canaan:” and “A certain woman.”

Of the woman:

(1.) But one person of all Tyrus and Sidon came to him.

(2.) She was a Syrophenician by nation.

(3.) Her condition, She had a daughter vexed with a devil.

(4.) With an unclean devil.

(5.) The nearer occasion, She heard of him.

(6.) She adored.

(7.) She prayed: and so, way is made to the conference between Christ and her; and to the trial and miracle.

CERTAIN WOMAN.—There is but one of all Tyrus and Sidon who came to Christ.

(1.) It beseemeth the mercy of the good Shepherd, to [[“leave ninety and nine sheep in the wilderness, and go after one which is lost.”>>Luke 15:4]]. And when all is done, alas! he hath but one of a whole hundred. Christ hath not the tithe of mankind. He maketh a journey, till he is wearied and thirsty, through Samaria; yea, and wanteth his dinner, for one woman at that draught of his net, and thinketh he dineth like a king, and above, if he save one>>John 4:33, 34. Oh, sweet husband’s word! [[“I am married to you, and I will take you, one of a city, and two of a tribe, and I will bring you to Zion.”>>Jer. 3:14]]. Christ taketh sinners, not by dozens, not by thousands, (it is but once in all the word—Acts 2, that three thousand are converted at once;) but by ones and twos. “Though Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant shall but be saved;”—Rom. 9:27; Isa. 10:22; the relics and refuse shall be saved only.

(2.) Common love scarce amounteth to grace, because grace is separative and singleth out one of many; all graced persons are privileged persons; heaven is a house of chosen and privileged ones; there are no common stones in the New Jerusalem, but all precious stones; the [[“foundations sapphires, the windows agates and carbuncles, all the borders of pleasant stones.”>>Isa. 54:11-12]].

(3.) Christ’s way lieth so, of two grinding at a mill, of two in the field together, of two in one bed, Christ will have but one: Christ often will not have both husband and wife, both father and son; but the one brother, Jacob, not Esau. Of a whole house, Christ cometh to the devil’s fireside, and chooseth one, and draweth him out, and leaveth all the family to the devil.

(4.) Christ knoweth them well whom he chooseth: grace is a rare piece of the choice and the flower of the love of heaven: there be many common stones; not many pearls, not many diamonds and sapphires. The multitude be all Arminians from the womb; every heresy is a piece of the old Adam’s wanton wit; thousands go to hell, black heretics and heterodox, as touching the doctrine of themselves; every man hath grace if you believe himself; every man taketh heaven for his home and heritage; dogs think to rest in Christ’s bosom. Men naturally believe, though they be but up and down with Christ, yet Christ doth so bear them at good will, as to give grace and glory.

Objection 1. God’s love is not infinite, if it be limited to a few. 

Answer. This should conclude, that there be an infinite number of men and angels, to whom God’s love to salvation is betrothed in affection: but his love is infinite in its act, not in its object; the way of carrying on his love is infinite.

Objection 2. To ascribe God’s not loving of men to God’s disposition, heart, will, and pleasure, and not to our defects, is blasphemy. 

Answer. The Lord ascribeth his having mercy, and his hardening, to his own free-will—Rom. 9:18; Exod. 33:19; and his love is as free as his mercy; and by this means, God’s first love to us should arise from our love preventing [leading] his, contrary to his own word—Deut. 7:7; Eph. 2:4, 5; Titus 3:3; 2 Tim. 1:9, and man should be the first lover of the two. The creature then putteth the Lord in his debt, and giveth first to God, and God cannot but recompense—Isa. 40:13, 14; Rom. 11:34, 35. Now, it is no shame for us to live and die in the debt of Christ; the heaven of angels and men is an house of the debtors of Christ, eternally engaged to him, and shall stand in his debt-book ages without end.

Objection 3. Infinite goodness may as soon cease to be, as not be good to all, or withhold mercy from any. 


(1.) Every being of reprobate men and devils, is a fruit of God’s goodness, but of free goodness; else God should cease to be, if he should turn his creatures to nothing; for he should cease to be good to things without himself, if these were all turned to their poor mother-nothing.

(2.) Mercy floweth not from God essentially, especially the mercy of conversion, remission of sins, eternal life, but of mere grace; for then God could not be God, and deny these favours to reprobates. Freedom of mercy and salvation is as infinitely sweet and admirable in God, as mercy and salvation itself.

Objection 4. But God is so essentially good to all, as he must communicate his goodness by way of justice, in order to free obedience; and that is life eternal, to those who freely believe and obey. 

Answer. But the great enemy of grace, Arminius, teaches us, that all the freedom of grace—Rom. 9, is resolved into the free pleasure of God, in which he freely, and without hire, purposed to reward faith, not the works of the law, with life eternal; whereas it was free to him to keep another order, if so it should seem good to him; and by this means, God is yet freely, and by an act of pure grace, not essentially good to all, even in communicating his goodness by way of justice: for what God doth by necessity of his nature and essence, that he cannot but do. But sure it is, by no necessity of nature doth the Lord reward one’s faith, or any obedience in us, with the crown of life eternal: he may give heaven freely without one’s obedience at all, as he giveth the first grace freely—Ezek. 16:6-8; Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:3, 4. But this is surer, the fewer have grace, grace is the more grace, and the more like itself and free.

Objection 5. But I have a good heart to God. 

Answer. A quiet heart sleeping in a false peace, is a bad heart: most of sinners give their souls to the devil by theft; they think they are sailing to heaven, and know nothing till they shore, sleeping in the land of death—Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 16:27, 28.

Objection 6. Why, but God hath bestowed on me many favours and riches in this world.

Answer. God’s grace is not graven on gold. It should be but the logic of a beast, if the slaughter ox should say, “The master favoureth me more than any ox in the stall; I am free of the yoke that is upon the neck of others, and my pasture is fatter than their’s.”

Objection 7. The saints love me. 

Answer. The saints can mis-father their love, and love where God loveth not.

Objection 8. All the world loveth me. 

Answer. You are the liker to be a step-child of Jerusalem and of heaven; for, [[“The world loveth its own.”>>John 15:19]]. Better it were to have the world a step-mother, than to be no other, but to lie in such a womb, and suck such breasts.

Objection 9. I believe life eternal. 

Answer. That faith is with child of heaven; but see it be not a false birth. Few or none come to age, and none clothed in white and crowned, but they were jealous of their faith, and feared their own ways. Natural men stand aloof from hell and wrath. 

Sermon 4. — Mark 7:26. — “The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation.”

posted 24 Mar 2014, 17:52 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 24 Mar 2014, 17:56 ]


Mark 7:26. — “The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation.”

Much woe is denounced by the prophets against Tyrus and Sidon; yet sweet Jesus draweth aside the curtain, and openeth a window of the partition, and saveth this woman. Lo, here Christ [[“planting in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, the myrtle, the oil tree,”>>Isa. 41:19]]; and here, Isa. 55:13, is fulfilled, “And instead of the thorn[1] shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar, shall come up the myrtle tree[2]; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign, that shall not be cut off.” Christ, then, can make and frame a fair heaven out of an ugly hell, and out of the knottiest timber he can make vessels of mercy, for service in the high palace of glory.

1. What are they all, who are now glorified? The fairest face that standeth before the throne of redeemed ones, was once inked and blackened with sin. You should not know Paul now, with a crown of a king on his head: he looketh not now like a “blasphemer, a persecutor, an injurious person.” The woman that had once seven devils in her, is a Mary Magdalene far changed, and grace made the change.

2. Grace is a new world—Heb. 2:5. The land of grace hath two summers in one year. [[“The inhabitants shall not say, I am sick; the people that dwell therein, shall be forgiven their iniquity.”>>Isa. 33:24]]. [[“Whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die.”>>John 11:26]]. They are not mortal men that are in grace; there is neither sickness nor death in that land.

3. We say of such a physician, He hath cured diseases that never man could; he cured stark death; then you may commit your body to him, he is a tried physician. Christ hath made a rare copy, a curious sampler of mercy, of the apostle Paul; for in him he hath shown all [[“long-suffering, for a pattern to them that should hereafter believe in him to life eternal.”>>1 Tim. 1:16]]. Heaven is a house full of miracles; yea, of spectacles and images of free grace. You may entrust your soul, with all its diseases, to Christ; he hath given many rare proofs of his tried art of grace; he hath made many black limbs of hell fair saints in heaven: such a man, such an artificer, threw down an old dungeon of clay, and made it up a fair palace of gold.

Objection. But what am I, a lump of unrepenting guiltiness and sin, to such a vessel of mercy, as holy Paul, and repenting Mary Magdalene? Answer. Grace, as it is in God, and fitness to receive grace in us, is just alike to all. There was no more reason why Paul should obtain mercy, than why thou, or any other sinner like thee, should obtain mercy. There is a like reason for me to have noble and broad thoughts of the rich grace of Christ, as for Abraham, Moses, David, all the prophets and apostles to believe. There was no greater ransom given by Christ to buy faith and free grace for Noah, Job, and Daniel, to Moses and Samuel, than to poor and sinful me: it is one cause, one ransom, one free love. If there had a nobler and worthier Redeemer died for Moses and Paul, than for you and me; and another heaven, and a freer grace purchased to them, than to me, I should have been discouraged: grace is grace to thee, as to meek Moses: Christ is Christ to thee, as to believing Abraham. And further, The same grace that is here, is in heaven.

(1.) As faith that is freely given us, is the conquest of the new heir, Jesus Christ—John 6:44; Phil. 1:29; Eph. 1:3, so are all Christ’s bracelets about our neck in heaven, and the garland of glory, the free grace of God. It is the same day-light when the sun breaketh forth out of the east, and at noon-day in the highest meridian. Though we change places when we die, we change not husbands.

(2.) We stand here by free grace—Rom. 5:2. Repentance and remission of sins are freely given here to Israel, by the exalted Prince Christ Jesus—Acts 5:31. Our tears are bought with that common ransom; so the high inns of the royal court of heaven is a free and open house, and no bill put upon the inhabitants; neither fine, nor stent, nor excise, nor assessment, nor taxation; all is upon the royal charges of the Prince of the kings of the earth. There is no more hire, merit, wages, or fees there than here; the income of glory for eternity, and the life-rent of ages of blessedness, is all the goodwill of Him who sitteth on the throne. Every apple of the tree of life is grace; every sip, every drop of the sea and river of life, is the purchase of the blood of the Lamb that is in the midst of them.

(3.) They be as poor without Christ who are there, as we are. Glory is grace, and their dependency for ages of ages is, that the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne, does feed them, and lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God wipeth away all tears from their eyes—Rev. 7:17. Then they cannot walk there alone, but as the Lamb leadeth them; and if Christ were not there, or if he should take grace, glory, and all his own jewels and ornaments from Moses and Enoch, there should remain no more there but poor nature. As good angels do therefore not fall, because in Christ, the Head of angels, they are confirmed[3], so the glorified in heaven do therefore stand, and are confirmed in the inheritance, not by free-will there, more than here; but by immediate dependence of grace on the Lamb, whom they follow whithersoever he goeth. Grace, then, for kind, is as good as heaven. Glory, glory to our ransom-payer!

3. Her little daughter was vexed (κακῶς δαιμονίζεται, she is exceedingly devilled,) she saith, or grievously tormented with a devil. Then observe, that common punishments of sin, and sad afflictions do follow justified persons, as well as the wicked; for it was a sad burden to the mother, that the devil had such a dominion over her daughter; yet the text cleareth, that she was a justified person, as her instancy of praying, adoring, and great faith, even prevailing over Christ, under sad trials, do manifestly evidence. And we see the reasons that the Scripture allegeth,

(1.) That the gold of precious faith, and the upright metal therein, may be seen—1 Pet. 1:7. Afflictions are the servants and pursuivants of the accusing law, sent out to cause us lay hold, by faith, on peace made, and pardon purchased in Christ. The hot furnace is the workhouse of Christ; in that fire he taketh away the scum, the dross, the refuse of the true metal, that faith may be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearance of Jesus Christ.

(2.) Afflictions drive us to seek God, they being God’s firemen; and his hired labourers, sent to break the clods, and to plough Christ’s land, that he may sow heaven there; but Christ must bring new earth to the soil. In prosperity we come to God, but in a common way; as the grave man came to the theatre, only that he might go out again. But in trouble, the saints do more than come; they make a friendly visit when they come. Also, the prayers of the saints in prosperity, are but summer prayers, slow, lazy, and alas! too formal. In trouble, they rain out prayers, or cast them out in co-natural violence, as a fountain doth cast out waters. Both these are in one well expressed by the prophet: “Lord, in trouble they have visited thee; they pour out a prayer when thy chastening hand is on them.”[4]—Isa. 26:16.

(3.) We must be made like Christ, in the cross and the crown—2 Tim. 2:12, and conform to him—Rom. 8:29. Christ the corner-stone: though there was no sin in him, yet before he was made the chief corner-stone, he was by death hammered—Acts 4:10-12. And much more, the strokes and smiting of the cross must knock down all the superfluity of naughtiness, and every height, till by smoothing and chipping, the child of God be made a stone, in breadth, length, proportion, smoothness, some way conform to the first copy, and to Christ the sampler-stone. There is a 4th reason, but it is a controverted one: The justified person may be afflicted for sin. Some teach that this is Popery, to affirm, that the justified bear the punishment of their sin; because, Christ only was wounded for our iniquity, and did bear, in his own body, our sins on the tree: therefore (say they) respect seemeth to be had[5] to sin, not principally, but secondarily and occasionally; not as it offendeth God, who by that one sacrifice is for ever pacified—Heb. 10:14; Matt. 3, but as it offendeth and diseaseth the minds of the faithful: not that afflictions simply, properly, and immediately do ease, quiet, and cure the conscience[6], but that they awaken and stir up our dullness, to a lively apprehension of Christ’s righteousness. And so, while God, as a father, correcteth for sin, sin hath not properly with God the nature of sin, which is an offence of Divine justice, but is considered as a disease troubling his child; which in love, and in pity, he seeketh to make riddance of, in manner aforesaid, and not in anger and displeasure.

It is true, Papists hold, that when God forgiveth sin in David, he forgiveth not the punishment; for David is punished with the sword on his house for that same sin: but it is known, that this doctrine is a too-fall and pillar, to underprop the chamber in hell, which they call Purgatory: and that their meaning is, that punishment inflicted on a justified person, is a punishment satisfactory to the justice of God; that so, they may make the merits of the saints suffering, to ride up, as a collateral sharer with the high and noble blood of the killed Lamb of God, who only satisfactorily taketh away the sins of the world. This we disclaim; but, on the other hand, we hold, that there is another justice in God, than that legal and sin-revenging justice, which Christ’s sufferings have expiated and fully satisfied, both in regard of God’s acceptation, and of the intrinsical worth of the death of him who was God, the Prince of life. And this other justice, is also the justice of an offended father, correcting, though in mercy, the sins of the saints as sins[7]:

1. Because the sins of the saints are not only the offending of divine revenging justice, but also, a wrong done against this mixed justice, and against the mercy and kindness of God—2 Sam. 12:7-9; Exod. 20:1, 2; Psalm 81:6, 7, 10, 11; and 78:11-13, 42, 53-56; Deut.32:11-18; Amos 3:2. And therefore God doth punish, in his own, sins as sins.

2. Those who are not to perish with the world, are, for this cause[8], sick, and punished with death—1 Cor. 11:30, 32, 33. It is clearly against the text, that Mr. Towne saith, That a justified person, having the least measure of faith, cannot eat and drink unworthily; the smallest faith maketh them worthy; and so those who, in that text, did eat unworthily, did but dally with the gospel, and never actually put on Christ. But faith doth no more hinder a justified person to receive the Lord’s supper unworthily, than it doth hinder him to commit adultery, or incest, or to kill; and whosoever should come to the Lord’s table under these sins, without repenting, should eat and drink unworthily; and such a sin may a believer according to God’s heart[9] commit. And there is great odds between being unworthy, and eating unworthily. All believers, of themselves, are unworthy of Christ and salvation, but being in Christ by faith, they are counted worthy; and yet they may eat and drink unworthily. But Mr. Towne’s sense seemeth to carry, that a justified person cannot sin, nor eat and drink unworthily, because faith maketh him worthy: and if so, the way of grace is a wanton merry way; the justified are freed from the law, and from any danger of sinning.

3. Nothing is more evident, than that David was punished according to the rule of that mixed and fatherly justice, which keeps a due proportion between the sin and the punishment. His sin was, to cut off Uriah’s house out of Israel; God sendeth the sword against his house, all his days. He took another man’s wife secretly, and did commit filthiness with her; the Lord took his wives, before the sun, and gave them to Absalom, who defiled his bed.—2 Sam. 12. Here is justice, though, I grant, mixed with mercy; sword for sword, bed for bed. Eli honoured his sons more than God, and suffered them to profane priesthood and sacrifices; justice rooted out his sons from priesthood and sacrifice. Hezekiah, out of his pride, showed all his treasures, and all that was in his house, to the king of Babylon’s messengers; and justice measured out the like to him: all that was in his house, and all his treasures, were carried away as a spoil to Babylon.

4. [[“Slay old and young—begin at my sanctuary.”>>Ezek. 9:6.]] [[“And behold thou shalt be dumb—because thou believest not my word.”>>Luke 1:20]]. The church of God, in terminis, saith so much: [[“The Lord is righteous, for I have rebelled against his commandment.”>>Lam. 1:18]], [[“The yoke of my transgression is bound by his hand; they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck.”>>Lam. 1:14]]. “Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sin?”>>Lam. 3:39]]. [[“Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.”>>Lam. 3:40]]. [[“Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? Did not the Lord, against whom we have sinned?”>>Isa. 42:24]]. [[“I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned.”>>Micah 7:9]]. [[“For through the anger of the Lord it came to pass in Jerusalem, and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.”>>2 Kings 24.20]]. It is not of weight that is brought, to take off the force of these pregnant scriptures. The church, consisting of mixed persons, good and bad, elect and reprobate, (say they,) is, according to the wicked party, punished in justice, but not the believing party. But I answer, all Judah, good and ill, Jeremiah, Daniel, and all the holy seed, were involved with the perverse and obstinate idolaters, in the same common calamity of a sad captivity. And it was not the ill figs, and stiff-necked idolaters, that did confess the Lord’s righteousness, and their own rebellion against the Lord; nor did the wicked party enter into a trial of their ways, and acknowledge, that the unregenerate man only suffereth for his sins; nor did any of that side, with patience, hope, and silence, bear the indignation of the Lord: it was the true church, God’s Jacob, the meek of the earth, that did thus stoop to God’s correction; and yet these same were punished for their sins, as they acknowledge—Lam. 1:18; Mic. 7:9.

5. This is also against the covenant, and threatenings thereof: [[“And if ye walk contrary to me, and will not hearken to me, I will bring seven times more plagues on you,”>>Lev. 26:21-40]] etc. “If then[10] their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity,”—Lev. 26:41, “Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob.”—Lev. 26:42. [[“If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments, ‘‘>>Psalm 89:30]] etc. [[“Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.”>>Psalm 89:32]]. “Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him,”>>Psalm 89:33]] etc. Nothing is more evident, than that those who are in the covenant of grace, from whom God cannot remove the sure mercies of David, are visited for their iniquities, with temporal rods.

6. It is against God’s anger and displeasure at the sins of his own children; for God is really angry at his own children’s sins; and why then doth he not punish them for their sins? [[“The anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses.”>>Exod. 4:14]]. [[“Also the Lord was angry with me for your sake.”>>Deut. 1:37]]. And the story showeth, because Moses sanctified not the Lord at the waters of Meribah, God would not suffer him to set his foot in the holy land. [[“God was angry with Solomon.”>>2 Chron. 11:9]]. [[“The Lord was very angry with Aaron.”>>Deut. 1:20]]. The prophet Jehu said to Jehoshaphat, that good king, [[“There is wrath upon thee from the Lord.”>>2 Chron. 19:2]]. [[“For in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour I have had mercy upon thee.”>>Isa. 60:10]].

7. The contrary error is founded upon two other errors,

(1.) That all afflictions are subservient officers and sergeants to the law; and so, they are signs of God’s wrath, as is the law: And as believers are freed from the ruling power of the law, so also, from the rod. But this is false; for God’s rod, of itself, is neither a sign of revenging justice, nor of free mercy; but it taketh its nature and specification from the intention and mind of God: all these externals fall alike to elect and reprobate. The repenting thief, and the blaspheming thief are under the same rod of God; both die a violent death. Wicked Ahab, and good Josiah are both killed in war. The botches and agues threatened in the law—Deut. 28:60, are upon Job—Job 2:7. What maketh the same rod, to be a work of revenging justice, in the reprobate, and of justice mixed and tempered with mercy and fatherly kindness, in the other? Certainly, God’s pleasure and wise intention, punishing for different ends, varieth the nature of the rods; so as an intention to take satisfactory vengeance on the reprobate, specifieth his rod, and maketh it punishment of black wrath, of salt and unmixed justice on him. And this intention, is an essential ingredient in satisfactory punishment. God writeth and engraveth upon the toothache of a reprobate, a parcel of hell; and he stampeth upon burning quick, racking and torturing, the engraving of heaven, of mercy and loving-kindness, in the believer. Bastard crosses, and lawfully begotten afflictions have the same father, but not the same mother,

(2.) If the patrons of this error could make God’s rod as arbitrary, as they fancy the duties of the teaching and ruling law of God to be, they should cry down all crosses, and send all the justified persons to heaven with a pass, securing them from all affliction in the way to heaven; and so, Christ should bring his many children to glory, with dry faces and whole skins. Whereas Christ himself passed to heaven with the tear in his eye, and a bruised soul. The other error is, That Christ hath made a full atonement for sin, and fully satisfied justice for all that are justified in his blood; and therefore, they cannot be punished for sin themselves. But,

(1.) There is more in the conclusion than in the premises; ergo, the justified cannot suffer satisfactory punishment for sin, either in whole or in part. This is most true; no man’s garments were ever dyed with one drop of red satisfactory vengeance for sin; Christ hath alone trode this winepress, and of all the nations, there were none with him. But yet it no ways followeth, that the regenerate do not suffer punishment for sin, according to the rule of another mixed and tempered justice.

(2.) If this argument from Christ’s suffering have nerves, it shall conclude, that the elect, before they be justified, are never punished for sin, more than believing saints are; yea, that God is not displeased with Abraham’s idolatry before his conversion, nor with Manasseh’s blood, nor with Saul’s persecution; because Christ paid justice for sins of elect persons committed before justification, as for sins committed after justification.

USE. 1. We can fetch no conclusion of a bad condition from affliction. It is a part of tenderness of conscience in the regenerate, to be too applicatory of the law and of wrath: “I am afflicted above all others, therefore God is angry with me, and I am cast off by God.” It is a bad consequence. There be some rules to be observed in affliction:

(1.) We are not either to over-argue or to under-argue, neither to faint nor despise—Heb. 12. Conscience is too quick-sighted after illumination, and too dull-sighted before. The reasons why we argue from afflictions to God’s hatred are,

[1.] There is a conscience of a conscience in the believer; that is, even in an enlightened conscience, there is some ill conscience to deem ill of God. [[“For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes.”>>Psalm 31:22]]. This is a hasty conscience; as we say, Such a one is a hasty man, and soon saddled, easily provoked to anger. This is a conscience soon provoked to anger.

[2.] We have not that love and charity to God, that we have to some friend. We have such a love to some dear friend, that all his blacks are white; his seeming injuries to us do not provoke us. We say, I can believe no evil of such a man; and we over-shoot ourselves in an over-charge and surfeit of charity, which proceedeth from an over-plus and dominion of love, to a creature. We are in the other extremity to God and Jesus Christ. Sense of affliction cooleth our love, and we cannot extend charity so far to our Lord, as when we see he dealeth hardly with us, to keep the other ear without prejudice, free from the report that affliction, and the sense of affliction, maketh.

[3.] The flesh joineth with affliction against God: affliction whispereth wrath, justice, sin, and the flesh saith, That is very true; for flesh hateth God, and so, must slander his dispensation. Ahab could not but slander Micaiah: “He never prophesieth good (saith he) to me.” Is not God’s truth good? Surely, every word of prophecy is like gold seven times tried. The reason of the slander is given by himself—”I hate him.”

The other extremity is, that we under-argue in affliction; as

[1.] we say, It is not the Lord. The Philistines doubted whether God had sent the emerods on them, for keeping the ark captive, or if chance had done it. It is grace to father the cross right.

[2.] We look seldom spiritually on the cross: a carnal eye upon a cross is a plague. [[“God’s anger set him on fire round about, and he knew it not; and it burned him, and he laid it not to heart.”>>Isa. 42:25]]. It is strange, that God’s fire should burn a man, and yet, he neither seeth nor feeleth fire. Why? There is something of God in the cross, that the carnal eye cannot see; because, as Zophar saith, [[“A fire not blown shall consume him.”>>Job 20:26]]. Some make it[11] a fire that hath no noise of bellows or wind, to make it take fire, and to flame up. Some are burnt, and they neither hear nor see. There is a white powder, that burneth, and maketh no noise or sound. A dumb rod is twice a rod. We scarcely see what God is doing in this war; we are smitten of God in the dark. And so, wicked men never do come lawfully out of affliction; they see not God nor sin; and for that come they not out of prison by the king’s keys, but they break the jail, and leap out of a window, the land is to see all the circumstances of this bloody war in these three kingdoms.

USE 2. We are to put a difference between God’s afflicting one man, and a whole church. Now, God hath his fire in our Zion, and we wonder that wars have lain on Germany twenty-six years, and that for divers years the sword has been on us in these kingdoms.

(1.) There be many vessels to be melted: a fire for an afternoon, or a war for a morning of a day, or a week, cannot do it. Seven days’ sickness of a dying child, putteth David to go softly and in sackcloth. Years are little enough to humble proud Scotland and England. God humbled Israel four hundred years and above, in Egypt, and kept them forty years in the wilderness; and Judah must lie smoking in the furnace seventy years.

(2.) One temple was forty-six years in building: God hath taken eighty years to reform England, and many years to reform Scotland, and the temple is not built yet: give to our Lord, time; hope, and wait on.

(3.) Babylon is a great cedar that cannot fall at the first stroke; it is not a work of one day or a year, to bring that princess, the lady of nations, from her throne of glory, to sit in the dust, and take the millstones and grind meal. 

[1] What better are Sidonians than thorns?

[2] And no praise to the ground, but to the good Husbandman.

[3] And if they lacked this confirming grace, they might yet fall, and become apostate devils.

[4] Vatabulus expoundeth Malmad, a murmuring, or prayer which trouble poureth out. The Chaldee paraphrast turneth itsilentium, silence, because the conscience wakened is silent: it is a prophecy what God’s fire doth effectuate, which you have—Hos. 5:15. “In their affliction, they will seek me early.”

[5] As one speaketh.

[6] For their natural effect is to deject and terrify, as appendices of the law.

[7] And so it is a mixed justice.

[8] Because they eat and drink unworthily.

[9] As David was.

[10] In their heavy afflictions.

[11] And not without reason.

Sermon 5. — Matt. 15:22. — “Vexed with a devil;” she is devilled, that is, fully possessed.

posted 24 Mar 2014, 17:50 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 24 Mar 2014, 17:51 ]


Matt. 15:22. — “Vexed with a devil;” she is devilled, that is, fully possessed. 

The malice of the devil is a natural agent, and worketh as intently and bently as he can. As the fire putteth forth all its strength in burning; the sun heateth and enlighteneth as vehemently as it can; a millstone fallen from the sphere of the moon down to the earth, useth no moderation or abatement in its motion, the malice of hell being let loose, it worketh mischief by nature, not by will. Satan’s possession is full: Peter saith to Ananias, [[“Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie against the Holy Ghost?”>>Acts 5:3]]. As there is a fullness of God—Eph. 3:19, so there is a fullness of the devil, [[“being filled with all unrighteousness.”>>Rom. 1:29]]. It is no wonder that cavaliers and malignants work as their father: the nature of the father is in the son; the manner of working is suitable to the nature of the worker; hell works like hell. [[“Behold thou hast spoken, and done evil as thou couldst.”>>Jer. 3:5]]. [[“They drew sin and iniquity, not with a rush or a thread, but with cords of vanity and with a cart rope.”>>Isa. 5:18]]. [[“They do evil with both hands earnestly.”>>Mic. 7:3]]. All that malice and hell could do of cruelty to young and old, to women and sucking infants, hath been done in Ireland and England: the devil in his element is twice a devil; he is in his own when he formeth and actuateth bloody instruments, and he aboundeth in his own sphere. Satan’s malice, by itself, is great, and a sinner’s wrath is heavier than stones and sand; but when they are conjoined[1] who can stand before them? Christ’s lambs have been preserved amidst devils and men since the creation, amongst wolves, by no human power and strength.

Observe, that all that came to Christ, have been forced through some one necessity or other; either a leprous body, blind eyes, a palsy, a bloody issue, a withered arm, or a dying son; and that some have been brought to Christ, at least, their parents or friends have come to Christ, through reason of bodily possession by the devil: but we read of none who came through reason of the devil’s spiritual possessing of them, either by themselves or others.

(1.) There is much flesh and much nature in us, and so much sense and little spirit, and little of God: a blind eye will chase thee to Christ, a soul under the prince of darkness will not.

(2.) We are all body, and life, and time; but we are not all soul, and spirit, and eternity: heaven is far from being the master element in us.

(3.) Misplaced love is much. “Ye are of your father the devil,” saith Christ to the Jews—John 8:44. Every child loveth the father. Why? And men love not the devil: doth not every wretch through nature’s instinct abhor the devil? Is not this the mother-devotion of any wretch that knoweth nothing of God from the womb? “God save me from the devil and all his works; I have nothing to do with that foul spirit.” It is true, there is a physical hatred of the devil, as he is a spirit, an angel, and a pursuivant of divine justice, inflicting evil of punishment on all men naturally; but there is in all men an inbred moral love of the devil, as he is a fallen spirit, tempting to sin: here every prisoner loveth this keeper; like loveth like; broken men and bankrupts flee together to woods and mountains; an outlaw loveth an outlaw; fowls of a feather flock together. The devil and sinful men are both broken men, and outlaws of heaven, and of one blood; wicked men are the [[“children of the devil,”>>1 John 3:10]]; they have that natural relation of father and son; there is of the devil’s seed in sinners. There is a spiritual concupiscence in devils to lust against God’s image and glory; and Satan findeth his own seed in us by nature, to wit, concupiscence, a stem, a sprouting and child of the house of hell. It were good we knew our own misery: the man resolveth a prisoner has a sweet life, who loveth his own chains, because made of gold, and hateth them not because chains; and falleth to paint the walls of his dungeon, and to put up hangings in his prison, and will but over-gild with gold his iron fetters. Oh! are we not in love with our own dungeon of sin? And do we not bear a kind love to our father, the devil? We bring in provision for the flesh, and nourish the old man, as old as since Adam first sinned. Alas! we never saw our father in the face: we love the devil, as the devil fallen in sin; but we see him not as a devil, but only under the embroideries of golden and silken temptations: we sow to the flesh; we bring in our crop to the devil, but we know not our landlord; and because sense and flesh are nearer to us than God, we desire more the liberties of state, free commerce, and peace with the king, than Christ’s liberties, the power and purity of the gospel, that we may negotiate with Heaven and have peace with God.

“Unclean spirit.”—This is the quality of this devil: an unclean devil. Now, whether he be called so, because he tempted the maid to some prodigious acts of uncleanness, or because, in general, he tempteth to uncleanness of sins; so as uncleanness is but a general epithet of all the devils, I profess my ignorance. However, all devils have this general name, “unclean spirits,” because of their spiritual uncleanness. It is certain, devils are,

(1.) Black now, they being fallen in a smoky hell, and kept under the power and chains of darkness, and they are but lumps of black hell and darkness; whereas they were created fair angels. Truth is the fairest thing that is; obedience to God is truth—John 3:21. Sin is the most ugly and deformed thing in the world; and therefore sinners can have no communion with God, until they be washed.

(2.) Devils were once pure and clean spirits; their understandings were made clear to see God and his beauty; now, these fair spirits are darkened; for their fellow angels who sinned not, are yet seraphim and lamps of light; and these angels (saith Christ,) [[“Do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”>>Matt. 18:10]].

Then, the more grace of Christ, the more clearness of saving knowledge and sound reason; grace maketh more solid wisdom than art or learning; by this, David excelled all his teachers, and the ancient ones. In Satan’s fools the right principle of wisdom is extinguished. The prophet spoke it of statesmen, or rather state-fools, [[“Lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them?”>>Jer. 8:9]]. As there be pollutions of the flesh, so are there pollutions of the mind and spirit—2 Tim. 3:8. Men of corrupt minds are men of rotten minds; false opinions of God are rottenness in the understanding. [[“The spirit of a sound mind.”>>1 Tim. 1:7]]. [[“Hold fast the form of sound words.”>>1 Tim. 1:13]]. There are some words that come from a sick mind, as Titus 1:13. The apostle holdeth forth, that there be some sick of the faith, as there be some sound of the faith—Prov. 10:7. The Lord giveth sound wisdom its essence and being. Wisdom and the law of God is an abiding and a living thing that endureth to eternity; whereas indeed human wisdom, and false opinions of God, are passing away things; the lie liveth not a long age. Wisdom is a tree of life. [[“Let my heart be sound in thy statutes,”>>Psalm 119:80]], perfect, wanting nothing. A fool wanteth the best part of his heart. State wisdom, not lying level to Christ’s ends, but commensurate with carnal projects, is but folly.

“Hearing of him.”—What had she heard?

I. That Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel, and could, and was willing to heal her daughter. Two things are here observable:

(1.) hearing of Christ, drew her to Christ.

(2.) It is good to border with Christ, and to be near-hand to him. There is a necessity that we hear of Christ, before we come to him. This is God’s way: [[“Faith cometh by hearing.”>>Rom. 10]]. Christ is not in us from the womb; faith is not a flower that groweth out of such a sour and cold ground as nature; it is a stem and a birth of heaven.

II. None can come to Christ, except they hear a good report of him. How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? Those who come aright to Christ, must have noble, high, long, deep, and broad thoughts of Jesus, and know the gospel. Now, what is the gospel? nothing but a good report of Christ. You must hear a gospel-report of Christ, ere you come to him: ill principled thoughts of Christ keep many from him. [[“Strangers shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand.”>>1 Kings 8:42]]. Christ was to be heard by the deaf Gentiles: [[“In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book.”>>Isa. 29:18]]. We hear, and we hear not, because the Lord wakeneth not the ear, morning by morning, that we may hear as the learned. Many hear, but they have not the learned ear, nor the ear of such as have heard and learned of the Father. Many hear of Christ, a voice, and no more but a voice; they know not that prophecy, [[“Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.”>>Isa. 30:21]], There is another voice in our hearing; men do not hear, that they may hear. [[“Hear, ye deaf, and behold, ye blind, that ye may see:”>>Isa. 42:18]], that is, hear that ye may hear, see that ye may see. The Lord giveth grace that he may give grace, and we are to receive grace that we may receive grace; grace is the only reward of grace.

III. We hear and we hear not; we see, but we have no reflex act upon our seeing. Many open their ears to Christ, but they hear not; they want a spiritual faculty of observing. [[“Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ear, but he heareth not.”>>Isa. 42:22]].

IV. Many put Christ in an ear without a bottom, or in an ear with a hole in its bottom; we hear of Christ,—Heb. 2, but we are as leaking and running out vessels. [[“Who among you will give ear to this, and hear for the time to come?”>>Isa. 42:23]]. Physicians give their three causes of deafness.

(1.) When there is carnosity on the ear-drum. This is extrinsical: the world is another lover, and the care of it; and that hindereth hearing.

(2.) When the organ of hearing is hurt and distempered, as a lame hand that cannot apprehend: now, when there be false fancies, and principles contrary to the gospel in the heart, the ear cannot hear.

(3.) When there is abundance of humours in the brain, and they raise a noise and tumult in the drum, and hinder sounds to be heard. When pride, and principles of sensuality and vain pleasures make a noise within, that neither Christ knocking, nor his voice without can be heard, men are deaf.

But why do we not hear and see Christ revealing himself in his ways and works? Reason would say, if hell and judgment were before our eyes, we should hear, and come to Christ. Suppose we saw with our eyes, for twenty or thirty years together, a great furnace of fire, of the quantity of the whole earth, and saw there, Cain, Judas, Ahithophel, Saul, and all the damned, as lumps of red fire, and they boiling, and leaping for pain, in a dungeon of everlasting brimstone; and the black and terrible devils, with long and sharp toothed whips of scorpions, lashing out scourges on them: and if we saw there our neighbours, brethren, sisters, yea, our dear children, wives, fathers and mothers, swimming and sinking in that black lake; and heard the yelling, shouting, crying of our young ones and fathers, blaspheming the spotless justice of God:—if we saw this, while we are living here on earth, we should not dare to offend the majesty of God; but should hear, come to Christ, and believe, and be saved. But the truth is, if we believe not Moses and the Prophets, neither should we believe for this; because we see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, even while we are in this life, daily, pieces and little parcels of hell; for we see and hear daily, some tumbling in their blood, thousands cut down of our brethren, children, fathers; malefactors hanged and quartered, death in every house. These, these be little hells, and little coals and sparkles of the great fire of hell, and certain documents to us, that there is a hell; yet we neither hear, nor come to Christ. Nay, suppose a preacher came from hell to the rich glutton’s five brethren—Luke 16, and should bring with him all the lashes, and print of the whips of Satan’s scorpions, on back and side, on thighs, arms, and legs; and though he should bring up to us, out of hell, ten thousand damned; and bring with him the fire, the red coals of the fury of God, every coal as great as a mountain, and offer them all to our eyes, and ears, and senses;—such is the power of our deafness and blindness, that we should not believe; for when many little hells work so little by length of time, this one great hell should never bring us to hear, and come to Christ. See how little we are affected with the blood of so many thousands of our own flesh in the three kingdoms! [2] Alas! our senses are confined within time.

The other thing observable is, that it is good to be near the place where Christ is. It was an advantage, that the woman dwelt upon the borders of the land where Christ was. It is good for the poor to be a neighbour beside the rich; and for the thirsty to take up house, and dwell at the fountain; and for the sick to border with the physician. Oh! love the ground that Christ walketh on. To be born in Sion is an honour, because there the Lord dwelleth—Psalm 87:6. It is a blessing to hear and see Christ—Matt. 13:16. We do not weigh, nor duly esteem what a favour it is, that Christ walketh in the midst of the golden candlesticks; that the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. It is ours, to build him a palace of silver.

For the sixth article, which is, her adoring of Christ, it shall be spoken of in another place. I hasten, therefore, to her prayer. 

[1] As united force is stronger.

[2] Alluding to the civil war which during this year, (1645,) was raging not only in England, but also in Scotland and Ireland.

Sermon 6. — Matt. 15:22. — “And cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.”

posted 24 Mar 2014, 16:14 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 24 Mar 2014, 16:16 ]


Matt. 15:22. — And cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, 
O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 

In her prayer, as it is expressed by Matthew, we have,

1st, The manner of it: “she cried.”

2nd, The compellation, or party to whom she prayeth: “O, Lord, thou Son of David.”

3rd, The petition: “have mercy upon me.”

4th, The reason: “for my daughter is vexed with a devil.”

“She cried.” The poor woman prayed[1] with good will, with a bent of affection. Why is crying used in praying? Had it not been more modesty to speak to this soul-redeeming Saviour, who heareth sometimes before we pray, than to cry out and shout?—for the disciples do after complain, that “she crieth so after them.” Was Christ so difficult to be entreated? The reasons of crying are,

1st, Want cannot blush. The pinching necessity of the saints is not tied to the law of modesty. Hunger cannot be ashamed. “I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise,” saith David—Psalm 55:2; and Hezekiah, [[“Like a crane, or a swallow, so did I chatter; I did mourn as a dove,”>>Isa. 38:14]]. [[“I went mourning without the sun; I stood up, and I cried in the congregation.”>>Job 30:28]].

2nd, Though God hear prayer, only as prayer offered in Christ, not, because very fervent; yet fervour is a heavenly ingredient in prayer. An arrow drawn with full strength hath a speedier issue; therefore, the prayers of the saints are expressed by crying in Scripture. [[“O my God, I cry by day, and thou hearest not.”>>Psalm 22:2]]. [[“At noon will I pray, and cry aloud.”>>Psalm 55:17]], [[“In my distress I cried to the Lord.”>>Psalm 18:6]]. [[“Unto thee have I cried, O Lord.”>>Psalm 88:13]]. [[“Out of the depths have I cried.”>>Psalm 130:1]]. [[“Out of the belly of hell I cried.”>>Jonah 2:2]]. [[“Unto thee will I cry, O Lord, my rock.”>>Psalm 28:1]]. Yea, it goeth to somewhat more than crying: [[“I cry out of wrong, but am not heard.”>>Job 19:7]]. [[“Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.”>>Lam. 3:8]]. He who may teach us all to pray, sweet Jesus, [[“In the days of his flesh offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears,”>>Heb. 5:7]]; he prayed with war-shouts.

3rd, And these prayers are so prevalent, that God answereth them: [[“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard, and saved him from all his fears.”>>Psalm 34:6]]. [[“My cry came before him, even to his ears.”>>Psalm 18:6]]. The cry addeth wings to the prayer, as a speedy post sent to court upon life and death: [[“Our fathers cried unto thee, and were delivered.”>>Psalm 22:5]]. [[“The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth.”>>Psalm 34:17]]. We all know the parable of the poor widow, and the unrighteous judge: if the oppressed be not delivered, Christ, and his Father, and heaven shall hear of it. Hence,

4th, Importunity in praying, “I will not let thee go[2] till thou bless me.” So James calleth it—James 5:16. “Prayer possessed with a spirit,” but a good spirit; prayer steeled with fervour of spirit;—so fervent, that David is like the post, who layeth by three horses as breathless; his heart, his throat, his eyes: [[“I am weary of my crying, my throat is dried, mine eyes fail, while I wait for my God.”—Psalm 69:3]].

5th, There is violence offered to God in fervent prayer—Exod. 22:10. Moses is answered, when he is wrestling with God by prayer for the people, “Now, therefore, let me alone, that my anger may wax hot against them:” “Let me alone,” is a word of putting violent hands on any. There be bones and sinews in such prayers; by them the King is held in his galleries—Cant. 7:5.

Objection 1. But if so be that prayers must be fervent, even to vocal crying and shouting, then I cannot pray, who am often so confounded, that I cannot speak one word. 

Answer. So was the servant of God, in a spiritual kind of praying, in uttering—Psalm 77, when he saith, verse 4, “Thou holdest mine eyes waking; I am so troubled, that I cannot speak.” Yea, groaning goeth for praying to God: [[“The Lord looked down from heaven, to hear the groaning of the prisoner.”>>Psalm 102:20]]. [[“The Spirit intercedeth for us with sighs that none can speak.”>>Rom. 7:26]]. Faith doth sigh prayers to heaven; Christ receiveth sighs in his censer, for prayer. Words are but the body, the garment, the outside of prayer; sighs are nearer the heart-work. A dumb beggar getteth an alms at Christ’s gates, even by making signs, when his tongue cannot plead for him; and the rather, because he is dumb.

Objection 2. I have not so much as a voice to utter to God; and Christ saith, [[“Cause me hear thy voice.”>>Cant. 2:14]].

Answer. Yea, but some other thing hath a voice beside the tongue: [[“The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.”>>Psalm 6:8]]. Tears have a tongue, and grammar, and language, that our Father knoweth. Babes have no prayers for the breast, but weeping; the mother can read hunger in weeping.

Objection 3. But I am often so, as I cannot weep: weeping is peculiar to a man as laughing is, and spiritual weeping is peculiar to the renewed man. 

Answer. Vehemency of affection doth often move weeping, so as it is but sprit weeping that we can attain: hence, Hezekiah can but [[“chatter as a crane, and a swallow, and moan as a dove,”>>Isa. 38:14]]. Sorrow keepeth not always the road-way; weeping is but the scabbard of sorrow, and there is often more sorrow where there is little or no weeping; there is most of fire, where there is least smoke.

Objection 4. But I have neither weeping one way or other, ordinary nor marred. 

Answer. Looking up to heaven, lifting up of the eyes, goeth for prayer also in God’s books. [[“My prayer will I direct to thee, and I will look up.”>>Psalm 5:3]]. [[“Mine eyes fail with looking upward,”>>Psalm 69:3]]. Because, 1st, Prayer is a pouring out of the soul to God, and faith will come out at the eye, in lieu of another door: often affections break out at the window, when the door is closed; as smoke venteth at the window, when the chimney refuseth passage. Stephen looked up to heaven—Acts 7:55. He sent a post; a greedy, pitiful, and hungry look up to Christ, out at the window, at the nearest passage, to tell that a poor friend was coming up to him. 2nd, I would wish no more, if I were in hell, but to send a long look up to heaven. There be many love-looks of the saints, lying up before the throne, in the bosom of Christ. The twinkling of thy eyes in prayer, are not lost to Christ; else Stephen’s look, David’s look should not be registered so many hundred years in Christ’s written Testament.

Objection 5. Alas! I have no eyes to look up. The publican—Luke 18, looked down to the earth. And what senses spiritual have I to send after Christ? Answer. There is life going in and out at thy nostrils. Breathing is praying, and is taken of our hand, as crying in prayer. [[“Thou hast heard my voice; hide not thy ear at my breathing, at my cry.”>>Lam. 3:56]].

Objection 6. I have but a hard heart to offer to God in prayer; and what can I say then, wanting all praying disposition? 

Answer. 1st, Therefore pray, that you may pray.

2nd, The very aspect, and naked presence of a dead spirit, when there is a little vocal praying, is acceptable to God; or, if an overwhelmed heart refuseth to come, it is best to go and tell Christ, and request him to come, and fetch the heart himself.

3rd, Little of day-light cometh before the sun; the best half of it is under ground. [[“We ourselves groan within ourselves.”>>Rom. 8:23]]. All is here transacted in our own heart. The soul crieth, Oh! when will my father come, and fetch his children? When shall the spouse lie in her husband’s bosom?

4th, If Christ’s eye but look on a hard heart, it will melt it.

5th, I show here the smallest of prayer in which the life and essence of prayer may breathe and live. Now, prayer being a pouring out of the soul to God, much of the affections of love, desire, longing, joy, faith, sorrow, fear, boldness, comes along with prayer out to God, and the heart is put in Christ’s bosom. And it is neither up nor down to the essence of sincere praying, whether the soul come out in words, in groans, or in long looks, or in sighing, or in pouring out tears to God—Job 16:20, or in breathing.

Objection 7. What shall be done with half-praying, and words without sense? 

Answer. This is the woman of Canaan’s case: Piscator observeth an ellipsis with words, of the particle γὰρ, or because, or for: “Have mercy on me, my daughter is vexed:” she should have said, “because my daughter is vexed:” but the mind is hasty, that she lets slip words. So are broken prayers set down in Scripture, as prayers. [[“I love, because the Lord hath heard my voice.”>>Psalm 116:1]], There is nothing in the Hebrew but one word, Ahabti I love; but he showeth not whom he loveth. It is a broken word, because, as Ambrose saith, he loved the most desirable thing. I have love[3], but its centre and bed is only God. [[“My soul is sore vexed, but thou, O Lord, how long?”>>Psalm 6:3]]. That is a broken speech, also. [[“For my love they were mine enemies,”>>Psalm 109:4]], in the Hebrew it’s Vani Tephilla, at ἐγὼ ὁρατίων: But I prayer; or, I was all Prayer, as if I in soul and body had been made of Prayer. The reasons of broken prayers are often,

1st, The hastiness of the affections; not the hastiness always of unbelief,—Isa. 28:16, but often of faith—2 Pet. 3:10. Love and longing for Christ have eagle’s wings; and love flieth, when words do but creep as a snail.

2nd, It cometh from a delique in the affections[4] that there is a swooning and delique of words. Every part of a supplication to a prince, is not a supplication; a poor man out of fear may speak nonsense, and broken words that cannot be understood by the prince; but nonsense in prayer, when sorrow, blackness, and a dark overwhelmed spirit dictateth words, are well known in, and have a good sense to God. Therefore, to speak morally, prayer being God’s fire, as every part of fire is fire; so here, every broken parcel of prayer is prayer. So the forlorn son forgot the half of his prayers; he resolved to say, [[“Make me as one of thy hired servants;”>>Luke 15:19]], but—Luke 5:21, he prayeth no such thing; and yet, “his father fell on his neck, and kissed him.” A plant is a tree in the potency; an infant, a man; seeds of saving grace are saving grace; prayer is often in the bowels and womb of a sigh; though it come not out, yet God heareth it as a prayer. [[“And he that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”>>Rom. 8:27]]. [[“Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble.”>>Psalm 10:17]]. Desires have no sound with men, so as they come to the ear; but with God, they have a sound, as prayers have. Then when others cannot know what a groan meaneth, God knoweth what is under the lap of a sigh, because his Spirit made the sigh: he first made the prayer, as an intercessor, and then, as God he heareth it; he is within praying, and without hearing.

Objection 8. But, are all my cryings in prayer, works of the Spirit? Answer. The flesh may come in and join in prayer, and some things may be said in haste, not in faith; as in that prayer, [[“Hath God forgotten to be gracious?”>>Psalm 77:9]]. Nor is that of Jeremiah to be put in Christ’s golden censer, to be presented to the Father: [[“Wilt thou be altogether to me as a liar, and as waters that fail?”>>Jer. 15:18]]. Nor that of Job—Job13:24, “Wherefore holdest thou me for thine enemy?” Christ washeth sinners in his blood, but he washeth not sin: he advocateth for the man that prayeth to have him accepted, but not for the upstarts and boilings of corruption and the flesh that are mixed with our prayer, to have them made white. Christ rejecteth these things in prayer that are essentially ill; but he washeth the prayer, and causeth the Father accept it. There be so many other things that are a-pouring out of the soul in prayer; as groaning, sighing, looking up to heaven, breathing, weeping; that it cannot be imagined, how far short printed and read prayers come of vehement praying: for you cannot put sighs, groans, tears, breathing, and such heart-messengers down in a printed book; nor can paper and ink lay your heart, in all its sweet affections, out before God. The service-book then must be toothless and spiritless talk. 

[1] As we say.

[2] Saith Jacob to his Lord.

[3] He would say.

[4] They are broken as a too high-bended bow.

Sermon 7. — Matt. 15:22. — Son of David; “O Lord, thou Son of David!”

posted 24 Mar 2014, 15:46 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 24 Mar 2014, 15:48 ]


Matt. 15:22. — Son of David; “O Lord, thou Son of David!” 

In this compellation, consider why Christ is called the Son of David, never the son of Adam, never the son of Abraham. It is true he is called frequently the Son of man; but never when any prayeth to him: and he is reckoned, in his genealogy, David’s son. Abraham’s son, the Son of Adam; but the Son of David is his ordinary style, when prayers are directed to him in the days of his flesh. The reasons are--

1st. Christ had a special relation to Abraham, being his seed; but more special to David, because the covenant was in a special manner established with David, as a king, and the first king in whose hand the Church, the feeding thereof as God’s own flock, was, as God’s deposit and pawn laid down. The Lord established the Covenant of Grace with David, and his son Solomon, who was to build him an house; and promised to him an eternal kingdom, and grace, and perseverance in grace, and that by a sure covenant, “the sure mercies of David.”--Isa. 55:3; 2 Sam. 7:8-16; 1 Chron. 22:9, 10; 2 Sam. 23:5. [[“Yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure, for [this is] all my salvation and all my desire. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant.”>>Psalm 89:3-4]]. [[“Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.”>>Psalm 89:21-37]]. Gabriel the angel speaketh the same to Zacharias--Luke 1:32, 33; 5:68, 69; Acts 13:34-37; and Acts 2:30. Now, it was necessary, that Christ the Messiah should lineally descend of a king: Abraham was not a king; Adam was not formally a king by covenant, as David was.

2nd, Christ changeth names with David, as he never did with any man. Christ is never called Abraham; but, [[“David my servant shall be a prince among them.”>>Ezek. 34:23, 24]]. [[“They shall seek the Lord their God, and David their king.”>>Hos. 3:5]].

3rd, David entered to a typical throne against the heart of Jew and Gentile--Psalm 2:1, 2, and so did Christ--Acts 4.25, 26; and did feed the people of God in the midst of many enemies--Psalm 110:1, 2; and so did Christ--Acts 2:34-36. Not so Abraham; he was a befriended man in a strange land.

That which I aim at is this: By the received divinity of the Jews, and of the Gentiles who knew God, Christ was a King by the covenant of grace, and the special party of the new covenant, as was David. This may be made more evident, if we enquire a little in the covenant: --

(1.) What it is.

(2.) Who be the parties.

(3.) What promises.

(4.) What conditions.

(5.) What properties.

(6.) Some uses, with all brevity.

(1.) The covenant is here a joint and mutual bargain between two, according to which, they promise freely such and such things each to other: hence God and man made up a solemn bargain in Christ.

(2.) They both consent. Christ forced not his spouse to marry against her will, nor was God forced to make a covenant. Love and grace was that which led Christ’s hand at the pen, in signing the covenant with his blood.

(3.) As a cluster of stars maketh a constellation, a body of branches a tree, so a mass of promises concurreth in this covenant. Wherever Christ is, clusters of divine promises grow out of him, as the motes, rays, and beams from the sun, and a family (as it were), and a society of branches out of a tree.

(4.) There is here giving and receiving. Christ offereth and giveth such and such favours; we receive all by believing, except the grace of faith, which cannot be received by faith, but by free favour and grace, without us, in God. Grace, first and last, was all our happiness. If there had not been a Saviour[1], made all of grace, grace itself, we could never have had dealing with God.

2. The parties of the covenant are God and man. Oh, how sweet! that such a potter, and such a former of all things, should come in terms of bargaining with such clay, as is guilty before him! Now, the parties here, on the one part, is GOD; on the other, the Mediator, Christ, and the children that the Lord gave him. Observe,

(1.) In the covenant of nature and works, God and his friend Adam were parties contracting; and in the second covenant, God, and his fellow, Christ, and all his, are parties. A covenant of peace cannot be between an enemy and an enemy, as they are such; those who were enemies, must lay down wrath, ere they can enter into covenant. Contraries, as contraries, cannot be united. God being the sole author of this covenant, did lay aside enmity first. Love must first send out love, as fire must cast out heat. It is true, this covenant is made with sinners[2], but an union covenant-wise could never have been, except God had in a manner bowed to us, and grace proved out of measure gracious.

Christ is the party here; so, Christ hath a sevenfold relation.

(1.) As he is more than a creature, he is the Covenant itself.

(2.) As he dealeth between the parties, he is the Messenger of the covenant.

(3.) As he saw and heard, and testifieth all, he is the Witness of the covenant.

(4.) As he undertaketh for the parties at variance, he is the Surety of the covenant.

(5.) As he standeth between the contrary parties, he is the Mediator of the covenant.

(6.) As he signeth the covenant, and closeth all the articles, he is the Testator of the covenant.

(7.) As he is a side, or the half of the covenant, he is the Party contracting in the covenant.

For the first: [[“I gave thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.”>>Isa. 42:6]]. [[“I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people.”>>Isa. 49:8]]. Christ, God and man, is all the covenant:

(1.) Because he is given to fulfill the covenant on both sides.

(2.) He is the covenant in the abstract; he is very peace and reconciliation itself, [[“And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land.”>>Mic. 5:5]]. As fire is hot for itself, and all things hot for it, and by participation, so thou art in so far in covenant with Christ, as thou hast any thing of Christ. Want Christ, and want peace and the covenant.

2. [[“The Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the Messenger or Angel of the covenant, whom ye delight in.”>>Mal. 3:2]]. Christ travelleth with tidings between the parties.

(1.) He reporteth of God to us, [[“That it is his Father’s will that we be saved.”>>John 6:39]].

(2.) Christ reporteth of himself, for it setteth Christ to be a broker for Christ; and Wisdom to cry in the streets, Who will have me?--Prov. 1:20-22; and Prov. 9:1-5. It became the Lord Jesus to praise himself, “I am that Bread of life: I am the Light of the world;”--John 6:48; and John 8:12. [[“I am the door.”>>John 10:9.) And [[“I am the good Shepherd.”>>John 10:11]].

(3.) He praiseth his Father, [[“My Father is the good husbandman.”>>John 15]].

(4.) He suiteth us in marriage, and commendeth his Father, and our father-in-law. You marry me, dear souls; Oh, but my Father is a great person: [[“In my Father’s house are many dwelling-places.”>>John 14:2]].

(5.) He commendeth us to the Father: a messenger making peace will do all this, [[“They have received thy words, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”>>John 17:18]]. [[“O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee, but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.”>>John 17:25]]. Ministers cannot speak of Christ and his Father, as he can do himself. Oh, come! hear Christ speak of Christ, and of his Father, and of heaven, for he saw all. O sweet believer! Christ giveth thee a good report in heaven; the Father and the Son are speaking of thee behind backs. A good report in heaven is of much esteem; Christ spake more good of thee than thou art all worth. He telleth over again Ephraim’s prayers behind his back--Jer. 30:18. Oh, woe to thee! Christ is telling black tidings of thee in heaven: Such a man will not believe in me; he hateth me, and my cause and my people. Christ cannot lie of any man.

3. Christ is an eye-witness of the covenant, and heard and saw all. The whole covenant was a bloody act, acted upon his person, [[“Behold I have given him for a witness to the people.”>>Isa. 55:4]]. [[“The faithful Witness,”>>Rev. 1:5]], [[“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness.”>>Rev. 3:14.) The covenant saith,

(1.) [[“The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost;”>>Luke 19:10]]. Amen, saith Christ, I can witness that to be true.

(2.) Christ died and rose again, for sinners. Amen, saith the Witness, [[“I was dead, and behold I live for evermore. Amen.”>>Rev. 1:18]]. Christ putteth his seal to that: “This is a true and faithful saying, that Christ Jesus came into the world to die for sinners.” I can swear that is true, saith Christ.

(3.) The world shall have an end[3], and time shall be no more. “By him who liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven and earth,” saith this angel witness--Rev. 10:6, that is most true; “Time shall be no more.” It is a controversy to the world, if eternity be coming. Christ endeth the controversy with an oath.

(4.) Christ shall judge the world, and all shall bow to me: This Amen of God saith, that is true, [[“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me.”>>Rom. 14:11]]. The covenant of works had a promise: but because it was,

(1.) Conditional;

(2.) To be broken and done away; it had no oath of God, as this hath. O doubting soul! thou sayest that thy salvation is not sure. Why? And it is a sworn article of the covenant; thou hast Christ’s great oath on it. Alas! God loveth not me. Hast thou the Son? Thou hast a true testimony it is not so; and [[“A faithful witness will not lie.”>>Prov. 14:5]]. Christ has cause to remember that thou art saved; he beareth the marks of it in his body. Atheist! thou sayest, Who knoweth there is a heaven and a hell? Why, the witness of the covenant saith, I was in both, and saw both.

4. [[“Christ is the surety of the better covenant;”>>Heb. 7:22]]; and in this, the Father is surety for Christ. If he undertake for David and Hezekiah--Psalm 119:122; Isa. 38:14, far more for his own Son. God hath given his word for Christ that he shall do the work, [[“Behold my righteous servant shall deal prudently;”>>Isa. 52:13]], and [[“Behold the Lord God will help me:”>>Isa. 50:9]]: And again, the Son is surety to the Father, and the great undertaker, that God shall fulfil his part of the covenant; that the Father shall give a kingdom to his flock--Luke 12:32; John 6:37-39.

(1.) Christ, as surety for us, hath paid a ransom for us;

(2.) Giveth a new heart to his fellow-confederates;

(3.) And is engaged [[“to lose none of them,”>>John 17:12]], [[“but raise them up at the last day.”>>John 6:39]]. If we could surrender ourselves to Christ’s undertaking, and get once a word that he is become good to the Father for us, all were well. Woe to him who is that loose man, as he has not Christ under an act and bond of surety, that he shall keep him to the day of God! We make loose bargains in the behalf of our souls.

5. As Christ standeth between the two parties, he is the great Lord Mediator of the new covenant--Heb. 12:24.

Substantially. Our text calleth him, Lord, the Son of David. By condition of nature, he hath something of God, as being true God, and something of man, as sharing with us. Hence is he mediator by office, and layeth his hands on both parties, as a day’s-man doth--Job 9:33. In which, he hath a threefold relation:

(1.) Of a friend to both; he hath God’s heart for man, to be gracious, and satisfy mercy; and a man’s heart for God to satisfy justice.

(2.) Of a reconciler, to make two one; to bring down God to a treaty of peace; to take him off law, and high demands of law, which sought personal satisfaction of us; and in his body, to bring us up to God by a ransom paid, and by giving us faith, to draw near to his Father. So he may say, Sister and spouse, come up now to my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God; and Father; come down to my brethren, my kindred, and flesh.

(3.) He is a common servant to both: God’s servant, in a hard piece of service as ever was, “Behold my servant,”--Isa. 52:13; 42:1, and [[“My righteous servant:”>>Isa. 53:11]]. Yea, and our servant, [[“He came not to be served, but to serve, and give his life a ransom for many.”>>Matt. 20:28]]. Alas! both parties did smite him: [[“It pleased the Lord to bruise him.”>>Isa. 53:10]]. [[“God spared not his own Son,”>>Rom. 8:32]]; and the other party, his own, smote him: [[“This is the heir; come, let us kill him, (say they,) and seize on the inheritance.”>>Matt. 21:38]]. This was cold encouragement to sweet Jesus. If it had been referred to us, for shame, we could not have asked God to be a suffering Mediator for us. There is more love in Christ, than angels and men could fathom in their conceptions.

6. The covenant is the testament of our dead friend, Jesus; he died to confirm the testament--Heb. 9:16, 17. Every blood could not seal the covenant. Christ’s blood, as dying, sealed the everlasting covenant--Heb. 13:20. It both expiated the sins of the covenanters, and also, brought back the great Shepherd of the sheep from death: for, Christ having once paid blood, and died, it was free to the surety to come out of prison, when he had paid the sum.

7. (1.) The seventh relation of Christ maketh way to the parties. And here, Christ cometh under a double consideration; one as God; so he is one with the Father and Spirit, and the Lord and the author of the covenant.

(2.) As Mediator; and so, he is on our side of the covenant. Then is the covenant made with Christ, and all his heirs and assignees, principally with Christ, and with Abraham’s nature in him; but personally, with believers.

[1.] The Scripture saith so, “The promise[4], is made to Abraham and to his seed: he saith not, And to seeds, as of many, but as of one: And to thy seed, which is Christ--Gal. 3:16. I grant, Beza, Piscator, and many, expound Christ, for mystical Christ; for, (say they,) it cannot be meant of Christ personally, for so it should fight with the scope of Paul, who proveth the promise of life eternal to be made to all believers.

[2.] It should [otherwise] follow, that life eternal is given to Christ only. But, with leave, this is not sure; for the truth is, the promise is neither made to Christ’s person singly considered, nor to Christ mystical: for,

a) The promise is made to Christ, in whom the covenant was confirmed-- Gal. 3:17.

b) In whom the nations were blessed-- Gal. 3:14.

c) In whom we “receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”>>Gal. 3:14]]. Who was [[“made a curse for us.”>>Gal. 3:13]].

Now, not any of these can agree with Christ mystical. Christ mystical did not confirm the covenant, nor give the Spirit, nor was he made a curse; but Christ mediator, is he to whom the promises are made, and in him, to all his heirs and kindred, not simply in his person, but as a public person and Mediator.

1. Because the Scripture saith, “to Abraham, and to his seed;” that is, Christ, was the covenant made; and these words of the covenant, [[“He shall cry to me, Thou art my Father, my God,”>>Psalm 89:26]], are expounded. And again, [[“I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son;”>>Heb. 1:5]], and, [[“Go to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, to my God, and to your God.”>>John 20:17]]. So, Christ the heir of all things, and the second heirs under him, are all but one confederate family.

2. The covenant made with David and his seed, and the fathers, is fulfilled to Christ and his seed. [[“As concerning that, he raised him up from the dead, no more to see corruption, he said, on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.”>>Acts 13:34-35]].

3. As the covenant of nature and works was made with Adam and all his, and there were not two covenants; so here, the better covenant coming in place of the former, is made with the second Adam and his children--Rom. 5:18, 19; 1 Cor.15, 20, etc.

4. All that serveth to make a covenant are here;

[1.] God demandeth of his Son, that he lay down his life; and for his labour he promiseth, [[“that he shall see his seed, and God shall give him many children,”>>Isa. 53:10]].

[2.] The Son consenteth to lay down his life, and saith, “Here am I to do thy will; thou hast given me a body.” This is the formality of a covenant, when Christ consenteth to the condition. Now, this covenant was manifested in time, between the Father and the Son, but it was transacted from eternity. This is comfortable, that the Father and Christ transacted a bargain from eternity, concerning thee, by name. There was communing between the Father and Son, concerning thy heaven: Father, what shall be given to thy justice, to ransom such a one, John, Anna, etc.? And Christ, from eternity, did bind for such a person, that he shall believe in time. The redemption of sinners is not a work of yesterday, or a business of chance; it was well advised, and in infinite wisdom contrived: therefore put not Christ to be challenged of his engagement, by refusing the Gospel. When thou believest, thou makest Christ’s word good; he that believeth not, maketh God a liar, though in another sense; and for aught he knoweth, even in this, that he frustrateth Christ’s undertaking in the covenant. Men believe the Gospel to be a cunningly devised fable--2 Pet. 1:16. The Father and Christ are both in this business; heaven, hell, justice, mercy, souls, and deep wisdom, are all in this rare piece: and yet, men think more of a farm and an ox--Luke 14:18, 19, and of a pin in the state, or a straw, or of the bones of a crazy livelihood, or a house.

3. Touching the promises,

(1.) There is no good thing, but it is ours by free promise, and not by simple donation only. This covenant turns over heaven, earth, sea, land, bread, garments, sleep, the world, life, death, into free grace; yea, it maketh sin and crosses, golden sins, and crosses by accident, through the acts of supernatural providence towards us--1 Cor. 3:21; Rom. 8:28, working on, and, about our sins.

(2.) All good cometh to us now, not immediately, but through the hands of a free Redeemer; and though he be a man who redeemed us, yet because he is God, there is more of God, and heaven, and free love, in all our good things, than if we received them immediately from God; as ravens have their food from God, without a mediator, and devils have their being only by creature-right, not by covenant-right.

Now, for the promises; they flow from God to us, but all along they fall first on Christ. They are of two sorts,

1st. Some only given to Christ, not to us; as the name above all names to be adored, and set at the right hand of God, is properly promised to Christ. Angels share not with him in this chair--Phil. 2:9, 10; Heb. 1:5, 13. There is promised to Christ, ‘a seed, a willing people, the ends of the earth for his inheritance.’--Isa. 53:10; Psalm 110:2; and [[2:8, 9>>Psa. 110:8-9]]. Christ’s locks and his hair are bushy and thick--Cant. 5:11. He is not bald, nor grey-haired; but he hath [[“a seed like the stars for multitude, that no man can number;”>>Rev. 7:9]]; but all those hairs grow out of a head of gold, and his offspring of children is as numerous as the dew of the morning dawning--Psalm 110:3; Micah. 5:7, though the devil’s locks be more numerous. But it is woeful, that Christ and his children, standing upon Mount Sion, being a huge army, and a pleasant sight, yet thou art none of that numerous house. All round about thee are graced of him, and thou livest and diest in the house; but lay not in the womb of the morning, and shall not abide in the house with the sons.

But there be other promises which go along with Christ and his seed; and these of two sorts, general and special. General, the mother-promise, “I will be your God,” is made both to Christ, [[“He shall cry to me, Thou art my Father, my God;”>>Psalm 89:26]], and to us, [[“I will be your God.”>>John 20:17; Psalm 22:1]]. How sweet is it, that Christ, having God to his Father by eternal birth-right, would take a new covenant-right to God for our cause! Oh! what an honour it is to be within the covenant with the first Heir!

Question. But why are all the promises enclosed in this one, “I will be your God”?

Answer. 1. Because, as Christ hath covenant-right to the promises by this mother-right, that God is his God by covenant, so we first must have God under the relation of a God made ours in a covenant, a Father, a Husband; and then, by law, all his are ours.

2. Christ God is more than grace, pardon, holiness—than created glory, as the husband is more excellent than his marriage-robe, bracelets, rings; and we are to lay our love and faith principally upon the Father and the Son, more than all created graces. The well and fountain of life is of more excellency than the streams; and the tree of life, than the apples of the tree of life. Christ himself, the objective happiness, is far above a created and formal beatitude, which issueth from him, as the whole is more excellent than the part, the cause than the effect.

Special promises are made first to Christ, and then by proportion to us; and they are these, —

(1.) God promiseth to grace his Son above his fellows, that he may die and suffer, and merit to us grace answerable to this, —”A new heart, and a new spirit,”--Jer. 32:39; Ezek. 36:26, 27. [[“For out of his fullness we receive, and grace for grace,”>>John 1:16]].

(2.) Justification is promised to Christ, not personal, as if he needed a pardon for sin, but of his cause. There is a cautionary, or surety-righteousness, due to the surety, when he hath paid the debts of the broken man, and cometh out of prison free by law: so he came out of the grave for our righteousness, but having first the righteousness of his cause, in his own person. “He is near that justifieth me,” saith Christ; “who shall contend with me?”--Isa. 50:8. [[“Justified in the Spirit.”>>1 Tim. 3:16]]. So have we justification of our persons, and remission in his blood--Eph. 1:7; and that by covenant--Jer. 31:32, 33. (3.) Victory and dominion are promised to Christ--Psalm 110:1, 2; Psalm 89:21, etc.. He must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet--1 Cor. 15:25, and victory over all our enemies is promised to us--John 16:33, and 14:30; Rom. 6:14, 15; Gal. 3:13; Col. 2:14, 15.

(4.) The kingdom and glory is sought by Christ--John 17:5, from his Father; then he had a word of promise from his Father for it--Phil. 2:9, 10, and we have that also--Luke 12:32; John 17:24; John 14:1-3.

(5.) Christ had a word of promise, when he went down to the grave, as some favourite by law goeth to prison, but hath in his bosom from his prince, a bill of grace, that within three days he shall come out, to enjoy all his wonted honours and court--Psalm 16:10, 11: so have we the like--John 11:26, and John 6:38, 39. 

[1] To borrow that expression.

[2] As God made the covenant of nature with Adam, yet righteous.

[3] Saith the covenant.

[4] Or covenant.

Sermon 8. — Matt. 15:22. — Son of David; “O Lord, thou Son of David!”

posted 24 Mar 2014, 14:45 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 24 Mar 2014, 14:46 ]


Matt. 15:22. -- Son of David; “O Lord, thou Son of David!” 

The condition of the covenant is faith; holiness and sanctification is the condition of covenanters—Gal. 4:21-24; Rom. 10:4-7. This do, was the condition of the covenant of works. This believe, is the condition of this covenant; because faith sendeth a person out of himself, and taketh him off his own bottom, that in Christ he may have his righteousness; works is a more selfish condition, and giveth therefore less glory to God. Faith holdeth forth God in Christ, in the most lively and lovely properties of free grace, mercy, love transcendent; hence a believer, as such, cannot possibly glory in himself; all that faith hath, is by way of receiving and begging-wise.

Objection 1. But some teach, that this covenant hath no condition at all; so Dr. Crispe and other libertines: For this is an everlasting covenant; man is not now so confirmed in grace, but he may fail in believing; and so soon as the condition faileth, the covenant faileth, as we see in the first covenant. 

Answer (1.) That we have no confirming grace to establish us to the day of Christ, is to teach with some Familists, that there is no grace in sound believers, different in kind and nature from that grace which is in many hypocrites. Yea, but the pure in spirit are blessed and shall see God; hypocrites are not so. And what else is this but the king’s roadway to the apostacy of the saints, if believers have not Christ for their undertaker, to bring them to glory, —to intercede for them?—Heb. 2:10; Luke 22:32, 33.

(2.) And though they believe not at the first hour, yet this gospel-covenant is not frustrated, even if poor souls believe at the eleventh hour. The former covenant leaveth sinners for the first breach without remedy, or hope of life, by the tenor of the law; not so this covenant. Christ knocketh till his locks be wet with night rain.

Objection 2. “I will put my law in your inward parts,” is no condition to be performed by us, but by God only; and so all the tie lieth upon God: if God do not this as he promiseth—Jer. 31., must not the fault or failing be his, who is tied in a covenant to perform his part, and doth it not? Now, this God promiseth—Jer. 31; Heb. 8:10; Ezek. 36:26, 27.

Answer. Either doth God promise to give us faith, and to cause us to walk in his ways—Ezek. 36:26, 27, and to [[“circumcise our hearts to love the Lord,”>>Deut. 30:6]], which Arminians deny, contrary to the clear day-light of Scripture; or then, whenever we sin, who are under the covenant of grace, by committing and acting works of the flesh, and omitting to believe, pray, praise, humble our souls for sin, God is to be blamed, who worketh not in us by his efficacious grace to will and to do, as he hath promised—Phil. 2:13; Ezek. 36:26, 27; and the regenerate cannot sin at all, because it is the Lord’s fault[1] that we sin; for without his giving of a new heart, and his efficacious moving us to walk in his way, to which God is tied by covenant—Ezek. 36:27; Deut. 30:6, we cannot choose but sin. Hence they teach, we are not obliged to pray, nor do we sin in not believing, in not praying, when the breath of the wind of the Holy Ghost doth not blow, and stir us to those holy duties. Hence also it is taught, that none are exhorted to believe, but such whom we know to be the elect of God, or to have his Spirit in them effectually working.

Objection 3. To do anything in conscience to a commandment, is to be under the law, and contrary to the covenant of grace. Answer. The law of grace or gospel hath commandments, as [[“Let not sin reign therefore in your mortal bodies.”>>Rom. 6:12]]. And this is backed with a reason taken from the promise of grace, [[“For sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law, but under grace;”>>Rom. 6:14]], so “Work out,” etc.,—Phil. 2:12. for, [[“It is God who worketh in you.”>>Phil. 2:13.) Though we have no physical dominion over the assisting grace of God, so as I can forcibly command the wind of the Spirit to blow when I please; yet have we a certain moral dominion, by virtue of an evangelic promise. So, as faith is to have influence in all acts of sanctification, and to look to the promise of assistance, which He who cannot lie hath promised, though he be not tied to my time and manner of working; yet do I sin in not praying, and in not believing, even when his wind bloweth not: God’s liberty and freedom of grace, doth not destroy the law of either works or grace, and free me from my duty.

Objection 4. Believing and obedience of faith is but a consequent of the covenant, not an antecedent; so I must believe upon other grounds, but not in way of the condition of the covenant, for in that tenor, I am to do nothing. 

Answer. The apostle—Rom. 10, expressly distinguisheth between the righteousness of the law—[[verse 5>>Rom. 10:5]], which requireth Doing as a condition, and the righteousness of faith, [[verse 6>>Rom. 10:5]], which requireth Believing, [[verse 10>>Rom. 10:10]]. And [[“We, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness through faith.”>>Gal. 5:5]]. Nor can any have claim to the covenant but such as believe.

Objection 5. The covenant is God’s love to man, to take him to himself, and that before the children do good or ill; and to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 

Answer. (1.) The covenant is a fruit and effect of God’s love, but it is not formally God’s love; for because God loved Israel, therefore did he enter into covenant with them—Deut. 7:7, 8; Ezek. 16:8, and Arminians expound that of Jacob’s embracing of the covenant by faith, and of Esau’s rejecting it through unbelief; whereas Paul speaketh of Jacob and Esau, as they lay stated in the eye and view of God from eternity, ere they were born, and had as yet neither done good nor ill. Now, the covenant of grace, or gospel manifested to Jacob and Esau, is not eternal, but proposed to them after they are born, and when the offer of Christ in the gospel is made; and how could Esau, before he was born, refuse the gospel, except you say, he did evil before he did evil?—which is nonsense.

(2.) Paul saith plainly, “To him that believeth is the reward reckoned.”

Objection 6. Our act of believing is a work, and no work can be a condition of the covenant of grace; yea, Christ alone justifieth. Faith is not Christ, nor any partner with him in the work; yea, we are justified before we believe, and faith only serveth for the manifestation of justification to our conscience; for we believe no lie, when we believe we are justified, but a truth. Then it must be true, that we are justified before we believe.

Answer. 1. Christ alone, as the meritorious cause, justifieth, and his imputed righteousness as the formal cause; and this way Christ alone justifieth the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and all believers ere they be born; but this is but the fountain, ready to wash. But believe it, Christ washeth not till we be foul, he clotheth us not till we be naked, he giveth not eye-salve till we be blind, nor gold till we be poor, nor is his name our righteousness till we be sinners.

(1.) Men not born cannot be the object of actual righteousness: the unborn child needeth no actual application of Christ’s eye-salve, of his gold and righteousness. Now, justification is a real favour applied to us in time, just as sanctification in the new birth: [[“And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified;”>>1 Cor. 6:11]]. Then they were sometimes not washed.

(2.) Poverty putteth beauty, worth, and a high price on Christ; sense of sin saith, “Oh, what can I give for precious Jesus Christ?” But his Father cannot sell him.

2. Yet is faith a palsy-hand under Christ to receive him—John 1:11. It is an evangelical act, and not a mere passion, but of grace deputed to be a receiver—a certain inn-keeper to lodge Christ; and so, Christ alone doth not justify us, being mere patients; this is not to put faith in the chair and throne of estate with Christ: faith giveth glory to Christ, and taketh grace as an alms, but taketh no glory from him: [[“But he was strong in the faith, giving glory to God,”>>Rom. 4:20]]. We cannot be justified before we believe.

(1.) We are damned before we believe; [[“He that believeth not is condemned already,”>>John 3]].

(2.) [[“He that is justified is glorified,”>>Rom. 8:30]], [[“and saved,”>>Mark 16:16]].

(3.) We are born, and by nature the sons of wrath—Eph. 2:3. We ourselves were sometime disobedient, etc., but he hath saved us, that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Paul maketh clearly two different times and states of the saints; “When we were in the flesh, and the motions of sins which were by the law, did work in our members, to bring forth fruit unto death,” then our first husband, the law, was living, and we under a mother and father that begat children to death, and so we were unjustified; but now, “we are delivered from the law;”—Rom. 7:5, 6. [[“Ye are not under the law, but under grace;”>>Rom. 6:14]]; when Christ, our second husband, marrieth the widow freed from her first husband, the law. Then are we under grace, and justified; and then, new Lord, new law.

(4.) By faith we are only united to Christ, possessed of him, Christ dwelling in us-Eph. 3:17. Living in him by faith—John 9:26; Gal. 2:20. Receiving Christ—John 1:11. Having Christ—1 John 5:12. Married to Christ—Eph. 5:32. Eating and drinking Christ by faith—John 6:35, 47, 45. Coming to him as to a living stone—1 Pet. 2:4. Abiding in him, as branches in the tree—John 15:4, 5. Now, if we were justified before we believe, we should have an union by the vital act of faith before we be justified; and so we should live before we live, and be new creatures, while we are yet in the state of sin, and heirs of wrath.

(5.) This justification without faith, casteth loose the covenant, “I will be your God.” But here a condition—God is not bound and we free; therefore this is the other part, “and ye shall be my people.” Now, it is taught by libertines, that there can be no closing with Christ, in a promise that hath a qualification or condition expressed; and that conditional promises are legal. It is true, if the word “condition” be taken in a wrong sense, the promises are not conditional. For, 1st, Arminians take a condition for a free act, which we absolutely may perform or not perform by free will, not acted by the predeterminating grace of Christ; so jurists take the word: but this maketh men lords of heaven and hell, and putteth the keys of life and death over to absolute contingency. 2nd. Conditions have a Popish sense, for doing that which, by some merit, moveth God to give to men wages for work, and so, promises are not conditional: but libertines deny all conditions. But taking condition, for any qualification wrought in us by the power of the saving grace of God; Christ promiseth soul-ease, but upon a condition, which, I grant, his grace worketh, that the soul be sin-sick for Christ; and he offereth [[“wine and milk,”>>Isa. 55:1]]; [[“And the water of life freely,”>>Rev. 22:17]], upon condition that you buy without money: no purse is Christ’s grace-market, no hire and sense of wretchedness is a hire for Christ. And the truth is, it is an improper condition, if a father promise lands to a son, so he will pay him a thousand crowns for the lands; and if the Father of free grace can only, and doth give him the thousand crowns also: the payment is most improperly a hire or a condition, and we may well say, the whole bargain is pure grace; for both wages and work is free grace. But the ground of libertines is fleshly laziness, and to sin, because grace aboundeth; for they print it, that all the activity of a believer is to sin. So, to believe must be sin; to run the ways of God’s commandments with a heart enlarged by grace, must be no action of grace, but an action of the flesh.

(6.) Paul, in the Epistle to the Romans, to the Galatians, taketh for granted, that justification is a work done in time, transient on us, not an immanent and eternal action remaining, either in God from eternity, or performed by Christ on the cross, before we believe; and so, never taketh on him to prove, that we are justified before we either do the works of the law, or believe in Jesus Christ; but that we are justified by faith, which certainly is an act performed by a regenerate person; for a new creature only can perform the works of the new creature, and faith is not the naked manifestation of our justification, so as we are justified before we have faith. Satisfaction is indeed given to justice, by Christ on the cross, for all our sins, before we believe, and before any justified person who lived these fifteen hundred years was born: but, alas! that is not justification, but only the meritorious cause of it—that is, as if one should say, This wall is white since the creation of the world, though this very day only it was whitened, because whiteness was in the world since the creation. Justification is a forensical sentence in time pronounced in the gospel, and applied to me now, and never till the instant now that I believe. It is not formally an act of the understanding, to know a truth concerning myself; but it is an heart-adherence of the affections to Christ, as the Saviour of sinners, at the presence of which, a sentence of free absolution is pronounced. Suppose the prince have it in his mind to pardon twenty malefactors: his grace is the cause why they are pardoned; yet are they never in law pardoned, so as they can in law plead immunity, till they can produce their prince’s royal sealed pardon.

5. The properties of the covenant I call,

1st. The freedom of it, consisting in persons.

2nd. Causes.

3rd. Time.

4th. Manner of dispensation.

(1.) a) Men, and not condemned angels, are capable of this covenant. b) Amongst men, some nations, not others—Psalm 147:19, 20. c) So many, not any other. d) The father, not the son; the poor, not always kings; the fool, not the wise man; the husband, not the wife; not these who were bidden to the supper, but beggars, halt, withered, lame.

(2.) Causes in the first covenant: there was grace, not deserving, and therefore, now, as the law is propounded, it is a pursuivant of grace, and the gospel’s servant, to stand at Christ’s and the believer’s back, as an attending servant.

(3.) Yea, “Mercy unto thousands,” towards those who have but evangelic love to Christ, cometh into the law, Christ having (in a sort) married the two covenants.

(1.) [[“I am the Lord thy God,”>>Exod. 20]], is grace standing at the entry of the door, to those that are under the law, to bring them out; but in the gospel, all is unmixed grace:

(2.) Not personal obedience is my heaven; but I stand still, and another doth all that may merit glory. Christ saith, “Do ye but stand still; behold me, and see, friends, my garments rolled in blood: I bind for you, only consent; put your hand to the pen, but I am the only undertaker to fight it out for you.”

(3.) For time: the first breach of the law is wrath, and no place by law for repentance; but here come to Christ who will, and when you will, after thou hast played the harlot with many lovers. Bring hell, and sins red as scarlet and crimson; come and be washen: come at the eleventh hour, and welcome; fall, and rise again in Christ; run away, and come home again, and repent.

(4.) The manner is,

[1.] That so much as would have bought ten thousand worlds of men and devils, was given for so many only; an infinite overplus of love, so as (I may say) Christ did, more than love us. Egypt and Ethiopia were not given for our ransom.

[2.] A sure and eternal covenant, bottomed upon infinite love. Why may not the link be broken, and the sheep plucked out of his hand? Why, the Father that gave them to me, is greater than all. Where dwelleth he? In what heaven? Who is stronger than the Father? The covenant with night and day is natural, and cannot fail; confirming grace in the second Adam is more con-natural.

[3.] Well ordered: Christ keeping his place, the Father his place, faith its place, the sinner his place.

USE 1. All without this covenant are miserable; Christ undertaketh not for them: the Lord dealeth with them by law: read Deut. 28, Lev. 26, Job 20, and 18:27. They have bread, but it is not sure; not so the believer: [[“His bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure.”>>Isa. 33:16]]. The believer has all by the free holding of grace; his bread by covenant, his sleep by promise, safety from the sword to lie down, and no man shall make him afraid by covenant; his land is tilled by the covenant of grace—Ezek. 36:34. The man not in this covenant hath all by tenor of the condemning law; the weapon of steel shall go through bones and liver, by virtue of the curses of the law.

USE 2. Men never try their standing, whether they be under the first husband, the law, or if they be married to the better husband, Christ, and under grace. Where art thou, O sinner? in Christ or no? They live at random, and by chance, not knowing that the two covenants have influence on eternity: a man is judged according to his state, rather than his actions.

USE 3. No state so stable and sure as the covenant of grace. Christ is surety for the believer, that he fall not away. Christ’s honour is engaged, he shall not have shame of his tutory: “I know I shall not be ashamed,” saith Christ—Isa. 50:7. It is his honour to raise me when I fall.

USE 4. We may use arguments of faith, challenging God, [[“Turn thou me, and I shall be turned.”>>Jer. 31:18]]. Why? “For thou art the Lord my God.” The covenant is faith’s Magna Charta, the grand mother-promise; all prayers must be bottomed on this, [[“Do not abhor us,”>>Jer. 14:21]]. Why? [[“Art not thou he, the Lord God?”>>Jer. 14:22]]. [[“Remember not our iniquity for ever; behold, see, we beseech thee,”>>Isa. 64:9]]. Why? “We are all thy people.” Every one doth for its own; the prince for his own people, the father for his own children; yea, the dam for her own young ones, the shepherd for his own sheep; and God for his own in covenant with him. An offensive and defensive covenant of peace and war taketh in the believer, and all that serveth him: the stones of the field—Job 5:23; and in covenant with the horse thou ridest on, that it shall not cast thee, and crush thee; in covenant with the sword, with the cannon and musket, with the spear and bow; yea, with death, as a boat to carry thee over the water to thy Father’s land. So the covenant, [[“I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; I have created the waster to destroy,”>>Isa. 54:16]]. Creation is a work of omnipotency only, no creature can do it. Then fire cannot consume, water cannot drown the saints, except by a dispensation of the Lord.

USE 5. Christ is not fastened as a loose nail, or as a broken or rotten wedge in the covenant. He is there as a nail in a sure place—Zach. 10:4, Isa. 22:23. Hang all the vessels of the Father’s house on Christ, He cannot break. O sweet! we are given to the surety of the covenant—John 17:3. Son, answer for him; thy life for his life, thy glory for his glory; and render account of him, when the kingdom shall be given up to the Father. Adam was surety in the first covenant, and so it fell out. Free-will holdeth all sure in the Arminian covenant.

USE 6. In desertion, to swim upon the covenant, keepeth from sinking; so Christ, in his sad and black hour, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

[1] God avert blasphemy.

Sermon 9. — Matt 15:22. — “O Lord, thou Son of David.”

posted 24 Mar 2014, 14:23 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 24 Mar 2014, 14:25 ]


Matt 15:22. — “O Lord, thou Son of David.” 

(1.) The one word “O Lord,” holdeth forth Christ’s Godhead; the other, “Son of David,” holdeth forth his manhood. Here is the perfection of our Mediator, in that he is the substantial covenant, and Emmanuel, God with us, or God us, in a personal union; the substantial marriage and alliance between the two houses of heaven and earth; God and clay.

(2.) [[“He is not ashamed to call them brethren,”>>Heb. 2:11]]. And why would he take part of flesh and blood, but because he would be a child of our house?—Heb. 2:14.

(3.) He would be of blood to us: not only come to the sick, and to our bed-side, but would lie down and be sick, taking on him sick clay, and be, in that condition of clay, a worm and not a man, that he might pay our debts; and would borrow a man’s heart and bowels to sigh for us, man’s eyes to weep for us, his spouse’s body, legs, and arms, to be pierced for us; our earth, our breath, our life, and soul, that he might breathe out his life for us; a man’s tongue and soul to pray for us: and yet, he would remain God, that he might perfume the obedience of a High Priest with heaven, and give to justice blood that chambered in the veins and body of God, in whom God had a personal lodging.

USE 1. Oh, what love! Christ would not intrust our redemption to angels, to millions of angels; but he would come himself, and in person suffer; he would not give a low and a base price for us clay. He would buy us with a great ransom, so as he might over-buy us, and none could over-bid him in his market for souls. If there had been millions of more believers, and many heavens, without any new bargain his blood should have bought them all, and all these many heavens should have smelled one rose of life; Christ should have been one and the same tree of life in them all. Oh, we under-bid, and undervalue that Prince of love, who did overvalue us; we will not sell all we have to buy him; he sold all he had, and himself too, to buy us.

USE 2. What an incomparable thing must the Mediator God-man be? There is no fair creature, no excellent one, but there is a piece of nothing, and creature baseness and creature vanity in it; even a thing of blood, to the mother-nothing of the creation of God. There is no rose, but it hath a briar growing out of it, except the rose of Sharon, that flower of the field, not planted with hands; the Son without a father, “and who shall declare his generation?” A rose that should smell, and cast out odours for a mile of earth, or for ten miles, could draw to it many beholders; but if it should smell for the bounds of the half of the earth, it should be more admirable. The flower that sprang out of the root of Jesse, spreads his beauty, and the odours of his myrrh through heaven and earth. Could the darkness of hell stand and look on the face of the sun, blackness of darkness should be better seen. But convene all the little pieces of the creation; summon before Christ, fair angels, all the troops of the sinless glorified spirits; the broad skies, fair heavens, lightsome stars; all the delicious roses, flowers, gardens, meadows, forests, seas, mountains, birds; all the excellent sons of Adam, as they should have been in the world of innocency, and let them all stand in their highest excellency before Jesus Christ; the matchless and transcendent glory of that great ALL should turn the worlds all into pure nothing. What wonder, then, that this same Lord Jesus be the delight, and heaven of all in it? The Lamb hath his throne in the midst thereof—Rev. 7:17. [[“And they shall see his face,”—Rev. 22:4]]. They do nothing else, but stare, gaze, and behold his face for ages, and are never satisfied with beholding: suppose they could wear out their eyes at the eye-holes in beholding God, they should still desire to see more. To see Him face to face, hath a great deal more in it, than is expressed; words are short garments to the thing itself. Your now sinful face to his holy face, your piece clay face to his uncreated soul-delighting face, is admirable. We do not praise Christ, and hold out his virtues to men and angels. The creatures, as the heaven, sun, moon, are God’s debtors, and they owe him glory: but men, who have understanding and tongues, are God’s factors and chamberlains, to gather in the rent of glory and praise to God. The heavens do indeed [[“declare the glory of God,”>>Psalm 19:1]], but they are but dumb musicians; they are the harp, which of itself can make no music: the creatures borrow man’s mouth and tongue, to speak what they have been thinking of God, and his excellency, these five thousand years. Now, all the glory of God, and the glory of the creatures, are made new by Christ—Rev. 21:5, and made friends with God—Col. 1:20, and are in a special manner in the Mediator Christ; he is, Ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόχας, [[“the irradiation or brightness of the glory, and the character or express image of his person,”>>Heb. 1:3]]. All creatures, by Adam’s sin, lost their golden lustre, and are now vanity-sick, like a woman travailing in birth—Rom. 8:22. All the creatures by sin, did less objectively glorify God, than they should have done, if sin had never been in the world; and so, they were at a sort of variance and division with God. [[“And it pleased the Father in Christ, Ἀποκαταλλάχαι τὰ πάντα, to make friendship between God and all things,”>>Col. 1:20]], that is to confirm angels, to reconcile man, to restore the creatures to be more illustrious objects of his glory. Now, the income of the rents of glory is more due to Christ, and the debt the greater, in that Christ hath made all things new; and why should we not, in the name of sun, moon, earth, heaven, which are all loosed from the arrestment of vanity by Christ, and in the name of angels and of saints redeemed, hold forth the praises and the glory of God in Christ? Pay, pay what you owe to Christ, O, all creatures! but especially, you redeemed ones.

USE 3. If Christ the Mediator be so excellent a person, we are to seek our life the gospel-way in Christ. We often conceive legal or law thoughts of Christ, when we conceive the Father just, severe, and Christ his Son to be more meek and merciful; but the text calleth him Lord, and so, that same God with the Father; nor hath Christ more of law, by dying to satisfy the law, nor is he more merciful than the Father, because he and the Father are one. There are not two infinite wills, two infinite mercies, one in the Father, another in the Son; but one will, one mercy in both; and we owe alike love and honour to both, though there be an order in loving God, and serving him through Christ.

USE 4. Infinite love, and infinite majesty, concur both in Christ. Love and majesty in men, are often contrary to one another, and the one lesseneth the other; in Christ, the infinite God breatheth love in our flesh.

(1.) If we see but little of Christ, we know not well the gospel spirit. We rest much on duties, to go civil saints to heaven; but the truth is, there be no moral men and civilians in heaven, they be all deep in Christ who are there. We are strangers to Christ and believing.

(2.) The spirit of a redeemed one can hardly hate a redeemed one, or be bitter against them; Christ in one saint, cannot be cruel to Christ in another saint.

(3.) Christ cannot lose his love, or cast it away: the love of Christ is much for conquering hearts; “his chariot is bottomed and paved with love.” Duties bottomed on Christ’s love, are spiritual. As the Father accepteth not duties, but in Christ, so cannot we perform them aright, when the principal and fountain-cause is not the love of Christ—John 21:15.

USE 5. The Ancient of Days, the Father of Ages, taketh a style from his new house, the Son of Man: he hath an old house, from whence he is named, the Son of God. He must affect us, and his delight be with the sons of men, when he taketh a name from us: we should affect him, and affect a communion with him, and strive to have Christ’s new name, as he taketh our new name, the Son of Man, of David.

“Son of David, have mercy upon me.” The second article of her prayer is conceived under the name of mercy.—Why? God’s mercy is a spiritual favour: deliverance to her daughter is but a temporary favour that may befall a reprobate. The devil may be cast out of the daughter’s body, and not out of the mother’s soul. Yea, but to the believer, all temporal favours are spiritualised, and watered with mercy.

1. They are given as dipped in Christ’s bowels, and mercy, wrapt about the temporary favour. Jesus cured the leper.—Mark 1:41. But how? “Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand and touched him.” So is the building of the temple given, but oiled with mercies, [[“Therefore, thus saith the Lord, I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be builded in it.”>>Zach. 1:16]]. Epaphroditus recovered health, but with it some of God’s heart and bowels also, [[“For indeed he was sick, near to death, but God had mercy on him.”>>Phil. 2:27]].

2. The ground of it is God’s mercy; the two blind men, put this in their bill: they cry, [[“Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.”>>Matt. 20:30]]. They will not have seeing eyes, but under the notion of mercy. David, pained with sore sickness, as some think, or under some other rod of God, desireth to be healed upon this ground, [[“Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak.”>>Psalm 6:2]].

3. Faith looketh to temporal favours, as faith, with a spiritual eye, as Christ and his merits goeth about them. [[“By faith, Joseph, when he died, made mention of the children of Israel’s departure:”>>Heb. 11:22]], [[“By faith, Moses, come to age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”>>Heb. 11:24]].—Why? and that was but a civil honour: Moses’ faith looked at it in a spiritual manner.

4. That same ground that moveth God to give Christ, is enough to move him to give all other things with Christ. As by what right? even by the right of a son. A father giveth the inheritance to his son; by that same, he giveth him food, raiment, protection, physic. There are not two patents here, but by one and the same covenant. The Lord giveth to his people remission of sins.—Ezek. 36:25, 26. And [[“He multiplieth the fruit of the trees, and removeth the famine.”>>Ezek. 36:30]]. In the same spiritual capacity of sons, we pray, that our Father would forgive us our sins, and give us our daily bread. Get Christ first, the great ship, and then all other things: the cock-boat saileth after him, with the same motion and wind; they be not two tides and two winds that carry on the ship and the boat. Christ, enjoyed by faith, traileth after him death, life, the world, things present, and things to come. If God give you Christ, in the same charter all things are yours, [[“because ye are Christ’s, and Christ God’s.”>>1 Cor. 3:23]]. Christ watereth with his blessing all things. If all that a saint hath be blessed, and every thing (to speak so), mercied and christianed, even his basket and his dough—Deut. 28:5, his inheritance must be blessed: much more, all Christ’s inheritance must be blessed; because he is the seed, the spring, and abstract of blessings. Now, Christ [[“is appointed the heir of all things.”>>Heb. 1:2]]. Then he is the heir of a draught of water, of brown bread, of a straw bed on the earth, and hard stones to be the pillow. To the saints, to the children of God, hell (to speak so), is heavened, sorrow joyed, poverty riched, death enlivened, dust and the grave animated and quickened with life and resurrection. God save me from a draught of water without Christ! Peace and deliverance from the sword, without Christ and the gospel, are linked and chained to the curse of God. Alas! if men have the single creature, they make no account how other things go. Give us peace upon any terms, say they. You may have the earth, peace, and the creature, and the devil to salt them to you with the curse of God. Judas had the bag at his girdle, but withal, the devil in his heart. The creature wanteth life and blood without Christ.

(2.) All mercy—that is, graced mercy, is to be sought in Jesus Christ; every mercy is mercy, because it is in Christ; every stream is water, because it is of the element of water. Every thing in its own element and nature is most copious. Water is nowhere so abundant as in the sea; so in Christ the great treasure of heaven, there is fullnessJohn 1:16. But—Col. 1:19, there is a πλήρωμα, a fullness in Christ. But

[1.] A pan to πλήρωμα, fullness, that fullness, that all-fullness. And

[2.] That all-fullness is not in Christ, as a stranger in an inn, coming in, and going out; “but it pleased the Father that it should dwell and remain in him.” The grace and mercy that is in Christ must be sought, and no other, upon these grounds:

[3.] It is a special choice mercy that is in Christ. For,

(1.) No person could serve God’s ends in such a way as Christ did, being so complete as he is. God, out of the depth of his wisdom, found out such a Mediator, and so graced. Isaac should have been undutiful, if he had refused a wife of his father’s choosing, for both out of love and much wisdom he choosed her. Now, when God, out of infinite love and deep wisdom, hath chosen to us an husband, an head, such a head, such a captain and leader, in whom there is such fullness, shall we refuse him, and shall we not seek the best things in him? Now, Christ is a husband of God’s choosing, [[“Behold my chosen one in whom my soul delighteth.”>>Isa. 42:1]].

(2.) It is not from God that we now receive mercy immediately, but from Christ, God in the Mediator. Though grace and mercy be every way free, yet now mercy is a flower that groweth in our land, in him who is our blood-friend: so now, we have mercy by nature, as well as by good will; we must have it by an act of the man Christ’s will; and when our writs are waxen old, why seek we not that which God hath laid by for us? Grace is more con-natural to us now, in that it is in the bosom of our brother, and ours by derivation.

(3.) There is a difference between mercy and purchased mercy; it is paid-for mercy that we receive, and so, more excellent than angel mercy. As some waters that run through metals have a more excellent virtue than those that spring from pure earth, mercy is so much the more desirable, that it is a river issuing through that more than golden and precious Redeemer; and so, to us it is twice mercy, to the angels it is but once mercy. Even as the bee gathers sweetness out of various and divers flowers, yet it is so composed, that the liquor resulting out of them all, hath not any particular taste from the sundry flowers, the violet, the pink, the rose, the woodbine, the clover, but it tastes of honey only;—so all we have meeting in Christ, wife, children, houses, lands, honour, to the saints have not their own natural taste, but out of all there is in them a spiritual resultance of some heavenly composure of Christ’s sweetness, and are so sprinkled, and dipt in grace and mercy, that as fresh rivers do borrow a new taste from the sea, when they flow into its bosom, so all earthly favours borrow a new smell and relish from the fountain Christ. What do they say, then, that teach, that a man may have all graces, yea, and poverty of spirit, and yet want Christ; as if these could be separated? He that believeth hath the Son: Grace and Christ cannot be separated—Eph. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; John 1:16. These byways sunder souls and the foundation Christ. 

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