The Veil: The Fabric of the Church, and Fabric of Our Righteousness

Taken and adapted from, “The Tabernacle, The Priesthood, and The Offerings”
Written by, Henry W. Soltau


“Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker.  –Ex. 26:31

He made the veil of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen; with cherubim skillfully worked into it he made it. –Ex. 36:35

Fine twined linen….

One material only is specified in the construction of the Vail, ”fine linen:” the blue, purple, and scarlet, were simply colors. Upon this ground-work of fine linen these colors were displayed; so that the observer would be first arrested by the beauty of the blue, the depth of the purple, and the brilliancy of the scarlet, before he perceived the material, over which these tints were spread. Does not this aptly exemplify that wondrous truth, “God was manifest in the flesh?” “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The Wife, in Revelation 19:7, is represented as having made herself ready for the marriage supper, and it is added in the succeeding verse; “To her was granted, that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean, and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” –Revelation 19:8.

Here a twofold, yet united, aspect of the truth is beautifully presented: the Church makes herself ready, and yet she is clothed by another.

So in Revelation 7:14, believers are said to have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb: while, in Revelation 1:5, it is written “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” We may view the saint as clothing or washing himself; for he may be regarded as, by faith, appropriating to himself the precious blood of Christ; or, we may consider the work as all accomplished for him by the Lord Jesus, through the grace and mercy of God. The word “righteousness of saints” is remarkable, being in the plural number; it may be rendered “righteousness;” the fine linen displaying every form of bright and holy purity; righteousness in every aspect; according to that beautiful word “Thou art all fair, my love: there is no spot in thee.” But whence were these garments derived? If we turn to Jeremiah 23: 6, “This is His name, whereby He shall be called, Jehovah our Righteousness.” Jehovah Jesus is the righteousness of the saints. He is the spotless robe; they are clothed with Him; they stand accepted (graced) in the Beloved. God has made Him to be unto them “righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,” and His name is placed upon them; as, in Jeremiah 33:16, Jerusalem on earth will have “Jehovah our Righteousness” as the name whereby she shall be called.

The fine linen of the Vail seems, then, especially to present to us “the Righteous One,” who in His life of toil and sorrow, and most especially in His death of shame and suffering, manifested that unsullied purity, that perfect obedience, and that delight in accomplishing the will of His Father, whereby He has earned for Himself a name, which is above every name, the name of Jesus; “who was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

Conversing with God on His Providences

Taken, edited and adapted from, “The Mystery of Providence”
Written by John Flavel


Communion with God, properly and strictly taken, consists in two things;

First.  God’s manifestation of Himself to the soul,

Second.  The soul’s answerable returns to God.

This is that koinonia (fellowship) we have here with God. Now God manifests Himself to His people by providences as well as ordinances; neither is there any grace in a sanctified soul hid from the gracious influences of His providential manifestations. Sometimes the Lord manifests His displeasure and anger against the sins of His people in correcting and rebuking providences. His rods have a chiding voice: ‘Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it’ (Micah 6:9). This manifestation of God’s anger kindly melts and thaws a gracious soul, and produces a double sweet effect upon it, namely, repentance for sins past, and due caution against future sins.

It thaws and melts the heart for sins committed. Thus David’s heart was melted for his sin when the hand of God was heavy upon him in affliction (Psalm 32:4, 5). Thus the captive Church, upon whom fell the saddest and most dismal providence that ever befell any of God’s people in any age of the world, see how their hearts are broken for sin under this severe rebuke (Lamentations 2:17-19).

And then it produces caution against sin for the time to come. It is plain that the rebukes of Providence leave this effect upon gracious hearts (Ezra 9:13, 14; Psalm 85:8).

Sometimes God cheers and comforts the hearts of His people with smiling and reviving providences, both public and personal. There are times of lifting up as well as casting down by the hand of Providence. The scene changes, the aspects of Providence are very cheerful and encouraging, their winter seems to be over. They put off their garments of mourning, and then, ah, what sweet returns are made to heaven by gracious souls! Does God lift them up by prosperity? they also will lift up their God by praises (Psalm 18, title, and verses 1-3). So Moses and the people with him (Exodus 15) when God had delivered them from Pharaoh, how they exalt Him in a song of thanksgiving which, for the elegance and spirituality of it, is made an emblem of the doxologies given to God in glory by the saints (Revelation 15:3).

On the whole, whatever effects our communion with God in any of His ordinances is wont to produce upon our hearts, the same we may observe to follow our conversing with Him in His providences.

It is usually found in the experience of all the saints that in whatever ordinance or duty they have any conscious communion with God, it naturally produces in their spirits a deep abasement and humiliation from the sense of divine condescension to such vile poor worms as we are. Thus Abraham, ‘which am but dust and ashes’ (Genesis 18:27). The same effect follows our converse with God in His providences. Thus when God had in the way of His providence prospered Jacob, how does he lay himself at the feet of God, as a man overwhelmed with the sense of mercy! ‘I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth which thou hast shown thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands’ (Genesis 32:10). Thus also it was with David: ‘Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?’ (2 Samuel 7:18). And I doubt not but some of you have found the same frame of heart upon you that these holy men here expressed. Can you not remember when God lifted you up by providence, how you cast down yourselves before Him and have been viler in your own eyes than ever! Why, thus do all gracious hearts. What am I, that the Lord should do thus and thus for me! O that ever so great and holy a God should thus be concerned for so vile and sinful a worm!

Does communion with God in ordinances melt the heart into love to God (Song of Solomon 2:3-5)? Why, so does the observation of His providences also.

Never did any man converse with God’s works of providence aright, but found his heart at some times melted into love to the God of his mercies. When God had delivered David from the hand of Saul and all his enemies, he said, ‘I will love thee, O LORD my strength’ (Psalm 18:1 compared with the title). Every man loves the mercies of God, but a saint loves the God of his mercies. The mercies of God, as they are the fuel of a wicked man’s lusts, so they are fuel to maintain a good man’s love to God; not that their love to God is grounded upon these external benefits. ‘Not thine, but thee, O Lord,’ is the motto of a gracious soul, yet these things serve to blow up the flame of love to God in their hearts, and they find it so.

Does communion with God set the keenest edge upon the soul against sin? You see it does, and you have a great instance of it in Moses, when he had been with God in the mount for forty days and had there enjoyed communion with Him. When he came down and saw the calf the people had made, see what a holy paroxysm of zeal and anger it cast his soul into (Exodus 32:19, 20). Why, the same effect you may discern to follow the saints’ converse with God in His providences. What was that which pierced the heart of David with such a deep sense of the evil of his sin, which is so abundantly manifested in Psalm 51 throughout? Why, if you look into the title, you shall find it was the effect of what Nathan had laid before him, and if you consult 2 Samuel 12:7-10 you will find it was the goodness of God manifested to him in the several endearing providences of his life, which in this he had so evilly requited the Lord for. It was the realization of this that broke his heart to pieces. And I doubt not but some of us have sometimes found the like effects by comparing God’s ways and our own together.

Does communion with the Lord enlarge the heart for obedience and service? Surely it is as oil to the wheels, that makes them run on freely and nimbly in their course. Thus when Isaiah had obtained a special manifestation of God, and the Lord asked: ‘Whom shall I send?’ he presents a ready soul for the employment) ‘Here am I; send me’ (Isaiah 6:8). Why, the very same effect follows sanctified providences, as you may see in Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:5, 6) and in David (Psalm 116:12). O when a soul considers what God has done for him, he cannot choose but say, What shall I return? How shall I answer these engagements?

And thus you see what sweet communion a soul may have with God in the way of His providences. O that you would thus walk with Him! How much of heaven might be found on earth this way! And certainly it will never repent the Lord He has done you good, when His mercies produce such effects upon your hearts. He will say of every favour thus improved, it was well bestowed, and will rejoice over you to do you good for ever.

A great part of the pleasure and delight of the Christian life is made out of the observations of Providence. ‘The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein’ (Psalm 111:2). That is, the study of Providence is so sweet and pleasant that it invites and allures the soul to search and dive into it. How pleasant is it to a well-tempered soul to behold and observe.

Observe the sweet harmony and consent of divine attributes in the issues of Providence! They may seem sometimes to jar and clash, to part with each other, and go contrary ways; but they only seem so to do, for in the winding up, they always meet and embrace each other. ‘Mercy and truth are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other’ (Psalm 85:10). This is spoken with an immediate reference to that signal providence of Israel’s deliverance out of the Babylonish captivity, and the sweet effects thereof. The truth and righteousness of God in the promises did, as it were, kiss and embrace the mercy and peace that was contained in the performance of them, after they had seemed for seventy years to be at a great distance from each other. For it is an allusion to the usual demonstration of joy and gladness that two dear friends are wont to give and receive after a long absence and separation from each other; they no sooner meet, but they smile, embrace and kiss each other. Even thus it is here. The Hebrew word may be rendered ‘have met us,’ and that also is true; for whenever these blessed promises and performances meet and kiss each other, they are also joyfully embraced and kissed by believing souls. There is, I doubt not, an indirect reference in this Scripture to the Messiah also, and our redemption by Him. In Him it is that these divine attributes, which before seemed to clash and contradict one another in the business of our salvation, have a sweet agreement and accomplishment. Truth and righteousness do in Him meet with mercy and peace in a blessed agreement. What a lovely sight is this, and how pleasant to behold! O, if we would but stand upon our watchtower (Habakkuk 2:3) to take due observations of Providence, what rare prospects might we have! Luther understands it of the Word of God, as much as to say, I will look into the Word, and observe there how God accomplishes all things, and brings them to pass, and how His works are the fulfilling of His Word. Others, as Calvin, understand it of a man’s own retired thoughts and meditations, in which a man carefully observes what purposes and designs God has upon the world in general, or upon himself in particular, and how the truth and righteousness of God in the Word work them selves through all difficulties and impediments, and meet in the mercy, peace and happiness of the saints at last. Every believer, take it in which sense you will, has his watchtower as well as Habakkuk; and give me leave to say, it is an angelic employment to stand up and behold the consent of God’s attributes, the accomplishment of His ends and our own happiness in the works of Providence. For this is the very joy of the angels and saints in heaven, to see God’s ends wrought out and His attributes glorified in the mercy and peace of the Church (Revelation 14:1-3, 8).

And as it is a pleasant sight to see the harmony of God’s attributes, so it is exceedingly pleasant to behold the resurrection of our own prayers and hopes as from the dead. Why, this you may often see, if you will duly observe the works of Providence towards you. We hope and pray for such and such mercies to the Church, or to ourselves; but God delays the accomplishment of our hopes, suspends the answer of our prayers and seems to speak to us: ‘For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it: because it will surely come, it will not tarry’ (Habakkuk 2:3). But we have no patience to wait the time of the promise, our hopes languish and die in the interim; and we say with the despondent Church, ‘My hope is perished from the LORD’ (Lamentations 3:18). But how sweet and comfortable it is to see these prayers fulfilled after we have given up all expectation of them! May we not say of them that it is even ‘life from the dead.’ This was David’s case (Psalm 31:22); he gave up his hopes and prayers for lost, yet lived to see the comfortable and unexpected returns of them. And this was the case of Job (6:11); he had given up all expectation of better days, and yet this man lived to see a resurrection of all his lost comforts with an advantage. Think how that change and unexpected turn of Providence affected his soul. It is with our hopes and prayers as with our alms: ‘Cast thy bread on the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days’ (Ecclesiastes 11:1). Or as it was with Jacob, who had given over all hopes of ever seeing his beloved Joseph again, but when a strange and unexpected Providence had restored that hopeless mercy to him again, O how ravishing and transporting it was! (Genesis 46:29, 30).

What a transporting pleasure it is to behold great blessings and advantages to us wrought by Providence out of those very things that seemed to threaten our ruin or misery! And yet by duly observing the ways of Providence you may to your singular comfort find it so. Little did Joseph think his transportation into Egypt had been in order to his advancement there; yet he lived with joy to see it and with a thankful heart to acknowledge it (Genesis 45:5). Wait and observe, and you shall assuredly find that promise (Romans 8:28) working out its way through all providences. How many times have you been made to say as David, ‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted’ (Psalm 119:71). O what a difference we have seen between our afflictions at our first meeting with them, and our parting from them! We have entertained them with sighs and tears but parted from them with joy, blessing God for them, as the happy instruments of our good. Thus our fears and sorrows are turned into praises and songs of thanksgiving.

What unspeakable comfort it is for a poor soul, that sees nothing but sin and vileness in itself, at the same time to see what a high esteem and value the great God has for him!

This may be discerned by a due attendance to Providence, for there a man sees goodness and mercy following him through all his days (Psalm 23:6). Other men pursue good, and it flies from them, they can never overtake it; but goodness and mercy follow the people of God, and they cannot avoid or escape it. It gives them chase day by day, and finds them out even when they sometimes put themselves by sin out of the way of it. In all the providences that befall them goodness and mercy pursue them. O with what a melting heart do they sometimes reflect upon these things! ‘And will not the goodness of God be discouraged from following me, notwithstanding all my vile affronts and abuses of it in former mercies? Lord, what am I, that mercy should thus pursue me, when vengeance and wrath pursue others as good by nature as I am?’ It certainly argues the great esteem God has of a man, when He thus follows him with sanctified providences, whether comforts or crosses, for his good. And so much is plain, from ‘What is man . . that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment!’ (Job 7:17, 18). Certainly, God’s people are His treasure, and by this it appears that they are so, that He withdraws not his eye from them (Job 36:7). I say not that God’s favour and respect to a man may be concluded solely from His providences, but sanctified providences may very much make it clear to us; and when it does so, it cannot but be matter of exceeding great joy.

What is there in all this world that can give a soul such joy and comfort as to find himself by everything set on and furthered in his way to heaven! And yet this may be discerned by a careful attendance to the effects and issues of providences. However contrary the winds and tides of Providence at any time seem to us, yet nothing is more certain than that they all conspire to hasten sanctified souls to God and fit them for glory.

Saint Paul knew that both his bonds and the afflictions added to them should turn to, or, as the word imports, finally issue in his salvation. Not that in themselves they serve to any such purpose; but as they are overruled and determined to such an end, ‘through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ’ (Philippians 1:19). When prayer, the external, and the Spirit, the internal means are joined with them, then afflictions themselves become excellent means to promote salvation. And have we not with joy observed how those very things that sense and reason tell us are opposite to our happiness have been the most blessed instruments to promote it! How has God blessed crosses to mortify corruption, wants to kill our wantonness, disappointments to wean us from the world! O we little think how comfortable those things will be in the review, which are so burdensome to present sense!

I beseech you consider what an effectual means the due observation of Providence will be to overpower and suppress the natural atheism that is in your hearts.

There is a natural seed of atheism in the best hearts, and this is very much nourished by passing a rash and false judgment upon the works of Providence. When we see wicked ones prospering in the world, and godly men crushed and destroyed in the way of righteousness and integrity, it may tempt us to think there is no advantage by religion and all our self-denial and holiness to be little better than lost labour. Thus stood the case with good Asaph: ‘Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches’ (Psalm 73:12). And what does the flesh infer from this? Why, no less than the unprofitableness of the ways of holiness: ‘Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency’ (verse 13). This irreligious inference carnal reason was ready to draw from the dispensations of outward prosperity to wicked men; but now if we would carefully observe either the signal retributions of Providence to many of them in this world or to all of them in the world to come, O what a full confirmation is this to our faith! ‘The LORD is known by the judgments which he executeth’ (Psalm 9:16). Psalm 58 contains the characters of the most prodigious sinners, whose wickedness is aggravated by the deliberation with which it is committed (verse 2) by their habit and custom in it (verse 3) and by their incorrigibleness and persistence in it (verses 4, 5). And the Providence of God is there invited to destroy their power (verse 6), and that either by a gradual and unperceived consumption of them (verses 7, 8) or by a sudden and unexpected stroke (verse 9).

And what shall the effects of such providence be to the righteous? Why, it shall be matter of joy (verse 10) and great confirmation to their faith in God: ‘Verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth’ (verse 11).

And, on the contrary, how convincingly clear are those providences that demonstrate the being, wisdom, power, love and faithfulness of God in the supporting, preserving and delivering of the righteous in all their dangers, fears and difficulties! In these things the Lord shows Himself to His people (Psalm 94:1). Yea, He shows Himself to spiritual eyes in the providences, as clearly as the sun manifests itself by its own beams of light. ‘And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand; and there was the hiding of his power’ (Habakkuk 3:3, 4). It is spoken of the Lord’s going forth for His people in their deliverance from their enemies. Then He had horns or rays and beams of power and mercy coming out of His hands. By His hands are meant His providential administrations and dispensations, and the horns that came out of them are nothing else but the glorious display of His attributes in those providences. How did God make Himself known to His people in that signal deliverance of them out of Egypt? (Exodus 6:3). Then He was known to them by His name Jehovah in giving being by His providences to the mercies promised.

Thus when Christ shall give His people the last and greatest deliverance from Antichrist, He shall show Himself to His people ‘in a vesture dipped in blood, and his name shall be called, The Word of God’ (Revelation 19:13). His name was the Word of God before; but then He was the Word revealing and manifesting the promises and truths of God; and He is now accomplishing and fulfilling them. ‘For that thy name is near, thy wondrous works declare (Psalm 75:1).

But more particularly, let us bring it home to our own experience. It may be we find ourselves sometimes assaulted with atheistical thoughts. We are tempted to think God has left all things below to the course and sway of nature, that our prayers do not reach Him (Lamentations 3:44), that He does not regard what evils befall us. But tell me, saints, have you not enough at hand to stop the mouths of all such temptations? O do but reflect upon your own experiences, and solemnly ask your own hearts the following questions:

Have you never seen the all-sufficient God in the provisions He has made for you and yours, throughout all the way that you have gone? Who was it that supplied to you whatever was needful in all your straits? Was it not the Lord? ‘He hath given meat unto them that fear him; he will ever be mindful of his covenant’ (Psalm 111:5). O do but consider the constancy, seasonableness and at some times the extraordinariness of these provisions, and how they have been given in answer to prayer, and shut your eyes if you can against the convincing evidence of that great truth: ‘He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous’ (Job 36:7).

Have you not plainly discerned the care of God in your preservation from so many and great dangers as you have escaped and been carried through hitherto? How is it that you have survived so many mortal dangers, sicknesses, accidents, designs of enemies to ruin you? It is, I presume, beyond question with you that the very finger of God has been in these things, and that it is by His care alone you have been preserved. When God had so signally delivered David from a dangerous disease and the plots of enemies against him, ‘By this,’ he says, ‘I know thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me’ (Psalm 41:11). He gathered from those gracious protections the care God had over him.

Have you not plainly discerned the hand of God in the returns and accomplishments of your prayers? Nothing can be more evident than this to men of observation. ‘I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him and were lightened, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles’ (Psalm 34:6). Parallel to this runs the experience of thousands and ten thousands of Christians this day; they know they have the petitions they asked of Him. The mercy carries the very impress and stamp of the duty upon it, so that we can say, This is the mercy, the very mercy I have so often sought God about. O how satisfying and convincing are these things!

Have you not evidently discerned the Lord’s hand in the guiding and directing of your paths to your unforeseen advantage? Things that you never planned for yourselves have been brought about beyond all your thoughts. Many such things are with God; and which of all the saints has not found that word, ‘The way of man is not in himself’ (Jeremiah 10:23) verified by clear and undeniable experience? I presume, if you will but look over the mercies you possess this day, you will find three to one, it may be ten to one, thus wrought by the Lord for you. And how satisfying beyond all arguments in the world are these experiences, that there is a God to whom His people are exceedingly dear, a God that performs all things for them (Psalm 57:2)! Is it not fully convincing that there is a God who takes care of you, inasmuch as you have found in all the temptations and difficulties of your lives His promises still fulfilled and faithfully performed in all those conditions? I appeal to yourselves, whether you have not seen that promise made good: ‘I will be with him in trouble’ (Psalm 91:15) and that, ‘God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may he able to bear it’ (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Have not these been as clearly made out by Providence before your eyes, as the sun at noonday? What room then is left for atheistical suggestions in your breasts?

CONVERSION: And those things from which we turn

Taken and adapted from, “An Alarm to Unconverted Sinners”
Written by Joseph Alleine (1634-1668), An English Nonconformist Pastor


The objects from which we turn in conversion are, sin, Satan, the world, and our own righteousness.

We turn from sin. When a man is converted, he is forever at enmity with sin; yes, with all sin, but most of all with his own sins, and especially with his bosom sin. Sin is now the object of his indignation. His sins swell his sorrows. It is sin that pierces him and wounds him; he feels it like a thorn in his side, like a prick in his eyes: he groans and struggles under it, and not formally, but feelingly cries out, “0 wretched man!” He is not impatient of any burden so much as of his sin. If God should give him his choice, he would choose any affliction so he might be rid of sin; he feels it like the cutting gravel in his shoes, pricking and paining him as he goes.

Before conversion, he had light thoughts of sin; he cherished it in his bosom, as Uriah his lamb; he nourished it up, and it grew up together with him; it did eat, as it were, of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was to him as a daughter. But when God opens his eyes by conversion, he throws it away with abhorrence, as a man would a loathsome toad, which in the dark he had hugged fast in his bosom, and thought it had been some pretty and harmless bird. When a man is savingly changed, he is deeply convinced not only of the danger but the defilement of sin; and O, how earnest is he with God to be purified! He loathes himself for his sins. He runs to Christ, and casts himself into the fountain set open for sin and for uncleanness. If he fall, he has no rest till he flees to the word, and washes in the infinite fountain, laboring to cleanse himself from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit.

The sound convert is heartily engaged against sin; he struggles with it, he wars against it; he is too often foiled, but he will never yield the cause, nor lay down the weapons, while he has breath in his body; he will make no peace; he will give no quarter. He can forgive his other enemies; he can pity them, and pray for them; but here he is implacable, here he is set upon extermination; he hunts as it were for the precious life; his eye shall not pity, his hand shall not spare, though it be a right hand or a right eye. Be it a gainful sin, most delightful to his nature or the support of his esteem with worldly friends, yet he will rather throw his gain down the kennel, see his credit fail, or the flower of pleasure wither in his hand, than he will allow himself in any known way of sin. He will grant no indulgence, he will give no toleration; he draws upon sin wherever he meets it, and frowns upon it with this unwelcome salute, “Have I found you, 0 mine enemy?”

Have you pondered these things in thy heart? Hast you searched the book within you, to see if these things be so? If not, read it again, and make thy conscience speak, whether or not it be thus with you.

Hast you crucified thy flesh with its affections and lusts; and not only confessed, but forsaken thy sins, all sin in thy fervent desires, and the ordinary practice of every deliberate and willful sin in thy life? If not, you art yet unconverted. Does not conscience fly in your face as you read, and tell you that you livest in a way of lying for thy advantage; that you used deceit in your calling; that there is some way of secret wantonness that you live in? Why then, do not deceive thyself; you are in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.

Does not your unbridled tongue, your indulgence of appetite, your wicked company, your neglect of prayer, of reading and hearing the word, now witness against you, and say, ” We are your works, and we will follow you;” or, if I have not hit you right, does not the monitor within tell you, there is such or such a way that you know to be evil, that yet for some carnal respect you do tolerate yourself in? If this be your case, you are to this day unregenerate, and must be changed or condemned.

We turn from Satan.

Conversion binds the strong man, spoils his armor, casts out his goods, turns men from the power of Satan unto God. Before, the devil could no sooner hold up his finger to the sinner to call him to his wicked company, sinful games, and filthy delights, but presently he followed, like an ox to the slaughter, and a fool to the correction of the stocks; as the bird that hastens to the prey, and knows not that it is for his life. No sooner could Satan bid him lie, but presently he had it on his tongue. No sooner could Satan offer a wanton object, but he was stung with lust. If the devil says, “Away with these family duties,” be sure they shall be rarely enough performed in his house. If the devil says, “Away with this strictness, this preciseness,” he will keep far enough from it: if he tells him, “There is no need of these closet-duties,” he will go from day-to-day and scarcely perform them. But since he is converted he serves another Master, and takes quite another course: he goes and comes at Christ’s bidding. Satan may sometimes catch his foot in a trap, but he will no longer be a willing captive; he watches against the snares and baits of Satan, and studies to be acquainted with his devices; he is very suspicious of his plots, and is very jealous in what comes across him, lest Satan should have some design upon him; he ” wrestles against principalities and powers;” he entertains the messenger of Satan as men do the messenger of death; he keeps his eye upon his enemy, and watches in his duties, lest Satan should get an advantage.

We turn from the world.

Before a man has true faith, he is overcome of the world; either he bows down to mammon, or idolizes his reputation, or is a “lover of pleasure more than a lover of God.” Here is the root of man’s misery by the fall; he is turned aside to the creature, and gives that esteem, confidence, and affection to the creature, that is due to God alone,

0 miserable man, what a deformed monster has sin made you! God made you “little lower than the angels;” sin, little better than the devils. The world, that was formed to serve you, is come to rule you—the deceitful harlot has bewitched you with her enchantments, and made you bow down and serve her.

But converting grace sets all in order again, and puts God on the throne, and the world at his footstool; Christ in the heart, and the world under the feet. So Paul, “I am crucified to the world, and the world to me,” Before this change, all the cry-was, “Who will show us any worldly good?” but now he prays, ” Lord, lift you up the light of thy countenance upon me,” and take the corn and wine whoso will. Before, his heart’s delight and content were in the world; then the song was, “Soul, take thy ease, eat, drink, and be merry; you hast much goods laid up for many years;” but now all this is withered, and there is no comeliness, that we should desire it; and he tunes up with the sweet Psalmist of Israel: “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance; the lines are fallen to me in a fair place, and I have a goodly heritage.” He blesses himself, and boasts himself in God. Nothing else can give him content. He has written vanity and vexation upon all his worldly enjoyments, and loss and dung upon all human excellencies. He has life and immortality now in pursuit. He pants for grace and glory, and has a crown incorruptible in view. His heart is set in him to seek the Lord. He first seeks the kingdom of heaven and the righteousness thereof, and religion is no longer a matter by the by with him, but his main care.

Before, the world had the sway with him; he would do more for gain than godliness—more to please his friend, or his flesh, than the God that made him; and God must stand by till the world was first served. But now all must stand by; he hates father and mother, and life, and all, in comparison of Christ. Well, then, pause a little, and look within. Doth not this nearly concern you? You pretend for Christ, but does not the world sway you? Do you not take more real delight and content in the world than in him? Do you not find thyself better at ease when the world goes to thy mind, and you art compassed with carnal delights, than when retired to prayer and meditation in thy closet, or attending upon God’s word and worship? No surer evidence of an unconverted state, than to have the things of the world uppermost in our aim, love, and estimation.

With the sound convert, Christ has the supremacy. How dear is his name to him! How precious is his favor! The name of Jesus is engraven on his heart. Gal. 4: 19. Honor is but air, and laughter is but madness, and mammon is fallen like Dagon before the ark, with hands and head broken off on the threshold, when once Christ is savingly revealed. Here is the pearl of great price to the true convert; here is his treasure; here is his hope. This is his glory, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.” 0, it is sweeter to him to be able to say, Christ is mine, than if he could say, the kingdom is mine.

We turn from our own righteousness.

Before conversion, man seeks to cover himself with his own fig-leaves, and to make himself whole with his own duties. He is apt to trust in himself, and set up his own righteousness, and to reckon his counters for gold, and not submit to the righteousness of God. But conversion changes his mind; now he counts his own righteousness as filthy rags. He casts it off, as a man would the dirty tatters of a beggar. Now he is brought to poverty of spirit, complains of and condemns himself, and all his inventory is, “poor, and miserable, and wretched, and blind, and naked.” He sees a world of iniquity in his holy things, and calls his once-idolized righteousness but filth and loss; and would not for a thousand worlds be found in it. Now he begins to set a high price upon Christ’s righteousness: he sees the need of Christ in every duty, to justify his person, and sanctify his performances; he cannot live without him; he cannot pray without him. Christ must go with him, or else he cannot come into the presence of God; he leans upon Christ, and so bows. Himself in the house of his God; he sets himself down for a lost undone man without him; his life is hid in Christ, as the root of a tree spreads in the earth for stability and nutriment. Before, the news of Christ was a stale and tasteless thing; but now, how sweet is Christ. Augustine could not relish his before so much admired Cicero, because he could not find in his writings the name of Christ. How emphatically cries he, “0 most sweet, most loving, most kind, most dear, most precious, most desired, most lovely, most fair!”

In a word, the voice of the convert is with the martyr, “None but Christ.”


The Necessity of the Atonement

Taken and Adapted from “God’s Way of Peace.”
Written by Horatius Bonar
Edited for thought and sense.

lamb-of-god[We live in a day where the death of Christ is being trivialized. What need was there for it? Why would an Almighty God be so barbaric as to require this death, and not just any death, but the death of the God-man, Jesus Christ, and what did it really accomplish in the salvation of humanity? It seems that every assault upon the Christian faith these days involves an attack upon what is now commonly described as the “Substitution theory.” And while many of the other so-called modern theories seem new and “proper,” they really antiquated or at least greatly modified from original form in most theological circles. Unfortunately, their echoes remain in popular religious thought, and further, they trouble many minds which have not learned to distinguish between the Christian fact and the theological theory with which the respective characteristics of the substitutionary and non-substitutionary theories are framed. The historic concepts of the Sacrificial Atonement are usually viewed within the framework of the Penal, Substitutionary aspects, and are thereby contrasted with the Merely Moral or Exemplary Theories of Propitiation; the same of which as is often set forth in Modern thought….  However, in this post, I wish to get back to the simple basics of what Jesus accomplished for man on the cross. And I am very unapologetic that I hold to the historic and orthodox Christian view of the necessity of the shedding of blood chosen by the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. –M.W.P]

“What is the special meaning of the blood, of which we read so much? How does it speak peace? How does it ‘purge the conscience from dead works?’ (Heb. 9:14) “What can blood have to do with the peace, the grace, and the righteousness of which we have been speaking?”

God has given the reason for the stress which he lays upon the blood; and, in understanding this, we get to the very bottom of the grounds of a sinner’s peace.

The sacrifices of old, from the days of Abel downward, furnishes us with the key to the meaning of the blood…

…and explain the necessity for its being “shed for the remission of sins.” “Not without blood” (Heb. 9:7) was the great truth taught by God from the beginning; the inscription which may be said to have been written on the gates of tabernacle and temple. For more than two thousand years, during the ages of the patriarchs, there was but one great sacrifice, – THE BURNT OFFERING. This, under the Mosaic service, was split into parts, – the peace-offering, trespass offering, sin offering, etc. In all of these, however, the essence of the original burnt offering was preserved, – by the blood and the fire, which were common to them all.

The blood, as the emblem of substitution, and the fire, as the symbol of God’s wrath upon the substitute, were seen in all the parts of Israel’s service; but especially in the daily burnt offering, the morning and evening lamb, which was the true continuation and representative of the old patriarchal burnt offering. It was to this that John referred when he said “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Israel’s daily lamb was the kernel and core of all the Old Testament sacrifices; and it was its blood that carried them back to the primitive sacrifices, and forward to the blood of sprinkling that was to speak better things than that of Abel (Heb. 12:26).

In all these sacrifices the shedding of the blood was the infliction of death. The “blood was the life” (Lev. 17: 11, 14; Deut. 12:23); and the pouring out of the blood was the “pouring out of the soul” (Isa. 53:12). This blood shedding or life-taking was the payment of the penalty for sin; for it was threatened from the beginning, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17); and it is written, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:3); and again, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 7:23).

But the blood shedding of Israel’s sacrifices could not take sin away. It showed the way in which this was to be done, but it was in fact more a “remembrance of sins” (Heb. 10:3), than an expiation (Heb. 10:11). It said life must be given for life, ere sin can be pardoned; but then the continual repetition of the sacrifices showed that there was needed richer blood than Moriah’s altar was ever sprinkled with, and a more precious life than man could give.

The great blood-shedding has been accomplished; the better life has been presented; and the one death of the Son of God has done what all the deaths of old could never do. His one life was enough; his one dying paid the penalty; and God does not ask two lives, or two deaths, or two payments. “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28). In that he died, he died unto sin once” (Rom. 6:10). “He offered one sacrifice for sins forever” (Heb. 10:12).

The “sprinkling of the blood” (Ex. 24:8), was the making use of the death, by putting it upon certain persons or things, so that these persons or things were counted to be dead, and, therefore, to have paid the law’s penalty. So long as they had not paid that penalty, they were counted unclean and unfit for God to look upon; but as soon as they had paid it, they were counted clean and fit for the service of God. Usually when we read of cleansing, we think merely of our common process of removing stains by water and soap. But this is not the figure meant in the application of the sacrifice. The blood cleanses, not like the prophet’s “nitre and much soap” (Jer. 2:22), but by making us partakers of the death of the Substitute. For what is it that makes us filthy before God? It is our guilt, our breach of law, and our being under sentence of death in consequence of our disobedience. We have not only done what God dislikes, but what his righteous law declares to be worthy of death. It is this sentence of death that separates us so completely from God, making it wrong for him to bless us, and perilous for us to go to him.

When thus covered all over with that guilt whose penalty is death, the blood is brought in by the great High Priest. That blood represents death; it is God’s expression for death. It is then sprinkled on us, and thus death, which is the law’s penalty, passes on us. We die. We undergo the sentence; and thus the guilt passes away. We are cleansed! The sin which was like scarlet becomes as snow; and that which was like crimson becomes as wool. It is thus that we make use of the blood of Christ in believing; for faith is just the sinner’s employing the blood. Believing what God has testified concerning this blood, we become one with Jesus in his death; and thus we are counted in law, and treated by God, as men who have paid the whole penalty, and so been “washed from their sins in his blood.”*

Such are the glad tidings of life, through him who died. They are tidings which tell us, not what we are to do, in order to be saved, but what He has done. This only can lay to rest the sinner’s fears; can “purge his conscience;” can make him feel as a thoroughly pardoned man. The right knowledge of God’s meaning in this sprinkling of the blood, is the only effectual way of removing the anxieties of the troubled soul, and introducing him into perfect peace.

The gospel is not the mere revelation of the heart of God in Christ Jesus.

In it the righteousness of God is specially manifested (Rom 1:17); and it is this revelation of the righteousness that makes it so truly “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). The blood shedding is God’s declaration of the righteousness of the love which he is pouring down upon the sons of men; it is the reconciliation of law and love; the condemnation of the sin and the acquittal of the sinner. As “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22); so the gospel announces that the blood has been shed by which remission flows; and now we know that “the Son of God is come” (I John 5:20), and that “the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7). The conscience is satisfied. It feels that God’s grace is righteous grace, that his love is holy love. There it rests.

It is not by incarnation but by blood shedding that we are saved. The Christ of God is no mere expounder of wisdom; no mere deliverer or gracious benefactor; and they who think they have told the whole gospel, when they have spoken of Jesus revealing the love of God, do greatly err. If Christ be not the Substitute, he is nothing to the sinner. If he did not die as the Sinbearer, he has died in vain. Let us not be deceived on this point, nor misled by those who, when they announce Christ as the Deliverer, think they have preached the gospel. If I throw a rope to a drowning man, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more than that? If I cast myself into the sea, and risk my life to save another, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more? Did he but risk his life? The very essence of Christ’s deliverance is the substitution of Himself for us, his life for ours. He did not come to risk his life; he came to die! He did not redeem us by a little loss, a little sacrifice, a little labor, a little suffering, “He redeemed us to God by his blood” (Rev. 5:9); “the precious blood of Christ” (I Pet. 1:18). He gave all he had, even his life, for us. This is the kind of deliverance that awakens the happy song, “To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”

The tendency of the world’s religion just now is, to reject the blood; and to glory in a gospel which needs no sacrifice, no “Lamb slain.” Thus, they go “in the way of Cain” (Jude 11). Cain refused the blood, and came to God without it. He would not own himself a sinner, condemned to die, and needing the death of another to save him. This was man’s open rejection of God’s own way of life. Foremost in this rejection of, what is profanely called by some scoffers, “the religion of the shambles,” we see the first murderer; and he who would not defile his altar with the blood of a lamb, pollutes the earth with his brother’s blood.

The heathen altars have been red with blood; and to this day they are the same. But these worshippers know not what they mean, in bringing that blood. It is associated only with vengeance in their minds; and they shed it, to appease the vengeance of their gods. But this is no recognition either of the love or the righteousness of God. “Fury is not in him;” whereas their altars speak only of fury. The blood which they bring is a denial both of righteousness and grace.

But look at Israel’s altars. There is blood; and they who bring it know the God to whom they come. They bring it in acknowledgment of their own guilt, but also of his pardoning love. They say, “I deserve death;” but let this death stand for mine; and let the love which otherwise could not reach me, by reason of guilt, now pour itself out on me.”

Inquiring soul!  Beware of Cain’s error on the one hand, in coming to God without blood…

…and beware of the heathen error on the other, in mistaking the meaning of the blood. Understand God’s mind and meaning, in “the precious blood” of his Son. Believe his testimony concerning it; so shall thy conscience be pacified, and thy soul find rest.

It is into Christ’s death, that we are baptized (Rom. 6:3), and hence the cross, which was the instrument of that death, is that in which we “glory” (Gal. 6:4). The cross is to us the payment of the sinner’s penalty, the extinction of the debt, and the tearing up of the bond or handwriting which was against us. And as the cross is the payment, so the resurrection is God’s receipt in full, for the whole sum, signed with his own hand. Our faith is not the completion of the payment, but the simple recognition on our part of the payment made by the Son of God. By this recognition, we become so one with Him who died and rose, that we are henceforth reckoned to be the parties who have paid he penalty, and treated as if it were we ourselves who had died.

Thus are we “justified from the sin,” and then made partakers of the righteousness of him, who was not only delivered for our offences, but who rose again for our justification.

Righteousness by the Law ?

Written by Robert Trail.
Adapted from  6 Sermons on Galatians 
Edited for thought and sense.

tenCommandmentsB“Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.  For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.   But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—…”  Romans 3:19-21 ESV

He that seeks righteousness by the law, is a man that never saw his need of grace…

…and you may be well assured that man will frustrate the grace of God, who never saw his utter need of it. He was never so far emptied, but he expects and imagines that he shall be able to work out a righteousness for himself, and so is not brought under any conviction of his utter need of the grace of God; whereas he that is for the grace of God in Christ alone, is a man that hath a great need of the grace of God, and sees himself undone without it.

This self-righteous man sees no glory in the grace of God shining through the righteousness of Christ…

…there is no excellency in it to him. Every natural man is in this mind; he sees a great deal of glory in his own doings: in a beautiful conversation, in brave gifts, and in a shining walk before men; he sees a great deal of beauty and glory here. Every natural man thinks there is a great deal of glory in his own performances. The self-righteous Pharisee came boasting in his own performances; “God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican: I fast twice a week, and I give tithes of all that I possess,” (Luke 18:11, 12). These were great things in the man’s esteem, and so they are in the eyes of every natural man. But for that righteousness that is lodged in Christ, that is wrought out by a man without him, by one that came down from heaven, and is gone up thither again; that hath all this righteousness seated in him, and gives it forth to us by mere grace; no natural man thinks any thing of this. But the believer is a man that hath a high esteem of the righteousness of Christ. How doth the apostle Paul speak of this? “I count all things but dung, that I may win Christ; and be found in him, not having on mine own righteousness,” (Phil. 3:8, 9).

Every natural man is averse from the grace of God…

…and therefore he must needs frustrate the grace of God. He is averse from it: but every believer is just of another mind. Sirs, if all men’s hearts were known to us, as they are to God, here is one thing that would determine every man’s state, What way do you best like to go to heaven in? “I would gladly be very holy,” saith the poor man, “that I may be very happy when I die.” Saith the believer, “I would gladly be clothed with Christ’s righteousness, and get eternal life as the gift of his grace; and I know that by being in Christ I shall be sanctified.”

But no believer seeks sanctification as his righteousness, and title to glory…

…it is a preparation for glory, and the way that leads to glory, to all them that are saved according to that blessed method, “Whom he justified, them he also glorified,” (Rom. 8:30); and by glorification there, both sanctification and eternal life are well understood by most.


Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage:  Robert Trail (1642–1716), Presbyterian divine, was born at Elie in Fifeshire in 1642. His father, Robert (1603–1678), was son of Colonel James Trail of Killcleary in Ireland, and grandson of Trail of Blebo in Fifeshire. He became chaplain to Archibald Campbell, first marquis of Argyll [q.v.], and in 1639 was presented to Elie. He was translated to the Greyfriars church, Edinburgh, in 1648, and became a zealous Covenanter. In 1644 he was a chaplain with the Scottish army in England, and was present at the battle of Marston Moor. He was one of the ministers who visited the Marquis of Montrose in prison and attended him on the scaffold. He afterwards joined the protesters, and was one of the party who reminded Charles II at the Restoration of his obligation to keep the covenants, for which he was banished for life. He sailed for Holland in March 1662–3, but returned to Edinburgh, where he died on 12 July 1678. A portrait of him is given in Smith’s ‘Iconographia Scoticana’ (Hew Scott, Fasti, i. 40–1, and authorities there cited). He left an autobiography in manuscript. He married, on 23 Dec. 1639, Jean Annand, daughter of the laird of Auctor-Ellon, Aberdeenshire. She was imprisoned in June 1665 for corresponding with her exiled husband.
Robert Trail’s early education was carefully superintended by his father, and at the university of Edinburgh he distinguished himself both in the literary and theological classes. At the age of nineteen he stood beside James Guthrie, his father’s friend, on the scaffold. He was for some time tutor or chaplain in the family of Scot of Scotstarvet, and was afterwards much with John Welch, the minister of Irongray, who was the first to hold ‘armed conventicles.’ In a proclamation of 1667 he was denounced as a ‘Pentland rebel’ and excepted from the act of indemnity. It is uncertain whether he was present at that engagement or not; but he fled to Holland, where he joined his father and other Scottish exiles. There he continued his theological studies, and assisted Nethenius, professor at Utrecht, in preparing for the press S. Rutherford’s ‘Examen Arminianismi.’ In 1669 he was in London, and in 1670 was ordained to a presbyterian charge at Cranbrook in Kent. He visited Edinburgh in 1677, when he was arrested by the privy council and charged with breaking the law. He admitted that he had preached in private houses, but, refusing to purge himself by oath from the charge of taking part in holding conventicles, he was sent as a prisoner to the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth. Having given a promise which satisfied the government, he was liberated a few months afterwards and returned to his charge in Kent. He afterwards migrated to a Scots church in London, where he spent the rest of his life.
In 1682 he published a sermon, ‘By what means can ministers best win souls?’ and in 1692 a letter to a minister in the country—supposed to be his eldest brother, William (1640–1714), minister of Borthwick, Midlothian—entitled ‘A Vindication of the Protestant Doctrine concerning Justification and of its Preachers and Professors from the unjust Charge of Antinomianism.’ This ‘angry letter,’ as Dr. Calamy calls it, was occasioned by the violent controversy which broke out among the dissenting ministers of London after the republication in 1690 of the works of Dr. Tobias Crisp. Charges of Antinomianism were made on the one side and of Arminianism on the other, and Trail was distinguished for his zeal against Arminianism. A somewhat similar controversy followed in Scotland, and as Boston of Ettrick and others took the same side as Trail, his works became very popular among them and their adherents. He afterwards published ‘Sermons on the Throne of Grace from Heb. 4:16Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)’ (3rd edit. 1731), and ‘Sermons on the Prayer of Our Saviour, John 17:24Open in Logos Bible Software (if available).’ These works were devout, plain, and edifying, and were in great favour with those who were attached to evangelical religion.
Trail died unmarried on 16 May 1716 at the age of seventy-four. His brother William, the minister of Borthwick, has had many clerical descendants of note, both in the church of Scotland and in the church of Ireland—among the latter James, bishop of Down and Connor (Hew Scott, Fasti, i. 266).

Character excerpts from Wikipedia

Righteousness by Faith

Written by, Thomas Manton,  Circa 1670, published 1874.
Taken from, “The Complete Works of Thomas Manton”, Vol. 18.
Edited with apologies for thought and sense by Michael Pursley.

white-robe “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
 –Gal. 5: 5.

In the context of this passage, the apostle persuades the Galatians to stand fast in the liberty of the gospel,and not to be entangled again in the bondage…

The blessedness of a christian is implied in the word ‘Hope.’

Hope is taken two ways in scripture, “for the thing hoped for,and for the affection or act of him that hopes. Here it is taken in the first sense, for the thing hoped for. As also Titus ii.13, ‘Looking for the blessed hope.’ So Col. i. 5, ‘ For the hope which is laid up for us in heaven.’

But what is The ground and foundation of this hope?  …’The righteousness of faith!’

Only here it is opposed, partly to the covenant of works, which could not give life; partly to the legal observances; for it presently followeth, ‘Neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision,’ etc. But by no means is it opposed to evangelical obedience; for the whole new testament obedience is comprised in this term, ‘The righteousness of faith;’ as appeareth by the apostle’s explication in the next verse, ‘But faith,which works by love.’

Also, in this text is shown the duty of a christian…

…’We wait.’ De jure, we ought; defacto, we do. All true christians wait for the mercy of God and life everlasting. And he calls it waiting, because a believer hath not so much in possession as in expectation. This waiting is not a devout sloth, but is accomplished by the Spirit all true christians are inclined to pursue after their hope built upon the righteousness of faith.  So we ask:

1. What is the righteousness of faith?
2. What is the hope built upon it?

3. What is the interest and work of the Spirit in bringing us to wait for this hope?

This righteousness of faith may be considered with respect to the object of faith…

…and the proper and principal object of faith is Jesus Christ and his merits; and so the righteousness of faith is the obedience and death of Christ, which, because it is apprehended by faith, it is sometimes called the righteousness of Christ,and sometimes the righteousness of faith: Phil. 3:9, ‘And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is by the law, but that which is by the faith of Christ, even the righteousness which is of God by faith.’ This certainly is the ground of our acceptance with God, and therefore the bottom and foundation of all our hope: Rom. 5: 19,’By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous;’ that is, by Christ’s merit and obedience; and 2 Cor. 5:21,’He was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.’

This is that we rely upon Christ as the only meritorious cause of whatever benefit we obtain by the new covenant.

With respect to faith itself,whereby the merits of Christ’s obedience and death are applied and made beneficial to us. When we believe, we are qualified; and therefore it is said that ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousnes,’ –Romans 4:3.

That is, God accepted Abraham as righteous for Christ’s sake. And so he does to every one that believeth; for,Rom. 3:22, ‘ The righteousness of God is by faith of Christ Jesus,unto all,and upon all them that believe;’ without any difference. If Abraham was justified by faith, we are justified by faith. Now, if you ask me what kind of believer is qualified and accepted as righteous, I answer, It is the penitent believer and the working believer.

The penitent believer; for faith and repentance are inseparable companions:

Mark 1:15, ‘Repent,and believe the gospel;’ Acts 12:38, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost;’ Acts 11:21,’ The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.’ These two cannot be severed ; for till we are affected with that miserable estate where unto we have plunged ourselves by our sins, and there be an hearty sorrow for them, and a perfect hatred and detestation of them, and a full and peremptory resolution to forsake them, that we may turn to the Lord and live in his obedience, we will not prize Christ nor his benefits,or see such a need of the spiritual physician to heal our wounded souls; nor will God accept us as righteous while we continue in our unrighteousness. So that, though it be righteousness of faith, and the believer be only accepted as righteous, yet it is the penitent believer whose heart and mind is changed, and is willing by Christ to come to God.

So now we have herein, the basis of the working believer…

…for so it is explained in the next verse, ‘Faith working by love; and it is also so expressed elsewhere: Heb. 11:7, ‘By faith, Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark,to the saving of his house, by which he became an heir of the righteousness which is by faith We are warned of the eternal penalties threatened by God; if we do not repent and believe, we shall not be saved from wrath ; but if we believe, and prepare an ark, diligently using the means appointed for our safety, then we become heirs of the righteousness of faith, and are accepted by God, and have a right to all the benefits which depend thereupon. It was a business of vast charge, and an eminent piece of self-denying obedience, to prepare an ark. So true faith showeth itself by obedience.

Now the gospel and new covenant, called the ‘word of faith,’ Rom. 10:8; ‘The hearing of faith;’ ‘Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law,or by the hearing of faith?’ Gal. 3:2; ‘The law of faith,’ Rom. 3:27. This is the doctrine which is believed. So we may understand that all that the new covenant requires may be called the righteousness of faith. For look, as to be justified by the law, or works required by the law, is all one; so to be justified by faith, and to be justified by the new covenant, is all one also.

What is the hope built upon it, or the things hoped for by virtue of this righteousness? They are pardon and life.

1. Certainly pardon of sins is intended in the righteousness of faith, as it appears by that of the apostle, and as written in Rom. 4: 6-8.

2. There is also in it salvation or eternal life: Titus 3:7, ‘That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs, according to the hope of eternal life.

These two benefits give us the greatest support and comfort against all kinds of troubles. Against troubles of mind, or inward troubles, we are supported by the pardon of our sins : Mat. 9:2 ‘Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.’

Again, both are eminently accomplished at the last judgment, when the righteousness of faith stands us in good stead. Then by the one we are freed from the guilt of sin, and so have deliverance from eternal death; by the other we have not only right, but the entrance into God’s eternal glory.

Meet the Author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Manton (1620–1677) was an English Puritan clergyman. Thomas Manton was invited to preach before Parliament on at least six occasions. The first occasion was on June 30, 1647, which was a fast day for Parliament. His sermon was based on Zechariah 14:9 and entitled, “Meat out of the Eater; or, Hopes of Unity in and by Divided and Distracted Times.”

Exactly one year later, on June 30, 1648, he preached another fast sermon on Revelation 3:20, “England’s Spiritual Languishing; with the Causes and the Cure.” He also participated in the Westminster Assembly as one of three clerks, was later appointed to write a preface to the second edition of the Westminster Confession in 1658, and served Oliver Cromwell as a chaplain and a trier (an overseeing body that examined men for the ministry).

In 1656 he moved to London as he was appointed as a lecturer at Westminster Abbey and most importantly as rector of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, succeeding Obadiah Sedgwick. During this time Cromwell died and England entered a period of great uncertainty. This led Presbyterians such as Manton to call for the restoration of Charles II in 1660, traveling along with others to Breda, The Netherlands, to negotiate his return. After Charles returned, Manton was part of the negotiations called the Savoy Conference, in which the scruples of the Presbyterians and Congregationalists concerning the Prayer Book were formally discussed. Yet since the Cavalier Parliament was filled with Laudians, 1662 saw the enactment of the Act of Uniformity 1662. All ministers were to be ordained or re-ordained by a bishop, they were to renounce the Solemn League and Covenant, promise loyalty to the Prayer Book, and subscribe the Thirty-Nine Articles. Since Manton was on favorable terms with Charles II he was offered the Deanery of Rochester, but he refused on conscience grounds.

Manton’s last years were tumultuous. The Act of Uniformity led to the “Great Ejection.” On August 17, 1662, Manton preached his last sermon at Covent Garden on Hebrews 12:1. He also continued to write even when imprisoned for refusing to cooperate for six months in 1670 in violation of the Conventicle Act. 1672 saw the Declaration of Indulgence, in which men like Manton were granted a license to preach at home. Manton then became a lecturer at Pinner’s Hall for the so-called “morning exercises.” Parliament, though, revoked this Indulgence the year after. Manton would later die on October 18, 1677, and was survived by his wife and three children.