Of Keeping the
Commandments, and having an eye to the Reward; of perfection in virtue
and godliness to be attained;
and of departing
from righteousness and faith.
Are the commandments possible to be kept?
A. His commandments
are not grievous. 1 Joh.5.3.
My yoke is easie
, and my burthen light. Mat.11.30.
But though it be possible to keep the commandments, yet is
it not enough if we desire and endeavour to keep them, although we actually
keep them not? And doth not God here accept the will for the deed?
is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments
of God. 1 Cor. 7.19.
Not every one that
saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but
that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Therefore whosoever
heareth these sayings of mine and doth them , I will liken him unto
a wise man which built his house upon a rock. And every one that heareth
these sayings of mine and doth them not , shall be likened unto
a foolish man which built his house upon the sand.
Whoso looketh into
the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful
hearer, but a doer of the work , shall be blessed in his doing.
Glory, honor, and
peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the
If ye know these things,
happy are ye if ye do them. Joh.13.17.
Blessed are they that
hear the word of God, and keep it. Luke 11.27.
We must all appear
before the judgement-seat of Christ, that every man may receive the things
in his body , according to what he hath done , whether it be
good or evil. 2 Cor. 5.10.
The Son of man shall
come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, and then he shall reward
every man according to his works. Mat. 16.27.
Behold, I come quickly,
and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work
shall be. Rev. 22.12.
If thou wilt enter
keep the commandments. Mat. 19.17.
Which? Mat. 19.18.
A. Thou shalt
murther ; Thou shalt not commit adultery;
Thou shalt not steal; Thou shalt not bear false witness; Honor thy father
and thy mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self. Mat.
Though it be not onely possible,
but also necessary to keep the commandments, yet is it lawful so to do,
that we may have a right to eternal life and the heavenly inheritance?
may we seek for honor, and glory, and immortality by well doing?
is it the tenor of the Gospel that we should live uprightly in expectation
of the hope hereafter? and finally ought we to suffer for the kingdom of
God, and not (as some are pleased to mince the matter) from the kingdom
of God? Cite the testimonies of the Scripture to this purpose.
are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree
of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Rev.22.14.
of the righteous judgement of God. Who will render to every man according
to his deeds. To them, who by patient continuance in well-doing seek
for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life. Rom.2.6,7,8
The grace of God,
that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, Teaching us, that denying
ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and
godly in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope , and
the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
That ye may be counted
worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer. 2 Thess. 1.5.
Have ye any Scripture that saith , we must believe that
God is a rewarder of them that seek him, and that if we come not to
him with such a faith, it is impossible to please him?
faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God, must believe
that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Have you any example of keeping the commandments under the
law? what saith David of himself?
A. The Lord
rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of
mine hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgements were
before me, & I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright
before him: and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the Lord
me according to my righteousness according to the cleanness of my hands
in his eye-sight. Psal.13.20,21,22,23,24.
Have ye any example under the Gospel?
we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments , and
do those things that are pleasing in his sight. Joh.3.22.
Have you not examples of the choicest Saints, who obeyed
God in hope of the reward, both before, under and after the Law?
A. By faith
Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should after
receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither
he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange
country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him
of the same promise. For he looked for a city which hath foundations,
whose builder and maker is God. Heb. 11.8,9,10.
By faith Moses when
he was come to yeers refused to be called
the son of Pharaohs daughter: Chusing rather
to suffer affliction with the people of God, then to enjoy the pleasures
of sin for a season: Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches then
the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence
of the reward. Heb,11,24,25,26.
Let us run with patience
the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher
of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him , endured
the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of
the throne of God. Heb .12.1,2.
Paul a servant of
God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of Gods elect,
and the acknowledging of the truth, which is after godliness: In hope
of eternal life. Tit. 1.1,2.
Do not the Scriptures intimate that Christians may attain
to perfection of virtue and godliness? and that it is the intention of
God and Christ, and his ministers, to bring them unto this pitch? Rehearse
the texts to this effect.
as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we
should be holy and unblameable before him in love. Eph.1.4.
Christ loved the Church
and gave himself for it:
That he might sanctifie
and cleanse it with washing of water by the word. That he might present
it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any
such thing ; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Eph.5.25,26,27.
Having therefore these
promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and
spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Cor.7.1.
Be ye perfect even
as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matth. 5.48.
be ye perfect. 2 Cor. 13.11.
We preach warning
every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every
perfect in Christ Jesus. Col. 1.28.
He gave some, apostles:
some, prophets: some, evangelists: some, pastors and teachers; For the
perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying
of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and
of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man , unto the
measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Eph.4.11,12,13.
Epaphras, who is one
of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for
you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and compleat
in all the will of God. Col.4.12.
The very God of peace
you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body be
preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess.
To the end he may
stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God even our Father,
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. 1 Thess.
Now our Lord Jesus
Christ himself, and God even our Father, which hath loved us, and given
us everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace. Comfort your hearts,
and stablish you in every good word and work. 2 Thess. 2.16,17.
Have you any example of perfection before the Law?
A. Noah was
a just man, and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. Gen.6.9.
The Lord said unto
Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him
in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and
escheweth evil? Job 1.8.
Have you any example of perfection under the Law?
A. There was
in the days of Herod the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias,
of the course of Abia and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her
name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking
in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless. Luk.1.5,6.
Have you any examples under the Gospel?
A. Christ suffered
for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. Who
did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. 1 Pet.2.21,22.
I looked, and lo,
a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred fourty
and four thousand, having his Fathers name written on their foreheads.
These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins:
these are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. And in
their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne
of God. Rev.14.1,4,5.
Thou hast a few names
even in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments , and they
shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. Rev. 3.4.
Ye are witnesses,
and God also, how holily and justly and
unblameably we behaved our selves among you that believe. 1 Thess. 2.10.
If works be so necessary to salvation, as you have before
shewn from the Scripture, how cometh it to pass that Paul saith, we are
justified by faith without works? Meant he to exclude all good works whatsoever,
or onely those of the Law? How doth he explain
A. We are justified
by faith without the works of the Law. Rom. 3.28.
Can you make it appear from elsewhere, that Paul intended
to exclude from justification
onely the perfect
works of the Law, which leave no place for either grace or faith, and not
such works as include both and that by a justifying faith he meant a working
faith, and such a one as is accompanied with righteousness?
A. By grace
are ye saved, through faith , and that not of your selves: it is
the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
unto good works, which God
hath before ordained, that we should walk in them. Eph.8.9,10.
Now to him that
worketh , is the reward not reckoned of grace , but of debt.
to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly,
his faith is counted for righteousness. Rom. 3.4,5.
There is a remnant
according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is
no more of
works : otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be
of works, then it is no more grace : otherwise work is no more work.
If they which are
of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise of none effect.
Because the law worketh
wrath; for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is
faith , that it might be by grace: to the end the promise might by
sure to all the seed. Rom.4.14,15,16.
In Jesus Christ neither
circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith working
by love. Gal. 5.6 .
The just shall live
by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness
and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Rom,
What answer then would you give to a man, who wresting the
words of Paul in certain places of his Epistles to the Romans and the Galatians,
should bear you in hand that all good works whatsoever are excluded from
justification and salvation, and that is enough onely
A. Wilt thou
know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Was not Abraham our
father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Seest thou how faith
wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
And the Scripture
was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to
him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God. Ye see then
how that by works a man is justified, and not be faith onely
Likewise also was
not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers,
and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is
dead, so faith without works is dead.
What is the advice of Paul to Titus concerning the business
of faith, and works, and the Law?
A. This is
a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly,
they which have believed in God, might be careful to maintain good works:
these things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions,
and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law, for they
are unprofitable and vain. Tit. 3.8,9.
You shewed even now out of Paul, that the faith of him that
will be saved, must be accompanied with justice or righteousness; I would
therefore know of you what is a just or righteous man? is it not such a
one as apprehendeth and applyeth Christs
righteousness to himself, or at most,
desireth to do righteously?
Is not he accepted of God?
A. Let no man
deceive you, he that doth righteousness, is righteous. He that committeth
sin, is of the
Divel , for the Divel
sinneth from the beginning. In this the children of God are manifest, and
the children of the Divel : whoever doth
not righteousness is not of God. 1 John 3.7,8,10.
If we know that he
know ye that every one that doth righteousness is born
of God. 1 John 2.29.
God is no respecter
of persons: But in every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness,
is accepted of him. Acts 10.34,35.
If a man be just,
do that which is lawful and right, Hath not eaten upon the mountains,
neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither
hath defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous
woman, And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his
pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry,
and hath covered the naked with a garment; He hath not given forth upon
usury, neither hath taken any increase, hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity,
hath executed true judgment between man and man, Hath walked in my Statutes,
and hath kept my judgements, to deal truly; he is just, he shall not dye
. saith the Lord GOD. Ezek. 18.5,6,7,8,9.
May not righteous men depart from their righteousness, and
believers from their faith, and so perish? And is it not false, that
once in Christ, and ever in Christ?
A. When the
righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity,
and doth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doth, shall
he live? all his righteousness that he hath done, shall not be mentioned:
in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned
in them shall he dye. Ezek. 18.24.
When I shall say unto
the righteous that he shall surely live: if he trust to his own righteousness,
and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered, but
for his iniquity that he hath committed he shall dye
for it. Ezek.33.13.
Now the Spirit speaketh
expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,
giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of Divels
. 1 Tim. 4.1.
This charge I commit
unto thee, son Timothy, that thou war the good war fare: Holding faith,
and a good conscience which some having put away, concerning faith have
Of whom is Hymeneus
and Alexander whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not
1 Tim. 1.18,19,20.
The younger widows
refuse, for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will
marry. Having condemnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
The love of money
is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have erred
from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many arrows. 1Tim.6.10.
Their word will eat
as doth a canker, of whom is Hymeneus and Philetus: Who concerning the
faith have erred , saying that the resurrection is past already, and
overthrow the faith of some. 2 Tim. 2.17,18.
Take heed, brethren,
lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing
from the living God. But exhort one another daily, lest any of you
be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Heb. 3.12.13.
Let us labour therefore
to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of
unbelief. Heb. 4.11.
It is impossible for
those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift,
and were made partakers of the holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word
of God, and the powers of the world to come. If they fall away, to renew
them again to repentance. Heb. 6.4,5,6.
Let us consider one
another, to provoke unto love and good works. Not forsaking the assembling
of our selves together, as the maner of some
is, but exhorting one another. For if we sin wilfully after that
we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more
sacrifice for sins. He that despised Moses law, died without mercy, under
two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall
he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and
hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an
unholy thing, and hath done despite to the spirit of grace? Cast not away
therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence
of reward. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back,
my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them that draw
back unto perdition: but of them that believe to the saving of the
lest any man fail of the grace of God. Heb.12.15.
Cursed children: Which
have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way
of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; When
they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts
of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped
from them who live in error.
For if, after they
have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and
overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning
For it had been better
for them not to have known the way of righteousness, then
, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered
But it is happened
unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit
again; and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire. 2
Ye therefore, beloved,
seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also being led away
with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness
For this cause, when
I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means
the tempter had tempted you, and our labour be in vain. 1 Thess.3.5.
Because of unbelief
they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but
fear. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed, lest he
also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness, and severity of
God: on them which fell, severity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou
continue in goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Rom.11.20,21,22.
But if thy brother
be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not
him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Rom.14.1.
Through thy knowledge
the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died. 1 Cor.8.11.
I keep under my body,
and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I
myself should be a cast-away. I Cor. 9.27.
If a man abide
not in me , he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered. Joh.