None But Christ

None but
A plain and familiar treatise
of the knowledge of Christ, exci-
ting all men to study to know Jesus
CHRIST and him crucified, with a
particular, applicatory, and saving
knowledge, in diverse sermons
upon I Cor. 2. 2.
By JOHN WALL B. D. Preacher of the
Word of God at Mich. Cornhill LONDON.

Chirist is all in all. Col. 3. 11.’
Nullus animae suavior cibus. Lact. lib. 2. c. 3.’
Printed for Ralph Smith, at the signe of the
Bible in Cornhill neer the Royall
Exchange. 1648.

[Page 211]

A brief assoyling of some doubts and Scruples, wherby a poor beleever doth question whether Jesus Christ is his or no?

IN the next place, considering notwithstanding all the former cleare evidences of our part in Christ, yet Christians are continually assaulted with doubtings and feares of their condition: and no wonder, considering the evill heart of unbelief, [Page 212] that still remaines within them Heb. 3. 12., which Satan helpes forward by his temptations, who desires to winnow us as wheat, that our faith might faile us, Luke. 12. 31.and goeth about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devoure; I shall therefore to satisfie them, labour to answer the doubts that rise in their hearts, and make them question whether Christ be theirs, yea or no.

  1. 1 Doubt. First, I feare whether Christ be mine, because I know not the time of my conversion, when some know both the time, minister and sermon that wrought upon them.

    1. I answer, its true, first, some do know the particular time of their conversion, because they may be converted at one Sermon, as the three thousand in Act. 2. though more rarely now then heretofore, because in the primitive times, the Church was more quick in her delivery, then since.

    2. Others though they know not the time of their conversion, yet they know the time when they were not converted; they see a plaine change in them, from what once they were; they can say they were blinde, and now they see; they were dead but now alive, that they hate what [Page 213] before they loved, and love what before they hated, that they are new creatures.

    3. Some there be (though very rare) that never saw any change in them, and yet may have part in Christ, such as are sanctified from the wombe, as was John and Jeremy, &c. or when they were very young, which sometimes hapneth to such as have had godly education, in whom God wrought grace so insensibly, as the change was never discerned, though there was a time when they were without grace.

    But if we see any worke of grace in us, this ought not to trouble us; shall I doubt whether I am alive, (when I can breath, speak and move as living men do) because I know not when life was put into me? or whether I be born, because I know not the time when I was borne?

  2. 2. Doubt.Secondly, I feare whether I have part in Christ, because I know not whether I were ever sufficiently prepared to receive Christ. I fear I have not been humbled enough; The plough hath not gone deep enough, I wanted depth of earth; for I read, Matth. 13. 5. because they had not much earth, they withered, and many have had deeper humiliation [Page 214] then ever I met with, by farre.

    1. I anwer, though all are (usually) prepared or humbled to receive Christ: yet first God hath not set down the quantity, but the quality: he calleth those that are weary and laden, sick, broken-hearted, stung with their sins, &c. but he saith not if they be thus much humbled, broken-hearted &c.

    2. Secondly, As some women bring forth their children with more pain then other (as was before touched) so some are more humbled then others are, as appears in Pauls conversion, and the Jailors compared with the conversion of Zacharias, Lydia and others. Rough wood requires many wedges, and many blowes before ever it will split, and hard mettle requires a great fire before ever it will be melted, when a softer mettle, a lesse fire serves the turn; God knowes what is best and fittest for every man.

    3. Then a man hath been sufficiently humbled or prepared, when he is willing to receive Christ as his Lord and Saviour, which is the end of humiliation. As then a woman hath paines enough, when the child comes forth; then Jacob was pinched with famine enough, when he was willing to let Benjamin go; then [Page 215] the child is beaten enough when his stomack is broken to stoop and yield. That Physick is strong enough that cures the malady; Some go to hell with more humiliation then others go to heaven with; when they roar, but will not let go their lusts, as Ahab, Judas, &c. Now if thou hast enough, though not so much as others, what needs more? if a little wound will serve the turn, what need a deeper? if a pin, what needs a sword? art thou more cruell to thy selfe when God is more mercifull? if easier Physick will cure, what needs a more bitter potion? can you drink their cup? you know not what you ask; that that but cured them, might have been too strong for thee.

  3. 3. Doubt.I doubt, because I doubt: I have so many temptations that I nothing but doubt, though I know the word is true, and I cannot object against it. But God hath said, being justified by faith we have peace with God, Rom. 5. 1.

    1. I answer, there is a twofold doubting, either from want of faith, which is not properly doubting, but totall infidelity and distrust; or secondly from weaknesse of faith, when it assents to the promises, yet is joyned with suspicions and feares: Now these may stand with faith, [Page 216] as the poor man that wept saying, Lord I beleeve, help my unbelief; Mark. 9. 24.for the root of infidelity within us will oppose faith, 1. Thes. 3. 10. Heb. 3. 12, 1 Pet 5. 8.and neither is it our case alone (though we are ready to say, no body hath so many temptations as we have, &Luk. 22 31. but of all Gods people; Simon, Satan hath desired to win ow thee as wheat, &c. But I have prayed that thy faith shall not faile thee.

    2. Secondly, I answer, Paul saith indeed we have peace with God, and so we have, for God is at peace with us, though we do not alwayes discerne it, (as the root remaines sometimes when the flower is gathered.) But he doth not say we have peace with the world, with the divel, with our lusts, &c. for the world will now hate us, that loved us before, and the divel will tempt and assault us bitterly, that seemed quiet before, and our own sinfull lusts will now wound, vex and trouble us, that we regarded not before, and God will ost afflict us more then he did before.

  4. 4. Doubt.Fourthly, I doubt because I cannot act faith, my faith failes me, I cannot rest my soule upon Christ.

    I answer, we must distinguish between the habit and the act of faith; the habit or [Page 217] grace of faith, that is, the inward principle or quality of faith, infused by the holy-Ghost, this never failes, but is an abiding quality; now abideth faith, hope, charity, &c. 1 Cor. 13. But the act of faith may cease for a time, and doth in the best sometimes, especially in time of temptation; as it was in Abraham when he said of his wife, she is my sister; in David, who said, I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul; and in Peter when he denied Christ and forswore him. A man may have a hand, & yet somtimes through distemper not be able to put it forth; yet God hath promised, Though we believe not (that is, sometimes are not able to act faith) yet God is faithfull, be cannot deny himselfe, 2 Tim. 2. 13.

  5. 5. Doubt.Fifthly, I doubt because I want assurance & comfort; when some rejoyce with joy unspeakable and glorious,1 Pet. 1. 8. they have tasted hidden Manna, and have gotten the white stone and the new name which no man knowes but they that have received them, and are filled with peace that passeth all understanding.

    1. I answer; first, comfort is not the standing dish of a Christian in this life; as [Page 218] we make not a meale of sweet meats, but they are as a second course to close up the stomack; your conduit pipes do not runne sweet water all the yeere, but at a Kings Coronation, or at some day of speciall solemnization; we give Cordials onely when men are sick.

      Our Lord Christ after his resurrection appeared indeed to his Disciples, but hee was quickly gone, it was but a sight and away; as Latimer said of the spirit, it is going and coming; comfort is reserved for Heaven, and we have but a taste on earth, to teach us to walk by faith, and not by sight, and to teach us to expect our life of comfort in Heaven, and not on earth.

    2. Comfort is not of the essence of faith, but a degree of glory; Christ himselfe wanted comfort when he cried out, 2 Cor. 5. 7. John 20. 19.My God my God, why hast thou forsaken me? but he wanted not faith, but he still called him his Lord & his God: So David, when he prayed to God to restore to him the joyes of his salvation, had no joy, nay instead of it he roared all day. Psal. 32. So Job, Heman and others, and yet their faith failed not.

      Now we are not to believe, so long as comfort lasts, but so long as the promises last, which are better then comfort [Page 219] without them; if we have not the shining of his countenance, let us be glad of the shining of his graces; if we have not the sun-light of his spirit, let us be glad of the star-light of the fruits of his spirit; if we have not the Holy-Ghost the comforter, let us be glad of the Holy Ghost the humbler, sanctifier, &c.

      He that makes joy and comfort the ground of his faith to rest upon, rests upon an inconstant object, and will be tossed up and down daily with continuall feares; let us bring our feeling down to our faith, and not our faith to our feeling; he that will not beleeve God in his promises, would hardly beleeve, if he had comfort from him; how shall we prove our comfort, but by the promises?

    3. That is the strongest faith that can believe without comfort, yea when God frownes upon us, as Job did, though he kill me, yet will I trust in him. Every body can say the sunne shines, when we see the light and feel the heat, as Christ said to Thomas, thou wilt not believe except thou seest, but blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed, as David did Psal. 42. 11. Why art thou cast down O my soule, and why art thou disquieted within [Page 220] me? still trust in God, &c. and Isa. 50. 10. he that feareth the Lord, though he walks in darkenesse, and seeth no light, yet let him stay himselfe in the Lord, and trust in his God.

  6. 6. Doubt.Sixthly, I doubt because I have strong lusts still remaining, when as you know faith purifieth the heart; Hab. 3. 17.and if any be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are past away, and all things are become new; 2 Cor. 5. 17.and they that are Christs, have crucified the flesh with the lusts thereof Gal. 5. 17.. But I am the old man, I find the old inclination to old sinnes, &c.

    Psal. 66. 18. 1. John 3. 9.I answer, Christ and sin cherished, allowed, cannot stand together, but Christ and in mourned under, may dwell together, as in Paul that cryed out, Rom. 7. 24. ult.O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me? &c. and in my mind I serve the Law of God, but in my flesh the Law of sin; For grace is seen as well in opposing, as overcomming corruption, (because corruption would never dislike corruption.)

    The Lord lookes not so much what we are, but what we would be; neither doth he measure us so much by our actions, as by our affections.

    Caution. Yet ever remember, the more sin is mortified, the more faith is vivified; [Page 221] the more the disease weakens, the more health strengthens.

  7. 7. Doubt. Yea but I have relapsed into my old sins, that I have vowed and covenanted against a thousand times, and therefore I am but a dog that have returned to my former vomit, or as a sow that was washed, I have returned to my former mire.

    1. I answer, there are relapses into enormities, which are peccata vastantia conscientiam, these a godly heart doth seldome relapse into, though sometimes through weaknesse of grace they may, as Peter and others.
    2. Secondly, there are relapses into infirmities, which are peccata quotidianae incursionis, which we cannot help, and God hath left daily to humble us with all, and of which none are free; as rash anger, idle words, vaine thoughts, distraction in prayer, &c. And these the best do daily relapse into; for originall sin doth still retaine its inclination to sin in the most sanctified heart, Rom. 7. 23. Col. 3. 4. 5.

    Jer. 31. 18. 19. 20.Again there are relapses of wilfulnesse and of weaknesse; now thy relapses are of weaknesse, and not of wilfulnesse, thy heart still is on Gods side; there is a great difference between a woman forced, [Page 222] and an alluring adulteresse, between our entertainment we show to a friend whom we rejoyce to see and bid welcome, &c. and to a thief that breakes into our house, of whose company we are weary and long to be rid of. He is not a swine that is driven into the mire, but he that delights to wallow in the mire.

    Now if thy relapses are of weaknesse, feare not; for he will forgive us (that so offend) not seventy times 7, times, but seventy thousand times; & every day as long as we live we must pray, Lord forgive us our trespasses; neither do future sins repeal former pardons, Peccata semel remissa nunquam redeunt.

    Neither can a child of God so sin (as some think) as to be in the stata of damnation by them, no not for an houre.

    And because it is an assertion that hath much troubled many, I shall be larger in setting downe the arguments some make gainst it, with the answer to their objections.

    Object. Some affirme that grosse sins of beleevers are not pardoned, no not in heaven, till they do actually repent of them, that they cannot say, My God, and my Christ, &c. but' do incurre an actuall guilt of eternall damnation, redundant [Page 223] upon the person (at least pro tempore) so as if David should have died before his actuall repentance, &c. he should have been damned.

    Its answered, the sins of beleevers are not only actually pardoned (in heaven) after actual repentance, but before any subsequent act of repentance, even at once in the first act of Beleeving and Repenting: So as if David and Peter had died, one in the act of his adultery, and the other in the act of his denyal of Christ, yet they had been saved; though (as they say) they cannot conceive a regenerate person can commit a known actual sin without some present act of repentance, some resistance of spirit (cald displicentia vel renisus voluntatis) Cum peccant, ea tantum parte qua non sunt regeniti peccant, secundum vero interiorem partem, nolunt, detestantur peccatum, ergo non plena voluntate peccant, Zanch. Epist. 91. p. 114. And to this agrees that in Gal. 5. 17. 1 John 3. 9. Rom. 7. 13. 24. But that he stands a condemned man till solemn acts of repentance, as confession, petition, &c. they deny.

    1. Because in the first act of beleeving, our sinnes are so pardoned, as there is no place or time after left for condemnation; he that believeth, hath everlasting life, John [Page 224] 3. ult. and cap. 5. 23. but if at any time any one sin were not pardoned, he were for that time under the curse & in the state of condemnation, Gal. 3. 10. but can a man have right to heaven and hell at the same time?

    2. Because still he is regenerated, 1 John 3. 9. the seed of God remaineth in him; but he that is in the state of regeneration, cannot be in a state of condemnation, at the same time.

    3. Still hee remains a beleever, and a penitent person in habit at least, (except by his fall he hath lost all grace, as the Arminians hold) but a beleever is still a justified person, Rom. 5. 1. & they say they cannot see how that man can be properly said to be justified, though he be acquitted of a thousand offences, if he stands guilty of any one offence, for which at that time he is in the state of condemnation, except we will say a man may be in a state of Justification, and condemnation, of life and death at the same time.

    4. In the present act of his sinne, he is united to Christ, and a member of Christ; but a member of Christ cannot be in the state of condemnation; for then at the same time a member of Christ may be a member of the Devill.

    5. [Page 225]

      He is still an adopted child of God, notwithstanding his fall, John 1. 12. 13. but every adopted child is an heire of heaven; if sonnes, then heirs, Rom. 8. therefore till he loseth his son-ship he cannot lose his right to life; it would seem strange, that God at the same time should be pater & hostis, reconciliatus & infensus, a father and an enemy.

    6. If greater sins are not forgiven till after actuall repentance: then neither are the least and smallest sinnes, committed every moment, forgiven, till after actuall repentance; for all sinnes deserve condemnation, as well the least as the greatest, (though some deserve a greater degree of torment, Gal. 3. 10. Rom. 6. ult.) & secondly, there is the same way appointed by God, for the pardon of the smallest sins as of the greatest, viz. faith and repentance; but it cannot be true of the smallest sins, because then a beleever should never be justified a minute together; for as for idle thoughts, &c. we are continually acting, and so a beleever should almost every minute be in the state of death; and then they see not but in ictu mortis, he may perish, except the last operation of his spirit, be actuall repentance. Yea if lesser sinnes (peccata quotidianae [Page 226] incursionis) need daily repentance, surely that daily repentance is actuall repentance, and then even those sins are not forgiven till actuall repentance.

    7. Then it is certain a beleever after his fall into some grosse sinnes, shall live so long by Gods decree, till he actually repents, (as the elect shall, till they beleeve) but they conceive this hath no warrant from scripture, that a beleever shall not die in the act of a grosse sin, as adultery, selfe-murther, bitter and malicious speeches, when perhaps the provoked party may immediately run him through, & kill him; yea this they say seems to judge too rigidly of those that die by selfemurther, as drowning, hanging, stabbing themselves, &c. which though it be a sin to be trembled at, it being blood, & murther, yea self-murther against our selves, to whom we owe greatest love, yea the last act is sin, and our hope of the salvation of these is exceedingly weakned by so terrible and dreadful an act, yet they beleeve it were harsh judgement to conclude these certainly damned; but what time have these men for actual repentance, when they may die ipsoictu, and as the wound may be, their repentance must be very short, having scarce time enough to say Lord have mercy upon me.

    8. [Page 227]

      That that instrumentally justifies on our part, is not repentance, but faith, because faith only layes hold upon the merits of Christ, and by it the merits of Christ are imputed to us; and repentance only justifies declarative, as an evidence and fruit of faith, or as a speciall concomitant of it. But pardon of sin is an act of justification, therefore, rather actuall faith is required, (at least as well as actuall repentance) before actuall pardon.

    9. Argum. Then a beleever may ustly feare hell and to be damned, till his actuall repentance after his sin. But a beleever ought never to fear damnation. The Major necessarily followes, and cannot be denyed. And the Minor they prove by laying down three particulars.

      • First, they deny not but filiall fear may stand with fear of temporall corrections, Psal. 119. 120. my soul trembleth for feare of thee, &c. Job. 34. 31. 32.the thing I feared is come upon me, saith JobJob. 3. 15. & 31. 32. 2 Sam. 7. 14. Amos 3. 2. . And God is very severe in chastising his children in this life, more sharply then the wicked, for judgement shall begin at the house of God, to the Jew first, &c. Thus Moses lost Canaan; Eli fell down backward & died; Davids adultery, &c. how severely [Page 228] punished? the child born in adultery died, Tamar defiled, Amnon slain in his drunkennesse, Absalom rebelling and defiling his fathers wives, yea the sword never departed from his house; Hezekiah, how severely did God deal with him, for a suddain act of vain glory? 2 King. 20. 14 to 19. and David for his priding himselfe in his people, God slew seventy thousand, 2 Sam. 24. And therefore actuall repentance is not denyed to be necessary to beleevers, (as we heard before,) to get assurance of our pardon, and prevent scourges.

      • Secondly, they deny not, but the Saints do often carnally and slavishly feare hell and damnation, which proceeds sometimes from their weaknesse of faith, and the root of infidelity still remaining, in them, which breeds doubting, and doubting breeds feare, though never so farre as to suffer the soule to be quite cut off from all hope in God; There is In credente potest insurgere contrarius mouts huie quod firmissime tenet, Aquin.certitudo fidei, which doth import a stedfast cleaving, though not absolute quietnesse, as ship at Anchor, may shake but not blow over. And sometimes it is sent as a punishment and correction from God, which he inflicts, not ponendo, positivé or operativé, that is, not positively instilling, [Page 229] that conception into them, that they shall be damned: but Abnegando, deserendo, permittendo, &c. leaving them to Satan and their own spirits to be thus tormented.

      • Thirdly, But they deny it to be lawfull, for a beleever once justified to feare hell or to be damned, after God hath left him to fall into a grosse sin.

        1. Because it is the feare of Reprobates and divels, which God hath forbidden directly, 1 Pet. 3. 14. Luk. 12. 32. Jam. 2. 19. Rev. 21. 8. Luk. 1. 74. True, Filiall feare still remaines; for blessed is he that so feareth alwayes; but servile feare, which is cum per timorem Gebennae homo se continet a peccato, Pet. Lomb. l. 3. dist. 34. & Oderunt peccare mali formidine paenae, &c. though it remaines, yet is forbidden.

        2. 2. Because quod non licet credere non licet timere, that which we ought not to beleeve, shall happen to us that we ought not to fear; but we ought not to beleeve we shal be damned till we actually repent 1. Because then we should beleeve a lye. For here is nothing present or to come, can separate us from the love of Christ, Rom. 8. 36.and Job. 10. 28. I give my sheep eternall life. Secondly because for a beleever in [Page 230] Christ, to beleeve or thinke he shall be damned, proceeds from infidelity or weaknesse of faith, and therefore is his sin.

    Object. If any object Adam in innocency had the feare of eternall death set before him to keep him from sin, Gen. 2. 17.

    Answ. they answer, that which Adam might feare (as they conceive) even with filiall feare we cannot, because Adam was liable to eternall death, if he sinned; but we are not, being freed by Christ.

    Lastly, as it is true many learned Divines are not of this opinion, as Bishop Davenant, and Suffrag. Theol. Mag. Brit. Art. 5. and some other Divines not here mentioned. So likewise many learned Divines, do assert it, Dr. Twiss. Dr. Ames. Luther de capt. Babil de Euchar. Dr. Plaifer. the sick mans couch 46. 47. & clearly and excellently. as Musculus on John 5. 24. Non est intelligendum tantum de peccati ante fidem, sed & post acceptum fidei donum; yea, Bishop Davenant himselfe saith, Persona hominis pii est semper deo grata non obstantibus delictis, and addes that their sins displicent deo odio simplici sed non redundante in personam. So Luther saith, no sin with which faith may stand can hurt us, (I thinke he meanes) to attract guilt of eternall condemnation, except [Page 231] sin be raigning, so as that it excludes faith. And Zanch. Epist. l. 1. p. 116. saith, Reprobi quando peccant, a regno Christi prorsus excidunt. Sed electi quamvis aliquando inviti & circumventi labuntur, on tamen a Christi regno prorsus excidunt, nec a Christo avelluntur.

    The objections brought against this assertion are thus answered.

    1. Object. Rom. 3. 25. Christ is said to forgive sins that are past.

      They Answ. he speaks not exclusivé excluding sins to come, but inclusivé, hence in Col. 2. 13. Christ is said to forgive us all our trespasses.

    2. Object. Matth. 10. 28. fear not them that can kill the body, &c.

      Answ. It is rather a description of the person whom we ought to fear, then of the kind of feare wherewith he is to be feared; namely, that we should feare that God that can cast soule and body into hell in regard of his power, but will not in regard of his promise.

    3. Object. 1 Cor. 6. 9. 10. 11. No fornicator, drunkard, &c. shall inherit the kingdome of God.

      Answ. They answer, That is, without he gets his pardon by Christ, received by faith and discovered, and confirmed to [Page 232] him by repentance; its true, Note.that no man can be saved without faith and repentance: but it may seem difficult to say that no man can be saved without faith and repentance alwayes acting; sometimes a man is not able to act faith, yet I beleeve he is not then unjustified; so nor yet is he able alwayes to act repentance, yet notwithstanding he stands then justified before God, and pardoned.

    4. Object. A beleever by his relapse loseth not his right, but fitnesse for heaven, not jus ad rem but jus in re, as the Leper had right to his house, but might not come at his house before he was clensed. A subject outlawed is a subject still, and hath right to the lawes, but he cannot make use of that right, till his outlaw be reversed. They ans. God appointed a leper legally unclean should be separated, &c. to typifie, that no unclean unregenerate person should come into heaven: Joh. 13. 10but a beleever in Christ is by imputation washed, sanctified, and never to be counted unclean. And our fitnesse for heaven is not by our owne inherent righteousnesse, but by the righteousnesse of Christ imputed to us by faith, Phil. 3. which is imputed to us, so long as wee remain beleevers. 2. If a beleever by any actuall sinne, [Page 233] contracteth the guilt of eternall death, he loseth not onely his fitnesse for heaven, but his right to heaven, for a time at least, Rom. 6. ult. Gal. 3. 10. neither can a beleever be in a condition, with a subject outlawed, and the contrary they conceive cannot be proved.

    5. Object. Sin must be committed before it can be pardoned, ubi non est culpa, ibi non est remissio.

      Answ. Its answered, so sin must first be co~mitted, before it can be punished, either in our selves or in our surety; yet Christ died for our sins before they were committed. But God foresees all things to come as present, or else it had been injustice in God to punish Christ without a fault committed, or for faults not committed.

    6. Object. A beleever may be excommunicated for grosse sins out of the Church, and therefore till the Church receive him, he is excommunicated out of heaven.

      Answ. Its answered, that is, he may be excommunicated out of the externall society of the visible Church, but they cannot cast him out for having nothing to do with Christ and salvation, if he be [Page 234] a beleever. (absque errante clave.) 2. All excommunication is usque ad fidei & paenitentiae testimonia publica, till he testifies his repentance, yet the excommunicate must needs repent, and have his sin pardoned by God, before he can restifie it, so as an excommunicated person before he be received into the Church, may be pardoned by God, and fit for heaven, 2 Cor. 2. 5. 6.

    7. Object. What need we then feare sins, or ask pardon for them if they be remitted in the first act of beleeving.

      In foro poli, & in foro foli.Ans. Its answered, there is a twofold forgivenesse. 1. In foro dei in the Court of God. 2. In foro conscientiae in the Court of conscience. Now in Gods Court, all sins past, present, and to come, are actually pardoned, at the very first act of beleeving and repenting. But secondly, in Court of conscience to have apprehension or comfort of pardon, so they are not pardoned, that is, we shall have no comfort or assurance of the pardon of them, till we actually repent of them, which is called our renewing by repentance, Heb. 6. as is seen in David, Psal. 32. and Psal. 51. who till he confessed his sin and actually repented, he roared all day, and his moisture, &c. and he had no [Page 235] comfortable assurance that his sin was pardoned, till then. Nor Peter till he wept bitterly. Again, a beleever prayes for pardon daily of his trespasses, for two reasons. 1. To have his faith strengthened in his pardon, and to have more assurance of it; for our faith at the best is weak and full of doubtings, but especially after great fals, which blot our evidence, that we cannot well read it, and hide Gods countenance from us, as clouds hide the shining of the sunne. 2. We contract, though not an eternall, yet a temporall guilt by actuall sins, and are liable to temporall corrections, (though not eternall damnation) not by way of satisfaction, but of castigation: For Christ which hath pardoned the punishment, will not alwayes pardon the temporall chastisement, but will often visit us with sorer and more grievous afflictions in this life, then he doth wicked men.

    8. Object. If you object that the qualifications required for pardon, are confession of sin, 1 John 1. 9. Repentance, Act. 3. 19. &c.

      1. Ans. Its answered, in an unbeleever it is requisite there be actuall faith and repentance, before he be actually pardoned in [Page 236] heaven, or in his conscience. But he that is a beleever, and hath received Christ by actuall faith and repentance; Subsequent repentance is required to evidence his pardon to his conscience, but not to procure a new pardon in heaven before God, which is done in one act as they affirme.

      2. As before was expressed, they cannot conceive how a child of God can commit an actuall sin without some degree of actuall repentance in the very act of sin, and therefore if actuall repentance were necessary before they can be pardoned, yet why is a subsequent more solemne actuall repentance required absolutely necessary to pardon, beside the present act of repentance in the act of his sin?

      3. If faith goes before repentance, (as many affirme) then a man is actually pardoned, before he doth actually repent, because by faith we are justified, which is only testified by our repentance.

    9. Object. Then David, &c. might joy in God whilst he lay in his sin, &c.

      Ans. Its answered, there is no condition a beleever can be in, but he hath cause to rejoyce in God, Hab. 3. 17. Phil. 4. 4. rejoyce in the Lord alwayes, &c. yea as in his God his Christ, &c. (though he cannot [Page 237] alwayes do it) yet he hath cause also at the same time, of great sorrow, bitternesse and griefe, that he should offend his God so gracious to him, and provoke God to punish him, and bring scandall to religion, &c. Even Paul when he mourned under his sin, Rom. 7. 24. yet rejoyced in Christ, verse 25. Secondly, if he dorepent without some precedent or concomitant act of faith, is it not the repentance of an unbeleever, and so not acceptable to procure pardon? &c.

    10. Object. I will forgive their iniquities, Jer. 31. saith God, ergo they were not pardoned before.

      Its answered, though they were pardoned before, yet they are not pardoned to our consciences till we actually repent, nor is the temporall correction remitted. So then they conclude grosse sins of Beleevers, cannot as they conceive, be committed without some present act of repentance, and the habit both of faith and repentance still remaining, though not alwayes acting, they are not for a moment in a state of condemnation, but are only liable to temporall punishments; And yet can receive no pardon in their consciences, without some acts of repentance.

  8. [Page 238]

    8. Doubt.Reader, pardon this large digression, now I return to the 8. Doubt. I feare I am but an hypocrite, me thinkes there is nothing almost I do well, but I am subject to reflect upon my selfe, and take glory to my selfe, as Herod did, Act. 12.

    Answ. I answer, O this divel of vainglory sticks close to us all, and will creep into our best duties, as the serpent crept into the garden among the sweet flowers and trees of pleasure; even Paul himselfe was subject to be exalted above measure, and the disciples reasoned among themselves which of them should be greatest; And its true, that thou sayest there are risings of pride and hypocrisie in thy heart, (which are also increased by Satans temptations) but thou art not an hypocrite because there is hypocrisie in thee, because thou complainest of it. The best sign of sincerity is to complain of hypocrisie; as a man that complaines of his disease, (O I cannot sleep, taste my meat, &c.) showes it is his disease, tha he would fain be rid of; he would fain sleep, relish his meat, walke, and the like. One told Bradford he said he did all out of hypocrisie, because he would have the people applaud him, but he answered, its true said he, the seeds of hypocrisie and vain glory are in me [Page 239] and thee too, so long as we live here, but I thank God, its that I mourne under and strive against.

  9. 9. Doubt. Ninthly, I doubt whether Christ be mine, because my heart is so hard, even a heart that cannot repent; you can assoon almost fetch water out of a rock or stone, and therefore I feare I am one that have nothing to do with Christ, and whom God will shew no mercy to Rom. 9. 18. Rom. 2. 5.

    Answ. I answer, there is a threefold hardnesse. 1. Totall, when there is no softnesse at all, Eph. 4. 19. when men are past feeling. 2. There is a judiciary hardnesse when God gives a man up to hardnesse of heart, as he did Pharoah, and those in Rom. 1. 28. Is. 6. 9. who cannot be broken with judgements nor melted with mercies. 3. There is a partiall hardnesse, when our hardnesse of heart is felt and bewailed. Now in these there is some softnesse, for else they could not bewaile their own hardnesse, as he that is stark dead cannot grone, but these cry out as they did, Es. 63. 17. wherefore hast thou hardened our hearts from thy feare? And such is thine hardnesse.

    Note A man may mourne too much when he is swallowed up with sorrow; neither [Page 240] doth God delight in our sorrow, as it is sorrow, for we know there is none of this grace in heaven where we shall be most perfect, but only as and so farre as it imbitters sin, and makes Christ the sweeter to us, neither can we have our hearts softned proportionably to our sins, except we will go down to hell, and mourne there. Nor need we seeing Christ hath borne our sorrows.

  10. 10. Doubt. Tenthly, ye but I have such cursed, blasphemous, Atheisticall thoughts, that I am afraid to mention them; as that there is no God, the Scriptures are not true, &c. which cannot be in those that know Christ savingly.

    Answ. I answer, there is no sin so vil'd, but the divell may tempt the best man unto it, as he tempted Christ to fall down and worship him, (which was as it were to kneel down and ask him blessing) and it is Satan oft times that puts these thoughts into our hearts, and then roars upon us with his temptations; just as Joseph dealt with Benjamin, first he puts his cup into his sack, and then he accuseth him for it; or as if a cut-purse should cut a mans purse, and put it into thy pocket,and then accuse thee, that thou hast stollen such a mans purse.

    [Page 241]

    If thy heart joyn not with it, this temptation, may be thy crosse, but is not thy sin; or if any corruption of heart in the least measure joyne therewith, (for there is much Atheisme in the best of our hearts) yet it is not thou, but sin that dwelleth in thee.

  11. 11 Doubt.Eleventhly, Es. 48. 17.If Christ were mine, he would teach me to profit by the word, but I cannot at all profit by hearing, I get little or no good, but only take Gods name in vaine, for I can remember nothing; sometimes though I be affected at present, yet before I get out of the Church, all the sermon is lost, whereas I know some can repeat a whole Sermon verbatim, and yet I would be loth to live as they do.

    1. Answ. I answer, Some mens memories are healed that are not sanctified; and to have a gift to repeat a sermon, and to make no conscience to practice, is but to spit sermons out of their mouthes, or as if a beast should cast out her hay and food into dung, and show you her dung, but not her fatnesse.

      But 1. thou remembrest what thou canst; to will is present, which is accepted for the deed; neither is it expected thou shouldst remember the whole Sermon, [Page 242] but thou mayest have comfort, if thou canst remember that which most concerns thee, as if thou wert bidden to a feast, it is not expected thou shouldst eat up all the meat that is set upon the table, but (especially) that which is carved out for thee, and laid upon thine own trencher.

    2. Though thou forgettest for the present, yet in due time, the Spirit of God will bring those things to thy remembrance, that thou hast most need of in thy life, as he hath promised, John 14. 26. that his Spirit shall bring all things unto our remembrance: As Peter remembred the words of Christ when the cock crew, Matth 26. ult.

    3. Though thou dost not remember mu h, yet if thy heart be made better by it, or thy affections be kindled to burn in more love to God,Luk. 24. 16. 32. (as the disciples when Christ talked with them, their hearts burned with in them) thou dost profit; shew me not the meat (say we) but shew me the man; as Cattell shew not the grasse they have eaten, but their fat; the earth showes not the rain that fell upon it, but the grasse.

    A poor woman comming from a sermon, a minister meeting the comming [Page 243] from Church, asked her who preached, whether he made a good sermon, what she remembred of the sermon, &c. Truly said she, I have a weak memory, I can remember but little, yer this I am sure, I have learned to love Christ better then ever I did in my life before; and that comforted her more, then if she could have remembred all the sermon, and not have had her heart warmed at all with more love to Jesus Christ.

  12. 12 Doubt In the twelfth place I feare I have no part in Christ, because then I might say Gal 2. 20 I live,yet not I but Christ lives in me, I should have holy thoughts, heavenly desires, gracious speeches, and holy affections, &c. but I feele no breathings of the spirit in me; if I had the grace that others have, could walke with God as they do, be so holy and heavenly in my conversation as they are, I should not feare; but I feele my selfe so barren, frothy, and empty of all good, that I can scarce discerne any breathings of the spirit of God in me at all.

    I answer,Eph. 4. 7. to every one is given grace, acording to the measure of the gift of Christ; Some are babes, and some are men in Christ Jesus, as in Davids army, some were common souldiers, some captaines, [Page 244] and some his worthies; In the body there are the feet and toes, and head and heart; God gives that measure of grace to thee that he sees fittest for thee; Some have five talents, others two, some but one, even as it pleaseth God, who hath appointed some for eminency, and some but for sincerity; As Paul that was a chosen vessell to bear his name before kings, Act. 9. 15. and therefore must have eminent graces, answerable to his imployments. Now is not a souldier a faithfull subject, because he is not a captain? is not the foot a member of the body, because it is not the head or heart? hath a babe no life, because it hath not the life of a man? and hath a man no faith, because he hath not the faith of Abraham? hath a man no love nor zeale to God and his glory, because he hath not the love of Moses, nor the zeal of Elias? is there no fire because it doth not flame; Christ will not quench the smoaking flax (which smoaketh only with desires, but cannot flame with comforts,) nor break the bruised eed. Thou hast some grace to love righteousnesse and hate wickednesse: and though to desire and aemulate the graces of others be good, Matth. 12. 20yet it may proceed from ride, because we would be eminent, and have none above us, when [Page 245] we so desire more grace, that we forget to be thankfull for what we have.

[Page 303]

An exhortation to thankfulnesse for Christ revealed in the Gospel.

IN the last place it is a use of exhortation to stir us up to thankfulnesse to God for the revelation of the Gospel; That Christ is preached among us, without the knowledge of whom there is no salvation; Eccles. 11. 7.We rejoice in the light of the Sunne, what were the world without it, but a dungeon of darknesse? but we have much more cause of joy that the Son of righteousnesse doth shine among us, with healing in his wings. Mal. 4. 2. For consider that,

  1. First as Christ is given but to few, so he is revealed but to few; It is a mystery hid from ages and generations, though now manifested to us in this Island. Col. 1. 26.He hath not dealt so with every nation, Psal. 147. 20. nay scarce with any nation as with us; The most part of the world never heard of Christ, who sit in Egyptian darknesse and the shadow of death, against whom The wrath of God is revealed from heaven, Rom. 1. 18. but no mercy or glad tidings of salvation,

    [Page 304]

    have ever sounded in their eares; The Gospell is hid from their eyes, and they are left blindfolded by the god of this world, to their eternall destruction, 2 Cor. 4. 3. 4. being strangers from the Covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world, Eph. 2. 12.

    Yea it is not above an hundred and odde years ago, since England was in darknesse and a sinke of Idolatry, and therein our forefathers lived and died, witnesse Queen Maries dayes and before. But we live in Goshen. Matth. 4. 16.We that sate in darkenesse now see great light, and to us that sate in the region and shadow of death, is light sprang up: yea, amongst us Christ is not only revealed, but more clearly then ever since the world began; O what glorious lights, (almost in every Congregation) are daily set upon the candlesticks; how many kings and Princes would have been glad to have seen the things that we see, but never saw them!

    In the old law Christ was revealed indeed (to a few) but darkly; as to Adam in that dark promise, The seed of the woman shall break the serpents head; so Abraham saw my day, [Page 305] (saith Christ) and rejoyced, John 8. 56. and Moses saw Christ, (yea glorious amidst reproaches, Heb. 1 . 16.) yea all the beleeving Jewes saw the bloud of Christ, streaming in their bloody sacrifices, and they expected a Saviour by the promised seed, but darkly as in shadows and glasses, Col. 2. 17. they saw Christum velatum, we revelatum; they saw Christ vaild, but we revealed; their light was but like a candle under a bushel, but ours is set on a candlestick. They expected a Saviour indeed, but 1. such a one that should be a great king upon earth, as appears, Act. 1. 6. wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdome to Israel? Secondly, only for themselves, but not for the Gentiles, as in Eph. 3. 5. 6. Now it is revealed, saith the Apostle, that the Gentiles should be partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospell. Thirdly, with the observation of Moses Law. Fourthly and lastly, it was ignis umbratalis, they knew but little of the manner of his birth, death and sufferings, resurrection and ascension in respect of us.

  2. Secondly as it is a blessing bestowed but upon a few, so, it is a great blessing, because when the Gospel is revealed, where Christ is preached, there God [Page 306] dwels with his speciall and gracious presence. He walketh in the midst of his golden candlesticks, Rev. 2. 1 we may say of such places as Jacob of his brethren, where God appeared, this is the gate of heaven, this is the house of God, Gen. 28, 17. Here God is made known unto us, in Judah is God known, and his name is great in Israel, Psal. 76. 1. for we enjoy neer communion with him, which was the happinesse of Adam in paradise. and is the happinesse of the Angels and Saints in heaven where God and his presence is all in all. Hence Moses prayed when God said, my presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest, if thy presence go not with us, carry us not hence saith he, Exod. 33. 4. 15. Now what a mercy is it to live in Bethel where God dwels, and not in Bethaven among Idolaters?

    Yea here is the Pearle of great Price, the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to us, a Pearle richer then all the mines of gold and silver in both the Indies, which if they were in England, we would count them great riches, yet are not so great riches as is the Gospel. In other places may be found the fatnesse of the earth, but here is the dew of heaven; Here is Manna bread from heaven, & that is the [Page 307] sweetest bread; who cannot but cry, Lord evermore give us this bread? Here is water out of the rock, and thats the sweetest water; who cannot but long with David to drink of the waters of Bethlehem, and to be satisfied with these breasts of consolation? Here is Paradise, as the French Protestants cald one of their Churches, and so long as the Gospel is preached among us, we live as it were in Paradise, and who can but say its good being here? yea and here are the glad tydings of salvation preached, and what sweeter tidings can we hear of? Rom. 10. 1 Pet. 1. 21.yea here is the kingdome of God, Matth. 3. because it is the ordinary meanes to bring men to heaven and salvation, cald the power of God to salvation, Rom. 1. 16.

    Hence it is that Noahs prayer for Japhets kindnesse was only this; God perswade Japhet to dwell in the tents of Shem. And hence it is that David desired to dwell in the house of the Lord all the dayes of his life, and that he so longed for it, when he was deprived of it, as appears, Psal. 27. 4 and 42. 1. and 84. 10.

  3. Psal. 128. 5.
    Where Christ is revealed and the Gospel is preached, there we are sure there be some elect to be saved;
    Psal. 133. ult.
    If three grounds [Page 308]

    be bad, yet one of foure will prove good ground; the Gospel seldome or never comes but as a blessing to some; Hence Paul desired to come among them, with the abundance of the blessing of the Gospell of Christ, Rom. 15. 29. Act. 18. 10 Rom. 10. 17.Indeed the Gospel is preached to reprobates, but it is as the weeds are watered for the flowers sake.

  4. Where the Gospel is revealed, and where Christ is preached, usually outward blessings do accompany; 2 Sam. 6. 11. 12.The Gospel is called Cornu copia the horn of plenty,Judge. 17. 13. as when the ark was in Obed-edoms house. all his house was blest for the Arks sake, & as Mich said, now I know the Lord will blesse me, seeing I have got a Levite to be my Priest; according as the Lord promised, Exod. 20. 24. In all places where I record my name, I will come unto thee, and I will blesse thee; And in Exod. 23. 23. yee shall serve the Lord, and he shall blesse your bread and water; and especially David, Psal. 132. 13. 14. 15. The Lord hath chosen Sion, he hath desired it for his habitation, this is my rest for ever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it, I will abundant y blesse her provision, I will satisfie her poor with bread. O then that we could sing the song of [Page 309] Zachary, Luk. 1. 68. to the end; blessed be the Lord God of Israel, that hath given light to us that sate in darknesse, as v. 79. But alas how many are weary of the Gospel of Christ, and the revelation of him? like sore eyes, they love not the light of the Sun; He that doeth evill hateth the light, John 3. ver. 20. like those Ethiopians that live under the sunne,Mal. 1. 13. and are scorched with the heat of it, they curse the Sunne, and shoot arrows against it.Amos 6. 5. They hate, despise the messengers or candlesticks that hold forth this light; Never were they more vilified and reproached then among us at this day, 2 Chron. 36. 16. Nay, how weary are they of hearing of the Gospel. Man Hu? the bread from heaven is light bread, men and women will scarce come out of doores to receive it. The wise men in Matth. 2. went many weary hundreds of miles to find Christ at Jerusalem, (some think neere a thousand miles.) The Queen of the South went farre (some say 964 miles) to heare the wisedome of Solomon; The holy Martyrs thought no weather too hot, no winter too cold, no journey too farre, no torments too great to enjoy the preaching of the Gospel though darkly. O how will they rise up injudgment against some of us, [Page 310] that thinke any paines too much, account any journey too farre, any weather too hot, or too cold, and will scarce come out of their doors to the Temple to hear Christ revealed to them. One week in their shops is sweeter then all the Sabbaths in the year, as if they would tell the world, they have got more there, and found more sweetnesse there, then ever they did in hunting and seeking after Christ; And how just were it with Christ, to say to those men, verily I say unto you none of those that were bidden shall tast of my supper. Luk. 24. 14. These shall be esteemed one day as despisers of Christ, yea this is the condemnation that light is come among us,Luk. 10. 16. but we love darknesse more then light, saith our Saviour; To be in darknesse is a great evill, but this aggravates it to choose, embrace and love darknesse;Matth. 11. the poor heathens whom we esteem accursed, are infinitely happier then these men; Wo to thee Chorazin, &c.

Nay, may we not justly feare God will take away the Gospell for our contempt of it and leave us and our children in darknesse, as our forefathers were? and go to some other people that will more embrace it, and more highly prise it? Act. 13. 46. This judgement God threatned [Page 311] the Jewes, Amos 8. 9. 11. 12. that their Sunne should go down at noon day, an that he would send a famine, not of read or water, but hearing the word as v. 1 . O Jerusalem saith Christ, Luk. 9. 42. that thou hadst known, (that is regarded) in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes. As Moses said, Exod. 1. 6. there rose up a generation that knew not Joseph, so perhaps there may spring up a generation that never knew of our plenty but may meet with as many yeers of famine, as we have done of plenty; and the wayes of Sion may mourn among us, as they have a long time rejoyced, and all for our contempt of the Gospel, and the preaching of Christ. What is now become of the seven Churches of Asia? are they not now dungeons of darknesse, and cages of unclean birds that were once seven golden candlesticks?Lam. 1. 4. nay in Ireland and Germany to what a low ebbe is the Gospel brought, where the enemies have burnt up all the Synagogues of God in the land? And then if the Gospel be gone; Icabod, our glory is departed from this our Israel; wo to us if once God departs from us; and he departs when his Gospel departs, or when Christ [Page 312] can be preached no longer among s which judgment the Lord divert from us. Then wo to them that put out the lights, when they go not out by being wasted in Christs work, but some ill breath has blown them out, which else might stil have been burning and shining lights; but happy are they that shall snuffe the lights to make them burn the clearer, and tread out such snuffes as rather stink then give light. And let us pray that lights may be set up in all the dark corners of the land, yea that in every congregation there may be a faithfull Pastor to preach Jesus Christ savingly to the people.

To God be glory for ever. Amen.
This is the full version of the original text


corruption, fruit, god, mettle, plenty, satan, sick

Source text

Title: None But Christ

Author: John Wall

Publication date: 1648

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: Wing (2nd ed.) / W469 Bibliographic name / number: Thomason / E.1139[1] Physical description: [32], 312 p. Copy from: British Library Reel position: Thomason / 250:E.1139[1]

Digital edition

Original author(s): John Wall

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) tp, ch.22 (till pp 245), ch.24 (whole)


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > non-fiction prose > religion: sermons

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.