John Brown of Wamphray on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

1610?-1679

 

 

Christ the Way the Truth and the Life, 1677

Chapter 6, How Christ is Made Use of for Justification, as a Way

Now, for such as would make use of Christ as the way to the Father in the point of justification, those things are requisite; to which we shall only premit [place before] this word of caution; That we Judge not the want of these requisites a ground to exeem [exempt] any that hears the gospel from the obligation to believe and rest upon Christ, as He is offered in the gospel.

First.  There must be a conviction… of original innate wickedness, whereby the heart is filled with enmity against God, and is a hater of Him and of all his ways; standing in full opposition to him and to his holy laws; loving to contradict and resist Him in all his actings; despising and undervaluing all his condescensious of love; obstinately refusing his goodness and offers of mercy; and peremptorily persisting in rebellion and heart opposition; not only not accepting his kindnesses and offers of mercy; but contemning them, trampling them underfoot as embittered against Him.  

7.  The soul must know, that He is not only an able and all-sufficient mediator; but that also he is willing and ready, to redeem and save all that will come: for all the preceding particulars will but increase his sorrow, and torment him more, so long as he supposes through ignorance and the suggestion of Satan, that he has no part in that redemption, no access to it, no ground of hope of salvation by it.  Therefore it is necessary, that the soul conceive not only a possibility; but also a probability of help this way; and that the dispensation of the gospel of grace, and the promulgation and offer of those good news to him, speak out so much; that the patience of God waiting long, and his goodness renewing the offers, confirms this; that his serious pressing, his strong motives on the one hand, and his sharp threatenings on the other; his reiterated commands, his ingeminated obtestations; his expressed sorrow and grief over such as would not come to Him, his upbraidings and objurgations of such as do obstinately refuse, and the like, put his willingness to save such as will come to him, out of all question: yea, his obviating of objections, and taking all excuses out of their mouth, makes the case plain and manifest; so that such as will not come, are left without excuse, and have no impediment lying in the way, but their own unwillingness.

8.  The man must know upon what terms and conditions Christ offers himself in the gospel, viz. upon condition of accepting of Him, believing in him and resting upon him; and that no other way can we be made partakers of the good things purchased by Christ, but by accepting of Him, as He is offered in the gospel, that is to say, freely, without price or money, Isa. 55:1, absolutely without reservation: wholly, and for all ends, etc., for till this be known there will be no closing with Christ; and till there be a closing with Christ, there is no advantage to be had by him, The soul must be married to Him as an husband; fixed to Him as the branches to the tree; united to Him as the members to the head; become one with Him, one Spirit, 1 Cor. 6:17.  See John. 15: 5. Ephes. 5: 30.  The soul must close with Him for all things; adhere to him upon all hazards; take him and the sharpest cross that follows Him: now I say, the soul must be acquainted with these conditions: for it must act deliberately and rationally here: Covenanting with Christ is a grave business and requires deliberation, posedness of soul, rational resolution, full purpose of heart, and satisfaction of soul; and therefore the man must be acquainted with the conditions of the new covenant.

9.  There must be a satisfaction with the terms of the gospeland the heart must actually close with Christ, as he is offered in the gospel.  The heart must open to Him, and take Him in, Rev. 3:20 [“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him”].  The soul must embrace and receive him, John 1:12.  The man must take Him, as his Lord and Master King, Priest and Prophet; must give up himself to Him as his Leader and Commander, and resolve to follow Him in all things, and thus close a bargain with Him: for till this be done there is no union with Christ; and till there be an union with Christ, there is no partaking of the fruits of his redemption, as to Justification, no pardon, no acceptance, no access to the favor of God, nor peace, nor joy in the Holy Ghost, no getting of the conscience sprinkled, nor no intimation of love or favor from God, etc.

Thus then is Christ made use of, as the way to the Father, in the point of Justification, when the poor weakened sinner, convinced of his sin and misery, of his own inability to help himself, of the insufficiency of all means beside Christ; of Christ’s all-sufficiency, readiness, and willingness to help, of the equity and reasonableness of the conditions on which He is offered, and life through Him, is now content, and fully satisfied with this way, actually renouncing all other ways whatsoever, and does with heart, and hand embrace Jesus Christ, and take Him as He is offered in the gospel, to make use of Him for all things, to lean to him, and rest upon him in all hazards; and particularly to refuge itself in his wings, and to rest there with complacency, satisfaction, and delight; and hide itself from the wrath of God, and all accusations.

Oh if such whom this mainly concerns could be induced to enter into this way, considering:

8.  That, as to them, all Christ’s entreaties, motives, allurements, patience and long suffering, his standing at the door and knocking, till his locks be wet with the dew, etc., are in vainyea, they are contemptuously rejected, despised, slighted, and undervalued.

If it be asked, what warrant have poor sinners to lay hold on Christ, and grip to Him, as made of God righteousness?  answer: 

2.  Christ’s all-sufficient furniture, whereby he is a qualified mediator, fitted with all necessaries for our case & condition, having laid down a price to the satisfaction of justice, is a sufficient invitation for us to look toward him for help, and to wait at that door.

4.  The Father’s offering of Him to us in the gospel, and Christ’s inviting us, who are weary, and heavy laden; yea calling and commanding such to come to him, in his own, and in his Father’s name, under the pain of his and his Father’s wrath and everlasting displeasure; exhorting further and requesting upon terms of love, pressing earnestly by many motives, sending out his ambassadors to beseech, in his stead, poor sinners to be reconciled, and to turn in to him for life and salvation: yea upbraiding such as will not come to him: all these are a sufficient warrant for a poor necessitous sinner to lay hold on his offer.

And further, to encourage poor souls to come unto him, all things are so well ordered in the gospel as that nothing occurs that can in the least prove a stumbling block or a just ground of excuse for their forbearing to believe and to accept of his offer: all objections possible are obviated to such, as are but willing? the way is cast up; and all stones of stumbling cast out of it; so that such as will not come can pretend no excuse…  Nor need they object their long refusing, and resisting many calls: for He will make such as are willing welcome at the Eleventh hour…

But it will be said, that the terms and conditions, on which he offers himself, are hard. 

Answer:  I grant the terms are hard to flesh and blood, and to proud unmortified nature, but to such as are willing to be saved, so as God way be most glorified, the terms are easy, most rational and satisfying, for:

5.  It is required, that we accept of Him really and cordially, with our heart and soul, and not by a mere external verbal profession: and is there not all the reason in the world for this?  He offers Himself really to us, and shall we not be real in accepting of Him? what, I pray, can justly be excepted against this? or what real discouragement can any gather from this?

Hence then we see, that there is nothing in all the conditions, on which He offers Himself to us, that can give the least ground, in reason, why a poor soul should draw back, and be unwilling to accept of this noble offer, or think that the conditions are hard.

But there is one main Objection, which may trouble some, and that is.  They cannot believe: faith being the gift of God, it must be wrought in them.  How then can they go to God for this, and make use of Christ for this end, that their souls may be wrought up to a believing and consenting to the bargain and hearty accepting of the offer?

To this I would say these things.

7.  This looking out to Jesus for faith, comprehends those things:

7.  A lying open to the breathings of his Spirit, by guarding against every thing (so far as they can) that may grieve or provoke Him, and waiting on Him in all the ordinances, He has appointed, for begetting of faith; such as reading the scriptures, hearing the word, conference with godly persons, and prayer etc.

[Brown is describing common motions of the Spirit before conversion that are resistible]

8.  A waiting with patience on Him, who never said to the house of Jacob, seek me, in vain, Isa. 45:19, still crying, and looking to Him, who has commanded the ends of the earth to look to him; and waiting for Him, who waits to be gracious, Isa. 30:18, remembering that they are all blessed that wait for Him, ibid., and that there is much good prepared for them, that wait for Him, Isa. 64:4.

9.  The soul essaying thus to believe, in Christ’s strength, and to creep when it can not walk or run, would hold fast what it has attained, and resolve never to recall any consent, or half consent, it has given to the bargain, but still look forward, hold on, wrestle against unbelief, and unwillingness; entertain every good motion of the Spirit for this end, and never admit of any thing, that may quench its longings, desires, or expectation…

 

Chapter 11, In what respects Christ is called the Truth

Eleventhly, He is the Truth, in respect that He carries towards poor sinners in all things, according to the tenor of the gospel, and the offers thereof: He offers himself to all freely, and promises to put none away that come to Him; and this He does in truth; for no man can say, that he had a sincere and true desire to come to Jesus Christ, and that He rejected him, and would not look upon him.  He gives encouragement to all sinners to come; that will be content to quit their sins, and promises to upbraid none that comes, and is there any that in their own experience can witness the contrary?…

Twelvely:  He is the Truth, in that, in all his dispensations of the gospel, and in all his works and actions, in and about his own people, He is true and upright: all his offers, all his promises, all his dispensations, are done in truth and uprightness, yea all are done out of truth and uprightness of love, true tenderness, and affection to them, whatever the corruption of jealousy and misbelief think and say to the contrary: He is the Truth; And so always the same, unchangeable in his love, whatever his dispensations seem to say: And the believer may rest assured hereof, that He being the Truth shall be to him whatever his word holds Him forth to be, and that constantly and unchangeably…

Chapter 11, Some General Uses from this Useful Truth that Christ is the Truth

Thirdly.  Here is ground of a sharp reproof of the wicked, who continue in unbelief and:

1.  Will not believe, nor give any credit to his promises, wherewith He seeketh to allure poor souls to come to Him for life.

 

 

Related Pages

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel