December 5, 2014

William Strong (d.1654) on the Motions of the Spirit, Offers of Grace, and Kneeling Mercy

[4] All the motions of the Spirit of God: as the giving of the Spirit doth belong to the second Covenant: This is the Covenant says the Lord, that I will make with them, my Spirit that is upon them, &c. And it is the Gospel that is the ministration of the Spirit, for it is Christ the Prince of the Covenant that doth send the Spirit: and what is the end of the Spirit's coming? it is only to advance the Covenant of Grace: He shall take of mine, says Christ, and show it unto you: that he may bring you into Union with Christ, and so into Covenant with God by him: and therefore it is the Spirit of the second Covenant, and the healing motions, and strivings, and impressions of the Spirit of God with man, are all to this end, to bring them within the bounds of the Covenant: and though they may receive many gifts, and common graces, and common works; yet the Spirit is grieved, resisted, and quenched, if this great work be not wrought, that the spirit may become a spirit of adoption; and all those glorious works of the Spirit as a witness, as a seal, and as an earnest, they do all come under the second Covenant, and belong to the spirit as the spirit of the Gospel.

[5] If thou be not translated into the Covenant of Grace, thou art left in a remediless condition: for thy first Covenant being broken does bring thee under a curse, and there is but one remedy against the sting of the Serpent, and that's the brazen Serpent: there's no avoiding the curse of the Covenant but by being translated out of it; and this translation thou wilt not accept of, therefore thou art in a helpless condition: for thy disease is mortal of itself, and thou wilt not accept of a remedy, and so thou art left to the punishment of the first Covenant's curse, John 3:33, He that believes not, the wrath of God abides upon him; not comes upon him only, but abides upon him. There is ira transiens, and ira permanens, transient wrath, and permanent wrath. All sin brings a man under wrath, but there is no sin leaves a man under wrath but unbelief, because a man will not accept of peace, and reconciliation that is made to him. And let me tell thee, O soul, whoever thou art in such a condition, thy misery will be so much the greater, that thou hast had a second Covenant offered, and yet despisest it, and in this Sodom and Gomorrah will come in against thee, and will condemn thee; for if they had had the offers that thou hast had, they would have accepted of them, yet thou hast rejected them: nay, the Devils themselves will be brought in against thee for thy condemnation; and in this as thy sin is greater; so will thy judgment be, for they never had an offer of any terms of peace made to them; they found themselves shut up under wrath without hope, but thou hast had offers and hopes all thy days; and this will be matter for that never-dying worm to feed upon at the last and great day, when the soul shall reflect seriously upon its by-past life: I neglected hopes and possibility, and it's now unrecoverable, thou there was a time that the offers of mercy were made to me, and treaties of Grace made with me, by the common works of the Spirit of God, which I rejected; mercy was upon her knees to me, and I had as great possibility and probability to have found mercy as any other: there are some that lived under the same Ordinances and offers of Grace with me, and many of them had never the opportunities that I have had, and yet I see them sit down with Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of God, and I have left out. And this will be the great misery of many, I may say of most of the children of the Kingdom, they that live in the Church at the last and great day.
William Strong, A Discourse of the Two Covenants (London: Printed by J. M. for Francis Tyton at the Three Daggers in Fleet-street, and for Thomas Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns at the lower end of Cheapside near Mercers Chapel, 1678), 71. This work is also available at the Westminster Assembly Project.


No comments: