November 25, 2014

Matthew Newcomen (c.1610–1669) on Offers of Grace and the Damned Being Without Excuse

In the third place, Is the Word of God the Word of his Grace? Then this reproves all those that have lived under the continual dispensation of this Word of Grace, and yet have not got saving Grace, no saving good by it; but continue blind, ignorant, impenitent, hard-hearted, secure, unbelieving, unholy, and that under the constant preaching of the Word. O that such would in the fear of God consider,

First, How dangerous their condition is.

Secondly, How great their Condemnation will be.

First, Consider how dangerous your condition is. All you that live under the Word of Grace, and get no saving Grace, no saving good by it. Read that one Text, Heb. 6:7-8. For the Earth that drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, (that is, answerable to their gift, and labours, and continuance) is blessed of God. But that which bringeth forth briars and thorns, is near unto cursing, (How near, and unto what cursing in this life, God only knows, but to be sure their end will be sad) whose end is to be burned. A fearful end, and such as should make the heart of every one who is guilty of being unfruitful under the Word of Grace, tremble to think or hear of it; especially considering how little hope there is for such a one to escape this curse, and to escape this dreadful and dismal end: for if the Word of Grace, that is the power of God himself unto Salvation, if that can do no good upon thee, what can? if that cannot work upon thy blind, ignorant, prophane hard heart, no not in ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years, what can? I tell thee, if thou art past getting good by the Word of Grace, thou art past getting good by any thing at all. Luke 16:31. If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they hear though one from the dead were sent unto them. If what thou hearest from the Word of Grace, of the Wrath of God against impenitent sinners, and the Grace and Mercy of God towards poor repenting sinners; if what thou readest and hearest in and from the Word of the torments of Hell, and of the joys of Heaven; if what thou readest and hearest from the Word of these things do not bring thee to Repentance, and Faith in the Lord Jesus, nothing else will. No, though one should come immediately out of Hell, with Hell-flames about his ears, and burning brimstone dropping down at his heels, to warn thee, and fright thee from those torments; or, if an Angel should come from Heaven, cloathed with the Sun, and crowned with Stars, to allure thee to Holiness by those glorious Rewards; neither the one or the other will work upon thee to any purpose, if the Word of Grace hath not wrought upon thee; for that is the Instrument that God hath appointed and ordained, and made fit and able to work Grace in the Soul; and therefore if that do not work upon thee, what canst thou think will?

And if thou continue still in this condition, not profitting by the Word, without any saving work of the Word upon thee, O consider how inexcusable, how intolerable thy damnation will be. Why doth our Saviour tell Chorazin and Bethsaida, and the rest of the Cities where he had gone up and down preaching the Word of Grace, that it should be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorra, for Tyre and Sidon in the day of Judgement, than for them, Matt. 11:22-24. But because Sodom and Gomorrah never had the Word of Grace preached among them, as these Cities had had. Turks and Heathens, Sodomites and Gomorrahns, yea the Devil and his Angels shall have more to plead in excuse of themselves in the day of Judgement, than those that have lived under the Word of Grace, and never did get any saving good by it.

Turks and Heathens, Sodomites and Gomorrahans will be able to say, Lord thou never sentest Prophets, or Apostles, or Ministers among us, to tell us of the danger of sin, or to call and summon us to Repentance; to make known to us thy Will and the ways of Grace and Holiness; if thou hadst, we should never have gone on in our sins and impenitence, we would certainly have laid hold upon the offers of Grace, and ways of Life. The Devil and his angels will be able to say, Lord, thou didst never provide nor propound for us a way of reconciliation and recovery since we first sinned against thee, as thou didst for man after his transgression; if thy Son had taken our nature as he did the nature of man, and had provided us such a Covenant of Peace and Reconciliation as he did for man, and the glad Tidings thereof had been published to us by the Gospel as it was to man, possibly we had not persisted so obstinately in our rebellion against thee. These and the like pleas may even the Devils have for themselves in the day of Judgment, whither true or no, that is not our question. But now thou who hast lived all thy days under the Word of Grace, and never got any saving good by it, but livest and diest an ignorant, prophane, impenitent, unbelieving creature, as the Lord knows too many do: When thou shalt appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, thou wilt not have this nor anything else to plead for thyself. If Christ should say to thee, as Judges here upon the Bench to Malefactors, What canst thou say for thyself why sentence of condemnation should not pass upon thee? Poor creature, thou wilt not have one word to say, but must be as that man in the parable, Matt. 22. Altogether speechless. When the Judge shall say to you, How is it that you appear here in the guilt of all your sins? were you never told of these sins of yours? were you never exhorted to repentance? were you never directed the way to get your sins pardoned? were you never invited, persuaded, entreated that you would be saved? did I not send my Ministers, and did not they in my Name, and in my Stead, beseech you that you would be reconciled to God? and did not they tell you what you must do that you might be reconciled? did you not live under the dispensations of that Word of Grace that was able to work Grace in you, that did work Grace in others, and was as able to work it in you? why then are ye found in a graceless condition this day? O when Jesus Christ shall in the presence of all his Saints and Angels thus expostulate with the souls of such as live and die without any saving good, how inexcusable, how intolerable will their condemnation be!

O think of it, and as you desire to escape the confusion of that day, and the condemnation of Hell, O labor yet to get Grace wrought in your hearts by the power of this Word of Grace.
Matthew Newcomen, Ultimum Vale: Or, The Last Farewell of a Minister of the Gospel to a Beloved People (London: [publisher not identified], 1663), 29–33.


Compare with Nicholas Clagett.

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