Reading from Thomas Goodwin’s works volume 10, Man’s Guiltiness Before God.
The highest degree to which a temporary believer can possibly attain, described by the apostle Paul, Heb. 6, which yet falls short of that saving work, wrought in a sincere believer, there spoken of by him. Apostacy and the Temporary Believer
Ministers are set as guides and teachers, and are represented in Scripture as lights set up in the churches, and in the present state meet their people, from time to time, in order to instruct and enlighten them, to correct their mistakes, and to be a voice behind them, when they turn aside to the right hand or the left, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it;” to evince and confirm the truth by exhibiting the proper evidences of it.
There was a time, if “time” is could be called, when God, in the unity of His nature (though subsisting equally in three Divine Persons), dwelt all alone. “In the beginning, God.” There was no heaven, where His glory is now particularly manifested.
The word innate, together with the words which Johnson uses to explain it, are applied as freely to the qualities of the mind, as to any thing which pertains to the body. Thus writers speak of innate integrity, innate eloquence, inborn passions, inborn worth, inbred affection.
Now the general current of human actions is such in regard to the divine law, as to afford conclusive and overwhelming evidence of man’s moral corruption. If we turn our thoughts to the history of human conduct in the antediluvian world, and since, we shall see that man has been a sinner. If we survey the conduct of man at the present day, in every situation and at every period of life, we still find evidence of the fact that man is a sinner.
The premium of three hundred dollars which was awarded to the writer of the Following Essay, was offered by Mr. John Dunlop of Edinburgh, Scot- land* The Judges appointed were, the Reverend Jeremiah Day, D. D. L. L. D. President of Yale Colleqe, the Reverend Edward D. Griffin, D. D* President of Williams Col- lege, and the Reverend Heman Humphrey, D. D. President of Amherst College. The publication of the Essay was delayed some time, for the purpose of receiving the directions of Mr. Dunlop.
But perhaps it may be said, ‘I believe this, but I do not find peace in my conscience.’ Nay, but you do not believe it: if you did, it would certainly bring present relief; for guilt comes from the broken law, and from the apprehension of punishment deserved : but the law has been restored to its dignity, and made infinitely honorable by the righteousness of Jesus—how can you believe this, and yet be under guilt? The punishment was laid upon Jesus, and he suffered all that was due to his people, as their atoning sacrifice—how can you believe this, and yet fear that justice will punish you? A debtor would not fear to be arrested, if his surety had paid the sum, and got him a full discharge. A felon, with the king’s pardon in his pocket, would dishonor it greatly, if he was to live in continual dread and terror of suffering for his crime. Examine carefully, and pray for the right understanding of your case: and depend upon it, you will find that either you do not believe the matter of fact, or the record concerning it.
When the Holy Spirit has convinced a sinner of his being in this unrighteous state, then it becomes an important inquiry — how can the Judge of all the earth ever look upon and treat a sinner, as if he was a righteous person ? To which the gospel answers direct- ly — " God hath made Christ to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
It sometimes happens, that of those who have been conversant one with another — who have dwelt together as neighbors, and have been often together as companions, or united in their relation, and have been together in darkness, bondage, and misery, in the service of Satan some are enlightened, and have their minds changed, are made to see the great evil of sin, and have their hearts turned to God. They are influenced by the Holy Spirit of God, to leave their company that are on Satan’s side, and to join themselves with that blessed company that are with Jesus Christ. They are made willing to forsake the tents of wickedness, to dwell in the land of uprightness with the people of God.