Joseph Truman (1631-1671) on Ezekiel 18:31-32

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11


4. Look too, that this Blood be not lost; this great Counsel of Heaven lost as to us, “Look to yourselves, that we lose not the things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward,” 2 John v. 8.

it is a sad thing for a man to complain, I have beaten the air, and spent my strength in vain. Have you done and suffered so many things in vain, if it be yet in vain? But much more should this prevail with us: “Take heed that you lose not the things that Christ has wrought.” A sad thing for Ministers to complain, “We have spent our strength in vain,” but much more for Christ to say, “I have lost my labors, tears, wounds, death, as to these men.

The Righteousness, and Pardon, and Life, which he has purchased, were not for himself; he has no more need of them, than the Heavens have need of rain, or the Sun of light. Cut off, but not for himself: therefore, if you refuse this offer, you endeavor interpretatively that it may be said of Christ, “He died as a fool dies.” You say to Christ’s face virtually, “you might have been wiser than to work and take pains for one that gives you so little thanks.”

Is this your kindness to your friend? Is this your thanks to your redeemer? Has not Christ deserved you? If the Devil and Sin have, and will do more to you, let them take you: Say then, “I love my Master Sin and Satan, and will not go out free.” But study how you will answer it to God, and look to your Redeemer in the face. Do you mock God, and your redeemer? and say, “You might have spared yourself, as Peter bade you?” Who bade you thus love me? You might have let the loving alone. God will not be mocked; “Be you not mockers lest your bonds be made strong;” And Christ will yet have some reward in well-doing, and honor in your ruin; your refusal, and punishment for it.

But these are secondary Ends, and Ends only upon the supposition of rejection of his Grace. The primary End of his Death and Law and Grace, is your salvation: for, he came not into the world primarily to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. God swears, he “desires not the death of the wicked, but rather that he would turn and live.” The primary End of the Gospel and law of Grace is your Obedience and Salvation; and secondarily, upon supposition of your refusal, Condemnation. It cannot be said of a Governor making a Law. It was weakly done of him when he foresaw many would break it, except he want Power or Justice to vindicate it. Dare you say, “It was not wisely done of God to make the first Covenant and promise to Adam, because he foresaw he would lose the benefit of it, and incur the curse? And dare you say, “It was no kindness?” Suppose God had not known; Would that have made any change in the thing, by making the sin greater, and God’s kindness more? This is to say, God’s Omniscience hinders him from being Rector of the Word, from being able to make gracious Promises to the obedience, and just Threatenings to the disobedience. Take heed of such Doctrines as would in their own nature cause you to have thoughts of God, and discourage your return to him; and conclude they are false, that are so expressly contrary to the whole tenor of the Gospel: Though you know not how to answer the Objections, I dare confidently tell you others can, and have answered in the main such difficulties satisfactorily, and that in a way well agreeing with special grace. And I could do it satisfactorily to you I think; and should now, if I thought it inconvenient to turn to an alien subject. But suppose I could not, no nor the ablest men, must we therefore deny plain Scripture-truths,  because men know but in part, and can answer many difficulties but imperfectly? But to return: Shall Christ fall short of the primary End of the travail of his soul; to see his seed, a generation of sinners, turning and accepted his offered salvation; and then he will say, “My blood was well shed indeed; I am well paid, well satisfied,” so Israel be but thus gathered: and this he waits for, strives with you about.

Joseph Truman, The Great Propitiation; or Christ’s Satisfaction and Man’s Justification by it, Upon His Faith; that is Belief of, and Obedience to the Gospel (London: Printed by A. Maxwell, for R. Clavell, in Cross-key Court in Little Britain), 277-281.  [Some spelling modernized, some reformatting, and underlining mine.]

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