Front Page Titles (by Subject) 2.: A Sermon at Putney From Thomas Collier, A Discovery of the New Creation a (preached at the Headquarters, Putney, 29th Sept. 1647) - Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents
Return to Title Page for Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
2.: A Sermon at Putney From Thomas Collier, A Discovery of the New Creation a (preached at the Headquarters, Putney, 29th Sept. 1647) - Arthur Sutherland Pigott Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents 
Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents, selected and edited with an Introduction A.S.P. Woodhouse, foreword by A.D. Lindsay (University of Chicago Press, 1951).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
A Sermon at Putney
Isa. 65. 17: Behold I create new heavens, and a new earth. * * *
Some apprehend that Christ shall come and reign personally, subduing his enemies and exalting his people, and that this is the new heaven and the new earth. But this is not my apprehension; but that Christ will come in the Spirit and have a glorious kingdom in the spirits of his people, and they shall, by the power of Christ in them, reign over the world, and this is the new heavens and the new earth.
First, he will have a glorious kingdom in the Saints. The kingdom of God is within you. Heaven is the kingdom of God, and this kingdom is within the Saints. And this is the new creation, the new heaven: the kingdom of heaven that is in the Saints. It’s true we have had, and still have, exceeding low and carnal thoughts of heaven, looking on it as a glorious place above the firmament, out of sight, and not to be enjoyed till after this life. But God himself is the Saints’ kingdom, their enjoyment, their glory. Where God is manifesting himself, there is his and the Saints’ kingdom, and that is in the Saints. Here lieth the great and hidden mystery of the Gospel, this new creation in the Saints. * * *
The nature and glory of it lieth in that renovation or renewing of the mind: an internal and spiritual change, a transformation out of the nature of the first, into the nature of the second, Adam. This I shall for your satisfaction confirm unto you from scripture, although I trust I shall deliver nothing unto you but experimental truth. See 2 Cor. 5. 17: He that is in Christ is a new creature. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new. Here is this new creation within, a new creature, a mind renewed by the Spirit. This is that new man (mentioned, Ephes. 4. 23, 24) which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness. * * * Now what this creation or new man is, according to what I understand—no farther I dare to speak, it is that union which the divine nature, the Spirit, hath with and in our spirits, by which union it transforms our spirits into its own glory, and shall in conclusion wholly swallow up the Saints in that spiritual glory, which will be their eternal perfection, their heaven, their kingdom, their glory. This is the first part of both the nature and glory of this new creation. * * *
For I do not understand by the new heavens, a new thing contrary to what hath been formerly, but a higher measure or manifestation of one and the same glory, as the Covenant of Grace was called a new covenant, not because it was not in being formerly but because it should be more gloriously manifested than formerly, it should bring forth more glorious effects in the Saints than formerly. * * * As first, in the times of the Law, God made himself known to his people under dark shadows and types: there was a glory but it was such a glory which made them exceedingly to quake and tremble. Secondly, in the days [of] Christ, who put an end to those shadows, there was a higher manifestation of light and glory, wherein was more clearness of light and joy, which was the young or middle age. But thirdly, in this last time or third dispensation of God to, and in, his people, [it] will be much more glorious, much more in the spirit, and therefore called a new heaven; it shall be the light of the same dispensation begun in the Law. See this confirmed: Rev. 21. 1; 2 Pet. 3. 13; Isa. 66. 22.
Query: Wherein doth the glory of this new heaven consist more than ordinary?
Answ[er]: First in the abundance of knowledge. Isa. 11. 9: The knowledge of God shall cover the face of the earth, as the waters cover the sea. You may read from ver. 6, that the lion and the lamb, &c. shall lie down together. I shall declare by the way what I understand to be the truth intended—not that I limit it from any farther truth that any may see in it.
1. There are all these things within us in that old creation, the lion, and the wolf, &c.; which opposes and prevents the Saints’ joy, and spiritual enjoyment of God. Now these shall be so overpowered by the glorious appearances of light, that they shall no more hurt or destroy the Saints’ peace in their holy mountain, their enjoyment of God in the spirit. . . . The glorious appearings of light in the spirits of Christians will so cover that earth which is within them, that they shall be in a great measure freed from those corruptions, those distractions, which formerly were prevalent in them.
2. God will take away the nature of wicked men, that although they remain wolves, lions, and brutes still, yet they shall not hurt nor destroy in all the holy mountain of God, that is the Church; and that through the abundance of light that shall be communicated, even unto natural men; for the earth, that is earthly men, must give glory to the God of heaven; so Hab. 2. 14. * * *
As ignorance is the grand cause of so much corruption, so many mistakes in the things of God (for always the will and affection follows the understanding, whether enlightened or blinded), so it is the knowledge of God, the breakings forth of light in the spirit, that delivers souls from that corruption and darkness. * * *
Query: Wherein shall the knowledge of the Saints increase?
Answ[er]: Amongst many I shall instance in these particulars following.
First, in the knowledge of the mysteries of God, and that as he is in them, for God is a mystery (Col. 2. 2). And it is by the appearance of God in us, we come to know God who is a mystery. The truth is that we have had, and still have, low and carnal thoughts of God, judging him to be a God afar off, and not a God nigh at hand (this is that Antichrist which denies Christ to be come in the flesh). This is that mystery of which we are exceeding ignorant, God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3. 16). We have had very narrow apprehensions of Christ and the manifestation of the glory of Christ, limiting it to that one man, when the truth is that Christ and all the Saints makes up but one Christ (1 Cor. 12. 12). And God as truly manifests himself in the flesh of all his as he did in Christ, although the measure of that manifestation is different. This is a mystery which God is revealing in the spirits of his people, and is indeed the glory of this new creation. This being in some measure manifested in the spirits of Christians, produceth in the second place:
Secondly, a knowledge of their spiritual liberty in Christ.
1. Spiritual liberty and justification from all spiritual enemies, sin, law, condemnation. Whatever opposes the soul’s peace, in this new heaven it’s all done away. John 8. 36: If the Son shall make you free, then you are free indeed. Saints shall now come to see that they are free indeed by Christ. Acts 13. 39: By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the Law of Moses. Gal. 5. 1: Thus Saints shall know their liberty and stand fast in it too. * * *
2. In the knowledge of their liberty from men. 1 Cor. 7. 23: Ye are bought with a price, be ye not the servants of men! That is, not to be subject to men in the things of God, in matters of conscience. That belongs only to God himself. It is his proper peculiar right to rule in the spirits of his people, although it’s true that there hath been, and still is, through ignorance, a principle in man not only to usurp authority to rule in and over the conscience of others, but a principle in us also, out of conscience to submit to man in such cases. Now God is discovering, and likewise delivering his people from, this spiritual bondage unto men in the things of God; and that from the knowledge of their liberty in the spirit.
3. There is a liberty in knowledge. 1 John 2. 20: Ye have an unction from the Holy One and ye know all things; that is, all things that the Spirit makes known. They are not tied to other men’s approbation, but walk in that light the Spirit makes known in them. See 1 Cor. 2. 15.
Secondly, the glory of this new creation consists in the Saints’ knowledge of their peace, and union, with God. * * * Every man naturally is at a distance from God, but by Jesus Christ they come to enjoy reconciliation. But . . . they enjoy not only peace with God, but peace with the Saints. It is only the glorious light of this new creation that will put an end to these divisions amongst Christian’s. It is not magisterial power setting up uniformity, but that one Spirit of light and truth that must bring the Saints into this unity. * * * And the truth is that nothing else will be able to put an end to these divisions but this spiritual dispensation, this new creation of God in the spirits of his people, and this is and shall be the glory of this heaven, unity and peace amongst Saints. * * *
2. The glory of this new creation consists not only in knowledge, but in spiritual enjoyment likewise. There is the abundance of spiritual enjoyment; it does not only see and know, but it enjoys what it sees. It sees liberty and peace, and enjoys it and lives in it. It sees God in the spirit and lives in him. * * * Hence it is the Apostle saith (1 Cor. 3. 22) All is yours, &c. * * *
3. The glory of this new creation consists not only in being delivered from legal and fleshly actings, but likewise lives in the power of heavenly and spiritual actings: . . . first . . . in spiritual prayer and praisings; . . . secondly . . . in acts of righteousness and justice unto men. * * *
To speak more externally, by new heavens I understand to be meant a new church estate, and that in opposition unto the old, it’s said to be new:
First, in respect of matter, or members. The old heavens were all carnal and profane creatures, people for the most part without the knowledge of God. Such was the matter of the carnal church. But the matter of this spiritual church, this new heavens, shall be the Saints, such as are all taught of God: Thy children shall be all righteousness (Isa. 60. 21; Rev. 21. ult.).
2. New in opposition to the old manners and old conversation. The members of the old church were perhaps ignorant, profane, having a form of godliness without the power of it; but the members of this new heaven shall so walk with God as to honour his name. God will so gloriously appear in them as that the world shall be convinced by their godly conversation: The remnant that are left shall do no iniquity, &c.
3. They shall be new in respect of form, compacted together by the Spirit, not literal forms and ordinances. The old heaven or church constitution hath been formed up with external compactings, the wisdom and power of the flesh knit together by things without them, not by the bands of the Spirit, the principle and power of love, which is an everlasting band, which will occasion Saints’ communion to be sweet and spiritual.
4. They shall be new in respect of ministry, not in the letter but in the spirit, not fetched out of the bottomless pit of creature-wisdom and human abilities, but the single ministration of the Spirit; pray in the Spirit, preach and prophesy in the Spirit, praise in the Spirit; that is, in the wisdom and power of that law in the Spirit which will deliver Saints from fleshly actings into the glorious liberty of spiritual actings, that they shall no more act from a legal principle to a law without them, but from a principle of light, life, liberty, and power within them. Thus God will create a new heaven, a new church estate in the Spirit, which will produce spiritual communion, spiritual joy and gladness amongst the Saints, who live in this light and glory. * * *
This informs us of the vanity and ignorance of those who seek so much to keep up the old heavens, the old church for matter and members, that will turn the world into church by a human power. They are those that must be spiritually slain. Isa. 65. 11, 12: But ye are they that forsake the Lord, and forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for the troop, and furnish a drink offering unto that number; therefore Iwill number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter, &c. Here is the vanity of such persons that seek to uphold forms, fleshly actings, and fleshly compactings, the old ministry fetched out of human abilities, the wisdom of the flesh limiting the Spirit to those human qualifications where he appears least. All these, both persons and things, must bow down to the slaughter.
Now I come to the second part of my text: and a new earth. In this new creation there is not only new heavens, but a new earth.
What this new earth is, it’s to be looked upon either more mystically or more literally, as the new heavens. 1. Mystically, there is an earth in the heart of every man, nay, of every Christian, flesh and fleshly corruptions, fleshly conclusions; which prevents the joy of Saints. Now the Lord will make a new earth, he will subject that old earth that is in his Saints, that it shall not so prevail in them. He will be a fire in them (Mal. 3. 3). * * *
Secondly, by earth I understand to be meant,a the powers of the earth, or the magisterial power, the rule and government of this earth. It shall be an earth wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Pet. 13).
Query: In what respect may the earthly magistracy or earthly powers be said to be made new?
Answ[er]: First, in respect of the persons ruling, they shall be such as are acquainted with, and have an interest in, the righteous God; that as formerly God hath many times set up wicked men to rule and govern . . . so he will give it into the hands of the Saints.
I question not but that you have heard of the personal reign of Christ. . . .
1. He will have a glorious kingdom in the spirits of his people, and this is the new heavens. And 2. He will in and by his Saints rule the world.
That this is a truth, I shall confirm unto you from scripture. Dan. 8. 27: And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the Saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. What more mystical truth may be in this scripture concerning the kingdom in the spirit, I shall not question. But this I believe to be a truth, that the nations shall become the nations of Christ, and the government shall be in the hands of the Saints. Isa. 60. 12, [17-18]: The nations and kingdoms that will not serve thee (to wit Christ in the Saints) shall perish; yea, those nations shall utterly be wasted. * * * And I will make thine officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy streets, wasting and destruction within thy borders. Jer. 30. 20: Your nobles shall be of yourselves, and your governors shall proceed out of the midst of you. God will raise up men of singular spirits and principles to govern the nations. * * *
Secondly. * * * This is the great work that God hath to effect in the latter days of the Gospel, to reduce magisterial power to its primitive institution, that you may see (Rom. 13. 1), There is no power but isordained of God, and it is ordained for the punishment of them that do evil, but for the praise of them that do well. Although this end hath been a long time lost,a yet now God will reduce it to this institution. This is the great work, Right Honourable, that God calls for at your hands, whom he hath raised up for that end. * * * It is the execution of righteousness, justice and mercy, without respect of persons. It is to undo every yoke. And this being the great work in hand, and that which God calls for, and will effect, give me leave to present amongst many national grievances, some few unto you.
First, spiritual oppressions in matters of conscience. You know that a long time man hath assumed this power to himself, to rule over the consciences of their brethren: a great oppression and that which cannot be borne in souls who live in light, and that from which God will deliver his people, and punish all that oppressed them.
Secondly, in temporal oppressions I shall mind some few.
1. Tyrannical and oppressing laws, and courts of justice; hence it comes to pass many times that to seek a remedy proves destructive—the cure proves worse than the disease. * * *
2. Oppression or grievance is in writing our laws in an unknown tongue, that the most part of our national inhabitants cannot understand their own laws, that the French should be better read in our English laws than those to whom they pertain. * * *
A third oppression the kingdom groans under is a slavery to the wills of men. Although it’s that which hath been always declared against since this warb began, yet we never were so volved up into it as now. There is an affection to arbitrariness in the wills of almost all men, from highest to lowest; men act according to their wills whether with or against law—a burden exceeding oppressive to this kingdom.
A fourth oppression is that of tithes, and . . . the kingdom in almost all parts is sensible of it, and groans under it, with petitions for deliverance. * * *
A fifth oppression and burden of the kingdom is free-quartering of soldiers. Much need there is of provision for soldiers’ pay, lest the cure seem more heavy than the disease; lest the work be either obstructed or else carried on with more difficulty.
Sixthly, and finally, I say unto you, as Paul in another case: Whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are of good report, &c., think on those things, that so justice and righteousness may flow down abundantly without respect of persons. Whatsoever bears but the face of oppression in it, let it be removed.
Use: If this be the new earth and the great interest to be followed, in a word then to conclude, how should this carry on those whom it concerns, who are called of God unto it, to the accomplishment of this great work, to help forwards this great work and design of God in and by you? Note:
First, policy calls for it at your hands, Right Honourable. Is it not time for you to do something for the kingdom, that may engage their hearts unto you? Is there not much division and confusion amongst us? Much expectation of taking away of burdens? Do not the people in their petitions call for it daily? Truly prudent policy calls for righteousness, and undoing of burdens, that the hearts of the people may be engaged unto you in these times of danger and distraction.
Secondly, piety calls for it. It is the great design of God at present to exalt righteousness, and certainly God calls for it at your hands. Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God (Mic. 6. 8). This the Lord requireth of you.
Thirdly, peace and safety calls for it, your own peace and the kingdom’s peace. What is likely to produce peace in the kingdom, if not the flowing down of righteousness and justice from you, the undoing of heavy burdens, and breaking of every yoke of oppression? Your own peace and safety consists in it. Believe it, there is no safety to be expected if once you derogate from this great interest of God, the public good. * * *
THE ARMY ORGANIZES: MAY—JUNE 1647
[390. (a)] A Discovery of the New Creation. In a Sermon Preached at the Head-Quarters at Putney Sept. 29. 1647. By Thomas Collier. 2 Pet. 3. 13. Neverthelesse we look for new Heavens, and a New Earth, wherein dwelleth righteousnesse. London. Printed for Giles Calvert . . . 1647 (McAlpin Collection). ‘Epistle to the Reader’ omitted.
[394. (a)] + 1.