Mount Sion

Walter Cradock

Originally Printed In 1648

Posted On September 10, 2018

Mount Sion OR, the Privilege and Practice OF THE SAINTS Opened and Applied by that faithful Dispenser of the Mysteries of Christ, Walter Cradock, late Preacher at All-hallows the Great in London. In London, Cradock was the minister of All-Hallows-the-Great, where he lectured and preached, along with Henry Jessey, and this pulpit at All-Hallows was where the majority of his printed sermons were preached. All-Hallows-the-Great was one of the few assemblies in that City where the everlasting Gospel in all its fulness & freeness was being proclaimed, for whist the so-called Puritans were filling most London pulpits with their toxic Law/Gospel admixtures, a simple & single message of ‘Christ Crucified’ would become the cornerstone of the preaching at All-Hallows, a sanctuary where saints were embraced as saints, and not bound by denominational shackles, creedal intolerance, or ecclesiastical priesthood. Cradock excelled in clear views of the doctrine of justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ, and in the great simplicity of his manner of preaching.

Biographical Sketch: Walter Cradock, 1610-1659, Independent Minister of the Gospel, was born in Llangwm, a small rural village and community in Monmouthshire, South East Wales. From most accounts he was educated at the University of Oxford, most likely with a design to the ministry of the Gospel. Being descended from a prominent family, it is said that he inherited an estate worth £601 a year. Upon his return to Wales, having heard of the excellence of William Wroth, a zealous puritan minister in Wales, {generally accredited in company with Walter Cradock of establishing the first Independent Church in Wales in 1639,} and of his ability to declare the message of the Gospel, Cradock being fully convinced of the truth and the authority by which it was published, he joined himself to that ministry, and soon thereafter began to preach the same Gospel, the Lord attending the word with power. Around 1635, he became curate {assistant minister} to the radical Welshman William Erbery, another passionate puritan, {and in later years, reputed mystic,} who was at that time vicar of St. Mary’s Church, Cardiff, in Glamorganshire.

In 1638, William Erbery, was forced {having his license revoked} to resign his senior position, along with Walter Cradock, and with other senior members of the congregation, being barred from the premises for ‘unorthodox’ preaching, and for refusing to read the Declaration of Sports, a statement of James I of England and reissued by Charles I in 1633, listing the sports and recreations that were permitted on Sundays and other so-called holy days. Interestingly enough, Erbery’s other curate, by this time the same William Wroth, {who initially expounded the Gospel more clearly unto Cradock,} would eventually conform and continued at St. Mary’s, preaching and gathering others of a similar mind, which began to form the core of the congregation there. Meanwhile, Cradock, who had become curate at Wrexham, {a large town in the north of Wales,} was also now drawing great crowds. The infuriated townsfolk of Wrexham, however, forced Cradock to leave and he moved unto Herefordshire. One historian recorded that by Mr. Cradock’s faithful ministry at Wrexham many sinners were called “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.”

Upon the outbreak of the English Civil War, Cradock moved to Bristol, where there was an Independent Church. When Royalist forces occupied Bristol, in 1643, he fled to London where he made contact with the Particular Baptist, and Fifth Monarchist, Henry Jessey. In London, Cradock became the head minister of All-Hallows-the-Great, where he lectured and preached, along with Henry Jessey, and this pulpit at All-Hallows was where the majority of his printed sermons were preached. He occupied this pulpit for a few years, until things became more settled in the Nation, upon which he returned to Wales, with several others, to resume his labours, having a distinct compassion for his fellow countrymen there, preaching the everlasting Gospel throughout the land as the Lord gave him opportunity, sometimes in the churches and sometimes out of them.

Cradock was a firm supporter of Oliver Cromwell, and when controversy arose over Cromwell’s Protectorate, he condemned Vavasor Powel’s anti-Cromwell pamphlet entitled The Word of God. In fact, Cradock came forth as the principal supporter of Cromwell in Wales, and a loyal petition, The Humble Representation and Address, was prepared by him, which was signed by 700 people, mostly from South Wales.

In Brooks, Lives of the Puritans, he concludes his narrative of Cradock’s life with the following statement. “He was a man of an excellent character and of high reputation; therefore, in the year 1653, he was appointed by the Parliament to be one of the committee for the approbation of public preachers, commonly called tryers. Here his name is classed with those of Dr. Owen, Dr. Goodwin, Dr. Manton, and many other celebrated divines. This probably called him out of Wales, and brought him back to London. Mr. Cradock was an independent in his views of church government; but he could agree in the important doctrines of the gospel, with those who differed from him in matters of discipline. He had a low opinion of himself, and a very high esteem for his Lord and Master. He excelled in clear views of the doctrine of justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ, and in the great simplicity of his manner of preaching. His “Works” consisting of Sermons, Expositions, and Observations, were collected and published in one volume octavo in the year 1800. By his zealous endeavours he procured the New Testament to be printed in Welsh, for the use of the common people.”

Cradock died on the 24th of December in 1659. In his lifetime he published the following works: The Saints Fulness of Joy, 1646 – Gospel Liberty, 1648 - Mount Sion or the Privilege and Practice of the Saints, 1649 - Divine Drops, 1650 & Gospel Holiness, 1655.

Excerpts: Now you shall find that you lay a great part of your justification upon something in your selves, therefore when you are enlarged in good, then you think you are more justified, and when you fall into sin, you think you are more unjust, then you were before, and you look strangely upon God. Now the Lord hath put it out of our hands. Adam should have been justified by that which was in him, and that which should have been done by him, but blessed be God, he would not trust us with that good any more, but hath put all in the hands of Jesus Christ, and there is the whole foundation of our justification. Therefore it is not for a Christian to come, and say, Sir, I fear I am no child of God, I fear I shall prove an hypocrite; and why so? Because I find so much sin, and so many lusts in me. It is very well that you find and feel sin, and that you mourn for, and strive against sin, but that therefore you should think there is a flaw in your justification, that you should make any good that is in you a prop to support your justification, or any evil in you a thing that might crack your justification, this is Popery. My justification depends not on this, that I am justified the more when I am strong, or less justified when I am weak; but whether I be weak or strong, whether I do much or little for God, whether I give thanks, or be humbled, seeing Christ is dead, and risen again, I am justified, that is still entire, because it is not built upon me, but wholly upon the death and resurrection of Christ.

Now usually when you mourn for sin, you think there is a crack in your justification, and so many sins as you have committed, there are so many flaws in your justification, and so many faintings of faith in the favour of God; and therefore when you pray to God, and are humbled for sin, it is your manner, and it was mine most of my days, only to daub up the flaws of justification; and you pray the Lord to pardon such a sin, and now you see God is angry with you, and you are like to be cast off, and your hearts begin to be hard, and you have sad thoughts of God arising in you, and unquiet and horror in your souls, and you are far enough from true sorrow all this while. It is impossible there should be true sorrow, when you keep a coil, and confess your sins, and wrangle it out with God, and you will confess your sins today, and think to make God amends tomorrow and so as a man stops chinks in a wall, we think to daub up the flaws and cracks of justification this way. Whereas we should look on justification as a thing entire in the hands of Christ, that we have nothing to do in, but it is in Christ altogether founded on his death and resurrection, and all the title that we have in it is only by faith; as Romans 10, shows, the righteousness of faith saith on this wise, &c., “the word is nigh thee.” There is our title and tenure; I have nothing to do for my justification, but Christ hath fulfilled the Law, and he did die, and rise, and sitteth at the right hand of God; and I endeavour to believe it, that is, to consent that it is so, and praise his name, and live to him all the days of my life. Oh, here is the life of Christianity.

Take the best piece of old Adam, and offer it to God, and it is as that strange fire that Nadab and Abihu offered, it cannot please God. Let me give you one chief instance that makes my heart bleed when I think of it. That thing that you call Divinity, or those that you call Divines, they are good words of themselves; for John is called the Divine, but that which you call Divinity, which is the great idol of the World, it is nothing but old Adam, a kind of godliness learned in a natural way, a man learned after the old Adam as we learn Logic, or other things in the Universities; and such a one comes and scatters this among people, and this you call Divinity, and he is a Divine, and yet this is abominable to God. And that is the reason why there are many Divines that preach excellently, and yet God curseth it. Why? It is old Adams wisdom, and invention, and brave parts, but God curseth the soul; he curseth that fig tree that it shall bring forth no more.

Endeavour to walk simply, I mean, to keep to the simplicity of the Gospel. The Gospel, though there be glorious Mysteries in it to feed the soul, yet notwithstanding it is a plain, simple thing. Now here the Devil endeavours to undo souls; as it is ordinary in this City, when men come once to understand a little of the Gospel, and to taste the sweetness of it, the Devil screws them up to sublimate all Religion into Notions, to cleave a hair, and Religion will be all in ideas, and conceits of the Nature of God, and of the Creature, whereas the Gospel is a plain thing. I am loth to offend you, for I had rather win you, or else I could instance in twenty or forty conceits and distinctions of things, ideas, that are above the simplicity of the Gospel, and that is enough to make us leave them, because they are above the simplicity of the Gospel, and the excellency of the Gospel is not in those ideas, but in knowing the power of plain things, as the death of Jesus Christ. Every man in Jerusalem knew the death of Christ; but to know the power of that death, keep close to the simplicity of the Gospel.

A man when he is under the Law, he shall be twenty years striving for a little knowledge or grace, and shall hardly get them, but as soon as ever a man comes rightly to Christ, and to know him, then there is such a flood of grace, and such abundance of revelations, {it is the Scriptures word,} there is such abundance of manifestations of God, and of the image of God, when they begin to come in, that it is a hard thing then to keep the soul down, for Spiritual things when they come in rightly, when the flood-gates are open, they come in as waves one upon the neck of another. For Spiritual Gospel-truths multiply in the soul a thousand-fold, one lesson from another, and one Scripture opens another, and then there is no end, and then it is hard to keep the soul humble.