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have thee die the death; but hath verily purposed, determined, and
; decreed, that thou shalt live with him for ever.'”
Neo. O, sir, if I have as good warrant to apply this saying to myself as Mr. Bradford had to himself, then I am a happy man !
Evan. I tell you from Christ, and under the hand of the Spirit, that your person is accepted, your sins are done away, and you shall be saved ; and if an angel from heaven should tell you otherwise, let him be accursed. Therefore you may (without doubt) conclude that you are a happy man; for by means of this your matching with Christ, you are become one with him, and one in bim, you “dwell in him, and he in you," 1 John iv. 13. He is "your wellbeloved, and you are his,” Cant. ii. 16. So that the marriage-union betwixt Christ and you is more than a bare notion or apprehension of your mind; for it is a special, spiritual, and real union : it is an union betwixt the nature of Christ, God and man, and you;e it is a knitting and closing, not only of your apprehension with a Saviour, but also of your soul with a Saviour. Whence it must needs follow that you cannot be condemned, except Christ be condemned with you; neither can Christ be saved, except you be saved with him. f And as by means of corporal marriage all things become common betwixt man and wife; even so, by means of this spiritual marriage, all things become common betwixt Christ and you; for when Christ hath married his spouse unto himself he pas.. seth over all his estate unto her; so that whatsoever Christ is, or hath, you may boldly challenge as your own, “He is made unto
e That is, an union with whole Christ, God-Man; I Cor. vi. 17, “ He that is joined to the Lord, is one Spirit.” Eph. v. 38, “ For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."
f Jesus Christ and the believer, being one person in the eye of the law, there is no separating of them in law, in point of life and death. John xiv. 19, “ Because I live, ye shall live also." I bave adventured this once to add one syllable to the text of the author, and so to read “ condemned" for “ damned." The words are of the same signification ; only, the latter has an idea of horror affixed to it, which the former bas not; and which perhaps it bad not neither, in the days of our forefathers, when godly Tindal used the expression, as our author informs us. And I take this liberty, the rather that a like expression of John Careless, in a letter to William Tyms, seems to me to run more smooth, by means of the same addition, though I doubt if the word stood so in the original copy, “Christ (says he) is made unto us boliness, righteousness, and justification; he hath clothed us in all his merits—and taken to himself all our sin—so that, if any should be now condemned for the same, it must needs be Jesus Christ, who hath tak them upon him.”—The sufferer's Mirror, p. 66. And the Old Confession of Faith, art. 9, according to the ancient copies, it is said, “The clean innocent Lamb of God was damned in the presence of an earthly judge, that we should be absolved before the tribunal-seat of our God.” But in the copy standing in Knox's History, reprinted at Edinburgh, anno. 1644, it is read “ condemned."
you, of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption," 1 Cor. i. 30. And surely, by virtue of this near union it is, that as Christ is called “the Lord our righteousness,” (Jer. xxxiii. 6,) even so is the church called, “The Lord our righteousnes,” (ver. 16,) I tell you, you may by virtue of this union, boldly take upon yourself as your own, Christ's watching, abstinence, travails, prayers, persecutions, and slanders; yea, his tears, his sweat, his blood, and all that ever he did and suffered in the space of three and thirty years, with his passion, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension ; for they are all yours. And as Christ passes over all his estate unto his spouse, so does he require that she should pass over all unto bim. Wherefore, you being now married unto Christ, you must give all that you have of your own unto him; and truly you have nothing of your own but and therefore you must give him that. I beseech you, then, say unto Christ with bold confidence, I give unto thee, my dear husband, my unbelief, my mistrust, my pride, my arrogancy, my ambition, my wrath, and anger, my envy, my covetousness, my evil thoughts, affections, and desires; I make one bundle of these and all my other offences, and give them unto thee. g And
g This gist would indeed be a very unsuitable return for all the benefits received from Christ by virtue of the spiritual marriage, if he did not deal with us in the way of free grace ; like unto a physician, who desires nothing of a poor man full of sores, but that he will employ him in the cure of them. But this gift, such as it is, as it is all we have of our own to give, so one needs make no question but it will be very acceptable. Psalm lv. 22, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee,” not only thy burden of duty, suffering, and success, but of sin too, wherewith thou art heavy laden, Matt. xi. 28. We are allowed, not only to give him our burden, but to cast it upon him. He knows very well that all these evils mentioned, and many more, are in the heart of the best : yet doth he say, Prov. xxiii. 26, “ My son, give me thine heart;” notwithstanding of the wretched stuff he knows to be in it. In the language of the Holy Ghost, these things, as black as they are, are a gift by divine appointment to be given. Lev. xvi. 21, speaking of the scape-goat, an eminent type of Christ, he says, " And Aaron shall-confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, and all their sins : and he shall give them upon the head of the goat." Thus the original expresses what we read," putting them,” &c. View again, note v, p. 210.
Now, the end for which the sinner is to give these to Christ is twofold; (1.) For removing the guilt of them. (2.) For the mortifying of them. And though this is not an easy way of mortification, since the way of believing is not easy, but more difficult than all the Popish austerites, forasmuch as these last are more agreeable to nature, yet indeed it is the short way to mortification, because it is the only way; without which, the practice of all other directions will be but as so many cyphers, without a figure standing at their head, signifying nothing, for true Christian mortification. Acts xv. 9, “Purifying their hearts by faith." Rom. vi. 6, “ Koowing this that our old man is crucified with him." And viii. 13, “ If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Gal. v. 24, " And they that are Christ's have thus was Christ made “sin for us, that know no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,” h 2 Cor. v. 21.
“ Now then,” says Luther, “Let us compare these things together, and we shall find inestimable treasure. Christ is full of grace, life, and saving health; and the soul is freight-full of all sin, death and damnation; but let faith come betwixt these two, and it shall come to pass, that Christ shall be laden with sin, death, and hell; and unto the soul shall be imputed grace, life and salvation. Who then is able to value the royalty of this marriage accordingly? who is able to comprehend the glorious riches of his grace, where this rich and righteous husband, Christ, doth take unto wife this poor and wicked harlot, redeeming her from all devils, and garnishing her with all his own jewels? So that you, through the assuredness of your faith in Christ your husband, are delivered from all sins, made safe from death, guarded from hell, and endowed with the everlasting righteousness, life, and saving health of this your husband Christ.” And therefore you are now under the covenant of grace, and freed from the law, as it is the covenant of works; for (as Mr. Ball truly says) at one and the same time, a man cannot be under the covenant of works and the covenant of grace.
Neo. Sir, I do not yet well know how to conceive of this freedom from the law, as it is the covenant of works; and therefore I pray you make it as plain to me as you can.
Evan. For the true and clear understanding of this point, you are to consider, that when Jesus Christ the second Adam, had, in the behalf of his chosen, perfectly fulfilled the law, as it is the covenant of works; i divine justice delivered that bond in to Christ, who utterly cancelled that hand-writing, Col. ii. 14; so that none of his chosen were to have any more to do with it, nor it with them. And now, you, by your believing in Christ, having manifested that you are one, who was chosen in him “ before the foundation of the world,” (Eph. i. 4.) his fulfilling of that covenant, and cancelling that hand-writing, is imputed unto you; and so you are acquitted and absolved from all your transactions against that covenant,
crucified the Aesh, with the affections and lusts ; " namely, nailing them to the cross of Christ by faith.
h Thus, namely, by the giving of our sins to him, not by believers, but by his Father, as says the text, “He (not we) made him to be sin for us." Nevertheless, the Lord's laying our iniquities upon Christ is good warrant for every believer to lay his sios in particular upon him; the latter being a cordial falling in with, a practical approbation, and taking the benefit of the former.
i Namely, by doing perfectly what it demanded to be done, by virtue of its commanding power, and suffering completely what it demanded to be borne, by virtue of its condemning power.
either past, present, or to come ; j and so you are justified, as the the apostle says, “ freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ,” Rom. iii. 24.
$ 6. Ant. I pray you, sir, give me leave to speak a word by the way; was not he justified before this time?
Evan. If he did not believe in Christ before this time, as I conceive he did not, then certainly he was not justified before this time.
Ant. But, sir, you know, as the apostle says, “it is God that justifieth ;" and God is eternal; and as you have shown, Christ may be said to have fulfilled the covenant of works from all eternity, and if he be Christ's now, then he was Christ's from all eternity. And therefore, as I conceive, he was justified from all eternity.
Evan. Indeed, God is from all eternity, and in respect of God's accepting of Christ's undertaking to fulfil the covenant of works, he fulfilled it from all eternity; and in respect of God's electing of him he was Christ's from all eternity. And therefore it is true, in respect of God's decree, he was justified from all eternity: k and he was justified meritoriously in the death and resurrection of Christ; but yet he was not justified actually, till he did actually believe in Christ; for, says the apostle, Acts xiii. 39, “By him all that believe are justified.”m So that in the act of justifying, faith and Christ must have a mutual relation, and must always concur and eet together; faith as the action which apprehendeth, and Christ the object which is apprehended; for neither doth Christ justify without faith, neither doth faith, except it be in Christ.
j Although believers in the first moment of their union with Christ by faith, are delivered from the law, as it is the covenant of works, and therefore their after sins neither are, nor can be formally transgressions of that covenant; yet they are interpretatively so, giving a plain proof of what they would have done against that covenant had they been under it still. And forasmuch as they could never have been freed from it, bad not the glorious Mediator wrought their deliverance, by fulfilling it in their room and stead; all their sins whatsoever, from their birth to their death, after as well as before their union with Christ, were charged upon him, as transgressions against that covenant; and such as are pardoned to them in their justification. Even as be who redeems a slave must pay in proportion to the service which it is supposed he would have done bis master during life ; and the slave is loosed from all obligation so these several pieces of service, upto that master, upon the ransom paid, in compensation of all and every one of them. And thus our author says, that a believer, in his justification, is acquitted from all his transgressions against the covenant of works, not only past and present, but to come. So that he leaves no ground to question, but Christ satisfied for all the sins of believers whatsoever, whether in their state of regeneracy or irregeneracy. Nor does he make the least insinuation, that the sins of believers, after their union with Christ, are not properly transgressions of that law which was (yea, and to unbelievers still is) in the covenant of works : but, on the contrary expressly teaches, that it is the very same law of the ten commands which is the law of Christ, and which the believer transgresseth, that was, and is in the covenant of works. And although the revenging wrath of God, and eternal death, are not threatened against the sins of believers after their union with Christ; and that for this one reason, That that wrath, and that death (the eternity whereof rose not from the nature of the thing, but the infirmity of the sufferer, and therefore could have no place in the Son of God) were not only threatened before, but executed too upon their surety Jesus Christ, to whom they are united : it is manifest, that there was great need of Christ's being made a curse for these sins of believers, as well as for those preceding their union with him.
k“ The sentence of justification was, as it were, conceived in the mind of God by
Ant. Truly, sir, you have indifferently well satisfied me in this
the decree of justifying, Gal. iii. 8, “ The Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith,"—Ames. Med. cap. xxxvii. sec. 9. “ In which sense grace is said to be given us in Christ before the world began,” 2 Tim. i. 9.- Turret. loc. 16. q. 9. th. 11. “ Sins were pardoned from eternity in the mind of God.” Rutherford's Exer. Apolog ex. 1. cap. 2. sec. 21. p. 53. The same Rutherford adds, “ It is one thing for a man to be justified in Christ, and that from eternity; and another for a man to be justified in Christ in time, according to the gospel covenant.Faith is not so much as the instrument of the eternal and immanent justification and remission of sins."— Ibid. p. 55.
1 “ Justification may be considered as to the execution of it in time; and that again, either as to the purchase of it, which was made by the death of Christ on the cross, concerning which it is said, Rom. v. 9, 10, “ That we are justified and reconciled to God by the blood of Christ ; and that Christ reconciled all things unto God by the blood of the cross,” Col. i. 20. And elsewhere Christ is said to be raised again for our justification,” Rom. iv. 25. Because, as in him dying, we died, so in him raised again and justified, we are justified ; that is, we have a certain and undoubted pledge and foundation of our justitication.—Or as to the application of it,” &c.— Turret. ubi. sup. “The sentence of justification was pronounced in Christ our head, risen from the dead," 2 Cor. v. 19.— Ames. ubi sup. “ We were virtually justified, especially when Christ having finished the purchase of our salvation, was justified, and we in him as our head," I Tim. iii. 16 ; 2 Cor. p. 19.”—Essen. Comp. cap. xv. sect. 25.
Actual justification is done in time, and follows faith."— Turret. loc. 16. q. 7. th. 3. “Justification is done formally, when an elect man, effectually called, and so apprehended of Christ, apprehends Christ again, Rom. viii. 30.-Essen, ubi supra. “ The sentence of justification is pronounced virtually from that first relation which ariseth from faith,” Rom. viii. 1.- Ames. ubi supra.
Upon the whole, it is evident our author keeps the path trodden by orthodox divines on the subject: and though, in order to answer the objections of his adversary, he uses the school terms, of being justified in respect of God's decree, meritoriously, and actually, agreeably to the practice of other sound divines; yet otherwise he begins and ends his decision of this controversy, by assertiog in plain and simple terms, with. out any distinction at all, “ That a man is not justified before he believe, or without faith.” So his answer amounts just to this, " That God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect; and Christ did, in the fulness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification : nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit doth in due time actually apply Christ unto them."-Westmin. Confess. chap. 11. art. 4.