Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

therein; and therefore I never looked for, nor hoped that God would accept me for mine own obedience, without Christ's being joined with it.

Evan. Then it seems that you did conceive, that your obedience and Christ's obedience must be joined together, and so God would accept you for that.

Nom. Yea, indeed, sir, there have been my hopes, and indeed there are still my hopes.

Evan. Ay, but neighbour Nomologista, as I told my neighbour Neophitus and others not long since, so I tell you now, that as the justice of God requires a perfect obedience, so does it require that this perfect obedience be a personal obedience, that is, it must be the obedience of one person only. The obedience of two must not be put together to make up a perfect obedience : and indeed, to say as the thing is, God will have none to have a hand in the justification and salvation of any man, but Christ only, for, says the apostle Peter, Acts iv. 12, “neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Believe it then, I beseech you, that Christ Jesus will either be a whole Saviour, or do Saviour, he will either save you alone, or not save you at all.

Nom. But, sir, if man's obedience to the law do not help to procare justification and acceptance with God, then why did God give the law to the Israelites upon Mount Sinai, and why is it read and expounded by you that are ministers? I would gladly know of what use it is ?

Evan. The apostle says, Gal. iii. 19, “That the law was added because of transgression.” That is, (as Luther expounds it,) "That transgressions might increase and be more known, and seen;" or as Perkins expounds it, “For the revealing of sin, and the punishment thereof; for by the law comes the knowledge of sin,” as the same apostle says, Rom. iii. 20; and therefore when the children of Israel conceived that they were righteous, and could keep all God's commandments perfectly, as it is manifest by their saying, Exod. xix. 8, “All that the Lord commandeth we will do, and be obedient," the Lord gave them this law to the intent they might see how far short they came of yielding that obedience which is therein required, and so consequently how sinful they were. And just so did our Saviour also deal with the young expounder of the law, Mat. xix. 16, who it seems was sick of the same disease, “ Good Master,” says he," what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" “He does not (says Calvin) simply ask, which way, or by what means he should come to eternal lise, but what good he should do to get it.” Whereby it appears, that he was a proud justicary, one that swelled in fleshly opinion that he could keep the law, and be saved by it; therefore he is worthily sent to the law to work himself

weary, and to see his need to come to Christ for remedy. Now then, if you would know of what use the law is, why first, let me tell you, it is of special use to all such as have a conceit that they themselves can do anything for the procuring of their own justification and acceptation in the sight of God, to let them see, as in a glass, that in that case they can do nothing. And therefore, seeing that you yourself have such a conceit, I beseech you, labour, to make that use of it, that so you may be hereby quite driven out of yourself unto Jesus Clirist.

Nom. Believe me, sir, I should be glad I could make such a good use of it, and therefore, I pray you give me some directions how I

may do it.

Evan. Why, first of all I would desire you to consider, that in regard that all mankind were first created in such an estate as I have declared unto you, the law and justice of God requires that the man who undertakes by his obedience to procure his justification and acception in the sight of God, either in whole, or in part, be as completely furnished with the habit of righteousness and true holiness and as free from all corruption of nature, as Adam was in the state of innocency, that so there may not be the least corruption mingled with any of those good actions which he does, nor the least motion of heart or inclination of will towards any of those evil actions which he does not do.

Secondly, I would desire you to consider, that neither you nor any man else, whilst you live upon the earth, shall be so furnished with perfect righteousness and true holiness, nor so free from all corruptions of nature, as Adam was in the state of innocency; so that no good action which you do shall be free from having some corruption mingled with it: nor any evil action which you do not do, free from some motion of heart or inclination of will towards it; and that therefore you can do nothing towards the procuring of your justification and acceptation in the sight of God; which the prophet David well considering, cries out, Psalm cxliii. 2, " Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord ! for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” Yea, and this made the apostle cry out, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death!” Rom. vii. 24. Yea, and this made him desire to be found in Christ, not having his own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, Phil. iii. 9. Nom. But, sir, I ain persuaded there be some good actions which

I do, that are free from having any corruption at all mixed with them; and some evil actions which I do not do, towards which I have no motion of heart, or inclination of will at all.

Evan. Surely, neighbour Nomologista, you do not truly know yourself, for I am confident, that any man who truly knows himself, sees such secret corruptions of heart in every duty he performs, as causes him unfeignedly to confess, that whatever good action he does, it is but a polluted stream of a more corrupt fountain. And whatsoever you or any man else do conceive of yourselves, it is most certain, that whatsoever sin is forbidden in the word, or has been practised in the world, that sin every man carries in his bosom, for all have equally sinned in Adam, and therefore original Just is equally in all.

Nom. Sir, I can hardly be persuaded to this.

Evan. Well, neighbour Nomologista, I cannot so well tell how it is with you, but for mine own part, I tell you truly, I find my knowledge corrupted and defiled with ignorance and blindness, and my faith corrupted and defiled with doubting and distrust, and my love to God very much corrupted, and defiled with sinful self-love and love to the world ; and my joy in God much corrupted and defiled with carnal joy; and my godly sorrow very much corrupted and defiled with worldly sorrow.

And I find my prayers, my hearing, my reading, my receiving the sacrament, and such like duties, very much corrupted and defiled with dulness, drowsiness, sleepiness, wandering and worldly thoughts, and the like.

And I find my sanctifying of the Lord's name very much corrupted and defiled, by thinking and speaking lightly and irreverently of his titles; and by thinking, if not by speaking, grudgingly against some acts of his providence.

And I find my sanctifying of the Lord's day very much corrupted and defiled, by sleeping too long in the morning, and by worldly thoughts and words, if not by worldly works.

And I find that all the duties that I have performed, either towards my superiors or inferiors, have been corrapted and defiled either with too much indulgence, or with too much severity, or with base fears, or base hopes, or some self-end and by-respect.

And I find that all my duties that I have performed, either for the preservation of mine own, or other's life, chastity, goods, or good name, have been very much corrupted and defiled, either with a desire of mine own praise, and mine own profit here, or to escape hell, and to obtain heaven hereafter; so that I see no good action wbich I have ever done free from laving some corruption mixed with it.

And as for motion of heart, and inclination of will towards that evil which I have done, it is also manifest, for though I have not been guilty of idolatry, either in making or worshipping images, yet have I not been free from carnal imaginations of God in the time of his worsbip, nor from will-worship.

And though I have not been so guilty of profaning the name of the Lord, after such a gross manner as some others have been, yet have I not been free from an inclination of heart, and disposition of will thereunto; for I have both thought and spoken irreverently both of his titles, attributes, word, and works, yea, and many times do so to this day.

And though I do not now so grossly profane the Lord's day as it may be others have done, and do still, yet have I formerly done it grossly, yea and do still, find an inward disposition of heart, and inclination of will, both to omit those duties which tend to the sanctifying of it, and to do those worldly actions wbich tend to the profanation of it.

And though wlien I was a child and youug, I did not so grossly dishonour and disobey my parents and other superiors, as some others did, yet I had an inclination of heart and disposition of will thereunto, as it was manifest by my stubbornness, and by my not yielding willing obedience to their commands, nor submitting patiently to their reproofs and corrections.

And though it may be, I have done more of my duty to my inforiors than some others have done, yet have I found an inclination of heart, and a disposition of will, many times to omit those duties which I have performed, so that I have, as it were, been fain to constrain myself to do that whicb I have done.

And though I have not been guilty of the gross act of murder, yet have I had, and have still an inclination of heart and disposition of will thereunto, in that I have been, and am still, mauy times subject to rash, unadvised, and excessive anger; yea, I have been and still am divers times wrathful and envious towards others that offend me.

And though I never was guilty of the foul and gross act of fornication or adultery, yet have I had an inclination of heart, and disposition of will thereunto, in that I have not been free from filthy imaginations, unchaste thoughts, and inward motions and desires to uncleanness.

And though I was never guilty of the gross act of stealing, yet have I had an inclination of heart, and a disposition of will thereunto, in that I have neither been free from discontentedness with mine own estate, nor from covetous desires after that which belongs to another.

And though I never did bear false witness against any man, yet have I had an inclination of heart and disposition of will thereunto, in that I have not been free from contemning, despising, and thinking too basely of others; neither yet have I been free from evil surmisings, groundless suspicions, and rashly judging others.

And now, neighbour Nomologista, I pray you tell me whether you do think that some of these corruptions are in you, which you hear are in me?

Nom. Yea, believe me, sir, I must needs confess that some of them are.

Evan. Well, though you have but only one of them in you, yet I pray you consider, that you do thereby transgress one of the ten commandments; and the apostle James says, that “ Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all," James ii. 10. And call to mind, I also pray you, that a curse is denounced against all those that continue not in "all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Mind it, I pray you,

“ that doth not continue in all things;" so that although you could for a time do all that the law requires, and avoid all that it forbids, and that never so exactly, yet if you do not continue so doing, but transgress the law once in all your life, and that only in one thought, you are thereby become subject to the curse, which, as you have heard, is eternal damnation in he!l.

Nay, let me tell you more, although you never yet had transgessed the law in your life hitherto, not so much as in the least thought nor never should do whilst you live, yet should you thereby become far short of the perfect fulfilling of the law, and so consequently of your justification and acceptation in the sight of God.

Nom. That is very strange to me, sir, for what can be required more, or what can be done more, than yielding perfect and perpetual obedience ?

Evan. That is true indeed; there is no more required, neither can there be more done ; but yet you must understand that the lav does as well require passive obedience as active, suffering as well as doing; for our common bond entered into for us all, by God's benefits towards the first man, is by his disobedience become forfeited, both in respect of himself and all mankind; and therefore, ever since the fall of man, the law and justice of God does not only require the payment of the debt, but also of the forfeiture; there is not only required of him perfect doing, but also perfect suffering. “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die the death," says the Lord, Gen. ii. 17. Nay, let me tell you yet more : in order of justice, the forfeiture ought to be paid before the debt; perfect suf

« FöregåendeFortsätt »