Imágenes de páginas

to what purpose do we labour and strive with endless disputations, arguments, and distinctions, to prefer our duties and obedience unto some office in our justification before God, if when we have done all we find it the safest course in our own persons to abhor ourselves with Job in the presence of God, to betake ourselves unto sovereign grace and mercy with the publican, and to place all our confidence in them through the obedience and blood of Christ?

So died that great emperor Charles the Fifth, as Thuanus gives the account of his Novissima. So he reasoned with himself; Se quidem indignum esse, qui propriis meritis regnum cælorum obtineret; sed Dominum Deum suum qui illud duplici jure obtineat, et Patris hæreditate, et Passionis merito, altero contentum esse, alterum sibi donare; ex cujus dono illud sibi merito vendicet, hacque fiducia fretus minime confundatur; neque enim oleum misericordiæ nisi in vase fiduciæ poni; hanc hominis fiduciam esse a se deficientis et innitentis domino suo; alioquin propriis meritis fidere, non fidei esse sed perfidiæ; peccata deleri per Dei indulgentiam, ideoque credere nos debere peccata deleri non posse nisi ab eo cui soli peccavimus, et in quem peccatum non cadit, per quem solum nobis peccata condonentur.' "That in himself he was altogether unworthy to obtain the kingdom of heaven by his own works or merits, but that his Lord God, who enjoyed it on a double right or title by inheritance of the Father, and the merit of his own passion, was contented with the one himself, and freely granted unto him the other; on whose free grant he laid claim thereunto, and in confidence thereof he should not be confounded; for the oil of mercy is poured only into the vessel of faith or trust; that this is the trust of a man despairing in himself, and resting in his Lord; otherwise to trust unto his own works or merits, is not faith but treachery; that sins are blotted out by the mercy of God; and therefore we ought to believe that our sins can be pardoned by him alone against whom alone we have sinned; with whom there is no sin, and by whom alone sins are forgiven.'

This is the faith of men when they come to die, and those who are exercised with temptations whilst they live. Some are hardened in sin, and endeavour to leave this world without thoughts of another. Some are stupidly ignorant, who

neither know nor consider what it is to appear in the presence of God, and to be judged by him. Some are seduced to place their confidence in merits, pardons, indulgences, and future suffrages for the dead. But such as are acquainted with God and themselves in any spiritual manner, who take a view of the time that is past, and approaching eternity, into which they must enter by the judgment-seat of God, however they may have thought, talked, and disputed about their own works and obedience, looking on Christ and his righteousness only to make up some small defects in themselves, will come at last unto a universal renunciation of what they have been and are, and betake themselves unto Christ alone for righteousness or salvation. And in the whole ensuing discourse I shall as little as is possible immix myself in any curious scholastical disputes. This is the substance of what is pleaded for, that men should renounce all confidence in themselves, and every thing that may give countenance thereunto; betaking themselves unto the grace of God by Christ alone, for righteousness and salvation. This God designeth in the gospel, 1 Cor. i. 29-31. and herein whatever difficulties we may meet withal in the explication of some propositions and terms that belong unto the doctrine of justification, about which men have various conceptions, I doubt not of the internal concurrent suffrage of them who know any thing as they ought of God and themselves.

Fifthly, There is in the Scripture represented unto us a commutation between Christ and believers, as unto sin and righteousness, that is, in the imputation of their sins unto him, and of his righteousness unto them. In the improvement and application hereof unto our own souls, no small part of the life and exercise of faith doth consist.

This was taught the church of God in offering of the scape-goat. And Aaron shall lay his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat; and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities; Lev. xvi. 21, 22. Whether this goat sent away with this burden upon him did live, and so was a type of the life of Christ in his resur

rection after his death; or whether he perished in the wilderness, being cast down the precipice of a rock by him that conveyed him away, as the Jews suppose; it is generally acknowledged, that what was done to him and with him, was only a representation of what was done really in the person of Jesus Christ. And Aaron did not only confess the sins of the people over the goat, but he also put them all on his

and he shall give them all to ונתן אתם על רוש השעיר,head

[ocr errors]

be on the head of the goat; in answer whereunto it is said that he bare them all upon him. This he did by virtue of the divine institution, wherein was a ratification of what was done. He did not transfuse sin from one subject into another, but transferred the guilt of it from one to another. And to evidence this translation of sin from the people unto the sacrifice in his confession, he put and fixed both his hands on his head.' Thence the Jews say, 'that all Israel was made as innocent on the day of expiation, as they were in the day of creation.' From ver. 30. Wherein they came short of perfection or consummation thereby the apostle declares, Heb. x. But this is the language of every expiatory sacrifice,' quod in ejus caput sit;' let the guilt be on him. Hence the sacrifice itself was called on and OWN 'sin' and 'guilt;' Levit. iv. 29. vii. 2. x. 17. And therefore, where there was an uncertain murder, and none could be found that was liable to punishment thereon, that guilt might not come upon the land, nor the sin be imputed unto the whole people, an heifer was to be slain by the elders of the city that was next unto the place where the murder was committed, to take away the guilt of it; Deut. xxi. 1—7. But whereas this was only a moral representation of the punishment due to guilt, and no sacrifice, the guilty person being not known; those who slew the heifer did not put their hands on him, so to transfer their own guilt to him, but washed their hands over him, to declare their personal innocency. By these means, as in all other expiatory sacrifices, did God instruct the church in the transferring of the guilt of sin, unto him who was to bear all their iniquities, with their discharge and justification thereby.

So God laid on Christ the iniquities of us all,' that by his stripes we might be healed;' Isa. liii. 5, 6. Our iniquity

was laid on him, and he bare it, ver. 11. and through his bearing of it, we are freed from it. His stripes are our healing; our sin was his, imputed unto him; his merit is ours, imputed unto us. 'He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in him; 2 Cor. v. 21. This is that commutation I mentioned; he was made sin for us, we are made the righteousness of God in him; God not imputing sin unto us, ver. 19. but imputing righteousness unto us, doth it on this ground alone, that he was made sin for us.' And if by his being made sin, only his being made a sacrifice for sin is intended, it is to the same purpose. For the formal reason of any thing being made an expiatory sacrifice, was the imputation of sin unto it by divine institution. The same is expressed by the same apostle, Rom. viii. 3, 4. 'God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.' The sin was made his, he answered for it, and the righteousness which God requireth by the law, is made ours; the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us; not by our doing it, but by his. This is that blessed change and commutation wherein alone the soul of a convinced sinner can find rest and peace. So he hath 'redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, that the blessings of faithful Abraham might come upon us ;' Gal. iii. 13, 14. The curse of the law contained all that was due to sin; this belonged unto us. But it was transferred on him; he was made a curse, whereof his hanging on a tree was the sign and token. Hence he is said to bear all our sins in his own body upon the tree,' 1 Pet. i. 24. because his hanging on the tree was the token of his bearing the curse. For he that is hanged on the tree is the curse of God;' Deut. xxi. 23. And in the blessing of faithful Abraham, all righteousness and acceptation with God is included; for Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.

[ocr errors]

But because some, who for reasons best known unto themselves, do take all occasions to except against my writings, have in particular raised an impertinent clamour about somewhat that I formerly delivered to this purpose, I shall declare the whole of my judgment herein, in the words

of some of those, whom they can pretend no quarrel against, that I know of.

The excellent words of Justin Martyr deserve the first place. ̓Αυτὸς τὸν ἴδιον υἷον ἀπέδοτο λύτρον ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, τὸν ἅγιον ὑπὲρ ἀνόμων, τὸν ἄκακον ὑπὲρ τῶν κακῶν, τὸν δίκαιον ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀδίκων, τὸν ἄφθαρτον ὑπὲρ τῶν θνητῶν. τί γὰρ ἄλλο τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν ἠδυνήθη καλύψαι, ἢ ἐκείνου δικαιοσύνη; ἐν τίνι δικαιωθῆναι δύνατον τοὺς ἀνόμους ἡμᾶς καὶ ἀσεβεῖς, ἢ ἐν μόνῳ τῷ ὑιῷ τοῦ θεου ; ᾧ τῆς γλυκείας ἀνταλλαγῆς, ᾧ τῆς ἀνεξ. ιχνιάστου δημιουργίας, ᾧ τῶν ἀπροσδοκήτων εὐεργεσιῶν; ἵνα ἀνομία μὲν πολλῶν ἐν δικαίῳ ἑνὶ κρυθῆ, δικαιοσύνη δὲ ἑνὸς πόλλους ἀνόμους δικαιώση. Epist. ad Diognet. “ He gave his Son a ransom for us; the holy for transgressors; the innocent for the nocent; the just for the unjust; the incorruptible for the corrupt; the immortal for mortals. For what else could hide or cover our sins but his righteousness? In whom else could we wicked and ungodly ones be justified, or esteemed righteous, but in the Son of God alone? O sweet permutation, or change! O unsearchable work, or curious operation! Ο blessed beneficence exceeding all expectation! That the iniquity of many should be hid in one just one, and the righteousness of one should justify many transgressors.' And Gregory Nysson speaks to the same purpose. Μεταθεὶς γὰρ πρὸς ἑαυτὸν τὸν τῶν ἡμῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ῥύπον, μετάδωκέ μοι τῆς ἑαυτοῦ καθαρότητος, κοίνωνόν με τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ κάλλους ἀπεργασάμενος. Orat. 2. in Cant. ' He hath transferred unto himself the filth of my sins, and communicated unto me his purity, and made me partaker of his beauty.” So Augustine also. ‘Ipse peccatum ut nos justitia, nec nostra sed Dei, nec in nobis sed in ipso ; sicut ipse peccatum, non suum sed nostrum, nec in se sed in nobis constitutum.” Enchirid. ad Laurent. cap. 41. ‘He was sin that we might be righteousness, not our own but the righteousness of God, not in ourselves, but in him. As he was sin, not his own, but ours; not in himself, but in us.’The old Latin translation rendering those words, Psal. xxii. 1. DAN 1927‘Verba delictorum meorum; he thus comments on the place. Quomodo ergo dicit delictorum meorum? nisi quia pro delictis nostris ipse precatur; et delicta nostra delicta sua fecit, ut justitiam suam nostram justitiam faceret.' ‘How, saith he, of my sins; because he prayeth for our sins; he made


« AnteriorContinuar »