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against thee, behold I have borne them already; see how I have been wounded for his transgressions, and bruised for his iniquities; the chastisement of his peace was upon me ; with my stripes, therefore, let him be healed." And thus, as he once shed his blood for me amongst men, he now pleads it for me before God; and that not only for the washing out the guilt of my transgressions, but likewise for the washing away the filth of my corruptious; himself having purchased the donation of the Spirit from the Father, he there claims the communication of it unto nie.
And that he hath thus undertaken to plead my cause for me, I have it under his own hand and seal ; himself by his Spirit assuring me, that if I sin, I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. So that I believe he is not so much my solicitor at the mercy-seat, as my advocate at the judgment-seat of God, there pleading my right and title to the crown of glory, and to every step of the way that I must go through the kingdom of grace unto it.
In a word, I believe that Christ, upon promise and engagement to pay such a price for it in time, did purchase this inheritance for me from eternity; whereupon I was even then immediately chosen and elected into it; and had, by this means, a place in heaven, before I had any being upon earth. And, when the time appointed by covenant was come, I believe Christ, according to his promise, paid the purchase-money, even laid down his life for me; and then forthwith went up and took possession of this my kingdom, not for himself, but for me, as my proxy and representative ; so that, whilst I am in my infancy, under age, I am in possession, though I have not as yet the enjoyment, of this my inheritance; but that is reserved for me till I come at age. And howsoever, though I do not enjoy the whole as yet, my Father allows me as much of it as he sees convenient, so much grace and so much comfort as he thinks best ; which are as a pledge of what he hath laid up for me in his kingdom, which is above.
ARTICLE VIII. I believe, that my person is justified only by the merit
of Christ imputed to me, and that my nature is sanctified only by the Spirit of Christ implanted in
AND thus I do not only believe Christ to be my Saviour, but I believe only Christ to be my Saviour. It was 'he alone that trod the wine-press of his Father's wrath, filled with the sour and bitter grapes of my sins. It was he that carried on the great work of my salvation, being himself both the Author and the Finisher of it. I
say, it was he, and he alone; for what person or persons in the world could do it besides himself? The angels could not if they would ; the devils would not if they could ! ; and as for my fellow-creatures, I may as well satisfy for their sins as they for mine; and how little able, even the best of us are to do either, that is, to atone either for our owo transgressions or those of others, every man's experience will sufficiently inform him. For how should we, poor worms of the earth, ever hope by the slime and mortar, if I may so speak, of our own natural abilities, to raise up a tower, whose top may reach to heaven? Can we ex. pect by the strength of our own hands to take heaven by violence; or by the price of our works to purchase eternal glory? It is a matter of admiration to me, how any one that pretends to the use of his reason can imagine, that he should be accepted before God for what comes from himself! For how is it possible that I should he justified by good works, when I can do no good works at all before I be first justified? My works cannot be accepted as good till my person be so ; nor can my person be accepted by God, till first ingrafted into Christ; be. fore which ingrafting into the true vine, it is impossible I should bring forth good fruit; for the ploughing of the wicked is sin, says Solomon; yea, the sacrifices of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord. And if both the civil and spiritual actions of the wicked be sin, which of all their actions shall have the honor to justify; them before God? I know not how it is with others, but, for my
own part, I do not remember, neither do I believe, that I
disobedience in another, or how that which God commands from me, should merit any thing from him.
No; I believe there is no person can merit any thing from God, but he that can do more than is required of him, which it is impossible any creature should do; for, in that it is a creature, it continually depends upon God, and therefore is bound to do every thing it can by any means possibly do for him ; especially, considering that the creature's dependence upon God is such, that it is beholden to him even for every action that issues from it; without whom, as it is impossible any thing should be, so likewise that any thing should act, especially what is good. So that to say, a man of himself can merit any thing from God, is as much as to say, that he can merit by that which of himself he doth not do; or that one person cau merit by that which another performs, which is a plain contradiction ; for in that it merits, it is necessarily implied that itself acts that by which it is said to merit; but in that it doth not depend upou itself, but upon another in what it acts, it is as necessarily implied, that itself doth not do that by which it is said to merit.
Upon this account, I shall never be induced to believe that any creature, by any thing it doth or can do, can merit or deserve any thing at the hand of God, till it can be proved that a creature can merit by that which God doth; or that God can be bound to bestow any thing upon us, for that which himself alone is pleased to work in us and by us; which, in plain terms, would be as mueb as to say, that because God hath been pleased to do one good
turn for us, he is therefore bound to do more; and because God hath enabled us to do our duty, he should therefore be bound to give us glory.
It is not, therefore, in the power of any person in the world to merit any thing from God, but such a one who is absolutely co-essential with him, and so depends not upon him either for his existence or actions. Aud as there is no person can merit any thing from God, unless he be essentially the same with him, so likewise unless he be personally distinct from him; for as much as though a person may be said to merit for himself, yet he cannot be said, without a gross solecism, to merit any thing from himself. So that he tbat is not as perfectly another person from God, as really as the same in nature with him, can never be said to merit any thing at his hands.
But farther; God the Father could not properly be said to do it in his own person, because being, according to our conception, the party offended, should he have undertaken this work for me, he in his own person must have undertaken to make satisfaction to his own person for the offences committed against himself; which if he should have done, bis mercy might have been much exalted, bat his justice could not have been satisfied by it. For justice requires, either that the party offending should be punished for these offences, or, at least, some fit person in his stead, which the Father himself cannot be said to be, in that he was the party offended, to whom this satisfaction was to be made; and it is absurd to suppose, that the same person should be capable of making satisfaction both by and to himself at the same time.
It remains therefore that there were only two persons in the Holy Trinity who could possibly be invested with this capacity, the Son and the Spirit. As to the latter, though he be indeed the same ip nature with the Father, and a distinct person from him, and so far in a capacity to make satisfaction to him, yet not being capable both of assuming the human nature into the divine and also uniting and applying the divine nature to the human, as I have showed before in the fifth Article, he was not in a capacity of making satisfaction for man; none being fit to take that office upon him, but he that of himself was perfectly God, and likewise capable of becoming perfectly man by uniting both natures in the same person ; which the Holy Ghost could not do, because he was the person by whom, and therefore could not be the person also in whom, this union of the two natures was to be perfected. And yet it was by this means and this method only, that any person could have been completely capacitated to have borne the punishment of our sins: he that was only man could not do it, because the sin was committed against God, and he that was only God could not do it, because the sin was committed by man.
From all which, as I may fairly infer, so I hope I may safely fix, my faith in this article, namely, that there was only one person in the whole world that could do this great work for me, of justifying my person before God, and so glorifying my soul with him; and that was the Son of God, the second person in the glorious Trinity, begotten of the substance of the Father from all eternity; whom I apprehend and believe to have brought about the great work of my justification before God, after this or the like manner.
He being in and of himself perfectly co-equal, co-essential, and co-eternal with the Father, was in no sort bound to do more than the Father himself did ; and so whatsoever he should do which the Father did not, might justly be accounted as a work of supererogation ; which, without any violation of divine justice, might be set upon the account of some other persons, even of such whom he pleased to do it for. And hereupon, out of mercy and con passion to fallen man, he covenants with his Fatber, that if it pleased his Majesty to accept it, he would take upon him the suffering those punishments which were due from him to man, and the performance of those duties which were due from man to him; so that whatsoever he should thus humble himself to do or suffer, should wholly be upon the account of man, himself not being any ways bound to do or suffer more in time, than he had from eternity.
This motion the Father, out of the riches of his grace and mercy, was pleased to consent unto; and hereupon įhe Son, assuming our nature into his Deity, becomes