Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > The Bunyan-Burrough Debate > Bunyan, Some Gospel-Truths Opened [3 of 6]
Now having spoken thus much touching the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, I shall, according to the assistance of the Lord Jesus, proceed, and shall speak something of HIS GODHEAD, BIRTH, DEATH, RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, AND INTERCESSION; together with his most glorious and personal appearing the second time, which will be to raise the dead, and bring every work to judgment. (Eccles. xii.14.)
First. And, first, I shall show you that he, Christ, is very God, co-eternal, and also co-equal with his Father.
Second. That by this Son of Mary, which is equal with his Father, the world was made.
Third. That he, in the fulness of time, was made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were, or are, under the law; that is, was born of a woman: and in our nature (for he made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men) and in our stead he did fulfil the law in point of justification, (Rom. x.4,) and was crucified for our transgressions. (1 Cor. i.23-25.)
Fourth. That very body of the Son of Mary which was crucified, did rise again from the dead, after he had been buried in Joseph's sepulchre; that he in that very body ascended up into heaven, and in that very body shall come again to these ends: 1. To judge the quick and the dead. 2. To receive his saints to himself. 3. To pass eternal condemnation on his enemies. These things in brief I shall touch upon, according to the wisdom given me.
First. And therefore that Christ is very God, I shall first prove, 1. By plain texts of Scripture. 2. From the testimony of God, angels, and men, witnessed by the Scriptures. 3. By several arguments drawn from Scripture, which will prove the same clearly.
1. Then to prove it by the Scriptures. Though indeed the whole book of God's holy Scripture testify these things plainly to be most true, yet there be some places more pregnant and pertinent to the thing than others; and therefore I shall mention some of them: as, first, mind that in Prov. viii.22, &c., and there you shall find him spoken of under the name of Wisdom, the same name that is given him in 1 Cor. i.24. I say, in that place of the Proverbs above mentioned you shall find these expressions from his own mouth. "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there was no depths I was brought forth; while there was no fountain abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, was I brought forth. While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest places of the dust of the world; when he prepared the heavens, I was there; when he set a compass upon the face of the deep; when he established the clouds above; when he strengthened the fountains of the deep; when he gave to the sea his decree that the waters should not pass his commandment; when he appointed the foundations of the earth; then was I by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing in the habitable parts of the earth, and my delight was with the sons of men." Also John i.1,2, you have these words spoken of Christ: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." As also in Heb. i.2, the Apostle being about to prove the Son of Mary to be very God, saith: He "hath in these latter days spoken to us by his Son;" which Son is the Son of Mary, as in Matt. iii. "But," saith the Apostle, Heb. i.8, "to the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." Again, in John xvii.5, you have the words of the Son of Mary for it, saying, "And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory that I had with thee before the world was." Again, he himself saith, "Before Abraham was, I am." And again, "I and my Father are one." And in Phil. ii.5, the Apostle saith, "Let the same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." Also, Rev. ii.8, Christ himself saith, "I am the first and the last, which was dead, but am alive." And thus have I quoted some few scriptures to prove that the Son of Mary is the true God.
2. I shall give you the testimony of God himself touching the truth of this, viz. that Christ the Son of the Virgin is the true God. And (1.) see Zech. xiii.7, and there you shall find these words, "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts." In this place the Lord doth call that man his fellow, which he doth not do to any mere creature. Again, in Matt. iii.17, he calls him his beloved Son, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And in the aforesaid place of the Hebrews, (chap. i.) the Apostle advancing the Lord Jesus, brings in this question: "To which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son?" (ver. 5.) "But to the Son he saith," (ver. 8,) "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." And thus far the testimony that God himself hath given of the Son of Mary, Jesus Christ. (2.) The angels do show that he is God: First, In that they do obey him. Secondly, In that they worship him.
First. That they obey him, is clear, if we compare Rev. xxi.9 with xxii.6. In the first of these places we find, that there came one of the angels of the seven vials, which had the seven last plagues, and talked with John. He came not of himself; but in that 22nd chap. ver. 6. he saith, "The Lord sent his angel, to show unto his servants the things that must be done." Now, in the 16th verse, you may see who this Lord God is. He saith there, "I Jesus have sent mine angel, to testify these things in the churches. I am the root (as well as) the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." I say, this obedience of the angels doth testify that Jesus, which is the Son of Mary, is the true and very God; for they do obey God only.
Secondly. The angels do show that the Son of Mary is the true God, in that they do not only obey him, but worship him also; yea, they are commanded so to do, Heb. i.6, where it is written, "When he bringeth his first-begotten into the world, he (i.e. God) saith, And let all the angels of God worship him, viz. the Son of Mary. Now, the angels themselves command that we worship none but God. (Rev. xxii.8,9.) When John fell down to worship the angel, the angel said, "See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow-servant; worship God." Now if the angels should command to worship God, and they themselves should worship him that by nature is no God, they should overthrow themselves, in commanding one thing, and doing another, and so lose their own habitations, and be shut up in chains of darkness, to be punished with everlasting destruction from God himself at the great day. And thus much concerning the testimony of angels touching Jesus the Son of Mary, the Son of God, yea, very and true God. (Isa. ix.6.)
(3.) Now followeth David his testimony among other of the saints, who witness Jesus the Son of Mary to be true God; and that you may find in Ps. cx.1, where he saith, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool." Also Isaiah, in the 9th chap. ver. 6, saith, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David," which is not, nor never was the heart of any believer, "and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this." Again, see Peter's testimony of the Son of Mary; when Jesus asked his disciples, "Whom say ye that I am?" Peter, as the mouth of the rest, said, "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matt. xvi.16.) Also when Thomas, one of Christ's disciples, would not be persuaded by the others that they had seen the Lord, except he did also see in his hands the print of the nails, and put his fingers into the print of the nails, and thrust his hand into his side, he would not believe. Saith the Son of Mary, "Reach hither thy fingers, and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless but believing;" and then Thomas breaks out with a mighty faith, and a glorious testimony for his master, and saith, "My Lord, and my God!" (John xx.27,28.)
Again, see Paul's testimony of him, (Rom. ix.5,) where speaking of the Son of Mary, he saith, that Christ came of the Father, "who is over all, God blessed for ever, Amen." And the apostle John doth also witness as much, (1 John v.20,) where, speaking of Jesus Christ, he saith on this wise: "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we might know him that is true, and we are in him that is true," Who is that? why, saith John, "even in his Son Jesus Christ." Who is he? why, "This is the true God, and eternal life."
I could here also bring in the testimony of the very devils themselves, as Luke iv.41; viii.28; where he is by them acknowledged to be the Son of the living God: but it is needless so to do; for we have plainly proved it already.
3. Now followeth the several Scripture arguments which will prove that Jesus the Son of Mary is very God.
(1.) There is none but he that is the true God can satisfy the justice of the true God for the breach of his holy law: but if you compare Isa. liii.6 with Matt. iii.17, you shall find that Jesus the Son of Mary did give God a full and complete satisfaction for the breach of his holy law; therefore Jesus the Son of Mary must needs be the great and the true God.
(2.) He that hath power of his own to lay down his life, and hath power of his own to take it up again, must needs be the true God: but this did Jesus the Son of Mary the Virgin; therefore he must needs be the true God. (John x.18. Rom. i.4.)
(3.) There was never any able to bear the sin of all the believers in the world, that ever were, now are, or hereafter shall be, but the true God: but Jesus the Son of the Virgin Mary did bear them all in his own body on the tree, (1 Pet. ii.24. Isa. liii.6;) therefore Jesus the Son of Mary must needs be the true God as well as man.
(4.) There was never any mere man able, by his own power, to overcome the devil in all his temptations, but he that is also the true God, (for Adam in his state of innocency was overcome by them, and fell under them:) but Jesus the Son of the Virgin did overcome them all by his own power; therefore (see Gen. iii.15. Isa. li.9; lxiii.5. Matt. iv.24. Luke iv.12,) he is very God, as well as very man.
(5.) There was never any that did call himself the true God, and was not, which did please God in so doing: but Jesus the Son of Mary did call himself the true God, or account himself equal with God, which is all one, yet God was well-pleased with him, (Phil. ii.6,7. John viii.29;) and therefore Jesus the Son of Mary must needs be true God as well as man.
(6.) There was never any that had all power in heaven, and in earth, but the true God: Jesus the Son of the Virgin Mary, who was espoused to Joseph, hath all power in heaven and in earth in his own hand; therefore, (Matt. xxviii.18,) he is the true and great God.
(7.) There was never any able to keep poor souls from falling from God, saving he that is the true God: Jesus the Son of Mary did, and doth this, (John x.27-30; xvii.12;) therefore, &c.
(8.) Never could any justly call himself the first and the last, except the true God, nor truly (as the Lord did) say, "I am:" but these did Jesus the Son of Mary, (Rev. i.1, comp. with ver. 17,18, Rev. ii.8, and John viii.58;) therefore Jesus must needs be true God as well as man.
(9.) Never was there any that could absolutely forgive sins but God, (Mark ii.7. Luke v.21:) but Jesus the Son of the Virgin Mary can forgive sins, (Luke v.20. Mark ii.5;) therefore Jesus the Son of Mary must needs be true God as well as man.
(10.) The Scriptures never call any the true and living God but he that is the true God: the Scriptures call Jesus the Son of the Virgin the true God, (Isa. ix.6. 1 John v.20;) therefore he is the true and great God.
(11.) He that made all things, whether they be visible or invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers, must needs be the true God: but Jesus the Son of the Virgin Mary did make all these, (Col. i.14-18. John i.1-16. Heb. i.2,3;) and therefore he is the true God, as well as man.
(12.) The blood of a mere finite creature could never obtain eternal redemption for sinners: but the blood of Jesus the Son of the Virgin Mary hath obtained eternal redemption for sinners, (Eph. i.7. Heb. ix.12-14; x.19,20;) therefore the blood of the Son of the Virgin must needs be the blood of God. And so the Apostle calleth it, saying to the pastors of the churches, "Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Acts xx.28. 1 John iii.16.)
(13.) Never was there any that could overcome death in his own power, but the true God, (Hos. xiii.14:) Jesus the Son of the Virgin Mary did overcome death by himself, (Heb. ii.14;) therefore, &c.
(14.) He that searcheth the hearts, and knoweth the thoughts of men, must needs be the true God, (Jer. xvii.10:) but Jesus the Son of the Virgin doth, (Luke v.22; ix.47. John ii.24,25;) therefore, &c.
(15.) He that by his own power commandeth the raging sea, must needs be the true God, (Job xxxviii.10,11. Prov. viii.29:) but this did Jesus the Son of Mary, (Mark iv.39,41. Luke viii.24;) therefore, &c.
(16.) He that is the wisdom, power, and glory of God, must needs be the true God: but Jesus the Son of the Virgin is all these, (as 1 Cor. i.24-24. Heb. i.1-3;) therefore Jesus the Son of the Virgin must needs be true God as well as man.
Secondly. The next thing that I am to prove, is this; namely, that by this Jesus Christ, the Son of the Virgin, the world was made. And here I shall be brief, having touched on it already. Only I shall lay down some of the scriptures that hold forth this to be a truth, and so pass to the next things that I intend to speak of.
1. And therefore, in the first place, see Heb. i.2, where the Apostle is speaking of the Son of God, which Son was born of the Virgin Mary, according to these scriptures mentioned before, Matt. i.18-23. Luke ii. Matt. iii.17, where God himself saith, "This is my beloved Son," &c. This Son of God, saith the Apostle, by whom God hath spoken to us, by him also he made the worlds. And, Col. i., the Apostle, speaking of the deliverance of the saints, saith, "Who hath delivered you from the power of darkness, and translated you into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." And is that all? No, but he is, also, "the image of the invisible God," (ver. 15,) "the first-born of every creature." And in ver. 16,17, "By him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by him and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." Also Heb. i.10, it is thus written of this Son of God, Christ Jesus the Son of Mary: "And thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands." And again, John i. and the first nine verses, the Evangelist, or Apostle, speaking of the Son, saith, "In the beginning was the Word," which Word was the Son. (Rev. xix.12-13.) This Word, or Son, was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. "In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shined in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." But in the ninth verse of this first chapter of John it is written, "That was the true light, which lighteth every one that cometh into the world." Now seeing the Lord hath brought me thus far; and because the Quakers, by wresting this scripture, do not only split themselves upon it, but endeavour also to split others, I shall therefore, before I proceed any further, speak a few words to it; and they are these that follow.
The Apostle in these nine first verses, or most of them, is speaking of the divinity or godhead of the Son of Mary, and showing that he made the world. Now in this ninth verse he speaketh of man as he is in his coming into the world, and not as he is a regenerate person. Now every man as he comes into the world receives a light from Christ, as he is God, editor's note which light is the conscience, that some call Christ, though falsely. This light, or conscience, will show a man that there is a God, and that this God is eternal. (Rom. i.20.) This light doth discover this eternal God by his works in the world; for, saith the scripture before named, "The invisible things of him" (meaning God) "from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made: even his eternal power and godhead." This light also will reprove of sin, or convince of, and make manifest sins against the law of this eternal God: so that man, before he is regenerate, is able by that light to know that sins against the law are sins against God, as is manifested in the unconverted Pharisees, who, as Christ told them, had neither the love of God, nor the word of God abiding in them, (John v.38,42,) yet knew sins against the law to be sins; for they were offended at a woman for committing adultery, which act was forbidden, (Matt. v.27,28,) by the law; and it is said also, they were convicted of sin by their own consciences. (John viii.7-10.)
Again, The Apostle writing to the Corinthians, and admonishing them to walk orderly, (1 Cor. xi.14,) turns them to nature itself, saying, "Doth not even nature itself teach you?" &c. cited by Burrough (2) This light surely is that wherewith Christ, as he is God, hath enlightened every man that cometh into the world, which doth convince of sins against the law of God. Therefore, as the Apostle saith, (Rom. i.20,) they are left without excuse; that is, they have their own conscience, that doth show them there is a God, and that this God is to be served and obeyed: and the neglect of this will be sure to damn them, though the obedience to the law will not save them, because they are not able to make a full recompence to God for their sins that are past; neither are they able, for the time to come, to yield a full, continual, and complete obedience to the law of this almighty, infinite, and eternal God. For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse; for it is written: "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the works of the law, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." (Gal. iii.10,11.)
But now, though Christ, as he is God, doth give a light to every one that cometh into the world, which light is the conscience, as they themselves confess: yet it doth not therefore follow that this conscience is the spirit of Christ, or the work of grace wrought in the heart of any man whatsoever; for every one hath conscience, yet every one hath not the Spirit of Christ: for Jude speaks of a company of men in his days, who had not the Spirit of Christ. (Jude 19.) "These be they who separate themselves," saith he, "sensual, having not the Spirit." Yea, heathens, Turks, Jews, pagans, atheists, have that also that doth convince of sin, and yet are so far from having the Spirit of Christ in them, that it is their great delight to serve their lusts, this world, their sins; whereas the Apostle saith plainly, "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life for righteousness sake." So that those who are alive to their sins, have not the Spirit of Christ. Nay, let me tell you, the very devils themselves, who were thrown from their first state by sin, (2 Pet. ii.4,) have such a taste of their horrible sins, that when they did but suppose that Jesus was come to put an end to their tyrannical dealing with the world, and to bring them to judgment for their sins, (to which they know they shall be brought,) it made them cry out, "Art thou come to torment us before the time?" James doth also signify thus much unto us, where he saith, "The devils also believe and tremble." (Jam. ii.19.) Which belief of theirs is not a believing in Christ to save them; for they know he did not take hold on their nature, (Heb. ii.16;) but they do believe that Christ will come to their everlasting torment; and the belief of this doth make those proud spirits to tremble.
Again, Man at his coming into the world hath his conscience given him, which doth convince of sin, (John i.9; viii.9;) yet man, as he cometh into the world, hath not the Spirit of Christ in him; for that must be received afterward, by the preaching of the word, which is preached by the ministers and servants of Jesus Christ. This is God's usual way to communicate of his Spirit into the hearts of his elect; and this is clear in so many words, where Peter, preaching to a certain number, the scripture saith, "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost, or Holy spirit, fell on all those that heard the word." And again, (Gal. iii. ver. 2 and 5 compared together,) "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law," saith the Apostle, "or by the hearing of faith?" or the Gospel, which is the word of faith preached by us? Which Spirit, as Christ saith, the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him, though his children shall have fellowship with him to the great comfort of their own souls. (John xiv.16,17.)
cited by Burrough (3) But now, this merciless butcherer of men, the devil, that he might be sure to make the soul fall short of glory if possible, endeavours to persuade the soul that its state is good; that it hath the Spirit of Christ in it; and for a proof of the same, saith he, turn thy mind inward, and listen within, and see if there be not that within thee that doth convince of sin. Now the poor soul, finding this to be so, all on haste, if it be willing to profess, through ignorance of the gospel, claps in with these motions of his own conscience, which doth command to abstain from this evil, and to practise that good; which, if neglected, will accuse and torment for the same neglect of others, (Rom. ii.15,) both now and hereafter.
Now the soul, seeing that there is something within that convinceth of sin, doth all on a sudden close with that, supposing it is the Spirit of Christ; and so through this mistake, is carried away with the teachings and convictions of its own conscience, being misinformed by the devil, unto the works of the law; under which, though it work all its days, and labour with its might and main, yet it never will be able to appease the wrath of God, nor get from under the curse of the law, nor get from under the guilt of one sinful thought the right way, which is to be done by believing what another man hath done by himself, (Heb. i.2,3; Rom. v.15,) without us, on the cross, without the gates of Jersualem. See for this, 1 Pet. ii.24; Heb. xiii.12. The one saith, "He bare our sins in his own body on the tree;" the other saith, it was done "without the gate."
And thus the poor soul is most horribly carried away headlong, and thrown down violently under the curse of the law, under which it is held all its days, if God of his mere mercy prevent not; and at the end of its life doth fall into the very belly of hell.
Again, That the devil might be sure to carry on his design, he now begins to counterfeit the work of grace. Here he is very subtle, and doth transform himself into an angel of light. (2 Cor. xi.14.) Now he makes the soul believe that he is its friend, and that he is a gospel minister; and if the soul will be led by what shall be made known unto it by the light, or conscience, within, it shall not need to fear but it shall do well.
Now he counterfeits the new birth, persuading them, that it is wrought by following the light that they brought into the world with them. Now he begins also to make them run through difficulties: and now, like Baal's priests, they must lance themselves with knives, &c. Now they must wear no hatbands; now they must live with bread and water; now they must give heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, which bid them abstain from marriage, and command them to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which love and know the truth, as in 1 Tim. iv.1-3. Now they must not speak, except their spirit moves them, (I do not say the Spirit of Christ,) though when it moves, they will speak such sad blasphemies, and vent such horrible doctrines, that it makes me wonder to see the patience of God, in that he doth not command, either the ground to open her mouth and swallow them up, or else suffer the devil to fetch them away alive, to the astonishment of the whole world.
Object. But you will say, Doth not the scripture say, that it is the Spirit of Christ that doth make manifest or convince of sin? (John xvi.8.)
Answ. Yes, it doth so. But for the better understanding of this place, I shall lay down this; namely, that there are two things spoken of in the Scriptures, which do manifest sin, or convince of sin. First, The law, as saith the Apostle, Rom. iii.20: "Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight," viz. God's sight: "For by the law is the knowledge of sin." Secondly, the Spirit of Christ doth make manifest, or reprove of sin, as it is written, John xvi.8,9: "And when he, the Spirit, is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me," saith the Son of Mary, which is Christ.
Now the law doth sometimes, by its own power, manifest sin without the Spirit of Christ; as in the case of Judas, who was convinced of the sin of murder, which made him cry out, "I have sinned;" yet at that time he was so far from having the Spirit of Christ in him, that he was most violently possessed of the devil. (Luke xxii.3,4.)
Again, Sometimes the Spirit of Christ takes the law, and doth effectually convince of sin, of righteousness, and judgment to come.
Quest. But you will say, How should I know whether I am convinced by the law alone, or that the law is set home effectually by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus upon my conscience?
Ans. Unto this I answer. First, When the law doth convince by its own power, without the help of the Spirit of Christ, it doth only convince of sins against the law, as of swearing, lying, stealing, murdering, adultery, covetousness, and the like. I say, it doth only make manifest sins against the law, pronouncing a horrible curse, (Gal. iii.10,) against thee, if thou fulfil it not, and so leaves thee; but it gives thee no strength to fulfil it completely and continually, (which thou must do, if thou wilt be saved thereby.) Now thy own strength being insufficient for these things, having lost it in Adam, thou art a breaker of the law. Here the law finds thee in thy sins, and condemns thee for thy sins, but gives thee no power to come wholly out of them; neither doth it show thee thy right Saviour to save thee from them (which is the Son of the Virgin Mary, the man Christ Jesus), but commands thee, upon pain of eternal damnation, to continue in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. (Gal. iii.10.) And therefore if thou hast been convinced of no other sins but what are against the law, for all thy convictions and horror of conscience, thou mayest be but a natural man, at the best, and so under the curse. (Gal. iii.10.)
Obj. But, perhaps thou wilt say, I am not only convinced of my sins against the law, but I have also some power against my sins, so that I do in some considerable measure abstain from those things that are forbidden in the law.
Ans. This thou mayest have, and do, as thou thinkest, perfectly, as those blind Pharisees called Quakers do think that they also do, and yet be but a natural man; and therefore I pray consider that place, in Rom. ii.14,15: the Apostle there speaks on this wise, concerning the Gentiles' obedience to the law. "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves, which shew the work of the law written in their hearts." cited by Burrough Which work of the law, Christ, as he is God, hath enlightened every one withal, that cometh into the world, (John i.9;) which, as the Quakers say, doth convince of sin, yet of no other than of sins against the law. And therefore must needs be all one light or law, for "the law is light," (Prov. vi.23,) and gives "the knowledge of sin." (Rom. iii.20.) And therefore; as I said before, so say I now again, if thy convictions are no other than for the sins against the law, though thy obedience be the strictest that ever was wrought by any man, except the Lord Jesus, the Son of Mary, thou art at the best but under the law, and so consequently under the curse, and under the wrath of God, (Gal. iii.10; John iii.36,) whether thou believest it or not.
But now the second thing, how thou shouldst know whether the Spirit of Christ doth effectually set home the law upon thy conscience or not; and therefore, to speak directly to it, if the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, doth set home the law effectually, then the same Spirit of Christ shows thee more sin than the sins against the law. For,
(1.) It shows thee, that all thy "righteousness is but as filthy rags." (Isa. lxiv.6.) Thou seest all thy praying, meditation, hearing, reading, alms-deeds, fasting, reformation, and whatsoever else thou hast done, doest, or can do, being an unbeliever, deserves at the hands of God his curse and condemnation, and that for ever. And therefore thou art so far from trusting to it, that in some measure thou even loathest it, and art ashamed of it, as being a thing abominable, both in God's sight and thine own. (Phil. iii.8.) Thou countest thine own performances, when at best, and thine own righteousness, a bed too short to stretch thyself upon, and a covering too narrow to wrap thyself in. (Isa. xxviii.20.) And these things thou seest not overly or slightly, and as at a great distance, but really and seriously, and the sense of them sticks close to thee.
(2.) It shows thee that thou hast no faith in the man Christ Jesus by nature, and that though thou hadst no other sins, yet thou art in a perishing state because of unbelief, according to that sixteenth of John, ver. 9: "Of sin, because they believe not in me." If therefore thou hast been convinced aright by the Spirit, thou hast seen that thou hadst no faith in Christ the Son of Mary, the Son of God, before conversion. It shows thee also, that thou canst not believe in thine own strength, though thou wouldst never so willingly; yea, though thou wouldst give all the world, if thou hadst it, to believe, thou couldst not.
(3.) In the next place, it will show thee, that if thou dost not believe in the man Christ Jesus, and that with "the faith of the operation of God," (Col. ii.12,) thou wilt surely perish, and that without remedy. Also, it shows thee, that if thou hast not that righteousness which the man Christ Jesus accomplished in his own person for sinners, I say, if thou be not clothed with that instead of thine own, thou art gone for ever; and therefore, saith Christ, speaking of the Spirit, "When he is come he shall reprove the world of sin and of righteousness" too. (John xvi.8.) That is, the Spirit shall convince men and women of the sufficiency of that righteousness that Christ, in his human nature, hath fulfilled; so that they need not run to the law for righteousness; "for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." (Rom. x.4.) Again, if the Spirit of Jesus setteth home the law upon thy conscience, thou wilt freely confess, that although the law curseth and condemneth thee for thy sins, and gives thee no power either to fulfil or come out of thy sins; yet God is just in giving that law, and "the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." (Rom. vii.12.)
(4.) Lastly, it also convinceth of judgment to come: He (viz. the Spirit) shall reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, yea, and of judgment too. (Acts xxiv.25.) Then doth the soul see, that that very man that was born of the Virgin Mary, crucified upon the cross without the gates of Jersualem, shall so come again: even that same Jesus, in like manner as he was seen to go up from his disciples. (Acts i.11.) Yea, they that are thus convinced by the Spirit of Christ, know that God hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, (Acts xvii.31,) which is the man Christ Jesus; for "it is he that is ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead." (Acts x.42.)
And now, O man or woman, whoever thou art, that art savingly convinced by the Spirit of Christ, thou hast such an endless desire after the Lord Jesus Christ, that thou canst not be satisfied or content with anything below the blood of the Son of God to purge thy conscience withal; even that blood that was shed without the gates. (Heb. xiii.12; ix.14.) Also thou canst not be at quiet, till thou dost see by true faith, that the righteousness of the Son of Mary is imputed unto thee, and put upon thee. (Rom. iii.21-23.) Then also thou canst not be at quiet, till thou hast power over thy lusts and corruptions, till thou hast brought them into subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then thou wilt never think that thou hast enough faith: No, thou wilt be often crying out, Lord, give me more precious faith; Lord, more faith in thy righteousness; more faith in thy blood and death; more faith in thy resurrection; and, Lord, more faith in this, that thou art now at the right hand of thy Father in thy human nature, making intercession for me, a miserable sinner. And then, O poor soul, if thou comest but hither, thou wilt never have an itching ear after another gospel. Nay, thou wilt say, if a presbyter, or anabaptist, or independent, or ranter, or quaker, or papist, or pope, or an angel from heaven, preach any other doctrine, let him be accursed, again and again. (Gal. i.8.) And thus have I briefly showed you--
First. How Christ, as he is God, doth enlighten every man that comes into the world. (Rom. i.20.)
Secondly. What this light will do, viz. show them that there is a God, by the things that are made; and that this God must be worshipped.
Thirdly. I have showed you the difference between that light and the Spirit of Christ the Saviour.
Fourthly. I have also showed you how you should know the one from the other, by their several effects.
As, first, the light convinces us of sins, but of none other than sins against the law; neither doth it show the soul a Saviour, or deliver (for that is the work of the Spirit) from the curse wherewith it doth curse it. (John vi.44; xvi.24.) But I showed you, that when the Spirit of Christ comes and works effectually, it doth not only show men their sins against the law, but also shows them their lost condition, if they believe not in the righteousness, blood, death, resurrection, and intercession of Jesus Christ the Son of Mary, the Son of God. And thus much I thought necessary to be spoken at this time, touching the nature of conviction.
Thirdly. Now, in the third place, though I have spoken something to this thing already, namely, concerning our Lord the Saviour, yet again, in few words, through grace, I shall show, that he was made, that is, born of a woman, and made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law. My meaning is, That God is our Saviour.
First. And for this, see Isa. xlv.15, where you have these words, "Verily, thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour." And ver. 21,22 you have these words: "Who hath told it from ancient times? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no God besides me; a just God and a Saviour, and there is none besides me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." Why, who art thou? "For I am God, and there is none else." Also in Isa. liv.5: "For thy Maker is thine husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth shall he be called." Read also ver. 6-8 of that chapter. I could abundantly multiply scriptures to prove this to be truth, but I shall only mind you of two or three, and so pass on; the first is in Jude, ver. 25, "To the only-wise God our Saviour be glory." And Acts xx.28. John iii.16. 1 John v.20.
Object. But you will say, How is God a Saviour of sinners, seeing his eyes are so pure that he cannot behold iniquity? (Hab. i.13.)
For answer hereunto. 1. When the fulness of time was come wherein the salvation of sinners should be actually wrought out, "God sent forth his Son," which Son is equal with the Father, (John i.1; xvii.5; x.30,) "made of a woman, made under the law;" that is, he was subject to the power and curse of the law, to this end, "to redeem them that are," or were, "under the law," (Gal. iv.4,5;) that is, to deliver us "from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." (Gal. iii.13.)
From whence take notice, that when the salvation of sinners was to be actually wrought out, then God sent forth the everlasting Son of his love into the world, clothed with the human nature, according to that in John i.14, Heb. ii.14, and 1 Tim. iii.16, which saith, "God was manifested in the flesh," that is, took flesh upon him.
Second. This Son of God, which is equal with the Father, did in that flesh which he took upon him, completely fulfil the whole law. So that the Apostle saith, "Christ is the very end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes." (Rom. x.4.) This righteousness which this Christ did accomplish is called, "the righteousness of God," (Rom. iii.22.) This righteousness of God is, by the faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe. My meaning is, it is imputed to so many as shall by faith lay hold on it. This is also part of the meaning of that speech of the Apostle: "As many as were baptized in Christ, have put on Christ;" that is, by faith have put on the righteousness of Christ, with the rest of that which Christ hath bestowed upon you, having accomplished it for you. This is also the meaning of the Apostle, (Col. ii.9,10,) where he saith, "For in him," that is, the Son of Mary, chap. i.13,14, "dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him;" that is, in his obedience and righteousness, which also the Apostle himself doth so hard press after, (Phil. iii.8,9,) saying, "Doubtless, I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord," which Lord was crucified by the Jews, as it is in 1 Cor. ii.8; "for whom, that is, for Christ, I have suffered the loss of all things," as well as the righteousness of the law, in which I was blameless as all other things, "and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having on mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; which is unto all, and upon all them that believe." That place also in the ninth of Daniel, (ver. 24,25,) holdeth forth as much, where, prophesying of the Messiah, he saith, that it is he that came "to finish transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness." Now that the righteousness of the Son of Mary is it, mind the twenty-sixth verse, where he saith thus: "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messias be cut off," that is, Christ shall be crucified. "But not for himself," that is, not for any sin that he hath committed; for he committed none. Then, surely, it must be for the sins of the people, (John xi.50;) as the high priest said, "It is expedient that one man should die for the people," which man was the true Messiah, (Dan. ix.24,) which also is the Son of Mary, (Matt. i.18-23,) and the Son of God, (Matt. iii.17;) and also the true God. (1 John v.20.) And this Messiah, this Son of the Virgin, this Son of God, this true God, did not die for himself, for he had not offended; neither did he fulfil the law, or finish transgression, and bring in everlasting righteousness for himself, for he had not sinned, (1 Pet. ii.22;) therefore it must of necessity follow, that this righteousness of God, this everlasting righteousness, is imputed to all, and upon all them that believe. (Rom. iii.22; 2 Cor. v.19-21.)
But, Thirdly, this Messiah, this Son of Mary, this Son of God, this true God, he was put to death for the sins that his children had committed, according to that saying: "Herein perceive we the love of God, in that he laid down his life for us." Also in Acts xx.28, the Apostle, speaking to the pastors of the churches, saith, "Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
Now, I would not be mistaken. I do not think, or say, that he died in his divine nature; but, as it is written, he in his own body on the tree did bear our sins; which tree was the cross. (Col. ii.14.) And as the Apostle saith again, who, "when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." And again the Apostle, speaking of his glorious God, saith on this wise, Col. i. (being before speaking of his godhead) in the 19th verse: "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and having made peace by the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself. By him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven. And you who were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled." But how? Why, in ver. 22 he tells you, that it is "in the body of his flesh, through death, to present you holy, and unblamable, and unreprovable in his sight." That is, Christ, who is the true God, after that he had finished all actual obedience on earth, did in the power and strength of his godhead yield up himself to the wrath of his Father, which was due to poor sinners, and that willingly, according to that saying in 1 Pet. iii.18: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sinners, the just for the unjust;" that is, the Son of God for poor sinners: "that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the Spirit." Again, 1 Pet. iv.1; "For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us," not for himself, "in the flesh, in his own body," which he took of the Virgin, 1 Pet. ii.24, "let us arm ourselves with the same mind;" that is, let us die to sin as he did, that we might live to God as he did, and doth. And thus have I briefly showed you,
I. That the Son of Mary is very God.
II. That he made the world.
III. That he is our Saviour, and how.
IV. That he died for sinners, and how, namely, not in his divine nature, but in his human, in his own body, and in his own flesh, redeeming his church with his own blood, Acts xx.28; and with his own life. (1 John iii.16. John x.18.)