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cal expressions, is himself really ignorant of the whole truth in this matter. The propriety of such expressions belongs, and is confined unto, natural science; but spiritual truths are to be taught, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. God is wiser than man; and the Holy Ghost knows better what are the most expedient ways for the illumination of our minds with that knowledge of evangelical truths, which it is our duty to have and attain, than the wisest of us all. And other knowledge of, or skill in, these things, than what is required of us in a way of duty, is not to be valued.
It is therefore to no purpose to handle the mysteries of the gospel, as if Holcot and Bricot, Thomas and Gabriel, with all the Sententiarists, Summists, and Quodlibetarians of the old Roman peripatetical school, were to be raked out of their graves to be our guides. Especially will they be of no use unto us, in this doctrine of justification. For whereas they pertinaciously adhered unto the philosophy of Aristotle, who knew nothing of any righteousness, but what is a habit inherent in ourselves, and the acts of it, they wrested the whole doctrine of justification unto a compliance therewithal. So Pighius himself complained of them. Contrbv. 2. 'Dissimulare non possumus, hanc vel primam doctrinae Christianae partem (de justificatione) obscuratam magis quam illustratam a scholasticis, spinosis plerisque quaestionibus, et definitionibus, secundum quas nonnulli magno supercilio primam in omnibus autoritatem arrogantes,' &c.
Secondly, A due consideration of him with whom in this matterwe have todo, and that immediately, isjiecessary unto aright stating of our thoughts about it. The Scripture$xpresseth it emphatically, that it is'God that justifieth,' Rom. viii. 33. and he assumes it unto himself, as his prerogative to do what belongs thereunto. 'I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins ;' Isa. xliii. 25. And it is hard in my apprehension, to suggest unto him, any other reason or consideration of the pardon of our sins; seeing he hath taken it on him to do it for his own sake, that is, for the Lord's sake, Dan. ix. 17. in whom ' all the seed of Israel are justified;' Vol. xi. c
f sa. xlv. 26. In his sight, before his tribunal it is, that men are justified or condemned, Psal cxliii. 2. 'Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no mart living be justified.' And the whole work of justification, with all that belongeth thereunto, is represented after the manner of a juridical proceeding before God's tribunal, as we shall see afterward. Therefore saith the apostle, ' by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight;' Rom. iii. 20. However any man be justified in the sight of men or angels by their own obedience or deeds of the law, yet in his sight none can be so.
Necessary it is unto any man who is to come unto a trial, in the sentence whereof he is greatly concerned, duly to consider the judge before whom he is to appear, and by whom his cause is finally to be determined. And if we manage our disputes about justification without a continual regard unto him, by whom we must be cast or acquitted, we shall not rightly apprehend what our plea ought to be. Wherefore the greatness, the majesty, the holiness, and sovereign authority of God, are always to be present with us in a due sense of them, when we inquire how we may be justified before him. Yet is it hard to discern how the minds of some men are influenced by the consideration of these things, in their fierce contests for the interest of their own works in their justification; 'precibus aut precio ut in aliqua parte haereant.' But the Scripture doth represent unto us what thoughts of him, and of themselves, not only sinners, but saints also, have had, and cannot but have, upon near discoveries and effectual conceptions of God and his greatness, 'thoughts hereof ensuing on a sense of the guilt of sin, filled our first parents with fear and shame, and put them on that foolish attempt of hiding themselves from him. Nor is the wisdom of their posterity one jot better under their convictions, without a discovery of the promise. That alone makes sinners wise, which tenders them relief. At present, the generality of men are secure, and do not much question but that they shall come off well enough one way or other, in the trial they are to undergo. And as such persons are altogether indifferent what doctrine concerning justification is taught and received; so for the most part for themselves, they incline unto that declaration of it which best suits their own reason, as influenced with self-conceit, and corrupt affections. The sum hereof is, that what they cannot do themselves, what is wanting that they may be saved, be it more or less, shall one way or other be made up by Christ, either the use or the abuse of which persuasion is the greatest fountain of sin in the world, next unto the depravation of our nature. And whatever be, or may be pretended unto the contrary, persons not convinced of sin, not humbled for it, are in all their ratiocinations about spiritual things, under the conduct of principles so vitiated and corrupted. See Matt, xviii. 3, 4. But when God is pleased by any means to manifest his glory unto sinners, all their prefidences and contrivances do issue in dreadful horror and distress. An account of their temper is given us, Isa. xxxiii. 14. 'The sinners in Sion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?. who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?' Nor is it thus only with some peculiar sort of sinners. The same will be the thoughts of all guilty persons at some time or other. For those who through sensuality, security, or superstition, do hide themselves from the vexation of them in this world, will not fail to meet with them when their terror shall be increased, and become remediless. 'Our God is a consuming fire;' and men will one day find, how vain it is to set their briers and thorns against him in battle array. And we may see what extravagant contrivances convinced sinners will put themselves upon, under any real view of the majesty and holiness of God; Micah vi. 6,7. 'Wherewith, ' saith one of them, 'shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul V Neither shall I ever think them meet to be contended withal about the doctrine of justification, who take no notice of these things, but rather despise them.
This is the proper effect of the conviction of sin, strengthened and sharpened with the consideration of the terror of the Lord, who is to judge concerning it. And this is that which in the papacy meeting with an ignorance of the righteousness of God, hath produced innumerable superstitious inventions for the appeasing of the consciences of men, who by any means fall under the disquietments of such convictions. For they quickly see that nothing of the obedience which God requireth of them, as it is performed by them, will justify them before this high and holy God. Wherefore, they seek for shelter in contrivances about things that he hath not commanded, to try if they can put a cheat upon their consciences, and find relief in diversions.
Nor is it thus only with profligate sinners upon their convictions; but the best of men, when they have had near and efficacious representations of the greatness, holiness, and glory of God, have been cast into the deepest selfabasement, and most serious renunciations of all trust or confidence in themselves. So the prophet Isaiah, upon his vision of the glory of the Holy One, cried out,' Woe is me, I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips;' chap, vi. 5. nor was he relieved but by an evidence of the free pardon of sin; ver. 7. So holy Job, in all his contests with his friends, who charged him with hypocrisy, and his being a sinner guilty in a peculiar manner above other men, with assured confidence and perseverance therein, justified his sincerity, his faith and trust in God, against their whole charge, and every parcel of it. And this he doth with such a full satisfaction of his own integrity, as that not only lie insists at large on his vindication, but frequently appeals unto God himself, .as unto the truth of his plea. For he directly pursues that counsel with great assurance, which the apostle James so long after gives unto all believers ; nor is the doctrine of that apostle more eminently exemplified in any one instance throughout the whole Scripture than in him. For he sheweth his faith by his works, and pleads his justification thereby. As Job justified himself, and y/m justified by his works, so we allow it the duty of every believer to be. His plea for justification by works, in the sense wherein it is so, was the most noble that ever was in the world, nor was ever any controversy managed upon a greater occasion.
At length this Job is called into the immediate presence ofGod, to plead his own cause, not now as stated between him and his friends, whether he were a hypocrite or no, or whether his faith or trust in God was sincere, but as it was stated between God and him, wherein he seemed to have made some undue assumptions on his own behalf. The question was now reduced unto this; on what grounds he might or could be justified in the sight of God? To prepare his mind unto a right judgment in this case, God manifests his. glory unto him, and instructs him in the greatness of his majesty and power. And this he doth by a multiplication of instances, because under our temptations we are very slow in admitting right conceptions of God. Here the holy man quickly acknowledged, that the state of the case was utterly altered. All his former pleas of faith, hope, and trust in God, of sincerity in obedience, which with so much earnestness he before insisted on, are now quite laid aside. He saw well enough that they were not pleadable at the tribunal before which he now appeared, so that God should enter into judgment with him thereon, with respect unto his justification. Wherefore, in the deepest self-abasement and abhorrency, he betakes himself unto sovereign grace and mercy. For ' then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken, but I will not answer; yea, twice; but I will proceed no farther;' Job xl. 3—5. And again,' Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak; I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes;' chap. xlii. 4—6. Let any men place themselves in the condition wherein now Job was, in the immediate presence of God; let them attend unto what he really speaks unto them in his word, namely, what they will answer unto the charge that he hath against them, and what will be their best plea before his tribunal, that they may be justified. I do not believe that any man living hath more encouraging grounds to plead for an interest in his own faith and obedience in his justification before God, than Job had; although I suppose he had not so much skill to manage a plea to that purpose, with scholastic notions and distinctions as the Jesuits have; but, however we may be harnessed with subtle arguments and