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ther did the death of my Saviour reach only to the condemning, but likewise to the commanding power of sin; it did not only pluck out its sting, but likewise deprive it of its strength; so that he did not only merit by his death that I should never die for sin, but likewise that I should die to it.. Neither did he only merit by his life that I should be accounted righteous in him before God, but likewise that I should be made righteous in myself by God. Yea, I believe that Christ, by his death, hath so fully discharged the debt I owe to God, that now, for the remission of my sins, and the accepting of my person, (if I perform the conditions he requires in his covenant,) I may not only appeal to the throne of grace, but likewise to the judgment-seat of God; I may not only cry, Mercy, mercy, O gracious Father, but Justice, justice, my righteous God. I may not only say, Lord, be gracious and merciful, but be just and faithful, to acquit me from that debt, and cancel that bond which my Surety hath paid for me, and which thou hast promised to accept of; being not only gracious and merciful, but just and faithful, to forgive me my sins, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness, 1 John i. 9.
I believe, that Christ rose from the grave, that I might rise from sin; and that he is ascended into heaven, that I may come unto him.
AS Christ came from heaven to earth, so I believe he went from earth to heaven, and all for the accomplishment of my salvation; that, after he had lived a most holy life, he died a must cruel death; that he was apprehended, arraigned, accused, and condemned, by such as could not pronounce the sentence against him, did not himself, at the same time, vouchsafe them breath to do it; and that he that carne into the world to take away the sins of it, to bring sinners to the joys of life, was himself, by
those very sinners, brought into the pangs of death. But yet, as it was not in the power of death long to detain the Lord of life; so, though worms had power to send him to the grave, yet I believe they had not power or time to feed upon him there; for he rose again from the dead the third day he lay three days, that I might believe he was not alive, but dead: he arose the third day, that I might believe he is not dead, but lives he descended down to hell, that he might make full satisfaction to God's justice for my sins; but he is now ascended up into heaven, that he may make intercession to God's mercy for my soul: thither I believe he is gone, and there I believe he is, not as a private person, but as the Head and Saviour of his church. And under this capacity, as I believe that Christ is there for me, so I am there in him; for where the head is, there must the members be also; that is, I am as really there in him, my representative now, as I shall be in my own proper person hereafter; and he is as really preparing my mansion for me there, as I am preparing myself for that mansion here. Nay, I believe that he is not only preparing a mansion for me in heaven, but that himself is likewise preparing me for this mansion upon earth; continually sending down and issuing forth from himself fresh supplies and influences of his grace and Spirit; and all to qualify me for his service, and make me meet to be partaker of his inheritance with the saints in light.
Which inheritance, I believe, he doth not so much desire his Father to bestow upon me, as claims it for me; himself having purchased it with the price of his own blood. And as he hath purchased the inheritance itself, so likewise the way unto it for me; and therefore sues out for the pardon of those sins, and subduing those corruptions, which would make me unworthy of it; and for the conveyance of those graces to me, whereby I may walk directly to it: not only saying to his Father concerning me, as Paul said to Philemon concerning
Onesimus, if this thy servant oweth thee any thing, set it upon my account, I will repay it; but what this thy servant oweth thee, see it is set upon my score already, and I have paid it; what punishments he is indebted to thee, for all the offences he hath committed 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, Isa. liii. 5. 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 corruptions; himself having purchased the donation of the Spirit from the Father, he there claims the communication of it unto me.
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 advo cate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous, 1 John ii. 1. 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 engage-¡ ment 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.
I believe, that my person is only justified by the merit of Christ imputed to me; and that my nature is only sanctified by the Spirit of Christ implanted in me.
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, i. e. to atone either for our own 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 heaven? Can we expect 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 be 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; before 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, Prov. xxi. 4. yea, the sacrifices of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, chap. xv. 8. And if both the civil and spiritual actions of the wicked be sin, which of all their actions shall have the honour 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 ever prayed in all my lifetime with that reverence, or heard with that attention, or received the Sacrament with that faith, or did any other work whatsoever with that pure heart and single eye, as I ought to have done. Insomuch that I look all my righteousnesses but as filthy rags; and it is in the robes only of the righteousness of the Son of God that I dare appear before the Majesty of heaven. Nay, suppose I could at length attain to that perfection as to do good works, works exactly conformable to the will of God; yet they must have better eyes than I, that can see how my obedience in one kind can satisfy for my 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 can merit by that which another performs, which