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25. So that by this reckoning, we must be forced to purge the gospel of those troublesome, dangerous terms of covenant and conditions, of those fruitless, affrighting conjunctions, Si credideris, si non pænitentiam egeris. Or (which is all one) soften them into a sense utterly repugnant and warring against the natural force and signification of the words: on this wise; where the Scripture saith, If thou repentest not, thy sins shall not be forgiven thee; thou art not to conceive, that forgiveness of thy sins is a work yet to be done, or that it has any dependance upon any thing in thee: but this great blessing shall be hid from thine eyes, thou shalt never come to the knowledge of it, and thereby shalt live here a discontented, pensive, suspicious life. Again: If thou believest, thou shalt be saved: that is, thou shalt obtain a comfortable assurance of hope, nay, an infallible faith of thy future salvation; though that was intended thee, without any consideration of thy faith.
26. So that the gospel of Christ is not the power of God unto salvation: for how can the word be an instrument of that which was long ago absolutely performed and purchased? and therefore Christ his preaching, his miracles, and tears, the apostles' travels and persecutions, the sending of the Holy Spirit, baptism, eucharist, imposition of hands, absolution, and many more blessed means of our salvation, were not instituted for this end, to make us capable of remission of our sins (for that, it seems, was already not only meritoriously, but effectually procured, and without all manner of conditions infallibly destined to God's elect); but only for this end, that
whilst they live here, to their thinking, in danger and hazard (but they are fools for thinking so) they may now and then be a little cheered and comforted with apprehending what Christ hath done for them; and to what a comfortable state and inheritance he hath destined them. Thus the covenant, which God hath sworn shall be everlasting, is by the improvidence and ignorance of some men rendered unprofitable; yea, utterly abrogated: but (ne quid inclementius dicam) we have not so learned Christ.
27. The second reason destroying the former doctrine, I told you should be taken from the necessity of Christ's resurrection. For, if the immediate effect of Christ's death be the purchasing of a perfect reconciliation with God, and full remission of sins for us the elect of God; then (I will not say, what benefit, but) what necessity is there of Christ's resurrection in respect of us? For, by this account, after the consummatum est upon the cross, when the satisfaction was perfected, and our debts paid; though Christ had afterwards miscarried, though he had been detained by death, though his soul had been left in hell, and he had seen corruption; notwithstanding, we should stand upon good terms with God, unless we shall conceive of him worse than of the most oppressing usurer, that when a debt is discharged, and the bond cancelled, will notwithstanding not release the prisoner, unless the undertaker come in person, or by main force deliver him.
28. I confess, that to see a friend that had ventured so far for us, as our Saviour did; that to do us good had put himself in such extreme dan
ger: I say, to see such an one to be utterly cast away, without all hopes and possibility of being able to pay him our thanks, would be a spectacle, which would grieve and pierce our very souls; it would be a rending to our bowels. But this is. only charity and gratitude, or goodnature in us, which would procure this grief; not that it stands upon our safety, his preservation being a matter only of convenience, not extreme necessity, to us.
29. We all do worthily condemn and detest. that blasphemous heresy of the Socinians, who exclude the meritorious death and suffering of Christ from having any necessary influence into our justification or salvation, making it of no greater virtue than the sufferings of the blessed martyrs, who, by their death, set their seal and testimony to the truth of the gospel, which freely offers forgiveness of sins to all penitent believers. Now the same injury which these heretics do to the merit of Christ's death, in proportion the former doctrine fastens upon his resurrection and new life, by taking from it the chief and proper effect thereof, which is an actual vindication of us from the power of sin, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, by the power of Christ's Spirit, plentifully by him diffused and shed abroad in our hearts; and making the chief virtue thereof to consist in affording us only matter of comfort and hope, that God will deal no otherwise with us, than he hath dealt with Christ, and after a life full of disturbance and misery, revive us to glory and immortality with his Son for evermore: whereas St. Paul hath another kind of conceit of Christ's resurrection; for, saith he, in Heb. v. 9.
Christ being made perfect, i. e. glorified, (chap. ii. 10.) becomes author of eternal salvation to all that obey him: "And if Christ be not risen, your faith is vain, you are yet in your sins;" and if Christ be not risen, neither shall we ever be raised, but be utterly irrecoverably condemned to everlasting rottenness.
30. And thus I am unawares fallen upon my second proposition, namely, That by the dominion and power of Christ, which at his resurrection, and not before, he received as a reward of his great humility, we are not only enabled to the performance of the conditions of this new covenant, and by consequence, made capable of an actual application of his satisfaction; but also by the same power, we shall hereafter be raised up, and exalted unto everlasting happiness.
31. Though by the virtue of the incarnation of our Saviour, the human nature was raised to a state and condition of unspeakable glory; notwithstanding, if in this place, as well as before, we shall be content to submit our reason to Scripture, we shall find, that, according to a covenant made between Christ and his Father, he was content not to challenge to himself any right of dominion and rule over us, till he had perfectly deserved and earned it by a former voluntary submission and humiliation of himself.
32. The conditions on Christ's part we find most exactly performed by him, wholly resigning and prostrating his own will to the will and disposition of his Father. At his private passion, which immediately went before his attachment, when he was sacrificed, and even crucified alone in the garden, without the assistance and malice
of a traitorous disciple, of the chief priests, or Romans; though he retained that innocent fear of death and shame, which is natural to man, which forced him to cry out, " Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me;" notwithstanding, though he could not hate his own life, yet to shew he preferred the fulfilling of his Father's will before it, he adds, "Nevertheless, not my will, but thy will be done :"* by which words he resigns the whole power and faculty of his will into hist Father's hands. In the words of another evangelist, he saith, "Not what I will, but what thou wilt;"† where he resigns and submits the act and exercise of his will. And, lastly, to make all complete, in the expression of a third evangelist, he saith, "Not as I will, but as thou wilt;" where he subjects not only the faculty and exercise of his will to the performance of what God shall command him, but is willing and desirous to do it after what manner and fashion soever God shall be pleased. It is not possible for the understanding of man to add or conceive a degree beyond this.
33. In the next place, we shall see how God the Father is as good as his word to his Son. But, first, give me leave to complain to you of that tyranny, which custom, partiality, or something worse, has laid upon our understandings; and that is this: That wheresoever any former protestant writer hath suspected a doctrine as not beneficial, but rather dangerous, to some conclusion, which he is resolved to maintain against the papists, we their scholars are obliged to make
* Luke xxii. 42.
Mark xiv. 36.