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solutions, I fear it will not be safe for us to adventure farther upon God than he durst to do.
There was of old a direction for the visitation of the sick, composed, as they say, by Anselm, and published by Casparus Ulenbergius, which expresseth a better sense of these things than some seem to be convinced of. Credisne te non posse salvari nisi per mortem Christi? Respondet infirmus, etiam ; tum dicit illi; Age ergo dum superest in te anima, in hac sola morte fiduciam tuam constitue; in nulla alia re fiduciam habe, huic morti te totum committe, hac sola te totum contege, totum immisce te in hac morte, in hac morte totum te involve. Et si Dominus te voluerit judicare, Dic, Domine, mortem Domini nostri Jesu Christi objicio inter me et-tuum judicium, aliter tecum non contendo. Et si tibi dixerit quia peccator es, dic, mortem Domini nostri Jesu Christi pono inter me et peccata mea. Si dixerit tibi quod meruisti damnationem; dic, Domine, mortem Domini nostri Jesu Christi obtendo inter te et mala merita mea, ipsiusque merita offero pro merito quod ego debuissem habere nec habeo; si dixerit quod tibi est iratus, dic, Domine, mortem Domini Jesu Christi oppono inter me et iram tuam.' That is, Dost thou believe that thou canst not be saved but by the death of Christ? The sick man answereth, yes; then let it be said unto him, Go to then, and whilst thy soul abideth in thee, put all thy confidence in this death alone, place thy trust in no other thing, commit thyself wholly to this death, cover thyself wholly with this alone, cast thyself wholly on this death, wrap thyself wholly in this death. And if God would judge thee, say, Lord, I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and thy judgment; and otherwise I will not contend, or enter into judgment with thee. And if he shall say unto thee, that thou art a sinner, say, I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and my sins. If he shall say unto thee, that thou hast deserved damnation; say, Lord, I put the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between thee and all my sins; and I offer his merits for my own, which I should have, and have not. If he say that he is angry with thee, say, Lord, I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and thy anger.' Those who gave these directions, seem to have been sensible of what it is to appear before the tribunal of God; and how unsafe it will be for us there to insist on any thing in ourselves. Hence are the words of the same Anselin in his meditations: ‘Conscientia mea meruit damnationem, et penitentia mea non sufficit ad satisfactionem ; sed certum est quod misericordia tua superat omnem offensionem.' My conscience hath deserved damnation, and my repentance is not sufficient for satisfaction, but most certain it is, that thy mercy aboundeth above all offence. And this seems to me a better direction than those more lately given by some of the Roman church: such is the prayer suggested unto a sick man, by Johan. Polandus, lib. Methodus in adjuvandis morientibus. * Domine Jesu, conjunge, obsecro, obsequium meum cum omnibus quæ tu egisti, et passus es ex tam perfecta charitate et obedientia. Et cum divitiis satisfactionum et meritorum dilectionis, patri æterno illud offerre digneris.' Or that of a greater author, Antidot. Animæ, fol. 17. Tu hinc o rosea martyrum turba offer pro me, nunc et in hora mortis meæ, merita fidelitatum, constantiæ, et pretiosi sanguinis, cum sanguine agni immaculati, pro omnium salute effusi.' Jerome, long before Anselm, spake to the same purpose. 'Cum dies judicii aut dormitionis advenerit, omnes manus dissolventur; quibus dicitur in alio loco, confortamini manus dissolutæ ; dissolventur autem manus, quia nullum opus dignum Dei justitia reperiatur, et non justificabitur in conspectu ejus omnis vivens, unde propheta dicit in 'psalmo, si iniquitates attendas Domine, quis sustinebit, lib. vi. in Isa. xiï. 6, 7. When the day of judgment, or of death, shall come, all hands will be dissolved' (that is, faint or fall down), 'unto which it is said in another place, be strengthened ye hands that hang down. But all hands shall be melted down' (that is, all men's strength and confidence shall fail them), because no works shall be found - which can answer the righteousness of God; for no flesh shall be justified in his sight. Whence the prophet says in the psalm, If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, who should stand ? And, Ambrose, to the same purpose, · Nemo ergo sibi arroget, nemo de meritis glorietur, nemo de potestate se jactet, omnes speremus per Dominum Jesum misericordiam invenire, quoniam omnes ante tribunal ejus stabimus, de illo veniam, de illo indulgentiam postulabo, quænam spes alia peccatoribus,” in Psal. cxix. Resh. • Let no man arrogate any thing unto himself, let no man glory in his own merits or good deeds, let no man boast of his power, let us all hope to find mercy by our Lord Jesus, for we shall all stand before his judgment-seat. Of him will I beg párdon, of him will I desire indulgence, what other hope is there for sinners ?
Wherefore, if men will be turned off from a continual regard unto the greatness, holiness, and majesty of God, by their inventions in the heat of disputation ; if they do forget a reverential consideration of what will become them, and what they may betake themselves unto, when they stand ·before his tribunal; they may engage into such apprehensions, as they dare not abide by in their own personal trial. For ‘how shall man be just .with God ?' Hence it hath been observed, that the schoolmen themselves, in their meditations and devotional writings, wherein they had immediate thoughts of God with whom they had to do, did speak quite another language as to justification before God, than they do in their wrangling, philosophical, fiery disputes about it. And I had rather learn what some men really judge about their own justification from their prayers, than their writings. Nor do I remember, that I did ever hear any good man in his prayers, use any expressions about justification, pardon of sin, and righteousness before God, wherein any plea from any thing in ourselves was introduced or made use of. The prayer of Daniel hath in this matter been the substance of their supplications. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces. We do not present our supplications before thee for our own righteousness, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive ; for thine own sake, O my God;' Dan. ix. 7. 18, 19. Or that of the psalmist, ' Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified;' Psal. cxliii. 2. Or,' If thou, Lord, mark iniquity, Lord, who shall stand ? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared ;' Psal. cxxx. 2–4. On which words, the exposition of Austin is remarkable, speaking of David, and applying it unto himself: Ecce clamat sub molibus iniquitatum suarum. Circumspexit se, circumspexit vitam suam, vidit illam undique flagitiis coopertam;
quacunque respexit, nihil in se boni invenit: et cum tanta et tam multa peccata undique videret, tanquam expavescens, exclamavit, si iniquitates observaris Domine, quis sustinebit? vidit enim prope totam vitam humanam circumlatrari peccatis ; accusari omnes conscientias cogitationibus suis; non inveniri cor castum præsumens de justitia ; quod quia inveniri non potest, præsumat ergo omnium cor de misericordia Domini Dei sui, et dicat Deo, si iniquitates observaris Domine, Domine quis sustinebit ? Quæ autem est spes
? quoniam apud te propitiatio est.' And whereas we may and ought to represent unto God, in our supplications, our faith, or what it is that we believe herein, I much question, whether some men can find in their hearts to pray over and plead before him, all the arguments and distinctions they make use of, to prove the interest of our works and obedience in our justification before him, or enter into judgment' with him, upon the conclusions which they make from them. Nor will many be satisfied to make use of that prayer, which Pelagius taught the widow, as it was objected to him in the Diaspolitan Synod. •Tu nosti Domine, quam sanctæ, quam innocentes, quam puræ ab omni fraude et rapina quas ad te expando manus; quam justa, quam immaculata labia et ab omni mendacio libera, quibus tibi ut mihi miserearis
• Thou knowest, O Lord, how holy, how in. nocent, how pure from all deceit and rapine, are the hands which I stretch forth unto thee; how just, how unspotted with evil, how free from lying are those lips wherewith I pour forth prayers unto thee, that thou wouldest have
mercy on me.' And yet although he taught her so to plead her own purity, innocency, and righteousness before God, yet be doth it not, as those whereon she might be absolutely justified, but only as the condition of her obtaining mercy. Nor have I observed that any public liturgies (the massbook only excepted, wherein there is a frequent recourse unto the merits and intercession of saints) do guide men in their prayers before God, to plead any thing for their acceptance with him, or as the means or condition thereof, but grace, mercy, the righteousness and blood of Christ alone.
Wherefore, I cannot but judge it best (others may think
of it as they please), for those who would teach or learn the doctrine of justification in a due manner, to place their consciences in the presence of God, and their persons before his tribunal, and then upon a due consideration of his greatness, power, majesty, righteousness, holiness, of the terror of his glory, and sovereign authority, to inquire what the Scripture, and a sense of their own condition directs them unto as their relief and refuge, and what plea it becomes them to make for themselves. Secret thoughts of God and ourselves, retired meditations, the conduct of the spirit in humble supplications, death-bed preparations for an immediate appearance before God, faith and love in exercise on Christ, speak other things for the most part, than many contend for.
Thirdly, A clear apprehension and due sense of the greatness of our apostacy from God, of the depravation of our natures thereby, of the power and guilt of sin, of the holiness and severity of the law, are necessary unto a right apprehension of the doctrine of justification. Therefore, unto the declaration of it doth the apostle premise a large discourse, thoroughly to convince the minds of all that seek to be justified, with a sense of these things ; Rom. i. ii. iii. The rules which he hath given us, the method which he prescribeth, and the ends which he designeth, are those which we shall choose to follow. And, he layeth it down in general, ' That the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, and that the just shall live by faith ;' chap. i. 17. But he declares not in particular the causes, nature, and way of our justification, until he hath fully evinced that all men are shut up under the state of sin, and manifested how deplorable their condition is thereby. And in the ignorance of these things, in the denying or palliating of them, layeth the foundation of all misbelief about the grace of God. Pelagianism, in its first root, and all its present branches, is resolved thereinto. For not apprehending the dread of our original apostacy from God, nor the consequence of it in the universal depravation of our nature, they disown any necessity either of the satisfaction of Christ, or the efficacy of divine grace for our recovery or restoration. So upon the matter the principal ends of the mission