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their tenets, of which this is one of the chief; for it is asserted by the dignitaries of this church and their dependants, both in the Roman Catholic and the Reformed churches, that by imputation of the merit of Christ, such as have obtained faith are not only reputed just and holy, but in fact are so; that their sins are not sins in God's sight, because they are forgiven, and themselves justified, that is, reconciled, renewed, regenerated, sanctified, and enrolled in heaven. That the whole Christian church at the present day maintains this same doctrine, is manifest from the council of Trent, the Augustan and Augsburgh confessions, and the annexed comments which are received along with them. And what other consequence can be drawn from this declaration of the nature of the Lord's merit and righteousness, when transferred to the above faith, but that the possession of this faith is the merit and righteousness of the Lord, consequently that its possessor is Christ in another person? for it is asserted, that Christ Himself is righteousness, and that this faith is righteousness, and that imputation, by which addication and application are also meant, makes the possessors of that faith just and holy, not in appearance only, but in reality. Add only TRANSCRIPTION* to such imputation, application, and addication, and you will be a true pope, the vicar or vicegerent of Jesus Christ.
641. Since then the merit and righteousness of Christ are purely divine, and since things purely divine are such, that supposing them applied and ascribed to man, he would instantly die, and, like a stake cast in the body of the sun,
* Transcription not only means the imputation and application of divine In this qualities to man, but their actual transfer from the Lord to man. sense the Roman Catholics hold, that the power of the Lord, as to His Human Nature, is transcribed or transferred from Him to the Pope, so that the Lord no longer exercises that power, or retains it in His own hands, but that it is wholly given to the Pope to exercise for Him.
would be consumed, so that scarce his ashes would remain; therefore the Lord with His Divine Principle approaches both angels and men, by the medium of a light tempered and moderated according to the ability and quality of each, thus by one that is suitable and accommodated; He approacheth in like manner by heat. In the spiritual world there is a sun, and in the midst of it the Lord: from that sun, the Lord, by the medium of light and heat, enters by influx into the whole spiritual world, and into all that dwell there; and from this source are all the light and heat in that world: the Lord from the same sun entereth also by influx, with the same light and heat, into the souls and minds of men: that heat in its essence is His divine love, and that light in its essence is His divine wisdom; which light and heat the Lord adapteth to the ability and quality of every recipient angel and man, and this is effected by means of spiritual airs or atmospheres, which convey and transfer such light and heat: the Divine Itself immediately encompassing the Lord is what constitutes that sun. This sun is distant from the angels as the sun of the natural world is from men, in order to prevent its touching them with its naked and consequently immediate rays, for in such case they would be consumed, as was said above, like a stake cast into the body of the sun. Hence it may appear, that the merit and righteousness of the Lord, being purely divine, connot possibly by imputation be applied to any angel or man; nay, supposing a single spark of it to touch them without being tempered according to what was said above, they would instantly be tortured like persons in the agonies of death, their limbs would be convulsed, their eyes wander, and thus they would expire. This truth was made known to the Israelitish church by the revelation, that no one can see God and live. The sun of the spiritual world, such as it is since Jehovah God assumed the Humanity, and added to it redemption, and new righteousness, is described in these
words in Isaiah: "The light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah bindeth up the breach of the people," chap. xxx. 26; in which chapter the coming of the Lord is described from beginning to end. The condition of a wicked person, supposing that the Lord were to come down and draw near him, is described by these words in the Revelation: "They hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the anger of the Lamb," chap. vi. 15, 16: it is called the anger of the Lamb, because the terror and torment that attend the Lord's approach to the wicked, appear to them like anger. This fact will admit. of still plainer evidence from this circumstance, that in case any wicked person is admitted into heaven, where charity and faith towards the Lord prevail, his eyes are straitway seized with dimness, his mind with giddines and insanity, his body with pain and torment, and he becomes like a dying person; what then would be the case, were the Lord Himself, with His divine merit, which is redemption, and with His divine righteousness, to enter into man? Even the apostle John could not endure the presence of the Lord, for it is written, "That when he saw the Son of Man in the midst of the seven candlesticks, he fell at His feet as dead,” Rev. i. 17.
642. It is said in the decrees of the councils, and in the articles of the confessions to which the Reformed subscribe, that God, by the infused merit of Christ, justifies the wicked; when yet it is impossible for the goodness of any angel to be communicated to a wicked person, far less be conjoined to him, but it is immediately rejected, and reboundeth like an elastic ball thrown against a wall, or is swallowed up like a diamond thrown into a bog; nay, should any spark of true goodness be intruded, it would be like a pearl fixed in the snout of a hog; for how plain is it to see,
that mercy cannot be injected into unmercifulness, innocence into revenge, love into hatred, concord into discord, for this would be like mixing heaven and hell together! The unregenerate man is, as to his spirit, like a panther, or like an owl, and may be likened to a thorn or a nettle; but a regenerate man is like a sheep, or like a dove, and may be likened to an olive-tree or a vine; consider then, I pray, how can a man-panther be converted into a man-sheep, or an owl into a dove, or a thorn into an olive-tree, or a nettle into a vine, by any imputation, addication, or application of divine righteousness, which would rather condemn than justify? Must it not be necessary, for such conversion, that the ferine nature of the panther and the owl, or the noxious nature of the thorn and nettle, be first removed, and a nature truly human and inoffensive be implanted in their stead? How this is effected, the Lord teacheth in John, chap. xv. 1 to 7. VI. THAT THERE IS SUCH A THING AS IMPUTATION, BUT THEN IT IS AN IMPUTATION OF GOOD AND OF EVIL, AND AT THE SAME TIME OF FAITH.
643. That there is an imputation of good and of evil, which is the imputation meant, wheresoever it is mentioned in the Word, appears from innumerable passages, which indeed have been already in part adduced; but to satisfy every one that there exists no other imputation, some further quotations from the Word shall be given: "The Son of Man shall come, and then shall He reward every man according to his works," Matt. xvi. 27: "They who have done good shall go forth to the resurrection of life, but they who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment,” John v. 29: "A book was opened, which is the Book of Life, and all were judged according to their works," Rev. xx. 12, 13: "Behold I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be," Rev. xxii. 12: "And I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their doings," Hosea iv. 9, Zech. i. 6, Jer. xxv. 14, xxxii. 19:
"God in the day of His wrath and righteous judgment, will render to every man according to his deeds," Rom. ii. 5, 6: "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad," 2 Cor. v. 10. There was no other law of imputation at the beginning of the church, nor will there be any other at the end. That there was no other at the beginning of the church, is plain from the case of Adam and his wife, that they were condemned because they committed evil in eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Gen. ii. and iii.—and that there will be no other at the end of the church, is plain from these words of the Lord: "When the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father, then shall He sit on the throne of His glory, and shall say to the sheep on His right hand, Come, ye blessed, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me to cat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me to drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unlo Me:" but to the goats on His left hand, because they never practised what was good, He will say, "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," Matt. xxv. 33, &c. Hence every one may see with open eyes, that there is an imputation of good and of evil. The reason why there is also an imputation of faith, is, because charity, which hath relation to what is good, and faith which hath relation to what is true, are united in good works, for unless they be united therein, the works are not good, as may be seen above, n. 373 to 377; wherefore James saith, "Was not Abraham our Father justified by works, when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar? seest thou not that faith co-operated with his works, and by works was faith made perfect, and the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness," chap. ii. 21, 22, 23.