The Form, Fountain Head, And Assuarance To Us Of Holiness In Flesh.
In Three Parts:
I. The Fact and Form of our Lord’s Holiness
II. Scripture Proofs and Illustrations Thereof
III. Conclusions of Doctrine and of Practical Holiness
By the Rev. Edward Irving, A. M.
Minister of the National Scotch Church, London
Published by John Lindsay & Co.
And R. B. Lusk, Greenock.
(Preface of xli pages not in yet)
If any one shall clearly, without any apparent contradiction, assert sin to have been in Christ, either sin original or actual, either in his flesh or in his soul, he is to be assumed at once as guilty of the most vital heresy; but if he at one time assert Christ to be holy in all respects, and at another time speak of his having “been made sin,” and “borne our sins in his own body” - of his having been “in the likeness of flesh of sin” - of his having been “tempted in all points like as we are,” he is not to be concluded heretical, because the Holy Scriptures use these expressions. On the other hand, if any one shall explain away these expressions, - the first into a sin offering, and deny that our sins were in his body, - the second into flesh of another sort, or in another state, with the mere outward physiognomy of “flesh of sin,” but none of its inward resemblances of mortality, corruptibility, weakness, and susceptibility of all temptation, - and the third as meaning a part only of our temptations; that person is guilty of heresy, because consubstantiality of flesh with us is as much an article of the right faith concerning Christ, as is the article of his being altogether without sin. In this question, and perhaps in all other purely spiritual questions, but certainly in this, contradiction in the terms emp1oyed, doth not imply either folly or malignity, for we find the same contradiction always in the Holy Scriptures. In Ps. xl. he is the
one holy sacrifice, and God's law is in his heart, and he delights to do God’s will, and at the same time, he saith of himself, “mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head, therefore my heart faileth me.” In Ps. lxix. “The zeal of God's house hath eaten him up, and the reproaches of them that reproached God are fallen upon him;” and he is the great sufferer for righteousness' sake; yet at the same time he saith, “O God, thou knowest my foolishness, and my sins are not hid from thee.” And so it will be found of almost every other Psalm where testimony is given to him. The same contradictions have we in the New Testament. For example, “He was made sin for us who knew no sin.” If he was made sin, then as sin he may be spoken of; and yet he knew no sin, and therefore as a sinner may not be spoken of. Again, God “sending his Son in the likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh.” Here the Son of God is in the likeness of flesh of sin, which, taken at the lowest sense of likeness, is the opposite of what Adam was, whose flesh, as all the rest of him, was in the likeness of God; and sin is so in Christ's flesh, as that he can get at it there to condemn it; and this is so essential to the idea of his flesh, that it is the very thing he came about - the very end he came for; and yet behold he is the Son of God, the Holy One of God all the while. Also Peter saith, “who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth;” and immediately after, “who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” His body had our sins in it; not on as a cloak, but in it as a weakness, and a property, and a law, yet was he without any sin or guile. And Paul, in expressing the same truth, declares, that “our body of sin was co-crucified with him,” crucified when he was crucified, and “the body of sin destroyed;” and likewise he saith, “in that he died, he died unto sin once;” and “death hath no more dominion over him;” and “he was made in all things like unto his brethren;” and “he was tempted in all points like as we are.” These, and a multitude of other expressions, are apparently very rash and contradictory, and yet they are God's own words, and his chosen way of setting forth this great truth of Christ's
flesh. We must not, therefore, cramp the liberty of preaching within narrower limits, nor conclude from one set of expressions that a man is heretical, if we find the contrary set of expressions, and both coming forth together, with the same real straight-forwardness of truth. The question of our Lord's human nature is a very grave one, which must be looked at in its elements, which we shall now search out in regular order.
1. Towards the right settlement of this question, the first thing necessary, is to understand what original sin is. Is it sin to be born as we are through ordinary generation? Doubtless it is. And why? Because we are born mortal and corruptible, whereas we were created immortal and incorruptible, and are responsible to our Creator for what we so received from him. It is needless to talk of the hardship of this. The question is simply, are we to have a Creator or not? If we are to be blessed in the acknowledgement and worship of a Creator, we must acknowledge his creation of Adam as the creation of us, for besides that there is no other act of creation. We cannot suppose God to have had any hand in the evil; that he did not create, but we ourselves did in the liberty of our will produce. If then he created us good, we are answerable for that good thing created, which we have lost. Either we cut ourselves off from our Creator altogether, or we must confess to the guilt of being found such as we are, mortal, corruptible, sorrowful, and suffering, even anterior to any act of personal sin. It is sinful, therefore, for a creature to be born as we are born; and this is commonly called original sin. Now, observe, that this all turns upon our having been created, and put in trust of some high charge, which we have not kept. There would be no original sin in being thus born, if we had not been created in original righteousness. There is no other basis on which original sin can rest, indeed, on which sin of any kind can rest, save the transgression or non-performance of a law of the Creator. Being divided into parts, it is stated in our Catechism as threefold, (1.) The guilt of Adam's first sin. (2.) The want of original righteousness. (3.) The corruption of our whole nature. Here is, first, the act of the will rebelling against God's will; secondly, the casting away
of a treasure committed to our keeping; thirdly, the introduction of an evil most offensive to God. As having been art and part in all these, in virtue of my being created and having sinned in Adam, I confess guilt on all these accounts, and so take I up my privilege as a creature, which I cannot otherwise have; for, if a creature, how created? With a will like God's, with a constitution like God's; and thus taking up my privilege as a creature, created good, I come in for my privileges as a creature redeemed by the Creator, who is in Christ Jesus not imputing unto men their trespasses. I seal to my privileges as a redeemed man, by sealing to my responsibi1ity as a created man.
If then original sin stand in our having been created otherwise than we now are born, it can not apply to Christ, who was not then created at all, but is himself the Creator—“by him were all things created.” He had nothing to keep whatsoever of all which Adam had received to keep, because then he had no creature part at all, but was God the giver. Let him take human nature in what condition he pleases, he is in nothing to be blamed for the condition in which he finds it. You may, without blame to him, call what he took fallen or unfallen, immortal or mortal, sorrowful or sorrowless, passible or impassible, he is not answerable for its being found so; because not being created in Adam but generated of the blessed virgin, he never had it otherwise, and therefore hath had no hand in bringing it into its present state, whatever it be. Our Catechism, therefore, saith, “All mankind, descending from Adam by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression,” excluding Christ by this very character, that he descended not by ordinary generation, and had not upon him the seal of a creature at all. Original sin, therefore, is altogether out of the question in respect to Christ, come he into our nature in whatever state he please. He may be answerable for it from the time he took it, but he cannot be answerable for it before he took it, because then he had no part nor lot in it whatever. And this alone original sin regards.
It is therefore beneath the mark of this high question to argue, that for one to assert, Christ had the law of the members which in us leads the soul into
all sin, is to make him guilty of original sin, seeing such a law floweth over to us in consequence of Adam’s guilt. For so do death, and suffering, and sorrow, and every other defect of glory and of goodness, with which we are now assailed. Pinching hunger, which Christ had, and craving thirst, and weariness of body, and wounds and pains, and innumerable miseries, all flowed in unto him from the same fountain opened by Adam's first transgression; and, therefore, we might as well argue, that to say he was affected with any or all of these, is to charge him guilty of original sin, because these are all fruits thereof. But if we are not prepared to go the length of the Marcionite heretics, and to say, that all these sufferings were but a phantasm, and if we say, he truly hungered and suffered, do we therefore say, that he was guilty of original sin. And if he might take a part, why might he not take the whole of these consequences of the fall, and wrestle with them all. One pang connects him as much with Adam as a thousand, as doth the inheritance of that whole nature which we receive from Adam. But the truth is, as hath been said above, he stands acquitted from all charge of original sin, by the fact of his not having been created. He was under no law till he became man by generation of the virgin, in the power of the Holy Ghost. Up to that time, he had no responsibility, and could have no sin. This subject of original sin may be mystified in many ways; but this is the true account of it as a thing transmitted to us. It is the confession to our being created by a holy God, to our becoming guilty by our own act, to our needing a Redeemer; and it is the seal of our unity as a family, as one stock and one substance. But as Christ was man, and not a man, he cannot be spoken of as a human person, without being brought in guilty of original sin. As a divine person he is clear of it, and no one can impute it to him. His not having natural generation, clears him of it altogether.
2. The second element in this question is, But is it not enough to make Christ a sinner, to say, that his human nature was constituted in all respects as ours, that constitutionally he was the same with all other men? or, in other words, is this nature of ours not capable of being holy and
acceptable in the sight of God during the present life? This is a question of pure revelation, because God only can tell us what God is pleased with, and what is holy in his sight. The Lord himself says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” And the apostle more particularly commandeth believers “to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God;” and one would suppose the thing were possible if it be commanded. It may be answered, This is the Creator's demand of original righteousness, which he cannot abate. The answer is, No; because it is written, “a living sacrifice.” Sacrifice implieth restraint and death, which not a condition unto holiness originally, but is so now. Also in the same exhortation it is added, “be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds, that ye may prove what is that good and perfect will of God.” These words pre-suppose this sinful flesh, alienated mind, and untoward world; yet at the same time suppose another state, in which they are acceptable unto God, holy and perfect. It is possible, therefore, that constituted as we are, we may be holy and well pleasing to God: Possible, nay it is our bounden duty to be so; nay, it is the condition in which a believer ought always to be, wherefore believers are commonly called, The saints, or the holy ones. If it be further asked, And how cometh it to pass, that a creature constituted as we are, can yet be holy? The answer is also to be gathered from Scripture, and will cast still more light upon this subject. The vi. chapter of the Romans, referreth it to baptism into Christ, of which these things are there asserted, that men in that state “are dead to sin,” “walk in newness of life,” as Christ now liveth in glory; “the old man crucified,” “the body of sin destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin,” “the members no longer instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but instruments of righteousness unto God,” “free from sin, and become the servants of righteousness;” and finally, “Now being made free from sin, and become servants unto God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” If these words mean any thing, they declare that there is a condition even in this life in which this pre-
sent constitution of soul and body that I am of, is well pleasing in the sight of God; and that this is the state which is to be reached unto, through a living faith, and holy baptism. Do I therefore say, that every baptised believer is always holy, or ought always to be holy. I do not assert that he is always holy. Yet I do assert that he ought always to be holy. But the thing before us is, can he be holy? And I think these quotations from only one chapter of Paul, shew this to any one who believes Paul wrote by the Holy Spirit, or even as an honest man, understanding what he said. But further, as this is a great element in the question, the apostle John makes this holiness to turn upon being born of the Spirit; and if it were possible, he is even more peremptory than Paul. I confine myself to his first Epistle. “Every one that doeth righteousness is born of him,” “every one that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as he is pure,” “whosoever abideth in him sinneth not; whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, neither known him,” “he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous,” “whosoever is born of God doth not sin, for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” If this constitution of manhood which we possess be incapable of holiness, if sin must colour all its actings, how could these things be asserted of it? They are asserted of it, not as it is by nature; but as it is being born of God; and they prove, that however sinful in its natural state it may be, in its regenerated state it is holy, as Christ is holy, as God is holy. The apostle John hath no other definition of regenerate human nature, but that it is holy, and cannot sin. We may sin in it, as Adam sinned in Paradise, but it cannot sin; it is planted in a holy root, which is Christ, and fed with a holy nourishment, which is the Holy Ghost; and if we sin in it, we sin against its constitution. But we are not now illustrating the question, but only seeking out the elements of Christ's holiness. Once more, the apostle Peter maketh this same thing of ceasing from sin to stand in suffering. As the key of John’s whole Epistle is, that the new birth is from the Lord, and hath the virtue of producing perfect holiness, and not leaving us in a Manichean mixture of cleanness
and uncleanness: so the key of Peter's first Epistle is, to teach that self-denial and suffering for righteousness' sake, is the certain way of ceasing from sin. John seeing it in the cause, Peter in the consequence, and Paul in the condition; all harmonising together in pronouncing it a sinless state. His words are, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind, for he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” This declaration is but the echo of the whole Epistle, which puts forth all righteousness to be in suffering the just for the unjust as Christ also did, in a life of self-denial and self-sacrifice for the good of others, after the example of Christ; and if any one will read the xiith chapter of the Romans, he will find the comment upon the “body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God:” he will find it to stand in the same variety of patient endeavour and active labours for the good of others. If any one, in the face of these three apostles, will stand up and say, that this body and soul of ours cannot become holy in this life, he understandeth not the glory of the power of God in the Holy Spirit, and asserteth that man's nature, is not only too much for me to reclaim, but also too much for the Holy Ghost. He is at the least a Manichean, and doth assert that flesh works on in its black current, side by side, with the pure current of the Holy Spirit; whereas the true doctrine of regeneration is, that the Holy Spirit is given to put down and keep in a continual death, the natural man; and that we should be holy, and only holy after regeneration, and that every act of unholiness is a resisting and quenching of the Holy Ghost by the old man, who should be dead.
Now, forasmuch as Christ had always this spiritual generation, being born of God, and begotten by the Holy Ghost, he always had that constitution of being which the Scripture calleth holy, yet our nature still, and constituted as ours is after it hath been begotten of the Spirit; - human nature in the state of regeneration. Not that he was generate of flesh, and then afterwards regenerate; but generate of flesh and regenerate of the Spirit at the same instant. What is born of the flesh is flesh, what is
born of the Spirit is spirit. He was born of both at one and the same time; “flesh of the substance of his mother,” yet possessed by the Holy Ghost in that manner of possession which is called regeneration. The nature of the old man which he had from flesh, enabled him to be tempted and tried, and in one word, to suffer in the flesh. The nature of the new man enabled him to withstand trial and to overcome it, and to present his members instruments of righteousness unto God; and both together made his body “a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God;” a man not conformed to the world, but transformed, by the renewing of his mind, who proved what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. It is the person of the Son of God acting within the limits of manhood, and so becoming the Son of man, ever consenting to become man, and ever brought thereinto by the Holy Ghost, who, upon finding himself a man, doth find himself at once a spiritual and a fleshly man, born of God and born of flesh, whereof he sanctifieth the latter by the hand of the former; and so approveth himself worthy and able, as man, to use the Holy Ghost, for the destruction of sin in flesh, and the defeat of temptation from the devil and the world.
If any one still insist, that to suppose Christ generate by the Spirit in flesh such as we have is to make him unholy, he must shew why this constitution of our nature is, after regeneration, ever termed in Scripture holy, and the regenerate always called “the saints or the holy.” What meaneth such a sentence as this, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, whose temple ye are;” and such a sentence as this, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ, shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid;” and such a sentence as this, “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are God's.” After this will any one dare to say, that this our constitution of body and soul, being regenerate of the Holy Ghost, remains unholy; and that if
Christ were not otherwise constituted, he also must be unholy?
3. The third element of the question is his actual holiness. We have seen how sin original cannot be attributed to him who is the Creator, and how constitutional sin cannot be attributed to him, who, though constituted flesh and blood as we are, was so under the generation of the Holy Ghost, which, in all scripture, is denominated a holy, and not an unholy state. It remains that we should shew what ought to be his acting, thus constituted, in order that be may be holy as God is holy. For nothing less will do in our Saviour, than that he should be holy as God is holy. The holiness of God hath its form and measure in this, that when man hath once sinned, man must utterly and entirely die, root and branch, from the inmost core to the outmost twig of the tree. It must be an incessant death, a continuity of death. Considering mankind as one system of life, created in paradise, and in paradise sinning once, it hath been in a continuous state of death until now, all for one transgression, which that created life did once, and but once, commit. For the death of all men, with all death's precursors of sorrow and disease, are the consequence of Adam's one transgression. This, then, is the true display of God's holiness, that a life which hath once sinned must be ever put to death, continue how long soever it may. They greatly err who think that death hath any other cause than Adam's first transgression, as the apostle teacheth in the vth chapter of the epistle to the Romans. The law opened new mouths against man, but till the law death was in the world in virtue of no transgression but Adam's; and the law did not take away this fountainhead of the evil, or divide with it the mischief, but merely kept it in continual memory, and pointed out how many pleas God had against us, if he chose to avail himself of them. But that mankind might cleave together, and consider themselves as the children of one man, he chargeth death to the score of the father in whom we were all created, in whom we all fell into sin, in whom also we all have the promise of a Redeemer out of sin and death. In one family only, by whom he intended to heal and to bless mankind, he set on foot a law, which should open
the nature of holiness perfectly, both inward and outward, and contain forms for expressing love to God and love to one another. This law, which is holy, and spiritual, and good, is the positive expression of God's holiness, and the sentence of death raging widely as human existence, is the vindication of his holiness when it hath been offended. To keep the law of love in its spirit as well as in its letter and form, became the mark of a perfectly holy man in the sight of God: and to one who should do so, God promised life, not the reversing of his sentence of death, which is upon all flesh, but a life out of death, the resurrection and life everlasting. When man had usurped the godlike condition of knowing good and evil, a law necessarily arose within him, being the line of demarcation between the evil and the good. This law God did not utter or express to all men, because he wished them to live in the state of sin not imputed, that is, the state of grace we are in, and not the state of sin imputed, which must ever be the case where law is. For if God utter a law, he must keep to it. The utterance of the law was therefore a great, a very great evil, the greatest which, since the fall, had occurred amongst men, yet, like the fall, containing a great good in its bosom. For as the fall brought us a step nearer God, (“The man is become as one of us, knowing good and evil”) if we should be able to avoid the evil; so the law brought us the boon of resurrection-life, (“the law was ordained to life,”) if we shall be able to keep it. If any one should have kept the law, he would have died and lived above death - died, because Adam had sinned, and lived, because he himself had not sinned, - died, because of God's holy vengeance upon man for man's one sin, - lived, because of God’s grace to grant an eternal life to a creature who had merited only a continuance of death: and these two are the expressions of God's holiness, - the law positively, and death judicially - a continuance of death to that life which had once offended against him.
Both of these Christ did yield, and by the constitution of his body could yield. Having living flesh of Adam's daughter, he was through flesh conscious to that way of existence into which Adam came by the fall, which is the knowledge of good and evil. This evil continually ministered to
by the devil, the world, and the 8flesh, he continually crucified, putting it to a voluntary death, and in a continuity of death keeping it ever, and ever having need to keep it so. He effected the death of his natural man always; and why? because he hated it with a perfect hatred; and for what? because once in Adam the fountain-head it sinned against God. And he being man as man should be, the image of God, did image him in this point, his holy hatred of the natural life. He brought it within his grasp to strangle it. He made it as dear to him as life can be dear; (and what would not a man give in exchange for his life? ); but he always hated it for God's sake. He took up God's quarrel against natural life, and though it became his own, he would not suffer it to stir. It was as tender-hearted, as sensitive, as delicately nerved (and far more so, for he was all holy) as any other man's, and the world was all as gainly, and the mind all as open to evil perceptions, (for of every thing he saw the evil side as well as the good,) and as liable to suggestions of Satan, for the Spirit doth not prevent these, but rather lets them come, that they may be defeated; (“the Spirit drove him into the wilderness, that he might be tempted of the devil;”) yet, for all this, he performed the part of a holy man, loving God better than himself, and never doubted to put his own pleasure and enjoyment, his own will, to a side, and prefer all suffering in obedience to his Father. This continual free-will sacrifice of the natural man, until the Father should see good to give it its due desert of death, this suspending of it upon the cross, without once having allowed his blood to throb with an unholy desire, this offering of himself without spot unto God upon the cross, - most accursed of deaths, -as he had lived the most tempted of lives, was carrying God's own hatred of Adam's life to the utmost pitch of holiness. It was a most sublime act of holiness. God, after making Adam a creature for an image and likeness of himself, did resolve him into vile dust through viler corruption, when once he had sinned, proving that one act of sin was, in God's sight, of far more account than a whole world teeming with beautiful and blessed life, which he would rather send headlong into death, than suffer one sin of his creature to go unpunished. And though creation's teeming
fountain might flow on ever so long, still the flowing waters of created life must ever empty themselves into the gulf of death. This is, one should think, the sublimest exaltation of the moral above the material, shewing that all material beauty and blessedness of life is but as it were the clothing of one good thought, which, if it become evil, straightway all departs like the shadow of a dream. This is very sublime, but there is still a sublimer excellence of the moral above the physical, in this, that the Son of God, who is the life, should become clothed upon with that life which he had created so good, his own child, his best beloved child; and though in him it was never offensive in any way, yet, for that it had offended in any person, time, or place whatever, he will put the knife to its bosom; he will first make it his own, and wed himself to it, by every dear tie, of which it hath so many, and it shall sue to him with all its natural affections and sympathies, but shall it be spared? no, not for a moment; he maketh it to die, he ever presenteth it a willing sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. When God can thus act towards that life which was his own, can it be called unreasonable that he should ask us to do the same by it, us, in whom it is ever bursting out into heinous thoughts and actions, as in him it never did. He asked Abraham for his son, but He gave himself. So much for the first manifestation of God's holiness. The man, Christ Jesus, was as vindictive against Adam's life as God can be. He was therefore holy as God is holy.
The other demonstration of holiness standeth in the keeping of the law in all its moral and spiritual perfection of beauty, in the continual observance of every perception of good which the soul of man is capable of, and avoidance, yea, abhorrence, of every perception of evil unto which, through the fall, man became conscious. In virtue of that fatal step, man plunged, as it were, into a new world of perception and consciousness all at once, called “the knowledge of good and evil,” a condition good, yea, godlike, in itself, though sprung of evil in us; God here, as in other things, bringing good out of evil. Christ being in this state of knowing good and evil, and therein like God, must prove himself like God in
another respect, which is the performance of the good as well as the avoidance of the evil, and the mortification of that in which it inhereth. That in which it inhereth is the natural life, which, as we before have seen, he did devote to a continual death. Though the flesh, the devil, and the world, seek to bring the soul into captivity of sin, he through the soul, apprehending by faith the help of the holy Spirit, did resist the devil and the world, and the mortal corruptible flesh, and devote all the members of his body to the service of the living God. The great combat is for the body, because the body is that which brings the soul to light. Man is made on very purpose to bring the invisible mind of God to light, to be his image and his likeness, through which he may be seen and known in his working over the creation. Now God, being a Spirit, carrieth on his communication only through the Spirit or word, and not otherwise. There his operation as God beginneth and endeth. He leaves the will of man to do the rest. For he would have the will of man to be recognised as the lord of all visible things. By and through the will of man, he would use thc body of man to express in a series of words and actions to all eternity, what is the image and purpose of the divine mind, with respect to things created and made. Therefore the use of the tongue, and of the other members of the body, through which the mind expresseth itself, is in truth the very end of God in the creation of man, and of the Son of God in becoming flesh.
Now, the law is a set of ordinances, bounding man's outward conduct on every side, and defining what God acknowledgeth in the things man hath in his power to do, and what he abhorreth; and perfect holiness is perfect observance of the one, and perfect abhorrence of the other; and he that perfectly conformeth thereto is the perfect image of God, notwithstanding there has been a continued presentment of evil, if that evil has been ever abhorred. Yea, he is only more entirely the image of God, because of that continued consciousness of good and evil, which, when it came, gave us only a more near likeness to God, provided always the evil be abhorred with God's own perfect abhorrence, as we have seen it was in Christ. The outward observance of all the
commandments is the manifestation of the holiness of God; and love to God and his creatures is the possession of the holiness within the heart; and where both these are, there is the person with whom God hath no fault, with whom he is entirely well pleased, and only the better pleased, the more sacrifices he hath had to make, and the more sufferings he hath had to undergo, in order to accomplish this perfect model of the indwelling and manifested God. Now, as we observed above, the law was not uttered till long after man had come into thc knowledge of good and evil. It was in virtual being from that time, being, as we have said, the line of demarcation between good and evil in his mind; but it was not uttered in Israel till far down the stream of time, because God would have men to know him, first, as a God of grace, who imputeth not sin, but is to be served in the way of promise and faith, of mercy and grace, that is, in the gospel way of salvation, which was in the world before the law. This was so ordered, that men might have confidence toward God, and know the openness of his bosom towards sinners; yea more, without respect to sin at all, that they might know the necessity and the freeness of his help towards them in this their new estate of “knowing good and evil.” If there was a necessity, in the first estate of men, that we should draw and cleave to God, the necessity was doubly strong in the fallen estate; and God, in order to attract us to him, did not clothe himself with the terrors of the law, but with the graces of the gospel, from the beginning. And when the law came, it surely did not close up the ever flowing stream of God's goodness and grace, but drove man thereto by a thousand ordinances, whereto he had heretofore come by one only, which is sacrifice. For without sacrifice man might never approach God after he had sinned, because otherwise than through the sacrifice of Christ, God cannot be gracious. New life, or any promise or hope of it, cannot otherwise flow. When the law came, therefore, the grace of the promise remained as before, in order that he, who would keep the law, might assuredly know that it was only through faith in God's supply of strength that he could do so; that there was no righteousness but the righteousness which is by faith. Perfectly and patiently
to believe in God for strength to choose the good and avoid the evil, to which men became conscious by the fall; this is a preliminary unto the keeping of the law, and this is a point in which Christ was perfect as in every other. He trusted in God, and for his trust in God he was upbraided when he hung upon the tree. His faith, and his prayer, which is the expression of faith, saved him in all calamities. With strong crying and tears he made supplications to him who was able to deliver him from death, and was heard in that he feared. He waited for the Father's teaching, and as he heard he spake, and the word was not his, but the Father's which sent him. He shewed that his strength lay not in the humanity, but in the Godhead. He got glory not to the creature, but to the Creator. He came not in his own name, but in the name of his Father. He lived not upon himself, but upon the Father. He guarded not himself, but was guarded by the Father. He came not himself, but was sent by the Father. He did not his own will, but the will of the Father which sent him. He took not his prophetic office upon himself, but was sealed for it by the Father at his baptism; nor his priestly, but was anointed to it by the Father from the womb; and he waiteth at the right hand of the Father to be manifested King, when the times of the Father are fulfilled. In one word, never did weak babe give such a proof of dependance upon its mother, as the Son of man gave of dependance upon his Father. In him manhood glorified Godhead with a perfect glory, to the end that all creation, and especially mankind, might know where their strength doth lie, and what is the condition unto righteousness, viz. FAITH or TRUST IN GOD, not a substitute for righteousness, but of righteousness the life and soul.
Thus Christ was in action the perfect man, complete in holiness, the literal image of the invisible God. His soul was ever in this state of faith towards God, never shaken, though assailed with all the billows and waterspouts of the frail and fallen creature, and thus resting upon God, he proved what God is to every one that believeth upon him; he gave God an opportunity of expressing all his grace to man, which man's unbelief, or imperfect faith, had so long locked up. For, save to faith,
God cannot give; if he could give without faith, he would encourage schism between the Creator and the creature. Oh! how God longed for faith in man, till Christ came, and gave him an opportunity of pouring out the full horn of his beneficence. And now, when God had got the man of his choice, he made full proof how far faith could and would go. He put him to grief, he hid his countenance from him, not that he assumed unto himself ungodly moods for the end of an experiment, but that he suffered all the agents of evil to go forth against him, and do him wrong. He let them loose, the bulls of Bashan, the lions and the unicorns, he proved how wicked they could be, how faithful his son could be, and how powerful to save and deliver he himself could be. They blame some of us for expressing to the uttermost this his conflict, as if we were dishonouring our Lord; God knows who honoureth him, and he will yet make all manifest. By his faith thus standing true in all conflicts and extremities, he proved God to be ever a present God in the day of trouble; and though esteeming himself a worm and no man in comparison of the father, God raised his head above all his enemies, and gave him the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. His very enemies could find no fault in him. Satan himself could not detect a ground of accusation in the man; and God avouched him for his own Son, in whom he was well pleased, by his own voice of thunder from the heavens; and by the resurrection from the dead, he hath given assurance of it unto all men, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost with which the church is now baptised, the same attestation should be promulgated by the church in all the regions of the earth.
In these three things, perfect faith, perfect conformity to the law, and what is preliminary to both, perfect self-crucifixion and self-emptiness, that he might be filled with faith and power to keep the whole law of God; these three constitute his perfect actual holiness. And now having presented him originally holy, constitutionally holy, and actually holy, there is only another element necessary towards the perfect exhibition of this subject, which is God's testimony to his absolute holiness.
way, which is the seal of the Holy Ghost. The only agent for working holiness, and the only witness that it is wrought in any creature is the Holy Ghost, the third person of the blessed Trinity, who is therefore called holy, because the part and province of holiness belongeth unto him. It is the Father's province to will and to purpose, and to design all things; it is the Son's province to reveal and disclose that which the Father glorieth to conceal from all but his own Son, that he may have the glory of revealing it all, whether by word or by work; but if sin enter into the creature, then is it the glory of the Holy Ghost to sanctify the creatures which the Father hath purposed and the Son created. Therefore, when the Father purposed to send his Son into the bounds and limits of a man, therein to act and abide for ever, and when the Son had signified the same by the word of revelation in the mouth of all the prophets, he made himself ready, and said, Lo! I come. It is the act of his own will to be generated a man, it is the act of the Holy Ghost to take him, thus willing, and generate him a man of the virgin's flesh; that is, to give him the very life of flesh and blood, “with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof.” This done; he ever acts the part of a man, hopes upon his mother's breast, filled with the Holy Ghost even from the womb. That part which the Holy Ghost took in his generation sealed him holy, devoid of all original corruption, free from all offence in the sight of God. Then being circumcised, he became a debtor to keep the whole law, and being come to the water of baptism, God signified that he had kept the law of love for these thirty years without one fault, by sealing him with the Holy Ghost, and again pronouncing him his well beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased. And now, having perfected holiness according to the law, he was made the depositary of the Holy Ghost for mightier uses, even for the uses of witnessing God's own almighty power over, and in the midst of his own creation. At the baptism of Christ, manhood made a step above its original creation, was taken into an inner chamber of the divine purpose, and called upon to be the hand and voice of God in commanding and doing the Creator's business, as well as his servant, in obeying the Creator's laws. In
one word, to be the residence of God, his house to dwell in, his tongue to speak, his hand to act. This ministry Christ went forth upon after he had been baptised with the Holy Ghost, and he was sealed as having never failed in it, by the power, after his resurrection, of breathing on his disciples and imparting the Holy Ghost, and after his ascension, of baptising them with the Holy Ghost. But besides this the resurrection from the dead was the seal of all perfection, both original, legal, and spiritual; for death is the wages of sin, and he that conquers death must first have conquered all sin. The law was ordained to life, and the reason why no one had lived out of death was, that no one had kept the law; and therefore they could not receive the promise of eternal inheritance until Christ had kept the law; the one seed of Abraham, for Abraham, and all the seed. So likewise the reason why none of Adam's children, who were not under the law, had not risen from the dead, was, that they had not trusted in God perfectly, and rested entirely on his grace, and so having sinned, they had come short of the glory of God. Therefore, no man could receive the life which God, from the beginning, had proposed. I say, God, from the beginning, had proposed life to mankind, out of that fountain of life which there is in the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Every promise or overture of good is upon the presumption of a life to enjoy it in. Sin took away the floor and standing ground of the present life, and laid all men's hopes and possessions flat in death. There must be another floor and standing ground for any new promises of good. This is the resurrection from the dead. Sin brought the downcasting and death of all created things and goods. To propose them re-edified again, could only be in the prospect of resurrection, and therefore resurrection is the basis and preliminary of all promises; and any man might have attained to it, if he had been holy. This is the life spoken of in the Old Testament so continually; this is the Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of whom God was not ashamed to be called their God; this is the grace, and mercy, and goodness, by which God wished himself to be known; this is the thing Abraham looked forward to, and Enoch before him, and Job, and all the patriarchs,
and all the prophets. To understand the power of the resurrection as a seal of righteousness, it is necessary to bear this in mind, that it was promised to man as man freely, with all its benefits, by the God who was in Christ creating and promising, as well as he is now in him accomplishing. And why did no man attain it? Because no man was worthy to attain it, no man could challenge the accuser and defy Satan; and so God was robbed of his grace and glory by the insufficiency of all men to stand before his holiness, until Christ accomplished perfect righteousness, and lived only for God and never for himself, and put the manhood ever under the Godhead, the creature under the Creator, the natural life under the spiritual life, kept the law and made it honourable, never grieved, vexed, nor quenched the Holy Spirit. Therefore, because he, and he only, was the Holy One of God, he received the resurrection seal, not for himself, but for all men, because in one man the whole creation fell, and in one man it is the purpose that it should all arise again. And this is the fourth element in the question of the Lord's holiness; the seal that it received in the resurrection.
5. Having thus stated the four great elements of the question of Christ’s holiness as man, we would now endeavour to re-compose them into one, and exhibit the truth in an unbroken form. Man's constitution at first was a body of dust, and a spirit from God; by the one, holding of the creature, by the other of the Creator; and so in himself forming a link between the creature and the Creator. His duties were twofold, - in the spirit to be God's image and likeness, and through the body to express every disposition of God in the government of the creatures. He who doth this is a perfect man. Christ did this, and therefore is a perfect man. His will in unison with God's, his word God's, his work God's; so that he could ever say, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” For once we see what man was made to be. Let the temptation be what it may be, this is the demand, of which God cannot abate a jot or a tittle. Having had no hand in bringing the temptation, he can admit no palliation on that account; but exacts this further, that man having brought it into the world, must
carry it out of the world again. If man, being set in charge of the house, has admitted an enemy into the house, who thereupon hath laid him in fetters in the dungeon; man must rid himself of his fetters, clear the house of the enemy, resume his charge, and carry it on according as God appointed. This was the case; and when the Son of God took upon him to become man, he took upon him to do this, for this lay to man's hand to be done. Man by the fall complicated his own case exceedingly, and increased immensely the difficulty of his duty: letting in upon the soul the knowledge of good and evil, upon the body the law of death, upon the world the lordship of the devil. But while the fall multiplied unto man the work which he had to do, it did not alter in the least the end of his being, which remained as before; for God cannot change his purpose, though he may, and did disclose it by slow degrees. Had Christ become man before the fall, he would have had the same duties to discharge, but not the same disadvantages which he must encounter after the fall. For, if he became man, it is to do man's work, and no less. It is not to figure and float over the scene, for certain disconnected ends of God, but to do man's part, that he becometh man. What is man's work, that Christ, by becoming man, undertakes for? Man's work is to put creation as he had it given him, and perform for God the high ends for which God created him. That man who doeth so hath done man's duty; and if God had any ulterior ends in man, which he had not fully disclosed to Adam in his creation, he will shew them after man has regained and rightly laid out his original talents. Christ becoming man hath therefore first to deal with the knowledge of good and evil, to which he finds himself conscious on all occasions. He must put a continual veto upon the evil in all its forms, addressing every affection, and have his mind all ordered according to the harmony of God's own mind. His inward man for composure, subordination, and arrangement of all its thoughts, must be as God is. There must be no wandering thoughts, no strayings of the imaginations, no loose and unheeded fancies; every thing must he under the government of the will, and that will in all its actings
concentric and harmonious with God's own will. The im-
age must be complete in every feature, the likeness must be perfect. Be he assailed how he may, and tender to the temptation how he may, he must not yield one hair's breadth from his form of perfect resemblance to God. You must not be able to find any moments of weakness; the enemy must never be able to make a lodgement within his leaguer. The devil must have nothing in him at any time. His soul must rest, and rejoice in its resting with God. Grief must not unman him, disappointment must not sour him, nor the bitter rage of his enemies chafe him, nor any cruelty or mockery cloud the sincerity of his truth, or diminish the ardour of his love. Thus must he, though beset and besieged by every form of violence, and from quarters the hardest to bear, preserve the entireness of his form unbroken, unchanged for a moment, by the mere force of a will ever leaning on God, and ever deriving from God a manifold service of the Spirit, all-sufficient for the maintenance of a holy mind, and which to that effect he doth continually employ. There must never be a disposition of the will to any evil, whatever susceptibility of the nature there may be thereto. There must never be a misgiving of purpose, however frightful the undertaking may be. The trial may be extreme, the torture may be awful, the agony appalling to flesh and bones, and he may be as tender as a new born babe, still he must be able to endure, and to preserve the inner form of his spirit unmoved. Outwardly he may seem rent and riven, emptied and poured out; inwardly he must be strong as adamant, unmoved for an instant from the similitude of his Father. That trusting must never be disturbed. He must ever be able to say, “I and my Father are one.” This conformity of the spirit of Christ unto God constitutes him an image and likeness of God; and being so in despite of all temptation, he hath prevailed to be holy.
As to the flesh, its work is to obey the soul within, and to shew forth unto creation, by word and deed, what is the mind of the invisible God, imaged in the soul of man. Death, and disease, and pain, and weakness are upon it, not in virtue of creation, and therefore they must be purged away from it; and if Christ is to do man's work, he must take the body out from under those evils, and
present it as God gave it unto man's hand at first, to keep and to use. But besides these natural evils, - which indeed we call natural, but they are all moral in their origin, being the product of sin, and the standing signs of a sinful state, insomuch that our Lord did speak of the forgiveness of sins and the healing of diseases indifferently, as one and the same thing; and of persons under particular bodily afflictions, that they were bound of Satan; - besides these natural ills which flesh is heir to in consequence of sin, there is another class of fleshly evils, or rather there is a condition of the flesh, consequent upon the fall, which he that sets man right, must also fairly meet and overcome. I mean that insubordination to the will of man, whereby the flesh becomes a continual temptation to every man, so strong and distinct from all others, as to have a continual mention in Scripture as one of our three great antagonists, under the denomination, “the lusts of the flesh.” And the mind, when brought under its influence, is called “the fleshly or carnal mind;” and it is sometimes spoken of as having a will, or mind, or law of its own; and the whole man, when under its influence, is called “the natural man, which cannot please God.” Let any one read the Epistles of Paul, in order to discern what a part this plays in the Christian's trials; so great, that most frequently they are all included under the one name, the flesh; and then let him ask himself, whether Christ could be the soul's saviour, or the redeemer of the flesh, or our sufficient help and example, if he had not to grapple with this enemy also. To flee off and say, But that is sin, and therefore could not be his, is either to beg the whole question, or to cut the knot of all theology, which Christ came to unloose. But we have shewn that it is not sin to be thus assailed, otherwise the regenerate man cannot be holy, as he is ever called, otherwise no action of the church hath ever been holy since the world began. Waving, however, further consideration of this point, which is handled in its principles above, under the second head of our subject, and which we shall have occasion to resort to in the detail, I observe, that if Christ is to do man's work in becoming man, he must not only deliver flesh from pain, and disease, and death, but from the fatality of ever
tempting the soul into, and drowning it in, sin. - That dungeon darkness wherein it keeps the soul, which the old Pythagoreans knew, but knew not how to be delivered from, that sleep, yea, death of the soul as to all affections God-ward, that vision of the creature and blindness to the Creator in the world, that boundless and unregulated desire, that propensity to run to excess in every appetite, that love of sensual gratification on its own account, all this weakness of flesh, which in every other man brings the soul into miserable bondage, and beclouds all its faculties of divine communion, must be by Christ contended with and overcome. The flesh must be brought from under the law of this evil dominion, and made obedient to the soul; every member of it converted from being a servant of sin, to become a servant of righteousness. This is the true suffering in the flesh which maketh us to cease from sin. The law had no power against the flesh whatever, but did merely reveal its various iniquities, and prescribe ordinances for its purification; which being observed in faith, would doubtless have wrought great things in the way of cleansing it, and bringing it under the law of the reasonable mind. Therefore, they are, by the apostle, called “carnal or fleshly ordinances.” In that Christ was submitted to them, his flesh is proved to have been verily flesh of our flesh, flesh and blood of the brethren. In that he came to his baptism, he signified that he also needed to lay it down and bury it; which he then did in the symbol, which he did in the letter upon the cross, and in his tomb. All flesh kept the law in Christ, and at his baptism all flesh was buried in its grave; the law hath no demands upon flesh any more. And whosoever believeth that Christ was made under the law, and approved of God as the faultless keeper of the law, doth by his faith receive redemption from the law, never to think about it any more. Then the branch from the lowly root of Jesse began to burst forth into spiritual glory, and we are grafted thereon to bear spiritual fruit. It then cast its rough rind, and ceased from its earthy nourishment, and began to assume heavenly form, and to seek heavenly nourishment. From the time of his baptism with water and the Holy Ghost, he became the man of the Spirit, and was the man of the
law no longer; and now his work was to contend with spiritual wickednesses in all these forms, with Satan personally, with demons inhabiting men, with diseases, storms and tempests, and every created thing. Formerly he was putting his flesh under the law, and by his legal conformity, did present holy flesh without one uncleanness, and now having used the flesh for God's glory, having redeemed his body from under the law, he receiveth the adoption of Son of God publicly at his baptism, and is now to use his body for the more glorious end of commanding and subduing the rebellious creation, both visible and invisible, which also was an original design in the creation of man, to have dominion. But before the man can receive dominion over the outward world, he must first use dominion over his own flesh, and bring it into accordance with the mind of God. This having to do completely and perfectly through all the stages of a man's life, through all the offices of man from childhood to mature manhood, always and alike perfect, though growing in wisdom and in favour with God and man, he is put in trust with the Spirit, and his twelve legions of angels ready harnessed at his word. And this inexhaustible strength of God, the holy man Jesus is required to wield as God doth wield it. Having far more than a giant's strength, he is to shew what weakness, and affront, and persecution he can himself personally bear; what bounty, and grace, and goodness he can bring upon that land and upon those people who are ever doing him wrong. And all the power of man, whether actually enjoyed by Adam, or to have been enjoyed if he had stood, being now put upon Jesus the second man, having occupied as God himself wished, yea, delighted to behold, he hath accomplished man's work completely, and hath but to die in order to rise again with the long expected, long promised reward of immortality and life. Thus did the Lord Jesus present his body spotless upon the cross, - thus did he present in his words and actions the very life of God in flesh, thus did he bring forth the new form of the spiritual man in all his power and patience, in all his suffering and glory, - thus did he perfect holiness in the fear of God, and thus did he redeem the soul and the body of man from all evils, and, notwithstanding of all temptations of the devil,
the world and the flesh, did in all things what was wellpleasing in the sight of God. Ja. i. 12.
And herein was God glorified, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God the
Father, in that he hath grace all-sufficient to send his Son forth from his bosom on such an undertaking, in firm confidence that he will prove faithful to the trust, weather the perilous voyage, visit all shores of man's unreclaimed nature, and take possession of them with triumphs of hope and shoutings of joy. God the Son, in that he is nothing loath to venture forth into earth's wickedness and hell's depths, on so frail a bark as man's weak nature, trusting to the anchor of faith which he had cast within the vail; or, to speak without a figure, in that he is not afraid to take that form of creature which he had made man to be, and to assert the sufficiency of his own work, against all the disadvantages under which it had been brought. He made a creature for the service of God as an image and a ruler; and this creature had turned aside as a deceitful bow in the hand of God; Christ's humour as God's creator is at stake, and God's end and purpose in creation are in peril of being lost, and Satan is in the way of reaping the whole harvest into his own wicked bosom; when Christ, taking things in hand himself, as his intention had been from of old, doth come within the space of man's being, to assume the form and fashion of a human soul, and receive the treatment of the most wretched, vile, and miserable sinner, and take upon himself the universal load of all sins, their vexation and their grief, their shadowy darkness, their hidings of the Father's countenance, and their wrestling with them all, doth depend upon the Father to supply him strength, and receiving strength to his faith, doth overcome them all. Although truly God manifest in flesh, he doth receive all supplies from the Father through the narrow channel of a man's faith, into the narrow reservoir of a man's capacity, and occupying the soul therewith, he doth speak unto the members of his body, and they obey him for good; unto the created things, and they obey him for good; unto the spirits of darkness, and their evil is restrained. And oh! how the work of the Holy Ghost is glorified, whose substance ministered by the Father unto the Son of man, doth accom-
plish all this mighty work of sanctification, trying himself against a rebellious creation, and a rebellious creature overpowering; issuing from the fountain of a human will, according to the dimensions of a human mind, and in the forms of human speech and act, accomplishing the good, and holy, and perfect will of God. And finally, what glory unto man, who thus is God's vicegerent, not in watching over a good and blessed world, but in winning back from chaos an evil and accursed world. Oh! what honour, what vast honour is put upon a human will, thus proved capable, not only of withstanding the deluge of a sinful creation, but of cleansing it, and restoring it, and glorifying it; - the will of man, I say, not in itself as the cause, but as the vehicle of the power of God; thus powerful, not in itself, but through possession of the Son of God; capable of this occupation, capable of this action, capable of this government and dominion for ever. Well might the poet exclaim, What a work is man! Well might Wisdom exclaim, “And my delights were with the sons of men.”
6. But it were to do our subject injustice, were we not to follow it a step higher, into the fruits of Christ's personal holiness, as exhibited since his resurrection, and to be exhibited for ever in glory. Christ, in virtue of his community with flesh, did receive the shock of all temptations to which flesh is liable; for flesh is one system arising out of one root, and bringing all its powers of good and evil to bear upon every soul therein abiding. To take a figure. Suppose the upas tree to contain all vegetable poison whatsoever flowing in its sap, conceive this tree to be capable of propagation in the way of layers, that is, by bowing one of its branches down to the ground, and laying the earth upon it, when it strikes root, and so grows up another tree. Suppose in the new root, there was some secret virtue which, receiving the poisonous sap of the upas tree of which it is a part, were capable of converting it into the sap of the balm of Gilead, and so of sending forth a tree of life, whose leaves should be for the healing of the nations. That mystic virtue in the root sufficient to receive all the virulent poisons of the vegetable world, flowing in the veins of the upas tree, and to convert them into the most balmy me-
dicines of health and nourishments of life, doth aptly represent Christ who, through his flesh, doth receive the gathering streams of all corruption, doth feel their approach, is conscious of their vileness, is terrified and agonised by their number and aggravation, doth feel them as his own, doth cry out on their account, yea doth confess them as his own in the book Psalms, the only record of his inward man; and yet is not overwhelmed with them, though sorely grieved, but ever as they come hath power to convert them into streams of living waters, which he sendeth forth for the refreshing of all living. This certainly is true, that Christ by taking flesh, became an object of all temptation, a centre towards which all evil powers inherent in flesh directed themselves, where they were exhausted of their strength, became lost and powerless, and ought not to be dreaded any more by all flesh. Christ became a fountain of righteousness for all flesh, only by destroying the wickedness in all flesh. As the waters descending pure out of the heavens do receive pollution from the earth, and by the same earth are purified again, and given forth in springs and limpid streams; even so that same flesh which had polluted all life, doth, in the person of Christ, become the purifier of life, yea the nourishment of life; for unless we eat the flesh of the Sun of man, and drink his blood, we have no life in us. The first fruit, therefore, of Christ's holiness in flesh, is to present unto all men a gospel of forgiveness of sin, the cleansing of the heart from an evil conscience, the washing of the body with pure water. I see in him my flesh cleansed - my flesh circumcised. I wear it as a, holy thing, I use it as a holy thing, not because it is mine, but because it is man's, and because Christ took part of it with the brethren, on becoming the Son of man. And this is not mine, nor the property of a part of men, but of all flesh. The next fruit of Christ's holiness in our nature, is to present him not only as the Lamb of God, whose spotless flesh taketh away the sin of the world, but as the second man, who by the resurrection is made a quickening spirit; great Parent of new life, which hath its beginning in the regeneration, and is accomplished in the resurrection. That this fountain of life hath been opened for men, is proved by the rais-
ing of all men from the dead. Christ's life in glory is held by him in trust, not for a part of men, but is God's free gift unto all. And when he is preached to every creature under heaven, it is not merely as the atonement for the sins of all, but as the bread which came down from heaven to give life unto the world, “that the world through him might have life.” The sacrifice was first offered to purify the flesh, and then it became the nourishment of life; first offered for sin, then eaten for life. So Christ our passover hath not only delivered our flesh from the hand of Pharoah, but become a nourishment of a pure life. In plain language, Christ not only bestows upon all who believe a holy flesh, but likewise a quickened spirit, that they may be able to present the image of God in their reasonable souls, as well as the manifestation of God in their redeemed flesh; and, therefore, from their regeneration, the church is alway considered as holy, and named “The holy ones,” although they be living upon the earth, in mortal and corruptible bodies. This is not a fiction of words, it is a true standing on which we are placed by Christ; out of which we should never fall by any act of sin; and if we do, it gives us to know, that we have sinned of pure will, and must seek, not to an atonement merely, but unto a priest, - a living atoner; not unto a pardon past merely, but unto a pardoner ever present; not to a salvation, but to a Saviour; not to a God made flesh in order to die, but to a God living in the Spirit, in order to minister repentance and remission of sins, in order to communicate that grace of God, which once he manifested.
But all the fruits of this precious holiness have not yet been told. In his present glory, the Father honours him to give eternal life to the church of the first-born, who, through faith on what he hath done for all, and for them among the rest, do receive the possession of holy flesh and a quickened spirit; which all men receive not, only because they know not or believe not that God hath done such a thing for them in Christ, and so they make God a liar, and Christ the master of falsehood, in that they say, he died not for all, whereas for all he did die. No sinner should believe that Christ died for him, but by believing that he died for all men; and let men say what
they please as the expression of their creed, no man did ever yet since the world began, receive the benefits of redemption, but through the faith that these are in Christ for all other men as well as for him; and, moreover, no man ever received them, who did not believe in the Father’s only right to confer them, and through continual, reliance on Christ as the Father's minister of them, whether he call this by the name of election or not. The practical faith of a universal redemption, acknowledging what the Father, Son, and Spirit have actually done for us; the practical faith of a particular election, acknowledging what the same Godhead persons have still to do in ministering the supply of that life which Christ hath purchased; these two are the poles of a Christian's faith, upon which his mind can revolve in sweet harmony with the will and mind of God. And the brotherhood of those who thus honour the work of God, - both that which is completed in the incarnation of Christ, and that which is now completing by the ministry of the same, - do constitute the church of the first-born, who are God's holy ones, who condemn the world of unbelief, as Noah did condemn the old world; and having proved the fellowship of the Lord's patient martyrdom, they shall come with him in glory to take possession of the world, after that by holy suffering, it hath been won out of the hands of the spoiler. Then, the body of Christ being perfected, and the man-child being born from the womb of the morning, they come together and proceed in a glorious career of putting down with the strong hand all power, and authority, and dominion upon the earth, and in the heavens, which exalteth itself against God, with the fire of godliness consuming all wicked things from the face of creation, yea taking hold on Satan himself, and death, and Hades, and all the nations of men which know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and hurling them headlong into the pit of dark destruction. And from thenceforth there is holiness, and nothing but holiness in the creation of God; all things are sustained in Christ by the church, and the Holy Spirit from Christ proceeding doth all things sustain in perpetual harmony with God's mind for ever and ever; and the divine order and harmony of the whole redeemed world, is as followeth.
God, very Godhead, the all in all, the inworking, the full operation of all the goodness and blessedness of al1 creatures whatsoever, and alone receiving the glory of all life, truth, and being; yet according to right subordination. He reacheth nothing immediately, but reacheth all things through the mediation and intercession of Christ, who is for ever the only way of the creation to God, and God's only way to the creation. With the visible head Christ, God communicateth not by mixture, or by physical, or moral contact, so that we might be able to say, that Christ whom we see is the all in all, but through the divine nature of Christ, which is his, and yet not of his human nature a part, nor his human nature a part of it. By the person of Christ, therefore, not by his human nature, by his person as distinguished from his nature, by his person acting Godhead, reaching Godhead, and knowing Godhead, which his human nature is not able at all to do; by this it is that we derive the inspiration and empowering of God at all times, in all places, and for ever, throughout creation. And first, by the person of Christ, by that which is proper to him as the I AM, but not proper to me, or thee, or any other, we of the church do receive full communion and fellowship of his human nature, full measure of its fulness, free possession of all its capacities, immunities, prerogatives and occupations; and together with him, our head, do form a head of government and blessing to all the creation, who look up to these two, Christ and his church, - numerically two, inasmuch as he is God, and the only Creator, yet spiritually and corporeally also one, the same flesh and the same spirit, though divided in place from one another, even as we are one with Adam, though far divided from him by space and time; and thus in our Surety we do govern all and bless all for ever and ever. The spirit of Christ hath bounds and limits within the church, his body, and out of the church it goeth forth, as our spirit goeth forth from the limits of our body, in the way of word and action. All things are not possessed with the spirit of Christ, otherwise all things would be informed with the life of Christ. The church alone hath this glory and dignity. And all the rest of creation is under her dominion, and look up to her as a guardian mother, to Christ as a Father and a head. And the power
of the Holy Ghost in his various workings is shewn forth; first, as very God, going in between the two divine persons, the Father and the Son, in going between the visible God-man, and the invisible God-Father. Secondly, as the spirit of Christ, in informing the various members of Christ's mystical body with those diversities of offices, and functions, and ministries necessary to the well-being of the universal world. Thirdly, as the power of man, whose forthgoing word and energy doth hold all creation to its loyal and right obedience. Yet though thus working in threefold variety, as very God, as the spirit of Christ with the body, and as the forthgoing power of man, it is one spirit of holiness, binding all creation into one act of holy worship to the invisible God, subordination to the head Christ, and service of the church, the body ofChrist. And this is the eternal state of things, for which the millenial work doth but prepare the way. And this will be accomplished upon the earth, and so the earth shall keep its eternal Sabbath of rest and blessedness, or rather its eternal Lord's day of joy and thankfulness.
The act of the Holy Ghost generating Christ's flesh holy, was the manifestation of God in a new way of acting towards man, which is the way of sanctifying what he created good, but which of itself hath become evil. There are two ways of God's acting revealed in man. The one, the way of creation, and authority in right thereof, God being all the while outward and separate from the creature: the other being the way of incarnation into inhabitation of the creature, in virtue of which, God is always inward to, and united with, the creature. Christ, in the former case, is the Word, Messenger, or Angel of God, coming from him to the creature; in the latter case, Christ is the Head of the creature, personally or hypostatically united with it, never to be separated from it any more. The Holy Ghost, in the former case, is an influence or power proceeding from the word of God upon the creature to give it life and goodness; in the latter case, he is an energy in it, working in it both to will and to do of the good pleasure of God. The first of these states of the creature, to wit, a living soul, man came to be by the creation of Adam; the second a quickened spirit at the generation of the Son of God, as
Son of man of the virgin's substance. These two states of the creature have, since the miraculous generation, proceeded contemporaneously, the one in the church, or regenerate portion of mankind, the other in the natura1 or unregenerated portion of mankind; whereof the former are for a voice, hand, temple, city, kingdom, and priesthood of God, to teach, to act, to govern, and to bless the other portion of the creatures who are saved from the universal judgment, and not cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. And this God's chosen portion, the church, (that is both head and members) the peripoihsis, the done about, or circumscribed portion, shall for ever abide the inward possessors of the mind, power, and blessedness of God, and the outward dispensers of the same in the way of influence and power over the rest of creation. To shew forth the spiritual generation of Christ as the fountain-head of all spiritual generation in the church, and to shew forth the spiritual inhabitation, instruction, and sanctification of all his members as the fruit of his holiness in the flesh; and their inheritance and possession of the very glory of the indwelling God, as the consequence of his present enjoyment thereof; - this is the one object we have sought to establish in what we have written above.
Thus have we finished the first part of our labour in shewing forth the elements of Christ's holiness, as also the certainty of it, and the glorious fruit of it; in which, if any one think that we have expressed ought extreme in respect of our Lord's temptations, let him observe also, how much more we have expressed extreme in respect of his holiness. And let all be assured, that this is the way of the Scripture, as they will see by consulting those Psalms which testify of him, and also those parts of the apostolical Epistles, which refer to his work in the flesh. They totally err who think, that by using moderate language and cautious statements, they will preach the gospel to perishing sinners. Ah no! the world and mankind are in extremity of unbelief, and of wickedness, and of misery; out of which nothing will bring them but the extreme power of the preaching of God's extreme love, of Christ’s extreme temptations, and of the Spirit's power to draw him out of temptations deeper than theirs. I make no apology. It is the truth I have written, in love of the
truth and of mankind. Let God use it to his glory, and give me the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings for the truth. I would it might prove a stumbling block to none; I pray it may not so become; and I leave it with the Lord to accomplish with it his own will.
The sequel of the tract is simple and easy, and will contain Scriptural illustrations of the doctrine laid down above concerning Christ's holiness, with conclusions from the same, specifying the orthodox and heterodox doctrines upon this subject, in a series of propositions. The Scriptural illustrations, to avoid all cavil, I will take, not from the Psalms, leaving that to another person or another opportunity, but from the apostolical Epistles. And these I will preface with the recapitulation of the doctrine stated above.
ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE SCRIPTURES.
THE doctrine which we have taught above, concerning our Lord's human nature, is twofold: first, as concerneth his soul, and secondly, as concerneth his flesh. As concerneth his soul; that it was not in the condition of Adam's before, but of Adam's after the transgression; a condition which is expressed by God himself in these words, - “Behold the man is become as one of us, knowing good and evil,” Gen. iii. 22. Our Lord was in his soul cognizant of “good and evil” continually, and therein was like unto the Lord God; being the state unto which Adam was brought by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. What state Adam's soul was in before, it serveth not to inquire; in this state it certainly was not till after the transgression. He came into it, indeed, through an act of sin, with which our blessed Lord had no connection in any way, save that he was the person sinned against; but it was not in itself an evil state, because, to be as one of the persons in the Godhead, can never be an evil state. Moreover, as “to be like one of” the Godhead persons is higher than to be as Adam was created, the knowledge of good and evil must be in itself a higher condition than that of knowing only good; and provided the evil be ever abhorred, re-
sisted, conquered, and destroyed, as it ever is by God, as it ever is by Christ, and as it ever should have been among mankind, after they had been brought to this condition, it is the highest state of all, being God's own state. For when God hath permitted evil to exist, he cannot be, and must not seem to be, ignorant of it, but must proceed against it to the very uttermost, and finally put it down, and bring all responsible persons, who prefer and choose it, unto the second death, whence they shall never lift their head any more to mar the goodly work of God. Seeing, then, that it is of God's being an essential attribute, by name HOLINESS, to know evil wherever it exists, and to bring it down to hell, after having made a shew of it openly, so for any one of us to be partakers of this same abhorrence, prosecution, and destruction of evil, is to participate in the fellowship of God's holiness and severity against sin, and so far forth to have a new feature of resemblance which man could not have had while abiding in a state of innocence, conscious only of good. This noblest feature of resemblance unto God, we declare that Christ had in his soul, which was cognizant of evil in all its forms, consenting to it in none, yea, in them all abhorring it; and was not holy after what manner Adam was in his first estate, by being ignorant of the evil, but as God is, by ever hating and contending against the evil which had been brought into the world. When man, by his own sin, had been brought into this Godlike manner of being, and proved, in all the miseries of his fallen state, what a fearful thing sin is; God called upon him to exemplify his own abhorrence of evil, by ever putting it to death as it arose before the mind, and so to destroy the devil and his works. This hath been, is now, and ever will be, man's calling of God, to be a sin-hater, a sin-judger, and a sin-destroyer. And when Christ became man, he took up this the high calling of man; and did perfectly accomplish it, putting down, with the strong hand and imperturbable holiness of God, sin in all quarters of the world; in his own conscious spirit abhorring it - in his every word denouncing, exposing, and glorying over it - in all the members of his body, crucifying it. And so he “presented his body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is
our reasonable service.” This is the doctrine which we hold, and have above taught, concerning Christ's soul; that it was, as the Lord God said of Adam, after he had sinned, “like one of us knowing good and evil;” and, of a truth, the authority of the Lord God is higher with us than that of erring man, for believing that to be in such a state is not to be a sinner; nor is it fair before God or man to decry any one, as a blasphemer of Christ's holiness who doth assert that he was cognizant of evil in all its forms, consenting to it in none, but abhorring it with all his sou1, and destroying it with all his might.
As concerning Christ's flesh, we have taught above in the language of the Reformed church of Scotland, that “in its own nature it was mortal and corruptible;” not as Adam's before the transgression, but as Adam's after the transgression, part and parcel of that flesh and blood, which can, by itself, no more inherit the kingdom of heaven than corruption can inherit incorruption. 1 Cor. xv. 50. Also that it was without sin, yet not through any virtue in itself, or exemption from the trials and infirmities which all flesh is heir to, (for “he was tempted in all points, like as we are,”) and partook of “all the common infirmities” of this life, amongst which “mortality” is one, (Westminster Confession and Larger Catechism); but only through the continual working of God in it, in the person of the son, and by the Father's gift of the Holy Ghost. It was holy by Godhead working in it, from the time it was made alive in the womb of the virgin, until the time it was made alive again in the womb of its mother earth. To make flesh holy was the great end, work, and accomplishment of the Incarnate God and was brought about by the consenting and harmonious operation of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according to their eternal and necessary relations and operations; the Father sending the Son according to the eternal purpose; the Son assuming flesh into his own person, and in it performing all the Father's will; the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and Son, to be its life and strength, and holiness, its resurrection and glory. To this flesh we have applied the word “sinful,” or “of sin,” in order to express the state out of which God took it; the words “sinless and holy,” to express
the state into which God brought it, and in which he continually upheld it holy, yea, most holy. We would have shunned to use that word “sinful,” and have been content with the words “mortal and corruptible” used by the Church; but that, as the Orthodox found when they contended with the Arians, so we find now, that all those words which had satisfied the greater honesty of former times, are perverted by the duplicity of these our days. For they say, mortal, that is capable of death, as Adam's created flesh was, and “corruptible” in the same sense; but by no means “mortal and corruptible” as our flesh, that is, liable to death. Finding this subterfuge in continual practice, we are constrained to seek another word, which can in no wise apply to flesh as it was created, and we choose the word “sinful, or of sin,” which the apostle applieth to it, Rom. viii. 3. But while we took upon us to adopt this word from the apostle, we were careful to shew, that the identity stood only in the properties of the substance, and not in the fashion into which it was moulded, by the continual energy of the Spirit of God in the hands of the Son of man: asserting and demonstrating in all ways that it was sustained holy, and ever presented acceptable unto God. The Bourignian and Socinian doctrine, that Christ's life in the flesh was no more than other fallen and sinful men's, we have anathematised in every form, and do simply charge as a slanderer and blasphemer any person who pleaseth to assert the contrary. But because we are thus explaining our reasons for the use of that word " sinful" in addition to the ordinary words “mortal and corruptible,” let no honest and upright man tremble, as if we were periling the truth for a mere matter of words. God forbid. It is not a logomachy or strife of words; but a question of everlasting and saving truth, which moves us to give distinctness to our meaning, by the use of that word. Two doctrines alike subversive of our redemption had been propounded: the one, that his flesh was not, like ours, under the law of sin and death; but created like that of Adam; the other, that it was in a new state which it received by the supernatura1 generation; both denying that his flesh needed any continual work of God to uphold its holiness, or was exposed
to our temptations, or overcame our enemies; in one word, cutting himself off altogether from the third part of all our temptations in the flesh; and therewith as good as cutting him off from the other two, the devil and the world. Christ had the law of the flesh to contend with, as well as the course of the world, and the spiritual wickednesses in the high places. This, they allege, is to make him a sinner, though we have proved and declared the contrary in all ways. Contemplating this charge, we have shewn that the only holiness in man which scripture maketh mention of, the only good works which the church hath ever produced - those acts for which God hath commended men since the world began, have been wrought out in this very way, by overcoming the law of sin and death in the members, because there never was any other way in which they could be wrought out since the fall. Enoch, “who pleased God,” had the law of sin and death in his members; and so had all those elders who obtained a good report, and wrought righteousness. Are those who assert that it makes man a sinner to have a law of sin and death in his members, prepared to maintain that no man hath ever done an action holy and acceptable unto God? Then do they contradict all the Scripture and all churches, which have been as careful to maintain, that the regenerate man doth good works, as that the unregenerate man doth none. And what saith Paul? “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God;” Rom. xii. 1, 2. Would he have thus besought them, if it had been impossible to present our bodies holy and acceptable unto God? This is what Christ ever did; and if the Scriptures declare that this to do, is to be " holy and acceptable unto God," who is he that may declare the contrary?
The object which I have now in view by the citation of a few passages of Scripture, is to shew that the true doctrine, that in Christ there was the law of sin and death, which the law of the Spirit of life did ever prevail against, so far from being against holiness, is in truth a
condition necessary unto that holiness which God requireth of man, in order to be well-pleasing in his sight; and that the thing spoken of in the holy Scriptures as holiness, is nothing else than the putting down of the law of sin and death in the members, by the law of the Spirit of life in the mind. This law of life was begotten with Christ Jesus: to beget it was one chief end of his supernatural generation, and to continue it in others is the work of regeneration. The law of the creation-life was pure goodness, ignorant and unconscious of sin; but the law of the spiritual life is holiness, conscious of sin, intelligent of all its ways, and wiles, inveterate against its existence, and ever successful in its destruction: wherefore also the blessed Spirit, through whose agency it is done, is called the Holy Ghost; holiness being his work; sin-hating and sin-destroying his way of working. This person of the blessed Trinity, acting under the hand of Christ, did generate holy, preserve holy, and present holy Christ's flesh, ever beset with the law of nature, but never under its mastery, and doth now continue in the regenerate the same most holy operation; so that he which is born of God cannot sin, because that holy seed abideth in him, 1 John iii. 9.
1. For our first proof, take the 6th chapter of the Romans, where the apostle asserteth (ver. 2), that Christians are “dead to sin, so as not to live any longer therein,” but to walk in newness of life. It is therefore not only possible to be dead to sin, but it is the very condition of every baptised person, who doth in that act die with Christ to the natural way of life, (ver. 6): “our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. It is possible, I say, for men such as we are to become dead to sinning, and alive to holy obedience, - possible, yea, it is so proved by God in the generation of the Holy Ghost, for which baptism is the pledge and seal of God. Now Christ had this generation in his conception, and therefore was always dead to sin, and alive unto holiness. This he was by spiritual generation, by spiritual life, which in him was what it is in us. For as he lived by the Father, we live by him. Spiritual life is the life of the spirit, not a carnal or physical change, but a spiritual, the constant
presence of a will to live so. Christ had this will always to be holy. And as the right constitution of a man is, that the members of the body should obey the will, therefore Christ, by the righteous will, did command the members, and they obeyed; and so not only was holiness restored, but it was restored according to the original fabric of man; wherein the will had the function of power and command, the members the function of obedience. And by the will, Christ did draw his members from the oppression of sin, and death, and the devil, and made them always obedient to his will, which is obedient to God, because it is one person with God. And this he did from the conception most perfectly and entirely. But if, as some say, Christ had not the flesh to crucify, how could our old man be crucified with him? if Christ had not a body of sin to destroy, and a natural man to bury, how could ours be said to be destroyed and buried with him? It is distinctly asserted in as many words, “In that he died, he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” The apostle is not half so jealous of his language as we are, and wherefore? because he had less of the fear of man. He is not at pains to say, that he died unto sin always, all his life long, but once at his death, because in that act he consummated and manifested the whole antecedent death unto sin; nor is he at pains to say that he lived unto God anterior to his resurrection, for the same reason. There was a something called sin, to which Christ ever died, and to which he for ever died upon the cross. To say that he had not the law of sin in the members of his body to crucify, is to make void the whole of this divine record. And to say that he was not under the dominion of death like other men, but only capable of dying like Adam, is to deny these words, “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once; and in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” I had not thought, that in this day, any person would have been so hardy as to deny that Christ was mortal, that is, subject to and under the dominion of death; but I find that all these battles of orthodoxy have to be fought over again. To the passage just quoted, add that, Heb. v. 7, “Who in the
days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.” That he had power to lay down his life, and to take it up again, and that no one had power to take it from him, and that it was impossible he should be holden of death's pangs, is because he had the power of the resurrection from the Father, sealed to him in the gift of the Holy Ghost, and because he had fulfilled the conditions thereof, which is perfect holiness. In Christ's death unto sin once for all, upon the cross, the apostle teacheth us, that sin in flesh was destroyed, and the law of its dominion for ever ended in all flesh. And he further teacheth, that this is the truth, upon the faith of which, and unto the faith of which we are baptized, and being baptized, should “be dead unto sin,” should be “freed from sin,” should “not yield our members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin,” but “as instruments of righteousness unto God,” should “reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin,” but “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I wonder who is he that, in the face of those and many other such expressions with which this chapter all over aboundeth, dares to assert, that by reason of the law of sin and death in our members, we cannot be righteous in the sight of God; and that to say Christ had such a law, is to make him both a sinner by original and actual sin. Original and actual sin I have already cleared him of, and now I point to the word of God, in which I find it spoken of all baptized men, that their natural man is dead, his life extinct, the body of sin buried, and a new life present, the same as that in which Christ arose, and liveth in glory. If any man, assembly of men, church, or standards of any church, will say that the law of sin and death in the members of a man prevents that man from being holy, and that God himself cannot bring holy actions out of him in this life, I set forth these words in the same chapter spoken of, and to, mortal man: “God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin; but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (ver. 17); and I ask, if hearty obedience of God's own form of doctrine is not holiness: likewise these other words, “Being then made free from sin, ye
became the servants of righteousness” (ver. 18); and I ask again, if to have become a servant of righteousness, is not to be holy: and, those other words, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (ver. 22); and I ask, if to be dead to sin, to be a servant of God, to bear fruit unto holiness, is not to be holy. And if, in defiance of these many and various declarations of God, they do still maintain, that for one to assert there was a law in Christ's flesh, like the law in the flesh of other mortal men, is to make him a sinner, when it is declared, that men under that law, in so far as they were by the Spirit conformed to it, were not sinners, but righteous and holy; I say, upon God's authority, that in this matter at least, they are enemies of the truth.
The viith chapter of the Romans presents us with a sketch of the way, in which a regenerate man may bring himself anew under the bondage of the law, and describes the operation of the law in the flesh, from which his regeneration freed him, stirring up its life again; to the end we may have nothing to do with it any more, but being divorced from it and married to another, may cleave to him and him alone, who is our spiritual life. Like most other interpreters, I had thought the controversy set forth in that chapter between the flesh and the Spirit, descriptive of the holiness of the regenerate life; but a more careful study of the context convinceth me, that it is not a righteous, but an unrighteous state of the regenerate man, which is there described, not an evangelical but a legal condition of his being, from which he needs to be delivered, and therefore I think it is not proper to apply these words unto Christ, in whom the law of the flesh, though ever present, was ever present in the condition of impotence and death, and never arose into the state of warfare there described, being kept down by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the hands of the Son of Man. And I warn all Christians, who are wont to pillow their heads upon this passage, as if it described the right holy attainment of the regenerate life, to be instructed that it describeth a state of imperfect sanctification, not by any means to be indulged, because it will never be justified, but is ever disapproved of by God.
Because there might arise a very serious error upon the subject of our Lord's holiness, from the false notion which exists concerning the holiness of the regenerate man, I count it good to observe here, that the true doctrine of our Lord's holiness is, that the natural or old man never brought the spiritual man to a parley, yet was ever present in all his strength needing to be kept down, but was effectually kept down; not eradicated, but subdued; his spiritual man was willing by the Spirit. His flesh was not in a state of real physical, but in a state of real moral, impotence and death. There was no strength left in the natural man; he was pinioned and pinned to the earth every limb and muscle of him; bound to the altar with cords of heavenly strength, and there offered a living sacrifice. I myself have once written, that the Saviour could ever say, “Yet not I, but sin that dwelleth in me,” yet never in the sense of his having sinned, (God forbid,) but to express that, notwithstanding in the Psalms he saith of himself, “My sins,” he could always say, “Yet not I.” I did not mean, that sin had any activity or potency, that the I ever sinned, or any thing which the I covers, - any member of the flesh or of the mind, no, not one hair of his head. If Christ's flesh, in his person, and of his person a part, did any act of sin, of whatever sort, either in the way of suffering or of effecting it, he could not be holy. We say, that it was flesh sinful in its own properties, converted into holy flesh by its union with his person. The energy of his power did sanctify it, his knowledge, his faith, his truth, his will; in one word, his unity with God through the Spirit. For when Christ comes into the place and condition of the Son of man, his union with Godhead is carried on by the Holy Spirit. Indeed, his union with the Father is always carried on by the Spirit, who is, therefore, in theological language, called the vinculum Trinitatis. The order and offices of the divine persons are not altered, but only declared, by Christ's coming within the bounds of the reason of man. He brings all the Son's dutifulness into the region of knowledge, that we may know him to be “Son of God!” he brings all the Father's love and holiness to light, by resting upon the one, and fulfilling the other; and all the Spirit's power by putting himself, for our sake, into the extremest peril, there to be sustained, and therein to he saved. But
he was saved and delivered therein. He took flesh out of that evil bondage of sin, and power of corruption. He took every member of flesh; and he will forthwith take out of the same bondage every creature of God, save those who, being possessed of a will; prefer their own destruction to their own salvation: all this in virtue of being born of the Spirit, having the life of the Spirit, which is the life of the Father. And we, receiving the same life in our regeneration, ought, in like manner, to take our flesh out of the hands of the enemy. We ought not with the “flesh to serve sin;” we ought not to be “sold under sin.” And in one word, no part of the conclusion of the viith chapter ought to be applied to the righteous experience of a regenerate man. It pertains to his backsliding towards the law; and if it be applied to Christ, it is only as a temptation, and not an experience; as a consciousness, but not a consenting; as a liability, but not as a thing admitted or permitted ever to possess him, no, not a hair upon his head. The apostle having exhibited the law and the flesh wrestling together against the life of Christ in the soul, and re-awakening the life of sin and death, proceedeth in the viiith chapter, to set forth how that power of sin and death in the flesh, was for ever destroyed; namely, by Christ's coming in the likeness of flesh of sin, and condemning the sin which be found in flesh. To understand this, we must possess the true idea of flesh, as one thing created in Adam, and through his sin brought under a law of sin and death, under the power of which it is assumed by Christ, and from the power of which it is, by his perfect righteousness, delivered. As the serpent's poison, entering at any the smallest puncture of the body, doth straightway poison the whole frame, so Adam's one sin poisoned all flesh whatever; and as the serpent-grass being found and eaten, doth in like manner pervade the whole body, stay the poison, and restore to health the whole system of flesh; so Christ's Balm of Gilead, his perfect righteousness in the flesh hath taken, the weakness unto righteousness, the potency unto sin, out of it; so that it is represented in the vith chapter, as dying to sin, when he died unto sin, as being crucified on his cross, and buried in his tomb. And now, saith the apostle, the law can be kept by us, who have his Spirit of life dwelling in our
souls; but it never could be kept, while the flesh stood in its natural state uncrucified, waiting for Jesus Christ the great flesh-crucifier. Until we believe that Jesus lived a holy life by the Spirit in the flesh of sin, a life all holy and acceptable unto God, that in his death he did kill the evil life of all flesh, and conquer all temptations in all flesh for ever, our flesh will never die, but live, and carry on an illicit and perverse conversation with the law, such as is described in the viith chapter. But when a man awakens out of that dream of legalism, to believe in Christ as the crucifier of flesh, he is in a case to do that true righteousness of the law which is holy, and just, and good. And accordingly he declareth, (ver. 3, and 4,) that “Christ coming in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Righteousness, and that too the righteousness of the law is the word used by God; “for the law is holy, and righteous, and good.” But there lies an impossibility in the way of the obtaining of it. That impossibility consisted in the condition of the flesh, “the law was weak through the flesh.” Not in the original constitution of the flesh, for it was made in the image of God, and the law is the righteousness of God. The flesh originally did keep the law, without even knowing that there was a law to keep. But from the entering in of sin, the law could do nothing for it, except to open its mouth against it, and cry, Sin, death. Wherefore, the apostle names it, the law of sin and death. What then was to be done? Flesh must be delivered from this continual lust of sinning, if God is to have any pleasure or service in man. And how? By sending his Son in that likeness or form of creature subsistence. For come how he may, and appear as he may, he was no other than the Son of God. He came in the likeness of man, the apostle says in another place, Phil. ii.; and here he defines the condition of man which he took, not the sinless, but the sinful, “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” John says, “he was made flesh.” Paul tells what kind of flesh, “flesh of sin.” To talk of his flesh being of any other sort, is to make void the whole end of his coming, which is “about sin;” and the whole performance,
which is “to condemn the sin in the flesh.” And how this is to be done otherwise than by coming into such weak flesh, and meeting it there, I cannot devise, nor can any other mortal. It is certain, the apostle Paul meant this, and this only. Here was a system of God's creation weakened and diverted from God's purpose by the power of sin in it; this system of flesh God would deliver from its evil condition, and cast the intruder out of it; and to do it, he sent a stronger man into the strong man's castle, and cast him out of it. He sent his own Son in that likeness, who being therein, wrought in it according to the law of its Creator, and in it kept the law of God: and so, as by one man's disobedience sin had been let in, by one man's obedience sin was driven out; and there is no longer any let or hindrance in flesh to the keeping of the law; and so, that the soul is quickened by Christ, to exercise the proper authority over its members, all obedience may proceed. The work of sanctifying the flesh, of reducing it into obedience Christ doth first, the work of regenerating the spirit he doth second; the one before, the other after his resurrection; and having these two, we have complete redemption, and ought to live the life which he lived while in the flesh. Therefore, is it possible and practicable, yea, required of us, to do the righteousness of the law through regeneration of the Spirit, in despite of the law in the members, and if so, who is he that will say Christ, by having that law, was a sinner. Moreover, it saith (ver. 2), “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Because it is the one property, prerogative, and law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, to hunt down and utterly destroy that wild spirit of misrule and rebellion against God, which sin brought into the creation, and to replenish it with a law of love, devotion, and holiness. Creation is God resting in his goodness. Incarnation and regeneration (for they are one) is the same God in arms against sin; and sanctification is the same God victorious over it all, through the instrumentality of man. Further to connect these truths with holy living, to spiritualise them, and bring them into life, he addeth (ver. 6), “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
And finally, to declare that nothing more than this service of God in the Spirit of Christ, is necessary to please God; and that God is pleased with men, who thus mind the things of the Spirit, though there is a law in their members inimical to God, which they mortify, he addeth (ver. 8, 9): “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.”
Now then, O man, whosoever thou art, that flatterest thine indolence and wickedness, by saying, But after all I can do no good or acceptable thing for God; and thou, O man, whosoever thou art, that sanctifiest this delusion of Satan, by saying, For Christ was holy, because he had no law to contend against in the flesh, put a bridle upon thy thoughts, and hold in thy tongue from speaking error, and observe and obey the word of the apostle, in the 12th chapter of this same Epistle: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God,” (ver. 1, 2.) Is God a hard master to ask what he knows he cannot get, to reap where he hath not sown, and to gather where he hath not strawn? ‘Yea,’ say some ignorant and erring men, ‘for thou knowest we have a law of sin and death in our members, which prevents us from doing one hand's-turn of holiness. These commandments to be holy are but words, God knows well enough that we cannot do them; but he is fain to keep up appearances, and Christ comes in and does the whole matter for us, and so we are safe and secure.’ And this is Christianity, and this is spiritual Christianity? And this is that which is ready to let loose thunders upon the head of those who would disturb its unholy sanctuary? My heart is sore pained within me, and I cannot speak any more for my grief. God relieve the pain which I am now pained with for thy church, and help me for her sake.
2. Take next a passage in Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians, where (chap. iii. 3), he declareth that we are Christ's epistles written with the Spirit of God in
the fleshy tables of the heart. We were, indeed, strange Epistles of Christ, if every thought, word, and action of ours must needs be unholy through the law of sin and death! Epistles, too, we are in the fleshly tables of the heart, the vileness of our flesh notwithstanding. Indeed, it is this very natural vileness of the heart, which, by being cleansed, maketh us, in the holiness of our new man, capable of witnessing to Christ as a flesh redeemer, as a flesh purifier, and flesh quickener from the dead. The law of the Spirit hath delivered our flesh from the law of sin, and we do witness in our life to that most holy life which is in Christ: and how this glorious resemblance is wrought in us he expresses thus, (ver. 18). “But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” What a declaration is this of our present conversion into the image of Christ's glory, kindred with those expressions of the 6th chapter of the Romans already referred to, where we are said to be “risen with him,” to be “alive from the dead,” to be partakers of “the newness of his life:” all signifying that Christ, upon his ascension into glory, became the fountain-head of a new life, which those who believe on him partake, and, partaking, do walk as he also walked in the present life, and in the life to come shall be partakers of his resurrection, and reign with him in glory. This present change of the saint into the image of Christ, by beholding his glory, like Moses' change of countenance from beholding the glory of God, is declared to be a spiritual work, operated in the inward man of the heart, without at all altering the outward man of the flesh, (iv. 6). “For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.” It is very remarkable, yea, impossible, that if Christ's flesh needed, in order to be holy, to be cast in Adam's mould, or to be moulded into some third state in the generation, that we, whose flesh continues mortal, and corruptible, and temptible in itself, should be called “Epistles of Christ,” “the same image.” And if the Spirit doth accomplish this in us without changing our flesh, doth write Christ on our fleshly heart, and make
us shine with his glory, it is wonderful that he could not do the same in Christ's flesh. But while this is truly and only a spiritual work, operated in the spirit, without any change wrought upon the flesh, it doth restore the soul to its proper place of dignity and authority, which is to make the body obedient unto the same law of holiness with which the Holy Ghost hath informed it. And because it finds in the flesh a law of sin and death, it begins by putting that to silence, by crucifying the flesh to its natural 1ikings, and mortifying our members which are upon the earth. This is the first effect of the life of Christ, to put the life of nature to death. And because he did this openly upon the cross, having done it spiritually all his life long, it is called being crucified with Christ, and bearing about with us the dying of the Lord; that is shewing the fruits of his death triumphant over flesh and principalities and powers, by triumphing over them ourselves. And thus doing, we do what Christ did in the days of his flesh; we live the life of Christ over again in our body, in our mortal flesh. What a glorious declaration of this is contained in these verses of the same context! “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live, are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh,” (ver. 10, 11.) If there were no other passage in Scripture than this one to prove that Christ's flesh and ours are one and the same in all natural laws and capacities, needing the very same power of God to sanctify it, and capable of the same sanctification by that power, I could rest this whole question upon it alone, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.” What doth this mean? It means that Christ's death had virtue in it to put all the enemies in our flesh to death, and did put them to death. The way of this we have explained in the former illustrations from the vi. vii. and viii. chapters of the Romans. But there is a passage in the Colossians which expresseth it so perfectly and so correctly, that we cannot help noticing it in this place: Where his circumcision is made equivalent to thc cutting off our superfluity of naughtiness, the body of sins of thc flesh; his baptism is our burial and resurrection to a new
life; his nailing of the flesh to the cross nails these carnal ordinances of the law, and spoils all principalities and powers which were wont to accuse us through the law, and master us through the flesh; and we believing that all these benefits were wrought out by Christ for all flesh, do enter into the same benefits, and are brought into a condition of living the life of Christ. The meaning, therefore, of “bearing about with us the dying of the Lord Jesus Christ,” is expressed in these words, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins, and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses: Blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross: And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” It is impossible to live a holy life in flesh without this circumcision, baptism, and resurrection, and freedom from the bondage of the law, and deliverance out of the hands of principalities and powers, and these we cannot have without believing that Christ did in his conception, baptism, cross, and resurrection, these offices for this flesh of ours. Which offices to do, he must have had it to do them upon. Strange it is, that if all these things were done for our flesh in the supernatural generation, the apostle should never once have stumbled upon that event in all his Epistles, but always upon circumcision, baptism, the cross, and the resurrection. In that act he received the power, the agency of the Holy Spirit to do them, but the doing of them was not then, but at three several acts; circumcision shewed that he had the body of the sins of the flesh to cut off, and baptism that he had it to bury, and the cross, that he had flesh under the curse to crucify, and resurrection, that he had mortal flesh to take out of the hands of principalities and powers of darkness, and his receiving the various testimonies of God, especially the resurrection,
shews, that he had never failed to do all these things for flesh most perfectly, ever presenting it holy unto God. We, believing in this work of Christ for all flesh, do enter into all the fruits of his work, and by the continual ministry of the same spirit, are able to do the same works continually, to bring the flesh to die unto its desires, to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, to bear about the dying of the Lord, and to live his life. For it is twice over asserted that Christ's life is made manifest in our body, in our mortal flesh. But if so be that Christ had a different body from the rest of men, and that his flesh was not mortal, how were it possible that his life could be manifested in our body, and in our mortal flesh. And if, as some affirm, it be heresy to maintain that Christ's flesh had in it the law of sin and death, for him to subdue and keep in moral impotence, how is it possible that his very life should be manifested in bodies of sinful flesh such as these of ours undoubtedly are? And yet the apostle declares, that this was the very end and purpose of all his labours and sufferings for the church's sake. Or how can those follow the apostle's holy footsteps, who believe, that because of the law in our flesh, it is utterly impossible that any act of Christ's holy life should be manifested in our life? If it be in the power of words to identify the life of a saint with the life of Christ, it must be these words, which, therefore, I transcribe over again: “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live, are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” (ver. 10. 11.) Before leaving this rich vein of evangelical truth, we shall make one other quotation, to shew that the work done upon us by Christ, in order to produce this identity of life with him, is not any change upon the flesh, but upon the spirit only, and through it upon the flesh. “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,”. (chap. v. ver. 16, 17.) And
to shew the manner in which this was brought about; namely, by Christ partaking of the sinful substance, and making it holy, it is added, (ver. 21.) “For he hath made him, to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Where two things are asserted, - the first, that he who was without sin (original or actual) being, to begin with, the Son of God, and ever afterwards the Holy Child of God, was yet by God, in some way, made to be sin for us; and then, secondly, that through this making we are made (generated) the righteousness of God in him. Whereof the meaning is, that all the days of his flesh he was engaged against sin, and oppressed by it, being suffering, sorrowing, mortal, and corruptible as others, and in all respects dealt with as one that was cast out and accursed, while all the while he was without sin in any shape or form. And that he was contented to die under this cloud, as a forsaken and accursed man in the flesh, in the full faith that his Father would raise up to him a seed of holy ones, who, by their holiness, should vindicate him as the Holy One of God. Though, doubtless, he was JUSTIFIED in the Spirit, our holiness is the standing testimony that he was the Holy One of God, and not the public malefactor and the deceiver of the people. He, in the days of his flesh, took upon him to fight our battles, and to go down to the grave with our disgrace branded upon him; leaving it to our honour to testify to his spotlessness, by drawing largely from that fountain of life, which he was striking out of the flinty rock. It is true, that his enemies could charge nothing against him, and that his resurrection sealed him to be the Holy One of God; but he wished this witness to be kept up by the church, through the exemplification of that very holiness of God which was in him. And behold men are come to this with their systems, that they say, no man can in any wise, or by any power of God, be truly holy in this life; but, regenerate though he be, inhabited by God in the Spirit, and united with Christ, still every work he doth is unholy; and that even Christ himself, if he had had flesh such as ours, and temptations in the flesh such as ours, must needs have been a sinner. How then can we ever be generated the righteousness of God in him? Oh reader!
thou art answerable not to man, but to God; give heed how thou readest.
3. There is such a power of truth and force of persuasion unto holiness, in the passage last quoted, that we count it good to separate it, and make it the subject of a distinct illustration. It begins from verse 16 of the vth chapter of the second Epistle to the Corinthians, and runs on to the end of the chapter. “For the love of Christ constraineth us” in what we do, whether ye may think it foolish or wise. We are not careful to recommend ourselves to you or to men, but to write our recommendatory Epistle in your conscience. We have no thought of man's flesh at all, or of fleshly things at all, “For we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead [all died]; and he died for all, that those who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him that died for them and rose again.” Therefore, feeling that the death which I owed to the offended holiness of God, Christ hath rendered up for me as for all men, and that for me and for all men he hath brought life and immortality out of the tomb, I judge myself to be dead, so far as the life I received by fleshly generation is concerned, and to have received another life in Christ's receiving another life - the resurrection-life of the Spirit; and in gratitude I am bound, in I am bound to cease from living to myself, and I am constrained to live to his service, from whom I receive this my better life. And so ought all other men to look upon their fleshly life as crucified with Christ, and to feel that they are dead to him, saying with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” But while the apostle looks upon all flesh as dead in Christ's death, and quickened with Christ's life, doth he include Christ's own flesh with the rest? While he refuseth any more to he moved with fleshly considerations, or to have any regard whatever for the flesh of any man, doth he include the flesh of Christ with the rest of the mass. Yea, most peremptorily, saying thus in the very next verse, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth know
54 Greek words below need checked
we him no more.” There is, therefore, a Christ kata saxkda (flesh-wise) as well as other men kata saxka (flesh-wise); and he died to that way of existence as well as all other men; and he must be no more known after the flesh than must other men. He needed to put off that which is born of the flesh, which is flesh, and cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; he needed to put flesh to death, and in putting his flesh to death, he put all flesh to death. How he could do this if his flesh were not one with all flesh, I cannot devise. So saith Paul, but unfortunately, Paul hath little to say in these questions, which are governed by the words and opinions of living men! God help us. The flesh-Christ, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, the Son of Man, is not the being we have to know, but the Son of God, born of the Spirit, and by the Spirit raised from the dead, and seated in the heavenly places, to serve out that new life of the Spirit with which he is endowed, that we also may become the sons of God. Christ took the Jew and put him under the waters of baptism, he took the Adam and put him into the grave; he took the elements of the world, the old things of creation which depended from the body of man, and gave the assurance of a deliverance against the manifestation of the Sons of God into the same glorious liberty. The Jew hankers after the flesh of Christ, and he becomes a Judaizer in the Church; the Gentile hankers after the flesh of Christ, and he becomes a worldling; no one can get his liberty, his new generation, his new life, his new enjoyments, his new world, otherwise than by ceasing to know Christ after the flesh, and therewith ceasing to know all men and all things, by beginning to know Christ after the Spirit, and therewith knowing all men as part of a new creation, whereof the first stone was laid when Christ arose from the dead, whereinto we are builded as living stones, a spiritual house, to offer sacrifices unto God. Wherefore, the apostle addeth, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation); old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” The newness of the creation, therefore, is not in the flesh of Christ, for with that the apostle had abjured all fellowship. We are not in him by the flesh, but he is in us thereby, flesh of our flesh, that we might be spirit
of his Spirit, and through that participation of Spirit, participate also in due time of his resurrection body; as it is written, “If the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” By the resurrection, not by the generation, the change comes to the flesh of Christ; by our resurrection, not by our regeneration, the change comes upon our flesh. Mortality is the form of flesh of sin, immortality is the form of flesh of holiness; and flesh which by nature is of sin, is made holy against its nature only by the supernatural power of the Holy Ghost, which Christ possessed from his birth, and communicates unto us in our regeneration, from which time we also should present our flesh of sin obedient unto holiness. Therefore, when the apostle had said, that to one in Christ Jesus, by reason of the Spirit, all things are new; he immediately adds whence these new things are derived, “and all (these) things are (out) of God.” Now no one will say, that Christ's flesh was out of God, but out of the virgin; but his body raised from the dead was out of God, being by the mightiest power of God exalted to its present dignity. (Eph. i, 20.) This he reconcileth to the subject of his preaching, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing (reckoning to) their trespasses unto them - For he made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made (become) the righteousness of God in him.” I know no expression in all my writings, or in thc writings of any orthodox divine, so rash as that God made Christ sin. Well might the apostle be charged, as we have been, with unguarded language. But he is properly chargeable with no such thing, inasmuch as he guardeth it immediately with these words, “who knew no sin.” And if, having used the word sinful flesh, I have not ever been found using the same precaution, I myself will justify my slanderers and calumniators. But they have got into a conventional way of understanding thc apostle Paul, to mean something else than he says; and so they tell us, that the words “made him sin,” mean “made him a sin –offering.” That he was a sin-offering is true, - “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the
world,” and that the reconciliation comes only through the knowledge of Christ as such - there can be no doubt. The only question is, how could he - how did he become such a sin-offering? He was not a very 1amb, but that which a 1amb signified, “the holy one of God.” He was not responsible person, conscious of good and evil. Sin was not laid upon him by a mere confession as upon the lamb; but he was made to feel them as a man, and yet feeling them, he withstood them and overcame them. But he felt them - they were laid upon him - they darkened his Father's countenance like a thick cloud - they agonised his heart - they bound his head, they afflicted his soul - they wrought upon him as they do upon every person, up to the point of producing doubt of his Father's grace and justice. He felt Adam's guilt as much, and more than Adam did, though not by being in any sense implicated in it; and he felt Adam's sorrow to see such corruption and waste as much, and more than Adam did. “God made him sin.” God dealt with him as if he had been nothing but an epitome of all sin. And did God injustice therein? did God deviate from his purpose in man? No; but he perfectly revealed it by means of a perfect man. His purpose in men is, that they should be one substance as well as many persons. Whereof the proof is, that he created us one, and adjudged us to death as one, so that I am as much implicated in the guilt and consequences of Adam's sin as Adam himself was; and if in Adam's, so in every man's, or in the sin of Adamhood. This is the one pole of human nature, its unity; and the other is our several personality, in right of which every one will be judged in the day of judgment, for the deeds which he hath done in thc flesh, whether they be good or evil. These are the two poles of human nature - our unity, and our personality. These no Christian should lose sight of. Now Christ being perfect man, was as truly accursed to feel all the effects of the sin which is exhibited in all men, as all men were blessed with Adam's creation. He realised a Father's shame for his children's sin, and a mother's, and a brother's, and a friend's. There was no form of sympathy in which he did not feel with us and for us. As every man's goodness was in Adam created, so every man's badness
was by Christ in his human nature felt, as sin is wont to be felt in its shame, and fear, and temptation; but it never once shook the purpose of holiness, the human will of obedience, the constancy of faith, the perfection of the divine image, with which Christ, from his conception, was blessed. He shewed Godhead power to the utmost extremity of his body and reach of his voice, and far beyond, Godhead holiness, Godhead's perfect image. Nor was that image perturbed, much less broken or erased, but preserved its perfect form and divine beauty, writing the image of God upon the chaos of nature, In his unity with mankind, he received upon his countenance the obscuration, and trouble, and dismay of all sins whatever; in his unity with Godhead, he brought such reinforcements of the Spirit as did utterly discomfit them, and prevent them from being otherwise, in all his bruised and afflicted members, than, is the immaculate Godhead, and thus he was, not by any new law or condition imposed upon him as a man, but he was so because he was a man, and because every man ought so to be; and according as we are filled with the Spirit, made perfect in the communion of the saints, and brought into a state of personal righteousness, so will we become ashamed for sin, penitent for sin, full of grief, and confession, and anguish, because that we have opened a thousand valves of love and tender pity, through which it flows in from man, and finds its vent out again from man towards God, in agonies, prayers, and tears, and fasts. I understand this double mystery of man's nature, love has made me to understand it; most men understand it not, they are thinking only of their own personal sin or righteousness. They talk, indeed, of original sin, but they understand not what it means, they feel not that unity of our being which it communicates, and so they cannot see how Christ, being personally holy, could have any ground either for feeling or for confessing sin. Knowing, as they do only these single-sided views of truth ought I to be angry at them? No, but I should pity them, as I do from my heart. And as a man, who, looking at half the round world, should say, but there is no more of it, ought to be taken to a point where he may see the other side; so am I endeavouring to take men
to a point from which they may see the other side of the truth of our Lord's work in the flesh.
How then did God “make him sin who knew no sin?” by making him flesh, of which the law is, that it shall feel in common with all flesh in all persons. The flesh in all other persons is brimful of sin; if Christ is to take flesh, therefore, he will at once be made sin. For this reason flesh is called “flesh of sin,” (Rom. viii. 3,) and the body is called “the body of sin ;” and on Christ's cross “the body of sin” is said to have been “destroyed.” And when he died unto the natural life, he is said “to have died unto sin.” Do we then wish to fasten on Christ the stigma of sin? Oh no! for how then could we be saved? But we are wishing to have apostolical liberty. For we say as he doth, “him who knew no sin God made sin for us;” in one breath asserting his personal sinlessness in the community of our sinful nature. And wherefore this conjunction of contraries? “That we might become God's righteousness in him.” That is to say, that by being in him, we might receive of him power to reduce that nature into righteousness, which in the days of his flesh he did do. That we receiving the inhabitation of Christ in us, and being engrafted into him, might get of that divine nature, which enabled him to make this human nature of ours to become “God's own righteousness.” Christ's human nature was by Christ made to become God's own righteousness. He having knitted it to himself, put into it divine holiness. As his it was God's own righteousness, as ours it was flesh of sin. He, the great alchimist, turned the dross into purest gold. And when we are brought unto him, we share of that universal medicine which can convert the black, the hellish stream of our hearts, into the pure water of life.
4. The next passage of Scripture which we shall adduce for the purpose of shewing that there is no holiness either in Christ or in Christ's members, otherwise than by the subjugation and captivity of that natural life which is in flesh, is taken from the First Epistle of Peter, where, in the second chapter, that holy Apostle, in order to encourage Christ's suffering members to bear the unjust reproaches and undeserved blows of men, doth commend the same by the example of Christ, “who also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his
steps.” But if we have a law of sin and death in our members, which he had not, how shall we be able to follow in his steps? How shall the man in fetters be able to follow in the steps of the freeman. His suffering is no model for ours, if so be he had not to suffer through the flesh temptations to sin as we have. And where shall we find in him strength to enable us to endure, seeing this he never endured. The work which is to be done in us, is a far greater work than he performed in the days of his flesh; and where have we either the strength to do it, or the example to follow in the doing of it? The thing to be done is, not merely to live holy, but to live holy in despite of temptations through the flesh. It is not enough to constitute him our example, that he should be holy, but that he should be holy in our very circumstances, or rather in our very life; for it is not a matter of circumstances, but of life. He must have the natural way of life which we have, and, having it, keep his body obedient to the commandments of God. This he did through the spiritual generation as man which he received from his Father; and this same thing we should do, from the spiritual regeneration which we receive from our Father who is his Father. That the new form of human life is capable of compelling into obedience, this old form of human life, was proved in Christ, and remains to be proved in us, by our walking in his holy footsteps. In what way, the Apostle immediately explaineth in these words: “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (I Pet. ii. 22-25.) - Christ was tempted to revile in return, or where were the example to us of resisting the temptation to revile? If Christ's flesh was not like ours, liable to be moved to strife and speaking again, it were a cheat to present his freedom from these sins as our calling to be free from the same; and if his fleshly man had not been susceptible of feeling insult, and by nature inclined to re-
taliate it, where were the merit of his withholding him from invoking these twelve legions of angels which ever watched and waited around him? And if he had not felt the smart of unjust judgment, of being called a blasphemer of that God whom he served, by those brethren whom he loved, if this had not entered like a sword into his heart, as oft-times it hath into the heart of him who writes these pages, then where were the praise and the merit held up to our admiration and imitation, of his becoming dumb, and opening not his mouth, when he was led like a 1amb to the slaughter? His life is nothing at all, either of action or of passion, if he had not continual temptations in the flesh, such as we also have; a law of sin and death to overcome, a will of the flesh to keep obedient to the will of the Spirit in his mind, and yet he was holy, nor was guile found in his mouth. He was made perfect through all these sufferings; he rejoiced in tribulations; he was patient in agonies; he prayed for his murderers with his last breath. Was it to his dishonour or honour, that he had this very sensitive nature of ours to perfect such holiness in? Surely it was thus more honourable. He that slew so many with an ox goad, was more honoured than if he had done it with Goliah's sword. But, if to have the life of nature in us, however it may be suppressed, and silenced, mortified, and triumphed over, and made obedient to God, be yet the essence of sin, how should ever there be any righteousness in us at all, seeing no one disputeth but we have such an evil life to subjugate. If to condemn sin in the flesh; if to trample Satan under our feet; if to be transformed from the course of this world, by the renewing of our mind, be still evil, then how is it called “holy and acceptable,” “a reasonable service,” a “proving what is that good, and holy, and perfect will of God.” And if such words may be spoken of us by God, albeit the law of the members be in us, may it not so be spoken of Christ, albeit the law of the members be in him. And if for Christ, or his members thus to be, God calleth “holy and acceptable?” Who is he that dare call it unholy and unacceptable? He, and he only, who hasteneth after another God constructed for him out of the inventions of man.
But how are we to follow that holy example of self-denial set us by the Lord? Thus, saith one Apostle, by knowing and believing that “he bare our sins in his own body on
the tree;” that in that body of flesh and blood in which he lived and died, our sins were borne, that is “the sin of the world;” and yet he was sinless. How so? His perfect righteousness, that is, his being ever such a man as God would have all men to be, made him love men and all mankind, as he loved himself. Our sins went thrilling up into his soul, as if they had been all his own; from the ends of the earth, and the two extremes of mankind, the beginning and the ending, the sins of all flesh came up in a dark cloud to cover his soul with distrust and dismay: and this gathering blackness is called in Scripture “the hour and the power of darkness.” Great was his terror, and agony, and forsakenness; there was no star in the heaven of his soul; the depths were opened upon him from beneath, and the waterspouts from above came roaring down, and all the billows of God passed over him. He stood among fierce lions, upon the horns of unicorns, and among the roaring bulls of Bashan. This is the nature of sin-bearing. It is not as if sins were laid upon, and lapped about him like a physical covering. The sting of sin is not outward and physical, but inward in the conscience, in the darkness, distance, and alienation from God, in the waste desolation of soul, and dismal forsakenness of God, which it worketh; in the wounded spirit; in the vials of God's wrath, which consume man like a moth, but they consumed not Christ; they astonished him; the sinew of his faith shrank but failed not; he sought escape from them, but all within his Father's will. There was one evil greater, and only one: and what was that? the evil of sinning against his Father's will. That he could not, because he would not do. And why would he not? because he was God, whose oneness with God could not be broken.
This concentration of a world's guilt came upon him because he was holy and righteous; and by virtue of his right manhood, he felt every man's trangressions as his own; and speaketh as his own of them in the Psalms. And their effect upon him, their number against him, their strength and power to sever between him and God, was all the same as if they had been his own. And so bearing them in his flesh, gathering them all within his grasp he lifted them from the earth, and strangled them
upon the Cross. He let the life out of his body, and away they went upon the life-stream of his blood. He consumed their house, the natural life of man, and sent them howling out of flesh to tenant mid air, and roam about the earth until he come again to imprison them in the pit of Tophet, which he hath prepared of old for the devil and his angels. And man is free, and man's flesh need be infirm no more; and the law can be kept; and we are dead to sin, that it should not live in us any more; and that we should be alive unto righteousness; and by his stripes are we healed. And we wander no more as strayed sheep, but feed by the quiet waters, under the good shepherd and Bishop of our souls.
I entreat thee, O my beloved friend and brother, whosoever thou art that readest these pages, not to put away all this as unintelligible mystery, or matter of human eloquence. I am writing my very heart's throbs for thee. Think not that I am making words, O my brother! my brother! the love of Christ constraineth me to love thee, with what love he loved me and all mankind in that fell hour, when his heart, no longer able to bear its load, burst, and he bowed his head and gave up the Ghost, and when the soldier pierced his side, there flowed out the contents of a broken heart. What made him capable of gathering within his heart the sins of all men? His holiness, his perfection of holy manhood. It would be so with us also, if we were so holy as he. It is so with us according as we are holy. It is not human to be alien from any thing human: it is divine to feel for another, as if his very case were ours. Rom. xiii. 8. Christ though Son of God was a perfect man, and therefore perfectly one with every other man; and every man's sin was his in the experience and feeling of it, just because he was himself holy and sinless. God was well pleased with him therefore, because thereby he felt as God intended man to feel, unity of substance with all other men, notwithstanding the distinctness of their personality. It is not for nought that Eve was one with Adam, and that Eve's children were one with her and him, and that we are all of one substance of flesh, and that God hath formed all our hearts alike. For nought? It is the very root of thc matter, the great mystery of mankind. Angels are
individual personalities; but mankind are a family, one substance, in flesh and reason. There is not my flesh and thy flesh, but FLESH; there is not my reason and thy reason, but REASON. The personality standeth in the will; and when we preserve this unity with all men, love others as ourselves, feel their case as our own, that is the will of God accomplished in man, and, being his will, is righteousness. For thus is man the true image of God, diverse personalities in one substance subsisting. The most holy man is the greatest sin-confessor; and a perfectly holy man, that is Christ, is the confessor of all sin; as we find him to be in all the Psalms which speak of him. Oh men! it is our divisions, our schisms, our quarrels, our controversies, our breaches of love which bring us into the difficulty of understanding these things, which can by love only be apprehended : but oh! how greatly, how very greatly, love rejoiceth in this truth, how very much love loveth to die for it! And wherefore? Because “therefore the Father loveth me, because I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Furthermore, before leaving the testimony of Peter, after having reverted, in the next chapter, to the subject of suffering patiently for Christ's sake, when we are undeservedly stricken, smitten, and afflicted, he again confirmeth the doctrine of self-denial by Christ's example, in these words: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” - a verse which, besides confirming the doctrine that Christ had a law of the flesh to deny, as we have, and did deny it as we are called upon to do, and was righteous by triumphing over it, and not by the absence of it, doth also contain the truth of his mortality in the flesh, and his vitality in the Spirit. The flesh is declared to have had the same hand in his death which the Spirit had in his life, (for the construction of the two clauses, “put to death in the flesh,” and “quickened in the Spirit,” are the same in the original, which being literally rendered, is, “done to death by flesh, made alive by the Spirit”); now what part the Spirit had in his resurrection is declared in these words, (Rom. viii. 11.) “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the
dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” If, then, the Spirit, or God by the Holy Ghost’s utmost might of working (Eph. i. 19, 20.), did raise Christ from the dead, we must conclude that the mortality of the flesh made or caused him to die. Not that the death of the Son of God was therefore involuntary; otherwise he were no Son of God, nor even holy Son of man, but that being willing to die, and having purposed from the foundation of the world to be the Lamb slain, he found the way to die by taking upon him flesh, with that sentence of God upon it, “Dying thou must die;” and so he willingly took and bare the load of the existing penalty and curse. And therefore in another place it is written, “He was crucified through weakness” (2 Cor. xii.4.); and in conformity with our text it is added, “yet he liveth by the power of God.” And still more strongly by the apostle in writing to the Hebrews, it is affirmed, that to die, and by rising from the dead to expose the weakness, and openly ashame the pretensions of him that hath the power of death, and to deliver man from the realm of terror, was the very reason for which he took flesh and blood, that very substance of which it is elsewhere asserted, that it cannot without a change from corruption to incorruption inherit the kingdom of heaven. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted,” (Heb. ii.)
Can any man reading this last quoted passage of the Scriptures, upon which it were beside our present office to comment, say, that the right virtue and very propriety of Christ's body lay not in its mortality, and liability to all
our temptations whatsoever? This is just what Peter means when he says, that he was done to death by flesh; namely, that he won his way down to the separate spirits, through the door-way of mortal flesh; and thence returning with the gates of hell, he went up heavenward, and left us an example to follow his footsteps. Now, mark the language of the apostle of the Lord, in reducing into the form of practice the historical truth of this death of flesh which Christ, once for all, died, and the life of Spirit which he ever liveth. “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of God, (1 Pet. iv. 1, 2.) In these words his death of flesh and his life of Spirit are drawn forth from being a historical fact, to become a practical doctrine; from being a thing done in time and place, to be an idea proper for the will, a truth realized in the practical conscience, and having an omnipresence of influence, an eternal duration of power in the life of God's redeemed; - now in the form of action, hereafter in the form of rest; now a power, hereafter a monument, and in both cases a presence, of holiness. Christ is declared to have had a mind to suffer in the flesh, that is to say, he did ever will to die daily, to crucify his members upon the earth, that he might live the life of God. Out of his perfect hatred of sin, he did perfectly abhor that community of flesh which once sinned in Adam, and would have abhorred it as much, though it had never sinned again, instead of sinning in every man save himself. With God's longminded abhorrence of that life which sinned against him, Christ hated it from the moment he felt it, and put it to a continuity of death; made it ever to die by an act of his will; and out of that death took its members by an act of his will, and made them live a new life and have a new will, the resurrection life, the will of holiness unto the Lord. All this he did, as a man, within the bounds and limits, with the powers and faculties, of a human will; but not without his operation as the Son of God. It was the Son of God that did it by faculties of a human will; and not without the Father did he it, for when he found
himself in a creature's will, he fulfilled the righteousness of a creature, which is to lean upon its God. And so ever leaning upon God, through faith in his word, he received the ministry of the Holy Ghost, who is the substance of life, and thereby did enforce the sealed tomb of the natural man, and made it all to stir with life, and stand up, and be strong, and do willing works, God's own works, and speak God's words, and in all ways glorify the name of his heavenly Father. This continual self-sacrifice,
this living sacrifice, this doing of the will of God in a body, is the extension over life, of the fact of his dying upon the cross, and rising from the dead. His rising from the dead is the manifestation, to the sense, of that which he ever did, from the instant he took to himself a mortal body; he ever died to the flesh, he ever lived to the Spirit; and so was ever filled with the righteousness of God: ever making himself free from sin, he became servant to God, and had his fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Some assert that this was already done for flesh before he had any thing to do with it; and that he took it devoid of the capacity of sinning, and had nothing to do with crucifying it all his life long. They err, not knowing the Scriptures. It is not my purpose so much to expose their error, as to teach God’s truth. But the error is manifold: (1.) On this most awfully destructive hypothesis, the Son of Man doth not overcome the devil, or condemn sin in the flesh, but it is done for him. (2.) God hath to do this by adding to creation, and so confessing that the original work lacked something. (3.) Freedom from sin in Christ is a physical necessity, not a moral election. (4.) There is no life of holiness, that is, of sin-vanquishing. (5.) There is no example to us, for our new life is sin~vanquishing. (6.) Christ's holiness is no fountain-head of holiness, being altogether different from that which is required in us. (7.) Christ's holiness not being possible in flesh of sin, and his flesh needing to have sin put away before he could take it, no man can be holy; a holy action in the present state of the world is a chimera, and good works are not, and never have been, in the church, and never will be by men in this unchanged flesh performed. (8.) Christ's temptations are no temptations, at least none of ours, in any respect whatever. (9.) His life is uninte-
ligible to us, as the life of an angel, and ours is unintelligible to him, &c. &c. No, brethren, beloved in the sinlessness of Christ's flesh, the righteousness of every member of his body, and his mind, was a moral and not a physical act. The evil lay always beside the good before him as before us, and he always performed the good. The evil came to him as warmly recommended to his natural life as it doth to us, but he always rejected it by his spiritual human will, which abhorred it, and delivered him. Famishing hunger could not tempt him, nor the world's kingdoms, nor any thing in heaven and earth; not because to temptation he was impervious, but because against temptation he was defended by the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. He was like God, knowing good and evil, and always electing the good. But they say it is sinful to have flesh of sin. I am shewing that it is not so in God's estimation, if we yield not to it: yea, very holy and acceptable, if we triumph over it. If we have a mind to suffer in the flesh as Christ suffered in the flesh, if we arm ourselves with the same mind which was in Christ Jesus, then saith the Spirit of God by the holy apostle, we cease from sin, “for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” He doth not mean suffered literally crucifixion as Christ did; for then there were no more life to us here below, as he immediately declareth there is: “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of God,” (1 Pet. iv. 2): he meaneth not dying outright as Christ died upon the cross, but he means what that means, namely, having the same willingness to sacrifice the fleshly life which Christ had, and in virtue of which Christ gave himself willingly to die. So, saith Peter, make a willing sacrifice of thyself all thy life long; be ever minded to do what Christ did upon the cross, and thou shalt ever cease from sin; as he died to sin there once, and as he lived by the Spirit out of the grave, so shalt thou live the same life out of thy mortal body. Make thyself to die in the flesh, and thou shalt receive an unction from the Holy One, of his glorious life. Become a member of the Lamb slain, and thou shalt become a member of the risen Christ. Not only shall become,
but hath become. For Peter saith, “hath ceased from sin,” because to crucify the flesh, the spiritual generation is first necessary, and therefore Christ was born of the Spirit from the first. Spiritual generation manifesteth its existence, by making us willing to die out of our abhorrence of sin; and so we die daily to the natural way of life, through the spiritual way of life which we have received from above. This brings us to our last quotation, which is from the First Epistle of John.
5. My object is to shew that it is an invention of man, and not the Divine idea of holiness, to say, that Christ cannot be holy, unless the law of sin and death be as utterly out of him as it was out of Adam in his first estate; and that the Divine idea of holiness in the man Christ Jesus, or in any other man, is obedience to God's holy law, in spite of, and in triumph over, the law of sin and death, which is in our members. Likewise it is my endeavour to teach that our blessed Lord was sinless, not by the absence of any temptation which is in us, but through the spiritual generation which he received of God, and in what is called regeneration, or generation from above, or simply “being born of the Spirit.” In virtue of which new birth every man is holden to live a holy life; and if he live it not, he faileth not by reason of his circumstances, which in Christ are perfect unto holiness; but by reason of his will, which chooseth to sin rather than to be holy, to transgress rather than to obey. And so our confession of sin should not be hypocritical words, while at heart we believe that holiness was for us impossible; but hourly contrition, burning shame, and deep agony, that having been all furnished for the war, we wanted loyal love for our banner; and, being armed with bows of God, we did, like the sons of Ephraim, turn our backs in the battle. In one word, we seek to establish, that it is no detriment to holiness and acceptancy in the sight of God, to have fought sin in our own flesh, and laid down our natural lives for his sake continually. Detriment, indeed! that it is the very glory and delight of holiness in God's sight, to have come out of such a bloody sweat and concussion of the soul; because thereby his creature man proveth how much he preferreth God to himself, God's holiness to his own life,
by ever doing to death that life of a thousand generations, which once sinned, and therefore through all its generations must die. And man being regenerate of the Spirit, and brought into the unity of Christ's body, is capable of this, and is always spoken of in Scripture as holy, (“the saints,” or “the holy ones,” being the constant names for the members of Christ,) in order that by his name he may know his calling, and well perform his work. The language of John is utterly unintelligible without these acknowledgments. He asserts, that every man hath sinned, and hath sin to be cleansed from: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John i, 8.) And as strongly he asserteth, “that the blood of Christ doth cleanse us from all sin,” “from all unrighteousness.” And from thenceforth throughout his Epistle he speaketh of the believer as a cleansed man, really and truly clean from sin, not by a fiction, but of a very truth, “walking in the light, as God is in the light,” having “fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” And he says, that he wrote to them for this very end, “that they sin not.” And if they should sin, which is not the Christian rule, but the exception; not the ordinary, but the extraordinary thing; he referreth them to the Advocate and Intercessor who is our propitiation, in that he is the propitiation of the whole world. Then flows such a succession of glorious passages, demonstrative of the true holiness, the Christ-holiness which is in the members the same as in the Head, the law of flesh notwithstanding, nor hindering one jot or tittle from the attainment of perfect holiness, that I know not where to begin or where to end. To keep Christ's commandments is certainly holiness; “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him,” (ii. 3, 4.) Christ had no law of sin and death in the members, we who have such a law can never be holy as he is holy; and yet behold what this apostle saith, (ver. 6,) “He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Can any purity be greater than that of Christ's purity? and if the law in the members preclude us
from attaining to that purity, would it ever be thus written, “And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure,” (iii. 3.) Nay, to put this question, whether our righteousness be the same as his beyond all question, read what follows: “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness, is righteous, even as he is righteous,” (iii. 7.) And that we are well-pleasing in the sight of God, when we do his commandments, and may ask of him every thing as Christ did ask and receive, is thus declared: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight,” (ver. 22.) Also, “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him,” (ii. 29.) The proof of being regenerate is not being in a continual strait between two, in a warfare and perplexity, sinning and repenting, and confessing that we do no righteousness, but in doing all righteousness, feeling that we do it, and blessing God that we are enabled to do it. To be overcome of evil is to distrust the Spirit of Christ, given in generation, is to quench him, to vex him, to grieve him. This we can do; and too often do, but never need nor ought to do, and whenever we do, do not through fault of our circumstances, or power insuperable in the flesh, but through the evil heart of unbelief. It is our sin, and not our misfortune; our crime, and not our necessity; an argument against our regeneration; a denial of Christ; a wounding and piercing of him in the house of his friends. That we do not want for knowledge, observe these words, “But we have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things,” (ver. 20.) “But the anointing which ye have received of him, abideth in you: and ye need not that any man teach you: but, as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie: and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (ii. 27.) That we do not want for power, and that the faith of the regenerate man is such as we have said, take this as proof: “Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not: whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: He that doeth righteousness, is righteous, even as he is righteous; He that committeth sin, is of the devil: for the devil
sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness, is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (iii. 6-10). Our conscience ought not to condemn us of sin; and wherefore? by telling us a lie? No; but by telling us the truth, namely, that we do not sin. “If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God.” (iii. 20. 21). And again; “He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” (v. 10). And finally, for encouragement, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of him.” (v. 14, 15.)
I have two remarks to make upon these quotations from this Epistle; the first, That they were written particularly against the doctrine of two original principles, in God, - a good one, and an evil one which flowed in two streams, the one along creation, and the other along redemption. And that these two met and flowed on together in the believer, who as to his creature part, held of the evil principle, as to his regenerate part held of the good principle. And that these two streams are intended by God to hold on their course together, the old man ever sinning, the new man ever sinning not. To meet and to destroy this false doctrine, John teacheth that the Father hath no hand in the evil whatever: “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world," (ii. 16): that we, were set to overcome the wicked one; all of us, whether little children, young men, or fathers ; and that to shew us the example, to set us on the way, and give us the power of destroying the works
of the devil, the Son of God was manifested, in whom was no sin, though he had our flesh; and so in us should be do sin, though we also have flesh. This is his argument, to show that the new life doth not let the life of nature alone, but encountereth it; doth not merely encounter it, but killeth it, and so maketh the members of a man, both body and soul, obedient to the commandments of God, righteous as Christ is righteous, and pure as he is pure. And what do I now behold? the same, the very same Manichean doctrine, sanctified, under the name of Orthodoxy; which maintains that the law of sin in the members, by the work of the devil and the world, cannot be put down so as that a man shall be holy, or keep the commandments of God; that Christ dwelling in a man, and a man in Christ, God dwelling in a man, and a man dwelling in God, cannot accomplish holiness in that man; that he sins, and must needs go on sinning, and that every work of the Holy Ghost in a regenerate man needeth nevertheless the atonement of Christ. In one word, that the church is a stream of iniquity, running strong and mighty beside an ineffectual rill of holiness. What is this but the very root of Gnosticism and Manicheism? and just as in the old times, when these heretics were met with the great fact, that Christ was holy though a man, they denied that he came in true flesh, alleging that it was a pre-existent and prototypal humanity, a sidereal, a spiritual humanity, an apparent but not real flesh; so now again this religious-world confederation, - for church I can hardly call it, - is fast coming to be taken in the same subterfuge, that Christ's flesh was not as our flesh is, that it had not the law of mortality in it; or if it had, he could not be holy, could not have rendered an atonement, satisfaction, &c. &c. (concerning which false pleas we will speak elsewhere); that his flesh was changed in the conception; that it was brought back into the created state; and so they seek to set Manicheism upon its base again, and to uphold, that it is impossible to bring holiness out of man, under the fall and on this side the grave. May God open their eyes to discern the evil of such thoughts, and arrest them in their blind career, ere it be too late!
Now we maintain, that holiness is possible to be wrought in man, and by man, notwithstanding his fallen state of mortality and corruption; that holiness should have been wrought by him, and nothing but holiness, from the day of the fall till now; and that to work holiness in the only end of our being, the only method either of glorifying or of enjoying God. But how is this proved? It is proved by Christ, who was in all points tried as we are, and yet was holy. But the proof came late in the day. Yet was it before the foundation of the world; he was the Lamb slain, and the Christ of God, the fountain of a new life, which by sacrifice was opened to Adam and all mankind, as by baptism, the bloodless sacrifice, it is opened to us. But Christ was God, and we are only men; Yea, but men capable of being made one with Christ, as closely as he with God, and so having as intimate help and information of him, as he, the man, had of Godhead. (John xvii. 21. Therefore, through the same way of Godhead help, by being members of Christ, and by having the Holy Ghost, men were and are intended, and whether born soon in the day, or late in the day, have ever been intended to do holiness in mortal flesh, and to destroy the devil in death, and to glorify God in the bereaving of the hungry grave, and to people heaven by avoiding the yawning mouth, and disappointing the greedy maw, of hell. The foundation stone, therefore, of all holiness is, that Christ came in our flesh, under the very same conditions in which we have it, and was all holy notwithstanding. And he who contradicteth this, doth enunciate heresy, and expose himself to all other heresy.
Such is the most holy doctrine, for maintaining which I am spoiled of my reputation, not only in Britain, but over the wide world; for which I am prepared to bow my head and die. The Lord hath been mightily with me in the statement of it, and now is with me mightily again in the defence of it. My hand seems to find its might again, when it resumes the weapons of this warfare. Let no man fight against us; for certainly he is fighting against the truth of God, and can never prosper. They may put forth these objections, that it overthrows this head and that head of doctrine. One cries out, But where is original sin? Another,
But where is atonement? A third, But where is substitution? A forth, But where is satisfaction? A fifth, But where is imputation? And all say, It shakes the foundations. What say you? It shakes the foundation? it is itself the foundation, that foundation of rock, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. I will try your words by and by. I will examine your theological terms one by one, and see how much sound theology hath to gain, how little to lose, by this fundamental truth, That Christ perfected holiness in, and with our flesh of sin, and presented our flesh of sin in continual holiness unto God.*
*Series of Tracts opening and applying the Doctrine of our Lord's Human Nature. Part 1. (in the press) “On Original sin.”
AND PRACTICAL HOLINESS.
THERE is nothing more certain than this, that there can be no sanctification of heart or of life, otherwise than through the belief of the truth; “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth: sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by the word.” Now, the word of God containeth the mind of God, for the information of the faith of man; and whatever any one holdeth in his mind adverse thereto, is adverse to God, and so far as it goes is a denial of God, and is of the devil, who was a liar from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, but hath deceived the whole world. A very great mistake, and often most fatal to the soul, therefore, it is for men to think that it matters very little what they believe, so they practice aright. Those who really hold this maxim and rest upon it, are men in whose practice there is nothing of any spiritual or moral principle whatever; but a conventional and customary way of going on in the
beaten track of their fathers before them, and their neighbours around them, whose life is therefore but an imitation of others, - no morality nor religion, - neither acknowledging a conscience for which, or a God to whom, they are responsible. To such persons who have only worldly ends to serve and worldly favours to seek, it mattereth little what creed they hold, or whether they hold any at all. But if a man is stirred up to do what his conscience tells him is right, and what God also will approve, he must begin by knowing what is true; and this he shall not do otherwise, than by consulting his conscience at every step, and appealing to that system of truth which is inward in himself - that law written inwardly in the heart, outwardly in the word of God. If he thinks to come at truth through an appeal to any system of doctrine constructed by another man, be he never so wise and good, or even to the word of God itself without the constant consultation of his own conscience, he cannot prosper, because he is not seeking for the Holy Spirit, whose presence is never revealed, save in the conscience. The word of God is the truth, and the church of God is the pillar and ground of the truth; but they avail nothing without the Holy Ghost, who operateth only in the will, conscience, or soul of man, and therein implanteth the power of apprehending and loving the truth. I do therefore entreat my reader, to look inward upon himself, and to seek the answer of the Holy Ghost in his soul, while I endeavour to comprehend and define the matters which have been stated and illustrated above, and to present the truth expressed in distinct forms - first, of doctrinal propositions; and secondly, of practical holiness.
I.-Conclusions of Doctrine.
It is remarkable that, in looking about for a general proposition, wherein to express the whole of the truth which we have contended for, through good report and through evil report, I should be able to find none so good as the authoritative and published deliverance of that body of ministers and elders, with whom, for many years, I did live in loving brotherhood and who have now held me up to execration as a heresiarch, and excommunicated
me in all their churches. Yet true it is, and of verity, that the following proposition adopted by all these ministers and elders who have so dealt with me, at a conference for that purpose appointed, afterwards engrossed at a public meeting of the Presbytery, and finally published by their authority, as evidence how far I differed from them and from the truth, is that which I now write down, as a fair and full statement of all which in this, and in all my writings, I have advocated, and know to be the truth of God. viz.
THAT THE SON OF GOD TOOK HUMAN NATURE OF THE SUBSTANCE OF HIS MOTHER, WHICH [HUMAN NATURE] WAS WHOLLY AND PERFECTLY SANCTFIED BY THE HOLY GHOST IN THE ACT OF CONCEPTION, AND WAS UPHOLDEN IN THE SAME STATE BY THE SAME POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST; AND UNDERWENT NO PROCESS OR PROGRESS OF SANCTIFICATION, AS IT NEEDED NONE."
This now is the doctrinal proposition which contains, as it seems to me, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; so that my former brethren have really put me out of their synagogue for believing that which they believe, and maintaining and defending that which they hold forth as the declaration of their own faith. God grant them grace to expound to the people of their charge, that precious proposition, which I now proceed to divide into its several parts, and over against them to set down the error that I may anathematize it, and clear my conscience before God and all honest men, and take out of the way the stumbling blocks which ignorance, prejudice, and malice have cast between me and my brethren, the disciples of the Lord, and to instruct all the children of men, to whom these words may find their way.
Proposition First, “THE HUMAN NATURE WHICH THE SON OF GOD TOOK WAS OF THE VIRG1N'S SUBSTANCE.” - This proposition declareth, That the Son of God did take human nature, body and soul, united one with the other into that compound substance which is so called, and that this substance was the same as his mother's, and is to be
defined in terms of her's. To come to particulars, it was flesh of her flesh, which is our flesh, - mortal and corruptible; that hungered and thirsted, and is subject to disease, and pain, and death; that is liable to receive impressions through the sight, and hearing, and smell, and taste, and feeling, all the same as in ours, without any difference whatever. As also, that the laws and properties of his reason were the same as those of our reason; and that the connections between the rational and the sentient man were the same as they are in us. In one word, that in all which respects the organization of the body, and the constitution of the reason, and the properties of the will, he was as his mother and the rest of mankind are. “He took human nature of the substance of his mother.” Upon the foundation of this truth we anathematise (1.) all doctrines which affirm, that his human nature was a substance sidereal, spiritual, celestial, or supercelestial - apparent only but not real - not of his mother - not altogether of his mother - a new thing then created - a thing created out of her substance, but different from her substance. (2.) All those who affirm, that it was a substance with the properties of Adam before he fell, but not with the properties of Adam after he fell - not mortal nor corruptible - not temptible - not fallible; and while we do anathematize all such doctrines, we pray God to deliver the souls of those poor men who have been ensnared by them; because so long as they remain under the belief, or even the suspicion of some difference between Christ's human nature and this of ours, they cannot be assured of the fellowship of his trials, and the reality of those feelings which are written of him in the Holy Scriptures, whether of the Old Testament or the New. And without such perfect conviction of Christ's fellow-feeling with all our trials of whatever sort, there can be no confidence towards him as a mediator, intercessor, and high priest; and without the fullest confidence here, there can be no practical holiness, no coming unto Jesus, or going unto God through him. Introduce any difference, however small it be, between the manner of his subsistence and of ours; leave, in your own thoughts, any chasm, however small, between the continuity of his human nature and
ours, and all, all is lost, Pronounce it therefore out, oh men! full and strong, that there is not a property of human nature, to act, or to feel, or to suffer, but Christ had that same property. And yet in him it never came to be sinful at the utmost extremity of his being; not only his will, but his reason, and his flesh, and his very raiment he preserved spotless. Albeit, they were of properties the same as ours, and besieged and beset in every respect as we are, - “tempted in all points like as we are, - yet without sin.” But this property belongeth to the second proposition, which is as follows:
Proposition Second, THE HUMAN NATURE WHICH THE SON OF GOD TOOK UNTO HIMSELF, WAS WHOLLY AND PERFECTLY SANCTIFIED BY THE HOLY GHOST IN THE ACT OF CONCEPTION - It needed sanctification, being an unholy part of an unholy substance; of the substance of human nature, which had become all unholy and corrupt through the transgression of one man, the fountain-head and container of it all. The blessed virgin mother of our Lord, virgin though she was, was sinful as other virgins are, and not freed from original sin, as some of the Roman Catholic orders have contended. She was a virgin, but not a pure or immaculate virgin, and required like other women to offer in the temple for her purification. She was conscious of child-birth pangs as other women, and in all other respects conditioned as they; and moreover, I think the anxiety of some Protestant writers to maintain, that she remained ever a virgin, savours of superstition, and seems to me to contradict the strain of Scripture. The substance of our Lord's human nature being a part of that sinful substance, needed sanctification, and received it wholly and completely in the conception; not before nor after, but “in the act of” conception. And the sanctification which it received was not partial or incomplete, but wholly and perfectly received; wholly in respect to its totality, flesh, as well as soul, will, as well as reason, desires, affections, members, every thing which goes to complete human nature; - perfectly as to degree, holy in no conventional sense, but really holy, holy as God is holy. The proposition further asserts how this was done – “Sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” To understand what these words mean; and very much, indeed
the whole question, depends upon them, we must observe two things; first, that the work of the Holy Ghost spoken of is sanctification. The Holy Ghost hath diverse operations; One is to create holy, or rather good, out of nothing; the other is to bring the unholy into a state of holiness. The former is creation, the latter is sanctification. It is the latter which is here declared, and not the former. Now the question is, Wherein doth sanctification consist? Is it any addition made to the creation work? Is it by the alteration of the law according to which it was created. These things it cannot be, because God the Creator is all-sufficient, and when he made man to his own image and likeness, he gave him his law and the bounds of his habitation; and will never, in any after work, annul that which in the beginning he had done for the form of our being. And when the state of the regenerate is spoken of in Scripture, it is in these words, “renewed after the image of him that created him.” (Col. iii. 10.) The step which man made by the fall, did bring him closer up to the very likeness of God, by making him to know good and evil. This step, no doubt, God would have given man in his own good time and way, if man had not, by suggestion of the devil, forestalled the purpose of God, and taken it in a sacrilegious and wicked way, after the counsel of his own will. The fall, like every other apostacy, doth only antidate the purpose of God. To be before God, to do for ourselves what God would do for us, to be a God, is ever the way of man's offence. The fall, therefore, did not destroy any thing which God had made, but brought upon our shoulders a host of evil temptations, a yoke and a burden, which neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear. Sanctification needeth not then to add any thing, for there is nothing lost. What then doth it? Let our Catechism answer. “Sanctification is a work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.” There is no mention here of any change of the physical substance or constitution of the man, but only of a renewal thereof, according to its proper form, of a dying unto sin and a living unto righteousness. The properties of the man remain the same as be-
fore, the whole man remaineth the same, only he is “by the powerful operation of God's Spirit,” enabled to crucify the flesh and die unto sin, to believe with the heart, and live unto righteousness. It is, in one word, a moral and not a physical change, as indeed the fact of its being wrought by the Holy Spirit in a creature of God, doth of itself sufficiently prove. For the Holy Spirit acteth spiritually, that is, upon the spirit, and through this upon the flesh, of which it is said in the Larger Catechism, that “the lustings are perpetual.” If, therefore, the word “sanctified” is to be understood according to its ordinary meaning, and the meaning found in the Scriptures and standards of the church, and if the operation of the Holy Ghost in sanctifying Christ be the same as in sanctifying others, we must necessarily conclude, that the sanctification of the Holy Ghost was that done perfectly which in every regenerate person is confessedly done, viz. a complete renewal in the image of God, a complete death unto sin and life unto holiness. The substance of his human nature remained in him the same as in us, but he by the Holy Ghost did sanctify himself perfectly and completely. This is also rendered necessary by the next part of the proposition, wherein it is asserted, that he was upholden in the same state by the same power of the Holy Ghost. The holiness of the child Jesus, therefore, standeth not in any diversity of his human nature from ours, or in any absence of any of the essential properties and common infirmities of our nature; not in the substitution or the addition of any thing created; but in the presence of an uncreated power, even the power of God the Holy Ghost, wherewith Christ is to resist and to overcome the workings of sin in the creation of God. God was not baffled by the devil, nor his creation carried away from its proper design by the law of sin and death; he had a strong one, mighty to save and sustain, in his dear Son, and a holy one, mighty to sanctify, in the Holy Ghost. Sanctification is the operation of God the Holy Ghost in the sinful creature, renewing and reclaiming it from the power of sin to the power of holiness; but, for the creation itself, it remaineth as it was created, without addition and without subtraction. The operation of the Holy Ghost is entirely in the soul, the
invisible part, the divine in-breathing of God, and not in the flesh, whose property it is to obey: So that Christ' s flesh in itself is what every man's flesh is in itself, Christ's soul what every regenerate man's soul is; Christ's members all obedient to his spirit-generated soul, as the members of every regenerate man ought to be. And this is sanctification, when the members, in themselves needing sanctification, are reclaimed to God, through the Holy Spirit working in the soul.
Such is the nature of Christ's birth-holiness and of his life-holiness also, and there is no other kind of holiness wrought by the Holy Ghost as a sanctifier. As a Creator indeed he worketh the holiness of the angels and the original holiness of man, which entirely differs from the holiness of Christ, inasmuch as it is not by contradiction of sin, contending against and triumphant over it; but in the absence of all sin, and in the presence only of goodness. Now I have heard some argue thus, Well, and if Christ's human nature be indeed what was created, with all its properties, not one being added or subtracted, and if sin also be excluded, what else is it or can it be, but Adam's before the fall. And they further argue, let it be allowed, that the preternatural generation took the sin out of the substance, and what have you but human nature in its original condition. The answer to this is, no, you have mortality and corruption, and pain and suffering, and the continual consciousness of evil as well as of good; by all which, in point of fact, it is differenced from the state of Adam's. Moreover, he required the continual operation of the Holy Ghost to maintain this holiness, whereas Adam did not require a continual creation to support his being. There are indeed persons who will assert that God withdrew the Holy Spirit from Adam, and so he fell, which is to make God the author of sin. If, indeed, men hold that there was in Adam's created being the same seeds of wickedness as there are now in our generated being, and that the Holy Ghost was employed in keeping them under, and that Adam fell in consequence of the withdrawal of the Holy Ghost, then there is no difference between his holiness and the Lord's. But whence this hypothesis, and for what end constructed? Not from the Holy Scriptures which assert the goodness of Adam, and
make no mention whatever, of that goodness, as proceeding from a working of the Holy Ghost in him; not for the end of glorifying God either in the creation or in the sanctification of his creatures, nor glorifying him in the matter of the fall; but all to prop up a base theory that our Saviour was in the state of Adam before the fall. In respect to the play of reasoning, that Adam is the creation without sin, and Christ is the same creation without sin; therefore Adam and Christ are in all respects the same, it is an instance of that barren state of the mind, which passes in certain quarters under the name of acuteness; a substitute for knowledge, and wisdom, and learning, and laborious study. The answer is, there are two conditions of holiness; the one, the creation; the other, the regeneration, produced in the same creature; but differing in this, that the one is produced without any reluctance on the part of the creature itself; the other, after the creature has shewn itself to be worthless, in itself, and incapable of producing its own holiness; the one, the manifestation of God's goodness in bringing a good thing out of nothing; the other, the manifestation of God's holiness in bringing a holy thing out of an unholy; the one, the manifestation of his good desire to make creatures, and endow them with a portion of his own blessedness; the other, the manifestation of his grace, and mercy, and love to the creatures whom he hath made, even after they have sinned and rebelled against him. I think, the epithet holiness is proper to our regeneration state, and the epithet goodness to the creation state; and that it is in the former rather then in the latter, that the holiness of God is manifested.
I do therefore anathematize all doctrines, by whosoever held, which assert, (1.) That this nature of ours is not capable of entire and perfect sanctification by the Holy Ghost. This was the rudimental error of the Gnostics and the Manicheans against which so many of the Epistles, and especially the First Epistle of John, is directed. I quote the instance of Christ's perfect sanctification at once, and his continual holiness, as the proof that human nature can be made perfectly holy. And those who assert that of necessity there must ever be sin in all the actions of the people of God, do maintain a
grievous error, derogatory from the honour of the Creator, denying the power of the Holy Ghost, and erring in the nature of Christ's holiness, which is the standing proof of God's power to bring a clean thing out of an unclean. And I exhort every one by that example to perfect holiness in the fear of God, for it is God who worketh in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. (2.} That Christ's human nature was not from the first and for ever wholly and completely sanctified, holy as God is holy. This is to be anathematized as subverting both his atonement and his example. It is most true, that he could not be God and have as a part of him what God regards as unholy; and if God regards flesh in the fallen state, however used, as unholy, and cannot abide it, then the question is at an end; Christ could not be God and have such flesh. But if, as we have shewn by so many direct proofs from Scripture, God doth regard this flesh of man as holy and acceptable, when it is crucified to itself and yielded up to the obedience of the regenerate soul, then Christ might have such flesh and be holy and acceptable unto God. The Bourignian and Socinian heresies I anathematize under this head; and they, together with all opinions which permit sin in the motions of our Lord's members are to be accursed, because they indulge and even go to sanctify sin in the creatures of God; yea, and to make God himself in part sinful. And if any one should apply the term sinful to Christ's flesh, without explaining what he meaneth, he is to be anathematized; but if he apply it with explanation of the manner in which being in itself sinful flesh, it became holy through the working of a renewed mind in it, he is to be regarded as a maintainer of the Catholic faith, and I do solemnly accuse of the most atrocious slander and calumny, one and all of these men, who have spoken and written of me as maintaining “the sinfulness of our Lord's humanity.” It is a lie, an atrocious lie, though it had been spoken by my father, and by my mother, and by the wife of my bosom. It is painful in the extreme to have to say such a thing of persons otherwise worthy; but a regard to truth requires of me to say it, and to meet the consequences, of whatever kind. And I would ana-
thematize my own brother, and give him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, if he should assert, that Christ's human nature was in any respect sinful. (3.) That the sanctification of our Lord’s human nature wholly and perfectly was produced by any other cause or means than the Holy Ghost. This is directly to be accursed, because it taketh away the chief glory of the Holy Ghost, and giveth it to another. His it is to have accomplished the great work of sanctifying the life of the creature, as he formerly wrought it into life. It was not the Son who sanctified, but the Holy Ghost under the hand of the Son. It was not the Holy Ghost in his own personality, but serving the personality of the Son. The Son of God doth not bring Godhead into the region of creature, which is impossible; nor doth he come into the region of the human will without the operation of the Holy Ghost, whose office in the Trinity it is to connect the Godhead and the creature with one another. But the Son, willing to become man, and the Father willing to send him as man, doth yield himself to the Holy Ghost, who bringeth him into this form of subsistence, and, being there, he acteth according to its laws, of which the first is, that the sou1 should believe and depend upon God for life, and breath, and all things. This doing, he receiveth from God the nourishment of life, he liveth on the Father, the Father communicates with his creature Son by the Holy Ghost, in the form not of God, but of human life; and the Son of man is thus the manifestation of the life which was with the Father. Being thus supplied with spiritual life, by fulfilling the first office of man, which is to believe, he then fulfilleth the second office of man, which is to obey. The life of God, which he receives by a continual in-breathing of the Holy Ghost, he expends in its proper use of glorifying him who gave it; and he sheweth its powers in the power of God in man, by making all the members to serve and be obedient. The devil may withstand, and death, and hell, and sin, and corruption, but notwithstanding all their withstanding, he drags up his members of manhood out of their captivity, and unites them always, from first to last, in doing the will of God, whose law is written in letters of life within his heart. Therefore those persons who will not allow that Christ
THIS IS A REPEAT SECTION
thematize my own brother and give him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, if he should assert, that Christ's human nature was in any respect sinful. (3.) That the sanctification of our Lord's human nature wholly and perfectly was produced by any other cause or means than the Holy Ghost. This is directly to be accursed, because it taketh away the chief glory of the Holy Ghost, and giveth it to another. His it is to have accomplished the great work of sanctifying the life of the creature, as he formerly wrought it into life. It was not the Son who sanctified, but the Holy Ghost under the hand of the Son. It was not the Holy Ghost in his own personality, but serving the personality of the Son. The Son of God doth not bring Godhead into the region of creature, which, is impossible; nor doth he come into the region of the- human will without the operation of the Holy Ghost, whose office in the Trinity it is to connect the Godhead and the creature with one another. But the Son, willing to become man, and the Father willing to send him as man, doth yield himself to the Holy Ghost, who bringeth him into this form of subsistence, and, being there, he acteth according to its laws, of which the first is, that the soul should believe and depend upon God for life, and breath, and all things. This doing, he receiveth from God the nourishment of life, he liveth on the Father, the Father communicates with his creature Son by the Holy Ghost, in the form not of God, but of human life; and the Son of man is thus the manifestation of the life which was with the Father. Being thus supplied with spiritual life, by fulfilling the first office of man, which is to believe, he then fulfilleth the second office of man, which is to obey. The life of God, which he receives by a continual in-breathing of the Holy Ghost, he expends in its proper use of glorifying him who gave it; and he sheweth its powers in the power of God in man, by making all the members to serve and be obedient. The devil may withstand, and death, and hell, and sin, and corruption, but notwithstanding all their withstanding, he drags up his members of manhood out of their captivity, and unites them always, from first to last, in doing the will of God, whose law is written in letters of life within his heart. Therefore those persons who will not allow that Christ
had this work of believing and obeying to perform, and that the Holy Ghost had these offices to serve in order to effect the holiness of his human nature, are devoutly to be warned of their error; and if they will continue to maintain, that the soul of Christ needed no such continual service of life, and his members no such continual enforcement of power in order to their obedience, they are to be resisted as enemies of the truth, and subverters of the eternal and absolute prerogative of the Holy Ghost, indefeasible and inalienable. We have not to support the holiness of the manhood by hiding the operation of the Godhead, but to shew the one as the production of the other. Therefore, greatly to be blamed are they who attribute Christ's holiness to a property inherent in his soul and flesh, and not always inwrought there, and needing to be inwrought there, by the Holy Ghost. As also are they who say, that his becoming united with human nature did of itself sanctify it, without farther use or occasion of the Holy Ghost. All these statements are lame and insufficient, for the knowledge and glory of God, and Christ commendeth no one, for supporting the holiness of his human nature, by any such suppression or contradiction of the truth. They are also to be anathematized who say, (4.) That Christ's human nature was sanctified before conception. For there are such, and those neither few nor insignificant, who maintain that the human nature of Christ was separated from the substance of the virgin by a work of the Father and the Holy Ghost, and all the corruption purged out of it, and they call this “the pure and holy portion” of our nature, which the Son thereupon assumed into union with himself. The errors here are almost innumerable, (1.) As if the corruption of our nature stood in some physical mixture which needs, by a divine power, to be wrought out of it. Whereas it consisteth in no new matter infused into it, but in a rebellion and disorder, and lust of disobedience, which can only be set to rights by the acting of a living person in it. It is its life that is disordered, not its lifelessness. Why should they ignorantly talk of its being brought into purity before it was informed with life, as if it were a thing to be baked and kneaded, or filtered or washed, or otherwise treated by mechanical or chemical
means and methods? Or mean they to assert, that it had a life before the Son united himself with it? Then it was a person, then it had a pro-existence, then it had original sin, as being born of a woman, and many other extreme errors doth this base theory carry with it; as that (2.) Two persons of the Godhead by themselves, without the third, should do a work: which is to make these two persons God, and the other either another God or not God at all; and such a work, the work of putting sin out of the creature; and that in this work the second person should have no hand whatever. He under whose hand it is all done, who hath the honour and glory of sanctifying, by means of the Holy Ghost, our nature, and overcoming all its temptations, is positively excluded from the work, by this monstrous hypothesis. But after it hath been done without him and from him, by two persons in the Godhead, he taketh it and beareth it about with him, for what purpose I cannot conjecture, save to display that it hath been done. If ever an invention was fabricated by Satan to make void the Scriptures it is this, and to take away the glory from Christ of crucifying the flesh, and presenting his members holiness unto the Lord. (3.) It doth also suppose, that the person of Christ acts all his life long without co-operation of the other two persons, who do their work and are done with it, whereupon Christ takes it up and goes on with it; and what come of all those discourses of our Lord's, which reject the work from himself and give it unto the Father; “I speak not of myself,” “as I hear I speak,” “I live by the Father,” “I keep his commandments and abide in his love,” &c. &c.; and how, with this altered humanity around him, is he any example to us? And where is the truth of his feelings delineated in the Psalms, of his actions delineated in the Gospels, if so be he had this humanity so altered from ours? Woe betide poor Scotland, if, as I am informed, this be the favourite hypothesis among her popular preachers. I had supposed we were lean and naked enough, but I could not have believed that it was come to such a pass with us.
same power of the Holy Ghost. This proposition consisteth of two parts, the first, that it was upholden in the same state of perfect holiness; the second, that it was so upholden by the same power of the Holy Ghost, which generated it holy: and the great principle which it containeth is, that it needed to be upholden holy; that it was not fixed like a physical thing in a certain state which it ever afterwards kept without an effort, but that it required the very same working to keep it holy which did generate it holy; and, if so, then there must have been a need for such an efficacious operation of the Holy Ghost. The same force which drew the bucket from the deep well is necessary to keep it from running down again, so the same power of the Holy Ghost, which made the unholy substance of manhood to become holy, was needed to keep it living in that holy state. The propensities of the nature, as distinguished from the will of the person, were all the same as ever, only as at first they were put down by holy enforcement of the person through means of the Holy Ghost, so were they kept in this state by the same power throughout the period of his whole life. The proposition is not merely “was upholden,” but “was upholden in the same state.” It is not “was filled and furnished for his offices of prophet, priest, and king,” but “was upholden in the same state of entire and perfect holiness;” it is not was thus upholden “by a power, or some power,” but “by the same power of the Holy Ghost,” in virtue of which he was conceived holy. Nothing can be more precisely or definitely expressed. And the effect of it is to maintain that truth upon which all sanctification dependeth, viz. that the creature in itself remains the same as before, as it was created (sin having taken nothing from it) and in sanctification undergoeth no alteration of any sort, but is presented unto God as he found it, having passed into new moral conditions without suffering any alteration in its original form. The fall and the regeneration are moral, not physical changes, changes of state, not of form. When I say form, I mean not appearance, but law and properties. Man fallen is man still, he is man in the grave, and man he shall arise again, having acquired in these transitions the knowledge of evil and
the power over evil, so as to be fitted for ever to serve God as the judge and suppressor of evil. We are educated in the school over which we are in after times to preside; we are taught to govern by being first in subjection, after serving a long apprenticeship under bondage, we at last take up our freedom, and come even to the dignity of being the chief rulers of the city. We get new clothing as we pass onward, but we continue the same persons in our bondage, freedom, and magistracy. Christ was generated man of the virgin's substance, and in that substance he continued man, and man will for ever continue. He lived the bondman under the law, being in subjection to his parents; then the freeman from his baptism, in the raiment of a freeman, with the power of the Holy Ghost invested; then he arose from death in the glorious array of the Melchizedek royal priesthood, in which he shall come to judge, and rule the world; but all the while his true and inner form of manhood underwent no change, but was brought through these several passages by the love and reward of that God in whom he trusted, through the operation of the Holy Ghost. Just as a regenerate man at his regeneration, receiveth a working of the Holy Ghost, which till then he knew not, and which, continueth itself in him by the same power which began it, in answer to, and reward of, the same faith which first received it, even so the Son of God, who, in reward of his condescension to become man, did receive the power of the Holy Ghost to be holy in the substance of his mother, doth, in reward of the same continual condescension to our estate, receive the same anointing, and thereby doth implement all the forms and stages of experience, through which God did intend man to pass in order to attain his complete perfection: and what, it may be said, doth the Son of Man himself do? he believes, desires, hopes, receives, occupies, and ministers the gift of God. Man does not make power or life; God makes it and gives it to man; man receives it and occupies it for God. When the Son of God took our nature, he performed the part of a man, neither falling within nor passing beyond; and all those who predicate of Christ, things not predicable of manhood, do speak of his Godhead separately considered, and not of
the Christ. To return to our proposition, Christ, as man, was passive to all man's evil conditions, he sat there in the centre of man's being, and suffered all his enemies to come rolling on; he had no resources which another man possesseth not; he looked about the house for its means of defence, and he found that they were sufficient; he saw that God had not sold his creatures into destruction; he found promise upon promise, line upon line, and precept upon precept; and while he was upon his mother's breast, he set himself to hope, and so exercising the gifts and callings of God like a man, and keeping all the laws of God, he went forward, and never flinched from the onward path, until he had fulfilled all righteousness. Then did God give him, what man before had never had, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which bringeth upon him, not a legal but a spiritual warfare, heretofore a battle chiefly with the flesh, which he presented holy; now a battle with the devil and his angels, whom he vanquished. On the floor of the resurrection life, he fought the battle of the spiritual and invisible world, though still a mortal man; and having prevailed by dying to conquer it, he gave to us the bloody spoils, and bade us go on with it, till he should come again and bring us rest, and repose, and triumphant reward of victory. Christ, in all these, performs the part of the perfect and righteous man in humiliation, and God performeth the part of the loving parental God; the one manifesteth perfect creature, the other perfect Creator; and because the infinite and finite cannot meet, the Holy Ghost is the intervener between God and Christ, who became unto the Son the fulness of the Father's love, and power and strength. And in order that Christ may set the example to every creature, even the lowest and most wretched through sin and misery, he doth take the condition of the most tried of all creatures, that no creature may be able to say, I am not able to do the like, for that God is farther away from me than from him; and I have no right to trust as he trusted: that these and all other reasons of doubt and despair might be taken out of the mouth of every mortal, that the love of God to the most wretched and worthless of his creatures, to all mankind, and every man, might be displayed; that the power
of the Holy Ghost to sustain under every trial and bereavement, against every enemy, might be shewn forth, and a complete revelation of redemption and righteousness made for the whole world, Christ did take our place, the very substitute, to bear, and to suffer, and to act, and was in all his conditions perfected through sufferings, by the Holy Ghost. Such is this excellent proposition. And the contradictions of it which we anathematize are the following:—
I. That the sanctification of our Lord's human nature being perfected at once, did not need to be continued.—It did not need to be added to, but it needed to be continued by the same actings in which it began, both on his part, on the part of the Father, and on the part of the Holy Ghost. To assert the contrary is wholly to misunderstand both the value of the Holy Ghost's action, which is not once done and so done with, but continuous; which is in answer to faith on the part of the recipient, and not without faith given. If faith is a thing not always doing, and necessary to be done, then also is the Holy Ghost not always given, and needful to be given. Now, the first great act of faith was, Christ's descending out of the Godhead into the mortal manhood. He made that awfullest and most perilous descent in faith, and for his faith found himself generated in manhood sinless, and therein being found, he continued to act the like faith, and was in like manner furnished. And he enabling us to act the like faith, he the head, in us the members, we do receive the continual supply of the grace of the Holy Ghost, and are sustained in our holiness. (2.) That the substance of our Lord’s human nature after this holy conception was different from which it was before, and so did not need the same activity of faith on his part, the same inworking of strength on the part of God. This is a radical error ever to be abhorred; and if so, then when Christ's human nature is defined in itself, it must be defined as weak, worthless, and ever needing sanctification; holy, indeed, but not in itself nor of itself, but by the Holy Ghost. They allege that we ought not to speak of the human nature apart from Christ; they might as well say, we ought not to speak of the Godhead apart from Christ. We must for this reason, that the humanity existeth in other persons, and
the Godhead subsisteth in other persons, in whom we see it apart from Christ, and therefore must speak of it. Moreover, there is no knowing what Christ united into one, but by speaking of the properties of those separate things, which into one he did unite. What is the virtue and preciousness of knowing that hypostatical union, unless we know the two things which were united in such living harmony. When, therefore, we speak of Christ's human nature, in order to shew what Christ did for it, we must speak of it as it is in other men; and the more freely and fairly we set forth its vileness, the more faithfully we do expound the work of entire sanctification which Christ did for it. His human nature then, in itself, continued in the same state to the end as at the beginning, and needed ever the same energy of Christ the believing person, the same grace of the Father, the same working of the Holy Ghost.
Fourth and last Proposition.—that our lord's human nature, being wholly and perfectly sanctified in the conception, underwent no process or progress of sanctification, as it needed none. The observations upon this head I have already anticipated, as also the forms of error which are opposed to it. It is necessary to be borne in mind, as giving the negative to any false inferences which might be derived from the preceding proposition. I have heard, indeed, and seen it rashly written, that the doctrine we maintain is, that our Lord took our sinful nature, and by laborious operation upon it, was able at length to present it holy. This is a pure fiction, of which I never saw the shadow in my own creed, or even wrote the form in any of my writings; and I do three times anathematize any person whatsoever who holdeth, that our Lord's nature needed or underwent a process or progress of sanctification. Oft have I called him a head of holiness, and of regeneration, and of sanctification, to honour and magnify him as not only being holy in himself, but the origin of all holiness in others; as not only being begotten of the Spirit, but also the quickening Spirit, the author of regeneration in all others. Men, more injurious than charitable, have inferred, that because sanctification is progressive in the believers, therefore, to call Christ a head of sanctification, is to be-
lieve it to have been progressive in him also. Will men never take a man's words for his faith, but always be drawing conclusions concerning it according to their own oblique and erroneous minds. I do not believe that sanctification was progressive in the Lord. I have never believed so, never written so, never even been tempted to imagine so, until I saw it in the writings of those who, in warning the church against me, do invent calumnies, give forms to heresies, and propagate them abroad throughout the world as my opinions and my faith. These things are hard to bear. I do not disguise that I feel the infamy of being ranked as a heretic. It would grieve me a thousand times more, if I were conscious of holding with any, whom the church hath so reputed. I know both what I believe, and in whom I have believed, and that comforts me. I began the world a simple and unnoticed man, I never sought its reputation; and if I should end without it, I shall not afflict myself, so that I preserve my conscience void of offence. They are accustomed, even my best friends, to believe that I have spoken rashly upon the subject of our Lord's trials in our nature. I do not take with the charge. I am not conscious of having so spoken. I believe that men are afraid to speak with the liberty of the Holy Ghost. I will so speak. I composed my sermons on the incarnation, with the book of Psalms under my eye, and I will adopt no other model. I have lifted up my hand to God, that I will speak all the truth which he shall teach me; and the face of man shall not make me afraid. I am poor, and have no riches to sacrifice. I am of no rank, and have no honour to sacrifice. I have no claim or pretence to learning or preferment in this world of any kind, and have none of these things to surrender; and what can I give unto my God, but the honest convictions of my heart and mind, which, come what will, I will on no account dissemble, though it were to obtain for me a crown. So much of personal feeling I may be allowed to express in so long a discourse. And now I proceed to more important matters, 0 reader! even to thine own eternal concerns; therefore give me thy diligent heed a little longer.
the truth which we have been so variously illustrating in the preceding parts of this tract, is no question of words, as whether Christ's flesh is to be called sinful or sinless, for both words are necessary to express its true character; sinful as he took it and had it to deal with until the resurrection, sinless as he made it to become by taking it and holding it; sinful inasmuch as it is consubstantial with our flesh; sinless as it is his, in his person and by his person retained: nor is it a question of ecclesiastical tradition, as to what the fathers taught and held thereon, and how they were wont to express themselves: nor, finally, is it a question of authority as to what the orthodox church in the world at present holdeth, and hath published in her symbolical books; but it is a question of a far higher order, necessary to be rightly understood and believed, in order to that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. For let men search heaven above and the earth beneath, they shall find no other avenue to holiness, but the faith of this truth, That the Lord Jesus Christ had flesh as we have it, and made it holy as God would have it to be. The preliminary to holiness is, to crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts—which no man since the fall is able to do—which Christ did, and in doing proved himself more than man. And what he did he did for all; but no one can be a partaker thereof, until he believe that Christ hath done it. The work of Christ must be acknowledged before it can be participated in. At least, if any one to whom it is preached refuse to acknowledge it, he cannot have the benefit, and must remain as he is. God will neither tolerate ignorance, indifference, or denial of that, which his Son hath done for us, so as to give us the benefit, while we indulge any of those wicked dispositions towards him, whom he hath set forth to be our Lord and Saviour. How came holiness into this flesh of ours? This is the question which must be determined before the other question, How can I be holy in such flesh of sin as this which I inherit? Holy we must be. God says, “Be ye holy, for I am holy;” and “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” But how can ho-
liness be brought out of my flesh? The soul craves to know, and the only answer is, Christ brought holiness out of thy flesh, therefore be thou holy. I have a carnal or fleshly man, of which the Scripture declareth, that it is not subject unto the law of God, neither indeed can be. Before I can yield any obedience, therefore, I must know how this carnal man is to be destroyed; and the information is contained in these words, “our old man was crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed.” (Rom. vi. 6.) Knowing this, the giant of despair, who stood blocking up the avenue of holiness, is destroyed, and I am at liberty to proceed on my way.
Believing that Christ hath crucified and buried the natural man within me, which in time past caused me such obstructions, I take my pilgrim's staff and proceed upon the path which leadeth unto the holy city of our God; and while my faith in Christ, the flesh-crucifier, stands me good, I find my strength standeth me good. But if at any time I lose sight of his cross as my cross, where my natural man was crucified, I faint and fail. This is the doctrine of the cross in which we glory, not that there is any life there, but only death; but that the death of our enemy, the natural man who thereon yielded up the ghost: and because Satan hath and can have no effect upon us but through the natural man, which is his palace and leaguer, Christ in crucifying that, did openly destroy the whole host of our enemies, as you make an end of all your enemies at once by firing their house about their ears. The cross of Christ, on which flesh was stretched, and its strength exhausted, exhausted the strength of all the enemies of our souls in flesh encamped, or through the avenues of sinful flesh making way to the soul, and put flesh as an instrument of holiness into the hands of all men, that with it they may wage incessant war upon the enemies of God, and of Christ, and of the soul of man. But in order to avail myself of this armour of redeemed flesh, in order to turn the poisonous coat into the armour of righteousness, I need to exercise faith continually upon him who died for me and rose again. And how shall I be enabled to preserve this continuity of believing, how shall my faith on God in Christ quickening the dead never fail? Through the presence of Christ
in my heart, whose faith in God never failed. He only, of all men yet born, never failed in his faith, and this because he was the Son of God. Therefore, to whom shall we go but unto him? he only hath that power of believing which we stand in need of. But hath he power to communicate of the same gift? Yes, for it is written, “to them that received him gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John i. 12.) And to be a son of God is to be what he was in the days of his flesh, and as a man shall forever be. Christ hath all power in heaven and earth, and hath received the Holy Ghost, through whom to minister the same spirit unto us which was in him. This is his office as the quickening Spirit, as a soul-quickener; and these two make up the completeness of the Saviour, first, a flesh-crucifier; and secondly, a soul-quickener; the former affirming, that in his death all flesh died unto sin, in his resurrection, all flesh rose unto righteousness, through the operation of the quickening Spirit. The man, therefore, who exerciseth faith in the death of Christ for all men, and in the resurrection of Christ for all men, or rather in that death for the death of his own flesh, in that resurrection for the life of his own soul, that man doth receive faith evermore to believe on God, as Christ believed, and to receive strength from God out of Christ, as Christ received, and to be born of the Spirit as Christ was born of the Spirit, and to do the works which he also did, to take his yoke, which is easy, and his burden, which is light.
I say, therefore, that this question which we are engaged upon, and in which the church is now engaged, is no question of opinions, or traditions, or creeds; but the question of salvation to the soul, the question of personal holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. But it may be said, do you really believe and affirm, that no one can be saved unless he hold the truth, that Christ came in flesh no wise different from what ours hath been since the fall? I do believe and affirm, that if a man deny this truth, he cannot be saved. That man doth deny that Christ came in the flesh, and he is antichrist. But while I do thus affirm, I would be very slow to pronounce a man antichrist, who should with his lips deny this truth; but one, who in his heart should deny it,
I would not for a moment doubt to be antichrist. And all such, God, who seeth the heart, doth so regard, and will, if they repent not, assuredly condemn. I am very slow to take a man's practical faith according to his declared creed; so very few having the faculty of uttering what their heart believeth, and so many being afraid of man, and led away by forms of words and other sources of error. For example, many, yea I believe most of those who are in array against this most precious of all truths, would, if the question were put to them, Dost thou believe that Christ died upon the cross for thy sins? answer, without a moment's hesitation, I do so believe. And do you farther believe, that through that death your sins have no power against you? The answer would be, I do so verily and indeed believe. Now the man that thus believeth, holdeth the truth though he know it not. Because there is no other way in which I can be delivered, through the cross from the habit of sinning, but by Christ's having thereon put my enemy, this flesh, out of the power of injuring me. If the cross of Christ did not put my flesh to death, why should believing on the cross of Christ give me victory over it? Theology is not a set of arbitrary signs, or artificial and wilful arrangements of God, so that by laying hold of one thing, I should get another thing, nobody knows how. Christ's name is not a talisman, Christ's cross is not a sign, upon making which certain consequences should follow. If I say that faith in the cross of Christ will bring me victory over the flesh, what then do I mean? How is Christ's cross connected with my flesh? What had my flesh to do with it? How was my sinful flesh as a sinning thing there made an end of? What is the vinculum, the link of connection between these two things? Is it intelligible, or is it not intelligible? If not intelligible, why preach upon it? Why not, as the Papists, set up the sign of the cross in the market-place, and the corners of the streets, and let it work its unintelligible effect? But if not, then explain to the people what connexion the cross of Christ hath with the victory over the flesh? How is my sinful powerful flesh brought low in that act of Christ's crucifying his flesh? There is no answer but one, that thereby all flesh was crucified,
the natural man crucified, and the body of sin destroyed, (Rom. vi.) These are the only apostolical views given of the cross of Christ, but the views frequently given by divines of this day, as that thereon he suffered the torments of hell which his people would have had to suffer is, to say the best of it, not the view given by the holy apostles of the Lord.
While I say this, I estimate at a still higher price the atonement which was then and there wrought out for all sin; that is, the taking away the condemnation and curse which was written against us. But this is not the subject on which we are discoursing. It is not the guilt, but the power of sin I am now speaking of. It is not of justification, but of sanctification I am now treating. Nevertheless as always, I am most willing to remove even the unworthy suspicions of men, when I perceive them interposing a stumbling block in the way of the truth; and, therefore, I solemnly declare, that in Christ's death the curse pronounced upon Adam, and all Adamhood, was exhausted, and the many other curses which the law opened its mouth to pronounce, were also exhausted, and death was spoiled, and hell's gates carried off, and the whole captivity led captive by this man, who herein acted for all men, their mediator, their substitute, and their sacrifice, and the Captain of their salvation. But this is not the thing in hand at present. It is not the question of satisfaction, but the question of sanctification which is before us.
The point which I now press upon all men concerneth the connection between the cross of Christ and practical holiness, and to put it to the ministers of the gospel to explain this matter. If they use the cross merely as a ground of comfort to the soul, under the sense of sin committed, they make it a ground of peace but not of holiness; but if besides this, they shew in it the destruction of sin's power, they make it the ground both of peace and of holiness. How then, let them explain, is the doctrine of the cross of Christ a doctrine according to holiness? They cannot otherwise answer this, than by shewing, as the apostle Paul ever doth, that there the natural man was crucified, and the body of sin destroyed; not by a fiction, but by reality. We
are guilty sinners, we are dead men through Adam; not by a fiction, but alas! by a sad reality. And how cometh this? Because flesh is one thing, human nature is one thing in one person created, and for its creation gifts and hereditaments responsible in every person in whom it appeareth. This is a fact and no fiction. I am verily guilty, I am verily corrupt, and so is my babe who entered the world but some days ago. If it be said, not verily, but by imputation, I answer, if by that word imputation you mean to take away the comfortable doctrine of my very guilt in and with Adam, I ask that the word may never be mentioned in my hearing any more. I say comfortable doctrine of original sin, because thereby I have the comfort of knowing that I, even I, was created good, and that this blighted being is no work of my Creator, but that beautiful and perfect one. I say comfortable, because thereby I am enabled to worship God, with what feelings Adam worshipped him when he came fresh and lovely, good and blessed, perfect in wisdom and beauty, from the hands of his creator. Was it not comfort for the poor prodigal to remember, that his father did not send him forth into the world as a swine-herd, that these husks and that wretchedness were not emblems of his father? I say comfortable doctrine, because thereby I recognize the whole human family as one, and can love, and look for love from all men as my brethren, and feel not as one scattered, and divided, and flung adrift like a weed upon the desolate shore; and finally, I say, comfortable doctrine of original sin, because thereby I recognize the Son of God as verily one with me, wound up in the same flesh, and standing in the same position, passing through the same fallen condition, and eating at the same table, and fighting the same battles, and altogether my brother, kinsman, and companion. Oh! how I do thank my adversaries for having forced me into the consideration of this subject of original sin, by branding me with the false accusation that I made my Lord guilty of it. That he was not guilty of it I have shewn in the outset of this tract: but that he fairly came under the guilt and the corruption of this nature, and was affected by them even as we are affected, and shewed that they were not able to carry him into any act of sin, or gain any of his
members over unto sin, is a truth coming entirely out of original sin, the only doctrine that establishes a unity amongst the various members of the human family, created alike, sinning alike, beloved alike of God, and redeemed alike by the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh men, believe this.
Inasmuch then as it is a real thing, that through one man, the evil condition in which we are, hath been brought upon many persons, it is also a real thing, that through one man, the good condition is really brought upon many persons. If it be by some fiction merely, and not in very deed, that Adam's guilt and corruption descend to us, then it must be by some fiction and not in very deed, that Christ's redemption therefrom descendeth to us. If imputation in the one case be a mere volition of God, unattended with any real consequences, then in the other case also. But alas! do we sin by imputation? Are we corrupt by imputation? Do we suffer and die by imputation? Is there any one thing which Adam proved that we prove not? No, not any thing. If it be said, we cannot and do not feel the loss of original righteousness, because we have not had it; I answer, but we both can and ought. Every sin is the coming out of a better into a worse condition, and is attended with remorse of conscience and sadness of heart, whether we will confess it or not: So that there is through his continual sinning, a continual remembrance of Adam's sorrow in the natural man. And so also, if we have not the fellowship of his sorrow for having brought this beautiful creation of God to be a den of thieves, we ought to have the feeling of it always. This is to feel original sin, this is original sin realised. And if so be, that not by a fiction, but by a sad sad reality we are inheriting all Adam's inheritance of woe; should we not by a reality also inherit all the consequences of Christ's work in the flesh? Most certainly. Whatever of holiness, and blessedness, and fulness of joy, of faith, and love, and triumph, is contained in that name, son of God, is, with the bequest of that name, bequeathed to us. Whatever in Christ's life, death and resurrection was wrought out, was there wrought out for all flesh, and is the possession of all them who believe upon him, whose hearts the Father doth open to believe on the name of his Son. The whole world which
heretofore stood on the quicksand of death, now standeth on the rock of life. The whole world which heretofore stood on the floor of the charnel-house of corruption, now standeth on the floor of the holy temple of God. The whole world which heretofore stood outside of Paradise, and interdicted from the tree of life, doth now stand in Paradise and by the tree of life; yea hidden in its verdurous boughs, and on all sides clustered round with its precious fruit. O men consider this and repent.
Oh! how much it vexeth me, how much it vexeth me, to perceive the slowness of men, even religious men, to believe in the goodness of God. In his justice and severity they (I mean the religious world) are very ready to believe, and would fight for original sin, and the universal condemnation marked in the three deaths, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. Nothing is too severe for their God. But when you ask them to believe in the universal goodness of the same God, when you preach, that through one man's righteousness, he hath brought all men from the condition of death to the condition of life, from the state of condemnation to the state of grace, all without exception, Jew and Gentile, Christian and Heathen, saint and sinner, they are straightway offended. They say, Not so, brother; not all, by any means, but only a certain number. Why not all? It is so indiscriminate. But hath not God brought all down to death, and misery for one man? Why may he not bring all up to life through one man? Is his severity more dear to him than his mercy? Is it his goodness or his wrath, is it his grace or his judgment that he sent Jesus to glorify? I can do nothing but marvel when I see that, despite of Scripture, they stand upon it, asserting that it may not be so believed; and when I give myself to enquire whence ariseth this obduracy to believe the truth, I find it to come of a desire to have a holier notion of God than is true. What, they say, hath our religion taught us no more than the rabble, who universally believe that he is merciful? Oh! my friends, be not so supercilious, and remember that Christ was the friend of publicans and sinners. Honour all men. This is not an error in the natural mind of man, but a great truth, and there is another great truth written
there, viz. that God is holy. No common man, no one who hath not been spoiled by schools of Pharisaical and false theology, will take upon him to assert that God can approve an unholy action, but he doth ever say, nay, but he is angry with it. And what hope hast thou then? In his mercy. Now this is the very basis of all true theology, that God is at once holy and merciful. This the common people everywhere confess to, all the world over it is confessed to in sacrifice, which is the acknowledgment of guilt in me, of a guilt deserving death, and at the same time of a mercy in God which can forgive that deadly guilt. The religion revealed by Christ is only the gathering together, and exhibition in his person of these great ideas of God, which still survive among the ruins of human nature. He appears the High Priest of men, the form of perfect reason, reason disenthralled, the image of God, which man conscious of his original design, is ever groping and feeling for, and endeavouring to re-constitute in his own soul. But the religious world, like all Pharisaical sects, have departed from nature, have forgone the mercy of nature for the formality of sacrifice, and so have entirely lost the sight and knowledge of God; believing first of all, that God doth love only a part of men,—that he hath done nothing for the rest, but to conclude them guilty in Adam, of death temporal, spiritual, and eternal,—that he hath done nothing in Christ for all men, and so they have stolen away from mankind both their natural and their spiritual inheritance. Moreover, they have built up a God too high and holy even for themselves; maintaining, that no action of any man can be holy, that it is at the best an unholy thing, that God cannot and is not pleased with any action of any man; that, in short, he is utterly implacable still, and that we are indulged, on account of Christ, in our sins, and not brought by Christ into the performance of holiness. And thus God in Christ is made a sin-indulger, not a generator of holiness; and Christ's righteousness is the great stock of merit to draw upon, not the great stream to wash away our pollution; the heap of grain in the granary, not the one seed of corn which falleth into the ground and dieth, and produceth abundantly in the hearts of all who believe. In one word, if
the present idea of God, which prevails in what is called the religious world, continues to prevail, it will make it to become, with all its outward sanctimoniousness, the worst and wickedest society of men which hath ever been seen upon the face of the earth, since the Pharisees perished in the hideous and horrid scenes of Jerusalem's downfall. Of these things they take no thought. They are too busy with inquisition and with judgment.
What, then, is the legacy which is bequeathed to all men in the holy flesh of Christ Jesus, out of God's free grace and goodness? The whole sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell is removed, which deliverance, according to a high, though not an infallible authority, consisteth of three parts; (1.) The guilt of Adam's sin; (2.) The want of original righteousness; (3.) The corruption of our whole nature. All these the Son of God when he became man, took upon himself, without having one jot or tittle of the blame. Being God, and only God, up to the instant of his taking flesh, he had nothing to do with Adam's sin, save inasmuch as he was the Creator sinned against. To talk of his being guilty of original sin is purely an abomination, it is also an absurdity, and ariseth from ignorance of the whole matter of original sin. But it is a great truth, that having a quarrel with men on that account, and a right to doom them to death, he laid aside his indignation, in order to come and redeem and save them from their sins. And in doing so, he became conscious to all the effects which Adam's guilt entaileth upon us. He gave way to none of them, so as himself to sin, but he was conscious to all of them. The hidings of God's countenance, the abashing of his own spirit, the deep woundings and afflictions of soul, which are expressed in the Psalms, come out of this fountain-head. For he had no sin of his own, and therefore it was only the common sin, the original guilt, which the community of flesh is heir to, that he could and did feel, and doth confess to, in so many of the Psalms. And did he feel it? The Holy Ghost, in the Psalms, doth so continually declare. And, taking this, what did he with it? He fairly overcame it, it could not break his leaguer, he kept every member at its post, his heart was never mastered, his spirit was never spent, his strength never
failed, his faith never doubted. And so he made void the potency of hereditary guilt to divide us from God, and hath bequeathed to man deliverance from it. In a believer it shall work no sinful misgivings, no rebellions, no murmurings. It shall force him into no hard thoughts of God, it shall not defile his conscience with any stains, it shall not alarm his heart with any sinful fears. He shall have no conscience of sin, he shall be delivered from the fear of wrath, and have peace with God, he shall be delivered from the fear of death, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. This is the first part of the redemption from original sin, which Christ hath purchased for man, and gives to every one who believeth upon him.
(2.) He restored to the soul its original righteousness, and bequeathes the same as a part of his new Testament unto all men; not now unto the Jewish people, but unto all men. For that the soul of Christ is righteous we have shewn at large, and how became it so? He made it so, even Christ, by coming into it, and doing that work upon it. He did it. It was not done to his hand, but he did it. It had no innate righteousness in it whatever. It was, but for his working therein, exactly what our soul is. It owed its purity and perfection of the divine image, not to humanity but to deity, not to manhood but to Godhead. He had to do with the fallenness of reason as well as of flesh; of reason which is a part of the community as well as of flesh. His flesh was mortal, his soul was conscious of good and evil, his whole condition equally and alike will own the consequence of eating the forbidden fruit. The soul, ever unstable, he established, and it had need of his Godhead working to establish it. He proved all its conditions, its liability to all temptations, and all its temptations, but he preserved it in all ways and in all respects perfect and holy. He restored the image of God thereto. He did it all his life long. He did not fix it so at once and leave it so, but always, as it grew in wisdom and in favour with God and with man, he wrought it into that condition of favour and wisdom. He met its infirmities of childhood, and of boyhood, and of manhood, and prevented any one of them from becoming a sin, yea presented them every one in the image and perfectness of God; out of weakness he became strong. This is the second
of our debts he took upon him, and paid, and in its stead bequeathes to us a legacy to the same amount, and whosoever believeth on Christ doth receive his original righteousness, is renewed after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness. This is the new man which we put on. This is the spiritual man whose fruits are in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth. He that is baptized into Christ hath put on Christ. As surely as by natural generation we put on the common form of Adam's fallen nature, so surely by regeneration do we put on the form of Christ's nature, which was the brightness of God's glory, and the express image of his person. We put it on, not by a physical but by a spiritual operation, inasmuch as it is wrought, not by the present flesh of Christ, eaten in the supper, as the Romanists falsely teach, but by the absent flesh of Christ, brought to us in spiritual form by the Spirit of Christ. And, being spiritual, then in the Spirit, not in the flesh, wrought; in the flesh, indeed, through the Spirit, but not in the flesh directly; in the will, not in the members wrought; in the members, indeed, through the will, but not in the members directly; in the spiritual man directly, and through him in the physical man. And why this order? Because it is the original order. The soul is the seat of righteousness, the body of obedience to the righteous soul. Not clay, but spirit, is the image of God; and obedient clay is the instrument for expressing God's image outwardly in word and act to the outward creation. To the soul of man Christ restored that image of its Maker, and his soul, thus all embued with the Holy Spirit, did command his members to obey and they obeyed. All by which the soul communicates with the members of the flesh, all those finer, insensible, and invisible chords, by which the will operates upon the matter of dust whereof the body is composed, were not energized or wrought in by the Holy Ghost, who is pure spirit, but the will was, and these, as the obedient servants of the will, served according to their creation-charter! And why so particular in limiting the Holy Spirit to an operation in the will? Because he is spirit and not flesh, invisible and not visible, insensible and not sensible, operating as God doth operate, by power of a word, not by physical contact. Also
to preserve man's original constitution unbroken, which standeth in a spirit breathed into him by God, stamped with God's likeness, in a body built of inanimate dust, formed to be obedient thereto. Also to prevent the work of the Spirit from being apprehended as some sensual or aisthetical influence, instead of being supersensual in the Spirit or will only. The restoration of original righteousness, therefore, standeth in the spirit, and extendeth no farther, in the invisible and indivisible spirit, which in all its possible moods and actings, is made like unto God, and only like unto him. To receive this gift is the special work of regeneration, it is the opening of a fountain which shall ever flow with divine waters, and never cease to flow with goodness, and righteousness, and truth. This is the only work of the Spirit during this life which the saint receiveth. All the rest is the effect of this. The obedience of the members, the resistance of the world, and the victory over the devil, all proceed in consequence of the power of the will originally bestowed upon, and now renewed in us.
(3.) The third practical form of holiness which we derive from Christ, is the deliverance from the corruption of our whole nature, so that with the flesh we shall serve God. So far as moral corruption is concerned, we receive that deliverance now; inasmuch as we are enabled not only “to will, but also to do of God's good pleasure.” The way in which God worketh in us, is the way in which he wrought in Christ. By working in the human will and flesh of Christ, he wrought in my will and flesh, and shewed at once his desire, and disposition, and power, to sanctify this compound substance of human nature. And it is sanctified, and we are sent into it to keep it holy. As sure as Eden was planted of God for the man to keep and dress it, so surely was human nature sanctified of God in Christ, for all men to keep it holy. We have it not to make holy, but to keep holy. The evil spirit is cast out of it, and it is swept and garnished, and we saved men are required to see to it, that we keep it and present it so in the day of the Lord's appearing, when he shall come to look after his own. Therefore, O man! whosoever thou art, thou art without excuse. Say not my misfortunes, say my guilt, my enor-
mous guilt. Say not, Adam's fault, say, my fault. But rather say, my privilege and my prerogative to have a sanctified and cleansed nature, shall I not rejoice in its beauty, in its garden of sweetness? Shall I not serve God in this his holy temple? Shall I not please him who hath called me to be his soldier, and wrestle against flesh and blood, against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickednesses in high places? These are not hyperbolical expressions and extravagant hopes; nor is it permitted to understate or to overstate them. They must be stated at the mark of perfect holiness, or else they avail nothing. If a man think to receive Christ on his own terms, as a half sanctifier, or as any thing less than a complete one, he cannot receive him at all. If any one will believe in God as the receiver of any thing less than a perfect holiness, he had better not believe upon him at all, but betake himself to the outer court of nature. Therefore it is not a matter, to be adjusted between the preacher and the hearer. There is but one way of stating it which is good for any thing, and that is, to state Christ as presenting to us a thoroughly holy nature. For all the effect of holiness depends upon a right faith in him; and if we believe a lie, he will never sanction it by holiness, which is only the fruit of truth, “Sanctify them through thy truth.” Let no one speak, therefore, of extreme and ultra statements of Christ’s work for us, and God's requirements from us. There is but one statement which admitteth not degrees, and that statement is, that God requireth perfect holiness, which Christ hath wrought out for all flesh, and which all flesh may receive through the knowledge and belief of such a God and such a Saviour. Believe otherwise, and you can receive no holiness whatever. If you would be holy you must believe the truth, and the truth is, that this natural man of thine, Christ crucified on the cross, this body of sin he destroyed in the grave, and therefore thou canst be holy as God is holy. Go, therefore, and be so.
But there is another responsibility besides the guilt of sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of our nature, which we are under to God, viz. for the corruption of that materialism, which he made pure as the
spotless heavens. Whence the storms and tempests, the fevers and diseases, the strife and quarrels, the death and dissolution which pervade all nature? Whence are they but from man's original guiltiness. He had all the virtue and beauty of this replenished and peaceful world in keeping; we were its stewards, and have to give an account of our stewardship. And how shall we be able? God will certainly require it at our hands. This also Christ hath purchased for us. He met the evil in these legions also. The storm beat upon him, the raging winds opened their mouths upon him, the lions and the unicorns, and the serpent and the young dragon. But in the strength of holiness and of faith he had the victory over them, and achieved their deliverance. Ah me, how these thoughts re-call to me the fairy songs of my native land, wherein is couched deeper truth than meets the ear; in one of which, the changed man says to his lover, hold me fast, I will change into all frightful forms, but hold me fast, and free me not, and thou shalt redeem me from my present thraldom. So nature presented itself to Christ in all savage forms of hunger, and treachery, and brutality, and death, and corruption, but he held fast his love to it, he clave to it, and so at length he achieved its deliverance;—the deliverance of it all, from the changeling state into which it hath been brought by sin, without losing any of its properties or affections. Man hath delivered it; Godhead working in man hath delivered man's kingdom. God so loved man, that he forgot his indignation, and put his own power into man, to enable him to deliver himself and his estate from the dominion of sin and Satan. Ah me! what love is in God to man; and surely man is intended in some wonderful way, throughout eternity, to requite that love of God. In what way? By being to him a faithful king and priest for ever, and governing the world in righteousness, and acting for ever as the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, his dear Son, and our most loving Saviour.
4. These three things, a clean and guiltless soul, a whole man renewed after the image of God, and nature reclaimed to the service of God, do together constitute the demand and condition, without which God would never
look man in the face again, because he gave all these things in charge to man; and being holy, being no sin-indulger, cannot look man in the face, until he have a full and faithful account of this stewardship. Man hath presented satisfaction upon all these points, in the person of the substitute man; for the whole was lost in one, to the end, that in one it might be all recovered again; or rather, it is the original constitution of our being, that many persons should be accounted one thing, to fall together and to rise together. Christ, the second Man, preserved a conscience void of offence, towards God and towards man, a soul in all its faculties and affections, thoughts and words, responding to the image of God, the very will, the very mind, the very heart of God; and flesh, the head of the visible creation, he presented in perfect subjection to the holy soul, though still under death and corruption, and the curse, and every temptation: So far, therefore, as the soul of man is concerned, it was presented unto God, in an acceptable and accepted state, even as he made it, in its full maturity of wisdom and knowledge, perfect in love and perfect in obedience, on the morning of Christ's baptism. And that morning, in the baptism with the Holy Ghost, God, for the first time, since Adam was banished out of Paradise, found a man in all points proved by the law and perfect without sin; but lo! now it is no garden-meeting and converse of friend with friend, but entering into the heart, and taking possession of the inward parts. That morning also, for the first time, since Adam the son of God, was driven out from the presence of God, did God pronounce over any child of Adam, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” That morning the soul of man was acknowledged by God to have been completely redeemed, and he declared that he could thenceforward dwell in the heart of man. And now that God's justice and holiness were entirely satisfied, he comes with new gratuities to mankind, not replacing him in possession of Eden again, however beautiful and blessed, but giving Himself, not his work, to be enjoyed. This, no doubt, he had intended for man from the first, if man had kept his charge, which having violated in so hideous a manner, barriers stern and strong must be interposed, in order to protect the holi-
ness of God, as well as to mark the delinquency of sin; and till these barriers are lifted up and removed, God must veil himself in symbols, and reserve himself in promises, and interrupt the glorious progress of his designs by man, until man shall have undone the evil which he had done, and made atonement for his sins. This Christ having accomplished in the perfect keeping of that inexorable and inflexible law, behold God's reserves are at an end, and he embraces man, with all his heart, and replaces him in his favour. Oh! what an advance manhood made that morning of the baptism of Christ, at Bethabara, beyond Jordan! But still though God did thenceforward inhabit with his own mighty power and sweetest delectation all the inward parts of a man, so as to take his soul for his temple, still man's outward part, flesh, the body, together with its dependent visible world, was not yet irradiated or blessed with any particle of God's favour, because it had not as yet vanquished death and corruption, and the grave. If a priest might not touch a dead body, how will God, who is holier than any priest? He will not come near to death, nor any thing wherein corruption abideth. Therefore, the much-enduring man had first to draw the body from under the curse, and bring it up out of death into the realms of life, before God would take it into his presence at all. But, this done, lo it ascended into glory, to occupy no earthly paradise, but the very throne of God; into which blessed presence of God not one of us shall enter, until we also have been brought out of death, and have laid off the cerecloth of the grave.
For the present, therefore, we must be content with the enjoyment of God upon the throne of our hearts, as the Father of our spirits, as the inhabitant of our soul, in which to make the sweet influence of his presence to be felt, and through which, when it pleaseth him to express the mightiness of his power in healing the sick, or working miracles, or speaking with tongues, or discerning spirits, or other such gifts, superhuman and divine, which do all belong to this blessed baptism, whereunto Christ hath introduced us. For baptism, Christ's ordinance, containeth two things, the washing away of our sin, and the baptism with the Holy Ghost; the former holding of the redemption and satisfaction, the latter holding of the
new acquisition which our nature made on the morning of Christ's baptism. I present, therefore, unto every man in Christ, not only deliverance from the old offence of Adam, with all its train of consequences, but also the new inheritance of the Holy Ghost, as a Spirit of power, the earnest of an inheritance whereof Adam's was only a type. This is a part of the fruit of Christ's holiness in the flesh which is little thought of. Men have been so much disturbed of late about the thoughts of their own safety, that they have little time to consider the new gratuities which their deed of pardon containeth. Thereby Christ hath purchased back for all men the communion and fellowship of God, the indwelling and inworking of God within their hearts, so that they ought no longer to fed like banished men, nor be troubled with the remorse of sin, nor be possessed with evil, nor walk in darkness, for the darkness is past, and the true light shineth. It is a very great act of unbelief and ingratitude for any one to be found gloomy in his mind or discontented in his heart, alienated in his affections, oppressed with wickedness, or led astray of error. This is no more man's proper condition since the resurrection of Christ, than death and sin were his proper condition before the fall. Men are thus conditioned only through ignorance or unbelief of those things which Christ hath wrought for their souls. They will not come unto the light, and therefore they are in darkness. They will not believe on Christ the sin-destroyer, and therefore they abide in sin, in remorse of conscience, and oppression of the devil.
Ah me, knowing these things which I write, let me make them known, O my God, to the ends of the earth, and to them that are afar off upon the sea.
5. It is written, “the first man was made a (unto, or for a) living soul, the second man was made a (unto, or for a) quickening spirit.” In these words, the superiority of that which Christ attained over that which Adam was made for, is declared to stand in the quickening of the Spirit. Adam's soul was but, as it were the soil in which to cast the seed of the Spirit, that man might become what God intended him for. But man, as we have said, forestalled God, and forfeited his condition. Christ recovered the condition, waited on God, and inherited the
full measure of manhood's appropriate honour and glory, which is that of a quickened Spirit; Christ alone being the quickener, we the quickened. Now this Spirit-quickening was manifested forth in Christ at his baptism, from which time he became the spiritual man; and after his ascension into glory, he became the Spirit-quickener. He then began to baptise with the Holy Ghost. Of this baptism, we have already declared, that every mortal man is an heir, and every believer a possessor, whether he may have stirred up the gift or not. It is as much of the essence of a true faith to believe in Christ, as the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost, as it is to believe in him as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. For with one and the same breath was he announced in both characters by his appointed forerunner and herald, John the Baptist. And it is as much the prerogative of Christian baptism, to confer the communion and fellowship of the Holy Ghost, as he was poured out on the day of Pentecost, as it is to confer the forgiveness of sins which was purchased for us upon the cross with Christ's most precious blood. But this baptism with the Holy Ghost being possessed, and every baptised person is responsible both for the possession and the use thereof, it is still only an earnest of the things which are about to be, when the church being raised in her glory, shall enter into the possession of her God and of her inheritance. God can now visit our souls and inhabit them, but he is as far from these vile bodies and this vile earth as ever. That this will not continue, all the fathers knew, who believed that in their flesh they should see God; and we have their promises and hopes more confirmed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and his assumption into the throne of God. Flesh waited until mortality and corruption, the badges of its sinful estate, should be banished forth of it. This Christ did for flesh, he cleansed it thoroughly, he washed it and made it whiter than the snow, and then he ascended unto his Father and unto our Father, unto his God and unto our God. And so he hath purchased for all flesh a dwelling place in the holy temple, and blessed presence of God; so that God will not be ashamed to dwell amongst us, and to make us his holy city and tabernacle. Of the high uses and offices to which he shall
promote the raised saints in that day and for ever, the manifestation of the Spirit, or the gifts of the Holy Ghost, were intended for an earnest. These are wisdom to rule, and govern, and administer all things as God himself would; and knowledge of his inmost mind, and of all creations use destination; both of which gifts God shall put forth by us and not otherwise, in that eternal age of blessedness: and there is faith in God, such as shall draw forth from him the full power of his strength to remove mountains, if need be, and to work all other miraculous works, for demonstration, that in us abideth God the supreme power and cause of things, that God worketh by us the reformation and re-establishment of this distressed world; whose diseases to heal, there is the gift of healing, whose possessed chambers to deliver from spiritual wickednesses, there is the discernment of spirits, and to announce the undoubted presence of God within us, there is the gift of tongues. These are all but stirrings and movings of that Spirit of redemption and power; which we shall completely possess when we are raised from the dead; and shall come in the glory of the eternal God, to control the evil and to bind up the devil, to introduce the blessedness, and to dispense it in measures of wisdom and goodness for ever. Not one particle of this power, and honour, and glory, which we shall inherit upon the resurrection of the body, could have come to us but through the holiness of Christ's flesh, which holiness was rewarded from the grace and goodness of God, with the resurrection, and with all those innumerable benefits which await the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem in the world to come. And our only pledge and security of it standeth in this, that our flesh in the person of Christ, is now enjoying the presence, yea and the power of God. He who hath done all things for us, hath brought in this glorious destiny for the flesh of man, that it should no longer have the lap of earth, but the bosom of God for its rest; no longer the darkness of the grave, but the light inaccessible and full of glory for its abode; and be no longer the subject of corruption and the prey of norms, but the subject of divine possession, the dispenser of blessedness, the restrainer of death, and the destroyer of the devil and all his works. Such is the great and final glory which Christ
hath purchased for man by his holiness in the flesh; and into the inheritance of all this the whole family of mankind are invited to enter. We have become as truly heirs of all this inheritance, by Christ's righteousness, as we became heirs of all this desolate world, of the grave, and of hades, by Adam's transgression.
Now when, we consider that all these things, and many more which our space permitteth us not to enlarge upon, are purchased for us by Christ's work in the flesh, by his holiness therein, and his right occupation of the Spirit, and his victory over death and the grave, we may well conceive what a very important subject the incarnation is, and how carefully it ought to be preserved as the very palladium of the church. I wonder not at the jealousy with, which the saints of God watch over the doctrine of the holiness of Christ in the flesh; with the same jealousy let them watch over the doctrine, that it is the flesh in which he is holy. If I had ever said any thing against the holiness of Christ's flesh, I would, indeed, be ashamed of my sin, and confess it aloud in the hearing of all the church; for verily it is the basis of all my hopes, and the substance of all my preaching. It is not true that I have ever said or hinted such a thing; the contrary I have said and demonstrated, more, I am sure, than a hundred times in all my writings; and yet the suspicious, uncharitable, and erroneous rulers of the licentious, religious press, and the Pharisaical religious world, have set it down as a thing certain, that I really entertain and teach such an abominable heresy. Lies cannot always prosper, and liars cannot always prevail; there is a day coming which will reveal all secrets, and there is a throne of righteous judgment, before which I will stand face to face with these slanderers of my good name. But, oh! how shall I undeceive worthy people, ere the object at which my adversaries aim be accomplished. I know no way so good as by sending forth this full and distinct summary of all that I have heretofore written, since attained to, and presently hold upon this great subject.
If it involved the cardinal and fundamental truth of our Lord’s holiness, to assert and maintain that his flesh, like all flesh since Adam’s transgression, had in it the proper law of flesh, which is the law of sin and death, then it would be for a Christian, and a Christian minister, the greatest shame and guilt, ever to entertain the subject, or to suffer it to be entertained in his presence. And I firmly believe, and indeed in a measure know, that the awful abhorrence in which the very supposition of such a thing has been held, ariseth from the notion, that to suppose Christ’s flesh to be like ours, an instrument of temptation, having in it the law of sin and death, doth necessarily imply sin to have been in Christ. Most necessary therefore is it for the obtaining even of a hearing, to shew that this, instead of being equivalent to personal unholiness, is an essential element, yea and the very condition, of that true holiness which God requireth of man. The greatest evil at present pressing the church is, that she is incapable of explaining her own terms; and so around every word hath gathered a mystery of ignorance and misconception, which doth greatly prejudice the ministry of truth. Of no theological term is this more true, than of original sin; which most understand to signify a necessity of sinning all the days of our life, so that it should be impossible for the children of men to do one good thing, or to think one good thought, be we wrought in of God, united to Christ, and moved by the Spirit in any way whatever: that there is a taint of unholiness, an element of guilt in all man’s actions, and that he neither doth, nor can please God, be he Christian or no Christian, member of Christ or no member of Christ. Now that there is a law of the flesh in every man of flesh begotten; and that this law of sin and death, is the consequence and the continuance of Adam’s one transgression, no man may doubt who believeth God, even as he may not doubt that it is the very end and glory of Christ the Redeemer, to prevail against, overcome, and utterly put down this law of flesh, by the law of the Spirit: that he is able to do so, hath done so in his own person, and undertakes to do so in all his members; and in every one of
members doth it, and wherever it is done, there is holiness, and other holiness is there none. All Scripture commandeth us to do good works, every member of our body to present as an instrument of righteousness, and our whole body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God; and it likewise declareth that this is not to be done, otherwise than through faith, trust, and dependence upon Jesus Christ the Redeemer, who alone hath this power of holy living to bestow. And shew me the church on earth, regarded as a true church, nay, shew me any church, true or apostate, in existence, which doth not maintain, that good works verily are possible, yea and ought ever to be yielded unto God; though they may differ as to the power through which they are wrought, the Pelagian giving some hand unto man's natural life of reason, and force of will, the orthodox and catholic church acknowledging the whole power to be supernatural, derived directly from God, through the regeneration wrought in us by Jesus Christ. Hath not the holy catholic church been ever as careful to maintain that good works, works really good and acceptable unto God, are done by the regenerate man, as that none such is or can be done by the unregenerate man. To assert the contrary, would make any church a pernicious subverter of moral distinctions, a leveller of all laws, a destroyer of the natural conscience, and the author of all confusion upon the face of the earth. Moreover, if man have, by himself and by the devil conspiring against God, succeeded to such an extent, as to put it beyond God's power, any how exerted to its full measure in Christ with the seven Spirits of God, to recover the mastery of his own creatures, but that his creatures must, and cannot but, resist and sin against him, then where is the Lordship and Sovereignty and very Godhead of God? He is God no longer, who has been prevailed against by his creatures. The creatures which have prevailed become God, and God is dethroned, overthrown, and utterly defeated. If man be under the necessity of sinning, who imposed this necessity? Not his Creator sure; or else he were the author of sin, who is the promoter of all holiness, and made man to be his own image. Who then? Man and the devil combining together, have introduced the sin, and frustra-
ted God. Thus, they are greater than God. And yet verily this is the notion now put about concerning original sin, that it necessarily imposes guilt upon every one of every man’s actions, be he regenerate or unregenerate, by reason of that law of flesh, which then poisoned the whole of mankind. And therefore they say, Christ must have other flesh, or he also in all his acts is a sinner. This is the spider’s web, with which they would imprison the church, and keep out the light of heaven. Woe is me! our leanness! our leanness!
Sin is well defined “a transgression of the law of God.” This came into creation, as is generally believed, through the angels which kept not their first estate: certainly God had no hand in it direct or indirect, for he cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man. And our Lord's declaration, that Satan was a liar and a murderer from, the beginning, as well as the history of Adam's transgression, bears out the constant persuasion of the church concerning the angels, though she hath never embodied it into a doctrine of faith. These angels being found sinners made common cause with men, and God permitted it, in his firm purpose by man to make an example of them, and drive them to the pit of Tophet. They plotted there our destruction when they plotted man's, for the church shall judge angels, and make an end of their evil activity in the misery of the second death. In man, God was to find the justification of his holiness, and the upholding of it for ever. He was made for this very end, to body forth God completely in all the feature and powers of his invisible Godhead. And because God is free and uncaused, being the cause of himself, man must have, and hath, such a part in his will, which within the creature-bound is caused by nothing, but is of itself the cause; yea, and is the cause of all that we behold, forasmuch as not willingly, not of its own will, the creature was brought into bondage, but through the effect of man's willingness to sin against God. The body and the earth, and the whole creation were by the will of man caused to come into their present groaning and travailing bondage. They did not tempt man, they did not act upon the will of man, towards evil with any influence. They had no congruity with so dignified a substance as
the spirit of man, not earth-born like the body, but breathed forth of the Spirit of God, and made to be a likeness of himself. That his will was free, all Scripture and all theology doth testify. He chose, he dared, to sin against the word of God, and straitway the world followed him, the body and the living creatures, the earth, sun, moon, and stars, and elements of nature, all drew after him by an invincible subjection and bondage, which they are under to the will of man, with it to fall, with it to rise again. How dignified, how awfully dignified is the will of man as a creature of God! no less than what he made it for, to be his own express image, his own ordained Lord. If now this constitution of things is to stand; and that it must stand God's faithfulness assureth, and the present aspect of the world demonstrateth; how shall all things be restored, but through the operation of that will of man which is their sovereign? As it hath disordered, so it must order them again. By its disobedience of God's will it disordered, by its obedience of the same will it must order them again. In the disobedient will of man the evil began; in his obedient will the evil must end. Not by any change of the body, but by a renewal of the will, is it necessary therefore, that the redemption should be wrought. The body follows the spirit into evil, and it must follow it into good; it preceded not in the one case, neither in the other can it precede without a subversion of the order of God: yea, and the subversion of God himself, who, because he is Spirit, and as Spirit, created things material, must suspend the material from, and make them to depend upon the spiritual, not the spiritual upon the material. This is the reason why there is a renewed soul long before there is a resurrection body; and why the renewed soul hath a separate being from the body, but the body never from the soul. All to teach, that not the body before the soul, but the soul before the body, hath place and preferment with God. If Christ therefore in his work is to be in harmony with God's, working elsewhere; if he is the witness of God, if he is to justify and glorify his Father's work from the beginning; if he is to shew what man was, is, and for ever shall be, if, in one word, he is to be God's servant, and our Redeemer, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, he
may not have a work of change by the holiness of his flesh, done upon his flesh, until he hath shewn his will to be obedient to God’s will. The holiness of his will may draw along with it the holiness of his flesh, but caused by, or consequent upon it, cannot be. His flesh cannot be changed, in order that he may take it; his holy will must oblige it to be holy, else the body is broken off from its dependance upon the soul, and matter altogether from its dependance upon the Almighty Spirit. If he was a man at all, he must be a man, the holiness of whose body dependeth upon the holiness of his will, and not upon any physical constitution of its own. It must not be necessarily holy, but holy because his soul is holy. This is the great truth, in the present argument.
Man is God's justifier against the angels which kept not their first estate, as well as against the sinful visible creation; is in one word, God's justifier against all sin and contradiction any-where and every-where existent in God's creation. It is all come down unto the earth, and confederating with, yea, couching in the tender flesh of man, doth work its destructive artillery against the will, through his flesh bearing down that will, which by its own set, did bring itself under the blow of this fell confederacy. Prometheus like, man's soul lies chained upon the rock, preyed on by the vultures, and enticed by the gods and goddesses of enslaved nature. And he doeth God service, who, appreciating the strength and holiness of Christ, doth against flesh and blood, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in the supercelestial places, maintain the testimony and truth of God, the faith and hope of Jesus, the mind and will of the Holy Ghost. What a perversity to call the act wherein a man doth thus struggle against such fearful odds, and prefer his unseen God and Saviour to such worldly advantages, and prevail in their strength against all their enemies;—what a perversion of language, I say, to call this sin, which God calls ceasing from sin, to call this offensive, which God says is in his sight of great price. Hear O men! to sanctify a pharisaical religion, it is needful to make a pharisaical God, who shall gloom discontented upon every man, and every custom of every man, though his Son in all the strength, in all the might of God be working in him. If there hath not been in mankind a
continuous debate against, and victory over sin working in the flesh, the world, and the devil, God hath not had a continuous witness of his holiness in that place, and form of creation which he made to witness thereof. But there has always been a law of sin and death in the flesh of man since Adam's forfeiture: and therefore, the presence of a law of sin and death in the flesh is no sufficient reason against holiness, otherwise holiness hath never been in any member of Christ, and God hath never been pleased in man since the world began, save only in the Lord Jesus Christ; and what then mean the ten thousand declarations to the contrary, made to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and all the cloud of witnesses with whom we are surrounded? If there ever hath been one good and acceptable work yielded to God by any regenerate man, then good was it notwithstanding the law of the flesh in his members, it was good by the prostration and over the head of that law of sin and death. If men think to honour God and Christ, by denying righteousness and holiness to be in any member of Christ, they contradict himself, who saith, “Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples.” And by these fruits, whether they be good or evil, Christ desireth that his people shall be known. I solemnly declare, that this false view of our natural condition, as if it did utterly disqualify a mortal man from doing good, as if it did entail upon mankind a necessity of sinning, let God do his utmost to the contrary, is the overthrow of all religion and morals, of God and of holiness, and is the deification of evil. Man and the devil introduced the law of sin and death; man, that is Christ, by the Holy Ghost, that is the Spirit of Christ,—the one sent by the Father, the other proceeding from the Father and the Son,—overcometh that law of sin and death, by the contrary law of the Spirit of life and holiness, which is in Christ Jesus, for the help of every man who trusteth in him. To hold therefore that Christ's flesh had the same law of sin and death, is merely to say, that “he was of the seed of David, according to the flesh,” nor doth in any way prejudice his holiness, if so be that he prevail ever more to bring this law into death, and for ever in death to keep it down; but doth make him the complete and
perfect witness of holiness, and doth exhibit the great mastery of the human will, in virtue of its resemblance unto God, and its power to draw out of the fearful pit, the body of man and the elements of creation: which, while it is bound, must be bound along with it, when it is free, are free again. To deny that his flesh had the law of sin and death, is simply to deny, that according to the flesh he was of David and Abraham's seed, that he took flesh and blood with the brethren, that he suffered in the flesh as we are called to do; that he was tempted in all points like as we are. While, on the other hand, to deny that his will was any thing but holy, and most holy, and all mighty to enforce every member of his body into a submission and obedience to God's law, to Christ's own law, as laid down in the Sermon on the Mount, is to deny, that he was born a holy thing, and as the holy child of God lived, and in death presented his body spotless to the Lord.
Wherein then doth the righteousness of Christ differ from the righteousness of his people? Not in kind, but in degree, and in origin: in degree inasmuch, as we do “break God's law in thought, word, and deed,” and need atonement; he never. He presented a whole body and a whole life of holy and heavenly obedience; and needed no atonement, but made the atonement for one and all of us: in origin, inasmuch as we derive it from him, he derived it from Godhead, in the three persons subsisting, we from manhood, in his person subsisting. The Godhead sustained his manhood holy, he lived on God; we live on the flesh and blood of his manhood, as it is written, “As I live by the Father; so, he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” In him, it is his own righteousness; in us, it is his righteousness and not our own; but in both it is the perfect righteousness of God; acceptable and well-pleasing in his sight. The righteousness of every soul is of the same kind of righteousness and preciousness in God's sight, with the righteousness of Christ; for God hath not two standards to measure by. What is righteousness, is so, wherever and in whomsoever it is; what is unrighteousness, is unrighteousness, and must be so for ever, can by no addition from another's be made righteousness, and so needs atonement, must be forgiven,
cannot be accepted, is displeasing, not well-pleasing in the sight of God. Every man declares himself a sinner, by sinning; and he that saith he hath not sinned “maketh God a liar, and is himself a liar, and the truth is not in him.” But in Christ was no sin; and “whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.”
What, then, is the conclusion of all, but that we should shake off that monstrous and hideous system of error, which sits like an incubus upon the church, and is confirmed by what is called evangelical preaching; as if a man dwelt in by the Holy Ghost could do no good work, let him be ever so faithful in Christ, and bent on pleasing God; as if to please God were an impossible thing, whereas he is working in us to will and to do of his good pleasure; as if Christ were a hard master, who gathereth where he hath not strawn, who reapeth where he hath not sown; whereas he himself saith, that his yoke is easy and his burden is light; as if the answer of the Holy Ghost in the conscience that we had done our duty were an impossible thing, never to be looked for, whereas, “baptism is the answer of a good conscience,” and when “our conscience condemneth us not, then we have confidence toward God.” While this mortal error is permitted, religion is indeed a bondage, a misery, an impossibility, and our talent lies all buried in the ground. Put it away as the devil's disguise, as the Pharisee's robe, as the soul's oppression, as the very sanctification of despair. Oh! men and brethren, go about your duties as persons who feel assured that in the strength of the Spirit you can please God, and that you are delivered from all sin, and so far from again sinning, ought not and need not to sin at all. Away with that false evangelicalism, it is worse than nothing. Rather betake yourself to nature's teaching than to the teaching of a lie. And of all lies the most fatal lie is this, that man can by no means or methods be brought to please his Maker. And when they press and oppress you with this damnable tenet of Manicheism, appeal your cause to Christ, and say, here, here, O enemy of all truth and holiness, is my nature fulfilling all righteousness, and defeating all the enemies of my soul. For this the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil, and he hath destroyed them, and
they are destroyed, and I will trample them under my feet, and serve my God all the days of my life, being delivered from all mine enemies, by that horn of salvation which he hath raised up for me in the house of his servant David.
I have, in my own person, proved too painfully the effects of this evangelicalism, not to strive hard against it. It hath been, unto this day, like a continual strawing of sand upon the soil of my heart. I can hardly recover my confidence of being able to do any one acceptable thing. All these laborious demonstrations of the work of righteousness wrought in our flesh by Christ, have hardly availed to deliver me out of that Arminian darkness, into the light and life of confidence towards God, through the Lord Jesus Christ. But I do bless my God, that he hath opened to me the truth, and enabled me to open it to others. I have found the pearl of great price, I have found the wisdom which is better than rubies, and I here preach it to the church, and it is—
the holiness of christ in our flesh is the form, fountain-head, and assurance to us, of holiness in flesh.