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I80 WHAT ARE GOOD THGUGHTS CONCERNING OURSELVES,
IGNOR. When do our thoughts of ourselves agree with the word of GOD?
‘CHR. \Vhen we pass the same judgement upon ourselves which the word passes.—To explain myself: the word of GOD saith Of persons in a natural condition, “ There is none righteous, there is none that “ doeth good.” It saith also that “ every imagination “ of the heart Of a man is only evil, and that conti“ nually‘.” And again, “ The imagination of man’s “ heart is evil from his youth.” Now then, when we think thus Of ourselves, having sense thereof, then are our thoughts good ones, because according to the word of GOD.
IGNOR. I will never believe that my heart is thus bad.
CHR. Therefore thou never hadst one good thought concerning thyself in thy life.—-But let me go on. As the word passeth a judgement upon our heart, so it passeth a judgement upon our ways; and when the thoughts of our hearts and ways agree with the judgement which the word giveth of both, then are both good, because agreeing thereto.
IGNOR. Make out your meaning.
CHR. Why, the word of God saith that man’s ways are crooked ways, not good, but perverse: it saith they are naturally out of the good way, that they have not known it“. Now when a man thus thinketh Of his ways, I say, when he doth sensibly, and with heart-humiliation, thus think, then hath he good thoughts of his own ways, because his thoughts now agree with the judgement of the word of GOD.
Gen. vi. 5. Rom. 1 Pl. cnv. 5. Prov. ii. 15.
AND 001). renonancs's FAITH.‘ .3,
IGNOR. \Vhat are good thoughts concerning GOD?
CHR. Even, as I have said concerning ourselves, when our thoughts of GOD do agree with what the word saith of him; and that is when we think of his being and attributes as the word hath taught; of which I cannot now discourse at large. But to speak of him in reference to us; then we have right thoughts of GOD when we think that he knows us better than we know ourselves, and can see sin in us when and where we can see none in ourselves: when we think he knows our inmost thoughts, and that our heart, with all its depths, is always open unto his eyes: also when we think that all our righteousness stinks in his nostrils, and that therefore he cannot abide to see us stand before him in any confidence even in all our best performances.
IGNOR. Do you think that I am such a fool as to think GOD can see no further than I? or that I would come to GOD in the best of my performances?
CHR. Why, how dost thou think in this matter?
IGNOR. Why, to be short, I think I must believe in CHRIST for justification. _
CHR. How? think thou must believe in CHRIST, when thou seest not thy need of him! Thou neither seest thy original nor actual infirmities ; but hast such‘ an opinion of thyself, and of what thou doest, as plainly renders thee to be one that did never see a necessity of CHRIST’S personal righteousness to justify thee before GOD. How then dost thou say, I believe in CHRIST ?
lesion. I believe well enough for all that.
CHR. How dost thou believe? .
IGNOR. I believe that CHRIST died for sinners; and that I shall bejustified before GOD from the curse, through his gracious acceptance of my obedience to his laws. Or thus, CHRIST makes my duties, that are religious, acceptable to his Father by virtue of his merits, and sO shall I bejustified.
CHR. Let us give an answer to this confession of thy faith.
1. Thou believest with a fantastical faith; for this faith is no where described in the word.
2. Thou believest with a false faith; because thou takcst justification from the personal righteousness of CHRIST, and appliest it 10 thy own.
3. This faith maketh not CHRIST a justifier of thy person, but Of thy actions; and of thy person for thy actions’ sake, which is false. >
4. Therefore this faith is deceitful, even such as will leave thee under wrath in the day of _GOD Almighty: for true justifying faith puts the soul, as sensible of its lost condition by the law, upon fleeing for refuge unto CHRtsr’s righteousness; (which righteousness of his is not an act of grace by which. he maketh, for justification, thy obedience accepted of GOD, but his personal Obedience to the law, in doing and suffering for us what that i'equired at our liandsz) this righteousness, I say, true faith accepteth; under the skirt of which the soul being shrouded, and by it presented as spotless before GOD, it is accepted, and acquits from condemnation.
IGNOR. What, would you have us trust to what
Cnnrsr in his own person hath done without us ? this conceit would loosen the reins of our lust, and tolerate us to live as we list: for what matter how we live, if we may be justified by CHRIsr’s personal righteousness from all, when we believe it.
CHR. IGNORANCE is thy name, and as thy name is so art thou; even this thy answer demonstrateth what I say. Ignorant thou art of what justifying righteousness is, and as zlgnomnt how to secure thy soul, through the faith of it, from the heavy wrath of GOD. Yea, thou also art ignorant of the true efi'ect of saving faith in this righteousness of CHRIST, which is to' bow and win over the heart to GOD in CHRIST, to love his name, his word, ways, and people, and not asythou ignorantly imaginest. '
HOPE. Ask him if ever he had CHRIST revealed to him from heaven? I
IGNOR. WVhat! you are a man for revelations! I do believe that what both you and all the rest of you say about that'matter is but the fruit of distracted brains.
'HOPE. Why man! CHRIST is so hid in GOD from the natural apprehensions of the flesh, that he cannot by any man be savingly known, unless GOD the Father reveals him to them.
IGNOR. That is your faith, but not mine: yet rnine, Idoubt not, is as good as yours, though I have not in my head so many whimsies as you.
CHR. Give me leave to put in a word :--—you ought not to speak so slightly of this matter: forthis I boldly afiirm, (even as my good companion hath done) that no man can know JESUS Cmusr but by the revelation
184 AND BREAKS OFF THE CONVERSATIOI.
of the Father; yea, and faith too, by which the soul layeth hold upon CHRIST, (if it be right) must be wrought by the exceeding greatness of his mighty power'; the working of which faith, I perceive, poor IGNORANCE, thou art ignorant of. Be awakened then, see thine own wretchedness, and flee to the Lord Jesus; and by his righteousness, which is the righteousness of GOD, (for he himself is GOD) thou shalt be delivered from condemnation.
IGNOR. You go so fast I cannot keep pace with you : do you go on before: I must stay a while behind.
Then they said—
‘ Well, IcNonANcn, wilt thou yet foolish be
Then CHRISTIAN addressed himself thus to his fellow:
CHR. Well, come, my good HOPEFUL, Iperceive that thou and I must walk by ourselves again.
SO I saw in my dream, that they went on apace before, and IGNORANC E, he came hobbling after. Then said CHRISTIAN to his companion, it pities me much for this poor man; it will certainly go ill with him at last. I
'- Matt. xi. :7. 1 Cor. xii. 3. Eph. i. 18, 1|.