Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > The Bunyan-Burrough Debate > Bunyan, Some Gospel-Truths Opened [2 of 6]
FORASMUCH as many have taken in hand to set forth their several judgments concerning the Son of the Virgin MARY, the Lord JESUS CHRIST; and some of those many having most grossly erred from the simplicity of the gospel, it seemed good to me, having had some knowledge of these things, to write a few words, to the end, if the Lord will, souls might not be so horribly deluded by those several corrupt principles that are gone into the world concerning him.
Now, that there is such a thing as a Christ, I shall not spend much time in proving of; only I shall show you, that he was first promised to the fathers, and afterwards expected by their children. But before I do that, I shall speak a few words concerning GOD'S FORE-ORDAINING AND PURPOSING, THAT A CHRIST, A SAVIOUR, SHOULD BE, AND THAT BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN. Now God in his own wisdom and counsel, knowing what would come to pass, as if it were already done, (Rom. iv.17;) He, knowing that man would break his commandments, and so throw himself under eternal destruction, did in his own purpose fore-ordain such a thing as the rise of him that should fall, and that by a Saviour. "According as he hath chosen us in him," meaning the Saviour, "before the foundation of the world." (Eph. i.4.) That is, God seeing that we would transgress, and break his commandment, did before choose some of those that would fall, and give them to him that should afterward purchase them actually, though, in the account of God, his blood was shed before the world was. (Rev. xiii.8.) I say, in the account of God his Son was slain; that is, according to God's purpose and conclusion, which he purposed in himself before the world was; as it is written, (2 Tim. i.9:) "Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began." As also, in 1 Pet. i.20, where the Apostle speaking of Christ, and the redemption purchased by him for sinners, saith of him, "Who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last days for you who by him do believe in God that raised him from the dead." God having thus purposed in himself, that he would save some of them that by transgression had destroyed themselves, did with the everlasting Son of his love make such an agreement, or bargain, that upon such and such terms he would give him a company of such poor souls as had by transgression fallen from their own innocency and uprightness, into those wicked inventions that they themselves had sought out. (Eccles. vii.29.) The agreement also how this should be, was made before the foundation of the world was laid. (Tit. i.2.) The Apostle, speaking of the promise, or covenant made between God and the Saviour, for that is his meaning, saith on this wise, "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." Now this promise, or covenant, was made with none but with the Son of God, the Saviour. And it must needs be so; for there was none with God before the world began, but he by whom he made the world, as in Prov. viii. from ver. 22 to ver. 31; which was and is the Son of his love.
This covenant, or bargain, had these conditions in it.
First. That the Saviour should take upon him flesh and blood, the same nature that the sons of men were partakers of, sin only excepted. (Heb. ii.14; iv.15.) And this was the will or agreement that God had made with him; and therefore when he speaks of doing the will of God, (Heb. x.5,) he saith, "A body hast thou prepared me," (as according to thy promise, Gen. iii.15,) which I was to take of a woman; and in it I am come to do thy will, O God, as it is written of me in the volume of thy book, (ver. 7.)
Second. The Saviour was to bring everlasting righteousness to justify sinners withal. (Dan. ix.24,25.) The Messiah, or Saviour, shall bring in everlasting righteousness and put an end to iniquity, as it is there written, "To make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness." This, I say, was to be brought into the world by the Saviour, according to the covenant, or agreement, that was between God and Christ before the world began, which God, that cannot lie, promised at that time. (Tit. i.2.)
Third. He was to accomplish this everlasting righteousness by spilling his most precious blood, according to the terms of the covenant, or bargain; and therefore, when God would show his people what the agreement was that he and the Saviour had made, even before the covenant was accomplished and sealed actually; see for this, Zech. ix. where he is speaking of him that should be the Saviour, (ver. 11.) "And as for thee also," meaning the Saviour, "by the blood of thy covenant," or, as some render it, whose covenant is by blood, which is all to one purpose, "I," meaning God, "have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein there was no water." The meaning is this: As for thee also, seeing the covenant or bargain that was made between me and thee before the world was, is accomplished in my account, as if it were actually and really done, with all the conditions that were agreed upon by me and thee; I have, therefore, according to that agreement that was on my part, sent forth the prisoners, and those that were under the curse of my law, out of the pit wherein there is no water; seeing thou also hast completely fulfilled in my account whatsoever was on thy part to be done, according to our agreement. And thus is that place to be understood in John xvii.9: "I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for those that thou hast given me," which I covenanted with thee for; "thine they were, and thou gavest them me," but on such and such conditions as are before mentioned, Zech. ix. And again, "According as he hath chosen us in him, that is, in Christ, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." Now, seeing this was thus concluded upon by those that did wish well to the souls and bodies of poor sinners, after the world was made by them, and after they had said, "Let us make man after our own image, after our likeness," (Gen. i.26;) and after man, whom God had made upright, had by transgression fallen from that state into which God at first placed him, and thrown himself into a miserable condition by his transgression, then God brings out of his love that which he and his Son concluded upon, and begins now to make forth that to the world which he had purposed in himself before the world began. (Eph. i.4,9. 2 Tim. i.9.)
1. Now, the first discovery that was made to a lost creature of the love of God was made to fallen Adam, (Gen. iii.15;) where it is said, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed," which is the Saviour. (Gal. iv.4.) "It shall break thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." This was the first discovery of the love of God to lost man; this was the gospel which was preached to Adam in his generation; in these words was held forth to them in that generation, that which should be further accomplished in after generations.
2. Another discovery of the love of God in the gospel was held forth to Noah, in that he would have him to prepare an ark to save himself withal; which ark did type out the Lord that was to come, and be the Saviour of those whom he before had covenanted for with God the Father. "And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; make thee an ark of gopher-wood." (Gen. vi.13,14; vii.1.) "The Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark, for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation."
3. God breaks out with a further discovery of himself in love to that generation in which Abraham lived, (Gen. xii.3;) where he saith, "And in thee," (that is, from thee shall Christ come through, in whom) "shall all families of the earth be blessed." This was also a further manifestation of the good-will of God to poor lost sinners; and through this discovery of the gospel did Abraham see that which made him rejoice. (John viii.56.)
4. When the time was come that Moses was to be a prophet to the people of his generation, then God did more gloriously yet break forth with one type after another, as the blood of bulls, and lambs, and goats: also sacrifices of divers manners, and of several things, which held forth that Saviour more clearly which God had in his own purpose and decree determined to be sent; for these things (the types) were a shadow of that which was to come, which was the substance. (Heb. ix.9,10; x.1,5-7.) Now, when these things were thus done, when God had thus signified to the world what he intended to do in after times, presently all that had faith to believe that God would be as good as his word, began to look for, and to expect that the Lord should acomplish and bring to pass what he had promised, what his hand and counsel had before determined to be done.
(1.) Now Abraham begins to look for what God had promised and signified; namely, that he would send a Saviour into the world in his appointed time, which thing being promised, Abraham embraces, being persuaded of the certainty of it; as in Heb. xi.13. And this did fill his heart with joy and gladness, as I said before; for "he saw it, and was glad." (John viii.56.)
(2.) Jacob also, while he was blessing his sons, concerning things to come breaks forth with these words, "I have waited for thy salvation." He was also put in expectation of salvation to come by this Saviour.
(3.) David was in earnest expectation of this, which was held forth by types and shadows in the law; for as yet the Saviour was not come, which made him cry out with a longing after it, "Oh, that the salvation of Israel were come out of Sion!" (Ps. liii.6.) And again, "Oh, that the salvation of Israel were come out of Sion." (Ps. xiv.7.) The thing that David waited for was not in his time come, though before his time it was promised, which makes him cry out, "Oh, that it were come, that it were come out of Sion"!" Where, by the way, take notice, that the true salvation and Saviour of Israel was to come out of Sion, that is, out of the church of God touching the flesh; as it is written, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren like unto me." (Deut. xviii.15,18.) And again, "I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people," (Ps. lxxxix.19;) and, Rom. ix.5, "Whose are the fathers, of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever." Christ, as concerning the flesh, did come of the fathers.
(4.) Isaiah did prophesy of this, that God would thus save his people; yea; he breaks forth with these words, "But Israel shall be saved with an everlasting salvation." (Isa. xlv.17.) He also tells them how it shall be accomplished in that 53d chapter. Yea, he had such a glorious taste of the reality of it, that he speaks as though it had been actually done.
(5.) In the days of Jeremiah, this that God had promised to the fathers was not yet accomplished. In chap. xxiii.5 he saith, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will"--mark, it was not yet done--"but I will, saith God, raise unto David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name wherewith he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."
(6.) He was also to come in Zechariah's time, (Zech. iii.8;) where he saith, "For behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH."
(7.) He was not come in the time of Malachi neither, though he was indeed at that time near his coming. For he saith himself, "Behold, I will send my messenger," meaning John the Baptist, (Isa. xl.3. Luke i.76,) "and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in. Behold he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts."
(8.) Old Simeon did also wait for the consolation of Israel a long time, (Luke ii.25;) where it is said, "And behold there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; the same was a just man and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel." That is, waiting for him that was to be the Saviour; as is clear, if you read with understanding a little further: "And it was revealed unto him by the Spirit, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lords Christ." (ver. 26.)
And thus have I in brief showed you, 1. That there is such a thing as Christ. 2. That this Christ was promised and signified out by many things before he did come. 3. How he was waited for, and expected before the time that God had appointed in the which he should come.
The Second Thing that I will, through the strength of Christ, prove, is this, that HE THAT WAS OF THE VIRGIN, IS HE THAT IS THE SAVIOUR.
First. And, first, I shall lay down this for a truth; that it is not any Spirit only by and of itself, without it do take the nature of man, that can be a Saviour of man from eternal vengeance.
Or thus: That that which will be a Saviour of man, must in the nature of man satisfy and appease the justice and wrath of God. And the arguments that I do bring to prove it by, are these.
I. Because it was man that had offended; and justice required that man must give the satisfaction; and therefore, when he that should be the Saviour was come, he "took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." (Phil. ii.7.) And in Heb. ii.14: "Because the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same." To what end? "That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." And is that all? No; but also that he might "deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
II. The second argument is this: because, if a spirit only could have made satisfaction for the sin of mankind, and have subdued Satan for man, without the nature of man, either there had been weakness in God when he made that promise to fallen Adam, that the seed of the woman should break the serpent's head; for there hath been no need of, and so no room for, that promise; or else God, having made it, would have appeared unfaithful in not fulfilling his promise, by redeeming the world without it.
III. If a spirit only could have made satisfaction, and so have saved man; then Christ needed not to have come into the world, and to have been born of a woman, (Gal. iv.4;) but in that he must come into the world, and must be born of a woman, it is clear, that without this he could not have been a Saviour; for he was made of a woman, made under the law, to this end, that he might redeem them that were under the law; implying, no subjection to this, (viz. the taking of the nature of man,) no redemption from the curse of the law. But Christ hath delivered from the curse of the law all that believe in his name, being in their nature made a curse for them.
And this is the reason why the fallen angels are not recovered from their damnable estate, because he did not take hold of their nature; "For he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham." (Heb. ii.16.)
Second. Now then, seeing this is the very truth of God, I shall next prove that Jesus that was born of the Virgin to be the Saviour. And,
I. I shall prove it by comparing some places of the Old and New Testament together, and by some arguments drawn from the Scriptures.
1. And, first, see Gen. iii.15, where he is called the seed of the woman, saying, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed;" and so was Jesus, (Gal. iv.4,) where it is said, "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman," or born of a woman.
2. This woman must be a virgin, (Isa. vii.14,) where it is said, "A virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel." And Jesus is he that was the fulfilling of this scripture. (Matt. i.22,23.) "Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel."
3. The Saviour must be of the tribe of Judah. And this Jacob prophesied of on his death-bed, saying, "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise," or honour; "thine hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies, thy father's children shall bow down before thee."
And again, (Micah v.2,) "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come, that is to be ruler in Israel." Jesus also came of the tribe of Judah; and that will clearly appear if you read Matt. i. Matthew, he begins first with Abraham, ver. 2, and thence to Judah, ver. 3; from Judah to David, ver. 6; from David to Zerubbabel, ver. 13; then to Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, ver. 16.
Now Mary was one of the same house also, and for this consider, Jesus came from the loins of David (see Matt. i.); but that he could not do if Mary had not been of the seed of David; for Christ came from her, not from him, for Joseph "knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born." (Matt. i.25.) Again, the angel told her that he was the Son of David, saying, "And the Lord God will give unto him the throne of his father David." (Luke i.32.)
And, again, the Jews knew this very well, or else they would have been sure to have laid it open before all the world; for they sought by all means to disown him. And though they did, through the devilishness of their unbelief, disown him, yet could they find no such thing as to question the right of his birth from Mary. If it had been to be done, they would no doubt have done it; they did not want malice to whet them on; neither did they want means, so far as might help forward their malice, without manifest and apparent injury; for they had exact registers, or records of their genealogies, so that, if they had had any colour for it, they would sure have denied him to have been the Son of David. There was reasoning concerning him when he was with them, (John vii.27,43;) and I do believe part of it was about the generation of which he came. And this was so commonly known, that the blind man that sat by the wayside could cry out, "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me; thou Son of David, have mercy on me!" (Luke xviii.38,39.) It was so common that he came from the loins of his father David according to the flesh, that it was not so much as once questioned. "And when" Herod "demanded" (Matt. ii.4-6) "of the chief priests and scribes of the people where Christ should be born, they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Judea, art not the least among the princes of Judah, for out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel." "For out of thee"--mark that; if Mary had not been of Judah, Christ had not come out of Judah: but Christ came out of Judah; therefore Mary is also a daughter of Judah. And this is evident, as saith the scripture, "for our Lord sprang out of Judah." (Heb. vii.14.)
Again, when Christ the Saviour was to come into the world, at that time the sceptre was to depart from Judah, according to the prophecy of Jacob: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come." (Gen. xlix.10.)
Now the sceptre was then departed from those that were Jews by nature, and also the lawgiver; and Herod, who was a stranger, and not of Judea, was king over them, as Caesar's deputy; and Caesar Augustus imposed laws on them.
The stubborn Jews also confessed the sceptre to be departed, when before Pontius Pilate, a Roman governor of Judea, they cried out against Christ: "We have no king but Caesar." (John xix.15.)
Nay, further, the Jews from that day to this have been without a king of their own nation to govern them: they never had the sceptre swayed since by any of themselves, but have been a scattered despised people, and have been, as it were, liable to all dangers, and for a long time driven out from their country, and scattered over all the nations of the earth, as was prophesied concerning them. (Jer. xxiv.9. Ezek. v.14,15.) And yet these poor souls are so horribly deluded by the devil, that though they see these things come to pass, yet they will not believe. And one reason among many of their being thus deluded is this: they say that the word sceptre in Gen. xlix. is not meant of a kingly government; but the meaning is, say they, a rod, or persecutions shall not depart from Judah till Shiloh come. Now, they do most grossly mistake that place; for though I am not skilled in the Hebrew tongue, yet through grace I am enlightened into the Scriptures, whereby I find that the meaning is not persecutions, nor the rod of afflictions, but a governor or sceptre of the kingdom shall not depart from Judah till Shiloh come. And that this is the meaning of the place, weigh but the very next words of the same verse, and you will find it to be the sceptre of a king that is meant; for he addeth, "Nor a lawgiver from between his feet." Mark it, the sceptre, nor a lawgiver; the legislative power, depending on the sceptre of the kingdom, shall not depart from Judah till Shiloh come. According to that scripture written in Isa. vii.16: "For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land which thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings:" which scripture hath been fulfilled from that same time.
But a word to the Jews' exposition of the sceptre to be a rod, or persecutions; saying, that persecutions shall not depart from Judah till Shiloh come. This cannot be the meaning of the place; for the Jews have had rest oftentimes, and that before Shiloh did come; at one time they had rest fourscore years. (Judges iii.30.) Again, "And the land had rest from war." (Josh. xiv.15.) And again, "And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers; and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them." (Josh. xxi.44. ) "And the land had rest forty years." (Judges iii.11.) There was rest many a time from persecution and from the rod, though it were but for a season; but the sceptre or kingdom did not depart from Judah, and a lawgiver from between his feet; till Shiloh came.
II. Again, to prove that Jesus is the Christ, it is clear from the hand of God against the Jews, for putting him to death. What was the reason why they did put him to death, but this, he did say that he was the Christ, the Son of God? (Luke xxii.70.) "Then said they all, Art thou the Son of God? And he said, Ye say that I am:" that is, I am he, as you say; I am the Son of God; yea, the only-begotten of the Father, and I was with him before the world was.
Now the Jews did put him to death for his thus owning his own; that is, for not denying of his Sonship, but making himself equal with God, therefore did they put him to death. (John xix.7.)
Now God did and doth most miserably plague them to this very day for their crucifying of him. But, I say, had he not been the Christ of God, God's Son, he would not have laid sin to their charge for crucifying him; but rather have praised them for their zeal, and for taking him out of the way, who did rob God of his honour, in that he made himself equal with God, and was not. He would have praised them for doing the thing that was right, as he did Phineas the son of Eleasar, for executing judgment in his time on the adulterer and adulteress. (Numb. xxv.8.)
But in that he said he was the Son of God, and accounted it no robbery so to call himself, (Phil. ii.6;) and seeing that they did put him to death, because he said he was the Son of God; and in that God doth so severely charge them with, and punish them for their sin in putting him to death for saying that he was the Son of God, it is evident that he was and is the Son of God, and that Saviour that should come into the world. For his blood hath been upon them to this very day for their hurt, according to their desire. (Matt. xxvii.25.)
Again, Jesus himself doth in this day hold forth that he is the Christ, where he saith, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Mark i.15.) What time is this that Jesus speaks of? Surely, it is that of Daniel's seventy weeks, spoken of in chap. ix.24, where he saith, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, to finish transgression and to make an end of sin, and to make reconciliation" or satisfaction for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to anoint the Most Holy. This time, that here Daniel speaks of, is it that Christ saith hath an end; and the argument that he brings to persuade them to believe the gospel, is this: "The kingdom of God is at hand" (according as was prophesied of it by Daniel;) "repent, and believe the gospel." Repent, and believe that this is the gospel, and that this is the truth of God; consider that Daniel had a revelation of these days from the angel of God, and also the time in which it should be accomplished; namely, seventy weeks was the determined time of the Messiah's coming, from the time when the angel spake these words to Daniel: seventy weeks, that is, about four hundred and ninety years, if you reckon every day in the said seventy weeks for a year: a day for a year, a day for a year; for so is the Holy Spirit's way sometimes to reckon days. (Ezek. iv.6.) And this the Jews were convinced of, when Christ saith to them, "Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, but can you not discern the signs of the times?" (Matt. xvi.3.) Do you not see that those things that are spoken of as forerunners of my coming are accomplished? Do you not see that the sceptre is departed from Judah? Do you not see the time that Daniel spake of is accomplished also? There shall no sign be given you but the sign of the prophet Jonah: O ye hypocritical generation! (ver. 4.)
III. Another argument to prove that Jesus is the Christ is this: By his power the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dumb speak, the dead are raised up, the devils are dispossessed. In Isa. xxxv.4, it is thus prophesied of him: "Behold your God will come with a vengeance; even God with a recompense; he will come and save you." But how shall we know when he is come? Why, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break forth, and streams in the desert." (ver. 5,6.) Now when John would know whether he were the Christ or no, Jesus sends him this very answer: "Go and tell John," saith he, "what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them." (Matt. xi.3-5.)
IV. Another argument that doth prove this Jesus to be the Christ, is this, namely, he to whom it was revealed that he should see him, though he waited long for him, so soon as ever he did but see that sweet babe that was born of the Virgin Mary, he cried out, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before all people," as it is in Luke ii.26-31. The prophetess Anna also, so soon as she had seen him, "gave thanks to the Lord, and spake of him to all those that waited for redemption in Israel." (ver. 36-38.)
V. Another argument is the sign of the prophet Jonah; he, even Jonah, was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, (Jonah i.17;) and Jesus makes this very thing an argument to the Jews that he was the true Messiah, where he saith, "A wicked and an adulterous generation seeketh after a sign;" that is, they would have me to show them a sign to prove that I am the Saviour. "And there shall no sign be given to them but the sign of the prophet Jonah; for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matt. xii.39,40.) And this the Apostle makes mention of to be accomplished, where he says, "The Jews slew Jesus, and hanged him on a tree," (Acts x.39;) and laid him in a sepulchre, (Matt. xxvii;) but God raised him up the third day, and showed him openly. (Acts x.40.)
VI. Another Scripture argument to prove that Jesus is the Christ, is this, that there was not one of his bones broken; which thing was foretold and typed out by the Paschal Lamb, where he saith, "Thou shalt not leave any of it until the morning, nor break a bone of it," (Exod. xii.46. Numb. ix.12;) which thing was fulfilled in the Son of the Virgin, (though contrary to the customs of this nation,) as it is written, "Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs," (John xix.32,33;) "that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken." (ver. 36.)
VII. Another Scripture demonstration is, in that they did fulfil the saying that was written, "They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots." (Ps. xxii.18.) But this was also fulfilled in Jesus, as it is written, "Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part, and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rent it, but let us cast lots whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots." (John xix.23,24.)
VIII. Again, the scripture saith, "They shall look on me whom they have pierced." (Zech. xii.10.) But the soldier thrust a spear into his side, that it might be fulfilled which was written, "They shall look on him whom they have pierced." (John xix.34-37.)
1. Now, then, seeing this is the truth of God, that Jesus that was born of the Virgin is the Christ of God, how horribly are those deceived who look on Jesus the Son of Mary to be but a shadow or type of something that was afterward to be revealed; whereas the Scriptures most lively hold him forth to be the Christ of God, and not a shadow of a spirit, or of a body afterwards to be revealed, but himself was the very substance of all things that did any way type out Christ to come; and when he was indeed come, then was an end put to the law for righteousness, or justification to every one that believeth; "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth," as it is written, Rom. x.4. That is, he was the end of the ceremonial law, and of that commonly called the moral law, the substance of which is laid down, (Exod. xx.1-17;) though that law, as handed down by Christ, still remains of great use to all believers, which they are bound to keep for sanctification, as Christ saith, Matt. v.19th verse, to the end of the chapter. But Christ Jesus hath obtained everlasting righteousness, having fulfilled all the law of God in the body of his flesh, wherein he also suffered on the cross without the gates, and doth impute this righteousness to poor man, having accomplished it for him in the body of his flesh, which he took of the Virgin, (Gal. iv.4.) "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law," that is, to obey it, and to bear the curse of it, "being made a curse for us," (Gal. iii.13,) to redeem them that were under the law; that is, to redeem such as were ordained to life eternal from the curse of the law. And this he did by his birth, being made or born of a woman; by his obedience, yea, by his perfect obedience, "he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him," (Heb. v.8,9;) and by his doing and suffering, did completely satisfy the law and the justice of God, and bring in that glorious and everlasting salvation, without which we had all eternally been undone, and that without remedy; for without shedding of his blood there was no remission.
2. Seeing Jesus Christ, the Son of the Virgin Mary, was and is the Christ of God; and that salvation came in alone by him, for there is salvation in no other, (Acts iv.12,) then how are they deceived that think to obtain salvation by following the convictions of the law, which they call Christ, though falsely, when, alas! let them follow those convictions that do come from the law, and conscience set on work by it; I say, let them follow all the convictions that may be hinted in upon their spirits from that law, they shall never be able to obtain salvation by their obedience to it, "for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Rom. iii.20.) And, "It is not of works, lest any man should boast," as those fond hypocrites called Quakers would do. And again, "If righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Gal. ii.21.) But that no man is justified by the works of the law, it is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." (Gal. iii.11.) Which living by faith, is to apply the Lord Jesus Christ, his benefits, as birth, righteousness, death, blood, resurrection, ascension, and intercession, with the glorious benefits of his second coming, to me, as mine, being given to me, and for me; and thus much doth the Apostle signify, saying: "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." (Gal. ii.20.)
3. Again, seeing God's Christ, which was with him before the world was, (John xvii.5,) took upon him flesh and blood from the Virgin Mary, who was espoused to Joseph the carpenter, and in that human nature yielded himself an offering for sin, (for it was the body of his flesh by which sin was purged, Col. i.22;) I say, seeing the Son of God, as he was in a body of flesh, did bring in salvation for sinners, and by this means, as I said before, we are saved, even by faith in his blood, righteousness, resurrection, &c., how are they then deceived who own Christ no otherwise than as he was before the world began, who was then without flesh and blood (for he took that in time of the Virgin, Gal. iv.4. Heb. ii.14.) I say, they are wickedly deluded, who own him no otherwise but as he was before the world was. For in their owning of him thus and no otherwise, they do directly deny him to be come in the flesh, and are of that antichristian party which John speaks of, (1 John iv.3;) "Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come, and even now already it is in the world." Now because the enemy doth most notably wrest this scripture, as they do others, to their own damnation, I shall speak something to it; and therefore, when he saith, Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God, his meaning is, every spirit that doth not confess that that Christ that was with the Father before the world was, did in the appointed time of the Father come into the world, took on him a body from the Virgin, and was very man as well as very God, and in that body of flesh did do and suffer whatsoever belonged to the sons of men for the breach of the holy law of God, and impute his glorious righteousness, which he fulfilled in that body of his flesh, to the souls that shall believe on what he hath done, and is doing, in the same body.
(1.) And that this is the mind of the Spirit of God, consider, first, he himself saith, Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have; when his disciples had thought he had been but a spirit. (Luke xxiv.39,40.)
(2.) Now that in this flesh he died for sins: consider, secondly, that scripture which saith, "Who his own self" (that is, the Christ that was born of the Virgin) "did bear our sins in his own body on the tree." (See Col. i.22.) "In the body of his flesh," saith he, "to present you holy, and unblamable, and unreprovable in his sight." Now that he arose again from the dead, with the body of flesh wherewith he was crucified, consider that forenamed scripture, Luke xxiv.39,40, spoken after his resurrection.
(3.) Now that he went away with the same body from them into heaven, consider that it is said, "And he led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them. And it came to pass while he blessed them, he was carried from them, and carried into heaven." (Luke xxiv.50,51.) This is the meaning of those words therefore; Jesus Christ is come into the flesh, that is, Jesus Christ hath come in the flesh that he took of the Virgin; hath brought us who were enthralled to the law, the devil, and sin, to liberty; and that by his obedience and death. "Forasmuch, then, as the children were partakers of flesh and blood," saith the scripture, "he," Christ, "also himself took part of the same." Wherefore? "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 time subject to bondage." (Heb. ii.14,15.) For he "was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Rom. iv.25.) For he, even that man, through the power of the eternal Spirit, did offer up himself without spot to God, and thereby, or by that offering, "obtained eternal redemption for us." (Heb. ix.12,14.) And therefore I say again and again, look to yourselves, that you receive no Christ except God's Christ: for he is like to be deceived that will believe every thing that calls itself a Christ. "For many," saith he, "shall come in my name, and shall deceive many." (Matt. xxiv.5.)