Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > The Bunyan-Burrough Debate > Bunyan, Vindication [2 of 4]
In thy entering upon my book, the first thing I find thee wrangling with is, first, by corrupting my words, and then by calling me liar.
Thou corruptest my words, saying that I said, "The blood of Christ was shed before the world began." Whereas I said, that in the account of God, (mark, in the account of God,) the blood of Christ was shed before the world began. Friend, art thou not able to distinguish betwixt a thing being done in God's account, or according to his foreknowledge, and a thing that is really and actually done? Surely it was either thy folly to speak evil of the thing thou knowest not, or else thy madness doth much appear, in that though thou understandest these things, yet for to wrangle by corrupting my sayings here, as also in other places, as will afterwards appear. This is in page 11 of thine, page 3 of my book.
Then thou goest on, (page 12,) and quotest the place where I say, (page 37,) "How horribly are those deceived who look on Jesus," (but thou leavest out those words, "the Son of Mary,") "to be but a type!" which thing, you say, you know none that do. And again, thou sayest that I say, "He is a type of something afterwards to be revealed." My words thou corruptest; thou wouldst fain gather thus much out of my words, by corrupting them: that though I denied Christ Jesus the Son of Mary to be a type, yet I myself say, he was a type of something afterward to be revealed; which thing, as there in my book, so here again I do most positively deny, and I quote the same words again, for a second confirmation of the same, saying as then I did: "How horribly are those deceived who look on Jesus the Son of Mary to be but a shadow, or type of something that was afterwards to be revealed! Whereas the Scriptures most lively hold him forth to be the Christ of God; and not a type or shadow of a Spirit, or body afterwards to be revealed, but himself was the very substance of all things that did any way hold forth, or 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. (Rom. x.4.)" And therefore, friend, though thou hast, or wouldst corrupt my words, yet have a care of corrupting Christ's words, lest thou dost even heap up wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. And whereas thou sayest, "Thou deniest not but Jesus is the substance:" Ans. I doubt thou dost not speak thine heart plainly, but hidest thyself, with so saying, as with an apron; if we inquire into what it is to hold forth Jesus the Son of Mary to be the substance. Therefore he that holds forth Jesus the Son of Mary to be indeed the substance, and not a type; holds forth and believes, that that Jesus that was born of the Virgin Mary did in his own body of flesh fulfil the law, and impute the righteousness of his obedience unto them that he accomplished then without them; and that his blood that was shed without on the cross, doth, and hath washed away all sin past, present, and to come, from him that believeth this; as it is written, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, that is, through our flesh: God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" that is, he was condemned in the flesh that he took on him of the Virgin Mary. (Rom. viii.3.) And, again, "He bore our sins in his own body on the tree," which was the cross on Mount Calvary.
Jesus also, saith the Apostle, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered. Where? Not in any believer, but without the gate of Jerusalem. (Heb. xiii.12.) How say you; do you really believe that at that time when Jesus did hang on the cross without Jerusalem's gate, even at that time he did give the justice of God a full and complete satisfaction for all the sins of all believers that have been formerly, or are now, or hereafter shall be? Or do you look upon Jesus at that time to be but a shadow, or type of somewhat that was afterwards to be done within? Answer plainly, yea, or no; that the simple may understand you.
Now I come to answer thy query laid down page 12, in these words: "Did Christ Jesus put an end to the law, for them who live yet in the transgression of the law? or doth he justify that which the law condemneth?" Indeed a right answer to this will be great satisfaction to some, though I think some trouble to others. And therefore, in answer to thy question, I shall lay down these following things:
1. Christ Jesus did put an end to the law for righteousness, for all that the Father hath given him; as it is written, The body of Jesus was offered once for all, for all that shall be saved; for he shall not be offered a second time: No, "but once for all." (Heb. x.10.) Once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; and he hath done it once by himself for all. (Heb. ix.26.) Otherwise he must have often suffered since the world began. But that must not be; for he "dieth no more." (Rom. vi.9.) But, say you, "Did he put an end to the law for them who still live in transgression?"
2. Answ. There are many poor souls that are given unto Christ, who yet live in their sins. But Christ did at that time, when he hanged on the cross, give a full and complete satisfaction for them. "In due time Christ died for the ungodly: for scarcely for a righteous man will one die, but peradventure for a good man some one would even dare to die." Ay, "but God commendeth his love to uswards, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." While we were yet sinners, yet ungodly. (Rom. v.6-8.) Nay, he did not only die for those who still live in sin, but he also makes intercession now at the throne of his Father's grace for them: "And he made intercession for the transgressors." (Isa. liii.12.) "He hath ascended on high, he hath led captivity captive, and received gifts for men." For what men? Even "for the rebellious also." (Ps. lxviii.18.) To what end? That the Lord God might dwell amongst them.
And whereas thou askest; "Doth he justify that which the law condemneth, before the work of the law be finished?" I answer:
3. That at that very time when Jesus Christ did hang on the cross on Mount Calvary, was buried, rose again from the dead, and ascended above the clouds from his disciples, at that very time was all the law fulfilled for righteousness. He is the end of the law; mark, he is the end of the law for righteousness. But if there were any thing yet to be done for justification, which was not then done, there could not be an end put to the law for righteousness, for every one that believeth. But in that there is an end put to the law for righteousness by Jesus for all the elect of God, Christ having once fulfilled it for them, it is manifest that there was not anything then left undone by Christ at that time, which was afterwards to be done by his own Spirit in his children for justification: only believe what the man Christ, at that time, did do, and be saved, (Acts xiii.29-39:) and whereas thou asketh, whether Christ did justify that which the law condemneth?
4. I answer, fourthly, that though Christ Jesus did not justify sins of ungodliness, yet he justifeth the ungodly. "Now to him that worketh is the reward given, or reckoned; not of grace but of debt: but to him that worketh not, but believed on him that justifieth the ungodly," (mark, "the ungodly,") "his faith is counted for righteousness." He is he that justifeth, having finished the righteousness of the law in his own person for them. "My own arm brought salvation," saith he; but how? Even by his bleeding on the cross: "You have redemption through his blood," (Eph. i.7,) which was shed without the gate. (Heb. xiii.12.) Ay, and though the law condemneth a sinner, yet let but that sinner believe in Christ, in what he hath done in his own person, and he shall be "justified from all things from which he could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts xiii.39.)
And whereas thou asketh me the meaning of that scripture, "Not one tittle of the law shall fail till all be fulfilled," I answer: That the law hath already been fulfilled for justification, for every one that believeth; and a believer is to do nothing for justification, only believe and be saved; though that law be a rule for every one that believeth to walk by, but not for justification. But if you do not put a difference between justification wrought by the man Christ without, and sanctification wrought by the Spirit of Christ within; teaching believers their duty to their God, for his love in giving Christ; you are not able to divide the word aright: but contrariwise, you corrupt the word of God, and cast stumbling-blocks before the people; and will certainly one day most deeply smart for your folly, except you repent. Here is a plain answer that may satisfy the simple. The Lord God grant that they may lay it to heart effectually!
Now this I say further, that if God enable any to receive this doctrine aright, namely, what I said even now, it will more engage the soul to God than all the threatenings, thunder-claps, and curses that come from the law itself. And a soul will do more for God, seeing itself redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, the Son of Mary, (John i.29,) than if he had all the conditions of the law to fulfil, and might be sure to have heaven for the fulfilling of them. Now as to the assurance thou speakest of at the end of thy question; I know, in the first place, that though believers themselves do sin, yet they have an "advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John ii.1.) And though the doctrine of the gospel be to abstain from all appearance of evil, yet our Lord Jesus Christ is so pitiful, as not altogether to deprive his children of an assurance of their salvation, though sometimes through weakness they do transgress. And whereas you would lay an assurance on our obedience to the law; I say, our assurance comes through our believing, and our obedience to the law is a fruit of our believing; for every one that hath this hope, that he is one of the children, or sons of God, by faith in Jesus, (1 John iii.3,) "purifieth himself as he is pure." Holiness of life, if it be right, flows from an assurance of our being justified by Christ's death on the cross, on Mount Calvary; as it is written again, that he might sanctify his people with his own blood, he suffered without the gate.
But again, (page 12,) thou seemest offended because I say, "They are deceived who think to obtain salvation by following the law, which they call Christ, though falsely." Why shouldst thou be offended at this, when the scripture saith plainly, that "by the works of the law shall no living flesh be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin?" (Rom. iii.20.) But this is thy frothy argument, "The law convinceth, and is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ; therefore the law is not taken away," sayest thou. Friend, what is this to the purpose? must we seek for justification by the works of the law, because the law convinceth? You may as well say, we must seek for justification from our consciences, because they do convince. Now where the scripture saith, "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ;" do you think it means, we must be first fitted by purification of ourselves by, or according to the law, before we can be saved by Christ from the curse of the law? If you say, yea, then doth not this follow, that Christ Jesus did not come to save sinners, but to save the righteous; and if so, then you must say, that Christ, Peter, Paul, and all the servants of the Lord are liars, who have testified that Christ died not for the godly, but for the ungodly and sinners.
But where the scripture saith, "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ:" I ask again, is it the ceremonial law, or the moral law that is meant in this place? If you say the moral, or the Ten Commandments, I answer, that doth not lead to life, and so not to Christ; but is properly the ministration of condemnation. (2 Cor. iii.6-11.) That is, the proper work of the moral law, or Ten Commandments, is to condemn, if it be not obeyed; and yet not to bless, until it be every jot fulfilled, which is impossible to be done by any man for justification, in that exact and severe way which the law calls for; which makes the Apostle say, "As many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse." Mark, he doth not say, As many as are of the works of sin, are under the curse, though that be true; but as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse, "for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the deeds of the law is evident, for, The just shall live by faith." (Gal. iii.10,11.)
If it be meant of the ceremonial law, as I am most inclinable to believe, because he saith it was our schoolmaster; he doth not say it is, but it was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, being a tutor or governor; holding and signifying forth Christ to come by its types until the time appointed by the Father, which appointed time, and so that law, was to have an end, when God sent forth his Son made of a woman, Jesus the Son of Mary, who was made under the law, to redeem those that were under the law.
Now the ceremonial law did bring or lead to Christ these two ways: first, in that it did continue in full force until he did come into the world, and had done that which was by it held out for him to do.
Secondly, in that the several types and shadows, as the blood of bulls and lambs, with divers other services did lead to, or hold forth Christ that was to come. But the moral law, or Ten Commandments, is so far from leading us to Christ by our following it, that it doth even lead those that are led by it under the curse. Not because the law hath an evil end in it, but because of our weakness and inability to do it; therefore it is forced, as it is just, to pass a sentence of condemnation on every one that in every particular fulfils it not.
In the next place, thou art offended because I said, "It is not of works, lest any man should boast, as those fond hypocrites, called Quakers, would do."
Thou art offended, it seems, because I call you boasters. You need not, for I do not know your fellows for boasting under heaven, in that you, Pharisees like, do cry up yourselves to be the men, and condemn all others; when you are the men that are the greatest enemies to the Christ of God without, who is the Saviour, of any men under heaven. And in that you pretend you are perfect, when you are the notablest liars and corrupters of the sayings of the people of God, yea, and of the Scriptures also, that ever I came near in all the days of my life; and I doubt not but, before I have done with you, I shall make it appear to them that read or hear my lines aright. Thy query in page 13 runs thus: "Will that faith that is without works justify?" I answer, no, neither will those works which are without faith sanctify. What, then, is it faith and works together that doth justify? No, it is only faith in the blood of the man Christ, that did hang on the cross on Mount Calvary, that doth justify in the sight of God and the soul; and it is the fruits of faith, good works, which doth justify in the sight of men. So that when it is said, we are justified by works; it is not meant that works will justify in the sight of God. No, but show me, or show men, thy faith, or justify thy faith to be true and right before men by thy works. Show men thy faith by thy works, it is in the sight of men. So that we conclude a man is justified by faith without the works of the law in the sight of God, and so his own soul also, and his faith is justified, or made manifest to be indeed that which is right, both to believers, and to the world by its works. Though I must confess, that both Paul and Peter, and the rest of the saints, may sometimes be deceived in the truth of the faith of others by their works.
Again, in page 17, thou seemest to be offended because I say, "living by faith is to apply the Lord Jesus Christ, his benefits, as birth, righteousness, death, blood, resurrection, ascension, and intercession, together with the glorious benefits of his second coming to me, as mine, and for me."
Friend, methinks thou shouldst find no fault with this, but that the man Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary, is not very pleasant to thee, because thou hast swallowed down secretly another doctrine: but, friend, I speak of applying these things, and thou speakest of talking of them; I know that there are many who talk of Christ, that will fall short of heaven and glory.
But tell me, what sayest thou to him that doth apply all these things to his soul, is there not enough in them to justify him that doth really and truly, in the power of the Spirit, believe this to be true which I have said? or dost thou deny it, and preach another gospel? And whereas thou sayest, the word of the gospel saith not, who shall ascend to fetch Christ from above for salvation; though there is never a scripture that saith these words, word for word: yet the scripture saith, "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart;" but mark, it is the word of faith, not the man Christ Jesus, but faith which layeth hold on him. (Rom. x.8.) Read the 9th verse, which is this: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus," who was born of the Virgin, (Matt. i.21,) "and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." These great and precious scriptures, with which by corrupting of them the Quakers have beguiled many, have this meaning; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus; that is, in profession and practice, own him, and believe him to be the anointed Saviour; and shalt believe in thine heart--there is the word of faith--if thou shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; "for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." But what should men believe with the heart? Namely this, that God raised him, that is, Christ, from the dead. (ver. 10.) And therefore I wonder thou shouldst so scold as thou dost against the truth. If this be not truth, blame the Scriptures which do testify of these things for truth. For I am ruled, and would be ruled by them through the Spirit.
But, further, thou art offended that I should say, "They are deceived who own Christ no otherwise than as he was before the world began." This question I briefly ask thee, "Had Christ a body of flesh before the world began?" If you say no, as you must if you say true, then do not I say true when I say they are deceived who own Christ no otherwise than as he was before the world began? because they own him not with that body of flesh which he took of the Virgin Mary, and so are antichrists, as the Scripture saith. And how say you? Do you believe that the same Christ who was before the world without a body, did in time come into the world and take a body from the Virgin, and in that body did obtain everlasting redemption for sinners; and is gone with that very body into the presence of his Father above the clouds into heaven from his saints on earth, though in them by his Spirit? A plain answer to this would unlock your double meanings. Again, thou sayest the saints drank of the spiritual rock that followed them.
Friend, I confess that that spiritual rock that did follow the fathers, and long after, was from the same loins with them, even from the loins of Abraham, and the rest of the children of the promise, according to the promise, was the meat and drink of saints. (Rom. ix.4,5.) But to look upon Christ no otherwise than as he was before the world was, which was a Spirit only, and not to own him now clothed with a body, absent from his children touching the same body, I dare be bold to say, they are no Christians, but antichristians, yea antichrists. He that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is antichrist, and of antichrist. Again,
At this also thou wranglest, because I said that "every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the world was, did in the appointed time of the Father come into the world, take a body upon him, and was very man as well as very God; and did in that very body suffer what did belong to the sons of men," &c. So my book, pages 42-44.
I answer, if thou didst indeed believe the truth, thou wouldst own these things. But being deceived, rather than thou wilt let this pass for truth, though thou darest not oppose it with open face, yet thou wilt put on a veil, and venture upon it thus, saying, "If every spirit were of God, which doth confess in words this, then is not the Pope himself antichrist."
Ans. Friend, it is one thing to confess the things in words, and another thing to believe them, and to make a life out of them; and therefore is thy life made out of Christ without thee, by the operation of his Spirit within thee, yea or no?
Then in answer to my bidding people receive no Christ except God's Christ, thou sayest thus, "That Christ is a mystery, and unto him is light, and shall be salvation where his person never came." This question I ask thee, did or doth Christ obtain salvation for any, without that body which he took of the Virgin? And yet thou sayest, it cannot be said, here is the place where the Son is not.
I answer: As the Son of God is also very man, so it may be said, here is the place where he is not, and there is the place where he hath not been, though as he is God it is otherwise: let him that reads understand.