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1 Conversation of Christian, Hopeful, and Ignorance, .. 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 judgment upon our heart, so it passeth a judgment upon our ways; and when the thoughts of our hearts and ways agree with the judgment which the word giveth of both, then are both good, because agreeing thereto.
IGNOR. Make out your meaning. 3. 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. (Psal. cxxy. 5. Prov. ij. 15.) Now when a man thus thinketh of his ways, I say when he doth sensibly, and with heart-humiliation, thus think, then bath he good thoughts of his own ways, because his thoughts now agree with the judgment of the word of God. ·
IGNOR. What 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 noue 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 ?..
as to the Nature of that Faith which justifies a Sinner.
CHR. Why, how dost thou think in this manner?
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 hirn! 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?
IGNOR. I believe well enough for all that. · Chr. How dost thou believe? "IGNOR. I believe that Christ died for sinners; and that I shall be justified 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 hif merits, and so shall I be justified.
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 takest justification from the personal righteousness of Christ, and appliest it to 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 Al mighty: for true justifying faith puts the soul, as sensible of its lost condition by the law, upon fleeing for refuge unto Christ's righteousness, (which righteousness of his is not an act of grace by which he inaketh, for justification, thy obedience accepted of God, but his personal obedience to the law, in doing and suffering for us what that required at our hands :)
Conversation of Christian, Hopeful, and Ignorance,
so art. Ignorance is when we belie
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 acquitted from condemnation.
IGNOR. What! would you have us trust to what Christ 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 Christ'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 ignorant how to secure thy soul through the faith of it, from the heavy wrath of God. Yea, thou also art ignorant of the true effect 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 as thou ignorantly imaginest. '
HOPE. Ask him if ever he had Christ revealed to him from heaven.
IGNOR. What! you are a man for revelation! I do believe, that what both you and all the rest of you say about that matter, is but the fruit of distracted brains. ...HÓPE. 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 mine, I doubt 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 : for this I boldly affirm, (even as my good companion hath done,) that no man can know Jesus Christ but by the revelation of the Father: yea, and faith too, by
Fathey any mapprehension
respecting the Doctrine of imputed Righteousness. which the soul layeth hold upon Cbrist (if it be right) must be wrought by the exceeding greatness of his mighty power; (Matt. xi. 27. 1 Cor. xii. 3. Eph. i. 17–19;) the working of which faith, I perceive, poor Ignorance, thou art ignorant of. Be awakened, 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 be- · hind. Then they said
Well, Ignorance, wilt thou yet foolish be,
a There are many professors who have a zeal for God, and therefore go on pilgrimage, as Ignorance did ; but it is not according to knowledge. Like him, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not subnitted themselves to the righteousness of God: for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, Rom. x. 2-4. Ignorant of the original corruption of the human heart, they speak with self-complacency and satisfaction of their good thoughts, good desires, good heart, and good life; and refuse to admit the scriptural staternent of the total depravity of man by nature. Ignorant of the nature and claims of God's righteous law, they conclude that their sincere obedience will be accepted for their justification through the merits of Christ. Ignorant of the nature and influence of faith in Christ for justification, without the deeds of the law, they charge that doctrine with leading to licentiousness of conduct. Ignorant of the illuminating influence of the Holy Spirit, in making Christ known to the mind as the Lord our righteousness and strength, they treat the doctrine of divine agency with contempt, as the evidence of a distracted mind, or of a whimsical head. Such sentiments as those of Ignorance respecting justification are fantastical, false, unscriptural, and deceptive. According to them,
Conversation of Christian and Hopeful
Then Christian addressed himself thus to his fellow:
CHR. Well, come, my good Hopeful, I perceive that thou and I must walk by ourselves again.
So I saw in my dream, that they went on apace before, and Ignorance 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.
Hope. Alas! there are abundance in our town in this condition, whole families, yea, whole streets, and that of pilgrims too; and if there be so many in our parts, how many, think you, must there be in the place where he was born
CHR. Indeed the word saith, “ He hath blinded their eyes, lest they should see,” &c.
But, now we are by ourselves, what do you think of sueh men? have they at no time, think you, convictions of sin, and so consequently fear that their state is dangerous ?
HOPE. Nay, do you answer that question your self, for you are the elder man.
Chr. Then I say, sometimes (as I think) they. may; but they being naturally ignorant, understand not that such convictions tend to their good; and therefore they do desperately seek to stifle them, and presumptuously continue to flatter themselves in the way of their own hearts.
HOPE. I do believe, as you say, that fear tends
self, for then I say, so naturally ignoo their good ;
the righteousness of Christ, instead of being the procuring cause of the pardon and acceptance of the ungodly, only supplies the deficiency of their own works. But if righteousness in whole or in part, come by the law, Christ is dead in vain. It is proper to exhort such self-deceivers to open their eyes upon their own righteousness and to flee to the righteousness of him who is God over all blessed for ever, that they may thus be delivered from condemnation, even though such plain dealing should give them offence, and drive them from our company.