Chapter 23

Twenty Arguments to prove that thou canst not be too Filthy to go to Christ by Faith in the State and Condition thou art now in.

Thus, having in the preceding chapter made way by the overthrow of Mr. Hunt’s Appendix, or label hung on to his Infant’s Faith {the title of the Appendix} against coming to Christ in the filth of Sin, I now enter upon the arguments that I shall draw together in Opposition to the 47th Error of his Rose of Sharon; “thou mayest be too filthy {says he} to go to Christ by Faith in the State and Condition thou art now in.” {Page 40} If this be not Novel Divinity to the Scriptures, though the contrary is Novel Divinity to the times, I know not what is?

Argument #1: He that can’t be too guilty in his person, to come, or go to Christ by Faith, can’t be too filthy in his nature, to go of Faith unto him. But the elect of God are not too guilty in their persons to go to Christ by Faith; therefore they are not too filthy in their natures to go by Faith unto him. And again, he that is too filthy to go to Christ by Faith is too guilty to go to Christ by Faith likewise. For Guilt and Pollution go in couples, so far as the elect are related in their nature-part to Adam. This evidently appears in the type of the two goats, Leviticus 16, provided both for the Guilt and Uncleanness of the people too. For, after the goat of the Sin-offering for the people, upon which the Lord’s lot fell, was offered up for a Sin-offering, verses 9,15, and Atonement made with it, verse 16, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, ‘tis expressly said thereof, verse 21, that “Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness;” what was this but coming with the guilt and filth of Sin both, included in that phrase, “their sins,” and separately called “iniquities and uncleanness”? Who was it a coming to in the Mystery and Intendment of that type, but Christ? Heb.9:9-14. Atonement was to be made for their uncleanness, and their transgressions in all their sins, verse 16, both being coupled and laid together in that provisional Sacrifice looking unto Jesus, Heb.12:2, the Author and Finisher of our faith. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Isa.45:22. So that as guiltiness and filthiness in Sin go by couples, and ample provision is made in bestowing Christ against both, the elect are quickened to this end that they should immediately look towards Christ with both uncleanness and transgressions, and then go to him with both, fiducially and confessedly, putting him in remembrance, Isa.43:26, upon faiths viewing him, that both of these have been laid upon him; and if I can’t act thus in respect of the filth of Sin, I can’t act thus neither in respect of the guilt of Sin. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance; let us plead together; declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.” Isa.43:25-26. For we see how they go together, and how the matter is still to be taken up through Christ for time, according to the Settlement-Patterns of the Grace of God in Christ before Faith or time either; because I love to eye the language of one text in the light of other texts, consistently.

Argument #2: All Sin is Abomination in the Sight of God. Guilt of Sin or Filth of Sin, let men distinguish it as they are wont, under this form, ‘tis utter Abomination still, as a hateful thing in God’s eye. If there be never so little of it that men think remains, when they diminish it into the remainders of Sin, {which the Scriptures make out to be the abode and indwelling of Sin,} that same pollution is abominable, and that same iniquity, whatever low measure flesh and blood may reduce it to in the Estimation, is abominable defilement in the Pure Eye of God. And is there any child of God in the world which can go to God without Sin in the relation of his nature-part to Adam? Again, can any Sin be clean? Is it not contrary to the nature of Sin to be so? Can the stains which the last sins committed, it may be the greatest and blackest offenses of the number, have left behind them in the soul, be found a clean thing? And the heart in which they have lodged, be influentially clean by communication of Grace, before the time which that Communicating Grace, according to the Mystery of Grace, enables the heart practically to deal with Christ? So that if the soul goes at all, it goes with its abominations to the Son of God manifested to take away our sins. I Jn.3:5. How does a man go to the water but dirty? Whether he hath much or little dirt upon him, ‘tis filth and dirt still; and to the water he goes with that defilement. And is it not too with all the pollution he hath? And if they are torrid defilements must he stay till they cool upon his fingers? No; let him hasten suddenly and wash, for the sooner the better. Is it not dirt that a man carries to the basin, with confidence the water will fetch it out? And then why not spiritually go to Christ in the Fountain of his Blood with our great and many abominations? Why not with many, why not with all our filth, as well as all our moral fineness? The LORD hates all abomination alike! Sin is Sin, that which is brought out of an unclean thing is unclean too; {“that which is born of the flesh is flesh,” Jn.3:6, and “the flesh profiteth nothing,” Jn.6:63,} an ulcer is an ulcer, though covered with a silken patch that’s embroidered on the outside; a scab is a scab, let it be on the face or hands. Leprosy infected the man, though it was at first but a bright rising spot, and the man must be shut up for it, and none but the High-Priest, a type of the holiest man to be in the world, or one of his sons, must see him. Lev.13:1-3. Yea, he goes to the priest with it before he’s shut up.

Argument #3: None were ever forbid to come to Christ, because of filthiness; that is, to come to him in Faith, which must be distinguished from coming to him in other Ordinances; and therefore I boldly conclude upon the evidences of Supernatural Truth revealed, that there are none too filthy to come to Christ by Faith. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me {but what if he comes in his filth? If he does, the text excludes none that so comes to Christ. Him that cometh unto me, says he,} I will in no wise cast out.” Jn.6:37. If in no wise, why then it must be in this case he will not among other cases, though a man come unto him in the filth of Sin. I will suppose a man had no other objection, and it is enough, if he does not look on it in the light of the Glorious Gospel, II Cor.4:4, to object and say, oh! I am unclean! I am filthy! How shall I come to him of pure eyes? Hab.1:13. Yet if the Holy Ghost give him Faith, or in the work of the New Life put him upon coming after all, and the soul ventures with this filth sticking in his conscience, here’s nevertheless an “I will in no wise cast out.”

Argument #4: None are shut up by Impotency after Faith is given them, though uncleanness be discovered; therefore none that have Faith given them to go to Christ with the filth of Sin are too filthy to go by Faith unto him. After pollution was discovered in the Law-leper he was shut up ordinarily, or for the most part; yet nevertheless, though he must not go abroad because of defiling others, still when shut up, the High Priest would come into the leper’s house, though the leper did in some sense, come unto the priest, after the priest was come unto him. He did show himself unto the priest, Mk.1:44, join in the interview, and consent to all the priest did, or spake, about his leprosy. Whereas according to this New Divinity {new to the Scriptures} thou mayest be too filthy to come to Christ in the State and Condition thou art now in, though not too filthy for Christ to come to thee, which he adds, {why then I say,} as soon as the priest was come, the leper instead of moving where he was shut up, and stirring to show himself to the priest, must rather seek to withdraw into another room, or try to hide in some obscure hole; he should it seems have run back, and got away from the priest; the leprous man ought diligently, if this scheme I am opposing had been true, to have striven what he could to hide himself, and all because too filthy in his present state and condition to come so near the priest. Oh! Says he, I’ll stay, and get clean some other ways, and will then come forth to the priest, and be seen after. Thus, it is a way that overturns all that Institution of God in the spirituality of it about the leper, and his plague of leprosy, at once. For, as the Gospel-leper must come and show himself to the High Priest of our Profession, Heb.3:1, as Christ said in the Gospel to the other leper, “go and show thy self unto the priest,” Mt.8:4, so he, the leper, in a spiritual sense, is not shut up at all after Faith is given him, as the Apostle distinguishes. But, says he, “but before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” Gal.3:23. The shutting up was under the Law-State in which there was not such an enlargement of the soul, and an opening of the way for it to go to Christ by Faith, as under the Gospel. So that ‘tis in Unbelief men are shut up, and restrained from going to Christ with their filthinesses, as Mr. Hunt all along in the matter of his opinion about going to Christ in filth hath pleaded the cause of Unbelief, in opposition to the Faith of the Gospel. ‘Tis not in an absolute matter of uncleanness or filth of Sin they are shut up. ‘Tis want of strength shuts them up, not want of holiness. Life and pollution are consistent with motion, but unbelief, or spiritual death and pollution are inconsistent with it. Life in Faith wrought is one thing, this opens our spiritual graves, as the voice of Life did for Lazarus; and pollution attending that life with grave-clothes, or sepulcher-apparel, Jn.11:44, is another thing, which goes along with the Motion of Life at Christ’s call. I am able to come polluted, but not to come when shut up in Unregeneracy. So that if the Lord gives me Faith to come to Christ with the filth of Sin, or go unto him compassed with pollutions, ‘tis not uncleanness shuts me up; for having Liberty and Boldness through the Spirit, II Cor.3:17, I go unto Christ with the same pollutions laid open.

Argument #5: Motion Faith is a Power to go to Jesus Christ under defilement, as discerning Faith views the encouragements so to do. There is no State and Condition a sinner can be in, but if the Holy Ghost gives him Faith {for it is his own mighty work} he may go by that Faith in the same Condition to Christ with all his filth immediately, and all his guilt too. There is nothing can so befall me in this world, no Sin, or temptation, no guilt, or pollution, no preacher or doctrine in the world to the contrary notwithstanding, as that I ought not to go immediately by Faith, and lay hold of Jesus Christ. “Be not afraid, only believe,” Mk.5:36, is the word. Have not I as much reason to fear defilements to keep me off from Jesus Christ, as that ruler of the Synagogue had cause to fear some prevention or other of the cure of his little daughter by Jesus of Nazareth? Mk.5:35-43. And what if I have far more cause than he when I look to men, and their Orthodox Universal Church? Yet there’s enough in that one word of Christ for it, “be not afraid, only believe,” if he sets it home upon the heart, though I conferred not with flesh and blood, Gal.1:16, and contradicted all the Commentaries in the world. Christ secretly heartened the ruler to believe, and he felt a power to venture and commit it to Jesus, notwithstanding thousands of the Jews, if they had been consulted, would have been found to be all strongly of another mind, and bent another way. Motion-Faith goes by the Power of God, not the principles of nature, or the persuasions of other men. If I see my grounds, and feel my under-girding strength, then Sin does not fright me, nor the disputer of this world trouble me; for I see a holiness in Christ engaged on my side that outdoes all my own Pollutions.

Argument #6: Nothing where that Power comes ought to stop the new-born from coming to Christ with the sensible acknowledgement of Sin, and the filth thereof upon him. As the new-born alone are the persons who receive that Power employed mightily on their behalf, so they should take no discouragement from what the devil and their own hearts, and the busy preachers of an old Adam-holiness, throw jointly in their way; and therefore no discouragement or delay from the filthiness of Sin itself. Oh! Shall I not be emboldened, even whilst I write or read these lines under the Workmanship of the Holy Ghost to flee to Christ without any haste? Notwithstanding all the filthiness of my provocations, to go to him by Faith, let my State and Condition be as defiled as Sin can make it! ‘Tis but by nature still I am so, as I am quite another thing by Grace at the same time in Christ Jesus. As I said a little before, I say here again, there is a vast difference between Life and Pollution. A man, or woman, can’t go to Christ without the Life-Quickening Power of the Spirit of Grace. Now his Faith is his life, and the Power of it is the Spirit of God, creating, raising, enlarging that Life and Motion above all Unbelief and Inactivity, the very slugs of our carnal part; accordingly, he may always go to Christ by Faith, with the most sensible defilement that can stick unto him, out of the actual use of the Infinite Virtue-Blood of God-Man. Faith, or the Living Motion of the soul to Christ hath evermore welcome. The Spirit introduces it to a free access notwithstanding all defilements. “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” Eph.3:12. “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Rom.5:2. “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Eph.2:18. Soul, thy Faith is thy life, if the Holy Ghost, as Comforter, from the Glory-Man be at the bottom of it. And then again he renews his witnesses, and on experience of thy life, thou mayest go, and must go, and so thou dost go, with all thy defilements to Christ, though they are never so many filthy streams between him and thy awakened Conscience. The necessary reason of this Motion-Faith in the new-born against all discouragements, is this, Christ is the Cleansing Means. Besides, suppose Christ secretly sanctifies thee {as he certainly does before thou comest} but discovers it not, why, thou must go nevertheless without any inherent holiness thou canst yet discern, or feel; it may be in often weak and feeble goings, thy legs buckling under thee, thy hands trembling with a poor, shaking, palsy-Faith, Mk.9:24, and thy heart faint within thee. Now, if thou canst not discern, nor feel inherent holiness; but, on the contrary, thou findest abundance of Sin stirring in thee, through the Commandment that revives it, Rom.7:9, how canst thou believe thou hast any holiness at all, and so be encouraged {if antecedent holiness must be thy encouragement inherently, whether from Christ or from thyself} to come to Christ at all, but as thou comest by sheer Faith quite upon other grounds than any holiness at all within thee?

Argument #7: The blood of Christ hath the same cleansing virtue conveyed the first moment of Application, as after the most prolonged delays of going unto Christ. A man tries I cannot tell how many experiments, fasting, praying, hearing, reading, &c., to get some qualifications, opposite to the filth and guilt of Sin, to go to Christ with; well, he thinks all this is brave, but if ever a man be clean it must be by the blood of Christ at last. I Cor.6:11. And if the Spirit applies that blood, let a man set out never so unclean in his own, or other men’s eyes, upon the spot, that blood cleanses him as effectually {as to his consciousness of his Justification by the Blood and Righteousness of Christ} the first moment it touches the heart, as if it tarried, and came after all the other qualifications, and holiness in religion, which men naturally by Common Grace seek after. For, as if all these are first used, a man is not one jot the cleaner, but natural religion, if it soaks, Lk.6:45, into a man’s principles for any part of his righteousness to God, is the deeper grained and more filthily tinctured than another man; for he hath added the mere art of religion to nature to give himself the deep-die color; and if ever he be cleansed, and Sin done at any time away, it must be by the blood of God-Man upon him; so if that blood be applied by the Holy Ghost to work true Faith, and bring the soul staggering under the power of Sin to Christ, that is, just after acts of Sin are committed, and the aforesaid dangerous experiments of self-cleaning practiced, that Virtue-Blood by its own Power Efficaciously Applied touching the heart cleanses it in a moment, and does that which Methuselah’s age spent in devotion, hearing, reading, and other exercises of religion could never do. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Tit.3:5-7. If these are but instrumental under the Spirit’s Agency to help us to a view, or taste or feeling of the same glorious blood, ‘tis all, as far as they are Ordinances of Christ, they were ever appointed to. And whether God the Spirit uses that blood upon our hearts sooner or later, ‘tis all one as to the Virtue-Nature thereof. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I Jn.1:9. There is equal virtue in that blood to cleanse us from all unrighteousness {though as linen in the wearing we stain again} when it is applied, the first moment, as if it came after a course of purging all our days, by washing us with nitre, Jer.2:22, and taking us much soap, which is but a way, after the religious experiment is over, to have our iniquity marked before the Lord. Therefore a sinner cannot come too soon to that Transcendent Blood by Faith. Only the mischief is, that there be a thousand discouragements the soul creates to its self to prolong the work for many a days; which is an instantaneous work in the Operation, though a longer time in the frequent {and often not so frequent} renewals of this Applicatory Power is necessary to train us up under settling Evidences of our washing and standing in Christ. And such mingle-mangle preaching as proceeds from today’s Law-Gospel Pulpits have truly spoiled the open Evidences of many a birth in the place of the breaking forth of children, Hos.13:13; and that which they labor so much to stop under the delay, as if the Efficacy of the Blood of Christ dispatched things as slowly as we, they should rather have told us, is done of a sudden for poor sinners, when God touches their hearts by outpouring of Grace and Quickening Authority. Therefore, soul, mind the reverse, as that thou canst not be too filthy to go to Christ by Faith in the state and condition thou art now in.

Argument #8: A being too filthy in the State and Condition the soul may be in coming to Christ, is contrary to the Promise and Methods of God’s Grace toward such as have been dealt with by a Work of Grace, about their defilements. For, says God, “then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” Ezek.36:25. Here are a people that were not to take discouragement because they were filthy, long filthy, soaked in filthiness; for nevertheless, under the first moments of Abundant Grace poured out, they were to come filthy in the eye of flesh and blood, filthy in the un-abolished power of returning again to filthiness, and that same coming too was to come believingly with the spirit of Faith, II Cor.4:13, and the present motion-power to Christ, discerning reflexively that God had made them clean; and that notwithstanding the inherent continuance of a body of death, Rom.7:24, and the nature-part, derived and descended from old Adam, yet all fleshly jealousies, carnal surmises, natural, or malicious and infected upbraidings of men, or devils, that they were too filthy to come so soon to Christ; together with all the thoughts of being yet too unclean to receive and take up Christ for their personal Surety-Redeemer, suggesting and imagining, surely we can’t be clean, surely we can’t be clean, now as we are, these must every one vanish. I give you my Grace, saith the LORD, and what have you to do to question, to dally, or to delay? I pronounce you clean through Christ by the Settlement-Pattern of what you are and were before in Christ, and you are clean through Christ, according to that Settlement-Pattern in him; and that now, influentially clean upon the spot, by conveyance of the cleansing virtue of his sacred blood. Again, if anything entangles the soul and the poor heart doubts, surely, I am not clean, I Sam.20:26, surely, I am not clean; why, then he will make new experiments of his Grace, such as the soul has not been used to heretofore, new wonders; and open all the mass treasures, that rich ocean of the precious blood of Christ at once; and that for Sin, and this very thing in Sin that troubles thee, and about which the doubt arises, uncleanness. “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for Sin and for uncleanness.” Zech.13:1. Does not this set forth souls going to Christ with all their filthiness openly sticking as to their Nature-selves, whatever they are secretly in their Mystical-selves? Besides, why should any go to wash in a fountain who is not openly defiled? Well, let the Spirit of God discover what defilement soever in the nature, in the facilities, in the heart or life of God’s children, to this Fountain opened they go as poor, open, polluted sinners, and carry out all the defilement thither, and by Faith wash it off in Christ’s most Pure and Precious Blood.

Argument #9: Waters of Repentance, supposing men shed tears for Sin before they go to Christ, do wash none of their spots or filth away; therefore thou art not too filthy to go to Christ by Faith in the state {the unclean and polluted state} that thou art now in, poor sinning soul. If you go to the Lord Jesus Christ by Faith after Repentance {and that can be but a natural Repentance, arising out of self-love and horror, for, going before Gospel-Faith is conferred it cannot be that Repentance which Christ is exalted to give, Acts 5:31, nor the Repentance that God grants upon it, Acts 11:18; and so if ye go to Christ by Living Faith after rotten Repentance, though it be from the bottom of an old Adam’s heart, and what old Adam’s children call unfeigned and sincere Repentance} you must still go unclean to fetch something from him to wash off that false Repentance; for remember it dropped from thine eyes and flowed from thy heart before Faith; blood must cleanse away those tears; tears which, without coming to the blood of Christ, make the face foul with weeping, Job 16:16, and through coming to that blood the former tears are not taken in for any sign of spiritual goodness, nor reckoned with the true Repentance that follows on that blood, so far are they from being taken into the Righteousness of God and joined with Christ. Rom.3:22. God looks more at his Son’s blood, than he values those ashes that you throw upon yourselves, and which make you look odious {to allude to that foul way of condoling and repenting, Job.42:6, when sinners mourned and repented in the times of the Old Testament, casting dust upon their heads, Josh.7:6, and repenting in sackcloth and ashes. Job 2:12.} God looks exclusively at the pure color of him that is white and ruddy, Song.5:10, {“this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Mt.3:17,} and rejects the sinner’s attempts towards any self-reformation or self-induced contrition one acts towards himself; much less will he look pleased to regard the counterfeit, to spiritual ends, in all that other repentance men act before they come to Christ. “He appoints unto them that mourn in Zion, {and be sure in that mourning there’s some fault and foulness, some filth therein, displeasing to the Holy God, or God in his holiness would never have to remove it} to give unto them beauty for ashes,” Isa.61:3, or the Pure Righteousness of his Son as placed upon them, as well as pure holiness from his Son by his Holy Spirit in them, in the room of their bedaubed doings. Oh then! How is it that we daily come, even after daily defilements enthrall our hearts and minds, and even whilst the dirt sticks to our fingers, and the besmearing drops have made a path of uncleanness on our foreheads, that in and of ourselves {taking that to us which is truly and properly of our own} we may be ashamed to look up, Ezra 9:6, to God! Yet God has appointed that in this sad pickle we look not on ourselves to be too filthy to go unto his Son notwithstanding!

Argument #10: He hath aggravated his obstacle unto coming, even into absurdity, “too filthy to go to Christ by Faith!” Whereas it is by Faith in the blood of Christ that the heart is purified by his cleansing hand. “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference {speaking of Jew and Gentile} between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” Acts 15:8-9. Christ purifies the heart with his own blood; and if so, the heart by the Faith of God’s own Operation must lay hold of that blood, as the blood of Christ lies provided in the Gospel. If the heart by Faith lays hold of Christ’s blood in the time of impurity, then the soul comes impure, he comes filthy; on the other hand, if the man by his Faith cannot lay hold of the remedy in Christ’s blood, till his own filthiness is gone, or done away before, then it is not purifying by Faith, as Faith in the acts there {by connection to its Object} is described, which is a purifying Faith, as the blood of Christ is spiritually eyed and used in an act of the soul’s approach unto him; nor, if it were done away by other means, would it be a purifying by Faith in that blood {as is there laid open in Romans 3:24-26,} of Christ for cleansing, “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” “Whom God hath set forth through Faith in his blood;” now joined and set together in that verse, and it’s plain that Christ is set forth for Propitiation and Purification in his blood, even as I showed in the first argument, as to how guilt and filth, or pollution, do go together.

Argument #11: The woman taken in adultery in the very act was defiled with the filth of Sin; but this woman so taken and brought to Christ, was not condemned by Christ when she came and stood before him, but was dismissed with a Sentence of non-condemnation, and a gracious caution to go and Sin no more; as you have the history of the matter in the 8th of John. I know some have striven to expunge this history of the adulteress out of the Authentic Canon of Holy Scripture. Grotius stiffly adheres to the same conjecture that weakens its authority, believing that that narrative was not originally found either in the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, nor in the Greek copy of John; but being commonly observed to have been spoken by the Apostles in their ordinary discourses, and so hath been thought to have been taken up from them traditionally, as it was delivered by word of mouth. It is also said to have been affirmed by Papias of Hierapolis, one of the Apostle John’s disciples, that he used to hear his tutor speak of a certain woman taken in adultery, and that from hence it did pass as a sort of Apocrypha in an ancient writing called the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and was received upon the mere Authority of the Church, and so came at last to be transcribed into some copies of the last part of the 7th of John, and into others of the first eleven verses of this eight chapter, as the order of it now stands in our Bibles. Also, to give the more countenance to this conjecture, they have denied that this history is extant in the Syriack Copy of the Bible. But that renowned prelate of Armagh, Archbishop Usher, hath disproved the matter, as it has been generally received about the Syriack Version. And how, but by taking on him a very industrious and chargeable trial, in transacting with some of the Turkey-Merchants in the Levant, to buy up all the old Syriack books they could light on in those parts of the world? Among which number bought up and sent over to that learned Inquisitor of the truth, there was found by the special Providence of God a faithful copy of this place in the Syriack, that presented itself among the rest of the Syrian Manuscripts. Accordingly, he furnished that Oriental Critic, Louis de Dieu, of the Reformed Churches in France, with a copy of the Syriack fragment out of his own noble library. This copy De Dieu inserts in his comments upon the Evangelists, {pages 443-444} with his own Latin translation. {Page 445}

To argue the authentic nature of this history concerning the adulteress, and prove it inspired by the Holy Ghost, and so a part of the Sacred Canon; I will only produce two things against the Zealots for nature-holiness, who are loath to admit the truth of fact, thinking Christ would not treat a woman with so much candor who was convicted of so black a deed. 1. The tenderness of Christ’s carriage towards this woman does very well agree with his favorable censure of the harlots, in comparison of his severe censure of the Pharisees, that the publicans and the harlots did go into the Kingdom of God before them. Mt.21:31. 2. It is of the same Gospel-strain with Old Testament Promises and Encouragements to the most polluted sinners; as for instance the Jewish Church there, under her most idolatrous whoredoms, in Jeremiah 3:1, “if a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers, {thus, her filthy idolatries are set forth by the worst of adulteries;} yet return again to me, saith the LORD.” Thou art not too filthy in the very State and Condition in which thou art in to come and return, though when thou returnest, thou comest with all thy filth to Christ. But to the next argument.

Argument #12: David’s filthiness in the matter of Bathsheba was a grievous pollution, and yet under that contamination he was not too filthy in the State and Condition of his soul {in all those aggravations} to come to Christ by Faith. A clear argument that pollution ought to be no obstacle to Christ. How unclean was David! What moral filthiness had he contracted! And yet whom did he repair to but Christ, of whom Mr. Hunt saith, a man may be too filthy to go by Faith unto him? And what was it in Christ but the blood of Christ, a pure stream of love against his own defiled streams of lust that David in his filth did go unto? “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, the LORD also hath put away thy Sin; thou shalt not die.” II Sam.12:13. This was typified by his purging with hyssop, Psal.51:7, according to the law of the leper. Lev.14:4-6. The Gospel-purgation {represented therein} comforted his injured soul, and made him under his Pollutions look to the Lord Jesus for purity of heart, as well as cleanness of his hands in God’s eye-sight, I Sam.18:24; for though his hands were clean in the matter of Saul, that he did not put forth his hands against the Lord’s anointed, I Sam.24:6; yet they were deeply died with Uriah’s blood, as well as unclean in defiling Uriah’s bed. Now, was David’s Sin ever put away without Christ? And was not Christ a full and present remedy for his filthiness and blood-guiltiness, Psal.51:14, besides?

Argument #13: They that fled for refuge to the Hope that was set before them were defiled, as well as guilty sinners. They were typed out by the malefactors in the Law that had slain a man unawares; and though such manslaughter left not that deep and scarlet-dye as premeditated murders, which are said more especially to proceed out of the heart, and defile a man, Mt.15:20; yet they could not but carry a great pollution along with them; for guilt, as I have shown, does not go alone, but leaves a spot behind in all sorts of Sins and Transgressions. {“And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” Lev.16:16.} Now as there was a typical running to the six cities of refuge, Numb.35:6, appointed for the man slayer, Josh.20:2-3, under the stain as well as guilt of his manslaughter, so in the Gospel, shadowed forth by this Institution of their judicial Law, here was Motion-Faith to Christ, the swiftest motion, hastening in upon the speedy run of Faith, “who have fled for refuge, says the Apostle, to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” Heb.6:18. Now as the man slayer when he had killed another person never stayed to parlay, or consider, whether the friends of the slain man might not put it up, nor weigh it in his thoughts, whether they were mild or passionate, whether ready to forgive the trespass, or of a revengeful disposition? No, no; for such slow consultations and dilatory thoughts might have exposed him to be overtaken by the avenger of blood whilst his heart was still hot. Deut.19:6. Therefore he betook himself to the speedy course of mercy, and ran along with all the celerity and haste he could, till he arrived in one of the six refuge-cities; and so here again, it is set out by flying for refuge, without staying to consult whether these poor creatures were not too filthy to go to Christ by Faith? No, they ran in immediately to their Refuge and never laid any such obstacle in their own, or other men’s way. These believers in the sight of a necessary cleansing did hasten in without dispute and without delay. For indeed, the heart of the Avenger of blood was hot, Mt.21:40-41, and it was but a short time, and he would overtake the Jews, and run over all the men of that generation, and deal with them for their slaying of the Son of God; though it was unawares, Acts 3:17, to them that they had slain the Son of God, whilst they had intended only to put to death a man. Aye, but now here’s the Avenger of blood upon their heels for it, Lk.11:51, and let the elect now hasten, Acts 2:39, let them run for it in all their filth; let them not so much as stay to put on clean linen, but run along with the utmost speed to Christ, the only Refuge for sinners, and those who flee to him are saved with an everlasting salvation; and thus ye have the scope of that verse in Hebrews 6:18.

Argument #14: Next, I argue from the case of the Jailer. Here was a defiled mind and conscience in the jailer, Acts 16, as well as a guilty fear, when the foundations of his prison shook, Acts 16:26-29, and yet when the Apostle had found some notable stirrings in him that fell short of a Gospel-work, kept him still under all his old pollution of Heart and Life, hoping this might be the instant in which the Holy Ghost was Creating in him the New Birth, and giving him a gracious Power to act Faith on Christ, notwithstanding all the terror and guilt in that man’s Conscience, which the Holy Ghost had not presently removed; he bids him take the encouragement of the Gospel, and doth not do as our mixed preachers would have done, which is, to keep him a fortnight or a month upon the rack for trial, and in the meanwhile feed him with the bread of affliction, and with water of affliction, I Kings 22:27, and pursue him close with their application-marks, to see whether his terrors were sound, and whether it was time to lay on the healing medicine, Jer.30:13, and bind up his broken bones. No. Paul was a rare Antinomian, as he would exalt Christ for a poor sinner presently. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” Acts 16:31, though now what thou sayest seems to be but as a man crying out in a fright. The Apostle goes to work like an expeditious workman, takes the shortcut for it, and knew that if the Holy Ghost were in the bottom of it, it would be done without delay. He durst not tell this Jailer in the nasty prison {where his soul was filthier than the place} that he was too filthy in the state and condition he was in to go to Christ by Faith that moment. But he preaches the plenteous salvation and cleansing virtue of the blood of Christ, Psal.130:7, and the Jailer soon felt it, and took these two, the Lord’s Prisoners, upon it, Paul and Silas, the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, Acts 16:33, when he felt his own wounds healed by the blood and stripes of the Man Christ Jesus, whom these two had preached to him, and the Holy Ghost applied.

Argument #15: Matthew called from the Receipt of Custom was called in his Pollutions to go to Christ, as the matter is represented, Matt.9:9, “and as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom; and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.” Could this man be clean? Was he a holy man? No, rather, had he not abundance of filth when Christ called him? Had he not been unacquainted with Christ, even in all his life, to that very moment? What was he at his call? Was he not a Publican? Among the names of the twelve Apostles we have him so described by his own pen, Matt.10:3, “and Matthew the publican,” an Officer that gathered the Roman tax, or public revenue of the Emperor, and so called a Publican. How unclean were such? Publicans and harlots are joined together, and publicans and sinners make up one list. Matt.21:32; Matt.9:10-11. They were not clean enough for the Pharisees to eat with. “The Pharisees said unto his disciples, why eateth your master with publicans and sinners?” Matt.9:11. And yet this Publican in all his filth, was not too filthy to go to Christ by Faith, even in that filthy State and Condition he was then in at the receipt of custom. He sat at that money-office, and there seemed to be his delight, his very soul fitting with his body. How immersed! How over head and ears in pollutions was that man? How polluted must his natural and unrenewed heart be at the daily sight of all that money? How covetous and earthly must his heart and spirit be? Yet a Secret Power touches his will, even before he had an opportunity to know anything of that which we call Sanctification and Holiness. You see he was turned by the Power of a Call, before his actual cleansing through Faith dipping in the blood of Christ. Yet he doth not argue against going to and after Christ upon the spot, by throwing any obstacle in his way from the notion that he was too filthy to go to Christ, though he might have fetched in heart and hands and all, to prove his great defilements. No, no, he is not too filthy to go to Christ immediately in the pickle Christ found him. Christ gives him but strength to come, and then lets him use that strength to come to Christ for holiness. Christ called him as unholy as he was, not finding him a saint, but to make him so in due time. “And he came, and followed him.” Thus we have another argument against delays of coming to Christ from the “too filthy” scheme, in the unclean and filthy condition which the living voice of Irresistible Grace calls the poor sinner.

Argument #16: The stung Israelites did in their pollution look towards the Brazen Serpent for a cure of their poison; so by Faith sinners ought, though in their pollutions, to look up to Jesus, and with their souls fasten on him, the first moment the Spirit of God opens him to their souls eye. Could the Israelites be stung by the fiery serpents and be not polluted? Why, they were poisoned, and yet in all their poison they must look to the brazen serpent. Aye, and as this was an Institution fitted to the soul’s having to do with Christ in pollutions by a Discerning Faith, because the Israelites in their stung condition were too weak and wounded to move out of their place in which the fiery serpents bit them, and so could but look to the serpent of brass on the pole; accordingly, it fundamentally proves a lawfulness in Motion-Faith, or Coming to Christ, to have to do with him in our pollutions, where strength of Faith is given to come unto him, since looking and coming to Christ are both to the same end, under different abilities of the New-Born, and the different capacities of them that belong to Christ. Well, we see how they looked to the brazen serpent. And what is the type more perfect than Christ? Is a Believer’s looking to Christ by Faith, Heb.12:2, in his blood under their pollution to be obstructed by a caveat of their being too filthy, inasmuch as whilst they look upon Him that hung upon the cross for them, they behold the true anti-type of that wilderness-institution? “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Isa.45:22. The Gospel answers the figure by opening the true design thereof. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” Jn.3:14. Now Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness to be looked on by the stung Israelites under the contagion of their wounds; “even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,” crucified to be viewed, discerned and received into our souls by Faith, under all the filthiness of that sink of Sin which our souls have been wallowing in; and at all times when we contract new filthiness, we must still come unto his blood in the lively motions of our Faith, wrought by the Holy Ghost, and believe into that blood which gets us clean. And again, it follows for our encouragement, verse 15, “that whosoever believeth {and this is coming to Christ, so to close with him as to take up all with him} in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” We are to take all God bestows with Christ not only for time, Rom.8:32, but for eternity.

Argument #17: Joshua the high priest came, stood, and worshiped before the Lord in his uncleanness, having filthy garments on him, Zech.3:3-4, “now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, take away the filthy garments from him.” He stood before the Angel, but that Angel being the Lord Jesus Christ, the Angel and Messenger of the Covenant, he stood before the Lord too. {“Behold, I will send my Messenger, 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.” Mal.3:1. “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Gen.48:16.} For ‘tis plain that he whom he stood before, even the Angel, verse 3, “answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him,” and that he who so spake was the Lord, appears by the following words of him that so spake, concerning Joshua. And unto him he said, “behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” And what Angel could do that but the Angel of the Covenant? And who is the Angel of the Father’s covenant beside the Lord Jesus Christ? {“And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.” Judges 2:1.} And how doth he notwithstanding this sad plight and woeful pickle that Joshua was in, take away the polluted garments, and his filthy scent from him! Who then can be too filthy to go by Faith to Christ? Without doubt, this Joshua was a good man. Joshua and Zorobabel, the godly priest and the godly prince? A brave couple! Yet this brave priest, all clothed with the typical righteousness, comes to Christ in the very Office of his Ministration, filthy; yet not too filthy to come to him in his office into the very Oracle, {Exod.30:10 with Lev.16:2, 32 and Heb.9:7,} in the Inner Court of the temple, as the high priest was bound to do, and so stands before God; but could have no acceptation with God, because of his filthy garments, but in and through the Mediator that discovered his pollutions, and ordered his filthy garments to be taken away; and says unto him, “I have caused thy iniquity to pass away, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” Thus he came hither into his very ministration too to Christ, waits upon Christ and stands before him. For, as to the Old Law, by which service Joshua attended, Christ the Angel of the Covenant gave the Law and spake to Moses in the mount, {“this is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the Angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers; who received the lively oracles to give unto us,” Acts 7:38,} and to the Jewish fathers, when they received the lively oracles. God transacted all towards them by this Angel, {this Uncreated One, the Angel of God’s presence, that was with the Israelites at Sinai, and in the wilderness; who saved, redeemed, bore, and carried them all the days of old, whom they rebelled against and tempted in the wilderness,} sent him before them, and brought them into the land of Canaan under his own Conduct and Protection. {“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee.” Exod.23:20-23.} Joshua, this Joshua the high priest, not the other that had brought their forefathers into the land of promise, was filthy, and yet not too filthy to come to Christ, and perform the typical service due to this Mediator. His garments were his Righteousnesses in the ministration; all the High Priest’s glorious attire, the holy garments typically, the breastplate and ephod, the robe, and the broidered coat, the mitre and the girdle, all composed of very curious and costly materials, with very great artifice and contrivance, made of gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, with cunning work. Exod.28:2-6. Oh! Splendid things! Enough to take with flesh and blood? Yet contrived, instituted and given forth by God through the Mediator, Jesus Christ, to Moses. However, all these holy garments could not heal the high priest’s nature, nor dry up his spiritual plague of leprosy. Sinful nature, like a plague-sore, though otherwise Joshua was a good man, and in the main sanctified by the Holy Ghost, would still run through these brave clothes, and pollute and infest his garments in the sight of God, though nothing of it was seen and took notice of by the eye of man. The corruption of nature breaking forth into acts did spoil the office, pollute the work, and set God’s holy mouth a protesting against him and it, in all the composition of that garment-holiness and bravery which the eye of the carnal Jew beheld. Now, says the angel upon this to Joshua, I have a change of raiment for thee that will not take infection but remove it. And so I have caused thine iniquity to pass away. ‘Tis I must be high priest openly in thy stead, and all thy holy garments {corrupted into filthy garments by the ministration} taken away, Judaism canceled, Temple-Glory and Levitical Services done away, because of the Gospel set up in a most Pure, Influential and Everlasting Righteousness, Dan.9:24, by my own {says this Angel} High-Priestly Obedience to God for all the elect, and established to be the Righteousness alone to God, and into my Church, says he, openly introduced. That’s the 17th argument explained.

Argument #18: The Church’s righteousnesses are filthy rags, and if thus, how filthy then is her Adam-nature that pollutes all her services, and this after she comes to Christ! Therefore what poor notions have we got of saintship, and holiness, and Churches, when we look home to ourselves, and make our own saintship an object to take comfort in! Alas! Says the Church better taught, “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isa.64:6. As when the body hath a running sore, it issues forth and defiles the garment, especially when our garments are next to the sore, and nothing comes between; so corrupt and unclean nature defiles all duties that touch it, Job 14:4, and that it issues forth upon; especially when we go to make a plaster for this running sore of our performances, and stick on our righteousnesses to them {as the Church now in this place was made sensible she had done} instead of washing our wounds in the blood of Christ, that otherwise putrefy, stink and are corrupt, as David in the 38th Psalm says of himself. “For mine iniquities are gone over mine head; as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease; and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken; I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.” Surely this makes all our righteousnesses filthy rags that must be burnt, Mal.3:2, or thrown out to the dunghill; because we have stuck them on upon unclean nature and trusted to them. {“In that day shall the Branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem. When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.” Isa.4:2-4.} Now by our righteousnesses naturally unclean from ourselves, we see how unclean that we must be; and yet must we not come to Christ, notwithstanding our uncleanness? Yes, and believe too, that while we are so unclean in one respect, as our nature stands related to Adam in this world, we are also without spot to God in another respect, as we are absolutely related to Christ over and after Adam. We stand unchangeably related to Christ, as the Eternal State and Condition of our persons and natures is to open and appear forever with Him in another world. Col.3:4. Hence in the exaltings of Grace under Assurance, we are saved by Grace, Eph.2:8, and in the very cloudy pillar we have Hope, Rom.8:24, good hope through Grace, when we want Assurance, and in the worst of times can wait for the hope of Righteousness, Gal.5:5, by Faith. In all our filthy relation unto nature, we must come to Christ, and come to Christ boldly, Heb.4:16, with a holy confidence in his blood, of our pure relation unto Grace. That even when I am excessive filthy, and can’t find a quarter so much holiness in my heart as I find filth and pollution in my nature-acts, uncleanness in my soul, and deformity in my Adam’s-dress; yea, when I am rendered in Mr. Hunt’s sensual language of blind and unclean religion, “too filthy to go to to Christ by Faith,” I am then on the spot to believe, and do believe and rise up, as Christ’s love, and God’s fair one, and come away! Song.2:10.

Argument #19: ‘Tis his straining the metaphor so hard, as limiting Christ to the imperfections of an ordinary Rose, that has quite shut out the Priest, as the Scriptures have abundantly revealed him in other texts, though it speaks of him as the Communion Bridegroom and Kingly Husband in this text, and of Christ properly under no other relation that in his risen and reigning state, when he says, “I am the Rose of Sharon.” Besides, Mr. Hunt seems herein to have seen no more in this Rose of Sharon, than in another rose commonly taken into hand; and thus, as the poor man thought another rose would be dirty, if a dirty hand received it; he saw no farther I fear, than this into the Mystery of receiving Christ by Faith, and our handling the Word of Life, I Jn.1:1, thinking that foul hands would defile Christ in the meddling with him. Aye, but it is not so in the Mediator, who by reason of absolute Perfection hath a fulness that cannot be shadowed out unto us. There is that in regards to our Redemption by Christ which rises far above metaphor. The Infinite Nature in the Person of Christ, as it preserved his Humanity from the contagion on earth, and gave efficacy to the righteous blood of Christ, {dying on the cross a sacrifice for all the sins of the elect,} that bore away by his Infinite Virtue our defilements, when carried over to him in his being smitten of God and afflicted, Isa.53:4; so he ever living to transact for us in this Infinite Virtue to God, having his cleansing blood, with which he is entered into Heaven to plead, Heb.9:12, can never be defiled with those defilements, with which in some respect, viz., {as our natures are related to Adam,} we do at all times receive him, Sin sticking to us in our approaching unto Him. The merit of Christ’s Infinite Sacrifice never wastes or spends away its virtue; and therein as he still bears away our guilt, as fast as we come and confessedly lay it upon him, saying, this was once laid to thy charge; and by this infinite virtue of the Ransom-Blood he carries it clean away into the land of forgetfulness, Psal.88:12, confess we never so much our daily trespasses over the head of this Glorious-Scape-Goat; made Sin for us, who yet knew no Sin. {“And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness; and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.” Lev.16:21-22. “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.” II Cor.5:21.} Why so, as to the filth or pollution of Sin, {for, however men in the language of the schools divide them, they are in the Word and in the Nature of the thing inseparably connected,} he bears all away, that neither guilt, nor pollution, can ever follow us, {I am speaking of the children of God,} in the trace of his blood into Heaven; no, nor, whilst we are here, make us cease to be complete in him. Col.2:10. “Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.” Song.4:7. And blessed be God, being continually made sensible of my pollutions, I so far live daily in the power of this Faith, of going in the pollution of my Sin to Christ, that this is the life of my soul to God.

Argument #20: God laid all our Pollutions upon Christ Judicially; and shall we be afraid, or beaten off, under a mask of false zeal opposing it, to go and lay our Pollutions on him confessedly? If God had not done thus, there had been no Provision made in a way of Righteousness, consistent with the Justice of God’s proceedings for Exalting the Glory of his gracious Name, to communicate his own holy Nature to us, in sending his Holy Spirit who is God’s Nature, to be in us and among us, in and among all our offensiveness. {“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus,” Rom.3:26, which out of the Pattern of Justification will yield a good argument for Sanctification too.} For my own part, I can’t imagine how this argument for God’s laying the filth of the sins of the elect upon Christ on earth, can be answered consistently with the veracity of God in the Scriptures, that say both these things; namely, that God has laid on him the iniquity of us all, Isa.53:6, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you, I Cor.3:16; and for my own part, I see it no more incongruous for the children of God, who are poor sinners every one of them, to plead by Confession Sin’s Filth being laid upon Christ on earth, for its Abolishment by Virtue-Power, than to look to his Advocacy set up in Heaven as a Remedy with God for its gradual abolishment, by communication of that virtue, “if any man Sin,” as the Word says, I Jn.2:1, “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” For I am sure, if any man Sin, he sins filthily as much as guiltily. Besides, the Imputation of our guilt to Christ is as much blackened and aggravated by the Socinians for an abominable and intolerable Doctrine, as the Imputation of the filth of Sin can be aggravated as an intolerable doctrine by any other Zealots among us. And I will undertake to make the answers of our Anti-Socinians, made ready to my hand against one, stand good, with equal strength and cogency, against the other, and who will not have it that the filth of Sin was imputed unto Christ; that is, laid on him. So that between the Socinians and many of our own brethren, good men, we shall have no Sin imputed to Christ at all; and if so, I see nothing in a Non-Conformist, but a name to live and be dead, Rev.3:1, as is said of the Church of Sardis.

Let me Discourse a little, for the preservation of this point of Truth, that God laid the Defilement and Pollutions of our sins upon the Undefiled Sacrifice, from those words, Psalms 110:7, “he shall drink of the brook in the way.” The Father tells the Church in the Psalmist’s time how it should be in Christ’s time. It was one article of his sufferings which his Father {“the LORD said unto my Lord,” verse 1,} had laid down for him in the Settlement, and made with him beforehand. What was that Brook but the torment of God’s wrath filled up with our sins and blackness, that ran along into his soul with that consuming wrath of God against all Sin and Uncleanness? ‘Tis set out there by the Brook of Kidron, as it is called, {“and all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over; the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness,” II Sam.15:23,} over which {the Holy Ghost takes notice} King David passed, {a type of our blessed Saviour Christ,} when he fled from Absalom. Behold there a poor and weak father! In flight from his own son, and so getting over Kidron as fast as he could to be out of his sons reach! But lo! Here a mighty Son, the Everlasting Father, Isa.9:6, in his own Father’s business, Lk.2:49, and the hour of his darkness come, Lk.22:53; yet he does not run for it from his Father, but runs over the Stream of Cedron, {in perfect obedience to Eternal Settlement Council,} in passing over this Brook of Kidron in the way, {for Kidron and Cedron are the same.} “When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.” Jn.18:1. {Though Cedron and Kidron are one in name, they are different in the sounding.} As King David with all the people passed over Kidron, so Christ, preparing the Foundation and Settlements of his Mediatory Throne in this work he was going now about, passes over Cedron with his disciples in his way, the Way of Suffering unto the Garden, where King David and all the people had wept as they passed over, II Sam.15:23; but lo! Here transcendent sorrows, Christ weeps not tears, but sweats under his Agony great drops of blood. Lk.22:44. It made him sweat for it, and sweat great drops of blood that began to carry off the stain of our sins, as he drunk from his cup, from the filthy Brook of Kidron.1

Moreover, this same Cedron, or Brook of Kidron, runneth in the Valley of Moriah, at the bottom of the Temple Hill at Jerusalem. Into this Brook continually ran all the filthiness and dung of the sacrifices for Sin and for Uncleanness; the filth of the excrementitious ashes and unclean parts of the Jewish offerings carried out into an unclean place, were washed down thither, after they were brought away from the priest’s Court of the Temple; and disposed of as the Law required. {“And the bullock for the Sin offering, and the goat for the Sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung.” Lev.16:27. “But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp; it is a Sin offering.” Exod.29:14.} And as the uncleanness of the Sacrifices were washed into Kidron, so the very Sins and Idolatries of the people; yea, their worst sins, were cast in thither. “And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.” II Kings 23:12. So likewise, II Chron.30:14, in the Reformation made by Hezekiah, “and the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the LORD into the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron.” Likewise for idolatrous uncleanness, II Chron.15:16, “and also concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron.” All these places show how unclean this Brook was by reason of uncleanness cast into it, and the cursed idols brought and burnt therein.

Well, over this unclean Brook Christ passed in his way to fulfill all Righteousness, when he went into the Garden with his disciples, and there his pure soul loathed our iniquities put into his bitter cup, represented by a draught of this black and nasty Kidron Curse-Brook, for Christ was made a curse for us. Gal.3:13. He was also amazed, sore heavy, and exceeding sorrowful even unto death. Matt.26:38. Why? Because such massive Contradictions to his Holy Nature, as our defilements, were then being carried over to him. And though it was impossible that he should be defiled with them, being an Infinite Person, as God, and so the Man too of purer eyes than to behold iniquity without abhorrence, Hab.1:13, yet he was still as a conquering Man, able enough to save us to the uttermost, as the Man stood in the Second Person of God, yet under the drinking of this black and bitter cup, astonished. The words are more emphatical in the Greek, as Turretin, {Francis Turretin: 1623-1687,} and others of our divines usually observe against the Socinians, than in common Translations. Now it was not pain or torture abstractly in the bitter draught, but pollution, the dregs of our sins, Sin being the only impure thing in God’s account, and so the spot of Sin, the filth and pollutions of Sin were Imputed to him by his Father, Isa.53:6, and put upon Christ’s account, and mingled with his worm-wood-cup that it made his Holy Soul to tremble! No, I will be bold to say, that nothing but the Father’s laying of Sin upon Christ in all its formidable colors and abominable filthinesses, could have made Jesus Christ amazed! {“And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; and saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death; tarry ye here, and watch.” Mk.14:33-34.} Oh! This was the wine of our astonishment! Psal.60:3. That as we had drunk in iniquity like water {for though we were not then born to our selves, yet we were born to be a bitter weight to him! Not born naturally, but born mystically with a bitter feeling to our Head that bare and represented us; because we were then to Him all that we have been since, or shall be, to ourselves. Aye, therefore as we had drunk in iniquity like water,} and so a corrupt Nature and Principle in ourselves nourished by it, as a man or beast, is nourished by the water he drinks in, Job 15:16, to take this off now from being an eternal stain upon, and the bitterness of the second death unto ourselves, towards which a sinful nature inclines, iniquity, our iniquities must pass through the Righteous and Holy Soul of Christ, consistently with the Personal Union of the Two Natures in the Undertaker, and the Federal Law of our Condescending Surety. And so the very Pollution of our Sins must put him unto grievous pain, distinctly from the Operation of God’s wrath for the guilt of them; and that upon the account of his abhorrency of the filthiness and loathsomeness that is in all Sin, and having no Principle in his holy soul, Jn.14:30, to mingle with it, or receive it with the least delight; but with an Absolute and Unspeakable Detestation of what he drank down in his mingled cup of our Sins and God’s Wrath in Punishment; Sin being more nauseous and odious to his pure and righteous soul than stinking water out of the town-ditch can be to any of our nice and dainty pallets. Aye, and far more a Punishment to his Holy and Righteous soul, than the extension of his body, and the nailing him to the tree of the cross, could be a torment to his flesh and bones. Oh! Amazing love of our Redeemer! What heart is not melted when the Holy Ghost shows us this manner of his love! And yet all that I have said, cannot be saying so much of it, as the Holy Ghost hath said, in his saying, that Christ was made Sin for us, II Cor.5:21, which makes me amazed at the audaciousness of some interpreters, who give the Holy Ghost the lie, removing the old landmarks, and saying, it was but a Sacrifice for Sin. Oh! It was the bitterness and loathsomeness itself of Sin come into his soul, yet without infecting it, but tormenting him in a way proper to Pollution, and the dregs of his Sin-Cup. {“O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” Mt.26:42.} It was for this Cause that he fell under deep amazement; yea, they were these bitter ingredients of our Sin, guilt and filth mingled, that were the inexpressible part of his sufferings, issuing in that moment of dereliction and the blackest astonishment he endured on the cross! “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Mt.27:46.

Again, it was for this cause, he will imprecate the bitter curse upon the traitor, the man Judas, that brought him to it; and this he doth in words fitted to this drinking of the Brook in the way, Psalms 109:17-18, “as he loved cursing, so let it come unto him; as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.” “As he loved cursing;” that is, as he loved for gain to see Christ taken and crucified, and for 30 pieces of silver, Zech.11:12, to be made a curse according to the Law, thus hanging on a tree; so let it come unto him; let him die the same open, accursed death, by hanging, and may the cause he betrayed, and the curse he incurred, righteously fall into his own lap; which came to pass according to this Prophetical Implication. “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, what is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” Matt.27:3-5. Again, verse 18, “as he clothed himself with cursing;” that is, as by the price of innocent blood, Judas brought in the enemy upon our Lord into the very Garden, Matt.26:47, where Christ began to feel the curse of God upon him, Judas now for money had betrayed him, and brought down more of that curse to reach the body of Christ in the approaching Crucifixion, and so to make up Christ’s waters of a full cup mingled out unto him, each storm, that in the Garden, where Judas was to come and lay him open, and that upon the Cross, came on presently, one stroke falling after the other. But what cared Judas, before he thoroughly considered it, for he thought now he should have some good clothes bought with the price of that money received of the chief priests, Matt.26:14-16, for betraying of the Son of Man. He had wore out his old ones in his Master’s Service, and Judas thought now {it should seem} he had an opportunity to be brave and fine in his new clothes; and though the wretch never bought them, conscience stepping in through God’s wrath on this Traitor between his receiving the money, and therewith clothed himself presently in his own conceit; the Holy Ghost knowing this Traitor’s heart, accordingly takes notice of it as if it had been openly done to men. “He clothed himself with cursing;” I, but says the imprecation-language, as he loved cursing, let him have enough of the Curse. What? Betray Christ to the tree? To be hanged on the tree? Why, he knew in the Law, that he that was hanged was accursed of God. {“His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; for he that is hanged is accursed of God.” Deut.21:23.} Now Christ feeling, or having felt already in the Garden what this Curse was, in his soul, how severe and grievous, prays against the traitor’s person answerably to his tasting of this bitter curse, when he began with it, and drank of Kidron, the Brook of Blackness, the Curse-Brook {because of the accursed things, the sins and abominations of the people that had been cast into it, II Kings 23:12, II Chron.15:16, therefore the Curse-Brook} that runneth in the way. I say, he prays against Judas answerably to this, “let it come {let the Curse come} into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.” And so it did to the height of desperation, and to that prodigious effect of the waters of jealousy, after he had traitorously turned thus aside from Christ, that his bowels swelling with the Curse, Num.5:21-24, the Imprecation wrought the same effects intended. For, under a complication of pain, anguish and struggling, the rope, or whatever he used in his own execution, brake, and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out, as Peter, standing up in the midst of the disciples, tells the first Christian Church at Jerusalem, consisting of about one hundred and twenty names. Acts 1:15-20. Oh! When the Curse falls upon a man’s self, it breaks him all to pieces! There was none but Jesus Christ could hold together under it; and yet he kept whole through this terrible night in the Garden. Oh! There it was it began, that Christ tasted the Bitterness of our Sin at this rate!

Ah! Then what had become of us upon this Transaction, the Father’s laying of Sin, and therein the loathsomeness of our Sin upon Christ, had he been only a Holy Man, and not the Holy God too? Why, if he had not been God, he must have been absolutely changed upon this Transaction, and the very filth of Sin has defiled him. But being God, this was impossible, by reason of the integrate Union of the Two Natures, or the Man in God, to be in the least spotted with our defiling sins. “That as Sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom.5:21. Oh! Herein is the Mystery of Amazing Righteousness and Grace! Righteousness to Christ, and Grace to us in and through him! That being God in the same Substance of his Father, he should stoop so low as into the Man, in the personal union, and therein be openly touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Heb.4:15. He was tempted by Satan under this, “yet without Sin.” He himself had foretold it, “the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” Jn.14:30. No Sin in Christ, none in his Nature, but when Sin was found on him, it seems, under the Father’s act of Imputation, Satan made a great bustle and stir about it, though no Sin was found in him. For this was the Jews hour against him, and the Devil’s too; “your hour, says he, and the power of darkness.” Lk.22:53. So that he was tempted in this point, touching the filth of Sin, when Sin was laid upon Christ, “since he was tempted in all points like unto us, yet without Sin,” Heb.4:15, without Sin of his own personally, whilst all this was made his own mystically by an act of Divine Imputation. Yet, says Christ, when Satan comes, he hath nothing in me, my nature, my very humanity is inherently pure and holy under all this Imputation, and not one jot altered. So that Christ being more than man, {for, he was the Man in God, and both, God and the Man, were One Person, hence,} Sin could not fasten a spot upon this Spotless One, Christ. It could not fasten with all the Devil’s art upon the Son of God become Man!

Christ was our Ark in which we were hid and covered, when the storms of God’s Wrath fell upon him. For, as when the windows of heaven were opened, Gen.7:11, and it rained down in cataracts and spouts, floods of rain, in that Universal Deluge of Noah’s time, all that fell so violently upon the top of the Ark was born off, and none of it fell on Noah, nor on those who were with him in the Ark; so when the storms of God’s Indignation rained down Wrath upon Christ in the time of his Sufferings, we were hid, and in that Shelter have been hid, that those storms do not come into our souls. Now as Christ was our Ark, he must touch our pitch. Gen.6:14. Nevertheless, being God-Man, he was not, he could not be defiled with it. The literal Ark indeed, Noah’s Ark, a type of Christ, could not be pitched within and without with pitch, a bituminous substance, as “caphar” there in Genesis signifies, but that Ark of Noah must be defiled with the pitch; whereas this Holy Ark of God had our sins upon soul and body, and yet by reason of the Glorious Perfection, strength and fullness of the Divine Nature in which the Man was personally united, was able to touch our pitch, and not be defiled therewith.

He was Christ the Most Excellent, and such a High Priest as was absolutely above contagion, and could not catch our plagues when he came among us, and himself bare our sicknesses. Mt.8:17. This perfect Qualification of our Most High Physician is the solid Foundation of his coming to us in our filthiness, that he is beyond all capacity of infection, and this he demonstrated when himself bare our filthiness. And however men may think Christ can come to us without defilement, only that we can’t come to him therewith, nor in any sense lay Sin on Christ without defiling him, arguing therein more like unbelievers, not led into the knowledge of Christ’s Person, Psal.50:21, than Ministers of Christ; nevertheless, if the matter was as they fancy without this Foundation, Christ could no more come to us without taking some of the defilement of us, than we go to him, and not transmit a part of the pollution, or infection to him. This coming of Christ unto us in our Filth was shadowed out by the Priest’s coming and looking on the leper, Lev.13:1-59, shut up under the Law. And our coming to Christ in Pollution can no more convey that Pollution over to Christ, than the leper, that came in the Gospel to Christ to be touched, could defile the Son of Man with his leprosy. Accordingly, as Christ touched the leper, and was not unclean, so he bore our sins, without becoming sinful, and unclean. {“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Isa.53:11. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Heb.9:28.} In Matthew 8:2,3, it is said, “and, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him,” the poor leprous man came along in his leprosy, and came to Christ in his filth, “saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed;” touched him with his leprosy upon him; the leprosy was a filthy disease, that if another than Christ had but touched the man infected, he had presently contracted an uncleanness by the express letter of the Law in that case provided, as in other cases of uncleanness, so as to wash himself, and bathe his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even, Num.19:7, where the same ingredients to make the water of separation, a purification for Sin, verse 9, are mentioned as in Lev.14:4-6, for the leprosy itself, except the two birds {there used in Leviticus} for the cleaning of the leper. But yet for all this we do not read that Christ was unclean after he had touched this leper in the Gospel, and healing him. So, “himself bore our sicknesses,” Matt.8:17, and is not Pollution a sickness of the soul, as much as any other disease can be a sickness of the body? The Father goes with the filth of Sin to Christ, and yet he could not be defiled by the Imputation of its very defilements to him, such is the Perfection of his Person.

To illustrate this by a Comparison, though all comparisons fall short. Suppose a drop of ink or poison, falls upon a fiery globe of brass, could that ink or poison leave any sullying mark behind it? Though that pollution was dropped upon the fiery globe, the ball would touch it, but receive no stain by that contact, because of the fire which consumed it in the distillation; the resisting vehemency of the fiery element in so strong a metal as brass, even whilst that ink or poison touched the burning brass, would in a moment conquer the infused drop, and prevent all adhesion of a stain. Why so now, take all the deluge of corruption that has flowed down upon the elect of God from Adam, and shall do so to the last man; yet all this sea of filthiness to us, is but in comparison with his Infinite Power to subdue Sin, a drop of ink or poison to a fiery ball or globe, as large as the whole universe; {“and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.” Rev.1:15. “When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.” Isa.4:4,} such a mighty Nature and Power had Christ in him to resist the Infection and Stain of Sin, {“and ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” I Jn.3:5,} not contracting it, whilst he bore our sins in his own body on the tree. I Pet.2:24. Whatever it be, I know that this similitude is imperfect to set out the matter, in the deep Mystery of this gold tried in the fire, Rev.3:18, or the Person of Christ in his sufferings, the greatest of which was the Father’s Imputation of our Sin unto him; yet in all that fire of God’s wrath which seized him, the Divine Nature did unspeakably sustain the Humanity, or upheld the Son of Man. Neither doth the aforesaid illustration, though enough to stop the mouth of cavil, unbelief and corrupt reasonings against the contrary, nevertheless set it out so evangelically and sweetly as Faith transcendently receives the point. For, in the representations of it that are made to Faith, Faith sees how it was accomplished, and how Sin was put away. For Christ was tempted in all points, like as we are, Heb.4:15; now one point is, that we are tempted with the pollution of our sins, some in one way and some in another, almost to question whether we have true Grace, because of so much filth and strong corruption. Yet when Christ was tempted as we are in this point {though after what manner that temptation of Christ wrought in this point I know not} he was however without Sin, without Sin entering, contracted, or leaving any stain upon him, that his Nature and Act of bearing our sins, and drinking of this same Brook in the way, Psal.110:7, could be never rendered sinful by them. No the emphasis of all his merit and reward in lifting up his head so high above water, though floods had compassed him, and he stood in our mire, Psal.69:2, lay in this action, that he thus mystically took away the pollution of our natures, and made way by it for Communion with God in our very nature to eternity. He shall drink of the Brook in the Way; therefore shall he triumph and lift up the head. Ah! Then, to conclude; should not poor burdened sinners {otherwise than as a sight of Christ relieves them} that tremble at their own pollutions, whilst they look with a separate eye upon them {till under a refreshing work of God the Comforter} come by Faith with all their inherent filth to this CLEANSING BLOOD of Christ, and so wait upon God with a pure conscience?

1 Kidron: The meaning of that word is black; it was a black rivulet, or as we would say black-water; and I remember to have seen such a Black River, or stream, for the color of it, in Hampshire, which is called by the inhabitants of the place, Black Water, that at some seasons of the year, from the tincture of the neighboring heath, I have beheld almost as black as water discolored with ink. I give ye this a little to set out this Brook Kidron.