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CHAP. tice, and that all the creatures have little or V.
rather no strength to help him in his misery. It is not possible, but that hence there must arise a compunction of mind, grief for sins committed, and for the offence given to God, despair concerning himself and other creatures, and finally, that 'anxious desire, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me!
VII. To the soul trembling in this manner, Jesus, the most merciful Saviour discovers himself, with all the abundance of his
grace and glory, which he spontaneously and freely offers to all who desire it; nor does he offer it only, but also gently invites, and in a pathetic manner requests them to embrace it; and in the mean time, penetrating the inward parts by the secret efficacy of his Spirit, he with a gentle power, allures the mind, together with the will: hence it is, that the soul, surrounded with the lustre of this celestial light, and so allured, with all its might receiveth Jesus for its Saviour, and by this reception ratifies this inestimable gift and renders it irrevocable; this is the faith of God's elect, the praises of which is so often commended in
the holy scripture. VII.
VIII. And since it consists in receiving The order Christ, it is evident, that when we accept of of saving application. him by faith, then only he is ours, not simply
in right, but also in possession. In accepting him, we likewise accept, and, by accepting, make all that righteousness which he fulfilled
for us our own; which in the secret counsel CHAT. of God was of old, indeed, put to our account, but in reality is offered to possession in effectual calling, and is possessed with saving benefit after it is accepted by faith. IX. Further, as soon as the righteousness IX. The
elect before of Christ is made ours by faith, we are justi- their regefied on its account: that is, God declares with neration are
in a cona particular appropriation to our persons, that demned now-we have passed from a state of wrath state. into a state of favour, and that whereas we were lately enemies, now we are reconciled to him, and made friends, and shall hereafter enjoy his saving favour. This is the order. of application taught both by holy scripture, and by the evidence of the thing itself. Hence it follows, that an elect person, before his regeneration, while he gives himself up to luxury, lasciviousness, and all ungodly lusts, is in the way of perdition and destruction, and in his sins appears before God as odious, abominable, most deserving of all his wrath and curse; and it is impossible for him to escape impending wrath, if he continue with obstinacy to go on in the way of wickedness. Truly, it is much safer and far more candid by sober speech to infuse these doctrines, and such as these, into a man, however certainly elected, that by the terror of the Lord he may be excited to faith, than to fill him with a persuasion, that provided he be elected, God has no more to impute to him, though he live ever so wickedly, than
CHAP. if he were already received into heaven. AcV.
curately speaking, such an elect person is in reality in a condemned state, not only in the court of his own conscience, but also in the court of God, to which that of conscience should never be contrary. [9.] Then only is he absolved from damnation, as to his person, when he begins to be in Christ, not according to the foreknowledge of God, but in actual union by the Spirit. Till that time, he was under the law of sin and death; then he begins to be under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, Rom. viii. 1, 2. This is the perpetual and the constant doctrine of the scriptures, from which we must not depart, mo not in the form of words.
Whether the Elect are united to Cbrist be
fore faith, and whether not only the fruits of his righteousness, but also the righteousness of Christ itself is imputed to them.
I. II. III. IV. Various manners or degrees of the union
of the elect unto Christ, before and after faith. V. The righteousness of Christ itself is imputed to believe
VI. As the sin of Adam to his posterity. VII. Even the holiness of Christ is imputed. VIII. It may be said in a sound sense, that believers are perfectly righteous and holy in Christ. IX. And because they are righteous by the righteousness of Christ, yet they are as righteous as Christ himself. X. The Palatina Catechism not differing.
F these things be properly considered, VI. it will not be difficult to explain, Whether, and
1. Variin what way, the ele Et are united.to Christ bea fore faith, or whether they are not., Doubtless ners or dethey are united to him, 1. In the eternal de- the union cree of God, which, however, includes nothing, of the for except that their actual union shall take place; Christ, be
fore and afas was already demonstrated.
ter faith, II. By an union of eternal consent, where II. in Christ was constituted by the Father the head of all those who were to be saved, and that he should represent their persons; hence it was, that Christ obeying the commandment of the Father, and suffering for them, they are reckoned in the judgment of God to have
CHAP. obeyed and suffered in him. All these things,
however, do not hinder, but that considered
that their present state.
is only passive on their part,) they are united
IV. But the mutual union, (which, on the
part of an elect person, is likewise active and