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CHRISTIAN AGAIN DISCOURSES WITH IGNORANCE
Then Christian said to him, Coine away, man, why do you stay so behind?
IGNOR. I take my pleasure in walking alone; even more a great deal than in company; unless I like it better.
Then said Christian to HOPEFUL, (but softly). Did I not tell you he cared not for our company? But, however, said he, come up, and let us talk away the time in this solitary place. Then, directing his speech to IGNORANCE, he said, Come, how do you? how stands it between God and your soul now?
Ignor. I hope well, for I am always full of good motions, that come into my mind to comfort me as I walk.
Chr. What good motions? pray tell us.
Chr. So do many that are never like to come there. “ The soul of the sluggard desires, and hath
nothing'." IGNOR. But I think of them, and leave all for them.
Chr. That I doubt: for leaving of all is an hard matter; yea, a harder matter than many are aware of. But why, or by what, art thou persuaded that thou hast left all for God and heaven?
Ignor. My heart tells me so.
“ He that trusts his “ own heart is a fool."
CONCERNING HIS HOPE, HEART, AND THOUGHTS.
IGNOR. This is spoken of an evil heart, but mine is a good one.
Chr. But how dost thou prove that?
Chr. That may be through its deceitfulness; for a man's heart may minister comfort to him in the hopes of that thing for which he yet has no ground to hope.
Ignor. But my heart and life agree together; and therefore my hope is well grounded.
Chr. Who told thee that thy heart and life agrec together?
Ignor. My heart tells me.
my fellow if I be a thief?' Thy heart tells thee so! except the word of God beareti witness in this matter, other testimony is of no value.
IGNOR, But is it not a good heart that has good thoughts ? and is not that a good life that is according to God's commandments ?
Chr. Yes, that is a good heart that hath good thoughts, and that is a good life that is according to God's commandments; but it is one thing indeed to have these, and another thing only to think so.
IGNOR. Pray, what count you good thoughts, and a life according to God's commandments?
Chr. There are good thoughts of divers kinds; some respecting ourselves, some God, some CHRIST, and some other things,
IGNOR. What be good thoughts respecting ourselves?
Chr. Such as agree with the word of God.
Ignor. When do our thoughts of ourselves agree with the word of God?
Chr. When we pass the same judgement upon ourselves which the word passes.-To explain myself: the word of God saith of persons in a natural condition, “ There is none righteous, there is none that “ doeth good.” It saith also that“ every imagination “ of the heart of a man is only evil, and that conti
nually?.” And again, “ The imagination of man's “ heart is evil from his youth.” Now then, when we think thus of ourselves, having sense thereof, then are our thoughts good ones, because according to the word of God.
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 judgement upon our heart, so it passeth a judgement upon our ways; and when the thoughts of our hearts and ways agree with the judgement which the word giveth of both, then are both good, because agreeing thereto.
Ignor. Make out your meaning.
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. Now when a man thus thinketh of his ways, I say, when he doth sensibly, and with heart-humiliation, thus think, then hath he good thoughts of his own ways, because his thoughts now agree with the judgement of the word of God.
1 Gen. vi. 5. Rom. iii. ? Ps. cxxv. 5. Prov. ii. 15
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 none 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 ?
Chr. Why, how dost thou think in this matter?
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 him! Thou neither seest thy original nor actual infirmities; but hast such an opinion of thyself, and of what thou doest, as plainly renders thec 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.
182 CHRISTIAN CONTRASTS IT WITH JUSTIFYING FAITH.
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 his 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 Almighty: 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 maketh, 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:) 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 acquits from condemnation.
IGNOR. What, would you have us trust to what