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and wild honey (Matt. iii. 4). From all these circumstances it appears, that the prophets represented the state of the church, and the Word; for whosoever represents the one, represents also the other, because the church has its existence from the Word, and its quality is according to its reception of the Word in life and faith. Hence by prophets, wherever they are mentioned in both Testaments, is signified the doctrine of the church derived from the Word: but by the Lord, considered as the greatest prophet, is signified the church itself, and the Word itself.
16. The state of the church from the Word, thus represented in the Prophets, is what is meant when mention is made of their bearing the iniquities and sins of the people. This is evident from its being related of the prophet Isaiah, that he went naked and bare-foot three years, for a sign and a wonder (Isaiah xx. 2, 3): and of Ezekiel the prophet, that he carried out stuff for removing through the hole he had dug in the wall, covering his face, so as not to see the earth : and that thus he was for a sign unto the house of Israel; and also said, I am your sign (Ezek. xii. 3-11). That this was to bear iniquities, manifestly appears from what is said, when Ezekiel was commanded to lie three hundred and ninety days on his left side, and forty days on his right side, against Jerusalem, and to eat barley cakes made with cows' dung; where we read thus : "Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it, thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days (Ezek. iv. 4–6). That the prophet by thus bearing the iniquities of the house of Israel and the house of Judah, did not thereby take them away, and thus expiate them, but only represented and pointed them out, is evident from what follows in the same chapter: "And Jehovah said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the gentiles, whither I will drive them.' ‘Behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem,—that they may want bread and water, and be astonished one with another, and consume away for their iniquity” (verses 13, 16, 17). So when the same prophet shewed himself, and said, “I am your sign," it is also added, “as I have done, so shall it be done unto them” (Ezek. xii. 11). The meaning is similar when it is said of the Lord, “ He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows;—Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all ;-by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah liii.); the whole of which chapter treats of the passion of the Lord. That the Lord himself, as the Greatest Prophet, represented the state of the church as to the Word, appears from the circumstances attending his passion : as, that he was betrayed by Judas; that he was taken and condemned by the chief priests and elders; that they buffeted him; that they smote him on the head with a reed; that they put a crown of thorns on his head ; that they divided his garments, and cast lots for his vesture; that they crucified him; that they gave him vinegar to drink; that they pierced his side; that he was buried, and rose again on the third day. His being betrayed by Judas, signified that he was betrayed by the Jewish nation, who at that time were the depositaries of the Word; for Judas represented that nation : his being taken and condemned by the chief priests and elders, signified that he was taken and condemned by the whole Jewish Church : their scourging him, spitting in his face, buffeting him, and smiting him on the head with a reed, signified that they treated in a similar manner the Word, with respect to its divine truths, all of which relate to the Lord : their putting a crown of thorns on his head, signified that they had falsified and adulterated those truths: their dividing his garments and casting lots for his vesture, signified that they had divided and dispersed all the truths of the Word, but not its spiritual sense, which his vesture or inner garment represented : their crucifying him, signified that they had destroyed and profaned the whole Word: their giving him vinegar to drink, signified that all was falsified and false ; and therefore he did not drink it, but said, It is finished: their piercing his side, signified that they had entirely extinguished every truth and every good of the Word : his being buried, signified the rejection of the residue of the Human taken from the mother; and his rising again on the third day, signified his glorification. Where these circumstances are predicted in the Prophets and Psalms, their signification is similar. On this account also, after he had been scourged, when he was led out bearing the crown of thorns, and arrayed in a purple robe put on him by the soldiers, he said, “Behold the man !” (John xix. 1,5). This he said, because by the term man is signified the church; for by the Son of Man is meant the truth of the church, consequently the Word. Hence then it appears, that by bearing iniquities is meant to represent, and to display in effigy, sins against the divine truths of the word. That the Lord underwent and suffered such treatment as the Son of Man, and not as the Son of God, will be shewn in the following pages; for Son of Man, signifies the Lord as to the Word.
17. Something shall be now said as to what is meant by taking away sins. To take away sins is much the same as to redeem
and save him. For the Lord came into the world
to render salvation possible to man.
Had he not come, no one could have been reformed and regenerated, nor, of course, saved: but this became possible after the Lord had deprived the devil, that is, hell, of all his power, and had glorified his Human, that is, united it to the Divine of the Father. If these things had not been done, no man would have been capable of permanently receiving any divine truth, still less any divine good; for the devil, whose power before was the stronger, would have plucked it out of his heart.
From these statements, it is manifest, that the Lord did not take away sins by the passion of the cross, but that he takes them away, that is, removes them, in such as believe in him, and live according to his commandments; as the Lord also teaches in Matthew : “Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets." “ Whosoever-shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (v. 17, 19). Reason alone may teach every one, if he be at all enlightened, that sins cannot be taken away from man, except by actual repentance; which consists in man's seeing his sins, imploring help of the Lord, and desisting from them. To see, believe, and teach otherwise, does not originate in the Word, nor in sound reason, but in evil lust, and a depraved will, which constitutes man's proprium, or selfhood, by which his intelligence is debased into folly.
THE IMPUTATION OF THE LORD'S MERIT PROPERLY MEANS
NOTHING ELSE THAN THE REMISSION OF SINS AFTER RE-
18. It is believed in the church, that the Lord was sent by the Father to make an atonement for the human race, and that this was effected by his fulfilling the law, and suffering the passion of the cross; by which it is conceived that he took away the damnation incurred by man, and made satisfaction for his sins. It is further believed, that without such atonement, satisfaction, and propitiation, the human race would have perished in eternal death; and this because justice, or vindictive justice, as it is styled by some, demanded such a penalty. certainly true, that if the Lord had not come into the world all mankind would have perished : but how it is to be understood that the Lord fulfilled the whole of the law; and also why he suffered the death of the cross, may be seen above in their respective chapters : from which also it may appear, that he did not fulfil the law, and suffer the cross, on account of any vindictive justice in God, since there can be no such divine attribute as this. The divine attributes are justice (or righteousness], love, mercy, and goodness; and God is justice itself, love itself, mercy itself, and goodness itself; and where these are, there can be nothing of vengeance, consequently, no vindictive justice. The Lord's fulfilling of the law, and his passion on the cross, have, however, been heretofore understood by many, only as a satisfaction made by him for the human race, whereby he delivered them from the damnation otherwise foreseen or appointed: and from viewing these two things (commonly called his active and passive obedience), in which the Lord's merit is believed to consist, in the light of a satisfaction, and combining therewith the principle that man is saved solely by the faith that it is so, has followed by natural connexion, the received tenet of the imputation of the Lord's merit. But this tenet falls to the ground when the Lord's fulfilling of the law, and his passion on the cross, as explained above, are rightly understood. It may then be seen, that imputation of merit are words without meaning, unless they imply the remission of sins after repentance: for no act or attribute of the Lord can possibly be imputed to man; but salvation may be awarded him by the Lord when he has done the work of repentance, that is, when, after he has seen and acknowledged his sins, he desists from them by virtue of a power given him from the Lord. Then is salvation awarded to him: not that he is saved by his own merit or righteousness, but by the Lord, who alone hath fought and conquered the hells, and who alone still fights for every individual, and conquers the hells for him. These combats and conquests are what properly constitute the merit and righteousness of the Lord; and these cannot possibly be imputed to man: if they could, the merit and righteousness of the Lord must be appropriated to man as his own; which they never were, nor ever can be. Supposing such imputation possible, any impenitent and wicked person might impute to himself the merit of the Lord, and so imagine himself justified; whereas this would be to defile what is holy by what is profane, and to profane the name of the Lord; since in so doing he would keep his thoughts fixed on the Lord, whilst his will remained in hell; although it is the will that constitutes the man. There is a faith which is of God, and a faith which is of man : those have the faith which is of God, who do the work of repentance; but those who neglect repentance, and yet think of imputation, have only the faith which is of man; and the faith which is of God, is a living faith, but the faith which is of man is a dead faith. That the Lord himself, and his disciples, preached repentance for the remission of sins, is evident from the following passages : “Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. iv. 17).
John said, “Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.” now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire” (Luke iii. 8, 9). Jesus said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke xiii. 5).
« Jesus came-preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark i. 14, 15). Jesus sent the disciples, who "went out, and preached that men should repent” (Mark vi. 12). Jesus said to the apostles, “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke xxiv. 47). John preached “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Luke iii. 3; Mark i. 4). By baptism is signified spiritual washing, which is a washing from sins, and is called regeneration. Repentance and the remission of sins are thus described by the Lord in John: He came unto his his own received him not; but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (i. 11-13). By his own are here signified the members of the church which was in possession of the Word; by the children of God, and them that believe in his name, are meant those who believe in the Lord, and who believe in the Word: by blood are signified falsifications of the word, and confirmations by means of it of what is false : the will of the flesh is man's voluntary proprium [selfhood], which in itself is nothing but evil: the will of man is man's intellectual proprium, which in itself is mere falsity : those who are born of God are such as are regenerated by the Lord.
The whole passage demonstrates, that those are saved who are in the good of love and in the truths of faith from the Lord; but not such as abide in their proprium.
THE LORD, AS TO HIS DIVINE HUMAN, IS CALLED THE SON OF
GOD; AND, AS TO THE WORD, THE SON OF MAN.
19. No other idea is at present entertained in the church, than that the Son of God is a second person of the Godhead, distinct from the person of the Father; whence has arisen the belief, that the Son of God was born from eternity. In consequence of the general prevalence of this notion, and of its relating to God, no liberty is allowed, in thinking about it, to make any use of the understanding, not even so far as to ask, What can be meant by being born from eternity ? For whosoever, when he thinks of it, at all exercises his understanding,