642. The decrees of the Councils and the articles of the Confessions which the members of Reformed churches swear to uphold state that God justifies the ungodly man by infusing into him Christ's merit. Yet the good of any angel cannot be shared with, much less linked to an ungodly person, without being rejected and bouncing back like a rubber ball thrown against a wall, or without being swallowed up like a diamond dropped into a marsh. In fact, if anything truly good were forced into him, it would be like a pearl tied to the snout of a pig. Everyone knows that compassion cannot be injected into mercilessness, innocence into revenge, love into hatred, concord into discord - it would be like mixing heaven and hell together.
A person who has not been born again is, as far as his spirit is concerned, like a panther or an owl, and can be likened to a briar or a nettle. But one who is reborn is like a sheep or a dove, and can be likened to an olive tree or a vine. Just consider, if you please, how a panther-man can be turned into a sheep-man, or an owl into a dove, or a briar into an olive tree or a nettle into a vine, by means of any imputation, attribution or application of Divine righteousness. It would be more likely to damn him than to justify him. Surely if anything is to be turned into anything else, the bestiality of the panther and the owl, or the harmfulness of the briar and nettle, must first be removed, and in its stead what is truly human and harmless implanted? How this may be is also taught by the Lord in John (15:1-7).