642. In the decrees of the Councils and in the articles of the Confessions to which the Reformed make oath, it is declared that God justifies the wicked man by means of the merit of Christ infused into him, when, in fact, not even the good of any angel can be communicated to a wicked person, still less conjoined to him, without being thrown back and rebounding like an elastic ball thrown against a wall, or swallowed up like a diamond sunk in a marsh; and indeed, if anything truly good was thrust upon him, it would be like a pearl fastened to a swine's snout. For who does not know that clemency cannot be introduced into unmercifulness, innocence into vindictiveness, love into hatred, or concord into discord, which would be like mixing together heaven and hell? The man who has not been born again, is in the spirit like a panther or an owl, and may be likened to a thorn or a nettle; while the man who has been born again is like a sheep or a dove, and may be likened to an olive tree or a vine. Reflect, I pray you, if you will, how a human panther can be converted into a human sheep, or an owl into a dove, or a thorn tree into an olive tree, or a nettle into a vine, by any imputation, ascription, or application of the Divine righteousness, which would rather damn than justify him. Before such a conversion could take place, must not the ferine nature of the panther and owl, or the noxious qualities of the thorn and nettle first be taken away, and what is truly human and harmless be implanted in their place? How this is effected the Lord also teaches in John (15:1-7).