The doctrine of Justification by Faith,
through the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ;
explained, confirmed, and vindicated

by John Owen

This etext is in the public domain.

Search the Scriptures--John 5:29


Contents

Prefatory Note

To the Reader

General Considerations, previous unto the Explanation of the Doctrine of
   Justification
   First, The general nature of justification--State of the person to be
      justified antecedently thereunto, Rom.4:5; 3:19; 1:32; Gal.3:10;
      John 3:18,36; Gal.3:22--The sole inquiry on that state--Whether it
      be any thing that is our own inherently, or what is only imputed
      unto us, that we are to trust unto for our acceptance with God--The
      sum of this inquiry--The proper ends of teaching and learning the
      doctrine of justification--Things to be avoided therein
   Secondly, A due consideration of God, the Judge of all, necessary unto
      the right stating and apprehension of the doctrine of
      justification, Rom.8:33; Isa.43:25; 45:25; Ps.143:2; Rom.3:20--What
      thoughts will be ingenerated hereby in the minds of men, Isa.33:14;
      Micah 6:6,7; Isa.6:5--The plea of Job against his friends, and
      before God, not the same, Job 40:3-5, 43:406--Directions for
      visiting the sick given of old--Testimonies of Jerome and Ambrose--
      Sense of men in their prayers, Dan.9:7,18; Ps.143:2, 130:3,4--
      Paraphrase of Austin on that place--Prayer of Pelagius--Public
      liturgies
   Thirdly, A due sense of our apostasy from God, the depravation of our
      nature thereby, with the power and guilt of sin, the holiness of
      the law, necessary unto a right understanding of the doctrine of
      justification--Method of the apostle to this purpose, Rom.1,2,3--
      Grounds of the ancient and present Pelagianism, in the denial of
      these things--Instances thereof--Boasting of perfection from the
      same ground--Knowledge of sin and grace mutually promote each other
   Fourthly, Opposition between works and grace, as unto justification--
      Method of the apostle, in the Epistle to the Romans, to manifest
      this opposition--A scheme of others contrary thereunto--Testimonies
      witnessing this opposition--Judgment to be made on them--
      Distinctions whereby they are evaded--The uselessness of them--
      Resolution of the case in hand by Bellarmine, Dan.9:18; Luke 17:10
   Fifthly, A commutation as unto sin and righteousness, by imputation,
      between Christ and believers, represented in the Scripture--The
      ordinance of the scapegoat, Lev.16:21,22--The nature of expiatory
      sacrifices, Lev.4:29, etc.--Expiation of an uncertain murder,
      Deut.21:1-9--The commutation intended proved and vindicated,
      Isa.53:5,6; 2 Cor.5:21; Rom.8:3,4; Gal.3:13,14; 1 Pet.2:24;
      Deut.21:23--Testimonies of Justin Martyr, Gregory Nyseen,
      Augustine, Chrysostom, Bernard, Taulerus, Pighius, to that purpose-
      -The proper actings of faith with respect thereunto, Rom.5:11;
      Matt.11:28; Ps.38:4; Gen.4:13; Isa.53:11; Gal.3:1; Isa.45:22; John
      3:14,15--A bold calumny answered
   Sixthly, Introduction of grace by Jesus Christ into the whole of our
      relation unto God, and its respect unto all the parts of our
      obedience--No mystery of grace in the covenant of works--All
      religion originally commensurate unto reason--No notions of natural
      light concerning the introduction of the mediation of Christ and
      mystery of grace, into our relation to God, Eph.1:17-19--Reason, as
      corrupted, can have no notions of religion but what are derived
      from its primitive state--Hence the mysteries of the gospel
      esteemed folly--Reason, as corrupted, repugnant unto the mystery of
      grace--Accommodation of spiritual mysteries unto corrupt reason,
      wherefore acceptable unto many--Reasons of it--Two parts of
      corrupted nature's repugnancy unto the mystery of the gospel:--1.
      That which would reduce it unto the private reason of men--Thence
      the Trinity denied, and the incarnation of the Son of God; without
      which the doctrine of justification cannot stand--Rule of the
      Socinians in the interpretation of the Scripture--2. Want of a due
      comprehension of the harmony that is between all the parts of the
      mystery of grace--This harmony proved--Compared with the harmony in
      the works of nature--To be studied--But it is learned only of them
      who are taught of God; and in experience--Evil effects of the want
      of a due comprehension hereof--Instances of them--All applied unto
      the doctrine of justification
   Seventhly, General prejudices against the imputation of the
      righteousness of Christ: --1. That it is not in terms found in the
      Scripture, answered--2. That nothing is said of it in the writings
      of the evangelists, answered, John 20:30,31--Nature of Christ's
      personal ministry--Revelations by the Holy Spirit immediately from
      Christ--Design of the writings of the evangelists--3. Differences
      among Protestants themselves about this doctrine, answered--Sense
      of the ancients herein--What is of real difference among
      Protestants, considered
   Eighthly, Influence of the doctrine of justification into the first
      Reformation--Advantages unto the world by that Reformation--State
      of the consciences of men under the Papacy, with respect unto
      justification before God--Alterations made therein by the light of
      this doctrine, though not received--Alterations in the Pagan
      unbelieving world by the introduction of Christianity--Design and
      success of the first reformers herein--Attempts for reconciliation
      with the Papists in this doctrine, and their success--Remainders of
      the ignorance of the truth in the Roman church--Unavoidable
      consequences of the corruption of this doctrine

I. Justifying faith; the causes and object of it declared
   Justification by faith generally acknowledged--The meaning of it
      perverted--The nature and use of faith in justification proposed to
      consideration--Distinctions about it waived--A twofold faith of the
      gospel expressed in the Scripture--Faith that is not justifying,
      Acts 8:13; John 2:23,24; Luke 8:13; Matt.7:22,23--Historical faith;
      whence it is so called, and the nature of it--Degrees of assent in
      it--Justification not ascribed unto any degree of it--A calumny
      obviated--The causes of true saving faith--Conviction of sin
      previous unto it--The nature of legal conviction, and its effects--
      Arguments to prove it antecedent unto faith--Without the
      consideration of it, the true nature of faith not to be understood-
      -The order and relation of the law and gospel, Rom.1:17--Instance
      of Adam--Effects of conviction--Internal: Displicency and sorrow;
      fear of punishment; desire of deliverance--External: Abstinence
      from sin; performance of duties; reformation of life--Not
      conditions of justification; not formal disposition unto it; not
      moral preparations for it--The order of God in justification--The
      proper object of justifying faith--Not all divine verity equally;
      proved by sundry arguments--The pardon of our own sins, whether the
      first object of faith--The Lord Christ in the work of mediation, as
      the ordinance of God for the recovery of lost sinners, the proper
      object of justifying faith--The position explained and proved, Acts
      10:43; 16:31; 4:12; Luke 24:25-27; John 1:12; 3:16,36; 6:29,47;
      7:38; Acts 26:18; Col.2:6; Rom.3:24,25; 1 Cor.1:30; 2 Cor.5:21;
      Eph.1:7,8; 2 Cor.5:19

II. The nature of justifying faith
   The nature of justifying faith in particular, or of faith in the
      exercise of it, whereby we are justified--The heart's approbation
      of the way of the justification and salvation of sinners by Christ,
      with its acquiescency therein--The description given, explained and
      confirmed:--1. From the nature of the gospel--Exemplified in its
      contrary, or the nature of unbelief, Prov.1:30; Heb.2:3; 1 Pet.2:7;
      1 Cor.1:23,24; 2 Cor.4:3--What it is, and wherein it does consist.-
      -2. The design of God in and by the gospel--His own glory his
      utmost end in all things--The glory of his righteousness, grace,
      love, wisdom, etc.--The end of God in the way of the salvation of
      sinners by Christ, Rom.3:25; John 3:16; 1 John 3:16; Eph.1:5,6; 1
      Cor.1:24; Eph.3:10; Rom.1:16; 4:16; Eph.3:9; 2 Cor.4:6--3. The
      nature of faith thence declared--Faith alone ascribes and gives
      this glory to God.--4. Order of the acts of faith, or the method in
      believing--Convictions previous thereunto--Sincere assent unto all
      divine revelations, Acts 26:27--The proposal of the gospel unto
      that end, Rom.10:11-17; 2 Cor.3:18,etc.--State of persons called to
      believe--Justifying faith does not consist in any one single habit
      or act of the mind or will--The nature of that about which is the
      first act of faith--Approbation of the way of salvation by Christ,
      comprehensive of the special nature of justifying faith--What is
      included there in:--1. A renunciation of all other ways,
      Hos.14:2,3; Jer.3:23; Ps.71:16; Rom.10:3.--2. Consent of the will
      unto this way, John 14:6--3. Acquiescency of the heart in God, 1
      Pet.1:21.--4. Trust in God.--5. Faith described by trust--The
      reason of it--Nature and object of this trust inquired into--A
      double consideration of special mercy--Whether obedience be
      included in the nature of faith, or be of the essence of it--A
      sincere purpose of universal obedience inseparable from faith--How
      faith alone justifies--Repentance, how required in and unto
      justification--How a condition of the new covenant--Perseverance in
      obedience is so also--Definitions of faith

III. The use of faith in justification; its especial object farther
   cleared
   Use of faith in justification; various conceptions about it--By whom
      asserted as the instrument of it; by whom denied--In what sense it
      is affirmed so to be--The expressions of the Scripture concerning
      the use of faith in justification; what they are, and how they are
      best explained by an instrumental cause--Faith, how the instrument
      of God in justification--How the instrument of them that do
      believe--The use of faith expressed in the Scripture by
      apprehending, receiving; declared by an instrument--Faith, in what
      sense the condition of our justification--Signification of that
      term, whence to be learned

IV. Of justification; the notion and signification of the Word in
   Scripture
   The proper sense of these words, justification, and to justify,
      considered--Necessity thereof--Latin derivation of justification--
      Some of the ancients deceived by it --From "jus", and "justum";
      "justus filius", who--The Hebrew "hitsdik"--Use and signification
      of it--Places where it is used examined, 2 Sam.15:4; Deut.25:1;
      Prov.17:15; Isa.5:23; 50:8,9; 1 Kings 8:31,32; 2 Chron.6:22,23;
      Ps.82:3; Exod.23:7; Job 27:5; Isa.53:11; Gen.44:16; Dan.12:3--The
      constant sense of the word evinced--"Diakaio-oo", use of it in
      other authors, to punish--What it is in the New Testament,
      Matt.11:19; 12:37; Luke 7:29; 10:29; 16:15; 18:14; Acts 13:38,39;
      Rom.2:13; 3:4--Constantly used in a forensic sense--Places seeming
      dubious, vindicated, Rom.8:30; 1 Cor.6:11; Tit.3:5-7; Rev.22:11--
      How often these words, "diakaio-oo" and "dikaioumai", are used in
      the New Testament--Constant sense of this--The same evinced from
      what is opposed unto it, Isa.1:8,9; Prov.17:15; Rom.5:116,18;
      8:33,34--And the declaration of it in terms equivalent, Rom.4:6,11;
      5:9,10; 2 Cor.5:20,21; Matt.1:21; Acts 13:39; Gal.2:16, etc.--
      Justification in the Scripture, proposed under a juridical scheme,
      and of a forensic title--The parts and progress of it--Inferences
      from the whole
   Distinction of a first and second justification--The whole doctrine of
      the Roman church concerning justification grounded on this
      distinction--The first justification, the nature and causes of it,
      according unto the Romanists--The second justification, what it is
      in their sense--Solution of the seeming difference between Paul and
      James, falsely pretended by this distinction--The same distinction
      received by the Socinians and others--The latter termed by some the
      continuation of our justification--The distinction disproved--
      Justification considered, either as unto its essence or its
      manifestation--The manifestation of it twofold, initial and final--
      Initial is either unto ourselves or others--No second justification
      hence ensues--Justification before God, legal and evangelical--
      Their distinct natures--The distinction mentioned derogatory to the
      merit of Christ--More in it ascribed unto ourselves than unto the
      blood of Christ, in our justification--The vanity of disputations
      to this purpose--All true justification overthrown by this
      distinction--No countenance given unto this justification in the
      Scripture--The second justification not intended by the apostle
      James--Evil of arbitrary distinctions--Our first justification so
      described in the Scripture as to leave no room for a second--Of the
      continuation of our justification; whether it depend on faith
      alone, or our personal righteousness, inquired--Justification at
      once completed, in all the causes and effects of it, proved at
      large--Believers, upon their justification, obliged unto perfect
      obedience--The commanding power of the law constitutes the nature
      of sin in them who are not obnoxious unto its curse--Future sins,
      in what sense remitted at our first justification--The continuation
      of actual pardon, and thereby of a justified estate; on what it
      does depend--Continuation of justifications the act of God; whereon
      it depends in that sense--On our part, it depends on faith alone--
      Nothing required hereunto but the application of righteousness
      imputed--The continuation of our justification is before God--That
      whereon the continuation of our justification depends, pleadable
      before God--This not our personal obedience, proved:--1. By the
      experience of all believers--2. Testimonies of Scripture--3.
      Examples--The distinction mentioned rejected

VI. Evangelical personal righteousness, the nature and use of it--Final
   judgment, and its respect unto justification
   Evangelical personal righteousness; the nature and use of it--Whether
      there be an angelical justification on our evangelical
      righteousness, inquired into--How this is by some affirmed and
      applauded--Evangelical personal righteousness asserted as the
      condition of our righteousness, or the pardon of sin--Opinion of
      the Socinians--Personal righteousness required in the gospel--
      Believers hence denominated righteous--Not with respect unto
      righteousness habitual, but actual only--Inherent righteousness the
      same with sanctification, or holiness--In what sense we may be said
      to be justified by inherent righteousness--No evangelical
      justification on our personal righteousness--The imputation of the
      righteousness of Christ does not depend thereon--None have this
      righteousness, but they are antecedently justified--A charge before
      God, in all justification before God--The instrument of this
      charge, the law or the gospel--From neither of them can we be
      justified by this personal righteousness--The justification
      pretended needless and useless--It has not the nature of any
      justification mentioned in the Scripture, but is contrary to all
      that is so called--Other arguments to the same purpose--Sentential
      justification at the last day--Nature of the last judgement--Who
      shall be then justified --A declaration of righteousness, and an
      actual admission into glory, the whole of justification at the last
      day--The argument that we are justified in this life in the same
      manner, and on the same grounds, as we shall be judged at the last
      day, that judgement being according unto works, answered; and the
      impertinency of it declared

VII. Imputation, and the nature of it; with the imputation of the
   righteousness of Christ in particular
   Imputation, and the nature of it--The first express record of
      justification determines it to be by imputation, Gen.15:6--Reasons
      of it--The doctrine of imputation cleared by Paul; the occasion of
      it--Maligned and opposed by many--Weight of the doctrine concerning
      imputation of righteousness, on all hands acknowledged--Judgment of
      the Reformed churches herein, particularly of the church of
      England--By whom opposed, and on what grounds--Signification of the
      word--Difference between "reputare" and "imputare"--Imputation of
      two kinds:--1. Of what was ours antecedently unto that imputation,
      whether good or evil--Instances in both kinds--Nature of this
      imputation--The thing imputed by it, imputed for what it is, and
      nothing else. --2. Of what is not ours antecedently unto that
      imputation, but is made so by it--General nature of this
      imputation--Not judging of others to have done what they have not
      done--Several distinct grounds and reasons of this imputation:--1.
      "Ex justitia"; --(1.) "Propter relationem foederalem;"--(2.)
      "Propter relationem naturalem;"--2. "Ex voluntaria sponsione"--
      Instances, Philem.18; Gen.43:9--Voluntary sponsion, the ground of
      the imputation of sin to Christ. --3. "Ex injuria", 1 Kings 1:21. -
      -4. "Ex mera gratia," Rom. 4--Difference between the imputation of
      any works of ours, and of the righteousness of God--Imputation of
      inherent righteousness is "ex justitia"--Inconsistency of it with
      that which is "ex mera gratia," Rom.4--Agreement of both kinds of
      imputation--The true nature of the imputation of righteousness unto
      justification explained--Imputation of the righteousness of Christ-
      -The thing itself imputed, not the effect of it; proved against the
      Socinians

VIII. Imputation of the sins of the church unto Christ--Grounds of it--
   The nature of his suretiship--Causes of the new covenant--Christ and
   the church one mystical person--Consequents thereof
   Imputation of sin unto Christ--Testimonies of the ancients unto that
      purpose--Christ and the church one mystical person--Mistakes about
      that state and relation--Grounds and reasons of the union that is
      the foundation of this imputation--Christ the surety of the new
      covenant; in what sense, unto what ends--Heb.7:22, opened--Mistakes
      about the causes and ends of the death of Christ--The new covenant,
      in what sense alone procured and purchased thereby --Inquiry
      whether the guilt of our sins was imputed unto Christ--The meaning
      of the words, "guilt," and "guilty"--The distinction of "reatus
      culpae", and "reatus poenae", examined--Act of God in the
      imputation of the guilt of our sins unto Christ--Objections against
      it answered--The truth confirmed

IX. The formal cause of justification, or the righteousness on the
   account whereof believers are justified before God--Objections
   answered
   Principal controversies about justification:--1. Concerning the nature
      of justification, stated--2. Of the formal cause of it--3. Of the
      way whereby we are made partakers of the benefits of the mediation
      of Christ--What intended by the formal cause of justification,
      declared--The righteousness on the account whereof believers are
      justified before God alone, inquired after under these terms--This
      the righteousness of Christ, imputed unto them--Occasions of
      exceptions and objections against this doctrine--General objections
      examined--Imputation of the righteousness of Christ consistent with
      the free pardon of sin, and with the necessity of evangelical
      repentance--Method of God's grace in our justification --Necessity
      of faith unto justification, on supposition of the imputation of
      the righteousness of Christ--Grounds of that necessity--Other
      objections, arising mostly from mistakes of the truth, asserted,
      discussed, and answered

X. Arguments for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of
   Christ. The first argument from the nature and use of our own personal
   righteousness
   Arguments for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of
      Christ--Our own personal righteousness not that on the account
      whereof we are justified in the sight of God--Disclaimed in the
      Scriptures, as to any such end--The truth and reality of it
      granted--Manifold imperfection accompanying it, rendering it unmeet
      to be a righteousness unto the justification of life

XIV. The exclusion of all sorts of works from an interest in
   justification--What is intended by "the law," and the "works" of it,
   in the epistles of Paul
   All works whatever are expressly excluded from any interest in our
      justification before God--What intended by the works of the law--
      Not those of the ceremonial law only--Not perfect works only, as
      required by the law of our creation--Not the outward works of the
      law, performed without a principle of faith--Not works of the
      Jewish law--Not works with a conceit of merit--Not works only
      wrought before believing, in the strength of our own wills--Works
      excluded abso1utely from our justification, without respect unto a
      distinction of a first and second justification--The true sense of
      the law in the apostolical assertion that none are justified by the
      works thereof--What the Jews understood by the law--Distribution of
      the law under the Old Testament--The whole law a perfect rule of
      all inherent moral or spiritual obedience --What are the works of
      the law, declared from the Scripture, and the argument thereby
      confirmed --The nature of justifying faith farther declared

XV. Faith alone
   Of faith alone

XVI. The truth pleaded farther confirmed by testimonies of Scripture.--
   Jer.23:6
   Testimonies of Scripture confirming the doctrine of justification by
      the imputation of the righteousness of Christ--Jer.23:6, exp1sined
      and indicated

XVII. Testimonies out of the evangelists considered
   Testimonies out of the evangelists considered--Design of our Saviour's
      sermon on the mount--The purity and penalty of the law vindicated
      by him--Arguments from thence--Luke 18:9-14, the parable of the
      Pharisee and publican explained and applied to the present
      argument--Testimonies out of the gospel by John, chap. 1:12; 3:14-
      18, etc.

XVIII. The nature of justification as declared in the epistles of St.
   Paul, in that unto the Romans especially.--Chap. 3 [4,5,10; 1
   Cor.1:30; 2 Cor.5:21; Gal.2:16; Eph.2:8-10; Phil.3:8,9.]
   Testimonies out of the Epistles of Paul the apostle--His design in the
      fifth chapter to the Romans--That design explained at large, and
      applied to the present argument--Chap.3:24-26 explained, and the
      true sense of the words vindicated--The causes of justification
      enumerated--Apostolical inference from the consideration of them--
      Chap.4, design of the disputation of the apostle therein Analysis
      of his discourse--Verses 4, 5, particularly insisted on; their true
      sense vindicated--What works excluded from the justification of
      Abraham--Who it is that works not--In what sense the ungodly are
      justified--All men ungodly antecedently unto their justification--
      Faith alone the means of justification on our part--Faith itself,
      absolutely considered, not the righteousness that is imputed unto
      us--Proved by sundry arguments
   Rom.5:l2-21--Boasting excluded in ourselves, asserted in God--The
      design and sum of the apostle's argument--Objection of Socinus
      removed--Comparison between the two Adams, and those that derive
      from them--Sin entered into the world--What sin intended--Death,
      what it comprises, what intended by it--The sense of these words,
      "inasmuch," or, "in whom all have sinned," cleared and vindicated--
      The various oppositions used by the apostle in this discourse:
      principally between sin or the fall, and the free gift; between the
      disobedience of the one, and the obedience of another; judgment on
      the one hand, and justification unto life on the other--The whole
      context at large explained, and the argument for justification by
      the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, fully confirmed
   Rom.10:3,4, explained and insisted on to the same purpose
   1 Cor.1:30--Christ, how of God made righteousness unto us--Answer of
      Bellarmine unto this testimony removed--That of Socinus disproved--
      True sense of the words evinced
   2 Cor.5:21--In what sense Christ knew no sin--Emphasis in that
      expression--How he was made sin for us--By the imputation of sin
      unto him--Mistakes of some about this expression--Sense of the
      ancients-- Exception of Bellarmine unto this testimony answered,
      with other reasonings of his to the same purpose--The exceptions of
      others also removed
   Gal.2:16
   Eph.2:8-10--Evidence of this testimony--Design of the apostle from the
      beginning of the chapter--Method of the apostle in the declaration
      of the grace of God--Grace alone the cause of deliverance from a
      state of sin--Things to be observed in the assignation of the
      causes of spiritual deliverances--Grace, how magnified by him--
      Force of the argument and evidence from thence--State of the case
      here proposed by the apostle--General determination of it, "By
      grace are ye saved"--What is it to be saved, inquired into--The
      same as to be justified, but not exclusively--The causes of our
      justification declared positively and negatively--The whole secured
      unto the grace of God by Christ, and our interest therein through
      faith alone--Works excluded--What works?--Not works of the law of
      Moses--Not works antecedent unto believing--Works of true
      believers--Not only in opposition to the grace of God, but to faith
      in us--Argument from those words--Reason whereon this exclusion of
      works is founded--To exclude boasting on our part--Boasting,
      wherein it consists--Inseparable from the interest of works in
      justification--Danger of it--Confirmation of this reason, obviating
      an objection--The objection stated--If we be not justified by
      works, of what use are they? answered
   Phil.3:8,9--Heads of argument from this testimony--Design of the
      context--Righteousness the foundation of acceptance with God--A
      twofold righteousness considered by the apostle--Opposite unto one
      another, as unto the especial and inquired after--Which of these he
      adhered unto, his own righteousness, or the righteousness of God;
      declared by the apostle with vehemency of speech--Reasons of his
      earnestness herein--The turning point whereon he left Judaism--The
      opposition made unto this doctrine by the Jews--The weight of the
      doctrine, and unwillingness of men to receive it--His own sense of
      sin and grace--Peculiar expressions used in this place, for the
      reasons mentioned, concerning Christ; concerning all things that
      are our own--The choice to be made on the case stated, whether we
      will adhere unto our own righteousness, or that of Christ's, which
      are inconsistent as to the end of justification--Argument from this
      place--Exceptions unto this testimony, and argument from thence,
      removed--Our personal righteousness inherent, the same with respect
      unto the law and gospel --External righteousness only required by
      the law, an impious imagination--Works wrought before faith only
      rejected--The exception removed--Righteousness before conversion,
      not intended by the apostle

XIX. Objections against the doctrine of justification by the imputation
   of the righteousness of Christ--Personal holiness and obedience not
   obstructed, but furthered by it
   Objections against the doctrine of justification by the imputation of
      the righteousness of Christ--Nature of these objections--Difficulty
      in discerning aright the sense of some men in this argument--
      Justification by works, the end of all declension from the
      righteousness of Christ--Objections against this doctrine derived
      from a supposition thereof alone--First principal objection:
      Imputed righteousness overthrows the necessity of a holy life--This
      objection, as managed by them of the church of Rome, an open
      calumny--How insisted on by some among ourselves--Socinus'
      fierceness in this charge--His foul dishonesty therein--False
      charges on men's opinions making way for the rash condemnation of
      their persons--Iniquity of such censures--The objection rightly
      stated--Sufficiently answered in the previous discourses about the
      nature of faith, and force of the moral law--The nature and
      necessity of evangelical holiness elsewhere pleaded--Particular
      answers unto this objection--All who profess this doctrine do not
      exemplify it in their lives--The most holy truths have been abused-
      -None by whom this doctrine is now denied exceeds them in holiness
      by whom it is formerly professed, and the power of it attested--The
      contrary doctrine not successful in the reformation of the lives of
      men--The best way to determine this difference--The one objection
      managed against the doctrine of the apostle in his own days--
      Efficacious prejudices against this doctrine in the minds of men--
      The whole doctrine of the apostle liable to be abused--Answer of
      the apostle unto this objection--He never once attempts to answer
      it by declaring the necessity of personal righteousness, or good
      works, unto justification before God--He confines the cogency of
      evangelical motives unto obedience only unto believers--Grounds of
      evangelical holiness asserted by him, in compliance with his
      doctrine of justification:--1 Divine ordination--Exceptions unto
      this ground removed--2. Answer of the apostle vindicated--The
      obligation of the law unto obedience--Nature of it, and consistency
      with grace--This answer of the apostle vindicated--Heads of other
      principles that might be pleaded to the same purpose

XX. The doctrine of the apostle James concerning faith and works--Its
   agreement with that of St Paul
   Seeming difference, no real contradiction, between the apostles Paul
      and James, concerning justification--This granted by all--Reasons
      of the seeming difference--The best rule of the interpretation of
      places of Scripture wherein there is an appearing repugnancy--The
      doctrine of justification according unto that rule principally to
      be learned from the writings of Paul--The reasons of his fulness
      and accuracy in the teaching of that doctrine--The importance of
      the truth; the opposition made unto it, and abuse of it--The design
      of the apostle James-- Exceptions of some against the writings of
      St. Paul, scandalous and unreasonable--Not, in this matter, to be
      interpreted by the passage in James insisted on, chap.2.--That
      there is no repugnancy between the doctrine of the two apostles
      demonstrated--Heads and grounds of the demonstration--Their scope,
      design, and end, not the same--That of Paul; the only case stated
      and determined by him--The design of the apostle James; the case
      proposed by him quite of another nature--The occasion of the case
      proposed and stated by him--No appearance of difference between the
      apostles, because of the several cases they speak unto--Not the
      same faith intended by them--Description of the faith spoken of by
      the one, and the other--Bellarmine's arguments to prove true
      justifying faith to be intended by James, answered--Justification
      not treated of by the apostles in the same manner, nor used in the
      same sense, nor to the same end--The one treats of justification,
      as unto its nature and causes; the other, as unto its signs and
      evidence--Proved by the instances insisted on--How the Scripture
      was fulfilled, that Abraham believed in God, and it was counted
      unto him for righteousness, when he offered his son on the altar--
      Works the same, and of the same kind, in both the apostles--
      Observations on the discourse of James--No conjunction made by him
      between faith nor works in our justification, but an opposition--No
      distinction of a first and second justification in him--
      Justification ascribed by him wholly unto works--In what sense--
      Does not determine how a sinner may be justified before God; but
      how a professor may evidence himself so to be--The context opened
      from verse 14, to the end of the chapter






Prefatory Note

There is a pregnant and striking passage in one of the charges of Bishop
Horsley, which may be said to embody the substance and intimate the scope
of the following work on justification,--a work which has been esteemed
one of the best productions of Dr Owen. "That man is justified," says
Horsley, "by faith, without the works of the law, was the uniform
doctrine of our first Reformers. It is a far more ancient doctrine,--it
was the doctrine of the whole college of apostles; it is more ancient
still,--it was the doctrine of the prophets; it is older than the
prophets,--it was the religion of the patriarchs; and no one who has the
least acquaintance with the writings of the first Reformers will impute
to them, more than to the patriarchs, the prophets, or apostles, the
absurd opinion, that any man leading an impenitent, wicked life, will
finally, upon the mere pretence of faith (and faith connected with an
impenitent life must always be a mere pretence), obtain admission into
heaven."
   Dr Owen, in the "general considerations" with which he opens the
discussion of this momentous subject, shows that the doctrine of
justification by faith was clearly declared in the teaching of the
ancient church. Among other testimonies, he adduces the remarkable
extract from the epistle to Diognetus, which, though commonly printed
among the works of Justin Martyr, has been attributed by Tillemont to
some author in the first century. Augustine, in his contest with Pelagian
error, powerfully advocated the doctrines of grace. That he clearly
apprehended the nature of justification by grace appears from the
principle so tersely enunciated by him, "Opera bona non faciunt justum,
sed justificatus facit bona opera." The controversy, however in which he
was the great champion of orthodox opinions, turned mainly upon the
renovation of the heart by a divine and supernatural influence; not so
directly on the change of state effected by justifying grace. It was the
clear apprehension and firm grasp of this doctrine which ultimately
emancipated Luther from the thraldom of Romish error, and he clung to it
with a zeal proportioned to his conviction of the benefit which his own
soul had derived from it. He restored it to its true place and bearings
in the Christian system, and, in emphatic expression of its importance,
pronounced it "Articulus stantis aut cadentis ecclesiae." It had to
encounter, accordingly, strong opposition from all who were hostile to
the theology of the Reformation. Both Socinus and Bellarmine wrote
against it,--the former discussing the question in connection with his
general argument against orthodox views on the subject of the person and
work of Christ; the latter devoting a separate treatise expressly to the
refutation of the doctrine of the Reformed churches regarding
justification. Several Roman Catholic authors followed in his wake, to
whom Dr Owen alludes in different parts of his work. The ability with
which Bellarmine conducted his argument cannot be questioned; though
sometimes, in meeting difficulties and disposing of objections to his
views from Scripture, he evinces an unscrupulous audacity of statement.
His work still continues, perhaps the ablest and most systematic attempt
to overthrow the doctrine of justification by faith. In supplying an
antidote to the subtle disquisitions of the Romish divine, Dr Owen is in
reality vindicating that doctrine at all the points where the acumen of
his antagonist had conceived it liable to be assailed with any hope of
success.
   To counteract the tendency of the religious mind when it proceeded in
the direction of Arminianism, Calvinistic divines, naturally engrossed
with the points in dispute, dwelt greatly on the workings of efficacious
grace in election, regeneration, and conversion, if not to the exclusion
of the free offer of the gospel, at least so as to cast somewhat into the
shade the free justification offered in it. The Antinomianism which arose
during the time of the Commonwealth has been accounted the reaction from
this defect. Under these circumstances, the attention of theologians was
again drawn to the doctrine of justification. Dissent could not, in those
times, afford to be weakened by divisions; and partly under the influence
of his own pacific dispositions, and partly to accomplish a public
service to the cause of religion, Baxter made an attempt to reconcile the
parties at variance, and to soothe into unity the British churches.
Rightly conceiving that the essence of the question lay in the nature of
justification, he published in 1649 his "Aphorisms on Justification," in
opposition to the Antinomian tendencies of the day, and yet designed to
accommodate the prevailing differences; on terms, however, that were held
to compromise the gratuitous character of justification. He had
unconsciously, by a recoil common in every attempt to reconcile
essentially antagonistic principles, made a transition from the ground of
justification by faith, to views clearly opposed to it. Though his mind
was the victim of a false theory, his heart was practically right; and he
subsequently modified and amended his views. But to his "Aphorisms"
Bishop Barlow traces the first departure from the received doctrine of
the Reformed churches on the subject of justification. In 1669, Bishop
Bull published his "Apostolical Harmony," with the view of reconciling
the apostles Paul and James. There is no ambiguity in regard to his views
as to the ground of a sinner's acceptance with God. According to Bull
"faith denotes the whole condition of the gospel covenant; that is,
comprehends in one word all the works of Christian piety." It is the just
remark of Bickersteth, that "under the cover of justification by faith,
this is in reality justification by works."
A host of opponents sprung up in reply to Baxter and Bull; but they were
not left without help in maintaining their position. In support of
Baxter, Sir Charles Wolsley, a baronet of some reputation, who had been a
member of Cromwell's Council of State, and who sat in several parliaments
after the Restoration, published, in 1667, his "Justification
Evangelical." In a letter to Mr Humfrey, author of the "Peaceable
Disquisition", published subsequently to Owen's work and partly in
refutation of it, Sir Charles, referring to Dr Owen, remarks, "I suppose
you know his book of Justification was written particularly against
mine." There is reason to believe that Owen had a wider object in view
than the refutation of any particular treatise. In the preface to his
great work, which appeared in 1677, he assures the reader that, whatever
contests prevailed on the subject of justification, it was his design to
mingle in no personal controversy with any author of the day. Not that
his seasonings had no bearing on the pending disputes, for, from the
brief review we have submitted of the history of this discussion, it is
clear that, with all its other excellencies, the work was eminently
seasonable and much needed; but he seems to have been under a conviction,
that in refuting specially Socinus and Bellarmine, he was in effect
disposing of the most formidable objections ever urged against the
doctrine of justification by grace, while he avoided the impleasantness
of personal collision with the Christian men of his own times whose views
might seem to him deeply erroneous on the point; and the very coincidence
of these views, both in principle and tendency, with Socinian and Popish
heresies, would suggest to his readers, if not a conclusive argument
against them, at least a good reason why they should be carefully
examined before they were embraced. His work, therefore, is not a meagre
and ephemeral contribution to the controversy as it prevailed in his day,
and under an aspect in which it may never again be revived. It is a
formal review of the whole amount of truth revealed to us in regard to
the justification of the sinner before God; and, if the scope of the
treatise is considered, the author cannot be blamed for prolixity in the
treatment of a theme so wide. On his own side of the question, it is
still the most complete discussion in one language of the important
doctrine to which it relates. Exception has been taken to the abstruse
definitions and distinctions which he introduces. He had obviously no
intention to offend in this way; for, at the close of chap.14, he makes a
quaint protest against the admission of "exotic learning," "philosophical
notions," and "arbitrary distinctions," into the exposition of spiritual
truth. In the refutation of complicated error, there is sometimes a
necessity to track it through various sinuosities; but, in the main, the
treatise is written in a spirit which proves how directly the author was
resting on divine truth as the basis of his own faith and hope, and how
warily he strove and watched that his mind might not "be corrupted from
the simplicity that is in Christ".
   "A curious fact", says Mr Orme, "respecting this book, is mentioned in
the Life of Mr Joseph Williams, of Kidderminster:--'At last, the time of
his (Mr Grimshawe's, an active clergyman of the Church of England)
deliverance came. At the house of one of his friends he lays his hand on
a book, and opens it, with his face towards a pewter shelf. Instantly his
face is saluted with an uncommon flash of heat. He turns to the
title-page, and finds it to be Dr Owen on Justification. Immediately he
is surprised with such another flash. He borrows the book, studies it, is
led into God's method of justifying the ungodly, has a new heart given
unto him; and now, behold, he prays!' Whether these flashes were
electrical or galvanic, ss Southey in his Life of Wesley supposes, it
deserves to be noticed, that it was not the flash but the book which
converted Grimshawe. The occurrence which turned his attention to it, is
of importance merely as the second cause, which, under the mysterious
direction of Providence, led to s blessed result."

Analysis.--The causes, object, nature, and use of faith are successively
considered, chap.1-3. The nature of justification is next discussed;--
first, under an inquiry into the meaning of the different terms commonly
employed regarding it; and, secondly, by a statement of the juridical and
forensic aspect under which it is represented in Scripture, 4. The theory
of a twofold justification, as asserted by the Church of Rome, and
another error which ascribes the initial justification of the sinner to
faith, but the continuance of his state as justified to his own personal
righteousness, are examined, and proved untenable, 5. Several arguments
are urged in disproof of a third erroneous theory, broached and supported
by Socinians, that justification depends upon evangelical righteousness
as the condition on which the righteousness of Christ is imputed, 6. A
general statement follows of the nature of imputation, and of the grounds
on which imputation proceeds, 7. A full discussion ensues of the doctrine
that sin is imputed to Christ, grounded upon the mystical union between
Christ and the church, the suretiship of the former in behalf of the
church, and the provisions of the new covenant, 8. The chief
controversies in regard to justification are arranged and classified, and
the author fixes on the point relating to the formal cause of
justification as the main theme of the subsequent reasonings, 9.
   At this stage, the second division of the treatise may be held to
begin,--the previous disquisitions being more of a preliminary character.
The scope of what follows is to prove that the sinner is justified,
through faith, by the imputed righteousness of Christ. This part of the
work embraces four divisions;--general arguments for the doctrine
affirmed; testimonies from Scripture in support of it; the refutation of
objections to it; and the reconciliation of the passages in the Epistles
of Paul and James which have appeared to some to be inconsistent.
   Under the head of "general arguments", he rebuts briefly the general
objections to imputation, and contends for the imputation of Christ's
righteousness as the ground of justification;--first, from the
insufficiency of our own righteousness, or, in other words, from the
condition of guilt in which all men are by nature involved, 10; secondly,
from the nature of the obedience required unto justification, according
to the eternal obligation of the divine law, 11; and, as a subsidiary and
collateral consideration, from the necessity which existed that the
precept of the law should be fulfilled as well as that atonement should
be rendered for the violation of it,--in short, from the active as well
as the passive righteousness of Christ; and here the three objections of
Socinius, that such an imputation of Christ's obedience is impossible,
useless, and pernicious, receive s detailed confutation, 12; thirdly,
from the difference between the two covenants, 13; and fourthly, from the
express terms in which all works see excluded from justification in
Scripture, 14; while faith is exhibited in the gospel as the sole
instrument by which we are interested in the righteousness of Christ, 15.
The "testimony of Scripture" is then adduced at great length,--passages
being quoted and commented on from the prophets, 16; from the
evangelists, 17; and from the epistles of Paul, 18. The "objections" to
the doctrine of justification are reviewed, and the chief objection,--
namely, that the doctrine overthrows the necessity of holiness and
subverts moral obligation,--is repelled by a variety of arguments, 19.
Lastly, the concluding chapter is devoted to an explanation of the
passages in Paul and James which are alleged to be at variance but which
are proved to be in perfect harmony, 20.--Ed.



To the Reader

I shall not need to detain the reader with an account of the nature and
moment of that doctrine which is the entire subject of the ensuing
discourse; far although sunder persons, even among ourselves, have
various apprehensions concerning it, yet that the knowledge of the truth
therein is of the highest importance unto the souls of men is on all
hands agreed unto. Nor, indeed, is it possible that any man who knows
himself to be a sinner, and obnoxious thereon to the judgment of God, but
he must desire to have some knowledge of it, as that alone whereby the
way of delivery from the evil state and condition wherein he finds
himself is revealed. There are, I confess, multitudes in the world who,
although they cannot avoid some general convictions of sin, as also of
the consequent of it, yet do fortify their minds against a practical
admission of such conclusions as, in a just consideration of things, do
necessarily and unavoidably ensue thereon. Such persons, wilfully
deluding themselves with vain hopes and imaginations, do never once
seriously inquire by what way or means they may obtain peace with God and
acceptance before him, which, in comparison of the present enjoyment of
the pleasures of sin, they value not at all. And it is in vain to
recommend the doctrine of justification unto them who neither desire nor
endeavour to be justified. But where any persons are really made sensible
of their apostasy from God, of the evil of their natures and lives, with
the dreadful consequences that attend thereon, in the wrath of God and
eternal punishment due unto sin, they cannot well judge themselves more
concerned in any thing than in the knowledge of that divine way whereby
they may be delivered from this condition. And the minds of such persons
stand in no need of arguments to satisfy them in the importance of this
doctrine; their own concernment in it is sufficient to that purpose. And
I shall assure them that, in the handling of it, from first to last, I
have had no other design but only to inquire diligently into the divine
revelation of that way, and those means, with the causes of them, whereby
the conscience of a distressed sinner may attain assured peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ. I lay more weight on the steady direction
of one soul in this inquiry, than on disappointing the objections of
twenty wrangling or fiery disputers. The question, therefore, unto this
purpose being stated, as the reader will find in the beginning of our
discourse, although it were necessary to spend some time in the
explication of the doctrine itself, and terms wherein it is usually
taught, get the main weight of the whole lies in the interpretation of
scripture testimonies, with the application of them unto the experience
of them who do believe, and the state of them who seek after salvation by
Jesus Christ. There are, therefore, some few things that I would desire
the reader to take notice of, that he may receive benefit by the ensuing
discourse; at least, if it be not his own fault, be freed from prejudices
against it, or a vain opposition unto it.
   1. Although there are at present various contests about the doctrine
of justification, and may books published in the way of controversy about
it, yet this discourse was written with no design to contend with or
contradict any, of what sort or opinion soever. Some few passages which
seem of that tendency are, indeed, occasionally inserted; but they are
such as every candid reader will judge to have been necessary. I have
ascribed no opinion unto any particular person,--much less wrested the
words of any, reflected on their persons, censured their abilities, taken
advantage of presumed prejudices against them, represented their opinions
in the deformed reflections of strained consequences, fancied intended
notions, which their words do not express, nor, candidly interpreted,
give any countenance unto,--or endeavoured the vain pleasure of seeming
success in opposition unto them; which, with the like effects of weakness
of mind and disorder of affections, are the animating principles of many
late controversial writings. To declare and vindicate the truth, unto the
instruction and edification of such as love it in sincerity, to extricate
their minds from those difficulties (in this particular instance) which
some endeavour to cast on all gospel mysteries, to direct the consciences
of them that inquire after abiding peace with God, and to establish the
minds of them that do believe, are the things I have aimed at; and an
endeavour unto this end, considering all circumstances, that station
which God has been pleased graciously to give me in the church, has made
necessary unto me.
   2. I have written nothing but what I believe to be true, and useful
unto the promotion of gospel obedience. The reader may not here expect an
extraction of other men's notions, or a collection and improvement of
their arguments, either by artificial seasonings or ornament of style and
language; but a naked inquiry into the nature of the things treated on,
as revealed in the Scripture, and as evidencing themselves in their power
and efficacy on the minds of them that do believe. It is the practical
direction of the consciences of men, in their application unto God by
Jesus Christ for deliverance from the curse due unto the apostate state,
and peace with him, with the influence of the way thereof unto universal
gospel obedience, that is alone to be designed in the handling of this
doctrine. And, therefore, unto him that would treat of it in a due
manner, it is required that he weigh every thing he asserts in his own
mind and experience, and not dare to propose that unto others which he
does not abide by himself, in the most intimate recesses of his mind,
under his nearest approaches unto God, in his surprisals with dangers, in
deep afflictions, in his preparations for death, and most humble
contemplations of the infinite distance between God and him. Other
notions and disputations about the doctrine of justification, not
seasoned with these ingredients, however condited unto the palate of some
by skill and language, are insipid and useless, immediately degenerating
into an unprofitable strife of words.
   3. I know that the doctrine here pleaded for is charged by many with
an unfriendly aspect towards the necessity of personal holiness, good
works, and all gospel obedience in general, yea, utterly to take it away.
So it was at the first clear revelation of it by the apostle Paul, as he
frequently declares. But it is sufficiently evinced by him to be the
chief principle of, and motive unto, all that obedience which is accepted
with God through Jesus Christ, as we shall manifest afterwards. However,
it is acknowledged that the objective grace of the gospel, in the
doctrine of it, is liable to abuse, where there is nothing of the
subjective grace of it in the hearts of men; and the ways of its
influence into the life of God are uncouth unto the seasonings of carnal
minds. So was it charged by the Papists, at the first Reformation, and
continues yet so to be. Yet, as it gave the first occasion unto the
Reformation itself, so was it that whereby the souls of men, being set at
liberty from their bondage unto innumerable superstitious fears and
observances, utterly inconsistent with true gospel obedience, and
directed into the ways of peace with God through Jesus Christ, were made
fruitful in real holiness, and to abound in all those blessed effects of
the life of God which were never found among their adversaries. The same
charge as afterwards renewed by the Socinians, and continues still to be
managed by them. But I suppose wise and impartial men will not lay much
weight on their accusations, until they have manifested the efficacy of
their contrary persuasion by better effects and fruits than yet they have
done. What sort of men they were who first coined that system of religion
which they adhere unto, one who knew them well enough, find sufficiently
inclined unto their Antitrinitarian opinions, declares in one of the
queries that he proposed unto Socinus himself and his followers. "If
this," says he, "be the truth which you contend for, whence comes it to
pass that is is declared only by persons 'nulla pietatis commendatione,
nulla laudato prioris vitae exemplo commendatos; imo ut prerumque
videmus, per vagabundos, et contentionum zeli carnalis plenos homines,
alios ex castris, aulis, graneis, prolatam esse. Scrupuli ab excellenti
viro propositi, inter oper. Socin.'" The fiercest charges of such men
against any doctrines they oppose as inconsistent with the necessary
motives unto godliness, are a recommendation of it unto the minds of
considerative men. And there cannot be a more effectual engine plied for
the ruin of religion, than for men to declaim against the doctrine of
justification by faith alone, and other truths concerning the grace of
our Lord Jesus Christ, as those which overthrow the necessity of moral
duties, good works, and gospel obedience; whilst, under the conduct of
the opinions which they embrace in opposition unto them, they give not
the least evidence of the power of the truth or grace of the gospel upon
their own hearts, or in their lives. Whereas, therefore, the whole gospel
is the truth which is after godliness, declaring and exhibiting that
grace of God which teaches us "to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts,
and that we should live soberly, and righteously, and godly in this
world;" we being fallen into those times wherein, under great and fierce
contests about notions, opinions, and practices in religion, there is a
horrible decay in true gospel purity and holiness of life amongst the
generality of men, I shall readily grant that, keeping a due regard unto
the only standard of truth, a secondary trial of doctrines proposed and
contended for may and ought to be made, by the ways, lives, walkings, and
conversations of them by whom they are received and professed. And
although it is acknowledged that the doctrine pleaded in the ensuing
discourse be liable to be abused, yea, turned into licentiousness, by men
of corrupt minds, through the prevalence of vicious habits in them (as is
the whole doctrine of the grace of God by Jesus Christ); and although the
way and means of its efficacy and influence into universal obedience unto
God, in righteousness and true holiness, be not discernible without some
beam of spiritual light, nor will give an experience of their power unto
the minds of men utterly destitute of a principle of spiritual life; yet,
if it cannot preserve its station in the church by this rule, of its
useful tendency unto the promotion of godliness, and its necessity
thereunto, in all them by whom it is really believed and received in its
proper light and power, and that in the experience of former and present
times, I shall be content that it be exploded.
   4. Finding that not a few have esteemed it compliant with their
interest to publish exceptions against some few leaves which, in the
handling of a subject of another nature, I occasionally wrote many years
ago on this subject, I am not without apprehensions, that either the same
persons or others of a like temper and principles, may attempt an
opposition unto what is here expressly tendered thereon. On supposition
of such an attempt, I shall, in one word, let the authors of it know
wherein alone I shall be concerned. For, if they shall make it their
business to cavil at expressions, to wrest my words, wire-draw inferences
and conclusions from them not expressly owned by me,--to revile my
person, to catch at advantages in any occasional passages, or other
unessential parts of the discourse,--labouring for an appearance of
success and reputation to themselves thereby, without a due attendance
unto Christian moderation, candour, and ingenuity,--I shall take no more
notice of what they say or write than I would do of the greatest
impertinencies that can be reported in this world. The same I say
concerning oppositions of the like nature unto another writings of mine,-
-a work which, as I hear, some are at present engaged in. I have somewhat
else to do than to cast away any part of the small remainder of my life
in that kind of controversial writings which good men bewail, and wise
men deride. Whereas, therefore, the principal design of this discourse is
to state the doctrine of justification from the Scripture, and to confirm
it by the testimonies thereof, I shall not esteem it spoken against,
unless our exposition of Scripture testimonies, and the application of
them unto the present argument, be disproved by just rules of
interpretation, and another sense of them be evinced. All other things
which I conceive necessary to be spoken unto, in order unto the right
understanding and due improvement of the truth pleaded for, are comprised
and declared in the ensuing general discourses to that purpose. These few
things I thought meet to mind the reader of.
                                                                 J.O.     
From my study, May the 30th, 1677.





The Doctrine of Justification by Faith





General Considerations, previous unto the Explanation of the Doctrine of
Justification


First, The general nature of justification--State of the person to be
justified antecedently thereunto, Rom.4:5; 3:19; 1:32; Gal.3:10; John
3:18,36; Gal.3:22--The sole inquiry on that state--Whether it be any
thing that is our own inherently, or what is only imputed unto us, that
we are to trust unto for our acceptance with God--The sum of this
inquiry--The proper ends of teaching and learning the doctrine of
justification--Things to be avoided therein

That we may treat of the doctrine of justification usefully unto its
proper ends, which are the glory of God in Christ, with the peace and
furtherance of the obedience of believers, some things are previously to
be considered, which we must have respect unto in the whole process of
our discourse. And, among others that might be insisted on to the same
purpose, these that ensue are not to be omitted:--
   1. The first inquiry in this matter, in a way of duty, is after the
proper relief of the conscience of a sinner pressed and perplexed with a
sense of the guilt of sin. For justification is the way and means whereby
such a person does obtain acceptance before God, with a right and title
unto a heavenly inheritance. And nothing is pleadable in this cause but
what a man would speak unto his own conscience in that state, or unto the
conscience of another, when he is anxious under that inquiry. Wherefore,
the person under consideration (that is, who is to be justified) is one
who, in himself, is "asethes", Rom.4:5,--"ungodly;" and thereon
"hupodikos tooi Theooi", chap.3:19,--"guilty before God;" that is,
obnoxious, subject, liable, "tooi dikaioomati tou Theou", chap.1:32,--to
the righteous sentential judgment of God, that "he who committeth sin,"
who is any way guilty of it, is "worthy of death." Hereupon such a person
finds himself "hupo kataran", Gal.3:10,--under "the curse," and "the
wrath of God" therein abiding on him," John 3:18,36. In this condition he
is "anapologetos",--without plea, without excuse, by any thing in and
from himself, for his own relief; his "mouth is stopped," Rom.3:19. For
he is, in the judgment of God, declared in the Scripture,
"sungkekleismenos huph' hamartian", Gal.3:22,--every way "shut up under
sin" and all the consequents of it. Many evils in this condition are men
subject unto, which may be reduced unto those two of our first parents,
wherein they were represented. For, first, they thought foolishly to hide
themselves from God; and then, more foolishly, would have charged him as
the cause of their sin. And such, naturally, are the thoughts of men
under their convictions. But whoever is the subject of the justification
inquired after, is, by various means, brought into his apprehensions who
cried, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
   2. With respect unto this state and condition of men, or men in this
state and condition, the inquiry is, "What that is upon the account
whereof God pardons all their sins, receives them into his favour,
declares or pronounces them righteous and acquitted from all guilt,
removes the curse, and turns away all his wrath from them, giving them
right and title unto a blessed, immortality or life eternal?" This is
that alone wherein the consciences of sinners in this estate are
concerned. Nor do they inquire after any thing, but what they may have to
oppose unto or answer the justice of God in the commands and curse of the
law, and what they may retake themselves unto for the obtaining of
acceptance with him unto life and salvation. 
   That the apostle does thus, and no otherwise, state this whole matter,
and, in an answer unto this inquiry, declare the nature of justification
and all the causes of it, in the third and fourth chapters of the Epistle
to the Romans, and elsewhere, shall be afterwards declared and proved.
And we shall also manifest, that the apostle James, in the second chapter
of his epistle, does not speak unto this inquiry, nor give an answer unto
it; but it is of justification in another sense, and to another purpose,
whereof he treats. And whereas we cannot either safely or usefully treat
of this doctrine, but with respect unto the same ends for which it is
declared, and whereunto it is applied in the Scripture, we should not, by
any pretences, be turned aside from attending unto this case and its
resolution, in all our discourses on this subject; for it is the
direction, satisfaction, and peace of the consciences of men, and not the
curiosity of notions or subtlety of disputations, which it is our duty to
design. And, therefore, I shall, as much as I possibly may, avoid all
these philosophical terms and distinctions wherewith this evangelical
doctrine has been perplexed rather than illustrated; for more weight is
to be put on the steady guidance of the mind and conscience of one
believer, really exercised about the foundation of his peace and
acceptance with God, than on the confutation of ten wrangling disputers.
   3. Now the inquiry, on what account, or for what cause and reason, a
man may be so acquitted or discharged of sin, and accepted with God, as
before declared, does necessarily issue in this:--"Whether it be any
thing in ourselves, as our faith and repentance, thee renovation of our
natures, inherent habits of grace, and actual works of righteousness
which we have done, or may do? Or whether it be the obedience,
righteousness, satisfaction, and merit of the Son of God our mediator,
and surety of the covenant, imputed unto us?" One of these it must be,--
namely, something that is our own, which, whatever may be the influence
of the grace of God unto it, or causality of it, because wrought in and
by us, is inherently our own in a proper sense; or something which, being
not our own, nor inherent in us, nor wrought by us, is yet imputed unto
us, for the pardon of our sins and the acceptation of our persons as
righteous, or the making of us righteous in the sight of God. Neither are
these things capable of mixture or composition, Rom.11:6. Which of these
it is the duty, wisdom, and safety of a convinced sinner to rely upon and
trust unto, in his appearance before God, is the sum of our present
inquiry.
   4. The way whereby sinners do or ought to betake themselves unto this
relief, on supposition that it is the righteousness of Christ, and how
they come to be partakers of, or interested in, that which is not
inherently their own, unto as good benefit and as much advantage as if it
were their own, is of a distinct consideration. And as this also is
clearly determined in the Scripture, so it is acknowledged in the
experience of all them that do truly believe. Neither are we in this
matter much to regard the senses or arguing of men who were never
thoroughly convinced of sin, nor have ever in their own persons "fled for
refuge unto the hope set before them." 
   5. These things, I say, are always to be attended unto, in our whole
disquisition into the nature of evangelical justification; for, without a
constant respect unto them, we shall quickly wander into curious and
perplexed questions, wherein the consciences of guilty sinners are not
concerned; and which, therefore, really belong not unto the substance or
truth of this doctrine, nor are to be immixed therewith. It is alone the
relief of those who are in themselves "hupodikoi tooi Theoo",--guilty
before, or obnoxious and liable to, the judgment of God,--that we inquire
after. That this is not any thing in or of themselves, nor can so be,--
that it is a provision without them, made in infinite wisdom and grace by
the mediation of Christ, his obedience and death therein,--is secured in
the Scripture against all contradiction; and it is the fundamental
principle of the gospel, Matt.11:28.
   6. It is confessed that many things, for the declaration of the truth,
and the order of the dispensation of God's grace herein, are necessary to
be insisted on,--such are the nature of justifying faith, the place and
use of it in justification, and the causes of the new covenant, the true
notion of the mediation and suretiship of Christ, and the like; which
shall all of them be inquired into. But, beyond what tends directly unto
the guidance of the minds and satisfaction of the souls of men, who seek
after a stable and abiding foundation of acceptance with God, we are not
easily to be drawn unless we are free to lose the benefit and comfort of
this most important evangelical truth in needless and unprofitable
contentions. And amongst many other miscarriages which men are subject
unto, whilst they are conversant about these things, this, in an especial
manner, is to be avoided.
   7. For the doctrine of justification is directive of Christian
practice, and in no other evangelical truth is the whole of our obedience
more concerned; for the foundation, reasons, and motives of all our duty
towards God are contained therein. Wherefore, in order unto the due
improvement of them ought it to be taught, and not otherwise. That which
alone we aim (or ought so to do) to learn in it and by it, is how we may
get and maintain peace with God, and so to live unto him as to be
accepted with him in what we do. To satisfy the minds and consciences of
men in these things, is this doctrine to be taught. Wherefore, to carry
it out of the understandings of ordinary Christians, by speculative
notions and distinctions, is disserviceable unto the faith of the church;
yea, the mixing of evangelical revelations with philosophical notions has
been, in sundry ages, the poison of religion. Pretence of accuracy, and
artificial skill in teaching, is that which gives countenance unto such a
way of handling sacred things. But the spiritual amplitude of divine
truths is restrained hereby, whilst low, mean, philosophical senses are
imposed on them. And not only so, but endless divisions and contentions
are occasioned and perpetuated. Hence, when any difference in religion
is, in the pursuit of controversies about it, brought into the old of
metaphysical respects and philosophical terms, whereof there is "polus
nomos entha kai entha"--sufficient provision for the supply of the
combatants on both sides,--the truth for the most part, as unto any
concernment of the souls of men therein, is utterly lost and buried in
the rubbish of senseless and unprofitable words. And thus, in particular,
those who seem to be well enough agreed in the whole doctrine of
justification, so far as the Scripture goes before them, and the
experience of believers keeps them company, when once they engage into
their philosophical definitions and distinctions, are at such an
irreconcilable variance among themselves, as if they were agreed on no
one thing that does concern it. For as men have various apprehensions in
coining such definitions as may be defensible against objections, which
most men aim at therein; so no proposition can be so pain, (at least in
"materia probabili,") but that a man ordinarily versed in pedagogical
terms and metaphysical notions, may multiply distinctions on every word
of it.
   8. Hence, there has been a pretence and appearance of twenty several
opinions among Protestants about justification, as Bellarmine and
Vasguez, and others of the Papists, charge it against them out of
Osiander, when the faith of them all was one and the same, Bellar., lib 5
cap. l; Vasq. in 1, 2, quest. 113, disp. 202; whereof we shall speak
elsewhere. When men are once advanced into that field of disputation,
which is all overgrown with thorns of subtleties, perplexed notions, and
futilous terms of art, they consider principally how they may entangle
others in it, scarce at all how they may get out of it themselves. And in
this posture they oftentimes utterly forget the business which they are
about, especially in this matter of justification,--namely, how a guilty
sinner may come to obtain favour and acceptance with God. And not only
so, but I doubt they oftentimes dispute themselves beyond what they can
well abide by, when they return home unto a sedate meditation of the
state of things between God and their souls. And I cannot much value
their notions and sentiments of this matter, who object and answer
themselves out of a sense of their own appearance before God; much less
theirs who evidence an open inconformity unto the grace and truth of this
doctrine in their hearts and lives.
   9. Wherefore, we do but trouble the faith of Christians, and the peace
of the true church of God, whilst we dispute about expressions, terms,
and notions, when the substance of the doctrine intended may be declared
and believed, without the knowledge, understanding, or use of any of
them. Such are all those in whose subtle management the captious art of
wrangling does principally consist. A diligent attendance unto the
revelation made hereof in the Scripture, and an examination of our own
experience thereby, is the sum of what is required of us for the right
understanding of the truth herein. And every true believer, who is taught
of God, knows how to put his whole trust in Christ alone, and the grace
of God by him, for mercy, righteousness, and glory, and not at all
concern himself with those loads of thorns and briers, which, under the
names of definitions, distinctions, accurate notions, in a number of
exotic pedagogical and philosophical terms, some pretend to accommodate
them withal.
   10. The Holy Ghost, in expressing the most eminent acts in our
justification, especially as unto our believing, or the acting of that
faith whereby we are justified, is pleased to make use of many
metaphorical expressions. For any to use them now in the same way, and to
the same purpose, is esteemed rude, undisciplinary, and even ridiculous;
but on what grounds? He that shall deny that there is more spiritual
sense and experience conveyed by them into the hearts and minds of
believers (which is the life and soul of teaching things practical), than
in the most accurate philosophical expressions, is himself really
ignorant of the whole truth in this matter. The propriety of such
expressions belongs and is confined unto natural science; but spiritual
truths are to be taught, "not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth,
but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with
spiritual." God is wiser than man; and the Holy Ghost knows better what
are the most expedient ways for the illumination of our minds with that
knowledge of evangelical truths which it is our duty to have and attain,
than the wisest of us all. And other knowledge of or skill in these
things, than what is required of us in a way of duty, is not to be
valued.
   It is, therefore, to no purpose to handle the mysteries of the gospel
as if Hilcot and Bricot, Thomas and Gabriel, with all the Sententiarists,
Summists, and Quodlibetarians of the old Roman peripatetical school, were
to be raked out of their graves to be our guides. Especially will they be
of no use unto us in this doctrine of justification. For whereas they
pertinaciously adhered unto the philosophy of Aristotle, who knew nothing
of any righteousness but what is a habit inherent in ourselves, and the
acts of it, they wrested the whole doctrine of justification unto a
compliance wherewithal. So Pighius himself complained of them, Controv.
2, "Dissimulate non possumus, hanc vel primam doctrinae Christianae
partem (de justificatione) obscuram magis quam illustratam a
scholasticis, spinosis plerisque quaestionibus, et definitionibus,
secundum quas nonnulli magno supercilio primam in omnibus autoritatem
arrogantes", etc.

Secondly, A due consideration of God, the Judge of all, necessary unto
the right stating and apprehension of the doctrine of justification,
Rom.8:33; Isa.43:25; 45:25; Ps.143:2; Rom.3:20--What thoughts will be
ingenerated hereby in the minds of men, Isa.33:14; Micah 6:6,7; Isa.6:5--
The plea of Job against his friends, and before God, not the same, Job
40:3-5, 43:406--Directions for visiting the sick given of old--
Testimonies of Jerome and Ambrose--Sense of men in their prayers,
Dan.9:7,18; Ps.143:2, 130:3,4--Paraphrase of Austin on that place--Prayer
of Pelagius--Public liturgies

   Secondly, A due consideration of him with whom in this matter we have
to do, and that immediately, is necessary unto a right stating of our
thoughts about it. The Scripture expresses it emphatically, that it is
"God that justifieth," Rom.8:33; and he assumes it unto himself as his
prerogative to do what belongs thereunto. "I, even I, am he that blotteth
out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy
sins," Isa.43:25. And it is hard, in my apprehension, to suggest unto him
any other reason or consideration of the pardon of our sins, seeing he
has taken it on him to do it for his own sake; that is, "for the Lord's
sake," Dan.9:17, in whom "all the seed of Israel are justified,"
Isa.45:25. In his sight, before his tribunal, it is that men are
justified or condemned. Ps.143:2, "Enter not into judgment with thy
servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified." And the
whole work of justification, with all that belongs thereunto, is
represented after the manner of a juridical proceeding before God's
tribunal; as we shall see afterwards. "Therefore," says the apostle, "by
the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight," Rom.3:20.
However any man be justified in the sight of men or angels by his own
obedience, or deeds of the law, yet in his sight none can be so.
   Necessary it is unto any man who is to come unto a trial, in the
sentence whereof he is greatly concerned, duly to consider the judge
before whom he is to appear, and by whom his cause is finally to be
determined. And if we manage our disputes about justification without
continual regard unto him by whom we must be cast or acquitted, we shall
not rightly apprehend what our plea ought to be. Wherefore the greatness,
the majesty, the holiness, and sovereign authority of God, are always to
be present with us in a due sense of them, when we inquire how we may be
justified before him. Yet is it hard to discern how the minds of some men
are influenced by the consideration of these things, in their fierce
contests for the interest of their own works in their justification:
"Precibus aut pretio ut in aliqua parte haereant." But the Scripture does
represent unto us what thoughts of him and of themselves, not only
sinners, but saints also, have had, and cannot but have, upon near
discoveries and effectual conceptions of God and his greatness. Thoughts
hereof ensuing on a sense of the guilt of sin, filled our first parents
with fear and shame, and put them on that foolish attempt of hiding
themselves from him. Nor is the wisdom of their posterity one jot better
under their convictions, without a discovery of the promise. That alone
makes sinners wise which tenders them relief. At present, the generality
of men are secure, and do not much question but that they shall come off
well enough, one way or other, in the trial they are to undergo. And as
such persons are altogether indifferent what doctrine concerning
justification is taught and received; so for the most part, for
themselves, they incline unto that declaration of it which best suits
their own reason, as influenced with self-conceit and corrupt affections.
The sum whereof is, that what they cannot do themselves, what is wanting
that they may be saved, be it more or less, shall one way or other be
made up by Christ; either the use or the abuse of which persuasion is the
greatest fountain of sin in the world, next unto the depravation of our
nature. And whatever be, or may be, pretended unto the contrary, persons
not convinced of sin, not humbled for it, are in all their ratiocinations
about spiritual things, under the conduct of principles so vitiated and
corrupted. See Matt.18:3,4. But when God is pleased by any means to
manifest his glory unto sinners, all their prefidences and contrivances
do issue in dreadful horror and distress. An account of their temper is
given us, Isa.33:14, "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has
surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring
fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Nor is it thus
only with some peculiar sort of sinners. The same will be the thoughts of
all guilty persons at some time or other. For those who, through
sensuality, security, or superstition, do hide themselves from the
vexation of them in this world, will not fail to meet with them when
their terror shall be increased, and become remediless. Our "God is a
consuming fire;" and men will one day find how vain it is to set their
briers and thorns against him in battle array. And we may see what
extravagant contrivances convinced sinners will put themselves upon,
under any real view of the majesty and holiness of God, Mic.6:6,7,
"Wherewith," says one of them, "shall I come before the LORD, and bow
myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousand of
rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first born
for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"
Neither shall I ever think them meet to be contended withal about the
doctrine of justification who take no notice of these things, but rather
despise them.
   This is the proper effect of the conviction of sin, strengthened and
sharpened with the consideration of the terror of the Lord, who is to
judge concerning it. And this is that which, in the Papacy, meeting with
an ignorance of the righteousness of God, has produced innumerable
superstitious inventions for the appeasing of the consciences of men who
by any means fall under the disquietments of such convictions. For they
quickly see that nothing of the obedience which God requires of them, as
it is performed by them, will justify them before this high and holy God.
Wherefore they seek for shelter in contrivances about things that he has
not commanded, to try if they can put a cheat upon their consciences, and
find relief in diversions.
   Nor is it thus only with profligate sinners upon their convictions;
but the best of men, when they have had near and efficacious
representations of the greatness, holiness, and glory of God, have been
cast into the deepest self-abasement, and most serious renunciation of
all trust or confidence in themselves. So the prophet Isaiah, upon his
vision of the glory of the Holy One, cried out, "Woe is me! For I am
undone; because I am a man of unclean lips," chap. 6:5;--nor was he
relieved but by an evidence of the free pardon of sin, verse 7. So holy
Job, in all his contests with his friends, who charged him with
hypocrisy, and his being a sinner guilty in a peculiar manner above other
men, with assured confidence and perseverance therein, justified his
sincerity, his faith and trust in God, against their whole charge, and
every parcel of it. And this he does with such a full satisfaction of his
own integrity, as that not only he insists at large on his vindication,
but frequently appeals unto God himself as unto the truth of his plea;
for he directly pursues that counsel, with great assurance, which the
apostle James so long after gives unto all believers. Nor is the doctrine
of that apostle more eminently exemplified in any one instance throughout
the whole Scripture than in him; for he shows his faith by his works, and
pleads his justification thereby. As Job justified himself, and was
justified by his works, so we allow it the duty of every believer to be.
His plea for justification by works, in the sense wherein it is so, was
the most noble that ever was in the world, nor was ever any controversy
managed upon a greater occasion.
   At length this Job is called into the immediate presence of Gods to
plead his own cause; not now, as stated between him and his friends,
whether he were a hypocrite or no, or whether his faith or trust in God
was sincere; but as it was stated between God and him, wherein he seemed
to have made some undue assumptions on his own behalf. The question was
now reduced unto this,--on what grounds he might or could be justified in
the sight of God? To prepare his mind unto a right judgment in this case,
God manifests his glory unto him, and instructs him in the greatness of
his majesty and power. And this he does by a multiplication of instances,
because under our temptations we are very slow in admitting right
conceptions of God. Here the holy man quickly acknowledged that the state
of the case was utterly altered. All his former pleas of faith, hope, and
trust in God, of sincerity in obedience, which with so much earnestness
he before insisted on, are now quite laid aside. He saw well enough that
they were not pleadable at the tribunal before which he now appeared, so
that God should enter into judgment with him thereon, with respect unto
his justification. Wherefore, in the deepest self-abasement and
abhorrence, he retakes himself unto sovereign grace and mercy. For "then
Job answered the LORDS and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer
thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will
not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no farther," Job 40:3-5. And
again, "Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak; I will demand of thee,
and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself; and repent in dust
and ashes," chap.42:4-6. Let any men place themselves in the condition
wherein now Job was,--in the immediate presence of God; let them attend
unto what he really speaks unto them in his word,--namely, what they will
answer unto the charge that he has against them, and what will be their
best plea before his tribunal, that they may be justified. I do not
believe that any man living has more encouraging grounds to plead for an
interest in his own faith and obedience, in his justification before God,
than Job had; although I suppose he had not so much skill to manage a
plea to that purpose, with scholastic notions and distinctions, as the
Jesuits have; but however we may be harnessed with subtle arguments and
solutions, I fear it will not be safe for us to adventure farther upon
God than he durst to do.
   There was of old a direction for the visitation of the sick, composed,
as they say, by Anselm, and published by Casparus Ulenbergius, which
expresses a better sense of these things than some seem to be convinced
of:--"Credisne te non posse salvari nisi per mortem Christi? Respondet
infirmus, 'Etiam". Tum dicit illi, Age ergo dum superest in te anima, in
hac sola morte fiduciam tuam constitue; in nulla alia re fiduciam habe
huic morti te totum committe, hac sola te totum contege totum immisce te
in hac morte, in hac morte totum te involve. Et si Dominus te voluerit
judicare, dic, 'Domine, mortem Domini nostri Jesus Christi objicio inter
me et tuum judicium, aliter tecum non contendo'. Et si tibi eixerit quia
peccator es, dic, 'Mortem Domini nostri Jesus Christi pono inter me et
peccte mea'. Si dixerit tibi quot meruisti damnationem; dic, 'Domine,
mortem Domini nostri Jesus Christi obtendo inter te et mala merita mea,
ipsiusque merita offero pro merito quod ego debuissem habere nec habeo'.
Si dixerit quod tibi est iratus, dic, 'Domine, mortem Domini Jesu Christi
oppono inter me et iram tuam;'"--that is, "Dost thou believe that thou
canst not be saved but by the death of Christ? The sick man answers,
'Yes,' then let it be said unto him, Go to, then, and whilst thy soul
abideth in thee, put all thy confidence in this death alone, place thy
trust in no other thing; commit thyself wholly to this death, cover
thyself wholly with this alone, cast thyself wholly on this death, wrap
thyself wholly in this death. And if God would judge thee, say, 'Lord, I
place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and thy judgment; and
otherwise I will not contend or enter into judgment with thee.' And if he
shall say unto thee that thou art a sinner, say, 'I place the death of
our Lord Jesus Christ between me and my sins.' If he shall say unto thee
that thou hast deserved damnation, say, 'Lord, I put the death of our
Lord Jesus Christ between thee and all my sins; and I offer his merits
for my own, which I should have, and have not.' If he say that he is
angry with thee, say, 'Lord, I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ
between me and thy anger.'" Those who gave these directions seem to have
been sensible of what it is to appear before the tribunal of God, and how
unsafe it will be for us there to insist on any thing in ourselves. Hence
are the words of the same Anselm in his Meditations: "Conscientia mea
meruit damnation, et poenitentia mea non sufficit ad satisfactionem; set
certum est quod misericordia tua superat omnem offensionem;"--"My
conscience has deserved damnation, and my repentance is not sufficient
for satisfaction; but most certain it is that thy mercy aboundeth above
all offense." And this seems to me a better direction than those more
lately given by some of the Roman church;--such as the prayer suggested
unto a sick man by Johan. Polandus, lib. Methodus in adjuvandis
morientibus: "Domine Jesus, conjunge, obsecro, obsequium meum cum omnibus
quae tu egisti, et pssus s ex tam perfecta charitate et obedientia. Et
cum divitiis satisfactionum et meritorum dilectionis, patri aeterno,
illud offere digneris." Or that of a greater author, Antidot. Animae,
fol. 17, "Tu hinc o rosea martyrum turba offer pro me nunc et in hora
mortis mee, merita, fidelitatum, constantiae, et pretiosi sanguinis, cum
sanguine agni immaculati, pro omnium salute effusi." Jerome, long before
Anselm, spake to the same purpose: "Cum dies judicii aut dormitionis
advenerit, omnes manus dissolventur; quibus dicitur in alio loco,
confortamini manus dissolutae; dissolventur autem manus, quia nullum opus
dignum Dei justitia reperiatur, et non justificabitur in conspectu ejus
omnis vivens, unde propheta dicit in psalmo, 'Si iniquitates attends
Domine, quis sustinebit'", lib. 6 in Isa.13:6,7; --"When the day of
judgment or of death shall come, all hands will be dissolved" (that is,
faint or fall down); "unto which it is said in another place, 'Be
strengthened, ye hands that hang down.' But all hands shall be melted
down" (that is, all men's strength and confidence shall fail them),
"because no works shall be found which can answer the righteousness of
God; for no flesh shall be justified in his sight. Whence the prophet
says in the psalm, 'If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquity, who should
stand?" "And Ambrose, to the same purpose: "Nemo ergo sibi arroget, nemo
de meritis glorietur, nemo de ostate se jactet, omnes speremus per
Dominum Jesus misericordiam invenire, quoniam omnes ante tribunal ejus
stabimus. De illo veniam, de illo indulgentiam postulabo. Quaenam spes
alia peccatoribus?" in Ps.119. Resh,--"Let no man arrogate any thing unto
himself, let no man glory in his own merits or good deeds, let no man
boast of his power: let us all hope to find mercy by our Lord Jesus; for
we shall all stand before his judgment-seat. Of him will I beg pardon, of
him will I desire indulgence; what other hope is there for sinners?"
   Wherefore, if men will be turned off from a continual regard unto the
greatness, holiness, and majesty of God, by their inventions in the heat
of disputation; if they do forget a reverential consideration of what
will become them, and what they may retake themselves unto when they
stand before his tribunal; they may engage into such apprehensions as
they dare not abide by in their own personal trial. For "how shall man be
just with God?" Hence it has been observed, that the schoolmen
themselves, in their meditations and devotional writings, wherein they
had immediate thoughts of God, with whom they had to do, did speak quite
another language as to justification before God than they do in their
wrangling, philosophical, fiery disputes about it. And I had rather learn
what some men really judge about their own justification from their
prayers than their writings. Nor do I remember that I did ever hear any
good man in his prayers use any expressions about justification, pardon
of sin, and righteousness before God, wherein any plea from any thing in
ourselves was introduced or made use of. The prayer of Daniel has, in
this matter, been the substance of their supplications: "O Lord,
righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces. We do
not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but
for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; for thine own sake,
O my God," Dan. 9:7,18,19. Or that of the psalmist, "Enter not into
judgment with thy servant, 0 Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living
be justified," Ps.143:2. Or, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O
LORD, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou
mayest be feared," Ps.130:3,4. On which words the exposition of Austin is
remarkable, speaking of David, and applying it unto himself: "Ecce clamat
sub molibus iniquitatum suarum. Circumspexit se, circumspexit vitam suam,
vidit illam undique flagitiis coopertam; quacunque respexit, nihil in se
boni invenit: et cum tante et tam multa peccata undique videret, tanquam
expavescens, exclamavit, 'Si iniquitates observaris Domine, quis
sustinebit?' Vidit enim prope totam vitam humanam circumlatrari peccatis;
accusari omnes conscientias cogitationius suis; non inveniri cor castum
praesumens de justitia; quod quia inveniri non potest, praesumat ergo
omnium cor de misericordi Domini Dei sui, et dicat Deo, 'Si iniquitates
observaris Domine, Domine quis sustinebit?' Quae autem est spes? Quoniam
apud te propitiatio est". And whereas we may and ought to represent unto
God, in our supplications, our faith, or what it is that we believe
herein, I much question whether some men can find in their hearts to pray
over and plead before him all the arguments and distinctions they make
use of to prove the interest of our works and obedience in our
justification before him, or "enter into judgment" with him upon the
conclusions which they make from them. Nor will many be satisfied to make
use of that prayer which Pelagius taught the widow, as it was objected to
him in the Diospolitan Synod: "To nosti, Domine, quam sanctae, quam
innocentes, quam purae ab omni fraude et rapina quas ad te expando manus;
quam justa, quam immaculata labia et ab omni mendacio libera, quibus tibi
ut mihi miserearis preces fundo;"--"Thou knowest, O Lord, how holy, how
innocent, how pure from all deceit and rapine, are the hands which I
stretch forth unto thee; how just, how unspotted with evil, how free from
lying, are those lips wherewith I pour forth prayers unto thee, that thou
wouldst have mercy on me." And yet, although he taught her so to plead
her own purity, innocency, and righteousness before God, he does it not
as those whereon she might be absolutely justified, but only as the
condition of her obtaining mercy. Nor have I observed that any public
liturgies (the mass-book only excepted, wherein there is a frequent
recourse unto the merits and intercession of saints) do guide men in
their prayers before God to plead any thing for their acceptance with
him, or as the means or condition thereof, but grace, mercy,--the
righteousness and blood of Christ alone.
   Wherefore I cannot but judge it best (others may think of it as they
please), for those who would teach or learn the doctrine of justification
in a due manner, to place their consciences in the presence of God, and
their persons before his tribunal, and then, upon a due consideration of
his greatness, power, majesty, righteousness, holiness,--of the terror of
his glory and sovereign authority, to inquire what the Scripture and a
sense of their own condition direct them unto as their relief and refuge,
and what plea it becomes them to make for themselves. Secret thoughts of
God and ourselves, retired meditations, the conduct of the spirit in
humble supplications, deathbed preparations for an immediate appearance
before God, faith and love in exercise on Christ, speak other things, for
the most part, than many contend for.

Thirdly, A due sense of our apostasy from God, the depravation of our
nature thereby, with the power and guilt of sin, the holiness of the law,
necessary unto a right understanding of the doctrine of justification--
Method of the apostle to this purpose, Rom.1,2,3--Grounds of the ancient
and present Pelagianism, in the denial of these things--Instances
thereof--Boasting of perfection from the same ground--Knowledge of sin
and grace mutually promote each other

   Thirdly. A clear apprehension and due sense of the greatness of our
apostasy from, God, of the depravation of our natures thereby, of the
power and guilt of sin, of the holiness and severity of the law, are
necessary unto a right apprehension of the doctrine of justification.
Therefore, unto the declaration of it does the apostle premise a large
discourse, thoroughly to convince the minds of all that seek to be
justified with a sense of these things, Rom.1,2,3. The rules which he has
given us, the method which he prescribes, and the ends which he designs,
are those which we shall choose to follow. And he lays it down in
general, "That the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;"
and that "the just shall live by faith," chap.1:17. But he declares not
in particular the causes, nature, and way of our justification, until he
has fully evinced that all men are shut up under the state of sin, and
manifested how deplorable their condition is thereby; and in the
ignorance of these things, in the denying or palliating of them, he lays
the foundation of all misbelief about the grace of God. Pelagianism, in
its first root, and all its present branches, is resolved whereinto. For,
not apprehending the dread of our original apostasy from God, nor the
consequence of it in the universal depravation of our nature, they disown
any necessity either of the satisfaction of Christ or the efficacy of
divine grace for our recovery or restoration. So upon the matter the
principal ends of the mission both of the Son of God and of the Holy
Spirit are renounced; which issues in the denial of the deity of the one
and the personality of the other. The fall which we had being not great,
and the disease contracted thereby being easily curable, and there being
little or no evil in those things which are now unavoidable unto our
nature, it is no great matter to he freed or justified from all by a mere
act of favour on our own endeavours; nor is the efficacious grace of God
any way needful unto our sanctification and obedience; as these men
suppose.
   When these or the like conceits are admitted, and the minds of men by
them kept off from a due apprehension of the state and guilt of sin, and
their consciences from being affected with the terror of the Lord, and
curse of the law thereon, justification is a notion to be dealt withal
pleasantly or subtlety, as men see occasion. And hence arise the
differences about it at present,--I mean those which are really such, and
not merely the different ways whereby learned men express their thoughts
and apprehensions concerning it.
   By some the imputation of the actual apostasy and transgression of
Adam, the head of our nature, whereby his sin became the sin of the
world, is utterly denied. Hereby both the grounds the apostle proceeds on
in evincing the necessity of our justification, or our being made
righteous by the obedience of another, and all the arguments brought in
the confirmation of the doctrine of it, in the fifth chapter of his
Epistle to the Romans, are evaded and overthrown. Socinus, de Servitor.
par.4 cap. 6, confesses that place to give great countenance unto the
doctrine of justification by the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ; and therefore he sets himself to oppose, with sundry artifices,
the imputation of the sin of Adam unto his natural posterity. For he
perceived well enough that, upon the admission thereof, the imputation of
the righteousness of Christ unto his spiritual seed would unavoidably
follow, according unto the tenor of the apostle's discourse.
   Some deny the depravation and corruption of our nature, which ensued
on our apostasy from God, and the loss of his image; or, if they do not
absolutely deny it, yet they so extenuate it as to render it a matter of
no great concern unto us. Some disease and distemper of the soul they
will acknowledge, arising from the disorder of our affections, whereby we
are apt to receive in such vicious habits and customs as are in practice
in the world; and, as the guilt hereof is not much, so the danger of it
is not great. And as for any spiritual filth or stain of our nature that
is in it, it is clean washed away from all by baptism. That deformity of
soul which came upon us in the loss of the image of God, wherein the
beauty and harmony of all our faculties, in all their acting in order
unto their utmost end, did consist; that enmity unto God, even in the
mind, which ensued thereon; that darkness which our understandings were
clouded, yea, blinded withal,--the spiritual death which passed on the
whole soul, and total alienation frorn the life of God; that impotency
unto good, that inclination unto evil, that deceitfulness of sin, that
power and efficacy of corrupt lusts, which the Scriptures and experience
so fully charge on the state of lost nature, are rejected as empty
notions or fables. No wonder if such persons look upon imputed
righteousness as the shadow of a dream, who esteem those things which
evidence its necessity to be but fond imaginations. And small hope is
there to bring such men to value the righteousness of Christ, as imputed
to them, who are so unacquainted with their own unrighteousness inherent
in them. Until men know themselves better, they will care very little to
know Christ at all.
   Against such as these the doctrine of justification may be defended,
as, we are obliged to contend for the faith once delivered unto the
saints, and as the mouths of gainsayers are to be stopped; but to
endeavor their satisfaction in it, whilst they are under the power of
such apprehensions, is a vain attempt. As our Saviour said unto them unto
whom he had declared the necessity of regeneration, "If I have told you
earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you
heavenly things" so may we say, If men will not believe those things,
whereof it would be marvelous, but that the reason of it is known, that
they have not an undeniable evidence and experience in themselves, how
can they believe those heavenly mysteries which respect a supposition of
that within themselves which they will not acknowledge?
   Hence some are so far from any concernment in a perfect righteousness
to be imputed unto them, as that they boast of a perfection in
themselves. So did the Pelagians of old glory in a sinless perfection in
the sight of God, even when they were convinced of sinful miscarriages in
the sight of men; as they are charged by Jerome, lib. 2 Dialog.; and by
Austin, lib. 2 contra Julian., cap. 8. Such persons are not "subjects
capacia auditionis evangelicae." Whilst men have no sense in their own
hearts and consciences of the spiritual disorder of their souls, of the
secret continual acting of sin with deceit and violence, obstructing all
that is good, promoting all that is evil, defiling all that is done by
them through the lusting of the flesh against the Spirit, as contrary
unto it, though no outward perpetration of sin or actual omission of duty
do ensue thereon, who are not engaged in a constant watchful conflict
against the first motions of sin,--unto whom they are not the greatest
burden and sorrow in this life, causing them to cry out for deliverance
from them,--who can despise those who make acknowledgments in their
confession unto God of their sense of these things, with the guilt
wherewith they are accompanied,--[they] will, with an assured confidence,
resect and condemn what is offered about justification through the
obedience and righteousness of Christ imputed to us. For no man will be
so fond as to be solicitous of a righteousness that is not his own, who
has at home in a readiness that which is his own, which will serve his
turn. It is, therefore, the ignorance of these things alone that can
delude men into an apprehension of their justification before God by
their own personal righteousness. For if they were acquainted with them,
they would quickly discern such an imperfection in the best of their
duties, such a frequency of sinful irregularities in their minds and
disorders in their affections, such an unsuitableness in all that they
are and do, from the inward frames of their hearts unto all their outward
actions, unto the greatness and holiness of God, as would abate their
confidence in placing any trust in their own righteousness for their
justification.
   By means of these and the like presumptuous conceptions of
unenlightened minds, the consciences of men are kept off from being
affected with a due sense of sin, and a serious consideration how they
may obtain acceptance before God. Neither the consideration of the
holiness or terror of the Lord, nor the severity of the law, as it
indispensably requires a righteousness in compliance with its commands;
nor the promise of the gospel, declaring and tendering a righteousness,
the righteousness of God, in answer whereunto; nor the uncertainty of
their own minds upon trials and surprisals, as having no stable ground of
peace to anchor on; nor the constant secret disquietment of their
consciences, if not seared or hardened through the deceitfulness of sin,
can prevail with them whose thought are prepossessed with such slight
conceptions of the state and art of sin to fly for refuge unto the only
hope that is set before them, or really and distinctly to comport with
the only way of deliverance and salvation.
   Wherefore, if we would either teach or learn the doctrine of
justification in a due manner, a clear apprehension of the greatness of
our apostasy from God, a due sense of the guilt of sin, a deep experience
of its power, all with respect unto the holiness and law of God, are
necessary unto us. We have nothing to do in this matter with men, who,
through the fever of pride, have lost the understanding of their own
miserable condition. For, "Natura sic apparet vitiata, ut hoc majoris
vitii sit non videre", Austin. The whole need not the physician, but the
sick. Those who are pricked unto the heart for sin, and cry out, "What
shall we do to be saved?" will understand what we have to say. Against
others we must defend the truth, as God shall enable. And it may be made
good by all sorts of instances, that as men rise in their notions about
the extenuation of sin, so they fall in their regard unto the grace of
our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is no less true also, on the other hand, as
unbelief works in men a disesteem of the person and righteousness of
Christ, they are cast inevitably to seek for countenance unto their own
consciences in the extenuation of sin. So insensibly are the minds of men
diverted from Christ, and seduced to place their confidence in
themselves. Some confused respect they have unto him, as a relief they
know not how nor wherein; but they live in that pretended height of human
wisdom, to trust to themselves. So they are instructed to do by the best
of the philosophers: "Unum bonum est, quod beatae vitae causa et
firmamentum est, sibi fidere", Senec. Epist. 31. Hence, also, is the
internal sanctifying grace of God, among many, equally despised with the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ. The sum of their faith, and of
their arguments in the confirmation of it, is given by the learned Roman
orator and philosopher. "Virtutem", says he, "nemo unquam Deo acceptam
retulit; nimirum recte. Propter virtutem enim jure landamur, et in
virtute recte gloriamur, quod non contingeret, si donum a Deo, non a
nobis haberemus", Tull. de Nat. Deor.

Fourthly, Opposition between works and grace, as unto justification--
Method of the apostle, in the Epistle to the Romans, to manifest this
opposition--A scheme of others contrary thereunto--Testimonies witnessing
this opposition--Judgment to be made on them--Distinctions whereby they
are evaded--The uselessness of them--Resolution of the case in hand by
Bellarmine, Dan.9:18; Luke 17:10

   Fourthly. The opposition that the Scripture makes between grace and
works in general, with the exclusion of the one and the assertion of the
other in our justification, deserves a previous consideration. The
opposition intended is not made between grace and works, or our own
obedience, as unto their essence, nature, and consistency, in the order
and method of our salvation; but only with respect unto our
justification. I do not design herein to plead any particular testimonies
of Scripture, as unto their especial sense, or declaration of the mind of
the Holy Ghost in them, which will afterward be with some diligence
inquired into; but only to take a view which way the eye of the Scripture
guides our apprehensions, and what compliance there is in our own
experience with that guidance.
   The principal seat of this doctrine, as will be confessed by all, is
in the Epistles of Paul unto the Romans and Galatians, whereunto that
also to the Hebrews may be added: but in that unto the Romans it is most
eminently declared; for therein is it handled by the apostle ex professo
at large, and that both doctrinally and in the way of controversy with
them by whom the truth was opposed. And it is worth our consideration
what process he makes towards the decoration of it, and what principles
he proceeds upon therein.
   He lays it down as the fundamental maxim which he would proceed upon,
or as a general thesis, including the substance of what he designed to
explain and prove, that in the gospel the "righteousness of God is
revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by
faith," Rom.1:17. All sorts of men who had any knowledge of God and
themselves, were then, as they must be always, inquiring, and in one
degree or other laboring, after righteousness. For this they looked on,
and that justly, as the only means of an advantageous relation between
God and themselves. Neither had the generality of men any other thoughts,
but that this righteousness must be their own,--inherent in them, and
performed by them; as Rom.10:3. For as this is the language of a natural
conscience and of the law, and suited unto all philosophical notions
concerning the nature of righteousness; so whatever testimony was given
of another kind in the law and the prophets (as such a testimony is given
unto a "righteousness of God without the law," chap.3:21), there was a
vail upon it, as to the understanding of all sorts of men. As, therefore,
righteousness is that which all men seek after, and cannot but seek
after, who design or desire acceptance with God; so it is in vain to
inquire of the law, of natural conscience, of philosophical reason, after
any righteousness but what consists in inherent habits and acts of our
own. Neither law, nor natural conscience, nor reason, do know any other.
But in opposition unto this righteousness of our own, and the necessity
thereof, testified unto by the law in its primitive constitution, by the
natural light of conscience, and the apprehension of the nature of things
by reason, the apostle declares, that in the gospel there is revealed
another righteousness, which is also the righteousness of another, the
righteousness of God, and that from faith to faith. For not only is the
righteousness itself reveals alien from those other principles, but also
the manner of our participation of it, or its communication unto us,
"from faith to faith" (the faith of God in the revelation, and our faith
in the acceptation of it, being only here concerned), is an eminent
revelation. Righteousness, of all things, should rather seem to be from
works unto works,--from the work of grace in us to the works of obedience
done by us, as the Papists affirm. "No," says the apostle, "it is 'from
faith to faith;'" whereof afterward.
   This is the general thesis the apostle proposes unto confirmation; and
he seems therein to exclude from justification every thing but the
righteousness of God and the faith of believers. And to this purpose he
considers all persons that did or might pretend unto righteousness, or
seek after it, and all ways and means whereby they hoped to attain unto
it, or whereby it might most probably be obtained, declaring the failing
of all persons, and the insufficiency of all means as unto them, for the
obtaining a righteousness of our own before God. And as unto persons,--
   1. He considers the Gentiles, with all their notions of God, their
practice in religious worship, with their conversation thereon: and from
the whole of what might be observed amongst them, he concludes, that they
neither were nor could be justified before God; but that they were all,
and most deservedly, obnoxious unto the sentence of death. And whatever
men may discourse concerning the justification and salvation of any
without the revelation of the righteousness of God by the gospel, "from
faith to faith," it is expressly contradictory to his whole discourse,
chap. 1, from verse 19 to the end.
   2. He considers the Jews, who enjoyed the written law, and the
privileges wherewith it was accompanied, especially that of circumcision,
which was the outward seal of God's covenant: and on many considerations,
with many arguments, he excludes them also from any possibility of
attaining justification before God, by any of the privileges they
enjoyed, or their own compliance wherewithal, chap. 2. And both sorts he
excludes distinctly from this privilege of righteousness before God, with
this one argument, that both of them sinned openly against that which
they took for the rule of their righteousness,--namely, the Gentiles
against the light of nature, and the Jews against the law; whence it
inevitably follows, that none of them could attain unto the righteousness
of their own rule. But he proceeds farther, unto that which is common to
them all; and,--
   3. He proves the same against all sorts of persons, whether Jews or
gentiles, from the consideration of the universal depravation of nature
in them all, and the horrible effects that necessarily ensue thereon in
the hearts and lives of men, chap. 3; so evidencing that as they all
were, so it could not fall out but that all must be shut up under sin,
and come short of righteousness. So, from persons he proceeds to things,
or means of righteousness. And,--
   4. Because the law was given of God immediately, as the whole and only
rule of our obedience unto him, and the works of the law are therefore
all that is required of us, these may be pleaded with some pretence, as
those whereby we may be justified. Wherefore, in particular, he considers
the nature, use, and end of the law, manifesting its utter insufficiency
to be a means of our justification before God, chap.3:19,20.
   5. It may be yet objected, that the law and its works may be thus
insufficient, as it is obeyed by unbelievers in the state of nature,
without the aids of grace administered in the promise; but with respect
unto them who are regenerate and do believe, whose faith and works are
accepted with God, it may be otherwise. To obviate this objection, he
gives an instance in two of the most eminent believers under the Old
Testament,--namely, Abraham and David, declaring that all works whatever
were excluded in and from their justification, chap. 4.
   On these principles, and by this gradation, he peremptorily concludes
that all and every one of the sons of men, as unto any thing that is in
themselves, or can be done by them, or be wrought in them, are guilty
before God, obnoxious unto death, shut up under sin, and have their
mouths so stopped as to be deprived of all pleas in their own excuse;
that they had no righteousness wherewith to appear before God; and that
all the ways and means whence they expected it were insufficient unto
that purpose.
   Hereon he proceeds with his inquiry, how men may be delivered from
this condition, and come to be justified in the sight of God. And in the
resolution hereof he makes no mention of any thing in themselves, but
only faith, whereby we receive the atonement. That whereby we are
justified, he says, is "the righteousness of God which is by the faith of
Christ Jesus;" or, that we are justified "freely by grace through the
redemption that is in him," chap.3:22-24. And not content here with this
answer unto the inquiry how lost convinced sinners may come to be
justified before God,--namely, that it is by the "righteousness of God,
revealed from faith to faith, by grace, by the blood of Christ," as he is
set forth for a propitiation,--he immediately proceeds unto a positive
exclusion of every thing in and of ourselves that might pretend unto an
interest herein, as that which is inconsistent with the righteousness of
God as revealed in the gospel, and witnessed unto by the law and the
prophets. How contrary their scheme of divinity is unto this design of
the apostle, and his management of it, who affirm, that before the law,
men were justified by obedience unto the light of nature, and some
particular revelations made unto them in things of their own especial
private concernment; and that after the giving of the law, they were so
by obedience unto God according to the directions thereof! as also, that
the heathen might obtain the same benefit in compliance with the dictates
of reason,--cannot be contradicted by any who have not a mind to be
contentious.
   Answerable unto this declaration of the mind of the Holy Ghost herein
by the apostle, is the constant tenor of the Scripture speaking to the
same purpose. The grace of God, the promise of mercy, the free pardon of
sin, the blood of Christ, his obedience, and the righteousness of God in
him, rested in and received by faith, are everywhere asserted as the
causes and means of our justification, in opposition unto any thing in
ourselves, so expressed as it uses to express the best of our obedience,
and the utmost of our personal righteousness. Wherever mention is made of
the duties, obedience, and personal righteousness of the best of men,
with respect unto their justification, they are all renounced by them,
and they betake themselves unto sovereign grace and mercy alone. Some
places to this purpose may be recounted.
   The foundation of the whole is laid in the first promise; wherein the
destruction of the work of the devil by the suffering of the seed of the
woman is proposed as the only relief for sinners, and only means of the
recovery of the favour of God. "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt
bruise his heel," Gen.3:15. "Abraham believed in the LORD; and he counted
it to him for righteousness," Gen.15:6. "And Aaron shall lay both his
hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the
iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all
their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat; and the goat shall
bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited,"
Lev.16:21,22. "I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make
mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only," Ps.71:16. "If thou,
LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O LORD, who shall stand? But there is
forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared," Ps.130:3,4. "Enter
not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living
be justified," Ps.143:2. "Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and
his angels he charged with folly: how much less in them that dwell in
houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust?" Job 4:18,19. "Fury is
not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I
would go through them, I would burn them together. Or let him take hold
of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace
with me," Isa.27:4,5. "Surely, shall one say, In the LORD have I
righteousness and strength: in the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be
justified, and shall glory," chap.45:24,25. "All we like sheep have gone
astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on
him the iniquity of us all. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant
justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities," chap.53:6,11. "This is
his name whereby he shall be called, The LORD our Righteousness,"
Jer.23:6. "But ye are all as an unclean thing, and all our
righteousnesses are as filthy rags," Isa.64:6. "He shall finish the
transgression, and make an end of sins, and make reconciliation for
iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness," Dan.9:24. "As many as
received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to
them that believe on his name," John 1:12. "As Moses lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life,"
chap.3:14,15. "Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that
through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him
all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not
be justified by the law of Moses," Acts 13:38,39. "That they may receive
forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by
faith that is in me," chap.26:18. "Being justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to
be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his
righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the
forbearance of God; to declare at this time his righteousness: that he
might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where
is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay; but by the
law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith
without the deeds of the law," Rom.3:24-28. "For if Abraham were
justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God. For what
saith the Scriptures Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him
for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of
grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him
that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even
as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God
imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose
iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man
to whom the Lord will not impute sin," chap.4:2-8. "But not as the
offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many
be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by
one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. And not as it was by one
that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation,
but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one
man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive
abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life
by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came
upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the
free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one
man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one
shall many be made righteous," chap.5:15-19. "There is therefore now no
condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the
flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ
Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law
could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own
Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the
flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,"
chap.8:l-4. "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every
one that believeth," chap.10:4. "And if by grace, then is it no more of
works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is
it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work," chap.11:6. "But of him
are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and
righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," 1 Cor.1:30. "For he
has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the
righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor.5:21. "Knowing that a man is not
justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even
we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith
of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law
shall no flesh he justified," Gal.2:16. "But that no man is justified by
the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by
faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall
live in them. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being
made a curse for us," chap.3:11-13. "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works,
lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk
in them," Eph.2:8-10. "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for
the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have
suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may
win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which
is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the
righteousness which is of God by faith," Phil.3:8,9. "Who has saved us,
and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ
Jesus before the world began," 2 Tim.1:9. "That being justified by his
grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life,"
Tit.3:7. "Once in the end of the world has he appeared, to put away sin,"
Heb.9:26,28. "Having by himself purged our sins," chap.1:3. "For by one
offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified," chap.10:14.
"The blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanseth us from all sin," 1 John
1:7. Wherefore, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in
his own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;
to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen," Rev.1:5,6.
   These are some of the places which at present occur to remembrance,
wherein the Scripture represents unto us the grounds, causes, and
reasons, of our acceptation with God. The especial import of many of
them, and the evidence of truth that is in them, will be afterwards
considered. Here we take only a general view of them. And every thing in
and of ourselves, under any consideration whatever, seems to be excluded
from our justification before God, faith alone excepted, whereby we
receive his grace and the atonement. And, on the other side, the whole of
our acceptation with him seems to be assigned unto grace, mercy, the
obedience and blood of Christ; in opposition unto our own worth and
righteousness, or our own works and obedience. And I cannot but suppose
that the soul of a convinced sinner, if not prepossessed with prejudice,
will, in general, not judge amiss whether of these things, that are set
in opposition one to the other, he should retake himself unto, that he
may be justified.
   But it is replied,--These things are not to be understood absolutely,
and without limitations. Sundry distinctions are necessary, that we may
come to understand the mind of the Holy Ghost and sense of the Scripture
in these ascriptions unto grace, and exclusions of the law, our own works
and righteousness from our justification. For,--1. The law is either the
moral or the ceremonial law. The latter, indeed, is excluded from any
place in our justification, but not the former. 2. Works required by the
law are either wrought before faith, without the aid of grace; or after
believing, by the help of the Holy Ghost. The former are excluded from
our justification, but not the latter. 3. Works of obedience wrought
after grace received may be considered either as sincere only, or
absolutely perfect, according to what was originally required in the
covenant of works. Those of the latter sort are excluded from any place
in our justification, but not those of the former. 4. There is a twofold
justification before God in this life,--a first and a second; and we must
diligently consider with respect unto whether of these justifications any
thing is spoken in the Scripture. 5. Justification may be considered
either as to its beginning or as unto its continuation;--and so it has
divers causes under these diverse respects. 6. Works may be considered
either as meritorious "ex condigno", so as their merit should arise from
their own intrinsic worth; or "ex congruo" only, with respect unto the
covenant and promise of God. Those of the first sort are excluded, at
least from the first justification: the latter may have place both in the
first and second. 7. Moral causes may be of many sorts: preparatory,
dispository, meritorious, conditionally efficient, or only "sine quibus
non". And we must diligently inquire in what sense, under the notion of
what cause or causes, our works are excluded from our justification, and
under what notions they are necessary thereunto. And there is no one of
these distinctions but it needs many more to explain it; which,
accordingly, are made use of by learned men. And so specious a colour may
be put on these things, when warily managed by the art of disputation,
that very few are able to discern the ground of them, or what there is of
substance in that which is pleaded for; and fewer yet, on whether side
the truth does lie. But he who is really convinced of sin, and, being
also sensible of what it is to enter into judgment with the holy God,
inquires for himself, and not for others, how he may come to be accepted
with him, will be apt, upon the consideration of all these distinctions
and sub-distinctions wherewith they are attended, to say to their
authors, "Fecistis probe, incertior sum multo, quam dudum." My inquiry
is, How shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?
How shall I escape the wrath to come? What shall I plead in judgment
before God, that I may be absolved, acquitted, justified? Where shall I
have a righteousness that will endure a trial in his presence? If I
should be harnessed with a thousand of these distinctions, I am afraid
they would prove thorns and briers, which he would pass through and
consume.
   The inquiry, therefore is, upon the consideration of the state of the
person to be justified, before mentioned and described, and the proposal
of the reliefs in our justification as now expressed, whether it be the
wisest and safest course for such a person seeking to be justified before
God, to retake himself absolutely, his whole trust and confidence, unto
sovereign grace, and the mediation of Christ, or to have some reserve
for, or to place some confidence in, his own graces, duties, works, and
obedience? In putting this great difference unto umpirage, that we may
not be thought to fix on a partial arbitrator we shall refer it to one of
our greatest and most learned adversaries in this cause. And he
positively gives us in his determination and resolution in those known
words, in this case: "Propter incertitudinem propriae justitiae, et
periculum inanis gloriae, tutissimum est fiduciam totam in sola
misericordia Dei et benignitate reponere", Bellar. de Justificat., lib. 5
cap. 7, prop. 3;--"By reason of the uncertainty of our own righteousness,
and the danger of vain glory, it is the safest course to repose our whole
trust in the mercy and kindness or grace of God alone."
   And this determination of this important inquiry he confirms with two
testimonies of Scripture, as he might have done it with many more. But
those which he thought meet to mention are not impertinent. The first is
Dan.9:18, "We do not present our supplications before thee for our
righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies;" and the other is that of our
Saviour, Luke 17:10, "When ye shall have done all those things which are
commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants." And after he has
confirmed his resolution with sundry testimonies of the fathers, he
closes his discourse with this dilemma: "Either a man has true merits, or
he has not. If he has not, he is perniciously deceived when he trusts in
any thing but the mercy of God alone, and seduces himself, trusting in
false merits; if he has them, he loses nothing whilst he looks not to
them, but trusts in God alone. So that whether a man have any good works
or no, as to his justification before God, it is best and safest for him
not to have any regard unto them, or put any trust in them." And if this
be so, he might have spared all his pains he took in writing his
sophistical books about justification, whose principal design is to
seduce the minds of men into a contrary opinion. And so, for aught I
know, they may spare their labour also, without any disadvantage unto the
church of God or their own souls, who so earnestly contend for some kind
of interest or other for our own duties and obedience in our
justification before God; seeing it will be found that they place their
own whole trust and confidence in the grace of God by Jesus Christ alone.
For to what purpose do we labour and strive with endless disputations,
arguments, and distinctions, to prefer our duties and obedience unto some
office in our justification before God, if; when we have done all, we
find it the safest course in our own persons to abhor ourselves with Job
in the presence of God, to retake ourselves unto sovereign grace and
mercy with the publican, and to place all our confidence in them through
the obedience and blood of Christ?
   So died that great emperor, Charles V, as Thuanus gives the account of
his Novissima. So he reasoned with himself: "Se quidem indignum esse, qui
propriis meritis regnum coelorum obtineret; set Dominum Deum suum qui
illud duplici jure obtineat, et Patris haereditate, et passionis merito,
altero contentum esse, alterum sibi donare; ex cujus dono illud sibi
merito vendicet, hacque fiducia fretus minime confundatur; neque enim
oleum misericordiae nisi in vase fiduciae poni; hanc hominis fiduciam
esse a se deficientis et innitentis domino suo; alioquin propriis meritis
fidere, non fidei esse sed perfidiae; peccata deleri per Dei
indulgentiam, ideoque credere nos debere peccata deleri non posse nisi ab
eo cui soli peccavimus, et in quem peccatum non cadit, per quem solum
nobis peccata condonentur;"--"That in himself he was altogether unworthy
to obtain the kingdom of heaven by his own works or merits; but that his
Lord God, who enjoyed it on a double right or title, by inheritance of
the Father, and the merit of his own passion, was contented with the one
himself, and freely granted unto him the other; on whose free grant he
laid claim thereunto, and in confidence thereof he should not be
confounded; for the oil of mercy is poured only into the vessel of faith
or trust: that this is the trust of a man despairing in himself, and
resting in his Lord; otherwise, to trust unto his own works or merits, is
not faith, but treachery: that sins are blotted out by the mercy of God;
and therefore we ought to believe that our sins can be pardoned by him
alone, against whom alone we have sinned, with whom there is no sin, and
by whom alone sins are forgiven."
   This is the faith of men when they come to die, and those who are
exercised with temptations whilst they live. Some are hardened in sin,
and endeavour to leave this world without thoughts of another; some are
stupidly ignorant, who neither know nor consider what it is to appear in
the presence of God, and to be judged by him; some are seduced to place
their confidence in merits, pardons, indulgences, and future suffrages
for the dead: but such as are acquainted with God and themselves in any
spiritual manner, who take a view of the time that is past, and
approaching eternity, into which they must enter by the judgment-seat of
God, however they may have thought, talked, and disputed about their own
works and obedience, looking on Christ and his righteousness only to make
up some small defects in themselves, will come at last unto a universal
renunciation of what they have been, and are, and retake themselves unto
Christ alone for righteousness or salvation. And in the whole ensuing
discourse I shall as little as is possible immix myself in any curious
scholastical disputes. This is the substance of what is pleaded for,--
that men should renounce all confidence in themselves, and every thing
that may give countenance whereunto; retaking themselves unto the grace
of God by Christ alone for righteousness and salvation. This God designs
in the gospel, 1 Cor.1:29-31; and herein, whatever difficulties we may
meet withal in the explication of some propositions and terms that belong
unto the doctrine of justification, about which men have various
conceptions, I doubt not of the internal concurrent suffrage of them who
know any thing as they ought of God and themselves.

Fifthly, A commutation as unto sin and righteousness, by imputation,
between Christ and believers, represented in the Scripture--The ordinance
of the scapegoat, Lev.16:21,22--The nature of expiatory sacrifices,
Lev.4:29, etc.--Expiation of an uncertain murder, Deut.21:1-9--The
commutation intended proved and vindicated, Isa.53:5,6; 2 Cor.5:21;
Rom.8:3,4; Gal.3:13,14; 1 Pet.2:24; Deut.21:23--Testimonies of Justin
Martyr, Gregory Nyseen, Augustine, Chrysostom, Bernard, Taulerus,
Pighius, to that purpose--The proper actings of faith with respect
thereunto, Rom.5:11; Matt.11:28; Ps.38:4; Gen.4:13; Isa.53:11; Gal.3:1;
Isa.45:22; John 3:14,15--A bold calumny answered

   Fifthly. There is in the Scripture represented unto us a commutation
between Christ and believers, as unto sin and righteousness; that is, in
the imputation of their sins unto him, and of his righteousness unto
them. In the improvement and application hereof unto our own souls, no
small part of the life and exercise of faith does consist.
   This was taught the church of God in the offering of the scapegoat:
"And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and
confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all
their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the
goat. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities,"
Lev.16:21,22. Whether this goat sent away with this burden upon him did
live, and so was a type of the life of Christ in his resurrection after
his death; or whether he perished in the wilderness, being cast down the
precipice of a rock by him that conveyed him away, as the Jews suppose;
it is generally acknowledged, that what was done to him and with him was
only a representation of what was done really in the person of Jesus
Christ. And Aaron did not only confess the sins of the people over the
goat, but he also put them all on his head, "wenatan 'otam al-rosh
hassa'ir",--"And he shall give them all to be on the head of the goat."
In answer whereunto it is said, that he bare them all upon him. This he
did by virtue of the divine institution, wherein was a ratification of
what was done. He did not transfuse sin from one subject into another,
but transferred the guilt of it from one to another; and to evidence this
translation of sin from the people unto the sacrifice, in his confession,
"he put and fixed both his hands on his head." Thence the Jews say, "that
all Israel was made as innocent on the day of expiation as they were on
the day of creation;" from verse 30. Wherein they came short of
perfection or consummation thereby the apostle declares, Heb.10. But this
is the language of every expiatory sacrifice, "Quod in ejus caput sit;"--
"Let the guilt be on him." Hence the sacrifice itself was called "chatat"
and "'ashan",--"sin" and "guilt," Lev.4:29; 7:2; 10:17. And therefore,
where there was an uncertain murder, and none could be found that was
liable to punishment thereon, that guilt might not come upon the land,
nor the sin be imputed unto the whole people, a heifer was to be slain by
the elders of the city that was next unto the place where the murder was
committed, to take away the guilt of it, Deut.21:1-9. But whereas this
was only a moral representation of the punishment due to guilt, and no
sacrifice, the guilty person being not known, those who slew the heifer
did not put their hands on him, so as to transfer their own guilt to him,
but washed their hands over him, to declare their personal innocence. By
these means, as in all other expiatory sacrifices, did Cod instruct the
church in the transferring of the guilt of sin unto Him who was to bear
all their iniquities, with their discharge and justification thereby.
   So "God laid on Christ the iniquities of us all," that "by his stripes
we might be healed," Isa.53:5,6. Our iniquity was laid on him, and he
bare it, verse 11; and through his bearing of it we are freed from it.
His stripes are our healing. Our sin was his, imputed unto him; his merit
is ours, imputed unto us. "He was made sin for us, who knew no sin; that
we might become the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor.5:21. This is
that commutation I mentioned: he was made sin for us; we are made the
righteousness of God in him. God not imputing sin unto us, verse 19, but
imputing righteousness unto us, does it on this ground alone that "he was
made sin for us." And if by his being made sin, only his being made a
sacrifice for sin is intended, it is to the same purpose; for the formal
reason of any thing being made an expiatory sacrifice, was the imputation
of sin unto it by divine institution. The same is expressed by the same
apostle, Rom.8:3,4, "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful
flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of
the law might be fulfilled in us." The sin was made his, he answered for
it; and the righteousness which God requireth by the law is made ours:
the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, not by our doing it, but
by his. This is that blessed change and commutation wherein alone the
soul of a convinced sinner can find rest and peace. So he "has redeemed
us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, that the
blessing of Abraham might come on us," Gal.3:13,14. The curse of the law
contained all that was due to sin. This belonged unto us; but it was
transferred on him. He was made a curse; whereof his hanging on a tree
was the sign and token. Hence he is said to "bear our sins in his own
body on the tree," 1 Pet.2:24; because his hanging on the tree was the
token of his bearing the curse: "For he that is hanged is the curse of
God," Dent.21:23. And in the blessing of faithful Abraham all
righteousness and acceptation with God is included; for Abraham believed
God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.
   But because some, who, for reasons best known unto themselves, do take
all occasions to except against my writings, have in particular raised an
impertinent glamour about somewhat that I formerly delivered to this
purpose, I shall declare the whole of my judgment herein in the words of
some of those whom they can pretend no quarrel against, that I know of.
   The excel1ent words of Justin Martyr deserve the first place: "Autos
ton idion huion apedoto lutron huper hemoon, ton hagion huper anomoon,
ton akakon huper toon kakoon, ton dikaion huper toon adikoon, ton
aftarton huper toon ftartoon, ton atanaton huper toon tnetoon, ti gar
allo tas hamartias hemoon edunete kalupsai, e ekeinou dikaiosune; en tini
dikaiootenai dunaton tous anomous hemas kai aseteis, e en monooi tooi
huioo tou Theou; oo tes glukeias antallages, oo tes anexichniastou
demiourgias, oo toon aprosdoketoon euergesioon, hina anomia men polloon
en dikaiooi heni krute, dikaiosune de henos pollous anomous dikaioosei,"
Epist. ad Diognet.;--"He gave his Son a ransom for us;--the holy for
transgressors; the innocent for the nocent; the just for the unjust; the
incorruptible for the corrupt; the immortal for mortals. For what else
could hide or cover our sins but his righteousness? In whom else could we
wicked and ungodly ones be justified, or esteemed righteous, but in the
Son of God alone? O sweet permutation, or change! O unsearchable work, or
curious operation! O blessed beneficence, exceeding all expectations that
the iniquity of many should be hid in one just one, and the righteousness
of one should justify many transgressors." And Gregory Nyssen speaks to
the same purpose: "Metatheis gar pros heauton ton toon hemoon hamartioon
thupon, metedooke moi tes heautou kathapotetos, koinoonon me tou heautou
kallous apergasamenos", Orat. 2 in Cant.;--"He has transferred unto
himself the filth of my sins, and communicated unto me his purity, and
made me partaker of his beauty." So Augustine, also: "Ipse peccatum ut
nos justitia, nec nostra sed Dei, nec in nobis sed in ipso; sicut ipse
peccatum, non suum sed nostrum, nec in se sed in nobis constitutum",
Enchirid. ad Laurent., cap.41;--"He was sin, that we might be
righteousness; not our own, but the righteousness of God; not in
ourselves, but in him; as he was sin, not his own, but ours,--not in
himself, but in us." The old Latin translation renders those words,
Ps.22:1, "divrei sha'agati"--"Verba delictorum meorum". He thus comments
on the place: "Quomodo ergo dicit, 'Delictorum meorum?' nisi quia pro
delictis nostris ipse precatur; et delicta nostra delicta sua fecit, ut
justitiam suam nostram justitiam faceret;"--"How says he, 'Of my sins?'
Because he prayeth for our sins; he made our sins to be his, that he
might make his righteousness to be ours. "Oo tes glukeias antallages." "O
sweet commutation and change!" And Chrysostom, to the same purpose, on
those words of the apostle,-- "That we might be made the righteousness of
God in him:" Poios tauta logos, poios tauta parastesai dunesetai vous;
ton gar dikaion, fesin, epoiesen hamartoolon, hina tous hamartoolous
poiesei dikaious, mallon de oude houtoos eipen, alla ho pollooi mekzon
en, ou gar hexin ethekein, all' auten ten poioteta, ou gar eipen,
epoiesen hamartoolon, all' hamartian, ouchi ton me hamartanonta monon,
alla ton mede gnonta hamartian, hina kai hemeis genoometha, ouk eipe,
dikaioi, alle dikaiosune, kai Theou dikaiosune, Theou gar estin haute,
hotan me ex ergoon (hotan kai kelida ananke tina me heurethenai) all' apo
xaritos dikaioothoomen, entha pasa hamartia efanistai", 2 Epist. ad
Corinth. cap.5 Hom.11;--"What word, what speech is this? What mind can
comprehend or express it? For he says, 'He made him who was righteous to
be made a sinner, that he might make sinners righteous. Nor yet does he
say so neither, but that which is far more sublime and excellent; for he
speaks not of an inclination or affection, but expresses the quality
itself. For he says not, he made him a sinner, but sin; that we might be
made, not merely righteous, but righteousness, and that the righteousness
of God, when we are justified not by works (for if we should, there must
be no spot found in them), but by grace, whereby all sin is blotted out."
So Bernard also, Epist.190, ad Innocent:--"Homo siquidem qui debuit; homo
qui solvit. Nam 'si unus,' inquit, 'pro omnibus mortuus est, ergo omnes
mortui sunt;' ut videlicet satisfactio unius omnibus imputetur, sicut
omnium peccata unus ille portavit: nec alter jam inveniatur, qui
forisfecit, alter qui satisfecit; quia caput et corpus unus est
Christus." And many more speak unto the same purpose. Hence Luther,
before he engaged in the work of reformation, in an epistle to one George
Spenlein, a monk, was not afraid to write after this manner: "Mi dulcis
frater, disce Christum et hunc crucifixum, disce ei cantare, et de teipso
desperant dicere ei; tu Domine Jesu es justitia mea, ego autem sum
peccatum tuum; tu assumpsisti meum, et dedisti mihi tuum; assumpsisti
quod non eras, et dedisti mihi quod non eram. Ipse suscepit te et peccata
tua fecit sua, et suam justitiam fecit tuam; maledictus qui haec non
credit!" Epist. an. 1516, tom.1
   If those who show themselves now so quarrelsome almost about every
word that is spoken concerning Christ nd his righteousness, had ever been
harassed in their consciences about the guilt of sin, as this man was,
they would think it no strafe matter to speak and write as he did. Yea,
some there are who have lived and died in the communion of the church of
Rome itself, that have given their testimony unto this truth. So speaks
Taulerus, Meditat. Vitae Christ. cap.7: "Christus omnia mundi peccata in
se recepit, tantumque pro illis ultro sibi assumpsis dolerem cordis, ac
si ipse ea perpetrasset;"--"Christ took upon him all the sins of the
world, and willingly underwent that grief of heart for them, as if he
himself had committed them". And again, speaking in the person of Christ:
"Quandoquidem peccatum Adae multum abire non potest, obsecro te Pater
coelestis, ut ipsum in me vindices. Ego enim omnia illius peccata in me
recipio. Si haec irae tempestas, propter me orta est, mitte me in mare
amarissimae passionis;"--"Whereas the great sin of Adam cannot go away, I
beseech thee, heavenly Father, punish it in me. For I take all his sins
upon myself If, then, this tempest of anger be risen for me, cast me into
the sea of my most bitter passion." See, in the justification of these
expressions, Heb.10:5-10. The discourse of Albertus Pighius to this
purpose, though often cited and urged, shall be once again repeated, both
for its worth and truth, as also to let some men see how fondly they have
pleased themselves in reflecting on some expressions of mine, as though I
had been singular in them. His words are, after others to the same
purpose: "Quoniam quidem inquit (apostolus) Deus erat in Christo, mundum
reconcilians sibi, non imputans hominibus sua delicta, et deposuit apud
nos verbum reconciliationis; in illo ergo justificamur coram Deo, non in
nobis; non nostra sed illius justitia, quae nobis cum illo jam
communicantibus imputatur. Propriae justitiae inopes, extra nos, in illo
docemur justitiam quaerere. Cum inquit, ui peccatum non noverat, pro
nobis peccatum fecit; hoc est, hostiam peccati expiatricem, ut nos
efficeremur justitia Dei in ipso, non nostra, sed Dei justitia justi
efficimur in Christo; quo jure? Amicitiae, quae communionem omnium inter
amicor facit, juxta vetus et celebratissimum proverbium; Christo
insertis, conglutinatis, et unitis, et sua nostra facit, suas divitias
nobis communicat, suam justitiam inter Patris judicium et nostram
injustitiam interponit, et sub ea veluti sub umbone ac clypeo a divina,
quam commeruimus, ira nos abscondit, tuetur ac protegit; imo eandem nobis
impertit et nostram facit, qua tecti ornatique audacter et secure jam
divino nos sistamus tribunali et judicio: justique non solum appareamus,
sed etiam simus. Quemadmodum enim unius delicto peccatoris nos etiam
factor affirmat apostolus: ita unius Christi justitiam in justificandis
nobis omnibus efficacem esse; et sicut per inobedientiam unius hominis
peccatores constituti sunt multi sic per obedientiam unius justi (inquit)
constituentur multi. Haec est christi justitia,ejus obedientia, qua
voluntatem Patris sui perfecit in omnibus; sicut contra nostra injustitia
est nostra inobedientia, et mandatorum Dei praevaricatio. In Christi
autem obedientia quod nostra collocatur justitia inde est, quod nobis
illi incorporatis, ac si nostra esset, accepta ea fertur: ut ea ipsa
etiam nos justi habeamur. Et velut ille quondam Jacob, quum nativitate
primogenitus non esset, sub habitu fratris occultatus, atque ejus veste
indutus, quae odorem optimum spirabat, seipsum insinuavit patri, ut sub
aliena persona benedictionem primogeniturae acciperet: ita et nos sub
Christi primogeniti fratris nostri preciosa puritate delitescere, bono
ejus odore fragrare, ejus perfectione vitia nostra sepeliri et obtegi,
atque ita nos pissimo Patri ingerere, ut justitiae benedictionem ab eodem
assequamur, necesse est". And afterwards: "Justificat erno nos Deus Pater
bonitate sua gratuita, qua nos in Christo complectitur, dum eidem
insertos innocentia et justitia Christi nos induit; quae una et vera et
perfecta est, quae Dei sustinere conspectum potest, ita unam pro nobis
sisti oportet tribunali divini judicii et veluti causae nostrae
intercessorem eidem repraesentari: qua subnixi etiam hic obtineremus
remissionem peccatorum nostrorum assiduam: cujus puritate velatae non
imputentur nobis sordes nostrae, imperfectionum immunditiae, sed veluti
sepultae conteguntur, ne in judicium Dei veniant: donec confecto in
nobis, et plane extincto veteri homine, divina bonitas nos in beatam
pacem cum novo Adam recipiat;"--"'God was in Christ,' says the apostle,
'reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto men their sins,'
['and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.'] In him,
therefore, we are justified before God; not in ourselves, not by our own,
but by his righteousness, which is imputed unto us, now communicating
with him. Wanting righteousness of our own, we are taught to seek for
righteousness without ourselves, in him. So he says, 'Him who knew no
sin, he made to be sin for us' (that is, an expiatory sacrifice for sin),
'that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.' We are made
righteous in Christ, not with our own, but with the righteousness of God.
By what right? The right of friendship, which makes all common among
friends, according unto the ancient celebrated proverb. Being in grafted
into Christ, fastened, united unto him, he makes his things ours,
communicates his riches unto us, interposes his righteousness between the
judgment of God and our unrighteousness: and under that, as under a
shield and buckler, he hides us from that divine wrath which we have
deserved, he defends and protects us therewith; yea, he communicates it
unto us and makes it ours, so as that, being covered and adorned
therewith, we may boldly and securely place ourselves before the divine
tribunal and judgment, so as not only to appear righteous, but so to be.
For even as the apostle affirms, that by one man's fault we were all made
sinners, so is the righteousness of Christ alone efficacious in the
justification of us all: 'And as by the disobedience of one man many were
made sinners, so by the obedience of one man,' says he, 'many are made
righteous.' This is the righteousness of Christ, even his obedience,
whereby in all things he fulfilled the will of his Father; as, on the
other hand, our unrighteousness is our disobedience and our transgression
of the commands of God. But that our righteousness is placed in the
obedience of Christ, it is from hence, that we being incorporated into
him, it is accounted unto us as if it were ours; so as that therewith we
are esteemed righteous. And as Jacob of old, whereas he was not the
firstborn, being hid under the habit of his brother, and clothed with his
garment, which breathed a sweet savour, presented himself unto his
father, that in the person of another he might receive the blessing of
the primogeniture; so it is necessary that we should lie hid under the
precious purity of the First-born, our eldest brother, be fragrant with
his sweet savour, and have our sin buried and covered with his
perfections, that we may present ourselves before our most holy Father,
to obtain from him the blessing of righteousness." And again: "God,
therefore, does justify us by his free grace or goodness, wherewith he
embraces us in Christ Jesus, when he clotheth us with his innocence and
righteousness, as we are ingrafted into him; for as that alone is true
and perfect which only can endure in the sight of God, so that alone
ought to be presented and pleaded for us before the divine tribunal, as
the advocate of or plea in our cause. Resting hereon, we here obtain the
daily pardon of sin; with whose purity being covered, our filth, and the
uncleanness of our imperfections are not imputed unto us, but are covered
as if they were buried, that they may not come into the judgment of God;
until, the old man being destroyed and slain in us, divine goodness
receives us into peace with the second Adam". So far he, expressing the
power which the influence of divine truth had on his mind, contrary to
the interest of the cause wherein he was engaged, and the loss of his
reputation with them; for whom in all other things he was one of the
fiercest champions. And some among the Roman church, who cannot bear this
assertion of the commutation of sin and righteousness by imputation
between Christ and believers, no more than some among ourselves, do yet
affirm the same concerning the righteousness of other men: "Mercaturam
quandam docere nos Paulus videtur. Abundatis, inquit, vos pecunia, et
estis inopes justitiae; contra, illi abundant justitia et sunt inopes
pecuniae; fiat quaedam commutatio; date vos piis egentibus pecuniam quae
vobis affluit, et illis deficit; sic futurum est, ut illi vicissim
justitiam suam qua abundant, et qua vos estis destituti, vobis
communicent." Hosius, De Expresso Dei Verbo, tom. 2 p.21. But I have
mentioned these testimonies, principally to be a relief unto some men's
ignorance, who are ready to speak evil of what they understand not.
   This blessed permutation as unto sin and righteousness is represented
unto us in the Scripture as a principal object of our faith,-- as that
whereon our peace with God is founded. And although both these (the
imputation of sin unto Christ, and the imputation of righteousness unto
us) be the acts of God, and not ours, yet are we by faith to exemplify
them in our own souls, and really to perform what on our part is required
unto their application unto us; whereby we receive "the atonement,"
Rom.5:11. Christ calls unto him all those that "labour and are heavy
laden," Matt.11:28. The weight that is upon the consciences of men,
wherewith they are laden, is the burden of sin. So the psalmist complains
that his "sins were a burden too heavy for him," Ps.38:4. Such was Cain's
apprehension of his guilt, Gen.4:13. This burden Christ bare, when it was
laid on him by divine estimation. For so it is said, "wa'awonotam hu
jisbol", Isa.53:11,-- "He shall bear their iniquities" on him as a
burden. And this he did when God made to meet upon him "the iniquity of
us all," verse 6. In the application of this unto our own souls, as it is
required that we be sensible of the weight and burden of our sins and how
it is heavier than we can bear; so the Lord Christ calls us unto him with
it, that we may be eased. This he does in the preachings of the gospel,
wherein he is "evidently crucified before our eyes," Gal.3:1. In the view
which faith has of Christ crucified (for faith is a "looking unto him,"
Isa.45:22; 65:1, answering their looking unto the brazen serpent who were
stung with fiery serpents, John 3:14,15), and under a sense of his
invitation (for faith is our coming unto him, upon his call and
invitation) to come unto him with our burdens, a believer considers that
God has laid all our iniquities upon him; yea, that he has done so, is an
especial object whereon faith is to act itself, which is faith in his
blood. Hereon does the soul approve of and embrace the righteousness and
grace of God, with the infinite condescension and love of Christ himself.
It gives its consent that what is thus done is what becomes the infinite
wisdom and grace of God; and therein it rests. Such a person seeks no
more to establish his own righteousness, but submits to the righteousness
of God. Herein, by faith, does he leave that burden on Christ which he
called him to bring with him, and complies with the wisdom and
righteousness of God in laying it upon him. And herewithal does he
receive the everlasting righteousness which the Lord Christ brought in
when he made an end of sin, and reconciliation for transgressors.
   The reader may be pleased to observe, that I am not debating these
things argumentatively, in such propriety of expressions as are required
in a scholastic disputation; which shall be done afterwards, so far as I
judge it necessary. But I am doing that which indeed is better, and of
more importance,--namely, declaring the experience of faith in the
expressions of the Scripture, or such as are analogous unto them. And I
had rather be instrumental in the communication of light and knowledge
unto the meanest believer, than to have the clearest success against
prejudiced disputers. Wherefore, by faith thus acting are we justified,
and have peace with God. Other foundation in this matter can no man lay,
that will endure the trial.
   Nor are we to be moved, that men who are unacquainted with these
things in their reality and power do reject the whole work of faith
herein, as an easy effort of fancy or imagination. For the preaching of
the cross is foolishness unto the best of the natural wisdom of men;
neither can any understand them but by the Spirit of God. Those who know
the terror of the Lord, who have been really convinced and made sensible
of the guilt of their apostasy from God, and of their actual sins in that
state, and what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the
living God,--seeking thereon after a real solid foundation whereon they
may be accepted with him,--have other thoughts of these things, and do
find believing a thing to be quite of another nature than such men
suppose. It is not a work of fancy or imagination unto men, to deny and
abhor themselves, to subscribe unto the righteousness of God in
denouncing death as due to their sins, to renounce all hopes and
expectations of relief from any righteousness of their own, to mix the
word and promise of God concerning Christ and righteousness by him with
faith, so as to receive the atonement, and wherewithal to give up
themselves unto a universal obedience unto God. And as for them unto
whom, through pride and self-conceit on the one hand, or ignorance on the
other, it is so, we have in this matter no concernment with them. For
unto whom these things are only the work of fancy, the gospel is a fable.
   Something unto this purpose I had written long since, in a practical
discourse concerning "Communion with God." And whereas some men of an
inferior condition have found it useful, for the strengthening themselves
in their dependencies on some of their superiors, or in compliance with
their own inclinations, to cavil at my writings and revile their author,
that book has been principally singled out to exercise their faculty and
good intentions upon. This course is steered of late by one Mr Hotchkis,
in a book about justification, wherein, in particular, be falls very
severely on that doctrine, which, for the substance of it, is here again
proposed, p.81. And were it not that I hope it may be somewhat useful
unto him to be a little warned of his immoralities in that discourse, I
should not in the least have taken notice of his other impertinencies.
The good man, I perceive, can be angry with persons whom he never saw,
and about things which he can not or will not understand, so far as to
revile them with most opprobrious language. For my part, although I have
never written any thing designedly on this subject, or the doctrine of
justification, before now, yet he could not but discern, by what was
occasionally delivered in that discourse, that I maintain no other
doctrine herein but what was the common faith of the most learned men in
all Protestant churches. And the reasons why I am singled out for the
object of his petulancy and spleen are too manifest to need repetition.
But I shall yet inform him of what, perhaps, he is ignorant,--namely,
that I esteem it no small honour that the reproaches wherewith the
doctrine opposed by him is reproached do fall upon me. And the same I say
concerning all the reviling and contemptuous expressions that his ensuing
pages are filled withal. But as to the present occasion, I beg his excuse
if I believe him not, that the reading of the passages which he mentions
out of my book filled him with "horror and indignation," as he pretends.
For whereas he acknowledges that my words may have a sense which he
approves of (and which, therefore, must of necessity be good and sound),
what honest and sober person would not rather take them in that sense,
then wrest them unto another, so as to cast himself under the
disquietment of a fit of horrible indignation? In this fit I suppose it
was, if such a fit, indeed, did befall him (as one evil begets another),
that he thought he might insinuate something of my denial of the
necessity of our own personal repentance and obedience. For no man who
had read that book only of all my writings, could, with the least regard
to conscience or honesty, give countenance unto such a surmise, unless
his mind was much discomposed by the unexpected invasion of a fit of
horror. But such is his dealing with me from first to last; nor do I know
where to fix on any one instance of his exceptions against me, wherein I
can suppose he had escaped his pretended fit and was returned unto
himself,--that is, unto honest and ingenuous thoughts; wherewith I hope
he is mostly conversant. But though I cannot miss in the justification of
this charge by considering any instance of his reflections, yet I shall
at present take that which he insists longest upon, and fills his
discourse about it with most scurrility of expressions. And this is in
the 164th page of his book, and those that follow; for there he disputes
fiercely against me for making this to be an "undue end of our serving
God,--namely, that we may flee from the wrath to come". And who would not
take this for an inexpiable crime in any, especially in him who has
written so much of the nature and use of threatening under the gospel,
and the fear that ought to be in generated by them in the hearts of men,
as I have done Wherefore so great a crime being the object of them all,
his revilings seem not only to be excused but allowed. Eat what if all
this should prove a wilful prevarication, not becoming a good man, much
less a minister of the gospel? My words, as reported and transcribed by
himself; are these: "Some there are that do the service of the house of
God as the drudgery of their lives; the principle they yield obedience
upon is a spirit of bondage unto fear; the rule they do it by is the law
in its dread and rigour, exacting it of them to the utmost without mercy
or mitigation; the end they do it for is to fly from the wrath to come,
to pacify conscience, and to seek for righteousness as it were by the
works of the law." What follow unto the same purpose he omits, and what
he adds as my words are not so, but his own; "ubi pudor, ubi fides?" That
which I affirmed to be a part of an evil end, when and as it makes up one
entire end, by being mixed with sundry other things expressly mentioned,
is singled out, as if I had denied that in any sense it might be a part
of a good end in our obedience: which I never thought, I never said; I
have spoken and written much to the contrary. And yet, to countenance
himself in this disingenuous procedure, besides many other untrue
reflections, he adds that I insinuate, that those whom I describe are
"Christians that seek righteousness by faith in Christ", p.167. I must
needs tell this author that my faith in this matter is, that such works
as these will have no influence in his justification; and that the
principal reason why I suppose I shall not, in my progress in this
discourse, take any particular notice of his exceptions, either against
the truth or me,--next unto this consideration, that they are all trite
and obsolete, and, as to what seems to be of any force in them, will
occur unto me in other authors from whom they are derived,--is, that I
may not have a continual occasion to declare how forgetful he has been of
all the rules of ingenuity, yea, and of common honesty, in his dealing
with me. For that which gave the occasion unto this present unpleasing
digression,--it being no more, as to the substance of it, but that our
sins were imputed unto Christ, and that his righteousness is imputed unto
us,--it is that in the faith whereof I am assured I shall live and die,
though he should write twenty as learned books against it as those which
he has already published; and in what sense I do believe these things
shall be afterwards declared. And although I judge no men upon the
expressions that fall from them in polemical writings, wherein, on many
occasions, they do affront their own experience, and contradict their own
prayers; yet, as to those who understand not that blessed commutation of
sins and righteousness, as to the substance of it, which I have pleaded
for, and the acting of our faith with respect thereunto, I shall be bold
to say, "that if the gospel be hid, it is hid to them that perish."

Sixthly, Introduction of grace by Jesus Christ into the whole of our
relation unto God, and its respect unto all the parts of our obedience--
No mystery of grace in the covenant of works--All religion originally
commensurate unto reason--No notions of natural light concerning the
introduction of the mediation of Christ and mystery of grace, into our
relation to God, Eph.1:17-19--Reason, as corrupted, can have no notions
of religion but what are derived from its primitive state--Hence the
mysteries of the gospel esteemed folly--Reason, as corrupted, repugnant
unto the mystery of grace--Accommodation of spiritual mysteries unto
corrupt reason, wherefore acceptable unto many--Reasons of it--Two parts
of corrupted nature's repugnancy unto the mystery of the gospel:--1. That
which would reduce it unto the private reason of men--Thence the Trinity
denied, and the incarnation of the Son of God; without which the doctrine
of justification cannot stand--Rule of the Socinians in the
interpretation of the Scripture--2. Want of a due comprehension of the
harmony that is between all the parts of the mystery of grace--This
harmony proved--Compared with the harmony in the works of nature--To be
studied--But it is learned only of them who are taught of God; and in
experience--Evil effects of the want of a due comprehension hereof--
Instances of them--All applied unto the doctrine of justification

   Sixthly. We can never state our thoughts aright in this matter, unless
we have a clear apprehension of, and satisfaction in, the introduction of
grace by Jesus Christ into the whole of our relation unto God, with its
respect unto all parts of our obedience. There was no such thing, nothing
of that nature or kind, in the first constitution of that relation and
obedience by the law of our creation. We were made in a state of
immediate relation unto God in our own persons, as our creator,
preserver, and rewarder. There was no mystery of grace in the covenant of
works. No more was required unto the consummation of that state but what
was given us in our creation, enabling us unto rewardable obedience. "Do
this, and live," was the sole rule of our relation unto God. There was
nothing in religion originally of that which the gospel celebrates under
the name of the grace, kindness, and love of God, whence all our
favourable relation unto God does now proceed, and whereinto it is
resolved; nothing of the interposition of a mediator with respect unto
our righteousness before God, and acceptance with him;--which is at
present the life and soul of religion, the substance of the gospel, and
the centre of all the truths revealed in it. The introduction of these
things is that which makes our religion a mystery, yea, a "great
mystery," if the apostle may be believed, 1 Tim.3:16. All religion at
first was suited and commensurable unto reason; but being now become a
mystery, men for the most part are very unwilling to receive it. But so
it must be; and unless we are restored unto our primitive rectitude, a
religion suited unto the principles of our reason (of which it has none
but what answer that first state) will not serve our turns.
   Wherefore, of this introduction of Christ and grace in him into our
relation unto God, there are no notions in the natural conceptions of our
minds; nor are they discoverable by reason in the best and utmost of its
exercise, 1 Cor.2:14. For before our understanding were darkened, and our
reason debased by the fall, there were no such things revealed or
proposed unto us; yea, the supposition of them is inconsistent with, and
contradictory unto, that whole state and condition wherein we were to
live to God,--seeing they all suppose the entrance of sin. And it is not
likely that our reason, as now corrupted, should be willing to embrace
that which it knew nothing of in its best condition, and which was
inconsistent with that way of attaining happiness which was absolutely
suited unto it: for it has no faculty or power but what it has derived
from that state; and to suppose it is now of itself suited and ready to
embrace such heavenly mysteries of truth and grace as it had no notions
of, nor could have, in the state of innocence, is to suppose that by the
fall our eyes were opened to know good and evil, in the sense that the
serpent deceived our first parents with an expectation of. Whereas,
therefore, our reason was given us for our only guide in the first
constitution of our natures, it is naturally unready to receive what is
above it; and, as corrupted, has an enmity thereunto.
   Hence, in the first open proposal of this mystery,--namely, of the
love and grace of God in Christ, of the introduction of a mediator and
his righteousness into our relation unto God, in that way which God in
infinite wisdom had designed,--the whole of it was looked on as mere
folly by the generality of the wise and rational men of the world, as the
apostle declares at large, 1 Cor.1; neither was the faith of them ever
really received in the world without an act of the Holy Ghost upon the
mind in its renovation. And those who judge that there is nothing more
needful to enable the mind of man to receive the mysteries of the gospel
in a due manner but the outward proposal of the doctrine thereof, do not
only deny the depravation of our nature by the fall, but, by just
consequence, wholly renounce that grace whereby we are to be recovered.
Wherefore, reason (as has been elsewhere proved), acting on and by its
own innate principles and abilities, conveyed unto it from its original
state, and as now corrupted, is repugnant unto the whole introduction of
grace by Christ into our relation unto God, Rom.8:7. An endeavour,
therefore, to reduce the doctrine of the gospel, or what is declared
therein concerning the hidden mystery of the grace of God in Christ, unto
the principles and inclinations of the minds of men, or reason as it
remains in us after the entrance of sin,--under the power, at least, of
those notions and conceptions of things religious which it retains from
its first state and condition,--is to debase and corrupt them (as we
shall see in sundry instances), and so make way for their rejection.
   Hence, very difficult it is to keep up doctrinally and practically the
minds of men unto the reality and spiritual height of this mystery; for
men naturally do neither understand it nor like it: and therefore, every
attempt to accommodate it unto the principles and inbred notions of
corrupt reason is very acceptable unto many, yea, unto the most; for the
things which such men speak and declare, are, without more ado,--without
any exercise of faith or prayer, without any supernatural illumination,--
easily intelligible, and exposed to the common sense of mankind. But
whereas a declaration of the mysteries of the gospel can obtain no
admission into the minds of men but by the effectual working of the
Spirit of God, Eph.1:17-19, it is generally looked on as difficult,
perplexed, unintelligible; and even the minds of many, who find they
cannot contradict it, are yet not at all delighted with it. And here lies
the advantage of all them who, in these days, do attempt to corrupt the
doctrine of the gospel, in the whole or any part of it; for the
accommodation of it unto the common notions of corrupted reason is the
whole of what they design. And in the confidence of the suffrage hereof,
they not only oppose the things themselves, but despise the declaration
of them as enthusiastical canting. And by nothing do they more prevail
themselves than by a pretence of reducing all things to reason, and
contempt of what they oppose, as unintelligible fanaticism. But I am not
more satisfied in any thing of the most uncontrollable evidence, than
that the understandings of these men are no just measure or standard of
spiritual truth. Wherefore, notwithstanding all this fierceness of scorn,
with the pretended advantages which some think they have made by
traducing expressions in the writings of some men, it may be improper, it
maybe only not suited unto their own genius and capacity in these things,
we are not to be "ashamed of the gospel of Christ, which is the power of
God unto salvation to every one that believeth".
   Of this repugnancy unto the mystery of the wisdom and grace of God in
Christ, and the foundation of its whole economy, in the distinct
operations of the persons of the holy Trinity therein, there are two
parts or branches:--
   1. That which would reduce the whole of it unto the private reason of
men, and their own weak, imperfect management thereof. This is the entire
design of the Socinians. Hence,--
   (1.) The doctrine of the Trinity itself is denied, impugned, yea,
derided by them; and that solely on this account. They plead that it is
incomprehensible by reason; for there is in that doctrine a declaration
of things absolutely infinite and eternal, which cannot be exemplified
in, nor accommodated unto, things finite and temporal. This is the
substance of all their pleas against the doctrine of the holy Trinity,
that which gives a seeming life and sprightly vigour to their objections
against it; wherein yet, under the pretence of the use and exercise of
reason, they fall, and resolve all their seasonings into the most absurd
and irrational principles that ever the minds of men were besotted
withal. For unless you will grant them that what is above their reason,
is, therefore, contradictory unto true reason; that what is infinite and
eternal is perfectly comprehensible, and in all its concerns and respects
to be accounted for; that what cannot be in things finite and of a
separate existence, cannot be in things infinite, whose being and
existence can be but one; with other such irrational, yea, brutish
imaginations; all the arguments of these pretended men of reason against
the Trinity become like chaff that every breath of wind will blow away.
Hereon they must, as they do, deny the distinct operations of any persons
in the Godhead in the dispensation of the mystery of grace; for if there
are no such distinct persons, there can be no such distinct operations.
Now, as upon a denial of these things no one article of faith can be
rightly understood, nor any one duty of obedience be performed unto God
in an acceptable manner; so, in particular, we grant that the doctrine of
justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ cannot
stand.
   (2.) On the same ground the incarnation of the Son of God is rejected
as "atopoon atopootaton",--the most absurd conception that ever befell
the minds of men. Now it is to no purpose to dispute with men so
persuaded, about justification; yea, we will freely acknowledge that all
things we believe about it are "graoodeis muthoi",--no better than old
wives' tales,--if the incarnation of the Son of God be so also. For I can
as well understand how he who is a mere man, however exalted, dignified,
and glorified, can exercise a spiritual rule in and over the hearts,
consciences, and thoughts of all the men in the world, being intimately
knowing of and present unto them all equally at all times (which is
another of their fopperies), as how the righteousness and obedience of
one should be esteemed the righteousness of all that believe, if that one
be no more than a man, if he be not acknowledged to be the Son of God
incarnate.
   Whilst the minds of men are prepossessed with such prejudices, nay,
unless they firmly assent unto the truth in these foundations of it, it
is impossible to convince them of the truth and necessity of that
justification of a sinner which is revealed in the gospel. Allow the Lord
Christ to be no other person but what they believe him to be, and I will
grant there can be no other way of justification than what they declare;
though I cannot believe that ever any sinner will be justified thereby.
These are the issues of an obstinate refusal to give way unto the
introduction of the mystery of God and his grace into the way of
salvation and our relation unto him.
   And he who would desire an instance of the fertility of men's
inventions in forging and coining objections against heavenly mysteries,
in the justification of the sovereignty of their own reason, as unto what
belongs to our relation unto God, need go no farther than the writings of
these men against the Trinity and incarnation of the eternal Word. For
this is their fundamental rule, in things divine and doctrines of
religion,--That not what the Scripture says is therefore to be accounted
true, although it seems repugnant unto any reasonings of ours, or is
above what we can comprehend; but what seems repugnant unto our reason,
let the words of the Scripture be what they will, that we must conclude
that the Scripture does not say so, though it seem never so expressly so
to do. "Itaque non quia utrumque Scripture dicat, propterea haec inter se
non pugnare concludendum est; sed potius quia haec inter se pugnant, ideo
alterutrum a Scriptura non dici statuendum est", says Schlichting ad
Meisn. Def. Socin. p.102;--"Wherefore, because the Scripture affirms both
these" (that is the efficacy of God's grace and the freedom of our
wills), "we cannot conclude from thence that they are not repugnant; but
because these things are repugnant unto one another, we must determine
that one of them is not spoken in the Scripture:"--no, it seems, let it
say what it will. This is the handsomest way they can take in advancing
their own reason above the Scripture; which yet savours of intolerable
presumption. So Socinus himself, speaking of the satisfaction of Christ,
says, in plain terms: "Ego quidem etiamsi non semel sed saepius id in
sacris monumentis scriptum extaret, non idcirco tamen ita prorsus rem se
habere crederem, ut vos opinamini; cum enim id omnino fieri non possit
non secus atque in multis llis Scripturae Testimoniis, una cum caeteris
omnibus facio; aliqua, quae minus incommoda videretur, interpretatione
adhibita, eum sensum ex ejusmodi verbis elicerem qui sibi constaret;"--
"For my part, if this (doctrine) were extant and written in the holy
Scripture, not once, but often, yet would I not therefore believe it to
be so as you do; for where it can by no means be so (whatever the
Scripture says), I would, as I do with others in other places, make use
of some less incommodious interpretation, whereby I would draw a sense
out of the words that should be consistent with itself." And how he would
do this he declares a little before: "Sacra verba in alium sensum, quam
verba sonant, per inusitatos etiam tropos quandoque explicantur". He
would explain the words into another sense than what they sound or
propose, by unusual tropes. And, indeed, such uncouth tropes does he
apply, as so many engines and machines, to pervert all the divine
testimonies concerning our redemption, reconciliation, and justification
by the blood of Christ.
   Having therefore fixed this as their rule, constantly to prefer their
own reason above the express words of the Scripture, which must,
therefore, by one means or other, be so perverted or wrested as to be
made compliant therewith, it is endless to trace them in their multiplied
objections against the holy mysteries, all resolved into this one
principle, that their reason cannot comprehend them, nor does approve of
them. And if any man would have an especial instance of the serpentine
wits of men winding themselves from under the power of conviction by the
spiritual light of truth, or at least endeavouring so to do, let him read
the comments of the Jewish rabbins on Isaiah, chap.53, and of the
Socinians on the beginning of the Gospel of John.
   2. The second branch of this repugnancy springs from the want of a due
comprehension of that harmony which is in the mystery of grace, and
between all the parts of it. This comprehension is the principal effect
of that wisdom which believers are taught by the Holy Ghost. For our
understanding of the wisdom of God in a mystery is neither an art nor a
science, whether purely speculative or more practical, but a spiritual
wisdom. And this spiritual wisdom is such as understands and apprehends
things, not so much, or not only in the notion of them, as in their
power, reality, and efficacy, towards their proper ends. And, therefore,
although it may be very few, unless they be learned, judicious, and
diligent in the use of means of all sorts, do attain unto it clearly and
distinctly in the doctrinal notions of it; yet are all true believers,
yea, the meanest of them, directed and enabled by the Holy Spirit, as
unto their own practice and duty, to act suitably unto a comprehension of
this harmony, according to the promise that "they shall be all taught of
God." Hence, those things which appear unto others contradictory and
inconsistent one with another, so as that they are forced to offer
violence unto the Scripture and their own experience in the rejection of
the one or the other of them, are reconciled in their minds and made
mutually useful or helpful unto one another, in the whole course of their
obedience. But these things must be farther spoken unto.
   Such an harmony as that intended there is in the whole mystery of God.
For it is the most curious effect and product of divine wisdom; and it is
no impeachment of the truth of it, that it is not discernible by human
reason. A full comprehension of it no creature can in this world arise
unto. Only, in the contemplation of faith, we may arrive unto such an
understanding admiration of it as shall enable us to give glory unto God,
and to make use of all the parts of it in practice as we have occasion.
Concerning it the holy man mentioned before cried out, "O anexichniastou
demiourgias"--"O unsearchable contrivance and operations". And so is it
expressed by the apostle, as that which has an unfathomable depth of
wisdom in it, "O bathos ploutou", etc.--"O the depth of the riches both
of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments,
and his ways past finding Rom.11:33-36. See to the same purpose,
Eph.3:8-10.
   There is a harmony, a suitableness of one thing unto another, in all
the works of creation. Yet we see that it is not perfectly nor absolutely
discoverable unto the wisest and most diligent of men. How far are they
from an agreement about the order and motions of the heavenly bodies, of
the sympathies and qualities of sundry things here below, in the relation
of causality and efficiency between one thing and another! The new
discoveries made concerning any of them, do only evidence how far men are
from a just and perfect comprehension of them. Yet such a universal
harmony there is in all the parts of nature and its operations, that
nothing in its proper station and operation is destructively
contradictory either to the whole or any part of it, but every thing
contributes unto the preservation and use of the universe. But although
this harmony be not absolutely comprehensible by any, yet do all living
creatures, who follow the conduct or instinct of nature, make use of it,
and live upon it; and without it neither their being could be preserved,
nor their operations continued.
   But in the mystery of God and his grace, the harmony and suitableness
of one thing unto another, with their tendency unto the same end, is
incomparably more excellent and glorious than that which is seen in
nature or the works of it. For whereas God made all things at first in
wisdom, yet is the new creation of all things by Jesus Christ ascribed
peculiarly unto the riches, stores, and treasures of that infinite
wisdom. Neither can any discern it unless they are taught of God; for it
is only spiritually discerned. But yet is it by the most despised. Some
seem to think that there is no great wisdom in it; and some, that no
great wisdom is required unto the comprehension of it: few think it worth
the while to spend half that time in prayer, in meditation, in the
exercise of self-denial, mortification, and holy obedience, doing the
will of Christ, that they may know of his word, to the attaining of a due
comprehension of the mystery of godliness, as some do in diligence,
study, and trial of experiments, who design to excel in natural or
mathematical sciences. Wherefore there are three things evident herein:--
   1. That such an harmony there is in all the parts of the mystery of
God, wherein all the blessed properties of the divine nature are
glorified, our duty in all instances is directed and engaged, our
salvation in the way of obedience secured, and Christ, as the end of all,
exalted. Wherefore, we are not only to consider and know the several
parts of the doctrine of spiritual truths but their relation, also, one
unto another, their consistency one with another in practice, and their
mutual furtherance of one another unto their common end. And a disorder
in our apprehensions about any part of that whose beauty and use arises
from its harmony, gives some confusion of mind with respect unto the
whole.
   2. That unto a comprehension of this harmony in a due measure, it is
necessary that we be taught of God; without which we can never be wise in
the knowledge of the mystery of his grace. And herein ought we to place
the principal part of our diligence, in our inquiries into the truths of
the gospel.
   3. All those who are taught of God to know his will, unless it be when
their minds are disordered by prejudices, false opinions, or temptations,
have an experience in themselves and their own practical obedience, of
the consistency of all parts of the mystery of God's grace and truth in
Christ among themselves,--of their spiritual harmony and cogent tendency
unto the sane end. The introduction of the grace of Christ into our
relation unto God, makes no confusion or disorder in their minds, by the
conflict of the principles of natural reason, with respect unto our first
relation unto God, and those of grace, with respect unto that whereunto
we are renewed.
   From the want of a due comprehension of this divine harmony it is,
that the minds of men are filled with imaginations of an inconsistency
between the most important parts of the mystery of the gospel, from
whence the confusions that are at this day in Christian religion do
proceed.
   Thus the Socinians can see no consistency between the grace or love of
God and the satisfaction of Christ, but imagine if the one of them be
admitted, the other must be excluded out of our religion. Wherefore they
principally oppose the latter, under a pretence of asserting and
vindicating the former. And where these things are expressly conjoined in
the same proposition of faith,--as where it is said that "we are
justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith
in his blood," Rom.3:24,25,--they will offer violence unto common sense
and reason, rather than not disturb that harmony which they cannot
understand. For although it be plainly affirmed to be a redemption by his
blood, as he is a propitiation, as his blood was a ransom or price of
redemption, yet they will contend that it is only metaphorical,--a mere
deliverance by power, like that of the Israelites by Moses. But these
things are clearly stated in the gospel; and therefore not only
consistent, but such as that the one cannot subsist without the other.
Nor is there any mention of any especial love or grace of God unto
sinners, but with respect unto the satisfaction of Christ as the means of
the communication of all its effects unto them. See John 3:16;
Rom.3:23-25; 8:30-33; 2 Cor.5:19-21; Eph.1:7; etc.
   In like manner, they can see no consistency between the satisfaction
of Christ and the necessity of holiness or obedience in them that do
believe. Hence they continually glamour, that, by our doctrine of the
mediation of Christ, we overthrow all obligations unto a holy life. And
by their sophistical reasonings unto this purpose, they prevail with many
to embrace their delusion, who have not a spiritual experience to
confront their sophistry withal. But as the testimony of the Scripture
lies expressly against them, so those who truly believe, and have real
experience of the influence of that truth into the life of God, and how
impossible it is to yield any acceptable obedience herein without respect
thereunto, are secured from their snares.
   These and the like imaginations arise from the unwillingness of men to
admit of the introduction of the mystery of grace into our relation unto
God. For suppose us to stand before God on the old constitution of the
covenant of creation, which alone natural reason likes and is
comprehensive of, and we do acknowledge these things to be inconsistent.
But the mystery of the wisdom and grace of God in Christ cannot stand
without them both.
   So, likewise, God's efficacious grace in the conversion of sinners,
and the exercise of the faculties of their minds in a way of duty, are
asserted as contradictory and inconsistent. And although they seem both
to be positively and frequently declared in the Scripture, yet, say these
men, their consistency being repugnant to their reason, let the Scripture
say what it will, yet is it to be said by us that the Scripture does not
assert one of them. And this is from the same cause; men cannot, in their
wisdom, see it possible that the mystery of God's grace should be
introduced into our relation and obedience unto God. Hence have many ages
of the church, especially the last of them, been filled with endless
disputes, in opposition to the grace of God, or to accommodate the
conceptions of it unto the interests of corrupted reason.
   But there is no instance more pregnant unto this purpose than that
under our present consideration. Free justification, through the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ, is cried out against, as
inconsistent with a necessity of personal holiness and obedience: and
because the Socinians insist principally on this pretence, it shall be
fully and diligently considered apart; and that holiness which, without
it, they and others deriving from them do pretend unto, shall be tried by
the unerring rule. 
   Wherefore I desire it may be observed, that in pleading for this
doctrine, we do it as a principal part of the introduction of grace into
our whole relation unto God. Hence we grant,-- 
   1. That it is unsuited, yea foolish, and, as some speak, childish,
unto the principles of unenlightened and unsanctified reason or
understandings of men. And this we conceive to be the principal cause of
all the oppositions that are made unto it, and all the deprivations of it
that the church is pestered withal. Hence are the wits of men so fertile
in sophistical cavils against it, so ready to load it with seeming
absurdities, and I know not what unsuitableness unto their wondrous
rational conceptions. And no objection can be made against it, be it
never so trivial, but it is highly applauded by those who look on that
introduction of the mystery of grace, which is above their natural
conceptions, as unintelligible folly. 
   2. That the necessary relation of these things, one unto the other,--
namely, of justification by the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ, and the necessity of our personal obedience,--will not be clearly
understood, nor duly improved, but by and in the exercise of the wisdom
of faith. This we grant also; and let who will make what advantage they
can of this concession. True faith has that spiritual light in it, or
accompanying of it, as that it is able to receive it, and to conduct the
soul unto obedience by it. Wherefore, reserving the particular
consideration hereof unto its proper place, I say, in general,--
   (1.) That this relation is evident unto that spiritual wisdom whereby
we are enabled, doctrinally and practically, to comprehend the harmony of
the mystery of God, and the consistency of all the parts of it, one with
another.
   (2.) That it is made evident by the Scripture, wherein both these
things--justification through the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ, and the necessity of our personal obedience--are plainly asserted
and declared. And we defy that rule of the Socinians, that seeing these
things are inconsistent in their apprehension or unto their reason,
therefore we must say that one of them is not taught in the Scripture:
for whatever it may appear unto their reason, it does not so to ours; and
we have at least as good reason to trust unto our own reason as unto
theirs. Yet we absolutely acquiesce in neither, but in the authority of
God in the Scripture; rejoicing only in this, that we can set our seal
unto his revelations by our own experience. For,--
   (3.) It is fully evident in the gracious conduct which the minds of
them that believe are under, even that of the Spirit of truth and grace,
and the inclinations of that new principle of the divine life whereby
they are acted; for although, from the remainders of sin and darkness
that are in them, temptations may arise unto a continuation in sin
because grace has abounded, yet are their minds so formed and framed by
the doctrine of this grace, and the grace of this doctrine, that the
abounding of grace herein is the principal motive unto their abounding in
holiness, as we shall see afterward.
   And this we aver to be the spring of all those objections which the
adversaries of this doctrine do continually endeavour to entangle it
withal. As,--1. If the passive righteousness (as it is commonly called),
that is, his death and suffering, be imputed unto us, there is no need,
nor can it be, that his active righteousness, or the obedience of his
life, should be imputed unto us; and so on the contrary: for both
together are inconsistent. 2. That if all sin be pardoned, there is no
need of the righteousness; and so on the contrary, if the righteousness
of Christ be imputed unto us, there is no room for, or need of, the
pardon of sin. 3. If we believe the pardon of our sins, then are our sins
pardoned before we believe, or we are bound to believe that which is not
so. 4. If the righteousness of Christ be imputed unto us, then are we
esteemed to have done and suffered what, indeed, we never did nor
suffered; and it is true, that if we are esteemed our selves to have done
it, imputation is overthrown. 5. If Christ's righteousness be imputed
unto us, then are we as righteous as was Christ himself. 6. If our sins
were imputed unto Christ, then was he thought to have sinned, and was a
sinner subjectively. 7. If good works be excluded from any interest in
our justification before God, then are they of no use unto our salvation.
8. That it is ridiculous to think that where there is no sin , there is
not all the righteousness that can be required. 9. That righteousness
imputed is only a putative or imaginary righteousness, etc.
   Now, although all these and the like objections, however subtilely
managed (as Socinus boasts that he had used more than ordinary subtlety
in this cause,--"In quo, si subtilius aliquanto quam opus esse videretur,
quaedam a nobis disputate sunt", De Servat., par.4, cap.4.), are capable
of plain and clear solutions, and we shall avoid the examination of none
of them; yet at present I shall only say, that all the shades which they
cast on the minds of men do vanish and disappear before the light of
express Scripture testimonies, and the experience of them that do
believe, where there is a due comprehension of the mystery of grace in
any tolerable measure.

Seventhly, General prejudices against the imputation of the righteousness
of Christ: --1. That it is not in terms found in the Scripture, answered-
-2. That nothing is said of it in the writings of the evangelists,
answered, John 20:30,31--Nature of Christ's personal ministry--
Revelations by the Holy Spirit immediately from Christ--Design of the
writings of the evangelists--3. Differences among Protestants themselves
about this doctrine, answered--Sense of the ancients herein--What is of
real difference among Protestants, considered

   Seventhly. There are some common prejudices, that are usually pleaded
against the doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ;
which, because they will not orderly fall under a particular
consideration in our progress, may be briefly examined in these general
previous considerations:--
   1. It is usually urged against it, that this imputation of the
righteousness of Christ is nowhere mentioned expressly in the Scripture.
This is the first objection of Bellarmine against it. "Hactenus", says
he, "nullum omnino locum invenire putuerunt, ubi legeretur Christi
justitiam nobis imputari ad justitiam; vel nos justos esse per Christi
justitiam nobis imputatam", De Justificat., lib.2 cap.7;--an objection,
doubtless, unreasonably and immodestly urged by men of this persuasion;
for not only do they make profession of their whole faith, or their
belief of all things in matters of religion, in terms and expressions
nowhere used in the Scripture, but believe many things also, as they say,
with faith divine, not at all revealed or contained in the Scripture, but
drained by them out of the traditions of the church. I do not, therefore,
understand how such persons can modestly manage this as an objection
against any doctrine, that the terms wherein some do express it are not
"rhetoos",--found in the Scripture just in that order of one word after
another as by them they are used; for this rule may be much enlarged, and
yet be kept strait enough to exclude the principal concerns of their
church out of the confines of Christianity. Nor can I apprehend much more
equity in others, who reflect with severity on this expression of the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ as unscriptural, as if those
who make use thereof were criminal in no small degree, when themselves,
immediately in the declaration of their own judgment, make use of such
terms, distinctions, and expressions, as are so far from being in the
Scripture, as that it is odds they had never been in the world, had they
escaped Aristotle's mint, or that of the schools deriving from him.
   And thus, although a sufficient answer has frequently enough (if any
thing can be so) been returned unto this objection in Bellarmine, yet has
one of late amongst ourselves made the translation of it into English to
be the substance of the first chapter of a book about justification;
though he needed not to have given such an early intimation unto whom he
is beholding for the greatest part of his ensuing discourse, unless it be
what is taken up in despiteful revilings of other men. For take from him
what is not his own, on the one hand, and impertinent cavils at the words
and expressions of other men, with forged imputations on some of them, on
the other, and his whole book will disappear. But yet, although he
affirms that none of the Protestant writers, who speak of the imputation
of the righteousness of Christ unto us (which were all of them, without
exception, until of late), have precisely kept to the form of wholesome
words, but have rather swerved and varied from the language of the
Scripture; yet he will excuse them from open error, if they intend no
more thereby but that we are made partakers of the benefits of the
righteousness of Christ. But if they intend that the righteousness of
Christ itself imputed unto us (that is, so as to be our righteousness
before God, whereon we are pardoned and accepted with him, or do receive
the forgiveness of sins, and a right to the heavenly inheritance), then
are they guilty of that error which makes us to be esteemed to do
ourselves what Christ did; and so on the other side, Christ to have done
what we do and did, chap.2,3. But these things are not so. For, if we are
esteemed to have done any thing in our own persons, it cannot be imputed
unto us as done for us by another; as it will appear when we shall treat
of these things afterwards. But the great and holy persons intended, are
as little concerned in the accusations or apologies of some writers, as
those writers seem to be acquainted with that learning, wisdom, and
judgment, wherein they did excel, and the characters whereof are so
eminently conspicuous in all their writings.
But the judgment of most Protestants is not only candidly expressed, but
approved of also by Bellarmine himself in another place. "Non esset",
says he, "absurdum, si quis diceret nobis imputari Christi justitiam et
merita; cum nobis donentur et applicentur; ac si nos ipsi Deo
satisfecissemus". De Justif., lib.2, cap.10;--"It were not absurd, if any
one should say that the righteousness and merits of Christ are imputed
unto us, when they are given and applied unto us, as if we ourselves had
satisfied God." And this he confirms with that saying of Bernard, Epist.
ad Innocent. 190, "Nam 'si unus pro omnibus mortuus est, ergo omnes
mortui sunt,' ut videlicet satisfactio unius omnibus imputetur, sicut
omnium peccata unus ille portavit". And those who will acknowledge no
more in this matter, but only a participation "quovis modo", one way or
other, of the benefits of the obedience and righteousness of Christ,
wherein we have the concurrence of the Socinians also, might do well, as
I suppose, plainly to deny all imputation of his righteousness unto us in
any sense, as they do, seeing the benefits of his righteousness cannot be
said to be imputed unto us, what way soever we are made partakers of
them. For to say that the righteousness of Christ is imputed unto us,
with respect unto the benefits of it, when neither the righteousness
itself is imputed unto us, nor can the benefits of it be imputed unto us,
as we shall see afterward, does minister great occasion of much needless
variance and contests. Neither do I know any reason why men should seek
countenance unto this doctrine under such an expression as themselves
reflect upon as unscriptural, if they be contented that their minds and
sense should be clearly understood and apprehended;--for truth needs no
subterfuge.
   The Socinians do now principally make use of this objection. For,
finding the whole church of God in the use of sundry expressions, in the
declaration of the most important truths of the gospel, that are not
literally contained in the Scripture, they hoped for an advantage from
thence in their opposition unto the things themselves. Such are the terms
of the Trinity, the incarnation, satisfaction, and merit of Christ, as
this also, of the imputation of his righteousness. How little they have
prevailed in the other instances, has been sufficiently manifested by
them with whom they have had to do. But as unto that part of this
objection which concerns the imputation of the righteousness of Christ
unto, believers, those by whom it is asserted do say,--
   (1.) That it is the thing alone intended which they plead for. If that
be not contained in the Scripture, if it be not plainly taught and
confirmed therein, they will speedily relinquish it. But if they can
prove that the doctrine which they intend in this expression, and which
is thereby plainly declared unto the understandings of men, is a divine
truth sufficiently witnessed unto in the Scripture; then is this
expression of it reductively scriptural, and the truth itself so
expressed a divine verity. To deny this, is to take away all use of the
interpretation of the Scripture, and to overthrow the ministry of the
church. This, therefore, is to be alone inquired into.
   (2.) They say, the same thing is taught and expressed in the Scripture
in phrases equipollent. For it affirms that "by the obedience of one"
(that is Christ), "many are made righteous", Rom.5:19; and that we are
made righteous by the imputation of righteousness unto us, "Blessed is
the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works," chap.4:6.
And if we are made righteous by the imputation of righteousness unto us,
that obedience or righteousness whereby we are made righteous is imputed
unto us. And they will be content with this expression of this doctrine,-
-that the obedience of Christ whereby we are made righteous, is the
righteousness that God imputes unto us. Wherefore, this objection is of
no force to disadvantage the truth pleaded for.
   2. Socinus objects, in particular, against this doctrine of
justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, and of
his satisfaction, that there is nothing said of it in the "Evangelists",
nor in the "report of the sermons of Christ unto the people, nor yet in
those of his private discourses with his disciples"; and he urges it
vehemently and at large against the whole of the expiation of sin by his
death, De Servator., par.4, cap.9. And as it is easy "malis inventis
pejora addere", this notion of his is not only made use of and pressed at
large by one among ourselves, but improved also by a dangerous comparison
between the writings of the evangelists and the other writings of the New
Testament. For to enforce this argument, that the histories of the
gospel, wherein the sermons of Christ are recorded, do make no mention of
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ (as in his judgment they do
not), nor of his satisfaction, or merit, or expiation of sin, or of
redemption by his death (as they do not in the judgment of Socinus), it
is added by him, that for his part he is "apt to admire our Saviour's
sermons, who was the author of our religion, before the writings of the
apostles, though inspired men". Whereunto many dangerous insinuations and
reflections on the writings of St Paul, contrary to the faith and sense
of the church in all ages, are subjoined. See pp.240,241.
   But this boldness is not only unwarrantable, but to be abhorred. What
place of Scripture, what ecclesiastical tradition, what single precedent
of any one sober Christian writer, what theological reason, will
countenance a man in making the comparison mentioned, and so determining
thereon? Such juvenile boldness, such want of a due apprehension and
understanding of the nature of divine inspiration, with the order and
design of the writings of the New Testament, which are the springs of
this precipitate censure, ought to be reflected on. At present, to remove
this pretence out of our way, it may be observed,--
   (1.) That what the Lord Christ taught his disciples, in his personal
ministry on the earth, was suited unto that economy of the church which
was antecedent unto his death and resurrection. Nothing did he withhold
from them that was needful to their faith, obedience, and consolation in
that state. Many things he instructed them in out of the Scripture, many
new revelations he made unto them, and many times did he occasionally
instruct and rectify their judgments; howbeit he made no clear, distinct
revelation of those sacred mysteries unto them which are peculiar unto
the faith of the New Testament, nor were to be distinctly apprehended
before his death and resurrection.
   (2.) What the Lord Christ revealed afterward by his Spirit unto the
apostles, was no less immediately from himself than was the truth which
he spoke unto them with his own mouth in the days of his flesh. An
apprehension to the contrary is destructive of Christian religion. The
epistles of the apostles are no less Christ's sermons than that which he
delivered on the mount. Wherefore--
   (3.) Neither in the things themselves, nor in the way of their
delivery or revelation, is there any advantage of the one sort of
writings above the other. The things written in the epistles proceed from
the same wisdom, the same grace, the same love, with the things which he
spoke with his own mouth in the days of his flesh, and are of the same
divine veracity, authority, and efficacy. The revelation which he made by
his Spirit is no less divine and immediate from himself, than what he
spoke unto his disciples on the earth. To distinguish between these
things, on any of these accounts, is intolerable folly.
   (4.) The writings of the evangelists do not contain the whole of all
the instructions which the Lord Christ gave unto his disciples personally
on the earth. For he was seen of them after his resurrection forty days,
and spoke with them of "the things pertaining to the kingdom of God,"
Acts 1:3; and yet nothing hereof is recorded in their writings, but only
some few occasional speeches. Nor had he given before unto them a clear
and distinct understanding of those things which were delivered
concerning his death and resurrection in the Old Testament; as is plainly
declared, Luke 24:25-27. For it was not necessary for them, in that state
wherein they were. Wherefore,--
   (5.) As to the extent of divine revelations objectively those which he
granted, by his Spirit, unto his apostles after his ascension, were
beyond those which he personally taught them, so far as they are recorded
in the writings of the evangelists. For he told them plainly, not long
before hit death, that he had many things to say unto them which "then
they could not bear," John 16:12. And for the knowledge of those things,
he refers them to the coming of the Spirit to make revelation of them
from himself, in the next words, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth,
is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of
himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will
show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of
mine, and shall show it unto you," verses 13,14. And on this account he
had told them before, that it was expedient for them that he should go
away, that the Holy Spirit might come unto them, whom he would send from
the Father, verse 7. Hereunto he referred the full and clear
manifestation of the mysteries of the gospel. So false, as well as
dangerous and scandalous, are those insinuations of Socinus and his
followers. 
   (6.) The writings of the evangelists are full unto their proper ends
and purposes. These were, to record the genealogy, conception, birth,
acts, miracles, and teachings of our Saviour, so far as to evince him to
be the true, only-promised Messiah. So he testifies who wrote the last of
them: "Many other signs truly did Jesus, which are not written in this
book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God," John 22:30,31. Unto this end every thing is
recorded by them that is needful unto the ingenerating and establishing
of faith. Upon this confirmation, all things declared in the Old
Testament concerning him--all that was taught in types and sacrifices--
became the object of faith, in that sense wherein they were interpreted
in the accomplishment; and that in them this doctrine was before
revealed, shall be proved afterward. It is, therefore, no wonder if some
things, and those of the highest importance, should be declared more
fully in other writings of the New Testament than they are in those of
the evangelists 
   (7.) The pretence itself is wholly false; for there are as many
pregnant testimonies given unto this truth in one alone of the
evangelists as in any other book of the New Testament,--namely, in the
book of John. I shall refer to some of them, which will be pleaded in
their proper place, chap.1:12,17; 3:14-18,36; 5:24. 
   But we may pass this by, as one of those inventions concerning which
Socinus boasts, in his epistle to Michael Vajoditus, that his writings
were esteemed by many for the singularity of things asserted in them. 
   3. The difference that has been among Protestant writers about this
doctrine is pleaded in the prejudice of it. Osiander, in the entrance of
the reformation, fell into a vain imagination, that we were justified or
made righteous with the essential righteousness of God, communicated unto
us by Jesus Christ. And whereas he was opposed herein with some severity
by the most learned persons of those days, to countenance himself in his
singularity, he pretended that there were "twenty different opinions
amongst the Protestants themselves about the formal cause of our
justification before God". This was quickly laid hold on by them of the
Roman church, and is urged as a prejudice against the whole doctrine, by
Bellarmine, Vasquez, and others. But the vanity of this pretence of his
has been sufficiently discovered; and Bellarmine himself could fancy but
four opinions among them that seemed to be different from one another,
reckoning that of Osiander for one, De Justificat., lib.2, cap.1. But
whereas he knew that the imagination of Osiander was exploded by them
all, the other three that he mentions are indeed but distinct parts of
the same entire doctrine. Wherefore, until of late it might be truly
said, that the faith and doctrine of all Protestants was in this article
entirely the same. For however they differed in the way, manner, and
methods of its declaration, and too many private men were addicted unto
definitions and descriptions of their own, under pretence of logical
accuracy in teaching, which gave an appearance of some contradiction
among them; yet in this they generally agreed, that it is the
righteousness of Christ, and not our own, on the account whereof we
receive the pardon of sin, acceptance with God, are declared righteous by
the gospel, and have a right and title unto the heavenly inheritance.
Hereon, I say, they were generally agreed, first against the Papists, and
afterwards against the Socinians; and where this is granted, I will not
contend with any man about his way of declaring the doctrine of it. 
   And that I may add it by the way, we have herein the concurrence of
the fathers of the primitive church. For although by justification,
following the etymology of the Latin word, they understood the making us
righteous with internal personal righteousness,--at least some of them
did so, as Austin in particular,--yet that we are pardoned and accepted
with God on any other account but that of the righteousness of Christ,
they believed not. And whereas, especially in their controversy with the
Pelagians, after the rising of that heresy, they plead vehemently that we
are made righteous by the grace of God changing our hearts and natures,
and creating in us a principle of spiritual life and holiness, and not by
the endeavours of our own free will, or works performed in the strength
thereof, their words and expressions have been abused, contrary to their
intention and design. 
   For we wholly concur with them, and subscribe unto all that they
dispute about the making of us personally righteous and holy by the
effectual grace of God, against all merit of works and operations of our
own free will (our sanctification being every way as much of grace as our
justification, properly so called); and that in opposition unto the
common doctrine of the Roman church about the same matter: only they call
this our being made inherently and personally righteous by grace,
sometimes by the name of justification, which we do not. And this is laid
hold on as an advantage by those of the Roman church who do not concur
with them in the way and manner whereby we are so made righteous. But
whereas by our justification before God, we intend only that
righteousness whereon our sins are pardoned, wherewith we are made
righteous in his sight, or for which we are accepted as righteous before
him, it will be hard to find any of them assigning of it unto any other
causes than the Protestants do. So it is fallen out, that what they
design to prove, we entirely comply with them in; but the way and manner
whereby they prove it is made use of by the Papists unto another end,
which they intended not.
   But as to the way and manner of the declaration of this doctrine among
Protestants themselves, there ever was some variety and difference in
expressions; nor will it otherwise be whilst the abilities and capacities
of men, whether in the conceiving of things of this nature, or in the
expression of their conceptions, are so various as they are. And it is
acknowledged that these differences of late have had by some as much
weight laid upon them as the substance of the doctrine generally agreed
in. Hence some have composed entire books, consisting almost of nothing
but impertinent cavils at other men's words and expressions. But these
things proceed from the weakness of some men, and other vicious habits of
their minds, and do not belong unto the cause itself. And such persons,
as for me, shall write as they do, and fight on until they are weary.
Neither has the multiplication of questions, and the curious discussion
of them in the handling of this doctrine, wherein nothing ought to be
diligently insisted on but what is directive of our practice, been of
much use unto the truth itself, though it has not been directly opposed
in them.
   That which is of real difference among persons who agree in the
substance of the doctrine, may be reduced unto a very few heads; as,--
(1.) There is something of this kind about the nature of faith whereby we
are justified, with its proper object in justifying, and its use in
justification. And an instance we have herein, not only of the weakness
of our intellects in the apprehension of spiritual things, but also of
the remainders of confusion and disorder in our minds; at least, how true
it is that we know only in part, and prophesy only in part, whilst we are
in this life. For whereas this faith is an act of our minds, put forth in
the way of duty to God, yet many by whom it is sincerely exercised, and
that continually, are not agreed either in the nature or proper object of
it. Yet is there no doubt but that some of them who differ amongst
themselves about these things, have delivered their minds free from the
prepossession of prejudices and notions derived from other artificial
seasonings imposed on them, and do really express their own conceptions
as to the best and utmost of their experience. And notwithstanding this
difference, they do yet all of them please God in the exercise of faith,
as it is their duty, and have that respect unto its proper object as
secures both their justification and salvation. And if we cannot, on this
consideration, bear with, and forbear, one another in our different
conceptions and expressions of those conceptions about these things, it
is a sign we have a great mind to be contentious, and that our
confidences are built on very weak foundations. For my part, I had much
rather my lot should be found among them who do really believe with the
heart unto righteousness, though they are not able to give a tolerable
definition of faith unto others, than among them who can endlessly
dispute about it with seeming accuracy and skill, but are negligent in
the exercise of it as their own duty. Wherefore, some things shall be
briefly spoken of in this matter, to declare my own apprehensions
concerning the things mentioned, without the least design to contradict
or oppose the conceptions of others.
   (2.) There has been a controversy more directly stated among some
learned divines of the Reformed churches (for the Lutherans are unanimous
on the one side), about the righteousness of Christ that is said to be
imputed unto us. For some would have this to be only his suffering of
death, and the satisfaction which he made for sin thereby, and others
include therein the obedience of his life also. The occasion, original,
and progress of this controversy, the persons by whom it has been
managed, with the writings wherein it is so, and the various ways that
have been endeavoured for its reconciliation, are sufficiently known unto
all who have inquired into these things. Neither shall I immix myself
herein, in the way of controversy, or in opposition unto others, though I
shall freely declare my own judgment in it, so far as the consideration
of the righteousness of Christ, under this distinction, is inseparable
from the substance of the truth itself which I plead for.
   (3.) Some difference there has been, also, whether the righteousness
of Christ imputed unto us, or the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ, may be said to be the formal cause of our justification before
God; wherein there appears some variety of expression among learned men,
who have handled this subject in the way of controversy with the Papists.
The true occasion of the differences about this expression has been this,
and no other: Those of the Roman church do constantly assert, that the
righteousness whereby we are righteous before God is the formal cause of
our justification; and this righteousness, they say, is our own inherent,
personal righteousness, and not the righteousness of Christ imputed unto
us: wherefore they treat of this whole controversy--namely, what is the
righteousness on the account whereof we are accepted with God, or
justified--under the name of the formal cause of justification; which is
the subject of the second book of Bellarmine concerning justification. In
opposition unto them, some Protestants, contending that the righteousness
wherewith we are esteemed righteous before God, and accepted with him, is
the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us, and not our own inherent,
imperfect, personal righteousness, have done it under this inquiry,--
namely, What is the formal cause of our justification? Which some have
said to be the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, some, the
righteousness of Christ imputed. But what they designed herein was, not
to resolve this controversy into a philosophical inquiry about the nature
of a formal cause, but only to prove that that truly belonged unto the
righteousness of Christ in our justification which the Papists ascribed
unto our own, under that name. That there is a habitual, infused habit of
grace, which is the formal cause of our personal, inherent righteousness,
they grant: but they all deny that God pardons our sins, and justifies
our persons, with respect unto this righteousness, as the formal cause
thereof; nay, they deny that in the justification of a sinner there
either is, or can be, any inherent formal cause of it. And what they mean
by a formal cause in our justification, is only that which gives the
denomination unto the subject, as the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ does to a person that he is justified.
   Wherefore, notwithstanding the differences that have been among some
in the various expression of their conceptions, the substance of the
doctrine of the reformed churches is by them agreed upon and retained
entire. For they all agree that God justifies no sinner,-- absolves him
not from guilt, nor declares him righteous, so as to have a title unto
the heavenly inheritance,--but with respect unto a true and perfect
righteousness; as also, that this righteousness is truly the
righteousness of him that is so justified; that this righteousness
becomes ours by God's free grace and donation,--the way on our part
whereby we come to be really and effectually interested therein being
faith alone; and that this is the perfect obedience or righteousness of
Christ imputed unto us: in these things, as they shall be afterwards
distinctly explained, is contained the whole of that truth whose
explanation and confirmation is the design of the ensuing discourse. And
because those by whom this doctrine in the substance of it is of late
impugned, derive more from the Socinians than the Papists, and make a
nearer approach unto their principles, I shall chiefly insist on the
examination of those original authors by whom their notions were first
coined, and whose weapons they make use of in their defense.

Eighthly, Influence of the doctrine of justification into the first
Reformation--Advantages unto the world by that Reformation--State of the
consciences of men under the Papacy, with respect unto justification
before God--Alterations made therein by the light of this doctrine,
though not received--Alterations in the Pagan unbelieving world by the
introduction of Christianity--Design and success of the first reformers
herein--Attempts for reconciliation with the Papists in this doctrine,
and their success--Remainders of the ignorance of the truth in the Roman
church--Unavoidable consequences of the corruption of this doctrine

   Eighthly. To close these previous discourses, it is worthy our
consideration what weight was laid on this doctrine of justification at
the first Reformation and what influence it had into the whole work
thereof. However the minds of men may be changed as unto sundry doctrines
of faith among us, yet none can justly own the name of Protestant, but he
must highly value the first Reformation: and they cannot well do
otherwise whose present even temporal advantages are resolved thereinto.
However, I intend none but such as own an especial presence and guidance
of God with them who were eminently and successfully employed therein.
Such persons cannot but grant that their faith in this matter, and the
concurrence of their thoughts about its importance, are worthy
consideration.
   Now it is known that the doctrine of justification gave the first
occasion to the whole work of reformation, and was the main thing whereon
it turned. This those mentioned declared to be "Articulus stantis aut
cadentis eccleseae", and that the vindication thereof alone deserved all
the pains that were taken in the whole endeavor of reformation. But
things are now, and that by virtue of their doctrine herein, much changed
in the world, though it be not so understood or acknowledged. In general,
no small benefit redounded unto the world by the Reformation, even among
them by whom it was not, nor is received, though many bluster with
contrary pretensions: for all the evils which have accidentally ensued
thereon, arising most of them from the corrupt passions and interests of
them by whom it has been opposed, are usually ascribed unto it; and all
the light, liberty, and benefit of the minds of men which it has
introduced, are ascribed unto other causes. But this may be signally
observed with respect unto the doctrine of justification, with the causes
and effects of its discovery and vindication. For the first reformers
found their own, and the consciences of other men, so immersed in
darkness, so pressed and harassed with fears, terrors, and disquietments
under the power of it, and so destitute of any steady guidance into the
ways of peace with God, as that with all diligence (like persons sensible
that herein their spiritual and eternal interest was concerned) they made
their inquiries after the truth in this matter; which they knew must be
the only means of their deliverance. All men in those days were either
kept in bondage under endless fears and anxieties of mind upon the
convictions of sin, or sent for relief unto indulgences, priestly
pardons, penances, pilgrimages, works satisfactory of their own, and
supererogatory of others, or kept under chains of darkness for purgatory
unto the last day. Now, he is no way able to compare things past and
present, who sees not how great an alteration is made in these things
even in the papal church. For before the Reformation, whereby the light
of the gospel, especially in this doctrine of justification, was diffused
among men, and shone even into their minds who never comprehended nor
received it, the whole almost of religion among them was taken up with,
and confined unto, these things. And to instigate men unto an abounding
sedulity in the observation of them, their minds were stuffed with
traditions and stories of visions, apparitions, frightful spirits, and
other imaginations that poor mortals are apt to be amazed withal, and
which their restless disquitments gave countenance unto.
      "Somnia, terrores magici, miracula, sagae
      Nocturni lemures, portentaque Thessala,"--[Hor., Ep.2,2,209.]
were the principal objects of their creed, and matter of their religious
conversation. That very church itself comparatively at ease from these
things unto what it was before the Reformation; though so much of them is
still retained as to blind the eyes of men from discerning the necessity
as well as the truth of the evangelical doctrine of justification.
   It is fallen out herein not much otherwise than it did at the first
entrance of Christianity into the world. For there was an emanation of
light and truth from the gospel which affected the minds of men, by whom
yet the whole of it, in its general design, was opposed and persecuted.
For from thence the very vulgar sort of men became to have better
apprehensions and notions of God and his properties, or the original and
rule of the universe, than they had arrived unto in the midnight of their
paganism. And a sort of learned speculative men there were, who, by
virtue of that light of truth which sprung from the gospel, and was now
diffused into the minds of men, reformed and improved the old philosophy,
discarding many of those falsehoods and impertinencies wherewith it had
been encumbered. But when this was done, they still maintained their
cause on the old principles of the philosophers. And, indeed, their
opposition unto the gospel was far more plausible and pleadable than it
was before. For after they had discarded the gross conceptions of the
common sort about the divine nature and rule, and had blended the light
of truth which brake forth in Christian religion with their own
philosophical notions, they made a vigorous attempt for the reinforcement
of heathenism against the main design of the gospel. And things have not,
as I said, fallen out much otherwise in the Reformation. For as by the
light of truth which therein brake forth, the consciences of even the
vulgar sort are in some measure freed from those childish affrightments
which they were before in bondage unto; so those who are learned have
been enabled to reduce the opinions and practices of their church into a
more defensible posture, and make their opposition unto the truths of the
gospel more plausible than they formerly were. Yea, that doctrine which,
in the way of its teaching and practice among them, as also in its
effects on the consciences of men, was so horrid as to drive innumerable
persons from their communion in that and other things also, is now, in
the new representation of it, with the artificial covering provided for
its former effects in practice, thought an argument meet to be pleaded
for a return unto its entire communion.
   But to root the superstitions mentioned out of the minds of men, to
communicate unto them the knowledge of the righteousness of God, which is
revealed from faith to faith, and thereby to deliver them from their
bondage, fears, and distress, directing convinced sinners unto the only
way of solid peace with God, did the first reformers labour so diligently
in the declaration and vindication of the evangelical doctrine of
justification; and God was with them. And it is worth our consideration,
whether we should, on every cavil and sophism of men not so taught, not
so employed, not so tried, not so owned of God as they were, and in whose
writings there are not appearing such characters of wisdom, sound
judgment, and deep experience, as in theirs, easily part with that
doctrine of truth wherein alone they found peace unto their own souls,
and whereby they were instrumental to give liberty and peace with God
unto the souls and consciences of others innumerable, accompanied with
the visible effects of holiness of life, and fruitfulness in the works of
righteousness, unto the praise of God by Jesus Christ.
   In my judgment, Luther spake the truth when he said, "Amisso articulo
justificationis, simul amissa est tota doctrina Christiana". And I wish
he had not been a true prophet, when he foretold that in the following
ages the doctrine thereof would be again obscured; the causes whereof I
have elsewhere inquired into.
   Some late writers, indeed, among the Protestants have endeavoured to
reduce the controversy about justification with the Papist unto an
appearance of a far less real difference than is usually judged to be in
it. And a good work it is, no doubt, to pare off all unnecessary
occasions of debate and differences in religion, provided we go not so
near the quick as to let out any of its vital spirits. The way taken
herein is, to proceed upon some concessions of the most sober among the
Papists, in their ascriptions unto grace and the merit of Christ, on the
one side; and the express judgment of the Protestants, variously
delivered, of the necessity of good works to them that are justified, on
the other. Besides, it appears that in different expressions which either
party adhere unto, as it were by tradition, the same things are indeed
intended. Among them who have laboured in this kind, Ludovicus le Blanc,
for his perspicuity and plainness, his moderation and freedom from a
contentious frame of spirit, is "pene solus legi dignus". He is like the
ghost of Tiresias in this matter. But I must needs say, that I have not
seen the effect that might be desired of any such undertaking. For, when
each party comes unto the interpretation of their own concessions, which
is, "ex communi jure", to be allowed unto them, and which they will be
sure to do in compliance with their judgment on the substance of the
doctrine wherein the main stress of the difference lies, the distance and
breach continue as wide as ever they were. Nor is there the least ground
towards peace obtained by any of our condescensions or compliance herein.
For unless we can come up entirely unto the decrees and canons of the
Council of Trent, wherein the doctrine of the Old and New Testament is
anathematized, they will make no other use of any man's compliance, but
only to increase the glamour of differences among ourselves. I mention
nothing of this nature to hinder any man from granting whatever he can or
please unto them, without the prejudice of the substance of truths
professed in the protestant churches; but only to intimate the
uselessness of such concessions, in order unto peace and agreement with
them, whilst they have a Procrustes' bed to lay us upon, and from whose
size they will not recede.
   Here and there one (not above three or four in all may be named,
within this hundred and thirty years) in the Roman communion has owned
our doctrine of justification, for the substance of it. So did Albertus
Pighius, and the Antitagma Coloniense, as Bellarmine acknowledges. And
what he says of Pighius is true, as we shall see afterwards; the other I
have not seen. Cardinal Contarinus, in a treatise of justification,
written before, and published about the beginning of the Trent Council,
delivers himself in the favour of it. But upon the observation of what he
had done, some say he was shortly after poisoned; though I must confess I
know not where they had the report.
   But do what we can for the sake of peace, as too much cannot be done
for it, with the safety of truth, it cannot be denied but that the
doctrine of justification, as it works effectually in the church of Rome,
is the foundation of many enormities among them, both in judgment and
practice. They do not continue, I acknowledge, in that visible
predominancy and rage as formerly, nor are the generality of the people
in so much slavish bondage unto them as they were; but the streams of
them do still issue from this corrupt fountain, unto the dangerous
infection of the souls of men. For missatical expiatory sacrifices for
the tiring and the dead, the necessity of auricular confession, with
authoritative absolution, penances, pilgrimages, sacramentals,
indulgences, commutations, works satisfactory and supererogatory, the
merit and intercession of saints departed, with especial devotions and
applications to this or that particular saint or angel, purgatory, yea,
on the matter, the whole of monastic devotion, do depend thereon. They
are all nothing but ways invented to pacify the consciences of men, or
divert them from attending to the charge which is given in against them
by the law of God; sorry supplies they are of a righteousness of their
own, for them who know not how to submit themselves to the righteousness
of God. And if the doctrine of free justification by the blood of Christ
were once again exploded, or corrupted and made unintelligible, unto
these things, as absurd and foolish as now unto some they seem to be, or
what is not one jut better, men must and will again betake themselves.
For if once they are diverted from putting their trust in the
righteousness of Christ, and grace of God alone, and do practically
thereon follow after, take up with, or rest in, that which is their own,
the first impressions of a sense of sin which shall befall their
consciences will drive them from their present hold, to seek for shelter
in any thing that tenders unto them the least appearance of relief. Men
may talk and dispute what they please, whilst they are at peace in their
own minds, without a real sense either of sin or righteousness, yea, and
scoff at them who are not under the power of the same security; but when
they shall be awakened with other apprehensions of things than yet they
are aware of, they will be put on new resolutions. And it is in vain to
dispute with any about justification, who have not duly been convinced of
a state of sin, and of its guilt; for such men neither understand what
they say, nor that whereof they dogmatize.
   We have, therefore, the same reasons that the first reformers had, to
be careful about the preservation of this doctrine of the gospel pure and
entire; though we may not expect the like success with them in our
endeavours unto that end. For the minds of the generality of men are in
another posture than they were when they dealt with them. Under the power
of ignorance and superstition they were; but yet multitudes of them were
affected with a sense of the guilt of sin. With us, for the most part,
things are quite otherwise. Notional light, accompanied with a
senselessness of sin, leads men unto a contempt of this doctrine, indeed
of the whole mystery of the gospel. We have had experience of the fruits
of the faith which we now plead for in this nation, for many years, yea,
now for some ages; and it cannot well be denied, but that those who have
been most severely tenacious of the doctrine of justification by the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ, have been the most exemplary
in a holy life: I speak of former days. And if this doctrine be yet
farther corrupted, debased, or unlearned among us, we shall quickly fall
into one of the extremes wherewith we are at present urged on either
side. For although the reliefs provided in the church of Rome, for the
satisfaction of the consciences of men, are at present by the most
disliked, yea, despised, yet, if they are once brought to a loss how to
place their whole trust and confidence in the righteousness of Christ,
and grace of God in him, they will not always live at such an uncertainty
of mind as the best of their own personal obedience will hang them on the
briers of; but retake themselves unto somewhat that tenders them certain
peace and security, though at present it may seem foolish unto them. And
I doubt not but that some, out of a mere ignorance of the righteousness
of God, which either they have not been taught, or have had no mind to
learn, have, with some integrity in the exercise of their consciences,
betaken themselves unto that pretended rest which the church of Rome
offers unto them. For being troubled about their sins, they think it
better to retake themselves unto that great variety of means for the ease
and discharge of their consciences which the Roman church affords, than
to abide where they are, without the least pretence of relief; as men
will find in due time, there is no such thing to be found or obtained in
themselves. They may go on for a time with good satisfaction unto their
own minds; but if once they are brought unto a loss through the
conviction of sin, they must look beyond themselves for peace and
satisfaction, or sit down without them to eternity. Nor are the
principles and ways which others take up withal in another extreme, upon
the rejection of this doctrine, although more plausible, yet at all more
really useful unto the souls of men than those of the Roman church which
they reject as obsolete, and unsuited unto the genius of the present age.
For they all of them arise from, or lead unto, the want of a due sense of
the nature and guilt of sin, as also of the holiness and righteousness of
God with respect thereunto. And when such principles as these do once
grow prevalent in the minds of men, they quickly grow careless,
negligent, secure in sinning, and end for the most part in atheism, or a
great indifference, as unto all religion, and all the duties thereof.





I. Justifying faith; the causes and object of it declared

Justification by faith generally acknowledged--The meaning of it
perverted--The nature and use of faith in justification proposed to
consideration--Distinctions about it waived--A twofold faith of the
gospel expressed in the Scripture--Faith that is not justifying, Acts
8:13; John 2:23,24; Luke 8:13; Matt.7:22,23--Historical faith; whence it
is so called, and the nature of it--Degrees of assent in it--
Justification not ascribed unto any degree of it--A calumny obviated--The
causes of true saving faith--Conviction of sin previous unto it--The
nature of legal conviction, and its effects--Arguments to prove it
antecedent unto faith--Without the consideration of it, the true nature
of faith not to be understood--The order and relation of the law and
gospel, Rom.1:17--Instance of Adam--Effects of conviction--Internal:
Displicency and sorrow; fear of punishment; desire of deliverance--
External: Abstinence from sin; performance of duties; reformation of
life--Not conditions of justification; not formal disposition unto it;
not moral preparations for it--The order of God in justification--The
proper object of justifying faith--Not all divine verity equally; proved
by sundry arguments--The pardon of our own sins, whether the first object
of faith--The Lord Christ in the work of mediation, as the ordinance of
God for the recovery of lost sinners, the proper object of justifying
faith--The position explained and proved, Acts 10:43; 16:31; 4:12; Luke
24:25-27; John 1:12; 3:16,36; 6:29,47; 7:38; Acts 26:18; Col.2:6;
Rom.3:24,25; 1 Cor.1:30; 2 Cor.5:21; Eph.1:7,8; 2 Cor.5:19



The means of justification on our part is faith. That we are justified by
faith, is so frequently and so expressly affirmed in the Scripture, as
that it cannot directly and in terms by any be denied. For whereas some
begin, by an excess of partiality, which controversial engagements and
provocations do incline them unto, to affirm that our justification is
more frequently ascribed unto other things, graces or duties, than unto
faith, it is to be passed by in silence, and not contended about. But
yet, also, the explanation which some others make of this general
concession, that "we are justified by faith", does as fully overthrow
what is affirmed therein as if it were in terms rejected; and it would
more advantage the understandings of men if it were plainly refused upon
its first proposal, than to be led about in a maze of words and
distinctions unto its real exclusion, as is done both by the Romanists
and Socinians. At present we may take the proposition as granted, and
only inquire into the true, genuine sense and meaning of it: That which
first occurs unto our consideration is faith; and that which does concern
it may be reduced unto two heads:--1. Its nature. 2. Its use in our
justification.
   Of the nature of faith in general, of the especial nature of
justifying faith, of its characteristical distinctions from that which is
called faith but is not justifying, so many discourses (divers of them
the effects of sound judgment and good experience) are already extant, as
it is altogether needless to engage at large into a farther discussion of
them. However, something must be spoken to declare in what sense we
understand these things;--what is that faith which we ascribe our
justification unto, and what is its use therein.
   The distinctions that are usually made concerning faith (as it is a
word of various significations), I shall wholly pretermit; not only as
obvious and known, but as not belonging unto our present argument. That
which we are concerned in is, that in the Scripture there is mention made
plainly of a twofold faith, whereby men believe the gospel. For there is
a faith whereby we are justified, which he who has shall be assuredly
saved; which purifies the heart and works by love. And there is a faith
or believing, which does nothing of all this; which who has, and has no
more, is not justified, nor can be saved. Wherefore, every faith, whereby
men are said to believe, is not justifying. Thus it is said of Simon the
magician, that he "believed," Acts 8:13, when he was in the "gall of
bitterness and bond of iniquity;" and therefore did not believe with that
faith which "purifieth the heart," Acts 15:9. And that many "believed on
the name of Jesus, when they saw the miracles that he did; but Jesus did
not commit himself unto them, because he knew what was in man," John
2:23,24. They did not believe on his name as those do, or with that kind
of faith, who thereon "receive power to become the sons of God," John
1:12. And some, when they "hear the word receive it with joy, believing
for a while," but "have no root," Luke 8:13. And faith, without a root in
the heart, will not justify any; for "with the heart men believe unto
righteousness," Rom.10:10. So is it with them who shall cry, "Lord, Lord"
(at the last days, "we have prophesied in thy name," whilst yet they were
always "workers of iniquity", Matt.7:22,23.
   This faith is usually called historical faith. But this denomination
is not taken from the object of it, as though it were only the history of
the Scripture, or the historical things contained in it. For it respects
the whole truth of the word, yea, of the promises of the gospel as well
as other things. But it is so called from the nature of the assent
wherein it does consist; for it is such as we give unto historical things
that are credibly testified unto us.
   And this faith has divers differences or degrees, both in respect unto
the grounds or reasons of it, and also its effects. For as unto the
first, all faith is an assent upon testimony; and divine faith is an
assent upon a divine testimony. According as this testimony is received,
so are the differences or degrees of this faith. Some apprehend it on
human motives only, and its credibility unto the judgment of reason; and
their assent is a mere natural act of their understanding, which is the
lowest degree of this historical faith. Some have their minds enabled
unto it by spiritual illumination, making a discovery of the evidences of
divine truth whereon it is to be believed; the assent they give hereon is
more firm and operative than that of the former sort.
   Again; it has its differences or degrees with respect unto its
effects. With some it does no way, or very little, influence the will or
the affections, or work any change in the lives of men. So is it with
them that profess they believe the gospel, and yet live in all manner of
sins. In this degree, it is called by the apostle James "a dead faith,"
and compared unto a dead carcass, without life or motion; and is an
assent of the very serene nature and kind with that which devils are
compelled to give; and this faith abounds in the world. With others it
has an effectual work upon the affections, and that in many degrees,
also, represented in the several sorts of ground whereinto the seed of
the word is cast, and produces many effects in their lives. In the utmost
improvement of it, both as to the evidence it proceeds from and the
effects it produces, it is usually called temporary faith; for it is
neither permanent against all oppositions, nor will bring any unto
eternal rest. The name is taken from that expression of our Saviour
concerning him who believeth with this faith,--"Proskairos esti",
Matt.13:21.
   This faith I grant to be true in its kind, and not merely to be
equivocally so called: it is not "pistis pseudoonumos". It is so as unto
the general nature of faith; but of the same special nature with
justifying faith it is not. Justifying faith is not a higher, or the
highest degree of this faith, but is of another kind or nature.
Wherefore, sundry things may be observed concerning this faith, in the
utmost improvement of it unto our present purpose. As--
   1. This faith, with all the effects of it, men may have and not be
justified; and, if they have not a faith of another kind, they cannot be
justified. For justification is nowhere ascribed unto it, yea, it is
affirmed by the apostle James that none can be justified by it.
   2. It may produce great effects in the minds, affections and lives of
men, although not one of them that are peculiar unto justifying faith.
Yet such they may be, as that those in whom they are wrought may be, and
ought, in the judgment of charity, to be looked on as true believers.
   3. This is that faith which may be alone. We are justified by faith
alone; but we are not justified by that faith which can be alone. Alone,
respects its influence into our justification, not its nature and
existence. And we absolutely deny that we can be justified by that faith
which can be alone; that is, without a principle of spiritual life and
universal obedience, operative in of it, as duty does require.
   These things I have observed, only to obviate that calumny and
reproach which some endeavour to fix on the doctrine of justification by
faith only, through the mediation of Christ. For those who assert it,
must be Solifidians, Antinomians, and I know not what;--such as oppose or
deny the necessity of universal obedience, or good works. Most of them
who manage it, cannot but know in their own consciences that this charge
is false. But this is the way of handling controversies with many. They
can aver any thing that seems to advantage the cause they plead, to the
great scandal of religion. If by Solifidians, they mean those who believe
that faith alone is on our part the means, instrument, or condition (of
which afterward) of our justification, all the prophets and apostles were
so, and were so taught to be by Jesus Christ; as shall be proved. If they
mean those who affirm that the faith whereby we are justified is alone,
separate, or separable, from a principle and the fruit of holy obedient,
they must find them out themselves, we know nothing of them. For we allow
no faith to be of the same kind or nature with that whereby we are
justified, but what virtually and radically contains in it universal
obedience, as the effect is in the cause, the fruit in the root, and
which acts itself in all particular duties, according as by rule and
circumstances they are made so to be. Yea, we allow no faith to be
justifying, or to be of the same kind with it, which is not itself, and
in its own nature, a spiritually vital principle of obedience and good
works. And if this be not sufficient to prevail with some not to seek for
advantages by such shameful calumnies, yet is it so with others, to free
their minds from any concernment in them.
   [As] for the especial nature of justifying faith, which we inquire
into, the things whereby it is evidenced may be reduced unto these four
heads:--1. The causes of it on the part of God. 2. What is in us
previously required unto it. 3. The proper object of it. 4. Its proper
peculiar acts and effects. Which shall be spoken unto so far as is
necessary unto our present design:-- 
   1. The doctrine of the causes of faith, as unto its first original in
the divine will, and the way of its communication unto us, is so large,
and so immixed with that of the way and manner of the operation of
efficacious grace in conversion (which I have handled elsewhere), as that
I shall not here insist upon it. For as it cannot in a few words be
spoken unto, according unto its weight and worth, so to engage into a
full handling of it would too much divert us from our present argument.
This I shall only say, that from thence it may be uncontrollable
evidenced, that the faith whereby we are justified is of an especial kind
or nature, wherein no other faith, which justification is not inseparable
from, does partake with it. 
   2. Wherefore, our first inquiry is concerning what was proposed in the
second place,--namely, What is on our part, in a way of duty, previously
required thereunto; or, what is necessary to be found in us
antecedaneously unto our believing unto the justification of life? And I
say there is supposed in them in whom this faith is wrought, on whom it
is bestowed, and whose duty it is to believe therewith, the work of the
law in the conviction of sin; or, conviction of sin is a necessary
antecedent unto justifying faith. Many have disputed what belongs
hereunto, and what effects it produces in the mind, that dispose the soul
unto the receiving of the promise of the gospel. But whereas there are
different apprehensions about these effects or concomitants of conviction
(in compunction, humiliation, self-judging, with sorrow for sin
committed, and the like), as also about the degrees of them, as
ordinarily prerequired unto faith and conversion unto God, I shall speak
very briefly unto them, so far as they are inseparable from the
conviction asserted. And I shall first consider this conviction itself,
with what is essential thereunto, and then the effects of it in
conjunction with that temporary faith before spoken of. I shall do so,
not as unto their nature, the knowledge whereof I take for granted, but
only as they have respect unto our justification. 
   (1.) As to the first, I say, the work of conviction in general,
whereby the soul of man has a practical understanding of the nature of
sin, its guilt, and the punishment due unto it; and is made sensible of
his own interest therein, both with respect unto sin original and actual,
with his own utter disability to deliver himself out of the state and
condition wherein on the account of these things he finds himself to be,-
-is that which we affirm to be antecedaneously necessary unto justifying
faith; that is, in the adult, and of whose justification the word is the
external means and instrument.
   A convinced sinner is only "subjectum capax justificationis",--not
that every one that is convinced is or must necessarily be justified.
There is not any such disposition or preparation of the subject by this
conviction, its effects, and consequent, as that the form of
justification, as the Papists speak, or justifying grace, must
necessarily ensue or be introduced thereon. Nor is there any such
preparation in it, as that, by virtue of any divine compact or promise, a
person so convinced shall be pardoned and justified. But as a man may
believe with any kind of faith that is not justifying, such as that
before mentioned, without this conviction; so it is ordinarily previous
and necessary so to be, unto that faith which is unto the justification
of life. The motive unto it is not that thereon a man shall be assuredly
justified; but that without it he cannot be so.
   This, I say, is required in the person to be justified, in order of
nature antecedaneously unto that faith whereby we are justified; which we
shall prove with the ensuing arguments:--For, [1.] Without the due
consideration and supposition of it, the true nature of faith can never
be understood. For, as we have showed before, justification is God's way
of the deliverance of the convinced sinner, or one whose mouth is
stopped, and who is guilty before God,--obnoxious to the law, and shut up
under sin. A sense, therefore, of this estate, and all that belongs unto
it, is required unto believing. Hence Le Blanc, who has searched with
some diligence into these things, commends the definition of faith given
by Mestrezat,--that it is "the fight of a penitent sinner unto the mercy
of God in Christ." And there is, indeed, more sense and truth in it than
in twenty others that seem more accurate. But without a supposition of
the conviction mentioned, there is no understanding of this definition of
faith. For it is that alone which puts the soul upon a flight unto the
mercy of God in Christ, to be saved from the wrath to come. Heb.6:18,
"Fled for refuge."
   [2.] The order, relation, and use of the law and the gospel do
uncontrollably evince the necessity of this conviction previous unto
believing. For that which any man has first to deal withal, with respect
unto his eternal condition, both naturally and by God's institution, is
the law. This is first presented unto the soul with its terms of
righteousness and life, and with its curse in case of failure. Without
this the gospel cannot be understood, nor the grace of it duly valued.
For it is the revelation of God's way for the relieving the souls of men
from the sentence and curse of the law, Rom.1:17. That was the nature,
that was the use and end of the first promise, and of the whole work of
God's grace revealed in all the ensuing promises, or in the whole gospel.
Wherefore, the faith which we treat of being evangelical,--that which, in
its especial nature and use, not the law but the gospel requires, that
which has the gospel for its principle, rule, and object,--it is not
required of us, cannot be acted by us, but on a supposition of the work
and effect of the law in the conviction of sin, by giving the knowledge
of it, a sense of its guilt, and the state of the sinner on the account
thereof. And that faith which has not respect hereunto, we absolutely
deny to be that faith whereby we are justified, Gal.3:22-24; Rom.10:4.
   [3.] This our Saviour himself directly teaches in the gospel. For he
calls unto him only those who are weary and heavily laden; affirms that
the "whole have no need of the physician, but the sick;" and that he
"came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." In all which
he intends not those who were really sinners, as all men are,--for he
makes a difference between them, offering the gospel unto some and not
unto others,--but such as were convinced of sin, burdened with it, and
sought after deliverance.
   So those unto whom the apostle Peter proposed the promise of the
gospel, with the pardon of sin thereby as the object of gospel faith,
were "pricked to the heart" upon the conviction of their sin, and cried,
"What shall we do?" Acts 2:37-39. Such, also, was the state of the jailer
unto whom the apostle Paul proposed salvation by Christ, as what he was
to believe for his deliverance, Acts 16:30,31.
   [4.] The state of Adam, and God's dealing with him therein, is the
best representation of the order and method of these things. As he was
after the fall, so are we by nature, in the very same state and
condition. Really he was utterly lost by sin, and convinced he was both
of the nature of his sin and of the effects of it, in that act of God by
the law on his mind, which is called the "opening of his eyes." For it
was nothing but the communication unto his mind by his conscience of a
sense of the nature, guilt, effects, and consequent of sin; which the law
could then teach him, and could not do so before. This fills him with
shame and fear; against the former whereof he provided by fig-leaves, and
against the latter by hiding himself among the trees of the garden. Nor,
however they may please themselves with them, are any of the contrivances
of men, for freedom and safety from sin, either wiser or more likely to
have success. In this condition God, by an immediate inquisition into the
matter of fact, sharpens this conviction by the addition of his own
testimony unto its truth, and casts him actually under the curse of the
law, in a juridical denunciation of it. In this lost, forlorn, hopeless
condition, God proposes the promise of redemption by Christ unto him. And
this was the object of that faith whereby he was to be justified.
   Although these things are not thus eminently and distinctly translated
in the minds and consciences of all who are called unto believing by the
gospel, yet for the substance of them, and as to the previousness of the
conviction of sin unto faith, they are found in all that sincerely
believe.
   These things are known, and, for the substance of them, generally
agreed unto. But yet are they such as, being duly considered, will
discover the vanity and mistakes of many definitions of faith that are
obtruded on us. For any definition or description of it which has not
express, or at least virtual, respect hereunto, is but a deceit, and no
way answers the experience of them that truly believe. And such are all
those who place it merely in an assent unto divine revelation, of what
nature soever that assent be, and whatever effects are ascribed unto it.
For such an assent there may be, without any respect unto this work of
the law. Neither do I, to speak plainly, at all value the most accurate
disputations of any about the nature and act of justifying faith, who
never had in themselves an experience of the work of the law in
conviction and condemnation for sin, with the effects of it upon their
consciences; or [who] do omit the due consideration of their own
experience, wherein what they truly believe is better stated than in all
their disputations. That faith whereby we are justified is, in general,
the acting of the soul towards God, as revealing himself in the gospel,
for deliverance out of this state and condition, or from under the curse
of the law applied unto the conscience, according to his mind, and by the
ways that he has appointed. I give not this as any definition of faith,
but only express what has a necessary influence unto it, whence the
nature of it may be discerned.
   (2.) The effects of this conviction, with their respect unto our
justification, real or pretended, may also be briefly considered. And
whereas this conviction is a mere work of the law, it is not, with
respect unto these effects, to be considered alone, but in conjunction
with, and under the conduct of, that temporary faith of the gospel before
described. And these two, temporary faith and legal conviction, are the
principles of all works or duties in unto justification; and which,
therefore, we must deny to have in them any causality thereof. But it is
granted that many acts and duties, both internal and external, will ensue
on real convictions. Those that are internal may be reduced unto three
heads:--[1.] Displicency and sorrow that we have sinned. It is impossible
that any one should be really convinced of sin in the way before
declared, but that a dislike of sin, and of himself that he has sinned,
shame of it, and sorrow for it, will ensue thereon. And it is a
sufficient evidence that he is not really convinced of sin, whatever he
profess, or whatever confession he make, whose mind is not so affected,
Jer.36:24. [2.] Fear of punishment due to sin. For conviction respects
not only the instructive and receptive part of the law, whereby the being
and nature of sin are discovered, but the sentence and curse of it also,
whereby it is judged and condemned, Gen.4:13,14. Wherefore, where fear of
the punishment threatened does not ensue, no person is really convinced
of sin; nor has the law had its proper work towards him, as it is
previous unto the administration of the gospel. And whereas by faith we
"fly from the wrath to come," where there is not a sense and apprehension
of that wrath as due unto us, there is no ground or reason for our
believing. [3.] A desire of deliverance from that state wherein a
convinced sinner finds himself upon his conviction is unavoidable unto
him. And it is naturally the first thing that conviction works in the
minds of men, and that in various degrees of care, fear, solicitude, and
restlessness; which, from experience and the conduct of Scripture light,
have been explained by many, unto the great benefit of the church, and
sufficiently derided by others. Secondly, These internal acts of the mind
will also produce sundry external duties, which may be referred unto two
heads:--[1.] Abstinence from known sin unto the utmost of men's power.
For they who begin to find that it is an evil thing and a bitter that
they have sinned against God, cannot but endeavour a future abstinence
from it. And as this has respect unto all the former internal acts, as
causes of it, so it is a peculiar exurgency of the last of them, or a
desire of deliverance from the state wherein such persons are. For this
they suppose to be the best expedient for it, or at least that without
which it will not be. And herein usually do their spirits act by promises
and vows, with renewed sorrow on surprisals into sin, which will befall
them in that condition. [2.] The duties of religious worship, in prayer
and hearing of the word, with diligence in the use of the ordinances of
the church, will ensue hereon. For without these they know that no
deliverance is to be obtained. Reformation of life and conversation in
various degrees does partly consist in these things, and partly follow
upon them. And these things are always so, where the convictions of men
are real and abiding.
   But yet it must be said, that they are neither severally nor jointly,
though in the highest degree, either necessary dispositions,
preparations, previous congruities in a way of merit, nor conditions of
our justification. For,--
   [1.] They are not conditions of justification. For where one thing is
the condition of another, that other thing must follow the fulfilling of
that condition, otherwise the condition of it it is not; but they may be
all found where justification does not ensue: wherefore, there is no
covenant, promise, or constitution of God, making them to be such
conditions of justification, though, in their own nature, they may be
subservient unto what is required of us with respect thereunto; but a
certain infallible connection with it, by virtue of any promise or
covenant of God (as it is with faith), they have not. And other
condition, but what is constituted and made to be so by divine compact or
promise, is not to be allowed; for otherwise, conditions might be
endlessly multiplied, and all things, natural as well as moral, made to
be so. So the meat we eat may be a condition of justification. Faith and
justification are inseparable; but so are not justification and the
things we now insist upon, as experience does evince.
   [2.] Justification may be, where the outward acts and duties
mentioned, proceeding from convictions under the conduct of temporary
faith, are not. For Adam was justified without them; so also were the
converts in the Acts, chap. 2,--for what is reported concerning them is
all of it essentially included in conviction, verse 37; and so likewise
was it with the jailer, Acts 16:30,31; and as unto many of them, it is so
with most that do believe. Therefore, they are not conditions; for a
condition suspends the event of a condition.
   [3.] They are not formal dispositions unto justification; because it
consists not in the introduction of any new form or inherent quality in
the soul, as has been in part already declared, and shall yet afterwards
be more fully evinced. Nor,-[4.] Are they moral preparations for it; for
being antecedent unto faith evangelical, no man can have any design in
them, but only to "seek for righteousness by the works of the law," which
is no preparation unto justification. All discoveries of the
righteousness of God, with the soul's adherence unto it, belong to faith
alone. There is, indeed, a repentance which accompanies faith, and is
included in the nature of it, at least radically. This is required unto
our justification But that legal repentance which precedes gospel faith,
and is without it, is neither a disposition, preparation, nor condition
of our justification.
   In brief, the order of these things may be observed in the dealing of
God with Adam, as was before intimated. And there are three degrees in
it:--[1.] The opening of the eyes of the sinner, to see the filth and
guilt of sin in the sentence and curse of the law applied unto his
conscience, Rom.8:9,10. This effects in the mind of the sinner the things
before mentioned, and puts him upon all the duties that spring from them.
For persons on their first convictions, ordinarily judge no more but that
their state being evil and dangerous, it is their duty to better it; and
that they can or shall do so accordingly, if they apply themselves
thereunto. But all these things, as to a protection or deliverance from
the sentence of the law, are no better than fig-leaves and hiding. [2.]
Ordinarily, God by his providence, or in the dispensation of the word,
gives life and power unto this work of the law in a peculiar manner; in
answer unto the charge which he gave unto Adam after his attempt to hide
himself. Hereby the "mouth of the sinner is stopped," and he becomes, as
thoroughly sensible of his guilt before God, so satisfied that there is
no relief or deliverance to be expected from any of those ways of sorrow
or duty that he has put himself upon. [3.] In this condition it is a mere
act of sovereign grace, without any respect unto these things foregoing,
to call the sinner unto believing, or faith in the promise unto the
justification of life. This is God's order; yet so as that what precedes
his call unto faith has no causality thereof.
   3. The next thing to be inquired into is the proper object of
justifying faith, or of true faith, in its office, work, and duty, with
respect unto our justification. And herein we must first consider what we
cannot so well close withal. For besides other differences that seem to
be about it (which, indeed, are but different explanations of the same
thing for the substance), there are two opinions which are looked on as
extremes, the one in an excess, and the other in defect. The first is
that of the Roman church, and those who comply with them therein. And
this is, that the object of justifying faith, as such, is all divine
verity, all divine revelation, whether written in the Scripture or
delivered by tradition, represented unto us by the authority of the
church. In the latter part of this description we are not at present
concerned. That the whole Scripture, and all the parts of it, and all the
truths, of what sort soever they be, that are contained in it, are
equally the objects of faith in the discharge of its office in our
justification, is that which they maintain. Hence, as to the nature of
it, they cannot allow it to consist in any thing but an assent of the
mind. For, supposing the whole Scripture, and all contained in it,--laws,
precepts, promises, threatening, stories, prophecies, and the like,--to
be the object of it, and these not as containing in them things good or
evil unto us, but under this formal consideration as divinely revealed,
they cannot assign or allow any other act of the mind to be required
hereunto, but assent only. And so confident are they herein,--namely,
that faith is no more than an assent unto divine revelation,--as that
Bellarmine, in opposition unto Calvin, who placed knowledge in the
description of justifying faith, affirms that it is better defined by
ignorance than by knowledge.
   This description of justifying faith and its object has been so
discussed, and on such evident grounds of Scripture and reason rejected
by Protestant writers of all sorts, as that it is needless to insist much
upon it again. Some things I shall observe in relation unto it, whereby
we may discover what is of truth in what they assert, and wherein it
falls short thereof. Neither shall I respect only them of the Roman
church who require no more to faith or believing, but only a bare assent
of the mind unto divine revelations, but them also who place it wholly in
such a firm assent as produces obedience unto all divine commands. For as
it does both these, as both these are included in it, so unto the
especial nature of it more is required. It is, as justifying, neither a
mere assent, nor any such firm degree of it as should produce such
effects.
   (1.) All faith whatever is an act of that power of our souls, in
general, whereby we are able firmly to assent unto the truth upon
testimony, in things not evident unto us by sense or reason. It is "the
evidence of things not seen." And all divine faith is in general an
assent unto the truth that is proposed unto us upon divine testimony. And
hereby, as it is commonly agreed, it is distinguished from opinion and
moral certainty on the one hand, and science or demonstration on the
other.
   (2.) Wherefore, in justifying faith there is an assent unto all divine
revelation upon the testimony of God, the revealer. By no other act of
our mind, wherein this is not included or supposed, can we be justified;
not because it is not justifying, but because it is not faith. This
assent, I say, is included in justifying faith. And therefore we find it
often spoken of in the Scripture (the instances whereof are gathered up
by Bellarmine and others) with respect unto other things, and not
restrained unto the especial promise of grace in Christ; which is that
which they oppose. But besides that in most places of that kind the
proper object of faith as justifying is included and referred ultimately
unto, though diversely expressed by some of its causes or concomitant
adjuncts, it is granted that we believe all divine truth with that very
faith whereby we are justified, so as that other things may well be
ascribed unto it.
   (3.) On these concessions we yet say two things:--[1.] That the whole
nature of justifying faith does not consist merely in an assent of the
mind, be it never so firm and steadfast, nor whatever effects of
obedience it may produce. [2.] That in its duty and office in
justification, whence it has that especial denomination which alone we
are in the explanation of, it does not equally respect all divine
revelation as such, but has a peculiar object proposed unto it in the
Scripture. And whereas both these will be immediately evinced in our
description of the proper object and nature of faith, I shall, at
present, oppose some few things unto this description of them, sufficient
to manifest how alien it is from the truth.
   1st. This assent is an act of the understanding only,--an act of the
mind with respect unto truth evidenced unto it, be it of what nature it
will. So we believe the worst of things and the most grievous unto us, as
well as the best and the most useful. But believing is an act of the
heart; which, in the Scriptures comprises all the faculties of the soul
as one entire principle of moral and spiritual duties: "With the heart
man believeth unto righteousness," Rom.10:10. And it is frequently
described by an act of the will, though it be not so alone. But without
an act of the will, no man can believe as he ought. See John 5:40; 1:12;
6:35. We come to Christ in an act of the will; and "let whosoever will,
come." And to be willing is taken for to believe, Ps.110:3; and unbelief
is disobedience, Heb.3:18,19.
   2dly. All divine truth is equally the object of this assent. It
respects not the especial nature or use of any one truth, be it of what
kind it will, more than another; nor can it do so, since it regards only
divine revelation. Hence that Judas was the traitor, must have as great
an influence into our justification as that Christ died for our sins. But
how contrary this is unto the Scripture, the analogy of faith, and the
experience of all that believe, needs neither declaration nor
confirmation.
   3dly. This assent unto all divine revelation may be true and sincere,
where there has been no previous work of the law, nor any conviction of
sin. No such thing is required thereunto, nor are they found in many who
yet do so assent unto the truth. But, as we have showed, this is
necessary unto evangelical, justifying faith; and to suppose the
contrary, is to overthrow the order and use of the law and gospel, with
their mutual relation unto one another, in subserviency unto the design
of God in the salvation of sinners.
   4thly. It is not a way of seeking relief unto a convinced sinner,
whose mouth is stopped, in that he is become guilty before God. Such
alone are capable subjects of justification, and do or can seek after it
in a due manner. A mere assent unto divine revelation is not peculiarly
suited to give such persons relief: for it is that which brings them into
that condition from whence they are to be relieved; for the knowledge of
sin is by the law. But faith is a peculiar acting of the soul for
deliverance.
   5thly. It is no more than what the devils themselves may have, and
have, as the apostle James affirms. For that instance of their believing
one God, proves that they believe also whatever this one God, who is the
first essential truth, does reveal to be true. And it may consist with
all manner of wickedness, and without any obedience; and so make God a
liar, 1 John 5:10. And it is no wonder if men deny us to be justified by
faith, who know no other faith but this.
   6thly. It no way answers the descriptions that are given of justifying
faith in the Scripture. Particularly, it is by faith as it is justifying
that we are said to "receive" Christ, John 1:12; Col.2:6;-- to "receive"
the promise, the word, the grace of God, the atonement, James 1:21; John
3:33; Acts 2:41; 11:1; Rom.5:11; Heb.11:17; to "cleave unto God,"
Deut.4:4; Acts 11:23. And so, in the Old Testament it is generally
expressed by trust and hope. Now, none of these things are contained in a
mere assent unto the truth; but they require other acting of the soul
than what are peculiar unto the understanding only.
   7thly. It answers not the experience of them that truly believe. This
all our inquiries and arguments in this matter must have respect unto.
For the sum of what we aim at is, only to discover what they do who
really believe unto the justification of life. It is not what notions men
may have hereof, nor how they express their conceptions, how defensible
they are against objections by accuracy of expressions and subtle
distinctions; but only what we ourselves do, if we truly believe, that we
inquire after. And although our differences about it do argue the great
imperfection of that state wherein we are, so as that those who truly
believe cannot agree what they do in their so doing,--which should give
us a mutual tenderness and forbearance towards each other;--yet if men
would attend unto their own experience in the application of their souls
unto God for the pardon of sin and righteousness to life, more than unto
the notions which, on various occasions, their minds are influenced by,
or prepossessed withal, many differences and unnecessary disputations
about the nature of justifying faith would be prevented or prescinded. I
deny, therefore, that this general assent unto the truth, how firm soever
it be, or what effects in the way of duty or obedience soever it may
produce, does answer the experience of any one true believer, as
containing the entire acting of his soul towards God for pardon of sin
and justification.
   8thly. That faith alone is justifying which has justification actually
accompanying of it. For thence alone it has that denomination. To suppose
a man to have justifying faith, and not to be justified, is to suppose a
contradiction. Nor do we inquire after to nature of any other faith but
that whereby a believer is actually justified. But it is not so with all
them in whom this assent is found; nor will those that plead for it allow
that upon it alone any are immediately justified. Wherefore it is
sufficiently evident that there is somewhat more required unto justifying
faith than a real assent unto all divine revelations, although we do give
that assent by the faith whereby we are justified.
   But, on the other side, it is supposed that, by some, the object of
justifying faith is so much restrained, and the nature of it thereby
determined unto such a peculiar acting of the mind, as comprises not the
whole of what is in the Scripture ascribed unto it. So some have said
that it is the pardon of our sins, in particular, that is the object of
justifying faith;--faith, therefore, they make to be a full persuasion of
the forgiveness of our sins through the mediation of Christ; or, that
what Christ did and suffered as our mediator, he did it for us in
particular: and a particular application of especial mercy unto our own
souls and consciences is hereby made the essence of faith; or, to believe
that our own sins are forgiven seems hereby to be the first and most
proper act of justifying faith. Hence it would follow, that whosoever
does not believe, or has not a firm persuasion of the forgiveness of his
own sins in particular, has no saving faith,--is no true believer; which
is by no means to be admitted. And if any have been or are of this
opinion, I fear that they were, in the asserting of it, neglective of
their own experience; or, it may be, rather, that they knew not how, in
their experience, all the other acting of faith, wherein its essence does
consist, were included in this persuasion, which in an especial manner
they aimed at: whereof we shall speak afterwards. And there is no doubt
unto me, but that this which they propose, faith is suited unto, aims at,
and does ordinarily effect in true believers, who improve it, and grow in
its exercise in a due manner.
   Many great divines, at the first Reformation, did (as the Lutherans
generally yet do) thus make the mercy of God in Christ, and thereby the
forgiveness of our own sins, to be the proper object of justifying faith,
as such;--whose essence, therefore, they placed in a fiducial trust in
the grace of God by Christ declared in the promises, with a certain
unwavering application of them unto ourselves. And I say, with some
confidence, that those who endeavour not to attain hereunto, either
understand not the nature of believing, or are very neglective, both of
the grace of God and of their own peace.
   That which inclined those great and holy persons so to express
themselves in this matter, and to place the essence of faith in the
highest acting of it (wherein yet they always included and supposed its
other acts), was the state of the consciences of men with whom they had
to do. Their contest in this article with the Roman church, was about the
way and means whereby the consciences of convinced, troubled sinners
might come to rest and peace with God. For at that time they were no
otherwise instructed, but that these things were to be obtained, not only
by works of righteousness which men did themselves, in obedience unto the
commands of God, but also by the strict observance of many inventions of
what they called the Church; with an ascription of a strange efficacy to
the same ends unto missatical sacrifices, sacramentals, absolutions,
penances, pilgrimages, and other the like superstitions. Hereby they
observed that the consciences of men were kept in perpetual
disquietments, perplexities, fears and bondage, exclusive of that rest,
assurance, and peace with God through the blood of Christ, which the
gospel proclaims and tenders; and when the leaders of the people in that
church had observed this, that indeed the ways and means which they
proposed and presented would never bring the souls of men to rest, nor
give them the least assurance of the pardon of sins, they made it a part
of their doctrine, that the belief of the pardon of our own sins, and
assurance of the love of God in Christ, were false and pernicious. For
what should they else do, when they knew well enough that in their way,
and by their propositions, they were not to be attained? Hence the
principal controversy in this matter, which the reformed divines had with
those of the church of Rome, was this,--Whether there be, according unto
and by the gospel, a state of rest and assured peace with God to be
attained in his life? And having all advantages imaginable for the proof
hereof, from the very nature, use, and end of the gospel,--from the
grace, love, and design of God in Christ,--from the efficacy of his
mediation in his oblation and intercession,--they assigned these things
to be the especial object of justifying faith, and that faith itself to
be a fiduciary trust in the especial grace and mercy of God, through the
blood of Christ, s proposed in the promises of the gospel;--that is, they
directed the souls of men to seek for peace with God, the pardon of sin,
and a right unto the heavenly inheritance, by placing their sole trust
and confidence in the mercy of God by Christ alone. but yet, withal, I
never read any of them (I know not what others have done) who affirmed
that every true and sincere believer always had a full assurance of the
especial love of God in Christ, or of the pardon of his own sins,--though
they plead that this the Scripture requires of them in a way of duty, and
that this they ought to aim at the attainment of.
   And these things I shall leave as I find them, unto the use of the
church. For I shall not contend with any about the way and manner of
expressing the truth, where the substance of it is retained. That which
in these things is aimed at, is the advancement and glory of the grace of
God in Christ, with the conduct of the souls of men unto rest and peace
with him. Where this is attained or aimed at, and that in the way of
truth for the substance of it, variety of apprehensions and expressions
concerning the same things may tend unto the useful exercise of faith and
the edification of the church. Wherefore, neither opposing nor rejecting
what has been delivered by others as their judgments herein, I shall
propose my own thoughts concerning it; not without some hopes that they
may tend to communicate light in the knowledge of the thing itself
inquired into, and the reconciliation of some differences about it
amongst learned and holy men. I say, therefore, that the Lord Jesus
Christ himself, as ordinance of God, in his work of mediation for the
recovery and salvation of lost sinners, and as unto that end proposed in
the promise of the gospel, is the adequate, proper object of justifying
faith, or of saving faith in its work and duty with respect unto our
justification.
   The reason why I thus state the object of justifying faith is, because
it completely answers all that is ascribed unto it in the Scripture, and
all that the nature of it does require. What belongs unto it as faith in
general, is here supposed; and what is peculiar unto it as justifying, is
fully expressed. And a few things will serve for the explication of the
thesis, which shall afterwards be confirmed. 
   (1.) The Lord Jesus Christ himself is asserted to be the proper object
of justifying faith. For so it is required in all those testimonies of
Scripture where that faith is declared to be our believing in him, on his
name, our receiving of him, or looking unto him; whereunto the promise of
justification and eternal life is annexed: whereof afterwards. See John
1:12; 3:16,36; 6:29,47; 7:38; 14:12; Acts 10:43; 13:38,39; 16:31; 26:18;
etc. 
   (2.) He is not proposed as the object of our faith unto the
justification of life absolutely, but as the ordinance of God, even the
Father, unto that end: who therefore also is the immediate object of
faith as justifying; in what respects we shall declare immediately. So
justification is frequently ascribed unto faith as peculiarly acted on
him, John 5:24, "He that believeth on him that sent me, has everlasting
life, and shall not come into judgment; but is passed from death unto
life." And herein is comprised that grace, love, and favour of God, which
is the principal moving cause of our justification, Rom.3:23,24. Add
hereunto John 6:29, and the object of faith is complete: "This is the
work of God, that ye believe on him whom he has sent." God the Father as
sending, and the Son as sent,-- that is, Jesus Christ in the work of his
mediation, as the ordinance of God for the recovery and salvation of lost
sinners, is the object of our faith. See 1 Pet.1:21.
   (3.) That he may be the object of our faith, whose general nature
consists in assent, and which is the foundation of all its other acts, he
is proposed in the promises of the gospel; which I therefore place as
concurring unto its complete object. Yet do I not herein consider the
promises merely as peculiar divine revelations, in which sense they
belong unto the formal object of faith; but as they contain, propose, and
exhibit Christ as the ordinance of God, and the benefits of his
mediation, unto them that do believe. There is an especial assent unto
the promises of the gospel, wherein some place the nature and essence of
justifying faith, or of faith in its work and duty with respect unto our
justification. And so they make the promises of the gospel to be the
proper object of it. And it cannot be but that, in the acting of
justifying faith, there is a peculiar assent unto them. Howbeit, this
being only an act of the mind, neither the whole nature nor the whole
work of faith can consist therein. Wherefore, so far as the promises
concur to the complete object of faith, they are considered materially
also,--namely, as they contain, propose, and exhibit Christ unto
believers. And in that sense are they frequently affirmed in the
Scripture to be the object of our faith unto the justification of life,
Acts 2:39; 26:6; Rom.4:16,20; 15:8; Gal.3:16,18; Heb.4:1; 6:13; 8:6;
10:36.
   (4.) The end for which the Lord Christ, in the work of his mediation,
is the ordinance of God, and as such proposed in the promises of the
gospel,--namely, the recovery and salvation of lost sinners,--belongs
unto the object of faith as justifying. Hence, the forgiveness of sin and
eternal life are proposed in the Scripture as things that are to be
believed unto justification, or as the object of our faith, Matt.9:2;
Acts 2:38,39; 5:31; 26:18; Rom. 3:25; 4:7,8; Col.2:13; Tit.1:2; etc. And
whereas the just is to live by his faith, and every one is to believe for
himself, or make an application of the things believed unto his own
behoof, some from hence have affirmed the pardon of our own sins and our
own salvation to be the proper object of faith; and indeed it does belong
thereunto, when, in the way and order of God and the gospel, we can
attain unto it, 1 Cor.15:3,4; Gal.2:20; Eph.1:6,7.
   Wherefore, asserting the Lord Jesus Christ, in the work of his
mediation, to be the object of faith unto justification, I include
therein the grace of God, which is the cause; the pardon of sin, which is
the effect; and the promises of the gospel, which are the means, of
communicating Christ and the benefits of his mediation unto us.
   And all these things are so united, so intermixed in their mutual
relations and respects, so concatenated in the purpose of God, and the
declaration made of his will in the gospel, as that the believing of any
one of them does virtually include the belief of the rest. And by whom
any one of them is disbelieved, they frustrate and make void all the
rest, and so faith itself.
   The due consideration of these things solves all the difficulties that
arise about the nature of faith, either from the Scripture or from the
experience of them that believe, with respect unto its object. Many
things in the Scripture are we said to believe with it and by it, and
that unto justification; but two things are hence evident:--First, That
no one of them can be asserted to be the complete, adequate object of our
faith. Secondly, That none of them are so absolutely, but as they relate
unto the Lord Christ, as the ordinance of God for our justification and
salvation.
   And this answers the experience of all that do truly believe. For
these things being united and made inseparable in the constitution of
God, all of them are virtually included in every one of them. (1.) Some
fix their faith and trust principally on the grace, love, and mercy of
God; especially they did so under the Old Testament, before the clear
revelation of Christ and his mediation. So did the psalmist, Ps.130:3,4;
33:18,19; and the publican, Luke 18:13. And these are, in places of the
Scripture innumerable, proposed as the causes of our justification. See
Rom.3:24; Eph.2:4-8; Tit.3:5-7. But this they do not absolutely, but with
respect unto the "redemption that is in the blood of Christ," Dan.9:17.
Nor does the Scripture anywhere propose them unto us but under that
consideration. See Rom.3:24,25; Eph.1:6-8. For this is the cause, way,
and means of the communication of that grace, love, and mercy unto us.
(2.) Some place and fix them principally on the Lord Christ, his
mediation, and the benefits thereof. This the apostle Paul proposes
frequently unto us in his own example. See Gal.2:20; Phil.3:8-10. But
this they do not absolutely, but with respect unto the grace and love of
God, whence it is that they are given and communicated unto us, Rom.8:32;
John 3:16; Eph.1:6-8. Nor are they otherwise anywhere proposed unto us in
the Scripture as the object of our faith unto justification. (3.) Some in
a peculiar manner fix their souls, in believing, on the promises. And
this is exemplified in the instance of Abraham, Gen.15:6; Rom.4:20. And
so are they proposed in the Scripture as the object of our faith, Acts
2:39; Rom.4:16; Heb.4:1,2; 6:12,13. But this they do not merely as they
are divine revelations, but as they contain and propose unto us the Lord
Christ and the benefits of his mediation, from the grace, love, and mercy
of God. Hence the apostle disputes at large, in his Epistle unto the
Galatians, that if justification be any way but by the promise, both the
grace of God and the death of Christ are evacuated and made of none
effect. And the reason is, because the promise is nothing but the way and
means of the communication of them unto us. (4.) Some fix their faith on
the things themselves which they aim at,--namely, the pardon of sin and
eternal life. And these also in the Scripture are proposed unto us as the
object of our faith, or that which we are to believe unto justification,
Ps.130:4; Acts 26:18; Tit.1:2. But this is to be done in its proper
order, especially as unto the application of them unto our own souls. For
we are nowhere required to believe them, or our own interest in them, but
as they are effects of the grace and love of God, through Christ and his
mediation, proposed in the promises of the gospel. Wherefore the belief
of them is included in the belief of these, and is in order of nature
antecedent thereunto. And the belief of the forgiveness of sins, and
eternal life, without the due exercise of faith in those causes of them,
is but presumption.
   I have, therefore, given the entire object of faith as justifying, or
in its work and duty with respect unto our justification, in compliance
with the testimonies of the Scripture, and the experience of them that
believe. 
   Allowing, therefore, their proper place unto the promises, and unto
the effect of all in the pardon of sins and eternal life, that which I
shall farther confirm is, that the Lord Christ, in the work of his
mediation, as the ordinance of God for the recovery and salvation of lost
sinners, is the proper adequate object of justifying faith. And the true
nature of evangelical faith consists in the respect of the heart (which
we shall immediately describe) unto the love, grace, and wisdom of God;
with the mediation of Christ, in his obedience; with the sacrifice,
satisfaction, and atonement for sin which he made by his blood. These
things are impiously opposed by some as inconsistent; for the second head
of the Socinian impiety is, that the grace of God and satisfaction of
Christ are opposite and inconsistent, so as that if we allow of the one
we must deny the other. But as these things are so proposed in the
Scripture, as that without granting them both neither can be believed; so
faith, which respects them as subordinate,--namely, the mediation of
Christ unto the grace of God, that fixes itself on the Lord Christ and
that redemption which is in his blood,--as the ordinance of God, the
effect of his wisdom, grace, and love, finds rest in both, and in nothing
else. 
   For the proof of the assertion, I need not labour in it, it being not
only abundantly declared in the Scripture, but that which contains in it
a principal part of the design and substance of the gospel. I shall,
therefore, only refer unto some of the places wherein it is taught, or
the testimonies that are given unto it.
   The whole is expressed in that place of the apostle wherein the
doctrine of justification is most eminently proposed unto us,
Rom.3:24,25, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption
that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation
through faith in his blood; to declare his righteousness for the
remission of sins." Whereunto we may add, Eph.1:6,7, "He has made us
accepted in the Beloved; in whom we have redemption through his blood,
according to the riches of his grace." That whereby we are justified, is
the especial object of our faith unto justification. But this is the Lord
Christ in the work of his mediation: for we are justified by the
redemption that is in Jesus Christ; for in him we have redemption through
his blood, even the forgiveness of sin. Christ as a propitiation is the
cause of our justification, and the object of our faith or we attain it
by faith in his blood. But this is so under this formal consideration, as
he is the ordinance of God for that end,--appointed, given, proposed, set
forth from and by the grace, wisdom, and love of God. God set him forth
to be a propitiation. He makes us accepted in the Beloved. We have
redemption in his blood, according to the riches of his grace, whereby he
makes us accepted in the Beloved. And herein he "abounds towards us in
all wisdom," Eph.1:8. This, therefore, is that which the gospel proposes
unto us, as the especial object of our faith unto the justification of
life.
   But we may also in the same manner confirm the several parts of the
assertion distinctly:--
   (1.) The Lord Jesus Christ, as proposed in the promise of the gospel,
is the peculiar object of faith unto justification. There are three sorts
of testimonies whereby this is confirmed:--
   [1.] Those wherein it is positively asserted, as Acts 10:43, "To him
give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth
in him shall receive remission of sins." Christ believed in as the means
and cause of the remission of sins, is that which all the prophets give
witness unto. Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou
shalt be saved." It is the answer of the apostle unto the jailer's
inquiry,--"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" His duty in believing, and
the object of it, the Lord Jesus Christ, is what they return thereunto.
Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none
other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." That
which is proposed unto us, as the only way and means of our justification
and salvation, and that in opposition unto all other ways, is the object
of faith unto our justification; but this is Christ alone, exclusively
unto all other things. This is testified unto by Moses and the prophets;
the design of the whole Scripture being to direct the faith of the church
unto the Lord Christ alone, for life and salvation, Luke 24:25-27.
   [2.] All those wherein justifying faith is affirmed to be our
believing in him, or believing on his name; which are multiplied. John
1:12, "He gave power to them to become the sons of God, who believed on
his name," chap.3:16, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life;" verse 36, "He that believeth on the Son has
everlasting life;" chap.6:29, "This is the work of God, that ye believe
on him whom he has sent;" verse 47, "He that be1ieveth on me has
everlasting life;" chap.7:38, "He that believeth on me, out of his belly
shall flow rivers of living water." So chap.9:35-37; 11:25; Acts 26:18,
"That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them
which are sanctified by faith that is in me." 1 Pet.2:6,7. In all which
places, and many others, we are not only directed to place and affix our
faith on him, but the effect of justification is ascribed thereunto. So
expressly, Acts 13:38,39; which is what we design to prove.
   [3.] Those which give us such a description of the acts of faith as
make him the direct and proper object of it. Such are they wherein it is
called a "receiving" of him. John 1:12, "To as many as received him."
Col.2:6, "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord." That which we
receive by faith is the proper object of it; and it is represented by
their looking unto the brazen serpent, when it was lifted up, who were
stung by fiery serpents, John 3:14,15; 12:32. Faith is that act of the
soul whereby convinced sinners, ready otherwise to perish, do look unto
Christ as he was made a propitiation for their sins; and who so do "shall
not perish, but have everlasting life." He  is, therefore, the object of
our faith.
   (2.) He is so, as he is the ordinance of God unto this end; which
consideration is not to be separated from our faith in him: and this also
is confirmed by several sorts of testimonies:--
   [1.] All those wherein the love and grace of God are proposed as the
only cause of giving Jesus Christ to be the way and means of our recovery
and salvation; whence they become, or God in them, the supreme efficient
cause of our justification. John 3:16, "God so loved the world, that he
gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life". So Rom.5:8; 1 John 4:9,10. "Being
justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," Rom.3:24;
Eph.1:6-8. This the Lord Christ directs our faith unto continually,
referring all unto him that sent him, and whose will he came to do,
Heb.10:5.
   [2.] All those wherein God is said to set forth and to make him be for
us and unto us, what he is so, unto the justification of life. Rom.3:25,
"Whom God has proposed to be a propitiation." 1 Cor.1:30, "Who of God is
made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and rectification, and
redemption". 2 Cor.5:21, "He has made him to be sin for us, who knew no
sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Acts
13:38,39; etc. Wherefore, in the acting of faith in Christ unto
justification, we can no otherwise consider him but as the ordinance of
God that end; he brings nothing unto us, does nothing for us, but what
God appointed, designed, and made him to do. And this must diligently be
considered, that by our regard by faith unto the blood, the sacrifice,
the satisfaction of Christ, we take off nothing from the free grace,
favour, and love of God.
   [3.] All those wherein the wisdom of God in the contrivance of this
way of justification and salvation is proposed unto us. Eph.1:7,8, "In
whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,
according to the riches of his grace; wherein he has abounded towards us
in all wisdom and understanding." See chap.3:10,11; 1 Cor.1:24.
   The whole is comprised in that of the apostle: "God was in Christ,
reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto
them," 2 Cor.5:19. All that is done in our reconciliation unto God, as
unto the pardon of our sins, and acceptance with him unto life, was by
the presence of God, in his grace, wisdom, and power, in Christ designing
and effecting of it.
   Wherefore, the Lord Christ, proposed in the promise of the gospel as
the object of our faith unto the justification of life, is considered as
the ordinance of God unto that end. Hence the love, the grace, and the
wisdom of God, in the sending and giving of him, are comprised in that
object; and not only the acting of God in Christ towards us, but all his
acting towards the person of Christ himself unto the same end, belong
thereunto. So, as unto his death, "God set him forth to be a
propitiation," Rom.3:25. "He spared him not, but delivered him up for us
all," Rom.8:32; and therein "laid all our sins upon him," Isa.53:6. So he
was "raised for our justification," Rom.4:25. And our faith is in God,
who "raised him from the dead," Rom.10:9. And in his exaltation, Acts
5:31. Which things complete "the record that God has given of his Son," 1
John 5:10-12.
   The whole is confirmed by the exercise of faith in prayer; which is
the soul's application of itself unto God for the participation of the
benefits of the mediation of Christ. And it is called our "access through
him unto the Father," Eph.2:18; our coming through him "unto the throne
of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of
need," Heb.4:15,16; and through him as both "a high priest and
sacrifice," Heb.10:19-22. So do we "bow our knees unto the Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ," Eph.3:14. This answers the experience of all who know
what it is to pray. We come therein in the name of Christ, by him,
through his mediation, unto God, even the Father; to be, through his
grace, love, and mercy, made partakers of what he has designed and
promised to communicate unto poor sinners by him. And this represents the
complete object of our faith.
   The due consideration of these things will reconcile and reduce unto a
perfect harmony whatever is spoken in the Scripture concerning the object
of justifying faith, or what we are said to believe therewith. For
whereas this is affirmed of sundry things distinctly, they can none of
them be supposed to be the entire adequate object of faith. But consider
them all in their relation unto Christ, and they have all of them their
proper place therein,--namely, the grace of God, which is the cause; the
pardon of sin, which is the effect; and the promises of the gospel, which
are the means, of communicating the Lord Christ, and the benefits of his
mediation unto us.
   The reader may be pleased to take notice, that I do in this place not
only neglect, but despise, the late attempt of some to wrest all things
of this nature, spoken of the person and mediation of Christ, unto the
doctrine of the gospel, exclusively unto them; and that not only as what
is noisome and impious in itself, but as that also which has not yet been
endeavoured to be proved, with any appearance of learning, argument, or
sobriety.




II. The nature of justifying faith

The nature of justifying faith in particular, or of faith in the exercise
of it, whereby we are justified--The heart's approbation of the way of
the justification and salvation of sinners by Christ, with its
acquiescency therein--The description given, explained and confirmed:--1.
From the nature of the gospel--Exemplified in its contrary, or the nature
of unbelief, Prov.1:30; Heb.2:3; 1 Pet.2:7; 1 Cor.1:23,24; 2 Cor.4:3--
What it is, and wherein it does consist.--2. The design of God in and by
the gospel--His own glory his utmost end in all things--The glory of his
righteousness, grace, love, wisdom, etc.--The end of God in the way of
the salvation of sinners by Christ, Rom.3:25; John 3:16; 1 John 3:16;
Eph.1:5,6; 1 Cor.1:24; Eph.3:10; Rom.1:16; 4:16; Eph.3:9; 2 Cor.4:6--3.
The nature of faith thence declared--Faith alone ascribes and gives this
glory to God.--4. Order of the acts of faith, or the method in believing-
-Convictions previous thereunto--Sincere assent unto all divine
revelations, Acts 26:27--The proposal of the gospel unto that end,
Rom.10:11-17; 2 Cor.3:18,etc.--State of persons called to believe--
Justifying faith does not consist in any one single habit or act of the
mind or will--The nature of that about which is the first act of faith--
Approbation of the way of salvation by Christ, comprehensive of the
special nature of justifying faith--What is included there in:--1. A
renunciation of all other ways, Hos.14:2,3; Jer.3:23; Ps.71:16;
Rom.10:3.--2. Consent of the will unto this way, John 14:6--3.
Acquiescency of the heart in God, 1 Pet.1:21.--4. Trust in God.--5. Faith
described by trust--The reason of it--Nature and object of this trust
inquired into--A double consideration of special mercy--Whether obedience
be included in the nature of faith, or be of the essence of it--A sincere
purpose of universal obedience inseparable from faith--How faith alone
justifies--Repentance, how required in and unto justification--How a
condition of the new covenant--Perseverance in obedience is so also--
Definitions of faith



That which we shall now inquire into, is the nature of justifying faith;
or of faith in that act and exercise of it whereby we are justified, or
whereon justification, according unto God's ordination and promise, does
ensue. And the reader is desired to take along with him a supposition of
those things which we have already ascribed unto it, as it is sincere
faith in general; as also, of what is required previously thereunto, as
unto its especial nature, work, and duty in our justification. For we do
deny that ordinarily, and according unto the method of God's proceeding
with us declared in the Scripture, wherein the rule of our duty is
prescribed, any one does, or can, truly believe with faith unto
justification, in whom the work of conviction, before described, has not
been wrought. All descriptions or definitions of faith that have not a
respect thereunto are but vain speculations. And hence some do give us
such definitions of faith as it is hard to conceive that they ever asked
of themselves what they do in their believing on Jesus Christ for life
and salvation.
   The nature of justifying faith, with respect unto that exercise of
whereby we are justified, consists in the heart's approbation of the way
of justification and salvation of sinners by Jesus Christ proposed in the
gospel, as proceeding from the grace, wisdom, and love of God, with its
acqiescency therein as unto its own concernment and condition.
   There needs no more for the explanation of this declaration of the
nature of faith than what we have before proved concerning its object;
and what may seem wanting thereunto will be fully supplied in the ensuing
confirmation of it. The Lord Christ, and his mediation, as the ordinance
of God for the recovery, life, and salvation of sinners, is supposed as
the object of this faith. And they are all considered as an effect of the
wisdom, grace, authority, and love of God, with all their acting in and
towards the Lord Christ himself, in his susception and discharge of his
office. Hereunto he constantly refers all that he did and suffered, with
all the benefits redounding unto the church thereby. Hence, as we
observed before, sometimes the grace, or love, or especial mercy of God,
sometimes his acting in or towards the Lord Christ himself, in sending
him, giving him up unto death, and raising him from the dead, are
proposed as the object of our faith unto justification. But they are so,
always with respect unto his obedience and the atonement that he made for
sin. Neither are they so altogether absolutely considered, but as
proposed in the promises of the gospel. Hence, a sincere assent unto the
divine veracity in those promises is included in this approbation. 
   What belongs unto the confirmation of this description of faith shall
be reduced unto these four heads:--1. The declaration of its contrary, or
the nature of privative unbelief upon the proposal of the gospel. For
these things do mutually illustrate one another. 2. The declaration of
the design and end of God in and by the gospel. 3. The nature of faith's
compliance with that design, or its actings with respect thereunto. 4.
The order, method, and way of believing, as declared in the Scripture:-- 
   1. The gospel is the revelation or declaration of that way of
justification and salvation for sinners by Jesus Christ, which God, in
infinite wisdom, love, and grace, has prepared. And upon a supposition of
the reception thereof, it is accompanied with precepts of obedience and
promises of rewards. "Therein is the righteousness of God," that which he
requires, accepts, and approves unto salvation,--"revealed from faith
unto faith," Rom.1:17. This is the record of God therein, "That he has
given unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son," 1 John 5:11. So
John 3:14-17. "The words of this life," Acts 5:20; "All the counsel of
God," Acts 20:27. Wherefore, in the dispensation or preaching of the
gospel, this way of salvation is proposed unto sinners, as the great
effect of divine wisdom and grace. Unbelief is the rejection, neglect,
non-admission, or disapprobation of it, on the terms whereon, and for the
ends for which, it is so proposed. The unbelief of the Pharisees, upon
the preparatory preaching of John the Baptist, is called the "rejecting
of the counsel of God against themselves;" that is, unto their own ruin,
Luke 7:30. "They would none of my counsel," is an expression to the same
purpose, Prov.1:30; so is the "neglecting this great salvation",
Heb.2:3,--not giving it that admission which the excellency of it does
require. A disallowing of Christ, the stone "hos apedokimasan hoi
oikodomountes", 1 Pet.2:7,--the "builders disapproved of," as not meet
for that place and work whereunto it was designed, Acts 4:11,--this is
unbelief; to disapprove of Christ, and the way of salvation by him, as
not answering divine wisdom, nor suited unto the end designed. So is it
described by the refusing or not receiving of him; all ~o lo one purpose.
   What is intended will be more evident if we consider the proposal of
the gospel where it issued in unbelief, in the first preaching of it, and
where it continues still so to do.
   Most of those who rejected the gospel by their unbelief, did it under
this notion, that the way of salvation and blessed proposed therein was
not a way answering divine goodness and power, such as they might safely
confide in and trust unto. This the apostle declares at large, 1 Cor.1;
so he expresses it, verses 23,24, "We preach Christ crucified, unto the
Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them
which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the
wisdom of God." That which they declared unto them in the preaching of
the gospel was, that "Christ died for our sins, according to the
Scriptures," chap.15:3. Herein they proposed him as the ordinance of God,
as the great effect of his wisdom and power for the salvation of sinners.
But as unto those who continued in their unbelief, they rejected it as
any such way, esteeming it both weakness and folly. And therefore, he
describes the faith of them that are called, by their approbation of the
wisdom and power of God herein. The want of a comprehension of the glory
of God in this way of salvation, rejecting it thereon, is that unbelief
which ruins the souls of men, 2 Cor.4:3,4.
   So is it with all that continue unbelievers under the proposal of the
object of faith in the preaching of the gospel They may give an assent
unto the truth of it, so far as it is a mere act of the mind,--at least
they find not themselves concerned to reject it; yea, they may assent
unto it with that temporary faith which we described before, and perform
many duties of religion thereon: yet do they manifest that they are not
sincere believers, that they do not believe with the heart unto
righteousness, by many things that are irreconcilable unto and
inconsistent with justifying faith. The inquiry, therefore, is, Wherein
the unbelief of each persons, on the account whereof they perish, does
insist, and what is the formal nature of it? It is not, as was said, in
the want of an assent unto the truths of the doctrine of the gospel: for
from such an assent are they said, in many places of the Scripture, to
believe, as has been proved; and this assent may be so firm, and by
various means so radicated in their minds, as that, in testimony unto it,
they may give their bodies to be burned; as men also may do in the
confirmation of a false persuasion. Nor is it the want of an especial
fiduciary application, of the promises of the gospel unto themselves, and
the belief of the pardon of their own sins in particular: for this is not
proposed unto them in the first preaching of the gospel, as that which
they are first to believe, and there may be a believing unto
righteousness where this is not attained, Isa.1:10. This will evidence
faith not to be true; but it is not formal unbelief. Nor is it the want
of obedience unto the precepts of the gospel in duties of holiness and
righteousness; for these commands, as formally given in and by the
gospel, belong only unto them that truly believe, and are justified
thereon. That, therefore, which is required unto evangelical faith,
wherein the nature of it does consist, as it is the foundation of all
future obedience, is the heart's approbation of the way of life and
salvation by Jesus Christ, proposed unto it as the effect of the infinite
wisdom, love, grace, and goodness of God; and as that which is suited
unto all the wants and whole design of guilty convinced sinners. This
such persons have not; and in the want thereof consists the formal nature
of unbelief. For without this no man is, or can be, influenced by the
gospel unto a relinquishment of sin, or encouraged unto obedience,
whatever they may do on other grounds and motives that are foreign unto
the grace of it. And wherever this cordial, sincere approbation of the
way of salvation by Jesus Christ, proposed in the gospel, does prevail,
it will infallibly produce both repentance and obedience.
   If the mind and heart of a convinced sinner (for of such alone we
treat) be able spiritually to discern the wisdom, love, and grace of God,
in this way of salvation, and be under the power of that persuasion, he
has the ground of repentance and obedience which is given by the gospel.
The receiving of Christ mentioned in the Scripture, and whereby the
nature of faith in its exercise is expressed, I refer unto the latter
part of the description given concerning the soul's acquiescence in God,
by the way proposed.
   Again: some there were at firsts and such still continue to be, who
rejected not this way absolutely, and in the notion of it, but
comparatively, as reduced to practice; and so perished in their unbelief.
They judged the way of their own righteousness to be better, as that
which might be more safely trusted unto,--as more according unto the mind
of God and unto his glory. So did the Jews generally, the frame of whose
minds the apostle represents, Rom.10:3,4. And many of them assented unto
the doctrine of the gospel in general as true, howbeit they liked it not
in their hearts as the best way of justification and salvation, but
sought for them by the works of the law.
   Wherefore, unbelief, in its formal nature, consists in the want of a
spiritual discerning and approbation of the say of salvation by Jesus
Christ, as an effect of the infinite wisdom, goodness, and love of God;
for where these are, the soul of a convinced sinner cannot but embrace
it, and adhere unto it. Hence, also, all acquiescency in this way, and
trust and confidence in committing the soul unto it, or unto God in it,
and by it (without which whatever is pretended of believing is but a
shadow of faith), is impossible unto such persons; for they want the
foundation whereon alone they can be built. And the consideration hereof
does sufficiently manifest wherein the nature of true evangelical faith
does consist.
   2. The design of God in and by the gospel, with the work and office of
faith with respect thereunto, farther confirms the description given of
it. That which God designs herein, in the first place, is not the
justification and salvation of sinners. His utmost complete end, in all
his counsels, is his own glory. He does all things for himself; nor can
he who is infinite do otherwise. But in an especial manner he expresses
this concerning this way of salvation by Jesus Christ.
   Particularly, he designed herein the glory of his righteousness; "To
declare his righteousness," Rom.3:20;--of his love; "God so loved the
world," John 3:16; "Herein we perceive the love of God, that he laid down
his life for us," 1 John 3:16; of his grace; "Accepted, to the praise of
the glory of his grace," Eph.1:5,6;--of his wisdom; "Christ crucified,
the wisdom of God," 1 Cor.1:24; "Might be known by the church the
manifold wisdom of God," Eph.3:10;--of his power; "it is the power of God
unto salvation," Rom.1:16;--of his faithfulness, Rom.4:16. For God
designed herein, not only the reparation of all that glory whose
declaration was impeached and obscured by the entrance of sin, but also a
farther exaltation and more eminent manifestation of it, unto the degrees
of its exaltation, and some especial instances before concealed, Eph.3:9.
And all this is called "The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ;"
whereof faith is the beholding, 2 Cor.4:6.
   3. This being the principal design of God in the way of justification
and salvation by Christ proposed in the gospel, that which on our part is
required unto a participation of the benefits of it, is the ascription of
that glory unto God which he designs so to exalt. The acknowledgment of
all these glorious properties of the divine nature, as manifested in the
provision and proposition of this way of life, righteousness, and
salvation, with an approbation of the way itself as an effect of them,
and that which is safely to be trusted unto, is that which is required of
us; and this is faith or believing: "Being strong in faith, he gave glory
to God," Rom.4:20. And this is in the nature of the weakest degree of
sincere faith. And no other grace, work, or duty, is suited hereunto, or
firstly and directly of that tendency, but only consequentially and in
the way of gratitude. And although I cannot wholly assent unto him who
affirms that faith in the epistles of Paul is nothing but "existimation
magnifice sentiens de Dei potentia, justitia, bonitate, et si quid
promiserit in eo praestando constantia", because it is too general, and
not limited unto the way of salvation by Christ, his "elect in whom he
will be glorified;" yet has it much of the nature of faith in it.
Wherefore I say, that hence we may both learn the nature of faith, and
whence it is that faith alone is required unto our justification. The
reason of it is, because this is that grace or duty alone whereby we do
or can give unto God that glory which he designs to manifest and exalt in
and by Jesus Christ. This only faith is suited unto, and this it is to
believe. Faith, in the sense we inquire after, is the heart's approbation
of, and consent unto, the way of life and salvation of sinners by Jesus
Christ, as that wherein the glory of the righteousness, wisdom, grace,
love, and mercy of God is exalted; the praise whereof it ascribes unto
him, and rests in it as unto the ends of it,--namely, justification,
life, and salvation. It is to give "glory to God," Rom.4:20; to "behold
his glory as in a glass," or the gospel wherein it is represented unto
us, 2 Cor.3:18; to have in our hearts "the light of the knowledge of the
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor.4:6. The contrary
whereunto makes God a liar, and thereby despoils him of the glory of all
those holy properties which he this way designed to manifest, l John
5:10.
   And, if I mistake not, this is that which the experience of them that
truly believe, when they are out of the heats of disputation, will give
testimony unto.
   4. To understand the nature of justifying faith aright, or the act and
exercise of saving faith in order unto our justification, which are
properly inquired after, we must consider the order of it; first the
things which are necessarily previous thereunto, and then what it is to
believe with respect unto them. As,--
   (1.) The state of a convinced sinner, who is the only "subjectum capax
justificationis." This has been spoken unto already, and the necessity of
its precedency unto the orderly proposal and receiving of evangelical
righteousness unto justification demonstrated. If we lose a respect
hereunto, we lose our best guide towards the discovery of the nature of
faith. Let no man think to understand the gospel, who knows nothing of
the law. God's constitution, and the nature of the things themselves,
have given the law the precedency with respect unto sinners; "for by the
law is the knowledge of sin." And gospel faith is the soul's acting
according to the mind of God, for deliverance from that state and
condition which it is cast under by the law. And all those descriptions
of faith which abound in the writings of learned men, which do not at
least include in them a virtual respect unto this state and condition, or
the work of the law on the consciences of sinners, are all of them vain
speculations. There is nothing in this whole doctrine that I will more
firmly adhere unto than the necessity of the convictions mentioned
previous unto true believing; without which not one line of it can be
understood aright, and men do but beat the air in their contentions about
it. See Rom.3:21-24.
   (2.) We suppose herein a sincere assent unto all divine revelations,
whereof the promises of grace and mercy by Christ are an especial part.
This Paul supposed in Agrippa when he would have won him over unto faith
in Christ Jesus: "King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that
thou believest", Acts 26:27. And this assent which respects the promises
of the gospel, not as they contain, propose, and exhibit the Lord Christ
and the benefits of his mediation unto us, but as divine revelations of
infallible truth, is true and sincere in its kind, as we described it
before under the notion of temporary faith; but as it proceeds no
farther, as it include no act of the will or heart, it is not that faith
whereby we are justified. However, it is required thereunto, and is
included therein.
   (3.) The proposal of the gospel, according unto the mind of God, is
hereunto supposed; that is, that it be preached according unto God's
appointment: for not only the gospel itself, but the dispensation or
preaching of it in the ministry of the church, is ordinarily required
unto believing. This the apostle asserts, and proves the necessity of it
at large, Rom.10:11-17. Herein the Lord Christ and his mediation with
God, the only way and means for the justification and salvation of lost
convinced sinners, as the product and effect of divine wisdom, love,
grace, and righteousness, is revealed, declared, proposed, and offered
unto such sinners: "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from
faith to faith," Rom.1:17. The glory of God is represented "as in a
glass," 2 Cor.3:18; and "life and immortality are brought to light
through the gospel," 2 Tim.1:10; Heb.2:3. Wherefore,--
   (4.) The persons who are required to believe, and whose immediate duty
it is so to do, are such who really in their own consciences are brought
unto, and do make the inquiries mentioned in the Scripture,--"What shall
we do? What shall we do to be saved? How shall we fly from the wrath to
come? Wherewithal shall we appear before God? How shall we answer what is
laid unto our charge?"--or such as, being sensible of the guilt of sin,
do seek for a righteousness in the sight of God, Acts 2:37,38; 16:30,31;
Micah 6:6,7; Isa.35:4; Heb.6:18.
   On these suppositions, the command and direction given unto men being,
"Believe, and thou shalt be saved;" the inquiry is, What is that act or
work of faith whereby we may obtain a real interest or propriety in the
promises of the gospel, and the things declared in them, unto their
justification before God?
   And,--1. It is evident, from what has been discoursed, that it does
not consist in, that it is not to be fully expressed by, any one single
habit or act of the mind or will distinctly whatever; for there are such
descriptions given of it in the Scripture, such things are proposed as
the object of it, and such is the experience of all that sincerely
believe, as no one single act, either of the mind or will, can answer
unto. Nor can an exact method of those acts of the soul which are
concurrent therein be prescribed; only what is essential unto it is
manifest.
   2. That which, in order of nature, seems to have the precedency, is
the assent of the mind unto that which the psalmist retakes himself unto
in the first place for relief, under a sense of sin and trouble,
Ps.130:3,4, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall
stand?" The sentence of the law and judgment of conscience lie against
him as unto any acceptation with God. Therefore, he despairs in himself
of standing in judgment, or being acquitted before him. In this state,
that which the soul first fixes on, as unto its relief, is, that "there
is forgiveness with God." This, as declared in the gospel, is, that God
in his love and grace will pardon and justify guilty sinners through the
blood and mediation of Christ. So it is proposed, Rom.3:23,24. The assent
of the mind hereunto, as proposed in the promise of the gospel, is the
root of faith, the foundation of all that the soul does in believing; nor
is there any evangelical faith without it. But yet, consider it
abstractedly, as a mere act of the mind, the essence and nature of
justifying faith does not consist solely therein, though it cannot be
without it. But,--
   3. This is accompanied, in sincere believing, with an approbation of
the way of deliverance and salvation proposed, as an effect of divine
grace, wisdom, and love; whereon the heart does rest in it, and apply
itself unto it, according to the mind of God. This is that faith whereby
we are justified; which I shall farther evince, by showing what is
included in it, and inseparable from it:--
   (1.) It includes in it a sincere renunciation of all other ways and
means for the attaining of righteousness, life, and salvation. This is
essential unto faith, Acts 4:12; Hos.14:2,3; Jer.3:23; Ps.71:16, "I will
make mention of thy righteousness, of thine only." When a person is in
the condition before described (and such alone are called immediately to
believe, Matt.9:13; 11:28; 1 Tim.1:15), many things will present
themselves unto him for his relief, particularly his own righteousness,
Rom.10:3. A renunciation of them all, as unto any hope or expectation of
relief from them, belongs unto sincere believing, Isa.50:10,11.
   (2.) There is in it the will's consent, whereby the soul betakes
itself cordially and sincerely, as unto all its expectation of pardon of
sin and righteousness before God, unto the way of salvation proposed in
the gospel. This is that which is called "coming unto Christ", and
"receiving of him," whereby true justifying faith is so often expressed
in the Scripture; or, as it is peculiarly called, "believing in him," or
"believing on his name." The whole is expressed, John 14:6, "Jesus saith
unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the
Father, but by me."
   (3.) An acquiescency of the heart in God, as the author and principal
cause of the way of salvation prepared, as acting in a way of sovereign
grace and mercy towards sinners: "Who by him do believe in God, that
raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope
might be in God," 1 Pet.1:21. The heart of a sinner does herein give unto
God the glory of all those holy properties of his nature which he
designed to manifest in and by Jesus Christ. See Isa.42:1; 49:3. And this
acquiescency in God is that which is the immediate root of that waiting,
patience, longsuffering, and hope, which are the proper acts and effects
of justifying faith, Heb.6:12,15,18,19.
   (4.) Trust in God, or the grace and mercy of God in and through the
Lord Christ, as set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his
blood, does belong hereunto, or necessarily ensue hereon; for the person
called unto believing is,--first, Convinced of sin, and exposed unto
wrath; secondly, Has nothing else to trust unto for help and relief;
thirdly, Does actually renounce all other things that tender themselves
unto that end: and therefore, without some act of trust, the soul must
lie under actual despair; which is utterly inconsistent with faith, or
the choice and approbation of the way of salvation before described.
   (5.) The most frequent declaration of the nature of faith in the
Scripture, especially in the Old Testament, is by this trust; and that
because it is that act of it which composes the soul, and brings it unto
all the rest it can attain. For all our rest in this world is from trust
in God; and the especial object of this trust, so far as it belongs unto
the nature of that faith whereby we are justified, is "God in Christ
reconciling the world unto himself" For this is respected where his
goodness, his mercy, his grace, his name, his faithfulness, his power,
are expressed, or any of them, as that which it does immediately rely
upon; for they are no way the object of our trust, nor can be, but on the
account of the covenant which is confirmed and ratified in and by the
blood of Christ alone.
   Whether this trust or confidence shall be esteemed of the essence of
faith, or as that which, on the first fruit and working of it, we are
found in the exercise of, we need not positively determine. I place it,
therefore, as that which belongs unto justifying faith, and is
inseparable from it. For if all we have spoken before concerning faith
may be comprised under the notion of a firm assent and persuasion, yet it
cannot be so if any such assent be conceivable exclusive of this trust.
   This trust is that whereof many divines do make special mercy to be
the peculiar object; and that especial mercy to be such as to include in
it the pardon of our own sins. This by their adversaries is fiercely
opposed, and that on such grounds as manifest that they do not believe
that there is any such state attainable in this life; and that if there
were, it would not be of any use unto us, but rather be a means of
security and negligence in our duty: wherein they betray how great is the
ignorance of these things in their own minds. But mercy may be said to be
especial two ways:--First, In itself, and in opposition unto common
mercy. Secondly, With respect unto him that believes. In the first sense,
especial mercy is the object of faith as justifying; for no more is
intended by it but the grace of God setting forth Christ to be a
propitiation through faith in his blood, Rom.3:23,24. And faith in this
especial mercy is that which the apostle calls our "receiving of the
atonement," Rom.5:11;--that is, our approbation of it, and adherence unto
it, as the great effect of divine wisdom, goodness, faithfulness, love,
and grace; which will, therefore, never fail to them who put their trust
in it. In the latter sense, it is looked on as the pardon of our own sins
in particular, the especial mercy of God unto our souls. That this is the
object of justifying faith, that a man is bound to believe this in order
of nature antecedent unto his justification, I do deny; neither yet do I
know of any testimony or safe experience whereby it may be confirmed. But
yet, for any to deny that an undeceiving belief hereof is to be attained
in this life, or that it is our duty to believe the pardon of our own
sins and the especial love of God in Christ, in the order and method of
our duty and privileges, limited and determined in the gospel, so as to
come to the full assurance of them (though I will not deny but that peace
with God, which is inseparable from justification, may be without them);
[is to] seem not to be much acquainted with the design of God in the
gospel, the efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ, the nature and work of
faith, or their own duty, nor the professed experience of believers
recorded in the Scripture. See Rom.5:1-5; Heb.10:2,10,19-22; Ps.46:1,2;
138:7,8; etc. Yet it is granted that all these things are rather fruits
or effects of faith, as under exercise and improvement, than of the
essence of it, as it is the instrument in our justification.
   And the trust before mentioned, which is either essential to
justifying faith, or inseparable from its is excellently expressed by
Bernard, Dom. 6 post Pentec., Ser. 3, "Tria considero in quibus tota spes
mea consistit, charitatem adoptionis, veritatem promissionis, potestatem
redditionis. Murmuret jam quantum voluerit insipiens cogitatio mea,
dicens: Quis enim es tu, et quanta est illa gloria, quibusve meritis hanc
obtinere speras? Et ego fiducialiter respondebo: Scio cui credidi,
missione, quia potens in exhibitione: licet enim ei facere quod voluerit.
Hic est funiculus triplex qui difficile rumpitur, quem nobis a patria
nostra in hunc carcerem usque dimissum firmiter, obsecro, teneamus: ut
ipse nos sublevet, ipse nos trahat et pertrahat usque ad conspectum
gloriae magni Dei: qui est benedictus in saecula. Amen".
   Concerning this faith and trust, it is earnestly pleaded by many that
obedience is included in it; but as to the way and manner thereof, they
variously express themselves. Socinus, and those who follow him
absolutely, do make obedience to be the essential form of faith; which is
denied by Episcopius. The Papists distinguish between faith in-formed and
faith formed by charity: which comes to the same purpose, for both are
built on this supposition,--that there may be true evangelical faith
(that which is required as our duty, and consequently is accepted of God,
that may contain all in it which is comprised in the name and duty of
faith) that may be without charity or obedience, and so be useless; for
the Socinians do not make obedience to be the essence of faith
absolutely, but as it justifies. And so they plead unto this purpose,
that "faith without works is dead". But to suppose that a dead faith, or
that faith which is dead, it that faith which is required of us in the
gospel in the way of duty, is a monstrous imagination. Others plead for
obedience, charity, the love of God, to be included in the nature of
faith; but plead not directly that this obedience is the form of faith,
but that which belongs unto the perfection of it, as it is justifying.
Neither yet do they say that by this obedience, a continued course of
works and obedience, as though that were necessary unto our first
justification, is required; but only a sincere active purpose of
obedience: and thereon, as the manner of our days is, load them with
reproaches who are otherwise minded, if they knew who they were. For how
impossible it is, according unto their principles who believe
justification by faith alone, that justifying faith should be without a
sincere purpose of heart to obey God in all things, I shall briefly
declare. For, First, They believe that faith is "not of ourselves, it is
the gift of God"; yea, that it is a grace wrought in the hearts of men by
the exceeding greatness of his power. And to suppose such a grace dead,
inactive, unfruitful, not operative unto the great end of the glory of
God, and the transforming of the souls of them that receive it into his
image, is a reflection on the wisdom, goodness, and love of God himself.
Secondly, That this grace is in them a principle of spiritual life, which
in the habit of it, as resident in the heart, is not really distinguished
from that of all other grace whereby we live to God. So, that there
should be faith habitually in the heart,--I mean that evangelical faith
we inquire after,--or actually exercised, where there is not a habit of
all other graces, is utterly impossible. Neither is it possible that
there should be any exercise of this faith unto justification, but where
the mind is prepared, disposed, and determined unto universal obedience.
And therefore, Thirdly, It is denied that any faith, trust, or
confidence, which may be imagined, so as to be absolutely separable from,
and have its whole nature consistent with, the absence of all other
graces, is that faith which is the especial gift of God, and which in the
gospel is required of us in a way of duty. And whereas some have said,
that "men may believe, and place their firm trust in Christ for life and
salvation, and yet not be justified;"--it is a position so destructive
unto the gospel, and so full of scandal unto all pious souls, and
contains such an express denial of the record that God has given
concerning his Son Jesus Christ, as I wonder that any person of sobriety
and learning should be surprised into it. And whereas they plead the
experience of multitudes who profess this firm faith and confidence in
Christ, and yet are not justified,--it is true, indeed, but nothing unto
their purpose; for whatever they profess, not only not one of them does
so in the sight and judgment of God, where this matter is to be tried,
but it is no difficult matter to evict them of the folly and falseness of
this profession, by the light and rule of the gospel, even in their own
consciences, if they would attend unto instruction.
   Wherefore we say, the faith whereby we are justified, is such as is
not found in any but those who are made-partakers of the Holy Ghost, and
by him united unto Christ, whose nature is renewed, and in whom there is
a principle of all grace, and purpose of obedience. Only we say, it is
not any other grace, as charity and the like, nor any obedience, that
gives life and form unto this faith; but it is this faith that gives life
and efficacy unto all other graces, and form unto all evangelical
obedience. Neither does any thing hence accrue unto our adversaries, who
would have all those graces which are, in their root and principle, at
least, present in all that are to be justified, to have the same
influence unto our justification as faith has: or that we are said to be
justified by faith alone; and in explication of it, in answer unto the
reproaches of the Romanists, do say we are justified by faith alone, but
not by that faith which is alone; that we intend by faith all other
graces and obedience also. For besides that, the nature of no other grace
is capable of that office which is assigned unto faith in our
justification, nor can be assumed into a society in operation with it,--
namely, to receive Christ, and the promises of life by him, and to give
glory unto God on their account; so when they can give us any testimony
of Scripture assigning our justification unto any other grace, or all
graces together, or all the fruits of them, so as it is assigned unto
faith, they shall be attended unto.
   And this, in particular, is to be affirmed of repentance; concerning
which it is most vehemently urged, that it is of the same necessity unto
our justification as faith is. For this they say is easily proved, from
testimonies of Scripture innumerable, which call all men to repentance
that will be saved; especially those two eminent places are insisted on,
Acts 2:38,39; 3:19. But that which they have to prove, is not that it is
of the same necessity with faith unto them that are to be justified, but
that it is of the same use with faith in their justification. Baptism in
that place of the apostle, Acts 2:38,39, is joined with faith no less
than repentance; and in other places it is expressly put into the same
condition. Hence, most of the ancients concluded that it was no less
necessary unto salvation than faith or repentance itself. Yet never did
any of them assign it the same use in justification with faith But it is
pleaded, whatever is a necessary condition of the new covenant, is also a
necessary condition of justification; for otherwise a man might be
justified, and continuing in his justified estate, not be saved, for want
of that necessary condition: for by a necessary condition of the new
covenant, they understand that without which a man cannot be saved. But
of this nature is repentance as well as faith, and so is equally a
condition of our justification. The ambiguity of the signification of the
word "condition" does cast much disorder on the present inquiry, in the
discourses of some men. But to pass it by at present, I say, final
perseverance is a necessary condition of the new covenant; wherefore, by
this rule, it is also of justification. They say, some things are
conditions absolutely; such as are faith and repentance, and a purpose of
obedience: some are so on some supposition only,--namely, that a man's
life be continued in this world; such is a course in obedience and good
works, and perseverance unto the end. Wherefore I so position that a man
lives in this world, perseverance unto the end is a necessary condition
of his justification. And if so, no justified whilst he is in this world;
for a condition does suspend that whereof it is a condition from
existence until it be accomplished. It is, then, to no purpose to dispute
any longer about justification, if indeed no man is, nor can be,
justified in this life. But how contrary this is to Scripture and
experience is known.
   If it be said, that final perseverance, which is so express a
condition of salvation in the new covenant, is not indeed the condition
of our first justification, but it is the condition of the continuation
of our justification; then they yield up their grand position, that
whatever is a necessary condition of the new covenant is a necessary
condition of justification: for it is that which they call the first
justification alone which we treat about. And that the continuation of
our justification depends solely on the same causes with our
justification itself, shall be afterwards declared. But it is not yet
proved, nor ever will be, that whatever is required in them that are to
be justified, is a condition whereon their justification is immediately
suspended. We allow that alone to be a condition of justification which
has an influence of causality thereunto, though it be but the causality
of an instrument. This we ascribe unto faith alone. And because we do so,
it is pleaded that we ascribe more in our justification unto ourselves
than they do by whom we are opposed. For we ascribe the efficiency of an
instrument herein unto our own faith, when they say one that it is a
condition, or "causa sine qua non," of our justification. But I judge
that grave and wise men ought not to give so much to the defense of the
cause they have undertaken, seeing they cannot but know indeed the
contrary. For after they have given the specious name of a condition, and
a "causa sine qua non," unto faith, they immediately take all other
graces and works of obedience into the same state with it, and the same
use in justification; and after this seeming gold has been cast for a
while into the fire of disputation, there comes out the calf of a
personal, inherent righteousness, whereby men are justified before God,
"virtute foederis evangelici;" for as for the righteousness of Christ to
be imputed unto us, it is gone into heaven, and they know not what is
become of it. 
   Having given this brief declaration of the nature of justifying faith,
and the acts of it (as I suppose, sufficient unto my present design), I
shall not trouble myself to give an accurate definition of it. What are
my thoughts concerning it, will be better understood by what has been
spoken, than by any precise definition I can give. And the truth is,
definitions of justifying faith have been so multiplied by learned men,
and in so great variety, and [there is] such a manifest inconsistency
among some of them, that they have been of no advantage unto the truth,
but occasions of new controversies and divisions, whilst every one has
laboured to defend the accuracy of his own definition, when yet it may be
difficult for a true believer to find any thing compliant with his own
experience in them; which kind of definitions in these things I have no
esteem for. I know no man that has laboured in this argument about the
nature of faith more than Dr Jackson; yet, when he has done all, he gives
us a definition of justifying faith which I know few that will subscribe
unto: yet is it, in the main scope of it, both pious and sound. For he
tells us, "Here at length, we may define the faith by which the just
live, to be a firm and constant adherence unto the mercies and the
loving-kindness of Lord; or, generally, unto the spiritual food exhibited
in his sacred word, as much better than this life itself, and all the
contentments it is capable of; grounded on a taste or relish of their
sweetness, wrought in the soul or heart of a man by the Spirit of
Christ". Whereunto he adds, "The terms for the most part are the prophet
David's; not metaphorical, as some may fancy, much less equivocal, but
proper and homogeneal to the subject defined," tom. 1 book 4 chap.9. For
the lively scriptural expressions of faith, by receiving on Christ,
leaning on him, rolling ourselves or our burden on him, tasting how
gracious the Lord is, and the like, which of late have been reproached,
yea, blasphemed, by many, I may have occasion to speak of them
afterwards; as also to manifest that they convey a better understanding
of the nature, work, and object of justifying faith, unto the minds of
men spiritually enlightened, than the most accurate definitions that many
pretend unto; some whereof are destructive and exclusive of them all.





III. The use of faith in justification; its especial object farther
cleared

Use of faith in justification; various conceptions about it--By whom
asserted as the instrument of it; by whom denied--In what sense it is
affirmed so to be--The expressions of the Scripture concerning the use of
faith in justification; what they are, and how they are best explained by
an instrumental cause--Faith, how the instrument of God in justification-
-How the instrument of them that do believe--The use of faith expressed
in the Scripture by apprehending, receiving; declared by an instrument--
Faith, in what sense the condition of our justification--Signification of
that term, whence to be learned


The description before given of justifying faith does sufficiently
manifest of what use it is in justification; nor shall I in general add
much unto what may be thence observed unto that purpose. But whereas this
use of it has been expressed with some variety, and several ways of it
asserted inconsistent with one another, they must be considered in our
passage. And I shall do it with all brevity possible; for these things
lead not in any part of the controversy about the nature of
justification, but are merely subservient unto other conceptions
concerning it. When men have fixed their apprehensions about the
principal matters in controversy, they express what concerns the use of
faith in an accommodation thereunto. Supposing such to be the nature of
justification as they assert, it must be granted that the use of faith
therein must be what they plead for. And if what is peculiar unto any in
the substance of the doctrine be disproved, they cannot deny but that
their notions about the use of faith do fall unto the ground. Thus is it
with all who affirm faith to be either the instrument, or the condition,
or the "causa sine qua non," or the preparation and disposition of the
subject, or a meritorious cause, by way of condecency or congruity, in
and of our justification. For all these notions of the use of faith are
suited and accommodated unto the opinions of men concerning the nature
and principal causes of justification. Neither can any trial or
determination be made as unto their truth and propriety, but upon a
previous judgment concerning those causes, and the whole nature of
justification itself. Whereas, therefore, it were vain and endless to
plead the principal matter in controversy upon every thing that
occasionally belongs unto it,--and so by the title unto the whole
inheritance of every cottage that is built on the premises,--I shall
briefly speak unto these various conceptions about the use of faith in
our justification, rather to find out and give an understanding of what
is intended by them, than to argue about their truth and propriety, which
depend on that wherein the substance of the controversy does consist.
   Protestant divines, until of late, have unanimously affirmed faith to
be the instrumental cause of our justification. So it is expressed to be
in many of the public confessions of their churches. This notion of
theirs concerning the nature and use of faith was from the first opposed
by those of the Roman church. Afterward it was denied also by the
Socinians, as either false or improper. Socin. Miscellan. Smalcius adv.
Frantz. disput. 4; Schlichting. adver. Meisner. de Justificat. And of
late this expression is disliked by some among ourselves; wherein they
follow Episcopius, Curcellaeus, and others of that way. Those who are
sober and moderate do rather decline this notion and expression as
improper, than reject them as untrue. And our safest course, in these
cases, is to consider what is the thing or matter intended. If that be
agreed upon, he deserves best of truth who parts with strife about
propriety of expressions, before it be meddled with. Tenacious pleading
about them will surely render our contentions endless; and none will ever
want an appearance of probability to give them countenance in what they
pretend. If our design in teaching be the same with that of the
Scripture,--namely, to inform the minds of believers, and convey the
light of the knowledge of God in Christ unto them, we must be contented
sometimes to make use of such expressions as will scarce pass the ordeal
of arbitrary rules and distinctions, through the whole compass of
notional and artificial sciences. And those who, without more ado, reject
the instrumentality of faith in our justification, as an unscriptural
notion, as though it were easy for them with one breath to blow away the
reasons and arguments of so many learned men as have pleaded for it, may
not, I think, do amiss to review the grounds of their confidence. For the
question being only concerning what is intended by it, it is not enough
that the term or word itself, of an instrument, is not found unto this
purpose in the Scripture; for on the same ground we may reject a trinity
of persons in the divine essence, without an acknowledgment whereof, not
one line of the Scripture can be rightly understood.
   Those who assert faith to be as the instrumental cause in our
justification, do it with respect unto two ends. For, first, they design
thereby to declare the meaning of those expressions in the Scripture
wherein we are said to be justified "pistei", absolutely; which must
denote, either "instrumentum, aut formam, aut modum actionis".
"Logidzometha oun pistei kikaiousthai anthroopon", Rom.3:28;--"Therefore
we conclude that a man is justified by faith." So, "Dia pisteoos", verse
22; "Ek pisteoos", Rom.1:17; Gal.3:8; "Dia tes pisteoos", Eph.2:8; "Ek
pisteoos, kai dia tes pisteoos", Rom.3:30;--that is "Fide, ex fide, per
fidem"; which we can express only, by faith, or through faith. "Propter
fidem", or "dia pistin", for our faith, we are nowhere said to be
justified. The inquiry is, What is the most proper, lightsome, and
convenient way of declaring the meaning of these expressions? This the
generality of Protestants do judge to be by an instrumental cause: for
some kind of causality they do plainly intimate, whereof the lowest and
meanest is that which is instrumental; for they are used of faith in our
justification before God, and of no other grace of duty whatever.
Wherefore, the proper work or office of faith in our justification is
intended by them. And "dia" is nowhere used in the whole New Testament
with a genitive case (nor in any other good author), but it denotes an
instrumental efficiency at least. In the divine works of the holy
Trinity, the operation of the second person, who is in them a principal
efficient, yet is sometimes expressed thereby; it may be to denote the
order of operation in the holy Trinity answering the order of
subsistence, though it be applied unto God absolutely or the Father:
Rom.11:36, "Di autou"--"By him are all things". Again, "ex ergoon vomou"
and "ex akoes pisteoos" are directly opposed, Gal.3:2. But when it is
said that a man is not justified "ex ergoon nomou",--"by the works of the
law,"--it is acknowledged by all that the meaning of the expression is to
exclude all efficiency, in every kind of such works, from our
justification. Is follows, therefore, that where, in opposition hereunto,
we are said to be justified "ek pisteoos",--"by faith,"--an instrumental
efficiency is intended. Yet will I not, therefore, make it my controversy
with any, that faith is properly an instrument, or the instrumental cause
in or of our justification; and so divert into an impertinent contest
about the nature and kinds of instruments and instrumental causes, as
they are metaphysically hunted with a confused cry of futilous terms and
distinctions. But this I judge, that among all those notions of things
which may be taken from common use and understanding, to represent unto
our minds the meaning and intention of the scriptural expressions so
often used, "pistei, ek pisteoos, dia pisteoos", there is none so proper
as this of an instrument or instrumental cause, seeing a causality is
included in them, and that of any other kind certainly excluded; nor has
it any of its own.
   But it may be said, that if faith be the instrumental cause of
justification, it is either the instrument of God, or the instrument of
believers themselves. That it is not the instrument of God is plain, in
that it is a duty which he prescribes unto us: it is an act of our own;
and it is we that believe, not God; nor can any act of ours be the
instrument of his work. And if it be our instrument, seeing an efficiency
is ascribed unto it, then are we the efficient causes of our own
justification in some sense, and may be said to justify ourselves; which
is derogatory to the grace of God and the blood of Christ.
   I confess that I lay not much weight on exceptions of this nature.
For, First, Notwithstanding what is said herein, the Scripture is
express, that "God justifieth us by faith." "It is one God which shall
justify the circumcision no "ek pisteoos", (by faith,) "and the
uncircumcision "dia tes pisteoos", (through or by faith), Rom.3:30. "The
Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith,"
Gal.3:8. As he "purifieth the hearts of men by faith," Acts 15:9,
wherefore faith, in some sense, may be said to be the instrument of God
in our justification, both as it is the means and way ordained and
appointed by him on our part whereby we shall be justified; as also,
because he bestows it on us, and works it in us unto this end, that we
may be justified: for "by grace we are saved through faith, and that not
of ourselves; it is the gift of God," Eph.2:8. If any one shall now say,
that on these accounts, or with respect unto divine ordination and
operation concurring unto our justification, faith is the instrument of
God, in its place and way, (as the gospel also is, Rom.1:16; and the
ministers of it, 2 Cor.5:18; 1 Tim.4:6; and the sacraments also,
Rom.4:11; Tit.3:5, in their several places and kinds), unto our
justification, it may be he will contribute unto a right conception of
the work of God herein, as much as those shall by whom it is denied.
   But that which is principally intended is, that it is the instrument
of them that do believe. Neither yet are they said hereon to justify
themselves. For whereas it does neither really produce the effect of
justification by a physical operation, nor can do so, it being a pure
sovereign act of God; nor is morally any way meritorious thereof; nor
does dispose the subject wherein it is unto the introduction of an
inherent formal cause of justification, there being no such thing in
"rerum natura"; nor has any other physical or moral respect unto the
effect of justifications but what arises merely from the constitution and
appointment of God; there is no colour of reason, from the
instrumentality of faith asserted, to ascribe the effect of justification
unto any but unto the principal efficient cause, which is God alone, and
from whom it proceeds in a way of free and sovereign grace, disposing the
order of things and the relation of them one unto another as seems good
unto him. "Dikaioumenoi doorean tei autou chariti", Rom.3:24; "Dia tes
pisteoos en tooi autou haimati", verse 25. It is, therefore, the
ordinance of God prescribing our duty, that we may be justified freely by
his grace, having its use and operation towards that end, after the
manner of an instrument; as we shall see farther immediately. Wherefore,
so far as I can discern, they contribute nothing unto the real
understanding of this truth, who deny faith to be the instrumental cause
of our justification; and, on other grounds, assert it to be the
condition thereof, unless they can prove this is a more natural
exposition of these expressions, "pistei, ek pisteoos, dia tes pisteoos",
which is the first thing to be inquired after. For all that we do in this
matter is but to endeavour a right understanding of Scripture
propositions and expressions, unless we intend to wander "extra pleas,"
and lose ourselves in a maze of uncertain conjectures.
   Secondly. They designed to declare the use of faith in justification,
expressed in the Scripture by apprehending and receiving of Christ or his
righteousness, and remission of sins thereby. The words whereby this use
of faith in our justification is expressed, are, "lamthanoo,
paralamthanoo", and "katalamthanoo". And the constant use of them in the
Scripture is, to take or receive what is offered, tendered, given or
granted unto us; or to apprehend and lay hold of any thing thereby to
make it our own: as "epilamthanomai" is also used in the same sense,
Heb.2:16. So we are said by faith to "receive Christ", John 1:12;
Col.2:6;--the "abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness",
Rom.5:17;--the "word of promise," Acts 2:41;--the "word of God," Acts
8:14; 1 Thess.1:6; 2:13;--the "atonement made by the blood of Christ,"
Rom.5:11;--the "forgiveness of sins", Acts 10:43; 26:18;--the "promise of
the Spirit," Gal.3:14;--the "promises", Heb.9:15. There is, therefore,
nothing that concurs unto our justification, but we receive it by faith.
And unbelief is expressed by "not receiving," John 1:11; 3:11; 12:48;
14:17. Wherefore, the object of faith in our justification, that whereby
we are justified, is tendered, granted, and given unto us of God; the use
of faith being to lay hold upon it, to receive it, so as that it may be
our own. What we receive of outward things that are so given unto us, we
do it by our hand; which, therefore, is the instrument of that reception,
that whereby we apprehend or lay hold of any thing to appropriate it unto
ourselves, and that, because this is the peculiar office which, by
nature, it is assigned unto among all the members of the body. Other uses
it has, and other members, on other accounts, may be as useful unto the
body as it; but it alone is the instrument of receiving and apprehending
that which, being given, is to be made our own, and to abide with us.
Whereas, therefore, the righteousness wherewith we are justified is the
gift of God, which is tendered unto us in the promise of the gospel; the
use and office of faith being to receive, apprehend, or lay hold of and
appropriate, this righteousness, I know not how it can be better
expressed than by an instrument, nor by what notion of it more light of
understanding may be conveyed unto our minds. Some may suppose other
notions are meet to express it by on other accounts; and it may be so
with respect unto other uses of it: but the sole present inquiry is, how
it shall be declared, as that which receives Christ, the atonement, the
gift of righteousness; which shall prove its only use in our
justification. He that can better express this than by an instrument
ordained of God unto this end, all whose use depends on that ordination
of God, will deserve well of the truth. It is true, that all those who
place the formal cause or reason of our justification in ourselves, or
our inherent righteousness, and so, either directly or by just
consequence, deny all imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto our
justification, are not capable of admitting faith to be an instrument in
this work, nor are pressed with this consideration; for they acknowledge
not that we receive a righteousness which is not our own, by way of gift,
whereby we are justified, and so cannot allow of any instrument whereby
it should be received. The righteousness itself being, as they phrase it,
putative, imaginary, a chimera, a fiction, it can have no real
accidents,--nothing that can be really predicated concerning it.
Wherefore, as was said at the entrance of this discourse, the truth and
propriety of this declaration of the use of faith in our justification by
an instrumental cause, depends on the substance of the doctrine itself
concerning the nature and principal causes of it, with which they must
stand or fall. If we are justified through the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ, which faith alone apprehends and receives, it
will not be denied but that it is rightly enough placed as the
instrumental cause of our justification. And if we are justified by an
inherent, evangelical righteousness of our own, faith may be the
condition of its imputation, or a disposition for its introduction, or a
congruous merit of it, but an instrument it cannot be. But yet, for the
present, it has this double advantage:--First, That it best and most
appositely answers what is affirmed of the use of faith in our
justification in the Scripture, as the instances given do manifest.
Secondly, That no other notion of it can be so stated, but that it must
be apprehended in order of time to be previous unto justification; which
justifying faith cannot be, unless a man may be a true believer with
justifying faith, and yet not be justified.
   Some do plead that faith is the condition of our justification, and
that otherwise it is not to be conceived of. As I said before, so I say
again, I shall not contend with any man about words, terms, or
expressions, so long as what is intended by them is agreed upon. And
there is an obvious sense wherein faith may he called the condition of
our justification; for no more may be intended thereby, but that it is
the duty on our part which God requires, that we may be justified. And
this the whole Scripture bears witness unto. Yet this hinders not but
that, as unto its use, it may be the instrument whereby we apprehend or
receive Christ and his righteousness. But to assert it the condition of
our justification, or that we are justified by it as the condition of the
new covenant, so as, from a preconceived signification of that word, to
give it another use in justification, exclusive of that pleaded for, as
the instrumental cause thereof, is not easily to be admitted; because it
supposes an alteration in the substance of the doctrine itself.
   The word is nowhere used in the Scripture in this matter; which I
argue no farther, but that we have no certain rule or standard to try and
measure its signification by. Wherefore, it cannot first be introduced in
what sense men please, and then that sense turned into argument for other
ends. For thus, on a supposed concession that it is the condition of our
justification, some heighten it into a subordinate righteousness, imputed
unto us antecedently, as I suppose, unto the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ in any sense, whereof it is the condition. And
some, who pretend to lessen its efficiency or dignity in the use of it in
our justification, say it is only "causa sine qua non;" which leaves us
at as great an uncertainty as to the nature and efficacy of this
condition as we were before. Nor is the true sense of things at all
illustrated, but rather darkened, by such notions.
   If we may introduce words into religion nowhere used in the Scripture
(as we may and must, if we design to bring light, and communicate proper
apprehensions of the things contained [in it] unto the minds of men), yet
are we not to take along with them arbitrary, preconceived senses, forged
either among lawyers or in the peripatetic school. The use of them in the
most approved authors of the language whereunto they do belong, and their
common vulgar acceptation among ourselves, must determine their sense and
meaning. It is known what confusion in the minds of men, the introduction
of words into ecclesiastical doctrines, of whose signification there has
not been a certain determinate rule agreed on, has produced. So the word
"merit" was introduced by some of the ancients (as is plain from the
design of their discourses where they use it) for impetration or
acquisition "quovis modo;"--by any means whatever. But there being no
cogent reason to confine the word unto that precise signification, it has
given occasion to as great a corruption as has befallen Christian
religion. We must, therefore, make use of the best means we have to
understand the meaning of this word, and what is intended by it, before
we admit of its use in this case. 
   "Conditio," in the best Latin writers, is variously used, answering
"katastasis, tuche, axia, aitia, tuntheche", in the Greek; that is,
"status, fortuna, dignitas, causa, pactum initum." In which of these
significations it is here to be understood is not easy to be determined.
In common use among us, it sometimes denotes the state and quality of
men,--that is, "katastatis" and "axia"; and sometimes a valuable
consideration for what is to be done,--that is, "aitia" or "suntheke".
But herein it is applied unto things in great variety; sometimes the
principal procuring, purchasing cause is so expressed. As the condition
whereon a man lends another a hundred pounds is, that he be paid it again
with interest;--the condition whereon a man conveys his land unto another
is, that he receive so much money for it: so a condition is a valuable
consideration. And sometimes it signifies such things as are added to the
principal cause, whereon its operation is suspended;--as a man bequeaths
a hundred pounds unto another, on condition that he come or go to such a
place to demand it. This is no valuable consideration, yet is the effect
of the principal cause, or the will of the testator, suspended thereon.
And as unto degrees of respect unto that whereof any thing is a
condition, as to purchase, procurement, valuable consideration, necessary
presence, the variety is endless. We therefore cannot obtain a
determinate sense of this word condition, but from a particular
declaration of what is intended by it, wherever it is used. And although
this be not sufficient to exclude the use of it from the declaration of
the way and manner how we are justified by faith, yet is it so to exclude
the imposition of any precise signification of it, any other than is
given it by the matter treated of. Without this, every thing is left
ambiguous and uncertain whereunto it is applied. 
   For instance, it is commonly said that faith and new obedience are the
condition of the new covenant; but yet, because of the ambiguous
signification and various use of that term (condition) we cannot
certainly understand what is intended in the assertion. If no more be
intended but that God, in and by the new covenant, does indispensably
require these things of us,--that is, the restipulation of a good
conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, in
order unto his own glory, and our full enjoyment of all the benefits of
it, it is unquestionably true; but if it be intended that they are such a
condition of the covenant as to be by us performed antecedently unto the
participation of any grace, mercy, or privilege of it, so as that they
should be the consideration and procuring causes of them,--that they
should be all of them, as some speak, the reward of our faith and
obedience,--it is most false, and not only contrary to express
testimonies of Scripture, but destructive of the nature of the covenant
itself. If it be intended that these things, though promised in the
covenant, and wrought in us by the grace of God, are yet duties required
of us, in order unto the participation and enjoyment of the full end of
the covenant in glory, it is the truth which is asserted; but if it be
said that faith and new obedience--that is, the works of righteousness
which we do--are so the condition of the covenant, as that whatever the
one is ordained of God as a means of, and in order to such or such an
end, as justification, that the other is likewise ordained unto the same
end, with the same kind of efficacy, or with the same respect unto the
effect, it is expressly contrary to the whole scope and express design of
the apostle on that subject. But it will be said that a condition in the
sense intended, when faith is said to be a condition of our
justification, is no more but that it is "causa sine qua non"; which is
easy enough to be apprehended. But yet neither are we so delivered out of
uncertainties into a plain understanding of what is intended; for these
"causa sine quibus non" may be taken largely or more strictly and
precisely. So are they commonly distinguished by the masters in these
arts. Those so called, in a larger sense, are all such causes, in any
kind of efficiency or merit, as are inferior unto principal causes, and
would operate nothing without them; but in conjunction with them, have a
real effective influence, physical or moral, into the production of the
effect. And if we take a condition to be a "causa sine qua non" in this
sense, we are still at a loss what may be its use, efficiency, or merit,
with respect unto our justification. If it be taken more strictly for
that which is necessarily present, but has no causality in any kind, not
that of a receptive instrument, I cannot understand how it should be an
ordinance of God. For every thing that he has appointed unto any end,
moral or spiritual, has, by virtue of that appointment, either a
symbolical instructive efficacy, or an active efficiency, or a rewardable
condecency, with respect unto that end. Other things may be generally and
remotely necessary unto such an end, so far as it partakes of the order
of natural beings, which are not ordinances of God with respect
thereunto, and so have no kind of causality with respect unto it, as it
is moral or spiritual. So the air we breathe is needful unto the
preaching of the word, and consequently a "causa sine qua non" thereof;
but an ordinance of God with especial respect thereunto it is not. But
every thing that he appoints unto an especial spiritual end, has an
efficacy or operation in one or other of the ways mentioned; for they
either concur with the principal cause in its internal efficiency, or
they operate externally in the removal of obstacles and hindrances that
oppose the principal cause in its efficiency. And this excludes all
causes "sine quibus non," strictly so taken, from any place among divine
ordinances. God appoints nothing for an end that shall do nothing. His
sacraments are not "arga semeia" but, by virtue of his institution, do
exhibit that grace which they do not in themselves contain. The preaching
of the word has a real efficiency unto all the ends of it. So have all
the graces and duties that he works in us, and requires of us: by them
all are "we made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light;" and
our whole obedience, through his gracious appointment, has a rewardable
condecency with respect unto eternal life. Wherefore, as faith may be
allowed to be the condition of our justification, if no more be intended
thereby but that it is what God requires of us that we may be justified;
so, to confine the declaration of its use in our justification unto its
being the condition of it, when so much as a determinate signification of
it cannot be agreed upon, is subservient only unto the interest of
unprofitable strife and contention.
   To close these discourses concerning faith and its use in our
justification, some things must yet be added concerning its *especial
object*. For although what has been spoken already thereon, in the
description of its nature and object in general, be sufficient, in
general, to state its especial object also; yet there having been an
inquiry concerning it, and debate about it, in a peculiar notion, and
under some especial terms, that also must be considered. And this is,
Whether justifying faith, in our justification, or its use therein, do
respect Christ as a king and prophet, as well as a priest, with the
satisfaction that as such he made for us, and that in the same manner,
and unto the same ends and purposes? And I shall be brief in this
inquiry, because it is but a late controversy, and, it may be, has more
of curiosity in its disquisition than of edification in its
determination. However, being not, that I know of, under these terms
stated in any public confessions of the reformed churches, it is free for
any to express their apprehensions concerning it. And to this purpose I
say,--
   1. Faith, whereby we are justified, in the receiving of Christ,
principally respects his person, for all those ends for which he is the
ordinance of God. It does not, in the first place, as it is faith in
general, respect his person absolutely, seeing its formal object, as
such, is the truth of God in the proposition, and not the thing itself
proposed. Wherefore, it so respects and receives Christ as proposed in
the promise,--the promise itself being the formal object of its assent.
   2. We cannot so receive Christ in the promise, as in that act of
receiving him to exclude the consideration of any of his offices; for as
he is not at any time to be considered by us but as vested with all his
offices, so a distinct conception of the mind to receive Christ as a
priest, but not as a king or prophet, is not faith, but unbelief,--not
the receiving, but the rejecting of him.
   3. In the receiving of Christ for justification formally, our distinct
express design is to be justified thereby, and no more. Now, to be
justified is to be freed from the guilt of sin, or to have all our sins
pardoned, and to have a righteousness wherewith to appear before God, so
as to be accepted with him, and a right to the heavenly inheritance.
Every believer has other designs also, wherein he is equally concerned
with this,--as, namely, the renovation of his nature, the sanctification
of his person, and ability to live unto God in all holy obedience; but
the things before mentioned are all that he aims at or designs in his
applications unto Christ, or his receiving of him unto justification.
Wherefore,--
   4. Justifying faith, in that act or work of it whereby we are
justified, respects Christ in his priestly office alone, as he was the
surety of the covenant, with what he did in the discharge thereof. The
consideration of his other office is not excluded, but it is not formally
comprised in the object of faith as justifying.
   5. When we say that the sacerdotal office of Christ, or the blood of
Christ, or the satisfaction of Christ, is that alone which faith respects
in justification, we do not exclude, yea, we do really include and
comprise, in that assertion, all that depends thereon, or concurs to make
them effectual unto our justification. As,--First, The "free grace" and
favour of God in giving of Christ for us and unto us, whereby we are
frequently said to be justified, Rom.3:24; Eph.2:8; Tit.3:7. His wisdom,
love, righteousness, and power, are of the same consideration, as has
been declared. Secondly. Whatever in Christ himself was necessary
antecedently unto his discharge of that office, or was consequential
thereof, or did necessarily accompany it. Such was his incarnation, the
whole course of his obedience, his resurrection, ascension, exaltation,
and intercession; for the consideration of all these things is
inseparable from the discharge of his priestly office. And therefore is
justification either expressly or virtually assigned unto them also,
Gen.3:15; 1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14-16; Rom.4:25; Acts 5:31; Heb.7:27;
Rom.8:34. But yet, wherever our justification is so assigned unto them,
they are not absolutely considered, but with respect unto their relation
to his sacrifice and satisfaction. Thirdly. All the means of the
application of the sacrifice and righteousness of the Lord Christ unto us
are also included therein. Such is the principal efficient cause thereof,
which is the Holy ghost; whence we are said to be "justified in the name
of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God," 1 Cor.6:11; and the
instrumental cause thereof on the part of God, which is the "promise of
the gospel," Rom.1:17; Gal.3:22,23. It would, therefore, be unduly
pretended, that by this assertion we do narrow or straiten the object of
justifying faith as it justifies; for, indeed, we assign a respect unto
the whole mediatory office of Christ, not excluding the kingly and
prophetical parts thereof, but only such a notion of them as would not
bring in more of Christ, but much of ourselves, into our justification.
And the assertion, as laid down, may be proved,--
   (1.) From the experience of all that are justified, or do seek for
justification according unto the gospel: for under this notion of seeking
for justification, or a righteousness unto justification, they were all
of them to be considered, and do consider themselves as "hupodikoi tooi
Theooi",--"guilty before God,"--subject, obnoxious, liable unto his wrath
in the curse of the law; as we declared in the entrance of this
discourse, Rom.3:19. They were all in the same state that Adam was in
after the fall, unto whom God proposed the relief of the incarnation and
suffering of Christ, Gen.3:15. And to seek after justification, is to
seek after a discharge from this woeful state and condition. Such persons
have, and ought to have, other designs and desires also. For whereas the
state wherein they are antecedent unto their justification is not only a
state of guilt and wrath, but such also as wherein, through the
depravation of their nature, the power of sin is prevalent in them, and
their whole souls are defiled, they design and desire not only to be
justified, but to be sanctified also; but as unto the guilt of sin, and
the want of a righteousness before God, from which justification is their
relief, herein, I say, they have respect unto Christ as "set forth to be
a propitiation through faith in his blood." In their design for
sanctification they have respect unto the kingly and prophetical offices
of Christ, in their especial exercise; but as to their freedom from the
guilt of sin, and their acceptance with God, or their justification in
his sight,--that they may be freed from condemnation, that they may not
come into judgment,--it is Christ crucified, it is Christ lifted up as
the "brazen serpent" in the wilderness, it is the blood of Christ, it is
the propitiation that he was and the atonement that he made, it is his
bearing their sins, his being made sin and the curse for them, it is his
obedience, the end which he put unto sin, and the everlasting
righteousness which he brought in, that alone their faith does fix upon
and acquiesce in. If it be otherwise in the experience of any, I
acknowledge I am not acquainted with it. I do not say that conviction of
sin is the only antecedent condition of actual justification; but this it
is that makes a sinner "subjectum capax justificationis". No man,
therefore, is to be considered as a person to be justified, but he who is
actually under the power of the conviction of sin, with all the necessary
consequent thereof. Suppose, therefore, any sinner in this condition, as
it is described by the apostle, Rom.3, "guilty before God," with his
"mouth stopped" as unto any pleas, defenses, or excuses; suppose him to
seek after a relief and deliverance out of this estate,--that is, to be
justified according to the gospel,--he neither does nor can wisely take
any other course than what he is there directed unto by the same apostle,
verses 20-20, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be
justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now
the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed
by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God, which is by
faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there
is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of
God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is
in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through
faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of
sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." Whence I argue,--
   That which a guilty, condemned sinner, finding no hope nor relief from
the law of God, the sole rule of all his obedience, does retake himself
unto by faith, that he may be delivered or justified,--that is the
especial object of faith as justifying. But this is the grace of God
alone, through the redemption that is in Christ; or Christ proposed as a
propitiation through faith in his blood. Either this is so, or the
apostle does not aright guide the souls and consciences of men in that
condition wherein he himself does place them. It is the blood of Christ
alone that he directs the faith unto of all them that would be justified
before God. Grace, redemption, propitiation, all through the blood of
Christ, faith does peculiarly respect and fix upon. This is that, if I
mistake not, which they will confirm by their experience who have made
any distinct observation of the acting of their faith in their
justification before God.
   (2.) The Scripture plainly declares that faith as justifying respects
the sacerdotal office and acting of Christ alone. In the great
representation of the justification of the church of old, in the
expiatory sacrifice, when all their sins and iniquities were pardoned,
and their persons accepted with God, the acting of their faith was
limited unto the imposition of all their sins on the head of the
sacrifice by the high priest, Lev.16. "By his knowledge" (that is, by
faith in him) "shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear
their iniquities", Isa.53:11. That alone which faith respects in Christ,
as unto the justification of sinners, is his "bearing their iniquities".
Guilty, convinced sinners look unto him by faith, as those who were stung
with "fiery serpents" did to the "brazen serpent,"--that is, as he was
lifted up on the cross, John 3:14,15. So did he himself express the
nature and acting of faith in our justification. Rom.3:24,25, "Being
justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus: whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his
blood." As he is a propitiation, as he shed his blood for us, as we have
redemption thereby, he is the peculiar object of our faith, with respect
unto our justification. See to the same purpose, Rom.5:9,10; Eph.1:7;
Col.1:14; Eph.2:13-16; Rom.8:3,4. "He we made sin for us, who knew no
sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor.5:21.
That which we seek after in justification, is a participation of the
righteousness of God;--to be made the righteousness of God, and that not
in ourselves, but in another; that is, in Christ Jesus. And that alone
which is proposed unto our faith as the means and cause of it, is his
being made sin for us, or a sacrifice for sin; wherein all the guilt of
our sins was laid on him, and he bare all our iniquities. This therefore,
is its peculiar object herein. And wherever, in the Scripture, we are
directed to seek for the forgiveness of sins by the blood of Christ, to
receive the atonement, to be justified through the faith of him as
crucified, the object of faith in justification is limited and
determined.
   But it may be pleaded, in exception unto the testimonies, that no one
of them does affirm that we are justified by faith in the blood of Christ
alone, so as to exclude the consideration of the other offices of Christ
and their acting from being the object of faith in the same manner and
unto the same ends with his sacerdotal office, and what belongs
thereunto, or is derived from it.
   Answer. This exception derives from that common objection against the
doctrine of justification by faith alone,--namely, that that exclusive
term alone is not found in the Scripture, or in any of the testimonies
that are produced for justification by faith. But it is replied, with
sufficient evidence of truth, that although the word be not found
syllabically used unto this purpose, yet there are exceptive expressions
equivalent unto it; as we shall see afterwards. It is so in this
particular instance also; for,--First, Where our justification is
expressly ascribed unto our faith in the blood of Christ as the
propitiation for our sins, unto our believing in him as crucified for us,
and it is nowhere ascribed unto our receiving of him as King, Lord, or
Prophet, it is plain that the former expressions are virtually exclusive
of the latter consideration. Secondly, I do not say that the
consideration of the kingly and prophetical offices of Christ is
excluded. from our justification, as works are excluded in opposition
unto faith and grace: for they are so excluded, as there we are to
exercise an act of our minds in their positive rejection, as saying, "Get
you hence, you have no lot nor portion in this matter;" but as to these
offices of Christ, as to the object of faith as justifying, we say only
that they are not included therein. For, so to believe to be justified by
his blood, as to exercise a positive act of the mind, excluding a
compliance with his other offices, is an impious imagination.
   (3.) Neither the consideration of these offices themselves, nor any of
the peculiar acts of them, is suited to give the souls and consciences of
convinced sinners that relief which they seek after in justification. We
are not, in this whole cause, to lose out of our eye the state of the
person who is to be justified, and what it is he does seek after, and
ought to seek after, therein. Now, this is pardon of sin, and
righteousness before God alone. That, therefore, which is no way suited
to give or tender this relief unto him, is not, nor can be, the object of
his faith whereby he is justified, in that exercise of it whereon his
justification does depend. This relief, it will be said, is to be had in
Christ alone. It is true; but under what consideration? For the whole
design of the sinner is, how he may be accepted with God, be at peace
with him, have all his wrath turned away, by a propitiation or atonement.
Now, this can no otherwise be done but by the acting of some one towards
God and with God on his behalf; for it is about the turning away of God's
anger, and acceptance with him, that the inquiry is made. It is by the
blood of Christ that we are "made nigh," who were "far off," Eph.2:13. By
the blood of Christ are we reconciled, who were enemies, verse 16. By the
blood of Christ we have redemption, Rom.3:24,25; Eph.1:7; etc. This,
therefore, is the object of faith.
   All the actings of the kingly and prophetical offices of Christ are
all of them from God; that is, in the name and authority of God towards
us. Not any one of them is towards God on our behalf so as that by virtue
of them we should expect acceptance with God. They are all good, blessed,
holy in themselves, and of an eminent tendency unto the glory of God in
our salvation: yea, they are no less necessary unto our salvation, to the
praise of God's grace, than are the atonement for sin and satisfaction
which he made; for from them is the way of life revealed unto us, grace
communicated, our persons sanctified, and the reward bestowed. Yea, in
the exercise of his kingly power does the Lord Christ both pardon and
justify sinners. Not that he did as a king constitute the law of
justification; for it was given and established in the first promise, and
he came to put it in execution, John 3:16; but in the virtue of his
atonement and righteousness, imputed unto them, he does both pardon and
justify sinners. But they are the acts of his sacerdotal office alone,
that respect God on our behalf. Whatever he did on earth with God for the
church, in obedience, suffering, and offering up of himself; whatever he
does in heaven, in intercession and appearance in the presence of God,
for us; it all entirely belongs unto his priestly office. And in these
things alone does the soul of a convinced sinner find relief when he
seeks after deliverance from the state of sin, and acceptance with God.
In these, therefore, alone the peculiar object of his faith, that which
will give him rest and peace, must be comprised. And this last
consideration is, of itself, sufficient to determine this difference.
   Sundry things are objected against this assertion, which I shall not
here at large discuss, because what is material in any of them will occur
on other occasions, where its consideration will be more proper. In
general it may be pleaded, that justifying faith is the same with saving
faith: nor is it said that we are justified by this or that part of
faith, but by faith in general; that is, as taken essentially, for the
entire grace of faith. And as unto faith in this sense, not only a
respect unto Christ in all his offices, but obedience itself also is
included in it; as is evident in many places of the Scripture. Wherefore,
there is no reason why we should limit the object of it unto the person
of Christ as acting in the discharge of his sacerdotal office, with the
effects and fruits thereof.
   Answer 1. Saving faith and justifying faith, in any believer, are one
and the same; and the adjuncts of saving and justifying are but external
denominations, from its distinct operations and effects. But yet saving
faith does act in a peculiar manner, and is of peculiar use in
justification, such as it is not of under any other consideration
whatever. Wherefore,--2. Although saving faith, as it is described in
general, do ever include obedience, not as its form or essence, but as
the necessary effect is included in the cause, and the fruit in the
fruit-bearing juice; and is often mentioned as to its being and exercise
where there is no express mention of Christ, his blood, and his
righteousness, but is applied unto all the acts, duties, and ends of the
gospel; yet this proves not at all but that, as unto its duty, place, and
acting in our justification, it has a peculiar object. If it could be
proved, that where justification is ascribed unto faith, that there it
has any other object assigned unto it, as that which it rested in for the
pardon of sin and acceptance with God, this objection were of some force;
but this cannot be done. 3. This is not to say that we are justified by a
part of faith, and not by it as considered essentially; for we are
justified by the entire grace of faith, acting in such a peculiar way and
manner, as others have observed. But the truth is, we need not insist on
the discussion of this inquiry; for the true meaning of it is, not
whether any thing of Christ is to be excluded from being the object of
justifying faith, or of faith in our justification; but, what in and of
ourselves, under the name of receiving Christ as our Lord and King, is to
be admitted unto an efficiency or conditionality in that work. As it is
granted that justifying faith is the receiving of Christ, so whatever
belongs unto the person of Christ, or any office of his, or any acts in
the discharge of any office, that may be reduced unto any cause of our
justification, the meritorious, procuring, material, formal, or
manifesting cause of it, is, so far as it does so, freely admitted to
belong unto the object of justifying faith. Neither will I contend with
any upon this disadvantageous stating of the question,--What of Christ is
to be esteemed the object of justifying faith, and what is not so? For
the thing intended is only this,--Whether our own obedience, distinct
from faith, or included in it, and in like manner as faith, be the
condition of our justification before God? This being that which is
intended, which the other question is but invented to lead unto a
compliance with, by a more specious pretence than in itself it is capable
of, under those terms it shall be examined, and no otherwise.





IV. Of justification; the notion and signification of the Word in
Scripture

The proper sense of these words, justification, and to justify,
considered--Necessity thereof--Latin derivation of justification--Some of
the ancients deceived by it --From "jus", and "justum"; "justus filius",
who--The Hebrew "hitsdik"--Use and signification of it--Places where it
is used examined, 2 Sam.15:4; Deut.25:1; Prov.17:15; Isa.5:23; 50:8,9; 1
Kings 8:31,32; 2 Chron.6:22,23; Ps.82:3; Exod.23:7; Job 27:5; Isa.53:11;
Gen.44:16; Dan.12:3--The constant sense of the word evinced--"Diakaio-
oo", use of it in other authors, to punish--What it is in the New
Testament, Matt.11:19; 12:37; Luke 7:29; 10:29; 16:15; 18:14; Acts
13:38,39; Rom.2:13; 3:4--Constantly used in a forensic sense--Places
seeming dubious, vindicated, Rom.8:30; 1 Cor.6:11; Tit.3:5-7; Rev.22:11--
How often these words, "diakaio-oo" and "dikaioumai", are used in the New
Testament--Constant sense of this--The same evinced from what is opposed
unto it, Isa.1:8,9; Prov.17:15; Rom.5:116,18; 8:33,34--And the
declaration of it in terms equivalent, Rom.4:6,11; 5:9,10; 2 Cor.5:20,21;
Matt.1:21; Acts 13:39; Gal.2:16, etc.--Justification in the Scripture,
proposed under a juridical scheme, and of a forensic title--The parts and
progress of it--Inferences from the whole


Unto the right understanding of the nature of justification, the proper
sense and signification of these words themselves, justification and to
justify, is to be inquired into; for until that is agreed upon, it is
impossible that our discourses concerning the thing itself should be
freed from equivocation. Take words in various senses, and all may be
true that is contradictorily affirmed or denied concerning what they are
supposed to signify; and so it has actually fallen out in this case, as
we shall see more fully afterwards. Some taking these words in one sense,
some in another, have appeared to deliver contrary doctrines concerning
the thing itself, or our justification before God, who yet have fully
agreed, in what the proper determinate sense or signification of the
words does import; and therefore the true meaning of them has been
declared and vindicated already by many. But whereas the right stating
hereof is of more moment unto the determination of what is principally
controverted about the doctrine itself, or the thing signified, than most
do apprehend, and something at least remains to be added for the
declaration and vindication of the import and only signification of these
words in the Scripture, I shall give an account of my observations
concerning it with what diligence I can.
   The Latin derivation and composition of the word "justificatio," would
seem to denote an internal change from inherent unrighteousness unto
righteousness likewise inherent, by a physical motion and transmutation,
as the schoolmen speak; for such is the signification of words of the
same composition. So sanctification, mortification, vivification, and the
like, do all denote a real internal work on the subject spoken of.
Hereon, in the whole Roman school, justification is taken for
justifaction, or the making of a man to be inherently righteous, by the
infusion of a principle or habit of grace, who was before inherently and
habitually unjust and unrighteous. Whilst this is taken to be the proper
signification of the word, we neither do nor can speak, ad idem, in our
disputations with them about the cause and nature of that justification
which the Scripture teaches.
   And this appearing sense of the word possibly deceived some of the
ancients, as Austin in particular, to declare the doctrine of free,
gratuitous sanctification, without respect unto any works of our own,
under the name of justification; for neither he nor any of them ever
thought of a justification before God, consisting in the pardon of our
sins and the acceptation of our persons as righteous, by virtue of any
inherent habit of grace infused into us, or acted by us. Wherefore the
subject-matter must be determined by the scriptural use and signification
of these words, before we can speak properly or intelligibly concerning
it: for if to justify men in the Scripture, signify to make them
subjectively and inherently righteous, we must acknowledge a mistake in
what we teach concerning the nature and causes of justification; and if
it signify no such thing, all their disputations about justification by
the infusion of grace, and inherent righteousness thereon, fall to the
ground. Wherefore, all Protestants (and the Socinians all of them comply
therein) do affirm, that the use and signification of these words is
forensic, denoting an act of jurisdiction. Only the Socinians, and some
others, would have it to consist in the pardon of sin only; which,
indeed, the word does not at all signify. But the sense of the word is,
to assoil, to acquit, to declare and pronounce righteous upon a trial;
which, in this case, the pardon of sin does necessarily accompany. 
   "Justificatio" and "justifico" belong not, indeed, unto the Latin
tongue, nor can any good author be produced who ever used them, for the
making of him inherently righteous, by any means, who was not so before.
But whereas these words were coined and framed to signify such things as
are intended, we have no way to determine the signification of them, but
by the consideration of the nature of the things which they were invented
to declare and signify. And whereas, in this language, these words are
derived from "jus" and "justum," they must respect an act of jurisdiction
rather than a physical operation or infusion. "Justificari" is "justus
censeri, pro justo haberi;"--to be esteemed, accounted, or adjudged
righteous. So a man was made "justus filius," in adoption, unto him by
whom he was adopted, which, what it is, is well declared by Budaeus,
Cajus lib.2, F. de Adopt. De Arrogatione loquens: "Is qui adoptat
rogatur, id est, interrogatur, an velit eum quem adopturus sit, justum
sibi filium esse. Justum", says he, "intelligo, non verum, ut aliqui
censent, sed omnibus partibus, ut ita dicam, filiationis, veri filii
vicem obtinentem, naturalis et legitimi filii loco sedentem". Wherefore,
as by adoption there is no internal inherent change made in the person
adopted, but by virtue thereof he is esteemed and adjudged as a true God,
and has all the rights of a legitimate son; so by justification, as to
the importance of the word, a man is only esteemed, declared, and
pronounced righteous, as if he were completely so. And in the present
case justification and gratuitous adoption are the same grace, for the
substance of them, John 1:12; only, respect is had, in their different
denomination of the same grace, unto different effects or privileges that
ensue thereon.
   But the true and genuine signification of these words is to be
determined from those in the original languages of the Scripture which
are expounded by them. In the Hebrew it is "tsadak". This the LXX render
by "Dikaion apofainoo", Job 27:5; "Dikaios anafainomai", chap.13:18;
"Dikaion krinoo", Prov.17:15;to show or declare one righteous; to appear
righteous; to judge any one righteous. And the sense may be taken from
any one of them, as Job 13:18, "Hinneh-na 'arakti mishpat yada'ti ki-'ani
'etsdak"--Behold, now I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be
justified." The ordering of his cause (his judgment), his cause to be
judged on, is his preparation for a sentence, either of absolution or
condemnation: and hereon his confidence was, that he should be justified;
that is, absolved, acquitted, pronounced righteous. And the sense is no
less pregnant in the other places. Commonly, they render it by "dikaio-
oo", whereof I shall speak afterwards.
   Properly, it denotes an action towards another (as justification and
to justify do) in Hiphil only; and a reciprocal action of a man on
himself in Hithpael, "hitstadak". Hereby alone is the true sense of these
words determined. And I say, that in no place, or on any occasion, is it
used in that conjugation wherein it denotes an action towards another, in
any other sense but to absolve, acquit, esteem, declare, pronounce
righteous, or to impute righteousness; which is the forensic sense of the
word we plead for,--that is its constant use and signification, nor does
it ever once signify to make inherently righteous, much less to pardon or
forgive: so vain is the pretence of some, that justification consist only
in the pardon of sin, which is not signified by the word in any one place
of Scripture. Almost in all places this sense is absolutely
unquestionable; nor is there any more than one which will admit of any
debate, and that on so faint a pretence as cannot prejudice its constant
use and signification in all other places. Whatever, therefore, an
infusion of inherent grace may be, or however it may be called,
justification it is not, it cannot be; the word nowhere signifying any
such thing. Wherefore those of the church of Rome do not so much oppose
justification by faith through the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ, as, indeed, deny that there is any such thing as justification:
for that which they call the first justification, consisting in the
infusion of a principle of inherent grace, is no such thing as
justification: and their second justification, which they place in the
merit of works, wherein absolution or pardon of sin has neither place nor
consideration, is inconsistent with evangelical justification; as we
shall show afterwards.
   This word, therefore, whether the act of God towards men, or of men
towards God, or of men among themselves, or of one towards another, be
expressed thereby, is always used in a forensic sense, and does not
denote a physical operation, transfusion, or transmutation. 2 Sam.15:4,
"If any man has a suit or cause, let him come to me," "wehitsdaktiw",
"and I will do him justice;"--"I will justify him, judge in his cause,
and pronounce for him." Dent.25:1, "If there be a controversy among men,
and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them," "wehitsdiku
et-hatsdik", "they shall justify the righteous;" pronounce sentence on
his side: whereunto is opposed, "wehirshi'u et-harasha" "and they shall
condemn the wicked;" make him wicked, as the word signifies;--that is,
judge, declare, and pronounce him wicked; whereby he becomes so
judicially, and in the eye of the law, as the other is made righteous by
declaration and acquitment. He does not say, "This shall pardon the
righteous;" which to suppose would overthrow both the antithesis and
design of the place. And "hirshia" is as much to infuse wickedness into a
man, as "hitsdik" is to infuse a principle of grace or righteousness into
him. The same antithesis occurs, Prov.17:15, "matsdik rasha umarshia
tsadik"--"He that justifieth the wicked, and condemneth the righteous."
Not he that makes the wicked inherently righteous, not he that changes
him inherently from unrighteous unto righteousness; but he that, without
any ground, reason, or foundation, acquits him in judgment, or declares
him to be righteous, "is an abomination unto the LORD." And although this
be spoken of the judgment of men, yet the judgment of God also is
according unto this truth: for although he justified the ungodly,--those
who are so in themselves,--yet he does it on the ground and consideration
of a perfect righteousness made theirs by imputation; and by another act
of his grace, that they may be meet subjects of this righteous favour,
really and inherently changes them from unrighteousness unto holiness, by
the renovation of their natures. And these things are singular in the
actings of God, which nothing amongst men has any resemblance unto or can
represent; for the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto a
person in himself ungodly, unto his justification, or that he may be
acquitted, absolved, and declared righteous, is built on such
foundations, and proceeds on such principles of righteousness, wisdom,
and sovereignty, as have no place among the actions of men, nor can have
so; as shall afterwards be declared. And, moreover, when God does justify
the ungodly, on the account of the righteousness imputed unto him, he
does at the same instant, by the power of his grace, make him inherently
and subjectively righteous or holy; which men cannot do one towards
another. And therefore, whereas man's justifying of the wicked is to
justify them in their wicked ways, whereby they are constantly made
worse, and more obdurate in evil; when God justifies the ungodly, their
change from personal unrighteousness and unholiness unto righteousness
and holiness does necessarily and infallibly accompany it.
   To the same purpose is the word used, Isa.5:23, "Which justify the
wicked for reward;" and chap. 50:8,9, "karov matsdiki"--"He is near that
justifieth me; who will contend with me? Let us stand together: who is
mine adversary? Let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord GOD will help
me; who shall condemn me?" Where we have a full declaration of the proper
sense of the word; which is, to acquit and pronounce righteous on a
trial. And the same sense is fully expressed in the former antithesis. 1
Kings 8:31,32, "If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be
laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar
in this house; then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants,"
"leharchi'a rasha" "to condemn the wicked," to charge his wickedness on
him, to bring his way on his head, "ulhatsdik tsadik", "and to justify
the righteous." The same words are repeated, 2 Chron.6:22,23. Ps.82:3,
"ani warash hatsdiku"--"Do justice to the afflicted and poor;" that is,
justify them in their cause against wrong and oppression. Exod.23:7, "lo-
'atsdik rasha"--"I will not justify the wicked;" absolve, acquit, or
pronounce him righteous. Job 27:5, "chalilah li im-atsdik etchem"--"Be it
far from me that I should justify you," or pronounce sentence on your
side as if you were righteous. Isa.53:11, "By his knowledge my righteous
servant," "yatsdik", "shall justify many:" the reason whereof is added,
"For he shall bear their iniquities;" whereon they are absolved and
justified
   Once it is used in Hithpael, wherein a reciprocal action is denoted,
that whereby a man justifies himself. Gen.44:16, "And Judah said, What
shall we say unto my lord? What shall we speaks?" "Umah-nitstadak", "and
how shall we justify ourselves? God has found out our iniquity." They
could plead nothing why they should be absolved from guilt. 
   Once the participle is used to denote the outward instrumental cause
of the justification of others; in which place alone there is any doubt
of its sense. Dan.12:3, "Umatsdikei harabim"--"And they that justify
many," namely, in the same sense that the preachers of the gospel are
said "to save themselves and others," 1 Tim.4:16; for men may be no less
the instrumental causes of the justification of others than of their
sanctification. 
   Wherefore, although "tsadak" in Kal signifies "justum esse", and
sometimes "juste agere," which may relate unto inherent righteousness,
yet where any action towards another is denoted, this word signifies
nothing but to esteem, declare, pronounce, and adjudge any one absolved,
acquitted, cleared, justified: there is, therefore, no other kind of
justification once mentioned in the Old Testament.
   "Dikaio-oo" is the word used to the same purpose in the New Testament,
and that alone. Neither is this word used in any good author whatever to
signify the making of a man righteous by any applications to produce
internal righteousness in him; but either to absolve and acquit, to
judge, esteem, and pronounce righteous; or, on the contrary, to condemn.
So Suidas, "Dikaioun duo deloi, to te koladzein, kai to dikaion
nomidzein"--"It has two significations; to punish, and to account
righteous." And he confirms this sense of the word by instances out of
Herodotus, Appianus, and Josephus. And again, "Dikaioosai, aitiatikei,
katadikasai, kolasai, dikaion nomisai" with an accusative case; that is,
when it respects and affects a subject, a person, it is either to condemn
and punish, or to esteem and declare righteous: and of this latter sense
he gives pregnant instances in the next words. Hesychius mentions only
the first signification. "Dikaioumenon, koladzomenon, dikaioosai,
kolasai". They never thought of any sense of this word but what is
forensic. And, in our language, to be justified was commonly used
formerly for to be judged and sentenced; as it is still among the Scots.
One of the articles of peace between the two nations at the surrender of
Leith, in the days of Edward VI, was, "That if any one committed a crime,
he should be justified by the law, upon his trial." And, in general,
"dikaousthai" is "jus in judicio auferre;" and "dikaioosai" is "justum
censere, declarare pronuntiare;" and how in the Scripture it is
constantly opposed unto "condemnare," we shall see immediately. 
   But we may more distinctly consider the use of this word in the New
Testament, as we have done that of "hitsdik" in the Old. And that which
we inquire concerning is,--whether this word be used in the New Testament
in a forensic sense, to denote an act of jurisdiction; or in a physical
sense, to express an internal change or mutation,--the infusion of a
habit of righteousness, and the denomination of the person to be
justified thereon; or whether it signifies not pardon of sin. But this we
may lay aside: for surely no man was ever yet so fond as to pretend that
"dikaio-oo" did signify to pardon sin, yet is it the only word applied to
express our justification in the New Testament; for if it be taken only
in the former sense, then that which is pleaded for by those of the Roman
church under the name of justification, whatever it be, however good,
useful, and necessary, yet justification it is not, nor can be so called,
seeing it is a thing quite of another or nature than what alone is
signified by that word. Matt.11:19, "Edikaioothe he Sofia",--"Wisdom is
justified of her children;" not made just, but approved and declared.
Chap.12:37, "E, toon logoon sou dikaioothesei"--"By thy words thou shalt
be justified;" not made just by them, but judged according to them, as is
manifested in the antithesis, "kai ek toon logoon sou katadikasthesei"--
"and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Luke 7:29, "Edikaioosan ton
Theon"--"They justified God;" not, surely, by making him righteous in
himself, but by owning, avowing, and declaring his righteousness.
Chap.10:29, "Ho de theloon dikaioun heauton"--"He, willing to justify
himself;" to declare and maintain his own righteous ness. To the same
purpose, chap.16:15, "Hemeis este hoi dikaiountes heautous enoopion toon
enthroopoon"--"Ye are they which justify yourselves before men;" they did
not make themselves internally righteous, but approved of their own
condition, as our Saviour declares in the place, chap.18:14, the publican
went down "dedikaioomenos" (justified) unto his house; that is,
acquitted, absolved, pardoned, upon the confession of his sin, and
supplication for remission. Acts 13:38,39, with Rom.2:13, "Hoi poietai
tou nomou dikaioothesontai"--"The doers of the law shall be justified."
The place declares directly the nature of our justification before God,
and puts the signification of the word out of question; for justification
ensues as the whole effect of inherent righteousness according unto the
law: and, therefore, it is not the making of us righteous, which is
irrefragable. It is spoken of God, Rom.3:4, "Hopoos an dikaiootheis en
tois logois sou"--"That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings;" where
to ascribe any other sense to the word is blasphemy. In like manner the
same word is used, and in the same signification, 1 Cor.4:4; 1 Tim.3:16;
Rom.3:20,26,28,30; 4:2,5; 5:1,9; 6:7; 8:30; Gal.2:16,17; 3:11,24; 5:4;
Tit.3:7; James 2:21,24,25; and in no one of these instances can it admit
of any other signification, or denote the making of any man righteous by
the infusion of a habit or principle of righteousness, or any internal
mutation whatever.
   It is not, therefore, in many places of Scripture, as Bellarmine
grants, that the words we have insisted on do signify the declaration or
juridical pronunciation of any one to be righteous; but, in all places
where they are used, they are capable of no other but a forensic sense;
especially is this evident where mention is made of justification before
God. And because, in my judgment, this one consideration does
sufficiently defeat all the pretences of those of the Roman church about
the nature of justification, I shall consider what is excepted against
the observation insisted on, and remove it out of our way.
   Lud. de Blanc, in his reconciliatory endeavors on this article of
justification, ("Thes. de Usu et Acceptatione Vocis, Justificandi,")
grants unto the Papists that the word "dikaio-oo" does, in sundry places
of the New Testament, signify to renew, to sanctify, to infuse a habit of
holiness or righteousness, according as they plead. And there is no
reason to think but he has grounded that concession on those instances
which are most pertinent unto that purpose; neither is it to be expected
that a better countenance will be given by any unto this concession than
is given it by him. I shall therefore examine all the instances which he
insists upon unto this purpose, and leave the determination of the
difference unto the judgment of the reader. Only, I shall premise that
which I judge not an unreasonable demand,--namely, that if the
signification of the word, in any or all the places which he mentions,
should seem doubtful unto any (as it does not unto me), that the
uncertainty of a very few places should not make us question the proper
signification of a word whose sense is determined in so many wherein it
is clear and unquestionable. The first place he mentions is that of the
apostle Paul himself, Rom.8:30, "moreover, whom he did predestinate, them
he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he
justified, them he also glorified". The reason whereby he pleads that by
"justified" in this place, an internal work of inherent holiness in them
that are predestinated is designed, is this, and no other: "It is not,"
says he, "likely that the holy apostle, in this enumeration of gracious
privileges, would omit the mention of our sanctification, by which we are
freed from the service of sin, and adorned with true internal holiness
and righteousness. But this is utterly omitted, if it be not comprised
under the name and title of being justified; for it is absurd with some
to refer it unto the head of glorification."
   Ans. 1. The grace of sanctification, whereby our natures are
spiritually washed, purified, and endowed with a principle of life,
holiness, and obedience unto God, is a privilege unquestionably great and
excellent, and without which none can be saved; of the same nature, also,
is our redemption by the blood of Christ; and both these does this
apostles in other places without number, declare, commend, and insist
upon: but that he ought to have introduced the mention of them or either
of them in this place, seeing he has not done so, I dare not judge.
   2. If our sanctification be included or intended in any of the
privileges here expressed, there is none of them, predestination only
excepted, but it is more probably to be reduced unto, than unto that of
being justified. Indeed, in vocation it seems to be included expressly.
For whereas it is effectual vocation that is intended, wherein a holy
principle of spiritual life, or faith itself, is communicated unto us,
our sanctification radically, and as the effect in it adequate immediate
cause, is contained in it. Hence, we are said to "be called to be
saints," Rom.1:7; which is the same with being "sanctified in Christ
Jesus," 1 Cor.1:2. And in many other places is sanctification included in
vocation.
   3. Whereas our sanctification, in the infusion of a principle of
spiritual life, and the acting of it unto an increase in duties of
holiness, righteousness, and obedience, is that whereby we are made meet
for glory, and is of the same nature essentially with glory itself,
whence its advances in us are said to be from "glory to glory," 2
Cor.3:18; and glory itself is called the "grace of life," l Pet.3:7: it
is much more properly expressed by our being gloried than by being
justified, which is a privilege quite of another nature. However, it is
evident that there is no reason why we should depart from the general use
and signification of the word, no circumstance in the text compelling us
so to do.
   The next place that he gives up unto this signification is l Cor.6:11,
"Such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye
are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our
God." That by justification here, the infusion of an inherent principle
of grace, making us inherently righteous, is intended, he endeavours to
prove by three reasons:--1. "Because justification is here ascribed unto
the Holy Ghost: 'Ye are justified by the Spirit of our God' But to renew
us is the proper work of the Holy Spirit." 2. "It is manifest," he says,
"that by justification the apostle does signify some change in the
Corinthians, whereby they ceased to be what they were before. For they
were fornicators and drunkards, such at could not inherit the kingdom of
God; but now were changed: which proves a real inherent work of grace to
be intended." 3. "If justification here signify nothing but to be
absolved from the punishment of sin, then the reasoning of the apostle
will be infirm and frigid: for after he has said that which is greater,
as heightening of it, he adds the less; for it is more to be washed than
merely to be freed from the punishment of sin."
   Ans. 1. All these reasons prove not that it is the same to be
sanctified and to be justified; which must be, if that be the sense of
the latter which is here pleaded for. But the apostle makes an express
distinction between them, and, as this author observes, proceeds from one
to another, by an ascent from the lesser to the greater. And the infusion
of a habit or principle of grace, or righteousness evangelical, whereby
we are inherently righteous, by which he explains our being justified in
this place, is our sanctification, and nothing else. Yea, and
sanctification is here distinguished from washing,--"But ye are washed,
but ye are sanctified;" so as that it peculiarly in this place denotes
positive habits of grace and holiness: neither can he declare the nature
of it any way different from what he would have expressed by being
justified.
   2. Justification is ascribed unto the Spirit of God, as the principal
efficient cause of the application of the grace of God and blood of
Christ, whereby we are justified, unto our souls and consciences; and he
is so also of the operation of that faith whereby we are justified:
whence, although we are said to be justified by him, yet it does not
follow that our justification consists in the renovation of our natures.
   3. The change and mutation that was made in these Corinthians, so far
as it was physical, in effects inherent (as such there was), the apostle
expressly ascribes unto their washing and sanctification; so that there
is no need to suppose this change to be expressed by their being
justified. And in the real change asserted--that is, in the renovation of
our natures--consists the true entire work and nature of our
sanctification. But whereas, by reason of the vicious habits and
practices mentioned, they were in a state of condemnation, and such as
had no right unto the kingdom of heaven, they were by their justification
changed and transferred out of that state into another, wherein they had
peace with God, and right unto life eternal.
   4. The third reason proceeds upon a mistake,--namely, that to be
justified is only to be "freed from the punishment due unto sin;" for it
comprises both the non-imputation of sin and the imputation of
righteousness, with the privilege of adoption, and right unto the
heavenly inheritance, which are inseparable from it. And although it does
not appear that the apostle, in the enumeration of these privileges, did
intend a process from the lesser unto the greater; nor is it safe for us
to compare the unutterable effects of the grace of God by Christ Jesus,
such as sanctification and justification are, and to determine which is
greatest and which is least; yet, following the conduct of the Scripture,
and the due consideration of the things themselves, we may say that in
this life we can be made partakers of no greater mercy or privilege than
what consists in our justification. And the reader may see from hence how
impossible it is to produce any one place wherein the words
"justification", and "to justify", dos signify a real internal work and
physical operation, in that this learned man, a person of more than
ordinary perspicacity, candour, and judgment, designing to prove it,
insisted on such instances as give so little countenance unto what he
pretended. He adds, Tit.3:5-7, "Not by works of righteousness which we
have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us
abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his
grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
The argument which he alone insists upon to prove that by justification
here, an infusion of internal grace is intended, is this:--that the
apostle affirming first, that "God saved us, according unto his mercy, by
the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost," and
afterwards affirming that we are "justified by his grace," he supposes it
necessary that we should be regenerate and renewed, that we may be
justified; and if so, then our justification contains and comprises our
sanctification also.
   Ans. The plain truth is, the apostle speaks not one word of the
necessity of our sanctification, or regeneration, or renovation by the
Holy Ghost, antecedently unto our justification; a supposition whereof
contains the whole force of this argument. Indeed he assigns our
regeneration, renovation, and justification, all the means of our
salvation, all equally unto grace and mercy, in opposition unto any works
of our own; which we shall afterwards make use of. Nor is there intimated
by him any order of precedency or connection between the things that he
mentions, but only between justification and adoption, justification
having the priority in order of nature: "That, being justified by his
grace, we should be heirs according to the hope of eternal life." All the
things he mentions are inseparable. No man is regenerate or renewed by
the Holy Ghost, but withal he is justified;--no man is justified, but
withal he is renewed by the Holy Ghost. And they are all of them equally
of sovereign grace in God, in opposition unto any works of righteousness
that we have wrought. And we plead for the freedom of God's grace in
sanctification no less than in justification. But that it is necessary
that we should be sanctified, that we may be justified before God, who
justifies the ungodly, the apostle says not in this place, nor any thing
to that purpose; neither yet, if he did so, would it at all prove that
the signification of that expression "to be justified," is "to be
sanctified," or to have inherent holiness and righteousness wrought in
us: and these testimonies would not have been produced to prove it,
wherein these things are so expressly distinguished, but that there are
none to be found of more force or evidence.
   The last place wherein he grants this signification of the word
"dikaio-oo", is Rev.22:11, "Ho dikaios dikaioothetoo eti"--"Qui justus
est, justificetur adhuc"; which place is pleaded by all the Romanists.
And our author says they are but few among the Protestants who do not
acknowledge that the word cannot be here used in a forensic sense, but
that to be justified, is to go on and increase in piety and
righteousness. 
   Ans. But,--(1.) There is a great objection lies in the way of any
argument from these words,--namely, from the various reading of the
place; for many ancient copies read, not "Ho dikaios dikaioothetoo eti",
which the Vulgar renders "Justificetur adhuc;" but, "Dikaiosunen
poiesatoo eti"--"Let him that is righteous work righteousness still," as
does the printed copy which now lies before me. So it was in the copy of
the Complutensian edition, which Stephens commends above all others, and
in one more ancient copy that he used. So it is in the Syrian and Arabic
published by Hutterus, and in our own Polyglot. So Cyprian reads the
words, "De bono patientiae; justus autem adhuc justior faciat, similiter
et qui sanctus sanctiora". And I doubt not but that it is the true
reading of the place, "dikaioothetoo" being supplied by some to comply
with "hagiasthetoo" that ensues. And this phrase of "dikaiosunen poiein"
is peculiar unto this apostle, being nowhere used in the New Testament
(nor, it may be, in any other author) but by him. And he uses it
expressly, 1 Epist.2, 29, and chap.3, 7, where these words, "Ho poioon
dikaiosunen, dikaios esti", do plainly contain what is here expressed.
(2.) To be justified, as the word is rendered by the Vulgar, "Let him be
justified more" (as it must be rendered, if the word "dikaioothetoo" be
retained), respects an act of God, which neither in its beginning nor
continuation is prescribed unto us as a duty, nor is capable of increase
in degrees; as we shall show afterwards. (3.) Men are said to be
"dikaioi" generally from inherent righteousness; and if the apostle had
intended justification in this place, he would not have said "ho
dikaios", but "ho dikaiootheis". All which things prefer the
Complutensian, Syrian, and Arabic, before the Vulgar reading of this
place. If the Vulgar reading be retained, no more can be intended but
that he who is righteous should so proceed in working righteousness as to
secure his justified estate unto himself, and to manifest it before God
and the world. 
   Now, whereas the words "dikaio-oo" and "dikaioumai" are used
thirty-six times in the New Testament, these are all the places whereunto
any exception is put in against their forensic signification; and how
ineffectual these exceptions are, is evident unto any impartial judge. 
   Some other considerations may yet be made use of, and pleaded to the
same purpose. Such is the opposition that is made between justification
and condemnation. So is it, Isa.50:8,9; Prov.17:15; Rom.5:16,18; 8:33,34;
and in sundry other places, as may be observed in the preceding
enumeration of them. Wherefore, as condemnation is not the infusing of a
habit of wickedness into him that is condemned, nor the making of him to
be inherently wicked who was before righteous, but the passing a sentence
upon a man with respect unto his wickedness; no more is justification the
change of a person from inherent unrighteousness unto righteousness, by
the infusion of a principle of grace, but a sentential declarations of
him to be righteous.
   Moreover, the thing intended is frequently declared in the Scripture
by other equivalent terms, which are absolutely exclusive of any such
sense as the infusion of a habit of righteousness; so the apostle
expresses it by the "imputation of righteousness without works,"
Rom.4:6,11; and calls it the "blessedness" which we have by the "pardon
of sin" and the "covering of iniquity," in the same place. So it is
called "reconciliation with God," Rom.5:9,10. To be "justified by the
blood of Christ" is the same with being "reconciled by his death". "Being
now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath by him. For if,
when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son;
much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." See 2
Cor.5:20,21. Reconciliation is not the infusion of a habit of grace, but
the effecting of peace and love, by the removal of all enmity and causes
of offense. To "save," and "salvation," are used to the same purpose. "He
shall save his people from their sins," Matt.1:21, is the same with "By
him all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could
not be justified by the law of Moses," Acts 13:39. That of Gal.2:16, "We
have believed, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not
by the works of the law," is the same with Acts 15:11, "But we believe
that, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even
as they." Eph.2:8,9, "By grace are ye saved through faith;....and not of
works," is so to be justified. So it is expressed by pardon, or the
"remission of sins," which is the effect of it, Rom.4:5,6; by "receiving
the atonement," chap.5:1l; not "coming into judgment" or "condemnation,"
John 5:24; "blotting out sins and iniquities," Isa.43:26; Ps.51:9;
Isa.44:22; Jer.18:23; Acts 3:19; "casting them into the bottom of the
sea," Micah 7:19; and sundry other expressions of an alike importance.
The apostle declaring it by its effects, says, "Dikaioi katastathesontai
hoi polloi"--"Many shall be made righteous," Rom.5:19. "Dikaios
kathistatai", [he is made righteous] who on a juridical trial in open
court, is absolved and declared righteous.
   And so it may be observed that all things concerning justification are
proposed in the Scripture under a juridical scheme, or forensic trial and
sentence. As,--(1.) A judgment is supposed in it, concerning which the
psalmist prays that it may not proceed on the terms of the law, Ps.143:2.
(2.) The judge is God himself, Isa.50:7,8; Rom.8:33. (3.) The tribunal
whereon God sits in judgment, is the "throne of grace," Heb.4:16.
"Therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you; and
therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; for the
LORD is a God of judgment," Isa.30:18. (4.) A guilty person. This is the
sinner, who is "hupodikos tooi Theooi",--so guilty of sin as to be
obnoxious to the judgment of God; "tooi dikaioomati tou Theou", Rom.3:19;
1:32,--whose mouth is stopped by conviction. (5.) Accusers are ready to
propose and promote the charge against the guilty person;--these are the
law, John 5:45; and conscience, Rom.2:15; and Satan also, Zech.3:1;
Rev.12:10. (6.) The charge is admitted and drawn up in a handwriting in
form of Law, and is laid before the tribunal of the Judge, in bar, to the
deliverance of the offender, Col.2:14. (7.) A plea is prepared in the
gospel for the guilty person; and this is grace, through the blood of
Christ, the ransom paid, the atonement made the eternal righteousness
brought in by the surety of the covenant, Rom.3:23-25; Dan.9:24; Eph.1:7.
(8.) Hereunto alone the sinner retakes himself, renouncing all other
apologies or defensatives whatever, Ps.130:2,3; 143:2; Job 9:2,3; 42:5-7;
Luke 18:13; Rom.3:24,25; 5:11,16-19; 8:1-3,32,33; Isa.53:5,6; Heb.
9:13-15; 10:1-13; 1 Pet.2:24; 1 John 1:7. Other plea for a sinner before
God there is none. He who knows God and himself will not provide or
retake himself unto any other. Nor will he, as I suppose, trust unto any
other defense, were he sure of all the angels in heaven to plead for him.
(9.) To make this plea effectual, we have an advocate with the Father,
and he pleads his own propitiation for us, 1 John 2:1,2. (10.) The
sentence hereon is absolution, on the account of the ransom, blood, or
sacrifice and righteousness of Christ; with acceptation into favour, as
persons approved of God, Job 33:24; Ps.32:1,2; Rom.3:23-25; 8:1,33,34; 2
Cor.5:21; Gal.3:13,14.
   Of what use the declaration of this process in the justification of a
sinner may be, has been in some measure before declared. And if many did
seriously consider that all these things do concur, and are required,
unto the justification of every one that shall be saved, it may be they
would not have such slight thoughts of sin, and the way of deliverance
from the guilt of it, as they seem to have. From this consideration did
the apostle learn that "terror of the Lord," which made him so earnest
with men to seek after reconciliation, 2 Cor.5:10,11.
   I had not so long insisted on the signification of the words in the
Scripture, but that a right understanding of it does not only exclude the
pretences of the Romanists about the infusion of a habit of charity from
being the formal cause of our justification before God, but may also give
occasion unto some to take advice, into what place or consideration they
can dispose their own personal, inherent righteousness in their
justification before him.




V. The distinction of a first and second justification examined--The
continuation of justification:--whereon it does depend

Distinction of a first and second justification--The whole doctrine of
the Roman church concerning justification grounded on this distinction--
The first justification, the nature and causes of it, according unto the
Romanists--The second justification, what it is in their sense--Solution
of the seeming difference between Paul and James, falsely pretended by
this distinction--The same distinction received by the Socinians and
others--The latter termed by some the continuation of our justification--
The distinction disproved--Justification considered, either as unto its
essence or its manifestation--The manifestation of it twofold, initial
and final--Initial is either unto ourselves or others--No second
justification hence ensues--Justification before God, legal and
evangelical--Their distinct natures--The distinction mentioned derogatory
to the merit of Christ--More in it ascribed unto ourselves than unto the
blood of Christ, in our justification--The vanity of disputations to this
purpose--All true justification overthrown by this distinction--No
countenance given unto this justification in the Scripture--The second
justification not intended by the apostle James--Evil of arbitrary
distinctions--Our first justification so described in the Scripture as to
leave no room for a second--Of the continuation of our justification;
whether it depend on faith alone, or our personal righteousness,
inquired--Justification at once completed, in all the causes and effects
of it, proved at large--Believers, upon their justification, obliged unto
perfect obedience--The commanding power of the law constitutes the nature
of sin in them who are not obnoxious unto its curse--Future sins, in what
sense remitted at our first justification--The continuation of actual
pardon, and thereby of a justified estate; on what it does depend--
Continuation of justifications the act of God; whereon it depends in that
sense--On our part, it depends on faith alone--Nothing required hereunto
but the application of righteousness imputed--The continuation of our
justification is before God--That whereon the continuation of our
justification depends, pleadable before God--This not our personal
obedience, proved:--1. By the experience of all believers--2. Testimonies
of Scripture--3. Examples--The distinction mentioned rejected


Before we inquire immediately into the nature and causes of
justification, there are some things yet previously to be considered,
that we may prevent all ambiguity and misunderstanding about the subject
to be treated of. I say, therefore, that the evangelical justification,
which alone we plead about, is but one, and is at once completed. About
any other justification before God but one, we will not contend with any.
Those who can find out another may, as they please, ascribe what they
will unto it, or ascribe it unto what they will. Let us, therefore,
consider what is offered of this nature.
   Those of the Roman church do ground their whole doctrine of
justification upon a distinction of a double justification; which they
call the first and the second. The first justification, they say, is the
infusion or the communication unto us of an inherent principle or habit
of grace or charity. Hereby, they say, original sin is extinguished, and
all habits of sin are expelled. This justification they say is by faith;
the obedience and satisfaction of Christ being the only meritorious cause
thereof. Only, they dispute many things about preparations for it, and
dispositions unto it. Under those terms the Council of Trent included the
doctrine of the schoolmen about "meritum de congruo," as both Hosius and
Andradius confess, in the defense of that council. And as they are
explained, they come much to one; however, the council warily avoided the
name of merit with respect unto this their first justification. And the
use of faith herein (which with them is no more but a general assent unto
divine revelation) is to bear the principal part in these preparations.
So that to be "justified by faith," according unto them, is to have the
mind prepared by this kind of believing to receive "gratiam gratum
facientem",--a habit of grace, expecting sin and making us acceptable
unto God. For upon this believing, with those other duties of contrition
and repentance which must accompany it, it is meet and congruous unto
divine wisdom, goodness, and faithfulness, to give us that grace whereby
we are justified. And this, according unto them, is that justification
whereof the apostle Paul treats in his epistles, from the procurement
whereof he excludes all the works of the law. The second justification is
an effect or consequent hereof, and the proper formal cause thereof is
good works, proceeding from this principle of grace and love. Hence are
they the righteousness wherewith believers are righteous before God,
whereby they merit eternal life. The righteousness of works they call it;
and suppose it taught by the apostle James. This they constantly affirm
to make us "justos ex injustis;" wherein they are followed by others. For
this is the way that most of them take to salve the seeming repugnancy
between the apostles Paul and James. Paul, they say, treats of the first
justification only, whence he excludes all works; for it is by faith, in
the manner before described: but James treats of the second
justification; which is by good works. So Bellar., lib. 2 cap. 16, and
lib 4 cap. 18. And it is the express determination of those at Trent,
sess. 6 cap. 10. This distinction was coined unto no other end but to
bring in confusion into the whole doctrine of the gospel. Justification
through the free grace of God, by faith in the blood of Christ, is
evacuated by it. Sanctification is turned into a justification, and
corrupted by making the fruits of it meritorious. The whole nature of
evangelical justification, consisting in the gratuitous pardon of sin and
the imputation of righteousness, as the apostle expressly affirms, and
the declaration of a believing sinner to be righteous thereon, as the
word alone signifies, is utterly defeated by it.
   Howbeit others have embraced this distinction also, though not
absolutely in their sense. So do the Socinians. Yea, it must be allowed,
in some sense, by all that hold our inherent righteousness to be the
cause of, or to have any influence into, our justification before God.
For they do allow of a justification which in order of nature is
antecedent unto works truly gracious and evangelical: but consequential
unto such works there is a justification differing at least in degree, if
not in nature and kind, upon the difference of its formal cause; which is
our new obedience from the former. But they mostly say it is only the
continuation of our justification, and the increase of it as to degrees,
that they intend by it. And if they may be allowed to turn sanctification
into justification, and to make a progress therein, or an increase
thereof, either in the root or fruit, to be a new justification, they may
make twenty justifications as well as two, for aught I know: for therein
the " inward man is renewed day by day," 2 Cor.4:16; and believers go
"from strength to strength," are "changed from glory to glory," 2
Cor.3:18, by the addition of one grace unto another in their exercise, 2
Pet.1:5-8, and "increasing with the increase of God," Col.2:19, do in all
things "grow up into him who is the head," Eph.4:15. And if their
justification consist herein, they are justified anew every day. I shall
therefore do these two things:--1. Show that this distinction is both
unscriptural and irrational. 2. Declare what is the continuation of our
justification, and whereon it does depend.
   1. Justification by faith in the blood of Christ may be considered
either as to the nature and essence of it, or as unto its manifestation
and declaration. The manifestation of it is twofold:--First, Initial, in
this life. Second, Solemn and complete, at the day of judgment; whereof
we shall treat afterwards. The manifestation of it in this life respects
either the souls and consciences of them that are justified, or others;
that is, the church or the world. And each of these have the name of
justification assigned unto them, though our real justification before
God be always one and the same. But a man may be really justified before
God, and yet not have the evidence or assurance of it in his own mind;
wherefore that evidence or assurance is not of the nature or essence of
that faith whereby we are justified, nor does necessarily accompany our
justification. But this manifestation of a man's own justification unto
himself, although it depend on many especial causes, which are not
necessary unto his justification absolutely before God, is not a second
justification when it is attained; but only the application of the former
unto his conscience by the Holy Ghost. There is also a manifestation of
it with respect unto others, which in like manner depends on other causes
then does our justification before God absolutely; yet is it not a second
justification: for it depends wholly on the visible effects of that faith
whereby we are justified, as the apostle James instructs us; yet is it
only one single justification before God, evidenced and declared, unto
his glory, the benefit of others, and increase of our own reward.
   There is also a twofold justification before God mentioned in the
Scripture. First, "By the works of the law," Rom.2:13; 10:5; Matt.19:16-
19. Hereunto is required an absolute conformity unto the whole law of
God, in our natures, all the faculties of our souls, all the principles
of our moral operations, with perfect actual obedience unto all its
commands, in all instances of duty, both for matter and manner: for he is
cursed who continues not in all things that are written in the law, to do
them; and he that break any one commandment is guilty of the breach of
the whole law. Hence the apostle concludes that none can be justified by
the law, because all have sinned. Second, There is a justification by
grace, through faith in the blood of Christ; whereof we treat. And these
ways of justification are contrary, proceeding on terms directly
contradictory, and cannot be made consistent with or subservient one to
the other. But, as we shall manifest afterwards, the confounding of them
both, by mixing them together, is that which is aimed at in this
distinction of a first and second justification. But whatever respects it
may have, that justification which we have before God, in his sight
through Jesus Christ, is but one, and at once full and complete; and this
distinction is a vain and fond invention. For,--
   (1.) As it is explained by the Papists, it is exceedingly derogatory
to the merit of Christ; for it leaves it no effect towards us, but only
the infusion of a habit of charity. When that is done, all that remains,
with respect unto our salvation, is to be wrought by ourselves. Christ
has only merited the first grace for us, that we therewith and thereby
may merit life eternal. The merit of Christ being confined in its effect
unto the first justification, it has no immediate influence into any
grace, privilege, mercy, or glory that follows thereon; but they are all
effects of that second justification which is purely by works. But this
is openly contrary unto the whole tenor of the Scripture: for although
there be an order of God's appointment, wherein we are to be made
partakers of evangelical privileges in grace and glory, one before
another, yet are they all of them the immediate effects of the death and
obedience of Christ; who has "obtained for us eternal redemption,"
Heb.9:12; and is "the author of eternal salvation unto all that do obey
him," chap.5:9; "having by one offering forever perfected them that are
sanctified." And those who allow of a secondary, if not of a second,
justification, by our own inherent, personal righteousnesses, are also
guilty hereof, though not in the same degree with them; for whereas they
ascribe unto it our acquitment from all charge of sin after the first
justification, and a righteousness accepted in judgment, in the judgment
of God, as if it were complete and perfect, whereon depends our final
absolution and reward, it is evident that the immediate efficacy of the
satisfaction and merit of Christ has its bounds assigned unto it in the
first justification; which, whether it be taught in the Scripture or no,
we shall afterward inquire.
   (2.) More, by this distinction, is ascribed unto ourselves, working by
virtue of inherent grace, as unto the merit and procurement of spiritual
and eternal good, than unto the blood of Christ; for that only procures
the first grace and justification for us. Thereof alone it is the
meritorious cause; or, as others express it, we are made partakers of the
effects of it in the pardon of sins past: but, by virtue of this grace,
we do ourselves obtain, procure, or merit, another, a second, a complete
justification, the continuance of the favour of God, and all the fruits
of it, with life eternal and glory. So do our works, at least, perfect
and complete the merit of Christ, without which it is imperfect. And
those who assign the continuation of our justification, wherein all the
effects of divine favour and grace are contained, unto our own personal
righteousness, as also final justification before God as the pleadable
cause of it, do follow their steps, unto the best of my understanding.
But such things as these may be disputed; in debates of which kind it is
incredible almost what influence on the minds of men, traditions,
prejudices, subtlety of invention and arguing, do obtain, to divert them
from real thoughts of the things about which they contend, with respect
unto themselves and their own condition. If by any means such persons can
be called home unto themselves, and find leisure to think how and by what
means they shall come to appear before the high God, to be freed from the
sentence of the law, and the curse due to sin,--to have a pleadable
righteousness at the judgment-seat of God before which they stand,--
especially if a real sense of these things be implanted on their minds by
the convincing power of the Holy Ghost,--all their subtle arguments and
pleas for the mighty efficacy of their own personal righteousness will
sink in their minds like water at the return of the tide, and leave
nothing but mud and defilement behind them.
   (3.) This distinction of two justifications, as used and improved by
those of the Roman church, leaves us, indeed, no justification at all.
Something there is, in the branches of it, of sanctification; but of
justification nothing at all. Their first justification, in the infusion
of a habit or principle of grace, unto the expulsion of all habits of
sin, is sanctification, and nothing else. And we never did contend that
our justification in such a sense, if any will take it in such a sense,
does consist in the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. And this
justification, if any will needs call it so, is capable of degrees, both
of increase in itself and of exercise in its fruits; as was newly
declared. But, not only to call this our justification, with a general
respect unto the notion of the word, as a making of us personally and
inherently righteous, but to plead that this is the justification through
faith in the blood of Christ declared in the Scripture, is to exclude the
only true, evangelical justification from any place in religion. The
second branch of the distinction has much in it like unto justification
by the law, but nothing of that which is declared in the gospel. So that
this distinction, instead of coining us two justifications, according to
the gospel, has left us none at all. For,--
   (4.) There is no countenance given unto this distinction in the
Scripture. There is, indeed, mention therein, as we observed before, of a
double justification,--the one by the law, the other according unto the
gospel; but that either of these should, on any account, be sub-
distinguished into a first and second of the same kind,--that is, either
according unto the law or the gospel,--there is nothing in the Scripture
to intimate. For this second justification is no way applicable unto what
the apostle James discourses on that subject. He treats of justification;
but speaks not one word of an increase of it, or addition unto it, of a
first or second. Besides, he speaks expressly of him that boasts of
faith; which being without works, is a dead faith. But he who has the
first justification, by the confession of our adversaries, has a true,
living faith, formed and enlivened by charity. And he uses the same
testimony concerning the justification of Abraham that Paul does; and
therefore does not intend another, but the same, though in a diverse
respect. Nor does any believer learn the least of it in his own
experience; nor, without a design to serve a farther turn, would it ever
have entered the minds of sober men on the reading of the Scripture. And
it is the bane of spiritual truth, for men, in the pretended declaration
of it, to coin arbitrary distinctions, without Scripture ground for them,
and obtrude them as belonging unto the doctrine they treat of. They serve
unto no other end or purpose but only to lead the minds of men item the
substance of what they ought to attend unto, and to engage all sorts of
persons in endless strifes and contentions. If the authors of this
distinction would but go over the places in the Scripture where mention
is made of our justification before God, and make a distribution of them
into the respective parts of their distinction, they would quickly find
themselves at an unbelievable loss.
   (5.) There is that in the Scripture ascribed unto our first
justification, if they will needs call it so, as leaves no room for their
second feigned justification; for the sole foundation and pretence of
this distinction is a denial of those things to belong unto our
justification by the blood of Christ which the Scripture expressly
assigns unto it. Let us take out some instances of what belongs unto the
first, and we shall quickly see how little it is, yea, that there is
nothing left for the pretended second justification. For,--[1.] Therein
do we receive the complete "pardon and forgiveness of our sins,"
Rom.4:6,7; Eph.1:7; 4:32; Acts 26:18. [2.] Thereby are we "made
righteous," Rom.5:19; 10:4; and, [3.] Are freed from condemnation,
judgment, and death, John 3:16,19; 5:25; Rom.8:1; [4.] Are reconciled
unto God, Rom.5:9,10; 2 Cor.5:21; and, [5.] Have peace unto him, and
access into the favour wherein we stand by grace, with the advantages and
consolations that depend thereon in a sense of his love, Rom.5:1-5. And,
[6.] We have adoption therewithal, and all its privileges, John 1:12;
and, in particular, [7.] A right and title unto the whole inheritance of
glory, Acts 26:18; Rom.8:17. And, [8.] Hereon eternal life does follow,
Rom.8:30; 6:23. Which things will be again immediately spoken unto upon
another occasion. And if there be anything now left for their second
justification to do, as such, let them take it as their own; these things
are all of them ours, or do belong unto that one justification which we
do assert. Wherefore it is evident, that either the first justification
overthrows the second, rendering it needless; or the second destroys the
first, by taking away what essentially belongs unto it: we must therefore
part with the one or the other, for consistent they are not. But that
which gives countenance unto the fiction and artifice of this
distinction, and a great many more, is a dislike of the doctrine of the
grace of God, and justification from thence, by faith in the blood of
Christ; which some endeavour hereby to send out of the way upon a
pretended sleeveless errand, whilst they dress up their own righteousness
in its robes, and exalt it into the room and dignity thereof.
   2. But there seems to be more of reality and difficulty in what is
pleaded concerning the continuation of our justification; for those that
are freely justified are continued in that state until they are
glorified. By justification they are really changed into a new spiritual
state and condition, and have a new relation given them unto God and
Christ, unto the law and the gospel. And it is inquired what it is
whereon their continuation in this state does on their part depend; or
what is required of them that they may be justified unto the end. And
this, as some say, is not faith alone, but also the works of sincere
obedience. And none can deny but that they are required of all them that
are justified, whilst they continue in a state of justification on this
side glory, which next and immediately ensues thereunto; but whether,
upon our justification at first before God, faith be immediately
dismissed from its place and office, and its work be given over unto
works, so as that the continuation of our justification should depend on
our own personal obedience, and not on the renewed application of faith
unto Christ and his righteousness, is worth our inquiry. Only, I desire
the reader to observe, that whereas the necessity of owning a personal
obedience in justified persons is on all hands absolutely agreed, the
seeming difference that is herein concerns not the substance of the
doctrine of justification, but the manner of expressing our conceptions
concerning the order of the disposition of God's grace, and our own duty
unto edification; wherein I shall use my own liberty, as it is meet
others should do theirs. And I shall offer my thoughts hereunto in the
ensuing observations:--
   (1.) Justification is such a work as is at once completed in all the
causes and the whole effect of it, though not as unto the full possession
of all that it gives right and title unto. For,--[1.] All our sins, past,
present, and to come, were at once imputed unto and laid upon Jesus
Christ; in what sense we shall afterwards inquire. "He was wounded for
our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement
of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes are we healed. All we
like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way: and
the LORD has made to meet on him the iniquities of us all," Isa.53:5,6.
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree," 1 Pet.2:24.
The assertions being indefinite, without exception or limitation, are
equivalent unto universals. All our sins were on him, he bare them all at
once; and therefore, once died for all. [2.] He did, therefore, at once
"finish transgression, make an end of sin, make reconciliation for
iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness," Dan.9:24. At once he
expiated all our sins; for "by himself he purged our sins," and then "sat
down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," Heb.1:3. And "we are
sanctified," or dedicated unto God, "through the offering of the body of
Jesus Christ once for all; for by one offering he has perfected"
(consummated, completed, as unto their spiritual state) "them that are
sanctified," Heb.10:10,14. He never will do more than he has actually
done already, for the expiation at all our sins from first to last; "for
there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin". I do not say that hereupon
our justification is complete, but only, that the meritorious procuring
cause of it was at once completed, and is never to be renewed or repeated
any more; all the inquiry is concerning the renewed application of it
unto our souls and consciences, whether that be by faith alone, or by the
works of righteousness which we do. [3.] By our actual believing with
justifying faith, believing on Christ, or his name, we do receive him;
and thereby, on our first justifications become the "sons of God," John
1:12; that is, "heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ," Rom.8:17.
Hereby we have a right unto, and an interest in, all the benefits of his
mediation; which is to be at once completely justified. For "in him we
are complete," Col.2:10; for by the faith that is in him we do "receive
the forgiveness of sins," and a lot or "inheritance among all them that
are sanctified," Acts 26:18; being immediately "justified from all
things, from which we could not be justified by the law," Acts 13:39;
yea, God thereon "blesseth us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly
things in Christ," Eph.1:3. All these things are absolutely inseparable
from our first believing in him; and therefore our justification is at
once complete. In particular,--[4.] On our believing, all our sins are
forgiven. "He has quickened you together with him, having forgiven you
all trespasses," Col.2:13-15. For "in him we have redemption through his
blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according unto the riches of his
grace," Eph.1:7; which one place obviates all the petulant exceptions of
some against the consistency of the free grace of God in the pardon of
sins, and the satisfaction of Christ in the procurement thereof [5.]
There is hereon nothing to be laid unto the charge of them that are so
justified; for "he that believeth has everlasting life, and shall not
come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life," John 5:24.
And "who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that
justifieth; it is Christ that died," Rom.8:33,34. And "there is no
condemnation unto them that are in Christ Jesus," verse 1; for, "being
justified by faith, we have peace with God," chap.5:1. And, [6.] We have
that blessedness hereon whereof in this life we are capable, chap.4:5,6.
From all which it appears that our justification is at once complete.
And, [7.] It must be so, or no man can be justified in this world. For no
time can be assigned, nor measure of obedience be limited, whereon it may
be supposed that any one comes to be justified before God, who is not so
on his first believing; for the Scripture does nowhere assign any such
time or measure. And to say that no man is completely justified in the
sight of God in this life, is at once to overthrow all that is taught in
the Scriptures concerning justification, and wherewithal all peace with
God and comfort of believers. But a man acquitted upon his legal trial is
at once discharged of all that the law has against him. 
   (2.) Upon this complete justifications, believers are obliged unto
universal obedience unto God. The law is not abolished, but established,
by faith. It is neither abrogated nor dispensed withal by such an
interpretation as should take off its obligation in any thing that it
requires, nor as to the degree and manner wherein it requires it. Nor is
it possible it should be so; for it is nothing but the rule of that
obedience which the nature of God and man makes necessary from the one to
the other. And that is an Antinomianism of the worst sort, and most
derogatory unto the law of God, which affirms it to be divested of its
power to oblige unto perfect obedience, so as that what is not so shall
(as it were in despite of the law) be accepted as if it were so, unto the
end for which the law requires it. There is no medium, but that either
the law is utterly abolished, and so there is no sin, for where there is
no law there is no transgression, or it must be allowed to require the
same obedience that it did at its first institution, and unto the same
degree. Neither is it in the power of any man living to keep his
conscience from judging and condemning that, whatever it be, wherein he
is convinced that he comes short of the perfection of the law.
Wherefore,--
   (3.) The commanding power of the law in positive precepts and
prohibitions, which justified persons are subject unto, does make and
constitute all their unconformities unto it to be no less truly and
properly sins in their own nature, than they would be if their persons
were obnoxious unto the curse of it. This they are not, nor can be; for
to be obnoxious unto the curse of the law, and to be justified, are
contradictory; but to be subject to the commands of the law, and to be
justified, are not so. But it is a subjection to the commanding power of
the law, and not an obnoxiousness unto the curse of the law, that
constitutes the nature of sin in its transgression. Wherefore, that
complete justification which is at once, though it dissolve the
obligations on the sinner unto punishment by the curse of the law, yet
does it not annihilate the commanding authority of the law unto them that
are justified, that, what is sin in others should not be so in them. See
Rom.8:1,33,34.
   Hence, in the first justification of believing sinners, all future
sins are remitted as unto any actual obligation unto the curse of the
law, unless they should fall into such sins as should, ipso facto,
forfeit their justified estate, and transfer them from the covenant of
grace into the covenant of works; which we believe that God, in his
faithfulness, will preserve them from. And although sin cannot be
actually pardoned before it be actually committed, yet may the obligation
unto the curse of the law be virtually taken away from such sins in
justified persons as are consistent with a justified estate, or the terms
of the covenant of grace, antecedently unto their actual commission. God
at once in this sense "forgiveth all their iniquities, and health all
their diseases, redeemeth their life from destruction, and crowneth them
with loving-kindness and tender mercies," Ps.103:3,4. Future sins are not
so pardoned as that, when they are committed, they should be no sins;
which cannot be, unless the commanding power of the law be abrogated: but
their respect unto the curse of the law, or their power to oblige the
justified person thereunto, is taken away.
   Still there abides the true nature of sin in every unconformity unto
or transgression of the law in justified persons, which stands in need of
daily actual pardon. For there is "no man that liveth and sinneth not;"
and "if we say that we have no sin, we do but deceive ourselves." None
are more sensible of the guilt of sin, none are more troubled for it,
none are more earnest in supplications for the pardon of it, than
justified persons. For this is the effect of the sacrifice of Christ
applied unto the souls of believers, as the apostle declares
Heb.10:1-4,10,14, that it does take away conscience condemning the sinner
for sin, with respect unto the curse of the law; but it does not take
away conscience condemning sin in the sinner, which, on all
considerations of God and themselves, of the law and the gospel, requires
repentance on the part of the sinner, and actual pardon on the part of
God.
   Where, therefore, one essential part of justification consists in the
pardon of our sins, and sins cannot be actually pardoned before they are
actually committed, our present inquiry is, whereon the continuation of
our justification does depend, notwithstanding the interveniency of sin
after we are justified, whereby such sins are actually pardoned, and our
persons are continued in a state of acceptation with God, and have their
right unto life and glory uninterrupted? Justification is at once
complete in the imputation of a perfect righteousness, the grant of a
right and title unto the heavenly inheritance, the actual pardon of all
past sins, and the virtual pardon of future sin; but how or by what
means, on what terms and conditions, this state is continued unto those
who are once justified, whereby their righteousness is everlasting, their
title to life and glory indefeasible, and all their sins are actually
pardoned, is to be inquired.
   For answer unto this inquiry I say,--(1.) "It is God that justifieth;"
and, therefore, the continuation of our justification is his act also.
And this, on his part, depends on the immutability of his counsel; the
unchangeableness of the everlasting covenant, which is "ordered in all
things, and sure;" the faithfulness of his promises; the efficacy of his
grace; his complacency in the propitiation of Christ; with the power of
his intercession, and the irrevocable grant of the Holy Ghost unto them
that do believe: which things are not of our present inquiry.
   (2.) Some say that, on our part, the continuation of this state of our
justification depends on the condition of good works; that is, that they
are of the same consideration and use with faith itself herein. In our
justification itself there is, they will grant, somewhat peculiar unto
faith; but as unto the continuation of our justification, faith and works
have the same influence into it; yea, some seem to ascribe it distinctly
unto works in an especial manner, with this only proviso, that they be
done in faith. For my part I cannot understand that the continuation of
our justification has any other dependencies than has our justification
itself. As faith alone is required unto the one, so faith alone is
required unto the other, although its operations and effects in the
discharge of its duty and office in justification, and the continuation
of it, are diverse; nor can it otherwise be. To clear this assertion two
things are to be observed:--
   [1.] That the continuation of our justification is the continuation of
the imputation of righteousness and the pardon of sins. I do still
suppose the imputation of righteousness to concur unto our justification,
although we have not yet examined what righteousness it is that is
imputed. But that God in our justification imputes righteousness unto us,
is so expressly affirmed by the apostle as that it must not be called in
question. Now the first act of God in the imputation of righteousness
cannot be repeated; and the actual pardon of sin after justification is
an effect and consequent of that imputation of righteousness. If any man
sin, there is a propitiation: "Deliver him, I have found a ransom."
Wherefore, unto this actual pardon there is nothing required but the
application of that righteousness which is the cause of it; and this is
done by faith only.
   [2.] The continuation of our justification is before God, or in the
sight of God, no less than our absolute justification is. We speak not of
the sense and evidence of it unto our own souls unto peace with God, nor
of the evidencing and manifestation of it unto others by its effects, but
of the continuance of it in the sight of God. Whatever, therefore, is the
means, condition, or cause hereof, is pleadable before God, and ought to
be pleaded unto that purpose. So, then, the inquiry is,--
   What it is that, when a justified person is guilty of sin (as guilty
he is more or less every day), and his conscience is pressed with a sense
thereof, as that only thing which can endanger or intercept his justified
estate, his favour with God, and title unto glory, he retakes himself
unto, or ought so to do, for the continuance of his state and pardon of
his sins, what he pleads unto that purpose, and what is available
thereunto? That this is not his own obedience, his personal
righteousness, or fulfilling the condition of the new covenant, is
evident, from,--1st. The experience of believers themselves; 2dly. The
testimony of Scripture; and, 3dly. The example of them whose cases are
recorded therein:--
   1st. Let the experience of them that do believe be inquired into; for
their consciences are continually exercised herein. What is it that they
retake themselves unto, what is it that they plead with God for the
continuance of the pardon of their sins, and the acceptance of their
persons before him? Is it any thing but sovereign grace and mercy,
through the blood of Christ? Are not all the arguments which they plead
unto this end taken from the topics of the name of God, his mercy, grace,
faithfulness, tender compassion, covenant, and promises,--all manifested
and exercised in and through the Lord Christ and his mediation alone? Do
they not herein place their only trust and confidence, for this end, that
their sins may be pardoned, and their persons, though every way unworthy
in themselves, be accepted with God? Does any other thought enter into
their hearts? Do they plead their own righteousness, obedience, and
duties to this purpose? Do they leave the prayer of the publican, and
retake themselves unto that of the Pharisee? And is it not of faith alone
which is that grace whereby they apply themselves unto the mercy or grace
of God through the mediation of Christ. It is true that faith herein
works and acts itself in and by godly sorrow, repentance, humiliation,
self judging and abhorrence, fervency in prayer and supplications, with a
humble waiting for an answer of peace from God, with engagements unto
renewed obedience: but it is faith alone that makes applications unto
grace in the blood of Christ for the continuation or our justified
estate, expressing itself in those other ways and effects mentioned; from
none of which a believing soul does expect the mercy aimed at.
   3dly. The Scripture expressly does declare this to be the only way of
the continuation of our justification, 1 John 3:1,2, "These things write
I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with
the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for
our sins." It is required of those that are justified that they sin not,-
-it is their duty not to sin; but yet it is not so required of them, as
that if in any thing they fail of their duty, they should immediately
lose the privilege of their justification. Wherefore, on a supposition of
sin, if any man sin (as there is no man that lives and sins not), what
way is prescribed for such persons to take, what are they to apply
themselves unto that their sin may be pardoned, and their acceptance with
God continued; that is, for the continuation of their justification? The
course in this case directed unto by the apostle is none other but the
application of our souls by faith unto the Lord Christ, as our advocate
with the Father, on the account of the propitiation that he has made for
our sins. Under the consideration of this double act of his sacerdotal
office, his oblation and intercession, he is the object of our faith in
our absolute justification; and so he is as unto the continuation of it.
So our whole progress in our justified estate, in all the degrees of it,
is ascribed unto faith alone.
   It is no part of our inquiry, what God requires of them that are
justified. There is no grace, no duty, for the substance of them, nor for
the manner of their performance, that are required, either by the law or
the gospel, but they are obliged unto them. Where they are omitted, we
acknowledge that the guilt of sin is contracted, and that attended with
such aggravations as some will not own or allow to be confessed unto God
himself. Hence, in particular, the faith and grace of believers, [who] do
constantly and deeply exercise themselves in godly sorrow, repentance,
humiliation for sin, and confession of it before God, upon their
apprehensions of its guilt. And these duties are so far necessary unto
the continuation at our justification, as that a justified estate cannot
consist with the sins and vices that are opposite unto then; so the
apostle affirms that "if we live after the flesh, we shall die,"
Rom.8:13. He that does not carefully avoid falling into the fire or
water, or other things immediately destructive of life natural, cannot
live. But these are not the things whereon life does depend. Nor have the
best of our duties any other respect unto the continuation of our
justification, but only as in them we are preserved from those things
which are contrary unto it, and destructive of it. But the sole question
is, upon what the continuation of our justification does depend, not
concerning what duties are required of us in the way of our obedience. If
this be that which is intended in this position, that the continuation of
our justification depends on our own obedience and good works, or that
our own obedience and good works are the condition of the continuation of
our justification,--namely, that God does indispensably require good
works and obedience in all that are justified, so that a justified estate
is inconsistent with the neglect of them,--it is readily granted, and I
shall never contend with any about the way whereby they choose to express
the conceptions of their minds. But if it be inquired what it is whereby
we immediately concur in a way of duty unto the continuation of our
justified estate,--that is, the pardon of our sins and acceptance with
God,--we say it is faith alone; for "The just shall live by faith,"
Rom.1:17. And as the apostle applies this divine testimony to prove our
first or absolute justification to be by faith alone; so does be also
apply it unto the continuation of our justification, as that which is by
the same means only, Heb.10:38,39, "Now the just shall live by faith: but
if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are
not of them that draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to
the saving of the soul". The drawing back to perdition includes the loss
of a justified estate, really so or in profession. In opposition
whereunto the apostle places "believing unto the saving of the soul;"
that is, unto the continuation of justification unto the end. And herein
it is that the "just live by faith; " and the loss of this life can only
be by unbelief: so the "life which we now live in the flesh we live by
the faith of the Son of God, who loved us, and gave himself for us,"
Gal.2:20. The life which we now lead in the flesh is the continuation of
our justification, a life of righteousness and acceptation with God; in
opposition unto a life by the works of the law, as the next words
declare, verse 21, "I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if
righteousness come by the law, then is Christ dead in vain." And this
life is by faith in Christ, as "he loved us, and gave himself for us;"
that is, as he was a propitiation for our sins. This, then, is the only
way, means, and cause, on our part, of the preservation of this life, of
the continuance of our justification; and herein are we "kept by the
power of God through faith unto salvation." Again; if the continuation of
our justification depends on our own works of obedience, then is the
righteousness of Christ imputed unto us only with respect unto our
justification at first, or our first justification, as some speak. And
this, indeed, is the doctrine of the Roman school. They teach that the
righteousness of Christ is so far imputed unto us, that on the account
thereof God gives unto us justifying grace, and thereby the remission of
sin, in their sense; whence they allow it [to be] the meritorious cause
of our justification. But so a supposition thereof, or the reception of
that grace, we are continued to be justified before God by the works we
perform by virtue of that grace received. And though some of them rise so
high as to affirm that this grace and the works of it need no farther
respect unto the righteousness of Christ, to deserve our second
justification and life eternal, as does Vasquez expressly, in 1, 2, q.
114, disp. 222, cap. 3; yet many of them affirm that it is still from the
consideration of the merit of Christ that they are so meritorious. And
the same, for the substance of it, is the judgment of some of them who
affirm the continuation of our justification to depend on our own works,
setting aside that ambiguous term of merit; for it is on the account of
the righteousness of Christ, they say, that our own works, or imperfect
obedience, is so accepted with God, that the continuation of our
justification depends thereon. But the apostle gives us another account
hereof, Rom.5:1-3; for he distinguishes three things:--1. Our access into
the grace of God. 2. Our standing in that grace. 3. Our glorying in that
station against all opposition. By the first he expresses our absolute
justification; by the second, our continuation in the state whereinto we
are admitted thereby; and by the third, the assurance of that
continuation, notwithstanding all the oppositions we meet withal. And all
these he ascribes equally unto faith, without the intermixture of any
other cause or condition; and other places express to the same purpose
might be pleaded.
   3dly. The examples of them that did believe, and were justified, which
are recorded in the Scripture, do all bear witness unto the same truth.
The continuation of the justification of Abraham before God is declared
to have been by faith only, Rom.4:3; for the instance of his
justification, given by the apostle from Gen.15:6, was long after he was
justified absolutely. And if our first justification, and the
continuation of it, did not depend absolutely on the same cause, the
instance of the one could not be produced for a proof of the way and
means of the other, as here they are. And David, when a justified
believer, not only places the blessedness of man in the free remission of
sins, in opposition unto his own works in general, Rom.4:6,7, but, in his
own particular case, ascribes the continuation of his justification and
acceptation before God unto grace, mercy, and forgiveness alone; which
are no otherwise received but by faith, Ps.130:3-5; 143:2. All other
works and duties of obedience do accompany faith in the continuation of
our justified estate, as necessary effects and fruits of it, but not as
causes, means, or conditions, whereon that effect is suspended. It is
patient waiting by faith that brings in the full accomplishment of the
promises, Heb.6:12,15. Wherefore, there is but one justification, and
that of one kind only, wherein we are concerned in this disputation,--the
Scripture makes mention of no more; and that is the justification of an
ungodly person by faith. Nor shall we admit of the consideration of any
other. For if there be a second justification, it must be of the same
kind with the first, or of another;--if it be of the same kind, then the
same person is often justified with the same kind of justification, or at
least more than once; and so on just reason ought to be often baptized;--
if it be not of the same kind, then the same person is justified before
God with two sorts of justification; of both which the Scripture is
utterly silent. And [so] the continuation of our justification depends
solely on the same causes with our justification itself.





VI. Evangelical personal righteousness, the nature and use of it--Final
judgment, and its respect unto justification


Evangelical personal righteousness; the nature and use of it--Whether
there be an angelical justification on our evangelical righteousness,
inquired into--How this is by some affirmed and applauded--Evangelical
personal righteousness asserted as the condition of our righteousness, or
the pardon of sin--Opinion of the Socinians--Personal righteousness
required in the gospel--Believers hence denominated righteous--Not with
respect unto righteousness habitual, but actual only--Inherent
righteousness the same with sanctification, or holiness--In what sense we
may be said to be justified by inherent righteousness--No evangelical
justification on our personal righteousness--The imputation of the
righteousness of Christ does not depend thereon--None have this
righteousness, but they are antecedently justified--A charge before God,
in all justification before God--The instrument of this charge, the law
or the gospel--From neither of them can we be justified by this personal
righteousness--The justification pretended needless and useless--It has
not the nature of any justification mentioned in the Scripture, but is
contrary to all that is so called--Other arguments to the same purpose--
Sentential justification at the last day--Nature of the last judgement--
Who shall be then justified --A declaration of righteousness, and an
actual admission into glory, the whole of justification at the last day--
The argument that we are justified in this life in the same manner, and
on the same grounds, as we shall be judged at the last day, that
judgement being according unto works, answered; and the impertinency of
it declared


The things which we have discoursed concerning the first and second
justification, and concerning the continuation of justification, have no
other design but only to clear the principal subject whereof we treat
from what does not necessarily belong unto it. For until all things that
are either really heterogeneous or otherwise superfluous are separated
from it, we cannot understand aright the true state of the question about
the nature and causes of our justification before God. For we intend one
justification only,--namely, that whereby God at once freely by his grace
justifies a convinced sinner through faith in the blood of Christ.
Whatever else any will be pleased to call justification, we are not
concerned in it, nor are the consciences of them that believe. To the
same purpose we must, therefore, briefly also consider what is usually
disputed about our own personal righteousness, with a justification
thereon; as also what is called sentential justification at the day of
judgment. And I shall treat no farther of them in this place, but only as
it is necessary to free the principal subject under consideration from
being intermixed with them, as really it is not concerned in them. For
what influence our own personal righteousness has into our justification
before God will be afterwards particularly examined. Here we shall only
consider such a notion of it as seems to interfere with it, and disturb
the right understanding of it. But yet I say concerning this also, that
it rather belongs unto the difference that will be among us in the
expression of our conceptions about spiritual things whilst we know but
in part, than unto the substance of the doctrine itself. And on such
differences no breach of charity can ensue, whilst there is a mutual
grant of that liberty of mind without which it will not be preserved one
moment.
   It is, therefore, by some apprehended that there is an evangelical
justification upon our evangelical personal righteousness. This they
distinguish from that justification which is by faith through the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ, in the sense wherein they do
allow it; for the righteousness of Christ is our legal righteousness,
whereby we have pardon of sin, and acquitment from the sentence of the
law, on the account of his satisfaction and merit. But, moreover, they
say that as there is a personal, inherent righteousness required of us,
so there is a justification by the gospel thereon. For by our faith, and
the plea of it, we are justified from the charge of unbelief; by our
sincerity, and the plea of it, we are justified from the charge of
hypocrisy; and so by all other graces and duties from the charge of the
contrary sins in commission or omission, so far as such sins are
inconsistent with the terms of the covenant of grace. How this differs
from the second justification before God, which some say we have by
works, on the supposition of the pardon of sin for the satisfaction of
Christ, and the infusion of a habit of grace enabling us to perform those
works, is declared by those who so express themselves.
   Some add, that this inherent, personal, evangelical righteousness, is
the condition on our part of our legal righteousness, or of the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto our justification, or the
pardon of sin. And those by whom the satisfaction and merit of Christ are
denied, make it the only and whole condition of our absolute
justification before God. So speak all the Socinians constantly;  for
they deny our obedience unto Christ to be either the meritorious or
efficient cause of our justification; only they say it is the condition
of it, without which God has decreed that we shall not be made partakers
of the benefit thereof. So does Socinus himself, De Justificat. p. 17,
"Sunt opera nostra, id est, ut dictum fuit, obedientia quam Christo
praestamus, licet nec efficiens nec meritoria, tamen causa est (ut
vocant) sine qua non, justificationis coram Deo, tque aeternae nostrae".
Again, p. 14, inter Opuscul, "Ut cavendum est ne vitae sanctitatem atque
innocentiam effectum justificationis nostrae coram Deo esse credamus,
neque illam nostrae coram Deo justificationis causam efficientem aut
impulsivam esse affirmemus; set tantummodo causam sine qua eam
justificationem nobis non contingere decrevit Deus". And in all their
discourses to this purpose they assert our personal righteousness and
holiness, or our obedience unto the commands of Christ, which they make
to be the form and essence of faith, to be the condition whereon we
obtain justification, or the remission of sins. And indeed, considering
what their opinion is concerning the person of Christ, with their denial
of his satisfaction and merit, it is impossible they should frame any
other idea of justification in their minds. But what some among ourselves
intend by a compliance with them herein, who are not necessitated
thereunto by a prepossession with their opinions about the person and
mediation of Christ, I know not. For as for them, all their notions about
grace, conversion to God, justification, and the like articles of our
religion, they are nothing but what they are necessarily cast upon by
their hypothesis about the person of Christ.
   At present I shall only inquire into that peculiar evangelical
justification which is asserted to be the effect of our own personal
righteousness, or to be granted us thereon. And hereunto we may observe,-
-
   1. That God does require in and by the gospel a sincere obedience of
all that do believe, to be performed in and by their own persons, though
through the aids of grace supplied unto them by Jesus Christ. He
requires, indeed, obedience, duties, and works of righteousness, in and
of all persons whatever; but the consideration of them which are
performed before believing is excluded by all from any causality or
interest in our justification before God: at least, whatever any may
discourse of the necessity of such works in a way of preparation unto
believing (whereunto we have spoken before), none bring them into the
verge of works evangelical, or obedience of faith; which would imply a
contradiction. But that the works inquired after are necessary unto all
believers, is granted by all; on what grounds, and unto what ends, we
shall inquire afterwards. They are declared, Eph.2:10.
   2. It is likewise granted that believers, from the performance of this
obedience, or these works of righteousness, are denominated righteous in
the Scripture, and are personally and internally righteous, Luke 1:6;
John 3:7. But yet this denomination is nowhere given unto them with
respect unto grace habitually inherent, but unto the effect of it in
duties of obedience; as in the places mentioned: "They were both
righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of
the Lord blameless;"the latter words give the reason of the former, or
their being esteemed righteous before God. And, "He that does
righteousness is righteous;"--the denomination is from doing. And
Bellarmine, endeavouring to prove that it is habitual, not actual
righteousness, which is, as he speaks, the formal cause of our
justification before God, could not produce one testimony of Scripture
wherein any one is denominated righteous from habitual righteousness, (De
Justificat., lib. 2 cap. 15); but is forced to attempt the proof of it
with this absurd argument,--namely, that "we are justified by the
sacraments, which do not work in us actual, but habitual righteousness".
And this is sufficient to discover the insufficiency of all pretence for
any interest of our own righteousness from this denomination of being
righteous thereby, seeing it has not respect unto that which is the
principal part thereof.
   3. This inherent righteousness, taking it for that which is habitual
and actual, is the same with our sanctification; neither is there any
difference between them, only they are diverse names of the same thing.
For our sanctification is the inherent renovation of our natures exerting
and acting itself in newness of life, or obedience unto God in Christ and
works of righteousness. But sanctification and justification are in the
Scripture perpetually distinguished, whatever respect of causality the
one of them may have unto the other. And those who do confound them, as
the Papists do, do not so much dispute about the nature of justification,
as endeavour to prove that indeed there is no such thing as justification
at all; for that which would serve most to enforce it,--namely, the
pardon of sin,--they place in the exclusion and extinction of it, by the
infusions of inherent grace, which does not belong unto justification.
   4. By this inherent, personal righteousness we may be said several
ways to be justified. As,--(1.) In our own consciences, inasmuch at it is
an evidence in us and unto us of our participation of the grace of God in
Christ Jesus, and of our acceptance with him; which has no small
influence into our peace. So speaks the apostle, "Our rejoicing is this,
the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity,
not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our
conversation in the world," 2 Cor.1:12: who yet disclaims any confidence
therein as unto his justification before God; for says he, "Although I
know nothing by myself, yet am I not hereby justified," 1 Cor.4:4. (2.)
Hereby may we be said to be justified before men; that is, acquitted of
evils laid unto our charge, and approved as righteous and unblamable; for
the state of things is so in the world, as that the professors of the
gospel ever were, and ever will be, evil spoken of, as evil doers. The
rule given them to acquit themselves, so as that at length they may be
acquitted and justified by all that are not absolutely blinded and
hardened in wickedness, is that of a holy and fruitful walking, in
abounding in good works, 1 Pet.2:12; 3:16. And so is it with respect unto
the church, that we be not judged dead, barren professors, but such as
have been made partakers of the like precious faith with others: "Show me
thy faith by thy works", James 2. Wherefore, (3.) This righteousness is
pleadable unto our justification against all the charges of Satan, who is
the great accuser of the brethren,--of all that believe. Whether he
manage his charge privately in our consciences (which is as it were
before God), as he charged Job; or by his instruments, in all manner of
reproaches and calumnies (whereof some in this age have had experience in
an eminent manner), this righteousness is pleadable unto our
justification. 
   On a supposition of these things, wherein our personal righteousness
is allowed its proper place and use (as shall afterward be more fully
declared), I do not understand that there is an evangelical justification
whereby believers are, by and on the account of this personal, inherent
righteousness, justified in the sight of God; nor does the imputation of
the righteousness of Christ unto our absolute justification before him
depend thereon. For,-- 
   1. None have this personal righteousness but they are antecedently
justified in the sight of God. It is wholly the obedience of faith,
proceeding from true and saving faith in God by Jesus Christ: for, as it
was said before, works before faith, are, as by general consent, excluded
from any interest in our justification, and we have proved that they are
neither conditions of it, dispositions unto it, nor preparations for it,
properly so called; but every true believer is immediately justified on
his believing. Nor is there any moment of time wherein a man is a true
believer, according as faith is required in the gospel, and yet not
justified; for as he is thereby united unto Christ, which is the
foundation of our justification by him, so the whole Scripture testifies
that he that believes is justified, or that there is an infallible
connection in the ordination of God between true faith and justification.
Wherefore this personal righteousness cannot be the condition of our
justification before God, seeing it is consequential thereunto. What may
be pleaded in exception hereunto from the supposition of a second
justification, or differing causes of the beginning and continuation of
justification, has been already disproved
   2. Justification before God is a freedom and absolution from a charge
before God, at least it is contained therein; and the instrument of this
charge must either be the law or the gospel. But neither the law nor the
gospel do before God, or in the sight of God, charge true believers with
unbelief, hypocrisy, or the like; for "who shall lay any thing to the
charge of God's elect," who are once justified before him? Such a charge
may be laid against them by Satan, by the church sometimes on mistake, by
the world, as it was in the case of Job; against which this righteousness
is pleadable. But what is charged immediately before God is charged by
God himself either by the law of the gospel; and the judgement of God is
according unto truth. If this charge be by the law, by the law we must be
justified. But the plea of sincere obedience will not justify us by the
law. That admits of none in satisfaction unto its demands but that which
is complete and perfect. And where the gospel lays any thing unto the
charge of any persons before God, there can be no justification before
God, unless we shall allow the gospel to be the instrument of a false
charge; for what should justify him whom the gospel condemns? And if it
be a justification by the gospel from the charge of the law, it renders
the death of Christ of no effect; and a justification without a charge is
not to be supposed.
   3. Such a justification as that pretended is altogether needless and
senseless. This may easily be evinced from what the Scripture asserts
unto our justification in the sight of God by faith in the blood of
Christ; but this has been spoken to before on another occasion. Let that
be considered, and it will quickly appear that there is no place nor use
for this new justification upon our personal righteousness, whether it be
supposed antecedent and subordinate thereunto, or consequential and
perfective thereof.
   4. This pretended evangelical justification has not the nature of any
justification that is mentioned in the Scripture,--that is, neither that
by the law, nor that provided in the gospel. Justification by the law is
this,--The man that does the works of it shall live in them. This it does
not pretend unto. And as unto evangelical justification, it is every way
contrary unto it. For therein the charge against the person to be
justified is true,--namely, that he has sinned, and is come short of the
glory of God; [but] in this it is false,--namely, that a believer is an
unbeliever; a sincere person, a hypocrite; one fruitful in good works,
altogether barren: and this false charge is supposed to be exhibited in
the name of God, and before him. Our acquitment, in true, evangelical
justification, is by absolution or pardon of sin; here, by a vindication
of our own righteousness. There, the plea of the person to be justified
is, Guilty; all the world is become guilty before God: but here, the plea
of the person on his trial is, Not guilty, whereon the proofs and
evidences of innocence and righteousness do ensue; but this is a plea
which the law will not admit, and which the gospel disclaims.
   5. If we are justified before God on our own personal righteousness,
and pronounced righteous by him on the account thereof, then God enters
into judgement with us on something in ourselves, and acquits us thereon;
for justification is a juridical act, in and of that Judgment of God
which is according unto truth. But that God should enter into judgment
with us, and justify us with respect unto what he judges on, or our
personal righteousness, the psalmist does not believe, Ps.130:2,3; 143:2;
nor did the publican, Luke 18.
   6. This personal righteousness of ours cannot be said to be a
subordinate righteousness, and subservient unto our justification by
faith in the blood of Christ: for therein God justifies the ungodly, and
imputes righteousness unto him that works not; and, besides, it is
expressly excluded from any consideration in our justification,
Eph.2:7,8.
   7. This personal, inherent righteousness, wherewith we are said to be
justified with this evangelical justification, is our own righteousness.
Personal righteousness, and our own righteousness, are expressions
equivalent; but our own righteousness is not the material cause of any
justification before God. For,--(1.) It is unmeet so to be, Isa.64:6.
(2.) It is directly opposed unto that righteousness whereby we are
justified, as inconsistent with it unto that end, Phil.3:9; Rom.10:3,4.
   It will be said that our own righteousness is the righteousness of the
law, but this personal righteousness is evangelical. But,--(1.) It will
be hard to prove that our personal righteousness is any other but our own
righteousness; and our own righteousness is expressly rejected from any
interest in our justification in the places quoted. (2.) That
righteousness which is evangelical in respect of its efficient cause, its
motives and some especial ends, is legal in respect of the formal reason
of it and our obligation unto it; for there is no instance of duty
belonging unto it, but, in general, we are obliged unto its performance
by virtue of the first commandment, to "take the LORD for our God."
Acknowledging therein his essential verity and sovereign authority, we
are obliged to believe all that he shall reveal, and to obey in all that
he shall command. (3.) The good works rejected from any interest in our
justification, are those whereunto we are "created in Christ Jesus",
Eph.2:8~10; the "works of righteousness which we have done," Tit.3:5,
wherein the Gentiles are concerned, who never sought for righteousness by
the works of the law, Rom.9:30. But it will yet be said, that these
things are evident in themselves. God does require an evangelical
righteousness in all that do believe; this Christ is not, nor is it the
righteousness of Christ. He may be said to be our legal righteousness,
but our evangelical righteousness he is not; and, so far as we are
righteous with any righteousness, so far we are justified by it. For
according unto this evangelical righteousness we must be tried; if we
have it we shall be acquitted, and if we have it not we shall be
condemned. There is, therefore, a justification according unto it.
   I answer,--1. According to some authors or maintainers of this
opinion, I see not but that the Lord Christ is as much our evangelical
righteousness as he is our legal. For our legal righteousness he is not,
in their judgement, by a proper imputation of his righteousness unto us,
but by the communication of the fruits of what he did and suffered for
us. And so he is our evangelical righteousness also; for our
sanctification is an effect or fruit of what he did and suffered for us,
Eph.5:26,27; Tit.2:14.
   2. None have this evangelical righteousness but those who are, in
order of nature at least, justified before they actually have it; for it
is that which is required of all that do believe, and are justified
thereon. And we need not much inquire how a man is justified after he is
justified.
   3. God has not appointed this personal righteousness in order unto our
justification before him in this life, though he have appointed it to
evidence our justification before others, and even in his sight; as shall
be declared. He accepts of it, approves of it, upon the account of the
free justification of the person in and by whom it is wrought: so he had
"respect unto Abel and his offering". But we are not acquitted by it from
any real charge in the sight of God, nor do receive remission of sins on
the account of it. And those who place the whole of justification in the
remission of sins, making this personal righteousness the condition of
it, as the Socinians do, leave not any place for the righteousness of
Christ in our justification.
   4. If we are in any sense justified hereby in the sight of God, we
have whereof to boast before him. We may not have so absolutely, and with
respect unto merit; yet we have so comparatively, and in respect of
others who cannot make the same plea for their justification. But all
boasting is excluded; and it will not relieve, to say that this personal
righteousness is of the free grace and gift of God unto some, and not
unto others; for we must plead it as our duty, and not as God's grace.
   5. Suppose a person freely justified by the grace of God, through
faith in the blood of Christ, without respect unto any works, obedience,
or righteousness of his own, we do freely grant,--(1.) That God does
indispensably require personal obedience of him; which may be called his
evangelical righteousness. (2.) That God does approve of and accept, in
Christ, this righteousness so performed. (3.) That hereby that faith
whereby we are justified is evidenced, proved, manifested, in the sight
of God and men. (4.) That this righteousness is pleadable unto an
acquitment against any charge from Satan, the world, or our own
consciences. (5.) That upon it we shall be declared righteous at the last
day, and without it none shall so be. And if any shall think meet from
hence to conclude unto an evangelical justification, or call God's
acceptance of our righteousness by that name, I shall by no means contend
with then. And wherever this inquiry is made,--not how a sinner, guilty
of death, and obnoxious unto the curse, shall be pardoned, acquitted, and
justified, which is by the righteousness of Christ alone imputed unto
him--but how a man that professes evangelical faith, or faith in Christ,
shall be tried, judged, and whereon, as such, he shall be justified, we
grant that it is and must be, by his own personal, sincere obedience.
   And these things are spoken, not with a design to contend with any, or
to oppose the opinions of any; but only to remove from the principal
question in hand those things which do not belong unto it.
   A very few words will also free our inquiry from any concernment in
that which is called sentential justification, at the day of judgement;
for of what nature soever it be, the person concerning whom that sentence
is pronounced was,--(1.) Actually and completely justified before God in
this world; (2.) Made partaker of all the benefits of that justification,
even unto a blessed resurrection in glory: "It is raised in glory", 1
Cor.15:43. (3.) The souls of the most will long before have enjoyed a
blessed rest with God, absolutely discharged and acquitted from all their
labours and all their sins; there remains nothing but an actual admission
of the whole person into eternal glory. Wherefore this judgement can be
no more but declaratory, unto the glory of God, and the everlasting
refreshment of them that have believed. And without reducing of it unto a
new justification, as it is nowhere
called in the Scripture, the ends of that solemn judgement,--in the
manifestation of the wisdom and righteousness of God, in appointing the
way of salvation by Christ, as well as in giving of the law; the public
conviction of them by whom the law has been transgressed and the gospel
despised; the vindication of the righteousness, power, and wisdom of God
in the rule of the world by his providence, wherein, for the most part,
his paths unto all in this life are in the deep, and his footsteps are
not known; the glory and honour of Jesus Christ, triumphing over all his
enemies, then fully made his footstool; and the glorious exaltation of
grace in all that do believe, with sundry other things of an alike
tendency unto the ultimate manifestation of divine glory in the creation
and guidance of all things,--are sufficiently manifest.
   And hence it appears how little force there  is in that argument which
some pretend to be of so great weight in this cause. "As every one", they
say, "shall be judged of God at the last day, in the same way and manner
or on the same grounds, is he justified of God in this life; but by
works, and not by faith alone, every one shall be judged at the last day:
wherefore by works, and not by faith alone, every one is justified before
God in this life". For,--
   1. It is nowhere said that we shall be judged at the last day "ex
operibus"; but only that God will render unto men "secundum opera". But
God does not justify any in this life "secundum opera"; being justified
freely by his grace, and not according to the works of righteousness
which we have done. And we are everywhere said to be justified in this
life "ex fide", "per fidem", but nowhere "propter fidem"; or, that God
justifies us "secundum fidem", by faith, but not for our faith, nor
according unto our faith. And we are not to depart from the expressions
of the Scripture, where such a difference is constantly observed.
   2. It is somewhat strange that a man should be judged at the last day,
and justified in this life, just in the same way and manner,--that is,
with respect unto faith and works,--when the Scripture does constantly
ascribe our justification before God unto faith without works; and the
judgment at the last day is said to be according unto works, without any
mention of faith.
   3. If justification and eternal judgment proceed absolutely on the
same grounds, reasons, and causes, then if men had not done what they
shall be condemned for doing at the last day, they should have been
justified in this life; but many shall be condemned only for sins against
the light of nature, Rom.2:12, as never having the written law or gospel
made known unto them: wherefore unto such persons, to abstain from sins
against the light of nature would be sufficient unto their justification,
without any knowledge of Christ or the gospel.
   4. This proposition,--that God pardons men their sins, gives then the
adoption of children, with a right unto the heavenly inheritance,
according to their works,--is not only foreign to the gospel, but
contradictory unto it, and destructive of it, as contrary unto all
express testimonies of the Scripture, both in the Old Testament and the
New, where these things are spoken of; but that God judges all men, and
renders unto all men, at the last judgment, according unto their works,
is true, and affirmed in the Scripture.
   5. In our justification in this life by faith, Christ is considered as
our propitiation and advocate, as he who has made atonement for sin, and
brought in everlasting righteousness; but at the last day, and in the
last judgment, he is considered only as the judge.
   6. The end of God in our justification is the glory of his grace,
Eph.1:6; but the end of God in the last judgment is the glory of his
remunerative righteousness, 2 Tim.4:8.
   7. The representation that is made of the final judgment, Matt.7 and
25, is only of the visible church. And therein the plea of faith, as to
the profession of it, is common unto all, and is equally made by all.
Upon that plea of faith, it is put unto the trial whether it were
sincere, true faith or no, or only that which was dead and barren. And
this trial is made solely by the fruits and effects of it; and otherwise,
in the public declaration of things unto all, it cannot be made.
Otherwise, the faith whereby we are justified comes not
into judgment at the last day. See John 5:24, with Mark 16:16.





VII. Imputation, and the nature of it; with the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ in particular


Imputation, and the nature of it--The first express record of
justification determines it to be by imputation, Gen.15:6--Reasons of it-
-The doctrine of imputation cleared by Paul; the occasion of it--Maligned
and opposed by many--Weight of the doctrine concerning imputation of
righteousness, on all hands acknowledged--Judgment of the Reformed
churches herein, particularly of the church of England--By whom opposed,
and on what grounds--Signification of the word--Difference between
"reputare" and "imputare"--Imputation of two kinds:--1. Of what was ours
antecedently unto that imputation, whether good or evil--Instances in
both kinds--Nature of this imputation--The thing imputed by it, imputed
for what it is, and nothing else. --2. Of what is not ours antecedently
unto that imputation, but is made so by it--General nature of this
imputation--Not judging of others to have done what they have not done--
Several distinct grounds and reasons of this imputation:--1. "Ex
justitia"; --(1.) "Propter relationem foederalem;"--(2.) "Propter
relationem naturalem;"--2. "Ex voluntaria sponsione"--Instances,
Philem.18; Gen.43:9--Voluntary sponsion, the ground of the imputation of
sin to Christ. --3. "Ex injuria", 1 Kings 1:21. --4. "Ex mera gratia,"
Rom. 4--Difference between the imputation of any works of ours, and of
the righteousness of God--Imputation of inherent righteousness is "ex
justitia"--Inconsistency of it with that which is "ex mera gratia,"
Rom.4--Agreement of both kinds of imputation--The true nature of the
imputation of righteousness unto justification explained--Imputation of
the righteousness of Christ--The thing itself imputed, not the effect of
it; proved against the Socinians


The first express record of the justification of any sinner is of
Abraham. Others were justified before him from the beginning, and there
is that affirmed of them which sufficiently evidences them so to have
been; but this prerogative was reserved for the father of the faithful,
that his justification, and the express way and manner of it, should be
first entered on the sacred record. So it is, Gen.15:6, "He believed in
the LORD, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."
"wayachsheveha",--it was "accounted" unto him, or "imputed" unto him, for
righteousness. "Elogisthe",--it was "counted, reckoned, imputed." And "it
was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed unto him, but for
us also, unto whom it shall be imputed if we believe," Rom.4:23,24.
Wherefore, the first express declaration of the nature of justification
in the Scripture affirms it to be by imputation,--the imputation of
somewhat unto righteousness; and this [is] done in that place and
instance which is recorded on purpose, as the precedent and example of
all those that shall be justified. As he was justified so are we, and no
otherwise.
   Under the New Testament there was a necessity of a more full and clear
declaration of the doctrine of it; for it is among the first and most
principal parts of that heavenly mystery of truth which was to be brought
to light by the gospel. And, besides, there was from the first a strong
and dangerous opposition made unto it; for this matter of justification,
the doctrine of it, and what necessarily belongs thereunto, was that
whereon the Jewish church broke off from God, refused Christ and the
gospel, perishing in their sins; as is expressly declared, Rom.9:31;
10:3,4. And, in like manner, a dislike of it, an opposition unto it, ever
was, and ever will be, a principle and cause of the apostasy of any
professing church from Christ and the gospel that falls under the power
and deceit of them; as it fell out afterwards in the churches of the
Galatians. But in this state the doctrine of justification was fully
declared, stated, and vindicated, by the apostle Paul, in a peculiar
manner. And he does it especially by affirming and proving that we have
the righteousness whereby and wherewith we are justified by imputation,
or, that our justification consists in the non-imputation of sin, and the
imputation of righteousness.
   But yet, although the first-recorded instance of justification,--and
which was so recorded that it might be an example, and represent the
justification of all that should be justified unto the end of the world,-
-is expressed by imputation and righteousness imputed, and the doctrine
of it, in that great case wherein the eternal welfare of the church of
the Jews, or their ruin, was concerned, is so expressed by the apostle;
yet is it so fallen out in our days, that nothing in religion is more
maligned, more reproached, more despised, than the imputation of
righteousness unto us, or an imputed righteousness. "A putative
righteousness, the shadow of a dream, a fancy, a mummery, an
imagination," say some among us. An opinion, "foeda, execranda,
pernitiosa, detestanta", says Socinus. And opposition arises unto it
every day from great variety of principles; for those by whom it is
opposed and rejected can by no means agree what to set up in the place of
it.
   However, the weight and importance of this doctrine is on all hands
acknowledged, whether it be true or false. It is not a dispute about
notions, terms, and speculations, wherein Christian practice is little or
not at all concerned (of which nature many are needlessly contended
about); but such as has an immediate influence into our whole present
duty, with our eternal welfare or ruin. Those by whom this imputation of
righteousness is rejected, do affirm that the faith and doctrine of it do
overthrow the necessity of gospel obedience, of personal righteousness
and good works, bringing in antinomianism and libertinism in life. Hereon
it must, of necessity, be destructive of salvation in those who believe
it, and conform their practice thereunto. And those, on the other hand,
by whom it is believed, seeing they judge it impossible that any man
should be justified before God any other way but by the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ, do, accordingly, judge that without it none can
be saved. Hence a learned man of ]ate concludes his discourse concerning
it, "Hactenus de imputatione justitiae Christi; sine qua nemo unquam aut
salvtus est, aut slvari queat", Justificat. Paulin. cap. 8;--"Thus far of
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ; without which no man was
ever saved, nor can any so be." They do not think nor judge that all
those are excluded from salvation who cannot apprehend, or do deny, the
doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, as by them
declared; but they judge that they are so unto whom that righteousness is
not really imputed: nor can they do otherwise, whilst they make it the
foundation of all their own acceptation with God and eternal salvation.
These things greatly differ. To believe the doctrine of it, or not to
believe it, as thus or thus explained, is one thing; and to enjoy the
thing, or not enjoy it, is another. I no way doubt but that many men do
receive more grace from God than they understand or will own, and have a
greater efficacy of it in them than they will believe. Men may be really
saved by that grace which doctrinally they do deny; and they may be
justified by the imputation of that righteousness which, in opinion, they
deny to be imputed: for the faith of it is included in that general
assent which they give unto the truth of the gospel, and such an
adherence unto Christ may ensue thereon, as that their mistake of the way
whereby they are saved by him shall not defraud them of a real interest
therein. And for my part, I must say that notwithstanding all the
disputes that I see and read about justification (some whereof are full
of offense and scandal), I do not believe but that the authors of them
(if they be not Socinians throughout, denying the whole merit and
satisfaction of Christ) do really trust unto the mediation of Christ for
the pardon of their sins and acceptance with God, and not unto their own
works or obedience; nor will I believe the contrary, until they expressly
declare it. Of the objection, on the other hand, concerning the danger of
the doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, in
reference unto the necessity of holiness and works of righteousness, we
must treat afterwards.
   The judgment of the Reformed churches herein is known unto all, and
must be confessed, unless we intend by vain cavils to increase and
perpetuate contentions. Especially the church of England is in her
doctrine express as unto the imputation of the righteousness of Christ,
both active and passive, as it is usually distinguished. This has been of
late so fully manifested out of her authentic writings,--that is, the
articles of religion, and books of homilies, and other writings publicly
authorized,--that it is altogether needless to give any farther
demonstration of it. Those who pretend themselves to be otherwise minded
are such as I will not contend withal; for to what purpose is it to
dispute with men who will deny the sun to shine, when they cannot bear
the heat of its beams? Wherefore, in what I have to offer on this
subject, I shall not in the least depart from the ancient doctrine of the
church of England; yea, I have no design but to declare and vindicate it,
as God shall enable.
   There are, indeed, sundry differences among persons learned, sober,
and orthodox (if that term displease not), in the way and manner of the
explication of the doctrine of justification by the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ, who yet all of them agree in the substance of
it,--in all those things wherein the grace of God, the honour of Christ,
and the peace of the souls of men, are principally concerned. As far as
it is possible for me, I shall avoid the concerning of myself at present
in these differences; for unto what purpose is it to contend about them,
whilst the substance of the doctrine itself is openly opposed and
rejected? Why should we debate about the order and beautifying of the
rooms in a house, whilst fire is set unto the whole? When that is well
quenched, we may return to the consideration of the best means for the
disposal and use of the several parts of it.
   There are two grand parties by whom the doctrine of justification by
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ is opposed,--namely, the
Papists and the Socinians; but they proceed on different principles, and
unto different ends. The design of the one is to exalt their own merits;
of the other, to destroy the merit of Christ. But besides these, who
trade in company, we have many interlopers, who, coming in on their hand,
do make bold to borrow from both as they see occasion. We shall have to
do with them all in our progress; not with the persons of any, nor the
way and manner of their expressing themselves, but the opinions of all of
them, so far as they are opposite unto the truth: for it is that which
wise men despise, and good men bewail,--to see persons pretending unto
religion and piety, to cavil at expressions, to contend about words, to
endeavour the fastening of opinions on men which they own not, and
thereon mutually to revile one another, publishing all to the world as
some great achievement or victory. This is not the way to teach the
truths of the gospel, nor to promote the edification of the church. But,
in general, the importance of the cause to be pleaded, the greatness of
the opposition that is made unto the truth, and the high concernment of
the souls of believers to be rightly instructed in it, do call for a
renewed declaration and vindication of it. And what I shall attempt unto
this purpose I do it under this persuasion,--that the life and
continuance of any church on the one hand, and its apostasy or ruin on
the other, do depend in an eminent manner on the preservation or
rejection of the truth in this article of religion; and, I shall add, as
it has been professed, received, and believed in the church of England in
former days.
   The first thing we are to consider is the meaning of these words, to
impute, and imputation; for, from a mere plain declaration hereof, it
will appear that sundry things charged on a supposition of the imputation
we plead for are vain and groundless, or the charge itself is so.
   "Chashav", the word first used to this purpose, signifies to think, to
esteem, to judge, or to refer a thing or matter unto any; to impute, or
to be imputed, for good or evil. See Lev.7:18; 17:4, and Ps.106:31.
"Watechashev lo litsdakah"--"And it was counted, reckoned, imputed unto
him for righteousness;" to judge or esteem this or that good or evil to
belong unto him, to be his. The LXX express it by "logidzoo" and
"logidzomai", as do the writers of the New Testament also; and these are
rendered by "reputare, imputare, acceptum ferre, tribuere, assignare,
ascribere." But there is a different signification among these words: in
particular, to be imputed righteous, and to have righteousness imputed,
differ, as cause and effect; for that any may be reputed righteous,--that
is, be judged or esteemed so to be,-- there must be a real foundation of
that reputation, or it is a mistake, and not a right judgment; as a man
may be reputed to be wise who is a fool, or reputed to be rich who is a
beggar. Wherefore, he that is reputed righteous must either have a
righteousness of his own, or another antecedently imputed unto him, as
the foundation of that reputation. Wherefore, to impute righteousness
unto one that has none of his own, is not to repute him to be righteous
who is indeed unrighteous; but it is to communicate a righteousness unto
him, that he may rightly and justly be esteemed, judged, or reputed
righteous.
   "Imputare" is a word that the Latin tongue owns in the sense wherein
it is used by divines. "Optime de pessimis meruisti, ad quos pervenerit
incorrupta rerum fides, magno authori suo imputate", Senec. ad Mart. And
Plin., lib. 18 cap. 1, in his apology for the earth, our common parent,
"Nostris eam criminibus urgemus, culpamque nostram illi imputamus".
   In their sense, to impute any thing unto another is, if it be evil, to
charge it on him, to burden him with it: so says Pliny, "We impute our
own faults to the earth, or charge them upon it." If it be good, it is to
ascribe it unto him as his own, whether originally it were so or no:
"Magno authori imputate". Vasquez, in Thom. 22, tom. 2: disp. 132,
attempts the sense of the word, but confounds it with "reputare:"
"Imputare aut reputare quidquam alicui, est idem atque inter ea quae sunt
ipsius, et ad eum pertinent, connumerare et recensere". This is
"reputare" properly; "imputare" includes an act antecedent unto this
accounting or esteeming a thing to belong unto any person.
   But whereas that may be imputed unto us which is really our own
antecedently unto that imputation, the word must needs have a double
sense, as it has in the instances given out of Latin authors now
mentioned. And,--
   1. To impute unto us that which was really ours antecedently unto that
imputation, includes two things in it:--(1.) An acknowledgment or
judgment that the thing so imputed is really and truly ours, or in us. He
that imputes wisdom or learning unto any man does, in the first place,
acknowledge him to be wise or learned. (2.) A dealing with them according
unto it, whether it be good or evil. So when, upon a trial, a man is
acquitted because he is found righteous; first, he is judged and esteemed
righteous, and then dealt with as a righteous person,--his righteousness
is imputed unto him. See this exemplified, Gen.30:33.
   2. To impute unto us that which is not our own antecedently unto that
imputation, includes also in it two things:--(1.) A grant or donation of
the thing itself unto us, to be ours, on some just ground and foundation;
for a thing must be made ours before we can justly be dealt withal
according unto what is required on the account of it. (2.) A will of
dealing with us, or an actual dealing with us, according unto that which
is so made ours; for in this matter whereof we treat, the most holy and
righteous God does not justify any,--that is, absolve them from sin,
pronounce them righteous, and thereon grant unto them right and title
unto eternal life,--but upon the interveniency of a true and complete
righteousness, truly and completely made the righteousness of them that
are to be justified in order of nature antecedently unto their
justification. But these things will be yet made more clear by instances;
and it is necessary they should be so.
   (1.) There is an imputation unto us of that which is really our own,
inherent in us, performed by us, antecedently unto that imputation, and
this whether it be evil or good. The rule and nature hereof is given and
expressed, Ezek.18:20, "The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon
him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." Instances we
have of both sorts. First, in the imputation of sin when the person
guilty of it is so judged and reckoned a sinner as to be dealt withal
accordingly. This imputation Shimei deprecated, 2 Sam.19:19. He said unto
the king, "Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me,"--"'al-yachashav-li
'adoni 'awon", the word used in the expression of the imputation of
righteousness, Gen.15:6,--"neither do thou remember that which thy
servant did perversely: for thy servant does know that I have sinned." He
was guilty, and acknowledged his guilt; but deprecates the imputation of
it in such a sentence concerning him as his sin deserved. So Stephen
deprecated the imputation of sin unto them that stoned him, whereof they
were really guilty, Acts 7:60, "Lay not this sin to their charge;"--
impute it not unto them: as, on the other side, Zechariah the son of
Jehoiada, who died in the same cause and the same kind of death with
Stephen, prayed that the sin of those which slew him might be charged on
them, 2 Chron.24:22. Wherefore to impute sin is to lay it unto the charge
of any, and to deal with them according unto its desert.
   To impute that which is good unto any, is to judge and acknowledge it
so to be theirs, and thereon to deal with them in whom it is according
unto its respect unto the law of God. The "righteousness of the righteous
shall be upon him." So Jacob provided that his "righteousness should
answer for him," Gen.30:33. And we have an instance of it in God's
dealing with men, Ps.106:30,31, "Then stood up Phinehas and executed
judgment; and that was counted unto him for righteousness."
Notwithstanding it seemed that he had not sufficient warrant for what he
did, yet God, that knew his heart, and what guidance of his own Spirit he
was under, approved his act as righteous, and gave him a reward
testifying that approbation.
   Concerning this imputation it must be observed, that whatever is our
own antecedently thereunto, which is an act of God thereon, can never be
imputed unto us for any thing more or less than what it is really in
itself. For this imputation consists of two parts, or two things concur
thereunto:--First, A judgment of the thing to be ours, to be in us, or to
belong unto us. Secondly, A will of dealing with us, or an actual dealing
with us, according unto it. Wherefore, in the imputation of any thing
unto us which is ours, God esteems it not to be other than it is. He does
not esteem that to be a perfect righteousness which is imperfect; so to
do, might argue either a mistake of the thing judged on, or perverseness
in the judgment itself upon it. Wherefore, if, as some say, our own faith
and obedience are imputed unto us for righteousness, seeing they are
imperfect, they must be imputed unto us for an imperfect righteousness,
and not for that which is perfect; for that judgment of God which is
according unto truth is in this imputation. And the imputation of an
imperfect righteousness unto us, esteeming it only as such, will stand us
in little stead in this matter. And the acceptilation which some plead
(traducing a fiction in human laws to interpret the mystery of the
gospel) does not only overthrow all imputation, but the satisfaction and
merit of Christ also. And it must be observed, that this imputation is a
mere act of justice, without any mixture of grace; as the apostle
declares, Rom.11:6. For it consists of these two parts:--First, An
acknowledging and judging that to be in us which is truly so; Secondly, A
will of dealing with us according unto it: both which are acts of
justice.
   (2.) The imputation unto us of that which is not our own antecedently
unto that imputation, at least not in the same manner as it is
afterwards, is various also, as unto the grounds and causes that it
proceeds upon. Only it must be observed, that no imputation of this kind
is to account them unto whom anything is imputed to have done the things
themselves which are imputed unto them. That were not to impute, but to
err in judgment, and, indeed, utterly to overthrow the whole nature of
gracious imputation. But it is to make that to be ours by imputation
which was not ours before, unto all ends and purposes whereunto it would
have served if it had been our own without any such imputation.
   It is therefore a manifest mistake of their own which some make the
ground of a charge on the doctrine of imputation. For they say, "If our
sins were imputed unto Christ, then must he be esteemed to have done what
we have done amiss, and so be the greatest sinner that ever was;" and on
the other side, "If his righteousness be imputed unto us, then are we
esteemed to have done what he did, and so to stand in no need of the
pardon of sin." But this is contrary unto the nature of imputation, which
proceeds on no such judgment; but, on the contrary, that we ourselves
have done nothing of what is imputed unto us, nor Christ any thing of
what was imputed unto him.
   To declare more distinctly the nature of this imputation, I shall
consider the several kinds of it, or rather the several grounds whence it
proceeds. For this imputation unto us of what is not our own antecedent
unto that imputation, may be either,--1. "Ex justitia;" or, 2. "Ex
voluntaria sponsione;" or, 3. "Ex injuria; or, 4. "Ex gratia;"--all which
shall be exemplified. I do not place them thus distinctly, as if they
might not some of them concur in the same imputation, which I shall
manifest that they do; but I shall refer the several kinds of imputation
unto that which is the next cause of every one.
   1. Things that are not our own originally, personally, inherently, may
yet be imputed unto us "ex justitia," by the rule of righteousness. And
this may be done upon a double relation unto those whose they are:--(1.)
Federal. (2.) Natural.
   (1.) Things done by one may he imputed unto others, "propter
relationem foederalem",--because of a covenant relation between them. So
the sin of Adam was and is imputed unto all his posterity; as we shall
afterward more fully declare. And the ground hereof is that we stood all
in the same covenant with him, who was our head and representative
therein. The corruption and depravation of nature which we derive from
Adam is imputed unto us with the first kind, of imputation,--namely, of
that which is ours antecedently unto that imputation: but his actual sin
is imputed unto us as that which becomes ours by that imputation; which
before it was not. Hence, says Bellarmine himself, "Peccatum Adami ita
posteris omnibus imputatur, ac si omnes idem peccatum patravissent", De
Amiss. Grat., lib.4 cap.10;--"The sin of Adam is so imputed unto all his
posterity, as if they had all committed the same sin." And he gives us
herein the true nature of imputation, which he fiercely disputes against
in his books on justification. For the imputation of that sin unto us, as
if we had committed it, which he acknowledges, includes both a
transcription of that sin unto us, and a dealing with us as if we had
committed it; which is the doctrine of the apostle, Rom.5.
   (2) There is an imputation of sin unto others, "ex justitia propter
relationem naturalem",--on the account of a natural relation between them
and those who had actually contracted the guilt of it. But this is so
only with respect unto some outward, temporary effects of it. So God
speaks concerning the children of the rebellious Israelites in the
wilderness, "Your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years,
and bear your whoredoms," Numb.14:33;--"Your sin shall be so far imputed
unto your children, because of their relation unto you, and your interest
in them, as that they shall suffer for them in an afflictive condition in
the wilderness." And this was just because of the relation between them;
as the same procedure of divine justice is frequently declared in other
places of the Scripture. So, where there is a due foundation of it,
imputation is an act of justice.
   2. Imputation may justly ensue "ex voluntaria sponsione,"--when one
freely and willingly undertakes to answer for another. An illustrious
instance hereof we have in that passage of the apostle unto Philemon in
the behalf of Onesimus, verse 18, "If he has wronged thee, or ows thee
ought" ("touto emoi ellogei"), "impute it unto me,--put it on my
account." He supposes that Philemon might have a double action against
Onesimus. (1.) "Injuriarum," of wrongs: "Ei de ti edikese se"--If he has
dealt unjustly with thee, or by thee, if he has so wronged thee as to
render himself obnoxious unto punishment." (2.) "Damni", or of loss: "E
ofeilei"--"If he ows thee ought, be a debtor unto thee;" which made him
liable to payment or restitution. In this state the apostle interposes
himself by a voluntary sponsion, to undertake for Onesimus: "I Paul have
written it with my own hand," "Egoo apotisoo"--"I Paul will answer for
the whole." And this he did by the transcription of both the debts of
Onesimus unto himself; for the crime was of that nature as might be taken
away by compurgation, being not capital. And the imputation of them unto
him was made just by his voluntary undertaking of them. "Account me,"
says he, "the person that has done these things; and I will make
satisfaction, so that nothing be charged on Onesimus." So Judas
voluntarily undertook unto Jacob for the safety of Benjamin, and obliged
himself unto perpetual guilt in case of failure, Gen.43:9, "I will be
surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not
unto thee, and set him before thee," "wechata'ti lecha kol-hayamim",--"I
will sin," or "be a sinner before thee always,"--be guilty, and, as we
say, bear the blame. So he expresses himself again unto Joseph,
chap.44:32. It seems this is the nature and office of a surety; what he
undertakes for is justly to be required at his hand, as if he had been
originally and personally concerned in it. And this voluntary sponsion
was one ground of the imputation of our sin unto Christ. He took on him
the person of the whole church that had sinned, to answer for what they
had done against God and the law. Hence that imputation was
"fundamentaliter ex compacto, ex voluntaria sponsione";--it had its
foundation in his voluntary undertaking. But, on supposition hereof, it
was actually "ex justitia;" it being righteous that he should answer for
it, and make good what he had so undertaken, the glory of God's
righteousness and holiness being greatly concerned herein.
   3. There is an imputation "ex injuria," when that is laid unto the
charge of any whereof he is not guilty: so Bathsheba says unto David, "It
shall come to pass that when my lord the king shall sleep with his
fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be 'chatta'im'" (sinners), 1
Kings 1:21;--"shall be dealt with as offenders, as guilty persons; have
sin imputed unto us, on one pretence or other, unto our destruction. We
shall be sinners,--be esteemed so, and be dealt withal accordingly." And
we may see that, in the phrase of the Scripture, the denomination of
sinners follows the imputation as well as the inhesion of sin; which will
give light unto that place of the apostle, "He was made sin for us," 2
Cor.5:21. This kind of imputation has no place in the judgment of God. It
is far from him that the righteous should be as the wicked.
   4. There is an imputation "ex mera gratia," of mere grace and favor.
And this is, when that which antecedently unto this imputation was no way
ours, not inherent in us, not performed by us, which we had no right nor
title unto, is granted unto us, made ours, so as that we are judged of
and dealt with according unto it. This is that imputation, in both
branches of it,--negative in the non-imputation of sin, and positive in
the imputation of righteousness,--which the apostle so vehemently pleads
for, and so frequently asserts, Rom. 4; for he both affirms the thing
itself, and declares that it is of mere grace, without respect unto any
thing within ourselves. And if this kind of imputation cannot be fully
exemplified in any other instance but this alone whereof we treat, it is
because the foundation of it, in the mediation of Christ, is singular,
and that which there is nothing to parallel in any other case among men.
   From what has been discoursed concerning the nature and grounds of
imputation, sundry things are made evident, which contribute much light
unto the truth which we plead for, at least unto the right understanding
and stating of the matter under debate. As,--
   1. The difference is plain between the imputation of any works of our
own unto us, and the imputation of the righteousness of faith without
works. For the imputation of works unto us, be they what they will, be it
faith itself as a work of obedience in us, is the imputation of that
which was ours before such imputation; but the imputation of the
righteousness of faith, or the righteousness of God which is by faith, is
the imputation of that which is made ours by virtue of that imputation.
And these two imputations differ in their whole kind. The one is a
judging of that to be in us which indeed is so, and is ours before that
judgment be passed concerning it; the other is a communication of that
unto us which before was not ours. And no man can make sense of the
apostle's discourse,--that is, he cannot understand any thing of it,--if
he acknowledge not that the righteousness he treats of is made ours by
imputation, and was not ours antecedently thereunto.
   2. The imputation of works, of what sort soever they be, of faith
itself as a work, and all the obedience of faith, is "ex justitia," and
not "ex gratia," of right, and not of grace. However the bestowing of
faith on us, and the working of obedience in us, may be of grace, yet the
imputation of them unto us, as in us, and as ours, is an act of justice;
for this imputation, as was showed, is nothing but a judgment that such
and such things are in us, or are ours, which truly and really are so,
with a treating of us according unto them. This is an act of justice, as
it appears in the description given of that imputation; but the
imputation of righteousness, mentioned by the apostle, is as unto us "ex
mera gratia", of mere grace, as he fully declares,--"doorean tei chariti
outou". And, moreover, he declares that these two sorts of imputation are
inconsistent and not capable of any composition, so that any thing should
be partly of the one, and partly of the other, Rom.9:6, "If by grace,
then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace: but if it
be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work."
For instance, if faith itself as a work of ours be imputed unto us, it
being ours antecedently unto that imputation, it is but an acknowledgment
of it to be in us and ours, with an ascription of it unto us for what it
is; for the ascription of any thing unto us for what it is not, is not
imputation, but mistake. But this is an imputation "ex justitia," of
works; and so that which is of mere grace can have no place, by the
apostle's rule. So the imputation unto us of what is in us is exclusive
of grace, in the apostle's sense. And on the other hand, if the
righteousness of Christ be imputed unto us, it must be "ex mera gratia,"
of mere grace; for that is imputed unto us which was not ours
antecedently unto that imputation, and so is communicated unto us
thereby. And here is no place for works, nor for any pretence of them. In
the one way, the foundation of imputation is in ourselves; in the other,
it is in another; which are irreconcilable.
   3. Herein both these kinds of imputation do agree,--namely, in that
whatever is imputed unto us, it is imputed for what it is, and not for
what it is not. If it be a perfect righteousness that is imputed unto us,
so it is esteemed and judged to be; and accordingly are we to be dealt
withal, even as those who have a perfect righteousness; and if that which
is imputed as righteousness unto us be imperfect, or imperfectly so, then
as such must it be judged when it is imputed; and we must be dealt withal
as those which have such an imperfect righteousness, and no otherwise.
And therefore, whereas our inherent righteousness is imperfect (they are
to be pitied or despised, not to be contended withal, that are otherwise
minded), if that be imputed unto us, we cannot be accepted on the account
thereof as perfectly righteous, without an error in judgment.
   4. Hence the true nature of that imputation which we plead for (which
so many cannot or will not understand) is manifest, and that both
negatively and positively; for,--(1.) Negatively. First, It is not a
judging or esteeming of them to be righteous who truly and really are not
so. Such a judgment is not reducible unto any of the grounds of
imputation before mentioned. It has the nature of that which is "ex
injuria," or a false charge, only it differs materially from it; for that
respects evil, this that which is good. And therefore the glamours of the
Papists and others are mere effects of ignorance or malice, wherein they
cry out "ad ravim," [till they are hoarse,] that we affirm God to esteem
them to be righteous who are wicked, sinful, and polluted. But this falls
heavily on them who maintain that we are justified before God by our own
inherent righteousness: for then a man is judged righteous who indeed is
not so; for he who is not perfectly righteous cannot be righteous in the
sight of God unto justification. Secondly, It is not a naked
pronunciation or declaration of any one to be righteous, without a just
and sufficient foundation for the judgement of God declared therein. God
declares no man to be righteous but him who is so; the whole question
being how he comes so to be. Thirdly, It is not the transmission or
transfusion of the righteousness of another into them that are to be
justified, that they should become perfectly and inherently righteous
thereby; for it is impossible that the righteousness of one should be
transfused into another, to become his subjectively and inherently: but
it is a great mistake, on the other hand, to say that therefore the
righteousness of one can no way be made the righteousness of another;
which is to deny all imputation.
   Wherefore,--(~.) Positively. This imputation is an act of God "ex mera
gratia," of his mere love and grace; whereby, on the consideration of the
mediation of Christ, he makes an effectual grant and donation of a true,
real, perfect righteousness, even that of Christ himself unto all that do
believe; and accounting it as theirs, on his own gracious act, both
absolves them from sin and grants them right and title unto eternal life.
Hence,--
   5. In this imputation, the thing itself is first imputed unto us, and
not any of the effects of it, but they are made ours by virtue of that
imputation. To say that the righteousness of Christ,--that is, his
obedience and sufferings,--are imputed unto us only as unto their
effects, is to say that we have the benefit of them, and no more; but
imputation itself is denied. So say the Socinians; but they know well
enough, and ingenuously grant, that they overthrow all true, real
imputation thereby. "Nec enim ut per Christi justitiam justificemur, opus
est ut illius justitia, nostra fiat justitia; sed sufficit ut Christi
justitia sit causa nostrae justificationis; et hactenus possumus tibi
concedere, Christi justitiam esse nostram  justitiam, quatenus nostrum in
bonum justitiamque redundat; verum tu proprie nostram, id est, nobis
attributam ascriptamque intelligis", says Schlichtingius, Disp. pro
Socin. ad Meisner. p. 250. And it is not pleasing to see some among
ourselves with so great confidence take up the sense and words of these
men in their disputations against the Protestant doctrine in this cause;
that is, the doctrine of the church of England,.
   That the righteousness of Christ is imputed unto us as unto its
effects, has this sound sense in it,--namely, that the effects of it are
made ours by reason of that imputation. It is so imputed, so reckoned
unto us of God, as that he really communicates all the effects of it unto
us. But to say the righteousness of Christ is not imputed unto us, only
its effects are so, is really to overthrow all imputation; for (as we
shall see) the effects of the righteousness of Christ cannot be said
properly to be imputed unto us; and if his righteousness itself be not
so, imputation has no place herein, nor can it be understood why the
apostle should so frequently assert it as he does, Rom.4. And therefore
the Socinians, who expressly oppose the imputation of the righteousness
of Christ, and plead for a participation of its effects or benefits only,
do wisely deny any such kind of righteousness of Christ,--namely, of
satisfaction and merit (or that the righteousness of Christ, as wrought
by him, was either satisfactory or meritorious),--as alone may be imputed
unto us. For it will readily be granted, that what alone they allow the
righteousness of Christ to consist in cannot be imputed unto us, whatever
benefit we may have by it. But I do not understand how those who grant
the righteousness of Christ to consist principally in his satisfaction
for us, or in our stead, can conceive of an imputation of the effects
thereof unto us, without an imputation of the thing itself; seeing it is
for that, as made ours, that we partake of the benefits of it. But, from
the description of imputation and the instances of it, it appears that
there can be no imputation of any thing unless the thing itself be
imputed; nor any participation of the effects of any thing but what iS
grounded on the imputation of the thing itself. Wherefore, in our
particular case, no imputation of the righteousness of Christ is allowed,
unless we grant itself to be imputed; nor can we have any participation
of the effects of it but on the supposition and foundation of that
imputation. The impertinent cavils that some of late have collected from
the Papists and Socinians,--that if it be so, then are we as righteous as
Christ himself, that we have redeemed the world and satisfied for the
sins of others, that the pardon of sin is impossible and personal
righteousness needless,--shall afterward be spoken unto, so far as they
deserve.
   All that we aim to demonstrate is, only, that either the righteousness
of Christ itself is imputed unto us, or there is no imputation in the
matter of our justification; which, whether there be or no, is another
question, afterward to be spoken unto. For, as was said, the effects of
the righteousness of Christ cannot be said properly to be imputed unto
us. For instance, pardon of sin is a great effect of the righteousness of
Christ. Our sins are pardoned on the account thereof. God for Christ's
sake, forgives us all our sins. But the pardon of sin cannot be said to
be imputed unto us, nor is so. Adoption, justification, peace with God,
all grace and glory, are effects of the righteousness of Christ; but that
these things are not imputed unto us, nor can be so, is evident from
their nature. But we are made partakers of them all upon the account of
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us, and no otherwise.
   Thus much may suffice to be spoken of the nature of imputation of the
righteousness of Christ; the grounds, reasons, and causes whereof, we
shall in the next place inquire into. And I doubt not but we shall find,
in our inquiry, that it is no such figment as some, ignorant of these
things, do imagine; but, on the contrary, an important truth immixed with
the most fundamental principles of the mystery of the gospel, and
inseparable from the grace of God in Christ Jesus.






VIII. Imputation of the sins of the church unto Christ--Grounds of it--
The nature of his suretiship--Causes of the new covenant--Christ and the
church one mystical person--Consequents thereof


Imputation of sin unto Christ--Testimonies of the ancients unto that
purpose--Christ and the church one mystical person--Mistakes about that
state and relation--Grounds and reasons of the union that is the
foundation of this imputation--Christ the surety of the new covenant; in
what sense, unto what ends--Heb.7:22, opened--Mistakes about the causes
and ends of the death of Christ--The new covenant, in what sense alone
procured and purchased thereby --Inquiry whether the guilt of our sins
was imputed unto Christ--The meaning of the words, "guilt," and "guilty"-
-The distinction of "reatus culpae", and "reatus poenae", examined--Act
of God in the imputation of the guilt of our sins unto Christ--Objections
against it answered--The truth confirmed


Those who believe the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto
believers, for the justification of life, do also unanimously profess
that the sins of all believers were imputed unto Christ. And this they do
on many testimonies of the Scripture directly witnessing thereunto; some
whereof shall be pleaded and vindicated afterwards. At present we are
only on the consideration of the general notion of these things, and the
declaration of the nature of what shall be proved afterwards. And, in the
first place, we shall inquire into the foundation of this dispensation of
God, and the equity of it, or the grounds whereinto it is resolved;
without an understanding whereof the thing itself cannot be well
apprehended. 
   The principal foundation hereof is,--that Christ and the church, in
this design, were one mystical person; which state they do actually
coalesce into, through the uniting efficacy of the Holy Spirit. He is the
head, and believers are the members of that one person, as the apostle
declares, 1 Cor.12:12,13. Hence, as what he did is imputed unto them, as
if done by them; so what they deserved on the account of sin was charged
upon him. So is it expressed by a learned prelate, "Nostram causam
sustinebat, qui nostram sibi carnem aduniverat, et ita nobis arctissimo
vinculo conjunctus, et 'henootheis', quae erant nostra fecit sua". And
again, "Quit mirum si in nostra persona constitutus, nostram carnem
indutus", etc., Montacut. Origin. Ecclesiast. The ancients speak to the
same purpose. Leo. Serm. 17: "Ideo se humanae imfirmitati virtus divina
conseruit, ut dum Deus sua facit esse quae nostra sunt, nostra faceret
esse quae sua sunt"; and also Serm. 16 "Caput nostrum Dominus Jesus
Christus omnia in se corporis sui membra transformans, quod olim in
psalmo eructaverit, id in supplicio crucis sub redemptorum suorum voce
clamavit". And so speaks Augustine to the same purpose, Epist. 120, ad
Honoratum, "Audimus vocem corporis ex ore capitis. Ecclesia in illo
patiebatur, quando pro ecclesia patiebatur", etc.;--"We hear the voice of
the body from the mouth of the head. The church suffered in him when he
suffered for the church; as he suffers in the church when the church
suffers for him. For as we have heard the voice of the church in Christ
suffering, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? look upon me;' so
we have heard the voice of Christ in the church suffering, 'Saul, Saul,
why persecutes thou me?'" But we may yet look a little backwards and
farther into the sense of the ancient church herein. "Christus," says
Irenaeus, "omnes gentes exinde ab Adam dispersas, et generationem hominum
in semet ipso recapitulatus est; unde a Paulo typus futuri dictus est
ipse Adam", lib.3 cap.33. And again, "Recapitulans universum hominum enus
in se ab initio usque ad finem, recapitulatus est et mortem ejus". In
this of repapitulation, there is no doubt but he had respect unto the
"anakefalaioosis", mentioned Eph.1:10; and it may be this was that which
Origin intended enigmatically, by saying, "The soul of the first Adam was
the soul of Christ, s it is charged on him". And Cyprian, Epist. 62, on
bearing about the administration of the sacrament of the eucharist, "Nos
omnes portabat Christus; qui et peccata nostra portabet";--"He bare us",
or suffered in our person, "when he bare our sins." Whence Athanasius
affirms of the voice he used on the cross, "Ouk autos ho Kurios, alle
hemeis en ekeinooi paschontes hemen"--"We suffered in him." Eusebius
speaks many things to this purpose, Demonstrate. Evangeli. lib.10 cap.1.
Expounding those words of the psalmist, "Heal my soul, for" (or, as he
would read them, if) "I have sinned against thee," and applying them unto
our Saviour in his sufferings, he says thus, "Epeidan tas hemeteras
koinopoiei eis heauton hamartias"--"Because he took of our sins to
himself;" communicated our sins to himself, making them his own: for so
he adds, "Hoti tas hemeteras hamartias exoikeioumenos"--"Making our sins
his own." And because in his following words he fully expresses what I
design to prove, I shall transcribe them at large: "Poos de tas hemeteras
hemartias exoikeioutai; kai poos ferein legetai tas anomias hemoon, e
kath' ho sooma autou einai legometha; kata ton apostolon tesanta, humeis
este sooma Christou, kai mele ek merous. kai kath' ho paschontos henos
melous sumpaschei panta ta mele, houtoo toon pollooon meloon paschontoon
kai hamartanontoon, kai autos kata tous tes sumpatieias logous, epeideper
eudokese Theou Logos oon, morgen doulou lathein, kai tooi koinooi pantoon
hemoon hemoon skenoomati sunafthenai. tous toon paschontoon meloon ponous
eis heauton analamthanei, kai tas hemeteras nosous idiopoieitai, kai
pantoon hemoon huperalgei kai huperponei kata tous ts filanthroopias
nomous. ou monon de tauta praxas ho Amnos tou Theo, alle kak huper hemoon
kolastheis kai timoorian huposchoon, hen autos men ouk oofeilen, all'
hemeis tou plethous eneken peplemmelemenoon, hemin aitios tes toon
hamartematoon afese hos kateste, ate ton huper hemoon anadexamenos
thanaton, mastigas te kai hutreis kai atimias hemin epofeilomenas eis
auton metatheis, kai ten hemin prostetimemenen kataran eph' heauton
helkusas, genomenos huper hemoon katara. kai ti gar allo e antipsuchos;
dio fesin ex hemeterou prosoopou to logion--hooste eikotoos henoon
heauton hemin, hemas te hautoo kai ta hemetera pasthe idiopoioumenos
fesin, egoo eipa, Kurie ele-eson me, iasai ten psuchen mou, hoti hemarton
soi.
   I have transcribed this passage at large because, as I said, what I
intend to prove in the present discourse is declared fully therein. Thus,
therefore, he speaks: "How, then, did he make our sins to be his own, and
how did he bear our iniquities? Is it not from thence, that we are said
to be his body? as the apostle speaks, 'You are the body of Christ, and
members, for your part, or of one another.' And as when one member
suffers, all the members do suffer; so the many members sinning and
suffering, he, according unto the laws of sympathy in the same body
(seeing that, being the Word of God, he would take the form of a servant,
and be joined unto the common habitation of us all in the same nature),
took the sorrows or labours of the suffering members on him, and made all
their infirmities his own; and, according to the laws of humanity (in the
same body), bare our sorrow and labour for us. And the Lamb of God did
not only these things for us but he underwent torments and was punished
for us; that which he was no ways exposed unto for himself, but we were
so by the multitude of our sins: and thereby he became the cause of the
pardon of our sins,--namely, because he underwent death, stripes,
reproaches, translating the thing which we had deserved unto himself,--
and was made a curse for us, taking unto himself the curse that was due
to us; for what was he but (a substitute for us) a price of redemption
for our souls? In our person, therefore, the oracle speaks,--whilst
freely uniting himself unto us, and us unto himself, and making our (sins
or passions his own), 'I have said, Lord, be merciful unto me; heal my
soul, for I have sinned against thee.'"
   That our sins were transferred unto Christ and made his, that thereon
he underwent the punishment that was due unto us for them, and that the
ground hereof, whereinto its equity is resolved, is the union between him
and us, is fully declared in this discourse. So says the learned and
pathetical author of the Homilies on Matt.5, in the works of Chrysostom,
Hom.54, which is the last of them, "In carne sua omnem carnem suscepit,
crucifixus, omnem carnem crucifixit in se." He speaks of the church. So
they speak often, others of them, that "he bare us," that "he took us
with him on the cross," that "we were all crucified in him;" as Prosper,
"He is not saved by the cross of Christ who is not crucified in Christ,"
Resp. ad cap., Gal. cap. 9.
   This, then, I say, is the foundation of the imputation of the sins of
the church unto Christ,--namely, that he and it are one person; the
grounds whereof we must inquire into.
   But hereon sundry discourses do ensue, and various inquiries are
made,--What a person is? In what sense, and in how many senses, that word
may be used? What is the true notion of it? What is a natural person?
What a legal, civil, or political person? In the explication whereof some
have fallen mistakes. And if we should enter into this field, we need not
fear matter enough of debate and altercation. But I must needs say, that
these things belong not unto our present occasion; nor is the union of
Christ and the church illustrated, but obscured by them. For Christ and
believers are neither one natural person, nor a legal or political
person, nor any such person as the laws, customs, or usages of men do
know or allow of. They are one mystical person; whereof although there
may be some imperfect resemblances found in natural or political unions,
yet the union from whence that denomination is taken between him and us
is of that nature, and arises from such reasons and causes, as no
personal union among men (or the union of many persons) has any
concernment in. And therefore, as to the representation of it unto our
weak understandings, unable to comprehend the depth of heavenly
mysteries, it is compared unto unions of divers kinds and natures. So is
it represented by that of man and wife; not as unto those mutual
affections which give them only a moral union, but from the extraction of
the first woman from the flesh and bone of the first man, and the
institution of God for the individual society of life thereon. This the
apostle at large declares, Eph.5:25-32: whence he concludes, that from
the union thus represented, "We are members of his body, of his flesh,
and of his bones," verse 30; or have such a relation unto him as Eve had
to Adam, when she was made of his flesh and bone, and so was one flesh
with him. So, also, it is compared unto the union of the head and members
of the same natural body, 1 Cor.12:12; and unto a political union also,
between a ruling or political head and its political members; but never
exclusively unto the union of a natural head and its members comprised in
the same expression, Eph.4:15; Col.2:19. And so also unto sundry things
in nature, as a vine and its branches, John 15:1,2. And it is declared by
the relation that was between Adam and his posterity, by God's
institution and the law of creation, Rom.5:12, etc. And the Holy Ghost,
by representing the union that is between Christ and believers by such a
variety of resemblances, in things agreeing only in the common or general
notion of union, on various grounds, does sufficiently manifest that it
is not of, nor can be reduced unto, any one kind of them. And this will
yet be made more evident by the consideration of the causes of it, and
the grounds whereinto it is resolved. But whereas it would require much
time and diligence to handle them at large, which the mention of them
here, being occasional, will not admit, I shall only briefly refer unto
the heads of them:--
   1. The first spring or cause of this union, and of all the other
causes of it, lies in that eternal compact that was between the Father
and the Son concerning the recovery and salvation of fallen mankind.
Herein, among other things, as the effects thereof, the assumption of our
nature (the foundation of this union) was designed. The nature and terms
of this compact, counsel, and agreement, I have declared elsewhere; and
therefore must not here again insist upon it. But the relation between
Christ and the church, proceeding from hence, and so being an effect of
infinite wisdom, in the counsel of the Father and Son, to be made
effectual by the Holy Spirit, must be distinguished from all other unions
or relations whatever.
   2. The Lord Christ, as unto the nature which he was to assume, was
hereon predestinated unto grace and glory. He was "proegnoosmenos",--
"foreordained," predestinated, "before the foundation of the world," 1
Pet.1:20; that is, he was so, as unto his office, so unto all the grace
and glory required thereunto, and consequent thereon. All the grace and
glory of the human nature of Christ was an effect of free divine
preordination. God chose it from all eternity unto a participation of all
which it received in time. Neither can any other cause of the glorious
exaltation of that portion of our nature be assigned.
   3. This grace and glory whereunto he was preordained was twofold:--
(1.) That which was peculiar unto himself; (2.) That which was to be
communicated, by and through him, unto the church. (1.) Of the first sort
was the "charis henooseoos",--the grace of personal union; that single
effect of divine wisdom (whereof there is no shadow nor resemblance in
any other works of God, either of creation, providence, or grace), which
his nature was filled withal: "Full of grace and truth." And all his
personal glory, power, authority, and majesty as mediator, in his
exaltation at the right hand of God, which is expressive of them all, do
belong hereunto. These things were peculiar unto him, and all of them
effects of his eternal predestination. But,--(2.) He was not thus
predestinated absolutely, but also with respect unto that grace and glory
which in him and by him was to be communicated unto the church And he was
so,--
   [1.] As the pattern and exemplary cause of our predestination; for we
are "predestinated to be conformed unto the image of the Son of God, that
he might be the first born among many brethren," Rom.8:29. Hence he shall
even "change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his
glorious body," Phil.3:21; that when he appears we may be every way like
him, 1 John 3:2.
   [2.] As the means and cause of communicating all grace and glory unto
us; for we are "chosen in him before the foundation of the world, that we
should be holy, and predestinated unto the adoption of children by him,"
Eph.1:3-5. He was designed as the only procuring cause of all spiritual
blessings in heavenly things unto those who are chosen in him.
Wherefore,--
   [3.] He was thus foreordained as the head of the church; it being the
design of God to gather all things into a head in him, Eph.1:10.
   [4.] All the elect of God were, in his eternal purpose and design, and
in the everlasting covenant between the Father and the Son, committed
unto him, to be delivered from sin, the law, and death, and to be brought
into the enjoyment of God: "Thine they were, and thou gavest them me,"
John 17:6. Hence was that love of his unto them wherewith he loved them,
and gave himself for them, antecedently unto any good or love in them,
Eph.5:25,26; Gal.2:20; Rev.1:5,6.
   [5.] In the prosecution of this design of God, and in the
accomplishment of the everlasting covenant, in the fulness of time he
took upon him our nature, or took it into personal subsistence with
himself. The especial relation that ensued hereon between him and the
elect children the apostle declares at large, Heb.2:10-17; and I refer
the reader unto our exposition of that place.
   [6.] On these foundations he undertook to be the surety of the new
covenant, Heb.7:22, "Jesus was made a surety of a better testament." This
alone, of all the fundamental considerations of the imputation of our
sins unto Christ, I shall insist upon, on purpose to obviate or remove
some mistakes about the nature of his suretiship, and the respect of it
unto the covenant whereof he was the surety. And I shall borrow what I
shall offer hereon from our exposition of this passage of the apostle in
the seventh chapter of this epistle, not yet published, with very little
variation from what I have discoursed on that occasion, without the least
respect unto, or prospect of, any treating on our present subject.
   The word "enguos" is nowhere found in the Scripture but in this place
only; but the advantage which some would make from thence, namely, that
it being but one place wherein the Lord, Christ is called a surety, it is
not of much force, or much to be insisted on,--is both unreasonable and
absurd; for,--1st. This one place is of divine revelation; and therefore
is of the same authority with twenty testimonies unto the same purpose.
One divine testimony makes our faith no less necessary, nor does one less
secure it from being deceived than a hundred.
   2dly. The signification of the word is known from the use of it, and
what it signifies among men; so that no question can be made of its sense
and importance, though it be but once used: and this on any occasion
removes the difficulty and danger, "toon hapax legomenoon". 3dly. The
thing itself intended is so fully declared by the apostle in this place,
and so plentifully taught in other places of the Scripture, as that the
single use of this word may add light, but can be no prejudice unto it.
   Something may be spoken unto the signification of the word "enguos",
which will give light into the thing intended by it. "Gualon" is "vola
manus",--the "palm of the hand;" thence is "enguos", or "eis to gualon",-
-to "deliver into the hand." "Enguetes" is of the same signification.
Hence being a surety is interpreted by striking the hand, Prov.6:1, "My
son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand
with a stranger." So it answers the Hebrew "arav", which the LXX render
"enguaoo", Prov.6:1; 17:18; 20:16; and by "dienguaoo", Neh.5:3. "Arav"
originally signifies to mingle, or a mixture of any things or persons;
and thence, from the conjunction and mixture is between a surety and him
for whom he is a surety, whereby they coalesce into one person, as unto
the ends of that suretiship, it is used for a surety, or to give surety.
And he that was or did "arav", a surety, or become a surety, was to
answer for him for whom he was so, whatsoever befell him. So is it
described, Gen.43:9, in the words of Judas unto his father Jacob,
concerning Benjamin, "'anochi 'e'erbennu",--"I will be surety for him; of
my hand shalt thou require him." In undertaking to be surety for him, as
unto his safety and preservation, he engages himself to answer for all
that should befall him; for so he adds, "If I bring him not unto thee,
and set him before thee, let me be guilty forever." And on this ground he
entreats Joseph that he might be a servant and a bondman in his stead,
that he might go free and return unto his father, Gen.44:32,33. This is
required unto such a surety, that he undergo and answer all that he for
whom he is a surety is liable unto, whether in things criminal or civil,
so far as the suretiship does extend. A surety is an undertaker for
another, or others, who thereon is justly and legally to answer what is
due to them, or from them; nor is the word otherwise used. See Job 17:3;
Prov.6:1; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 27:13. So Paul became a surety unto
Philemon for Onesimus, verse 18. "Engue" is "sponsio, expromissio,
fidejussio,"--an undertaking or giving security for any thing or person
unto another, whereon an agreement did ensue. This, in some cases, was by
pledges, or an earnest, Isa.36:8, "hit'arev na"--"Give surety, pledges,
hostages," for the true performance of conditions. Hence is "'eravon",
"arrathoon", "a pledge," or "earnest," Eph.1:14. Wherefore "enguos" is
"sponsor, fidejussor, praes,"--one that voluntarily takes on himself the
cause or condition of another, to answer, or undergo, or pay what he is
liable unto, or to see it done; whereon he becomes justly and legally
obnoxious unto performance. In this sense is the word here used by the
apostle; for it has no other.
   In our present inquiry into the nature of this suretiship of Christ,
the whole will be resolved into this one question,--namely, whether the
Lord Christ was made a surety only on the part of God unto us, to assure
us that the promise of the covenant on his part should be accomplished;
or also and principally an undertaker on our part, for the performance of
what is required; if not of us, yet with respect unto us, that the
promise may be accomplished? The first of these is vehemently asserted by
the Socinians, who are followed by Grotius and Hammond in their
annotations on this place.
   The words of Schlichtingius are: "Sponsor foederis appellatur Jesus,
quod nomine Dei nobis, spoponderit, id est fidem fecerit, Deum foederis
promissiones servaturum. Non vero quasi pro nobis spoponderit Deo,
nostrurumve debitorum solutionem in se receperit. Nec enim nos misimus
Christum sed Deus, cujus nomine Christus ad nos venit, foedus nobiscum
panxit, ejusque promissiones ratas fore spopondit et in se recepti;
ideoque nec sponsor simpliciter, sed foederis sponsor nominatur;
spopondit autem Christus pro foederis divini veritate, non tantum
quatenus id firmum ratumque fore verbis perpetuo testatus est; sed etiam
quatenus muneris sui fidem, maximis rerum ipsarum comprobavit documentis,
cum perfecta vitae innocentia et sanctitte, cum divinis plane quae
patravit, operibus; cum mortis adeo truculentae, quam pro doctrinae suae
veritate subiit, perpessione". After which he subjoins a long discourse
about the evidences which we have of the veracity of Christ. And herein
we have a brief account of their whole opinion concerning the mediation
of Christ. The words of Grotius are, "Spopondit Christus; id est, nos
certos promissi fecit non solis verbis sed perpetua vitae sanctitate
morte ob id tolerate et miraculis plurimis";--which are an abridgment of
the discourse of Schlichtingius. To the same purpose Dr Hammond expounds
it, that he was a sponsor or surety for God unto the confirmation of the
promises of the covenant.
   On the other hand, the generality of expositors, ancient and modern,
of the Roman and Protestant churches, on the place, affirm that the Lord
Christ, as the surety of the covenant, was properly a surety or
undertaker unto God for us, and not a surety and undertaker unto us for
God. And because this is a matter of great importance, wherein the faith
and consolation of the church is highly concerned, I shall insist a
little upon it.
   And, first, We may consider the argument that is produced to prove
that Christ was only a surety for God unto us. Now, this is taken neither
from the name nor nature of the office or work of surety, nor from the
nature of the covenant whereof he was a surety, nor of the office wherein
he was so. But the sole argument insisted on is, that we do not give
Christ as a surety of the covenant unto God, but he gives him unto us;
and therefore he is a surety for God and the accomplishment of his
promises, and not for us, to pay our debts, or to answer what is required
of us.
   But there is no force in this argument; for it belongs not unto the
nature of a surety by whom he is or may be designed unto his office and
work therein. His own voluntary susception of the office and work is all
that is required, however he may be designed or induced to undertake it.
He who, of his own accord, does voluntarily undertake for another, on
what grounds, reasons, or considerations soever he does so, is his
surety. And this the Lord Christ did in the behalf of the church: for
when it was said, "Sacrifice, and burnt-offering, and whole
burnt-offerings for sin, God would not have," or accept as sufficient to
make the atonement that he required, so as that the covenant might be
established and made effectual unto us; then said he, "Lo, I come to do
thy will, O God," Heb.10:5,7. He willingly and voluntarily, out of his
own abundant goodness and love, took upon him to make atonement for us;
wherein he was our surety. And accordingly, this undertaking is ascribed
unto that love which he exercised herein, Gal.2:20; 1 John 3:16; Rev.1:5.
And there was this in it, moreover, that he took upon him our nature or
the seed of Abraham; wherein he was our surety. So that although we
neither did nor could appoint him so to be, yet he took from us that
wherein and whereby he was so; Which is as much as if we had designed him
unto his work, as to the true reason of his being our surety. Wherefore,
notwithstanding those antecedent transactions that were between the
Father and him in this matter, it was the voluntary engagement of himself
to be our surety, and his taking our nature upon him for that end, which
was the formal reason of his being instated in that office.
   It is indeed weak, and contrary unto all common experience, that none
can be a surety for others unless those others design him and appoint him
so to be. The principal instances of suretiship in the world have been by
the voluntary undertaking of such as were no way procured so to do by
them for whom they undertook. And in such undertakings, he unto whom it
is made is no less considered than they for whom it is made: as when
Judas, on his own account, became a surety for Benjamin, he had as much
respect unto the satisfaction of his father as the safety of his brother.
And so the Lord Christ, in his undertaking to be a surety for us, had
respect unto the glory of God before our safety.
   Secondly, We may consider the arguments whence it is evident that he
neither was nor could be a surety unto us for God, but was so for us unto
God. For,--
   1. "Enguos" or "enguetes", "a surety," is one that undertakes for
another wherein he is defective, really or in reputation. Whatever that
undertaking be, whether in words of promise or in depositing of real
security in the hands of an arbitrator, or by any other personal
engagement of life and body, it respects the defeat of the person for
whom any one becomes a surety. Such a one is "sponsor," or "fidejussor,"
in all good authors and common use of speech. And if any one be of
absolute credit himself, and of a reputation every way unquestionable,
there is no need of a surety, unless in case of mortality. The words of a
surety in the behalf of another whose ability or reputation is dubious,
are, "Ad me recipio, faciet, aut faciam". And when "anguos" is taken
adjectively, as sometimes, it signifies "satisfationibus obnoxius",--
liable to payments for others that are non-solvent.
   2. God can, therefore, have no surety properly, because there can be
no imagination of any defect on his part. There may be, indeed a question
whether any word or promise be a word or promise of God. To assure us
hereof, it is not the work of a surety, but only any one or any means
that may give evidence that so it is,--that is, of a witness. But upon a
supposition that what is proposed is his word or promise, there can be no
imagination or fear of any defect on his part, so as that there should be
any need of a surety for the performance of it. He does therefore make
use of witnesses to confirm his word,--that is, to testify that such
promises he has made, and so he will do: so the Lord Christ was his
witness. Isa.43:10, "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant
whom I have chosen;" but they were not all his sureties. So he affirms
that "he came into the world to bear witness unto the truth," John
18:37,--that is, the truth of the promises of God; for he was the
minister of the circumcision for the truth of the promises of God unto
the fathers, Rom.15:8: but a surety for God, properly so called, he was
not, nor could be. The distance and difference is wide enough between a
witness and a surety; for a surety must be of more ability, or more
credit and reputation, than he or those for whom he is a surety, or there
is no need of his suretiship; or, at least, he must add unto their
credit, and make it better than without him. This none can be for God,
no, not the Lord Christ himself, who, in his whole work, was the servant
of the Father. And the apostle does not use this word in a general,
improper sense, for any one that by any means gives assurance of any
other thing, for so he had ascribed nothing peculiar unto Christ; for in
such a sense all the prophets and apostles were sureties for God, and
many of them confirmed the truth of his word and promises with the laying
down of their lives; but such a surety he intends as undertakes to do
that for others which they cannot do for themselves, or at least are not
reputed to be able to do what is required of them.
   3. The apostle had before at large declared who and what was God's
surety in this matter of the covenant, and how impossible it was that he
should have any other. And this was himself alone, interposing himself by
his oath; for in this cause, "because he could swear by no greater, he
sware by himself," Heb.6:13,14. Wherefore, if God would give any other
surety besides himself, it must be one greater than he. This being every
way impossible, he swears by himself only. Many ways he may and does use
for the declaring and testifying of his truth unto us, that we may know
and believe it to be his word; and so the Lord Christ in his ministry was
the principal witness of the truth of God. But other surety than himself
he can have none. And therefore,--
   4. When he would have us in this matter not only come unto the full
assurance of faith concerning his promises, but also to have strong
consolation therein, he resolves it wholly into the immutability of his
counsel, s declared by his promise and oath, chap.6:18,19: so that
neither is God capable of having any surety, properly so called; neither
do we stand in need of any on his part for the confirmation of our faith
in the highest degree.
   5. We, on all accounts, stand in need of a surety for us, or on our
behalf. Neither, without the interposition of such a surety, could any
covenant between God and us be firm and stable, or an everlasting
covenant, ordered in all things, and sure. In the first covenant made
with Adam there was no surety, but God and men were the immediate
covenantors; and although we were then in a state and condition able to
perform and answer all the terms of the covenant, yet was it broken and
disannulled. If this came to pass by the failure of the promise of God,
it was necessary that on the making of a new covenant he should have a
surety to undertake for him, that the covenant might be stable and
everlasting; but this is false and blasphemous to imagine. It was man
alone who failed and broke that covenant: wherefore it was necessary,
that upon the making of the new covenant, and that with a design and
purpose that it should never be disannulled, as the former was, we should
have a surety and undertaker for us; for if that first covenant was not
firm and stable, because there was no surety to undertake for us,
notwithstanding all that ability which we had to answer the terms of it,
how much less can any other be so, now [that] our natures are become
depraved and sinful! Wherefore we alone were capable of a surety,
properly so called, for us; we alone stood in need of him; and without
him the covenant could not be firm and inviolate on our part. The surety,
therefore of this covenant, is so with God for us.
   6. It is the priesthood of Christ that the apostle treats of in this
place, and that alone: wherefore he is a surety as he is a priest, and in
the discharge of that office; and therefore is so with God on our behalf.
This Schlichtingius observes, and is aware what will ensue against his
pretensions; which he endeavours to obviate. "Mirum", says he, "porro
alicui videri posset, cur divinus author de Christi sacerdotio, in
superioribus et in sequentibus agens, derepente eum sponsorem foederis
non vero sacerdotem vocet? Cur non dixerit 'tanto praestantioris foederis
factus est sacerdos Jesus?' Hoc enim plane requirere videtur totus
orationis contextus. Credibile est in voce sponsionis sacerdotium quoque
Christi intelligi. Sponsoris enim non est alieno nomine quippiam
promittere, et fidem suam pro alio interponere; sed etiam, si ita res
ferat, alterius nomine id quod spopondit praestare. In rebus quidem
humanis, si id non praestet is pro quo sponsor fidejussit; hic vero
propter contrariam causam (nam prior hic locum habere non potest), nempe
quatenus ille pro quo spopondit Christus per ipsum Christum promissa sua
nobis exhibet; qua in re praecipue Christi sacerdotium continetur".
   Answer 1. It may indeed, seem strange, unto any one who imagines
Christ to be such a surety as he does, why the apostle should so call
him, and so introduce him in the description of his priestly office, as
that which belongs thereunto; but grant what is the proper work and duty
of a surety, and who the Lord Jesus was a surety for, and it is evident
that nothing more proper or pertinent could be mentioned by him, when he
was in the declaration of that office.
   Ans. 2. He confesses that by his exposition of this suretiship of
Christ, as making him a surety for God, he contradicts the nature and
only notion of a surety among men. For such a one, he acknowledges, does
nothing but in the defect and inability of them for whom he is engaged
and does undertake; he is to pay that which they owe, and to do what is
to be done by them, which they cannot perform. And if this be not the
notion of a surety in this place, the apostle makes use of a word nowhere
else used in the whole Scripture, to teach us that which it does never
signify among men: which is improbable and absurd; for the sole reason
why he did make use of it was, that from the nature and notion of it
amongst men in other cases, we may understand the signification of it,
what he intends by it, and what under that name he ascribes unto the Lord
Jesus.
   Ans. 3. He has no way to solve the apostle's mention of Christ being a
surety, in the description of his priestly office, but by overthrowing
the nature of that office also; for to confirm this absurd notion, that
Christ as a priest was a surety for God, he would have us believe that
the priesthood of Christ consists in his making effectual unto us the
promises of God, or his effectual communicating of the good things
promised unto us; the falsehood of which notion, really destructive of
the priesthood of Christ, I have elsewhere at large detected and
confuted. Wherefore, seeing the Lord Christ is a surety of the covenant
as a priest, and all the sacerdotal acting of Christ have God for their
immediate object, and are performed with him on our behalf, he was a
surety for us also.
   A surety, " sponsor, vas, praes, fidejussor," for us, the Lord Christ
was, by his voluntary undertaking, out of his rich grace and love, to do,
answer, and perform all that is required on our part, that we may enjoy
the benefits of the covenant, the grace and glory prepared, proposed, and
promised in it, in the way and manner determined on by divine wisdom. And
this may be reduced unto two heads:-- First, His answering for our
transgressions against the first covenant; Secondly, His purchase and
procurement of the grace of the new: "he was made a curse for us,....that
the blessing of Abraham might come on us," Gal.3:13-15.
   (1.) He undertook, as the surety of the covenant, to answer for all
the sins of those who are to be, and are, made partakers of the benefits
of it;--that is, to undergo the punishment due unto their sins; to make
atonement for them by offering himself a propitiatory sacrifice for the
expiation of their sins, redeeming them, by the price of his blood, from
their state of misery and bondage under the law, and the curse of it,
Isa.53:4-6,10; Matt.20:28; 1 Tim.2:6; 1 Cor.6:20; Rom.3:25,26;
Heb.10:5-8; Rom.8:2,3; 2 Cor.5:19-21; Gal.3:13: and this was absolutely
necessary, that the grace and glory prepared in the covenant might be
communicated unto us. Without this undertaking of his, and performance of
it, the righteousness and faithfulness of God would not permit that
sinners,--such as had apostatized from him, despised his authority and
rebelled against him, falling thereby under the sentence and curse of the
law,--should again be received into his favour, and made partakers of
grace and glory; this, therefore, the Lord Christ took upon himself, as
the surety of the covenant.
   (2.) That those who were to be taken into this covenant should receive
grace enabling them to comply with the terms of it, fulfill its
conditions, and yield the obedience which God required therein; for, by
the ordination of God, he was to procure, and did merit and procure for
them, the Holy Spirit, and all needful supplies of grace, to make them
new creatures, and enable them to yield obedience unto God from a new
principle of spiritual life, and that faithfully unto the end: so was he
the surety of this better testament. But all things belonging hereunto
will be handled at large in the place from whence, as I said, these are
taken, as suitable unto our present occasion.
   But some have other notions of these things; for they say that
"Christ, by his death, and his obedience therein, whereby he offered
himself a sacrifice of sweet smelling savour unto God, procured for us
the new covenant:" or, as one speaks, "All that we have by the death of
Christ is, that whereunto we owe the covenant of grace; for herein he did
and suffered what God required and freely appointed him to do and suffer.
Not that the justice of God required any such thing, with respect unto
their sins for whom he died, and in whose stead, or to bestead whom, he
suffered, but what, by a free constitution of divine wisdom and
sovereignty, was appointed unto him. Hereon God was pleased to remit the
terms of the old covenant, and to enter into a new covenant with mankind,
upon terms suited unto our reason, possible unto our abilities, and every
way advantageous unto us; for these terms are, faith and sincere
obedience, or such an assent unto the truth of divine revelation
effectual in obedience unto the will of God contained in them, upon the
encouragement given whereunto in the promises of eternal life, or a
future reward, made therein. On the performance of these conditions our
justification, adoption, and future glory, do depend; for they are that
righteousness before God whereon he pardons our sins, and accepts our
persons as if we were perfectly righteous". Wherefore, by this procuring
the new covenant for us, which they ascribe unto the death of Christ,
they intend the abrogation of the old covenant, or of the law,--or at
least such a derogation from it, that it shall no more oblige us either
unto sinless obedience or punishment, nor require a perfect righteousness
unto our justification before God,--and the constitution of a new law of
obedience, accommodated unto our present state and condition; on whose
observance all the promises of the gospel do depend.
Others say, that in the death of Christ there was real satisfaction made
unto God; not to the law, or unto God according to what the law required,
but unto God absolutely; that is, he did what God was well pleased and
satisfied withal, without any respect unto his justice or the curse of
the law. And they add, that hereon the whole righteousness of Christ is
imputed unto us, so far as that we are made partakers of the benefits
thereof; and, moreover, that the way of the communication of them unto us
is by the new covenant, which by his death the Lord Christ procured: for
the conditions of this covenant are established in the covenant itself,
whereon God will bestow all the benefits and effects of it upon us; which
are faith and obedience. Wherefore, what the Lord Christ has done for us
is thus far accepted as our real righteousness, as that God, upon our
faith and obedience with respect thereunto, does release and pardon all
our sins of omission and commission. Upon this pardon there is no need of
any positive perfect righteousness unto our justification or salvation;
but our own personal righteousness is accepted with God in the room of
it, by virtue of the new covenant which Christ has procured. So is the
doctrine hereof stated by Curcellaeus, and those that join with him or
follow him.
   Sundry things there are in these opinions that deserve an examination;
and they will most, if not all of them, occur unto us in our progress.
That which alone we have occasion to inquire into, with respect unto what
we have discoursed concerning the Lord Christ as surety of the covenant,
and which is the foundation of all that is asserted in them, is, that
Christ by his death procured the new covenant for us; which, as one says,
is all that we have thereby: which, if it should prove otherwise, we are
not beholding unto it for any thing at all. But these things must be
examined. And,--
   (1.) The terms of procuring the new covenant are ambiguous. It is not
as yet, that I know of, be any declared how the Lord Christ did procure
it,--whether he did so by his satisfaction and obedience, as the
meritorious cause of it, or by what other kind of causality. Unless this
be stated, we are altogether uncertain what relation of the new covenant
unto the death of Christ is intended; and to say that thereunto we owe
the new covenant does not mend the matter, but rather render the terms
more ambiguous. Neither is it declared whether the constitution of the
covenant, or the communication of the benefits of it, is intended. It is
yet no less general, that Cod was so well pleased with what Christ did,
as that hereon he made and entered into a new covenant with mankind. This
they may grant who yet deny the whole satisfaction and merit of Christ.
If they mean that the Lord Christ, by his obedience and suffering, did
meritoriously procure the making and establishing of the new covenant,
which was all that he so procured, and the entire effect of his death,
what they say may be understood; but the whole nature of the mediation of
Christ is overthrown thereby.
   (2.) This opinion is liable unto a great prejudice, in that, whereas
it is in such a fundamental article of our religion, and about that
wherein the eternal welfare of the church is so nearly conceded, there is
no mention made of it in the Scripture; for is it not strange, if this
be, as some speak, the sole effect of the death of Christ, whereas sundry
other things are frequently in the Scripture ascribed unto it as the
effects and fruits thereof, that this which is only so should be nowhere
mentioned,--neither in express words, nor such as will allow of this
sense by any just or lawful consequence? Our redemption, pardon of sins,
the renovation of our natures, our sanctification, justification, peace
with God, eternal life, are all jointly and severally assigned thereunto,
in places almost without number; but it is nowhere said in the Scripture
that Christ by his death merited, procured, obtained, the new covenant,
or that God should enter into a new covenant with mankind; yea, as we
shall see, that which is contrary unto it, and inconsistent with it, is
frequently asserted.
   (3.) To clear the truth herein, we must consider the several notions
and causes of the new covenant, with the true and real respect of the
death of Christ thereunto. And it is variously represented unto us:--
   [1.] In the designation and preparation of its terms and benefits in
the counsel of God. And this, although it have the nature of an eternal
decree, yet is it not the same with the decree of election, as some
suppose: for that properly respects the subjects or persons for whom
grace and glory are prepared; this, the preparation of that grace and
glory as to the way and manner of their communication. Some learned men
do judge that this counsel and purpose of the will of God to give grace
and glory in and by Jesus Christ unto the elect, in the way and by the
means by him prepared, is formally the covenant of grace, or at least
that the substance of the covenant is comprised therein; but it is
certain that more is required to complete the whole nature of a covenant.
Nor is this purpose or counsel of God called the covenant in the
Scripture, but is only proposed as the spring and fountain of it,
Eph.1:3-12. Unto the full exemplification of the covenant of grace there
is required the declaration of this counsel of God's will, accompanied
with the means and powers of its accomplishment, and the prescription of
the way whereby we are so to be interested in it, and made partakers of
the benefits of it: but in the inquiry after the procuring cause of the
new covenant, it is the first thing that ought to come under
consideration; for nothing can be the procuring cause of the covenant
which is not so of this spring and fountain of it, of this idea of it in
the mind of God, of the preparation of its terms and benefits. But this
is nowhere in the Scripture affirmed to be the effect of the death or
mediation of Christ; and to ascribe it thereunto is to overthrow the
whole freedom of eternal grace and love. Neither can any thing that is
absolutely eternal, as is this decree and counsel of God, be the effect
of, or procured by, any thing that is external and temporal.
   [2.] It may be considered with respect unto the federal transactions
between the Father and the Son, concerning the accomplishment of this
counsel of his will. What these were, wherein they did consist, I have
declared at large, Exercitat., vol. 2. Neither do I call this the
covenant of grace absolutely; nor is it so called in the Scripture. But
yet some will not distinguish between the covenant of the mediator and
the covenant of grace, because the promises of the covenant absolutely
are said to be made to Christ, Gal.3:16; and he is the "prooton
dektikon", or first subject of all the grace of it. But in the covenant
of the mediator, Christ stands alone for himself, and undertakes for
himself alone, and not as the representative of the church; but this he
is in the covenant of grace. But this is that wherein it had its designed
establishment, as unto all the ways, means, and ends of its
accomplishment; and all things are so disposed as that it might be
effectual, unto the eternal glory of the wisdom, grace, righteousness,
and power of God. Wherefore the covenant of grace could not be procured
by any means or cause but that which was the cause of this covenant of
the mediator, or of God the Father with the Son, as undertaking the work
of mediation. And as this is nowhere ascribed unto the death of Christ in
the Scripture, so to assert it is contrary unto all spiritual reason and
understanding. Who can conceive that Christ by his death should procure
the agreement between God and him that he should die?
   [3.] With respect unto the declaration of it by especial revelation.
This we may call God's making or establishing of it, if we please; though
making of the covenant in Scripture is applied principally, if not only,
unto its execution or actual application unto persons, 2 Sam.23:5;
Jer.32:40. This declaration of the grace of God, and the provision in the
covenant of the mediator for the making of it effectual unto his glory,
is most usually called the covenant of grace. And this is twofold:--
   1st. In the way of a singular and absolute promise: so was it first
declared unto and established with Adam, and afterwards with Abraham. The
promise is the declaration of the purpose of God before declared, or the
free determination and counsel of his will, as to his dealing with
sinners on the supposition of the fall, and their forfeiture of their
first covenant state. Hereof the grace and will of God were the only
cause, Heb.8:8. And the death of Christ could not be the means of its
procurement; for he himself, and all that he was to do for us, was the
substance of that promise. And this promise,--as it is declarative of the
purpose or counsel of the will of God for the communication of grace and
glory unto sinners, in and by the mediation of Christ, according to the
ways and on the terms prepared and disposed in his sovereign wisdom and
pleasure,--is formally the new covenant; though something yet is to be
added to complete its application unto us. Now, the substance of the
first promise, wherein the whole covenant of grace was virtually
comprised, directly respected and expressed the giving of him for the
recovery of mankind from sin and misery by his death, Gen.3:15.
Wherefore, if he and all the benefits of his mediation, his death, and
all the effects of it, be contained in the promise of the covenant,--
that is, in the covenant itself,--then was not his death the procuring
cause of that covenant, nor do we owe it thereunto.
   2dly. In the additional prescription of the way and means whereby it
is the will of God that we shall enter into a covenant state with him, or
be interested in the benefits of it. This being virtually comprised in
the absolute promise (for every promise of God does tacitly require faith
and obedience in us), is expressed in other places by way of the
condition required on our part. This is not the covenant, but the
constitution of the terms on our part, whereon we are made partakers of
it. Nor is the constitution of these terms an effect of the death of
Christ, or procured thereby; it is a mere effect of the sovereign grace
and wisdom of God. The things themselves, as bestowed on us, communicated
unto us, wrought in us by grace, are all of them effects of the death of
Christ; but the constitution of then to be the terms and conditions of
the covenant, is an act of mere sovereign wisdom and grace. "God so loved
the world, as to send his only begotten Son to die," not that faith and
repentance might be the means of salvation, but that all his elect might
believe, and that all that believe "might not perish, but have
everlasting life." But yet it is granted that the constitution of these
terms of the covenant does respect the federal transaction between the
Father and the Son, wherein they were ordered to the praise of the glory
of God's grace; and so, although their constitution was not the
procurement of his death, yet without respect unto it, it had not been.
Wherefore, the sole cause of God's making the new covenant was the same
with that of giving Christ himself to be our mediator,--namely, the
purpose, counsel, goodness, grace, and love of God, as it is everywhere
expressed in the Scripture.
   [4.] The covenant may be considered as unto the actual application of
the grace, benefits, and privileges of it unto any personal whereby they
are made real partakers of them, or are taken into covenant with God; and
this alone, in the Scripture, is intended by God's making a covenant with
any. It is not a general revelation, or declaration of the terms and
nature of the covenant (which some call a universal conditional covenant,
on what grounds they know best, seeing the very formal nature of making a
covenant with any includes the actual acceptation of it, and
participation of the benefits of it by them), but a communication of the
grace of it, accompanied with a prescription of obedience, that is God's
making his covenant with any; as all instances of it in the Scripture do
declare.
   It may be, therefore, inquired, What respect the covenant of grace has
unto the death of Christ, or what influence it has thereunto?
   I answer, Supposing what is spoken of his being a surety thereof, it
has a threefold respect thereunto:--
   1st. In that the covenant, as the grace and glory of it were prepared
in the counsel of God, as the terms of it were fixed in the covenant of
the mediator, and as it was declared in the promise, was confirmed,
ratified, and made irrevocable thereby. This our apostle insists upon at
large, Heb.9:15-20; and he compares his blood, in his death and sacrifice
of himself, unto the sacrifices and their blood whereby the old covenant
was confirmed, purified, dedicated, or established, verses 18,19. Now,
these sacrifices did not procure that covenant, or prevail with God to
enter into it, but only ratified and confirmed it; and this was done in
the new covenant by the blood of Christ.
   2dly. He thereby underwent and performed all that which, in the
righteousness and wisdom of God, was required; that the effects, fruits,
benefits, and grace, intended, designed, and prepared in the new
covenant, might be effectually accomplished and communicated unto
sinners. Hence, although he procured not the covenant for us by his
death, yet he was, in his person, mediation, life, and death, the only
cause and means whereby the whole grace of the covenant is made effectual
unto us. For,--
   3dly. All the benefits of it were procured by him;--that is, all the
grace, mercy, privileges, and glory, that God has prepared in the counsel
of his will, that were fixed as unto the way of this communication in the
covenant of the mediator, and proposed in the promises of it, are
purchased, merited, and procured by his death; and effectually
communicated or applied unto all the covenanters by virtue thereof, with
others of his mediatory acts. And this is much more an eminent procuring
of the new covenant than what is pretended about the procurement of its
terms and conditions; for if he should have procured no more but this,--
if we owe this only unto his mediation, that God would thereon, or did,
grant and establish this rule, law, and promise, that whoever believed
should be saved,--it were possible that no one should be saved thereby;
yea, if he did no more, considering our state and condition, it was
impossible that any one should so be.
   To give the sum of these things, it is inquired with respect unto
which of these considerations of the new covenant it is affirmed that it
was procured by the death of Christ. If it be said that it is with
respect unto the actual communication of all the grace and glory prepared
in the covenant, and proposed unto us in the promises of it, it is most
true. All the grace and glory promised in the covenant were purchased for
the church by Jesus Christ. In this sense, by his death he procured the
new covenant. This the whole Scripture, from the beginning of it in the
first promise unto the end of it, does bear witness unto; for it is in
him alone that "God blesseth us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly
things." Let all the good things that are mentioned or promised in the
covenant, expressly or by just consequence, be summed up, and it will be
no hard matter to demonstrate concerning them all, and that both jointly
and severally, that they were all procured for us by the obedience and
death of Christ.
   But this is not that which is intended; for most of this opinion do
deny that the grace of the covenant, in conversion unto God, the
remission of sins, sanctification, justification, adoption, and the like,
are the effects or procurements of the death of Christ. And they do, on
the other hand, declare that it is God's making of the covenant which
they do intend, that is, the contrivance of the terms and conditions of
it, with their proposal unto mankind for their recovery. But herein there
is "ouden hugies". For--
   (1.) The Lord Christ himself, and the whole work of his mediation, as
the ordinance of God for the recovery and salvation of lost sinners, is
the first and principal promise of the covenant; so his exhibition in the
flesh, his work of mediation therein, with our deliverance thereby, was
the subject of that first promise, which virtually contained this whole
covenant: so he was of the renovation of it unto Abraham, when it was
solemnly confirmed by the oath of God, Gal.3:16,17. And Christ did not by
his death procure the promise of his death, nor of his exhibition in the
flesh, or his coming into the world that he might die.
   (2.) The making of this covenant is everywhere in the Scripture
ascribed (as is also the sending of Christ himself to die) unto the love,
grace, and wisdom of God alone; nowhere unto the death of Christ, as the
actual communication of all grace and glory are. Let all the places be
considered, where either the giving of the promise, the sending of
Christ, or the making of the covenant, are mentioned, either expressly or
virtually, and in none of them are they assigned unto any other cause but
the grace, love, and wisdom of God alone; all to be made effectual unto
us by the mediation of Christ.
   (3.) The assignation of the sole end, of the death of Christ to be the
procurement of the new covenant, in the sense contended for, does indeed
evacuate all the virtue of the death of Christ and of the covenant
itself; for,--First, The covenant which they intend is nothing but the
constitution and proposal of new terms and conditions for life and
salvation unto all men. Now, whereas the acceptance and accomplishment of
these conditions depend upon the wills of men no way determined by
effectual grace, it was possible that, notwithstanding all Christ did by
his death, yet no one sinner might be saved thereby, but that the whole
end and design of God therein might be frustrated. Secondly, Whereas the
substantial advantage of these conditions lies herein, that God will now,
for the sake of Christ, accept of an obedience inferior unto that
required in the law, and so as that the grace of Christ does not raise up
all things unto a conformity and compliance with the holiness and will of
God declared therein, but accommodate all things unto our present
condition, nothing can be invented more dishonourable to Christ and the
gospel; for what does it else but make Christ the minister of sin, in
disannulling the holiness that the law requires, or the obligation of the
law unto it, without any provision of what might answer or come into the
room of it, but that which is incomparably less worthy? Nor is it
consistent with divine wisdom, goodness, and immutability, to appoint
unto mankind a law of obedience, and cast them all under the severest
penalty upon the transgression of it, when he could in justice and honour
have given them such a law of obedience, whose observance might consist
with many failings and sins; for if he have done that now, he could have
done so before: which how far it reflects on the glory of the divine
properties might be easily manifested. Neither does this fond imagination
comply with those testimonies of Scripture, that the Lord Christ came not
to destroy the law, but to fulfil it, that he is the end of the law; and
that by faith the law is not disannulled, but established. Lastly, The
Lord Christ was the mediator and surety of the new covenant, in and by
whom it was ratified, confirmed, and established: and therefore by him
the constitution of it was not procured; for all the acts of his office
belong unto that mediation, and it cannot be well apprehended how any act
of mediation for the establishment of the covenant, and rendering it
effectual, should procure it.
   7. But to return from this digression. That wherein all the precedent
causes of the union between Christ and believers, whence they become one
mystical person, do centre, and whereby they are rendered a complete
foundation of the imputation of their sins unto him, and of his
righteousness unto them, is the communication of his Spirit, the same
Spirit that dwells in him, unto them, to abide in, to animate and guide,
the whole mystical body and all its members. But this has of late been so
much spoken unto, as that I shall do no more but mention it.
   On the considerations insisted on,--whereby the Lord Christ became one
mystical person with the church, or bare the person of the church in what
he did as mediator, in the holy, wise disposal of God as the author of
the law, the supreme rector or governor of all mankind, as unto their
temporal and eternal concernments, and by his own consent,--the sins of
all the elect were imputed unto him. Thus having been the faith and
language of the church in all ages, and that derived from and founded on
express testimonies of Scripture, with all the promises and resignations
of his exhibition in the flesh from the beginning, cannot now, with any
modesty, be expressly denied. Wherefore the Socinians themselves grant
that our sins may be said to be imputed unto Christ, and he to undergo
the punishment of them, so far as that all things which befell him evil
and afflictive in this life, with the death which he underwent, were
occasioned by our sins; for had not we sinned, there had been no need of
nor occasion for his suffering. But notwithstanding this concession, they
expressly deny his satisfaction, or that properly he underwent the
punishment due unto our sins; wherein they deny also all imputation of
them unto him. Others say that our sins were imputed unto him "quoad
reatum culpae". But I must acknowledge that unto me this distinction
gives "inanem sine mente sonum". The substance of it is much insisted on
by Feuardentius, Dialog 5 p. 467; and he is followed by others. That
which he would prove by it is, that the Lord Christ did not present
himself before the throne of God with the burden of our sins upon him, so
as to answer unto the justice of God for them. Whereas, therefore,
"reatus," or "guilt," may signify either "dignitatem poenae," or
"obligationem ad poenam," as Bellarmine distinguishes. De Amiss. Grat.,
lib.7 cap.7, with respect unto Christ the latter only is to be admitted.
And the main argument he and others insist upon is this,--that if our
sins be imputed unto Christ, as unto the guilt of the fault, as they
speak, then he must be polluted with them, and thence be denominated a
sinner in every kind. And this would be true, if our sins could be
communicated unto Christ by transfusion, so as to be his inherently and
subjectively; but their being so only by imputation gives no countenance
unto any such pretence. However, there is a notion of legal uncleanness,
where there is no inherent defilement; so the priest who offered the red
heifer to make atonement, and he that burned her, were said to be
unclean, Numb.19:7,8. But hereon they say, that Christ died and suffered
upon the special command of God, not that his death and suffering were
any way due upon the account of our sins, or required in justice; which
is utterly to overthrow the satisfaction of Christ.
   Wherefore, the design of this distinction is, to deny the imputation
of the guilt of our sins unto Christ; and then in what tolerable sense
can they be said to be imputed unto him, I cannot understand. But we are
not tied up unto arbitrary distinctions, and the sense that any are
pleased to impose on the terms of them. I shall, therefore, first inquire
into the meaning of these words, guilt and guilty, whereby we may be able
to judge what it is which in this distinction is intended.
   The Hebrews have no other word to signify guilt or guilty but
"'asham"; and this they use both for sin, the guilt of it, the punishment
due unto it, and a sacrifice for it. Speaking of the guilt of blood, they
use not any word to signify guilt, but only say, "dam lo"--"It is blood,
to him." So David prays, "Deliver me" "midamim", "from blood"; which we
render "blood-guiltiness," Ps.51:14. And this was because, by the
constitution of God, he that was guilty of blood was to die by the hand
of the magistrate, or of God himself. But "'asham" (ascham) is nowhere
used for guilt, but it signifies the relation of the sin intended unto
punishment. And other significations of it will be in vain sought for in
the Old Testament.
   In the New Testament he that is guilty is said to be "hupodikos",
Rom.3:19; that is, obnoxious to judgment or vengeance for sin, one that
"he dike dzein ouk eiasen", as they speak, Acts 28:4, "whom vengeance
will not suffer to go unpunished;"--and "enochos", 1 Cor.11:27, a word of
the same signification;--once by "ofeiloo", Matt.23:18, to owe, to be
indebted to justice. To be obnoxious, liable unto justice, vengeance,
punishment for sin, is to be guilty.
   "Reus", "guilty," in the Latin is of a large signification. He who is
"crimini obnoxious," or "poenae propter crimen", or "voti debitor", or
"promissi", or "officii ex sponsione", is called "reus". Especially every
sponsor or surety is "reus" in the law. "Cum servus pecuniam pro
libertate pactus est, et ob eam rem, reum dederit", (that is, "sponsorem,
expromissorem",) "quamvis servus ab alio manusmissur est, reus tamen
obligabitur". He is "reus," who engages himself for any other, as to the
matter of his engagement; and the same is the use of the word in the best
Latin authors. "Opportuna loca dividenda praefectis esse ac suae quique
partis tutandae reus sit", Liv. De Bello Punic. lib.5 30;--that every
captain should so take care of the station committed to him, as that if
any thing happened amiss it should be imputed unto him. And the same
author again, "An, quicunque aut propinquitate, aut affinitate, regiam
aut aliquibus ministeriis contigissent, alienae culpae rei
trucidarentur", B.P., lib.4 22;--should be guilty of the fault of another
(by imputation), and suffer for it. So that in the Latin tongue he is
"reus," who, for himself or any other, is obnoxious unto punishment or
payment.
   "Reatus" is a word of late admission into the Latin tongue, and was
formed of "reus." So Quintilian informs us, in his discourse of the use
of obsolete and new words, lib.8, cap.3, "Quae vetera nunc sunt, fuerunt
olim nova, et quaedam in usu perquam recentia; ut, Messala primus reatum,
munerarium Augustus primus, dixerat";--to which he adds "piratica,
musica," and some others, then newly come into use: but "reatus" at its
first invention was of no such signification as it is now applied unto. I
mention it only to show that we have no reason to be obliged unto men's
arbitrary use of words. Some lawyers first used it "pro crimine,"--a
fault exposing unto punishment; but the original invention of it,
confirmed by long use, was to express the outward state and condition of
him who was "reus," after he was first charged in a cause criminal,
before he was acquitted or condemned. Those among the Romans who were
made "rei" by any public accusation did betake themselves unto a poor
squalid habit, a sorrowful countenance, suffering their hair and beards
to go undressed. Hereby, on custom and usage, the people who were to
judge on their cause were inclined to compassion: and Milo furthered his
sentence of banishment because he would not submit to this custom, which
had such an appearance of pusillanimity and baseness of spirit. This
state of sorrow and trouble, so expressed, they called "reatus," and
nothing else. It came afterwards to denote their state who were committed
unto custody in order unto their trial, when the government ceased to be
popular; wherein alone the other artifice was of use: and if this word be
of any use in our present argument, it is to express the state of men
after conviction of sin, before their justification. That is their
"reatus," the condition wherein the proudest of them cannot avoid to
express their inward sorrow and anxiety of mind by some outward evidences
of them. Beyond this we are not obliged by the use of this word, but must
consider the thing itself which now we intend to express thereby.
   Guilt, in the Scripture, is the respect of sin unto the sanction of
the law, whereby the sinner becomes obnoxious unto punishment; and to be
guilty is to be "hupodikos tooi Theoooi"--liable unto punishment for sin
from God, as the supreme lawgiver and judge of all. And so guilt, or
"reatus," is well defined to be "obligatio ad poenam, propter culpam, aut
admissam in se, aut imputatum, juste aut injuste"; for so Bathsheba says
unto David, that she and her son Solomon should be "chatta'im"--sinners;
that is, be esteemed guilty, or liable unto punishment for some evil laid
unto their charge, 1 Kings 1:21. And the distinction of "dignitas
poenae", and "obligatio ad poenam" is but the same thing in diverse
words; for both do but express the relation of sin unto the sanction of
the law: or if they may be conceived to differ, yet are they inseparable;
for there can be no "obligatio ad poenam" where there is not "dignitas
poenae".
   Much less is there any thing of weight in the distinction of "reatus
culpae" and "reatus poenae"; for this "reatus culpae" is nothing but
"dignitas poenae propter culpam." Sin has other considerations,--namely,
its formal nature, as it is a transgression of the law, and the stain of
filth that it brings upon the soul; but the guilt of it is nothing but
its respect unto punishment from the sanction of the law. And so, indeed,
"reatus culpae" is "reatus poenae", the guilt of sin is its desert of
punishment. And where there is not this "reatus culpae" there can be no
"poenae", no punishment properly so called; for "poenae" is "vindicta
noxae",--the revenge due to sin. So, therefore, there can be no
punishment, nor "reatus poenae", the guilt of it, but where there is
"reatus culpae," or sin considered wth its guilt; and the "reatus poenae"
that may be supposed without the guilt of sin, is nothing but that
obnoxiousness unto afflictive evil on the occasion of sin which the
Socinians admit with respect unto the suffering of Christ, and yet
execrate his satisfaction.
   And if this distinction should be apprehended to be of "reatus," from
its formal respect unto sin and punishment, it must, in both parts of the
distinction, be of the same signification, otherwise there is an
equivocation in the subject of it. But "reatus poenae", is a liableness,
an obnoxiousness unto punishment according to the sentence of the law,
that whereby a sinner becomes "hupodikos tooi Theooi" and then "reatus
culpae" must be an obnoxiousness unto sin; which is uncouth. There is,
therefore, no imputation of sin where there is no imputation of its
guilt; for the guilt of punishment, which is not its respect unto the
desert of sin, is a plain fiction,--there is no ouch thing "in rerum
nature." There is no guilt of sin, but in its relation unto punishment.
   That, therefore, which we affirm herein is, that our sins were so
transferred on Christ, as that thereby he became "'ashem", "hupodikos
tooi Theooi", "reus",--responsible unto God, and obnoxious unto
punishment in the justice of God for them. He was "alienae culpae reus,"-
- perfectly innocent in himself; but took our guilt on him, or our
obnoxiousness unto punishment for sin. And so he may be, and may be said
to be, the greatest debtor in the world, who never borrowed nor owed one
earthing on his own account, if he become surety for the greatest debt of
others: so Paul became a debtor unto Philemon, upon his undertaking for
Onesimus, who before owed him nothing.
   And two things concurred unto this imputation of sin unto Christ,
first, The act of God imputing it. Second, The voluntary act of Christ
himself in the undertaking of it, or admitting of the charge.
   (1.) The act of God, in this imputation of the guilt of our sins unto
Christ, is expressed by his "laying all our iniquities upon him," "making
him to be sin for us, who knew no sin," and the like. For,--[1.] As the
supreme governor, lawgiver, and judge of all, unto whom it belonged to
take care that his holy law was observed, or the offenders punished, he
admitted, upon the transgression of it, the sponsion and suretiship of
Christ to answer for the sins of men, Heb.10:5-7. [2.] In order unto this
end, he made him under the law, or gave the law power over him, to demand
of him and inflict on him the penalty which was due unto the sins of them
for whom he undertook, Gal.3:13; 4:4,6. [3.] For the declaration of the
righteousness of God in this setting forth of Christ to be a
propitiation, and to bear our iniquities, the guilt of our sins was
transferred unto him in an act of the righteous judgment of God accepting
and esteeming of him as the guilty person; as it is with public sureties
in every case.
   (2.) The Lord Christ's voluntary susception of the state and condition
of a surety, or undertaker for the church, to appear before the throne of
God' justice for them, to answer whatever was laid unto their charge, was
required hereunto; and this he did absolutely. There was a concurrence of
his own will in and unto all those divine acts whereby he and the church
were constituted one mystical person; and of his own love and grace did
he as our surety stand in our stead before God, when he made inquisition
for sin;--he took it on himself, as unto the punishment which it
deserved. Hence it became just and righteous that he should suffer, "the
just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God."
   For if this be not so, I desire to know what is become of the guilt of
the sins of believers; if it were not transferred on Christ, it remains
still upon themselves, or it is nothing. It will be said that guilt is
taken away by the free pardon of sin. But if so, there was no need of
punishment for it at all,--which is, indeed, what the Socinians plead,
but by others is not admitted,--for if punishment be not for guilt, it is
not punishment.
   But it is fiercely objected against what we have asserted, that if the
guilt of our sins was imputed unto Christ, then was he constituted a
sinner thereby; for it is the guilt of sin that makes any one to be truly
a sinner. This is urged by Bellarmine, lib.2, De Justificat., not for its
own sake, but to disprove the imputation of his righteousness unto us; as
it is continued by others with the same design. For says he, "If we be
made righteous, and the children of God, through the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ, then was he made a sinner, 'et quod horret
animus cogitare, filius diaboli'; by the imputation of the guilt of our
sins or our unrighteousness unto him." And the same objection is pressed
by others, with instances of consequences which, for many reasons, I
heartily wish had been forborne. But I answer,--
   [1.] Nothing is more absolutely true, nothing is more sacredly or
assuredly believed by us, than that nothing which Christ did or suffered,
nothing that he undertook or underwent, did or could constitute him
subjectively, inherently, and thereon personally, a sinner, or guilty of
any sin of his own. To bear the guilt or blame of other men's faults,--to
be "alienae culpae reus,"--makes no man a sinner, unless he did unwisely
or irregularly undertake it. But that Christ should admit of any thing of
sin in himself, as it is absolutely inconsistent with the hypostatical
union, so it would render him unmet for all other duties of his office,
Heb.7:25,26. And I confess it has always seemed scandalous unto me, that
Socinus, Crellius, and Grotius, do grant that, in some sense, Christ
offered for his own sins, and would prove it from that very place wherein
it is positively denied, chap.7:27. This ought to be sacredly fixed and
not a word used, nor thought entertained, of any possibility of the
contrary, upon any supposition whatever.
   [2.] None ever dreamed of a transfusion or propagation of sin from us
unto Christ, each as there was from Adam unto us. For Adam was a common
person unto us,--we are not so to Christ: yea, he is so to us; and the
imputation of our sins unto him is a singular act of divine dispensation,
which no evil consequence can ensue upon.
   [3.] To imagine such an imputation of our sins unto Christ as that
thereon they should cease to be our sins, and become his absolutely, is
to overthrow that which is affirmed; for, on that supposition, Christ
could not suffer for our sins, for they ceased to be ours antecedently
unto his suffering. But the guilt of then was so transferred unto him,
that through his suffering for it, it might be pardoned unto us.
   These things being premised, I say,--
   First, There is in sin a transgression of the receptive part of the
Law; and there is an obnoxiousness unto the punishment from the sanction
of it. It is the first that gives sin its formal nature; and where that
is not subjectively, no person can be constituted formally a sinner.
However any one may be so denominated, as unto some certain end or
purpose, yet, without this, formally a sinner none can be, whatever be
imputed unto them. And where that is, no non-imputation of sin, as unto
punishment, can free the person in whom it is from being formally a
sinner. When Bathsheba told David that she and her son Solomon should be
"chata'im" (sinners), by having crimes laid unto their charge; and when
Judas told Jacob that he would be a sinner before him always on the
account of any evil that befell Benjamin (it should be imputed unto him);
yet neither of them could thereby be constituted a sinner formally. And,
on the other hand, when Shimei desired David not to impute sin unto him,
whereby he escaped present punishment, yet did not that non-imputation
free him formally from being a sinner. Wherefore sin, under this
consideration, as a transgression of the receptive part of the law,
cannot be communicated from one unto another, unless it be by the
propagation of a vitiated principle or habit. But yet neither so will the
personal sin of one, as inherent in him, ever come to be the personal sin
of another. Adam has upon his personal sin communicated a vicious,
depraved, and corrupted nature unto all his posterity; and, besides, the
guilt of his actual sin is imputed unto them, as if it had been committed
by every one of them: but yet his particular personal sin neither ever
did, nor ever could, become the personal sin of any one of them any
otherwise than by the imputation of its guilt unto them. Wherefore our
sins neither are, nor can be, so imputed unto Christ, as that they should
become subjectively his, as they are a transgression of the receptive
part of the law. A physical translation or transfusion of sin is, in this
case, naturally and spiritually impossible; and yet, on a supposition
thereof alone do the horrid consequences mentioned depend. But the guilt
of sin is an external respect of it, with regard unto the sanction of the
law only. This is separable from sin; and if it were not so, no one
sinner could either be pardoned or saved. It may, therefore, be made
another's by imputation, and yet that other not rendered formally a
sinner thereby. This was that which was imputed unto Christ, whereby he
was rendered obnoxious unto the curse of the law; for it was impossible
that the law should pronounce any accursed but the guilty, nor would do
so, Dent.27:26.
   Secondly, There is a great difference between the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ unto us and the imputation of our sins into
Christ; so as that he cannot in the same manner be said to be made a
sinner by the one as we are made righteous by the other. For our sin was
imputed unto Christ only as he was our surety for a time,--to this end,
that he might take it away, destroy it, and abolish it. It was never
imputed unto him, so as to make any alteration absolutely in his personal
state and condition. But his righteousness is imputed unto us to abide
with us, to be ours always, and to make a total change in our state and
condition, as unto our relation unto God. Our sin was imputed unto him
only for a season, not also lately, but as he was a surety, and unto the
special end of destroying it; and taken on him on this condition, that
his righteousness should be made ours for ever. All things are otherwise
in the imputation of his righteousness unto us, which respects us
absolutely, and not under a temporary capacity, abides with us for ever,
changes our state and relation unto God, and is an effect of
superabounding grace. 
   But it will be said that if our sins, as to the guilt of them, were
imputed unto Christ, then God must hate Christ; for he hates the guilty.
I know not well how I come to mention these things, which indeed I look
upon as cavils, such as men may multiply if they please against any part
of the mysteries of the gospel. But seeing it is mentioned, it may be
spoken unto; and,-- 
   First, It is certain that the Lord Christ's taking on him the guilt of
our sins was a high act of obedience unto God, Heb.10:5,6; and for which
the "Father loved him," John 10:17,18. There was, therefore, no reason
why God should hate Christ for his taking on him our debt, and the
payment of it, in an act of the highest obedience unto his will.
Secondly, God in this matter is considered as a rector, ruler, and judge.
Now, it is not required of the severest judge, that, as a judge, he
should hate the guilty person, no, although he be guilty originally by
inhesion, and not by imputation. As such, he has no more to do but
consider the guilt, and pronounce the sentence of punishment. But,
Thirdly, Suppose a person, out of an heroic generosity of mind, should
become an "Antipsuchos" for another, for his friend, for a good man, so
as to answer for him with his life, as Judas undertook to be for Benjamin
as to his liberty,--which, when a man has lost, he is civilly dead, and
"capite diminutus,"--would the most cruel tyrant under heaven, that
should take away his life, in that case hate him? Would he not rather
admire his worth and virtue? As such a one it was that Christ suffered,
and no otherwise. Fourthly, All the force of this exception depends on
the ambiguity of the word hate; for it may signify either an aversation
or detestation of mind, or only a will of punishing, as in God mostly it
does. In the first sense, there was no ground why God should hate Christ
on this imputation of guilt unto him, whereby he became "non propriae sed
alienae culpae, reus." Sin inherent renders the soul polluted,
abominable, and the only object of divine aversation; but for him who was
perfectly innocent, holy, harmless, undefiled in himself, who did no sin,
neither was there guile found in his mouth, to take upon him the guilt of
other sins, thereby to comply with and accomplish the design of God for
the manifestation of his glory and infinite wisdom, grace, goodness,
mercy, and righteousness, unto the certain expiation and destruction of
sin,--nothing could render him more glorious and lovely in the sight of
God or man. But for a will of punishing in God, where sin is imputed,
none can deny it, but they must therewithal openly disavow the
satisfaction of Christ.
   The heads of some few of those arguments wherewith the truth we have
asserted is confirmed shall close this discourse:--
   1. Unless the guilt of sin was imputed unto Christ, sin was not
imputed unto him in any sense, for the punishment of sin is not sin; nor
can those who are otherwise minded declare what it is of sin that is
imputed. But the Scripture is plain, that "God laid on him the iniquity
of us all," and "made him to be sin for us;" which could not otherwise be
but by imputation.
   2. There can be no punishment but with respect unto the guilt of sin
personally contracted or imputed. It is guilt alone that gives what is
materially evil and afflictive the formal nature of punishment, and
nothing else. And therefore those who understand full well the harmony of
things and opinions, and are free to express their minds, do constantly
declare that if one of these be denied, the other must be so also; and if
one be admitted, they must both be so. If guilt was not imputed unto
Christ, he could not, as they plead well enough, undergo the punishment
of sin; much he might do and suffer on the occasion of sin, but undergo
the punishment due unto sin he could not. And if it should be granted
that the guilt of sin was imputed unto him, they will not deny but that
he underwent the punishment of it; and if he underwent the punishment of
it, they will not deny but that the guilt of it was imputed unto him; for
these things are inseparably related.
   3. Christ was made a curse for us, the curse of the law, as is
expressly declared, Gal.3:13,14. But the curse of the law respects the
guilt of sin only; so as that where that is not, it cannot take place in
any sense, and where that is, it does inseparably attend it, Dent.27:26.
   4. The express testimonies of the Scripture unto this purpose cannot
be evaded, without an open wresting of their words and sense. So God is
said to "make all our iniquities to meet upon him," and he bare them on
him as his burden; for so the word signifies, Isa.53:6, "God has laid on
him" "et 'awon kulanu", "the iniquity", (that is, the guilt) "of us all;"
verse 11, "we'awonotam hu yisbol", "and their sin or guilt shall he
bear." For that is the intendment of "'awon", where joined with any other
word that denotes sin: as it is in those places, Ps.32:5, "Thou
forgavest" "'awon chata'ti", "the iniquity of my sin," that is, the guilt
of it, which is that alone that is taken away by pardon; that "his soul
was made an offering for the guilt of sin;" that "he was made sin," that
"sin was condemned in his flesh," etc. 
   5. This was represented in all the sacrifices of old, especially the
great anniversary [one], on the day of expiation, with the ordinance of
the scapegoat; as has been before declared. 
   6. Without a supposition hereof it cannot be understood how the Lord
Christ should be our "Antipsuchos", or suffer "anti hemoon", in our
stead, unless we will admit the exposition of Mr Ho, a late writer, who,
reckoning up how many things the Lord Christ did in our stead, adds, as
the sense thereof, that it is to bestead us; than which, if he can invent
any thing more fond and senseless, he has a singular faculty in such an
employment.




IX. The formal cause of justification, or the righteousness on the
account whereof believers are justified before God--Objections answered


Principal controversies about justification:--1. Concerning the nature of
justification, stated--2. Of the formal cause of it--3. Of the way
whereby we are made partakers of the benefits of the mediation of Christ-
-What intended by the formal cause of justification, declared--The
righteousness on the account whereof believers are justified before God
alone, inquired after under these terms--This the righteousness of
Christ, imputed unto them--Occasions of exceptions and objections against
this doctrine--General objections examined--Imputation of the
righteousness of Christ consistent with the free pardon of sin, and with
the necessity of evangelical repentance--Method of God's grace in our
justification --Necessity of faith unto justification, on supposition of
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ--Grounds of that necessity-
-Other objections, arising mostly from mistakes of the truth, asserted,
discussed, and answered


To principal differences about the doctrine of justification are
reducible unto three heads:--1. The nature of it,--namely, whether it
consist in an internal change of the person justified, by the imputation
of a habit of inherent grace or righteousness; or whether it be a
forensic act, in the judging, esteeming, declaring, and pronouncing such
a person to be righteous, thereon absolving him from all his sins, giving
unto him right and title unto life. Herein we have to do only with those
of the church of Rome, all others, both Protestants and Socinians, being
agreed on the forensic sense of the word, and the nature of the thing
signified thereby. And this I have already spoken unto, so far as our
present design does require; and that, I hope, with such evidence of
truth as cannot well be gainsaid. Nor may it be supposed that we have too
long insisted thereon, as an opinion which is obsolete, and long since
sufficiently confuted. I think much otherwise, and that those who avoid
the Romanists in these controversies, will give a greater appearance of
fear than of contempt; for when all is done, if free justification
through the blood of Christ, and the imputation of his righteousness, be
not able to preserve its station in the minds of men, the Popish doctrine
of justification must and will return upon the world, with all the
concomitants and consequences of it. Whilst any knowledge of the law or
gospel is continued amongst us, the consciences of men will at one time
or other, living or dying, be really affected with a sense of sin, as
unto its guilt and danger. hence that trouble and those disquietments of
mind will ensue, as will force men, be they never so unwilling, to seek
after some relief and satisfaction. And what will not men attempt who are
reduced to the condition expressed, Mic.6:6,7? Wherefore, in this case,
if the true and only relief of distressed consciences of sinners who are
weary and heavyladen be hid from their eyes,--if they have no
apprehension of, nor trust in, that which alone they may oppose unto the
sentence of the law, and interpose between God's justice and their souls,
wherein they may take shelter from the storms of that wrath which abides
on them that believe not,--they will betake themselves unto any thing
which confidently tenders them present ease and relief. Hence many
persons, living all their days in an ignorance of the righteousness of
God, are oftentimes on their sickbeds, and in their dying hours,
proselyted unto a confidence in the ways of rest and peace which the
Romanists impose upon them; for such seasons of advantage do they wait
for, unto the reputation, as they suppose, of their own zeal,--in truth
unto the scandal of Christian religion. But finding at any time the
consciences of men under disquietments, and ignorant of or believing that
heavenly relief which is provided in the gospel, they are ready with
their applications and medicines, having on them pretended approbations
of the experience of many ages, and an innumerable company of devout
souls in them. Such is their doctrine of justification, with the addition
of those other ingredients of confession, absolution, penances, or
commutations, aids from saints and angels, especially the blessed Virgin;
all warmed by the fire of purgatory, and confidently administered unto
persons sick of ignorance, darkness, and sin. And let none please
themselves in the contempt of these things. If the truth concerning
evangelical justification be once disbelieved among us, or obliterated by
any artifices out of the minds of men, unto these things, at one time or
other, they must and will betake themselves. As for the new schemes and
projections of justification, which some at present would supply us
withal, they are no way suited nor able to give relief or satisfaction
unto conscience really troubled for sin, and seriously inquiring how it
may have rest and peace with God. I shall take the boldness, therefore,
to say, whoever be offended at it, that if we lose the ancient doctrine
of justification through faith in the blood of Christ, and the imputation
of his righteousness unto us, public confession of religion will quickly
issue in Popery or Atheism, or at least in what is the next door unto
it,--"kai taute men de tauta".
   2. The second principal controversy is about the formal cause of
justification, as it is expressed and stated by those of the Roman
church; and under these terms some Protestant divines have consented to
debate the matter in difference. I shall not interpose into a strife of
words;--so the Romanists will call that which we inquire after. Some of
ours say the righteousness of Christ imputed, some, the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ, is the formal cause of our justification; some,
that there is no formal cause of justification, but this is that which
supplies the place and use of a formal cause, which is the righteousness
of Christ. In none of these things will I concern myself, though I judge
what was mentioned in the last place to be most proper and significant. 
   The substance of the inquiry wherein alone we are concerned, is, What
is that righteousness whereby and wherewith a believing sinner is
justified before God; or whereon he is accepted with God, has his sins
pardoned, is received into grace and favour, and has a title given him
unto the heavenly inheritance? I shall no otherwise propose this inquiry,
as knowing that it contains the substance of what convinced sinners do
look after in and by the gospel. 
   And herein it is agreed by all, the Socinians only excepted, that the
procatarctical or procuring cause of the pardon of our sins and
acceptance with God, is the satisfaction and merit of Christ. Howbeit, it
cannot be denied but that some, retaining the names of them, do seem to
renounce or disbelieve the things themselves; but we need not to take any
notice thereof, until they are free more plainly to express their minds.
But as concerning the righteousness itself inquired after, there seems to
be a difference among them who yet all deny it to be the righteousness of
Christ imputed unto us. For those of the Roman church plainly say, that
upon the infusion of a habit of grace, with the expulsion of sin, and the
renovation of our natures thereby, which they call the first
justification, we are actually justified before God by our own works of
righteousness Hereon they dispute about the merit and satisfactoriness of
those works, with their condignity of the reward of eternal life. Others,
as the Socinians, openly disclaim all merit in our works; only some, out
of reverence, as I suppose, unto the antiquity of the word, and under the
shelter of the ambiguity of its signification, have faintly attempted an
accommodation with it. But in the substance of what they assert unto this
purpose, to the best of my understanding, they are all agreed: for what
the Papists call "justitia operum," the righteousness of works,--they
call a personal, inherent, evangelical righteousness; whereof we have
spoken before. And whereas the Papists say that this righteousness of
works is not absolutely perfect, nor in itself able to justify us in the
sight of God, but owes all its worth and dignity unto this purpose unto
the merit of Christ, they affirm that this evangelical righteousness is
the condition whereon we enjoy the benefits of the righteousness of
Christ, in the pardon of our sins, and the acceptance of our persons
before God. But as unto those who will acknowledge no other righteousness
wherewith we are justified before God, the meaning is the same, whether
we say that on the condition of this righteousness we are made partakers
of the benefits of the righteousness of Christ, or that it is the
righteousness of Christ which makes this righteousness of ours accepted
with God. But these things must afterwards more particularly be inquired
into.
   3. The third inquiry wherein there is not an agreement in this matter
is,--upon a supposition of a necessity that he who is to be justified
should, one way or other, be interested in the righteousness of Christ,
what it is that on our part is required thereunto. This some say to be
faith alone; others, faith and works also, and that in the same kind of
necessity and use. That whose consideration we at present undertake is
the second thing proposed; and, indeed, herein lies the substance of the
whole controversy about our justification before God, upon the
determination and stating whereof the determination of all other incident
questions does depend.
   This, therefore, is that which herein I affirm:--The righteousness of
Christ (in his obedience and suffering for us) imputed unto believers, as
they are united unto him by his Spirit, is that righteousness whereon
they are justified before God, on the account whereof their sins are
pardoned, and a right is granted them unto the heavenly inheritance.
   This position is such as wherein the substance of that doctrine, in
this important article of evangelical truth which we plead for, is
plainly and fully expressed. And I have chosen the rather thus to express
it, because it is that thesis wherein the learned Davenant laid down that
common doctrine of the Reformed churches whose defense he undertook. This
is the shield of truth in the whole cause of justification; which, whilst
it is preserved safe, we need not trouble ourselves about the differences
that are among learned men about the most proper stating and declaration
of some lesser concernments of it. This is the refuge, the only refuge,
of distressed consciences, wherein they may find rest and peace.
   For the confirmation of this assertion, I shall do these three
things:--I. Reflect on what is needful unto the explanation of it. II.
Answer the most important general objections against it. III. Prove the
truth of it by arguments and testimonies of the holy Scripture.
   I. As to the first of these, or what is necessary unto the explanation
of this assertion, it has been sufficiently spoken unto in our foregoing
discourses. The heads of some things only shall at present be called
over.
   1. The foundation of the imputation asserted is union. Hereof there
are many grounds and causes, as has been declared; but that which we have
immediate respect unto, as the foundation of this imputation, is that
whereby the Lord Christ and believers do actually coalesce into one
mystical person. This is by the Holy Spirit inhabiting in him as the head
of the church in all fulness, and in all believers according to their
measure, whereby they become members of his mystical body. That there is
such a union between Christ and believers is the faith of the catholic
church, and has been so in all ages. Those who seem in our days to deny
it, or question it, either know not what they say, or their minds are
influenced by their doctrine who deny the divine persons of the Son and
of the Spirit. Upon supposition of this union, reason will grant the
imputation pleaded for to be reasonable; at least, that there is such a
peculiar ground for it as is not to be exemplified in any things natural
or political among men.
   2. The nature of imputation has been fully spoken unto before, and
whereunto I refer the reader for the understanding of what is intended
thereby.
   3. That which is imputed is the righteousness of Christ; and, briefly,
I understand hereby his whole obedience unto God, in all that he did and
suffered for the church. This, I say, is imputed unto believers, so as to
become their only righteousness before God unto the justification of
life.
   If beyond these things any expressions have been made use of, in the
explanation of this truth, which have given occasion unto any differences
or contests, although they may be true and defensible against objections,
yet shall not I concern myself in them. The substance of the truth as
laid down, is that whose defense I have undertaken; and where that is
granted or consented unto, I will not contend with any about their way
and methods of its declaration, nor defend the terms and expressions that
have by any been made use of therein. For instance, some have said that
"what Christ did and suffered is so imputed unto us, as that we are
judged and esteemed in the sight of God to have done or suffered
ourselves in him." This I shall not concern myself in; for although it
may have a sound sense given unto it, and is used by some of the
ancients, yet because offense is taken at it, and the substance of the
truth we plead for is better otherwise expressed, it ought not to be
contended about. For we do not say that God judges or esteems that we did
and suffered in our own persons what Christ did and suffered; but only
that he did it and suffered it in our stead. Hereon God makes a grant and
donation of it unto believers upon their believing, unto their
justification before him. And the like may be said of many other
expressions of the like nature.
   II. These things being premised, I proceed unto the consideration of
the general objections that are urged against the imputation we plead
for: and I shall insist only on some of the principal of them, and
whereinto all others may be resolved; for it were endless to go over all
that any man's invention can suggest unto him of this kind. And some
general considerations we must take along with us herein; as,--
   1. The doctrine of justification is a part, yea, an eminent part, of
the mystery of the gospel. It is no marvel, therefore, if it be not so
exposed unto the common notions of reason as some would have it to be.
There is more required unto the true spiritual understanding of such
mysteries; yea, unless we intend to renounce the gospel, it must be
asserted that reason as it is corrupted, and the mind of man as destitute
of divine, supernatural revelation, do dislike every such truth, and rise
up in enmity against it. So the Scripture directly affirms, Rom.8:7; 1
Cor.2:14.
   2. Hence are the minds and inventions of men wonderfully fertile in
coining objections against evangelical truths and raising cavils against
them. Seldom to this purpose do they want all endless number of
sophistical objections, which, because they know no better, they
themselves judge insoluble; for carnal reason being once set at liberty,
under the false notion of truth, to act itself freely and boldly against
spiritual mysteries, is subtile in its arguing, and pregnant in its
invention of them. How endless, for instance, are the sophisms of the
Socinians against the doctrine of the Trinity! and how do they triumph in
them as unanswerable! Under the shelter of them they despise the force of
the most evident testimonies of the Scripture and those multiplied on all
occasions. In like manner they deal with the doctrine of the satisfaction
of Christ, as the Pelagians of old did with that of his grace. Wherefore,
he that will be startled at the appearance of subtile or plausible
objections against any gospel mysteries that are plainly revealed, and
sufficiently attested in the Scripture, is not likely to come unto much
stability in his profession of them.
   3. The most of the objections which are levied against the truth in
this cause do arise from the want of a due comprehension of the order of
the work of God's grace, and of our compliance wherewithal in a way of
duty, as was before observed; for they consist in opposing those things
one to another as inconsistent, which, in their proper place and order,
are not only consistent, but mutually subservient unto one another, and
are found so in the experience of them that truly believe. Instances
hereof have been given before, and others will immediately occur. Taking
the consideration of these things with us, we may see as the rise, so of
what force the objections are.
   4. Let it be considered that the objections which are made use of
against the truth we assert, are all of them taken from certain
consequences which, as it is supposed, will ensue on the admission of it.
And as this is the only expedient to perpetuate controversies and make
them endless, so, to my best observation, I never yet met with any one
but that, to give an appearance of force unto the absurdity of the
consequences from whence he argues, he framed his suppositions, or the
state of the question, unto the disadvantage of them whom he opposed; a
course of proceeding which I wonder good men are not either weary or
ashamed of.
   1. It is objected, "That the imputation of the righteousness of Christ
does overthrow all remission of sins on the part of God". This is pleaded
for by Socinus, De Servatore, lib.4 cap. 2-4; and by others it is also
made use of. A confident charge this seems to them who steadfastly
believe that without this imputation there could be no remission of sin.
But they say, "That he who has a righteousness imputed unto him that is
absolutely perfect, so as to be made his own, needs no pardon, has no sin
that should be forgiven, nor can he ever need forgiveness." But because
this objection will occur unto us again in the vindication of one of our
ensuing arguments, I shall here speak briefly unto it:--
   (1.) Grotius shall answer this objection. Says he, "Cum duo nobis
peperisse Christum dixerimus, impunitatem et praemium, illud
satisfactioni, hoc merito Christi distincte tribuit vetus ecclesia.
Satisfactio consistit in peccaturum translatione, meritum in
perfectissimae obedientiae pro nobis praestitae imputatione", Praefat. ad
lib. de Satisfact.;--" Whereas we have said that Christ has procured or
brought forth two things for us,--freedom from punishment, and a reward,-
-the ancient church attributes the one of them distinctly unto his
satisfaction, the other unto his merit. Satisfaction consists in the
translation of sins (from us unto him); merit, in the imputation of his
most perfect obedience, performed for us, unto us." In his judgment, the
remission of sins and the imputation of righteousness were as consistent
as the satisfaction and merit of Christ; as indeed they are.
   (2.) Had we not been sinners, we should have had no need of the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ to render us righteous before
God. Being so, the first end for which it is imputed is the pardon of
sin; without which we could not be righteous by the imputation of the
most perfect righteousness. These things, therefore, are consistent,--
namely, that the satisfaction of Christ should be imputed unto us for the
pardon of sin, and the obedience of Christ be imputed unto us to render
us righteous before God; and they are not only consistent, but neither of
them singly were sufficient unto our justification.
   2. It is pleaded by the same author, and others, "That the imputation
of the righteousness of Christ overthrows all necessity of repentance for
sin, in order unto the remission or pardon thereof, yea, renders it
altogether needless; for what need has he of repentance for sin, who, by
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, is esteemed completely
just and righteous in the sight of God? If Christ satisfied for all sins
in the person of the elect, if as our surety he paid all our debts, and
if his righteousness be made ours before we repent, then is all
repentance needless." And these things are much enlarged on by the same
author in the place before mentioned.
   Ans. (1.) It must be remembered that we require evangelical faith, in
order of nature, antecedently unto our justification by the imputation of
the righteousness of Christ unto us; which also is the condition of its
continuation. Wherefore, whatever is necessary thereunto is in like
manner required of us in order unto believing. Amongst these, there is a
sorrow for sin, and a repentance of it; for whosoever is convinced of sin
in a due manner, so as in be sensible of its evil and guilt,--both as in
its own nature it is contrary unto the receptive part of the holy law,
and in the necessary consequences of it, in the wrath and curse of God,--
cannot but be perplexed in his mind that he has involved himself therein;
and that posture of mind will be accompanied with shame, fear, sorrow,
and other afflictive passions. Hereon a resolution does ensue utterly to
abstain from it for the future, with sincere endeavours unto that
purpose; issuing, if there be time and space for it, in reformation of
life. And in a sense of sin, sorrow for it, fear concerning it,
abstinence from it, and reformation of life, a repentance true in its
kind does consist. This repentance is usually called legal, because its
motives are principally taken from the law; but yet there is, moreover,
required unto it that temporary faith of the gospel which we have before
described; and as it does usually produce great effects, in the
confession of sin, humiliation for it, and change of life (as in Ahab and
the Ninevites), so ordinarily it precedes true saving faith, and
justification thereby. Wherefore, the necessity hereof is no way weakened
by the doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, yea, it
is strengthened and made effectual thereby; for without it, in the order
of the gospel, an interest therein is not to be attained. And this is
that which, in the Old Testament, is so often proposed as the means and
condition of turning away the judgments and punishments threatened unto
sin; for it is true and sincere in its kind. Neither do the Socinians
require any other repentance unto justification; for as they deny true
evangelical repentance in all the especial causes of it, so that which
may and does precede faith in order of nature is all that they require.
This objection, therefore, as managed by them, is a causeless, vain
pretence.
   (2.) Justifying faith includes in its nature the entire principle of
evangelical repentance, so as that it is utterly impossible that a man
should be a true believer, and not, at the same instant of time, be truly
penitent; and therefore are they so frequently conjoined in the Scripture
as one simultaneous duty. Yea, the call of the gospel unto repentance is
a call to faith acting itself by repentance: So the sole reason of that
call unto repentance which the forgiveness of sins is annexed unto, Acts
2:38, is the proposal of the promise which is the object of faith, verse
39. And those conceptions and affections which a man has about sin, with
a sorrow for it and repentance of it, upon a legal conviction, being
enlivened and made evangelical by the introduction of faith as a new
principle of them, and giving new motives unto them, do become
evangelical; so impossible is it that faith should be without repentance.
Wherefore, although the first act of faith, and its only proper exercise
unto justification, does respect the grace of God in Christ, and the way
of salvation by him, as proposed in the promise of the gospel, yet is not
this conceived in order of time to precede its acting in
self-displicency, godly sorrow, and universal conversion from sin unto
God; nor can it be so, seeing it virtually and radically contains all of
them in itself. However, therefore, evangelical repentance is not the
condition of our justification, so as to have any direct influence
thereinto; nor are we said anywhere to be justified by repentance; nor is
conversant about the proper object which alone the soul respects therein;
nor is a direct and immediate giving glory unto God on the account of the
way and work of his wisdom and grace in Christ Jesus, but a consequent
thereof; nor is that reception of Christ which is expressly required unto
our justification, and which alone is required thereunto;--yet is it, in
the root, principle, and promptitude of mind for its exercise, in every
one that is justified, then when he is justified. And it is peculiarly
proposed with respect unto the forgiveness of sins, as that without which
it is impossible we should have any true sense or comfort of it in our
souls; but it is not so as any part of that righteousness on the
consideration whereof our sins are pardoned, nor as that whereby we have
an interest therein. These things are plain in the divine method of our
justification, and the order of our duty prescribed in the gospel; as
also in the experience of them that do believe. Wherefore, considering
the necessity of legal repentance unto believing; with the sanctification
of the affections exercised therein by faith, whereby they are made
evangelical; and the nature of faith, as including in it a principle of
universal conversion unto God; and in especial, of that repentance which
has for its principal motive the love of God and of Jesus Christ, with
the grace from thence communicated,--all which are supposed in the
doctrine pleaded for; the necessity of true repentance is immovably fixed
on its proper foundation. 
   (3.) As unto what was said in the objection concerning Christ's
suffering in the person of the elect, I know not whether any have used it
or no, nor will I contend about it. He suffered in their stead; which all
sorts of writers, ancient and modern, so express,--in his suffering he
bare the person of the church. The meaning is what was before declared.
Christ and believers are one mystical person, one spiritually animated
body, head and members. This, I suppose, will not be denied; to do so, is
to overthrow the church and the faith of it. Hence, what he did and
suffered is imputed unto them. And it is granted that, as the surety of
the covenant, he paid all our debts, or answered for all our faults; and
that his righteousness is really communicated unto us. "Why, then," say
some, "there is no need of repentance; all is done for us already." But
why so? Why must we assent to one part of the gospel unto the exclusion
of another? Was it not free unto God to appoint what way, method, and
order he would, whereby these things should be communicated unto us? Nay,
upon the supposition of the design of his wisdom and grace, these two
things were necessary:-- 
   [1.] That this righteousness of Christ should be communicated unto us,
and be made ours, in such a way and manner as that he himself might be
glorified therein, seeing he has disposed all things, in this whole
economy, unto "the praise of the glory of his grace," Eph.1:6. This was
to be done by faith, on our part. It is so; it could be no otherwise: for
that faith whereby we are justified is our giving unto God the glory of
his wisdom, grace, and love; and whatever does so is faith, and nothing
else is so. 
   [2.] That whereas our nature was so corrupted and depraved as that,
continuing in that state, it was not capable of a participation of the
righteousness of Christ, or any benefit of it, unto the glory of God and
our own good, it was in like manner necessary that it should be renewed
and changed. And unless it were so, the design of God in the mediation of
Christ,--which was the entire recovery of us unto himself,--could not be
attained. And therefore, as faith, under the formal consideration of it,
was necessary unto the first end,--namely, that of giving glory unto
God,--so unto this latter end it was necessary that this faith should be
accompanied with, yea, and contain in itself, the seeds of all those
other graces wherein the divine nature does consist, whereof we are to be
made partners. Not only, therefore, the thing itself, or the
communication of the righteousness of Christ unto us, but the way, and
manner, and means of it, do depend on God's sovereign order and disposal.
Wherefore, although Christ did make satisfaction to the justice of God
for all the sins of the church, and that as a common person (for no man
in his wits can deny but that he who is a mediator and a surety is, in
some sense, a common person); and although he did pay all our debts; yet
does the particular interest of this or that man in what he did and
suffered depend on the way, means, and order designed of God unto that
end. This, and this alone, gives the true necessity of all the duties
which are required of us, with their order and their ends.
   3. It is objected, "That the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ, which we defend, overthrows the necessity of faith itself." This
is home indeed. "Aliquid adhaerebit" is the design of all these
objections; but they have reason to plead for themselves who make it.
"For on this supposition," they say, "the righteousness of Christ is ours
before we do believe; for Christ satisfied for all our sins, as if we had
satisfied in our own persons. And he who is esteemed to have satisfied
for all his sins in his own person is acquitted from them all and
accounted just, whether he believe or no; nor is there any ground or
reason why he should be required to believe. If, therefore, the
righteousness of Christ be really ours, because, in the judgment of God,
we are esteemed to have wrought it in him, then it is ours before we do
believe. If it be otherwise, then it is plain that that righteousness
itself can never be made ours by believing; only the fruits and effects
of it may be suspended on our believing, whereby we may be made partakers
of them. Yea, if Christ made any such satisfaction for us as is
pretended, it is really ours, without any farther imputation; for, being
performed for us and in our stead, it is the highest injustice not to
have us accounted pardoned and acquitted, without any farther, either
imputation on the part of God or faith on ours." These things I have
transcribed out of Socinus, De Servatore, lib.4 cap.2-5; which I would
not have done but that I find others to have gone before me herein,
though to another purpose. And he concludes with a confidence which
others also seem, in some measure, to have learned of him; for he says
unto his adversary, "Haec tua, tuorumque sententia, adeo foeda et
execrabilis est, ut pestilentiorem errorem post homines natos in populo.
Dei extitisse non credam",--speaking of the satisfaction of Christ, and
the imputation of it unto believers. And, indeed, his serpentine wit was
fertile in the invention of cavils against all the mysteries of the
gospel. Nor was he obliged by any one of them, so as to contradict
himself in what he opposed concerning any other of them; for, denying the
deity of Christ, his satisfaction, sacrifice, merit, righteousness, and
overthrowing the whole nature of his mediation, nothing stood in his way
which he had a mind to oppose. But I somewhat wonder how others can make
use of his inventions in this kind; who, if they considered aright their
proper tendency, they will find them to be absolutely destructive of what
they seem to own. So it is in this present objection against the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ. If it has any force in it, as
indeed it has not, it is to prove that the satisfaction of Christ was
impossible; and so he intended it. But it will be easily removed.
   I answer, first, in general, that the whole fallacy of this objection
lies in the opposing once part of the design and method of God's grace in
this mystery of our justification unto another; or the taking of one part
of it to be the whole, which, as to its efficacy and perfection, depends
on somewhat else. Hereof we warned the reader in our previous discourses.
For the whole of it is a supposition that the satisfaction of Christ, if
there be any such thing, must have its whole effect without believing on
our part; which is contrary unto the whole declaration of the will of God
in the gospel. But I shall principally respect them who are pleased to
make use of this objection, and yet do not deny the satisfaction of
Christ. And I say,--
   (1.) When the Lord Christ died for us, and offered himself as a
propitiatory sacrifice, "God laid all our sins on him," Isa.53:6; and he
then "bare them all in his own body on the tree," 1 Pet.2:24. Then he
suffered in our stead, and made full satisfaction for all our sins; for
he "appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself," Heb.9:26; and
"by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified,"
chap.10:14. He whose sins were not actually and absolutely satisfied for
in that one offering of Christ, shall never have them expiated unto
eternity; for "henceforth he dies no more," there is "no more sacrifice
for sin." The repetition of a sacrifice for sin, which must be the
crucifying of Christ afresh, overthrows the foundation of Christian
religion.
   (2.) Notwithstanding this full, plenary satisfaction once made for the
sins of the world that shall be saved, yet all men continue equal to be
born by nature "children of wrath;" and whilst they believe not, "the
wrath of God abides on them," John 3:36;--that is, they are obnoxious
unto and under the curse of the law. Wherefore, on the only making of
that satisfaction, no one for whom it was made in the design of God can
be said to have suffered in Christ, nor to have an interest in his
satisfaction, nor by any way or means be made partaker of it antecedently
unto another act of God in its imputation unto him. For this is but one
part of the purpose of God's grace as unto our justification by the blood
of Christ,--namely, that he by his death should make satisfaction for our
sins; nor is it to be separated from what also belongs unto it in the
same purpose of God. Wherefore, from the position or grant of the
satisfaction of Christ, no argument can be taken unto the negation of a
consequential act of its imputation unto us; nor, therefore, of the
necessity of our faith in the believing and receiving of it, which is no
less the appointment of God than it was that Christ should make that
satisfaction. Wherefore,--
   (3.) That which the Lord Christ paid for us is as truly paid as if we
had paid it ourselves. So he speaks, Ps.69:5, "'asher lo-gazolatti 'az
'ashiv". He made no spoil of the glory of God; what was done of that
nature by us, he returned it unto him. And what he underwent and
suffered, he underwent and suffered in our stead. But yet the act of God
in laying our sins on Christ conveyed no actual right and title to us
unto what he did and suffered. They are not immediately thereon, nor by
virtue thereof, ours, or esteemed ours; because God has appointed
somewhat else, not only antecedent thereunto, but as the means of it,
unto his own glory. These things, both as unto their being and order,
depend on the free ordination of God.
But yet,--
   (4.) It cannot be said that this satisfaction was made for us on such
a condition as should absolutely suspend the event, and render it
uncertain whether it should ever be for us or no. Such a institution may
be righteous in pecuniary solutions. A man may lay down a great sum of
money for the discharge of another, on such a condition as may never be
fulfilled; for, on the absolute failure of the condition, his money may
and ought to be restored unto him, whereon he has received no injury or
damage. But in penal suffering for crimes and sins, there can be no
righteous constitution that shall make the event and efficacy of it to
depend on a condition absolutely uncertain, and which may not come to
pass or be fulfilled; for if the condition fail, no recompense can be
made unto him that has suffered. Wherefore, the way of the application of
the satisfaction of Christ unto them for whom it was made, is sure and
steadfast in the purpose of God.
   (5.) God has appointed that there shall be an immediate foundation of
the imputation of the satisfaction and righteousness of Christ unto us;
whereon we may be said to have done and suffered in him what he did and
suffered in our stead, by that grant, donation, and imputation of it unto
us; or that we may be interested in it, that it may be made ours: which
is all we contend for. And this is our actual coalescence into one
mystical person with him by faith. Hereon does the necessity of faith
originally depend. And if we shall add hereunto the necessity of it
likewise unto that especial glory of God which he designs to exalt in our
justification by Christ, as also unto all the ends of our obedience unto
God, and the renovation of our natures into his image, its station is
sufficiently secured against all objections. Our actual interest in the
satisfaction of Christ depends on our actual insertion into his mystical
body by faith, according to the appointment of God.
   4. It is yet objected, "That if the righteousness of Christ be made
ours, we may be said to be saviours of the world, as he was, or to save
others, as he did; for he was so and did so by his righteousness, and no
otherwise." This objection also is of the same nature with those
foregoing,--a mere sophistical cavil. For,--
   (1.) The righteousness of Christ is not transfused into us, so as to
be made inherently and subjectively ours, as it was in him, and which is
necessarily required unto that effect of saving others thereby. Whatever
we may do, or be said to do, with respect unto others, by virtue of any
power or quality inherent in ourselves, we can be said to do nothing unto
others, or for them, by virtue of that which is imputed unto us only for
our own benefit. That any righteousness of ours should benefit another,
it is absolutely necessary that it should be wrought by ourselves.
   (2.) If the righteousness of Christ could be transfused into us, and
be made inherently ours, yet could we not be, nor be said to be, the
saviours of others thereby; for our nature in our individual persons is
not "subjectum capax", or capable to receive and retain a righteousness
useful and effectual unto that end. This capacity was given unto it in
Christ by virtue of the hypostatical union, and no otherwise. The
righteousness of Christ himself, as performed in the human nature, would
not have been sufficient for the justification and salvation of the
church, had it not been the righteousness of his person who is, both God
and man; for "God redeemed his church with his own blood."
   (3.) This imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us, as unto
its ends and use, has its measure from the will of God, and his purpose
in that imputation; and this is, that it should be the righteousness of
them unto whom it is imputed, and nothing else.
   (4.) We do not say that the righteousness of Christ, as made
absolutely for the whole church, is imputed unto every believer; but his
satisfaction for every one of them in particular, according unto the will
of God, is imputed unto them,--not with respect unto its general ends,
but according unto every one's particular interest. Every believer has
his own homer of this bread of life; and all are justified by the same
righteousness.
   (5.) The apostle declares, as we shall prove afterwards, that as
Adam's  actual sin is imputed unto us unto condemnation, so is the
obedience of Christ imputed unto us to the justification of life. But
Adam's sin is not so imputed unto any person as that he should then and
thereby be the cause of sin and condemnation unto all other persons in
the world, but only that he himself should become guilty before God
thereon. And so is it on the other side. And as we are made guilty by
Adam's actual sin, which is not inherent in us but only imputed unto us;
so are we made righteous by the righteousness of Christ, which is not
inherent in us, but only imputed unto us. And imputed unto us it is,
because himself was righteous with it, not for himself, but for us.
   5. It is yet said, "That if we insist on personal imputation unto
every believer of what Christ did, or if any believer be personal1y
righteous in the very individual acts of Christ's righteousness, many
absurdities will follow." But it was observed before, that when any
design to oppose an opinion from the absurdities which they suppose would
follow upon it, they are much inclined so to state it as, that at least
they may seem so to do. And this oft times the most worthy and candid
persons are not free from, in the heat of disputation. So I fear it is
here fallen out; for as unto personal imputation, I do not well
understand it. All imputation is unto a person, and is the act of a
person, be it of what, and what sort it will; but from neither of them
can be denominated a personal imputation. And if an imputation be allowed
that is not unto the persons of men,--namely, in this case unto all
believers,--the nature of it has not yet been declared, as I know of.
   That any have so expressed the imputation pleaded for, "that every
believer should be personally righteous in the very individual acts of
Christ's righteousness," I know not; I have neither read nor heard any of
them who have so expressed their mind. It may be some have done so: but I
shall not undertake the defense of what they have done; for it seems not
only to suppose that Christ did every individual act which in any
instance is required of us, but also that those acts are made our own
inherently,--both which are false and impossible. That which indeed is
pleaded for in this imputation is only this, that what the Lord Christ
did and suffered as the mediator and surety of the covenant, in answer
unto the law, for them, and in their stead, is imputed unto every one of
them unto the justification of life. And sufficient this is unto that
end, without any such supposals. (1.) From the dignity of the person who
yielded this obedience, which rendered it both satisfactory and
meritorious, and imputable unto many. (2.) From the nature of the
obedience itself, which was a perfect compliance with, a fulfilling of,
and satisfaction unto the whole law in all its demands. This, on the
supposition of that act of God's sovereign authority, whereby a
representative of the whole church was introduced to answer the law, is
the ground of his righteousness being made theirs, and being every way
sufficient unto their justification. (3.) From the constitution of God,
that what was done and suffered by Christ as a public person, and our
surety, should be reckoned unto us, as if done by ourselves. So the sin
of Adam, whilst he was a public person, and represented his whole
posterity, is imputed unto us all, as if we had committed that actual
sin. This Bellarmine himself frequently acknowledges: "Peccavimus in
promo homine quando ille peccavit, et illa ejus praevaricatio nostra
etiam praevaricatio fuit. Non enim vere per Adami inobedientiam
constitueremur peccatores, nisi inobedientia illius nostra etiam
inobedientia esset", De Amiss. Grat. et Stat. Peccat., lib.5 cap.18. And
elsewhere, that the actual sin of Adam is imputed unto us, as if we all
had committed that actual sin; that is, broken the whole law of God. And
this is that whereby the apostle illustrates the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ unto believers; and it may on as good grounds be
charged with absurdities as the other. It is not, therefore, said that
God judges that we have in our own persons done those very acts, and
endured that penalty of the law, which the Lord Christ did and endured;
for this would overthrow all imputation;-- but what Christ did and
suffered, that God imputes unto believers unto the justification of life,
as if it had been done by themselves; and his righteousness as a public
person is made theirs by imputation, even as the sin of Adam, whilst a
public person, is made the sin of all his posterity by imputation.
   Hereon none of the absurdities pretended, which are really such, do at
all follow. It does not so, that Christ in his own person performed every
individual act that we in our circumstances are obliged unto in a way of
duty; nor was there any need that so he should do. This imputation, as I
have showed, stands on other foundations. Nor does it follow, that every
saved person's righteousness before God is the same identically and
numerically with Christ's in his public capacity as mediator; for this
objection destroys itself, by affirming that as it was his, it was the
righteousness of God-man, and so it has an especial nature as it respects
or relates unto his person. It is the same that Christ in his public
capacity did work or effect. But there is a wide difference in the
consideration of it as his absolutely, and as made ours. It was formally
inherent in him,--is only materially imputed unto us; was actively his,--
is passively ours; was wrought in the person of God-man for the whole
church,--is imputed unto each single believer, as unto his own
concernment only. Adam's sin, as imputed unto us, is not the sin of a
representative, though it be of him that was so, but is the particular
sin of every one of us; but this objection must be farther spoken unto,
where it occurs afterwards. Nor will it follow, that on this supposition
we should be accounted to have done that which was done long before we
were in a capacity of doing any thing; for what is done for us and in our
stead, before we are in any such capacity, may be imputed unto us, as is
the sin of Adam. And yet there is a manifold sense wherein men may be
said to have done what was done for them and in their name, before their
actual existence; so that therein is no absurdity. As unto what is added
by the way, that Christ did not do nor suffer the "idem" that we were
obliged unto; whereas he did what the law required, and suffered what the
law threatened unto the disobedient, which is the whole of what we are
obliged unto, it will not be so easily proved, nor the arguments very
suddenly answered, whereby the contrary has been confirmed. That Christ
did sustain the place of a surety, or was the surety of the new covenant,
the Scripture does so expressly affirm that it cannot be denied. And that
there may be sureties in cases criminal as well as civil and pecuniary,
has been proved before. What else occurs about the singularity of
Christ's obedience, as he was mediator, proves only that his
righteousness, as formally and inherently his, was peculiar unto himself;
and that the adjuncts of it, which arise from its relation unto his
person, as it was inherent in him, are not communicable unto them to whom
it is imputed.
   6. It is, moreover, urged, "That upon the supposed imputation of the
righteousness of Christ, it will follow that every believer is justified
by the works of the law; for the obedience of Christ was a legal
righteousness, and if that be imputed unto us, then are we justified by
the law; which is contrary unto express testimonies of Scripture in many
places." Answer. (1.) I know nothing more frequent in the writings of
some learned men than that the righteousness of Christ is our legal
righteousness; who yet, I presume, are able to free themselves of this
objection. (2.) If this do follow in the true sense of being justified by
the law, or the works of it, so denied in the Scripture, their weakness
is much to be pitied who can see no other way whereby we may be freed
from an obligation to be justified by the law, but by this imputation of
the righteousness of Christ. (3.) The Scripture which affirms that "by
the deeds of the law no man can be justified," affirms in like manner
that by "faith we do not make void the law, but establish it;" that "the
righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us"; that Christ "came not to
destroy the law, but to fulfill it," and is the "end of the law for
righteousness unto them that do believe." And that the law must be
fulfilled, or we cannot be justified, we shall prove afterwards. (4.) We
are not hereon justified by the law, or the works of it, in the only
sense of that proposition in the Scripture; and to coin new senses or
significations of it is not safe. The meaning of it in the Scripture is,
that only "the doers of the law shall be justified," Rom.2:13; and that
"he that does the things of it shall live by them," chap.10:5,--namely,
in his own person, by the way of personal duty, which alone the law
requires. But if we, who have not fulfilled the law in the way of
inherent, personal obedience, are justified by the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ unto us, then are we justified by Christ, and not
by the law.
   But it is said that this will not relieve; for if his obedience be so
imputed unto us, as that we are accounted by God in judgment to have done
what Christ did, it is all one upon the matter, and we are as much
justified by the law as if we had in our own proper persons performed an
unsinning obedience unto it. This I confess I cannot understand. The
nature of this imputation is here represented, as formerly, in such a way
as we cannot acknowledge; from thence alone this inference is made, which
yet, in my judgment, does not follow thereon. For grant an imputation of
the righteousness of another unto us, be it of what nature it will, all
justification by the law and works of it, in the sense of the Scripture,
is gone for ever. The admission of imputation takes off all power from
the law to justify; for it can justify none but upon a righteousness that
is originally and inherently his own: "The man that does them shall live
in them." If the righteousness that is imputed be the ground and
foundation of our justification, and made ours by that imputation, state
it how you will, that justification is of grace, and not of the law.
However, I know not of any that say we are accounted of God in judgment
personally to have done what Christ did; and it may have a sense that is
false,--namely, that God should judge us in our own persons to have done
those acts which we never did. But what Christ did for us, and in our
stead, is imputed and communicated unto us, as we coalesce into one
mystical person with him by faith; and thereon are we justified. And this
absolutely overthrows all justification by the law or the works of it;
though the law be established, fulfilled, and accomplished, that we may
be justified.
   Neither can any, on the supposition of the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ truly stated, be said to merit their own
salvation. Satisfaction and merit are adjuncts of the righteousness of
Christ, as formally inherent in his own person; and as such it cannot be
transfused into another. Wherefore, as it is imputed unto individual
believers, it has not those properties accompanying of it, which belong
only unto its existence in the person of the Son of God. But this was
spoken unto before, as also much of what was necessary to be here
repeated.
   These objections I have in this place taken notice of because the
answers given unto them do tend to the farther explanation of that truth,
whose confirmation, by arguments and testimonies of Scripture, I shall
now proceed unto.




X. Arguments for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ. The first argument from the nature and use of our own personal
righteousness


Arguments for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ--Our own personal righteousness not that on the account whereof we
are justified in the sight of God--Disclaimed in the Scriptures, as to
any such end--The truth and reality of it granted--Manifold imperfection
accompanying it, rendering it unmeet to be a righteousness unto the
justification of life


III. There is a justification of convinced sinners on their believing.
Hereon are their sins pardoned, their persons accepted with God, and a
right is given unto them unto the heavenly inheritance. This state they
are immediately taken into upon their faith, or believing in Jesus
Christ. And a state it is of actual peace with God These things at
present take for granted; and they are the foundation of all that I shall
plead in the present argument. And I do take notice of them, because some
seem, to the best of my understanding, to deny any real actual
justification of sinners on their believing in this life. For they make
justification to be only a general conditional sentence declared in the
gospel; which, as unto its execution, is delayed unto the day of
judgment. For whilst men are in this world, the whole condition of it
being not fulfilled, they cannot be partakers of it, or be actually and
absolutely justified. Hereon it follows, that indeed there is no real
state of assured rest and peace with God by Jesus Christ, for any persons
in this life. This at present I shall not dispute about, because it seems
to me to overthrow the whole gospel,-- the grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and all the comfort of believers; about which I hope we are not
as yet called to contend.
   Our inquiry is, how convinced sinners do, on their believing, obtain
the remission of sins, acceptance with God, and a right unto eternal
life? And if this can no other way be done but by the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ unto them, then thereby alone are they justified
in the sight of God. And this assertion proceeds on a supposition that
there is a righteousness required unto the justification of any person
whatever: for whereas God, in the justification of any person, does
declare him to be acquitted from all crimes laid unto his charges, and to
stand as righteous in his sight, it must be on the consideration of a
righteousness whereon any man is so acquitted and declared; for the
judgment of God is according unto truth. This we have sufficiently
evidenced before, in that juridical procedure wherein the Scripture
represents unto us the justification of a believing sinner. And if there
be not other righteousness whereby we may be thus justified but only that
of Christ imputed unto us, then thereby must we be justified, or not at
all; and if there be any such other righteousness, it must be our own,
inherent in us, and wrought out by us; for these two kinds, inherent and
imputed righteousness, our own and Christ's, divide the whole nature of
righteousness, as to the end inquired after. And that there is no such
inherent righteousness, no such righteousness of our own, whereby we may
be justified before God, I shall prove in the first place. And I shall do
it, first, from express testimonies of Scripture, and then from the
consideration of the thing itself; and two things I shall premise
hereunto:--
   1. That I shall not consider this righteousness of our own absolutely
in itself, but as it may be conceived to be improved and advanced by its
relation unto the satisfaction and merit of Christ: for many will grant
that our inherent righteousness is not of itself sufficient to justify us
in the sight of God; but take it as it has value and worth communicated
unto it from the merit of Christ, and so it is accepted unto that end,
and judged worthy of eternal life. We could not merit life and salvation
had not Christ merited that grace for us whereby we may do so, and
merited also that our works should be of such a dignity with respect unto
reward. We shall, therefore, allow what worth can be reasonably thought
to be communicated unto this righteousness from its respect unto the
merit of Christ.
   2. Whereas persons of all sorts and parties do take various ways in
the assignation of an interest in our justification unto our own
righteousness, so as that no parties are agreed about it, nor many of the
same mind among themselves,--as might easily be manifested in the
Papists, Socinians, and others, I shall, so far as it is possible in the
ensuing arguments, have respect unto them all; for my design is to prove
that it has no such interest in our justification before God, as that the
righteousness of Christ should not be esteemed the only righteousness
whereon we are justified.
   And, First, we shall produce some of those many testimonies which may
be pleaded unto this purpose, Ps.130:3,4, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark
iniquities, 0 Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee,
that thou mayest be feared." There is an inquiry included in these words,
how a man, how any man, may be justified before God; how he may stand,
that is, in the presence of God, and be accepted with him,--how he shall
stand in judgment, as it is explained, Ps.1:5, "The wicked shall not
stand in the judgment," shall not be acquitted on their trial. That which
first offers itself unto this end is his own obedience; for this the law
requires of him in the first place, and this his own conscience calls
upon him for. But the psalmist plainly declares that no man can thence
manage a plea for his justification with any success; and the reason is,
because, notwithstanding the best of the obedience of the best of men,
there are iniquities found with them against the Lord their God; and if
men come to their trial before God, whether they shall be justified or
condemned, these also must be heard and taken into the account. But then
no man can "stand," no man can be "justified," as it is elsewhere
expressed. Wherefore, the wisest and safest course is, as unto our
justification before God, utterly to forego this plea and not to insist
on our own obedience, lest our sins should appear also, and be heard. No
reason can any man give on his own account why they should not be so; and
if they be so, the best of men will be cast in their trial as the
psalmist declares.
   Two things are required in this trial, that a sinner may stand:--
   1. That his iniquities be not observed, for if they be so, he is lost
for ever. 2. That a righteousness be produced and pleaded that will
endure the trial; for justification is upon a justifying righteousness.
For the first of these, the psalmist tells us it must be through pardon
or forgiveness. "But there is forgiveness with thee," wherein lies our
only relief against the condemnatory sentence of the law with respect
unto our iniquities,--that is, through the blood of Christ, for in him
"we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins,"
Eph.1:7. The other cannot be our own obedience, because of our
iniquities. Wherefore this the same psalmist directs us unto, Ps.71:16,
"I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy
righteousness, of thine only." The righteousness of God, and not his own,
yea, in opposition unto his own, is the only plea that in this case he
would insist upon.
   If no man can stand a trial before God upon his own obedience, so as
to be justified before him, because of his own personal iniquities; and
if our only plea in that case be the righteousness of God, the
righteousness of God only, and not our own; then is there no personal,
inherent righteousness in any believers whereon they may be justified;--
which is that which is to be proved.
   The same is again asserted by the same person, and that more plainly
and directly, Ps.143:2, "Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in
thy sight shall no man living be justified." This testimony is the more
to he considered, because as it is derived from the law, Exod.34:7, so it
is transferred into the gospel, and twice urged by the apostle unto the
same purpose, Rom.3:20; Gal.2:16.
   The person who insists on this plea with God professes himself to be
his servant: "Enter not into judgment with thy servant;" that is, one
that loved him, feared him, yielded all sincere obedience. He was not a
hypocrite, not an unbeliever, not an unregenerate person, who had
performed no works but such as were legal, such as the law required, and
such as were done in the strength of the law only; such works as all will
acknowledge to be excluded from our justification, and which, as many
judge, are only those which are so excluded. David it was, who was not
only converted, a true believer, had the Spirit of God, and the aids of
special grace in his obedience, but had this testimony unto his
sincerity, that he was "a man after God's own heart." And this witness
had he in his own conscience of his integrity, uprightness, and personal
righteousness, so as that he frequently avows them, appeals unto God
concerning the truth of them, and pleads them as a ground of judgment
between him and his adversaries. We have, therefore, a case stated in the
instance of a sincere and eminent believer, who excelled most in
inherent, personal righteousness.
   This person, under these circumstances, thus testified unto both by
God and in his own conscience, as unto the sincerity, yea, as unto the
eminency, of his obedience, considers how he may "stand before God," and
"be justified in his sight." Why does he not now plead his own merits;
and that, if not "ex condigno," yet at least "ex congruo," he deserved to
be acquitted and justified? But he left this plea for that generation of
men that were to come after, who would justify themselves and despise
others. But suppose he had no such confidence in the merit of his works
as some have now attained unto, yet why does he not freely enter into
judgment with God, put it unto the trial whether he should be justified
or no, by pleading that he had fulfilled the condition of the new
covenant, that everlasting covenant which God made with him, ordered in
all things, and sure? For upon a supposition of the procurement of that
covenant and the terms of it by Christ (for I suppose the virtue of that
purchase he made of it is allowed to extend unto the Old Testament), this
was all that was required of him. Is it not to be feared that he was one
of them who see no necessity, or leave none, of personal holiness and
righteousness, seeing he makes no mention of it, now it should stand him
in the greatest stead? At least he might plead his faith, as his own duty
and work, to be imputed unto him for righteousness. But whatever the
reason be, he waives them all, and absolutely deprecates a trial upon
them. "Come not," says he, "O LORD, into judgment with thy servant;" as
it is promised that he who believes should "not come into judgment," John
5:24.
   And if this holy person renounce the whole consideration of all his
personal, inherent righteousness, in every kind, and will not insist upon
it under any pretence, in any place, as unto any use in his justification
before God, we may safely conclude there is no such righteousness in any,
whereby they may be justified. And if men would but leave those shades
and coverts under which they hide themselves in their disputations,--if
they would forego those pretences and distinctions wherewith they delude
themselves and others, and tell us plainly what plea they dare make in
the presence of God from their own righteousness and obedience, that they
may be justified before him,--we should better understand their minds
than now we do. There is one, I confess, who speaks with some confidence
unto this purpose, and that is Vasquez the Jesuit, in 1, 2, disp. 204,
cap. 4, "Inhaerens justitia ita reddit animam justam et sanctam ac
proinde iliam Dei, ut hoc ipso reddat eam heredem, et dignam aeterna
gloria; imo ipse Deus efficere non potest ut hujusmodi justis dignus non
sit aeterna beatitudine". Is it not sad, that David should discover so
much ignorance of the worth of his inherent righteousness, and discover
so much pusillanimity with respect unto his trial before God, whereas God
himself could not otherwise order it, but that he was, and must be,
"worthy of eternal blessedness?"
   The reason the psalmist gives why he will not put it unto the trial,
whether he should be acquitted or justified upon his own obedience, is
this general axiom: "For in thy sight," or before thee, "shall no man
living be justified." This must be spoken absolutely, or with respect
unto some one way or cause of justification. If it be spoken absolutely,
then this work ceases forever, and there is indeed no such thing as
justification before God. But this is contrary unto the whole Scripture,
and destructive of the gospel. Wherefore it is spoken with respect unto
our own obedience and works. He does not pray absolutely that he "would
not enter into judgement with him," for this were to forego his
government of the world; but that he would not do so on the account of
his own duties and obedience. But if so be these duties and obedience did
answer, in any sense or way, what is required of us as a righteousness
unto justification, there was no reason why he should deprecate a trial
by them or upon them. But whereas the Holy Ghost does so positively
affirm that "no man living shall be justified in the sight of God," by or
upon his own works or obedience, it is, I confess, marvelous unto me that
some should so interpret the apostle James as if he affirmed the express
contrary,--namely, that we are justified in the sight of God by our own
works,--whereas indeed he says no such thing. This, therefore, is an
eternal rule of truth,--By or upon his own obedience no man living can be
justified in the sight of God. It will be said, "That if God enter into
judgment with any on their own obedience by and according to the law,
then, indeed, none can be justified before him; but God judging according
to the gospel and the terms of the new covenant, men may be justified
upon their own duties, works, and obedience." Ans. (1.) The negative
assertion is general and unlimited,--that "no man living shall" (on his
own works or obedience) "be justified in the sight of God." And to limit
it unto this or that way of judging, is not to distinguish, but to
contradict the Holy Ghost. (2.) The judgment intended is only with
respect unto justification, as is plain in the words; but there is no
judgment on our works or obedience, with respect unto righteousness and
justification, but by the proper rule and measure of them, which is the
law. If they will not endure the trial by the law, they will endure no
trial, as unto righteousness and justification in the sight of God. (3.)
The prayer and plea of the psalmist, on this supposition, are to this
purpose: "O LORD, enter not into judgment with thy servant by or
according unto the law; but enter into judgment with me on my own works
and obedience according to the rule of the gospel;" for which he gives
this reason, "because in thy sight shall no man living be justified:"
which how remote it is from his intention need not be declared. (4.) The
judgment of God unto justification according to the gospel does not
proceed on our works of obedience, but upon the righteousness of Christ,
and our interest therein by faith; as is too evident to be modestly
denied. Notwithstanding this exception, therefore, hence we argue,--
   If the most holy of the servants of God, in and after a course of
sincere, fruitful obedience, testified unto by God himself, and witnessed
in their own consciences,--that is, whilst they have the greatest
evidences of their own sincerity, and that indeed they are the servants
of God,--do renounce all thoughts of such a righteousness thereby, as
whereon, in any sense, they may be justified before God; then there is no
such righteousness in any, but it is the righteousness of Christ alone,
imputed unto us, whereon we are so justified. But that so they do, and
ought all of them so to do, because of the general rule here laid down,
that in the sight of God no man living shall be justified, is plainly
affirmed in this testimony.
   I no way doubt but that many learned men, after all their pleas for an
interest of personal righteousness and works in our justification before
God, do, as unto their own practice, retake themselves unto this method
of the psalmist, and cry, as the prophet Daniel does, in the name of the
church, "We do not present our supplications before thee for our own
righteousness, but for thy great mercies," chap.9:18. And therefore Job
(as we have formerly observed), after a long and earnest defense of his
own faith, integrity, and personal righteousness, wherein he justified
himself against the charge of Satan and men, being called to plead his
cause in the sight of God, and declare on what grounds he expected to be
justified before him, renounces all his former pleas, and betakes himself
unto the same with the psalmist, chap.40:4; 43:6.
   It is true, in particular cases, and as unto some special ends in the
providence of God, a man may plead his own integrity and obedience before
God himself. So did Hezekiah, when he prayed for the sparing of his life,
Isa.38:3, "Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before
thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good
in thy sight." This, I say, may be done with respect unto temporal
deliverance, or any other particular end wherein the glory of God is
concerned: so was it greatly in sparing the life of Hezekiah at that
time. For whereas he had with great zeal and industry reformed religion
and restored the true worship of God, the "cutting him off in the midst
of his days" would have occasioned the idolatrous multitude to have
reflected on him as one dying under a token of divine displeasure. But
none ever made this plea before God for the absolute justification of
their persons. So Nehemiah, in that great contest which he had about the
worship of God and the service of his house, pleads the remembrance of it
before God, in his justification against his adversaries; but resolves
his own personal acceptance with God into pardoning mercy: "And spare me
according unto the multitude of thy mercies," chap.13:22.
   Another testimony we have unto the same purpose in the prophet Isaiah,
speaking in the name of the church, chap.64:6, "We are all as an unclean
thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." It is true the
prophet does in this place make a deep confession of the sins of the
people; but yet withal he joins himself with them, and asserts the
especial interest of those concerning whom he speaks, by adoption,--that
God was their Father, and they his people, chap.63:16, 44:8,9. And the
righteousnesses of all that are the children of God are of the same kind,
however they may differ in degrees, and some of them may be more
righteous than others; but it is all of it described to be such, as that
we cannot, I think, justly expect justification in the sight of God upon
the account of it. But whereas the consideration of the nature of our
inherent righteousness belongs unto the second way of the confirmation of
our present argument, I shall not farther here insist on this testimony.
   Many others also, unto the same purpose, I shall wholly omit,--namely,
all those wherein the saints of God, or the church, in a humble
acknowledgment and confession of their own sins, do retake themselves
unto the mercy and grace of God alone, as dispensed through the mediation
and blood of Christ; and all those wherein God promises to pardon and
blot out our iniquities for his own sake, for his name's sake--to bless
the people, not for any good that was in them nor for their
righteousness, nor for their works, the consideration whereof he excludes
from having any influence into any acting of his grace towards them; and
all those wherein God expresses his delight in them alone, and his
approbation of them who hope in his mercy, trust in his name, retaking
themselves unto him as their only refuge, pronouncing them accursed who
trust in any thing else, or glory in themselves,--such as contain
singular promises unto them that retake themselves unto God, as
fatherless, hopeless, and lost in themselves. 
   There is none of the testimonies which are multiplied unto this
purpose, but they sufficiently prove that the best of God's saints have
not a righteousness of their own whereon they can, in any sense, be
justified before God. For they do all of them, in the places referred
unto, renounce any such righteousness of their own, all that is in them,
all that they have done or can do, and retake themselves unto grace and
mercy alone. And whereas, as we have before proved, God, in the
justification of any, does exercise grace towards them with respect unto
a righteousness whereon he declares them righteous and accepted before
him, they do all of them respect a righteousness which is not inherent in
us, but imputed to us.
   Herein lies the substance of all that we inquire into, in this matter
of justification. All other disputes about qualifications, conditions,
causes, "aneu hoon ouk", any kind of interest for our own works and
obedience in our justification before God, are but the speculations of
men at ease. The conscience of a convinced sinner, who presents himself
in the presence of God, finds all practically reduced unto this one
point,--namely, whether he will trust unto his own personal inherent
righteousness, or, in a full renunciation of it, retake himself unto the
grace of God and the righteousness of Christ alone. In other things he is
not concerned. And let men phrase his own righteousness unto him as they
please, let them pretend it meritorious, or only evangelical, not legal,-
-only an accomplishment of the condition of the new covenant, a cause
without which he cannot be justified,--it will not be easy to frame his
mind unto any confidence in it, as unto justification before God, so as
not to deceive him in the issue. 
   The second part of the present argument is taken from the nature of
the thing itself, or the consideration of this personal, inherent
righteousness of our own, what it is, and wherein it does consist, and of
what use it may be in our justification. And unto this purpose it may be
observed,-- 
   That we grant an inherent righteousness in all that do believe, as has
been before declared: "For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness,
and righteousness, and truth", Eph.5:9. "Being made free from sin, we
become the servants of righteousness", Rom.6:18. And our duty it is to
"follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness,"
1 Tim.6:11. And although righteousness be mostly taken for an especial
grace or duty, distinct from other graces and duties, yet we acknowledge
that it may be taken for the whole of our obedience before God; and the
word is so used in the Scripture, where our own righteousness is opposed
unto the righteousness of God. And it is either habitual or actual. There
is a habitual righteousness inherent in believers, as they have "put on
the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true
holiness," Eph.4:24; as they are the "workmanship of God, created in
Christ Jesus unto good works," chap.2:10. And there is an actual
righteousness, consisting in those good works whereunto we are so
created, or the fruits of righteousness, which are to the praise of God
by Jesus Christ. And concerning this righteousness it may be observed,
first, That men are said in the Scripture to be just or righteous by it;
but no one is said to be justified by it before God. Secondly, That it is
not ascribed unto, or found in, any but those that are actually justified
in order of nature antecedent thereunto.
   This being the constant doctrine of all the Reformed churches and
divines, it is an open calumny whereby the contrary is ascribed unto
them, or any of those who believe the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ unto our justification before God. So Bellarmine affirms that no
Protestant writers acknowledge an inherent righteousness but only Bucer
and Chemnitius; when there is no one of them by whom either the thing
itself or the necessity of it is denied. But some excuse may be made for
him, from the manner whereby they expressed themselves, wherein they
always carefully distinguished between inherent holiness and that
righteousness whereby we are justified. But we are now told by one, that
if we should affirm it a hundred times, he could scarce believe us. This
is somewhat severe; for although he speaks but to one, yet the charge
falls equally upon all who maintain that imputation of the righteousness
of Christ which he denies, who being at least the generality of all
Protestant divines, they are represented either as so foolish as not to
know what they say, or so dishonest as to say one thing and believe
another. But he endeavours to justify his censure by sundry reasons; and,
first, he says, "That inherent righteousness can on no other account be
said to be ours, than that by it we are made righteous; that is, that it
is the condition of our justification required in the new covenant. This
being denied, all inherent righteousness is denied." But how is this
proved? What if one should say that every believer is inherently
righteous, but yet that this inherent righteousness was not the condition
of his justification, but rather the consequent of it, and that it is
nowhere required in the new covenant as the condition of our
justification? How shall the contrary be made to appear? The Scripture
plainly affirms that there is such an inherent righteousness in all that
believe; and yet as plainly that we are justified before God by faith
without works. Wherefore, that it is the condition of our justification,
and so antecedent unto it, is expressly contrary unto that of the
apostle, "Unto him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth
the ungodly, his faith is counted unto him for righteousness," Rom.4:5.
Nor is it the condition of the covenant itself, as that whereon the whole
grace of the covenant is suspended; for as it is habitual, wherein the
denomination of righteous is principally taken, it is a grace of the
covenant itself, and so not a condition of it, Jer.31:33; 32:39;
Ezek.36:25-27. If no more be intended but that it is, as unto its actual
exercise, what is indispensably required of all that are taken into
covenant, in order unto the complete ends of it, we are agreed; but hence
it will not follow that it is the condition of our justification. It is
added, "That all righteousness respects a law and a rule, by which it is
to be tried; and he is righteous who has done these things which that law
requires by whose rule he is to be judged." But, First, This is not the
way whereby the Scripture expresses our justification before God, which
alone is under consideration,--namely, that we bring unto it a personal
righteousness of our own, answering the law whereby we are to be judged;
yea, an assertion to this purpose is foreign to the gospel, and
destructive of the grace of God by Jesus Christ. Secondly, It is granted
that all righteousness respects a law as the rule of it; and so does this
whereof we speak, namely, the moral law; which being the sole, eternal,
unchangeable rule of righteousness, if it do not in the substance of it
answer thereunto, a righteousness it is not. But this it does, inasmuch
as that, so far as it is habitual, it consists in the renovation of the
image of God, wherein that law is written in our hearts; and all the
actual duties of it are, as to the substance of them, what is required by
that law. But as unto the manner of its communication unto us, and of its
performance by us, from faith in God by Jesus Christ, and love unto him,
as the author and fountain of all the grace and mercy procured and
administered by him, it has respect unto the gospel. What will follow
from hence? Why, that he is just that does those things which that law
requires whereby he is to be judged. He is so certainly; for "not the
hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be
justified," Rom.2:13. "So Moses describeth the righteousness of the law,
that the man which does those things shall live in them," Rom.10:5. But
although the righteousness whereof we discourse be required by the law,--
as certainly it is, for it is nothing but the law in our hearts, from
whence we walk in the ways and keep the statutes or commandments of God,-
-yet does it not so answer the law as that any man can be justified by
it. But then it will be said that if it does not answer that law and rule
whereby we are to be judged, then it is no righteousness; for all
righteousness must answer the law whereby it is required. And I say it is
most true, it is no perfect righteousness; it does not so answer the rule
and law as that we can be justified by it, or safely judged on it. But,
so far as it does answer the law, it is a righteousness,--that is,
imperfectly so, and therefore is an imperfect righteousness; which yet
gives the denomination of righteous unto them that have it, both
absolutely and comparatively. It is said, therefore, that it is "the law
of grace or the gospel from whence we are denominated righteous with this
righteousness;" but that we are by the gospel denominated righteous, from
any righteousness that is not required by the moral law, will not be
proved. Nor does the law of grace or the gospel anywhere require of us or
prescribe unto us this righteousness, as that whereon we are to be
justified before God. It requires faith in Christ Jesus, or the receiving
of him as he is proposed in the promises of it, in all that are to be
justified. It requires, in like manner, "repentance from dead works" in
all that believe; as also the fruits of faith, conversion unto God, and
repentance, in the works of righteousness, which are to the praise of God
by Jesus Christ, with perseverance therein unto the end; and all this
may, if you please, be called our evangelical righteousness, as being our
obedience unto God according to the gospel. But yet the graces and duties
wherein it does consist do no more perfectly answer the commands of the
gospel than they do those of the moral law; for that the gospel abates
from the holiness of the law, and makes that to be no sin which is sin by
the law, or approves absolutely of less intention or lower degrees in the
love of God than the law does, is an impious imagination.
   And that the gospel requires all these things entirely and equally, as
the condition of our justification before God, and so antecedently
thereunto, is not yet proved, nor ever will be. It is hence concluded
that "this is our righteousness, according unto the evangelical law which
requires it; by this we are made righteous,--that is, not guilty of the
nonperformance of the condition required in that law." And these things
are said to be very plain! So, no doubt, they seemed unto the author;
unto us they are intricate and perplexed. However, I wholly deny that our
faith, obedience, and righteousness, considered as ours, as wrought by
us, although they are all accepted with God through Jesus Christ,
according to the grace declared in the gospel, do perfectly answer the
commands of the gospel requiring them of us, as to matter, manner, and
degree; and [assert] that therefore it is utterly impossible that they
should be the cause or condition of our justification before God. Yet in
the explanation of these things, it is added by the same author, that
"our maimed and imperfect righteousness is accepted unto salvation, as if
it were every way absolute and perfect; for that so it should be, Christ
has merited by his most perfect righteousness." But it is justification,
and not salvation, that alone we discourse about; and that the works of
obedience or righteousness have another respect unto salvation than they
have unto justification, is too plainly and too often expressed in the
Scripture to be modestly denied. And if this weak and imperfect
righteousness of ours be esteemed and accepted as every way perfect
before God, then either it is because God judges it to be perfect, and so
declares us to be most just, and justified thereon in his sight; or he
judges it not to be complete and perfect, yet declares us to be perfectly
righteous in his sight thereby. Neither of these, I suppose, can well be
granted. It will therefore be said, it is neither of them; but "Christ
has obtained, by his complete and most perfect righteousness and
obedience, that this lame and imperfect righteousness of ours should be
accepted as every way perfect." And if it be so, it may be some will
think it best not to go about by this weak, halt, and imperfect
righteousness, but, as unto their justification, retake themselves
immediately unto the most perfect righteousness of Christ; which I am
sure the Scripture encourages them unto. And they will be ready to think
that the righteousness which cannot justify itself, but must be obliged
unto grace and pardon through the merits of Christ, will never be able to
justify them. But what will ensue on this explanation of the acceptance
of our imperfect righteousness unto justification, upon the merit of
Christ? This only, so far as I can discern, that Christ has merited and
procured, either that God should judge that to be perfect which is
imperfect, and declare us perfectly righteous when we are not so; or that
he should judge the righteousness still to be imperfect, as it is, but
declare us to be perfectly righteous with and by this imperfect
righteousness. These are the plain paths that men walk in who cannot deny
but that there is a righteousness required unto our justification, or
that we may be declared righteous before God, in the sight of God,
according unto the judgment of God; yet, denying the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ unto us, will allow us no other righteousness
unto this end but that which is so weak and imperfect as that no man can
justify it in his own conscience, nor, without a frenzy of pride, can
think or imagine himself perfectly righteous thereby.
   And whereas it is added, that "he is blind who sees not that this
righteousness of ours is subordinate unto the righteousness of Christ," I
must acknowledge myself otherwise minded, notwithstanding the severity of
this censure. It seems to me that the righteousness of Christ is
subordinate unto this righteousness of our own, as here it is stated, and
not the contrary: for the end of all is our acceptance with God as
righteous; but according unto these thoughts, it is our own
righteousnesses whereon we are immediately accepted with God as
righteous. Only Christ has deserved by his righteousness that our
righteousness may be so accepted; and is therefore, as unto the end of
our justification before God, subordinate thereunto.
   But to return from this digression, and to proceed unto our argument.
This personal, inherent righteousness which, according to the Scripture,
we allow in believers, is not that whereby or wherewith we are justified
before God; for it is not perfect, nor perfectly answers any rule of
obedience that is given unto us: and so cannot be our righteousness
before God unto our justification. Wherefore, we must be justified by the
righteousness of Christ imputed unto us, or be justified without respect
unto any righteousness, or not be justified at all. And a threefold
imperfection does accompany it:--
   1. As to the principle of it, as it is habitually resident in us;
for,--(1.) There is a contrary principle of sin abiding with it in the
same subject, whilst we are in this world. For contrary qualities may be
in the same subject, whilst neither of them is in the highest degree. So
it is in this case, Gal.5:17, "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary one to the
other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." (2.) None of the
faculties of our souls are perfectly renewed whilst we are in this world.
"The inward man is renewed day by day", 2 Cor.4:16; and we are always to
be purging ourselves from all pollution of flesh and spirit, 2 Cor.7:1.
And hereunto belongs whatever is spoken in the Scripture, whatever
believers find in themselves by experience, of the remainders of
indwelling sin, in the darkness of our minds; whence at best we know but
in part, and through ignorance are ready to wander out of the way,
Heb.5:2, in the deceitfulness of the heart and disorder of affections. I
understand not how any one can think of pleading his own righteousness in
the sight of God, or suppose that he can be justified by it, upon this
single account, of the imperfection of its inherent habit or principle.
Such notions arise from the ignorance of God and ourselves, or the want
of a due consideration of the one and the other. Neither can I apprehend
how a thousand distinctions can safely introduce it into any
consideration in our justification before God. He that can search in any
measure, by a spiritual light, into his own heart and soul, will find
"God be merciful to me a sinner," a better plea than any he can be
furnished withal from any worth of his own. "What is man, that he should
be clean? And he that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?"
Job 15:14-16; 4:18,19. Hence says Gregory, in Job.9, lib.9, cap.14, "Ut
saepe diximus omnis justitia humana injustitia esse convincitur si
distincte judicetur". Bernard speaks to the same purpose, and almost in
the same words, Serm.1. fest. omn. sanct., "Quid potest esse omnis
justitia nostra coram Deo? Nonne juxta prophetam velut 'pannus
menstruatae' reputabitur; et si districte judicetur, injustitia
invenietur omnis justitia nostra, et minus habens". A man cannot be
justified in any sense by that righteousness which, upon trial, will
appear rather to be an unrighteousness.
   2. It is imperfect with respect unto every act and duty of it, whether
internal or external. There is iniquity cleaving unto our holy things,
and all our "righteousnesses are as filthy rags," Isa.64:6. It has been
often and well observed, that if a man, the best of men, were left to
choose the best of his works that ever he performed, and thereon to enter
into judgment with God, if only under this notion, that he has answered
and fulfilled the condition required of him as unto his acceptation with
God, it would be his wisest course (at least it would be so in the
judgment of Bellarmine) to renounce it, and retake himself unto grace and
mercy alone.
   3. It is imperfect by reason of the incursion of actual sins. Hence
our Saviour has taught us continually to pray for the "forgiveness of our
sins;" and "if we say that we have no sins, we deceive ourselves," for
"in many things we offend all." And what confidence can be placed in this
righteousness, which those who plead for it in this cause acknowledge to
be weak, maimed, and imperfect?
   I have but touched on these things, which might have been handled at
large, and are indeed of great consideration in our present argument. But
enough has been spoken to manifest, that although this righteousness of
believers be on other accounts like the fruit of the vine, that glads the
heart of God and man, yet as unto our justification before God, it is
like the wood of the vine,--a pin is not to be taken from it to hang any
weight of this cause upon.
   Two things are pleaded in the behalf of this righteousness, and its
influence into our justification:--1. That it is absolutely complete and
perfect. Hence some say that they are perfect and sinless in this life;
they have no more concern in the mortification of sin, nor of growth in
grace. And indeed this is the only rational pretence of ascribing our
justification before God thereunto; for were it so with any, what should
hinder him from being justified thereon before God, but only that he has
been a sinner?--which spoils the whole market. But this vain imagination
is so contrary unto the Scripture, and the experience of all that know
the terror of the Lord, and what it is to walk humbly before him, as that
I shall not insist on the refutation of it.
   2. It is pleaded, "That although this righteousness be not an exact
fulfilling of the moral law, yet is it the accomplishment of the
condition of the new covenant, or entirely answers the law of grace, and
all that is required of us therein."
   Ans. (1.) This wholly takes away sin, and the pardon of it, no less
than does the conceit of sinless perfection which we now rejected; for if
our obedience do answer the only law and rule of it whereby it is to be
tried, measured, and judged, then is there no sin in us, nor need of
pardon. No more is required of any man, to keep him absolutely free from
sin, but that he fully answer, and exactly comply with, the rule and law
of his obedience whereby he must be judged. On this supposition,
therefore, there is neither sin nor any need of the pardon of it. To say
that there is still both sin and need of pardon, with respect unto the
moral law of God, is to confess that law to be the rule of our obedience,
which this righteousness does no way answer; and therefore none by it can
be justified in the sight of God.
   (2.) Although this righteousness be accepted in justified persons by
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet consider the principle of it,
with all the acts and duties wherein it does consist, as they are
required and prescribed in the gospel unto us, and they do neither
jointly nor severally fulfill and answer the commands of the gospel, no
more than they do the commands of the law. Wherefore, they cannot all of
them constitute a righteousness consisting in an exact conformity unto
the rules of the gospel, or the law of it; for it is impious to imagine
that the gospel requiring any duty of us, suppose the love of God, does
make any abatement, as unto the matter, manner, or degrees of perfection
in it, from what was required by the law. Does the gospel require a lower
degree of love to God, a less perfect love, than the law did? God forbid.
The same may be said concerning the inward frame of our natures, and all
other duties whatever. Wherefore, although this righteousness is accepted
in justified persons (as God had respect unto Abel, and then unto his
offering), in the way and unto the ends that shall be afterwards
declared; yet, as it relates unto the commands of the gospel, both it and
all the duties of it are no less imperfect than it would be if it should
be left unto its trial by the law of creation only.
   (3.) I know not what some men intend. On the one hand they affirm that
our Lord Jesus Christ has enlarged and heightened the spiritual sense of
the moral law, and not only so, but added unto it new precepts of more
exact obedience than it did require;--but on the other, they would have
him to have brought down or taken off the obligation of the law, so as
that a man, according as he has adapted it unto the use of the gospel,
shall be judged of God to have fulfilled the whole obedience which it
requires, who never answered any one precept of it according unto its
original sense and obligation; for so it must be if this imperfect
righteousness be on any account esteemed a fulfilling of the rule of our
obedience, as that thereon we should be justified in the sight of God.
   (4.) This opinion puts an irreconcilable difference between the law
and the gospel, not to be composed by any distinctions; for, according
unto it, God declares by the gospel a man to be perfectly righteous,
justified, and blessed, upon the consideration of a righteousness that is
imperfect; and in the law he pronounces every one accursed who continues
not in all things required by it, and as they are therein required. But
it is said that this righteousness is no otherwise to be considered but
as the condition of the new covenant, whereon we obtain remission of sins
on the sole account of the satisfaction of Christ, wherein our
justification does consist.
   Ans. (1.) Some, indeed, do say so, but not all, not the most, not the
most learned, with whom in this controversy we have to do. And in our
pleas for what we believe to be the truth, we cannot always have respect
unto every private opinion whereby it is opposed. (2.) That justification
consists only in the pardon of sin is so contrary to the signification of
the word, the constant use of it in the Scripture, the common notion of
it amongst mankind, the sense of men in their own consciences who find
themselves under an obligation unto duty, and express testimonies of the
Scripture, as that I somewhat wonder how it can be pretended. But it
shall be spoken unto elsewhere. (3.) If this righteousness be the
fulfilling of the condition of the new covenant whereon we are justified,
it must be in itself such as exactly answers some rule or law of
righteousness, and so be perfect: which it does not; and therefore cannot
bear the place of a righteousness in our justification. (4.) That this
righteousness is the condition of our justification before God, or of
that interest in the righteousness of Christ whereby we are justified, is
not proved, nor ever will be.
   I shall briefly add two or three considerations, excluding this
personal righteousness from its pretended interest in our justification,
and close this argument:--
   1. That righteousness which neither answers the law of God nor the end
of God in our justification by the gospel, is not that whereon we are
justified. But such is this inherent righteousness of believers, even of
the best of them. (1.) That it answers not the law of God has been proved
from its imperfection. Nor will any sober person pretend that it exactly
and perfectly fulfill the law of our creation. And this law cannot be
disannulled whilst the relation of creator nd rewarder on the one hand,
and of creatures capable of obedience and rewards on the other, between
God and us does continue. Wherefore, that which answers not its law will
not justify us; for God will not abrogate that law, that the
transgressors of it may be justified. "Do we", says the apostle, by the
doctrine of justification by faith without works, "make void the law? God
forbid: yea, we establish it," Rom.3:31. (2.) That we should be justified
with respect unto it answers not the end of God in our justification by
the gospel; for this is to take away all glorying in ourselves and all
occasion of it, every thing that might give countenance unto it, so as
that the whole might be to the praise of his own grace by Christ,
Rom.3:27; 1 Cor.1:29-31. How it is faith alone that gives glory to God
herein has been declared in the description of its nature. But it is
evident that no man has, or can possibly have, any other, any greater
occasion of boasting in himself, with respect unto his justification,
than that he is justified on his performance of that condition of it,
which consists in his own personal righteousness.
   2. No man was ever justified by it in his own conscience, much less
can he be justified by it in the sight of God; "for God is greater than
our hearts and knoweth all things." There is no man so righteous, so
holy, in the whole world, nor ever was, but his own conscience would
charge him in many things with his coming short of the obedience required
of him, in matter or manner, in the kind or degrees of perfection; for
there is no man that lives and sins not. Absolutely, "Nemo absolvitur se
judice". Let any man be put unto a trial in himself whether he can be
justified in his own conscience by his own righteousness, and he will be
cast in the trial at his own judgment-seat; and he that does not thereon
conclude that there must be another righteousness whereby he must be
justified, that originally and inherently is not his own, will be at a
loss for peace, with God. But it will be said, that "men may be justified
in their consciences that they have performed the condition of the new
covenant, which is all that is pleaded with respect unto this
righteousness" And I no way doubt but that men may have a comfortable
persuasion of their own sincerity in obedience, and satisfaction in the
acceptance of it with God. But it is when they try it as an effect of
faith, whereby they are justified, and not as the condition of their
justification. Let it be thus stated in their minds,--that God requires a
personal righteousness in order unto their justification, whereon their
determination must be, "This is my righteousness which I present unto God
that I may be justified", and they will find difficulty in arriving at
it, if I be not much mistaken.
   3. None of the holy men of old, whose faith and experience are
recorded in the Scripture, did ever plead their own personal
righteousness, under any notion of it, either as to the merit of their
works or as unto their complete performance of what was required of them
as the condition of the covenant, in order unto their justification
before God. This has been spoken unto before.





XI. The nature of the obedience that God requires of us--The eternal
obligation of the law thereunto


Nature of the obedience or righteousness required unto justification--
Original and causes of the law of creation--The substance and end of that
law--The immutability or unchangeableness of it, considered absolutely,
and as it was the instrument of the covenant between God and man--
Arguments to prove it unchangeable; and its obligation unto the
righteousness first required perpetually in force--Therefore not
abrogated, not dispensed withal, not derogated from, but accomplished--
This alone by Christ, and the imputation of his righteousness unto us


Our second argument shall be taken from the nature of that obedience or
righteousness which God requires of us that we may be accepted of him,
and approved by him. This being a large subject, if fully to be handled,
I shall reduce what is of our present concernment in it unto some special
heads or observations;--
   1. God being a most perfect, and therefore a most free agent, all his
acting towards mankind, all his dealings with them, all his constitutions
and laws concerning them, are to be resolved into his own sovereign will
and pleasure. No other reason can be given of the original of the whole
system of them. This the Scripture testifies unto, Ps.115:3; 135:6;
Prov.16:4; Eph.1:9,11; Rev.4:11. The being, existence, and natural
circumstances of all creatures being an effect of the free counsel and
pleasure of God, all that belongs unto them must be ultimately resolved
thereinto.
   2. Upon a supposition of some free acts of the will of God, and the
execution of theme constituting an order in the things that outwardly are
of him, and their mutual respect unto one another, some things may become
necessary in this relative state, whose being was not absolutely
necessary in its own nature. The order of all things, and their mutual
respect unto one another, depend on God's free constitution no less than
their being absolutely. But upon a supposition of that constitution,
things have in that order a necessary relation one to another, and all of
them unto God. Wherefore,--
   3. It was a free, sovereign act of God's will, to create, effect, or
produce such a creature as man is; that is, of a nature intelligent,
rational, capable of moral obedience, with rewards and punishments. But
on a supposition  hereof, man, so freely made, could not be governed any
other ways but by a moral instrument of law or rule, influencing the
rational faculties of his soul unto obedience, and guiding him therein.
He could not in that constitution be contained under the rule of God by a
mere physical influence, as are all irrational or brute creatures. To
suppose it, is to deny or destroy the essential faculty and powers
wherewith he was created Wherefore, on the supposition of his being, it
was necessary that a law or rule of obedience should be prescribed unto
him and be the instrument of God's government towards him.
   4. This necessary law, so far forth as it was necessary, did
immediately and unavoidably ensue upon the constitution of our nature in
relation unto God. Supposing the nature, being, and properties of God,
with the works of creation, on the one hand; and suppose the being,
existence, and the nature of man, with his necessary relation unto God,
on the other; and the law whereof we speak is nothing but the rule of
that relation, which can neither be nor be preserved without it. Hence is
this law eternal, indispensable, admitting of no other variation than
does the relation between God and man, which is a necessary exurgence
from their distinct natures and properties.
   5. The substance of this law was, that man, adhering unto God
absolutely, universally, unchangeably, uninterruptedly, in trust, love,
and fear, as the chiefest good, the first author of his being, of all the
present and future advantages whereof it was capable, should yield,
obedience unto him, with respect unto his infinite wisdom, righteousness,
and almighty power to protect, reward, and punish, in all things known to
be his will and pleasure, either by the light of his own mind or especial
revelation made unto him. And it is evident that no more is required unto
the constitution and establishment of this law but that God be God, and
man be man, with the necessary relation that must thereon ensue between
them. Wherefore,--
   6. This law does eternally and unchangeably oblige all men unto
obedience to God,--even that obedience which it requires, and in the
manner wherein it requires it; for both the substance of what it
requires, and the manner of the performance of it, as unto measures and
degrees, are equally necessary and unalterable, upon the suppositions
laid down. For God cannot deny himself, nor is the nature of man changed
as unto the essence of it, whereunto alone respect is had in this law, by
any thing that can fall out. And although God might superadd unto the
original obligations of this law what arbitrary commands he pleased, such
as did not necessarily proceed or arise from the relation between him and
us, which might be, and be continued without them; yet would they be
resolved into that principle of this law, that God in all things was
absolutely to be trusted and obeyed.
   7. "Known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the
world." In the constitution of this order of things he made it possible,
and foresaw it would be future, that man would rebel against the
receptive power of the law, and disturb that order of things wherein he
was placed under his moral rule. This gave occasion unto that effect of
infinite divine righteousness, in constituting the punishment that man
should fall under, upon his transgression of this law. Neither was this
an effect of arbitrary will and pleasure, any more than the law itself
was. Upon the supposition of the creation of man, the law mentioned was
necessary, from all the divine properties of the nature of God; and upon
a supposition that man would transgress the law, God being now considered
as his ruler and governor, the constitution of the punishment due unto
his sin and transgression of it was a necessary effect of divine
righteousness. This it would not have been had the law itself been
arbitrary; but that being necessary, so was the penalty of its
transgression. Wherefore, the constitution of this penalty is liable to
no more change, alteration, or abrogation than the law itself, without an
alteration in the state and relation between God and man.
   8. This is that law which our Lord Jesus Christ came "not to destroy,
but to fulfill," that he might be "the end of it for righteousness unto
them that do believe." This law he abrogated not, nor could do so without
a destruction of the relation that is between God and man, arising from,
or ensuing necessarily on, their distinct beings and properties; but as
this cannot be destroyed, so the Lord Christ came unto a contrary end,--
namely, to repair and restore it where it was weakened. Wherefore,--
   9. This law, the law of sinless, perfect obedience, with its sentence
of the punishment of death on all transgressors, does and must abide in
force forever in this world; for there is no more required hereunto but
that God be God, and man be man. Yet shall this be farther proved:--
   (1.) There is nothing, not one word, in the Scripture intimating any
alteration in or abrogation of this law; so as that any thing should not
be duty which it makes to be duty, or any thing not be sin which it makes
to be sin, either as unto matter or degrees, or that the thing which it
makes to be sin, or which is sin by the rule of it, should not merit and
deserve that punishment which is declared in the sanction of it, or
threatened by it: "The wages of sin is death". If any testimony of
Scripture can be produced unto either of these purposes,--namely, that
either any thing is not sin, in the way of omission or commission, in the
matter or manner of its performance, which is made to be so by this law,
or that any such sin, or any thing that would have been sin by this is
law, is exempted from the punishment threatened by it, as unto merit or
desert,--it shall be attended unto. It is, therefore, in universal force
towards all mankind. There is no relief in this case, but "Behold the
Lamb of God.".
   In exception hereunto it is pleaded, that when it was first given unto
Adam, it was the rule and instrument of a covenant between God and man,--
a covenant of works and perfect obedience; but upon the entrance of sin,
it ceased to have the nature of a covenant unto any. And it is so ceased,
that on an impossible supposition that any man should fulfill the perfect
righteousness of it, yet should he not be justified, or obtain the
benefit of the covenant thereby. It is not, therefore, only become
ineffectual unto us as a covenant by reason of our weakness and
disability to perform it, but it is ceased in its own nature so to be;
but these things, as they are not unto our present purpose, so are they
wholly unproved. For,--
   [1.] Our discourse is not about the federal adjunct of the law, but
about its moral nature only. It is enough that, as a law, it continues to
oblige all mankind unto perfect obedience, under its original penalty.
For hence it will unavoidably follow, that unless the commands of it be
complied withal and fulfilled, the penalty will fall on all that
transgress it. And those who grant that this law is still in force as
unto its being a rule of obedience, or as unto its requiring duties of
us, do grant all that we desire. For it requires no obedience but what it
did in its original constitution,--that is, sinless and perfect; and it
requires no duty, nor prohibits any sin, but under the penalty of death
upon disobedience.
   [2.] It is true, that he who is once a sinner, if he should afterwards
yield all that perfect obedience unto God that the law requires, could
not thereby obtain the benefit of the promise of the covenant. But the
sole reason of it is, because he is antecedently a sinner, and so
obnoxious unto the curse of the law; and no man can be obnoxious unto its
curse and have a right unto its promise at the same time. But so to lay
the supposition, that the same person is by any means free from the curse
due unto sin, and then to deny that, upon the performance of that
perfect, sinless obedience which the law requires, he should have right
unto the promise of life thereby, is to deny the truth of God, and to
reflect the highest dishonour upon his justice. Jesus Christ himself was
justified by this law; and it is immutably true, that he who does the
things of it shall live therein.
   [3.] It is granted that man continued not in the observation of this
law, as it was the ruble of the covenant between God and him. The
covenant it was not, but the rule of it; which, that it should be, was
superadded unto its being as a law. For the covenant comprised things
that were not any part of a result from the necessary relation of God and
man. Wherefore man, by his sin as unto demerit, may be said to break this
covenant, and as unto any benefit unto himself, to disannul it. It is
also true, that God did never formally and absolutely renew or give again
this law as a covenant a second time. Nor was there any need that so he
should do, unless it were declaratively only, for so it was renewed at
Sinai; for the whole of it being an emanation of eternal right and truth,
it abides, and must abide, in full force forever. Wherefore, it is only
thus far broken as a covenant, that all mankind having sinned against the
commands of it, and so, by guilt, with the impotency unto obedience which
ensued thereon, defeated themselves of any interest in its promise, and
possibility of attaining any such interest, they cannot have any benefit
by it. But as unto its power to oblige all mankind unto obedience, and
the unchangeable truth of its promises and threatenings, it abides the
same as it was from the beginning.
   (2.) Take away this law, and there is left no standard of
righteousness unto mankind, no certain boundaries of good and evil, but
those pillars whereon God has fixed the earth are left to move and float
up and down like the isle of Delos in the sea. Some say, the rule of good
and evil unto men is not this law in its original constitution, but the
light of nature and the dictates of reason. If they mean that light which
was primigenial and concreated with our natures, and those dictates of
right and wrong which reason originally suggested and improved, they only
say, in other words, that this law is still the unalterable rule of
obedience unto all mankind. But if they intend the remaining light of
nature that continues in every individual in this depraved state thereof,
and that under such additional deprivations as traditions, customs,
prejudices, and lusts of all sorts, have affixed unto the most, there is
nothing more irrational; and it is that which is charged with no less
inconvenience than that it leaves no certain boundaries of good and evil.
That which is good unto one, will, on this ground, be in its own nature
evil unto another, and so on the contrary; and all the idolaters that
ever were in the world might on this pretence be excused.
   (3.) Conscience bears witness hereunto. There is no good nor evil
required or forbidden by this law, that, upon the discovery of it, any
man in the world can persuade or bribe his conscience not to comply with
it in judgment, as unto his concernment therein. It will accuse and
excuse, condemn and free him, according to the sentence of this law, let
him do what he can to the contrary.
   In brief, it is acknowledged that God, by virtue of his supreme
dominion over all, may, in some instances, change the nature and order of
things, so as that the precepts of the divine law shall not in them
operate in their ordinary efficacy. So was it in the case of his command
unto Abraham to slay his son, and unto the Israelites to rob the
Egyptians. But on a supposition of the continuance of that order of
things which this law is the preservation of, such is the intrinsic
nature of the good and evil commanded and forbidden therein, that it is
not the subject of divine dispensation; as even the schoolmen generally
grant.
   10. From what we have discoursed, two things do unavoidably ensue:--
   (1.) That whereas all mankind have by sin fallen under the penalty
threatened unto the transgression of this law,--and [the] suffering of
this penalty, which is eternal death, being inconsistent with acceptance
before God, or the enjoyment of blessedness,--it is utterly impossible
that any one individual person of the posterity of Adam should be
justified in the sight of God, accepted with him or blessed by him,
unless this penalty be answered, undergone, and suffered, by them or for
them. The "dikaiooma tou Theou" herein is not to be abolished, but
established.
   (2.) That unto the same end, of acceptation with God, justification
before him, and blessedness from him, the righteousness of this eternal
law must be fulfilled in us in such a way as that, in the judgment of
God, which is according unto truth, we may be esteemed to have fulfilled
it, and be dealt with accordingly. For upon a supposition of a failure
herein, the sanction of the law is not arbitrary, so as that the penalty
may or may not be inflicted, but necessary, from the righteousness of God
as the supreme governor of all.
   11. About the first of these, our controversy is with the Socinians
only, who deny the satisfaction of Christ, and any necessity thereof.
Concerning this I have treated elsewhere at large, and expect not to see
an answer unto what I have disputed on that subject. As unto the latter
of them, we must inquire how we may be supposed to comply with the rule,
and answer the righteousness of this unalterable law, whose authority we
can no way be exempted from. And that which we plead is, that the
obedience and righteousness of Christ imputed unto us,--his obedience as
the surety of the new covenant, granted unto us, made ours by the
gracious constitution, sovereign appointment, and donation of God,--is
that whereon we are judged and esteemed to have answered the
righteousness of the law. "By the obedience of one many are made
righteous," Rom.5:19. "That the righteousness of the law might be
fulfilled in us," Rom.8:4. And hence we argue,--
   If there be no other way whereby the righteousness of the law may be
fulfilled in us, without which we cannot be justified, but must fall
inevitably under the penalty threatened unto the transgression of it, but
only the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us, then is that the sole
righteousness whereby we are justified in the sight of God. But the
former is true, and so, therefore is the latter.
   12. On the supposition of this law, and its original obligation unto
obedience, with its sanction and threatenings, there can be but one of
three ways whereby we may come to be justified before God, who have
sinned, and are no way able in ourselves to perform the obedience for the
future which it does require. And each of them has a respect unto a
sovereign act of God with reference unto this law. The first is the
abrogation of it, that it should no more oblige us either unto obedience
or punishment. This we have proved impossible; and they will woefully
deceive their own souls who shall trust unto it. The second is by
transferring of its obligation, unto the end of justification, on a
surety or common undertaker. This is that which we plead for, as the
substance of the mystery of the gospel, considering the person and grace
of this undertaker or surety. And herein all things do tend unto the
exaltation of the glory of God in all the holy properties of his nature,
with the fulfilling and establishing of the law itself, Matt.5:17;
Rom.3:31; 8:4; 10:3,4. The third way is by an act of God towards the law,
and another towards us, whereby the nature of the righteousness which the
law requires is changed; which we shall examine as the only reserve
against our present argument.
   13. It is said, therefore, that by our own personal obedience we do
answer the righteousness of the law, so far as it is required of us. But
whereas no sober person can imagine that we can, or that any one in our
lapsed condition ever did, yield in our own persons that perfect, sinless
obedience unto God which is required of us in the law of creation, two
things are supposed, that our obedience, such as it is, may be accepted
with God as if it were sinless and perfect. For although some will not
allow that the righteousness of Christ is imputed unto us for what it is,
yet they contend that our own righteousness is imputed unto us for what
it is not. Of these things the one respects the law, the other our
obedience.
   14. That which respects the law is not the abrogation of it. For
although this would seem the most expedite way for the reconciliation of
this difficulty,--namely, that the law of creation is utterly abrogated
by the gospel, both as unto its obligation unto obedience and punishment,
and no law is to be continued in force but that which requires only
sincere obedience of us, whereof there is, as unto duties [and] the
manner of their performance, not any absolute rule or measure,--yet this
is not by many pretended. They say not that this law is so abrogated as
that it should not have the power and efficacy of a law towards us. Nor
is it possible it should be so; nor can any pretence be given how it
should so be. It is true, it was broken by man, is so by us all, and that
with respect unto its principal end of our subjection unto God and
dependence upon him, according to the rule of it; but it is foolish to
think that the fault of those unto whom a righteous law is rightly given
should abrogate or disannul the law itself. A law that is good and just
may cease and expire as unto any power of obligation, upon the ceasing or
expiration of the relation which it did respect; so the apostle tells us
that "when the husband of a woman is dead, she is free from the law of
her husband", Rom.7:2. But the relation between God and us, which was
constituted in our first creation, can never cease. But a law cannot be
abrogated without a new law given, and made by the same or an equal power
that made it, either expressly revoking it, or enjoining things
inconsistent with it and contradictory unto its observation. In the
latter way the law of Mosaical institutions was abrogated and
disannulled. There was not any positive law made for the taking of it
away; but the constitution and introduction of a new way of worship by
the gospel, inconsistent with it and contrary unto it, deprived it of all
its obligatory power and efficacy. But neither of these ways has God
taken away the obligation of the original law of obedience, either as
unto duties or recompenses of reward. Neither is there any direct law
made for its abrogation; nor has he given any new law of moral obedience,
either inconsistent with or contrary unto it: yea, in the gospel it is
declared to be established and fulfilled.
   It is true, as was observed before, that this law was made the
instrument of a covenant between God and man; and so there is another
reason of it, for God has actually introduced another covenant
inconsistent with it, and contrary unto it. But yet neither does this
instantly, and "ipso facto", free all men unto the law, in the way of a
covenant. For, unto the obligation of a law, there is no more required
but that the matter of it be just and righteous; that it be given or made
by him who has just authority so to give or make it; and be sufficiently
declared unto them who are to be obliged by it. Hence the making and
promulgation of a new law does "ipso facto" abrogate any former law that
is contrary unto it, and frees all men from obedience unto it who were
before obliged by it. But in a covenant it is not so. For a covenant does
not operate by mere sovereign authority; it becomes not a covenant
without the consent of them with whom it is made. Wherefore, no benefit
accrues unto any, or freedom from the old covenant, by the constitution
of the new, unless he has actually complied with it, has chosen it, and
is interested in it thereby. The first covenant made with Adam, we did in
him consent unto and accept of. And therein, not withstanding our sin, do
we and must we abide,--that is, under the obligation of it unto duty and
punishment,--until by faith we are made partakers of the new. It cannot
therefore be said, that we are not concerned in the fulfilling of the
righteousness of this law, because it is abrogated.
   15. Nor can it be said that the law has received a new interpretation,
whereby it is declared that it does not oblige, nor shall be constructed
for the future to oblige, any unto sinless and perfect obedience, but may
be complied with on far easier terms. For the law being given unto us
when we were sinless, and on purpose to continue and preserve us in that
condition, it is absurd to say that it did not oblige us unto sinless
obedience; and not an interpretation, but
a plain depravation of its sense and meaning. Nor is any such thing once
intimated in the gospel. Yea, the discourses of our Saviour upon the law
are absolutely destructive of any such imagination. For whereas the
scribes and Pharisees had attempted, by their false glosses and
interpretations, to accommodate the law unto the inclinations and lusts
of men (a course since pursued both nationally and practically, as all
who design to burden the consciences of men with their own commands do
endeavour constantly to recompense them by an indulgence with respect
unto the commands of God), he, on the contrary, rejects all such
pretended epieikias [accommodations] and interpretations, restoring the
law unto its pristine crown, as the Jews' tradition is, that the Messiah
shall do.
   16. Nor can a relaxation of the law be pretended, if there be any such
thing in rule; for if there be, it respects the whole being of the law,
and consists either in the suspension of its whole obligation, at least
for a season, or the substitution of another person to answer its
demands, who was not in the original obligation, in the room of them that
were. For so some say that the Lord Christ was made under the law for us
by an act of relaxation of the original obligation of the law; how
properly, "ipso viderint." But here, in no sense, it can have place.
   17. The act of God towards the law in this case intended, is a
derogation from its obliging power as unto obedience. For whereas it did
originally oblige unto perfect, sinless obedience in all duties, both as
unto their substance and the manner of their performance, it shall be
allowed to oblige us still unto obedience, but not unto that which is
absolutely the same, especially not as unto the completeness and
perfection of it; for if it do so, either it is fulfilled in the
righteousness of Christ for us, or no man living can ever be justified in
the sight of God. Wherefore, by an act of derogation from its original
power, it is provided that it shall oblige us still unto obedience, but
not that which is absolutely sinless and perfect; but although it be
performed with less intension of love unto God, or in a lower degree than
it did at first require, so it be sincere and universal as unto all parts
of it, it is all that the law now requires of us. This is all that it now
requires, as it is adapted unto the service of the new covenant, and made
the rule of obedience according to the law of Christ. Hereby is its
receptive part, so far as we are concerned in it, answered and complied
withal. Whether these things are so or no, we shall see immediately in a
few words.
   18. Hence it follows, that the act of God with respect unto our
obedience is not an act of judgment according unto any rule or law of his
own; but an acceptilation, or an esteeming, accounting, accepting that as
perfect, or in the room of that which is perfect, which really and in
truth is not so.
   19. It is added, that both these depend on, and are the procurements
of, the obedience, suffering, and merits of Christ. For on their account
it is that our weak and imperfect obedience is accepted as if it were
perfect; and the power of the law, to require obedience absolutely
perfect, is taken away. And these being the effects of the righteousness
of Christ, that righteousness may on their account, and so far, be said
to be imputed unto us.
   20. But notwithstanding the great endeavours that have been used to
give a colour of truth unto these things, they are both of them but
fictions and imaginations of men, that have no ground in the Scripture,
nor do comply with the experience of them that believe. For to touch a
little on the latter, in the first place, there is no true believer but
has these two things fixed in his mind and conscience,--
   (1.) That there is nothing in principles, habits, qualities, or
actions, wherein he comes short of a perfect compliance with the holy law
of God, even as it requires perfect obedience, but that it has in it the
nature of sin, and that in itself deserving the curse annexed originally
unto the breach of that law. They do not, therefore, apprehend that its
obligation is taken off, weakened, or derogated from in any thing. (2.)
That there is no relief for him, with respect unto what the law requires
or unto what it threatens, but by the mediation of Jesus Christ alone,
who of God is made righteousness unto him. Wherefore, they do not rest in
or on the acceptation of their own obedience, such as it is, to answer
the law, but trust unto Christ alone for their acceptation with God.
   21. They are both of them doctrinally untrue; for as unto the former,-
-(1.) It is unwritten. There is no intimation in the Scripture of any
such dispensation of God with reference unto the original law of
obedience. Much is spoken of our deliverance from the curse of the law by
Christ, but of the abatement of its receptive power nothing at all. (2.)
It is contrary to the Scripture; for it is plainly affirmed that the law
is not to be abolished, but fulfilled; not to be made void, but to be
established; that the righteousness of it must be fulfilled in us. (3.)
It is a supposition both unreasonable and impossible. For,--[1.] The law
was a representation unto us of the holiness of God, and his
righteousness in the government of his creatures. There can be no
alteration made herein, seeing with God himself there is no variableness
nor shadow of changing. [2.] It would leave no standard of righteousness,
but only a Lesbian rule, which turns and applies itself unto the light
and abilities of men, and leaves at least as many various measures of
righteousness as there are believers in the world. [3.] It includes a
variation in the centre of all religion, which is the natural and moral
relation of men unto God; for so there must be, if all that was once
necessary thereunto do not still continue so to be. [4.] It is
dishonourable unto the mediation of Christ; for it makes the principal
end of it to be, that God should accept of a righteousness unto our
justification inexpressibly beneath that which he required in the law of
our creation. And this in a sense makes him the minister of sin, or that
he has procured an indulgence unto it; not by the way of satisfaction and
pardon, whereby he takes away the guilt of it from the church, but by
taking from it its nature and demerit, so as that what was so originally
should not continue so to be, or at least not to deserve the punishment
it was first threatened withal. [5.] It reflects on the goodness of God
himself; for on this supposition, that he has reduced his law into that
state and order as to be satisfied by an observation of it so weak, so
imperfect, accompanied with so many failures and sins, as it is with the
obedience of the best men in this world (whatever thoughts unto the
contrary the frenzy of pride may suggest unto the minds of any), what
reason can be given, consistent with his goodness, why he should give a
law at first of perfect obedience, which one sin laid all mankind under
the penalty of unto their ruin?
   22. All these things, and sundry others of the same kind, do follow
also on the second supposition, of an acceptilation or an imaginary
estimation of that as perfect which is imperfect, as sinless which is
attended with sins innumerable. But the judgment of God is according unto
truth; neither will he reckon that unto us for a perfect righteousness in
his sight which is so imperfect as to be like tattered rags, especially
having promised unto us robes of righteousness and garments of salvation.
   That which necessarily follows on these discourses is, That there is
no other way whereby the original, immutable law of God may be
established and fulfilled with respect unto us, but by the imputation of
the perfect obedience and righteousness of Christ, who is the end of the
law for righteousness unto all that do believe.




XII. The imputation of the obedience of Christ unto the law declared and
indicated


Imputation of the obedience of Christ no less necessary than that of his
suffering, on the same ground--Objections against it:--First, That it is
impossible--Management hereof by Socinus--Ground of this objection, that
the Lord Christ was for himself obliged unto all the obedience he yielded
unto God, and performed it for himself, answered--The obedience inquired
after, the obedience of the person of Christ the Son of God--In his whole
person Christ was not under the law--He designed the obedience he
performed for us, not for himself--This actual obedience not necessary as
a qualification of his person unto the discharge of his office--The
foundation of this obedience in his being made man, and of the posterity
of Abraham, not for himself, but for us--Right of the human nature unto
glory, by virtue of union--Obedience necessary unto the human nature, as
Christ in it was made under the law--This obedience properly for us--
Instances of that nature among men--Christ obeyed as a public person, and
so not for himself--Human nature of Christ subject unto the law, so an
eternal rule of dependence on God, and subjection to him; not as
prescribed unto us whilst we are in this world, in order unto our future
blessedness or reward--Second objection, That it is useless, answered--He
that is pardoned all his sins is not thereon esteemed to have done all
that is required of him--Not to be unrighteous negatively, not the same
with being righteous positively--The law obliges both unto punishment and
obedience--How, and in what sense--Pardon of sin gives no title to
eternal life--The righteousness of Christ, who is one, imputed unto many-
-Arguments proving the imputation of the obedience of Christ unto the
justification of life


From the foregoing general argument another does issue in parcular, with
respect unto the imputation of the active obedience or righteousness of
Christ unto us, as an essential part of that righteousness whereon we are
justified before God. And it is as follows:-- "If it were necessary that
the Lord Christ, as our surety, should undergo the penalty of the law for
us, or in our stead, because we have all sinned, then it was necessary
also that, as our surety, he should yield obedience unto the receptive
part of the law for us also; and if the imputation of the former be
needful for us unto our justification before God, then is the imputation
of the latter also necessary unto the same end and purpose." For why was
it necessary, or why would God have it so, that the Lord Christ, as the
surety of the covenant, should undergo the curse and penalty of the law,
which we had incurred the guilt of by sin, that we may be justified in
his sight? Was it not that the glory and honour of his righteousness, as
the author of the law, and the supreme governor of all mankind thereby,
might not be violated in the absolute impunity of the infringers of it?
And if it were requisite unto the glory of God that the penalty of the
law should be undergone for us, or suffered by our surety in our stead,
because we had sinned, wherefore is it not as requisite unto the glory of
God that the receptive part of the law be complied withal for us,
inasmuch as obedience thereunto is required of us? And as we are no more
able of ourselves to full the law in a way of obedience than to undergo
the penalty of it, so as that we may be justified thereby; so no reason
can be given why God is not as much concerned, in honour and glory, that
the preceptive power and part of the law be complied withal by perfect
obedience, as that the sanction of it be established by undergoing the
penalty of it. Upon the same grounds, therefore, that the Lord Christ's
suffering the penalty of the law for us was necessary that we might be
justified in the sight of God, and that the satisfaction he made [might]
thereby be imputed unto us, as if we ourselves had made satisfaction unto
God, as Bellarmine speaks and grants; on the same it was equally
necessary,--that is, as unto the glory and honour of the Legislator and
supreme Governor of all by the law,--that he should fulfill the receptive
part of it, in his perfect obedience thereunto; which also is to be
imputed unto us for our justification.
   Concerning the first of these,--namely, the satisfaction of Christ,
and the imputation of it unto us,--our principal difference is with the
Socinians. And I have elsewhere written so much in the vindication of the
truth therein, that I shall not here again reassume the same argument; it
is here, therefore, taken for granted, although I know that there are
some different apprehensions about the notion of Christ's suffering in
our stead, and of the imputation of those sufferings unto us. But I shall
here take no notice of them, seeing I press this argument no farther, but
only so far forth that the obedience of Christ unto the law, and the
imputation thereof unto us, are no less necessary unto our justification
before God, than his suffering of the penalty of the law, and the
imputation thereof unto us, unto the same end. The nature of this
imputation, and what it is formally that is imputed, we have considered
elsewhere.
   That the obedience of Christ the mediator is thus imputed to us, shall
be afterwards proved in particular by testimonies of the Scripture. Here
I intend only the vindication of the argument as before laid down, which
will take us up a little more time than ordinary. For there is nothing in
the whole doctrine of justification which meets with a more fierce and
various opposition; but the truth is great, and will prevail.
   The things that are usually objected and vehemently urged against the
imputation of the obedience of Christ unto our justification, may be
reduced unto three heads--I. That it is impossible. II. That it is
useless. III. That it is pernicious to believe it. And if the arguments
used for the enforcement of these objections be as cogent as the charge
itself is fierce and severe, they will unavoidably overthrow the
persuasions of it in the minds of all sober persons. But there is
ofttimes a wide difference between what is said and what is proved, as
will appear in the present case:--
   I. It is pleaded impossible, on this single ground,--namely, "That the
obedience of Christ unto the law was due from him on his own account, and
performed by him for himself, as a man made under the law." Now, what was
necessary unto himself, and done for himself, cannot be said to be done
for us, so as to be imputed unto us.
   II. It is pretended to be useless from hence, because all "our sins of
omission and commission being pardoned in our justification on the
account of the death and satisfaction of Christ, we are thereby made
completely righteous; so as that there is not the least necessity for, or
use of, the imputation of the obedience of Christ unto us."
   III. Pernicious also they say it is, as that which takes away "the
necessity of our own personal obedience, introducing antinomianism,
libertinism, and all manner of evils."
   For this last part of the charge, I refer it unto its proper place;
for although it be urged by some against this part of the doctrine of
justification in a peculiar manner, yet is it managed by others against
the whole of it. And although we should grant that the obedience of
Christ unto the law is not imputed unto us unto our justification, yet
shall we not be freed from disturbance by this false accusation, unless
we will renounce the whole of the satisfaction and merit of Christ also;
and we intend not to purchase our peace with the whole world at so dear a
rate. Wherefore, I shall in its proper place give this part of the charge
its due consideration, as it reflects on the whole doctrine of
justification, and all the causes thereof, which we believe and profess.
 I. The first part of this charge, concerning the impossibility of the
imputation of the obedience of Christ unto us, is insisted on by Socinus
de Servat., part 3 cap. 5. And there has been nothing since pleaded unto
the same purpose but what has been derived from him, or wherein, at
least, he has not prevented the inventions of other men, and gone before
them. And he makes this consideration the principal engine wherewith he
endeavours the overthrow of the whole doctrine of the merit of Christ;
for he supposes that if all he did in a way of obedience was due from
himself on his own account, and was only the duty which he owed unto God
for himself in his station and circumstances, as a man in this world, it
cannot be meritorious for us, nor any way imputed unto us. And in like
manner, to weaken the doctrine of his satisfaction, and the imputation
thereof unto us, he contends that Christ offered as a priest for himself,
in that kind of offering which he made on the cross, part 2 cap. 22. And
his real opinion was, that whatever was of offering or sacrifice in the
death of Christ, it was for himself; that is, it was an act of obedience
unto God, which pleased him, as the savour of a sweet-smelling sacrifice.
His offering for us is only the presentation of himself in the presence
of God in heaven; now he has no more to do for himself in a way of duty.
And the truth is, if the obedience of Christ had respect unto himself
only,--that is, if he yielded it unto God on the necessity of his
condition, and did not do it for us,--I see no foundation left to assert
his merit upon, no more than I do for the imputation of it unto them that
believe.
   That which we plead is, that the Lord Christ fulfilled the whole law
for us; he did not only undergo the penalty of it due unto our sins, but
also yielded that perfect obedience which it did require. And herein I
shall not immix myself in the debate of the distinction between the
active and passive obedience of Christ; for he exercised the highest
active obedience in his suffering, when he offered himself to God through
the eternal Spirit. And all his obedience, considering his person, was
mixed with suffering, as a part of his exinanition and humiliation;
whence it is said, that "though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience
by the things which he suffered." And however doing and suffering are in
various categories of things, yet Scripture testimonies are not to be
regulated by philosophical artifices and terms. And it must needs be
said, that the sufferings of Christ, as they were purely penal, are
imperfectly called his passive righteousness; for all righteousness is
either in habit or in action, whereof suffering is neither; nor is any
man righteous, or so esteemed, from what he suffers. Neither do
sufferings give satisfaction unto the commands of the law, which require
only obedience. And hence it will unavoidably follow, that we have need
of more than the mere sufferings of Christ, whereby we may be justified
before God, if so be that any righteousness be required thereunto; but
the whole of what I intend is, that Christ's fulfilling of the law, in
obedience unto its commands, is no less imputed unto us for our
justification than his undergoing the penalty of it is.
   I cannot but judge it sounds ill in the ears of all Christians, "That
the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ, as our mediator and surety, unto
the whole law of God, was for himself alone, and not for us;" or, that
what he did therein was not that he might be the end of the law for
righteousness unto them that do believe, nor a means of the fulfilling of
the righteousness of the law in us;--especially considering that the
faith of the church is, that he was given to us, born to us; that for us
men, and for our salvation, he came down from heaven, and did and
suffered what was required of him. But whereas some who deny the
imputation of the obedience of Christ unto us for our justification, do
insist principally on the second thing mentioned,--namely, the
unusefulness of it,--I shall under this part of the charge consider only
the arguing of Socinus; which is the whole of what some at present do
endeavour to perplex the truth withal.
   To this purpose is his discourse, part 3 cap. 5. De Servat.: "Jamo
vero manifestum est, Christum quia homo natus fuerat, et quidem, ut
inquit Paulus, factus sub lege, legi divinae inquam, quae aeterna et
immutabilis est, non minus quam caeteri homines obnoxium fuisse. Alioqui
potuisset Christus aeternam Dei legem negligere, sive etiam universam si
voluisset infringere, quod impium est vel cogitare. Immo ut supra alicubi
explicatum fuit, nisi ipse Christus legi divinae servandae obnoxius
fuisset, ut ex Paulu verbis colligitur, nonpotuisset iis, qui ei legi
servandae obnoxii sunt, opem ferre et eos ad immortalitatis firmam spem
traducere. Non differebat igitur hac quidem ex parte Christus, quando
homo natus erat, a caeteris hominibus. Quocirca nec etiam pro aliis,
magis quam quilibet alius homo, legem livinam conservando satisfacere
potuit, quippe qui ipse eam servare omnino debuit". I have transcribed
his words, that it may appear with whose weapons some young disputers
among ourselves do contend against the truth.
   The substance of his plea is,--that our Lord Jesus Christ was for
himself, or on his own account, obliged unto all that obedience which he
performed. And this he endeavours to prove with this reason,-- "Because
if it were otherwise, then he might, if he would, have neglected the
whole law of God, and have broken it at his pleasure." For he forgot to
consider, that if he were not obliged unto it upon his own account, but
was so on ours, whose cause he had undertaken, the obligation on him unto
most perfect obedience was equal to what it would have been had he been
originally obliged on his own account. However, hence he infers "That
what he did could not be for us, because it was so for himself; no more
than what any other man is bound to do in a way of duty for himself can
be esteemed to have been done also for another." For he will show of none
of those considerations of the person of Christ which make what he did
and suffered of another nature and efficacy than what can be done or
suffered by any other man. All that he adds in the process of his
discourse is,--"That whatever Christ did that was not required by the law
in general, was upon the especial command of God, and so done for
himself; whence it cannot be imputed unto us." And hereby he excludes the
church from any benefit by the mediation of Christ, but only what
consists in his doctrine, example, and the exercise of his power in
heaven for our good; which was the thing that he aimed at. But we shall
consider those also which make use of his arguments, though not as yet
openly unto all his ends.
   To clear the truth herein, the things ensuing must be observed,--
   1. The obedience we treat of was the obedience of Christ the mediator:
but the obedience of Christ, as "the mediator of the covenant," was the
obedience of his person; for "God redeemed his church with his own
blood," Acts 20:28. It was performed in the human nature; but the person
of Christ was he that performed it. As in the person of a man, some of
his acts, as to the immediate principle of operation, are acts of the
body, and some are so of the soul; yet, in their performance and
accomplishment, are they the acts of the person: so the acts of Christ in
his mediation, as to their "energemata", or immediate operation, were the
acting of his distinct natures,--some of the divine and some of the
human, immediately; but as unto their "apotelesmata", and the perfecting
efficacy of them, they were the acts of his whole person,--his acts who
was that person, and whose power of operation was a property of his
person. Wherefore, the obedience of Christ, which we plead to have been
for us, was the obedience of the Son of God; but the Son of God was never
absolutely made "hupo nomon",--"under the law,"--nor could be formally
obliged thereby. He was, indeed, as the apostle witnesses, made so in his
human nature, wherein he performed this obedience: "Made of a woman, made
under the law," Gal.4:4. He was so far forth made under the law, as he
was made of a woman; for in his person he abode "Lord of the sabbath,"
Mark 2:28; and therefore of the whole law. But the obedience itself was
the obedience of that person who never was, nor ever could absolutely be,
made under the law in his whole person; for the divine nature cannot be
subjected unto an outward work of its owns such as the law is, nor can it
have an authoritative, commanding power over it, as it must have if it
were made "hupo nomon",--"under the law." Thus the apostle argues that
"Levi paid tithes in Abraham," because he was then in his loins, when
Abraham himself paid tithes unto Melchizedek, Heb.7. And thence he proves
that he was inferior unto the Lord Christ, of whom Melchizedek was a
type. But may it not thereon be replied, that then no less the Lord
Christ was in the loins of Abraham than Levi? "For verily," as the same
apostle speaks, "he took on him the seed of Abraham." It is true,
therefore, that he was so in respect of his human nature; but as he was
typed and represented by Melchizedek in his whole person, "without
father, without mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or
end of life," so he was not absolutely in Abraham's loins, and was
exempted from being tithed in him. Wherefore, the obedience whereof we
treat, being not the obedience of the human nature abstractedly, however
performed in and by the human nature; but the obedience of the person of
the Son of God, however the human nature was subject to the law (in what
sense, and unto what ends, shall be declared afterwards); it was not for
himself, nor could be for himself; because his whole person was not
obliged thereunto. It is therefore a fond thing, to compare the obedience
of Christ with that of any other man, whose whole person is under the
law. For although that may not be for himself and others (which yet we
shall show that in some cases it may), yet this may, yea, must be for
others, and not for himself. This, then, we must strictly hold unto. If
the obedience that Christ yielded unto the law were for himself, whereas
it was the act of his person, his whole person, and the divine nature
therein, were "made under the law;" which cannot be. For although it is
acknowledged that, in the ordination of God, his exinanition was to
precede his glorious, majestical exaltation, as the Scripture witnesses,
Phil.2:9; Luke 24:26; Rom.14:9; yet absolutely his glory was an immediate
consequent of the hypostatical union, Heb.1:6; Matt.2:11.
   Socinus, I confess, evades the force of this argument, by denying the
divine person of Christ. But in this disputation I take that for granted,
as having proved it elsewhere beyond what any of his followers are able
to contradict. And if we may not build on truths by him denied, we shall
scarce have any one principle of evangelical truth left us to prove any
thing from. However, I intend them only at present who concur with him in
the matter under debate, but renounce his opinion concerning the person
of Christ.
   2. As our Lord Jesus Christ owed not in his own person this obedience
for himself, by virtue of any authority or power that the law had over
him, so he designed and intended it not for himself, but for us. This,
added unto the former consideration, gives full evidence unto the truth
pleaded for; for if he was not obliged unto it for himself,--his person
that yielded it not being under the law,--and if he intended it not for
himself; then it must be for us, or be useless. It was in our human
nature that he performed all this obedience. Now, the susception of our
nature was a voluntary act of his own, with reference unto some end and
purpose; and that which was the end of the assumption of our nature was,
in like manner, the end of all that he did therein. Now, it was for us,
and not for himself, that he assumed our nature; nor was any thing added
unto him thereby. Wherefore, in the issue of his work, he proposes this
only unto himself, that he may be "glorified with that glory which he had
with the Father before the world was," by the removal of that vail which
was put upon it in his exinanition. But that it was for us that he
assumed our nature, is the foundation of Christian religion, as it is
asserted by the apostle, Heb.2:14; Phil.2:5-8.
   Some of the ancient schoolmen disputed, that the Son of God should
have been incarnate although man had not sinned and fallen; the same
opinion was fiercely pursued by Osiander, as I have elsewhere declared:
but none of them once imagined that he should have been so made man as to
be made under the law, and be obliged thereby unto that obedience which
now he has performed; but they judged that immediately he was to have
been a glorious head unto the whole creation. For it is a common notion
and presumption of all Christians, but only such as will sacrifice such
notions unto their own private conceptions, that the obedience which
Christ yielded unto the law on the earth, in the state and condition
wherein he yielded it, was not for himself, but for the church, which was
obliged unto perfect obedience, but was not able to accomplish it. That
this was his sole end and design in it is a fundamental article, if I
mistake not, of the creed of most Christians in the world; and to deny it
does consequentially overthrow all the grace and love both of the Father
and [of the] Son in his mediation.
   It is said, "That this obedience was necessary as a qualification of
his person, that he might be meet to be a mediator for us; and therefore
was for himself." It belongs unto the necessary constitution of his
person, with respect unto his mediatory work; abut this I positively
deny. The Lord Christ was every way meet for the whole work of mediation,
by the ineffable union of the human nature with the divine, which exalted
it in dignity, honour, and worth, above any thing or all things that
ensued thereon. For hereby he became in his whole person the object of
all divine worship and honour; for "when he bringeth the First-begotten
into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him."
Again, that which is an effect of the person of the Mediator, as
constituted such, is not a qualification necessary unto its constitution;
that is, what he did as mediator did not concur to the making of him meet
so to be. But of this nature was all the obedience which he yielded unto
the law; for as such "it became him to fulfill all righteousness."
   Whereas, therefore, he was neither made man nor of the posterity of
Abraham for himself, but for the church,--namely, to become thereby the
surety of the covenant, and representative of the whole,--his obedience
as a man unto the law in general, and as a son of Abraham unto the law of
Moses, was for us, and not for himself, so designed, so performed; and,
without a respect unto the church, was of no use unto himself. He was
born to us, and given to us; lived for us, and died for us; obeyed for
us, and suffered for us,--that "by the obedience of one many might be
made righteous." This was the "grace of our Lord Jesus Christ;" and this
is the faith of the catholic church. And what he did for us is imputed
unto us. This is included in the very notion of his doing it for us,
which cannot be spoken in any sense, unless that which he so did be
imputed unto us. And I think men ought to be wary that they do not, by
distinctions and studied evasions, for the defense of their own private
opinions, shake the foundations of Christian religion. And I am sure it
will be easier for them, as it is in the proverb, to wrest the club out
of the hand of Hercules, than to dispossess the minds of true believers
of this persuasion: "That what the Lord Christ did in obedience unto God,
according unto the law, he designed in his love and grace to do it for
them." He needed no obedience for himself, he came not into a capacity of
yielding obedience for himself, but for us; and therefore for us it was
that he fulfilled the law in obedience unto God, according unto the terms
of it. The obligation that was on him unto obedience was originally no
less for us, no less needful unto us, no more for himself, no more
necessary unto him, than the obligation was on him, as the surety of the
covenant, to suffer the penalty of the law, was either the one or the
other.
   3. Setting aside the consideration of the grace and love of Christ,
and the compact between the Father and the Son as unto his undertaking
for us, which undeniably proves all that he did in the pursuit of them to
be done for us, and not for himself; I say, setting aside the
consideration of these things, and the human nature of Christ, by virtue
of its union with the person of the Son of God, had a right unto, and
might have immediately been admitted into, the highest glory whereof it
was capable, without any antecedent obedience unto the law. And this is
apparent from hence, in that, from the first instant of that union, the
whole person of Christ, with our nature existing therein, was the object
of all divine worship from angels and men; wherein consists the highest
exaltation of that nature.
   It is true, there was a peculiar glory that he was actually to be made
partaker of, with respect unto his antecedent obedience and suffering,
Phil.2:8,9. The actual possession of this glory was, in the ordination of
God, to be consequential unto his obeying and suffering, not for himself,
but for us. But as unto the right and capacity of the human nature in
itself, all the glory whereof it was capable was due unto it from the
instant of its union; for it was therein exalted above the condition that
any creature is capable of by mere creation. And it is but a Socinian
fiction, that the first foundation of the divine glory of Christ was laid
in his obedience, which was only the way of his actual possession of that
part of his glory which consists in his mediatory power and authority
over all. The real foundation of the whole was laid in the union of his
person; whence he prays that the Father would glorify him (as unto
manifestation) with that glory which he had with him before the world
was.
   I will grant that the Lord Christ was "viator" whilst he was in this
world, and not absolutely "possessor;" yet I say withal, he was so, not
that any such condition was necessary unto him for himself, but he took
it upon him by especial dispensation for us. And, therefore, the
obedience he performed in that condition was for us, and not for himself
   4. It is granted, therefore, that the human nature of Christ was made
"hupo nomon", as the apostle affirms, "That which was made of a woman,
was made under the law." Hereby obedience became necessary unto him, as
he was and whilst he was "viator." But this being by especial
dispensation,--intimated in the expression of it, he was "made under the
law," namely, as he was "made of a woman," by especial dispensation and
condescension, expressed, Phil.2:6-8,--the obedience he yielded thereon
was for us, and not for himself And this is evident from hence, for he
was so made under the law as that not only he owed obedience unto the
precepts of it, but he was made obnoxious unto its curse. But I suppose
it will not be said that he was so for himself, and therefore not for us.
We owed obedience unto the law, and were obnoxious unto the curse of it,
or "hupodikoi tooi Theooi". Obedience was required of us, and was as
necessary unto us if we would enter into life, as the answering of the
curse for us was if we would escape death eternal. Christ, as our surety,
is "made under the law" for us, whereby he becomes liable and obliged
unto the obedience which the law required, and unto the penalty that it
threatened. Who shall now dare to say that he underwent the penalty of
the law for us indeed, but he yielded obedience unto it for himself only?
The whole harmony of the work of his mediation would be disordered by
such a supposition.
   Judah, the son of Jacob, undertook to be a bondsman instead of
Benjamin his brother, that he might go free, Gen.44:33. There is no doubt
but Joseph might have accepted of the stipulation. Had he done so, the
service and bondage he undertook had been necessary unto Judah, and
righteous for him to bear: howbeit he had undergone it, and performed his
duty in it, not for himself, but for his brother Benjamin; and unto
Benjamin it would have been imputed in his liberty. So when the apostle
Paul wrote these words unto Philemon concerning Onesimus, "Ei de ti
edikese se, e ofeilen, touto emoi ellogei, egoo apotisoo", verse 18,--
"'If he has wronged thee,' dealt unrighteously or injuriously with thee,
'or oweth thee ought,' wherein thou hast suffered loss by him, 'put that
on mine account,' or impute it all unto me, 'I will repay it,' or answer
for it all,"--he supposes that Philemon might have a double action
against Onesimus, the one "injuriarum," and the other "damni" or
"debiti," of wrong and injury, and of loss or debt, which are distinct
actions in the law: "If he has wronged thee, or oweth thee ought." Hereon
he proposes himself, and obliges himself by his express obligation: "Ego
Paulos egrapsa tei emei cheiri",--"I Paul have written it with mine own
hand," that he would answer for both, and pay back a valuable
consideration if required. Hereby was he obliged in his own person to
make satisfaction unto Philemon; but yet he was to do it for Onesimus,
and not for himself. Whatever obedience, therefore, was due from the Lord
Christ, as to his human nature, whilst in the form of a servant, either
as a man or as an Israelite, seeing he was so not necessarily, by the
necessity of nature for himself, but by voluntary condescension and
stipulation for us; for us it was, and not for himself.
   5. The Lord Christ, in his obedience, was not a private but a public
person. He obeyed as he was the surety of the covenant,--as the mediator
between God and man. This, I suppose, will not be denied. He can by no
imagination be considered out of that capacity. But what a public person
does as a public person,--that is, as a representative of others, and an
undertaker for them,--whatever may be his own concernment therein, he
does it not for himself, but for others. And if others were not concerned
therein, if it were not for them, what he does would be of no use or
signification; yea, it implies a contradiction that any one should do any
thing as a public person, and do it for himself only. He who is a public
person may do that wherein he alone is concerned, but he cannot do so as
he is a public person. Wherefore, as Socinus, and those that follow him,
would have Christ to have offered for himself, which is to make him a
mediator for himself, his offering being a mediatory act, which is both
foolish and impious; so to affirm his mediatory obedience, his obedience
as a public person, to have been for himself, and not for others, has but
little less of impiety in it.
   6. It is granted, that the Lord Christ having a human nature, which
was a creature, it was impossible but that it should be subject unto the
law of creation; for there is a relation that does necessarily arise
from, and depend upon, the beings of a creator and a creature. Every
rational creature is eternally obliged, from the nature of God, and its
relation thereunto, to love him, obey him, depend upon him, submit unto
him, and to make him its end, blessedness, and reward. But the law of
creation, thus considered, does not respect the world and this life only,
but the future state of heaven and eternity also; and this law the human
nature of Christ is subject unto in heaven and glory, and cannot but be
so whilst it is a creature, and not God,--that is, whilst it has its own
being. Nor do any men fancy such a transfusion of divine properties into
the human nature of Christ, as that it should be self-subsisting, and in
itself absolutely immense; for this would openly destroy it. Yet none
will say that he is now "hupo nomon",--"under the law,"--in the sense
intended by the apostle. But the law, in the sense described, the human
nature of Christ was subject unto, on its own account, whilst he was in
this world. And this is sufficient to answer the objection of Socinus,
mentioned at the entrance of this discourse,--namely, that if the Lord
Christ were not obliged unto obedience for himself, then might he, if he
would, neglect the whole law, or infringe it; for besides that it is a
foolish imagination concerning that "holy thing" which was hypostatically
united unto the Son of God, and thereby rendered incapable of any
deviation from the divine will, the eternal, indispensable law of love,
adherence, and dependence on God, under which the human nature of Christ
was, and is, as a creature, gives sufficient security against such
suppositions.
   But there is another consideration of the law of God,--namely, as it
is imposed on creatures by especial dispensation, for some time and for
some certain end, with some considerations, rules, and orders that belong
not essentially unto the law; as before described. This is the nature of
the written law of God, which the Lord Christ was made under, not
necessarily, as a creature, but by especial dispensation. For the law,
under this consideration, is presented unto us as such, not absolutely
and eternally, but whilst we are in this world, and that with this
especial end, that by obedience thereunto we may obtain the reward of
eternal life. And it is evident that the obligation of the law, under
this consideration, ceases when we come to the enjoyment of that reward.
It obliges us no more formally by its command, "Do this, and live," when
the life promised is enjoyed. In this sense the Lord Christ was not made
subject unto the law for himself, nor did yield obedience unto it for
himself; for he was not obliged unto it by virtue of his created
condition. Upon the first instant of the union of his natures, being
"holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners," he might,
notwithstanding the law that he was made subject unto, have been stated
in glory; for he that was the object of all divine worship needed not any
new obedience to procure for him a state of blessedness. And had he
naturally, merely by virtue of his being a creature, been subject unto
the law in this sense, he must have been so eternally, which he is not;
for those things which depend solely on the natures of God and the
creature are eternal and immutable. Wherefore, as the law in this sense
was given unto us, not absolutely, but with respect unto a future state
and reward, so the Lord Christ did voluntarily subject himself unto it
for us; and his obedience thereunto was for us, and not for himself.
These things, added unto what I have formerly written on this subject,
whereunto nothing has been opposed but a few impertinent cavils, are
sufficient to discharge the first part of that charge laid down before,
concerning the impossibility of the imputation of the obedience of Christ
unto us; which, indeed, is equal unto the impossibility of the imputation
of the disobedience of Adam unto us, whereby the apostle tells us that
"we were all made sinners."
   II. The second part of the objection or charge against the imputation
of the obedience of Christ unto us is, "That it is useless unto the
persons that are to be justified; for whereas they have in their
justification the pardon of all their sins, they are thereby righteous,
and have a right or title unto life and blessedness; for he who is so
pardoned as not to be esteemed guilty of any sin of omission or
commission wants nothing that is requisite thereunto; for he is supposed
to have done all that he ought, and to have omitted nothing required of
him in a way of duty. Hereby he becomes not unrighteous; and to be not
unrighteous is the same as to be righteous; as he that is not dead is
alive. Neither is there, nor can there be, any middle state between death
and life. Wherefore, those who have all their sins forgiven have the
blessedness of justification; and there is neither need nor use of any
farther imputation of righteousness unto them." And sundry other things
of the same nature are urged unto the same purpose, which will be all of
them either obviated in the ensuing discourse, or answered elsewhere.
   Ans. This cause is of more importance, and more evidently stated in
the Scriptures, than to be turned into such niceties, which have more of
philosophical subtilty than theological solidity in them. This exception,
therefore, might be dismissed without farther answer than what is given
us in the known rule, that a truth well established and confirmed is not
to be questioned, much less relinquished, on every entangling sophism,
though it should appear insoluble; but, as we shall see, there is no such
difficulty in these arguing but what may easily be discussed. And because
the matter of the plea contained in them is made use of by sundry learned
persons, who yet agree with us in the substance of the doctrine of
justification,--namely, that it is by faith alone, without works, through
the imputation of the merit and satisfaction of Christ,--I shall, as
briefly as I can, discover the mistakes that it proceeds upon.
   1. It includes a supposition, that he who is pardoned his sins of
omission and commission, is esteemed to have done all that is required of
him, and to have committed nothing that is forbidden; for, without this
supposition, the bare pardon of sin will neither make, constitute, nor
denominate any man righteous. But this is far otherwise, nor is any such
thing included in the nature of pardon: for, in the pardon of sin,
neither God nor man does judge that he who has sinned has not sinned;
which must be done, if he who is pardoned be esteemed to have done all
that he ought, and to have done nothing that he ought not to do. If a man
be brought on his trial for any evil act, and, being legally convicted
thereof, is discharged by sovereign pardon, it is true that, in the eye
of the law, he is looked upon as an innocent man, as unto the punishment
that was due unto him; but no man thinks that he is made righteous
thereby, or is esteemed not to have done that which really he has done,
and whereof he was convicted. Joab, and Abiathar the priest, were at the
same time guilty of the same crime. Solomon gives order that Josh be put
to death for his crime; but unto Abiathar he gives a pardon. Did he
thereby make, declare, or constitute him righteous? Himself expresses the
contrary, affirming him to be unrighteous and guilty, only he remitted
the punishment of his fault, 1 Kings 2:26. Wherefore, the pardon of sin
discharges the guilty person from being liable or obnoxious unto anger,
wrath, or punishment due unto his sin; but it does not suppose, nor infer
in the least, that he is thereby, or ought thereon, to be esteemed or
adjudged to have done no evil, and to have fulfilled all righteousness.
Some say, pardon gives a righteousness of innocence, but not of
obedience. But it cannot give a righteousness of innocence absolutely,
such as Adam had; for he had actually done no evil. It only removes
guilt, which is the respect of sin unto punishment, ensuing on the
sanction of the law. And this supposition, which is an evident mistake,
animates this whole objection. 
   The like may be said of what is in like manner supposed,-- namely,
that not to be unrighteous, which a man is on the pardon of sin, is the
same with being righteous. For if not to be unrighteous be taken
privatively, it is the same with being just or righteous: for it supposes
that he who is so has done all the duty that is required of him that he
may be righteous. But not to be unrighteous negatively, as the expression
is here used, it does not do so: for, at best, it supposes no more but
that a man as yet has done nothing actually against the rule of
righteousness. Now this may be when yet he has performed none of the
duties that are required of him to constitute him righteous, because the
times and occasions of them are not yet. And so it was with Adam in the
state of innocence; which is the height of what can be attained by the
complete pardon of sin.
   2. It proceeds on this supposition, that the law, in case of sin, does
not oblige unto punishment and obedience both, so as that it is not
satisfied, fulfilled, or complied withal, unless it be answered with
respect unto both; for if it does so, then the pardon of sin, which only
frees us from the penalty of the law, does yet leave it necessary that
obedience be performed unto it, even all that it does require. But this,
in my judgment, is an evident mistake, and that such as does not
"establish the law, but make it void," And this I shall demonstrate:-- 
   (1.) The law has two parts or powers:--First, Its receptive part,
commanding and requiring obedience, with a promise of life annexed: "Do
this, and live." Secondly, The sanction on supposition of disobedience,
binding the sinner unto punishment, or a meet recompense of reward: "In
the day thou sinnest thou shalt die." And every law, properly so called,
proceeds on these suppositions of obedience or disobedience, whence its
commanding and punishing power are in separate from its nature. 
   (2.) This law whereof we speak was first given unto man in innocence,
and therefore the first power of it was only in act; it obliged only unto
obedience: for an innocent person could not be obnoxious unto its
sanction, which contained only an obligation unto punishment, on
supposition of disobedience. It could not, therefore, oblige our first
parents unto obedience and punishment both, seeing its obligation unto
punishment could not be in actual force but on supposition of actual
disobedience. A moral cause of, and motive unto, obedience it was, and
had an influence into the preservation of man from sin. Unto that end it
was said unto him, "In the day thou eatest, thou shalt surely die." The
neglect hereof, and of that ruling influence which it ought to have had
on the minds of our first parents, opened the door unto the entrance of
sin. But it implies a contradiction, that an innocent person should be
under an actual obligation unto punishment from the sanction of the law.
It bound only unto obedience, as all laws, with penalties, do before
their transgression. But,--
   (3.) On the committing of sin (and it is so with every one that is
guilty of sin), man came under an actual obligation unto punishment. This
is no more questionable than whether at first he was under an obligation
unto obedience. But then the question is, whether the first intention and
obligation of the law unto obedience does cease to affect the sinner, or
continue so as at the same time to oblige him unto obedience and
punishment, both its powers being in act towards him? And hereunto I
say,--
   [1.] Had the punishment threatened been immediately inflicted unto the
utmost of what was contained in it, this could have been no question; for
man had died immediately, both temporally and eternally, and been cast
out of that state wherein alone he could stand in any relation unto the
receptive power of the law. He that is finally executed has fulfilled the
law so as that he owes no more obedience unto it.
   But, [2.] God, in his wisdom and patience, has otherwise disposed of
things. Man is continued a "viator" still, in the way unto his end, and
not fully stated in his eternal and unchangeable condition, wherein
neither promise nor threatening, reward nor punishment, could be proposed
unto him. In this condition he falls under a twofold consideration:--
First, Of a guilty person, and so is obliged unto the full punishment
that the law threatens. This is not denied. Second, Of a man, a rational
creature of God, not yet brought unto his eternal end.
   [3.] In this state, the law is the only instrument and means of the
continuance of the relation between God and him. Wherefore, under this
consideration, it cannot but still oblige him unto obedience, unless we
shall say that by his sin he has exempted himself from the government of
God. Wherefore, it is by the law that the rule and government of God over
men is continued whilst they are in "statu viatorum;" for every
disobedience, every transgression of its rule and order, as to its
commanding power, casts us afresh and farther under its power of obliging
unto punishment.
   Neither can these things be otherwise. Neither can any man living, not
the worst of men, choose but judge himself, whilst he is in this world,
obliged to give obedience unto the law of God, according to the notices
that he has of it by the light of nature or otherwise. A wicked servant
that is punished for his fault, if it be with such a punishment as yet
continues his being and his state of servitude, is not by his punishment
freed from an obligation unto duty, according unto the rule of it; yea,
his obligation unto duty, with respect unto that crime for which he was
punished, is not dissolved until his punishment be capital, and so put an
end unto his state. Wherefore, seeing that by the pardon of sin we are
freed only from the obligation unto punishment, there is, moreover,
required unto our justification an obedience unto what the law requires.
   And this greatly strengthens the argument in whose vindication we are
engaged; for we being sinners, we were obnoxious both unto the command
and curse of the law. Both must be answered, or we cannot be justified.
And as the Lord Christ could not by his most perfect obedience satisfy
the curse of the law, "Dying thou shalt die;" so by the utmost of his
suffering he could not fulfill the command of the law, "Do this, and
live." Passion, as passion, is not obedience,--though there may be
obedience in suffering, as there was in that of Christ unto the height.
Wherefore, as we plead that the death of Christ is imputed unto us for
our justification, so we deny that it is imputed unto us for our
righteousness. For by the imputation of the sufferings of Christ our sins
are remitted or pardoned, and we are delivered from the curse of the law,
which he underwent; but we are not thence esteemed just or righteous,
which we cannot be without respect unto the fulfilling of the commands of
the law, or the obedience by it required. The whole matter is excellently
expressed by Grotius in the words before alleged: "Cum duo nobis
peperisse Christum dixerimus, impunitatem et praemium, illud
satisfctioni, hoc merito Christi distincte tribuit vetus ecclesia.
Satisfactio consistit in meritorum translatione, meritum in
perfectissimae obedientiae pro nobis praestitiae imputatione".
   (4.) The objection mentioned proceeds also on this supposition, that
pardon of sin gives title unto eternal blessedness in the enjoyment of
God; for justification does so, and, according to the authors of this
opinion, no other righteousness is required thereunto but pardon of sin.
That justification does give right and title unto adoption, acceptation
with God, and the heavenly inheritance, I suppose will not be denied, and
it has been proved already. Pardon of sin depends solely on the death or
suffering of Christ: "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace," Eph.1:7. But
suffering for punishment gives right and title unto nothing, only
satisfies for something; nor does it deserve any reward: it is nowhere
said, "Suffer this, and live," but "Do this, and live."
   These things, I confess, are inseparably connected in the ordinance,
appointment, and covenant of God. Whosoever has his sins pardoned is
accepted with God, has right unto eternal blessedness. These things are
inseparable; but they are not one and the same. And by reason of their
inseparable relation are they so put together by the apostle, Rom.4:6-8,
"Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God
imputeth righteousness without works: Blessed are they whose iniquities
are forgiven, and whose sins are covered: blessed is the man to whom the
Lord will not impute sin." It is the imputation of righteousness that
gives right unto blessedness; but pardon of sin is inseparable from it,
and an effect of it, both being opposed unto justification by works, or
an internal righteousness of our own. But it is one thing to be freed
from being liable unto eternal death, and another to have right and title
unto a blessed and eternal life. It is one thing to be redeemed from
under the law,--that is, the curse of it; another, to receive the
adoption of sons;--one thing to be freed from the curse; another, to have
the blessing of Abraham come upon us: as the apostle distinguishes these
things, Gal.3:13,14; 4:4,5; and so does our Lord Jesus Christ, Acts
26:18, "That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance" (a
lot and right to the inheritance) "amongst them which are sanctified by
faith that is in me." "Afesis hamartioon", which we have by faith in
Christ, is only a dismission of sin from being pleadable unto our
condemnation; on which account "there is no condemnation unto them that
are in Christ Jesus." But a right and title unto glory, or the heavenly
inheritance, it gives not. Can it be supposed that all the great and
glorious effects of present grace and future blessedness should follow
necessarily on, and be the effect of, mere pardon of sin? Can we not be
pardoned but we must thereby of necessity be made sons, heirs of God, and
coheirs with Christ?
   Pardon of sin is in God, with respect unto the sinner, a free,
gratuitous act: "Forgiveness of sin through the riches of his grace." But
with respect unto the satisfaction of Christ, it is an act in judgment.
For on the consideration thereof, as imputed unto him, does God absolve
and acquit the sinner upon his trial. But pardon on a juridical trial, on
what consideration soever it be granted, gives no right nor title unto
any favour, benefit, or privilege, but only mere deliverance. It is one
thing to be acquitted before the throne of a king of crimes laid unto the
charge of any man, which may be done by clemency, or on other
considerations; another to be made his son by adoption, and heir unto his
kingdom.
   And these things are represented unto us in the Scripture as distinct,
and depending on distinct causes: so are they in the vision concerning
Joshua the high priest, Zech.3:4,5, "And he answered and spake unto those
that stood before him saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And
unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee,
and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a
fair metre upon his head. So they set a fair metre upon his head, and
clothed him with garments." It has been generally granted that we have
here a representation of the justification of a sinner before God. And
the taking away of filthy garments is expounded by the passing away of
iniquity. When a man's filthy garments are taken away, he is no more
defiled with them; but he is not thereby clothed. This is an additional
grace and favour thereunto,--namely, to be clothed with change of
garments. And what this raiment is, is declared, Isa.61:10, "He has
clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the
robe of righteousness;" which the apostle alludes unto, Phil.3:9.
Wherefore these things are distinct,-- namely, the taking away of the
filthy garments, and the clothing of us with change of raiment; or, the
pardon of sin, and the robe of righteousness. By the one are we freed
from condemnation; by the other have we right unto salvation. And the
same is in like manner represented, Ezek.16:6-12.
   This place I had formerly urged to this purpose about communion with
God; which Mr Hotchkis, in his usual manner, attempts to answer. And to
omit his reviling expressions, with the crude, unproved assertion of his
own conceits, his answer is,--that by the change of raiment mentioned in
the prophet, our own personal righteousness is intended; for he
acknowledges that our justification before God is here represented. And
so also he expounds the place produced in the confirmation of the
exposition given, Isa.61:10, where this change of raiment is called, "The
garments of salvation, and the robe of righteousness;" and thereon
affirms that our righteousness itself before God is our personal
righteousness,--that is, in our justification before him, which is the
only thing in question. To all which presumptions I shall oppose only the
testimony of the same prophet, which he may consider at his leisure, and
which, at one time or other, he will subscribe unto. Isa.64:6, "We are
all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags."
He who can make garments of salvation and robes of righteousness of these
filthy rags, has a skill in composing spiritual vestments that I am not
acquainted withal. What remains in the chapter wherein this answer is
given unto that testimony of the Scripture, I shall take no notice of; it
being, after his accustomed manner, only a perverse wresting of my words
unto such a sense as may seem to countenance him in casting a reproach
upon myself and others.
   There is, therefore, no force in the comparing of these things unto
life and death natural, which are immediately opposed: "So that he who is
not dead is alive, and he who is alive is not dead;" there being no
distinct state between that of life and death; for these things being of
different natures, the comparison between them is no way argumentative.
Though it may be so in things natural, it is otherwise in things moral
and political, where a proper representation of justification may be
taken, as it is forensic. If it were so, that there is no difference
between being acquitted of a crime at the bar of a judge, and a right
unto a kingdom, nor different state between these things, it would prove
that there is no intermediate estate between being pardoned and having a
right unto the heavenly inheritance. But this is a fond imagination.
   It is true that right unto eternal life does succeed unto freedom from
the guilt of eternal death: "That they may receive forgiveness of sins,
and an inheritance among them that are sanctified." But it does not do so
out of a necessity in the nature of the things themselves, but only in
the free constitution of God. Believers have the pardon of sin, and an
immediate right and title unto the favour of God, the adoption of sons,
and eternal life. But there is another state in the nature of the things
themselves, and this might have been so actually, had it so seemed good
unto God; for who sees not that there is a "status," or "conditio
personae," wherein he is neither under the guilt of condemnation nor has
an immediate right and title unto glory in the way of inheritance? God
might have pardoned men all their sins past, and placed them in a state
and condition of seeking righteousness for the future by the works of the
law, that so they might have lived; for this would answer the original
state of Adam. But God has not done so. True; but whereas he might have
done so, it is evident that the disposal of men into this state and
condition of right unto life and salvation, does not depend on nor
proceed from the pardon of sin, but has another cause; which is, the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us, as he fulfilled the
law for us.
   And, in truth, this is the opinion of the most of our adversaries in
this cause: for they do contend, that over and above the remission of
sin, which some of them say is absolute, without any respect unto the
merit or satisfaction of Christ, others refer it unto them; they all
contend that there is, moreover, a righteousness of works required unto
our justification;--only they say this is our own incomplete, imperfect
righteousness imputed unto us as if it were perfect; that is, for what it
is not, and not the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us for what it
is.
   From what has been discoursed, it is evident that unto our
justification before God is required, not only that we be freed from the
damnatory sentence of the law, which we are by the pardon of sin, but,
moreover, "that the righteousness of the law be fulfilled in us," or,
that we have a righteousness answering the obedience that the law
requires; whereon our acceptance with God, through the riches of his
grace, and our title unto the heavenly inheritance, do depend. This we
have not in and of ourselves, nor can attain unto; as has been proved.
Wherefore the perfect obedience and righteousness of Christ is imputed
unto us, or in the sight of God we can never be justified.
   Nor are the caviling objections of the Socinians, and those that
follow them, of any force against the truth herein. They tell us, "That
the righteousness of Christ can be imputed but unto one, if unto any; for
who can suppose that the same righteousness of one should become the
righteousness of many, even of all that believe? Besides, he performed
not all the duties that are required of us in all our relations, he being
never placed in them." These things, I say, are both foolish and impious,
destructive unto the whole gospel; for all things here depend on the
ordination of God. It is his ordinance, that as "through the offense of
one many are dead," so "disgrace, and the gift of grace, through one man,
Christ Jesus, has abounded unto many;" and "as by the offense of one
judgment came upon all men unto condemnation, so by the righteousness of
one the free gift came upon all unto the righteousness of life;" and "by
the obedience of one many are made righteous;" as the apostle argues,
Rom.5. For "God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for
sin, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,"
chap.8:3,4; for he was "the end of the law" (the whole end of it), "for
righteousness unto them that do believe," chap.10:4. This is the
appointment of the wisdom, righteousness, and grace of God, that the
whole righteousness and obedience of Christ should be accepted as our
complete righteousness before him, imputed unto us by his grace, and
applied unto us or made ours through believing; and, consequently, unto
all that believe. And if the actual sin of Adam be imputed unto us all,
who derive our nature from him, unto condemnation, though he sinned not
in our circumstances and relations, is it strange that the actual
obedience of Christ should be imputed unto them who derive a spiritual
nature from him, unto the justification of life? Besides, both the
satisfaction and obedience of Christ, as relating unto his person, were,
in some sense, infinite,--that is, of an infinite value,--and so cannot
be considered in parts, as though one part of it were imputed unto one,
and another unto another, but the whole is imputed unto every one that
does believe; and if the Israelites could say that David was "worth ten
thousand of them," 2 Sam.18:3, we may well allow the Lord Christ, and so
what he did and suffered, to be more than us all, and all that we can do
and suffer.
   There are also sundry other mistakes that concur unto that part of the
charge against the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us,
which we have now considered. I say of his righteousness; for the apostle
in this case uses those two words, "dikaiooma" and "hupako-e",
"righteousness" and "obedience," as "isodunamounta"--of the same
signification, Rom.5:18,19. Such are these:--that remission of sin and
justification are the same, or that justification consists only in the
remission of sin;--that faith itself, as our act and duty, seeing it is
the condition of the covenant, is imputed unto us for righteousness;--or
that we have a personal, inherent righteousness of our own, that one way
or other is our righteousness before God unto justification; either a
condition it is, or a disposition unto it, or has a congruity in
deserving the grace of justification, or a downright merit of condignity
thereof: for all these are but various expressions of the same thing,
according unto the variety of the conceptions of the minds of men about
it. But they have been all considered and removed in our precedent
discourses.
   To close this argument, and our vindication of it, and therewithal to
obviate an objection, I do acknowledge that our blessedness and life
eternal is, in the Scripture, ofttimes ascribed unto the death of Christ.
But,--1. It is so "kat' exochen",--as the principal cause of the whole,
and as that without which no imputation of obedience could have justified
us; for the penalty of the law was indispensably to be undergone. 2. It
is so "kata sungeneian",--not exclusively unto all obedience, whereof
mention is made in other places, but as that whereunto it is inseparably
conjoined. "Christus in vita passivam habuit actionem; in morte passionem
activam sustinuit; dum salutem operaretur in medio terrae", Bernard. And
so it is also ascribed unto his resurrection "kat' endeixin", with
respect unto evidence and manifestation; but the death of Christ
exclusively, as unto his obedience, is nowhere asserted as the cerise of
eternal life, comprising that exceeding weight of glory wherewith it is
accompanied.
   Hitherto we have treated of and vindicated the imputation of the
active obedience of Christ unto us, as the truth of it was deduced from
the preceding argument about the obligation of the law of creation. I
shall now briefly confirm it with other reasons and testimonies:--
   1. That which Christ, the mediator and surety of the covenant, did do
in obedience unto God, in the discharge and performance of his office,
that he did for us; and that is imputed unto us. This has been proved
already, and it has too great an evidence of truth to be denied. He was
"born to us, given to us," Isa.9:6; for "what the law could not do, in
that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the
likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that
the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us," Rom. 8:3,4.
Whatever is spoken of the grace, love, and purpose of God in sending or
giving his Son, or of the love, grace, and condescension of the Son in
coming and undertaking of the work of redemption designed unto him, or of
the office itself of a mediator or surety, gives testimony unto this
assertion; yea, it is the fundamental principle of the gospel, and of the
faith of all that truly believe. As for those by whom the divine person
and satisfaction of Christ are denied, whereby they evert the whole work
of his mediation, we do not at present consider them. Wherefore what he
so did is to be inquired into. And,--
   (1.) The Lord Christ, our mediator and surety, was, in his human
nature, made "hupo nomon",--"under the law," Gal.4:4. That he was not so
for himself, by the necessity of his condition, we have proved before. It
was, therefore, for us. But as made under the law, he yielded obedience
unto it; this, therefore, was for us, and is imputed unto us. The
exception of the Socinians, that it is the judicial law only that is
intended, is too frivolous to be insisted on; for he was made under that
law whose curse we are delivered from. And if we are delivered only from
the curse of the law of Moses, wherein they contend that there was
neither promises nor threatening of eternal things, of any thing beyond
this present life, we are still in our sins, under the curse of the moral
law, notwithstanding act that he has done for us. It is excepted, with
more colour of sobriety, that he was made under the law only as to the
curse of it. But it is plain in the text that Christ was made under the
law as we are under it. He was "made under the law, to redeem them that
were under the law." And if he was not made so as we are, there is no
consequence from his being made under it unto our redemption from it. But
we were so under the law, as not only to be obnoxious unto the curse, but
so as to be obliged unto all the obedience that it required; as has been
proved. And if the Lord Christ has redeemed us only from the curse of it
by undergoing it, leaving us in ourselves to answer its obligation unto
obedience, we are not freed nor delivered. And the expression of "under
the law" does in the first place, and properly, signify being under the
obligation of it unto obedience, and consequentially only with a respect
unto the curse. Gal.4:21, "Tell me, ye that desire to be "hupo nomon",--
"under the law." They did not desire to be under the curse of the law,
but only its obligation unto obedience; which, in all usage of speech, is
the first proper sense of that expression. Wherefore, the Lord Christ
being made under the law for us, he yielded perfect obedience unto it for
us; which is therefore imputed unto us. For that what he did was done for
us, depends solely on imputation.
   (2.) As he was thus made under the law, so he did actually fulfil it
by his obedience unto it. So he testifies concerning himself,-- "Think
not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to
destroy, but to fulfill," Matt.5:17. These words of our Lord Jesus
Christ, as recorded by the evangelist, the Jews continually object
against the Christians, as contradictory to what they pretend to be done
by him,--namely, that he has destroyed and taken away the law. And
Maimonides, in his treatise, "De Fundamentis Legis," has many blasphemous
reflections on the Lord Christ, as a false prophet in this matter. But
the reconciliation is plain and easy. There was a twofold law given unto
the church,--the moral and the ceremonial law. The first, as we have
proved, is of an eternal obligation; the other was given only for a time.
That the latter of these was to be taken away and abolished, the apostle
proves with invincible testimonies out of the Old Testament against the
obstinate Jews, in his Epistle unto the Hebrews. Yet was it not to be
taken away without its accomplishment, when it ceased of itself.
Wherefore, our Lord Christ did no otherwise dissolve or destroy that law
but by the accomplishment of it; and so he did put an end unto it, as is
fully declared, Eph.2:14-16. But the law "kat' exochen", that which
obliges all men unto obedience unto God always, he came not "katalusai",
to destroy,--that is "athetesai", to abolish it, as an "athetesis" is
ascribed unto the Mosaical law, Heb.9:26 (in the same sense is the word
used, Matt.24:2; 26:61; 27:40; Mark 13:2; 14:58; 15:29; Luke 21:6; Acts
5:38,39; 6:14; Rom.14:20; 2 Cor.5:l; Gal.2:18, mostly with an accusative
case, of the things spoken of), or "katare-esai", which the apostle
denies to be done by Christ, and faith in him. Rom.3:31, "Nomon oun
katareoumen dia tes pisteoos; me genoito. alle nomon histoomen",--"Do we
then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the
law." "Nomon histanai" is to confirm its obligation unto obedience; which
is done by faith only, with respect unto the moral law; the other being
evacuated as unto any power of obliging unto obedience. This, therefore,
is the law which our Lord Christ affirms that he came "not to destroy;"
so he expressly declares in his ensuing discourse, showing both its power
of obliging us always unto obedience, and giving an exposition of it.
This law the Lord Christ came "pleroosai". "Pleroosai ton nomon", in the
Scripture, is the same with "emplesai ton nomon" in other writers; that
is, to yield full, perfect obedience unto the commands of the law,
whereby they are absolutely fulfilled. "Pleroosai nomon" is not to make
the law perfect; for it was always "nomos teleios",--a "perfect law,"
James 1:25; but to yield perfect obedience unto it: the same that our
Saviour calls "pleroosai pasan dikaiosunen", Matt.3:15, "to fulfill all
righteousness;" that is, by obedience unto all God's commands and
institutions, as is evident in the place. So the apostle uses the same
expression, Rom.13:8, "He that loveth another has fulfilled the law."
   2. It is a vain exception, that Christ fulfilled the law by his
doctrine, in the exposition of it. The opposition between the words
"pleroosai" and "katalusai",--"to fulfill" and "to destroy,"--will admit
of no such sense; and our Saviour himself expounds this "fulfilling of
the law," by doing the commands of it, Matt.5:19. Wherefore, the Lord
Christ as our mediator and surety fulfilling the law, by yielding perfect
obedience thereunto, he did it for us; and to us it is imputed.
   This is plainly affirmed by the apostle, Rom.5:18,19, "Therefore, as
by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so
by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto
justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made
sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." The
full plea from, and vindication of, this testimony, I refer unto its
proper place in the testimonies given unto the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ unto our justification in general. Here I shall
only observe, that the apostle expressly and in terms affirms that "by
the obedience of Christ we are made righteous," or justified; which we
cannot be but by the imputation of it unto us. I have met with nothing
that had the appearance of any sobriety for the eluding of this express
testimony, but only that by the obedience of Christ his death and
sufferings are intended, wherein he was obedient unto God; as the apostle
says, he was "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,"
Phil.2:8. But yet there is herein no colour of probability. For,--(1.) It
is acknowledged that there was such a near conjunction and alliance
between the obedience of Christ and his sufferings, that though they may
be distinguished, yet can they not be separated. He suffered in the whole
course of his obedience, from the womb to the cross; and he obeyed in all
his sufferings unto the last moment wherein he expired. But yet are they
really things distinct, as we have proved; and they were so in him who
"learned obedience by the things that he suffered," Heb.5:8. (2.) In this
place, [Rom.5] "hupako-e", verse 19, and "dikaiooma", verse 18, are the
same,--obedience and righteousness. "By the righteousness of one," and
"by the obedience of one," are the same. But suffering, as suffering, is
not "dikaiooma", is not righteousness; for if it were, then every one
that suffers what is due to him should be righteous, and so be justified,
even the devil himself (3.) The righteousness and obedience here intended
are opposed "tooi paraptoomati",--to the offence: "By the offense of
one." But the offense intended was an actual transgression of the law; so
is "paraptooma", a fall from, or a fall in, the course of obedience.
Wherefore the "dikaiooma", or righteousness, must be an actual obedience
unto the commands of the law, or the force of the apostle's reasoning and
antithesis cannot be understood. (4.) Particularly, it is such an
obedience as is opposed unto the disobedience of Adam,--"one man's
disobedience," "one man's obedience;"--but the disobedience of Adam was
an actual transgression of the law: and therefore the obedience of Christ
here intended was his active obedience unto the law;--which is that we
plead for. And I shall not at present farther pursue the argument,
because the force of it, in the confirmation of the truth contended for,
will be included in those that follow.




XIII. The nature of justification proved from the difference of the
covenants


The difference between the two covenants stated--Argument from thence


That which we plead in the third place unto our purpose is, the
difference between the two covenants. And herein it may be observed,--
   1. That by the two covenants I understand those which were absolutely
given unto the whole church, and were all to bring it "eis teleioteta",--
unto a complete and perfect state; that is, the covenant of works, or the
law of our creation as it was given unto us, with promises and
threatening, or rewards and punishments, annexed unto it; and the
covenant of grace, revealed and proposed in the first promise. As unto
the covenant of Sinai, and the new testament as actually confirmed in the
death of Christ, with all the spiritual privileges thence emerging, and
the differences between them, they belong not unto our present argument.
   2. The whole entire nature of the covenant of works consisted in
this,--that upon our personal obedience, according unto the law and rule
of it, we should be accepted with God, and rewarded with him. Herein the
essence of it did consist; and whatever covenant proceeds on these terms,
or has the nature of them in it, however it may be varied with additions
or alterations, is the same covenant still, and not another. As in the
renovation of the promise wherein the essence of the covenant of grace
was contained, God did ofttimes make other additions unto it (as unto
Abraham and David), yet was it still the same covenant for the substance
of it, and not another; so whatever variations may be made in, or
additions unto, the dispensation of the first covenant, so long as this
rule is retained, "Do this, and live," it is still the same covenant for
the substance and essence of it.
   3. Hence two things belonged unto this covenant:--First, That all
things were transacted immediately between God and man. There was no
mediator in it, no one to undertake any thing, either on the part of God
or man, between them; for the whole depending on every one's personal
obedience, there was no place for a mediator. Secondly, That nothing but
perfect, sinless obedience would be accepted with God, or preserve the
covenant in its primitive state and condition. There was nothing in it as
to pardon of sin, no provision for any defect in personal obedience.
   4. Wherefore, this covenant being once established between God and
man, there could be no new covenant made, unless the essential form of it
were of another nature,--namely, that our own personal obedience be not
the rule and cause of our acceptation and justification before God; for
whilst this is so, as was before observed, the covenant is still the
same, however the dispensation of it may be reformed or reduced to suit
unto our present state and condition. What grace soever might be
introduced into it, that could not be so which excluded all works from
being the cause of our justification. But if a new covenant be made, such
grace must be provided as is absolutely inconsistent with any works of
ours, as unto the first ends of the covenant; as the apostle declares,
Rom.11:6.
   5. Wherefore, the covenant of grace, supposing it a new, real,
absolute covenant, and not a reformation of the dispensation of the old,
or a reduction of it unto the use of our present condition (as some
imagine it to be), must differ, in the essence, substance, and nature of
it, from that first covenant of works. And this it cannot do if we are to
be justified before God on our personal obedience; wherein the essence of
the first covenant consisted. If, then, the righteousness wherewith we
are justified before God be our own, our own personal righteousness, we
are yet under the first covenant, and no other.
   6. But things in the new covenant are indeed quite otherwise; for,--
First, It is of grace, which wholly excludes works; that is, so of grace,
as that our own works are not the means of justification before God; as
in the places before alleged. Secondly, It has a mediator and surety;
which is built alone on this supposition, that what we cannot do in
ourselves which was originally required of us, and what the law of the
first covenant cannot enable us to perform, that should be performed for
us by our mediator and surety. And if this be not included in the very
first notion of a mediator and surety, yet it is in that of a mediator or
surety that does voluntarily interpose himself, upon an open
acknowledgment that those for whom he undertakes were utterly
insufficient to perform what was required of them;--on which supposition
all the truth of the Scripture does depend. It is one of the very first
notions of Christian religion, that the Lord Christ was given to us, born
to us; that he came as a mediator, to do for us what we could not do for
ourselves, and not merely to suffer what we had deserved. And here,
instead of our own righteousness, we have the "righteousness of God;"
instead of being righteous in ourselves before God, he is "The LORD our
Righteousness." And nothing but a righteousness of another kind and
nature, unto justification before God, could constitute another covenant.
Wherefore, the righteousness whereby we are justified is the
righteousness of Christ imputed unto us, or we are still under the law,
under the covenant of works.
   It will be said that our personal obedience is by none asserted to be
the righteousness wherewith we are justified before God, in the same
manner as it was under the covenant of works; but the argument speaks not
as unto the manner or way whereby it is so, but to the thing itself. If
it be so in any way or manner, under what qualifications soever, we are
under that covenant still. If it be of works any way, it is not of grace
at all. But it is added, that the differences are such as are sufficient
to constitute covenants effectually distinct: as,--1. "The perfect,
sinless obedience was required in the first covenant; but in the new,
that which is imperfect, and accompanied with many sins and failings, is
accepted." Ans. This is "gratis dictum," and begs the question. No
righteousness unto justification before God is or can be accepted but
what is perfect. 2. "Grace is the original fountain and cause of all our
acceptation before God in the new covenant." Ans. It was so also in the
old. The creation of man in original righteousness was an effect of
divine grace, benignity, and goodness; and the reward of eternal life in
the enjoyment of God was of mere sovereign grace: yet what was then of
works was not of grace;--no more is it at present. 3. "There would then
have been merit of works, which is now excluded." Ans. Such a merit as
arises from an equality and proportion between works and reward, by the
rule of commutative justice, would not have been in the works of the
first covenant; and in no other sense is it now rejected by them that
oppose the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. 4. "All is now
resolved into the merit of Christ, upon the account whereof alone our own
personal righteousness is accepted before God unto our justification."
Ans. The question is not, on what account, nor for what reason, it is so
accepted? But, whether it be or no?--seeing its so being is effectually
constitutive of a covenant of works.




XIV. The exclusion of all sorts of works from an interest in
justification--What is intended by "the law," and the "works" of it, in
the epistles of Paul


All works whatever are expressly excluded from any interest in our
justification before God--What intended by the works of the law--Not
those of the ceremonial law only--Not perfect works only, as required by
the law of our creation--Not the outward works of the law, performed
without a principle of faith--Not works of the Jewish law--Not works with
a conceit of merit--Not works only wrought before believing, in the
strength of our own wills--Works excluded abso1utely from our
justification, without respect unto a distinction of a first and second
justification--The true sense of the law in the apostolical assertion
that none are justified by the works thereof--What the Jews understood by
the law--Distribution of the law under the Old Testament--The whole law a
perfect rule of all inherent moral or spiritual obedience --What are the
works of the law, declared from the Scripture, and the argument thereby
confirmed --The nature of justifying faith farther declared


We shall take our fourth argument from the express exclusion of all
works, of what sort soever, from our justification before God. For this
alone is that which we plead,--namely, that no acts or works of our own
are the causes or conditions of our justification; but that the whole of
it is resolved into the free grace of God, through Jesus Christ, as the
mediator and surety of the covenant. To this purpose the Scripture speaks
expressly. Rom.3:28, "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by
faith, without the deeds of the law." Rom.4:5, "But to him that worketh
not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is
counted for righteousness" Rom.11:6, "If it be of grace, then is it no
more of works." Gal.2:16, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the
works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed
in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and
not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh
be justified." Eph.2:8,9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith ...
not of works, lest any man should boast." Tit.3:5, "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved
us."
   These and the like testimonies are express, and in positive terms
assert all that we contend for. And I am persuaded that no unprejudiced
person, whose mind is not prepossessed with notions and distinctions
whereof not the least little is offered unto them from the texts
mentioned, nor elsewhere, can but judge that the law, in every sense of
it, and all sorts of works whatever, that at any time, or by any means,
sinners or believers do or can perform, are, not in this or that sense,
but every way and in all senses, excluded from our justification before
God. And if it be so, it is the righteousness of Christ alone that we
must retake ourselves unto, or this matter must cease for ever. And this
inference the apostle himself makes from one of the testimonies before
mentioned,--namely, that of Gal.2:19-21; for he adds upon it, "I through
the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified
with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and
the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of
God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace
of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in
vain."
   Our adversaries are extremely divided amongst themselves. and can come
unto no consistency, as to the sense and meaning of the apostle in these
assertions; for what is proper and obvious unto the understanding of all
men, especially from the opposition that is made between the law and
works on the one hand, and faith, grace, and Christ on the other (which
are opposed as inconsistent in this matter of our justification), they
will not allow; nor can do so without the ruin of the opinions they plead
for. Wherefore, their various conjectures shall be examined, as well to
show their inconsistency among themselves by whom the truth is opposed,
as to confirm our present argument:--
   1. Some say it is the ceremonial law alone, and the works of it, that
are intended; or the law as given unto Moses on mount Sinai, containing
that entire covenant that was afterwards to be abolished. This was of old
the common opinion of the schoolmen, though it be now generally exploded.
And the opinion lately contended for, that the apostle Paul excludes
justification from the works of the law, or excludes works absolutely
perfect, and sinless obedience, not because no man can yield that perfect
obedience which the law requires, but because the law itself which he
intends could not justify any by the observation of it, is nothing but
the renovation of this obsolete notion, that it is the ceremonial law
only, or, which upon the matter is all one, the law given on mount Sinai,
abstracted from the grace of the promise, which could not justify any in
the observation of its rites and commands. But of all other conjectures,
this is the most impertinent and contradictory unto the design of the
apostle; and is therefore rejected by Bellarmine himself. For the apostle
treats of that law whose doers shall be justified, Rom.2:13; and the
authors of this opinion would have it to be a law that can justify none
of them that do it. That law he intends whereby is the knowledge of sin;
for he gives this reason why we cannot be justified by the works of it,--
namely, because "by it is the knowledge of sin," chap.2:20: and by what
law is the knowledge of sin he expressly declares, where he affirms that
he "had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet,"
chap.7:7; which is the moral law alone. That law he designs which stops
the mouth of all sinners, and makes all the world obnoxious unto the
judgment of God, chap.3:19; which none can do but the law written in the
heart of men at their creation, chap.2:14,15;--that law, which "if a man
do the works of it, he shall live in them," Gal.3:12, Rom.10:5; and which
brings all men under the curse for sin, Gal.3:10,--the law that is
established by faith, and not made void, Rom.3:31; which the ceremonial
law is not, nor the covenant of Sinai;--the law whose righteousness is
"to be fulfilled in us," Rom.8:4. And the instance which the apostle
gives of justification without the works of that law which he intends,--
namely, that of Abraham,--was some hundreds of years before the giving of
the ceremonial law. Neither yet do I say that the ceremonial law and the
works of it are excluded from the intention of the apostle: for when that
law was given, the observation of it was an especial instance of that
obedience we owed unto the first table of the decalogue; and the
exclusion of the works thereof from our justification, inasmuch as the
performance of them was part of that moral obedience which we owed unto
God, is exclusive of all other works also. But that it is alone here
intended, or that law which could never justify any by its observation,
although it was observed in due manner, is a fond imagination, and
contradictory to the express assertion of the apostle. And, whatever is
pretended to the contrary, this opinion is expressly rejected by
Augustine, Lib. de Spiritu et Litera, cap.8: "Ne quisquam putaret hic
apostolum ea lege dixisse neminem justificari, quae in sacramentis
veteribus multa continet figurata praecepta, unde etiam est ista
circumcisio carnis, continuo subjunxit, quam dixerit legem et ait; 'per
legem cognitio peccati'". And to the same purpose he speaks again, Epist.
200, "Non solum illa opera legis quae sunt in veteribus sacramentis, et
nunc revelato testamento novo non observantur a Christianis, sicut est
circumcisio praeputii, et sabbati non observantur a Christianis, sicut
est circumcisio praeputii, et sabbati carnalis vacatio; et a quibusdam
escis abstinentia, et pecorum in sacrificiis immolatio, et neomenia et
ezymum, et caetera hujusmodi, verum etiam illud quod in lege dictum est,
'Non concupisces', quod utique et Christianis nullus ambigit esse
dicendum, non justificat hominem, nisi per fidem Jesu Christi, et gratiam
Dei per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum".
   2. Some say the apostle only excludes the perfect works required by
the law of innocence; which is a sense diametrically opposite unto that
foregoing. But this best pleases the Socinians. "Paulus agit de operibus
et perfectis in hoc dicto, ideo enim adjecit, sine operibus legis, ut
indicaretur loqui eum de operibus a lege requisitis, et sic de perpetua
et perfectissima divinorum praeceptorum obedientia sicut lex requirit.
Cum autem talem obedientiam qualem lex requirit nemo praestare possit,
ideo subjecit apostolus nos justificari fide, id est, fiducia et
obedientia ea quantum quisque praestare potest, et quotidie quam maximum
praestare studet, et connititur. Sine operibus legis, id est, etsi
interim perfecte totam legem sicut debebat complere nequit"; says Socinus
himself. But,--(1.) We have herein the whole granted of what we plead
for,--namely, that it is the moral, indispensable law of God that is
intended by the apostle; and that by the works of it no man can be
justified, yea, that all the works of it are excluded from our
justification: for it is, says the apostle, "without works." The works of
this law being performed according unto it, will justify them that
perform them, as he affirms, chap.2:13; and the Scripture elsewhere
witnesses that "he that does them shall live in them." But because this
can never be done by any sinner, therefore all consideration of them is
excluded from our justification. (2.) It is a wild imagination that the
dispute of the apostle is to this purpose,--that the perfect works of the
law will not justify us, but imperfect works, which answer not the law,
will do so. (3.) Granting the law intended to be the moral law of God,
the law of our creation, there is no such distinction intimated in the
least by the apostle, that we are not justified by the perfect works of
it which we cannot perform, but by some imperfect works that we can
perform, and labour so to do. Nothing is more foreign unto the design and
express words of his whole discourse. (4.) The evasion which they retake
themselves unto, that the apostle opposes justification by faith unto
that of works, which he excludes, is altogether vain in this sense; for
they would have this faith to be our obedience unto the divine commands,
in that imperfect manner which we can attain unto. For when the apostle
has excluded all such justification by the law and the works thereof, he
does not advance in opposition unto them, and in their room, our own
faith and obedience; but adds, "Being justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; whom God has set forth to
be a propitiation through faith in his blood."
   3. Some of late among ourselves,--and they want not them who have gone
before them,--affirm that the works which the apostle excludes from
justification are only the outward works of the law, performed without an
inward principle of faith, fear, or the love of God. Servile works,
attended unto from a respect unto the threatening of the law, are those
which will not justify us. But this opinion is not only false, but
impious. For,--(1.) The apostle excludes the works of Abraham, which were
not such outward, servile works as are imagined. (2.) The works excluded
are those which the law requires; and the law is holy, just, and good.
But a law that requires only outward works, without internal love to God,
is neither holy, just, nor good. (3.) The law condemns all such works as
are separated from the internal principle of faith, fear, and love; for
it requires that in all our obedience we should love the Lord our God
with all our hearts. And the apostle says, that we are not justified by
the works which the law condemns, but not by them which the law commands.
(4.) It is highly reflexive on the honour of God, that he unto whose
divine prerogative it belongs to know the hearts of men alone, and
therefore regards them alone in all the duties of their obedience, should
give a law requiring outward, servile works only; for if the law intended
require more, then are not those the only works excluded.
   4. Some say, in general, it is the Jewish law that is intended; and
think thereby to cast off the whole difficulty. But if, by the Jewish
law, they intend only the ceremonial law, or the law absolutely as given
by Moses, we have already showed the vanity of that pretence; but if they
mean thereby the whole law or rule of obedience given unto the church of
Israel under the Old Testament, they express much of the truth,--it may
be more than they designed.
   5. Some say that it is works with a conceit of merit, that makes the
reward to be of debt, and not of grace, that are excluded by the apostle.
But no such distinction appears in the text or context; for,--(1,) The
apostle excludes all works of the law,--that is, that the law requires of
us in a way of obedience,--be they of what sort they will. (2.) The law
requires no works with a conceit of merit. (3.) Works of the law
originally included no merit, as that which "ariseth from the proportion
of one thing unto another in the balance of justice; and in that sense
only is it rejected by those who plead for an interest of works in
justification. (4.) The merit which the apostle excludes is that which is
inseparable from works, so that it cannot be excluded unless the works
themselves be so. And unto their merit two things concur:--First, A
comparative boasting; that is, not absolutely in the sight of God, which
follows the "meritum ex condigno" which some poor sinful mortals have
fancied in their works, but that which gives one man a preference above
another in the obtaining of justification; which grace will not allow,
chap.4:2. Secondly, That the reward be not absolutely of grace, but that
respect he had therein unto works; which makes it so far to be of debt,
not out of an internal condignity, which would not have been under the
law of creation, but out of some congruity with respect unto the promise
of God, verse 4. In these two regards merit is inseparable from works;
and the Holy Ghost, utterly to exclude it, excludes all works from which
it is inseparable, as it is from all. Wherefore, (5.) The apostle speaks
not one word about the exclusion of the merit of works only; but he
excludes all works whatever, and that by this argument, that the
admission of them would necessarily introduce merit in the sense
described; which is inconsistent with grace. And although some think that
they are injuriously dealt withal, when they are charged with maintaining
of merit in their asserting the influence of our works into our
justification; yet those of them who best understand themselves and the
controversy itself, are not so averse from some kind of merit, as knowing
that it is inseparable from works.
   6. Some contend that the apostle excludes only works wrought before
believing, in the strength of our own wills and natural abilities,
without the aid of grace. Works, they suppose, required by the law are
such as we perform by the direction and command of the law alone. But the
law of faith requires works in the strength of the supplies of grace;
which are not excluded. This is that which the most learned and judicious
of the church of Rome do now generally retake themselves unto. Those who
amongst us plead for works in our justification, as they use many
distinctions to explain their minds, and free their opinion from a
coincidence with that of the Papists; so, as yet, they deny the name of
merit, and the thing itself in the sense of the church of Rome, as it is
renounced likewise by all the Socinians: wherefore, they make use of the
preceding evasion, that merit is excluded by the apostle, and works only
as they are meritorious; although the apostle's plain argument be, that
they are excluded because such a merit as is inconsistent with grace is
inseparable from their admission.
   But the Roman church cannot so part with merit. Wherefore, they are to
find out a sort of works to be excluded only, which they are content to
part withal as not meritorious. Such are those before described, wrought,
as they say, before believing, and without the aids of grace; and such,
they say, are all the works of the law. And this they do with some more
modesty and sobriety than those amongst us who would have only external
works and observances to be intended. For they grant that sundry internal
works, as those of attrition, sorrow for sin, and the like, are of this
nature. But the works of the law it is, they say, that are excluded. But
this whole plea, and all the sophisms wherewith it is countenanced, have
been so discussed and defeated by Protestant writers of all sorts against
Bellarmine and others, as that it is needless to repeat the same things,
or to add any thing unto them. And it will be sufficiently evinced of
falsehood in what we shall immediately prove concerning the law and works
intended by the apostle. However, the heads of the demonstration of the
truth to the contrary may be touched on. And, --(1.) The apostle excludes
all works, without distinction or exception. And we are not to
distinguish where the law does not distinguish before us. (2.) All the
works of the law are excluded: therefore all works wrought after
believing by the aids of grace are excluded; for they are all required by
the law. See Ps.119:35; Rom.7:22. Works not required by the law are no
less an abomination to God than sins against the law. (3.) The works of
believers after conversion, performed by the aids of grace, are expressly
excluded by the apostle. So are those of Abraham, after he had been a
believer many years, and abounded in them unto the praise of God. So he
excludeth his own works after his conversion, Gal.2:16; 1 Cor.4:4;
Phil.3:9; and so he excludes the works of all other believers,
Eph.2:9,10. (4.) All works are excluded that might give countenance unto
boasting, Rom.4:2,; 3:27; Eph.2:9; 1 Cor.1:29-31. But this is done more
by the good works of regenerate persons than by any works of unbelievers.
(5.) The law required faith and love in all our works; and therefore if
all the works of the law be excluded, the best works of believers are so.
(6.) All works are excluded which are opposed unto grace working freely
in our justification; but this all works whatever are, Rom.11:6. (7.) In
the Epistle unto the Galatians, the apostle does exclude from our
justification all those works which the false teachers pressed as
necessary thereunto: but they urged the necessity of the works of
believers, and those which were by grace already converted unto God; for
those upon whom they pressed them unto this end were already actually so.
(8.) They are good works that the apostle excludes from our
justification; for there can be no pretence of justification by those
works that are not good, or which have not all things essentially
requisite to make them so: but such are all the works of unbelievers
performed without the aids of grace,--they are not good, nor as such
accepted with God, but want what is essentially requisite unto the
constitution of good works; and it is ridiculous to think that the
apostle disputes about the exclusion of such works from our justification
as no man in his wits would think to have any place therein. (9.) The
reason why no man can be justified by the law, is because no man can
yield perfect obedience thereunto; for by perfect obedience the law will
justify, Rom.2:13; 10:5. Wherefore, all works are excluded that are not
absolutely perfect; but this the best works of believers are not, as we
have proved before. (10.) If there be a reserve for the works of
believers, performed by the aid of grace, in our justification, it is,
that either they may be concauses thereof, or be indispensably
subservient unto those things that are so. That they are concauses of our
justification is not absolutely affirmed; neither can it be said that
they are necessarily subservient unto them that are so. They are not so
unto the efficient cause thereof, which is the grace and favour of God
alone, Rom.3:24,25; 4:16; Eph.2:8,9; Rev.1:5;--nor are they so unto the
meritorious cause of it, which is Christ alone, Acts 13:38; 26:18; 1
Cor.1:30; 2 Cor.5:18-21;--nor unto the material cause of it, which is the
righteousness of Christ alone, Rom.10:3,4,--nor are they so unto faith,
in what place soever it be stated; for not only is faith only mentioned,
wherever we are taught the way how the righteousness of Christ is derived
and communicated unto us, without any intimation of the conjunction of
works with it, but also, as unto our justification, they are placed in
opposition and contradiction one to the other, Rom.3:28. And sundry other
things are pleadable unto the same purpose.
   7. Some affirm that the apostle excludes all works from our first
justification, but not from the second; at; as some speak, the
continuation of our justification. But we have before examined these
distinctions, and found them groundless.
   Evident it is, therefore, that men put themselves into an uncertain,
slippery station, where they know not what to fix upon, nor wherein to
find any such appearance of truth as to give them countenance in denying
the plain and frequently-repeated assertion of the apostle.
   Wherefore, in the confirmation of the present argument, I shall more
particularly inquire into what it is that the apostle intends by the law
and works whereof he treats. For as unto our justification, whatever they
are, they are absolutely and universally opposed unto grace, faith, the
righteousness of God, and the blood of Christ, as those which are
altogether inconsistent with them. Neither can this be denied or
questioned by any, seeing it is the plain design of the apostle to evince
that inconsistency.
   1. Wherefore, in general, it is evident that the apostle, by the law
and the works thereof, intended what the Jews with whom he had to do did
understand by the law, and their own whole obedience thereunto. I suppose
this cannot be denied; for without a concession of it there is nothing
proved against them, nor are they in any thing instructed by him. Suppose
those terms equivocal, and to be taken in one sense by him, and by them
in another, and nothing can be rightly concluded from what is spoken of
them. Wherefore, the meaning of these terms, "the law," and "works," the
apostle takes for granted as very well known, and agreed on between
himself and those with whom he had to do.
   2. The Jews by "the law" intended what the Scriptures of the Old
Testament meant by that expression; for they are nowhere blamed for any
false notion concerning the law, or that they esteemed any thing to be so
but what was so indeed, and what was so called in the Scripture. Their
present oral law was not yet hatched, though the Pharisees were brooding
of it.
   3. "The law" under the Old Testament does immediately refer unto the
law given at mount Sinai, nor is there any distinct mention of it before.
This is commonly called "the law" absolutely; but most frequently "the
law of God," "the law of the Lord;" and sometimes "the law of Moses,"
because of his especial ministry in the giving of it: "Remember ye the
law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him," Mal.4:4. And this
the Jews intended by "the law."
   4. Of the law so given at Horeb, there was a distribution into three
parts. (1.) There was "'aseret hadevarim",--Deut.4:13, "The ten words;"
so also chap.10:4;--that is, the ten commandments written upon two tables
of stone. This part of the law was first given, was the foundation of the
whole, and contained that perfect obedience which was required of mankind
by law of creation; and was now received into the church with the highest
attestations of its indispensable obligation unto obedience or
punishment. (2.) "chukim", which the LXX render by "dikaioomata",--that
is, "jura," "rites," or "statutes;" but the Latin from thence,
"justificationes," ("justifications,") which has given great occasion of
mistake in many, both ancient and modern divines. We call it "the
ceremonial law." The apostle terms this part of the law distinctly,
"Nomos entoloon en dogmasi", Eph.2:15, "The law of commandments contained
in ordinances;" that is, consisting in a multitude of arbitrary commands.
(3.) "mishpatim", which we commonly call "the judicial law." This
distribution of the law shuts up the Old Testament, as it is used in
places innumerable before; only the "'aseret hadevriem",--"the ten
words,"--is expressed by the general word "torah",--"the law," Mal.4:4.
   5. These being the parts of the law given unto the church in Sinai,
the whole of it is constantly called "torah",--"the law,"--that is, the
instruction (as the word signifies) that God gave unto the church, in the
rule of obedience which he prescribed unto it. This is the constant
signification of that word in Scripture, where it is taken absolutely;
and thereon does not signify precisely the law as given at Horeb, but
comprehends with it all the revelations that God made under the Old
Testament, in the explanation and confirmation of that law, in rules,
motives, directions, and enforcements of obedience.
   6. Wherefore; "torah",--"the law,"--is the whole rule of obedience
which God gave to the church under the Old Testament, with all the
efficacy wherewith it was accompanied by the ordinances of God, including
in it all the promises and threatening that might be motives unto the
obedience that God did require;--this is that which God and the church
called "the law" under the Old Testament, and which the Jews so called
with whom our apostle had to do. That which we call "the moral law" was
the foundation of the whole; and those parts of it which we call "the
judicial and ceremonial law," were peculiar instances of the obedience
which the church under the Old Testament was obliged unto, in the
especial polity and divine worship which at that season were necessary
unto it. And two things does the Scripture testify unto concerning this
law:--
   (1.) That it was a perfect, complete rule of all that internal
spiritual and moral obedience which God required of the church: "The law
of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is
sure, making wise the simple," Ps.19:7. And it so was of all the external
duties of obedience, for matter and manner, time and season; that in both
the church might walk "acceptably before God", Isa.8:20. And although the
original duties of the moral part of the law are often preferred before
the particular instances of obedience in duties of outward worship, yet
the whole law was always the whole rule of all the obedience, internal
and external, that God required of the church, and which he accepted in
them that did believe.
   (2.) That this law, this rule of obedience, as it was ordained of God
to be the instrument of his rule of the church, and by virtue of the
covenant made with Abraham, unto whose administration it was adapted, and
which its introduction on Sinai did not disannul, was accompanied with a
power and efficacy enabling unto obedience. The law itself, as merely
receptive and commanding, administered no power or ability unto those
that were under its authority to yield obedience unto it; no more do the
mere commands of the gospel. Moreover, under the Old Testament it
enforced obedience on the minds and consciences of men by the manner of
its first delivery, and the severity of its sanction, so as to fill them
with fear and bondage; and was, besides, accompanied with such burdensome
rules of outward worship, as made it a heavy yoke unto the people. But as
it was God's doctrine, teaching, instruction in all acceptable obedience
unto himself, and was adapted unto the covenant of Abraham, it was
accompanied with an administration of effectual grace, procuring and
promoting obedience in the church. And the law is not to be looked on as
separated from those aids unto obedience which God administered under the
Old Testament; whose effects are therefore ascribed unto the law itself
See Ps.1, 19, 119.
   This being "the law" in the sense of the apostle, and those with whom
he had to do, our next inquiry is, What was their sense of "works," or
"works of the law?" And I say it is plain that they intended hereby the
universal sincere obedience of the church unto God, according unto this
law. And other works the law of God acknowledges not; yea, it expressly
condemns all works that have any such defect in them as to render them
unacceptable unto God. Hence, notwithstanding all the commands that God
had positively given for the strict observance of sacrifices, offerings,
and the like; yet, when the people performed them without faith and love,
he expressly affirms that he "commanded them not,"--that is, to be
observed in such a manner. In these works, therefore, consisted their
personal righteousness, as they walked "in all the commandments and
ordinances of the Lord blameless," Luke 1:6; wherein they did "instantly
serve God day and night," Acts 26:7. And this they esteemed to be their
own righteousness, their righteousness according unto the law; as really
it was, Phil.3:6,9. For although the Pharisees had greatly corrupted the
doctrine of the law, and put false glosses on sundry precepts of it; yet,
that the church in those days did, by "the works of the law," understand
either ceremonial duties only, or external works, or works with a conceit
of merit, or works wrought without an internal principle of faith and
love to God, or any thing but their own personal sincere obedience unto
the whole doctrine and rule of the law, there is nothing that should give
the least colour of imagination. For,--
   1. All this is perfectly stated in the suffrage which the scribe gave
unto the declaration of the sense and design of the law, with the nature
of the obedience which it does require, and was made at his request by
our blessed Saviour. Mark 12:28-33, "And one of the scribes came, and
having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered
them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?" (or as it
is, Matt.22:36, "Which is the great commandment in the law?") "And Jesus
answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the
Lord our Gods is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy
strength; this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely
this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. And the scribe said unto
him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and
there is none but he: and to love him with all the heart, and with all
the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and
to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt-offerings
and sacrifices." And this [is] so expressly given by Moses as the sum of
the law,--namely, faith and love, as the principle of all our obedience,
Dent.6:4,5, , that it is marvelous what should induce any learned, sober
person to fix upon any other sense of it; as that it respected ceremonial
or external works only, or such as may be wrought without faith or love.
This is the law concerning which the apostle disputes, and this the
obedience wherein the works of it do consist; and more than this, in the
way of obedience, God never did nor will require of any in this world.
Wherefore, the law and the works thereof which the apostle excludes from
justification, is that whereby we are obliged to believe in God as one
God, the only God, and love him with all our hearts and souls, and our
neighbours as ourselves; and what works there are, or can be, in any
persons, regenerate or not regenerate, to be performed in the strength of
grace or without it, that are acceptable unto God, that may not be
reduced unto these heads, I know not.
   2. The apostle himself declares that it is the law and the works of
it, in the sense we have expressed, that he excludes from our
justification. For the law he speaks of is "the law of righteousness,"
Rom.9:31,--the law whose righteousness is to be "fulfilled in us," that
we may be accepted with God, and freed from condemnation, chap.8:4;--that
in obedience whereunto our own personal righteousness does consist,
whether that we judge so before conversion, Rom.10:3; or what is so after
it, Phil.3:9;--the law which if a man observe, "he shall live," and be
justified before God, Rom.2:13; Gal.3:12; Rom.10:5;--that law which is
"holy, just, and good," which discovers and condemns all sin whatever,
chap.7:7,9.
   From what has been discoursed, these two things are evident in the
confirmation of our present argument:--first, That the law intended by
the apostle, when he denies that by the works of the law any can be
justified, is the entire rule and guide of our obedience unto God, even
as unto the whole frame and spiritual constitution of our souls, with all
the acts of obedience or duties that he requires of us; and, secondly,
That the works of this law, which he so frequently and plainly excludes
from our justification, and therein opposes to the grace of God and the
blood of Christ, are all the duties of obedience,--internal,
supernatural; external, ritual,--however we are or may be enabled to
perform them, that God requires of us. And these things excluded, it is
the righteousness of Christ alone, imputed unto us, on, the account
whereof we are justified before God.
   The truth is, so far as I can discern, the real difference that is at
this day amongst us, about the doctrine of our justification before God,
is the same that was between the apostle and the Jews, and no other. But
controversies in religion make a great appearance of being new, when they
are only varied and made different by the new terms and expressions that
are introduced into the handling of them. So has it fallen out in the
controversy about nature and grace; for as unto the true nature of it, it
is the same in these days as it was between the apostle Paul and the
Pharisees; between Austin and Pelagius afterwards. But it has now passed
through so many forms and dresses of words, as that it can scarce be
known to be what it was. Many at this day will condemn both Pelagius and
the doctrine that he taught, in the words wherein he taught it, and yet
embrace and approve of the things themselves which he intended. The
introduction of every change in philosophical learning gives an
appearance of a change in the controversies which are managed thereby;
but take off the covering of philosophical expressions, distinctions,
metaphysical notions, and futilous terms of art, which some of the
ancient schoolmen and later disputants have cast upon it, and the
difference about grace and nature is amongst us all the same that it was
of old, and as it is allowed by the Socinians.
   Thus the apostle, treating of our justification before God, does it in
those terms which are both expressive of the thing itself, and were well
understood by them with whom he had to do; such as the Holy Spirit, in
their revelation, had consecrated unto their proper use. Thus, on the one
hand, he expressly excludes the law, our own works, our own
righteousness, from any interest therein; ally in opposition unto, and as
inconsistent with them, in the matter of justification, he ascribes it
wholly unto the righteousness of God, righteousness imputed unto us, the
obedience of Christ, Christ made righteousness unto us, the blood of
Christ as a propitiation, faith, receiving Christ, and the atonement.
There is no awakened conscience, guided by the least beam of spiritual
illumination, but in itself plainly understands these things, and what is
intended in them. But through the admission of exotic learning, with
philosophical terms and notions, into the way of teaching spiritual
things in religion, a new face and appearance is put on the whole matter;
and a composition made between those things which the apostle directly
opposes as contrary and inconsistent. Hence are all our discourses about
preparations, dispositions, conditions, merits "de congruo et condigno,"
with such a train of distinctions, as that if some bounds be not fixed
unto the inventing and coining of them (which, being a facile work, grows
on us every day), we shall not see long be able to look through them, so
as to discover the things intended, or rightly to understand one another;
for as one said of lies, so it may be said of arbitrary distinctions,
they must be continually new thatched over, or it will rain through. But
the best way is to cast off all these coverings, and we shall then
quickly see that the real difference about the justification of a sinner
before God is the same, and no other, as it was in the days of the
apostle Paul between him and the Jews. And all those things which men are
pleased now to plead for, with respect unto a causality in our
justification before God, under the names of preparations, conditions,
dispositions, merit, with respect unto a first or second justification,
are as effectually excluded by the apostle as if he had expressly named
them every one; for in them all there is a management, according unto our
conceptions and the terms of the learning passant in the present age, of
the plea for our own personal righteousness, which the Jews maintained
against the apostle. And the true understanding of what he intends by the
law, the works and righteousness thereof, would be sufficient to
determine this controversy, but that men are grown very skilful in the
art of endless wrangling.




XV. Faith alone


Of faith alone


The truth which we plead has two parts:--1. That the righteousness of God
imputed to us, unto the justification of life, is the righteousness of
Christ, by whose obedience we are made righteous. 2. That it is faith
alone which on our part is required to interest us in that righteousness,
or whereby we comply with God's grant and communication of it, or receive
it unto our use and benefit; for although this faith is in itself the
radical principle of all obedience,-- and whatever is not so, which
cannot, which does not, on all occasions, evidence, prove, show, or
manifest itself by works, is not of the same kind with it,--yet, as we
are justified by it, its act and duty is such, or of that nature, as that
no other grace, duty, or work, can be associated with it, or be of any
consideration. And both these are evidently confirmed in that description
which is given us in the Scripture of the nature of faith and believing
unto the justification of life.
   I know that many expressions used in the declaration of the nature and
work of faith herein are metaphorical, at least are generally esteemed so
to be;--but they are such as the Holy Ghost, in his infinite wisdom,
thought meet to make use of for the instruction and edification of the
church. And I cannot but say, that those who understand not how
effectually the light of knowledge is communicated unto the minds of them
that believe by them, and a sense of the things intended unto their
spiritual experience, seem not to have taken a due consideration of them.
Neither, whatever skill we pretend unto, do we know always what
expressions of spiritual things are metaphorical. Those oftentimes may
seem so to be, which are most proper. However, it is most safe for us to
adhere unto the expressions of the Holy Spirit, and not to embrace such
senses of things as are inconsistent with them, and opposite unto them.
Wherefore,--
   1. That faith whereby we are justified is most frequently in the New
Testament expressed by receiving. This notion of faith has been before
spoken unto, in our general inquiry into the use of it in our
justification. It shall not, therefore, be here much again insisted on.
Two things we may observe concerning it:--First, That it is so expressed
with respect unto the whole object of faith, or unto all that does any
way concur unto our justification; for we are said to receive Christ
himself: "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the
sons of God," John 1:12; "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord,"
Col.2:6. In opposition hereunto unbelief is expressed by not receiving of
him, John 1:11; 3:11; 12:48; 14:17. And it is a receiving of Christ as he
is "The LORD our Righteousness," as of God he is made righteousness unto
us. And as no grace, no duty, can have any cooperation with faith
herein,--this reception of Christ not belonging unto their nature, nor
comprised in their exercise,--so it excludes any other righteousness from
our justification but that of Christ alone; for we are "justified by
faith." Faith alone receives Christ; and what it receives is the cause of
our justification, whereon we become the sons of God. So we "receive the
atonement" made by the blood of Christ, Rom.5:11; for "God has set him
forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." And this
receiving of the atonement includes the soul's approbation of the way of
salvation by the blood of Christ, and the appropriation of the atonement
made thereby unto our own souls. For thereby also we receive the
forgiveness of sins: "That they may receive forgiveness of sins by faith
that is in me," Acts 26:18. In receiving Christ we receive the atonement;
and in the atonement we receive the forgiveness of sins. But, moreover,
the grace of God, and righteousness itself, as the efficient and material
cause of our justification, are received also; even the "abundance of
grace and the gift of righteousness," Rom.5:17. So that faith, with
respect unto all the causes of justification, is expressed by
"receiving;" for it also receives the promise, the instrumental cause on
the part of God thereof, Acts 2:41; Heb.9:15. Secondly, That the nature
of faith, and its acting with respect unto all the causes of
justification, consisting in receiving, that which is the object of it
must be offered, tendered, and given unto us, as that which is not our
own, but is made our own by that giving and receiving. This is evident in
the general nature of receiving. And herein, as was observed, as no other
grace or duty can concur with it, so the righteousness whereby we are
justified can be none of our own antecedent unto this reception, nor at
any time inherent in us. Hence we argue, that if the work of faith in our
justification be the receiving of what is freely granted, given,
communicated, and imputed unto us,--that is, of Christ, of the atonement,
of the gift of righteousness, of the forgiveness of sins,--then have our
other graces, our obedience, duties, works, no influence into our
justification, nor are any causes or conditions thereof; for they are
neither that which does receive nor that which is received, which alone
concur thereunto.
   2. Faith is expressed by looking: "Look unto me, and be ye saved,"
Isa.45:22; "A man shall look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have
respect unto the Holy One of Israel," chap.17:7; "They shall look upon me
whom they have pierced," Zech.12:10. See Ps.123:2. The nature hereof is
expressed, John 3:14,15, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the
wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." For so was he
to be lifted up on the cross in his death, John 8:28, chap.12:32. The
story is recorded Numb.21:8,9. I suppose none doubt but that the stinging
of the people by fiery serpents, and the death that ensued thereon, were
types of the guilt of sin, and the sentence of the fiery law thereon; for
these things happened unto them in types, 1 Cor.10:11. When any was so
stung or bitten, if he retook himself unto any other remedies, he died
and perished. Only they that looked unto the brazen serpent that was
lifted up were healed, and lived; for this was the ordinance of God,--
this way of healing alone had he appointed. And their healing was a type
of the pardon of sin, with everlasting life. So by their looking is the
nature of faith expressed, as our Saviour plainly expounds it in this
place: "So must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in
him,"--that is, as the Israelites looked unto the serpent in the
wilderness,--["should not perish."] And although this expression of the
great mystery of the gospel by Christ himself has been by some derided,
or, as they call it, exposed, yet is it really as instructive of the
nature of faith, justification, and salvation by Christ, as any passage
in the Scripture. Now, if faith, whereby we are justified, and in that
exercise of it wherein we are so, be a looking unto Christ, under a sense
of the guilt of sin and our lost condition thereby, for all, for our only
help and relief, for deliverance, righteousness, and life, then is it
therein exclusive of all other graces and duties whatever; for by them we
neither look, nor are they the things which we look after. But so is the
nature and exercise of faith expressed by the Holy Ghost; and they who do
believe understand his mind. For whatever may be pretended of metaphor in
the expression, faith is that act of the soul whereby they who are
hopeless, helpless, and lost in themselves, do, in a way of expectancy
and trust, seek for all help and relief in Christ alone, or there is not
truth in it. And this also sufficiently evinces the nature of our
justification by Christ.
   3. It is, in like manner, frequently expressed by coming unto Christ:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour," Matt.11:28. See John 6:35,37,45,65;
7:37. To come unto Christ for life and salvation, is to believe on him
unto the justification of life; but no other grace or duty is a coming
unto Christ: and therefore have they no place in justification. He who
has been convinced of sin, who has been wearied with the burden of it,
who has really designed to fly from the wrath to come, and has heard the
voice of Christ in the gospel inviting him to come unto him for help and
relief, will tell you that this coming unto Christ consists in a man's
going out of himself, in a complete renunciation of all his own duties
and righteousness, and retaking himself with all his trust and confidence
unto Christ alone, and his righteousness, for pardon of sin, acceptation
with God, and a right unto the heavenly inheritance. It may be some will
say this is not believing, but canting; be it so: we refer the judgment
of it to the church of God.
   4. It is expressed by fleeing for refuge: Heb.6:18, "Who have fled for
refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before us." See Prov.18:10. Hence
some have defined faith to be "perfugium animae," the flight of the soul
unto Christ for deliverance from sin and misery. And much light is given
unto the understanding of the thing intended thereby. For herein it is
supposed that he who believes is antecedently thereunto convinced of his
lost condition, and that if he abide therein he must perish eternally;
that he has nothing of himself whereby he may be delivered from it; that
he must retake himself unto somewhat else for relief; that unto this end
he considers Christ as set before him, and proposed unto him in the
promise of the gospel; that he judges this to be a holy, a safe way, for
his deliverance and acceptance with God, as that which has the characters
of all divine excellencies upon it: hereon he flees unto it for refuge,
that is, with diligence and speed, that he perish not in his present
condition; he retakes himself unto it by placing his whole trust and
affiance thereon. And the whole nature of our justification by Christ is
better declared hereby, unto the supernatural sense and experience of
believers, than by a hundred philosophical disputations about it.
   5. The terms and notions by which it is expressed under the Old
Testament are, leaning on God, Mic.3:11; or Christ, Cant.8:5;-- rolling
or casting ourselves and our burden on the Lord, Ps.22:8, [margin,] 37:5-
-(the wisdom of the Holy Ghost in which expressions has by some been
profanely derided);--resting on God, or in him, 2 Chron.14:11; Ps.37:7;--
cleaving unto the Lord, Dent.4:4; Acts 11:23; as also by trusting,
hoping, and waiting, in places innumerable. And it may be observed, that
those who acted faith as it is thus expressed, do everywhere declare
themselves to be lost, hopeless, helpless, desolate, poor, orphans;
whereon they place all their hope and expectation on God alone.
   All that I would infer from these things is, that the faith whereby we
believe unto the justification of life, or which is required of us in a
way of duty that we may be justified, is such an act of the whole soul
whereby convinced sinners do wholly go out of themselves to rest upon God
in Christ for mercy, pardon, life, righteousness, and salvation, with an
acquiescence of heart therein; which is the whole of the truth pleaded
for.




XVI. The truth pleaded farther confirmed by testimonies of Scripture.--
Jer.23:6


Testimonies of Scripture confirming the doctrine of justification by the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ--Jer.23:6, exp1sined and
indicated


That which we now proceed unto, is the consideration of those express
testimonies of Scripture which are given unto the truth pleaded for, and
especially of those places where the doctrine of the justification of
sinners is expressly and designedly handled. From them it is that we must
learn the truth, and into them must our faith be resolved; unto whose
authority all the arguing and objections of men must give place. By them
is more light conveyed into the understandings of believers than by the
most subtile disputations. And it is a thing not without scandal, to see
among Protestants whole books written about justification, wherein scarce
one testimony of Scripture is produced, unless it be to find out evasions
from the force of them. And, in particular, whereas the apostle Paul has
most fully and expressly (as he had the greatest occasion so to do)
declared and vindicated the doctrine of evangelical justification, not a
few, in what they write about it, are so far from declaring their
thoughts and faith concerning it out of his writings, as that they begin
to reflect upon them as obscure, and such as give occasion unto dangerous
mistakes; and unless, as was said, to answer and except against them upon
their own corrupt principles, seldom or never make mention of them; as
though we were grown wiser than he, or that Spirit whereby he was
inspired, guided, acted in all that he wrote. But there can be nothing
more alien from the genius of Christian religion, than for us not to
endeavour humbly to learn the mystery of the grace of God herein, in the
declaration of it made by him. But the foundation of God stands sure,
what course soever men shall be pleased to take into their profession of
religion.
   For the testimonies which I shall produce and insist upon, I desire
the reader to observe,--1. That they are but some of the many that might
be pleaded unto the same purpose. 2. That those which have been, or yet
shall be alleged, on particular occasions, I shall wholly omit; and such
are most of them that are given unto this truth in the Old Testament. 3.
That in the exposition of them I shall, with what diligence I can,
attend,--First, Unto the analogy of faith; that is, the manifest scope
and design of the revelation of the mind and will of God in the
Scripture. And that this is to exalt the freedom and riches of his own
grace, the glory and excellency of Christ and his mediation; to discover
the woeful, lost, forlorn condition of man by sin; to debase and depress
every thing that is in and of ourselves, as to the attaining life,
righteousness, and salvation; cannot be denied by any who have their
sense exercised in the Scriptures. Secondly, Unto the experience of them
that do believe, with the condition of them who seek after justification
by Jesus Christ. In other things I hope the best helps and rules of the
interpretation of the Scripture shall not be neglected.
   There is weight in this case deservedly laid on the name of the Lord
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as promised and given unto us,-- namely,
"The LORD our Righteousness," Jer.23:6. As the name Jehovah, being given
and ascribed unto him, is a full indication of his divine person; so the
addition of his being our righteousness, sufficiently declares that in
and by him alone we have righteousness, or are made righteous. So was he
typed by Melchizedek, as first the "King of righteousness," then the
"king of peace," Heb.7:2; for by his righteousness alone have we peace
with God. Some of the Socinians would evade this testimony, by observing,
that righteousness in the Old Testament is urged sometimes for benignity,
kindness, and mercy; and so they suppose it may be here. But the most of
them, avoiding the palpable absurdity of this imagination, refer to the
righteousness of God in the deliverance and vindication of his people. So
Brenius briefly, "Ita vocatur quia Dominus per manum ejus judicium et
justitiam faciet Israeli". But these are evasions of bold men, who care
not, so they may say somewhat, whether what they say be agreeable to the
analogy of faith or the plain words of the Scripture. Bellarmine, who was
more wary to give some appearance of truth unto his answers, first gives
other reasons why he is called "The LORD our Righteousness;" and then,
whether unawares or overpowered by the evidence of truth, grants that
sense of the words which contains the whole of the cause we plead for.
"Christ," he says, "may be called 'The LORD our Righteousness,' because
he is the efficient cause of our righteousness;"--as God is said to be
our "strength and salvation." Again, "Christ is said to be our
righteousness, as he is our wisdom, our redemption, and our peace;
because he has redeemed us, and makes us wise and righteous, and
reconciles us unto God." And other reasons of the same nature are added
by others. But not trusting to these expositions of the words, he adds,
"Deinde dicitur Christus justitia nostra, quoniam satisfecit patri pro
nobis, et eam satisfactionem ita nobis donat et communicat, cum nos
justificat, ut nostra satisfactio et justitia dici possit". And
afterward, "Hoc modo non esset absurdum, si quis diceret nobis imputari
Christi justitiam et merita, cum nobis donantur et applicantur, ad si nos
ipsi Deo stisfecissimus", De Justificat., lib.2 cap.10;--"Christ is said
to be our righteousness because he has made satisfaction for us to the
Father; and does so give and communicate that satisfaction unto us when
he justifies us, that it may be said to be our satisfaction and
righteousness. And in this sense it would not be absurd if any one should
say that the righteousness of Christ and his merits are imputed unto us,
as if we ourselves had satisfied God." In this sense we say that Christ
is "The LORD our Righteousness;" nor is there any thing of importance in
the whole doctrine of justification that we own, which is not here
granted by the cardinal, and that in terms which some among ourselves
scruple at and oppose. I shall therefore look a little farther into this
testimony, which has wrested so eminent a confession of the truth from so
great an adversary. "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will
raise up unto David a righteous Branch; ... and this is his name whereby
he shall be called, The LORD our Righteousness," Jer.23:5,6. It is
confessed among Christians that this is an illustrious renovation of the
first promise concerning the incarnation of the Son of God, and our
salvation by him. This promise was first given when we had lost our
original righteousness, and were considered only as those who had sinned
and come short of the glory of God. In this estate a righteousness was
absolutely necessary, that we might be again accepted with God; for
without a righteousness, yea, that which is perfect and complete, we
never were so, nor ever can be so. In this estate it is promised that he
shall be our "righteousness;" or, as the apostle expresses it, "the end
of the law for righteousness to them that do believe." That he is so,
there can be no question; the whole inquiry is, how he is so? This [is,
say the most sober and modest of our adversaries, because he is the
efficient cause of our righteousness; that is, of our personal, inherent
righteousness. But this righteousness may be considered either in itself,
as it is an effect of God's grace, and so it is good and holy, although
it be not perfect and complete; or it may be considered as it is ours,
inherent in us, accompanied with the remaining defilements of our nature.
In that respect, as this righteousness is ours, the prophet affirms that,
in the sight of God, "we are all as an unclean thing, and all our
righteousnesses are as filthy rags" Isa.64:6. "Kol tsidkoteinu" comprises
our whole personal, inherent righteousness; and the Lord Christ cannot
from hence be deminated "Yehovah Tsidkenu",--"The LORD our
Righteousness," seeing it is all as filthy rags. It must therefore be a
righteousness of another sort whence this denomination is taken, and on
the account whereof this name is given him: wherefore he is our
righteousness, as all our righteousnesses are in him. So the church,
which confesses all her own righteousnesses to be as filthy rags, says,
"In the LORD have I righteousness," chap.45:24, (which is expounded of
Christ by the apostle, Rom.14:11;) "'ach bayhovah li tsdakot",--"Only in
the LORD are my righteousnesses:" which two places the apostle expresses,
Phil.3:8,9, "That I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine
own righteousness, which is of the law" (in this case as filthy rags,
"but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which
is of God by faith." Hence it is added, "In the LORD shall all the seed
of Israel be justified," Isa.45:25,--namely, because he is, in what he
is, in what he was, and did, as given unto and for us, "our
righteousness," and our righteousness is all in him; which totally
excludes our own personal, inherent righteousness from any interest in
our justification, and ascribes it wholly unto the righteousness of
Christ. And thus is that emphatical expression of the psalmist, "I will
go in the strength of the Lord GOD" (for as unto holiness and obedience,
all our spiritual strength is from him alone); "and I will make mention"
"tsidkotcha levadecha", Ps.71:16, "of thy righteousness, of thine only."
The redoubling of the affix excludes all confidence and trusting in any
thing but the righteousness of God alone. For this the apostle affirms to
be the design of God in making Christ to be righteousness unto us,--
namely, "that no flesh should glory in his presence; but that he that
glorieth, should glory in the Lord," 1 Cor.1:29,31. For it is by faith
alone making mention, as unto our justification, of the righteousness of
God, of his righteousness only, that excludes all boasting, Rom.3:27.
And, besides what shall be farther pleaded from particular testimonies,
the Scripture does eminently declare how he is "The LORD our
Righteousness,"--namely, in that he "makes an end of sin and
reconciliation for iniquity, and brings in everlasting righteousness,"
Dan.9:24. For by these things is our justification completed,--namely, in
satisfaction made for sin, the pardon of it in our reconciliation unto
God, and the providing for us an everlasting righteousness. Therefore is
he "The LORD our Righteousness," and so rightly called. Wherefore, seeing
we had lost original righteousness, and had none of our own remaining,
and stood in need of a perfect, complete righteousness to procure our
acceptance with God, and such a one as might exclude all occasion of
boasting of any thing in ourselves, the Lord Christ being given and made
unto us "The LORD our Righteousness," in whom we have all our
righteousness (our own, as it is ours, being as filthy rags in the sight
of God); and this by making an end of sin, and reconciliation for
iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness: it is by his
righteousness, by his only, that we are justified in the sight of God,
and do glory. This is the substance of what in this case we plead for;
and thus it is delivered in Scripture, in a way bringing more light and
spiritual sense into the minds of believers than those philosophical
expressions and distinctions which vaunt themselves with a pretence of
propriety and accuracy.




XVII. Testimonies out of the evangelists considered


Testimonies out of the evangelists considered--Design of our Saviour's
sermon on the mount--The purity and penalty of the law vindicated by him-
-Arguments from thence--Luke 18:9-14, the parable of the Pharisee and
publican explained and applied to the present argument--Testimonies out
of the gospel by John, chap. 1:12; 3:14-18, etc.


The reasons why the doctrine of justification by the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ is more fully and clearly delivered in the
following writings of the New Testament than it is in those of the
evangelists, who wrote the history of the life and death of Christ, have
been before declared; but yet in them also it is sufficiently attested,
as unto the state of the church before the death and resurrection of
Christ, which is represented in them. Some few of the many testimonies
which may be pleaded out of their writings unto that purpose I shall
consider, first,--
   The principal design of our blessed Saviour's sermon, especially that
part of it which is recorded, Matt.5, is to declare the true nature of
righteousness before God. The scribes and Pharisees, from a bondage unto
whose doctrines he designed to vindicate the consciences of those that
heard him, placed all our righteousness before God in the works of the
law, or men's own obedience thereunto. This they taught the people, and
hereon they justified themselves, as he charges them, Luke 16:15, "Ye are
they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts,
for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight
of God,"--as in this sermon he makes it evident; and all those who were
under their conduct did seek to "establish their own righteousness, as it
were by the works of the law," Rom.9:32; 10:3. But yet were they
convinced in their own consciences that they could not attain unto the
law of righteousness, or unto that perfection of obedience which the law
did require. Yet would they not forego their proud, fond imagination of
justification by their own righteousness; but, as the manner of all men
is in the same case, sought out other inventions to relieve them against
their convictions; for unto this end they corrupted the whole law by
their false glosses and interpretations, to bring down and debase the
sense of it, unto what they boasted in themselves to perform. So does he
in whom our Saviour gives an instance of the principle and practice of
the whole society, by way of a parable, Luke 18:11,12; and so the young
man affirmed that he had kept the whole law from his youth,--namely, in
their sense, Matt.19:20.
   To root this pernicious error out of the church, our Lord Jesus Christ
in many instances gives the true, spiritual sense and intention of the
law, manifesting what the righteousness is which the law requires, and on
what terms a man may be justified thereby. And among sundry others to the
same purpose, two things he evidently declares:--1. That the law, in its
precepts and prohibitions, had regard unto the regulation of the heart,
with all its first motions and acting; for he asserts that the inmost
thoughts of the heart, and the first motions of concupiscence therein,
though not consented unto, much less actually accomplished in the outward
deeds of sin, and all the occasions leading unto them, are directly
forbidden in the law. This he does in his holy exposition of the seventh
commandment, chap.5:27-30. 2. He declares the penalty of the law on the
least sin to be hellfire, in his assertion of causeless anger to be
forbidden in the sixth commandment. If men would but try themselves by
these rules, and others there given by our Saviour, it would, it may be,
take them off from boasting in their own righteousness and justification
thereby. But as it was then, so is it now also; the most of them who
would maintain a justification by works, do attempt to corrupt the sense
of the law, and accommodate it unto their own practice. The reader may
see an eminent demonstration hereof in a late excellent treatise, whose
title is, "The Practical Divinity of the Papists Discovered to be
Destructive of Christianity and men's Souls." The spirituality of the
law, with the severity of its sanction, extending itself unto the least
and most imperceptible motions of sin in the heart, are not believed, or
not aright considered, by them who plead for justification by works in
any sense. Wherefore, the principal design of the sermon of our Saviour
is, as to declare what is the nature of that obedience which God requires
by the law, so to prepare the minds of his disciples to seek after
another righteousness, which, in the cause and means of it, was not yet
plainly to be declared, although many of them, being prepared by the
ministry of John, did hunger and thirst after it.
   But he sufficiently intimates wherein it did consist, in that he
affirms of himself that he "came to fulfill the law," verse 17. What he
came for, that he was sent for; for as he was sent, and not for himself,
"he was born to us, given unto us". This was to fulfill the law, that so
the righteousness of it might be fulfilled in us. And if we ourselves
cannot fulfill the law, in the proper sense of its commands (which yet is
not to be abolished but established, as our Saviour declares); if we
cannot avoid the curse and penalty of it upon its transgression; and if
he came to fulfill it for us (all which are declared by himself);--then
is his righteousness, even that] which he wrought for us in fulfilling
the law, the righteousness wherewith we are justified before God. And
whereas here is a twofold righteousness proposed unto us--one in the
fulfilling of the law by Christ; the other in our own perfect obedience
unto the law, as the sense of it is by him declared; and other middle
righteousness between them there is none,--it is left unto the
consciences of convinced sinners whether of these they will adhere and
trust unto; and their direction herein is the principal design we ought
to have in the declaration of this doctrine.

   I shall pass by all those places wherein the foundations of this
doctrine are surely laid, because it is not expressly mentioned in them;
but such they are as, in their proper interpretation, do necessarily
infer it. Of this kind are they all wherein the Lord Christ is said to
die for us or in our stead, to lay down his life a ransom for us or in
our stead, and the like; but I shall pass them by, because I will not
digress at all from the present argument.
   But the representation made by our Saviour himself of the way and
means whereon and whereby men come to be justified before God, in the
parable of the Pharisee and the publican, is a guide unto all men who
have the same design with them. Luke 18:9-14: "And he spake this parable
unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and
despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a
Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus
with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are,
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice
in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican,
standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but
smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful unto me, a sinner. I tell
you, that this man went down unto his house justified rather than the
other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and every one
that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
   That the design of our Saviour herein was to represent the way of our
justification before God is evident,--1. From the description given of
the persons whom he reflected on, verse 9. They were such as "trusted in
themselves that they were righteous;" or that they had a personal
righteousness of their own before God. 2. From the general rule wherewith
he confirms the judgment he had given concerning the persons described:
"Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth
himself shall be exalted," verse 14. As this is applied unto the
Pharisee, and the prayer that is ascribed unto him, it declares plainly
that every plea of our own works, as unto our justification before God,
under any consideration, is a self-exaltation which God despises; and, as
applied unto the publican, that a sense of sin is the only preparation on
our part for acceptance with him on believing. Wherefore, both the
persons are represented as seeking to be justified; for so our Saviour
expresses the issue of their address unto God for that purpose: the one
was justified, the other was not.
   The plea of the Pharisee unto this end consists of two parts:--1. That
he had fulfilled the condition whereon he might be justified. He makes no
mention of any merit, either of congruity or condignity. Only, whereas
there were two parts of God's covenant then with the church, the one with
respect unto the moral, the other with respect unto the ceremonial law,
he pleads the observation of the condition of it in both parts, which he
shows in instances of both kinds: only he adds the way that he took to
farther him in this obedience, somewhat beyond what was enjoined,--
namely, that he fasted twice in the week; for when men begin to seek for
righteousness and justification by works, they quickly think their best
reserve lies in doing something extraordinary, more than other men, and
more, indeed, than is required of them. This brought forth all the
pharisaical austerities in the Papacy. Nor can it be said that all this
signified nothing, because he was a hypocrite and a boaster; for it will
be replied that it should seem all are so who seek for justification by
works; for our Saviour only represents one that does so. Neither are
these things laid in by against his justification, but only that he
"exalted himself" in "trusting unto his own righteousness." 2. In an
ascription of all that he did unto God: "God, I thank thee." Although he
did all this, yet he owned the aid and assistance of God by his grace in
it all. He esteemed himself much to differ from other men; but ascribed
it not unto himself that so he did. All the righteousness and holiness
which he laid claim unto, he ascribed unto the benignity and goodness of
God. Wherefore, he neither pleaded any merit in his works, nor any works
performed in his own strength, without the aid of grace. All that he
pretends is, that by the grace of God he had fulfilled the condition of
the covenant; and thereon expected to be justified. And whatever words
men shall be pleased to make use of in their vocal prayers, God
interprets their minds according to what they trust in, as unto their
justification before him. And if some men will be true unto their own
principles, this is the prayer which, "mutates mutandis," they ought to
make.
   If it be said, that it is charged on this Pharisee that he "trusted in
himself," and "despised others," for which he was rejected; I answer, --
1. This charge respects not the mind of the person, but the genius and
tendency of the opinion. The persuasion of justification by works
includes in it a contempt of other men; for "if Abraham had been
justified by works, he should have had whereof to glory." 2. Those whom
he despised were such as placed their whole trust in grace and mercy,--as
this publican. It were to be wished that all others of the same mind did
not so also.
   The issue is, with this person, that he was not justified; neither
shall any one ever be so on the account of his own personal
righteousness. For our Saviour has told us, that when we have done all
(that is, when we have the testimony of our consciences unto the
integrity of our obedience), instead of pleading it unto our
justification, we should say (that is, really judge and profess) that we
are "douloi achreioi",--" unprofitable servants," Luke 17:10: as the
apostle speaks, "I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby
justified," 1 Cor.4:4. And he that is "doulos achreios", and has nothing
to trust unto but his service, will be cast out of the presence of God,
Matt.25:30. Wherefore, on the best of our obedience, to confess ourselves
"douloi achreioi", is to confess that, after all, in ourselves, we
deserve to be cast out of the presence of God.
   In opposition hereunto, the state and prayer of the publican, under
the same design of seeking justification before God, are expressed. And
the outward acts of his person are mentioned, as representing and
expressive of the inward frame of his mind: "He stood afar off," and "did
not so much as lift up his eyes;" he "smote upon his breast." All of them
represent a person desponding, yea, despairing in himself. This is the
nature, this is the effect, of that conviction of sin which we before
asserted to be antecedently necessary unto justification. Displicency,
sorrow, sense of danger, fear of wrath,--all are present with him. In
brief he declares himself guilty before God, and his mouth stopped as
unto any apology or excuse. And his prayer is a sincere application of
his soul unto sovereign grace and mercy, for a deliverance out of the
condition wherein he was by reason of the guilt of sin. And in the use of
the word; "hilaskomai", there is respect had unto a propitiation. In the
whole of his address there is contained,--1. Self-condemnation and
abhorrence. 2. Displicency and sorrow for sin. 3. A universal
renunciation of all works of his own, as any condition of his
justification. 4. An acknowledgment of his sin, guilt, and misery. And
this is all that, on our part, is required unto justification before God,
excepting that faith whereby we apply ourselves unto him for deliverance.
   Some make a weak attempt from hence to prove that justification
consists wholly in the remission of sin, because, on the prayer of the
publican for mercy and pardon, he is said to be "justified:" but there is
no force in this argument; for,--1. The whole nature of justification is
not here declared, but only what is required on our part whereunto. The
respect of it unto the mediation of Christ was not yet expressly to be
brought to light; as was showed before. 2. Although the publican makes
his address unto God under a deep sense of the guilt of sin, yet he prays
not for the bare pardon of sin, but for all that sovereign mercy or grace
God has provided for sinners. 3. The term of justification must have the
same sense when applied unto the Pharisee as when applied unto the
publican; and if the meaning of it with respect unto the publican be,
that he was pardoned, then has it the same sense with respect unto the
Pharisee,--he was not pardoned. But he came on no such errand. He came to
be justified, not pardoned; nor does he make the least mention of his
sin, or any sense of it. Wherefore, although the pardon of sin be
included in justification, yet to justify, in this place, has respect
unto a righteousness whereon a man is declared just and righteous;
wrapped up, on the part of the publican, in the sovereign producing
cause,--the mercy of God.

   Some few testimonies may be added out of the other evangelist, in whom
they abound: "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become
the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name," John 1:12. Faith
is expressed by the receiving of Christ; for to receive him, and to
believe on his name, are the same. It receives him as set forth of God to
be a propitiation for sin, as the great ordinance of God for the recovery
and salvation of lost sinners. Wherefore, this notion of faith includes
in it,--l. A supposition of the proposal and tender of Christ unto us,
for some end and purpose. 2. That this proposal is made unto us in the
promise of the gospel. Hence, as we are said to recede Christ, we are
said to receive the promise also. 3. The end for which the Lord Christ is
so proposed unto us in the promise of the gospel; and this is the same
with that for which he was so proposed in the first promise,--namely, the
recovery and salvation of lost sinners. 4. That in the tender of his
person, there is a tender made of all the fruits of his mediation, as
containing the way and means of our deliverance from sin and acceptance
with God. 5. There is nothing required on our part unto an interest in
the end proposed, but receiving of him, or believing on his name. 6.
Hereby are we entitled unto the heavenly inheritance; we have power to
become the sons of God, wherein our adoption is asserted, and
justification included. What this receiving of Christ is, and wherein it
does consist, has been declared before, in the consideration of that
faith whereby we are justified. That which hence we argue is, that there
is no more required unto the obtaining of a right and title unto the
heavenly inheritance, but faith alone in the name of Christ, the
receiving of Christ as the ordinance of God for justification and
salvation. This gives us, I say, our original right thereunto, and
therein our acceptance with God, which is our justification; though more
be required unto the actual acquisition and possession of it. It is said,
indeed, that other graces and works are not excluded, though faith alone
be expressed. But every thing which is not a receiving of Christ is
excluded. It is, I say, virtually excluded, because it is not of the
nature of that which is required. When we speak of that whereby we see,
we exclude no other member from being a part of the body; but we exclude
all but the eye from the act of seeing. And if faith be required, as it
is a receiving of Christ, every grace and duty which is not so is
excluded, as unto the end of justification.
   Chap.3:14-18, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son
into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might
be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that
believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the
name of the only begotten Son of God."
   I shall observe only a few things from these words, which in
themselves convey a better light of understanding in this mystery unto
the minds of believers than many long discourses of some learned men:--1.
It is of the justification of men, and their right to eternal life
thereon, that our Saviour discourses. This is plain in verse 18, "He that
believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned
already." 2. The means of attaining this condition or state on our part
is believing only, as it is three times positively asserted, without any
addition. 3. The nature of this faith is declared,--(1.) By its object,--
that is, Christ himself, the Son of God, "Whosoever believeth in him;"
which is frequently repeated. (2.) The especial consideration wherein he
is the object of faith unto the justification of life; and that is as he
is the ordinance of God, given, sent, and proposed, from the love and
grace of the Father: "God so loved the world, that he gave;" "God sent
his Son." (3.) The especial act yet included in the type, whereby the
design of God in him is illustrated; for this was the looking unto the
brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness by them who were stung with
fiery serpents. Hereunto our faith in Christ unto justification does
answer, and includes a trust in him alone for deliverance and relief.
This is the way, these are the only causes and means, of the
justification of condemned sinners, and are the substance of all that we
plead for.
   It will be said, that all this proves not the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ unto us, which is the thing principally inquired
after; but if nothing be required on our part unto justification but
faith acted on Christ, as the ordinance of God for our recovery and
salvation, it is the whole of what we plead for. A justification by the
remission of sins alone, without a righteousness giving acceptance with
God and a right unto the heavenly inheritance, is alien unto the
Scripture and the common notion of justification amongst men. And what
this righteousness must be, upon a supposition that faith only on our
part is required unto a participation of it, is sufficiently declared in
the words wherein Christ himself is so often asserted as the object of
our faith unto that purpose.
   Not to add more particular testimonies, which are multiplied unto the
same purpose in this evangelist, the sum of the doctrine declared by him
is, "That the Lord Jesus Christ was 'the Lamb of God which taketh away
the sin of the world;' that is, by the sacrifice of himself, wherein he
answered and fulfilled all the typical sacrifices of the law: that unto
this end he sanctified himself, that those who believe might be
sanctified, or perfected forever, by his own offering of himself: that in
the gospel he is proposed as lifted up and crucified for us, as bearing
all our sins in his body on the tree: that by faith in him we have
adoption, justification, freedom from judgment and condemnation, with a
right and title unto eternal life: that those who believe not are
condemned already, because they believe not on the Son of God; and, as he
elsewhere expresseth it, 'make God a liar,' in that they believe not his
testimony, namely, that 'he has given unto us eternal life, and that this
life is in his Son."' Nor does he anywhere make mention of any other
means, cause, or condition of justification on our part but faith only,
though he abounds in precepts unto believers for love, and keeping the
commands of Christ. And this faith is the receiving of Christ in the
sense newly declared; and this is the substance of the Christian faith in
this matter; which ofttimes we rather obscure than illustrate, by
debating the consideration of any thing in our justification but the
grace and love of God, the person and mediation of Christ, with faith in
them.




XVIII. The nature of justification as declared in the epistles of St.
Paul, in that unto the Romans especially.--Chap. 3 [4,5,10; 1 Cor.1:30; 2
Cor.5:21; Gal.2:16; Eph.2:8-10; Phil.3:8,9.]


Testimonies out of the Epistles of Paul the apostle--His design in the
fifth chapter to the Romans--That design explained at large, and applied
to the present argument--Chap.3:24-26 explained, and the true sense of
the words vindicated--The causes of justification enumerated--Apostolical
inference from the consideration of them--Chap.4, design of the
disputation of the apostle therein Analysis of his discourse--Verses 4,
5, particularly insisted on; their true sense vindicated--What works
excluded from the justification of Abraham--Who it is that works not--In
what sense the ungodly are justified--All men ungodly antecedently unto
their justification--Faith alone the means of justification on our part--
Faith itself, absolutely considered, not the righteousness that is
imputed unto us--Proved by sundry arguments


Rom.5:l2-21--Boasting excluded in ourselves, asserted in God--The design
and sum of the apostle's argument--Objection of Socinus removed--
Comparison between the two Adams, and those that derive from them--Sin
entered into the world--What sin intended--Death, what it comprises, what
intended by it--The sense of these words, "inasmuch," or, "in whom all
have sinned," cleared and vindicated--The various oppositions used by the
apostle in this discourse: principally between sin or the fall, and the
free gift; between the disobedience of the one, and the obedience of
another; judgment on the one hand, and justification unto life on the
other--The whole context at large explained, and the argument for
justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, fully
confirmed


Rom.10:3,4, explained and insisted on to the same purpose

1 Cor.1:30--Christ, how of God made righteousness unto us--Answer of
Bellarmine unto this testimony removed--That of Socinus disproved--True
sense of the words evinced

2 Cor.5:21--In what sense Christ knew no sin--Emphasis in that
expression--How he was made sin for us--By the imputation of sin unto
him--Mistakes of some about this expression--Sense of the ancients--
Exception of Bellarmine unto this testimony answered, with other
reasonings of his to the same purpose--The exceptions of others also
removed

Gal.2:16

Eph.2:8-10--Evidence of this testimony--Design of the apostle from the
beginning of the chapter--Method of the apostle in the declaration of the
grace of God--Grace alone the cause of deliverance from a state of sin--
Things to be observed in the assignation of the causes of spiritual
deliverances--Grace, how magnified by him--Force of the argument and
evidence from thence--State of the case here proposed by the apostle--
General determination of it, "By grace are ye saved"--What is it to be
saved, inquired into--The same as to be justified, but not exclusively--
The causes of our justification declared positively and negatively--The
whole secured unto the grace of God by Christ, and our interest therein
through faith alone--Works excluded--What works?--Not works of the law of
Moses--Not works antecedent unto believing--Works of true believers--Not
only in opposition to the grace of God, but to faith in us--Argument from
those words--Reason whereon this exclusion of works is founded--To
exclude boasting on our part--Boasting, wherein it consists--Inseparable
from the interest of works in justification--Danger of it--Confirmation
of this reason, obviating an objection--The objection stated--If we be
not justified by works, of what use are they? answered

Phil.3:8,9--Heads of argument from this testimony--Design of the context-
-Righteousness the foundation of acceptance with God--A twofold
righteousness considered by the apostle--Opposite unto one another, as
unto the especial and inquired after--Which of these he adhered unto, his
own righteousness, or the righteousness of God; declared by the apostle
with vehemency of speech--Reasons of his earnestness herein--The turning
point whereon he left Judaism--The opposition made unto this doctrine by
the Jews--The weight of the doctrine, and unwillingness of men to receive
it--His own sense of sin and grace--Peculiar expressions used in this
place, for the reasons mentioned, concerning Christ; concerning all
things that are our own--The choice to be made on the case stated,
whether we will adhere unto our own righteousness, or that of Christ's,
which are inconsistent as to the end of justification--Argument from this
place--Exceptions unto this testimony, and argument from thence, removed-
-Our personal righteousness inherent, the same with respect unto the law
and gospel --External righteousness only required by the law, an impious
imagination--Works wrought before faith only rejected--The exception
removed--Righteousness before conversion, not intended by the apostle


That the way and manner of our justification before God, with all the
causes and means of it, are designedly declared by the apostle in the
Epistle to the Romans, chap.3,4,5, as also vindicated from objections, so
as to render his discourse thereon the proper seat of this doctrine, and
whence it is principally to be learned, cannot modestly be denied. The
late exceptions of some, that this doctrine of justification by faith
without works is found only in the writings of St. Paul, and that his
writings are obscure and intricate, are both false and scandalous to
Christian religion, so as that, in this place, we shall not afford them
the least consideration. He wrote "hupo Pneumatos hagiou feromenos",--as
he was "moved by the Holy Ghost." And as all the matter delivered by him
was sacred truth, which immediately requires our faith and obedience, so
the way and manner wherein he declared it was such as the Holy Ghost
judged most expedient for the edification of the church. And as he said
himself with confidence, that if the gospel which he preached, and as it
was preached by him, though accounted by them foolishness, was hid, so as
that they could not understand nor comprehend the mystery of it, it was
"hid unto them that are lost;" so we may say, that if what he delivers in
particular concerning our justification before God seems obscure,
difficult, or perplexed unto us, it is from our prejudices, corrupt
affections, or weakness of understanding at best, not able to comprehend
the glory of this mystery of the grace of God in Christ, and not from any
defect in his way and manner of the revelation of it. Rejecting,
therefore, all such perverse insinuations, in a due sense of our own
weakness, and acknowledgment that at best we know but in part, we shall
humbly inquire into the blessed revelation of this great mystery of the
justification of a sinner before God, as by him declared in those
chapters of his glorious Epistle to the Romans; and I shall do it with
all briefness possible, so as not, on this occasion, to repeat what has
been already spoken, or to anticipate what may be spoken in place more
convenient.
   The first thing he does is to prove all men to be under sin, and to be
guilty before God. This he gives as the conclusion of his preceding
discourse, from chap.1:18, or what he had evidently evinced thereby,
chap.3:19,23. Hereon an inquiry does arise, how any of them come to be
justified before God? And whereas justification is a sentence upon the
consideration of a righteousness, his grand inquiry is, what that
righteousness is, on the consideration whereof a man may be so justified?
And concerning this, he affirms expressly that it is not the
righteousness of the law, nor of the works of it; whereby what he does
intend has been in part before declared, and will be farther manifested
in the process of our discourse. Wherefore, in general, he declares that
the righteousness whereby we are justified is the righteousness of God,
in opposition unto any righteousness of our own, chap.1:17; 3:21,22. And
he describes this righteousness of God by three properties:--1. That it
is "choris nomou",--"without the law," verse 21; separated in all its
concerns from the law; not attainable by it, nor any works of it, which
they have no influence into. It is neither our obedience unto the law,
nor attainable thereby. Nor can any expression more separate and exclude
the works of obedience unto the law from any concernment in it than this
does. Wherefore, whatever is, or can be, performed by ourselves in
obedience unto the law, is rejected from any interest in this
righteousness of God, or the procurement of it to be made ours. 2. That
yet it "is witnessed unto by the law," verse 21: "The law and the
prophets."
   The apostle, by this distinction of the books of the Old Testament
into "the law and the prophets," manifests that by the "law" he
understands the books of Moses. And in them testimony is given unto this
righteousness of God four ways:-- 
   (1.) By a declaration of the causes of the necessity of it unto our
justification. This is done in the account given of our apostasy from
God, of the loss of his image, and the state of sin that ensued thereon;
for hereby an end was put unto all possibility and hope of acceptance
with God by our own personal righteousness. By the entrance of sin our
own righteousness went out of the world; so that there must be another
righteousness prepared and approved of God, and called "the righteousness
of God," in opposition unto our own, or all relation of love and favour
between God and man must cease forever. 
   (2.) In the way of recovery from this state, generally declared in the
first promise of the blessed seed, by whom this righteousness of God was
to be wrought and introduced; for he alone was "to make an end of sin,
and to bring in everlasting righteousness," "tsedek 'olamim", Dan.9:24;
that righteousness of God that should be the means of the justification
of the church in all ages, and under all dispensations. 
   (3.) By stopping up the way unto any other righteousness, through the
threatening of the law, and that curse which every transgression of it
was attended withal. Hereby it was plainly and fully declared that there
must be such a righteousness provided for our justification before men as
would answer and remove that curse. 
   (4.) In the prefiguration and representation of that only way and
means whereby this righteousness of God was to be wrought. This it did in
all its sacrifices, especially in the great anniversary sacrifice on the
day of expiation, wherein all the sins of the church were laid on the
head of the sacrifice, and so carried away. 
   3. He describes it by the only way of our participation of it, the
only means on our part of the communication of it unto us. And this is by
faith alone: "The righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus
Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no
difference," Rom.3:22. Faith in Christ Jesus is so the only way and means
whereby this righteousness of God comes upon us, or is communicated unto
us, that it is so unto all that have this faith, and only unto them; and
that without difference on the consideration of any thing else besides.
And although faith, taken absolutely, may be used in various senses, yet,
as thus specified and limited, the faith of Christ Jesus, or, as he calls
it, "the faith that is in me," Acts 26:18, it can intend nothing but the
reception of him, and trust in him, as the ordinance of God for
righteousness and salvation.
   This description of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel,
which the apostle asserts as the only means and cause of our
justification before God, with the only way of its participation and
communication unto us, by the faith of Christ Jesus, fully confirms the
truth we plead for. For if the righteousness wherewith we must be
justified before God be not our own, but the righteousness of God, as
these things are directly opposed, Phil.3:9; and the only way whereby it
comes upon us, or we are made partakers of it, is by the faith of Jesus
Christ; then our own personal, inherent righteousness or obedience has no
interest in our justification before God: which argument is insoluble,
nor is the force of it to be waived by any distinctions whatever, if we
keep our hearts unto a due reverence of the authority of God in his word.
   Having fully proved that no men living have any righteousness of their
own whereby they may be justified, but are all shut up under the guilt of
sin; and having declared that there is a righteousness of God now fully
revealed in the gospel, whereby alone we may be so, leaving all men in
themselves unto their own lot, inasmuch as "all have sinned and come
short of the glory of God;"--he proceeds to declare the nature of our
justification before God in all the causes of it, Rom.3:2~26, "Being
justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus: whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his
blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are
past, through the forbearance of God, to declare, I say, at this time his
righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of them that
believe in Jesus".
   Here it is that we may and ought, if anywhere, to expect the interest
of our personal obedience, under some qualification or other, in our
justification to be declared. For if it should be supposed (which yet it
cannot, with any pretence of reason) that, in the foregoing discourse,
the apostle had excluded only the works of the law as absolutely perfect,
or as wrought in our own strength without the aid of grace, or as
meritorious; yet having generally excluded all works from our
justification, verse 20, without distinction or limitation, it might well
be expected, and ought to have been so, that, upon the full declaration
which he gives us of the nature and way of our justification, in all the
causes of it, he should have assigned the place and consideration which
our own personal righteousness had in our justification before God,--the
first, or second, or continuation of it, somewhat or other,--or at least
made some mention of it, under the qualification of gracious, sincere, or
evangelical, that it might not seem to be absolutely excluded. It is
plain the apostle thought of no such thing, nor was at all solicitous
about any reflection that might be made on his doctrine, as though it
overthrew the necessity of our own obedience. Take in the consideration
of the apostle's design, with the circumstances of the context, and the
argument from his utter silence about our own personal righteousness, in
our justification before God, is unanswerable. But this is not all; we
shall find, in our progress, that it is expressly and directly excluded
by him.
   All unprejudiced persons must needs think, that no words could be used
more express and emphatical to secure the whole of our justification unto
the free grace of God, through the blood or mediation of Christ, wherein
it is faith alone that gives us an interest, than these used here by the
apostle. And, for my part, I shall only say, that I know not how to
express myself in this matter in words and terms more express or
significant of the conception of my mind. And if we could all but
subscribe the answer here given by the apostle, how, by what means, on
what grounds, or by what causes, we are justified before God,--namely,
that "we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that
is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through
faith in his blood," etc.,-- there might be an end of this controversy.
   But the principal passages of this testimony must be distinctly
considered. First, the principal efficient cause is first expressed with
a peculiar emphasis, or the "causa proegoumene". "Dikaioumenoi doorean
tei autou chariti",--"Being justified freely by his grace." God is the
principal efficient cause of our justification, and his grace is the only
moving cause thereof. I shall not stay upon the exception of those of the
Roman church,--namely, that by "tei chariti autou" (which their
translation renders "per gratiam Dei"), the internal, inherent grace of
God, which they make the formal cause of justification, is intended; for
they have nothing to prove it but that which overthrows it, namely, that
it is added unto "doorean", "freely;" which were needless, if it signify
the free grace or favour of God: for both these expressions, "gratis per
gratiam," "freely by grace," are put together to give the greater
emphasis unto this assertion, wherein the whole of our justification is
vindicated unto the free grace of God. So far as they are
distinguishable, the one denotes the principle from whence our
justification proceeds,--namely, grace; and the other, the manner of its
operation,--it works freely. Besides, the grace of God in this subject
does everywhere constantly signify his goodness, love, and favour; as has
been undeniably proved by many. See Rom.5:15; Eph.2:4,8,9; 2 Tim.1:9;
Tit.3:4,5.
   "Being justified "doorean" (so the LXX render the Hebrew particle
"chinam"),--"without price," without merit, without cause;--and sometimes
it is used for "without end;" that is, what is done in vain, as "doorean"
is used by the apostle, Gal.2:21;--without price or reward, Gen.29:15;
Exod.21:2; 2 Sam.24:24;--without cause, or merit, or any means of
procurement, 1 Sam.19:5; Ps.69:4; in this sense it is rendered by
"doorean", John 15:25. The design of the word is to exclude all
consideration of any thing in us that should be the cause or condition of
our justification. "Charis", "favour," absolutely considered, may have
respect unto somewhat in him towards whom it is showed. So it is said
that Joseph found grace or favour, "charin", in the eyes of Potiphar,
Gen.39:4: but he found it not "doorean", without any consideration or
cause; for he "saw that the LORD was with him, and made all that he did
to prosper in his hand," verse 3. But no words can be found out to free
our justification before God from all respect unto any thing in
ourselves, but only what is added expressly as the means of its
participation on our part, through faith in his blood, more emphatical
than these here used by the apostle: "Doorean tei autou chariti",--
"Freely by his grace." And with whom this is not admitted, as exclusive
of all works or obedience of our own, of all conditions, preparations,
and merit, I shall despair of ever expressing my conceptions about it
intelligibly unto them.
   Having asserted this righteousness of God as the cause and means of
our justification before him, in opposition unto all righteousness of our
own, and declared the cause of the communication of it unto us on the
part of God to be mere free, sovereign grace, the means on our part
whereby, according unto the ordination of God, we do receive, or are
really made partakers of, that righteousness of God whereon we are
justified, is by faith: "Dia tes pisteoos en outou haimati",--that is,
"By faith alone," Nothing else is proposed, nothing else required unto
this end. It is replied, that there is no intimation that it is by faith
alone, or that faith is asserted to be the means of our justification
exclusively unto other graces or works. But there is such an exclusion
directly included in the description given of that faith whereby we are
justified, with respect unto its especial object,--"By faith in his
blood;" for faith respecting the blood of Christ as that whereby
propitiation was made for sin,--in which respect alone the apostle
affirms that we are justified through faith,--admits of no association
with any other graces or duties. Neither is it any part of their nature
to fix on the blood of Christ for justification before God; wherefore
they are all here directly excluded. And those who think otherwise may
try how they can introduce them into this contempt without an evident
corrupting of it, and perverting of its sense. Neither will the other
evasion yield our adversaries the least relief,--namely, that by faith,
not the single grace of faith is intended, but the whole obedience
required in the new covenant, faith and works together. For as all works
whatever, as our works, are excluded in the declaration of the causes of
our justification on the part of God ("doorean tei outou chariti",--
"Freely by his grace"), by virtue of that great rule, Rom.11:6, "If by
grace, then no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace;" so the
determination of the object of faith in its act or duty, whereon we are
justified,--namely, the blood of Christ,--is absolutely exclusive of all
works from an interest in that duty; for whatever looks unto the blood of
Christ for justification is faith, and nothing else. And as for the
calling of it a single act or duty, I refer the reader unto our preceding
discourse about the nature of justifying faith.
   Three things the apostle infers from the declaration he had made of
the nature and causes of our justification before God, all of them
farther illustrating the meaning and sense of his words:--
   1. That boasting is excluded: "Pou oun he kauchesi? exekleisthe",
chap.3:27. Apparent it is from hence, and from what he affirms concerning
Abraham, chap.4:2, that a great part, at least, of the controversy he had
about justification, was, whether it did admit of any "kauchesis" or
"kauchema" in those that were justified. And it is known that the Jews
placed all their hopes in those things whereof they thought they could
boast,--namely, their privileges and their righteousness. But from the
declaration made of the nature and causes of justification, the apostle
infers that all boasting whatever is utterly shut out of doors,--
"exekleisthe". Boasting, in our language is the name of a vice; and is
never used in a good sense. But "kauchesis" and "kauchema", the words
used by the apostle, are "ek toon mesoon",--of an indifferent
signification; and, as they are applied, may denote a virtue as well as a
vice: so they do, Heb.3:6.
   But always, and in all places, they respect something that is peculiar
in or unto them unto whom they are ascribed. Wherever any thing is
ascribed unto one, and not unto another, with respect unto any good end,
there is fundamentum "kaucheseoos",--a "foundation for boasting." All
this, says the apostle, in the matter of our justification, is utterly
excluded. But wherever respect is had unto any condition or qualification
in one more than another, especially if it be of works, it gives a ground
of boasting, as he affirms, Rom.4:2. And it appears, from comparing that
verse with this, that wherever there is any influence of our own works
into our justification, there is a ground of boasting; but in evangelical
justification no such boasting in any kind can be admitted. Wherefore,
there is no place for works in our justification before God; for if there
were, it is impossible but that a "kauchema", in one kind or other,
before God or man, must be admitted.
   2. He infers a general conclusion, "That a man is justified by faith,
without the works of the law," chap.3:28. What is meant by "the law," and
what by "the works of the law," in this discourse of the apostle about
our justification, has been before declared. And if we are justified
freely through faith in the blood of Christ, that faith which has the
propitiation of Christ for its especial object, or as it has so, can take
no other grace nor duty into partnership with itself therein; and being
so justified as that all such boasting is excluded as necessarily results
from any differencing graces or works in ourselves, wherein all the works
of the law are excluded, it is certain that it is by faith alone in
Christ that we are justified. All works are not only excluded, but the
way unto their return is so shut up by the method of the apostle's
discourse, that all the reinforcements which the wit of man can give unto
them will never introduce them into our justification before God.
   3. He asserts from hence, that we "do not make void the law through
grace," but establish it, verse 31; which, how it is done, and how alone
it can be done, has been before declared.
   This is the substance of the resolution the apostle gives unto that
great inquiry, how a guilty convinced sinner may come to be justified in
the sight of God?--"The sovereign grace of God, the mediation of Christ,
and faith in the blood of Christ, are all that he requires thereunto."
And whatever notions men may have about justification in other respects,
it will not be safe to venture on any other resolution of this case and
inquiry; nor are we wiser than the Holy Ghost.
   Rom. chap.4. In the beginning of the fourth chapter he confirms what
he had before doctrinally declared, by a signal instance; and this was of
the justification of Abraham, who being the father of the faithful, his
justification is proposed as the pattern of ours, as he expressly
declares, verses 22-24. And some fear things I shall observe on this
instance in our passage unto the fifth verse, where I shall fix our
discourse.
   1. He denies that Abraham was justified by works, verse 2. And,--(1.)
These works were not those of the Jewish law, which alone some pretend to
be excluded from our justification in this place; for they were the works
he performed some hundreds of years before the giving of the law at
Sinai: wherefore they are the works of his moral obedience unto God that
are intended. (2.) Those works must be understood which Abraham had then,
when he is said to be justified in the testimony produced unto that
purpose; but the works that Abraham then had were works of righteousness,
performed in faith and love to God, works of new obedience under the
conduct and aids of the Spirit of God, works required in the covenant of
grace. These are the works excluded from the justification of Abraham.
And these things are plain, express, and evident, not to be eluded by any
distinctions or evasions. All Abraham's evangelical works are expressly
excluded from his justification before God.
   2. He proves by the testimony of Scripture, declaring the nature and
grounds of the justification of Abraham, that he was justified now other
way but that which he had before declared,--namely, by grace, through
faith in Christ Jesus, verse 3. "Abraham believed God" (in the promise of
Christ and his mediation), "and it was counted unto him for
righteousness," verse 3. He was justified by faith in the way before
described (for other justification by faith there is none), in opposition
unto all his own works and personal righteousness thereby.
   3. From the same testimony he declares how he came to be partaker of
that righteousness whereon he was justified before God; which was by
imputation: it was counted or imputed unto him for righteousness. The
nature of imputation has been before declared.
   4. The especial nature of this imputation,--namely, that it is of
grace, without respect unto works,--he asserts and proves, verse 4, from
what is contrary thereunto: "Now to him that worketh is the reward not
reckoned of grace, but of debt." Where works are of any consideration,
there is no room for that kind of imputation whereby Abraham was
justified: for it was a gracious imputation, and that is not of what is
our own antecedently thereunto, but what is made our own by that
imputation; for what is our own cannot be imputed unto us in a way of
grace, but only reckoned ours in a way of debt. That which is our own,
with all the effects of it, is due unto us; and, therefore, they who
plead that faith itself is imputed unto us, to give some countenance unto
an imputation of grace, do say it is imputed not for what it is, for then
it would be reckoned of debt, but for what it is not. So Socinus, "Cum
fides imputatur nobis pro justitia ideo imputatur, quia nec ipsa fides
justitia est, nec vere in se eam continet", De Servat., part 4. cap.2.
Which kind of imputation, being indeed only a false imagination, we have
before disproved. But all works are inconsistent with that imputation
whereby Abraham was justified. It is otherwise with him that works, so as
thereon to be justified, than it was with him. Yea, say some, "All works
that are meritorious, that are performed with an opinion of merit, that
make the reward to be of debt, are excluded; but other works are not."
This distinction is not learned from the apostle; for, according unto
him, if this be merit and meritorious, that the reward be reckoned of
debt, then all works in justification are so. For, without distinction or
limitation, he affirms that "unto him that worketh, the reward is not
reckoned of grace, but of debt." He does not exclude some sort of works,
or works in some sense, because they would make the reward of debt, but
affirms that all would do so, unto the exclusion of gracious imputation;
for if the foundation of imputation be in ourselves, imputation by grace
is excluded. In the fifth verse, the sum of the apostle's doctrine, which
he had contended for, and what he had proved, is expressed: "But to him
that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his
faith is counted for righteousness." It is granted on all hands, that the
close of the verse, "His faith is counted for righteousness," does
express the justification of the person intended. He is justified; and
the way of it is, his faith is counted or imputed. Wherefore, the
foregoing words declare the subject of justification and its
qualification, or the description of the person to be justified, with all
that is required on his part thereunto.
   And, first, it is said of him that he is "ho me ergadzomenos",--"who
worketh not." It is not required unto his justification that he should
not work, that he should not perform any duties of obedience unto God in
any kind, which is working; for every person in the world is always
obliged unto all duties of obedience, according to the light and
knowledge of the will of God, the means whereof is afforded unto him: but
the expression is to be limited by the subject-matter treated of;--he
"who worketh not," with respect unto justification; though not the design
of the person, but the nature of the thing is intended. To say, he who
worketh not is justified through believing, is to say that his works,
whatever they be, have no influence into his justification, nor has God
in justifying of him any respect unto them: wherefore, he alone who
worketh not is the subject of justification, the person to be justified;
that is, God considers no man's works, no man's duties of obedience, in
his justification, seeing we are justified "doorean tei outou chariti",--
"freely by his grace." And when God affirms expressly that he justifies
him who works not, and that freely by his grace, I cannot understand what
place our works or duties of obedience can have in our justification; for
why should we trouble ourselves to invent of what consideration they may
be in our justification before God, when he himself affirms that they are
of none at all? Neither are the words capable of any evading
interpretation. He that worketh not is he that worketh not, let men say
what they please, and distinguish as long as they will: and it is a
boldness not to be justified, for any to rise up in opposition unto such
express divine testimonies, however they may be harnessed with
philosophical notions and arguing; which are but as thorns and briers,
which the word of God will pass through and consume.
   But the apostle farther adds, in the description of the subject of
justification, that God "justifieth the ungodly." This is that expression
which has stirred up so much wrath amongst many, and on the account
whereof some seem to be much displeased with the apostle himself. If any
other person dare but say that God justifies the ungodly, he is
personally reflected on as one that by his doctrine would overthrow the
necessity of godliness, holiness, obedience, or good works; "for what
need can there be of any of them, if God justifies the ungodly?" Howbeit
this is a periphrasis of God, that he is "ho dikaioon ton asethe",--"he
that justifieth the ungodly." This is his prerogative and property; as
such will he be believed in and worshipped, which adds weight and
emphasis unto the expression; and we must not forego this testimony of
the Holy Ghost, let men be as angry as they please. 
   "But the difference is about the meaning of the words." If so, it may
be allowed without mutual offense, though we should mistake their proper
sense. Only, it must be granted that God "justifieth the ungodly." "That
is," say some, "those who formerly were ungodly, not those who continue
ungodly when they are justified." And this is most true. All that are
justified were before ungodly; and all that are justified are at the same
instant made godly. But the question is, whether they are godly or
ungodly antecedently in any moment of time unto their justification? If
they are considered as godly, and are so indeed, then the apostle's words
are not true, that God justifieth the ungodly; for the contradictory
proposition is true, God justifieth none but the godly. For these
propositions, God justifieth the ungodly, and God justifieth none but the
godly, are contradictory; for here are expressly "katafasis" and
"apofasis antikeimenai", which is "antifasis".
   Wherefore, although in and with the justification of a sinner, he is
made godly,--for he is endowed with that faith which purifies the heart
and is a vital principle of all obedience, and the conscience is purged
from dead works by the blood of Christ,--yet antecedently unto this
justification he is ungodly and considered as ungodly, as one that works
not, as one whose duties and obedience contribute nothing unto his
justification. As he works not, all works are excluded from being the
"causa per quam;" and as he is ungodly, from being the "causa sine qua
non" of his justification.
   The qualification of the subject, or the means on the part of the
person to be justified, and whereby he becomes actually so to be, is
faith, or believing: "But believeth on him who justifieth the ungodly;"
that is, it is faith alone. For it is the faith of him who worketh not;
and not only so, but its especial object, God as justifying the ungodly,
is exclusive of the concomitance of any works whatever.
   This is faith alone, or it is impossible to express faith alone,
without the literal use of that word alone. But faith being asserted in
opposition unto all works of ours, "unto him that worketh not;" and its
especial nature declared in its especial object, God as "justifying the
ungodly,"that is, freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus;--no place is left for any works to make the least approach
towards our justification before God, under the covert of any distinction
whatever. And the nature of justifying faith is here also determined. It
is not a mere assent unto divine revelations; it is not such a firm
assent unto them as should cause us to yield obedience unto all the
precepts of the Scripture,--though these things are included in it; but
it is a believing on and trusting unto him that justified the ungodly,
through the mediation of Christ.
   Concerning this person, the apostle affirms that "his faith is counted
for righteousness;" that is, he is justified in the way and manner before
declared. But there is a difference about the sense of these words. Some
say the meaning of them is, that faith, as an act, a grace, a duty, or
work of ours, is so imputed. Others say that it is faith as it apprehends
Christ and his righteousness, which is properly imputed unto us, that is
intended. So faith, they say, justifieth, or is counted for righteousness
relatively, not properly, with respect unto its object; and so
acknowledge a trope in the words. And this is fiercely opposed, as though
they denied the express words of the Scripture, when yet they do but
interpret this expression, once only used, by many others, wherein the
same thing is declared. But those who are for the first sense, do all
affirm that faith here is to be taken as including obedience or works,
either as the form and essence of it, or as such necessary concomitants
as have the same influence with it into our justification, or are in the
same manner the condition of it. But as herein they admit also of a trope
in the words, which they so fiercely blame in others, so they give this
sense of the whole: "Unto him that worketh not, but believeth in him that
justifieth the ungodly, his faith and works are counted to him for
righteousness;" which is not only to deny what the apostle affirms, but
to assign unto him a plain contradiction.
   And I do a little marvel that any unprejudiced person should expound
this solitary expression in such a sense as is contradictory unto the
design of the apostle, the words of the same period, and the whole
ensuing context. For that which the apostle proposes unto confirmation,
which contains his whole design, is, that we are justified by the
righteousness which is of God by faith in the blood of Christ. That this
cannot be faith itself shall immediately be made evident. And in the
words of the text all works are excluded, if any words be sufficient to
exclude them; but faith absolutely, as a single grace, act, and duty of
ours, much more as it includes obedience in it, is a work,--and in the
latter sense, it is all works. And in the ensuing context he proves that
Abraham was not justified by works. But not to be justified by works, and
to be justified by some works,--as faith itself is a work, and if, as
such, it be imputed unto us for righteousness, we are justified by it as
such,--are contradictory. Wherefore, I shall oppose some few arguments
unto this feigned sense of the apostle's words:--
   1. To believe absolutely,--as faith is an act and duty of ours,-- and
works are not opposed, for faith is a work, an especial kind of working;
but faith, as we are justified by it, and works, or to work, are opposed:
"To him that worketh not, but believeth." So Gal.2:16; Eph.2:8,9.
   2. It is the righteousness of God that is imputed unto us; for we are
"made the righteousness of God in Christ," 2 Cor.5:21; "The righteousness
of God upon them that believe," Rom.3:21,22; but faith, absolutely
considered, is not the righteousness of God. "God imputeth unto us
righteousness without works," chap.4:6; but there is no intimation of a
double imputation, of two sorts of righteousnesses,--of the righteousness
of God, and that which is not so. Now faith, absolutely considered, is
not the righteousness of God; for,--
   (1.) That whereunto the righteousness of God is revealed, whereby we
believe and receive it, is not itself the righteousness of God; for
nothing can be the cause or means of itself;--but the righteousness of
God is "revealed unto faith," chap.1:17; and by it is it "received,"
chap.3:22; 5:11.
   (2.) Faith is not the righteousness of God which is by faith; but the
righteousness of God which is imputed unto us is "the righteousness of
God which is by faith," chap.3:22; Phil.3:9.
   (3.) That whereby the righteousness of God is to be sought, obtained,
and submitted unto, is not that righteousness itself; but such is faith,
Rom.9:30,31; 10:3,4.
   (4.) The righteousness which is imputed unto us is not our own
antecedently unto that imputation: "That I may be found in him, not
having mine own righteousness," Phil.3:9; but faith is a man's own: "Show
me thy faith, and I will show thee my faith," James 2:18.
   (5.) "God imputeth righteousness" unto us, Rom.4:6; and that
righteousness which God imputes unto us is the righteousness whereby we
are justified, for it is imputed unto us that we may be justified;--but
we are justified by the obedience and blood of Christ: "By the obedience
of one we are made righteous," chap.5:19; "Much more now being justified
by his blood," verse 9; "He has put away sin by the sacrifice of
himself," Heb.9:26; Isa.53:11, "By his knowledge shall my righteous
servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities." But faith is
neither the obedience nor the blood of Christ.
   (6.) Faith, as we said before, is our own; and that which is our own
may be imputed unto us. But the discourse of the apostle is about that
which is not our own antecedently unto imputation, but is made ours
thereby, as we have proved; for it is of grace. And the imputation unto
us of what is really our own antecedently unto that imputation, is not of
grace, in the sense of the apostle; for what is so imputed is imputed for
what it is, and nothing else. For that imputation is but the judgment of
God concerning the thing imputed, with respect unto them whose it is. So
the act of Pinehas was imputed unto him for righteousness. God judged it,
and declared it to be a righteous, rewardable act. Wherefore, if our
faith and obedience be imputed unto us, that imputation is only the
judgment of God that we are believers, and obedient. "The righteousness
of the righteous," saith the prophet, "shall be upon him, and the
wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him," Ezek.18:20. As the
wickedness of the wicked is upon him, or is imputed unto him; so the
righteousness of the righteous is upon him, or is imputed unto him. And
the wickedness of the wicked is on him, when God judges him wicked as his
works are; so is the righteousness of a man upon him, or imputed unto
him, when God judgeth of his righteousness as it is. Wherefore, if faith,
absolutely considered, be imputed unto us as it contains in itself, or as
it is accompanied with, works of obedience; then it is imputed unto us,
either for a perfect righteousness, which it is not, or for an imperfect
righteousness, which it is; or the imputation of it is the accounting of
that to be a perfect righteousness which is but imperfect. But none of
these can be affirmed:--
   [1.] It is not imputed unto us for a perfect righteousness, the
righteousness required by the law; for so it is not. Episcopius confesses
in his disputation, dispute.45, sect.7,8, that the righteousness which is
imputed unto us must be "absolutissima et perfectissima,"-- "most
absolute and most perfect." And thence he thus defines the imputation of
righteousness unto us,--namely, that it is, "gratiosa divinae mentis
aestimatio, qua credentem in Filium suum, eo loco reputat ac si perfecte
justus esset, ac legi et voluntati ejus per omnia semper paruisset". And
no man will pretend that faith is such a most absolute and most perfect
righteousness, as that by it the righteousness of the law should be
fulfilled in us, as it is by that righteousness which is imputed unto us.
   [2.] It is not imputed unto us for what it is,--an imperfect
righteousness; for, First, This would be of no advantage unto us; for we
cannot be justified before God by an imperfect righteousness, as is
evident in the prayer of the psalmist, Ps.143:2, "Enter not into judgment
with thy servant, for in thy sight no man living" (no servant of thine
who has the most perfect or highest measure of imperfect righteousness)
"shall be justified." Secondly, The imputation of any thing unto us that
was ours antecedently unto that imputation, for what it is, and no more,
is contrary unto the imputation described by the apostle; as has been
proved.
   [3.] This imputation pleaded for cannot be a judging of that to be a
perfect righteousness which is imperfect; for the judgment of God is
according to truth. But without judging it to be such, it cannot be
accepted as such. To accept of any thing, but only for what we judge it
to be, is to be deceived.
   Lastly, If faith, as a work, be imputed unto us, then it must be as a
work wrought in faith; for no other work is accepted with God. Then must
that faith also wherein it is wrought be imputed unto us; for that also
is faith and a good work. That, therefore, must have another faith from
whence it must proceed; and so "in infinitum."
   Many other things there are in the ensuing explication of the
justification of Abraham, the nature of his faith and his righteousness
before God, with the application of them unto all that do believe, which
may be justly pleaded unto the same purpose with those passages of the
context which we have insisted on; but if every testimony should be
pleaded which the Holy Ghost has given unto this truth, there would be no
end of writing. One thing more I shall observe, and put an end unto our
discourse on this chapter.
   Rom.4:6-8. The apostle pursues his argument to prove the freedom of
our justification by faith, without respect unto works, through the
imputation of righteousness, in the instance of pardon of sin, which
essentially belongs thereunto. And this he does by the testimony of the
psalmist, who places the blessedness of a man in the remission of sins.
His design is not thereby to declare the full nature of justification,
which he had done before, but only to prove the freedom of it from any
respect unto works in the instance of that essential part of it. "Even as
David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth
righteousness without works," (which was the only thing he designed to
prove by this testimony), "saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are
forgiven." He describes their blessedness by it;--not that their whole
blessedness does consist therein, but this concurs unto it, wherein no
respect can possibly be had unto any works whatever. And he may justly
from hence describe the blessedness of a man, in that the imputation of
righteousness and the non-imputation of sin (both which the apostle
mentions distinctly), wherein his whole blessedness as unto justification
does consist, are inseparable. And because remission of sin is the first
part of justification, and the principal part of it, and has the
imputation of righteousness always accompanying it, the blessedness of a
man may be well described thereby; yea, whereas all spiritual blessings
go together in Christ, Eph.1:3, a man's blessedness may be described by
any of them. But yet the imputation of righteousness and the remission of
sin are not the same, no more than righteousness imputed and sin remitted
are the same. Nor does the apostle propose them as the same, but mentions
them distinctly, both being equally necessary unto our complete
justification, as has been proved.
   Rom.5:12-21. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and
death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
(for until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when
there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over
them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression,
who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so
also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead;
much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man,
Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that
sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but
the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man's
offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of
grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one,
Jesus Christ:) Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all
men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift
came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's
disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall
many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered, that the offense might
abound: but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin
has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness
unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
   The apostle, chap.3:27, affirms that in this matter of justification
all "kauchesis", or "boasting," is excluded; but here, in the verse
foregoing, he grants a boasting or a "kauchema". "Ou monon de, alle kai
kauchoomenoi en tooi Theooi";--"And not only so, but we also glory in
God." He excludes boasting in ourselves, because there is nothing in us
to procure or promote our own justification. He allows it us in God,
because of the eminency and excellency of the way and means of our
justification which in his grace he has provided. And the "kauchema", or
"boasting" in God, here allowed us, has a peculiar respect unto what the
apostle had in prospect farther to discourse of. "Ou monon de",--"And not
only so," includes what he had principally treated of before concerning
our justification, so far as it consists in the pardon of sin; for
although he does suppose, yea, and mention, the imputation of
righteousness also unto us, yet principally he declares our justification
by the pardon of sin and our freedom from condemnation, whereby all
boasting in ourselves is excluded. But here he designs a farther
progress, as unto that whereon our glorying in God, on a right and title
freely given us unto eternal life, does depend. And this is the
imputation of the righteousness and obedience of Christ unto the
justification of life, or the reign of grace through righteousness unto
eternal life.
   Great complaints have been made by some concerning the obscurity of
the discourse of the apostle in this place, by reason of sundry ellipses,
antapodota, hyperbata, and other figures of speech, which either are or
are feigned to be therein. Howbeit, I cannot but think, that if men
acquainted with the common principles of Christian religion, and sensible
in themselves of the nature and guilt of our original apostasy from God,
would without prejudice read "tauten ten periochen tes Grafes",--"this
place of the Scripture," they will grant that the design of the apostle
is to prove, that as the sin of Adam was imputed unto all men unto
condemnation, so the righteousness or obedience of Christ is imputed unto
all that believe unto the justification of life. The sum of it is given
by Theodore, Dial. 3 "Vide, quomodo quae Christi sunt cum iis quae sunt
Adami conferantur, cum morbo medicina, cum vulnere emplastrum, cum
peccato justitia, cum execratione benedictio, cum condemnatione remissio,
cum transgressione obedientie, cum morte vita, cum inferis regnum,
Christus cum Adam, homo cum homine".
   The differences that are among interpreters about the exposition of
these words relate unto the use of some particles, prepositions, and the
dependence of one passage upon another; on none of which the confirmation
of the truth pleaded for does depend. But the plain design of the
apostle, and his express propositions, are such as, if men could but
acquiesce in them, might put an end unto this controversy.
   Socinus acknowledges that this place of Scripture does give, as he
speaks, the greatest occasion unto our opinion in this matter; for he
cannot deny but at least a great appearance of what we believe is
represented in the words of the apostle. He does, therefore, use his
utmost endeavour to wrest and deprave them; and yet, although most of his
artifices are since traduced into the annotations of others upon the
place, he himself produces nothing material but what is taken out of
Origen, and the comment of Pelagius on this epistle, which is extant in
the works of Jerome, and was urged before him by Erasmus. The substance
or what he pleads for is, that the actual transgression of Adam is not
imputed unto his posterity, nor a depraved nature from thence
communicated unto them; only, whereas he had incurred the penalty of
death, all that derive their nature from him in that condition are
rendered subject unto death also. And as for that corruption of nature
which is in us, or a proneness unto sin, it is not derived from Adam, but
is a habit contracted by many continued acts of our own. So also, on the
other hand, that the obedience or righteousness of Christ is not imputed
unto us; only when we make ourselves to become his children by our
obedience unto him,--he having obtained eternal life for himself by his
obedience unto God,--we are made partakers of the benefits thereof. This
is the substance of his long disputation on this subject, De Servatore,
lib.4 cap.6. But this is not to expound the words of the apostle, but
expressly to contradict them, as we shall see in the ensuing
consideration of them.
   I intend not an exposition of the whole discourse of the apostle, but
only of those passages in it which evident]y declare the way and manner
of our justification before God.
   A comparison is here proposed and pursued between the first Adam, by
whom sin was brought into the world, and the second Adam, by whom it is
taken away. And a comparison it is "ek tou enantiou",--of things
contrary; wherein there is a similitude in some things, and a
dissimilitude in others, both sorts illustrating the truth declared in
it. The general proposition of it is contained in verse 12: "As by one
man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on
all men, for that all have sinned." The entrance of sin and punishment
into the world was by one man; and that by one sin, as he afterwards
declares: yet were they not confined unto the person of that one man, but
belonged equally unto all. This the apostle expresses, inverting the
order of the effect and cause. In the entrance of it he first mentions
the cause or sin, and then the effect or punishment: "By one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin;" but in the application of it
unto all men, he expresses first the effect and then the cause: "Death
passed on all men, for that all have sinned." Death, on the first
entrance of sin, passed on all,--that is, all men became liable and
obnoxious unto it, as the punishment due to sin. All men that ever were,
are, or shall be, were not then existent in their own persons; but yet
were they all of them then, upon the first entrance of sin, made subject
to death, or liable unto punishment. They were so by virtue of divine
constitution, upon their federal existence in the one man that sinned.
And actually they became obnoxious in their own persons unto the sentence
of it upon their first natural existence, being born children of wrath.
   It is hence manifest what sin it is that the apostle intends,--namely,
the actual sin of Adam,--the one sin of that one common person, whilst he
was so. For although the corruption and depravation of our nature does
necessarily ensue thereon, in every one that is brought forth actually to
the world by natural generation; yet is it the guilt of Adam's actual sin
alone that rendered them all obnoxious unto death upon the first entrance
of sin into the world. So death entered by sin,--the guilt of it,
obnoxiousness unto it; and that with respect unto all men universally.
   Death here comprises the whole punishment due unto sin, be it what it
will, concerning which we need not here to dispute: "The wages of sin is
death," Rom.6:23, and nothing else. Whatever sin deserves in the justice
of God, whatever punishment God at any time appointed or threatened unto
it, it is comprised in death: "In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt
die the death." This, therefore, the apostle lays down as the foundation
of his discourse, and of the comparison which he intends,--namely, that
in and by the actual sin of Adam, all men are made liable unto death, or
unto the whole punishment due unto sin; that is, the guilt of that sin is
imputed unto them. For nothing is intended by the imputation of sin unto
any, but the rendering them justly obnoxious unto the punishment due unto
that sin; as the not imputing of sin is the freeing of men from being
subject or liable unto punishment. And this sufficiently evidences the
vanity of the Pelagian gloss, that death passed upon all merely by virtue
of natural propagation from him who had deserved it, without any
imputation of the guilt of sin unto them; which is a contradiction unto
the plain words of the apostle. For it is the guilt of sin, and not
natural propagation, that he affirms to be the cause of death.
   Having mentioned sin and death, the one as the only cause of the
other, the guilt of sin of the punishment of death,--sin deserving
nothing but death, and death being due unto nothing but sin,--he declares
how all men universally became liable unto this punishment, or guilty of
death: "Eph'hooi pantes hemarton",--"In quo ones peccaverunt,"--"In whom
all have sinned." For it relates unto the one man that sinned, in whom
all sinned: which is evident from the effect thereof, inasmuch as "in him
all died," 1 Cor.15:22; or, as it is here, on his sin "death passed on
all men." And this is the evident sense of the words, "epi" being put for
"en" which is not unusual in the Scripture. See Matt.15:5; Rom.4:18; 5:2;
Phil.1:3; Heb.9:17. And it is often so used by the best writers in the
Greek tongue. So Hesiod, "Metron d'epi pasin ariston",--"Modus in omnibus
rebus optimus." So, "Eph' humin estin",--"In vobis situm est"; "Touto
eph' emoi keitai",--"Hoc in me situm est." And this reading of the words
is contended for by Austin against the Pelagians, rejecting their "eo
quad" or "propterea." But I shall not contend about the reading of the
words. It is the artifice of our adversaries to persuade men, that the
force of our argument to prove from hence the imputation of the sin of
Adam unto his posterity, does depend solely upon this interpretation of
these words, "eph' hooi", by "in whom." We shall, therefore, grant them
their desire, that they are better rendered by "eo quod," "propterea," or
"quatenus," --"inasmuch," "because." Only, we must say that here is a
reason given why "death passed on all men," inasmuch as "all have
sinned," that is, in that sin whereby death entered into the world.
   It is true, death, by virtue of the original constitution of the law,
is due unto every sin, whenever it is committed. But the present inquiry
is, how death passed at once on all men? How they came [to be] liable and
obnoxious unto it upon its first entrance by the actual sin of Adam,--
which cannot be by their own actual sin; yea, the apostle, in the next
verses, affirms that death passed on them also who never sinned actually,
or as Adam did, whose sin was actual. And if the actual sins of men, in
imitation of Adam's sin, were intended, then should men be made liable to
death before they had sinned; for death, upon its first entrance into the
world, passed on all men, before any one man had actually sinned but Adam
only. But that men should be liable unto death, which is nothing but the
punishment of sin, when they have not sinned, is an open contradiction.
For although God, by his sovereign power, might indict death on an
innocent creature, yet that an innocent creature should be guilty of
death is impossible: for to be guilty of death, is to have sinned.
Wherefore this expression, "Inasmuch as all have sinned," expressing the
desert and guilt of death then when sin and death first entered into the
world, no sin can be intended in it but the sin of Adam, and our interest
therein: "Eramus enim omnes ille unus homo"; and this can be no otherwise
but by the imputation of the guilt of that sin unto us, For the act of
Adam not being ours inherently and subjectively, we cannot be concerned
in its effect but by the imputation of its guilt; for the communication
of that unto us which is not inherent in us, is that which we intend by
imputation.
   This is the "protasis" of the intended collation; which I have
insisted the longer on, because the apostle lays in it the foundation of
all that he afterwards infers and asserts in the whole comparison. And
here, some say, there is an "anantapodaton" in his discourse; that is, he
lays down the proposition on the part of Adam, but does not show what
answers to it on the contrary in Christ. And Origin gives the reason of
the silence of the apostle herein,--namely, lest what is to be said
therein should be abused by any unto sloth and negligence. For whereas he
says "hoosper", "as" (which is a note of similitude) "by one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin;" so the "apodosis", or
reddition, should be, "so by one righteousness entered into the world,
and life by righteousness."
   This he acknowledges to be the genuine filling up of the comparison,
but was not expressed by the apostle, lest men should abuse it unto
negligence or security, supposing that to be done already which should be
done afterwards. But as this plainly contradicts and everts most of what
he farther asserts in the exposition of the place, so the apostle
concealed not any truth upon such considerations. And as he plainly
expresses that which is here intimated, verse 19, so he shows how foolish
and wicked any such imaginations are, as suppose that any countenance is
given hereby unto any to indulge themselves in their sins.
   Some grant, therefore, that the apostle does conceal the expression of
what is ascribed unto Christ, in opposition unto what he had affirmed of
Adam and his sin, unto verse 19; but the truth is, it is sufficiently
included in the close of verse 19, where he affirms of Adam that, in
those things whereof he treats, he was "the figure of him that was to
come." For the way and manner whereby he introduced righteousness and
life, and communicated them unto men, answered the way and manner whereby
Adam introduced sin and death, which passed on all the world. Adam being
the figure of Christ, look how it was with him, with respect unto his
natural posterity, as unto sin and death; so it is with the Lord Christ,
the second Adam, and his spiritual posterity, with respect unto
righteousness and life. Hence we argue,--
   If the actual sin of Adam was so imputed unto all his posterity as to
be accounted their own sin unto condemnation, then is the actual
obedience of Christ, the second Adam, imputed unto all his spiritual seed
(that is, unto all believers) unto justification. I shall not here
farther press this argument, because the ground of it will occur unto us
afterwards.
   The two next verses, containing an objection and an answer returned
unto it, wherein we have no immediate concernment, I shall pass by.
   Verses 15,16. The apostle proceeds to explain his comparison in those
things wherein there is a dissimilitude between the comparates:--
   "But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the
offense of one many be dead; much more the grace of God, and the gift by
grace, by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many."
   The opposition is between "paraptooma" on the one hand, and "charisma"
on the other,--between which a dissimilitude is asserted, not as unto
their opposite effects of death and life, but only as unto the degrees of
their efficacy, with respect unto those effects. "Paraptooma", the
offense, the fall, the sin, the transgression,--that is, "tou henos
parako-e", "the disobedience of one," verse 19. Hence the first sin of
Adam is generally called "the fall,"--"to paraptooma". That which is
opposed hereunto is "to charisma"--"Donum, donum gratuitum; beneficium,
id quod Deus gratificatur"; that is, "Charis tou Theou, kai doorea en
chariti tei tou henos anthroopou Iesou Christou", as it is immediately
explained, "The grace of God, and the free gift by grace, through Jesus
Christ." Wherefore, although this word, in the next verse, does precisely
signify the righteousness of Christ, yet here it comprehends all the
causes of our justification, in opposition unto the fall of Adam, and the
entrance of sin thereby.
   The consequent and effect "tou paraptoomatos",--"of the offense," the
fall,--is, that "many be dead." No more is here intended by "many," but
only that the effects of that one offense were not confined unto one; and
if we inquire who or how many those many are, the apostle tells us that
they are all men universally; that is, all the posterity of Adam. By this
one offense, because they all sinned, therein they are all dead; that is,
rendered obnoxious and liable unto death, as the punishment due unto that
one offense. And hence also it appears how vain it is to wrest those
words of verse 12, "Inasmuch as all have sinned," unto any other sin but
the first sin in Adam, seeing it is given as the reason why death passed
on them; it being here plainly affirmed "that they are dead," or that
death passed on them by that one offense.
   The efficacy "tou charismatos",--"of the free gift," opposed hereunto,
is expressed, as that which abounded much more. Besides the thing itself
asserted, which is plain and evident, the apostle seems to me to argue
the equity of our justification by grace, through the obedience of
Christ, by comparing it with the condemnation that befell us by the sin
and disobedience of Adam. For if it were just, meet, and equal, that all
men should be made subject unto condemnation for the sin of Adam; it is
much more so, that those who believe should be justified by the obedience
of Christ, through the grace and free donation of God. But wherein, in
particular, the gift by grace abounded unto many, above the efficacy of
the fall to condemn, he declares afterwards. And that whereby we are
freed from condemnation, more eminently than we are made obnoxious unto
it by the fall and sin of Adam, by that alone we are justified before
God. But this is by the grace of God, and the gift by grace, through
Jesus Christ alone; which we plead for, verse 16. Another difference
between the comparates is expressed, or rather the instance is given in
particular of the dissimilitude asserted in general before:--
   "And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the
judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many
offenses unto justification."
   "Di' henos hamartesantos", "By one that sinned," is the same with "di'
henos paraptoomatos", "by one sin," one offense, the one sin of that man.
"Krima", we render "judgment." Most interpreters do it by "reatus,"
"guilt," or "crimen," which is derived from it. So "mishpat", "judicium,"
is used in the Hebrew for guilt: "mishpat-mawet la'ish hazeh", Jer.26:11,
"The judgment of death is to this man, this man is guilty of death, has
deserved to die." First, therefore, there was "paraptooma", the sin, the
fall, "tou henos hamartesantos", of one man that sinned; it was his
actual sin alone. Thence followed "krima", "reatus," "guilt;" this was
common unto all. In and by that one sin, guilt came upon all. And the end
hereof, that which it rendered men obnoxious unto, is "katakrima",--
"condemnation," guilt unto condemnation. And this guilt unto condemnation
which came upon all, was "ex henos",--of one person, or sin. This is the
order of things on the part of Adam:--(1.) "Paraptooma", the one sin;
(2.) "Krima", the guilt that thereon ensued unto all; (3.) "Katachrima",
the condemnation which that guilt deserved. And their "antitheta," or
opposites, in the second Adam are:--(1.) "Charisma", the free donation of
God; (2.) "Doorema", the gift of grace itself, or the righteousness of
Christ; (3.) "Dikaiooma", or "dikaioosis dzooes", "justification of
life." But yet though the apostle does thus distinguish these things, to
illustrate his comparison and opposition, that which he intends by them
all is the righteousness and obedience of Christ, as he declares, verses
18,19. This, in the matter of our justification, he calls,--(1.)
"Charisma", with respect unto the free, gratuitous grant of it by the
grace of God, "Doorea tes charitos", and (2.) "Doorema", with respect
unto us who receive it,--a free gift it is unto us; and (3.) "Dikaiooma",
with respect unto its effect of making us righteous.
   Whereas, therefore, by the sin of Adam imputed unto them, guilt came
on all men unto condemnation, we must inquire wherein the free gift was
otherwise: "Not as by one that sinned, so was the gift " And it was so in
two things: for,--1. Condemnation came upon all by one offence; but being
under the guilt of that one offense, we contract the guilt of many more
innumerable. Wherefore, if the free gift had respect only unto that one
offense, and intended itself no farther, we could not be delivered;
wherefore it is said to be "of many offenses," that is, of all our sins
and trespasses whatever. 2. Adam, and all his posterity in him, were in a
state of acceptation with God, and placed in a way of obtaining eternal
life and blessedness, wherein God himself would have been their reward.
In this estate, by the entrance of sin, they lost the favour of God, and
incurred the guilt of death or condemnation, for they are the same. But
they lost not an immediate right and title unto life and blessedness; for
this they had not, nor could have before the course of obedience
prescribed unto them was accomplished. That, therefore, which came upon
all by the one offense, was the loss of God's favour in the approbation
of their present state, and the judgment or guilt of death and
condemnation. But an immediate right unto eternal life, by that one sin
was not lost. The free gift is not so: for as by it we are freed, not
only from one sin, but from all our sins, so also by it we have a right
and title unto eternal life; for therein, "grace reigns through
righteousness unto eternal life," verse 21.
   The same truth is farther explained and confirmed, verse 17, "For if
by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive
abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life
by one, Jesus Christ." The design of the apostle having been sufficiently
manifested in our observations on the former verses, I shall from this
only observe those things which more immediately concern our present
subject. And,--
   1. It is worth observation with what variety of expressions the
apostle sets forth the grace of God in the justification of believers:
"Dikaiooma, doorema, charis, charisma, perisseia charitos, doorea tes
dikaiosunes". Nothing is omitted that may any way express the freedom,
sufficiency, and efficacy of grace unto that end. And although these
terms seem some of them to be coincident in their signification, and to
be used by him promiscuously, yet do they every one include something
that is peculiar, and all of them set forth the whole work of grace.
"Dikaiooma" seems to me to be used in this argument for "dikaiologema",
which is the foundation of a cause in trial, the matter pleaded, whereon
the person tried is to be acquitted and justified; and this is the
righteousness of Christ, "of one." "Doorema", or a free donation, is
exclusive of all desert and conditions on our part who do receive it; and
it is that whereby we are freed from condemnation, and have a right unto
the justification of life. "Charis" is the free grace and favour of God,
which is the original or efficient cause of our justification, as was
declared, chap.3:24. "Charisma" has been explained before. "Perisseia
charitos",--"The abundance of grace,"--is added to secure believers of
the certainty of the effect. It is that whereunto nothing is wanting unto
our justification. "Doorea tes dikaiosunes" expresses the free grant of
that righteousness which is imputed unto us unto the justification of
life, afterward called "the obedience of Christ." Be men as wise and
learned as they please, it becomes us all to learn to think and speak of
these divine mysteries from this blessed apostle, who knew them better
than we all, and, besides, wrote by divine inspiration.
   And it is marvelous unto me how men can break through the face that he
has made about the grace of God and obedience of Christ, in the work of
our justification before God, to introduce their own works of obedience,
and to find a place for them therein. But the design of Paul and some
men, in declaring this point of our justification before God, seems to be
very opposite and contrary. His whole discourse is concerning the grace
of God, the death, blood, and obedience of Christ, as if he could never
sufficiently satisfy himself in the setting out and declaration of them,
without the least mention of any works or duties of our own, or the least
intimation of any use that they are of herein. But all their pleas are
for their own works and duties; and they have invented as many terms to
set them out by as the Holy Ghost has used for the expression and
declaration of the grace of God. Instead of the words of wisdom before
mentioned, which the Holy Ghost has taught, wherewith he fills up his
discourse, theirs are filled with conditions, preparatory dispositions,
merits, causes, and I know not what trappings for our own works. For my
part I shall choose rather to learn of him, and accommodate my
conceptions and expressions of gospel mysteries, and of this in especial
concerning our justification, unto his who cannot deceive me, than trust
to any other conduct, how specious soever its pretences may be.
   2. It is plain in this verse that no more is required of any one unto
justification, but that he receive the "abundance of grace and the gift
of righteousness;" for this is the description that the apostle gives of
those that are justified, as unto any thing that on their part is
required. And as this excludes all works of righteousness which we do,--
for by none of them do we receive the abundance of grace, and the gift of
righteousness,--so it does also the imputation of faith itself unto our
justification, as it is an act and duty of our own: for faith is that
whereby we receive the gift of righteousness by which we are justified.
For it will not be denied but that we are justified by the gift of
righteousness, or the righteousness which is given unto us; for by it
have we right and title unto life. But our faith is not this gift; for
that which receives, and that which is received, are not the same.
   3. Where there is "perisseia charitos", and "haris
huperpepisseuousa",--"abounding grace," "superabounding grace," exerted
in our justification, no more is required thereunto; for how can it be
said to abound, yea, to superabound, not only to the freeing of us from
condemnation, but the giving of us a title unto life, if in any thing it
is to be supplied and eked out by works and duties of our own? The things
intended do fill up these expressions, although to some they are but an
empty noise.
   4. There is a gift of righteousness required unto our justification,
which all must receive who are to be justified, and all are justified who
do receive it; for they that receive it shall "reign in life by Jesus
Christ." And hence it follows,--(1.) That the righteousness whereby we
are justified before God can be nothing of our own, nothing inherent in
us, nothing performed by us. For it is that which is freely given us, and
this donation is by imputation: "Blessed is the man unto whom God
imputeth righteousness," chap.4:6. And by faith we receive what is so
given and imputed; and otherwise we contribute nothing unto our
participation of it. This it is to be justified in the sense of the
apostle. (2.) It is such a righteousness as gives right and title unto
eternal life; for they that receive it shall "reign in life." Wherefore,
it cannot consist in the pardon of sin alone; for,--[1.] The pardon of
sin can in no tolerable sense be called "the gift of righteousness."
Pardon of sin is one thing, and righteousness another. [2.] Pardon of sin
does not give right and title unto eternal life. It is true, he whose
sins are pardoned shall inherit eternal life; but not merely by virtue of
that pardon, but through the imputation of righteousness which does
inseparably accompany it, and is the ground of it.
   The description which is here given of our justification by grace, in
opposition unto the condemnation that we were made liable unto by the sin
of Adam, and in exaltation above it, as to the efficacy of grace above
that of the first sin, in that thereby not one but all sins are forgiven,
and not only so, but a right unto life eternal is communicated unto us,
is this: "That we receive the grace of God, and the gift of
righteousness;" which gives us a right unto life by Jesus Christ. But
this is to be justified by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ,
received by faith alone.
   The conclusion of what has been evinced, in the management of the
comparison insisted on, is fully expressed and farther confirmed, chap.
5:18,19.
   Verse 18. "Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all
men unto condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift
came upon all men unto justification of life." So we. read the words. "By
the offense of one:" the Greek copies vary here. Some read, "Tooi heni
paraptoomati", whom Beza follows, and our translation in the margin,--"By
one offense;" most by "Di henos paraptoomatos",--"By the offense of one;"
and so afterwards as unto righteousness: but both are unto the same
purpose. For the one offense intended is the offense of one,--that is, of
Adam; and the one righteousness is the righteousness of one,--Jesus
Christ.
   The introduction of this assertion by "apa ouv", the note of a
syllogistical inference, declares what is here asserted to be the
substance of the truth pleaded for. And the comparison is continued,
"hoos",--these things have themselves after the same manner.
   That which is affirmed on the one side is, "Di' henos paraptoomatos
eis pantas enthroopous eis katakrima",--"By the sin or fall of one, on
all men unto condemnation,"that is, judgment, say we, repeating "krima"
from the foregoing verse. But "krima eis katakrima" is guilt, and that
only. By the sin of one, all men became guilty, and were made obnoxious
unto condemnation. The guilt of it is imputed unto all men; for no
otherwise can it come upon them unto condemnation, no otherwise can they
be rendered obnoxious unto death and judgment on the account thereof. For
we have evinced, that by death and condemnation, in this disputation of
the apostle, the whole punishment due unto sin is intended. This,
therefore, is plain and evident on that hand.
   In answer hereunto, the "dikaiooma" of one, as to the causality of
justification, is opposed unto the "paraptooma" of the other, as unto its
causality unto or of condemnation: "Di' henos dikaioomatos",--"By the
righteousness of one:" that is, the righteousness that is pleadable "eis
dikaioosin", unto justification; for that is "dikaiooma", a righteousness
pleaded for justification. By this, say our translators, "the free gift
came upon all," repeating "charisma" from the foregoing verse, as they
had done "krima" before on the other hand. The Syrian translation renders
the words without the aid of any supplement: "Therefore, as by the sin of
one, condemnation was unto all men, so by the righteousness of one,
justification unto life shall be unto all men"; and the sense of the
words is so made plain without the supply of any other word into the
text. But whereas in the original the words are not "katakrima eis pantas
anthroopous", but "eis pantas anthroopous eis katakrima", and so in the
latter clause, somewhat from his own foregoing words, is to be supplied
to answer the intention of the apostle. And this is "Charisma", "gratiosa
donatio," "the free grant" of righteousness; or "doorema", "the free
gift" of righteousness unto justification. The righteousness of one,
Christ Jesus, is freely granted unto all believers, to the justification
of life; for the "all men" here mentioned are described by, and limited
unto, them that "receive the abundance of grace, and the gift of
righteousness by Christ," verse 17.
   Some vainly pretend from hence a general grant of righteousness and
life unto all men, whereof the greatest part are never made partakers;
than which nothing can be more opposite nor contradictory unto the
apostle's design. Men are not made guilty of condemnation from the sin of
Adam, by such a divine constitution, as that they may, or on some
conditions may not, be obnoxious thereunto. Every one, so soon as he
actually exists, and by virtue thereof is a descendant from the first
Adam, is actually in his own person liable thereunto, and the wrath of
God abides on him. And no more are intended on the other side, but those
only who, by their relation through faith unto the Lord Christ, the
second Adam, are actually interested in the justification of life.
Neither is the controversy about the universality of redemption by the
death of Christ herein concerned. For those by whom it is asserted do not
affirm that it is thence necessary that the free gift unto the
justification of life should come on all; for that they know it does not
do. And of a provision of righteousness and life for men in case they do
believe, although it be true, yet nothing is spoken in this place. Only
the certain justification of them that believe, and the way of it, are
declared. Nor will the analogy of the comparison here insisted on admit
of any such interpretation; for the "all", on the one hand, are all and
only those who derive their being from Adam by natural propagation. If
any man might be supposed not to do so, he would not be concerned in his
sin or fall. And so really it was with the man Christ Jesus. And those on
the other hand, are only those who derive a spiritual life from Christ.
Suppose a man not to do so, and he is no way interested in the
righteousness of the "one" unto the justification of life. Our argument
from the words is this:--As the sin of one that came on all unto
condemnation, was the sin of the first Adam imputed unto them; so the
righteousness of the one unto the justification of life that comes on all
believers, is the righteousness of Christ imputed unto them. And what can
be more clearly affirmed or more evidently confirmed than this is by the
apostle, I know not.
   Yet is it more plainly expressed, verse 19: "For as by one man's
disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall
many be made righteous."
   This is well explained by Cyrillus Alexandrinus in Joan. lib.11
cap.25: "Quemadmodum praevaricatione primi hominis ut in primitiis
generis nostri, morti addicti fuimus; eodem modo per obedientiamet
justitiam Christi, in quantum seipsum legi subjecit, quamvis legis author
esset, benedictio et vivificatio quae per Spiritum est, ad totam nostram
penetravit naturam". And by Leo, Epist. 12 ad Juvenalem: "Ut autem
reparet omnium vitam, recepit omnium causam; at sicut per unius reatum
omnes facti fuerunt peccatores, its per unius innocentiam omnes fierent
innocentes; inde in homines manaret justitia, ubi est humana suscepta
natura."
   That which he before called "paraptooma" and "dikaiooma" he now
expresses by "parako-e" and "hupako-e",--"disobedience" and "obedience."
The "parako-e" of Adam, or his disobedience, was his actual transgression
of the law of God. Hereby, says the apostle, "many were made sinners,"
sinners in such a sense as to be obnoxious unto death and condemnation;
for liable unto death they could not be made, unless they were first made
sinners or guilty. And this they could not be, but that they are esteemed
to have sinned in him, whereon the guilt of his sin was imputed unto
them. This, therefore, he affirms,-- namely, that the actual sin of Adam
was so the sin of all men, as that they were made sinners thereby,
obnoxious unto death and condemnation.
   That which he opposes hereunto is "he hupako-e",--"the obedience of
one;" that is, of Jesus Christ. And this was the actual obedience that he
yielded unto the whole law of God. For as the disobedience of Adam was
his actual transgression of the whole law, so the obedience of Christ was
his actual accomplishment or fulfilling of the whole law. This the
antithesis does require.
   Hereby many are made righteous. How? By the imputation of that
obedience unto them. For so, and no otherwise, are men made sinners by
the imputation of the disobedience of Adam. And this is that which gives
us a right and title unto eternal life, as the apostle declares, verse
21, "That as sin reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through
righteousness unto eternal life." This righteousness is no other but the
"obedience of one",--that is, of Christ,--as it is called, verse 10. And
it is said to "come" upon us,--that is, to be imputed unto us; for
"Blessed is the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness." And hereby we
have not only deliverance from that death and condemnation whereunto we
were liable by the sin of Adam, but the pardon of many offenses,--that
is, of all our personal sins,--and a right unto life eternal through the
grace of God; for we are "justified freely by his grace, through the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
   And these things are thus plainly and fully delivered by the apostle;
unto whose sense and expressions also (so far as may be) it is our duty
to accommodate ours. What is offered in opposition hereunto is so made up
of exceptions, evasions, and perplexed disputes, and leads us so far off
from the plain words of the Scripture, that the conscience of a convinced
sinner knows not what to fix upon to give it rest and satisfaction, nor
what it is that is to be believed unto justification.
   Piscatory, in his scholia on this chapter and elsewhere, insists much
on a specious argument against the imputation of the obedience of Christ
unto our justification; but it proceeds evidently on an open mistake and
false supposition, as well as it is contradictory unto the plain words of
the text. It is true, which he observes and proves, that our redemption,
reconciliation, pardon of sin, and justification, are often ascribed unto
the death and blood of Christ in a signal manner. The reasons of it have
partly been intimated before; and a farther account of them shall be
given immediately. But it does not thence follow that the obedience of
his life, wherein he fulfilled the whole law, being made under it for us,
is excluded from any causality therein, or is not imputed unto us. But in
opposition hereunto he thus argues:--
   "Si obedientia vitae Christi nobis ad justitiam imputaretur, non fuit
opus Christum pro nobis mori; mori enim necesse fuit pro nobis injustus",
1 Pet.3:18. "Quod si ergo justi effecti sumus per vitam illius, causa
nulla relicta fuit cur pro nobis moreretur; quia justitia Dei non patitur
ut puniat justos. At punivit nos in Christo, seu quod idem valet punivit
Christum pro nobis, et loco nostri, posteaquam ille sancte vixisset, ut
certum est e Scriptura. Ergo non sumus justi effecti per sanctam vitam
Christi. .Item, Christus mortuus est ut justitiam illam Dei nobis
acquireret", 2 Cor.5:21. "Non igitur illam acquisiverat ante mortem".
   But this whole argument, I say, proceeds upon an evident mistake; for
it supposes such an order of things as that the obedience of Christ, or
his righteousness in fulfilling the law, is first imputed unto us, and
then the righteousness of his death is afterwards to take place, or to be
imputed unto us; which, on that supposition, he says, would be of no use.
But no such order or divine constitution is pleaded or pretended in our
justification. It is true, the life of Christ and his obedience unto the
law did precede his sufferings, and undergoing the curse thereof,--
neither could it otherwise be, for this order of these things between
themselves was made necessary from the law of nature,--but it does not
thence follow that it must be observed in the imputation or application
of them unto us. For this is an effect of sovereign wisdom and grace, not
respecting the natural order of Christ's obedience and suffering, but the
moral order of the things whereunto they are appointed. And although we
need not assert, nor do I so do, different acts of the imputation of the
obedience of Christ unto the justification of life, or a right and title
unto life eternal, and of the suffering of Christ unto the pardon of our
sins and freedom from condemnation,--but by both we have both, according
unto the ordinance of God, that Christ may be all in all,--yet as unto
the effects themselves, in the method of God's bringing sinners unto the
justification of life, the application of the death of Christ unto them,
unto the pardon of sin and freedom from condemnation, is, in order of
nature, and in the exercise of faith, antecedent unto the application of
his obedience unto us for a right and title unto life eternal.
   The state of the person to be justified is a state of sin and wrath,
wherein he is liable unto death and condemnation. This is that which a
convinced sinner is sensible of, and which alone, in the first place, he
seeks for deliverance from: "What shall we do to be saved?" This, in the
first place, is represented unto him in the doctrine and promise of the
gospel; which is the rule and instrument of its application. And this is
[by] the death of Christ. Without this no actual righteousness imputed
unto him, not the obedience of Christ himself, will give him relief; for
he is sensible that he has sinned, and thereby come short of the glory of
God, and under the sentence condemnatory of the law. Until he receives a
deliverance from hence, it is to no purpose to propose that unto him
which should give him right unto life eternal. But upon a supposition
hereof, he is no less concerned in what shall yet farther give him title
whereunto, that he may reign in life through righteousness. Herein, I
say, in its order, conscience is no less concerned than in deliverance
from condemnation. And this order is expressed in the declaration of the
fruit and effects of the mediation of Christ, Dan.9:24, "To make
reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness."
Neither is there any force in the objection against it, that actually the
obedience of Christ did precede his suffering: for the method of their
application is not prescribed thereby; and the state of sinners to be
justified, with the nature of their justification, requires it should be
otherwise, as God also has ordained. But because the obedience and
sufferings of Christ were concomitant from first to last, both equally
belonging unto his state of exinanition, and cannot in any act or
instance be separated, but only in notion or imagination, seeing he
suffered in all his obedience and obeyed in all his sufferings, Heb.5:8;
and neither part of our justification, in freedom from condemnation and
right unto life eternal, can be supposed to be or exist without the
other, according unto the ordinance and constitution of God; the whole
effect is jointly to be ascribed unto the whole mediation of Christ, so
far as he acted towards God in our behalf, wherein he fulfilled the whole
law, both as to the penalty exacted of sinners and the righteousness it
requires unto life as an eternal reward. And there are many reasons why
our justification is, in the Scripture, by way of eminency, ascribed unto
the death and blood-shedding of Christ.
   For,--1. The grace and love of God, the principal, efficient cause of
our justification, are therein made most eminent and conspicuous; for
this is most frequently in the Scripture proposed unto us as the highest
instance and undeniable demonstration of divine love and grace. And this
is that which principally we are to consider in our justification, the
glory of them being the end of God therein. He "made us accepted in the
Beloved, to the praise of the glory of his grace," Eph.1:6. Wherefore,
this being the fountain, spring, and sole cause, both of the obedience of
Christ and of the imputation thereof unto us, with the pardon of sin and
righteousness thereby, it is everywhere in the Scripture proposed as the
prime object of our faith in our justification, and opposed directly unto
all our own works whatever. The whole of God's design herein is, that
"grace may reign through righteousness unto eternal life." Whereas,
therefore, this is made most evident and conspicuous in the death of
Christ, our justification is in a peculiar manner assigned thereunto.
   2. The love of Christ himself and his grace are peculiarly exalted in
our justification: "That all men may honour the Son even as they honour
the Father." Frequently are they expressed unto this purpose, 2 Cor.8:9;
Gal.2:20; Phil.2:6,7; Rev.1:5,6. And those also are most eminently
exalted in his death, so as that all the effects and fruits of them are
ascribed thereunto in a peculiar manner; as nothing is more ordinary
than, among many things that concur to the same effect, to ascribe it
unto that which is most eminent among them, especially if it cannot be
conceived as separated from the rest.
   3. This is the clearest testimony that what the Lord Christ did and
suffered was for us, and not for himself; for without the consideration
hereof, all the obedience which he yielded unto the law might be looked
on as due only on his own account, and himself to have been such a
Saviour as the Socinians imagine, who should do all with us from God, and
nothing with God for us. But the suffering of the curse of the law by him
who was not only an innocent man, but also the Son of God, openly
testifies that what he did and suffered was for us, and not for himself.
It is no wonder, therefore, if our faith as unto justification be in the
first place, and principally, directed unto his death and blood-shedding.
   4. All the obedience of Christ had still respect unto the sacrifice of
himself which was to ensue, wherein it received its accomplishment, and
whereon its efficacy unto our justification did depend: for as no
imputation of actual obedience would justify sinners from the
condemnation that was passed on them for the sin of Adam; so, although
the obedience of Christ was not a mere preparation or qualification of
his person for his suffering, yet its efficacy unto our justification did
depend on his suffering that was to ensue, when his soul was made an
offering for sin.
   5. As was before observed, reconciliation and the pardon of sin
through the blood of Christ do directly, in the first place, respect our
relief from the state and condition whereinto we were cast by the sin of
Adam,--in the loss of the favour of God, and liableness unto death. This,
therefore, is that which principally, and in the first place, a lost
convinced sinner, such as Christ calls unto himself, does look after. And
therefore justification is eminently and frequently proposed as the
effect of the blood-shedding and death of Christ, which are the direct
cause of our reconciliation and pardon of sin. But yet from none of these
considerations does it follow that the obedience of the one man, Christ
Jesus, is not imputed unto us, whereby grace might reign through
righteousness unto eternal life.
   The same truth is fully asserted and confirmed, Rom.8:1-4. But this
place has been of late so explained and so vindicated by another, in his
learned and judicious exposition of it (namely, Dr Jacomb), as that
nothing remains of weight to be added unto what has been pleaded and
argued by him, part 1 verse 4, p.587, and onwards. And indeed the answers
which he subjoins (to the arguments whereby he confirms the truth) to the
most usual and important objections against the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ, are sufficient to give just satisfaction unto
the minds of unprejudiced, unengaged persons. I shall therefore pass over
this testimony, as that which has been so lately pleaded and vindicated,
and not press the same things, it may be (as is not unusual) unto their
disadvantage.
   Rom.10:3,4. "For they" (the Jews, who had a zeal for God, but not
according to knowledge), "being ignorant of God's righteousness, and
going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted
themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the
law for righteousness unto every one that believeth."
   What is here determined, the apostle enters upon the proposition and
declaration of, chap.9:30. And because what he had to propose was
somewhat strange, and unsuited unto the common apprehensions of men, he
introduces it with that prefatory interrogation, "Ti oun eroumen;" (which
he uses on the like occasions, chap.3:5; 6:1; 7:7; 9:14)--"What shall we
say then?" that is, "Is there in this matter 'unrighteousness with God?'"
as verse 14; or, "What shall we say unto these things?" or, "This is that
which is to be said herein." That which hereon he asserts is, "That the
Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to
righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith; but Israel,
which followed after the law of righteousness, has not attained to the
law of righteousness;" that is, unto righteousness itself before God.
   Nothing seems to be more contrary unto reason than what is here made
manifest by the event. The Gentiles, who lived in sin and pleasures, not
once endeavouring to attain unto any righteousness before God, yet
attained unto it upon the preaching of the gospel. Israel, on the other
hand, which followed after righteousness diligently in all the works of
the law, and duties of obedience unto God thereby, came short of it,
attained not unto it. All preparations, all dispositions, all merit, as
unto righteousness and justification, are excluded from the Gentiles; for
in all of them there is more or less a following after righteousness,
which is denied of them all. Only by faith in him who justifieth the
ungodly, they attain righteousness, or they attained the righteousness of
faith. For to attain righteousness by faith, and to attain the
righteousness which is of faith, are the same. Wherefore, all things that
are comprised any way in following after righteousness, such as are all
our duties and works, are excluded from any influence into our
justification. And this is expressed to declare the sovereignty and
freedom of the grace of God herein,--name]y, that we are justified freely
by his grace,--and that on our part all boasting is excluded. Let men
pretend what they will, and dispute. what they please, those who attain
unto righteousness and justification before God, when they follow not
after righteousness, they do it by the gratuitous imputation of the
righteousness of another unto them.
   It may be it will be said: "It is true in the time of their heathenism
they did not at all follow after righteousness, but when the truth of the
gospel was revealed unto them, then they followed after righteousness,
and did attain it." But,--1. This is directly to contradict the apostle,
in that it says that they attained not righteousness but only as they
followed after righteousness; whereas he affirms the direct contrary. 2.
It takes away the distinction which he puts between them and Israel,--
namely, that the one followed after righteousness, and the other did not.
3. To follow after righteousness, in this place, is to follow after a
righteousness of our own: "To establish their own righteousness,"
chap.10:3. But this is so far from being a means of attaining
righteousness, as that it is the most effectual obstruction thereof.
   If, therefore, those who have no righteousness of their own, who are
so far from it that they never endeavoured to attain it, do yet by faith
receive that righteousness wherewith they are justified before God, they
do so by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto them; or let
some other way be assigned.
   In the other side of the instance, concerning Israel, some must hear,
whether they will or not, that wherewith they are not pleased.
   Three things are expressed of them:--1. Their attempt. 2 Their
success. 3. The reason of it.
   1. Their attempt or endeavour was in this, that they "followed after
the law of righteousness." "Diookoo", the word whereby their endeavour is
expressed, signifies that which is earnest, diligent, and sincere. By it
does the apostle declare what his [endeavour] was, and what ours ought to
be, in the duties and exercise of gospel obedience, Phil.3:12. They were
not in diligent in this matter, but "instantly served God day and night."
Nor were they hypocritical; for the apostle bears them record in this
matter, that "they had a zeal of God," Rom.10:2. And that which they thus
endeavoured after was "nomos dikaiosunes",--"the law of righteousness,"
that law which prescribed a perfect personal righteousness before God;
"the things which if a man do them, he shall live in them," chap.10:5.
Wherefore, the apostle has no other respect unto the ceremonial law in
this place but only as it was branched out from the moral law by the will
of God, and as the obedience unto it belonged thereunto. When he speaks
of it separately, he calls it "the law of commandments contained in
ordinances;" but it is nowhere called "the law of righteousness," the law
whose righteousness is fulfilled in us, chap.8:9a. Wherefore, the
following after this law of righteousness was their diligence in the
performance of all duties of obedience, according unto the directions and
precepts of the moral law.
   2. The issue of this attempt is, that they "attained not unto the law
of righteousness," "eis nomon dikaiosunes ouk efthase",--that is, they
attained not unto a righteousness before God hereby. Though this was the
end of the law, namely, a righteousness before God, wherein a man might
live, yet could they never attain it.
   3. An account is given of the reason of their failing in attaining
that which they so earnestly endeavoured after. And this was in a double
mistake that they were under;--first, In the means of attaining it;
secondly, In the righteousness itself that was to be sought after. The
first is declared, chap.9:32, "Because not by faith, but as it were by
the works of the law." Faith and works are the two only ways whereby
righteousness may be attained, and they are opposite and inconsistent; so
that none does or can seek after righteousness by them both. They will
not be mixed and made one entire means of attaining righteousness. They
are opposed as grace and works; what is of the one is not of the other,
chap.11:6. Every composition of them in this matter is, "Male sarta
gratia nequicquam coit et rescinditur". And the reason is, because the
righteousness which faith seeks after, or which is attainable by faith,
is that which is given to us, imputed unto us, which faith does only
receive. It receives "the abundance of grace, and the gift of
righteousness." But that which is attainable by works is our own,
inherent in us, wrought out by us, and not imputed unto us; for it is
nothing but those works themselves, with respect unto the law of God.
   And if righteousness before God be to be obtained alone by faith, and
that in contradiction unto all works,--which if a man do them, according
unto the law, "he shall even live in them," then is it by faith alone
that we are justified before God, or, nothing else on our part is
required