THE DOCTRINE OF Justification by Faith Through the IMPUTATION OF THE Righteousness of Christ, EXPLAINED, CONFIRMED, & VINDICATED.


Search the Scriptures, Joh. 5.39.

LONDON, Printed for R. Boulter, at the Turks-head over against the Royal-Exchange in Corn-hill, 1677.


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. For although sundry Persons, even among our selves, 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 Consequents of it; yet do fortifie 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 enquire 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 Apostasie 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 satisfie 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 [Page] had no other design, but only to enquire 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 enquiry, than in 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 it self, and the terms wherein it is usually taught, yet 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 many Books published in the way of controversie 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 advan­tages 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 [Page] 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 enquire 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 hath been pleased graciously to give me in the Church, hath 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 mens notions, or a collection and improvement of their Arguments, either by artifi­cial Reasonings, or ornament of Style and Language, but a naked enquiry 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 into 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 doth not abide by him­self, in the most intimate recesses of his mind, under his nearest approaches unto God, in his suprisals 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 [Page] 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 Reasonings of carnal minds. So was it charged by the Papists at the first Reformation, and continueth yet so to be. Yet as it gave the first occasion unto the Reformation it self, 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 was afterwards renewed by the Socinians, and continueth 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 perswasion by better effects and fruits than yet they have done. What sort of men they were who first coined that systeme of Religion which they adhere unto, one who knew them well enough, and sufficiently enclined unto their Antitrinitarian Opinions, declares in one of the Queries that he proposed unto Socinus himself and his followers. If this saith he, be the truth which you contend for, whence comes it to pass that it is decla­red only by persons, nulla pietatis commendatione, nullo lau­dato prioris vitae exemplo commendatos; imo ut plerum (que) videmus, per vagabundos, & contentionum zeli carnalis ple­nos homines, alios ex castris, aulis, ganeis, prolatam esse. Scru­puli ab excellenti viro propositi, inter oper. Socin. The fiercest charge of such men against any Doctrines they oppose as inconsi­stent with the necessary motives unto Godliness, are a Recom­mendation [Page] of it unto the minds of considerative men. And there cannot be a more effectual Engine plied for the ruine of Religion, then for men to declame 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 teacheth 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 an 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 prevalency of vitious 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 discer­nable 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.

[Page] 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 alike temper and principles may attempt an opposition unto what is here expresly 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, wiredraw inferences and conclusions from them not ex­presly 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, can­dor and ingenuity, I shall take no more notice of what they say or write, then 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 any other 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.

Considerations previous unto the Explana­tion of the Doctrine of Justification.

  • §. 1. THe General Nature of Justification. State of the Person to be justified antecedently thereunto. Rom. 4.5. Chap. 3.19. Chap. 1.32. Gal. 3.10. Joh. 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. Pag. 1.
  • §. 2. 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. Psal. 145.2. Rom. 3.20. What thoughts will be ingenerated hereby in the minds of Men. Isai. 33.14. Mic. 6.7. Isa. 6.5. The Plea of Job against his friends, and before God not the same. Job 40.3, 4, 5. Chap. 42.4, 5, 6. Directions for visiting the sick given of old. Testimonies of Jerome and Ambrose. Sense of Men in their Prayers. Dan. 9.7, 18. Psal., 4. Paraphrase of Austine on that place. Prayer of Pelagius. Publick Liturgies. Pag. 8.
  • §. 3. A due sense of our Apostasie from God, the Depravation of our Nature thereby, with the power and guilt of Sin, the holiness of Law, necessary unto a right understanding of the Doctrine of Justification. Method of the Apostle to this purpose, Romans 1, 2, 3, 4. Chap. Grounds of the antient and present Pelagianism, in the denial of these things. Instances thereof. Boasting of Per­fection [Page] from the same Ground. Knowledge of Sin and Grace mutually promote each other. Pag. 18.
  • §. 4. Opposition between Works and Grace, as unto Justification. Method of the Apostle in the Epistle to the Romans to manifest this opposition. A Scheam 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. Luk. 17.10. Dan. 9.18. Pag. 24.
  • §. 5. A Commutation as unto Sin and Righteousness, by Imputation between Christ and Believers, represented in the Scripture. The Ordinance of the Scape Goat. Levit. 16.21, 22. The nature of Expiatory Sacrifices. Levit. 4.29. Expiation of an uncertain Murther. Deut. 21.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. The Commutation intend­ed, proved, and vindicated. Isa. 53.5, 6. 2 Cor. 5.21. Rom. 8.3, 4. Gal. 3.13, 14. 1 Pet. 1.24. Deut. 21.23. Testimonies of Justin Martyr, Gregory Nissen, Austine, Chrysostome, Bernard, Taulerus, Pighius, to that purpose. The proper actings of Faith with respect thereunto. Rom. 5.11. Matth. 11.28. Psa. 38.4. Gen. 4.13. Isa. 53.11. Gal. 3.1. Isa. 45.22. Joh. 3.14, 15. A bold Calumny answered. Pag. 38, 39.
  • §. 6. 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, 18, 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 [Page] unto the Mystery of G [...]e. Accommodation of Spiritual Mysteries unto Corrupt Reason, wherefore acceptable unto many. Reasons of it. Two parts of corrupted Natures 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 Harmomy proved. Compared with the Harmony in the Works of Nature. To be studied. But is learned only of them who are taught of God; and in experience. Evil events of the want of a due comprehension hereof. Instances of them. All applied unto the Doctrine of Justification. Pag. 53.
  • §. 7. 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. Joh. 20.30, 31. Nature of Christs Personal Ministery. 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 Antients herein. What is of real Difference among Protestants, considered. Pag. 69.
  • §. 8. 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 Reformer herein. Attempts for Reconciliation with the Papists in this Doctrine, and their [Page] success. Remainders of the [...]gnorance of the Truth in the Ro­man Church. Ʋnavoidable consequences of the corruption of this Doctrine. Pag. 83.
  • CHAP. I. JƲstification by Faith generally acknowledged. The meaning of it perverted. The nature and use of Faith in Justification proposed to consideration. Distinctions about it, waved. A two­fold Faith of the Gospel expressed in the Scripture. Faith that is not justifying. Acts 8.13. Joh. 2.23, 24. Luk. 8.13. Matth. 22.28. 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 Dispositions 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. Rom. 3.24, 25. Ephes. 1.6, 7, 8. Acts 10.41. Chap. 16.13. Chap. 4.12. Luk. 24.25, 26, 27. Joh.,, &c. Col. 2.12. 1 Cor. 2.1, 31. 2 Cor. 5.19, 20, 21. Pag. 92, 93, &c.
  • [Page] CHAP. II. The nature of justifying Faith in particular; or of Faith in that exercise of it, whereby we are justified. The Hearts 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. (2.) 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, 4. What it is, and wherein it doth consist. (3.) 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, &c. The end of God in the Way of the Salvation of Sinners by Christ. Rom. 3.25. Joh. 3.16. 1 Joh. 3.16. Eph. 1.5, 6. 1 Cor. 1.24. Ephes. 3.10. Rom. Ephes. 3.9. 2 Cor. 4.6. The nature of Faith thence declared. Faith alone ascribes and gives this glory to God. 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, 12, 13, &c. 2 Cor. 3.18. State of Persons called to believe. Justifying Faith doth not consist in any one single habit or act of the Mind or Will. The nature of that assent 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 therein. (1.) A Renuntiation of all other ways. Hos. 14.2, 3. Jer. 3.23. Psal. 7.16. Rom. 10.3. (2.) Consent of the Will unto this Way, Joh. 14.6. (3.) Acquiescency of the Heart in God. 1 Pet. 1.21. Trust in God. 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 Ʋniversal Obedience inseparable from Faith. How Faith alone justifieth. Repentance, how required in, and [Page] unto Justification. How a condition of the New Covenant. Per­severance in Obedience, is so also. Definitions of Faith. Pag. 125.
  • CHAP. III. Ʋse 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. Pag. 146.
  • CHAP. IV. The proper sense of these words, Justification and to justifie, considered. Necessity thereof. Latine derivation of Justificati­on. Some of the Antients deceived by it. From Jus, and Justum; Justus filius, who. The Hebrew [...]. Ʋse and signification of it. Places where it is used, examined. 2 Sam. 15.4. Deut. 21.5. Prov. 17.15. Isa. 5.23. Chap. 50.8. 1 King. 8.31, 32. 2 Chro. 6.22, 23. Psal. 82.3. Exod. 23.7. Isa. 53.11. Jere. 44.16. Dan. 12.3. The constant sense of the word, evinced. [...]. Ʋse of it in other Authors, to punish. What it is in the New Testament, Matth. 11.19. Chap. 12.37. Luk. 7.29. Chap. 10.29. Chap. 16.15. Chap. 18.14. Acts 13.38, 39. Rom. 2.13. Chap. 3.4. Constantly used in a forensick sense. Places seeming dubious, vindicated. Rom. 8.30. 1 Cor. 6.11. Tit. 3.5, 6, 7. Revel. 22.11. How often these words [...] and [...], are used in the New Testament. [Page] Constant sense of this. The same evinced, from what is opposed unto it, Isa. 50.8. Prov. 17.15. Rom. 5.16, 18. Rom. 8.33, 34. And the Declaration of it in Terms equivalent. Rom. 4.6, 7. Rom. 5.9, 10. 2 Cor. 5.20, 21. Matth. 1.21. Acts 13.39. Gal. 2.16, &c. Justification in the Scripture, proposed under a Juridical Scheam, and of a forensick Title. The Parts and Pro­gress of it. Instances from the whole. Pag. 169. &c.
  • CHAP. V. 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, falsly 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 our selves, or others. No Second Justification hence insues. Justi­fication before God, Legal and Evangelical. Their distinct na­tures. The Distinction mentioned, derogatory to the Merit of Christ. More in it ascribed unto our selves, then unto the Blood of Christ, in our Justification. The vanity of Disputations to this purpose. All true Justification, everthrown 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 compleated in all Causes and Effects of it, [Page] 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 doth depend. Continuation of Justification, 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. Pag. 189.
  • CHAP. VI. Evangelical Personal Righteousness, the nature and use of it. Whether there be an Evangelical Justification on our Evangelical Righteousness inquired into. How this is by some affirmed and applauded. Evangelical Personal Righteousness asserted as the condition of our Legal 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 doth not depend there­on. None have this Righteousness, but they are untecedently 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 hath [Page] 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 Judgment. Who shall be then justified. A Declaration of Righteousness, and an Actual Admission unto 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 Judgment being accord­ing unto Works, answered; and the Impertinency of it declared. Pag. 211.
  • CHAP. VII. Imputation, and the nature of it. The first express Record of Justification, determineth 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. 17. Gen. 43.9▪ Volun­tary sponsion, the Ground of the Imputation of Sin to Christ. (3.) Ex injuria. 1 King. 1.21. (4.) Ex mera Gratia. [Page] 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. 11.6. 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 it self imputed, not the effect of it; proved against the Socinians. Pag. 226.
  • CHAP. VIII. Imputation of Sin unto Christ. Testimonies of the Antients unto that purpose. Christ and the Church, one Mystical Person. Mistakes about that State and Relation. Grounds and Rea­sons of the Ʋnion, 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 paenae, examined. Act of God in the Imputation of the Guilt of our Sins unto Christ. Objections against it, answered. The Truth confirmed. Pag. 246.
  • CHAP. IX. 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 those Terms. This the Righteousness of [Page] 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, with the necessity of Evangelical Repent­ance. Method of Gods 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. Pag. 289.
  • CHAP. X. 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 Scripture, as to any such end. The truth and reality of it granted. Manifold Imperfections accompanying it, rendering it unmeet to be a Righteousness unto the Justifica­tion of Life. Pag. 315.
  • CHAP. XI. 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. Pag. 340.
  • [Page] CHAP. XII. Imputation of the Obedience of Christ, no less necessary then that of his suffering on the same Ground. Objections against it. 1. 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 Humane Nature unto Glory, by virtue of Ʋnion. Obedience necessary unto the Humane Nature, as Christ in it was made under the Law. This Obediencs properly for us. Instances of that nature among Men. Christ obeyed as a publick Person; and so not for himself. Humane Nature of Christ subject unto the Law, as an Eternal Rule of dependance on God, and subjection to him; not as prescribed unto us whilest 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 obligeth 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. Pag. 361.
  • [Page] CHAP. XIII. The Difference between the two Covenants, stated. Arguments from thence. Pag. 396.
  • CHAP. XIV. All Works whatever expresly excluded from any interst 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 absolutely 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 further declared. Pag. 400.
  • CHAP. XV. Of Faith alone.
  • CHAP. XVI. Testimonies of Scripture confirming the Doctrine of Justifica­tion by the Imputation of the Rightesness of Christ. Jere. 23.6. Explained and vindicated. Pag. 419.
  • CHAP. XVII. Testimonies out of the Evangelists, considered. Design of our Saviours Sermon on the Mount. The purity and penalty of the [Page] Law, vindicated by him. Arguments from thence. Luk. 18.9, 10, 11, 12, 13. The Parable of the Pharisee and Publican ex­plained and applied to the present Argument. Testimonies out of the Gospel by John, Chap. 3.14, 15, 16, 17, 18, &c. Pag. 425.
  • CHAP. XVIII. 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, 25, 26. explained, and the true sense of the words vindicated. The Causes of Justification enumerated. Apostolical Inferences from the consideration of them. Chap. 4. Design of the Disputation of the Apostle therein. Analysis of his Discourse. Ver. 4, 5. particularly insisted on, their true sense vindicated. What Works excluded from the Justification of Abraham. Who it is, that worketh 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 it self absolutely con­sidered, not the Righteousness that is imputed unto us. Proved by sundry Arguments. Pag. 431.
  • Chap. 5. Ver. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Boasting excluded in our selves, asserted in God. The design and sum of the Apostles 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 compriseth. What intended by it. The sense of those words in as much, 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 [Page] 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. P. 464. Chap. 10. V. 3, 4. explained, and insisted on to the same purpose. Pag. 489.
  • 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. P. 497. 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 Antients. Exception of Bellarmine unto this Testimony, answered; with other Reasonings of his to the same purpose. P. 502. The Exceptions of others also removed. Gal. 2.16. Pag. 513.
  • Ephes. 2.8, 9, 10. Ephes. 2.8, 9, 10. Evidence of this Testemony. 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 Deliverance. 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 ye are saved. What it is 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 [Page] 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. Pag. 516.
  • 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. Oppossite unto one another, as unto the especial end 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 Christs, 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. Pag. 256.
  • CHAP. XIX. 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 [Page] the Righteousness of Christ. Objections against this Doctrine derived from a supposition thereof alone. First principal Objecti­on; Imputed Righteousness overthrows the necessity of an holy Life. This Objection as managed by them of the Church of Rome, an open calumny. How insisted on by some among our selves. Socinus fierceness in this charge. His foul dishonesty therein. False charges on Mens 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 Moral Law. The nature and necessity of Evangelical Holiness elswhere plead­ed. Particular answers unto this Objection. All who profess this Doctrine do not exemplifie it in their lives. The most holy Truths have been abused. None by whom this Doctrine is now denied, exceed them in holiness, by whom it was 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 same 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. Answers 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. Pag. 539.
  • [Page] CHAP. XX. 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 S. 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 designs of the Apostle James; the case pro­posed by him quite of another nature. The occasion of the case proposed and stated 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. Bellarmines 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. Pag. 557.
  • 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 [Page] kind in both the Apostles. Observations on the Discourse of James. No Conjunction made by him between Faith and 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 Ver. 14. to the end of the Chapter. Pag. 569.

Some of the Mistakes that have escaped in the Press may be thus corrected.

PAg. 10. Line 2. a fine, read other, p. 11. l. 24. none, r. nothing, p. 41. l. 30. r▪ [...], l. 33. [...], p. 42. l. 22. r. [...], p. 53. l. 6. r. this Author, l. 25. man, r. men, l. 26. them, p. 64. l. 4. a fine, that it is, p. 71. l. 21. and r. add, p. 72. l. 12. r. For an, p. 172. l. 17. for [...] r. [...], l▪ 28. Hithpaol, p. 174. l. 8. [...], p. 175. l. 10. [...], l. 20. [...], l. 24. [...], l. 28. [...], p. 176. l. 3. [...], l. 8. [...], l. 9. [...], l. 4. a fine, [...], l. 3. a fine, affects, p. 180. l. 22. vocation that is intended, p. 199. l. 1. which was, r. whereas, p. 208.23. such, r. Faith, p. 234. l. 2. dele [...], p. 266. l. 8. Curcellaeus, p. 283. l. 23. suffered r. offered, p. 311. l. 30. of him, p. 362. l. 11. r. as if we, p. 392. l. 20. r. more colour, p. 412. l. 7. [...], p. 436. l. 2. a fine, r. other men, p. 444. l. 10. proofs, r. process, p. 465. l. 1. [...]

Sundry other literal Mistakes and Mispointings are referred unto the candor of the Reader; which I chuse rather than to trouble many with the rehearsal of what it may be, few will take notice of.

General Considerations previously necessary unto the Explanation of the Doctrine of Justi­fication.

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 Enquiry 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 doth ob­tain acceptance before God, with a Right and Title unto an 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 Enquiry. Wherefore, The Person under consi­deration, that is, who is to be Justified, is one who in him­self is [...] Rom. 4.5. Ʋngodly; and thereon [...]; Chap. 3.19. guilty before God; that is, obnoxious, subject, liable [...], Chap. 1.32; to the righteous sen­tential Judgment of God; that he who committeth sin, who is in any way guilty of it, is worthy of Death. Hereupon such [Page 2] a person finds himself [...] Gal. 3.10; under the curse, and the wrath of God therein abiding on him, Joh. 3.18, 36. In this condition he is [...]; 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 [...]; 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 enquired after, is by various means brought into his Apprehensions, who cryed, 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 enquiry is, What that is upon the account whereof, God pardoneth all their sins, receiveth them into his favour, declareth or pronounceth them Righteous, and acquitted from all Guilt, removes the Curse, and turneth 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 enquire 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 betake themselves unto, for the obtaining of Acceptance with him unto life and salvation.

That the Apostle doth thus and no otherwise state this whole matter, and in an Answer unto this Enquiry, declare the nature of Justification and all the causes of it, in the third and fourth Chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, and elswhere, shall be afterwards declared and proved. And we shall also [Page 3] manifest that the Apostle James in the second Chapter of his Epistle, doth not speak unto this Enquiry, nor give an An­swer unto it; but it is of Justification in another sense, and to another purpose whereof he treateth. 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 subtilty of Disputations, which it is our Duty to design. And therefore I shall as much as possibly I may, avoid all those Philosophical Terms and Distinctions wherewith this Evangelical Doctrine hath 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, then on the confuta­tion of ten wrangling Disputers.

3. Now the Enquiry 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, doth necessarily issue in this; Whether it be any thing in our selves, as our Faith, and Repentance, the 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 into 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, not inherent in us, not wrought by us, is yet im­puted unto us, for the pardon of our sins, and the Accepta­tion [Page 4] 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, Wisdome and safety of a convinced sinner to rely upon and trust unto in his Appearance before God, is the sum of our present Enquiry.

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 arguings of men, who were never throughly 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 [...], guilty before, or obnoxious and liable to the Judgment of God, that we enquire 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, Math. 11.28.

6. It is confessed that many things for the Declaration of the Truth and the order of the Dispensation of Gods Grace [Page 5] herein, are necessarily to be insisted on; such are the nature of Justifying Faith, the place and use of it in Justification, 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 enquired 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.

1. 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 satisfie 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 hath been in sundry Ages the Poison of Religion. Pretence of accuracy and artificial skill in Teaching, is that which giveth 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. [Page 6] Hence when any Difference in Religion is, in the pursuit of Controversies about it, brought into the field of Metaphysical Respects and Philosophical terms whereof there is [...], 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 goeth before them, and the Experience of Believers keeps them company, when once they ingage into their Phi­losophical Definitions and Distinctions, are at such an irrecon­cilable variance among themselves, as if they were agreed on no one thing that doth 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 plain (at least in materia probabili) but that a man ordinarily versed in Paedagogical Terms and Meta­physical Notions, may multiply Distinctions on every word of it.

8. Hence there hath been a pretence and appearance of twenty several Opinions among Protestants about Justification, as Bellarmine and Vasquez, 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. 1. Vasq. in 1.2. Quaest. 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 subtilties, 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 [Page 7] 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 own 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 of 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 subtile management the captious Art of wrangling doth 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 briars, which under the names of Definitions, Distinctions, accurate Notions, in a number of Exotick, Paedagogical and Philosophical terms, some pretend to accommodate them withall.

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 [Page 8] 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 mans wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. God is wiser then 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, then the wisest of us all. And other knowledge of, or skill in these things, then 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 Holcot 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 an habit inherent in our selves, and the Acts of it, they wrested the whole Doctrine of Justification unto a compliance there­withall. So Pighius himself complained of them, Controv. 2. Dissimulare non possumus, hanc vel primam doctrinae Christianae partem (de Justificatione) obscuratam magis quam illustratam a scholasticis, spinosis pleris (que) quaestionibus, & definitionibus, se­cundum quas nonnulli magno supercilio primam in omnibus auto­ritatem arrogantes, &c.

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 ex­presseth it emphatically, that it is God that justifieth, Rom. 8. [Page 9] 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 hath taken it on him to do it for his own sake, that is, for the Lords 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, Psal. 143.2. Enter not into Judgement with thy servant; for in THY SIGHT shall no man living be justified. And the whole work of Justification, with all that belongeth there­unto, is represented after the manner of a Juridical procee­ding before Gods Tribunal, as we shall see afterwards. There­fore saith the Apostle, by the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; Rom. 3.20. However any may be ju­stified in the sight of Men or Angels by their 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 concern'd, duely 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 a 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 So­veraign Authority of God, are always to be present with us in a due sense of them, when we enquire 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 precio ut in ali­qua parte haereant. But the Scripture doth represent unto us what thoughts of him, and of themselves, not only Sinners, [Page 10] 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 encline unto that Declaration of it which best suits▪ their own Reason, as influenced with self-conceit, and cor­rupt Affections. The sum hereof 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 perswasion 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 Mat. 18.3, 4. But when God is pleased by any means to manifest his Glory unto sinners, all their presidences and contrivances do issue in dreadful horrour and distress. An account of their Temper is given us Isa. 33.14. The sin­ners in Sion are afraid, fearfulness hath surprized 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 another. For those who through sensuality, security, or superstition, do [Page 11] hide themselves from the vexation of them in this world, will not fail to meet with them when their Terrour shall be encreased, and become remediless. Our God is a consuming fire; and men will one day find, how vain it is to set their Briars 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; Micah 6.6, 7. Wherewith (saith one of them) shall I come before the Lord, and bow my self before the high God? shall I come before him with Burnt-offerings, with Calves of a year old? will the Lord be pleased with thousands of Rams, or with ten thousands of Rivers of Oyl? 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 withall 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 Terrour 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, hath 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 none of the Obedience which God requireth of them, as it is performed by them, will justifie them before this high and holy God. Wherefore they seek for shelter in contrivances about things that he hath 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 Renunciations of all trust or confi­dence [Page 12] in themselves. So the Prophet Isaiah upon his vision of the Glory of the Holy One, cried out, Woe is me, 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, ver. 7. So Holy Job in all his contests with his Friends who charged him with Hypocrisie, 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 doth 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 then in him. For he sheweth 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 contro­versie managed upon a greater occasion.

At length this Job is called into the immediate presence of God, to plead his own cause, not now as stated between him and his Friends, whether he were an 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 Judgement in this case, God manifests his Glory unto him, and instructs him in the Greatness of His Majesty and Power. And this he doth by a multiplication of Instances, [Page 13] 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 abhorrency, he betakes himself unto Soveraign Grace and Mercy. For then Job answered the Lord 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, 4, 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 my self, and repent in dust and ashes, chap. 42.4, 5, 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 hath 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 hath more encouraging Grounds to plead for an interest in his own Faith and Obedience in his Justification before God, then Job had; although I suppose he had not so much skill to manage a plea to that purpose with Scholastick notions and distin­ctions as the Jesuits have. But however, we may be har­nessed with subtile Arguments and Solutions, I fear it will not be safe for us to adventure farther upon God then 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 [Page 14] Casparus Vlenhergius, which expresseth a better sense of these things then 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 Jesu Christi objicio inter me & tuum Judicium aliter tecum non contendo. Et si tibi dixerit quia peccator es, dic, mortem Domini nostri Jesu Christi pono inter me & peccata mea. Si dixerit tibi quod meruisti damnationem; dic, Domine, mortem Domini nostri Jesu Christi obtendo inter te & mala merita mea, ipsius (que) 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 & iram tuam. That is, Dost thou believe that thou canst not be saved but by the death of Christ? The sick man answereth, 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 thy self wholly to this Death, cover thy self wholly with this alone, cast thy self wholly on this Death, wrap thy self 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 [Page 15] appear before the Tribunal of God; and how unsafe it will be for us there to insist on any thing in our selves. Hence are the words of the same Anselm in his Meditations. Con­scientia mea meruit damnationem, & penitentia mea non sufficit ad satisfactionem, sed certum est quod misericordia tua superat omnem offensionem. My Conscience hath deserved damnation, and my Repentance is not sufficient for satisfaction, but most certain it is, that thy mercy aboundeth above all offence. And this seems to me a better Direction then those more lately given by some of the Roman Church. Such is the prayer suggested unto a sick man, by Johan. Polandus lib. Methodus in ad­juvandis morientibus. Domine Jesu, conjunge, obsecro, obse­quium meum cum omnibus quae tu egisti, & passus es ex tam perfecta Charitate & Obedientia. Et cum divitiis satisfactio­num & meritorum Dilectionis, Patri aeterno illud offerre dig­neris. Or that of a greater Author, Antidot. Animae, fol. 17. Tu hinc o rosea Martyrum turba offer pro me, nunc & in hora mortis meae, merita fidelitatum, constantiae & pretiosi sangui­nis▪ cum sanguine Agni immaculati, pro omnium salute effust. Hierom long before Anselm, spake to the same purpose. Cum dies Judicij aut dormitionis advenerit, omnes manus dis­solventur; quibus dicitur in alio loco confortamini manus dis­solutae; dissolventur auntem manus quia nullum opus dignum Dei justitia reperiatur, & non justificabitur in conspectu ejus omnis vivens, unde Propheta dicit in Psalmo, si iniquitates attendas Do­mine, quis sustinebit, lib. 6. in Isa. in cap. 13. v. 6, 7. When the day of Judgement, 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 mens 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 shouldst mark iniquity, who should stand? And [Page 16] Ambrose to the same purpose, Nemo ergo sibi arroget, nemo de meritis glorietur, nemo de potestate se jactet, omnes speremus per Dominum Jesum misericordiam invenire, quoniam omnes ante Tribunal ejus stabimus, de illo veniam, de illo indulgentiam po­stulabo, quaenam spes alia peccatoribus, in Psal. 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 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 betake themselves unto, when they stand before his Tribunal, they may ingage into such apprehensions, as they dare not abide by in their own personal Trial. For how shall man be just with God? Hence it hath been obser­ved, that the School-men 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, then 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, then 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 our selves was introduced or made use of. The Prayer of Daniel hath 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 own Righteousness, but for thy great mercies, O Lord hear, O Lord forgive, for thine own sake O my [Page 17] God, Dan. 9.7, 18, 19. Or that of the Psalmist, Enter not into Judgement with thy servant O Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified, Psal. 143.2. Or, If thou Lord mark Iniquity, Lord who shall stand; but there is forgiveness with thee that thou maist be feared, Psal. 130. 2, 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 undi (que) flagitiis coopertam, quacun (que) respexit, nihil in se boni invenit: Et cum tanta & tam multa peccata undi (que) videret, tanquam expavescens, exclamavit, si iniquitates observaris Domine, quis sustinebit? vidit enim prope totam vi­tam humanam circumlatrari peccatis; accusari omnes conscien­tias cogitationibus suis, non inveniri Cor Castum praesumens de justitia, quod quia inveniri non potest, praesumat ergo omnium Cor de misericordia Domini Dei sui, & 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 Judgement 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 Diaspoli­tan Synod. Tu nosti Domine quam sanctae, quam innocentes, quam purae ab omni fraude & rapina quas ad te expando manus; quam justa, quam immaculata labia & 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 [Page 18] 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, yet he doth 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 publick 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 ter­rour of his Glory, and Soveraign Authority, to enquire what the Scripture, and a sense of their own Condition directs them unto as their Relief and Refuge, and what Plea it be­comes them to make for themselves. Secret thoughts of God and our selves, retired meditations, the conduct of the spirit in humble supplications, Death-bed preparations for an im­mediate appearance before God, Faith and Love in exercise on Christ, speak other things for the most part, then many contend for.

3. A clear apprehension and due sense of the Greatness of our Apostasie 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 doth the Apostle premise a large Discourse throughly 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 hath given [Page 19] us, the Method which he prescribeth, and the Ends which he designeth, are those which we shall chuse to follow. And, He layeth it down in general, That the Righteoussness 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 hath fully evinced that all men are shut up under this 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, lyeth the foundation of all mis-belief about the Grace of God. Pelagianism in its first Root, and all its present Branches, is resolved thereinto. For not apprehen­ding the dread of our Original Apostacy from God, nor the consequents 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 Restauration. 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 these things which are now unavoidable unto our nature, it is no great matter to be freed or justified from all, by a meer 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.

Where 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 terrour of the Lord and curse of the Law thereon; Justification is a notion to be dealt withall plea­santly or subtilly as men see occasion. And hence arise the Differences about it at present, I mean those which are really [Page 20] such, and not meerly the different ways whereby Learned men express their thoughts and apprehensions concer­ning it.

By some the Imputation of the actual Apostasie and Trans­gression of Adam the head of our nature, whereby his sin became the sin of the world, is utterly denied. Hereby both the ground the Apostle proceedeth 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 Servator. par. 4. cap. 6. confesseth 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 Tenour of the Apostles Discourse.

Some deny the Depravation and Corruption of our Nature which ensued on our Apostasie 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 vitious 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 clear 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 Actings in order unto their utmost End, did con­sist; [Page 21] That Enmity unto God even in the mind which ensued thereon that Darkness which our Understandings were clou­ded yea blinded withall; the Spiritual Death which passed on the whole Soul, and total Alienation from 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 Scripture 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 endeavour 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 you 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 marvellous, 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 of a sinless perfection in the sight of God, even when they [Page 22] were convinced of sinful miscarriages in the sight of men, as they are charged by Hierom, lib. 2. Dialog. and by Austin. lib. 2. contra Julian. cap. 8. Such persons are not Subjecta 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 actings 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 nor 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, will with an assured con­fidence reject and contemn 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 hath 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 [Page 23] 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 Terrour of the Lord; nor the severity of the Law as it indispensibly requireth a Righteousness in compliance with its commands; nor the pro­mise of the Gospel declaring and tendring a Righteousness, the Righteousness of God in answer thereunto; nor the un­certainty of their own minds upon Trials and Surprizals, 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 thoughts are prepossessed with such slight conceptions of the state and guilt 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 Apostasie 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 Feavor of Pride have lost the Understanding of their own miserable condition. For, Natura sic apparet vitiata ut hoc majoris vitij 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 worketh in men a disesteem of the Person and Righteousness of Christ, [Page 24] 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 humane Wisdom, to trust to themselves. So they are instructed to do by the best of the Philosophers. Ʋnum bonum est, quod beatae vitae causa & firmamentum est, tibi 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 Oratour and Philosopher. Virtutem (saith he) ne­mo unquam Deo acceptam retulit; nimirum recte. Propter vir­tutem enim jure laudamur, & in virtute recte gloriamur, quod non contingeret, si donum a Deo, non a nobis haberemus. Tull. de nat. Deor.

4. 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 afterwards be with some Diligence enquired 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, [Page 25] whereunto that also of 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 controversie with them by whom the Truth was opposed. And it is worth our consideration what process he makes towards the Decla­ration of it, and what principles he proceeds upon therein.

1. He lays it down as the fundamental maxime 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, chap. 1.17. All sorts of men who had any knowledge of God and them­selves were then, as they must be always, enquiring, and in one Degree or other labouring after Righteousness. For this they looked on, and that justly, as the only means of an Advantagious 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 Veil 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 enquire of the Law, of a 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 necesssity thereof, testi­fied [Page 26] 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 it self revealed aliene 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 saith the Apostle, it is from Faith to Faith, whereof afterwards.

This is the general Thesis the Apostle proposeth 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 that 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 ex­presly [Page 27] contradictory to his whole Discourse, chap. 1. from ver. 19. to the End.

2. He considers the Jews who enjoyed the written Law, and the Priviledges wherewith it was accompanied, especially that of Circumcision, which was the outward Seal of Gods Covenant. And on many Considerations, with many Argu­ments, he excludes them also from any possibility of attain­ing Justification before God by any of the Priviledges they enjoyed, or their own compliance therewithall, chap. 2. And both sorts he excludes distinctly from this priviledge 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 Ʋnbelievers in the [Page 28] state of Nature, without the Aids of Grace administred 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 giveth 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 Enquiry 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 Attonement. That whereby we are justified, he saith 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, 23, 24, 25. And not content here with this answer unto the enquiry 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 our selves 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. [Page 29] 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 Tenour 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 every where asserted as the causes and means of our Justification, in opposition unto any thing in our selves so expressed as it useth 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 Soveraign 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 unto him for Righteousness, Gen. 15.6. And Aaron shall lay both his hands on 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 on the head [Page 30] 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, Psal. 71.16. If thou Lord shouldst mark Iniquity, O Lord who shall stand? but there is forgiveness with thee that thou maist be feared, Psal. 130.3, 4. Enter not into Judgment with thy Servant, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified, Psal. 143.2. Behold he put no trust in his Servants, and his Angels he charged with folly, how much less on 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 battel, 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 Glory, Isa. 45.24, 25. All we like Sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the Iniquity of us all. By his know­ledge shall my righteous servant justifie many, for he shall bear their Iniquities, Isa. 53.6, 11. For this is his name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness, Jer. 23.6. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our Righteousnesses are as filthy raggs, Isa. 64.6. He shall finish the Transgression and make an End of sin, and make Reconciliation for Iniquity, and bring in Everlasting Righteousness, Dan. 9.24. Ʋnto as many as received him he gave power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe in his name, Joh. 1.12. For 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 everlasting life, chap. 3.14, 15. see. ver. 16, 17, 18. Be it known therefore unto you 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 [Page 31] could not be justified by the Law of Moses, Acts 13.38, 39. That they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them that are sanctified by Faith that is in me, chap. 26.18. Being justified freely by his Grace, through the Redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath 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 that believeth in Jesus. Where then is Boasting? 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, 25, 26, 27, 28. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to Glory, but not before God; For what saith the Scripture, 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 those whose Iniquities are for­given, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord will not impute sin, Rom. 4.2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. But not as the offence, so also is the free Gift; for if through the of­fence of one many be dead, much more the Grace of God, and the Gift by Grace, which is by one man Jesus Christ, hath 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 offences unto Justification. For if by one mans offence 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 offence of one judge­ment came upon all men unto condemnation, even so by the Righ­teousness of one, the free Gift came upon all men unto Justifica­tion [Page 32] of life. For as by one mans Disobedience many were made sinners, so by the Obedience of one shall many be made righteous, chap 5. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. There is therefore no condemna­tion unto 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, hath made me free from the Law of Sin and Death; and what the Law could not do, in that it's 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. 1, 2, 3, 4. For Christ is the End of the Law for Righteousness unto every one that believeth, chap. 10.4. And 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 Works is no more Works, 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 hath 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 be justified, Gal. 2.16. But that no man is justified by the Law in the sight of God, is evident. For the just shall live by Faith, and the Law is not of Faith; but the man that doth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us, chap. 3.11, 12, 13. For by Grace ye are saved through Faith, and that not of your selves, 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 hath before ordained that we should walk in them, Ephes. 2.8, 9, 10. Yea doubtless, and I count all things loss for the Excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, [Page 33] 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 my 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 hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our Works, but accor­ding unto 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. He hath once appeared in the End of the World to put away sin, Heb. 9.26, 28. having in himself purged our sins, chap. 1.3. For by one Offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified, chap. 10.14. For the Blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God cleanseth us from all sin, 1 Joh. 1.7. Wherefore unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us Kings and Priests unto God and his Father, to him be Glory and Do­minion for ever 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 everything in and of our selves under any consideration whatever, seems to be excluded from our Justification before God, Faith alone excepted whereby we receive his Grace and the Attonement. 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 [Page 34] in opposition one to the other, he should betake himself un­to, that he may be justified.

But it is replyed, 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 two-fold 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 hath divers causes under these divers respects. (6) Works may be considered either as Meritorious ex condigno, so as their merit should arise from their own intrinsick 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 enquire in what sense, under the Notion of what cause or causes, our Works are excluded from our [Page 35] 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 doth lye. But he who is really convinced of sin, and being also sensible of what it is to enter into judgement with the Holy God, enquires 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 Enquiry is how I shall come before the Lord, and bow my self 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 Briars, which he would pass through and con­sume.

The Enquiry 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 be­take himself absolutely, his whole Trust and Confidence, un­to Soveraign 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 Ʋmpirage, that we may not be thought to fix on a partial Arbitrator, we shall refer it to one of our [Page 36] 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, & periculum inanis gloriae, Tutissimum est fi­duciam totam in sola misericordia Dei &: 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 enquiry, he confirmeth 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 Righ­teousness but for thy great mercies. And the other is that of our Saviour, Luke 17.10. When you have done all these things which are commanded you, say We are unprofitable Servants. And after he hath confirmed his Resolution with sundry Testimo­nies of the Fathers, he closeth his Discourse with this Di­lemma, Either a man hath true merits, or he hath not. If he hath not, he is perniciously deceived (when he trusteth in any thing but the mercy of God alone) and seduceth himself, trusting in false merits; If he hath them he looseth 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 ought 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 [Page 37] 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 our selves with Job in the presence of God, to betake our selves unto Soveraign 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 Emperour Charles the fifth, as Thuanus gives the account of his Novissima. So he reasoned with him­self; Se quidem indignum esse qui propriis meritis regnum caelo­rum obtineret; Sed Dominum Deum suum qui illud duplici jure obtineat, &: Patris haereditate, &: Passionis merito, altero con­tentum esse, alterum sibi donare; ex cujus dono illud sibi merito vendicet, hac (que) fiducia fretus minime confundatur; ne (que) enim oleum misericordiae nisi in vase fiduciae poni; hanc hominis fidu­ciam esse a se deficientis & innitentis domino suo, alioquin propriis meritis fidere, non fidei esse sed perfidiae; peccata deleri per Dei indulgentiam, ideo (que) credere nos debere peccata deleri non posse nisi ab eo eui soli peccavimus, & in quem peccatum non cadit, per quem solum nobis peecata 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 Oyl 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; [Page 38] 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 dye, 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 an universal Renuntiation of what they have been and are, and betake themselves unto Christ alone for Righteousness or Salvation. And in the whole ensuing Discourse I shall as little as is possible immix my self 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 thereunto; betaking themselves unto the Grace of God by Christ alone, for Righteousness and Salvation. This God designeth in the Gospel, 1 Cor. 1.29, 30, 31. and herein whatever difficulties we may meet withall 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, There is in the Scripture represented unto us a [Page 39] 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 doth consist.

This was taught the Church of God in offering of the Scape Goat. And Aaron shall lay his hands on 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 on the head of the Goat; And the Goat shall bear upon him all their Iniquities, Levit. 16.21, 22. Whether this Goat sent away with this burthen 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, [...] 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 in the day of Creation. From ver. 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 it self was cal­led [Page 40] [...] and [...] Sin and Guilt, Levit. And therefore where there was an uncertain Murther, 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, an 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, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. 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 to trans­fer their own guilt to him, but washed their hands over him, to declare their personal innocency. By these means as in all other Expiatory Sacrifices, did God 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, ver. 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, ver. 19. but imputing Righteousness unto us, doth 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 sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the [Page 41] 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 hath redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us, that the blessing of faithful Abraham might come upon 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 all our sins in his own Body upon the Tree, 1 Pet. 1.24. because his hanging on the Tree was the token of his bearing the Curse. For he that is hanged on the Tree is the Curse of God, Deut. 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 clamour 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 excellent words of Justin Martyr deserve the first place. [...]. Epist. ad Diognet. He gave his Son a Ransome for us; the [Page 42] 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 PERMƲTATION; or Change! O un­searchable Work or curious Operation! O Blessed Beneficence ex­ceeding all Expectation! That the Iniquity of many should be hid in one Just one, and the Righteousness of One should justifie many Transgressors. And Gregory Nysson speaks to the same purpose. [...]. Orat. 2. in Cant. He hath 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 our selves but in him. As he was Sin not his own but ours; not in himself but in us. The old Latine Translation rendring those words, Psal. 22.1. [...] Verba delictorum meorum; He thus comments on the place. Quomodo ergo dicit delictorum meorum? nisi quia pro delictis nostris ipse precatur; & delicta nostra, delicta sua fecit, ut justitiam suam nostram justitiam faceret. How, saith 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. [...]; 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. [...], [Page 43] [...]. in 2 Epist. ad Corinth. cap. 5. Hom. 11. What word, what speech is this, what mind can comprehend or express it; For he saith he made him who was Righteous to be made a Sinner, that he might make sinners Righteous; nor yet doth he say so nei­ther, but that which is far more sublime and excellent. For he speaks not of an inclination or affection, but expresseth the quality it self. For he says not, he made him a sinner, but sin, that we might be made not meerly 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 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 for as fecit, alter qui satisfecit; quia Caput & 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 & hunc crucifixum, disce ei cantare, & de teipso desperans dicere ei; Tu Domine Jesu es justitia mea, ego autem sum peccatum tuum; tu assumpsisti meum, & dedisti mihi tuum, assumpsisti quod non eras, & dedisti mihi quod non eram. Ipse suscepit te & peccata tua fecit sua, & suam justitiam fecit tuam; maledictus qui haec non credit. Epist. An. 1516. Tom. 1.

If those who shew themselves now so quarrelsome almost about every word that is spoken concerning Christ and his Righteousness, had ever been harrassed in their Consciences about the Guilt of sin, as this man was, they would think it no strange matter to speak and write as, he did. Yea some [Page 44] there are who have lived and died in the Communion of the Church of Rome it self that have given their Testimony un­to this Truth. So speaks Taulerus; Meditat. vitae Christ. cap. 7. Christus omnia mundi peccata in se recepit, tantum (que) pro illis ultro sibi assumpsit dolorem 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 recipo. 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 my self. 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, 6, 7, 8, 9, 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 illa 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, qui 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 amicos facit, juxta vetus & celebratissimum proverbium; Christo insertis, conglutinatis & unitis & sua [Page 45] nostra facit, suas divitias nobis communicat, suam justitiam in­ter Patris judicium & nostram injustitiam interponit, & sub ea veluti sub umbone ac clypeo a divina, quam commeruimus, ira nos abscondit, tuetur ac protegit, imo eandem nobis impertit & nostram facit, qua tecti ornati (que) audacter & secure jam divino nos sistamus Tribunali & Judicio: justi (que) non solum appareamus, sed etiam simus. Quemadmodum enim unius delicto peccatores nos etiam factos 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, & 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, at (que) ejus veste indutus, quae odorem optimum spirabat, seip­sum insinuavit Patri, ut sub aliena persona benedictionem primo­geniturae acciperet: Ita & nos sub Christi primogeniti fratris nostri preciosa puritate delitescere, bono ejus odore fragrare, ejus perfectione vitia nostra sepeliri & obtegi, at (que) ita nos piissimo Patri ingerere, ut justitiae benedictionem ab eodem assequamur▪ necesse est. And afterwards. Justificat ergo nos Deus Pater bonitate sua gratuita, quo nos in Christo complectitur, dum eidem insertos innocentia & justitia Christi nos induit; quae una ut vera & perfecta est, quae Dei sustinere conspectum potest, ita unum pro nobis sisti oportet Tribunali divini judicii & veluti causae nostrae intercessorem eidem repraesentari: qua subnixi etiam hic obtineremus remissionem peccatorum nostrorum assiduam: cujus puritate velatae non imputantur nobis sordes nostrae, imperfectio­num immunditiae, sed veluti sepultae conteguntur, ne in judicium Dei veniant: donec confecto in nobis, & plane extincto veteri [Page 46] homine, divina bonitas nos in beatam pacem cum novo Adam recipiat. God was in Christ saith the Apostle, reconciling the world unto himself; not imputing-unto men their sins. In him therefore we are justified before God, not in our selves, 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 our selves in him. So he saith, him who knew not 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 ingrafted into Christ, fastened, united unto him, he makes his things ours, communicates his Riches unto us, interposeth 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 our selves before the divine Tribunal and Judg­ment, so as not only to appear Righteous, but so to be. For even as the Apostle affirmeth that by one mans 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 (saith 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 [Page 47] not the first born, being hid under the habit of his Brother, and cloathed 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 is it neces­sary that we should lye 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 perfection, that we may present our selves before our most Holy Father, to obtain from him the Blessing of Righteousness. And again; God therefore doth justifie us by his free Grace or Goodness wherewith he em­braceth us in Christ Jesus, when he cloatheth us with his Inno­cency 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 Jugdment 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 ingaged, 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 then some among our selves, do yet affirm the same concerning the Righteousness of other men. Mercatu­ram quandam docere nos Paulus videtur. Abundatis, inquit, vos pecunia, & estis inopes justitiae, contra illi abundant justi­tia, & sunt inopes pecuniae, fiat quaedam commutatio; date vos piis egentibus pecuniam quae vobis affluit, & illis deficit; sic fu­turum [Page 48] est ut illi vicissim justitiam suam qua abundant, & qua vos estis destituti, vobis communicent. Hosius; de expresso Dei verbo, Tom. 2. pag. 21. But I have mentioned these Testi­monies principally to be a Relief unto some mens 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 exemplifie them in our own Souls, and really to perform what on our part is requi­red unto their Application unto us, whereby we receive the Attonement, Rom. 5.11. Christ calls unto him all those that are weary and heavy laden, Mat. 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, Psal. 38.4. Such was Cains 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 [...] Isa. 53.11. He shall bear their sins on him as a burden. And this he did when God made to meet upon him the Iniquity of us all, ver. 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 then we can bear, so the Lord Christ calls us unto him with it, that we may be eased. This he doth in the preaching of the Gospel, wherein he is evidently Crucified before our Eyes, Gal. 3.1. In the view which Faith hath of Christ crucified, (for Faith is a looking unto him, Isa. 45.22. chap. 65.1. answering their looking unto the Brazen Serpent who were stung with fiery Serpents, Joh. 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 [Page 49] considereth that God hath laid all our Iniquities upon him, yea that he hath done so, is an especial object whereon Faith is to act it self, which is Faith in his Blood. Hereon doth 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 doth 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 here­withall doth 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 Scholastical 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, then 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 easie 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 [Page 50] know the Terrour of the Lord, who have been really con­vinced and made sensible of the Guilt of their Apostasie 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 then 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 At­tonement, and therewithall to give up themselves unto an 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 inferiour condition, have found it useful for the strengthening themselves in their dependencies on some of their superiours, or in compliance with their own Inclinationt, to cavil at my Writings and revile their Author; that Book hath been principally singled out to ex­ercise their faculty and Good intentions upon. This course is steered of late by one Mr. Hotchkisse, in a Book about Justi­fication, wherein in particular he falls very severely on that Doctrine which for the substance of it, is here again propo­sed, pag. 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 [Page 51] notice of his other Impertinencies. The Good man I per­ceive can be angry with Persons whom he never saw, and about things which he cannot or will not understand, so far as to revile them with most opprobious 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 is 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 withall. 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 Horrour and Indignation, as he pretends. For whereas he acknowledgeth 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 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 Horrour. But such is his dealing with me from first to last, nor do I know [Page 52] 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 filleth 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 disputeth 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 hath written so much of the nature and use of Threatnings under the Gospel, and the Fear that ought to be ingenerated 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 Hallowed. But 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 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 pacifie 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 sides? 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 expresly 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 [Page 53] 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, pag. 167. I must needs tell my 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 seemeth 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 hath 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 dye, though he should write twenty as learned Books against it, as those which he hath already published; and in what sense I do believe these things shall be afterwards declared. And although I judge no man upon the Expressions that fall from him 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 actings 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, 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 [Page 54] 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 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 doth 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, which it hath 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 understandings 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 [Page 55] 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 hath no Faculty or Power but what it hath derived from that state. And to suppose it is now of it self 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 Innocency, 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 hath 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 meer folly by the Generality of the wise and rational men of the World, as the Apostle declares at large, 1 Cor. ch. 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 hath been elsewhere proved) acting on and by its own innate Principles and Abilities, conveyed unto it from its [Page 56] original state, and as now corrupted, is repugnant unto the whole Intoduction 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, Ephes. 1.17, 18, 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 lyeth 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 Declarations of them as Enthusiastical canting. And by nothing do they more prevail themselves, [Page 57] then by a pretence of reducing all things to Reason, and a contempt of what they oppose as unintelligible Fanaticism. But I am not more satisfied in any thing of the most un­controulable Evidence, then that the Understandings of these men is no just measure or standard of Spiritual Truth. Where­fore notwithstanding all this fierceness and 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 may be 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 Oeconomy 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 man­nagement thereof. This is the entire design of the Socinians. Hence,

1. The Doctrine of the Trinity it self 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 reasonings into the most absurd and irrational principles that ever the minds of men were besotted withall. For unless you will grant them that what is above their Reason is therefore con­tradictory unto true Reason; that what is infinite and eternal [Page 58] 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 bruitish 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 [...], the most absurb conception that ever befell the minds of men. Now it is to no purpose to dispute with men so perswaded about Justification. Yea we will freely acknowledge that all things we believe about it are [...], no better then 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 meer 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 then 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 [Page 59] 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 then 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 mens Inventions in forging and coyning Objections against heavenly mysteries in the Justification of the Soveraignty of their own Reason as unto what belongs to our Relation unto God, need go no farther then 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 saith 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 doth not say so, though it seem never so expresly so to do. Ita (que) non quia utrum (que) Scriptura dicat propterea haec inter se non pugnare concludendum est; sed potius quia haec inter se pug­nant ideo alterutrum a Scriptura non dici statuendum est, saith Schlicting. ad Meisn. def. Socin. pag. 102. Wherefore because the Scripture affirms both these (that is the Efficacy of Gods 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 hansomest way they can take in advancing their own Reason above the Scripture, [Page 60] which yet savours of intolerable Presumption. So Socinus himself speaking of the satisfaction of Christ saith 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 at (que) in multis aliis 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 where­as it can by no means be so (whatever the Scripture saith) 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 it self. And how he would do this he declares a little before; Sacra verba in alium sensum quam verba sonant per inusitatos etiam Tropos quando (que) explicantur; He would explain the words into ano­ther sense then what they sound or propose by unusual Tropes. And indeed such uncouth Tropes doth 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 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 doth 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 [Page 61] the Jewish Rabbins on Isaiah chap. 53. and of the Socinians on the Beginning of the Gospel of John.

Secondly, The second Branch of this Repugnancy springeth 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 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 discernable by humane Reason. A full comprehension of it no creature can in this world arise unto. Only in the contemplation of Faith, we may ar­rive [Page 62] 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 cryed out, [...]; O unsearchable contrivance and operation! And so is it expressed by the Apostle, as that which hath an unfa­thomable depth of Wisdom in it, [...], &c. O the Depth of the Riches both of the Wisdom and Knowledge of God; how unsearchable are his ways and his Judgments past finding out, Rom. 11.33, 34, 35, 36. see to the same purpose, Eph. 3.8, 9, 10.

There is an 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 an 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 then that which is seen in nature or the works of it. [Page 63] 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 of diligence, study, and trial of Experiments, who design to excell 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 Truth, 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 ariseth 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 Enquiries into the Truths of the Gospel.

3. All those who are taught of God to know his Will, [Page 64] 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 Gods Grace and Truth in Christ among themselves, of their spiritual Harmony and cogent tendency unto the same 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 expresly 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 hath set forth to be a propi­tiation through Faith in his Blood, as Rom. 3.24, 25. they will offer violence unto common sense and Reason, rather then 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 Ransome or price of Redemption, yet they will contend, there it is only metaphorical, a meer 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 [Page 65] 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 their effects unto them. See Joh. 3.16. Rom. 3.23, 24, 25. chap. 8.30, 31, 32, 33. 2 Cor. 5.19, 20, 21. Ephes. 1.7. &c.

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 cla­mour, that by our Doctrine of the Mediation of Christ, we overthrow all Obligations unto an Holy Life. And by their Sophistical Reasonings unto this purpose, they prevail with many to embrace their delusions, who have not a spiritual experience to confront their Sophistry withall. But as the Testimony of the Scripture lyeth expresly 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 Gods 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 doth [Page 66] not assert one of them. And this is from the same cause; men cannot in their Wisdom see it possible that the mystery of Gods 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 then 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 Depravations of it that the Church is pestered withall. 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 wonderous 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.

[Page 67]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 duely 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 hath 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 defie 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 doth 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; rejoycing 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 [Page 68] hath 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 af­terwards.

And this we aver to be the spring of all those Objections which the Adversaries of this Doctrine do continually endea­vour to entangle it withall. 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 Christs 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, &c.

Now although all these and the like Objections however subtilly managed, (as Socinus boasts that he had used more [Page 69] then ordinary subtilty in this cause, in quo si subtilius ali­quanto quanto opus esse videretur, quaedam a nobis disputata 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, 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 no where mentioned expresly in the Scripture. This is the first Objection of Bellarmine against it. Hactenus, saith he, nullum omnino locum invenire potuerunt 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 his perswasion▪ 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 no where 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 [...] 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 [Page 70] 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 Aristotles Mint, or that of the Schools deriving from him.

And thus although a sufficient Answer hath frequently enough, if any thing can be so, been returned unto this Objection in Bellarmine, yet hath one of late amongst our selves 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 despightful reviling of other men. For take from him what is not his own on the one hand, and impertinent cavils at the words and expression 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 Er­rour, 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 it self is 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 Errour which makes [Page 71] us to be esteemed to do our selves 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 excell, and the Characters whereof are so eminently conspicuous in all their Writings.

But the Judgement of most Protestants is not only candidly expressed, but approved of also by Bellarmine himself in ano­ther place. Non esset (saith he) absurdum si quis diceret nobis imputari Christi justitiam & merita; cum nobis donentur & 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 our selves had satis­fied God. And this he confirms with that saying of Bernard and Innocent, Epist. 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 it self is imputed unto us, nor can the Benefits of it be imputed [Page 72] unto us, as we shall see afterwards, doth 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 subterfuges.

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 from 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 hath 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 it self 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 enquired into.

2. They say, the same thing is taught and expressed in the Scripture in Phrases aequipollent. For it affirms that by the [Page 73] Obedience of One (that is Christ) many are made Righteous, Rom. 5.18. 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 imputeth 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, no nor yet in those of his private Discourses with his Disciples. And he urgeth 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 easie, malis inventis pejora ad­dere, this notion of his is not only made use of and pressed at large by one among our selves, 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 judgement 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 Saviours 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 [Page 74] to the Faith and Sense of the Church in all Ages are subjoined. S. pag. 240, 241.

But this Boldness is not only unwarrantable but to be ab­horred. What place of Scripture, what Ecclesiastical Tra­dition, what single president 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 Inspirations, with the order and design of the writing 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 Oeconomy of the Church which was antecedent unto his Death and Re­surrection. Nothing did he with-hold 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 rectifie their judgements. 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 afterwards by his Spirit unto the Apostles, was no less immediately from himself, then 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 Christs Sermons, then 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 [Page 75] 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, then 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, Act. 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, 26, 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 his death, that he had many things to say unto them which then they could not bear, Joh. 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 shew you things to come; He shall glorifie me, for he shall receive of mine and shew it unto you, [Page 76] ver. 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, ver. 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.

Secondly, 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 Messias. So he testifieth 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, Joh. 20.30, 31. Unto this End every thing is recorded by them that is needful unto the in­generating and establishment 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 afterwards. 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, then they are in those of the Evangelists.

Thirdly, The Pretence it self 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, 19. chap. 3.14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 36. chap. 5.24.

But we may pass this by, as one of those Inventions con­cerning which Socinus boasts in his Epistle to Michael Vajo­ditus, [Page 77] that his Writings were esteemed by many for the singula­rity of the things asserted in them.

Fourthly, The Difference that hath 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 hath 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 [Page 78] 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 Latine 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 Controversie with the Pelagians after the rising of that Heresie, 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 [Page 79] before him, it will be hard to find any of them assign­ing of it unto any other causes then 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 Mens Words and Expressions. But these things pro­ceed from the weakness of some men, and other vitious ha­bits of their minds, and do not belong unto the cause it self. And such Persons, as for me, shall write as they do, and fight on until they are weary. Neither hath 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 it self, though it hath 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 [Page 80] least how true it is that we know only in part, and prophesie 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 Reasonings 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, then among them who can endlesly 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 hath been a Controversie 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 [Page 81] 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 controversie, the persons by whom it hath 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 en­quired into these things. Neither shall I immix my self herein, in the way of controversie or in opposition unto others, though I shall freely declare my own Judgement in it, so far as the consideration of the Righteousness of Christ under this di­stinction is inseparable from the substance of the Truth it self which I plead for.

3. Some Difference there hath 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 controversie with the Papists. The true Occasion of the Differences about this Expression hath 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 con­troversie, 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, they have done it under this enquiry, namely, [Page 82] 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 Controversie into a Phi­losophical enquiry 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 an 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 doth 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 justifieth no sinner, absolveth him not from Guilt, nor declareth 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 becometh ours by Gods 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. [Page 83] And because those by whom this Doctrine in the substance of it, is of late impugned, derive more from the Socinians then 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 de­fence.

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 hinge whereon it turned. This those mentioned declared to be Articulus stantis aut cadentis Ecclesiae, and that the vindication thereof alone, deserved all the pains that was taken in the whole endeavour 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 [Page 84] Passions and Interests of them by whom it hath been opposed, are usually ascribed unto it; and all the Light, Liberty, and Benefit of the Minds of men which it hath 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 harrassed with fears, terrours, 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 Enquiries 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, Pennances, 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 fees 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 withall, and which their restless disqui­etments gave countenance unto.

[Page 85]
Somnia, terrores Magici, miracula, sagae
Nocturni Lemures, portenta (que) Thessala—

Were the principal objects of their Creed, and matter of their Religious Conversation. That very Church it self is 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 then 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, then 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 falshoods and im­pertinencies wherewith it had been encumbred. 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 [Page 86] 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 out 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 tryed, 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.

[Page 87]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 hereof would be again obscured; the Causes whereof I have else­where enquired into.

Some late Writers indeed among the Protestants have en­deavoured to reduce the controversie about Justification with the Papists, unto an Appearance of a far less real Difference, then 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. 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 in 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 compliances herein. For unless we can come up entirely unto the Decrees and Canons of the [Page 88] Council of Trent, wherein the Doctrine of the Old and New Testament is anathematized, they will make no other use of any mens compliances, but only to encrease the clamour of Differences among our selves. 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, have owned our Doctrine of Justification for the substance of it. So did Albertus Pighius and the Antidagma Coloniense, as Bellarmin acknowledges. And what he says of Pighius is true, as we shall see afterwards; the other I have not seen. Cardinal Contarenus in a Treatise of Justification, written before, and published about the Beginning of the Trent Council, delivereth 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 living and the dead, the necessity [Page 89] 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 Monastick Devotion, do depend there­on. They are all nothing but ways invented to pacifie 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 jot 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 then 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 been duly 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 [Page 90] 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 then they were, when they dealt with them. Under the power of Ignorance and Superstition they were, but yet multi­tudes of them 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 an Holy Life; I speak of former days. And if this Doctrine be yet further corrupted, debased, or unlearned among us, we shall quickly fall into one of the Extreams 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 Briars of; but betake 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 meer Ignorance of the Righteousness of God, which either they have not been taught, or 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. [Page 91] For being troubled about their sins, they think it better to betake themselves unto that great variety of means for the ease and discharge of their Consciences which the Roman Church affords, then 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 withall in another Extream upon the Rejection of this Doctrine, al­though more plausible, yet at all more really useful unto the Souls of men, then 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 sence 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 Indifferency as unto all Religion, and all the Duties thereof.

CHAP. I. Justifying Faith, the Causes, Object, and Na­ture of it, declared.

THe means of Justification on our part is Faith. That we are justified by Faith is so frequently, and so ex­presly 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 encline 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, doth 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 lead 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 enquire into the true genuine sense and meaning of it. That which first occurs unto our Consideration is Faith; and that which doth concern it may be reduced unto two Heads; (1) Its Nature. (2) Its Ʋse 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 [Page 93] 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 Ʋse 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 hath shall be assuredly saved, which purifieth the heart, and worketh by Love. And there is a Faith or Believing which doth nothing of all this; which who hath, and hath 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, Act. 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, Act. 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, Joh. 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, Joh. 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 justifie 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 day) we have prophesied in thy name, whilst yet they were always workers of Iniqui­ty, Math. 7.22, 23.

This Faith is usually called Historical Faith. But this De­nomination is not taken from the Object of it, as though it [Page 94] 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 doth consist. For it is such as we give unto Historical things that are credibly testified unto us.

And this Faith hath 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 humane motives only, and their credibility unto the Judg­ment of Reason; and their Assent is a meer 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 hath its Differences or Degrees with respect unto its Effects. With some it doth 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 Carkass, without life or motion, and is an Assent of the very same nature and kind with that which Devils are compelled to give. And this Faith abounds in the World. With others it hath 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 pro­duceth many effects in their lives. In the utmost improve­ment of it, both as to the Evidence it proceeds from, and [Page 95] the Effects it produceth, 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, [...], Math. 13.21.

This Faith I grant to be true in its kind, and not meerly to be equivocally so called; it is not [...]; 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 an 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 no where 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 all the works of it, as Duty doth 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. [Page 96] 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 afterwards) 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 Obedience, 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 it self 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 its self 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.

For the especial nature of Justifying Faith which we en­quire 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.

[Page 97]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 uncontroulably 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, doth partake with it.

2. Wherefore our first Enquiry is concerning what was proposed in the second place, namely, what is an 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 produceth 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 pre-required 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 it self 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 [Page 98] unto their nature, the knowledge whereof I take for gran­ted, but only as they have respect unto our Justification.

As to the first I say, The work of Conviction in general, whereby the Soul of man hath 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 findeth 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 consequents, 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 is not unto it, 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 shewed before, Justification is Gods way of the De­liverance of the convinced sinner, or one whose mouth is [Page 99] 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 hath searched with some diligence into these things, commends the Definition of Faith given by Mestre­zat; that it is the flight of a penitent sinner unto the mercy of God in Christ. And there is indeed more Sense and Truth in it, than in twenty other 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.

2ly. The Order, Relation, and use of the Law and the Gospel do uncontroulably evince the necessity of this Con­viction previous unto Believing. For that which any man hath first to deal withall, with respect unto his Eternal Con­dition, both naturally and by Gods 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 duely valued. For it is the Revelation of Gods 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 Gods 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 requireth, that which hath 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 hath [Page 100] not respect hereunto, we absolutely deny to be that Faith whereby we are justified, Gal. 3.22, 23, 24. Rom. 10.4.

3ly. This our Saviour himself directly teacheth in the Gos­pel. For he calls unto him only those who are weary and heavy 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; Act. 2.37, 38, 39. Such also was the state of the Jaylor unto whom the Apostle Paul proposed Salvation by Christ, as what he was to believe for his Deliverance, Act. 16.30, 31.

4ly. The state of Adam and Gods 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 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 con­sequents 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 Figg-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 [Page 101] condition, God by an immediate Inquisition into the matter of fact, sharpeneth this Conviction by the Addition of his own Testimony unto its Truth, and casteth him actually un­der the Curse of the Law, in a juridical denunciation of it. In this lost, forlorn, hopeless condition God proposeth 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 transacted 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 duely 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 hath 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 meerly 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 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 [Page 102] to his mind, and by the ways that he hath appointed. I give not this as any definition of Faith, but only express, what hath a necessary influence into 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 meer 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 Religion antecedenr 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 hath 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 preceptive 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 threatned doth not ensue, no person is really convinced of sin; nor hath 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. [Page 103] (3) A desire of Deliverance from that state wherein a convinced sinner finds himself upon his Conviction, is un­avoidable unto him. And its 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. (2) 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 mens 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 hath 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 doth 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 joyntly, 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 [Page 104] follow the fulfilling of that Condition. Otherwise the Con­dition of it, it is not. But they may be all found where Ju­stification doth 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 connexion 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 endlesly 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 doth 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; ver. 37. And so likewise was it with the Jaylor; 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 that where­of it is a Condition.

3. They are not formal dispositions unto Justification, be­cause it consisteth not in the Introduction of any new form or inherent Quality in the Soul, as hath 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 [Page 105] of the Righteousness of God, with the Souls adhe­rence unto it, belong to Faith alone. There is indeed a Re­pentance which accompanieth 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. 7. 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 then Figg-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 through­ly 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 hath put himself upon. (3) In this condition it is a meer Act of Soveraign 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 Gods order; yet so as that what precedeth his call unto Faith, hath no causality thereof.

3. The next thing to be enquired into is the proper Object [Page 106] 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 withall. 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 Ex­treams, 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 Object 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, Threatnings, Stories, Prophesies 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 then an Assent unto divine Revelation, as that Bellarmin 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, hath 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 [Page 107] 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 produceth Obedience unto all divine Commands. For as it doth 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 meer 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 Bellarmin 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 diversly expressed by some of its Causes or concomi­tant Adjuncts, it is granted that we believe all divine Truth, [Page 108] 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 doth not consist meerly in an Assent of the mind, be it never so firm and stedfast, nor whatever Effects of Obedience it may produce. (2) That in its Duty and Office in Justification, whence it hath that especial denomination, which alone we are in the Explanati­on of, it doth not equally respect all divine Revelation as such, but hath 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 aliene it is from the Truth.

1. 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 Scripture comprizeth 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 Joh. 5.40. Joh. 1.12. chap. 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, Psal. 110.3. and Unbelief is Disobedience, Heb. 3.18, 19.

2. 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 Traytor must have as great an influence into our Justification, as that Christ died for our sins. But how contra­ry [Page 109] this is unto the Scripture, the Analogy of Faith, and the Experience of all that believe, needs neither Declaration nor Confirmation.

3. This Assent unto all Divine Revelation may be true and sincere, where there hath 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 shewed, 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.

4. 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 meer 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.

5. It is no more then 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 doth reveal, to be true. And it may consist with all manner of wicked­ness, and without any Obedience; and so make God a liar, 1 Joh. 2.4. And it is no wonder if men deny us to be justi­fied by Faith, who know no other Faith but this.

6. 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; Joh. 1.12. Col. 2.6. To receive the Promise, the Word, the Grace of God, the Attonement, Jam. 1.21. Joh. 3.33. Act. 2.41. [Page 108] [...] [Page 109] [...] [Page 110] chap. 11.1. Rom. 5.11. Heb. 11.17. To cleave unto God, Deut. 4.4. Act. 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 meer Assent unto the Truth; but they require other actings of the Soul than what are peculiar unto the understanding only.

7. It answers not the Experience of them that truly believe. This all our Enquiries 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 subtile Distinctions; but only what we our selves do, if we truly believe, that we enquire 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 withall, 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, doth answer the Experience of any one true Believer, as contain­ing the entire Actings of his Soul towards God for pardon of sin and Justification.

8. That Faith alone is Justifying which hath Justification actually accompanying of it. For thence alone it hath that denomination. To suppose a man to have Justifying Faith, [Page 111] and not to be justified is to suppose a Contradiction. Nor do we enquire after the 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 compriseth 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 perswasion 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 doth not believe, or hath not a firm perswasion of the for­giveness of his own sins in particular, hath 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 Actings of Faith wherein its Essence doth consist, were included in this perswasion, 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, aimeth at, and doth or­dinarily [Page 112] 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 our selves. 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 enclined 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, Pennances, 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 [Page 113] 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 Controversie 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 this 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 it self to be a fiduciary Trust in the especial Grace and Mercy of God, through the blood of Christ, as 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 withall 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 [Page 112] [...] [Page 113] [...] [Page 114] 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 the Faith and Edification of the Church. Wherefore neither opposing nor rejecting what hath 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 it self enquired into, and the Re­conciliation of some differences about it amongst Learned and Holy men. I say therefore, That the Lord Jesus Christ him­self, as the 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 compleatly answers all that is ascribed unto it in the Scripture, and all that the nature of it doth 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 Joh. 1.12. chap. 3.16, 36. chap. 6.29, 47. chap. 7.38. chap. 15.25. Act. 10.41. Act. 13.38, 39. Act. 16.31. Act. 26.18. &c.

[Page 115]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, Joh. 5.24. He that believeth on him that sent me, hath Everlasting Life, and shall not come into Judgment, but is passed from Death into Life. And herein is comprized that Grace, Love and Favour of God, which is the principal moving cause of our Justifica­tion, Rom. 3.23, 24. Add hereunto Joh. 6.29. and the Ob­ject of Faith is compleat. This is the Work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath 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 consisteth 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 com­pleat Object. Yet do I not herein consider the Promises meerly 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 Actings 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 [Page 116] consist therein. Wherefore so far as the Promises concur to the compleat 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, Act. 2.39. Act. 26.6. Rom. 4.16, 20. chap. 15.8. Gal. 3.16, 18. Heb. 4.1. chap. 6.13. chap. 8.6. chap. 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, Math. 9.2. Act. 2.38, 39. chap. 5.31. chap. 26.18. Rom. 3.25. chap. 4.7, 8. Col. 2.13. Tit. 1.2. &c. 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 doth 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. Ephes. 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 benefit 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 doth virtually [Page 117] 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 it self.

The due Consideration of these things solveth 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. (1) That no one of them can be asserted to be the compleat adequate Object of our Faith. (2) 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 answereth 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, Psal. 130.34. Psal. 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. Ephes. 2.4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Tit. 3.5, 6, 7. But this they do not absolutely, but with respect unto the Redemption that is in the Blood of Christ; Dan. 9.17. Nor doth the Scripture any where propose them unto us, but under that consideration. See Rom. 3.24, 25. Ephes. 1.6, 7, 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 proposeth frequent­ly unto us in his own Example. See Gal. 2.20. Phil. 3.8, 9, 10. But this they do not absolutely, but with respect unto [Page 118] the Grace and Love of God whence it is that they are given and communicated unto us, Rom. 8.32. Joh. 3.16. Ephes. 1.6, 7, 8. Nor are they otherwise any where 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. 15.16. Rom. 4.20. And so are they pro­posed in the Scripture as the Object of our Faith, Act. 2.39. Rom. 4.16. Heb. 4.1, 2. chap. 6.12, 13. But this they do not meerly 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, Psal. 130.4. Act. 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 no where required to believe them, or our own Interest in them, but as they are effects of 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, [Page 119] 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 consisteth 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 Attonement 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 fixeth it self 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 hath [Page 120] set forth to be a Propitiation through Faith in his Blood; to declare his Righteousness for the Remission of sins. Whereunto we may add Ephes. 1.6, 7. He hath 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; Ephes. 1.8. This there­fore is that which the Gospel proposeth 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 Act. 10.41. To him give all the Prophets witness, that through his Name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive the 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 Act. 16.31. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. It is the Answer of the Apostles unto the Jaylors enquiry; [Page 121] 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, Act. 4.12. Neither is there Salvation in any other; for there is none other Name under Heaven given unto 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, 26, 27.

2. All those wherein Justifying Faith is affirmed to be, our Believing in him, or Believing on his name, which are multi­plied. Joh. 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, ver. 36. He that believeth on the Son hath Everlasting Life, chap. 6.29. This is the work of God that ye believe on him whom he hath sent, ver. 47. He that believeth on me hath Ever­lasting Life, chap. 7.38. He that believeth on me, out of his Belly shall flow Rivers of Living Water. So chap. 9.35, 36, 37. chap. 11.25. Act. 26.18. That they may receive forgive­ness of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanctified, by Faith that is in me, 1 Pet. 2.6, 7. In all which places, and many other, we are not only directed to place and affix our Faith on him, but the Effect of Justification is ascribed there­unto. So expresly, Act. 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, Joh. 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 [Page 122] proper Object of it. And it is represented their looking un­to the Brazen Serpent when it was lifted up, who were stung by fiery Serpents, Joh. 3.14, 15. chap. 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.

2ly. 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 supream Efficient Cause of our Justification, Joh. 3.16. God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life, So Rom. 5.8. 1 Joh. 4.9, 10. Being justified freely by his Grace, through the Redemption that is in Christ, Rom. 3.23. Ephes. 1.6, 7, 8. This the Lord Christ directs our Faith unto continually, referring all unto him that sent him, and whose Will be came to do, Heb. 10.5.

2. All those, wherein God is said to set forth and propose Christ, and to make him be for us, and unto us, what he is so, unto the Justification of Life, Rom. 3.25. Whom God hath proposed to be a Propitiation, 1. Cor. 1.30. Who of God is made unto us Wisdom and Righteousness, and Sanctification and Redemption, 2 Cor. 5.21. He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in him. Act. 5.35. &c. Wherefore in the acting of Faith in Christ unto Justification, we can no otherwise consider him but as the Ordinance of God to that End; he brings nothing unto us, does nothing for us, but what God appointed, de­signed, [Page 123] and made him to be. 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; Ephes. 1.7, 8. In whom we have Redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the Riches of his Grace, wherein he hath abounded towards us in all Wisdom and Vnderstanding. See chap. 3.10, 11. 1 Cor. 1.24.

The whole is comprized 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 Actings of God in Christ towards us, but all his Actings 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. 3.24. 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, Act. 5.31. Which things compleat the record that God hath given of his Son, 1 Joh. 5.10, 11, 12.

The whole is confirmed by the Exercise of Faith in prayer, which is the Souls Application of it self unto God for the [Page 124] 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 an High Priest and Sacrifice, Heb. 10.19, 20, 21. So do we bow our Knees un­to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Ephes. 3.14. This an­swereth 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 hath designed and promised to communicate unto poor sinners by him. And this represents the compleat Object of our Faith.

The due Consideration of these things will reconcile and reduce into 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 it self, but as that also which hath not yet been endeavoured to be proved, with any Appearance of Learning, Argument, or Sobriety.

CHAP. II. The Nature of Justifying Faith.

THat which we shall now enquire 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 Gods Ordination and Promise doth 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 Gods proceeding with us declared in the Scripture, wherein the Rule of our Duty is prescribed, that any one doth, or can truly believe with Faith unto Justification, in whom the Work of Conviction before described, hath 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 it whereby we are justified, consisteth in the Hearts 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 Acquiescency 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 [Page 126] 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 Wisdom, Grace, Authority and Love of God, with all their actings 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 actings 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 Faiths 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, hath pre­pared. And upon a supposition of the Reception thereof, it is accompanied with Precepts of Obedience, and Promises of Rewards. Therein the Righteousness of God, that which he [Page 127] requires, accepts and approves unto Salvation, is revealed from Faith unto Faith, Rom. 1.17. This is the Record of God there­in that he hath given unto us Eternal Life, and this Life is in his Son, 1 Joh. 5.10. So Joh. 3.14, 15, 16, 17. The Words of this Life, Act. 5.20. All the Counsel of God, Act. 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. Ʋnbelief 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 Ruine, Luke 7.30. They would none my Counsel, is an Expression to the same purpose, Prov. 1.30. so is, the neglecting of this great Salvation, Heb. 2.3. Not giving it that Admission which the Excellency of it doth require. A disallowing of Christ; The Stone [...], 1 Pet. 2.7. The Builders disapproved of, as not meet for that Place and Work where­unto it was designed, Act. 4.14. 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 to the same purpose.

What is intended will be more Evident, if we consider the proposal of the Gospel where it issued in Ʋnbelief, in the first preaching of it, and where it continueth still so to do.

1. Most of those who rejected the Gospel by their Ʋnbe­lief, did it under this notion, that the way of Salvation and Blessedness 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 expresseth it, ver. 23, 24. We Preach Christ crucified un­to the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness. [Page 128] But unto them that 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 Scripture, 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 Ʋnbelief, they rejected it as any such way, esteeming it both Weakness and Folly. And therefore he describeth 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 ruines the Souls of men, 2 Cor. 4.3, 4.

So is it with all that continue Ʋnbelievers 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 meer 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 irreconcileable unto, and inconsistent with Justifying Faith. The Enquiry therefore is, wherein the Ʋnbelief of such per­sons on the Account whereof they perish, doth consist, 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 hath 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 perswasion. Nor is it the want of an especial fidu­ciary Application of the Promises of the Gospel unto them­selves, [Page 129] 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. 50.10. 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 doth consist, as it is the foundation of all future Obedience, is the Hearts 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 Ʋnbelief. 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 forraign unto the Grace of it. And wherever this Cordial sincere Approbation of the way of Salvation by Jesus Christ proposed in the Gospel doth 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 perswasion, he hath 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 [Page 130] the Souls Acquiescency in God, by the way proposed.

Again, Some there were at first, 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 Ʋnbelief in its formal nature consists in the want of a spiritual discerning, and Approbation of the way 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 doth sufficiently manifest wherein the nature of true Evangelical Faith doth 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 designeth herein in the first place, is not the Justification and Salvation of sinners. His utmost compleat End in all his Counsels, is his own Glory; he doth all things for himself, nor can he who is infinite do otherwise. But in an especial manner he ex­presseth this concerning this way of Salvation by Jesus Christ.

[Page 131]Particularly, He designed herein the Glory of his Righte­ousness. To declare his Righteousness; Rom. 3.25. Of his Love; God so loved the world, Joh. 3.16. Herein we per­ceive the Love of God that he laid down his life for us, 1 Joh. 3.16. Of his Grace; accepted to the praise of the Glory of his Grace, Ephes. 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, Ephes. 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, as unto the Degrees of its Exaltation, and some especial Instances before concealed, Ephes. 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 it self 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. 4.22. 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, Existimatio [Page 132] magnifice sentiens de Dei Potentia, Justitia, Bonitate, & 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 hath 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 designeth 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 enquire after, is the Hearts 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 resteth 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 despoileth him of the Glory of all those holy properties which he this way de­signed to manifest, 1 Joh. 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, on the Act and Exercise of saving Faith in order unto our Justification, which are properly enquired 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 [Page 133] capax Justificationis. This hath 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 knoweth nothing of the Law. Gods 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 Souls 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, 22, 23, 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, Act. 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 in­cludes no Act of the Will or Heart, it is not that Fai [...]h [Page 134] 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 Gods Appointment. For not only the Gospel it self, 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, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 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 unto 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 Enqui­ries mentioned in the Scripture; What shall we do? What shall we do to be saved? How shall we fly from the wrath to come? Wherewithall 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, Act. 2.38. Act. 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 you shall be saved, the Enquiry is, what is that Act or Work of Faith, whereby the may ob­tain a real interest or propriety in the Promises of the Gos­pel, and the things declared in them unto their Justification before God.

[Page 135]And 1. It is evident from what hath been discoursed, that it doth 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 betakes himself unto in the first place for relief, under a sense of sin and trouble, Psal. 130.3, 4. If thou Lord shouldst mark Ini­quity, O Lord, who shall stand. The Sentence of the Law and Judgment of Conscience lye 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 fixeth 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 justifie 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 doth in believing. Nor is there any Evangelical Faith without it▪ But yet consider it abstractedly as a meer Act of the Mind, the Essence and Nature of Justifying Faith doth not consist solely therein, though it cannot be without it. But,

2. 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 doth rest in it, and apply it self unto it, according to the Mind of God. This is that Faith whereby we are justi­fied; [Page 136] which I shall farther evince by shewing what is inclu­ded in it, and inseparable from it.

1. It includeth in it a sincere Renunciation of all other ways and means for the attaining of Righteousness, Life and Sal­vation. This is Essential unto Faith, Act. 4.12. Hos. 14.2, 3. Jerem. 3.23. Psal. 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, Math. 9.13. chap. 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 Wills consent, whereby the Soul be­takes it self 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, Joh. 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 Soveraign Grace and Mercy towards sin­ners; Who by him do believe in God who 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 doth 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. chap. 49.3. And this Acquiescency of the Heart in God, is that which is the immediate root of that waiting, patience, long-suffering and hope, which are the proper [Page 137] 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, doth belong hereunto, or ne­cessarily ensue hereon. For the person called unto Believing, is (1) convinced of sin, and exposed unto wrath. (2) Hath nothing else to trust unto for Help and Relief. (3) Doth actually renounce all other things that tender themselves unto that End; and therefore without some Act of Trust the Soul must lye 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 composeth 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 doth 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 Perswasion, yet it cannot be so, if any such Assent be conceiveable exclusive of this Trust.

This Trust is that whereof many Divines do make special [Page 138] 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. (1) In it self, and in opposition unto common mercy. (2) 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 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 privi­ledges 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) seem not to be much acquainted with the Design of God in the Gospel, the Efficacy of the [Page 139] 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, 2, 3, 4, 5. Heb. 10.2, 10, 21, 20. Psal. 46.1, 2. Psal. 138.7, 8. &c. 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 it, is excellently ex­pressed by Bernard, De Evangel. Ser. 3. Tria considero in qui­bus tota mea spes consistit; charitatem adoptionis, veritatem promissionis, potestatem redditionis. Murmuret jam quantum voluerit, insipiens cogitatio mea, dicens Quis enim es tu, & quanta est illa gloria, quibusve meritis hanc obtinere speras? & ego fiducialiter respondebo, Scio cui credidi, & certus sum quia in charitate adoptavit me, quia verax in promissione, quia potens in exhibitione; licet enim ei facere quod voluerit. Hic est funi­culus triplex, qui difficulter rumpitur, quem nobis ex patria nostra in hanc terram us (que) demissum, firmiter obsecro teneamus, & ipse nos sublevet, ipse nos trahat & pertrahat us (que) ad conspe­ctum gloriae magni Dei, qui est benedictus in secula.

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 informed, 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 [Page 140] absolutely, but as it justifieth. 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, is 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 (1) They believe that Faith is not of our selves, 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, unactive, 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. (2) 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 enquire after, or actually exercised, where there is not an 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 (3) It [Page 141] 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 hath given concerning his Son Jesus Christ, as I wonder that any person of Sobriety and Learning should be surprised unto 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 do 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 doth 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 hath; or that we are said to be justified by Faith alone, and in Explication of it in answer unto the [Page 142] 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; Act. 2.38, 39. chap. 3.16. 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, Act. 2.38, 39. is joined with Faith no less than Repentance. And in other places it is expresly put into the same condi­tion. Hence most of the Antients concluded that it was no less necessary unto Salvation than Faith or Repentance it self. 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, [Page 143] and so is equally a condition of our Justification. The Am­biguity of the signification of the word Condition, doth cast much disorder on the present enquiry, 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 mans life be continued in this world, such is a course in Obedience and Good Works, and Perse­verance unto the End. Wherefore I say then, that on sup­position that a man lives in this World, perseverance unto the End is a necessary Condition of his Justification. And if so, no man can be justified whilst he is in this World. For a Condition doth 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 it self, 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 hath an influence of causality thereunto, though it be but the causality of an In­strument. [Page 144] This we ascribe unto Faith alone. And because we do so, it is pleaded that we ascribe more in our Justifica­tion unto our selves than they do by whom we are opposed. For we ascribe the efficiency of an Instrument herein unto our own Faith; when they say only 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 defence 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 hath 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 my self to give an ac­curate Definition of it. What are my Thoughts concerning it, will be better understood by what hath 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 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 hath 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 hath la­boured in this Argument about the Nature of Faith more [Page 145] than Doctor Jackson; yet when he hath 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 do live, to be a firm and constant Adhe­rence unto the mercies and loving kindness of the Lord, or gene­rally unto the spiritual food exhibited in his Sacred Word, as much better than this Life it self, 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 Davids, 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 of Christ, leaning on him, rolling our selves 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.

CHAP. III. The Ʋse of Faith in Justification; Its especial Object farther cleared.

THe Description before given of Justifying Faith doth sufficiently manifest of what Ʋse it is in Justification. Nor shall I in general add much unto what may be thence observed unto that purpose. But whereas this Ʋse of it hath 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 Controversie about the Nature of Justification, but are meerly subservient unto other Conceptions concerning it. When Men have fixed their Apprehensions about the principal matters in Contro­versie, they express what concerneth the Ʋse of Faith in an Accommodation thereunto. Supposing such to be the Na­ture of Justification as they assert, it must be granted that the Ʋse 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 Ʋse 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 Ʋse 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, [Page 147] but upon a previous Judgment concerning those causes, and the whole Nature of Justification it self. Whereas therefore it were vain and endless to plead the principal matter in Con­troversie upon every thing that occasionally belongs unto it; and so by the Title unto the whole Inheritance on every Cot­tage that is built on the premises, I shall briefly speak unto these various Conceptions about the Ʋse 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 depends on that wherein the substance of the Controversie doth 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 publick Confessions of their Churches. This Notion of theirs concerning the Nature and Ʋse of Faith, was from the first opposed by those of the Ro­man Church. Afterwards it was denied also by the Socinians, as either false or improper. Socin. Miscellnn. Smalcius adv. Frantz. disput. 4 Schlicting. adver. Meisner. de Justificat. And of late this expression is disliked by some among our selves; wherein they follow Episcopius Curcellius 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 medled 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 [Page 148] 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 easie 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 it self 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 [...] absolutely, which must denote, either instrumentum aut formam, aut modum actionis. [...]; Rom. 3.28. Therefore we conclude that a Man is justified by Faith. So [...], ver. 22. [...]; Rom. 1.17. Gal. 3.8. [...]; Ephes. 2.8. [...]. Rom. 3.22, 30. That is fide; ex fide, per fidem; which we can express only by Faith or through Faith. Propter fidem, or [...]; for our Faith we are no where said to be justified. The Enquiry 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 or Duty what­ever. Wherefore the proper Work or Office of Faith in our Justification is intended by them. And [...] is no where used [Page 149] 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. 11.35. [...], by him are all things. Again, [...]; and [...] are directly opposed, Gal. 3.2. But when it is said that a man is not justified, [...], 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. It follows therefore that where in opposition hereunto, we are said to be justified [...], by Faith; an instrumental efficiency is intended. Yet will I not therefore make it my controversie 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, [...], 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 hath 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 prescribeth 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 [Page 150] 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 justifie our selves, 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 (1) notwithstanding what is said herein, the Scripture is express, that God justifieth us by Faith. It is one God which shall justifie the Circumcision [...], (by Faith) and the uncircumcision, [...], through or by Faith, Rom. 3.30. The Scripture foreseeing that God would justifie the Hea­then through Faith, Gal. 3.8. As he purifieth the Hearts of men by Faith, Act. 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 bestoweth 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 our selves, it is the Gift of God, Ephes. 3.8. If any one shall now say, that on these accounts, or with respect unto Divine Ordination and Operation concur­ring unto our Justification, that 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 justifie themselves. For whereas it doth nei­ther really produce the effect of Justification by a physical ope­ration, nor can do so, it being a pure Soveraign Act of God; nor is morally any way meritorious thereof, nor doth dispose the subject wherein it is unto the Introduction of an inherent [Page 151] formal cause of Justification, there being no such thing in rerum natura, nor hath any other Physical or moral respect un­to the effect of Justification, but what ariseth meerly 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 proceedeth in a way of free and soveraign Grace, disposing the Order of things, and the Relation of them one unto ano­ther, as seemeth good unto him. [...]Rom. 3.24. [...], ver. 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 that this is a more natural exposition of those expressions, [...], which is the first thing to be en­quired 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 oleas, and lose our selves 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 [...], and [...]. 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 [...] is also used in the same sense. Heb. [Page 152] 2.16. So are we said by Faith to receive Christ, Joh. 1.12. Col. 2.6. The Abundance of Grace and the Gift of Righte­ousness, Rom. 5.17. The word of Promise, Act. 2.41. The word of God, Act. 8.14. 1 Thes. 1.6. chap. 2.13. The Atonement made by the blood of Christ, Rom. 5.11. The for­giveness of sins, Act. 10.43. chap. 26.18. The Promise of the spirit, Gal. 3.14. The Promises, Heb. 9.15. There is there­fore nothing that concurreth unto our Justification, but we receive it by Faith. And unbelief is expressed by not re­ceiving, Joh. 1.11. chap. 3.11. chap. 12.48. chap. 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 our selves; and that because this is the pecu­liar Office which by nature it is assigned unto among all the members of the body. Other Ʋses it hath, 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 tendred 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 Enquiry is, how it shall be declared, as that which receiveth Christ, the Atonement, the Gift of [Page 153] Righteousness, which will 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 our selves, 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 it self being as they phrase it, putative, imaginary, a chimaera, 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 Ʋse of Faith in our Justification by an Instrumental cause, depends on the substance of the Doctrine it self 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 hath this double advantage; (1) That it best and most ap­positely answers what is affirmed of the Ʋse of Faith in our Justification, in the Scripture, as the Instances given do ma­nifest; (2.) That no other notion of it can be so stated, but that it must be apprehended in order of time to be previous [Page 154] 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 be called the Condition of our Justi­fication. For no more may be intended thereby, but that it is the Duty on our part which God requireth, that we may be justified. And this the whole Scripture beareth witness unto. Yet this hindereth not, but that as unto its Ʋse, 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 pre-conceived 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 supposeth an Alteration in the substance of the Doctrine it self.

The Word is no where 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 [Page 155] 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 no where used in the Scripture (as we may and must if we design to bring light, and communicate proper apprehensions of the things contained unto the minds of men) yet are we not to take along with them arbitrary pre-conceived senses, forged either among Lawyers, or in the Peripatetical School. The use of them in the most approved Authors of the Language where­unto they do belong, and their common vulgar acceptation among our selves, 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 hath not been a certain determinate Rule agreed on, hath 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 hath given occasion to as great a Corruption as hath 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 Latine Writers is variously used; an­swering [...] in the Greek: That is, Status, Fortuna, Dignitas, Causa, Pactum initum. In which of their significations it is here to be understood is not easie to be determined. In common use among us, it sometimes de­notes the State and Quality of men, that is, [...] and [...], and sometimes a valuable consideration of what is to be done; that is, [...] or [...]. 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 [Page 156] another an hundred pound, is that he be paid it again with In­terest. The Condition whereon a man conveyeth 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 an hun­dred pound 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 Ʋse 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 doth indispensibly 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 Priviledge of it, so as that they [Page 157] 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 it self. 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 expresly 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 the Condition of our Justification, is no more but that it is causa sine qua non; which is easie enough to be apprehended. But yet neither are we so delivered out of uncertainties, into a plain understanding of what is inten­ded. For these causae 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 inferiour 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 hath no causality in any kind, not [Page 158] that of a receptive Instrument, I cannot understand how it should be an Ordinance of God. For every thing that he hath appointed unto any end Moral or Spiritual, hath 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 breath 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, hath 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 Hinderances 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 [...], but by virtue of his Institution do exhibit that Grace which they do not in themselves con­tain. The preaching of the Word hath a real Efficiency unto all the Ends of it; so have all the Graces and Duties that he worketh in us, and requireth 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 hath 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 Ʋse in our Justification unto its being the condition of it, when so much as a determinate significa­tion [Page 159] 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 Ʋse in our Justification, some things must yet be added concerning its especial Object. For although what hath 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 Enquiry 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 Ʋse 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 Enquiry, because it is but a late controversie, and it may be hath 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 publick 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 doth 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 it self proposed. Wherefore it so re­spects and receives Christ as proposed in the Promise; the Pro­mise it self 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 [Page 160] 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 hath 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 aimeth at or designeth 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, respecteth 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 Offices 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 (1) 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. Ephes. 2.8. Tit. 3.7. His Wisdom, Love, Righteousness and Power, are of the same Consideration as hath been declared. (2) 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 [Page 161] 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 expresly or virtually assigned unto them also, Gen. 3.15. 1 Joh. 3.8. Heb. 2.13, 14, 15, 16. Rom. 4.25. Act. 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. (3) 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 our Lord Jesus Christ, 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 our selves 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 [...], 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 woful [Page 162] 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 doth 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 consequents 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, defences or excuses; suppose him to seek after a Relief and Deliverance out of [Page 163] this estate, that is to be justified according to the Gospel; he neither doth, nor can wisely take any other course than what he is there directed unto by the same Apostle, ver. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25. 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 Jesus Christ; whom God hath 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, doth betake 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 doth not aright guide the Souls and Consciences of men in that condition wherein he himself doth 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 doth 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 actings of their Faith in their Justification before God.

2. The Scripture plainly declares that Faith as Justifying, respects the sacerdotal Office and Actings of Christ alone. In the great Representation of the Justification of the Church of Old [Page 164] 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 Faith in him shall my righteous Servant justifie 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, Joh. 3.14, 15. So did he himself ex­press the nature and actings of Faith in our Justification, Rom. 3.24, 25. Being justified freely by his Grace through the Redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath 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. Ephes. 1.7. Col. 1.14. Ephes. 2.13, 14, 15, 16. Rom. 8.3, 4. He was 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 our selves 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, 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, [Page 165] that no one of them doth 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 actings, 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.

Answ. 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 replyed 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 (1) whereas our Justification is expresly 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 no where ascribed unto our receiving of him as King, Lord, or Prophet; it is plain, that the for­mer Expressions are virtually exclusive of the later considera­tion. (2) 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 that 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 of any of the peculiar Acts of them, are suited to give the Souls and Consciences of convinced Sinners, that Relief [Page 166] 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 doth 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 doth depend. This Relief it will be said, is to be had in Christ alone; it is true, but under what Consi­deration? For the sole 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 Attonement. 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 Gods Anger, and Acceptance with him, that the enquiry 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; v. 16. By the Blood of Christ we have Redemption. Rom. 3.24, 25. Eph. 1.7. &c. 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 vertue 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 Gods Grace, then are the Attonement 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 doth [Page 167] the Lord Christ doth pardon and justifie 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; Joh. 3.16. But in the vertue of his Attone­ment and Righteousness imputed unto them, he doth both pardon and justifie 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 doth 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 doth 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 comprized. And this last consideration is of it self 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 it self 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.

Answ. 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 [Page 168] Operations and Effects. But yet Saving Faith doth 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 juyce, 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 hath a peculiar Object. If it could be proved, that where Justification is ascribed unto Faith, that there it hath 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 Enquiry. 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 our selves 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 doth so, free­ly admitted to belong unto the Object of Justifying Faith. Neither will I contend with any upon this disadvantageous [Page 169] 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 then in it self it is capable of under those terms, it shall be examined and no otherwise.

CHAP. IV. Of Justification, the notion and signification of the Word in the Scripture.

UNto the right understanding of the nature of Justifica­tion, the proper sense and signification of these words themselves, Justification and to justifie, is to be enqui­red into. For until that is agreed upon, it is impossible that our Discourses concerning the thing it self 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 signifie. And so it hath 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 it self, or our Justification before God; who yet have fully agreed in what the proper determinate sense or sig­fication of the words doth import. And therefore the true meaning of them hath been declared and vindicated already by many. But whereas the right stating hereof, is of more mo­ment [Page 170] unto the Determination of what is principally contro­verted about the Doctrine it self, 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 Latine 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 teacheth.

And this appearing sense of the Word possibly deceived some of the Antients, 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 vertue 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 Ju­stifie men in the Scripture, signifie to make them subjectively [Page 171] and inherently Righteous, we must acknowledge a mistake in what we Teach concerning the nature and causes of Justifi­cation. And if it signifie 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 Forensick, 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 doth not at all signifie. 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 doth necessarily accompany.

Justificatio and Justifico belong not indeed unto the Latine Tongue; nor can any good Authour 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 coyned and framed to signifie 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 signifie. And whereas in this Language these words are derived from Jus and Justum, they must respect an Act of Jurisdiction, rather then 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 (saith he) intelligo non verum, ut aliqui censent, sed omnibus partibus ut ita dicam Filiationis, veri Filij vicem obtinentem, naturalis & legitimi Filij loco sedentem. Wherefore as by Adoption, there is no internal inherent change made in the [Page 172] Person Adopted; but by vertue thereof he is esteemed and adjudged as a true Son, and hath 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 compleatly so. And in the present case, Justi­fication and gratuitous Adoption are the same Grace for the sub­stance of them, Joh. 1.12. only respect is had in their diffe­rent denomination of the same Grace, unto different effects or priviledges 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 [...] This the Lxx. render by [...] Job. 27.5. [...], Chap. 13.18. [...] Prov. 17.15. To shew or declare one Righteous; to appear Righteous; to judge any one Righteous. And the sense may be taken from any one of them, as Chap. 13.18. [...] 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 [...], whereof I shall speak afterwards.

Properly it denotes an Action towards another, (as Justi­fication, and to justifie do) in Hiphil only: and a reciprocal Action of a man on himself in Hithpael [...]. 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 Forensick sense of the word we plead for; that is its constant use and [Page 173] signification, nor doth it ever once signifie to make inherently Righteous; much less to pardon or forgive, so vain is the pretence of some that Justification consists 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 then 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 no where 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, hath neither place nor consideration, is in­consistent with Evangelical Justification, as we shall shew 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 Forensick sense, and doth not denote a Physical ope­ration, Transfusion or Transmutation. 2 Sam. 15.4. If any man hath a Suit or Cause let him come to me, [...] and I will do him Justice; I will Justifie him, judge in his Cause and pronounce for him. Deut. 25.1. If there be a Controversie among men, and they come to Judgment, that the Judges may judge them, [...] they shall justifie the Righteous, pronounce sentence on his side, whereunto is opposed [...] and they shall condemn the wicked; make him wick­ed, as the Word signifies; that is, judge, declare and pro­nounce [Page 174] 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 doth not say this shall par­don the Righteous, which to suppose would overthrow both the Antithesis and design of the place. And [...] is as much to infuse wickedness into a man, as [...] is to infuse a princi­ple of Grace or Righteousness into him. The same Antithesis occurs; Prov. 17.15. [...] He that justi­fieth the wicked, and condemneth the Righteous. Not he that maketh the wicked inherently Righteous, not he that changeth 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 Justifieth the Ʋngodly, those who are so in themselves; yet he doth 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 changeth 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 hath 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 procedeth on such Principles of Righteous­ness, Wisdom, and Soveraignty, as have no place among the actions of men, nor can have so, as shall afterwards be de­clared. And moreover, when God doth Justifie the ungodly on the account of the Righteousness imputed unto him, he doth at the same instant, by the power of his Grace, make [Page 175] him inherently and subjectively Righteous or Holy, which men cannot do one towards another. And therefore whereas mans Justifying of the wicked, is to justifie 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, doth necessarily and infallibly accompany it.

To the same purpose is the word used; Isa. 5.23. Which justifie the wicked for Reward. Chap. 50.8. [...]. He is near that justifieth me, who shall contend with me, let us stand together, who is my Adversary, let him come near unto; 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 came before thine Altar in this House; then hear thou in Heaven and do, and judge thy Servants, [...] to con­demn the wicked, to charge his wickedness on him, to bring his way on his head, [...] and to justifie the Righteous. The same words are repeated 2 Chron. 6.22, 23. Psal. 82.3. [...] Do justice to the Afflicted and Poor; that is, justifie them in their cause against Wrong and Oppression. Exod. 23.7. [...] I will not justifie the wicked; absolve, acquit, or pronounce him Righteous. Job. 27.5. [...] Be it far from me that I should justifie you, or pronounce sentence on your side, as if you were Righteous. Isa. 53.11. By his knowledge my Righte­ous servant [...] shall justifie 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 [Page 176] denoted, that whereby a man Justifieth himself. Gen. 44.16. And Judah said, what shall we say unto my Lord? what shall we speak [...] and how shall we justify our selves, God hath 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. [...]; 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 [...] 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.

[...] 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 signifie 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 [...]. It hath two signifiications, to punish, and to account Righteous. And he confirms this sense of the word by Instances out of Herodotus, Appianus, and Josephus. And again, [...]; with an Accusative case, that is, when it respects and effects 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 [Page 177] words. Hesychius mentions only the first signification. [...]. They never thought of any sense of this word, but what is Forensick. 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 the sixth was; That if any one com­mitted a crime, he should be justified by the Law, upon his Trial. And in general [...], is Jus in judicio auferre; and [...], is justum censere, declarare, pronuntiare; and how in the Scriptures 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 [...] in the Old▪ And that which we enquire concerning is, whether this word be used in the New Testament, in a Forensick sense to denote an Act of Jurisdiction, or in a Physical sense to ex­press an internal change or mutation, the infusion of an habit of Righteousness, and the denomination of the person to be Justified thereon; or whether it signifieth not pardon of sin. But this we may lay aside; For surely no man was ever yet so fond, as to pretend that [...] did signifie to pardon sin; yet is it the only word apply'd 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 nature than what alone is signified by that word. Matth. 11.19. [...]; Wisdom is justified of her Chil­dren, not made just, but approved and declared. Chap. 12.37. [...]; by the words thou shalt be Justified; not made just by them, but judged according to them, as is ma­nifest in the Antithesis, [...]; and by thy [Page 178] words thou shalt be condemned. Luke. 7.29. [...]; they justified God; not surely by making him Righteous in himself, but by owning, avowing and declaring his Righteous­ness; Chap. 10.29. [...]; He willing to justi­fie himself, to declare and maintain his own Righteousness. To the same purpose; Chap. 16.15. [...]; you are they that justifie your selves 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 [...] Justified unto his House; that is acquitted, absolved, pardoned, upon the confession of his sin, and supplication for Remission. Act. 13.38, 39. with Rom. 2.13. [...]. 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. [...]; That thou mayest 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. Chap. 4.2, 5. Chap. 5.1, 9. Chap. 6.7. Chap. 8.30. Gal. 2.16, 17. Chap. 3.11, 24. Chap. 5.4. Tit. 3.7. Jam. 2.22, 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 an 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 signifie the declaration or juridical pronuntiation of any one to be Righteous, but in all places where they are used, they are [Page 179] capable of no other but a Forensick sense; especially, is this evident where mention is made of Justification before God. And because in my judgment this one consideration doth 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 endeavours on this Article of Justification (Thes. de usu & acceptatione vocis, Justificandi) grants unto the Papists, that the word [...] doth in sundry places of the New Testament, signifie to re­new, to sanctifie, to infuse an habit of Holiness or Righteous­ness according as they plead. And there is no reason to think but he hath 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, then 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 doth 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 mentioneth, 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, saith he, likely that the Holy Apostle in this enumeration of gracious Priviledges, [Page 180] 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 comprized under the name and title of being Justified; For it is absurd with some, to refer it unto the Head of Glorificati­on.

Answ. (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 Priviledge 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 doth this Apostle 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 hath not done so, I dare not judge.

2. If our Sanctification be included or intended in any of the Priviledges 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 expresly. For whereas it is effe­ctual Vocation, that is intended wherein an Holy principle of spiritual life, or Faith it self is communicated unto us, our Sanctification radically, and as the effect in its adaequate 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 actings of it unto an encrease 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 it self, whence its advances in us, are said to be from Glory to Glory; 2 Cor. 3.18. and [Page 181] Glory it self is called the Grace of life; 1 Pet. 3.7. It is much more properly expressed by our being Glorified, than by being Justified, which is a Priviledge 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 1 Cor. 6.11. Such were some of you, but you are washed, but ye are Sanctified, but ye are Justified in the name of our 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 endeavoureth 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 properwork of the Holy Spirit. (2) It is manifest, he says, That by Justification, the Apostle doth signi­fie some change in the Corinthians, whereby they ceased to be what they were before. For they were Fornicators and Drunkards, such as 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 signifie nothing, but to be absolved from the punishment of sin, then the reasoning of the Apostle will be infirm and frigid. For after he hath said that which is greater, as heightning of it, he addeth the less: For it is more to be washed, then merely to be freed from the punishment of sin.

Answ. 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 an habit or principle of Grace, or Righteousness Evangeli­cal, whereby we are inherently Righteous, by which he ex­plains [Page 182] plains 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 doth 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 expresly 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 vitious 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 comprizeth both the Non-imputation of sin, and the Imputation of Righteousness, with the priviledge of Adoption and right unto the Heavenly Inheritance, which are inseparable from it. And although it doth not appear [Page 183] that the Apostle in the enumeration of these Priviledges, 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 Priviledge, 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 justifie, do signifie a real internal Work and Physical operati­on; in that this learned man, a person of more then ordinary perspicuity, candor and judgment, designing to prove it, in­sisted on such instances, as give so little countenance unto what he pretended. He adds, Tit. 3.5, 6, 7. Not by works of Righteousness which we have done, but according unto 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 unto 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 compriseth our Sanctification also.

Answ. 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 [Page 184] 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 connexion 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 Soveraign Grace in God in opposition unto any works of Righteousness that we have wrought. And we plead for the freedom of Gods Grace in Sanctification, no less then in Justification. But that it is ne­cessary that we should be Sanctified that we may be justified before God, who justifieth 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 expresly 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 [...] is Revel. 22.11. [...], 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 Forensick sense▪ but that to be justified, is to go on and encrease in Piety and Righteousness.

Answ. But (1) There is a great objection lies in the way of any Argument from these words; namely, from the vari­ous [Page 185] Reading of the place. For many antient Copies read not [...]; which the vulgar renders Justificetur adhuc, but [...]; Let him that is Righteous work Righteousness still, as doth the Printed Copy which now lyeth before me. So it was in the Copy of the Complutensian Edi­tion which Stephens commends above all others; and in one more antient Copy that he used. So it is in the Syriack and Arabick published by Huterus, and in our own Polyglot. So Cyprian reads the words de bono patientiae; Justus autem ad­huc justiora faciat, similiter & qui sanctus sanctiora. And I doubt not but that is the true reading of the place; [...] being supplied by some to comply with [...] that ensues. And this phrase of [...] is peculiar unto this Apostle, being no where used in the New Testament, (nor it may be in any other Author) but by him. And he useth it expresly; 1 Epist. 2.29. and Chap. 3.7. where those words, [...], do plainly contain what is here expressed. (2) To be justified, as the word is rendred by the vulgar, let him be justified more (as it must be rendred, if the word [...] 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 shew afterwards. (3) Men are said to be [...] gene­rally from inherent Righteousness; and if the Apostle had intended Justification in this place, he would not have said [...] but [...]. All which things prefer the Compluten­sian, Syriack, and Arabick, 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 [...] and [...] are used 36 times in the New Testament, these are all the places, whereun­to any exception is put in against their Forensick signification; [Page 186] 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. Chap. 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 an 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 Declaration of him to be Righteous.

Moreover, the thing intended is frequently declared in the Scripture by other aequivalent terms, which are absolutely ex­clusive of any such sense, as the infusion of an habit of Righte­ousness; So the Apostle expresseth 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 an habit of Grace, but the effecting of peace and love, by the removal of all enmity and causes of offence. To save, and Salvation are used to the same purpose. He shall save his people from their sins; Matth. 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. [Page 187] Act. 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 Act. 15.11. But we believe that through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved even as they; Ephes. 2.8, 9. By Grace ye are 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. 5.11. not coming into Judgment or Condemnation; Joh. 5.24. Blotting out sins and Iniquities; Isa. 43.25. Psal. 51.9. Isa. 44.22. Jer. 18.23. Act. 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, [...] Many shall be made Righteous, Rom. 5.19. [...], 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 Forensick Tryal 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, Psal. 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 vvill 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 [...], so guilty of sin, as to be obnoxi­ous to the Judgment of God; [...]. Rom. 3.19. Chap. 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, Joh. 5.45. and Conscience, Rom. 2.15. and Sathan also, Zach. 3.2. Rev. 12.10. (6) The Charge is admitted and drawn up into an Hand­vvriting [Page 188] 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 Ransome paid, the Atonement made, the Eternal Righteousness brought in by the Surety of the Covenant. Rom. 3.23, 24, 25. Dan. 9.24. Eph. 1.7. (8) Hereunto alone the Sinner betakes himself, renouncing all other Apologies or defensatives whatever. Psal. 130.2, 3. Psal. 143.2. Job. 9.2, 3. Chap. 42.5, 6, 7. Luk. 18.13. Rom. 3.24, 25. Chap. 5.11, 16, 17, 18, 19. Chap. 8.1, 2, 3. ver. 32.33. Isa. 53.5, 6. Heb. 9.13, 14, 15. Chap. 10.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. 1 Pet. 2.24. 1 Joh. 1.7. Other Plea for a Sinner before God there is none. He who knoweth God and himself, will not provide or betake himself unto any other. Nor will he as I suppose trust unto any other defence, 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 Joh. 2.1, 2. (10) The Sentence hereon is Absolution, on the account of the Ransome, Blood or Sacrifice and Righte­ousness of Christ; with Acceptation into favour, as persons approved of God. Job. 33.24. Psal. 32.1, 2. Rom. 3.23, 24, 25. Chap. 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, hath 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.

[Page 189]I had not so long insisted on the signification of the words in the Scripture, but that a right understanding of it, doth not only exclude the pretences of the Romanists about the infusion of an 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.

CHAP. V. The Distinction of a first and second Justifica­tion Examined. The Continuation of Ju­stification whereon it doth depend.

BEfore we enquire 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 compleated. 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 [Page 190] 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 defence 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, an habit of Grace expelling 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 Lavv. 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 Apostle Paul and James. Paul [Page 191] 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 coyned 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 expresly 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 encrease 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 en­crease thereof, either in the root or fruit to be a new Justifi­cation, they may make twenty Justifications as well as two for ought I know. For therein the inward man is renewed day by day. 2 Cor. 4.16. and Believers go from strength to [Page 192] 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, 6, 7, 8. and increasing with the encrease of God. Col. 2.19. do in all things grow up into him who is the Head. Ephes. 4.15. And if their Justification consist herein, they are justified anew every day. I shall therefore do these two things. (1) Shew that this distinction is both unscri­ptural and irrational. (2) Declare what is the continuation of our Justification, and whereon it doth depend.

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. (1) Initial in this life. (2) Solemn and compleat 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 and 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 doth necessarily ac­company our Justification. But this Manifestation of a mans own Justification unto himself, although it depends 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 doth 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 our [Page 193] single Justification before God, evidenced and declared, unto his Glory, the benefit of others, and encrease of our own Reward.

There is also a twofold Justification before God mentioned in the Scripture. (1) By the works of the Law. Rom. 2.13. chap. 10.5. Matth. 19.15, 16, 17, 18, 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 continueth not in all things that are written in the Law to do them. And he that breaks 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. (2) 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 compleat, 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 an habit of Charity. When that is done, all that remains with respect unto our Salvation is to be wrought by our selves. Christ hath 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 hath no immediate [Page 194] influence into any Grace, Priviledge, Mercy, or Glory that follow 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 Gods appointment, wherein we are to be made partakers of Evangelical Priviledges in Grace and Glory, one before another, yet are they all of them the im­mediate effects of the death and obedience of Christ; who hath obtained for us eternal Redemption, Heb. 9.12. and is the Authour of eternal Salvation unto all that do obey him, Chap. 5.9. Having by one offering for ever 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 compleat and perfect, whereon depends our final Absolution and Reward, it is evident that the im­mediate efficacy of the satisfaction and merit of Christ, hath its bounds assigned unto it in the first Justification; which whether it be taught in the Scripture or no, we shall after­wards enquire.

2. More by this distinction is ascribed unto our selves working by vertue 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 vertue of this Grace, we do our selves obtain, procure or merit another, a second, a compleat, 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 compleat the [Page 195] 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, Subtilty 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 leasure 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 an 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, doth 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 encrease in its self, and of exercise in its fruits, as was newly declared. But not only to call this our [Page 196] 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 hath 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 coyning us two Justification according to the Gospel, hath 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 discourseth on that Subject. He treats of Justification; but speaks not one word of an encrease of it, or addition unto it, of a first or second. Be­sides he speaks expresly of him that boasts of Faith, which being without works is a dead Faith. But he who hath the first Justification by the confession of our Adversaries, hath a true living Faith, formed and enlivened by Charity. And he useth the same Testimony concerning the Justification of Abraham that Paul doth, and therefore doth not intend ano­ther but the same, though in a divers respect. Nor doth 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 coyn arbitrary distinctions without Scripture ground for them, and obtrude them as be­longing [Page 197] unto the Doctrine they treat of. They serve unto no other end or purpose, but only to lead the minds of men from 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 unto the respective parts of their Distinction, they would quickly find themselves at an unrelievable 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 expresly 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 compleat pardon and forgiveness of our Sins. Rom. 4.4, 6, 7. Ephes. 1.7. Chap. 4.32. Act. 26.18. (2) Thereby are we made Righteous; Rom. 5.19. Chap. 10.4. And (3) are freed from Condemnation, Judgment, and Death. Joh. 3.16, 19. Chap. 5.25. Rom. 8.1. (4) Are Reconciled unto God; Rom. 5.9, 10. 2 Cor. 5.21, 22. And (5) have peace with 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, 2, 3, 4, 5. And (6) we have Adoption therewithal and all its priviledges; John 1.12. And in particular (7) a Right and Title unto the whole inheritance of Glory; Act. 26.18. Rom. 8.17. And (8) hereon eternal life doth follow; Rom. 8.30. Chap. 6.23. Which things will be again immediately spoken unto upon another occasion. And if there be any thing now left for their second Justification to do as such, let them take it as [Page 198] 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, rendring 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.

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 enquired what it is whereon their Continuation in this state doth 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 enquiry. Only I desire the [Page 199] Reader to observe that which was 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 Gods 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 compleated 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 enquire. 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 hath made to meet on Him the Iniquities of us all, Isa. 53.6, 7. 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 Ʋniversals. 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, made an End of sin, made Reconciliation for Iniquity, and brought in everlasting Righteousness, Dan. 9.24. At once he expiated all our sins; for by himself he purged our sins, and then sate 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 Christ once for all; for by one Offering he hath perfe­cted (consummated, compleated as unto their spiritual state) them that are sanctified, Heb. 10.10.14. He never will do more than he hath actually done already for the Expiation of [Page 200] all our sins from first to last; for there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin. I do not say that hereupon our Justification is compleat, but only that the meritorious procuring cause of it was at once compleated, and is never to be renewed or re­peated any more; All the enquiry 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 Justification become the Sons of God; Joh. 1.12. That is, joynt heirs with Christ, and heirs of God; 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 compleatly justified. For in him we are compleat, 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; Act. 26.18. being immediately justified from all things from which we could not be justified by the Law, Act. 13.39. yea God thereon blesseth us with all spiritual Blessings in heavenly things in Christ, Ephes. 1.3. All these things are absolutely inseparable from our first believing in him, and therefore our Justification is at once compleat. In particular (4) On our Believing, all our sins are forgiven. He hath quickened you together with him, having forgiven you all Trespasses, Col. 2.13, 14, 15. For in him we have Redemption through his Blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according unto the riches of his Grace, Ephes. 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 hath Everlasting Life, and shall not come into Condemnation, but is passed from Death unto Life, Joh. 5.24. And who shall lay any thing unto the charge of Gods [Page 201] 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, ver. 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, Rom. 4.5, 6. From all which it appears that our Justification is at once compleat. 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 doth no where assign any such time or measure. And to say that no man is compleatly justi­fied in the sight of God in this life, is at once to overthrow all that is taught in the Scriptures concerning Justification, and therewithall 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 hath against him.

2. Upon this compleat Justification, Believers are obliged unto universal Obedience unto God. The Law is not abolished but established by Faith. It is neither abrogated nor dispensed withall 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 make 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 it is not so, shall (as it were in de­spight 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 [Page 202] 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, doth make and constitute all their inconformities 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 compleat Justification which is at once, though it dissolve the Obligation on the sinner unto punishment by the Curse of the Law, yet doth 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 [Page 203] sense forgiveth all their Iniquities, and healeth all their Diseases, redeemeth their life from Destruction, and crowneth them with loving kindness and mercies, Psal. 103.2, 3. 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 abideth the true nature of sin in every inconfor­mity 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 our selves. 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 applyed unto the Souls of Believers, as the Apostle declares, Heb. 10.1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 14. that it doth take away Conscience, condemning the Sinner for sin, with respect unto the Curse of the Law; But it doth 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.

Whereas therefore one Essential part of Justification con­sisteth in the pardon of our sins, and sins cannot be actually pardoned before they are actually committed, our present en­quiry is, whereon the continuation of our Justification doth 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 compleat, in the Imputation of a perfect Righteousness, the Grant of a Right and Title unto the hea­venly [Page 204] Inheritance, the actual pardon of all past sins, and the virtual pardon of future sins, 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 indefeazable, and all their sins are actually pardoned, is to be enquired.

For answer unto this enquiry, 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 enquiry.

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 it self herein. In our Justification it self 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 hath any other de­pendencies, than hath our Justification it self. 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 divers, 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 [Page 205] 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 imputeth Righteousness unto us, is so expresly 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 Ransome. 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 enquiry 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 betakes himself unto, or ought so to do, for the continuance of his State, and pardon of his Sins, what he plead­eth 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 (1) the experience of Believers themselves; (2) Testi­mony of Scripture, and (3) the Example of them whose cases are recorded therein.

[Page 206]1. Let the experience of them that do believe be enquired into; for their Consciences are continually exercised herein. What is it that they betake 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 Soveraign Grace and Mercy, through the Blood of Christ? Are not all the Arguments which they plead unto this end, taken from the Topicks, 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? Doth 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 be­take 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, worketh and acteth it self in and by Godly sorrow, Repentance, Hu­miliation, Self-judging, and Abhorrency, Fervency in Prayer and Supplications with an 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 of our justified Estate, expressing it self in those other ways and effects men­tioned, from none of which a Believing Soul doth expect the Mercy aimed at.

2. The Scripture expresly doth declare this to be the only way of the continuation of our Justification. 1 Joh. 2.1, 2. These things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righ­teous; [Page 207] 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 Priviledge of their Justification. Wherefore on a supposition of sin, if any man sin, (as there is no man that liveth and sinneth 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 hath 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 enquiry, what God requireth 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, 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 of our Justification, as that a justified Estate cannot consist with the Sins and Vices that are opposite unto them. So the Apostle affirms, that if we live after the flesh, we [Page 208] shall dye; Rom. 8.13. He that doth 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 doth 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 doth 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, 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 doth 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 chuse to express the conceptions of their minds. But if it be enquired 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 such 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 doth he 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, unto the saving of the Soul. The drawing back to perdition includes the loss of a justified Estate really so or in Profession. In opposition thereunto the Apostle placeth Believing unto the saving of the Soul; that is, unto the continuation of Ju­stification [Page 209] 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, is 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, ver. 21. I do not frustrate the Grace of God, for if Righteousness came 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 dependeth 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 the meritori­ous cause of our Justification. But on a supposition there­of, or the reception of that Grace, we are continued to be justified before God by the works we perform by vertue 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 doth Vasquez expresly, 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 [Page 210] 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, as that the continuation of our Justification depends thereon. But the Apostle gives us another account hereof; Rom. 5.1, 2, 3. For he distinguisheth three things; 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 expresseth 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 ascribeth equally unto Faith, without the intermixture of any other cause or condition. And other places express to the same purpose might be pleaded.

3. 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 placeth 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, ascribeth the continuation of his Justification and acceptation before God, unto Grace, Mercy, and forgiveness alone, which are no otherwise received but by Faith. Psal. 130.3, 4, 5. Psal. 143.2. All other works and duties of obedience do accompany Faith in the continuation of our [Page 211] 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, 16. 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 the continuation of our Justification depends solely on the same causes with our Justi­fication it self.

CHAP. VI. Evangelical Personal Righteousness, the Na­ture and Ʋse of it. Final Judgment, and its respect unto Justification.

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 doth not necessarily belong unto it. For until all things that are ei­ther [Page 212] 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 only Justification, name­ly, that whereby God at once freely by his Grace justifieth 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 hath into our Justification before God, will be after­wards particularly examined. Here we shall only consider such a notion of it, as seems to enterfere 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 it self. 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 [Page 213] 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 Hypocri­sie; 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 differeth 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 an 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 hath decreed that we shall not be made partakers of the Benefit thereof. So doth Socinus himself, De Justificat. pag. 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, at (que) aeternae nostrae. Again, pag. 14. inter Opuscul. Ʋt cavendum est ne vitae sanctitatem at (que) innocentiam effectum Justificationis nostrae coram Deo esse credamus, ne (que) illam nostrae coram Deo Justifi­cationis causam efficientem aut impulsivam esse affirmemus; sed [Page 214] 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 our selves 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 enquire 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 doth 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 requireth 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 enquired after are ne­cessary [Page 215] unto all Believers, is granted by all; on what Grounds and unto what Ends, we shall enquire afterwards; they are declared, Ephes. 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. Joh. 3.7. But yet this denomination is no where given unto them, with respect unto Grace habitually inherent, but unto the effects 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 doth 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 a Pretence for any Interest of our own Righteousness from this Denomination of being Righteous thereby, seeing it hath 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 di­vers names of the same thing. For our Sanctification is the inherent Renovation of our Natures, exerting and acting it self in newness of Life, or Obedience unto God in Christ, and works of Righteousness. But Sanctification and Justifi­cation [Page 216] 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 Infusion of inherent Grace, which doth 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, in as much as 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 hath no small Influence into our Peace. So speaks the Apostle; Our rejoycing 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 saith he, although I know nothing by my self, yet am I not thereby 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 unblameable. 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 an holy and fruitful walking in abounding in good works, 1 Pet. 2.12. chap. 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. Shew me thy Faith by thy Works, Jam. 2. Wherefore (3) This Righte­ousness [Page 217] 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 af­terwards 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 doth 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 be justified. For as he is thereby united unto Christ, which is the foundation of our Justification by him, so the whole Scripture testifieth, that he that believes is justified; or that there is an infallible connexion in the Ordination of God between true Faith and Justification. Wherefore this personal Righteousness cannot be the condition of our Justificaion before God, seeing it is consequential thereunto. What may be pleaded in exception [Page 218] hereunto from the supposition of a second Justification, or differing causes of the beginning and continuation of Justifi­cation, hath 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, Hypocrisie, or the like. For who shall lay any thing unto the charge of Gods Elect, who are once justified before him? Such a charge may be laid against them by Sathan, 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 or the Gospel; and the Judgment 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 justifie us by the Law. That admits of none in satisfaction unto its demands, but that which is compleat 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 justifie 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 useless. 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 hath 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 [Page 219] it be supposed antecedent and subordinate thereunto, or con­sequential and perfective thereof.

4. This pretended Evangelical Justification hath 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 doth the Works of it shall live in them. This it doth 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 hath sinned, and is come short of the Glory of God. In this it is false, namely, that a Believer is an Unbeliever; A sincere Person an 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 In­nocency 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 Judgment with us on something in our selves, 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 justifie us with respect unto what he judgeth on, or our personal Righteousness, the Psalmist doth not believe, Psal. 130.2, 3. Psal. 143.2. nor did the Publican, Luke 18.

6. This personal Righteousness of ours cannot be said to [Page 220] be a subordinate Righteousness, and subservient unto our Ju­stification by Faith in the Blood of Christ. For therein God justifieth the ungodly, and imputeth Righteousness unto him that worketh not. And besides it is expresly excluded from any consideration in our Justification, Ephes. 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. 54.6. (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 expresly 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 soveraign 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, Ephes. 2.8, 9. 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 [Page 221] these things are evident in themselves. God doth 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 Judgment, by a proper Imputation of his Righteousness unto us, but by the Communication of the fruits of what he did and suffered unto 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. 5.25, 26. 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 en­quire how a man is justified, after he is justified.

3. God hath 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 [Page 222] 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 Gods 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 doth indispensably require per­sonal Obedience of him, which may be called his Evangelical Righteousness; (2) That God doth 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 Gods acceptance of our Righteousness by that name, I shall by no means contend with them. And where­ever this enquiry 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 professeth Evangelical Faith, or Faith in Christ, shall be tried, judged, and whereon [Page 223] 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 enquiry from any concernment, in that which is called sentential Justification, at the day of Judgment. For of what nature soever it be, the person concerning whom that sentence is pronounced, was (1) actually and compleatly 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.) (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 Judg­ment 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 no where called in the Scripture; the ends of that solemn Judgment, 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 publick con­viction of them, by whom the Law hath 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 [Page 224] of Divine Glory in the Creation and Guidance of all things, are sufficiently manifest.

And whence 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 Ground 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 no where said that we shall be judged at the last day, ex operibus; but, only that God will render unto men secundum opera. But God doth not justifie 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 every where said to be justified in this life, ex fide, per fidem, but no where propter fidem; or that God justifieth 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 doth 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 absolute-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 [Page 225] 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 them the Adoption of Children with a right unto the Heavenly Inheritance according to their Works; is not only foraign 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 judgeth all men, and rendreth 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 hath 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, Math. 7. and Chap. 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 publick 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 Joh. 5.24. with Mark. 16.16.

CHAP. VII. Imputation, and the Nature of it; with the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ in particular.

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 evidenceth 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. [...] was accounted unto him, or imputed unto him for Righteousness. [...]. 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 done in that place and instance, which is Recorded on purpose, as the president 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 [Page 227] 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 expresly 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 Apostasie 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 doth 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 ruine 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, then 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, detestanda, saith Socinus. And opposition ariseth 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 [Page 228] not a dispute about Notions, Terms, and Speculations, where­in Christian Practice is little or not at all concerned, (of which nature many are needlesly contended about) but such as hath an immediate influence into our whole present Duty, with our eternal Welfare or Ruine. 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 late concludes his Discourse concerning it; Hactenus de Imputatione Justitiae Christi, sine qua nemo unquam aut salvatus est, aut salvari 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 to 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, whil'st 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 [Page 229] 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 offence 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 ex­presly 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 encrease 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 hath been of late so fully manifested out of her Authentick Writings, that is, the Ar­ticles of Religion, and Books of Homilies, and other Writings publickly 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 withall. 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 [Page 230] 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 my self at present, in these Differences. For unto what pur­pose is it to contend about them, whilst the substance of the Doctrine it self is openly opposed and rejected? why should we debate about the order and beautifying of the Rooms in an 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 [Page 231] to revile one another, publishing all to the World, as some great atchievement or victory. This is not the way to teach them truths of the Gospel, nor to promote the Edifica­tion of 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 perswasion, that the life and continuance of any Church on the one hand, and its Apostasie or Ruine 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 hath 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 meer 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 it self is so.

[...] 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 Levit. 7.18. chap. 17.4. And Psal. 106.31. [...] 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 [...] and [...]; as do the Writers of the New Testament also. And these are ren­dred by reputare, imputare, acceptum ferre, tribuere, assignare, ascribere. But there is a different signification among these words; In particular, to be reputed 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, [Page 232] 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 hath 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 Latine Tongue owns in the sense wherein it is used by Divines. Optime de pessimis meru­isti, ad quos pervenerit incorrupta rerum fides, magno Authori suo imputata. Senec. ad Mart. And Plin. lib. 18. cap. 1. In his Apology for the Earth our common Parent, nostris eam criminibus urgemus, culpam (que) 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 saith 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 imputata. 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 at (que) inter ea quae sunt ipsius, & ad eum pertinent, connumerare & 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 hath in the Instances given out of Latine 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 [Page 233] 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, doth 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 it self unto us to be ours, on some just Ground and Foundation. For a thing must be made ours, before we can justly be dealt withall 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 doth not justifie 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 compleat Righ­teousness, truly and compleatly 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, the Wick­edness of the Wicked shall be upon him. Instances we have of both sorts. (1) In the Imputation of sin, when the Person guilty of it, is so judged and reckoned a sinner, as to be dealt withall accordingly. This Imputation Shimei depreca­ted, [Page 234] 2 Sam. 19.19. He said unto the King, Let not my Lord impute Iniquity unto me, ( [...] the word used in the expression of the Imputation of Righteousness. Gen. 15.6.) neither do thou remember what thy Servant did per­versely; For thy Servant doth 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, Act. 7.60. Lay not this sin to their charge; impute it not unto them. As on the other side Zechariah the Son of Jehojada, 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 Gods dealing with men, Psal. 106.31. Then stood up Phineas and executed Judgment, and it was imputed 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 fact 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 it self. For this Impu­tation consists of two parts, or two things concur thereunto. (1) A Judgment of the thing to be ours, to be in us, or to [Page 235] belong unto us. (2) 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 esteemeth it not to be other than it is. He doth 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 it self 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 humane Laws, to interpret the mystery of the Gospel) doth not only over­throw all Imputation, but the satisfaction and merit of Christ also. And it must be observed, that this Imputation is a meer Act of Justice, without any mixture of Grace, as the Apostle declares, Rom. 11.6. For it consists of these two parts. (1) An acknowledging and judging that to be in us which is truly so. (2) A Will of dealing with us according unto it; both which are Acts of Justice.

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 any thing 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 [Page 234] [...] [Page 235] [...] [Page 236] 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 the 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 our selves 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) Foederal, (2) Na­tural. (1) Things done by one may be 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 afterwards more fully declare▪ And the Ground hereof is, that we stood all in the same Covenant with him, who was our Head and Representative [Page 237] 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 saith 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 of Justi­fication. For the Imputation of that sin unto us, as if we had committed it, which he acknowledgeth, 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 [Page 238] passage of the Apostle unto Philemon, in the behalf of Onesimus; ver. 18. If he have wronged the, or oweth thee ought, [...], impute it unto me, put it on my account. He supposeth that Philemon might have a double Action against Onesimus. (1) Injuriarum, of wrongs; [...], if he hath dealt unjustly with the or by the, if he hath so wronged the as to render himself obnoxious unto punish­ment; (2) Damni, or of loss; [...], if he oweth thee ought, be a debtor unto the, which made him liable to pay­ment or restitution. In this state the Apostle interposeth himself by a voluntary sponsion, to undertake for Onesimus. I Paul have written it with my own hand [...] 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, saith he, the Person that hath done these things; and I will make satisfaction, so that nothing be charged on Onesimus. So Judah 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 the, and set him before thee, [...] I will sin, or be a sinner before thee always; be guilty and as we say, bear the blame. So he expresseth himself again unto Joseph, Chap. 44.32. It seems this is the nature and office of a Surety; what he undertaketh 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, [Page 239] 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, and make good what he had so undertaken, the Glory of Gods 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 [...] 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, followeth 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 hath 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 meer Grace and Favour. 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 asserteth, Rom. 4. For he both affirms the thing it self, and declares that it is of meer Grace, without respect unto any thing within our selves. 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 [Page 240] mediation of Christ is singular, and that which there is no­thing to parallel in any other case among men.

From what hath 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 it self 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 vertue of that Imputation. And these two Imputation 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 Apostles 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 it self 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 shewed, 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 [Page 241] of that Imputation. But the Imputation of Righteousness mentioned by the Apostle is as unto us ex mera Gratia, of meer Grace, as he fully declares, [...]. 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. 11.6. 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 works is no more works. For instance, if Faith it self 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 no Imputation but mistake. But this is an Imputa­tion ex justitia, of works; and so that which is of meer Grace, can have no place, by the Apostles Rule. So the Imputa­tion unto us of what is in us, is exclusive of Grace, in the Apo­stles sense. And on the other hand; If the Righteousness of Christ be imputed unto us, it must be ex mera Gratia; of meer 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 our selves, in the other it is in another, which are irreconcileable.

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 withall, 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 withall as those which have such an im­perfect Righteousness, and no otherwise. And therefore [Page 242] whereas our inherent Righteousness is imperfect, (they are to be pityed or despised, not to be contended withall, 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; (1) 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 hath 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 cla­mour of the Papists and others are meer effects of Ignorance or Malice, wherein they cry out ad ravim, 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. (2) It is not a naked Pronunciation or Declaration of any one to be Righteous, without a just and sufficient foundation for the Judgment of God declared therein. God declares no man to be Righteous but he who is so; the whole Question being, how he comes so to be. (3) 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 [Page 243] of another; which is to deny all Imputation.

Wherefore (2) Positively; This Imputation is an Act of God ex mera Gratia, of his meer 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 granteth them Right and Title unto Eternal Life. Hence,

4. In this Imputation, the thing it self 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 it self is denied. So say the Socinians, but they knew 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; & ha­ctenus possumus tibi concedere, Christi justitiam esse nostram ju­stitiam, quatenus nostrum in bonum justitiam (que) redundat; verum tu proprie nostram, id est, nobis attributam ascriptam (que) intelligis, saith Schlictingius; Disp. pro Socin. ad Meisner. pag. 250. And it is not pleasing to see some among our selves 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, hath 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 [Page 244] (as we shall see) the effects of the Righteousness of Christ cannot be said properly to be imputed unto us; and if his Righteousness it self be not so, Imputation hath no place herein, nor can it be understood why the Apostle should so frequently assert it as he doth, Rom. 4. And therefore the Socinians who expresly 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 it self. 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 appeareth that there can be no Imputation of any thing, unless the thing it self be imputed, nor any Participation of the Effects of any thing, but what is grounded on the Imputation of the thing it self. Where­fore in our particular case, no Imputation of the Righteous­ness of Christ is allowed, unless we grant it self 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 afterwards be spoken unto, so far as they deserve.

[Page 245]All that we now aim to demonstrate, is only, that either the Righteousness of Christ it self is imputed unto us, or there is no Imputation in the matter of our Justification, which whe­ther there be or no, is another Question afterwards 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 Christs sake forgiveth 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 enquire into. And I doubt not but we shall find in our Enquiry, 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.

CHAP. VIII. Imputation of the sins of the Church unto Christ. Grounds of it. The Nature of his Sure­tyship. Causes of the New Covenant. Christ and the Church one mystical Person; Con­sequents thereof.

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 enquire 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 it self 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 in, 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, [Page 247] & ita nobis arctissimo vinculo conjunctus, & [...], quae erant nostra fecit sua. And again; Quid mirum si in nostra persona constitutus, nostram carnem indutus, &c. Môntacut. Origin. Ecclesiast. The Antients speak to the same purpose. Leo. Serm. 17. Ideo se humanae infirmitati virtus divina con­seruit, ut dum Deus sua facit esse quae nostra sunt, nostra faceret esse quae sua sunt. And also Sermo. 16. Caput nostrum Dominus Jesus Christus omnia in se corporis sui membra transformans, quod olim in Psalmo eructaverat, 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, &c. 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 suffereth for him. For as we have heard the voice of the Church in Christ-suffering, my God, my Lord, why hast thou forsaken me; look upon me; so we have heard the voice of Christ in the Church-suffering, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me. But we may yet look a little backward and farther into the sense of the antient Church herein. Christus, saith Irenaeus, omnes Gentes exinde ab Adam disper sas, & 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 genus in se ab initio us (que) ad finem, recapitulatus est & mortem ejus. In this of Recapitulation there is no doubt but he had respect unto the [...], mentioned, Ephes. 1.10. And it may be this was that which Origen intended aenigmatically, by saying, the Soul of the first Adam was the Soul of Christ, as it is charged on him. And Cyprian, Epist. 63. on bearing about the Administration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist; nos omnes portabat Christus; qui & peccata nostra portabat. He bare us, or suffered in our person, when he bare our sins. Whence Athanasius affirms of [Page 248] the voice he used on the Cross; [...], We suffered in him. Eusebius speaks many things to this purpose. Demonstrat. Evangel. 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 saith thus, [...]; because he took of our sins to himself; communicated our sins to himself; ma­king them his own; For so he adds, [...], making our sins his own. And because in his following words he fully expresseth what I design to prove, I shall transcribe them at large, [...].

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 [Page 249] 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 joyned 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 Ʋnion between him and us, is fully declared in this Discourse. So saith the Learned and Pathe­tical Author of the Homilies on Math. 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 Prospher; 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 [Page 250] sins of the Church unto Christ, namely, that he and it are one Person, the Grounds whereof we must enquire into.

But hereon sundry Discourses do ensue, and various Enqui­ries are made. What a Person is, in what sense, and 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 into 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 ariseth from such Reasons and Causes, as no Personal Ʋnion among men, (or the Ʋnion of many persons) hath 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 Ʋnions of divers kinds and natures. So is it represented by that of Man and Wife; not unto those mutual affections which give them only a moral Ʋnion, 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, Ephes. 5.25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32. Whence he concludes, that from the Union thus represented, we are members of his Body, of his flesh and of his bone, ver. 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 [Page 251] unto the Union of the Head and Members of the same natural Body, 1 Cor. 12.12. and unto a political Ʋnion also between a Ruling or political Head, and its political Mem­bers; but never exclusively unto the Union of a natural Head, and its Members comprized in the same Expression, Ephes. 4.15. Col. 2.19. And so also unto sundry things in nature, as a Vine and its Branches, Joh. 15.1, 2, 3. And it is declared by the Relation that was between Adam and his posterity, by Gods Institution and the Law of Creation; Rom. 5.12. &c. 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 Ʋnion on various Grounds, doth 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 Ʋnion, and of all the other causes of it, lieth 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 Ʋnions or Relations whatever.

[Page 252]2. The Lord Christ as unto the nature which he was to assume, was hereon predestinated unto Grace and Glory. He was [...] fore-ordained, 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 Humane 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. Of the first sort was the [...] the Grace of Personal Ʋnion, 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, doth 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 Joh. 3.2.

[Page 253]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. Ephes. 1.3, 4, 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 fore-ordained as the Head of the Church, it being the design of God to gather all things into an Head in him, Ephes. 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 unto me. Joh. 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, Ephes. 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, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 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 [Page 254] passage of the Apostle on 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 [...], is no where 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 (1) 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 doth one less secure it from being deceived, then an hundred.

2. The signification of the word is known, from the use of it, and what it signifies among men, 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, [...]. (3) The thing it self 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 [...] ▪ which will give light into the thing intended by it. [...] is Vola manus, the palm of the hand; Thence is [...], or [...], to deliver into the hand. [...] 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 [...] which the Lxx render [...] Prov. 6.1. Chap. 17.18. Chap. 20.19. and by [...] Nehem. 5.3. [...] Originally signifies to mingle, or a mixture of any things or persons. And thence from the conjunction and mixture [Page 255] that 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 [...] 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 Judah unto his Father Jacob, concerning Benjamin. [...] 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 engageth himself to answer for all that should befall him, for so he adds; if I bring him not unto the, and set him before the, let me be guilty for ever. 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 doth 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. Chap. 11.15. Chap. 17.11. Chap. 20.16. Chap. 27.13. So Paul became a Surety unto Philemon for Onesimus, ver. 17. [...] 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. [...] Give Surety, Pledges, Hostages, for the true performance of conditions. Hence is [...] a Pledge or Earnest, Eph. 1.14. Wherefore [...] is Sponsor, Fidejussor, Praes, One that voluntarily takes on himself the cause or condition of another, to answer, 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 hath no other.

[Page 256]In our present enquiry 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 Schlictingius 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, nostrorumve debitorum solutionem in se receperit. Nec enim nos misimus Christum sed Deus, cujus no­mine Christus ad nos venit, foedus nobiscum panxit, ejus (que) pro­missiones ratas fore spopondit & in se recepit; ideoque nec spon­sor simpliciter, sed foederis sponsor nominatur; spopondit autem Christus pro foederis divini veritate, non tantum quatenus id fir­mum ratum (que) fore verbis perpetuo testatus est; sed etiam quate­nus muneris sui fidem, maximis rerum ipsarum comprobavit Do­cumentis, cum perfecta vitae innocentia & Sanctitate, cum divinis plane quae patravit operibus; cum mortis adeo truculentae, quam pro Doctrinae suae veritate subijt, perpessione. After which he subjoyns 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, i.e. Nos certos Promissi fecit, non solis verbis, sed perpetua vitae Sanctitate, morte ob id tolerata & miraculis plurimis; which are an Abridgment of the Discourse of Schlictingius. 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.

[Page 257]On the other hand the generality of Expositors, antient 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 doth voluntarily undertake for another, on what Grounds, Reasons, or Considerations soever he doth 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, Loe I come to do thy Will O God, Heb. 10.5.6. 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 [Page 258] accordingly this undertaking is ascribed unto that love which he exercised herein, Gal. 2.20. 1 Joh. 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 enstated 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 Judah on his own ac­cord 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.

1. 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. [...] or [...] a Surety, is one that undertaketh 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 [Page 259] respects the defect of the person for whom any one becomes a surety. Such an 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, fac [...]et, aut faciam. And when [...] is taken adjectively, as sometimes, it signifies satisdationibus 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 in 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 doth therefore make use of Wit­nesses to confirm his Word; that is, to testifie that such Pro­mises he hath 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, Joh. 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 [Page 260] 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 doth not use this word in 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 undertaketh 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 Gods surety in this mattter 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 had none greater to swear by, he sware by himself, chap. 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 doth 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, as 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.

[Page 261]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 Covenanters. 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, that 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 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 parts. 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 Schlictingius observes, and is aware what will ensue against his pretensions, which he endeavours to obviate. Mirum (saith he) porro alicui videri posset cur Divinus Author de Christi sacerdotio in superi­oribus & in sequentibus agens, derepente eum sponsorem foederis [Page 262] 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 quo (que) Christi intelligi. Sponsoris enim non est alieno nomine quippiam promittere, & 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.

Ans. (1) It may indeed seem strange unto any one who imagineth Christ to be such a surety as he doth, why the Apo­stle should so call him, and so introduce him in the Descrip­tion of his Priestly Office, as that which belongeth 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. (2) He confesseth that by his Exposition of this suretiship of Christ, as making him a surety for God, he con­tradicteth the nature and only notion of a surety among men. For such a one he acknowledgeth doth nothing but in the defect and unability of them for whom he is ingaged, and doth 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 no where else used in the whole Scri­pture, to teach us that which it doth never signifie 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 others cases, we may understand the signification of it; what he intends by it, and what under that name he ascribes unto the Lord Jesus. (3) He hath no [Page 263] way to solve the Apostles 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 falshood 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 Actings 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 parts, 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. 1. His answering for our Transgressions against the first Covenant. 2. His purchase and procurement of the Grace of the New. He was made a Curse for us, that the Blessing of Abraham might come upon us, Gal. 3.13, 1, 15.

1. He undertook as they 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, 5, 6, 10, Math. 20.28. 1 Tim. 2.6. 1 Cor. 6.20. Rom. 3.25, 26. Heb. 10.5, 6, 7, 8. Rom. 8.2, 3. 2 Cor. 5.19, 20, 21. Gal. 3.13. And this was absolute­ly [Page 264] 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 thereunto 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 Soveraignty was appointed unto him. Hereon, God was pleased to remit the Terms of the Old Covenant, and to [Page 265] 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 Revela­tions, as is effectual in Obedience unto the Will of God contained in them, upon the encouragement given thereunto 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 withall, 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 it self, whereon God will bestow all the Benefits and Effects of it upon us, which are Faith and Obedience. Where­fore what the Lord Christ hath done for us is thus far accep­ted [Page 266] as our legal Righteousness, as that God upon our Faith and Obedience with respect thereunto, doth 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 hath procured. So is the Doctrine hereof stated by Cursellaeus, 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 enquire 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) by 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, doth 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 are intended. It is yet no less general, That God 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 [Page 267] 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 concerned, there is no mention made of it in the Scripture. For is it not strange that 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 no where 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 joyntly and severally assigned thereunto in places almost without number. But it is no where 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 is the Preparation of that Grace and [Page 268] 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 comprized therein. But it is certain, that more is required to compleat 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. [...] 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Unto the full Exemplification of the Covenant of Grace, there is required the Declaration of this Counsel of Gods Will, accompanied with the means and powers of its Accom­plishment, and the Prescription of the ways whereby we are so to be interessed in it, and made partakers of the Benefits of it. But in the enquiry 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 no where 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 foederal 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 [Page 269] 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 [...], 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 Repretsentive 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 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 no where 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 dye.

3. With respect unto the Declaration of it by especial Re­velation. This we may call Gods 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. Jerem. 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,

1. 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 [Page 270] first Covenant state. Hereof the Grace and Will of God was 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 Soveraign Wisdom and Pleasure, is formally the New Covenant, though something yet is to be added to compleat its Application unto us. Now the substance of the first Promise, wherein the whole Covenant of Grace was virtually comprized, 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 it self, then was not his death the procuring cause of that Covenant, nor do we owe it thereunto.

2. 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 interessed in the Benefits of it. This being virtually comprized in the absolute Promise (for every Promise of God doth tacitly require Faith and Obedience in us) is expressed in other places by the 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 meer effect of the Soveraign 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 them to be the Terms and Conditions of the Covenant is an Act of meer So­veraign [Page 271] Wisdom and Grace. God so loved the world as to send his only begotten Son to dye, 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 Life Everlasting. But yet it is granted that the Consti­tution of these Terms of the Covenant doth respect the foederal Transaction between the Father and the Son, wherein they were ordered to the praise of the Glory of Gods 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 Gods 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 every where expressed in the Scri­pture.

4thly, The Covenant may be considered as unto the actual Application of the Grace, Benefit and Priviledges of it unto any persons, whereby they are made real partakers of them, or are taken into Covenant with God. And this alone in the Scripture is intended by Gods making a Covenant with any. It is not a general Revelation, or Declaration of the Terms and Nature of the Covenant (which some call an 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 Gods making his Covenant with any, as all Instances of it in the Scripture do declare.

It may be therefore enquired, what respect the Covenant of Grace hath unto the Death of Christ, or what Influence it hath thereunto.

I answer, supposing what is spoken of his being a surety thereof▪ it hath a threefold respect thereunto.

[Page 272]1. In that the Covenant, as the Grace and Glory of it were prepared in the Counsel of God, as the Terms of it, was 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, 16, 17, 18, 19, 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, ver. 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.

2. 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,

3. All the Benefits of it were procured by him; that is, all the Grace, Mercy, Priviledges and Glory that God hath 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 [Page 273] ever 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 was 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, doth 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 expresly, or by just consequence, be summed up, and it will be no hard matter to demonstrate concerning them all, and that both joyntly 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 Gods 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 [...]. 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 [Page 274] 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 dye.

2. The making of this Covenant is every where in the Scri­pture ascribed (as is also the sending of Christ himself to dye) unto the Love, Grace and Wisdom of God alone; no where 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 expresly 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, doth indeed evacuate all the vertue of the Death of Christ and of the Covenant it self. For (1) 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 frustrate. (2) Whereas the substantial advantage of these conditions lieth 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 [Page 275] Grace of Christ doth 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 doth it else but make Christ the Minister of sin, in disanulling 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 doth 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 disanulled 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 rendring it effectual, should procure it.

But to return from this Digression; That wherein all the precedent causes of the Ʋnion between Christ and Be­lievers, whence they become one mystical person, do center, and whereby they are rendred a compleat 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 [Page 276] dwelleth in him, unto them, to abide in, to animate and guide the whole mystical Body and all its Members. But this hath 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 Authour of the Law, the supreme Rector or Governour 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. This having been the Faith and Language of the Church in all Ages, and that derived from and founded in express Testimonies of Scripture, with all the Promises and Presignations of his Ex­hibition in the flesh from the beginning, cannot now with any Modesty be expresly 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 expresly 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 poenae, but not 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. pag. 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 signifie either Dignitatem poenae [Page 277] or obligationem ad poenam, as Bellarmine distinguisheth, 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 dyed 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 tyed up unto Arbitra­ry distinction, and the sense that any are pleased to impose on the terms of them. I shall therefore first enquire into the meaning of these words, guilt and guilty, whereby we may be able to judge of what it is, which in this Distinction is intended.

The Hebrews have no other word to signifie guilt or guilty but [...]. 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 signifie guilt, but only say [...] it is Blood to him. So David prays deliver me [...] from Blood, which we render Blood-guiltiness, Psal. 51.14. And this was, because by the [Page 278] Constitution of God, he that was guilty of Blood, was to dye by the hand of the Magistiate, or of God himself. But [...] Ascham is no where 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 [...], Rom. 3.19. that is, obnoxious to Judgment or ven­geance for sin; one that [...], as they speak, Act. 28.4. whom vengeance will not suffer to go unpunished. And [...], 1 Cor. 11.27. a word of the same signification. Once by [...], Matth. 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 Latine is of a large signification. He who is Crimini obnoxius, or Poenae propter Crimen, or Voti de­bitor, or Promissi, or officij ex sponsione, is called, Reus. Espe­cially every sponsor or Surety, is Reus in the Law. Cum servus pecuniam pro libertate pactus est, & ob eam rem, Reum dederit, (that is, sponsorem, expromissorem) quamvis servus ab alio ma­numissus est, Reus tamen obligabitur. He is Reus who in­gageth himself for any other, as to the matter of his ingage­ment. And the same is the use of the word in the best La­tine Authors. Opportuna loca dividenda Praefectis esse ac suae qui (que) partis tutandae reus sit. Liv. de Bello Punic. lib. 5. 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, at quicun (que) aut propinquitate aut affinitate regiam contigissent, alienae culpae rei trucidarentur, should be guilty of the fault of another, (by Imputation) and suffer for it. So that in the Latine 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 Latine [Page 279] 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; quaedam in usu perquam recentia. Messalla primus Reatum, munerarium Augustus dixerunt; 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 shew, that we have no reason to be obliged unto mens Arbitrary use of words. Some Lawyers first used it, pro crimine, a fault, exposing unto Pu­nishment. But the Original Invention of it continued 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 publick Accusation, did betake themselves unto a poor squalid Habit, a sorrowful countenance, suffering their Hair and Beards to go undressed; Hereby on Custome and Usage, the people who were to judge on their cause, were enclined 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 it self which▪ now we intend to express thereby.

[Page 280] 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 [...], 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 imputatam, juste aut injuste. For so Bathsheba says unto David, that she and her Son Solomon should be [...] 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 divers 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 hath other con­siderations, namely, its formal nature, as it is a Transgression of the Law; and the stain or 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 poena, no punishment properly so called. For poena 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 with 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 [Page 281] 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 [...]. 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 such thing in rerum natura. There is no Guilt of sin, but its Relation unto Punishment.

That therefore which we affirm herein is, That our sins were so transferred on Christ, as that thereby he became [...], 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 farthing 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. (1) The Act of God imputing it. (2) 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 supream Governour, Law-giver, 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 [Page 282] of Christ to answer for the sins of men, Heb. 10.5, 6, 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. chap. 4.4, 5. (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 publick sureties in every case.

2. The Lord Christ voluntary susception of the state and condition of a surety, or undertaker for the Church, to ap­pear before the Throne of Gods 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, where 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 [Page 283] Bellarmin; 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, saith 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, & quod horret animus cogitare, filius Diaboli; by the Imputation of the Guilt of our sins, or our Ʋnrighteousness unto him. And the same Objection is pressed by others, with in­stances of consequences, which for many Reasons I heartily wish had been forborn. But I answer,

1. Nothing is more absolutely true, nothing is more sa­credly or assuredly believed by us, then, 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 mens 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 Ʋnion, so it would render him un­meet for all other Duties of his Office, Heb. 7.25, 26. And confess it hath always seemed scandalous unto me, that Socinus, Crellius, and Grotius, do grant that in some sense Christ suffered for his own sins, and would prove it from that very place wherein it is positively denied, Heb. 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, such 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, as a singular Act of Divine Dispensation, which no evil consequent can ensue upon.

[Page 284]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 would not suffer for our sins, for they ceased to be ours, antecedently unto his suffering. But the Guilt of them was so transferred unto him, that through his suffering for it, it might be pardoned unto us.

These things being premised, I say,

1. There is in sin a Transgression of the Preceptive 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 [...] sinners, by having crimes laid unto their charge; and when Judah 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 Preceptive 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 hath upon his personal sin communicated a vitious, depraved, and corrupted nature unto all his Posterity; [Page 285] 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 Preceptive 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 anothers by Imputation, and yet that other not rendered formally a sinner thereby. This was that which was imputed unto Christ, whereby he was ren­dred 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, Deut. 27.26.

2. There is a great difference between the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ unto us, and the Imputation of our sins unto 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 absolutely, but as he was a Surety, and unto the special end of destroying it; and taken on him, on this condition that his [Page 286] 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, changeth our state and relation unto God, and is an effect of super-abounding 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 hateth 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

1. It is certain that the Lord Christ's taking on him the guilt of our sins, was an high act of Obedience unto God, Heb. 10.5, 6. And for which the Father loved him, Joh. 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. (2) 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 Inhaesion and not by Imputation. As such, he hath no more to do, but consider the guilt, and pronounce the sentence of punishment. But (3) suppose a person out of an Heroick generosity of mind should become an [...] for another, for his friend, for a good man, so as to answer for him with his life, as Judah undertook to be for Benjamin as to his liberty, which when a man hath 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 vertue. As such an one it was that Christ suffered, and no otherwise. (4) All the force of this exception depends on the ambiguity of the word hate. For it may signifie either an aversation or de­testation [Page 287] of mind, or only a will of punishing, as in God most­ly it doth. 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 [Page 288] [...] [Page 289] [...] [Page 288] 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 expresly 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 doth inseparably attend it, Deut. 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 with upon him; and he bare them on him as his burden, for so the word signifies, Isa. 53.6. God hath laid on him, [...] the Iniquity, that is, the guilt of us all, ver. 11. [...] and their sin or guilt shall he bear. For that is the intendment of [...], where joyned with any other word that denotes sin as it is in those places, Psal. 32.5. thou forgavest [...] 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, &c.

5. This was represented in all the Sacrifices of old, especi­ally the great Anniversary, on the day of expiation, with the Ordinance of the Scape Goat, as hath been before declared.

6. Without a supposition hereof it cannot be understood, how the Lord Christ should be our [...] or suffer [...], in our stead, unless we will admit the exposition of Mr. Ho. [Page 289] a late Writer, who reckoning up how many things the Lord Christ did in our stead, adds as the sense thereof, that is to bestead us; then which if he can invent any thing more fond and senseless, he hath a singular faculty in such an Em­ployment.

CHAP. IX. The formal cause of Justification; or, The Righteousness on the Account whereof Believers are justified before God. Objecti­on answered.

THe 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 infusion of an Habit of inhe­rent Grace or Righteousness; or whether it be a Forensick 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 Forensick 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 doth require, and that I hope with such evidence of Truth, as cannot well be gainsayed. Nor may it be supposed that we have too long insisted thereon, as an opinion which is obsolete, and long since sufficiently con­futed. [Page 290] 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, Micah. 6.7, 8. Wherefore in this case, if the true and only relief of distressed Consciences, of sinners who are weary and heavy laden 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 betweens Gods Justice and their Souls, wherein they may take shelter from the storms of that wrath which abideth 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 sick Beds, 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 disbelieving that Heavenly relief which is provided in the Gospel, they are ready with their Applications and Medi­cines, [Page 291] 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 Administred 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. For the new Schemes and Projections of Justification which some at present would supply us withal, they are now way suited, nor able to give Relief or Satisfacti­on unto a Conscience really troubled for Sin, and seriously enquiring 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 antient Doctrine of Justification through Faith in the Blood of Christ, and the Imputation of his Righteousness unto us, publick profession or Religion, will quickly issue in Popery, or Atheism, or at least in what is the next door unto it, [...].

The second principal Controversie 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 enquire 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 [Page 292] these things will I concern my self, though I judge what was mentioned in the last place, to be most proper and significant.

The substance of the enquiry 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, hath his sins pardoned, is received into Grace and Favour, and hath a Title given him unto the Heavenly Inheritance. I shall no otherwise propose this en­quiry, 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 it self en­quired 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 an 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 assent 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 [Page 293] Evangelical Righteousness, whereof we have spoken before. And whereas the Papists say, that this Righteousness of Works is not absolutely perfect, nor in it self able to justifie 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 enquired into.

3. The third Enquiry 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 interessed 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 controversie about our Justification before God, upon the determination and stating whereof, the determination of all other incident Questions doth 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 into the Heavenly Inheritance.

This Position is such as wherein the substance of that Do­ctrine in this important Article of Evangelical Truth which [Page 294] 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 defence he under­took. This is the shield of Truth in the whole cause of Ju­stification, which whilst it is preserved safe, we need not trouble our selves 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. (1) Reflect on what is needful unto the Ex­planation of it. (2) Answer the most important general Objections against it. (3) Prove the Truth of it by Argu­ments and Testimonies of the holy Scripture.

As to the first of these, or what is necessary unto the Ex­planation of this Assertion, it hath 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 hath 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 became members of his mystical Body. That there is such an Union between Christ and Believers, is the Faith of the Catholick Church, and hath 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 [Page 295] this Ʋnion, 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 hath been fully spoken unto before, and thereunto 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 my self in them. The substance of the Truth as laid down, is that whose Defence 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 our selves in him. This I shall not concern my self in. For although it may have a sound sense given unto it, and is used by some of the Antients, yet because offence 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 judgeth or esteemeth 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 [Page 296] the like may be said of many other Expressions of the like nature.

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 mans 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 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 wonderful fertile in coyning Objections against Evangelical Truths, and raising cavils against them. Seldom to this purpose do they want an 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 it self freely and boldly against spiri­tual mysteries, is subtile in its arguings, 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 [Page 297] 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 Gods Grace, and of our compliance therewithall 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 of Christ doth overthrow all Remission of sins on the part of God. This is pleaded for by Socinus, De Servator. lib. 4. cap. 2, 3, 4. and by others it is also made use of. A confident Charge this seems to them who stedfastly believe that without this Imputation, there could be no Remission of sin. But they [Page 298] say, That he who hath a Righteousness imputed unto him that is absolutely perfect, so as to be made his own, needs no pardon, hath 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; saith he, Cum duo nobis peperisse Christum dixerimus, impunitatem & praemium, illud satisfactioni, hoc merito Christi distincte tribuit vetus Ec­clesia. Satisfactio consistit in peccatorum Translatione, meritum in perfectissimae Obedientiae pro nobis praestitae Imputatione. Prae­fat. ad lib. de satisfact. Whereas we have said that Christ hath procured or brought forth two things for us, freedom from punish­ment, and a reward, the antient Church attributes the one of them distinctly unto his satisfaction, the other unto his merit. Satisfaction consisteth 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, overthroweth all necessi­ty [Page 299] of Repentance for sin, in order unto the Remission or Pardon thereof, yea rendreth it altogether needless. For what need hath he of Repentance for sin, who by the Imputation of the Righte­ousness of Christ, is esteemed compleatly 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 remembred, 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 to be sensible of its Evil and Guilt, both as in its own nature it is contrary unto the preceptive 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 hath involved himself therein. And that posture of mind will be accompanied with shame, fear, sorrow, and other afflictive passions. Here­on a Resolution doth 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 doth 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 doth usually produce great effects in the confession of sin, Humiliation for it, and change of life, as in Ahab and the [Page 300] Ninevites, so ordinarily it precedeth 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 conditions of turning away the Judg­ments and Punishments threatned 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 doth precede Faith in order of nature. is all that they require. This Objection therefore as managed by them, is a causless vain pretence.

2. Justifying Faith includeth 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 it self by Repentance. So the sole Reason of that Call unto Repentance which the forgiveness of sins is annexed unto, (Act. 2.38.) is the Proposal of the Promise which is the Object of Faith, ver. 39. And those Conceptions and Affections which a man hath 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, doth respect the Grace of God in Christ and the way of Salvation by him, as proposed in the Promise of the [Page 301] Gospel, yet is not this conceived in order of time to precede its actings in self-displicency, godly sorrow, and universal conver­sion from sin unto God; nor can it be so, seeing it virtually and radically containeth all of them in it self. However therefore Evangelical Repentance is not the Condition of our Justification, so as to have any direct Influence thereinto; nor are we said any where to be justified by Repentance; nor is it 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 expresly 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 hath 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 immoveably fixed on its proper Foundation.

3. As unto what was said in the Objection concerning [Page 302] Christs 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 hath disposed all things in this whole Oeconomy, unto the praise of the Glory of his Grace, Ephes. 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 doth 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 [Page 303] 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 it self the seeds of all those other Graces wherein the Divine Nature doth consist, where­of we are to be made Partakers. Not only therefore the thing it self, or the communication of the Righteousness of Christ unto us, but the way and manner, and means of it, do depend on Gods Soveraign order and disposal. Wherefore although Christ did make satisfaction unto 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 doth 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.

3ly, It is objected, That the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ, which we defend, overthrows the necessity of Faith it self. 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 [Page 304] believe. If it be otherwise, then it is plain that that, Righteous­ness it self 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 pretendrd, 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 Servator. lib. 4. cap. 2, 3, 4, 5. which I would not have done, but that I find others to have gone before me therein, though to another purpose. And he concludes with a confidence which others also seem in some measure to have learned of him. For he saith unto his Ad­versary, Haec tua, tuorum (que) sententia, adeo foeda & 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 hath any force in it, as indeed it hath not, it is to prove that the sa­tisfaction of Christ was impossible; and so he intended it. But it will be easily removed.

[Page 305]I answer first in general; that the whole fallacy of this Objection lies in the opposing one part of the design and me­thod of Gods 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 hath perfected for ever 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 dieth no more, there is no more Sacrifice for sin. The Repetition of a Sacrifice for sin, which must be the Crucifying of Christ afresh, overthrowes 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 equally to be born by nature Children of Wrath, and whilst they believe not, the Wrath of God abideth on them, Joh. 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 [Page 306] 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 Gods 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 our selves. So he speaks, Psal. 69.5. [...] 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 hath 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 constitution 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 [Page 307] hath received no injury or damage. But in poenal 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 Recom­pence can be made unto him that hath suffered. Wherefore the way of the Application of the satisfaction of Christ unto them for whom it was made, is sure and stedfast in the purpose of God.

5. God hath 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 interessed in it, that it may be made ours, which is all we contend for. And this is our actual co­alescency into one mystical person with him by Faith. Hereon doth 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.

4thly. 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 meer 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 [Page 308] 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 our selves, 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 our selves.

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 Ʋnion, and no otherwise. The Righte­ousness of Christ himself as performed in the Humane 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, hath 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 ones particular Interest. Every Believer hath his own Homer of this Bread of Life; and all are justified by the same Righ­teousness.

[Page 309]The Apostle declares, as we shall prove afterwards, that as Adams actual sin is imputed unto us unto condemnation, so is the Obedience of Christ imputed unto us, to the Justifi­cation of life. But Adams 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 Adams 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.

It is yet said, That if we insist on personal Imputation unto every Believer of what Christ did, or if any Believer be personally Righteous in the very individual Acts of Christs 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 enclined so to state it, as that at least they may seem so to do. And this oftimes 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 hath 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 Christs 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 [Page 310] undertake the defence 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 his Obedience, which ren­dered it both satisfactory and meritorious, and imputable unto many. (2) From the Nature of the Obedience it self, 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 Gods Soveraign 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 publick person and our surety, should be reckoned unto us as if done by our selves. So the sin of Adam whilst he was a publick Person, and represented his whole Posterity, is imputed unto us all, as if we had committed that actual sin. This Bellarmin him­self frequently acknowledgeth. Peccavimus in primo homine quando ille peccavit, & 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. & 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 [Page 311] unto Believers; and it may on as good grounds be charged with absurdities as the other. It is not therefore said that God judgeth 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 imputeth unto Believers unto the Justification of Life, as if it had been done by themselves; and his Righteousness as a publick person is made theirs by Imputation, even as the sin of Adam whilst a pub­lick 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 doth 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 shewed, stands on other Foundations. Nor doth it fol­low, that every saved Persons Righteousness before God is the same identically and numerically with Christs in his publick capacity as Mediator; For this Objection destroys it self, by affirming that as it was his, it was the Righteousness of God-Man; and so it hath an especial nature as it respects or relates unto his Person. It is the same that Christ in his publick 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. Adams sin as imputed unto us, is not the sin of a Representa­tive, though it be of his that was so; but is the particular sin of every one of us. But this Objection must be further 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 [Page 312] 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 threatned 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 hath been confirmed. That Christ did sustain the place of a surety, or was the surety of the New-Covenant, the Scri­pture doth so expresly affirm, that it cannot be denied. And that there may be sureties in cases criminal, as well as civil and pecuniary, hath been proved before. What else occurs about the singularity of Christs 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.

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 Scriptures in many places. Ans. (1) I know nothing more frequent in the Writings of some Learned Men, then 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 [Page 313] 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 fulfil 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 doth 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 doth 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 justifie; for it can justifie none, but upon a Righ­teousness [Page 314] that is originally and inherently his own. The man that doth 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 hath 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 much also 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.

CHAP. X. Arguments for Justification by the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ. The first Argument from the Nature and Ʋse of our own Personal Righteousness.

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 I 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 Enquiry is, how convinced sinners do on their Belie­ving obtain the Remission of sins, Acceptance with God, [Page 316] 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 proceedeth 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, doth declare him to be acquitted from all crimes laid unto his charge, 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 no 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 Christs divide the whole nature of Righteousness, as to the End enquired 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 it self. And two things I shall premise hereunto.

1. That I shall not consider this Righteousness of our own absolutely in it self, 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 it self sufficient to justifie us in the sight of God. But take it as it hath 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 [Page 317] 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 hath 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, Psal. 130.3, 4. If thou Lord shouldst mark Iniquities, O Lord, who should stand? But there is Forgiveness with thee that thou maist be feared. There is an Enquiry 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, Psal. 1.5. The wicked shall not stand in the Judgment, shall not be acquitted on their Trial. That which first offereth it self 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 [Page 318] 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, least our sins should appear also, and be heard. No Reason can any man give on his own Account, why they should not so be. 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, Ephes. 1.7. The other cannot be our own Obedience, because of our Iniquities. Wherefore this the same Psalmist directs us unto, Psal. 71.16. I will go in the strength of the Lord God, I will make mention of they 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, Psal. 143.2. Enter not into Judg­ment [Page 319] with thy Servant, for in thy sight shall no man living be ju­stified. This Testimony is the more to be 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, professeth 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 an 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 Gods 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 doth 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 justifie themselves, and despise others. But suppose he had no such confidence [Page 320] in the merit of his Works as some have now attained unto, yet why he doth 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 waves them all, and absolutely deprecates a Trial upon them. Come not, saith he, O Lord, into Judgment with thy Servant, as it is promised that he who believes should not come into Judgment, Joh. 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 Jesuite; in 1.2. Disp. 204. cap. 4. Inhaerens Justitia ita [Page 321] reddit animam justam & sanctam, ac proinde filiam Dei, ut hoc ipso reddat eam heredem, & dignam aeterna Gloria; imo ipse Deus efficere non potest ut hujusmodi justus 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 ceaseth for ever, 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 doth not pray absolutely that he would not enter into Judg­ment 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 Dutys and Obedience. But if so be these Dutys 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 doth 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 marvellous unto me, that some should so intepret 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 Obedience, no man living can be [Page 322] 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, doth 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 [Page 323] 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 betake themselves unto this method of the Psalmist, and cry as the Prophet Daniel doth 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 defence of his own Faith, Integrity, and Personal Righteous­ness, wherein he justified himself against the charge of Sathan 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, renounceth all his former Pleas, and betakes himself unto the same with the Psalmist, Chap. 40.4. Chap. 42.6.

It is true in particular cases, and as unto some especial end 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 [Page 324] 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, Cap. 64.6. We are all as an unclean thing, and all our Righte­ousnesses are as filthy Rags. It is true the Prophet doth in this place make a deep confession of the sins of the people. But yet withal he joyns 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. Chap. 64.8, 9. And the Righteousness 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 an humble acknowledgment and confession of their own sins, do betake themselves unto the Mercy and Grace of God alone, as dispensed through the Mediation and Blood of Christ; and all those wherein God promiseth to pardon and blot out our Iniquities for his own sake, for his names sake; to bless the people not for any good that was in them, nor for [Page 325] their Righteousness, nor for their Works, the consideration whereof he excludes from having any influence into any actings of his Grace towards them; And all those wherein God expresseth his Delight in them alone, and his Approbati­on of them who hope in his mercy, trust in his name, betaking 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 betake 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 Gods 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 betake themselves unto Grace and Mercy alone. And whereas, as we have before proved, God in the Justification of any doth 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 us.

Herein lies the substance of all that we enquire into, in this matter of Justification. All other disputes about quali­fications, conditions, causes [...] any kind of Interest for 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 Renuntiation of it, betake himself unto the Grace of God, and the Righteousness of Christ alone. In other things he is not concerned. And let men [Page 324] [...] [Page 325] [...] [Page 326] 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 easie 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 it self, or the consideration of this personal inherent Righteousness of our own, what it is and wherein it doth consist, and of what use it may be in our Justification. And unto this purpose it may be observed.

1. That we grant an inherent Righteousness in all that do believe, as hath been before declared. For the fruit of the Spirit is in all Goodness and Righteousness and Truth, Ephes. 5.9. Being made free from sin, we become the Servants of Righteousness, Rom. 6.20. And our Duty it is to follow after Righteousness, Godliness, Faith, Love, Meekness, 1 Tim. 2.22. 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 an Habitual Righteousness inherent in Believers, as they have put on the new man which after God is created in Righteousness and true Holiness, Ephes. 4.24. As they are the Workmanship of God created in Jesus Christ unto good Works, Chap. 2.8. 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; (1) 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. (2) That it is not ascribed unto, or found [Page 327] 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 it self, 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 an 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 justifie 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 no where 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 [Page 328] 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 expresly 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 it self, 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 it self, and so not a condition of it, Jerem. 31.33. Chap. 32.39. Ezek. 36.25, 26, 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 compleat 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 hath done these things which that Law re­quires, by whose Rule he is to be judged. But (1) This is not the way whereby the Scripture expresseth 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 forraign to the Gospel, and de­structive of the Grace of God by Jesus Christ. (2) It is granted, that all Righteousness respects a Law as the Rule of it; And so doth 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 doth, in as much, as that so far as it is 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 [Page 329] 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 administred by him, it hath respect unto the Gospel. What will follow from hence? why that he is just that doth 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 that doth 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 doth it not so answer the Law, as that any man can be justified by it. But then it will be said, that if it doth 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 doth 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 doth answer the Law, it is a Righteousness, that is, imperfectly so, and therefore is an imperfect Righteousness; which yet giveth the Denominati- 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 doth the Law of Grace or the Gospel any where 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 [Page 330] 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 doth consist, do no more perfectly answer the commands of the Gospel, then 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 intension or lower degrees in the Love of God, than the Law doth, is an impious Imagination.

And that the Gospel requires all these things entirely and 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 non-performance 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 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 hath merited [Page 331] 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, then 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 judgeth it to be perfect, and so declares us to be most just, and justified thereon in his sight, or he judgeth it not to be compleat and perfect, yet declareth 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 hath ob­tained by his compleat 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 be­take 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 justifie it self, but must be obliged unto Grace and Pardon through the merits of Christ, will never be able to justifie 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 hath 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 [Page 332] 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 of no other Righteousness unto this end, but that which is so weak and imperfect as that no man can justi­fie it in his own Conscience, nor without a phrensie of pride, can think or imagine himself perfectly Righteous thereby.

And whereas it is added, that he is blind who sees not that this Righteousneso of ours is subordinate unto the Righteousness of Christ, I must acknowledge my self 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 hath 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 answereth 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 doth accom­pany it.

[Page 333]First, 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 lusteth 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 our selves 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 In-dwelling-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 our selves, 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 place or 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 withall 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, 15, 16. chap. 18.19. Hence saith Gregory in Job 9. lib. 9. cap. 14. Ʋt saepe diximus omnis Justitia humana injustitia esse convincitur si distincte judicetur. Bernard speaks to the same purpose, and almost in the same [Page 334] words, Serm. 1. fest. omn. sanct. Quid potest esse omnis humana justitia coram Deo? nonne juxta Prophetam, velut pannus men­struatus reputabitur; & si distincte judicetur, injustitia invenie­tur omnis Justitia nostra & minus habens. A man cannot be justified in any sense by that Righteousness which upon Trial will appear rather to be an Ʋnrighteousness.

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 raggs, Isa. 64.6. It hath 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 hath 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 Bellarmin) to renounce it, and betake himself unto Grace and Mercy alone.

3. It is imperfect by reason of the Incursion of actual sins. Hence our Saviour hath taught us continually to pray for the forgiveness of our sins; and if we say, that we have no sin we deceive our selves; 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 hath 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.

[Page 335]Two things are pleaded in the behalf of this Righteousness and its Influence into our Justification. (1) That it is abso­lutely compleat 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 hath 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 Terrour 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 answereth 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 then doth the conceit of sinless perfections 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 doth 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 doth [Page 336] consist, as they are required and prescribed in the Gospel unto us, and they do neither joyntly nor severally fulfil and and answer the commands of the Gospel no more then 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, doth make any Abatement, as unto the matter, manner, or degrees of perfection in it, from what was required by the Law. Doth 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, then 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 hath 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 hath 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.

[Page 337]4. This opinion puts an irreconcileable 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 pronounceth every one accursed who con­tinueth 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 doth consist.

Ans. 1. Some indeed do say so, but not all, not the most, not the most learned with whom in this controversie 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 it self such as exactly answereth some Rule or Law of Righteousness and so be per­fect, which it doth 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.

[Page 338]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 answereth 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 answereth not the Law of God, hath been proved from its Imperfection. Nor will any sober person pretend that it ex­actly and perfectly fulfills the Law of our Creation. And this Law cannot be disanulled whilst the Relation of Creator and Rewarder on the one hand, and of Creatures capable of Obedience and Rewards on the other between God and us doth continue. Wherefore that which answereth not this Law will not justifie us. For God will not abrogate that Law, that the Transgressors of it may be justified. Do we saith 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, answereth not the end of God in our Justification by the Gospel. For this is to take away all glorying in our selves, 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, 30, 31. How it is Faith alone that gives glory to God herein, hath been declared in the Description of its nature. But it is evident that no man hath, or can have possibly any other, any greater occasion of boasting in him­self, with respect unto his Justification, then 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 then our Hearts and knoweth all things. There is [Page 339] 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 liveth and sinneth 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 doth 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 perswasion 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 requireth 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 compleat performance of what was required of them as the condition of the Covenant in order unto their Justification before God. This hath been spoken unto before.

CHAP. XI. The nature of the Obedience that God requi­reth of us. The Eternal obligation of the Law thereunto.

OUr second Argument shall be taken from the nature of that Obedience or Righteousness which God requireth 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 actings towards mankind, all his dealings with them, all his Constitutions and Laws concerning them, are to be resolved into his own Soveraign will and pleasure. No other reason can be given of the Original, of the whole Systeme of them. This the Scripture testifieth unto, Psal. Prov. 16.4. Ephes. 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 them, 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, depends on Gods free Constitution, [Page 341] no less then 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 Soveraign act of Gods 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 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 Gods Government towards him.

4. This necessary Law, so far forth as it was necessary, did immediately and unavoidably ensue upon the constitution of our natures 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 doth 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 [Page 342] 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 doth 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 rebell against the preceptive power of this 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. [Page 343] Neither was this an effect of Arbitrary will and pleasure, any more than the Law it self 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 that Law, God be­ing now considered as his Ruler and Governour, 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 it self been Arbitrary. But that being necessary, so was the penalty of this Transgres­sion. Wherefore the constitution of this penalty, is liable to no more change, alteration, or abrogation, then the Law it self, 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 fulfil, 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 weakned. Wherefore

9. This Law, the Law of Sinless perfect Obedience, with its sentence of the punishment of Death on all Transgressors, doth and must abide in force for ever 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 [Page 344] that punishment which is declared in the sanction of it, or threatned 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 Law, is exempted from the punishment threatned 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 fulfil 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 Foederal adjunct of the Law, but about its moral nature only. It is enough, that as a Law, it continueth 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 [Page 345] 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, he 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, that he should not 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 doth 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 Rule 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 comprized 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 themselves 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 for ever. Wherefore it is only thus far broke as a Covenant, that [Page 346] 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 Threatnings, it abideth the same as it was from the Beginning.

2ly, 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 hath fixed the Earth are left to move and flote 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 primogenial and concreated with our natures, and those Dictates of Right and Wrong which Rea­son originally suggested and approved, 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 Depravations 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.

3ly, 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 perswade or bribe his Conscience not to comply with it in Judgment, as [Page 347] 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 supream Dominion over all, may in some Instances change the nature and order of things, so as 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 Aegyptians. But on a supposition of the continuance of that order of things which this Law is the preservative of, such is the intrinsick nature of the Good and Evil commanded and forbidden therein, that it is not the subject of divine Dispensation, as even the School-men 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 threatned unto the Transgression of this Law; and 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 [...] 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 [Page 348] the Righteousness of God as the supream Governour of all.

11. About the first of these our Controversie 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 enquire 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, Soveraign 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 threatned 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 Threatnings, 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 our selves to perform the Obedience for the future which it doth require. And each of them have a respect un­to a Soveraign 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 wofully deceive their own Souls, [Page 349] 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 Undertakers 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 it self, Math. 5.17. Rom. 3.31. chap. 8.4. chap. 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 requireth is changed; which we shall examine as the only reserve against our present Ar­gument.

3. 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 respecteth the Law, the other our Obedience.

14. That which respecteth 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 to be continued in force but that which requires only sincere Obedience of us, whereof there is as unto Duties the manner of their performance, not any absolute Rule or Measure, yet this is not by many pretended. They say not [Page 350] 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 dependance 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 it self. 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 expresly revo­king it, or enjoyning 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 hath God taken away the obliga­tion of the Original Law of Obedience, either as unto Du­ties or Recompences of Reward. Neither is there any direct Law made for its Abrogation; nor hath 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 hath actually intro­duced [Page 351] another Covenant inconsistent with it, and contrary un­to it. But yet neither doth 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 hath 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, doth 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 doth not operate by meer Soveraign 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 hath actually complied with it, hath 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 notwithstanding 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 hath received a new Interpretation, whereby it is declared, that it doth not ob­lige, nor shall be construed 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 [Page 352] 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 notionally and practically, as all who design to burden the Consciences of men with their own commands, do endeavour constantly to recompence them, by an Indulgence with respect unto the commands of God) He on the contrary rejects all such pretended Epikeia's 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, ipsi 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 compleatness 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 [Page 345] and perfect; but although it be performed with less intension of Love unto God, or in a lower Degree, then it did at first require, so it be sincere and univer­sal as unto all the parts of it, it is all that the Law now requireth 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 preceptive part, so far as we are concerned in it, answered and complied withall. 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 [Page 346] latter, in the first place; There is no true Believer but hath these two things fixed in his mind and conscience.

1. That there is nothing in principles, habits, qualities, oracti­ons, wherein he comes short of a perfect compliance with the Holy Law of God, even as it required perfect Obedience, but that it hath in it the nature of sin, and that in it self deserving the Curse annexed Originally unto the breach of that Law. They do no therefore apprehend that its Obligation is taken off, weakned 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 preceptive 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 [Page 347] leave no standard of Righteousness, but only a Lesbian Rule, which turns and apply's it self 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 center 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 hath 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 threatned withal. (5) It reflects on the goodness of God himself. For on this supposition that he hath 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 Phrensie 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 Ruine?

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 [Page 348] 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 followeth 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.

CHAP. XII. The Imputation of the Obedience of Christ unto the Law, Declared and Vindicated.

FRom the foregoing General Argument, another doth issue in Particular, 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 followeth, 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 preceptive 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 Honor of his Righteousness, as the Author of the Law, and the Supream 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 preceptive part of the Law be complied withal for us, in as much as obe­dience thereunto is required of us? And as we are no more able of our selves to fulfil the Law, in a way of obedience, [Page 362] then 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 Honor 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 Christs 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 thereby be im­puted unto us, as we our selves had made satisfaction unto God, as Bellarmine speaks and grants: On the same it was e­qually necessary, that is, as unto the glory and honor of the Le­gislator and Supream Governor of all by the Law, that he should fulfil the Preceptive 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 elswhere 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 Christs 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, is no less necessary unto our Justification before God, then 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 elswhere.

That the Obedience of Christ the Mediator is thus impu­ted unto us, shall be afterwards proved in particular by Testimonies of the Scripture. Here I intend only the vin­dication [Page 363] of the Argument as before laid down, which will take us up a little more time then 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. (1.) That it is impossible. (2.) That it is useless. (3.) That it is perni­tious to believe it. And if the Arguments used for the in­forcement of those Objections, be as cogent as the charge it self is fierce and severe, they will unavoidably overthrow the perswasions of it in the minds of all sober persons. But there is oft-times a wide difference between what is said, and what is proved, as will appear in the present case.

1. 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.

2. 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 compleatly righteous; so as that there is not the least necessity for, or use of the Imputation of the Obedience of Christ unto us.

3. Pernitious 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 [Page 364] 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.

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 hath been nothing since pleaded unto the same purpose, but what hath been derived from him, or wherein, at least, he hath not prevented the Inventions of other Men, and gone before them. And he makes this consideration the principal engine wherewith he indeavors the overthrow of the whole Doctrine of the merit of Christ. For he supposeth, 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 savor of a sweet smelling Sacrifice. His offering for us, is only the presentation of himself in the presence of God in Heaven; now he hath no more to do for himself in a way of Duty. And the truth is, if the Obedience of Christ [Page 365] 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 then 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 my self 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 that 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 suffereth. 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 then the meer 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 Christs fulfilling of the Law in Obedience unto its commands, is no less imputed unto us for our Justification, then 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 [Page 366] 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 first part of the charge, consider only the Arguings of Socinus, which is the whole of what some at present do indeavor to perplex the truth withal.

To this purpose is his discourse, Part 3. cap. 5. de Servat. Jam vero manifestum est, Christum quia homo natus fuerat, & quidem, ut inquit Paulus, factus sub lege, legi divinae in­quam, quae aeterna & 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 Pauli verbis colligitur, non potuisset iis, qui ei legi servandae obnoxii sunt, opem ferre & 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 divinam 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 our selves, 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 indeavors to prove [Page 367] with this Reason, Because if it were otherwise, then he might, if he would, have neglected the while 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 then 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 allow of none of those considerations of the Person of Christ which makes what he did and suffered, of another nature and efficacy, then what can be done or suffered by any other Man. All that he adds, in the process of his discourse, is, That what ever 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 insuing 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 Humane 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 [Page 368] performance and accomplishment, are they the acts of the Person. So the Acts of Christ in his Mediation, as to their [...] or immediate operation, were the actings of his distinct Natures; some of the Divine, and some of the Humane, imme­diately. But as unto their [...], 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 [...] under the Law, nor could be formally ob­liged thereby. He was indeed, as the Apostle witnesseth, made so in his Humane 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 it self, 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 own, such as the Law is; nor can it have an Authoritative commanding power over it, as it must have, if it were made [...] under the Law. Thus the Apostle argues, That Levi paid Tithes in Abraham, because he was then in his Loyns, when Abraham himself paid Tithes unto Melchisedec, Heb. 7. And thence he proves, That he was in­ferior unto the Lord Christ, of whom Melchisedec was a Type. But may it not thereon be replied, that then no less the Lord Christ was in the Loyns of Abraham then 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 Humane Nature; but as he was typed and represented by Melchisedec in his whole Person, without Father, without Mo­ther, without Genealogy, without beginning of Days or End of [Page 369] Life: So he was not absolutely in Abrahams Loyns, and was exempted from being tithed in him. Wherefore the Obedi­ence whereof we treat, being not the Obedience of the Humane Nature abstractedly, however performed in and by the Humane Nature, but the Obedience of the Person of the Son of God, however the Humane 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 shew 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 witnesseth. Phil. 2.9. Luk. 24.26. Rom. 14.9. yet absolutely his Glory was an imme­diate consequent of the Hypostatical Ʋnion. Heb. 1.6. Matth. 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 elswhere, 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.

[Page 370]2. As our Lord Jesus Christ owed not in his own Person this Obedience for himself, by vertue 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 Humane 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 proposeth 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 veil 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, 6, 7, 8.

Some of the Antient 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 elswhere 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 hath 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 [Page 371] 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, doth consequentially overthrow all the Grace and Love both of the Father, and 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: But this I positively deny. The Lord Christ was e­very way meet for the whole Work of Mediation, by the ineffable union of the Humane Nature with the Divine, which exalted it in Dignity, Honor, and Worth, above any thing, or all things that insued thereon. For hereby he became in his whole Person the object of all Divine Worship and Honor; for when he brings 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 fulfil 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 [Page 372] 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 Catholick 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 defence 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, then to dispossess the minds of true Believers of this perswasion: 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, then the obligation that 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 Humane 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, [Page 373] In that from the first instant of that Ʋnion, 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 Humane Nature in it self, 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 meer 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 Ʋnion of his Person; whence he prays that the Father would glorifie 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 whilest 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 Humane Nature of Christ was made [...], 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 whilest he was Viator. But this being by especial Dispensation, inti­mated [Page 374] 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, 7, 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 [...]. 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 threatned. 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 Bondman in­stead of Benjamine 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 Benjamine; and unto Benjamine, it would have been impu­ted in his liberty. So when the Apostle Paul wrote those words unto Philemon concerning Onesimus, [...], Vers. 18. If he hath wronged thee, dealt unrighteously or injuriously with thee, or oweth thee ought, wherein thou hast suffered loss by him, put it on my account, or impute it all unto me; I will repay it, or an­swer [Page 375] for it all. He supposeth 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 hath wronged thee, or oweth the ought. Hereon he proposeth him­self, and obligeth himself by his express Obligation [...]. I Paul have written it with my 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 Hu­mane Nature whilest 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 publick 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 publick person doth as a publick person, that is, as a Representative of others, and an undertaker for them, whatever may be his own con­cernment therein, he doth it not for himself, but for others. And if others were not concerned therein, if it were not for them, what he doth would be of no use or signification. Yea, it implies a contradiction that any one should do any thing as a publick person, and do it for himself only. He who is a publick person, may do that wherein he alone is concern­ed, but he cannot do so as he is a publick 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 [Page 376] Obedience as a publick person, to have been for himself, and not for others, hath but little less of impiety in it.

6. It is granted, That the Lord Christ having an Humane 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 doth 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, doth not respect the World, and this life only, but the future state of Heaven, and Eternity also. And this Law, the Humane Nature of Christ is subject unto, in Heaven and Glory, and cannot but be so, whilest it is a Creature, and not God, that is, whilest it hath its own Being. Nor do any Men fancy such a transfusion of divine properties into the Humane Nature of Christ, as that it should be self-subsisting, and in it self abso­lutely immense; for this would openly destroy it. Yet none will say, that he is now [...] under the Law, in the sense intended by the Apostle. But the Law in the sense described, the Humane Nature of Christ was subject unto on its own account, whilest 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 indispensible Law of Love, Adherence, and Depend­ance on God, under which the Humane Nature of Christ was, and is as a Creature, gives sufficient security against such Suppositions.

[Page 377]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 whilest 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, ceaseth when we come to the injoyment of that Reward. It obligeth us no more formally by its com­mand, Do this and live, when the life promised, is injoyed. 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 Ʋnion 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, meerly 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 hath been opposed, but a [Page 378] 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.

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 insuing discourse, or answered elswhere.

Answ. 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 intang­ling sophism, though it should appear insoluble. But as we shall see, there is no such difficulty in these arguings, but what may easily be discussed. And because the matter of the Plea [Page 379] 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 do judge, That he who hath sinned, hath 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 try­al for any evil fact, and being legally convicted thereof, is discharged by Soveraign 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 hath 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 Joab be put to death for his crime; but unto Abiathar he gives a Pardon. Did he thereby make, declare or constitute him righteous? Himself expresseth the contrary, affirming him to be unrighteous and guilty, only he remitted the punishment of his fault. 1 King. 2.26. Wherefore the Par­don of sin dischargeth the guilty person from being liable or obnoxious unto Anger, Wrath, or Punishment, due unto his sin; but it doth not suppose, nor infer in the least, that he is thereby or ought thereon to be esteemed or adjudged to have [Page 380] done no evil, and to have fulfilled all righteousness. Some say, Pardon gives a righteousness of Innocency, but not of Obedience. But it cannot give a Righteousness of Innocency, absolutely, such as Adam had. For he had actually done no evil. It only removeth guilt, which is the respect of sin unto punishment, insuing 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 supposeth, that he who is so, hath 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 doth not do so. For at best it supposeth no more, but that a Man as yet hath done nothing actually against the Rule of Righteousness. Now this may be when yet he hath 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 Innocency; which is the height of what can be attained by the compleat pardon of sin.

2. It proceeds on this Supposition, That the Law, in case of sin, doth 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 doth so, then the pardon of sin, which only frees us from the penalty of the Law, doth yet leave it necessary, that Obedience be perform­ed unto it, even all that it doth require. But this, in my judg­ment, is an evident mistake, and that such as doth not esta­blish the Law, but make it void. And this I shall demon­strate.

[Page 381]1. The Law hath two parts or powers. (1.) Its preceptive part, commanding and requiring obedience, with a promise of life annexed: Do this and live. (2.) The sanction on sup­position of disobedience, binding the sinner unto punish­ment, or a meet recompence 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 inseparate from its Nature.

2. This Law, whereof we speak, was first given unto Man in innocency; 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, doth cease to affect the sinner, [Page 382] 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 pre­ceptive power of the Law. He that is finally executed, hath fulfilled the Law so, as that he ows no more obedience un­to it.

But 2. God in his Wisdom and Patience, hath 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 Threat­ning; Reward nor Punishment could be proposed unto him. In this condition he falls under a twofold consideration. (1.) Of a guilty person, and so is obliged unto the full punish­ment, that the Law threatens. This is not denied. (2.) 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 hath exempted himself from the Government of God. Wherefore it is by the Law, that the Rule and Government of God over Men, is continued whilest they are in statu Via­torum: For every Disobedience, every Transgression of its Rule and Order as to its commanding Power casteth us a­fresh, and further, under its Power of obliging unto Punishment.

Neither can these things be otherwise; neither can any Man living, not the worst of Men, chuse but judge himself [Page 383] whilest he is in this World, obliged to give Obedience un­to the Law of God, according to the notices that he hath 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 requireth.

And this greatly strengthneth the Argument, in whose Vin­dication we are ingaged; 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, satisfie the Curse of the Law, dying thou shalt die; so by the utmost of his suffering, he could not fulfil 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 alledged, Cum duo nobis peperisse Christum dixerimus impunitatem & praemium, illud satisfactioni hoc merito Christi distincte tribuit vetus Ec­clesia. [Page 384] Satisfactio consistit in meritorum translatione, meritum in perfectissimae obedientiae pro nobis praestitae imputatione.

3. The Objection mentioned proceeds also on this Sup­position, That pardon of sin gives title unto Eternal Blessedness in the injoyment of God: For Justification doth so, and ac­cording to the Authors of this opinion, no other Righteous­ness is required thereunto but pardon of sin. That Justifi­cation doth give Right and Title unto Adoption, Accepta­tion with God, and the Heavenly Inheritance, I suppose will not be denied, and it hath 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. Ephes. 1.7. But suffering for Punishment gives Right and Title unto no­thing, only satisfies for something; nor doth it deserve any Reward: It is no where 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 hath his sins pardoned, is accepted with God, hath 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, 7, 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 unto 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 [Page 385] 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 distinguisheth these things. Gal. 3.13, 14. & 4.4, 5, And so doth 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 that are sanctified by Faith that is in me. [...] 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 giveth 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 meer 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, doth God absolve and acquit the sinner upon his tryal. But pardon on a juridical tryal, on what consi­deration soever it be granted, gives no right nor title unto any favor, benefit, or priviledge, but only meer 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, [Page 386] Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee; and I will cloath thee with change of rayment. And I said, Let them set a fair Miter upon his Head; so they set a fair Miter on his Head, and cloathed him with garments. It hath 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 Mans filthy garments are taken away, he is no more defiled with them; but he is not thereby cloathed. This is an ad­ditional grace and favor thereunto, namely to be cloathed with change of garments. And what this rayment is, is de­clared Isa. 61.10. He hath cloathed me with the garments of Salvation, he hath 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 cloathing of us with change of rayment; 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, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

This place I had formerly urged to this purpose about Communion with God, p. 187. which Mr. Hotch. 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 rayment men­tioned in the Prophet, our own personal righteousness is intended. For he acknowledgeth that our Justification before God is here represented. And so also he expounds the place pro­duced in the confirmation of the Exposition given, Isai. 61.10. where this change of rayment is called The garments of Salvation, and the robe of Righteousness; and thereon affirms, That our Righteousness it self, before God, is our Personal Righteousness, p. 203. That is, in our Justification before him, which is the only thing in question. To all which [Page 387] 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. Chap. 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, hath 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 my self 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 forensick. 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, doth 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 doth not so do, 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 favor of God, the Adop­tion [Page 388] 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 hath 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 hath 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, doth not depend on, nor proceed from the pardon of sin, but hath 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 hath 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 [Page 389] Grace, and our Title unto the heavenly Inheritance do de­pend. This we have not in and of our selves, nor can at­tain unto, as hath 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 cavilling 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 offence of One many are dead; so his Grace, and the Gift of Grace, through one man Christ Jesus hath abounded unto many; and as by the Offence 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. Rom. 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 compleat 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 [Page 390] 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 doth believe; And if the Israelites could say, that David was worth ten thousand of them, 2 Sam. 21.3. 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 useth those two words [...], and [...] Righteousness and Obe­dience, as [...], of the same signification, Rom. 5.18, 19. such are those, that Remission of Sin and Justification are the same, or that Justification consisteth only in the Remission of Sin; that Faith it self as our Act and Duty, being 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 hath a congruity in deserving the Grace of Justifi­cation, or a down-right 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 acknowledg that our Blessedness and life eternal is in the Scripture oftimes ascribed unto the death of Christ: But it is so (1.) [...] as [Page 391] 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 indispensibly to be undergone. (2.) It is so [...]; not exclusively unto all Obedience whereof mention is made in other Places, but as that where­unto it is inseparably conjoyned, 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 [...] with respect unto Evidence and Manifestation. But the Death of Christ exclu­sively as unto his Obedience is no where asserted as the Cause of eternal life, comprizing 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 hath been proved already, and it hath 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 Condescention of the Son in coming and undertaking of the Work of Redemption designed unto him, or of the Office it self 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. [Page 392] 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 enquired into. And

1. The Lord Christ our Mediator and Surety was in his Humane Nature made [...] under the Law, Gal. 4.1. 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 Threatning of eternal things, of any thing beyond this pre­sent life, we are still in our Sins, under the Curse of the Moral Law, notwithstanding all that he hath done for us. It is excepted with no 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 oblieged unto all the Obedience that it required, as hath been proved. And if the Lord Christ hath redeemed us only from the Curse of it by undergoing it, leaving us in our selves to an­swer its Obligation unto Obedience, we are not freed nor deli­vered. And the Expression of under the Law doth in the first place and properly signifie 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 [...] [Page 393] 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 testifieth concern­ing himself; Think not that I am come to destroy the Law and the Prophets, I am not come to destroy but to fulfil, Mat. 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 hath destroyed and taken away the Law. And Maimonides in his Treatise De fundamentis Legis, hath many blasphemous Reflections on the Lord Christ as a false Prophet in this matter. But the Reconciliation is plain and easie. 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 it self. 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, Ephes. 2.14, 15, 16. But the Law [...], that which obligeth all men unto Obedience unto God always, he came not [...] to destroy; that is [...], to abolish it, as an [...] is ascribed unto the Mosaical Law, Heb. 9. (In the same sense is the Word used, Matth. 24.2. Chap. 26.6 Chap. 27.40. Mark 13.2. Chap. 14.58. Chap. 15. [Page 394] 29. Luk. 21.6. Acts 5.38, 39. Chap. 6.14. Rom. 14.20. 2 Cor. 5.1. Gal. 2.18. mostly with an Accusative Case, of the things spoken of.) or [...], which the Apostle denys to be done by Christ, and Faith in him, Rom. 3.31. [...]. Do we then make void the Law through Faith? God forbid; yea we establish the Law. [...] 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 expresly declares in his ensuing discourse, shewing both its Power of obliging us always unto Obedience, and giving an Exposition of it. This Law the Lord Christ came [...], in the Scripture is the same with [...] in other Writers; that is, to yield full perfect Obedience unto the Commands of the Law, whereby they are absolutely fulfilled; [...], is not to make the Law perfect; for it was always [...], a perfect Law, Jam. 1.25. but to yield perfect Obedience unto it; the same that our Saviour calls [...], Mat. 3.15. to fulfil all Righteousness; that is, by Obedience unto all Gods Commands and Institutions, as is evident in the Place. So the Apostle useth the same Expression, Rom. 13.8. he that loveth another, hath fulfilled the Law.

It is a vain exception that Christ fulfilled the Law by his Doctrine, in the Exposition of it. The Opposition between the Words [...] and [...] 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, v. 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. [Page 395] Therefore as by the Offence 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 the disobedience of One 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 expresly 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 saith, he was Obedient unto death; 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 [...], Ver. 19. And [...], Ver. 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 [...], 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 [...], to the offence. By the offence of [Page 396] One; But the offence intended was an actual Transgression of the Law; so is [...], a fall from or a fall in the Course of Obedience. Wherefore the [...] or Righteousness must be an actual Obedience unto the Commands of the Law, or the force of the Apostles 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.

CHAP. XIII. The nature of Justification proved from the difference of the Covenants.

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 [...] unto a compleat and perfect State; that is the Covenant of Works, or the Law of our Creation as it was given unto us, with Promises and Threatnings, 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,</