Wherin Not only the DOCRINE of JUSTIFICATION by FAITH is Asserted and Cleared, And sundry Arguments for JUSTIFICA­TION before FAITH, discussed and Answered,

But Also The nature and the meanes of Faith, with the Impu­tation of our sins to CHRIST, and of Christs Righteousness to us are briefely Explain­ed and Confirmed.

Preached at Dorchester in New-England by RICHARD MATHER Teacher to the Church there.

And Now by him Published at the earnest request of sundry well-affected and Godly Christians.

Printed by Samuel Green at CAMBRIDG in New-England 1652.


THE Authors Preface to the Reader.

Christian Reader,

WHen these sermons were first preached in the ordinary course of my ministry in going forward on the book of Genesis, I had no thoughts at that time that they should ever have been farther published in this way that now thou seest. But sundry Godly Christians & Brethren having heard them delivered in preaching, and thinking they might afterwards also bee usefull for the benefit of themselves and their familyes if they might enjoy them printed, which they did very much desire, they therefore came to mee with a serious & solemn request that I would further and fulfill their earnest desires in this thing. Against which motion though I alledged many objections, yet they still continued to desire as formerly. Wherupon at the last, considering with my self that God who hath the hearts of all men in his hands might in mooving their hearts to such a desire have some farther intent therin for his own glory and the good of some or other of his servants, then I at the first did apprehend, or could perceive, I therupon began to consider further of the motion: and having perused & revised some brief notes which I had by me, of those sermons, I imparted to them a Copye therof, yet with renuall of my former objections against printing, and proposing to their consideration whether it might not be best to satisfie themselves with that written copie, and to let the printing alone. But their desires continued as afore; and thence it commes to pass that the sermons are committed to publick view. Which I thus aquaint the Reader withall partly as some excuse for my self that I would publish such plain stuff as here is conteined, in such a knowing and Cruicall time as this is; for the importunity of request hath compelled me thereto: and partly that if any sober and honest hearted christian receive any benefit hereby [Page] hee may know to whom he is indebted for the same, even chiefly to the Lord as the principall Author of all good, and then unto those godly Christians who have been the instruments of bringing these sermons to be publick, which had it not been through their importunity, had never seen the light in this way.

I deny not but sundry of the things here treated of, viz the grace of Faith, Justification by faith, and the Imputation of Christs Righteousness unto justification, are mayn and principall points of christian religion, and such as that the ignorance of them or erroneous apprehentiōs about them can not but be very perilous: in which respect it is the more needfull that the people of God should be established in the belief & love of the truth concerning such points as these are. And for this cause I the rather yeilded to publish what here thou seest, (being so importuned therunto as I have said) if I might by the blessing of Christ afford any little help to the end afore mentioned. And so much the rather, because Satan that enemy of all truth & father of lyes hath endevoured not only of old but of late also, to corrupt the mindes of many people touching these things. Heretofore and still amongst the popish sort he would perswade to an opinion of justification by works, and not by faith only. And now when the perniciousness of that Tenent begins to be more generally discerned, he labours to under­mine the truth another way, instilling into the minds of some a conceit that they may be justified not only without their own works but also without the grace of faith. And because it would be too gross at the first to cry down all use of faith which the Spirit of God in the holy Scripture doth so abundantly urge & extoll, and that therfore such a conceit at the first would hardly take amongst them that have any acquaintance with the Scripture, therfore the crafty enemy allowes for the time that there may be some use of faith about this matter of justification, viz: to know or be assured by it of justification preceding, and that though we are justified in­deed afore faith, yet wee did not know it afore, but now do know it by faith. A palpable perverting of the truth of God plainly and plenteously laid down in his word, especially in Pauls epistles wherin you shall never read of knowing by faith that we are justi­fied without faith, or before faith: Such language is a stranger in Gods book, and amongst the oracles of God, and far discrepant [Page] from the form of wholsom words. wherin nothing is more fre­quent then that we are justified by faith. Now to turn this word, Wee are justified, into this meaning, wee know that we are justified, in which sence it will be hard to find it so much as once used in any place where justification by faith is spoken of, is a manifest metamorphosing of the words of the Holy one, and a wresting of the Scripture (I fear) unto mens own destruction: 2 Pet: 3. 16.

But do you think that Satan will rest here? It is rather to be feared, if this delusion takes place a while, this use of faith which is yet allowed, will be denyed also. For some are already come to this to deny that there are any gifts or graces at all in the hearts of justified persons. Which if it were true, then there is no faith in them: and if there be no faith, then it is not by faith that men do know their justification; for how can they know it by that which is not? And so, as now they deny that men are justified by faith, so when & where this other delusion takes place, to deny all inherent▪ graces, there men must hold that justification may not only be, but also be known without faith, or else not be known at all. A lamentable & dreadfull issue wherat Satan drives, and whereto this opinion tends, if God do not in mercy prevent.

And because this is a time, wherin not only these but many other unsound opinions, and some of them very pernicious are scattered abroad, therfore I hope the godly Reader will bear with me, if out of my unfeyned desire of his salvation and of the honour of Jesus Christ and his truth, I shall here propound some few helps for a christians preservation in the truth from the prevailing power of errour. And let not this be thought a needless bussiness, nor let any that loveth his own salvation give way to that conceit to think there is no danger in opinions whatever a man shall hold: for though all opinions be not alike dangerous▪ yet there is none but it hath danger in it, especially if it touch the foundation, and so much the more danger by how much the less suspected. If it were not so, why doth the Holy Ghost so often exhort us & command us to beware of being seduced & beguiled with errours, and with them that teach them? Math. 7. 15. & 16. 6, 12. & 24. 4, 5. Mark 4. 24. & 12. 38. Eph. 4. 14. Phil. 3. 2. Col: 2. 8. Heb. 13. 9. 2 Pet: 3. 7. Jude 3. 1 John 4. 1, 2. 2 John 7, 8, 10. In which places & many more we are bidden to beware of false Pro­phets, [Page] and of their doctrine, to take heed that no man deceive us, to take heed what we hear, and that we be not led away with the errour of the wicked and with every wind of doctrine, and fall from our [...] stedfastness, that we contend for the faith, and not believe every spirit but try thé spirits whether they are of God, and many such like. All which warnings so frequent and so serious the Lord would not have given, but that he knowes erronious opinions are dangerous, and we in danger to be beguiled therwith, yea and to have our soules to be subverted by them as the Scripture speaketh. Acts 15. 24. For which cause also it is that Heresies are reckoned up a­mongst Adulterers, Idolatries, Murthers, Drunkenness, and other damning works of the flesh that exclude men out of heaven Gal. 5. 19, 20, 21. and are expressly called damnable Heresies, and the wayes therof pernicious wayes 2 Pet. 2. 1, 2. Where then are they that think it no great matter what opinions a man do hold, or what judgment he is of in matters of religion, and that no man should be much misliked for such matters which they call conscience, so long as he is not otherwise culpable in his conversatiō for scandal in pract­ise, such as are murthers, whordoms, drunkenness, theevery & the like? which is as if one should say, there are some works of the flesh which exclude out of heaven, and subvert the soul, for which a man should not be misliked though he be known to walk in them, but may have the repute & reward of a right good and honest man notwithstanding.

Which opinion of the little danger of opinions, as in it self it is very erronious, so it is one thing that makes way for other errours to be more readily entertained & persisted in, Satan having by this means perswaded the sonns and daughters of men to believe that errours have not much danger in them, & hence they are not much afraid of them. Wheras if they did stedfastly believe and seriously consider what the Scripture teacheth, how that by such things mens souls are subverted, and themselves in danger to be excluded out of Gods Kingdom, and to be destroyed, they would then be more caucious & considerate what doctrines they entertain, and the more afraid of perishing in errour: but through want of this considera­tion, corrupt and pernicious apprehentions do so greatly abound. Otherwise, how could it be that men should so easily be brought to deny the Sacred Trinity, the Godhead of Jesus Christ, the Impu­tation [Page] of his righteousness unto justification, the Divine authority of the holy Scriptures, the immortality of the soul, the morality of the Sabbath, so making all dayes alike, yea to deny not only the fourth Commandement, as Papists have done the second, but also to deny the whole Law of God to be any Rule of life to a believer, holding also that God sees no sin in his children, that sin hath God for the authour of it, that there is no Election, but an universal Re­demption by Christ and free will in man, and that men regenerate and justified may fall away, that there are no Churches, ministry or Ordinances of any necessary use in these dayes to some Christians, but that men may attain to such attainmets as to have no need ther­of, but may live without them or be above them. Not to mention any more of such like tenents which in these dayes do too much a­bound. Dreadfull things you may be sure if they be persisted in, and yet too many there be that do believe them and vent them, to the extream hazard of their own and others soules. And therfore that the godly christian may by the help of Christ be preserved from these & all other whether soul-destroying or soul-endangering doct­rines, let him carefully make use of these few helps.

1. Let a man be sure that his profession of religion be in since­rity & truth, that he may not only have a form of godliness, but the truth and power of it, and then he shall surely be preserved from destroying errours. For though false teachers may deceive many, and shew signes & wonders for that end, yet it is not possible that they should finally deceive the Elect and chosen ones of God Math: 24. 24. or will the sheep of Christ harken to the voyce of a stranger, but will flee from him▪ John 10. 5, 8. and that saying 1 Iohn 2. 29. they went out from us, but were not of us, and as it sheweth that Apostates in their best times were but hypocrites, so it also sheweth that they who are but hypocrites are like enough in the end to be­come Apostates.

2. Stabillity and settledness of mind & judgment in the truth is also a means to be preserved from being seduced▪ For it is children that are tossed too and fro & carryed about with every wind of doctrine Ephe. 4. 14. wheras if the heart be stablished with grace, a man shall not so easily be carryed about with divers and strange doctrines Heb: 13. 9. no, it is the ignorant and unstable that wrest the Scrip­tures to their own destruction 2 Pet. 3. 16. When there comes a [Page] stream or flood of waters on the earth, trees and houses that are rooted and well grounded do stand firm, but what ever lyes loose is swept away: so the flood of errours may carry away loose and unsetled professors, but such as are rooted & grounded abide firm and stedfast.

And especially it is good to be well grounded in principles of Catechism; for these points are fundamentall, & therfore are called the foundation Heb: 6. 1,2. And it is not often seen but that they who are led away with erroneous opinions, and vain and empty whimseys are very defective even in catechisticall points. The voice of errour is, who so is simple, let him come huher Pro: 9. 16.

3. And as a means of both the former, it is very needfull and to be of an humble spirit, truely abased in the sight and sence of a mans own weakness, and sinfulness, and unworthyness; for such have a promise of being informed in the truth and wayes of God Ezek: 43 10, 11. and of direction & preservation Psal: 25. 9. Babes shall have truths of God revealed to them, which are hid from the wise and prudent Math: 11. 25. And the reason is, because humble souls are afraid of themselves, dare not trust to their own under­standing and strength, but depend upon God & Christ to preserve and teach them in the truth. Wheras others trusting on themselves are therfore neer unto a fall, even because they are proud, and self­confident Pro. 16. 18. & 28. 14.

4. It is needfull for to keep a good conscience by walking in obedience to the truth and will of God, so far as a man doth know already: for to such there is a promise that they shall know what doctrine is of God and what is otherwise John 7. 17. Wheras they that take pleasure in unrighteousness are in danger to be given up to believe lyes, and so to be damned 2 Thes. 2. 11,12. and therfore it is said, the wise shall understand, but none of the wicked shall under­stand Dan: 12,10. As there are few errours in opinion but they bring forth sins in practise, so sins in practise will bring errour in principles, through the judgment of the Lord upon men for those their sinns. They that were led captive of errours were loeden with divers lusts 2 Tim: 3. 6,7. men that will not do what they know, it is just if they be left in blindness and not know what to do. When a master gives light to his servants and they do no good therewith, but abuse it to cards, dice, drinking, drunkenness &c: [Page] it is just if he come and take away the light from them, and so they be left in darkness. In like sort it is a righteous thing with God to plague the poluted lives & consciences of men with giving them up to the darkness & delusions of errour. Oh let all them tremble at this, that have much knowledg in their heads, but little power of grace in their hearts to walk accordingly, but by the power of unmortified lusts are so carryed away as to sin wickedly against the light of their own knowledg & consciece in one kind or in another; for besides the great wrath and many stripes that such may expect in another world, they may also fear that the Lord may leave them to some pernicious errour or other even in this life, and thereby their damnation be the more dreadfull. A pure conscience is a good cask or vessell wherin to preserve and keep the mystery of faith. 1 Tim: 3. 9.

5 It was desire of noveltie that overthrew our first parents, Gen. 3. for they were well if they could have been so content; but having an itching desire to know more then God saw meet for them hence they were overthrown. And men that have itching ears, are apt to be turned from the truth and to be turned unto fables 2 Tim: 4. 3,4. It argues an ill stomack, and a weak & unhealthfull constituti­on of body, when a man can not disgest good and wholsom food without curious sauce. In like sort it is an ill sign of a distempered soul, when the good old way of the doctrine of faith, and repent­ance, and the like, is not savory to a mans spirit, but he must have new notions, and quaint & unquoth matter, or else it will not go down. Therfore beware of curiosity. The old way is the good way, let a man seek that and walk in it, and he shall find rest for his soul Jer: 6. 16.

6 Let a man beware of his compauy. He that delights to walk & talk with them that have the plague, it is no marvell if he catch infection. Therfore we are bidden to shun the society of corrupt & erroneous persons, to avoid them, and have no familiarity of converse with them. Rom: 16. 17. 2 Joh. 10. and to cease to hear the instruction that causeth to erre from the words of knowledg Pro. 19. 27. weak christians should not be admitted to doubtfull disputa­tions, least they be staggered Rom: 14. 1. and therfore they must not go to them of their own accord: and the reason is plain, viz: because we must avoid temptations as much as lyes in us, and ther­fore [Page] not lead our selves into temptation, for then it may be just with God to leave us to our selves. And therfore it is not safe, especially for weak christians, to be familiarly conversant with corrupt persōs, or corrupt books, which do frequently come abroad in these dayes.

7 Lastly, It is specially usefull in this case to keep close to the Scriptures, and to the means appointed of God for our right un­derstanding of the Scriptures. Therfore we are bidden, Go to the Law & to the Testimony Isai 8. 20. as on the contrary, the igno­rance of the Scriptures is noted in the Sadducees as a mayn cause of their errour, 22. 29. If a mans adversary & enemy can perswade him to throw away his weapons, he may then conceive hope of prevailing against him with more ease: and therfore it is no wonder if Satan in these dayes do breed questions against the Divine autho­rity and necessary & profitable use of the Scriptures as heretofore he was wont to do amongst the Papists, for he knowes it will bee for his advantage against poor souls, if he can by any meanes per­swade them to lay aside the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God, Ephe. 6. 17. but he that loves his soul must be more wise, then to harken to the counsel of Satan herin.

And for means for the right understanding of the Scripture, one is, the Church of God, and holy cōmunion therewith, another is the Officers & ministers of Christ therin. In respect of the for­mer it is said that the Law should go forth of Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isai 2. 3. that is to say, from the church. And there it was, even in the Sanctuary that the Psalmist came to understand that which otherwise was too hard & painfull for him Psal. 73. 16,17. For which cause it is that he that hath an ear to hear, must hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches Rev: 2. And even to the Angels themselves much of the manifold wisdom of God is made known by the church Ephe. 3. 10. If therfore a man hang loose from the love of Church-society, and the cōmunion of saints therin, it is no marvell if such an one be drawn away with errours, becaus the Curch is the pillar & ground of truth 1 Tim: 3. 15. The Apostle exhorting not to forsake the assembling of our selves together as the manner of some was, presently addeth what a dangerous thing it is to sinn willfully after wee have received the knowledg of the truth, that is, to becom Apostates, Heb: 10. 25,26. intimating therby that where there is the former, there men are in danger of the latter, [Page] that is to say, where the hearts of men draw back from Church­society, there they are in danger of Apostacy.

And for the ministers of Christ in his church; as it was said of old that the Priests lipps should preserve knowledg, and they should seek the Law at his mouth, Mal. 2. 7. so in the new Testament Christ hath appointed Officers in his Church, [...] for other ends, so for this that wee may not be children, tossed to and fro, with every wind of doctrine, Ephe. 4. 11,24. that is, that wee might not bee seduced with errours, and them that teach them. In which respect it is that the Eunuch confesseth he could not understand the Scrip­tures without some to guid him, Acts 8. 30,31. The Disciples of Christ hearing of an opinion of the Scribes that Christ was not the Messiah, because of a seeming-strong objection that Elias must first come, if they had kept this objection to themselves, they might have been foyled or puzzled therewith: but they were more wise then so, they do not keep it close and only plod upon it amongst themselves, but very honestly bring it forth to their Master Christ Jesus, and so had resolution & satisfaction; Math: 17. 10,11,12,13. A notable example and worthy of imitation: but when men have met with new notions & apprehentions, whether from books or otherwise, contrary to the doctrine which they have received, & shall keep them in hugger mugger, so that their officers must not know them; the ministers of Christ must not be aquainted with them, this is a ready way for the endangering of their souls exceed­ingly; Like stollen waters which are sweet, and bread eaten in secret which is pleasant, but the dead are there, and such ghuests are in the depth of Hell: Pro: 9. 17, 18.

Oh therfore let every soul that would be preserved from the infection of errour, carefully look to these things, and let him cry mightily to God through Jesus Christ for his grace and holy Spirit to preserve him in the truth, and to bless him in the use of these and other good means for that end; and then he may with comfort expect that the Lord will preserve him from the evill way of errour and lyes, and will guide him in the truth & wayes of grace to his heavenly Kingdom through Iesus Christ; To whom be all glory of service and affiance for ever.

R. M.

TO The Christian Reader.

THE Justification of a sinner before God, as it is the fruit of the Riches of his Grace: (Ephe: 1. 7.) So it is the Root of our peace with God: Rom: 5. 1. (which passeth understanding: Phil. 4. 7.) and of our joy in the Holy Ghost, which is unspeakable & glorious: 1 Pet: 1. 8. This is that gift of his Grace which filleth our hearts with admira­tion, to wonder at the abundant rich Mercy of the Lord in pardoning our many and mighty sinns (Micah 7. 18.) to wonder also at the deep demerit of our sinns which could not be expiated but by the precious blood yea and soul-sufferings of the great God our Saviour: Tea and to won­der likewise at our baseness, and filthines, and folly, that could live so long in so dangerous & desperate a course, provoking the most High to so great Anger, and our selves to the confusion of our own faces & souls.

Hence it is that every godly Treatise tending to the discovery of this grace is wont deeply to affect the hearts of such, as (through grace) have part in this common salvation. Amongst others of this kind (Good Reader) thou shalt find this little Treatise, to be like Maryes box of spiknard, which washing the paths of Christ towards us (as that did his feet) will be fit to perfume not only the whole house of God, with the odour of the oyntment of his Grace, but also thy soul with the oyl of gladnes, above what creature-comforts can afford. The manner of handling, thou shalt find to be solid, and judicious, succinct and pithy, fit (by the blessing of Christ) to make wise unto salvation. The presence and blessing of Christ go with it, to refresh thy soul with the savour of his Oyntments:

In whom we rest,
Studious of thine edification in his grace, and peace.
  • J. Cotton.
  • J. Wilson.
Geneses 15. 6.And hee Believed in the LORD, and Hee counted it to him▪ for righteousness.

IN the former verses of this chapter, is conteined a renewing of the Lords promise to Abram con­cerning his seed: In this verse is conteined the effect and fruit of that promise, how Abram ther­upon believed in the Lord; and then the benefit that accrewed to him by that believing, how the Lord accounted it to him for righteousness. For the meaning of the words; It may be first of all demanded,

Quest 1. What is meant by Abrams believing in the LORD?

Answ: Hereby is meant, not onely that hee believed the Word of God to be true: for if that had been all, the Lord would never have justified him by such a faith, nor have counted it to him for righ­teousness, as the text affirmes that he did, for the Divells do so be­lieve, and yet are farr from being justified. James 2. 19. But here by is meant morover that he also relyed upon God that had promised by an act of Affiance, Relyance, or Dependance upon him: so much the various words may import, which are not barely hee believed the Lord, but hee believed in the Lord, or on the Lord. Besides believ­ing is an act of the heart, Rom: 10. 10. Not of the head, or of the understanding only, but of the heart also: and if a man believe with his heart, then there will be a firm resting and relying on the thing promised, and on him that promiseth; as it is said Isai 26. 3. Thou wilt keep him in peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trust­eth in thee. The heart fainteth when a man believeth not, Gen: 45. 26. and is fixed or fastened when a man believeth in the Lord Psal: 112. 7, 8. This that is said here of Abrams believing, is expound­ed by the Apostle Rom: 4. 18, 19, 20, 21. by Hope above hope, and by not staggering at the promise through unbeliefe.

[Page 2] Quest. 2 What means this word He counted it to him for righteousness.

Answ. It is as much as to say, the Lord imputed this Faith of Abram for righteousness in Gods sight; So it notes that hee was justified not by workes, but by this his Faith; and so the Apostle expounds these words Rom: 4. 2, 3, 4, 5.

Quest. 3 Did Abram never believe afore now? and was hee never justified before this time;

Answ: Yes doubtless long before this time: for it was by Faith that hee left his own country, and kindred, and came to sojourn in the land of Canaan as the land of promise: This he did by faith Heb: 11. 8. Which was afore this time. Hee also had heard many pro­mises of God to him & his seed afore now, both in chap: 12. 2, 3, 7. & chap: 13. 14. which doubtless he did believe.

Quest. 4 Why then is this mentioned now, as if he had not been a justified believer before?

Answ. One cause therof may be, because his faith was now more confirmed, Hee having lately been in some pang of grief through want of children, verse 2, 3. as the Disciples of Christ are often said to believe upon some new confirmation of their faith, though they were believers before, Joh: 2. 11. & 16. 30, 31. So Joh: 4. 50, 53.

And another reason (considering the time when this is recorded) might be this, namely, To shew that justification is never by the works of the Law, but still by faith, though a man be adorned & enriched with many excellent works; for so was Abram afore this time: witness his Piety in budding Altars, & calling on the name of the Lord Gen: 12. 7, 8. & 13, 4, 18. His Religious care in instructing his family, those 318 trayned ones, or catichised ones, as some render the word chap▪ 14. 14. His Charitie, & Humility that would have no falling out between Lot & him, and that would condescend farr for peace sake chap: 13. 8, 9. and would hazard his own liberty & life to rescue Lot out of captivity chap: 14. 14. his contempt of riches, and Care of the glory of God, in refusing the goods of the King of Sodom chap: 14. 23. All these were ex­cellent Vertues & good works in Abram, and yet the Holy-Ghost tells us he was not justified by any of them but by believing.

Again, it is observable, that at this time Abram was not Circum­cised; for that Ordinance was not yet appointed, till chap: 17. & yet now wee see he beleived in the Lord, and so is justified; to shew [Page 3] unto us that it was not by Circumcision, nor any Ceremonies of the Law that he was justified, but by faith onely; and that he might be the Father of believers even amongst the Geutiles, though they be not circumcised, and that righteousness might bee imputed to them also, as the Apostle argueth Rom: 4. 9, 10, 11. Such weigh­ty reasons there are, why Abram at this time is said to believe in the Lord, and to be justified therby, albeit he were a believer and justi­fied before.

This being said for the explication of the words, wee may first observe from the words this Doctrine,

Doctr: 1 That it is by the Word & Promises of God concerning salvation by Christ, that men are brought to believe, or to become true believers.

Or thus, Justifying & saving Faith is wrought by the word of the Gospel, as the meanes and instrument therof. For God wee see gives forth his gracious Gospel-promises unto Abram, & the effect of them is this, Abram therby believeth in the Lord. Other Scrip­tures do testifie the same; Acts 15. 7. Rom: 10. 14, 15. 17. Ephe: 1. 13. Acts 14. 1. Genes: 12. 1, 1, 3, 4, 5. Therfore is the word called the word of faith Rom: 10. 8. because it is by it that faith is wrought. Those three thousand in Acts 2. were brought to believe by the word & Gospel of God which was preached to them by Peter. Regeneration is by the word, Jam: 1. 18. 1 Pet. 1. 23. and the Spirit is also received by the same meanes, Gal: 3. 2. and therfore faith is by the word also. The reason of the consequence is, because wheresoever Regeneration is wrought, and the Spirit of grace is bestowed, there saving faith can not be wanting.

Quest: 1 For the explication of this point, it may first of all be demand­ed, What is the Gospel?

Answ: It is the Doctrine of salvation by Christ, or of blessedness in Christ, that part of the word of God, which concerneth Remission of sinns, and Life everlasting by Christ Jesus.

Quest: 2 May not faith be wrought by the Law?

Answ: Not by the Law alone; for the Law is not of faith Gal: 3 12. The Law directly reveals no Christ, not any salvation for sinners, but the curse only Gal: 3. 10. And inasmuch as faith cannot goe beyond the word, therfore by the Law alone there can be no faith to believe any thing farther then the curse.

Yet nevertheless the Law is of necessary use to prepare the heart [Page 4] for faith. For Christ is the end of the Law as the Apostle speakes Rom: 10. 4. and if so, then the Law is a meanes unto Christ. It shewes unto a man his sinn▪ Rom: 3. 20. & 7. 9, 10. and the wrath of God deserved thereby Rom: 4. 15. and herupon through the spirit of bondage, begets fear & dread in the secure heart Exod: 20. 18, 19. Rom: 8. 15. Which things are requisite to the beget­ting of faith in Christ, because without these the sinfull soul will never believe in, nor come to him for righteousness, as not feeling its need Joh: 5. 40. Rom: 10. 3.

Quest: 3 But what is the work of the Gospel in the begetting of faith?

Answ: First it presents to the sinfull & lost soul, Christ the Saviour, with the worth & fulness that is in him; Joh: 3. 16. Acts 13. 38 39. 1 Tim: 1. 15. Secondly it encourageth the poor lost soul to come to Christ, to believe on him, and to receive him in the promi­ses of Mercy Math: 11▪ 28. Joh: 6. 37. 2 Cor▪ 5. 20. Isai 55. 1, 2, 3. & 61. 1, 2, 3,

Quest: 4 But many have the word, and yet never attain to faith, What may be the reason herof?

Answ: What is here said, is most true indeed: many heard by the Apostles, yea by Christ himself, and yet were never brought to be­lieve. The reason wherof is, because the word of itself can not do it, without the work of God himself by his spirit: Paul of himself is nothing, Apollos nothing, nor any other minister of the Gospel, but God it is that worketh all, 1 Cor: 3. 5, 6, 7. Paul preached to Lidia & others, but it was the Lord that opened her heart savingly to attend to what was spoken Acts 16. 14. And God, as he is bound to none, so he sees cause not to give his Grace to all, no nor to all that do injoy the meanes, that so they to whom his grace is given, may see themselves the more indebted for it; and that it is not them selves, nor the word of it it self, that could ever have brought them to believe, but that God himself hath done it of his free grace. Math: 13. 11. Acts 18 27.

Quest: 5 But if the word be the means of faith, what shall become of Infants, Idiots, & deaf people that cannot make use of the means?

Answ: The doctrine speakes only of the ordinary & usuall way. As for these that are spoken of, the Lord can work in [...] by other meanes, either by the sight of the eye, as in such as can read; [...] if all outward means fail, he can work by his Spirit alone in the heart [Page 5] and soul inwardly.

Quest: 6 If any ask, What should be the reason that when God work­eth faith, he should ordinarily & usually do it by his word, and not otherwise?

Answ: The answer is, That his Wisdom hath so appointed & seen meet, and therwith wee should rest our selves contented & satisfied It is his pleasure to save men by preaching 1 Cor: 1. 21. and to create the fruit of the lips to be peace to the soul Isai 57. 19.

Use 1 Therfore, the case of them that want the word of the Gospell must needs be miserable & lamentable. For there can be no sal­vation without Christ Acts 4. 12. 1 John 5. 12. nor without faith in Christ John 3. 18, 36. Heb: 11. 6. and ordinarily there can be no faith without the Gospel, but by it, Rom: 10. 14, 17. and ther­fore where this word is wanting, there the people are in a perishing condition Pro: 29. 18. and millions of people there are in this con­dition, having none to speak unto them but Starrs, & trees, and the great book of the creatures, which is not sufficient for salvation, nor for saving faith; and therfore such people are without Christ, and without God in the world Eph: 2. 12. comming into the world & know not wherfore, and go out of the world again and know not whither. It were well if there were an heart in us to bewayl the case of such people; for their misery might have been ours, and our mercies theirs.

Use 2 They that have the Gospel, have great cause to prize it, and to be very thankfull for it, as for a great blessing, inasmuch as it is the meanes of faith, and so consequently of salvation. If wee shall despise it or slight it as the Israelites did Manna, or as little children who do but play with their meat, and kick it down under their feet, it may then be just with God to take it away, and that will be a dolefull and most heavy judgment; and is often threatned as such. See Amos 8. 11. Luke 17. 22. John 12. 35, 36. Rev: 2. 4.

Use 3 If the word be the means of faith, Then it behoovs all them who enjoy the word, to take heed they do not live & dy without faith; For the sin & judgment of such will be the more greivous; even much worse then if they never had the Gospel. If they had not had the word, they should have had no sin, in comparison of what now they have; but now they have no cloak for their sin, John 15. 22. and therfore the judgment & condemnation of such [Page 6] people will be so exceeding just & dreadfull, that the condition of Tyre & Sidon, and of Sodom & Gomorah shall be more tollerable, Math: 11. 22, 23, 24.

And hee counted it to him for righteousness.] Hee, that is the Lord, who was metioned before; counted, that is, imputed, or reckon­ed, for this word is sometime Englished by one of these words, and sometime by another, as may appeare by viewing Rom: 4. 3, 22, 23. Gall: 3. 6. Iam: 2. 23. It, that is, this faith of his, this believing in the Lord; for righteousness▪ that is unto righteous­ness; that is, that by this he might attain righteousness, or stand righteous and justified in the sight of God.

Quest. Whether doth not this text prove that the object of justify­ing faith is not Christ the promised Messiah, or the promise of mer­cy in Christ; but what ever God revealeth? and that the act of faith as it justifieth, is not of the will in receiving Christ, or adhering to Christ, but only an assent of the understanding?

Answ: It proveth it not; For Abrams faith had respect unto the pro­mised seed, in whom all nations should be blessed; and so runneth the promise chap: 12. & 22. 18. this seed must need include the Messiah specially, as being the head of all the seed that are blessed; and so much is plainly taught in Gall: 3. 16. where the seed to whom the promise is made, is plainly affirmed to be Christ: and if it signifie Christ▪ then doubtless the head,& not the members only. The promise which Abram believed▪ was the Gospel Gal. 3. 8. Now what is the Gospel, but the doctrine or glad tidings of salvati­on by Christ? That saying John 8. 56. that Abram rejoyced to see Christs day, doth shew that Christ was the object of Abrams faith.

Now from the words, he counted it to him for righteousness, wee have occasion to consider of three things concerning that great article of faith, our justificatiō. 1 The Efficient cause therof; which is the Lord. 2 The Instrumentall cause, and that is faith, or believing. 3 The Formall cause, which is account­ing, reckning, or imputing.

The first of these may be considered in this cōclusion or doctrine.

Doct: That it is the Lord himself that doth justifie: or that is the Efficient cause of our justification. Rom: 3. 30. & 8. 30. 33. Gal: 3 8. Isai 50. 8.

Reas: Reason, justification is a judiciary act, the▪ work of a Iudge [Page 7] pronouncing sentence of absolution upon a man; and this appears by this, because it is opposed to condemn, as Rom: 8. 33. Math: 12. 37. and so it differs from sanctification, which is to make a man really holy by changing his qualityes, wheras justification makes only a relative change in a man in respect of state, from a state of guiltiness to a state of absolution & clearing judicially. Now it be­longs to God alone to be the Judg of all the world Gen. 18. 25. Psa. 75. 7. & 94. 2. Heb: 12. 23. 1 Cor. 4. 4. and therfore justificatiō being the act & work of God as a judg, doth belong to God only.

Reas 2 Justification either consists in, or conteins in it, the forgiveness of sins, and not imputing of iniquity; Rom: 4. 4, 5. And therfore inasmuch as God only forgives sin Isai 43. 25. Psal: 32. 1, 2. 2 cor 5. 19. Mark 2. 7. it must needs bee that God only doth justifie.

Use1 Therfore a man can not justifie himself. Papists teach that a man by his works may justifie himself with that which they call the second justification, and wherin they place the merrit of eternal life. But the Scripture makes man passive in his justification, and that this work is wrought by God himself, and by him only. So that what Christ spake of honouring of himself Iohn 8. 54▪ may well be applyed to the matter in hand, that if a man Iustifie himself, his Iustification is nothing.

Use 2 Hence it followeth, that justification once obteyned, can not be lost. A man once justified shall never loose his justified estate, nor fall from it. For being the work of God, wee may say of it as Solomon saith in another case, Eccles. 3. 14. it must be for ever. When God hath once justified a man, he will say as Pilate of his writing, what I have written, I have written; so may the Lord say, whom I have justified, I have justified,& it shall not be recalled; ac­cording to that Jer. 31. 34. their sinn; & iniquities I will remem­ber no more: their sinns may be sought for, but they shall never be found whom I have once pardoned, and forgiven Ier. 50. 20. Iustifica­tion is one of those gracious gifts of God, which are without re­pentance Rom. 11. 29.

Use 3 And if God do justifie, it must need; be a great fin for men to be censorious in judging the servants of God, & to pass rash & hard judgment against them; as to judg them to be damned hypocrites, vayn­glorious persons, the troublers of Israel, and the like▪ The Psalmist coūted it a heinous thing, to condemn the generation of [...] [Page 8] children Psal. 73. 15. and they that judg others with unjust and rash judgment, may expect to be judged themselves Math. 7. 1. For those whom God doth justifie, it is not for men to condemn them, except they would be cross & contrary unto God.

Use 4 But if God do justifie his servants, what need they to bee much troubled, though the world do censure & condemn them? It is the judgment of God that must stand; and he will not condemn them, but hath already absolved & cleared them. Which made the Apostle to say, with me it is a small thing to be judged of you, or of mans judgment 1 Cor: 4. 3. and the like comfort doth belong to every faithfull servant of God, inasmuch as they are justified by the Lord, what ever men may say or judg of them. It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? Rom: 8. 33.

Use 5 Let us not then content our selves to have men to justifie us: For though they excuse us, say well & think well of us, all this is nothing if the Lord do not so also, but the contrary. Men are apt to think all well if others do judg well of them; but especialy if professors of religion, and the faithfull do approve of them, then they care for no more. But these should remember that it is God that justifieth, and therfore the judgment of men should not be rested in, as touching our spiritual estates before God; this being considered withall, that a Iudas may be no worse thought of by the true hearted Disciples of Christ, then themselves, and yet in very truth be no better then a Divel. Sometimes the coveteous, & other wicked & wretched sinners, may be approved, yea & applauded of men, though they be justly abhorred of God. Psal. 10. 3. & 49. 18.

Use 6 Content not our selves, to be just in our own eyes, or to justi­fie onrselves; For alas what will this avail us, sith it is God that must justifie, or else wee shall never be justified indeed, whatever wee may conceive of our selves. The Pharises were men that justified themselves before men, but God knew their hearts; and our Saviour tells them thatthings might be beautifull in the sight of men, and yet be abominable in the sight of God, Luke 16. 15. But the holy Apostle was otherwise minded, who would not justifie his own self, knowing that he that judged him was the Lord. 1 Cor: 4. 4. It is our wisdom therfore to seek ūto God in Christ for this benefit; for he that is in himself a sinner, his maine work lyes with God in heaven, to seek at his hands the gracious benefit of remission, and [Page] justification. For who can clear a man but the Judg? who can forgive the debt but the creditor?

The next conclusion, or doctrine that these words afford is this,

Doctr: That, It is by Faith, by the grace of believing, that men come to bee justified, or to be accounted righteous in the sight of God.

Wee see Abram believed in God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness: which example is often mentioned by the Apostles, to shew that justification is by faith only, and not by works; Rom▪ 4. 3. 23, 24. Gall: 3. 6. Jam. 2. 23. and as it was with Abram, so is it with all the children of Abram, that they are all justified by the same meanes, even by faith in Iesus Christ: Rom. 4. 5, 9, 11. & 3. 22, 30. & 10. 4. Gal. 2. 16. & 3. 8, 9, 22. Philip. 3. 9. Heb: 11. 7.

Here it will be needfull to shew how it is that wee are justified by faith; For it is so plentifully & expressly witnessed in Scripture that justification is by faith, that it were gross ignorance or impu­dence to deny it. But in what sence this is to be understood, and in what manner this is done, there the apprehensions of men do very much vary. For some help therfore to the clearing of this point, observe these propositions following.

Propos. 1 1 Faith doth not justifie as it is a work or vertue in us.

Reas: 1 All works of ours are excluded in this buisiness, so that faith & works are constantly opposed in the matter of justifi­cation; Rom. 3. 28. Gall. 2. 16. and therfore faith must not here be considered as a work of ours, for then it must be excluded as all other works must. Reas: 2 Faith is so considered in our justification, as that it may stand with free grace; Rom: 4. 16. Ephes. 2. 8. therfore it must not be considered as a work of ours, because grace & works are opposite, and can not stand toge­ther Rom. 11. 5, 6. Reas: 3 Wee can not be justified out by that which is exact, entire & perfect righteousness; for God must be just in justifying Rom. 3. 26. but how could he be so, if he should justifie us otherwise then by a righteousness which is exact & perfect? his▪ judgment is according to truth Rom. 2. 2. so that he will not cleare the guilty Exod: 34. 7. Now our faith is imperfect, and not so exact & perfect as it ought to be Mark 9. 24. Luke 17. 5. 2 Pet. 3. 18. and therfore by a faith as a vertue, or work of ours, we can not be justified.

Propos. 2 2 Faith doth not justifie properly, as if the very act of believ­ing, [Page 10] ipsum credere, [...] were the matter of our righteousness, or the very thing by which we stand righteous in the sight of God.

Reas: 1 The righteousness by which we are justified is of faith, by faith, through faith, Phili. 3. 9. Rom: 3. 30. and therfore it is not our faith it self. Reas: 2 The righteousness wherby we are justified is not our own Phil. 3. 9. rom: 10. 3. But our faith is our own, though wrought in us by the Holy-Ghost. Therfore we have these expressions in Scripture, his own faith, thy faith, my faith, Hab: 2. 4. Jam: 2. 18. Reas: 3 The thing that must justi­fie us, must be a perfect righteousness, as was shewed before; else how shall God be just in justifying us therby? but our faith as was shewed afore is imperfect. In this the tenent of the Arminians is more injurious to the Lord, then that of the Papists; For the Papists hold, & that truely, that God justifies by perfect righteous­ness; only herin is their great errour, that they think this perfect righteousness may be found in our selves, in our works, or our faith &c: But the Arminians would have God to justifie man without any perfect righteousness at all, but to accept his imperfect faith in steed therof. Reas: 4 Jesus Christ in his obedience is our righteousness Ier: 23. 6. 1 Cor: 1. 30. 2 Cor: 5. 21. rom: 5. 19. &10. 4. And therfore to make faith it self our righteousness is injurious to Christ, as placing faith in Christs room, and so making [...]ith to be our Christ.

Propos. 3 Faith doth justifie only relatively, in respect of its object Christ Jesus, or instrumentally as the hand that receiveth Christ and his righteousness. As a mans hand may be said to feed him, because it receiveth the meat, or to cloath him, because it receiveth his ap­parell, or to inrich him, because it receiveth a pearl of great value. So a mans faith is said to justifie him, because it receiveth Christ, & the righteousness of Christ. And indeed what ever is done by faith in this & such like matters of our salvation, all is done with referēce to Christ, and as faith is the instrument that receiveth Christ, and no otherwise. And therfore what things are said to be done by faith, wee shall find they are still said to be done by Christ. For instance, wee are justified by faith, Rom: 3. 28. Gal. 3. 22, 24. but wee are justified by Christ Isai 53. 11. Eternall life is by faith Iohn 3. 16, 36. but it is by Christ 1 Iohn 5. 11, 12. Wee are saved by faith, Eph: 2. 8. but wee are saved by Christ, Iohn 3. 17. Math: 1. 21. [Page 11] Wee live by faith, Hab: 2. 4. Gal. 2. 20. but wee live by Christ, Iohn 6. 57. & 14. 19. Forgiveness of sinns is by faith, Acts 10. 43. & 26. 18. but it is by Christ, Acts 13. 38. Ephe: 1. 7. In like sort when faith is said to be imputed unto righteousness, wee must understand it that Christ & his righteousness is imputed.

But now, as faith can do nothing but with reference to Christ, so Christ will do nothing in this buisiness of justifying a sinner, but by faith. But as it is said Acts 3. 16. His name, through faith in his name had healed the man that had been lame, so it may be said Christ & his righteousness, through faith in him, & his righteousness doth justifie the sinner. For these grounds are certain, & cannot be de­nyed, 1 That God doth not justifie any without righteousness, but by & for a righteousness, and such an one as is entire & perfect, Pro: 17. 15. Exod 34. 7. Rom: 2. 2. 3. 26. 2 That this perfect righteousness is not to be had in our selves, Rom: 3. 10. Psal. 143. 2. 3 That this perfect righteousness is in Christ, and not elsewhere, Jer: 23. 6. Isai 45. 24, 25. 2 Cor: 5. 21. Rom: 5. 9, 19. 4 That this righteousness of Christ cannot justifie us, till it be communicated & applyed, and so be made ours; even as meat doth not feed a man, till he take it & eat it, apparell doth not warm a man till he receive it & put it on, a pearl though of ne­ver so much value, doth not enrich a man till he receive it, and have it in possession as his own. 5 Faith is the hand & instrument for receiving of Christ & his righteousness; Iohn 1. 12. Eph. 3. 17. and by this meanes or in this way wee are justified by faith, and not otherwise. Therfore in Gal: 2. 16, 17. wee find that to be justi­fied by faith, and to be justified by Christ are Synonymaes, that is, of the same signification; for that which in the one verse is called justi­fication by faith, is in the other called justification by Christ.

Quest: But Christ is the object of love & of other graces, as well as of faith; why then should faith justifie in respect of its object, any more then love or other graces?

Answ: Because faith is appointed of God in the covenant of grace to this office; Iohn 3. 16. Acts 16. 31. which can be said of no other grace. And there is good reason why faith should have this office, even because faith is that which gives all to Christ, & to Gods free grace in him, for therfore is it of faith, that it might be by grace Rom: 4. 16. Ephe: 2. 8. it being the very propertie,&(as I may say) [Page 12] the ingenie of faith, to bring nothing of its own for a mans justi­fication, but to come naked & emptie unto Christ, to receive all from him, and from Gods free grace in him.

4 Propos. 4 It is by faith alone that wee are justified. Justification is not only by faith at the first, but alwayes by faith, as long as a man lives. So that though a man be furnished with never so many ex­cellent vertues, graces, duties, services, &c: yet it is not by any of them, nor all of them, but still by faith & by faith only, that he must be justified in Gods sight. For which purpose this example of Abram is very observable & convincing; for Abram (as was observed before) had afore this time done many excellent services, in leaving his kindred and country at Gods command, in building Altars, and calling on the name of the Lord where ever he came, in yielding to his inferiour Lot for peace sake, in rescuing him out of captivity, with the perill or hazard of his own liberty & life, in his contempt of riches offered to him by the King of Sodom, &c: Yet after all this the Holy-Ghost placeth his justification in none of these things, but only in his believing. If Abram had had no works then it might have been said he was justified by faith through want of works; but sith he abounded with store of excellent works, and yet is justified by faith, we may conclude that justification is not by faith & works, much less by works alone, but by faith only. So Paul tells of himself Phil. 3. 7, 8, 9. that for time past he did count all things loss for Christ, and faith he for the present I do so also, and for time to come, even when Christ shall come to judgment, I then desire to be found in Christ, not having my own righteousness, but that which is by the faith of Christ. Hence it is said, wee are justiffied freely by his grace; Rom: 3. 24. which two words do shew that all works are excluded: and so works are expressly excluded, that faith alone may be established, Rom: 3. 28. Galla. 2. 16. Ephe. 2. 8.

Use 1 If Justification be by faith, then it can not be by works, nor by any righteousness of our own, either inherent, or actuall, either inward vertues & graces, or outward dutyes of obedience, the rea­son is, because faith & works are opposite in this matter, and can not stand together; Rom: 3. 28. Gal. 2. 16. And the Scripture plainly teacheth that justification by woks is impossible, Acts 13. 39. Rom: 8. 3.

[Page 13] Use 2 They then are greatly deceived that think a man may have the righteousness of justification without faith, and that faith is of no use in this matter but only to assure a man of his justification as already past & done; wheras the truth is, justification is not afore faith, but by faith, viz: as by an hand or instrument to receive the righteousness of Christ, which righteousness of Christ, is the matter that being received doth justifie, and faith the hand to re­ceive it. That there is no actuall justification of a man afore faith whether from eternity, or otherwise, may be farther cleared by these reasons:

Reas: 1 Justification is after vocation, or effectuall calling, for whom he called, them he justified Rom: 8. 30. and if so, then it is after faith, because faith is wrought in vocation, as being the answer of the soul to the call of God, calling the soul to come to God in Christ, wherunto when the soul doth answer & come, (as it alwayes doth when the calling is savingly effectuall) this answer, this comming is faith Jer: 3. 22. faith being wrought in calling, and calling being before justification, it must needs be that faith is before justification.

Reas: 2 Faith hath the same place in Justification as the Israelites looking on the brazen Serpent had in their healing, Joh. 3. 14, 15. Now they were not first healed, and then must look up to the Serpent & see what it was that had healed them; but first they must look up to the Serpent, and so therby be healed Numb: 21 7, 8, 9. to teach that wee must first look up to Christ by the eye of a lively faith, and then & therby be justified from our sinns. And accordingly the Prophet tells us that in the Lord there is righ­teousness, and strength, wherby wee may be justified & saved; but we are bidden to look unto him▪ & then wee shall be justified & saved therby. Isai 45. 22,24,25.

Reas: 3 If a man be Justified afore faith, then a man may be in state of Justification & in state of condemnation both once; For afore a man have faith, he is in state of condemnatiō, & the wrath of God abideth on him, Iohn 3. 18,36. But these two states are so opposite & contrary, that it is not possible that a man should be in both at once.

Reas: 4 Afore a man be a believer, the Spirit of God witnesseth to a man that he is not justified, but the contrary; For at that [Page 14] time it convinceth the soul to be in a state of bondage, and therupō fills it with fear, Rom: 8. 15. Now if a man were justified afore, this fear were needless, this bondage were unjust, and this witness of the Spirit not true, which were horrible to think.

Reas: 5 If a man be not Justified by faith, but afore it, and that faith doth only declare & assure unto a man that he is justified already, then a man may as well be said to be justified by any other grace as by faith, and so there will be no difference between faith and any other grace in this matter of justification; The reason is, because other graces may declare a man to be justified, as signes & fruits: all the graces of Sanctification do that. But the Apostle makes a great differece between faith & other graces in this matter, teaching that we are not justified by any of them, but are justified by faith. The question was not whether good dutyes commanded in the Law, did declare a man to be justified, for that the Apostle would never have denyed, but here was the question, whether they did actually justifie a man as Instruments of his justification, and this the Apostle doth constantly deny, and yet every where ascribes this office unto faith.

Reas: 6 The Scripture expressly witnesseth of believers, that there was a time when they were in a state of wrath, & condemna­tion, without Christ, and without God in the world, in the same state that others were that should never inherite the kingdom of heaven, not a people, not beloved, not having obtained mercy, and many the like, Eph: 2. 1, 2, 3, 12. 1 Cor: 6. 9,10,11. Rom: 9. 25,26. 1 Pet. 2. 10. Now how all this should be, and yet at this very time they be in a state of justification also, is altogether inconceivable & impossible.

Reas: 7 All that are justified do doubtless please God, but without faith it is impossible to please him, Heb: 11. 6. and therfore without faith it is impossible to be justified.

Reas: 8 Justification is a benefit afforded only to them that are in Christ, Rom: 8. 1. 1 Iohn 5. 12. But no man is in Christ without faith, but by faith, Ephe: 3. 17. Rom: 11. 20,23. they that were without faith, were without Christ also, Ephes: 2. 12. And therfore no man is actually justified without faith.

Reas: 9 To say that we are Justified from Eternity hath many great absurdities, or inconveniences in it, and therfore it may not [Page 15] bee admitted. For, 1 Then the people of God never were in a state of sin; For to be in a state of sin, and to be justified from sin, are contrary. But certeyn it is, the time was when the Elect were in a state of sin, of misery, of curse, as the Scriptures do abundantly testifie, Ezek: 16. 2,3,4. &c: Rom: 7. 4,5. &c: & 6. 17,18. Tit: 3. 3. And by verse 4. 5,6,7. of that chap: the 3 of the Epistle to Titus, it appeareth that Justification came afterward in time. But this opinion of Justification from Eternity takes away, or denyes that ever there was any state of sin; and theupon all hu­miliation for such a state is closely taken away also, and made need­less; For why should a man lay to heart his misery by reason of such a state, and lament it, bewayl it, be greived for it, if there never was any such state, but that he was in a justified estate from eter­nity? 2 Then we were guilty of sin, & condemnation, from Eternity: and this much more, because Justification is from a guilty & condemned estate: and the terminus a quo, must needs be before the terminus ad quem, the state from which, must needs be afore the state to which. 3 Then Justification is the same with Election or Predestination, which in Scripture are made distinct benefits, Rom: 8. 29,30. 4 Then Justification is without respect to the merits & obedience of Christ; the reason is, because the eternall actions of God, as Election & Predestina­tion, are not for Christs righteousness & obedience, but Christ him­self is the fruit of our Election. If from eternity we be in a justi­fied estate, then we may say (as Gal: 2. last.) that Christ dyed in vayn; for what need was there of any atonement to be made by the righteousness & death of Christ, when by this opinion wee were in a justified estate before? 5 Then we may say wee are gloryfied from eternity; the reason is, because Gloryfication doth immediatly follow Justification, Rom: 8. 39. Titus 3. 7. Now to say we are gloryfied from eternity, is to excuse Hymeneus & Phyletus, in that they said the resurection was past already, 2 tim: 2. 17,18. So many & great absurdities are in it, to say that wee are Justified from eternitie.

Reas: 10 If wee be Justified by faith, then not before faith; If Abram believed, & therupon was accoūted righteous, then neither was he, nor can any other be accounted righteous before believing: But the former of these is abundantly testified in the Scriptures of [Page 16] truth, Rom: 3. 22,28,30. & 4. 2,3,22,23. Galla: 2. 16. and therfore the latter is true also.

Object: 1 We may be Justified before faith, & yet be said to be justified by faith, namely, declaratively, faith declaring & assuring to us that wee are justifyed before; we are said to be Justified by faith, because we know by faith, that we are Justified.

Answ: This cannot be the meaning of that saying we are justified by faith: For, 1 Then we may in that sence be said to be Justified by any other grace as well as by faith, yea by works of grace as well as by faith, because these are evidences of our Iustifi­cation: witness 1 Iohn 2. 3,4,29. & 3. 7,10,14. James 2. 14. &c: For example, by love to the bretheren, wee know wee are translated from death to life, and so are Justified; shall any man now say that wee are Justified by love to the brethren? that were directly to contradict the Scripture, which faith we are not Justified by works. And yet if to be Justified, mean no more but to know we are Iusti­fied, then we may say indeed that we are Justified by works, which the Apostle doth so plainly&largely gainsay. And therfore to be justi­fied by faith hath a farther meaning, then only that we are Justified.

2 By the like reason we might say that the world was created by faith, which were a very absurd saying: and yet it is most true that by faith we understand or know that the world was created by the word of God, Heb: 11. 3. And by the like reason wee might say that wee are Elected by faith; for by faith wee may understād and know our election. The summ is, though by faith we know our election, & the creation, yet it were an improper speech, and such as the Scripture never useth, ro say we are elected by faith, or that the world was created by faith: and in like sort, it were an improper speech, and such as the Scripture would never have used, to say wee are Justified by faith, if no more had been ment hereby, but only the knowledg or our Justification.

Object.2 God justifies the ungodly, Rom: 4. 5. and therfore such as have not faith.

Answ: That doth not follow. 1 Because that very text faith these ungodly ones did believe, and that their faith was counted for righteousness. 2 This exposition of the word ungodly, whom God Iustifieth, to expound it of unbelievers, is directly contrary to the Scriptures, which say that God Iustifieth those that do believe [Page 17] and have faith, Rom: 3. 26,28,30. Acts 13. 39. and none others John 3. 18. 3 The ungodly one in this text, is one that hath not fulfilled the righteousness of the Law; and so to justifie the ungodly, is no more but to justifie without the works of the Law or not by works, which may be, and yet not without faith.

4 If wee shall extend the word further, then we must not take that saying in sensu composito, but in sensu diviso, that is, not that he is now when God justifies him, so ungodly as to be without faith, but that he was so heretofore, though now God hath given him more grace. As when it is said, the lame man shall leap as an Hart, and the dumb sing, the blind see, & the deaf hear, Isai 35. 6. Luke 7. 22. No man must herupon imagin, that they did these things while they so remayned; for that was utterly imposible, that a lame man should leap as an Hart whilest he remained lame, or a dumb man sing whilest he still remayned dumb; and so of the rest: but the meaning is, they that were once lame, dumb, deaf, should af­terwards be mabled to leap, sing, see, & hear; these acts should be performed by such as had been such as is mentioned, though now they were not such. Wee may as well conclude from these texts, that blind men may see, while they continue blind, & so of the rest, as to conclude from the text in hand, that an ungodly man, an un­believer is justified of God, whilest he is an ungodly man, an unbe­liever. When some rich man marryeth a poor begger, we say he married one that had scarce raggs to her back; but the meaning is not, that he married her in her raggs, but bestowed on her fitting apparrell, and so married her. So God justifies the ungodly, such as had neither faith, nor any other grace; but the meaning is not that he justifies them in their unbelief, but bestows the grace of faith upon them, and then Iustifies them.

Object: 3 In believing we do not believe an untruth, but a truth, and therefore it is a truth that we are Justified afore we do believe.

Answ: It is true indeed, that a man must be Justified before hee can rightly believe himself to be Justified, but not before he believe on Christ for Justification, or unto righteousness. A man can not rightly believe that he is Justified, before he be Justified, for then he should therin believe a falshood: nor can he be Justified afore he do believe on Christ for Justification. The Scripture speakes little of a mans believing himself to be Justified, but much of be­lieving [Page 18] on Christ that he might be justified, Gal: 2. 16. Rom: 20. 10. Now to believe on Christ, is not an assurance or perswa­sion of being Justified already, but is that act of the soul, of the will especially, wherby a man comes to Christ, receiveth Christ, relyes on Christ, chuseth Christ &c: that in him he might be justified and saved. And when this is done, then there is room for that other belief, or perswasion of being Justified already, but not before; according to that Ephe. 1. 13. after ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise; To beleive a mans self to be in a good and Justified estate, afore he have received Christ by faith, what is it, but the vain presumption & carnal confidence of poor deluded soules? as if a woman should perswade her self of title & interest to a wealthy mans estate, & yet was never married to him. Ther­fore afore a man can believe aright that he is justified, he must first be united and married to Christ, by believing on him, and then & therby he shall be justified indeed, and so he may safely believe his justification.

Object: 4 All Gods people were justified when Christ made satisfaction for their sinns by his death & resurrection, Rom: 4. 25. hee was raysed again for our justification, Now this was above 1600 years agoe, and therfore long afore our believing.

Answ: It is true, the death & resurrectiō of Christ was long afore our believing, and afore we were born into the world. But what shall be said to Abram, Isaak, Jacob, David, and the rest of the Saints, that lived long afore the Incarnation of Christ? It can not be de­nyed but that they believed afore the death & resurrectiō of Christ. And so, if all Gods people be actually justified at the time when Christ suffered & rose again, then it must follow, that though some of them be justified long afore they do believe, yet others have believed long afore they were justified. And so by this conceit, wee shall have severall wayes for the justification of believers, or the people of God, some without faith & a long time afore it, & others not without faith, but long time after it. But the Scripture knoweth but one way for the salvation of Gods people, whether they lived in the times afore the comming of Christ in the flesh, or since, and that is by the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith in him. Acts 15. 11. John 8. 56. The vertue & value of his death and odedience being such, as that it was sufficient for the justification [Page 19] and salvation of all true believers, even from the foundation of the world, Rev: 13. 8. and therfore in the times before his incarna­tion and passion as well as since.

As for Rom: 4. 25. the meaning therof is no more but this, that our justification is purchased and merited by the death & resurrection of Christ, which it may be, & yet not actually applyed till such time as we come unto him by believing. For the Apostle tells us Rom: 5. 19. that as wee are made sinners, by the sinn of Adam, so wee are made righteous by the obedience of Christ. Now how are we made sin­ners by the sinn of Adam? hee purchased or merited for us this lamentable patrimony by his disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit, but yet this is never actually applyed to us till such time as wee become actually his children, and have a being from him by natural generation. In like sort, Christ by his obedience hath me­rited & purchased for us this blessed portion of righteousness and life; but yet this is not actually applyed to us till such time as we come to have actually a spirituall being in him, which is done by spiritual regeneration, and by faith which is wrought therin. Garments may be fit to cover us & prepared for us, before we bee clothed with them: but that we may be actually clothed with them, we must first receive them & put them on. And one may as well say, and as truely, when garments are once prepared & made, that now he is clothed & warmed with them, though yet he have never put them on, as to say, because Christ hath purchased justification for us, by his death & resurrection, that therfore we then were act­ually justified, though yet wee have never believed, nor have put him on by faith.

For the farther clearing wherof, let it be observed and minded, that as the Father doth accept of the Sonns satisfaction, and the Sonn performeth it, so both the Father & the Sonn do agree upon the way, the manner, and the time, when this satisfaction shall be applyed to the elect, to wit, when they come to believe on Christ. The Sonn did not make satisfaction, and purchase justification for them to be applyed to them whether they believed or no, or afore their believing; nor did the father so accept it. But this was the appointment & agreement of them both, and their most wise and holy will, that it should be applyed to the elect upon their believ­ing. So much is taught in John 3. 16. and especially in Joh▪ 6. [Page 20] 38,39,40. where we read that Christ came down from heaven to do the will of his Father in saving of the Elect; and that this will was (not thatany should have life or righteousness by Christ without believing, no such matter, but) that whosoever seeth the Sonn, and believeth on him, should have eternall life: This was the will of the Father, and this was that which was performed by the Sonn. And therfore that a man should actually be partaker of the justification of life (as the Apostle calls it Rom: 5.) by the Sonn of God, afore he see the Sonn & believe on him, is contrary unto the appointmēt and holy will both of the Father & the Sonn.

Object: 5 If a man be justified in the sight of God when he doth believe and was not so before, then it may seem that God is changed?

Answ: This doth not follow at all, if we speak of a change in Gods will. His work is changed indeed, and the state of the creature is changed, but no change at all in the will of God, because it was the will of God that the creature while in unbelief should be guilty of sin and wrath; and when brought unto faith, should then bee justified and cleared: So that the change is in the creature, and not in the will of God. When the world was created, which be­fore was not, God is now a Creator, and was not so before, yet this change is only in the creature the object of Gods will, but not in God himself, nor in his will. Yet one might by this argument as well say that the world was from eternity, for fear of making a change in God, as say for that reason, that justification is from eternity: for there is as much change in God in that work of crea­tion, as in this of justification. It is one thing mutare voluntatem, to change ones will, another thing velle mutationem, to will a change: of which the former is not in God, but the latter; so that by one and the same unchangable will, he willeth to have the crea­ture for a time in a state of wrath, and bondage to sin & Satan &c: and afterward to call him out of that estate & to justifie him. A Physitian appoints his patient to take one day one kind of medicine, the second day another, and the third day another; here he wills a change in the patient without any change of will in himself. Nor is there any change in God, though he wills the creature in time of its unbelief to be in a state of guiltiness, & upon its believing to be be in a state of righteousness.

Object: 6 God loves his elect before they do believe, and therfore they [Page 21] are justified afore. Answ: This will not follow neither:

Answ: For, can not God love with a love of purpose, but all the effects of that love must needs be exhibited forthwith? Then we must say the elect are sanctified before they believe, and gloryfied also, for both these are effects & fruits of his eternal love. And indeed wee may as well say that these are afore faith, and from eternity, as to say so of justification, because all these are fruits of Gods love as well as justification is. Yea if justification must be before faith, and from eternity, because of this eternal love of God, how then commeth it to pass that the elect do not believe from eternity? For sure it is, this calling of the elect & drawing them to Christ by faith, is a fruit of Gods everlasting love, as well as justification is, Jer: 31. 3. But if notwithstanding this love of God we can yield there is a time when the elect do not believe, but are without faith, wee may as well yield there is a time when they are not justified; For this love of the Lord would prove the eternity of the one as well as of the other, both being streams from the same fountain, and fruits from the same root: and yet both in time, and one of them a qualification of the other; Even as God loves his elect afore he gives Christ, (for out of that love he gave Christ, Joh. 3. 16. 1 John 4. 9,10.) and yet when Christ is given, he doth then bestow further fruits of his love; So out of his love he drawes the soul to Christ by faith, Jer: 31. 3. and then makes that effect of his love a qualiticatiō for a new & farther effect of his love in justification; even as justification a qualification for gloryfication, Rom: 8. 30.

Use 3 If justification be by faith, then it is needfull for every soul to labour in the use of meanes for the attayning of this grace, because it is by this that we must be justified if ever we be justified. Oh let men consider what a blessed thing it is to be justified, & to have sin pardoned Psal. 32. 1,2 and what a wofull misery it is to remain under the guilt of sinn, to ly & dy therin, John 8. 24. And the way and meanes to have it otherwise, to escape this misery & attain this blessedness, is this faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. All morrall vertues will not suffice without this; no nor all gifts of grace, and holy dutyes of obedience that are possible to be found where this faith is wanting. Abram had many excellent vertues, and choose service to God & to men, and yet he is not justified by any of them, but by faith only. Without this faith it is impossible to please God, [Page 22] Heb: 11. 6. or to escape his wrath & everlasting condemnation, Joh. 3. 18,36. Mark 16. 16. What though there be righteousness and merit inough in Christ? yet this will not justifie us without faith. If a rich man would bestow some precious pearl that is worth thousands, and thousands of pounds? this is enough indeed to make a beggar or broken-bankrupt rich, but yet not till he do receive it. Even so in this case; It is not through want of merit and righ­teousness in Christ, but through want of faith in their own hearts, that many thousand sinners do perish everlastingly.

Quest: By what means may this faith be attained?

1 Answ: It is good to be well informed of the misery of a man without faith, how such an one for the present lyes under the wrath and dis­pleasure of God Iohn 3. 36. Heb: 11. 6. how he is uncapable of mercy Math: 13. last. Heb: 3. last. how the meanes of grace will never do him good, as long as he remaines in that condition Heb: 4. 2. & that so continuing, his damnation is certain & unavoidable John 3. 18. Mark [...]6. 16. If these things were well considered and thought on, it might by the blessing of God awaken secure & unbelieving sinners out of their sinfull security.

2 It is needfull for a man to be convinced that naturally hee wants faith: John 16. 8. Iohn 3. 27. as the Apostle confesseth, Rom: 7. 18. in me, that is in my flesh there dwelleth no good thing. Untill a man be convinced of this, he will never seek for faith; for who will seek for that, wherof he feels not any want; Nor will God give faith till men see & feel their want & need of it; Luke 1. 53. It is not Gods manner to give grace to them that feel no want of grace; but where he hath a purpose to bestow it, there he first con­vinceth the soul of its want. It is needfull also to be convinced of a mans want of power to believe of himself: Else, if a man bring a faith of his own making, this is not faith of a right stamp, for that is a faith of the operation of God, Col. 2. 12. Therfore the soul must be convinced of that Iohn 6. 44. and have the experimentall feeling of in himself, that he can not come to Christ by believing except he be drawn; and therfore must feelingly cry out, Draw mee that I may runn after thee, Cant. 1. 4. Yea and farther, a man must be convinced of his great & deep unworthyness that ever God should work faith in him, or give the grace of believing to such a wretch, and this in regard of his many & great sins, in regard of his slight­ing [Page 23] of Christ, and grace many a time when it hath been offered, in regard that there are thousands others in whom God may glorifie his rich grace, and let him dy without any part or portion therin. When a man comes to this, then if God work faith in him, he will be very thankfull, and give God the glory of it; and God loves to dispence all his favours in such a way, as may be for the glory of his free grace. Ephe. 1. 6.

3 A third meanes for the begetting of faith, is a right & serious consideration of Gods promises. God hath made many great and precious promises in his word, and the pondering and musing on them, is one special meanes for the begetting & strengthening of this grace: Acts 15. 7. and Rom: 10 17. It is by the promises that wee are made partakers of the divine nature, 2 Peter 1. 4. It is a great mistake in some poor souls, to think that the promises are of no use, but only to comfort them that are believers already, yea and such as know themselves so to bee; and therfore these as long as they discern not faith in themselves, they dare medle with no promises, but lay them aside and let them ly by, as things that do not concern them, but only concern others; wheras one use of the promises is for the begeting of faith. And therfore when we can not bring Hope & Faith to the promise, we must go to the promise for them. Therfore thou that art full of doubting and feares, do thou seriously consider the promise, weigh it, think much on it, pray over it, that God would give thee an heart to believe; and if it will not bee at the first, think again, weigh it again, pray again, &c: and by much veiwing & gazing on it▪ God may work faith in thee, though thou hadst none before, as by much beholding the glory of the Lord in the glass of the Gospel, wee are changed into the same Image, 2 Cor. 3. 18. This may well be meant by that hiding of the Treasure, Math: 13. 44,45. namely that he hides the promises of mercy in the Gospel, in the bottom of his heart and soul, by serious meditation and consideration of them. Particularly, it is good to consider the large extent of these pro­mises, how they are general, excluding none but such as by un­belief do exclude themselves, as these texts do witness, Joh. 3. 16. Rev: 22. 17. Isai 55. 1. So that no man may say, I know not whether I be elected, whether God purpose any good to me &c: For the promise is general & indefinite to whosoever will receive it [Page 24] by faith. The freeness also of the promise should be considered; Isai 55. 1. without mony, without price. What can be more free then gift? that we may have mercy, if wee will receive it. God was not sought unto by fallen man for mercy, but he provides a means of mercy of his own accord, of his own love, John 3. 16. which he had not needed to have done, but that it so pleased him. Which may answer the objection that the soul is wont to make against believing, from its own unworthyness, as not daring to believe on Christ, unless it were more holy, sanctified &c: If a King make love to a poor milk-maid, and offer himself to her, it is not for her to refuse & put off the motion till shee be a Queen, for if shee match with him he will make her a Queen though he do not find her one.

4 It is usefull in this case to think much and consider seriously of him that makes the promise; his Name and blessed Attributes Isai 50. 10. as his Power, infinitely able to do what ever we need, Rom: 4. 21. 2 Tim: 1. 12. Math. 9. 28. Psal. 115. 3. So his Truth and Faithfulness, that never did nor can deceive, nor fayl to perform what ever he promiseth, Heb: 6. 18. & 11, 11. So his Grace & Mercy, his Wisdom & Goodness, yea his very Justice it self, might be helpfull in this case; for being just he will not re­quire satisfaction twice, and once he hath received satisfaction in the sufferings and obedience of Christ. To consider these Attri­butes of God might be very usefull & helpfull in this case, as it is said Psal. 34. 5. they looked unto him and were lightned. But one cause of the want or weakness of faith is, that men look too much at creatures, at sense, at reason, at their own baseness, weakness, unworthyness, and look not sufficiently at God.

5 A serious consideration of him through whom all the pro­mises are accomplished, and made good, might be also helpfull in this matter; and that is the Lord Jesus, who is the mediatour of that better Covenant, established upon better promises, then the old covenant was, Heb: 8. 6. Now in him there is, 1 All fullness, Col: 1. 19. So that what ever we want it is fully to be had in him. In him is Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption, 1 Cor: 1. 30. In him is life, Iohn 14. 6 19. Wisdom Col. 2. 3. Righteousness, Jer. 23. 6. Peace, E [...]e. 2. 4. the Spirit of Grace & Holyness above measure, Iohn 3. 34. & 1. 16. [Page 25] Favour with God, Math: 3. 17. Col. 1. 13. Power to conquer all the enemies of our salvation, as being King of kings, Lord of lords 1 Tim: 6. 15. Able to Succour in all Temptations, Heb: 2. 18. Mighty to Save, Isai 63. 1. God having laid help upon him, hath laid help upon one that is Mighty, Psal. 89. 19. and able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him, Heb: 7. 25. 2 And as there is in him all this Fullness, so there is in him as much Free­ness & readiness, to communicate of this his fulness unto them that trust in him, and sue to him. When he was on earth, he invited men to come to him, and never any so did, but they were holpen; and his heart is still the same; So that he hath not lost his mercy by receiving glory, but is still a mercyfull high Priest on the behalf of poor sinners Heb: 2. 17. So that such as come to him, he will in no wise cast them away, John 6. 37. Therfore let us look unto him Isai 45. 22. and seriously consider this Apostle & high Priest of our profession Heb: 3. 1. and as long as wee so do, we shall do well; but if we turn the ey of our mind from him, then we fall & sink through unbelief: eveu as it were with Peter, who as long as he kept his ey upon Christ, he walked on the water, as firmly as you could do on boards: but when he looked too much on the winds and waves, and kept not Christ in his ey, then he began to sink, Math: 14. 30.

6 Lastly, It is good to consider that to believe is not only lawfull, but a necessary commanded duty, and the contrary a very grievous sin. Some say they could desire to believe, if they thought they might. May I? dare I, faith the soul, apprehend the promise and receive Christ? may I do it? which is as if one should say, may I obey the Commandement of God? may I do the will of God? which ought not to be a question. And sure it is, God would gladly have yee to believe, if it might be after him; (I speak of his revealed will in his word) Else, what means that protest­ing, that hee delighteth not in the death of a sinner Ezek: 33. 11. That beseeching men to be reconciled to God 2 Cor: 5. 20. That Commanding men to believe, 1 Iohn 3. 23. Commending & reward­ing such as do, Math: 15. 28. Threatning & punnishing the con­trary Mark 16. 16. Iohn 3. 18,19,36. Heb: 3. last. And ther­fore wheras the poor soul saith, dare I believe? wee might rather merveil how men dare refuse; for this is to put horrible indignity [Page 26] upon God, as if he ment not as hee sayes, but deals deceitfully and falsly with poor sinners; it is to make God a lyer 1 Iohn 5. 10. As if the God of Truth and Faithfullness had nothing to do, but to dissemble and to deceive poor souls; which should be an abhorring to our thoughts to imagin. Consider then that obedience is better then complement; yea better then sacrifice; and faith is a singular kind of obedience, Rom: 1. 7. If therfore the question be, what shall I do to be saved, the answer from the Lord is, beleive in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved: Acts 16. 30,31. And if the question be, But how may I do to believe? the answer is, Cry mightily unto God, the giver of faith, that he would bless these and such like meanes for the working of this precious and needfull grace.

Use 4 If justification be by faith, then it is needfull for every soul to examin and try themselves, whether they have this faith or no, whether they be true believers or not: For by this we are justified, and without this faith we can not be justified, nor have any well grounded assurance of eternal life. See but that one Scripture John 3. 18,36. Hee that believeth hath everlasting life; hee that believeth not shall not see life, but is condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on him, and then tell me whether it be not needfull for men to try whether they have this faith or not. For which duty we have also a plain commandment, 2 Cor: 13. 5. Examine your selves, whether ye be in the faith or no.

Object: What needs this? For are we not all believers in Christ? we sure are not Infidels?

Answ: Answ:1 The heart is deceitfull Jer: 17. 9. So that many think themselves better then they are, Rev: 3. 17. Gal. 6. 3. Pro: 30. 12. 2 It is most certain all have not faith, but many an one lives & dyes utterly destitute of this precious grace 2 Thes. 3. 2. Deut: 32. 20. 3 Yea many that enjoy the Gospel, live under the means, and hear many a sermon, yet many of these live, & dy without faith; Heb: 4. 2. John 12. 37,38. And therfore let it not seem a needless thing to examine our selves whether wee be in the faith or no.

You will say, If there be any, or many that want faith, yet you are none of that number. Answ: Stay a while till you consider some signes & marks, wherby the want of this grace may [Page 27] bee known: which are such as these.

1 From the generall nature of faith, which is a supernaturall work of God, Math: 16. 17. Iohn 6. 44. Eph. 1. 19. Col: 2. 12. And therfore let a man have nothing, but what he hath by nature, and it is most certain he hath no faith; there is so much Athisme, unbelief, distrust, carnal confidence &c: in the natural and corrupt heart of man, that though he may presume, and though he may despair, yet while he hath no more but what he hath by nature, it is certain he neither doth nor can believe. Yea though he may perform some acts of moral obedience to the Law, at the least in outward things, there being some seeds as it were for such things left in nature Rom: 2. 14. yet there are no seeds left at all for Evangelical faith; but this must be wrought and created by the supernatural & Almighty power of God. Which shews the faith of many to be vain▪ and nothing but a meer conceit, because they have nothing in them but meer nature, nothing that needed any Almighty power for the producing of it: their faith is but a faith of their own making, they never having found any great difficulty in beleiving; that we may say their faith is too easily gotten to be ought worth.

2 A second signe may be taken from the means of working faith, which is the ministery of the word, by ministers sent of God for that purpose; so much is plainly taught in Rom: 10. 14,15,17. Acts 15. 7. 2 Cor 3. 5. And therfore where there is faith, there can not but be an high prizing of the word, and of the ministers therof, as the instrumental cause & means of faith. A man can not esteem lightly of the word, if he have any faith, because by the word his faith was begotten: nor lightly esteem of the mi­nisters, because by them in these dayes the Lord usually begetteth faith: For the former of these see Psal. 119. 93. & Jer: 15. 16. I will never forget thy Precepts, by them thou hast quickned mee; they are the joy & rejoycing of my heart: And for the latter see Rom: 10. 15. Gal. 4. 15. How beautifull are the feet of such men? they would have pulled out their eyes, if it had been possible to have given Paul. What shall then be thought of them that lightly esteem the word of God? To hear it, or not to hear it, are much what both alike to them; and when they come to the assembly, they regard but little how they there behave themselves, but take [Page 28] liberty to wandring thoughts, and gazing looks, or else fall fast asleep it may be by half a dozen at a time. If these men have any faith it was begotten by the word; and if they have none, yet if they ever must haue any, it must be begotten by this means. And is it possible they should have any faith, or any true desire of faith, who do no more esteem the meanes therof? And what may bee thought of them that despise the ministers of the Gospel? who are so farr from counting their feet beautifull, that they rather take pleasure to vex them, molest them, or suffer them almost to starve for want of necessaries? It is by the ministers of Christ that men are brought to believe; and can they be coūted believers, by whom the faithfull ministers of Christ are dispised or lightly esteemed?

3 A third evidence against many, that they want this grace of faith, may be taken from the consideration of the subject in whom this faith is wrought, which is none other but a poor lost humbled soul, a soul that is convinced of its sinfulness & wretchedness, of its inability to help it self, and of its utter unworthyness to receive any help or mercy from God, and therfore mourning in the sense herof. Such as these are the men that are invited to come to Christ Math: 11. 28. that is, to believe on him; and such as these it is whom hee came to seek and to save, Luke 19. 10. but did not come to call others Math: 9. 13. And therfore where this is wanting, we can not see that there can be any faith. And the reason is plain, be­cause till men be brought to this, they neither will nor can believe. That they will not, is evident in the Jews, who through want of this that here is spoken of, did not submit to the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus Rom: 10. 3. and for this cause, our Saviour tells them John 5. 40. yee will not come to me, that ye may have life. Till the prodigal had spent all his portion, and began to feel himself be in want, he never thought of returning to his fathers house Luke 15. And that without this humble & lowly frame, men can not believe is plain from that of our Saviour John 5. 44. how can yee believe, who seek honour one of another, and seek not the honour that commeth from God only? So that till men be changed from this spirit of pride, self-conceitedness, and vain glory, and be brought to true abasement of spirit, and self-denyall, our saviour tells us they will not, nay they can not believe. How shall a man swim as long as he feels the ground with his feet? how shall he build his house [Page 29] upon the rock, as long as the sand is not by deep digging removed and cast away? Luke 6. 48. In like sort, how shall a man believe till he be taken off from all his own bottom, by a spirit of humilia­tion, being clearly convinced of his own wickedness, weakness, & unworthyness in the sight of God, and bitterly mourning in the sight & sence therof, and lamenting after Christ? Till men bee brought to this in some measure of truth, there can not be any saving faith: Till the fallow ground of a proud & hard heart be broken up, men do but sow among thorns, Jer: 4. 3,4. the faith which they have is but a temporary faith at the best, and such as will not continue, because the stoniness of the heart hath not been removed by the work of Gods spirit in conviction, contrition, & humiliatiō Math: 13. 5,6,20,21. And from this it is that so many professors do so fearfully fall away; that one becomes a meer worldling, an other falls to profaneness & loose living, another turns opimonist, drinking in the poyson of some pernicious tenent; all this apostacy is because they never were believers in truth, for then they should not have fallen away, and why were they not believers in truth? even from hence, because the stoutness & stoniness of their hearts was never taken away. Oh therfore all you that are professors of the Gospel, and think ye do believe, examin well your selves upon this point of true humiliation; for if there you be not right, your faith is not right, nor will it hold out and continue in the day of tryall.

4 A fourth triall may be taken from the object of faith; and there is to be considered the object of faith quoe justificat, and quae justificat, which doth justifie, and as it doth justifie: In the for­mer respect, the object of faith is the whole word of God; Acts 24. 14. What God can speak, it can & doth believe, when it knowes it to be spoken of God. which discovers the faith of many to be unsound, because though they say they believe the promises, yet they believe not the commandements, for then they would obey them, and assent to them with their whole hearts; nor do they be­lieve the threatnings, for then they durst not so securely continue in sin, but would surely tremble & be afraid because of them; as Psal. 119. 120. Isai 66. 2,5. Holy David did believe the Com­mandements Psal. 119, 66. and so did blessed Paul, confessing the Law to be holy, and the Commandement to be holy, just and good, [Page 30] and such as he delighted in, Rom: 7. 12,22. As for them that can not endure to be ruled by the Law & the Commandements of it, nor to be awed by its threatnings, their faith is not sound, as not believing the whole word of God, though they pretend a belief of that part which consists of promises. In the latter respect the object of faith is Christ only, and his righteousness: Hee is that blessed promised seed, that is chiefly intended in the promise to Abram, and which his faith did mainly look at John 8. 56. and is the object of true faith as it doth justifie & save; Acts 16. 31. Joh. 3. 16,36. Therfore where there is this faith, there will be many thoughts of Christ, many desires after him, many longings for him, an high prizing of him, to count him precious1 Pet. 2 6,7. the cheifest of ten thousands Cant: 5. 10. A pearl & treasure, worthy to bee bought with the sale of all that ever a man hath Math: 13. 44,46. and that all other things are but loss and dung in comparison of this Christ and his righteousness, Phil. 3. 7,8,9. Therfore where the soul scarce ever thinks of Christ, or doth not much esteem him and prize him, or not so esteem him as to count health, wealth, freinds, liberty, life it self, and all a mans own righteousness, and what ever can be named amongst creatures, to be all nothing, in comparison of this Lord Jesus Christ, there we may be well assured that as yet there is not any faith, Luke 14.26.

5 Lastly, Such an excellent grace as faith, can not be with­out many excellent effects & fruits: such as are Humility, Purity, Love, weanedness from the world, & the like. First for Humility, a soul that is lifted up with high conceits of its self is destitute of faith, for such a frame, and true faith are quite contrary & incon­sistant; Hab: 2.4. therfore the text saith, the soul of such an one is not upright in him: Look at them that have been most eminent in faith, as David, Paul, the Centurion, the woman of Canaan, and we shall find they have ever been low-thoughted of themselves; Psal. 131. 1,2. Eph. 3. 8. 1 Tim: 1. 15. 1 Cor: 15. 9. Math: 8. 8. Math: 15.27. For Purity, faith doth fetch such vertue from the blood and spirit of Christ, and the promise, as doth so purifie the heart, Acts 15. 9. & 26. 18. that it can not allow of any sin, but unfainedly hates it all, Rom: 7. 15. and loves holy­ness, Psal. 119. 5,97. And for weanedness from the world, the example of Moses is notable, who by his faith refused all the [Page 31] pleasures, profits, and preferments of Pharaohs Court: preferring the society of the saints, and the very rebuke of Christ before them▪ all: Heb: 11. 25,26. And therfore it is said, that faith is the victory that overcomes the world, 1 John 5. 4 So that by it the heart is preserved from being too much discouraged, when worldly comforts are wanting, 1 Sam: 30. 6. Hab. 3. 17, [...]8. and taught so much the more to draw neer to God at such times Psal. 56. 3. & 109.4.

Lastly, this faith doth so work by love, Gal. 5. 6. (and love wee know is the fulfilling of the Law Rom: 13. [...]0.) that where there is this faith, there can not but be obedience to all the will of God, Heb: 11. 8. &c: and the more faith the more obedience, and the more good works; wheras a faith that hath not works is dead, & no better then the faith of Divels, Jam: 2. 19,20.

If now upon examination & triall, a man shall find himself without faith, oh then let such an one bewayl his condition, and seek unto God for this precious faith, in the use of such meanes as were mentioned in the precedent use. But if it shall be found upon due and serious search to be otherwise, then let such a man bee un­feynedly thankfull & comfortable, & that shall be the next use.

Use 5 For if justification be by faith, then they that truely believe can never be sufficiently thankfull, inasmuch as now they are count­ed just & righteous in the sight of God. Consider either the con­trary to this justified estate, or the thing it self, and wee shall see there is in it marvellous great cause to be thankfull and rejoyce.

For the former; let these particulars be minded:

1 That it is amongst the greatest of miseryes, when a man shall be without the forgivness of his sinns: So much is manifest by the lamentations of the godly, who have greatly lamented this thing, Psal. 90. 8. Job 7. 20,21. As also by the Imprecations against the wicked, against whom it is wished as the greatest evill, that their sinns might not be covered, nor blotted out, Nehe. 4. 5. Psal. 109. 14. The Comminations also of God do shew the same; for it is threatned & denounced against men as one of the sorest of evills, that their sinns shall ly down with them in the dust, that they shall dy in their sinns, and that the Lord will never forget their wicked works, Job 20. 11. Iohn 8. 24. Amos 8. 7. And Lastly, when the Apostle reckons up the inconveniencies & mischiefs that must unavoidably follow, if Christ be not risen from the dead, he names [Page 32] this as one of the worst, that then we are yet in our sins: If Christ be not risen saith he, then is our preaching vain, and your faith vain, yea and yee are yet in your sinns 1 Cor: 15. 14,17. All which do clearly shew, that it is a dolefull & dreadfull condition to be with­out the the pardon & forgivness of sinns.

2 As dolefull & dreadfull as it is, yet till a man attain this be­nefit of justification, all his sins do remain in Gods sight as fresh & clear, as the very day when they were first cōmitted: therfore they are said to be written with a pen of yron, and the point of a diamond Jer: 17. 1. to be sowed up as in a bagg & sealed Iob 14. 17. that they might not be out of the way, or hard to find And our Saviour speaking of such as then were, (many of them at least) dead & gone, saith, (not they were, but) they are theevs and robbers, Iohn 10. 8. intimating that the guilt of those sinns did cleave unto them, fresh in the sight of God to that day, So Judas is a traitor to this day, Cain a murtherer to this day, and all unbelieving sinners, unjusti­fied persons, whether alive or dead, the guilt of all their sinns doth remain upon them to this day.

3 And if so, then though conscience may be asleep and be­nummed for a time, yet the time will come when it will awake, to the galling, and vexing and tormenting of the guilty soul, with most dreadfull terrours & horrours; hence we read of Cain crying out in the anguish of his soul, my sin is greater then I can bear, Gen: 4. 13. and of Judas crying out, I have sinned in betraying innocent blood, & in dispair going to the halter to let out his wretch­ed soul, Math: 27. 4,5. Yea & Josephs brethren apprehending themselves in some danger in Egypt, have this dolefull ditty in their mouths, wee are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and wee would not hear; and therfore is this evill come upon us, Gen: 42. 21. So that if sin be unpardoned, though conscience for the present may be asleep and quiet; yet a time will come when this sleepy Lyon will awake and roar.

4 And this is certain, that if the guilt of sin remain, the pu­nishment therof can not alwayes be avoided, though it may bee forborn or with-holden for a time. For the Lord is a just God, and will by no means clear the guilty Exod: 34. 7. but tribulation & anguish, indignation and wrath, shall one day take hold of every one [Page 33] that doth evill, on the Jew first and also on the gentiles Rom: 2. 8,9. Sinn makes a man indebted to Gods justice, and considering what God is, how his wrath is a consuming fire, Heb: 12. last. it must needs therfore be a fearfull thing to fall into the hands of this living God, Heb: 10. 31. For how can a mans heart endure, or his hands bee strong in the day that God shall deal with him▪ Ezek: 22. 14. who can dwell with that devouring fyre? who can stand with those everlasting burnings? Isai 33. 14.

Such a dolefull thing it is to have sin unpardoned, and to be un­justified.

But on the other side, See what happiness it is to have sinn re­mitted, and the person justified: 1 It is acknowledged by David, Hezekiah, and others as a point of great blessedness, Psal. 32. 1,2. Isai 38. 17. Psal. 85. 2. 2 It is also promised as a speciall blessing of the new covenant, that God will therin forgive the iniquities of his people, and remember their sinns no more. Jer: 31. 34. 3 The godly have earnestly sought it at Gods hands by prayer, which they would not have done, had it not been in their esteem a great blessing, Hosea 14. 2. Psal. 25. 18. & 51. 1,2, 9. 4 It is such a blessing as that if it be once graunted, it shall never be recalled, but shall abide for ever; sinns, once par­doned are so cast into the depth of the sea, Mich. 7. 19. that they can never be found any more Jer: 50. 20. nor will God call them to remembrance again Jer: 31. 34. 5 It is such a compleat and perfect blessing, that God doth not only pardon some of the sinns of his people, but even all their sinns & trespasses whatsoever; 1 Iohn 1. 7. Col: 2. 13. Psal. 51. 7. Isai 1. 18. 6 And on this ground they are bidden be of good comfort Math: 9. 2. and the Prophets must speak comfortably unto them, because their ini­quity was pardoned Isai 40. 1,2. 7 It is such a blessing, that it shall undoubtedly be followed with eternall life and glory, Tit. 3. 7. Rom: 8. 30. which may be one reason, why it is called justification of life Rom: 5. 18.

All which things considred, both the misery of being still under the guilt of sin, as unpardoned, & the happiness of a justified estate, They therfore that have title to such a great blessing as justification is, have cause for ever to be comforted, to be thankfull to God for so great a blessing; And all this is the portion of true believers; [Page 34] For they are the men to whom the Lord doth not impute sin, but righteousness, and whom he justifies freely by his grace in Jesus Christ; so that as righteousness was imputed to Abram, even so it is and shall be to all that are believers, who are the children of Abram, righteousness shall be imputed to them also; Rom: 4. 5,11,23,24. Gal. 3. 7,9. Rom: 3. 22,25,26,30. Act 10. 43. & 13. 39.

Know therfore all you that are true believers in Christ, that your sinns are pardoned, and your persons justified & accepted in Christ Jesus: God is now reconciled to you through his dea [...] Son, & your sins shall never be laid unto your charge, for you are justified and cleared in Gods sight, and therfore be glad in the Lord, and rejoyce yee just and justified persons, and shout for joy all yee that are up­right in heart; Psal. 32. 11.

Quest But what needs much to be said for the comforting of believ­ers? will not they be forward of themselves to take the comfort of their justification?

Answ: Many indeed that are destitute of faith are forward enough, & too much to apply comfort to themselves, when it doth not belong unto them, as Currs in the house are ready to snatch at the childrens bread, and run away with it as if it were a portion for them: as Haman, when the King but spake of the man whom the King de­lighted to honour, presently applyed the speech to himself, thinking whom will the King honour rather then my self, Hest. 6. 6. But they that are believers indeed, have many times need to be com­forted concerning their justification; and therfore the Lord speaks so earnestly to his Prophets Isai 40. 1,2. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, and say unto Jerusalem that her iniquity is pardoned, inti­mating therby, that his people have sometimes need, yea much need to be cōforted cōcerning the pardon of their sins & their justificatiō. For though they be believers, and their sinns pardoned, and their persōs justified in Christ, yet somtimes they can scarce believe them­selves to be so happy; as Job, though he had called and God had answered him, yet would scarcely believe that God had harkned to his voyce, Job 9. 16. And David, though Nathan had told him that the Lord had put away his sinn, and that hee should not dy, 2 Sam: 12. yet he is not so quickly perswaded▪ & so easily satisfied touch­ing this point▪ but that after this he still prayes & cryes for pardon Psal. 51. as if he had never heard those words of the Prophet:

[Page 35] And as the children of God have many times need to be com­forted touching this point, so the ministry of the word is a means of Gods ordayning for the comforting of them; Isai 57. 29. 1 Thes. 3. 2. Isai 40. 1,2. and therfore to comfort them concerning their justification, must not be looked at as a needless labour.

Quest: If God do give them faith, and therby do justifie them and pardon their sins, why do they not know it? and how commeth it to pass that they are pardoned & justified in heaven, and not in their own consciences also?

Answ: This commeth to pass; 1 To shew that not only faith & forgivness, but even comfort it self, is the free gift of God, and depends not necessarily & infallibly so on faith, repentance &c: but that these may be, and yet there be little comfort & joy, at least for a time. And therfore it is that God is called the God of comfort, 2 Cor: 1. 3. and his spirit the Comforter, Iohn 14. & 15. & 16. and God is said to be hee that speaks peace unto his peo­ple, Psal. 85. 8. all to shew that peace and comfort and joy are blessings, the dispencing wherof the Lord hath reserved in his own hand. According to that Job 34. 29. when hee giveth quietness, who can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who can behould him. 2 It thus cōmeth to pass, that the godly may feel the smart & bitterness of sin the more, and so be more deeply humbled in sence therof. 3 That they may be more watchfull after­ward. If David like his broken bones, and his roaring all the day long, &c: then let him be bold to be tampering with sin again. But by this meanes God keeps his children from turning again to folly, they know what it hath cost them before, and they will no more buy the pleasure of it so dear. 4 That they may learn to be the more pittyfull to others in the like distresses; as Christ must suffer & be tempted, that he might succour them that are tempted: Heb: 2. 17,18. 5 That they might after­wards more heartily and chearfully prayse and laud the Lord; as they that have been in deep afflictions and are delivered out of the same; Psal. 107. 6 Lastly this commeth to pass through the difficulty and supernaturall way of believing. Naturall conscience expects justification by works, and therfore hath much adoe to close with mercy in a way of free grace. Faith is not like other graces & dutyes, which have some (though [Page 36] obscure) footsteps in the naturall-dictates of conscience, as to wor­ship God, love God &c: Rom: 2. 14. but faith is wholly super­natural, Math: 16. 17. so that Adam in his innocency knew not this way of believing in, and trusting to the righteousness of a Re­deemer & mediator. As Christ, the object of faith is only by divine revelation, no counsell of men or Angels could ever have de­vised such a way of justification, so faith it self as the organ and instrument to apply [...] righteousness, is not by humane light, but wholly from above. And faith being thus supernatural, it is therfore the more difficult, not only to be attained, but also to be discerned.

Quest: How then may faith & justification be known, that one may have the comfort of the same?

Answ: It is good for a man to examine himself by the trialls before mentioned, from the principall efficient, the instrumental means, the object, the subject, and the effects of faith. But withall it is needfull to pray for the illumination of Gods spirit, which is able to clear up our faith and our justification by faith; but without this it will never be satisfyingly discerned & known. For it is the Spirit that sheddeth abroad the love of God into our hearts, Rom: 5. 5. witnesseth that we are the children of God Rom: 8, 16. sealeth believers to the day of redemption Ephe. 1. 13. & 4. 30. and enables us to know the things that are freely given us of God 1 Cor: 2. 12.

Two things concerning justification have been spoken unto already, viz: the chief author or efficient of it, which is the Lord, and the instrumental cause or means of it which is faith.

In the next place, wee are to consider of the third and last particular here expressed, and that is the forme or manner of it, and that is by imputing, accounting, or reckoning; He counted it to him for righteousness.Whence the Doctrine is,

Doctr: That, As justification is from God as the Author of it, and by faith as the instrument or means of it, so for the forme or manner of it, it is by accounting, reckoning, or imputing.

I name these three English words, as our english tongue useth them all, though they all import the same thing, one & the same word in the originall being somtimes englished by one of them, and somtimes by another.

Now for the farther opening of this point, it is to be observed that there are three things which are said to be imputed or not imputed in this matter of justification; Sin, Faith, & Righteousness.

[Page 37] First of all Sinn, and of this the Scripture phrase is negative, that sin is not imputed, when a man is justified. This expression of the not imputing of sin is found in such scriptures as these, Rom: 4. 8. Psal. 32. 2. 2 Cor: 5. 19. in which places the Holy-Ghost speaks of justification. In like sort is the word used 2 Sam: 19. 19. and in that of Paul 2 Tim: 4. 16. where he prayeth that their sin that forsook him in his appearing before the Emperour might not be laid to their charge, or not imputed unto them; for it is the same word that is often englished imputed, in Rom: 4. So this phrase importeth that when the soul is justified, his sin is not accounted, imputed or reckoned to him at all in the sight of God, but he stands clear before him as if he had never sinned.

2 Faith is said to be imputed; Rom: 4. 5,9,22,23,24. And how is that meant, when faith is said to be imputed? There are two wayes how that is understood: First of all, when faith it self is said to be imputed, that is, to be imputed & reckoned to us as our own, though it be not our own any otherwise then as the gift and work of God in us, according as it is said to be the gift of God Phil. 1. 29. Ephe. 2. 8. and that no man can come to Christ (that is believe in him) except he be drawn by the father, Ioh. 6. 44. But yet when God hath given faith, he then imputes and reckons this faith as ours, though himself have wrought it in us. And this may seem to be needfull, to the end that Christ & his righteousness which by faith we possess, may be our own and imputed & reck­ned to us as our own. For though Christs righteousness be a per­fect righteousness, and we possess it by faith, yet how can it be ac­counted ours, unless faith it self the meanes of possessing it, bee counted ours? but when faith is accounted ours, then the righte­ousness of Christ possessed by faith, is accounted ours also. If we take the imputing of faith in this sence, then when faith is said to be imputed, or counted for righteousness, that particle [for] must not be so understood as if faith it self were in the room and steed of righteousness; for it hath been shewed afore, that such an appre­hention will not stand or agree with truth. But the word [for,] doth here only note why, or wherfore, as if it were rendered faith is im­puted, unto righteousness, that is to say, to the end we may attain unto righteousness; And in another place the same preposition is englished unto, twice in one verse; Rom: 10. 10. with the heart [Page 38] man believeth unto righteousness, with the mouth confession is made unto salvation: and so it might be here Rom: 4. faith is imputed unto righteousness. This exposition of the phrase when faith is said to be accoūted or imputed for righteousness, is given by some very godly & judicious, [...] Forbes and I mention it as worthy consideration.

But that sense of the word which is more usually given, and wherin I should rest, is when faith is taken relatively for its object, which is Christ & his righteousness; and so these words faith is accounted for righteousness, have this meaning, that Christ and his righteousness are so accounted. For as hath been shewed afore, it is not unusuall that faith should be taken in this sense, namely, for its object Christ Jesus. That which in one verse is called faith, in another is called Christ; Gal. 2. 16,17. so likewise Gal. 3. 23,25. of which sense more hath been spoken afore.

3 There is yet another expression in this matter of imputation, and that is the imputing of righteousness; which phrase is used Rom: 4. 6,11.

So then for the form & manner of justification▪ there is the not imputing of sinn, and the imputing of righteousness, and the im­puting of faith unto righteousness.

But for farther opening of this point of Imputation, sundry questions may be proposed, viz:

Quest:1 1 What is that righteousness which God doth impute unto us for our justification?

Answ: It is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer & Me­diatour, that which was wrought by him in his own person; this righteousness of his is imputed unto us by God, and the imputation of it is the formal cause of our justification.

That this righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, such reasons as these may make manifest:

1 If righteousness be imputed (as the text plainly & expressly affirms that it is, Rom: 4. 6,11.) then it must either bee our own righteousness that is so imputed, or else the righteousness of some other. But our own righteousness it can not bee; for wee being all sinners have none such of our own as can justifie us; Rom: 3. 10. Psal. 1 [...]. 3. 2. Isai 64. 6. And besides, this righteousness is said to be imputed without works Rom: 4. 6. that is without our own works; so that the righteousness of our own works is not imputed. [Page 39] It must then be the righteousness of another: Now that other can be none else but Christ alone. Any other whose righteousness may be imputed for justification, besides Christ can not be imagined.

2 The text is plain that we are justified by Christ & his righ­teousness: Jer: 23. 6. Isai 45. 24,25. Rom: 5. 9,19: 1 Cor: 1. 30. And if so, then his righteousness is imputed to us, because there is no other way how it can be cōmunicated to us but by im­putation. And yet communicated it must be, else how shall wee be justified by it? Riches, Pearls of great value, can make no man rich, till they be applyed and become his own; and so it is in this case.

3 As we are made sinners by the sin of Adam, so are we made righteous by the righteousness of Christ; Rom: 5. 19. 1 Cor: 15. 22. But we are made sinners by the sin of Adam by imputation; for the guilt and punishment of that sinn can no otherwise be made ours: And therfore we are made righteous by the righteousness of Christ by imputation.

4 Look how Christ was made a sinner by our sinn, so are wee made righteous by his righteousness, 2 Cor: 5. 2 [...]. Now how was Christ made a sinner by our sinn? not inherently, as if there were any sin inherent in him, either in his heart or life; the Scrip­ture is express against that, Heb: 4. 15. 1 Pet: 2. 22. for he knew no sinn, in that sence 2 Cor: 5. 21. It were a most wicked thing to imagine any such matter of him. And therfore it remayneth that he was made a sinner by imputation only; he was made sinn for us 2 Cor: 5. 21. the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all, Isai 53. 6.

Quest: 2 But now this also may be questioned by some, Whether our sinns were imputed to Christ? and whether he bare any punish­ment due to us for our sinns?

Answ: There are sundry reasons that may clear this also:

1 It may be cleared by all those Scriptures where it is said that Christ suffered, and dyed for our sinns, Rom: 4. 25. & 5. 6,8. 1 Cor: 15. 3. 1 Pet: 3. 18. Isai 53. 5,8. Heb: 2. 9. Christ did not dy without a cause Gal. 2. last: for our sinns were the cause. And if our sinns were the cause of his death, and that he dyed for them, then they were imputed to him, so that when he suffered and dyed, he bare the punishment of our sinns.

[Page 40] 2 Christ is said to bear our sinns, 1 Pet. 2. [...], Isai 53. 11,12. Now to bear them doth imply that he bare the punishmet of them, and that they were imputed to him for that end. For wheras some do think, that to bear our sinns doth signifie no more but that hee bare them away from us, without bearing himself any punishment deserved by them, it is manifest that the phrase of bearing sinn, or bearing iniquity, can have no such meaning, but that it signifies to bear the punishment deserved by sinn: as where it is said of such & such offenders, that they shall bear their iniquity, Lev: 20. 17. & 5. 1. that every one shall bear his own burden Gal. 6. 5. & 5. 10. and that the sonn shall not bear the iniquity of the father, nor the fa­ther the iniquity of the sonn, Ezek: 18. 20. can any man imagin that here to bear iniquity should signifie to bear it away from himself or from another? If any could so do, there were no evill in such a bearing, but that were a lawfull, yea a commendable and blessed bearing of another mans sin; But the text speaks of bearing iniqui­ty in an other sence, wherin no man shall bear the iniquity of an­other, but every man bear his own burden, his own sin; that is the punishment of his sin. Therfore inasmuch as the Lord Jesus bare our sinns, he bare the punishment due by them, they being imputed to him for that end.

3 Christ was made a curse for us, Gal. 3. 13. and this implies that he bare the punishment of sin for us; for to be made a curse or to be cursed is alwayes used in that sence, Math: 25. 41. 2 Pet: 2. 14. Gal. 3. 10.

4 Christ was a ransom or a price of redemption for us; Math: 20. 28. 1 Tim: 2. 6. 1 Cor: 6. 20. and this doth imply that the punishment of our sinns was laid upon him.

5 Christ was a sacrifice for us, or for our sinns, Heb: 9. 26, 28. & 10. 12. & John 1. 29. Math: 26. 28. And inasmuch as all the sinns of the people were put & laid upon the sacrifice Lev: 16. 15,16,17. & vers 21,22. & Lev: 10. 17. therfore this implies and teacheth that all our sins were imputed to Christ,& the punish­ment of them laid upon him.

6 What can be more plain then what is written in Isai 53. 6. 2 Cor: 5. 21. he was made sinn for us, God hath laid on him the iniquity of us all?

Quest: 3 But how can this stand with justice, that our sinns should [Page 41] bee imputed to Christ, and he be punished for them? can it stand with justice that one should be punished for anothers sin and the innocent for the guilty?

Answ: Yes, there is no injustice at all in it, that the surety be respon­sible for the debt, as Philem: 18. Paul becoming surety for Onesimus, saith to Philemon, put that on my account, let it bee imputed to mee, let me answer & pay it. Now Christ was our surety, Heb: 7. 22. More particularly thus; it is no wayes unjust that one be punished for the sin of another, when the things here following do all concur: 1 When all that are concerned in it are willing and do consent. 2 When there is a neer relation and union between the offender and the sufferer.

3 When the sufferer hath free dominion over that from which he parteth in his sufferings for another. 4 When he hath power to break through and overcome all his sufferings, and to re­assume his former condition again. 5 When this way is not to the dishonour of any, but for the greater honour & glory of all. And so it is in all the particulars when the Lord Jesus did suffer for us.

Quest: 4 But if God do not graunt forgiveness, attonement, righteous­ness, without the punishment of our sinns laid on Christ, and suf­fered by him, where then is there any Grace or Mercy in our salva­tion? For it seems God doth not save us without satisfaction to himself?

Answ: Yet there is much grace & mercy in our salvation notwith­standing what is here said: for, 1 It is mercy to us, though it be merited by Christ. 2 It was great grace and mercy to accept of satisfaction from another; for the rigour of the Law would not allow of this, but exacts satisfaction from the sinner himself in his own person. And therfore there was in it great grace to us, that God by his soveraign power would in this point dispece with the rigour of the Law. 3 It was yet a point of farther grace, and mercy, that he himself would find out this remedy, this way of salvation by another. For we our selves could never have found out such another, nor could any other creature have found it out for us. So that though justice be satisfied, and punishment be suffered, yet our salvation is of free grace and mercy notwith­standing, Justice and Mercy most sweetly concurring in our salva­tion by Christ Jesus.

[Page 42] Quest: 5 If then the righteousness of Christ be imputed to us, What was that righteousness of Christ that is imputed?

Answ: Such a righteousness as man now oweth to yeild & perform unto God: and that is two-fould▪ 1 Passive, in a way of suffering penalty or punishment for his transgression: this every sinner doth owe to God by the sentence of his just Law, which requireth that the sinner be accursed and suffer death for his sinn, Gal. 3. 10. Rom: 6. 23. 2 A sinner oweth obedience de novo; and is still bound to obey the Law, though he must & when he hath satisfied for former breaches. It stands not with reason that paying the penalty threatned for transgression, hee should therby becom lawless, or free from thenceforth from the debt & duty of obedience which the Law requireth. And this being the righteousness that a sinner oweth, this therfore is the righteousness which Christ performed for as, and which is imputed to us for our justification, even both his active & passive obedience; Therfore it is said that he fulfilled al righteousness, Math: 3. 15. even all that the Law requireth of fallen man, whether it bee suffering or doing: both which seem to be comprehended in that one saying Phil: 2. 8. that Christ humbled himself and became obedient even to death, the death of the cross; which place implyes that there is an obedience which falls short of death, and an obedience in suffering death, and that Christ for our sakes & an our steed performed both. In which respect also it is that he is said to bee the end of the Law for righteousness; Rom: 10. 4. Now the end of the Law is per­fect righteousness, in doing what is commanded, and in suffering punishment in case of sin & transgression; and so Christ being the end of the Law, hath therfore performed both these things for us, which the Law requireth of sinners, viz: to do what it cómanded, and to suffer what is due for sinn.

Quest: 6 If this righteousness be imputed to us, doth it not then fol­low that we are as righteous as Christ? and that every believer is a redeemer and saviour of others? for Christ was so.

Answ: This will not follow at all; and the reasons are: 1 Be­cause the sin of Adam is imputed to all the sonns of Adam, and yet every son of Adam is not a cause & fountain of sin to all others, as Adam was: and so we may say in the case in hand. 2 The vertue that is in the head is communicated to all the members, and [Page 43] yet it doth not follow that every member is hereby made an head, to communicate vertue to all the other members, as the head doth: so here. 3 Though Christs righteousness be sufficient for all the elect universally, and for every one in particular, yet when it is applyed it is not applyed to every particular person of them, as it is a price for all, but as it is a price sufficient for himself.

Use 1 It behooveth then all the children of God to take heed of such spirits as deny the doctrine of Imputation. Popish writers have sometimes made a jest & a mock of this doctrine, calling imputed righteousness a putative righteousness, a new no justice; and some others that in profession otherwise are farr from popery, yet cannot yield that there is any imputing of our sinns to Christ, or of Christs righteousness to us. Against all which conceits, let that be mind­ed and considered which hath here been said for the clearing of these things. And to sober minds it should weigh much, that the term of imputing righteousness is frequently found in Scripture, and the very word imputing no less then nine or ten times in that one chap: of Rom: 4. though it be englished sometimes reckoned, sometimes accounted, and somtimes imputed.

Use 2 By this we may see the great grace of God; in that we having no righteousness of our own (and that yet without righteousness we could not be justified,) he is graciously pleased to impute unto us the righteousness of Christ, that by it we might be justified, and that faith should be imputed for righteousness Had we had any works of our own that might have sufficed in this matter, then indeed the reward might have been reckned not of grace but of debt: but now when righteousness is accounted by faith, and is imputed to believ­ers without works, this doth exceedingly set forth the riches and freeness of Gods grace; Rom: 4 4, 15. and therfore it is of faith, that it might be by grace Rom: 4. 16.

Use 3 And in as much as our sinns were imputed to Christ, and the punishment of them imposed upon him, therfore the godly have in this respect great cause to be deeply affected with sinn, and to grieve for it. For it was not Judas, nor all the malicious Jewes, no nor Herod, nor Pilate, nor all the rest of the wicked world that could have brought Christ to his painfull passion and death, no nor have so much as touched the least hayr of his head, had not the sins of Gods people been imputed to him and laid upon him; but hee [Page 44] was bruised for our iniquities: for the transgression of Gods people was hee smitten, Isal 53. 5,8. So that our sinns were the cause of his sufferings; which consideration should be a means & motive for the awaking of our hearts with godly sorrow? as it is written Zach: 12. 10. they shall look on him whom they have peirced; and they shall mourn therfore with bitter mourning, as a man for his only son, and for the loss of his first born. They that do deny that when the Lord Jesus suffered, he bare the punishment of our sinns, do not a little hinder the exercise of repentance and godly sorrow for sinn, in all those in whom this opinion takes place, there being no one consideration more effectual & available for stirring up the exercise of this grace, then this that we are speaking of, that our sinns were the cause of Christs sufferings, the thought wherof should exceed­ingly break & melt our hearts.

Use 4 And if righteousness be imputed to believers, for their justifi­cation, oh then how may this comfort & stay the hearts of all poor penitent believers, and mourning souls, who can see much sinn in themselves for which they might justly be condemned, but can see nothing in themselves for which they might be justified; and here­upon are vile in their own eyes, abhoring themselves, looking and lamenting after Christ. Be not dismayed, all you that are such, but be it spoken to the stay & comfort of your hearts, that though you can not be justified by any inherent righteousness of your own, yet you may be justified by the imputed righteousness of another. Abram we see believed in the Lord, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness; do you then believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and righteousness shall be imputed unto you also, and therby you shall be justified, though you have no inherent righteousness of your own, that can any thing availe for this purpose.

Use 5 Lastly if righteousness be imputed to believers for their justi­fication, let us then all learn highly to prize and earnestly to desire this imputed righteousness. Shall we now content our selves with any inherent righteousness of our own, whether inward vertues, or outward performances, and think to be justified in the sight of God? no, no, all righteousness of ours is but as filthy raggs Isai 64. 6. there is no man living that can be justified before God by that means, or in such a way, Psal. 143. 2. It is the Lord Jesus who is our righteousness, Jer: 23. 6. and he it is who is made unto us Wisdom, [Page 45] Righteousness, and Redemption 1 Cor: 1. 30. and in comparison of this Lord Jesus Christ and his righteousness which is by faith, even the righteousness which is of God by faith, all other righteousness, all other things in the matter of justification are but loss, and to be esteemed as dung, as they were unto the Apostle Paul; Phil. 3. 7,8,9. And they that neglect this righteousness without them, that it might be imputed to them, and content themselves with their own righteonsness, inherent in them, or wrought by them, shall one day find that they have been miserably deceived and deluded, like those that kindle a fire unto themselves, and compass themselves about with their own sparks, but in the end do ly down in sorrow, Isai 50. 11. Wherfore let all that fear God, yea all that desire to walk wisely for their own everlasting comfort, seek first the King­dom of God, and his righteousness, and then all other things shall bee added to them, Math: 6. 33. Yea let them hunger and thirst after righteousness, for such are blessed and shall be filled; Math: 5. 6.



  • ABram adorned with many good works, and yet justifi­ed only by faith pag 2, 12. Attributes of God, the consideration of them, a means [...] begetting of faith. page 24.
  • Bear iniquity, what is ment thereby. page 39,40,41.
  • Believing in the Lord, is not only to believe the word to be true, but also im­plyes Relyance on God, page 1. Farther confirmation of faith called believing p. 2 To believe on Christ, and to believe a mans self to be justified differ: p. 17,18 To believe on Christ is not only lawful, but commanded p. 9,25. See Faith.
  • Change none in God, though he wills a change in the creature. page 20.
  • Christ the object of faith, p. 6,29,30 How he dyed & rose again for our justi­fication, p. 18,19,20. Consideration of his f [...]lness & freeness of grace, a means for the begetting of faith, page 24.
  • [Page 46] Comfort to believers p. 33. How it commeth to pass that believers do not all­wayes feel the comfort of a justified estate page 34,35. how attained p. 36.
  • Faith the object of it as it justifieth, page 6, 29, 30. doth not justifie as a work or vertue in us p. 9. Is not the very mat­ter or thing by which we stand just p. 9, 10. doth justifie only in respect of its ob­ject, Christ, p. 10. doth all with reference to Christ; ibid. Why Love & other gra­ces do not justifie as well as faith, Christ being the object of them also, p. 11. faith only doth justifie p. 12. no actuall justifi­cation afore it p. 13,14,15. wee are not justified by it declaritively only page 16. should be laboured for, six means wherby p. 21, to 26. the misery of a soul without it p. 22. means for the tryall of it p. 26, etinde. Faith a supernatural grace 27. the humbled soul the subject of it p. 28. of the fruits of it page 30,31.
  • Forgivness of sinns, the dreadfulness of being without it p. 3,31. the happiness of being forgiven page 32,33.
  • Gospel, what, page 2. the meanes of faith p. 4. what is its work in the beget­ting of faith, page 4.
  • Grace, justificatiō is of Gods free grace page 43. yea though we be not justified without Christs satisfaction p. 41,42.
  • Humbled soul the subject of faith, p. 28. See sorrow for sin.
  • Imputation the form of justification, pag 36. the meaning of that saying, faith is imputed for righteousness, p. 37. Of Christs righteousness to us p. 38,42. of our sins to Christ p. 39. and how this can stand with justice p. 41. imputed righte­ousness to be sought p. 44.
  • Justice, how to impute the sins of one to another can stand therewith p. 41. how Justice & Mercy do accord in justificatiō & salvation by Christ p. 40 41.
  • Justification the work of God p. 6,7. can never be lost p. 7. is by faith p. 9,10. & by faith only 12. no actual justificatiō afore faith, ten reasons p. 13 &c: objecti­ons for justification afore faith answered, p. 16, to 22. absurdities of justification from eternity 14,15. purchased by Christ though not applyed afore faith p. 18,19. the blessedness of a justified estate and the contrary p. 31 to 33. how free when it is not without Christs satisfaction P. 41.
  • Law alone can not beget faith, & yet is necessary to prepare for faith p. 3.
  • Love of God eternal, yet justificatiō & other fruits of it exhibited in time 20,21.
  • Mercy in our salvation, though it bee not without the satisfaction of Christ pag 41,42.
  • Ministry of the word a means of faith page 27. See word.
  • Promises of God, the consideration of them a mean for the begetting of faith 23.
  • Punishment of our sins laid on Christ, & how this can stand with justice 40,41.
  • Righteousness of Christ i [...]pu [...]ed is [Page 47] both active & passive p. 42. wee are not as righteous as Christ, though his righte­ousness be imputed to us, page 42. wee should not content our selves with righte­ousness inherent, but seek for imputed also p. 44. Comfort against the imperfection of our own righteousness page 44.
  • Sorrow for sin, where it is not, there is no faith 28. the sufferings of Christ for our sins, a means of godly sorrow p. 43.
  • Ungodly how God justifies them 16.
  • Word the means of faith p. 3,4,27. why many have it & yet never attain to faith page. 4. their case lamentable that want it, p. 5. what to be thought of In­fants, Idiots, deaf persons that can not hear the word page 4.


In page 1. line 20. for various, read very. p 2. l. 27 28. for his, r. this. l. 24. for the, r. this. p. 15. l. 9 for theupon, r. therupon. p. 16. l 19 for only that, r. only to know that. p. 25. l. 18. for were, r. was. p 26. l. 1. for deals, r. dealt. p. 29. l. 22. for there, r. here


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