(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
See other formats

Full text of "The works of John Owen"












And sold by J. Parker, Oxford; Deighton and Sons, Cambridge ; D. Brown, 
Waugh and Innes, and H. S. Baynes and Co. Edinburgh; Chalmers and 
Collins, and M. Ogle, Glasgow ; M. Keene, and R. M. Tims, Dublin. 







SECT. I. Page 

The general nature of justification. State of the person to be justified antece- 
dently thereunto. Horn. iv. 5. iii. 19. i. 32. Gal. iii. 10. John iii. 18. 56. 
Gal. iii. 22. The sole inquiry on that state. Whether it be any thing that 
is our own inherently, or what is only imputed unto us, that we are to trust 
unto for our acceptance with God. The sum of this inquiry. The proper 
ends of teaching and learning the doctrine of justification. Things to be 
avoided therein H 

SECT. 11. 

A due consideration of God, the Judge of all, necessary unto the right stating 
and apprehension of the doctrine of justification ; Rom. viii.33. Isa.xliii. 25. 
xlv. 23. Psal. cxiv. 2. Rom. iii. 20. What thoughts will be ingenerated 
hereby in the minds of men. Tsa. xxxiii. 14. Micah vi. 7. Isa. vi. 5. The 
plea of Job against his friends, and before God not the same. Job xl. 3 — 5. 
xlii. 4 — 6. Directions for visiting the sick given of old. Testimonies of Je- 
rome and Ambrose. Sense of men in their prayers. Dan. ix. 7. 18. Psal. 
cxliii. 2. cxxx. 3, 4. Paraphrase of Austin on that place. Prayer of Pe- 
lagius. Public liturgies , jy 

A due sense of our apostacy from God, the depravation of our nature thereby, 
with the power and guilt of sin, the holiness of the law, necessary unto a right 
understanding of the doctrine of justification. Method of the apostle to this 
purpose, Rom. i — iv. Grounds of the ancient and present Pelagianism, in tlie 
denial of these things. Instances thereof. Boasting of perfection from the 
same ground. Knowledge of sin and grace mutually promote each other . 26 

Opposition between works and grace, as unto justification. Method of the apo- 
stle in the Epistle to the Romans to manifest this opposition. A scheme of 
others, contrary thereunto. Testimonies witnessing this opposition. Judg- 
ment to be made on them. Distinctions whereby they are evaded. The 
uselessness of them. Resolution of the case in hand by Bellarmine. Luke 
xvii. 10. Dan. ix. 18. ' 31 


A commutation as unto sin and righteousness, by imputation between Christ 
and believers, represented in the Scripture. The ordinance of the scape- 
goat. Levit. xvi. 21, 22. The nature of expiatory sacrifices. Levit. iv. 29. 
Expiation of an uncertain murder. Deut. xxi. 1 — 7. The commutation in- 
tended, proved, and vindicated. Tsa. liii. 5, 6. 2 Cor. v. 21. Rom. viii. 3, 4. 



Gal. iii. 13, 11. 1 Pot. i. 24. Dcut. xxi. 23. Testimonies of Justin Martyr, 
Gregory Nysscn, Austin, Chrysostom, Bernard, Taulerus, Pighius, to th>t 
purpose. The proper actings of faith with respect thereunto. Rom. v. 11. 
Matt. xi. 28. Psal. xxxviii. 4. Gen. iv. 13. Isa. hii. 11. Gal. iii. 1. Isa. xlv. 
22. John iii. 14, 15. A bold calumny answered 43 


Introduction of grace by Jesus Christ, into the whole of our relation unto God, 
and its respect unto all the parts of our obedience. No mystery of grace in 
the covenant of works. AH religion originally commensurate unto reason. 
No notions of natural light concerning the introduction of the mediation of 
Christ, and mystery of grace into our relation to God. Eph. i. 17 — 19. 
Reason, as corrupted, can have no notions of religion, but what are derived 
from its primitive state. Hence the mysteries of the gospel esteemed folly. 
Reason, as corrupted, repugnant unto the mystery of grace. Accommodation 
of spiritual mysteries unto corrupt reason, wherefore acceptable unto many. 
Reasons of it. Two parts of corrupted nature's repugnancy unto the mystery 
of the gospel. 1. That which would reduce it unto the private reason of 
men. Thence the Trinity denied. And the incarnation of the Son of God. 
Without which the doctrine of justification cannot stand. Rule of the 
Socinians in the interpretation of the Scripture. 2. Want of a due compre- 
hension of the harmony that is between all the parts of the mystery of grace. 
This harmony proved. Compared with the harmony in the works of nature. 
To be studied. But it is learned only of them who are taught of God ; and 
in experience. Evil events of the want of a due comprehension hereof. In- 
stances of them. All applied unto the doctrine of justification 56 


General prejudices against the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. 1 . That 
it is not in terms found in the Scripture, answered. 2. That nothing is said 
of it in the writings of the evangelists, answered. John xx. 30, 31. Nature 
of Christ's personal ministry. Revelations by the Holy Spirit immediately 
from Christ. Design of the writings of the evangelists. 3. Difference3 
among Protestants themselves about this doctrine, answered. Sense of the 
ancients herein. What is of real difference among Protestants, considered. 69 

Influence of the doctrine of justification into the first reformation. Advantages 
unto the world by that reformation. State of the consciences of men under 
the papacy, with respect unto justification before God. Alterations made 
therein by the light of this doctrine, though not received. Alterations in the 
Pagan unbelieving world, by the introduction of Christianity. Design and 
success of the first reformer herein. Attempts for reconciliation with the Pa- 
pists in this doctrine, and their success. Remainders of the ignorance of 
the truth in the Roman church. Unavoidable consequences of the corruption 
of this doctrine • • 81 


Justification by faith generally acknowledged. The meaning of it perverted. 
The nature and use of faith in justification proposed to consideration. Dis- 
tinctions about it, waved. A twofold faith of the gospel expressed in the 
Scripture. Faith that is not justifying. Acts viii. 13. John ii. 23, 24. 
Luke viii. 13. Matt. xxii. 20. Historical faith, whence it is so called, and 
the nature of it. Degrees of assent in it. Justification not ascribed unto 
any degree of it. A calumny obviated. The causes of true saving faith. 



Conviction of sin previous unto it. The nature of legal conviction, and its 
effects. Arguments to prove it antecedent unto faith. Without the consi- 
deration of it, the true nature of faith not to be understood. The order and 
relation of the law and gospel. Rom. i. 17. Instance of Adam. EflFects 
of conviction; internal ; displacency and sorrow. Fear of punishment. De- 
sire of deliverance. External ; abstinence from sin. Performance of duties; 
reformation of life. Not conditions of justification ; not formal dispositions 
unto it; not moral preparations for it. The order of God in justification. 
The proper object of justifying faith. Not all divine verity equally ; proved 
by sundry arguments. The pardon of our own sins, whether the first object 
of faith. The Lord Christ in the work of mediation, as the ordinance of God 
for the recovery of lost sinners, the proper object of justifying faith. The po- 
sition explained and proved. Rom. iii. 24, 25. Eph. i. 6 — 8. Acts x. 41. 
xvi. 13. iv. 12. Lukexxiv. 25 — 27.Johni. 12. iii. 16. 36. vi.29. vii.38,&c. 
Col. ii. 12. 1 Cor. ii. 1. 31. 2 Cor. v. 19—21 88 


The nature of justifying faith in particular; or, of faith in the exercise of it, 
whereby we are justified. The heart's approbation of the way of the justifi- 
cation, and salvation of sinners by Christ, with its acquiescency therein. The 
description given, explained, and confirmed. 1. From the nature of the gos- 
pel. 2. Exemplified in its contrary, or the nature of unbelief. Prov. i. 30. 
Heb. ii. 3. 1 Pet. ii. 7. 1 Cor. i. 23, 24. 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. What it is, and 
wherein it doth consist. 3. The design of God, in and by the gospel. His 
own glory, his utmost end in all things. The glory of his righteousness, 
grace, love, wisdom, &c. The end of God in the way of the salvation of 
sinners by Christ. Pvom. iii. 25. John iii, 16. 1 John iii. 16. Eph. i. 5, 6. 
1 Cor. i. 24. Eph. iii. 10. Rom. i. 16. iv. 16. Eph. iii. 9. 2 Cor. iv. 6. The 
nature of faith thence declared. Faith alone ascribes and gives this glory to God. 
Order of the acts of faith, or the method in believing. Convictions previous there- 
unto. Sincere assent unto all divine revelations; Acts xxvi. 27. The proposal of 
the gospel unto that end; Rom. x. 11 — 13, &c. 2 Cor. iii. 18. State of persons 
called to believe. Justifying faith doth not consist in any one single habit or 
act of the mind or will. The nature of that assent which is the first act of faith. 
Approbation of the way of salvation by Christ, comprehensive of the special 
nature of justifying faith. What is included therein. 1. A renunciation of 
all other ways. Hos. xiv. 2, 3. Jer. iii. 23. Psal. vii. 16. Rom. x. 3. 2. 
Consent of the will unto this way ; John xiv. 6. 3. Acquiescency of the 
heart in God. 1 Pet. i. 21. Trust in God. Faith described by trust, the 
reason of it. Nature and object of this trust inquired into. A double con- 
sideration of special mercy. Whether obedience be included in the nature 
of faith, or be of the essence of it. A sincere purpose of universal obedience 
inseparable from faith. How faith alone justifieth. Repentance, how re- 
quired in, and unto justification. How a condition of the new covenant. 
Perseverance in obedience, is so also. Definitions of faith 116 


Use of faith in justification ; various conceptions about it. By whom asserted; 
as the instrument of it, by whom denied. In what sense it is affirmed so to 
be. The expressions of the Scripture, concerning the use of faith in justifi- 
cation, what they are ; and how they are best explained. By an instrumental 
cause. Faith, how the instrument of God in justification. How the instru- 
ment of them that do believe. The use of faith expressed in the Scripture, 



by apprehending, receiving; declared by an instrument. Faith in what 

sense the condition of our justification. Signification of that term whence to 

be learned ' ^^^ 


The proper sense of these words justification, and to justify, considered. Ne- 
cessity thereof. Latin derivation of justification. Some of the ancients de- 
ceived by it. From 'jus,' and 'justum ;' 'Justus filius,' who. The Hebrew 
',>'^-^, Use and signification of it. Places where it is used, examined. 
2 Sam. XV. 4. Deut. 21. 5. Prov. xvii. 15. Isa. v. 23. 1. 8. 1 Kings viii. 31, 
32. 2 Chron. vi.'i'i, 23. Psal. Ixxxii. 3. Exod. xxiii. 7. Isa. liii. 11. Jer. xliv. 
16. Dan. xii. 3. The constant sense of the word, evinced. Amclioo}, use of 
it in other authors, to punish. What it is in the New Testament, Matt. xi. 
19. xii. 37. Luke vii. 29. x. 29. xvi. 15. xviii. 14. Acts xiii. 38, 39. Rom. 
ii. 13. iii. 4. Constantly used in a forensic sense. Places seeming dubious, 
vindicated. Kom. viii. 30. 1 Cor. vi. 11. Tit. iii. 5 — 7. Rev. xxii. 11. 
How often these words Stxajow and huaiooofj^ai are used in the New Testa- 
ment. Constant sense of this. The same evinced, from what is opposed 
unto it, Isa. 1. 8. Prov. xvii. 15. Rom. v. 16. 18. viii. 33, 34. And the de- 
claration of it in terms equivalent. Rom. iv. 6, 7. v. 9, 10. 2 Cor. v. 20, 
21. Matt. i. 21. Acts xiii. 39. Gal. ii. 16. &c. Justification in the Scripture, 
proposed under a juridical scheme, and of a forensic title. The parts and 
progress of it. Instances from the whole 153 


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



dience proved. 1. By the experience of all believers. 2. Testimonies of 
Scripture. 3. Examples. The distinction mentioned rejected 170 


Evangelical personal righteousness, the nature and use of it. Whether there be 
an evangelical justification on our evangelical righteousness, inquired into. 
How this is by some affirmed and applauded. Evangelical personal righte- 
ousness asserted as the condition of our legal righteousness, or the pardon of 
sin. Opinion of the Socinians. Personal righteousness required in the gos- 
pel. Believers hence denominated righteous. Not with respect unto righte- 
ousness habitual, but actual only. Inherent righteousness the same with sanc- 
tification or holiness. In what sense we may be said to be justified by in- 
herent righteousness. No evangelical justification on our personal righte- 
ousness. The imputation of the righteousness of Christ doth not depend 
thereon. None have this righteousness, but they are antecedently justified. 
A charge before God, in all justification before God. The instrument of this 
charge ; the law or the gospel. From neither of them can we be justified by 
this personal righteousness. The justification pretended needless and useless. 
It hath not the nature of any justification mentioned in the Scripture ; but 
is contrary to all tbat is so called. Other arguments to the same purpose. 
Sentential justification at the last day. Nature of the last judgment. Who 
shall be then justified. A declaration of righteousness, and an actual ad- 
mission unto glory, the whole of justification at the last day. The argument 
that we are justified in this life, in the same manner, and on the same grounds 
as we shall be judged at the last day, that judgment being according unto 
works, answered ; and the impertinency of it declared 189 


Imputation, and the nature of it. The first express record of justification, deter- 
mineth it to be by imputation. Geo. xv. 6. Reasons of it. The doctrine 
of imputation cleared by Paul ; the occasion of it. Maligned and opposed 
by many. Weight of the doctrine concerning imputation of righteousness on 
all hands acknowledged. Judgment of the reformed churches herein, parti- 
cularly of the church of England. By whom opposed, and on what grounds. 
Signification of the word. Difference between ' reputare' and ' iraputare.' 
Imputation of two kinds. 1. Of what was ours antecedently unto that im- 
putation, whether good or evil. Instances in both kinds. Nature of this 
imputation. The thing imputed by it, imputed for what it is, and nothing 
else. 2. Of what is not ours antecedently unto that imputation, but is made 
so by it. General nature of this imputation. Not judging of others to have 
done what they have not done. Several distinct grounds and reasons of this 
imputation. 1. * Ex justitia.' 1. * Propter relationemfoederalem.' '2. 'Propter 
relationem naturalem.' 2. ' Ex voluntariasponsione.' Instances, Phil. xvii. 
Gen. xliii. 9. Voluntary sponsion, the ground of the imputation of sin to 
Christ. 3. ' Ex injuria.' 1 Kings i. 21. 4. ' Ex raera gratia.' Rom. iv. Dif- 
ference between the imputation of any works of ours, and of the righteous- 
ness of God. Imputation of inherent righteousness, is * ex justitia.' Incon- 
sistency of it, with that which is ' ex mera gratia.' Rom. xi. 6. Agreement 
of both kinds of imputation. The true nature of the imputation of righteous- 
ness unto justification, explained. Imputation of the righteousness of Christ. 
The thing itself imputed, not the eflPect of it ; proved against the Socinians • 201 




Imputation of sin iinto Christ. Testimonies of the ancients unto that purpose. 
Christ and the church, one mistical person. Mistakes about that state and 
relation. Grounds and reasons of tlic union, that is the foundation of this 
imputation. Christ tiic surety of tlie new covenant ; in what sense, unto 
what ends. Ileb. vii. '2'J. opened. Mistakes about the causes and ends of 
the death of Christ. TJ)e new covenant, in what sense alone procured and 
purchased thereby. Inquiry whether the guilt of our sins, was imputed unto 
Christ. The meaning of the words, guilt, and guilty. Tiie distinction of 
' reatus culpa;,' and ' reatus poenae,' examined. Act of God in the imputation 
of the guilt of our sins unto Christ. Objections against it, answered. The 
truth confirmed * 218 

Principal controversies about justification. 1. Concerning the nature of justi- 
fication, stated. '■Z. Of the formal cause of it. 3. Of the way whereby we 
are made partakers of the benefits of the mediation of Christ. What in- 
tended by the formal cause of justification, declared. The righteousness 
on the account whereof believers are justified before God alone, inquired 
after under those terms. This the righteousness of Christ, imputed unto them. 
Occasions of exceptions and objections against this doctrine. General ob- 
jections examined. Imputation of the righteousness of Christ; consistent 
with the free pardon of sin, with the necessity of evangelical repentance. Me- 
thod of God's grace in our justification. ^Necessity of faith unto justification, 
on supposition of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. Grounds of 
that necessity. Other objections arising mostly from mistakes of the truth, 
asserted, discussed, and answered • • . • 254 


Arguments for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. 
Our own personal righteousness, not that on the account whereof we are jus- 
tified in the sight of God. Disclaimed in the Scriptures, as to any such end.- 
The truth and reality of it granted. Manifold imperfections accompanying 
it, rendering it unmeet to be a righteousness unto the justification of life- • . • 276 


Nature of the obedience or righteousness required unto justification. Original 
and causes of the law of creation. The substance and end of that law. The 
immutability or unchangeablenes* of it, considered absolutely; and as it was 
the instrument of the covenant between God and man. Arguments to prove 
It uncliangcable ; and its obligation unto the righteousness first required, per- 
petually HI force. Therefore not abrogated, not dispensed withal, not dero- 
gated from, but accomplished. This alone by Christ, and the imputation of 
his righteousness unto us 297 


Imputation of the obedience of Christ, no less necessary than that of his suffer- 
ing on the same ground. Objections against it. 1. That it is impossible. 
Management hereof by Socinus. Ground of this objection, that the Lord 
Christ was for himself obliged unto all the obedience he yielded unto God, 
and performed it for himself, answered. Tiie obedience inquired after, the 
obedience of the person of Christ the Son of God. In his whole person, Christ 
was not under the law. He designed the obedience lie performed, for us not 



for himself. This actual obedience not necessary as a qualification of his per- 
son, unto the discharge of his office. The foundation of this obedience in his 
being made man, and of the posterity of Abraham, not for himself, but for 
us. Right of the human nature unto glory, by virtue of union. Obedience 
necessary unto the human nature, as Christ in it was made under the law. 
This obedience properly for us. Instances of that nature among men. Christ 
obeyed as a public person; and so not for himself. Human nature of Christ 
subject unto the law, as an eternal rule of dependance on God, and subjec- 
tion to him ; not as prescribed unto us whilst we are in this world, in order 
unto our future blessedness, or reward. Second objection, that it is useless, 
answered. He that is pardoned all his sins, is not thereon esteemed to have 
done all that is required of him. Not to be unrighteous, negatively ; not the 
same with being righteous, positively. The law obligeth both unto punish- 
ment and obedience ; how, and in what sense. Pardon of sin gives no title 
to eternal life. The righteousness of Christ who is one, imputed unto many. 
Arguments proving the imputation of the obedience of Christ, unto the justi- 
fication of life 310 

CHAP. xni. 

The difference between the two covenants, stated. Arguments from thence • . • 340 


AH works whatever expressly excluded from any interest in our justification be- 
fore God. What intended by the works of the law. Not those of the cere- 
monial law only. Not perfect works only, as required by the law of our crea- 
tion. Not the outward works of the law performed without a principle of 
faith. Not works of the Jewish law. Not works with a conceit of merit. 
Not works only wrought before believing in the strength of our own wills. 
Works excluded absolutely from our justification without respect unto a dis- 
tinction of a first and second justification. The true sense of the law in the 
apostolical assertion, that none are justified by the works thereof. What the 
Jews understood by the law. Distribution of the law under the Old Testa- 
ment. The whole law a perfect rule of all inherent moral or spiritual obe- 
dience. What are the works of the law, declared from the Scripture, and 
the argument thereby confirmed. The nature of justifying faith farther de- 
clared 343 


Of faith alone • • - 359 


Testimonies of Scripture confirming the doctrine of justification by the imputa- 
tion of the righteousness of Christ. Jer. xxiii. 6. explained and vindicated. 364 


Testimonies out of the evangelists, considered. Design of our Saviour's ser- 
mon on the mount. The purity and penalty of the law, vindicated by him. 
Arguments from thence, Luke xviii. 9 — 13. The parable of the Pharisee 
and publican explained and applied to the present argument. Testimonies 
out of the gospel by John, chap. iii. 14 — 18, &c. 369 

Testimonies out of the Epistles of Paul, the apostle. His design in the fifth 
chapter to the Romans. That design explained at large and applied to the 
present argument. Chap. iii. 24—26. explained, and the true sense of the 



nords vindicated. The causes of justification enumerated. Apostolical in- 
ferences from tiie consideration of them. Chap. iv. Design of the disputa- 
tion of the apostle therein. Analysis of his discourse. Ver. 4, 5. particularly 
insisted on, their true sense vindicated. What works excluded from the jus- 
tification of Abraham. Who it is, that worketh not. In what sense the un- 
godlj are justified. All men ungodly antecedently unto their justification. 
Faith alone tlie means of justification on our part. Faith itself absolutely- 
considered, not the righteousness that is imputed unto us. Proved by sun- 
dry arguments 378 

Chap.v, 12 — 18. Boasting excluded in ourselves, asserted in God. The design 
and sum of tlie apostle's argument. Objection of Socinus removed. Com- 
parison between Ihe two Adams, and those that derive from them. Sin en- 
tered into the world. W^hat sin intended. Death, what it corapriseth. 
What intended by it. The sense of those words inasmuch, or, in whom all 
have sinned, cleared and vindicated. The various oppositions used by the 
apostle in this discourse. Principally between sin or the fall, and the free 
gift. Between the disobedience of the one, and the obedience of another. 
Judgment on the one hand, and justification unto life on the other. The 
whole context at large, explained, and the argument for justification by the 
imputation of the righteousness of Christ, fully confirmed 396 

Chap. X. 3, 4. explained and insisted on to the same purpose 417 

1 Cor. i. 30. Christ, how of God made righteousness unto us. Answer of Bel- 
larmine unto this testimony, removed. That of Socinus, disproved. True 
sense of the words evinced 424 

2 Cor. V. 21. In what sense Christ knew no sin. Emphasis in that expression. 
How he was made sin for us. By the imputation of sin unto him. Mis- 
takes of some about this expression. Sense of the ancients. Exception of 
Bellarmine unto this testimony, answered j with other reasonings of his to the 
same purpose 428 

The exceptions of others also removed. Gal. ii. 16. 437 

Eph. ii. 8 — 10. Evidence of this testimony. Design of the apostle from the be- 
ginning of the chapter. Method of the apostle in the declaration of the 
grace of God. Grace alone the cause of deliverance from a slate of sin. 
Things to be observed in the assignation of the causes of spiritual deliverance. 
Grace, how magnified by him. Force of the argument, and evidence from 
thence. State of the case here proposed by the apostle. General determi- 
nation of it. By grace ye are saved. What it is to be saved, inquired into. 
'I'lie same as to be justified, but not exclusively. The causes of our justifica- 
tion, declared positively and negatively. The whole secured unto the grace 
of God by Christ, and our interest therein through faith alone. Works ex- 
cluded. What works 1 Not works of the law of Moses. Not works ante- 
cedent unto believing. Works of true believers. Not only in opposition to 
the grace of God, but to faith in us. Argument from those words. Reason 
whereon tliis exclusion of works is founded. To exclude boasting on our 
part. Boasting, wherein it consists. Inseparable from the interest of works 
in justification. Danger of it. Confirmation of this reason obviating an ob- 
jection. The objection stated. If we be not justified by works, of what use 
arc they, answered 440 

Phil. iii. 8, 9. Heads of argument from this testimony. Design of the context. 



Righteousness the foundation of acceptance with God. A twofold righteous- 
ness considered by the apostle. Opposite unto one another, as unto the es- 
pecial end inquired after. Which of these he adhered unto, his own righte- 
ousness or the righteousness of God ; declared by the apostle with vehemency 
of speech. Reasons of his earnestness herein. The turning point whereon 
he left Judaism. The opposition made unto this doctrine by the Jews. The 
weight of the doctrine and unwillingness of men to receive it. His own sense 
of sin and grace. Peculiar expressions used in this place, for the reasons 
mentioned, concerning Christ. Concerning all things that are our own. The 
choice to be made on the case stated, whether we will adhere unto our own 
righteousness, or that of Christ's, which are inconsistent as to the end of jus- 
tification. Argument from this place. Exceptions unto this testimony, and 
argument from thence, removed. Our personal righteousness inherent, the 
same with respect unto the law and gospel. External righteousness only re- 
quired by the law, an impious imagination. Works wrought before faith only 
rejected. The exception removed. Righteousness before conversion, not 
intended by the apostle 448 


Objections against the doctrine of justification by the imputation of the righte- 
ousness of Christ. Nature of these objections. Difficulty in discerning 
aright the sense of some men in this argument. Justification by works, the 
end of all declension from the righteousness of Christ. Objections against 
this doctrine derived from a supposition thereof alone. First principal objec- 
tion ; imputed righteousness overthrows the necessity of a holy life. This 
objection as managed by them of the church of Rome, an open calumny. 
How insisted on by some among ourselves. Socinus's fierceness in this charge. 
His foul dishonesty therein. False charges on men's opinions, making way 
for the rash condemnation of their persons. Iniquity of such censures. The 
objection rightly stated. Sufficiently answered in the previous discourses 
about the nature of faith, and force of the moral law. The nature and neces- 
sity of evangelical holiness elsewhere pleaded. Particular answers unto this 
objection. All who profess this doctrine do not exemplify it in their lives. 
The most holy truths have been abused. None by whom this doctrine is now 
denied, exceed them in holiness, by whom it was formerly professed, and the 
power of it attested. The contrary doctrine not successful in the reformation 
of the lives of men. The best way to determine this difference. The same 
objection managed against the doctrine of the apostle in his own days. Effi- 
cacious prejudices against this doctrine in the minds of men. The whole 
doctrine of the apostle liable to be abused. Answers of the apostle unto this 
objection. He never once attempts to answer it, by declaring the necessity 
of personal righteousness, or good works unto justification before God. He 
confines the cogency of evangelical motives unto obedience only unto be- 
lievers. Grounds of evangelical holiness asserted by him in compliance with 
his doctrine of justification. 1. Divine ordination. Exceptions unto this 
ground, removed. 2. Answer of the apostle vindicated. The obligation of 
the law unto obedience. Nature of it, and consistency with grace. This an- 
swer of the apostle vindicated. Heads of other principles that might be 
pleaded to the same purpose 458 


Seeming difference, no real contradiction between the apostles Paul and James, 
concerning justification. This granted by all. Reasons of the seeming dif- 
ference. The best rule of the interpretation of places of Scripture, wherein 



there is an nppearing repugnancy. The doctrine of justifiofttlon according 
unto tliat rule principally to be learned from the writings of Paul. The rea- 
sons of his fulness and accuracy in the teaching of that doctrine. The im- 
portance of the truth ; the opposition made unto it ; and abuse of it. The 
design of the apostle James. Exceptions of some against the writings of St. 
Paul, scandalous and unreasonable. Not in this matter to be interpreted by 
the passage in James insisted on, chap. ii. That there is no repugnancy be- 
tween the doctrine of the two apostles demonstrated. Heads and grounds 
of the demonstration. Their scope, design, and end not the same. That 
of Paul ; the only case stated and determined by him. The designs of 
the apostle James ; the case proposed by him quite of another nature. 
The occasion of the case proposed and stated by him. No appearance of 
difference between the apostles, because of the several cases they speak unto. 
Not the same faith intended by them. Description of the faith spoken of by 
the one, and the other. Bellarmine's arguments to prove true justifying faith 
to be intended by James, answered. Justification not treated of by the apo- 
stles in the same manner, nor used in the same sense, nor to the same end. 
The one treats of justification, as unto its nature and causes; the other as unto 
its signs and evidence, proved by the instances insisted on 473 

How the Scripture was fulfilled, that Abraham believed in God, and it was 
counted unto him for righteousness, when he olFercd his son, on the altar. 
AVorks tlie same, and of the same kind in both the apostles. Observations 
on the discourse of James. No conjunction made by him between faith and 
works in our justification, but an opposition. No distinction of a first and 
second justification in him. Justification ascribed by him wholly unto works, 
in what sense. Does not determine how a sinner may be justified before God ; 
but how a professor may evidence himself so to be. The context opened from 
ver. 14. to the end of the chapter 486 


To the reader 497 

Evidences of the faith of God's elect 499 

The second evidence of the faith of God's elect 519 

The third evidence of the faith of God's elect 537 

The fourth evidence of the faith of God's elect • 544 








Search the Scriptures. — John v. 39. 



I SHALL not need to detain the reader with an ac- 
count of the nature and moment of that doctrine 
which is the entire subject of the ensuing Discourse. 
For although sundry persons, even among ourselves, 
have various apprehensions concerning it, yet that 
the knowledge of the truth therein is of the highest 
importance unto the souls of men, is on all hands 
agreed unto. Nor indeed is it possible that any man 
who knows himself to be a sinner, and obnoxious 
thereon to the judgment of God, but he must desire to 
have some knowledge of it, as that alone whereby 
the way of delivery from the evil state and condition, 
wherein he finds himself, is revealed. There are, I 
confess, multitudes in the world, who, although they 
cannot avoid some general convictions of sin, as also 
of the consequents of it ; yet do fortify their minds 
against a practical admission of such conclusions, as 
in a just consideration of things do necessarily and 
unavoidably ensue thereon. Such persons wilfully 
deluding themselves with vain hopes and imagina- 
tions, do never once seriously inquire by what way 
or means they may obtain peace with God, and ac- 
ceptance before him, which in comparison of the 
present enjoyment of the pleasures of sin, they value 
not at all. And it is in vain to recommend the doc- 
trine of justification unto them, who neither desire 
nor endeavour to be justified. But where any per- 
sons are really made sensible of their apostacy from 
God, of the evil of their natures and lives, with the 
dreadful consequences that attend thereon in the 

B 2 


wrath of God, and eternal punishment due unto sin, 
they cannot well judge themselves more concerned 
in any thing, than in the knowledge of that divine 
way whereby they may be delivered from this con- 
dition. And the minds of such persons stand in no 
need of arguments to satisfy them in the importance 
of this doctrine ; their own concernment in it is 
sufficient to that purpose. And 1 shall assure them, 
that in the handling of it from first to last, I have 
had no other design, but only to inquire diligently 
into the divine revelation of that way, and those 
means, with the causes of them, whereby the con- 
science of a distressed sinner may attain assured 
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. I 
lay more weight on the steady direction of one soul 
in this inquiry, than in disappointing the objections 
of twenty wrangling or fiery disputers. The question 
therefore unto this purpose being stated, as the reader 
will find in the beginning of our Discourse, although 
it were necessary to spend some time in the expli- 
cation of the doctrine itself, and terms wherein it is 
usually taught, yet the main weight of the whole 
lies in the interpretation of Scripture testimonies, 
with the application of them unto the experience of 
them who do believe, and the state of them who seek 
after salvation by Jesus Christ. There are therefore 
some few things that I would desire the reader to 
take notice of, that he may receive benefit by the 
ensuing Discourse ; at least, if it be not his own 
fault, be freed from prejudices against it, or a vain 
opposition unto it. 

1. Although there are at present various contests 
about the doctrine of justification, and many books 
published in the way of controversy about it ; yet 
this Discourse was written with no design to contend 
with, or contradict any, of what sort or opinion soever. 


Some few passages which seem of that tendency, are 
indeed occasionally inserted. But they are such as 
every candid reader will judge to have been neces- 
sary. I have ascribed no opinion unto any particular 
person, much less wrested the words of any, re- 
flected on their persons, censured their abilities, 
taken advantages of presumed prejudices against 
them, represented their opinions in the deformed 
reflections of strained consequences, fancied in- 
tended notions which their words do not express, 
nor candidly interpreted give any countenance unto, 
or endeavoured the vain pleasure of seeming success 
in opposition unto them ; which, with the like eflects 
of weakness of mind and disorder of aflections, are 
the animating principles of many late controversial 
writings. To declare and vindicate the truth unto 
the instruction and edification of such as love it in 
sincerity, to extricate their minds from those diffi- 
culties in this particular instance, which some en- 
deavour to cast on all gospel mysteries, to direct the 
consciences of them that inquire after abiding peace 
with God, and to establish the minds of them that 
do believe, are the things I have aimed at. And an 
endeavour unto this end, considering all circum- 
stances, that station which God hath been pleased 
graciously to give me in the church, hath made ne- 
cessary unto me. 

2. I have written nothing but what I believe to 
be true, and useful unto the promotion of gospel 
obedience. The reader may not here expect an ex- 
traction of other men's notions, or a collection and 
improvement of their arguments, either by artificial 
reasonings, or ornament of style and language, but a 
naked inquiry into the nature of the things treated 
on, as revealed in the Scripture, and as evidencing 
themselves in their power and efficacy on the minds 


of them that do believe. It is the practical direction 
of the consciences of men, in their application unto 
God by Jesus Christ, for deliverance from the curse 
due unto the apostate state, and peace with him, 
with the influence of the way thereof unto universal 
gospel obedience, that is alone to be designed in the 
handling of this doctrine. And therefore, unto him 
that would treat of it in a due manner, it is required 
that he weigh every thing he asserts in his own mind 
and experience, and not dare to propose that unto 
others which he doth not abide by himself, in the 
most intimate recesses of his mind, under his nearest 
approaches unto God, in his surprisals with dangers, 
in deep afilictions, in his preparations for death, and 
most humble contemplations of the infinite distance 
between God and him. Other notions and disputa- 
tions about the doctrine of justification, not seasoned 
with these ingredients, however condited unto the 
palate of some by skill and language, are insipid 
and useless, immediately degenerating into an un- 
protitable strife of words. 

3. I know that the doctrine here pleaded for, is 
charged by many with an unfriendly aspect towards 
the necessity of personal holiness, good works, and 
all gospel obedience in general ; yea, utterly to take 
it away. So it was at the first clear revelation of it 
by the apostle Paul^ as he frequently declares. But 
it is sufficiently evinced by him to be the chief prin- 
ciple of, and motive unto, all that obedience which is 
accepted with God through Jesus Christ, as we shall 
manifest afterward. However, it is acknowledged 
that the objective grace of the gospel in the doctrine 
of it, is liable to abuse, where there is nothing of the 
subjective grace of it in the hearts of men; and the 
ways of its influence into the life of God, are uncouth 
unto the reasonings of carnal minds. So was it 


charged by the Papists at the first reformation, and 
continueth yet so to be. Yet as it gave the first oc- 
casion unto the reformation itself, so was it that 
whereby the souls of men, being set at liberty from 
their bondage unto innumerable superstitious fears 
and observances, utterly inconsistent with true gos- 
pel obedience, and directed into the ways of peace 
with God through Jesus Christ, were made fruitful 
in real holiness, and to abound in ail those blessed 
effects of the life of God which were never found 
among their adversaries. The same charge was after- 
ward renewed by the Socinians, and continueth still 
to be managed by them. But I suppose wise and 
impartial men will not lay much weight on their ac- 
cusations, until they have manifested the efficacy of 
their contrary persuasion, by better effects and fruits 
than yet they have done. What sort of men they 
were who first coined that system of religion whicli 
they adhere unto, one who knew them well enough, 
and sufficiently inclined unto their Antitrinitarian opi- 
nions, declares in one of the queries that he proposed 
unto Socinus himself and his followers. If this, saith 
he, be the truth which you contend for, whence 
comes it to pass that it is declared only by persons, 
' nulla pietatis commendatione, nullo laudato prions 
vitae exemplo commendatos; imo ut plerumque vide- 
mus, per vagabundos, et contentionum zeli carnalis 
plenos homines, alios ex castris, aulis, ganeis, prola- 
tam esse. Scrupuli ab excellenti viro propositi, in- 
ter oper. Socin.' The fiercest charge of such men 
against any doctrines they oppose as inconsistent 
with the necessary motives unto godliness^ are a 
recommendation of it unto the minds of considerative 
men. And there cannot be a more effectual engine 
plied for the ruin of religion, than for men to declaim 
against the doctrine of justification by faith alone, 


and other truths concerning the grace of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, as those which overthrow the necessity 
of moral duties, good works, and gospel obedience, 
whilst under the conduct of the opinions which they 
embrace in opposition unto them, they give not the 
least evidence of the power of the truth, or grace of 
the gospel upon their own hearts, or in their lives. 
Whereas, therefore, the whole gospel is the truth 
which is after godliness, declaring and exhibiting 
that grace of God which teacheth us to deny all un- 
godliness and worldly lusts, and that we should live 
soberly, and righteously, and godly in this world; we 
being fallen into those times wherein under great 
and fierce contests about notions, opinions, and prac- 
tices in religion, there is a horrible decay in true gos- 
pel purity and holiness of life amongst the generality 
of men, I shall readily grant, that keeping a due re- 
gard unto the only standard of truth, a secondary 
trial of doctrines proposed and contended for, may 
and ought to be made by the ways, lives, walkings, 
and conversations of them by whom they are re- 
ceived and professed. And although it is acknow- 
ledged that the doctrine pleaded in the ensuing Dis- 
course be liable to be abused, yea, turned into licen- 
tiousness by men of corrupt minds, through the pre- 
valency of vicious habits in them (as it is the whole 
doctrine of the grace of God by Jesus Christ) ; and 
although the way and means of its efficacy and in- 
fluence into universal obedience unto God in righte- 
ousness and true holiness, be not discernable without 
some beam of spiritual light, nor will give an expe- 
rience of their power unto the minds of men utterly 
destitute of a principle of spiritual life; yet if it can- 
not preserve its station in the church by this rule, of 
its useful tendency unto the promotion of godliness, 
and its necessity thereunto, in all them by whom it 


is really believed and received in its proper light and 
power, and that in the experience of former and pre- 
sent times, I shall be content that it be exploded. 

4. Finding that not a fev^ have esteemed it com- 
pliant with their interest, to publish exceptions 
against some fev^ leaves, which in the handling of a 
subject of another nature I occasionally wrote many 
years ago on this subject, I am not without appre- 
hensions, that either the same persons, or others of a 
like temper and principles, may attempt an opposition 
unto what is here expressly tendered thereon. On 
supposition of such an attempt, I shall in one word 
let the authors of it know, wherein alone I shall be 
concerned. For if they shall make it their business 
to cavil at expressions, to wrest my words, wiredraw 
inferences and conclusions from them not expressly 
owned by me, to revile my person, to catch at ad- 
vantages in any occasional passages, or other unes- 
sential parts of the Discourse, labouring for an ap- 
pearance of success and reputation to themselves 
thereby, without a due attendance unto Christian 
moderation, candour, and ingenuity, I shall take no 
more notice of what they say or write, than 1 would 
do of the greatest impertinences that can be reported 
in this world. The same I say concerning opposi- 
tions of the like nature unto any other writings of 
mine ; a work which, as I hear, some are at present 
engaged in ; I have somewhat else to do than to cast 
away any part of the small remainder of my life in 
that kind of controversial writings which good men 
bewail, and wise men deride. Whereas, therefore, 
the principal design of this Discourse, is to state the 
doctrine of justification from the Scripture, and to 
confirm it by the testimonies thereof, I shall not es- 
teem it spoken against, unless our exposition of 
Scripture testimonies, and the application of them 


unto the present argument be disproved by just 
rules of interpretation, and another sense of them be 
evinced. All other things which I conceive neces- 
sary to be spoken unto, in order unto the right un- 
derstanding and due improvement of the truth 
pleaded for, are comprised and declared in the en- 
suing general Discourses to that purpose ; these few 
things I thought meet to mind the reader of. 

S. O. 

From my study, 
Muy the 30lb, 1677. 




General considerations previously necessary unto the explanation of the 
doctrine of justification. 

That we may treat of the doctrine of justification usefully 
unto its proper ends, which are the glory of God in Christ, 
with the peace and furtherance of the obedience of believers, 
some things are previously to be considered, which we must 
have respect unto in the whole process of our discourse. 
And among others that might be insisted on to the same 
purpose, these that ensue are not to be omitted. 

The first inquiry in this matter, in a way of duty, 
is after the proper relief of the conscience of a sinner, 
pressed and perplexed with a sense of the guilt of sin. For 
justification is the way and means, whereby such a person 
doth obtain acceptance before God, with a right and title 
unto a heavenly inheritance. And nothing is pleadable in 
this cause, but what a man would speak unto his own con- 
science in that state, or into the conscience of another, 
when he is anxious under that inquiry. Wherefore, the per- 
son under consideration, that is, who is to be justified, is one 
who in himself is atrejSi^c, B.om. iv. 5. * ungodly ;' and thereon 
vTToSfKoc Tfo Gew, chap. iii. 19. ' guilty before God;' that is, 
obnoxious, subject, liable, rw ^iKaiwiian rov Geou, chap. i. 32. 
to the righteous sentential judgment of God; that 'he 
who committeth sin,' who is any way guilty of it, is ' worthy 
of death.' Hereupon such a person finds himself utto fca- 
TciQav, Gal. iii. 10- under * the curse,' and ' the wrath of God' 
therein 'abiding on him ;' John iii. 18. 36. In this condi- 
tion he is avaTToXoyrjToc ; without plea, without excuse, by any 
thing in and from himself, for his own relief; ' his mouth is 
stopped;' Rom. iii. 19. For he is in the judgment of God 


declared in tliu ^cv'i\)tinc avyKXij^ug ixp' a/JiapTiav, Gal. ii.22. 
every way * shut up under sin* and all the consequents of it. 
Many evils in this condition are men subject unto, which 
may be reduced unto those two of our first parents, wherein 
they were represented. For first, they thought foolishly to 
hide themselves from God; and then more foolishly would 
have charged him as the cause of their sin. And such na- 
turally are the thoughts of men under their convictions. 
But whoeveris the subject of the justification inquired after, 
is by various means brought into his apprehensions, who 
cried, ' Sirs, what must I do to be saved ? 

2. With respect unto this state and condition of men, 
or men in this state and condition, the inquiry is, what 
that is, upon the account whereof, God pardoneth all their 
sins, receiveth them into his favour, declareth or pro- 
nounceth them righteous, and acquitted from all guilt, re- 
moves the curse, and turneth away all his wrath from them, 
giving them right and title unto a blessed immortality or 
life eternal. This is that alone wherein the consciences of 
sinners in this estate are concerned. Nor do they inquire 
after any thing, but what they may have to oppose unto, or 
answer, the justice of God in the commands and curse of the 
law, and what they may betake themselves unto, for the 
obtaining of acceptance with him unto life and salvation. 

That the apostle doth thus and no otherwise state this 
whole matter, and in an answer unto this inquiry, declare 
the nature of justification and all the causes of it, in the 
third and fourth chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, and 
elsewhere, shall be afterward declared and proved. And we 
shall also manifest that the apostle James, in the second 
chapter of his Epistle, doth not speak unto this inquiry, nor 
give an answer unto it ; but it is of justification in another 
sense, and to another purpose whereof he treateth. And 
whereas we cannot either safely or usefully treat of this doc- 
trine, but with respect unto the same ends for which it is 
declared, and w hereunto it is applied, in the Scripture, we 
should not, by any pretences, be turned aside from attending 
unto this case and its resolution, in all our discourses on 
this subject. For it is the direction, satisfaction, and peace 
of the consciences of men, and not the curiosity of notions 
or subtlety of disputations, which it is our duty to design. 


And therefore I shall, as much as I possibly may, avoid all 
those philosophical terms and distinctions wherewith this 
evangelical doctrine hath been perplexed rather than illus- 
trated. For more weight is to be put on the steady guid- 
ance of the mind and conscience of one believer, really ex- 
ercised about the foundation of his peace and acceptance 
with God, than on the confutation of ten wrangling dis- 

3. Now the inquiry, on what account, or for what cause 
and reason a man may be so acquitted or discharged of sin, 
and accepted with God as before declared, doth necessarily 
issue in this; whether it be anything in ourselves, as our 
faith, and repentance, the renovation of our natures, inherent 
habits of grace, and actual works of righteousness which we 
have done, or may do; or whether it be the obedience, righ- 
teousness, satisfaction, and merit of the Son of God our 
Mediator and surety of the covenant, imputed unto us. One 
of these it must be, namely, something that is our own, 
which, whatever may be the influence of the grace of God 
unto it, or causality of it, because wrought in and by us, is 
inherently our own in a proper sense ; or something, which 
being not our own, not inherent in us, not wrought by us, is 
yet imputed unto us, for the pardon of our sins, and the ac- 
ceptation of our persons as righteous ; or the making of us 
righteous in the sight of God. Neither are these things ca- 
pable of mixture or composition ; Rom. xi. 6. Which of 
these it is the duty, wisdom, and safety of a convinced sin- 
ner to rely upon, and trust unto, in his appearance before 
God, is the sum of our present inquiry. 

4. The way whereby sinners do or ought to betake them- 
selves unto this relief, on supposition that it is the righte- 
ousness of Christ, and how they come to be partakers of, 
or interested in, that which is not inherently their own, unto 
as good benefit and as much advantage as if it were their 
own, is of a distinct consideration. And as this also is 
clearly determined in the Scripture, so it is acknowledged 
in the experience of all them that do truly believe. Neither 
are we in this matter much to regard the senses or arguings 
of men, who were never thoroughly convinced of sin, nor 
have ever in their own persons * fled for refuge unto the hope 
set before them.' 


5. These things, I say, are always to be attended unto, in 
our whole disquisition into the nature of evangelical justifi- 
cation; for without a constant respect unto them, we shall 
quickly wander into curious and perplexed questions, where- 
in the consciences of guilty sinners are not concerned; and 
which therefore really belong not unto the substance or 
truth of this doctrine, nor are to be immixed therewith. It is 
alone the relief of those who are in themselves virodtKoi rtj 
6£(^, guilty before, or obnoxious and liable to, the judgment 
of God, that we inquire after. That this is not any thing in 
or of themselves, nor can so be ; that it is a provision without 
them, made in infinite wisdom and grace by the mediation 
of Christ, his obedience and death therein, is secured in the 
Scripture against all contradiction ; and it is the fundamen- 
tal principle of the gospel; Matt. xi. 28. 

6. It is confessed that many things for the declaration 
of the truth and the order of the dispensation of God's grace 
herein, are necessarily to be insisted on ; such are the nature 
of justifying faith, the place and use of it in justification, 
the causes of the new covenant, the true notion of the me- 
diation and suretyship of Christ, and the like, v/hich shall 
all of them be inquired into. But beyond v^hat tends di- 
rectly unto the guidance of the minds, and satisfaction of 
the souls of men, who seek after a stable and abiding foun- 
dation of acceptance with God, we are not easily to be 
drawn, unless we are free to lose the benefit and comfort of 
this most important evangelical truth, in needless and un- 
profitable contentions. And amongst many other miscar- 
riages which men are subject unto whilst they are conver- 
sant about these things, this in an especial manner is to be 

7. For the doctrine of justification is directive of Chris- 
tian practice, and in no other evangelical truth is the whole 
of our obedience more concerned ; for the foundation, rea- 
sons, and motives of all our duty towards God are contained 
therein. Wherefore, in order unto the due improvement of 
them ought it to be taught, and not otherwise. That which 
alone we aim (or ought so to do) to learn in it and by it, is 
how we may get and maintain peace with God, and so to 
live unto him, as to be accepted with him in what we do. 
To satisfy the minds and consciences of men in these things, 


is this doctrine to be taught. Wherefore, to carrry it out of 
the understandings of ordinary Christians, by speculative no- 
tions and distinctions, is disserviceable unto the faith of the 
church. Yea, the mixing of evangelical revelations with 
philosophical notions hath been, in sundry ages, the poison 
of religion. Pretence of accuracy and artificial skill in 
teaching, is that v^^hich giveth countenance unto such a way 
of handling sacred things. But the spiritual amplitude of 
divine truths is restrained hereby, whilst low, mean, philoso- 
phical senses are imposed on them. And not only so, but 
endless divisions and contentions are occasioned and per- 
petuated. Hence when any difference in religion is, in the 
pursuit of controversies about it, brought into the field of 
metaphysical respects and philosophical terms, whereof 
there is noXvg vofiog £v3"a kuX tv^a, sufficient provision for the 
supply of the combatants on both sides, the truth for the 
most part, as unto any concernment of the souls of men 
therein, is utterly lost, and buried in the rubbish of sense- 
less and unprofitable words. And thus in particular, those 
who seem to be well enough agreed in the whole doctrine of 
justification, so far as the Scripture goeth before them, and 
the experience of believers keeps them company, when once 
they engage into their philosophical definitions and distinc- 
tions, are at such an irreconcileable variance among them- 
selves, as if they were agreed on no one thing that doth 
concern it. For as men have various apprehensions in coin- 
ing such definitions as maybe defensible against objections, 
which most men aim at therein ; so no proposition can be 
so plain (at least in ' materia probabili') but that a man ordi- 
narily versed in pedagogical terms and metaphysical notions, 
may multiply distinctions on every word of it. 

8. Hence there hath been a pretence and appearance of 
twenty several opinions among Protestants about justifica- 
tion, as Bellarmine, and Vasquez, and others of the Papists 
charge it against them out of Osiander, when the faith of 
them ail was one and same; Bellar. lib. v. cap. 1. Vasq. in 
1.2. qusest. 113. dis. 202. whereof we shall speak elsewhere. 
When men are once advanced into that field of disputation, 
which is all overgrown with thorns of subtleties, perplexed 
notions, and futilous terms of art, they consider principally 
how they may entangle others in it, scarce at all how they 


may get out of it themselves. And in this posture they 
oftentimes utterly forget the business which they are about, 
especially in this matter of justification ; namely, how a 
guilty sinner may come to obtain favour and acceptance 
with God. And not only so, but I doubt they oftentimes 
dispute themselves beyond what they can well abide by, 
when they return home unto a sedate meditation of the state 
of thinQS between God and their souls. And I cannot much 
value their notions and sentiments of this matter, who ob- 
ject and answer themselves out of a sense of their own ap- 
pearance before God, much less of theirs who evidence an 
open inconformity unto the grace and truth of this doctrine 
in their hearts and lives. 

9. Wherefore, we do but trouble the faith of Christians 
and the peace of the true church of God, whilst we dispute 
about expressions, terms, and notions, when the substance 
of the doctrine intended, may be declared and believed, 
without the knowledge, understanding, or use of any of 
them. Such are those in whose subtle management the 
captious art of wrangling doth principally consist. A dili- 
gent attendance unto the revelation made hereof in the 
Scripture, and an examination of our own experience there- 
by, is the sum of what is required of us for the right under- 
standing of the truth herein. And every true believer who 
is taught of God, knows how to put his whole trust in Christ 
alone, and the grace of God by him, for mercy, righteous- 
ness, and glory, and not at all concern himself with those 
loads of thorns and briers, which under the names of defi- 
nitions, distinctions, accurate notions, in a number of ex- 
otic, pedagogical and philosophical terms, some pretend to 
accommodate them withal. 

10. The Holy Ghost, in expressing the most eminent acts 
in our justification, especially as unto our believing, or the 
acting of that faith whereby we are justified, is pleased to 
make use of many metaphorical expressions. For any to 
use them now in the same way, and to the same purpose, is 
esteemed rude, undisciplinary, and even ridiculous ; but on 
what grounds ? He that shall deny, that there is more spiri- 
tual sense and experience conveyed by them into the hearts 
and minds of believers (which is the life and soul of teach- 
ing things preictical), than in the most accurate philosophi- 


cul expressions, is himself really ignorant of the whole truth 
in this matter. The propriety of such expressions belongs, 
and is confined unto, natural science ; but spiritual truths 
are to be taught, not in the words which man's wisdom 
teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing 
spiritual things with spiritual, God is wiser than man ; 
and the Holy Ghost knows better what are the most expe- 
dient ways for the illumination of our minds with that 
knowledge of evangelical truths, which it is our duty to have 
and attain, than the wisest of us all. And other knowledge 
of, or skill in, these things, than what is required of us in a 
way of duty, is not to be valued. 

It is therefore to no purpose to handle the mysteries of 
the gospel, as if Holcot and Bricot, Thomas and Gabriel, 
with all the Sententiarists, Summists, and Quodlibetarians 
of the old Roman peripatetical school, were to be raked out 
of their graves to be our guides. Especially will they be 
of no use unto us, in this doctrine of justification. For 
whereas they pertinaciously adhered unto the philosophy of 
Aristotle, who knew nothing of any righteousness, but what 
is a habit inherent in ourselves, and the acts of it, they 
wrested the whole doctrine of justification unto a compli- 
ance therewithal. So Pighius himself complained of them. 
Controv. 2. * Dissimulare non possumus, banc vel primam 
doctrines Christianas partem (de justificatione) obscuratam 
magis quam illustratam a scholasticis, spinosis plerisque 
quaestionibus, et definit.ionibus, secundum quas nonnulli 
magno supercilio primam in omnibus autoritatem arro- 
gantes,' &c. 

Secondly, A due consideration of him with whom in this 
matter we have to do, and that immediately, is necessary unto 
a right stating of our thoughts about it. The Scripture ex- 
presseth it emphatically, that it is ' God that justifieth,' Rom. 
viii. 33. and he assumes it unto himself, as his prerogative 
to do what belongs thereunto. ' I, even I, am he that blotteth 
out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not re- 
member thy sins ;' Isa. xliii. 25. And it is hard in my appre- 
hension, to suggest unto him, any other reason or conside- 
ration of the pardon of our sins ; seeing he hath taken it on 
him to do it for his own sake, that is, for the Lord's sake, 
Dan. ix. 17. in whom * all the seed of Israel are justified ;' 

VOL. XI. c 


Isa. xlv. 25. In his siglit, before his tribunal it is, that men 
are justified or condemned, Psal cxliii. 2. 'Enter not into 
judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man 
living be justified/ And the whole work of justification, 
with all that belongeth thereunto, is represented after the 
manner of a juridical proceeding before God's tribunal, as 
we shall see afterward. Therefore saith the apostle, * by 
the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight;' 
Rom. iii. 20. However any man be justified in the sight of 
men or angels by their own obedience or deeds of the law, 
yet in his sight none can be so. 

Necessary it is unto any man who is to come unto a trial, 
in the sentence whereof he is greatly concerned, duly to 
consider the judge before whom he is to appear, and by 
whom his cause is finally to be determined. And if we 
manage our disputes about justification without a continual 
regard unto him, by whom we must be cast or acquitted, 
we shall not rightly apprehend what our plea ought to be. 
Wherefore the greatness, the majesty, the holiness, and so- 
vereign authority of God, are always to be present with us 
in a due sense of them, when we inquire how we may be jus- 
tified before him. Yet is it hard to discern how the minds 
of some men are influenced by the consideration of these 
things, in their fierce contests for the interest of their own 
works in their justification ; * precibus aut precio ut in ali- 
qua parte haereant.' But the Scripture doth represent unto 
us what thoughts of him, and of themselves, not only sin- 
ners, but saints also, have had, and cannot but have, upon 
near discoveries and effectual conceptions of God and his 
greatness. Thoughts hereof ensuing on a sense of the 
guilt of sin, filled our first parents with fear and shame, and 
put them on that foolish attempt of hiding themselves from 
him. Nor is the wisdom of their posterity one jot better 
under their convictions, without a discovery of the promise. 
That alone makes sinners wise, which tenders them relief. 
At present, the generality of men are secure, and do not 
much question but that they shall come off well enough one 
way or other, in the trial they are to undergo. And as such 
persons are altogether indifferent what doctrine concerning 
justification is taught and received; so for the most part for 
tberaselves, they incline unto that declaration of it which 


best suits their own reason, as influenced with self-conceit, 
and corrupt affections. The sum hereof is, that what they 
cannot do themselves, what is wanting that they may be 
saved, be it more or less, shall one way or other be made up 
by Christ, either the use or the abuse of which persuasion 
is the greatest fountain of sin in the world, next unto the 
depravation of our nature. And whatever be, or may be 
pretended unto the contrary, persons not convinced of sin, 
not humbled for it, are in all their ratiocinations about spi- 
ritual things, under the conduct of principles so vitiated 
and corrupted. See Matt, xviii. 3, 4. But when God is 
pleased by any means to manifest his glory unto sinners, 
all their prefidences and contrivances do issue in dreadful 
horror and distress. An account of their temper is given us, 
Isa. xxxiii. 14. 'The sinners in Sion are afraid; fearfulness 
hath surprised the hypocrites. WJio among us shall dwell 
with the devouring fire ? who among us shall dwell with 
everlasting burnings V Nor is it thus only with some pecu- 
liar sort of sinners. The same will be the thoughts of all 
guilty persons at some time or other. For those who 
through sensuality, security, or superstition, do hide them- 
selves from the vexation of them in this world, will not fail 
to meet with them when their terror shall be increased, and 
become remediless. * Our God is a consuming fire;' and 
men will one day find, how vain it is to set their briers and 
thorns against him in battle array. And we may see what 
extravagant contrivances convinced sinners will put them- 
selves upon, under any real view of the majesty and holi- 
ness of God; Micah vi. 6, 7. 'Wherewith,' saith one of them, 
'shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the 
high God ? shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, 
with calves of a year old ? will the Lord be pleased with 
thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? 
shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of 
my body for the sin of my soul ?' Neither shall I ever think 
them meet to be contended withal about the doctrine of 
justification, who take no notice of these things, but rather 
despise them. 

This is the proper effect of the conviction of sin, strength- 
ened and sharpened with the consideration of the terror of 
the Lord, who is to judge concerning it. And this is that 

c 2 


wliich ill the papacy meeting with an ignorance of the righ- 
teousness of God, hath produced innumerable superstitious 
inventions for the appeasing of the consciences of men, who- 
by any means fall under the disquietments of such convic- 
tions. For they quickly see that nothing of the obedience 
which God requireth of them, as it is performed by them, 
will justify them before this high and holy God. Where- 
fore, they seek for shelter in contrivances about things that 
he hath not commanded, to try if they can put a cheat upon 
their consciences, and find relief in diversions. 

Nor is it thus only with profligate sinners upon their 
convictions; but the best of men, when they have had near 
and efficacious representations of the greatness, holiness, 
and glory of God, have been cast into the deepest self- 
abasement, and most serious renunciations of all trust or 
confidence in themselves. So the prophet Isaiah, upon his 
vision of the glory of the Holy One, cried out, ' Woe is me, 
I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips ;' chap, 
vi. 5. nor was he relieved but by an evidence of the free 
pardon of sin ; ver. 7. So holy Job, in all his contests with 
his friends, who charged him with hypocrisy, and his being 
a sinner guilty in a peculiar manner above other men, with 
assured confidence and perseverance therein, justified his 
sincerity, his faith and trust in God, against their whole 
charge, and every parcel of it. And this he doth with such 
a full satisfaction of his own integrity, as that not only he 
insists at large on his vindication;, but frequently appeals 
unto God himself, as unto the truth of his plea. For he 
directly pursues that counsel with great assurance, which 
the apostle James so long after gives unto all believers ; nor 
is the doctrine of that apostle more eminently exemplified 
in any one instance throughout the whole Scripture than 
in him. For he sheweth his faith by his works, and pleads 
his justification thereby. As Job justified himself, and 
was justified by his works, so we allow it the duty of every 
believer to be. His plea for justification by works, in the 
sense wherein it is so, was the most noble that ever was in 
the world, nor was ever any controversy managed upon a 
greater occasion. 

At length this Job is called into the immediate presence 
of God, to plead his own cause, not now as stated betweea 


liim and his friends, whether he were a hypocrite or no, or 
whether his faith or trust in God was sincere, but as it was 
stated between God and hirn, wherein he seemed to have 
made some undue assumptions on his own behalf. The 
question was now reduced unto this ; on what grounds he 
might or could be justified in the sight of God ? To pre- 
pare his mind unto a right judgment in this case, God 
manifests his glory unto him, and instructs him in the 
greatness of his majesty and power. And this he doth by 
a multiplication of instances, because under our tempta- 
tions we are very slow in admitting right conceptions of 
God. Here the holy man quickly acknowledged, that the 
state of the case was utterly altered. All his former pleas 
of faith, hope, and trust in God, of sincerity in obedience, 
which with so much earnestness he before insisted on, are 
jiow quite laid aside. He saw well enough that they were 
not pleadable at the tribunal before which he now appeared, 
so that God should enter into judgment with him thereon, 
with respect unto his justification. Wherefore, in the deepest 
self-abasement and abhorrency, he betakes himself unto 
sovereign grace and mercy. For ' then Job answered the 
Lord, and said, Behold I am vile j what shall I answer thee ? 
I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken, 
but I will not answer ; yea, twice ; but I will proceed no 
farther ;' Job xl. 3 — 5. And again, * Hear, I beseech thee, 
and I will speak ; I will demand of thee, and declare thou 
unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: 
but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, 
and repent in dust and ashes ;' chap. xlii. 4 — 6. Let any 
men place themselves in the condition wherein now Job 
was, in the immediate presence of God ; let them attend 
unto what he really speaks unto them in his word, namely, 
what they will answer unto the charge that he hath against 
them, and what will be their best plea before his tribunal, 
that they may be justified. I do not believe that any man 
living hath more encouraging grounds to plead for an inte- 
rest in his own faith and obedience in his justification before 
God, than Job had ; although I suppose he had not so 
much skill to manage a plea to that purpose, with scholastic 
notions and distinctions as the Jesuits have; but, how- 
ever we may be harnessed with subtle arguments and 


solutions, I fear it will not be safe for us to adventure far- 
ther upon God than he durst to do- 
There was of old a direction for the visitation of the 
sick, composed, as they say, by Anselm, and published by 
Casparus Ulenbergius, which expresseth a better sense of 
these thincrs than some seem to be convinced of. ' Credisne 
te non posse salvari nisi per mortem Christi ? Respondet 
infirmus, etiam ; tum dicit illi ; Age ergo dum superest in 
te anima, in hac sola morte fiduciam tuam constitue; in 
nulla alia re fiduciam habe, huic morti te totum committe, 
hac sola te totum contege, totum immisce te in hac morte, 
in hac morte totum te involve. Et si Dominus te voluerit 
judicare. Die, Domine, mortem Domini nostri Jesu Christi 
objicio inteV me et tuum judicium, aliter tecum non con- 
tendo. Et si tibi dixerit quia peccator es, die, mortem 
Domini nostri Jesu Christi pono inter me et peccata mea. 
Si dixerit tibi quod meruisti damnationem ; die, Domine, 
mortem Domini nostri Jesu Christi obtendo inter te et mala 
merita mea, ipsiusque merita oiFero pro merito quod ego de- 
buissem habere nee habeo ; si dixerit quod tibi est iratus, 
die, Domine, mortem Domini Jesu Christi oppono inter me 
et iram tuam.' That is, ' Dost thou believe that thou canst 
not be saved but by the death of Christ ? The sick man 
answereth, yes ; then let it be said unto him. Go to then, 
and whilst thy soul abideth in thee, put all thy confidence 
in this death alone, place thy trust in no other thing, com- 
mit thyself wholly to this death, cover thyself wholly with 
this alone, cast thyself wholly on this death, wrap thyself 
wholly in this death. And if God would judge thee, say. 
Lord, I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between 
me and thy judgment; and otherwise I will not contend, 
or enter into judgment with thee. And if he shall say 
unto thee, that thou art a sinner, say, I place the death of 
our Lord Jesus Christ between me and my sins. If he 
shall say unto thee, that thou hast deserved damnation ; 
say, Lord, I put the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between 
thee and all my sins ; and I offer his merits for my own, 
which I should have, and have not. If he say that he is 
angry with thee, say, Lord, I place the death of our Lord 
Jesus Christ between me and thy anger.' Those who gave 
these directions, seem to have been sensible of what it is to 


appear before the tribunal of God; and how unsafe it will 
be for us there to insist on any thing in ourselves. Hence 
are the words of the sameAnselin in his meditations: *Con- 
scientia mea meruit damnationem, et penitentia mea non 
sufficit ad satisfactionem ; sed certum est quod misericordia 
tua superat omnem offensionem.' * My conscience hath de- 
served damnation, and my repentance is not sufficient for 
satisfaction, but most certain it is, that thy mercy aboundeth 
above all offence.' And this seems to me a better direc- 
tion than those more lately given by some of the Roman 
church : such is the prayer suggested unto a sick man, by 
Johan. Polandus, lib. Methodus in adjuvandis morientibus. 
' Domine Jesu, conjunge, obsecro, obsequium meumcum om- 
nibus quae tu egisti, et passus es ex tam perfecta charitate 
et obedientia. Et cum divitiis satisfactionum et meritorum 
dilectionis, patri eeterno illud offerre digneris.' Or that of a 
greater author, Antidot. Anim-de, fol. 17. ' Tu hinc o rosea 
martyrum turba offer pro me, nunc et in hora mortis mese, 
merita fidelitatum, constantige, et pretiosi sanguinis, cum 
sanguine agni immaculati, pro omnium salute effusi.* Je- 
rome, long before Anselm, spake to the same purpose. 'Cum 
diesjudicii aut dormitionis advenerit, omnes manus dissol- 
ventur; quibus dicitur in alio loco, confortamini manus 
dissolutee ; dissolventur autem manus, quia nullum opus 
dignum Dei justitia reperiatur, et non justificabitur in con- 
spectu ejus omnis vivens, unde propheta dicit in psalmo, si 
iniquitates attendas Domine, quis sustinebit, lib. vi. in Isa. 
xiii. 65 7. * When the day of judgment, or of, death, 
shall come, all hands will be dissolved' (that is, faint 
or fall down), * unto which it is said in another place, be 
strengthened ye hands that hang down. But all hands 
shall be melted down' (that is, all men's strength and confi- 
dence shall fail them), ' because no works shall be found 
which can answer the righteousness of God ; for no flesh 
shall be justified in his sight. Whence the prophet says in 
the psalm. If thou. Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, who 
should stand V And, Ambrose, to the same purpose, * Nemo 
ergo sibi arroget, nemo de meritis glorietur, nemo de potes- 
tate se jactet, omnes speremus per Dominum Jesum miseri- 
cordiam invenire, quoniam omnes ante tribunal ejus stabi- 
mus, de illo veniam, de illo indulgentiam postulabo, quaenam 


spes alia peccatoribus,' in Psal. cxix. Resh. * Let no man 
arrogate any tiling unto himself, let no man glory in his own 
merits or good deeds, let no man boast of his power, let us 
all hope to find mercy by our Lord Jesus, for we shall all 
stand before his judgment-seat. Of him will I beg pardon, 
of him will I desire indulgence, what other hope is there for 

Wherefore, if men will be turned off from a continual re- 
gard unto the greatness, holiness, and majesty of God, by 
their inventions in the heat of disputation ; if they do forget 
a reverential consideration of what will become them, and 
what they may betake themselves unto, when they stand 
before his tribunal ; they may engage into such apprehen- 
sions, as they dare not abide by in their own personal triaL 
For * how shall man be just with God V Hence it hath been 
observed, that the schoolmen themselves, in their medita- 
tions and devotional writings, wherein they had immediate 
thoughts of God with whom they had to do, did speak quite 
another language as to justification before God, than they 
do in their wrangling, philosophical, fiery disputes about it. 
And I had rather learn what some men really judge about 
their own justification from their prayers, than their writ- 
ings. Nor do I remember, that I did ever hear any good 
man in his prayers, use any expressions about justification, 
pardon of sin, and righteousness before God, wherein any 
plea from any thing in ourselves was introduced or made use 
of. The prayer of Daniel hath in this matter been the sub- 
stance of their supplications. * O Lord, righteousness be- 
longeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces. We do 
not present our supplications before thee for our own 
righteousness, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear ; O 
Lord, forgive ; for thine own sake, O my God ;' Dan. ix. 7. 
18, 19. Or that of the psalmist, ' Enter not into judgment 
with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living 
be justified;' Psal. cxliii. 2. Or, * If thou, Lord, mark ini- 
quity, Lord, who shall stand ? But there is forgiveness with 
thee, that thou mayest be feared ;' Psal. cxxx. 2 — 4. On 
which words, the exposition of Austin is remarkable, speak- 
ing of David, and applying it unto himself: * Ecce clamat 
sub molibus iniquitatum suarum. Circumspexit se, circum- 
spexit vitam suam, vidit illam undique flagitiis coopertam ; 


qoacunque respexit, nihil in se boni invenit : et cum tanta 
ettam multapeccata undique videret,tanquamexpavescens, 
exclamavit, si iniquitates observaris Domine, quis sustinebit? 
vidit enim prope totam vitam humanam circumlatrari pec- 
catis ; accusari omnes conscientias cogitationibus siiis ; non 
inveniri cor castum prsesumens de justitia ; quod quia inve- 
niri non potest, prsesumat ergo omnium cor de misericordia 
Domini Dei sui, et dicat Deo, si iniquitates observaris Do- 
mine, Domine quis sustinebit ? Quae autem est spes ? 
quoniam apud te propitiatio est.' And whereas we may 
and ought to represent unto God, in our supplications, our 
faith, or what it is that we believe herein, I much question, 
whether some men can find in their hearts to pray over and 
plead before him, all the arguments and distinctions they 
make use of, to prove the interest of our works and obedience 
in our justification before him, or * enter into judgment' 
with him, upon the conclusions which they make from them. 
Nor will many be satisfied to make use of that prayer, which 
Pelagius taught the widow, as it was objected to him in 
the Diaspolitan Synod. * Tu nosti Domine, quam sanctae, 
quam innocentes, quam purse ab omni fraude et rapina quas 
ad te expando manus; quam justa, quam immaculata labia 
et ab omni mendacio libera, quibus tibi ut mihi miserearis 
preces fundo.' * Thou knowest, O Lord, how holy, how in- 
nocent, how pure from all deceit and rapine, are the hands 
which I stretch forth unto thee; how just, how unspotted 
with evil, how free from lying are those lips wherewith I 
pour forth prayers unto thee, that thou wouldest have mercy 
on me.' And yet although he taught her so to plead her 
own purity, innocency, and righteousness before God, yet 
he doth it not, as those whereon she might be absolutely 
justified, but only as the condition of her obtaining mercy. 
Nor have I observed that any public liturgies (the mass- 
book only excepted, wherein there is a frequent recourse 
unto the merits and intercession of saints) do guide men in 
their prayers before God, to plead any thing for their ac- 
ceptance with him, or as the means or condition thereof, 
but grace, mercy, the righteousness and blood of Christ 

Wherefore, I cannot but judge it best (others may think 


of it as they please), for tliose who would teach or learn the 
doctrine of justification in a due manner, to place their con- 
sciences in the presence of God, and their persons before 
his tribunal, and then upon a due consideration of his great- 
ness, power, majesty, righteousness, holiness, of the terror 
of his glory, and sovereign authority, to inquire what the 
Scripture, and a sense of their own condition directs them 
unto as their relief and refuge, and what plea it becomes 
them to make for themselves. Secret thoughts of God and 
ourselves, retired meditations, the conduct of the spirit in 
humble supplications, death-bed preparations for an imme- 
diate appearance before God, faith and love in exercise on 
Christ, speak other things for the most part, than many 
contend for. 

Thirdly, A clear apprehension and due sense of the great- 
ness of our apostacy from God, of the depravation of our na- 
tures thereby, of the power and guiltof sin,of the holiness and 
severity of the law, are necessary unto a right apprehension 
of the doctrine of justification. Therefore, unto the decla- 
ration of it doth the apostle premise a lar-ge discourse, 
thoroughly to convince the minds of all that seek to be jus- 
tified, with a sense of these things ; Rom. i. ii. iii. The 
rules which he hath given us, the method which he pre- 
scribeth, and the ends which he designeth, are those which 
we shall choose to follow. And, he layeth it down in gene- 
ral, ' That the righteousness of God is revealed from faith 
to faith, and that the just shall live by faith;' chap. i. 17. 
But he declares not in particular the causes, nature, and 
way of our justification, until he hath fully evinced that 
all men are shut up under the state of sin, and manifested 
how deplorable their condition is thereby. And in the igno- 
rance of these things, in the denying or palliating of them, 
layeth the foundation of all misbelief about the grace of 
God. Pelagianism, in its first root, and all its present 
branches, is resolved thereinto. For not apprehending the 
dread of our original apostacy from God, nor the conse- 
quence of it in the universal depravation of our nature, 
they disown any necessity either of the satisfaction of Christ, 
or the efficacy of divine grace for our recovery or restora- 
tion. So upon the matter the principal ends of the mission 


both of the Son of God, and of the Holy Spirit, are re- 
nounced ; which issues in the denial of the Deity of the 
one and the personality of the other. The fall which we 
had, being not great, and the disease contracted thereby 
being easily curable, and there being little or no evil in these 
things which are now unavoidable unto our nature, it is no 
great matter to be freed or justified from all, by a mere act 
of favour on our own endeavours ; nor is the efficacious 
grace of God any way needful unto our sanctification and 
obedience, as these men suppose. 

When these or the like conceits are admitted, and the 
minds of men by them kept off from a due apprehension of 
the state and guilt of sin, and their consciences from being 
affected with the terror of the Lord and curse of the law 
thereon ; justification is a notion to be dealt withal pleasantly 
or subtilely, as men see occasion. And hence arise the dif- 
ferences about it at present, I mean those which are really 
such, and not merely the different ways whereby learned 
men express their thoughts and apprehensions concerning it. 

By some the imputation of the actual apostacy and trans- 
gression of Adam, the head of our nature, whereby his sin 
became the sin of the world, is utterly denied. Hereby both 
the ground the apostle proceedeth on, in evincing the neces- 
sity of our justification, or our being made righteous by the 
obedience of another, and all the arguments brought in the 
confirmation of the doctrine of it, in the fifth chapter of his 
Epistle to the Romans, are evaded and overthrown. Socinus, 
de Servator. par. 4. cap. 6. confesseth that place to give 
great countenance unto the doctrine of justification by the 
imputation of the righteousness of Christ ; and therefore, 
he sets himself to oppose with sundry artifices the imputa- 
tion of the sin of Adam, unto his natural posterity. For he 
perceived well enough that upon the admission thereof, the 
imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto his spiritual 
seed, would unavoidably follow according unto the tenor of 
the apostle's discourse. 

Some deny the depravation and corruption of our nature, 
which ensued on our apostacy from God, and the loss of his 
image. Or if they do not absolutely deny it, yet they so ex- 
tenuate it as to render it a matter of no great concern unto 
us. Some disease and distemper of the soul they will ac- 


knowledge, arising from the disorder of our affections, 
whereby we are apt to receive in such vicious habits and 
customs, as are in practice in the world. And as the guilt 
hereof is not much, so the danger of it is not great. And as 
for any spiritual filth or stain of our nature that is in it, it is 
clear washed away from all by baptism. That deformity of 
soul which came upon us in the loss of the image of God, 
wherein the beauty and harmony of all our faculties, in all 
their actings, in order unto their utmost end, did consist; 
that enmity unto God, even in the mind which ensued there- 
on ; that darkness which our understandings were clouded, 
yea, blinded withal ; the spiritual death which passed on 
the whole soul, and total alienation from the life of God ; 
that impotency unto good, that inclination unto evil, that 
deceitfulness of sin, that power and efficacy of corrupt 
lusts, which the Scriptures and experience so fully charge 
on the state of lost nature, are rejected as empty notions or 
fables. No wonder if such persons look upon imputed righ- 
teousness as the shadow of a dream, who esteem those things 
which evidence its necessity, to be but fond imaginations. 
And small hope is there to bring such men to value the 
righteousness of Christ, as imputed to them, who are so un- 
acquainted with their own unrighteousness inherent in them. 
Until men know themselves better, they will care very little 
to know Christ at all. 

Against such as these the doctrine of justification may 
be defended, as we are obliged to contend for the faith once 
delivered unto the saints, and as the mouth of gainsayers 
are to be stopped. But to endeavour their satisfaction in 
it, whilst they are under the power of such apprehensions, is 
a vain attempt. As our Saviour said unto them unto whom 
he had declared the necessity of regeneration, * if I have 
told you earthly things and you believe not, how shall ye 
believe if I tell you heavenly things?' so may we say, if 
men will not believe those things, whereof it would be mar- 
vellous, but that the reason of it is known, that they have 
not an undeniable evidence and experience in themselves, 
how can they believe those heavenly mysteries which re- 
spect a supposition of that within themselves, which they 
will not acknowledge. 

Hence some are so far from any concernment in a perfect 


righteousness to be imputed unto them, as that they boast of 
a perfection in themselves. So did the Pelagians of old, 
glory of a sinless perfection in the sight of God, even when 
they were convinced of sinful miscarriages in the sight of 
men, as they are charged by Jerome, lib. 2. Dialog, and by 
Austin, lib. 2. contra Julian, cap. 8. Such persons are not 
* Subjecta capacia auditionis Evangelicae.' Whilst men 
have no sense in their own hearts and consciences of the 
spiritual disorder of their souls, of the secret continual act- 
ings of sin with deceit and violence, obstructing all that is 
good, promoting all that is evil, defiling all that is done by 
them through the lusting of the flesh against the Spirit as 
contrary unto it, though no outward perpetration of sin nor 
actual omission of duty do ensue thereon ; who are not en- 
gaged in a constant watchful conflict against the first mo- 
tions of sin, unto whom they are not the greatest burden 
and sorrow in this life, causing them to cry out for deliver- 
ance from them ; who can despise those who make acknow- 
ledgments in their confession unto God, of their sense of 
these things, with the guilt wherewith they are accompanied, 
will, with an assured confidence, reject and contemn what is 
offered about justification through the obedience and righ- 
teousness of Christ imputed to us. For no man will be so 
fond as to be solicitous of a righteousness that is not his 
own, who hath at home in a readiness that which is his own, 
which will serve his turn. It is therefore the ignorance of 
these things alone, that can delude men into an apprehen- 
sion of their justification before God, by their own personal 
righteousness. For if they were acquainted with them, they 
would quickly discern such an imperfection in the best of 
their duties, such a frequency of sinful irregularities in 
their minds, and disorders in their affections, such an unsuit- 
ableness in all that they are and do, from the inward frames 
of their hearts unto all their outward actions, unto the 
greatness and holiness of God, as would abate their confi- 
dence in placing any trust in their own righteousness for 
their justification. 

By means of these and the like presumptuous conceptions 
of unenlightened minds, the consciences of men are kept off* 
from being affected with a due sense of sin, and a serious 
consideration how they may obtain acceptance before God. 


Neither the consideration of the holiness or terror of the 
Lord ; nor the severity of the law, as it indispensably re- 
quireth a righteousness in compliance with its commands ; 
nor the promise of the gospel, declaring and tendering a 
righteousness, the righteousness of God, in answer there- 
unto ; nor the uncertainty of their own minds upon trials and 
surprisals, as having no stable ground of peace to anchor on ; 
nor the constant secret disquietment of their consciences, 
if not seared or hardened through the deceitfulness of sin ; 
can prevail with them whose thoughts are prepossessed with 
such slight conceptions of the state and guilt of sin, to fly 
for refuge unto the only hope that is set before them, or 
really and distinctly to comport with the only way of deli- 
verance and salvation. 

Wherefore, if we would either teach or learn the doctrine 
of justification in a due manner, a clear apprehension of the 
greatness of our apostacy from God, a due sense of the 
guilt of sin, a deep experience of its power, all with respect 
unto the holiness and law of God, are necessary unto us. 
We have nothing to do in this matter with men, who, through 
the fever of pride, have lost the understanding of their own 
miserable condition. For, 'Natura sic apparet vitiata, ut 
hoc majoris vitii sit non videre,' Austin. The whole need 
not the physician, but the sick. Those who are pricked 
unto the heart for sin, and cry out, What shall we do to be 
saved ? will understand what we have to say. Against others 
we must defend the truth, as God shall enable. And it may 
be made good by all sorts of instances, that as men rise in 
their notions about the extenuation of sin, so they fall in 
their regard unto the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. And 
it is no less true also on the other hand, as unbelief worketh 
in men a disesteem of the person and righteousness of Christ, 
they are cast inevitably to seek for countenance unto their 
own consciences, in the extenuation of sin. So insensibly 
are the minds of men diverted from Christ, and seduced to 
place their confidence in themselves. Some confused respect 
they have unto him, as a relief they know not how nor where- 
in ; but they live in that pretended height of human wisdom, 
to trust to themselves. So they are instructed to do by 
the best of the philosophers. * Unum bonum est, quod 
beatse vitce causa et firmamentum est, tibi fidere.' Senec. 


Epist. 31. Hence also is the internal sanctifying grace of 
God, among many equally despised with the imputation of 
the righteousness of Christ. The sum of their faith, and of 
their arguments in the confirmation of it, is given by the 
learned Roman orator and philosopher. ' Virtutem,' saith 
he, ' nemo unquam Deo acceptam retulit ; nimirum recte. 
Propter virtutem enim jure laudamur, et in virtute recte glo- 
riamur, quod non contingeret, si donum a Deo, non a nobis 
haberemus.' Tull. de Nat. Deor. 

Fourthly, The opposition that the Scripture makes be- 
tween grace and wT»rks in general, with the exclusion of the 
one and the assertion of the other in our justification, deserves 
a previous consideration. The opposition intended is not 
made between grace and works, or our own obedience, as 
unto their essence, nature, and consistency, in the order and 
method of our salvation, but only with respect unto our jus- 
tification. I do not design herein to plead any particular 
testimonies of Scripture, as unto their especial sense or de- 
claration of the mind of the Holy Ghost in them, which will 
afterward be with some diligence inquired into ; but only to 
take a view, which way the eye of the Scripture guides our 
apprehensions, and what compliance there is in our own ex- 
perience with that guidance. 

The principal seat of this doctrine, as will be confessed 
by all, is in the Epistles of Paul unto the Romans and Gala- 
tians, whereunto that also of the Hebrews may be added. 
But in that unto the Romans it is most eminently declared. 
For therein is it handled by the apostle exprofesso, at large, 
and that both doctrinally, and in the way of controversy 
with them by whom the truth was opposed. And it is* 
worth our consideration what process he makes towards the 
declaration of it, and what principles he proceeds upon 

1. He lays it down as the fundamental maxim which he 
would proceed upon, or as a general thesis including the sub- 
stance of what he designed to explain and prove, that, in the 
gospel the ' righteousness of God is revealed from faith to 
faith: as it is written. The just shall live by faith;' chap.i. 17. 
All sorts of men who had any knowledge of God and them- 
selves, were then, as they must be always, inquiring, and in 
one degree or other labouring after righteousness. For this 


they looked on, and that justly, as the only means of an ad- 
vantageous relation between God and themselves. Neither 
had the generality of men any other thoughts, but that this 
righteousness must be their own, inherent in them, and per- 
formed by them, as Rom. x. 3. For as this is the language 
of a natural conscience, and of the law, and suited unto all 
philosophical notions concerning the nature of righteous- 
ness ; so whatever testimony was given of another kind in 
the law and the prophets, (as such a testimony is given unto 
a righteousness of God without the law, chap. iii. 21.) there 
was a veil upon it, as to the understanding of all sorts of 
men. As, therefore, righteousness is that which all men seek 
after, and cannot but seek after, who design or desire ac- 
ceptance with God, so it is in vain to inquire of the law, 
of a natural conscience, of philosophical reason, after any 
righteousness but what consists in inherent habits and acts 
of our own. Neither law, nor natural conscience, nor rea- 
son, do know any other. But in opposition unto this righ- 
teousness of our own, and the necessity thereof, testified 
unto by the law in its primitive constitution, by the natural 
light of conscience, and the apprehension of the nature of 
things by reason, the apostle declares, that in the gospel 
there is revealed another righteousness, which is also the 
righteousness of another, the righteousness of God, and that 
from faith to faith. For not only is the righteousness itself 
revealed, alien from those other principles ; but also the 
manner of our participation of it, or its communication unto 
us, ' from faith to faith' (the faith of God in the revelation, 
and our faith in the acceptation of it, being only here con- 
cerned), is an eminent revelation. Righteousness, of all 
things, should rather seem to be from works unto works, 
from the work of grace in us, to the works of obedience done 
by us, as the Papists affirm. No, saith the apostle, it is 
* from faith to faith,' whereof afterward. 

This is the general thesis the apostle proposeth unto 
confirmation, and he seems therein to exclude from justifi- 
cation every thing but the righteousness of God and the 
faith of believers. And to this purpose he considers all per- 
sons that did or might pretend unto righteousness, or seek 
after it, and all ways and means whereby they hoped to at- 
tain unto it, or whereby it might most probably be obtained. 


declaring the failing of all persons, and the insufficiency of 
all means as unto them, from the obtaining a righteousness of 
our own before God. And as unto persons, 

1. He considers the Gentiles, with all their notions of 
God, their practice in religious worship, with their conver- 
sation thereon. And from the whole of what might be ob- 
served amongst them, he concludes that they neither were, 
nor could be, justified before God, but that they were all, 
and most deservedly, obnoxious unto the sentence of death. 
And whatever men may discourse concerning the justification 
and salvation of any, without the revelation of the righte- 
ousness of God by the gospel * from faith to faith/ it is ex- 
pressly contradictory to his whole discourse, chap. i. from 
ver. 19. to the end. 

2. He considers the Jews, who enjoyed the written law, 
and the privileges wherewith it was accompanied, especially 
that of circumcision, which was the outward seal of God's 
covenant. And on many considerations, with many argu- 
ments, he excludes them also from any possibility of attain- 
ing justification before God by any of the privileges they 
enjoyed, or their own compliance therewithal, chap. ii. And 
both sorts he excludes distinctly from this privilege of righte- 
ousness before God, with this one argument, that both of 
them sinned openly against that which they took for the 
rule of their righteousness; namely, the Gentiles against the 
light of nature, and the Jews against the law ; whence it 
inevitably follows, that none of them could attain unto the 
righteousness of their own rule. But he proceeds farther 
unto that which is common to them all. And, 

3. He proves the same against all sorts of persons, whe- 
ther Jews or Gentiles, from the consideration of the universal 
depravation of nature in them all, and the horrible eflTects 
that necessarily ensue thereon in the hearts and lives of men, 
chap. iii. so evidencing, that as they all were, so it could 
not fall out but that all must be, shut up under sin, and come 
short of righteousness. So from persons he proceeds to 
things or means of righteousness. And, 

4. Because the law was given of God immediately, as 
the whole and only rule of our obedience unto him, and the 
works of the law are therefore all that is required of us, 
these may be pleaded with some pretence as those whereby 



we may be justified. Wherefore in particular he considers 
the nature, use, and end of the law, manifesting its utter in- 
sufficiency to be a means of our justification before God;, 
chap. iii. 19, 20. 

5. It may be yet objected, that the law and its works 
may be thus insufficient, as it is obeyed by unbelievers in 
the state of nature, without the aids of grace administered 
in the promise, but with respect unto them who are regene- 
rate and do believe, whose faith and works are accepted with 
God, it may be otherwise. To obviate this objection, he 
giveth an instance in two of the most eminent believers 
under the Old Testament, namely, Abraham and David, de- 
clarino' that all works whatever were excluded in and from 


their justification, chap. iv. 

On these principles, and by this gradation he perempto- 
rily concludes, that all and every one of the sons of men,, 
as unto any thing that is in themselves or can be done by 
them, or be wrought in them, are guilty before God, obnoxi- 
ous unto death, shut up under sin, and have their mouths so 
stopped, as to be deprived of all pleas in their own excuse ; 
that they had no righteousness wherewith to appear before 
God, and that all the ways and means whence they expected 
h, were insufficient unto that purpose. 

Hereon he proceeds with his inquiry, how men may be 
delivered from this condition, and come to be justified in 
the sight of God. And in the resolution hereof he makes 
no mention of any thing in themselves, but only faith 
whereby we receive the atonement. That whereby we are 
justified, he saith, is ' the righteousness of God which is by 
the faith of Christ Jesus,' or that we are justified * freely by 
grace through the redemption that is in him ;' chap. iii. 22 
— 25. And not content here with this answer v»nto the in- 
quiry, how lost convinced sinners may come to be justified 
before God, namely, that it is by the 'righteousness of God 
revealed from faith to faith, by grace, by the blood of Christ,^ 
as he is set forth for a propitiation ; he immediately pro- 
ceeds unto a positive exclusion of every thing in and of our- 
selves that might pretend unto an interest herein, as that 
which is inconsistent with the righteousness of God as re- 
vealed in the gospel, and witnessed unto by the law and the 
prophets. How contrary their scheme of divinity is unto 


this design of the apostle, and his management of it, who 
affirm that before the law, men were justified by obedience 
unto the light of nature, and some particular revelations 
made unto them in things of their own especial private 
concernment ; and that after the giving of the law they 
were so by obedience unto God according to the directions 
thereof, as also that the heathen might obtain the same 
benefit in compliance with the dictates of reason, cannot 
be contradicted by any who have not a mind to be con- 

Answerable unto this declaration of the mind of the Holy 
Ghost herein by the apostle, is the constant tenor of the 
Scripture speaking to the same purpose. The grace of God, 
the promise of mercy, the free pardon of sin, the blood of 
Christ, his obedience and the righteousness of God in him, 
rested in and received by faith, are every where asserted as 
the causes and means of our justification, in opposition unto 
any thing in ourselves, so expressed as it useth to express 
the best of our obedience and the utmost of our personal 
righteousness. Wherever mention is made of the duties, 
obedience, and personal righteousness of the best of men 
with respect unto their justification, they are all renounced by 
them, and they betake themselves unto sovereign grace and 
mercy alone. Some places to this purpose may be recounted. 

The foundation of the whole is laid in the first promise, 
wherein the destruction of the work of the devil by the 
suffering of the seed of the woman, is proposed as the only 
relief for sinners, and only means of the recovery of the fa- 
vour of God. * It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise 
his heel ;' Gen. iii. 15. ' Abraham believed in the Lord, and 
he counted it unto him for righteousness ;* Gen. xv. 6. ' And 
Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, 
and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of 
Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting 
them on the head of the goat ; and the goat shall bear upon 
him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited ;' Lev. xvi. 
21, 22. * I will go in the strength of the Lord God, I will 
make mention of thy righteousness even of thine only ;' 
Psal. Ixxi. 16. ' If thou Lord shouldst mark iniquity, O Lord, 
who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that 
thou mayest be feared ;' Psal. cxxx. 3, 4. * Enter not into 



judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man 
living be justified ;' Psal. cxliii. 2. ' Behold, he put no trust 
in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly : how 
much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foun- 
dation is in the dust?' Job iv. 18, 19. * Fury is not in me ; 
who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I 
would go through them, I would burn them together. Or 
let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace 
with me, and he shall make peace with me ;' Isa. xxvii. 4, 5. 
* Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and 
strength : in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified 
and glory ;' Isa. xlv. 24, 25. ' All we like sheep have gone 
astray, we have turnied every one to his own way, and the 
Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. By his know- 
ledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall 
bear their iniquities ;' Isa. liii. 6. 11, * For this is his name 
whereby he shall be called, the Lord our righteousness ;' 
Jer. xxiii. 6. 'But we are all as an unclean thing, and all 
our righteousnesses are as filthy rags ;' Isa. Ixiv. 6. ' He 
shall finish the transgression, and make an end of sin, and 
make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting 
righteousness ;' Dan. ix. 24. * Unto as many as received him 
he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that 
believe in his name;' John i. 12. * For as Moses lifted up 
the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man 
be lifted up ; that whosoever believeth in him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life;' chap. iii. 14—18. * Be it 
known therefore unto you men and brethren, that through 
this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins : and 
by him all that believe are justified from all things, from 
which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses;' Acts 
xiii. 38, 39. * That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and 
inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith that is 
in roe;' chap. xxvi. 18. * Being justified freely by his grace, 
through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ : whom God 
hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, 
to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that 
are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare at 
this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the 
justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Where then is 
boasting ? It is excluded. By what law ? of works? Nay ; but 


by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is" 
justified by faith v/ithout the deeds of the law;' Rom. iii. 
24 — 28. ' For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath 
whereof to glory, but not before God.' For what saith the 
Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto 
him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the re- 
ward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that 
worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the un- 
godly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as 
David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom 
God imputeth righteousness without works, saying. Blessed 
are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are 
covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord will not 
impute sin;' Rom. iv. 2 — 8. * But not as the ofl^ence, so 
also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many 
be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, 
which is by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto 
many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift ; 
for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the 
free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by 
one man's offence death reigned by one, much more they 
which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righte- 
ousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. There- 
fore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all 
men unto condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of 
one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of 
life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made 
sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made 
righteous;' chap. v. 15 — 19. 'There is therefore no con- 
demnation unto them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk 
not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the 
Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the 
law of sin and death. And what the law could not do, in 
that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son 
in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin 
in the flesh ; that the righteousness of the law might be 
fulfilled in us;' chap. viii. 1 — 4. * For Christ is the end of 
the law for righteousness unto every one that believeth ;' 
chap. X. 4. ' And if by grace, then it is no more of works : 
otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then 


it is no more grace, otherwise work is no more work ;' 
chap. xi. 6. * But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God 
is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctifi- 
cation and redemption*/ 1 Cor. i. 30. * For he hath made 
him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be 
made the righteousness of God in him;' 2 Cor. v. 21. 
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the 
law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in 
Jesus Christ, that we mightbe justified by the faith of Christ, 
and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law 
shall no flesh be justified;' Gal. ii. 16. * But that no man is 
justified by the law in the sight of God, is evident. For the 
just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith; but the 
man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath re- 
deemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for 
us;' chap. iii. 11 — 13. 'For by grace ye are saved through 
faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of 
works, lest any man should boast. For we are his work- 
manship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which 
God hath before ordained that we should walk in them ;* 
Eph. ii. 8 — 10. * Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss, 
for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord ; 
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do 
count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found 
in him, not having my own righteousness which is of the 
law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the 
righteousness which is of God by faith;' Phil. iii. 8, 9. 
' Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not 
according to our works, but according unto his own pur* 
pose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before 
the world began ;' 2 Tim. i. 9. * That being justified by his 
grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of 
eternal life ;' Tit. iii. 7. 'He hath once appeared in the end 
of the world to put away sin ;' Heb. ix. 26. 28. ' Having in 
himself purged our sins ;' chap. i. 3. * For by one offering 
he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified ; chap. 
X. 14. * For the blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God cleans- 
eth us from all sin ;' 1 John i. 7. * Wherefore, unto him that 
loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and 
hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; 


to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen ;* 
Rev. i. 5. 6. 

These are some of the places which at pre&ent occur to 
remembrance, w^herein the Scripture represents unto us the 
grounds, causes, and reasons of our acceptation with God. 
The especial import of many of them, and the evidence of 
truth that is in them, w-ill be afterward considered. Here 
we take only a general view of them. And every thing in 
and of ourselves, under any consideration whatever, seems to 
be excluded from our justification before God, faith alone 
excepted, whereby we receive his grace and the atonement. 
And on the other side, the whole of our acceptation with 
him seems to be assigned unto grace, mercy, the obedience 
and blood of Christ ; in opposition unto our own worth and 
righteousness, or our own works and obedience. And I 
x^annot but suppose that the soul of a convinced sinner, if 
not prepossessed with prejudice, will in general not judge 
amiss, whether of these things, that aro set in opposition 
one to the other, he should betake himself unto, that he may 
be justified. 

But it is replied, these things are not to be understood 
absolutely and without limitations. Sundry distinctions are 
necessary, that we may come to understand the mind of the 
Holy Ghost and sense of the Scripture in these ascriptions 
unto grace, and exclusions of the law, our own works and 
righteousness from our justification. For (1.) the law is 
either the moral or the ceremonial law ; the latter indeed 
is excluded from any place in our justification, but not the 
former. (2.) Works required by the law are either wrought 
before faith, without the aid of grace, or after believing, by 
the help of the Holy Ghost. The former are excluded from 
our justification, but not the latter. (3.) Works of obedi- 
ence wrought after grace received, may be considered either 
as sincere only, or absolutely perfect according to what was 
originally required in the covenant of works. Those of the 
latter sort are excluded from any place in our justification, 
but not those of the former. (4.) There is a twofold jus- 
tification before God in this life, a first and a second ; and 
we must diligently consider with respect unto whether of 
these justifications any thing is spoken in the Scripture. 
(5.) Justification may be considered either as to its begin- 


ning,or as unto its continuation, and so it hath divers causes 
under these divers respects. (6.) Works may be considered 
either as meritorious ex co7fdigtio, so as their merit should 
arise from their own intrinsic worth, or ex congnio only with 
respect unto the covenant and promise of God. Those of 
the first sort are excluded at least from the first justification ; 
the latter may have place both in the first and second. 
(7.) Moral causes may be of many sorts ; preparatory, dis- 
pository, meritorious, conditionally efficient, or only 'sine 
quibus non.' And we must diligently inquire in what sense, 
under the notion of what cause or causes, our works are ex- 
cluded from our justification, and under what notions they 
are necessary thereunto. And there is no one of these dis- 
tinctions, but it needs many more to explain it, which ac- 
cordingly are made use of by learned men. And so specious 
a colour may be put on these things, when warily managed 
by the art of disputation, that very few are able to discern 
the ground of them, or what there is of substance in that 
which is pleaded for ; and fewer yet, on whether side the 
truth doth lie. But he who is really convinced of sin, and 
being also sensible of what it is to enter into judgment 
with the Holy God, inquires for himself and not for others, 
how he may come to be accepted with him, will be apt upon 
the consideration of all these distinctions and sub-distinc- 
tions wherewith they are attended, to say to their authors, 
* fecistis probe, incertior sum multo, quam dudum.' My 
inquiry is how I shall come before the Lord, and bow my- 
self before the high God ? how shall I escape the wrath to 
come? What shall I plead in judgment before God, that I 
may be absolved, acquitted, justified? Where shall 1 have 
a righteousness that will endure a trial in his presence ? If 
I should be harnessed with a thousand of these distinctions, 
I am afraid they would prove thorns and briers, which he 
would pass through and consume. 

The inquiry therefore is, upon the consideration of the 
state of the person to be justified before-mentioned and de- 
scribed, and the proposal of the reliefs in our justification 
as now expressed ; whether it be the wisest and safest course 
for such a person seeking to be justified before God, to be- 
take himself absolutely, his whole trust and confidence, unto 
sovereign grace and the mediation of Christ, or to have 


some reserve for, or to place some confidence in, his own 
graces, duties, works, and obedience ? In putting this great 
difference unto umpirage, that we may not be thought to 
fix on a partial arbitrator, we shall refer it to one of our 
greatest and most learned adversaries in this cause. And 
he positively gives us in his determination and resolution in 
those known words, in this case ; * Propter incertitudinem 
proprise justitise, et pericuhmi inanis gloriae, tutissimum est 
fiduciam totam in sola misericordia Dei et benignitate re- 
ponere ;' Bellar. de Justificat. lib. v. cap. 7. prop. 3. * By rea- 
son of the uncertainty of our own righteousness, and the 
danger of vain glory, it is the safest course to repose our 
whole trust in the mercy and kindness or grace of God alone.' 
And this determination of this important inquiry, he 
confirmeth with two testimonies of Scripture, as he might 
have done it with many more. But those which he thought 
meet to mention are not impertinent. The first is Dan. ix. 18. 
' We do not present our supplications before thee for our 
righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.' And the other 
is that of our Saviour, Luke xvii. 10. 'When you have done 
all these things which are commanded you, say we are un- 
profitable servants.' And after he hath confirmed his reso- 
lution with sundry testimonies of the fathers, he closeth his 
discourse with this dilemma ; either a man hath true merits, 
or he hath not. If he hath not, he is perniciously deceived 
(when he trusteth in any thing but the mercy of God alone), 
and seduceth himself, trusting in false merits ; if he hath 
them, he loseth nothing whilst he looks not to them, but 
trusts in God alone. So that whether a man have any good 
works or no, as to his justification before God, it is best and 
safest for him, not to have any regard unto them, or put 
any trust in them. And if this be so, he might have spared 
all his pains he took in writing his sophistical books about 
justification, whose principal design is to seduce the minds 
of men into a contrary opinion. And so, for ought I know, 
they may spare their labour also without any disadvantage 
unto the church of God, or their own souls, who so earnestly 
contend for some kind of interest or other, for our own 
duties and obedience in our justification before God, seeing 
it will be found that they place their own whole trust and 
confidence in the grace of God by Jesus Christ alone. For 


to what purpose do we labour and strive with endless dis- 
putations, arguments, and distinctions, to prefer our duties 
and obedience unto some office in our justification before 
God if when we have done all we find it the safest course 
in our own persons to abhor ourselves with Job in the 
presence of God, to betake ourselves unto sovereign grace 
and mercy with the publican, and to place all our confidence 
in them through the obedience and blood of Christ ? 

So died that great emperor Charles the Fifth, as Thuanus 
crives the account of his Novissima. So he reasoned with 
himself; ' Se quidem indignum esse, qui propriis meritis 
regnum ceelorum obtineret ; sed Dominum Deum suum qui 
illud duplici jure obtineat, et Patris hsereditate, et Passionis 
merito, altero contentum esse, alterum sibi donare ; ex cujus 
dono illud sibi merito vendicet, hacque fiducia fretus mi- 
nime confundatur ; neque enim oleum misericordiee nisi in 
vase fiducise poni ; banc hominis fiduciam esse a se defici- 
entis et innitentis domino suo ; alioquin propriis meritis 
fidere, non fidei esse sed perfidiae; peccata deleri per Dei 
indulgentiam, ideoque credere nos debere peccata deleri non 
posse nisi ab eo cui soli peccavimus, et in quern peccatum 
non cadit, per quern solum nobis peccata condonentur/ 
* That in himself he was altogether unworthy to obtain the 
kino-dom of heaven by his own works or merits, but that his 
Lord God, who enjoyed it on a double right or title by in- 
heritance of the Father, and the merit of his own passion, 
was contented with the one himself, and freely granted unto 
him the other ; on whose free grant he laid claim thereunto, 
and in confidence thereof he should not be confounded ; for 
the oil of mercy is poured only into the vessel of faith or 
trust; that this is the trust of a man despairing in himself, 
and resting in his Lord ; otherwise to trust unto his own 
works or merits, is not faith but treachery ; that sins are 
blotted out by the mercy of God ; and therefore we ought 
to believe that our sins can be pardoned by him alone against 
whom alone we have sinned ; with whom there is no sin, and 
by whom alone sins are forgiven.' 

This is the faith of men when they come to die, and those 
who are exercised with temptations whilst they live. Some 
are hardened in sin, and endeavour to leave this world with- 
out thoughts of another. Some are stupidly ignorant, who 


neither know nor consider what it is to appear in the pre- 
sence of God, and to be judged by him. Some are seduced 
to place their confidence in merits, pardons, indulgences, 
and future suffrages for the dead. But such as are ac- 
quainted with God and themselves in any spiritual manner, 
who take a view of the time that is past, and approaching 
eternity, into which they must enter by the judgment-seat of 
God, however they may have thought, talked, and disputed 
about their own works and obedience, looking on Christ and 
his righteousness only to make up some small defects in 
themselves, will come at last unto a universal renunciation 
of what they have been and are, and betake themselves unto 
Christ alone for righteousness or salvation. And in the 
whole ensuing discourse I shall as little as is possible immix 
myself in any curious scholastical disputes. This is the 
substance of what is pleaded for, that men should renounce 
all confidence in themselves, and every thing that may give 
countenance thereunto ; betaking themselves unto the grace 
of God by Christ alone, for righteousness and salvation. 
This God designeth in the gospel, 1 Cor. i. 29 — 31. and 
herein whatever diflSculties we may meet withal in the ex- 
plication of some propositions and terms that belong unto 
the doctrine of justification, about which men have various 
conceptions, I doubt not of the internal concurrent suffrage 
of them who know any thing as they ought of God and 

Fifthly, There is in the Scripture represented unto us a 
commutation between Christ and believers, as unto sin and 
righteousness, that is, in the imputation of their sins unto 
him, and of his righteousness unto them. In the improve- 
ment and application hereof unto our own souls, no small 
part of the life and exercise of faith doth consist. 

This was taught the church of God in offering of the 
scape-goat. ' And Aaron shall lay his hands on the head of 
the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the 
children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their 
sins, putting them on the head of the goat ; and the goat 
shall bear upon him all their iniquities ;' Lev. xvi. 21, 22. 
Whether this goat sent away with this burden upon him 
did live, and so was a type of the life of Christ in his resur- 


rection after his death; or whether he perished in the wilder- 
ness, being cast down the precipice of a rock by him that 
conveyed him away, as the Jews suppose ; it is generally ac- 
knowledged, that what was done to him and with him, was 
only a representation of what was done really in the person 
of Jesus Christ. And Aaron did not only confess the sins 
of the people over the goat, but he also put them all on his 
head, "TJ/tr^n W)^'b:; QDK ]r\:) and he shall give them all to 
be on the head of the goat; in answer whereunto it is said 
that he bare them all upon him. This he did by virtue of 
the divine institution, wherein was a ratification of what 
was done. He did not transfuse sin from one subject into 
another, but transferred the guilt of it from one to an- 
other. And to evidence this translation of sin from the 
people unto the sacrifice in his confession, * he put and 
fixed both his hands on his head.' Thence the Jews say, 
' that all Israel was made as innocent on the day of expiation, 
as they were in the day of creation.' From ver. 30. Wherein 
they came short of perfection or consummation thereby the 
apostle declares, Heb. x. But this is the language of every 
expiatory sacrifice, * quod in ejus caput sit;' let the guilt be 
on him. Hence the sacrifice itself was called TM^IDH and CDWH 
'sin' and * guilt;' Levit. iv. 29. vii. 2. x. 17. And therefore, 
where there was an uncertain murder, and none could be 
found that washable to punishment thereon, that guilt might 
not come upon the land, nor the sin be imputed unto the 
whole people, an heifer was to be slain by the elders of the 
city that was next unto the place where the murder was 
committed, to take away the guilt of it; Deut. xxi. 1 — 7. 
But whereas this was only a moral representation of the 
punishment due to guilt, and no sacrifice, the guilty per- 
son being not known ; those who slew the heifer did not 
put their hands on him, so to transfer their own guilt to 
him, but washed their hands over him, to declare their per- 
sonal innocency. By these means, as in all other expia- 
tory sacrifices, did God instruct the church in the trans- 
ferring of the guilt of sin, unto him who was to bear all their 
iniquities, with their discharge and justification thereby. 

vSo God * laid on Christ the iniquities of us all,' that * by 
his stripes we might be healed ;' Jsa.liii. 5, 6. Our iniquity 


was laid on him, and he bare it, ver. 11. and through his 
bearing of it, we are freed from it. His stripes are our 
healing; our sin was his, imputed unto him; his merit is 
ours, imputed unto us. * He was made sin for us, who 
knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God 
in him ;' 2 Cor. v. 21. This is that commutation I men- 
tioned ; he was made sin for us, we are made the righte- 
ousness of God in him ; God not imputing sin unto us, ver. 
19. but imputing righteousness unto us, doth it on this 
ground alone, that ' he was made sin for us.' And if by 
his being made sin, only his being made a sacrifice for sin 
is intended, it is to the same purpose. For the formal rea- 
son of any thing being made an expiatory sacrifice, was 
the imputation of sin unto it by divine institution. The same 
is expressed by the same apostle, Rom. viii. 3,4. * God sent 
his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin con- 
demned sin in the flesh ; that the righteousness of the law 
might be fulfilled in us.' The sin was made his, he an- 
swered for it, and the righteousness which God requireth by 
the law, is made ours ; the righteousness of the law is ful- 
filled in us ; not by our doing it, but by his. This is that 
blessed change and commutation wherein alone the soul of 
a convinced sinner can find rest and peace. So he hath 
'redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse 
for us, that the blessings of faithful Abraham might come 
upon us ;' Gal. iii. 13, 14. The curse of the law contained 
all that was due to sin; this belonged unto us. But it was 
transferred on him ; he was made a curse, whereof his 
hanging on a tree was the sign and token. Hence he is 
said to ' bear all our sins in his own body upon the tree,' 
1 Pet. i. 24. because his hanging on the tree was the token 
of his bearing the curse. ' For he that is hanged on the 
tree is the curse of God ;' Deut.xxi. 23. And in the blessing 
of faithful Abraham, all righteousness and acceptation with 
God is included ; for Abraham believed God, and it was 
imputed unto him for righteousness. 

But because some, who for reasons best known unto 
themselves, do take all occasions to except against my 
writings, have in particular raised an impertinent clamour 
about somewhat that I formerly delivered to this purpose, I 
shall declare the whole of my judgment herein, in the words 


of some of those, whom they can pretend no quarrel against, 
tliat I know of. 

The excellent words of Justin Martyr deserve the first 
place. ^AvTog rov tStov viov inriSoTO XvTpov virlp r]fi^v, tov 
ayiov virhp av6fxu)v, tov aKaKOv virtp tCjv Kajcwv, tov ^ikqiov 
vTreo Tiov adiKOJV, tov acpOaprov virlp twv ^vtjTwv. tl yap oAXo 
TttC afiapTLag i^fxCjv r}dvvi]^ri KoXvipaL, r) Ikhvov diKaioavvi] ; Iv 
TivL ^iKaiio^r]vai dvvaTov Tovg dvo/novg rifiag KaX aae(5tig, i) ev 
jLiovii) T(t> VLM TOV Oeov ; CO Trig yXvKBiag avTctWayrig, to Tr]g avt^- 
i)(yiaaTov ^i]fj.LOvpyiag, (jj tljv aTTpocrdoKiiTwv ^vepytatiov ; *iva 
avofxia fiev ttoXXwv Iv ^iKaitJ tvX KpvOri, ^iKaLoavvt} dl hog 
noXXovg avofiovg diKauoa-n. Epist. ad Diognet. * He gave 
his Son a ransom for us ; the holy for transgressors ; the 
innocent for the nocent ; the just for the unjust; the 
incorruptible for the corrupt; the immortal for mortals. 
For what else could hide or cover our sins but his righte- 
ousness? In whom else could we wicked and ungodly ones 
be justified, or esteemed righteous, but in the Son of God 
alone ? O sweet permutation, or change ! O unsearchable 
work, or curious operation ! O blessed beneficence exceed- 
ing all expectation ! That the iniquity of many should be hid 
in one just one, and the righteousness of one should justify 
many transgressors.' And Gregory Nysson speaks to the 
same purpose. Mfra^tic yap wpog iavTov tov twv tijulwv 
afiapTUov pvTTOv, fieTa^(i)K£. fxoLTYig kavTOv KaOapOTTfjTOg, kolvojvov 
fie TovtavTovKuWovg a7r£pya(rafX£vog. Orat. 2. in Cant. * He 
hath transferred unto himself the filth of my sins, and com- 
municated unto me his purity, and made me partaker of his 
beauty.' So Augustine also. ' Ipsepeccatumutnos justitia, 
nee nostra sed Dei, nee in nobis sed in ipso ; sicut ipse pec- 
catum, non suum sed nostrum, nee in se sed in nobis con- 
stitutum.' Enchirid. ad Laurent, cap. 41. * He was sin that 
we might be righteousness, not our own but the righteous- 
ness of God, not in ourselves, but in him. As he was sin, 
not his own, but ours ; not in himself, but in us.' The 
old Latin translation rendering those words, Psal. xxii. 1. 
*r):ii<u; nm 'Verba delictorum meorum ;' he thus comments 
on the place. * Quomodo ergo dicit delictorum meorum? nisi 
quia pro delictis nostris ipse precatur ; et delicta nostra delicla 
sua fecit, ut justitiamsuamnostram justitiam faceret.' ' How, 
saith he, of my sins ; because he prayeth for our sins ; he made 


our sins to be his, that he might make his righteousness to be 
ours ; (^ tTjq yXvKeiag avTciXXajrig ; O sweet commutation and 
change !' And Chrysostom, to the same purpose, on those 
words of the apostle, ' That we might be made the righte- 
ousness of God in hiui.' UoXog ravra \6yog, ttoloq tovtq. 
irapaarriaaQ ^vv{](TeTai vovg ; tov yap ^iKmov, 0rj(Tiv, l7roir}<jev 
ajuLapTOjXov, 'iva rovg ajbiapTiiyXovg ixoiridri diKaiovg. /nciXXov drj 
oi»o£ ovTwg EiTrfv' aXXa o ttoXXw fiu^ov ^v* ov yap a^iv Wr}K£v, 
aW avri]v r^v TTOioTi^ra' oi) yap eiirev, liroir^aev ajmapTijjXov, aXX* 
ajuLapTiav' ovxji tov firj afxapravovTa fxovovy ak\a tov firi^l 
yvovTa af.iapTiav. 'iva Kcd iijUBlg y^vLofx^Qa, ovk aTTC, diKaioi, aXXa 
SiKaioavvrh Ka\ ^eov diKaiorrvvi]. Oeov yap acrTiv avTt], 6 Tav fULrj 
cS tpydJV {oTav Ka\ KrjXtSa avayKr) Tiva fxri ivpTf\drivai) aXX' airo 
\apLTog diKaL(jt)6C)iuLlv, 'ivOairaaa ajuLapTia ^(()avL(JTai. in 2 Epist. ad 
Corinth, cap. 5. Horn. 11. ' What word, what speech is this, 
what mind can comprehend or express it ; for he saith, he 
made him who was righteous to be made a sinner, that he 
might make sinners righteous; nor yet doth he say so nei- 
ther, but that which is far more sublime and excellent. For 
he speaks not of an inclination or affection, but expresseth 
the quality itself. For he says not, he made him a sinner 
but sin, that we might be made not merely righteous, but 
righteousness, and that the righteousness of God, when we 
are justified not by works (for if we should, there must be 
no spot found in them) but by grace, whereby all sin is blotted 
out.' So Bernard also, Epist. 190. ad Innocent. *Homo qui 
debuit, homo qui solvit. Nam si unus, inquit, pro omnibus 
mortuus est, ergoomnesmortui sunt ; ut videlicet satisfactio 
unius omnibus imputetur, sicut omnium peccata unus ille por- 
tavit. Nee alter jam inveniatur, qui foras fecit, alter qui satis- 
fecit; quia caput et corpus unus est Christus.' And many 
more speak unto the same purpose. Hence Luther, before 
he engaged in the work of reformation, in an epistle to one 
George Spenlein, a monk, was not afraid to write after this 
manner ; * Mi dulcis frater, disce Christum et hunc crucifixum, 
disce ei cantare, et de teipso desperans dicere ei ; tu Domine 
Jesues justitia mea, ego autem sum peccatum tuum ; tu as- 
sumpsisti meum, et dedisti mihi tuum ; assumpsisti quod non 
eras, et dedisti mihi quod non eram. Ipse suscepit te et 
peccata tua fecit sua, et suam justitiam fecit tuara ; male- 
dictus qui hsec non credit. Epist. an. 1516. torn. i. 


If those who shew themselves now so quarrelsome almost 
about every word that is spoken concerning Christ and his 
righteousness, had ever been harassed in their consciences 
about the guilt of sin, as this man was, they would think it 
no strange matter to speak and write as he did. Yea, some 
there are who have lived and died in the communion of the 
church of Rome itself, that have given their testimony unto 
this truth. So speaks Taulerus; Meditat. vita; Christ, cap. 
7. ' Christus omnia mundi peccata in se recepit, tantumque ; 
pro illis ultro sibi assumpsit dolorem cordis, ac si ipse ea 
perpetrasset.' 'Christ took upon him all the sins of the world, 
and willingly underwent that grief of heart for them, as if he 
himself had committed them.' And again, speaking in the 
person of Christ. ' Quandoquidem peccatum Adse multum 
abire non potest, obsecro te Pater coelestis, ut ipsum in me 
vindices. Ego enim omnia illius peccata in me recipio. Si 
hsec irai tempestas, propter me orta est, mitte me in mare 
amarissimee passionis.' * Whereas the great sin of Adam 
cannot go away, I beseech thee heavenly Father punish it 
in me. For I take all his sins upon myself. If then this 
tempest of anger be risen for me, cast me into the sea of 
my most bitter passion.' See in the justification of these 
expressions, Heb. x. 5 — 10. The discourse of Albertus 
Pighius to this purpose, though often cited and urged, shall 
be once again repeated, both for its worth and truth, as also 
to let some men see, how fondly they have pleased them- 
selves in reflecting on some expressions of mine, as though 
I had been singular in them. His words are, after others 
to the same purpose ; ' Quoniam quidem inquit (apostolus) 
Deus erat in Christo, mundum reconcilians sibi, non impu- 
tans hominibus sua delicta ; et deposuit apud nos verbum 
reconciliationis. In ilia ergo justificamur coram Deo, non 
in nobis; non nostra sed illius justitia, quae nobis cum illo 
jam communicantibus imputatur. Proprise justitiae inopes, 
extra nos, in illo docemur justitiam quajrere. Cum, inquit, 
qui peccatum non noverat, pro nobis peccatum fecit ; hoc 
est, hostiam peccati expiatricem, ut nos efficeremur justitia 
Dei in ipso, non nostra, sed Dei justitia justi efficimur in 
Christo; quo jure? Amicitiae, quae communionem omnium 
inter amicos facit, juxta vetus et celebratissimum pro- 
verbium ; Christo insertis, conglutinatis, et unitis, et sua 


nostra facit, suas divitias nobis communicat, suam justitiam 
inter Patris judicium et nostram injustitiam interponit, et 
sub ea veluti sub umbone ac clypeo a divina, quam comme- 
ruimus, ira nos abscondit, tuetur ac protegit ; imi3 eandem 
nobis impertit et nostram facit, qua tecti ornatique audacter 
et secure jam divino nos sistamus tribunali et judicio: jus- 
tique non solum appareamus, sed etiam simus. Quemad- 
modum enim unius delicto peccatores nos etiam factos af- 
firniat apostolus : ita unius Christi justitiam in justiticandis 
nobis omnibus efficacem esse ; et sicut per inobedientiam 
unius hominis peccatores constituti sunt multi, sic per obe- 
dientiam unius justi (inquit) constituentur multi. Haec est 
Christi justitia, ejus obedientia, qua voluntatem Patris sui 
perfecit in omnibus ; sicut contra nostra injustitia, est nos- 
tra inobedientia, et mandatorum Dei prsevaricatio. In Christi 
autem obedientia quod nostra collocatur justitia inde est, 
quod nobis illi incorporatis, ac si nostra esset, accepta ea 
fertur: ut ea ipsa etiam nos justi habeamur. Et yelut ille 
quondam Jacob, quum nativitate primogenitus non esset, 
sub habitu fratris occultatus, atque ejus veste indutus, qusB 
odorem optimum spirabat, seipsum insinuavit Patri, ut sub 
aliena persona benedictionem primogeniturse acciperet : ita 
etnos sub Christi primogeniti fratris nostri preciosapuritate 
delitescere, bono ejus odore fragrare, ejus perfectione vitia 
nostra sepeliri et obtegi, atque ita nos piissimo Patri in- 
gerere, ut justitiee benedictionem ab eodem assequamur, 
necesse est.' And afterward, * Justiticat ergo nos Deus 
Pater bonitate sua gratuita, qua nos in Christo complectitur, 
dura eidem insertos innocentia et justitia Christi nosinduit ; 
quae una ut vera et perfecta est, qu9B Dei sustinere conspec- 
tum potest, ita unum pro nobis sisti oportet tribunali divini 
judicii et veluti causae nostree intercessorem eidem reprae- 
sentari : qua subnixi etiam hie obtineremus remissionem 
peccatorum nostrorum assiduam : cujus puritate velatae non 
imputantur nobis sordes nostrae, imperfectionum immunditiae, 
sed veluti sepultae conteguntur, ne in judicium Dei veniant: 
donee confecto in nobis, et plane extincto veteri horaine, di- 
vina bonitas nos in beatam paceni cum novo Adam recipiat.' 
' God vi^as in Christ,' saith the apostle, ' reconciling the world 
unto himself; not imputing unto men their sins. In him 
therefore we are justified before God, not in ourselves, not 



by our own, but by his righteousness, which is imputed unto 
us, now communicating with him. Wanting righteousness 
of our own, we are taught to seek for righteousness without 
ourselves in him. So he saith, him who knew not sin, he 
made to be sin for us, that is, an expiatory sacrifice for sin, 
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him ; 
we are made righteous in Christ, not with our own, but with 
the righteousness of God. By what right? the right of 
friendship, which makes all common among friends, accord- 
ing unto the ancient celebrated proverb. Being engrafted 
into Christ, fastened, united unto him, he makes his things 
ours, communicates his riches unto us, interposeth his righ- 
teousness between thejudgment of God and our unrighteous- 
ness, and under that, as under a shield and buckler, he hides 
us from that divine wrath which we have deserved ; he de- 
fends and protects us therewith, yea, he communicates it 
unto us and makes it ours, so as that being covered and 
adorned therewith, we may boldly and securely place our- 
selves before the divine tribunal and judgment, so as not 
only to appear righteous, but so to be. For even as the 
apostle affirmeth, that by one man's fault we were all made 
sinners, so is the righteousness of Christ alone, efficacious 
in the justification of us all; and as by the disobedience of 
one man many were made sinners, so by the disobedience of 
one man, saith he, many are made righteous. This is the 
righteousness of Christ, even his obedience, whereby in all 
things he fulfilled the will of his Father. As on the other 
hand, our unrighteousness is our disobedience, and our 
transgression of the commands of God. But that our righ- 
teousness is placed in the obedience of Christ, it is from 
hence, that we being incorporated into him, it is accounted 
unto us as if it were ours ; so as that therewith we are es- 
teemed righ'eous. And as Jacob of old, whereas he was 
not the first-born, being hid under the habit of his brother, 
and clothed with his garment which breathed a sweet savour, 
presented himself unto his Father, that in the person of an- 
other, he might receive the blessing of the primogeniture ; 
so it is necessary that we should lie hid under the precious 
purity of the first-born, our eldest brother, be fragrant with 
his sweet savour, and have our sin buried and covered with 
his perfections, that we may present ourselves before our 


most holy Father, to obtain from him the blessing of righ- 
teousness.' And again; ' God therefore doth justify us by 
his free grace or goodness wherewith he embraceth us in 
Christ Jesus, when h« clotheth us with his innocency and 
righteousness, as we are engrafted into him ; for as that alone 
is true and perfect which only can endure in the sight of 
Ood, so that alone ought to be presented and pleaded for 
us before the divine tribunal, as the advocate of, or plea in, 
our cause ; resting hereon, we here obtain the daily pardon 
of sin ; with whose purity being covered, our filth and the 
uncleanness of our imperfections are not imputed unto us, 
but are covered as if they were buried, that they may not 
come into the judgment of God ; until the old man being 
destroyed and slain in us, divine goodness receives us into 
peace with the second Adam.' So far he; expressing the 
power which the influence of divine truth had on his mind, 
contrary to the interest of the cause wherein he was engaged, 
and the loss of his reputation with them, for whom, in all 
other things, he was one of the fiercest champions. And 
some among the Roman church, who cannot bear this asser- 
tion of the commutation of sin and righteousness by impu- 
tation between Christ and believers, no more than some 
among ourselves, do yet aflSrm the same concerning the 
righteousness of other men. ' Mercaturam quandam docere 
nos Paulus videtur. Abundatis, inquit, vos pecunia, et 
estis inopes justitias ; contra, illi abundant justitia, et sunt 
inopes pecuniae ; fiat quaedam conimutatio ; date vos piis 
egentibus pecuniam quse vobis affluit, et illis deficit; sic 
futurum est, ut illi vicissim justitiam suam qua abundant, et 
qua vos estis destituti, vobis communicent. Hosius ; de ex- 
presso Dei verbo,' torn. 2. p. 21. But I have mentioned 
these testimonies principally to be a relief unto some men's 
ignorance, who are ready to speak evil of what they under- 
stand not. 

This bles&ed permutation as unto sin and righteousness, 
is represented unto us in the Scripture as a principal object 
of our faith ; as that whereon our peace with God is founded. 
And although both these, the imputation of sin unto Christ, 
and the imputation of righteousness unto us, be the acts of 
God and not ours, yet are we by faith to exemplify them in 
our own souls, and really to perform what on our part is re- 

E 2 


quired unto their application unto us, whereby we receive 
the atonement; Rum. v. 11. Christ calls unto him all those 
that are * weary and heavy laden;' Matt. xi. 28. The weight 
that is upon the consciences of men, wherewith they are 
laden, is the burden of sin. So the psalmist complains that 
his * sins were a burden too heavy for him;' Psal. xxxviii. 4. 
Such was Cain's apprehension of his guilt; Gen. iv. 13. This 
burden Christ bare when it was laid on him by divine esti- 
mation. For so it is said, '?nD> N^n CDniii^t Isa. liii. 11. 'He 
shall bear their sins' on him as a burden. And this he did 
when God made to meet upon him 'the iniquity of us all;' 
ver. 6. In the application of this unto our own souls, as it is 
required that we be sensible of the weight and burden of 
our sins, and how it is heavier than we can bear, so the Lord 
Christ calls us unto him with it, that we maybe eased. This 
he doth in the preachings of the gospel, wherein he is ' evi- 
dently crucified before our eyes ;' Gal. iii. 1. In the view 
which faith hath of Christ crucified, (for faith is a ' looking 
unto him ;' Isa. xlv.'22. Ixv. 1. answering their looking unto 
the brazen serpent who were stung with fiery serpents; John 
iii. 14, 15.) and under a sense of his invitation (for faith is 
our coming unto him upon his call and invitation), to come 
unto him with our burdens, a believer considereth that God 
hath laid all our iniquities upon him, yea, that he hath done 
so, is an especial object whereon faith is to act itself, which 
is faith in his blood. Hereon doth the soul approve of, and 
embrace the righteousness and grace of God, with the infi- 
nite condescension and love of Christ himself. It gives its 
consent that what is thus done, is what becomes the infinite 
wisdom and grace of God, and therein it rests. Such a per- 
son seeks no more to establish his own righteousness, but 
submits to the righteousness of God. Herein by faith doth 
he leave that burden on Christ, which he called him to bring 
with him, and complies with the wisdom and righteousness 
of God in laying it upon him. And here withal doth he re- 
ceive the everlasting righteousness, which the Lord Christ 
brouoht in when he made an end of sin, and reconciliation 
for transgressors. 

The reader may be pleased to observe, that I am not de- 
bating these things argumentatively, in such propriety of 
expressions as are required in a scholastic disputation. 


which shall be done afterward, so far as I judge it neces- 
sary. But I am doing that which indeed is better and of 
more importance, namely, declaring the experience of faith 
in the expressions of the Scripture, or such as are analogous 
unto them. And I had rather be instrumental in the com- 
munication of light and knowledge unto the meanest be- 
liever, than to have the clearest cuccess against prejudiced 
disputers. Wherefore, by faith thus acting are we justified 
and have peace with God. Other foundation in this matter 
can no man lay that will endure the trial. 

Nor are we to be moved, that men who are unacquainted 
with these things in their reality and power, do reject the 
whole work of faith herein, as an easy effort of fancy or 
imagination. For the preaching of the cross is foolishness 
unto the best of the natural wisdom of men ; neither can 
any understand them but by the Spirit of God. Those who 
know the terror of the Lord, who have been really con- 
vinced and made sensible of the guilt of their apostacy from 
God, and of their actual sins in that state, and what a fear- 
ful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God, seek- 
ing thereon after a real solid foundation whereon they may 
be accepted with him, have other thoughts of these things, 
and do find believing a thing to be quite of another nature 
than such men suppose. It is not a work of fancy or ima- 
gination unto men to deny and abhor themselves, to sub- 
scribe unto the righteousness of God in denouncing death 
as due to their sins, to renounce all hopes and expectations 
of relief from any righteousness of their own, to mix the 
word and promise of God concerning Christ and righteous- 
ness by him with faith, so as to receive the atonement, and 
therewithal to give up themselves unto a universal obe- 
dience unto God. And as for them unto whom, through 
pride and self-conceit on the one hand, or ignorance on the 
other, it is so ; we have in this matter no concernment with 
them. For unto whom these things are only the work of 
fancy, the gospel is a fable. 

Something unto this purpose I had written long since in 
a practical discourse concerning communion with God. 
And whereas some men of an inferior condition, have found 
it useful for the strengthening themselves in their depen- 
dences on some of their superiors, or in compliance with, 


their own inclinations, to cavil at my writings and revile 
their author ; that book hath been principally singled out 
to exercise their faculty and good intentions upon. This 
course is steered of late by one Mr. Hotchkisse, in a book 
about justification, wherein in particular be faUs very se- 
verely on that doctrine, which, for the substance of it, is 
here again proposed, p. 81. And were it not that I hope it 
may be somewhat useful unto him to be a little warned of 
his immoralities in that discourse, I should not in the least 
have taken notice of his other impertinences. The good 
man, I perceive, can be angry with persons whom he never 
saw, and about things which he cannot or will not under- 
stand, so far as to revile them with most opprobrious lan- 
guage. For my part, although I have never written any 
thing designedly on this subject, or the doctrine of justifi- 
cation, before now ; yet he could not but discern, by what 
was occasionally delivered in that discourse, that I maintain 
no other doctrine herein, but what is the common faith of 
the most learned men in all Protestant churches. And the 
reasons why I am singled out for the object of his petulancy 
and spleen, are too manifest to need repetition. But I shall 
yet inform him of what perhaps he is ignorant; namely, 
that I esteem it no small honour that the reproaches where- 
with the doctrine opposed by him is reproached, do fall 
upon me. And the same I say concerning all the reviling 
and contemptuous expressions that his ensuing pages are 
filled withal. But as to the present occasion, I beg his 
excuse if I believe him not, that the reading of the passages 
which he mentions out of my book, filled him with horror 
and indignation, as he pretends. For whereas he acknow- 
ledgeth that my words may have a sense which he approves 
of (and which therefore must of necessity be good and 
sound), what honest and sober , person would not rather 
take them in that sense, than wrest them unto another, so 
to cast himself under the disquietment of a fit of horrible 
indignation? In this fit I suppose it was, if such a fit in- 
deed did befall him (as one evil begets another), that he 
thought he might insinuate something of my denial of the 
necessity of our own personal repentance and obedience. 
For no man who had read that book only of all my writings, 
could, with the least regard to conscience or honesty, give 


countenance unto such a surmise, unless his mind was 
much discomposed by the unexpected invasion of a fit of 
horror. But such is his dealing with me from first to last ; 
nor do I know where to fix on any one instance of his ex- 
ceptions against me, wherein I can suppose he had escaped 
his pretended fit, and was returned unto himself, that is, 
unto honest and ingenuous thoughts, wherewith I hope he 
is mostly conversant. But though I cannot miss in the 
justification of this charge, by considering any instance of 
his reflections, yet I shall at present take that which he in- 
sists longest upon, and filleth his discourse about it with 
most scurrility of expressions. And this is in the 164th 
page of his book, and those that follow. For there he dis- 
puteth fiercely against me for making this to be an undue 
end of our serving God, namely, that we may flee from the 
wrath to come. And who would not take this for an inex- 
piable crime in any, especially in him who hath written so 
much of the nature and use of threatenings under the gospel, 
and the fear that ought to be ingenerated by them in the 
hearts of men, as I have done ? Wherefore, so great a crime 
being the object of them, all his revilings seem not only to 
be excused, but allowed. But what if all this should 
prove a wilful prevarication, not becoming a good man, 
much less a minister of the gospel ? My words, as reported 
and transcribed by himself, are these : * Some there are 
that do the service of the house of God as the drudgery of 
their lives ; the principle they yield obedience upon is a 
spirit of bondage unto fear; the rule they do it by is the 
law in its dread and rigour ; exacting it of them to the ut- 
most without mercy or mitigation ; the end they do it for is 
to fly from the wrath to come, to pacify conscience, and to 
seek for righteousness as it were by the works of the law.' 
What follow unto the same purpose he omits, and what he 
adds as my words are not so, but his own ; ubi pudor, ubi 
Jidesl That which I affirmed to be a part of an evil end, 
when and as it makes up one entire end, by being mixed 
with sundry other things expressly mentioned, is singled 
out, as if I had denied that in any sense it might be a part 
of a good end in our obedience, which I never thought, I 
never said, I have spoken and written much to the contrary. 
And yet to couatenance himself in this disingenuous pro- 


cedure, besides many other untrue reflections, he adds that 
I insinuate, that those whom I describe are Christians that 
seek righteousness by faith in Christ, p. 167. I must needs 
tell this author that my faith in this matter is, that such 
works as these will have no influence in his justification; 
and that the principal reason why I suppose I shall not, in 
my progress in this discourse, take any particular notice of 
his exceptions, either against the truth or me, next unto this 
consideration, that they are all trite and obsolete, and as to 
what seemeth to be of any force in them will occur unto me 
in other authors from whom they are derived, is, that I may 
not have a continual occasion to declare how forgetful he 
hath been of all the rules of ingenuity, yea, and of common 
honesty, in his dealing with me. For that which gave the 
occasion unto this present unpleasing digression, it being 
no more as to the substance of it, but that our sins were 
imputed unto Christ, and that his righteousness is imputed 
unto us, it is that in the faith whereof I am assured I shall 
live and die, though he should write twenty as learned 
books against it, as those which he hath already published; 
and in what sense I do believe these things, shall be after- 
ward declared. And although I judge no men upon the 
expressions that fall from him in polemical writings, wherein 
on many occasions they do aflVont their own experience, 
and contradict their own prayers, yet, as to those who un- 
derstand not that blessed commutation of sins and righte- 
ousness as to the substance of it, which 1 have pleaded for, 
and the actings of our faith with respect thereunto, I shall 
be bold to say, ' that if the gospel be hid, it is hid to them 
that perish.' 

Sixthly, We can never state our thoughts aright in this 
matter, unless we have a clear apprehension of, and satisfac- 
tion in, the introduction of grace by Jesus Christ into the 
whole of our relation unto God, with its respect unto all 
parts of our obedience. There was no such thing, nothing 
of that nature or kind, in the first constitution of that rela- 
tion and obedience by the law of our creation. We were 
made in a state of immediate relation unto God in our own 
persons, as our creator, preserver, and rewarder. There was 
no mystery of grace in the covenant of works. No more was 
required unto the consummation of that state, but what was 


given us in our creation, enabling us unto rewardable obe- 
dience. * Do this and live/ was the sole rule of our relation 
unto God. There was nothing in religion originally of that 
which the gospel celebrates under the name of the grace, 
kindness, and love of God, whence all our favourable relation 
unto God doth now proceed, and whereinto it is resolved ; 
nothing of the interposition of a mediator with respect unto 
our righteousness before God and acceptance with him; 
which is at present the life and soul of religion, the sub- 
stance of the gospel, and the centre of all the truths revealed 
in it. The introduction of these things is that which makes 
our religion a mystery, yea, a great mystery, if the apostle 
may be believed; 1 Tim. iii. 16. All religion at first was 
suited and commensurable unto reason ; but being now be- 
come a mystery, men for the most part are very unwilling to 
receive it. But so it must be; and unless we are restored 
unto our primitive rectitude, a religion suited unto the prin- 
ciples of our reason, which it hath none but what answer 
that first state, will not serve our turns. 

Wherefore, of this introduction of Christ and grace in 
him, into our relation unto God, there are no notions in the 
natural conceptions of our minds, nor are they discoverable 
by reason in the best and utmost of its exercise; 1 Cor. ii. 14. 
For before our understandings were darkened, and our rea- 
son debased by the fall, there were no such things revealed 
or proposed unto us; yea, the supposition of them is incon- 
sistent with, and contradictory unto, that whole state and 
condition wherein we were to live to God ; seeing they all 
suppose the entrance of sin. And it is not likely that our 
reason, as now corrupted, should be willing to embrace that 
which it knew nothing of in its best condition, and which 
was inconsistent with that way of attaining happiness which 
was absolutely suited unto it. For it hath no faculty or 
power but what it hath derived from that state. And to 
suppose it is now of itself suited and ready to embrace such 
heavenly mysteries of truth and grace, as it had no notions of, 
nor could have, in the state of innocency, is to suppose that 
by the fall our eyes were opened to know good and evil, in 
the sense that the serpent deceived our first parents with an 
expectation of. Whereas, therefore, our reason was given 
us for our only guide in the first constitution of ournatures. 



it is naturally unready to receive what is above it, and as 
corrupted hath an enmity thereunto. 

Hence in the first open proposal of this mystery, namely, 
of the love and grace of God in Christ, of the introduction 
of a mediator and his righteousness into our relation unto 
God, in that way which God in infinite wisdom had de- 
signed ; the whole of it was looked on as mere folly, by the 
generality of the wise and rational men of the world, as the 
apostle declares at large, 1 Cor. i. Neither was the faith of 
them ever really received in the world, without an act of 
the Holy Ghost upon the mind in its renovation. And 
those who judge that there is nothing more needful to enable 
the mind of man to receive the mysteries of the gospel in a 
due manner, but the outward proposal of the doctrine there- 
of, do not only deny the depravation of our nature by the 
fall, but by just consequence, wholly renounce that grace 
whereby we are to be recovered. Wherefore, reason (as 
hath been elsewhere proved), acting on and by its own in- 
nate principles and abilities, conveyed unto it from its ori- 
ginal state, and as now corrupted, is repugnant unto the 
whole introduction of grace by Christ into our relation unto 
God; Rom. viii. 7. An endeavour, therefore, to reduce the 
doctrine of the gospel, or what is declared therein, concern- 
ing the hidden mystery of the grace of God in Christ, unto 
the principles and inclinations of the minds of men, or reason 
as it remains in us after the entrance of sin, under the power 
at least of those notions and conceptions of things religious, 
which it retains from its first state and condition, is to de- 
base and corrupt them (as we shall see in sundry instances), 
and so make way for their rejection. 

Hence very diflScult it is to keep up doctrinally and prac- 
tically the minds of men unto the reality and spiritual height 
of this mystery. For men naturally do neither understand 
it, nor like it. And therefore, every attempt to accommo- 
date it unto the principles and inbred notions of corrupt 
reason is very acceptable unto many, yea, unto the most. 
For the things which such men speak and declare, are with- 
out more ado, without any exercise of faith or prayer, with- 
out any supernatural illumination, easily intelligible, and ex- 
posed to the common sense of mankind. But whereas, a 
declaration of the mysteries of the gospel can obtain no ad- 


mission into the minds of men but by the effectual working 
of the Spirit of God, Eph. i. 17 — 19. it is generally looked 
on as difficult, perplexed, unintelligible ; and even the minds 
of many, who find they cannot contradict it, are yet not at 
all delighted with it. And here lieth the advantage of all 
them who in these days do attempt to corrupt the doctrine 
of the gospel, in the whole or any part of it ; for the accom- 
modation of it unto the common notions of corrupted reason, 
is the whole of what they design. And in the confidence of 
the suflfrage hereof, they not only oppose the things them- 
selves, but despise the declarations of them as enthusiasti- 
cal canting. And by nothing do they more prevail them- 
selves, than by a pretence of reducing all things to reason, 
and contempt of what they oppose as unintelligible fanati- 
cism. But I am not more satisfied in any thing of the most 
uncontrollable evidence, than that the understandings of 
these men is no just measure or standard of spiritual truth. 
Wherefore, notwithstanding all this fierceness and scorn, 
with the pretended advantages which some think they have 
made by traducing expressions in the writings of some men, 
it may be improper, it may be only not suited unto their own 
genius and capacity in these things, we are not to be 
' ashamed of the gospel of Christ, which is the power of God 
unto salvation to every one that believeth.' 

Of this repugnancy unto the mystery of the wisdom and 
grace of God in Christ, and the foundation of its whole 
economy in the distinct operations of the persons of the 
holy Trinity therein, there are two parts or branches. 

1. That which would reduce the whole of it unto the 
private reason of men, and their own weak imperfect ma- 
nagement thereof. This is the entire design of the Soci- 
nians. Hence, 

(1.) The doctrine of the Trinity itself is denied, impugned, 
yea, derided by them, and that solely on this account. They 
plead that it is incomprehensible by reason ; for there is in 
that doctrine, a declaration of things absolutely infinite and 
eternal, which cannot be exemplified in, nor accommodated 
unto, things finite and temporal. This is the substance of 
all their pleas against the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, that 
which gives a seeming life and sprightly vigour to their ob- 
jections against it ; wherein yet under the pretence of fch« 


use and exercise of reason, they fall and resolve all their 
reasonings into the most absurd and irrational principles, 
that ever the minds of men were besotted withal. For unless 
you will grant them, that what is above their reason, is there- 
fore contradictory unto true reason ; that what is infinite 
and eternal, is perfectly comprehensible, and in all its con- 
cerns and respects to be accounted for ; that what cannot 
be in things finite and of a separate existence, cannot be in 
things infinite whose being and existence can be but one; 
with other such irrational, yea, brutish imaginations ; all the 
arguments of these pretended men of reason against the 
Trinity, become like chaff that every breath of wind will 
blow away. Hereon they must, as they do, deny the distinct 
operations of any persons in the Godhead, in the dispen- 
sation of the mystery of grace. For if there are no such 
distinct persons, there can be no such distinct operations. 
Now as upon a denial of these things no one article of faith 
can be rightly understood, nor any one duty of obedience 
be performed unto God in an acceptable manner, so in par- 
ticular, we grant that the doctrine of justification by the 
imputation of the righteousnes;s of Christ, cannot stand. 

(2.) On the same ground the incarnation of the Son of God 
is rejected as aToirwv droTrorarov, the most absurd concep- 
tion that ever befel the minds of men. Now it is to no pur- 
pose to dispute with men so persuaded about justification. 
Yea, we will freely acknowledge, that all things we believe 
about it are ypaio^Hg fxvOoi, no better than old wives' tales, 
if the incarnation of the Son of God be so also. For 1 can 
as well understand, how he who is a mere man, however 
exalted, dignified, and glorified, can exercise a spiritual rule 
in and over the hearts, consciences, and thoughts of all the 
men in the world, being intimately knowing of and present 
unto them all equally at all times (which is another of their 
fopperies), as how the righteousness and obedience of one 
should be esteemed the righteousness of all that believe, if 
that one be no more than a man, if he be not acknowledged 
to be the Son of God incarnate. 

Whilst the minds of men are prepossessed with such pre- 
judices, nay, unless they firmly assent unto the truth in 
these foundations of it, it is impossible to convince them of 
the truth and necessity of that j ustification of a sinner, which 


is-^revealed in the gospel. Allow the Lord Christ to be no 
other person but what they believe him to be, and I will 
grant there can be no other way of justification than what 
they declare ; though I cannot believe that ever any sinner 
will be justified thereby. These are the issues of an obsti- 
nate refusal to give way unto the introduction of the mys- 
tery of God and his grace, into the way of salvation and our 
relation unto him. 

And he who would desire an instance of the fertility of 
men's inventions in forging and coining objections against 
heavenly mysteries in the justification of the sovereignty of 
their own reason as unto what belongs to our relation unto 
God, need go no farther than the writings of these men, 
against the Trinity and incarnation of the eternal word. 
For this is their fundamental rule in things divine and doc- 
trines of religion, that not what the Scripture saith is 
therefore to be accounted true, although it seems repugnant 
unto any reasonings of ours, or is above what we can com- 
prehend, but jvhat seems repugnant unto our reason, let 
the words of the Scripture be what they will, that we must 
conclude that the Scripture doth not say so, though it seem 
never so expressly so to do. ' Itaque non quia utrumque 
Scriptura dicat propterea hsec inter se non pugnare con- 
cludendum est ; sed potius quia hsec inter se pugnant, 
ideo alterutrum a Scriptura non dici statuendum est,' saith 
Schlichting. ad Meism. def. Socin. p. 102. Wherefore, be- 
cause the Scripture affirms both these (that is, the efficacy 
of God's grace and the freedom of our wills), we cannot con- 
clude from thence, that they are not repugnant ; but because 
these things are repugnant unto one another, we must de- 
termine, that one of them is not spoken in the Scripture ; 
no, it seems, let it say what it will. This is the handsomest 
way they can take in advancing their own reason above 
the Scripture, which yet savours of intolerable presumption. 
So Socinus himself, speaking of the satisfaction of Christ, 
saith in plain terms; *Ego quidem etiamsi non semel sed 
seepius id in sacris monumentis Scriptum extaret, non idcirco 
tamen ita prorsus rem se habere crederem, ut vos opinamini ; 
cum enim id omnino fieri non possit, non secus atque in 
multis aliis Scripturse Testimoniis, una cum caeteris omnibus 
facie ; aliqua, quae minus incommoda videretur, interpre- 


tatione adhibita, euni sensum ex ejusmodi verbis elicerem qui 
sibi constnret.' * For my part, if this (doctrine) were extant 
and written in the holy Scripture, not once but often, yet 
would I not therefore believe it to be so as you do ; for 
whereas it can by no means be so (whatever the Scripture 
saith), I would as I do with others in other places, make 
use of some less incommodious interpretation, whereby I 
would draw a sense out of the words that should be con- 
sistent with itself.' And how he would do this he declares 
a little before ; * Sacra verba in alium sensum, quam verba 
sonant, per inusitatos etiam tropos quandoque explicantur.' 
He would explain the words into another sense than what 
they sound or propose by unusual tropes. And indeed such 
uncouth tropes doth he apply as so many engines and ma- 
chines, to pervert all the divine testimonies concerning our 
redemption, reconciliation, and justification by the blood 
of Christ. 

Having therefore fixed this as their rule, constantly to 
prefer their own reason above the express words of the 
Scripture, which must therefore by one means or other be 
so perverted or wrested to be made compliant therewith, 
it is endless to trace them in their multiplied objections 
against the holy mysteries, all resolved into this one prin- 
ciple, that their reason cannot comprehend them, nor doth 
approve of them. And if any man would have an especial 
instance of the serpentine wits of men winding themselves 
from under the power of conviction by the spiritual light 
of truth, or at least endeavouring so to do, let him read the 
comments of the Jewish rabbins on Isaiah, chap. liii. and of 
the Socinians on the beginning of the Gospel of John. 

2. The second branch of this repugnancy springeth 
from the want of a due comprehension of that harmony 
which is in the mystery of grace, and between all the parts 
of it. This comprehension is tlie principal effect of that 
wisdom, which believers are taught by the Holy Ghost. For 
our understanding of the wisdom of God in a mystery is 
neither an art, nor a science, whether purely speculative or 
more practical, but a spiritual wisdom. And this spiritual 
wisdom is such as understands and apprehends things, not 
so much, or not only in the notion of them, as in their power, 
reality, and efficacy, towards their proper ends. And there- 


fore, although it may be very few, unless they be learned, 
judicious, and diligent in the use of means of all sorts, 
do attain unto it clearly and distinctly in the doctrinal no- 
tions of it ; yet are all true believers, yea, the meanest of 
them directed and enabled by the Holy Spirit as unto their 
own practice and duty, to act suitably unto a comprehen- 
sion of this harmony, according to the promise that * they 
shall be all taught of God.' Hence those things which ap- 
pear unto others contradictory and inconsistent one with 
another, so as that they are forced to offer violence unto the 
Scripture, and their own experience in the rejection of the 
one or the other of them, are reconciled in their minds, and 
made mutually useful or hopeful unto one another, in the 
whole course of their obedience. But these things must be 
farther spoken unto. 

Such an harmony as that intended there is in the whole 
mystery of God. For it is the most curious effect and pro- 
duct of divine wisdom ; and it is no impeachment of the 
truth of it, that it is not discernable by human reason. A 
full comprehension of it no creature can in this world arise 
unto. Only in the contemplation of faith, we may arrive 
unto such an understanding admiration of it, as shall enable 
us to give glory unto God, and to make use of all the parts 
of it in practice as we have occasion. Concerning it the 
holy man mentioned before cried out, w ave^LxvtacTTov dtf 
fiiovpyiag; 'O unsearchable contrivance and operation!' And 
so is it expressed by the apostle, as that which hath an un- 
fathomable depth of wisdom in it, t5 (^aOog ttXovtov, &c. ' O 
the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge 
of God ; how unsearchable are his ways and his judgments 
past finding out ;' Rom. xi. 33 — 36. See to the same purpose, 
Eph. iii. 8—10. 

There is an harmony, a suitableness of one thing unto 
another in all the works of creation. Yet we see that it is 
not perfectly nor absolutely discoverable unto the wisest 
and most diligent of men. How far are they from an agree^ 
ment about the order and motions of the heavenly bodies, 
of the sympathies and qualities of sundry things here be- 
low, in the relation of causality and eflSciency between one 
thing and another. The new discoveries made concerning 
any of them, do only evidence how far men are from a 


just and perfect comprehension of them. Yet such a uni- 
versal harmony there is in all the parts of nature and its 
operations, that nothing in its proper station and operation 
is destructively contradictory either to the whole, or any 
part of it, but every thing contributes unto the preservation 
and use of the universe. But although this harmony be not 
absolutely comprehensible by any, yet do all living crea- 
tures, "who follow the conductor instinct of nature, make use 
of it, and live upon it, and without it neither their being 
could be preserved, nor their operations continued. 

But in the mystery of God and his grace, the harmony 
and suitableness of one thing unto another, with their ten- 
dency unto the same end, is incomparably more excellent 
and glorious than that which is seen in nature or the works 
of it. For whereas God made all things at first in wisdom, 
yetis the new creation of all things by Jesus Christ, ascribed 
peculiarly unto the riches, stores, and treasures of that in- 
finite wisdom. Neither can any discern it unless they are 
taught of God, for it is only spiritually discerned. But yet 
is it by the most despised. Some seem to think that there 
is no great wisdom in it, and some that no great wisdom is 
required unto the comprehension of it ; few think it worth 
the while to spend half that time in prayer, in meditation, 
in the exercise of self-denial, mortification, and holy obe- 
dience, doing the will of Christ that they may know of his 
word, to the attaining of a due comprehension of the mys- 
tery of godliness, as some do of diligence, study, and trial of 
experiments, who design to excel in natural or mathemati- 
cal sciences. Wherefore there are three things evident herein. 

1. That such an harmony there is in all the parts of the 
mystery of God, wherein all the blessed properties of the di- 
vine nature are glorified, our duty in all instances is directed 
and engaged, our salvation in the way of obedience secured, 
and Christ as the end of all exalted. Wherefore, we are not 
only to consider and know the several parts of the doctrine 
of spiritual truth, but their relation also one unto another, 
their consistency one with another in practice, and their mu- 
tual furtherance of one another unto their common end. 
And a disorder in our apprehensions about any part of that, 
whose beauty and use ariseth from its harmony, gives some 
confusion of mind with respect unto the whole. 


2. That unto a comprehension of this-harmony in a due 
measure, it is necessary that we be taught of God, without 
which we can never be wise in the knowledge of the mystery 
of his grace. And herein ought we to place the principal 
part of our diligence, in our inquiries into the truths of the 

3. Ail those who are taught of God to know his will, 
unless it be when their minds are disordered by prejudices, 
false opinions, or temptations, have an experience in them- 
selves and their own practical obedience, of the consistency 
of all parts of the mystery of God's grace and truth in Christ 
among themselves, of their spiritual harmony and cogent 
tendency unto the same end. The introduction of the grace 
of Christ into our relation unto God, makes no confusion or 
disorder in their minds, by the conflict of the principles of 
natural reason, with respect unto our first relation unto God, 
and those of grace with respect unto that whereunto we are 

From the want of a due comprehension of this divine 
harmony it is, that the minds of men are filled with imagi- 
nations of an inconsistency between the most important 
parts of the mystery of the gospel, from whence the confu- 
sions that are at this day in Christian religion do proceed. 

Thus the Socinians can see no consistency between the 
grace or love of God, and the satisfaction of Christ, but 
imagine if the one of them be admitted, the other must be 
excluded out of our religion. Wherefore, they principally 
oppose the latter under a pretence of asserting and vindi- 
cating the former. And where these things are expressly 
conjoined in the same proposition of faith ; as where it is 
said, 'that we are justified freely by the grace of God, 
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus ; whom God 
hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood ;' 
as Rom. iii. 24, 25. they will oifer violence unto common 
sense and reason, rather than not disturb that harmony 
which they cannot understand. For although it be plainly 
affirmed to be a redemption by his blood, as he is a propi- 
tiation, as his blood was a ransom or price of redemption, 
yet they will contend, that it is only metaphorical, a mere 
deliverance by power, like that of the Israelites by Moses. 
'3ut these things are clearly stated in the gospel, and there- 



fore not only consistent, but such as that the one cannot 
subsist without the other. Nor is there any mention of any 
especial love or grace of God unto sinners, but with respect 
unto the satisfaction of Christ as the means of the commu- 
nication of all their effects unto them. See John iii. 16. 
Rom. iii. 23-25. viii. 30-33. 2 Cor. v. 19— 21. Eph. i. 
7, vjcc. 

In hke manner they can see no consistency between the 
satisfaction of Christ, and the necessity of holiness or obe- 
dience in them that do believe. Hence they continually 
clamour, that by our doctrine of the mediation of Christ, 
we overthrow all obligations unto a holy life. And by 
their sophistical reasonings unto this purpose, they prevail 
with many to embrace their delusion, who have not a spiri- 
tual experience to confront their sophistry withal. But as 
the testimony of the Scripture lieth expressly against them, 
so those who truly believe, and have real experience of the 
influence of that truth into the life of God, and how impos- 
sible it is to yield any acceptable obedience herein without 
respect thereunto, are secured from their snares. 

These and the like imaginations arise from the unwil- 
lingness of men to admit of the introduction of the mystery 
of grace, into our relation unto God. For suppose us to 
stand before God on the old constitution of the covenant 
of creation, which alone natural reason likes and is com- 
prehensive of, and we do acknowledge these things to be 
inconsistent. But the mystery of the wisdom and grace of 
God in Christ, cannot stand without them both. 

So likewise God's efficacious grace in the conversion of 
sinners, and the exercise of the faculties of their minds, in a 
way of duty, are asserted as contradictory and inconsistent. 
And although they seem both to be positively and fre- 
quently declared in the Scripture, yet say these men, their 
consistency being repugnant to their reason, let the Scrip- 
ture say what it will, yet is it to be said by us, that the 
Scripture doth not assert one of them. And this is from 
the same cause ; men cannot in their wisdom see it possible 
that the mystery of God's grace should be introduced into 
our relation and obedience unto God. Hence have many 
ages of the church, especially the last of them, been filled 
with endless disputes, in opposition to the grace of God, or 


to accommodate the conceptions of it, unto the interests of 
corrupted reason. 

But there is no instance more pregnant unto this pur- 
pose than that under our present consideration. Free justi- 
fication, through the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ, is cried out against as inconsistent with a necessity 
of personal hoHness and obedience ; and because the Soci- 
nians insist principally on this pretence, it shall be fully 
and diligently considered apart, and that holiness, which, 
without it, they and others deriving from them do pretend 
unto, shall be tried by the unerring rule. 

Wherefore, I desire it may be observed that in pleading 
for this doctrine, we do it as a principal part of the intro- 
duction of grace into our whole relation unto God. Hence 
we grant j 

1. That it is unsuited, yea foolish, and as some speak, 
childish, unto the principles of unenlightened and unsancti- 
fied reason or understandings of men. And this we con- 
ceive to be the principal cause of all the oppositions that 
are made unto it, and all the depravations of it that the 
church is pestered withal. Hence are the wits of men so 
fertile in sophistical cavils against it, so ready to load it 
with seeming absurdities, and I know not what unsuitable- 
ness unto their wonderous rational conceptions. And no 
objection can be made against it, be it never so trivial, but 
it is highly applauded by those who look on that introduc- 
tion of the mystery of grace, which is above their natural 
conceptions, as unintelligible folly. 

2. That the necessary relation of these things one unto 
the other, namely, of justification by the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ, and the necessity of our personal 
obedience,will not be clearly understood nor duly improved, 
but by and in the exercise of the wisdom of faith. This we 
grant also ; and let who will make v^^hat advantage they 
can of this concession. True faith hath that spiritual light 
in it or accompanying of it, as that it is able to receive it, 
and to conduct the soul unto obedience by it. Wherefore, 
reserving the particular consideration hereof unto its proper 
place, I say in general, 

1. That this relation is evident unto that spiritual wis- 
dom whereby we are enabled doctrinally and practically to 



comprehend the harmony of the mystery of God, and the 
consistency of all the parts of it one with another. 

2. That it is made evident by the Scripture, wherein 
both these things, justification through the imputation of 
the righteousness of Christ, and the necessity of our per- 
sonal obedience are plainly asserted and declared. And 
we defy that rule of the Socinians, that seeing these things 
are inconsistent in their apprehension or unto their reason, 
therefore we must say that one of them is not taught in the 
Scripture ; for whatever it may appear unto their reason, it 
doth not so to ours; and we have at least as good reason 
to trust unto our own reason, as unto theirs. Yet we abso- 
lutely acquiesce in neither, but in the authority of God in 
the Scripture; rejoicing only in this, that we can set our 
seal unto his revelations by our own experience. For, 

3. It is fully evident in the gracious conduct which the 
minds of them that believe are under, even that of the Spirit 
of truth and grace, and the inclinations of that new princi- 
ple of the divine life whereby they are acted. For although 
from the remainders of sin and darkness that are in them, 
temptations may arise unto a continuation in sin, because 
grace hath abounded, yet are their minds so formed and 
framed by the doctrine of this grace, and the grace of this 
doctrine, that the abounding of grace herein, is the princi- 
pal motive unto their abounding in holiness, as we shall see 

And this we aver to be the spring of all those objections 
which the adversaries of this doctrine do continually endea- 
vour to entangle it withal. As, 1. If the passive righte- 
ousness (as it is commonly called), that is, his death and 
suffering be imputed unto us, there is no need, nor can it 
be, that his active righteousness, or the obedience of his 
life, should be imputed unto us ; and so on the contrary ; 
for both together are inconsistent. 2. That if all sin be 
pardoned, there is no need of the righteousness ; and so on 
the contrary, if the righteousness of Christ be imputed unto 
us, there is no room for, or need of, the pardon of sin. 3. If 
we believe the pardon of our sins, then are our sins par- 
doned before we believe, or we are bound to believe that 
which is not so. 4. If the righteousness of Christ be im- 
puted unto us, then are we esteemed to have done and suf- 


fered, what indeed we never did nor suffered ; and it is true, 
that if we are esteemed ourselves to have done it, imputa- 
tion is overthrown. 5. If Christ's righteousness be imputed 
unto us, then are we as righteous as was Christ himself. 
6. If our sins were imputed unto Christ, then was he thought 
to have sinned, and was a sinner subjectively. 7. If good 
works be excluded from any interest in our justification 
before God, then are they of no use unto our salvation. 

8. That it is ridiculous to think, that where there is no sin, 
there is not all the righteousness that can be required. 

9. That righteousness imputed is only a putative or imagi- 
nary righteousness, &c. 

Now although all these and the like objections, however 
subtlely managed (as Socinus boasts that he had used more 
than ordinary subtlety in this cause, ' in quo, si subtilius 
aliquanto quam opus esse videretur, qusedam a nobis dis- 
putata sunt;' De Servat. par. 4. cap. 4.) are capable of plain 
and clear solutions, and we shall avoid the examination of 
none of them; yet at present I shall only say, that all the 
shades which they cast on the minds of men, do vanish and 
disappear before the light of express Scripture testimonies, 
and the experience of them that do believe, where there is 
a due comprehension of the mystery of grace in any tolera- 
ble measure. 

Seventhly, There are some common prejudices, that are 
usually pleaded against the doctrine of the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ, which, because they will not orderly 
fall under a particular consideration in our progress, may 
be briefly examined in these general previous considera- 

1. It is usually urged against it, that this imputation of 
the righteousness of Christ is nowhere mentioned expressly 
in the Scripture. This is the first objection of Bellarmine 
against it. ' Hactenus,' saith he, ' nullum omnino locum 
invenire potuerunt, ubi legeretur Christi justitiam nobis im- 
putari ad justitiam; vel nos justos esse per Christi justitiam 
nobis imputatam.' De Justificat. lib. ii. cap. 7. An objec- 
tion doubtless unreasonably and immodestly urged by men 
of this persuasion. For not only do they make profession 
of their whole faith, or their belief of all things in matters 
of religion, in terms and expressions nowhere used in the 

70 THE nocTiirxE of 

Scripture, but believe many things also, as they say, with 
faith divine, not at all revealed or contained in the Scrip- 
ture, but drained by them out of the traditions of the 
church. I do not therefore understand, how such persons 
can modestly manage this as an objection against any doc- 
trine, that the terras wherein some do express it, are not 
priTwg found in the Scripture, just in that order of one word 
after another as by them they are used. For this rule may 
be much enlarged, and yet be kept straight enough to ex- 
clude the principal concerns of their church out of the con- 
fines of Christianity ; nor can I apprehend much more 
equity in others, who reflect with severity on this expression 
of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ as unscrip- 
tural, as if those who make use thereof were criminal in no 
small degree ; when themselves, immediately in the decla- 
ration of their own judgment, make use of such terras, dis- 
tinctions, and expressions, jts are so far from being in the 
Scripture, as that it is odds they had never been in the 
world, had they escaped ^Aristotle's mint, or that of the 
schools deriving from him. 

And thus, although a sufficient answer hath frequently 
enough, if any thing can be so, been returned unto this ob- 
jection in Bellarmine, yet hath one of late amongst our- 
selves made the translation of it into English, to be the 
substance of the first chapter of a book about justification ; 
though he needed not to have given such an early intima- 
tion unto whom he is beholding for the greatest part of his 
ensuing discourse, unless it be what is taken up in despite- 
ful revilings of other men. For take from him what is not 
his own on the one hand, and impertinent cavils at the words 
and expressions of other men, with forged imputations on 
some of them, on the other, and his whole book will disap- 
pear. But yet although he affirms that none of the Protes- 
tant writers, who speak of the imputation of the righteous- 
ness of Christ unto us (which were all of them without ex- 
ception until of late), have precisely kept to the form of 
wholesome words, but have rather swerved and varied from 
the language of the Scripture, yet he will excuse them from 
open error, if they intend no more thereby, but that we 
are made partakers of the benefits of the righteousness of 
Christ. But if they intend that the righteousness of Christ 


itself is imputed unto us (that is, so as to be our righteous- 
ness before God, whereon we are pardoned and accepted 
with him, or do receive the forgiveness of sins, and a right 
to the heavenly inheritance), then are they guilty of that 
error which makes us to be esteemed to do ourselves what 
Christ did ; and so on the other side, Christ to have done 
what we do and did, chap. 2. 3. But these things are not 
so. For if we are esteemed to have done any thing in our 
own persons, it cannot be imputed unto us as done for us 
by another j as it will appear when we shall treat of these 
things afterward. But the great and holy persons in- 
tended are as little concerned in the accusations or apolo- 
gies of some writers, as those writers seem to be acquainted 
with that learning, wisdom, and judgment, wherein they did 
excel, and the characters whereof are so eminently conspi- 
cuous in all their writings. 

But the judgment of most Protestants, is not only can- 
didly expressed, but approved of also by Bellarmine himself 
in another place. ' Non esset/ saith he, ' absurdum, si 
quis diceret nobis imputari Christijustitiam et merita; cum 
nobis donentur et applicentur; ac si nos ipsi Deo satisfecis- 
semus.' De Justif. lib. ii. cap. 10. * It were not absurd, if 
any one should say that the righteousness and merits of 
Christ are imputed unto us, when they are given and ap- 
plied unto us, as if we ourselves had satisfied God.' And 
this he confirms with that saying of Bernard ad Innocent, 
Epist. 190. * Nam si unus pro omnibus mortuus est, ergo 
omnes mortui sunt, ut videlicet satisfactio unius omnibus 
imputetur, sicut omnium peccata unus ille portavit.' And 
those who will acknowledge no more in this matter, but only 
a participation quovis modo, one way or other, of the bene- 
fits of the odedience and righteousness of Christ, wherein 
\ve have the concurrence of the Socinians also, might do 
well, as I suppose, plainly to deny all imputation of his 
Jighteousness unto us in any sense as they do, seeing the 
benefits of his righteousness cannot be said to be imputed 
unto us, what way soever we are made partakers of them. 
For to say, that the righteousness of Christ is imputed 
unto us with respect unto the benefits of it, when neither 
the righteousness itself is imputed unto us, nor can the be- 
nefits of it be imputed unto us, as we shall see afterward^ 


doth minister great occasion of much needless variance and 
contests. Neither do I know any reason why men should 
seek countenance unto this doctrine under such an expres- 
sion, as themselves reflect upon as unscriptural, if they be 
contented that their minds and sense should be clearly un- 
derstood and apprehended. For truth needs no subterfuge. 
The Socinians do now principally make use of this ob- 
jection. For finding the whole church of God in the use of 
sundry expressions, in the declaration of the most important 
trutlis of the gospel, that are not literally contained in the 
Scripture, they hoped for an advantage from thence in their 
opposition unto the things themselves. Such are the terms 
of the Trinity, the incarnation, satisfaction, and merit of 
Christ, as this also of the imputation of his righteousness. 
How little they have prevailed in the other instances, hath 
been sufficiently manifested by them with whom they have 
had to do. But as unto that part of this objection which 
concerns the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto 
believers, those by whom it is asserted do say, 

1. That it is the thing alone intended which they plead 
for. If that be not contained in the Scripture, if it be not 
plainly taught and confirmed therein, they will speedily re- 
linquish it. But if they can prove that the doctrine which 
they intend in this expression, and which is thereb)/ plainly 
declared unto the understandings of men, is a divine truth 
sufficiently witnessed unto in the Scripture, then is this ex- 
pression of it reductively scriptural, and the truth itself so 
expressed a divine verity. To deny this, is to take away 
all use of the interpretation of the Scripture ; and to over- 
throw the ministry of the church. This, therefore, is to be 
alone inquired into. 

2. They say, the same thing is taught and expressed in 
the Scripture, in phrases eequipollent. For it affirms that ' by 
the obedience of one' (that is Christ), * many are made righ- 
teous ;' Rom. V. 18. and that we are made righteous by 
the imputation of righteousness unto us. * Blessed is the 
man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without 
works;' chap. iv. 6. And if we are made righteous by the 
imputation of righteousness unto us, that obedience or righ- 
teousness whereby we are made righteous, is imputed unto 
us. And they will be content with this expression of this 


doctrine, that the obedience of Christ whereby we are made 
righteous, is the righteousness that God imputeth unto us. 
Wherefore, this objection is of no force to disadvantage the 
truth pleaded for. 

2. Sooinus objects in particular against this doctrine of 
justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, 
and of his satisfaction, that there is nothing said of it in the 
Evangelists, nor in the report of the sermons of Christ unto 
the people, nor yet in those of his private discourses with 
his disciples. And he urgeth it vehemently and at large, 
against the whole of the expiation of sin by his death ; De 
Servator. par. 4. cap. 9. And as it is easy, * malis inventis 
pejora addere ;' this notion of his is not only made use of 
and pressed at large by one among ourselves, but improved 
also by a dangerous comparison between the writings of the 
evangelists and the other writings of the New Testament. 
For to enforce this argument, that the histories of the gos- 
pel, wherein the sermons of Christ are recorded, do make no 
mention of the imputation of the righeousness of Christ, as 
in his judgment they do not, nor of his satisfaction, or merit, 
or expiation of sin, or of redemption by his death ; as they 
do not in the judgment of Socinus, it is added by him, that 
for his part he is apt to admire our Saviour's sermons, who 
was the author of our religion, before the writings of the 
apostles, though inspired men. Whereunto many danger- 
ous insinuations and reflections on the writings of St. Paul, 
contrary to the faith and sense of the church in all ages are 
subjoined. See pp. 240, 241. 

But this boldness is not only unwarrantable, but to be 
abhorred. What place of Scripture, what ecclesiastical tra- 
dition, what single president of any one sober Christian 
writer, what theological reason will countenance a man in 
making the comparison mentioned, and so determining 
thereon? Such juvenile boldness, such want of a due ap- 
prehension and understanding of the nature of divine in- 
spirations, with the order and design of the writing of the 
New Testament, which are the springs of this precipitate 
censure, ought to be reflected on. At present to remove 
this pretence out of our way, it may be observed, 

1. That what the Lord Christ taught his disciples in his 
personal ministry on the earth, was suited unto that economy 


of the church which was antecedent unto his death and re- 
surrection. Nothing did he withhold from them, that was 
needful to their faith, obedience, and consolation in that 
state. Many things he instructed them in out of the Scrip- 
ture, many new revelations he made unto them, and many 
times did he occasionally instruct and rectify their judg- 
ments. Howbeit he made no clear distinct revelation of 
those sacred mysteries unto them, which are peculiar unto 
the faith of the New Testament, nor were to be distinctly 
apprehended before his death and resurrection. 

2. What the Lord Christ revealed afterward by his Spirit 
unto the apostles, was no less immediately from himself, than 
was the truth which he spoke unto them with his own mouth 
in the days of his flesh. An apprehension to the contrary is 
destructive of Christian religion. The epistles of the apo- 
stles are no less Christ's sermons, than that which he de- 
livered on the mount. Wherefore, 

3. Neither in the things themselves, nor in the way of 
their delivery or revelation, is there any advantage of the 
one sort of writings above the other. The things written 
in the epistles proceed from the same wisdom, the same 
grace, the same love, with the things which he spoke with 
his own mouth in the days of his flesh, and are of the same 
divine veracity, authority, and efficacy. The revelation 
which he made by his Spirit, is no less divine, and immediate 
from himself, than what he spoke unto his disciples on the 
earth. To distinguish between these things on any of these 
accounts, is intolerable folly. 

4. The writings of the evangelists do not contain the 
whole of all the instructions which the Lord Christ gave 
unto his disciples personally on the earth. ' For he was seen 
of them after his resurrection forty days, and spoke with 
them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God ;' Acts 
i. 3. And yet nothing hereof is recorded in their writings, 
but only some few occasional speeches. Nor had he given 
before unto them a clear and distinct understanding of those 
things, which were delivered concerning his death and resur- 
rection in the Old Testament, as is plainly declared, Luke 
xxiv. 25 — 27. For it was not necessary for them in that state 
wherein they were. Wherefore, 

5. As to the extent of divine revelations objectively. 


those which he granted by his Spirit unto his apostles after 
his ascension, were beyond those which he personally taught 
them, so far as they are recorded in the writings of the evan- 
gelists. For he told them plainly not long before his death, 
that he had many things to say unto them which * then they 
could not bear ;' John xvi. 12. And for the knowledge of those 
things, he refers them to the coming of the Spirit to make 
revelation of them from himself, in the next words ; ' howbeit 
when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide yon into 
all truth; for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever 
he shall hear that shall he speak ; and he will shew you things 
to come. He shall glorify me ; for he shall receive of mine 
and shew it unto you ;' ver. 13, 14. And on this account 
he had told them before, that it was expedient for them that 
he should go away, that the Holy Spirit might come unto 
them, whom he would send from the Father, ver. 7. Here- 
unto he referred the full and clear manifestation of the 
mysteries of the gospel. So false, as well as dangerous 
and scandalous, are those insinuations of Socinus and his 

2. The writings of the evangelists are full unto their 
proper ends and purposes. These were to record the ge- 
nealogy, conception, birth, acts, miracles, and teachings, 
of our Saviour, so far as to evince him to be the true only 
promised Messias. So he testifieth who wrote the last of 
them ; ' Many other signs truly did Jesus, which are not 
written in this book ; but these are written that ye might 
believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God ;' John xx. 
30, 31. Unto this end every thing is recorded by them that 
is needful unto the ingenerating and establishing of faith. 
Upon this confirmation, all things declared in the Old Tes- 
tament concerning him, all that was taught in types and sa- 
crifices, became the object of faith in that sense wherein 
they were interpreted in the accomplishment ; and that in 
them this doctrine was before revealed, shall be proved af- 
terward. It is therefore no wonder if some things, and those 
of the highest importance, should be declared more fully in 
other writings of the New Testament, than they are in those 
of the evangelists. 

3. The pretence itself is wholly false. For there are 
as many pregnant testimonies given unto this truth in 


one alone of the evangelists, as in any other book of the 
New Testament ; namely, in the book of John. I shall re- 
fer to some of them which will be pleaded in their proper 
place, chap. i. 12. 17. 19. iii. 14—18. 36. v. 24. 

But we may pass this by, as one of those inventions con- 
cerning which Socinus boasts in his epistle to Michael Va- 
joditus, that his writings were esteemed by many for the 
singularity of things asserted in them. 

4. The difference that hath been among Protestant 
writers about this doctrine is pleaded in the prejudice 
of it. Osiander, in the entrance of the reformation, fell 
into a vain imagination, that we were justified or made 
righteous with the essential righteousness of God, commu- 
nicated unto us by Jesus Christ. And whereas he was op- 
posed herein with some severity by the most learned persons 
of those days, to countenance himself in his singularity, he 
pretended that there were twenty different opinions amongst 
the Protestants themselves, about the formal cause of our 
justification before God. This was quickly laid hold on 
by them of the Roman church, and is urged as a prejudice 
against the whole doctrine, by Bellarmine, Vasquez, and 
others. But the vanity of this pretence of his hath been 
sufficiently discovered; and Bellarmine himself could fancy 
but four opinions among them, that seemed to be different 
from one another, reckoning that of Osiander for one ; De 
Justificat. lib. ii. cap. 1. But whereas he knew that the 
imagination of Osiander was exploded by them all, the 
other three that he mentions are indeed but distinct parts 
of the same entire doctrine. Wherefore, until of late it 
might be truly said, that the faith and doctrine of all Pro- 
testants was in this article entirely the same. For however 
they differed in the way, manner, and methods of its decla- 
ration, and too many private men were addicted unto defini- 
tions and descriptions of their own, under pretence of logical 
accuracy in teaching, which gave an appearance of some 
contradiction among them, yet in this they generally agreed, 
that it is the righteousness of Christ, and not our own, on 
the account whereof we receive the pardon of sin, accept- 
ance with God, are declared righteous by the gospel, and 
have a right and title unto the heavenly inheritance. Hereon, 
I say, they were generally agreed, first against the Papists, 


and afterward against the Socinians ; and where this is 
granted, I will not contend with any man about his way of 
declaring the doctrine of it. 

And that I may add it by the way, we have herein the 
concurrence of the fathers of the primitive church. For 
although by justification, following the etymology of the 
I^atin word, they understood the making us righteous with 
internal personal righteousness, at least some of them did 
so, as Austin in particular, yet that we are pardoned and 
accepted with God on any other account, but that of the 
righteousness of Christ, they believed not. And whereas, 
especially in their controversy with the Pelagians, after the 
rising of that heresy, they plead vehemently that we are 
made righteous by the grace of God, changing our hearts 
and natures, and creating in us a principle of spiritual life 
and holiness, and not by the endeavours of our own free 
will, or works performed in the strength thereof, their words 
and expressions have been abused contrary to their inten- 
tion and design. 

For we wholly concur with them, and subscribe unto all 
that they dispute about the making of us personally righ- 
teous and holy, by the effectual grace of God, against all 
merit of works and operations of our own free will (our 
sanctification being every way as much of grace, as our 
justification, properly so called), and that in opposition unto 
the common doctrine of the Roman church about the same 
matter ; only they call this our being made inherently and 
personally righteous by grace, sometimes by the name of 
justification, which we do not. And this is laid hold on as 
an advantage by those of the Roman church who do not 
concur with them in the way and manner whereby we are 
so made righteous. But whereas by our justification before 
God, we intend only that righteousness whereon our sins 
are pardoned, wherewith we are made righteous in his sight, 
or for which we are accepted as righteous before him, it 
will be hard to find any of them assigning of it unto any 
other causes than the Protestants do. So it is fallen out, 
that what they design to prove, we entirely comply with 
them in ; but the way and manner whereby they prove it, 
is made use of by the Papists unto another end, which they 
intended not. 


But as to the way and manner of the declaration of this 
doctrine among Protestants themselves, there ever was some 
variety and difference in expressions. Nor will it otherwise 
be whilst the abilities and capacities of men, whether in 
the conceiving of things of this nature, or in the expression 
of their conceptions, are so various as they are. And it is 
acknowledged that these differences of late have had by 
some as much weight laid upon them, as the substance of 
the doctrine generally agreed in. Hence some have com- 
posed entire books, consisting almost of nothing but imper- 
tinent cavils at other men's words and expressions. But 
these things proceed from the weakness of some men, and 
other vicious habits of their minds, and do not belong unto 
the cause itself. And such persons, as for me, shall write 
as they do, and fight on until they are weary. Neither 
hath the multiplication of questions and the curious dis- 
cussion of them in the handling of this doctrine, wherein 
nothing ought to be diligently insisted on, but what is di- 
rective of our practice, been of much use unto the truth 
itself, though it hath not been directly opposed in them. 

That which is of real difference among persons who 
agree in the substance of the doctrine, may be reduced unto 
a very few heads. As 1. There is something of this kind 
about the nature of faith whereby we are justified, with its 
proper object in justifying, and its use in justification. And 
an instance we have herein, not only of the weakness of 
our intellects in the apprehension of spiritual things, but 
also of the remainders of confusion and disorder in our 
minds, at least how true it is that we know only in part, 
and prophesy only in part, whilst we are in this life. For 
whereas this faith is an act of our minds, put forth in the 
way of duty to God, yet many by whom it is sincerely ex- 
ercised, and that continually, are not agreed either in the 
nature or proper object of it. Yet is there no doubt but 
that some of them who differ amongst themselves about 
these things, have delivered their minds free from the pre- 
possession of prejudices and notions derived from other 
artificial reasonings iniposed on them, and do really express 
their own conceptions as to the best and utmost of their 
experience. And notwithstanding this difference, they do 
yet all of them please God in the exercise of faith, as it is 


their duty, and have that respect unto its proper object, as 
secures both their justification and salvation. And if we 
cannot on this consideration bear with, and forbear, one an- 
other in our different conceptions, and expressions of those 
conceptions about these things, it is a sign we have a great 
mind to be contentious, and that our confidences are built 
on very weak foundations. For my part, I had much rather 
my lot should be found among them who do really believe 
with the heart unto righteousness, though they are not able 
to give a tolerable definition of faith unto others, than 
among them who can endlessly dispute about it with seem- 
ing accuracy and skill, but are negligent in the exercise of 
it as their own duty. Wherefore, some things shall be 
briefly spoken of in this matter, to declare my own appre- 
hensions concerning the things mentioned, without the least 
design to contradict or oppose the conceptions of others. 

2. There hath been a controversy more directly stated 
among some learned divines of the reformed churches (for 
the Lutherans are unanimous on the one side), about the 
righteousness of Christ that is said to be imputed unto us. 
For some would have this to be only his suflering of death, 
and the satisfaction which he made for sin thereby, and 
others include therein the obedience of his life also. The 
occasion, original, and progress of this controversy, the 
persons by whom it hath been managed, with the writings 
wherein it is so, and the various ways that have been en- 
deavoured for its reconciliation, are sufficiently known unto 
all, who have inquired into these things. Neither shall I 
immix myself herein, in the way of controversy, or in oppo- 
sition unto others, though I shall freely declare my own 
judgment in it, so far as the consideration of the righteous- 
ness of Christ, under this distinction, is inseparable from the 
substance of the truth itself, which I plead for. 

3. Some difference there hath been also, whether the 
righteousness of Christ imputed unto us, or the imputation 
of the righteousness of Christ, may be said to be the formal 
cause of our justification before God, wherein there appears 
some variety of expression among learned men, who have 
handled this subject in the way of controversy with the 
Papists. The true occasion of the differences about this 
expression hath been this and no other. Those of the 


Roman church do constantly assert, that the righteousness 
whereby we are righteous before God, is the formal cause 
of our justification. And this righteousness, they say, is 
our own inherent personal righteousness, and not the righ- 
teousness of Christ imputed unto us. Wherefore, they treat 
of this whole controversy, namely, what is the righteousness 
on the account whereof we are accepted with God, or justi- 
fied, under the name of the formal cause of justification, 
which is the subject of the second book of Bellarmine con- 
cerning justification. In opposition unto them, some Pro- 
testants, contending that the righteousness wherewith we 
are esteemed righteous befoi^ God, and accepted with him, 
is the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us, and not our 
own inherent, imperfect, personal righteousness, they have 
done it under this inquiry, namely, what is the formal cause 
of our justification; which some have said to be the impu- 
tation of the righteousness of Christ, some the righteous- 
ness of Christ imputed. But what they designed herein 
was not to resolve this controversy into a philosophical 
inquiry about the nature of a formal cause, but only to prove 
that, that truly belonged unto the righteousness of Christ 
in our justification, which the Papists ascribed unto our 
own, under that name. That there is an habitual infused 
habit of grace, which is the formal cause of our personal 
inherent righteousness, they grant. But they all deny that 
God pardons our sins, and justifies our persons, with respect 
unto this righteousness as the formal cause thereof. Nay, 
they deny that in the justification of a sinner there either is, 
or can be, any inherent formal cause of it. And what they 
mean by a formal cause in our justification, is only that 
which gives the denomination unto the subject, as the im- 
putation of the righteousness of Christ doth to a person 
that he is justified. 

Wherefore, notwithstanding the differences that have 
been among some in the various expression of their concep- 
tions, the substance of the doctrine of the reformed churches, 
is by them agreed upon and retained entire. For they all 
agree that God justifieth no sinner, absolveth him not from 
guilt, nor declareth him righteous, so as to have a title unto 
the heavenly inheritance, but with respect unto a true and 
perfect righteousness, as also that this righteousness is truly 


the righteousness of him that is so justified. That this 
righteousness becometh ours by God's free grace and dona- 
tion, the way on our part whereby we come to be really 
and effectually interested therein, being faith alone. And 
that this is the perfect obedience or righteousness of Christ 
imputed unto us ; in these things, as they shall be after- 
ward distinctly explained, is contained the whole of that 
truth, whose explanation and confirmation is the design of 
the ensuing discourse. And because those by whom this 
doctrine in the substance of it, is of late impugned, derive 
more from the Socinians than the Papists, and make a 
nearer approach unto their principles, I shall chiefly insist 
on the examination of those original authors, by whom their 
notions were first coined, and whose weapons they make 
use of in their defence. 

Eighthly, To close these previous discourses, it is worthy 
our consideration what weight was laid on this doctrine of 
justification at the first reformation, and what influence it 
had into the whole work thereof. However the minds of 
men may be changed as unto sundry doctrines of faith 
among us, yet none can justly own the name of Protestant, 
but he must highly value the first reformation. And they 
cannot well do otherwise, whose present even temporal ad- 
vantages are resolved thereinto. However, I intend none but 
such as own an especial presence and guidance of God with 
them who were eminently and successfully employed there- 
in. Such persons cannot but grant that their faith in this 
matter, and the concurrence of their thoughts about its im- 
portance, are worthy consideration. 

Now it is known, that the doctrine of justification gave 
the first occasion to the whole work of reformation, and was 
the main hinge whereon it turned. This those mentioned 
declared to be * Articulus stantis aut cadentis Ecclesiae,' and 
that the vindication thereof alone, deserved all the pains 
that was taken in the whole endeavour of reformation. But 
things are now, and that by virtue of their doctrine herein, 
much changed in the world, though it be not so understood 
or acknowledged. In general no small benefit redounded 
unto the world by the reformation, even among them by 
whom it was not, nor is received, though many bluster with 
contrary pretensions. For all the evils which have acciden- 



tally ensued thereon, arising most of them from the corrupt 
passions and interests of them by whom it hath been opposed, 
are usually ascribed unto it; and all the light, liberty, and 
benefit of the minds of men which it hath introduced, are 
ascribed unto other causes. But this may be signally ob- 
served with respect unto the doctrine of justification, with 
the causes and effects of its discovery and vindication. For 
the first reformers found their own, and the consciences of 
other men, so immersed in darkness, so pressed and harassed 
with fears, terrors and disquietments under the power of it, 
and so destitute of any steady guidance into the ways of 
peace with God, as that with all diligence (like persons sen- 
sible that herein their spiritual and eternal interest was con- 
cerned) they made their inquiries after the truth in this 
matter, which they knew must be the only means of their 
deliverance. All men in those days, were either kept in 
bondage under endless fears and anxieties of mind upon the 
convictions of sin, for sent or relief unto indulgences, priestly 
pardons, penances, pilgrimages, works satisfactory of their 
own, and supererogatory of others, or kept under chains of 
darkness for purgatory unto the last day. Now he is no 
way able to compare things past and present, who sees not 
how great an alteration is made in these things even in the 
Papal church. For before the reformation, whereby the 
light of the gospel, especially in this doctrine of justifica- 
tion, was diffused among men, and shone even into their 
minds who never comprehended nor received it, the whole 
almost of religion among them was taken up with, and con- 
fined unto, these things. And to instigate men unto an 
abounding sedulity in the observation of them, their minds 
were stuffed with traditions and stories of visions, appari- 
tions, frightful spirits, and other imaginations that poor mor- 
tals are apt to be amazed withal, and which their restless 
disquietments gave countenance unto. 

Soninia, terrores magici, miracula, sagfe 
Nocturni Icmures, portentaque Thessala. . . . 

Were the principal objects of their creed, and matter of 
their religious conversation. That very church itself is com- 
paratively at ease from these things unto what it was before 
the reformation ; though so much of them is still retained. 


as to blind the eyes of men from discerning the necessity, as 
well as the truth, of the evangelical doctrine of justification. 

It is fallen out herein not much otherwise than it did at 
the first entrance of Christianity into the world. For there 
was an emanation of light and truth from the gospel which 
affected the minds of men, by whom yet the whole of it in 
its general design, was opposed and persecuted. For from 
thence the very vulgar sort of men became to have better 
apprehensions and notions of God and his properties, or the 
original and rule of the universe, than they had arrived unto 
in the midnight of their paganism. And a sort of learned 
speculative men there were, who by virtue of that light of 
truth which sprung from the gospel, and was now diffused 
into the minds of men, reformed and improved the old phi- 
losophy, discarding many of those falsehoods and imperti- 
nences wherewith it had been encumbered. But when this 
was done, they still maintained their cause on the old prin- 
ciples of the philosophers, and indeed their opposition unto 
the gospel was far more plausible and pleadable than it was 
before. For after they had discarded the gross conceptions 
of the common sort about the divine nature and rule, and 
had blended the light of truth which brake forth in Chris- 
tian religion with their own philosophical notions, they made 
a vigorous attempt for the reinforcement of heathenism 
against the main design of the gospel. And things have not, 
as I said, fallen out much otherwise in the reformation. For 
as by the light of truth which therein brake forth, the con- 
sciences of even the vulgar sort are in some measure freed 
from those childish affrightments which they were before in 
bondage unto ; so those who are learned have been enabled 
to reduce the opinions and practices of their church, into a 
more defensible posture, and make their opposition unto the 
truths of the gospel more plausible than they formerly were. 
Yea, that doctrine which in the way of its teaching and 
practice among them, as also in its effects on the consciences 
of men, was so horrid as to drive innumerable persons from 
their communion in that and other things also, is now in the 
new representation of it, with the artificial covering pro- 
vided for its former effects in practice, thought an argument 
meet to be pleaded for a return unto its entire communion. 

But to root out the superstitions mentioned out of the 



minds of men, to communicate unto them the knowledge of* 
the righteousness of God which is revealed from faith to 
faith, and thereby to deliver them from their bondage, fears, 
and distress, directing convinced sinners unto the only way 
of solid peace with God, did the first reformers labour so di- 
lio-ently in the declaration and vindication of the evangeli- 
cal doctrine of justification ; and God was with them. And 
it is worth our consideration, whether we should on every 
cavil and sophism of men not so taught, not so employed, 
not so tried, not so owned of God as they were, and in whose 
writings there are not appearing such characters of wisdom, 
sound judgment, and deep experience as in theirs, easily 
part with that doctrine of truth, wherein alone they found 
peace unto their own souls, and whereby they were instru- 
mental to give liberty and peace with God unto the souls 
and consciences of others innumerable, accompanied with 
the visible effects of holiness of life, and fruitfulness in the 
works of righteousness, unto the praise of God by Jesus 

In my judgment, Luther spake the truth when he said; 
' Amisso articulo justificationis, simul amissa est tota doc- 
trina Christiana.' And I wish he had not been a true pro- 
phet, when he foretold that in the following ages the doc- 
trine hereof would be again obscured ; the causes whereof 
I have elsewhere inquired into. 

Some late writers, indeed, among the Protestants have en- 
deavoured to reduce the cuntruveisy about justification with 
the Papists, unto an appearance of a far less real difference, 
than is usually judged to be in it. And a good work it is no 
doubt to pare off all unnecessary occasions of debate and 
differences in religion, provided we go not so near the 
quick, as to let out any of its vital spirits. The way taken 
herein is to proceed upon some concessions of the most sober 
among the Papists, in their ascriptions unto grace and the 
merit of Christ on the one side ; and the express judgment of 
the Protestants variously delivered, of the necessity of good 
works to them that are justified. Besides, it appears that in 
different expressions which either party adhere unto, as it 
were by tradition, the same things are indeed intended. 
Among them who have laboured in this kind, Ludovicus le 
Blanc, for his perspicuity and plainness, his moderation 


and freedom from a contentious frame of spirit, is ' pene 
solus legi dignus/ He is like the ghost of Tiresias in this 
matter. But I must needs say that I have not seen the ef- 
fect that might be desired of any such undertaking. For 
when each party comes unto the interpretation of their own 
concessions, which is ' ex communi jure,' to be allowed 
unto them, and which they will be sure to do in compliance 
with their judgment in the substance of the doctrine wherein 
the main stress of the difference lies, the distance and breach 
continue as wide as ever they were. Nor is there the least 
ground towards peace obtained by any of our condescensions 
or compliances herein. For unless we can come up entirely 
unto the decrees and canons of the council of Trent, where- 
in the doctrine of the Old and New Testament is anathe- 
matized, they will make no other use of any men's compli- 
ances, but only to increase the clamour of diiferences among 
ourselves. I mention nothing of this nature to hinder any 
man from granting whatever he can or please unto them, 
without the prejudice of the substance of truths professed 
in the Protestant churches \ but only to intimate the use- 
lessness of such concessions, in order unto peace and agree- 
ment with them, whilst they have a Procrustes' bed to lay us 
upon ; and from whose size they will not recede. 

Here and there one (not above three or four in all may 
be named within this hundred and thirty years) in the Roman 
communion, have owned our doctrine of justification for the 
substance of it. So did Albertus Pighius and the Antidagma 
Coloniense, as Bellarmine acknowledges. And what he says 
of Pighius is true, ?3 we shall see afterward ; the other I have 
not seen. Cardinal Contarenus, in a treatise of justification, 
written before, and published about the beginning of the 
Trent council, delivereth himself in the favour of it. But 
upon the observation of what he had done, some say he was 
shortly after poisoned, though 1 must confess I know not 
where they had the report. 

But do what we can for the sake of peace, as too much 
cannot be done for it, with the safety of truth ; it cannot be 
denied but that the doctrine of justification as it works ef- 
fectually in the church of Rome, is the foundation of many 
enormities among them both injudgmentr ad practice. They 
do not continue, I acknowledge, in that visible predominancy 


and rage as formerly ; nor are the generality of the people 
in so much slavish bondage unto them as they were. But the 
streams of them do still issue from this corrupt fountain, 
unto the dangerous infection of the souls of men. For mis- 
satical expiatory sacrifices for the living and the dead, the 
necessity of auricular confession with authoritative absolu- 
tion, penances, pilgrimages, sacramentals, indulgences, com- 
mutations, works satisfactory and supererogatory, the merit 
and intercession of saints departed, with especial devotions 
and applications to this or that particular saint or angel, 
purgatory, yea, on the matter the whole of monastic devo- 
tion, do depend thereon. They are all nothing but ways in- 
vented to pacify the consciences of men, or divert them from 
attending to the charge which is given in against them by 
the law of God ; sorry supplies they are of a righteousness 
of their own, for them who know not how to submit them- 
selves to the righteousness of God. And if the doctrine of 
free justification by the blood of Christ were once again ex- 
ploded, or corrupted and made unintelligible; unto these 
things, as absurd and foolish as now unto some they seem to 
be, or what is not one jot better, men must and will again 
betake themselves. For if once they are diverted from put- 
ting their trust in the righteousness of Christ, and grace of 
God alone ; and do practically thereon follow after, take up 
with, or rest in, that which is their own ; the first impres- 
sions of a sense of sin which shall befall their consciences, 
will drive them from their present hold, to seek for shelter 
in any thing that tenders unto them the least appearance of 
relief. Men may talk and dispute what they please whilst 
they are at peace in their own minds, without a real sense ei- 
ther of sin or righteousness ; yea, and scoff at them who are 
not under the power of the same security; but when they 
shall be awakened with other apprehensions of things than 
yet they are aware of, they will be put on new resolutions. 
And it is in vain to dispute with any about justification, who 
have not been duly convinced of a state of sin, and of its 
guilt ; for such men neither understand what they say, nor 
that whereof they dogmatize. 

We have, therefore, the same reasons that the first re- 
formers had to be careful about the preservation of this doc- 
trme of the gospel pure and entire ; though we may not ex- 


pect the like success with them in our endeavours unto that 
end. For the minds of the generality of men are in another 
posture than they were, when they dealt with them. Under 
the power of ignorance and superstition they were, but yet 
multitudes of them affected with a sense of the guilt of sin. 
With us, for the most part, things are quite otherwise. No- 
tional light, accompanied with a senselessness of sin, leads 
men unto a contempt of this doctrine, indeed of the whole 
mystery of the gospel. We have had experience of the 
fruits of the faith which we now plead for in this nation for 
many years, yea now for some ages. And it cannot well be 
denied but that those who have been most severely tenacious 
of the doctrine of justification by the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ, have been the most exemplary in a 
holy life ; I speak of former days. And if this doctrine be 
yet farther corrupted, debased, or unlearned among us, we 
shall quickly fall into one of the extremes wherewith we are 
at present urged on either side. For although the reliefs 
provided in the church of Rome, for the satisfaction of the 
consciences of men are at present by the most disliked, yea, 
despised ; yet, if they are once brought to a loss how to 
place their whole trust and confidence in the righteousness 
of Christ and grace of God in him, they will not always live 
at such an uncertainty of mind, as the best of their own per- 
sonal obedience will hang them on the briers of, but betake 
themselves unto somewhat that tenders them certain peace 
and security, though at present it may seem foolish unto 
them. And I doubt not but that some out of a mere igno- 
rance of the righteousness of God, which either they have 
not been taught, or had no mind to learn, have with some 
integrity in the exercise of their consciences, betaken them- 
selves unto that pretended rest which the church of Rome 
offers unto them. For being troubled about their sins, they 
think it better to betake themselves unto that great variety 
of means for the ease and discharge of their consciences 
which the Roman church affords, than to abide where they 
are, without the least pretence of relief, as men will find in 
due time, there is no such thing to be found or obtained in 
themselves. They may go on for a time with good satisfac- 
tion unto their own minds ; but if once they are brought 
unto a loss through the conviction of sin, they must look 



beyond themselves for peace and satisfaction, or sit down 
without them to eternity. Nor are the principles and ways 
which others take up withal in another extreme upon the 
rejection of this doctrine, although more plausible, yet at 
all more really useful unto the souls of men, than those of 
the Roman church which they reject as obsolete, and un- 
suited unto the genius of the present age. For they all of 
them arise from, or lead unto, the want of a due sense of the 
nature and guilt of sin, as also of the holiness and righte- 
ousness of God with respect thereunto. And when such 
principles as these do once grow prevalent in the minds of 
men, they quickly grow careless, negligent, secure in sin- 
ning, and end for the most part in atheism, or a great indif- 
ferency as unto all religion, and all the duties thereof. 


Justifying faith; the causes, object, and nature of it, declared. 

The means ofjustification on our part is faith. That we are 
justified by faith, is so frequently, and so expressly affirmed 
in the Scripture, as that it cannot directly and in terms by 
any be denied. For whereas some begin, by an excess of 
partiality, which controversial engagements and provoca- 
tions do incline them unto, to affirm that our justification is 
more frequently ascribed unto other things, graces or duties, 
than unto faith, it is to be passed by in silence, and not con- 
tended about. But yet also the explanation which some 
others make of this general concession, that we are justified 
by faith, doth as fully overthrow what is affirmed therein, as 
if it were in terms rejected. And it would more advantage 
the understandings of men, if it were plainly refused upon its 
first proposal, than to be led about in a maze of words and 
distinctions, unto its real exclusion; as is done both by the 
Romanists and Socinians. At present we may take the 
proposition as granted, and only inquire into the true ge- 
nuine sense and meaning of it. That which first occurs unto 
our consideration is faith ; and that which doth concern it 
maybe reduced unto two heads: 1. Its nature. 2. Its use 
in our justification. 


Of the nature of faith in general, of the especial nature 
of justifying faith, of its characteristical distinctions from 
that which is called faith, but is not justifying, so many dis- 
courses (divers of them the effects of sound judgment and 
good experience) are already extant, as it is altogether need- 
less to engage at large into a farther discussion of them. 
However, something must be spoken to declare in what 
sense we understand these things ; what is that faith, which 
we ascribe our justification unto, and what is its use therein. 

The distinctions that are usually made concerning faith 
(as it is a word of various significations) I shall wholly pre- 
termit ; not only as obvious and known, but as not belong- 
ing unto our present argument. That which we are con- 
cerned in is, that in the Scripture there is mention made 
plainly of a twofold faith whereby men believe the gospel. 
For there is a faith whereby we are justified, which he who 
hath shall be assuredly saved, which purifieth the heart, and 
worketh by love. And there is a faith or believing, which 
doth nothing of all this; which who hath, and hath no more, 
is not justified, nor can be saved. Wherefore, every faith, 
whereby men are said to believe, is not justifying. Thus it 
is said of Simon the magician, that he believed ; Acts viii. 13. 
When he was in the * gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity,' 
and therefore did not believe with that faith which ' purifieth 
the heart;' Acts xv. 9. And, that many * believed on the 
name of Jesus, when they saw the miracles that he did; but 
Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew 
what was in man ;' John ii. 23, 24. They did not believe on 
his name as those do, or with that kind of faith, who thereon 
'receive power to become the sons of God;' John i. 12. 
And some when they * hear the word receive it with joy, be- 
lieving for awhile,' but * have no root ;' Luke viii. 13. And 
faith without a root in the heart will not justify any. For 
' with the heart men believe unto righteousness;' Rom. x. 10. 
So is it with them who shall cry, * Lord, Lord' (at the last 
day), * we have prophesied in thy name,' whilst yet they were 
always * workers of iniquity;' Matt. vii. 22, 23. 

This faith is usually called historical faith. But this de- 
nomination is not taken from the object of it, as though it 
were only the history of the Scripture, or the historical things 
contained in it. For it respects the whole truth of the 


word, yea, of the promises of the gospel as well as other 
things. But it is so called from the nature of the assent 
wherein it doth consist. For it is such as we give unto his- 
torical things, that are credibly testified unto us. 

And this faith hath divers differences or degrees, both in 
respect unto the grounds or reasons of it ; and also its ef- 
fects. For as unto the first, all faith is an assent upon tes- 
timony; and divine faith is an assent upon a divine testi- 
mony. According as this testimony is received, so are the 
differences or degrees of this faith. Some apprehend it on 
human motives only, and their credibility unto the judgment 
of reason ; and their assent is a mere natural act of their un- 
derstanding, which is the lowest degree of this historical 
faith. Some have their minds enabled unto it by spiritual 
illumination, making a discovery of the evidences of divine 
truth whereon it is to be believed ; the assent they give hereon 
is more firm and operative than that of the former sort. 

Again, It hath its differences or degrees with respect 
unto its effects. With some it doth no way, or very little, 
influence the will or the affections, or work any change in 
the lives of men. So is it with them that profess they be- 
lieve the gospel, and yet live in all manner of sins. In this 
degree it is called by the apostle James * a dead faith,' and 
compared unto a dead carcass, without life or motion ; and 
is an assent of the very same nature and kind with that 
which devils are compelled to give. And this faith abounds 
in the world. With others it hath an effectual work upon 
the affections, ^^nd that in many degrees also, represented in 
the several sorts of ground whereinto the seed of the word 
is cast, and produceth many effects in their lives. In the 
utmost improvement of it, both as to the evidence it pro- 
ceeds from, and the effects it produceth, it is usually called 
temporary faith ; for it is neither permanent against all op- 
positions, nor will bring any unto eternal rest. The name is 
taken from that expression of our Saviour, concerning him 
who believeth with this faith, trpoaKaipog ecrri, Matt. xiii. 21. 

This faith I grant, to be true in its kind, and not merely 
to be equivocally so called ; it is not iriaTig -ipLv^wvvfjiof:; it 
is so as unto the general nature of faith ; but of the same 
special nature with justifying faith it is not. Justifying 
faith is not a higher, or the highest degree of this faith, but 


is of another kind or nature. Wherefore, sundry things may 
be observed concerning this faith in the utmost improvement 
of it, unto our present purpose. As, 

1. This faith, with all the effects of it, men may have and 
not be justified ; and if they have not a faith of another 
kind they cannot be justified. For justification is nowhere 
ascribed unto it, yea, it is affirmed by the apostle James, 
that none can be justified by it. 

2. It may produce great effects in the minds, affections, 
and lives of men, although not one of them that are peculiar 
unto justifying faith. Yet such they may be, as that those 
in whom they are wrought, may be, and ought in the judg- 
ment of charity to be, looked on as true believers. 

3. This is that faith which may be alone. We are justi- 
fied by faith alone. But we are not justified by that faith 
which can be alone. Alone, respects its influence into our 
justification, not its nature and existence. And we abso- 
lutely deny that we can be justified by that faith which can 
be alone, that is, without a principle of spiritual life and 
universal obedience, operative in all the works of it, as duty 
doth require. 

These things I have observed, only to obviate that ca- 
lumny and reproach which some endeavour to fix on the 
doctrine of justification by faith only, through the media- 
tion of Christ. For those who assert it, must be Solifidians, 
Antinomians, and I know not what ; such as oppose or deny 
the necessity of universal obedience, or good works. Most 
of them who manage it, cannot but know in their own con- 
sciences that this charge is false. But this is the way of 
handling controversies with many. They can aver any thing 
j:hat seems to advantage the cause they plead, to the great 
scandal of religion. If by Solifidians they mean, those who 
believe that faith alone is on our part, the means, instru- 
ment, or condition (of which afterward) of our justification ; 
all the prophets and apostles were so, and were so taught to 
be by Jesus Christ, as shall be proved. If they mean, those 
who affirm that the faith whereby we are justified is alone, 
separate, or separable, from a principle and the fruit of holy 
obedience, they must find them out themselves, we know 
nothing of them. For we allow no faith to be of the same 
kind or nature with that whereby we are justified, but what 


virtually and radically contains in it universal obedience, as 
the effect is in the cause, the fruit in the root, and which acts 
itself in all particular duties, according as by rule and cir- 
cumstances they are made so to be. Yea, we allow no faith 
to be justifying, or to be of the same kind with it, which is 
not itself, and in its own nature, a spiritually vital principle of 
obedience and good works. And if this be not sufficient to 
prevail with some not to seek for advantages by such shame- 
ful calumnies, yet is it so with others, to free their minds 
from any concernment in them. 

For the especial nature of justifying faith which we in- 
quire into, the things whereby it is evidenced may be re- 
duced unto these four heads: 1. The causes of it on the 
part of God. 2. What is in us previously required unto it. 
3. The proper object of it. 4. Its proper peculiar acts 
and effects. Which shall be spoken unto so far as is neces- 
sary unto our present design. 

1 . The doctrine of the causes of faith, as unto its first 
original in the divine will, and the way of its communication 
unto us, is so large, and so immixed with that of the way 
and manner of the operation of efficacious grace in conver- 
sion (which I have handled elsewhere), as that I shall not 
here insist upon it. For as it cannot in a few words be 
spoken unto, according unto its weight and worth, so to 
engage into a full handling of it, would too much divert us 
from our present argument. This I shall only say, that 
from thence it may be uncontrollably evidenced, that the 
faith whereby we are justified, is of an especial kind or na- 
ture, wherein no other faith which justification is not inse- 
parable from, doth partake with it. 

2. Wherefore, our first inquiry is concerning what was 
proposed in the second place, namely, what is on our part 
in a way of duty previously required thereunto ; or what is 
necessary to be found in us antecedaneously^ unto our be- 
lieving unto the justification of life. And I say there is sup- 
posed in them in whom this faith is wrought, on whom it is 
bestowed, and whose duty it is to believe therewith, the 
work of the law in the conviction of sin ; or conviction of 
sin is a necessary antecedent unto justifying faith. Many 
have disputed what belongs hereunto, and what effects it pro- 
duceth in the mind, that dispose the soul unto the receiving 


of the promise of the gospel. But whereas there are differ- 
ent apprehensions about these effects or concomitants of 
conviction (in compunction, humiliation, self-judging, with 
sorrow for sin committed, and the like), as also about the 
degrees of them, as ordinarily pre-required unto faith and 
conversion unto God ; I shall speak very briefly unto them, 
so far as they are inseparable from the conviction asserted. 
And I shall first consider this conviction itself, with what is 
essential thereunto, and then the effects of it in conjunction 
with that temporary faith before spoken of. I shall do so, 
not as unto their nature, the knowledge whereof I take for 
granted, but only as they have respect unto our justification. 

1. As to the first, I say, the work of conviction in general, 
whereby the soul of man hath a practical understanding of 
the nature of sin, its guilt, and the punishment due unto it, 
and is made sensible of his own interest therein, both with 
respect unto sin original and actual, with his own utter dis- 
ability to deliver himself out of the state and condition, 
wherein on the account of these things he findeth himself to 
be, is that which we affirm to be antecedaneously necessary 
unto justifying faith ; that is, in the adult, and of whose jus- 
tification the word is the external means and instrument. 

A convinced sinner is only ' subjectum capax justificatio- 
nis;' not that every one that is convinced is or must necessarily 
be justified. There is not any such disposition or prepara- 
tion of the subject by this conviction, its effects, and conse- 
quents, as that the form of justification, as the Papists speak, 
or justifying grace must necessarily ensue or be introduced 
thereon. Nor is there any such preparation in it, as that by 
virtue of any divine compact or promise, a person so con- 
vinced, shall be pardoned and justified. But as a man may 
believe with any kind of faith that is not justifying, such as 
that before-mentioned, without this conviction ; so it is or- 
dinarily previous, and necessary so to be, unto that faith 
which is unto the justification of life. The motive is not 
unto it, that thereon a man shall be assuredly justified ; but 
that without it he cannot be so. 

This, I say, is required in the person to be justified in 
order of nature antecedaneously unto that faith whereby we 
are justified, which we shall prove with the ensuing argu- 
ments. For 1. without the due consideration and suppo- 
sition of it, the true nature of faith can never be understood. 


For as we have shewed before, justification is God's way 
of the deliverance of the convinced sinner, or one whose 
mouth is stopped, and who is guilty before God, obnoxious 
to the law, and shut up under sin. A sense, therefore, of 
this estate and all that belongs unto it, is required unto be» 
lieving. Hence Le Blanc, who hath searched with some di- 
ligence into these things, commends the definition of faith 
given by Mestrezat ; that it is ' the flight of a penitent sin- 
ner unto the mercy of God in Christ/ And there is indeed 
more sense and truth in it, than in twenty other that seem 
more accurate. But without a supposition of the conviction 
mentioned, there is no understanding of this definition of 
faith. For it is that alone which puts the soul upon a flight 
unto the mercy of God in Christ, to be saved from the wrath 
to come, Heb. vi. 18. ' fled for refuge.' 

2. The order, relation, and use of the law and the gos- 
pel, do uncontrollably evince the necessity of this conviction 
previous unto believing. For that which any man hath first 
to deal withal, with respect unto his eternal condition, both 
naturally and by God's institution, is the law. This is first 
presented unto the soul, with its terms of righteousness and 
life, and with its curse in case of failure. Without this the 
gospel cannot be understood, nor the grace of it duly va- 
lued. For it is the revelation of God's way for the relieving 
the souls of men from the sentence and curse of the law ; 
Rom. i. 17. That was the nature, that was the use and end 
of the first promise, and of the whole work of God's grace 
revealed in all the, ensuing promises^ or in the whole gospel. 
Wherefore, the faith which we treat of being evangelical, 
that which in its especial nature and use, not the law but the 
gospel requireth, that which hath the gospel for its princi- 
ple, rule, and object, it is not required of us, cannot be acted 
by us, but on a supposition of the work and effect of the 
law in the conviction of sin, by giving the knowledge of it, 
a sense of its ffuilt, and the state of the sinner on the ac- 
count thereof. And that faith which hath not respect here- 
unto, we absolutely deny to be that faith whereby we are 
justified ; Gal. iii. 22—24. Rom. x. 4. 

3. This our Saviour himself directly teacheth in the 
gospel. For he calls unto him only those who are weary 
and heavily laden, affirms that the * whole have no need of 
the physician, but the sick :' and that he ' came not to call 


the righteous, but sinners to repentance/ In all which he 
intends not those who were really sinners, as all men are; for 
he makes a difference between them, offering the gospel unto 
some and not unto others, but such as were convinced of 
sin, burdened with it, and sought after deliverance. 

So those unto whom the apostle Peter proposed the pro- 
mise of the gospel, with the pardon of sin thereby, as the 
object of gospel faith, were ' pricked to the heart' upon the 
conviction of their sin, and cried, ' What shall we do?' Acts 
ii. 37 — 39. Such also was the state of the jailer, unto 
whom the apostle Paul proposed salvation by Christ, as 
what he was to believe for his deliverance ; Acts xvi. 30, 31. 

4. The state of Adam and God's dealing with him 
therein, is the best representation of the order and method 
of these things. As he was after the fall, so are we by na- 
ture in the very same state and condition. Really he was 
utterly lost by sin, and convinced he was both of the nature 
of his sin, and of the effects of it, in that act of God by the 
law on his mind, which is called the ' opening of his eyes.' 
For it was nothing but the communication unto his mind by 
his conscience of a sense of the nature, guilt, effects, and 
consequents of sin, which the law could then teach him, 
and could not do so before. This fills him with shame and 
fear ; against the former whereof he provided by fig-leaves, 
and against the latter by hiding himself among the trees of 
the garden. Nor, however they may please themselves with 
them, are any of the contrivances of men, for freedom and 
safety from sin, either wiser or more likely to have success. 
In this condition, God, by an immediate inquisition into the 
matter of fact, sharpeneth this conviction by the addition of 
his own testimony unto its truth, and casteth him actually 
under the curse of the law, in a juridical denunciation of it. 
In this lost, forlorn, hopeless condition, God proposeth the 
promise of redemption by Christ unto him. And this was 
the object of that faith whereby he was to be justified. 

Although these things are not thus eminently and dis- 
tinctly translated in the minds and consciences of all who 
are called unto believing by the gospel, yet for the sub- 
stance of them, and as to the previousness of the convic- 
tion of sin unto faith, they are found in all that sincerely 


These things are known, and for the substance of them 
generally agreed unto. But yet are they such as being 
duly considered will discover the vanity and mistakes of 
many definitions of faith that are obtruded on us. For any 
definition or description of it, which hath not express, or at 
least virtual, respect hereunto, is but a deceit, and no way 
answers tho. experience of them that truly believe. And 
such are all those who place it merely in an assent unto di- 
vine revelation, of what nature soever that assent be, and 
whatever effects are ascribed unto it. For such an assent 
there may be without any respect unto this work of the law. 
Neither do I, to speak plainly, at all value the most accurate 
disputations of any about the nature and act of justifying 
faith, who never had in themselves an experience of the 
work of the law in conviction and condemnation for sin, 
with the effects of it upon their consciences ; or do omit the 
due consideration of their own experience, wherein what 
they truly believe is better stated than in all their disputa- 
tions. That faith whereby we are justified is in general the 
acting of the soul towards God, as revealing himself in the 
gospel, for deliverance out of this state and condition, or 
from under the curse of the law applied unto the consci- 
ence, according to his mind, and by the ways that he hath 
appointed. I give not this as any definition of faith, but 
only express, what hath a necessary infliuence unto it, whence 
the nature of it may be discerned. 

2. The effects of this conviction, with their respect unto 
our justification, real or pretended, may also be briefly con- 
sidered. And whereas this conviction is a mere work of the 
law, it is not with respect unto these effects to be considered 
alone, but in conjunction with, and under the conduct of 
that temporary faith of the gospel before described. And 
these two, temporary faith and legal conviction are the prin- 
ciples of all works or duties in religion antecedent unto jus- 
tification, and which therefore we must deny to have in them 
any causality thereof. But it is granted that many acts and 
duties both internal and external, will ensue on real convic- 
tions. Those that are internal may be reduced unto three 
heads. 1. Displicency and sorrow that we have sinned. 
It is impossible that any one should be really convinced of 
sin in the way before declared, but that a dislike of sin, and 


of himself that he hath sinned, shame of it, and sorrow for 
it, will ensue thereon. And it is a sufficient evidence that 
he is not really convinced of sin, whatever he profess, or 
whatever confession he make, whose mind is not so affected ; 
Jer. xxxvi. 24. 2. Fear of punishment due to sin. For 
conviction respects not only the instructive and preceptive 
part of the law, whereby the being and nature of sin are dis- 
covered, but the sentence and curse of it also, whereby it is 
judged and condemned ; Gen. iv. 13, 14. Wherefore, where 
fear of the punishment threatened doth not ensue, no person 
m really convinced of sin ; nor hath the law had its proper 
work towards him, as it is previous unto the administration 
of the gospel. And whereas by faith we * fly from the wrath 
to come,' where there is not a sense and apprehension of that 
wrath as due unto us, there is no ground or reason for our 
believing. 3. A desire of deliverance from that state 
wherein a convinced sinner finds himself upon his convic- 
tion, is unavoidable unto him. And it is naturally the first 
thing that conviction works in the minds of men, and that 
in various degrees of care, fear, solicitude and restlessness, 
which from experience and the conduct of Scripture light, 
have been explained by many, unto the great benefit of the 
church, and sufficiently derided by others. 2. These in- 
ternal acts of the mind will also produce sundry external 
duties, which may be referred unto two heads. 1. Ab- 
stinence from known sin unto the utmost of men's power. 
For they who begin to find that it is an evil thing and a 
bitter, that they have sinned against God, cannot but endea- 
vour a future abstinence from it. And as this hath respect 
unto all the former internal acts, as causes of it, so it is a 
peculiar exurgency of the last of them, or a desire of deliver- 
ance from the state wherein such persons are. For this they 
suppose to be the best expedient for it, or at least that with- 
out which it will not be. And herein usually do their spirits 
act by promises and vows, with renewed sorrow on suirpri- 
sals into sin, which will befall them in that condition. [2.] 
The duties of religious worship, in prayer and hearing of the 
word, with diligence in the use of the ordinances of the 
church, will ensue hereon. For without these they know 
that no deliverance is to be obtained. Reformation of life 
and conversation in various degrees doth partly consist in 



these things, and partly follow upon them. And these things 
are always so, where the convictions of men are real and 

But yet it must be said, that they are neither severally 
nor jointly, though in the highest degree, either necessary 
dispositions, preparations, previous congruities in a way of 
merit, nor conditions of our justification. For, 

1. They are not conditions of justification. For where 
one thing is the condition of another, that other thing must 
follow the fulfilling of that condition ; otherwise the con- 
dition of it, it is not. But they may be all found where jus*- 
tification doth not ensue. Wherefore, there is no covenant, 
promise, or constitution of God, making them to be such 
conditions of justification, though in their own nature they 
may be subservient unto what is required of us with respect 
thereunto. But a certain infallible connexion with it by 
virtue of any promise or covenant of God (as it is with faith) 
they have not. And other condition, but what is constituted 
and made to be so by divine compact or promise, is not to be 
allowed. For otherwise conditions might be endlessly mul- 
tiplied, and all things natural as well as moral made to be so. 
So the meat we eatmay be a condition of justification. Faith 
and justification are inseparable, but so are not justification 
and the things we now insist upon, as experience doth evince. 

2. Justification may be, where the outward acts and du- 
ties mentioned, proceeding from convictions under the con- 
duct of temporary faith, are not. For Adam was justified 
without them, so also were the converts in the Acts, chap. ii. 
For what is reported concerning them is all of it essentially 
included in conviction; ver. 37. And so likewise was it 
with the jailer, Acts xvi.30, 31. and as unto many of them, 
it is so with most that do believe. Therefore they are not 
conditions. For a condition suspends the event of that 
whereof it is a condition. 

3. They are not formal dispositions unto justification ; 
because it consisteth not in the introduction of any new 
form or inherent quality in the soul, as hath been in part 
already declared, and shall yet afterward be more fully 
evinced. Nor 4. are they moral preparations for it ; for 
being antecedent unto faith evangelical, no man can have any 
design in them, but only to ^ seek for righteousness by the 


works of the law/ which is no preparation unto justification. 
All discoveries of the righteousness of God, with the soul's 
adherence unto it, belong to faith alone. There is indeed a 
repentance which accompanieth faith, and is included in the 
nature of it, at least radically. This is required unto our 
justification. But that legal repentance which precedes 
gospel faith and is without it, is neither a disposition, pre- 
paration, nor condition of our justification. 

In brief; the order of these things may be observed in 
the dealing of God with Adam, as was before intimated. 
And there are three degrees in it. 1. The opening of the 
eyes of the sinner, to see the filth and guilt of sin in the 
sentence and curse of the law applied unto his conscience ; 
Rom. vii. 9, 10. This effects in the mind of the sinner the 
things before-mentioned, and puts him upon all the duties 
that spring from them. For persons on their first convictions 
ordinarily judge no more but that their state being evil and 
dangerous, it is their duty to better it, and that they can or 
shall do so accordingly, if they apply themselves thereunto. 
But all these things, as to a protection or deliverance from 
the sentence of the law, are no better than fig-leaves and 
hiding. 2. Ordinarily God by his providence, or in the 
dispensation of the word, gives life and power unto this 
work of the law in a peculiar manner ; in answer unto the 
charge which he gave unto Adam after his attempt to hide 
himself. Hereby the 'mouth of the sinner is stopped,' and 
he becomes, as thoroughly sensible of his guilt before God, 
so satisfied that there is no relief or deliverance to be ex- 
pected from any of those ways of sorrow or duty that he 
hath put himself upon. (3.) In this condition it is a mere 
act of sovereign grace, without any respect unto these things 
foregoing, to call the sinner unto believing, or faith in the 
promise unto the justification of life. This is God's order ; 
yet so as that what proceedeth his call unto faith, hath no 
causality thereof. 

3. The next thing to be inquired into is the proper ob- 
ject of justifying faith, or of true faith, in its office, work, 
and duty, with respect unto our justification. And herein 
we must first consider what we cannot so well close withal. 
For besides other differences that seem to be about it, which 
indeed are but different explanations of the same thing for 

H 2 


the substance, there are two opinions which are looked on 
as extremes, the one in an excess, and the other in defect. 
The first is that of the Roman church, and those who comply 
with them therein. And this is, that the object of justify- 
ing faith, as such, is all divine verity, all divine revelation, 
whether written in the Scripture, or delivered by tradition 
represented unto us by the authority of the church. In the 
latter part of this description we are not at present concern- 
ed. That the whole Scripture, and all the parts of it, and 
all the truths of what sort soever they be that are contained 
in it, are equally the object of faith in the discharge of its 
office in our justification, is that which they maintain. 
Hence as to the nature of it they cannot allow it to consist 
in any thing but an assent of the mind. For supposing the 
whole Scripture, and all contained in it, laws, precepts, pro- 
mises, threatenings, stories, prophecies, and the like, to be 
the object of it, and these not as containing in them things 
good or evil unto us, but under this formal consideration as 
divinely revealed, they cannot assign or allow any other act 
of the mind to be required hereunto but assent only. And 
so confident are they herein, namely, that faith is no more 
than an assent unto divine revelation, as that Bellarmine, in 
opposition unto Calvin, who placed knowledge in the de- 
scription of justifying faith, affirms that it is better defined 
by ignorance than by knowledge. 

This description of justifying faith and its object, hath 
been so discussed, and on such evident grounds of Scripture 
and reason rejected by Protestant writers of all sorts, as that 
it is needless to insist much upon it again. Some things I 
shall observe in relation unto it, whereby we may discover 
what is of truth in what they assert, and wherein it falls short 
thereof. Neither shall I respect only them of the Roman 
church, who require no more to faith or believing, but only a 
bare assent of the mind unto divine revelations, but them 
also who place it wholly in such a firm assent as produceth 
obedience unto all divine commands. For as it doth both 
these, as both these are included in it, so unto the especial 
nature of it more is required. It is as justifying neither a 
mere assent nor any such firm degree of it, as should pro- 
duce such effects. 

1. All faith whatever is an act of that power of our souls 


in general, whereby we are able firmly to assent unto the 
truth upon testimony, in things not evident unto us by 
sense or reason. It is * the evidence of things not seen.' And 
all divine faith is in general an assent unto the truth, that is 
proposed unto us upon divine testimony. And hereby, as 
it is commonly agreed, it is distinguished from opinion and 
moral certainty on the one hand, and science or demonstra- 
tion on the other. 

2. Wherefore in justifying faith, there is an assent unto 
all divine revelation upon the testimony of God the revealer. 
By no other act of our mind, wherein this is not included 
or supposed, can we be justified; not because it is not jus- 
tifying, but because it is not faith. This assent, I say, is in- 
cluded in justifying faith. And therefore, we find it often 
spoken of in the Scripture (the instances whereof are ga- 
thered up by Bellarmine and others), with respect unto other 
things, and not restrained unto the especial promise of grace 
in Christ, which is that which they oppose. But besides, 
that in most places of that kind, the proper object of faith, 
as justifying is included and referred ultimately unto, though 
diversely expressed by some of its causes or concomitant 
adjuncts, it is granted that we believe all divine truth, with 
that very faith whereby we are justified, so as that other 
things may well be ascribed ui>to it. 

3. On these concessions, we yet say two things. I. 
That the whole nature of justifying faith doth not consist 
merely in an assent of the mind, be it never so firm and 
steadfast, nor whatever effects of obedience it may produce. 
2. That in its duty and office in justification, whence it 
hath that especial denomination, which alone we are in the 
explanation of, it doth not equally respect all divine revela- 
tion as such, but hath a peculiar object proposed unto it in 
the Scripture. And whereas both these will be immediately 
evinced in our description of the proper object and nature 
of faith, I shall, at present, oppose some few things unto 
this description of them, suflScient to manifest how alien it 
is from the truth. 

1 . This assent is an act of the understanding only. An act 
of the mind with respect unto truth evidenced unto it, be it 
of what nature it will. So we beheve the worst of things 
and the most grievous unto us, as well as the best and the 


most useful. But believing is an act of the heart, which in 
the Scripture compriseth all the faculties of the soul, as one 
entire principle of moral and spiritual duties. ' With the 
heart man believeth unto righteousness ;' Rom. x. 10. And 
it is frequently described by an act of the will, though it 
be not so alone. But without an act of the will no man can. 
believe as he ought. See John v. 40. i. 12. vi. 35. We come 
to Christ in an act of the will ; and ' let whosoever will,come.' 
And to be willing is taken for to believe ; Psal. ex. 3. and 
unbelief is disobedience; Heb. iii. 18, 19. 

2. All divine truth is equally the object of this assent. 
It respects not the especial nature or use of any one truth, 
be it of what kind it will, more than another; nor can it do 
so, since it regards only divine revelation. Hence that 
Judas was the traitor, must have as great an influence into 
our justification, as that Christ died for our sins. But how 
contrary this is unto the Scripture, the analogy of faith, and 
the experience of all that believe, needs neither declaration 
nor confirmation. 

3. This assent unto all divine revelation may be true and 
sincere, where there hath been no previous work of the law, 
nor any conviction of sin. No such thing is required there- 
unto, nor are they found in many who yet do so assent unto 
the truth. But, as we have shewed, this is necessary unto 
evangelical justifying faith; and to suppose the contrary is 
to overthrow the order and use of the law and gospel, with 
their mutual relation unto one another in subserviency unto 
the design of God in the salvation of sinners. 

4. It is not a way of seeking relief unto a convinced sin- 
ner, whose mouth is stopped, in that he is become guilty be- 
fore God. Such alone are capable subjects of justification, 
and do or can seek after it in a due manner. A mere assent 
unto divine revelation is not peculiarly suited to give such 
persons relief. For it is that which brings them into that 
condition from whence they are to be relieved. For the 
knowledge of sin is by the law. But faith is a peculiar act- 
ing of the soul for deliverance. 

5. It is no more than what the devils themselves may 
have, and have, as the apostle James affirms. For that in- 
stance of their believing one God, proves that they believe 
also whatever this one God, who is the first essential truth 


doth reveal, to be true. And it may consist with all man- 
ner of wickedness, and without any obedience ; and so 
make God a liar ; 1 John ii. 4. ^And it is no wonder if men 
deny us to be justified by faith, who know no other faith 
but this. 

6. It no way answers the descriptions that are given of 
justifying faith in the Scripture. Particularly it is by faith 
as it is justifying that we are said to receive Christ; John 
i. 12. Col. ii. 6. To ' receive the promise, the word, the 
grace of God, the atonement;' James i. 21. John iii. 33. 
Acts ii. 41. xi. 1. Rom. v. 11. Heb. xi. 17. To ' cleave unto 
God ;' Deut. iv. 4. Acts xi. 23. And so in the Old Testa- 
ment it is generally expressed by trust and hope. Now 
none of these things are contained in a mere assent unto the 
truth ; but they require other actings of the soul than what 
are peculiar unto the understanding only. 

7. It answers not the experience of them that truly be- 
lieve. This all our inquiries and arguments in this matter 
must have respect unto. For the sum of what we aim at, is 
only to discover what they do, who really believe unto the 
justification of life. It is not what notions men may have 
hereof, nor how they express their conceptions, how defen- 
sible they are against objections by accuracy of expressions 
and subtle distinctions; but only what we ourselves do, if 
we truly believe, that we inquire after. And although our 
differences about it, do argue the great imperfection of that 
state wherein we are, so as that those who truly believe 
cannot agree what they do in their so doing, which should 
give us a mutual tenderness and forbearance towards each 
other ; yet if men would attend unto their own experience 
in the application of their souls unto God, for the pardon 
of sin and righteousness to life, more than unto the notions 
which, on various occasions their minds are influenced by, 
or prepossessed withal, many diflPerences and unnecessary 
disputations about the nature of justifying faith would be 
prevented or prescinded. I deny therefore that this general 
assent unto the truth, how firm soever it be, or what effects 
in the way of duty or obedience soever it may produce, doth 
answer the experience of any one true believer, as contain- 
ing the entire actings of his soul towards God for pardon 
of sin and justification. 


8. That faith alone is justifying, which hath justification 
actually accompanying of it. For thence alone it hath 
that denomination. To suppose a man to have justifying 
faith, and not to be justified is to suppose a contradiction. 
Nor do we inquire after the nature of any other faith but that 
whereby a believer is actually justified. But it is not so 
with all them in whom this assent is found; nor will those 
that plead for it, allow that upon it alone any are immedi- 
ately justified. Wherefore it is sufficiently evident that 
there is somewhat more required unto justifying faith than 
a real assent unto all divine revelations, although we do 
give that assent by the faith whereby we are justified. 

But on the other side, it is supposed that by some the 
object of justifying faith is so much restrained, and the na- 
ture of it thereby determined unto such a peculiar acting of 
the mind, as compriseth not the whole of what is in the 
Scripture ascribed unto it. So some have said, that it is 
the pardon of our sins in particular that is the object of jus- 
tifying faith ; faith therefore they make to be a full persua- 
sion of the forgiveness of our sins through the mediation of 
Christ ; or that what Christ did and suffered as our media- 
tor, he did it for us in particular. And a particular appli- 
cation of especial mercy unto our own souls and consci- 
ences is hereby made the essence of faith. Or to believe 
that our own sins are forgiven, seems hereby to be the first 
and most proper act of justifying faith. Hence it would 
follow, that whosoever doth not believe, or hath not a firm 
persuasion of the forgiveness of his own sins in particular, 
hath no saving faith, is no true believer; which is by no 
means to be admitted. And if any have been or are of this 
opinion, I fear that they were in the asserting of it, neglective 
of their own experience ; or it may be rather, that they 
knew not how in their experience, all the other actings of 
of faith, wherein its essence doth consist, were included in 
this persuasion, which in an especial manner they aimed at; 
whereof we shall speak afterward. And there is no doubt 
unto me, but that this which they propose, faith is suited 
unto, aimeth at, and doth ordinarily effect in true believers, 
who improve it, and grow in its exercise in a due manner. 

Many great divines at the first reformation, did (as the 
Lutherans generally yet do) thus make the mercy of God 


in Christ, and thereby the forgiveness of our own sins, to 
be the proper object of justifying faith, as such; whose es- 
sence therefore they placed in a fiducial trust in the grace 
of God by Christ declared in the promises, -with a certain 
unwavering application of them unto ourselves. And I say 
with some confidence, that those who endeavour not to at- 
tain hereunto, either understand not the nature of believing^ 
or are very neglective both of the grace of God, and of their 
own peace. 

That which inclined those great and holy persons so to 
express themselves in this matter, and to place the essence 
of faith in the highest acting of it (wherein yet they always 
included and supposed its other acts), was the state of the 
consciences of men with whom they had to do. Their con- 
test in this article with the Roman church, was about the 
way and means whereby the consciences of convinced 
troubled sinners might come to rest and peace with God. 
For at that time they were no otherwise instructed, but that 
these things were to be obtained, not only by works of 
righteousness which men did themselves, in obedience unto 
the commands of God, but also by the strict observance of 
many inventions of what they called the church ; with an 
ascription of a strange efficacy to the same ends, unto mis- 
satical sacrifices, sacramentals, absolutions, penances, pil- 
grimages, and other the like superstitions. Hereby they 
observed that the consciences of men were kept in perpetual 
disquietments, perplexities, fears and bondage, exclusive of 
that rest, assurance, and peace with God through the blood 
of Christ, which the gospel proclaims and tenders. And 
when the leaders of the people in that church had observed 
this, that indeed the ways and means which they proposed 
and presented, would never bring the souls of men to rest, 
nor give them the least assurance of the pardon of sins, 
they made it a part of their doctrine, that the belief of the 
pardon of our own sins, and assurance of the love of God 
in Christ, were false and pernicious. For what should they 
else do, when they knew well enough, that in their way, 
and by their propositions, they were not to be attained ? 
Hence the principal controversy in this matter, which the 
reformed divines had with those of the church of Rome was 


this, whether there be according unto, and by the gospel, 
a state of rest and assured peace with God to be attained 
in this life. And having all advantages imaginable for the 
proof hereof, from the very nature, use, and end of the gos- 
pel, from the grace, love, and design of God in Christ, from 
the efficacy of his mediation in his oblation and intercession, 
they assigned these things to be the especial object of jus- 
tifying faith, and that faith itself to be a fiduciary trust in 
the especial grace and mercy of God, through the blood of 
Christ, as proposed in the promises of the gospel. That 
is, they directed the souls of men to seek for peace with 
God, the pardon of sin, and a right unto the heavenly in- 
heritance, by placing their sole trust and confidence in the 
mercy of God by Christ alone. But yet withal I never read 
any of them (I know not what others have done), who af- 
firmed that every true and sincere believer always had a 
full assurance of the especial love of God in Christ, or of 
the pardon of his own sins ; though they plead that this the 
Scripture requires of them in a way of duty, and that this 
they ought to aim at the attainment of. 

And these things I shall leave as I find them, unto the 
use of the church. For I shall not contend with any about 
the way and manner of expressing the truth, where the sub- 
stance of it is retained. That which in these thino-s is 
aimed at, is the advancement and glory of the grace of God 
in Christ, with the conduct of the souls of men unto rest 
and peace with him. Where this is attained or aimed at, 
and that in the way of truth for the substance of it, variety 
of apprehensions and expressions concerning the same 
things, may tend unto the useful exercise of the faith and 
edification of the church. Wherefore, neither opposing nor 
rejecting what hath been delivered by others as their judg- 
ments herein, I shall propose my own thoughts concerning 
it ; not without some hopes that they may tend to commu- 
nicate light in the knowledge of the thing itself inquired 
into, and the reconciliation of some differences about it 
amongst learned and holy men. I say, therefore, that the 
Lord Jesus Christ himself, as the ordinance of God in his 
work of mediation, for the recovery and salvation of lost 
sinners, and as unto that end proposed in the promise of the 


gospel, is the adequate proper object of justifying faith, or 
of saving faith in its work and duty with respect unto our 

The reason why I thus state the object of justifying faith, 
is because it completely answers all that is ascribed unto it 
in the Scripture, and all that the nature of it doth require. 
What belongs unto it as faith in general is here supposed ; 
and what is peculiar unto it as justifying is fully expressed. 
And a few things will serve for the explication of the thesis 
which shall afterward be confirmed. 

1. The Lord Jesus Christ himself is asserted to be the 
proper object of justifying faith. For so it is required in all 
those testimonies of Scripture where that faith is declared 
to be our believing in him, on his name, our receiving of 
him, or looking unto him, whereunto the promise of justi- 
fication and eternal life is annexed ; whereof afterward. See 
John i. 12. iii. 16. 36. vi. 29. 47. vii. 38. xv. 25. Acts x. 41. 
xiii. 38, 39. xvi. 31. xxvi. 18, &c. 

2. He is not proposed as the object of our faith unto the 
justification of life absolutely, but as the ordinance of God, 
even the Father, unto that end, who therefore also is the im- 
mediate object of faith as justifying; in what respects we 
shall declare immediately. So justification is frequently as- 
cribed unto faith as peculiarly acted on him, John v. 24. 
' He that believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting 
life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from 
death into life.^ And herein is comprised that grace, love, 
and favour of God, which is the principal moving cause of our 
justification, Rom. iii. 23, 24. Add hereunto John vi. 29. and 
the object of faith is complete. * This is the work of God, 
that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.^ God the Father 
as sending, and the Son as sent, that is, Jesus Christ in the 
work of his mediation, as the ordinance of God for the re- 
covery and salvation of lost sinners, is the object of our 
faith. Seel Pet.i. 21. 

3. That he may be the object of our faith whose general 
nature consisteth in assent, and which is the foundation of 
all its other acts, he is proposed in the promises of the 
gospel, which I therefore place as concurring unto its com- 
plete object. Yet do I not herein consider the promises 
merely as peculiar divine revelations, in which sense they 


belong unto the formal object of faith ; but as they contain, 
propose, and exhibit Christ as the ordinance of God, and the 
benefits of his mediation unto them that do believe. There 
is an especial assent unto the promises of the gospel, wherein 
some place the nature and essence of justifying faith, or of 
faith in its work and duty with respect unto our justification. 
And so they make the promises of the gospel to be the 
proper object of it. And it cannot be, but that in the 
actings of justifying faith there is a peculiar assent unto 
them. Howbeit this being only an act of the mind, neither 
the whole nature, nor the whole work of faith can consist 
therein. Wherefore, so far as the promises concur to the 
complete object of faith, they are considered materially also, 
namely, as they contain, propose, and exhibit Christ unto 
believers. And in that sense are they frequently affirmed 
in the Scripture to be the object of our faith unto the justi- 
fication of life ; Acts ii. 39. xxvi. 6. Rom. iv. 16. 20. xv. 8. 
Gal.iii. 16. 18. Heb. iv. 1. vi. 13. viii. 6. x. 36. 

4. The end for which the Lord Christ in the work of his 
mediation is the ordinance of God, and as such proposed in 
the promises of the gospel, namely, the recovery and salva- 
tion of lost sinners, belongs unto the object of faith as jus- 
tifying. Hence the forgiveness of sin, and eternal life, are 
proposed in the Scripture as things that are to be believed 
unto justification, or as the object of our faith ; Matt. ix. 2. 
Acts ii. 38, 39. v. 31. xxvi. 18. Rom. iii. 25. iv. 7, 8. Col. 
ii. 13. Tit. i.2. &c. And whereas the just is to live by his 
faith, and every one is to believe for himself, or make an 
application of the things believed unto his own behoof, some 
from hence have affirmed the pardon of our own sins,, and 
our own salvation to be the proper object of faith; and 
indeed it doth belong thereunto, when in the way and order 
of God and the gospel^ we can attain unto it ; 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4. 
Gal. ii.20. Eph. i. 6, 7. 

Wherefore, asserting the Lord Jesus Christ in the work 
of his mediation to be the object of faith unto justification, 
I include therein the grace of God which is the cause, the 
pardon of sin which is the effect, and the promises of the 
gospel, which are the means of communicating Christ and 
the benefit of his mediation unto us. 

And all these things are so united, so intermixed in 


their mutual relations and respects, so concatenated in the 
purpose of God, and the declaration made of his will in the 
gospel, as that the beheving of any one of them doth vir- 
tually include the belief of the rest. And by whom any one 
of them is disbelieved, they frustrate and make void all the 
rest, and so faith itself. 

The due consideration of these things solveth all the dif- 
ficulties that arise about the nature of faith, either from the 
Scripture, or from the experience of them that believe, with 
respect unto its object. Many things in the Scripture are 
we said to believe with it and by it, and that unto justi- 
fication. But two things are hence evident: 1. That no 
one of them can be asserted to be the complete adequate 
object of our faith. 2. That none of them are so abso- 
lutely, but as they relate unto the Lord Christ, as the or- 
dinance of God for our justification and salvation. 

And this answereth the experience of all that do truly 
believe. For these things being united and made insepa- 
rable in the constitution of God, all of them are virtually 
included in every one of them. 1. Some fix their faith 
and trust principally on the grace, love, and mercy of God ; 
especially they did so under the Old Testament, before the 
clear revelation of Christ and his mediation. So did the 
psalmist, Psal. cxxx. 34. xxxiii. 18, 19. And the publican, 
Luke xviii. 13. And these are in places of the Scripture in- 
numerable proposed as the causes of our justification. See 
Rom. iii. 24. Eph. ii. 4—8. Tit. iii. 5— 7. But this they do 
not absolutely, but with respect unto the ' redemption that 
is in the blood of Christ ;' Dan. ix. 17. Nor doth the Scripture 
any where propose them unto us, but under that consider- 
ation. See Rom. iii. 24,25. Eph. i. 6 — 8. For this is the cause, 
way, and means of the communication of that grace, love, 
and mercy unto us. 2. Some place and fix them princi- 
pally on the Lord Christ, his mediation, and the benefits 
thereof. This the apostle Paul proposeth frequently unto 
us in his own example. See Gal. ii. 20. Phil. iii. 8 — 10. 
But this they do not absolutely, but with respect unto the 
grace and love of God, whence it is that they are given and 
communicated unto us, Rom. viii. 32. John iii. 16. Eph. i. 
6 — 8. Nor are they otherwise any where proposed unto us 
in the Scripture as the object of our faith unto justification. 


3. Some in a peculiar manner fix their souls in believing 
on the promises. And this is exemplified in the instance of 
Abraham, Gen. xv. 16. Rom. iv. 20. And so are they pro- 
posed in the Scripture as the object of our faith. Acts ii. 39. 
Rom. iv. 16. Heb. iv. 1, 2. vi. 12, 13. But this they do not 
merely as they are divine revelations, but as they contain 
and propose unto us the Lord Christ and the benefits of 
his mediation, from the grace, love, and mercy of God. 
Hence the apostle disputes at large in his Epistle unto the 
Galatians, that if justification be any v^ay but by the pro- 
mise, both the grace of God, and the death of Christ are 
evacuated and made of none effect. And the reason is, be- 
cause the promise is nothing but the way and means of the 
communication of them unto us. 4. Some fix their faith 
on the things themselves which they aim at ; namely, the 
pardon of sin and eternal life. And these also in the Scrip- 
ture are proposed unto us as the object of our faith, or that 
which we are to believe unto justification ; Psal. cxxx. 4. 
Acts xxvi. 18. Tit. i. 2. But this is to be done in its proper 
order, especially as unto the application of them unto our 
own souls. For we are nowhere required to believe them, 
or our own interest in them, but as they are effects of grace, 
and love of God, through Christ and his mediation, proposed 
in the promises of the gospel. Wherefore, the belief of 
them is included in the belief of these, and is in order of 
nature antecedent thereunto. And the belief of the forgive- 
ness of sins, and eternal life, without the due exercise of 
faith in those causes of them, is but presumption. 

I have therefore given the entire object of faith as jus- 
tifying, or in its work and duty with respect unto our jus- 
tification, in compliance with the testimonies of the Scrip- 
ture, and the experience of them that believe. 

Allowing therefore their proper place unto the promises, 
and unto the effect of all in the pardon of sins and eternal 
life ; that which I shall farther confirm is, that the Lord 
Christ, in the work of his mediation, as the ordinance of 
God for the recovery and salvation of lost sinners, is the 
proper adequate object of justifying faith. And the true 
nature of evangelical faith consisteth in the respect of the 
heart (which we shall immediately describe) unto the love, 
grace, and wisdom of God, with the mediation of Christ, in 


his obedience, with the sacrifice, satisfaction, and atone- 
ment for sin which he made by his blood. These things 
are impiously opposed by some as inconsistent. For the 
second head of the Socinian impiety is, that the grace of 
God, and satisfaction of Christ are opposite and inconsist- 
ent, so as that if we allow of the one we must deny the other. 
But as these things are so proposed in the Scripture, as that 
without granting them both, neither can be believed ; so faith, 
which respects them as subordinate, namely, the mediation 
of Christ unto the grace of God, that fixeth itself on the Lord 
Christ and that redemption which is in his blood, as the or- 
dinance of God, the effect of his wisdom, grace, and love, 
finds rest in both, and in nothing else. 

For the proof of the assertion I need not labour in it; it 
being not only abundantly declared in the Scripture, but 
that which contains in it a principal part of the design and 
substance of the gospel. I shall therefore only refer unto 
some of the places wherein it is taught, or the testimonies 
that are given unto it. 

The whole is expressed in that place of the apostle where- 
in the doctrine of justification is most eminently proposed 
unto us ; Rom. iii. 24, 25. ' Being justified freely by his 
grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus ; whom 
God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his 
blood ; to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.' 
Whereunto we may add Eph. i. 6, 7. * He hath made us ac- 
cepted in the beloved, in whom we have redemption through 
his blood, according to the riches of his grace.' That 
whereby we are justified is the especial object of our faith 
unto justification. But this is the Lord Christ in the work 
of his mediation. For we are justified by the redemption 
that is in Jesus Christ ; for in him we have redemption 
through his blood, even the forgiveness of sin. Christ as a 
propitiation is the cause of our justification, and the object 
of our faith, or we attain it by faith in his blood. But this 
is so under this formal consideration, as he is the ordinance 
of God for that end, appointed, given, proposed, set forth 
from and by the grace, wisdom, and love of God. God set 
him forth to be a propitiation. He makes us accepted in 
the beloved. We have redemption in his blood, according 
to the riches of his grace, whereby he makes us accepted in 


the beloved. And herein he * abounds towards us in all wis- 
dom ;' Eph. i. 8. This therefore is that which the gospel 
proposeth unto us, as the especial object of our faith unto 
the justification of life. 

But we may also in the same manner confirm the several 
parts of the assertion distinctly. 

1. The Lord Jesus Christ, as proposed in the promise of 
the gospel, is the peculiar object of faith unto justification. 
There are three sorts of testimonies whereby this is con- 

1. Those wherein it is positively asserted ; as Acts x. 
41. *To him give all the prophets witness, that through his 
name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive the remission 
of sins.* Christ believed in as the means and cause of the 
remission of sins, is that which all the prophets give witness 
unto. Acts xvi. 31. * Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and 
thou shalt be saved.' It is the answer of the apostles unto 
the jailer's inquiry; * Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' 
His duty in believing, and the object of it, the Lord Jesus 
Christ, is what they return thereunto. Acts iv. 12. 'Neither 
is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name 
under heaven given unto men whereby we must be saved.' 
That which is proposed unto us as the only way and means 
of our justification and salvation, and that in opposition 
unto all other ways, is the object of faith unto our justifica- 
tion ; but this is Christ alone, exclusively unto all other 
things. This is testified unto by Moses and the prophets ; 
the design of the whole Scripture being to direct the faith 
Df the church unto the Lord Christ alone, for life and sal- 
vation ; Luke xxiv. 25 — 27. 

2. All those wherein justifying faith is affirmed to be 
our believing in him, or believing on his name, which are 
multiplied. John i. 12. ' He gave power to them to become 
the sons of God, who believed on his name;' chap. iii. 16. 
'That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but 
have everlasting life.' Ver. 36. * He that believeth on the Son 
hath everlasting life.' Chap. vi. 29. ^ This is the work of God 
that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.' Ver. 47. 'He that 
believeth on me hath everlasting life.' Chap, vi.38. 'He that 
believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living 
water.' So chap, ix.35— 37.xi.25. Actsxxvi. 18. ^ That they 


may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them 
that are sanctified, by faith that is in me/ 1 Pet. ii. 6, 7. In all 
which places, and many other, we are not only directed to 
place and affix our faith on him, but the effect of justifica- 
tion is ascribed thereunto. So expressly. Acts xiii. 38, 39. 
which is what we design to prove. 

(3.) Those which give us such a description of the acts of 
faith, as make him the direct and proper object of it. Such 
are they wherein it is called 'a receiving of him.' John i. 
12. 'To as many as received him.' Col. ii. 6. 'As you have 
received Christ Jesus the Lord.' That which we receive by 
faith is the proper object of it. And it is represented by 
their looking unto the brazen serpent, when it was lifted up, 
who were stung by fiery serpents ; John iii. 14, 15. xii. 32. 
Faith is that act of the soul whereby convinced sinners, 
ready otherwise to perish, do look unto Christ as he was 
made a propitiation for their sins ; and who so do ' shall not 
perish but have everlasting life.' He is therefore the object 
of our faith. 

2. He is so as he is the ordinance of God unto this end, 
which consideration is not to be separated from our faith 
in him. And this also is confirmed by several sorts of tes- 

1. All those wherein the loveand grace of God are pro- 
posed as the only cause of giving Jesus Christ to be the way 
and means of our recovery and salvation ; whence they be- 
come, or God in them, the supreme efficient cause of our 
justification. John iii. 16. 'God so loved the world that he 
gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him, 
should not perish, but have everlasting life.' So Rom. v. 8. 
1 John iv. 9, 10. ' Being justified freely by his grace, through 
the redemption that is in Christ ;' Rom. iii. 23. Eph. i. 6 — 8. 
This the Lord Christ directs our faith unto continually, re- 
ferring all unto him that sent him, and whose will he came 
to do ; Heb. x. 5. 

2. All those wherein God is said to set forth and propose 
Christ, and to make him be for us, and unto us, what he is 
so, unto the justification of life. Rom. iii. 25. * Whom God 
hath proposed to be a propitiation.' 1 Cor. i. 30. * Who of 
God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanc- 
tification, and redem.ption.' 2 Cor. v. 21. 'He hath made 



him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be 
made the righteousness of God in him.' Acts v. 35, &,c. 
Wherefore, in the acting of faith in Christ unto justification^. 
we can no otherwise consider him but as the ordinance of 
God to that end ; he brings nothing unto us, does nothing 
for us, but what God appointed, designed, and made him to 
be. And this must diligently be considered, that by our re- 
gard by faith unto the blood, the sacrifice, the satisfaction 
of Christ, we take off nothing from the free grace, favour, 
and love of God. 

3. All those wherein the wisdom of God, in the contriv- 
ance of this way of justification and salvation is proposed 
unto us. Eph. i. 7, 8. * In whom we have redemption 
through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the 
riches of his grace, wherein he hath abounded towards us in 
all wisdom and understanding.' See chap.iii. 10, 11. 1 Cor: 
i. 24. 

The whole is comprised in that of the apostle ; * God was 
in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing 
their trespasses unto them ;' 2 Cor. v. 19. All that is done 
in our reconciliation unto God, as unto the pardon of our 
sins, and acceptance with him unto life, was by the presence 
of God in his grace, wisdom, and power in Christ, designing 
and effecting of it. 

Wherefore, the Lord Christ proposed in the promise of 
the gospel as the object of our faith unto the justification 
of life, is considered as the ordinance of God unto that end. 
Hence the love, the grace, and the wisdom of God, in the 
sending and giving of him, are comprised in that object ; 
and not only the actings of God in Christ towards us, but 
all his actings towards the person of Christ himself unto 
the same end belong thereunto. So as unto his death, God 
* set him forth to be a propitiation;' Rom. iii.24.He 'spared 
him not, but delivered him up for us all ;' Rom. viii. 32. And 
therein * laid all our sins upon him ;' Isa. liii. 6. So he was 
'raised for our justification ;' Rom. iv. 25. And our faith is 
in God who 'raised him from the dead ;' Rom. x. 9. And in 
his exaltation, Acts v. 31. Which things complete 'the re- 
cord that God hath given of his Son;' 1 John v. 10—12. 

The whole is confirmed by the exercise of faith in prayer, 
which is the soul's application of itself unto God for the 


participation of the benefits of the mediation of Christ. And 
it is called our' access through him unto the Father ;* Eph. ii. 
18. our coming through him ' unto the throne of grace, that 
we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need ;* 
Heb. iv. 15, 16. and through him, as both a high-priest and 
sacrifice; Heb. x. 19—21. So do we 'bow our knees unto 
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;' Eph. iii. 14. This an- 
swereth the experience of all who know what it is to pray. 
We come therein in the name of Christ, by him, through his 
mediation, unto God even the Father, to be through his 
grace, love, and mercy, made partakers of what he hath de- 
signed and promised to communicate unto poor sinners by 
him. And this represents the complete object of our faith. 
The due consideration of these thinps will reconcile and 
reduce into a perfect harmony, whatever is spoken in the 
Scripture concerning the object of justifying faith, or what 
we are said to believe therewith. For whereas this is af- 
firmed of sundry things distinctly, they can none of them 
be supposed to be the entire adequate object of faith. But 
consider them all in their relation unto Christ, and they have 
all of them their proper place therein ; namely, the grace of 
God, which is the cause ; the pardon of sin, which is the 
effect ; and the promises of the gospel, which are the means 
of communicating the Lord Christ and the benefits of his 
mediation unto us. 

The reader may be pleased to take notice that I do in 
this place not only neglect, but despise the late attempt of 
some, to wrest all things of this nature spoken of the person 
and mediation of Christ unto the doctrine of the gospel, 
exclusively unto them ; and that not only as what is noi- 
some and impious in itself, but as that also which hath not 
yet been endeavoured to be proved, with any appearance of 
learning, argument, or sobriety. 

I 2 



The nature of justifying faith. 

That which we shall now inquire into, is the nature of jus- 
tifying faith ; or of faith in that act and exercise of it, 
whereby we are justified, or whereon justification, according 
unto God's ordination and promise doth ensue. And the 
reader is desired to take along with him a supposition of 
those things which we have already ascribed unto it, as it is 
sincere faith in general ; as also of what is required pre- 
viously thereunto, as unto its especial nature, work, and 
duty in our justification. For we do deny that ordinarily, 
and according unto the method of God's proceeding with 
us declared in the Scripture, wherein the rule of our duty 
is prescribed, that any one doth, or can, truly believe with 
faith unto justification, in whom the work of conviction be- 
fore described, hath not been wrought. All descriptions 
or definitions of faith that have not a respect thereunto, are 
but vain speculations. And hence some do give us such 
definitions of faith, as it is hard to conceive, that they ever 
asked of themselves, what they do in their believing on 
Jesus Christ for life and salvation. 

The nature of justifying faith, with respect unto that 
exercise of it whereby we are justified, consisteth in the 
heart's approbation of the way of justification and salva- 
tion of sinners, by Jesus Christ, proposed in the gospel, as 
proceeding from the grace, wisdom, and love of God, with 
its acquiescency therein, as unto its own concernment and 

There needs no more for the explanation of this declara- 
tion of the nature of faith, than what we have before proved 
concerning its object; and what may seem wanting there- 
unto, will be fully supplied in the ensuing confirmation of it. 
The Lord Christ, and his mediation, as the ordinance of 
God for the recovery, life, and salvation of sinners, is sup- 
posed as the object of this faith. And they are all consi- 
dered as an effect of the wisdom, grace, authority, and love 
of God, with all their actings in, and towards, the Lord 


Christ himself, in his susception and discharge of his office. 
Hereunto he constantly refers all that he did and suffered, 
with all the benefits redounding unto the church thereby. 
Hence, as we observed before, sometimes the grace, or love, 
or especial mercy of God, sometimes his actings in or to- 
wards the Lord Christ himself, in sending him, giving him 
up unto death, and raising him from the dead, are proposed 
as the object of our faith unto justification. But they are 
so always with respect unto his obedience and the atone- 
ment that he made for sin. Neither are they so altogether 
absolutely considered, but as proposed in the promises of 
the gospel. Hence, a sincere assent unto the divine vera- 
city in those promises, is included in this approbation. 

What belongs unto the confirmation of this description 
of faith shall be reduced unto these four heads: 1. The 
declaration of its contrary, or the nature of privative unbe- 
lief upon the proposal of the gospel. For these things do 
mutually illustrate one another. 2. The declaration of the 
design and end of God, in and by the gospel. 3. The na- 
ture of faith's compliance with that design, or its actings with 
respect thereunto. 4. The order, method, and way of be- 
lieving, as declared in the Scripture. 

1. The gospel is the revelation or declaration of that 
way of justification and salvation for sinners by Jesus Christ, 
which God, in infinite wisdom, love, and grace, hath pre- 
pared. And upon a supposition of the reception thereof, it 
is accompanied with precepts of obedience, and promises of 
rewards. Therein the righteousness of God, that which he 
requires, accepts, and approves unto salvation, * is revealed 
from faith unto faith;' Rom. i. 17. This is the record of 
God therein ' that he hath given unto us eternal life, and this 
life is in his Son ;' 1 John v. 10. So John iii. 14—17. The 
words of this life ; Acts v. 20. all the counsel of God ; 
Acts XX. 27. Wherefore, in the dispensation or preaching 
of the gospel, this way of salvation is proposed unto sinners, 
as the great effect of divine wisdom and grace. Unbelief is 
the rejection, neglect, non-admission, or disapprobation of 
it, on the terms whereon, and for the ends for which, it is so 
proposed. The unbelief of the Pharisees, upon the prepa- 
ratory preaching of John the Baptist, is called the * rejecting 
of the counsel of God against themselves,' that is, unto their 


own ruin ; Luke vii. 30. ' They would none of my counsel/ 
is an expression to the same purpose ; Prov. i. 30. so is, the 
neglecting this 'great salvation;' Heb. ii. 3. not giving it 
that admission which the excellency of it doth require. A 
disallowing of Christ ; the stone ov airtdoKiiJiacTav ol oUodo- 
fiovvreg, 1 Pet. ii. 7. The * builders disapproved of,' as not 
meet for that place and work whereunto it was designed ; 
Acts iv. 14. This is unbelief; to disapprove of Christ, 
and the w^ay of salvation by him, as not answering divine 
wisdom, nor suited unto the end designed. So is it de- 
scribed by the refusing or not receiving of him, all to the 
same purpose. 

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

1. Most of those who rejected the gospel by their unbe- 
lief, did it under this notion, that the way of salvation and 
blessedness proposed therein, was not a way answering di- 
vine goodness and power, such as they might safely confide 
in and trust unto. This the apostle declares at large, 
1 Cor. i. so he expresseth it, ver. 23, 24. ' We preach Christ 
crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the 
Greeks foolishness ; but unto them that are called, both 
Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom 
of God.' That which they declared unto them in the 
preaching of the gospel was, that 'Christ died for our sins, 
according to the Scripture ;' chap. xv. 3. Herein they pro- 
posed him as the ordinance of God, as the great effect of his 
wisdom and power for the salvation of sinners. But as unto 
those who continued in their unbelief, they rejected it as 
any such way, esteeming it both weakness and folly. And 
therefore, he describeth the faith of them that are called, by 
their approbation of the wisdom and power of God herein. 
The want of a comprehension of the glory of God in this 
way of salvation, rejecting it thereon, is that unbelief which 
ruins the souls of men ; 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. 

So is it with all that continue unbelievers under the pro- 
posal of the object of faith in the preaching of the gospel. 
They may give an assent unto the truth of it, so far as it is 
a mere act of the mind ; at least they find not themselves 


concerned to reject it. Yea, they may assent unto it with 
that temporary faith which we described before, and per- 
form many duties of religion thereon. Yet do they mani- 
fest, that they are not sincere believers, that they do not 
believe with the heart unto righteousness, by many things 
that are irreconcilable unto, and inconsistent with, justify- 
ing faith. The inquiry therefore is, wherein the unbelief of 
such persons on the account whereof they perish, doth 
consist, and what is the formal nature of it. It is not, as 
was said, in the want of an assent unto the truths of the 
doctrine of the gospel ; for from such an assent, are they 
said, in many places of the Scripture to believe, as hath 
been proved. And this assent may be so firm, and by va- 
rious means so radicated in their minds, as that in testi- 
mony unto it they may give their bodies to be burned ; as 
men also may do in the confirmation of a false persuasion. 
Nor is it the want of an especial fiduciary application of the 
promises of the gospel unto themselves, and the belief of 
the pardon of their own sins in particular. For this is not 
proposed unto them in the first preaching of the gospel, as 
that which they are first to believe ; and there may be a be- 
lieving unto righteousness, where this is not attained ; Isa. 
1. 10. This will evidence faith not to be true, but it is not 
formal unbelief. Nor is it the want of obedience unto the 
precepts of the gospel in duties of holiness and righteous- 
ness. For these commands as formally given in and by the 
gospel, belong only unto them that truly believe, and are 
justified thereon. That therefore which is required unto 
evangelical faith, wherein the nature of it doth consist, as it 
is the foundation of all future obedience, is the heart's ap- 
probation of the way of life and salvation by Jesus Christ, 
proposed unto it as the effect of the infinite wisdom, love, 
grace, and goodness of God ; and as that which is suited 
unto all the wants and whole design of guilty convinced 
sinners. This such persons have not, and in the want there- 
of consists the formal nature of unbelief. For without this, 
no man is, or can be, influenced by the gospel unto a relin- 
quishment of sin, or encouraged unto obedience, whatever 
they may do on other grounds and motives that are foreign 
unto the grace of it. And wherever this cordial sincere ap- 
probation of the way of salvation by Jesus Christ, proposed 


in the gospel doth prevail, it will infallibly produce both 
repentance and obedience. 

If the mind and heart of a convinced sinner (for of such 
alone we treat) be able spiritually to discern the wisdom, 
love, and grace of God in this way of salvation, and be 
under the power of that persuasion, he hath the ground of 
repentance and obedience which is given by the gospel. 
The receiving of Christ mentioned in the Scripture, and 
whereby the nature of faith in its exercise is expressed, I 
refer unto the latter part of the description given concerning 
the soul's acquiescency in God, by the way proposed. 

Again, some there were at first, and such still continue 
to be, who rejected not this way absolutely, and in the no- 
tion of it, but comparatively, as reduced to practice, and so 
perished in their unbelief. They judged the way of their 
own righteousness to be better, as that which might be more 
safely trusted unto, as more according unto the mind of God 
and unto his glory. So did the Jews generally, the frame 
of whose minds the apostle represents, Rom. x. 3, 4. And 
many of them assented unto the doctrine of the gospel in 
general as true, howbeit they liked it not in their hearts as 
the best way of justification and salvation, but sought for 
them by the works of the law. 

Wherefore unbelief, in its formal nature, consists in the 
want of a spiritual discerning, and approbation of the way 
of salvation by Jesus Christ, as an effect of the infinite wis- 
dom, goodness, and love of God. For where these are, the 
soul of a convinced sinner cannot but embrace it, and ad- 
here unto it. Hence also all acquiescency in this way, and 
trust and confidence in committing the soul unto it, or unto 
God in it, and by it, without which whatever is pretended 
of believing, is but a shadow of faith, is impossible unto 
such persons. For they want the foundation whereon alone 
they can be built. And the consideration hereof doth suffi- 
ciently manifest wherein the nature of true evangelical faith 
doth consist. 

2. The design of God in and by the gospel, with the 
work and office of faith with respect thereunto, farther con- 
firms the description given of it. That which God designeth 
herein in the first place, is not the justification and salvation 
of sinners. His utmost complete end in all his counsels, is 


his own glory ; he doth all things for himself, nor can he 
who is infinite do otherwise. But in an especial manner he 
expresseth this concerning this way of salvation by Jesus 

Particularly, he designed herein the glory of his righte- 
ousness. * To declare his righteousness ;' Rom. iii. 25. Of 
his love ; ' God so loved the world ;' John iii. 16. 'Herein 
we perceive the love of God, that he laid down his life for 
us;' 1 John iii. 16. Of his grace; ' accepted to the praise 
of the glory of his grace ;' Eph. i. 5, 6. Of his wisdom ; 
* Christ crucified, the wisdom of God ;' 1 Cor. i. 24. ' Might 
be known by the church, the manifold wisdom of God ;' 
Eph. iii. 10. Of his power; ' it is the power of God unto 
salvation;' Rom. i. 16. Of his faithfulness; Rom. iv. 16. 
For God designed herein, not only the reparation of all that 
glory, whose declaration was impeached and obscured by 
the entrance of sin, but also a farther exaltation and more 
eminent manifestation of it, as unto the degrees of its ex- 
altation, and some especial instances before concealed ; 
Eph. iii. 9. And all this is called the ' glory of God in 
the face of Jesus Christ,' whereof faith is the beholding ; 
2 Cor. iv. 6. 

3. This being the principal design of God in the way of 
justification and salvation by Christ proposed in the gospel ; 
that which on our part is required unto a participation of 
the benefits of it, is the ascription of that glory unto God 
which he designs so to exalt. The acknowledgment of all 
these glorious properties of the divine nature, as mani- 
fested in the provision and proposition of this way of life, 
righteousness, and salvation, with an approbation of the way 
itself as an effect of them, and that which is safely to be 
trusted unto, is that which is required of us ; and this is 
faith or believing. * Being strong in faith, he gave glory 
to God ;' Rom. iv. 22. And this is in the nature of the 
weakest degree of sincere faith. And no other grace, work, 
or duty, is suited hereunto, or firstly and directly of that 
tendency, but only consequentially and in the way of gra- 
titude. And although I cannot wholly assent unto him 
who affirms that faith in the epistles of Paul, is nothing 
but, * existimatio magnifice sentiens de Dei potentia, jus- 
titia, bonitate, et si quid promiserit in eo prsestando con- 


stantia ;' because it is too general, and not limited unto the 
way of salvation by Christ, his * elect in whom he will be 
glorified ;* yet hath it much of the nature of faith in it. 
Wherefore, I say, that hence we may both learn the nature 
of faith, and whence it is that faith alone is required unto 
our justification. The reason of it is, because this is that 
grace or duty alone, whereby we do or can give unto God 
that glory which he designeth to manifest and exalt in and 
by Jesus Christ. This only faith is suited unto, and this 
it is to believe. Faith, in the sense we inquire after, is the 
heart's approbation of, and consent unto, the way of life and 
salvation of sinners by Jesus Christ, as that wherein the 
glory of the righteousness, wisdom, grace, love, and mercy 
of God is exalted, the praise whereof it ascribes unto him, 
and resteth in it, as unto the ends of it, namely, justifica- 
tion, life and salvation. It is to give 'glory to God ;' Rom. 
iv. 20. to 'behold his glory as in a glass,' or the gospel 
wherein it is represented unto us ; 2 Cor. iii. 18. To have 
in our hearts ' the light of the knowledge of the glory of 
God in the face of Jesus Christ ;* 2 Cor. iv. 6. The con- 
trary whereunto makes God a liar, and thereby despoileth 
him of the glory of all those holy properties, which he this 
way designed to manifest; 1 John v. 10. 

And, if I mistake not, this is that which the experience 
of them that truly believe, when they are out of the heats 
of disputation, will give testimony unto. 

4. To understand the nature of justifying faith aright, 
or the act and exercise of saving faith in order unto our 
justification, which are properly inquired after, we must 
consider the order of it; first the things which are necessa- 
rily previous thereunto, and then what it is to believe with 
respect unto them. As, 

1. The state of a convinced sinner ; who is the only 
' subjectum capax justificationis.' This hath been spoken 
unto already ; and the necessity of its precedency unto the 
orderly proposal and receiving of evangelical righteousness 
unto justification, demonstrated. If we lose a respect here- 
unto, we lose our best guide towards the discovery of the 
nature -of faith. Let no man think to understand the gospel, 
who knoweth nothing of the law. God's constitution, and 
the nature of the things themselves, have given the law the 


precedency with respect unto sinners ; ' for by the law is 
the knowledge of sin.' And gospel faith is the soul's acting 
according to the mind of God for deliverance from that 
state and condition, which it is cast under by the law. And 
all those descriptions of faith which abound in the writings 
of learned men, whicli do not at least include in them a vir- 
tual respect unto this state and condition, or the work of 
the law on the consciences of sinners, are all of them vain 
speculations. There is nothing in this whole doctrine, that 
I will more firmly adhere unto, than the necessity of the 
convictions mentioned previous unto true believing, without 
which not one line of it can be understood aright, and men 
do but beat the air in their contentions about it. See Rom. 
iii. 21—24. 

2. We suppose herein a sincere assent unto all divine 
revelations, whereof the promises of grace and mercy by 
Christ are an especial part. This Paul supposed in Agrippa 
when he would have won him over unto faith in Christ 
Jesus. * King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets ? I 
know that thou believest ;' Acts xxvi. 27. And this assent 
which respects the promises of the gospel, not as they con- 
tain, propose, and exhibit the Lord Christ and the benefits 
of his mediation unto us, but as divine revelations of infal- 
lible truth, is true and sincere in its kind, as we described 
it before under the notion of temporary faith. But as it 
proceeds no farther, as it includes no act of the will or heart, 
it is not that faith whereby we are justified. However, it is 
required thereunto, and is included therein. 

3. The proposal of the gospel according unto the mind 
of God is hereunto supposed. That is, that it be preached 
according unto God's appointment. For not only the gospel 
itself, but the dispensation or preaching of it in the ministry 
of the church, is ordinarily required unto believing. This 
the apostle asserts, and proves the necessity of it at large, 
Rom. X. 11 — 17. Herein the Lord Christ and his mediation 
with God, the only way and means for the justification and 
salvation of lost convinced sinners, as the product and effect 
of divine wisdom, love, grace, and righteousness, is re- 
vealed, declared, proposed, and offered unto such sinners. 
*For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith 
unto faith;' Rom. i. 17. The glcvry of God is represented 


as in a glass ; 2 Cor. iii. 18. and ' life and immortality are 
brought to light through the gospel ;' 2 Tim. i. 10. Heb. ii. 3. 

4. The persons who are required to believe, and whose 
immediate duty it is so to do, are such who really in their 
own consciences are brought unto, and do make the inqui- 
ries mentioned in the Scripture ; ' What shall we do ? What 
shall we do to be saved ? How shall we fly from the wrath 
to come ? AVherewithal shall we appear before God ? How 
shall we answer what is laid unto our charge V Or such as 
being sensible of the guilt of sin, do seek for a righteous- 
ness in the sight of God; Acts ii. 38. xvi. 30, 31. Micah 
vi. 6, 7. Isa. XXXV. 4. Heb. vi. 18. 

On these suppositions the command and direction given 
unto men being, * believe, and you shall be saved,' the in- 
quiry is, what is that act or work of faith, whereby we may 
obtain a real interest or propriety in the promises of the 
gospel, and the things declared in them unto their j ustifi- 
cation before God. 

And, l.It is evident from what hath been discoursed, 
that it doth not consist in, that it is not to be fully expressed 
by, any one single habit or act of the mind or will distinctly 
whatever. For there are such descriptions given of it in 
the Scripture, such things are proposed as the object of it, 
and such is the experience of all that sincerely believe, as 
no one single act, either of the mind or will, can answer 
unto. Nor can an exact method of those acts of the soul 
which are concurrent therein be prescribed. Only what is 
essential unto it is manifest. 

2. That which in order of nature seems to have the pre- 
cedency, is the assent of the mind unto that which the 
psalmist betakes himself unto, in the first place for relief, 
under a sense of sin and trouble ; Psal. cxxx. 3, 4. * If thou. 
Lord, shouldest mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall stand V 
The sentence of the law and judgment of conscience lie 
against him as unto any acceptation with God. Therefore, 
he despairs in himself, of standing in judgment, or being 
acquitted before him. In this state, that which the soul 
first fixeth on as unto its relief is, that * there is forgiveness 
with God.' This as declared in the gospel, is that God in 
his love and grace will pardon and justify guilty sinners 


through the blood and mediation of Christ. So it is pro- 
posed, Rom. iii. 23, 24. The assent of the mind hereunto 
as proposed in the promise of the gospel, is the root of 
faith, the foundation of all that the soul doth in believing. 
Nor is there any evangelical faith without it. But yet con- 
sider it abstractedly as a mere act of the mind, the essence 
and nature of justifying faith doth not consist solely therein, 
though it cannot be without it. But, 

2. This is accompanied in sincere believing with an ap- 
probation of the way of deliverance and salvation proposed, 
as an effect of divine grace, wisdom, and love, whereon the 
heart doth rest in it, and apply itself unto it, according to 
the mind of God. This is that faith whereby we are justi- 
fied ; which I shall farther evince by shewing what is in- 
cluded in it, and inseparable from it. 

1. It includeth in it a sincere renunciation of all other 
ways and means for the attaining of righteousness, life and 
salvation. This is essential unto faith. Acts iv. 12. Hos. 
xiv. 2, 3. Jer. iii. 23. Psal. Ixxi. 16. * I will make mention 
of thy righteousness, of thine only.' When a person is in 
the condition before described, (and such alone are called im- 
mediately to believe ; Matt. ix. 13. xi. 28. 1 Tim. i. 15.) 
many things will present themselves unto him for his relief; 
particularly his own righteousness ; Rom. x. 3. A renuncia- 
tion of them all as unto any hope or expectation of relief 
from them, belongs unto sincere believing; Isa. 1. 10, 11. 

2. There is in it the will's consent, whereby the soul be- 
takes itself cordially and sincerely, as unto all its expecta- 
tion of pardon of sin and righteousness before God, unto 
the way of salvation proposed in the gospel. This is that 
which is called ' coming unto Christ,' and ' receiving of him,' 
whereby true justifying faith is so often expressed in the 
Scripture ; or as it is peculiarly called * believing in him,' or 
'believing on his name.' The whole is expressed, John 
xiv. 6. ' Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and 
the life : no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.' 

3. An acquiescency of the heart in God, as the author 
and principal cause of the way of salvation prepared ; as 
acting in a way of sovereign grace and mercy towards sin- 
ners ; * Who by him do believe in God, who raised him up 
from the dead, and gave him glory ; that your faith and hope 


might be in God ;' 1 Pet. i. 21. The heart of a sinner doth 
herein give unto God the glory of all those holy properties 
of his nature which he designed to manifest in and by Jesus 
Christ. See Isa. xlii. 1. xlix. 3. And thisacquiescency of the 
heart in God, is that which is the immediate root of that 
waiting, patience, long-suffering, and hope, which are the 
proper acts and effects of justifying faith; Heb. vi. 12. 15. 
18, 19. 

4. Trust in God, or the grace and mercy of God in and 
through the Lord Christ as set forth to be a propitiation 
through faith in his blood, doth belong hereunto, or neces- 
sarily ensue hereon. For the person called unto believing, 
is 1. convinced of sin, and exposed unto wrath. 2. Hath no- 
thing else to trust unto for help and relief. 3. Doth actually 
renounce all other things that tender themselves unto that 
end ; and therefore, without some act of trust the soul must 
lie under actual despair, which is utterly inconsistent with 
faith, or the choice and approbation of the way of salvation 
before described. 

5. The most frequent declaration of the nature of faith in the 
Scripture, especially in the Old Testament, is by this trust, and 
that because it is that act of it which composeth the soul, and 
brings it unto all the rest it can attain. For all our rest in this 
world is from trust in God. And the especial object of this 
trust, so far as it belongs unto the nature of that faith where- 
by we are justified, is 'God in Christ reconciling the world 
unto himself.' For this is respected where his goodness, his 
mercy, his grace, his name, his faithfulness, his power, are 
expressed, or any of them, as that which it doth immediately 
rely upon. For they are no way the object of our trust, nor 
can be, but on the account of the covenant which is con- 
firmed and ratified in and by the blood of Christ alone. 

Whether this trust or confidence shall be esteemed of 
the essence of faith, or as that which on the first-fruit and 
working of it we are found in the exercise of, we need not 
positively determine. I place it therefore as that which be- 
longs unto justifying faith, and is inseparable from it. For 
if all we have spoken before concerning faith, may be com- 
prised under the notion of a firm assent and persuasion, yet 
it cannot be so, if any such assent be conceivable exclusive 
of this trust. 


This trust is that whereof many divines do make special 
mercy to be the peculiar object; and that especial mercy to 
be such as to include in it the pardon of our own sins. This 
by their adversaries is fiercely opposed, and that on such 
grounds as manifest that they do not believe that there is 
any such state attainable in this life ; and that if there were, 
it would not be of any use unto us, but rather be a means of 
security and negligence in our duty ; wherein they betray 
hov/ great is the ignorance of these things in their own 
minds. But mercy may be said to be especial two ways. 
1. In itself, and in opposition unto common mercy. 2. With 
respect unto him that believes. In the first sense espe- 
cial mercy is the object of faith as justifying. For no 
more is intended by it, but the grace of God setting forth 
Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood ; Rom. 
iii. 23, 24. And faith in this especial mercy, is that which 
the apostle calls our ' receiving of the atonement ;' Rom. 
V. 11. That is our approbation of it, and adherence unto it, 
as the great effect of divine wisdom, goodness, faithfulness, 
love, and grace, which will therefore never fail to them who 
put their trust in it. In the latter sense it is looked on as 
the pardon of our own sins in particular, the especial mercy 
of God unto our souls. That this is the object of justifying 
faith, that a man is bound to believe this in order of nature 
antecedent unto his justification, I do deny; neither yet do 
I know of any testimony or safe experience whereby it may 
be confirmed. But yet for any to deny that an undeceiving 
belief hereof is to be attained in this life ; or that it is our 
duty to believe the pardon of our own sins, and the especial 
love of God in Christ, in the order and method of our duty 
and privileges, limited and determined in the gospel, so as 
to come to the full assurance of them (though I will not 
deny but that peace with God which is inseparable from 
justification may be without them), seem not to be much ac- 
quainted with the design of God in the gospel, the efficacy 
of the sacrifice of Christ, the nature and work of faith or 
their own duty, nor the professed experience of believers 
recorded in the Scripture. See Rom. v. 1 — 5. Heb. x. 2. 10. 
xxi. 20. Psal. xlvi. 1, 2. cxxxviii. 7, 8, &c. Yet it is granted 
that all these things are rather fruits or effects of faith, as 


under exercise and improvement, than of the essence of it, 
as it is the instmment in our justification. 

And the trust before mentioned, which is either essential 
to justifying faith, or inseparable from it, is excellently ex- 
pressed by Bernard, De Evangel. Ser. 3. * Tria consideroin 
quibus tota mea spes consistit ; charitatem adoptionis, ve- 
ritatem promissionis, potestatem redditionis. Murmuret 
jam quantum voluerit, insipiens cogitatio mea, dicens Quis 
enim es tu, et quanta est ilia gloria, quibusve meritis banc 
obtinere speras? et ego fiducialiter respondebo, Scio cui 
credidi, et certus sum quia in charitate adoptavit me, quia 
verax in promissione, quia potens in exhibitione ; licet enim 
ei facere quod voluerit. Hie est funiculus triplex, qui diffi- 
culter rumpiter, quern nobis ex patria nostra in banc terram 
usque demissum, firmiter obsecro teneamus, et ipse nos 
sublevet, ipse nos trahat et pertrahat usque ad conspectum 
gloriae magni Dei, qui est benedictus in secula.' 

Concerning this faith and trust it is earnestly pleaded 
by many, that obedience is included in it. But as to the 
way and manner thereof they variously express themselves. 
Socinus, and those who follow him absolutely, do make obe- 
dience to be the essential form of faith, which is denied by 
Episcopius. The Papists distinguish between faith in- 
formed and faith formed by charity, which comes to the same 
purpose. For both are built on this supposition, that there 
may be true evangelical faith, that which is required as our 
duty, and consequently is accepted of God, that may contain 
all in it which is comprised in the name and duty of faith, that 
may be without charity or obedience, and so be useless. For 
the Socinians do not make obedience to be the essence of 
faith absolutely, but as it justifieth. And so they plead 
unto this purpose, that 'faith without works is dead.' But to 
suppose that a dead faith, or that faith which is dead, is that 
faith which is required of us in the gospel in the way of 
duty, is a monstrous imagination. Others plead for obedi- 
ence, charity, the love of God, to be included in the nature 
of faith; but plead not directly that this obedience is the 
form of faith, but that which belongs unto the perfection of 
it, as it is justifying. Neither yet do they say that by this 
obedience, a continued course of works and obedience, as 


though that were necessary unto our first justification, is 
required ; but only a sincere active purpose of obedience ; 
and thereon, as the manner of our days is, load them with 
reproaches who are otherwise minded, if they knew who 
they were. For how impossible it is according unto their 
principles who believe justification by faith alone, that jus- 
tifying faith should be without a sincere purpose of heart to 
obey God in all things, I shall briefly declare. For 1. 
They believe that faith is ' not of ourselves, it is the gift of 
God ;' yea, that it is a grace wrought in the hearts of men 
by the exceeding greatness of his power. And to suppose 
such a grace dead, inactive, unfruitful, not operative unto 
the great end of the glory of God, and the transforming of 
the souls of them that receive it into his image, is a reflec- 
tion on the wisdom, goodness, and love of God himself. 
2. That this grace is in them a principle of spiritual life ; 
which in the habit of it as resident in the heart, is not really 
distinguished from that of all other grace whereby we live 
to God. So that there should be faith habitually in the 
heart, I mean that evangelical faith we inquire after, or ac- 
tually exercised, where there is not a habit of all other 
graces, is utterly impossible. Neither is it possible that 
there should be any exercise of this faith unto justification, 
but where the mind is prepared, disposed, and determined 
unto universal obedience. And therefore 3. It is denied, 
that any faith, trust, or confidence, which may be imagined, 
so as to be absolutely separable from, and have its whole 
nature consistent with, the absence of all other graces, is 
that faith which is the especial gift of God, and which in 
the gospel is required of us in a way of duty. And whereas 
some have said, that * men may believe, and place their 
firm trust in Christ for life and salvation, and yet not be 
justified ;' it is a position so destructive unto the gospel, and 
so full of scandal unto all pious souls, an<i contains such an 
express denial of the record that God hath given concerning 
his Son Jesus Christ, as I wonder that any person of so- 
briety and learning should be surprised unto it. And where- 
as they plead the experience of multitudes who profess this 
firm faith and confidence in Christ, and yet are not justified ; 
it is true indeed, but nothing unto their purpose. For what- 
ever they profess, not only, not one of them do so in the 



sight and judgment of God, where this matter is to be tried; 
but it is no difficult matter to evict them of the folly and 
falseness of this profession, by the light and rule of the gos- 
pel, even in their own consciences, if they would attend 
unto instruction. 

Wherefore, we say, the faith whereby we are justified is 
such as is not found in any but those who are made par- 
takers of the Holy Ghost, and by him united unto Christ, 
whose nature is renewed, and in whom there is a principle 
of all grace and purpose of obedience. Only we say it is 
not any other grace, as charity and the like, nor any obedi- 
ence that gives life and form unto this faith ; but it is this 
faith that gives life and efficacy unto all other graces, and 
form unto all evangelical obedience. Neither doth any 
thing hence accrue unto our adversaries, who would have 
all those graces which are in their root and principle at 
least, present in all that are to be justified, to have the same 
influence unto our justification as faith hath; or that we 
are said to be justified by faith alone, and in explication of 
it in answer unto the reproaches of the Romanists, do say 
we are justified by faith alone, but not by that faith which 
is alone, that we intend by faith, all other graces and obe- 
dience also. For besides that, the nature of no other grace 
is capable of that office which is assigned unto faith in our 
justification, nor can be assumed into a society in operation 
with it, namely, to receive Christ, and the promises of life 
by him, and to give glory unto God on their account ; so 
when they can give us any testimony of Scripture assigning 
our justification unto any other grace, or all graces together, 
or all the fruits of them, so as it is assigned unto faith, they 
shall be attended unto. 

And this in particular is to be affirmed of repentance, 
concerning which it is most vehemently urged, that it is of 
the same necessity unto our justification as faith is. For 
this they say is easily proved from testimonies of Scripture 
innumerable, which call all men to repentance that will be 
saved ; especially those two eminent places are insisted on. 
Acts ii. 38, 39. iii. 16. but that which they have to prove, is 
not that it is of the same necessity with Faith unto them that 
are to be justified, but that it is of the same use with faith 
in their justification. Baptism in that place of the apostle. 



Acts ii. 38, 39. is joined with faith no less than repentance. 
And in other places it is expressly put into the same condi- 
tion. Hence most of the ancients concluded that it was no 
less necessary unto salvation than faith or repentance itself. 
Yet never did any of them assign it the same use in justifi- 
cation with faith. But it is pleaded, whatever is a necessary 
condition of the new covenant is also a necessary condition 
of justification. For otherwise a man might be justified, 
and continuing in his justified estate not be saved, for want 
of that necessary condition. For by a necessary condition 
of the new covenant, they understand that, without which a 
man cannot be saved. But of this nature is repentance as 
well as faith, and so is equally a condition of our justifica- 
tion. The ambiguity of the signification of the word condi- 
tion, doth cast much disorder on the present inquiry, in the 
discourses of some men. But to pass it by at present, I 
say final perseverance is a necessary condition of the new 
covenant ; wherefore, by this rule it is also of justification. 
They say, some things are conditions absolutely, such as are 
faith and repentance, and a purpose of obedience; some are 
so on some supposition only, namely, that a man's life be 
continued in this world, such is a course in obedience and 
good works, and perseverance unto the end. Wherefore I 
say then, that on supposition that a man lives in this world, 
perseverance unto the end is a necessary condition of his 
justification. And if so, no man can be justified whilst he 
is in this world. For a condition doth suspend that whereof 
it is a condition from existence, until it be accomplished. 
It is then to no purpose to dispute any longer about justi- 
fication, if indeed no man is nor can be justified in this 
life. But how contrary this is to Scripture and experience, 
is known. 

If it be said, that final perseverance, which is so express 
a condition of salvation in the new covenant, is not indeed 
the condition of our first justification, but it is the condition 
of the continuation of our justification ; then they yield up 
their grand position, that whatever is a necessary condition 
of the new covenant, is a necessary condition of justifica- 
tion ; for it is that which they call the first justification 
alone which we treat about. And that the continuation of 
our justification depends solely on the same causes with our 



justification itself, shall be afterward declared. But it is 
not yet proved, nor ever will be, that whatever is required 
in them that are to be justified, is a condition whereon their 
justification is immediately suspended. We allow that alone 
to be a condition of justification, which hath an influence of 
causality thereunto, though it be but the causality of an in- 
strument. This we ascribe unto faith alone. And because 
we do so, it is pleaded that we ascribe more in our justifica- 
tion unto ourselves than they do by whom we are opposed. 
For we ascribe the efficiency of an instrument herein unto 
our own faith; when they say only that it is a condition, or 
* causa sine qua non,' of our justification. But I judge that 
grave and wise men ought not to give so much to the de- 
fence of the cause they have undertaken, seeing they cannot 
but know indeed the contrary. For after they have given 
the specious name of a condition, and a * causa sine qua 
non,' unto faith, they immediately take all other graces and 
works of obedience into the same state with it, and the same 
use in justification ; and after this seeming gold hath been 
cast for awhile into the fire of disputation, there comes out 
the calf of a personal inherent righteousness, whereby men 
are justified before God, * virtute foederis Evangelici ;* for 
as for the righteousness of Christ to be imputed unto us, 
it is gone into heaven, and they know not what is become 
of it. 

Having given this brief declaration of the nature of jus- 
tifying faith, and the acts of it (as I suppose sufficient unto 
my present design), I shall not trouble myself to give an ac- 
curate definition of it. What are my thoughts concerning 
it, w^ill be better understood by what hath been spoken, than 
by any precise definition I can give. And the truth is, de- 
finitions of justifying faith have been so multiplied by learned 
men, and in so great variety, and such a manifest inconsis- 
tency among some of them, that they have been of no ad- 
vantage unto the truth, but occasions of new controversies 
and divisions, whilst every one hath laboured to defend the 
accuracy of his own definition, when yet it may be diflScult 
for a true believer to find any thing compliant with his own 
experience in them ; which kind of definitions in these 
things, I have no esteem for. I know no man that hath la- 
boured in this argument about the nature of faith more than 


Doctor Jackson ; yet when he hath done all, he gives us a 
definition of justifying faith which I know few that will 
subscribe unto ; yet is it in the main scope of it both pious 
and sound. For he tells us; ' Here at length we may define 
the faith by which the just do live, to be a firm and constant 
adherence unto the mercies and loving-kindness of the Lord ; 
or generally unto the spiritual food exhibited in his sacred 
word, as much better than this life itself, and all the con- 
tentments it is capable of, grounded on a taste or relish of 
their sweetness, wrought in the soul or heart of a man by 
the Spirit of Christ.' Whereunto he adds, ' The terms for 
the most part are the prophet David's, not metaphorical as 
some may fancy, much less equivocal, but proper and ho- 
mogeneal to the subject defined ;' torn. 1. book iv. chap. 9. 
For the lively scriptural expressions of faith, by receiving 
of Christ, leaning on him, rolling ourselves or our burden 
on him, tasting how gracious the Lord is, and the like, which 
of late have been reproached, yea, blasphemed by many, I 
may have occasion to speak of them afterward ; as also to 
manifest that they convey a better understanding of the na- 
ture, work, and object of justifying faith, unto the minds of 
men spiritually enlightened, than the most accurate defini- 
tions that many pretend unto ; some whereof are destruc- 
tive and exclusive of them all. 

CHAP. in. 

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

The description before given of justifying faith doth suffi- 
ciently manifest of what use it is in justification. Nor shall 
I in general add much unto what may be thence observed 
unto that purpose. But whereas this use of it hath been 
expressed with some variety, and several ways of it asserted 
inconsistent with one another, they must be considered in 
our passage. And I shall do it with all brevity possible ; 
for these things lead not in any part of the controversy 
about the nature of justification, but are merely subservient 


unto Other conceptions concerning it. When men have 
fixed their apprehensions about the principal matters in con- 
troversy, they express what concerneth the use of faith in an 
accommodation thereunto. Supposing such to be the na- 
ture of justification as they assert, it must be granted that 
the use of faith therein, must be what they plead for. And 
if what is peculiar unto any in the substance of the doctrine 
be disproved, they cannot deny but that their notions about 
the use of faith do fall unto the ground. Thus is it with all 
who affirm faith to be either the instrument, or the condition, 
or the * causa sine qua non,' or the preparation and disposi- 
tion of the subject, or a meritorious cause by way of con- 
decency or congruity, in and of our justification. For all 
these notions of the use of faith are suited and accommo- 
dated unto the opinions of men concerning the nature and 
principal causes of justification. Neither can any trial or 
determination be made, as unto their truth and propriety, 
but upon a previous judgment concerning those causes, and 
the whole nature of justification itself. Whereas, therefore, 
it were vain and endless to plead the principal matter in 
controversy upon every thing that occasionally belongs unto 
it ; and so by the title unto the whole inheritance on every 
cottage that is built on the premises; I shall briefly speak 
unto these various conceptions about the use of faith in our 
justification, rather to find out and give an understanding 
of what is intended by them, than to argue about their truth 
and propriety, which depends on that wherein the substance 
of the controversy doth consist. 

Protestant divines, until of late, have unanimously af- 
firmed faith to be the instrumental cause of our justification. 
So it is expressed to be, in many of the public confessions of 
their churches. This notion of theirs concerning the nature 
and use of faith, was from the first opposed by those of the 
Roman church. Afterward it was denied also by the So- 
cinians, as either false or improper. Socin. Miscellan. 
Smalcius adv. Frantz. disput. 4. Schlichting. adver. Meisner. 
de Justificat. And of late this expression is disliked by 
some among ourselves ; wherein they follow Episcopius, 
Curcellseus, and others of that way. Those who are sober 
and moderate, do rather decline this notion and expression 
as improper, than reject them as untrue. And our safest 


course in these cases is to consider what is the thing or mat- 
ter intended. If that be agreed upon, he deserves best of 
truth, who parts with strife about propriety of expressions, 
before it be meddled with. Tenacious pleading about them 
will surely render our contentions endless ; and none will 
ever want an appearance of probability to give them counte- 
nance in what they pretend. If our design in teaching be 
the same with that of the Scripture, namely, to inform the 
minds of believers, and convey the light of the knowledge 
of God in Christ unto them, we must be contented some- 
times to make use of such expressions, as will scarce pass 
the ordeal of arbitrary rules and distinctions, through the 
whole compass of notional and artificial sciences. And those 
who without more ado reject the instrumentality of faith in 
our justification as an unscriptural notion, as though it were 
easy for them with one breath to blow away the reasons and 
arguments of so many learned men as have pleaded for it, 
may not, I think, do amiss to review the grounds of their con- 
fidence. For the question being only concerning what is 
intended by it, it is not enough that the term or word itself, 
of an instrument, is not found unto this purpose in the 
Scripture. For on the same ground we may reject a trinity 
of persons in the divine essence, without an acknowledg- 
ment whereof, not one line of the Scripture can be rightly 

Those who assert faith to be as the instrumental cause 
in our justification, do it with respect unto two ends. For 
first, they design thereby to declare the meaning of those ex- 
pressions in the Scripture, wherein we are said to be justi- 
fied, TTioTff, ' absolutely,^ which must denote, either *instru- 
mentum, aut formam, aut modum actionis.' Xoyit^ofiEOa ovv 
7ri(Tr£t ^LKaiovaOai avOpijjTroVf Rom. iii. 28. ' Therefore we con- 
clude that a man is justified by faith.' So dia iriareaig, 
ver. 22. Ik wiaTetjg, Rom. i. 17, Gal. iii. 8. dia rfjc Tricrreuyg, 
Eph. ii. 8. k iriarewg icai dia rrig tt/otcwc? Rom. iii. 22, 30. 
That is ' fide ; ex fide, per fidem ;' which we can express 
only by faith or through faith. ' Propter fidem,' or ^la 
7rL<7Tiv, for our faith, we are nowhere said to be justified. 
The inquiry is, what is the most proper, lightsome, and con- 
venient way of declaring the meaning of these expressions. 
This the generality of Protestants do j udge to be by an in- 


Btrumental cause. For some kind of causality they do 
plainly intimate, whereof the lowest and meanest is that 
which is instrumental. For they are used of faith in our 
justification before God, and of no other grace or duty what- 
ever. Wherefore, the proper work or office of faith in our 
justification is intended by them. And dia is nowhere used 
in the whole New Testament with a genitive case (nor in 
any other good author), but it denotes an instrumental effi- 
ciency at least. In the divine works of the holy Trinity, the 
operation of the second person, who is in them a principal 
efficient, yet is sometimes expressed thereby ; it may be to 
denote the order of operation in the holy Trinity answering 
the order of subsistence, though it be applied unto God ab- 
solutely or the Father ; Rom. xi. 35. Si avrov, * by him are 
all things.' Again, l^ tpywv vofxov, and k irhTeioQ are di- 
rectly opposed ; Gal. iii. 2. But when it is said that a man 
is * not justified,' a? ipyu)v vofxov, *by the works of the law/ 
it is acknowledged by all, that the meaning of the expression 
is to exclude all efficiency in every kind of such works from 
our justification. It follows, therefore, that where in oppo- 
sition hereunto, we are said to be justified Ik TriaTitog, *by 
faith / an instrumental efficiency is intended. Yet will I 
not, therefore, make it my controversy with any, that faith 
is properly an instrument, or the instrumental cause in or of 
our justification ; and so divert into an impertinent contest 
about the nature and kinds of instruments and instrumental 
causes, as they are metaphysically hunted with a confused 
cry of futilous terms and distinctions. But this I judge, 
that among all those notions of things which may be taken 
from common use and understanding, to represent unto our 
minds the meaning and intention of the scriptural expres- 
sions so often used, irifTTu, Ik TriaTetjg, dia niaTEtog, there is 
none so proper as this of an instrument or instrumental cause, 
seeing a causality is included in them, and that of any other 
kind certainly excluded; nor hath it any of its own. 

But it may be said, that if faith be the instrumental 
cause of justification ; it is either the instrument of God, or 
the instrument of believers themselves. That it is not the 
instrument of God, is plain, in that it is a duty which he 
prescribeth unto us ; it is an act of our own ; and it is we 
that believe, not God ; nor qan any act of ours be the in- 


strument ot his work. And if it be our instrument, seeing 
an efficiency is ascribed unto it, then are we the efficient 
causes of our own justification in some sense, and may be 
said to justify ourselves, which is derogatory to the grace of 
God, and the blood of Christ. 

I confess that I lay not much weight on exceptions of 
this nature. For 1. notwithstanding what is said herein, 
the Scripture is express, that * God justifieth us by faith.' 
It is one ' God which shall j ustify the circumcision' Ik irhrawg 
(by faith), and ' the uncircumcision,' Smrrjc tticttcwc, ' through' 
or 'by faith ;' Rom. iii. 30. The * Scripture foreseeing that 
God would justify the heathen through faith ;' Gal. iii. 8. 
As he ' purifieth the hearts of men by faith ;' Acts xv. 9. 
Wherefore, faith in some sense may be said to be the instru- 
ment of God in our justification ; both as it is the means and 
way ordained and appointed by him on our part whereby we 
shall be justified, as also because he bestoweth it on us, and 
works it in us unto this end that we may be justified; for 
* by grace we are saved, through faith, and that not of our- 
selves, it is the gift of God ;' Eph. iii. 8, If any one shall 
now say, that on these accounts, or with respect unto divine 
ordination and operation concurring unto our justification, 
that faith is the instrument of God in its place and way (as 
the gospel also is, Rom. i. 16. and the ministers of it, 2 Cor. 
V. 18. 1 Tim. iv. 6. and the sacraments also, Rom. iv. 11. 
Tit. iii. 5. in their several places and kinds), unto our justi- 
fication, it may be he will contribute unto a right concep- 
tion of the work of God herein, as much as those shall by 
whom it is denied. 

But that which is principally intended is, that it is the 
instrument of them that do believe. Neither yet are they 
said hereon to justify themselves. For whereas it doth nei- 
ther really produce the effect of justification by a physical 
operation, nor can do so, it being a pure sovereign act of 
God ; nor is morally any way meritorious thereof; nor doth 
dispose the subject wherein it is unto the introduction of an 
inherent fotmal cause of justification, there being no such 
thing in * rerum natura ;' nor hath any other physical or moral 
respect unto the effect of justification, but what ariseth 
merely from the constitution and appointment of God, there 
is no colour of reason, from the instrumentality of faith as- 


serted, to ascribe the effect of justification unto any, but 
unto the principal efficient cause, which is God alone, 
and from whom it proceedeth in a way of free and sove- 
reign grace, disposing the order of things, and the relation 
of them one unto another, as seemeth good unto him. 
ALKaiovfJitvoL ^wpmv, rij avTOv xapiTi, Rom. iii. 24. dia tTiq 
iriaTHDQ fv rt^ rov Xptarov atjuart, ver. 25. It is, therefore 
the ordinance of God prescribing our duty, that we may 
be justified freely by his grace, having its use and ope- 
ration towards that end after the manner of an instrument, 
as we shall see farther immediately. Wherefore, so far 
as 1 can discern, they contribute nothing unto the real un- 
derstanding of this truth, who deny faith to be the instru- 
mental cause of our justification, and on other grounds as- 
sert it to be the condition thereof, unless they can prove 
that this is a more natural exposition of those expressions, 
iriaruy k tticttewc, Sta Tr\Q iricTTewg, which is the first thing to 
be inquired after. For all that we do in this matter is but 
to endeavour a right understanding of Scripture propositions 
and expressions, unless we intend to wander * extra oleas,'and 
lose ourselves in a maze of uncertain conjectures. 

2. They designed to declare the use of faith in justi- 
fication, expressed in the Scripture by apprehending and 
receiving of Christ, or his righteousness, and remission of 
sins thereby. The words whereby this use of faith in our 
justification is expressed, are Xajifdavw, irapaXafjijSava), and 
KaraXajujSavw. And the constant use of them in the Scrip- 
ture, is to take or receive what is offered, tendered, given, or 
granted unto us ; or to apprehend and lay hold of any thing 
thereby to make it our own ; as f7rtXajuj3avojum is also used 
in the same sense, Heb. ii. 16. So we are said by faith to 
* receive Christ,' John i. 12. Col. ii. 6. The ' abundance of 
grace and the gift of righteousness;' Rom. v. 17. 'The 
word of promise;' Acts ii. 41. 'The word of God;' Acts 
viii. 14. 1 Thess. i. 6. ii. 13. The 'atonement made by 
the blood of Christ ;' Rom. v. 1 1 . The ' forgiveness of sins ;' 
Acts x. 43. xxvi. 18. The 'promise of the Spirit;' Gal. iii. 
14. The 'promises;' Heb. ix. 15. There is therefore no- 
thing that concurreth unto our justification, but we receive 
it by faith. And unbelief is expressed by 'not receiving;' 
John i. 11. iii. 11. xii. 48. xiv. 17. Wherefore, the object 


of faith in our justification, that whereby we are justified, is 
tendered, granted, and given unto us of God, the use of faith 
being to lay hold upon it, to receive it, so as that it may be 
our own. What we receive of outward things that are so 
given unto us, we do it by our hand, which therefore is the 
instrument of that reception, that whereby we apprehend, or 
lay hold of, any thing to appropriate it unto ourselves ; and 
that because this is the peculiar office, which by nature it is 
assigned unto among all the members of the body. Other 
uses it hath, and other members on other accounts may be 
as useful unto the body as it ; but it alone is the instrument 
of receiving and apprehending that, which being given, is to 
be made our own and to abide with us. Whereas, therefore, 
the righteousness wherewith we are justified is the gift of 
God, which is tendered unto us in the promise of the gospel ; 
the use and office of faith being to receive, apprehend, or 
or lay hold of, and appropriate this righteousness, I know 
not how it can be better expressed than by an instrument, 
nor by what notion of it more light of understanding may 
be conveyed unto our minds. Some may suppose other no- 
tions are meet to express it by on other accounts ; and it 
may be so with respect unto other uses of it. But the sole 
present inquiry is, how it shall be declared, as that which 
receiveth Christ, the atonement, the gift of righteousness, 
which will prove its only use in our justification. He that 
can better express this than by an instrument, ordained of 
God unto this end, all whose use depends on that ordination 
of God, will deserve well of the truth. It is true, that all 
those who place the formal cause or reason of our justifica- 
tion in ourselves, or our inherent righteousness, and so ei- 
ther directly or by just consequence deny all imputation of 
the righteousness of Christ unto our justification, are not 
capable of admitting faith to be an instrument in this work, 
nor are pressed with this consideration. For they acknow- 
ledge not that we receive a righteousness which is not our 
own by way of gift, whereby we are justified, and so cannot 
allow of any instrument whereby it should be received. The 
righteousness itself being, as they phrase it, putative, ima- 
ginary, a chimera, a fiction, it can have no real accidents, 
nothing that can be really predicated concerning it. Where- 
fore, as was said at the entrance of this discourse^ the truth 


and propriety of this declaration of the use of faith in our 
justification by an instrumental cause, depends on the sub- 
stance of the doctrine itself concerning the nature and prin- 
cipal causes of it, with which they must stand or fall. If we 
are justified through the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ, which faith alone apprehends and receives, it will not 
be denied but that it is rightly enough placed as the instru- 
mental cause of our justification. And if we are justified 
by an inherent, evangelical righteousness of our own, faith 
may be the condition of its imputation, or a disposition for 
its introduction, or a congruous merit of it, but an instru- 
ment it cannot be. But yet for the present it hath this dou- 
ble advantage: 1. That it best and most appositely an- 
swers what is affirmed of the use of faith in our justifica- 
tion, in the Scripture, as the instances given do manifest. 
2. That no other notion of it can be so stated, but that it 
must be apprehended in order of time to be previous unto 
justification, which justifying faith cannot be, unless a man 
may be a true believer with justifying faith, and yet not be 

Some do plead that faith is the conditionof our justifica- 
tion, and that otherwise it is not to be conceived of. As I 
said before, so I say again, I shall not contend with any man 
about words, terms, or expressions, so long as what is in- 
tended by them, is agreed upon. And there is an obvious 
sense wherein faith may be called the condition of our justi- 
fication. For no more may be intended thereby, but that it 
is the duty on our part which God requireth, that we may be 
justified. And this the whole Scripture beareth witness unto. 
Yet this hindereth not, but that as unto its use, it may be the 
instrument whereby we apprehend or receive Christ and his 
righteousness. But to assert it the condition of our justifi- 
cation, or that we are justified by it as the condition of the 
new covenant, so as from a preconceived signification of 
that word, to give it another use in justification, exclusive of 
that pleaded for, as the instrumental cause thereof, is not 
easily to be admitted ; because it supposeth an alteration in 
the substance of the doctrine itself. 

The word is nowhere used in the Scripture in this mat- 
ter* which I argue no farther, but that we have no certain 
rule or standard to try and measure its signification by. 


Wherefore, it cannot first be introduced in what sense men 
please, and then that sense turned into argument for other 
ends. For thus on a supposed concession, that it is the 
condition of our justification, some heighten it into a subor- 
dinate righteousness, imputed unto us, antecedently, as I 
suppose, unto the imputation of the righteousness of Christ 
in any sense, whereof it is the condition. And some who 
pretend to lessen its efficiency or dignity in the use of it in 
our justification say, it is only * causa sine qua non,' which 
leaves us at as great an uncertainty as to the nature and 
eflScacy of this condition as we were before. Nor is the true 
sense of things at all illustrated, but rather darkened by 
such notions. 

If we may introduce words into religion nowhere used 
in the Scripture (as we may and must, if we design to bring 
light, and communicate proper apprehensions of the things 
contained unto the minds of men), yet are we not to take 
along with them arbitrary, preconceived senses, forged either 
among lawyers, or in the peripatetical school. The use of 
them in the most approved authors of the language where- 
unto they do belong, and their common vulgar acceptation 
among ourselves, must determine their sense and meaning. 
It is known what confusion in the minds of men, the intro- 
duction of words into ecclesiastical doctrines, of whose sig- 
nification there hath not been a certain determinate rule 
agreed on, hath produced. So the word ^ merit' was intro- 
duced by somfe of the ancients (as is plain from the design 
of their discourses where they use it), for impetration or ac- 
quisition ' quovis modo;' by any means whatever. But there 
being no cogent reason to confine the word unto that pre- 
cise signification, it hath given occasion to as great a corrup- 
tion as hath befallen Christian religion. We must therefore 
make use of the best means we have to understand the mean- 
ing of this word, and what is intended by it, before we admit 
of its use in this case. 

* Conditio/ in the best Latin writers is variously used ; an- 
swering KUTaaTamg, Tvxn> a^ia, aiTia, avvOriKr) in the Greek : 
that is, * status, fortuna, dignitas, causa, pactum initum.' 
In which of these significations it is here to be understood, 
is not easy to be determined. In common use among us, 
it sometimes denotes the state and quality of men, that is, 


KardaTamQ and aKia, and sometimes a valuable consideration 
of what is to be done ; that is, atria or (jvvOrjKri. But herein 
it is applied unto things in great variety ; sometimes the 
principal, procuring, purchasing cause is so expressed. As 
the condition whereon a man lends another a hundred 
pounds, is that he be paid it again with interest. The con- 
dition whereon a man conveyeth his land unto another, is, 
that he receive so much money for it. So a condition is a 
valuable consideration. And sometimes it signifies such 
things as are added to the principal cause whereon its 
operation is suspended. As a man bequeaths a hundred 
pounds unto another, on condition that he come or go to 
such a place to demand it. This is no valuable considera- 
tion, yet is the effect of the principal cause, or the will of 
the testator suspended thereon. And as unto degrees of 
respect unto that whereof any thing is a condition, as to 
purchase, procurement, valuable consideration, necessary 
presence, the variety is endless. We therefore cannot ob- 
tain a determinate sense of this word ' condition,' but from a 
particular declaration of what is intended by it, wherever it 
is used. And although this be not sufficient to exclude the 
use of it from the declaration of the way and manner how 
we are justified by faith ; yet is it so to exclude the imposi- 
tion of any precise signification of it, any other than is given 
it by the matter treated of. Without this every thing is left 
ambiguous and uncertain whereunto it is applied. 

For instance ; it is commonly said, that faith and new 
obedience are the condition of the new covenant. But yet 
because of the ambiguous signification and various use of 
that term (condition), we cannot certainly understand what 
is intended in the assertion. If no more be intended, but 
that God in and by the new covenant doth indispensably 
require these things of us, that is, the restipulation of a good 
conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Christ from 
the dead, in order unto his own glory, and our full enjoy- 
ment of all the benefits of it, it is unquestionably true ; but 
if it be intended, that they are such a condition of the cove- 
nant, as to be by us performed antecedently unto the parti- 
cipation of any grace, mercy, or privilege of it, so as that 
they should be the consideration and procuring causes of 
them, that they should be all of them, as some speak, the. 


reward of our faith and obedience^ it is most false, and not 
only contrary to express testimonies of Scripture, but de- 
structive of the nature of the covenant itself. If it be in- 
tended, that these things, though promised in the covenant 
and wrought in us by the grace of God, are yet duties re- 
quired of us in order unto the participation and enjoyment 
of the full end of the covenant of glory, it is the truth which 
is asserted ; but if it be said that faith and new obedience, 
that is, the works of righteousness which we do, are so the 
condition of the covenant, as that whatever the one is or- 
dained of God as a means of, and in order to such or such 
an end, as justification, that the other is likewise ordained 
unto the same end, with the same kind of efficacy, or with 
the same respect unto the effect, it is expressly contrary to 
the whole scope and express design of the apostle on that 
subject. But it will be said that a condition in the sense 
intended, when faith is said to be a condition of our justifi- 
cation, is no more but that it is ' causa sine qua non;' which 
is easy enough to be apprehended. But yet neither are we 
so delivered out of uncertainties, into a plain understanding 
of what is intended. For these * causae sine quibus non/may 
be taken largely or more strictly and precisely. So are they 
commonly distinguished by the masters in these arts. Those 
so called in a larger sense, are all such causes in any kind 
of efficiency or merit, as are inferior unto principal causes, 
and would operate nothing without them, but in conjunction 
with them have a real effective influence, physical or moral, 
into the production of the effect. And if we take a condi- 
tion to be a ' causa sine qua non,' in this sense, we are still 
at a loss what may be its use, efficiency, or merit, with re- 
spect unto our justification. If it be taken more strictly for 
that which is necessarily present, but hath no causality in 
any kind, not that of a receptive instrument, I cannot un- 
derstand how it should be an ordinance of God. For every 
thing that he hath appointed unto any end, moral or spiri- 
tual, hath by virtue of that appointment, either a symbolical 
instructive efficacy, or an active efficiency, or a rewardable 
condecency with respect unto that end. Other things may 
be generally and remotely necessary unto such an end, so 
far as it partakes of the order of natural beings, which are 
not ordinances of God with respect thereunto, and so have. 


no kind of causality with respect unto it, as it is moral or 
spiritual. So the air we breathe is needful unto the preaching 
of the word, and consequently a' causa sine qua non' thereof; 
but an ordinance of God with especial respect thereunto it 
is not. But every thing that he appoints unto an especial 
spiritual end, hath an efficacy or operation in one or other of 
the ways mentioned. For they either concur with the prin- 
cipal cause in its internal efficiency, or they operate exter- 
nally in the removal of obstacles and hinderances that op- 
pose the principal cause in its efficiency. And this excludes 
all causes ' sine quibus non' strictly so taken from any place 
among divine ordinances. God appoints nothing for an end 
that shall do nothing. His sacraments are not apya arjfjLua, 
but by virtue of his institution do exhibit that grace which 
they do not in themselves contain. The preaching of the 
word hath a real efficiency unto all the ends of it ; so have 
all the graces and duties that he worketh in us, and requireth 
of us ; by them all are * we made meet for the inheritance of 
the saints in light ;' and our whole obedience, through his 
gracious appointment, hath a rewardable condecency with 
respect unto eternal life. Wherefore, as faith may be allowed 
to be the condition of our justification, if no more be intended 
thereby, but that it is what God requires of us that we may 
be justified; so to confine the declaration of its use in our 
justification unto its being the condition of it, when so much 
as a determinate signification of it cannot be agreed upon, is 
subservient only unto the interest of unprofitable strife and 

To close these discourses concerning faith and its use in 
our justification, some things must yet be added concerning 
its especial object. For although what hath been spoken 
already thereon, in the description of its nature and object 
in general, be sufficient in general to state its especial ob- 
ject also ; yet there having been an inquiry concerning it, 
and debate about it in a peculiar notion, and under some 
especial terms, that also must be considered. And this is, 
whether justifying faith incur justification, or its use there- 
in, do respect Christ as a king and prophet, as well as a 
priest, with the satisfaction that as such he made for us, and 
that in the same manner, and unto the same ends and pur- 
poses. And I shall be brief in this inquiry, because it is but 


a late controversy, and it may be hath more of curiosity in 
its disquisition, than of edification in its determination. 
However beinp' not, that I know^ of, under these terms stated 
in any public confessions of the reformed churches, it is free 
for any to express their apprehensions concerning it. And 
to this purpose I say, 

1. Faith whereby we are justified, in the receiving- of 
Christ, principally respects his person, for all those ends for 
which he is the ordinance of God. It doth not in the first 
place, as it is faith in general, respect his person absolutely, 
seeing its formal object as such, is the truth of God, in the 
proposition, and not the thing itself proposed. Wherefore, 
it so respects and receives Christ as proposed in tlie pro- 
mise ; the promise itself being the formal object of its as- 

2. We cannot so receive Christ in the promise, as in that 
act of receiving him to exclude the consideration of any of 
his offices. For as he is not at any time to be considered by 
us, but as vested with all his offices, so a distinct conception 
of the mind to receive Christ as a priest, but not as a king 
or prophet, is not faith but unbelief, not the receiving but 
the rejecting of him. 

3. In the receiving of Christ for justification formally, 
our distinct express design is to be justified thereby, and no 
more. Now to be justified is to be freed from the guilt of 
sin, or to have all our sins pardoned, and to have a righteous- 
ness wherewith to appear before God, so as to be accepted 
with him, and a right to the heavenly inheritance. Every 
believer hath other designs also, wherein he is equally con- 
cerned with this ; as namely, the renovation of his nature, 
the sanctification of his person, and ability to live unto God 
in all holy obedience. But the things before-mentioned are 
all that he aimeth at or designeth in his applications unto 
Christ, or his receiving of him unto justification. Where- 

4. Justifying faith in that act or work of it, whereby we 
are justified,. respecteth Christ inhis priestly office alone, as 
he was the surety of the covenant, with what he did in the 
discharge thereof. The consideration of his other offices is 
not excluded, but it is not formally comprised in the object 
of faith as justifying. 


146 I HE DOCTRIXi: Ol 

5. When we say that the sacerdotal office of Christ, or 
the blood of Christ, or the satisfaction of Christ, is that alone 
which faith respects in justification, we do not exclude, yea, 
we do really include and comprise in that assertion, all that 
depends thereon, or concurs to make them effectual unto our 
iustification. As, 1. The free grace and favour of God in 
giving of Christ for us and unto us, whereby we are fre- 
quently said to be justified ; Rom. iii. 24. Eph. ii. 8. Tit. 
iii. 7. His wisdom, love, righteousness, and power, are of 
the same consideration as hath been declared. 2. What- 
ever in Christ himself was necessary antecedently unto his 
discharge of that office, or was consequential thereof, or did 
necessarily accompany it. Such was his incarnation, the 
whole course of his obedience, his resurrection, ascension, 
exaltation, and intercession. For the consideration of all 
these things is inseparable from the discharge of his priestly 
office. And therefore is justification either expressly or 
virtually assigned unto them also; Gen. iii. 15. 1 John iii. 8. 
Heb. ii. 13—16. Rom. iv. 25. Acts v. 31. Heb. vii. 27. 
Rom. viii. 34. But yet wherever our justification is so as- 
signed unto them, they are not absolutely considered, but 
with respect unto their relation to his sacrifice and satisfac- 
tion. 3. All the means of the application of the sacrifice 
and righteousness of the Lord Christ unto us are also in- 
cluded therein. Such is the principal efficient cause there- 
of, which is the Holy Ghost, whence we are said to be * jus- 
tified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spi- 
lit of our God;' I Cor. vi. 11. and the instrumental cause 
thereof, on the part of God, which is the * promise of the 
gospel ;' Rom. i. 17. Gal. iii. 22, 23. It \\'puld therefore be 
unduly pretended, that by this assertion we do narrow or 
straiten the object of justifying faith as it justifies. For in- 
deed we assign a respect unto the whole mediatory office of 
Christ, not excluding the kingly and prophetical parts there- 
of; but only such a notion of them, as would not bring in 
more of Christ, but much of ourselves into our justification. 
And the assertion as laid down may be proved, 

I. From the experience of all that are justified, or do 
seek for justification according unto the gospel. For under 
this notion of seeking for justification, or a righteousness 
unto justification, they were all of them to be considered. 


and do consider themselves as viro^iKog ti^ 0ft^, ' guilty before 
God;' subject, obnoxious, liable unto his wrath in the curse 
of the law ; as we declared in the entrance of this discourse; 
Rom. iii. 19. They were all in the same state that Adam was 
in after the fall, unto whom God proposed the relief of the 
incarnation and suffering of Christ;' Gen. iii. 15. And to 
seek after justification, is to seek after a discharge from this 
woful state and condition. Such persons have and ought 
to have other designs and desires also. For whereas the 
state wherein they are antecedent unto their justification, is 
not only a state of guilt and wrath, but such also as where- 
in through the depravation of their nature, the power of sin 
is prevalent in them, and their whole souls are defiled, they 
design and desire not only to bejustified,butto be sanctified 
also. But as unto the guilt of sin, and the want of a righ- 
teousness before God, from which justification is their re- 
lief, herein I say they have respect unto Christ as 'set forth 
to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.' In their de- 
sign for sanctification they have respect unto the kingly and 
prophetical offices of Christ, in their especial exercise. But 
as to their freedom from the guilt of sin, and their accept- 
ance with God, or their justification in his sight, that they 
may be freed from condemnation, that they may not come 
into judgment ; it is Christ crucified, it is Christ lifted up 
as the brazen serpent in the wilderness, it is the blood of 
Christ, it is the propitiation that he was, and the atonement 
that he made, it is his bearing their sins, his being made sin 
and the curse for them, it is his obedience, the end which 
he put unto sin, and the everlasting righteousness which he 
brought in, that alone their faith doth fix upon and acqui- 
esce in. If it be otherwise in the experience of any, I ac- 
knowledge I am not acquainted with it. I do not say that 
conviction of sin is the only antecedent condition of actual 
justification. But this it is that makes a sinner' subjectum 
capax justificationis.* No man therefore is to be considered 
as a person to be justified, but he who is actually under the 
power of the conviction of sin, with all the necessary conse- 
quents thereof. Suppose, therefore, any sinner in this con- 
dition, as it is described by the apostle, Rom. iii. * guilty 
before God,' with his mouth stopped as unto any pleas de- 
fences, or excuses ; suppose him to seek after a relief and 



deliverance out of tlils estate, that is to be justified according 
to the gospel ; he neither doth, nor can wisely take any 
other course than what he is there directed unto by the 
same apostle ; ver. 20 — 25. * Therefore by the deeds of the 
law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight ; for by the 
law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of 
God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the 
law and the prophets. Even the righteousness of God, 
which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them 
that believe, for there is no difference ; for all have sinned, 
and come short of the glory of God ; being justified freely 
by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; 
whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith 
in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission 
of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. 
Whence I argue ; 

That which a guilty condemned sinner, finding no hope 
nor relief from the law of God, the sole rule of all his obe- 
dience, doth betake himself unto by faith, that he may be 
delivered or justified, that is the especial object of faith as 
justifying. But this is the grace of God alone through the 
redemption that is in Christ, or Christ proposed as a pro- 
pitiation through faith in his blood. Either this is so, or 
the apostle doth not aright guide the souls and consci- 
ences of men in that condition wherein he himself doth 
place them. It is the blood of Christ alone that he directs 
the faith unto of all them that would be justified before 
God. Grace, redemption, propitiation, all through the 
blood of Christ, faith doth peculiarly respect and fix upon. 
This is that, if I mistake not, which they will confirm by 
their experience, who have made any distinct observation 
of the actings of their faith in their justification before God. 

2. The Scripture plainly declares that faith as justifying, 
respects the sacerdotal office and actings of Christ alone. 
In the great representation of the justification of the church 
of old in the expiatory sacrifice, when all their sins and ini- 
quities were pardoned, and their persons accepted with God, 
the acting of their faith was limited unto the imposition of 
all their sins on the head of the sacrifice by the high-priest ; 
Lev. xvi. ' By his knowledge,' that is faith in him, * shall my 
righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their ini- 


quities;' Isa. liii. 11. That alone which faith respects in 
Christ as unto the justification of sinners, is his 'bearing 
their iniquities.' Guilty convinced sinners look unto him 
by faith, as those who were stung with fiery serpents did to 
the brazen serpent; that is, as he was lifted up on the cross; 
John iii. 14, 15. So did he himself express the nature and 
actings of faith in our justification, Rom. iii. 24, 25. * Being 
justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is 
in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitia- 
tion through faith in his blood.' As he is a propitiation, as 
he shed his blood for us, as we have redemption thereby, he 
is the peculiar object of our faith, with respect unto our 
justification. See to the same purpose, Rom. v. 9, 10. 
Eph. i. 7. Col. i. 14. Eph. ii. 13—16. Rom. viii. 3, 4. 'He 
was made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be 
made the righteousness of God in him ; 2 Cor. v. 21. That 
which we seek after in justification is a participation of the 
righteousness of God ; to be made the righteousness of God, 
and that not in ourselves but in another, that is, in Christ 
Jesus. And that alone which is proposed unto our faith as 
the means and cause of it, is, his being made sin for us, or 
a sacrifice for sin, wherein all the guilt of our sins was laid 
on him, and he bare all our iniquities. This therefore is its 
peculiar object herein. And wherever in the Scripture we 
are directed to seek for the forgiveness of sins by the blood 
of Christ, receive the atonement, to be justified through 
the faith of him as crucified, the object of faith in justifi- 
cation is limited and determined. 

But it maybe pleaded in exception unto the testimonies, 
that no one of them doth aflSrm, that we are justified by 
faith in the blood of Christ alone ; so as to exclude the con- 
sideration of the other offices of Christ and their actinsrs, 
from being the object of faithin the same manner, and unto 
the same ends, with his sacerdotal office, and what belongs 
thereunto, or is derived from it. 

Ans. This exception derives from that common objection 
against the doctrine of justification by faith alone ; namely 
that, that exclusive term alone is not found in the Scripture, 
or in any of the testimonies that are produced for justifi- 
cation by faith. But it is replied with sufficient evidence 
of truth, that although the word be not found syllabically 


used unto this purpose ; yet there are exceptive expressions 
equivalent unto it, as we shall see afterward. It is so in this 
particular instance also. For, (1.) whereas our justification 
is expressly ascribed unto our faith in the blood of Christ, as 
the propitiation for our sins, unto our believing in him as 
crucified for us, and it is nowhere ascribed unto our receiving 
of him as king. Lord, or prophet ; it is plain, that the for- 
mer expressions are virtually exclusive of the latter consi- 
deration. (2.) I do not say, that the consideration of the 
kingly and prophetical offices of Christ is excluded from 
our justification, as works are excluded in opposition unto 
faith and grace. For they are so excluded, as that we are 
to exercise an act of our minds in their positive rejection, as 
saying. Get you hence, you have no lot nor portion in this 
matter. But as to these offices of Christ, as to the object of 
faith as justifying, we say only that they are not included 
therein. For so to believe to be justified by his blood, as to 
exercise a positive act of the mind, excluding a compliance 
with his other offices, is an impious imagination. 

3. Neither the consideration of these offices themselves, 
nor of any of the peculiar acts of them, are suited to give 
the souls and consciences of convinced sinners, that relief 
which they seek after in justification. We are not in this 
whole cause to lose out of our eye, the state of the person 
who is to be justified, and what it is he doth seek after, 
and ought to seek after, therein. Now this is pardon of 
sin, and righteousness before God alone. That, therefore, 
which is no way suited to give or tender this relief unto 
him, is not, nor can be, the object of his faith, whereby he 
is justified in that exercise of it, whereon his justification 
doth depend. This relief it will be said, is to be had in 
Christ alone ; it is true, but under what consideration ? For 
the sole design of the sinner, is how he may be accepted 
with God, be at peace with him, have all his wrath turned 
away, by a propitiation or atonement. Now this can no 
otherwise be done, but by the acting of some one, towards 
God, and with God on his behalf; for it is about the turning 
away of God's anger, and acceptance with him, that the 
inquiry is made. It is by the blood of Christ, that we are 
made nigh, who were far off; Eph. ii. 13. By the blood 
of Christ are we reconciled who were enemies ; ver, 16, By 


the blood of Christ we have redemption; Roiii. iii. 24, 25. 
Eph. i. 7, &c. This therefore, is the object of faith. 

All the actings of the kingly and prophetical offices of 
Christ, are all of them from God, that is, in the name and 
authority of God towards us. Not any one of them is to- 
wards God on our behalf, so as that by virtue of them, we 
should expect acceptance with God. They are all good, 
blessed, holy in themselves, and of an eminent tendency 
unto the glory of God in our salvation. Yea, they are no 
less necessary unto our salvation to the praise of God's 
grace, than are the atonement for sin and satisf\\ction which 
he made; for from them is the way of life revealed unto us, 
grace communicated, our persons sanctified, and the reward 
bestowed. Yea, in the exercise of his kingly power doth 
the Lord Christ both pardon and justify sinners. Not that 
he did as a king constitute the law of justification, for it 
was given and established in the first promise, and he came 
to put it in execution; John iii. 16. But in the virtue of his 
atonement and righteousness imputed unto them, he doth 
both pardon and justify sinners. But they are the acts of 
his sacerdotal office alone, that respect God on our behalf. 
Whatever he did on earth with God for the church, in obe- 
dience, suffering, and oflfering up of himself, whatever he 
doth in heaven in intercession, and appearance in the pre- 
sence of God for us, it all entirely belongs unto his priestly 
office. And in these things alone doth the soul of a con- 
vinced sinner find relief, when he seeks after deliverance 
from the state of sin, and acceptance with God. In these 
therefore alone the peculiar object of his faith, that which 
will give him rest and peace, must be comprised. And this 
last consideration is, of itself, sufficient to determine this 

Sundry things are objected against this assertion, which 
I shall not here at large discuss, because what is material in 
any of them, will occur on other occasions, where its consi- 
deration will be more proper. In general it may be pleaded, 
that justifying faith is the same with saving faith ; nor is it 
said, that we are justified by this or that part of faith, but by 
faith in general, that is, as taken essentially for the entire 
grace of faith. And as unto faith in this sense, not only a 
respect unto Christ in all his offices, but obedience itself 



also is included in it, as evident in many places of the Scrip- 
ture. Wherefore, there is no reason why we should limit 
the object of it, unto the person of Christ as acting in the 
discharge of his sacerdotal office, with the effects and fruits 

Atis. 1. Saving faith, and justifying faith in any believer, 
are one and the same ; and the adjuncts of saving and justi- 
fying are but external denominations, from its distinct ope- 
rations and effects. But yet saving faith doth act in a pe- 
culiar manner, and is of peculiar use in justification, such as 
it is not of under any other consideration whatever. Where- 
fore, 2. Although saving faith, as it is described in gene- 
ral, do ever include obedience, not as its form or essence, 
but as the necessary effect is included in the cause, and the 
fruit in the fruit-bearing juice, and is often mentioned as to 
its being and exercise, where there is no express mention of 
Christ, his blood, and his righteousness, but is applied unto 
all the acts, duties, and ends of the gospel ; yet this proves 
not at all, but that as unto its duty, place, and acting in our 
justification, it hath a peculiar object. If it could be proved, 
that where justification is ascribed unto faith, that there it 
hath any other object assigned unto it, as that which it 
rested in for the pardon of sin, and acceptance with God, 
this objection were of some force; but this cannot be done. 
3. This is not to say, that we are justified by a part of 
faith, and not by it as considered essentially ; for we are 
justified by the entire grace of faith, acting in such a pe- 
culiar way and manner; as others have observed. But the 
truth is, we need not insist on the discussion of this inquiry. 
For the true meaning of it is, not whether any thing of Christ is 
to be excluded from being the object of justifying faith, or of 
faith in our justification, but what in and of ourselves under 
the name of receiving Christ, as our Lord and King, is to 
be admitted unto an efficiency or conditionality in that work. 
As it is granted, that justifying faith is the receiving of 
Christ, so whatever belongs unto the person of Christ, or 
any office of his, or any acts in the discharge of any office, 
that may be reduced unto any cause of our justification, the 
meritorious, procuring, material, formal, or manifesting cause 
of it, is so far as. it doth so, freely admitted to belong unto 
the object of justifying faith. Neither will I contend with 


any upon this disadvantageous stating of the question. 
What of Christ is to be esteemed the object of justifying 
faith, and what is not so. For the thing intended is only 
this ; whether our own obedience, distinct from faith, or in- 
cluded in it, and in like manner as faith, be the condition 
of our justification before God. This being that which is 
intended, which the other question is but invented to lead 
unto a compliance with, by a more specious pretence than 
in itself it is capable of, under those terms it shall be ex^ 
amined, and no otherwise. 


Of justification, the notion and signification of the word ill Scripture. 

Unto the right understanding of the nature of justification, 
the proper sense and signification of these words them- 
selves, 'justification,' and * to justify/ is to be inquired into. 
For until that is agreed upon, it is impossible that our dis- 
courses concerning the thing itself should be freed from equi- 
vocation. Take words in.various senses, and all may be true 
that is contradictorily afiirmed or denied concerning what 
they are supposed to signify. And so it hath actually fallen 
out in this case, as we shall see more fully afterward. 
Some taking these wards in one sense, some in another, 
have appeared to deliver contrary doctrines concerning the 
thing itself, or our justification before God ; who yet have 
fully agreed in what the proper determinate sense or signi- 
fication of the words doth import. And therefore, the true 
meaning of them hath been declared and vindicated already 
by many. But whereas the right stating hereof, is of more 
moment unto the determination of what is principally con- 
troverted about the doctrine itself, or the thing signified, 
than most do apprehend ; and something at least remains 
to be added for the declaration and vindication of the im- 
port and only signification of these words in the Scripture ; 
I shall give an account of my observations concerning it, 
with what diligence I can. 


The Latin derivation and composition of the word ' jus- 
tificatio' would seem to denote an internal change from in- 
herent unrighteousness, unto righteousness likewise in- 
lierent; by a physical motion and transmutation, as the 
schoolmen speak. For such is the signification of words of 
the same composition. So sanctification, mortification, 
vivification, and the like, do all denote a real internal work 
on the subject spoken of. Hereon, in the whole Roman 
school, justification is taken for justifaction, or the making 
of a man to be inherently righteous by the infusion of a 
principle or habit of grace, who was before inherently and 
habitually unjust and unrighteous. Whilst this is taken to 
be the proper signification of the word, we neither do, nor 
can speak, ad idem in our disputations with them about the 
cause and nature of that justification, which the Scripture 

And this appearing sense of the word possibly deceived 
some of the ancients, as Austin in particular, to declare the 
doctrine of free gratuitous sanctification, without respect 
unto any works of our own, under the name of justification. 
For neither he nor any of them, ever thought of a justifi- 
cation before God, consisting in the pardon of our sins, and 
the acceptation of our persons as righteous, by virtue of any 
inherent habit of grace infused into us, or acted by us. 
Wherefore, the subject matter must be determined by the 
scriptural use and signification of these words, before we can 
speak properly or intelligibly concerning it. For if to justify 
men in the Scripture, signify to make them subjectively 
and inherently righteous, we must acknowledge a mistake 
in what we teach concerning the nature and causes of justi- 
fication. And if it signify no such thing, all their disputa- 
tions about justification by the infusion of grace, and inhe- 
rent righteousness thereon, fall to the ground. Wherefore, 
all Protestants (and the Socinians all of them comply there- 
in) do affirm, that the use and signification of these words 
is forensic, denoting an act of jurisdiction. Only the So- 
cinians, and some others would have it to consist in the par- 
don of sin only, which indeed the word doth not at all sig- 
nify. But the sense of the word, is to assoil, to acquit, to 
declare and pronounce righteous upon a trial, which, in this 
case, the pardon of sin doth necessarily accompany. 


* Justification and 'justifico,* belong not indeed unto the 
Latin tongue ; nor can any good author be. produced, who 
ever used them, for the making of him inherently righteous 
by any means who was not so before. But whereas these 
words were coined and framed to signify such things as are 
intended, we have no way to determine the signification of 
them, but by the consideration of the nature of the things, 
which they were invented to declare and signify. And 
whereas, in this language, these words are derived from *jus* 
and ' justum,' they must respect an act of jurisdiction, rather 
than a physical operation or infusion. * Justificari,* is 'Justus 
censeri, pro justo haberi ;' to be esteemed, accounted, or ad- 
judged righteous. So a man was made 'Justus filius' in 
adoption unto him, by whom he was adopted ; which, what 
it is, is well declared by Budseus, Cajus lib. ii. F. de Adopt. 

De Arrogatione loquens ; ' Is qui adoptat rogatur, id 

est, interrogatur, an velit eum quem adopturus sit, justum 
sibi filium esse. Justum (saith he), intelligo, non verum, ut 
aliqui censent, sed omnibus partibus ut ita dicam filiationis, 
veri filii vicem obtinentem, naturalis et legitimi filii loco se- 
dentem.' Wherefore as by adoption, there is no internal 
inherent change made in the person adopted ; but by virtue 
thereof, he is esteemed and adjudged as a true son, and 
hath all the rights of a legitimate son ; so by justification, 
as to the importance of the word, a man is only esteemed, 
declared, and pronounced righteous, as if he were com- 
pletely so. And in the present case, justification and gra- 
tuitous adoption, are the same grace for the substance of 
them; John i. 12. only'respect is had in their different deno- 
mination of the same grace, unto different effects or privi- 
leges that ensue thereon. 

But the true and genuine signification of these words is 
to be determined from those in the original languages of the 
Scripture which are expounded by them. In the Hebrew, 
it is pnj^ : this the LXX. render by ^iKaiov airofpaivd), Job xxvii. 
5. diKaiog aTro(l>aivofxai, chap. xiii. 18. diKaiov Kpivw, Prov. xvii. 
15. To shew or declare one righteous; to appear righteous ; 
to judge any one righteous. And the sense may be taken 
from any one of them, as chap. xiii. 18. >nDny X3 mn 
p^K^^ '3X->D >nyn» lODii'D ' Behold now I have ordered my 
cause, I know that I shall be justified.' The ordering of his 


cause (his judgment), his cause to be judged on, is his pre- 
paration for a sentence, either of absolution or condemna- 
tion ; and hereon his confidence was that he should be jus- 
tified, that is, absolved, acquitted, pronounced righteous. 
And the sense is no less pregnant in the other places ; com- 
monly, they render it by ^fK:atow,whereof I shall speak after- 

Properly, it denotes an action towards another (as jus- 
tification, and to justify do), in Iliphil only : and a recipro- 
cal action of a man on himself in Hithpael \>n)ir\. Hereby, 
alone, is the true sense of these words determined. And I 
say that in no place, or on any occasion, is it used in that 
conjugation wherein it denotes an action towards another, 
in any other sense, but to absolve, acquit, esteem, declare, 
pronounce righteous, or to impute righteousness, which is 
the forensic sense of the word we plead for; that is its con- 
stant use and signification, nor doth it ever once signify to 
make inherently righteous ; much less to pardon or forgive ; 
so vain is the pretence of some, that justification consists 
only in the pardon of sin, which is not signified by the 
word in any one place of Scripture. Almost in all places 
this sense is absolutely unquestionable ; nor is there any 
more than one which will admit of any debate, and that on 
so faint a pretence as cannot prejudice its constant use and 
signification in all other places. Whatever therefore an in- 
fusion of inherent grace may be, or however it may be 
called, justification it is not, it cannot be ; the word no- 
where signifying any such thing. Wherefore, those of the 
church of Rome do not so much oppose justification by 
faith through the imputation of the righteousness of Christy 
as indeed deny that there is any such thing as justification. 
For that which they call the first justification, consisting in 
the infusion of a principle of inherent grace, is no such 
thing as justification. And their second justification, which 
they place in the merit of works, wherein absolution or par- 
don of sin hath neither place nor consideration, is incon- 
sistent with evangelical justification, as we shall shew after- 

This word, therefore, whether the act of God towards 
men, or of men towards God, or of men among themselves, 
or of one towards another be expressed thereby, is always 


Used ill a forensic sense, and doth not denote a physical 
operation, transfusion, or transmutation. 2 Sam. xv. 4. ' If 
any man hath a suit or cause let him come to me, vripl^^ni 
and I will do him justice \ I will justify him, judge in his 
cause, and pronounce for him. Dent. xxv. 1. * If there be 
a controversy among men, and they come to judgment, that 
the judges may judge them, p>iyn"nK "ip>nKm they shall jus- 
tify the righteous,' pronounce sentence on his side, where- 
unto is opposed ir»*ki^"in"nx 1i^*i:^im ' and they shall condemn 
the wicked ;' make him wicked, as the word signifies ; that is, 
judge, declare, and pronounce him wicked, whereby he be- 
comes so judicially, and in the eye of the law ; as the other 
is made righteous, by declaration and acquitment. He 
doth not say this shall pardon the righteous, which, to sup- 
pose, would overthrow both the antithesis and design of the 
place. And ^^'Win is as much to infuse wickedness into a 
man, as pn^in is to infuse a principle of grace or righteous- 
ness into him. The same antithesis occurs, Prov. xvii. 15. 
pnj; fii^lDI ^W^ pn)i^2 * He that justifieth the wicked, and 
condemneth the rig-hteous.' Not he that maketh the wicked 
inherently righteous, not he that changeth him inherently 
from unrighteous unto righteousness : but he that without 
any ground, reason, or foundation acquits him in judgment, 
or declares him to be righteous, is an abomination unto the 
Lord. And although this be spoken of the judgment of men, 
yet the judgment of God also is according unto this truth. 
For although he justifieth the ungodly, those who are so in 
themselves ; yet he doth it on the ground and consideration of 
a perfect righteousness made theirs by imputation ; and by 
•another act of his grace,that they may be meet subjects of this 
righteous favour, really and inherently changeth them from 
unrighteousness unto holiness, by the renovation of their 
natures : and these things are singular in the actings of 
God, which nothing amongst men hath any resemblance 
unto or can represent. For the imputation of the righteous- 
ness of Christ, unto a person in himself ungodly unto his 
justification, or that he may be acquitted, absolved, and 
declared righteous, is built on such foundations, and pro- 
ceedeth on such principles of righteousness, wisdom, and 
sovereignty, as have no place among the actions of men, nor 
can have so, as shall afterward be declared. And more- 


over, when God doth justify the ungodly on the account of 
the righteousness imputed unto him, he doth at the same 
instant, by the power of his grace, make him inherently and 
subjectively righteous or holy, which men cannot do one 
towards another. And therefore, whereas man's justifying 
of the wicked, is to justify them in their wicked ways, 
whereby they are constantly made worse and more obdurate 
in evil; when God justifies the ungodly, their change from 
personal unrighteousness and unholiness, unto righteousness 
and holiness, doth necessarily and infallibly accompany it. 

To the same purpose is the word used, Isa. v. 23. * Which 
justify the wicked for reward ;' chap. 1. 8. >pnifDnnp. * He is 
near that justifieth me; who shall contend with me? let us 
stand together: who is my adversary? lethim come near tome. 
Behold the Lord God will help me ; who shall condemn me?' 
where we have a full declaration of the proper sense of the 
word, which is to acquit and pronounce righteous on a trial. 
And the same sense is fully expressed in the former antithe- 
sis. 1 Kings viii. 31, 32. ' If any man trespass against his 
neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to 
swear, and the oath came before thine altar in this house ; 
then hear thou in heaven and do, and judge thy servants, 
Vir^n ^>j^-)n^ to condemn the wicked,' to charge his wicked- 
ness on him, to bring his way on his head, p>ijf pn^n'?!, * and to 
justify the righteous.' The same words are repeated, 2 Chron. 
vi. 22,23. Psal. Ixxxii. 3. )p''T!in W'^) »:y * Do justice to the 
afflicted and poor ;' that is, justify them in their cause against 
wrong and oppression. Exod. xxiii. 7. ^W^ pni^K Nb 'I will 
not justify the wicked ;' absolve, acquit, or pronounce him 
righteous. Job xxvii. 5. CDjni< l^nTii^ CZ3K *b r^b>bn ' Be it far 
from me that I should justify you,' or pronounce sentence on 
your side, as if you were righteous. Isa. liii. 11. * By his 
knowledge my righteous servant pMii* shall justify many;' 
the reason whereof is added : * for he shall bear their iniqui- 
ties,' whereon they are absolved and justified. 

Once it is used in Hithpael, wherein a reciprocal action 
is denoted, that whereby a man justifieth himself. Gen. xliv. 
16. * And Judah said. What shall we say unto my Lord ? what 
shall we speak? p^tDlfl~nD1 and how shall we justify ourselves? 
God hath found out our iniquity. They could plead nothing 
why they should be absolved from guilt. 


Once the participle is used to denote the outward instru- 
mental cause of the justification of others, in which place 
alone there is any doubt of its sense. Dan. xii. 3. 'pHKDl 
aonn ; * And they that justify many ;' namely, in the same 
sense that the preachers of the gospel are said ' to save them- 
selves and others;' 1 Tim. iv. 16. For men may be no less 
the instrumental causes of our justification of others, than of 
their sanctification. 

Wherefore, although pIV in Kal, signifies ' justum esse,* 
and sometimes 'juste agere,' vviiich may relate unto inherent 
righteousness ; yet where any action towards another is de- 
noted, this word signifies nothing, but to esteem, declare, 
pronounce, and adjudge any one absolved, acquitted, cleared, 
justified : there is therefore no other kind of justification 
once mentioned in the Old Testament. 

AiKaiou) is the word used to the same purpose in the New 
Testament, and that alone. Neither is this word used in any 
good author whatever, to signify the making of a man righ- 
teous by any applications to produce internal righteousness 
in him ; but either to absolve, and acquit, to judge, esteem, 
and pronounce righteous, or on the contrary to condemn. 
So Suidas, AiKaiovv Svo ^r]\6i, to re koXclZhv, koX to dUaiov 
vofxiZtiv. ' It hath two significations, to punish, and to ac- 
count righteous.' And he confirms this sense of the word 
by instances out of Herodotus, Appianus, and Josephus. 
And again, SiKaiuxyai, aiTtaTiKT], KUTa^iKaaai, KoXaaai, ^iKaiov 
vo/ilaai ; wath an accusative case, that is, when it respects 
and effects a subject, a person, it is either to condemn and 
punish, or to esteem and declare righteous ; and of this lat- 
ter sense, he gives pregnant instances in the next words. He- 
sychius mentions only the first signification. AiKaiovfievov, 
KoXaZofxkvov, diKaiwaai, KoXaaai. They never thought of any 
sense of this word, but what is forensic. And in our lan- 
guage to be justified, was commonly used formerly, for to 
be judged and sentenced; as it is still among the Scots. 
One of the articles of peace between the two nations at the 
surrender of Leith, in the days of Edward the Sixth was ; 
' that if any one committed a crime, he should be justified 
by the law, upon his trial.' And in general diKaovcF^ai, is * jus 
in judicio auferre;' and ^iKaiCxrai is 'justum censere, decla- 


rare, pronuntiare ;' and how in the Scripture it is constantly 
opposed unto ' condemnare/ we shall see immediately. 

But we may more distinctly consider the use of this word 
in the New Testament, as we have done that of ^^niir] in the 
Old. And that which we inquire concerning is, whether 
this word be used in the New Testament, in a forensic sense 
to denote an act of jurisdiction, or in a physical sense to ex- 
press an internal change or mutation, the infusion of a ha- 
bit of righteousness, and the denomination of the person to 
be justified thereon ; or whether it signifieth not pardon of 
sin. But this we may lay aside ; for surely no man was 
ever yet so fond, as to pretend that ^iKaioto did signify to 
pardon sin ; yet is it the only word applied to express our 
justification in the New Testament. For if it be taken only 
in the former sense, then that which is pleaded for by 
those of the Roman church, under the name of justification, 
whatever it be, however good, useful and necessary, yet 
justification it is not, nor can be so called; seeing it is a 
thing quite of another nature than what alone is signified 
by that word. Matt. xi. 19. l^LKaiwOr} r} orocpiay ' wisdom is 
justified of her children,' not made just, but approved and 
declared ; chap. xii. 37. ek rwy Xoyiov gov ^ucaitoOiiay, * by 
thy words thou shalt be justified ;' not made just by them, 
but judged according to them, as is manifested in the anti- 
thesis, KOL Ik ru)v \6ywv (jov icaraStKao-^/jcrp, and 'by thy words 
thou shalt be condemned.' Luke vii. 29. IdiKaicjaav tov ^£ov, 
* they justified God ;' not surely by making him righteous in 
himself, but by owning, avowing, and declaring his righte- 
ousness ; chap. X. 29. 6 St OiXayv diKaiovv tavrov, * he wil- 
ling to justify himself/ to declare and maintain his own righ- 
teousness. To the same purpose, chap. xvi. 15. i;/.iac ttrrt ol 
diKaiovvTeg tavrovg, Ivwiriov tljv avOpwiratv, * you are they that 
justify yourselves before men ;' they did not make themselves 
internally righteous, but approved of their own condition; 
as our Saviour declares in the place; chap, xviii. 14. The 
publican went down S£SjKat(t;j[(£voc, justified unto his house; 
that is, acquitted, absolved, pardoned, upon the confession 
of his sin, and supplication for remission. Acts xiii. 38, 39. 
with Rom. ii. 13. ol Tronjrat tov vvjxov ^iKano(it\aovTai' * The 
doers of the law shall be justified.' The place declares di- 


rectly the nature of our justification before God, and puts 
the signification of the word out of question. For justifi- 
cation ensues, as the whole effect of inherent righteousness 
acfcording unto the law : and therefore it is not the making of 
us righteous ; which is irrefragable. It is spoken of God, 
Rom. iii.4. utto)^ iiv ^iKai<t}Oijg Iv tolq \6yoig (toV 'That thou 
mayest be justified in thy sayings/ where to ascribe any 
other sense to the word is blasphemy. In like manner the 
same word is used, and in the same signification, 1 Cor. iv. 
4. 1 Tim. iii. 16. Rom. iii. 20. 26. 28. 30. iv. 2. 5. v. 1. 9. 
vi. 7. viii. 30. Gal. ii. 16, 17. iii. 11.24. v. 4. Tit. iii. 7. 
James ii. 22. 24, 25. And in no one of these instances can it 
admit of any other signification, or denote the making of 
any man righteous by the infusion of a habit, or principle 
of righteousness, or any internal mutation whatever. 

It is not therefore in many places of Scripture, as Bel- 
larmine grants, that the words we have insisted on, do sig- 
nify the declaration or juridical pronunciation of any one 
to be righteous, but in all places where they are used, they 
are capable of no other but a forensic sense ; especially, is 
this evident where mention is made of justification before 
God. And because in my judgment this one consideration 
doth sufficiently defeat all the pretences of those of the Ro- 
man church about the nature of justification, I shall con- 
sider what is excepted against the observation insisted on, 
and remove it out of our way. 

Lud. de Blanc, in his reconciliatory endeavours on this 
article of justification {* Thes. de usu et acceptatione vocis, 
justificandi*), grants unto the Papists, that the word SiKaiout 
doth, in sundry places of the New Testament, signify to re 
new, to sanctify, to infuse a habit of holiness or righteous- 
ness, according as they plead. And there is no reason to 
think but he hath grounded that concession on those in- 
stances, which are most pertinent unto that purpose. 
Neither is it to be expected that a better countenance will 
be given by any unto this concession, than is given it by 
him. I shall therefore examine all the instances which he 
insists upon unto this purpose, and leave the determination 
of the difference unto the judgment of the reader. Only I 
shall premise that which I judge not an unreasonable de- 
mand ; namely, that if the signification of the word in any, 

VOL, xj. H 


or all the places which he mentions, should seem doubtful 
unto any (as it doth not unto me), that the uncertainty of a 
very few places, should not make us question the proper 
signification of a word, whose sense is determined in so 
many, wherein it is clear and unquestionable. The first 
place he mentioneth, is that of the apostle Paul himself, 
Rom. viii. 30. ' Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them 
he also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified, 
and whom he justified, them he also glorified.' The reason 
whereby he pleads that by justified in this place, an internal 
work of inherent holiness in them that are predestinated is 
designed, is this and no other. ' It is not/ saith he, * likely 
that the holy apostle in this enumeration of gracious privi- 
leges, would omit the mention of our sanctification, by which 
we are freed from the service of sin, and adorned with true 
internal holiness and righteousness. But this is utterly 
omitted, if it be not comprised under the name and title of 
being justified; for it is absurd with some, to refer it unto 
the head of glorification.' 

Ans. 1. The grace of sanctification, whereby our na- 
tures are spiritually washed, purified, and endowed with a 
principle of life, holiness and obedience unto God, is a pri- 
vilege unquestionably great and excellent, and without which 
none can be saved. Of the same nature also is our redemp- 
tion by the blood of Christ. And both these doth this apo- 
stle in other places without number, declare, commend, and 
insist upon. But that he ought to have introduced the men- 
tion of them, or either of them in this place, seeing he hath 
not done so, I dare not judge. 

2. If our sanctification be included or intended in any of 
the privileges here expressed, there is none of them, pre- 
destination only excepted, but it is more probably to be 
reduced unto, than unto that of being justified. Indeed, in 
vocation it seems to be included expressly. For whereas, 
it is effectual vocation that is intended, wherein a holy 
principle of spiritual life, or faith itself is communicated 
unto us, our sanctification radically, and, as the effect in its 
adequate immediate cause, is contained in it. Hence, we 
are said to ' be called to be saints,* Rom. i. 7. which is the 
same with being ' sanctified in Christ Jesus ;' 1 Cor. i. 2. And 
in many other places is sanctification included in vocation. 


3. Whereas oursanctification, in the infusion of a princi- 
ple of spiritual life, and the actings of it unto an increase in 
duties of holiness, righteousness and obedience, is that, 
whereby we are made meet for glory, and is of the same na- 
ture essentially with glory itself, whence its advances in us, 
are said to be from * glory to glory,' 2 Cor. iii. 18. and 
glory itself is called the 'grace of life;' 1 Pet. iii. 7. it is 
much more properly expressed by our being glorified, than 
by being justified, which is a privilege quite of another 
nature. However, it is evident, that there is no reason 
why we should depart from the general use and significa- 
tion of the word, no circumstance in the text compelling us 
so to do. 

The next place that he gives up unto this signification 
is, 1 Cor. vi. 11. * Such were some of you; but ye are 
washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the 
name of our Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.' That 
by justification here, the infusion of an inherent principle 
of grace making us inherently righteous, is intended, he en- 
deavoureth to prove by three reasons : 1. * Because justifi- 
cation is here ascribed unto the Holy Ghost; Ye are justified 
by the Spirit of our God. But to renew us is the proper 
work of the Holy Spirit.' 2. * It is manifest,' he says, 
' that by justification, the apostle doth signify some change 
in the Corinthians, whereby they ceased to be what they 
were before. For they were fornicators and drunkards, 
such as could not inherit the kingdom of God, but now were 
changed, which proves a real inherent work of grace, to be 
intended.' 3. ' If justification here signify nothing, but to 
be absolved from the punishment of sin, then the reasoning 
of the apostle will be infirm and frigid. For after he hath 
said that which is greater, as heightening of it, he addeth 
the less : for it is more to be washed, than merely to be 
freed from the punishment of sin,' 

Ans. 1. All these reasons prove not, that it is the same 
to be sanctified and to be justified, which must be, if that 
be the sense of the latter, which is here pleaded for. But 
the apostle makes an express distinction between them, and 
as this author observes, proceeds from one to another by an 
ascent from the lesser to the greater. And the infusion of 
a habit or principle of grace, or righteousness evangelical, 

H 2 


whereby we are inherently righteous, by which he explains 
our being justified in this place, is our sanctification and 
nothing else. Yea, and sanctification is here distinguished 
from washing ; * but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified ;* 
so as that it peculiarly in this place denotes positive habits 
of grace and holiness : neither can he declare the nature of 
it, any way different from what he would have expressed by, 
being justified. 

2. Justification is ascribed unto the Spirit of God, as the 
principal efiicient cause of the application of the grace of 
God and blood of Christ, whereby we are justified unto our 
souls and consciences. And he is so also of the operation 
of that faith whereby we are justified; whence, although 
we are said to be justified by him, yet it doth not follow 
that our justification consists in the renovation of our 

3. The change and mutation that was made in these Co- 
rinthians, so far as it was physical in effects inherent (as 
such there was), the apostle expressly ascribes unto their 
washing and sanctification ; so that there is no need to sup- 
pose this change to be expressed by their being justified. 
And in the real change asserted, that is, in the renovation of 
our natures, consists the true entire work and nature of our 
sanctification. But whereas by reason of the vicious habits 
and practices mentioned, they were in a state of condemna- 
tion, and such as had no right unto the kingdom of heaven, 
they were by their justification changed and transferred out 
of that state into another, wherein they had peace with God, 
and right unto life eternal- 

4. The third reason proceeds upon a mistake ; namely, 
that to be justified, is only to be * freed from the punishment 
due unto sin.' For it compriseth both the non-imputation 
of sin, and the imputation of righteousness, with the privi- 
lege of adoption and right unto the heavenly inheritance, 
which are inseparable from it. And although it doth not 
appear that the apostle in the enumeration of these privi- 
leges, did intend a process from the lesser unto the greater; 
nor is it safe for us to compare the unutterable effects of the 
grace of God by Christ Jesus, such as sanctification and jus- 
tification are, and to determine which is greatest, and which 
is least; yet, following the conduct of the Scripture, and 


the due consideration of the things themselves, we may say 
that in this life we can be made partakers of no greater 
m^rcy or privilege, than what consists in our justification. 
And the reader may see from hence, how impossible it is to 
produce anyone place wherein the words, * justification,' and 
* to justify,' do signify a real internal work and physical ope- 
ration ; in that this learned man, a person of more than or- 
dinary perspicuity, candour and judgment, designing to 
prove it, insisted on such instances, as give so little counte- 
nance unto what he pretended. Headds, Tit. iii. 5 — 7. * Not 
by works of righteousness which we have done, but according 
unto his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, 
and renewing of the Holy Ghost ; which he shed on us 
abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being 
justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according 
unto the hope of eternal life.' The argument which he alone 
insists upon to prove, that by justification here, an infusion 
of internal grace is intended, is this ; that the apostle af- 
firming first, * that God saved us, according unto his mercy 
by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy 
Ghost, and afterward affirming that we are justified by his 
grace, he supposes it necessary, that we should be regene- 
rate and renewed, that we may be justified ; and if so, then 
our justification, contains and compriseth our sanctification 

Ans. The plain truth is, the apostle speaks not one word 
of the necessity of our sanctification, or regeneration, or re- 
novation by the Holy Ghost, antecedently unto our justifi- 
cation, a supposition whereof contains the whole force of 
this argument. Indeed he assigns our regeneration, reno- 
vation, and justification, all the means of our salvation, all 
equally unto grace and mercy, in opposition unto any works 
of our own, which we shall afterward make use of. Nor is 
there intimated by him, any order of precedency, or con- 
nexion between the things that he mentions, but only be- 
tween justification and adoption, justification having the 
priority in order of nature ; 'that being justified by his grace, 
we should be heirs according to the hope of eternal life.' 
All the things he mentions are inseparable. No man is re- 
generate or renewed by the Holy Ghost, but withal he is 
justified. No man is justified, but withal he is renewed by 

166 tut DOCTRINE OV 

the Holy Ghost. And they are all of them equally of so- 
vereign grace in God in opposition unto any works of righte- 
ousness that we have wrought. And we plead for the free- 
dom of God's grace in sanctification, no less than in justifi- 
cation. But that it is necessary that we should be sancti- 
fied that we may be justified before God, who justifieth the 
ungodly, the apostle says not in this place, nor any thing to 
that purpose ; neither yet if he did so, would it at all prove, 
that the signification of that expression to be justified, is to 
be sanctified, or to have inherent holiness and righteous- 
ness wrought in us. And these testimonies would not have 
been produced to prove it, wherein these things are so ex- 
pressly distinguished, but that there are none to be found 
of more force or evidence. 

The last place wherein he grants this signification of the 
word ^iKaiow is Rev. xxii. 11. 6 diKaiog diKaioOriTU) tri, 'qui 
Justus est, justificetur adhuc ;* which place is pleaded by all 
the Romanists. And our author says, they are but few among 
the Protestants who do not acknowledge that the word can- 
not be here used in a forensic sense, but that to be justified, 
is to go on and increase in piety and righteousness. 

Ans. But (1.) there is a great objection lies in the way 
of any argument from these words ; namely, from the various 
reading of the place. For many ancient copies read not 
6 diKuiog ^LKaLoOriTii) hi, which the Vulgar renders 'justifi- 
cetur adhuc/ hut diKaioavvriv 'jroLri(TaTio m, 'Let him that is 
righteous work righteousness still,' as doth the printed copy 
which now lieth before me. So it was in the copy of the 
Complutensian edition, which Stephens commends above all 
others ; and in one more ancient copy that he used. So it 
is in the Syriac and Arabic published by Huterus, and in 
our own Polyglot. So Cyprian reads the words ' de bono 
patientiae ; Justus autem adhuc justiora faciat, similiter et 
qui sanctus sanctiora.' And 1 doubt not but that it is the 
true reading of the place ; diKaioOriTb) being supplied by some 
to comply with 0710^^7770; that ensues. And this phrase 
of ^tKaio(Tvvr)v ttoihv is peculiar unto this apostle, being no- 
where used in the New Testament (nor it may be in any other 
author), but by him. And he useth it expressly, 1 Epist. ii. 
29. and chap. iii. 7. where those words, 6 ttoicjv diKaioijd- 
v»]v, ^iKaiogicrTi, do plainly contain what is here expressed. 


(2.) To be justified, as the word is rendered by the Vulgar/ let 
him be justified' more (as it must be rendered, if the word 
^LKaio9r}T(i) be retained) respects an act of God, which nei- 
ther in its beginning nor continuation is prescribed unto us 
as a duty, nor is capable of increase in degrees, as we shall 
shew afterward. (3.) Men are said to be ^iKaioi generally 
from inherentrighteousness ; and if the apostle had intended 
justification in this place, he would not have said 6 St/caioc 
but 6 ^iKaLoOng. All which things prefer the Compluten- 
sian, Syriac, and Arabic, before the Vulgar reading of this 
place. If the Vulgar reading be retained, no more can be 
intended, but that he who is righteous, should so proceed 
in working righteousness, as to secure his justified estate 
unto himself, and to manifest it before God and the world. 

Now whereas the words SiKaiow and 2i»caiowjuai are used 
thirty-six times in the New Testament, these are all the 
places, whereunto any exception is put in against their fo- 
rensic signification ; and how ineffectual these exceptions 
are, it is evident unto any impartial judge. 

Some other considerations may yet be made use of, and 
pleaded to the same purpose. Such is the opposition that 
is made between justification and condemnation. So is it, 
Isa. 1. 8,9. Prov. xvii. 15. Rom. v. 16. 18. viii. 33, 34. and 
in sundry other places, as may be observed in the preceding 
enumeration of them. Wherefore, as condemnation is not 
the infusing of a habit of wickedness into him that is con- 
demned ; nor the making of him to be inherently wicked, 
who was before righteous ; but the passing a sentence upon 
a man with respect unto his wickedness ; no more is justi- 
fication the change of a person from inherent unrighteous- 
ness unto righteousness, by the infusion of a principle of 
grace, but a sentential declaration of him to be righteous. 

Moreover, the thing intended is frequently declared in 
the Scripture by other equivalent terms which are abso- 
lutely exclusive of any such sense, as the infusion of a habit 
of righteousness ; so the apostle expresseth it by the ' impu- 
tation of righteousness without works,' Rom. iv. 6. 11. 
and calls it the 'blessedness,' which we have by the pardon 
of sin, and the ' covering of iniquity,' in the same place. So 
it is called* reconciliation with God ;' Rom. v. 9, 10. To be 
justified by the blood of Christ, is the same with being re- 


conciled by his death. ' Being now justified by his blood, 
we shall be saved from wrath by him. For if when we 
were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his 
Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his 
life.' See 2 Cor. r. 20, 21. Reconciliation is not the in- 
fusion of a habit of grace, but the effecting of peace and 
love, by the removal of all enmity and causes of offence. 
To * save,' and * salvation' are used to the same purpose. 
'He shall save his people from their sins;' Matt* i. 21. 
is the same with, * by him all that believe are justified 
from all things, from which they could not be justified by 
the law of Moses;' Acts xiii. 39. That of Gal. ii. 16. 
'We have believed that we might be justified by the 
faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law,' is the 
same with Acts xv. 11. * But we believe that through 
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved even 
as they;' Eph. ii. 8, 9. 'By grace ye are saved, through 
faith, and not of works;' is so to be justified. So it is ex- 
pressed by pardon, or the * remission of sins,' which is the 
effect of it; Rom. iv. 5, 6. by 'receiving the atonement;' 
chap. v. 11. not * coming into judgment ' or condemnation; 
John v. 24. 'Blotting out sins and iniquities;' Isa. xliii. 25. 
Psal. Ii. 9. Isa. xliv. 22. Jer. xviii. 23. Acts iii. 19. ' Casting 
them into the bottom of the sea;' Micah vii. 19. and sundry 
other expressions of an alike importance. The- apostle de- 
claring it by its effects, says, St/caiot KaracrrrjOritrovrat ol rroA- 
XoL' 'Many shall be made righteous;' Rom. v. 19. StKoioc 
KaOiGTaTai, who on a juridical trial in open court, is absolved 
and declared righteous. 

And so it may be observed that all things concerning 
justification are proposed in the Scripture under a juridical 
scheme, or forensic trial and sentence. As, (1.) A judg- 
ment is supposed in it, concerning which, the psalmist prays 
that it may not proceed on the terms of the law; PsaLcxliii. 
2. (2.) The judge is God himself; Isa. 1. 7, 8. Rom. viii. 33. 
(3.) The tribunal whereon God sits in judgment, is the 
' throne of grace ;' Heb. iv. 16. Therefore will the Lord wait, 
that he may be gracious unto you, ' and therefore will he be 
exalted, that he may have mercy upon you ; for the Lord is 
a God of judgment;' Isa. xxx. 18. (4.) A guilty person. 
This is the sinner, who is vTroStKoc r((J Gtql so guilty of sin, as 


to be obnoxious to the judgment of God ; tc^ ^iKmwfiaTt tov 
Oeov* Rom. iii. 19. i. 32. whose mouth is stopped by convic- 
tion. (5.) Accusers are ready to propose and promote the 
charge against the guilty person ; these are the law, John 
V. 45. and conscience, Rom. ii. 15. and Satan also; Zech. 
iii. 2. Rev. xii. 10. (6.) The charge is admitted and drawn 
up in a handwriting in form of law, and is laid before the 
tribunal of the judge, in bar to the deliverance of the of- 
fender ; Col. ii. 14. (7.) A plea is prepared in the gospel 
for the guilty person. And this is grace, through the blood 
of Christ, the ransom paid, the atonement made, the eternal 
righteousness brought in by the surety of the covenant. 
Rom. iii. 23—25. Dan. ix. 24. Eph. i. 7. (8.) Hereunto 
alone the sinner betakes himself, renouncing all other 
apologies or defensatives whatever ; Psal. cxxx. 2, 3. 
cxliii. 2. Job ix. 2, 3. xlii. 5 — 7. Luke xviii. 13. Rom. iii. 
24, 25. V. 11. 16—19. viii. 1—3. 32, 33. Isa. liii. 5, 6. 
Heb. ix. 13—15. x. 1—13. 1 Pet. ii. 24. 1 John i. 7. Other 
plea for a sinner before God there is none. He who know- 
eth God and himself, will not provide or betake himself unto 
any other. Nor will he, as I suppose, trust unto any other 
defence, were he sure of all the angels in heaven to plead 
for him. (9.) To make this plea effectual we have an advo- 
cate with the Father, and he pleads his own propitiation for 
us ; 1 John ii. 1, 2. (10.) The sentence hereon is abso- 
lution, on the account of the ransom, blood, or sacrifice and 
righteousness of Christ; with acceptation into favour, as 
persons approved of God ; Job xxxiii. 24. Psal.xxxii. 1,2. 
Rom. iii. 23—25. viii. 1. 33, 34. 2 Cor. v. 21. Gal. iii. 
13, 14. 

Of what use the declaration of this process in the justifi- 
cation of a sinner maybe, hath been in some measure before 
declared. And if many did seriously consider, that all these 
things do concur and are required unto the justification of 
every one that shall be saved, it may be they would not have 
such slight thoughts of sin, and the way of deliverance from 
the guilt of it, as they seem to have. From this consider- 
ation did the apostle learn that terror of the Lord which 
made him so earnest with men to seek after reconciliation ; 
2Cor. V. 10, 11. 

I had not so long insisted on the signification of the 


words in the Scripture, but that a right understanding of it, 
doth not only exclude the pretences of the Romanists about 
the infusion of a habit of charity, from being the formal 
cause of our justification before God, but may also give oc- 
casion unto some to take advice, into what place or consi- 
deration they can dispose their own personal inherent righ- 
teousness in their justification before him. 


The distinction of a first and second justification examined. The contintLa- 
tion of justification whereon it doth depend. 

Before we inquire immediately into the nature and causes 
of justification, there are some things yet previously to be 
considered, that we may prevent all ambiguity and misun- 
derstanding, about the subject to be treated of. I say, there- 
fore, that the evangelical justification which alone we plead 
about, is but one, and is at once completed. About any 
other justification before God but one, we will not contend 
with any. Those who can find out another, may as they 
please ascribe what they will unto it, or ascribe it unto what 
they will. Let us therefore consider what is offered of this 

Those of the Roman church do ground their whole doc- 
trine of justification upon a distinction of a double justifi- 
cation, which they call the first and the second. The first 
justification, they say, is the infusion or the communication 
unto us of an inherent principle or habit of grace or charity. 
Hereby they say, original sin is extinguished, and all habits 
of sin are expelled. This justification they say is by faith, 
the obedience and satisfaction of Christ being the only me- 
ritorious cause thereof Only they dispute many things 
about preparations for it, and dispositions unto it. Under 
those terms the council of Trent included the doctrine of 
the schoolmen about * meritum de congruo/as both Hosius 
and Andradius confess in the defence of that council. And 
as they are explained, they come much to one : however 
the council warily avoided the name of merit, with respect 


unto this their first justification. And the use of faith 
herein (which with them is no more but a general assent 
unto divine revelation) is to bear the principal part in these 
preparations. So that to be 'justified by faith' according 
unto them, is to have the mind prepared by this kind of be- 
lieving to receive ' Gratiam gratum facientem/ a habit of 
grace expelling sin, and making us acceptable unto God. 
For upon this believing, with those other duties of contrition 
and repentance which must accompany it, it is meet and 
congruous unto divine wisdom, goodness, and faithfulness 
to give us that grace whereby we are justified. And this, 
according unto them is that justification whereof the apo- 
stle Paul treats in his epistles, from the procurement where- 
of he excludes all the works of the law. The second justifi- 
cation is an effect or consequent hereof. And the proper 
formal cause thereof is good works, proceeding from this 
principle of grace and love. Hence are they the righ- 
teousness wherewith believers are righteous before God, 
whereby they merit eternal life. The righteousness of works 
they call it, and suppose it taught by the apostle James. 
This they constantly affirm to make us ' justos ex injustis,' 
wherein they are followed by others. For this is the way 
that most of them take to salve the seeming repugnancy be- 
tween the apostle Paul and James. Paul, they say, treats of 
the first justification only, whence he excludes all works, 
for it is by faith in the manner before described. But James 
treats of the second justification, which is by good works. 
So Bellar. lib. ii. -cap. 16. and lib. iv. cap. 18. And it is the 
express determination of those at Trent. Sess. 6. cap. 10. 
This distinction was coined unto no other end, but to bring 
in confusion into the whole doctrine of the gospel. Justifi- 
cation through the free grace of God by faith in the blood 
of Christ is evacuated by it. Sanctification is turned into a 
justification, and corrupted by making the fruits of it meri- 
torious. The whole nature of evangelical justification con- 
sisting in the gratuitous pardon of sin and the imputation of 
righteousness, as the apostle expressly affirms, and the de- 
claration of a believing sinner to be righteous thereon, as 
the word alone signifies, is utterly defeated by it. 

Howbeit others have embraced this distinction also, 
though not absolutely in their sense. So do the Socinians. 


Yea, it must be allowed, in some sense, by all that hold dtir 
inherent righteousness to be the cause of, or to have any 
influence into, our justification before God. For they do 
allow of a justification which in order cf nature is antece- 
dent unto works truly gracious and evangelical. But con- 
sequential unto such works, there is a justification differing 
at least in degree, if not in nature and kind, upon the dif- 
ference of its formal cause, which ig our new obedience, 
from the former. But they mostly say, it is ♦nly the con- 
tinuation of our justification and the increase of it as to de- 
grees, that they intend by it. And if they may be allowed 
to turn sanctification into justification, and to make a pro- 
gress therein, or an increase thereof, either in the root or 
fruit, to be a new justification, they may make twenty jus- 
tifications as well as two for aught I know. For therein the 
* inward man is renewed day by day ;' 2 Cor iv. 16. and be- 
lievers go from strength to strength, are ' changed from glory 
to glory ;* 2 Cor. iii. 18. by the addition of one grace unto 
another in their exercise ; 2 Pet. i. 5—8. and increasing with 
' the increase of God,' Col. ii. 19. do iip all things grow up into 
him who is the head; Eph. iv. 15. And if their justification 
consist herein, they are justified anew every day. I shall 
therefore do these two things : 1. Shew that this dis- 
tinction is both unscriptural and irrational. 2. Declare 
what is the continuation of our justiftcation, and whereon 
it doth depend. 

Justification by faith in the blood of Christ, may be 
considered either as to the nature and essence of it, or as 
unto its manifestation and declaration. The manifestation 
of it is twofold; 1. Initial in this life. 2. Solemn and 
complete at the day of judgment, whereof we shall treat af- 
terward. The manifestation of it in this life respects either, 
the souls and consciences of them that are justified, or others, 
that is, the church and the world. And each of these have 
the name of justification assigned unto them, though our 
real justification before God be always one and the same. 
But a man may be really justified before God, and yet not 
have the evidence or assurance of it in his own mind. 
Wherefore, that evidence or assurance is not of the nature 
or essence of that faith whereby we are justified, nor doth 
necessarily accompany our justification. But this mam- 


festation of a man's own justification unto himself, although 
it depend on many especial cai\ses, which are not neces- 
sary unto his justification absolutely before God, is not a, 
second justification when it is attained; but only the ap- 
plication of the former unto his conscience by the Holy 
Ghost. There is also a manifestation of it with respect unto 
others, which in like manner depends on other causes than 
doth our justification before God absolutely; yet is it not 
a second justification. For it depends wholly on the visi- 
ble effects of that faith whereby we are justified, as the 
apostle James instructs us; yet is it only our single justi- 
fication before God, evidenced and declared, unto his glory, 
the benefit of others, and increase of our own reward. 

There is also a twofold justification before God men- 
tioned in the Scripture. 1. * By the works of the law:* 
Rom. ii. 13. x. 5. Matt. xix. 15 — 19. Hereunto is required 
an absolute conformity unto the whole law of God in our 
natures, all the faculties of our souls, all the principles of our 
moral operations, with perfect actual obedience unto all its 
commands, in all instances of duty, both for matter and 
manner. For he is cursed who continueth not in all things 
that are written in the law to do them. And he that breaks 
any one commandmen% is guilty of the breach of the whole 
law. He«ce the apostle concludes, that none can be jus- 
tified by the law, because all have sinned. 2. There is a 
justification by grace through faith in the blood of Christ, 
whereof we treat. And these ways of justification are con- 
trary, proceeding on terms directly contradictory, and can- 
not be made consistent with, or subservient one to the other. 
But as we shall manifest afterward the confounding of them 
both, by mixing them together, is that which is aimed at in 
this distinction of a first and second justification. But 
whatever respects it may have, that justification which we 
have before God, in his sight through Jesus Christ, is but 
one, and at once full and complete, and this distinction is 
a vain and fond invention r for, 

1. As it is explained by the Papists, it is exceedingly 
derogatory to the merit of Christ. For it leaves it no effect 
towards us, but only the infusion of a habit of charity. 
When that is done, all that remains with respect unto our 
s.alvation is to be wrought by ourselves. Christ hath only 


merited the first grace for us, that we therewith, and thereby, 
may merit life eternal. The merit of Christ being confided 
in its effect unto the first justification, it hath no immediate 
influence into any grace, privilege, mercy, or glory that 
follow thereon ; but they are all effects of that second jus- 
tification which is purely by works. But this is openly con- 
trary unto the whole tenor of the Scripture. For although 
there be an order of God's appointment, wherein we are to 
be made partakers of evangelical privileges in grace and 
glory, one before another, yet are they all of them the im- 
mediate effects of the death and obedience of Christ; who 
hath 'obtained for us eternal redemption/ Heb. ix. 12. and 
is ' the author of eternal salvation unto all that do obey him ; 
chap. v. 9. * Having by one offering for ever perfected them 
that are sanctified.' And those who allow of a secondary, 
if not of a second justification by our own inherent personal 
righteousnesses, are also guilty hereof, though not in the 
same degree with them. For whereas they ascribe unto it 
our acquitment from all charge of sin after the first justi- 
fication, and a righteousness accepted in judgment, in the 
judgment of God, as if it were complete and perfect, whereon 
depends our final absolution and reward, it is evident that 
the immediate efficacy of the satisfaction and merit of 
Christ, hath its bounds assigned unto it in the first justifi- 
cation ; which, whether it be taught in the Scripture or no, 
we shall afterward inquire. 

2. More by this distinction is ascribed unto ourselves, 
working by virtue of inherent grace, as unto the merit and 
procurement of spiritual and eternal good, than unto the 
blood of Christ. For that only procures the first grace and 
justification for us. Thereof alone it is the meritorious 
cause ; or as others express it, we are made partakers of the 
effects of it in the pardon of sins past. But by virtue of 
this grace, we do ourselves obtain, procure, or merit another, 
a second, a complete, justification, the continuance of the 
favour of God, and all the fruits of it, with life eternal and 
glory. So do our works at least perfect and complete the 
merit of Christ, without which it is imperfect. And those 
who assign the continuation of our justification, wherein all 
the effects of divine favour and grace are contained, unto 
our own personal righteousness, as also final justification 


before God as the pleadable cause of it, do follow their 
steps unto the best of my understanding. But such things 
as these, may be disputed ; in debates of which kind it is 
incredible almost what influence on the minds of men, tra- 
ditions, prejudices, subtlety of invention and arguing do 
obtain, to divert them from real thoughts of the things about 
which they contend, with respect unto themselves and their 
own condition. If by any means such persons can be called 
home unto themselves, and find leisure to think how, and 
by what means they shall come to appear before the high 
God, to be freed from the sentence of the law, and the curse 
due to sin, to have a pleadable righteousness at the judg- 
ment-seat of God before which they stand, especially if a 
real sense of these things be implanted on their minds by 
the convincing power of the Holy Ghost, all their subtle 
arguments and pleas for the mighty efficacy of their own 
personal righteousness, will sink in their minds like water 
at the return of the tide, and leave nothing but mud and 
defilement behind them. 

3. This distinction of two justifications as used and im- 
proved by those of the Roman church, leaves us indeed no 
justification at all. Something there is in the branches of it, 
of sanctification, but of justification nothing at all. Their 
first justification in the infusion of a habit or principle of 
grace, unto the expulsion of all habits of sin, is sanctifica- 
tion and nothing else. And we never did contend that our 
justification in such a sense, if any will take it in such a 
sense, doth consist in the imputation of the righteousness 
of Christ. And this justification, if any will needs call it 
so, is capable of degrees, both of increase in itself, and of 
exercise in its fruits, as was newly declared. But not only 
to call this our justification, with a general respect unto the 
notion of the word, as a making of us personally and inhe- 
rently righteous, but to plead that this is the justification 
through faith in the blood of Christ, declared in the Scrip- 
ture, is to exclude the only true evangelical justification 
from any place in religion. The second branch of the dis- 
tinction hath much in it like unto justification by the law, 
but nothing of that which is declared in the gospel. So 
that this distinction instead of coining us two justifications 
according to the gospel, hath left us none at all. For, 


4. There is no countenance given unto this distinction 
in the Scripture. There is indeed mention therein, as we 
observed before, of a double jutification j the one by the law, 
the other according unto the gospel. But that either of 
these should on any account be sub-distinguished into a first 
and second of the same kind, that is, either according unto 
the law or the gospel, there is nothing in the Scripture to 
intimate. For this second justification is no way applicable 
unto what the apostle James discourseth on that subject. He 
treats of justification ; but speaks not one word of an in- 
crease of it, or addition unto it, of a first or second. Be- 
sides, he speaks expressly of him that boasts of faith, which 
being without works is a dead faith. But he who hath the 
first justification by the confession of our adversaries, hath 
a true living faith, formed and enlivened by charity. And 
he useth the same testimony concerning the justification of 
Abraham that Paul doth, and therefore doth not intend an- 
other but the same, though in a diverse respect. Nor doth 
any believer learn the least of it in his own experience ; nor 
without a design to serve a farther turn, would it ever have 
entered the minds of sober men on the reading of the Scrip- 
ture. And it is the bane of spiritual truth, for men in the 
pretended declaration of it, to coin arbitrary distinctions 
without Scripture ground for them, and obtrude them as be- 
longing unto the doctrine they treat of. They serve unto 
no other end or purpose, but only to lead the minds of men 
from the substance of what they ought to attend unto, and 
to engage all sorts of persons in endless strifes and conten- 
tions. If the authors of this distinction would but go over 
the places in the Scripture where mention is made of our 
justification before God, and make a distribution of them 
unto the respective parts of their distinction, they would 
quickly find themselves at an unrelievable loss. 

5. There is that in the Scripture ascribed unto our first 
justification, if they will needs call it so, as leaves no room 
for their second feigned justification. For the sole founda- 
tion and pretence of this distinction, is a denial of those 
things to belong unto our justification by the blood of Christ, 
which the Scripture expressly assigns unto it. Let us take 
out some instances of what belongs unto the first, and we 
shall quickly see how little it is, yea, that there is nothing 


left for the pretended second jastification. For (1.) therein 
do we receive the complete ' pardon and forgiveness of our 
sins;' Rom. iv. 4. 6, 7. Eph. i. 7. iv. 32. Acts xxvi. 18. (2.) 
Thereby are we ' made righteous;' Rome v. 19. x. 4. And 
(3.) are freed from condemnationjudgment, and death; John 
iii. 16. 19. V. 25. Rom. viii. 1. (4.) Are reconciled unto 
God; Rom. v. 9, 10. 2 Cor. v. 21, 22. And (5.) have peace 
with him, and access into the favour wherein we stand by 
grace, with the advantages and consolations that depend 
thereon inasense of his love; Rom.v.l— 5. And (6.) we have 
adoption therewithal and all its privileges; John i. 12. 
And in particular (7.) a right and title unto the whole inhe- 
ritance of glory ; Acts xxvi. 18. Rom. viii. 17. And (8.) here- 
on eternal life doth follow; Rom. viii. 30. vi. 23. Which 
things will be again immediately spoken unto upon another 
occasion. And if there be any thing now left for their se- 
cond justification to do as such, let them take it as their 
own ; these things are all of them ours, or do belong unto 
that one justification which we do assert. Wherefore it is 
evident, that either the first justification overthrows the se- 
cond, rendering it needless ; or the second destroys the first, 
by taking away what essentially belongs unto it; we must 
therefore part with the one or the other, for consistent they 
are not. But that which gives countenance unto the fiction 
and artifice of this distinction, and a great many more, is a 
dislike of the doctrine of the grace of God, and justifica- 
tion from thence by faith in the blood of Christ, with 
some endeavour hereby to send out of the way upon a 
pretended sleeveless errand, whilst they dress up their own 
righteousness in its robes, and exalt it into the room and 
dignity thereof. 

But there seems to be more of reality and difficulty in 
what is pleaded concerning the continuation of our justifi- 
cation. For those that are freely justified, are continued in 
that state until they are glorified. By justification they are 
really changed into a new spiritual state and condition, and 
have a new relation given them unto God and Christ, unto 
the law and the gospel. And it is inquired what it is whereon 
their continuation in this state doth on their part depend ; 
or what is required of them that they may be justified unto 
the end. And this as some say is not faith alone, but also 



the works of sincere obedience. And none can deny but 
that they are required of all them that are justified, whilst 
they continue in a state of justification on this side glory, 
which next and immediately ensues thereunto. But whe- 
ther upon our justification at first before God, faith be im- 
mediately dismissed from its place and office, and its work 
be given over unto works, so as that the continuation of our 
justification should depend on our own personal obedience, 
and not on the renewed application of faith unto Christ and 
his righteousness, is worth our inquiry. Only I desire the 
reader to observe, that whereas the necessity of owning a 
personal obedience in justified persons, is on all hands ab- 
solutely agreed, the seeming difference that is herein, con- 
cerns not the substance of the doctrine of justification, but 
the manner of expressing our conceptions concerning the 
order of the disposition of God's grace, and our own duty, 
unto edification, wherein I shall use my own liberty, as it is 
meet others should do theirs. And I shall offer my thoughts 
hereunto in the ensuing observations. 

1. Justification is such a work as is at once completed 
in all the causes, and the whole effect of it, though not as 
unto the full possession of all that it gives right and title 
unto. For (1.) all our sins past, present, and to come, 
were at once imputed unto, and laid upon, Jesus Christ ; in 
what sense, we shall afterward inquire. ' He was wounded 
for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the 
chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes 
are we healed. All we like sheep have gone astray ; we have 
turned every one to his own way ; and the Lord hath made 
to meet on him the iniquities of us all ;' Isa. liii. 6, 7. * Who 
his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree ;* 
1 Pet. ii. 24. The assertions being indefinite, without ex- 
ception or limitation, are equivalent unto universals. All 
our sins were on him, he bare them all at once, and there- 
fore once died for all. (2.) He did therefore at once 'finish 
transgression, made an end of sin, made reconciliation for 
iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness ;' Dan. ix. 
24. At once he expiated all our sins ; for ' by himself he 
purged our sins, and then sat down at the right hand of 
the Majesty on high ;' Heb, i. 3. And we are sanctified or 
dedicated unto God ' through the offering of the body of 


Christ once for all ; for by one offering he hath perfected' 
(consummated, completed, as unto their spiritual state) 
'them that are sanctified ;' Heb. x. 10. 14. He never will do 
more than he hath actually done already for the expiation of 
all our sins from first to last ; for there remaineth no more 
sacrifice for sin. I do not say that hereupon our justifi- 
cation is complete, but only that the meritorious procuring 
cause of it was at once completed, and is never to be renewed 
or repeated any more ; all the inquiry is concerning the re- 
newed application of it unto our souls and consciences, whe- 
ther that be by faith alone, or by the works of righteousness 
which we do. (3.) By ouractual believing withjustifyingfaith, 
believing on Christ, or his name, we do receive him, and 
thereby on our first justification become the ' sons of God ;' 
John i. 12. that is, 'joint heirs with Christ, and heirs of 
God ;' Rom. viii. 17. Hereby we have a right unto, and an 
interest in, all the benefits of his mediation ; which is to be 
at once completely justified. ' For in him v/e are complete;' 
Col. ii. 10. ' For by the faith that is in him we do receive 
the forgiveness of sins, and a lot or inheritance among all 
them that are sanctified,' Acts xxvi. 18. being immediately 
justified from all things, from which we could not be 'justi- 
fied by the law;' Acts xiii. 39. yea, God thereon ' blesseth us 
with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ;' 
Eph. i. 3. All these things are absolutely inseparable from 
our first believing in him, and therefore our justification is 
at once complete. In particular (4.) on our believing, all 
our sins are forgiven. * He hath quickened you together 
with him, having forgiven you all trespasses ;' Col. ii. 13 — 
15. * For in him we have redemption through his blood, even 
the forgiveness of sins, according unto the riches of his 
o-race ;' Eph. i. 7. Which one place obviates all the petulant 
exceptions of some against the consistency of the free grace 
of God in the pardon of sins, and the satisfaction of Christ 
in the procurement thereof. (5.) There is hereon nothing 
to be laid unto the charge of them that are so justified. For 
* he that believeth hath everlasting life, and shall not come 
into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life ;' John 
V. 24. And ' who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's 
elect? It is God that justifieth, it is Christ that died/ Rom. 
viii. 33, 34, and 'there is no condemnation unto them that 

N 2 


are in Christ Jesus ;' ver. 1. For * being justified by faith, we 
have peace with God;' chap. v. 1. And (6.) we have 
that blessedness hereon whereof in this life we are capable; 
Rom. iv. 5, 6. From all which it appears that our justifi- 
cation is at once complete. And (7 .) it must be so or no 
man can be justified in this world. For no time can be as- 
signed, nor measure of obedience be limited, whereon it may 
be supposed that any one comes to be justified before God, 
who is not so on his first believing. For the Scripture doth 
nowhere assign any such time or measure. And to say that 
no man is completely justified in the sight of God in this 
life, is at once to overthrow all that is taught in the Scrip- 
tures concerning justification, and therewithal all peace with 
God and comfort of believers. But a man acquitted upon 
his legal trial, is at once discharged of all that the law hath 
against him. 

2. Upon this complete justification, believers are obliged 
unto universal obedience unto God. The law is not abo- 
lished, but established by faith. It is neither abrogated nor 
dispensed withal by such an interpretation as should take 
off its obligation in any thing that it requires, nor as to the 
degree and manner wherein it requires it. Nor is it possible 
it should be so. For it is nothing but the rule of that obe- 
dience which the nature of God and man make necessary 
from the one to the other. And that is an Antinomianism of 
the worst sort, and most derogatory unto the law of God, 
which affirms it to be divested of its power, to oblige unto 
perfect obedience, so as that what it is not so, shall (as it 
were in despite of the law) be accepted as if it were so, unto 
the end for which the law requires it. There is no medium, 
but that either the law is utterly abolished, and so there is 
no sin, for where there is no law, there is no transgression ; 
or it must be allowed to require the same obedience that it 
did at its first institution, and unto the same degree. Neither 
is it in the power of any man living to keep his conscience 
from judging and condemning that, whatever it be, wherein 
he is convinced that he comes short of the perfection of the 
law. Wherefore, 

3. The commanding power of the law in positive precepts 
and prohibitions, which justified persons are subject unto, 
doth make and constitute all their inconformities unto it to 


be no less truly and properly sins in their own nature, than 
they would be if their persons were obnoxious unto, the 
curse of it. This they are not, nor can be ; for to be ob- 
noxious unto the curse of the law, and to be justified, are 
contradictory; but to be subject to the commands of the 
law, and to be justified, are not so. But it is a subjection 
to the commanding power of the law, and not an obnoxious- 
ness unto the curse of the law, that constitutes the nature 
of sin in its transgression. Wherefore, that complete justi- 
fication which is at once, though it dissolve the obligation 
on the sinner unto punishment by the curse of the law, yet 
doth it not annihilate the commanding authority of the law, 
unto them that are justified, that what is sin in others, 
should not be so in them. See Rom. viii. 1. 33, 34. 

Hence, in the first justification of believing sinners, all 
future sins are remitted as unto any actual obligation unto 
the curse of the laiv, unless thev should fall into such sins 
as should, ipso facto, forfeit their justified estate, and transfer 
them from the covenant of grace, into the covenant of works, 
which we believe that God in his faithfulness will preserve 
them from. And although sin cannot be actually pardoned 
before it be actually committed ; yet may the obligation 
unto the curse of the law be virtually taken away from 
such sins, in justified persons, as are consistent with a justi- 
fied estate, or the terms of the covenant of grace, ante- 
cedently unto their actual commission. God at once in 
this sense * forgivetb all their iniquities, andhealeth all their 
diseases, redeemeth their life from destruction, and crowneth 
them with loving-kindness and mercies;' Psal. ciii. 2,3. 
Future sins are not so pardoned as that when they are com- 
mitted they should be no sins, which cannot be, unless the 
commanding power of the law be abrogated. But their 
respect unto the curse of the law, or their power to oblige 
the justified person thereunto is taken away. 

Still there abideth the true nature of sin in every incon- 
formity unto, or transgression of, the law in justified persons, 
which stands in need of daily actual pardon. For there is 
* no man that liveth and sinneth not, and if we say that we 
have no sin, we do but deceive ourselves.' None are more 
sensible of the guilt of sin, none are more troubled for it, 
none are more earnest in supplications for the pardon of it. 


than justified persons. For this is the effect of the sacrifice 
of Christ appHed unto the souls of believers, as the apostle 
declares, Heb. x. 1 — A. 10. 14. that it doth take away con- 
science, condemning the sinner for sin, with respect unto 
the curse of the law; but it doth not take away conscience, 
condemning sin in the sinner, which on all considerations 
of God and themselves, of the law and the gospel, requires 
repentance on the part of the sinner, and actual pardon on 
the part of God. 

Whereas, therefore, one essential part of justification con- 
sisteth in the pardon of our sins, and sins cannot be actually 
pardoned before they are actually committed, our present 
inquiry is, whereon the continuation of our justification doth 
depend, notwithstanding the interveniency of sin after we 
are justified, whereby such sins are actually pardoned, and 
our persons are continued in a state of acceptation with God, 
and have their right unto life and glory uninterrupted. Jus- 
tification is at once complete, in the im.putation of a perfect 
righteousness, the grant of a right and title unto the hea- 
venly inheritance, the actual pardon of all past sins, and the 
virtual pardon of future sins ; but how or by what means, on 
what terms and conditions, this state is continued unto those 
who are once justified, whereby the righteousness is everlast- 
ing, their title to life and glory indefeasable, and all their 
sins are actually pardoned, is to be inquired. 

For answer unto this inquiry, I say, 1. * It is God that 
justifieth,'ahd therefore, the continuation of our justification 
is his act also. And this on his part depends on the im- 
mutability of his counsel, the unchangeableness of the ever- 
lasting covenant, which is * ordered in all things and sure,' 
the faithfulness of his promises, the efficacy of his grace, his 
complacency in the propitiation of Christ, with the power 
of his intercession, and the irrevocable grant of the Holy 
Ghost unto them that do believe ; which things are not of 
our present inquiry. 

2. Some say that on our part the continuation of this 
state of our justification, depends on the condition of good 
works, that is, that they are of the same consideration and use 
with faith itself herein. In our justification itself there is, 
they will grant, somewhat peculiar unto faith ; but as unto 
thecontinuationof our justification, faith and works have the 


same influence into it. Yea, some seem to ascribe it dis- 
tinctly unto works in an especial manner, with this only- 
proviso, that they be done in faith. For my part I cannot 
understand that the continuation of our justification hath 
any other dependencies, than hath our justification itself. 
As faith alone is required unto the one, so faith alone is re- 
quired unto the other, although its operations and effects in 
the discharge of its duty and ofiice in justification, and the 
continuation of it are diverse, nor can it otherwise be. To 
clear this assertion two things are to be observed. 

1. That the continuation of our justification is the con- 
tinuation of the imputation of righteousness and the pardon 
of sins. I do still suppose the imputation of righteousness 
to concur unto our justification, although we have not yet 
examined what righteousness it is that is imputed. But 
that God in our justification imputeth righteousness unto us, 
is so expressly affirmed by the apostle, as that it must not 
be called in question. Now the first act of God in the im- 
putation of righteousness cannot be repeated. And the ac- 
tual pardon of sin after justification, is an effect and conse- 
quent of that imputation of righteousness. ' If any man sin, 
there is a propitiation ; deliver him, I have found a ransom.* 
Wherefore unto this actual pardon, there is nothing required, 
but the application of that righteousness which is the cause 
of it, and this is done by faith only. 

2. The continuation of our justification, is before God, 
or in the sight of God no less than our absolute justification 
is. We speak not of the sense and evidence of it unto our 
own souls unto peace with God ; nor of the evidencing and 
manifestation of it unto others by its effects ; but of the con- 
tinuance of it in the sight of God. Whatever therefore is 
the means, condition, or cause hereof, is pleadable before 
God, and ought to be pleaded unto that purpose. So then 
the inquiry is. 

What it is that when a justified person is guilty of sin 
(as guilty he is more or less every day), and his conscience 
is pressed with a sense thereof, as that only thing which 
can endanger or intercept his justified estate, his favour with 
God, and title unto glory, he betakes himself unto, or ought 
so to do, for the continuance of his state, and pardon of his 
sins, what he pleadeth unto that purpose, and what is avail- 


able thereunto. That this is not his own obedience, his 
personal righteousness, or fulfilling the condition of the new 
covenant, is evident, from (1.) The experience of believers 
themselves; (2.) Testimony of Scripture; and (3.) The ex- 
ample of them whose cases are recorded therein. 

1. Let the experience of them that do believe be inquired 
into; for their consciences are continually exercised herein. 
What is it that they betake themselves unto, what is it that 
they plead with God, for the continuance of the pardon of 
their sins, and the acceptance of their persons before him ? 
Is it any thing but sovereign grace and mercy, through the 
blood of Christ? Are not all the arguments which they 
plead unto this end, taken from the topics, of the name of 
God, his mercy, grace, faithfulness, tender compassion, co- 
venant and promises, all manifested, and exercised in and 
through the Lord Christ and his mediation alone ? Do they 
not herein place their only trust and confidence for this end, 
that their sins may be pardoned, and their persons, though 
every way unworthy in themselves, be accepted with God ? 
Doth any other thought enter into their hearts ? Do they 
plead their own righteousness, obedience and duties to this 
purpose ? Do they leave the prayer of the publican, and be- 
take themselves unto that of the Pharisee ? And is it not 
of faith alone, which is that grace whereby they apply them- 
selves unto the mercy or grace of God through the media- 
tion of Christ? It is true that faith herein, work eth and 
acteth itself in and by godly sorrow^ repentance, humiliation, 
self-judging, and abhorrency, fervency in prayer and sup- 
plications, with an humble waiting for an answer of peace 
from God, with engagements unto renewed obedience. But 
it is faith alone that makes applications unto grace in the 
blood of Christ, for the continuation of our justified estate, 
expressing itself in those other ways and effects mentioned, 
from none of which a believing soul doth expect the mercy 
aimed at. 

2. The Scripture expressly doth declare this to be the 
only way of the continuation of our justification. 1 John ii. 
1, 2. * These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And 
if any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus 
Christ the righteous ; and he is the propitiation for our 
sins.* It is required of those that are justified, that they sin 


not; it is their duty not to sin ; but yet it is not so required 
of them, as that if in any thing they fail of their duty they 
should immediately lose the privilege of their justification. 
Wherefore, on a supposition of sin, if any man sin (as there 
is no man that liveth and sinneth not), what way is prescrib- 
ed for such persons to take, what are they to apply them- 
selves unto, that their sin may be pardoned, and their ac- 
ceptance w^ith God continued ; that is, for the continuation 
of their justification? The course in this case directed unto 
by the apostle, is none other but the application of our souls 
by faith unto the Lord Christ, as our advocate with the Fa- 
ther, on the account of the propitiation that he hath made 
for our sins. Under the consideration of this double act of 
his sacerdotal office, his oblation and intercession, he is the 
object of our faith in our absolute justification, and so he is 
as unto the continuation of it. So our whole progress in 
our justified estate in all the degrees of it is ascribed unto 
faith alone. 

It is no part of our inquiry, what God requireth of them 
that are justified. There is no grace, no duty for the sub- 
stance of them, nor for the manner of their performance, 
that are required either by the law or the gospel, but they 
are obliged unto them. Where they are omitted, we acknow- 
ledge that the guilt of sin is contracted, and that attended 
with such aggravations, as some will not own or allow to be 
confessed unto God himself. Hence, in particular, the faith 
and grace of believers, do constantly and deeply exercise 
themselves in godly sorrow, repentance, humiliation for sin, 
and confession of it before God, upon their apprehensions 
of its guilt. And these duties are so far necessary unto the 
continuation of our justification, as that a justified estate 
cannot consist with the sins and vices that are opposite unto 
them. So the apostle affirms, that ' if we live after the flesh, 
we shall die;' Rom viii. 13. He that doth not carefully 
avoid falling into the fire or water, or other things immedi- 
ately destructive of life natural, cannot live. But these are 
not the things whereon life doth depend. Nor have the best 
of our duties any other respect unto the continuation of our 
justification, but only as in them we are preserved from those 
things which are contrary unto it, and destructive of it. But 
the sole question is upon what the continuation of our justi- 


fication doth depend, not concerning what duties are re- 
quired of us, in the way of our obedience. If this be that 
which is intended in this position, the continuation of our 
justification depends on our own obedience and good works, 
or that our own obedience and good works are the condition 
of the continuation of our justification, namely, that God 
doth indispensably require good works and obedience in all 
that are justified, so that a justified estate is inconsistent 
with the neglect of them ; it is readily granted, and I shall 
never contend with any about the way whereby they choose 
to express the conceptions of their minds. But if it be in- 
quired what it is whereby we immediately concur in a v/ay of 
duty unto the continuation of our justified estate, that is, the 
pardon of our sins and acceptance with God, we say it is 
faith alone. For the * just shall live by faith ;' Rom. i. 17. 
And as the apostle applies this divine testimony to prove 
our first or absolute justification to be by faith alone; so 
doth he also apply it unto the continuation of our justifica- 
tion, as that which is by the same means only, Heb. x. 
38, 39. * Now the just shall live by faith : but if any man 
draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we 
are not of them that draw back unto perdition : but of them 
that believe, unto the saving of the soul.' The drawing back 
to perdition includes the loss of a justified estate really so 
or in profession. In opposition thereunto the apostle placeth 
' believing unto the saving of the soul ;' that is, unto the 
continuation of justification unto the end. And herein it is, 
that the just live by faith, and the loss of this life can only 
be by unbelief. So the ' life which we now live in the flesh, 
is by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us, and gave 
himself for us ;' Gal. ii. 20. The life which we now lead in 
the flesh, is the continuation of our justification, a life of 
righteousness and acceptation with God, in opposition unto 
a life by the works of the law, as the next words declare ; 
ver. 21. * I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righ- 
teousness came by the law, then is Christ dead in vain;' and 
this life is by faith in Christ, as ' he loved us, and gave him- 
self for us,' that is, as he was a propitiation for our sins. 
This then is the only way, means, and cause on our part of 
the preservation of this life, of the continuance of our justi- 
fication ; and herein are we kept by the power of God through 


faith unto salvation. Again ; if the continuation of our jus- 
tification dependeth on our own works of obedience, then is 
the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us only with re- 
spect unto our justification at first, or our first justification 
as some speak. And this indeed is the doctrine of the Ro- 
man school. They teach that the righteousness of Christ is 
so far imputed unto us, that on the account thereof God 
gives unto us justifying grace, and thereby the remission of 
sin in their sense, whence they allow it the meritorious cause 
of our justification. But on a supposition thereof, or the 
reception of that grace, v/e are continued to be justified be- 
fore God by the works we perform by virtue of that grace 
received. And though some of them rise so high as to af- 
firm, that this grace and the works of it, need no farther 
respect unto the righteousness of Christ, to deserve our se- 
cond justification and life eternal ; as doth Vasquez ex- 
pressly, in 1, 2. q. 114. Disp. 222. cap. 3, yet many of 
them affirm that it is still from the consideration of the merit 
of Christ that they are so meritorious. And the same, for 
the substance of it, is the judgment of some of them, who 
affirm the continuation of our justification to depend on our 
own works, setting aside that ambiguous term of merit. For 
it is on the account of the righteousness of Christ they say, 
that our own works, or imperfect obedience, is so accepted 
with God, as that the continuation of our justification de- 
pends thereon. But the apostle gives us another account 
hereof; Rom. v. 1 — 3. For he distinguisheth three things ; 
1. Our access into the grace of God. 2. Our standing in that 
grace. 3. Our glorying in that station 'against all opposi- 
tion. By the first he expresseth our absolute justification ; 
by the second, our continuation in the state whereinto we 
are admitted thereby ; and by the third, the assurance of 
that continuation, notwithstanding all the oppositions we 
meet withal. And all these he ascribeth equally unto faith, 
without the intermixture of any other cause or condition. 
And other places express to the same purpose might be 

3. The examples of them that did believe and were jus- 
tified which are recorded in the Scripture, do all bear wit- 
ness unto the same truth. The continuation of the justifi- 
cation of Abraham before God, is declared to have been by 


faith only; Rom. iv. 3. For the instance of his justification 
given by the apostle from Gen xv. 6. was long after he was 
justified absolutely. And if our first justification, and the 
continuation of it, did not depend absolutely on the same 
cause, the instance of the one could not be produced for a 
proof of the way and means of the other, as here they are. 
And David, when a justified believer, not only placeth the 
blessedness of man in the free remission of sins, in opposi- 
tion unto his own works in general ; Rom. iv. 6, 7. but in 
his own particular case, ascribeth the continuation of his 
justification and acceptation before God, unto grace, mercy, 
and forgiveness alone, which are no otherwise received but 
by faith. Psal. cxxx. 3 — 5. cxliii. 2. All other works and 
duties of obedience do accompany faith in the continuation 
of our justified estate, as necessary effects and fruits of it, 
but not as causes, means, or conditions whereon that effect 
is suspended. It is patient waiting by faith, that brings in 
the full accomplishment of the promises ; Heb. vi. 12. 16. 
Wherefore, there is but one justification, and that of one 
kind only, wherein we are concerned in this disputation. 
The Scripture makes mention of no more ; and that is the 
justification of an ungodly person by faith. Nor shall we 
admit of the consideration of any other. For if there be a 
second justification, it must be of the same kind with the 
first or of another ; if it be of the same kind, then the same 
person is often justified with the same kind of justification, 
or at least more than once ; and so on just reason ought to 
be often baptized ; if it be not of the same kind, then the 
same person is justified before God with two sorts of justifi- 
cation, of both which the Scripture is utterly silent. And 
the continuation of our justification depends solely on the 
same causes with our justification itself. 



Evangelical personal righteousness, the nature and use of it. Final jud-g^ 
ment, and its respect unto justification. 

The things which we have discoursed concerning the first 
and second justification, and concerning the continuation 
of justification, have no other design, but only to clear the 
principal subject whereof we treat, from what doth not ne- 
cessarily belong unto it. For until all things that are either 
really heterogeneous or otherwise superfluous, are separated 
from it, we cannot understand aright the true state of the 
question about the nature and causes of our justification 
before God. For we intend one only justification, namely, 
that whereby God at once freely by his grace justifieth a 
convinced sinner through faith in the blood of Christ. 
Whatever else any will be pleased to call justification, we 
are not concerned in it, nor are the consciences of them 
that believe. To the same purpose we must therefore 
briefly also consider what is usually disputed about our 
own personal righteousness, with a justification thereon, as 
also what is called sentential justification at the day of judg- 
ment. And I shall treat no farther of them in this place, 
but only as it is necessary to free the principal subject un- 
der consideration, from being intermixed with them, as 
really it is not concerned in them. For what influence our 
own personal righteousness hath into our justification before 
God, will be afterward particularly examined. Here we 
shall only consider such a notion of it, as seems to interfere 
with it, and disturb the right understanding of it. But yet 
I say concerning this also, that it rather belongs unto the 
difference that will be among us in the expression of our 
conceptions about spiritual things whilst we know but in 
part, than unto the substance of the doctrine itself. And 
on such differences no breach of charity can ensue, whilst 
there is a mutual grant of that liberty of mind, without 
which it will not be preserved one moment. 

It is therefore by some apprehended that there is an 
evangelical justification, upon our evangelical personal righ- 


teousness. This they distinguish from that justification 
which is by faith through the imputation of the righteous- 
ness of Christ, in the sense wherein they do allow it. For 
the righteousness of Christ, is our legal righteousness, 
whereby we have pardon of sin, and acquitment from the 
sentence of the law, on the account of his satisfaction and 
merit. But moreover, they say, that as there is a personal 
inherent righteousness required of us, so there is a justifi- 
cation by the gospel thereon. For by our faith, and the plea 
of it, we are justified from the charge of unbelief; by our 
sincerity, and the plea of it, we are justified from the charge 
of hypocrisy ; and so by all other graces and duties from 
the charge of the contrary sins in commission or omission, 
so far as such sins are inconsistent with the terms of the 
covenant of grace. How this difFereth from the second jus- 
tification before God, which some say we have by works, 
on the supposition of the pardon of sin for the satisfaction of 
Christ, and the infusion of a habit of grace enabling us to 
perform those works, is declared by those who so express 

Some add, that this inherent, personal, evangelical righ- 
teousness, is the condition on our part of our legal righte- 
ousness, or of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ 
unto our justification, or the pardon of sin. And those by 
whom the satisfaction and merit of Christ are denied, make 
it the only and whole condition of our absolute justification 
before God. So speak all the Socinians constantly. For 
they deny our obedience unto Christ to be either the meri- 
torious or efficient cause of our justification ; only they 
say it is the condition of it, without which God hath decreed 
that we shall not be made partakers of the benefit thereof. 
So doth Socinus himself, De Justificat. p. 17. 'Sunt opera 
nostra, id est, ut dictum fuit, obedientia quam Christo prse- 
stamus, licet nee efficiens nee meritoria, tamen causa est 
(ut vocant) sine qua non, justificationis coram Deo, atque 
seternse nostras.' Again, p. 14. inter Opuscul. ' Ut caven- 
dum est ne vitse sanctitatem atque innocentiam effectum 
justificationis nostras coram Deo esse credamus, neque 
illam nostras coram Deo justificationis causam efficientem 
aut impulsivam esse afiirmemus ; sed tantummodo causam 
sine qua eam justificationem nobis non contingere decrevit 


Deus.' And in all their discourses to this purpose, they 
assert our personal righteousness and holiness, or our obe- 
dience unto the commands of Christ, which they make to 
be the form and essence of faith, to be the condition where- 
on we obtain justification or the remission of sins. And 
indeed, considering what their opinion is concerning the 
person of Christ, with their denial of his satisfaction and 
merit, it is impossible they should frame any other idea of 
justification in their minds. But what some among our- 
selves intend by a compliance with them herein, who are 
not necessitated thereunto by a prepossession with their 
opinions about the person and mediation of Christ, I know 
not. For as for them, all their notions about grace, coi|- 
version to God, justification, and the like articles of our 
religion, they are nothing but what they are necessarily 
cast upon by their hypothesis about the person of Christ. 

At present I shall only inquire into that peculiar evan- 
gelical justification which is asserted to be the effect of our 
own personal righteousness, or to be granted us thereon. 
And hereunto we may observe, 

1. That God doth require in and by the gospel a sincere 
obedience of all that do believe, to be performed in and by 
their own persons, though through the aids of grace sup- 
plied unto them by Jesus Christ. He requireth indeed obe- 
dience, duties, and works of righteousness in and of all per- 
sons whatever. But the consideration of them which are 
performed before believing, is excluded by all from any 
causality or interest in our justification before God. At 
least whatever any may discourse of the necessity of such 
works in a way of preparation unto believing (whereunto we 
have spoken before), none bring them into the verge of 
works evangelical, or obedience of faith, which would im- 
ply a contradiction. But that the works inquired after are 
necessary unto all believers, is granted by all ; on what 
grounds and unto what ends, we shall inquire afterward ; 
they are declared, Eph. ii. 10. 

2. It is hkewise granted that believers, from the perform- 
ance of this obedience, or these works of righteousness are 
denominated righteous in the Scripture, and are personally 
and internally righteous ; Luke i. 6. 1 John iii. 7. But yet 
this denomination is nowhere given unto them, with respect 


unto grace habitually inherent, but unto the effects of it in 
duties of obedience, as in the places mentioned. * They were 
both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments 
and ordinances of the Lord blameless/ The latter words give 
the reason of the former, or their being esteemed righteous 
before God. And ' he that doeth righteousness is righteous ;' 
the denomination is from doing. And Bellarmine, endea- 
vouring to prove that it is habitual not actual righteousness, 
which is as he speaks, the formal cause of our justification 
before God, could not produce one testimony of Scripture 
wherein any one is denominated righteous from habitual 
righteousness. De Justificat. lib. ii. cap. 15. But is forced to 
attempt the proof of it with this absurd argument, namely, 
that * we are justified by the sacraments, which do not work 
in us actual but habitual righteousness.' And this is suffi- 
cient to discover the insufficiency of a pretence for any in- 
terest of our own righteousness from this denomination of 
being righteous thereby, seeing it hath not respect unto that 
which is the principal part thereof. 

3. This inherent righteousness, taking it for that which 
is habitual and actual, is the same with our sanctification ; 
neither is there any difference between them, only they are 
diverse names of the same thing. For our sanctification is 
the inherent renovation of our natures, exerting and acting 
itself in newness of life, or obedience unto God in Christ, 
and works of righteousness. But sanctification and justifi- 
cation are in the Scripture perpetually distinguished, what- 
ever respect of causality the one of them may have unto the 
other. And those who do confound them, as the Papists do, 
do not so much dispute about the nature of justification, as 
endeavour to prove that indeed there is no such thing as 
justification at all. For that which would serve most to en- 
force it, namely, the pardon of sin, they place in the exclu- 
sion and extinction of it, by the infusion of inherent grace, 
which doth not belong unto justification. 

4. By this inherent personal righteousness, we may be 
said several ways to be justified. As, (1.) In our own con- 
sciences, inasmuch as it is an evidence in us and unto us, 
of our participation of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, and 
of our acceptance with him, which hath no small influence 
into our peace. So speaks the apostle ; * Our rejoicing is 


this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and 
godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of 
God, we have had our conversation in the world,' 2 Cor. i. 
12. who yet disclaims any confidence therein as unto his jus- 
.tification before God. For, saith he, ' although I know no- 
thing by myself, yet am I not thereby justified \ 1 Cor. iv. 4. 
(2.) Hereby may we be said to be 'justified before men ;' that 
is, acquitted of evils laid unto our charge, and approved as 
righteous and unblamable. For, the state of things is so in 
the world, as that the professors of the gospel ever were and 
ever will be, evil spoken of as evil doers. The rule given 
them to acquit themselves, so as that at length they may be 
acquitted and justified by all that are not absolutely blinded 
and hardened in wickedness, is that of a holy and fruitful 
walking, in abounding in good works ; 1 Pet. ii. 12. iii. 16. 
And so is it with respect unto the church, that we be not 
judged dead, barren professors, but such as have been made 
partakers of the like precious faith with others. ' Shew me 
thy faith by thy works;* James ii. Wherefore, (3.) This 
righteousness is pleadable unto our justification against all 
the charges of Satan, who is the great accuser of the bre- 
thren, of all that believe. Whether he manage his charge 
privately in our consciences, which is as it were before God, 
as he charged Job, or by his instruments in all manner of 
reproaches and calumnies, whereof some in this age have 
had experience in an eminent manner, this righteousness is 
pleadable unto our justification. 

On a supposition of these things, wherein our personal 
righteousness is allowed its proper place and use (as shall 
afterward be more fully declared), 1 do not understand that 
there is an evangelical justification whereby believers are by 
and on the account of this personal inherent righteousness 
justified in the sight of God ; nor doth the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ unto our absolute justification before 
him depend thereon. For, 

1. None have this personal righteousness but they are 
antecedently justified in the sight of God. It is wholly the 
obedience of faith, proceeding from true and saving faith in 
God by Jesus Christ. For as it was said before, works be- 
fore faith, are as by general consent excluded from any in- 
terest in our justification, and we have proved that they are 

VOL. XI. o 


neither conditions of it, dispositions unto it, nor prepara- 
tions for it properly so called. But every true believer is 
immediately justified on his believing. Nor is there any 
moment of time wherein a man is a true believer, according 
as faith is required in the gospel, and yet not be justified. 
For as he is thereby united unto Christ, v^^hich is the foun- 
dation of our justification by him, so the whole Scripture 
testifieth, that he that believes is justified ; or that there is an 
infallible connexion in the ordination of God between true 
faith and justification. Wherefore this personal righteous- 
ness cannot be the condition of our justification before God, 
seeing it is consequential thereunto. What may be pleaded 
in exception hereunto from the supposition of a second jus- 
tification, or differing causes of the beginning and continua- 
tion of justification, hath been already disproved. 

2. Justification before God is a freedom and absolution 
from a charge before God, at least it is contained therein. 
And the instrument of this charge must either be the law or 
the gospel. But neither the law nor the gospel, do before 
God, or in the sight of God, charge true believers with un- 
belief, hypocrisy, or the like. For * who shall lay any thing 
to the charge of God's elect,' who are once justified be- 
fore him? Such a charge may be laid against them by Satan, 
by the church, sometimes on mistake, by the world, as it 
was in the case of Job, against which this righteousness is 
pleadable. But what is charged immediately before God, is 
charged by God himself, either by the law or the gospel; 
and the judgment of God is according unto truth. If this 
charge be by the law, by the law we must be justified. But 
the plea of sincere obedience will not justify us by the law. 
That admits of none in satisfaction unto its demands, but 
that w^hich is complete and perfect. And where the gospel 
lays any thing unto the charge of any persons before God, 
there can be no justification before God, unless we shall 
allow the gospel to be the instrument of a false charge. For 
what should justify him whom the gospel condemns ? And 
if it be a justification by the gospel from the charge of the 
law, it renders the death of Christ of no effect. And a jus- 
tification without a charge, is not to be supposed. 

3. Such a justification as that pretended, is altogether 
needless and useless. This may easily be evinced from what 


the Scripture asserts unto our justification in the sight of 
God by faith in the blood of Christ. But this hath been 
spoken to before on another occasion. Let that be consi- 
dered, and it will quickly appear, that there is no place nor 
use for this new justification upon our personal righteous- 
ness, whether it be supposed antecedent and subordinate 
thereunto, or consequential and perfective thereof. 

4. This pretended evangelical justification hath not the 
nature of any justification that is mentioned in the Scripture ; 
that is, neither that by the law, nor that provided in the 
gospel. Justification by the law is this ; ' The man that 
doth the works of it shall live in them.' This it doth not 
pretend unto. And as unto evangelical justification, it is 
every way contrary unto it. For therein the charge against 
the person to be justified is true; namely, that he hath 
sinned, and is come short of the glory of God. In this it 
is false, namely, that a believer, is an unbeliever ; a sincere 
person, an hypocrite ; one fruitful in good works, altogether 
barren. And this false charge is supposed to be exhibited 
in the name of God, and before him. Our acquitment in 
true evangelical justification is by absolution or pardon of 
sin; here by a vindication of our own righteousness. There 
the plea of the person to be justified is, guilty; all the world 
is become guilty before God ; but here the plea of the person 
on his trial is, not guilty; whereon the proofs and evidences 
of innocency and righteousness do ensue : but this is a plea 
which the law will not admit, and which the gospel disclaims. 

5. Ifwe are justified before God on our own personal righte- 
ousness, and pronounced righteous by him on the account 
thereof, then God enters into judgment with us on some- 
thing in ourselves, and acquits us thereon. For justification 
is a juridical act in and of that judgment of God which is 
according unto truth. But that God should enter into 
judgment with us, and justify us with respect unto what he 
judgeth on, or our personal righteousness, the psalmist doth 
not believe, Psal. cxxx. 2, 3. cxliii. 2. nor did the publican, 

6. This personal righteousness of ours cannot be said to 
be a subordinate righteousness, and subservient unto our 
justification by faith in the blood of Christ. For therein 
God justifieth the ungodly, and imputeth righteousness 

o 2 


unto him that worketh not. And besides it is expressly ex- 
cluded from any consideration in our justification ;Eph.ii.7, 8, 

7. This personal inherent righteousness wherewith we 
are said to be justified with this evangelical justification, is 
our own righteousness. Personal righteousness, and our 
own righteousness, are expressions equivalent. But our 
own righteousness is not the material cause of any justifi- 
cation before God. For, 1. It is unmeet so to be; Isa. 
liv. 6. 2. It is directly opposed unto that righteousness 
whereby we are justified, as inconsistent with it unto that 
end; Phil. iii. 9. Rom. x. 3, 4. 

It will be said that our own righteousness is the righte- 
ousness of the law ; but this personal righteousness is evan- 
gelical. But, 1. It will be hard to prove, that our per- 
sonal righteousness is any other but our own righteousness ; 
and our own righteousness is expressly rejected from any 
interest in our justification, in the places quoted. 2. That 
righteousness which is evangelical in respect of its efficient 
cause, its motives and some especial ends, is legal in respect 
of the formal reason of it, and our obligation unto it. For 
there is no instance of duty belonging unto it, but in general 
we are obliged unto its performance by virtue of the first 
commandment, to * take the Lord for our God.' Acknow- 
ledging therein his essential verity and sovereign authority ; 
we are obliged to believe all that he shall reveal, and to 
obey in all that he shall command. 3. The good works re- 
jected from any interest in our justification, are those 
whereunto we are ' created in Christ Jesus ;' Eph. ii. 8, 9. 
the * works of righteousness which we have done,' Tit. iii. 5. 
wherein the Gentiles are concerned, who never sought for 
righteousness by the works of the law ; Rom. ix. 30. But 
it will yet be said that these things are evident in themselves. 
God doth require an evangelical righteousness in all that 
do believe. This Christ is not, nor is it the righteousness 
of Christ. He may be said to be our legal righteousness, 
but our evangelical righteousness he is not. And so far 
as we are righteous with any righteousness, so far we are 
justified by it. For according unto this evangelical righte- 
ousness, we must be tried ; if we have it we shall be ac- 
quitted, and if we have it not, we shall be condemned. 
There is therefore a justification according unto it. 


I answer, 1. According to some authors or maintain- 
ers of this opinion, I see not but that the Lord Christ is as 
much our evangelical righteousness, as he is our legal. For 
our legal righteousness he is not, in their judgment, by a 
proper imputation of his righteousness unto us, but by the 
communication of the fruits of what he did and suffered 
for us. And so he is our evangelical righteousness also. 
For our sanctification is an effect or fruit of what he did 
and suffered for us ; Eph. v. 25, 26. Tit. ii. 14. 

2. None have this evangelical righteousness, but those 
who are in order of nature at least, justified before they ac- 
tually have it. For it is that which is required of all that 
do believe, and are justified thereon. And we need not 
much inquire how a man is justified, after he is justified. 

3. God hath not appointed this personal righteousness 
in order unto our justification before him in this life, though 
he have appointed it to evidence our justification before 
others, and even in his sight, as shall be declared. He ac- 
cepts of it, approves of it, upon the account of the free jus- 
tification of the person, in and by whom it is wrought. So 
he had respect unto Abel and his offering. But we are not 
acquitted by it from any real charge in the sight of God, 
nor do receive remission of sins on the account of it. And 
those who place the whole of justification in the remission 
of sins, making this personal righteousness the condition o£ 
it, as the Socinians do, leave not any place for the righte- 
ousness of Christ in our justification. 

4. If we are in any sense justified hereby in the sight of 
God, we have whereof to boast before him. We may not 
have so absolutely and with respect unto merit, yet we have 
so comparatively, and in respect of others, who cannot 
make the same plea for their justification. But all boasting 
is excluded. And it will not relieve to say, that this per- 
sonal righteousness, is of the free grace and gift of God 
unto some, and not unto others ; for we must plead it as our 
duty, and not as God's grace. 

5. Suppose a person freely justified by the grace of God 
through faith in the blood of Christ, without respect unto 
any works, obedience, or righteousness of his own : we do 
freely grant, (1.) That God doth indispensably require per- 
sonal obedience of him, which may be called his evangelical 


righteousness. (2.) That God doth approve of, and accept 
in Christ this righteousness so performed. (3.) That hereby 
that faith whereby we are justified is evidenced, proved, 
manifested, in the sight of God and men. (4.) That this 
righteousness is pleadable unto an acquitment against any 
charge from Satan, the world, or our own consciences. 
(5.) That upon it, we shall be declared righteous at the last 
day, and without it none shall so be. And if any shall think 
meet from hence to conclude unto an evangelical justifica- 
tion, or call God's acceptance of our righteousness by that 
name, I shall by no means contend with them. And 
wherever this inquiry is made, not how a sinner guilty of 
death, and obnoxious unto the curse, shall be pardoned, ac- 
quitted, and justified, which is by the righteousness of Christ 
alone imputed unto him ; but how a man that professeth 
evangelical faith, or faith in Christ, shall be tried, judged,, 
and whereon as such he shall be justified, we grant that it is 
and must be by his own personal sincere obedience. 

And these things are spoken, not with a design to con- 
tend with any, or to oppose the opinions of any ; but only 
to remove from the principal question in hand, those things 
which do not belong unto it. 

A very few words will also free our inquiry from any 
concernment, in that which is called sentential justification, 
at the day of judgment. For of what nature soever it be, 
the person concerning whom that sentence is pronounced, 
was (1.) actually and completely justified before God in this 
world; (2.) make partaker of all the benefits of that justi- 
fication, even unto a blessed resurrection in glory ; (* it is 
raised in glory ;') 1 Cor. xv. (3.) The souls of the most will 
long before have enjoyed a blessed rest with God, abso- 
lutely discharged and acquitted from all their labours, and 
all their sins ; there remains nothing but an actual admission 
of the whole person into eternal glory. Wherefore this 
judgment can be no more but declaratory unto the glory of 
God, and the everlasting refreshment of them that have be- 
lieved. And without reducing of it unto a new justification,, 
as it is nowhere called in the Scripture ; the ends of that 
solemn judgment, in the manifestation of the wisdom and 
righteousness of God, in appointing the way of salvation 
by Christ, as well as in giving of the law; the public con-: 


viction of them, by whom the law hath been transgressed 
and the gospel despised ; the vindication of the righteous- 
ness, power, and wisdom of God in the rule of the world by 
his providence, wherein for the most part, his paths unto all 
in this life are in the deep, and his footsteps are not known ; 
the glory and honour of Jesus Christ, triumphing over all 
his enemies, then fully made ' his footstool ;' and the glorious 
exaltation of grace in all that do believe, with sundry other 
things of an alike tendency unto the ultimate manifestation 
of divine glory in the creation and guidance of all things, 
are sufficiently manifest. 

And hence it appears, how little force there is in that 
argument which some pretend to be of so great weight in 
this cause. As every one (they say) shall be judged of God 
at the last day, in the same way and manner, or on the same 
grounds, is he justified of God in this life. But by works 
and not by faith alone, every one shall be judged at the last 
day ; wherefore by works and not by faith alone every one 
is justified before God in this life. For, 

1. It is nowhere said that we shall be judged at the last 
day, * ex operibus ;' but only that God will render unto men 
'secundum opera.' But God doth not justify any in this life 
' secundum opera;' being justified freely by his grace, and, 
not according to the works of righteousness which we have 
done. And we are every where said to be justified in this 
life, ' ex fide, per fidem,' but nowhere ' propter fidem ;' or that 
God justifieth us * secundum fidem,' by faith ; but not for 
our faith, nor according unto our faith. And we are not 
to depart from the expressions of the Scripture where such 
a difference is constantly observed. 

2. It is somewhat strange that a man should be judged at 
the last day, and justified in this life, just in the same way 
and manner, that is with respect unto faith and works, whea 
the Scripture dothconstantly ascribe our justification before 
God unto faith without works ; and the judgment at the last 
day is said to be according unto works, without any men- 
tion of faith. 

3. If justification and eternal judgment proceed abso- 
lutely on the same grounds, reasons, and causes, then if men 
had not done what they shall be condemned fordoing at the 
last day, they should have been justified in this life. But 


many shall be condemned only for sins against the light of 
nature, Rom. ii. 12. as never having the w^ritten law or gos- 
pel made known unto them. Wherefore unto such persons, 
to abstain from sins against the light of nature, would be 
suflnicient unto their justification, without any knowledge of 
Christ or the gospel. 

4. This proposition, that God pardons men their sins, 
gives them the adoption of children with a right unto the 
heavenly inheritance according to their works ; is not only 
foreign to the gospel, but contradictory unto it, and de- 
structive of it, as contrary unto all express testimonies of 
the Scripture, both in the Old Testament and the New, 
where these things are spoken of. But that God judgeth 
all men, and rendereth unto all men at the last judgment 
according unto their works, is true and affirmed in the 

5. In our justification in this life by faith, Christ is con- 
sidered as our propitiation and advocate, as he who hath 
made atonement for sin, and brought in everlasting righte- 
ousness. But at the last day, and in the last judgment, he 
is considered only as the judge. 

6. The end of God in our justification is the glory of 
his grace; Eph. i. 6. But the end of God in the last judg- 
ment is the glory of his remunerative righteousness; 2 Tim. 
iv. 8. 

7. The representation that is made of the final judg- 
ment. Matt. vii. and xxv. is only of the visible church. And 
therein the plea of faith as to the profession of it is com- 
mon unto all, and is equally made by all. Upon that plea 
of faith, it is put unto the trial whether it were sincere true 
faith or no, or only that which was dead and barren. And 
this trial is made solely by the fruits and effects of it, and 
otherwise in the public declaration of things unto all, it 
cannot be made. Otherwise the faith whereby we are jus- 
tified comes not into judgment at the last day. See Jahn 
V. 24. with Mark xvi. 16. 



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

The first express record of the justification of any sinner 
is of Abraham. Others were justified before him from the 
beginning, and there is that affirmed of them, which suffi- 
ciently evidenceth them so to have been. But this prero- 
gative was reserved for the father of the faithful, that his 
justification and the express way and manner of it, should 
be first entered on the sacred record. So it is Gen. xv. 6. 
* He believed in the Lord, and it was counted unto him for 
righteousness.' nDi:;m it was ' accounted' unto him, or ' im- 
puted' unto him for righteousness. 'EXo7ta3^rj,itwas * counted, 
reckoned, imputed.' And it was ' not written for his sake 
alone, that it was imputed unto him, but for us also unto 
whom it shall be imputed if we believe ;' Rom. iv. 23, 24. 
Wherefore the first express declaration of the nature of jus- 
tification in the Scripture, affirms it to be by imputation ; 
the imputation of somewhat unto righteousness. And this 
done in that place and instance, which is recorded on pur- 
pose, as the precedent and example of all those that shall 
be justified. As he was justified so are we, and no otherwise. 
Under the New Testament there was a necessity of a more 
full and clear declaration of the doctrine of it. For it is 
among the first and most principal parts of that heavenly 
mystery of truth which was to be brought to light by the 
gospel. And besides there was from the first a strong and 
dangerous opposition made unto it. For this matter ofjus- 
tification, the doctrine of it, and what necessarily belongs 
thereunto, was that whereon the Jewish church broke oflT 
from God, refused Christ and the gospel, perishing in their 
sins ; as is expressly declared, Rom. ix. 31. x. 3, 4. And 
in like manner a dislike of it, an opposition unto it, ever was, 
and ever will be, a principle and cause of the apostacy of 
any professing church, from Christ and the gospel, that falls 
under the power and deceit of them ; as it fell out after- 
ward in the churches of the Galatians. But in this state 


the doctrine of justification was fully declared, stated, and 
vindicated by the apostle Paul in a peculiar manner. And 
he doth it especially by affirming and proving that we have 
the righteousness whereby and wherewith we are justified 
by imputation ; or that our justification consists in the non- 
imputation of sin, and the imputation of righteousness. 

But yet, although the first recorded instance of justi- 
fication, and which was so recorded, that it might be an ex- 
ample and represent the justification of all that should be 
justified unto the end of the world, is expressed by impu- 
tation, and righteousness imputed, and the doctrine of it in 
that great case, wherein the eternal welfare of the church of 
the Jews, or their ruin was concerned, is so expressed by the 
apostle ; yet is it so fallen out in our days that nothing in 
religion is more maligned, more reproached, more despised, 
than the imputation of righteousness unto us, or an imputed 
righteousness. A putative righteousness, the shadow of a 
dream, a fancy, a mummery, an imagination, say some among 
us. An opinion, *fceda, execranda, pernitiosa, detestanda/ 
saith Socinus. And opposition ariseth unto it every day from 
great variety of principles. For those by whom it is op- 
posed and rejected can by no means agree what to set up in 
the place of it. 

However, the weight and importance of this doctrine is 
on all hands acknowledged, whether it be true or false. It 
is not a dispute about notions, terms, and speculations, 
wherein Christian practice is little or not at all concerned 
(of which nature many are needlessly contended about), but 
such as hath an immediate influence into our whole present 
duty, with our eternal welfare or ruin. Those by whom this 
imputation of righteousness is rejected, do affirm, that the 
faith and doctrine of it, do overthrow the necessity of gospel 
obedience, of personal righteousness, and good works, 
bringing in antinomianism, a d libertinism in life. Hereon 
it must of necessity be destructive of salvation, in those who 
believe it, and conform their practice thereunto. And those 
on the other hand by whom it is believed, seeing they judge 
it impossible that any man should be justified before God 
any other way, but by the imputation of the righteousness 
of Christ, do accordingly judge, that without it none can be 
saved. Hence a learned man of late concludes his discourse 


concerning it. * Hactenus de imputatione justitiae Christi, 
sine qua nemo unquam aut salvatus est, aut salvari queat.' 
Justificat. Paulin. cap. 8. *Thus far of the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ, without which no man was ever 
saved, nor can any so be/ They do not think nor judge, 
that all those are excluded from salvation, who cannot ap- 
prehend, or do deny the doctrine of the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ, as by them declared. But they 
judge that they are so, unto whom that righteousness is not 
really imputed ; nor can they do otherwise, whilst they make 
it the foundation of all their own acceptation with God and 
eternal salvation. These things greatly differ. To believe the 
doctrine of it, or not to believe it, as thus or thus explained, 
is one thing ; and to enjoy the thing,ornotenjoyit, is another. 
I no way doubt, but that many men do receive more grace 
from God, than they understand or will own ; and have a 
greater efficacy of it in them, than they will believe. Men may 
be really saved by that grace which doctrinally they do deny ; 
and they may be justified by the imputation of that righte- 
ousness which in opinion they deny to be imputed. For 
the faith of it is included in that general assent which they 
give unto the truth of the gospel, and such an adherence 
unto Christ may ensue thereon, as that their mistake of the 
way whereby they are saved by him, shall not defraud them 
of a real interest therein. And for my part, I must say, that 
notwithstanding all the disputes that I see and read about 
justification (some whereof are full of offence and scandal), I 
do not believe but that the authors of them (if they be not 
Socinians throughout, denying the whole merit and satis- 
faction of Christ), do really trust unto the mediation of 
Christ for the pardon of their sins, and acceptance with God, 
and not unto their own works or obedience. Nor will I be- 
lieve the contrary, until they expressly declare it. Of the 
objection on the other hand, concerning the danger of the 
doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, in 
reference unto the necessity of holiness, and works of righte- 
ousness, we must treat afterward. 

The judgment of the reformed churches herein is known 
unto all, and must be confessed, unless we intend by vain 
cavils to increase and perpetuate contentions. Especially 
the church of England is in her doctrine express as unto 


the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, both active 
and passive, as it is usually distinguished. This hath been 
of late so fully manifested out of her authentic w^ritings, that 
is, the articles of religion, and books of homilies, and other 
w^ritings publicly authorized, that it is altogether needless to 
give any farther demonstration of it. Those who pretend 
themselves to be otherwise minded, are such as I will not 
contend withal. For to what purpose is it to dispute with 
men who will deny the sun to shine, when they cannot bear 
the heat of its beams. Wherefore in what I have to offer 
on this subject, I shall not in the least depart from the 
ancient doctrine of the church of England ; yea, I have no 
design but to declare and vindicate it, as God shall enable. 

There are indeed sundry differences among persons 
learned, sober, and orthodox (if that term displease not), in 
the way and manner of the explication of the doctrine of 
justification by the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ, who yet all of them agree in the substance of it, in 
all those things wherein the grace of God, the honour of 
Christ, and the peace of the souls of men are principally 
concerned. As far as it is possible for me, I shall avoid the 
concerning of myself at present, in these differences. For 
unto what purpose is it to contend about them, whilst the 
substance of the doctrine itself is openly opposed and re- 
jected ? why should we debate about the order and beau- 
tifying of the rooms in a house, whilst fire is set unto the 
whole ? when that is well quenched, we may return to the 
consideration of the best means for the disposal and use of 
the several parts of it. 

There are two grand parties by whom the doctrine of jus- 
tification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ is 
opposed, namely, the Papists and the Socinians. But they 
proceed on different principles, and unto different ends. The 
design of the one is to exalt their own merits, of the other, 
to destroy the merit of Christ. But besides these who trade 
in company, we have many interlopers, who coming in on 
their hand, do make bold to borrow from both, as they see 
occasion. We shall have to do with them all in our pro- 
gress ; not with the persons of any, nor the way and manner 
of their expressing themselves, but the opinions of all of them 
so far as they are opposite unto the truth. For it is that 


which wise men despise and good men bewail, to see per- 
sons pretending unto religion and piety, to cavil at ex- 
pressions, to contend about words, to endeavour the fasten- 
ing of opinions on men which they own not, and thereon 
mutually to revile one another, publishing all to the world, 
as some great achievement or victory. This is not the way 
to teach the truths of the gospel, nor to promote the edifi- 
cation of the church. But in general, the importance of the 
cause to be pleaded, the greatness of the opposition that is 
made unto the truth, and the high concernment of the souls 
of believers, to be rightly instructed in it, do call for a re- 
newed declaration and vindication of it. And what I shall 
attempt unto this purpose, I do it under this persuasion, that 
the life and continuance of any church on the one hand, and 
its apostacy or ruin on the other, do depend in an emi- 
nent manner on the preservation or rejection of the truth 
in this article of religion ; (and I shall add) as it hath been 
professed, received, and believed in the church of England 
in former days. 

The first thing we are to consider is the meaning of 
these words * to impute' and 'imputation.' For from a mere 
plain declaration hereof, it will appear that sundry things 
charged on a supposition of the imputation we plead for, 
are vain and groundless, or the charge itself is so. 

^wn The word first used to this purpose, signifies ' to think, 
to esteem, to judge,' or to ' refer' a thing or matter unto any ; 
*'to impute,' or *to be imputed' for good or evil. See Lev. vii. 
18. xvii. 4. And Psal. cvi. 31. r^i>l^b \b :iwnn) 'and it was 
counted, reckoned, imputed, unto him for righteousness.' 
To judge or esteem this or that good or evil, to belong unto 
him, to be his. The LXX. express it by XoyiZto and XoyiZofiai ; 
as do the writers of the New Testament also. And these are 
rendered, by * reputare, imputare, acceptum ferre, tribuere, 
assignare, ascribere.' But there is a different signification 
among these words ; in particular, to be reputed righteous, 
and to have righteousness imputed, differ, as cause and ef- 
fect. For that any man be reputed righteous, that is, be 
judged or esteemed so to be, there must be a real foundation 
of that reputation, or it is a mistake, and not a right judg- 
ment ; as a man may be reputed to be wise, who is a fool, 
or reputed to be rich, who is a beggar. Wherefore he that 


is reputed righteous, must either have a righteousness of 
his own, or another antecedently imputed unto him, as the 
foundation of that reputation. Wherefore to impute righte- 
ousness unto one that hath none of his own, is not to repute 
him to be righteous, who is indeed unrighteous, but it is 
to communicate a righteousness unto him, that he may 
rightly and justly be esteemed, judged, or reputed righteous. 
'Imputare,' is a word that the Latin tongue owns in the 
sense wherein it is used by divines. *^Optime de pessimis 
meruisti, ad quos pervenerit incorrupta rerum fides, magno 
authori suo imputata.' Senec. ad Mart. And Plin. lib. 18. 
cap. i. In his apology for the earth our common parent, 
' nostris earn criminibus urgemus, culpamque nostrara illi 

In their sense, to impute any thing unto another, is if it 
be evil, to charge it on him, to burden him with it; so saith 
Pliny, we impute our own faults to the earth, or charge them 
upon it. If it be good, it is to ascribe it unto him as his 
own, whether originally it were so or no; * magno authori 
imputata.' Vasquez, in Thom. 22. tom. ii. disp. 132. at- 
tempts the sense of the word, but confounds it with ' repu- 
tare.' * Imputare aut reputare quidquam alicui, est idem 
atque inter ea quae sunt ipsius, et ad eum pertinent, connu- 
merare et recensere.' This is * reputare' properly, 'impu- 
tare* includes an act antecedent unto this accountins: or 
esteeming a thing to belong unto any person. 

But whereas that may be imputed unto us which is 
really our own antecedently unto that imputation, the word 
must needs have a double sense, as it hath in the instances 
given out of Latin authors now mentioned. And, 

1. To impute unto us that which was really ours, ante- 
cedently unto that imputation, includes two things in it : 
1. An acknowledgment or judgment, that the thing so im- 
puted is really and truly ours, or in us. He that imputes 
wisdom or learning unto any man, doth in the first place 
acknowledge him to be wise or learned. 2. A dealing with 
them according unto it, whether it be good or evil. So when 
upon a trial a man is acquitted because he is found righte- 
ous; first he is judged and esteemed righteous, and then 
dealt with as a righteous person ; his righteousness is im- 
puted unto him. See this exemplified. Gen. xxx. 33. 


2. To impute unto us that which is not our own antece- 
dently unto that imputation, includes also in it two things : 
(1.) A grant or donation of the thing itself unto us to be 
ours, on some just ground and foundation. For a thing 
must be made ours, before we can justly be dealt withal ac- 
cording unto what is required on the account of it. (2.) A 
will of dealing with us, or an actual dealing with us ac- 
cording unto that which is so made ours. For in this matter 
whereof we treat, the most holy and righteous God, doth not 
justify any, that is, absolve them from sin, pronounce them 
righteous, and thereon grant unto them right and title unto 
eternal life, but upon the interveniency of a true and com- 
plete righteousness, truly and completely made the righte- 
ousness of them that are to be justified, in order of nature 
antecedently unto their justification . But these things will 
be yet made more clear by instances, and it is necessary 
they should be so. 

1. There is an imputation unto us of that which is really 
our own, inherent in us, performed by us, antecedently unto 
that imputation, and this whether it be evil or good. The 
rule and nature hereof is given and expressed ; Ezek. xviii.20. 
^The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, the 
wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.' Instances we 
have of both sorts. 1. In the imputation of sin, when 
the person guilty of it, is so judged and reckoned a sinner, 
as to be dealt withal accordingly. This imputation Shimei 
deprecated ; 2 Sam. xix. 19. He said unto the king, ' Let 
not my Lord impute iniquity unto me,' (py *nx '^"aii^ri'-^l^ 
the word used in the expression of the imputation of righ- 
teousness. Gen. XV. 6.) neither do thou remember what 
thy servant did perversely: for thy servant doth know 
that I have sinned.' He was guilty, and acknowledged his 
guilt, but deprecates the imputation of it, in such a sen- 
tence concerning him, as his sin deserved. So Stephen de- 
precated the imputation of sin unto them that stoned him, 
whereof they were really guilty ; Acts vii. 60. * Lay not this 
sin to their charge :' impute it not unto them. As on the 
other side, Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, who died in the 
same cause, and the same kind of death with Stephen, prayed 
that the sin of those which slew him might be charged on 
them; 2 Chron. xxiv. 22. Wherefore to impute sin, is to 


lay it unto the charge of any, and to deal with them ac- 
cording unto its desert. 

To impute that which is good unto any, is to judge and 
acknowledge it so to be theirs and thereon to deal with 
them in whom it is, according unto its respect unto the law 
of God. The 'righteousness of the righteous shall be upon 
him.' So Jacob provided that his ' righteousness should 
answer for him ;' Gen. xxx. 33. And we have an instance 
of it in God's dealing with men, Psal. cvi. 31. 'Then stood 
up Phineas and executed judgment, and it was imputed 
unto him for righteousness.' Notwithstanding it seemed 
that he had not sufficient warrant for what he did, yet God 
that knew his heart, and what guidance of his own Spirit he 
was under, approved his fact as righteous, and gave him a 
reward testifying that approbation. 

Concerning this imputation it must be observed, that 
whatever is our own antecedently thereunto, which is an act 
of God thereon, can never be imputed unto us for any thing 
more or less than what it is really in itself. For this impu- 
tation consists of two parts, or two things concur thereunto. 
1. A judgment of the thing to be ours, to be in us, or to 
belong unto us. 2. A will of dealing with us, or an actual 
dealing with us according unto it. Wherefore in the im- 
putation of any thing unto us, which is ours, God esteem- 
eth it not to be other than it is. He doth not esteem that 
to be a perfect righteousness which is imperfect ; so to do 
might argue either a mistake of the thing judged on, or per- 
verseness in the judgment itself upon it. Wherefore if, as 
some say, our own faith and obedience are imputed unto us 
for righteousness, seeing they are imperfect they must be 
imputed unto us for an imperfect righteousness and not for 
that which is perfect. For that judgment of God which is 
according unto truth, is in this imputation. And the im- 
putation of an imperfect righteousness unto us, esteeming 
it only as such, will stand us in little stead in this matter. 
And the acceptilation which some plead (traducing a fiction 
inhuman laws, to interpret the mystery of the gospel), doth 
not only overthrow all imputation, but the satisfaction and 
merit of Christ also. And it must be observed, that this 
imputation is a mere act of justice, without any mixture of 
grace, as the apostle declares ; Rom. xi. 6. For it consists 


of these two parts. 1. An acknowledging and judging 
that to be in us which is truly so. 2. A will of dealing 
with us according unto it; both which are acts of justice. 

2. The imputation unto us of that which is not our own, 
antecedently unto that imputation, at least not in the same 
manner as it is afterward, is various also, as unto the 
grounds and causes that it proceeds upon. Only it must 
be observed, that no imputation of this kind, is to account 
them, unto whom any thing is imputed, to have done the 
things themselves which are imputed unto them. That 
were not to impute but to err in judgment, and indeed ut- 
terly to overthrow the whole nature of gracious imputation. 
But it is to make that to be ours by imputation, which was 
not ours before, unto all ends and purposes whereunto it 
would have served, if it had been our own, without any such 

It is therefore a manifest mistake of their own which 
some make the ground of a charge on the doctrine of impu- 
tation. For they say, if our sins were imputed unto Christ, 
then must he be esteemed to have done what we have done 
amiss, and so be the greatest sinner that ever was ; and on 
the other side, if his righteousness be imputed unto us, then 
are we esteemed to have done what he did, and so to stand 
in no need of the pardon of sin. But this is contrary unto 
the nature of imputation, which proceeds on no such judg- 
ment, but on the contrary, that we ourselves have done 
nothing of what is imputed unto us : nor Christ any thing 
of what was imputed unto him. 

To declare more distinctly the nature of this imputation, 
I shall consider the several kinds of it, or rather the several 
grounds whence it proceeds. For this imputation unto us, 
of what is not our own antecedent unto that imputation, 
may be either, 1 . * Ex justitia ;' or, 2. * Ex voluntaria spon- 
sione ;' or, 3. * Ex injuria;' or, 4. * Ex gratia;' all which 
shall be exemplified. I do not place them thus distinctly, 
as if they might not some of them concur in the same 
imputation, which I shall manifest that they do. But I shall 
refer the several kinds of imputation, unto that which is the 
next cause of every one. 

1 . Things that are not our own originally, personally, inhe- 
rently, may yetbe imputed unto us ' ex justitia,' by the rule of 



righteousness. And this may be done upon a double re- 
lation unto those whose they are ; 1. Federal. 2. Natural. 
1. Thinos done by one may be imputed unto others, 
'propter relationem foederalem/ because of a covenant re- 
lation between them. So the sin of Adam was, and is im- 
puted unto all his posterity, as we shall afterward more 
fully declare. And the ground hereof is, that we stood all 
in the same covenant with him, who was our head and re- 
presentative therein. The corruption and depravation of 
nature which we derive from Adam is imputed unto us, with 
the first kind of imputation, namely, of that which is ours 
antecedently unto that imputation. But his actual sin is 
imputed unto us, as that which becomes ours by that impu- 
tation, which before it was not. Hence, saith Bellarmine 
himself; *Peccatum Adami ita posteris omnibus imputatur, 
ac si omnes idem peccatum patravissent.' De Amiss. Grat. 
lib. iv. cap. 10. *The sin of Adam is so imputed unto all his 
posterity, as if they had all committed the same sin.' And 
he gives us herein the true nature of imputation, which he 
fiercely disputes against in his books of justification. For 
the imputation of that sin unto us, as if we had committed 
it, which he acknowledgeth, includes both a transcription of 
that sin unto us, and a dealing with us, as if we had com- 
mitted it ; which is the doctrine of the apostle, Rom. v. 

2. There is an imputation of sin unto others, 'ex justitia 
propter relationem naturalem,' on the account of a natural 
relation between them, and those who had actually con- 
tracted the guilt of it. But this is so only with respect 
unto some outward temporary effects of it. So God speaks 
concerning the children of the rebellious Israelites in the 
wilderness. 'Your children shall wander in the wilderness 
forty years, and bear your whoredoms ;' Numb. xiv. 33. 
Your sin shall be so far imputed unto your children, because 
of their relation unto you, and your interest in them, as that 
they shall suffer for them in an afflictive condition in the 
wilderness. And this was just, because of the relation 
between them ; as the same procedure of divine justice is 
frequently declared in other places of the Scripture. So 
where there is a due foundation of it, imputation is an act of 

2. Imputation mayjustly ensue, 'exvoluntaria sponsione;' 


when one freely and wi llingly undertakes to answer for another. 
An illustrious instance hereof we have in that passage of the 
apostle unto Philemon, in the behalf of Onesimus, ver. 18. 
' If he have wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, tovto ejuLoi 
iXXoyei, impute it unto me/ put it on my account. He sup- 
poseth that Philemon might have a double action against 
Onesimus. 1. ' Injuriarum,' of wrongs ; d da n ri^LKr}(ri ere, * if 
he hath dealt unjustly with thee' or by thee, if he hath so 
wronged thee as to render himself obnoxious unto punish- 
ment. 2. ' Damn!,' or of loss ; rj 6(I)ei\h, * if he oweth thee 
ought,' be a debtor unto thee, which made him liable to 
payment or restitution. In this state the apostle inter- 
poseth himself by a voluntary sponsion, to undertake for 
Onesimus. *I Paul have written it with my own hand,' 
eyib aTTOTiaio I Paul will answer for the whole. And this he 
did by the transcription of both the debts of Onesimus unto 
himself; for the crime was of that nature as might be taken 
away by compurgation, being not capital. And the impu- 
tation of them unto him, was made just by his voluntary 
undertaking of them. Account me, saith he, the person 
that hath done these things ; and I will make satisfaction, 
so that nothing be charged on Onesimus. So Judah volun- 
tarily undertook unto Jacob, for the safety of Benjamin, and 
obliged himself unto perpetual guilt in case of failure ; Gen. 
xliii. 9. ' I will be surety for him, of my hand shalt thou 
require him, if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before 
thee,' Q'D^n-!?D l'? >nKDm ' I will sin,' or be a sinner before 
thee always ; be guilty, and as we say, bear the blame. So 
he expresseth himself again unto Joseph, chap. xliv. 32. It 
seems this is the nature and office of a surety ; what he un- 
dertook for, is justly to be required at his hand, as if he 
had been originally and personally concerned in it. And 
this voluntary sponsion was one ground of the imputation 
of our sin unto Christ. He took on him the person of the 
whole church that had sinned, to answer for what they had 
done against God and the law. Hence that imputation was 
' fundamentaliter ex compacto, ex voluntaria sponsione ;' 
it had its foundation in his voluntary undertaking. But 
on supposition hereof, it was actually ' ex justitia,' it being 
righteous that he should answer for it, and make good what 

p 2 


he had so undertaken, the glory of God's righteousness and 
holiness being greatly concerned herein. 

3. There is an imputation, 'ex injuria;' when that is 
laid unto the charge of any, whereof he is not guilty ; so 
Bathsheba says unto David ; * it shall come to pass that 
when my Lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I 
and my son Solomon shall be CD>^<IDn sinners ;' 1 Kings i. 21. 
shall be dealt with as offenders, as guilty persons, have sin 
imputed unto us, on one pretence or other, unto our de- 
struction. We shall be sinners ; be esteemed so, and be 
dealt withal accordingly. And we may see that in the 
phrase of the Scripture the denomination of sinners, fol- 
loweth the imputation, as well as the inhesion of sin ; which 
will give light unto that place of the apostle, *he was made 
sin for us ;' 2 Cor. v. 21. This kind of imputation hath no 
place in the judgment of God. It is far from him, that the 
righteous should be as the wicked. 

4. There is an imputation, ' ex mera gratia,' of mere 
grace and favour. And this is, when that which antece- 
dently unto this imputation was no way ours, not inherent 
in us, not performed by us, which we had no right nor 
title unto, is granted unto us, made ours, so as that we are 
judged of, and dealt with according unto it. This is that 
imputation in both branches of it, negative in the non-im- 
putation of sin, and positive in the imputation of righteous- 
ness, which the apostle so vehemently pleads for, and so 
frequently asserteth, Rom. iv. For he both affirms the 
thing itself, and declares that it is of mere grace, without 
respect unto any thing within ourselves. And if this kind 
of imputation cannot be fully exemplified in any other in- 
stance, but this alone, whereof we treat, it is because the 
foundation of it in the mediation of Christ is singular, and 
that which there is nothing to parallel in any other case 
among men. 

From whiat hath been discoursed concerning the "nature 
and grounds of imputation, sundry things are made evident, 
which contribute much light unto the truth which we plead 
for, at least unto the right understanding and stating of the 
matter under debate. As 

1. The difference is plain between the imputation of any 


works of our own unto us, and the imputation of the righte- 
ousness of faith without works. For the imputation of 
works unto us, be they what they will, be it faith itself as 
a work of obedience in us, is the imputation of that which 
was ours, before such imputation. But the imputation of 
the righteousness of faith, or the righteousness of God 
which is by faith, is the imputation of that which is made 
ours by virtue of that imputation. And these two impu- 
tations differ in their whole kind. The one is a judging of 
that to be in us, which indeed is so, and is ours, before that 
judgment be passed concerning it, the other is a communi- 
cation of that unto us, which before was not ours. And no 
man can make sense of the apostle's discourse, that is, he 
cannot understand any thing of it, if he acknowledge not 
that the righteousness he treats of is made ours by impu- 
tation, and was not ours, antecedently thereunto. 

2. The imputation of works, of what sort soever they be, 
of faith itself as a work, and all the obedience of faith, is 
' ex justitia,' and not ' ex gratia :' of right and not of grace. 
However the bestowing of faith on us, and the working of 
obedience in us, may be of grace ; yet the imputation of 
them unto us, as in us, and as ours, is an act of justice. 
For this imputation, as was shewed, is nothing but a judg- 
ment that such and such things are in us, or are ours, which 
truly and really are so, with a treating of us according unto 
them. This is an act of justice, as it appears in the de- 
scription given of that imputation. But the imputation of 
righteousness mentioned by the apostle is as unto us * ex 
mera gratia,* of mere grace, as he fully declares, ddypeav ry 
xd^iTL avTov. And moreover he declares, that these two 
sorts of imputation are inconsistent and not capable of any 
composition, so that any thing should be partly of the one, 
and partly of the other, Rom. xi. 6. ' If by grace, then it is 
no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace ; but 
if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise works 
is no more works.* For instance ; if faith itself as a work of 
ours be imputed unto us, it being ours antecedently unto 
that imputation, it is but an acknowledgment of it to be in 
us and ours, with an ascription of it unto us for what it is. 
For the ascription of any thing unto us for what it is not, is 
not imputation but mistake. But this is an imputation 'ex 


justitia,' of works ; and so that which is of mere grace, can 
have no place, by the apostle's rule. So the imputation 
unto us of what is in us, is exclusive of grace, in the apo- 
stle's sense. And on the other hand, if the righteousness 
of Christ be imputed unto us, it must be ' ex mera gratia ;' 
of mere grace ; for that is imputed unto us, which was not 
ours, antecedently unto that imputation, and so is commu- 
nicated unto us thereby. And here is no place for works, 
nor for any pretence of them. In the one way the foun- 
dation of imputation is in ourselves, in the other it is in 
another, which are irreconcilable. 

3. Herein both these kinds of imputation do agree ; 
namely, in that whatever is imputed unto us, it is imputed 
for what it is, and not for what it is not. If it be a perfect 
righteousness that is imputed unto us, so it is esteemed and 
judged to be, and accordingly are we to be dealt withal, 
even as those who have a perfect righteousness. And if 
that which is imputed as righteousness unto us be imperfect, 
or imperfectly so, then as such must it be judged when it is 
imputed ; and we must be dealt withal as those which have 
such an imperfect righteousness, and no otherwise. And 
therefore, whereas our inherent righteousness is imperfect 
(they are to be pitied or despised, not to be contended withal, 
that are otherwise minded), if that be imputed unto us, we 
cannot be accepted on the account thereof as perfectly 
righteous, without an error in judgment. 

4. Hence the true nature of that imputation which we 
plead for (which so many cannot or will not understand), 
is manifest, and that both negatively and positively. For 
1. Negatively. 1. It is not a judging or esteeming of them 
to be righteous who truly and really are not so. Such 
a judgment is not reducible unto any of the grounds of im- 
putation before-mentioned. It hath the nature of that which 
is *ex injuria,' or a false charge, only it differs materially 
from it. For that respects evil, this that which is good. 
And therefore the clamour of the Papists and others are 
mere effects of ignorance or malice, wherein they cry out 
* ad ravim,' that we affirm God to esteem them to be righteous, 
who are wicked, sinful, and polluted. But this falls heavily 
on them who maintain that we are justified before God by 
our own inherent righteousness^ for then a man is judged 


righteous, who indeed is not so. For he who is not per- 
fectly righteous, cannot be righteous in the sight of God unto 
justification. 2. It is not a naked pronunciation or decla- 
ration of any one to be righteous, without a just and suffi- 
cient foundation for the judgment of God declared therein. 
God declares no man to be righteous but he who is so ; 
the whole question being, how he comes so to be. 3. It 
is not the transmission or transfusion of the righteousness 
of another into them that are to be justified, that they should 
become perfectly and inherently righteous thereby. For it 
is impossible that the righteousness of one should be trans- 
fused into another, to become his subjectively and inherently. 
But it is a great mistake on the other hand, to say that 
therefore the righteousness of one can no way be made the 
righteousness of another ; which is to deny all imputution. 
Wherefore, 2. Positively. This imputation is an act of 
God, ' ex mera gratia,* of his mere love and grace, whereby 
on the consideration of the mediation of Christ, he makes 
an effectual grant and donation of a true, real, perfect 
righteousness, even that of Christ himself unto all that do 
believe, and accounting it as theirs, on his own gracious act, 
both absolves them from sin, and granteth them right and 
title unto eternal life. Hence, 

4. In this imputation, the thing itself is first imputed 
unto us, and not any of the effects of it, but they are made 
ours by virtue of that imputation. To say that the righte- 
ousness of Christ, that is, his obedience and sufferings are 
imputed unto us only as unto their effects, is to say that we 
have the benefits of them, and no more ; but imputation 
itself is denied. So say the Socinians, but they knew well 
enough, and ingenuously grant, that they overthrow all true 
real imputation thereby. ' Nee enim ut per Christi justitiam 
justificemur, opus est ut illius justitia, nostra fiat justitia- 
sed sufficitut Christi justitia sit causa nostras justificationis ; 
et hactenus possumus tibi concedere, Christi justitiam esse 
nostram justitiam, quatenus nostrum in bonum justitiamque 
redundat ; verum tu proprie nostram, id est, nobis attri- 
butam ascriptamque intelligis,' saith Schlichtingius ; Disp. 
pro Socin. ad Meisner. p. 250. And it is not pleasing to 
see some among ourselves with so great confidence take up 
the sense and words of these men in their disputations 


against the Protestant doctrine in this cause, that is, the 
doctrine of the church of England. 

That the righteousness of Christ is imputed unto us, 
as unto its effects, hath this sound sense in it ; namely, that 
the effects of it are made ours, by reason of that imputation. 
It is so imputed, so reckoned unto us of God, as that he 
really communicates all the effects of it unto us. But to 
say the righteousness of Christ is not imputed unto us, 
only its effects are so, is really to overthrow all imputation. 
For (as we shall see) the effects of the righteousness of 
Christ cannot be said properly to be imputed unto us ; and 
if his righteousness itself be not so, imputation hath no 
place herein, nor can it be understood why the apostle 
should so frequently assert it as he doth, Rom. iv. And 
therefore, the Socinians who expressly oppose the imputation 
of the righteousness of Christ, and plead for a participation 
of its effects or benefits only, do wisely deny any such kind 
of righteousness of Christ, namely, of satisfaction and merit 
(or that the righteousness of Christ as wrought by him, was 
either satisfactory or meritorious), as alone may be imputed 
unto us. For it will readily be granted, that what alone 
they allow the righteousness of Christ to consist in, cannot 
be imputed unto us, whatever benefit we may have by it. 
But I do not understand how those who grant the righte- 
ousness of Christ to consist principally in his satisfaction 
for us, or in our stead, can conceive of an imputation of the 
effects thereof unto us, without an imputation of the thing 
itself. Seeing it is for that as made ours, that we partake 
of the benefits of it. But from the description of imputation 
and the instances of it, it appeareth that there can be no im- 
putation of any thing, unless the thing itself be imputed, 
nor any participation of the effects of any thing, but what 
is grounded on the imputation of the thing itself. Where- 
fore, in our particular case, no imputation of the righteous- 
ness of Christ is allowed, unless we grant itself to be im- 
puted ; nor can we have any participation of the effects of 
it, but on the supposition and foundation of that imputation. 
The impertinent cavils that some of late have collected from 
the Papists and Socinians, that if it be so, then are we as 
righteous as Christ himself, that we have redeemed the 
world, and satisfied for the sins of others, that the pardon of 


sin is impossible, and personal righteousness needless, shall 
afterward be spoken unto, so far as they deserve. 

All that we aim to demonstrate, is only, that either the 
righteousness of Christ itself is imputed unto us, or there 
is no imputation in the matter of our justification, which 
whether there be or no, is another question afterward to 
be spoken unto. For as was said, the effects of the righte- 
ousness of Christ, cannot be said properly to be imputed 
unto us. For instance, pardon of sin is a great effect of 
the righteousness of Christ. Our sins are pardoned on the 
account thereof. God for Christ's sake forgiveth us all our 
sins. But the pardon of sin cannot be said to be imputed 
unto us, nor is so. Adoption, justification, peace with God, 
all grace and glory, are effects of the righteousness of 
Christ. But that these things are not imputed unto us, nor 
can be so, is evident from their nature. But we are made 
partakers of them all, upon the account of the imputation 
of the righteousness of Christ unto us, and no otherwise. 

Thus much may suffice to be spoken of the nature of 
imputation of the righteousness of Christ, the grounds, rea- 
sons, and causes whereof, we shall in the next place inquire 
into. And I doubt not but we shall find in our inquiry, 
that it is no such figment, as some ignorant of these things 
do imagine, but on the contrary, an important truth im- 
mixed with the most fundamental principles of the mystery 
of the gospel, and inseparable from the grace of God in 
Christ Jesus. 



Imputation of the sins of the church unto Christ. Grounds of it. The na- 
ture of his suretyship. Causes of the new covenant. Christ and the church 
one mystical person ; consequents thereof. 

Those who believe the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ unto believers, for the justification of life, do also 
unanimously profess, that the sins of all believers were im- 
puted unto Christ. And this tHey do on many testimonies 
of the Scripture directly witnessing thereunto, some whereof 
shall be pleaded and vindicated afterward. At present we 
are only on the consideration of the general notion of these 
things, and the declaration of the nature of what shall be 
proved afterward. And in the first place we shall inquire 
into the foundation of this dispensation of God, and the 
equity of it, or the grounds whereinto it is resolved, without 
an understanding whereof, the thing itself cannot be well 

The principal foundation hereof is, that Christ and the 
church, in this design, were one mystical person, which state 
they do actually coalesce in, through the uniting efficacy 
of the Holy Spirit. He is the head, and believers are the 
members of that one person, as the apostle declares, 1 Cor. 
xii. 12, 13. Hence as what he did is imputed unto them, as 
if done by them, so what they deserved on the account of 
sin was charged upon him. So is it expressed by a learned 
prelate ; ' Nostrara causam sustinebat, qui nostram sibi 
carnem aduniverat, et ita nobis arctissimo vinculo conjunc- 
tus, et IvwQuq, quse erant nostra fecit sua.' And again ; 
' Quid mirum si in nostra persona constitutus, nostram car- 
nem indutus,' &c. Montacut. Origin. Ecclesiast. The an- 
cients speak to the same purpose. Leo. Serm. 17. * Ideo se 
humanse infirmitati virtus divina conseruit, ut dum Deus sua 
facit esse qusft nostra sunt, nostra faceret esse quai sua 
sunt.' And also Serm. 16. ' Caput nostrum Dominus Jesus 
Christus omnia in se corporis sui membra transformans, 
quod olim in psalmo eructaverat, id in supplicio crucis sub, 
redemptorum suorum voce clamavit. And so speaks Augus- 
tine to the same purpose, Epist. 120. ad Honoratum ; * Au- 


dimus vocem corporis, ex ore capitis. Ecclesia in illo pa- 
tiebatur, quando pro ecclesia patiebatur,' &c. ' We hear 
the voice of the body from the mouth of the head. The 
church suffered in him, when he suffered for the church ; 
as he suffers in the church, when the church suffereth for 
him. For as we have heard the voice of the church in 
Christ-suffering, my God, my Lord, why hast thou forsaken 
me ? look upon me ; so we have heard the voice of Christ 
in the church-suffering, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou 
me V But we may yet look a little backward and farther 
into the sense of the ancient church herein. ' Christus,' 
saith Irenaeus, ' omnes gentes exindeab Adam dispersas, et 
generationem hominum in sernet ipso recapitulatus est ; 
unde a Paulo typus futuri dictus est ipse Adam ;' lib. iii. 
cap. 33. And again ; ' recapitulans universum hominum 
genus in se ab initio usque ad finem, recapitulatus est et 
mortem ejus.' In this of recapitulation there is no doubt 
but he had respect unto the ava»c£0aXatw(Tfc, mentioned, 
Eph. i. 10. And it may be this was that which Origen in- 
tended enigmatically, by saying, the soul of the first Adam 
was the soul of Christ, as it is charged on him. And 
Cyprian, Epist. 63. on bearing about the administration of 
the sacrament of the Eucharist ; ' nos omnes portabat 
Christus; qui et peccata nostra portabat.' 'He bare us,' 
or suffered in our person, * when he bare our sins.' Whence 
Athanasius affirms of the voice he used on the cross ; ovk 
avTog 6 Kvpiog ; aWa j]iihq Iv Ikhvci) Traaxovreg ^;jU£v, ' we 
suffered in him.' Eusebius speaks many things to this 
purpose, Demonstrat. Evangel, lib. x. cap. 1. Expounding 
those words of the psalmist, ' Heal my soul, for,' or as he 
would read them, if, * I have sinned against thee ;' and ap- 
plying them unto our Saviour in his sufferings; he saith 
thus, fTTttSav rag rjixeripag koivottoih dg lavTov afxapTiag, * be- 
cause he took of our sins to himself; communicated our 
sins to himself ;' making them his own; for so he adds, on 
Tag r)}iirtpag afxaprlag e^oiKuovfxevog, ' making our sins his 
own.' And because in his following words he fully ex- 
presseth what I design to prove, I shall transcribe them at 
large ; irvjg St rag JifieTipag afxapriag l^OLKUOvrai ; Kcii rrwg (l)ipetv 
Xiyerai rag avofiiag t7juc5v, i) KaO' 6, cwjua avrdv alvai XEjo/xtda ; 
Kara rov awoaToXov (pijaavTa, vixug Iote aCjfia Xptorou, kcCi fikXr) 


£K fxipovQ KOI KaS' o 7ra(T)(ovTog evog juitXovg, avinraa^u iravTa ra 
julXrj, ovTOJ TToXXwv fitXCjv 7ra(T)(6vT(x)v Kttt afiapravovTiov, koX 
avTOQ Kara rovg rrig av/HTratr^dag Xoyovg, Iwei^rjTTEp ev^OKrjae 
Qtov Xoyog wv noQ(^r\v ^ovXou \a^uv, kclI t(^ koivi^ wavrwy 
i)liC)V aKi]vw{xaTL avva<pQr]vai ; roue tCjv iraa^ovriov jUfXwT irovovg 
ug kavTOV avaXafij5av£L, kol rag rifJitTipag voaovg IdioiroiriTai, kol 
TrdvT(.ov y]fxCov vTrEpaXyEt kol vTrepwovH Kara roi»c Trig (piXavOpu)- 
TTiag vo/uLOvg' ou fiovov §£ rcivTa irpa^ag 6 afxvog rov Oeov, aWa 
Kai vTTEp i^iuLLJv KoXaOug KOL Tijjiwpiav vTToaxwv, rjv avTOQ fiev ovk 
a^EiXuv, aXX' y]fxug rov irXifiovg evekev 7r£7rXTjjLtjUfXrj/i£v(oy, 7)fxXv 
aiTLOL Trig tCov afiapTr\fxaTWV a^£0-£wc Karso-rrj, are rov vTvlp rijibjv 
ava^i^afXEVog Oavdrov, paariydg re kol vjdpug, koX arifxiag rifuv 
£7ro^£iXo/U£yac elg avrbv fxeraOeig, koX rrjv y]fxiv Trpoartrijuriiuiivriv 
Karapav l(f kavrov tXKvrrag, yevofiBvog V7r£p rjpiov Karapa. koi t\ 
yap dWo avri\pv^ov ; Slo (firjatv £? 7]fizrEpov Trpocrwirov ro Xo- 
yiov — w(TT£ HKorwg kvwv, tavrov tjijXv, r]fiag re avroj KaX ra rifxi- 
npa iraOr] IdiOTTOioviJiivog ^r\<jiv, lyu) ELira, Kvpie eXrjtaov /u£, IcKrai 
ri)v \pv)({jv pLOv, on r'nuiaprov (tol. 

I have transcribed this passage at large, because, as I 
said, what I intend to prove in the present discourse is de- 
clared fully therein. Thus therefore he speaks. ' How then 
did he make our sins to be his own, and how did he bear 
our iniquities ? Is it not from thence, that we are said to 
be his body, as the apostle speaks. You are the body of 
Christ, and members, for your part, or of one another ? and 
as when one member suffers, all the members do suffer ; 
so the many members, sinning and suffering. He accord- 
ing unto the laws of sympathy in the same body (seeing 
that being the Word of God, he would take the form of 
a servant, and be joined unto the common habitation of us 
all in the same nature), took the sorrows or labours of the 
suffering members on him, and made all their infirmities his 
own, and according to the laws of humanity (in the same 
body), bare our sorrow and labour for us. And the Lamb 
of God did not only these things for us, but he underwent 
torments, and was punished for us ; that which he was no 
ways exposed unto for himself, but we were so by the multi- 
tude of our sins ; and thereby he became the cause of the 
pardon of our sins ; namely, because he underwent death, 
stripes^ reproaches, translating the thing which we had de- 
served unto himself; and was made a curse for us, taking 


unto himself the curse that was due to us ; for what was he, 
but (a substitute for us) a price of redemption for our souls? 
In our person therefore the oracle speaks, — whilst freely 
uniting himself unto us, and us unto himself, and making 
our (sins or passions his own) I have said Lord, be merciful 
unto me, heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.' 

That our sins were transferred unto Christ and made his, 
that thereon he underwent the punishment that was due 
unto us for them ; and that the ground hereof, whereinto 
its equity is resolved, is the union between him and us, is 
fully declared in this discourse. So saith the learned and 
pathetical author of the Homilies on Matt. v. in the works of 
Chrysostom, Hom. 54. which is the last of them : * In carne 
sua omnem carnem suscepit, crucifixus, omnem carnem cru- 
cifixit in se.' He speaks of the church. So they speak 
often others of them ; that ' he bare us,' that ' he took us with 
him on the cross,' that 'we were all crucified in him;' as 
Prosper ; * he is not saved by the cross of Christ, who is not 
crucified in Christ.' Resp. ad cap. Gal. cap. 9. 

This then, I say, is the foundation of the imputation of 
the sins of the church unto Christ, namely, that he and it 
are one person, the grounds whereof we must inquire into. 

But hereon sundry discourses do ensue, and various in- 
quiries are made. What a person is, in what sense, and 
how many senses that word may be used ; what is the true 
notion of it, what is a natural person, what a legal, civil, or 
political person ; in the explication whereof some have fallen 
into mistakes. And if we should enter into this field, we 
need not fear matter enough of debate and altercation. But 
I must needs say, that these things belong not unto our 
present occasion ; nor is the union of Christ and the church 
illustrated, but obscured by them. For Christ and be- 
lievers are neither one natural person, nor a legal or political 
person, nor any such person as the laws, customs, or usages 
of men do know or allow of. They are one mystical person, 
whereof although there may be some imperfect resemblances 
found in natural or political unions, yet the union from 
whence that denomination is taken between him and us, is 
of that nature, and ariseth from such reasons and causes, 
as no personal union among men (or the union of many per- 
sons) hath anv concernment in. And therefore, as to the 


representation of it unto our weak understandings unable 
to comprehend the depth of heavenly mysteries, it is com- 
pared unto unions of divers kinds and natures. So is it re- 
presented by that of man and w^ife; not unto those mutual 
affections which give them only a moral union, but from 
the extraction of the, first woman, from the flesh and bone 
of the first man, and the institution of God for the individual 
society of life thereon. This the apostle at large declares, 
Eph. v. 25 — 32. Whence he concludes, that from the union 
thus represented, * we are members of his body, of his flesh, 
and of his bone,' ver. 30. or have such a relation unto him, 
as Eve had to Adam, when she was made of his flesh and 
bone ; and so was one flesh with him. So also it is com- 
pared unto the union of the head and members of the same 
natural body, 1 Cor. xii. 12. and unto a political union also 
between a ruling or political head, and its political members ; 
but never exclusively unto the union of a natural head, and 
its members comprised in the same expression; Eph. iv. 15. 
Col. ii. 19. And so also unto sundry things in nature, as a 
vine and its branches ; John xv. 1—3. And it is declared 
by the relation that was between Adam and his posterity, 
by God's institution and the law of creation ; Rom, v. 12, 
&c. And the Holy Ghost, by representing the union that 
is between Christ and believers, by such a variety of re- 
semblances, in things agreeing only in the common or gene- 
ral notion of union on various grounds, doth sufficiently 
manifest that it is not of, nor can be reduced unto, any one 
kind of them. And this will yet be made more evident by 
the consideration of the causes of it, and the giounds 
whereinto it is resolved. But whereas it would require 
much time and diligence to handle them at large, which the 
mention of them here, being occasional, will not admit, I 
shall only briefly refer unto the heads of them. 

1. The first spring or cause of this union, and of all the 
other causes of it, lieth in that eternal compact that was be- 
tween the Father and the Son, concerning the recovery and 
salvation of fallen mankind. Herein among other things as 
the efl'ects thereof, the assumption of our nature (the foun- 
dation of this union), was designed. The nature and terms 
of this compact, counsel, and agreement, I have declared 
elsewhere, and therefore must not here again insist upon it. 


But the revelation between Christ and the church, proceed- 
ing from hence, and so being an effect i«f infinite wisdom, in 
the counsel of the Father and Son, to be made effectual by 
the Holy Spirit, must.be distinguished from all other unions 
or relations whatever. 

2. The Lord Christ as unto the nature, which he was to 
assume, was hereon predestinated unto grace and glory. 
He was irpo^yvMafxivog ' foreordained,' predestinated, * be- 
fore the foundation of the world ;' 1 Pet. i. 20. That is, he 
was so as unto his office, so unto all the grace and glory 
required thereunto, and consequent thereon. All the grace 
and glory of the human nature of Christ, was an effect of 
free divine preordination. God chose it from all eternity, 
unto a participation of all which it received in time. Neither 
can any other cause of the glorious exaltation of that portion 
of our nature, be assigned. 

3. This grace and glory whereunto he was preordained, 
was twofold. 1. That which was peculiar unto himself. 
2. That which was to be communicated, by and through 
him, unto the church. Of the first sort was the x«f>^C ivwo-fwc, 
the grace of personal union ; that single effect of divine wis- 
dom (whereof there is no shadow nor resemblance in any 
other works of God, either of creation, providence, or grace), 
which his nature was filled withal. ' Full of grace and truth.' 
And all his personal glory, power, authority, and majesty 
as mediator in his exaltation at the right hand of God, which 
is expressive of them all, doth belong hereunto. These 
things were peculiar unto him, and all of them effects of his 
eternal predestination. But (2.) He was not thus predesti- 
nated absolutely, but also with respect unto that grace and 
glory which in him and by him, was to be communicated 
unto the church. And he was so : 

1. As the pattern and exemplary cause of our predesti- 
nation ; * for we are predestinated to be conformed utito the 
image of the Son of God, that he might be the first-born 
among many brethren ;' Rom, viii. 29. Hence he shall even 
' change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his 
glorious body;' Phil. iii. 21. That when he appears, we may 
be every way like him ; 1 John iii. 2. 

2. As the means and cause of communicating all grace 
and glory unto us. For we are * chosen in him before the 


foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and predes- 
tinated unto the adoption of children by him ;' Eph. i. 3—5, 
He was designed as the only procuring cause of all spiritual 
blessings in heavenly things unto those who are chosen in 
him. Wherefore, 

3. He was thus foreordained as the head of the church; 
it being the design of God to gather all things into a head 
in hira ; Eph. i. 10. 

4. All the elect of God were in his eternal purpose and 
design, and in the everlasting covenant between the Father 
and the Son, committed unto him to be delivered from sin, 
the law, and death, and to be brought into the enjoyment 
of God. 'Thine they were, and thou gavest them unto me ;' 
John. xvii. 6. Hence was that love of his unto them, where- 
with he loved them and gave himself for them, antecedently 
unto any good or love in them; Eph. v. 25, 26. Gal. ii. 20. 
Rev. i. 5, 6. 

5. In the prosecution of this design of God, and in the 
accomplishment of the everlasting covenant, in the fulness 
of time he took upon him our nature, or took it into per- 
sonal subsistence with himself. The especial relation that 
ensued hereon between him and the elect children, the apo- 
stle declares at large, Heb. ii. 10 — 17. And I refer the 
reader unto our exposition of that place. 

6. On these foundations he undertook to be the surety 
of the new covenant; Heb. vii. 22. Jesus was made a 
surety of a better testament. This alone of all the funda- 
mental considerations of the imputation of our sins unto 
Christ, I shall insist upon, on purpose to obviate or remove 
some mistakes about the nature of his suretyship, and the 
respect of it unto the covenant, whereof he was the surety. 
And I shall borrow what I shall offer hereon, from our ex- 
position of this passage of the apostle on the seventh chapter 
of this epistle not yet published, with very little variation from 
what I have discoursed on that occasion, without the least re- 
spect unto, or prospect of, any treating on our present subject. 

The word cyyvoc is nowhere found in the Scripture, but 
in this place only. But the advantage which some would 
make from thence, namely, that it being but one place 
wherein the Lord Christ is called a surety, it is not of much 
force, or much to be insisted on, is both unreasonable and 


absurd. For, 1. This one place is of divine revelation, and 
therefore is of the same authority with twenty testimonies 
unto the same purpose. One divine testimony makes our 
faith no less necessary, nor doth one less secure it from 
being deceived, than a hundred. 

2. The signification of the word is known, from the use 
of it, and what it signifies among men, that no question can 
be made of its sense and importance, though it be but once 
used ; and this on any occasion removes the difficulty and 
danger, rwv aira^ XeyojUfvwv. (3.) The thing itself intended 
is so fully declared by the apostle in this place, and so plen- 
tifully taught in other places of the Scripture, as that the 
single use of this word, may add light, but can be no pre- 
judice unto it. 

Something may be spoken unto the signification of the 
word eyyvog, which will give light into the thing intended 
by it ; yvaXov is * vola manus,' the * palm of the hand ;' 
thence is eyyvog, or ug to yvaXov, to * deliver into the hand.' 
^Eyyvr}Tr)g is of the same signification. Hence being a 
surety is interpreted by striking the hand, Prov. vi. 1. ' My 
son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy 
hand, with a stranger.' So it answers the Hebrew nnj; which 
the LXX render kyyvad) Prov. vi. 1. xvii. 18. xx. 19. and 
by disyyvau) Nehem. v. 3. nnjr originally signifies to mingle, 
or a mixture of any things or persons. And thence from 
the conjunction and mixture that is between a surety and 
him for whom he is a surety, whereby they coalesce into 
one person, as unto the ends of that suretyship ; it is used 
for a surety, or to give surety. And he that was, or did nijr 
a surety, or become a surety, was to answer for him, for 
whom he was so, whatsoever befell him. So is it described 
Gen. xliii. 9. in the words of Judah unto his father Jacob, 
concerning Benjamin. i3n"ipK iDiN, ' I will be surety for him ; 
of my hand shalt thou require him.' In undertaking to be 
surety for him, as unto his safety and preservation, he en- 
gageth himself to answer for all that should befall him, for 
so he adds ; ' If I bring him not unto thee, and set him be- 
fore thee, let me be guilty for ever.' And on this ground 
he entreats Joseph, that he might be a servant and a bond- 
man in his stead, that he might go free and return unto his 
father; Gen. xliv. 32, 33. This is required unto such a 



surety, that he undergo and answer all that he for whom he 
is a surety is liable unto, whether in things criminal or civil, 
60 far as the suretyship doth extend. A surety is an under- 
taker for another, or others, who thereon is justly and le- 
gally to answer what is due to them, or from them. Nor is 
the word otherwise used. See Job xvii. 3. Prov. vi. 1. 
xi. 15. xvii. 11. XX. 16. xxvii. 13. So Paul became a surety 
unto Philemon for Onesimus, ver. 17. tyyori is * sponsio, 
expromission fidejussio;' an andertaking or giving security 
for any thing or person unto another, whereon an agreement 
did ensue. This in some cases was by pledges, or an ear- 
nest, Isa. xxxvi. 8. «3 nn^nn ' give surety, pledges, hostages,' 
for the true performance of conditions. Hence is Dip appa- 
/3wv ' a pledge' or ' earnest ;' Eph. i. 14. Wherefore llyjvog is 
• sponsor, fidejussor, praes,' one that voluntarily takes on 
himself the cause or condition of another, to answer or un- 
dergo, or pay what he is liable unto, or to see it done, 
whereon he becomes justly and legally obnoxious unto per- 
formance ; in this sense is the word here used by the apostle, 
for it hath no other. 

In our present inquiry, into the nature of this suretyship 
of Christ, the whole will be resolved into this one question, 
namely, whether the Lord Christ was made a surety, only 
on the part of God unto us, to assure us, that the promise 
of the covenant on his part should be accomplished; or 
also and principally an undertaker on our part, for the per- 
formance of what is required, if not of us, yet with respect 
nnto us, that the promise may be accomplished. The first 
of these is vehemently asserted by the Socinians, who are 
followed by Grotius and Hammond in their annotations on 
this place. 

The words of Schlichtingius are, ' Sponsor foederis appel- 
latur Jesus, quod nomine Dei nobis, spoponderit, id est fidem 
fecerit, Deura foederis promissiones servaturum. Non vero 
quasi pro nobis spoponderit Deo, nostrorumve debitorum 
solutionem in se receperit. Nee enim nos misimus Chris- 
tum sed Deus, cujus nomine Christus ad nos venit, foedus 
nobiscum panxit, ej usque promissiones ratas fore spopondit 
et in se recepit; ideoque nee sponsor simpliciter, sed foederis 
sponsor nominatur ; spopondit autem Christus pro foederis 
divini veritate, non tantum quatenus id firraum ratumque. 


fore verbis perpetuo testatus est ; sed etiam quatenus mune- 
ris sui fidem, maximis rerum ipsarum comprobavit docu- 
mentis, cum perfecta vitse innocentia et sanctitate, cum di- 
vinis plane quse patravit operibus ; cum mortis adeo trucu- 
lentae, quam pro doctrinae suae veritate subiit, perpessiotie.' 
After which he subjoins a long discourse about the evidences 
which we have of the veracity of Christ. And herein we 
have a brief account of their whole opinion concerning the 
mediation of Christ. The words of Grotius are ; * spopon- 
dit Christus,' i. e. ' Nos certos promissi fecit, non solis 
verbis, sed perpetua vitee sanctitate, morte ob id tolerata et 
miraoulis plurimis ;' which are an abridgment of the dis- 
course of Schlichtingius. To the same purpose Dr. Hammond 
expounds it, that he was a sponsor or surety for God unto 
the confirmation of the promises of the covenant. 

On the other hand, the generality of expositors, ancient 
and modern, of the Roman and Protestant churches, on the 
place affirm, that the Lord Christ as the surety of the co- 
venant, was properly a surety or undertaker unto God for 
us, and not a surety and undertaker unto us for God» And 
because this is a matter of great importance, wherein the 
faith and consolation of the church is highly concerned, I 
shall insist a little upon it. 

And first, we may consider the argument that is pro- 
duced to prove that Christ was only a surety for God unto 
us. Now this is taken neither from the name nor nature 
of the office or work of surety, nor from the nature of the 
covenant, whereof he was a surety, nor of the office wherein 
he was so. But the sole argument insisted on is. That we 
do not give Christ as a surety of the covenant unto God, 
but he gives him unto us, and therefore he is a surety for 
God and the accomplishment of his promises, and not for 
us to pay our debts, or to answer what is required of us. 

But there is no force in this argument. For it belongs 
not unto the nature of a surety, by whom he is or may be de- 
signed unto his office and work therein. His own voluntary 
susception of the office and work, is all that is required, 
however he may be designed or induced to undertake it. He 
who of his own accord doth voluntarily undertake for ano- 
ther, on what grounds, reasons, or considerations soever he 
doth so, is his surety. And this the Lord Christ did in the 

Q 2 


behalf of the church. For when it was said, ' Sacrifice, and 
burnt-offering, and whole burnt-offerings for sin, God would 
not have,' or' accept as sufficient to make the atonement 
that he required, so as that the covenant might be esta- 
blished and made effectual unto us ; then said he, * Lo, I 
come to do thy will O God ;' Heb. x. 5, 6. He willingly 
and voluntarily, out of his own abundant goodness and love, 
took upon him to make atonement for us, wherein he was 
our surety. And accordingly this undertaking is ascribed 
unto that love which he exercised herein. Gal. ii.20. 1 John 
iii. 16. Rev. i. 5. And there was this in it, moreover, that 
he took upon him our nature or the seed of Abraham, 
wherein he was our surety. So that although we neither 
did nor could appoint him so to be, yet he took from us 
that wherein and whereby he was so, which is as much as 
if we had designed him unto his work, as to the true reason 
of his being our surety. Wherefore, notwithstanding those 
antecedent transactions that were between the Father and 
him in this matter, it was the voluntary engagement of him- 
self to be our surety, and his taking our nature upon him 
for that end, which was the formal reason of his being in- 
stated in that office. 

It is indeed weak and contrary unto all common experi- 
ence, that none can be a surety for others, unless those 
others design him and appoint him so to be. The principle 
instances of suretyship in the world, have been by the vo- 
luntary undertaking of such as were no way procured so to 
do by them for whom they undertook. And in such un- 
dertakings he unto whom it is made, is no less considered 
than they for whom it is made. As when Judah on his 
own account became a surety for Benjamin, he had as much 
respect unto the satisfaction of his father, as the safety of 
his brother. And so the Lord Christ, in his undertaking to 
be a surety for us, had respect unto the glory of God before 
our safety. 

2. We may consider the arguments whence it is evident 
that he neither was, nor could be a surety unto us for God, 
but was so for us unto God. For 

1. "Eyyvoc or £77vr)rrjc ' a surety,' is one that undertaketh 
for another wherein he is defective, really or in reputation. 
Whatever that undertaking be, whether in words of promise, 


or in depositing of real security in the hands of an arbi- 
trator, or by any other personal engagement of life and 
body, it respects the defect of the person for whom any one 
becomes a surety. Such a one is ' sponsor,' or ' fidejussor/ in 
all good authors and common use of speech. And if any 
one be of absolute credit himself, and of a reputation every 
way unquestionable, there is no need of a surety, unless in 
case of mortality. The words of a surety in the behalf of 
another whose ability or reputation is dubious, are, ' ad me 
recipio, faciet, aut faciam.' And when tyyuoc is taken ad- 
jectively, as sometimes, it signifies ' satisdationibus ob- 
noxius ;* liable to payments for others, that are non-solvent. 
2. God can therefore have no surety properly, because 
there can be no imagination of any defect on his part. 
There may be indeed a question, whether any word or pro- 
mise, be a word or promise of God. To assure us hereof, it 
is not the work of a surety, but only any one, or any means, 
that may give evidence that so it is, that is, of a witness. 
But upon a supposition that what is proposed is his word or 
promise, there can be no imagination or fear of any defect 
on his part, so as that there should be any need of a surety 
for the performance of it. He doth therefore make use of 
witnesses to confirm his word ; that is, to testify that such 
promises he hath made, and so he will do. So the Lord 
Christ was his witness ; Isa. xliii. 10. ' Ye are my witnesses, 
saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen.' But 
they were not all his sureties. So he affirms, that he came 
into the world to bear witness unto the truth, John xviii. 37. 
that is, the truth of the promises of God ; for he was the 
'minister of the circumcision for the truth of the promises 
of God unto the fathers ;' Rom. xv. 8. But a surety for 
God, properly so called, he was not, nor could be. The 
distance and difference is wide enough between a witness 
and a surety. For a surety must be of more ability, or more 
credit and reputation, than he or those for whom he is a 
surety, or there is no need of his suretyship ; or at least he 
must add unto their credit, and make it better than without 
him. This none can be for God, no not the Lord Christ 
himself, who in his whole work was the servant of the Fa- 
ther; and the apostle doth not use this word in a genera^ 
improper sense, for any one that by any means gives assur- 


ance of any other thing, for so he had ascribed nothing 
peculiar unto Christ. For in such a sense all the prophets 
and apostles were sureties for God, and many of them con- 
firmed tlie truth of his word and promises, with the laying 
down of their lives. But such a surety he intends, as un- 
dertaketh to do that for others which they cannot do for 
themselves ; or at least are not reputed to be able to do 
what is required of them. 

3. The apostle had before at large declared, who, and 
what was God's surety in this matter of the covenant, and 
how impossible it was that he should have any other. And 
this was himself alone, interposing himself by his oath. 
For in this cause, ' because he had none greater to swear 
by, he sware by himself;' chap. vi. 13, 14. Wherefore, if 
God would give any other surety besides himself, it must be 
one greater than he. This being every way impossible, he 
swears by himself only. Many ways he may and doth use 
for the declaring and testifying of his truth unto us, that 
we may know and believe it to be his word ; and so the Lord 
Christ in his ministry was the principal witness of the truth 
of God. But other surety than himself he can have none. 
And therefore, 

4. When he would have us in this matter not only come 
unto the full assurance of faith concerning his promises, 
but also to have strong consolation therein, he resolves it 
wholly into the immutability of his counsel, as declared by 
his promise and oath; chap. vi. 18, 19. So that neither is 
God capable of having any surety properly so called, nei- 
ther do we stand in need of any on his part for the confirma- 
tion of our faith in the highest degree. 

5. We on all accounts stand in need of a surety for us, 
or on our behalf. Neither without the interposition of such 
a surety, could any covenant between God and us, be firm and 
stable, or an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and 
sure. In the first covenant made with Adam there was no 
surety, but God and men were the immediate covenanters. 
And although we were then in a state and condition able to 
perform and answer all the terms of the covenant, yet was 
it broken and disannulled. If this came to pass by the failure 
of the promise of God, it was necessary that on the making 
of a new covenant he should have a surety to undertake for 


hinii that the covenant might be stable and everlasting. But 
this is false and blasphemous to imagine. It was man alone 
who failed and broke that covenant. Wherefore, it was ne- 
cessary that upon the making of the new covenant, and that 
with a design and purpose that it should never be disan- 
nulled, as the former was, that we should have a surety and 
undertaker for us. For if that first covenant was not firm 
and stable because there was no surety to undertake for us, 
notwithstanding all that ability which we had to answer the 
terms of it ; how much less can any other be so, now our 
natures are become depraved and sinful ? Wherefore, we 
alone were capable of a surety, properly so called, for us ; 
we alone stood in need of him, and without him the covenant 
could not be firm, and inviolate on our parts. The surety 
therefore of this covenant is so with God for us. 

6. It is the priesthood of Christ that the apostle treats of 
in this place, and that alone. Wherefore, he is a surety as 
he is a priest, and in the discharge of that ofiice, and there- 
fore is so with God on our behalf. This Schlichtingius ob- 
serves, and is aware what will ensue against his pretensions, 
which he endeavours to obviate. ' Mirum,' saith he, ' porro 
alicui videri posset, cur divinus author de Christi sacerdotio, 
in superioribus et in sequentibus agens, derepente cum spon- 
sorem foederis non vero sacerdotem vocet ? Cur non dixerit 
tanto praestantioris foederis factus est sacerdos Jesus ? Hoc 
enim plane requirere videtur totus orationis contextus. Cre- 
dibile est in voce sponsionis sacerdotium quoque, Christi 
intelligi. Sponsoris enim non est alieno nomine quippiam 
promittere, et fidem saam pro alio interponere ; sed etiam, 
si ita res ferat, alterius nomine id quod spopondit prsestare. 
In rebus quidem humanis, si id non praestet is pro quo 
sponsor fidejussit; hie vero propter contrariam causam 
(nam prior hie locum habere non potest), nempe quatenus 
ille pro quo spopondit Christus per ipsum Christum promissa 
sua nobis exhibet; qua in re praecipue Christi sacerdotium 

Ans. 1. It may indeed seem strange unto any one who 
imagineth Christ to be such a surety as he doth, why the 
apostle should so call him, and so introduce him in the 
■description of his priestly office, as that which belongeth 
thereunto. But grant what is the proper work and duty of 


a surety, and who the Lord Jesus was a surety for, and it is 
evident that nothing more proper or pertinent could be men- 
tioned by him, when he was in the declaration of that office. 

2. He confesseth that by his exposition of this suretyship 
of Christ, as making him a surety for God, he contradicteth 
the nature and only notion of a surety among men. For 
such a one he acknowledgeth doth nothing but in the defect 
and inability of them for whom he is engaged, and doth 
undertake. He is to pay that which they owe, and to do what 
is to be done by them, which they cannot perform. And 
if this be not the notion of a surety in this place, the apo- 
stle makes use of a word nowhere else used in the whole 
Scripture, to teach us that which it doth never signify 
among men, which is improbable and absurd. For the sole 
reason why he did make use of it was, that from the nature 
and notion of it amongst men in other cases, we may un- 
derstand the signification of it; what he intends by it, and 
what under that name he ascribes unto the Lord Jesus. 

3. He hath no way to solve the apostle's mention of Christ 
being a surety in the description of his priestly office, but 
by overthrowing the nature of that office also. For to con- 
firm this absurd notion that Christ as a priest was a surety 
for God, he would have us believe that the priesthood of 
Christ consists in his making effectual unto us the promises 
of God, or his effectual communicating of the good things 
promised unto us; the falsehood of which notion, really 
destructive of the priesthood of Christ, I have elsewhere at 
large detected and confuted. Wherefore seeing the Lord 
Christ is a surety of the covenant as a priest, and all the 
sacerdotal actings of Christ have God for their immediate 
object, and are performed with him on our behalf, he was a 
surety for us also. 

A surety, ' sponsor, vas, prses, fidejussor' for us, the Lord 
Christ was, by his voluntary undertaking out of his rich 
grace and love, to do, answer, and perform all that is re- 
quired on our parts, that we may enjoy the benefits of the 
covenant, the grace and glory prepared, proposed, and pro- 
mised in it, in the way and manner determined on by divine 
wisdom. And this may be reduced unto two heads. 1. His 
answering for our transgressions against the first covenant. 
2. His purchase and procurement of the grace of the new. 


* He was made a curse for us, that the blessing of Abraham 
might come upon us ;* Gal. iii. 13 — 15. 

1. He undertook as the surety of the covenant to an- 
swer for all the sins of those who are to be, and are made 
partakers of the benefits of it. That is to undergo the pu- 
nishment due unto their sins ; to make atonement for them 
by offering himself a propitiatory sacrifice for the expiation 
of their sins, redeeming them by the price of his blood from 
their state of misery and bondage under the law and the 
curse of it; Isa. liii. 4—6. 10. Matt. xx. 28. 1 Tim. ii. 6. 
ICor. vi. 20. Rom. iii. 25,26. Heb. x. 5—8. Rom. viii. 2, 3. 
2 Cor. V. 19 — 21. Gal. iii. 13. And this was absolutely ne- 
cessary that the grace and glory prepared in the covenant 
might be communicated unto us. Without this under- 
taking of his, and performance of it, the righteousness and 
faithfulness of God would not permit, that sinners, such as 
had apostatized from him, despised his authority and re- 
belled against him, falling thereby under the sentence and 
curse of the law, should again be received into his favour, 
and made partakers of grace and glory. This therefore 
the Lord Christ took upon himself, as the surety of the co- 

2. That those who were to be taken into this covenant 
should receive grace enabling them to comply with the 
terms of it, fulfil its conditions, and yield the obedience 
which God required therein. For by the ordination of God, 
he was to procure, and did merit and procure for them, the 
Holy Spirit, and all needful supplies of grace to make them 
new creatures, and enable them to yield obedience unto God 
from a new principle of spiritual life, and that faithfully unto 
the end. So was he the surety of this better testament. 
But all things belonging hereunto will be handled at large 
in the place from whence, as I said, these are taken, as suit- 
able unto our present occasion. 

But some have other notions of these things. For they 
say, that ' Christ by his death, and his obedience therein, 
whereby he offered himself a sacrifice of sweet smelling sa- 
vour unto God, procured for us the new covenant ;' or, as 
one speaks, * all that we have by the death of Christ is, that 
thereunto we owe the covenant of grace. For herein he did 
and suffered what God required and freely appointed him 


to doand suffer. Not that the justice of God required any 
such thing with respect unto their sins for whom he died, 
and in whose stead, or to bestead whom, he suffered, but 
what by a free constitution of divine wisdom and sovereignty 
was appointed unto him. Hereon, God was pleased to remit 
the terms of the old covenant, and to enter into a new co- 
venant with mankind upon terms suited unto our reason, 
possible unto our abilities, and every way advantageous 
unto us. For these terms are faith and sincere obedience, 
or such an assent unto the truth of divine revelations, as is 
effectual in obedience unto the will of God contained in 
them, upon the encouragement given thereunto in the pro- 
mises of eternal life, or a future reward made therein. On 
the performance of these conditions our justification, adop- 
tion, and future glory do depend ; for they are that righte- 
ousness before God, whereon he pardons our sins, and ac- 
cepts our persons, as if we were perfectly righteous.' 
Wherefore, by this procuring the new covenant for us, which 
they ascribe unto the death of Christ, they intend the abro- 
gation of the old covenant, or of the law, or at least such a 
derogation from it, that it shall no more oblige us either 
unto sinless obedience or punishment, nor require a perfect 
righteousness unto our justification before God; and the 
constitution of a new law of obedience accommodated unto 
our present state and condition, on whose observance all the 
promises of the gospel do depend. 

Others say, that in the death of Christ there was real 
satisfaction made unto God ; not to the law/ or unto God 
according to what the law required ; but unto God abso- 
lutely. That is, he did what God was well pleased and sa- 
tisfied withal, without any respect unto his justice or the 
curse of the law. And they add, that hereon the whole 
righteousness of Christ is imputed unto us, so far, as that 
we are made partakers of the benefits thereof. And more- 
over, that the way of the communication of them unto us, is 
by the new covenant which by his death the Lord Christ 
procured. For the conditions of this covenant are esta- 
blished in the covenant itself, whereon God will bestow all 
the benefits and effects of it upon us, which are faith and 
obedience. Wherefore, what the Lord Christ hath done for 
us is thus far accepted as our legal righteousness, as that 


God upon our faith and obedience with respect thereunto, 
doth release and pardon all our sins of omission and com- 
mission. Upon this pardon there is no need of any positive 
perfect righteousness unto our justification or salvation, but 
our own personal righteousness is accepted with God in the 
room of it, by virtue of the new covenant which Christ hath 
procured. So is the doctrine hereof stated by Curcellseus, 
and those that join with him, or follow him. 

Sundry things there are in these opinions that deserve 
an examination ; and they will most, if not all of them, oc- 
cur unto us in our progress. That which alone we have 
occasion to inquire into with respect unto what we have 
discoursed concerning the Lord Christ as surety of the co- 
venant, and which is the foundation of all that is asserted 
in them, is, That Christ by his death procured the new co- 
venant for us;' which, as one says, *is all that we have 
thereby; which if it should prove otherwise, we are not be- 
holding unto it for any thing at all. But these things must 
be examined. And, 

1. The terms of procuring the new covenant are ambi- 
guous. It is not as yet, that I know of, by any declared 
how the Lord Christ did procure it ; whether he did so by 
his satisfaction and obedience, as the meritorious cause of 
it, or by what other kind of causality. Unless this be 
stated, we are altogether uncertain what relation of the new 
covenant unto the death of Christ is intended. And to say 
that thereunto we owe the new covenant, doth not mend 
the matter, but rather render the terms more ambiguous. 
Neither is it declared, whether the constitution of the co- 
venant, or the communication of the benefits of it are in- 
tended. It is yet no less general, that God was so well 
pleased with what Christ did, as that hereon he made and 
entered into a new covenant with mankind. This they may 
grant, who yet deny the whole satisfaction and merit of 
Christ. If they mean that the Lord Christ, by his obedience 
and suffering, did meritoriously procure the making and es- 
tablishing of the new covenant, which was all that he so 
procured, and the entire effect of his death ; what they say 
may be understood, but the whole nature of the mediation 
of Christ is overthrown thereby. 

2. This opinion is liable unto a great prejudice, in that 


whereas it is in such a fundamental article of our religion, 
and about that wherein the eternal welfare of the church is 
60 nearly concerned, there is no mention made of it in the 
Scripture. For is it not strange, that if this be, as some 
speak, the sole effect of the death of Christ, whereas sundry- 
other things are frequently in the Scripture ascribed unto 
it as the effects and fruits thereof, that this which is only 
so should be nowhere mentioned, neither in express words, 
nor such as will allow of this sense by any just or lawful 
consequence? Our redemption, pardon of sins, the reno- 
vation of our natures, our sanctification, justification, peace 
with God, eternal life, are all jointly and severally assigned 
thereunto in places almost without number. But it is no- 
where said in the Scripture, that Christ by his death, merited, 
procured, obtained, the new covenant ; or that God should 
enter into a new covenant with mankind ; yea, as we shall 
see, that which is contrary unto it, and inconsistent with it, 
is frequently asserted. 

3. To clear the truth herein, we must consider the se- 
veral notions and causes of the new covenant ; with the true 
and real respect of the death of Christ thereunto. And it is 
variously represented unto us. 

1. In the designation and preparation of its terms and 
benefits in the counsel of God. And this although it have 
the nature of an eternal decree, yet is it not the same with 
the decree of election, as some suppose. For that properly 
respects the subjects or persons for whom grace and glory 
are prepared. This is the preparation of that grace and 
glory, as to the way and manner of their communication. 
Some learned men do judge, that this counsel and purpose 
of the will of God, to give grace and glory in and by Jesus 
Christ unto the elect in the way and by the means by him 
prepared, is formally the covenant of grace, or at least that 
the substance of the covenant is comprised therein. But it 
is certain, that more is required to complete the whole na- 
ture of a covenant. Nor is this purpose or counsel of God 
called the covenant in the Scripture, but is only proposed 
as the spring and fountain of it ; Eph. i. 3 — 11. Unto the 
full exemplification of the covenant of grace, there is re- 
quired the declaration of this counsel of God's will, accom- 
panied with the means and powers of its accomplishment. 


and the prescription of the ways whereby we are so to be 
interested in it, and made partakers of the benefits of it. 
But in the inquiry after the procuring cause of the new co- 
venant, it is the first thing that ought to come under consi- 
deration. For nothing can be the procuring cause of the 
covenant, which is not so of this spring and fountain of it, 
of this idea of it in the mind of God, of the preparation of 
its terras and benefits. But this is nowhere in the Scrip- 
ture affirmed to be the effect of the death or mediation of 
Christ ; and to ascribe it thereunto, is to overthrow the 
whole freedom of eternal grace and love. Neither can any 
thing that is absolutely eternal, as is this decree and coun- 
sel of God, be the effect of, or procured by, any thing that 
is external and temporal. 

2. It may be considered with respect unto the federal 
transactions between the Father and the Son, concerninof the 
accomplishment of this counsel of his will. What these 
were, wherein they did consist, I have declared at large; 
Exercitat. vol. ii. Neither do I call this the covenant of 
grace absolutely, nor is it so called in the Scripture. But 
yet some will not distinguish between the covenant of the 
Mediator and the covenant of grace, because the promises 
of the covenant absolutely are said to be made to Christ, 
Gal. iii. 16. and he is the Trpwrov ^^ktikov, or first subject 
of all the grace of it. But in the covenant of the Mediator, 
Christ stands alone for himself, and undertakes for himself 
alone, and not as the representative of the church. But 
this he is in the covenant of grace. But this is that, 
wherein it had its designed establishment, as unto all the 
ways, means, and ends of its accomplishment ; and all things 
so disposed, as that it might be effectual unto the eternal 
glory of the wisdom, grace, righteousness, and power of 
God. Wherefore, the covenant of grace could not be pro- 
cured by any means or cause, but that which was the cause 
of this covenant of the Mediator, or of God the Father with 
the Son, as undertaking the work of mediation. And as 
this is nowhere ascribed unto the death of Christ in the 
Scripture, so to assert it, is contrary unto all spiritual rea- 
son and understanding. Who can conceive that Christ by 
his death should procure the agreement between God and 
him, that he should die ? 


3. With respect unto the declaration of it by especial re- 
velation. This we may call God's making or establishing 
of it, if we please ; though making of the covenant in Scrip- 
ture, is applied principally, if not only, unto its execution 
or actual application unto persons ; 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Jer. 
xxxii. 40. This declaration of the grace of God, and the 
provision in the covenant of the mediator for the making of 
it effectual unto his glory, is most usually called the cove- 
nant of grace. And this is twofold. 

1. In the way of a singular and absolute promise; so 
was it first declared unto, and established with, Adam, and 
afterward with Abraham. The promise is the declaration of 
the purpose of God before declared, or the free determi- 
nation and counsel of his will, as to his dealing with sin- 
ners on the supposition of the fall, and their forfeiture of 
their first covenant state. Hereof the grace and will of God 
was the only cause ; Heb. viii. 8. And the death of Christ 
could not be the means of its procurement. For he himself, 
and all that he was to do for us, was the substance of that 
promise. And this promise as it is declarative of the pur- 
pose or counsel of the will of God, for the communication 
of grace and glory unto sinners, in and by the mediation of 
Christ, according to the ways and on the terms prepared and 
disposed in his sovereign wisdom and pleasure, is formally 
the new covenant, though something yet is to be added to 
complete its application unto us. Now the substance of the 
first promise, wherein the whole covenant of grace was vir- 
tually comprised, directly respected and expressed the 
giving of him for the recovery of mankind from sin and mi- 
sery by his death; Gen. iii. 15. Wherefore, if he and all the 
benefits of his mediation, his death and all the effects of it, 
be contained in the promise of the covenant, that is, in the 
covenant itself, then was not his death the procuring cause 
of that covenant, nor do we owe it thereunto. 

2. In the additional prescription of the way and means 
whereby it is the will of God, that we shall enter into a 
covenant state with him, or be interested in the benefits of 
it. This being virtually comprised in the absolute promise 
(for every promise of God doth tacitly require faith and obe- 
dience in us), is expressed in other places by the way of 
the condition required on our part. This is not the cove- 


nant, but the constitution of the terms on our part, whereon 
we are made partakers of it. Nor is the constitution of these 
terms, an effect of the death of Christ, or procured thereby. 
It is a mere effect of the sovereign grace and wisdom of God. 
The things themselves as bestowed on us, communicated un- 
to us, wrought in us by grace, are all of them effects of the 
death of Christ ; but the constitution of them to be the 
terms and conditions of the covenant is an act of mere so- 
vereign wisdom and grace. * God so loved the world, as to 
send his only-begotten Son to die,' not that faith and re- 
pentance might be the means of salvation, but all that his 
elect might believe, and 'that all that believe might not 
perish, but have life everlasting.' But yet it is granted that 
the constitution of these terms of the covenant doth re- 
spect the federal transaction between the Father and the 
Son, wherein they were ordered to the praise of the glory 
of God's grace ; and so although their constitution was not 
the procurement of his death, yet without respect unto it, 
it had not been. Wherefore, the sole cause of God's making 
the new covenant, was the same with that of giving Christ 
himself to be our mediator, namely, the purpose, counsel, 
goodness, grace and love of God, as it is every where ex^ 
pressed in the Scripture. 

4. The covenant may be considered as unto the ac- 
tual application of the grace, benefit, and privileges of it unto 
any persons, whereby they are made real partakers of them, 
or are taken into covenant with God. And this alone in 
the Scripture is intended by God's making a covenant with 
any. It is not a general revelation, or declaration of the 
terms and nature of the covenant (which some call a uni^ 
versal conditional covenant, on what grounds they know best^ 
seeing the very formal nature of making a covenant with 
any, includes the actual acceptation of it, and participation 
of the benefits of it by them), but a communication of the 
grace of it, accompanied with a prescription of obedience, 
that is God's making his covenant with any, as all instances 
of it in the Scripture do declare. 

It may be therefore inquired. What respect the covenant 
of grace hath unto the death of Christ, or what influence it 
hath thereunto. 


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

1. In that the covenant, as the grace and glory of it were 
prepared in the counsel of God, as the terms of it was 
fixed in the covenant of the mediator, and as it was declared 
in the promise, was confirmed, ratified, and made irrevoca- 
ble thereby. This our apostle insists upon at large, Heb. 
ix. 15 — 20. And he compares his blood in his death and 
sacrifice of himself, unto the sacrifices and their blood 
whereby the old covenant was confirmed, purified, dedicated 
or established, ver. 18, 19. Now these sacrifices did not 
procure that covenant, or prevail with God to enter into it ; 
but only ratified and confirmed it; and this was done in 
the new covenant by the blood of Christ. 

2. He thereby underwent and performed all that which 
in the righteousness and wisdom of God was required, that 
the effects, fruits, benefits, and grace, intended, designed, 
and prepared in the new covenant, might be effectually ac- 
complished, and communicated unto sinners. Hence al- 
though he procured not the covenant for us, by his death, 
yet he was in his person, mediation, life and death, the only 
cause and means whereby the whole grace of the covenant 
is made effectual unto us. For, 

3. All the benefits of it were procured by him ; that is, 
all the grace, mercy, privileges, and glory that God hath pre- 
pared in the counsel of his will, that were fixed as unto the way 
of this communication in the covenant of the Mediator, and 
proposed in the promises of it, are purchased, merited, and 
procured by his death ; and effectually communicated or 
applied unto all the covenanters by virtue thereof, with 
others of his mediatory acts. And this is much more an 
eminent procuring of the new covenant, than what is pre- 
tended about the procurement of its terms and conditions. 
For if he should have procured no more but this, if we owe 
this only unto his mediation that God would thereon, or 
did grant and establish this rule, law, and promise, that 
whoever believed should be saved, it were possible that no 
one should be saved thereby ; yea, if he did no more, con- 
sidering our state and condition, it was impossible that any 
one should so be. 


To give the sum of these things, it is inquired, with re- 
spect unto which of these considerations of the new cove- 
nant, it is aflSrmed that it was procured by the death of 
Christ. If it be said, that it is with respect unto the actual 
communication of all the grace and glory prepared in the 
covenant, and proposed unto us in the promises of it; it is 
most true. All the grace and glory promised in the cove- 
nant was purchased for the church by Jesus Christ. In this 
sense by his death he procured the new covenant. This 
the whole Scripture from the beginning of it in the first 
promise unto the end of it, doth bear witness unto. For it 
is in him alone that ' God blesseth us with all spiritual 
blessings in heavenly things.' Let all the good things that 
are mentioned or promised in the covenant expressly, or by 
just consequence, be summed up, and it will be no hard 
matter to demonstrate concerning them all, and that both 
jointly and severally, that they were all procured for us by 
the obedience and death of Christ. 

But this is not that which is intended. For most of this 
opinion do deny, that the grace of the covenant in con- 
version unto God, the remission of sins, sanctification, jus- 
tification, adoption, and the like, are the effects or procure- 
ments of the death of Christ. And they do on the other 
hand declare, that it is God's making of the covenant, which 
they do intend; that is the contrivance of the terms and 
conditions of it, with their proposal unto mankind for their 
recovery. But herein there is ov^lv vydg. For 

1. The Lord Christ himself, and the whole work of his 
mediation, as the ordinance of God for the recovery and 
salvation of lost sinners, is the first and principle promise 
of the covenant. So his exhibition in the flesh, his work 
of mediation therein, with our deliverance thereby, was the 
subject of that first promise, which virtually contained this 
whole covenant. So he was of the renovation of it unto 
Abraham, when it was solemnly confirmed by the oath of 
God ; Gal. iii. 16, 17. And Christ did not by his death pro- 
cure the promise of his death, nor of his exhibition in the 
flesh, or his coming into the world, that he might die. 

2. The making of this covenant is every v.here in the 
Scripture ascribed (as is also the sending of Christ himself 
to die) unto the love, grace, and wisdom of God alone ; no- 


242 THE doctiunf: of 

where unto the death of Christ, as the actual communication 
of all grace and glory are. Let all the places be considered, 
where either the giving of the promise, the sending of Christ, 
or the making of the covenant are mentioned, either ex- 
pressly or virtually, and in none of them are they assigned 
unto any other cause, but the grace, love, and wisdom of 
God alone, all to be made effectual unto us, by the medi- 
ation of Christ. 

3. The assignation of the sole end of the death of Christ 
to be the procurement of the new covenant in the sense con- 
tended for, doth indeed evacuate all the virtue of the death 
of Christ, and of the covenant itself. For, 1. The cove- 
nant which they intend, is nothing but the constitution and 
proposal of new terms and conditions for life and salvation 
unto all men. Now whereas the acceptance and accom- 
plishment of these conditions, depend upon the wills of men 
no way determined by effectual grace, it was possible that 
notwithstanding all Christ did by his death, yet no one 
sinner might be saved thereby, but that the whole end and 
design of God therein might be frustrated. 2. Whereas 
the substantial advantage of these conditions lieth herein, 
that God will now for the sake of Christ, accept of an obe- 
dience, inferior unto that required in the law, and so as that 
the grace of Christ doth not raise up all things unto a con- 
formity and compliance with the holiness and will of God 
declared therein, but accommodate all things unto our pre- 
sent condition, nothing can be invented more dishonour- 
able to Christ and the gospel. For what doth it else but 
make Christ the minister of sin, in disannulling the holiness 
that the law requires, or the obligation of the law unto it, 
without any provision of what might answer, or come into 
the room of it, but that which is incomparably less worthy. 
Nor is it consistent with divine wisdom, goodness, and im- 
mutability, to appoint unto mankind a law of obedience, 
and cast them all under the severest penalty upon the trans- 
gression of it, when he could in justice and honour, have 
given them such a law of obedience, whose observance 
might consist with many failings and sins. For if he have 
done that now, he could have done so before, which how far 
it reflects on the glory of the divine properties might be 
easily manifested. Neither doth this fond imagination 


comply with those testimonies of Scripture, that the Lord 
Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it, that he 
is the end of the law, and that by faith the law is not dis- 
annulled, but established. Lastly, the Lord Christ was the 
mediator and surety of the new covenant, in and by whom 
it was ratified, confirmed, and established ; and therefore, 
by him the constitution of it was not procured. For all the 
acts of his office belong unto that mediation; and it cannot 
be well apprehended how any act of mediation for the es- 
tablishment of the covenant, and rendering it effectual, 
should procure it. 

7. But to return from this digression ; That wherein all 
the precedent causes of the union between Christ and be- 
lievers, whence they become one mystical person, do centre, 
and whereby they are rendered a complete foundation of the 
imputation of their sins unto him, and of his righteousness 
unto them, is the communication of his Spirit, the same 
Spirit that dvvelleth in him, unto them, to abide in, to ani- 
mate and guide the whole mystical body and all its mem- 
bers. But this hath of late been so much spoken unto, as 
that I shall do no more but mention it. 

On the considerations insisted on, whereby the Lord 
Christ became one mystical person with theehurch, or bare 
the person of the church in what he did as mediator, in the 
holy wise disposal of God as the author of the law, the su- 
preme rector or governor of all mankind, as unto their tem- 
poral and eternal concernments, and by his own consent, 
the sins of all the elect were imputed unto him. This 
having been the faith and language of the church in all 
ages, and that derived from, and founded in, express testi- 
monies of Scripture, with all the promises and presignations 
of his exhibition in the flesh from the beginning, cannot now 
with any modesty be expressly denied. Wherefore, the So- 
cinians themselves grant that our sins may be said to be im- 
puted unto Christ, and he to undergo the punishment of 
them, so far as that all things which befell him evil and 
afflictive in this life, with the death which he underwent, 
were occasioned by our sins. For had not we sinned, there 
had been no need of, nor occasion for, his suffering. But 
notwithstanding this concession they expressly deny his sa- 
tisfaction, or that properly he underwent the punishment 

R 2 


due unto our sins; wherein they deny also all imputation- 
of them unto him. Others say that our sins were imputed 
unto him, * quoad reatum poenae/ but not ' quoad reatum 
culpa?.' But I must acknowledge that unto me this distinc- 
tion gives * inanem sine mente sonum.' The substance of it 
is much insisted on by Feuardentius, Dialog. 5. p. 467. And 
he is followed by others. That which he would prove by 
it is, that the Lord Christ did not present himself before 
the throne of God, with the burden of our sins upon him, 
so as to answer unto the justice of God for them. Whereas 
therefore ' reatus,' or ' guilt,' may signify either * dignitatem 
poenae/ or ' obligationem ad poenam,' as Bellarmine distin- 
guisheth, de Amiss, Grat. lib. vii.cap. 7. with respect unto 
Christ, the latter only is to be admitted. And the main argu- 
ment he and others insist upon, is this ; that if our sins be im- 
puted unto Christ, as unto the guilt of the fault, as they 
speak, then he must be polluted with them, and thence be 
denominated a sinner in every kind. And this would be 
true, if our sins could be communicated unto Christ by 
transfusion, so as to be his inherently and subjectively. But 
their being so only by imputation, gives no countenance 
unto any such pretence. However, there is a notion of legal 
uncleanness, where there is no inherent defilement. So the 
priest who offered the red heifer to make atonement, and 
he that burned her, were said to be unclean ; Num. xix. 7, 8. 
But hereon they say, that Christ died and suffered upon 
the special command of God, not that his death and suf- 
fering were any way due upon the account of our sins ; or 
required injustice, which is utterly to overthrow the satis- 
faction of Christ. 

Wherefore, the design of this distinction is to deny the 
imputation of the guilt of our sins unto Christ, and then in 
what tolerable sense can they be said to be imputed unto 
him, I cannot understand. But we are not tied up unto ar- 
bitrary distinctions, and the sense that any are pleased to 
impose on the terms of them. I shall therefore first inquire 
into the meaning of these words, guilt and guilty, whereby 
we may be able to judge of what it is, which in this dis- 
tinction is intended. 

The Hebrews have no other word to signify guilt or guilty 
but CDi^'K. And this thev use both for sin, the guilt of it, 


the punishment due unto it, and a sacrifice forit.^ Speaking 
of the guilt of blood, they use not any word to signify guilt, 
but only say, )b CDT it is blood to him. So David prays, 
' Deliver me tZ)>DlD from blood,' which we render ' blood-guil- 
tiness ;' Psal. li. 14. And this was, because by the con- 
stitution of God, he that was guilty of blood, was to die by 
the hand of the magistrate, or of God himself. But CDWi< 
ascham is nowhere used for guilt, but it signifies the re- 
lation of the sin intended unto punishment. And other 
significations of it will be in vain sought for in the Old Tes- 

In the New Testament, he that is guilty, is said to be 
vTToStKoc, Rom. iii. 19. that is, obnoxious to judgment or ven- 
geance for sin ; one that 17 ^Ikt) Zyv ovk da(Tev as they speak. 
Acts xxviii. 4. whom vengeance will not suffer to go un- 
punished. And evoxog, 1 Cor. xi. 27. a word of the same 
signification. Once by ocfidXoj, Matt, xxiii. 18. to owe, to be 
indebted to justice. To be obnoxious, liable unto justice, 
vengeance, punishment for sin, is to be guilty. 

* Reus,' ' guilty,' in the Latin is of a large signification. 
He who is ' crimini obnoxius/ or * poenae propter crimen,' or 
* voti debitor,' or ' promissi,' or * officii ex sponsione,' is 
called, * reus.' Especially every sponsor or surety, is * reus' 
in the law. ' Cum servus pecuniam pro libertate pactus est, 
et ob eam rem, reum dederit' (that is, * sponsorem, expro- 
missorem') * quamvis servus ab alio manumissus est, reus ta- 
men obligabitur.' He is * reus,' who engageth himself for any 
other, as to the matter of his engagement. And the same 
is the use of the word in the best Latin authors. ' Oppor- 
tuna loca dividenda praefectis esse ac suae quique partis tu- 
tandse reus sit.' Liv. de Bello Punic, lib. v. That every 
captain should so take care of the station committed to 
him, as that if any thing happened amiss, it should be im- 
puted unto him. And the same author again, * at quicun- 
que aut propinquitate aut affinitate regiam contigissent, 
alienee culpae rei trucidarentur,' shoi-ld be guilty of the fault 
of another (by imputation), and suflfer for it. So that in the 
Latin tongue he is ' reus,' who for himself or any other is ob- 
noxious unto punishment or payment. 

' Reatus' is a word of late admission into the Latin 
tongue, and was formed of * reus.' So Quintilian informs us 


in his discourse of the use of obsolete and new words, lib. viii. 
cap. 3. ' Qute Vetera nunc sunt, fuerunt olim nova ; quaedam 
in usu perquam recentia. Messala primus reatum, mune- 
rarium Augustus dixerunt;* to which he adds, ' piratica, 
musica/ and some others then newly come into use. But 
* reatus' at its first invention was of no such signification as 
it is now applied unto. I mention it only to shew, that we 
have no reason to be obliged unto men's arbitrary use of 
words. Some lawyers first used it, *pro crimine,' a fault, 
exposing^ unto punishment. But the original invention of 
it continued by long use, was to express the outward state 
and condition of him who was * reus,' after he was first 
charged in a cause criminal, before he was acquitted or con- 
demned. Those amono; the Romans, who were made * rei' 
by any public accusation, did betake themselves unto a poor 
squalid habit, a sorrowful countenance, suftering their hair 
and beards to go undressed; hereby on custom and usage, 
the people who were to judge on their cause, were inclined 
to compassion. And Milo furthered his sentence of banish- 
ment, because he would not submit to this custom which 
had such an appearance of pusillanimity and baseness of 
spirit. This state of sorrow and trouble so expressed, they 
called * reatus* and nothing else. It came afterward to de- 
note their state who were committed unto custody in order 
unto their trial, when the government ceased to be popular, 
wherein alone the other artifice was of use. And if this 
word be of any use in our present argument, it is to express 
the state of men after conviction of sin, before their justi- 
fication. That is their * reatus,' the condition wherein the 
proudest of them cannot avoid to express their inward 
sorrow and anxiety of mind, by some outward evidences of 
them. Beyond this we are not obliged by the use of this 
word, but must consider the thing itself which now we in- 
tend to express thereby. 

Guilt in the Scripture is the respect of sin unto the 
sanction of the law, whereby the sinner becomes obnoxious 
unto punishment. And to be guilty is to be virodiKog ri^ 
0£(^, liable unto punishment for sin, from God, as the su- 
preme lawgiver and judge of all. And so guilt or ' reatus' is 
well defined to be * obligatio ad pcenam, propter culpam, 
aut admissam in sc, aut imputatum, juste aut injuste.' For 


SO Bathsheba says unto David, that she and her son Solo- 
mon should be CD^NIOn sinners, that is, be esteemed guilty 
or liable unto punishment for some evil laid unto their 
charge; 1 Kings i. 21. And the distinction of ' Dignitas 
pcenae,' and ' obligatio ad pcenam,' is but the same thing 
in divers words. For both do but express the relation of 
sin unto the sanction of the law, or if they may be con- 
ceived to differ, yet are they inseparable ; for there can be 
no ' obligatio ad pcenam,' where there is not * dignitas 

Much less is there any thing of weight in the distinction 
of ' reatus culpse,' and ' reatus pcense.' For this ' reatus 
culpse' is nothing but * dignitas pcense propter culpam.' Sin 
hath other considerations, namely, its formal nature, as it is 
a transgression of the law ; and the stain of filth that it 
brings upon the soul ; but the guilt of it, is nothing but its 
respect unto punishment from the sanction of the law. And 
so indeed 'reatus culpse,' is 'reatus pcense ;' the guilt of 
sin, is its desert of punishment. And where there is not this 
'reatus culpae/ there can be no 'pcena,' no punishment pro- 
perly so called. For ' poena' is ' vindicta noxse,' the revenge 
due to sin. So therefore there can be no punishment, nor 
' reatus pcense,' the guilt of it, but where there is * reatus 
culpge ;' or sin considered with its guilt. And the ' reatus 
poenge,' that may be supposed without the guilt of sin, is 
nothing but that obnoxiousness unto afflictive evil on the 
occasion of sin, which the Socinians admit with respect 
unto the sufFeringof Christ, and yet execrate his satisfaction. 
And if this distinction should be apprehended to be of 
* reatus,' from its formal respect unto sin and punishment, it 
must in both parts of the distinction be of the same signifi- 
cation, otherwise there is an equivocation in the subject of 
it. But ' reatus poense' is a liableness, an obnoxiousness 
unto punishment according to the sentence of the law; that 
whereby a sinner becomes vito^ikoq t(o ^£(^. And then * reatus 
culpae' must be an obnoxiousness unto sin, which is uncouth. 
There is therefore no imputation of sin, where there is no 
imputation of its guilt. For the guilt of punishment, which 
is not its respect unto the desert of sin, is a plain fiction, 
there is no such thing in ' rerum natura.' There is no guilt 
of ^n, but its relation unto punishment. 


That therefore which we affirm herein is, that our sins 
were so transferred on Christ, as that thereby he became 
C3Wi^, viroBiKog T(f ^f^, * reus,' responsible unto God, and 
obnoxious unto punishment in the justice of God for them, 
lie was * aliense culpse reus/ Perfectly innocent in him- 
8elf ; but took our guilt on him, or our obnoxiousness unto 
punishment for sin. And so he may be, and may be said 
to be, the greatest debtor in the world, who never borrowed 
nor owed one farthing on his own account, if he become 
surety for the greatest debt of others. So Paul became a 
debtor unto Philemon, upon his undertaking for Onesimus, 
who before owed him nothing. 

And two things concurred unto this imputation of sin 
unto Christ. 1. The act of God imputing it. 2. The vo- 
luntary act of Christ himself in the undertaking of it, or 
admitting of the charge. 

1. The act of God in this imputation of the guilt of our 
sins unto Christ, is expressed by his ' laying all our iniquities 
upon him, making him to be sin for us,' who knew no sin, 
and the like. For, 1. As the supreme governor, law- 
giver, and judge of all, unto whom it belonged to take care 
that his holy law was observed, or the offenders punished, 
he admitted upon the transgression of it, the sponsion and 
suretyship of Christ to answer for the sins of men ; Heb. x. 
5_7. 2. In order unto this end, ' he made him under the 
law,' or gave the law power over him, to demand of him, 
and inflict on him the penalty which was due unto the sins 
of them for whom he undertook; Gal. iii. 13. iv. 4, 5. 
3. For the declaration of the righteousness of God in this 
setting forth of Christ to be a propitiation, and to bear our 
iniquities, the guilt of our sins was transferred unto him in 
an act of the righteous judgment of God, accepting and es- 
teeming of him as the guilty person ; as it is with public 
sureties in every case. 

2. The Lord Christ's voluntary susception of the state 
and condition of a surety, or undertaker for the church, to 
appear before the throne of God's justice for them, to answer 
whatever was laid unto their charge, was required hereunto. 
And this he did absolutely. There was a concurrence of 
his own will in and unto all those divine acts whereby he, 
and the church, were constituted one mystical person. And 


of his own love and grace did he as our surety stand in our 
stead before God, when he made inquisition for sin ; he took 
it on himself, as unto the punishment which it deserved. 
Hence it became jast and righteous that he should suffer, 
' the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God.* 

For if this be not so, I desire to know what is become 
of the guilt of the sins of believers; if it were not trans- 
ferred on Christ, it remains still upon themselves, or it is 
nothing. It will be said that guilt is taken away by the 
free pardon of sin. But if so, there was no need of punish- 
ment for it at all ; which is indeed what the Socinians plead, 
but by others is not admitted. For if punishment be not for 
guilt, it is not punishment. 

But it is fiercely objected against what we have asserted, 
that if the guilt of our sins was imputed unto Christ, then 
was he constituted a sinner thereby ; for it is the guilt of 
sin that makes any one to be truly a sinner. This is urged 
by Bellarmine, lib. ii. de Justificat. not for its own sake, but 
to disprove the imputation of his righteousness unto us, as 
it is continued by others with the same design. For, saith 
lie, * if we be made righteous, and the children of God through 
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, then was he 
made a sinner, * et quod horret animus cogitare, filius dia- 
boli ;* by the imputation of the guilt of our sins, or our un- 
righteousness unto him.' And the same objection is pressed 
by others, with instances of consequences, which for many 
reasons I heartily wish had been forborn. But I answer, 

1. Nothing is more absolutely true, nothing is more sa- 
credly or assuredly believed by us, than, that nothing which 
Christ did or suffered, nothing that he undertook or under- 
went, did or could constitute him, subjectively, inherently, 
and thereon personally a sinner, or guilty of any sin of his 
own. To bear the guilt or blame of other men's faults, to be 
* alienee culpse reus,' makes no man a sinner, unless he did 
unwisely or irregularly undertake it. But that Christ should 
admit of any thing of sin in himself, as it is absolutely in- 
consistent with the hypostatical union, so it would render 
him unmeet for all other duties of his office ; Heb. vii. 25, 26. 
And I confess it hath always seemed scandalous unto me, 
that Socinus, Crellius, and Grotius, do grant that in some 
sense Christ offered for his own sins, and would prove it 


from that very place wherein it is positively denied ; Heb. 
vii. 27. This ought to be sacredly fixed, and not a word used 
nor thought entertained of any possibility of the contrary, 
upon any supposition whatever. 

2. None ever dreamed of a transfusion or propagation of 
sin from us unto Christ, such as there was from Adam unto 
us. For Adam was a common person unto us, we are not so 
to Christ; yea, he is so to us; and the imputation of our 
sins unto him, is a singular act of divine dispensation, which 
no evil consequence can ensue upon. 

3. To imagine such an imputation of our sins unto Christ, 
as that thereon they should cease to be our sins, and become 
his absolutely, is to overthrow that which is affirmed. For 
on that supposition, Christ would not suffer for our sins, for 
they ceased to be ours, antecedently unto his suffering. But 
the guilt of them was so transferred unto him, that through 
his suffering for it, it might be pardoned unto us. 

These things being premised, I say, 

1. There is in sin a transgression of the preceptive part 
of the law, and there is an obnoxiousness unto the punish- 
ment from the sanction of it. It is the first that gives sin 
its formal nature, and where that is not subjectively, no per- 
son can be constituted formally a sinner. However, any one 
may be so denominated as unto some certain end or purpose, 
yet without this, formally a sinner none can be, whatever be 
imputed unto them. And where that is, no non-imputation 
of sin as unto punishment, can free the person in whom it is, 
from being formally a sinner. When Bathsheba told David 
that she and her son Solomon should be CD>i<lOn sinners, by 
having crimes laid unto their charge; and when Judah told 
Jacob, that he would be a sinner before him always on the 
account of any evil that befell Benjamin (it should be im- 
puted unto him), yet neither of them could thereby be con- 
stituted a sinner formally. And on the other hand, when 
Shimei desired David not to impute sin unto him, whereby 
he escaped present punishment, yet did not that non-impu- 
tation free him formally from being a sinner. Wherefore, 
sin under this consideration as a transgression of the pre- 
ceptive part of the law, cannot be communicated from one 
unto another, unless it be by the propagation of a vitiated 
principle or habit. But yet neither so will the personal .sin 


of one as inherent in him, ever come to be the personal sin 
of another. Adam hath upon his personal sin communicated 
a vitious, depraved, and corrupted nature unto all his pos- 
terity ; and besides, the guilt of his actual sin is imputed 
unto them, as if it had been committed by every one of them. 
But yet his particular personal sin, neither ever did, nor 
ever could become the personal sin of any one of them, any 
otherwise than by the imputation of its guilt unto them. 
Wherefore our sins neither are, nor can be so imputed unto 
Christ, as that they should become subjectively his, as they 
are a transgression of the preceptive part of the law. A 
physical translation or transfusion of sin is in this case 
naturally and spiritually impossible ; and yet on a suppo- 
sition thereof alone, do the horrid consequences mentioned 
depend. But the guilt of sin is an external respect of it, 
with regard unto the sanction of the law only. This is se- 
parable from sin, and if it were not so, no one sinner could 
either be pardoned or saved. It may therefore be made 
another's by imputation, and yet that other not rendered 
formally a sinner thereby. This was that which was imputed 
unto Christ, whereby he was rendered obnoxious unto the 
curse of the law. For it was impossible that the law should 
pronounce any accursed but the guilty ; nor would do so ; 
Deut. xxvii. 26. 

2. There is a great difference between the imputation of 
the righteousness of Christ unto us, and the imputation of 
our sins unto Christ; so as that he cannot in the same man- 
ner be said to be made a sinner by the one, as we are 
made righteous by the other. For our sin was imputed 
unto Christ only, as he was our surety for a time, to this 
end, that he might take it away, destroy it, and abolish it. 
It was never imputed unto him, so as to make any alteration 
absolutely in his personal state and condition. But his 
righteousness is imputed unto us, to abide with us, to be 
ours always, and to make a total change in our state and 
condition as unto our relation unto God. Our sin was im- 
puted unto him, only for a season, not absolutely, but as 
he was a surety, and unto the special end of destroying it; 
and taken on him, on this condition, that his righteousness 
should be made ours for ever. All things are otherwise in 
the imputation of his righteousness unto us, which respects 


US absolutely, and not under a temporary capacity, abides 
with us for ever, changetli our state and relation unto God, 
and is an effect of superabounding grace. 

But it will be said, that if our sins as to the guilt of them 
were imputed unto Christ, then God must hate Christ. For 
he hateth the guilty. I know not well how I come to men- 
tion these things, which indeed I look upon as cavils, such 
as men may multiply if they please, against any part of the 
mysteries of the gospel. But seeing it is mentioned, it may 
be spoken unto. And 

1. It is certain that the Lord Christ's taking on him the 
guilt of our sins, was a high act of obedience unto God, 
Heb. X. 5, 6. and for which the ' Father loved him ;' John 
X. 17, 18. There was therefore no reason why God should 
hate Christ, for his taking on him our debt and the payment 
of it, in an act of the highest obedience unto his will. 2. God 
in this matter is considered as a rector, ruler, and judge. 
Now it is not required of the severest judge, that as a judge 
he should hate the guilty person, no, although he be guilty 
originally by inhesion and not by imputation. As such, he 
hath no more to do, but consider the guilt, and pronounce 
the sentence of punishment. But, 3. Suppose a person out 
of an heroic generosity of mind should become ^n AvTi^v^oq 
for another, for his friend, for a good man, so as to answer 
for him with his life, as Judah undertook to be for Benjamin 
as to his liberty, which when a man hath lost, he is civilly 
dead, and ' capite diminutus,' would the most cruel tyrant 
under heaven that should take away his life, in that case 
hate him ; would he not rather admire his worth and virtue? 
As such a one it was that Christ suffered, and no otherwise. 
4. All the force of this exception depends on the ambiguity 
of the word hate. For it may signify either an aversation 
ox detestation of mind, or only a will of punishing, as in God 
mostly it doth. In the first sense there was no ground why 
God should hate Christ on this imputation of guilt unto 
him ; whereby he became * non proprige sed alienae culpaB 
reus.' Sin inherent renders the soul polluted, abominable, 
and the only object of divine aversation. But for him who 
was perfectly innocent, holy, harmless, uudefiled in himself, 
who did no sin, neither was there guile found in his mouth, 
to take upon hira the guilt of other sins, thereby to comply 


with and accomplish the design of God for the manifesta- 
tion of his glory and infinite wisdom, grace, goodness, 
mercy, and righteousness, unto the certain expiation and 
destruction of sin, nothing could render him more glorious 
and lovely in the sight of God or man. But for a will of 
punishing in God, where sin is imputed, none can deny it, 
but they must therewithal openly disavow the satisfaction 
of Christ. 

The heads of some few of those arguments wherewith 
the truth we have asserted is confirmed, shall close this 

1. Unless the guilt of sin was imputed unto Christ, sin 
was not imputed unto him in any sense ; for the punishment 
of sin is not sin; nor can those who are otherwise minded, 
declare what it is of sin, that is imputed. But the Scrip- 
ture is plain, that ' God laid on him the iniquity of us all,' 
and made him to be sin for us, which could not otherwise 
be but by imputation. 

2. There can be no punishment but with respect unto 
the guilt of sin personally contracted, or imputed. It is 
guilt alone that gives what is materially evil and afflictive, 
the formal nature of punishment and nothing else. And 
therefore those who understand full well the harmony of 
things and opinions, and are free to express their minds, do 
constantly declare, that if one of these be denied, the other 
must be so also ; and if one be admitted they must both be 
so. If guilt was not imputed unto Christ, he could not, as 
they plead well enough, undergo the punishment of sin ; 
much he might do and suffer on the occasion of sin, but 
undergo the punishment due unto sin he could not. And if 
it should be granted that the guilt of sin was imputed unto 
him, they will not deny but that he underwent the punish- 
ment of it; and if he underwent the punishment of it, they 
will not deny but that the guilt of it was imputed unto him; 
for these things are inseparably related. 

3. Christ was made a curse for us, the curse of the law; 
as is expressly declared. Gal. iii. 13, 14. But the curse of 
the law respects the guilt of sin only ; so as that where that 
is not, it cannot take place in any sense, and where that is, 
it doth inseparably attend it ; Deut. xxvii. 26, 

4. The express testimonies of the Scripture unto this 

254 THE 1)0( TKINE O I " 

purpose cannot be evaded, without an open wresting of their 
words and sense. So God is said to 'make all our iniquities 
to meet upon him ;' and he bare them on him as his burden, 
for so the word signifies ; Isa. liii. 6. ' God hath laid on him, 
13^D ])]; nx the iniquity,' that is, the guilt * of us all,' ver. 11. 
^3D> Kin tZDnsii^l and their sin or guilt shall he bear. For 
that is the intendment of \)^, where joined with any other 
word that denotes sin as it is in those places ; Psal. xxxii. 5. 
thou forgavest >n«tDn nv * the iniquity of my sin/ that is, 
the guilt of it, which is that alone that is taken away by 
pardon. That his soul was made an offering for the guilt 
of sin, that he was made sin, that sin was condemned in his 
flesh. Sec. 

5. This was represented in all the sacrifices of old, es- 
pecially the great anniversary, on the day of expiation, with 
the ordinance of the scape-goat, as hath been before de- 

6. Without a supposition hereof it cannot be under- 
stood, how the Lord Christ should be our AvTixj^vxog or suf- 
fer avri vfXMv, in our stead, unless we will admit the exposi- 
tion of Mr. Ho, a late writer, who reckoning up how many- 
things the Lord Christ did in our stead, adds as the sense 
thereof, that it is to bestead us ; than which if he can invent 
any thing more fond and senseless, lie hath a singular faculty 
in such an employment. 


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

The principal differences about the doctrine of justification 
are reducible unto three heads: 1. The nature of it; 
namely, whether it consist in an internal change of the per- 
son justified by the infusion of a habit of inherent grace 
or riorhteousness ; or whether it be a forensic act, in the 
judging, esteeming, declaring, and pronouncing such a per- 
son to be righteous, thereon absolving him from all his sins. 


giving unto him right and title unto life. Herein we have 
to do only with those of the church of Rome, all others, 
both Protestants and Socinians being agreed on the foren- 
sic sense of the word, and the nature of the thino; sionified 
thereby. And this I have already spoken unto, so far as 
our present design doth require, and that I hope with such 
evidence of truth, as cannot well be gainsayed. Nor may 
it be supposed that we have too long insisted thereon, as 
an opinion which is obsolete, and long since sufficiently 
confuted. I think much otherwise, and that those who 
avoid the Romanists in these controversies, will give a 
greater appearance of fear, than of contempt. For when all 
is done, if free justification through the blood of Christ and 
the imputation of his righteousness, be not able to preserve 
its station in the minds of men, the Popish doctrine of jus- 
tification must and will return upon the world, with all the 
concomitants and consequences of it. Whilst any know- 
ledge of the law or gospel is continued amongst us, the con- 
sciences of men will at one time or other, living or dying, 
be really affected with a sense of sin, as unto its guilt and 
danger. Hence that trouble and those disquietments of 
mind will ensue, as will force men, be they never so unwil- 
ling, to seek after some relief and satisfaction. And what 
will not men attempt, who are reduced to the condition ex- 
pressed, Micah vi. 7, 8. Wherefore in this case, if the true 
and only relief of distressed consciences, of sinners who are 
weary and heavy laden be hid from their eyes ; if they have 
no apprehension of, nor trust in that which alone they may 
oppose unto the sentence of the law, and interpose between 
God's justice and their souls, wherein they may take shelter 
from the storms of that wrath which abideth on thein that 
believe not ; they will betake themselves unto any thing 
which confidently tenders them present ease and relief. 
Hence many persons living all their days in an ignorance of 
the righteousness of God, are oftentimes on their sick beds, 
and in their dying hours, proselyted unto a confidence in 
the ways of rest and peace, which the Romanists impose 
upon them. For such seasons of advantage do they wait 
for, unto the reputation as they suppose of their own zeal, 
in truth unto the scandal of Christian religion. But finding 
at any time the consciences of men under disquietments. 


and ignorant of, or disbelieving that heavenly relief which 
is provided in the gospel, they are ready with their appli- 
cations and medicines, having on them pretended approba- 
tions of the experience of many ages, and an innumerable 
company of devout souls in them. Such is their doctrine 
of justification, with the addition of those other ingredients 
of confession, absolution, penances, or commutations, aids 
from saints and angels, especially the blessed Virgin, all 
warmed by the fire of purgatory, and confidently adminis- 
tered unto persons sick of ignorance, darkness, and sin. 
And let none please themselves in the contempt of these 
things. If the truth concerning evangelical justification be 
once disbelieved among us, or obliterated by any artifices 
out of the minds of men, unto these things at one time or 
other, they must and will betake themselves. For the new 
schemes and projections of justification w^hich some at pre- 
sent would supply us withal, they are no way suited, nor 
able to give relief or satisfaction unto a conscience really 
troubled for sin, and seriously inquiring how it may have 
rest and peace with God. I shall take the boldness there- 
fore to say, whoever be offended at it; that if we lose the 
ancient doctrine of justification through faith in the blood 
of Christ, and the imputation of his righteousness unto us, 
public profession of religion will quickly issue in Popery, 
or Atheism, or at least in what is the next door unto it, koi 
Tavra fxiv Si Tavra. 

The second principal controversy is about the formal cause 
of justification, as it is expressed and stated by those of the 
Roman church. And under these terms some Protestant 
divines have consented to debate the matter in difference. 
I shall not interpose into a strife of words. So the Roman- 
ists will call that which we inquire after. Some of ours 
say the righteousness of Christ imputed; some, the imputa- 
tion of the righteousness of Christ, is the formal cause of 
our justification ; some, that there is no formal cause of 
justification, but this is that which supplies the place 
and use of a formal cause, which is the righteousness of 
Christ. In none of these things will I concern myself, 
though I judge what was mentioned in the last place, to be 
most proper and significant. 

The substance of the inquiry wherein alone we are con- 


cemed is ; What is that righteousness whereby, and where- 
with, a believing sinner is justified before God; or whereon 
he is accepted with God, hath his sins pardoned, is received 
into grace and favour, and hath a title given him unto the 
heavenly inheritance. I shall no otherwise propose this in- 
quiry, as knowing that it contains the substance of what 
convinced sinners do look after in and by the gospel. 

And herein it is agreed by all, the Socinians only ex- 
cepted, that the procatarctical or procuring cause of the 
pardon of our sins and acceptance with God, is the satis- 
faction and merit of Christ. Howbeit it cannot be denied, 
but that some retaining the names of them, do seem to re- 
nounce or disbelieve the things themselves. But we need 
not to take any notice thereof, until they are free more 
plainly to express their minds. But as concerning the 
righteousness itself inquired after, there seems to be a dif- 
ference among them, who yet all deny it to be the righteous- 
ness of Christ imputed unto us. For those of the Roman 
church plainly say, that upon the infusion of a habit of 
grace, with the expulsion of sin and the renovation of our 
natures thereby, which they call the first justification, we 
are actually justified before God, by our own works of 
righteousness. Hereon they dispute about the merit and 
satisfactoriness of those works, with their condignity of the 
reward of eternal life. Others, as the Socinians, openly dis- 
claim all merit in our works ; only some, out of reverence 
as I suppose, unto the antiquity of the word, and under the 
shelter of the ambiguity of its signification, have faintly at- 
tempted an accommodation with it. But in the substance 
of what they assert unto this purpose, to the best of my un- 
derstanding they are all agreed. For what the Papists call 
* Justitia Operum,' the righteousness of works, they call a 
personal, inherent, evangelical righteousness, whereof we 
have spoken before. And whereas the Papists say, that 
this righteousness of works is not absolutely perfect, nor in 
itself able to justify us in the sight of God, but owes all its 
worth and dignity unto this purpose unto the merit of Christ, 
they affirm that this evangelical righteousness is the con- 
dition whereon we enjoy ihe benefits of the righteoufiness 
of Christ, in the pardon of our sins, and the acceptance of 
our persons before God. But as unto those Vvho will ac- 

VOL. XI. i» 

258 TflE DOC 1 RINK OF 

knowledge no otlier righteousness wherewith we are justified 
before God, the meaning is the same, whether we say that 
on the condition of this righteousness we are made partakers 
of the benefits of the righteousness of Christ; or that it is 
the righteousness of Christ which makes this righteousness 
of ours accepted with God. But these things must after- 
ward more particularly be inquired into. 

3. The third inquiry wherein there is not an agreement 
in this matter is, upon a supposition of a necessity, that he 
who is to be justified, should one way or other be interested 
in the righteousness of Christ, what it is that on our part is 
required thereunto. This some say to be faith alone, others 
faith and works also, and that in the same kind of necessity 
and use. That whose consideration we at present under- 
take, is the second thing proposed. And indeed, herein 
lies the substance of the whole controversy about our justi- 
fication before God, upon the determination and stating 
whereof, the determination of all other incident questions 
doth depend. 

This therefore is that which herein I affirm. The righte- 
ousness of Christ (in his obedience and suffering for us) im- 
puted unto believers, as they are united unto him by his 
Spirit, is that righteousness whereon they are justified before 
God, on the account whereof their sins are pardoned, and a 
right is granted them unto the heavenly inheritance. 

This position is such as wherein the substance of that 
doctrine in this important article of evangelical truth which 
we plead for, is plainly and fully expressed. And I have 
chosen the rather thus to express it, because it is that thesis 
wherein the learned Davenant laid, down that common doc- 
trine of the reformed churches whose defence he undertook. 
This is the shield of truth in the whole cause of Justifica- 
tion, which whilst it is preserved safe, we need not trouble 
ourselves about the differences that are among learned men, 
about the most proper stating and declaration of some lesser 
concernments of it. This is the refuge, the only refuge of 
distressed consciences, wherein they may find rest and 


For the confirmation of this assertion, I shall do these 
three things: 1. Reflect on what is needful unto the ex- 
planation of it. 2. Answer the most important general 


objections agaiust it. 3. Prove the truth of it by argu- 
ments and testimonies of the holy Scripture. 

As to the first of these, or what is necessary unto tlie 
explanation of this assertion, it hath been sufficiently spoken 
unto in our foregoing discourses. The heads of some things 
only shall at present be called over. 

1. The foundation of the imputation asserted, is union. 
Hereof there are many grounds and causes as hath been de- 
clared. But that which we have immediate respect unto as 
the foundation of this imputation, is that whereby the Lord 
Christ and believers do actually coalesce into one mystical 
person. This by the Holy Spirit inhabiting in him as the 
head of the church in all fulness, and in all believers accord- 
ing to their measure, whereby they became members of his 
mystical body. That there is such a union between Christ 
and believers, is the faith of the Catholic church, and hath 
been so in all ages. Those who seem in our days to deny it 
or question it, either know not what they say, or their minds 
are influenced by their doctrine, who deny the divine per- 
sons of the Son, and of the Spirit. Upon supposition of 
this union, reason will grant the imputation pleaded for to 
be reasonable ; at least, that there is such a peculiar ground 
for it, as is not to be exemplified in any things natural or 
political among men. 

2. The nature of imputation hath been fully spoken unto 
before, and thereunto I refer the reader for the understand- 
ing of what is intended thereby. 

3. That which is imputed is the righteousness of Christ; 
and briefly I understand hereby, his whole obedience unto 
God in all that he did and suffered for the church. This I 
say is imputed unto believers, so as to become their only 
righteousness before God unto the justification of life. 

If beyond these things any expressions have been made 
use of in the explojaation of this truth, which have given oc- 
casion unto any differences or contests, although they may 
be true and defensible against objections, yet shall not I con- 
cern myself in them. The substance of the truth as laid 
down, is that whose defence I have undertaken, and v/here 
that is granted or consented unto, I will not contend with 
any about their way and methods of its declaration, nor de- 
fend the terms and expressions that have by any been made 

s 2 


use of therein. For instance ; some have said, that what; 
Christ did and suft'ered, is so imputed unto us, as that we 
are judged and esteemed in the sight of God to have done 
or suffered ourselves in him. This I shall not conceirn my- 
self in. For although it may have a sound sense given unto 
it, and is used by some of the ancients, yet because offence 
is taken at it, and the substance of the truth we plead for is 
better otherwise expressed, it ought not to be contended 
about. For we do not say, that God judgeth or esteemeth 
that we did and suffered in our own persons what Christ 
did and suffered, but only that he did it and suffered it in 
our stead. Hereon God makes a grant and donation of it 
unto believers upon their believing, unto their justification 
before him. And the like may be said of many other ex- 
pressions of the like nature. 

These things being premised, I proceed unto the consi- 
deration of the general objections that are urged against the 
imputation we plead for. And I shall insist only on some 
of the principal of them, and whereinto all others may be 
resolved ; for it were endless to go over all that any man's in- 
vention can suggest unto him of this kind. And some gene- 
ral considerations we must take along with us herein. As, 

1. The doctrine of justification is a part, yea, an emi- 
nent part of the mystery of the gospel. It is no marvel, 
therefore, if it be not so exposed unto the common notions 
of reason, as some would have it to be. There is more re- 
quired unto the true spiritual understanding of such myste- 
ries ; yea, unless we intend to renounce the gospel, it must 
be asserted, that reason as it is corrupted, and. the mind of 
man destitute of divine supernatural revelation, do dislike 
every such truth, and rise up in enmity against it. So the 
Scripture directly affirms, Rom. viii. 7. 1 Cor. ii. 14. 

2. Hence are the minds and inventions of men wonderful 
fertile in coining objections against evangelical truths, and 
raising cavils against them. Seldom to this purpose do they 
want an endless number of sophistical objections, which be- 
cause they know no better, they themselves judge insoluble. 
For carnal reason being once set at liberty under the false 
notion of truth, to act itself freely and boldly against spi- 
ritual mysteries, is subtle in its arguings, and pregnant in its 
invention of them. How endless, for instance, are the so- 


phisms of the Socinians against the doctrine of the Trinity, 
and how do they triumph in them as unanswerable. Under 
the shelter of them they despise the force of the most evi- 
dent testimonies of the Scripture, and those multiplied on 
all occasions. In like manner they deal with the doctrine 
of the satisfaction of Christ, as the Pelagians of old did with 
that of his grace. Wherefore, he that will be startled at the 
appearance of subtle or plausible objections, against any 
gospel mysteries that are plainly revealed, and sufficiently 
attested in the Scripture, is not likely to come unto much 
stability in his profession of them. 

3. The most of the objections which are levied against 
the truth in this cause, do arise from the want of a due com- 
prehension of the order of the work of God's grace, and 
of our compliance therewithal in a way of duty as was be- 
fore observed. For they consist in opposing those things 
one to another as inconsistent, which, in their proper place 
and order, are not only consistent, but mutually subservient 
unto one another ; and are found so in the experience of 
them that truly believe. Instances hereof have been given 
before, and others will immediately occur. Taking the con- 
sideration of these things with us, we may see as the rise, so 
of what force the objections are. 

4. Let it be considered that the objections which are 
made use of against the truth we assert, are all of them taken 
from certain consequences, which, as it is supposed, will 
ensue on the admission of it. And as this is the only expe- 
dient to perpetuate controversies, and make them endless, 
so to my best observation I never yet met with any one, but 
that to give an appearance of force unto the absurdity of the 
consequences from whence he argues, he framed his suppo- 
sitions, or the state of the question, unto the disadvantage 
of them whom he opposed ; a course of proceeding which I 
wonder good men are not either weary, or ashamed of. 

1. It is objected. That the imputation of the righteous- 
ness of Christ doth overthrow all remission of sins on the 
part of God. This is pleaded for by Socinus, De Servator. 
lib. iv. cap. 2 — 4. and by others it is also made use of. A 
confident charge this seems to them who steadfastly believe 
that without this imputation, there could be no remission 
of sin. But they say. That he who hath a righteousnese^ 


imputed unto him that is absolutely perfect, so as to be 
made his own, needs no pardon, hath no sin that should be 
forgiven, nor can he ever need forgiveness. But because 
this objection will occur unto us again in the vindication of 
one of our ensuing arguments, I shall here speak briefly 
unto it. 

1. Grotius shall answer this objection; saith he, 'Cum 
duo nobis peperisse Christum dixerimus, impunitatem et 
praemium, illud satisfactioni, hoc merito Christi distincte 
tribuit vetus ecclesia. Satisfactio consistit in peccatorum 
translatione, meritum in perfectissimae obedientiae pro no- 
bis prsestitse imputatione.' Prsefat. ad lib. de Satisfact. 
' \^hereas we have said that Christ hath procured or brought 
forth two things for us, freedom from punishment, and a re- 
ward, the ancient church attributes the one of them dis- 
tinctly unto his satisfaction, the other unto his merit. Sa- 
tisfaction consisteth in the translation of sins (from us unto 
him), merit in the imputation of his most perfect obedience 
performed for us,* unto us. In his judgment the remission 
of sins, and the imputation of righteousness, were as con- 
sistent as the satisfaction and merit of Christ, as indeed 
they are. 

2. Had we not been sinners, we should have had no need 
of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to render 
us righteous before God. Being so, the first end for which 
it is imputed, is the pardon of sin ; without which we could 
not be righteous by the imputation of the most perfect righ- 
teousness. These things therefore are consistent, namely, 
that the satisfaction of Christ should be imputed unto us 
for the pardon of sin, and the obedience of Christ be im- 
puted unto us, to render us righteous before God. And 
they are not only consistent, but neither of them singly were 
sufficient unto our justification. 

2. It is pleaded by the same author, and others. That 
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, overthroweth 
all necessity of repentance for sin, in order unto the remis- 
sion or pardon thereof, yea, rendereth it altogether needless. 
For what need hath he of repentance for sin, who by the 
imputation of the righteousness of Christ, is esteemed com- 
pletely just and righteous in the sight of God. If Christ 
satisfied for all sins in the person of the elect; if as our 


surety he paid all our debts, and if his righteousness be 
made ours before we repent, then is all repentance needless. 
And these things are much enlarged on by the same author 
in the place before-mentioned. 

Ans. 1. It mast be remembered, that we require evange- 
lical faith in order of nature antecedently unto our justifica- 
tion by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto 
us, which also is the condition of its continuation. Where- 
fore, whatever is necessary thereunto, is in like manner re- 
quired of us in order unto believing. Amongst these, there 
is a sorrow for sin, and a repentance of it. For whosoever 
is convinced of sin in a due manner, so as to be sensible of 
its evil and guilt, both as in its own nature, it is contrary 
unto the preceptive part of the holy law, and in the neces- 
sary consequences of it, in the wrath and curse of God, can- 
not but be perplexed in his mind, that he hath involved 
himself therein. And that posture of mind will be accom- 
panied with shame, fear, sorrow, and other afflictive pas- 
sions. Hereon a resolution doth ensue, utterly to abstain 
from it for the future, with sincere endeavours unto that 
purpose, issuing, if there be time and space for it, in refor- 
mation of life. And in a sense of sin, sorrow for it, fear 
concerning it, abstinence from it, and reformation of life, a 
repentance true in its kind doth consist. This repentance 
is usually called legal, because its motives are principally 
taken from the law ; but yet there is moreover required unto 
it that temporary faith of the gospel which we have before 
described. And as it doth usually produce great effects in 
the confession of sin, humiliation for it, and change of life, 
as in Ahab and the Ninevites, so ordinarily it precedeth 
true saving faith, and justification thereby. Wherefore, the 
necessity hereof, is no way weakened by the doctrine of 
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, yea, it is 
strengthened and made effectual thereby. For without it, 
in the order of the gospel, an interest therein is not to be 
attained. And this is that which in the Old Testament is 
so often proposed as the means and conditions of turning 
away the judgments and punishments threatened unto sin. 
For it is true and sincere in its kind ; neither do the Soci- 
nians require any other repentance unto justification. For 
as they deny true evangelical repentance in all the especial 



causes of it, so that which may and cloth precede faith in 
order of nature, is all that they require. This objection 
therefore as managed by them, is a causeless vain pretence. 
2. Justifying faith includeth in its nature the entire prin- 
ciple of evangelical repentance, so as that it is utterly im- 
possible that a man should be a true believer, and not at 
the same instant of time, be truly penitent. And therefore 
are they so frequently conjoined in the Scripture as one 
simultaneous duty. Yea, the call of the gospel unto repent- 
ance is a call to faith, acting itself by repentance. So the 
sole reason of that call unto repentance which the forgive- 
ness of sins is annexed unto. Acts ii. 38. is the proposal of 
the promise which is the object of faith, ver. 39. And those 
conceptions and affections which a man hath about sin, with 
a sorrow for it and repentance of it, upon a legal conviction, 
being enlivened and made evangelical by the introduction 
of faith as a new principle of them, and giving new motives 
unto them, do become evangelical; so impossible is it that 
faith should be without repentance. Wherefore, although 
the first act of faith, and its only proper exercise unto justi- 
fication, doth respect the grace of God in Christ, and the 
way of salvation by him, as proposed in the promise of the 
gospel, yet is not this conceived in order of time to precede 
its actings in self-displicency, godly sorrow, and universal 
conversion from sin unto God ; nor can it be so, seeing it 
virtually and radically containeth all of them in itself. How- 
ever therefore evangelical repentance is not the condition of 
our justification, so as to have any direct influence there- 
into; nor are we said any where to be justified by repent- 
ance; nor is it conversant about the proper object which 
alone the soul respects therein ; nor is a direct and imme- 
diate giving glory unto God, on the account of the way and 
work of his wisdom and grace in Christ Jesus, but a conse- 
quent thereof; nor is that reception of Christ which is ex- 
pressly required unto our justification, and which alone is 
required thereunto ; yet is it in the root, principle, and 
promptitude of mind for its exercise, in every one that is 
justified, then when he is justified. And it is peculiarly 
proposed with respect unto the forgiveness of sins, as that 
without which it is impossible we should have any true sense 
or comfort of it in our souls ; but it is not so as any part of 


that righteousness on the consideration whereof our sins 
are pardoned, nor as that whereby we have an interest 
therein. These things are plain in the divine method of our 
justification, and the order of our duty prescribed in the 
gospel ; as also in the experience of them that do believe. 
Wherefore, considering the necessity of legal repentance 
unto believing, with the sanctification of the affections ex- 
ercised therein by faith, whereby they are made evangelical, 
and the nature of faith, as including in it a principle of uni- 
versal conversion unto God, and in especial of that repent- 
ance, which hath for its principal motive the love of God, 
and of Jesus Christ, with the grace from thence communi- 
cated, all which are supposed in the doctrine pleaded for, 
the necessity of true repentance is immoveably fixed on its 
proper foundation. 

3. As unto what was said in the objection concerning 
Christ's suffering in the person of the elect, I know not whe- 
ther any have used it or no, nor will 1 contend about it. He 
suffered in their stead ; which all sorts of writers ancient 
and modern so express, in his suffering he bare the person 
of the church. The meaning is what was before declared. 
Christ and believers are one mystical person, one spiritually 
animated body, head and members. This I suppose will 
not be denied ; to do so, is to overthrow the church and the 
faith of it. Hence what he did and suffered is imputed unto 
them. And it is granted that as the surety of the covenant 
he paid all our debts, or answered for all our faults ; and 
that his righteousness is really communicated unto us. 
Why then, say some, there is no need of repentance, all is 
done for us already. But why so, why must we assent to 
one part of the gospel unto the exclusion of another? Was 
it not free unto God to appoint what way, method and order 
he would, whereby these things should be communicated 
unto us? Nay, upon the supposition of the design of his wis- 
dom and grace, these two things were necessary : 

1. That this righteousness of Christ should be commu- 
nicated unto us, and be made ours in such a way and man- 
ner, as that he himself might be glorified therein, seeing he 
hath disposed all things in this whole economy, unto * the 
praise of the glory of his grace ;' Eph. i. 6. This was to be 
done by faith on our part, it is so, it could be no other- 


wise. For that faith whereby we are justified, is our giving 
unto God the glory of his wisdom, grace, and love. And 
whatever doth so, is faith, and nothing else is so. 

2. That whereas our nature was so corrupted and de- 
praved, as that continuing in that state, it was not capable 
of a participation of the righteousness of Christ, or any be- 
nefit of it, unto the glory of God, and our own good, it was 
in like manner necessary that it should be renewed and 
changed. And unless it were so, the design of God in the 
mediation of Christ, which was the entire recovery of us 
unto himself, could not be attained. And therefore as faith, 
under the formal consideration of it, was necessary unto the 
first end, namely, that of giving glory unto God, so unto 
this latter end, it was necessary that this faith should be ac- 
companied with, yea, and contain in itself the seeds of all 
those other graces wherein the divine nature doth consist, 
whereof we are to be made partakers. Not only therefore 
the thing itself, or the communication of the righteousness 
of Christ unto us, but the way and manner, and means of it, 
do depend on God's sovereign order and disposal. Where- 
fore although Christ did make satisfaction unto the justice 
of God for all the sins of the church, and that as a common 
person (for no man in his wits can denybut that he who is 
a mediator and a surety, is in some sense a common person), 
and although he did pay all our debts, yet doth the particu- 
lar interest of this or.that man, in what he did and suffered, 
depend on the way, means, and order designed of God unto 
that end. This and this alone gives the true necessity of 
all the duties which are required of us, with their order and 
their ends. 

3. It is objected, That the imputation of the righte- 
ousness of Christ, which we defend, overthrows the necessity 
of faith itself. This is home indeed. ' Aliquid adhaerebit,' 
is the design of all these objections. But they have reason 
to plead for themselves who make it. ' For on this suppo- 
sition,' they say, ' the righteousness of Christ is ours before 
we do believe. For Christ satisfied for all our sins, as if we 
had satisfied in our own persons. And he who is esteemed 
to have satisfied for all his sins in his own person, is ac- 
quitted from them all, and accounted just, whether he be- 
lieve or no ; nor is there any ground or reason why he should 


be required to believe. If therefore the righteousness of 
Christ be really ours, because in the judgment of God we 
are esteemed to have wrought it in him, then it is ours before 
we do believe. If it be otherwise, then it is plain that that 
righteousness itself can never be made ours by believing ; 
only the fruits and effects of it may be suspended on our 
believing, whereby we may be made partakers of them. Yea, 
if Christ made any such satisfaction for us as is pretended, 
it is really ours, without any farther imputation. For being 
performed for us and in our stead, it is the highest injustice 
not to have us accounted pardoned and acquitted, without 
any farther either imputation on the part of God, or faith 
on ours.' These things I have transcribed out of Socinus, 
De Servator. lib. iv. cap. 2 — 5. which I would not have done, 
but that I find others to have gone before me therein, though 
to another purpose. And he concludes with a confidence 
which others also seem in some measure to have learned of 
him. For he saith unto his adversary, ' Heec tua, tuorumque 
sententia, adeo foeda et execrabilis est, ut pestilentiorera 
errorem post homines natos in populo Dei extitisse non 
credam ;' speaking of the satisfaction of Christ and the im- 
putation of it unto believers. And indeed, his serpentine wit 
was fertile in the invention of cavils against all the mysteries 
of the gospel. Nor was he obliged by any one of them, so 
as to contradict himself in what he opposed concerning any 
other of them. For denying the Deity of Christ, his satis- 
faction, sacrifice, merit, righteousness, and overthrowing 
the whole nature of his mediation, nothing stood in his 
way which he had a mind to oppose. But I somewhat 
wonder how others can make use of his inventions in this 
kind, who if they considered aright their proper tendency, 
they will find them to be absolutely destructive of what they 
seem to own. So it is in this present objection against the 
imputation of the righteousness of Christ; if it hath any 
force in it, as indeed it hath not, it is to prove that the satis- 
faction of Christ was impossible ; and so he intended it. 
But it will be easily removed. 

I answer first in general ; that the whole fallacy of this 
objection lies in the opposing one part of the design and 
method of God's grace in this mystery of our justification, 
unto another ; or the taking of one part of it to be the wholes 

268 THK doctrinp: of 

which as to its efficacy and perfection depends on somewhat 
else. Hereof we warned the reader in our previous dis- 
courses. For the whole of it is a supposition, that the satis- 
faction of Christ, if there be any such thing, must have its 
whole effect, without believing on our part, which is con- 
trary unto the whole declaration of the, will of God in the 
gospel. But I shall principally respect them who are pleased 
to make use of this objection, and yet do not deny the satis- 
faction of Christ. And 1 say, 

1. When the Lord Christ died for us, and offered himself 
as a propitiatory sacrifice, ' God laid all our sins on him ;' 
Isa. liii. 6. And he then ' bare them all in his own body on 
the tree;' 1 Pet. ii. 24. Then he suffered in our stead, and 
made full satisfaction for all our sins ; for he appeared ' to 
put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;' Heb. ix. 26. and by 
* one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sancti- 
fied ;' chap. X. 14. He whose sins were not actually and 
absolutely satisfied for, in that one offering of Christ, shall 
never have them expiated unto eternity. For, ' henceforth 
he dieth no more,' there is ' no more sacrifice for sin.' The 
repetition of a sacrifice for sin, which must be the crucify- 
ing of Christ afresh, overthrows the foundation of Christian 


2 Notwithstanding this full plenary satisfaction once 
made for the sins of the world that shall be saved ; yet all 
men continue equally to be born by nature ' children of wrath,' 
and whilst they believe not, * the wrath of God abideth on 
them;' John iii. 36. that is, they are obnoxious unto, and 
under the curse of the law. Wherefore, on the only making 
of that satisfaction, no one for whom it was made in the 
design of God, can be said to have suffered in Christ, nor 
to have an interest in his satisfaction, nor by any way or 
means be made partaker of it antecedently unto another act 
of God in its imputation unto him. For this is but one part 
of the purpose of God's grace, as unto our justification by 
the blood of Christ, namely, that he by his death should 
make satisfaction for our sins. Nor is it to be separated 
from what also belongs unto it, in the same purpose of God. 
Wherefore, from the position or grant of the satisfaction of 
Christ, no argument can be taken unto the negation of a 
consequential act of its imputation vmto us ; nor therefore 


of the necessity of our faith in the believing and receiving 
of it, which is no less the appointment of God, than it was 
that Christ should make that satisfaction. Wherefore, 

3. That which the Lord Christ paid for us, is as truly 
paid, as if we had paid it ourselves. So he speaks, Psal. 
Ixix. 5. n'tr'X m ^n'PU-X^ nWi< He made no spoil of the glory 
of God, what was done of that nature by us, he returned it 
unto him. And what he underwent and suffered, he under- 
went and suffered in our stead. But yet the act of God in 
laying our sins on Christ, conveyed no actual right and title 
to us, unto what he did and suffered. They are not imme- 
diately thereon, nor by virtue thereof ours, or esteemed ours, 
because God hath appointed somewhat else, not only antece- 
dent thereunto, but as the means of it, unto his own glory. 
These things both as unto their being and order, depend on 
the free ordination of God. But yet, 

4. It cannot be said that this satisfaction was made for 
us on such a condition as should absolutely suspend the 
event, and render it uncertain whether it should ever be for 
us or no. Such a constitution may be righteous in pecu- 
niary solutions. A man may lay down a great sum of money 
for the discharge of another, on such a condition as may 
never be fulfilled. For on the absolute failure of the con- 
dition, his money may and ought to be restored unto him, 
whereon he hath received no injury or damage. But in 
penal suffering for crimes and sins, there can be no righteous 
constitution that shall make the event and efficacy of it to 
depend on a condition absolutely uncertain, and which may 
not come to pass or be fulfilled. For if the condition fail, 
no recompense can be made unto him that hath suffered. 
Wherefore, the way of the application of the satisfaction of 
Christ unto them for whom it was made, is sure and steadfast 
in the purpose of God. 

5. God hath appointed that there shall be an immediate 
foundation of the imputation of the satisfaction and righte- 
ousness of Christ unto us, whereon we may be said to have 
done and suffered in him, what he did and suffered in our 
stead, by that grant, donation, and imputation of it unto 
us ; or that we may be interested in it, that it may be made 
ours, which is all we contend for. And this is our actual 


coalescency into one mystical person with him by faith 
Hereon doth the nesessity of faith originally depend. And 
if we shall add hereunto the necessity of it likewise unto 
that especial glory of God which he designs to exalt in our 
justification by Christ, as also unto all the ends of our obe- 
dience unto God, and the renovation of our natures into his 
imao-e, its station is sufficiently secured against all objections. 
Our actual interest in the satisfaction of Christ, depends on 
our actual insertion into his mystical body by faith, accord- 
ing to the appointment of God. 

4. It is yet objected, That if the righteousness of Christ 
be made ours, we may be said to be saviours of the world 
as he was, or to save others as he did. For he was so and 
did so by his righteousness and no otherwise. This objec- 
tion also is of the same nature with those foregoing, a mere 
phistical cavil. For, 

1. The righteousness of Christ is not transfused into us, 
so as to be made inherently and subjectively ours, as it was 
in him, and which is necessarily required unto that effect, 
of saving others thereby. Whatever we may do, or be said 
to do with respect unto others, by virtue of any power or 
quality inherent in ourselves, we can be said to do nothing 
unto others, or for them, by virtue of that which is imputed 
unto us, only for our own benefit. That any righteousness 
of ours should benefit another, it is absolutely necessary that 
it should be wrought by ourselves. 

2. If the righteousness of Christ could be transfused into 
us, and be made inherently ours, yet could we not be, nor be 
said to be, the saviours of others thereby. For our nature in 
our individual persons, is not ' subjectum capax,' or capable 
to receive and retain a righteousness useful and effectual 
unto that end. This capacity was given unto it in Christ by 
virtue of the hypostatical union, and no otherwise. The 
righteousness of Christ himself as performed in the human 
nature, would not have been sufficient for the justification 
and salvation of the church, had it not been the righteous- 
ness of his person, who is both God and man ; for ' God re- 
deemed his church with his own blood.' 

3. This imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto 
us, as unto its ends and use, hath its measure from the will 


of God, and his purpose in that imputation. And this is, 
that it should be the righteousness of them unto whom it is 
imputed, and nothing else. 

4. We do not say that the righteousness of Christ as 
made absolutely for the whole church, is imputed unto every 
believer. But his satisfaction for every one of them in par- 
ticular, according unto the will of God, is imputed unto 
them ; not with respect unto its general ends, but according 
unto every one's particular interest. Every believer hath his 
own homer of this bread of life; and all are justified by 
the same righteousness. 

5. The apostle declares, as we shall prove afterward, 
that as Adam's actual sin is imputed unto us unto con- 
demnation, so is the obedience of Christ imputed unto us, to 
the justification of life. But Adam's sin is not so imputed 
unto any person, as that he should then and thereby be the 
cause of sin and condemnation unto all other persons in the 
world; but only that he himself should become guilty be- 
fore God thereon. And so is it on the other side. And as 
we are made guilty by Adam's actual sin which is not inhe- 
rent in us, but only imputed unto us ; so are we made righ- 
teous by the righteousness of Christ which is not inherent 
in us, but only imputed unto us. And imputed unto us it 
is, because himself was righteous with it, not for himself 
but for us. 

It is yet said. That if we insist on personal imputation 
unto every believer of what Christ did, or if any believer be 
personally righteous in the very individual acts of Christ's 
righteousness, many absurdities will follow. But it was ob- 
served before ; that when any design to oppose an opinion 
from the absurdities which they suppose would follow upon 
it, they are much inclined so to state it, as that at least they 
may seem so to do. And this oftimes the most worthy and 
candid persons are not free from in the heat of disputation. 
So I fear it is here fallen out. For as unto personal impu- 
tation T do not well understand it. All imputation is unto 
a person, and is the act of a person, be it of what, and what 
sort it will, but from neither of them can be denominated a 
personal imputation. And if an imputation be allowed that 
is not unto the persons of men, namely, in this case unto 


all believers, the nature of it hath not yet been declared as 
I know of. 

That any have so expressed the imputation pleaded for, 
that every behever should be personally righteous in the 
very individual acts of Christ's righteousness, I know not ; 
I have neither read nor heard any of them who have so ex- 
pressed their mind. It may be some have done so; but I 
shall not undertake the defence of what they have done. 
For it seems not only to suppose that Christ did every indi- 
vidual act which in any instance is required of us, but also 
that those acts are made our own inherently ; both which 
are false and impossible. That which indeed is pleaded for 
in this imputation, is only this ; that what the Lord Christ 
did and suffered as the mediator and surety of the covenant 
in answer unto the law, for them and in their stead, is im- 
puted unto every one of them unto the justification of life. 
And sufficient this is unto that end without any such sup- 
posals. 1. From the dignity of the person who yielded 
his obedience, which rendered it both satisfactory and me- 
ritorious, and imputable unto many. 2. From the nature 
of the obedience itself, which was a perfect compliance with 
a fulfilling of, and satisfaction unto, the whole law in all its 
demands. This on the supposition of that act of God's 
sovereign authority, whereby a representative of the whole 
church was introduced to answer the law, is the ground of 
his righteousness being made theirs, and being every way 
sufficient unto their justification. 3. From the constitu- 
tion of God, that what was done and suffered by Christ as a 
public person and our surety, should be reckoned unto us as 
if done by ourselves. So the sin of Adam, whilst he was a 
public person, and represented his whole posterity, is im- 
puted unto us all, as if we had committed that actual sin. 
This Bellarmine himself frequently acknowledgeth. * Pec- 
cavimus in primo homine quando ille peccavit, et ilia ejus 
prsevaricatio nostra etiam prsevaricatio fuit. Non enim vere 
per Adami inobedientiam constitueremur peccatores, nisi 
inobedientia illius nostra etiam inobedientia esset.' De 
Amiss. Grat. et Stat. Peccat. lib. v. cap. 18. And elsewhere, 
that the actual sin of Adam is imputed unto us, as if we all 
had committed that actual sin ; that is, broken the whole 


law of God. And this is that whereby the apostle illustrates 
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto believers ; 
and it may on as good grounds be charged with absurdities 
as the other. It is not therefore said that God judgeth 
that we have in our own persons done those very acts, and 
endured that penalty of the law which the Lord Christ did 
and endured. For this would overthrow all imputation ; 
but what Christ did and suffered, that God imputeth unto 
believers unto the justification of life, as if it had been done 
by themselves ; and his righteousness as a public person is 
made theirs by imputation, even as the sin of Adam, whilst 
a public person, is made the sin of all his posterity by im- 

Hereon none of the absurdities pretended, which are 
really such, do at all follow. It doth not so, that Christ in 
his own person performed every individual act that we in 
our circumstances are obliged unto in away of duty; nor 
was there any need that so he should do. This imputation, 
as I have shewed, stands on other foundations. Nor doth 
it follow, that every saved person's righteousness before 
God is the same identically and numerically with Christ's in 
his public capacity as mediator; for this objection destroys 
itself, by affirming that as it was his, it was the righteous- 
ness of God-man ; and so it hath an especial nature as it re- 
spects or relates unto his person. It is the same that Christ 
in his public capacity did work or effect. But there is a 
wide difference in the consideration of it, as his absolutely 
and as made ours. It was formally inherent in him, is only 
materially imputed unto us ; was actively his, is passively 
ours ; was wrought in the person of God-man, for the whole 
church ; is imputed unto each single believer, as unto his 
own concernment only. Adam's sin as imputed unto us, is 
not the sin of a representative, though it be of him that was 
so ; but is the particular sin of every one of us. But this 
objection must be farther spoken unto, where it occurs af- 
terward. Nor will it follow, that on this supposition we 
should be accounted to have done, that which was done 
long before we were in a capacity of doing any thing. For 
what is done for us and in our stead, before we are in any 
such capacity, may be imputed unto us, as is the sin of 
Adarn. And yet there is a manifold sense wherein men may 



be said to have done what was done for them, and in their 
name before their actual existence ; so that therein is no 
absurdity. As unto what is added by the way, that Christ 
did not do nor suffer the * idem' that we were obliged unto ; 
whereas he did what the law required, and suffered what the 
law threatened unto the disobedient, which is the whole of 
what we are obliged unto, it will not be so easily proved ; 
nor the arguments very suddenly answered whereby the con- 
trary hath been confirmed. That Christ did sustain the 
place of a surety, or was the surety of the new covenant, 
the Scripture doth so expressly affirm, that it cannot be de- 
nied. And that there may be sureties in cases criminal, as 
well as civil and pecuniary, hath been proved before. What 
else occurs about the singularity of Christ's obedience as 
he was mediator, proves only that his righteousness as for- 
mally and inherently his, was peculiar unto himself, and 
that the adjuncts of it which arise from its relation unto his 
person, as it was inherent in him, are not communicable unto 
theih to whom it is imputed. 

It is moreover urged, that upon the supposed imputation 
of the righteousness of Christ, it will follow that every be- 
liever is justified by the works of the law. For the obedi- 
ence of Christ was a legal righteousness, and if that be im- 
puted unto us, then are we justified by the law, which is 
contrary unto express testimonies of Scripture in many 
places. Ans. 1. I know nothing more frequent in the 
writings of some learned men, than that the righteousness 
of Christ is our legal righteousness; who yet I presume are 
able to free themselves of this objection. 2. If this do 
follow in the true sense of being justified by the law, or the 
works of it, so denied in the Scripture, their weakness is 
much to be pitied who can see no other way whereby we 
may be freed from an obligation to be justified by the law, 
but by this imputation of the righteousness of Christ. 3. 
The Scripture which affirms that ' by the deeds of the law 
no mtm can be justified,' affirms in like manner, that by 
'faith v,'e do not make void the law, but establish it;' that 
'the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us;' that Christ 
' came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it,' and is the ' end 
of the law for righteousness unto them that do believe . 
And that the law must be fulfilled or we cannot be justified. 


we shall prove afterward. 4. We are not hereon justified 
by the law or the works of it, in the only sense of that pro- 
position in the Scripture, and to coin new senses or signifi- 
cations of it, is not safe. The meaning of it in the Scripture^ 
is, that only 'the doers of the law shall be justified ;' Rom 
ii. 13. and that 'he that doth the things of it shall live by 
them ;* chap. x. 5. namely, in his own person, by the way of 
personal duty which alone the law requires. But if we v/ho 
have not fulfilled the law in the way of inherent personal 
obedience, are justified by the imputation of the righteous- 
ness of Christ unto us, then are we justified by Christ and 
not by the law. But it is said, that this will not relieve. 
For if his obedience be so imputed unto us, as that we are 
accounted by God in judgment to have done what Christ 
did, it is all one upon the matter, and we are as much jus- 
tified by the law, as if we had in our own proper persons 
performed an unsinning obedience unto it. This I confess 
I cannot understand. The nature of this imputation is here 
represented as formerly, in such a way as we cannot ac- 
knowledge ; from thence alone this inference is made, which 
yet in my judgment doth not follow thereon. For grant an 
imputation of the righteousness of another unto us, be it of 
what nature it will, all justification by the law and works of 
it in the sense of the Scripture is gone for ever. The ad- 
mission of imputation takes ofi" all power from the law to 
justify ; for it can justify none, but upon a righteousness 
that is originally and inherently his own. ' The man that 
doth them shall live in them.* If the righteousness that is 
imputed be the ground and foundation of our justification, 
and made ours by that imputation, state it how you will, that 
justification is of grace and not of the law. However, I 
know not of any that say we are accounted of God in judg- 
ment personally to have done what Christ did ; and it may 
have a sense that is false ; namely, that God should judge 
us in our own persons to have done those acts which we 
never did. But what Christ did for us and in our stead, is 
imputed and communicated unto us, as we coalesce into one 
mystical person with him by faith, and thereon are we justi- 
fied. And this absolutely overthrows all justification by the 
law or the works of it; though the law be established, ful- 
filled and accomplished, that we may be justified. 

T 2 

276 I Hi: DOCTRiNi: of 

Neither can any on the supposition of the imputation of 
the rio-hteousness of Christ truly stated, be said to merit 
their own salvation. Satisfaction and merit are adjuncts of 
the righteousness of Christ as formally inherent in his own 
person ; and as such it cannot be transfused into another. 
Wherefore, as it is imputed unto individual believers, it hath 
not those properties accompanying of it which belong only 
unto its existence in the person of the Son of God. But 
this was spoken unto before, as much also of what was ne- 
cessary to be here repeated. 

These objections I have in this place taken notice of, 
because the answers given unto them do tend to the farther 
explanation of that truth, whose confirmation by arguments 
and testimonies of Scripture I shall now proceed unto. 


Arguments for justijication by the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ. The fir St argument from the nature and use of our own personal 

There is a justification of convinced sinners on their be- 
lieving. Hereon are their sins pardoned, their persons ac- 
cepted with God, and a right is given unto them, unto the 
heavenly inheritance. This state they are immediately 
taken into upon their faith, or believing in Jesus Christ. 
And a state it is of actual peace with God. These things 
at present I take for granted, and they are the foundation 
of all that I shall plead in the present argument. And I do 
take notice of them, because some seem, to the best of my 
understanding, to deny any real actual justification of sin- 
ners on their believing in this life. For they make justifi- 
cation to be only a general conditional sentence declared in 
the gospel, which as unto its execution, is delayed unto the 
day of judgment. For whilst men are in this w^orld, the 
whole condition of it being not fulfilled, they cannot be 
partakers of it, or be actually and absolutely justified. 
Hereon it follows, that indeed there is no real state of as- 
sured rest and peace with God by Jesus Christ, for any per- 


sons in this life. This at present I shall not dispute about, 
because it seems to me to overthrow the whole gospel, the 
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and all the comfort of be- 
lievers, about which I hope we are not as yet called to con- 

Our inquiry is, how convinced sinners do on their be- 
lieving obtain the remission of sins, acceptance with God, 
and a right unto eternal life. And if this can no other way 
be done, but by the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ unto them, then thereby alone are they justified in 
the sight of God. And this assertion proceedeth on a sup- 
position that there is a righteousness required unto the jus- ' 
tification of any person w^hatever. For whereas God in the 
justification of any person, doth declare him to be acquitted 
from all crimes laid unto his charge, and to stand as righte- 
ous in his sight, it must be on the consideration of a righte- 
ousness, whereon any man is so acquitted and declared ; for 
the judgment of God is according unto truth. This we have 
sufficiently evidenced before in that juridical procedure 
wherein the Scripture represents unto us the justification of 
a believing sinner. And if there be no other righteousness 
whereby we may be thus justified, but only that of Christ 
imputed unto us, then thereby must we be justified or not 
at all. And if there be any such other righteousness, it 
must be our own, inherent in us, and wrought out by us. 
For these two kinds, inherent and imputed righteousness, 
our own and Christ's, divide the whole nature of righteous- 
ness, as to the end inquired after. And that there is no 
such inherent righteousness, no such righteousness of our 
own whereby we may be justified before God, I shall prove 
in the first place. And I shall do it, first from express 
testimonies of Scripture, and then from the consideration 
of the thing itself. And two things I shall premise here- 

1. That I shall not consider this righteousness of our 
own absolutely in itself, but as it may be conceived to be 
improved and advanced by its relation unto the satisfaction 
and merit of Christ ; for many will grant that our inherent 
righteousness is not of itself sufficient to justify us in the 
sight of God. But take it as it hath value and worth com- 
municated unto it from the merit of Christ, aad so it is ac- 


cepted unto that end, and judged worthy of eternal life. We 
could not merit life and salvation, had not Christ merited 
that grace for us whereby we may do so ; and merited also 
that our works should he of such a dignity with respect 
unto reward. We shall therefore allow what worth can be 
reasonably thought to be communicated unto this righte- 
ousness from its respect unto the merit of Christ. 

2. Whereas persons of all sorts and parties do take va- 
rious ways in the assignation of an interest in our justifica- 
tion unto our own righteousness, so as that no parties are 
agreed about it, nor many of the same mind among them- 
selves, as might easily be manifested in the Papists, Soci- 
nians, and others, I shall, so far as it is possible in the ensu- 
ing arguments, have respect unto them all. For my design 
is to prove, that it hath no such interest in our justification 
before God, as that the righteousness of Christ should not 
be esteemed the only righteousness whereon we are justi- 

And first, we shall produce some of those many testimo- 
nies which may be pleaded unto this purpose, Psal. cxxx. 
3, 4. ' If thou Lord shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who 
should stand ? But there is forgiveness with thee that thou 
mayest be feared.' There is an inquiry included in these 
words, how a man, how any man may be justified before 
God ; how he may stand, that is, in the presence of God, 
and be accepted with him; how he shall stand in judgment, 
as it is explained, Psal. i. 5. *The wicked shall not stand in 
the judgment,' shall not be acquitted on their trial. That 
which first ofFereth itself unto this end, is his own obedi- 
ence. For this the law requires of him in the first place, 
and this his own conscience calls upon him for. But the 
psalmist plainly declares that no man can thence manage a 
plea for his justification with any success. And the reason 
is, because notwithstandino- the best of the obedience of the 
best of men, there are iniquities found with them against 
the Lord their God. And if men come to their trial before 
God whether they shall be justified or condemned, these 
also must be heard and taken into the account. But then 
no man can stand, no man can be justified, as it is elsewhere 
expressed. Wherefore, the wisest and safest course is, as 
unto our justification before God, utterly to forego this 


plea, and not to insist on our own obedience, lest our sins 
should appear also, and be heard. No reason can any man 
give on his own account, why they should not be so. And 
if they be so, the best of men will be cast in their trial, as 
the psalmist declares. 

Two things are required in this trial, that a sinner may 
stand. 1. That his iniquities be not observed, for if they 
be so, he is lost for ever. 2. That a righteousness be 
produced and pleaded that will endure the trial. For justi- 
fication is upon a justifying righteousness. For the first of 
these, the psalmist tells us it must be through pardon or 
forgiveness. * But there is forgiveness with thee ;' wherein 
lies our only relief against the condemnatory sentence of 
the law with respect unto our iniquities ; that is, through 
the blood of Christ ; for in him * we have redemption through 
his blood, even the forgiveness of sins;' Eph. i. 7. The 
other cannot be our own obedience, because of our iniqui- 
ties. Wherefore this the same psalmist directs us unto, 
Psal. Ixxi. 16. ' I will go in the strength of the Lord God, 
I will make mention of thy righteousness, of thine only.' 
The righteousness of God, and not his own, yea in opposi- 
tion unto his own, is the only plea that in this case he 
would insist upon. 

* If no man can stand a trial before God upon his own 
obedienTie, so as to be justified before him, because of his 
own personal iniquities ; and if our only plea in that case 
be the righteousness of God, the righteousness of God only 
and not our own, then is there no personal inherent righte- 
ousness in any believers whereon they may be justified ;' 
which is that which is to be proved. 

The same is again asserted by the same person, and 
that more plainly and directly, Psal. cxliii. 2. ' Enter not 
into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no 
man living be justified.' This testimony is the more to be 
considered, because as it is derived from the law, Exod, 
xxxiv. 7. so it is transferred into the gospel, and twice 
urged by the apostle unto the same purpose ; Rom. iii. 20» 
Gal. ii. 16. 

The person who insists on this plea with God, professeth 
himself to be his servant. 'Enter not into judgment with 
thy servant ;' that is, one that loved him, feared him, yielded 


all sincere obedience. He was not a hypocrite, not an un- 
believer, not an unregenerate person, who had performed no 
works but such as were legal, such as the law required, and 
such as were done in the strength of the law only ; such 
works as all will acknowledge to be excluded from our justi- 
fication ; and which as many judge, are only those which 
are so excluded. David it was, who was not only converted, 
a true believer, had the Spirit of God, and the aids of spe- 
cial grace in his obedience, but had this testimony unto his 
sincerity, that ' he was a man after God's own heart/ And 
this witness had he in his own conscience of his integrity, 
uprightness, and personal righteousness, so as that he fre- 
quently avows them, appeals unto God concerning the truth 
of them, and pleads them as a ground of judgment between 
him and his adversaries. We have therefore a case stated in 
the instance of a sincere and eminent believer, who excelled 
most in inherent personal righteousness. 

This person under these circumstances, thus testified 
unto both by God and in his own conscience, as unto the 
sincerity, yea, as unto the eminency of his obedience; con- 
siders how he may ' stand before God,' and * be justified in 
his sio'ht.* Why doth he not now plead his own merits ; 
and that if not ' ex condigno,' yet at least * ex congruo,' he 
deserved to be acquitted and justified. But he left this plea 
for that generation of men that were to come after, who 
would justify themselves, and despise others. But sup- 
pose he had no such confidence in the merit of his works 
as some have now attained unto, yet why doth he not freely 
enter into judgment with God, put it unto the trial, whether 
he should be justified or no, by pleading that he had ful- 
filled the condition of the new covenant, that everlasting 
covenant which God made with him, ordered in all things 
and sure? For upon a supposition of the procurement of 
that covenant, and the terms of it by Christ (for I suppose 
the virtue of that purchase he made of it, is allowed to ex- 
tend unto the Old Testament), this was all that was required 
of him. Is it not to be feared that he was one of them who 
see no necessity, or leave none of personal holiness and 
righteousness, seeing he makes no mention of it, now it 
should stand him in the greatest stead? At least he might 
plead his faith as his own duty and work, to be imputed 


unto him for righteousness. But whatever the reason be, 
he waves them all, and absolutely deprecates a trial upon 
them. ' Come not/ saith he, O Lord, ' into judgment with 
thy servant,' as it is promised that he who believes should 
'not come into judgment,' John v. 24. 

And if this holy person renounce the whole considera- 
tion of all his personal inherent righteousness, in every kind, 
and will not insist upon it under any pretence, in any place, 
as unto any use in his justification before God, we may 
safely conclude there is no such righteousness in any whereby 
they may be justified. And if men would but leave those 
shades and coverts under which they hide themselves in 
their disputations, if they would forego those pretences and 
distinctions wherewith they delude themselves and others, 
and tell us plainly what plea they dare make in the presence 
of God, from their own righteousness and obedience, that 
they may be justified before him, we should better under- 
stand their minds than now we do. There is one, I con- 
fess, who speaks with some confidence unto this purpose, 
and that is Vasquez, the Jesuit; in 1. 2. Disp. 204. cap. 4. 
' Inhserens justitia ita reddit animam justam et sanctam, ac 
proinde filiam Dei, ut hoc ipso reddat eam heredem, et dig- 
nam setevna gloria ; imo ipse Deus efficere non potest ut hu- 
jusmodi Justus dignus non sit aeterna beatitudine.' Is it not 
sad, that David should discover so much ignorance of the 
worth of his inherent righteousness, and discover so much 
pusillanimity with respect unto his trial before God, whereas 
God himself could not otherwise order it, but that he was 
and must be Avorthy of eternal blessedness ? 

The reason the psalmist gives why he will not put it 
unto the trial, whether he should be acquitted or justified 
upon his own obedience, is this general axiom ; ' for in thy 
sight,' or before thee, * shall no man living be justified.' 
This must be spoken absolutely or with respect unto some 
one way or cause of justification. If it be spoken absolutely, 
then this work ceaseth for ever, and there is indeed no such 
thing as justification before God. But this is contrary unto 
the whole Scripture, and destructive of the gospel. Where- 
fore, it is spoken with respect unto our own obedience and 
works. He doth not pray absolutely that he ' would not 
enter into judgment with him,' for this were to forego his 


government of the \vorld ; but that he would not do so on 
the account of his own duties and obedience. But if so be 
these duties and obedience did answer in any sense or way, 
what is required of us as a righteousness unto justification, 
there was no reason why he should deprecate a trial by them, 
or upon them. But whereas the Holy Ghost doth so posi- 
tively affirm, that * no man living shall be justified in the 
sight of God/ by or upon his own works or obedience; it is, 
I confess, marvellous unto me, that some should so interpret 
the apostle James, as if he affirmed the express contrary : 
namely, that we are justified in the sight of God by our own 
works, whereas indeed he says no such thing. This, there- 
fore, is an eternal rule of truth, by, or upon his own obedi- 
ence, no man living can be justified in the sight of God. It 
will be said, that if God enter into judgment with any on 
their own obedience by and according to the law, then in- 
deed none can be justified before him. But God judging 
according to the gospel, and the terms of the new covenant, 
men may be justified upon their own duties, works, and 
obedience. A?is. 1. The negative assertion is general and 
unlimited ; that *no man living shall' (on his own works or 
obedience) ' be justified' in the sight of God. And to limit 
it unto this or that way of judging, is not to distinguish but 
to contradict the Holy Ghost. 2. The judgment intended 
is only with respect unto justification, as is plain in the 
words. But there is no judgment on our works or obedi- 
ence, with respect unto righteousness and justification, but 
by the proper rule and measure of them, which is the law. 
If they will not endure the trial by the law, they will endure 
no trial as unto righteousness and justification in the sight 
of God. 3. The prayer and plea of the psalmist on this 
supposition, are to this purpose; O Lord, enter not into 
judgment with thy servant, by or according unto the law; 
but enter into judgment with me, on my own works and obe- 
dience according to the rule of the gospel ; for which he 
gives this reason, ' because in thy sight shall no man living 
be justified ;' which how remote it is from his intention need 
not be declared. 4. The judgment of God unto justifica- 
tion according to the gospel, doth not proceed on our works 
of obedience, but upon the righteousness of Christ, and our 
interest therein by faith, as is too evident to be modestly 


denied. Notwithstanding this exception, therefore hence 
we argue. 

If the most holy of the servants of God, in and after a 
course of sincere fruitful obedience, testified unto by God 
himself, and witnessed in their own consciences, that is, 
whilst they have the greatest evidences of their own since- 
rity, and that indeed they are the servants of God, do re- 
nounce all thoughts of such a righteousness thereby, as 
whereon in any sense they may be justified before God ; 
then there is no such righteousness in any, but it is the 
righteousness of Christ alone imputed unto us whereon we 
are so justified. But that so they do, and ought all of them 
so to do, because of the general rule here laid down, that in 
the sight of God no man living shall be justified, is plainly 
afiirmed in this testimony. 

I no way doubt but that many learned men, after all their 
pleas for an interest of personal righteousness and works in 
our justification before God, do as unto their own practice 
betake themselves unto this method of the psalmist, and 
cry as the prophet Daniel doth in the name of the church ; 
'we do not present our supplications before thee for our 
own righteousness, but for thy great mercies;' chap. ix. 18. 
And therefore Job (as we have formerly observed), after a 
long and earnest defence of his own faith, integrity, and 
personal righteousness, wherein he justified himself against 
the charge of Satan and men, being called to plead his 
cause, iiuthe sight of God, and declare on what grounds he 
expected to-be justified before him, renounceth all his for- 
mer pleas, and betakes himself unto the same with the 
psalmist, chap. xl. 4. xlii. 6. 

It is true in particular cases, and as unto some special 
end in the providence of God, a man may plead his own in- 
tegrity and obedience before God himself. So did Heze- 
kiah when he prayed for the sparing of his life, Isa. 
xxxviii. 3. ' Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I 
have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, 
and have done that which is good in thy sight.' This, I say, 
may be done with respect unto temporal deliverance, or any 
other particular end wherein the glory of God is concerned. 
So was it greatly in sparing the life of Hezekiah at that time. 
For whereas he had with great zeal and industry reformed 


religion and restored the true worship of God, the ' cutting 
him off in the midst of his days/ would have occasioned the 
idolatrous multitude to have reflected on him as one dying 
under a token of divine displeasure. But none ever made 
this plea before God, for the absolute justification of their 
persons. So Nehemiah, in that great contest which he had 
about the worship of God, and the service of his house, 
pleads the remembrance of it before God, in his justification 
against his adversaries, but resolves his own personal ac- 
ceptance with God into pardoning mercy, ' and spare me ac- 
cording unto the multitude of thy mercies ;' chap. xiii. 22. 

Another testimony we have unto the same purpose, in 
the prophet Isaiah, speaking in the name of the church, 
chap. Ixiv. 6. ' We are all as an unclean thing, and all our 
righteousnesses are as filthy rags.' It is true the prophet 
doth in this place make a deep confession of the sins of the 
people. But yet withal he joins himself with them, and 
asserts the especial interest of those concerning whom he 
speaks by adoption ; that God was their Father, and they 
his people, chap. Ixiii. 16. Ixiv. 8, 9. And the righteous- 
nesses of all that are the children of God are of the same 
kind, however they may differ in degrees, and some of them 
may be more righteous than others. But it is all of it de- 
scribed to be such, as that we cannot I think justly, expect 
justification in the sight of God, upon the account of it. 
But whereas the consideration of the nature of our inherent 
righteousness belongs unto the second way of the ^/^fi'-'^-'«- 
tion of our present argument, I shall not far<^^ 'nsist 

on this testimony. 

Many others also unto the same purpose, I s\z!i\ wholly 
omit; namely, all those wherein the saints of God, or the 
church, in an humble acknowledgment and confession of 
their own sins, do betake themselves unto the mercy and 
grace of God alone, as dispensed through the mediation and 
blood of Christ; and all those wherein God promiseth to 
pardon and blot out our iniquities for his own sake, for his 
name's sake ; to bless the people not for any good that was 
in them, nor for their righteousness, nor for their works, the 
consideration whereof he excludes from having any influence 
into any actings of his grace towards them ; and all those 
wherein God expresseth his delight in them alone, and his 


approbation of them who hope in his mercy, trust in his 
name, betaking themselves unto him as their only refuge, 
pronouncing them accursed who trust in any thing else, 
or glory in themselves ; such as contain singular promises 
unto them that betake themselves unto God, as fatherless, 
hopeless, and lost in themselves. 

There is none of the testimonies which are multiplied 
unto this purpose, but they sufficiently prove, that the best 
of God's saints, have not a righteousness of their own, 
whereon they can in any sense be justified before God. For 
they do all of them in the places referred unto, renounce 
any such righteousness of their own, all that is in them, all 
that they have done or can do, and betake themselves unto 
grace and mercy alone. And whereas, as we have before 
proved, God, in the justification of any doth exercise grace 
towards them with respect unto a righteousness, whereon 
he declares them righteous and accepted before him, they 
do all of them respect a righteousness which is not inherent 
in us, but imputed to us. 

Herein lies the substance of all that we inquire into, in this 
matter of justification. All other disputes about qualifica- 
tions, conditions, causes, avev wv ovk, any kind of interest for 
our own works and obedience in our justification before God, 
are but the speculations of men at ease. The conscience of 
a convinced sinner, who presents himself in the presence of 
God, finds all practically reduced unto this one point, namely, 
whether he will trust unto his own personal inherent righ- 
teousness, or in a full renunciation of it, betake himself unto 
the grace of God, and the righteousness of Christ alone. In 
other things he is not concerned. And let men phrase his 
own righteousness unto him as they please, let them pretend 
it meritorious, or only evangelical, not legal, only an accom- 
plishment of the condition of the new covenant, a cause 
without which he cannot be justified, it will not be easy to 
frame his mind unto any confidence in it, as unto justifica- 
tion before God ; so as not to deceive him in the issue. 

The second part of the present argument is taken from 
the nature of the thing itself, or the consideration of this 
personal inherent righteousness of our own, what it is and 
wherein it doth consist, and of what use it may be in our 
justification. And unto this purpose it may be observed. 


l.That we grant an inherent righteousness in all that do 
believe, as hath been before declared. * For the fruit of the 
Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;' Eph. 
V. 9. ' Being made free from sin, we become the servants of 
righteousness;' Rom. vi. 18. Andour duty itis to 'follow after 
righteousness, godliness, faith, love, meekness ;' 1 Tim. ii. 22. 
And although righteousness be mostly taken for an especial 
grace, or duty, distinct from other graces and duties, yet 
we acknowledge that it may be taken for the whole of our 
obedience before God ; and the word is so used in the Scrip- 
ture, where our own righteousness is opposed unto the righ- 
teousness of God. And it is either habitual or actual. There 
is an habitual righteousness inherent in believers, as they 
have *' put on the new man which after God is created in 
righteousness and true holiness ;' Eph. iv. 24. As they are 
the 'workmanship of God created in Jesus Christ unto good 
works;' chap. ii. 8. And there is an actual righteousness, 
consisting in those good works whereunto we are so created, 
or the fruits of righteousness, which are to the praise of God 
by Jesus Christ. And concerning this righteousness it may 
be observed; 1. That men are said in the Scripture, to be 
just or righteous by it, but no one is said to be justified by 
it before God. 2. That it is not ascribed unto, or found 
in any, but those that are actually justified in order of nature 
antecedent thereunto. 

This being the constant doctrine of all the reformed 
churches and divines, it is an open calumny whereby the 
contrary is ascribed unto them, or any of those who believe 
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto our jus- 
tification before God. So Bellarmine affirms that no Pro- 
testant writers acknowledge an inherent righteousness, but 
only Bucer and Chemnitius, when there is no one of them, 
by whom either the thing itself, or the necessity of it is de- 
nied. But some excuse may be made for him, from the 
manner whereby they expressed themselves, wherein they 
always carefully distinguished between inherent holiness, 
and that righteousness whereby we are justified. But we 
are now told by one, that if we should affirm it a hundred 
times he could scarce believe us. This is somewhat severe; 
for although he speaks but to one, yet the charge falls 
equally upon all who maintain that imputation of the righ- 


teousness of Christ, which he denies ; who being at least 
the generality of all Protestant divines, they are represented 
either as so foolish as not to know what they say, or so 
dishonest as to say one thing and believe another. But he 
endeavours to justify his censure by sundry reasons ; and 
first he says, 'that inherent righteousness can on no other 
account be said to be ours, than that by it we are made 
righteous ; that is, that it is the condition of our justification 
required in the new covenant. This being denied, all inhe- 
rent righteousness is denied.' But how is this proved? 
what if one should say, that every believer is inherently 
righteous, but yet that this inherent righteousness was not 
the condition of his justification, but rather the consequent 
of it, and that it is nowhere required in the new covenant as 
the condition of our justification, how shall the contrary be 
made to appear? The Scripture plainly affirms that there is 
such an inherent righteousness in all that believe ; and yet 
as plainly that we are justified before God, by faith without 
works. Wherefore, that it is the condition of our justifica- 
tion and so antecedent unto it, is expressly contrary unto 
that of the apostle ; ' Unto him that worketh not, but be- 
lieveth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is 
counted unto him for righteousness ;' Rom. iv. 5. Nor is it 
the condition of the covenant itself, as that whereon the 
whole grace of the covenant is suspended. For as it is ha- 
bitual, wherein the denomination of righteous is principally 
taken, it is a grace of the covenant itself, and so not a con- 
dition of it ; Jer. xxxi. 33. xxxii. 39. Ezek. xxxvi. 25 — 27. 
If no more be intended, but that it is as unto its actual ex- 
ercise what is indispensably required of all that are taken 
into covenant, in order unto the complete ends of it, we are 
agreed. But hence it will not follow that it is the condition 
of our justification. It is added, * that all righteousness 
respects a law and a rule, by which it is to be tried. And 
he is righteous, who hath done these things which that law 
requires by whose rule he is to be judged.' But 1. This is 
not the way whereby the Scripture expresseth our justifica- 
tion before God, which alone is under consideration ; namely, 
that we bring unto it a personal righteousness of our own, 
answering the law whereby we are to be judged. Yea, an 
assertion to this purpose is foreign to the gospel, and de- 


structive of the grace of God by Jesus Christ. (2.) It is 
gi'anted, that all righteousness respects a law as the rule of 
it; and so doth this whereof we speak, namely, the moral 
law, which being the sole eternal unchangeable rule of righ- 
teousness, if it do not in the substance of it answer there- 
unto, a righteousness it is not. But this it doth, inasmuch, 
as that so far as it is habitual, it consists in the renovation 
of the image of God, wherein that law is written in our 
hearts ; and all the actual duties of it are as to the substance 
of them, what is required by that law. But as unto the 
manner of its communication unto us, and of its perform- 
ance by us from faith in God by Jesus Christ, and love unto 
him, as the author and fountain of all the grace and mercy 
procured and administered by him, it hath respect unto the 
gospel. What will follow from hence ? why that he is just 
that doth those things which that law requires whereby he 
is to be judged. He is so certainly. ' For not the hearers 
of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall 
be justified ;' Rom. ii. 13. ' So Moses describeth the righte- 
ousness of the law, that the man that doth those things 
shall live in them ;' Rom. x. 5. But although the righteous- 
ness whereof we discourse, be required by the law, as cer- 
tainly it is, for it is nothing but the law in our hearts, from 
whence we walk in the ways and keep the statutes or com- 
mandments of God ; yet doth it not so answer the law, as 
that any man can be j ustified by it. But then it will be said, 
that if it doth not answer that law and rule whereby we are 
to be judged, then it is no righteousness ; for all righteous- 
ness must answer the law whereby it is required. And I say 
it is most true, it is no perfect righteousness ; it doth not so 
answer the rule and law, as that we can be justified by it, or 
safely judged on it. But so far as it doth answer the law, 
it is a righteousness, that is, imperfectly so, and therefore is 
an imperfect righteousness ; which yet giveth the denomi- 
nation of righteous unto them that have it, both absolutely 
and comparatively. It is said therefore, that it is ' the law 
of grace or the gospel from whence we are denominated 
righteous with this righteousness.' But that we are by the 
gospel denominated righteous from any righteousness that 
is not required by the moral law, will not be proved. Nor 
doth the law of grace or the gospel any where require of us, 


or prescribe unto us this righteousness, as that whereon we 
are to be justified before God. It requires faith in Christ 
Jesus, or the receiving of him as he is proposed in the pro- 
mises of it, in all that are to be justified. It requires in 
like manner * repentance from dead works' in all that believe ; 
as also the fruits of faith, conversion unto God, and repent- 
ance, in the works of righteousness, which are to the praise 
of God by Jesus Christ; with perseverance therein unto the 
end. And all this may, if you please, be called our evan- 
gelical righteousness, as being our obedience unto God ac- 
cording to the gospel. But yet the graces and duties wherein 
it doth consist, do no more perfectly answer the commands 
of the gospel, than they do those of the moral law. For 
that the gospel abates from the holiness of the law, and 
makes that to be no sin which is sin by the law, or approves 
absolutely of less intention or lower degrees in the love of 
God, than the law doth, is an impious imagination. 

And that the gospel requires all these things entirely and 
equally, as the condition of our justification before God, 
and so antecedently thereunto, is not yet proved, nor ever 
will be. It is hence concluded, that this is our righteous- 
ness, according unto the evangelical law which requires it, 
by this we are made righteous, that is, not guilty of the 
non-performance of the condition required in that law. And 
these things are said to be very plain. So no doubt they 
seemed unto the author ; unto us they are intricate and per- 
plexed. However, I wholly deny that our faith, obedience, 
and righteousness, considered as ours, as wrought by us, 
although they are all accepted with God through Jesus 
Christ according to the grace declared in the gospel, do 
perfectly answer the commands of the gospel, requiring them 
of us, as to matter, manner, and degree, and that therefore 
it is utterly impossible that they should be the cause or con- 
dition of our justification before God. Yet in the explana- 
tion of these things, it is added by the same author, that our 
maimed and imperfect righteousness is accepted unto salva- 
tion, as if it were every way absolute and perfect; for that 
so it should be, Christ hath merited by his most perfect 
righteousness. But it is justification and not salvation that 
alone we discourse about ; and that the works of obedience 
or righteousness, have another respect unto salvation, than 



they have unto justification, is too plainly and too often ex- 
pressed in the Scripture, to be modestly denied. And if 
this weak and imperfect righteousness of ours, be esteemed 
and accepted as every way perfect before God, then either 
it is because God judgeth it to be perfect, and so declares 
us to be most just, and justified thereon in his sight, or he 
judgeth it not to be complete and perfect, yet declareth us 
to be perfectly righteous in his sight thereby. Neither of 
these I suppose can well be granted. It will therefore be 
said, it is neither of them ; but Christ hath obtained by his 
complete and most perfect righteousness and obedience, that 
this lame and imperfect righteousness of ours should be ac- 
cepted as every way perfect. And if it be so, it may be 
some will think it best not to go about by this weak, halt, 
and imperfect righteousness, but as unto their justification 
betake themselves immediately unto the most perfect righ- 
teousness of Christ, which I am sure the Scripture encou- 
rages them unto. And they will be ready to think, that the 
righteousness which cannot justify itself, but must be 
obliged unto grace and pardon through the merits of Christ, 
will never be able to justify them. But what will ensue on 
this explanation of the acceptance of our imperfect righte- 
ousness unto justification upon the merit of Christ? This 
only so far as I can discern, that Christ hath merited and 
procured, either that God should judge that to be perfect 
which is imperfect, and declare us perfectly righteous when 
we are not so, or that he should judge the righteousness 
still to be imperfect, as it is, but declare us to be perfectly 
righteous with and by this imperfect righteousness. These 
are the plain paths that men walk in, who cannot deny but 
that there is a righteousness required unto our justification, 
or that we may be declared righteous before God, in the 
sight of God, according unto the judgment of God, yet 
denying the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unta 
us, will allow of no other righteousness unto this end, but 
that which is so weak and imperfect as that no man can jus- 
tify it in his own conscience, nor without a frensy or pride, 
can think or imagine himself perfectly righteous thereby. 

And whereas it is added, that he is blind who sees not 
that this righteousness of ours is subordinate unto the 
righteousness of Christ, I must acknowledge myself other- 


wise minded, notwithstanding the severity of this censure. 
It seems to me, that the righteousness of Christ is subordi- 
nate unto this righteousness of our own, as here it is stated, 
and not the contrary. For the end of all is our acceptance 
with God as righteous. But according unto these thoughts, 
it is our own righteousnesses whereon we are immediately 
accepted with God as righteous. 

Only Christ hath deserved by his righteousness, that our 
righteousness may be so accepted, and is therefore as unto 
the end of our justification before God, subordinate there- 

But to return from this digression, and to proceed unto 
our argument. This personal inherent righteousness, which 
according to the Scripture we allow in believers, is not that 
whereby, or wherewith, we are justified before God. For 
it is not perfect, nor perfectly answereth any rule of obe- 
dience that is given unto us, and so cannot be our righteous- 
ness before God unto our justification. Wherefore, we must 
be justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us, 
or be justified without respect unto any righteousness, or 
not be justified at all. And a threefold imperfection doth 
accompany it. 

First, As to the principle of it, as it is habitually resident 
in us. For, 1. There is a contrary principle of sin abiding 
with it in the same subject whilst we are in this world. For 
contrary qualities may be in the same subject whilst neither 
of them is in the highest degree. So it is in this case. Gal. 
V. 17. ' For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit 
against the flesh, and these are contrary one to the other, so 
that ye cannot do the things that ye would.' 2. None of 
the faculties of our souls are perfectly renewed whilst we are 
in this world. * The inward man is renewed day by day ;* 
2 Cor. iv. 16. And we are always to be purging ourselves 
from all pollution of flesh and spirit, 2 Cor. vii. 1. And 
hereunto belongs whatever is spoken in the Scripture, what- 
ever believers find in themselves by experience of the re- 
mainders of indwelling sin, in the darkness of our minds, 
whence at best we know but in part, and through ignorance 
are ready to wander out of the way, Heb. v. 2. in the deceit- 
fulness of the heart, and disorder of affections. I under- 
stand not how any one can think of pleading his own righte- 

u 2 


ousness in the sight of God, or suppose that he can be jus- 
tified by it upon this single account of the imperfection of 
its inherent habit or principle. Such notions arise from the 
ignorance of God and ourselves, or the want of a due con- 
siderational of the one and the other. Neither can I appre- 
hend how a thousand distinctions can safely introduce it 
into any consideration in our justification before God. He 
that can search in any measure by a spiritual light into his 
own heart and soul, will find, * God be merciful to me a 
sinner,' a better plea than any he can be furnished withal 
from any worth of his own. ' What is man that he should 
be clean, and he that is born of a woman that he should be 
righteous ;' Job xv. 14 — 16. xviii. 19. Hence saith Gregory 
in Job ix. lib. 9. cap. 14. * Ut saipe diximus omnis justitia 
humana injustitia esse convincitur si distincte judicetur.' 
Bernard speaks to the same purpose, and almost in the same 
words, Serm. 1. fest. omn. sanct. * Quid potest esse omnis 
humana justitia coram Deo? nonne juxta prophetam, velut 
pannus menstruatus reputabitur; et si distincte judicetur, 
injustitia invenietur omnis justitia nostra et minus habens.' 
A man cannot be justified in any sense by that righteous- 
ness which upon trial will appear rather to be an unrighte- 

2. It is imperfect with respect unto every act and duty of 
it, whether internal or external. There is iniquity cleaving 
unto our holy things, and all our ' righteousnesses are as filthy 
rags ;' Isa. Ixiv. 6. It hath been often and well observed, that 
if a man, the best of men, were left to choose the best of his 
works that ever he performed, and thereon to enter into judg- 
ment with God, if only under this notion, that he hath an- 
swered and fulfilled the condition required of him, as unto his 
acceptation with God, it would be his wisest course (at least 
it would be so in the judgment of Bellarmine), to renounce 
it and betake himself unto grace and mercy alone. 

3. It is imperfect by reason of the incursion of actual 
sins. Hence our Saviour hath taught us continually to pray 
for the * forgiveness of our sins ;' and * if we say, that we 
have no sin we deceive ourselves ;' for 'in many things we 
offend all.' And what confidence can be placed in this 
righteousness, which those who plead for it in this cause, 
acknowledge to be weak, maimed, and imperfect? 


1 have but touched on these things, which might have 
been handled at large, and are indeed of great consideration 
in our present argument. But enough hath been spoken to 
manifest, that although this righteousness of believers be on 
other accounts like the fruit of the vine, that glads the heart 
of God and man, yet as unto our justification before God, it 
is like the wood of the vine, a pin is not to be taken from it 
to hang any weight of this cause upon. 

Two things are pleaded in the behalf of this righteous- 
ness and its influence into our justification. 1. That it is 
absolutely complete and perfect. Hence some say that they 
are perfect and sinless in this life. They have no more con- 
cern in the mortification of sin, nor of growth in grace. And 
indeed this is the only rational pretence of ascribing our 
justification before God thereunto. For were it so with 
any, what should hinder him from being justified thereon 
before God, but only that he hath been a sinner, which 
spoils the whole market. But this vain imagination is so 
contrary unto the Scripture, and the experience of all that 
know the terror of the Lord, and what it is to walk humbly 
before him, as that I shall not insist on the refutation of it. 

2. It is pleaded, that although this righteousness be 
not an exact fulfilling of the moral law, yet is it the ac- 
complishment of the condition of the new covenant, or en- 
tirely answereth the law of grace, and all that is required of 
us therein. 

Ans. 1. This wholly takes away sin and the pardon of 
it, no less than doth the conceit of sinful perfections which 
we now rejected. For if our obedience do answer the only 
law and rule of it whereby it is to be tried, measured, and 
judged, then is there no sin in us, nor need of pardon. No 
more is required of any man to keep him absolutely free 
from sin, but that he fully answer, and exactly comply with, 
the rule and law of his obedience whereby he must be 
judged. On this supposition therefore there is neither sin, 
nor any need of the pardon of it. To say that there is still 
both sin, and need of pardon with respect unto the moral 
law of God, is to confess that law to be the rule of our obe- 
dience, which this righteousness doth no way answer ; and 
therefore none by it can be justified in the sight of God. 

2. Although this righteousness be accepted in justified 


persons by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet consider 
the principle of it, with all the acts and duties wherein it 
doth consist, as they are required and prescribed in the gos- 
pel unto us, and they do neither jointly nor severally fulfil 
and answer the commands of the gospel, no more than they 
do the commands of the law. Wherefore, they cannot all of 
them constitute a righteousness consisting in an exact con- 
formity unto the rules of the gospel, or the law of it. For 
it is impious to imagine that the gospel requiring any duty 
of us, suppose the love of God, doth make any abatement, 
as unto the matter, manner, or degrees of perfection in it, 
from what was required by the law. Doth the gospel re- 
quire a lower degree of love to God, a less perfect love than 
the law did? God forbid. The same may be said concern- 
ing the inward frame of our natures, and all other duties 
whatever ; wherefore, although this righteousness is accepted 
in justified persons (as God had respect unto Abel, and then 
unto his offering) in the way and unto the ends that shall be 
afterward declared ; yet as it relates unto the commands of 
the gospel, both it and all the duties of it, are no less im- 
perfect than it would be, if it should be left unto its trial 
by the law of creation only. 

3. I know not what some men intend. On the one hand 
they affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ hath enlarged and 
heightened the spiritual sense of the moral law, and not only 
so, but added unto it new precepts of more exact obedience 
than it did require. But on the other they would have him 
to have brought down or taken off the obligation of the law, 
so as that a man according as he hath adapted it unto the use 
of the gospel, shall be judged of God to have fulfilled the 
whole obedience which it requires, who never answered any 
one precept of it, according unto its original sense and ob- 
ligation. For so it must be, if this imperfect righteousness 
be on any account esteemed a fulfilling of the rule of our 
obedience, as that thereon we should be justified in the 
sight of God. 

4. This opinion puts an irreconcilable difference be- 
tween the law and the gospel, not to be composed by any 
distinctions. For according unto it, God declares by the 
gospel a man to be perfectly righteous, justified, and blessed, 
upon the consideration of a righteousness that is imperfect ; 


and in the law he pronounceth every one accursed who con- 
tinueth not in all things required by it, and as they are 
therein required. But it is said, that this righteousness is 
no otherwise to be considered, but as the condition of the 
new covenant whereon we obtain remission of sins on the 
sole account of the satisfaction of Christ, wherein our justi- 
fication doth consist. 

Ans, 1. Some indeed do say so, but not all, not the most, 
not the most learned, with whom in this controversy we have 
to do. And in our pleas for what we believe to be the 
truth, we cannot always have respect unto every private 
opinion whereby it is opposed. 2. That justification con- 
sists only in the pardon of sin, is so contrary to the signi- 
fication of the word, the constant use of it in the Scripture, 
the common notion of it amongst mankind, the sense of 
men in their own consciences who find themselves under 
an obligation unto duty, and express testimonies of the 
Scripture, as that I somewhat wonder, how it can be pre- 
tended. But it shall be spoken unto elsewhere. 3. If this 
righteousness be the fulfilling of the condition of the new 
covenant whereon we are justified, it must be in itself such 
as exactly answereth some rule or law of righteousness and 
so be perfect, which it doth not ; and therefore cannot bear 
the place of a righteousness in our justification. 4. That 
this righteousness is the condition of our justification before 
God, or of that interest in the righteousness, of Christ 
whereby we are justified, i^ not proved, nor ever will be. 

I shall briefly add two or three considerations excluding 
this personal righteousness from its pretended interest in 
our justification, and close this argument. 

1. That righteousness which neither answereth the law 
of God, nor the end of God in our justification by the gos- 
pel, is not that whereon we are justified. But such is this 
inherent righteousness of believers, even of the best of them. 
1. That it answereth not the law of God, hath been proved 
from its imperfection. Nor will any sober person pretend 
that it exactly and perfectly fulfils the law of our creation. 
And this law cannot be disannulled whilst the relation of 
creator and rewarder on the one hand, and of creatures ca- 
pable of obedience and rewards on the other, between God 
and us doth continue. Wherefore, that which answereth 


not this law will not justify us. For God will not abrogate 
that law, that the trangressors of it may be justified. 'Do 
we/ saith the apostle, by the doctrine of justification by 
faith without works, ' make void the law ? God forbid : yea, 
we establish it ;' Rom. iii. 31. 2. That we should be justi- 
fied with respect unto it, answereth not the end of God in 
our justification by the gospel. For this is to take away all 
glorying in ourselves, and all occasion of it, every thing that 
might give countenance unto it, so as that the whole might 
be to the praise of his own grace by Christ; Rom. iii. 27. 
1 Cor. i. 29—31. How it is faith alone that gives glory to 
God herein, hath been declared in the description of its na- 
ture. But it is evident that no man hath, or can have pos- 
sibly any other, any greater occasion of boasting in himself, 
with respect unto his justification, than that he is justified 
on his performance of that condition of it, which consists in 
his own personal righteousness. 

2. No man was ever justified by it in his own conscience, 
much less can he be justified by it in the sight of God. ' For 
God is greater than our hearts and knoweth all things.' There 
is no man so righteous, so holy in the whole world, nor ever 
was, but his own conscience would charge him in many 
things with his coming short of the obedience required of 
him, in matter or manner, in the kind or degrees of perfection. 
For there is no man thatliveth and sinneth not. Absolutely, 
' Nemo absolvitur se judice.' Let any man be put unto a 
trial in himself whether he can b.e' justified in his own con- 
science, by his own righteousness, : ad he will be cast in 
the trial at his own judgment-seat. And he that doth not 
thereon conclude, that there must be another righteousness 
whereby he must be justified, that originally and inherently 
is not his own, will be at a loss for peace with God. But it 
will be said, that men may be justified in their consciences, 
that they have performed the condition of the new covenant, 
which is all that is pleaded with respect unto this righteous- 
ness. And I no way doubt but that men may have a com- 
fortable persuasion of their own sincerity in obedience, and 
satisfaction in the acceptance of it with God. But it is when 
they try it, as an effect of faith, whereby they are justified, 
and not as the condition of their justification. Let it be thus 
gtated in their minds that God requireth a personal righte- 


ousness in order unto their justification, whereon their de- 
termination must be, this is my righteousness which I pre- 
sent unto God that I may be justified, and they will find 
difficulty in arriving at it, if I be not much mistaken. 

3. None of the holy men of old whose faith and experience 
are recorded in the Scripture, did ever plead their own per- 
sonal righteousness under any notion of it, either as to the 
merit of their works, or as unto their complete performance 
of what was required of them as the condition of the co- 
venant, in order unto their justification before God. This 
hath been spoken unto before. 


I'he nature of the obedience that God requireth of us. The eternal obli- 
gation of the law thereunto. 

Our second argument shall be taken from the nature of that 
obedience or righteousness which God requireth of us, that 
we may be accepted of him and approved by him. This 
being a large subject if fully to be handled, I shall reduce 
what is of our present concernment in it, unto some special 
heads or observations. 

1. God being a most perfect, and therefore a most free 
agent, all his actings towards mankind, all his dealings with 
them, all his constitutions and laws concerning them, are 
to be resolved into his own sovereign will and pleasure. 
No other reason can be given of the original, of the whole 
system of them. This the Scripture testifieth unto, Psal. 
cxv. 3. cxxxv. 6. Prov. xvi. 4. Eph. i. 9. 11. Rev. iv. 11. 
The being, existence, and natural circumstances of all crea- 
tures, being an effect of the free counsel and pleasure of God, 
all that belongs unto them must be ultimately resolved there- 

2. Upon a supposition of some free acts of the will of 
God, and the execution of them, constituting an order in the 
things that outwardly are of him, and their mutual respect 
unto one another, some things may become necessary in 
this relative state, whose being was not absolutely necessary 


in its own nature. The order of all things, and their mutual 
respect unto one another, depends on God's free constitution, 
no less than their being absolutely. But upon a suppo- 
sition of that constitution, things have in that order a ne- 
cessary relation one to another, and all of them unto God. 

3. It was a free sovereign act of God's will to create, 
effect, or produce such a creature as man is ; that is, of a 
nature intelligent, rational, capable of moral obedience with 
rewards and punishments. But on a supposition hereof, 
man so freely made, could not be governed any other ways 
but by a moral instrument of law or rule, influencing the 
rational faculties of his soul unto obedience, and guiding 
him therein. He could not in that constitution be con- 
tained under the rule of God, by a mere physical influence, 
as are all irrational or brute creatures. To suppose it, is to 
deny, or destroy, the essential faculty and powers where- 
with he was created. Wherefore, on the supposition of his 
being, it v/as necessary that a law or rule of obedience 
should be prescribed unto him, and be the instrument of 
God's government towards him. 

4. This necessary law, so far forth as it was necessary, 
did immediately and unavoidably ensue upon the consti- 
tution of our natures in relation unto God. Supposing the 
nature, being, and properties of God, with the works of cre- 
ation on the one hand ; and suppose the being, existence, 
and the nature of man, with his necessary relation unto God 
on the other, and the law whereof we speak is nothing but 
the rule of that relation, which can neither be, nor be pre- 
served without it. Hence is this law eternal, indispensable, 
admitting of no other variation than doth the relation be- 
tween God and man, which is a necessary exurgence from 
their distinct natures and properties. 

5. The substance of this law was, that man adhering unto 
God, absolutely, universally, unchangeably, uninterruptedly 
in trust, love, and fear, as the chiefest good, the first au- 
thor of his being, of all the present and future advantages 
whereof it was capable, should yield obedience unto him, 
with respect unto his infinite wisdom, righteousness, and 
almighty power, to protect, reward, and punish, in all things 
known to be his will and pleasure, either by the light of his 


own mind, or especial revelation made unto him. And it is 
evident that no more is required unto the constitution and 
establishment of this law, but that God be God, and man 
be man, with the necessary relation that must thereon ensue 
between them. V/iieiefore, 

6. This law doth eternally and unchangeably oblige all 
men unto obedience to God ; even that obedience which it 
requires, and in the manner wherein it requires it. For both 
the substance of what it requires, and the manner of the 
performance of it, as unto measures and degrees, are equally 
necessary and unalterable, upon the suppositions laid down. 
For God cannot deny himself, nor is the nature of man 
changed as unto the essence of it whereunto alone respect 
is had in this law, by any thing that can fall out. And al- 
though God might superadd unto the original obligations of 
this law, what arbitrary commands he pleased, such as did 
not necessarily proceed or arise from the relation between 
him and us, which might be, and be continued without them ; 
yet would they be resolved into that principle of this law, 
that God in all things was absolutely to be trusted and 

7. 'Known unto God are all his works from the foun- 
dation of the world.' In the constitution of this order of 
things he made it possible, and foresaw it would be future, 
that man would rebel against the preceptive power of this 
law, and disturb that order of things wherein he was placed 
under his moral rule. This gave occasion unto that effect of 
infinite, divine righteousness, in constituting the punishment 
that man should fall under, upon his transgression of this 
law. Neither was this an effect of arbitrary will and plea- 
sure, any more than the law itself was. Upon the suppo- 
sition of the creation of man, the law mentioned was neces- 
sary from all the divine properties of the nature of God^ and 
upon a supposition that man would transgress the law, God 
being now considered as his ruler and governor, the consti- 
tution of the punishment due unto his sin and transgression 
of it, was a necessary effect of divine righteousness. This 
it would not have been, had the law itself been arbitrary. 
But that being necessary, so was the penalty of its trans- 
gression. Wherefore, the constitution of this penalty is 
liable to no more change, alteration, or abrogation, than 


the law itself, without an alteration in the state and relation 
between God and man. 

8. This is that law, which our Lord Jesus Christ came 
* not to destroy, but to fulfil,' that he might be the end of it 
for righteousness unto them that do believe. This law he 
abrogated not, nor could do so without a destruction of the 
relation that is between God and man, arising from, or ensu- 
ing necessarily on, their distinct beings and properties. But 
as this cannot be destroyed, so the Lord Christ came unto 
a contrary end ; namely, to repair and restore it where it 
was weakened. Wherefore, 

9. This law, the law of sinless, perfect obedience, with 
its sentence of the punishment of death on all transgressors, 
doth and must abide in force for ever in this world ; for 
there is no more required hereunto, but that God be God, 
and man be man. Yet shall this be farther proved. 

1. There is nothing, not one word in the Scripture inti- 
mating any alteration in, or abrogation of, this law ; so as 
that any thing should not be duty which it makes to be 
duty, or any thing not be sin, which it makes to be sin, 
either as unto matter or degrees, or that the thing which it 
makes to be sin, or which is sin by the rule of it, should not 
merit and deserve that punishment which is declared in the 
sanction of it, or threatened by it. ' The wages of sin is 
death.' If any testimony of Scripture can be produced unto 
either of these purposes; namely, that either any thing 
is not sin, in the way of omission or commission, in the 
matter or manner of its performance, wdiich is made to be 
so by this law, or that any such sin, or any thing that would 
have been sin by this law, is exempted from the punishment 
threatened by it, as unto merit or desert, it shall be at- 
tended unto. It is therefore in universal force towards all 
mankind. There is no relief in this case ; but * Behold the 
Lamb of God.' 

In exception hereunto it is pleaded, that when it was 
first given unto Adam, it was the rule and instrument of a 
covenant between God and man, a covenant of works and 
perfect obedience. But upon the entrance of sin, it ceased 
to have the nature of a covenant unto any. And it is so 
ceased, that on an impossible supposition, that any man 
should fulfil the perfect righteousness of it, yet should he 


not be justified or obtain the benefit of the covenant 
thereby. It is not therefore only become ineffectual unto 
us as a covenant by reason of our weakness and disability 
to perform it, but it is ceased in its own nature so to be. 
But these things, as they are not unto our present purpose, 
so are they wholly unproved. For 

1. Our discourse is not about the federal adjunct of the 
law, but about its moral nature only. It is enough, that as 
a law, it continueth to oblige all mankind unto perfect 
obedience, under its original penalty. For hence it will 
unavoidably follow, that unless the commands of it be com- 
plied withal and fulfilled, the penalty will fall on all that 
transgress it. And those who grant that this law is still in 
force as unto its being a rule of obedience, or as unto its, 
requiring duties of us, do grant all that we desire. For it 
requires no obedience, but what it did in its original con- 
stitution, that is, sinless and perfect; and it requires no 
duty, nor prohibits any sin, but under the penalty of death 
upon disobedience. 

2. It is true, that he who is once a sinner, if he should 
afterward yield all that perfect obedience unto God that 
the law requires, he could not thereby obtain the benefit of 
the promise of the covenant. But the sole reason of it is, 
because he is antecedently a sinner, and so obnoxious unto 
the curse of the law. And no man can be obnoxious unto 
its curse, and have aright unto its promise at the same time. 
But so to lay the supposition, that the same person is by 
any means free from the curse due unto sin, and then to 
deny that upon the performance of that perfect sinless obe- 
dience which the law- requires, that he should not have 
right unto the promise of life thereby, is to deny the truth 
of God, and to reflect the highest dishonour upon his jus- 
tice. Jesus Christ himself was justified by this law. And 
it is immutably true, that he who doth the things of it shall 
live therein. 

3. It is granted, that man continued not in the observa- 
tion of this law% as it was the rule of the covenant between 
God and him. The covenant it was not, but the rule of it, 
which that it should be was superadded unto its being as a 
law. For the covenant comprised things that were not any 
part of a result from the necessary relation of God and man. 

302 rilT, DOCTRINE ov 

Wherefore, man by his sin as unto demerit, may be said to 
break this covenant, and as unto any benefit unto them- 
selves to disannul it. It is also true, that God did never 
formally and absolutely renew or give again this law as a 
covenant a second time. Nor was there any need that so 
he should do, unless it were declaratively only, for so it was 
renewed at Sinai. For the whole of it being an emanation 
of eternal right and truth, it abides and must abide in full 
force for ever. Wherefore, it is only thus far broke as a co- 
venant, that all mankind have sinned against the commands 
of it, and so by guilt, with the impotency unto obedience 
which ensued thereon, defeated themselves of any interest 
in its promise, and possibility of attaining any such inte- 
rest, they cannot have any benefit by it. But as unto its 
power to oblige all mankind unto obedience, and the un- 
changeable truth of its promises and threatenings, it abideth 
the same as it was from the beginning. 

2. Take away this law, and there is left no standard of 
righteousness unto mankind, no certain boundaries of good 
and evil, but those pillars whereon God hath fixed the earth 
are left to move and float up and down like the isle of Delos 
in the sea. Some say, the rule of good and evil unto men is 
not this law in its original constitution, but the light of na- 
ture, and the dictates of reason. If they mean that light 
which was primogenial and concreated with our natures, 
and those dictates of right and wrong which reason origi- 
nally suggested and approved, they only say in other words, 
that this law is still the unalterable rule of obedience unto 
all mankind. But if they intend the remaining light of na- 
ture that continues in every individual in this depraved state 
thereof, and that under such additional depravations as tra- 
ditions, customs, prejudices, and lusts of all sorts, have 
affixed unto the most, there is nothing more irrational, and 
it is that which is charged with no less inconvenience than 
that it leaves no certain boundaries of good and evil. That 
which is good unto one, will on this ground be in its own 
nature evil unto another, and so on the contrary ; and all 
the idolaters that ever were in the world might on this 
pretence be excused. 

3. Conscience bears witness hereunto. There is no good 
nor evil required or forbidden by this law, that upon the 


discovery of it, any man in the world can persuade or bribe 
his conscience not to comply with it in judgment, as unto 
his concernment therein. It will accuse and excuse, con- 
demn and free him, according to the sentence of this law, 
let him do what he can to the contrary. 

In brief it is acknowledged, that God by virtue of his 
supreme dominion over all, may in some instances change 
the nature and order of things, so as the precepts of the di- 
vine law shall not in them operate in their ordinary efficacy. 
So was it in the case of his command unto Abraham to slay 
his son, and unto the Israelites to rob the Egyptians. But 
on a supposition of the continuance of that order of things, 
which this law is the preservation of, such is the intrinsic 
nature of the good and evil commanded and forbidden, 
therein, that it is not the subject of divine dispensation, as 
even the schoolmen generally grant. 

10. From what we have discoursed two things do un- 
avoidably ensue. 

1. That whereas all mankind have by sin fallen under the 
penalty threatened unto the transgression of this law ; and 
suffering of this penalty which is eternal death, being in- 
consistent with acceptance before God, or the enjoyment of 
blessedness, it is utterly impossible that any one individual 
person of the posterity of Adam should be justified in the 
sight of God, accepted with him or blessed by him, unless 
this penalty be answered, undergone, and suffered by them 
or for them ; the diKaiiofULa tov Qeov herein is not to be abo- 
lished but established. 

2. That unto the same end of acceptation with God, justi- 
fication before him, and blessedness from him, the righte- 
ousness of this eternal law must be fulfilled in us, in such a 
way, as that in the judgment of God, which is according unto 
truth, we may be esteemed to have fulfilled it, and be dealt 
with accordingly. For upon a supposition of a failure here- 
in, the sanction of the law is not arbitrary, so as that the 
penalty may or may not be inflicted, but necessary from the 
righteousness of God as the supreme governor of all. 

11. About the first of these our controversy is with the 
Socinians only, who deny the satisfaction of Christ, and any 
necessity thereof. Concerning this I have treated elsewhere 
at large, and expect not to see an answer unto what I have 

304 Tilf: DOCTRINE OT 

disputed on iliat subject. As unto the latter of them, we 
must inquire how we may be supposed to comply with the 
rule, and answer the righteousness of this unalterable law, 
whose authority we can no way be exempted from. And 
that which we plead is, that the obedience and righteous- 
ness of Christ imputed unto us ; his obedience as the surety 
of tlie new covenant, granted unto us, made ours by the 
ejracious constitution, sovereign appointment, and donation 
of God, is that whereon we are judged and esteemed to 
have answered the righteousness of the law. * By the obe- 
dience of one many are made righteous ;' Rom. v. 19. ^ Thai 
the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us;' Rom. 
viii. 4. And hence we argue. 

If there be no other way whereby the righteousness of 
the law may be fulfilled in us, without which we cannot be 
justified, but must fall inevitably under the penalty threat- 
ened unto the transgression of it, but only the righteousness 
of Christ imputed unto us, then is that the sole righteous- 
ness whereby we are justified in the sight of God ; but the 
former is true, and so therefore is the latter. 

12. On the supposition of this law, and its original ob- 
ligation unto obedience, with its sanction and threatenings, 
there can be but one of three ways whereby we may come to 
be justified before God, who have sinned, and are no way 
able in ourselves to perform the obedience for the future 
which it doth require. And each of them have a respect 
unto a sovereign act of God with reference unto this law. 
The first is the abrogation of it, that it should no more 
oblige us either unto obedience or punishment. This we 
have proved impossible ; and they will wofuUy deceive their 
own souls, who shall trust unto it. The second is by trans- 
ferring of its obligation unto the end of justification, on a 
surety or common undertaker. This is that which we plead 
for, as the substance of the mystery of the gospel, consi- 
dering the person and grace of this undertaker or surety. 
And herein all things do tend unto the exaltation of the 
glory of God in all the holy properties of his nature, with 
the fulfilling and establishing of the law itself; Matt. v. 17. 
Rom. iii. 31. viii. 4. x. 3, 4. The third way is by an act 
of God towards the law, and another towards us, where- 
by the nature of the righteousness wdiich the law requireth 


Is changed ; which we shall examine as the only reserve 
against our present argument. 

13. It is said therefore, that by our own personal obe- 
dience we do answer the righteousness of the law, so far as 
it is required of us. But whereas no sober person can ima- 
gine that we can, or that any one in our lapsed condition 
ever did, yield in our own persons that perfect sinless obe- 
dience unto God which is required of us in the law of crea- 
tion, two things are supposed, that our obedience, such as 
it is, maybe accepted with God as if it were sinless and per- 
fect. For although some will not allow that the righteous- 
ness of Christ is imputed unto us for what it is, yet they 
contend that our own righteousness is imputed unto us for 
what it is not. Of these things the one respecteth the law, 
the other our obedience. 

14. That which respecteth the law is not the abrogation 
of it. For although this would seem the most expedite way 
for the reconciliation of this difficulty, namely, that the 
law of creation is utterly abrogated by the gospel, both as 
unto its obligation unto obedience and punishment ; and no 
law to be continued in force but that which requires only 
sincere obedience of us, whereof there is as unto duties the 
manner of their performance, not any absolute rule or mea- 
sure,yet this is not by many pretended. They say not that 
this law is so abrogated, as that it should not have the power 
and efficacy of a law towards us. Nor is it possible it 
should be so; nor can any pretence be given how it should 
so be. It is true, it was broken by man, is so by us all, and 
that with respect unto its principal end of our subjection 
unto God, and dependance upon him, according to the rule 
of it. But it is foolish to think that the fault of those unto 
whom a righteous law is rightly given, should abrogate or 
disannul the law itself. A law that is good and just may 
cease and expire as unto any power of obligation, upon the 
ceasing or expiration of the relation which it did respect. 
So the apostle tells us, that ' when the husband of a woman 
is dead, she is free from the law of her husband ;' Rom. vii. 
2. But the relation between God and us, which was consti- 
tuted in our first creation, can never cease. But a law can- 
jiot be abrogated without a new law given, and made by the 
same, or an equal power that made it, either expressly revok- 



ing it, or enjoining things inconsistent with it, and contra- 
dictory unto its observation. In the latter way the law of 
Mosaical institutions was abrogated and disannulled. There 
was not any positive law made for the taking of it away ; 
but the constitution and introduction of a new way of wor- 
ship by the gospel inconsistent with it, and contrary unto 
it, deprived it of all its obligatory power and efficacy. But 
neither of these ways hath God taken away the obligation 
of the original law of obedience, either as unto duties or 
recompenses of reward. Neither is there any direct law 
made for its abrogation ; nor hath it given any new law of 
moral obedience either inconsistent with or contrary unto 
it. Yea, in the gospel it is declared to be established and 

It is true, as was observed before, that this law was made 
the instrument of a covenant between God and man ; and 
so there is another reason of it ; for God hath actually in- 
troduced another covenant inconsistent with it, and con- 
trary unto it. But yet neither doth this instantly and ' ipso 
facto' free all men unto the law, in the way of a covenant. 
For unto the obligation of a law there is no more required, but 
that the matter of it be just and righteous, that it be given 
or made by him who hath just authority so to give or make 
it, and be sufficiently declared unto them who are to be 
obliged by it. Hence the making and promulgation of a 
new law, doth ' ipso facto' abrogate any former law that is con- 
trary unto it, and frees all men from obedience unto it, who 
were before obliged by it. But in a covenant it is not so. 
For a covenant doth not operate by mere sovereign autho- 
rity ; it becomes not a covenant without the consent of them 
with whom it is made. Wherefore, no benefit accrues unto 
any, or freedom from the old covenant, by the constitution 
of the new, unless he hath actually complied with it, hath 
chosen it, and is interested in it thereby. The first cove- 
nant made with Adam, we did in him consent unto, and ac- 
cept of. And therein notwithstanding our sin, do we and 
must we abide, that is, under the obligation of it unto duty 
and puilishment, until by faith we are made partakers cf the 
new. It cannot therefore be said, that we are not concerned 
in the fulfilling of the righteousness of this law, because it 
is abrogated. 


15, Nor can it be s^id that the law hath received a new 
interpretation, whereby it is declared, that it doth not oblige, 
nor shall be construed for the future to oblige any unto sin- 
less and perfect obedience, but may be complied v/ith on far 
easier terms. For the law being given unto us when we 
were sinless, and on purpose to continue and preserve us in 
that condition, it is absurd to say that it did not oblige us 
unto sinless obedience ; and not an interpretation, but a plain 
depravation of its sense and meaning. Nor is any such thing 
once intimated in the gospel. Yea, the discourses of our 
Saviour upon the law, are absolutely destructive of any such 
imagination. For whereas the Scribes and Pharisees had 
attempted, by their false glosses and interpretations, to ac- 
commodate the law unto the inclinations and lusts of men 
(a course since pursued both notionally and practically, as 
all who design to burden the consciences of men with their 
own commands, do endeavour constantly to recompense 
them, by an indulgence with respect unto the commands 
of God), he on the contrary rejects all such pretended 
epeikeias and interpretations, restoring the law unto its 
pristine crown, as the Jews' tradition is, that the Messiah 
shall do. 

16. Nor can a relaxation of the law be pretended, if there 
be any such thing in rule. For if there be, it respects the 
whole being of the law, and consists either in the suspension 
of its whole obligation, at least for a season, or the substitu- 
tion of another person to answer its demands who was not 
in the original obligation, in the room of them that were. 
For so some say, that the Lord Christ was made under the 
law for us by an act of relaxation of the original obligation 
of the law ; how properly, * ipsi viderint/ But here in no 
sense it can have place. 

17. The act of God towards the law in this case in- 
tended, is, a derogation from its obliging power as unto 
obedience. For whereas it did originally oblige unto per- 
fect sinless obedience, in all duties, both as unto their sub- 
stance, and the manner of their performance, it shall be 
allowed to oblige us still unto obedience, but not unto that 
which is absolutely the same, especially net as unto the 
completeness and perfection of it. For if it do so, either it 
is fulfilled in the righteousness of Christ for us, or no man 

X 2 


livincr can ever be justified in the sight of God. Wherefore, 
by an act of derogation from its original power, it is pro- 
vided, that it shall oblige us still unto obedience, but not 
that which is absolutely sinless and perfect ; but although 
it be performed with less intention of love unto God, or in a 
lower degree, than it did at first require, so it be sincere and 
universal as unto all the parts of it, it is all that the law 
now requireth of us. This is all that it now requires, as' it 
is adapted unto the service of the new covenant, and made 
the rule of obedience according to the law of Christ. Hereby 
is its preceptive part, so far as we are concerned in it, an- 
swered and complied withal. Whether these things are so 
or no, we shall see immediately in a few words. 

18. Hence it follows, that the act of God with respect 
unto our obedience, is not an act of judgment according 
unto any rale or law of his own ; but an acceptilation, or 
an esteeming, accounting, accepting that as perfect, or in 
the room of that which is perfect, which really and in truth 
is not so. 

19. It is added, that both these depend on, and are the 
procurements of, the obedience, suffering, and merits of 
Christ. For on their account it is, that our weak and im- 
perfect obedience, is accepted as if it were perfect, and the 
power of the law, to require obedience absolutely perfect, is 
taken away. And these being the effects of the righteous- 
ness of Christ, that righteousness may on their account, and 
so far, be said to be imputed unto us. 

20. But notwithstanding the great endeavours that have 
been used to give a colour of truth unto these things, they 
are both of them but fictions and imaginations of men that 
have no ground in the Scripture, nor do comply with the 
experience of them that believe. For to touch a little on the 
latter, in the first place ; there is no true believer, but hath 
these two things fixed in his mind and conscience. 

1. That there is nothing in principles, habits, qualities, 
or actions, wherein he comes short of a perfect compliance 
with the holy law of God, even as it required perfect obe- 
dience, but that it hath in it the nature of sin, and that in 
itself deserving the curse annexed originally unto the breach 
of that law. They do not therefore apprehend that its ob- 
ligation is taken off, weakened, or derogated from in any 


thing. 2. That there is no relief for him, with respect unto 
what the law requires, or unto what it threatens, but by the 
mediation of Jesus Christ alone, who of God is made righte- 
ousness unto him. Wherefore, they do not rest in, or on 
the acceptation of their own obedience, such as it is, to an- 
swer the law, but trust unto Christ alone for their accepta- 
tion with God. 

21. They are both of them doctrinally untrue ; for as 
unto the former, 1. It is unwritten. There is no intima- 
tion in the Scripture of any such dispensation of God 
with reference unto the original law of obedience. Much 
is spoken of our deliverance from the curse of the law by 
Christ, but of the abatement of its preceptive power nothing 
at all. 2. It is contrary to the Scripture. For it is plainly 
affirmed that the law is not to be abolished, but fulfilled ; 
not to be made void, but to be established ; that the righte- 
ousness of it must be fulfilled in us. 3. It is a supposi- 
tion both unreasonable and impossible. For, 1. The law 
was a representation unto us of the holiness of God, and 
his righteousness in the government of his creatures. There 
can be no alteration made herein, seeing with God himself 
there is no variableness nor shadow of chano-inor, 2. It 
would leave no standard of righteousness, but only a Lesbian 
rule, which tiarns and applies itself unto the light and abili- 
ties of men, and leaves at least as many various measures of 
righteousness as there are believers in the world. 3. It 
includes a variation in the centre of all religion, which is the- 
natural and moral relation of men unto God. For so there 
must be, if all that was once necessary thereunto, do not 
still continue so to be. 4. It is dishonourable unto the 
mediation of Christ. For it makes the principal end of it 
to be, that God should accept of a righteousness unto our 
justification, inexpressibly beneath that which he required 
in the law of our creation. And this in a sense makes him 
the minister of sin, or that he hath procured an indulgence 
unto it; not by the way of satisfaction and pardon, whereby 
he takes away the guilt of it from the church ; but by taking 
from it its nature and demerit, so as that what was so ori- 
ginally should not continue so to be, or at least not to de- 
serve the punishment it was first threatened withal. 5. It 
reflects on the goodness of God himself. For on this sup- 


position that he hath reduced his law into that state and 
order, as to be satisfied by an observation of it so weak, so 
imperfect, accompanied with so many failures and sins, as 
it is with the obedience of the best men in this world (what- 
ever thoughts unto the contrary the frenzy of pride may 
suogest unto the minds of any), what reason can be given 
consistent with his goodness, why he should give a law at 
first of perfect obedience, which one sin laid all mankind 
under the penalty of unto their ruin ? 

22. All these things, and sundry others of the same kind, 
do follow also on the second supposition, of an acceptila- 
tion or an imaginary estimation of that as perfect, which 
is imperfect, as sinless which is attended with sins innume- 
rable. But the judgment of God is according unto truth ; 
neither will he reckon that unto us for a perfect righteous- 
ness in his sight, which is so imperfect as to be like tattered 
rags, especially, having promised unto us, robes of righte- 
ousness aiid garments of salvation. 

That which necessarily followeth on these discourses is. 
That there is no other way whereby the original, immutable 
law of God may be established, and fulfilled with respect 
unto us, but by the imputation of the perfect obedience and 
righteousness of Christ, who is the end of the law for righte- 
ousness unto all that do believe. 


The imputation of the obedience of Christ unto the law, declared 
and vindicated. 

From the foregoing general argument, another doth issue 
in particular, with respect unto the imputation of the active 
obedience or righteousness of Christ unto us, as an essential 
part of that righteousness whereon we are justified before 
God. And it is as followeth : If it were necessary that the 
Lord Christ, as our surety, should undergo the penalty of 
the law for us, or in our stead, because we have all sinned ; 
then it was necessary also, that as our surety he should yield 
obedience unto the preceptive part of the law for us also: and 
if the imputation of the former be needful for us unto our 


justification before God, then is the imputation of the latter 
also necessary unto the same end and purpose. For why 
was it necessary, or why would God have it so, that the 
Lord Christ, as the surety of the covenant, should undergo 
the curse and penalty of the law, which we had incurred the 
guilt of, by sin, that we may be justified in his sight ? Was 
it not, that the glory and honour of his righteousness, as the 
author of the law, and the supreme governor of all mankind 
thereby, might not be violated in the absolute impunity of 
the infringers of it? and if it were requisite unto the glory 
of God, that the penalty of the law should be undergone for 
us, or suffered by our surety in our stead, because we had 
sinned ; wherefore is it not as requisite unto the glory of 
God, that the preceptive part of the law be complied withal 
for us, inasmuch as obedience thereunto is required of us ? 
And as we are no more able of ourselves to fulfil the law, in 
a way of obedience, than to undergo the penalty of it, so as 
that we may be justified thereby ; so no reason can be given, 
why God is not as much concerned in honour and glory, 
that the preceptive power and part of the law be complied 
withal, by perfect obedience, as that the sanction of it be 
established by undergoing the penalty of it. Upon the same 
grounds therefore, that the Lord Christ's suffering the pe- 
nalty of the law for us, was necessary that we might be jus- 
tified in the sight of God, and that the satisfaction he made 
thereby be imputed unto us, as if we ourselves had made 
satisfaction unto God, as Bellarmine speaks and grants ; 
on the same it was equally necessary, that is, as unto the 
glory and honour of the legislator and supreme governor of 
all by the law, that he should fulfil the preceptive part of it, 
in his perfect obedience thereunto, which also is to be im- 
puted unto us for our justification. 

Concerning the first of these, namely, the satisfaction of 
Christ, and the imputation of it unto us, our principal dif- 
ference is with the Socinians. And I have elsewhere written 
so much in the vindication of the truth therein, that I shall 
not here again reassume the same argument; it is here there- 
fore taken for granted, although I know that there are some 
different apprehensions about the notion of Christ's suffering 
in our stead, and of the imputation of those sufferings unto 
us. But I shall here take no notice of them, seeing I press 


this argument no farther, but only so far forth, that the obe- 
dience of Christ unto the law, and the imputation thereof 
unto us, is no less necessary unto our justification before 
God, than his suffering of the penalty of the law, and the 
imputation thereof unto us, unto the same end. The nature 
of this imputation, and what it is formally that is imputed, 
we have considered elsewhere. 

That the obedience of Christ the Mediator is thus im- 
puted to us, shall be afterward proved in particular by tes- 
timonies of the Scripture. Here I intend only the vindica- 
tion of the argument as before laid down, which will take 
us up a little more time than ordinary. For there is nothing 
in the whole doctrine of justification, which meets with a 
more fierce and various opposition ; but the truth is great 
and will prevail. 

The things that are usually objected and vehemently 
urged against the imputation of the obedience of Christ 
unto our justification, may be reduced unto three heads : 
1. That it is impossible. 2. That it is useless. 3. That it is 
pernicious to believe it. And if the arguments used for 
the enforcement of those objections, be as cogent as the 
charge itself is fierce and severe, they will unavoidably over- 
throw the persuasions of it in the minds of all sober persons. 
But there is ofttimes a wide difference between what is said, 
and what is proved, as will appear in the present case. 

1. It is pleaded impossible, on this single ground ; name- 
ly, That the obedience of Christ unto the law was due from 
him on his own account, and performed by him for himself, 
as a man made under the law. Now what was necessary 
unto himself, and done for himself, cannot be said to be done 
for us, so as to be imputed unto us. 

2. It is pretended to be useless from hence, because all 
our sins of omission and commission being pardoned in our 
justification on the account of death and satisfaction of 
Christ, we are thereby made completely righteous ; so as 
that there is not the least necessity for, or use of, the impu- 
tation of the obedience of Christ unto us. 

3. Pernicious also they say it is, as that which takes 
away the necessity of our own personal obedience, intro- 
ducing antinomianism, libertinism, and all manner of evils. 

For this last part of the charge, 1 refer it unto its proper 


place ; for although it be urged by some against this part 
of the doctrine of justification in a peculiar manner, yet is 
it managed by others, against the whole of it. And although 
we should grant, that the obedience of Christ unto the law, 
is not imputed unto us unto our justification, yet shall we 
not be freed from disturbance by this false accusation, un- 
less we will renounce the whole of the satisfaction, and 
merit of Christ also ; and we intend not to purchase our 
peace with the whole world, at so dear a rate. Wherefore, 
I shall in its proper place give this part of the charge its due 
consideration, as it reflects on the whole doctrine of justi- 
fication, and all the causes thereof, which we believe and 

The first part of this charge, concerning the impossibility 
of the imputation of the obedience of Christ unto us, is in- 
sisted on by Socinus de Servat. part 3. cap. 5. And there 
hath been nothing since pleaded unto the same purpose, 
but what hath been derived from him, or wherein, at least, 
he hath not prevented the inventions of other men, and gone 
before them. And he makes this consideration the prin- 
cipal engine wherewith he endeavours the overthrow of the 
whole doctrine of the merit of Christ. For he supposeth, 
that if all he did in a way of obedience, was due from him- 
self on his own account, and was only the duty which he 
owed unto God for himself in his station and circumstances, 
as a man in this world, it cannot be meritorious for us, nor 
any way imputed unto us. And in like manner to weaken 
the doctrine of his satisfaction, and the imputation thereof 
unto us, he contends that Christ offered as a priest for him- 
self, in that kind of offering which he made on the cross, 
part 2. cap. 22. And his real opinion was, that whatever 
was of offering or sacrifice in the death of Christ, it was for 
himself; that is, it was an act of obedience unto God which 
pleased him, as the savour of a sweet-smelling sacrifice. 
His offering for us, is only the presentation of himself in the 
presence of God in heaven ; now he hath no more to do for 
himself in away of duty. And the truth is, if the obedience 
of Christ had respect unto himself only ; that is, if he yielded 
it unto God, on the necessity of his condition, and did not 
do it for us, I see no foundation left to assert his merit upon^ 


no more than I do for the imputation of it unto them that 

That which we plead is. That the Lord Christ fulfilled 
the whole law for us ; he did not only undergo the penalty 
of it due unto our sins, but also yielded that perfect obe- 
dience which it did require. And herein 1 shall not immix 
myself in the debate of the distinction between the active 
and passive obedience of Christ. For he exercised the 
highest active obedience in his suffering, when he offered 
himself to God through the eternal Spirit. And all his obe- 
dience, considering his person, was mixed with suffering, as 
a part of his exinanition and humiliation ; whence it is said. 
That ' though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the 
things that he suffered.' And however, doing and suffering 
are in various categories of things, yet Scripture testimonies 
are not to be regulated by philosophical artifices and terms. 
And it must needs be said, that the sufferings of Christ as 
they were purely penal, are imperfectly called his passive 
righteousness. For all righteousness is either in habit, or 
in action, whereof suffering is neither ; nor is any man 
righteous, or so esteemed from what he suflereth. Neither 
do sufferings give satisfaction unto the commands of the 
law, which require only obedience. And hence it will un- 
avoidably follow, that we have need of more than the mere 
sufferings of Christ, whereby we may be justified before 
God, if so be that any righteousness be required thereunto. 
But the whole of what I intend is, that Christ's fulfilling of 
the law in obedience unto its commands, is no less imputed 
unto us for our justification, than his undergoing the penalty 
of it is. 

I cannot but judge it sounds ill in the ears of all Chris- 
tians, That the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ as our 
mediator and surety unto the whole law of God, was for 
himself alone, and not for us ; or that what he did therein, 
was not that he might be the end of the law for righteous- 
ness unto them that do believe, nor a means of the fulfilling 
of the righteousness of the law in us ; especially consider- 
ing, that the faith of the church is. That he was given to 
us, born to us ; that for us men, and for our salvation he 
came down from heaven, and did and suffered what was re- 


quired of him. But whereas some who deny the imputation 
of the obedience of Christ unto us for our justification, 
do insist principally on the second thing mentioned, name- 
ly, the unusefulness of it, I shall under this part of the 
charge, consider only the arguings of Socinus, which is^ 
the whole of what some at present do endeavour to perplex 
the truth withal. 

To this purpose is his discourse, part 3. cap. 5. de Ser- 
vat. ' Jam vero manifestum est, Christum quia homo natus 
fuerat, et quidem, ut inquit Paulus, factus sub lege, legi 
divinae inquam, quae aeterna et immutabilis est, non minus 
quam caeteri homines obnoxium fuisse. Alioqui potuisset 
Christus a3ternam Dei legem negligere, sive etiam univer- 
sam si voluisset infringere, quod impium est vel cogitare. 
Immo ut supra alicubi explicatum fuit, nisi ipse Christus 
legi divinge servandse obnoxius fuisset, ut ex Pauli verbis 
colligitur, non potuisset iis, qui ei legi servandse obnoxii 
sunt, opem ferre et eos ad immortalitatis firmam spem tra- 
ducere. Non differebat igitur hac quidem ex parte, Christus 
quando homo natus erat, a cseteris hominibus. Quocirca 
nee etiam pro aliis, magis quam quilibet alius homo, legem 
divinam conservando satisfacere potuit, quippe qui ipse eam 
servare omnino debuit.* I have transcribed his words, that 
it may appear with whose weapons some young disputers, 
among ourselves, do contend against the truth. 

The substance of his plea is. That our Lord Jesus Christ 
was for himself, or on his own account, obliged unto all that 
obedience which he performed. And this he endeavours to 
prove with this reason, because if it were otherwise, then he 
might, if he would, have neglected the whole law of God, 
and have broken it at his pleasure. For he forgot to con- 
sider, that if he were not obliged unto it upon his own ac- 
count, but was so on ours, whose cause he had undertaken, 
the obligation on him unto most perfect obedience, was equal 
to what it would have been, had he been originally obliged 
on his own account. However, hence he infers, that what he 
did, could not be for us, because it was so for himself, no 
more than what any other man is bound to do in a way of 
duty for himself, can be esteemed to have been done also for 
another. For he will allow of none of those considerations 
of the person of Christ which makes what he did and suf- 


fered, of another nature and efficacy, than what can be 
done or suffered by any other man. All that he adds in the 
process of his discourse, is. That whatever Christ did, that 
was not required by the law in general, was upon the es- 
pecial command of God, and so done for himself; whence 
it cannot be imputed unto us. And hereby he excludes the 
church from any benefit by the mediation of Christ, but only 
what consists in his doctrine, example, and the exercise of 
his power in heaven for our good, which was the thing 
that he aimed at ; but we shall consider those also which 
make use of his arguments, though not as yet openly ur^to 
all his ends. 

To clear the truth herein, the things ensuing must be ob- 

1. The obedience we treat of, was the obedience of 
Christ the Mediator. But the obedience of Christ as ' the 
mediator of the covenant,* was the obedience of his person: 
* For God redeemed his church with his own blood ;' Acts 
XX. 28. It was performed in the human nature, but the per- 
son of Christ was he that performed it. As in the person of 
a man, some of his acts, as to the immediate principle of 
operation, are acts of the body, and some are so of the soul ; 
yet in their performance and accomplishment, are they the 
acts of the person. So the acts of Christ in his mediation, 
as to their Ivipyhixara or immediate operation, were the act- 
ings of his distinct natures; some of the divine, and some 
of the human, immediately. But as unto their aTrorfXetr/xara, 
and the perfecting efficacy of them, they were the acts of 
his whole person ; his acts who was that person, and whose 
power of operation was a property of his person. Wherefore, 
the obedience of Christ which we plead to have been for us, 
was the obedience of the Son of God ; but the Son of God 
was never absolutely made vtto vojiiov, ' under the law,* nor 
could be formally obliged thereby. He was indeed, as the 
apostle witnesseth, made so in his human nature, wherein 
he performed this obedience, * made of a woman, made under 
the law,* Gal. iv. 4. He was so far forth made under the 
law, as he was made of a woman. For in his person he 
abode 'Lord of the sabbath,' Mark ii. 28. and therefore of 
the whole law. But the obedience itself, was the obedience 
of that person, who never was, nor ever could absolutely be 


made under the law, in his whole person. For the divine 
nature cannot be subjected unto an outward work of its own, 
such as the law is ; nor can it have an auohoritative com- 
manding power over it, as it must have, if it were made vtto 
vojuoi/, ' under the law.' Thus the apostle argues, that ' Levi 
paid tithes in Abraham,' because he was then in his loins, 
when Abraham himself paid tithes unto Melchisedec ; Heb. 
vii. And thence he proves, that he was inferior unto the 
Lord Christ, of whom Melchisedec was a type. But may it 
not thereon be replied, that then no less the Lord Christ was 
in the loins of Abraham than Levi ? * For verily/ as the same 
apostle speaks, ' he took on him the seed of Abraham.' It 
is true, therefore, that he was so in respect of his human na- 
ture ; but as he was typed and represented by Melchisedec 
in his * whole person, without father, without mother, with- 
out genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life :' so 
he was not absolutely in Abraham's loins, and was exempted 
from being tithed in him. Wherefore, the obedience whereof 
we treat, being not the obedience of the human nature ab- 
stractedly, however performed in and by the human nature, 
but the obedience of the person of the Son of God, however 
the human nature was subject to the law (in what sense, 
and unto what ends shall be declared afterward), it was not 
for himself, nor could be for himself, because his whole per- 
son was not obliged thereunto. It is therefore a fond thing 
to compare the obedience of Christ, with that of any other 
man, whose whole person is under the law. For although 
that may not be for himself and others (which yet we shall 
shew that in some cases it may), yet this may, yea, must be 
for others, and not for himself. This then we must strictly 
hold unto. If the obedience that Christ yielded unto the 
law were for himself, whereas it was the act of his person, 
his whole person, and the divine nature therein, were * made 
under the law,' which cannot be. For although it is acknow- 
ledged, that in the ordination of God, his exinanition, was 
to precede his glorious majestical exaltation, as the Scrip- 
ture witnesseth, Phil. ii. 9. Luke xxiv. 26. Rom. xiv. 9. yet 
absolutely his glory was an immediate consequent of the 
hypostatical union; Heb. i. 6. Matt. ii. 11. 

Socinus, I confess, evades the force of this argument, by 
denying the divine person of Christ. But in this disputa- 


tion I take that for granted, as having proved it elsewhere, 
beyond what any of his followers are able to contradict. 
And if we may not build on truths by him denied, we 
shall scarce have any one principle of evangelical truth left 
us to prove any thing from. However, I intend them only 
at present, who concur with him in the matter under debate, 
but renounce his opinion concerning the person of Christ. 

2. As our Lord Jesus Christ owed not in his own person 
this obedience for himself, by virtue of any authority or 
power that the law had over him, so he designed and in- 
tended it not for himself, but for us. This added unto 
the former consideration, gives full evidence unto the truth 
pleaded for : for if he was not obhged unto it for himself, his 
person that yielded it, not being under the law ; and if he 
intemied it not for himself, then it must be for us, or be use- 
less : it was in our human nature, that he performed all this 
obedience. Now the susception of our nature, was a volun- 
tary act of his own, with reference unto some end and pur- 
pose ; and that which was the end of the assumption of our 
nature, was in like manner the end of all that he did therein. 
Now it was for us, and not for himself, that he assumed our 
nature ; nor was any thing added unto him thereby. Where- 
fore, in the issue of his work, he proposeth this only unto 
himself, ' That he may be glorified with that glory which he 
had with the Father, before the world was,' by the removal 
of that veil which was put upon it in his exinanition. But 
that it was for us, that he assumed our nature, is the foun- 
dation of Christian religion ; as it is asserted by the apostle, 
Heb. ii. 14. Phil. ii. 5— 8. 

Some of the ancient schoolmen disputed. That the Son 
of God should have been incarnate, although man had not 
sinned and fallen. The same opinion was fiercely pursued 
by Osiander, as I have elsewhere declared ; but none of them 
once imagined, that he should have been so made man, as 
to be made under the law, and be obliged thereby unto that 
obedience which now he hath performed; but they judged 
that immediately he was to have been a glorious head unto 
the whole creation. For it is a common notion and pre- 
sumption of all Christians, but only such as will sacrifice 
such notions unto their own private conceptions. That the 
obedience which Christ yielded unto the law on the earth, 


in the state and conditionwherein he yielded it, was not for 
himself, but for the church, which was obliged unto perfect 
obedience, but was not able to accomplish it. That this was 
his sole end and design in it, is a fundamental article, if I 
mistake not, of the creed of most Christians in the world ; 
and to deny it, doth consequentially overthrow all the grace 
and love both of the Father, and Son in his mediation. 

It is said. That this obedience was necessary as a qua- 
lification of his person, that he might be meet to be a me- 
diator for us; and therefore was for himself. It belongs 
unto the necessary constitution of his person, with respect 
unto his mediatory work ; but this I positively deny. The 
Lord Christ was every way meet for the whole work of me- 
diation, by the ineffable union of the human nature with the 
divine, which exalted it in dignity, honour, and worth, above 
any thing, or all things that ensued thereon. For hereby 
he became in his whole person the object of all divine wor- 
ship and honour ; for ' when he brings the first-begotten into 
the world, he saith. And let all the angels of God worship 
him.' Again, that which is an effect of the person of the 
Mediator as constituted such, is not a qualification neces- 
sary unto its constitution ; that is, what he did as mediator, 
did not concur to the making of him meet so to be. But 
of this nature was all the obedience which he yielded unto 
the law, for as such, ' It became him to fulfil all righte- 

Whereas therefore, he was neither made man, nor of the 
posterity of Abraham, for himself, but for the church, 
namely, to become thereby the surety of the covenant, and 
representative of the whole, his obedience as a man unto 
the law in general, and as a son of Abraham unto the law 
of Moses, was for us, and not for himself; so designed, so 
performed, and without a respect unto the church, was of 
no use unto himself. He was born to us, and given to us, 
lived for us, and died for us, obeyed for us, and suffere«l for 
us ; that ' by the obedience of one, many might be made 
righteous.' This was the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ ; 
and this is the faith of the catholic church. And what he 
did for us, is imputed unto us. This is included in the very 
notion of his doing it for us, which cannot be spoken in any 
sense, unless that which he so did, be imputed unto us. 


And I think men ought to be wary, that they do not by dis- 
tinctions and studied evasions, for the defence of their own 
private opinions, shake the foundations of Christian religion. 
And I am sure it will be easier for them, as it is in the pro- 
verb, to wrest the club out of the hand of Hercules, than 
to dipossess the minds of true believers of this persuasion : 
That what the Lord Christ did in obedience unto God ac- 
cording unto the law, he designed in his love and grace to 
doit for them. He needed no obedience for himself, he 
came not into a capacity of yielding obedience for himself, 
but for us ; and therefore for us it was, that he fulfilled the 
law in obedience unto God according unto the terms of it. 
The oblip-ation that was on him unto obedience, was ori- 
ginally no less for us, no less needful unto us, no more for 
himself, no more necessary unto him, than the obligation 
was on him as the surety of the covenant, to suffer the pe- 
nalty of the law, was either the one or the other. 

3. Setting aside the consideration of the grace and love 
of Christ, and the compact between the Father and the Son, 
as unto his undertaking for us, which undeniably proves all 
that he did in the pursuit of them to be done for us, and not 
for himself; I say, setting aside the consideration of these 
things, and the human nature of Christ, by virtue of its 
union with the person of the Son of God, had a right unto, 
and might have immediately been admitted into the highest 
glory whereof it was capable, without any antecedent obe- 
dience unto the law. And this is apparent from hence, in 
that from the first instant of that union, the whole person of 
Christ, with our nature existing therein, was the object of all 
divine worship from angels and men ; wherein consists the 
highest exaltation of that nature. 

It is true, there was a peculiar glory that he was actually 
to be made partaker of, with respect unto his antecedent 
obedience and suffering; Phil. ii. 8, 9. The actual pos- 
session of this glory was in the ordination of God, to be con- 
sequential unto his obeying and suffering, not for himself, 
but for us. But as unto the right and capacity of the hu- 
man nature in itself, all the glory whereof it was capable, 
was due unto it from the instant of its union. For it was 
therein exalted above the condition tliat any creature is ca- 
pable of by mere creation. And it is but a Socinian fiction. 


that the first foundation of the divine glory of Christ was 
laid in his obedience, which was only the way of his actual 
possession of that part of his glory, which consists in his 
mediatory power and authority over all. The real founda- 
tion of the whole, was laid in the union of his person ; 
whence he prays that the Father would glorify him (as unto 
manifestation) with that glory which he had with him before 
the world was. 

I will grant, that the Lord Christ was ' viator' whilst he 
was in this world, and not absolutely ' professor ;' yet I say 
withal, he was so, not that any such condition was neces- 
sary unto him for himself; but he took it upon him by es- 
pecial dispensation for us. And therefore, the obedience he 
performed in that condition, was for us, and not for himself. 

4. It is granted, therefore, that the human nature of 
Christ was made viro v6/xov, as the apostle affirms, ' That 
which was made of a woman, was made under the law.* 
Hereby obedience became necessary unto him, as he was, 
and whilst he was 'viator/ But this being by especial dis- 
pensation, intimated in the expression of it, he 'was made 
under the law,' namely, as he was made of a woman, by 
especial dispensation and condescension expressed, Phil. ii. 
6 — 8. The obedience he yielded thereon, was for us, and 
not for himself. And this is evident from hence, for he was 
so made under the law, as that not only he owed obedience 
unto the precepts of it, but he was made obnoxious unto its 
curse. But I suppose it will not be said, that he was so for 
himself, and therefore not for us. We owed obedience unto 
the law, and were obnoxious unto the curse of it, or vito^ikoi 
nf 9«w. Obedience was required of us, and was as neces- 
sary unto us, if we would enter into life, as the answering of 
the curse for us was, if we would escape death eternal. 
Christ as our surety, is 'made under the law* for us, whereby 
he becomes liable and obliged unto the obedience which the 
law required, and unto the penalty that it threatened. Who 
shall now dare to say, that he underwent the penalty of the 
law for us indeed, but he yielded obedience unto it for him- 
self only ? The whole harmony of the work of his mediae 
tion, would be disordered by such a supposition. 

Judah, the son of Jacob, undertook to be a bondman in- 
stead of Benjamin his brother, that he might go free ; Gea. 



xliv. 33. There is no doubt but Joseph might have accepted 

of the Btipulation. Had he done so, the service and bondage 
he undertook, had been necessary unto Judah, and righte- 
ous for him to bear ; hovvbeit, he had undergone it, and per- 
formed his duty in it, not for himself, but for his brother 
Benjamin ; and unto Benjamin, it would have been imputed 
in his liberty. So when the apostle Paul wrote those words 
unto Philemon concerning Onesimus, *El §f ti r]diKr](TE <tc, i} 
o^etXft, TovTo tjuoi fXXoY£(, lyo) aTTorto-o), ver. 18. * If he hath 
wronged thee,' dealt unrighteously or injuriously with thee, 
' or oweth thee aught,' wherein thou hast suffered loss by him, 
' put it on my account,' or impute it all unto me ; ' I will repay 
it,' or answer for it all. He supposeth that Philemon might 
have a double action against Onesimus ; the one ' injuriarum,' 
and the other * damni' or * debiti,' of wrong and injury, and of 
loss or debt; which are distinct actions in the law : 'if he 
hath wronged thee, or oweth the aught.' Hereon he pro- 
poseth himself, and obligeth himself by his express obliga- 
tion, tyu) UavXog iypaxpa rrj hfi^ X^^^^' * ^ ^^^^^ ^^^^ written it 
with my own hand,' that he would answer for both, and pay 
back a valuable consideration if required. Hereby was he 
obliged in his own person to make satisfaction unto Phile- 
mon ; but yet he was to do it for Onesimus, and not for 
himself. Whatever obedience therefore was due from the 
Lord Christ, as to his human nature whilst in the form of a 
servant, either as a man, or as an Israelite, seeing he was so 
not necessarily by the necessity of nature for himself, but 
by voluntary condescension and stipulation for us ; for us it 
was, and not for himself. 

5. The Lord Christ in his obedience was not a private, 
but a public person. He obeyed as he was the surety of 
the covenant ; as the mediator between God and man. This 
I suppose will not be denied. He can by no imagination 
be considered out of that capacity. But what a public per- 
son doth as a public person, that is, as a representative of 
others, and an undertaker for them, whatever may be his own 
concernment therein, he doth it not for himself, but for 
others. And if others were not concerned therein, if it were 
not for them, what he doth would be of no use or significa- 
tion- Yea, it implies a contradiction that any one should 
do any thing as a public person, and do it for himself only. 


He who is a public person, may do that wherein he alone is 
concerned, but he cannot do so as he is a public person. 
Wherefore, as Socinus and those that follow him would have 
Christ to have offered for himself, which is to make him a 
mediator for himself, his offering being a mediatory act, 
which is both foolish and impious ; so to affirm his medi- 
atory obedience, his obedience as a public person, to have 
been for himself, and not for others, hath but little less of 
impiety in it. 

6. It is granted, that the Lord Christ having a human 
nature, which was a creature, it was impossible but that it 
should be subject unto the law of creation. For there is a 
relation that doth necessarily arise from, and depend upon, 
the beings of a creator and a creature. Every rational crea- 
ture is eternally obliged from the nature of God, and its re- 
lation thereunto, to love him, obey him, depend upon him, 
submit unto him, and to make him its end, blessedness, and 
reward. But the law of creation thus considered, doth not 
respect the world, and this life only, but the future state of 
heaven, and eternity also. And this law, the human nature 
of Christ is subject unto, in heaven and glory, and cannot 
but be so, whilst it is a creature, and not God, that is, whilst 
it hath its own being. Nor do any men fancy such a trans- 
fusion of divine properties into the human nature of Christ, 
as that it should be self-subsisting, and in itself absolutely 
immense ; for this would openly destroy it. Yet none will 
say, that he is now vtto vofiov, 'under the law,' in the sense 
intended by the apostle. But the law in the sense described, 
the human nature of Christ was subject unto on its own ac- 
count, whilst he was in this world. And this is sufficient to 
answer the objection of Socinus, mentioned at the entrance 
of this discourse ; namely, that if the Lord Christ were not 
obliged unto obedience for himself, then might he if he 
would, neglect the whole law, or infringe it. For besides 
that it is a foolish imagination concerning that holy thing 
which was hypostatically united unto the Son of God, and 
thereby rendered incapable of any deviation from the divine 
will ; the eternal indispensable law of love, adherence, and 
dependance on God, under which the human nature of Christ 
was, and is, as a creature, gives sufficient security against 
such suppositions. 

Y 2 


But there is another consideration of the law of God;, 
namely, as it is imposed on creatures by especial dispensa- 
tion, for some time, and for some certain end ; with some 
considerations, rules, and orders, that belong not essentially 
unto the law, as before described. This is the nature of the 
written law of God, which the Lord Christ was made under, 
not necessarily as a creature, but by especial dispensation. 
For the law, under this consideration, is presented unto us 
as such, not absolutely and eternally, but whilst we are in 
this world, and that with this especial end, that by obe- 
dience thereunto, we may obtain the reward of eternal life. 
And it is evident, that the obligation of the law, under this 
consideration, ceaseth when we come to the enjoyment of 
that reward. It obligeth us no more formally by its com- 
mand, * do this and live,' when the life promised is enjoyed. 
In this sense the Lord Christ was not made subject unto the 
law for himself, nor did yield obedience unto it for himself. 
For he was not obliged unto it by virtue of his created con- 
dition. Upon the first instant of the union of his natures, 
being 'holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners,' 
he might, notwithstanding the law that he was made subject 
unto, have been stated in glory. For he that was the object 
of all divine worship, needed not any new obedience, to pro- 
cure for him a state of blessedness. And had he naturally, 
merely by virtue of his being a creature, been subject unto 
the law in this sense, he must have been so eternally, which 
he is not. For those things which depend solely on the na- 
tures of God and the creature, are eternal and immutable. 
Wherefore, as the law in this sense was given unto us, not 
absolutely, but with respect unto a future state and reward ; 
so the Lord Christ did voluntarily subject himself unto it 
for us, and his obedience thereunto was for us, and not for 
himself. These things added unto what I have formerly writ- 
ten on this subject, whereunto nothing hath been opposed, 
but a few impertinent cavils, are sufficient to discharge the 
first part of that charge laid down before, concerning the 
impossibility of the imputation of the obedience of Christ 
unto us; which indeed is equal unto the impossibility of the 
imputation of the disobedience of Adam unto us; whereby 
the apostle tells us, * that we were all made sinners.' 

The second part of the objection or charge against the 


imputation of the obedience of Christ unto us, is, That it is 
useless unto the persons that are to be justified. For where- 
as they have in their justification the pardon of all their sins, 
they are thereby righteous, and have a right or title unto 
life and blessedness ; for he who is so pardoned, as not to be 
esteemed guilty of any sin of omission or commission, wants 
nothing that is requisite thereunto. For he is supposed to 
have done all that he ought, and to have omitted nothing 
required of him in a w^ay of duty. Hereby he becomes not 
unrighteous, and to be not unrighteous, is the same as to be 
righteous ; as he that is not dead, is alive. Neither is 
there, nor can there be any middle state between death and 
life. Wherefore, those who have all their sins forgiven, have 
the blessedness of justification ; and there is neither need 
nor use of any farther imputation of righteousness unto them. 
And sundry other things of the same nature are urged unto 
the same purpose, which will be all of them either obviated 
in the ensuing discourse, or answered elsewhere. 

Ans. This cause is of more importance, and more evi- 
dently stated in the Scriptures, than to be turned into such 
niceties, which have more of philosophical subtlety, than 
theological solidity, in them. This exception, therefore, 
might be dismissed without farther answer, than what is 
given us in the known rule, that a truth well established and 
confirmed, is not to be questioned much less relinquished 
on every entangling sophism, though it should appear inso- 
luble. But as we shall see, there is no such difficulty in 
these arguings, but what may easily be discussed. And be- 
cause the matter of the plea contained in them, is made use 
of by sundry learned persons who yet agree with us in the 
substance of the doctrine of justification, namely, that it is 
by faith alone, without works, through the imputation of the 
merit and satisfaction of Christ ; I shall, as briefly as I can, 
discover the mistakes that it proceeds upon. 

1. It includes a supposition. That he who is pardoned his 
sins of omission and commission, is esteemed to have done 
all that is required of him, and to have committed nothing 
that is forbidden. For without this supposition, the bare 
pardon of sin, will neither make, constitute, nor denominate 
any man righteous. But this is far otherwise, nor is any 
such thing included in the nature of pardon. For in the 


pardon of sin, neither God nor man do judge, that he who 
hath sinned, hath not sinned ; which must be done, if he 
who is pardoned be esteemed to have done all that he ought, 
and to have done nothing that he ought not to do. If a man 
be brought on his trial for any evil fact, and being legally 
convicted thereof, is discharged by sovereign pardon ; it is 
true, that in the eye of the law, he is looked upon as an in- 
nocent man, as unto the punishment that was due unto 
him ; but no man thinks that he is made righteous thereby, 
or is esteemed not to have done that which really he hath 
done, and whereof he was convicted. Joab and Abiathar 
the priest were at the same time guilty of the same crime. 
Solomon gives order that Joab be put to death for his crime ; 
but unto Abiathar he gives a pardon. Did he thereby make, 
declare, or constitute him righteous ? Himself expresseth 
the contrary, affirming him to be unrighteous and guilty, 
only he remitted the punishment of his fault; 1 Kings ii. 26. 
"Wherefore, the pardon of sin dischargeth the guilty person 
from being liable or obnoxious unto anger, wrath, or punish- 
ment, due unto his sin, but it doth not suppose, nor infer in 
the least, that he is thereby or ought thereon to be esteemed or 
adjudged to have done no evil, and to have fulfilled all righte- 
ousness. Some say, pardon gives a righteousness of inno- 
cency, but not of obedience. But it cannot give a righte- 
ousness of innocency absolutely, such as Adam had. For 
he had actually done no evil. It only removeth guilt, which 
is the respect of sin unto punishment, ensuing on the sanc- 
tion of the law. And this supposition, which is an evident 
mistake, animates this whole objection. 

The like may be said of what is in like manner supposed, 
namely, that not to be unrighteous, which a man is on the 
pardon of sin, is the same with being righteous. For if not 
to be unrighteous be taken privatively, it is the same with 
being just or righteous : for it supposeth, that he who is so, 
hath done all the duty that is required of him, that he may 
be righteous. But not to be unrighteous negatively, as the 
expression is here used, it doth not do so. For at best it 
supposeth no more, but that a man as yet hath done nothing 
actually against the rule of righteousness. Now this may 
be when yet he hath performed none of the duties that are 
required of him to constitute him righteous, because the 


times and occasions of them, are not yet. And so it was 
with Adam in the state of innocency; which is the height 
of what can be attained by the complete pardon of sin. 

2. It proceeds on this supposition. That the law, in 
case of sin, doth not oblige unto punishment and obedience 
both ; so as that it is not satisfied, fulfilled, or complied 
withal, unless it be answered with respect unto both. For 
if it doth so, then the pardon of sin, which only frees us 
from the penalty of the law, doth yet leave it necessary, 
that obedience be performed unto it, even all that it doth 
require. But this, in my judgment, is an evident mistake, 
and that such as doth not * establish the law, but make it 
void.' And this I shall demonstrate. 

1. The law hath two parts or powers. 1. Its preceptive 
part, commanding and requiring obedience, with a promise 
of life annexed : ' Do this and live.' 2. The sanction on 
supposition of disobedience, binding the sinner unto punish- 
ment, or a meet recompense of reward. ' In the day thou sin- 
nest, thou shalt die.' And every law properly so called, 
proceeds on these suppositions of obedience or disobedience, 
whence its commanding and punishing power are inseparate 
from its nature. 

2. This law, whereof we speak, was first given unto man 
in innocency ; and therefore, the first power of it was only 
in act; it obliged only unto obedience. For an innocent 
person could not be obnoxious unto its sanction, which 
contained only an obligation unto punishment, on supposir 
tion of disobedience. It could not therefore oblige our first 
parents unto obedience and punishment both, seeing its ob-^ 
ligation unto punishment could not be in actual force, but 
on supposition of actual disobedience. A moral cause of, 
and motive unto, obedience it was, and had an influence into 
the preservation of man from sin. Unto that end it was said 
unto him, ' In the day thou eatest, thou shalt surely die.* 
The neglect hereof, and of that ruling influence which it 
ought to have had on the minds of our first parents, opened 
the door unto the entrance of sin. But it implies a contra- 
diction, that an innocent person should be under an actual 
obligation unto punishment from the sanction of the law. 
It bound only unto obedience, as all laws, with penalties, 
do before their transgression. But, 


3. On the committing of sin (and it is so with every one 
that is guilty of sin) man came under an actual obligation 
unto punishment. This is no more questionable than whether 
at first he was under an obligation unto obedience. But then 
the question is, whether the first intention and obligation of 
the law unto obedience, doth cease to affect the sinner, or 
continue so, as at the same time to oblige him unto obe- 
dience and punishment, both its powers being in act towards 
him. And hereunto I say, 

1. Had the punishment threatened, been immediately in- 
flicted unto the utmost of what was contained in it, this 
could have been no question. For man had died immedi- 
ately both temporally and eternally, and been cast out of 
that state wherein alone he could stand in any relation unto 
the preceptive power of the law. He that is finally executed, 
hath fulfilled the law so, as that he owes no more obedience 
unto it. 

But, 2. God in his wisdom and patience, hath otherwise 
disposed of things. Man is continued a ' viator' still, in the 
way unto his end, and not fully stated in his eternal and un- 
changeable condition, wherein neither promise nor threat- 
ening, reward nor punishment, could be proposed unto him. 
In this condition he falls under a twofold consideration. 

1. Of a guilty person, and so is obliged unto the full 
punishment, that the law threatens. This is not denied. 

2. Of a man, a rational creature of God, not yet brought 
unto his eternal end. 

3. In this state, the law is the only instrument and means 
of the continuance of the relation between God and him. 
Wherefore, under this consideration it cannot but still oblige 
him unto obedience, unless we shall say, that by his sin he 
hath exempted himself from the government of God. Where- 
fore it is by the law, that the rule and government of God 
over men, is continued whilst they are in * statu viatorum :' 
for every disobedience, every transgression of its rule and 
order, as to its commanding power, casteth us afresh, and 
farther, under its power of obliging unto punishment. 

Neither can these things be otherwise ; neither can any 
man living, not the worst of men, choose but judge himself 
whilst he is in this world, obliged to give obedience unto 
the law of God, according to the notices that he hath of it 


by the light of nature or otherwise. A wicked servant that 
is punished for his fault, if it be with such a punishment as 
yet continues his being, and his state of servitude, is not by 
his punishment freed from an obligation unto duty, accord- 
ing unto the rule of it. Yea, his obligation unto duty, with 
respect unto that crime for which he was punished, is not 
dissolved, until his punishment be capital, and so piit an 
end unto his state. Wherefore, seeing that by the pardon of 
sin, we are freed only from the obligation unto punishment, 
there is moreover required unto our justification, an obedi- 
ence unto what the law requireth. 

And this greatly strengtheneth the argument, in whose 
vindication we are engaged; for we being sinners, we were 
obnoxious both unto the command and curse of the law. 
Both must be answered, or we cannot be justified. And as 
the Lord Christ could not by his most perfect obedience, 
satisfy the curse of the law, ' dying thou shalt die ;' so by 
the utmost of his suffering, he could not fulfil the command 
of the law, ' Do this and live.' Passion as passion is not 
obedience, though there may be obedience in suffering, as 
there was in that of Christ unto the height. Wherefore, as 
we plead that the death of Christ is imputed unto us for our 
justification, so we deny that it is imputed unto us for our 
righteousness. For by the imputation of the sufferings of 
Christ, our sins are remitted or pardoned, and we are de- 
livered from the curse of the law, which he underwent. But 
we are not thence esteemed just or righteous, which we can- 
not be without respect unto the fulfilling of the commands 
of the law, or the obedience by it required. The whole 
matter is excellently expressed by Grotius in the words 
before alleged. * Cum duo nobis peperisse Christum dixe- 
rimus, impunitatem et prsemium, illud satisfactioni, hoc 
merito Christi distincte tribuit vetus ecclesia. Satisfactio 
consistit in meritorum translatione, meritum in perfectissi- 
mse obedientiae pro nobis prsestitiae imputatione.' 

3. The objection mentioned proceeds also on this sup- 
position, that pardon of sin gives title unto eternal bles- 
sedness in the enjoyment of God : for justification doth so, 
and according to the authors of this opinion, no other righ- 
teousness is required thereunto but pardon of sin. That 
justification doth give right and title unto adoption, accep- 


tation with God, and the heavenly inheritance, 1 suppose 
will not be denied, and it hath been proved already. Pardon 
of sin depends solely on the death or suffering of Christ: 

* In whom we have redemption through his blood, the for- 
giveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace ;' Eph. 
i. 7. But suffering for punishment gives right and title unto 
nothing, only satisfies for something ; nor doth it deserve 
any reward ; it is nowhere said, * Suffer this and live,' but 

* Do this and live.' 

These things I confess, are inseparably connected in the 
ordinance, appointment, and covenant of God. Whosoever 
hath his sins pardoned, is accepted with God, hath right 
iinto eternal blessedness. These things are inseparable, but 
they are not one and the same. And by reason of their in- 
separable relation, are they so put together by the apostle, 
Rom. iv. 6—8. * Even as David also describeth the bles- 
sedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness 
without works : Blessed are they whose iniquities are for- 
given, and whose sins are covered : blessed is the man unto 
whom the Lord will not impute sin.' It is the imputation 
of righteousness, that gives right unto blessedness ; but 
pardon of sin is inseparable from it, and an effect of it, both 
being opposed unto justification by works, or an internal 
righteousness of our own. But it is one thing to be freed 
from being liable unto eternal death ; and another to have 
right and title unto a blessed and eternal life. It is one 
thing to be redeemed from under the law, that is, the curse 
of it ; another to receive the adoption of sons. One thing 
to be freed from the curse, another to have the blessing of 
Abraham come upon us ; as the apostle distinguisheth these 
things. Gal. iii. 13, 14. iv. 4, 5. And so doth our Lord 
Jesus Christ, Acts xxvi. 18. * That they may receive for- 
giveness of sins, and inheritance' (a lot and right to the in- 
heritance) ' amongst them that are sanctified by faith that is 
in me.' "A</)£<t<c ajuaprtwv which we have by faith in Christ, is 
only a dismission of sin from being pleadable unto our con- 
demnation ; on which account * there is no condemnation 
unto them that are in Christ Jesus.' But a right and title 
unto glory, or the heavenly inheritance, it giveth not. Can 
it be supposed, that all the great and glorious effects of pre- 
sent grace and future blessedness, should follow necessarily 


on, and be the effect of, mere pardon of sin? Can we not be 
pardoned, but we must thereby of necessity be made sons, 
heirs of God, and coheirs with Christ? 

Pardon of sin is in God, with respect unto the sinner, a free 
gratuitous act ; * forgiveness of sin through the riches of his 
grace/ But with respect unto the satisfaction of Christ, it 
is an act in judgment. For on the consideration thereof as 
imputed unto him, doth God absolve and acquit the sinner 
upon his trial. But pardon on a juridical trial, on what 
consideration soever it be granted, gives no right nor title 
unto any favour, benefit, or privilege, but only mere deliver- 
ance. It is one thing to be acquitted before the throne of 
a king, of crimes laid unto the charge of any man, which 
may be done by clemency, or on other considerations ; 
another to be made his son by adoption, and heir unto his 

And these things are represented unto us in the Scrips 
ture as distinct, and depending on distinct causes. So are 
they in the vision concerning Joshua, the high-priest. Zech. 
iii. 4, 5. ' And he answered and spake unto those that stood 
before him, saying. Take away the filthy garments from him. 
And unto him he said. Behold I have caused thine iniquity 
to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of 
raiment. And I said. Let them set a fair mitre upon his 
head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed 
him with garments.' It hath been generally granted, that 
we have here a representation of the justification of a sinner 
before God. And the taking away of filthy garments, is ex- 
pounded by the passing away of iniquity. When a man's 
filthy garments are taken away, he is no more defiled with 
them ; but he is not thereby clothed. This is an additional 
grace and favour thereunto, namely, to be clothed with 
change of garments. And what this raiment is, is declared, 
Isa. Ixi. 10. ' He hath clothed me with the garments of sal- 
vation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness/ 
which the apostle alludes unto, Phil. iii. 9. Wherefore, these 
things are distinct; namely, the taking away of , -the filthy 
garments, and the clothing of us with change of raiment ; 
or the pardon of sin, and the robe of righteousness ; by the 
one are we freed from condemnation, by the other have we 


right unto salvation. And the same is in like manner re- 
presented, Ezek. xvi. 6 — 12. 

This place I had formerly urged to this purpose about 
communion with God, p. 187. which Mr. Hotchkis in his usual 
manner attempts to answer. And to omit his reviling ex- 
pressions, with the crude unproved assertion of his own 
conceits, his answer is. That by the change of raiment men- 
tioned in the prophet, our own personal righteousness is in- 
tended. For he acknowledgeth that our justification before 
God is here represented. And so also he expounds the place 
produced in the confirmation of the exposition given, Isa. 
Ixi. 10. where this change of raiment is called, * The garments 
of salvation, and the robe of righteousness ;' and thereon 
affirms, that our righteousness itself, before God, is our 
personal righteousness, p. 203. That is, in our justification 
before him, which is the only thing in question. To all 
which presumptions, I shall oppose only the testimony of 
the same prophet, which he may consider at his leisure, and 
which, at one time or other he will subscribe unto. Chap. 
Ixiv. 6. 'We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righte- 
ousnesses are as filthy rags.' He who can make garments of 
salvation, and robes of righteousness of these filthy rags, 
hath a skill in composing spiritual vestments that I am not 
acquainted withal. What remains in the chapter wherein 
this answer is given unto that testimony of the Scripture, I 
shall take notice of, it being after his accustomed manner, 
only a perverse wrestling of my words unto such a sense, as 
may seem to countenance him in casting a reproach upon 
myself and others. 

There is therefore no force in the comparing of these 
things unto life and death natural, which are immediately 
opposed ; so that he who is not dead is alive, and he who is 
alive, is not dead, there being no distinct state between that 
of life and death. For these thins;s beino; of different na- 
tures, the comparison between them is no way argumenta- 
tive. Though it may be so in things natural, it is otherwise 
in things moral and political, where a proper representation 
of justification may be taken, as it is forensic. If it were 
so, that there is no difference between being acquitted of a 
crime at the bar of a judge, and a right unto a kingdom, nor 


different state between these things, it would prove, that 
there is no intermediate estate between being pardoned, and 
having a right unto the heavenly inheritance. But this is 
a fond imagination. 

It is true, that right unto eternal life, doth succeed unto 
freedom from the guilt of eternal death. 'That they may 
receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them 
that are sanctified.* But it doth not do so, out of a necessity 
in the nature of the things themselves, but only in the free 
constitution of God. Believers have the pardon of sin, and 
an immediate right and title unto the favour of God, the 
adoption of sons, and eternal life. But there is another state 
in the nature of the things themselves, and this might have 
been so actually, had it so seemed good unto God ; for who 
sees not, that there is a ' status,' or * conditio personse,' 
wherein he is neither under the guilt of condemnation, nor 
hath an immediate right and title unto glory, in the way of 
inheritance? God might have pardoned men all their sins 
past, and placed them in a state and condition of seeking 
righteousness for the future, by the works of the law, that so 
they might have lived ; for this would answer the original 
state of Adam. But God hath not done so; true; but 
whereas he might have done so, it is evident that the dis- 
posal of men into this state and condition of right unto life 
and salvation, doth not depend on, nor proceed from, the 
pardon of sin, but hath another cause, which is, the impu- 
tation of the righteousness of Christ unto us, as he fulfilled 
the law for us. 

And in truth, this is the opinion of the most of our ad- 
versaries in this cause; for they do contend, that over and 
above the remission of sin, which some of them say is abso- 
lute, without any respect unto the merit or satisfaction of 
Christ, others refer it unto them ; they all contend that 
there is moreover, a righteousness of works required unto 
our justification ; only they say, this is our own incomplete, 
imperfect righteousness, imputed unto us, as if it were per- 
fect, that is, for what it is not ; and not the righteousness of 
Christ imputed unto us for what it is. 

From what hath been discoursed, it is evident that unto 
our justification before God, is required, not only that we 
be freed from the damnatory sentence of the law which we 


are by the pardon of sin, but moreover, ' that the righteous- 
ness of the law be fulfilled in us,* or, that we have a righte- 
ousness answering the obedience that the law requires, 
whereon our acceptance with God, through the riches of his 
grace, and our title unto the heavenly inheritance do depend. 
This we have not in and of ourselves, nor can attain unto, 
as hath been proved. Wherefore, the perfect obedience and 
righteousness of Christ is imputed unto us, or in the sight 
of God we can never be justified. 

Nor are the cavilling objections of the Socinians, and 
those that follow them, of any force against the truth herein. 
They tell us that the righteousness of Christ can be imputed 
but unto one, if unto any. For who can suppose that the 
same righteousness of one should become the righteousness 
of many, even of all that believe. Besides, he performed not 
all the duties that are required of us in all our relations, he 
being never placed in them. These things, I say, are both 
foolish and impious, destructive unto the whole gospel. For 
all things here depend on the ordination of God. It is his 
ordinance that as * through the offence of one many are dead ; 
so his grace, and the gift of grace, through one man Christ 
Jesus hath abounded unto many ; and as by the offence of 
one judgment came upon all men unto condemnation, so by 
the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all unto 
the righteousness of life, and by the obedience of one many 
are made righteous ;' as the apostle argues, Rom. v. ' For 
God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for 
sin, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in 
us;' Rom. viii. 3, 4. For he was ' the end of the law' (the 
whole end of it) ' for righteousness unto them that do be- 
lieve ;' chap. X. 4. This is the appointment of the wisdom, 
righteousness, and grace of God, that the whole righteous- 
ness and obedience of Christ should be accepted as our 
complete righteousness before him, imputed unto us by his 
grace, and applied unto us or made ours through believing, 
and consequently unto all that believe. And if the actual 
sin of Adam be imputed unto us all, who derive our nature 
from him unto condemnation, though he sinned not in our 
circumstances and relations, is it strange that the actual 
obedience of Christ should be imputed unto them who de- 
rive a spiritual nature from him, unto the justification of life ? 


Besides, both the satisfaction and obedience of Christ, as 
relating unto his person, were in some sense infinite, that is, 
of an infinite value, and so cannot be considered in parts, 
as though one part of it were imputed unto one, and an- 
other unto another, but the whole is imputed unto every 
one that doth believe ; and if the Israelites could say, that 
David was worth ' ten thousand of them,' 2 Sam. xviii. 3. 
we may well allow the Lord Christ, and so what he did and 
suffered, to be more than us all, and all that we can do 
and suffer. 

There are also sundry other mistakes that concur unto 
that part of the charge against the imputation of the righte- 
ousness of Christ unto us, which we have now considered. 
I say of his righteousness; for the apostle in this case useth 
those two words diKaiojfxa, and vTra/coj) righteousness and obe- 
dience, as [(Todwa/jLovvra, of the same signification ; Rom. v. 
18, 19. such are those, that remission of sin and justification 
are the same, or that justification consisteth only in the re- 
mission of sin ; that faith itself as our act and duty, beino* 
it is the condition of the covenant, is imputed unto us for 
righteousness ; or that we have a personal inherent righte- 
ousness of our own, that one way or other is our righteous- 
ness before God unto justification ; either a condition it is, 
or a disposition unto it ; or hath a congruity in deserving 
the grace of justification, or a downright merit of condignity 
thereof. For all these are but various expressions of the 
same thing, according unto the variety of the conceptions 
of the minds of men about it. But they have been all con- 
sidered and removed in our precedent discourses. 

To close this argument, and our vindication of it, and 
therewithal to obviate an objection, I do acknowledge that 
our blessedness and life eternal, is in the Scripture ofttimes 
ascribed unto the death of Christ : but it is so, 1. kqt l^oxrjv 
as the principal cause of the whole, and as that without 
which no imputation of obedience could have justified us • 
for the penalty of the law was indispensably to be undergone.' 
2. It is so Kara (rvyjEveiav ; not exclusively unto all obedi- 
ence, whereof mention is made in other places, but as that 
whereunto it is inseparably conjoined ; ' Christus in vita 
passivam habuit actionem ; in morte passionem activam 
sustinuit ; dum salutem operaretur in medio terrse.' Ber- 


nard. And so it is also ascribed unta his resurrection kut 
iv^H^iv, with respect unto evidence and manifestation. But 
the death of Christ exclusively as unto his obedience, is no- 
where asserted as the cause of eternal life, comprising that 
exceeding weight of glory wherewith it is accompanied. 

Hitherto we have treated of and vindicated the imputa- 
tion of the active obedience of Christ unto us, as the truth 
of it was deduced from the preceding argument about the 
obligation of the law of creation. I shall now briefly con- 
firm it with other reasons and testimonies. 

1. That which Christ the mediator and surety of the 
covenant, did do in obedience unto God, in the discharge 
and performance of his office, that he did for us, and that 
is imputed unto us. This hath been proved already, and it 
hath too great an evidence of truth to be denied. He was 
'born to us, given to us;' Isa. ix. 6. * For what the law 
could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God 
sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for 
sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of 
the law might be fulfilled in us ;' Rom. viii. 3, 4. Whatever 
is spoken of the grace, love, and purpose of God in sending 
or giving his Son, or of the love, grace, and condescension 
of the Son in coming and undertaking of the work of re- 
demption designed unto him, or of the office itself of a me- 
diator or surety, gives testimony unto- this assertion. Yea, 
it is the fundamental principle of the gospel, and of the 
faith of all that truly believe. As for those by whom the 
divine person and satisfaction of Christ are denied, whereby 
they avert the whole work of his mediation, we do not at 
present consider them. Wherefore what he so did, is to be 
inquired into. And, 

1. The Lord Christ our mediator and surety, was in his 
human nature made vno vojuov, * under the law ;' Gal. iv. 1. 
That he was not so for himself, by the necessity of his con- 
dition, we have proved before. It was therefore for us. But 
as made under the law, he yielded obedience unto it; this 
therefore was for us, and is imputed unto us- The exception 
of the Socinians, that it is the judicial law only that is in- 
tended, is too frivolous to be insisted on. For he was made 
under that law whose curse we are delivered from. And if 
we are delivered only from the curse of the law of Moses, 


wiierein they contend that there was neither promises nor 
threatening of eternal things, of any thing beyond this pre- 
sent life, we are still in our sins, under the curse of the moral 
law, notwithstanding all that he hath done for us. It is 
excepted with more colour of sobriety, that he was made 
under the law only as to the curse of it. But it is plain in 
the text, that Christ was made under the law, as we are un- 
der it. He was made under the law, to redeem them that 
were under the law. And if he was not made so as we are, 
there is no consequence from his being made under it, unto 
our redemption from it. But we were so under the law, as 
not only to be obnoxious unto the curse, but so as to be 
obliged unto all the obedience that it required, as hath been 
proved. And if the Lord Christ hath redeemed us only from 
the curse of it by undergoing it, leaving us in ourselves to 
answer its obligation unto obedience, we are not freed nor 
delivered. And the expression of ' under the law' doth in the 
first place and properly signify being under the obligation 
of it unto obedience, and consequentially only, with a re- 
spect unto the curse. Gal.iv. 21. Tell me ye that desire 
to be viro vo/ulov, ' under the law ;' they did not desire to be 
under the curse of the law, but only its obligation unto 
obedience ; which in all usage of speech, is the first proper 
sense of that expression. Wherefore, the Lord Christ beino- 
made under the law for us, he yielded perfect obedience 
unto it for us, which is therefore imputed unto us. For 
that what he did, was done for us, depends solely on im- 

2. As he was thus made under the law, so he did actually 
fulfil it by his obedience unto it. So he testifieth concern- 
ing himself; * Think not that I am come to destroy the law 
and the prophets, I am not come to destroy but to fulfil;' 
Matt. V. 17. These words of our Lord Jesus Christ as re- 
corded by the evangelist, the Jews continually object against 
the Christians, as contradictory to what they pretend to be 
done by him, namely, that he hath destroyed and taken 
away the law. And Maimonides in his treatise De funda- 
mentis Legis, hath many blasphemous reflections on the 
Lord Christ as a false prophet in this matter. But the re- 
conciliation is plain and easy. There was a twofold law 
given unto th.e church ; the moral and the ceremonial law. 

VOL. XJ. 2. 


The first as we have proved is of an eternal obligation. The 
other was given only for a time. That the latter of these was 
to be taken away and abolished, the apostle proves with in- 
vincible testimonies out of the Old Testament against the 
obstinate Jews, in his Epistle unto the Hebrews. Yet was 
it not to be taken away without its accomplishment when it 
ceased of itself. Wherefore, our Lord Christ did no other- 
wise dissolve or destroy that law, but by the accomplishment 
of it; and so he did put an end unto it, as is fully declared, 
Eph. ii. 14 — 16. But the law tear' l^oxnv> that which oblig- 
eth all men unto obedience unto God always, he came not 
KaraXixrai, to destroy ; that is a^errirTai, to abolish it, as an 
ci^iTTja-fc is ascribed unto the Mosaical law, Heb. ix. (in the 
same sense is the word used. Matt. xxiv. 2. xxvi. 6. xxvii. 
40. Mark xiii. 2. xiv. 58. xv. 29. Luke xxi 6. Acts v. 38, 39. 
vi. 14. Rom. xiv. 20. 2 Cor. v. i. Gal. ii. 18. mostly with an 
accusative case, of the things spoken of) or KarapyricTai, which 
the apostle denies to be done by Christ, and faith in him. 
Rom. iii. 31. Nojuov ovv KarapjovjuLev Sia Trjg TriaTEwg; jU£ yi' 
voiTO, aXXa vojuLov larCoix^v' * Do we then make void the law 
through faith ? God forbid ; yea, we establish the law.' NojUov 
IcTTuvai is to confirm its obligation unto obedience, which is 
done by faith only with respect unto the moral law, the other 
being evacuated as unto any power of obliging unto obedi- 
ence. This, therefore, is the law which our Lord Christ af- 
firms that he came 'not to destroy;' so he expressly de- 
clares in his ensuing discourse, shewing both its power of 
obliging us always unto obedience, and giving an exposi- 
tion of it. This law the Lord Christ came TrXTjpwcraf. UXiipMcrai 
Tov vofiov, in the Scripture is the same with IfnrXiiaaL tov v6- 
fULov in other writers ; that is, to yield full perfect obedience 
unto the commands of the law, whereby they are absolutely 
fulfilled ; irX-npuiaaL vofiov, is not to make the law perfect ; 
for it was always vofxog TeXEiog, a 'perfect law,' James i. 25. 
but to yield perfect obedience unto it; the same that our 
Saviour calls TrXr^pojaaL Traaav ^iKULoavvrjv , Matt. iii. 15. 'to 
fulfil all righteousness;' that is, by obedience unto all God's 
commands and institutions, as is evident in the place. So 
the apostle useth the same expression, Rom. xiii. 8. ' He that 
loveth another, hath fulfilled the law.' 

ltj>s a vain exception that Christ fulfilled the law by his 


doctrine, in the exposition of it. The opposition between 
the words ir\r]pw<7ai and KaToXixTcii, ' to fulfip and * to destroy/ 
will admit of no such sense. And our Saviour himself ex^- 
pounds this ' fulfilling of the law,' by doing the commands 
ofit^ver. 19. Wherefore, the Lord Christ as our mediator 
and surety fulfilling the law by yielding perfect obedience 
thereunto, he did it for us and to us it is imputed. 

This is plainly affirmed by the apostle, Rom. v. 18, 19. 
' Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all 
men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, 
the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 
For as by the disobedience of one many were made sinners, 
so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.' 
The full plea from, and vindication, of this testimony, I refer 
unto its proper place in the testimonies given unto the im- 
putation of the righteousness of Christ unto our justification 
in general. Here I shall only observe that the apostle ex- 
pressly and in terms affirms that * by the obedience of Christ, 
we are made righteous,' or justified, which we cannot be but 
by the imputation of it unto us. I have met with nothing 
that had the appearance of any sobriety for the eluding of 
this express testimony, but only, that by the obedience of 
Christ, his death and sufferings are intended, wherein he 
was obedient unto God; as the apostle saith,he was 'obe- 
dient unto death; the death of the cross;' Phil. ii. 8. But 
yet there is herein no colour of probability. For, 1. It is 
acknowledged that there was such a near conjunction and 
alliance between the obedience of Christ, and his sufferings, 
that though they may be distinguished, yet can they not be 
separated. He suffered in the whole course of his obedi- 
ence, from the womb to the cross ; and he obeyed in all his 
sufferings unto the last moment wherein he expired. But 
yet are they really things distinct, as we have proved ; 
and they were so in him, who ' learned obedience by the 
things that he suffered ;' Heb. v. 8. 2. In this place vTraxorj 
ver. 19. and StK«tw/xa, ver. 18. are the same: obedience 
and righteousness. By the righteousness of one, and by the 
obedience of one, are the same. But suffering, as suffering, 
is not StKaioijua, is not righteousness ; for if it were, then 
every one that suffers what is due to him, should be righ- 
teous, and so be justified, even the devil himself. 3. The 

z 2 


righteousness and obedience here intended, are opposed rc^ 
TrapaTTTw^art to the offence. ' By the offence of one ;' but 
the offence intended was an actual transgression of the law; 
so is wapaTTTiofia, a fall from, or a fall in, the course of obedi- 
ence. Wherefore the ^ticaiwjua, or righteousness, must be 
an actual obedience unto the commands of the law, or the 
force of the apostle's reasoning and antithesis cannot be un- 
derstood. 4. Particularly it is such an obedience as is 
opposed unto the disobedience of Adam. One man's dis- 
obedience, one man's obedience. But the disobedience of 
Adam was an actual transgression of the law ; and therefore 
the obedience of Christ here intended, was his active obe- 
dience unto the law; which is that we plead for. And I 
shall not at present farther pursue the argument, because 
the force of it, in the confirmation of the truth contended 
for, will be included in those that follow. 


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

That which we plead in the third place unto our purpose, is. 
The difference between the two covenants. And herein it 
may be observed ; 

1. That by the two covenants I understand those which 
were absolutely given unto the whole church, and were all 
to bring it ug TsXeioTriTa, unto a complete and perfect state ; 
that is, the covenant of works, or the law of our creation, as 
it was given unto us, with promises and threatenings, or re- 
wards and punishments annexed unto it; and the covenant 
of grace, revealed and proposed in the first promise. As 
unto the covenant of Sinai, and the new testament as ac- 
tually confirmed in the death of Christ, with all the spiritual 
privileges thence emerging, and the differences between 
them, they belong not unto our present argument. 

2. The whole entire nature of the covenant of works con- 
sisted in this ; That upon our personal obedience, according 
unto the law and rule of it, we should be accepted with God, 
and rewarded with him. Herein the essence of it did con- 


sist. And whatever covenant proceedeth on these terms, 
or hath the nature of them in it, however it may be varied, 
with additions or alterations, is the same covenant still, and 
not another. As in the renovation of the promise wherein 
the essence of the covenant of grace was contained, God did 
ofttimes make other additions unto it, as unto Abraham and 
David ; yet was it still the same covenant for the substance 
of it, and not another ; so whatever variations may be made 
in, or additions unto, the dispensation of the first covenant, 
so long as this rule is retained, *do this and live;' it is 
still the same covenant, for the substance and essence of it. 

3. Hence two things belonged unto this covenant. 1. 
That all things were transacted immediately between God 
and man. There was no mediator in it, no one to undertake 
any thing, either on the part of God or man, between them. 
For the whole depending on every one's personal obedience, 
there was no place for a mediator. 2. That nothing but 
perfect sinless obedience would be accepted with God, or 
preserve the covenant in its primitive state and condition. 
There was nothing in it as to pardon of sin, no provision for 
any defect in personal obedience. 

4. Wherefore, this covenant being once established be- 
tween God and man, there could be no new covenant made, 
unless the essential form of it were of another nature ; namely, 
that our own personal obedience be not the rule and cause 
of our acceptation and justification before God. For whilst 
this is so, as was before observed, the covenant is still the 
same ; however the dispensation of it may be reformed or 
reduced, to suit unto our present state and condition. 
What grace soever might be introduced into it, that could 
not be so, which excluded all works from being the cause 
of our justification. But if a new covenant be made, such 
grace must be provided as is absolutely inconsistent with 
any works of ours, as unto the first ends of the covenant, 
as the apostle declares, Rom. xi. 6. 

5. Wherefore, the covenant of grace, supposing it a new, 
real, absolute covenant, and not a reformation of the dispen- 
sation of the old, or a reduction of it unto the use of our 
present condition (as some imagine it to be), must differ in 
the essence, substance, and nature of it from that first cove- 
nant of works. And this it cannot do, if we are to be jus- 


tified before God on our personal obedience, wherein the 
.€ssence of the first covenant consisted. If then the righte- 
ousness wherewith we are justified before God, be our own, 
our own personal righteousness ; we are yet under the first 
covenant, and no other. 

6. But things in the new covenant are indeed quite other- 
wise. For, 1. It is of grace, which wholly excludes works ; 
that is, so of grace, as that our own works are not the means 
of justification before God; as in the places before alleged. 
2. It hath a mediator and surety, which is built alone on 
this supposition, that whatwe cannot do in ourselves, which 
was originally required of us, and what the law of the first 
covenant cannot enable us to perform, that should be per- 
formed for us, by our Mediator and Surety. And if this be 
not included in the very first notion of a mediator and surety, 
yet it is in that of a mediator or surety that doth voluntarily 
interpose himself upon an open acknowledgment, that those 
for vv'hom he undertakes, were utterly insufficient to perform 
what was required of them ; on which supposition all the 
truth of the Scripture doth depend. It is one of the very 
first notions of Christian religion, that the Lord Christ was 
given to us, born to us, that he came as a mediator, to do 
for us what we could not do for ourselves, and not merely to 
suffer what we had deserved. And here, instead of our own 
righteousness, we have the righteousness of God ; instead of 
being righteous in ourselves before God, he is the Lord our 
righteousness. And nothing but a righteousness of another 
kind and nature, unto justification before God, could consti- 
tute another covenant. Wherefore, the righteousness where- 
by we are justified, is the righteousness of Christ imputed 
unto us, or we are still under the law, under the covenant of 

It will be said that our personal obedience is by none 
asserted to be the righteousness wherewith we are justified 
before God, in the same manner as it was under the cove- 
nani of works. But the argument speaks not as unto the 
manner or way whereby it is so ; but to the thing itself. If 
it be so in any way or manner, under what qualifications 
soever, we are under that covenant still. If it be of works 
any way, it is not of grace at all. But it is added, that the 
differences are such as are sufficient to constitute covenants 


effectually distinct. As, 1. The perfect sinless obedience 
was required in the first covenant ; but in the new, that 
which is imperfect and accompanied with many sins and 
failings, is accepted. Ans, This is * gratis dictum,' and 
begs the question. No righteousness unto justification be- 
fore God, is or can be accepted, but what is perfect. 
2. Grace is the original fountain and cause of all our ac- 
ceptation before God in the new covenant. Ans. It was so 
also in the old. The creation of man in original righteous- 
ness was an effect of divine grace, benignity, and goodness. 
And the reward of eternal life in the enjoyment of God, was 
of mere sovereign grace; yet what was then of works, was 
not of grace, no more is it at present. 3. There would then 
have been merit of works, which is now excluded, Ans. Such 
a merit as ariseth from an equality and proportion between 
works and reward, by the rule of commutative justice, would 
not have been in the works of the first covenant ; and in no 
other sense is it now rejected by them that oppose the im- 
putation of the righteousness of Christ. 4. All is now re- 
solved into the merit of Christ, upon the account whereof 
aloae, our own personal righteousness is accepted before 
God unto our justification. Am. The question is not on 
what account, nor for what reason it is so accepted, but 
whether it be or no ; seeing its so being is effectually con- 
stitutive of a covenant of works. 


The exclusion of all sorts of works from an interest in justificatioji. What 
intended by the law, and the works of it y in the epistles of Paul. 

We shall take our fourth argument from the express ex- 
clusion of all works of what sort soever from our justifi- 
cation before God. For this alone is that which we plead ; 
namely, that no acts or works of our own, are the causes or 
conditions of our justification; but that the whole of it is 
resolved into the free grace of God, through Jesus Christ, 
as the mediator and surety of the covenant. To this pur- 


pose the Scripture speaks expressly, Rom. iii. 28. 'There" 
fore we conclude, that a man is justified by faith, without 
the works of the law.' Rom. iv. 5. ' But unto him that 
worketh not, but believe th on him that justifieth the un- 
godly, his faith is counted for righteousness.' Rom. xi, 6. 
' If it be of grace, then is it not of works.' Gal. ii. 16. 
* Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the 
law, but l3y the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed 
in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of 
Christ, and not by the works of the law : for by the works 
of the law, shall no flesh be justified.' Eph. ii. 8, 9. 'For 
by grace are ye saved through faith. Not of works, lest any 
man should boast.' Tit. iii. 5. ' Not by works of righteous- 
ness, which we have done, but according unto his mercy he 
hath saved us.*^ 

These and the like testimonies are express, and in posi- 
tive terms assert all that we contend for. And I am per- 
suaded, that no unprejudiced person, whose mind is not 
prepossessed with notions and distinctions, whereof not the 
least title is offered unto them from the texts mentioned nor 
elsewhere, can but judge that the law in every sense of it, 
and all sorts of works whatever, that at any time, or by any 
means sinners or believers, do or can perform, are not in this 
or that sense, but every way and in all senses, excluded 
from our justification before God. And if it be so, it is the 
righteousness of Christ alone that we must betake ourselves 
unto or this matter must cease for ever. And this inference 
the apostle himself makes from one of the testimonies be- 
fore-mentioned, namely, that of Gal. ii. 16. for he adds upon, 
it ; * I through the law am dead to the law, that I might 
live unto God. I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I 
live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life which I 
now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, 
who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate 
the grace of God ; for if righteousness come by the law, 
then is Christ dead in vain.' 

Our adversaries are extremely divided amongst them- 
selves, and can come unto no consistency, as to the sense 
and meaning of the apostle in these assertions ; for what is 
proper and obvious unto the understanding of all men, es- 
pecially from the opposition that is made between the law 


and works on the one hand, and faith, grace, and Christ on 
the other (which are opposed as inconsistent in this matter 
of our justification), they will not allow, nor can do so with- 
out the ruin of the opinions they plead for. Wherefore, their 
various conjectures shall be examined, as well to shew their 
inconsistency among themselves, by whom the truth is op- 
posed, as to confirm our present argument. 

1. Some say it is the ceremonial law alone, and the works 
of it that are intended ; or the law as given untO' Moses on 
mount Sinai, containing that entire covenant that was after- 
ward to be abolished. This was of old the common opinion 
of the schoolmen, though it be now generally exploded. 
And the opinion lately contended for, that the apostle Paul 
excludes justification from the works of the law, not because 
no man can yield that perfect obedience which the law re- 
quires, or excludes works absolutely perfect, and sinless 
obedience; but because the law itself, which he intends, 
could not justify any by the observation of it, is nothing but 
the renovation of this obsolete notion, that it is the ceremo- 
nial law only, or which upon the matter is all one, the law 
given on mount Sinai, abstracted from the grace of the pro- 
mise, which could not justify any, in the observation of its 
rites and commands. But of all other conjectures, this is 
the most impertinent and contradictory unto the design of 
the apostle, and is therefore rejected by Bellarmine himself. 
For the apostle treats of that law whose doers shall be jus- 
tified; chap. ii. 13. And the authors of this opinion would 
have it to be a law that can justify none of them that do it. 
That law he intends whereby is the knowledge of sin ; for 
he gives this reason, why we cannot be justified by the 
works of it, namely, because by it, * is the knowledge of sin;' 
chap. iii. 20. And by what law is the knowledge of sin, he 
expressly, declares, where he affirms, that he * had not 
known lust, except the law had said. Thou shalt not covet,* 
chap. vii. 7. which is the moral law alone. That law he 
designs, which stops the mouth of all sinners, and makes 
all the world obnoxious unto the judgment of God; chap, 
iii. 19. Which none can do but the law written in the heart 
of men at their creation ; chap. ii. 14, 15. That law which 
if a man * do the works of it, he shall live in them ;' Gal. 
iii. 12. Rom. x. 5. and which brings all men under the 


curse for sin ; Gal. iii. 10. The law that is established by 
faith and not made void, Rom. iii. 31. which the ceremo- 
nial law is not, nor the covenant of Sinai. The law whose 
righteousness is * to be fulfilled in us ;' Rom. viii. 4. And 
the instance which the apostle gives of justification without 
the works of that law which he intends, namely, that of 
Abraham, was some hundreds of years before the giving of 
the ceremonial law. Neither yet do I say that the ceremo- 
nial law and the works of it are excluded from the intention 
of the apostle ; for when that law was given, the observa- 
tion of it was an especial instance of that obedience we owed 
unto the first table of the decalogue ; and the exclusion of 
the works thereof from our justification; inasmuch as the 
performance of them was part of that moral obedience which 
we owed unto God, is exclusive of all other works also. 
But that it is alone here intended, or that law which could 
never justify any by its observation, although it was ob- 
served in due manner, is a fond imagination, and contra- 
dictory to the express assertion of the apostle. And what- 
ever is pretended to the contrary, this opinion is expressly 
rejected by Augustine, lib. de Spirit, et liter, cap. 8. ' Ne 
quisquam putaret hie apostolum dixisse ea lege neminem 
justificari, quae in sacramentis veteribus multa continet 
figurata preecepta, unde etiam est ista circumcisio carnis, 
continuo subjungit, quam dixerit legem et addit ; per legem 
cognitio peccati.' And to the same purpose he -speaks 
again, Epist. 200. * Non solum ilia opera legis quse sunt in 
veteribus sacramentis, et nunc revelato testamento novo 
non observantur a Christianis, sicut est circumcisio prse- 
putii, et sabbati carnalis vacatio ; et a quibusdam escis ab- 
stinentia, etpecorumin sacrificiis immolatio, etneomeniaet 
azymum, et csetera hujusmodi, verum etiam illud quod in 
lege dictum est, non concupisces, quod ubique et Christia- 
nus nuUus ambigit esse dicendum, non justificat hominem, 
nisi per fidem Jesu Christi, et gratiam Dei per Jesum Chris- 
tum dominum nostrum.* 

2. Some say the apostle only excludes the perfect works 
required by the law of innocency, which is a sense diame- 
trically opposite unto that foregoing. But this bestpleaseth 
the Socinians. * Paulus agit de operibus et perfectis in hoc 
dicto, ideo enim adjecit, sine operibus, legis, ut indicaretur 


ioqui eum de operibus a lege requisitis, et sic de perpetua 
et perfectissima divinorum praeceptorum obedientia sicut 
lex requirit. Cum autem talem obedientiam qualem lex re- 
quirit nemo praestare possit, ideo siibjecit apostolus nos 
justificari fide, id est, fiducia et obedientia ea quantum quis- 
que praestare potest, et quotidie quani maximum praestare 
studet, et connititur. Sine operibus legis, id est, etsi inte- 
rim perfecte totam legem sicut debebat complere nequit ;* 
saith Socinus himself. But, l.We have herein the whole 
granted of what we plead for ; namely, that it is the moral 
indispensable law of God that is intended by the apostle ; 
and that by the works of it no man can be justified, yea, 
that all the works of it are excluded from our justification ; 
for it is, saith the apostle, * without works.' The works of 
this law being performed according unto it, will justify them 
that perform them, as he affirms, chap. ii. 13. and the Scrip- 
ture elsewhere witnesseth that * he that doth them, shall live 
in them.' But because this can never be done by any sin- 
ner, therefore all consideration of them is excluded from our 
justification. 2. It is a wild imagination that the dispute 
of the apostle is to this purpose ; that the perfect works of 
the law will not justify us, but imperfect works, which an- 
swer not the law, will do so. 3. Granting the law intended 
to be the moral law of God, the law of our creation, there is 
no such distinction intimated in the least by the apostle, that 
we are not justified by the perfect works of it which we can- 
not perform, but by some imperfect works that we can per- 
form, and labour so to do. Nothing is more foreign unto 
the design and express words of his whole discourse. 4. The 
evasion which they betake themselves unto, that the apo- 
stle opposeth justification by faith unto that of works which 
he excludes, is altogether vain in this sense. For they 
would have this faith to be our obedience unto the divine 
commands in that imperfect manner which we can attain 
unto. For when the apostle hath excluded all such justifi- 
cation by the law and the works thereof, he doth not advance 
in opposition unto them and in their room, our own faith 
and obedience; but adds, 'being justified freely by his 
grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ : whom 
God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his 


3. Some of late among ourselves, and they want not them 
who have gone before them, affirm that the works which 
the apostle excludes from justification, are only the out- 
ward works of the law, performed without an inward prin- 
ciple of faith, fear, or the love of God. Servile works, at- 
tended unto from a respect unto the threatening of the law, 
are those which will not justify us. But this opinion is not 
only false but impious. For, 1. The apostle excludes the 
works of Abraham, which were not such outward servile 
works as are imagined. 2. The works excluded are those 
which the law requires ; and the law is holy, just, and good. 
But a law that requires only outward works without inter- 
nal love to God, is neither holy, just, nor good. 3. The 
law condemns all such works as are separated from the in- 
ternal principle of faith, fear, and love, for it requires that 
in all our obedience we should love the Lord our God with 
all our hearts. And the apostle saith, that we are not jus- 
tified by the works which the law condemns, but not by 
them which the law commands. 4. It is highly reflexive 
on the honour of God, that he unto whose divine preroga- 
tive it belongs to know the hearts of men alone, and there- 
fore regards them alone in all the duties of their obedience, 
should give a law requiring outward servile works only; for 
if the law intended require more, then are not those the only 
works excluded. 

4. Some say in general it is the Jewish law that is in- 
tended, and think thereby to cast off the whole difficulty. 
But if by the Jewish law they intend only the ceremonial 
law, or the law absolutely as given by Moses, we have al- 
ready shewed the vanity of that pretence. But if they mean 
thereby the whole law or rule of obedience given unto the 
church of Israel under the Old Testament, they express 
much of the truth, it may be more than they designed. 

5. Some say that it is works with a conceit of merit, that 
makes the reward to be of debt, and not of grace, that are 
excluded by the apostle. But no such distinction appear- 
eth in the text or context. For,^ 1. The apostle excludeth 
all works of the law, that is, that the law requireth of us in 
a way of obedience, be they of what sort they will.. 2. The 
law requireth no works with a conceit of merit. 3. Works 
of the law originally, included no merit, as that which aris- 


eth from the proportion of one thing unto another in the 
balance of justice, and in that sense only is it rejected by 
those who plead for an interest of works in justification. 
4. The merit which the apostle excludes, is that which is 
inseparable from works, so that it cannot be excluded, un- 
less the works themselves be so. And unto their merit two 
things concur: 1. A comparative boasting, that is, not 
absolutely in the sight of God, which follows the ' meritum 
ex condigno,' which some poor sinful mortals have fancied 
in their works ; but that which gives one man a preference 
above another in the obtaining of justification, which grace 
will not allow; chap. iv. 2. 2. That the reward be not ab- 
solutely of grace, but that respect be had therein unto works, 
which makes it so far to be of debt ; not out of an internal 
condignity which would not have been under the law of cre- 
ation, but out of some congruity with respect unto the pro- 
mise of God, ver. 4. In these two regards merit is insepa- 
rable from works ; and the Holy Ghost utterly to exclude it, 
excludeth all works from which it is inseparable, as it is 
from all. Wherefore, 5. The apostle speaks not one word 
about the exclusion of the merit of works only ; but he 
excludeth all works whatever, and that by this argument, 
that the admission of them, would necessarily introduce me- 
rit in the sense described, which is inconsistent with grace. 
And although some think that they are injuriously dealt 
withal, when they are charged with maintaining of merit 
in their asserting the influence of our works into our jus- 
tification ; yet those of them who best understand them- 
selves, and the controversy itself, are not so averse from 
some kind of merit, as knowing that it is inseparable from 

6. Some contend that the apostle excludes only works 
wrought before believing, in the strength of our own wills 
and natural abilities, without the aid of grace. Works they 
suppose required by the law are such as we perform by the 
direction and command of the law alone. But the law of 
faith requireth works in the strength of the supplies of grace, 
which are not excluded. This is that which the most learned 
and judicious of the church of Rome do now generally be- 
take themselves unto. Those who amongst us plead for 
works in our justification, as they use many distinctions to 


explain their minds, and free their opinion from a coinci- 
dence with that of the Papists ; so as yet, they deny the 
name of merit, and the thing itself in the sense of the 
church of Rome, as it is renounced likewise by all the So- 
cinians. Wherefore, they make use of the preceding eva*^ 
sion, that merit is excluded by the apostle, and works only 
as they are meritorious, although the apostle's plain ar- 
gument be, that they are excluded because such a merit as 
is inconsistent with grace, is inseparable from their ad- 

But the Roman church cannot so part with merit. Where- 
fore, they are to find out a sort of works to be excluded only, 
which they are content to part withal as not meritorious. 
Such are those before described, wrought as they say before 
believing, and without the aids of grace ; and such they say, 
are all the works of the law. And this they do with some 
more modesty and sobriety, than those amongst us, who 
would have only external works and observances to be in- 
tended. For they grant that sundry internal works, as those 
of attrition, sorrow for sin, and the like, are of this nature. 
But the works of the law it is they say that are excluded. 
But this whole plea, and all the sophisms wherewith it is 
countenanced, hath been so discussed and defeated by Pro- 
testant writers of all sorts against Bellarmine and others, as 
that it is needless to repeat the same things, or to add any 
thing unto theni. And it will be sufficiently evinced of 
falsehood, in what we shall immediately prove concerning 
the law and works intended by the apostle. However the 
heads of the demonstration of the truth to the contrary 
may be touched on. And, 1. The apostle excludeth all 
works without distinction or exception. And we are not 
to distinguish where the law doth not distinguish before us. 

2. All the works of the law are excluded, therefore all 
works wrought after believing by the aids of grace, are 
excluded. For they are all required by the law ; see Psal. 
cxix. 35. Rom. vii. 22. Works not required by the law, are 
no less an abomination to God, than sins against the law. 

3. The works of believers after conversion, performed by 
the aids of grace, are expressly excluded by the apostle. 
So are those of Abraham after he had been a believer mUny 
years, and abounded in them unto the praise of God. So he 


excludeth his own works after his conversion. Gal. ii. 16. 
1 Cor. iv. 4. Phil. iii. 9. And so he excludeth the works of 
all other believers; Eph. ii. 9, 10. 4. All works are ex- 
cluded that might give countenance unto boasting, Rom. 
iv. 2. iii. 17. Eph. ii. 9. 1 Cor. i. 29—31. But this is done 
more by the good works of regenerate persons, than by any 
works of unbelievers. 5. The law required faith and love 
in all our works, and therefore if all the works of the law be 
excluded, the best works of believers are so. 6. All works 
are excluded which are opposed unto grace working freely 
in our justification. But this all works whatever are, Rom. 
xi. 6. 7. In the Epistle unto the Galatians the apostle 
doth exclude from our justification all those works which 
the false teachers pressed as necessary thereunto. But they 
urged the necessity of the works of believers, and those which 
were by grace already converted unto God. For those 
upon whom they pressed them unto this end were already 
actually so. 8. They are good works that the apostle 
excludeth from our justification. For there can be no pre- 
tence of justification by those works that are not good, or 
which have not all things essentially requisite to make them 
so. But such are all the works of unbelievers, performed 
without the aids of grace ; they are not good, nor as such 
accepted with God ; but want what is essentially requisite 
unto the constitution of good works. And it is ridiculous 
to think that the apostle disputes about the exclusion of 
such works from our justification, as no man in his wits 
would think to have any place therein. 9. The reason whv 
no man can be justified by the law, is because no man can 
yield perfect obedience thereunto. For by perfect obedi- 
ence the law will justify, Rom. ii. 13. x. 5. Wherefore, all 
works are excluded that are not absolutely perfect. But 
this the best works of believers are not ; as we have proved 
before. 10. If there be a reserve for the works of be- 
lievers performed by the aid of grace in our justification, it 
is, that either they may be concauses thereof, or be indis- 
pensably subservient unto those things that are so. That 
they are concauses of our justification, is not absolutely af- 
firmed ; neither can it be said that they are necessarily sub- 
servient unto them that are so. They are not so unto the 
efficient cause thereof, which is the grace and favour of 


God alone, Rom. iii. 24, 25. iv. 16. Eph. ii. 8, 9. Rev. i. 6. 
Nor are they so unto the meritorious cause of it, which is 
Christ alone ; Acts xiii. 38. xxvi. 18. 1 Cor. i. 30. 2 Cor. v. 
18 — 21. Nor unto the material cause of it; which is the 
righteousness of Christ alone ; Rom. x. 3, 4. Nor are they 
so unto faith in what place soever it be stated. For not 
only is faith only mentioned, wherever we are taught the 
way how the righteousness of Christ is derived and commu- 
nicated unto us ; without any intimation of the conjunction 
of works with it ; but also, as unto our justification they 
are placed in opposition and contradiction one to the other, 
Rom. iii. 28. And sundry other things are pleadable unto 
the same purpose. 

7. Some affirm that the apostle excludes all works from 
Gur first justification, but not from the second; or, as some 
speak, the continuation of our justification. But we have 
before examined these distinctions, and found them ground- 

Evident it is, therefore, that men put themselves into an 
uncertain, slippery station, where they know not what to 
fix upon, nor wherein to find any such appearance of truth 
as to give them countenance in denying the plain and fre- 
quently repeated assertion of the apostle. 

Wherefore, in the confirmation of the present argument, 
I shall more particularly inquire into what it is, that the 
apostle intends by the law and works whereof he treats. For 
as unto our justification whatever they are, they are abso- 
lutely and universally opposed unto grace, faith, the righte- 
ousness of God, and the blood of Christ, as those which are 
altogether inconsistent with them. Neither can this be 
denied or questioned by any, seeing it is the plain design of 
the. apostle to evince that inconsistency. 

1. Wherefore in general, it is evident that the apostle by 
the law and the works thereof intended, what the Jews with 
whom he had to do, did understand by the law and their own 
whole obedience thereunto. I suppose this cannot be de- 
nied. Forwithout a concession of it, there is nothing proved 
against them, nor are they in any thing instructed by him. 
Suppose those terms equivocal and to be taken in one sense 
by him, and by them in another, and nothing can be rightly 
concluded from what is spoken of them. Wherefore, the 


meaning of these terms the law and works, the apostle takes 
for granted as very well known, and agreed on between him- 
self and those with whom he had to do. 

2. The Jews by the law intended what the Scriptures of 
the Old Testament meant by that expression. For they are 
nowhere blamed for any false notion concerning the law, 
or that they esteemed any thing to be so, but what was so 
indeed, and what was so called in the Scripture. Their pre- 
sent oral law was not yet hatched, though the Pharisees were 
brooding of it. 

3. The law under the Old Testament, doth immediately 
refer unto the law given at mount Sinai, nor is there any 
distinct mention of it before. This is commonly called the 
law absolutely ; but most frequently the law of God, the 
law of the Lord; and sometimes the law of Moses, because 
of his especial ministry in the giving of it. * Remember the 
law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him ;' 
Mai. iv. 4. And this the Jews intended by the law. 

4. Of the law so given at Horeb, there was a distribution 
into three parts. 1. There was CDnin nnDj; Deut. iv. 13. 
'the ten words ;' so also chap. x. 4. that is, the ten command- 
ments written in two tables of stone. This part of the law 
was first given ; was the foundation of the whole, and con- 
tained that perfect obedience which was required of mankind 
by the law of creation, and was now received into the 
church, with the highest attestations of its indispensable 
obligation mito obedience or punishment. 2. £ZD>pn which 
the LXX render by ^ncaLwiiara, that is 'jura ;' ' rites' or ' sta- 
tutes ;' but the Latin from thence *justificationes,' 'justifica- 
tions,' which hath given great occasion of mistake in many 
both ancient and modern divines. We call it the ceremo- 
nial law. The apostle terms this part of the law distinctly, 
vofxog IvTokwv iv ^oyjiaaL, Eph. ii. 15. ' The law of command- 
ments contained in ordinances ;* that is, consisting in a 
multitude of arbitrary commands. 3. CZ3>nDt:^D which we 
commonly call the judicial law. This distribution of the 
law shuts up the Old Testament, as it is used in places 
innumerable before, only the annn rnnu;^; ' the ten words,' 
is expressed by the general word niin ' the law,' Mai. iv. 4. 

5. These being the parts of the law given unto the church 
in Sinai, the whole of it is constantly called nniD 'the law,* 
y OL. XI. 2 a 


that is, the instruction (as the word signifies) that God 
gave unto the church, in the rule of obedience which he 
prescribed unto it. This is the constant signification of that 
word in Scripture, where it is taken absolutely ; and thereon 
doth not signify precisely the law as given at Horeb, but 
comprehends with it all the revelations that God made 
under the Old Testament, in the explanation and confirma- 
tion of that law, in rules, motives, directions, and enforce- 
ments of obedience. 

6. Wherefore mm ' the law' is the whole rule of obedi- 
ence which God gave to the church under the Old Testa- 
ment, with all the efficacy wherewith it was accompanied by 
the ordinances of God, including in it all the promises and 
threatenings, that might be motives unto the obedience that 
God did require. This is that which God and the church 
called the law under the Old Testament, and which the Jews 
so called with whom our apostle had to do. That which we 
call the moral law was the foundation of the whole ; and 
those parts of it which we call the judicial and ceremonial 
law, were peculiar instances of the obedience whicli the 
church under the Old Testament was obliged unto, in the 
especial polity and divine worship, which at that season 
were necessary unto it. And two things doth the Scripture 
testify unto concerning this law. 

1. That it was a perfect complete rule of all that internal, 
spiritual, and moral obedience which God required of the 
church. ' The law of the Lord is perfect converting the 
soul, the testimony of the Lord is sure making wise the sim- 
ple;' Psal. xix. 7. And it was so of all the external duties of 
obedience, for matter and manner, time and season ; that in 
both, the church might walk ' acceptably before God ;' Isa. 
viii. 20. And although the original duties of the moral part 
of the law are often preferred before the particular instances 
of obedience in duties of outward worship ; yet the whole 
law was always the whole rule of all the obedience, internal 
and external, that God required of the church, and which he 
accepted in them that did believe. 

2. That this law, this rule of obedience, as it was or- 
dained of God to be the instrument of his rule of the church, 
and by virtue of the covenant made with Abraham unto 
whose administration it was adapted, and which its intro- 


duction on Sinai did not disannul, was accompanied with a 
power and efficacy enabling unto obedience. The law it- 
self, as merely preceptive and commanding, administered no 
power or ability unto those that were under its authority to 
yield obedience unto it ; no more do the mere commands of 
the gospel. Moreover, under the Old Testament it enforced 
obedience on the minds and consciences of men, by the man- 
ner of its first delivery, and the severity of its sanction, so 
as to fill them with fear and bondage ; and was besides ac- 
companied with such burdensome rules of outward worship, 
as made it a heavy yoke unto the people. But as it was 
God's doctrine, teaching, instruction in all acceptable obe- 
dience unto himself, and was adapted unto the covenant of 
Abraham, it was accompanied with an administration of ef- 
fectual grace, procuring and promoting obedience in the 
church. And the law is not to be looked on as separated 
from those aids unto obedience, which God administered 
under the Old Testament, whose effects are therefore ascribed 
unto the law itself. See Psal. i. xix. cxix. 

2. This being the law in the sense of the apostle, and 
those with whom he had to do, our next inquiry is, what was 
their sense of works, or works of the law ? And I say it is 
plain that they intended hereby, the universal sincere obe- 
dience of the church unto God, according unto this law. 
And other works, the law of God acknowledgeth not; yea, 
it expressly condemns all works that have any such defect 
in them, as to render them unacceptable unto God. Hence 
notwithstanding all the commands that God had positively 
given for the strict observance of sacrifices, offerings, and 
the like ; yet, when the people performed them without faith 
and love, he expressly affirms that he ' commanded them not,' 
that is, to be observed in such a manner. In these works, 
therefore, consisted their personal righteousness, as they 
walked ' in all the commandments and ordinances of the law 
blameless,' Luke i. 6. wherein they did 'instantly serve God 
day and night ;' Acts xxvi. 7. And this they esteemed to be 
their own righteousness, their righteousness according unto 
the law, as really it was ; Phil. iii. 6. 9. For although the** 
Pharisees had greatly corrupted the doctrine of the law, and 
put false glosses on sundry pjecepts of it; yet that the church 
in those days did by the works of the law, understand either 

2 a2 



ceremonial duties only, or external works, or works with a 
conceit of merit, or works wrought without an internal prin- 
ciple of faith and love to God, or any thing but their own 
personal sincere obedience unto the whole doctrine and rule 
of the law, there is nothing that should give the least colour 
of imagination. For, 

1. All this is perfectly stated in the suffrage which the 
Scribe gave unto the declaration of the sense and design of 
the law, with the nature of the obedience which it doth re- 
quire, and was made at his request by our blessed Saviour, 
Mark xii. 28 — 33. 'And one of the Scribes came and hav- 
ing heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he 
had answered them well, asked him, which is the first com- 
mandment of all ;' or as it it is. Matt. xxii. 36. ' Which is the 
great commandment in the law? And Jesus answered him. 
The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the 
Lord our God is one Lord ; and thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with 
all thy mind, and with all thy strength ; this is the first com- 
mandment. And the second is like, namely this. Thou shalt 
love thy neighbour as thyself. And the Scribe said unto 
him. Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one 
God, and there is none but he. And to love him with all 
the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the 
soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as 
himself, is more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.' 
And this so expressly given by Moses as the sum of the law, 
namely, faith and love, as the principle of all our obedience, 
Deut. vi. 4, 5. that it is marvellous what should induce any 
learned sober person to fix upon any other sense of it ; as 
that it respected ceremonial or external works only, or such 
as may be wrought without faith or love. This is the law 
concerning which the apostle disputes, and this the obedi- 
ence wherein the works of it do consist. And more than this, 
in the way of obedience God never did nor will require of 
any in this world. Wherefore, the law and the works thereof, 
which the apostle excludeth from justification, is that where- 
by we are obliged to believe in God as one God, the only 
God, and love him with all our hearts and souls, and our 
neighbours as ourselves. And what works there are, or can 
be in any persons regenerate or not regenerate, to be per- 


formed in the strength of grace, or without it, that are ac- 
ceptable unto God, that may not be reduced unto these 
heads, I know not. 

2. The apostle himself declareth, that it is the law and 
the works of it in the sense we have expressed, that he ex- 
cludeth from our justification. 

For the law he speaks of, is the ' law of righteousness,* 
Rom. ix. 31. The law whose righteousness is to be ' fulfilled 
in us/ that we may be accepted with God, and freed from 
condemnation, chap. viii. 5. That in obedience whereunto, 
our own personal righteousness doth consist, whether that we 
judge so, before conversion, Rom. x. 3. or what is so after 
it, Phil. iii. 9. The law which if a man observe, * he shall 
live,' and be justified before God, Rom. ii. 13. Gal. iii. 12. 
Rom. x. 5. That law which is ' holy, just, and good,* which 
discovereth and condemneth all sin whatever, Rom. vii. 7. 9. 

From what hath been discoursed, these two things are 
evident in the confirmation of our present argument. 1. 
That the law intended by the apostle, when he denies that 
by the works of the law any can be justified, is the entire rule 
and guide of our obedience unto God, even as unto the 
whole frame and spiritual constitution of our souls, with all 
the acts of obedience or duties that he requireth of us. And 
2. That the works of this law which he so frequently and 
plainly excludeth from our justification, and therein op- 
poseth to the grace of God, and the blood of Christ, are all 
the duties of obedience, internal, supernatural, external, ri- 
tual, however we are or may be enabled to perform them, 
that God requireth of us. And these things excluded, it is 
the righteousness of Christ alone imputed unto us, on the 
account whereof we are justified before God. 

The truth is, so far as I can discern, the real difference 
that is at this day amongst us about the doctrine of our jus- 
tification before God, is the same that was between the apo- 
stle and the Jews, and no other. But controversies in reli- 
gion make a great appearance of being new, when they are 
only varied and made different, by the new terms and ex- 
pressions that are introduced into the handling of them. So 
hath it fallen out in the controversy about nature and grace. 
For as unto the true nature of it, it is the same in these 
days, as it was between the apostle Paul and the Pharisees, 


between Austin and Pelagius afterward. But it hath now 
passed through so many forms and dresses of words, as that 
it can scarce be known to be what it was. Many at this 
day will condemn both Pelagius and the doctrine that he 
taught, in the words wherein he taught it, and yet embrace 
and approve of the things themselves which he intended. 
The introduction of every change in philosophical learning, 
gives an appearance of a change in the controversies which 
are managed thereby. But take off the covering of philo- 
sophical expressions, distinctions, metaphysical notions, 
and futilous terms of art, which some of the ancient school- 
men and later disputants have cast upon it, and the differ- 
ence about grace and nature is amongst us all, the same that 
it was of old, and as it is allowed by the Socinians. 

Thusthe apostle, treating of our justification before God, 
doth it in these terms which are both expressive of the thing 
itself, and were well understood by them with whom he had 
to do; such as the Ho.y Spirit in their revelation had con- 
secrated unto their proper use. Thus on the one hand he 
expressly excludes the law, our own works, our own righte- 
ousness from any interest therein ; and in opposition unto, 
and as inconsistent with them in the matter of justification, 
he ascribes it '.vholly unto the righteousness of God, righte- 
ousness imputed unto us, the obedience of Christ, Christ 
made righteousness unto us, the blood of Christ as a pro- 
pitiation, faith, receiving Christ and the atonement. There 
is no awakened conscience guided by the least beam of spi- 
ritual illumination, but in itself, plainly understands these 
things, and what is intended in them. But through the ad- 
mission of exotic learning, with philosophical terms and no- 
tions, into the way of teaching spiritual things in religion, a 
new face and appearance is put on the whole matter ; and a 
composition made between those things which the apostle 
directly opposeth as contrary and inconsistent. Hence are 
all our discourses about preparations, dispositions, condi- 
tions, merits, * de congruo et condigno,' with such a train of 
distinctions, as that if some bounds be not fixed unto the 
inventing and coining of them (which being a facile work 
grows on us every day), we shall not ere long be able to 
look through them, so as to discover the things intended or 
rightly to understand one another. For as one said of lies. 


SO it tiiay be said of arbitrary distinctions, they must be 
continually new thatched over, or it will rain through. But 
the best way is to cast off all these coverings, and we shall 
then quickly see, that the real difference about the justifica- 
tion of a sinner before God is the same and no other, as it 
was in the days of the apostle Paul between him and the 
Jews. And all those things which men are pleased now to 
plead for, with respect unto a causality in our justification 
before God, under the names of preparations, conditions, 
dispositions, merit, with respect unto a first or second jus- 
tification, are as effectually excluded by the apostle, as if 
he had expressly named them every one. For in them all, 
there is a management according unto our conceptions, and 
the terms of the learning passant in the present age, of the 
*plea for our own personal righteousness which the Jews 
maintained against the apostle. And the true understand- 
ing of what he intends by the law, the works and righteous- 
ness thereof, would be sufficient to determine this contro- 
versy, but that men are grown very skilful in the art of end- 
less wrangling. 


Faith alone. 

The truth which we plead hath two parts. 1. That the 
righteousness of God imputed to us, unto the justification 
of life, is the righteousness of Christ, by whose obedience 
we are made righteous. 2. That it is faith alone, which on 
our part is required to interest us in that righteousness, or 
whereby we comply with God's grant and communication of 
it, or receive it unto our use and benefit. For although this 
faith is in itself the radical principle of all obedience, and 
whatever is not so, which cannot, which doth not, on all oc- 
casions evidence, prove, shew, or manifest itself by works, 
is not of the same kind with it, yet as we are justified by it, 
its act and duty is such, or of that nature, as that no other 
grace, duty, or work, can be associated with it, or be of any 
consideration. And both these are evidently confirmed in 


that description which is given us in the Scripture of the 
nature of faith and believing unto the justification of life. 

I know that many expressions used in the declaration 
of the nature and work of faith herein, are metaphorical, at 
least are generally esteemed so to be. But they are such as 
the Holy Ghost, in his infinite wisdom, thought meet to make 
use of, for the instruction and edification of the church. 
And I cannot but say, that those who understand not how 
effectually the light of knowledge is communicated unto the 
minds of them that believe by them, and a sense of the things 
intended unto their spiritual experience, seem not to have 
taken a due consideration of them. Neither whatever skill 
we pretend unto, do we know always what expressions of 
spiritual things are metaphorical. Those oftentimes may 
seem so to be, which are most proper. However it is most 
safe for us to adhere unto the expressions of the Holy Spirit, 
and not to embrace such senses of things as are inconsistent 
with them, and opposite unto them. Wherefore, 

1. That faith whereby we are justified, is most frequently 
in the New Testament expressed by receiving. This notion 
of faith hath been before spoken unto, in our general inquiry 
into the use of it in our justification. It shall not therefore 
be here much again insisted on. Two things we may observe 
concerning it. 1. That it is so expressed with respect unto 
the whole object of faith, or unto all that doth any way con- 
cur unto our justification. For 1. We are said to receive 
Christ himself. 'Unto as many as have received him, he 
gave power to become the sons of God ;' John i. 12. ' As you 
have received Christ Jesus the Lord;' Col. ii. 6. In opposi- 
tion hereunto unbelief is expressed by not receiving of him, 
John xi. 1. iii. 11. xii. 48. xiv. 17. And it is a receiving of 
Christ, as he is the Lord our righteousness, as of God he is 
made righteousness unto us. And as no grace, no duty can 
have any co-operation with faith herein, this reception of 
Christ not belonging unto their nature, nor comprised in 
their exercise ; so it excludes any other righteousness from 
our justification but that of Christ alone. For we are justi- 
fied by faith ; faith alone receiveth Christ, and what it re- 
ceives is the cause of our justification, whereon we become 
the sons of God. So we receive the atonement, made by 
the blood of Christ; Rom. v. 11. For * God hath set him 


forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.' And 
this receiving of the atonement, includeth the soul's appro- 
bation of the way of salvation by the blood of Christ, and 
the appropriation of the atonement made thereby unto 
our own souls. For thereby also we receive the forgive- 
ness of sins ; * That they may receive the forgiveness of sin 
through the faith that is in me ;' Acts xxvi. 18. In receiv- 
ing Christ we receive the atonement, and in the atonement 
we receive the forgiveness of sins. But moreover, the grace 
of God, and righteousness itself, as the efficient and material 
cause of our justification are received also ; even the ' abun- 
dance of grace, and the gift of righteousness ;' Rom. v. 17. 
So that faith, with the respect unto all the causes of justifi- 
cation, is expressed by receiving. For it also receiveth the 
promise, the instrumental cause on the part of God thereof; 
Acts ii. 41. Heb. ix. 15. 2. That the nature of faith and 
its acting with respect unto all the causes of justification 
consisting in receiving, that which is the object of it must 
be offered, tendered, and given unto us, as that which is not 
our own, but is made our own by that giving and receiving. 
This is evident in the general nature of receiving. And 
herein, as was observed, as no other grace or duty can con- 
cur with it, so the righteousness whereby we are justified 
can be none of our own, antecedent unto this reception, nor 
at any time inherent in us. Hence we argue. That if the 
work of faith in our justification be receiving of what is 
freely granted, given, communicated, and imputed unto us, 
that is, of Christ, of the atonement, of the gift of righteous- 
ness, of the forgiveness of sins, then have our other graces, 
our obedience, duties, works, no influence into our justifi- 
cation, nor are any causes or conditions thereof. For they 
are neither that which doth receive, nor that which is re- 
ceived, which alone concur thereunto. 

2. Faith is expressed by looking. * Look unto me and 
be saved ;' Isa. xlv. 22. ' A man shall look to his Maker, 
and his eyes shall have respect unto the Holy One of Israel ;' 
chap. xvii. 1. 'They shall look on me whom they have 
pierced ;' Zech. xii. 10. See Fsal. cxxiii. 2. The nature 
hereof is expressed, John iii. 14, 15. 'As Moses lifted up 
the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man 
be lifted up : that whosoever believeth in him, should not 


perish, but have eternal life/ For so was he to be lifted up 
on the cross in his death ; John viii. 28. chap. xii. 32. 
The story is recorded Numb. xxi. 8,9. I suppose none doubt 
but that the stinging of the people by fiery serpents, and 
the death that ensued thereon, were types of the guilt of 
sin, and the sentence of the fiery law thereon. For these 
things happened unto them in types; 1 Cor. x. 11. When 
any was so stung or bitten, if he betook himself unto any 
other remedies, he died and perished. Only they that 
looked unto the brazen serpent that was lifted up, were 
healed and lived. For this was the ordinance of God, this 
way of healing alone had he appointed. And their heal- 
ing was a type of the pardon of sin with everlasting life. 
So by their looking, is the nature of faith expressed, as our 
Saviour plainly expounds it in this place. ' So must the Son 
of man be lifted up, that he that believeth on him,' that is, 
as the Israelites looked unto the serpeut lu the wilderness. 
And although this expression of the great mystery of the 
gospel by Christ himself, hath been by some derided, or as 
they call it exposed, yet is it really as instructive of the na- 
ture of faith, justification, and salvation by Christ, as any 
passage in the Scripture. Now if faith whereby we are jus- 
tified, and in that exercise of it wherein we are so, be a look- 
ing unto Christ, under a sense of the guilt of sin and our 
lost condition thereby, for all, for our only help and relief, 
for deliverance, righteousness, and life, then is it therein 
exclusive of all other graces and duties whatever; for by 
them we neither look, nor are they the things which we look 
after. But so is the nature and exercise of faith expressed 
by the Holy Ghost. And they who do believe, understand 
his mind. For whatever may be pretended of metaphor in 
the expression, faith is that act of the soul whereby they 
who are hopeless, helpless, and lost in themselves, do in a 
way of expectancy and trust seek for all help and relief in 
Christ alone, or there is not truth in it. And this also 
sufficiently evinceth the nature of our justification by 

3. It is in like manner frequently expressed by coming 
unto Christ. ' Come unto me all ye that labour;' Matt. xi. 
28. See John vi.35. 37. 45. 6b. vii.37. To come unto Christ 
for life and salvation, is to believe on him unto the justifi- 


cation of life. But no other grace or duty is a coming unto 
Christ, and therefore have they no place in justification. He 
who hath been convinced of sin, who hath been wearied 
with the burden of it, who hath really designed to fly from the 
wrath to come, and hath heard the voice of Christ in the 
gospel, inviting him to come unto him for help and relief, 
will tell you that this coming unto Christ consisteth in a 
man's going out of himself, in a complete renunciation of all 
his own duties and righteousness, and betaking himself with 
all his trust and confidence unto Christ alone, and his righ- 
teousness, for pardon of sin, acceptation with God, and a 
right unto the heavenly inheritance. It may be some will 
say this is not believing, but canting ; be it so, we refer the 
judgment of it to the church of God. 

4. It is expressed by flying for refuge, Heb. vi. 11 . * Who 
have fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before us.' 
Prov. xviii. 10. Hence some have defined faith to be 'per- 
fugium animae," the flight of the soul unto Christ for deli- 
verance from sin and misery. And much light is given unto 
the understanding of the thing intended thereby. For herein 
it is supposed, that he who believeth is antecedently there- 
unto convinced of his lost condition, and that if he abide 
therein he must perish eternally ; that he hath nothing of 
himself whereby he may be delivered from it ; that he must 
betake himself unto somewhat else for relief; that unto this 
end he considereth Christ as set before him, and proposed 
unto him in the promise of the gospel ; that he judgeth this 
to be a holy, a safe way for his deliverance and acceptance 
with God, as that which hath the characters of all divine 
excellencies upon it; hereon he flyeth unto it for refuge, 
that is, with diligence and speed that he perish not in his 
present condition, he betakes himself unto it by placing his 
whole trust and affiance thereon. And the whole nature 
of our justification by Christ is better declared hereby unto 
the supernatural sense and experience of believers, than by 
a hundred philosophical disputations about it. 

5. The terms and notions by which it is expressed under 
the Old Testament, are leaning on God, Mich. iii. II. or 
Christ, Cant. viii. 5. rolling, or casting ourselves and our 
burden on the Lord, Psal. xxii. 8. xxxvii. 5. The wisdom of 
the Holy Ghost in which expressions hath by some been pro- 


fanely derided. Resting on God, or in him, 2 Chron. xiv. 
11. Psal. xxxvii. 7. Cleaving unto the Lord, Deut. iv. 4. 
Acts xi. 15. as also by trusting, hoping, and waiting in 
places innumerable. And it may be observed that those 
who acted faith as it is thus expressed, do every where de- 
clare themselves to be lost, hopeless, helpless, desolate, poor, 
orphans, whereon they place all their hope and expectation 
on God alone. 

All thatl would infer from these things, is, that the faith 
whereby we believe unto the justification of life, or which is 
required of us in a way of duty that we may be justified, is 
such an act of the whole soul whereby convinced sinners do 
wholly go out of themselves to rest upon God in Christ, for 
mercy, pardon, life, righteousness and salvation, with an 
acquiescency of heart therein, which is the whole of the 
truth pleaded for. 


The truth pleaded, farther confirmedhy testimonies of Scripture,— ^ 
Jer. xxiii.6. 

That which we now proceed unto, is the consideration of 
those express testimonies of Scripture which are given unto 
the truth pleaded for, and especially of those places where 
the doctrine of the justification of sinners is expressly and 
designedly handled. From them it is, that we must learn 
the truth, and into them must our fiiitli be resolved, unto 
whose authority all the arguings and objections of men must 
give place. By them is more light conveyed into the un- 
derstandings of believers, than by the most subtle disputa- 
tions. And it is a thing not without scandal, to see among 
Protestants whole books writtenabout justification, wherein 
scarce one testimony of Scripture is produced, unless it be 
to find out evasions from the force of them. And in par- 
ticular, whereas the apostle Paul hath most fully and ex- 
pressly (as he had the greatest occasion so to do) declared 
and vindicated the doctrine of evangelical justification, not a 
few in what they write about it, are so far from declaring 


their thoughts and faith concerning it, out of his writings, 
as that they begin to reflect upon them as obscure, and such 
as give occasion unto dangerous mistakes ; and unless, as 
was said, to answer and except against them upon their own 
corrupt principles, seldom or never make mention of them. 
As though we were grown wiser than he, or that Spirit 
whereby he was inspired, guided, acted in all that he wrote ; 
but there can be nothing more alien from the genius of Chris- 
tian religion, than for us not to endeavour humbly to learn 
the mystery of the grace of God herein, in tlie declaration 
of it made by him. But the foundation of God standeth 
sure, what course soever men shall be pleased to take into 
their profession of religion. 

For the testimonies which I shall produce and insist 
upon, I desire the reader to observe, 1. That they are but 
some of the many that might be pleaded unto the same pur- 
pose. 2. That those which have been, or yet shall be al- 
leged on particular occasions, I shall wholly omit; and 
such are most of them that are given unto this truth in the 
QJd Testament. 3. That in the exposition of them, I shall 
>yith what diligence I can attend; 1. Unto the analogy of 
faith, that is, the manifest scope and design of the revelation 
of the mind and will of God in the Scripture. And that this 
is to exalt the freedom and riches of his own grace, the glory 
and excellency of Christ, and his mediation, to discover the 
woful, lost, forlorn condition of man by sin, to debase and 
depress every thing that is in and of ourselves, as to the 
attaining life, righteousness, and salvation, cannot be denied 
by any who have their senses exercised in the Scriptures. 
2. Upon the experience of them that do believe, with the 
condition of them who seek after justification by Jesus 
Christ. In other things I hope the best helps and rules of 
the interpretation of the Scripture shall not be neglected. 

There is weight in this case deservedly laid on the name 
of the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, as promised and 
given unto us ; namely, ' the Lord our righte- -sness;' Jer. 
xxiii. 6. As the name Jehovah, being given and ascribed 
unto him, is a full indication of his divine person ; so the 
addition of his being our righteousness, sufficiently declares, 
that in and by him alone, we have righteousness, or are made 
righteous. So was he typed by Melchisedec, as first, ' the 


King of righteousness,' then * the King of peace;' Heb. vii. 
2. For by his righteousness alone have we peace with God. 
Some of the Socinians would evade this testimony, by ob- 
serving, that righteousness in the Old Testament is urged 
sometimes for benignity, kindness, and mercy, and so they 
suppose it may be here. But the most of them, avoiding 
the palpable absurdity of this imagination, refer to the righ- 
teousness of God in deliverance, and vindication of his peo- 
ple. So Brennius briefly, * Ita vocatur quia Dominus j>er 
manum ejus judicium et justitiam faciet Israeli.' But these 
are evasions of bold men, who care not, so they may say 
somewhat, whether what they say, be agreeable to the ana- 
logy of faith, or the plain words of the Scripture. Bellar- 
mine, who was more wary to give some appearance of truth 
unto his answers, first, gives other reasons why he is called 
the ' Lord our righteousness ;' and then, whether unawares, 
or overpowered by the evidence of truth, grants that sense 
of the words which contains the whole of the cause we plead 
for. ' Christ,' he says, ' may be called the Lord our righteous- 
ness, because he is the efficient cause of our righteousposR,' 
As God is said to be our strength and salvation. Again, 
* Christ is said to be our righteousness ; as he is our wisdom, 
our redemption, and our peace ; because he hath redeemed 
us, and makes us wise and righteous, and reconcileth us 
unto God :' and other reasons of the same nature are added 
by others. But not trusting to these expositions of the 
words, he adds, ' Deinde dicitur Christus justitia nostra, 
quoniam satisfecit patri pro nobis, et earn satisfactionem ita 
nobis donat et communicat, cum nos justificat, ut nostra 
satisfactio et justitia dici possit.' And afterward, ' Hoc mo- 
do non essetabsurdum, si quis diceret nobis imputari Christi 
justitiam et merita, cum nobis donantur et applicantur, ac 
si nos ipsi Deo satisfecissemus.' De justificat. lib. ii. cap. 10. 
' Christ is said to be our righteousness because he hath made 
satisfaction for us to the Father ; and doth so give and com- 
municate that satisfaction unto us, when he justifieth us, 
that it may be said to be our satisfaction, and righteousness. 
And in this sense it would not be absurd if any one should 
say, that the righteousness of Christ and his merits are im- 
puted unto us, as if we ourselves had satisfied God.' In this 
sense we say, that Christ is the Lord our righteousness ; nor 


is there any thing of importance in the whole doctrine of 
justification that we own, which is not here granted by the 
cardinal ; and that in terms which some among ourselves 
scruple and oppose. I shall therefore look a little farther 
into this testimony, which hath wrested so eminent a con- 
fession of the truth, from so great an adversary. * Behold, 
the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise up unto Da- 
vid a righteous branch, and this is his name whereby he 
shall be called, the Lord our righteousness ;' ver. 5, 6. It is 
confessed among Christians that this is an illustrious reno- 
vation of the first promise, concerning the incarnation of the 
Son of God, and our salvation by him. This promise was 
first given when we had lost our original righteousness, and 
were considered only as those who had sinned and come 
short of the glory of God. In this estate a righteousness 
w^as absolutely necessary that we might be again accepted 
with God ; for without a righteousness, yea, that which is 
perfect and complete, we never were so, nor ever can be so. 
In this estate it is promised that he shall be our righteous- 
ness, or, as the apostle expresseth it, ' the end of the law for 
righteousness to them that do believe.' That he is so, there 
can be no question ; the whole inquiry is, how he is so ? 
This, say the most sober and modest of our adversaries, be- 
cause he is the efficient cause of our righteousness, that is, 
of our personal inherent righteousness. But this righteous- 
ness may be considered either in itself, as it is an effect of 
God's grace, and so it is good and holy, although it be not 
perfect and complete ; or it may be considered as it is ours, 
inherent in us, accompanied with the remaining defilements 
of our nature ; in that respect, as this righteousness is ours, 
the prophet affirms, that, in the sight of God, * we are all as an 
unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags ;' 
Isa. Ixiv. 6. li'npn^ Vd compriseth our whole personal inhe- 
rent righteousness. And the Lord Christ cannot from hence 
be denominated i^pllf nin> ; ' the Lord our righteousness,' 
seeing it is all as filthy rags. It must therefore be a righ- 
teousness of another sort whence this denomination is taken, 
and on the account whereof this name is given him. Where- 
fore he is our righteousness, as all our righteousnesses are in 
him. So the church, which confesseth all her own righte- 
ousnesses to be filthy rags, says, * in the Xord have I righte- 


ousness ;' Isa. xlv. 24. which is expounded of Christ by the 
apostle, Rom. xiv. 11. r\)\>1}£ *b r\)n*^ "jN only in the. Lord are 
my righteousnesses ; which two places the apostle expresseth, 
Phil. iii. 9. 'That I may win Christ and be found in him, 
not having mine own righteousness which is of the law' (in 
this case as filthy rags) *but that which is through the faith 
of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.' Rence 
it is added, * In the Lord shall the seed of Israel be justified,' 
ver. 25. namely, because he is, in what he is, in what he was, 
and did, as given unto and for us, * our righteousness,' and 
our righteousness is all in him ; which totally excludes our 
own personal inherent righteousness from any interest in 
our justification, and ascribes it wholly unto the righteous- 
ness of Christ. And thus is that emphatical expression of 
the psalmist, ' I will go in the strength of the Lord God* 
(for as unto holiness and obedience, all our spiritual strength 
is from him alone) ; ' and I will make mention' "j-)nV -jnp'Tl^Psal. 
Ixxi. 16. ' of thy righteousness, of thine only.' The redoubling 
of the affix excludes all confidence and trusting in any thing 
but the righteousness of God alone. For this the apostle 
affirms to be the design of God, in making Christ to be righ- 
teousness unto us, namely, that ' no flesh should glory in 
his presence, but that he that glorieth, should glory in the 
Lord;' 1 Cor. i. 29 — 31. For it is by faith alone making 
mention, as unto our justification, of the righteousness of 
God, of his righteousness only, that excludes all boasting ; 
Rom. iii. 27. And, besides what shall be farther pleaded 
from particular testimonies, the Scripture doth eminently 
declare how he is the Lord our righteousness, namely, in that 
* he makes an end of sin and reconciliation for iniquity, and 
brings in everlasting righteousness ;' Dan. ix. 24. For by 
these things is our justification completed ; namely, in sa- 
tisfaction made for sin, the pardon of it in our reconciliation 
unto God, and the providing for us an everlasting righteous- 
ness. Therefore is he * the Lord our righteousness,' and so 
rightly called. Wherefore, seeing we had lost original 
righteousness, and had none of our own remaining, and 
stood in need of a perfect, complete righteousness to pro- 
cure our acceptance with God, and such a one as might ex- 
clude all occasion of boasting of any thing in ourselves, the 
Lord Christ being given and made unto us, the Lord our 


righteousness, in whom we have all our righteousness, our 
own, as it is ours, being as filthy rags in the sight of God, 
and this by making an end of sin, and reconciliation for ini- 
quity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness : it is by 
his righteousness, by his only, that we are justified in the 
sight of God, and do glory. This is the substance of what, 
in this case, we plead for ; and thus it is delivered in Scrip- 
ture, in a way bringing more light and spiritual sense into 
the minds of believers, than those philosophical expressions 
and distinctions, which vaunt themselves with a pretence of 
propriety and accuracy. 


Testimonies out of the evangelists, considered. 

The reasons why the doctrine of justification, by the impu- 
tation of the righteousness of Christ, is more fully and clearly 
delivered in the following writings of the New Testament, 
than it is in those of the Evangelists who wrote the history 
of the life and death of Christ, have been before declared. 
But yet in them also it is sufficiently attested, as unto the 
state of the church before the death and resurrection of 
Christ, which is represented in them. Some few of the many 
testimonies which may be pleaded out of their writings unto 
that purpose, I shall consider. 

1. The principal design of our blessed Saviour's sermon 
especially that part of it which is recorded Matt. v. is to 
declare the true nature of righteousness before God. The 
Scribes and Pharisees, from a bondage unto whose doctrines 
he designed to vindicate the consciences of those that heard 
him, placed all our righteousness before God in the works 
of the law, or men's own obedience thereunto. This they 
taught the people, and hereon they justified themselves, as 
he chargeth them, Luke xvi. 15. 'Ye are they which justify 
yourselves before men ; but God knoweth your hearts, for 
that which is highly esteemed amongst men, is abomination 
in the sight of God ;' as in this sermon he makes it evident. 

VOL, XI. 2 B 


And all those who were under their conduct, did seek to 
' establish their own righteousness, as it were by the works 
of the law ;' Rom. ix. 33. x. 3. But yet were they convinced 
in their own consciences, that they could not attain unto 
the law of righteousness ; or unto that perfection of obe- 
dience which the law did require. Yet would they not 
forego their proud, fond imagination of justification by their 
own righteousness, but, as the manner of all men is in the 
same case, sought out other inventions to relieve them 
against their convictions. For unto this end, they corrupted 
the whole law by their false glosses and interpretations, to 
bring down and debase the sense of it, unto what they 
boasted in themselves to perform. So doth he in whom our 
Saviour gives an instance of the principle and practice of 
the whole society, by way of a parable, Luke xviii. 10 — 
12. And so the young man affirmed, that he had kept the 
whole law from his youth, namely, in their sense. Matt, 
xix. 20. 

To root out this pernicious error out of the church, our 
Lord Jesus Christ in many instances, gives the true, spiritual 
sense and intention of the law, manifesting what the righte- 
ousness is, which the law requires, and on what terms a man 
may be justified thereby. And among sundry others to the 
same purpose, two things he evidently declares. 1. That 
the law in its precepts and prohibitions had regard unto 
the regulation of the heart, with all its first motions and 
actings. For he asserts, that the inmost thoughts of the 
heart, and the first motions of concupiscence therein, though 
not consented unto, much less actually accomplished in the 
outward deeds of sin, and all the occasions leading unto 
them, are directly forbidden in the law. This he doth in 
his holy exposition of the seventh commandment, ver. 27 — 
30. 2. He declares the penalty of the law, on the least 
sin, to be hell-fire, in his assertion of causeless anger to be 
forbidden in the sixth commandment. If men would but 
try themselves by these rules and others, there given by our 
Saviour, it would, it may be, take them off from boasting in 
their own righteousness and justification thereby. But as 
it was then, so is it now also ; the most of them who would 
maintain a justification by works, do attempt to corrupt the 
sense of the law, and accommodate it unto their own prac- 


tice. The reader may see an eminent demonstration hereof, 
in a late excellent treatise, whose title is, 'The practical Di- 
vinity of the Papists discovered to be destructive of Chris- 
tianity and men's souls/ The spirituality of the law, with 
the severity of its sanction, extending itself unto the least, 
and most imperceptible motions of sin in the heart, are not 
believed or not aright considered by them who plead for 
justification by works in any sense. Wherefore, the princi- 
pal design of the sermon of our Saviour is, as to declare 
what is the nature of that obedience which God requireth 
by the law, so to prepare the minds of his disciples to seek 
after another righteousness, which in the cause and means 
of it, was not yet plainly to be declared, although many of 
them being prepared by the ministry of John, did hunger 
and thirst after it. 

But he sufficiently intimates wherein it did consist, in 
that he afiirms of himself, that he * came to fulfil the law ;' 
ver. 17. What he came for, that he was sent for ; for as he 
was sent, and not for himself, ' he was born to us, given 
unto us.' This was to fulfil the law, that so the righteous- 
ness of it might be fulfilled in us. And if we ourselves can- 
not fulfil the law in the proper sense of its commands, which 
yet is not to be abolished but established, as our Saviour 
declares ; if we cannot avoid the curse and penalty of it upon 
its transgression ; and if he came to fulfil it for us, all which 
are declared by himself, then is his righteousness, even 
which he wrought for us in fulfilling the law, the righteous- 
ness wherewith we are justified before God. And whereas 
here is a twofold righteousness proposed unto us, one in the 
fulfilling of the law by Christ ; the other in our own perfect 
obedience unto the law, as the sense of it is by him declared; 
and other middle righteousness between them there is none ; 
it is left unto the consciences of convinced sinners, whether 
of these they will adhere and trust unto. And their direc- 
tion herein, is the principal design we ought to have in the 
declaration of this doctrine. 

I shall pass by all those places wherein the foundations 
of this doctrine are surely laid, because it is not expressly 
mentioned in them. But such they are as in their proper 
interpretation do necessarily infer it. Of this kind are they 
all, wherein the Lord Christ is said to die for us, or in'our 

2 B 2 


Stead, to lay down his life a ransom for us, or in our stead, 
and the like; but I shall pass them by, because I will not 
digress at all from the present argument. 

But the representation made by our Saviour himself, of 
the way and means whereon and whereby men come to be 
justified before God, in the parable of the Pharisee and the 
publican, is a guide unto all men who have the same design 
with them. Luke xviii. 9 — 14. * And he spake this parable 
unto certain which trusted in themselves, that they were 
righteous, and despised others : Two men went up unto the 
temple to pray ; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself; God, 1 
thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, un- 
just, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in 
the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the pub- 
lican standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes 
unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be 
merciful unto me a sinner. I tell you, that this man went 
down unto his house justified rather than the other : for 
every one that exalteth himself, shall be abased ; and every 
one that humbleth himself shall be exalted.' 

That the design of our Saviour herein, was to represent 
the way of our justification before God, is evident, 1. From 
the description given of the persons whom he reflected on, 
ver. 9. They were such as trusted in themselves, that they 
were righteous ; or, that they had a personal righteousness 
of their own before God. 2. From the general rule where- 
with he confirms the judgment he had given concerning the 
persons described; 'Everyone that exalteth himself shall 
be abased ; and he that abaseth himself, shall be exalted ;* 
ver. 14. As this is applied unto the Pharisee, and the 
prayer that is ascribed unto him, it declares plainly, that 
every plea of our own works, as unto our justification before 
God, under any consideration, is a self-exaltation which God 
despiseth ; and as applied unto the publican, that a sense 
of sin is the only preparation on oar part, for acceptance 
with him on believing. 

Wherefore, both the persons are represented as seeking 
to be justified, for so our Saviour expresseth the issue of 
their address unto God for that purpose ; the one was jus- 
tified, the other was not. 


The plea of the Pharisee unto this end consists of two 
parts : 1. That he had fulfilled the condition, whereon he 
might be justified. He makes no mention of any merit, 
either of congruity, or condignity. Only whereas there were 
two parts of God's covenant then with the church, the one 
with respect unto the moral, the other with respect unto the 
ceremonial law, he pleads the observation of the condition 
of it in both parts, which he sheweth in instances of both 
kinds ; only he adds, the way that he took to farther him in 
this obedience, somewhat beyond what was enjoined, namely, 
that he fasted twice in the week. For when men begin to 
seek for righteousness, and justification by works, they 
quickly think their best reserve lies in doing something ex- 
traordinary more than other men, and more indeed than is 
required of them. This brought forth all the pharisaical 
austerities in the papacy. Nor can it be said, that all this 
signified nothing, because he was a hypocrite and a boaster; 
for it will be replied, that it should seem all are so, who 
seek for justification by works; for our Saviour only repre- 
sents one that doth so ; neither are these things laid in bar 
against his justification, but only that he exalted himself in 
trusting unto his own righteousness. 2. In an ascription of 
all that he did unto God. * God, I thank thee ;' although he 
did all this, yet he owned the aid and assistance of God by 
his grace in it all. He esteemed himself much to differ from 
other men, but ascribed it not unto himself, that so he did. 
All the righteousness and holiness which he laid claim unto, 
he ascribed unto the benignity and goodness of God. 
Wherefore, he neither pleaded any merit in his works, nor 
any works performed in his own strength, without the aid 
of grace. All that he pretends is, that by the grace of God 
he had fulfilled the condition of the covenant, and thereon 
expected to be justified. And whatever words men shall be 
pleased to make use of in their vocal prayers, God inter- 
prets their minds, according to what they trust in, as unto 
their justification before him. And if some men will be true 
unto their own principles, this is the prayer, which * Mutatis 
mutandis,' they ought to make. 

If it be said, that it is charged on this Pharisee, that he 
trusted in himself, and despised others, for which he was re- 
jected ; I answer, 1. This charge respects not the mind of 


the person, but the genius and tendency of the opinion. 
The persuasion of justification by works, includes in it a 
contempt of other men. For if Abraham had been justified 
by works, he should have had whereof to glory. 2. Those 
whom he despised, were such as placed their whole trust in 
grace and mercy; as this publican. It were to be wished, 
that all others of the same mind did not so also. 

The issue is with this person, that he was not justified; 
neither shall any one ever be so on the account of his own 
personal righteousness. For our Saviour hath told us, that 
when we have done all, that is, when we have the testimony 
of our consciences unto the integrity of our obedience, in- 
stead of pleading it unto our justification, we should say, 
that is, really judge and profess, that we are SouXoi ax/oaot, 
'unprofitable servants;' Luke xvii. 10. As the apostle 
speaks, ' I know nothing by myself, yet am I not thereby 
justified;' 1 Cor. iv. 4. And he that is dovXog axpaoc, and 
hath nothing to trust unto but his service, will be cast out 
of the presence of God ; Matt. xxv. 30. Wherefore, on the 
best of our obedience to confess ourselves SovXoi axpuoi, is 
to confess, that after all in ourselves, we deserve to be cast 
out of the presence of God. 

In opposition hereunto, the state and prayer of the pub- 
lican, under the same design of seeking justification before 
God, are expressed. And the outward acts of his person 
are mentioned, as representing, and expressive of the inward 
frame of his mind. ' He stood afar off;' and did not so 
'much as lift up his eyes ; he smote upon his breast.' AH 
of them represent a person desponding, yea, despairing in 
himself. This is the nature, this is the effect of that convic- 
tion of sin, which we before asserted to be antecedently ne- 
cessary unto justification. Displacency, sorrow, sense ot 
danger, fear of wrath, all are present with him. In brief he 
declares himself guilty before God, and his mouth stopped, 
as unto any apology or excuse. And his prayer is a sincere 
application of his soul, unto sovereign grace and mercy, for 
a deliverance out of the condition, wherein he was by reason 
of the guilt of sin. And in the use of the word iXacTKOfim, 
there is respect had unto a propitiation. In the whole of 
his address there is contained, 1. Self-condemnation and 
f^bhorvency, 2, Displacency and sorrow for sin. 3. A 


universal renunciation of all works of his own, as any con- 
ditions of his justification. 4. An acknowledgment of his 
sin, guilt, and misery. And this is all that on our part is re- 
quired unto justification before God, excepting that faith 
whereby we apply ourselves unto him for deliverance. 

Some make a weak attempt from hence, to prove that 
justification consists wholly in the remission of sin, because 
on the prayer of the publican, for mercy and pardon, he is 
said to be justified ; but there is no force in this argument. 
For, 1. The whole nature of justification is not here de- 
clared, but only v/hat is required on our part thereunto. 
The respect of it unto the mediation of Christ, was not yet 
expressly to be brought to light, as was shewed before. 
2. Although the publican makes his address unto God, un- 
der a deep sense of the guilt of sin, yet he prays not for the 
bare pardon of sin, but for all that sovereign mercy or grace, 
God provided for sinners. 3. The term of justification 
must have the same sense, when applied unto the Pharisee, 
as when applied unto the publican ; and if the meaning of 
it, with respect unto the publican, be, that he was pardoned, 
then hath it the same sense, with respect unto the Pharisee, 
he was not pardoned ; but he came on no such errand. He 
came to be justified, not pardoned; nor doth he make the 
least mention of his sin, or any sense of it. Wherefore, al- 
though the pardon of sin be included in justification, yet to 
justify, in this place hath respect unto a righteousness, where- 
on a man is declared just and righteous, wrapped up on the 
part of the publican in the sovereign producing cause, the 
mercy of God. 

Some few testimonies may be added out of the other 
evangelists, in whom they abound. ' As many as received 
him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even 
to them that believe on his name ;' John i. 12. Faith is ex- 
pressed by the receiving of Christ. For to receive him, and 
to believe on his name, are the same. It receives him as 
set forth of God to be a propitiation for sin, as the great or- 
dinance of God, for the recovery and salvation of lost sinners. 
Wherefore, this notion of faith includes in it, 1. A supposi- 
tion of the proposal and tender of Christ unto us, for some 
end and purpose. 2. That this proposal is made unto us 
in the promise of the gospel. Hence as we are said to re- 


ceive Christ, we are said to receive the promise also. 3. The 
end for which the Lord Christ is so proposed unto us, in 
the promise of the gospel ; and this is the same with that 
for which he was so proposed in the first promise, namely, 
the recovery and salvation of lost sinners. 4. That in the 
tender of his person, there is a tender made of all the fruits 
of his mediation, as containing the way and means of our 
deliverance from sin, and acceptance with God. 5. There 
is nothing required on our part unto an interest in the end 
proposed, but receiving of him, or believing on his name. 
6. Hereby are we entitled unto the heavenly inheritance ; 
we have power to become the sons of God, wherein our 
adoption is asserted, and justification included. What this 
receiving of Christ is, and wherein it doth consist, hath been 
declared before, in the consideration of that faith whereby 
we are justified. That which hence we argue is, that there 
is no more required unto the obtaining of a right and title 
unto the heavenly inheritance, but faith alone in the name 
of Christ, the receiving of Christ as the ordinance of God, 
for justification and salvation. This gives us, I say, our 
original right thereunto, and therein our acceptance with 
God, which is our justification, though more be required 
unto the actual acquisition and possession of it. It is said, 
indeed, that other graces and works are not excluded, though 
faith alone be expressed. But every thing, which is not a 
receiving of Christ, is excluded. It is, I say, virtually ex- 
cluded, because it is not of the nature of that which is re- 
quired. When we speak of that whereby we see, we exclude 
no other member from being a part of the body; but we ex- 
clude all but the eye from the act of seeing. And if faith 
be required, as it is a receiving of Christ, every grace and duty 
which is not so, is excluded as unto the end of justification. 
Chap. iii. 14—18. ' And as Moses lifted up the brazen 
serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be 
lifted up ; that whosoever believeth on him, should not 
perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth 
on him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. God sent 
not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that 
the world, through him, might be saved. He that believeth 
on him, is not condemned ; but he that believeth not, is 


condemned already, because he hath not believed in the 
name of the only-begotten Son of God.' 

I shall observe only a few things from these words, which 
in themselves convey a better light of understanding in this 
mystery unto the minds of believers, than many long dis- 
courses of some learned men. 1. It is of the justification 
of men, and their right to eternal life thereon, that oiir Sa- 
viour discourseth. This is plain in ver. 18. * He that be- 
lieveth is not condemned, but he that believeth not, is con- 
demned already.' 2. The means of attaining this condition 
or state on our part, is believing only, as it is three times 
positively asserted, without any addition. 3. The nature 
of this faith is declared, 1. By its object, that is, Christ 
himself the Son of God ; * whosoever believeth on him,' which 
is frequently repeated. 2. The especial consideration, 
wherein he is the object of faith unto the justification of life; 
and that is as he is the ordinance of God, given, sent, and 
proposed from the love and grace of the Father. ' God so 
loved the world, that he gave ; God sent his Son.' 3. The 
especial act yet included in the type, whereby the design of 
God, in him, is illustrated. For this was the looking unto 
the brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness, by them who 
were stung with fiery serpents. Hereunto our faith in Christ 
unto justification, doth answer, and includes a trust in him 
alone for deliverance and relief. This is the way, these are 
the only causes and means of the justification of condemned 
sinners, and are the substance of all that we plead for. 

It will be said, that all this proves not the imputation of 
the righteousness of Christ unto us, which is the thing prin- 
cipally inquired after ; but if nothing be required on our 
part unto justification, but faith acted on Christ, as the or- 
dinance of God for our recovery and salvation, it is the whole 
of what we plead for. A justification by the remission of 
sins alone, without a righteousness giving acceptance with 
God, and a right unto the heavenly inheritance, is alien unto 
the Scripture, and the common notion of justification 
amongst men. And what this righteousness must be, upon 
a supposition that faith only, on our part, is required unto 
a participation of it, is sufficiently declared in the words 
wherein Christ himself is so often asserted, as the object of 
our faith unto that purpose. 


Not to add more particular testimonies, which are mul- 
tiplied unto the same purpose, in this evangelist, the sum of 
the doctrine declared by him, is. That the Lord Jesus Christ 
was the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the 
world ; that is, by the sacrifice of himself, wherein he an- 
swered and fulfilled all the typical sacrifices of the law; that 
unto this end he sanctified himself, that those who believe 
might be sanctified, or perfected for ever by his own ofter- 
ino- of himself; that in the gospel he is proposed, as lifted 
up and crucified for us, as bearing all our sins on his body 
on the tree ; that by faith in him, we have adoption, justifi- 
cation, freedom from judgment and condemnation, with a 
right and title unto eternal life ; that those who believe not, 
are condemned already, because they believe not on the Son 
of God ; and as he elsewhere expresseth it, * make God a 
liar,' in that they believe not his testimony, namely, that 
* he hath given unto us eternal life ; and that this hfe is in his 
Son.* Nor doth he any where make mention of any other 
means, cause, or condition of justification on our part, but 
faith only, though he aboundeth in precepts unto believers 
for love, and keeping the commands of Christ. And this 
faith is the receiving of Christ, in the sense newly declared. 
And this is the substance of the Christian faith in this mat- 
ter ; which ofttimes we rather obscure than illustrate, by 
debating the consideration of any thing in our justification, 
but the grace and love of God, the person and mediation of 
Christ, with faith in them. 

CHAP. xvin. 

The nature of justification as declared in the epistles of St, Paul, in that unto 
the Romans especially. — Chap. iii. 

That the way and manner of our justification before God, 
with all the causes and means of it are designedly declared 
by the apostle in the Epistle unto the Romans, chap. iii. 4, 5. 
as also vindicated from objections, so as to render his dis- 
course thereon the proper seat of this doctrine, and whence 
it is principally to be learned, cannot modestly be denied. 


The late exceptions of some, that this doctrine of justifica- 
tion by faith, without works, is found only in the writings 
of St. Paul, and that his writings are obscure and intricate, 
are both false and scandalous to Christian religion, so as that 
in this place we shall not afford them the least considera- 
tion. He wrote virb TrveirfAarog ayiov (pepoimevog, as he was 
* moved by the Holy Ghost.' And as all the matter delivered 
by him was sacred truth, which immediately requires our 
faith and obedience, so the way and manner wherein he de- 
clared it, was such as the Holy Ghost judged most expedient 
for the edification of the church. And as he said himself 
with confidence, that if the gospel which he preached, and 
as it was preached by him, though accounted by them fool- 
ishness, was hid, so as that they could not understand, nor 
comprehend the mystery of it, it was * hid unto them that 
are lost ;' so we may say, that if what he delivereth in par- 
ticular concerning our justification before God, seems ob- 
scure, difficult, or perplexed unto us, it is from our preju- 
dices, corrupt affections, or weakness of understanding at 
best, not able to comprehend the glory of this mystery of the 
grace of God in Christ, and not from any defect in his way 
and manner of the revelation of it. Rejecting, therefore, all 
such perverse insinuations, in a due sense of our own weak- 
ness, and acknowledgment that at best we know but in part, 
we shall humbly inquire into the blessed revelation of this 
great mystery of the justification of a sinner before God, as 
by him declared in those chapters of his glorious Epistle to 
the Romans ; and I shall do it with all briefness possible, so 
as not on this occasion to repeat what hath been already 
spoken, or to anticipate what may be spoken in place more 

The first thing he doth, is to prove all men to be under 
sin, and to be guilty before God. This he giveth as the 
conclusion of his preceding discourse, from chap. i. 18. or 
what he had evidently evinced thereby, chap, iii, 19. 23. 
Hereon an inquiry doth arise, how any of them come to be 
justified before God. And whereas justification is a sentence 
upon the consideration of a righteousness, his grand inquiry 
is, what that righteousness is, on the consideration whereof 
a man may be so justified. And concerning this, he affirms 
expressly, that it is not the righteousness of the law. nor of 


the works of it ; whereby what he doth intend, hath been in 
part before declared, and will be farther manifested in the 
process of our discourse. Wherefore in general he declares, 
that the righteousness whereby we are justified, is the righte- 
ousness of God, in opposition unto any righteousness of our 
own, chap. i. 17. iii. 21, 22. And he describes this righte- 
ousness of God by three properties; 1. That it is x<«^P^ 
vofxov, 'without the law;' ver. 21. separated in all its con- 
cerns from the law ; not attainable by it, nor any works of 
it; which they have no influence into. It is neither our 
obedience unto the law, nor attainable thereby. Nor can 
any expression more separate and exclude the works of obe- 
dience unto the law, from any concernment in it, than this 
doth ; wherefore, whatever is, or can be performed by our- 
selves in obedience unto the law, is rejected from any interest 
in this righteousness of God, or the procurement of it to be 
made purs. 2. That yet it * is witnessed unto by the law ;' 
ver. 21. ' The law and the prophets.' 

The apostle, by this distinction of the books of the Old 
Testament, into the law and the prophets, manifests that by 
the law he understands the books of Moses ; and in them, 
testimony is given unto this righteousness of God, four ways. 

1. By a declaration of the causes of the necessity of it 
unto our justification. This is done in the account given of 
our apostacy from God, of the loss of his image, and the 
state of sin that ensued thereon. For hereby an end was 
put unto all possibility and hope of acceptance with God, 
by our own personal righteousness. By the entrance of sin, 
our own righteousness went out of the world ; so that there 
must be another righteousness prepared and approved of 
God, and called the righteousness of God, in opposition unto 
our own, or all relation of love and favour between God and 
man, must cease for ever. 

2. In the way of recovery from this state, generally 
declared in the first promise of the blessed seed, by whom 
this righteousness of God was to be wrought and introduced; 
for he alone was * to make an end of sin, and to bring in ever- 
lasting righteousness,' D'dVj; plK Dan. ix. 24. That righte- 
ousness of God, that should be the means of the justifica- 
tion of the church in all ages, and undei all dispensations. 

3. By stopping up the way unto any other righteous- 


ness, through the threatenings of the law, and that curse 
which every transgression of it, was attended withal. Here- 
by it was plainly and fully declared, that there must be such 
a righteousness provided for our justification before men, 
as would answer and remove that curse. 

4. In the prefiguration and representation of that only 
way and means, whereby this righteousness of God was to 
be wrought. This it did in all its sacrifices, especially in 
the great anniversary sacrifice on the day of expiation, 
wherein all the sins of the church, were laid on the head of 
the sacrifice, and so carried away. 

5. He describes it by the only way of our participation of it, 
the only means on our part of the communication of it unto us. 
And this is by faith alone. ' The righteousness of God which is 
by the faith of Christ Jesus, unto all, and upon all them that 
believe ; for there is no difference ;' ver. 22. Faith in Christ 
Jesus is so the only way and means, whereby this righte- 
ousness of God comes upon us, or is communicated unto us, 
that it is so unto all that have this faith, and only unto them, 
and that without difference on the consideration of any thing 
else besides. And although faith taken absolutely, may be 
used in various senses, yet as thus specified and limited, the 
faith of Christ Jesus, or as he calls it, 'the faith that is in 
me;' Acts xxvi. 18. It can intend nothing but the reception 
of him, and trust in him, as the ordinance of God for righ- 
teousness and salvation. 

This description of the righteousness of God revealed in 
the gospel, which the apostle asserts as the only means and 
cause of our justification before God, with the only way of 
its participation and communication unto us by the faith of 
Christ Jesus, fully confirms the truth we plead for. For if 
the righteousness wherewith we must be justified before 
God be not our own, but the righteousness of God, as these 
things are directly opposed, Phil. iii. 9. and the only way 
whereby it comes upon us, we are made partakers of it, is 
by the faith of Jesus Christ; then our own personal inherent 
righteousness or obedience, hath no interest in our justifi- 
cation before God ; which argument is insoluble, nor is the 
force of it to be waved by any distinctions whatever, if we 
keep our hearts unto a due reverence of the authority of God 
in his word. 


Having fully proved, that no men living have any righ- 
teousness of their own, whereby they may be justified, but 
are all shut up under the guilt of sin ; and having declared, 
that there is a righteousness of God now fully revealed in 
the gospel, whereby alone we may be so ; leaving all men in 
themselves unto their own lot, inasmuch as 'all have sinned 
and come short of the glory of God;' he proceeds to declare 
the nature of our justification before God in all the causes 
of it, ver. 24 — 26. 'Being justified freely by his grace 
through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ : whom God 
hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his 
blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of 
sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To 
declare, I say, at this time his righteousness ; that he 
might be just, and the justifier of them that believe in 

Here it is, that we may and ought if any where, to ex- 
pect the interest of our personal obedience under some qua- 
lification or other, in our justification to be declared. For 
if it should be supposed (which yet it cannot with any pre- 
tence of reason) that in the foregoing discourse, the apostle 
had excluded only the works of the law, as absolutely perfect, 
or as wrought in our own strength without the aid of grace, 
or as meritorious ; yet having generally excluded all works 
from our justification, ver. 20. without distinction or limi- 
tation ; it might well be expected, and ought to have been 
so ; that upon the full declaration which he gives us of the 
nature and way of our justification in all the causes of it, he 
should have assigned the place, and consideration which our 
own personal righteousness had in our justification before 
God ; the first or second, or continuation of it, somewhat 
or other ; or at least, made some mention of it, under the 
qualification of gracious, sincere, or evangelical, that it might 
not seem to be absolutely excluded. It is plain the apostle 
thought of no such thing, nor was at all solicitous about 
any reflection that might be made on his doctrine, as though 
it overthrew the necessity of our own obedience. Take in 
the consideration of the apostle's design, with the circum- 
stances of the context, and the argument from his utter 
silence, about our own personal righteousness in our justi- 
fication before God, is unanswerable. But this is not all ; 


we shall find in our progress, that it is expressly and directly 
excluded by him. 

All unprejudiced persons must needs think, that no words 
could be used, more express and emphatical, to secure the 
whole of our justification unto the free grace of God, through 
the blood, or mediation of Christ, wherein it is faith alone 
that gives us an interest, than these used here by the apo- 
stle. And for my part, I shall only say, that I know not 
how to express myself in this matter, in words and terms 
more express or significant of the conception of my mind. 
And if we could all but subscribe the answer here given by 
the apostle ; how, by what means, on what grounds, or by 
what causes, are we justified before God ; namely, that * we 
are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption 
that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a 
propitiation through faith in his blood,' &c. there might be 
an end of this controversy. 

But the principal passages of this testimony must be 
distinctly considered. 1. The principal efficient cause is 
first expressed, with a peculiar emphasis ; or the 'causa' npo- 
ijyovjUEvrj* ^iKaiovfxevot du)peav Ty avrov \apLTi, * being justified 
freely by his grace.' God is the principal efficient cause of 
our justification, and his grace is the only moving cause 
thereof. I shall not stay upon the exception of those of the 
Roman church, namely, that by ry xapin avrov, which their 
translation renders ' per gratiam Dei,' the internal inherent 
grace of God, which they make the formal cause of justifi- 
cation, is intended. For they have nothing to prove it, but 
that which overthrows it; namely, that it is added unto 
duypmv, * freely,' which were needless, if it signify the free 
grace or favour of God. For both these expressions 'gratis 
per gratiam,' * freely by grace,' are put together to give the 
greater emphasis unto this assertion, wherein the whole of 
our justification is vindicated unto the free grace of God. 
So far as they are distinguishable, the one denotes the prin- 
ciple from whence our justification proceeds, namely, grace; 
and the other, the manner of its operation, it works freely. 
Besides, the grace of God in this subject, doth every where 
constantly signify his goodness, love, and favour, as hath 
been undeniably proved by many. See Rom. v. 15. Eph. ii. 
4. 8, 9. 2 Tim. i. 9. Tit. iii. 4, 5. 


Being justified ^wptav, so the LXX. render the Hebrew 
particle CZJ3n ; ' without price/ without merit, without cause ; 
and sometimes it is used for 'without end,' that is, what is 
done in vain ; as cujpeav is used by the apostle. Gal. ii. 21. 
withoutpriceor reward. Gen. xxix. 15.Exod. xxi.22. 2Kings 
24, 25. without cause, or merit, or any means of procure- 
ment; 1 Sam. xix. 5. 2 Sam. xxiv. 24. Psal. Ixix. 4. cii. In 
this sense it is rendered by ^(jjp^av, John xv. 25. The design 
of the word is to exclude all consideration of any thing in us 
that should be the cause or condition of our justification. 
Xapig, ' favour,' absolutely considered, may have respect unto 
somewhat in him towards whom it is shewed ; so it is said 
that Joseph found grace or favour, x^9^^> ^^ ^^^ ^Y^^ ^^ ^^" 
tiphar. Gen. xxix. 4. but be found it not 3w/0£av, without any 
consideration or cause ; for he saw that the Lord was with 
him, and made all that he did to prosper in his hand ; ver. 3. 
But no words can be found out to free our justification 
before God from all respect unto any thing in ourselves, but 
only what is added expressly as the means of its participation 
on our part, through faith in his blood, more emphatical 
than these here used by the apostle ; Suypeav ry avrov x«?^^t» 
' freely by his grace.' And with whom this is not admitted 
as exclusive of all works or obedience of our own, of all con- 
ditions, preparations, and merit, 1 shall despair of ever ex- 
pressing my conceptions about it intelligibly unto them. 

Having asserted this righteousness of God as the cause 
and means of our justification before him in opposition unto 
all righteousness of our own ; and declared the cause of the 
communication of it unto us on the part of God, to be mere 
free sovereign grace; the means on our part, whereby ac- 
cording unto the ordination of God, we do receive, or are 
really made partakers of that righteousness of God whereon 
we are justified, is by faith ; 8ta rrig TricrTewg Iv avrov aifian, 
that is, by faith alone. Nothing else is proposed, nothing 
else required unto this end. It is replied, that there is no 
intimation that it is by faith alone, or that faith is asserted 
to be the means of our justification exclusively unto other 
graces or works. But there is such an exclusion directly 
included in the description given of that faith whereby we 
are justified, with respect unto its especial object by faith in 
his blood. For faith respecting the blood of Christ, as that 


whereby propitiation was made for sin, in which respect 
alone, the apostle affirms that we are justified through faith, 
admits of no association with any other graces or duties. 
Neither is it any part of their nature to fix on the blood of 
Christ, for justification before God : wherefore they are all 
here directly excluded. And those who think otherwise, 
may try how they can introduce them into this context 
without an evident corrupting of it, and perverting of its 
sense. Neither will the other evasion yield our adversaries 
the least relief; namely, that by faith, not the single grace 
of faith is intended, but the whole obedience required in the 
new covenant, faith and works together. For as all works 
whatever, as our works, are excluded in the declaration of 
the causes of our justification on the part of God ^dypeav ry 
avTov x«pi^i ' freely by his grace,' by virtue of that great 
rule, Rom. xi. 6. 'If it be of grace, then no more of works: 
otherwise grace is no more grace.' So the determination of 
the object of faith in its act or duty whereon we are justified, 
namely, the blood of Christ, is absolutely exclusive of all 
works from an interest in that duty. For whatever looks 
unto the blood of Christ forjustification,is faith, and nothing 
else. And as for the calling of it a single act or duty, I 
refer the reader unto our preceding discourse about the na- 
ture of justifying faith. 

Three things the apostle inferreth from the declaration 
he had made of the nature and causes of our justification 
before God, all of them farther illustrating the meaning and 
sense of his words. 

1. That boasting is excluded; ttov ovv i) Kavx*?o"ic; £?£- 
K\d(T^r}, ver. 27. Apparent it is from hence, and from what 
he affirms concerning Abraham, chap. iv. 2. that a great 
part, at least, of the controversy he had about justification, 
was whether it did admit of any Kaiixn^^iQ or KavxnfJ^a in those 
that were justified. And it is known that the Jews placed 
all their hopes in those things whereof they thought they 
could boast, namely, their privileges and their righteousness. 
But from the declaration made of the nature and causes of 
justification, the apostle infers that all boasting whatever is 
utterly shut out of doors ; IS^kXe/o-S-jj. Boasting, in our lan- 
guage is the name of a vice ; and is never used in a good 
sense. But Kavxv^^iQ and Kavx*?iua, the words used by the 

VOL. XI. 2 c 


apostle, are h tCjv ^dawv, of an indifferent signification, and 
as they are applied, may denote a virtue as well as a vice. 
So they do, Heb. iii. 6. 

But always, and in all places, they respect something 
that is peculiar in or unto them, unto whom they are as- 
cribed. Wherever any thing is ascribed unto one and not 
anto another, with respect unto any good end, there is 
fundamentum KavxjVfwc, a 'foundation for boasting.' All 
this, saith the apostle, in the matter of our justification is 
utterly excluded. But wherever respect is had unto any 
condition or qualification in one more than another, espe- 
cially if it be of works, it giveth a ground of boasting, as 
he affirms, chap. iv. 2. And it appears from comparing that 
verse with this, that wherever there is any influence of our 
own works into our justification, there is aground of boasting; 
but in evangelical justification, no such boasting in any kind 
can be admitted. Wherefore, there is no place for works in 
our justification before God; for if there were, it is impos- 
sible but that a Kavyy]ixa in one kind or other before God, 
or man must be admitted. 

2. He infers a general conclusion, ' that a man is justified 
by faith without the works of the law ;' ver. 28. What is 
meant by the law, and what by the works of the law, in this 
discourse of the apostle about our justification, hath been 
before declared. And if we are justified freely through 
faith in the blood of Christ, that faith, which hath the pro- 
pitiation of Christ for its especial object, or as it hath so, 
can take no other grace nor duty into partnership with itself 
therein; and being so justified as that all such boasting is 
excluded as necessarily exults from any differencing graces 
or works in ourselves, wherein all the works of the law are 
excluded, it is certain that it is by faith alone in Christ that 
we are justified. All works are not only excluded, but the 
way unto their return is so shut up by the method of the 
apostle's discourse, that all the reinforcements which the 
wit of man can give unto them, will never introduce them 
into our justification before God. 

3. He asserts from hence, that we * do not make void 
the law through grace,' but establish it, ver. 31. which how 
it is done, and how alone it can be done, hath been before 


This is the substance of the resolution the apostle gives 
unto that great inquiry, how a guilty convinced sinner may 
come to be justified in the sight of God. The sovereign 
grace of God, the mediation of Christ, and faith in the blood 
of Christ, are all that he requireth thereunto. And what- 
ever notions men may have about justification in other re- 
spects, it will not be safe to venture on any other resolution 
of this case and inquiry ; nor are we wiser than the Holy 

Rom. chap. iv. In the beginning of the fourth chapter he 
confirms what he had before doctrinally declared, by a sig- 
nal instance ; and this was of the justification of Abraham, 
who being the father of the faithful, his justification is pro- 
posed as the pattern of ours, as he expressly declares, ver. 
22 — 24. And some few things I shall observe on this instance 
in our passage unto the fifth verse ; where I shall fix our 

1. He denies that Abraham was justified by works, ver. 
2. And, 1. These works were not those of the Jewish law, 
which alone some pretend to be excluded from our justifi- 
cation in this place. For they were the works he performed 
some hundreds of years before the giving of the law at Sinai : 
wherefore they are the works of his moral obedience unto 
God that are intended. 2. Those works must be under- 
stood which Abraham had then, when he is said to be justi- 
fied in the testimony produced unto that purpose ; but the 
works that Abraham then had, were works of righteousness, 
performed in faith and love to God, works of new obedience 
under the conduct and aids of the Spirit of God ; works re- 
quired in the covenant of grace. These are the works ex- 
cluded from the justification of Abraham. And these 
things are plain, express, and evident, not to be eluded by 
any distinctions or evasions. All Abraham's evangelical 
works are expressly excluded from his justification before 

2. He proves by the testimony of Scripture, declaring the 
nature and grounds of the justification of Abraham, that he 
was justified no other way, but that which he had before 
declared, namely, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, 
ver. 3. ' Abraham believed God' (in the promise of Christ and 
his mediation) 'and it was counted unto him for righ- 



teousness ;* ver. 3. He was justified by faith in the way be- 
fore described (for other justification by faith there is none) 
in opposition unto all his own works, and personal righte- 
ousness thereby. 

3. From the same testimony he declares, how he came 
to be partaker of that righteousness whereon he was justified 
before God, which was by imputation ; it was counted or 
imputed unto him for righteousness. The nature of imputa- 
tion hath been before declared. 

4. The especial nature of this imputation, namely, that 
it is of grace without respect unto works, he asserts and 
proves, ver. 4. from what is contrary thereunto ; * Now to him 
that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of 
debt.' Where works are of any consideration, there is no 
room for that kind of imputation whereby Abraham was jus- 
fied, for it was a gracious imputation, and that is not of what 
is our own antecedently thereunto, but what is made our 
own by that imputation. For what is our own cannot be 
imputed unto us in a way of grace, but only reckoned ours 
in a way of debt. That which is our own, with all the ef- 
fects of it, is due unto us. And therefore, they who plead 
that faith itself is imputed unto us, to give some counte- 
nance unto an imputation of grace, do say it is imputed not 
for what it is, for then it would be reckoned of debt, but for 
what it is not. So Socinus, * Cum fides imputatur nobis 
pro justitia, ideo imputatur, quia nee ipsa fides justitia est, 
nee vere in se eam continet ;' De Servat. part. 4. cap. 2. 
Which kind of imputation being indeed only a false imagi- 
nation, we have before disproved. But all works are incon- 
sistent with that imputation whereby Abraham was justified. 
It is otherwise with him that worketh, so as thereon to be 
justified, than it was with him. Yea, say some, all works 
that are meritorious, that are performed with an opinion of 
merit, that make the reward to be of debt, are excluded, but 
other works are not. This distinction is not learned from 
the apostle. For according unto him, if this be merit and 
meritorious, that the reward be reckoned of debt, then all 
works in justification are so. For without distinction or 
limitation he affirms, that * unto him that worketh, the re- 
ward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt.' He doth not 
exclude some sort of works, or works in some sense, be- 


cause they would make the reward of debt, but affirms that 
all would do so unto the exclusion of gracious imputation. 
For if the foundation of imputation be in ourselves, imputa- 
tion by grace is excluded. In the fifth verse the sum of the 
apostle's doctrine, which he had contended for, and what 
he had proved, is expressed. ' But to him that worketh not, 
but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is 
counted for righteousness.' It is granted on all hands, that 
the close of the verse,* his faith is counted for righteousness/ 
doth express the justification of the person intended. He 
is justified, and the way of it is, his faith is counted or im- 
puted. Wherefore, the foregoing words declare the subject 
of justification, and its qualification, or the description of 
the person to be justified, with all that is required on his 
part thereunto. ♦ 

And first, it is said of him, that he is 6 firi Ipya^ofxvog, 
* who worketh not.' It is not required unto his justification, 
that he should not work, that he shoLdd not perform any 
duties of obedience unto God in any kind, which is working. 
For every person in the world is always obliged unto all du- 
ties of obedience, according to the light and knowledge of the 
will of God, the means whereof is afforded unto him. But 
the expression is to be limited by the subject matter treated 
of. He who worketh not, with respect unto justification ; 
though not the design of the person, but the nature of the 
thing is intended. To say, he who worketh not is justified 
through believing, is to say that his works, whatever they 
be, have no influence into his justification, nor hath God in 
justifying of him any respect unto them. Wherefore, he 
alone who worketh not, is the subject of justification, the 
person to be justified ; that is, God considereth no man's 
works, no man's duties of obedience, in his justification ; 
seeing we are justified Swpcai/ rij avTov x«ptr<, 'freely by his 
grace.' And when God affirmeth expressly, that he justifi- 
eth him who worketh not, and that freely by his grace, I cannot 
understand what place our works or duties of obedience can 
have in our j ustification. For why should we trouble ourselves 
to invent, of what consideration they may be in our justifi- 
cation before God, when he himself affirms, that they are of 
none at all. Neither are the words capable of any evading 
interpretation. He that worketh not, is he that worketh 


not, let men say what they please, and distinguish as long 
as they will. And it is a boldness not to be justified, for any 
to rise up in opposition unto such express divine testimo- 
nies, however they may be harnessed with philosophical no- 
tions and arguings, which are but as thorns and briers, which 
the word of God will pass through and consume. 

But the apostle farther adds in the description of the 
subject of justification, that God justifieth the ungodly. This 
is that expression which hath stirred up so much wrath 
amongst many, and on the account whereof, some seem to be 
much displeased with the apostle himself. If any other per- 
son dare but say that God justifieth the ungodly, he is pre- 
sently reflected on, as one that by his doctrine would over- 
throw the necessity of godliness, holiness, obedience, or 
good works. For what need can there be of any of them, 
if God justifieth the ungodly? Howbeit this is a periphrasis 
of God, that he is 6 diKaiwv rov acr£j3^, *he that justifieth the 
ungodly ;* this is his prerogative and property, as such will 
he be believed in and worshipped, which adds weight and 
emphasis unto the expression. And we must not forego this 
testimony of the Holy Ghost, let men be as angry as they 

But the difference is about the meaning of the words. 
If so, it may be allowed without mutual offence, though we 
should mistake their proper sense. Only it must be granted, 
that God justifieth the ungodly. That is, say some, those 
who formerly were ungodly, not those who continue ungodly 
when they are justified. And this is most true. All that 
are justified were before ungodly; and all that are justified 
are at the same instant made godly. But the question is, 
whether they are godly or ungodly antecedently in any mo- 
ment of time, unto their justification ; if they are considered 
as godly, and are so indeed, then the apostle's words are not 
true, that God justifieth the ungodly ; for the contradictory 
proposition is true, God justifieth none but the godly. For 
these propositions, God justifieth the ungodly, and God jus- 
tifieth none but the godly, are contradictory. For here are 
expressly KaracppaGig and oTro^aatc avTiKdjuiivai, which is 

Wherefore, although in and with the justification of a 
sinner, he is made godly, for he is endowed with that faith 


which purifieth the heart, and is a vital principle of all obe- 
dience, and the conscience is purged from dead works by 
the blood of Christ; yet antecedently unto this justification 
he is ungodly and considered as ungodly, as one that work- 
eth not, as one whose duties and obedience contribute no- 
thing unto his justification. As he worketh not, all works 
are excluded from being the * causa per quam ;' and as he 
is ungodly, from being the ' causa sine qua non' of his justi- 

The qualification of the subject, or the means on the part 
of the person to be justified, and whereby he becomes actu- 
ally so to be, is faith or believing. *But believeth on him 
who justifieth the ungodly.' That is, it is faith alone. For 
it is the faith of him who worketh not; and not only so, but 
its especial object, God as justifying the ungodly, is exclu- 
sive of the concomitancy of any works whatever. 

This is faith alone, or it is impossible to express faith 
alone, without the literal use of that word alone. But faith 
being asserted, in opposition unto all works of ours, unto 
him that worketh not, and its especial nature declared in 
its especial object, God as justifying the ungodly, that is, 
freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ 
Jesus, no place is left for any works to make the least ap- 
proach towards our justification before God, under the co- 
vert of any distinction whatever. And the nature of justi- 
fying faith is here also determined. It is not a mere assent 
unto divine revelations ; it is not such a firm assent unto 
them, as should cause us to yield obedience unto all the pre- 
cepts of the Scripture, though these things are included in 
,it; but it is a believing on, and trusting unto him that jus- 
tifieth the ungodly, through the mediation of Christ. 

Concerning this person, the apostle affirmeth, that * his 
faith is counted for righteousness.* That is, he is justified 
in the way and manner before declared. But there is a dif- 
ference about the sense of these words. Some say, the 
meaning of them is, that faith as an act, a grace, a duty or 
work of ours, is so imputed. Others say, that it is faith as 
it apprehends Christ and his righteousness, which is pro- 
perly imputed unto us, that is intended. So faith, they say, 
justifieth, or is counted for righteousness relatively, not pro- 
perly, with respect unto its object ; and so acknowledge a 


trope in the words. And this is fiercely opposed, as though 
they denied the express words of the Scripture, when yet 
they do but interpret this expression, once only used, by 
many others, wherein the same thing is declared. But those 
who are for the first sense, do all affirm, that faith here is to 
be taken as including obedience or works, either as the form 
and essence of it, or as such necessary concomitants as have 
the same influence with it into our justification, or are in the 
same manner the condition of it. But as herein they admit 
also of a trope in the words, which they so fiercely blame 
in others, so they give this sense of the whole, ' unto him 
that worketh not, but belie veth in him that justifieth the 
ungodly, his faith and works are counted to him for righte- 
ousness ;' which is not only to deny what the apostle af- 
firms, but to assign unto him a plain contradiction. 

And, I do a little marvel that any unprejudiced person, 
should expound this solitary expression in such a sense, as 
is contradictory unto the design of the apostle, the words of 
the same period, and the whole ensuing context. For that 
which the apostle proposeth unto confirmation, which con- 
tains his whole design, is, that we are justified by the righ- 
teousness which is of God by faith in the blood of Christ. 
That this cannot be faith itself, shall immediately be made 
evident; and in the words of the text, all works are ex- 
cluded, if any words be sufficient to exclude them. But 
faith absolutely, as a single grace, act, and duty of ours, 
much more as it includeth obedience in it, is a work, and in 
the latter sense, it is all works. And in the ensuing con- 
text, he proves that Abraham was not justified by works. 
But not to be justified by works, and to be justified by 
some works, as faith itself is a work, and if as such it be im- 
puted unto us for righteousness, we are justified by it as 
such, are contradictory. Wherefore, I shall oppose some 
few arguments unto this feigned sense of the apostle's 

1. To believe absolutely, as faith is an act and duty of 
ours, and works are not opposed ; for faith is a work, an 
especial kind of Avorking. But faith, as we are justified by 
it, and works, or to work, are opposed. ' To him that 
worketh not, but believeth.' So Gal. ii. 16. Eph. ii. 8. 

2. It is the righteousness of God that is imputed unto 


US. For * we are made the righteousness of God in Christ;* 
2 Cor. V. 21. *The righteousness of God upon them that 
believe;' Rom. iii. 21, 22. But faith absolutely considered, 
is not the righteousness of God. ' God imputeth unto us 
righteousness without works ;' Rom. iv. 6. But there is no 
intimation of a double imputation of two sorts of righte- 
ousnesses, of the righteousness of God, and that which is 
not so. Now faith absolutely considered, is not the righte- 
ousness of God. For, 

1. That whereunto the righteousness of God is revealed, 
whereby we believe and receive it, is not itself the righte- 
ousness of God. For nothing can be the cause or means of 
itself. But the righteousness of God is ' revealed unto faith ;' 
Rom. i. 16. And by it is ' it received ;' chap. iii. 22. v. 11. 

2. Faith is not the righteousness of God which is by 
faith ; but the righteousness of God which is imputed unto 
us, is ' the righteousness of God which is by faith ;' Rom. 
iii. 22. Phil. iii. 9. 

3. That whereby the righteousness of God is to be 
sought, obtained, and submitted unto, is not that righteous- 
ness itself. But such is faith, Rom. ix. 30, 31.x. 30. 

4. The righteousness which is imputed unto us, is not 
our own antecedently unto that imputation. *That 1 may be 
found in him, not having my own righteousness ;' Phil. iii. 
9. But faith is a man's own. * Shew me thy faith ; I will 
shew thee my faith ;' James ii. 18. 

5. ' God imputeth righteousness unto us ;' Rom. iv. 6. 
And that righteousness which God imputeth unto us, is the 
righteousness whereby we are justified, for it is imputed 
unto us that we may be justified. But we are justified by 
the obedience and blood of Christ. ' By the obedience of 
one we are made righteous ;' Rom. v. 19. ' Much more now 
being justified by his blood ;' ver. 9. 'He hath put away 
sin by the sacrifice of himself;' Heb. ix. 26. Isa.liii. 11. * By 
his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many ; for 
he shall bear their iniquities.' But faith is neither the obe- 
dience, nor the blood of Christ. 

6. Faith, as we said before, is our own. And that which 
is our own may be imputed unto us. But the discourse of 
the apostle is about that which is not our own antecedently 
unto imputation, but is made ours thereby, as we have 


proved; for it is of grace. And the imputation of what is 
really our own unto us antecedently unto that imputation, 
is not of grace in the sense of the apostle. For what is so 
imputed, is imputed for what it is, and nothing else. For 
that imputation is but the judgment of God concerning the 
thing imputed, with respect unto them whose it is. So the 
fact of Phineas was imputed unto him for righteousness. 
God judged it, and declared it to be a righteous, rewardable 
act. Wherefore, if our faith and obedience be imputed unto 
us, that imputation is only the judgment of God that we are 
believers and obedient. *The righteousness of the righteous,' 
saith the prophet, ' shall be upon him, and the wickedness^ 
of the wicked shall be upon him ;' Ezek. xviii. 20. As the 
wickedness of the wicked is upon him, or is imputed unto 
him, so the righteousness of the righteous is upon him, oris 
imputed unto him. And the wickedness of the wicked is on 
him, when God judgeth him wicked as his works are. So 
is the righteousness of a man upon him, or imputed unto 
him, when God judgeth of his righteousness as it is. 
Wherefore, if faith absolutely considered, be imputed unto 
us as it contains in itself, or as it is accompanied with works 
of obedience ; then it is imputed unto us, either for a per- 
fect righteousness which it is not, or for an imperfect righte- 
ousness which it is ; or the imputation of it, is the ac- 
counting of that to be a perfect righteousness, which is but 
imperfect ; but none of these can be affirmed. 

1. It is not imputed unto us for a perfect righteousness, 
the righteousness required by the law, for so it is not. Episco- 
pius confesseth in his disputation, Disput.45. sect. 7,8. that 
the righteousness which is imputed unto us must be * abso- 
lutissima et perfectissima,' ' most absolute and most perfect.* 
And thence he thus defineth the imputation of righteousness 
unto us, namely, that it is, ' gratiosa divinae mentis aestima- 
tio, qua credentem in filium suum, eo loco reputat ac si per- 
fecte Justus esset, ac legi et voluntati ejus per omnia semper 
paruisset.' And no man will pretend, that faith is such a 
most absolute and most perfect righteousness, as that by it 
the righteousness of the law should be fulfilled in us, as it 
is by that righteousness which is imputed unto us. 

2. It is not im])uted unto us for what it is, an imperfect 
righteousness. For, 1. This would be of no advantage 


unto us. For we cannot be justified before God by an im- 
perfect righteousness, as is evident in the prayer of the 
psalmist, Psal. cxliii. 2. ' Enter not into judgment with thy 
servant, for in thy sight no man living' (no servant of thine 
who hath the most perfect, or highest measure of imperfect 
righteousness), 'shall be justified.' 2. The imputation of 
any thing unto us, that was ours antecedently unto that 
imputation, for what it is, and no more, is contrary unto the 
imputation described by the apostle, as hath been proved. 

3. This imputation pleaded for, cannot be a judging of 
that to be a perfect righteousness, which is imperfect. For 
the judgment of God is according to truth. But without 
judging it to be such, it cannot be accepted as such. To 
accept of any thing, but only for what we judge it to be, is 
to be deceived. 

Lastly, If faith, as a work, be imputed unto us, then it 
must be as a work wrought in faith. For no other work is 
accepted with God. Then must that faith also, wherein it 
is wrought, be imputed unto us ; for that also is faith and 
a good work. That therefore must have another faith from 
whence it must proceed. And so ' in infinitum.' 

Many other things there are in the ensuing explication 
of the justification of Abraham, the nature of his faith and 
his righteousness before God, with the application of them 
unto all that do believe, which may be justly pleaded unto 
the same purpose with those passages of the context which 
we have insisted on. But if every testimony should be 
pleaded which the Holy Ghost hath given unto this truth, 
there would be no end of writing. One thing more I shall 
observe, and put an end unto our discourse on this chapter. 

Ver. 6 — 8. The apostle pursues his argument to prove 
the freedom of our justification by faith, without respect 
unto works, through the imputation of righteousness, in 
the instance of pardon of sin, which essentially belongeth 
thereunto. And this he doth by the testimony of the 
psalmist, who placeth the blessedness of a man in the re- 
mission of sins. His design is not thereby to declare the 
full nature of justification, which he had done before, but 
only to prove the freedom of it from any respect unto works, 
in the instance of that essential part of it. ' Even as David 
also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God 


imputeth righteousness without works' (which was the only 
thing he designed to prove by this testimony) * saying, 
Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven/ He de- 
scribes their blessedness by it, not that their whole blessed- 
ness doth consist therein ; but this concurs unto it, wherein 
no respect can possibly be had unto any works whatever. 
And he may justly from hence describe the blessedness of a 
man, in that the imputation of righteousness, and the non- 
imputation of sin (both which the apostle mentioneth dis- 
tinctly) wherein his whole blessedness as unto justification 
doth consist, are inseparable. And because remission of 
sin is the first part of justification, and the principal part of 
it, and hath the imputation of righteousness always accom- 
panying it, the blessedness of a man may be well described 
thereby. Yea, whereas all spiritual blessings go together 
in Christ, Eph. i. 3. a man's blessedness may be described 
by any of them. But yet the imputation of righteousness, 
and the remission of sin are not the same, no more than 
righteousness imputed, and sin remitted are the same. Nor 
doth the apostle propose them as the same, but mentioneth 
them distinctly, both being equally necessary unto our com- 
plete justification, as hath been proved. 

Chap. V. 12 — 21. ' Wherefore, as by one man sin entered 
into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon 
all men, for that all have sinned. For until the law sin was 
in the world ; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over 
them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's 
transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if 
through the offence of one many be dead ; much more the 
grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, 
Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it 
was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment 
was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many 
offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence 
death reigned by one ; much more they which receive 
abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall 
reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as by the of- 
fence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemna- 
tion ; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came 


upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's 
disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience 
of one, shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law 
entered that the offence might abound ; but where sin 
abounded, grace did much more abound ; that as sin hath 
reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righ- 
teousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.' 

The apostle, chap. iii. 27. affirms, that in this matter of 
justification, all Kavxn<^f^<: or ' boasting,' is excluded.. But 
here in the verse foregoing, he grants a boasting or a kuv- 
Xn^a. ov lULovov §£, aXXa Kavyj^ptSa Iv rw 6f^. * And not only 
so, but we also glory in God ;' he excludes boasting in our- 
selves, because there is nothing in us to procure or promote 
our own justification. He allows it us, in God, because of 
the eminency and excellency of the way and means of our 
justification, which in his grace he hath provided. And the 
KavxniicL, or ' boasting' in God here allowed us, hath a pecu- 
liar respect unto what the apostle had in prospect farther to 
discourse of, ov iiovov'^l, * and not only so,' includes what he 
had principally treated of before, concerning our justification 
so far, as it consists in the pardon of sin. For although he 
doth suppose, yea, and mention the imputation of righteous- 
ness also unto us ; yet principally he declares our justifica- 
tion by the pardon of sin, and our freedom from condemna- 
tion, whereby all boasting in ourselves, is excluded. But 
here he designs a farther progress, as unto that whereon our 
glorying in God, on a right and title freely given us unto 
eternal life, doth depend. And this is the imputation of the 
righteousness and obedience of Christ unto the justification 
of life, or the reign of grace, through righteousness, unto 
eternal life. 

Great complaints have been made by some concerning 
the obscurity of the discourse of the apostle in this place, by 
reason of sundry ellipses, antapodota, hyperbata, and other 
figures of speech, which either are, or are feigned to be 
therein. Hovvbeit I cannot but think, that if men acquainted 
with the common principles of Christian religion, and sensi- 
ble in themselves of the nature and guilt of our original 
apostacy from God, would without prejudice read TavTr\v 
TTiv nepLoxnv Trig ypa^rjc* ' this place of the Scripture,' they 
will grant that the design of the apostle is to prove, that as 


the sin of Adam was imputed unto all men unto condemna- 
tion, so the righteousness and obedience of Christ is imputed 
unto all that believe unto the justification of life. The sum 
of it is given by Theodoret, dial. 3. ' Vide, quomodo quae 
Christi sunt cum iis quae sunt Adami conferantur, cum mor- 
bo medicina, cum vulnere emplastrum, cum peccato justi- 
tia, cum execratione benedictio, cum condemnatione remis- 
sio, cum transgressione obedientia, cum morte vita, cum 
inferis regnum, Christus cum Adam, homo cum homine.' 

The differences that are among interpreters about the 
exposition of these words, relate unto the use of some parti- 
cles, prepositions, and the dependance of one passage upon 
another ; on none of vv^hich the confirmation of the truth 
pleaded for doth depend. But the plain design of the apo- 
stle, and his express propositions are such, as if men could but 
acquiesce in them, might put an end unto this controversy. 

Socinus acknowledgeth that this place of Scripture doth 
give, as he speaks, the greatest occasion unto our opinion in 
this matter ; for he cannot deny, but, at least, a great ap- 
pearance of what we believe, is represented in the words of 
the apostle. He doth, therefore, use his utmost endeavour 
to wrest and deprave them ; and yet, although most of his 
artifices are since traduced into the annotations of others 
upon the place, he himself produceth nothing material, but 
what is taken out of Origen, and the comment of Pelagius 
on this epistle, which is extant in the works of Jerome, and 
was urged before him by Erasmus. The substance of what 
he pleads for is, that the actual transgression of Adam is not 
imputed unto his posterity, nor a depraved nature from 
thence communicated unto them. Only whereas he had in- 
curred the penalty of death, all that derive their nature from 
him in that condition, are rendered subject unto death also. 
And as for that corruption of nature which is in us, or a 
proneness unto sin, it is not derived from Adam, but is a 
habit contracted by many continued acts of our own. So 
also on the other hand, that the obedience or righteousness 
of Christ, is not imputed unto us. Only when we make our- 
selves to become his children by our obedience unto him ; 
he having obtained eternal life for himself by his obedience 
unto God, we are made partakers of the benefits thereof. 
This is the substance of his long disputation on this subject. 


De Servator. lib. iv. cap. 6. But this is not to expound the 
words of the apostle, but expressly to contradict them, as 
we shall see in the ensuing consideration of them. 

I intend not an exposition of the whole discourse of the 
apostle, but only of those passages in it, which evidently 
declare the way and manner of our justification before God. 

A comparison is here proposed and pursued between the 
first Adam, by whom sin was brought into the world ; and 
the second Adam, by whom it is taken away. And a com- 
parison it is £K Tov IvavTLOv, of things contrary, wherein 
there is a similitude in some things, and a dissimilitude in 
others, both sorts illustrating the truth declared in it. The 
general proposition of it is contained in ver. 12. * As by one 
man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so 
death passed on all men, for that all have sinned.' The en- 
trance of sin and punishment into the world, was by one 
man ; and that by one sin, as he afterward declares. Yet 
were they not confined unto the person of that one man, 
but belonged equally unto all. This the apostle expresseth, 
inverting the order of the effect and cause. In the entrance 
of it, he first mentions the cause or sin, and then the effect 
or punishment. * By one man sin entered into the world, 
and death by sin :' but in the application of it unto all men, 
he expresseth first the effect, and then the cause ; ' death 
passed on all men, for that all had sinned.' Death, on the 
first entrance of sin, passed on all ; that is, all men became 
liable and obnoxious unto it, as the punishment due to sin. 
All men, that ever were, are, or shall be, were not then ex- 
istent in their own persons. But yet were they all of them, 
then, upon the first entrance of sin, made subject to death, 
or liable unto punishment. They were so by virtue of divine 
constitution, upon their federal existence in the one man 
that sinned. And actually they became obnoxious in their 
own persons unto the sentence of it, upon their first natural 
existence, being born children of wrath. 

It is hence manifest, what sin it is that the apostle in- 
tends, namely, the actual sin of Adam ; the one sin of that 
one common person, whilst he was so. For although the 
corruption and depravation of our nature, doth necessarily 
ensue thereon, in every one that is brought forth actually in 
the world by natural generation; yet is it the guilt of Adam's 


actual sin alone, that rendered them all obnoxious unto 
death upon the first entrance of sin into the world. So 
death entered by sin, the guilt of it, obnoxiousness unto it. 
and that with respect unto all men universally. 

Death here conipriseth the whole punishment due unto 
sin, be it what it wnll, concerning which we need not here 
to dispute. * The wages of sin is death,' Rom. vi. 23. and 
nothing else. Whatever sin deserves in the justice of God, 
whatever punishment God at any time appointed or threat- 
ened unto it, it is comprised in death ; * In the day thou eat- 
est thereof, thou shalt die the death.' This therefore the 
apostle lays down as the foundation of his discourse, and 
of the comparison which he intends; namely, that in and 
by the actual sin of Adam, all men are made liable unto 
death, or unto the whole punishment due unto sin. That 
is, the guilt of that sin is imputed unto them. For nothing 
is intended by the imputation of sin unto any, but the ren- 
dering them justly obnoxious unto the punishment due unto 
that sin. As the not imputing of sin, is the freeing of men 
from being subject or liable unto punishment. And this 
suflBciently evidenceth the vanity of the Pelagian gloss, that 
death passed upon all, merely by virtue of natural propaga- 
tion from him who had deserved it, without any imputation 
of the guilt of sin unto them; which is a contradiction unto 
the plain words of the apostle. For it is the guilt of sin, 
and not natural propagation, that he affirms to be the cause 
of death. 

Having mentioned sin and death, the one as the only 
cause of the other, the guilt of sin of the punishment of 
death ; sin deserving nothing but death, and death being 
due unto nothing but sin ; he declares, how all men univer- 
sally became liable unto this punishment, or guilty of death, 
£</)' (J TTavrec ^juaprov, * in quo omnes peccaverunt ;' *in whom 
all have sinned.' For it relates unto the one man that sin- 
ned, in whom all sinned; which is evident from the effect 
thereof, inasmuch as * in him all died ;' 1 Cor. xv. 22. Or 
as it is here, on his sin ' death passed on all men.' And 
this is the evident sense of die words, liri being put for Jv, 
which is not unusual in the Scripture. See Matt. xv. 5. 
Rom. iv. 18. V. 2. Phil. i. 3. Heb.ix. 17. And it is so often 
used by the best writers in the Greek tongue. So Hesiod, 


Mtrpov ^* IttX iramv apiarov, ' modus in omnibus rebus opti- 
mus/ So E(^' vijXv £(ttlv, *in vobis situm est,' tovto Itt' kjioi 
Kctrat, * hoc in me situm est/ And this reading of the words 
is contended for by Austin, against the Pelagians, rejecting 
their ' eo quod* or ' propterea.' But I shall not contend 
about the reading of the words. It is the artifice of our ad- 
versaries to persuade men, that the force of our argument 
to prove from hence the imputation of the sin of Adam unto 
his posterity, doth depend solely upon this interpretation of 
these words, £(^' (f, by ' in whom.' We shall therefore grant 
them their desire, that they are better rendered by ' eo quod, 
propterea,' or ' quatenus ;' * inasmuch, because.' Only we 
must say, that here is a reason given, why * death passed 
on all men,' inasmuch as * all have sinned,' that is, in that 
sin whereby death entered into the world. 

It is true ; death, by virtue of the original constitution 
of the law, is due unto every sin, whenever it is committed. 
But the present inquiry is, how death passed at once on all 
men, how they came liable and obnoxious unto it upon its 
first entrance by the actual sin of Adam ; which cannot be 
by their own actual sin. Yea, the apostle in the next verses 
afiirms, that death passed on them also, who never sinned 
actually, or as Adam did, whose sin was actual. And if the 
actual sins of men in imitation of Adam's sin were intended, 
then should men be made liable to death, before they had 
sinned. For death upon its first entrance into the world, 
passed on all men, before any one man had actually sinned 
but Adam only. But that men should be liable unto death, 
which is nothing but the punishment of sin, when they have 
not sinned, is an open contradiction. For although God 
by his sovereign power might inflict death on an innocent 
creature, yet that an innocent creature should be guilty of 
death is impossible. For to be guilty of death, is to have 
sinned. Wherefore this expression, * inasmuch as all have 
sinned,' expressing the desert and guilt of death, then when 
sin and death first entered into the world, no sin can be in- 
tended in it, but the sin of Adam, and our interest therein; 
* Eramus enim omnes ille unus homo.' And this can be nq 
otherwise, but by the imputation of the guilt of that sin unto 
us. For the act of Adam not being ours inherently and sub- 
jectively, we cannot be concerned in its effect, but by the 
VOL. XI. 2 n 


imputation of its guilt. For the communication of that 
unto us which is not inherent in us, is that which we in- 
tend by imputation. 

This is the irporamg of the intended collation, which I 
have insisted the lonp;er on, because the apostle lays in it 
the foundation of all that he afterward infers, and asserts 
in the whole comparison. And here some say there is an 
avavTOTToSaTov in his discourse, that is, he layeth down the 
proposition on the part of Adam, but doth not shew what 
answereth to it on the contrary in Christ. And Origen 
gives the reason of the silence of the apostle herein, namely, 
lest what is to be said therein, should be abused by any 
unto sloth and negligence. For whereas he says wairep, ' as' 
(which is a note of similitude), * by one man sin entered into 
the world, and death by sin ;' so the airoSoaig or reddition 
should be, so by one, righteousness entered into the world, 
and life by righteousness. 

This he acknowledgeth to be the genuine filling up of 
the comparison, but was not expressed by the apostle, lest 
men should abuse it unto negligence or security, supposing 
that to be done already, which should be done afterward. 
But as this plainly contradicts and averts most of what he 
farther asserts in the exposition of the place ; so the apo- 
stle concealed not any truth upon such considerations. And 
as he plainly expresseth that which is here intimated, ver. 19. 
so he shews how foolish and wicked any such imaginations 
are, as suppose that any countenance is given hereby unto 
any, to indulge themselves in their sins. 

Some grant, therefore, that the apostle doth conceal the 
expression of what is ascribed unto Christ, in opposition 
unto what he had affirmed of Adam and his sin, unto ver. 
19. But the truth is, it is sufficiently included in the close 
of ver. 14. where he affirms of Adam, that in those things 
whereof he treats, he was the figure of him that was to come. 
For the way and manner whereby he introduced righteous- 
ness and life, and communicated them unto men, answered 
the way and manner whereby Adam introduced sin and 
death which passed on all the world. Adam being the 
figure of Christ, look how it was with him, with respect 
unto his natural posterity, as unto sin and death ; so it is 
with the Lord Christ, the second Adam, and his spiritual 


posterity, with respect unto righteousness and life. Hence 
we argue, 

If the actual sin of Adam was so imputed unto all his 
posterity, as to be accounted their own sin unto condemna- 
tion, then is the actual obedience of Christ, the second Adam, 
imputed unto all his spiritual seed, that is, unto all believ- 
ers, unto justification. I shall not here farther press this 
argument, because the ground of it will occur unto us after- 

The two next verses containing an objection and an an- 
swer returned unto them, wherein we have no immediate 
concernment, I shall pass by. 

Ver. 15, 16. The apostle proceeds to explain his compa- 
rison in those things, wherein there is a dissimilitude between 
the ' comparates.' 

'But not as the offence, so is the free gift ; for if through 
the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of 
God, and the gift by grace, by one man Jesus Christ, hath 
abounded unto many. 

The opposition is between TrapaTrrwjua on the one hand, 
and xapiGiia on the other ; between which, a dissimilitude is 
asserted, not as unto their opposite effects of death and life, 
but only as unto the degrees of their efficacy, with respect 
unto those effects. IlapaTrra^jLia, the offence, the fall, the sin, 
the transgression ; that is, rou ivhq irapaKori the disobedience 
of one, ver. 19. Hence the first sin of Adam, is generally 
called the fall, to irapanTWfia. That which is opposed here- 
unto, is TO x^P^^I^^ 5 ' donum, donum gratuitum ; beneficium, 
id quod Deus gratificatur ;' that is, x^P^^ ^^^ O^ov, koL ^wpaa 
Iv x«P*''t "ry Tov hog avOpwirov 'Irjaoii Xptarov, as it is imme- 
diately explained, 'The grace of God, and the free gift by 
grace, through Jesus Christ.' Wherefore, although this 
word, in the next verse, doth precisely signify the righte- 
ousness of Christ, yet here it comprehends all the causes of 
our justification, in opposition unto the fall of Adam, and 
the entrance of sin thereby. 

The consequent and effect tov irapairTwfxaTog ' of the of- 
fence,' the fall, is, that ' many be dead.' No more is here in- 
tended by 'many,' but only that the effects of thatone offence 
were not confined unto one ; and if we inquire who, or how 
many those many are, the apostle tells us, that they are all 

2 D 2 i 

404 THE doctrin£ of 

men universally, that is, all the posterity of Adam. By this 
one offence, because they all sinned, therein they are all 
dead ; that is, rendered obnoxious and liable unto death, as 
the punishment due unto that one offence. And hence also 
it appears, how vain it is to wrest those words of ver. 12. 
' Inasmuch as all have sinned,' unto any other sin, but the first 
sin in Adam ; seeing it is given as the reason why death 
passed on them, it being here plainly affirmed, ' that they 
are dead,' or that death passed on them by that one of- 

The efficacy tov xaplafiaroQ, ' of the free gift,' opposed 
hereunto, is expressed, as that which abounded much more. 
Besides the thing itself asserted, which is plain and evident, 
the apostle seems to me to argue the equity of our justifi- 
cation by grace, through the obedience of Christ, by com- 
paring it with the condemnation that befell us by the sin and 
disobedience of Adam. For if it were just, meet, and equal 
that all men should be made subject unto condemnation for 
the sin of Adam ; it is much more so, that those who be- 
lieve, should be justified by the obedience of Christ, through 
the grace and free donation of God. But wherein, in par- 
ticular, the gift by grace, abounded unto many, above the 
efficacy of the fall to condemn, he declares afterward. And, 
that whereby we are free from condemnation, more eminent- 
ly, than we are made obnoxious unto it by the fall and sin of 
Adam, by that alone we are justified before God. But this 
is by the grace of God, and the gift by grace, through Jesus 
Christ alone ; which we plead for, ver. 16. Another differ- 
ence between the 'comparates' is expressed, or rather the in- 
stance is given in particular of the dissimilitude asserted in 
general before. 

* And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift ; for 
the judgment was by one to condemnation ; but the free gift 
is of many offences unto justification.' 

At Ivoc afiapTTfcravTog, ' By one that sinned,' is the same 
with Ukvog TrapaTrrwjuaroc, * by one sin,' one offence, the one 
sin of that man, Kplfxa, we render * judgment.' Most inter- 
preters do it by ' reatus,' * guilt,' or* crimen/ which is derived 
from it. So r\DW12 'judicium/ is used in the Hebrew for guilt, 
nrn W>Hb niD ODII^D Jer. xxvi. 11. ' The judgment of death is 
to this man, this man is guilty of death, hath deserved to 


die. First, therefore, there \va« TrapcnrTcjfjia, the sin, the fall, 
Tov ivbg afiaiyTijGavrog, oi' one man that sinned; it was his 
actual sin alone. Thence followed icp7/xa, ' reatus,' * guilt ;' this 
was common unto all. In and by that one sin, guilt came 
upon all. And the end hereof, that which it rendered men 
obnoxious unto, is KaTaKpifia, * condemnation ;' guilt unto con- 
demnation ; and this guilt unto condemnation which came 
upon all, was t^ hog of one person, or sin. This is the order 
of things on the part of Adam : (1.) UapairrwiuLa, the one sin. 
(2.) Kpiiua, the guilt that thereon ensued unto all. (3.) Kara- 
Kpifia^ the condemnation which that guilt deserved. And 
their ' antitheta' or opposites in the second Adam, are (L) 
XaptCTjua, the free donation of God. (2.) Awprijuia, the gift of 
grace itself, or the righteousness of Christ. (3.) Affcatw/za or 
^iKaiiomg ^a>^c> 'justification of life.* But yet though the 
apostle doth thus distinguish these things, to illustrate his 
comparison and opposition, yet that which he intends by 
them all, is the righteousness and obedience of Christ, as he 
declares ver. 18, 19. This in the matter of our justification, 
he (1.) calleth Xapto-jua with respect unto the free gratuitous 
grant of it by the grace of God, Atopea, rrig x«P^^o? j ^^^ (2-) 
Awprjjua, with respect unto us who receive it. A free gift it 
is unto us ; and (3.) AtKauofjia, with respect unto its effect 
of making us righteous. 

Whereas, therefore, by the sin of Adam imputed unto 
them, guilt came on all men unto condemnation, we must 
inquire, wherein the free gift was otherwise. Not as by one 
that sinned, so was the gift. And it was so in two things : 
for, 1. Condemnation came upon all by one offence. But 
being under the guilt of that one offence, we contract the 
guilt of many more innumerable. Wherefore, if the free gift 
had respect only unto that one offence, and intended itself 
no farther, we could not be delivered ; wherefore it is said 
to be of many offences, that is, of all our sins and trespasses 
whatever. 2. Adam, and all his posterity in him, were in 
a state of acceptation with God, and placed in away of ob- 
taining eternal life and blessedness, wherein God himself 
would have been their reward. In this estate by the entrance 
of sin, they lost the favour of God, and incurred the guilt of 
death or condemnation, for they are the same. But they lc>st 
not an immediate right and title unto life and blessedness. 


For this they had not, nor could have before the <iourse of 
obedience prescribed unto them, was accomplished. That 
therefore, which came upon all by the one offence, was the 
loss of God's favour in the approbation of their present 
state, and the judgment or guilt of death and condemnation. 
But an immediate right unto eternal life, by that one sin was 
not lost. The free gift is not so : for as by it we are freed, 
not only from one sin, but from all our sins, so also by it 
we have a right and title unto eternal life. For therein 
' grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life ;* 
ver. 22. 

The same truth is farther explained and confirmed, ver. 17. 
* For if by one man's offence death reigned by one, much 
more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift 
of righteousness, shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ.' 
The design of the apostle having been sufficiently mani- 
fested in our observations on the former verses, I shall from 
this only observe those things which more immediately con- 
cern our present subject. And, 1. It is worth observation, 
with what variety of expressions the apostle sets forth the 
grace of God in the justification of believers. AiKaiwfia, 
Swprjjua, X^P^^* X"P'^i""? irspiaartia yapiTog, Swpca Trig 2iKato<rvvrjg. 
Nothing is omitted that may any way express the freedom, 
sufficiency, and efficacy of grace unto that end. And al- 
though these terms seem some of them to be coincident in 
their signification, and to be used by him promiscuously, 
yet do they every one include something that is peculiar, 
and all of them set forth the whole work of grace. AtKaiLjfxa 
seems to me, to be used in this argument for StfcatoAoyrjjua, 
which is the foundation of a cause in trial, the matter 
pleaded, whereon the person tried is to be acquitted and 
justified. And this is the righteousness of Christ; of one. 
Awpr/jua, or a free donation, is exclusive of all desert and 
conditions on our part, who do receive it. And it is that 
whereby we are freed from condemnation, and have a right 
unto the justification of life. Xapig is the free grace and 
favour of God, which is the original or efficient cause of our 
justification, as was declared, chap. iii. 24. XapifTfia hath 
been explained before. UepKratla xapirog, 'the abundance of 
grace,' is added to secure believers of the certainty of the 
effect. It is that whereunto nothing is wanting unto our 


j ustification. Awpea r»)c ^iKaiotJvvrig expresseth the free grant 
of that righteousness, which is imputed unto us unto the 
justification of life, afterward called the obedience of Christ. 
Be men as wise and learned as they please, it becomes us all 
to learn to think and speak of those divine mysteries from 
this blessed apostle, who knew them better than we all, and 
besides, wrote by divine inspiration. 

And it is marvellous unto me, how men can break through 
the fence that he hath made about the grace of God, and 
obedience of Christ, in the work of our justification before 
God, to introduce their own works of obedience, and to 
find a place for them therein. But the design of Paul and 
some men in declaring this point of our justification before 
God, seems to be very opposite and contrary. His whole 
discourse is concerning the grace of God, the death, blood, 
and obedience of Christ, as if he could never sufficiently 
satisfy himself in the setting out, and declaration of them, 
without the least mention of any works or duties of our 
own, or the least intimation of any use that they are of 
herein. But all their pleas are for their own works and du- 
ties ; and they have invented as many terms to set them out 
by, as the Holy Ghost hath used for the expression and de- 
claration of the grace of God. Instead of the words of wis- 
dom before-mentioned, which the Holy Ghost hath taught, 
wherewith he fills up his discourse, theirs are filled with 
conditions, preparatory dispositions, merits, causes, and 1 
know not what trappings for our own works. For my part 
I shall choose rather to learn of him, and accommodate my 
conceptions and expressions of gospel mysteries, and of this 
in especial, concerning our justification, unto his who cannot 
deceive me ; than trust to any other conduct, how specious 
soever its pretences may be. 

2. It is plain in this verse, that no more is required of 
any one unto justification, but that he receive the abundance 
of grace, and the gift of righteousness. For this is the de- 
scription that the apostle gives of those that are justified, as 
unto any thing that on their part is required. And as this 
excludes, all works of righteousness which we do ; for by 
none of them do we receive the abundance of gjrace, ar.d the 
gift of righteousness ; so it doth also the imputation of faith 
itself unto our justification, as it is an act and duty of our 


own : for faith is that whereby we receive the gift of righte- 
ousness, by which we are justified. For it will not be de- 
nied, but that we are justified by the gift of righteousness, 
or the righteousness which is given unto us ; for by it have 
we right and title unto life. But our faith is not this gift, 
for that which receiveth, and that which is received, are not 
the same. 

3. Where there is TrepKjada ^dpirogf and ^dpig vwlp Trepia- 
aevovcra, ' abounding grace,' * superabounding grace,' exerted 
in our justification, no more is required thereunto. For how 
can it be said to abound, yea, to superabound, not only to 
the freeing of us from condemnation ; but the giving of us 
a title unto life, if in any thing it is to be supplied, and 
eked out by works and duties of our own. The things in- 
tended do fill up these expressions, although to some they 
ate but an empty noise. 

4. There is a gift of righteousness required unto our jus- 
tification, which all must receive, who are to be justified. 
And all are justified who do receive it ; for they that receive 
it shall reign in life by Jesus Christ. And hence it follows, 

1. That the righteousness whereby we are justified before 
God, can be nothing of our own, nothing inherent in us, 
nothing performed by us. For it is that which is freely 
given us, and this donation is by imputation : * Blessed is 
the man unto whom the Lord imputeth righteousness ;' chap, 
iv. 6. And by faith we receive what is so given and imputed, 
and otherwise we contribute nothing unto our participation 
of it. This it is to be justified in the sense of the apostle. 

2. It is such a righteousness as gives right and title unto 
eternal life. For they that receive it, shall reign in life. 
Wherefore, it cannot consist in the pardon of sin alone. For, 
1. The pardon of sin can in no tolerable sense be called * the 
gift of righteousness.' Pardon of sin is one thing, and righte- 
ousness another. 2. Pardon of sin doth not give right and 
title unto eternal life. It is true, he whose sins are par- 
doned shall inherit eternal life ; but not merely by virtue 
of that pardon, but through the imputation of righteous- 
ness which doth inseparably accompany it, and is the ground 
of it. 

The description which is here given of our justification 
by grace, in opposition unto the condemnation that we were 


made liable unto by the sin of Adam, and in exaltation above 
it, as to the eflficacy of grace above that of the first sin, in 
that thereby not one, but all sins are forgiven, and not only 
so, but a right unto life eternal is communicated unto us^ 
is this ; * That we receive the grace of God, and the gift of 
righteousness,' which gives us a right unto life by Jesus 
Christ. But this is to be justified by the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ received by faith alone. 

The conclusion of what hath been evinced in the ma- 
nagement of the comparison insisted on is fully expressed 
and farther confirmed, ver. 18, 19. 

Ver. 18. ' Therefore as by the offence of one judgment 
came upon all men unto condemnation, even so by the righte- 
ousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto the 
justification of life.' So we read the words. ' By the offence 
of one ;' the Greek copies vary here. Some read t(^ Ivt ira- 
paTTTwfjLaTi, whom Beza foUoweth, and our translation in the 
margin ; by ' one offence ;' most by r<^ tov kvog irapairTi^iJLaTi, 
'by the offence of one;' and so afterward as unto righte- 
ousness ; but both are unto the same purpose. For the one 
offence intended, is the offence of one, that is, of Adam. 
And the one righteousness, is the righteousness of one, Jesus 

The introduction of this assertion by apa ovv, the note of 
a syllogistical inference, declares what is here asserted to be 
the substance of the truth pleaded for. And the comparison 
is continued, w?, these things have themselves after the same 

That which is affirmed on the one side, is, ^llvocTrapair- 
TwfxaTOQ ac 'rravTag avOptoirovg dg KaTaKpifia ; * by the sin or 
fall of one, on all men unto condemnation,' that is, judgment, 
say we, repeating Kplfia from the foregoing verse. But icpTjua 
ac KaraKpifxa is guilt, and that only. By the sin of one, all 
men became guilty, and were made obnoxious unto con- 
demnation. The guilt of it is imputed unto all men. For 
no otherwise can it come upon them unto condemnation, 
no otherwise can they be rendered obnoxious unto death 
and judgment on the account thereof. For we have evinced 
that by death and condemnation in this disputation of the 
apostle, the whole punishment due unto sin, is intended. 
This therefore is plain and evident on that hand. 


In answer hereunto, the ^iKaiotfia of one, as to the caus- 
ality of justification, is opposed unto the TrapaTrrwjua of the 
other, as unto its causality unto, or of condemnation. Al 
ivbg SiKaiwfiaTog^ *by the righteousness of one.' That is, the 
righteousness thatis pleadable Etc StKotwo-iv, unto justification. 
For that is diKai(Df.ia, a righteousness pleaded for justification. 
By this, say our translators, * the free gift came upon all ;* 
repeating xaptcrjua from the foregoing verse, as they had done 
Kplfxa before on the other hand. The Syriac translation 
renders the words without the aid of any supplement j 
* Therefore, as by the sin of one, condemnation was unto all 
men, so by the righteousness of one, justification unto life 
shall be unto all men.' And the sense of the words is so 
made plain without the supply of any other word into the 
text. But whereas in the original the words are not Kara" 
Kpifia zlg iravrag avOpMTTOvg, but dg wavrag avOpwirovg slg ica- 
TaKpifiay and so in the latter clause, somewhat from his own 
foregoing words, is to be supplied to answer the intention of 
the apostle. And this is x«V'^i"« ' gratiosa donatio,* 'the free 
grant' of righteousness ; or ^ojpvfia * the free gift' of righte- 
ousness unto justification. The righteousness of one Christ 
Jesus, is freely granted unto all believers, to the justification 
of life. For the ' all men' here mentioned are described by, 
and limited unto, them that ' receive the abundance of grace, 
and the gift of righteousness by Christ;' ver. 17. 

Some vainly pretend from hence a general grant of righte- 
ousness and life unto all men, whereof the greatest part are 
never made partakers ; than which nothing can be more op- 
posite nor contradictory unto the apostle's design. Men 
are not made guilty of condemnation from the sin of Adam, 
by such a divine constitution, as that they may, or on some 
conditions may not, be obnoxious thereunto. Every one so 
soon as he actually exists, and by virtue thereof is a descend- 
ant from the first Adam, is actually in his own person liable 
thereunto, and the wrath of God abideth on him. And no 
more are intended on the other side, but those only who 
by their relation through faith unto the Lord Christ the se- 
cond Adam, are actually interested in the justification of 
life. Neither is the controversy about the universality of 
redemption by the death of Christ herein concerned. For 
those by whom it is asserted, do not affirm that it is thence 


necessary that the free gift unto the justification of life, 
should come on all, for that they know it doth not do. And 
of a provision of righteousness and life for men in case they 
do believe, although it be true, yet nothing is spoken in this 
place. Only the certain justification of them that believe, 
and the way of it is declared. Nor will the analogy of the 
comparison here insisted on, admit of any such interpreta- 
tion. For the ' all' on the one hand, are all and only those 
who derive their being from Adam by natural propagation. 
If any man might be supposed not to do so, he would not 
be concerned in his sin or fall. And so really it was with 
the man Christ Jesus. And those on the other hand, are 
only those who derive a spiritual life from Christ. Suppose 
a man not to do so, and he is no way interested in the righte- 
ousness of the one unto the justification of life. Our ar- 
gument from the words is this ; as the sin of one that came 
on all unto condemnation, was the sin of the first Adam im- 
puted unto them, so the righteousness of the one unto the 
justification of life that comes on all believers, is the righte- 
ousness of Christ imputed unto them. And what can be 
more clearly aflSrmed or more evidently confirmed than this 
is by the apostle, I know not. Yet is it more plainly ex- 
pressed, ver. 19. 'For as by one man's disobedience many 
were made sinners ; so by the obedience of one shall many 
be made righteous.' 

This is well explained by Cyrillus Alexandrinus in Joan, 
lib. xi. cap. 25. ' Quemadmodum praevaricatione primi ho- 
minis ut in primitiis generis nostri, morti addicti fuimus ; 
eodem modo per obedientiam et justitiam Christi, in quan- 
tum seipsum legi subjecit, quamvis legis author esset, bene- 
dictio et vivificatio quse per spiritum est, ad totam nostram 
penetravit naturam.' And by Leo. Epist. 12. ad Juvenalem. 
* Ut autem reparet omnium vitam, recepit omnium causam ; 
ut sicut perunius reatum omnes facti fuerunt peccatores, ita 
per unius innocentiam omnes fierent innocentes ; inde in 
homines manaret justitia, ubi est humana suscepta natura.* 
That which he before called wapaTrrwfia and SiKaiiofxahe now 
expresseth by TrapaKO?) and vwaKor}, ' disobedience' and ' obe- 
dience.' The irapaKOY} of Adam or his disobedience was his 
actual transgression of the law of God. Hereby, saith the 
apostle, ' many were made sinners.' Sinners, in such a 


sense as to be obnoxious unto death and condemnation. For 
liable unto death they could not be made, unless they were 
first made sinners or guilty. And this they could not be, 
but that they are esteemed to have sinned in him, whereon 
the guilt of his sin was imputed unto them. This therefore 
he affirms, namely, that the actual sin of Adam was so the 
sin of all men, as that they were made sinners thereby, ob- 
noxious unto death and condemnation. 

That which he opposeth hereunto, is ri viraKori * the obedi- 
ence of one,' that is, of Jesus Christ. And this was the actual 
obedience that he yielded unto the whole law of God. For 
as the disobedience of Adam was his actual transgression of 
the whole law ; so the obedience of Christ was his actual 
accomplishment or fulfilling of the whole law. This the 
antithesis doth require. 

Hereby many are made righteous. How ? By the impu- 
tation of that obedience unto them. For so and no other- 
wise, are men made sinners by the imputation of the disobe- 
dience of Adam. And this is that which gives us a right 
and title unto eternal life; as the apostle declares, ver. 21. 
' That as sin reigned unto death ; so might grace reign 
through righteousness unto eternal life.' This righteousness 
is no other but the obedience of one, that is, of Christ, as 
it is called, ver. 18. And it is said to come upon us, that 
is, to be imputed unto us ; for blessed is the man unto whom 
God imputeth righteousness. And hereby we have not only 
deliverance from that death and condemnation, where unto 
we were liable by the sin of Adam, but the pardon of many 
offences, that is, of all our personal sins, and a right unto 
life eternal through the grace of God ; for we are justified 
freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ 

And these things are thus plainly and fully delivered by 
the apostle, unto whose sense and expressions also (so far as 
may be) it is our duty to accommodate ours. What is 
offered in opposition hereunto, is so made up of exceptions 
and evasions, perplexed disputes, and leadeth us so far ofi' 
from the plain words of the Scripture, that the conscience 
of a convinced sinner knows not what to fix upon to give it 
rest and satisfaction, nor what it is that is to be believed 
unto justification. 


Piscator, in his Scholia on this chapter and elsewhere, 
insisteth much on a specious argument against the imputa- 
tion of the obedience of Christ unto our justification. But 
it proceedeth evidently on an open mistake and false sup- 
position, as well as it is contradictory unto the plain words 
of the text. It is true which he observes and proves, that 
our redemption, reconciliation, pardon of sin, and justifica- 
tion, are often ascribed unto the death and blood of Christ 
in a signal manner. The reasons of it have partly been in- 
timated before, and a farther account of them, shall be given 
immediately. But it doth not thence follow, that the obe- 
dience of his life wherein he fulfilled the whole law, being 
made under it for us, is excluded from any causality therein, 
or is not imputed unto us. But in opposition thereunto he 
thus argueth. 

' Si obedientia vitae Christi nobis ad justitiam imputare- 
tur, non fuit opus Christum pro nobis mori ; mori enim ne- 
cesse fuit pro nobis injustis;' 1 Pet. iii. 18. ' Quod si ergo 
justi effecti sumus per vitam illius, causa nulla relicta fuit 
cur pro nobis moreretur; quia justitia Dei non patitur ut 
puniat justos. At punivit nos in Christo, seu quod idem 
valet punivit Christum pro nobis, et loco nostri, posteaquam 
ille sancte vixisset, ut certum est e Scriptura. Ergo non 
sumus justi effecti per sanctam vitam Christi. Item, 
Christus mortuus est ut justitiam illam Dei nobis acquire- 
ret;* 2 Cor. v. 21. ' Non igitur illam acquisiverat ante 

But this whole argument, I say, proceeds upon an evident 
mistake. For it supposeth such an order of things, as that 
the obedience of Christ or his righteousness in fulfilling the 
law, is first imputed unto us, and then the righteousness of 
his death is afterward to take place, or to be imputed unto 
us, which on that supposition he says would be of no use. 
But no such order or divine constitution is pleaded or pre- 
tended in our justification. It is true, the life of Christ, 
and his obedience unto the law did precede his sufferings, 
and undergoing the curse thereof; neither could it otherwise 
be. For this order of these things between themselves was 
made necessary from the law of nature; but it doth not 
thence follow that it must be observed in the imputation or 
application of them unto us. For this is an effect of sovereign 


wisdom and grace, not respecting the natural order of Christ's 
obedience and suffering, but the moral order of the things 
whereunto they are appointed. And although we need not 
assert, nor do I so do, different acts of the imputation of the 
obedience of Christ unto the justification of life, or a right 
and title unto life eternal, and of the suffering of Christ 
unto the pardon of our sins and freedom from condemna- 
tion ; but by both we have both according unto the ordi- 
nance of God, that Christ may be all in all; yet as unto the 
effects themselves, in the method of God's bringing sinners 
unto the justification of life, the application of the death of 
Christ unto them unto the pardon of sin and freedom from 
condemnation, is in order of nature, and in the exercise of 
faith, antecedent unto the application of his obedience unto 
us, for a right and title unto life eternal. 

The state of the person to be justified, is a state of sin 
and wrath, wherein he is liable unto death and condemna- 
tion. This is that which a convinced sinner is sensible of, 
and which alone in the first place he seeks for deliverance 
from. ' What shall we do to be saved V This in the first 
place is presented unto him in the doctrine and promise of 
the gospel, which is the rule and instrument of its applica- 
tion. And this is the death of Christ, Without this no 
actual righteousness imputed unto him, not the obedience 
of Christ himself, will give him relief. For he is sensible 
that he hath sinned, and thereby come short of the glory of 
God, and imder the sentence condemnatory of the law. Until 
he receives a deliverance from hence, it is to no purpose to 
propose that unto him which should give him right unto life 
eternal. But upon a supposition hereof, he is no less con- 
cerned in what shall yet farther give him title thereunto, 
that he may reign in life through righteousness. Herein I 
say, in its order, conscience is no less concerned, than in 
deliverance from condemnation. And this order is expressed 
in the declaration of the fruit and effects of the mediation 
of Christ, Dan. ix. 24. * To make reconciliation for iniquity, 
and to bring in everlasting righteousness.' Neither is there 
any force in the objection against it, that actually the obe- 
dience of Christ did precede his suffering. For the method 
of their application is not prescribed thereby; and the state 
of sinners to be justified, with the nature of their justifica- 


tion, requires it should be otherwise, as God also hath or- 
dained. But because the obedience and sufferings of Christ, 
were concomitant from first to last, both equally belonging 
unto his state of exaninition, and cannot in any act or in- 
stance be separated, but only in notion or imagination, seeing 
he suffered in all his obedience, and obeyed in all his suffer- 
ing; Heb. V. 8. And neither part of our justification, in 
freedom from condemnation, and right unto life eternal, can 
be supposed to be or exist without the other, according unto 
the ordinance and constitution of God, the whole effect is 
jointly to be ascribed unto the whole mediation of Christ, 
so far as he acted towards God in our behalf, wherein he 
fulfilled the whole law, both as to the penalty exacted of 
sinners, and the righteousness it requires unto life as an 
eternal reward. And there are many reasons, why our justi- 
fication is in the Scripture by the way of eminency ascribed 
unto the death and blood-shedding of Christ. 

For, 1. The grace and love of God, the principal efficient 
cause of our justification, are therein made most eminent 
and conspicuous. For this is most frequently in the Scrip- 
ture proposed unto us as the highest instance, and undeni- 
able demonstration of divine love and grace. And this is 
that which principally we are to consider in our justification, 
the glory of them being the end of God therein. He ' made 
us accepted in the beloved to the praise of the glory of his 
grace ;' Eph. i. 6. Wherefore, this being the fountain, spring, 
and sole cause, both of the obedience of Christ, and of the 
imputation thereof unto us, with the pardon of sin and 
righteousness thereby, it is every where in the Scripture 
proposed as the prime object of our faith in our justifi- 
cation, and opposed directly unto all our own works what- 
ever. The whole of God's design herein, is, that ' Grace 
may reign through righteousness unto eternal life.' Whereas, 
therefore, this is made most evident and conspicuous in the 
death of Christ, our justification is in a peculiar manner as- 
signed thereunto. 

2. The love of Christ himself and his grace are peculi- 
arly exalted in our justification ; * that all men may honour 
the Sou even as they honour the Father.' Frequently are 
they expressed unto this purpose, 2 Cor. viii. 9. Gal. ii. 20. 
Phil. iii. 6, 7. Rev. i. 5, 6. And those also are most emi- 


nently exalted in his death, so as that all the effects and 
fruits of them are ascribed thereunto in a peculiar manner. 
As nothing is more ordinary than, among many things that 
concur to the same effect, to ascribe it unto that which is 
most eminent among them, especially if it cannot be con- 
ceived as separated from the rest. 

3. This is the clearest testimony, that what the Lord 
Christ did and suffered, was for us, and not for himself. For 
without the consideration hereof, all the obedience which 
he yielded unto the law, might be looked on as due only on 
his own account, and himself to have been such a Saviour 
as the Socinians imagine, who should do all with us from 
God, and nothing with God for us. But the suffering of 
the curse of the law by him who was not only an innocent 
man, but also the Son of God, openly testifies that what 
he did and suffered was for us, and not for himself. It is no 
wonder, therefore, if our faith as unto justification be in the 
first place, and principally directed unto his death and 

4. All the obedience of Christ had still respect unto the 
sacrifice of himself, which was to ensue, wherein it received 
its accomplishment, and whereon its efficacy unto our jus- 
tification did depend. For as no imputation of actual obe- 
dience would justify sinners from the condemnation that 
was passed on them for the sin of Adam; so, although the 
obedience of Christ was not a mere preparation or qualifi- 
cation of his person for his suffering ; yet its efficacy unto 
our justification did depend on his suffering that was to en- 
sue, when his soul was made an offering for sin. 

5. As was before observed, reconciliation and the par- 
don of sin through the blood of Christ, do directly in the 
first place respect our relief from the state and condition 
whereinto we were cast by the sin of Adam, in the loss of 
the favour of God, and liableness unto death; this therefore 
is that which principally and in the first place a lost con- 
vinced sinner, such as Christ calls unto himself, doth look 
after. And therefore justification is eminently and fre- 
quently proposed as the effect of the blood-shedding and 
death of Christ, which are the direct cause of our reconci- 
liation and pardon of sin. But yet from none of these con- 
siderations, doth it follow that the obedience of. the one 


man Christ Jesus is not imputed unto us, whereby grace 
might reign through righteousness unto eternal life. 

The same truth is fully asserted and confirmed, chap, 
viii. 1 — 4. But this place hath been of late so explained and 
so vindicated by another in his learned and judicious expo- 
sition of it (namely. Dr. Jacombe), as that nothing remains 
of weight to be added unto what hath been pleaded and ar- 
gued by him, part 1. ver. 4. p. 587. and onwards. And indeed 
the answers, which he subjoins (to the arguments whereby 
he confirms the truth) to the most usual and important objec- 
tions against the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, 
are sufficient to give just satisfaction unto the minds of un- 
prejudiced, unengaged persons. I shall therefore pass over 
this testimony, as that which hath been so lately pleaded 
and vindicated ; and not press the same things, it may be 
(as is not unusual) unto their disadvantage. 

Chap. X. 3, 4. * For they' (the Jews who had a zeal for 
God, but not according to knowledge) ' being ignorant of 
God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own 
righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righ- 
teousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for 
righteousness unto every one that believeth.' 

What is here determined, the apostle enters upon the 
proposition and declaration of, chap. ix. 30. And because 
what he had to propose was somewhat strange, and un- 
suited unto the common apprehensions of men, he intro- 
duceth it with that prefatory interrogation, rt ovv epovfiev ; 
which he useth on the like occasions, chap. iii. 5. vi. 1. 
vii. 7. ix. 14. 'What shall we then say?' that is, is there in 
this matter unrighteousness with God ? as ver. 14. or what 
shall we say unto these things, or this is that which is to be 
said herein ? That which hereon he asserts is, that the Gen- 
tiles which followed not after righteousness have attained 
unto righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith ; 
but Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, 
bath not attained unto the law of righteousness, that is, unto 
righteousness itself before God. 

Nothing seems to be more contrary unto reason, than 
what is here made manifest by the event. The Gentiles, who 
lived in sin and pleasures, not once endeavouring to attain 
unto any righteousness before God, yet attained unto it 

VOL. XI. 2 E 


upon the preaching of the gospel. Israel, on the other hand, 
which followed after righteousness, diligently in all the 
works of the law and duties of obedience unto God thereby, 
came short of it, attained not unto it. All preparations, all 
dispositions, all merit as unto righteousness and justifica- 
tion, are excluded from the Gentiles. For in all of them 
there is more or less a following after righteousness, which 
is denied of them all. Only by faith in him who justifietfi 
the ungodly, they attain righteousness, or they attained the 
righteousness of faith. For to attain righteousness by faith, 
and to attain the righteousness which is of faith, are the 
same. Wherefore, all things that are comprised any way in 
following after righteousness, such as are all our duties and 
works, are excluded from any influence into our justifica- 
tion. And this is expressed to declare the sovereignty and 
freedom of the grace of God herein ; namely, that we are 
justified freely by his grace, and that on our part all boast- 
ino- is excluded. Let men pretend what they will, and dis- 
pute what they please, those who attain unto righteousness 
and justification before God, when they follow not after 
righteousness, they do it by the gratuitous imputation of 
the righteousness of another unto them. 

It may be it will be said ; It is true in the time of their 
heathenism they did not at all follow after righteousness, 
but when the truth of the gospel was revealed unto them, 
then they followed after righteousness and did attain it. 
But, 1. This is directly to contradict the apostle in that it 
says, that they attained not righteousness, but only as they 
followed after righteousness, whereas he affirms the direct 
contrary. 2. It takes away the distinction which he puts 
between them and Israel; namely, that the one followed 
after righteousness, and the other did not. 3. To follow 
after righteousness in this place, is to follow after a righte- 
ousness of our own ; to establish their own righteousness, 
chap. X. 3. But this is so far from being a means of attain- 
ing righteousness, as that it is the most effectual obstruc- 
tion thereof. 

If therefore those who have no" righteousness of their 
own, who are so far from it, that they never endeavoured to 
attain it, do yet by faith receive that righteousness where- 
with they are justified before God, they do so by the impu- 


tation of the righteousness of Christ unto them, or let some 
other way be assigned. 

In the other side of the instance concerning Israel, some 
must hear, whether they will or not, that wherewith they are 
not pleased. 

Three things are expressed of them ; 1. Their attempt. 
2. Their success. 3. The reason of it. 

Their attempt or endeavour was in this, that they 'fol- 
lowed after the law of righteousness.' AtwKw, the word where- 
by their endeavour is expressed, signifies that which is ear- 
nest, diligent, and sincere. By it doth the apostle declare 
what his was, and what ours ought to be, in the duties and 
exercise of gospel obedience ; Phil. iii. 12. They were not 
indihgent in this matter, but ' instantly served God day and 
night.' Nor were they hypocritical ; for the apostle bears 
them record in this matter, that * they had a zeal of God ;* 
chap. X. 2. And that which they thus endeavo ured after, 
was vofioQ ^LKaioavvriQ, * the law of righteousness.' That 
law which prescribed a perfect person