Some arguments for the imputation of Christís righteousness
vindicated from the exceptions of
††††††††† The truth concerning the imputation of Christís righteousness, hath been hitherto asserted from Scripture; and several of these passages have been vindicated from the exceptions of Mr. Goodwine, a main adversary thereunto. For further clearing of the matter, we shall see what exceptions the same man brings in against the argument, which are made use of by the orthodox for the truth asserted.
††††††††† Argument 1. If there be no standing in judgment before God, unless we be endued with perfect righteousness; then must the righteousness of Christ be imputed to us, in our justification. But there is no standing for us in judgment before God, unless we be endued with a perfect righteousness. Ergo, &c.
††††††††† Against this he excepts, page 192. Chapter 7. saying, That the consequence of the former proposition is not good. And so doth Bellarmine answer de Justific. lib. 2.cap.7. So do also the Socinians. But let us hear his reasons. Remission of sins (says he) which is the purchase and procurement of the death of Christ, is a perfect
righteousness, and is every way able to bear us out in judgment. Answer: Remission of sins neither is, nor can be called righteousness; for a pardoned person is not the same with one, that hath kept the law: though by virtue of this pardon, he is freed from the punishment, due to the transgressors of the law; yet hath he no right to the reward, promised to the keepers of the law. (2.) Remission of sins being the purchase of Christís death and sufferings, cannot be had without the imputation of the death and sufferings of Christ unto the believer: and so hereby one half of the truth must be granted: but His sufferings and obedience going together and both making up one Mediatory and Surety-righteousness, performed by Christ in His estate of humiliation, both must be imputed, and made over to the believer, to the end he may receive pardon, and right to glory.
††††††††† Argument 2. He that is justified by the righteousness of another, and not by his own, must needs be justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed; because there is no righteousness to be found in any other, for justification of a person, in the sight of God. But every man that is justified, is justified by the righteousness of another, and not by his own. Ergo, &c.
††††††††† He excepts 1. The Major is false, because the passive obedience of Christ is the righteousness of another: and men may be and are thoroughly and fully justified by the merit hereof, communicated to them in the free pardon of their sins; and so need not the imputation of His active obedience. Answer: (1.) We plead not for the sole imputation of Christís active obedience; but for the imputation of all, that He did and suffered, for and in the room and stead of His own. (2.) Where are Christís mere sufferings, as distinguished from His obedience, called a righteousness? or how can mere sufferings, as such, or bearing of the punishment threatened by the law, be called a righteousness? doth not righteousness denote the conformity of actions unto the law? (3.) When it is said, the merit of Christís passive obedience is communicated unto us, the meaning must be one of these two; either that itself is properly made over and imputed to us; or only in its effect, free pardon of sins. If this latter be said, then no imputation is granted, than what Socinus will yield unto: and how can it be said to be imputed, as to its effects, when itself is not imputed, in order to the partaking of these effects? If the former be said, then there is something, that is in itself imputed, and not merely in its effects. And if Christís passion and sufferings be imputed, abstracted from His righteousness and active obedience, they shall be justified without a righteousness. And it neither is, nor ever will be proved, that pardon of sins is the whole of justification; or that a pardoned man is, eo ipso, that he is pardoned, a righteous man; or that a pardoned man, merely as such, hath right to the recompense of reward, promised to the fulfiller of the law.
††††††††† Exception 2. to the minor, A man may be said (says he) to be justified by the righteousness of another, and not by his own, in a double sense. Either 1. by way of merit; and then it is true, that everyone is justified by the righteousness of another, that is, by the merit of the righteousness of another, or 2. by way of form; and so it is altogether untrue; for that righteousness, where with a man
is formally made righteous, is always a manís own by donation and possession. Answer: (1.) When a man is justified by the merit of the righteousness of another, that righteousness of the other must be imputed to the justified person; or we have no other imputation, than what Socinians yield to. (2.) If the righteousness, whereby one is formally justified, be his own by donation and possession, and no other possession be thereunto requisite, then we may be said to be formally justified by the righteousness of Christ: for we affirm, that believers are possessed thereof by Godís free donation and imputation: and thus the whole is granted; for notwithstanding hereof, that same righteousness, which is made over to the believer, by free donation and imputation, is Christís inherently, and so is the righteousness of another. Whereby we see, that the members of this distinction thus explained, are not different. Yet, we must not think, that this righteousness of Christ is so given to us, as that it is inherent in us, and wrought in us, as faith and repentance are: for even remission of sins, whereby he will have us formally justified, is not so in us, as faith and repentance are in us: and through Godís imputation and donation, the righteousness of Christ may be the believerís, when it is received by faith, as well as remission of sins: for, to speak in his own language, that which is given unto man by God, may truly and properly be called his own. (3.) That remission of sins is formal justification, will never be proved: and seeing he will have remission of sins to be the pure effect of Christís sufferings and death; so must justification be: and then, why does the Apostle say, Romans 4: 25 Who was delivered (viz. to sufferings and death) for our offenses, and raised again for our justification?
††††††††† Argument 3. If believers have a true and real communion with Christ, then is His righteousness theirs by imputation. But the former is true, &c. It may be, he presupposes the argument, in such a mode and way, as may be most to his own advantage; for who argueth thus, he nameth not. Yet it is true, that the union, which believers have with Christ, is the ground of their communion with Him in all things, which He was made of God to be for them, and which their necessity called for; among which His whole surety-righteousness does challenge a chief place. Nor would I argue from the union and communion in general: but from such a particular union and communion, as is darkly shadowed forth unto us in the Scriptures, by such and such similitudes; such as the union between man and wife, who are one flesh, as Christ and believers are one Spirit; as the union between the principal debtor and the cautioner; and between the public head and representative, and the members represented; as between the redeemer and the redeemed and the like. And to argue from such an union, for such a peculiar end, to such a communion, as we here plead for, may stand against all his exceptions, page 195, &c. Which are these following.
††††††††† Exception 1. The Major wants truth, because a true and real communion with Christ may stand, without His active obedience being made theirs by imputation. There is a real union and communion between the head and the feet, in the same
natural body; yet is not the brain, or the proper functions and operations of the head, made the brain or functions of the feet. So between the husband and the wife; yet is not the holiness, strength and wisdom of the husband made over to the wife by imputation. Answer: Similitudes go not always upon four feet: and as these similitudes come short of expressing the union and communion, that is between Christ and believers; so they are not appositely here applied: for neither is the end of the union and communion between head and feet, that the brains and operations of the head should be communicated to the feet; but that the head should use its proper operations and functions for the good of the feet: nor do the feet stand in need of any other thing from the head. And thus also is it in the other similitude, as to the particulars instanced: yet in other particulars, this last similitude will come nearer to our business; for though the husbandís wisdom, holiness or strength (which are not communicable) be not imputable to the wife; yet his honor and riches can be and are imputed or communicated: for, though before marriage, the woman was in a base condition, yet being matched with an honorable person, she partakes of his honor; and being, before the marriage, a person in debt, her husbands riches are so imputed to her, that she may be and is made thereby solvendo, and freed from her creditors pursuit, and her husband and she become one person in law, and he becomes chargeable with her debt, and obliged to pay it. So that as there is an imputation, or a real devolving by law of the debt of the wife upon the husband; so his making payment and satisfaction for the same, is by law accounted hers; and she is thereupon freed from all charge and trouble from her creditors.
††††††††† Exception 2. The Major wants reason; for there is no color of truth in it, that that union and communion, which believers have with Christ, should of necessity draw after it the imputation of His active obedience; so that this obedience of His should become their formal righteousness; more than the imputation of His wisdom, power and glory. Answer: (1.) If by formal righteousness he understand with Papists, inherent holiness, or righteousness, it is nothing to the purpose; for we assert no such imputation. (2.) That the whole of Christís surety-righteousness be so imputed to believers, as that it becomes theirs; so that they, merely upon the account thereof, and clothed therewith, may be and are repute and held to be persons just, in the account of God, and so be justified in His sight, is the thing we assert: and that this doth necessarily flow from believersí union with Him by faith, and is a part of the communion they have with Him, and that upon a double account, first because He became surety, and undertook their debt; and so was made under the law, and obeyed and suffered all that it could have demanded of them; for this end and purpose, that what He thus did and suffered, as a public person or surety, might stand for them, and be accepted on their behalf. Secondly, because their case and necessity called for this, in order to their justification and acceptance with God.† (3.) His wisdom and power are other ways improven, and laid forth to their advantage, according to the nature of the thing, and necessity.
††††††††† Argument 4. If there be no other principal end, reason, or necessity, why Christ should fulfill the law; but only that His obedience thereunto might be imputed to us for righteousness, in our justification, then is not the imputation thereof to be denied. But the former is true. Ergo, &c. And sure, if Christís obedience to the law, was not necessary in respect of Himself, it must have been performed upon the account of believers; and that principally and mainly for their justification and salvation; and therefore for this end, that it might be imputed unto them. Against this, page 197, &c. He,
††††††††† Excepts: There are diverse other ends, reasons and necessities to be assigned hereof. Answer: This is not the main thing, that is here denied; nor will all this help our adversary, unless it can be shown, that those other ends, which we deny not, are prejudicial unto, and inconsistent with that, which we look upon, as the chief, and as peculiar to Him, as Mediator and surety, standing in the room of His people, who did mainly stand in need of this. Let us now see the particular ends he touches.
††††††††† 1. One reason (says he) might be, to procure the greater authority and deeper reverence to the doctrine, which he taught, Matthew 7: 28. Answer: (1.) The Socinians, upon the same account, deny, that His death was any proper satisfaction for believers: and if this be a weak argument in their mouth, it cannot be strong in the mouth of our present opposites. (2.) This end is but subordinate unto, and no way inconsistent with the principal end, which we have mentioned. (3.) Though Christís miracles had a more direct tendency to procure this reverence, than His holy life; yet neither the one, nor the other were peculiar to Him alone: for both the miracles, wrought by others, such as prophets and Apostles, and their holy life, had a tendency to procure reverence and belief to their doctrine: And himself confirms this in the following words, saying, It is a truth of general acknowledgment, that the holiness, uprightness and unblameableness of the lives of teachers have a powerful influence into the consciences of men, to render them more observant and awful in their attention to the things, which are taught by them, citing Matthew 21: 32, John 5: 35, 8: 46, I Timothy 4: 12, II Timothy 3: 14. (4.) We are to consider Christ, as Mediator and Surety, in what He did, as well, as in what He suffered, in His state of humiliation: for to us a child was born, and to us a Son was given; He was made under the Law for us, that he might redeem such, as were under the Law, that they might receive the Adoption of Sons. Isaiah 9: 5, Galatians 4: 4, 5.
††††††††† 2. This active obedience of Christ, (says he) was serviceable to that same great end, whereunto our righteousness and obedience are subservient, viz. the glory of God, and the advancement of His kingdom, John , . Answer: And was not His death and sufferings also subservient to this same great end? Will it therefore follow, that He died not, to make satisfaction to justice, for the sins of His people? And if this cannot follow, whatever Socinians imagine, how shall it, or can it hence follow, that His obedience was not to satisfy the demands of the Law, and to procure the reward to His people? Is there any inconsistency between His fulfilling the Law, as Mediator and Surety,
in the room of His people; and His doing it for the glory of God, and the advancement of His Kingdom?
††††††††† 3. Another end (says he) is the exemplariness of it. Answer: This is but another arrow, taken out of the quiver of the Socinians; and is of no force to weaken our argument; seeing a subordinate and less principal end doth not destroy a more principal end. Was He not exemplary to us in His death and sufferings? Shall we therefore say, that there was no satisfaction for sins intended thereby? And what is there here peculiar to Christ, as our Lord Mediator, seeing the lives of other saints are also exemplary?
††††††††† 4. It had (says he) an excellent importance to draw to imitation. Answer: This is the same with the preceding, and deserves no further answer.
††††††††† 5. It was (says he) †a means of continuing His person in the love and complacency of His Father, which was a thing of absolute necessity, for the carrying on of the great work of redemption: for if He had once miscarried, who should have mediated for Him? John , . Answer: As to His person, He was God equal with the Father, in power and glory: It were therefore once blasphemy to suppose, that His person stood in need of this, for any such end: or to suppose, that He could have failed, as to any act of obedience, and thereby have displeased God. Wherefore His obedience being the obedience of one, who was and is God over all, blessed forever, it could not be necessary to Himself unto any such end. Therefore it behooved to be wholly for us, for whom He was made under the law; as He was given to us, and born for us.
††††††††† 6. It was (saith he) of absolute necessity to qualify and fit the sacrifice for the altar, and render Him a person meet by His death and sacrifice of Himself, to make atonement for the world, and to purge and take away the sin of it. Answer: Shall we think, that He, who was God, was not a fit enough sacrifice for the world; but that He must be made fit and prepared by acts of obedience? And as for His human nature, which was no person, but did subsist in the divine nature, being assumed into the subsistence thereof, was it not sufficiently fitted to be a sacrifice, by its personal union with the Godhead? Was it not thereby holy, harmless, and undefiled and separate from sinners, which is all that the Apostle requires, Hebrews 7: 26? Was not the human nature personally united unto the Godhead, from the very first moment of conception? The holiness then, that consists in acts of actual obedience, was not required unto this union: and after this union it was not possible, that He could sin: as it is not possible, that the glorified now in heaven can break the laws, that we break here, while on earth; and yet it will not follow, that they are under the same particular obligation to particular acts of commanded duties, that we stand under: So nor was Christ, as to Himself, under the obligation of the particular duties of the Law, to which He willingly submitted Himself, and gave obedience; but all this was for us: Nor was this necessarily required to make His sacrifice holy; for His human nature, being once united, to the Divine, could not other ways be but holy and without in; and so a sinless and holy sacrifice. And withal we would take notice, that the actions of the Mediator, were the actions
of the person, and not of either of the natures alone; and therefore must not be looked upon, as the actions of a mere man. So that His acts of obedience, were the acts of obedience of God-man, or of that person, that was God. He needs not then tell us, that the absolute holiness and righteousness of the humanity itself was of necessary concurrence unto His obedience: for we grant it, and this flowed from the hypostatical union: but that, which we deny, is, that there was an holiness and righteousness in acts of outward obedience to the law requisite thereunto; as if the human nature, by virtue of the hypostatical union, had not been holy and harmless, antecedently unto those outward acts of obedience; and so had not been a sinless and holy sacrifice, if He had been offered up in His infancy, or before He was in capacity to do any commanded acts. He needs not say (as he does page 204) that we conceive, that Christ-man might have been righteous without doing the works of righteousness, which is all one, as to say, that He might have been righteous, though He had transgressed; for not to keep the law, in those, to whom the law is given, is nothing else, but to transgress. For we neither do, nor need assert any such thing: for by virtue of the hypostatical union, He was righteous, and could not transgress, or do anything contrary to what was imposed upon Him: but we say, that by virtue of this union, as to himself, the Human nature was not under the law, as we are; but He was under the Law, that He might fulfill it for others; and not to fit and qualify Him to be a meet sacrifice, as if for this His human nature had not been meet enough before. To this he says, page 205, Let this supposition be admitted, that Christ had suffered in the womb, and that this suffering of His had been fully satisfactory; yet had He been as perfectly righteous, in this case; and consequently had kept the law perfectly, as now He hath done; for the law requires of infants, during infancy, nothing but holiness of nature. I answer (1.) This is enough to confirm what we say, viz. that all His after actual obedience was not necessary to this end. (2.) And beside though this holiness of nature was conform to the law upon the matter, yet it was not a formal obedience unto the law, if we speak of Him in reference to Himself; for the human nature had this holiness by virtue of the hypostatical nature: and Christ, when the human nature was first conceived, was God-man; and the person was under no law; and so was not under the obligation of any such law; but was made under the law, as Mediator; and so, for us, and not for himself; nor is it any more to advantage, to except again and say, that His meaning is not, that there was an absolute necessity, that he should keep the law, upon the same terms, every way, which now He hath done, as that He should perform the same individual acts of obedience, or the same number of acts, in case He had been called to suffer any whit sooner: but that until the very instant, in which He should suffer, whether it were sooner, or later, He should in all things submit Himself unto the good pleasure of God. For it doth hence sufficiently appear, that all his after obedience, in all these particular acts, was not necessary to fit Him, as a sacrifice; and so could not be necessary for Himself. And therefore seeing He had been a sufficiently holy sacrifice, had he been offered up before the actual performance of these commanded duties in the law, it is manifest, that these duties were not required unto the end alleged:
but that, as He was made under the Law for us; so all His actual obedience to the law was for us, and not for Himself. The Excepter, in end, perceiving the invalidity of all his own discourse here, closes the matter thus, page 206, But however suppose this necessity or use of the righteousness of Christ could not be sufficiently cleared; yet since there are many others of undeniable evidence, the position so much contended for; to wit, that the Godhead of Christ sufficiently qualified Him for such a sacrifice, as He was, makes nothing at all for the imputation of His righteousness. Therefore we shall not trouble either ourselves, or our reader any further with untying an impertinent knot. What these others of undeniable evidence are, we have not yet seen: and, sure, this one ground is sufficient to demonstrate, that his obedience to the law, in all points, was not for himself, nor to qualify Him, as a sacrifice; but for us: and therefore it must be imputed, and made over to us and become our righteousness, whereby and whereupon, together with His sufferings, made over to us also, we are to be justified and accepted of God, as righteous; and not only have pardon of sins, but also a right to the inheritance, and to the reward promised upon obedience.
††††††††† 7. As Christ (says he, page 206,) was a sacrifice; so was He and yet is, and is to be forever, Hebrews 7: 27, &c. An High Priest; and that righteousness of His we speak of, qualifies Him, that is, contributes to His qualification for priesthood, as well as it did for His sacrifice. Answer: Seeing it cannot be proved, that His actual obedience to the Law (which is the righteousness we are here speaking of) was necessary to qualify Him to be a sacrifice here on earth; much less can it be proven, that it was necessary to qualify Him for His priesthood in heaven. And all these qualifications mentioned, Hebrews 7: 26, He had, before that actual obedience was either performed, or he in a capacity to perform it: and therefore His actual obedience was not necessary thereunto.
††††††††† 8. The holy pleasure (says he) and contentment, which Christ himself took in these works of righteousness, may be looked upon, as one considerable end, John . Answer: So took He pleasure and delight to suffer: He had a baptism to be baptized with, and how was he strained, or pained, till it was accomplished, Luke 12: 50. Shall we then say, that therefore His death was not to make satisfaction for the sins of his own? These are but Socinian evasions, that have no force to weaken the truth, in the least. And thus, notwithstanding of all his exceptions, this argument abides in its strength. We proceed to another.
††††††††† Argument 5. If we be debtors unto the law, and that not only in matter of punishment, but in perfect obedience also; then did Christ not only suffer death for us, that we might be delivered from the curse; but also fulfilled the law, that so we may be reputed to have fulfilled the law in him, or by the imputation of His fulfilling the law to us. Otherwise the Law should yet remain to be fulfilled by us. But the former is true. Ergo, &c. The force of the argument lies here, that we were debtors unto the law, not only as to the punishment, which we had deserved by transgression, but also to the perfect conformity thereunto: and therefore coming in our law-place, and taking on our debt, did not only undergo the punishment for us, but did also yield perfect obedience: and
this complete surety-righteousness of Christ, consisting both in doing and suffering, must be imputed unto us, and reckoned upon our score, to the end, we may be justified and accepted of God, as righteous; and have right not only to impunity, but also to the reward, promised to the obedient.
††††††† He excepts, page 208, &c., against the Minor, upon these grounds. 1. If the meaning (says he) be, that we, who are believers, are debtors to the law in perfection for our justification; it is false. But as for these, that believe not in Christ, it may be true, in this sense; that if they mean to be justified, and to escape the punishment, otherwise than by Christ, they must keep the whole law. Answer: (1.) We say not, that believers, who are already justified, through the imputed righteousness of Christ, are debtors unto the law, for this end: but that ere they could be justified and accepted of God, as righteous, they were obliged to perfect obedience, as well as to suffer the penalty: and seeing this was impossible unto them, their Surety was to do it, and He did it, and what He did was imputed unto them, and reckoned upon their score. (2.) As for unbelievers (and such are all by nature) seeing it is confessed, that they ere under this obligation, then it is necessary, that before they be justified, either they, or a Surety for them, must satisfy both these demands of the law. And though none be now under a command, to give perfect obedience unto the law, to the end, they may be justified; but such as hear the Gospel are commanded to believe in Christ, and to accept of Him by faith, that they may have an interest in His righteousness, and so be justified: yet that takes not away this imputation, but establishes it rather; because Christ having satisfied all the demands of the law, both in doing and in suffering, and that as a Surety, Head, Redeemer and public person, by believing in Him, they receive this, and have it made over unto them.
††††††††† 2. If the proposition (says he) means, that believers are debtors of perfect obedience to the law, in a way of sanctification and thankfulness, this is true, but it concerns not the question. Answer: Nor do we speak of this, knowing that it is nothing to the present question: But this we say, that all men by nature, and so believers, before they be justified by faith in Christ, are not only under the curse, because of sin; but are under the demand of the law, or the commanding power of the law, requiring perfect obedience, in order to the reward: And that therefore both these demands of the law must be satisfied by their Surety, and the same must be imputed to them and reckoned upon their score, before they can be looked on, as free of the curse, and as heirs of the reward, promised to full and perfect obedience.
††††††††† 3. We are not (says he) therefore exempted from keeping the law, no not in respect of justification itself, because we have transgressed it; but because 1. having once transgressed it, we are utterly incapable of such an observation, whether personally, or by imputation, which may amount to justification, or exemption from punishment. 2. That relaxation or release from an observation of, or dependence upon the law by justification accrues unto us by means of our dependence upon
Christ for justification, through His death, Romans 7: 4. Answer: (1.) If our transgression of the law doth not exempt us from the obligation to keep it perfectly, in order to justification, then, ere we be justified, that obligation must be satisfied, as well, as the obligation to punishment; and so the law must be perfectly kept, as well as its penalty suffered: And seeing we ourselves can do neither, our Surety must do it for us, and that must be accepted for us, and imputed to us. (2.) Nor can it be said, that our incapableness to keep it, so as may amount to justification, doth exempt us from the obligation, or destroy the lawís power to require that of us; more than our incapableness to suffer the penalty, so as may amount to a justification, doth or can exempt us from the obligation to suffer, or destroy the lawís power to require the penalty of us. It is true, that no man now is called of God to endeavor this way of justification: yet all such, as live without the Gospel have not the better and more sure way, through faith in Christ made known unto them. The obligation to perfect obedience remaining after the transgression, says, that, ere man, that was both obliged to suffer, and to yield perfect obedience, can be justified, the law, as to both these demands, must be satisfied, and the Suretyís satisfaction to both must be reckoned upon his score. (3.) Justification and exemption from punishment are not one and the same, in our case, more than pardon and righteousness. (4.) The exemption, that accrues to believers, says not, that there was no obligation upon mankind both to suffer and obey, in order to justification, anterior to Christís doing both.
††††††††† 4. God never required (says he, page 210,) of any man, but only of Christ, both exactness of obedience to the law, and subjection to punishment, due to the transgression of the law cojunctim, but divisim only. He that shall perfectly keep the law, is not bound to suffer the penalty. Answer: (1.) Then our transgressing of the law should exempt us from the obligation to obedience, contrary to what was granted in the first exception. (2.) Though he, who perfectly keeps the law, is obnoxious to no punishment; yet he, who breaks the law (as we all did in Adam, beside our daily transgressions) is obnoxious to punishment; and this obnoxiousness to punishment no more dissolves his obligation to obedience, than his transgression was able to do. And therefore we are all, considered in our natural state, obliged to both conjunctim; for we are born sinners, and yet born under the obligation of keeping the law of God. (3.) Godís requiring both of Christ, who was Mediator and Surety, says, that both were required of us: for what was required of Him, as Surety, was required of the principal debtors.
†††††††† 5. He says, In case a man hath transgressed the law, and hath suffered (whether by himself, or by some other for him) the full punishment threatened, he is no further a debtor unto the law, neither in point of punishment, nor of obedience: for the punishment is of equal consideration to the law, with the most absolute conformity: and as no man can be obliged to fulfill the law twice for his justification; so neither is it reasonable to conceive, that he, who hath suffered the full penalty, that being as satisfactory to the law, as the exact obedience, should be still bound to the observation of the law. Answer: When the law promises life to the fulfillers, as
well as threaten death to the transgressors, the suffering of death for the transgression, is not such a fulfilling of the Law, as hath the promise of life annexed to it: Devils, though now suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, the death threatened, yet cannot be said to be fulfilling the law, or obeying unto life; nor can they be said to be justified, nor to be suffering anything, in order thereunto. In order therefore to our justification and acceptance with God, as heirs of the life promised, who were both obnoxious to punishment, and also obliged to give perfect obedience to the law, the law as to both, must be satisfied. Nor can we say, that the punishment of Devils is of equal consideration to the law, with the conformity yielded thereunto by the confirmed Angels. And though the suffering of the penalty in laws penal, or such as promise no reward unto the obeyers, may be said to be of equal consideration with the keeping of the law; yet this cannot be said in laws, which promise a reward to the observers, as well as threaten a punishment to transgressors: Nor can the man, that suffers the punishment, suppose to the full, that is threatened in the law, be said to have fulfilled the law, and to have deserved the reward promised to obeyers. (2.) Though Christ hath both obeyed the law, and suffered the punishment; yet the law is not twice fulfilled, but once, because, as was granted, such as were sinners and obnoxious to punishment, were also obliged to yield perfect obedience: for transgression did not destroy this obligation. As when a man is punished for breach of a law, that not only required obedience under such a penalty, but also promised a reward to the observers, when he is put to perform what was commanded, ere he can have the promised reward, he is not put to fulfill the law twice: for his punishment was but satisfaction to one part of the law, or to threatening; but it was no satisfaction of the law, as to the reward promised.
††††††††† Argument 6. If there be no justification, without a perfect righteousness, and no such righteousness to be found, but the righteousness of Christ performed to the law, then of necessity this righteousness must be imputed to us unto justification. But the former is true. Ergo, &c. The ground of this argument is, that justification is the pronouncing of a person righteous, and justification being Godís act, the person justified must be righteous, ere God can judge and pronounce him to be such; for the judgment of God is always according to truth; and no person having a righteousness of his own, all that are justified must have a righteousness imputed to them; and there is no righteousness that can be said to be imputed, but the surety-righteousness of Christ, and particularly, in satisfying all the demands of the law.
††††††††† He excepts, page 211, against the Minor 1. That however it be true, that justification cannot take place, without a perfect righteousness, being nothing else than the making of a man perfectly righteous: yet a righteousness consisting determinately of such a tale of righteous acts, as Christ performed to the moral Law, is not absolutely necessary: for in reference to the Jews, there must have been righteous acts performed unto the ceremonial Law also. Answer: Justification is not the making of a man perfectly righteous; but the judicial pronouncing
and declaring of a man to be so, through the righteousness of Christ, imputed to him and received by faith. (2.) A perfect righteousness, consisting in complete obedience to the law is required: we urge not such a determination of acts, in number and tale to the moral, or to the ceremonial law: only we assert the necessity of a full obedience to the rule of righteousness, which God prescribed unto men, and this was the moral law: Though, as to the Jews there were other prescriptions proposed, than were to others of the world; yet these same prescriptions, consisting in ceremonials, or in judicials, were reduced to the moral law, and were enjoined thereby, so long as they stood in force, and were not repealed by the Supreme Law-giver.
††††††††† Exception 2. Neither is it absolutely true, that there is no perfect righteousness to be found, beside Christís. There is a righteousness in the law as absolute and complete. And it is much more probable, that if God imputes a legal righteousness unto men in justification, He furnishes them this way out of the law. Answer: But what is that righteousness in the law? Doth the law hold forth any righteousness, but perfect obedience? How can God furnish them with this, but by imputing unto them the perfect obedience of Christ, seeing He hath not so ordered matters, as they shall be in case, while here, perfectly to keep the law themselves. (2.) He remits us to what he said formerly in the same treatise; and in that place, he makes this complete righteousness to consist in remission of sins. And yet, it is certain, that remission is no obedience; nor is it a righteousness held forth in the law; nor is it any satisfaction to the law: yea, it agrees not with common sense, nor with reason to say, that by remission of sins men are made formally righteous.
††††††††† Exception 3. That perfect righteousness, wherein justification consists, and where with men are made formally righteous, when they are justified, is nothing else but remission of sins, Romans 4: 6, 7. Answer: Remission of sins is not a perfect righteousness. This hath no countenance, from Scripture, nor from reason, or common sense. Whoever thought, or said, that a pardoned thief or murder was a righteous man, or that his pardon made him formally righteous, and an observer of the law? Though thereupon he be freed from the penalty, or from the punishment threatened in the law against such transgressors; yet is he not thereupon either made or declared to be righteous; but his pardon is a virtual declaration, that he is not righteous, but a transgressor. How that place, Romans 4: 6, 7, is perverted, when adduced to give countenance to this fiction, is declared already.
††††††††† He adds, page 215, two reasons for this: the first is, That remission of sins is equivalent unto, and virtually contains and comprehends in it, the most absolute and entire obedience unto the law. Answer: Remission of sins, as such, is so far from being equivalent to this, or from comprehending this in it, that it is a plain declaration of the contrary: for where entire obedience is, there remission hath no place, and remission must presuppose a transgression. The next is, Because (says he) it hath all these great and high
privileges annexed to it, and depending upon it, which a righteousness, most strictly so called, could have, as the love, favor, acceptation and approbation of God. Answer: If we speak of remission of sins, in itself, and abstractly considered, this is also false: for though a pardoned man be freed from the punishment, due to transgressors; yet, as merely pardoned, he hath no right to reward, promised to the perfect observers of the law: Notwithstanding hereof, we grant that men pardoned of God hath all these great and high privileges; but not by virtue of his mere pardon; but because there is a righteousness, imputed to him, upon which these privileges do depend, and exemption from punishment depends upon his pardon.
††††††††† He hath two other reasons elsewhere, page 5, 6, to this purpose; as 1. Remission includes the acknowledgment of the observation of the whole law, even as the imputation of the law fulfilled, necessarily includes the non-imputation of sin. Answer: Though in our justification, this might be granted to be true, upon the matter, because there is an imputation of the whole surety-righteousness of Christ together; and the one part is not separated from the other; so that the one consequently infers the other. But when it is thus reasoned against the imputation of the one, the inference here must be understood of a formal inference, and so it is false, that remission includes the acknowledgment of the observation of the whole law; for it only includes the non-imputation of guilt, notwithstanding that the law was broken: yea, as is said, it manifestly supposes the contrary, viz. that the law was not perfectly observed, for had the law been perfectly observed, there had been no place for pardon. Moreover, remission as such, gives no right to the reward, promised unto perfect obedience; but only impunity from the punishment, threatened for disobedience. 2. Says he, He cannot be said to have all his sins fully forgiven, who is yet looked upon, as one that hath transgressed, either by omission, or commission, and intended to be dealt with all as such. Answer: Though he, whose sins are fully forgiven, cannot be dealt with, as one guilty of sin, that is, as one liable to the punishment; yet he may be looked on, as one, that was guilty, and so did not give full and perfect obedience: and therefore, though he cannot be dealt with as a transgressor; yet neither can he be dealt with, upon the account of his remission, as one that hath yielded perfect obedience, and did never transgress. Wherefore, seeing he cannot be looked upon, as one that never transgressed, he cannot be looked upon, as one that hath a perfect righteousness, and so, a right to the reward. The similitudes taken from a physician, restoring his patient to health, by recovering him from his sickness; and from the Sun, in one act expelling darkness and bringing light, which are here adduced for illustration, have no force to prove anything here, in regard, there is no correspondence in all points, between matters natural, and matters merely moral, or political. There is no medium between light and darkness, or the habit and its privation; but there is a medium here between transgressing the Law, and perfect obedience to the Law to the end. Adam, so long as he stood, was no transgressor; yet he had not then given
perfect obedience to the end, according to the covenant. So there is a medium between freedom from the penalty, and the right to the reward, as was shown above.
††††††††† Argument 7. If do this and live, be an everlasting rule of God, and which shall never be dissolved, then must the active obedience of Christ be imputed unto men, in justification, that so they may be said to have done this, and so live. But the former is true, ergo, &c. That these words, do and live, contain a determination and constitution of the Lord, as unalterable, as these words, That day thou eats, thou shalt die, †cannot well be denied: and therefore, if because of this latter, no man can be saved, unless their Surety die for them; so because of that former, no man can have right to the reward, unless his Surety perform perfect obedience. And as the one is imputed to the believer, so must the other be imputed also, in order to his complete salvation.
††††††††† Against this he excepts, page 216, &c. thus, In this sense, I grant, that Ďdo this and liveí is an everlasting rule, that is, it is, hath been, and shall be everlastingly true, that whosoever shall fulfill the law perfectly, shall live. But not in this sense, that it is the only perpetual and standing rule, whereby and according to which, men must be justified, and so saved: for in this sense, it neither is, nor ever was, nor ever shall be a rule of God: for God hath always had, and forever will have another rule for the justification of men. †Answer: (1.) Was it not a rule of life and justification to Adam, in the state of innocence? Was he not, according to that covenant, where in he stood, to purchase the good promised by his doing? It may be, the Excepter thinks, with the Socinians, that no more was promised to Adam, than what he had in possession. (2.) We do not assert it, as a standing rule, whereby we should now expect to be justified; but we say, that it being a constitution of Godís, as well as the others, viz. That day thou eats, thou shalt die, it must be satisfied, as well as the other. And as the rule of faith takes not away Christís suffering of death, according to what was threatened in the law; so nor doth the law of faith take away his obedience, according to the command of the law: and as Christís paying down of the penalty was necessary for our freedom from death; so His giving full obedience to the law is necessary to our life; though, as was said, we need not nicely thus distinguish, save to show the necessity of the imputation of both.
††††††††† Argument 8: That righteousness, which God accepts on our behalf, is the righteousness imputed to us in justification. But the righteousness of Christ is that righteousness, which God accepts on our behalf, ergo, &c.
††††††††† He excepts, page 217. 1. Denying the major, because God may and doth accept that for us, or on our behalf, which yet He need not impute to us; as He accepted of Abrahamís prayer, in behalf of Ishmael: and of the prayer of Elisha for the Shunammiteís son, and yet neither was imputed to the other. Answer: But all this, and a thousand instances of like nature, can evince nothing; for the argument speaks of what is accepted of God, in order to justification, as the ground and meritorious cause thereof; which the instances adduced come
not nigh unto. He adds, In like manner, these, in whose behalf, Christís sufferings were accepted, receive an unspeakable benefit and blessing by them; but this operates nothing to the inference of the imputation pleaded for; that is, that God must look upon these sufferings of Christ, as if they had personally endured them, on whose behalf they are accepted. Answer: Then it seems not only is the imputation of Christís active obedience denied; but also the imputation of His death and sufferings; and no more is granted, than what Socinians will yield unto. (2.) The imputation, we plead for, is not such as makes God to look upon these sufferings of Christ, as if believers had personally endured them: but such, as makes God to look upon them, as the sufferings of Christ, as Surety, Head and Public Person, in the room and stead of His chosen ones; which sufferings and payment of the penalty by the Surety, being made over unto, and reckoned upon the score of believers, they are, upon the account thereof, accepted and dealt with, as if they themselves had so suffered and satisfied, in their own persons.
††††††††† 2. He distinguishes thus, If by the righteousness of Christ the proposition means, precisely that obedience, which He exhibited to that general and common law, whereunto all men are obliged, considered apart from His obedience to that particular law of Mediator, given to Himself alone, so it is false. If by righteousness be here meant that obedience of Christ, commonly called passive, or both active and passive together; so it may be true: but then the other will be found tardy. Answer: (1.) Christís obedience to that general law, by which all men were obliged, did as well belong to His law of Mediation, and was comprehended under it, as His giving up Himself to suffering and to death: for as Mediator He was made under the law, as well as suffered the curse. (2.) The minor proposition is to be understood of the whole Surety-righteousness, consisting not only in suffering; but also in actual obedience to the law: and when this is granted, the whole we seek is granted. Neither is the former proposition found tardy, as appears from what is said; and the syllogism is good, and no paralogism, whatever he supposes.
††††††††† Argument 9: If Christ were a public person, standing in the place or stead of all those that should believe in Him; then all that He did and suffered, is to be looked upon and reputed by God, as done and suffered by these, and consequently are imputed to them. But the former is true, ergo, &c. Sure, if Christ was a public person, standing in the place and room of the chosen ones, all that He did, as such a person, or as a Surety, as to that which law and justice required of them, and they were obliged unto, must needs be imputed unto them, and reckoned upon their score; and they must be dealt with upon the account thereof, as if all had been done and suffered by themselves. We do not say, that all He did and suffered, is or must be imputed: but that all, which He did and suffered, in satisfaction of the law, and in payment of that, which we were liable unto, and stood under the obligation of, is and must of necessity be imputed, to the end we may be delivered from under the former obligation.
††††††††† He excepts, page 220, &c. 1. The publicness of Christís person, or His standing in the place of those, that should believe, is no sufficient ground to build
this inference upon, that therefore all He did and suffered, are looked upon by God, as done and suffered by them; such as His conception, birth, &c. Answer: We have obviated this already, by showing, that the major is to be limited to, and understood of those things only, which the law required of us, and which we were under the obligation of, and were debtors to do and suffer, amongst which none of the particulars mentioned, and many more such like, can be reckoned. His after rambling discourse upon this mistake, is not worth the noticing: and who sees not, how vain it is for him to say, that then God should look upon men, as having redeemed the world: For, as the law did not require this of us; so to speak thus, destroys all acts of Suretyship: for the Suretyís acts can never be so imputed to the debtor, as to make him thereby the Surety. We know, that sureties and public persons may do many things, which cannot be said to be imputed to the debtors and persons represented: but these things are not done by them, as such public persons and sureties, but in another capacity. And it is folly hence to infer, that therefore the Suretyís payment of the debt cannot be said to be imputed to the debtor; or that wherein the public person was a public person, and which he did as such, cannot be said to be imputed to those, whom he represented.
††††††††† 2. Exception: It agrees not with Scripture expression, to say, that the sufferings of Christ are by God looked upon, as our sufferings, or to conceive, that we should suffer in Him. It is not all one to say, we were punished in Christ, and Christ was punished for us. This last is warranted by Isaiah 53: 6. But the other cannot be affirmed; for seeing in Christís death, we have remission of sins, we cannot be said, for the same sins to be punished in and with Christ. Answer: This is wholly founded upon his own way of wording the argument, so as he thought it would give him most advantage: for all this looks to these words, in the major proposition, are to be looked upon, and are reputed by God, as done and suffered by those; which words might have been left out, without any hurt to our cause: the argument without them would have been full and conclusive for us, whether any have argued so, or he hath framed the argument to his own mind, I know not. Sure, there is no necessity for adding of these words: yet the words may admit of a candid interpretation; for it hath no repugnancy, or dissonance to Scripture expression, to say, that the sufferings of Christ are looked upon as the believerís sufferings, when they are imputed to him; not as if God should think, judge or conceive, that the believer, in his own physical person, had suffered, that which Christ did suffer; but that he hath a special legal interest in these sufferings, as being in a special manner interested in Christ: and are now dealt with by God, no other way, than as if he had, in his own person, laid down that satisfactory price. And in this sense, there is no difference between the saying, that we are punished in Christ, and that Christ was punished for us: for we are only punished in Christ legally, as Christ suffered for us, as coming in our law-place. Neither doth the saying, in this sense, that we are punished in Christ, take away remission of sins, but doth rather establish the same, as being the only ground thereof: for till we have an interest in
Christ, and in His sufferings, by the imputation thereof to us, and our leaning to them by faith, we can have no remission, according to the Gospel way.
††††††††† Exception 3. The publicness of a person, who negotiates the affairs of others, doth no further, nor any other ways, interesse those, whose affairs he manages, in what he doth in, or about such a transaction: but only with reference to the issue, and success of what he doth for them, in that behalf: so that his dishonest, or unconscientious way, in the miscarrying, or his wisdom and faithfulness, in the right managing, are no ways imputable to the persons, whose business is negotiated. Answer: It is not necessary, that that special manner of management should be so imputed unto the persons, whose affair is negotiated, it being sufficient, that the persons represented be interessed in the transaction itself, in reference to an interest in the issue in the same affair managed: and the transaction itself is so imputed to the persons represented, in reference to the effects, as if it had been done by themselves. So in our case, though the wisdom, faithfulness and patience of Christ, used in the management of that public affair entrusted to Him, as a public person, undertaking for, and representing all His children, be not imputed unto them: yet the business itself, with which He was entrusted, viz. giving satisfaction to the law in all points, by suffering and obedience, which the law required of us, is imputed to us, and must be so, in order to our partaking of the benefits and advantages thereof.
††††††††† Exception 4. It is not altogether so solid or sound, as is supposed, Ďthat Christ stood in the place and stead of those, that should believe in Him,í especially in all things, performed by Him, and which tended to the qualification of His person. To stand in the place and stead of another, implies a necessity of his being in the same place, and doing the same things himself, wherein he stands, and which he doth, who is supposed to stand in his stead, unless they had been done by this other for him. Answer: This last expression is the same with the first, and needs little more consideration. We do not assert, that He did so stand in the place and stead of believers, as to all things He did and suffered; but only that He stood in our room and stead, in the whole of His active and passive obedience, or in making satisfaction to the demands of the law, in His state of humiliation, this being it, for and in reference to which, He was appointed to be a public person: all other things He did, as His miracles, assuming a body, and the like, need not be said to be imputed to us; though, in that they concerned His person, and were requisite thereunto, and to the work He was employed in, they carry a special advantage in them for believers; and were in a particular manner designed for their good, and were subservient to that main design.
††††††††† Argument 10. If we cannot be justified by the righteousness of Christ otherwise than by the imputation of it, then must it needs be imputed to us, in our justification. But the former is true. Ergo, &c.
††††††††† He excepts, page 225. The righteousness of Christ concurs toward justification, by qualifying His person for that sacrifice of Himself, by which justification hath been purchased for all those that believe. Answer: The argument is to be understood of His whole surety-righteousness, and not of His active
obedience only. (2.) Even as to this, it was answered above, that it was not requisite unto this end, His human nature being sufficiently hereunto qualified, by the personal union, by which His blood became the blood of God, and all He did and suffered was the deed and suffering of Him, who was God.
††††††††† Argument 11. If we may be truly said to be dead and crucified with Christ, to be quickened and risen again with Him, &c. then may we truly be said to have fulfilled the law with Christ; and consequently that should be imputed to us. But the former is true, ergo, &c. These expressions point forth the close union, that is between Christ and believers, and thereupon their interest in what He did and suffered, as Mediator, Surety, and public person, to the end they may have right to, and possession of the great benefits, purchased and procured by Him. So they hold forth Christís suffering, dying, rising, &c. as a public person in their room and in their stead, and as their representative: so that it is reckoned for them, and upon their score, and they are so interessed therein, as that they are to be dealt with, as if all these things had been done and suffered by themselves. And though, in these expressions mentioned, there be no express mention made of Christís fulfilling the law; yet they sufficiently hold forth that, which by parity of reason will enforce this, as well as the other: for they point forth believers their union and communion with Christ, as to His mediatory work, to which His fulfilling of the law did belong.
††††††††† Against the consequence he says, These expressions have no such inference: for if we could be said to have fulfilled the law with Christ, our own fulfilling it in Him should rather be said to be imputed to us, than His fulfilling it for us. Answer: (1.) This will say as much against the imputation of Christís suffering; for we are said to be dead with Christ; and therefore not Christís death, but our own death in Him should be said to be imputed to us: but the Scripture knows no such thing. (2.) The meaning of the expression is, we say, but to denote emphatically the imputation of what Christ did and suffered, unto us: for our own fulfilling of the law in Him, is but His fulfilling of it for us, and the same imputed to us; so as we are dealt with no other ways, than if we had done it ourselves; as our being dead and buried with Christ, is but His dying in our place and stead, or our having such an interest in His death and burial, as that we are dealt with, as if, in a manner, we had died ourselves. But he supposes, there is a difference, as to this, betwixt Christís dying and His fulfilling the law, saying, When the Scripture says, we are dead &c. with Christ, the meaning is not, that God looked upon us, as if we had laid down our natural lives by death, when He laid down His; and as if this laying down our lives were a satisfaction to His justice; for then we might be said, to have satisfied for and redeemed ourselves: But these expressions import either a profession of such a death in us, which holds proportion with, or hath a likeness to the death of Christ, or else this death itself really wrought in us, by that death of Christ. Answer: We do not assert the meaning of these expressions to be, that God looks upon us, as if we had laid down our natural lives, &c. But that believers have such an interest in Christís death, as being the death of their Surety, Redeemer, Head, Husband, and public person, that they receive the benefits and advantages thereof, no less really and effectually, than if they themselves, in their own persons, had died and satisfied, the same being now imputed unto them, and laid hold on by faith. (2.) Though these expressions, at least some of them, and in some places of Scripture, as Romans 6, may and do import what is here expressed; yet the full import of these expressions is not hereby exhausted, as the scope and circumstances of the places may clear; as particularly that expression, Galatians 2: 20 I am crucified with Christ: and Ephesians 2: 5, 6.
††††††††† He adds against this, that Galatians 2: 20 The expression is taken in the latter sense, importing that the natural death of Christ for Paul and others, had wrought upon him, in a way of assimilation to itself, and had made him a dead man to the world. Answer: Paul is rather clearing and confirming, how he was become dead to the law, and alive unto God, verse 19, in and thru the virtue of Christís death and crucifixion, in which he had such an interest, that he accounted himself, as it were hanging on the cross in and with Christ; and did so rest upon that by faith, and own that sacrifice alone, that he and Christ, as it were, were become one person; and he owned his being dead unto the law only thereunto, and had it as really flowing there from and following thereupon, as if he himself had hung upon the cross, as a satisfactory sacrifice.
††††††††† To that Ephesians 2: 5, 6, he says, The meaning is not, that God looks upon them, as quickened from a natural or corporal death, as Christís quickening and rising again was. Answer: Nor do we say, that this is the meaning, nor need we either think, or say so: but this we say, that the expression holds this forth, that Christ died and rose again, as a public person and Surety; and that believers have so near an interest in His Mediatory work, and so close a union with the Mediator, that they are as one person in law; so that they are really made partakers of some of the fruits of what Christ did and suffered, already, and shall as really partake of what is yet to be communicated, as if they themselves had laid down that purchasing price. Let us hear what he gives for the meaning.
††††††††† The meaning (says he) is either to signify the profession, that is made by us of that newness of life, which in way of a spiritual analogy, answers that life, whereunto Christ was quickened and rose again; or else the new life itself wrought in us. Answer: That the Apostle is not here speaking of a mere profession, is manifest: nor is he speaking only of a new life, wrought in them; for he adds, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Nor doth that, which he says, invalidate the meaning, which we give; for that effect, or in-wrought quickening is spoken of, as flowing from Christís dying and rising, and their union with Him in all that, as being one person in law with Him; and so as virtually rising with Him, and now sitting with Him, who is their common Head and representative. All which doth abundantly confirm the doctrine of imputation, which we plead for.
††††††††† He adds finally, But on the other hand, as there is no such expression in Scripture, as this, Ďwe have fulfilled the law with Christ;í so neither, if there were, would it make anything at all to salve the truth of the proposition, under question; for what if we should be said, either to profess such a fulfilling of the law, as holds
proportion with Christís fulfilling it, or really and personally to fulfill the law, after such a manner? Answer: The expressions already mentioned do sufficiently evince this union and communion, that believers have with Christ, in His mediatory work, which is a solid ground of imputation of the same unto them, as the foundation of their partaking of the benefits flowing there from: for there cannot any show of reason be given for the one, which will not hold good for the other also. And it is said, but not proved, that these and the like expressions hold forth no more, but one or both of these two things alleged: yea the scope of the places, and the import of the words, hold forth much more, as is said.
††††††††† Argument 12. Whosoever is a sinner, and so continues while he lives, cannot be justified other ways, than by the imputation of Christís righteousness. But every man (Christ excepted) is a sinner, &c. Therefore, &c.
††††††††† He excepts, page 219, &c. If there be no other means of justifying, the condition of the whole world is hopeless; for there is no such imputation. Answer: The contrary has been shown, and shall be more demonstrated hereafter. He adds, Without imputation there is another door opened. What is this? Those that truly believe in Jesus Christ, being not under the law, but under grace, are not liable to condemnation for their daily sins, I John 2: 1, 1. Answer: True, but what then? How come they to be under grace, and not under the law? Is it not by virtue of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto them, unto their justification; and because of their interest in Christ, as Mediator, as their Head, Husband, Surety, Intercessor, and Advocate? He adds, So that for the dissolving and taking away of all guilt, there needs no imputation of the active obedience of Christ. The propitiation, which He is unto them, by His blood and intercession, hath done this service to them, before this imputation is supposed to come at them. Answer: We plead for the imputation of His whole Surety and Mediatory work; and say that it is wholly imputed, and that at once, and not one part now, and another at another time. Nor do we say, that Christís death did procure one thing, and His obedience another thing: but that in and by both, He, as Surety, performed what the law required of us; and thereby procured all to us, that we stand in need of, to make us happy.
††††††††† Thus have we vindicated the arguments, which this author thought good to make any answer unto: others might be mentioned, but we shall forbear mentioning of them, till some other occasion.