Some other objections, proposed by John Goodwine,
††††††††† Mr. John Goodwine proceeds, in his forementioned book, chapter 9 and forward, to propose some arguments, against the imputation of Christís righteousness, which in order fall under consideration.
††††††††† Objection 1. That righteousness, which will not furnish all believers with all points or parts of that righteousness, which the law requires of them, cannot be imputed
to them unto justification. But such is the obedience, that Christ performed unto the moral law. Therefore &c. Answer: We plead not only for the imputation of Christís obedience to the moral law; but for the imputation of His whole Surety Righteousness, that is, of all He both did and suffered, as the designed and appointed Surety. (2.) This argument, though it be leveled only against the imputation of Christís obedience; yet it equally wages war against the imputation of His sufferings: for as to the satisfaction and payment of the old Covenant, or His suffering of death, it may be also said. The payment of the penalty must be such, as they, for whom it was laid down, were otherwise lying under, and under a necessity to pay it themselves. But Christís death and payment was not such; for He did not suffer the same, as to duration, nor as to concomitant despair, and other evils, that would necessarily attend the same in man, and does attend it in the damned.
††††††††† Let us see, how he confirms this argument and particularly the first proposition thereof. Because (says he) a complete legal righteousness requires a punctual through-obedience unto all things in the law, in reference to each manís place and calling. Answer: But we may distinguish the proposition thus. That righteousness, which will not furnish all believers with every specific and individual act of obedience, which is required of them, in their places and stations, i.e. is not made up of, nor expressly and explicitly comprehends in it all these particular acts, specifically and numerically considered, cannot be imputed unto them in justification; it is false in this sense. But if it be thus taken, that righteousness, which neither did comprehend in it, nor was made up of every specific and numerical act, required of them, nor yet was infinitely transcending and exceeding the obedience of all men whatsomever, in all their distinct and particular occasions, relations, places, and callings, and brought more glory unto God, the Lawgiver, and was a fuller proclamation of the holiness of the law and of the Lawmaker, and acknowledgement of His authority; and with which the great Rector of the world and Lawgiver was fully satisfied in all points, cannot be imputed; in this sense it may be granted. But the minor is palpably false; and so the conclusion is null. And as to the first sense, or branch of the distinction, it is no way touched, let be weakened by the confirmation mentioned, as everyone may see. And so the argument is null. And as for the ground and relevance of the distinction, it is clear from what is said, touching the sufferings of Christ; so that it can be denied by none, who are not professed Socinians.
††††††††† To confirm the minor, he tells us of duties of servants, masters, husbands, wives, judges, &c. Answer: The distinction given makes all this useless, and to no purpose. Christ obeyed perfectly the same law, we were lying under, and that as made under the law, and as willingly subjecting himself thereunto, in our room and stead, as Surety and Sponsor; and this obedience of His was full, perfect and complete, for He fulfilled all righteousness, Matthew 3: 15. He was, during His life, holy, harmless, undefiled,
and separate from sinners, Hebrews 7: 26. He knew no sin, II Corinthians 5: 21. No man could convince Him of sin, John 8: 46. Yea the Father was well pleased in Him, Matthew 3: 17, 17: 5. And this perfect and full obedience, which Christ gave unto the law, which He came to fulfill, Matthew 5: 17, being the obedience of one, who was God, equal with the Father, had in it a supereminent excellence, worth and dignity, to the full satisfaction of the law and of the Lawgiver, and to the repairing of that loss, and to the recovering of that glory, which was wronged by manís violation of the law. So that howbeit He performed not all duties, which were required of every one of the chosen ones, in their several sexes, ages, relations, occasions and callings, which was impossible and not needful: Yet He performed that obedience to the Law of God, which was required of Him, as standing in the room and stead of the given ones, and that in all points, yea and full obedience, wherewith the Supreme Lawgiver was fully satisfied. And, sure, every unprejudiced person may easily see and be convinced, that this perfect and complete obedience of Christ is more able to furnish believers with all points of righteousness, which the law requires, than the single act of faith, which our adversaries substitute in place thereof. Shall we think, that God accepts of, in place of all, and imputes that unto believers for their righteousness, rather than the full and perfect obedience of Christ? Shall one imperfect act of obedience be of more value, than the full and perfect obedience of Christ? Whence we see, that whatever show our adversary makes with this argument against us; yet it is of no weight with himself; for as he uses it against the imputed obedience of Christ, so we may use it, with much more strength of reason, against the imputation of our faith for righteousness, as is obvious.
††††††††† We need not take notice of that objection, which he moves against himself, page 101, viz. That love is the fulfilling of the law; nor of his replies made thereunto: for we assert Christís fulfilling of the Law in another manner, and upon other grounds: He fulfilled all righteousness, and performed all particular acts of obedience, required of Him as our Surety, so that the Father was well pleased with Him: and what is more requisite!
††††††††† He moves another objection, page 103, viz. That it is not necessary, that men should have all particular acts of righteousness, qualified with all circumstances, imputed to them, it being sufficient, that such a righteousness be imputed, which is equivalent; yea and more than equivalent, as bringing more glory to God, and as much worthy in itself. He answers, 1. The Law will not know anything by way of proportion, but must have its jot for jot, title for title, or else it will curse. Answer: (1.) We are to regard here more what the Lawgiver and Supreme Rector will know, than what the letter of the Law will acquiesce in. (2.) This takes away the satisfaction of Christ, and all His sufferings, as Mediator, and destroys that ground of our hope and salvation: for the Law, as to its letter, says, the soul that sinneth to it shall die; and hath not one jot or title of the satisfaction and suffering of a Mediator. (3.) What shall our adversary now do with faith? Doth any jot or title of the law countenance the imputation of faith, for
a proportionable righteousness? Doth faith answer every jot, title, point and letter of the law? He answers: 2. To impute acts of righteousness to a man, which are proper to another calling, is rather to impute sin, than righteousness. Answer: Christ was a public person, appointed of the Father to represent all the chosen ones, and did, in their place and room, fulfill the law, in all points, according as was required of Him, by the Supreme Lord Rector and Lawgiver; and this perfect and complete obedience is made over to all those, who are His; and not one part to this particular believer, and another to another, or some acts to this man, and some other acts to that man: and therefore this rely is groundless.
††††††††† As to that viz. that God inflicted on Christ, not the circumstantiate curse threatened, but its equivalent, he says, 1. That in these words, ĎThou shalt die the death,í there is no necessity to mean precisely and determinately eternal death, according to the letter. Answer: If that was not threatened in the law, no man shall suffer it, for the breach of the law; and so there shall be no eternal death even to such as perish, which yet he himself grants. (2.) It was a spiritual death, and such as includes many circumstances, which Christ neither could, nor did suffer. He says, 2. Godís meaning there was not, to threaten eternal death in one kind, or other; but to have the word death understood, as it indifferently signifies that evil of punishment, which was known by that name; for eternity is not the essence of the punishment, due unto sins. Answer: The doubt remains concerning other circumstances, and ingredients of that death, as threatened to man. And whether eternity be of the essence of the punishment, threatened for sin, or not; this is sure, that all, for whom Christ hath not suffered, shall perish eternally; and all had perished eternally, if Christ had not suffered: and when God threatened death to man, he knew, that if that threatening did overtake him, his death would be eternal. He says, 3. Though God should take liberty to vary from the letter of the curse; yet it follows not, that the creature, who was bound to obey the precepts of the law, might take the like liberty to do one thing, instead of another; or that God should accept any such payment for them. Answer: We assert no liberty for man: but why should not this liberty be allowed to the Supreme God? All the reason he gives, I find to be this. That God accepts on any manís behalf, as a perfect legal righteousness, the performance of such things, which are not required of him, hath no correspondence with any of the covenants. Answer: If God could accept that, as a perfect legal righteousness, which did not in all particulars, answer to, and correspond with that, which Man himself was to suffer; why might He not accept of that, as a perfect legal righteousness, which did not in all particulars, answer to, and correspond with that, which every believer was obliged unto? What reason is, or can be given for the one, which will not hold for the other? The answer he has given, is no answer unto this. Perfect obedience was required of all by the first covenant, and Christ did perform perfect obedience for all His own; and this being a perfect legal righteousness, is sufficient for all; and is not the performance of such things, as are not required of them.
††††††††† Objection 2. Chapter 10, page 107. That righteousness, which is exactly and precisely
fitted to the person of Him, that is Mediator between God and man, cannot be imputed unto any other man. But such is the righteousness of Christ. Ergo. The major he thus confirms. He that assumes this righteousness of Christ, represents himself to God, in the glorious attire of Him, who makes men righteous, and may conceit himself as great in holiness, as Jesus Christ himself &c. Answer: Christís righteousness was indeed the righteousness of a Mediator and Surety; and therefore was imputable to all, who by faith should be married to Him, and have union with Him, as their Head, and Husband, and are become one person in law with Him, as their representative and Surety; though not as it was subjected in Him, but according to the nature of the thing, and to their necessity. Hereby there is no wrong done to Christ, no robbing of Him of His mediatory glory; but, on the contrary, a more clear and manifest ascribing of the same unto Him, by acknowledging Him for the only mediator, and by resting on Him, and on His righteousness, as our only righteousness and ground of acceptance. We clear the matter thus. When the payment of a Surety is imputed to the debtor, and he pleads the same in court, for his own absolution, he does no injury to the cautioner; but rather declares himself unable to pay, and ascribes the honor of the payment unto the Surety: for he doth allege or produce that payment, as if he would thereby declare, that he himself, as Surety, had paid the sum for another; but only produces the payment of a Surety, in reference to himself, as a ground sufficient in law, whereupon he should be absolved from the charge, given in against him by the creditor. So when the believer applies to himself the righteousness of Christ, he doth not make himself a Mediator or Surety, Head and Husband, for his own use, to answer the charge given in against himself, and in reference to his own particular case and necessity. Hereby the believer doth not assume to himself an equality of righteousness with God himself; but only assumes that mediatory and surety righteousness, which He wrought, who was equal with God, and was God, so far as their own case and necessity requires. We dream of no such imputation, as would give ground to us to conceit ourselves to have done and said all that He did and said. This is the fiction of the adversary, not our assertion.
††††††††† Against the consideration of the union between Christ, as the head, and believers as the members, which is the ground of this imputation and communication, he says page 113, 1. Christ and believers are a mystical body, and therefore a universal agreement, in all things, with a natural body, cannot be thought on; one difference is this, what one member of the body natural does, the whole may be said to do. But not so in the mystical body; the body of Christ cannot be said to have wrought miracles &c. Answer: Nor do we assert an agreement between this mystical body and a natural body, in all points: but yet, as Christ accounts Himself a sufferer, when the members of His body are suffering, as such: So what Christ did, as Head to His mystical body, and spiritual Kingdom, according to the designation and appointment of God, who made Him both King and Lord, must redound to their advantage,
according to their necessity: and therefore what He did, as a public Head and Representative, must be imputed unto them, who are of His body, and were undertaken for and represented by Him.
††††††††† He says, 2. Though the benefit of what the head does, be communicated to the whole body; yet what the head does, is no ways to be imputed to hand, or to foot. Answer: The hand or foot needs no imputation of what is done by the head, but a community, or political body, and every member thereof, needs an imputation of what is done for their good, and in their law-place, by their Head and public Representative. And in this matter, we look upon Christ, as such a Head.
††††††††† Against the marriage union between Christ and believers, mentioned as another ground to clear this imputation, he says, 1. It is true, the wife by marriage, comes to be endowed with all that is her husbandís, but this endowing is no ingredient into the marriage itself, but a fruit thereof: so the right, which a believer hath to the righteousness of Christ, accrues unto him by and upon this spiritual marriage; and therefore it cannot be imputed to him. The marriage must be first made up, before the right be had unto this righteousness. Answer: If the right unto Christís righteousness accrue unto believers by and upon their spiritual marriage with Christ, this righteousness must be imputed to them, and reckoned upon their score, or made over unto them, as the dowry is made over to the wife and reckoned hers, upon her marriage. We grant the marriage is first made up, and that this is done by faith; and yet at the very act of believing, this righteousness is imputed. This marriage union is first in order of nature, but no time intervenes between this union and the imputation of righteousness. He says 2. all that is the husbandís is not every way his wifeís, nor for every use and purpose, but only in a way of expediency and beneficialness; as his cloths are not hers to put on: so the believer must take heed of assuming the glorious robe of His righteousness to himself, otherways than in the benefit and comfort of it. Answer: All that is the husbandís becomes the wifeís by marriage, for every useful purpose, that her necessity calls for, and the nature of the thing admits; as his riches become hers to her maintenance, and to the paying of her debt; and his honor become hers, to the exalting of her to a suitable state of honor: even so must Christís righteousness become the believerís, that his debt may be paid, and he saved out of the hand of justice, and advanced to a state of life, and have right to glory.
††††††††† Objection 3. Chapter 11 page 118. If God hath sufficiently provided other ways for the justification of His people, He doth not impute this righteousness of Christ for that end. But God hath provided other ways for this end. Which he thus prods. He that is completely justified by having his sins forgiven, is justified without this imputation. But a believer is sufficiently justified before God by the forgiveness of sins. Ergo. Answer: Though a person justified is pardoned, yet justification includes more, than mere pardon of sins. Justification is the pronouncing and accepting of a person as righteous; and therefore the person so justified and accepted must be righteous: and seeing he is not inherently righteous, he must be righteous by imputation. What he said to this purpose
before Chapter 5 of his book (to which he here remits us) hath been examined already. What he adds here, shall now be considered, waving menís sayings, wherewith I purpose not to meddle here. He cites again to this purpose Romans 4: 6, 7 to which we spoke above. He supposes, that the Apostle here did intend a full description of justification; but this he cannot clearly evince, and he forgets, that the Apostle makes mention of imputed righteousness; and that not as one and the same thing with free remission, but as inseparable from it. The Apostleís design was not to give here a full definition or description of justification, it being sufficient to the purpose he had in hand, to mention so much thereof, as did clearly and irrefragably confirm the same viz. That the blessed state of justification is not brought about, or had by the works of the law: yea, (as is said) that very imputation of righteousness is not only included in the word blessedness, by which this state of justification is expressed; for a blessed man is one, who not only is freed from guilt and punishment, but hath also a right to the Crown, and to the rich recompense of reward, which is not had without a righteousness; but is plainly also expressed, when he says, Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness without works. Here is a righteousness, even a positive righteousness, mentioned, and a righteousness imputed, and a righteousness without our works of obedience to the law. Hence we need not assert any synecdoche here; or say, that a part is put for the whole, which yet is no unusual thing in Scripture; and might be admitted here, even in this matter, without any absurdity; seeing where one part of this business is mentioned, the other is necessarily understood, because of the necessity and inviolable connection, that is between them.
††††††††† He says further, page 130, If forgiveness of sins be but a part, and the worse half of our justification, then when the Scripture says, Ďwe are justified by His blood (Romans 5: 9),í the sense must be, we are justified by half through his blood, but the better half of our justification must come another way; for by his blood we cannot have his active righteousness imputed to us. (1.) We use not to make such comparisons between these things (here called parts) had in justification; as to call the one the better part, and the other the worse part, both being requisite to make up our state of blessedness, and necessary thereunto. (2.) When the Scripture says, we are justified by His blood, the meaning is not, we are justified the half through His blood: for half justification is no justification. (3.) Nor is the reason added of any force: for by blood here, we may as well understand, by a synecdoche, His active righteousness, as all His passive, both being but integral parts of His Surety-righteousness, and emphatically expressed by His death, or blood, the most remarkable piece thereof, and expressive of His love and condescension, and terminating point of Surety-obedience; for He said, it was finished, when He offered up Himself, and gave up the Ghost.
††††††† He adds, So where it is said again Chapter , Ďthat gift (viz. the righteousness by Christ) is of many offenses unto justification:í If the gift of many offenses, i.e. the forgiveness of manís sins, will not amount to a justification,
without the imputation of a legal righteousness, we must give a check to Paulís pen. Answer: This is but vanity: we need give no check unto the Apostleís pen: for though he said not in this verse expressly, that there is a gift of righteousness also imputed; yet he said it expressly verse 17, 18, and 21. And shall we think, that in such a continued discourse, as this is, wherein the Apostle is explaining the whole mystery by it parts, he should mention all things, in one verse?
††††††††† He proceeds to prove, that remission of sins is the whole of justification page 131. Because the end (says he) for which this imputed righteousness of Christ is thus brought into the business of justification, viz. to be the right to the inheritance, is supplied in a way more evangelical, and of more sweetness and dearness to the children of God, to wit, by the grace of adoption. Answer: To this we have said enough above, and will have occasion to speak again to it, in the next objection.
††††††††† He adds further, 4. If we thus separate and divide the benefit of Christís active and passive obedience, in justification, we take a course to lose and destroy both. Answer: Not to transcribe his tedious discourse, on this account, I only say, that it is wholly founded upon a mistake, as if our showing the necessity of the imputation of both, were a separating or dividing of the benefit of both, while as the whole effect flows from the whole cause, both Christís active and His passive obedience making up one complete surety righteousness; and so producing one whole blessedness to believers, consisting in remission of sins, and in a right to glory: we say with him, that neither of them separated or abstracted from the other can profit us; and therefore we assert the imputation of both, as one complete surety righteousness, answering our necessity in all points. His own words page 132, 133 make clearly for us. I would not have (says he) the active obedience of Christ separated from the passive, nor again the passive from the active, in respect of the common and joint effect, justification, arising from a concurrence of them both; yet would I not have Christ in His mystery tumbled up together on a heap; for this would be to deface the beauty and excellency of that wisdom, which shines forth gloriously, in the face thereof. I would have everything, that Christ was, did and suffered, to be distinguished, not only in themselves; but also in their proper and immediate effects, respectively arising and flowing from them severally.
††††††††† Lastly he tells us, If the imputation of Christís righteousness must be added, as another part of justification, then must the formal cause of one and the same effect be double; yea one and the same formal part of the thing shall be compounded of two thins, of a diverse and opposite consideration. Answer: We make the imputation of Christís righteousness not a part of justification; but the cause of it; and yet the formal cause of one and the same effect is not made double; for as the cause is one complete cause, viz. the surety righteousness of Christ, so the effect is one complete effect, though both cause and effect may be considered, as consisting of several integral parts. There is no ground here to say, that one and the same formal part of a thing is compounded of diverse or opposite things.
††††††††† Objection 4. Chapter 12, page 136 &c. That which dissolves and takes away the
necessity and use of that sweet evangelical grace of adoption, cannot hold a straight course with the truth of the Gospel. But this is done by the imputation of Christís righteousness. Ergo. The minor, which is only here to be denied, he labors to prove, because we say, the righteousness must be imputed in order to our obtaining right and title to life; and that by remission of sins a man is only delivered from death, but receives no right to the Kingdom of heaven. But what can he hence infer for confirmation of the minor? Now (says he) this being the direct and proper end, use, office, purpose and intent of adoption, to invest a believer with a capacity with heaven; it follows, that whosoever shall attempt to set anything else upon this throne, seeks to dissolve adoption. Answer: The consequence is null. The imputation of Christís righteousness will no more take away adoption, than justification; for it is the ground and cause of both. He might as well say, that because in and by justification, we have remission of sins, to assert the imputation of Christís death and sufferings for this end, is to dissolve justification. But the truth is clear, as was explained above Mystery 14.
††††††††† He thinks both cannot stand together, because either of them is a complete and entire title within itself: perfect righteousness is a perfect title alone; so is adoption or Sonship. Answer: (1.) This will say as much against the imputation of Christís death and sufferings, as against justification: for either of these is a complete title (according to our adversary) to immunity from death: perfect satisfaction is a perfect title alone to this immunity, as well as perfect righteousness is a perfect title to the inheritance: and justification or remission of sins, (which are one with him) is also a perfect right to this, as well as adoption is a perfect right to that. (2.) But as justification is founded upon the imputed righteousness of Christ; so is adoption. As Christís death and satisfaction is not formal pardon, or right to impunity, but is, when imputed, the ground and cause of justification, wherein the believer is solemnly brought into a state of freedom from death: So Christís obedience and fulfilling of the Law is not a formal right unto the inheritance, but, when imputed and received by faith, the ground and cause of adoption, whereby the believer is, as it were, solemnly infeoffed of the inheritance. Here then is nothing in vain; but all things so ordered, as may most commend the riches of the wisdom and grace of God; and may most ensure life and all to the believer. So that his following discourse is mere froth and vanity: for, as God may appoint several means for the same end, as He pleases; as His promises, oath and sacraments to confirm the faith of believers; so there can be no reason given, why it may not be so here: and yet, to speak properly, adoption is no mean or cause of the right and title to glory, being the solemn collation of that right to the believer, or the solemn stating of him in that right; as justification properly is no mean to or cause of pardon and acceptation of sinners, but rather a solemn bringing of them into or placing of them in that state of peace, pardon and reconciliation, who believe in Jesus and lay hold on His righteousness. What he speaks of the opposition between the law and the promise, in giving of life from Galatians is most impertinent; so also
is that, which he says from Galatians 2: 21, for though it be an abrogating and making void of the ordinances of God, when another thing, that is contrary and expressly excluded by the Lord from that office and work, is set up with it, to bring the same end to pass, or to serve in the same place and office: yet is there not the least color of ground to say, that if our right and title to heaven be by imputation of Christís righteousness, then doth God give the grace of adoption in vain: for the righteousness of Christ is the meritorious procuring cause of this right and title to heaven; and when this is imputed and made over to the believer, he receives the effect and fruit of that purchase viz. an actual right to glory, and is solemnly infeoffed (as it were) thereof. What ignorance and folly would it discover in a man, to say, that the legal installing of a man by public seasing and infeofment in the legal right to and possession of such a land, or house, is that which gives the man the right; and therefore the price he hath laid down, to purchase that land, or house, has no interest or consideration in that purchase, for these two cannot consist, the one must necessarily render the other useless; if he has made a purchase of the land and house by his money, he needs no charter or infeofment thereof: or if his charter and infeofment give him right to posses the same, the price laid down is of no use? Would not everyone smile at such nonsense? And yet, so reasons this learned adversary, who will have the righteousness of Christ laid by, which is the only price and purchasing merit of our right to heaven; or the grace of adoption, whereby the believer becomes legally (as it were) infeoffed of the inheritance. It is vain, if he should think to escape by saying that he acknowledges the price of Christís righteousness; but speaks of the imputation of that righteousness, in order to this right; for the imputation of this righteousness is but the interessing of the believer in that price, as the price of such a purchase, to the end he may receive the legal infeofment of the inheritance purchased, in adoption.
††††††††† Objection 5, Chapter 13, page 145. He that hath a perfect and complete righteousness of the Law imputed to him, stands in no need of repentance. Answer: This consequence is utterly false, as was shown above chapter 6, mystery 13. Repentance is not prescribed in the Gospel, for any such use or end, for which the imputation of Christís righteousness is called for. If Adam (says he) had kept the law, he had needed no repentance, more than Christ Himself needed: and those that kept the law in him, as exactly and perfectly as he did, what more need of repentance have they, than he had. Answer: Adam, it is true, had needed no repentance, if he had kept the law: but the imputation of Christís righteousness and obedience to us, though thereby we come to enjoy the effects and purchase thereof, as really as if we had fulfilled the law ourselves; yet it makes us not to have been no sinners; nor doth it exeem us from the law, in time coming, nor put us out of case of sinning any more; and consequently prejudges not the true and lively exercise of that grace of repentance.
††††††††† He adds, He that is as righteous, as Christ is, (which those must needs be, who are righteous with His righteousness) need no more repentance, than He
needed. Answer: We do not love to say, that believers, through this imputation, are as righteous, as Christ was: for that expression might import that thereby they become as righteous inherently, as He was; which is false: But that thereby they are legally accounted righteous, to all ends and purposes, as if they themselves, in their own persons, had fulfilled the law: and therefore, though thereby they become, in law-sense, righteous; yet they are inherently ungodly and unrighteous, till sanctifying grace make a change here; and therefore stand in need of repentance.
††††††††† As to believersí need of repentance for their daily and personal failings, he says, But they that have an entire and perfect law righteousness imputed to them, have no such need, in any respect; because in the imputation of a perfect righteousness, there is a universal non-imputation of sin apparently included. Besides, if God doth impute a perfect law righteousness, it must be supposed, that the rights and privileges, belonging to such righteousness do accompany it, in the imputation. Now, one main privilege hereof is to invest with a full and entire right unto life, out of its own intrinsic and inherent dignity and worth, which is a privilege, wholly inconsistent with the least tincture of sin, in the person that stands possessed of it. Answer: Where there is an imputation of a perfect righteousness, there is also a universal non-imputation of sin, in reference to actual condemnation, or to the prejudging of the person, partaker of this imputation, of the reward of life: but as this imputation of righteousness makes not a sinner to have been no sinner: so neither doth it make their future sins to be no sins, or them to be no sinners, in time coming; because it is imputed for no such end. (2.) It is true, the rights and privileges, belonging to this righteousness, do accompany the imputation thereof; and that thereby believers become invested with a full and entire right to life, because of its intrinsic and inherent dignity; but it is utterly false, to say, that this full and entire right to life is inconsistent with the least tincture of sin, in the person possessed of it: and hereby he must say one of these two; either that there is no full right had to life, while persons are in this life; or that there is a full and sinless perfection attainable and had by all believers; so that they sin no more, both which are most false.
††††††††† But what will he say of faith, which he will have imputed for righteousness, seeing this must bring along with it the same privileges; and so exclude repentance too? To this he says: The meaning is not, as if God either imputed, or accepted, or accounted faith for the self same thing, which the righteousness of the law is intrinsically and formally; or as if God, in this imputation, either gave or accounted unto faith any power or privilege to justify, out of any inherent worth of it. But the meaning only is, that God, upon manís faith, will as fully justify him, as if he had perfectly fulfilled the law óHe that fulfilled the law and thereby is justified, is justified out of the inherent dignity of that, which justifies him; but he that is justified by faith, is justified by the free and gracious acceptation of it by God; for that, which is justifying in its own nature, and by virtue of its inherent worth and dignity. Answer: What God imputes and reputes to be a righteousness, in order to justification, must be accounted
such, or a man shall be justified, without all consideration of a righteousness; and so be pronounced and declared righteous, though he be not righteous upon any account, or in any manner of way: and if faith be not accounted for the self same thing, or for the equivalent with the righteousness of the law, how shall it be accounted a righteousness, in order to the justification of a sinner, who is under the curse of the law, and who,† because of the breach of the law, hath no right to life? Wherefore faith must have that inherent worth, that the righteousness of the law should have had, else it cannot be a righteousness, whereupon a sinner can be justified before God, who is just and righteous, and will not pronounce such to be righteous, as are not righteous. (2.) If God, upon a manís faith, will as fully justify a man, as if he had fulfilled the law, either that faith must be a righteousness, and so accounted, which he here denies; or the man must be declared righteous, who hath no righteousness; and so the judgment of God should not be according to truth; or upon his believing he must be justified, as being righteous by an imputed righteousness; which is the thing he peremptorily denies. (3.) When one is justified by faith, by Godís free and gracious acceptation of it, this act of grace must either import, that faith is accepted as a righteousness, and so accounted of God; or still the believer shall be declared and pronounced righteous, though he hath no righteousness; or the meaning of this acceptation must be, that God hath graciously condescended to appoint this mean and way of sinners having an interest in the righteousness of Christ, whereby he may be accounted righteous and justified, as really, as if he had performed that righteousness himself, in his own person: and in this sense, it is most true, but utterly destructive of his design. (4.) If faith be accepted for that, which is justifying in its own nature, and by virtue of its inherent worth and dignity, it must either be that, which is of such inherent worth, or it must be accepted for that, which it is not, and so a man must be judged by God to have that, which he hath not.
††††††††† He concludes thus: Wherefore, the imputation of faith for righteousness may well stand with personal sins, in him, to whom this imputation is made, in respect of which sins he remains obliged to repent: but the imputation of a perfect legal righteousness makes a man perfectly righteous in the letter and formality of it. Answer: Then it seems that by the imputation of faith for righteousness, a man stands not invested and possessed of a full and entire right unto life: for that, he said before, was a privilege wholly inconsistent with the least tincture of sin. (2.) If by a perfect legal righteousness, he means a righteousness required of the law and performed by us personally, we plead not for the imputation of any such: but if he mean a righteousness consisting in full conformity to the law, performed by Christ and graciously imputed to us, and received by faith, that is well consistent with inherent and personal sins. What he means by making a man perfectly righteous in the letter and formality of it, I know not, till some be pleased to explain it.
††††††††† Objection 6. Another argument he prosecutes, page 149, &c. thus, If men be as righteous as Christ himself was, in his life, there was no more necessity of His
death for them, than for himself, then the just should not have died for the unjust, but for the just. Answer: If we had not transgressed the law, there had been no necessity, that either we, or any for us, should have died; but having transgressed the law, and thereby fallen under the curse, and wanting all righteousness, we must have a surety-righteousness, whereby not only the curse shall be taken away, but the blessing of Abraham may come upon us, and we may have a full right to life: and therefore both the active and passive righteousness of Christ is necessary. (2.) Christ died for the unjust, because His death, which was the period and terminating act of His obedience, and surety righteousness, which He undertook to perform in our room and law place, was for sinners, lying under the curse, and void of all right and title to life. He imagines, that first Christís active righteousness is imputed, and thereby the person is constituted righteous; and then infers the non-necessity of Christís death: But we say, that Christís whole surety righteousness, consisting in what He did and suffered, in His state of humiliation, in our room, and as cautioner, is at once imputed, and not in parts; that so the necessity of sinners may be answered in all points.
††††††††† He thinks to prove this consequence by these words Galatians 2: 21 óIf righteousness be by the law, then Christ died in vain; rejecting the sense of the word law, viz. as importing the works of the law, as performed by us, in our own person, and thereby doing violence to the whole scope of the place, and to that constant acceptation of the expression; and supposing that the consequence will be strong, though the works of the law, as performed by Christ, be here understood; and that merely upon this false ground, because the righteousness of Christís life imputed had been a sufficient, and every way complete righteousness for us. Nor need we say, as he says in our name, That there was a necessity, that Christ should die, that so the righteousness of His life might be imputed to us: For the necessity of His death arose from our transgressing of the law, and being under the curse.
††††††††† Objection 7, chapter 14, page 151. He alleges, that this imputation evaniates remission of sins, saying, for if men be made righteous with the same righteousness, wherewith Christ was righteous, they have no more need of pardon, than He had. Answer: We spoke to this above, chapter 6, Mystery 11, and therefore need say no more here, then that the consequence is null, and that the probation is insufficient, for though we be constituted through the imputation of Christís righteousness; it is but a surety-righteousness, and not our own inherently: and the Surety not being of our appointing or fitting and furnishing, our pardon is a consequent and effect of this imputation. (2.) The consequence is no more valid from the imputation active righteousness of Christ, than from His passive and satisfaction: and so with Socinians, he must also hereby deny Christís satisfaction, that he may establish free remission.
††††††††† He adds, Christ hath taught us to pray for forgiveness of sins: now to pray for that, and yet to conceit ourselves as righteous, as Christ was, is rather to
mock, than to worship. Answer: This expression to conceit ourselves as righteous as Christ was, is none of ours; and though it may admit of a good sense as being true, quad veritatem, though not quad modum: yet because it is so ambiguous, and liable to misconstruction, I chose rather to forbear it, seeing no necessity to use it. And to conceit ourselves legally and juridically righteous with the imputed surety righteousness of Christ, is very consistent with praying for pardon: for Christís surety righteousness is not, nor yet said to be, imputed for this end immediately, that all our after actions should be sinless; but to this end rather, that we may have actual pardon of by past sins, and of future sins too, after the method of the Gospel; and that none of our sins should actually procure our condemnation, or prejudge us of eternal felicity; but that notwithstanding thereof, we should not come into condemnation, but enter into life.
††††††††† He saw, that what he here objects against the imputation of Christís righteousness, will militate as much against the imputation of faith, which must derive a righteousness upon the person, as perfect and complete, as the righteousness of the law; and so can leave as little place for remission, as what we plead for; and therefore to obviate this, he tells us, that when faith is imputed, another thing is imputed then the righteousness of the law itself, to wit, faith, by name, instead of it: Now any other righteousness, or any other thing imputed for righteousness, besides the righteousness of the law, will bear a consistency of sin with it, and of remission. Answer: If by the righteousness of the law here, he only means that, which we perform in our own persons, it is true, that is inconsistent with sin or pardon: but it is false, if he understands thereby, the righteousness of the law, performed by another, Christ our surety. And sure, if his faith be accounted a righteousness, it must be a righteousness, or Godís estimation is not just: and if it be a righteousness; it must be accompanied with all the privileges of a righteousness (as himself saith) and consequently exclude all sin and remission, if these be such concomitants of an imputed righteousness.
††††††††† He adds, when a perfect sanctification is imputed to a man for his justification, that man can be no more reputed to have sin in him, than to be obnoxious to death, which is opposite to justification. Answer: And no wonder; for perfect sanctification being a perfect inherent holiness, cannot, without contradiction, but exclude sin. But who speaks of such an imputation of sanctification? We know no such thing; for sanctification is wrought and inherent in us, and not imputed to us. If he mean by this perfect sanctification, the perfect obedience and righteousness of Christ imputed to us, we say, though that perfect sanctification or righteousness could be consistent with no sin in Christ; yet, when imputed to us, it can consist with sin inherent in us, and with pardon of sin also; as we have already cleared.
††††††††† He says further, But when that, which either is no sanctification, or at most, but an imperfect sanctification, is imputed for righteousness, in a manís justification, place is left for inherency of sin, and consequently for the forgiveness of it. Answer: That which is no sanctification, or at most, but an imperfect sanctification, must either be no righteousness, or at most, an imperfect
righteousness; and therefore cannot be reputed or accounted a perfect righteousness; and so cannot be imputed to a person, in order to justification. Or if we should suppose, that God did make it, and really repute it to be a righteousness, it must be a complete righteousness; and consequently inconsistent with pardon, because it shall hereby become a complete inherent holiness and righteousness.
††††††††† Objection 8, chapter 15, page 153, &c. Whosoever is perfectly righteous, or as righteous as Christ is, in him God can see no sin. But every believer (saith this opinion, which we impugn) is as perfectly and completely righteous, as Christ himself is. Therefore &c. Answer: How false this consequence is, was manifested above in chapter 6, Mystery 15. And now, waving that expression of being as righteous, as Christ himself is, I distinguish the Major thus, whoever is perfectly righteous with an inherent righteousness (taking perfection here not for kind, but for degrees) in him God can see no sin, true: but in this sense the minor is false. Whoever is perfectly righteous with an imputed righteousness, in him God can see no sin, in order to actual condemnation, it is true, but then the conclusion contains nothing but truth. It is true, God could see no sin in Christ, because there was no sin existing in Him; yet He can see sin in believers, in whom sin exists, notwithstanding they be clothed with the perfect righteousness of Christ, which only makes, that God can see no sin in them, for which He will actually bring them into condemnation; and this is consonant to Scripture Romans 8: 1.
††††††††† Objection 9. Another reason he proposes, chapter 16, page 154, &c. alleging that by this imputation of Christís righteousness, we confound the two covenants of works and of grace. But as to this, we have cleared the truth above, chapter 6, mystery 16. Nor need we be much troubled at his bold alleigance; for not we, but he and others with him, by his opinion, in pleading for the sole imputation of faith, as our Gospel righteousness, to which some add other works of obedience, do turn the Gospel into a new Covenant of Works: for if faith, properly taken, alone, or conjunct with other works of righteousness, which we do, be all our Gospel righteousness, we are justified by our own personal obedience and righteousness; and this was the plain tenor of the Covenant of Works: The variation of the obedience, now required from what was of old, though now it be but as a pepper corn, in comparison of the greater rent formerly required, doth make no alteration in the nature and essence of the covenant: for justification and life is still by works of righteousness, which we do, and which are our own. But when the righteousness of a Surety is imputed, and we are upon that account accepted, though the righteousness, wrought by the Surety, be obedience to the same law, that was in force under the first Covenant, and which we were obliged unto, and lying under the curse of (as it must needs have been, seeing He did substitute himself in our place, and took our debt upon Him) the Covenant is altered: for the first Covenant knew no righteousness, but what was our own and personal; and did not admit of a Surety. Thus these two Covenants are not confounded by us, but kept manifestly distinct: and we cannot own their Gospel-way of justification,
as being a way to bring us back again to the Old Covenant of Works, with a mere pretext of some ease, as to the conditions, or terms.
††††††††† Yet he would prove, that the two covenants are made one by us, thus, where the parties covenanting are the same; and the things covenanted for are the same; and the conditions or agreements the same, there the covenants are every way the same. But if the righteousness of he law imputed to us be the agreement, or condition of the New Covenant, all the three, persons, things, and conditions are the same. Answer: (1.) It may be questioned, if either the persons covenanting, or the things covenanted for, in both covenants, be the same every way; but to speak of this is not our present purpose. (2.) The Covenants do not agree, as to their conditions; for the condition required in the Covenant of Works, was a proper antecedent condition, which is a cause of the thing promised; but the condition of the New Covenant is only a consequent condition, denoting nothing else, than a connection, or order between the thing promised, and the condition required. (3.) The righteousness of the law imputed to us, is no condition required of us, in the New Covenant; but it is required of us, that by faith we close with Christ, and thereby come to have an interest in Christ, and in all His righteousness, to all ends and purposes; which our case and necessity call for. (4.) This righteousness of the law was called for from us, in our own persons, in the Old Covenant; but in the New Covenant, the righteousness is imputed to us, when we believe in Him. And this, as is said, is enough to distinguish these Covenants.
††††††††† But he thinks, the righteousness of the law imputed from another, and wrought by ourselves do not much differ, the substance being the same. Answer: Yet this difference may make a substantial difference in the two covenants: for when the Covenant of Works did not admit of the performance of the conditions by a surety, as himself proved by four arguments page 155, and the Covenant of Grace holds forth justification only through the righteousness of another, imputed to us, and received by faith: Though the righteousness, mentioned in both, consists in conformity to the same law; yet the covenants cannot but substantially differ, as is obvious to everyone. Besides, that the righteousness imputed consists in more, than in obedience to the law; for it comprehends His whole surety-righteousness; and that took in His sufferings also. The following objection, which he preoccupies, is purely his own, and so I leave it.
††††††††† Objection 10, chapter 17, page 158, &c. That for which righteousness is imputed to those that believe, cannot be imputed to them for righteousness. But the righteousness of Christ is that, for which righteousness is imputed to those that believe. Ergo. The assumption he thinks none will deny, but such as deny the righteousness to be the meritorious cause of that righteousness or justification, which is conferred upon men. The major he thus proves, If it be impossible, that the thing merited should be the same thing, with that, which is the meritorious cause thereof, then it is not only not true, but impossible, that the righteousness of Christ should be the righteousness of a believer. But the former is
true ergo, &c. Answer: This is nothing but a pure fallacy, founded upon a palpable mistake viz. of confounding righteousness and justification as if they were one and the same. To discover this, let us put justification for righteousness in the first argument, thus: That for which believers are justified, cannot be imputed to them for righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ is that for which believers are justified. Therefore &c. Who sees not now, how false the major proposition is; and how impertinent and ridiculous the probation thereof is? Justification, which is the effect, or the thing merited, is not the same thing with the righteousness of Christ, the meritorious cause thereof.
††††††††† Objection 11, page 160. If the righteousness of Christ be imputed to a believer for righteousness, in his justification, then the meritorious cause of his justification is imputed. Ergo &c. He proves the minor, which is denied, thus, because the meritorious cause, being a kind of efficient cannot be either the matter, or the form of that, whereof it is efficient óIt is an inviolable law amongst the four kinds of causes, material, formal, final, and efficient, that the two former do only ingredi composition, or effectum, and are parts rei constitutae; and that the two latter are always extrinsecal, and stand without. Answer: All which is but vain arguing, grounded upon this palpable mistake, that justification is a physical effect, like the whitening of a wall; (which is the example, whereby, he illustrates the matter) and therefore he thinks, that these terms are used, in this matter, in as proper a sense, as when they are applied to physical causes and effects; while as the matter is quite otherwise; and many of these terms are here used, but in a metaphorical sense. But to the matter, whether imputed righteousness, be called the material cause, with some, or the formal cause, with others, of justification, is no great matter, seeing everyone hath liberty to explain, in what sense he uses these terms, in this matter; and I should rather choose to use the term (if such like terms must be used) of the formal objective cause, or reason. This is enough to us, that is that, whereby they become juridically righteous; and that, upon the consideration whereof, now imputed to them, they are pronounced righteous and justified; and so is the meritorious cause of their justification, and that righteousness, which covers them, and upon the account of which, they are declared and pronounced righteous: as the payment of the Surety, is as the meritorious cause in law of the absolution of the debtor, and the ground upon which he is absolved, being accounted his payment, because the debtor and surety are one person in law. As in a juridical sentence of absolution of an accused debtor, there is no proper formal, or material cause; so neither in the matter of justification, which is Godís juridical act and sentence.
††††††††† Yet I cannot acquiesce to what he adds, saying that only remission of sins or absolution from punishment, is as the form applied unto, or put upon the matter, and the matter of subject itself, where unto this form is applied; Not only because, according to his own arguing, one thing cannot be both matter and form of the same thing; but because remission of sins is hereby
made the whole of justification; whereas to speak properly it is but an effect or consequent, or at most a part thereof; and the person justified is properly absolved from the accusation and declared to be righteous; and so is legally constituted or put into a state of righteousness, or of righteous persons, whereupon follows freedom from guilt, or punishment, and a right to the reward: and as to this state, whatever we shall conceive as the form there of, it must be a righteousness; and consequently the righteousness of Christ imputed; for sinners can have no other.
††††††††† Objection 12. If the meritorious cause of our justification be imputed unto us, then the effects themselves of this cause may be imputed to us also; and so we may be said to have merited both our own justification, and salvation: for if I may be accounted or reputed to have wrought that righteousness, which is meritorious, why may I not be conceived as well to have merited? Nay, further, if I may be conceived to have wrought that righteousness in Christ, whereby I am justified myself, I may as well be conceived to have wrought that righteousness, by which the whole world is justified. Answer: This is but mere sophism, founded upon a mistake: The consequence is false, and the proof thereof stands only upon this rotten bottom. That to say, that Christís righteousness is imputed to us, is to say, that we are reputed, esteemed, or accounted to have done or wrought that righteousness ourselves; while as the true meaning of imputation is this: that the righteousness of Christ is made over by grace unto believers, and reckoned upon their score, where by they are dealt with now, no other ways, than if they had fulfilled all righteousness, in their own person. Whence it is clear, that the effects cannot be said to be imputed to us; but only that we partake of the effects thereof, so far as our own necessity requires: as the ransom paid for the redemption of so many captives, is imputed to each of the captives, in order to his own redemption, and to none of them as redemption of others: and without this imputation, or reckoning it upon their score, as the price of their redemption, no man could have right to the effects thereof in reference to himself, or could be redeemed thereby. So that it is manifest, that through the meritorious cause, or the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, we obtain justification and salvation; but do not merit them: our Redeemer and Surety merit them for us, and we enjoy what He merited for our own happiness. It is false then to say, that by imputation we are conceived to have wrought that righteousness in Christ, whereby we are justified: and therefore it cannot but be most false to think, that we may be conceived to have wrought that righteousness also, by which others are justified; for it was only our Head, Husband, Surety and Redeemer, who wrought it, and free grace imputed it to, or reckoned it upon the score of believers.
††††††††† Objection 13, chapter 18, page 165. If the active righteousness of Christ be in the letter and formality of it imputed unto me, in my justification, then I am reputed before God, to have wrought that righteousness in Christ. But this is false &c. Answer: Neither proposition is true: The major is denied, unless by these, letter and formality, he understand such an imputation, as we do not
acknowledge, and his words would seem to import this: for (saith he, in confirmation of the major) to have anything imputed to a man, in the letter of it, is to be reputed the doer of what is so imputed to him: And if this be the only sense of his proposition, the conclusion makes not against us: for we assert no such imputation, as infers such a reputation. Nay, to say, that God should repute things so, were to destroy all imputation, for God (whose judgment is according to truth) reputes us to have done, we must have done; and if we have really done it, and be reputed to have done it by the Lord, it cannot be said to be imputed to us, in the sense we take imputation; for imputation with us, is of that, which we have not, or did not, and which God knows and judges we did not; and yet is by imputation so made over to us, and put upon our score, and reckoned upon our account, as that we are as really made partakers of the effects thereof, that is, of justification &c. as if we had done it ourselves, or it had been ours, without and before any imputation. Hence the believer is made the righteousness of God in Christ; and not reputed, or esteemed to have been the righteousness of God, but now, through the gracious imputation of God, and through faith made to be so.
††††††††† Hence we see, that the proof of his minor goes upon the same mistake if (says he) I be reputed before God to have wrought righteousness, in Christ in my justification, then is Christ, in His sufferings, reputed before God to have sinned in me. Answer: We say neither the one, nor the other. Christ did not sin in us, nor did the Lord repute Him to have done so. But He was made sin, by imputation; the guilt of sin being laid upon Him; or our sins, as to their guilt, being caused to meet on Him. Whence it came to pass, that He suffered as really the punishment of sin, as if He had sinned in us, while as, as to His own person, He knew no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth.
††††††††† Objection 14, page 166. If the active obedience of Christ be imputed, then His passive is imputed also. Answer: And why not? If the death and sufferings of Christ (says he) be imputed unto me; then may I be accounted or reputed to have died or suffered in Christ. But this cannot be: because in Christ, we are justified and absolved from punishment; and therefore cannot be said to have been punished in Him. Answer: This whole argument is of a piece with the foregoing: Though therefore it be upon the matter answered already, yet we shall add this word further. That though in one sense it is false, to say, that we are reputed to have died and suffered in Christ viz. physically; yet in a legal sense, it may be admitted, as a truth, that believers, who now by faith are in Christ, and of His body, are accounted and reputed to have suffered in Christ, their Head, Surety and Public Person; and therefore are now dealt with, as such. hence they are said to be crucified with Christ, to be dead and buried with Him, and to be risen with Him, Romans 6: 4, 5, 6; Ephesians 2: 5, 6; Colossians 2: 12. Yet it will not follow hence, that in a legal sense Christ can be said to have sinned in us; for we were not His representative or head. Though the debtor may be said, in Law sense, to have paid his creditor, in his suretyís payment; yet the surety cannot be said to be contracting the debt, in the
debtor, for the debtorís deed cannot affect him, until he voluntarily submit himself to be surety, which may be after the debt is already contracted by the debtor. And to say, in this law sense, that believers suffered in Christ, does not weaken the ground of our justification, absolution, acceptation, and healing, as is manifested above, unless we turn Socinians; and then upon this same ground, we may deny all the satisfaction of Christ.
†††††††† Objection 15, page 168, If the righteousness of Christ be imputed to us, then are we justified, at least in part, by the ceremonial law; because part of that righteousness, which Christ wrought, stood in obedience to the ceremonial law. But this is not true. Ergo &c. Answer: We are not said to be justified either by the moral, or by the ceremonial law; but by the righteousness of Christ, which consisted in yielding perfect obedience to the law of God, and in answering all the demands of the law, in the behalf of His own. And so, though the law does not justify us, because we are sinners; yet neither can the law condemn us, because Christ, our surety, hath perfectly fulfilled it, and given full satisfaction to the law given, for our violation thereof. And, in this matter, the ceremonial law is not to be separated from the moral, it being but a branch, or an appendix thereof, and enjoined thereby: for the moral law says, that God must be worshipped only that way, which Himself hath prescribed, and that ceremonial worship being the then instituted worship of God, whosoever knowing this did not worship God after that manner; did violate the second of the moral law, which became Him not to do, who came to fulfill all righteousness. And thus the righteousness of obedience, that is imputed, is moral, or righteousness consisting in obedience to the moral law. And this is wholly imputed to all believers, whether of Jews, or of Gentiles, in reference to their own redemption, or delivery. The objection, which he frames against himself, viz. that the moral righteousness is sufficient, and the other needs not be imputed, is none of ours, as appears by what is said; for we do not exclude the ceremonial, but reduce it to the moral, obedience to that being enjoined by this.
††††††††† Objection 16, chapter 19, If the righteousness of Christ be imputed to us, then are our sins imputed to Christ, the same manner. But this is not so. Ergo. The minor he proves thus, If the sins of men be imputed to Christ, then God looks upon Him, and reputes Him, in His sufferings, as one that truly and really had provoked Him, and sinned against Him. Answer: This consequence is denied; for no such reputation, or estimation follows upon the imputation, which we assert, as hath been already cleared: only this will follow, that Christ being, through His own willing consent, in our law place, as our surety, and having undertaken to pay our debt, he was exacted upon, and dealt with by justice, as if He had been the true sinner, though He knew no sin; as believers, having Christís righteousness imputed to them, are dealt with, as if they had kept the law, and made satisfaction by themselves. But as God doth not look upon them, nor esteem, nor consider them, nor repute them, as having really fulfilled the law in their own physical persons; so nor doth He look upon, esteem, consider or repute Christ to
have been truly and really a transgressor of the law, in His person. Hence we see, that his proof, that God did not look upon Christ so, is impertinent; for we do not say so, knowing that to look upon Christ, as one that had truly sinned, were to look upon Him, as deserving in Himself what was inflicted upon Him; and that Godís judgment is always according to truth; and that Christ knew no sin in Himself, but was made sin, as having the guilt of our sins imputed to Him, when He put Himself in our room and law-place; and so He died and suffered for us, in our stead, and became a sacrifice for sin, having the guilt thereof laid on Him.
††††††††† Objection 17, page 173, If the righteousness of Christ be imputed unto us, in our justification, then God doth look upon us, as worthy of that justification. But this is an unclean saying. Ergo. The major he thus proves. If God reputes me to have kept the law, as perfectly as Christ did, He must conceive of me, as worthy of my justification; for as the fulfilling of the law, and deserving justification, are the same, Romans 4: 4. So the reputing of a man to have done the one, is the reputing of him to have deserved the other. The minor he thus confirms, Because then God should show us no grace or favor in our justification. (Romans 4: 4 with Romans 11: 6) But if any favor be shown, it is only in this, that He reputes us worthy to be justified, or puts a worthiness upon us for justification; whereas the Scripture expressly affirms, that God justifies the ungodly, that is the unworthy, Romans 4: 5. Answer: Unto all this, I say (1.) We say not, that God imputes to us the righteousness of Christ, in justification; but that He does it in order to justification. (2.) Though Christís righteousness be imputed to us, yet it will not follow that God looks upon us as worthy of our justification, viz. in ourselves: and it may be yielded, that He looks on us, when clothed with Christís righteousness, as worthy of justification, viz. in Christ our Surety, with whose righteousness we are now covered, when it is imputed unto us. But then the conclusion will make nothing against us. (3.) If the meaning be, that therefore God looks upon us, as worthy of justification in ourselves, the consequence is false; and the reason adduced for confirmation is invalid, for the text Romans 4: 4 speaks of him that works, and so hath the ground of merit in himself: he indeed that fulfills the law in himself deserves to be justified. And let our adversary see to this, who will have no righteousness imputed, but our own faith, which is in us, and is our own, and is, in their account, as good as fulfilling of the law, and is accepted for that end: for sure, such as have this faith, which is in them, reputed for their righteousness, upon the account of which they are justified, must have the reward reckoned to them, not of grace, but of debt; and so must merit and deserve their justification, in full and proper sense. (4.) It is not to be admitted, as a truth, without the forementioned distinction, to say, that the reputing of a man to have done the one, is the reputing of him to have deserved the other, for to repute a man to have done the one, in his own person, is indeed a reputing of him to have deserved the other. But we assert no such reputation in God; for His judgment is according to truth;
But only assert an imputation, which takes away this reputation, these two being inconsistent: and from this imputation can no such thing be inferred. (5.) It is true, if we deserved justification, justification should be no act of grace; but we deserve no such thing, being in ourselves, and as to ourselves, indeed ungodly; yet when justified, we are looked upon as clothed with the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, and received by faith: and so, though our justification be merited by Christ, and be an act of justice and truth in God, in reference to Christ; yet as to us, it is of free grace; and so much the more of free grace, that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us for that end. And such as understand not this, are more principled with Socinian abominations, than with the doctrine of the Gospel of the grace of God.
††††††††† Objection 18, page 173, If men be formally just by Godís act, imputing Christís righteousness, then do men become formally sinful by the like act of God, imputing Adamís sin. But this is not true: for then an act of God should be as the life and soul of that sin, which is in men. Ergo. Answer: As this argument concludes nothing against the truth, now asserted, this conclusion being different from the question now in hand; so it is but a mere exhaling of vapors out of the fog of philosophical terms and notion, that thereby the truth may be more darkened. We are not obliged by any law of God, to explain or interpret these mysteries of salvation, according to these notions, which men explain after their own pleasure, knowing no law, constraining them to follow either one man or other, in the arbitrary sense, which they put upon these terms. But as to the present argument, no answer can be given, until it be known, what is the true meaning of these words óformally just. Possibly he will understand hereby the same, that others mean by inherently just, and so indeed do all the Papists: and if so, we can answer by saying, that no orthodox man thinks or says, that in this sense, we are made formally just by Godís act of imputing Christís righteousness; but by holiness, wrought in us by His Spirit. And as to that righteousness, which is imputed, whether it be called the formal, or the material cause of our justification, it is but a nominal debate, having no ground, or occasion, in the word of God, by which alone we should be ruled in our thoughts and expressions, in this matter. Nor do they, who say, we are formally just by Christís righteousness, say, we are formally just by Godís act imputing that righteousness; but by the righteousness itself imputed by God and received by faith. Nor do they say, that men become formally sinful by the like act of God, imputing Adamís sin unto his posterity, but by Adamís sin imputed: though Godís act be the cause of this effect, it is not the effect itself. Adamís sin imputed doth constitute the posterity sinners guilty and obnoxious to wrath: so Christís righteousness imputed doth constitute believers righteous.
††††††††† Objection 19, page 175, If justification consists in the imputation of Christís righteousness, partly in remission of sins, then must there be a double formal cause of justification, and that made up and compounded of two several natures, really differing one from the other. But this is impossible, ergo. Answer: (1.) This
argument is founded upon another school-nicety, or notion, viz. the simplicity and indivisibility of natural forms: and this philosophical notion is here adduced to darken the mystery, we are treating of. It were a sufficient answer then to say, that the minor, though it be true in natural forms; yet will not necessarily hold, in the privileges of saints, which may be single, or compounded, as the Lord thinks meet to make them. And can any reason evince, that the Lord cannot confer and bestow, in the grand privilege of justification, more particular favors then one? Can He not both pardon sins, and accept as, and declare to be righteous? Can He not both free the believer from the condemnation of hell, and adjudge him to the life of glory? Or cannot these two be conceived as two things formally distinct, though inseparable? (2.) But I shall not say, that imputation of Christís righteousness is a part of justification; but rather that it is the ground thereof, and necessarily presupposed thereunto. Nor shall I say, that remission of sins is the form, or formal cause of justification; a pardoned man, as such, not being a justified man. It is true, pardon of sins doth inseparably follow upon, and is a necessary effect of our justification, and a certain consequent of Godís accepting of us, as righteous in His sight, upon the account of the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us and received by faith. I grant also that justification may be so described, or defined, as to take in that effect, without making it thereby a formal part thereof, when strictly considered. (3.) But he will have remission of sins to be the whole of justification, and nothing more included therein, or conferred thereby, abusing to this end (as we heard above) Romans 4: 6, 7, 8, where the Apostle is citing the words of the Psalmist and is not giving us a formal definition of justification; nor saying, that justification is the same with remission; nor that remission is the formal cause of justification: but only is proving, that justification is not by our works, as the ground thereof, and that by this reason, because that would utterly destroy free remission, which is a necessary effect and consequent of Gospel justification, and cannot be had without it; in order to which justification, he there asserts expressly an imputation of righteousness: Now, an imputation of righteousness is not formally one and the same thing with remission of sins; nor can remission of sins be called a righteousness, or the righteousness of God, or of Christ: yet the man is a blessed man, whose sins are covered, because that man is necessarily covered with the righteousness of Christ, whose sins are covered: for imputation of righteousness and free pardon do inseparably attend one another. Nor is it to the purpose to say, that pardon is a passive righteousness, though not an active righteousness; for all righteousness, rightly so called, is conformity to the law, and that is not a passive or negative righteousness, which may be in a beast, that transgresses no law, and consequently hath no unrighteousness.
††††††††† Objection 20, page 176, If such imputation be necessary, in justification, this necessity must be found either in respect of the justice of God, or in respect of His mercy, or for the salving or advancing of some other attribute. But there is no necessity in respect of any of these. Ergo. Answer: (1.) This same man tells us, that
there is a necessity for the imputation of faith, as our righteousness, not withstanding of all that Christ hath done; and why may he not grant the same necessity for the imputation of the righteousness of Christ? Will it satisfy him, that we found the necessity of imputation of Christís righteousness upon the same ground? (2.) Though we should not be in case to assign the real and just ground of this necessity; yet, I judge, it should satisfy us, that the Lord, in His wisdom and goodness, hath thought fit to appoint and ordain this method and manner of justification; and so far should we be from disputing against this truth, with such arguments, and from rejecting of it until we be satisfied, as to the grounds of necessity requiring this, that we should receive it, close with it, and embrace it with all thankfulness, as a mystery of love, free grace and wisdom, that angels may wonder at. (3.) Yet, according to the Scriptures, we may say, that the truth and justice of God require this: for His judgment is always according to truth Romans 2: 2, and it would be an abomination in His eyes to justify one every way wicked. Therefore, if He pronounce a person righteous, in His sight, which He does when He justifies a person, that person must be a righteous person: but when no man can be justified, or pronounced righteous, as being inherently righteous, Psalm 130: 3, 143:2, all, who are justified, must be clothed with an imputed righteousness: for God must be just, even when he justifies him, which believes in Jesus, Romans 3: 26.
††††††††† In reference to the justice of God, he says, That there is nothing at all necessary to be done either by God himself, or by man, about justification of a sinner, by way of satisfaction to the justice of God, since that one offering of Christ of himself upon the cross. Answer: We plead not for imputation, upon any such account: nor do we see the least ground to think, that this should derogate anything from the full and complete satisfaction of Christ, made to justice, or from the price, laid down by Him, as if this imputation were required, to supply something wanting there. Yea our doctrine of imputation doth rather confirm and establish the same, it being an application of the sponsorís surety-righteousness, or payment and satisfaction unto the debtors, in order to their absolution and freedom from the sentence. Though the surety hath paid the creditor; yet the law may require, that when the debtor is charged or challenged for the debt, the payment of his surety be instructed and made manifest unto the judges: and yet it will not hence follow, that the satisfaction or payment, made by the surety, was defective and insufficient.
††††††††† He further says, That God can as well and as truly pronounce that man righteous, that wants a literal or legal righteousness (especially supposing he hath another righteousness, holding any analogy or proportion thereto) as he may account any manís uncircumcision circumcision, Romans 2: 26. Answer: That the Lord may deal with one uncircumcised, that keeps the law, no less than if he were circumcised; and so thereby declare, that He values not outward circumcision so much, as the Jews were ready to dream, who questions? But what is this to the business at hand? Shall we therefore think, that the Lord, whose judgment is according to truth, shall account any righteous,
who have no righteousness? Shall we think, that the righteous judge shall pronounce him to be righteous, who is not so? (2.) He may think to ward this off by his parenthesis; but, I pray, what is that other righteousness, that holds any analogy or proportion to the righteousness, required by the law of God? Is that the single act of faith? Sure, that must hold a very unproportionable proportion and a poor analogy unto obedience to all commands of God! I need not take notice of that word legal righteousness literally so called; for he hath many such of little other use, than to amuse the reader, and darken the matter. (3.) If by this proportionable righteousness, he mean the righteousness of Christ, which may be said to hold an analogy to the righteousness of the law, which man was obliged to perform, which possibly he understands by a legal righteousness literally and properly so called, he speaks truth, and yields the cause; for that is what we contend for.
††††††††† But afterward he seems to tell us, what he means by analogical righteousness, saying So may God, with as much righteusness and truth, pronounce, and call or account a man righteous, that is not strictly, properly or literally, such, if he hath any qualification upon him, that any way answers, or holds proportion, in any point, with such a righteousness, as he should do, in case this man had a legal righteousness upon him, in the most absolute perfection of the letter. †Answer: And who may not see the folly of this rendering, to infer this from the Lordís calling John the Baptist Elijah and the like? Will he make the Lordís pronouncing sentence, in judgment, as a righteous judge (as He doth in the matter of justification) to be such a figurative speech, as when John Baptist was called Elijah, because he had some resemblance to Elijah, when he came in his spirit and power? Will he be accounted a righteous judge, upon earth, who in judgment should pronounce that man righteous, who, instead of the righteousness he should have had, hath only one poor qualification upon him, that some way or other holds proportion with it, in any point? If so, it will be a great question, if ever any wicked man can be condemned, seeing it will be rare to find one, that hath never all his days done something, that answers to the law, in some poor way or measure, as to some one point or other. Yea, if we might drive this further, it might be made probable, that hence it would follow, that all the world should be justified even in the sight of God. But enough of this which is too, too gross. Yet we hear not what that qualification is.
††††††††† He says, when God pronounces a man righteous, it is sufficient to bear out the justice and truth of God, if his person be under any such relation, and condition, as belongs to a legal righteousness, or which a legal righteousness would cast upon him. Answer: What before was called a qualification, is here called a relation, or condition; and these seem not to be one and the same thing: But what if that relation, or condition have no foundation, how shall the Lord, upon that account, pronounce such a person righteous? or though it be not founded upon a legal righteousness, performed by the man in his own person, yet may it not be founded upon a surety-righteousness imputed?
††††††††† But what is this? He adds, Now, one special privilege or benefit belonging to a perfect legal righteousness, is to free the person, in whom it is found, from death and condemnation, and he that hath his sin forgiven him, is partaker with him in the fullness of this privilege, and is as free of condemnation, as he. Answer: But he hath not yet proved, that any man is pardoned, without the imputed righteousness of Christ: and besides, righteousness brings with it, as a special privilege or benefit, right to the promised inheritance of glory: but a pardoned man, as such, hath not this right, nor yet can challenge it, as was shown above. Moreover, if God pronounce a man righteous, because he is pardoned, then the man must be pardoned, before he be justified; for in justification he is declared and pronounced righteous, and not made such: and if he be pardoned, before he be justified pardon is not the form of justification, nor the whole thereof, as he says, but rather something antecedent thereto.
††††††††† What in fine he says, is but what we have often heard viz. That forgiveness of sins, is a true and complete righteousness, in the kind, a passive righteousness, as absolute and perfect in the kind of it, as any active righteousness: And for him that hath once sinned, there is no other righteousness applicable to him, but only this, which for all other ends, purposes, advantages, privileges whatsoever, is as effectual as the active righteousness itself could be. Answer: (1.) No Scripture calls pardon of sins a righteousness. (2.) A passive righteousness is no righteousness, as we lately made appear. (3.) That another righteousness, even the positive surety righteousness of Christ, is applicable unto a sinner, hath been hithertill evinced. (4.) Pardon, as such, can give no right to the reward, promised to obedience; and therefore cannot be as effectual, as an active righteousness, to all ends, purposes, advantages and privileges.
††††††††† Objection 21, chapter 20, That, which having been done, in our own person, could not have been our justification, nor any part of the righteousness, by which we could have been justified, cannot be made our justification, nor any part of it, by imputation from another. But such is the righteousness of the law, pretended to be imputed from Christ. Ergo, &c. Answer: (1.) We do not call the righteousness of Christ our justification; nor do we say, that it is made our justification or any part of it, by imputation unto us: nor yet do we make it a part only of the righteousness, by which we are justified; for His righteousness is the whole of that righteousness: Nor by His surety righteousness imputed to us, do we understand only His active obedience to the law. (2.) He here supposes that we say, there is nothing imputed to us, in order to our justification, but Christís obedience to the law, without His satisfaction by suffering. And thus we see, the main pillars of this argument are weak, and its whole foundation being sandy, it cannot stand.
††††††††† He confirms the major thus, If a personal fulfilling of the law could have been no justification, nor part of justification to us, certainly an imputative fulfilling of it could not have been either. The imputation of a thing from another cannot add any strength to it, above a personal acting, yet the nature of imputation
is only to supply the defect of personal performance, and therefore cannot exceed it. Answer: Though obedience to the law cannot avail us, now that we are sinners, even though it were perfect (which in effect a supposition of what is impossible yea and self-contradictory, and therefore can lay the foundation of no truth, in an argument) yet it could have availed Adam, while standing, and us in him. (2.) The righteousness, which is now imputed, is not the righteousness of a sinner; and so cannot be called the same with that righteousness, which is supposed to be done by us, who are sinners: for the righteousness in the supposition had been no righteousness at all, not being complete and perfect. Now, who sees not, that the imputation of a perfect righteousness hath other strength and virtue, than that hath which is personal and imperfect? (3.) The imputation of an obedience, perfect and complete, can avail such, as are reconciled by the death of Christ, when personal obedience, suppose it never so full (if the supposition could be made) cannot avail such, as are under Godís curse because of sins already committed.
††††††††† He confirms the minor thus, Man being once fallen and made obnoxious to condemnation, can never be recovered again by ten thousand observations of this law. Answer: Though the observation of the law, could it now be done by fallen man, which is impossible, cannot avail unto justification; yet, as is said, it could have availed man, while standing: and man remaining still under the obligation, it is his debt: and seeing it is now impossible for him to pay this debt, his surety must pay it for him, and the suretyís payment must be reckoned upon his score.
††††††††† Objection 22, That which men are not bound by any law or command of God to do, in their own persons, for their justification, cannot be imputed from another to any such end. But men are not bound, by any such law, to observe the law, for their justification. Ergo, &c. Answer: The major I distinguish thus, that which men neither now are, nor never were bound to do, in their own persons for their justification, by any law, or command of God, cannot be imputed from another, to any such end; this is granted: but the assumption speaks only of what men now are obliged unto; and so the argument is inconcludent. That which men, though once obliged unto, in their own persons, in order to justification, yet now are not obliged unto by the law of God, cannot be imputed from another, to any such end: this is false. Let us hear his proof. Because (says he) imputation is found out and ordained by God to supply personal defects: But where there is no law, there can be no personal defect. Answer: Imputation is not found out and ordained by God, to supply the want of that, which men are now obliged unto by the law of God; but to supply what once they were obliged unto, and is not yet done: and the reason is, because the law, not being abrogated by the breach thereof, continues in force to oblige to perfect and exact obedience; and every violation thereof is a sin before God: and because it must be satisfied, even as to this, ere any can think to enjoy the reward promised to perfect obedience; and no man can satisfy the demands of the law by himself: therefore everyone, who would have the reward, and partake of life, must have a
perfect obedience imputed to him to the end, that, without any infringing of the law, the sinner may be justified, and the law established.
††††††††† To the minor I only say, that albeit no man be under any command of God, now to observe the moral law perfectly, that thereby they may be justified, the Lord having now provided another way, in the Gospel which all, to whom it is revealed, are bound to take: yet all, out of Christ, and who have not yielded obedience unto the Gospel, are still under the old covenant, being not as yet brought in into the New: and so, while they abide there, have no other way, held forth in the old covenant, viz. perfect obedience, which is now become impossible: for till they believe in Christ, they are still in nature, and are not translated into the kingdom of Jesus Christ, though, as to such as hear the Gospel, there is a command to believe in Jesus Christ, to the end they may be justified: but as to such, as either hear not the Gospel, or hearing it would not yield obedience thereto, they have no other way, whereby they can expect justification, but doing of the law, Romans 2: 13, and that is also a desperate and impossible way, when the law is already now broken. The meaning of these words, Romans 2: 13 The doers of the Law shall be justified, is not, what he imagines, page 184, viz. that God will accept, justify, and save only such, who out of a sincere and sound faith towards Him by His Christ, address themselves to serve and please Him, in a way of obedience to His laws: for this sense of the words keeps no correspondence with the scope of the Apostle there, nor with the circumstances of the place.
††††††††† Objection 23, If God requires only faith of men to their justification, then He imputes this faith unto them there-unto. But God requires only faith to justification. Ergo, &c. Answer: (1.) The conclusion is not directly the thing, that is now in question, but another question, of which hereafter in due time. (2.) The minor is false to some of his own party, who join works with faith. (3.) The major is denied; for though God require faith of men to their justification; yet that faith is not imputed unto them viz. as their righteousness. It may be, he means no more by the word impute here, but to accept of it, when performed, according as it is prescribed: and indeed his proof annexed can evince nothing else; because (says he) to impute unto justification, and to accept unto justification are nothing differing at all, in sense and signification: Now if God should require faith of men, and only faith to their justification, and not accept it thereunto, he should make a bargain, and not stand to it: for hereby it is manifest, that to impute faith unto justification, is but to accept it, in order to justification, in the place, and for the end, which God hath fixed to it, and required it for; that is, to be a mean and instrument, in the business, and to be the way of interessing us in the righteousness of Christ, the sole righteousness for which, and ground upon which, we are justified. This then being the meaning of his major proposition, for anything that yet appears, his whole argument is but a mere sophistical evasion. (4.) It is true, God requires of us only faith, as an instrument and mean to lay hold upon the righteousness of Christ, in order to our justification:
but this is so far from proving that therefore there is no necessity for the righteousness of Christ, that, on the contrary, it establishes that truth more firmly: for the faith, that is required unto justification, is not a bare historical faith, but such a faith, as carries the believer out of himself, to seek a righteousness in Christ, and declares his full satisfaction therewith, and his resting thereupon, in order to his acceptance with God, and being justified and absolved from the sentence of the law, under the conviction of which he was lying. (5.) The scope and drift of this objection is to separate these things, that God hath most firmly and manifestly conjoined, viz. Godís imputation of the righteousness of Christ, and our receiving that gift of righteousness by faith, and the atonement through faith. But, as was shown above, the Scripture holds forth the necessity of both, and what God hath conjoined, let no man separate.
††††††††† To this he says, If the righteousness of Christ be that, which is imputed, and not the faith, that is required of them, then may this righteousness be imputed to this end, before, yea and without the faith of any man; for this faith adds no virtue, or value to that righteousness. Answer: This being Godís free constitution, His will should serve us for a law; and instead of enquiring too curiously, whether this might be, or not be without the other, or before the other, we should rest satisfied with Godís method; and therein carry more like Christians, than in making such objections against His express determinations. What though it were granted, that God might, if it had so pleased Him, impute the righteousness of Christ unto sinners, before, or without their faith; will it therefore follow, that now faith is unnecessary; or, if faith be asserted to be necessary, that therefore the imputation of Christís righteousness must be denied? Why? What ground can be given for such fictions? Nay, will not this be as strong against the objectors, if Christ made full satisfaction to justice, what necessity is there for the imputation of faith unto righteousness? Thus we see, the objector must either turn fully Socinian, or reject this way of arguing.
††††††††† But he will not rest satisfied with the good pleasure of God, in this matter; for he adds, page 186, If the will and pleasure of God be to make no imputation of the righteousness of Christ, but upon the condition of faith intervening, then it is evident, that this righteousness is not imputed unto justification, to any man, because the condition of faith must necessarily intervene; so that if this righteousness of Christ were imputed unto men, yet it must be only towards justification, not unto it; for faith hath the next and most immediate connection therewith. Answer: Not to trouble ourselves with that fond and foolish distinction between towards and unto, which rather renders the adversaries cause desperate, and himself fain to shelter himself under such fig leaves, to cover his nakedness, than evinces any apparent probability of a real ground of scrupling here. We say, that the imputation of Christís righteousness, which is Godís act, hath as immediate connection with justification, as faith hath, which is our act: for there is no priority or posteriority here, as to time; for whensoever a man believes, in that same instant, †righteousness is imputed; and in that same instant, the believer is justified; we cannot say,
a man is a believer, and yet hath not the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, or is not justified, as we cannot say, a man hath the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, and yet is not justified. Nay, the very argument will conclude as well, that the imputation of righteousness hath a more near connection with justification, than faith hath; for we may likewise say, though a man believe, yet without imputation, cannot be justified. But the truth is, all such arguing is but the cavils of men, seeking to darken that, which they cannot destroy; and are mere sophisms, unbeseeming Christians, in such a concerning business.
††††††††† Then (says he) faith doth not take hold of the righteousness of Christ imputed; but first takes hold of it, and then the imputation follows and then a man may have the righteousness of Christ upon him by faith, and yet not be justified by it. Answer: Though faith at first doth not take hold of the righteousness of Christ, already imputed; but of the righteousness of Christ held forth in the Gospel: yet faith may lean to that righteousness imputed, and rest upon it. (2.) We assert no such conditions, as this argument would say are the conditions understood by our adversaries, that is, such conditions, as are like a price, that may be, for some time, in the buyerís hand, before the bargain be made; and may also be paid down sometime before he obtain the purchase. We own only such consequential conditions here, as are but the means and methods appointed of God, for such and such ends, and which have an immedial connection with the end here intended. And therefore, we neither say, nor imagine, that a man may have the righteousness of Christ, or faith, and yet not be justified; for in the very moment, as was said, that a man acts true Gospel and so justifying faith, he hath the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, and is justified: every priority in order of nature doth not conclude also a priority, as to time; far less can a man be supposed to have the righteousness of Christ, without Godís act of imputation. But finally all these arguments return upon his own head; for when he says, that faith is imputed for righteousness, meaning by faith our act of believing, he must also say, that a man may believe, and yet not be justified, until his faith be imputed unto righteousness, by God, whose work alone this is: and his reply to this will relieve us.
††††††††† Objection 24, That which was imputed to Abraham for righteousness, in his justification, is imputed to other believers also. But the faith of Abraham was imputed to him for righteousness. Ergo, &c. And for proof of all, he refers us to what he hath said in chapter 2 upon Romans 4. Answer: We shall not here anticipate the consideration of that place, and of this argument founded there upon; seeing afterward we will have a more fit occasion to speak hereunto.
††††††††† Objection 25. Here is his last argument, which he largely prosecutes in chapter 21, page 188, &c, and it would seem, that it is here adduced again (for we had it once, if not more often before) that he may take occasion to vent his mind against the imputation of Adamís sin to his posterity. Thus he argues, If the righteousness of the law be not imputable, or derivable, in the letter and formality of it, from one manís person to another, then cannot the righteousness of
Christ be imputed to any man, in justification. But the former is true, therefore, &c. Answer: What may be answered unto this argument the reader may see in the foregoing chapter, Objection last, and I shall not here repeat, but go on to take notice of what he says to that objection, which he moves against himself, and proposes thus, If the transgression of the law be imputable from one manís person to another, then may the righteousness of the law be imputed also. But the former is hence evident, because the sin of Adam is imputed to his posterity.
††††††††† He first excepts against the major, and denies the consequence thereof, and gives reasons of his denial. 1. There is (says he) no such emphatic restraint of the guilt and punishment to the transgressor, as there is of the reward to the performer of obedience: For Galatians the very man that hath done them shall live by them; which is nowhere said of the transgressor. Answer: But all this is loose reasoning: for as the law says, God will visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation; so it says, that He will show mercy to thousands of them that love Him, and keep His commandments: and here the one is as emphatic as the other. (2.) As he reads Galatians 3: 12 that the man that doth them, shall live in them; so we read Ezekiel 18: 3, the soul that sinneth, it shall die, and Galatians 3: 10, Deuteronomy 27: 26. Cursed is everyone, that abideth not in all things, which are written in the law to do them; which words do import as emphatic a restraint, as the other. But of that Galatians 3: 12, we have said enough above, we might also mention that, which was said to Adam, in the day thou eats, thou shalt die, which seems to have no less an emphatic import.
††††††††† But 2. he mentions this difference. Sin (saith he) is ever greater, in ratione demerity, than obedience is, in ration emeriti: Adam might by his transgression, merit condemnation to himself and posterity, and yet not have merited by his obedience salvation to both; because, if he had kept the law, he had only done his duty, Luke 17: 10, and so had been but an unprofitable servant. Answer: All this says nothing, where a covenant is made, promising life to the obeyer, as well, as threatening death to the transgressor. Albeit Adam could not be said to have merited life, by his obedience, in way of proper and strict merit; yet in way of merit expacto, he could have been said to have merited; for the reward would have been reckoned to him, not of grace, but of debt; and there would have been ground of boasting and glorying, Romans 3: 27, 4: 2, 4. Howbeit he had done but his duty, when he had obeyed to the end; yet the condescending love of God, promising the reward to perseverance in obedience to the end, was sufficient to found this. Whether Adam had merited salvation to all his posterity, if he had kept the covenant to the end, or not, is not our present question to enquire. This we know, that by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, Romans 5: 12. And upon the other hand, this we know, that Christ was made sin for His, as a public person, and all His promised seed and children are made the righteousness of God in Him, I Corinthians 1: 30, II Corinthians 5: 21, †and those are sufficient for our purpose.
††††††††† 3. He says, The imputableness of the transgression of the law rather overthrows the imputation of obedience to it, than any ways establishes it: for the more imputable, that is, punishable, the transgression is, the less imputable, that is rewardable, is the obedience of it. Answer: This is very true, when we speak of the same man, as of Adam, in both: for he could not be both a transgressor, and a final observer of the law; and so both obedience and transgression could not be imputed to himself, let be to any other; and the imputation of the one did quite evacuate the other. But what makes this mere shift to his present purpose, which is to show (if he could) that the righteousness and obedience of the second Adam, the Lord of Heaven, is not as imputable to His spiritual seed and issue, as the sin and transgression of the first Adam, who was of the earth earthy, I Corinthians 15: 47, was imputable to his natural seed.
††††††††† Next, he comes to the minor, and denies the imputation of Adamís sin; and this seems to be his main business, wherein he complies with the Socinians, and others. Let us hear him, first (says he) the Scripture nowhere affirms either the imputation of Adamís sin, or of the righteousness of Christ. Answer: The contrary is sufficiently proven above; and all his reasons cannot evince what he says. He tells us, that neither is the phrase, nor manner of such speaking any ways agreeable to the language of the Holy Ghost: for still in the Scriptures, wheresoever the word, imputing, is used, it is only applied unto or spoken of something of the same persons, to whom the imputation is said to be made; and never to or of anything of anotherís. Answer: Though it be true, that some things are said to be imputed, in Scripture, unto persons, which are, or were theirs, before the imputation, (though that instance of faith being imputed to Abraham, Romans 4, which he adduces, doth not belong to this head, as shall be evinced in due time) whether it be good, or evil, as II Samuel 19: 19, Acts 7: 60, where this imputation is deprecated. So II Chronicles 24: 22, Genesis 30: 33, Psalm 106: 31. Yet it is also true, that we read of an imputation of something, that did not belong to, or was not possessed by the person, before the imputation was made; as when Paul desired Philemon, to impute to him what Onesimus was owing; and that he would reckon both the debt and the injury, whereof Onesimus might be guilty, upon his score, and require it of him, Philemon 18. Thus do Sureties take upon themselves what formerly was not theirs; and so make that imputable to themselves, which formerly was not so, as we see in Genesis 43: 9 and 44: 32, and the Suretyís payment or satisfaction, according to what he voluntarily undertook, is according to law and equity, imputable and to be imputed unto, or reckoned on the score of the debtor, to the end he may be dealt with, by virtue of that imputed payment and satisfaction, as if he himself had made the payment, or given the satisfaction. and this is the very nature and end of this imputation; not that the person, to whom the imputation is made, should be accounted one, who had that before the imputation was made; but that the thing imputed may become his, to whom it is imputed, and he thereupon be dealt with, as now an owner and possessor of that thing by imputation.
††††††††† Secondly, he says, when a thing is said simply to be imputed, as sin, folly or righteousness, the meaning is not to be taken concerning the bare act of things; as if to impute sin signified to repute the man to have committed a sinful act, but to charge the guilt or demerit of sin upon his head, of purpose to punish him for it. Answer: This is true of such things, as are either really or falsely by injustice supposed to be in the person, before that imputation be made. But notwithstanding hereof, there is, as we have seen, and as all acts of Suretyship do further clear, an imputation of what was not the personís before, whereby the thing itself, that is imputed, is legally made over unto them, and reckoned upon their score, and thereupon they are dealt with, as being now possessed of that, which is imputed; as when a person voluntarily becomes Surety for another, as Paul for Onesimus, Judah for Benjamin; first the debt itself is made theirs and reckoned upon their score, and then they willingly undergo the consequences thereof, that is, the payment or punishment.
††††††††† Thirdly, page 198, he comes home to the point, saying, The expressions (i.e. of Christís righteousness and of Adamís sin) are unknown to the Holy Ghost in Scripture. Answer: This is but the old exception of Bellarmine de Justif. lib. 2. chap 7 and of the Socinians; see Volkel de Vera Relig lib. 5 page 564, 565, who, upon this same ground, reject several other fundamental points, as the Trinity and others. But we have already shown Scripture proof enough of this matter; and himself in the following words grants, that there are expressions in Scripture, concerning both the communication of Adamís sin, and of Christís righteousness, that will fairly enough bear the term of imputation, so that all the difference between him and us is about the sense of the word.
††††††††† Now, we come to the matter. He speaks to Romans 5: 19, giving this for the only meaning thereof, that the demerit or guilt of Adamís sin, is charged on his posterity, or that the punishment ran over from his person to them, is a main part of which punishment lies in that original defilement, wherein they are all conceived and born, and whereby they are made truly and formally sinners before God. Answer: But, if that sin of Adamís be imputed, in its curse and punishment, the sin itself must be imputed, as to its guilt; else we must say, that God curses and punishes the posterity, that is in no way guilty, which to do suits not the justice of God, the righteous Governor of the world. We do not say, (as he supposes, when he sets down our sense of the words) that that sinful act of eating the forbidden fruit, in the letter and formality of it (an expression that on all occasions he uses, and whose sense, is not obvious, but needs explication, and is excogitated merely to darken the matter) and as it was Adamís own personal sin, is imputed to the posterity: but it is enough for us, to say, with the Scripture, that by Adamís disobedience, his posterity became guilty; and that all sinned in him; and therefore death passed on all, and that guilt was by that one sin to condemnation, Romans 5: 12, 15, 16, 18, 19. And so that the posterity sinned legally and originally, though not formally, because not existing in Adam actually, but legally and originally; and became thereby obnoxious to the punishment threatened,
that is, death both in body and soul, here and hereafter: whence it is manifest, that punishment† being relative to sin, such as are punished because of sin, must be sinners, and judged to be sinners and so guilty, before they be punished for sin, Adam being the head and root of mankind, and God entering into covenant with him, as such, and therefore with all his posterity in him, when he broke the covenant and transgressed, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, being comprehended with him in the covenant, became actually partakers of that guilt, so soon as they did partake of nature actually, and being really guilty when existing, they were justly punished. But if this guilt were not imputed to them, they could not be justly punished for it.
††††††††† On the contrary, he thinks they might be justly punished for that sin, though not guilty thereof: and he labors to establish this upon three pillars. 1. The demerit (says he) and sinfulness of that sin which had so many aggravations, and in this regard, was beyond the sin of devils, that Adam had the estates of all his posterity in his hand, and knew, that if he sinned, he should draw all heir souls after him into the same perdition. Answer: But if by Adamís having the estates of all his posterity in his hand, this truth be not included, that his sin should become their sin, and they should be looked upon as guilty thereof, and chargeable therewith; how could he know, that by his sin he should draw the souls of all his posterity after him into the same condemnation! And how could they be punished for that same guilt, if it was not some way theirs, by the just and righteous Judge and Governor of the world? The posterity can no more be justly punished for the great and heinous sins of their progenitors, than for their lesser sins, if they have no interest in these sins, nor partake of the guilt thereof: But as to Original sin, the Scripture gives the Sin, as the ground of the punishment, and makes the one to reach all, as well as the other, telling us Romans 5: 12, that by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned; or, in whom all have sinned. See verse 19.
††††††††† 2. The narrowness or scantness of Adamís person, who could not bear that fullness of punishment, which God might require for that great sin; and we cannot think, that God should sit down with loss. Answer: This is his second pillar. But neither is it sufficient; for God could have punished Adam condignly for his sin: but when the posterity is punished for that sin also, that sin must be theirs. Though for great crimes, as treason and the like, the posterity suffer, when the guilty is forfeited yet the posterity are not properly punished for that sin; nor can be said to be so; as we are punished for original sin, because it is ours, and we sinned in Adam.
††††††††† 3. His third and main pillar is, the peculiar and near relation of the posterity of Adam to his person; for then they were in it, and, as it were, a part, or some what of it; so that ĎÖAdam was us all, and we were all that one AdamÖí as Augustine speaks; and the whole generation of mankind is but Adam, or Adamís person, expounded at large. Answer: This is sufficient for us; for it will hold forth the covenant relation, wherein Adam stood, as representing all his posterity; and so they were as well in him, and a part of him, in his sin, as in his punishment:
which is all we desire, for hence it appears, that all sinned in that one Adam, as well, as they were all punished in him.
††††††††† Then he tells us, that these three are jointly intimate Romans 5: 12. Where first there is the demerito, imported, when death is said to enter; and the scantness of Adamís person, when it is said, to have passed upon all men; and the relation of his posterity o him, in that all are said to have sinned in him. Answer: But the main thing, which he denies, is there also imported, when it is said, that all men sinned in him, or became guilty of his sin: for thereby it is manifest, that only they had an interest in his person, as so stated, and as standing in a covenant relation to God, that they sinned in him, or became guilty of his sin, and therefore suffered with him the demerit thereof. Whence it is evident (howbeit he seems confident of the contrary page 207) that the imputation of Adamís sin, or of his sinful act as sinful, or as it was a sin; and not of the act as such (for that himself says once and again, was directly and efficiently from God himself, and therefore was good) is the ground, or cause of punishment, that comes on his posterity.
††††††††† But he says, page 208, If any imputation be in this case, it is of every manís own sin, in Adam; for it was Adam alone that sinned, but all sinned in him: It is not said, that Adamís sin is imputed to his posterity; but rather that his posterity themselves sinned in Adam. Answer: If he will stand to this, we need not contend with him, about the word, impute; this expression of Scripture comprehending and plainly holding forth all that we would say. And if he will grant as much, in reference to the imputation of Christís righteousness, as is here said of Adam, who was the type of him that was to come, he must, I judge, retract all that he has said, against the same.
††††††††† What follows in that chapter, being but founded upon what is already mentioned and examined, needs not here again be repeated or expressed, and considered.
††††††††† Thus we have taken notice of all, which this voluminous adversary hath said, upon this matter, both against the truth, and for his own error: and no doubt, he hath scraped together all that he could find, giving any seeming contribution unto the notion, which he hugged; and hath labored after his usual manner, to set off with a more than ordinary measure of confidence, and with an affected pedantry of language, supplying, with bombast expressions, the want of reality of truth and solidity of reasoning. What remains in that book, concerning the imputation of faith, in opposition to the imputation of the righteousness of Christ shall be examined, when we come to the second part of our text, and to speak of the matter of justification. And as for other things, we may take notice of them elsewhere.