Mr. Baxterís Answers to some of our Argument for Imputation, examined.
††††††††† Mr. Baxter, in book against Dr. Tully proposes some objections, that he may make answer unto them, according to his own grounds: Though some things, here repeated in his answers, have already been considered by us; yet we shall examine briefly his answers, as here given.
††††††††† His answer to the first objection hath been answered, in the foregoing chapter. The second is this. Christ is called the Lord our righteousness, and He is made righteousness to us, and we are made the righteousness of God in Him. II Corinthians 5: 21. And by the obedience of one many are made righteous. He answers to this saying, And are we not all agreed to this? But can His righteousness be ours no way, but by the foresaid personating representation. Answer: And will not Socinians; who overturn all the foundations of Christianity, and ought not be called, or accounted Christians, say the same, as to the Scripture expressions? Are therefore agreed with them in judgment? Or is there no difference betwixt us: it is not agreement in the words, but in the sense of Scripture, that makes a true agreement. (2.) Christís righteousness may be, and is ours another way, than by that personating and representing, which he stated, as the butt of his arguments and another way also, than he proposes as his own judgment, as we saw.
††††††††† He tells us next, how Christ is our righteousness, and how His obedience makes us righteous, in his judgment, in eight or nine particulars. 1. Because the very law of innocency, which we dishonored and broke by sin, is perfectly fulfilled and honored by Him, as a Mediator, to repair the injury, done by our breaking it. Answer: The Law, which the Devils dishonored and broke by sin, was perfectly honored and fulfilled by the Angels, who stood; is therefore their righteousness to be called the devilsí? But he will say, They obeyed not, as Mediator; True: But then the ground of Christís righteousness, becoming ours, must be some other thing, than His honoring that Law by fulfilling it, which we dishonored by breaking. But he says, Christ repaired the injury, done by our breaking it. True; yet if there be no more, that will not make His righteousness ours; because, as is obvious, ere this be, we must have an interest therein; and this obedience must be performed by Him, as our Mediator and Surety, undertaking and satisfying the demands of the Law for us, and in our stead.
††††††††† 2. In that (says he) He suffered to satisfy justice for our sin. Answer: Neither is suffering, as such, righteousness; nor could He satisfy justice for our sin, in and by suffering, if He had not done it in our stead, and as one person with us in Law. If Titius steal from Sempronius a 1000 Pound; and Mavius gives Sempronius a 1000 Pound upon some distinct account; Sempronius
receives no satisfaction, for what Titius stole from him, but if he come and give it for Titius and he be satisfied therewith, then there is a law union and oneness betwixt Titius and Mavius, whereby the satisfaction given by Mavius, becomes the satisfaction of Titius.
††††††††† 3. He says, in that hereby He hath merited of God the Father all that Righteousness, which we are truly the subjects of, whether it be relative or qualitative, or active; that is, our right to Christ in union, to the Spirit, to impunity and to glory, 2. the grace of the Spirit by which we are made holy, and fulfill the conditions of the law of grace: we are the subjects of these, and He is the Meriter; and the meritorious cause of our life is well called our righteousness, and by many the material cause (as our own perfect obedience would have been) because it is the matter of that merit. Answer: That righteousness, which he says here Christ hath merited, is not that righteousness unto justification of life, as the Apostle speaks Romans 5: 18. And which we have by the obedience of Christ, made ours by imputation verse 19, whereof we are here speaking, and in respect of which Christ is said to be our righteousness. (2.) Our right to Christ is not our righteousness, but a consequent thereof. (3.) In respect of the graces of the Spirit, which follow justification, and do not precede it, Christ is called our sanctification: and Mr. Baxter knows, there is a difference betwixt righteousness and holiness. (4.) The Meritorious cause of our life is well called our righteousness, when it is imputed to us and put upon our score, as the ground of our justification and absolution; and upon this account only is it by many called the material cause.
††††††††† 4. And also (says he) Christís intercession with the Father still procures all this, as the fruit of His merits. Answer: Of Christís procuring our holiness we make no doubt: but that upon this account, He is called our righteousness, is denied: for this is not His obedience and righteousness, whereby we become righteous unto justification of life.
††††††††† 5. And we are related (says he) as His members (though not parts of His person, as such) to Him, that thus merited for us. Answer: If we be related to Him, as members, in order to our partaking of His Righteousness and merits, we must be parts of His legal person; though not of His physical person: For by Members here I suppose, he means members of His mystical body or members of His ransomed and redeemed body: And head and members here make one political body, and become one political person, or one in law sense.
††††††††† 6. And (says he) we have the Spirit from Him, as our Head. Answer: This is but what was said before in the third place. And this Spirit is given for holiness: but Christ is our righteousness, as well as our sanctification; and it is of His being righteous, that we are speaking.
††††††††† 7. And He is our Advocate (says he) and will justify us, as our judge. Answer: His being our Advocate, is the same with His intercession spoken of in the fourth place. (2.) The Father will judge us, and justify us by Him; therefore God the Father shall be our Righteousness, as well as Christ; and consequently
shall have merited all for us, by His blood and sufferings, and that in a more principal manner, according to this reason.
††††††††† 8. And all this (says he) is Godís righteousness, designed for us, and thus far given us by Him. Answer: But all this is not that righteousness, which God hath designed for us, in and through Christ, in order to our justification; nor that righteousness, by which we become formally righteous in law sense; and thereupon are justified and pronounced righteous in the sight of God; for this is Christís Surety-Righteousness, imputed to us, and none else can it be.
††††††††† Lastly, says he, And the perfect justice and holiness of God is thus glorified in us, through Christ. And are not all these set together enough to prove, that we justly own all asserted by these texts. Answer: It remains to be cleared, how the perfect justice and holiness of God can be said to be glorified in us, through Christ, if Christís righteousness and satisfaction be not imputed to us and accounted ours, and Christ and we be not looked upon, as one person in law: for all that is wrought in us, is far from being answerable to the perfect justice and holiness of God, because of its imperfection. And because Mr. Baxter doth not grant the imputing of Christís Surety-righteousness (which is only answerable to the Perfect justice and holiness of God) unto us, in all that he hath here said, he cannot be said to own all, that is asserted by these texts.
††††††††† The third objection is, If Christís righteousness be ours, then we are righteous by it, as ours; and so God reputes it, but as it is. But it is ours 1. by our union with him. 2. By His gift, and so consequently by Godís imputation. To this he answers: 1. That he hath told before, in what sense it is ours, and in what sense not. Shortly here he gives us his mind again, saying, It is truly imputed to us, or reputed, reckoned, as ours; but not in their sense, that claim a strict propriety in the same numerical habits, acts, sufferings, merits, satisfaction, which was in Christ, or done by Him, as if they did become subjects of the same accidents; or as if they did by an instrumental second cause. But it is ours, as being done by a Mediator, instead of what we should have done, and as the meritorious cause of all our righteousness and benefits, which are freely given us for the sake thereof. Answer: This is but what we heard, when he was clearing the state of the question; and there (Chapter 8) we showed, that his sense was not satisfying: in order to justification, but our faith, which he calls our Gospel righteousness, which by Christís merits is advanced to this dignity of being the potestative condition of the New Covenant, wherein pardon and right to life is promised upon condition of faith; and so faith is our immediate righteousness, in order to the obtaining of these favors; and Christís merits have only procured them remotely, in procuring this covenant. But we hear no mention made by him of any such imputation, as whereby Christís fidejussory or surety-righteousness is really made over and imputed to believers, that they thereby may become formally righteous, in the sight of God, and be justified as such, and so pardoned and have right to life, immediately on the account
of this surety righteousness made theirs. Nor hear we any clear ground laid down by him, whereupon Christís righteousness can be called ours, and we thereupon be reputed of God legally righteous, and dealt with as such. We hear of benefits bestowed because of His merits; but we hear not that pardon and right to glory are made the immediate result and effect of Christís merits and righteousness, but only mediate, by the intervening of the New Covenant, whereby our faith, the condition thereof, called our Gospel, personal righteousness, is made the immediate cause of our possessing these benefits; whereby he gives occasion, at least, to judge, that he makes our faith the immediate procuring and meritorious cause of pardon and right to life. However between his way, and that, which he here rejects (which we also reject, neither asserting, that Christ was our instrumental second cause: nor claiming a strict propriety in the same numerical habits &c. which were in Christ, as if we became subjects of the same accidents, speaking of what Christ did and suffered, in a physical sense) we know, and own a midway, whereby Christís obedience and suffering, considered not physically, but legally and juridically, are transferred and communicated unto us, not as physical accidents, from one physical subject to another, but in a law and juridical sense. And though this imputing and communicating of Christís surety righteousness cannot be explained by, nor appear consistent with logical or metaphysical notions, applicable only to physical entities, and as considered as such (to which Mr. Baxter in all his explications of this matter, doth so frequently labor to restrict us, contrary to all reason, yea and to common sense) yet we must own it for a truth, knowing that these fundamental truths, recorded in Scripture, and held forth to us only by divine revelation, stand in no need of Aristotleís learning, in order to their being savingly understood and practiced: and that Law terms are more fit, to help us to some understanding in this matter, which is held forth in Scripture, as a juridical act, than metaphysical terms: and yet we see no ground to say, that this matter, whereof we treat, must, in all points, keep even a resemblance unto Justinianís modes, knowing that it is a divine mystery, and unparallelable.
††††††††† He says 2. He that is made righteousness unto us, is also made wisdom, sanctification, and redemption to us, but that genere causae efficientis, non autem constitutivae: We are not the subjects of the same numerical wisdom and holiness, which is in Christ, plainly the question is, whether Christ or His righteousness, holiness, merits, and satisfaction, be our righteousness constitutively, or only efficiently. The matter and form of Christís righteousness is ours, as an efficient cause; but it is neither the nearest matter, nor the form of that righteousness, which is ours, as the subjects of it, that is, it is not a constitutive cause, nexly material, or formal of it. Answer: (1.) It is true, He, who is made righteousness to us, is also made sanctification, &c. and that He is made sanctification by being an efficient cause: but it will not follow, that He must be also the efficient cause, and no other of our righteousness, which is of a far other nature, and is no inherent in wrought thing, as is sanctification. (2.) It is true, we are not the subjects of the same numerical
wisdom and holiness, which is in Christ, neither can we be, if they be considered physically: but yet we can be subjects of the same numerical righteousness, legally and juridically considered; and thus we are to consider it here, and not physically, however Mr. Baxter, ad nauseam usque inculcate this; for we consider it, and must consider it, as a surety righteousness; and we know that that same individuate payment and satisfaction, made by the surety, is in law sense the debtorís, and imputed to him, as the ground of his liberation from trouble and distress, at the hands of the creditor. (3.) Hence we see, that Christís surety righteousness, consisting in His obedience and sufferings, is that whereby we are constituted righteous in the sight of God, in a legal sense: and need not enquire, whether it be the nearest matter, or form or both, of our righteousness: for these metaphysical terms have no place here, though Mr. Baxter can never hold of them. We are made righteous in a law sense, and not physically, by Christís imputed righteousness, and upon this account, it is ours legally: and it is folly, to enquire for physical matter, and form or constitutive causes of moral or juridical beings, or effects, as philosophers do, when speaking of Physical, or metaphysical beings.
††††††††† He says, 3. If our union with Christ were personal (making us the same person) then doubtless the accidents of his person would be the accidents of ours: and so not only Christís righteousness, but every Christians, would be each of ours. Answer: We acknowledge no union with Christ, making us the same person with Him physically (and it seems Mr. Baxter will understand it no other way) But we acknowledge a union legal, political, and federal, whereby we become one person juridical, in law sense: and as to this, Mr. Baxterís accidents have no substantial place or consideration.
††††††††† The fourth objection is, you do seem to suppose, that we have none of that kind of righteousness at all, which consists in perfect obedience and holiness; but only a right to impunity and life, with an imperfect inherent righteousness in ourselves. The Papists are forced to confess, that a righteousness we must have, which consists in a conformity to the perceptive part of the law, and not only the retributive part. But they say, it is in ourselves, and we say, it is Christís imputed to us. Thus he proposes it, but if I were forming the objection, I would say, that Mr. Baxter supposes, we have no righteousness at all, in order to justification, besides our act of faith: for as for his right to impunity and life, it is no righteousness: and besides, I hope he will not say, that that is given before justification; and of a righteousness preceding (in order of nature, at least) justification, we are speaking and enquiring after it.
††††††††† What he answers to this objection, in the first place, because it only concerns Papists, and their misapprehensions, in the matter, I pass. But in the second he says, If any of them do, as you say, no wonder, if they and you contend: If one say, we are innocent, or sinless, in reality; and the other, we are so by imputation, when we are so no way at all, but sinners really, and so reputed. Answer: If by innocent, or sinless, he means such, as never sinned, never man,
Protestant or Papist, dreamed of such a thing. If by these terms, If by these terms, he means such, are now not guilty legally, of the charge brought in against them; this we acknowledge, and must acknowledge, or we know not, how any shall ever be justified; for God will not pronounce sinners, as such, really and legally to be righteous, His judgment being according to truth: and therefore because we have no righteousness within us, whereupon we can be pronounced not guilty, we must have a righteousness imputed to us, even the surety righteousness of Christ. But Mr. Baxter, it seems, will not understand, what this legal non-guiltiness is; and yet in matters among men it is very clear and manifest. If Paul had fully satisfied, according as he undertook, Philemon, for wrongs and injuries done him by Onesimus; If Onesimus had been convented before a judge for these same crimes and injuries, and had produced the satisfaction made by his surety Paul, and accepted by the creditor Philemon, would not the judge have had ground in law and equity, to pronounce Onesimus not guilty, and therefore not to be punished, according as was libeled against him? And yet though Onesimus had been pronounced innocent, that is, not guilty, as to crimes and injuries alleged against him, in this case, in a legal sense, it would not follow, that he had never committed these wrongs; nor had the evincing of that been necessary to his absolution and justification. His legal innocence or righteousness, by virtue of the satisfaction made by his surety, now juridically accounted and reputed his, being sufficient. These things are plain to such, as will but open their eyes: but all the world cannot make them plainer to such, as will understand nothing, but what is cast into Aristotelian metaphysical mold. Were it not lost labor for any to enquire, what is the matter and form of this legal righteousness of Onesimus? Whereof is it constitute? How came Paulís righteousness to be his, and so one accident to go from subject to subject? whether was Paulís satisfaction the efficient, or constitutive cause of Onesimus his innocency, or non-guiltiness, and the like?
††††††††† The fifth objection is, How can God accept him, as just, who is really and reputedly a sinner? This dishonors His holiness and justice. To this he says. Not so: cannot God pardon sin upon a valuable merit, and satisfaction of a Mediator? And though He judge us not perfect now, and accept us not, as such; Yet 1. Now He judges us holy. 2. And the members of a perfect Savior. 3. And will make us perfect and spotless, and then so judge us, having washed us from our sins, in the blood of the Lamb. Answer: All this gives no satisfaction to the objection; for the objection speaks of acceptance in justification, and consequently of that acceptation, that precedes sanctification. (2.) It is true, God can and doth pardon sins; but mere pardon of sins is not justification, the person must be accepted, as righteous; and yet by Mr. Baxterís way, the man hath no righteousness, to ground such a judgment and acceptation: and Godís judgment being always according to truth, the justified man must be righteous, that he may be accounted and accepted as righteous, in justification. Therefore either Mr. Baxter must grant, that he is righteous through the imputed righteousness of Christ; or that he is
righteous inherently by his faith, or by his fulfilling of the conditions of the New Covenant; for there is not a third: or that he is pronounced righteous without a righteousness.
††††††††† The sixth objection. Thus you make Reatus culpae not pardoned at all, but only Reatus poenae. To this he says, 1. If by Reatus culpae be meant the relation of a sinner, as he is revera peccator, and so to be reus is to be revera ipse qui peccavit, then we must consider, what you mean by pardon: for if you mean the nullifying of such a guilt (or reality) it is impossible; necessitate existentiae, he that hath once sinned, will be still the person that sinned, while he is a person, and the relation of one that sinned will cleave to him. It will eternally be a true proposition, [Peter and Paul did sin.] But if by pardon you mean the pardoning of all the penalty, which for that sin is due (damni vel sensus) so it is pardoned; and this is indeed the Reatus poenae; not only the penalty, but the dueness of that penalty, or the obligation to it is remitted and nullified. Answer: The nullifying of the Reatus culpa physically or metaphysically is indeed impossible; for it will be always true, that such and such persons did sin: but this Reatus culpae may and must be nullified legally and juridically, otherwise never shall man be justified: for in justification this Reatus culpae is declared to be taken away; for the man is declared non reus, and accepted as non-guilty, or righteous; not physically, or metaphysically, but legally: a man must be legally righteous before he be justified, according to equity; and he cannot be legally righteous, as long as the Reatus culpae doth legally remain; for a man legally guilty, is not legally righteous. Now, Mr. Baxter must yield to this, or he shall destroy his own ground, and take away all pardon, as well as justification: for as it will be eternally true, that Peter and Paul did sin, and so were rei culpae; so it will be eternally true, that punishment was due unto them, that is, they were rei poenae: and therefore, if because it will be eternally true, that Peter and Paul sinned, therefore the Reatus culpae cannot be annulled; so because it will be eternally true, that Peter and Paul were obnoxious and liable to punishment, therefore also the Reatus poenae cannot be annulled. But the truth lies here, that though neither the Reatus culpae nor poenae can be annulled physically, or metaphysically, that is, so taken away, as if they never had been; yet both are taken away legally and juridically, and a pardoned man is legally and juridically non-puniendus, and thus the Reatus poenae is taken away: and a justified man is legally and juridically, not guilty of the offence charged against him, and thus the Reatus poenae is taken away. As it is inconsistent with pardon, to say, that the person pardoned doth legally remain obnoxious to punishment, though it will be eternally true, that he is the man, that did contract that dueness and obnoxiousness: so it is inconsistent with justification, to say, that the person justified is legally chargeable with the offense, though it will be eternally true, that he is the man, that did contract that guilt and sin.
††††††††† He says, 2. Therefore if by Reatus culpae, you mean an obligation to punishment for that fault, this, being in deed the poenae, is done away. So that we are, I think, agreed de re; and de nominee; you may say, that the Reatus culpae is done away or remitted, or not, in several senses; in se it is not
nullified, nor can be, but as dueness of punishment follows
that is pardoned. Answer: The Reatus
culpae is the ground of the obligation to punishment, and not the same with
Reatus Poenae; it is a being chargeable with such a crime and offence;
and this, as we said, much be as well done away, in a legal sense, as the
obligation to punishment: Nay, in our case, the obligation to punishment cannot
be taken away, until first this chargeableness with sin be removed. The Lord
will not declare that man non-obliged to punishment, who remains legally
††††††††† Objection 7. You have said, that though we are not personally, but seminally in Adam, when he sinned, yet when we are persons, we are persons guilty of his actual sin. And so we must be persons, that are partakers of Christís actual righteousness, and not only of its effects, as soon as we are believers; for Christ being the second Adam and public person, we have our part in His righteousness, as truly, and as much, as in Adamís sin: His answer to this is long. He says, 1. Our Covenant union and interest supposes our natural union and interest, and it is an adding to Godís word and covenant, to say, that He covenanted, that Adam should personate each one of his posterity, in Godís imputation, or account, any further than we were naturally in him; and so that his innocency or sin should be reputed theirs, as far, as if they had been personally the subjects and agents. Answer: If the covenant union and interest supposes the natural union and interest, then there is a covenant union and interest to be considered: and therefore it can be no adding to Godís word or covenant, to say, that Adam did personate each one of his posterity federally, as well as naturally: Yea, to deny this, were a corrupting of truth, and a denying of all covenant union and interest. Whence it is manifest, that in a federal or legal sense, we must needs say, that Adamís innocency, or sin is reputed ours, as far as if we had been personally (not physically, but legally) the subjects and agents. If Mr. Baxter shall prove,
that the federal union and interest, which he says is superadded to the natural, will admit of no other consideration of the posterity interessed, than what is physical and natural, and follows upon the natural union, he shall then lay a ground for what he would say here, but till then he shall but beat the air; and when he hath done that, he shall destroy what he hath granted, viz. all federal union and interest: for a federal union and interest will ground a federal and legal consideration of the persons interessed; as well as a natural union and interest will ground a natural and physical consideration of the same persons. And Mr. Baxterís not averting to this, confounds all; for hence it is, that he will have all things here considered only physically, and according to Aristotleís notions, with which we have nothing to do, while speaking of a federal union and interest, and of what follows thereupon. This being permitted, we may quickly dispatch the rest.
††††††††† The person of Peter (says he) never was in reality, or Godís reputation, the person of Adam (nor Adamís person the person of Peter) but Peter being virtually and seminally in Adam, when he sinned; his person is derived from Adamís person; and so Peterís guilt is not numerically the same with Adamís, but the accident of another subject, and therefore another accident, derived with the person from Adam, and from nearer parents. Answer: All this is only true, in a physical natural sense; but notwithstanding, if we consider Adam and his posterity, in a legal and federal sense, as we must, if there be (as is granted) a federal union and interest, then all runs in another channel. The person of Peter is federally and legally, in the person of Adam; yea God, reputes them both to be one federal person: and the person of Peter was thus actually in the person of Adam, and not virtually and seminally: for these notions have no place here. And hence Peterís guilt is numerically the same with Adamís: and in his sense Peter had as near a relation to Adam, as Abel had; for here Adam is considered, as the Head and Center, and all his posterity, as equal members of this political and federal body, and as lines coming equally from the same center.
††††††††† He adds, The fundamentum of that relation (of guilt) is the natural relation of the person to Adam (and so it is relatio in relatione fundata) The fundamentum of that natural relation is generation, yea a series of generations from Adam to that person. And Adamís generation being the communication of a guilty nature with personality, to his sons and daughters, is the fundamentum next following his personal fault and guilt, charged on him by the law. So that there is a long series of efficient causes, bringing down from Adamís person and guilt, a distinct numerical person and guilt of everyone of this later posterity. Answer: The fundamentum of that relation of guilt is more properly and proximately, the federal relation of the person to Adam, than the natural relation: and the fundamentum of this federal relation is not generation, but the free ordination and constitution of God. (2.) What he means by these words, And Adamís generation being the communication of a guilty nature with personality, to his sons and daughters, is the fundamentum next following his personal fault and guilt, charged on him by the law, I do not know: If his
meaning be, that the communication of a guilty nature, by the peccatum originale originatum, is the fundamentum of the following personal fault and guilt, by reason of the peccatum originale originans; that is, if he say, that the corrupted nature is the ground of the imputation of Adamís transgression, it is not consonant to the truth, nor to what he himself said above page 34, against Placeus. But if he mean, that Adamís generation being the communication of a guilty nature, is the fundamentum, that next follows his personal guilt, charged on him by law, I must say, I do not understand what he would be at, though the words seem to express some such thing. But the truth, that I shall lay down, is this; that all Adamís posterity, being federally in him, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression; by virtue whereof, when they come physically, by natural generation, to partake of his nature, they are first, in order of nature guilty of Adamís transgression, and then have a corrupt nature communicated, as a punishment and consequent of the other; and this corrupt nature being sin, hath its own guilt attending it also. (3.) Though this long series of efficient causes be requisite to the production of a distinct numerical person from Adamís person, in a physical and natural sense; yet every one of these physically distinct numerical persons do immediately derive from Adam their legal and federal personalities, that is, these same persons, considered federally, are equally and alike near to Adam, their federal head and representative: And therefore the guilt of Adamís sin comes from him immediately to each one of them, federally considered; and is consequently, the same numerical guilt: and all this is founded upon their federal union with, and interest in Adam.
††††††††† He says, 2. And it is not the same sort of guilt, or so plenary, which is in us, for Adamís act, as was on him; but a guilt analogical, or of another sort, that is, he was guilty of being the willful sinning person, and so are not we; but only of being persons, whose being is derived by generation from the willful sinning persons (besides the guilt of our own inherent pravity) that is, the relation is such, which our persons have to Adamís person, as makes it just with God to desert us, and to punish us for that and our pravity together. This is our guilt of original sin. Answer: (1.) Hereby that original sin, whereof we are speaking here, viz. Adamís breach of covenant, seems quite to be taken away: for not only is it said, that original sin, as in us, is another sort of thing, than what it was in Adam; and so not only not the same numerically (as he formerly said) but not the same specifically: but moreover it is said to be only an analogical guilt: yea in end it is made just nothing; for it is said, that we are guilty of being persons, whose being is derived from the willful sinning persons, and this is no guilt at all; no manís simple being, let it be by generation from the most prodigiously guilty and wicked persons, that can be, can be imputed to him for guilt; for his receiving a being is contrary to no law. And besides, when he adds by way of explication, that the relation is such, which our persons have to Adamís person, as makes it just with God to desert us, he must either make the simple relation to be the guilt, or the ground of guilt, and its imputation. The simple relation, without some
guilt following it, and founded upon it, cannot make it just with God to desert us &c., for sin only can do this, and that relation is not sin. If he say, that guilt is superadded, and upon this account, it is just with God thus to punish, I would ask, what is this guilt? It is not Adamís sin, but some analogical thing, which Scripture knows nothing of, and reason can give us no account, whence it came. He cannot say, that it came from Adamís sin, for if we be federally united to and interessed in Adam (as we are, and as he confessed we were) and if upon that account we be reputed guilty, the same individual guilt, which was on Adam, must be upon us; and if our guilt be of another sort, he must give us another Adam, from whom that analogical sort flows. The Scripture says, that we all sinned in Adam, Romans , which were not truth, if his individual sin were not ours, or if ours were of another sort, and only analogical. But this is the fruit of Mr. Baxterís casting all these things in Aristotleís mold. But moreover: (2.) It hath a foul aspect towards Pelagianism, to make our guilt another, than Adamís, because that Adam was the willful sinning person, and so are not we: for this is to confirm the Pelagians, who say, that that sin was only Adamís, because he was the only willfully sinning person, and we had no will therein.
††††††††† 3. He says, And this guilt comes to us by natural propagation, and resultancy from our very nature so propagated. Answer: It is true, we come to be actually charged with this guilt, and to have it imputed to us, when we partake of our beings by natural generation or propagation; and that because of our federal union with and interest in Adam; and exclusive of this, it cannot be said to come to us by resultancy from our very nature so propagated: for the guilt of all Adamís after transgressions should as well be said to come to us, after this manner, as the guilt of that one transgression and disobedience, of which only the Scripture makes mention, Romans 5.
††††††††† He comes next to consider our contrary interest in Christ, and tells us 1. Our persons are not the same as Christís person (nor Christís as ours) nor ever so judged or accounted of God. Answer: Physically this is true; but it is not true legally: for when He came in the Law-place of the elect, and became surety for them, they and He became one person in Law. He says, 2. Our persons were not naturally seminally and virtually in Christís person (any further than He is Creator and cause of all things) as they were in Adamís. Answer: Adam was a natural head, our Lord is a spiritual and supernatural head: and as to this, we willingly grant a difference; but both were federal heads and public persons, and their agreement in this satisfies us. He says, 3. Therefore we derive not righteousness from Him by generation, but by His voluntary donation and contract. Answer: We derive it from him by regeneration; that is, as we partake of Adamís guilt, when by generation we partake of a natural being; so we partake of Christís righteousness, when by regeneration we partake of a spiritual being in Him. And there is no new formal contract made here anent, but what is suitable to the nature of this privilege, in order to its conveyance. He says, 4. As He became not our natural parent, so our persons, not being in Christ, when He obeyed, are not reputed to have been in Him naturally,
or to have obeyed in and by Him. Answer: We say only (and we seek no more) that Christ was our federal Head; and our persons federally (not physically) were in Christ, when He obeyed: we are reputed to be in Him not naturally; but federally, and so to have obeyed in and by Him.
††††††††† He says, 5. If Christ and we are reputed one person, either He obeyed in our person, or we in His, or both; if He obeyed, as reputed sinner, in the person of each sinner, His obedience would not be meritorious, according to the law of innocency, which required sinless perfection; and He being supposed to have broken the law in our person, could not so be supposed to keep it. If we obeyed in His person, we obeyed as mediators, or Christs. Answer: Aristotleís notions, to which Mr. Baxter, contrary to all sense and reason, will have this whole matter restricted, in its explication, are the cause of all this ridiculous confusion. But for answer, I say, Christ and we are reputed one person, not physically, but in law sense and federally; and therefore both He obeyed, as taking on our law place, and coming into our law-condition: and to say, that therefore His obedience could not be meritorious, is ridiculous: as if forsooth His coming into our law place, would make Him to be supposed, to have broken the law, in His physical person, as if one would say, ďThe surety cannot pay the debtorís debt, because by coming in to his law place, he become bankrupt.Ē He himself says, that Christ suffered in our stead; and this cannot be in our physical stead, but in our law stead; now will it not as well hence follow, that He suffered as a sinner; and then, how could He, who suffered, as being supposed to have broken the law, make satisfaction for us; or how could His death be meritorious? Thus indeed good service shall be done to the Socinians, but bad service to the truth. Finally we obeyed, as federally in Him, and yet were no Mediators, or Christs, but redeemed saints; as the debtor satisfied the creditor, in law sense, when his surety did it; and yet became no surety thereby.
††††††††† He says, 6. But as is oft said, Christ our Mediator undertook in a middle person to reconcile God and Man (not by bringing God to judge erroneously, that He, or we were, what we were not, or did what we did not, but) by being, doing and suffering for us that, in His own person, which should better answer Godís ends and honor, than if we had done and suffered in our persons, that hereby He might merit a free gift of pardon and life (with himself) to be given by a law of grace, to believing penitent accepters. Answer: I doubt there be one word here said, to which a Socinian will not subscribe. But for answer, I say, Christ our Mediator so undertook, in a middle physical person, to reconcile God and Man, that He became our Surety, and cam in our stead and law place, to do and suffer what we were obliged unto by the Law: and when God judged Him to be, and to do thus, He judged not erroneously, but truly, according to His own gracious appointment, and ordination, making Him a public person, representing all such, as He gave Him to save. We have shown elsewhere, that Christ merited something else, than a law of grace, to convey a free gift of pardon an life upon New Conditions, otherwise His death could not be called a ransom, a redemption. or a price; nor could He be said to have died in the stead of any person, or to have born
their iniquities, or the punishment thereof; far less to have been made sin for us. But more of this hereafter.
††††††††† Objection 8. As Christ is a sinner, by imputation of our sin; so we are righteous by the imputation of His righteousness. But it is our sin in itself that is imputed to Christ. Therefore it is His righteousness itself, that is imputed to us. To this he says, 1. Christís person was not the subject of our personal relative guilt, much less of our habits, or acts. 2. God did not judge Him to have been so. 3. Nay Christ had no guilt of the same kind reckoned to be on Him, else these unmeet speeches, used rashly by some, would be true, viz. that Christ was the greatest murderer, adulterer, &c. and consequently more hated of God, for God must needs hate a sinner, as such. Answer: Mr. Baxter will understand nothing here, but according to his philosophical and metaphorical notions: and in this sense, we may grant him all that he says: and yet add, that Christ was the legal, juridical, the federal subject of our guilt; for our sins did meet together on Him, and He was made sin (2) and God doing all this, could not but judge Him to have been so. (3.) Christ inherently had no guilt neither of the same kind, nor of any other: but that our very sins were imputed to Him, and reckoned upon His score, must be granted, or we must deny, His dying or satisfying in our stead; and so plainly embrace Socinianism. (4.) Those speeches are but unmeet to such, as mistake them, as Mr. Baxter doth here, who supposes that their meaning is, that He was the greatest sinner inherently (which were indeed blasphemy, but far from their thoughts) for he infers, that consequently he must have been more hated of God; whileas Godís hatred (if we take it not for mere punishing of sin) is only against such, as are inherently sinners. What saith he moreover?
††††††††† To be guilty of sin, as we are, is to be reputed truly the person, that committed it. But so was not Christ; and therefore not so to be reputed, Christ was but the Mediator, that undertook to suffer for our sins, that we might be forgiven, and not for His own sin, really or justly reputed. Answer: No man says, that Christ was guilty of sin, as we are, that is, inherently. But if He undertook to suffer for our sins, unless we turn Socinians, in expounding this sentence, we must say, that the guilt of our sins was laid upon Him, otherwise He could not suffer for them, in our place and stead; and we must say, that He so suffered for them, as that all they, in whose stead He suffered, should certainly be forgiven; and not have a bare maybe of forgiveness, by a New Covenant, offering the same upon new terms. What next?
††††††††† Expositors (says he) commonly say, that to be [made for us sin] is but to be made a [sacrifice for sin] so that Christ took upon Him, neither our numerical guilt of sin itself, nor any of the same species, but only our Reatum poenae, or debt of punishment, or (lest the wranglers make a verbal quarrel of it) our Reatus culpae, non qua talem, & in se, sed quatenus est fundamentum Reatus poenae. Answer: Yet some expositors will say more, and that in full consonance with the Scriptures, as Isaiah 53: 6. And however, all we say, is hereby sufficiently confirmed; for if He be made a sacrifice for our sins, our sins must necessarily be imputed to Him, as the sins of the people were
212 (222) -Missing in my copy
213 (223) -Missing in my copy
of his faith, hope, love, fruitfulness &c.) it follows that he is a sinner, and that he is not supposed to have done all that by Christ, which he failed in, both because he was bound to do it himself, and because he is a sinner for not doing of it. Answer: As there is a difference between obedience to the Law, and performing the condition of the Covenant of Works; so there is difference between sin or failing in obedience, and violation of the Condition of the Covenant of Works: as our obedience now is not the performance, so our sinning is not the violation of the conditions of the old Covenant. Believers performed the conditions of the Covenant only in Christ, which they could not do in themselves; and therefore their sins now, though transgressions of the Law, are not counted violations of the conditions of the Covenant of Works, under which they are not.
††††††††† He says, 3. Yea the Gospel binds us to that, which Christ could not do for us, as to believe in a Savior, &c. Answer: And what then? Were these part of the Conditions of the Covenant of Works? If they were, Christ hath performed them, for He gave perfect obedience; and thereby hath freed us from that obligation. If they were not, neither can they now be required, as part of that condition.
††††††††† He says, 4. The truth, which this objection intimates, we all agree in, viz. that the Mediator perfectly kept the Law of Innocency, that the keeping of that Law might not be necessary to our salvation (and so such righteousness necessary in ourselves) but that we might be pardoned for want of perfect innocence, and be saved upon our sincere keeping of the Law of Grace, because the Law of Innocency was kept by our Mediator, and thereby the grace of the New Covenant merited, and by it, Christ, Pardon, Spirit and life by Him freely given to believers. Answer: The truth expressed in the objection, is very far different from this Sociniano-Arminian scheme of the Gospel, which we have had often times proposed to us by Mr. Baxter, but never yet confirmed; nor do we expect ever to see it confirmed. We have also, at several occasions, given our reasons against it, and need not therefore here repeat, or insist upon it.
††††††††† Last Objection. The same person may be really a sinner, in himself, and yet perfectly innocent in Christ, and by imputation, how or upon what occasion, this objection is used, Mr. Baxter doth not show, and therefore we cannot certainly know the true meaning and import thereof. In one sense it may be very true, and yet in another sense it cannot be admitted. It is true, in this sense, the same person may be inherently a sinner, and yet legally innocent, through the imputation of the Surety-righteousness of Christ. But it cannot be admitted in this sense, the same person is legally innocent in Christ by imputation; for this were a contradiction. What says Mr. Baxter to it? Remember (says he) that you suppose here the person and subject to be the same Man; and then that the two contrary relations, of perfect innocence or guilt, and guilt of any (yea much) sin can be consistent in him, is a gross contradiction. Answer: There is no contradiction, unless the matter be ad idem: and here it is not so; for he may be guilty inherently, as to himself, and yet innocent legally, as to his Surety. But if both be understood of a person, legally considered, I grant, it is a contradiction; for
he, that is legally innocent, cannot be legally guilty, in so far as he is legally innocent, whether the charge be particular for one sin, that is brought in against him, or for more, or for all.
††††††††† He says, 2. But if you mean, that God reputes us to be perfectly innocent, when we are not, because that Christ was so, it is to impute error to God. Answer: This cannot be their meaning: for they know, that God reputes no man to be otherwise, than he is. But yet it must be said, that God reputes believers, who have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, innocent, as to the violation of the Covenant of Works, I mean, legally innocent, and so, not guilty of the charge of sin, and death upon that account, brought in against them; for they are so, being justified; and therefore there is now no condemnation to such, Romans 8: 1, and none can lay anything of that nature to their charge, verse 33.
††††††††† He adds, But He (i.e. God)eHkjanwvo;anerHhhhh
†doth indeed first give, and then impute a righteousness evangelical to us, instead of perfect innocence, which shall as certainly bring us to glory. Answer: That God does indeed impute, that is, give and put upon our score an evangelical righteousness, that is, the Surety-righteousness of Jesus Christ, revealed in the Gospel, instead of our perfect and personal innocence, which we neither had, nor could attain to, and which shall certainly bring us to glory, being the meritorious cause thereof. But Mr. Baxterís sense hereof is a manifest perversion of the Gospel: for thus he senses it. And that is, He gives us both the renovation of His Spirit (to evangelical obedience) and a right by free gift to pardon and glory, for the righteousness of Christ, that merited it, and this thus given us, he reputes to be an acceptable righteousness in us. Answer: Now that this is a clear perversion of the Gospel is manifest from these particulars (beside several others elsewhere touched) (1.) Hereby the Covenant of Grace is changed into a Covenant of Works, only with a mitigation of the conditions. (2.) Christís surety-righteousness is not imputed to us, neither as our legal righteousness, nor yet as our evangelic-righteousness; for at most it is only granted to be imputed, as to its effects. (3.) We have no other righteousness hereby properly imputed to us, but our own inherent righteousness. (4.) Christ is hereby made of God unto us righteousness, by being made of God sanctification to us. (5.) Hereby the immediate ground of our pardon and right to glory, is not Christís surety righteousness, but our own inherent righteousness. (6.) Christ hereby neither merited pardon, nor glory to be granted, as the immediate fruits of His merits; but He only merited the New Covenant, wherein these favors are offered upon new conditions. (7.) Thus Christ is made only a far off Mediating person, procuring new and easier terms (which yet are as impossible to us, till we be renewed by grace, as the old) but no redeemer, or surety, suffering and obeying in the room and stead of any. (8.) Thus are we justified by our own works of evangelical obedience. (9) God is made hereby to repute a right to pardon and glory, and our imperfect evangelical obedience, to be an acceptable righteousness, and be all of our righteousness: all which are against the Gospel of the Grace of God, revealed to us in the Scriptures, as hath partly been discovered
already, and will further appear by what will hereafter come to be spoken unto.