Mr. Baxterís further opposition to the imputation of
Christís righteousness examined.
††††††††† What Mr. Baxterís opinion is, about the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, in order to our justification, we have hitherto been enquiring; and though, in his book against Dr. Tully, while he is giving a historical relation of the controversy, he plainly enough declares, that he is of the judgment (as to the main) with John Goodwin: yet he there (as we have heard) so states the question, against which he disputes, as the orthodox will not own it; wherein he deals not so ingenuously with us, as Mr. Goodwine did. He will not deny, that there is a midway between Socinians, Papists and Arminians, on the one hand, and the Antinomians on the other; though the middle way, which he has set down in his Confession page 152, 153, &c. seems to me not to be the just and orthodox way, but to incline more unto the Socinians &c. for all the imputation, which he seems to own, is nothing else, than what Papists, Socinians, and Arminians, will subscribe unto: for (besides what we have seen and examined above, chapter 13, 14,) in his book against Mr. Cartwright, page 179, he has these words. I have still acknowledged the imputation of Christís righteousness, sano sensu. And what sound sense is, he tells us in a parenthesis, that is (says he) 1. per donationem ejus fructus and 2. per adjudicationem justitiae nobis inde promeritae, that is to say, by giving us the fruits thereof and 2. by adjudging to us righteousness, thereby purchased: which two seem to me, to be but one, the last being comprehended in the first: and so all the imputation by him granted, is only in respect of the fruits thereof, which are given. And will not Papists, Socinians, and Arminians yield unto this imputation: nay doth not Bellarmine come a further length, in the words formerly cited?
††††††††† Mr. Baxter in his Catholic Theol. part 2. of Moral works, gives us here and there, while speaking of other things, without any apparent connection (choosing this way rather, than to give us his whole sense of the matter, in one place together, which might have been some ease to such, as were desirous to know the same: but I know, he is at liberty to follow his own ways and methods) some hints of his mind; and that rather his dissatisfaction with the orthodox, and their manner of expressing their thoughts and conceptions, in this matter, than any full and positive declaration of his own thoughts about the question. We shall, having seen and examined his own judgment, shortly here examine what he is pleased to say, in one place or other of that book, so far as we can find, and may be done without repetition, against our doctrine.
††††††††† Only we shall permit some few of his own words, in the Appendix to the Premonition page 2, whereby we may see, how small the difference would appear to be; and how little cause he had to write so much against the orthodox, as he does. He there says, [14. No man is saved or justified, but by the proper merit of Christís perfect obedience; yea and His habitual holiness and satisfactory sufferings, advanced in dignity by His divine perfection: 15. This merit, as related to us, supposes that Christ, as a sponsor, was the second Adam, the root of the justified, the reconciling Mediator, who obeyed perfectly with that intent, that by His obedience, we might be justified; and who suffered for our sins, in our room and stead; and so was, in tantum our Vicarius poenae, as some phrase it, or substitute, and was made a curse for us, that we might be healed by His stripes; as He was obedient, that His righteousness might be the reason, as a meritorious cause, of our justification, which supposes the relation of an undertaking Redeemer in our nature, doing this, and in our stead, so far forth, as that therefore, perfect obedience should not be necessary to be performed by ourselves. And righteousness is therefore imputed to us, that is, we are truly reputed righteous, because we, as believing members of Christ, have right to impunity and life, as merited by His righteousness, and freely given to all penitent believers. And Christís own righteousness may be said so far to be imputed to us, as to be reckoned and reputed the meritorious cause of our right and justification, as aforesaid.]† One might think the difference now to be little, or none: but all this is but suitable to what is already examined, and what might here further be animadverted upon, will occur hereafter.
††††††††† He begins section 8, n. 119, to speak against the doctrine of imputation, taught by the orthodox. I shall yield to him, that Christís personal righteousness, divine or human, habitual active, or passive, is not given to us, or made ours, truly and properly, in a physical sense; as if the same were transfused in and upon us. Yet, the same, being imputed to us, is made ours, more than in the mere effects: for according to the Gospel method, believers, being by faith interessed in Him, have an interest in His Surety-righteousness, as to its virtue, force, and efficacy, or as the cause, and that morally and legally; so that Christ and believers are one person in law. Nor do we hereby say; that Christís merit and satisfaction are reputed by God, to be inherent in us, or done by us, in our own proper persons; or that in a sense natural we did all these things ourselves, or that God judges us so to have done, or that all the benefits of Christís righteousness shall as fully and immediately be ours, as if we had been, and done, and suffered, merited and satisfied, in and by Christ. But we say, that Christ being a surety, and putting himself in our law-place, and putting (as it were) His name in our obligation, being thereunto substitute by, and accepted of the Father, His Satisfaction and obedience, being performed by Him, in our law-place, as a surety voluntarily taking on the obligation, is accounted, in law and justice, to be ours, who believe in Him, to all ends and uses, that is, in order to justification, pardon, and right to glory; and that, as effectually, as if we ourselves, in our own persons, had done and suffered all. When Mr. Baxter
confounds and jumbles these together, as if they were the same, he neither befriends truth, nor us.
††††††††† Nor will it follow from our assertion, (as he supposes . 123,) that then we could need no pardon: for though he, who is reputed to be innocent, by fulfilling all the law, in his own physical person, be reputed never to have sinned by omission, or commission; and consequently to need no pardon: yet he, who is a transgressor, and consequently hath forfeited all right to the reward, and is obnoxious to the penalty, hath need of a remission, through his suretyís making satisfaction; and of a new title to glory, through his suretyís obedience. So that the non-necessity of pardon will no more follow from our doctrine of imputation, than from our doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ, whatever Socinians think, who plead as vehemently from free remission against this, as Mr. Baxter doth, upon the same ground, against imputation.
††††††††† But when any say, that Christís sacrifice satisfied for all our sins, that they may be forgiven; and His righteousness is imputed, that we may also be accounted just, he thinks, (n. 122) that this is but either ambiguity, or the fore-detected gross contradiction. And why so: for (says he) if by justice they mean reputed sinless, or perfection, then these two cannot stand together; for he that is supposed a sinner is supposed not sinless, or perfect; and he that is supposed sinless, cannot be supposed pardonable. Answer: By justice, or being accounted just, we mean righteous, or rectus in curia, in order to the reward promised: and when full obedience is imputed to this end, we do not say, that God reputes such sinless, that is, such as, in their own physical persons, gave perfect obedience; for such indeed need no pardon: but that now God reputes them such as are righteous, and have right to the reward, through the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed: and this carries no repugnancy to pardon of sins, through the satisfaction of Christ.
††††††††† But (n. 123) he tells us, that some think to avoid the contradiction by distinguishing only of the moments of nature, and double respect of the same manís actions, saying, that we are first in order of nature supposed to be sinners and pardoned, and then to be such, as moreover need the reputation of innocence, or righteousness, which is added to pardon. What necessity is there for this curious distinguishing of order and priority, whether in respect of nature or of time, I do not yet see. And whether we say, we are first pardoned, and then reputed righteous; or first reputed righteous, and then pardoned (which would seem most rational of the two) it is all one to Mr. Baxter, who equally argues against both. But though I see no necessity of asserting any of these orders (save that though the first thing, that a wakened sinner is pardon and freedom from the curse; yet it is more rational to say, the Reatus culpae is first taken away, and not the Reatus poenae) yet I see a necessity of asserting both the imputation of Christís satisfaction, in order to our pardon; and of His obedience, in order to our obtaining right to the inheritance (and both these Mr. Baxter comprehends in justification, as we shall hear) or of both His satisfaction and obedience, or of His complete
surety-righteousness, in order to our obtaining complete justification, and its effects, or consequents, remission of sins and right to the crown. But says Mr. Baxter, 1. He that is pardoned of all sins of omission and commission, is accounted innocent and righteous, as to any guilt of punishment, either of sense or loss. Answer: True he is accounted innocent, or righteous, as to guilt of punishment of sense; yea or of loss, in so far as it is a punishment, or belongs to the punishment threatened. But he is not accounted innocent, that is, one that hath never sinned; or one that hath never left right to the reward: and therefore beside this pardon, he must have a righteousness, in order to the reward promised. He says, 2. He that is after accounted Innocent and just from his from his first being to that hour, is judged to have needed pardon. Answer: But by the imputation of Christís righteousness, there is no such account made, as if the man were reputed, or accounted one, that never sinned, from his first being to that hour; but that now has as good right to the reward, as he could have had, if so be, he had never sinned, not only from his first being to that hour, but from the first to the last moment of being. We need not then take notice what follows, when he says, And so they make God come with an after act, and condemn His own foregoing act of error and injury; or at least to contradict it, and in the first instant to say [I pardon this sinner] and second to say, [I now repute him one, that never sinned, nor needed pardon] for, as we have seen, the imputation of Christís righteousness hath no such import.
††††††††† He tells us (n. 125,) of some, that say, that the Law, since the fall, obliges us both to obey and to suffer, and not to one only; else a sinner, bound to suffer, should not be bound to obey. Therefore Christ must do both for us. And this would seem to be a very innocent assertion, and consonant to truth: yet he says, This is too gross for any man to utter, that ever know what Law or government is. Answer: And I had thought, that it had been too gross for any Christian to deny this, who would not outstrip all the Antinomians, that ever were: for if it be thus, one of two must follow; either that now after the fall, Adam and all his posterity are loosed from all obligation to obedience to the law of God; or that they are not under the curse. Neither of which, I suppose Mr. Baxter dare say. But, what says he? Do they mean, that as to the same act and time, the law binds us to obey and suffer; or for diverse acts and instants of time? Answer: In regard that, since the fall, nothing can be done, in perfect conformity to the Law, both may be said. Do they mean (says he further) that the Law bound man both to perfection, and to suffering for perfection, or to suffering for sin? Answer: We are speaking of the Lawís obligation now, since the fall: and it is certain, that because the law is now broken, we are obliged to suffer; and that, because of that constitution, do and live, no man can have life, until that law be perfectly obeyed: but because this is impossible for man, therefore it must be done by his surety. He queries again, Did the Law bind Adam, to obey and suffer, before he sinned? Answer: No. Did it bind him, (says he again,) both to obey and suffer for his new sin, the next instant? Answer: What he himself adds is a sufficient answer to this, viz. that it did bind him to suffer for his old sin (add, and
also for his new sin) and yet the obligation to obey for time to come remained. But all this is beside the purpose; for the main thing is not yet noticed by Mr. Baxter, viz. that Adam by his sin was obliged to suffer, and that yet there was no way for him to come to the promised crown, but by perfect obedience to that law: and that therefore neither he, or any of his posterity, can enjoy life, until their surety fulfill that law for them, or undertake to do it: as they cannot be freed from suffering, until their Surety suffer the penalty for them, or undertake to do it. We need not speak so inaptly, as he supposes we do, that is, say, that the Law commands lapsed man, not to have sin, or imperfect man, to have been perfect; for we know, that were to bind an impossibility in nature; for sin existent cannot but be existent. But this we say, that by virtue of that Law and Constitution, there was no way for lapsed man to enjoy the reward promised, but by yielding perfect obedience unto that law; and as this was impossible in nature, so it was impossible for lapsed man, to enjoy the reward, and therefore the Lord provided a Surety, who should yield perfect obedience to that Law; and this perfect obedience is made over unto the believer, and put upon his score, as well as the Suretyís sufferings are. But says he, If Christís perfect obedience and holiness be imputed unto them from their first being, then they are reputed not lapsed, nor sinners from the beginning, and so not pardonable. Answer: There is no necessity for such a reputation; for this is not the end of that imputation: It is imputed, in order to their obtaining a right to the reward, which was lost; and by virtue hereof, they do obtain the reward, as certainly, as if they had never sinned.
††††††††† Others (he says n. 126,) would come nearer the matter, and say, that we are reputed righteous, as fulfillers of the law; and yet reputed sinners as breakers of the law: and that though there be no medium in naturals between light and darkness, life and death; yet there is between a breaker of the Law and a fulfiller of it, viz. a non-fulfiller; and between just and unjust, that is, not just. I find Wollsbius in his Compend. Theol. Lib. I. Cap. 30 ß 15. full and plain, as to this, who, in order to prove, that in justification, there is a remission, or abjudication of sins, and imputation or adjudication of a perfect righteousness:† and that these two benefits be the same, as to time and subjects; yet they are really distinct, both as to their proper definitions, their proxime causes, and proper effects: and in clearing of the difference, as to their definitions, he tells us, that there is a difference betwixt not just and just; not just and unjust; not unjust and just: and that not just and just are contradictory; that unjust and just are partly privative, and partly contrary; and that not just and unjust; and unjust and just are diverse: as also, that unjust and just are not immediately contrary; for there is medium betwixt them viz. innocent, who is such a one, as is neither unjust, nor yet just: and that though now these two do not differ, as to subjects; yet of old they did; for Adam in paradise, before he fell, was innocent, but was not just; for he was to obtain this by perfect obedience. Now, what saith Mr. Baxter to this?
††††††††† He says, this is mere darkness. As it seems all things are, that agree
not to his notions. But why? There is (says he) a medium negative in a person, as not obliged, but none between positive and privative, in one obliged as such. A stone is neither just, nor privatively unjust, nor a man about a thing never commanded or forbidden him. But what is this to the matter? Godís law is presupposed: we talk of nothing, but moral acts. The law forbids omissions and commissions; both are sin. Answer: Though there be no medium betwixt positive and privative, in a person obliged, as to particular acts commanded, or forbidden; yet there is a medium, in such a person, in reference to the Reatus poenae, and meritum praemii. In reference to every moral act, Adam was either just, or unjust, i.e. either one, that obeyed, or one that transgressed; but in reference to the punishment threatened and to the reward promised, before he fell, he was neither unjust, that is; one that was a transgressor, and reus culpae and poenae; nor was he just, that is, one that had purchased the reward; but was in his way thereunto: and he himself says little less (as I judge) in his premonit. p. 19, saying [3. But that Law giving life eternal only to obedience to the end of his time of trial, he merited not that life by initial obedience. This was initial imperfect righteousness, wanting perseverance; but not a medium between just and unjust, except as just signifies the merit of life by persevering righteousness to the last. And so, I never denied, but in a disobliged subject, there is a medium: Adam was not bound to do a yearís work the first hour; and so was neither just, nor privatively unjust, as to the future yearís work; but as to what he was presently obliged unto, he was either righteous, or a sinner.] Here upon the matter, is almost all I desire, or say. When a command is given to a person, to run so many miles in an hour, and a reward is promised in case he do it, and a punishment threatened, in case he do it not; while he is running, as to his present acting, he is not disobedient, but obedient; and so, in so far is just, and not unjust; yet in reference to the reward, he cannot be called just, until he hath finished the course, an the time appointed. So Adam, while standing, though he sinned not, yet he had not merited the reward. Mr. Baxter replies, 1. He merited what reward he had, viz. the continuance of his blessings first freely given. Answer: That was not all the reward, which was promised, whereof we are speaking; for Adam was not yet in Patria: and howbeit himself was not clear, as to this, when he wrote his Aphorisms; yet afterward, in his book against Mr. Cartwright, page 19, he tells us, he became convinced hereof. 2. He raises dust to darken the air by saying that it is yet unresolved, what that was, by which Adam must merit immutability and glory: whether 1. Once obeying or consent to his full covenant. 2. Or once loving God. 3. Or conquering once. 4. Or eating of the tree of life. 5. Or persevering in perfect obedience to the end, that is, till God should translate him. But this dust falls to the ground, when he adds that this last is most likely. And indeed it were much of his concern, to prove, if he could, that all that was required of Adam, by virtue of that covenant, was only one single act of obedience: for then his notions about just and unjust, as to Adam, would have some ground: but till this be done, all he hath said is to no purpose.
††††††††† 3. He says, That he maintains, as well as we, that Christ hath not only satisfied for sin, and merited pardon; but also merited immutable glory. Answer: But we say further, that He merited pardon and immutable glory, not by His death and sufferings only, but by His whole surety righteousness, consisting in active and passive obedience, whereby He paid our whole debt. But he wills us to consider. 1 That Adamís not doing that which was to merit glory, was sin of omission, and to pardon that omission is to take him as one who merits glory. 2. Therefore it must be somewhat more, than he forfeited by that omission and his commission, which comes in by Christís merit above forgiveness. 3. That Christ merited all this by his active, passive and habitual righteousness, by which he merited pardon. 4. That it was not we, that merited in Him, but He to give it to us only, in the terms of a Law of Grace. Answer: (1.) To pardon that omission in Adam, was not to take him, as one who merits glory; but only to take him, as one that was free of the obligation to punishment for that omission. It is false then, to suppose or say, that one pardoned, as such, is taken to be one that never sinned; for the contrary is manifest; and to take Adam, as one meriting glory, is to take him for one, that never sinned; yea, and for one, that fulfilled his course of obedience; which can never be supposed of a pardoned man, as such. (2.) That by Christís merits the elect obtain more, than what Adam forfeited (so to speak) I shall easily grant; but notwithstanding thereof we stood in need of more than mere forgiveness, even of a right to what Adam lost the expectation of; and in order to this, the Law was to be fulfilled. (3.) I yield the third. (4.) Though we need not say, that we merited in Him, yet we say, that Christ merited, as a public person, representing His own, and as a Sponsor and Surety, coming in their Law-place, and taking on their whole debt, both as to punishment deserved, and duty required. And I see no warrant to say, that Christ only merited to give it to us, only on the terms of a Law of Grace: for this would make Him no Sponsor, or Surety, nor to stand in the room of any (which yet he grants n. 130,) but only hold Him forth, as a third unconcerned person, no ways related to then; and like a man buying a bond or obligation from a creditor, whereby he may be in case to distress the debtor, and call for payment in his own way and time. Whereby the whole tenor of the Covenant of Redemption, between Jehovah and the Mediator, is altered; the Mediatorís place and relation to those, for whom He died, is changed; His righteousness of active and passive obedience is made to have no necessary respect unto the old Covenant and manís obligation. He is supposed to have died for all: and that the New Covenant, or Law of Grace is wholly of Him. To none of all which, I can assent.
††††††††† He says next (p. 127) that some come nearer and say that to punish and not reward are all one; and so the respect, that sin hath to the deserved punishment needed pardon and satisfaction; but our deserving the reward needed Christís perfect obedience to be imputed. What says he to this? He grants that there is somewhat of truth here; but (says he) there are errors also that lie in the way; and so he wills us to remember 1. (without a 2nd or 3rd)
that man can have nothing from God, but what is a mere gift, as to the matter, though it be a reward, as to the order and ends of collation. Answer: True; what then? And in this case (says he) punishment is damni, as well as sensus; and so the loss of the reward is the principal part of hell, or punishment. Answer: That there is poena damni, as well as sensus, I grant; but I am sure, the punishment, threatened to Adam, was more than mere want of what was promised; otherwise we must say, that Adam was punished before he fell; because even while he stood, he had received the reward promised; so that poena damni is some other thing, than the mere want of the reward; even the want of that, which man had already in his possession, together with the hopes of what was promised. The faithful, yet living, are not possessed of the reward of glory; yet it may not be said, that they have the principal part of hell, being delivered there from. So that all this is but loose sophistry from the word loss. What more? So that (says he) if Christís death hath pardoned our sins of omission, we are reputed to have done all our duty. Answer: Passing the impropriety of speech here, we say, that it is manifestly false, as appears from what is said. And if so (says he again) we are reputed to have merited the reward. This is also false, as is shown. And if he pardon our sins (says he moreover) as to all punishment of sense and loss, he pardons them, as to their forfeiture of heaven, as a gift, if not as a reward. Answer: Neither can this be granted; for there is more required to the taking away of the forfeiture of heaven, if by this nothing else he meant, than a giving of a right to heaven, whether as a gift, or as a reward, than to the taking away of all punishment, whether of sense, or of loss, as such: as for example, when a King covenants with his own servant, whom he has already advanced to great honor and dignity, and promises him far greater honor, if he will work one day to end, in such an employment; and if not, threatens to deprive him of all that he has, and to cast him in prison, until he die. This servant fails and performs not the condition, and thereby has both forfeited what he was in hope of, and what he had, and is now obnoxious to perpetual imprisonment. When the Kingís own Son goes to prison for some time, to make satisfaction, and thereby deliver the servant from perpetual imprisonment, he doth not thereby deliver him from his loss, so as to give him a right to the far greater honor promised: though he delivers him from the punishment of constant imprisonment. Yea it may be a doubt, if he thereby procures his restoration to his former state: but in order to this, and to the end, the servant may get the reward promised, beside his going so long to prison in the servantís room and stead, that he may be delivered from the punishment, he must also, in his room and stead, perform that dayís work.
††††††††† We say that remission of sin is a consequent, or at most, but a part of justification; because a man may be forgiven, and yet not reputed never o have broken the Law. To put away guilt, and to make one righteous, are two things. This is most clear. Yet Mr. Baxter says (n. 128) Still confusion. Which is wonderful: where, I pray, must the confusion lie? Is it in this, that we say, remissions of sin, is, at most, but part of justification?
Doth not himself say as much hereafter (n. 208) when he says, that our first constitutive justification, is, in its own nature, a right to impunity, and to life, or glory? Now this right to impunity, is the same with remission; but a right to life, or glory is something more. Is it in this, that we say, a man may be forgiven, and yet not reputed one, who never broke the law? That, I am sure, can be no confusion and contradiction: for it is a contradiction to say, that a man is pardoned, and yet reputed one, that never broke the law; for pardon is of a breach of the law. What saith he, to make out this alleged confusion? Guilt (says he) is either of the fault, as such, or of the punishment, and of the fault only as the cause of punishment: If all guilt, both culpae and poenae, were done away, that person were reputed positively righteous, that is, never to have omitted a duty, or committed a sin. Answer: But do we say, that pardon takes away the Reatus culpae, in itself? His own following words, may partly be our answer. But indeed (says he) when only the Reatus poenae and culpae quoad poenam is done away, the Reatus culpae in se remains. And this Christ himself never takes away, no, not in heaven, where forever we shall be judged, once to have sinned, and not to be such, as never sinned. Where is now the confusion Mr. Baxter spoke of? But yet, I suppose, he is in a mistake, when he says, that the Reatus culpae cannot be taken away; for it must be taken away, legally, or there shall be no justification, though it can never be taken away metaphysically; and the same may be said of the Reatus culpae itself, seeing it will always be true, that they did once deserve punishment, and are not such, as never deserved punishment.
††††††††† He adds (n. 129) that, which to him, is the core of our error, [That we think, we must be justified in Christ, by the Law of Innocency, which justified Christ Himself: and that we are quite, or washed simply from all guilt of fault as well as obligation to punishment.] But neither of these do we say, as hath been frequently shown. We are justified by the Law of Grace, and by faith; yet we say with Paul, that the Law is not made void by faith, but established: the Law of Innocency must be fulfilled, but it is not fulfilled by us, but by Christ; and His righteousness is imputed to us, and received by faith; and we thereupon are justified, and receive remission, and right to glory. We do not say that Adamís Law meant, do this by thyself, or by Christ, and thou shalt live: yet we say, that that constitution of God, do this and live, must as well be established, as this; Cursed is every one, that continueth not in all things written in the Law &c.; and that, as by virtue of this Christ our Surety was to die the cursed death; so by virtue of that He was to fulfill all righteousness.
††††††††† He tells us next (n. 130) that the truth, which we grope after, and must reconcile us all, is as follows. As if all the Reformed divines almost had been hither to but groping after the truth, like blind men groping for the wall; and he and possibly three more, had their eyes opened to see the truth. His discourse here is too long to be rehearsed, that it may be examined; a few observations upon it may suffice. (1.) He says, Christ, in His sufferings did stand in the room of sinners, as their sponsor. Answer: Then His satisfaction
to justice must, in due time, be reckoned upon the score of such, in whose room He suffered. Why will he not say this also of Christís obedience; seeing both were performed by Him, in His estate of humiliation, and as the Surety of the Covenant? Was He not made under the Law, as well as under the curse? And was He not made of a woman, given and born to us? But neither can we say, that Christ stood in the room of all sinners, as he supposes. (2.) He says that Christ acquired a right first to Himself of giving out the purchased benefits, to sinners, by a new law, viz. by what He suffered and did. Answer: This is denied, as not yet being confirmed; and it destroys His being a Sponsor and Surety, and says, He was not born to us, nor died for us; but to and for Himself. And yet I deny not, that Christ hath got all power, and is the general dispensator of the blessings of the Covenant purchased. (3.) He says, Had Christ antecedently done all, that He did in our person, and we in Him, in Law sense, the thing itself, with its inseparable consequents and effects, had been all ours, ipso facto. Answer: There is no necessity for this; seeing Christ was not thereunto appointed by us, or conjunctly obliged with us, in the first Covenant; but after we were broken, did, of His own accord, put His name in our obligation, and came in our Law-place, and so was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (4.) He speaks of these benefits being given us, upon terms and conditions. But we showed before, and hereafter will have occasion to do it more fully, of what nature, these terms and conditions were; and that they are not such, as he means. (5.) He says, What is given by the New Covenant, we have title to upon this account, because it was purchased by the perfect merit and sacrifice of Christ; and so given us by Him, and by the Father. Answer: According to him, the right, that is had thus, is but remote and common to all, even to such as perish; and therefore can hardly be called a right; but the only right is had, is by our performance of the terms and conditions: for he says (n. 137) that glory is given as a reward for our believing, and performing the conditions of the Covenant of Grace. (6.) He says, we deserved punishment and Christ was punished in our stead, that we might be forgiven: we had forfeited life by sin, and Christ merited life for us by His perfection. Answer: And why will he not say, that Christ did this last, as well as the first, in our stead, seeing hereby the freedom of the gift can no more be weakened, than pardon by the other. What follows hath been spoken to already.
††††††††† He grants (n. 132) that not to punish, and to reward are different: yet he says, not to have the gift is to be punished; and so, non-donari here is puniri materially: and that it is the same righteousness of Christ, which merits our impunity, quoad damnum and sensum, and which merits our right to the gift of life, both sub ratione doni, as a gift, and sub ratione condonationis, as a forgiveness of the forfeiture, and of the poena damni: And then adds, that there is room here for the conceit, that Christís death was only to purchase pardon, and His righteousness to merit life. Answer: We have said before, that we need not be so curious here in distinguishing, if both be granted to make up a complete righteousness, to purchase both, we have all we desire: and
from what hath been said formerly, it is manifest, that both are requisite; and Mr. Baxter granted as much before, as we see in the foregoing paragraph, Note 6. Nor says Mr. Baxter anything here, to invalidate what we have said. Sure, not to have this gift was no punishment to Adam, before he sinned, whatever it might be said to be after his sin. Nor is forfeiture of that property, which a man never had, neither in right, nor in possession: And therefore Adam could not be said properly (nor we in him) to have forfeited glory; but only that blessedness and felicity, wherein he was created, and that righteousness, that was concreated: So that beside the taking away of this forfeiture, there will be a righteousness of obedience requisite, according to that constitution, do this and live, in order to the obtaining of a right for us unto the life of glory. And to this he assents in end, when he says, That the same merits of Christís active and passive and habitual righteousness, do cause our glory, for we do not separate them. Nor need we curiously enquire, whether Christís sufferings were first satisfactory, and then meritorious; and His obedience first meritorious, and then satisfactory, as he speaks: it being sufficient to us, that both made up a complete righteousness performed for us, by Him, as our Surety, coming in our Law-place, whereby justice was satisfied, and life merited. Nor need I say (as he supposes n. 135. too many hold) that heaven is our reward, for our perfection of holiness and obedience in and by Christ; more than that pardon is our reward for our satisfaction in and by Christ. Yet as Christ satisfied as a Sponsor, in the stead and room of sinners, as he confessed; so it may be said, that Christ obeyed, as a Sponsor, in their room and stead: and that as the one was requisite for purchase of pardon; so the other was requisite for purchase of glory: and that as we must be interessed in the one, imputed to us and received by faith, to the end we may be pardoned; so we must be interessed in the other imputed to us, and received by faith (both being integral parts of one complete Surety-righteousness) to the end, we may have a right to glory. Nor can I say with him (ibid.) that eternal life is ours, by Christís free gift as a reward to Christ, for His own merits: for then, we could not say, that Christ suffered properly in the room of any, as their Sponsor; and this would take away that fundamental relation betwixt Christ and His chosen ones, that were given to Him of the Father; and for whose sake He sanctified Himself and was made a curse, and made under the Law, and became the Fatherís servant, and was made a Surety. Blessings came through Christ, as the appointed Mediator, not from Him, as the principal donor (speaking of Him, as Mediator) The blessing of Abraham cometh on the Gentiles, through Jesus Christ Galatians 3: 14. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, blesseth us with all spiritual blessings, in Christ, according as He hath chosen us in Him; and hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ; and hath made us accepted in the beloved, Ephesians 1: 3 Ė 6. It is God, who saved us according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs, according to the hope of eternal life, Titus 3: 5 Ė 7.
Christ is the way to the Father, John 14: 6. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself II Corinthians 5: 19. Yet it is true, that Christ is now exalted as King and Prince, and gives the crown of life, Revelation 2: 10, as the great Administrator and Executor of His own Testament; yet not as if He had purchased all these things firstly, or primarily to Himself, and were now become the sole or principal donor: for this doth overturn the tenor and form of the Covenant of Redemption.
††††††††† He tells us (n. 141) that Christís righteousness is made ours, as our sins were made His, which is all that we desire. We grant that Christ never had the Reatum culpae, in itself: and he says, that sin was imputed to Him, as to the punishment deserved, that is, He assumed the Reatum poenae. But sure, the Reatus poenae, being a dueness of punishment, because of sin, He could not come under this obligation, unless the reatus culpae had been imputed to Him, not in itself physically, but juridically, in ordine ad poenam. And accordingly we must have the righteousness of Christ, in order to its effects; and this is more, than to have the mere effects themselves, as he says: and we shall grant to him, that we have it not, in relation of a meritorious cause to all its uses; if he will grant to us, that we have it, in the relation of a meritorious cause, to those uses, which God accepted it for; and hath assigned to it in the Gospel; as he seems to grant ibid.
††††††††† Though we do not assert such an imputation, as he calls the rigid sense thereof (n. 142) whereby God is supposed to repute us to have done that in and by Christ, which we never did by Him: yet we see no reason, why we may not say, that God judged Christ, to be the public legal person: yea himself in the appendix to his Premonition, yields that Christ may be called, our vicarius poenae, or substitute; and when we say, He is a public legal person, we say not, that He is as many persons, as there be redeemed sinners in the world, as Mr. Baxter speaks; but that He was such a public legal person, as did represent in law all that were given to Him, as their public head and surety. And what he says (n. 143) of the various sorts of Sureties (some of which are very impertinent, as the 3rd for no man calls an agent a surety; and the 5th for no man calls a pay-master, who is the debtorís instrument, servant, or delegate, a surety) doth not much help him, seeing there are no such sureties among men, nor no manner of Suretyship, that can quadrate with Christís Suretyship, in all things: and therefore it is to no purpose to say, Christ is not such a Surety, as is among men, in this, or that, or in the other respect, therefore He is no Surety at all. He is such a Surety, as is not in all things like Sureties among men; and yet in some things, every sort of Surety among men, may carry some resemblance to Him. See for this Mr. Gillespieís late piece on the Covenant of Redemption; where the reader will find much satisfaction in this matter.
††††††††† I find no more spoken to the Doctrine of Imputation, in this place, by Mr. Baxter, that calls for any particular notice: for we say not, as he hints ibid. that Christ was our instrument, or delegate: yet we may say, He was our Surety, that did all in our legal person: for He did substitute
Himself in our Law-place, and in so far suffered, in the Law-person of believers, as well as in their nature.
††††††††† We come next to section nine page 73, where Mr. Baxter proposes an objection, that those of his mind do use viz. If we had fulfilled all the Law reputatively by Christ, as our legal person, we could not be bound to further obedience to it. This is founded (if it be directed against the orthodox, and not merely against the Antinomians) upon the mistake of the true meaning of these words, as our legal person and reputatively. When we speak of Christís being our legal person, we mean His becoming our Surety, and putting His name in our bond, and satisfying the Law, as our Surety, in our room and stead: and that therefore, all His own, being now united to Him by faith, are dealt with, as if they had fulfilled the Law themselves; Christís fulfilling of it, being now imputed to them, and received by faith, unto the ends, for which it was ordained; that is, to be accounted theirs, and reckoned on their score, in order to the obtaining of the reward promised to Adam, on condition of perfect obedience. This being so, it is manifest, that hence it will not follow, that believers are not now bound to obedience to the Law.
††††††††† What says he we answer hereunto? That we are not bound to obey to the same ends, as Christ; that is, for righteousness, or justification, or merit: but in gratitude. It is true, believers are not bound to obey the Law, for that end, that Adam was obliged to, that not being now possible, and the Lord not requiring it, for that end and purpose, that we should purchase the reward of life to ourselves thereby, and have a righteousness, whereby we may be justified, by the righteous judge, and purchase or merit to ourselves the reward: but, among other ends, to declare our thankfulness unto God, and to set forth His glory. What says he to this answer?
††††††††† He judges it to be a yielding of the cause, and ignorantly to destroy our own, for seven or eight reasons. 1. This is to say, that when a man is reputed to have fulfilled all the Law; yet it is to be reputed unfulfilled, as to certain ends; as if he fulfilled all the Law, that fulfilled it not to all due ends. Answer: This is, as if one should reason from our saying, that Christ bore the whole curse, and yet believers are not freed from Fatherly chastisements; that this is to say, that He bore all the curse, that did not bear it under all considerations, and as to all effects, that might pass under other considerations, and accordingly be endured for other ends and advantages. (2.) Believers are reputed in Christ to have fulfilled the Law, in order to the obtaining of the Crown; and in reference to that, to have fulfilled the Law to all due ends, but not to have done it in themselves, or in their own natural persons. Nor is the fulfilling of it by their Surety imputed to them, to exeem them, from testifying their love and gratitude, by endeavoring after obedience to the Law, upon Gospel principles, and grounds, and upon Gospel motives, and for Gospel ends.
††††††††† 2. Or (says he) as if the Law obliged one man to fulfill it twice over, for the same <?> time; once simply, and in all its obligations, and another time for other
ends. Answer: This is denied; neither follows it from what we say. Because we cannot fulfill the Law once, to which we were obliged; therefore must Christ fulfill it for us, to the end we may enjoy the promised reward: And His fulfilling of it for this end, doth not make us lawless, far less exeem us from obedience for other Gospel ends, to which Adam in innocency was not obliged. 3. Or (says he) as if the Law required anymore than absolute perfection. Answer: We do not say, that it doth: but all our obedience, with all the superaddition of new ends, is most imperfect. 4. Or (says he) that absolute perfection had not been in Christís holy obedience. Answer: Neither does this follow from what we say, more than from what he himself says; Yea not so much: for he makes our Gospel obedience, a perfect righteousness, which we may lean to, and plead for our justification and salvation upon.
††††††††† 5. Or (says he) as if there were any obedience, whose end is not righteousness and justification, against the charge of the contrary disobedience. Answer: This is but vanity, for neither is it denied, nor is it anything to the point; because the righteousness spoken of is a perfect righteousness, answerable to the Covenant of Works, as the condition of life: And whoever performs obedience, with such an eye and design, and for such an end, shall in end meet with a sad disappointment, be their diligence and attainments what they will. 6. (Says he) And is not gratitude an end, and a thing commanded by the Law? If we obeyed perfectly in Christ, we were perfectly thankful in Christ. Answer: It will only follow, that we were perfectly thankful in Christ, in order to the obtaining of the reward; but not so, as if we in our own persons, were no more obliged to endeavor thankfulness.
††††††††† 7. (Says he) But if they say, that Christ fulfilled the Law only made to Adam for us, and not his own Law of Grace, and therefore, that he obeyed for us only to the ends of that Law. Sure this is the thing that himself will say, or he must say, that Christ fulfilled no Law for us, in our stead. But what answers he? If the ends (says he) and matter of that Law be fulfilled by us in Him, our obedience to any other must be needless; for he that is supposed never to have sinned, needs not use any means for pardon or remedy. Answer: We say not, that the Law was fulfilled by us, in Him; but that He fulfilled the Law, as a Surety, willingly putting His name in our obligation, and undertaking our debt: And from the imputation of this to us, it will never follow, that we are thereby, or can be, supposed never to have sinned. What next? By this rule (says he) Christ only fulfilled the Law for Adam and Eve; and for us only as we were in them, which is only virtually, and not actually at all, but not at all for us, according to any obligation, that ever fell upon our persons. How proves he this? For 1. (says he) we were never bound to perfect, personal, perpetual obedience, as the condition of life for that Covenant, as to the promise and condition, ceased before any man was born. Answer: That Covenant, I grant, ceased to be the way of life, as it was to Adam at first; because it became a thing impossible; yet, as Adam fell under the curse of that broken Covenant, so did all his posterity fall with him and in him: hence when his posterity come to be existent persons, they are children of wrath,
and are under the curse of that Covenant; and all their actions, afterward committed, are further sins and violations of that Covenant: for we may not think, that Adam, after his first sin, was not in case to violate that Covenant any more: And though before any man was born, the New Covenant, or Gospel was promulgated; yet, notwithstanding thereof, all men were born under the curse of the first covenant, and were never delivered from under that, until they closed with the terms of the second covenant, or Covenant of Grace. But he says, 2. All the duty in the world, which we are bound unto, is to be done for evangelical ends, for recovery, grace and gratitude. Answer: And was not Adam before the fall also bound unto gratitude? But he possibly means gratitude for redemption, yet he has proved, that all the world, heathens, I mean, and such as never heard of the Gospel, are obliged to gratitude, upon the account of redemption: or that all, that is required of them, is to be done for Gospel ends. But in all this, I am little concerned, who see no necessity of restricting Christís obedience so.
††††††††† 8. He says that we see not, that our own answer implies the truth of what he and others assert; and is the same which they give, but our cause is incapable of. What then say he and his? We say (says he) that Christ did indeed most perfectly obey the Law of Innocency, so far for us, and in our stead (though not in our persons) as doing that, which we should have done and did not; and hath merited for us a better Covenant, which obliges us not at all to obey for the ends of the first Covenant viz. that our perfection might be our righteousness, or the condition of life; but only to obey for the ends of the New Covenant, for the obtaining and improving of recovering grace and salvation by Christ freely given us, which we ourselves must do or perish. Answer: (1.) If Christ obeyed for us, and in our stead, I see not, why he may not be said to do it, as our Surety, and so in our Law-person, seeing, according to our common discourse, the Surety and Principal debtor are one person in Law. But about ambiguous terms, we need not debate. It is of greater moment to differ, as to this, that he thinks the us comprehends all persons, elect and reprobate. (2.) That Christ did merit the New Covenant, is nowhere said in Scripture; and yet this is all, that Mr. Baxter here mentions, as merited by Him. (3.) I think, he is as much concerned, as we are, to loose his own difficulties, formerly proposed: for 1. How can He be said, to have fulfilled al the Law for us, that did not fulfill it for all due ends? 2. Can the Law require more than absolute perfection? 3. Was not absolute perfection in Christís holy obedience? 4. Is not gratitude an end required in the Law of Innocency? 5. If Christ fulfilled only the Law of Innocency, did He not fulfill the Law for Adam and Eve only, or for us, as in them &c. Let him answer these himself, and he shall help us.
††††††††† Next (n. 190) he brings in some saying that we may as well say that man must not die, because Christ died for us; as not obey because Christ obeyed for us, and then tell us, that we strangely use their reason against ourselves and know it not. But what if this be his mistake? Let us hear his reason. For we say (says he) that we must die, because we did not perfectly either obey the Law, or suffer all its penalty, by Christ, as our legal person; but he suffered
only to satisfy justico in tantum, to this end, that man himself suffering death and temporal afflictions, and obeying the Law of Grace, might be saved from all the rest of the punishment. But if we had so fulfilled the Law, as afore said, by doing or suffering, we could not have died, or suffered the least affliction, as a penalty; for all punishment, in the essence of the relation is for sin. Answer: Though I had rather say, that Christ suffered and obeyed for His own, and in their stead, as their Surety, willingly undertaking the debt, that they were under, than that we suffered and obeyed in Him: yet it may be, they who speak so, are far from that meaning, that Mr. Baxter puts on their words: and when they call Christ our legal person, they mean no more, than that He was a Surety, or a public person. Though He suffered not to deliver His own from temporal death; yet he did bear the curse, and satisfy vindictive justice, and left nothing of that for them to suffer: and what chastisements they meet with, yea and death itself is made to work together for their good.
††††††††† He brings them in again (n. 190) saying, it is more inconvenient to say, that Christ was perfect in our person, than that He satisfied in our person, and we by Him. And here the same mistake is but continued. But, as he takes it up, he thinks that hereby the Gospel is subverted. Answer: The whole depends upon the explication of these words, in our person. †Mr. Baxter thinks that these words, in our person in a Law-sense, import, that we paid all in Christ, as a man pays a sum of money by his servant, whom he sends to carry it; or some such thing. And if this be not their meaning, who use this expression; all this outcry is to no purpose; and is only a fighting against his own imagination, and a mere striving about words: yet he grants, that we may fitly say, that Christ suffered in the person of a sinner; but he bids us mark the sense, saying 1. Suffering as penal belongs to a sinner as such; but satisfaction is an effect of Christís suffering, which results not from the mere suffering, nor from the person of a sinner; but from the will and Covenant of God, made to that excellent person, who was God and perfect man. Well, what next? 2. Note (says he) that it is not any other manís person, that we mean, that Christ suffered in, but His own. Answer: And no man ever dreamed, that He either did, or could suffer, in any other manís physical person. But seeing He was made sin for us, and so died in our room and stead, why may he not be said to have died in our Law-person? If a pledge, or hostage, suffers for those he stands for, may not he be said to suffer in their Law-person? If a Surety be put in prison for the debtor, may he not be said to suffer in the debtorís Law-place, and in his person in Law sense? He adds, And we mean that he took upon Him the person of a sinner, in as much as He consented to suffer for sin. Answer: This is good, and we accept of it cheerfully, for it explains to us, in part, the meaning of these words, made Him sin for us. And so (he adds) personating here is not meant becoming any other manís person in Law sense; so as that other legally suffered what he did; but it is only his own person becoming a sufferer, in the stead of others, for their sins. As the Apostle says, He was made sin for us; that is, <?> by imputation, as that he undertook to suffer what sinners suffer, and for their
sins. Answer: But when Christ came in the Law-place of sinners, and did substitute Himself, in their room, and suffered what they were obliged to suffer; sure, He took on their person, in a Law sense, and they, for whom He suffered, can be said, in His, and in His Fatherís design, so far legally to have suffered, what He suffered, as never to be made to suffer the same themselves.
††††††††† But he sees, that this is but a wordy controversy; and therefore to free the matter of ambiguity of words, he (page 77) adds several things, as 1. That as we hold, that Adam was the natural root or parent of mankind; so also that Christ was the federal root of all the saved, and in several respects (though not all) a second Adam. Answer: We hold, that Adam was not only the natural root, but he was also the federal root of all mankind: for the covenant was made with him, and with all his posterity in him: and hence it was, that all sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression. Romans 5: 12, I Corinthians 15: 20, 21.
††††††††† He adds, 2. Adam was but one single natural person, nor did God (by error, or arbitrary reputation) esteem or account him to be any other, than he was. None of our persons were distinct persons in Adam, nor those persons, that now they are. Therefore we were not so personally in him, at his fall. But all our persons are in time and mediately by our progenitors derived lineally from him, not as persons existent in him, but being persons caused remotely by him. Answer: Adam, it is true, was but one single natural person, in a physical sense; yet in a law-sense, as he was constitute the federal head and root, we were all that one Adam, or he was us all, representing all; and so did God esteem, or account him, not by error, but by a right reputation, founded on His own constitution. (2.) None of our physical persons were distinct persons in him, yet our legal persons were in him, when he represented us all, as a federal head. (3.) We know, that our physical persons were only seminally, or virtually in him; and we grant also, that to be only virtually in Adam is terminus diminuens, as to personal inexistence; but I know not, how we could be personally in-existent in him, even when existent in a physical sense. But all this takes not away that federal inexistence, whereby, in a Law-sense, we were in him, as our federal head and root. But, it seems, Mr. Baxter does not acknowledge this, because he makes our natural relation to Adam to be the only reason of our partaking of his sin. We do not deny our natural interest in Adam, but we superadd to it this federal interest. He says, It is our natural relation to Adam, supposed in Godís Law, which is the reason of our participation in his sin and not any will or judgment of God, without or beyond our natural interest; for else it should be God, most properly, who by His arbitrary imputation, should either make us sinners, or repute us such, when we are none. Answer: I have granted, that we have a natural relation to Adam, but I add, that that is not the sole ground or reason of our participation in his sin; but the federal relation, with the natural relation. And hence it doth no way follow, that God doth properly make us sinners, or repute us such, when we are not, by His arbitrary imputation: for this imputation, being founded upon this double preconstituted relation, cannot be called
merely arbitrary; nay, nor could it be so called, though it were said to be solely founded upon this federal relation, more than when it is said to be grounded upon the natural relation. Though in another sense, it might be so called as well, when said to be founded on the natural, as when said to be founded on the federal relation, God being the free author and constitutor of both.
††††††††† 3. He adds, So Christ is, though not the natural, yet the federal Adam and root of believers: When he satisfied and merited, we were not in Him, either as in Adam seminally, as in a natural generator, nor as existent persons; nor did God falsely so repute us to be. But He was then the cause (materially) or had that virtus effectiva, which would justify and sanctify and glorify us in due time. Answer: Christ, it is true, is no natural; but a federal root; and so keeps correspondence with the first Adam, a federal root. (2.) It is also true, we were not in Christ, when he satisfied, as in Adam, seminally, as in a natural generator: but yet the elect were in Him, in a more noble and supernatural manner, as given of God to Him, and as undertaken for by Him, when He did substitute Himself in their Law-place, and became their Surety. (3.) If Christ had only been the material cause, as having that virtus effectiva, how could He be called their federal head? or how could they be said to be chosen in Him, before the foundation of the world? It was the nature of sinners (says he) though not a sinful nature, which He assumed: but that nature, which He undertook, was existent in His individual person, and no other individual person was existent in His existent personal nature. What then? So that (he adds) when we say it was the common nature of man, we mean only specifice that nature which is of the same species with all other menís, but not that which existed individually, in any, but himself. Answer: Notwithstanding of all this, Christ was a federal head, and a public person, undertaking for, and therein representing all those, that were given to Him to save; and this his following words confirm, when he says, But it was individual person, in whose stead, or place Christ suffered, and whom He undertook to justify, sanctify and save, and gather into a holy society to that end; and to that end, He undertook and performed His office, and merited all this by His perfect righteousness; so that hereby He made Himself a federal head and root of a holy society (His Church) and whenever any person doth believe, and is united federally to Him, he then receives the effects of that, which was before in Christ, as a virtus effectiva. Answer: But Christ, being a federal head to His own, whom in due time, He was to bring in to a holy society, believers receive the effects of that, which was in Christ, as such a federal head; which is more, than as a virtus effectiva, and speaks out His representing of them, as a public person, and paying their debt, according to His undertaking, in the Covenant of Redemption.
†††††††† Thereafter (page 78) from this, that the Law made to Adam did not assign Christ to this office, nor oblige Him to suffer for sinners, according to it, and that therefore He suffered not by that obligation, which bound us to suffer, but by the obligation of His own consent, he infers, that the
Law of Works took not Christ for the civil, or legal person of believers, more than it made Him such. Answer: But this consequence is denied; for when a debtor is lying in prison, a friend, who was not formerly obliged, undertaking to satisfy the creditor and making satisfaction, is by Law taken for the legal person of the debtor, who is accordingly dealt with, as if he himself had satisfied the creditor.
††††††††† In the 4, 5, and 6 places, he tells us, That believers, receiving Christ Himself, receive title to His Grace, Spirit and Glory, and are personally and actually His subjects &c. and have a right to all His conferred benefits; which right follows not immediately to them from what Christ did, or suffered, but from the Covenant of Grace; and therefore they have no right before the time, nor any, but on the conditions specified in the Covenant. Answer: Though they have no full, complete, actual right, until such time, as is condescended upon; yet by virtue of the compact betwixt Jehovah and the Mediator, wherein the Mediator undertook particularly, for those given unto Him, these may be said to have a real fundamental right, though that right be not subjected in them, nor pleadable by them, before the appointed time; yet a right, or something equivalent (for I will not strive about words) must necessarily flow from Christís satisfying for them, and paying their debt, according to His undertaking. As, when it is contracted, that the eldest daughter of the marriage shall have such a sum of money, when she comes to be married, or to be of such an age, that daughter has another right unto that sum, than any other daughter has, and that fundamentally from the contract and agreement, though before the time designed, her right be not such, as she can plead it in Law, in order to the possessing of the sum. (2.) Therefore the right, that believers have, flows from the compact, and Christ suffering according to compact, though it be conveyed by the Covenant of Grace, and their possession of the benefits be immediately there from; as that daughterís right to the sum is properly from the contract, though her actual possession according to the contract, be from her marriage, or coming to that age. Though believerís right to the actual possession of the benefits be so conveyed; and as to the conveyance, some be granted absolutely, as faith (as himself will confess) some upon condition of faith, that is, in that order, and according to that method, that faith shall precede: Yet, in respect of God, their right to all is absolutely purchased by Christ; and so in a sense theirs, though not subjected in them, nor pleadable by them, till the time appointed come. This whole scheme of Mr. Baxterís seems to me to be founded upon, and to flow from his notion of Universal Redemption, whereby he will have Christ to have died in the room and stead of all; which (to me) is in the room and place of none; and to have purchased the New Covenant, a common good to all, whereby all that would perform the New Conditions, should have right to the benefits, as having obtained the same, by their performance of these proper conditions; anterior to which, there was no difference at all betwixt them and others; but this scheme and the ground thereof I cannot own.
††††††††† 7. He tells us, that as none, till he was a person, could be a person guilty of
Adamís sin, nor when he was a person any sooner, than he was also guilty of his own inherent pravity, and none that had the use of reason was guilty of either, or both these only, without the guilt of his own actual sin. So none till he be a believer is related, as a member of a perfectly righteous Savior; and that is done no sooner (in time) then he hath the inherent righteousness of his personal faith and federal consent, and that obliges him to the further active righteousness of a holy life. Answer: The protasis and apodosis seem not to agree, for as upon our personal existence, we become persons guilty of Adamís sin, and that before (as to nature, though not as to time) we have inherent pravity; because this is an effect, consequent and punishment of the former: so upon our faith, which is our personal existing grace, corresponding to our personal existing in nature, by our natural being, should follow, as answering to this imputation of Adamís guilt, the imputation of Christís righteousness: but instead of this, he mentions nothing, but a relation as a member of a righteous Savior; which (according to the comparison) should correspond to our relation to Adam, which is, in nature, before our partaking of his sin. (2.)† As answering to our inherent pravity, he should have named our justification, adoption, &c. as the effects of the imputation of Christís righteousness; instead of this, he names the inherent righteousness of our personal faith and federal consent; thereby importing that this federal consent is posterior to our relation; while as I suppose, he will say, that our relation is upon the condition of our federal consent: Not to mention here his error (hereafter discovered) of making faith to be considered here, as our personal inherent righteousness. Then he tells us, That all these three conjunct (though not coordinate) make up the total righteousness of a saint. viz. 1. Our relation to Christ, in union, as to a perfectly righteous head, who fulfilled all righteousness for us, to merit our justification (which is called Christís Righteousness imputed to us, as being thus far reputed ours) 2. Our penitent believing consent to his Covenant, which is the condition of the foresaid relation to Christ. 3. And our sanctification. Answer: (1.) Here we see, that righteousness made the second righteousness, which yet is the condition of the first; as if our inherent pravity were the condition of the imputation of Adamís sin to us (2.) our relation to Christ is not one and the same with the imputation of righteousness to us; no more than our relation to Adam is the same thing with the imputation of his sin to us. (3.) Thus we see, by asserting the cause, viz. our relation to Christ, he takes away the effect viz. the imputation of His righteousness, as being no distinct thing: as if one should say, we are related to Adam, a sinful Head, who broke the Law for us; and this is called Adamís sin imputed to us, as being thus far reputed ours. But yet Christís fulfilling all righteousness for us (if that for us, were understood in the Scripture sense, and not according to the Socinian, or Arminian gloss) would abundantly ground the imputation, we plead for, and that as a fruit of our relation to Christ. Passing what he says 8th, as not worth noticing.
††††††††† We come to see, what he says 9th and lastly. Proposing this objection to himself, if Christís person be given us, then His personal righteousness is given us with it. He replies thus. Yes, as His person is; He is not given us
as proprietors and Lords, to become our own, at our dispose; nor is his person made one person with each, or any of us. His person is not turned into ours, nor ours into His. Answer: This is all to no purpose; for no man, in his wits, either said so, or dreamed so, at any time. As the husband (says he) is not the person of the wife, nor the king of each subject: but as one, that hath a great, wise, learned, bountiful, Holy King or Husband, hath also His greatness, &c. as they have him, that is, as his perfections for their good, as far as his relation binds him; but not as if his enduements were removed from him to them, or falsely reputed to be in them, or his person to be their persons: so here as we have a Christ, so we have a perfect righteous Christ given us to be our federal head, when we believe; and the righteousness, which is not in us, but in Him, is ours so far as to be for our good, as far as His office and Covenant do oblige Him. Answer: This savors of making Christís dying for us, to be nothing else than His dying for our good, as Socinians say: and if it import more, (as it doth in truth) he cannot but see, that his simile here, hath nothing of a similitude in it; for the objection speaks of Christís person given to us, not as a great, wise, &c. King is given to his subjects; but as the Surety is given to the debtor, i.e. as one, whose payment of the debt, must be reckoned on the score of the debtor, in order to his liberation out of prison. He adds, So that a righteous Christ and therefore the righteousness of Christ, are ours, relatively themselves, quoad jus beneficii; so as that we have right to these benefits by them, which we shall possess: and for the merits of His righteousness, we are continually justified and saved, before we believe, and actually after. Answer: All this jus beneficii is but remote; for in the foregoing page he told us, as we heard, that this right doth not flow immediately from what Christ did and suffered, but from His Covenant of Grace: and I think, he should have said rather from their performance of the condition: for the Covenant conveys no title, but conditionally, he knows, and therefore can give no title or right, until the condition be performed; upon the performance of which, the conditional title becomes actual. And further, there is no more here said than what a Socinian will say; and particularly Schlightingius pro Socino. cont. Meisnerum page 250. whose words we cite above towards the beginning of our eighth chapter.