Some Arguments against the imputation of Faith, Vindicated
from the Exceptions of John Goodwine
††††††††† After these reasons against the imputation of our act of believing, drawn from the Scriptures, we come here to vindicate some arguments adduced by others to the same end, from the exceptions of John Goodwine, in his Treatise of Justification, part 2, chapter 6.
††††††††† The first argument is thus framed. That which impeaches the truth, or justice of God, can have no agreement with the truth. This is undeniable. But the imputation of our act of believing for righteousness does so; because then he should esteem and account that to be a righteousness, which is not. Therefore &c.
††††††††† He excepts against the assumption and its probation thus. 1. This was in effect the plea of Swenefeldus, (as recorded by Zanch. Epist. lib. 1. p.215) and likewise of the Council of Trent (as Calvin has observed in Antidot. ad. sess. 6 p. 324) to prove that the word justification in the Scripture, was not to be taken
in a juridical sense to wit for absolution: but in a physical or moral sense, for making of a man completely just and righteous. Answer: What Swenefeldus said, I find not recorded by Zanchie †in the place cited, in my edition, and if his words be rightly repeated in the margin, he has had the same judgment, that Papists have, which is sufficiently known, and with whom none in reason will say we conspire, upon the account of this argument, who but observes this, (which abundantly discovers the impertinency of this exception,) that the minor and its probation speak not of the act of God justifying, but of his simple act of estimating or judging, which must always be according to truth, and therefore we cannot think, or say, that God judges, or estimates that to be a complete righteousness, which is nothing so. And besides, though justification itself were here understood: yet it might be said, without any ground of imputation either of Popery or of Swenefeldianism, that God, who is the just and righteous judge, will not absolve a person as righteous, who is not righteous, nor pronounce him righteous, who hath not a righteousness, as he hath not, who hath nothing but his act of believing imputed to him.
†††††††† Exception 2. Any action conformable to a righteous Law may be and is called righteousness, as that fact of Phineas Psalm 106: 30. And faith being obedience to a special commandment (I John 3: 23, II Peter 2: 21, Romans 1: 5) it may with truth and sufficient propriety of speech be called a righteousness. Answer: But of a particular righteousness we are not here speaking, nor of a particular justification of such an act, but of a justification, as to state, and of a corresponding righteousness, which must be universal, answerable to the challenge of the law; and no particular act of obedience will be accounted such a righteousness by God, who is truth and justice itself, in order to the condemned manís justification. Besides, he himself tells us, in the end, that this exception is nothing to the purpose; for he does not conceive, that by faith, when it is said to be imputed, is meant an act of conformity to any particular precept of God. And therefore he ó
††††††††† Excepts 3rd That which we mean is this, that God looks upon a man, who truly believes, with as much grace and favor, and intends to do as bountifully by him, as if he were a man of perfect righteousness. Answer: But this Excepter should have said, that Faith in the letter and formality of it, is imputed, for thus he disputes against the imputation of Christís righteousness: and he should have said, that God looks upon the simple act of faith as perfect obedience to all the Law: for when we plead for the imputation of Christís righteousness, he said, that thereby we make God to look upon us, as performing that righteousness, in our own persons. Neither will he and others understand any other imputation: and yet we see, how they can speak, when explaining the imputation of faith that they may think to evade the force of an argument. But (2.) though it be true, that God deals thus, as is said, with believers; yet that can give no ground to think that he imputes faith for righteousness: because it is not upon the account of faith, taken as an act of their obedience, that the Lord deals so with them, but upon the account of the righteousness of Christ imputed
to them, and received by faith. (3.) A justified person is accounted righteous not inherently, but imputatively, and is accepted as such, and pronounced such; and therefore must be righteous indeed: for the judgment of God is according to truth: And if nothing be imputed to the justified but his faith, unto righteousness, that faith must be accounted to be a perfect righteousness; which yet is denied to be.
††††††††† He excepts 4. Nothing is more frequent with the best writers, than that God accounts those just, who in strictness of speech, are not such, but only have their sins forgiven them. And their ground is good; because they always suppose that such as have their sins pardoned, have a perfect righteousness imputed to them, and received by faith, without which there could be no pardon.
††††††††† Argument 2. If faith should be imputed for righteousness, then should justification be by works, or by somewhat in ourselves. But the Scripture everywhere rejects works, and all things in ourselves, from having anything to do in justification.
††††††††† He excepts, That by works or somewhat in ourselves may be understood either by way of merit, and in this sense the consequence of the proposition is false; or by way of simple performance, and then the assumption is false, for the Scripture expressly requires faith, or a work of us, in order to justification. When faith is required in order to justification, in way of simple performance, it is not required, as our righteousness, far less as all that righteousness which the justified soul must have; but only as a mean, or instrument, laying hold upon, and putting on the righteousness of Christ, which is offered and imputed, and whereby the believer rests upon, and wraps himself in that righteousness, as the only righteousness, wherein he can think to appear before Godís tribunal, and thus faith is not considered as our act, making up our righteousness, but as bringing in, with a beggarís hand, a righteousness from without. But when faith or believing is purely considered, as our work, and as an act of obedience in us, and yet is called our righteousness, and said to be all that righteousness, which is had, and is imputed, in order to justification, it justifies as a work; and upon the account of it, as something in ourselves, we are said to be justified; and all this in perfect opposition to the imputation of Christís righteousness. (2.) It is but a popish evasion to say that by justification by works, the Scriptures only mean justification by works that are meritorious; as if either any work of ours whatsoever could be meritorious; or as if such, against whom Paul disputed, did mean a meritoriousness in their works; or as if the Scripture did not infer merit from every work, that is ours, and that we do to make up a righteousness by, upon the account of which we might be justified. Does the Apostle not say, Romans 4: 4, Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt, inferring debt and so merit from all works that we do, whereby to patch up a righteousness, in order to justification? He doth not distinguish betwixt works, that are by way of merit, and other works, but means even such works, as were performed by Abraham; who was far from imagining any merit in his works. (3.) And
surely, if any work be accounted meritorious in this case, that must be so accounted which is made the whole of our righteousness, upon which we are justified; and is said to be the only righteousness that is imputed to us for that end, that we may be justified. Is not that believing made our righteousness, and thereby declared to be no less meritorious, than Adamís perfect obedience would have been?
††††††††† Argument 3. That which makes justification not to be of grace, cannot stand with the truth of the Gospel. But the imputation of faith for righteousness makes justification not to be of Grace.
††††††††† He excepts, The Scriptures still make a perfect consistency of free grace with the condition of faith, Ephesians 2: 8, Romans 3: 24, 25. Nay the work of believing is purposely required, that the freeness of his grace might have place, Romans 4: 16. How can a gift be conceived to be more freely given, than when nothing more is required than that it be received: but a receiving of that righteousness or justification, which God gives in and with his Son Jesus Christ, John 1: 12. Answer: Here are good works, but nothing to loose the argument, for faith, receiving a righteousness, or the gift of righteousness, or the atonement, or Christ and his righteousness, is but the instrument (as it were) of the soul, laying hold on, and in law presenting (so to speak) the fidejussory righteousness of the Surety, Christ, as the righteousness, upon the account of which, and for which alone, he is to be justified. But believing, considered in itself, as our work, and made to be our righteousness, and all our righteousness, and said to be imputed for our righteousness, is not considered as a receiving of a gift of righteousness; (which is distinct from justification, howbeit he confounds them) but really is made a price in our hand, wherewith to purchase the gift of justification; and the reckoning of this work to us (which is our work) as our righteousness, in order to justification, makes justification not of grace, but of debt, as the Apostle argues Romans 4: 4, and makes our justification to be of works, and if it be of works, it is no more of grace, as the Apostle asserts, Romans 11: 6. The consideration of Faith as the act of the soul, receiving and laying hold upon a righteousness, or on Christ and his righteousness, establishes the imputation of Christís righteousness; but the imputation of faith, properly taken doth quite extrude it: and these two are made incompatible by our adversaries; and the one is asserted, that the other may be denied; for which there were no necessity, if faith were considered in the Scripture sense, as it ought to be, as an instrument laying hold on and bringing in a righteousness from without, even the Surety righteousness of Christ. So that this exception, if it be ingenuous, must overthrow the position maintained.
††††††††† Argument 4. That which ministers occasion to the flesh of boasting in itself, is not consonant to the tenor of the Gospel. But the imputation of faith for righteousness doth minister occasion to the flesh of boasting. Therefore &c.
††††††††† He excepts, Suppose the act of believing, which is so imputed for righteousness,
be a manís own work, yet it is so by the mere gift of God, Ephesians 2: 8, Philippians 1: 29, I Corinthians 2: 12 and 3: 6, and this cuts off all ground of boasting, I Corinthians 4: 7. Answer: (1.) Though there be no true ground of boasting of that, which is freely given; yet the flesh can take occasion there from to boast, as the Pharisee did, Luke 18, when he acknowledged all to be given, for he thanked God for what he was not, and for what he did, and so acknowledged all to be given, and all to be given freely. (2.) T Apostle says expressly, that boasting is not excluded by the law of works Romans 3: 27 and yet all works are given, and are not absolutely of and from ourselves. (3.) Does the Apostle not say expressly, If Abraham were justified by works, he hath to glory, Romans 4: 2? And yet I hope, Abraham did acknowledge, that all these works were of his grace, and of Godís free gift, and not absolutely and every way his own. (4.) The works, required in the old Covenant of Works, were not absolutely Adamís own, but were in some sense also given of God; yet by that way of justification, there had been ground of boasting. (5.) Though now there should be no ground of boasting before God; (as neither would there have been ground of boasting before him, by way of works; for the Apostle adds, Romans 4: 2 but not before God,) yet there is ground laid for boasting before men, when our believing is made our righteousness, upon the account of which we are justified and pronounced righteous in order to absolution from what was brought in against us. (6.) Therefore is the way of justification now so contrived, that man should have no ground or color of ground of boasting, even before men: for all that righteousness which is required unto justification, as that righteousness upon the account of which they are to be justified, and by which only they are to be declared and pronounced righteous, is not in them; but in another and imputed unto them; it is the righteousness of Christ made over unto them of Godís free grace, and received by faith, which receiving hand is also given: so that the righteousness, upon all which are justified, is one and the same, and is a righteousness without them; and therefore the flesh hath no seeming occasion of boasting in this matter.
††††††††† He excepts 2. Suppose the act of believing were from a manís self, yet there were no cause of boasting; because that weight of glory is not given to faith for any worth in it, but by the most free, gracious, and good pleasure of God. If a King for taking a pin of a manís sleeve should raise his house, and make him honorable in the state, were it not a ridiculous thing for such a man to brag of the pin of his sleeve &c. Answer: (1.) Can we think that those against whom the Apostle disputed in this matter, did think that there was worth and excellency in all their works, to merit the exceeding great and eternal weight of glory? Did Abraham think so? And yet though we cannot say that he thought so, Paul notwithstanding denies that he was justified by works. (2.) If the act of believing were from a manís self, and made all that righteousness, which he is conceived to have when justified, and upon the account of which he is justified, he should not only have occasion, but even cause of boasting before men, notwithstanding of the disproportion betwixt faith and the weight of glory; for it might then be said that he made himself to differ; and that
he had laid down, out of his own purpose, the whole price that was required, and so had, according to the terms of the compact, made a purchase of glory to himself: as the man with the pin in his sleeve, if the law and covenant had so stood, that all that gave the Prince a pin out of his sleeve shall receive such and such great things; and he and only a few more were such good merchants as to give the pin, when others did not, might well have boasted and said, he had not gotten those great things for nothing, for he laid down the full price, condescended upon by Law and Covenant, and had ground of boasting, at least before men, though not before the Prince, who graciously condescended to reward so richly such a mean gift. (3.) This answer will say, that there had been no ground of boasting even by the Old Covenant of Works, though man had kept the Law perfectly: for even then, it might have been said that the weight of glory was not given for the real worth and excellence of perfect obedience;† perfect obedience and holiness having its sufficient reward in its own bosom; for it is a reward to itself.
††††††††† But he says, If men had fulfilled the Law, and been justified that way, there had been some pretense of boasting or glorying in themselves. Answer: And why not also if faith be accounted the fulfilling of the Law, and be now imputed to us, as all our righteousness? Let us see if the reasons which he brings for the former will also evince this.
††††††††† His first is this; Because such a righteousness had held some proportion at least that should have been given to it, Romans 4: 4. God had given them no more, than what they had (at least in some sort) deserved. Answer: But who can tell us what that proportion, or that sort would have been? And may not also the righteousness of faith (which is here supposed to be of ourselves, and not the mere gift of God) be said to hold some proportion, at least in some sort? Yea, may it not in this respect be said to hold a greater proportion, viz. that the exerting of the act of faith now would argue more strength of free will to that which is good, than perfect obedience in Adam; for though we should suppose that man now had as full a power to believe if he would, as Adam had to obey, yet it cannot be denied, but there is much more opposition now even within, to that which is good, than there was in Adam; and consequently that the virtue appearing in the acting of faith, must be conceived as greater, than what could have appeared in Adamís full obedience, who had nothing within to oppose him, or prove a remora in his way? As it would argue more valor for a weak soldier to go a quarter of a mile fighting with his enemies in the way, than for a giant to go twenty miles, wherein he should meet with no opposition. But though the proportion were granted to be greater betwixt the reward and Adamís obedience, than is betwixt the reward and faith, yet there must be and will be a proportion granted: for majus & minus non variant speciem, degrees make no variation in kind. (2.) Can or will it be said, that God had given the perfect obeyer no more, than he had, in some sort at least, deserved, if we should suppose there had been no promise made of such a reward to obeyers, or antecedently to a covenant? And if this cannot be said (as it cannot be said, by any I suppose, who seriously consider the matter) then
the reward was made such only by Godís free condescension; and God had, in that case given what they had deserved according to the Covenant made, wherein such a reward was promised to obeyers; and, in justice bestowing it as a reward upon such as did fulfill the condition. Now, when faith is said to have the same place in the New Covenant that perfect obedience had in the old, and so the same efficacy and influence in the reward; and withal it is supposed that Faith is now no more the gift of God, than perfect obedience was under the old law; is it not as true now, that God gives no more than what believers have by faith (at least in some sort) deserved, by virtue of the compact and New Covenant, wherein this reward is promised, as it would have been under the old Covenant? And is it not hence also manifest, that the New Covenant is mode to be of the same nature with the Old, and that the reward is as well now of debt, as it would have been by the Old Covenant? Is it not also hence undeniable, that hereby there is a proportion acknowledged, in some sort, betwixt faith and the reward? Where is the difference? Let us see if his next reason will help here.
††††††††† Secondly, (he says,) because if they had made out their happiness that way, they had done it out of themselves, that is, out of the strength of those abilities which were essential to their nature, and in the strictest and most proper sense that can be spoken of, or applied to a creature, their own. Answer: (1.) When he supposes (as we saw in the exception) the act of believing to be from a manís self, must we not also say that the believer making out his happiness this way, doth it out of himself, though not out of the strength of abilities essential to his nature? (2.) I much doubt if those abilities (if he speaks of moral abilities, as he must, or speak nothing to the purpose) can be said to have been essential to manís nature, for then it would follow that man, after he lost these abilities (as it must be granted he did, when he fell) was no more a complete man, wanting something that was essential to his nature. These abilities may be said to have been natural or co-natural to him, considering the state that the Lord thought good to create him in, and so not merely supernatural; but how they can be said to have been essential to his nature, I see not. (2.) When God gave Adam these abilities, and thereby furnished him with a sufficient stock, was he not to acknowledge God for all that he did, or was he afterward to act without dependence upon, or influence from God, the first cause? If not as it is confessed, when it is said to be so only in a sense, that can agree to a creature; and when faith is here supposed from manís self acting in the same dependence on God, and receiving the same influence from him, as the first cause, may not faith also be said to be manís own, in as strict and proper a sense as can be spoken of, or applied to a creature? And even though we speak of faith in the orthodox sense, as being the gift of God, yet seeing it flows natively from the New Nature given in regeneration, and is said to be manís faith, and his act, all this difference will not exclude all occasion of boasting and glorying before men, more than Abrahamís works would have done, if he had been justified by them. And yet the Gospel way of justification perfectly excludes
all boasting, being so contrived in all points, as that he who glories may only glory in the Lord.
††††††††† Argument 5. If faith be imputed unto us for righteousness, then are we justified by that which is imperfect, and which itself needs a pardon; seeing no manís faith is perfect in this life. But there is no justification to be looked for before God by that which is imperfect, but by that, which is perfect. Therefore &c.
††††††††† He excepts, These words then, we are justified by that which is imperfect, may either have this sense, that we are justified without the concurrence of anything, that is simply perfect, to our justification, or that somewhat that is comparatively imperfect, may some ways concur and contribute towards our justification. In the first sense the proposition is false, in the latter sense the assumption goes to wreck. Answer: This distinction is to no purpose; for it doth not loose the difficulty, in regard that the argument speaks of a righteousness, as the formal cause, or as the formal objective cause of justification, or of that upon the account of which the person is pronounced and declared to be righteous, and justified: and so is leveled against faith, concluding that it cannot be our righteousness, or the formal objective cause of our justification (as it is said and supposed to be by such as say that it is imputed to us for righteousness, for it is made by them to be all the righteousness that is imputed to us) and that because of its weakness and imperfection.
††††††††† He adds, in application of this distinction, The truth is, that the imputation of faith for righteousness presupposes somewhat, that absolutely perfect, as absolutely necessary unto salvation. Had not the Lord Christ, who is perfect himself, made a perfect atonement for sin, there had been no place for the imputation of faith for righteousness, for it is through this that either we believe in him or in God through him; and it is through the same atonement also, that God justifies us upon our believing, that is, imputes our faith unto us for righteousness. Answer: This presupposition does not help the matter; for notwithstanding thereof, faith itself is made the only imputed righteousness; and faith is not considered as an instrument, receiving Christís righteousness and the atonement there through, but as a work, making the reward of the atonement to be of debt, ex pacto, and not of free grace, and so to have a worth and a merit in it. Our adversaries will not grant that this presupposed righteousness of Christ, whereby the perfect atonement was made, is imputed unto us; for this is expressly denied. And besides, they say that it was equally made for all, and so is equally imputed to all; so far as that thereby all are put into such a state, as, notwithstanding the former breach made, they may now, upon the new terms of faith, receive the promised reward. And thus, it is manifest that with them this imperfect thing, faith is that, for and upon the account of which they are justified. As for example (that we may hereby illustrate and clear the matter) if we should suppose that Christ had by his atonement delivered all from wrath, due for the former transgression of the Covenant, and had put them into the former state, wherein Adam was, before he fell, and procured that God should take a new essay of them, and make promise of life unto them, upon the
old terms (as some, who plead for Universal Redemption say God might have done, had he so pleased, after the atonement was made) in this case, might it not be said that every person that should now be justified, upon the performance of these terms, were justified by the performance of the condition, as by his own righteousness; and that this new obedience were all the righteousness he had, and declared to have, when justified? And should he not be justified upon the account thereof solely? And was he more obliged to the atonement of Christ than others, who did violate of new these conditions? And seeing now faith is put in the same place, and made to have the same force and efficacy, shall we not now be justified by this one act of obedience, as we would have been, in the other case, by perfect obedience? And if it be so, is it not manifest, that we are justified by a righteousness, that is imperfect, and that all the presupposing of a perfect atonement, does not avail? (2.) When it is said, that it is through the atonement, made by Christ, that we believe in him, or in God through him, it must be granted, that Christ hath purchased faith, and that either to all, or to some, and if to all, then either absolutely, or upon condition. If upon condition, we desire to know what that condition is. If not to all, but to some only, then Christ cannot be said to have died alike for all. (3.) As to that he says, viz. That it is through the same atonement, that God imputes our faith to us for righteousness, and justifies us upon our believing, it being the same that others say, who tell us, that Christ hath procured faith to be the condition and terms of the new covenant, we shall say no more now, than that we see no ground to assert any such thing, and here after we shall give our reasons.
††††††††† Argument 6. If faith be imputed to us for righteousness, then God should rather receive a righteousness from us, than we from him, in our justification. But God does not receive a righteousness from us, but we from him in justification. Therefore &c.
††††††††† He excepts by denying the consequence upon these reasons. (1.) Because Godís imputing faith for righteousness doth no wise imply that faith is a righteousness, properly so called, but only that God by means thereof, and upon the tender of it, looks upon us as righteous, yet not as made either meritoriously, or formally righteous by it, but as having performed that condition or covenant, upon the performance whereof he hath promised to make us righteous, meritoriously by the death and sufferings of his own Son; formally with the pardon of all our sins. Answer: All this can give no satisfaction, for (1.) If no righteousness be imputed to us, in order to justification, but faith, and if faith itself be hereby made no righteousness, then we are justified without any righteousness at all; and God shall be said to pronounce them righteous, who have no righteousness at all; or justification must be some other thing than a pronouncing or declaring of a man righteous. (2.) Why have we heard so much above said for faith being righteousness, and why have there been so many passages of Scripture adduced to confirm this, particularly such as mention the righteousness of faith, or the righteousness of God by faith? But it may be, this salvo is added, a righteousness properly so called: Yet then it will follow,
that it must be, at least, a righteousness improperly so called, and that must be an improper speech, faith is imputed for righteousness, and if that be an improper speech, why is there so much noise made about the impropriety of speech, when we take faith for the object of faith in that sentence, faith imputed unto righteousness? All that great clamor must now recur upon the Excepter, and his followers. (3.) If this, which he hath given, be the meaning of these words, faith imputed unto righteousness, let any judge, whether our sense of them, or this be most genuine, and most free of tropes and figures, and which of the two is apparently farthest fetched. (4.) Faith then, it seems, is tendered unto God, and faith being but a righteousness improperly so called, we tender unto God, in our justification a righteousness only, that is improper, and thereupon are declared righteous, whether properly or improperly, I know not. (5.) If upon the tender of faith, God looks upon us as righteous, then we must be righteous; for we must be what he sees and acknowledges us to be: And then I ask whether he looks upon us as properly righteous, or as improperly righteous? (6.) If God looks upon us, as having fulfilled the condition of the covenant, and as righteous upon that account, then he must look upon us as properly righteous, and faith must be a proper righteousness; or he must say, that Christ hath purchased, that an improper righteousness shall be the condition of the covenant, for we heard, he said, that Christ had purchased, that faith should be the condition. But the performance of the condition of Godís covenant must be held for a proper righteousness, as perfect obedience was under the first covenant. And we heard lately, that faith was truly and properly called a righteousness, and that it might be so called with truth, and in sufficient propriety of speech, in his answer to the first argument. (7.) If we be righteous by faith, and be looked upon as such by God, having performed the condition of the covenant, it is not imaginable, how we shall not be if not meritoriously, yet at least formally righteous; seeing as by Adam perfect obedience would have performed the condition of that covenant, under which he was, and thereby had been both meritoriously and formally righteous; so must it be now, in respect of faith, which is made to have the same place, force and efficacy, in the new covenant, and that through the procurement of Christ, that perfect obedience had in the old covenant. (8.) He says, We are made meritoriously righteous by Christís suffering. But what is the meaning of this? Is this the meaning thereof, that Christís sufferings hath merited a righteousness to us? Then hereby nothing is spoken to the point; for we are not now speaking of Christís righteousness, but of ours. And again I would enquire, what righteousness hath it merited unto us? Whether a meritorious righteousness, or a formal righteousness (as he distinguishes) or both? Or is the meaning this, that through Christís merits and sufferings, we have a righteousness which is meritorious? If so, I enquire, what is that righteousness? Is it Christís righteousness imputed to us, and made ours; or is it our faith that becomes meritorious? If this last be said, that is granted which was denied: and faith must be accounted our meritorious righteousness. If the former be said, imputation of Christís righteousness will be granted, and
more than we dare say. (9.) He says we are made formally righteous with the pardon of sins: but this is never proved, and it has been often asserted: And how will he make this a formal righteousness, and righteousness properly so called? Is this any conformity to a law, in whole, or in part? Did not he himself insinuate in his answer to the first argument that nothing can with truth, and in sufficient propriety of speech, be called a righteousness but what is a conformity to the law of God? And I am sure, pardon of sins is not any such conformity. (10.) The sum of this answer is, this faith is not imputed, as a righteousness; but it is said to be imputed unto righteousness, because it is the fulfilling of the condition of the new Covenant, whereby we come to be made righteous meritoriously by Christís death, and righteous formally with the pardon of sins. And what a wiredrawn, unintelligible and self-contradictory sense this is, let everyone judge.
††††††††† He denies the consequence. 2. Because, suppose that this inference lay in the bowels of what we hold, that faith were a proper righteousness; yet neither would this argue that therefore God should receive a righteousness from us, in our justification; for we rather receive our faith from God for our justification ,than God from us, in our justification; though I grant that in a sense a far off, and with much ado, it may (haply) be made a truth, that God receives our faith from us in our justification. Answer: But, surely, though Adamís obedience was originally from God and efficiently, he being the first cause; yet had Adam been justified, according to that old covenant, he had been justified by his own works, and not by the righteousness of another, bestowed on him by God; so he had been said to have presented his own righteousness unto God, in order to his justification, or rather, in order thereunto. Now, just so is it here, as to faith: for faith is our work, and we come with it to God, and he takes it from us, and thereupon justifies us, according to our adversaryís opinion, not in a sense a far off, or made with much ado, as he supposes, but in a sense most plain and obvious.
††††††††† He says lastly, that that imputation of faith for righteousness, which he protects, supposes a righteousness given unto and received by men, because it could not be truly said that God doth impute faith for righteousness unto any man, except he should make him righteous upon his believing. Now, as it is impossible, that a man should be made righteous without a righteousness in one kind or other; so is it impossible also, that that righteousness, wherewith a man is made righteous in justification should be derived upon him from any other, but from God alone, for this righteousness can be none other, but forgiveness of sins. Answer: (1.) How can the imputation of faith suppose a righteousness given, unless the righteousness be given before faith be imputed, seeing what is supposed is always first in order of nature, if not also in order of time? And if matters be thus, sins are first forgiven, and then faith is imputed. (2.) If the supposing of a righteousness will follow, to wit remission of sins, then there is no answer to the argument, for the argument speaks of a righteousness anterior to justification, and in order thereunto. (3.) It is again said, but was never proved, that to forgive sins is to give a righteousness. And I would ask,
what for a righteousness this pardon of sins is? Is it a righteousness properly so called? But that cannot be, for all such righteousness consists in obedience to the law: Therefore it must be a righteousness improperly so called, and if so, it cannot be called our formal righteousness, as he said it was. (4.) When he says, we are made righteous in justification, and yet will not grant an imputed righteousness, and his remission of sins is not yet found to be a proper righteousness, the sense must either be Popish, or none at all.
††††††††† I shall not here add other reasons against this assertion, whereby it might be made manifest, how dangerous this opinion is, if it be put in practice; and how it tends to alter the nature of the Covenant of Grace: It may suffice at present, that we have vindicated these few reasons against it, and that we have found it, in the foregoing chapter, inconsistent with the doctrine of grace, in the New Testament and repugnant to the nature of justification, as declared and explained to us by the Apostle: and that we shall find it, in the next chapter, without any footing in the Apostleís discourse in Romans 4, which is the only place adduced for its confirmation.