(Owen, Justification. part 2)

     of that doctrine--The importance of the truth; the opposition
     made unto it, and abuse of it--The design of the apostle James-
     - Exceptions of some against the writings of St. Paul,
     scandalous and unreasonable--Not, in this matter, to be
     interpreted by the passage in James insisted on, chap.2.--That
     there is no repugnancy between the doctrine of the two
     apostles demonstrated--Heads and grounds of the demonstration-
     -Their scope, design, and end, not the same--That of Paul; the
     only case stated and determined by him--The design of the
     apostle James; the case proposed by him quite of another
     nature--The occasion of the case proposed and stated by him--
     No appearance of difference between the apostles, because of
     the several cases they speak unto--Not the same faith intended
     by them--Description of the faith spoken of by the one, and
     the other--Bellarmine's arguments to prove true justifying
     faith to be intended by James, answered--Justification not
     treated of by the apostles in the same manner, nor used in the
     same sense, nor to the same end--The one treats of
     justification, as unto its nature and causes; the other, as
     unto its signs and evidence--Proved by the instances insisted
     on--How the Scripture was fulfilled, that Abraham believed in
     God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, when he
     offered his son on the altar--Works the same, and of the same
     kind, in both the apostles--Observations on the discourse of
     James--No conjunction made by him between faith nor works in
     our justification, but an opposition--No distinction of a
     first and second justification in him--Justification ascribed
     by him wholly unto works--In what sense--Does not determine
     how a sinner may be justified before God; but how a professor
     may evidence himself so to be--The context opened from verse
     14, to the end of the chapter

Prefatory Note

There is a pregnant and striking passage in one of the charges of
Bishop Horsley, which may be said to embody the substance and
intimate the scope of the following work on justification,--a work
which has been esteemed one of the best productions of Dr Owen.
"That man is justified," says Horsley, "by faith, without the works
of the law, was the uniform doctrine of our first Reformers. It is a
far more ancient doctrine,--it was the doctrine of the whole college
of apostles; it is more ancient still,--it was the doctrine of the
prophets; it is older than the prophets,--it was the religion of the
patriarchs; and no one who has the least acquaintance with the
writings of the first Reformers will impute to them, more than to
the patriarchs, the prophets, or apostles, the absurd opinion, that
any man leading an impenitent, wicked life, will finally, upon the
mere pretence of faith (and faith connected with an impenitent life
must always be a mere pretence), obtain admission into heaven."
     Dr Owen, in the "general considerations" with which he opens the
discussion of this momentous subject, shows that the doctrine of
justification by faith was clearly declared in the teaching of the
ancient church. Among other testimonies, he adduces the remarkable
extract from the epistle to Diognetus, which, though commonly
printed among the works of Justin Martyr, has been attributed by
Tillemont to some author in the first century. Augustine, in his
contest with Pelagian error, powerfully advocated the doctrines of
grace. That he clearly apprehended the nature of justification by
grace appears from the principle so tersely enunciated by him,
"Opera bona non faciunt justum, sed justificatus facit bona opera."
The controversy, however in which he was the great champion of
orthodox opinions, turned mainly upon the renovation of the heart by
a divine and supernatural influence; not so directly on the change
of state effected by justifying grace. It was the clear apprehension
and firm grasp of this doctrine which ultimately emancipated Luther
from the thraldom of Romish error, and he clung to it with a zeal
proportioned to his conviction of the benefit which his own soul had
derived from it. He restored it to its true place and bearings in
the Christian system, and, in emphatic expression of its importance,
pronounced it "Articulus stantis aut cadentis ecclesiae." It had to
encounter, accordingly, strong opposition from all who were hostile
to the theology of the Reformation. Both Socinus and Bellarmine
wrote against it,--the former discussing the question in connection
with his general argument against orthodox views on the subject of
the person and work of Christ; the latter devoting a separate
treatise expressly to the refutation of the doctrine of the Reformed
churches regarding justification. Several Roman Catholic authors
followed in his wake, to whom Dr Owen alludes in different parts of
his work. The ability with which Bellarmine conducted his argument
cannot be questioned; though sometimes, in meeting difficulties and
disposing of objections to his views from Scripture, he evinces an
unscrupulous audacity of statement. His work still continues,
perhaps the ablest and most systematic attempt to overthrow the
doctrine of justification by faith. In supplying an antidote to the
subtle disquisitions of the Romish divine, Dr Owen is in reality
vindicating that doctrine at all the points where the acumen of his
antagonist had conceived it liable to be assailed with any hope of
     To counteract the tendency of the religious mind when it proceeded in
the direction of Arminianism, Calvinistic divines, naturally
engrossed with the points in dispute, dwelt greatly on the workings
of efficacious grace in election, regeneration, and conversion, if
not to the exclusion of the free offer of the gospel, at least so as
to cast somewhat into the shade the free justification offered in
it. The Antinomianism which arose during the time of the
Commonwealth has been accounted the reaction from this defect. Under
these circumstances, the attention of theologians was again drawn to
the doctrine of justification. Dissent could not, in those times,
afford to be weakened by divisions; and partly under the influence
of his own pacific dispositions, and partly to accomplish a public
service to the cause of religion, Baxter made an attempt to
reconcile the parties at variance, and to soothe into unity the
British churches. Rightly conceiving that the essence of the
question lay in the nature of justification, he published in 1649
his "Aphorisms on Justification," in opposition to the Antinomian
tendencies of the day, and yet designed to accommodate the
prevailing differences; on terms, however, that were held to
compromise the gratuitous character of justification. He had
unconsciously, by a recoil common in every attempt to reconcile
essentially antagonistic principles, made a transition from the
ground of justification by faith, to views clearly opposed to it.
Though his mind was the victim of a false theory, his heart was
practically right; and he subsequently modified and amended his
views. But to his "Aphorisms" Bishop Barlow traces the first
departure from the received doctrine of the Reformed churches on the
subject of justification. In 1669, Bishop Bull published his
"Apostolical Harmony," with the view of reconciling the apostles
Paul and James. There is no ambiguity in regard to his views as to
the ground of a sinner's acceptance with God. According to Bull
"faith denotes the whole condition of the gospel covenant; that is,
comprehends in one word all the works of Christian piety." It is the
just remark of Bickersteth, that "under the cover of justification
by faith, this is in reality justification by works."
A host of opponents sprung up in reply to Baxter and Bull; but they
were not left without help in maintaining their position. In support
of Baxter, Sir Charles Wolsley, a baronet of some reputation, who
had been a member of Cromwell's Council of State, and who sat in
several parliaments after the Restoration, published, in 1667, his
"Justification Evangelical." In a letter to Mr Humfrey, author of
the "Peaceable Disquisition", published subsequently to Owen's work
and partly in refutation of it, Sir Charles, referring to Dr Owen,
remarks, "I suppose you know his book of Justification was written
particularly against mine." There is reason to believe that Owen had
a wider object in view than the refutation of any particular
treatise. In the preface to his great work, which appeared in 1677,
he assures the reader that, whatever contests prevailed on the
subject of justification, it was his design to mingle in no personal
controversy with any author of the day. Not that his seasonings had
no bearing on the pending disputes, for, from the brief review we
have submitted of the history of this discussion, it is clear that,
with all its other excellencies, the work was eminently seasonable
and much needed; but he seems to have been under a conviction, that
in refuting specially Socinus and Bellarmine, he was in effect
disposing of the most formidable objections ever urged against the
doctrine of justification by grace, while he avoided the
impleasantness of personal collision with the Christian men of his
own times whose views might seem to him deeply erroneous on the
point; and the very coincidence of these views, both in principle
and tendency, with Socinian and Popish heresies, would suggest to
his readers, if not a conclusive argument against them, at least a
good reason why they should be carefully examined before they were
embraced. His work, therefore, is not a meagre and ephemeral
contribution to the controversy as it prevailed in his day, and
under an aspect in which it may never again be revived. It is a
formal review of the whole amount of truth revealed to us in regard
to the justification of the sinner before God; and, if the scope of
the treatise is considered, the author cannot be blamed for
prolixity in the treatment of a theme so wide. On his own side of
the question, it is still the most complete discussion in one
language of the important doctrine to which it relates. Exception
has been taken to the abstruse definitions and distinctions which he
introduces. He had obviously no intention to offend in this way;
for, at the close of chap.14, he makes a quaint protest against the
admission of "exotic learning," "philosophical notions," and
"arbitrary distinctions," into the exposition of spiritual truth. In
the refutation of complicated error, there is sometimes a necessity
to track it through various sinuosities; but, in the main, the
treatise is written in a spirit which proves how directly the author
was resting on divine truth as the basis of his own faith and hope,
and how warily he strove and watched that his mind might not "be
corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ".
     "A curious fact", says Mr Orme, "respecting this book, is
mentioned in the Life of Mr Joseph Williams, of Kidderminster:--'At
last, the time of his (Mr Grimshawe's, an active clergyman of the
Church of England) deliverance came. At the house of one of his
friends he lays his hand on a book, and opens it, with his face
towards a pewter shelf. Instantly his face is saluted with an
uncommon flash of heat. He turns to the title-page, and finds it to
be Dr Owen on Justification. Immediately he is surprised with such
another flash. He borrows the book, studies it, is led into God's
method of justifying the ungodly, has a new heart given unto him;
and now, behold, he prays!' Whether these flashes were electrical or
galvanic, ss Southey in his Life of Wesley supposes, it deserves to
be noticed, that it was not the flash but the book which converted
Grimshawe. The occurrence which turned his attention to it, is of
importance merely as the second cause, which, under the mysterious
direction of Providence, led to s blessed result."

Analysis.--The causes, object, nature, and use of faith are
successively considered, chap.1-3. The nature of justification is
next discussed;--first, under an inquiry into the meaning of the
different terms commonly employed regarding it; and, secondly, by a
statement of the juridical and forensic aspect under which it is
represented in Scripture, 4. The theory of a twofold justification,
as asserted by the Church of Rome, and another error which ascribes
the initial justification of the sinner to faith, but the
continuance of his state as justified to his own personal
righteousness, are examined, and proved untenable, 5. Several
arguments are urged in disproof of a third erroneous theory,
broached and supported by Socinians, that justification depends upon
evangelical righteousness as the condition on which the
righteousness of Christ is imputed, 6. A general statement follows
of the nature of imputation, and of the grounds on which imputation
proceeds, 7. A full discussion ensues of the doctrine that sin is
imputed to Christ, grounded upon the mystical union between Christ
and the church, the suretiship of the former in behalf of the
church, and the provisions of the new covenant, 8. The chief
controversies in regard to justification are arranged and
classified, and the author fixes on the point relating to the formal
cause of justification as the main theme of the subsequent
reasonings, 9.
     At this stage, the second division of the treatise may be held to
begin,--the previous disquisitions being more of a preliminary
character. The scope of what follows is to prove that the sinner is
justified, through faith, by the imputed righteousness of Christ.
This part of the work embraces four divisions;--general arguments
for the doctrine affirmed; testimonies from Scripture in support of
it; the refutation of objections to it; and the reconciliation of
the passages in the Epistles of Paul and James which have appeared
to some to be inconsistent.
     Under the head of "general arguments", he rebuts briefly the
general objections to imputation, and contends for the imputation of
Christ's righteousness as the ground of justification;--first, from
the insufficiency of our own righteousness, or, in other words, from
the condition of guilt in which all men are by nature involved, 10;
secondly, from the nature of the obedience required unto
justification, according to the eternal obligation of the divine
law, 11; and, as a subsidiary and collateral consideration, from the
necessity which existed that the precept of the law should be
fulfilled as well as that atonement should be rendered for the
violation of it,--in short, from the active as well as the passive
righteousness of Christ; and here the three objections of Socinius,
that such an imputation of Christ's obedience is impossible,
useless, and pernicious, receive s detailed confutation, 12;
thirdly, from the difference between the two covenants, 13; and
fourthly, from the express terms in which all works see excluded
from justification in Scripture, 14; while faith is exhibited in the
gospel as the sole instrument by which we are interested in the
righteousness of Christ, 15. The "testimony of Scripture" is then
adduced at great length,--passages being quoted and commented on
from the prophets, 16; from the evangelists, 17; and from the
epistles of Paul, 18. The "objections" to the doctrine of
justification are reviewed, and the chief objection,--namely, that
the doctrine overthrows the necessity of holiness and subverts moral
obligation,--is repelled by a variety of arguments, 19. Lastly, the
concluding chapter is devoted to an explanation of the passages in
Paul and James which are alleged to be at variance but which are
proved to be in perfect harmony, 20.--Ed.

To the Reader

I shall not need to detain the reader with an account of the nature
and moment of that doctrine which is the entire subject of the
ensuing discourse; far although sunder persons, even among
ourselves, have various apprehensions concerning it, yet that the
knowledge of the truth therein is of the highest importance unto the
souls of men is on all hands agreed unto. Nor, indeed, is it
possible that any man who knows himself to be a sinner, and
obnoxious thereon to the judgment of God, but he must desire to have
some knowledge of it, as that alone whereby the way of delivery from
the evil state and condition wherein he finds himself is revealed.
There are, I confess, multitudes in the world who, although they
cannot avoid some general convictions of sin, as also of the
consequent of it, yet do fortify their minds against a practical
admission of such conclusions as, in a just consideration of things,
do necessarily and unavoidably ensue thereon. Such persons, wilfully
deluding themselves with vain hopes and imaginations, do never once
seriously inquire by what way or means they may obtain peace with
God and acceptance before him, which, in comparison of the present
enjoyment of the pleasures of sin, they value not at all. And it is
in vain to recommend the doctrine of justification unto them who
neither desire nor endeavour to be justified. But where any persons
are really made sensible of their apostasy from God, of the evil of
their natures and lives, with the dreadful consequences that attend
thereon, in the wrath of God and eternal punishment due unto sin,
they cannot well judge themselves more concerned in any thing than
in the knowledge of that divine way whereby they may be delivered
from this condition. And the minds of such persons stand in no need
of arguments to satisfy them in the importance of this doctrine;
their own concernment in it is sufficient to that purpose. And I
shall assure them that, in the handling of it, from first to last, I
have had no other design but only to inquire diligently into the
divine revelation of that way, and those means, with the causes of
them, whereby the conscience of a distressed sinner may attain
assured peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. I lay more
weight on the steady direction of one soul in this inquiry, than on
disappointing the objections of twenty wrangling or fiery disputers.
The question, therefore, unto this purpose being stated, as the
reader will find in the beginning of our discourse, although it were
necessary to spend some time in the explication of the doctrine
itself, and terms wherein it is usually taught, get the main weight
of the whole lies in the interpretation of scripture testimonies,
with the application of them unto the experience of them who do
believe, and the state of them who seek after salvation by Jesus
Christ. There are, therefore, some few things that I would desire
the reader to take notice of, that he may receive benefit by the
ensuing discourse; at least, if it be not his own fault, be freed
from prejudices against it, or a vain opposition unto it.
     1. Although there are at present various contests about the
doctrine of justification, and may books published in the way of
controversy about it, yet this discourse was written with no design
to contend with or contradict any, of what sort or opinion soever.
Some few passages which seem of that tendency are, indeed,
occasionally inserted; but they are such as every candid reader will
judge to have been necessary. I have ascribed no opinion unto any
particular person,--much less wrested the words of any, reflected on
their persons, censured their abilities, taken advantage of presumed
prejudices against them, represented their opinions in the deformed
reflections of strained consequences, fancied intended notions,
which their words do not express, nor, candidly interpreted, give
any countenance unto,--or endeavoured the vain pleasure of seeming
success in opposition unto them; which, with the like effects of
weakness of mind and disorder of affections, are the animating
principles of many late controversial writings. To declare and

vindicate the truth, unto the instruction and edification of such as
love it in sincerity, to extricate their minds from those
difficulties (in this particular instance) which some endeavour to
cast on all gospel mysteries, to direct the consciences of them that
inquire after abiding peace with God, and to establish the minds of
them that do believe, are the things I have aimed at; and an
endeavour unto this end, considering all circumstances, that station
which God has been pleased graciously to give me in the church, has
made necessary unto me.
     2. I have written nothing but what I believe to be true, and
useful unto the promotion of gospel obedience. The reader may not
here expect an extraction of other men's notions, or a collection
and improvement of their arguments, either by artificial seasonings
or ornament of style and language; but a naked inquiry into the
nature of the things treated on, as revealed in the Scripture, and
as evidencing themselves in their power and efficacy on the minds of
them that do believe. It is the practical direction of the
consciences of men, in their application unto God by Jesus Christ
for deliverance from the curse due unto the apostate state, and
peace with him, with the influence of the way thereof unto universal
gospel obedience, that is alone to be designed in the handling of
this doctrine. And, therefore, unto him that would treat of it in a
due manner, it is required that he weigh every thing he asserts in
his own mind and experience, and not dare to propose that unto
others which he does not abide by himself, in the most intimate
recesses of his mind, under his nearest approaches unto God, in his
surprisals with dangers, in deep afflictions, in his preparations
for death, and most humble contemplations of the infinite distance
between God and him. Other notions and disputations about the
doctrine of justification, not seasoned with these ingredients,
however condited unto the palate of some by skill and language, are
insipid and useless, immediately degenerating into an unprofitable
strife of words.
     3. I know that the doctrine here pleaded for is charged by many
with an unfriendly aspect towards the necessity of personal
holiness, good works, and all gospel obedience in general, yea,
utterly to take it away. So it was at the first clear revelation of
it by the apostle Paul, as he frequently declares. But it is
sufficiently evinced by him to be the chief principle of, and motive
unto, all that obedience which is accepted with God through Jesus
Christ, as we shall manifest afterwards. However, it is acknowledged
that the objective grace of the gospel, in the doctrine of it, is
liable to abuse, where there is nothing of the subjective grace of
it in the hearts of men; and the ways of its influence into the life
of God are uncouth unto the seasonings of carnal minds. So was it
charged by the Papists, at the first Reformation, and continues yet
so to be. Yet, as it gave the first occasion unto the Reformation
itself, so was it that whereby the souls of men, being set at
liberty from their bondage unto innumerable superstitious fears and
observances, utterly inconsistent with true gospel obedience, and
directed into the ways of peace with God through Jesus Christ, were
made fruitful in real holiness, and to abound in all those blessed
effects of the life of God which were never found among their
adversaries. The same charge as afterwards renewed by the Socinians,
and continues still to be managed by them. But I suppose wise and
impartial men will not lay much weight on their accusations, until
they have manifested the efficacy of their contrary persuasion by
better effects and fruits than yet they have done. What sort of men
they were who first coined that system of religion which they adhere
unto, one who knew them well enough, find sufficiently inclined unto
their Antitrinitarian opinions, declares in one of the queries that
he proposed unto Socinus himself and his followers. "If this," says
he, "be the truth which you contend for, whence comes it to pass
that is is declared only by persons 'nulla pietatis commendatione,
nulla laudato prioris vitae exemplo commendatos; imo ut prerumque
videmus, per vagabundos, et contentionum zeli carnalis plenos
homines, alios ex castris, aulis, graneis, prolatam esse. Scrupuli
ab excellenti viro propositi, inter oper. Socin.'" The fiercest
charges of such men against any doctrines they oppose as
inconsistent with the necessary motives unto godliness, are a
recommendation of it unto the minds of considerative men. And there
cannot be a more effectual engine plied for the ruin of religion,
than for men to declaim against the doctrine of justification by
faith alone, and other truths concerning the grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ, as those which overthrow the necessity of moral duties, good
works, and gospel obedience; whilst, under the conduct of the
opinions which they embrace in opposition unto them, they give not
the least evidence of the power of the truth or grace of the gospel
upon their own hearts, or in their lives. Whereas, therefore, the
whole gospel is the truth which is after godliness, declaring and
exhibiting that grace of God which teaches us "to deny all
ungodliness and worldly lusts, and that we should live soberly, and
righteously, and godly in this world;" we being fallen into those
times wherein, under great and fierce contests about notions,
opinions, and practices in religion, there is a horrible decay in
true gospel purity and holiness of life amongst the generality of
men, I shall readily grant that, keeping a due regard unto the only
standard of truth, a secondary trial of doctrines proposed and
contended for may and ought to be made, by the ways, lives,
walkings, and conversations of them by whom they are received and
professed. And although it is acknowledged that the doctrine pleaded
in the ensuing discourse be liable to be abused, yea, turned into
licentiousness, by men of corrupt minds, through the prevalence of
vicious habits in them (as is the whole doctrine of the grace of God
by Jesus Christ); and although the way and means of its efficacy and
influence into universal obedience unto God, in righteousness and
true holiness, be not discernible without some beam of spiritual
light, nor will give an experience of their power unto the minds of
men utterly destitute of a principle of spiritual life; yet, if it
cannot preserve its station in the church by this rule, of its
useful tendency unto the promotion of godliness, and its necessity
thereunto, in all them by whom it is really believed and received in
its proper light and power, and that in the experience of former and
present times, I shall be content that it be exploded.
     4. Finding that not a few have esteemed it compliant with their
interest to publish exceptions against some few leaves which, in the
handling of a subject of another nature, I occasionally wrote many
years ago on this subject, I am not without apprehensions, that
either the same persons or others of a like temper and principles,
may attempt an opposition unto what is here expressly tendered
thereon. On supposition of such an attempt, I shall, in one word,
let the authors of it know wherein alone I shall be concerned. For,
if they shall make it their business to cavil at expressions, to
wrest my words, wire-draw inferences and conclusions from them not
expressly owned by me,--to revile my person, to catch at advantages
in any occasional passages, or other unessential parts of the
discourse,--labouring for an appearance of success and reputation to
themselves thereby, without a due attendance unto Christian
moderation, candour, and ingenuity,--I shall take no more notice of
what they say or write than I would do of the greatest
impertinencies that can be reported in this world. The same I say
concerning oppositions of the like nature unto another writings of
mine,--a work which, as I hear, some are at present engaged in. I
have somewhat else to do than to cast away any part of the small
remainder of my life in that kind of controversial writings which
good men bewail, and wise men deride. Whereas, therefore, the
principal design of this discourse is to state the doctrine of
justification from the Scripture, and to confirm it by the
testimonies thereof, I shall not esteem it spoken against, unless
our exposition of Scripture testimonies, and the application of them
unto the present argument, be disproved by just rules of
interpretation, and another sense of them be evinced. All other
things which I conceive necessary to be spoken unto, in order unto
the right understanding and due improvement of the truth pleaded
for, are comprised and declared in the ensuing general discourses to
that purpose. These few things I thought meet to mind the reader of.
From my study, May the 30th, 1677.

The Doctrine of Justification by Faith

General Considerations, previous unto the Explanation of the
Doctrine of Justification

First, The general nature of justification--State of the person to
be justified antecedently thereunto, Rom.4:5; 3:19; 1:32; Gal.3:10;
John 3:18,36; Gal.3:22--The sole inquiry on that state--Whether it
be any thing that is our own inherently, or what is only imputed
unto us, that we are to trust unto for our acceptance with God--The
sum of this inquiry--The proper ends of teaching and learning the
doctrine of justification--Things to be avoided therein

That we may treat of the doctrine of justification usefully unto its
proper ends, which are the glory of God in Christ, with the peace
and furtherance of the obedience of believers, some things are
previously to be considered, which we must have respect unto in the
whole process of our discourse. And, among others that might be
insisted on to the same purpose, these that ensue are not to be
     1. The first inquiry in this matter, in a way of duty, is after
the proper relief of the conscience of a sinner pressed and
perplexed with a sense of the guilt of sin. For justification is the
way and means whereby such a person does obtain acceptance before
God, with a right and title unto a heavenly inheritance. And nothing
is pleadable in this cause but what a man would speak unto his own
conscience in that state, or unto the conscience of another, when he
is anxious under that inquiry. Wherefore, the person under
consideration (that is, who is to be justified) is one who, in
himself, is "asethes", Rom.4:5,--"ungodly;" and thereon "hupodikos
tooi Theooi", chap.3:19,--"guilty before God;" that is, obnoxious,
subject, liable, "tooi dikaioomati tou Theou", chap.1:32,--to the
righteous sentential judgment of God, that "he who committeth sin,"
who is any way guilty of it, is "worthy of death." Hereupon such a
person finds himself "hupo kataran", Gal.3:10,--under "the curse,"
and "the wrath of God" therein abiding on him," John 3:18,36. In
this condition he is "anapologetos",--without plea, without excuse,
by any thing in and from himself, for his own relief; his "mouth is
stopped," Rom.3:19. For he is, in the judgment of God, declared in
the Scripture, "sungkekleismenos huph' hamartian", Gal.3:22,--every
way "shut up under sin" and all the consequents of it. Many evils in
this condition are men subject unto, which may be reduced unto those
two of our first parents, wherein they were represented. For, first,
they thought foolishly to hide themselves from God; and then, more
foolishly, would have charged him as the cause of their sin. And
such, naturally, are the thoughts of men under their convictions.
But whoever is the subject of the justification inquired after, is,
by various means, brought into his apprehensions who cried, "Sirs,
what must I do to be saved?"
     2. With respect unto this state and condition of men, or men in
this state and condition, the inquiry is, "What that is upon the
account whereof God pardons all their sins, receives them into his
favour, declares or pronounces them righteous and acquitted from all
guilt, removes the curse, and turns away all his wrath from them,
giving them right and title unto a blessed, immortality or life
eternal?" This is that alone wherein the consciences of sinners in
this estate are concerned. Nor do they inquire after any thing, but
what they may have to oppose unto or answer the justice of God in
the commands and curse of the law, and what they may retake
themselves unto for the obtaining of acceptance with him unto life
and salvation.
     That the apostle does thus, and no otherwise, state this whole
matter, and, in an answer unto this inquiry, declare the nature of
justification and all the causes of it, in the third and fourth
chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, and elsewhere, shall be
afterwards declared and proved. And we shall also manifest, that the
apostle James, in the second chapter of his epistle, does not speak
unto this inquiry, nor give an answer unto it; but it is of
justification in another sense, and to another purpose, whereof he
treats. And whereas we cannot either safely or usefully treat of
this doctrine, but with respect unto the same ends for which it is
declared, and whereunto it is applied in the Scripture, we should
not, by any pretences, be turned aside from attending unto this case
and its resolution, in all our discourses on this subject; for it is
the direction, satisfaction, and peace of the consciences of men,

(continued in part 3...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-02.txt