(Owen, Justification. part 5)

our justification before God, if; when we have done all, we find it
the safest course in our own persons to abhor ourselves with Job in
the presence of God, to retake ourselves unto sovereign grace and
mercy with the publican, and to place all our confidence in them
through the obedience and blood of Christ?
     So died that great emperor, Charles V, as Thuanus gives the
account of his Novissima. So he reasoned with himself: "Se quidem
indignum esse, qui propriis meritis regnum coelorum obtineret; set
Dominum Deum suum qui illud duplici jure obtineat, et Patris
haereditate, et passionis merito, altero contentum esse, alterum
sibi donare; ex cujus dono illud sibi merito vendicet, hacque
fiducia fretus minime confundatur; neque enim oleum misericordiae
nisi in vase fiduciae poni; hanc hominis fiduciam esse a se
deficientis et innitentis domino suo; alioquin propriis meritis
fidere, non fidei esse sed perfidiae; peccata deleri per Dei
indulgentiam, ideoque credere nos debere peccata deleri non posse
nisi ab eo cui soli peccavimus, et in quem peccatum non cadit, per
quem solum nobis peccata condonentur;"--"That in himself he was
altogether unworthy to obtain the kingdom of heaven by his own works
or merits; but that his Lord God, who enjoyed it on a double right
or title, by inheritance of the Father, and the merit of his own
passion, was contented with the one himself, and freely granted unto
him the other; on whose free grant he laid claim thereunto, and in
confidence thereof he should not be confounded; for the oil of mercy
is poured only into the vessel of faith or trust: that this is the
trust of a man despairing in himself, and resting in his Lord;
otherwise, to trust unto his own works or merits, is not faith, but
treachery: that sins are blotted out by the mercy of God; and
therefore we ought to believe that our sins can be pardoned by him
alone, against whom alone we have sinned, with whom there is no sin,
and by whom alone sins are forgiven."
     This is the faith of men when they come to die, and those who are
exercised with temptations whilst they live. Some are hardened in
sin, and endeavour to leave this world without thoughts of another;
some are stupidly ignorant, who neither know nor consider what it is
to appear in the presence of God, and to be judged by him; some are
seduced to place their confidence in merits, pardons, indulgences,
and future suffrages for the dead: but such as are acquainted with
God and themselves in any spiritual manner, who take a view of the
time that is past, and approaching eternity, into which they must
enter by the judgment-seat of God, however they may have thought,
talked, and disputed about their own works and obedience, looking on
Christ and his righteousness only to make up some small defects in
themselves, will come at last unto a universal renunciation of what
they have been, and are, and retake themselves unto Christ alone for
righteousness or salvation. And in the whole ensuing discourse I
shall as little as is possible immix myself in any curious
scholastical disputes. This is the substance of what is pleaded for,-
-that men should renounce all confidence in themselves, and every
thing that may give countenance whereunto; retaking themselves unto
the grace of God by Christ alone for righteousness and salvation.
This God designs in the gospel, 1 Cor.1:29-31; and herein, whatever
difficulties we may meet withal in the explication of some
propositions and terms that belong unto the doctrine of
justification, about which men have various conceptions, I doubt not
of the internal concurrent suffrage of them who know any thing as
they ought of God and themselves.

Fifthly, A commutation as unto sin and righteousness, by imputation,
between Christ and believers, represented in the Scripture--The
ordinance of the scapegoat, Lev.16:21,22--The nature of expiatory
sacrifices, Lev.4:29, etc.--Expiation of an uncertain murder,
Deut.21:1-9--The commutation intended proved and vindicated,
Isa.53:5,6; 2 Cor.5:21; Rom.8:3,4; Gal.3:13,14; 1 Pet.2:24;
Deut.21:23--Testimonies of Justin Martyr, Gregory Nyseen, Augustine,
Chrysostom, Bernard, Taulerus, Pighius, to that purpose--The proper
actings of faith with respect thereunto, Rom.5:11; Matt.11:28;
Ps.38:4; Gen.4:13; Isa.53:11; Gal.3:1; Isa.45:22; John 3:14,15--A
bold calumny answered

     Fifthly. There is in the Scripture represented unto us a
commutation between Christ and believers, as unto sin and
righteousness; that is, in the imputation of their sins unto him,
and of his righteousness unto them. In the improvement and
application hereof unto our own souls, no small part of the life and
exercise of faith does consist.
     This was taught the church of God in the offering of the
scapegoat: "And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the
live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children
of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting
them upon the head of the goat. And the goat shall bear upon him all
their iniquities," Lev.16:21,22. Whether this goat sent away with
this burden upon him did live, and so was a type of the life of
Christ in his resurrection after his death; or whether he perished
in the wilderness, being cast down the precipice of a rock by him
that conveyed him away, as the Jews suppose; it is generally
acknowledged, that what was done to him and with him was only a
representation of what was done really in the person of Jesus
Christ. And Aaron did not only confess the sins of the people over
the goat, but he also put them all on his head, "wenatan 'otam al-
rosh hassa'ir",--"And he shall give them all to be on the head of
the goat." In answer whereunto it is said, that he bare them all
upon him. This he did by virtue of the divine institution, wherein
was a ratification of what was done. He did not transfuse sin from
one subject into another, but transferred the guilt of it from one
to another; and to evidence this translation of sin from the people
unto the sacrifice, in his confession, "he put and fixed both his
hands on his head." Thence the Jews say, "that all Israel was made
as innocent on the day of expiation as they were on the day of
creation;" from verse 30. Wherein they came short of perfection or
consummation thereby the apostle declares, Heb.10. But this is the
language of every expiatory sacrifice, "Quod in ejus caput sit;"--
"Let the guilt be on him." Hence the sacrifice itself was called
"chatat" and "'ashan",--"sin" and "guilt," Lev.4:29; 7:2; 10:17. And
therefore, where there was an uncertain murder, and none could be
found that was liable to punishment thereon, that guilt might not
come upon the land, nor the sin be imputed unto the whole people, a
heifer was to be slain by the elders of the city that was next unto
the place where the murder was committed, to take away the guilt of
it, Deut.21:1-9. But whereas this was only a moral representation of
the punishment due to guilt, and no sacrifice, the guilty person
being not known, those who slew the heifer did not put their hands
on him, so as to transfer their own guilt to him, but washed their
hands over him, to declare their personal innocence. By these means,
as in all other expiatory sacrifices, did Cod instruct the church in
the transferring of the guilt of sin unto Him who was to bear all
their iniquities, with their discharge and justification thereby.
     So "God laid on Christ the iniquities of us all," that "by his
stripes we might be healed," Isa.53:5,6. Our iniquity was laid on
him, and he bare it, verse 11; and through his bearing of it we are
freed from it. His stripes are our healing. Our sin was his, imputed
unto him; his merit is ours, imputed unto us. "He was made sin for
us, who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God
in him," 2 Cor.5:21. This is that commutation I mentioned: he was
made sin for us; we are made the righteousness of God in him. God
not imputing sin unto us, verse 19, but imputing righteousness unto
us, does it on this ground alone that "he was made sin for us." And
if by his being made sin, only his being made a sacrifice for sin is
intended, it is to the same purpose; for the formal reason of any
thing being made an expiatory sacrifice, was the imputation of sin
unto it by divine institution. The same is expressed by the same
apostle, Rom.8:3,4, "God sending his own Son in the likeness of
sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the
righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us." The sin was made
his, he answered for it; and the righteousness which God requireth
by the law is made ours: the righteousness of the law is fulfilled
in us, not by our doing it, but by his. This is that blessed change
and commutation wherein alone the soul of a convinced sinner can
find rest and peace. So he "has redeemed us from the curse of the
law, being made a curse for us, that the blessing of Abraham might
come on us," Gal.3:13,14. The curse of the law contained all that
was due to sin. This belonged unto us; but it was transferred on
him. He was made a curse; whereof his hanging on a tree was the sign
and token. Hence he is said to "bear our sins in his own body on the
tree," 1 Pet.2:24; because his hanging on the tree was the token of
his bearing the curse: "For he that is hanged is the curse of God,"
Dent.21:23. And in the blessing of faithful Abraham all
righteousness and acceptation with God is included; for Abraham
believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.
     But because some, who, for reasons best known unto themselves, do
take all occasions to except against my writings, have in particular
raised an impertinent glamour about somewhat that I formerly
delivered to this purpose, I shall declare the whole of my judgment
herein in the words of some of those whom they can pretend no
quarrel against, that I know of.
     The excel1ent words of Justin Martyr deserve the first place:
"Autos ton idion huion apedoto lutron huper hemoon, ton hagion huper
anomoon, ton akakon huper toon kakoon, ton dikaion huper toon
adikoon, ton aftarton huper toon ftartoon, ton atanaton huper toon
tnetoon, ti gar allo tas hamartias hemoon edunete kalupsai, e
ekeinou dikaiosune; en tini dikaiootenai dunaton tous anomous hemas
kai aseteis, e en monooi tooi huioo tou Theou; oo tes glukeias
antallages, oo tes anexichniastou demiourgias, oo toon aprosdoketoon
euergesioon, hina anomia men polloon en dikaiooi heni krute,
dikaiosune de henos pollous anomous dikaioosei," Epist. ad Diognet.;-
-"He gave his Son a ransom for us;--the holy for transgressors; the
innocent for the nocent; the just for the unjust; the incorruptible
for the corrupt; the immortal for mortals. For what else could hide
or cover our sins but his righteousness? In whom else could we
wicked and ungodly ones be justified, or esteemed righteous, but in
the Son of God alone? O sweet permutation, or change! O unsearchable
work, or curious operation! O blessed beneficence, exceeding all
expectations that the iniquity of many should be hid in one just
one, and the righteousness of one should justify many
transgressors." And Gregory Nyssen speaks to the same purpose:
"Metatheis gar pros heauton ton toon hemoon hamartioon thupon,
metedooke moi tes heautou kathapotetos, koinoonon me tou heautou
kallous apergasamenos", Orat. 2 in Cant.;--"He has transferred unto
himself the filth of my sins, and communicated unto me his purity,
and made me partaker of his beauty." So Augustine, also: "Ipse
peccatum ut nos justitia, nec nostra sed Dei, nec in nobis sed in
ipso; sicut ipse peccatum, non suum sed nostrum, nec in se sed in
nobis constitutum", Enchirid. ad Laurent., cap.41;--"He was sin,
that we might be righteousness; not our own, but the righteousness
of God; not in ourselves, but in him; as he was sin, not his own,
but ours,--not in himself, but in us." The old Latin translation
renders those words, Ps.22:1, "divrei sha'agati"--"Verba delictorum
meorum". He thus comments on the place: "Quomodo ergo dicit,
'Delictorum meorum?' nisi quia pro delictis nostris ipse precatur;
et delicta nostra delicta sua fecit, ut justitiam suam nostram
justitiam faceret;"--"How says he, 'Of my sins?' Because he prayeth
for our sins; he made our sins to be his, that he might make his
righteousness to be ours. "Oo tes glukeias antallages." "O sweet
commutation and change!" And Chrysostom, to the same purpose, on
those words of the apostle,-- "That we might be made the
righteousness of God in him:" Poios tauta logos, poios tauta
parastesai dunesetai vous; ton gar dikaion, fesin, epoiesen
hamartoolon, hina tous hamartoolous poiesei dikaious, mallon de oude
houtoos eipen, alla ho pollooi mekzon en, ou gar hexin ethekein,
all' auten ten poioteta, ou gar eipen, epoiesen hamartoolon, all'
hamartian, ouchi ton me hamartanonta monon, alla ton mede gnonta
hamartian, hina kai hemeis genoometha, ouk eipe, dikaioi, alle
dikaiosune, kai Theou dikaiosune, Theou gar estin haute, hotan me ex
ergoon (hotan kai kelida ananke tina me heurethenai) all' apo
xaritos dikaioothoomen, entha pasa hamartia efanistai", 2 Epist. ad
Corinth. cap.5 Hom.11;--"What word, what speech is this? What mind
can comprehend or express it? For he says, 'He made him who was
righteous to be made a sinner, that he might make sinners righteous.
Nor yet does he say so neither, but that which is far more sublime
and excellent; for he speaks not of an inclination or affection, but
expresses the quality itself. For he says not, he made him a sinner,
but sin; that we might be made, not merely righteous, but
righteousness, and that the righteousness of God, when we are
justified not by works (for if we should, there must be no spot
found in them), but by grace, whereby all sin is blotted out." So
Bernard also, Epist.190, ad Innocent:--"Homo siquidem qui debuit;
homo qui solvit. Nam 'si unus,' inquit, 'pro omnibus mortuus est,
ergo omnes mortui sunt;' ut videlicet satisfactio unius omnibus
imputetur, sicut omnium peccata unus ille portavit: nec alter jam
inveniatur, qui forisfecit, alter qui satisfecit; quia caput et
corpus unus est Christus." And many more speak unto the same
purpose. Hence Luther, before he engaged in the work of reformation,
in an epistle to one George Spenlein, a monk, was not afraid to
write after this manner: "Mi dulcis frater, disce Christum et hunc
crucifixum, disce ei cantare, et de teipso desperant dicere ei; tu
Domine Jesu es justitia mea, ego autem sum peccatum tuum; tu
assumpsisti meum, et dedisti mihi tuum; assumpsisti quod non eras,
et dedisti mihi quod non eram. Ipse suscepit te et peccata tua fecit
sua, et suam justitiam fecit tuam; maledictus qui haec non credit!"
Epist. an. 1516, tom.1
     If those who show themselves now so quarrelsome almost about every
word that is spoken concerning Christ nd his righteousness, had ever
been harassed in their consciences about the guilt of sin, as this
man was, they would think it no strafe matter to speak and write as
he did. Yea, some there are who have lived and died in the communion
of the church of Rome itself, that have given their testimony unto
this truth. So speaks Taulerus, Meditat. Vitae Christ. cap.7:
"Christus omnia mundi peccata in se recepit, tantumque pro illis
ultro sibi assumpsis dolerem cordis, ac si ipse ea perpetrasset;"--
"Christ took upon him all the sins of the world, and willingly
underwent that grief of heart for them, as if he himself had
committed them". And again, speaking in the person of Christ:
"Quandoquidem peccatum Adae multum abire non potest, obsecro te
Pater coelestis, ut ipsum in me vindices. Ego enim omnia illius
peccata in me recipio. Si haec irae tempestas, propter me orta est,
mitte me in mare amarissimae passionis;"--"Whereas the great sin of
Adam cannot go away, I beseech thee, heavenly Father, punish it in
me. For I take all his sins upon myself If, then, this tempest of
anger be risen for me, cast me into the sea of my most bitter
passion." See, in the justification of these expressions, Heb.10:5-
10. The discourse of Albertus Pighius to this purpose, though often
cited and urged, shall be once again repeated, both for its worth
and truth, as also to let some men see how fondly they have pleased
themselves in reflecting on some expressions of mine, as though I
had been singular in them. His words are, after others to the same
purpose: "Quoniam quidem inquit (apostolus) Deus erat in Christo,
mundum reconcilians sibi, non imputans hominibus sua delicta, et
deposuit apud nos verbum reconciliationis; in illo ergo justificamur
coram Deo, non in nobis; non nostra sed illius justitia, quae nobis
cum illo jam communicantibus imputatur. Propriae justitiae inopes,
extra nos, in illo docemur justitiam quaerere. Cum inquit, ui
peccatum non noverat, pro nobis peccatum fecit; hoc est, hostiam
peccati expiatricem, ut nos efficeremur justitia Dei in ipso, non
nostra, sed Dei justitia justi efficimur in Christo; quo jure?
Amicitiae, quae communionem omnium inter amicor facit, juxta vetus
et celebratissimum proverbium; Christo insertis, conglutinatis, et
unitis, et sua nostra facit, suas divitias nobis communicat, suam
justitiam inter Patris judicium et nostram injustitiam interponit,
et sub ea veluti sub umbone ac clypeo a divina, quam commeruimus,
ira nos abscondit, tuetur ac protegit; imo eandem nobis impertit et
nostram facit, qua tecti ornatique audacter et secure jam divino nos
sistamus tribunali et judicio: justique non solum appareamus, sed
etiam simus. Quemadmodum enim unius delicto peccatoris nos etiam
factor affirmat apostolus: ita unius Christi justitiam in
justificandis nobis omnibus efficacem esse; et sicut per
inobedientiam unius hominis peccatores constituti sunt multi sic per
obedientiam unius justi (inquit) constituentur multi. Haec est
christi justitia,ejus obedientia, qua voluntatem Patris sui perfecit
in omnibus; sicut contra nostra injustitia est nostra inobedientia,
et mandatorum Dei praevaricatio. In Christi autem obedientia quod
nostra collocatur justitia inde est, quod nobis illi incorporatis,
ac si nostra esset, accepta ea fertur: ut ea ipsa etiam nos justi
habeamur. Et velut ille quondam Jacob, quum nativitate primogenitus
non esset, sub habitu fratris occultatus, atque ejus veste indutus,
quae odorem optimum spirabat, seipsum insinuavit patri, ut sub
aliena persona benedictionem primogeniturae acciperet: ita et nos
sub Christi primogeniti fratris nostri preciosa puritate
delitescere, bono ejus odore fragrare, ejus perfectione vitia nostra
sepeliri et obtegi, atque ita nos pissimo Patri ingerere, ut
justitiae benedictionem ab eodem assequamur, necesse est". And
afterwards: "Justificat erno nos Deus Pater bonitate sua gratuita,
qua nos in Christo complectitur, dum eidem insertos innocentia et
justitia Christi nos induit; quae una et vera et perfecta est, quae
Dei sustinere conspectum potest, ita unam pro nobis sisti oportet
tribunali divini judicii et veluti causae nostrae intercessorem
eidem repraesentari: qua subnixi etiam hic obtineremus remissionem
peccatorum nostrorum assiduam: cujus puritate velatae non imputentur
nobis sordes nostrae, imperfectionum immunditiae, sed veluti
sepultae conteguntur, ne in judicium Dei veniant: donec confecto in
nobis, et plane extincto veteri homine, divina bonitas nos in beatam
pacem cum novo Adam recipiat;"--"'God was in Christ,' says the
apostle, 'reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto men
their sins,' ['and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.']
In him, therefore, we are justified before God; not in ourselves,
not by our own, but by his righteousness, which is imputed unto us,
now communicating with him. Wanting righteousness of our own, we are
taught to seek for righteousness without ourselves, in him. So he
says, 'Him who knew no sin, he made to be sin for us' (that is, an
expiatory sacrifice for sin), 'that we might be made the
righteousness of God in him.' We are made righteous in Christ, not
with our own, but with the righteousness of God. By what right? The
right of friendship, which makes all common among friends, according
unto the ancient celebrated proverb. Being in grafted into Christ,
fastened, united unto him, he makes his things ours, communicates
his riches unto us, interposes his righteousness between the
judgment of God and our unrighteousness: and under that, as under a
shield and buckler, he hides us from that divine wrath which we have
deserved, he defends and protects us therewith; yea, he communicates
it unto us and makes it ours, so as that, being covered and adorned
therewith, we may boldly and securely place ourselves before the
divine tribunal and judgment, so as not only to appear righteous,
but so to be. For even as the apostle affirms, that by one man's
fault we were all made sinners, so is the righteousness of Christ
alone efficacious in the justification of us all: 'And as by the
disobedience of one man many were made sinners, so by the obedience
of one man,' says he, 'many are made righteous.' This is the
righteousness of Christ, even his obedience, whereby in all things
he fulfilled the will of his Father; as, on the other hand, our
unrighteousness is our disobedience and our transgression of the
commands of God. But that our righteousness is placed in the
obedience of Christ, it is from hence, that we being incorporated
into him, it is accounted unto us as if it were ours; so as that
therewith we are esteemed righteous. And as Jacob of old, whereas he
was not the firstborn, being hid under the habit of his brother, and
clothed with his garment, which breathed a sweet savour, presented
himself unto his father, that in the person of another he might
receive the blessing of the primogeniture; so it is necessary that
we should lie hid under the precious purity of the First-born, our
eldest brother, be fragrant with his sweet savour, and have our sin
buried and covered with his perfections, that we may present
ourselves before our most holy Father, to obtain from him the
blessing of righteousness." And again: "God, therefore, does justify
us by his free grace or goodness, wherewith he embraces us in Christ
Jesus, when he clotheth us with his innocence and righteousness, as
we are ingrafted into him; for as that alone is true and perfect
which only can endure in the sight of God, so that alone ought to be
presented and pleaded for us before the divine tribunal, as the
advocate of or plea in our cause. Resting hereon, we here obtain the
daily pardon of sin; with whose purity being covered, our filth, and
the uncleanness of our imperfections are not imputed unto us, but
are covered as if they were buried, that they may not come into the
judgment of God; until, the old man being destroyed and slain in us,
divine goodness receives us into peace with the second Adam". So far
he, expressing the power which the influence of divine truth had on
his mind, contrary to the interest of the cause wherein he was
engaged, and the loss of his reputation with them; for whom in all
other things he was one of the fiercest champions. And some among
the Roman church, who cannot bear this assertion of the commutation
of sin and righteousness by imputation between Christ and believers,
no more than some among ourselves, do yet affirm the same concerning
the righteousness of other men: "Mercaturam quandam docere nos
Paulus videtur. Abundatis, inquit, vos pecunia, et estis inopes
justitiae; contra, illi abundant justitia et sunt inopes pecuniae;
fiat quaedam commutatio; date vos piis egentibus pecuniam quae vobis
affluit, et illis deficit; sic futurum est, ut illi vicissim
justitiam suam qua abundant, et qua vos estis destituti, vobis
communicent." Hosius, De Expresso Dei Verbo, tom. 2 p.21. But I have
mentioned these testimonies, principally to be a relief unto some
men's ignorance, who are ready to speak evil of what they understand
     This blessed permutation as unto sin and righteousness is
represented unto us in the Scripture as a principal object of our
faith,-- as that whereon our peace with God is founded. And although
both these (the imputation of sin unto Christ, and the imputation of
righteousness unto us) be the acts of God, and not ours, yet are we
by faith to exemplify them in our own souls, and really to perform
what on our part is required unto their application unto us; whereby
we receive "the atonement," Rom.5:11. Christ calls unto him all
those that "labour and are heavy laden," Matt.11:28. The weight that
is upon the consciences of men, wherewith they are laden, is the
burden of sin. So the psalmist complains that his "sins were a
burden too heavy for him," Ps.38:4. Such was Cain's apprehension of
his guilt, Gen.4:13. This burden Christ bare, when it was laid on
him by divine estimation. For so it is said, "wa'awonotam hu
jisbol", Isa.53:11,-- "He shall bear their iniquities" on him as a
burden. And this he did when God made to meet upon him "the iniquity
of us all," verse 6. In the application of this unto our own souls,
as it is required that we be sensible of the weight and burden of
our sins and how it is heavier than we can bear; so the Lord Christ
calls us unto him with it, that we may be eased. This he does in the
preachings of the gospel, wherein he is "evidently crucified before
our eyes," Gal.3:1. In the view which faith has of Christ crucified
(for faith is a "looking unto him," Isa.45:22; 65:1, answering their
looking unto the brazen serpent who were stung with fiery serpents,
John 3:14,15), and under a sense of his invitation (for faith is our
coming unto him, upon his call and invitation) to come unto him with
our burdens, a believer considers that God has laid all our
iniquities upon him; yea, that he has done so, is an especial object
whereon faith is to act itself, which is faith in his blood. Hereon
does the soul approve of and embrace the righteousness and grace of
God, with the infinite condescension and love of Christ himself. It
gives its consent that what is thus done is what becomes the
infinite wisdom and grace of God; and therein it rests. Such a
person seeks no more to establish his own righteousness, but submits
to the righteousness of God. Herein, by faith, does he leave that
burden on Christ which he called him to bring with him, and complies
with the wisdom and righteousness of God in laying it upon him. And
herewithal does he receive the everlasting righteousness which the
Lord Christ brought in when he made an end of sin, and
reconciliation for transgressors.
     The reader may be pleased to observe, that I am not debating these
things argumentatively, in such propriety of expressions as are
required in a scholastic disputation; which shall be done
afterwards, so far as I judge it necessary. But I am doing that
which indeed is better, and of more importance,--namely, declaring
the experience of faith in the expressions of the Scripture, or such
as are analogous unto them. And I had rather be instrumental in the
communication of light and knowledge unto the meanest believer, than
to have the clearest success against prejudiced disputers.
Wherefore, by faith thus acting are we justified, and have peace
with God. Other foundation in this matter can no man lay, that will
endure the trial.
     Nor are we to be moved, that men who are unacquainted with these
things in their reality and power do reject the whole work of faith
herein, as an easy effort of fancy or imagination. For the preaching
of the cross is foolishness unto the best of the natural wisdom of
men; neither can any understand them but by the Spirit of God. Those
who know the terror of the Lord, who have been really convinced and
made sensible of the guilt of their apostasy from God, and of their
actual sins in that state, and what a fearful thing it is to fall
into the hands of the living God,--seeking thereon after a real
solid foundation whereon they may be accepted with him,--have other
thoughts of these things, and do find believing a thing to be quite
of another nature than such men suppose. It is not a work of fancy
or imagination unto men, to deny and abhor themselves, to subscribe
unto the righteousness of God in denouncing death as due to their
sins, to renounce all hopes and expectations of relief from any
righteousness of their own, to mix the word and promise of God
concerning Christ and righteousness by him with faith, so as to
receive the atonement, and wherewithal to give up themselves unto a
universal obedience unto God. And as for them unto whom, through
pride and self-conceit on the one hand, or ignorance on the other,
it is so, we have in this matter no concernment with them. For unto
whom these things are only the work of fancy, the gospel is a fable.
     Something unto this purpose I had written long since, in a
practical discourse concerning "Communion with God." And whereas
some men of an inferior condition have found it useful, for the
strengthening themselves in their dependencies on some of their
superiors, or in compliance with their own inclinations, to cavil at
my writings and revile their author, that book has been principally
singled out to exercise their faculty and good intentions upon. This
course is steered of late by one Mr Hotchkis, in a book about
justification, wherein, in particular, be falls very severely on
that doctrine, which, for the substance of it, is here again
proposed, p.81. And were it not that I hope it may be somewhat
useful unto him to be a little warned of his immoralities in that
discourse, I should not in the least have taken notice of his other
impertinencies. The good man, I perceive, can be angry with persons
whom he never saw, and about things which he can not or will not
understand, so far as to revile them with most opprobrious language.
For my part, although I have never written any thing designedly on
this subject, or the doctrine of justification, before now, yet he
could not but discern, by what was occasionally delivered in that
discourse, that I maintain no other doctrine herein but what was the
common faith of the most learned men in all Protestant churches. And
the reasons why I am singled out for the object of his petulancy and
spleen are too manifest to need repetition. But I shall yet inform
him of what, perhaps, he is ignorant,--namely, that I esteem it no
small honour that the reproaches wherewith the doctrine opposed by
him is reproached do fall upon me. And the same I say concerning all
the reviling and contemptuous expressions that his ensuing pages are
filled withal. But as to the present occasion, I beg his excuse if I
believe him not, that the reading of the passages which he mentions
out of my book filled him with "horror and indignation," as he
pretends. For whereas he acknowledges that my words may have a sense
which he approves of (and which, therefore, must of necessity be
good and sound), what honest and sober person would not rather take
them in that sense, then wrest them unto another, so as to cast
himself under the disquietment of a fit of horrible indignation? In
this fit I suppose it was, if such a fit, indeed, did befall him (as
one evil begets another), that he thought he might insinuate
something of my denial of the necessity of our own personal
repentance and obedience. For no man who had read that book only of
all my writings, could, with the least regard to conscience or
honesty, give countenance unto such a surmise, unless his mind was
much discomposed by the unexpected invasion of a fit of horror. But
such is his dealing with me from first to last; nor do I know where
to fix on any one instance of his exceptions against me, wherein I
can suppose he had escaped his pretended fit and was returned unto
himself,--that is, unto honest and ingenuous thoughts; wherewith I
hope he is mostly conversant. But though I cannot miss in the
justification of this charge by considering any instance of his
reflections, yet I shall at present take that which he insists
longest upon, and fills his discourse about it with most scurrility
of expressions. And this is in the 164th page of his book, and those
that follow; for there he disputes fiercely against me for making
this to be an "undue end of our serving God,--namely, that we may
flee from the wrath to come". And who would not take this for an
inexpiable crime in any, especially in him who has written so much
of the nature and use of threatening under the gospel, and the fear
that ought to be in generated by them in the hearts of men, as I
have done Wherefore so great a crime being the object of them all,
his revilings seem not only to be excused but allowed. Eat what if
all this should prove a wilful prevarication, not becoming a good
man, much less a minister of the gospel? My words, as reported and
transcribed by himself; are these: "Some there are that do the
service of the house of God as the drudgery of their lives; the
principle they yield obedience upon is a spirit of bondage unto
fear; the rule they do it by is the law in its dread and rigour,
exacting it of them to the utmost without mercy or mitigation; the
end they do it for is to fly from the wrath to come, to pacify
conscience, and to seek for righteousness as it were by the works of
the law." What follow unto the same purpose he omits, and what he
adds as my words are not so, but his own; "ubi pudor, ubi fides?"
That which I affirmed to be a part of an evil end, when and as it
makes up one entire end, by being mixed with sundry other things
expressly mentioned, is singled out, as if I had denied that in any
sense it might be a part of a good end in our obedience: which I
never thought, I never said; I have spoken and written much to the
contrary. And yet, to countenance himself in this disingenuous
procedure, besides many other untrue reflections, he adds that I
insinuate, that those whom I describe are "Christians that seek
righteousness by faith in Christ", p.167. I must needs tell this
author that my faith in this matter is, that such works as these
will have no influence in his justification; and that the principal
reason why I suppose I shall not, in my progress in this discourse,
take any particular notice of his exceptions, either against the
truth or me,--next unto this consideration, that they are all trite
and obsolete, and, as to what seems to be of any force in them, will
occur unto me in other authors from whom they are derived,--is, that
I may not have a continual occasion to declare how forgetful he has
been of all the rules of ingenuity, yea, and of common honesty, in
his dealing with me. For that which gave the occasion unto this
present unpleasing digression,--it being no more, as to the
substance of it, but that our sins were imputed unto Christ, and
that his righteousness is imputed unto us,--it is that in the faith
whereof I am assured I shall live and die, though he should write
twenty as learned books against it as those which he has already
published; and in what sense I do believe these things shall be
afterwards declared. And although I judge no men upon the

(continued in part 6...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-05.txt