(Owen, Justification. part 9)

be so by divine compact or promise, is not to be allowed; for
otherwise, conditions might be endlessly multiplied, and all things,
natural as well as moral, made to be so. So the meat we eat may be a
condition of justification. Faith and justification are inseparable;
but so are not justification and the things we now insist upon, as
experience does evince.
     [2.] Justification may be, where the outward acts and duties
mentioned, proceeding from convictions under the conduct of
temporary faith, are not. For Adam was justified without them; so
also were the converts in the Acts, chap. 2,--for what is reported
concerning them is all of it essentially included in conviction,
verse 37; and so likewise was it with the jailer, Acts 16:30,31; and
as unto many of them, it is so with most that do believe. Therefore,
they are not conditions; for a condition suspends the event of a
     [3.] They are not formal dispositions unto justification; because
it consists not in the introduction of any new form or inherent
quality in the soul, as has been in part already declared, and shall
yet afterwards be more fully evinced. Nor,-[4.] Are they moral
preparations for it; for being antecedent unto faith evangelical, no
man can have any design in them, but only to "seek for righteousness
by the works of the law," which is no preparation unto
justification. All discoveries of the righteousness of God, with the
soul's adherence unto it, belong to faith alone. There is, indeed, a
repentance which accompanies faith, and is included in the nature of
it, at least radically. This is required unto our justification But
that legal repentance which precedes gospel faith, and is without
it, is neither a disposition, preparation, nor condition of our
     In brief, the order of these things may be observed in the dealing
of God with Adam, as was before intimated. And there are three
degrees in it:--[1.] The opening of the eyes of the sinner, to see
the filth and guilt of sin in the sentence and curse of the law
applied unto his conscience, Rom.8:9,10. This effects in the mind of
the sinner the things before mentioned, and puts him upon all the
duties that spring from them. For persons on their first
convictions, ordinarily judge no more but that their state being
evil and dangerous, it is their duty to better it; and that they can
or shall do so accordingly, if they apply themselves thereunto. But
all these things, as to a protection or deliverance from the
sentence of the law, are no better than fig-leaves and hiding. [2.]
Ordinarily, God by his providence, or in the dispensation of the
word, gives life and power unto this work of the law in a peculiar
manner; in answer unto the charge which he gave unto Adam after his
attempt to hide himself. Hereby the "mouth of the sinner is
stopped," and he becomes, as thoroughly sensible of his guilt before
God, so satisfied that there is no relief or deliverance to be
expected from any of those ways of sorrow or duty that he has put
himself upon. [3.] In this condition it is a mere act of sovereign
grace, without any respect unto these things foregoing, to call the
sinner unto believing, or faith in the promise unto the
justification of life. This is God's order; yet so as that what
precedes his call unto faith has no causality thereof.
     3. The next thing to be inquired into is the proper object of
justifying faith, or of true faith, in its office, work, and duty,
with respect unto our justification. And herein we must first
consider what we cannot so well close withal. For besides other
differences that seem to be about it (which, indeed, are but
different explanations of the same thing for the substance), there
are two opinions which are looked on as extremes, the one in an
excess, and the other in defect. The first is that of the Roman
church, and those who comply with them therein. And this is, that
the object of justifying faith, as such, is all divine verity, all
divine revelation, whether written in the Scripture or delivered by
tradition, represented unto us by the authority of the church. In
the latter part of this description we are not at present concerned.
That the whole Scripture, and all the parts of it, and all the
truths, of what sort soever they be, that are contained in it, are
equally the objects of faith in the discharge of its office in our
justification, is that which they maintain. Hence, as to the nature
of it, they cannot allow it to consist in any thing but an assent of
the mind. For, supposing the whole Scripture, and all contained in
it,--laws, precepts, promises, threatening, stories, prophecies, and
the like,--to be the object of it, and these not as containing in
them things good or evil unto us, but under this formal
consideration as divinely revealed, they cannot assign or allow any
other act of the mind to be required hereunto, but assent only. And
so confident are they herein,--namely, that faith is no more than an
assent unto divine revelation,--as that Bellarmine, in opposition
unto Calvin, who placed knowledge in the description of justifying
faith, affirms that it is better defined by ignorance than by
     This description of justifying faith and its object has been so
discussed, and on such evident grounds of Scripture and reason
rejected by Protestant writers of all sorts, as that it is needless
to insist much upon it again. Some things I shall observe in
relation unto it, whereby we may discover what is of truth in what
they assert, and wherein it falls short thereof. Neither shall I
respect only them of the Roman church who require no more to faith
or believing, but only a bare assent of the mind unto divine
revelations, but them also who place it wholly in such a firm assent
as produces obedience unto all divine commands. For as it does both
these, as both these are included in it, so unto the especial nature
of it more is required. It is, as justifying, neither a mere assent,
nor any such firm degree of it as should produce such effects.
     (1.) All faith whatever is an act of that power of our souls, in
general, whereby we are able firmly to assent unto the truth upon
testimony, in things not evident unto us by sense or reason. It is
"the evidence of things not seen." And all divine faith is in
general an assent unto the truth that is proposed unto us upon
divine testimony. And hereby, as it is commonly agreed, it is
distinguished from opinion and moral certainty on the one hand, and
science or demonstration on the other.
     (2.) Wherefore, in justifying faith there is an assent unto all
divine revelation upon the testimony of God, the revealer. By no
other act of our mind, wherein this is not included or supposed, can
we be justified; not because it is not justifying, but because it is
not faith. This assent, I say, is included in justifying faith. And
therefore we find it often spoken of in the Scripture (the instances
whereof are gathered up by Bellarmine and others) with respect unto
other things, and not restrained unto the especial promise of grace
in Christ; which is that which they oppose. But besides that in most
places of that kind the proper object of faith as justifying is
included and referred ultimately unto, though diversely expressed by
some of its causes or concomitant adjuncts, it is granted that we
believe all divine truth with that very faith whereby we are
justified, so as that other things may well be ascribed unto it.
     (3.) On these concessions we yet say two things:--[1.] That the
whole nature of justifying faith does not consist merely in an
assent of the mind, be it never so firm and steadfast, nor whatever
effects of obedience it may produce. [2.] That in its duty and
office in justification, whence it has that especial denomination
which alone we are in the explanation of, it does not equally
respect all divine revelation as such, but has a peculiar object
proposed unto it in the Scripture. And whereas both these will be
immediately evinced in our description of the proper object and
nature of faith, I shall, at present, oppose some few things unto
this description of them, sufficient to manifest how alien it is
from the truth.
     1st. This assent is an act of the understanding only,--an act of
the mind with respect unto truth evidenced unto it, be it of what
nature it will. So we believe the worst of things and the most
grievous unto us, as well as the best and the most useful. But
believing is an act of the heart; which, in the Scriptures comprises
all the faculties of the soul as one entire principle of moral and
spiritual duties: "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness,"
Rom.10:10. And it is frequently described by an act of the will,
though it be not so alone. But without an act of the will, no man
can believe as he ought. See John 5:40; 1:12; 6:35. We come to
Christ in an act of the will; and "let whosoever will, come." And to
be willing is taken for to believe, Ps.110:3; and unbelief is
disobedience, Heb.3:18,19.
     2dly. All divine truth is equally the object of this assent. It
respects not the especial nature or use of any one truth, be it of
what kind it will, more than another; nor can it do so, since it
regards only divine revelation. Hence that Judas was the traitor,
must have as great an influence into our justification as that
Christ died for our sins. But how contrary this is unto the
Scripture, the analogy of faith, and the experience of all that
believe, needs neither declaration nor confirmation.
     3dly. This assent unto all divine revelation may be true and
sincere, where there has been no previous work of the law, nor any
conviction of sin. No such thing is required thereunto, nor are they
found in many who yet do so assent unto the truth. But, as we have
showed, this is necessary unto evangelical, justifying faith; and to
suppose the contrary, is to overthrow the order and use of the law
and gospel, with their mutual relation unto one another, in
subserviency unto the design of God in the salvation of sinners.
     4thly. It is not a way of seeking relief unto a convinced sinner,
whose mouth is stopped, in that he is become guilty before God. Such
alone are capable subjects of justification, and do or can seek
after it in a due manner. A mere assent unto divine revelation is
not peculiarly suited to give such persons relief: for it is that
which brings them into that condition from whence they are to be
relieved; for the knowledge of sin is by the law. But faith is a
peculiar acting of the soul for deliverance.
     5thly. It is no more than what the devils themselves may have, and
have, as the apostle James affirms. For that instance of their
believing one God, proves that they believe also whatever this one
God, who is the first essential truth, does reveal to be true. And
it may consist with all manner of wickedness, and without any
obedience; and so make God a liar, 1 John 5:10. And it is no wonder
if men deny us to be justified by faith, who know no other faith but
     6thly. It no way answers the descriptions that are given of
justifying faith in the Scripture. Particularly, it is by faith as
it is justifying that we are said to "receive" Christ, John 1:12;
Col.2:6;-- to "receive" the promise, the word, the grace of God, the
atonement, James 1:21; John 3:33; Acts 2:41; 11:1; Rom.5:11;
Heb.11:17; to "cleave unto God," Deut.4:4; Acts 11:23. And so, in
the Old Testament it is generally expressed by trust and hope. Now,
none of these things are contained in a mere assent unto the truth;
but they require other acting of the soul than what are peculiar
unto the understanding only.
     7thly. It answers not the experience of them that truly believe.
This all our inquiries and arguments in this matter must have
respect unto. For the sum of what we aim at is, only to discover
what they do who really believe unto the justification of life. It
is not what notions men may have hereof, nor how they express their
conceptions, how defensible they are against objections by accuracy
of expressions and subtle distinctions; but only what we ourselves
do, if we truly believe, that we inquire after. And although our
differences about it do argue the great imperfection of that state
wherein we are, so as that those who truly believe cannot agree what
they do in their so doing,--which should give us a mutual tenderness
and forbearance towards each other;--yet if men would attend unto
their own experience in the application of their souls unto God for
the pardon of sin and righteousness to life, more than unto the
notions which, on various occasions, their minds are influenced by,
or prepossessed withal, many differences and unnecessary
disputations about the nature of justifying faith would be prevented
or prescinded. I deny, therefore, that this general assent unto the
truth, how firm soever it be, or what effects in the way of duty or
obedience soever it may produce, does answer the experience of any
one true believer, as containing the entire acting of his soul
towards God for pardon of sin and justification.
     8thly. That faith alone is justifying which has justification
actually accompanying of it. For thence alone it has that
denomination. To suppose a man to have justifying faith, and not to
be justified, is to suppose a contradiction. Nor do we inquire after
to nature of any other faith but that whereby a believer is actually
justified. But it is not so with all them in whom this assent is
found; nor will those that plead for it allow that upon it alone any
are immediately justified. Wherefore it is sufficiently evident that
there is somewhat more required unto justifying faith than a real
assent unto all divine revelations, although we do give that assent
by the faith whereby we are justified.
     But, on the other side, it is supposed that, by some, the object
of justifying faith is so much restrained, and the nature of it
thereby determined unto such a peculiar acting of the mind, as
comprises not the whole of what is in the Scripture ascribed unto
it. So some have said that it is the pardon of our sins, in
particular, that is the object of justifying faith;--faith,
therefore, they make to be a full persuasion of the forgiveness of
our sins through the mediation of Christ; or, that what Christ did
and suffered as our mediator, he did it for us in particular: and a
particular application of especial mercy unto our own souls and
consciences is hereby made the essence of faith; or, to believe that
our own sins are forgiven seems hereby to be the first and most
proper act of justifying faith. Hence it would follow, that
whosoever does not believe, or has not a firm persuasion of the
forgiveness of his own sins in particular, has no saving faith,--is
no true believer; which is by no means to be admitted. And if any
have been or are of this opinion, I fear that they were, in the
asserting of it, neglective of their own experience; or, it may be,
rather, that they knew not how, in their experience, all the other
acting of faith, wherein its essence does consist, were included in
this persuasion, which in an especial manner they aimed at: whereof
we shall speak afterwards. And there is no doubt unto me, but that
this which they propose, faith is suited unto, aims at, and does
ordinarily effect in true believers, who improve it, and grow in its
exercise in a due manner.
     Many great divines, at the first Reformation, did (as the
Lutherans generally yet do) thus make the mercy of God in Christ,
and thereby the forgiveness of our own sins, to be the proper object
of justifying faith, as such;--whose essence, therefore, they placed
in a fiducial trust in the grace of God by Christ declared in the
promises, with a certain unwavering application of them unto
ourselves. And I say, with some confidence, that those who endeavour
not to attain hereunto, either understand not the nature of
believing, or are very neglective, both of the grace of God and of
their own peace.
     That which inclined those great and holy persons so to express
themselves in this matter, and to place the essence of faith in the
highest acting of it (wherein yet they always included and supposed
its other acts), was the state of the consciences of men with whom
they had to do. Their contest in this article with the Roman church,
was about the way and means whereby the consciences of convinced,
troubled sinners might come to rest and peace with God. For at that
time they were no otherwise instructed, but that these things were
to be obtained, not only by works of righteousness which men did
themselves, in obedience unto the commands of God, but also by the
strict observance of many inventions of what they called the Church;
with an ascription of a strange efficacy to the same ends unto
missatical sacrifices, sacramentals, absolutions, penances,
pilgrimages, and other the like superstitions. Hereby they observed
that the consciences of men were kept in perpetual disquietments,
perplexities, fears and bondage, exclusive of that rest, assurance,
and peace with God through the blood of Christ, which the gospel
proclaims and tenders; and when the leaders of the people in that
church had observed this, that indeed the ways and means which they
proposed and presented would never bring the souls of men to rest,
nor give them the least assurance of the pardon of sins, they made
it a part of their doctrine, that the belief of the pardon of our
own sins, and assurance of the love of God in Christ, were false and
pernicious. For what should they else do, when they knew well enough
that in their way, and by their propositions, they were not to be
attained? Hence the principal controversy in this matter, which the
reformed divines had with those of the church of Rome, was this,--
Whether there be, according unto and by the gospel, a state of rest
and assured peace with God to be attained in his life? And having
all advantages imaginable for the proof hereof, from the very
nature, use, and end of the gospel,--from the grace, love, and
design of God in Christ,--from the efficacy of his mediation in his
oblation and intercession,--they assigned these things to be the
especial object of justifying faith, and that faith itself to be a
fiduciary trust in the especial grace and mercy of God, through the
blood of Christ, s proposed in the promises of the gospel;--that is,
they directed the souls of men to seek for peace with God, the
pardon of sin, and a right unto the heavenly inheritance, by placing
their sole trust and confidence in the mercy of God by Christ alone.
but yet, withal, I never read any of them (I know not what others
have done) who affirmed that every true and sincere believer always
had a full assurance of the especial love of God in Christ, or of
the pardon of his own sins,--though they plead that this the
Scripture requires of them in a way of duty, and that this they
ought to aim at the attainment of.
     And these things I shall leave as I find them, unto the use of the
church. For I shall not contend with any about the way and manner of
expressing the truth, where the substance of it is retained. That
which in these things is aimed at, is the advancement and glory of
the grace of God in Christ, with the conduct of the souls of men
unto rest and peace with him. Where this is attained or aimed at,
and that in the way of truth for the substance of it, variety of
apprehensions and expressions concerning the same things may tend
unto the useful exercise of faith and the edification of the church.
Wherefore, neither opposing nor rejecting what has been delivered by
others as their judgments herein, I shall propose my own thoughts
concerning it; not without some hopes that they may tend to
communicate light in the knowledge of the thing itself inquired
into, and the reconciliation of some differences about it amongst
learned and holy men. I say, therefore, that the Lord Jesus Christ
himself, as ordinance of God, in his work of mediation for the
recovery and salvation of lost sinners, and as unto that end
proposed in the promise of the gospel, is the adequate, proper
object of justifying faith, or of saving faith in its work and duty
with respect unto our justification.
     The reason why I thus state the object of justifying faith is,
because it completely answers all that is ascribed unto it in the
Scripture, and all that the nature of it does require. What belongs
unto it as faith in general, is here supposed; and what is peculiar

unto it as justifying, is fully expressed. And a few things will
serve for the explication of the thesis, which shall afterwards be
     (1.) The Lord Jesus Christ himself is asserted to be the proper
object of justifying faith. For so it is required in all those
testimonies of Scripture where that faith is declared to be our
believing in him, on his name, our receiving of him, or looking unto
him; whereunto the promise of justification and eternal life is
annexed: whereof afterwards. See John 1:12; 3:16,36; 6:29,47; 7:38;
14:12; Acts 10:43; 13:38,39; 16:31; 26:18; etc.
     (2.) He is not proposed as the object of our faith unto the
justification of life absolutely, but as the ordinance of God, even
the Father, unto that end: who therefore also is the immediate
object of faith as justifying; in what respects we shall declare
immediately. So justification is frequently ascribed unto faith as
peculiarly acted on him, John 5:24, "He that believeth on him that
sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment; but
is passed from death unto life." And herein is comprised that grace,
love, and favour of God, which is the principal moving cause of our
justification, Rom.3:23,24. Add hereunto John 6:29, and the object
of faith is complete: "This is the work of God, that ye believe on
him whom he has sent." God the Father as sending, and the Son as
sent,-- that is, Jesus Christ in the work of his mediation, as the
ordinance of God for the recovery and salvation of lost sinners, is
the object of our faith. See 1 Pet.1:21.
     (3.) That he may be the object of our faith, whose general nature
consists in assent, and which is the foundation of all its other
acts, he is proposed in the promises of the gospel; which I
therefore place as concurring unto its complete object. Yet do I not
herein consider the promises merely as peculiar divine revelations,
in which sense they belong unto the formal object of faith; but as
they contain, propose, and exhibit Christ as the ordinance of God,
and the benefits of his mediation, unto them that do believe. There
is an especial assent unto the promises of the gospel, wherein some
place the nature and essence of justifying faith, or of faith in its
work and duty with respect unto our justification. And so they make
the promises of the gospel to be the proper object of it. And it
cannot be but that, in the acting of justifying faith, there is a
peculiar assent unto them. Howbeit, this being only an act of the
mind, neither the whole nature nor the whole work of faith can
consist therein. Wherefore, so far as the promises concur to the
complete object of faith, they are considered materially also,--
namely, as they contain, propose, and exhibit Christ unto believers.
And in that sense are they frequently affirmed in the Scripture to
be the object of our faith unto the justification of life, Acts
2:39; 26:6; Rom.4:16,20; 15:8; Gal.3:16,18; Heb.4:1; 6:13; 8:6;
     (4.) The end for which the Lord Christ, in the work of his
mediation, is the ordinance of God, and as such proposed in the
promises of the gospel,--namely, the recovery and salvation of lost
sinners,--belongs unto the object of faith as justifying. Hence, the
forgiveness of sin and eternal life are proposed in the Scripture as
things that are to be believed unto justification, or as the object
of our faith, Matt.9:2; Acts 2:38,39; 5:31; 26:18; Rom. 3:25; 4:7,8;
Col.2:13; Tit.1:2; etc. And whereas the just is to live by his
faith, and every one is to believe for himself, or make an
application of the things believed unto his own behoof, some from
hence have affirmed the pardon of our own sins and our own salvation
to be the proper object of faith; and indeed it does belong
thereunto, when, in the way and order of God and the gospel, we can
attain unto it, 1 Cor.15:3,4; Gal.2:20; Eph.1:6,7.
     Wherefore, asserting the Lord Jesus Christ, in the work of his
mediation, to be the object of faith unto justification, I include
therein the grace of God, which is the cause; the pardon of sin,
which is the effect; and the promises of the gospel, which are the
means, of communicating Christ and the benefits of his mediation
unto us.
     And all these things are so united, so intermixed in their mutual
relations and respects, so concatenated in the purpose of God, and
the declaration made of his will in the gospel, as that the
believing of any one of them does virtually include the belief of
the rest. And by whom any one of them is disbelieved, they frustrate
and make void all the rest, and so faith itself.
     The due consideration of these things solves all the difficulties
that arise about the nature of faith, either from the Scripture or
from the experience of them that believe, with respect unto its
object. Many things in the Scripture are we said to believe with it
and by it, and that unto justification; but two things are hence
evident:--First, That no one of them can be asserted to be the
complete, adequate object of our faith. Secondly, That none of them
are so absolutely, but as they relate unto the Lord Christ, as the
ordinance of God for our justification and salvation.
     And this answers the experience of all that do truly believe. For
these things being united and made inseparable in the constitution
of God, all of them are virtually included in every one of them.
(1.) Some fix their faith and trust principally on the grace, love,
and mercy of God; especially they did so under the Old Testament,
before the clear revelation of Christ and his mediation. So did the
psalmist, Ps.130:3,4; 33:18,19; and the publican, Luke 18:13. And
these are, in places of the Scripture innumerable, proposed as the
causes of our justification. See Rom.3:24; Eph.2:4-8; Tit.3:5-7. But
this they do not absolutely, but with respect unto the "redemption
that is in the blood of Christ," Dan.9:17. Nor does the Scripture
anywhere propose them unto us but under that consideration. See
Rom.3:24,25; Eph.1:6-8. For this is the cause, way, and means of the
communication of that grace, love, and mercy unto us. (2.) Some
place and fix them principally on the Lord Christ, his mediation,
and the benefits thereof. This the apostle Paul proposes frequently
unto us in his own example. See Gal.2:20; Phil.3:8-10. But this they
do not absolutely, but with respect unto the grace and love of God,
whence it is that they are given and communicated unto us, Rom.8:32;
John 3:16; Eph.1:6-8. Nor are they otherwise anywhere proposed unto
us in the Scripture as the object of our faith unto justification.
(3.) Some in a peculiar manner fix their souls, in believing, on the
promises. And this is exemplified in the instance of Abraham,
Gen.15:6; Rom.4:20. And so are they proposed in the Scripture as the
object of our faith, Acts 2:39; Rom.4:16; Heb.4:1,2; 6:12,13. But
this they do not merely as they are divine revelations, but as they
contain and propose unto us the Lord Christ and the benefits of his
mediation, from the grace, love, and mercy of God. Hence the apostle
disputes at large, in his Epistle unto the Galatians, that if
justification be any way but by the promise, both the grace of God
and the death of Christ are evacuated and made of none effect. And
the reason is, because the promise is nothing but the way and means
of the communication of them unto us. (4.) Some fix their faith on
the things themselves which they aim at,--namely, the pardon of sin
and eternal life. And these also in the Scripture are proposed unto
us as the object of our faith, or that which we are to believe unto
justification, Ps.130:4; Acts 26:18; Tit.1:2. But this is to be done
in its proper order, especially as unto the application of them unto
our own souls. For we are nowhere required to believe them, or our
own interest in them, but as they are effects of the grace and love
of God, through Christ and his mediation, proposed in the promises
of the gospel. Wherefore the belief of them is included in the
belief of these, and is in order of nature antecedent thereunto. And
the belief of the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life, without the
due exercise of faith in those causes of them, is but presumption.
     I have, therefore, given the entire object of faith as justifying,
or in its work and duty with respect unto our justification, in
compliance with the testimonies of the Scripture, and the experience
of them that believe.
     Allowing, therefore, their proper place unto the promises, and
unto the effect of all in the pardon of sins and eternal life, that
which I shall farther confirm is, that the Lord Christ, in the work
of his mediation, as the ordinance of God for the recovery and
salvation of lost sinners, is the proper adequate object of
justifying faith. And the true nature of evangelical faith consists
in the respect of the heart (which we shall immediately describe)
unto the love, grace, and wisdom of God; with the mediation of
Christ, in his obedience; with the sacrifice, satisfaction, and
atonement for sin which he made by his blood. These things are
impiously opposed by some as inconsistent; for the second head of
the Socinian impiety is, that the grace of God and satisfaction of
Christ are opposite and inconsistent, so as that if we allow of the
one we must deny the other. But as these things are so proposed in
the Scripture, as that without granting them both neither can be
believed; so faith, which respects them as subordinate,--namely, the
mediation of Christ unto the grace of God, that fixes itself on the
Lord Christ and that redemption which is in his blood,--as the
ordinance of God, the effect of his wisdom, grace, and love, finds
rest in both, and in nothing else.
     For the proof of the assertion, I need not labour in it, it being
not only abundantly declared in the Scripture, but that which
contains in it a principal part of the design and substance of the
gospel. I shall, therefore, only refer unto some of the places
wherein it is taught, or the testimonies that are given unto it.
     The whole is expressed in that place of the apostle wherein the
doctrine of justification is most eminently proposed unto us,
Rom.3:24,25, "Being justified freely by his grace through the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a
propitiation through faith in his blood; to declare his
righteousness for the remission of sins." Whereunto we may add,
Eph.1:6,7, "He has made us accepted in the Beloved; in whom we have
redemption through his blood, according to the riches of his grace."
That whereby we are justified, is the especial object of our faith
unto justification. But this is the Lord Christ in the work of his
mediation: for we are justified by the redemption that is in Jesus
Christ; for in him we have redemption through his blood, even the
forgiveness of sin. Christ as a propitiation is the cause of our
justification, and the object of our faith or we attain it by faith
in his blood. But this is so under this formal consideration, as he
is the ordinance of God for that end,--appointed, given, proposed,
set forth from and by the grace, wisdom, and love of God. God set
him forth to be a propitiation. He makes us accepted in the Beloved.
We have redemption in his blood, according to the riches of his
grace, whereby he makes us accepted in the Beloved. And herein he
"abounds towards us in all wisdom," Eph.1:8. This, therefore, is
that which the gospel proposes unto us, as the especial object of
our faith unto the justification of life.
     But we may also in the same manner confirm the several parts of
the assertion distinctly:--
     (1.) The Lord Jesus Christ, as proposed in the promise of the
gospel, is the peculiar object of faith unto justification. There
are three sorts of testimonies whereby this is confirmed:--
     [1.] Those wherein it is positively asserted, as Acts 10:43, "To
him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever
believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Christ believed
in as the means and cause of the remission of sins, is that which
all the prophets give witness unto. Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." It is the answer of the
apostle unto the jailer's inquiry,--"Sirs, what must I do to be
saved?" His duty in believing, and the object of it, the Lord Jesus
Christ, is what they return thereunto. Acts 4:12, "Neither is there
salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven
given among men, whereby we must be saved." That which is proposed
unto us, as the only way and means of our justification and
salvation, and that in opposition unto all other ways, is the object
of faith unto our justification; but this is Christ alone,
exclusively unto all other things. This is testified unto by Moses
and the prophets; the design of the whole Scripture being to direct
the faith of the church unto the Lord Christ alone, for life and
salvation, Luke 24:25-27.
     [2.] All those wherein justifying faith is affirmed to be our
believing in him, or believing on his name; which are multiplied.
John 1:12, "He gave power to them to become the sons of God, who
believed on his name," chap.3:16, "That whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life;" verse 36, "He that
believeth on the Son has everlasting life;" chap.6:29, "This is the
work of God, that ye believe on him whom he has sent;" verse 47, "He
that be1ieveth on me has everlasting life;" chap.7:38, "He that
believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living
water." So chap.9:35-37; 11:25; Acts 26:18, "That they may receive
forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified
by faith that is in me." 1 Pet.2:6,7. In all which places, and many
others, we are not only directed to place and affix our faith on
him, but the effect of justification is ascribed thereunto. So
expressly, Acts 13:38,39; which is what we design to prove.
     [3.] Those which give us such a description of the acts of faith

(continued in part 10...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-09.txt