(Owen, Justification. part 11) unto him that believes. In the first sense, especial mercy is the object of faith as justifying; for no more is intended by it but the grace of God setting forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, Rom.3:23,24. And faith in this especial mercy is that which the apostle calls our "receiving of the atonement," Rom.5:11;- -that is, our approbation of it, and adherence unto it, as the great effect of divine wisdom, goodness, faithfulness, love, and grace; which will, therefore, never fail to them who put their trust in it. In the latter sense, it is looked on as the pardon of our own sins in particular, the especial mercy of God unto our souls. That this is the object of justifying faith, that a man is bound to believe this in order of nature antecedent unto his justification, I do deny; neither yet do I know of any testimony or safe experience whereby it may be confirmed. But yet, for any to deny that an undeceiving belief hereof is to be attained in this life, or that it is our duty to believe the pardon of our own sins and the especial love of God in Christ, in the order and method of our duty and privileges, limited and determined in the gospel, so as to come to the full assurance of them (though I will not deny but that peace with God, which is inseparable from justification, may be without them); [is to] seem not to be much acquainted with the design of God in the gospel, the efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ, the nature and work of faith, or their own duty, nor the professed experience of believers recorded in the Scripture. See Rom.5:1-5; Heb.10:2,10,19-22; Ps.46:1,2; 138:7,8; etc. Yet it is granted that all these things are rather fruits or effects of faith, as under exercise and improvement, than of the essence of it, as it is the instrument in our justification. And the trust before mentioned, which is either essential to justifying faith, or inseparable from its is excellently expressed by Bernard, Dom. 6 post Pentec., Ser. 3, "Tria considero in quibus tota spes mea consistit, charitatem adoptionis, veritatem promissionis, potestatem redditionis. Murmuret jam quantum voluerit insipiens cogitatio mea, dicens: Quis enim es tu, et quanta est illa gloria, quibusve meritis hanc obtinere speras? Et ego fiducialiter respondebo: Scio cui credidi, missione, quia potens in exhibitione: licet enim ei facere quod voluerit. Hic est funiculus triplex qui difficile rumpitur, quem nobis a patria nostra in hunc carcerem usque dimissum firmiter, obsecro, teneamus: ut ipse nos sublevet, ipse nos trahat et pertrahat usque ad conspectum gloriae magni Dei: qui est benedictus in saecula. Amen". Concerning this faith and trust, it is earnestly pleaded by many that obedience is included in it; but as to the way and manner thereof, they variously express themselves. Socinus, and those who follow him absolutely, do make obedience to be the essential form of faith; which is denied by Episcopius. The Papists distinguish between faith in-formed and faith formed by charity: which comes to the same purpose, for both are built on this supposition,--that there may be true evangelical faith (that which is required as our duty, and consequently is accepted of God, that may contain all in it which is comprised in the name and duty of faith) that may be without charity or obedience, and so be useless; for the Socinians do not make obedience to be the essence of faith absolutely, but as it justifies. And so they plead unto this purpose, that "faith without works is dead". But to suppose that a dead faith, or that faith which is dead, it that faith which is required of us in the gospel in the way of duty, is a monstrous imagination. Others plead for obedience, charity, the love of God, to be included in the nature of faith; but plead not directly that this obedience is the form of faith, but that which belongs unto the perfection of it, as it is justifying. Neither yet do they say that by this obedience, a continued course of works and obedience, as though that were necessary unto our first justification, is required; but only a sincere active purpose of obedience: and thereon, as the manner of our days is, load them with reproaches who are otherwise minded, if they knew who they were. For how impossible it is, according unto their principles who believe justification by faith alone, that justifying faith should be without a sincere purpose of heart to obey God in all things, I shall briefly declare. For, First, They believe that faith is "not of ourselves, it is the gift of God"; yea, that it is a grace wrought in the hearts of men by the exceeding greatness of his power. And to suppose such a grace dead, inactive, unfruitful, not operative unto the great end of the glory of God, and the transforming of the souls of them that receive it into his image, is a reflection on the wisdom, goodness, and love of God himself. Secondly, That this grace is in them a principle of spiritual life, which in the habit of it, as resident in the heart, is not really distinguished from that of all other grace whereby we live to God. So, that there should be faith habitually in the heart,- -I mean that evangelical faith we inquire after,--or actually exercised, where there is not a habit of all other graces, is utterly impossible. Neither is it possible that there should be any exercise of this faith unto justification, but where the mind is prepared, disposed, and determined unto universal obedience. And therefore, Thirdly, It is denied that any faith, trust, or confidence, which may be imagined, so as to be absolutely separable from, and have its whole nature consistent with, the absence of all other graces, is that faith which is the especial gift of God, and which in the gospel is required of us in a way of duty. And whereas some have said, that "men may believe, and place their firm trust in Christ for life and salvation, and yet not be justified;"--it is a position so destructive unto the gospel, and so full of scandal unto all pious souls, and contains such an express denial of the record that God has given concerning his Son Jesus Christ, as I wonder that any person of sobriety and learning should be surprised into it. And whereas they plead the experience of multitudes who profess this firm faith and confidence in Christ, and yet are not justified,--it is true, indeed, but nothing unto their purpose; for whatever they profess, not only not one of them does so in the sight and judgment of God, where this matter is to be tried, but it is no difficult matter to evict them of the folly and falseness of this profession, by the light and rule of the gospel, even in their own consciences, if they would attend unto instruction. Wherefore we say, the faith whereby we are justified, is such as is not found in any but those who are made-partakers of the Holy Ghost, and by him united unto Christ, whose nature is renewed, and in whom there is a principle of all grace, and purpose of obedience. Only we say, it is not any other grace, as charity and the like, nor any obedience, that gives life and form unto this faith; but it is this faith that gives life and efficacy unto all other graces, and form unto all evangelical obedience. Neither does any thing hence accrue unto our adversaries, who would have all those graces which are, in their root and principle, at least, present in all that are to be justified, to have the same influence unto our justification as faith has: or that we are said to be justified by faith alone; and in explication of it, in answer unto the reproaches of the Romanists, do say we are justified by faith alone, but not by that faith which is alone; that we intend by faith all other graces and obedience also. For besides that, the nature of no other grace is capable of that office which is assigned unto faith in our justification, nor can be assumed into a society in operation with it,--namely, to receive Christ, and the promises of life by him, and to give glory unto God on their account; so when they can give us any testimony of Scripture assigning our justification unto any other grace, or all graces together, or all the fruits of them, so as it is assigned unto faith, they shall be attended unto. And this, in particular, is to be affirmed of repentance; concerning which it is most vehemently urged, that it is of the same necessity unto our justification as faith is. For this they say is easily proved, from testimonies of Scripture innumerable, which call all men to repentance that will be saved; especially those two eminent places are insisted on, Acts 2:38,39; 3:19. But that which they have to prove, is not that it is of the same necessity with faith unto them that are to be justified, but that it is of the same use with faith in their justification. Baptism in that place of the apostle, Acts 2:38,39, is joined with faith no less than repentance; and in other places it is expressly put into the same condition. Hence, most of the ancients concluded that it was no less necessary unto salvation than faith or repentance itself. Yet never did any of them assign it the same use in justification with faith But it is pleaded, whatever is a necessary condition of the new covenant, is also a necessary condition of justification; for otherwise a man might be justified, and continuing in his justified estate, not be saved, for want of that necessary condition: for by a necessary condition of the new covenant, they understand that without which a man cannot be saved. But of this nature is repentance as well as faith, and so is equally a condition of our justification. The ambiguity of the signification of the word "condition" does cast much disorder on the present inquiry, in the discourses of some men. But to pass it by at present, I say, final perseverance is a necessary condition of the new covenant; wherefore, by this rule, it is also of justification. They say, some things are conditions absolutely; such as are faith and repentance, and a purpose of obedience: some are so on some supposition only,--namely, that a man's life be continued in this world; such is a course in obedience and good works, and perseverance unto the end. Wherefore I so position that a man lives in this world, perseverance unto the end is a necessary condition of his justification. And if so, no justified whilst he is in this world; for a condition does suspend that whereof it is a condition from existence until it be accomplished. It is, then, to no purpose to dispute any longer about justification, if indeed no man is, nor can be, justified in this life. But how contrary this is to Scripture and experience is known. If it be said, that final perseverance, which is so express a condition of salvation in the new covenant, is not indeed the condition of our first justification, but it is the condition of the continuation of our justification; then they yield up their grand position, that whatever is a necessary condition of the new covenant is a necessary condition of justification: for it is that which they call the first justification alone which we treat about. And that the continuation of our justification depends solely on the same causes with our justification itself, shall be afterwards declared. But it is not yet proved, nor ever will be, that whatever is required in them that are to be justified, is a condition whereon their justification is immediately suspended. We allow that alone to be a condition of justification which has an influence of causality thereunto, though it be but the causality of an instrument. This we ascribe unto faith alone. And because we do so, it is pleaded that we ascribe more in our justification unto ourselves than they do by whom we are opposed. For we ascribe the efficiency of an instrument herein unto our own faith, when they say one that it is a condition, or "causa sine qua non," of our justification. But I judge that grave and wise men ought not to give so much to the defense of the cause they have undertaken, seeing they cannot but know indeed the contrary. For after they have given the specious name of a condition, and a "causa sine qua non," unto faith, they immediately take all other graces and works of obedience into the same state with it, and the same use in justification; and after this seeming gold has been cast for a while into the fire of disputation, there comes out the calf of a personal, inherent righteousness, whereby men are justified before God, "virtute foederis evangelici;" for as for the righteousness of Christ to be imputed unto us, it is gone into heaven, and they know not what is become of it. Having given this brief declaration of the nature of justifying faith, and the acts of it (as I suppose, sufficient unto my present design), I shall not trouble myself to give an accurate definition of it. What are my thoughts concerning it, will be better understood by what has been spoken, than by any precise definition I can give. And the truth is, definitions of justifying faith have been so multiplied by learned men, and in so great variety, and [there is] such a manifest inconsistency among some of them, that they have been of no advantage unto the truth, but occasions of new controversies and divisions, whilst every one has laboured to defend the accuracy of his own definition, when yet it may be difficult for a true believer to find any thing compliant with his own experience in them; which kind of definitions in these things I have no esteem for. I know no man that has laboured in this argument about the nature of faith more than Dr Jackson; yet, when he has done all, he gives us a definition of justifying faith which I know few that will subscribe unto: yet is it, in the main scope of it, both pious and sound. For he tells us, "Here at length, we may define the faith by which the just live, to be a firm and constant adherence unto the mercies and the loving-kindness of Lord; or, generally, unto the spiritual food exhibited in his sacred word, as much better than this life itself, and all the contentments it is capable of; grounded on a taste or relish of their sweetness, wrought in the soul or heart of a man by the Spirit of Christ". Whereunto he adds, "The terms for the most part are the prophet David's; not metaphorical, as some may fancy, much less equivocal, but proper and homogeneal to the subject defined," tom. 1 book 4 chap.9. For the lively scriptural expressions of faith, by receiving on Christ, leaning on him, rolling ourselves or our burden on him, tasting how gracious the Lord is, and the like, which of late have been reproached, yea, blasphemed, by many, I may have occasion to speak of them afterwards; as also to manifest that they convey a better understanding of the nature, work, and object of justifying faith, unto the minds of men spiritually enlightened, than the most accurate definitions that many pretend unto; some whereof are destructive and exclusive of them all. III. The use of faith in justification; its especial object farther cleared Use of faith in justification; various conceptions about it--By whom asserted as the instrument of it; by whom denied--In what sense it is affirmed so to be--The expressions of the Scripture concerning the use of faith in justification; what they are, and how they are best explained by an instrumental cause--Faith, how the instrument of God in justification--How the instrument of them that do believe- -The use of faith expressed in the Scripture by apprehending, receiving; declared by an instrument--Faith, in what sense the condition of our justification--Signification of that term, whence to be learned The description before given of justifying faith does sufficiently manifest of what use it is in justification; nor shall I in general add much unto what may be thence observed unto that purpose. But whereas this use of it has been expressed with some variety, and several ways of it asserted inconsistent with one another, they must be considered in our passage. And I shall do it with all brevity possible; for these things lead not in any part of the controversy about the nature of justification, but are merely subservient unto other conceptions concerning it. When men have fixed their apprehensions about the principal matters in controversy, they express what concerns the use of faith in an accommodation thereunto. Supposing such to be the nature of justification as they assert, it must be granted that the use of faith therein must be what they plead for. And if what is peculiar unto any in the substance of the doctrine be disproved, they cannot deny but that their notions about the use of faith do fall unto the ground. Thus is it with all who affirm faith to be either the instrument, or the condition, or the "causa sine qua non," or the preparation and disposition of the subject, or a meritorious cause, by way of condecency or congruity, in and of our justification. For all these notions of the use of faith are suited and accommodated unto the opinions of men concerning the nature and principal causes of justification. Neither can any trial or determination be made as unto their truth and propriety, but upon a previous judgment concerning those causes, and the whole nature of justification itself. Whereas, therefore, it were vain and endless to plead the principal matter in controversy upon every thing that occasionally belongs unto it,--and so by the title unto the whole inheritance of every cottage that is built on the premises,--I shall briefly speak unto these various conceptions about the use of faith in our justification, rather to find out and give an understanding of what is intended by them, than to argue about their truth and propriety, which depend on that wherein the substance of the controversy does consist. Protestant divines, until of late, have unanimously affirmed faith to be the instrumental cause of our justification. So it is expressed to be in many of the public confessions of their churches. This notion of theirs concerning the nature and use of faith was from the first opposed by those of the Roman church. Afterward it was denied also by the Socinians, as either false or improper. Socin. Miscellan. Smalcius adv. Frantz. disput. 4; Schlichting. adver. Meisner. de Justificat. And of late this expression is disliked by some among ourselves; wherein they follow Episcopius, Curcellaeus, and others of that way. Those who are sober and moderate do rather decline this notion and expression as improper, than reject them as untrue. And our safest course, in these cases, is to consider what is the thing or matter intended. If that be agreed upon, he deserves best of truth who parts with strife about propriety of expressions, before it be meddled with. Tenacious pleading about them will surely render our contentions endless; and none will ever want an appearance of probability to give them countenance in what they pretend. If our design in teaching be the same with that of the Scripture,--namely, to inform the minds of believers, and convey the light of the knowledge of God in Christ unto them, we must be contented sometimes to make use of such expressions as will scarce pass the ordeal of arbitrary rules and distinctions, through the whole compass of notional and artificial sciences. And those who, without more ado, reject the instrumentality of faith in our justification, as an unscriptural notion, as though it were easy for them with one breath to blow away the reasons and arguments of so many learned men as have pleaded for it, may not, I think, do amiss to review the grounds of their confidence. For the question being only concerning what is intended by it, it is not enough that the term or word itself, of an instrument, is not found unto this purpose in the Scripture; for on the same ground we may reject a trinity of persons in the divine essence, without an acknowledgment whereof, not one line of the Scripture can be rightly understood. Those who assert faith to be as the instrumental cause in our justification, do it with respect unto two ends. For, first, they design thereby to declare the meaning of those expressions in the Scripture wherein we are said to be justified "pistei", absolutely; which must denote, either "instrumentum, aut formam, aut modum actionis". "Logidzometha oun pistei kikaiousthai anthroopon", Rom.3:28;--"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith." So, "Dia pisteoos", verse 22; "Ek pisteoos", Rom.1:17; Gal.3:8; "Dia tes pisteoos", Eph.2:8; "Ek pisteoos, kai dia tes pisteoos", Rom.3:30;--that is "Fide, ex fide, per fidem"; which we can express only, by faith, or through faith. "Propter fidem", or "dia pistin", for our faith, we are nowhere said to be justified. The inquiry is, What is the most proper, lightsome, and convenient way of declaring the meaning of these expressions? This the generality of Protestants do judge to be by an instrumental cause: for some kind of causality they do plainly intimate, whereof the lowest and meanest is that which is instrumental; for they are used of faith in our justification before God, and of no other grace of duty whatever. Wherefore, the proper work or office of faith in our justification is intended by them. And "dia" is nowhere used in the whole New Testament with a genitive case (nor in any other good author), but it denotes an instrumental efficiency at least. In the divine works of the holy Trinity, the operation of the second person, who is in them a principal efficient, yet is sometimes expressed thereby; it may be to denote the order of operation in the holy Trinity answering the order of subsistence, though it be applied unto God absolutely or the Father: Rom.11:36, "Di autou"--"By him are all things". Again, "ex ergoon vomou" and "ex akoes pisteoos" are directly opposed, Gal.3:2. But when it is said that a man is not justified "ex ergoon nomou",--"by the works of the law,"--it is acknowledged by all that the meaning of the expression is to exclude all efficiency, in every kind of such works, from our justification. Is follows, therefore, that where, in opposition hereunto, we are said to be justified "ek pisteoos",--"by faith,"--an instrumental efficiency is intended. Yet will I not, therefore, make it my controversy with any, that faith is properly an instrument, or the instrumental cause in or of our justification; and so divert into an impertinent contest about the nature and kinds of instruments and instrumental causes, as they are metaphysically hunted with a confused cry of futilous terms and distinctions. But this I judge, that among all those notions of things which may be taken from common use and understanding, to represent unto our minds the meaning and intention of the scriptural expressions so often used, "pistei, ek pisteoos, dia pisteoos", there is none so proper as this of an instrument or instrumental cause, seeing a causality is included in them, and that of any other kind certainly excluded; nor has it any of its own. But it may be said, that if faith be the instrumental cause of justification, it is either the instrument of God, or the instrument of believers themselves. That it is not the instrument of God is plain, in that it is a duty which he prescribes unto us: it is an act of our own; and it is we that believe, not God; nor can any act of ours be the instrument of his work. And if it be our instrument, seeing an efficiency is ascribed unto it, then are we the efficient causes of our own justification in some sense, and may be said to justify ourselves; which is derogatory to the grace of God and the blood of Christ. I confess that I lay not much weight on exceptions of this nature. For, First, Notwithstanding what is said herein, the Scripture is express, that "God justifieth us by faith." "It is one God which shall justify the circumcision no "ek pisteoos", (by faith,) "and the uncircumcision "dia tes pisteoos", (through or by faith), Rom.3:30. "The Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith," Gal.3:8. As he "purifieth the hearts of men by faith," Acts 15:9, wherefore faith, in some sense, may be said to be the instrument of God in our justification, both as it is the means and way ordained and appointed by him on our part whereby we shall be justified; as also, because he bestows it on us, and works it in us unto this end, that we may be justified: for "by grace we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God," Eph.2:8. If any one shall now say, that on these accounts, or with respect unto divine ordination and operation concurring unto our justification, faith is the instrument of God, in its place and way, (as the gospel also is, Rom.1:16; and the ministers of it, 2 Cor.5:18; 1 Tim.4:6; and the sacraments also, Rom.4:11; Tit.3:5, in their several places and kinds), unto our justification, it may be he will contribute unto a right conception of the work of God herein, as much as those shall by whom it is denied. But that which is principally intended is, that it is the instrument of them that do believe. Neither yet are they said hereon to justify themselves. For whereas it does neither really produce the effect of justification by a physical operation, nor can do so, it being a pure sovereign act of God; nor is morally any way meritorious thereof; nor does dispose the subject wherein it is unto the introduction of an inherent formal cause of justification, there being no such thing in "rerum natura"; nor has any other physical or moral respect unto the effect of justifications but what arises merely from the constitution and appointment of God; there is no colour of reason, from the instrumentality of faith asserted, to ascribe the effect of justification unto any but unto the principal efficient cause, which is God alone, and from whom it proceeds in a way of free and sovereign grace, disposing the order of things and the relation of them one unto another as seems good unto him. "Dikaioumenoi doorean tei autou chariti", Rom.3:24; "Dia tes pisteoos en tooi autou haimati", verse 25. It is, therefore, the ordinance of God prescribing our duty, that we may be justified freely by his grace, having its use and operation towards that end, after the manner of an instrument; as we shall see farther immediately. Wherefore, so far as I can discern, they contribute nothing unto the real understanding of this truth, who deny faith to be the instrumental cause of our justification; and, on other grounds, assert it to be the condition thereof, unless they can prove this is a more natural exposition of these expressions, "pistei, ek pisteoos, dia tes pisteoos", which is the first thing to be inquired after. For all that we do in this matter is but to endeavour a right understanding of Scripture propositions and expressions, unless we intend to wander "extra pleas," and lose ourselves in a maze of uncertain conjectures. Secondly. They designed to declare the use of faith in justification, expressed in the Scripture by apprehending and receiving of Christ or his righteousness, and remission of sins thereby. The words whereby this use of faith in our justification is expressed, are, "lamthanoo, paralamthanoo", and "katalamthanoo". And the constant use of them in the Scripture is, to take or receive what is offered, tendered, given or granted unto us; or to apprehend and lay hold of any thing thereby to make it our own: as "epilamthanomai" is also used in the same sense, Heb.2:16. So we are said by faith to "receive Christ", John 1:12; Col.2:6;--the "abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness", Rom.5:17;--the "word of promise," Acts 2:41;--the "word of God," Acts 8:14; 1 Thess.1:6; 2:13;--the "atonement made by the blood of Christ," Rom.5:11;--the "forgiveness of sins", Acts 10:43; 26:18;--the "promise of the Spirit," Gal.3:14;--the "promises", Heb.9:15. There is, therefore, nothing that concurs unto our justification, but we receive it by faith. And unbelief is expressed by "not receiving," John 1:11; 3:11; 12:48; 14:17. Wherefore, the object of faith in our justification, that whereby we are justified, is tendered, granted, and given unto us of God; the use of faith being to lay hold upon it, to receive it, so as that it may be our own. What we receive of outward things that are so given unto us, we do it by our hand; which, therefore, is the instrument of that reception, that whereby we apprehend or lay hold of any thing to appropriate it unto ourselves, and that, because this is the peculiar office which, by nature, it is assigned unto among all the members of the body. Other uses it has, and other members, on other accounts, may be as useful unto the body as it; but it alone is the instrument of receiving and apprehending that which, being given, is to be made our own, and to abide with us. Whereas, therefore, the righteousness wherewith we are justified is the gift of God, which is tendered unto us in the promise of the gospel; the use and office of faith being to receive, apprehend, or lay hold of and appropriate, this righteousness, I know not how it can be better expressed than by an instrument, nor by what notion of it more light of understanding may be conveyed unto our minds. Some may suppose other notions are meet to express it by on other accounts; and it may be so with respect unto other uses of it: but the sole present inquiry is, how it shall be declared, as that which receives Christ, the atonement, the gift of righteousness; which shall prove its only use in our justification. He that can better express this than by an instrument ordained of God unto this end, all whose use depends on that ordination of God, will deserve well of the truth. It is true, that all those who place the formal cause or reason of our justification in ourselves, or our inherent righteousness, and so, either directly or by just consequence, deny all imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto our justification, are not capable of admitting faith to be an instrument in this work, nor are pressed with this consideration; for they acknowledge not that we receive a righteousness which is not our own, by way of gift, whereby we are justified, and so cannot allow of any instrument whereby it should be received. The righteousness itself being, as they phrase it, putative, imaginary, a chimera, a fiction, it can have no real accidents,--nothing that can be really predicated concerning it. Wherefore, as was said at the entrance of this discourse, the truth and propriety of this declaration of the use of faith in our justification by an instrumental cause, depends on the substance of the doctrine itself concerning the nature and principal causes of it, with which they must stand or fall. If we are justified through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, which faith alone apprehends and receives, it will not be denied but that it is rightly enough placed as the instrumental cause of our justification. And if we are justified by an inherent, evangelical righteousness of our own, faith may be the condition of its imputation, or a disposition for its introduction, or a congruous merit of it, but an instrument it cannot be. But yet, for the present, it has this double advantage:-- First, That it best and most appositely answers what is affirmed of the use of faith in our justification in the Scripture, as the instances given do manifest. Secondly, That no other notion of it can be so stated, but that it must be apprehended in order of time to be previous unto justification; which justifying faith cannot be, unless a man may be a true believer with justifying faith, and yet not be justified. Some do plead that faith is the condition of our justification, and that otherwise it is not to be conceived of. As I said before, so I say again, I shall not contend with any man about words, terms, or expressions, so long as what is intended by them is agreed upon. And there is an obvious sense wherein faith may he called the condition of our justification; for no more may be intended thereby, but that it is the duty on our part which God requires, that we may be justified. And this the whole Scripture bears witness unto. Yet this hinders not but that, as unto its use, it may be the instrument whereby we apprehend or receive Christ and his righteousness. But to assert it the condition of our justification, or that we are justified by it as the condition of the new covenant, so as, from a preconceived signification of that word, to give it another use in justification, exclusive of that pleaded for, as the instrumental cause thereof, is not easily to be admitted; because it supposes an alteration in the substance of the doctrine itself. The word is nowhere used in the Scripture in this matter; which I argue no farther, but that we have no certain rule or standard to try and measure its signification by. Wherefore, it cannot first be introduced in what sense men please, and then that sense turned into argument for other ends. For thus, on a supposed concession that it is the condition of our justification, some heighten it into a subordinate righteousness, imputed unto us antecedently, as I suppose, unto the imputation of the righteousness of Christ in any sense, whereof it is the condition. And some, who pretend to lessen its efficiency or dignity in the use of it in our justification, say it is only "causa sine qua non;" which leaves us at as great an uncertainty as to the nature and efficacy of this condition as we were before. Nor is the true sense of things at all illustrated, but rather darkened, by such notions. If we may introduce words into religion nowhere used in the Scripture (as we may and must, if we design to bring light, and communicate proper apprehensions of the things contained [in it] unto the minds of men), yet are we not to take along with them arbitrary, preconceived senses, forged either among lawyers or in the peripatetic school. The use of them in the most approved authors of the language whereunto they do belong, and their common vulgar acceptation among ourselves, must determine their sense and meaning. It is known what confusion in the minds of men, the introduction of words into ecclesiastical doctrines, of whose signification there has not been a certain determinate rule agreed on, has produced. So the word "merit" was introduced by some of the ancients (as is plain (continued in part 12...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-11.txt .