(Owen, Justification. part 14)

V. The distinction of a first and second justification examined--The
continuation of justification:--whereon it does depend

Distinction of a first and second justification--The whole doctrine
of the Roman church concerning justification grounded on this
distinction--The first justification, the nature and causes of it,
according unto the Romanists--The second justification, what it is
in their sense--Solution of the seeming difference between Paul and
James, falsely pretended by this distinction--The same distinction
received by the Socinians and others--The latter termed by some the
continuation of our justification--The distinction disproved--
Justification considered, either as unto its essence or its
manifestation--The manifestation of it twofold, initial and final--
Initial is either unto ourselves or others--No second justification
hence ensues--Justification before God, legal and evangelical--Their
distinct natures--The distinction mentioned derogatory to the merit
of Christ--More in it ascribed unto ourselves than unto the blood of
Christ, in our justification--The vanity of disputations to this
purpose--All true justification overthrown by this distinction--No
countenance given unto this justification in the Scripture--The
second justification not intended by the apostle James--Evil of
arbitrary distinctions--Our first justification so described in the
Scripture as to leave no room for a second--Of the continuation of
our justification; whether it depend on faith alone, or our personal
righteousness, inquired--Justification at once completed, in all the
causes and effects of it, proved at large--Believers, upon their
justification, obliged unto perfect obedience--The commanding power
of the law constitutes the nature of sin in them who are not
obnoxious unto its curse--Future sins, in what sense remitted at our
first justification--The continuation of actual pardon, and thereby
of a justified estate; on what it does depend--Continuation of
justifications the act of God; whereon it depends in that sense--On
our part, it depends on faith alone--Nothing required hereunto but
the application of righteousness imputed--The continuation of our
justification is before God--That whereon the continuation of our
justification depends, pleadable before God--This not our personal
obedience, proved:--1. By the experience of all believers--2.

Testimonies of Scripture--3. Examples--The distinction mentioned

Before we inquire immediately into the nature and causes of
justification, there are some things yet previously to be
considered, that we may prevent all ambiguity and misunderstanding
about the subject to be treated of. I say, therefore, that the
evangelical justification, which alone we plead about, is but one,
and is at once completed. About any other justification before God
but one, we will not contend with any. Those who can find out
another may, as they please, ascribe what they will unto it, or
ascribe it unto what they will. Let us, therefore, consider what is
offered of this nature.
     Those of the Roman church do ground their whole doctrine of
justification upon a distinction of a double justification; which
they call the first and the second. The first justification, they
say, is the infusion or the communication unto us of an inherent
principle or habit of grace or charity. Hereby, they say, original
sin is extinguished, and all habits of sin are expelled. This
justification they say is by faith; the obedience and satisfaction
of Christ being the only meritorious cause thereof. Only, they
dispute many things about preparations for it, and dispositions unto
it. Under those terms the Council of Trent included the doctrine of
the schoolmen about "meritum de congruo," as both Hosius and
Andradius confess, in the defense of that council. And as they are
explained, they come much to one; however, the council warily
avoided the name of merit with respect unto this their first
justification. And the use of faith herein (which with them is no
more but a general assent unto divine revelation) is to bear the
principal part in these preparations. So that to be "justified by
faith," according unto them, is to have the mind prepared by this
kind of believing to receive "gratiam gratum facientem",--a habit of
grace, expecting sin and making us acceptable unto God. For upon
this believing, with those other duties of contrition and repentance
which must accompany it, it is meet and congruous unto divine
wisdom, goodness, and faithfulness, to give us that grace whereby we
are justified. And this, according unto them, is that justification
whereof the apostle Paul treats in his epistles, from the
procurement whereof he excludes all the works of the law. The second
justification is an effect or consequent hereof, and the proper
formal cause thereof is good works, proceeding from this principle
of grace and love. Hence are they the righteousness wherewith
believers are righteous before God, whereby they merit eternal life.
The righteousness of works they call it; and suppose it taught by
the apostle James. This they constantly affirm to make us "justos ex
injustis;" wherein they are followed by others. For this is the way
that most of them take to salve the seeming repugnancy between the
apostles Paul and James. Paul, they say, treats of the first
justification only, whence he excludes all works; for it is by
faith, in the manner before described: but James treats of the
second justification; which is by good works. So Bellar., lib. 2
cap. 16, and lib 4 cap. 18. And it is the express determination of
those at Trent, sess. 6 cap. 10. This distinction was coined unto no
other end but to bring in confusion into the whole doctrine of the
gospel. Justification through the free grace of God, by faith in the
blood of Christ, is evacuated by it. Sanctification is turned into a
justification, and corrupted by making the fruits of it meritorious.
The whole nature of evangelical justification, consisting in the
gratuitous pardon of sin and the imputation of righteousness, as the
apostle expressly affirms, and the declaration of a believing sinner
to be righteous thereon, as the word alone signifies, is utterly
defeated by it.
     Howbeit others have embraced this distinction also, though not
absolutely in their sense. So do the Socinians. Yea, it must be
allowed, in some sense, by all that hold our inherent righteousness
to be the cause of, or to have any influence into, our justification
before God. For they do allow of a justification which in order of
nature is antecedent unto works truly gracious and evangelical: but
consequential unto such works there is a justification differing at
least in degree, if not in nature and kind, upon the difference of
its formal cause; which is our new obedience from the former. But
they mostly say it is only the continuation of our justification,
and the increase of it as to degrees, that they intend by it. And if
they may be allowed to turn sanctification into justification, and
to make a progress therein, or an increase thereof, either in the
root or fruit, to be a new justification, they may make twenty
justifications as well as two, for aught I know: for therein the "
inward man is renewed day by day," 2 Cor.4:16; and believers go
"from strength to strength," are "changed from glory to glory," 2
Cor.3:18, by the addition of one grace unto another in their
exercise, 2 Pet.1:5-8, and "increasing with the increase of God,"
Col.2:19, do in all things "grow up into him who is the head,"
Eph.4:15. And if their justification consist herein, they are
justified anew every day. I shall therefore do these two things:--1.
Show that this distinction is both unscriptural and irrational. 2.
Declare what is the continuation of our justification, and whereon
it does depend.
     1. Justification by faith in the blood of Christ may be considered
either as to the nature and essence of it, or as unto its
manifestation and declaration. The manifestation of it is twofold:--
First, Initial, in this life. Second, Solemn and complete, at the
day of judgment; whereof we shall treat afterwards. The
manifestation of it in this life respects either the souls and
consciences of them that are justified, or others; that is, the
church or the world. And each of these have the name of
justification assigned unto them, though our real justification
before God be always one and the same. But a man may be really
justified before God, and yet not have the evidence or assurance of
it in his own mind; wherefore that evidence or assurance is not of
the nature or essence of that faith whereby we are justified, nor
does necessarily accompany our justification. But this manifestation
of a man's own justification unto himself, although it depend on
many especial causes, which are not necessary unto his justification
absolutely before God, is not a second justification when it is
attained; but only the application of the former unto his conscience
by the Holy Ghost. There is also a manifestation of it with respect
unto others, which in like manner depends on other causes then does
our justification before God absolutely; yet is it not a second
justification: for it depends wholly on the visible effects of that
faith whereby we are justified, as the apostle James instructs us;
yet is it only one single justification before God, evidenced and
declared, unto his glory, the benefit of others, and increase of our
own reward.
     There is also a twofold justification before God mentioned in the
Scripture. First, "By the works of the law," Rom.2:13; 10:5;
Matt.19:16-19. Hereunto is required an absolute conformity unto the
whole law of God, in our natures, all the faculties of our souls,
all the principles of our moral operations, with perfect actual
obedience unto all its commands, in all instances of duty, both for
matter and manner: for he is cursed who continues not in all things
that are written in the law, to do them; and he that break any one
commandment is guilty of the breach of the whole law. Hence the
apostle concludes that none can be justified by the law, because all
have sinned. Second, There is a justification by grace, through
faith in the blood of Christ; whereof we treat. And these ways of
justification are contrary, proceeding on terms directly
contradictory, and cannot be made consistent with or subservient one
to the other. But, as we shall manifest afterwards, the confounding
of them both, by mixing them together, is that which is aimed at in
this distinction of a first and second justification. But whatever
respects it may have, that justification which we have before God,
in his sight through Jesus Christ, is but one, and at once full and
complete; and this distinction is a vain and fond invention. For,--
     (1.) As it is explained by the Papists, it is exceedingly
derogatory to the merit of Christ; for it leaves it no effect
towards us, but only the infusion of a habit of charity. When that
is done, all that remains, with respect unto our salvation, is to be
wrought by ourselves. Christ has only merited the first grace for
us, that we therewith and thereby may merit life eternal. The merit
of Christ being confined in its effect unto the first justification,
it has no immediate influence into any grace, privilege, mercy, or
glory that follows thereon; but they are all effects of that second
justification which is purely by works. But this is openly contrary
unto the whole tenor of the Scripture: for although there be an
order of God's appointment, wherein we are to be made partakers of
evangelical privileges in grace and glory, one before another, yet
are they all of them the immediate effects of the death and
obedience of Christ; who has "obtained for us eternal redemption,"
Heb.9:12; and is "the author of eternal salvation unto all that do
obey him," chap.5:9; "having by one offering forever perfected them
that are sanctified." And those who allow of a secondary, if not of
a second, justification, by our own inherent, personal
righteousnesses, are also guilty hereof, though not in the same
degree with them; for whereas they ascribe unto it our acquitment
from all charge of sin after the first justification, and a
righteousness accepted in judgment, in the judgment of God, as if it
were complete and perfect, whereon depends our final absolution and
reward, it is evident that the immediate efficacy of the
satisfaction and merit of Christ has its bounds assigned unto it in
the first justification; which, whether it be taught in the
Scripture or no, we shall afterward inquire.
     (2.) More, by this distinction, is ascribed unto ourselves,
working by virtue of inherent grace, as unto the merit and
procurement of spiritual and eternal good, than unto the blood of
Christ; for that only procures the first grace and justification for
us. Thereof alone it is the meritorious cause; or, as others express
it, we are made partakers of the effects of it in the pardon of sins
past: but, by virtue of this grace, we do ourselves obtain, procure,
or merit, another, a second, a complete justification, the
continuance of the favour of God, and all the fruits of it, with
life eternal and glory. So do our works, at least, perfect and
complete the merit of Christ, without which it is imperfect. And
those who assign the continuation of our justification, wherein all
the effects of divine favour and grace are contained, unto our own
personal righteousness, as also final justification before God as
the pleadable cause of it, do follow their steps, unto the best of
my understanding. But such things as these may be disputed; in
debates of which kind it is incredible almost what influence on the
minds of men, traditions, prejudices, subtlety of invention and
arguing, do obtain, to divert them from real thoughts of the things
about which they contend, with respect unto themselves and their own
condition. If by any means such persons can be called home unto
themselves, and find leisure to think how and by what means they
shall come to appear before the high God, to be freed from the
sentence of the law, and the curse due to sin,--to have a pleadable
righteousness at the judgment-seat of God before which they stand,--
especially if a real sense of these things be implanted on their
minds by the convincing power of the Holy Ghost,--all their subtle
arguments and pleas for the mighty efficacy of their own personal
righteousness will sink in their minds like water at the return of
the tide, and leave nothing but mud and defilement behind them.
     (3.) This distinction of two justifications, as used and improved
by those of the Roman church, leaves us, indeed, no justification at
all. Something there is, in the branches of it, of sanctification;
but of justification nothing at all. Their first justification, in
the infusion of a habit or principle of grace, unto the expulsion of
all habits of sin, is sanctification, and nothing else. And we never
did contend that our justification in such a sense, if any will take
it in such a sense, does consist in the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ. And this justification, if any will needs
call it so, is capable of degrees, both of increase in itself and of
exercise in its fruits; as was newly declared. But, not only to call
this our justification, with a general respect unto the notion of
the word, as a making of us personally and inherently righteous, but
to plead that this is the justification through faith in the blood
of Christ declared in the Scripture, is to exclude the only true,
evangelical justification from any place in religion. The second
branch of the distinction has much in it like unto justification by
the law, but nothing of that which is declared in the gospel. So
that this distinction, instead of coining us two justifications,

according to the gospel, has left us none at all. For,--
     (4.) There is no countenance given unto this distinction in the
Scripture. There is, indeed, mention therein, as we observed before,
of a double justification,--the one by the law, the other according
unto the gospel; but that either of these should, on any account, be
sub-distinguished into a first and second of the same kind,--that
is, either according unto the law or the gospel,--there is nothing
in the Scripture to intimate. For this second justification is no
way applicable unto what the apostle James discourses on that
subject. He treats of justification; but speaks not one word of an
increase of it, or addition unto it, of a first or second. Besides,
he speaks expressly of him that boasts of faith; which being without
works, is a dead faith. But he who has the first justification, by
the confession of our adversaries, has a true, living faith, formed
and enlivened by charity. And he uses the same testimony concerning
the justification of Abraham that Paul does; and therefore does not
intend another, but the same, though in a diverse respect. Nor does
any believer learn the least of it in his own experience; nor,
without a design to serve a farther turn, would it ever have entered
the minds of sober men on the reading of the Scripture. And it is
the bane of spiritual truth, for men, in the pretended declaration
of it, to coin arbitrary distinctions, without Scripture ground for
them, and obtrude them as belonging unto the doctrine they treat of.
They serve unto no other end or purpose but only to lead the minds
of men item the substance of what they ought to attend unto, and to
engage all sorts of persons in endless strifes and contentions. If
the authors of this distinction would but go over the places in the
Scripture where mention is made of our justification before God, and
make a distribution of them into the respective parts of their
distinction, they would quickly find themselves at an unbelievable
     (5.) There is that in the Scripture ascribed unto our first
justification, if they will needs call it so, as leaves no room for
their second feigned justification; for the sole foundation and
pretence of this distinction is a denial of those things to belong
unto our justification by the blood of Christ which the Scripture
expressly assigns unto it. Let us take out some instances of what
belongs unto the first, and we shall quickly see how little it is,
yea, that there is nothing left for the pretended second
justification. For,--[1.] Therein do we receive the complete "pardon
and forgiveness of our sins," Rom.4:6,7; Eph.1:7; 4:32; Acts 26:18.
[2.] Thereby are we "made righteous," Rom.5:19; 10:4; and, [3.] Are
freed from condemnation, judgment, and death, John 3:16,19; 5:25;
Rom.8:1; [4.] Are reconciled unto God, Rom.5:9,10; 2 Cor.5:21; and,
[5.] Have peace unto him, and access into the favour wherein we
stand by grace, with the advantages and consolations that depend
thereon in a sense of his love, Rom.5:1-5. And, [6.] We have
adoption therewithal, and all its privileges, John 1:12; and, in
particular, [7.] A right and title unto the whole inheritance of
glory, Acts 26:18; Rom.8:17. And, [8.] Hereon eternal life does
follow, Rom.8:30; 6:23. Which things will be again immediately
spoken unto upon another occasion. And if there be anything now left
for their second justification to do, as such, let them take it as
their own; these things are all of them ours, or do belong unto that
one justification which we do assert. Wherefore it is evident, that
either the first justification overthrows the second, rendering it
needless; or the second destroys the first, by taking away what
essentially belongs unto it: we must therefore part with the one or
the other, for consistent they are not. But that which gives
countenance unto the fiction and artifice of this distinction, and a
great many more, is a dislike of the doctrine of the grace of God,
and justification from thence, by faith in the blood of Christ;
which some endeavour hereby to send out of the way upon a pretended
sleeveless errand, whilst they dress up their own righteousness in
its robes, and exalt it into the room and dignity thereof.
     2. But there seems to be more of reality and difficulty in what is
pleaded concerning the continuation of our justification; for those
that are freely justified are continued in that state until they are
glorified. By justification they are really changed into a new
spiritual state and condition, and have a new relation given them
unto God and Christ, unto the law and the gospel. And it is inquired
what it is whereon their continuation in this state does on their
part depend; or what is required of them that they may be justified
unto the end. And this, as some say, is not faith alone, but also
the works of sincere obedience. And none can deny but that they are
required of all them that are justified, whilst they continue in a
state of justification on this side glory, which next and
immediately ensues thereunto; but whether, upon our justification at
first before God, faith be immediately dismissed from its place and
office, and its work be given over unto works, so as that the
continuation of our justification should depend on our own personal
obedience, and not on the renewed application of faith unto Christ
and his righteousness, is worth our inquiry. Only, I desire the
reader to observe, that whereas the necessity of owning a personal
obedience in justified persons is on all hands absolutely agreed,
the seeming difference that is herein concerns not the substance of
the doctrine of justification, but the manner of expressing our
conceptions concerning the order of the disposition of God's grace,
and our own duty unto edification; wherein I shall use my own
liberty, as it is meet others should do theirs. And I shall offer my
thoughts hereunto in the ensuing observations:--
     (1.) Justification is such a work as is at once completed in all
the causes and the whole effect of it, though not as unto the full
possession of all that it gives right and title unto. For,--[1.] All
our sins, past, present, and to come, were at once imputed unto and
laid upon Jesus Christ; in what sense we shall afterwards inquire.
"He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our
iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his
stripes are we healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have
turned every one to his own way: and the LORD has made to meet on
him the iniquities of us all," Isa.53:5,6. "Who his own self bare
our sins in his own body on the tree," 1 Pet.2:24. The assertions
being indefinite, without exception or limitation, are equivalent
unto universals. All our sins were on him, he bare them all at once;
and therefore, once died for all. [2.] He did, therefore, at once
"finish transgression, make an end of sin, make reconciliation for
iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness," Dan.9:24. At once
he expiated all our sins; for "by himself he purged our sins," and
then "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," Heb.1:3.
And "we are sanctified," or dedicated unto God, "through the
offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all; for by one
offering he has perfected" (consummated, completed, as unto their
spiritual state) "them that are sanctified," Heb.10:10,14. He never
will do more than he has actually done already, for the expiation at
all our sins from first to last; "for there remaineth no more
sacrifice for sin". I do not say that hereupon our justification is
complete, but only, that the meritorious procuring cause of it was
at once completed, and is never to be renewed or repeated any more;
all the inquiry is concerning the renewed application of it unto our
souls and consciences, whether that be by faith alone, or by the
works of righteousness which we do. [3.] By our actual believing
with justifying faith, believing on Christ, or his name, we do
receive him; and thereby, on our first justifications become the
"sons of God," John 1:12; that is, "heirs of God, and joint heirs
with Christ," Rom.8:17. Hereby we have a right unto, and an interest
in, all the benefits of his mediation; which is to be at once
completely justified. For "in him we are complete," Col.2:10; for by
the faith that is in him we do "receive the forgiveness of sins,"
and a lot or "inheritance among all them that are sanctified," Acts
26:18; being immediately "justified from all things, from which we
could not be justified by the law," Acts 13:39; yea, God thereon
"blesseth us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in
Christ," Eph.1:3. All these things are absolutely inseparable from
our first believing in him; and therefore our justification is at
once complete. In particular,--[4.] On our believing, all our sins
are forgiven. "He has quickened you together with him, having
forgiven you all trespasses," Col.2:13-15. For "in him we have
redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins,
according unto the riches of his grace," Eph.1:7; which one place
obviates all the petulant exceptions of some against the consistency
of the free grace of God in the pardon of sins, and the satisfaction
of Christ in the procurement thereof [5.] There is hereon nothing to
be laid unto the charge of them that are so justified; for "he that
believeth has everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation, but is passed from death unto life," John 5:24. And
"who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God
that justifieth; it is Christ that died," Rom.8:33,34. And "there is
no condemnation unto them that are in Christ Jesus," verse 1; for,
"being justified by faith, we have peace with God," chap.5:1. And,
[6.] We have that blessedness hereon whereof in this life we are
capable, chap.4:5,6. From all which it appears that our
justification is at once complete. And, [7.] It must be so, or no
man can be justified in this world. For no time can be assigned, nor
measure of obedience be limited, whereon it may be supposed that any
one comes to be justified before God, who is not so on his first
believing; for the Scripture does nowhere assign any such time or
measure. And to say that no man is completely justified in the sight
of God in this life, is at once to overthrow all that is taught in
the Scriptures concerning justification, and wherewithal all peace
with God and comfort of believers. But a man acquitted upon his
legal trial is at once discharged of all that the law has against
     (2.) Upon this complete justifications, believers are obliged unto
universal obedience unto God. The law is not abolished, but
established, by faith. It is neither abrogated nor dispensed withal
by such an interpretation as should take off its obligation in any
thing that it requires, nor as to the degree and manner wherein it
requires it. Nor is it possible it should be so; for it is nothing
but the rule of that obedience which the nature of God and man makes
necessary from the one to the other. And that is an Antinomianism of
the worst sort, and most derogatory unto the law of God, which
affirms it to be divested of its power to oblige unto perfect
obedience, so as that what is not so shall (as it were in despite of
the law) be accepted as if it were so, unto the end for which the
law requires it. There is no medium, but that either the law is
utterly abolished, and so there is no sin, for where there is no law
there is no transgression, or it must be allowed to require the same
obedience that it did at its first institution, and unto the same
degree. Neither is it in the power of any man living to keep his
conscience from judging and condemning that, whatever it be, wherein
he is convinced that he comes short of the perfection of the law.
     (3.) The commanding power of the law in positive precepts and
prohibitions, which justified persons are subject unto, does make
and constitute all their unconformities unto it to be no less truly
and properly sins in their own nature, than they would be if their
persons were obnoxious unto the curse of it. This they are not, nor
can be; for to be obnoxious unto the curse of the law, and to be
justified, are contradictory; but to be subject to the commands of
the law, and to be justified, are not so. But it is a subjection to
the commanding power of the law, and not an obnoxiousness unto the
curse of the law, that constitutes the nature of sin in its
transgression. Wherefore, that complete justification which is at
once, though it dissolve the obligations on the sinner unto
punishment by the curse of the law, yet does it not annihilate the
commanding authority of the law unto them that are justified, that,
what is sin in others should not be so in them. See Rom.8:1,33,34.
     Hence, in the first justification of believing sinners, all future
sins are remitted as unto any actual obligation unto the curse of
the law, unless they should fall into such sins as should, ipso
facto, forfeit their justified estate, and transfer them from the
covenant of grace into the covenant of works; which we believe that
God, in his faithfulness, will preserve them from. And although sin
cannot be actually pardoned before it be actually committed, yet may
the obligation unto the curse of the law be virtually taken away
from such sins in justified persons as are consistent with a
justified estate, or the terms of the covenant of grace,
antecedently unto their actual commission. God at once in this sense
"forgiveth all their iniquities, and health all their diseases,
redeemeth their life from destruction, and crowneth them with
loving-kindness and tender mercies," Ps.103:3,4. Future sins are not
so pardoned as that, when they are committed, they should be no
sins; which cannot be, unless the commanding power of the law be
abrogated: but their respect unto the curse of the law, or their
power to oblige the justified person thereunto, is taken away.
     Still there abides the true nature of sin in every unconformity
unto or transgression of the law in justified persons, which stands
in need of daily actual pardon. For there is "no man that liveth and
sinneth not;" and "if we say that we have no sin, we do but deceive
ourselves." None are more sensible of the guilt of sin, none are
more troubled for it, none are more earnest in supplications for the
pardon of it, than justified persons. For this is the effect of the
sacrifice of Christ applied unto the souls of believers, as the
apostle declares Heb.10:1-4,10,14, that it does take away conscience
condemning the sinner for sin, with respect unto the curse of the
law; but it does not take away conscience condemning sin in the
sinner, which, on all considerations of God and themselves, of the
law and the gospel, requires repentance on the part of the sinner,
and actual pardon on the part of God.
     Where, therefore, one essential part of justification consists in
the pardon of our sins, and sins cannot be actually pardoned before
they are actually committed, our present inquiry is, whereon the
continuation of our justification does depend, notwithstanding the
interveniency of sin after we are justified, whereby such sins are
actually pardoned, and our persons are continued in a state of
acceptation with God, and have their right unto life and glory
uninterrupted? Justification is at once complete in the imputation
of a perfect righteousness, the grant of a right and title unto the
heavenly inheritance, the actual pardon of all past sins, and the
virtual pardon of future sin; but how or by what means, on what
terms and conditions, this state is continued unto those who are
once justified, whereby their righteousness is everlasting, their
title to life and glory indefeasible, and all their sins are
actually pardoned, is to be inquired.
     For answer unto this inquiry I say,--(1.) "It is God that
justifieth;" and, therefore, the continuation of our justification
is his act also. And this, on his part, depends on the immutability
of his counsel; the unchangeableness of the everlasting covenant,
which is "ordered in all things, and sure;" the faithfulness of his
promises; the efficacy of his grace; his complacency in the
propitiation of Christ; with the power of his intercession, and the
irrevocable grant of the Holy Ghost unto them that do believe: which
things are not of our present inquiry.
     (2.) Some say that, on our part, the continuation of this state of
our justification depends on the condition of good works; that is,
that they are of the same consideration and use with faith itself
herein. In our justification itself there is, they will grant,
somewhat peculiar unto faith; but as unto the continuation of our
justification, faith and works have the same influence into it; yea,
some seem to ascribe it distinctly unto works in an especial manner,
with this only proviso, that they be done in faith. For my part I
cannot understand that the continuation of our justification has any
other dependencies than has our justification itself. As faith alone
is required unto the one, so faith alone is required unto the other,
although its operations and effects in the discharge of its duty and
office in justification, and the continuation of it, are diverse;
nor can it otherwise be. To clear this assertion two things are to
be observed:--
     [1.] That the continuation of our justification is the
continuation of the imputation of righteousness and the pardon of
sins. I do still suppose the imputation of righteousness to concur
unto our justification, although we have not yet examined what
righteousness it is that is imputed. But that God in our
justification imputes righteousness unto us, is so expressly
affirmed by the apostle as that it must not be called in question.
Now the first act of God in the imputation of righteousness cannot
be repeated; and the actual pardon of sin after justification is an
effect and consequent of that imputation of righteousness. If any
man sin, there is a propitiation: "Deliver him, I have found a
ransom." Wherefore, unto this actual pardon there is nothing
required but the application of that righteousness which is the
cause of it; and this is done by faith only.
     [2.] The continuation of our justification is before God, or in
the sight of God, no less than our absolute justification is. We
speak not of the sense and evidence of it unto our own souls unto
peace with God, nor of the evidencing and manifestation of it unto
others by its effects, but of the continuance of it in the sight of
God. Whatever, therefore, is the means, condition, or cause hereof,

(continued in part 15...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-14.txt