(Owen, Justification. part 20)

hence that trouble and those disquietments of mind will ensue, as
will force men, be they never so unwilling, to seek after some
relief and satisfaction. And what will not men attempt who are
reduced to the condition expressed, Mic.6:6,7? Wherefore, in this
case, if the true and only relief of distressed consciences of
sinners who are weary and heavyladen be hid from their eyes,--if
they have no apprehension of, nor trust in, that which alone they
may oppose unto the sentence of the law, and interpose between God's
justice and their souls, wherein they may take shelter from the
storms of that wrath which abides on them that believe not,--they
will betake themselves unto any thing which confidently tenders them
present ease and relief. Hence many persons, living all their days
in an ignorance of the righteousness of God, are oftentimes on their
sickbeds, and in their dying hours, proselyted unto a confidence in
the ways of rest and peace which the Romanists impose upon them; for
such seasons of advantage do they wait for, unto the reputation, as
they suppose, of their own zeal,--in truth unto the scandal of
Christian religion. But finding at any time the consciences of men
under disquietments, and ignorant of or believing that heavenly
relief which is provided in the gospel, they are ready with their
applications and medicines, having on them pretended approbations of
the experience of many ages, and an innumerable company of devout
souls in them. Such is their doctrine of justification, with the
addition of those other ingredients of confession, absolution,
penances, or commutations, aids from saints and angels, especially
the blessed Virgin; all warmed by the fire of purgatory, and
confidently administered unto persons sick of ignorance, darkness,
and sin. And let none please themselves in the contempt of these
things. If the truth concerning evangelical justification be once
disbelieved among us, or obliterated by any artifices out of the
minds of men, unto these things, at one time or other, they must and
will betake themselves. As for the new schemes and projections of
justification, which some at present would supply us withal, they
are no way suited nor able to give relief or satisfaction unto
conscience really troubled for sin, and seriously inquiring how it
may have rest and peace with God. I shall take the boldness,
therefore, to say, whoever be offended at it, that if we lose the
ancient doctrine of justification through faith in the blood of
Christ, and the imputation of his righteousness unto us, public
confession of religion will quickly issue in Popery or Atheism, or
at least in what is the next door unto it,--"kai taute men de
     2. The second principal controversy is about the formal cause of
justification, as it is expressed and stated by those of the Roman
church; and under these terms some Protestant divines have consented
to debate the matter in difference. I shall not interpose into a
strife of words;--so the Romanists will call that which we inquire
after. Some of ours say the righteousness of Christ imputed, some,
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, is the formal cause
of our justification; some, that there is no formal cause of
justification, but this is that which supplies the place and use of
a formal cause, which is the righteousness of Christ. In none of
these things will I concern myself, though I judge what was
mentioned in the last place to be most proper and significant.
     The substance of the inquiry wherein alone we are concerned, is,
What is that righteousness whereby and wherewith a believing sinner
is justified before God; or whereon he is accepted with God, has his
sins pardoned, is received into grace and favour, and has a title
given him unto the heavenly inheritance? I shall no otherwise
propose this inquiry, as knowing that it contains the substance of
what convinced sinners do look after in and by the gospel.
     And herein it is agreed by all, the Socinians only excepted, that
the procatarctical or procuring cause of the pardon of our sins and
acceptance with God, is the satisfaction and merit of Christ.
Howbeit, it cannot be denied but that some, retaining the names of
them, do seem to renounce or disbelieve the things themselves; but
we need not to take any notice thereof, until they are free more
plainly to express their minds. But as concerning the righteousness
itself inquired after, there seems to be a difference among them who
yet all deny it to be the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us.
For those of the Roman church plainly say, that upon the infusion of
a habit of grace, with the expulsion of sin, and the renovation of
our natures thereby, which they call the first justification, we are
actually justified before God by our own works of righteousness
Hereon they dispute about the merit and satisfactoriness of those
works, with their condignity of the reward of eternal life. Others,
as the Socinians, openly disclaim all merit in our works; only some,
out of reverence, as I suppose, unto the antiquity of the word, and
under the shelter of the ambiguity of its signification, have
faintly attempted an accommodation with it. But in the substance of
what they assert unto this purpose, to the best of my understanding,
they are all agreed: for what the Papists call "justitia operum,"
the righteousness of works,--they call a personal, inherent,
evangelical righteousness; whereof we have spoken before. And
whereas the Papists say that this righteousness of works is not
absolutely perfect, nor in itself able to justify us in the sight of
God, but owes all its worth and dignity unto this purpose unto the
merit of Christ, they affirm that this evangelical righteousness is
the condition whereon we enjoy the benefits of the righteousness of
Christ, in the pardon of our sins, and the acceptance of our persons
before God. But as unto those who will acknowledge no other
righteousness wherewith we are justified before God, the meaning is
the same, whether we say that on the condition of this righteousness
we are made partakers of the benefits of the righteousness of
Christ, or that it is the righteousness of Christ which makes this
righteousness of ours accepted with God. But these things must
afterwards more particularly be inquired into.
     3. The third inquiry wherein there is not an agreement in this
matter is,--upon a supposition of a necessity that he who is to be
justified should, one way or other, be interested in the
righteousness of Christ, what it is that on our part is required
thereunto. This some say to be faith alone; others, faith and works
also, and that in the same kind of necessity and use. That whose
consideration we at present undertake is the second thing proposed;
and, indeed, herein lies the substance of the whole controversy
about our justification before God, upon the determination and
stating whereof the determination of all other incident questions
does depend.
     This, therefore, is that which herein I affirm:--The righteousness
of Christ (in his obedience and suffering for us) imputed unto
believers, as they are united unto him by his Spirit, is that
righteousness whereon they are justified before God, on the account
whereof their sins are pardoned, and a right is granted them unto
the heavenly inheritance.
     This position is such as wherein the substance of that doctrine,
in this important article of evangelical truth which we plead for,
is plainly and fully expressed. And I have chosen the rather thus to
express it, because it is that thesis wherein the learned Davenant
laid down that common doctrine of the Reformed churches whose
defense he undertook. This is the shield of truth in the whole cause
of justification; which, whilst it is preserved safe, we need not
trouble ourselves about the differences that are among learned men
about the most proper stating and declaration of some lesser
concernments of it. This is the refuge, the only refuge, of
distressed consciences, wherein they may find rest and peace.
     For the confirmation of this assertion, I shall do these three
things:--I. Reflect on what is needful unto the explanation of it.
II. Answer the most important general objections against it. III.
Prove the truth of it by arguments and testimonies of the holy
     I. As to the first of these, or what is necessary unto the
explanation of this assertion, it has been sufficiently spoken unto
in our foregoing discourses. The heads of some things only shall at
present be called over.
     1. The foundation of the imputation asserted is union. Hereof
there are many grounds and causes, as has been declared; but that
which we have immediate respect unto, as the foundation of this
imputation, is that whereby the Lord Christ and believers do
actually coalesce into one mystical person. This is by the Holy
Spirit inhabiting in him as the head of the church in all fulness,
and in all believers according to their measure, whereby they become
members of his mystical body. That there is such a union between
Christ and believers is the faith of the catholic church, and has
been so in all ages. Those who seem in our days to deny it, or
question it, either know not what they say, or their minds are
influenced by their doctrine who deny the divine persons of the Son
and of the Spirit. Upon supposition of this union, reason will grant
the imputation pleaded for to be reasonable; at least, that there is
such a peculiar ground for it as is not to be exemplified in any
things natural or political among men.
     2. The nature of imputation has been fully spoken unto before, and
whereunto I refer the reader for the understanding of what is
intended thereby.
     3. That which is imputed is the righteousness of Christ; and,
briefly, I understand hereby his whole obedience unto God, in all
that he did and suffered for the church. This, I say, is imputed
unto believers, so as to become their only righteousness before God
unto the justification of life.
     If beyond these things any expressions have been made use of, in
the explanation of this truth, which have given occasion unto any
differences or contests, although they may be true and defensible
against objections, yet shall not I concern myself in them. The
substance of the truth as laid down, is that whose defense I have
undertaken; and where that is granted or consented unto, I will not
contend with any about their way and methods of its declaration, nor
defend the terms and expressions that have by any been made use of
therein. For instance, some have said that "what Christ did and
suffered is so imputed unto us, as that we are judged and esteemed
in the sight of God to have done or suffered ourselves in him." This
I shall not concern myself in; for although it may have a sound
sense given unto it, and is used by some of the ancients, yet
because offense is taken at it, and the substance of the truth we
plead for is better otherwise expressed, it ought not to be
contended about. For we do not say that God judges or esteems that
we did and suffered in our own persons what Christ did and suffered;
but only that he did it and suffered it in our stead. Hereon God
makes a grant and donation of it unto believers upon their
believing, unto their justification before him. And the like may be
said of many other expressions of the like nature.
     II. These things being premised, I proceed unto the consideration
of the general objections that are urged against the imputation we
plead for: and I shall insist only on some of the principal of them,
and whereinto all others may be resolved; for it were endless to go
over all that any man's invention can suggest unto him of this kind.
And some general considerations we must take along with us herein;
     1. The doctrine of justification is a part, yea, an eminent part,
of the mystery of the gospel. It is no marvel, therefore, if it be
not so exposed unto the common notions of reason as some would have
it to be. There is more required unto the true spiritual
understanding of such mysteries; yea, unless we intend to renounce
the gospel, it must be asserted that reason as it is corrupted, and
the mind of man as destitute of divine, supernatural revelation, do
dislike every such truth, and rise up in enmity against it. So the
Scripture directly affirms, Rom.8:7; 1 Cor.2:14.
     2. Hence are the minds and inventions of men wonderfully fertile
in coining objections against evangelical truths and raising cavils
against them. Seldom to this purpose do they want all endless number
of sophistical objections, which, because they know no better, they
themselves judge insoluble; for carnal reason being once set at
liberty, under the false notion of truth, to act itself freely and
boldly against spiritual mysteries, is subtile in its arguing, and
pregnant in its invention of them. How endless, for instance, are
the sophisms of the Socinians against the doctrine of the Trinity!
and how do they triumph in them as unanswerable! Under the shelter
of them they despise the force of the most evident testimonies of
the Scripture and those multiplied on all occasions. In like manner
they deal with the doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ, as the
Pelagians of old did with that of his grace. Wherefore, he that will
be startled at the appearance of subtile or plausible objections
against any gospel mysteries that are plainly revealed, and
sufficiently attested in the Scripture, is not likely to come unto
much stability in his profession of them.
     3. The most of the objections which are levied against the truth
in this cause do arise from the want of a due comprehension of the
order of the work of God's grace, and of our compliance wherewithal
in a way of duty, as was before observed; for they consist in
opposing those things one to another as inconsistent, which, in
their proper place and order, are not only consistent, but mutually
subservient unto one another, and are found so in the experience of
them that truly believe. Instances hereof have been given before,
and others will immediately occur. Taking the consideration of these
things with us, we may see as the rise, so of what force the
objections are.
     4. Let it be considered that the objections which are made use of
against the truth we assert, are all of them taken from certain
consequences which, as it is supposed, will ensue on the admission
of it. And as this is the only expedient to perpetuate controversies
and make them endless, so, to my best observation, I never yet met
with any one but that, to give an appearance of force unto the
absurdity of the consequences from whence he argues, he framed his
suppositions, or the state of the question, unto the disadvantage of
them whom he opposed; a course of proceeding which I wonder good men
are not either weary or ashamed of.
     1. It is objected, "That the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ does overthrow all remission of sins on the part of God".
This is pleaded for by Socinus, De Servatore, lib.4 cap. 2-4; and by
others it is also made use of. A confident charge this seems to them
who steadfastly believe that without this imputation there could be
no remission of sin. But they say, "That he who has a righteousness
imputed unto him that is absolutely perfect, so as to be made his
own, needs no pardon, has no sin that should be forgiven, nor can he
ever need forgiveness." But because this objection will occur unto
us again in the vindication of one of our ensuing arguments, I shall
here speak briefly unto it:--
     (1.) Grotius shall answer this objection. Says he, "Cum duo nobis
peperisse Christum dixerimus, impunitatem et praemium, illud
satisfactioni, hoc merito Christi distincte tribuit vetus ecclesia.
Satisfactio consistit in peccaturum translatione, meritum in
perfectissimae obedientiae pro nobis praestitae imputatione",
Praefat. ad lib. de Satisfact.;--" Whereas we have said that Christ
has procured or brought forth two things for us,--freedom from
punishment, and a reward,--the ancient church attributes the one of
them distinctly unto his satisfaction, the other unto his merit.
Satisfaction consists in the translation of sins (from us unto him);
merit, in the imputation of his most perfect obedience, performed
for us, unto us." In his judgment, the remission of sins and the
imputation of righteousness were as consistent as the satisfaction
and merit of Christ; as indeed they are.
     (2.) Had we not been sinners, we should have had no need of the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ to render us righteous
before God. Being so, the first end for which it is imputed is the
pardon of sin; without which we could not be righteous by the
imputation of the most perfect righteousness. These things,
therefore, are consistent,--namely, that the satisfaction of Christ
should be imputed unto us for the pardon of sin, and the obedience
of Christ be imputed unto us to render us righteous before God; and
they are not only consistent, but neither of them singly were
sufficient unto our justification.
     2. It is pleaded by the same author, and others, "That the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ overthrows all necessity
of repentance for sin, in order unto the remission or pardon
thereof, yea, renders it altogether needless; for what need has he
of repentance for sin, who, by the imputation of the righteousness
of Christ, is esteemed completely just and righteous in the sight of
God? If Christ satisfied for all sins in the person of the elect, if
as our surety he paid all our debts, and if his righteousness be
made ours before we repent, then is all repentance needless." And
these things are much enlarged on by the same author in the place
before mentioned.
     Ans. (1.) It must be remembered that we require evangelical faith,
in order of nature, antecedently unto our justification by the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us; which also is the
condition of its continuation. Wherefore, whatever is necessary
thereunto is in like manner required of us in order unto believing.
Amongst these, there is a sorrow for sin, and a repentance of it;
for whosoever is convinced of sin in a due manner, so as in be
sensible of its evil and guilt,--both as in its own nature it is
contrary unto the receptive part of the holy law, and in the
necessary consequences of it, in the wrath and curse of God,--cannot
but be perplexed in his mind that he has involved himself therein;
and that posture of mind will be accompanied with shame, fear,
sorrow, and other afflictive passions. Hereon a resolution does
ensue utterly to abstain from it for the future, with sincere
endeavours unto that purpose; issuing, if there be time and space
for it, in reformation of life. And in a sense of sin, sorrow for
it, fear concerning it, abstinence from it, and reformation of life,
a repentance true in its kind does consist. This repentance is
usually called legal, because its motives are principally taken from
the law; but yet there is, moreover, required unto it that temporary
faith of the gospel which we have before described; and as it does
usually produce great effects, in the confession of sin, humiliation
for it, and change of life (as in Ahab and the Ninevites), so
ordinarily it precedes true saving faith, and justification thereby.
Wherefore, the necessity hereof is no way weakened by the doctrine
of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, yea, it is
strengthened and made effectual thereby; for without it, in the
order of the gospel, an interest therein is not to be attained. And
this is that which, in the Old Testament, is so often proposed as
the means and condition of turning away the judgments and
punishments threatened unto sin; for it is true and sincere in its
kind. Neither do the Socinians require any other repentance unto
justification; for as they deny true evangelical repentance in all
the especial causes of it, so that which may and does precede faith
in order of nature is all that they require. This objection,
therefore, as managed by them, is a causeless, vain pretence.
     (2.) Justifying faith includes in its nature the entire principle
of evangelical repentance, so as that it is utterly impossible that
a man should be a true believer, and not, at the same instant of
time, be truly penitent; and therefore are they so frequently
conjoined in the Scripture as one simultaneous duty. Yea, the call
of the gospel unto repentance is a call to faith acting itself by
repentance: So the sole reason of that call unto repentance which
the forgiveness of sins is annexed unto, Acts 2:38, is the proposal
of the promise which is the object of faith, verse 39. And those
conceptions and affections which a man has about sin, with a sorrow
for it and repentance of it, upon a legal conviction, being
enlivened and made evangelical by the introduction of faith as a new
principle of them, and giving new motives unto them, do become
evangelical; so impossible is it that faith should be without
repentance. Wherefore, although the first act of faith, and its only
proper exercise unto justification, does respect the grace of God in
Christ, and the way of salvation by him, as proposed in the promise
of the gospel, yet is not this conceived in order of time to precede
its acting in self-displicency, godly sorrow, and universal
conversion from sin unto God; nor can it be so, seeing it virtually
and radically contains all of them in itself. However, therefore,
evangelical repentance is not the condition of our justification, so
as to have any direct influence thereinto; nor are we said anywhere
to be justified by repentance; nor is conversant about the proper
object which alone the soul respects therein; nor is a direct and
immediate giving glory unto God on the account of the way and work
of his wisdom and grace in Christ Jesus, but a consequent thereof;
nor is that reception of Christ which is expressly required unto our
justification, and which alone is required thereunto;--yet is it, in
the root, principle, and promptitude of mind for its exercise, in
every one that is justified, then when he is justified. And it is
peculiarly proposed with respect unto the forgiveness of sins, as
that without which it is impossible we should have any true sense or
comfort of it in our souls; but it is not so as any part of that
righteousness on the consideration whereof our sins are pardoned,
nor as that whereby we have an interest therein. These things are
plain in the divine method of our justification, and the order of
our duty prescribed in the gospel; as also in the experience of them
that do believe. Wherefore, considering the necessity of legal
repentance unto believing; with the sanctification of the affections
exercised therein by faith, whereby they are made evangelical; and
the nature of faith, as including in it a principle of universal
conversion unto God; and in especial, of that repentance which has
for its principal motive the love of God and of Jesus Christ, with
the grace from thence communicated,--all which are supposed in the
doctrine pleaded for; the necessity of true repentance is immovably
fixed on its proper foundation.
     (3.) As unto what was said in the objection concerning Christ's
suffering in the person of the elect, I know not whether any have
used it or no, nor will I contend about it. He suffered in their
stead; which all sorts of writers, ancient and modern, so express,--
in his suffering he bare the person of the church. The meaning is
what was before declared. Christ and believers are one mystical
person, one spiritually animated body, head and members. This, I
suppose, will not be denied; to do so, is to overthrow the church
and the faith of it. Hence, what he did and suffered is imputed unto
them. And it is granted that, as the surety of the covenant, he paid
all our debts, or answered for all our faults; and that his
righteousness is really communicated unto us. "Why, then," say some,
"there is no need of repentance; all is done for us already." But
why so? Why must we assent to one part of the gospel unto the
exclusion of another? Was it not free unto God to appoint what way,
method, and order he would, whereby these things should be
communicated unto us? Nay, upon the supposition of the design of his
wisdom and grace, these two things were necessary:--
     [1.] That this righteousness of Christ should be communicated unto
us, and be made ours, in such a way and manner as that he himself
might be glorified therein, seeing he has disposed all things, in
this whole economy, unto "the praise of the glory of his grace,"
Eph.1:6. This was to be done by faith, on our part. It is so; it
could be no otherwise: for that faith whereby we are justified is
our giving unto God the glory of his wisdom, grace, and love; and
whatever does so is faith, and nothing else is so.
     [2.] That whereas our nature was so corrupted and depraved as
that, continuing in that state, it was not capable of a
participation of the righteousness of Christ, or any benefit of it,
unto the glory of God and our own good, it was in like manner
necessary that it should be renewed and changed. And unless it were
so, the design of God in the mediation of Christ,--which was the

entire recovery of us unto himself,--could not be attained. And
therefore, as faith, under the formal consideration of it, was
necessary unto the first end,--namely, that of giving glory unto
God,--so unto this latter end it was necessary that this faith
should be accompanied with, yea, and contain in itself, the seeds of
all those other graces wherein the divine nature does consist,
whereof we are to be made partners. Not only, therefore, the thing
itself, or the communication of the righteousness of Christ unto us,
but the way, and manner, and means of it, do depend on God's
sovereign order and disposal. Wherefore, although Christ did make
satisfaction to the justice of God for all the sins of the church,
and that as a common person (for no man in his wits can deny but
that he who is a mediator and a surety is, in some sense, a common
person); and although he did pay all our debts; yet does the
particular interest of this or that man in what he did and suffered
depend on the way, means, and order designed of God unto that end.
This, and this alone, gives the true necessity of all the duties
which are required of us, with their order and their ends.
     3. It is objected, "That the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ, which we defend, overthrows the necessity of faith itself."
This is home indeed. "Aliquid adhaerebit" is the design of all these
objections; but they have reason to plead for themselves who make
it. "For on this supposition," they say, "the righteousness of
Christ is ours before we do believe; for Christ satisfied for all
our sins, as if we had satisfied in our own persons. And he who is
esteemed to have satisfied for all his sins in his own person is
acquitted from them all and accounted just, whether he believe or
no; nor is there any ground or reason why he should be required to
believe. If, therefore, the righteousness of Christ be really ours,
because, in the judgment of God, we are esteemed to have wrought it
in him, then it is ours before we do believe. If it be otherwise,
then it is plain that that righteousness itself can never be made
ours by believing; only the fruits and effects of it may be
suspended on our believing, whereby we may be made partakers of
them. Yea, if Christ made any such satisfaction for us as is
pretended, it is really ours, without any farther imputation; for,
being performed for us and in our stead, it is the highest injustice
not to have us accounted pardoned and acquitted, without any
farther, either imputation on the part of God or faith on ours."
These things I have transcribed out of Socinus, De Servatore, lib.4
cap.2-5; which I would not have done but that I find others to have
gone before me herein, though to another purpose. And he concludes
with a confidence which others also seem, in some measure, to have
learned of him; for he says unto his adversary, "Haec tua, tuorumque
sententia, adeo foeda et execrabilis est, ut pestilentiorem errorem
post homines natos in populo. Dei extitisse non credam",--speaking
of the satisfaction of Christ, and the imputation of it unto
believers. And, indeed, his serpentine wit was fertile in the
invention of cavils against all the mysteries of the gospel. Nor was
he obliged by any one of them, so as to contradict himself in what
he opposed concerning any other of them; for, denying the deity of
Christ, his satisfaction, sacrifice, merit, righteousness, and
overthrowing the whole nature of his mediation, nothing stood in his
way which he had a mind to oppose. But I somewhat wonder how others
can make use of his inventions in this kind; who, if they considered
aright their proper tendency, they will find them to be absolutely
destructive of what they seem to own. So it is in this present
objection against the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. If
it has any force in it, as indeed it has not, it is to prove that
the satisfaction of Christ was impossible; and so he intended it.
But it will be easily removed.
     I answer, first, in general, that the whole fallacy of this
objection lies in the opposing once part of the design and method of
God's grace in this mystery of our justification unto another; or
the taking of one part of it to be the whole, which, as to its
efficacy and perfection, depends on somewhat else. Hereof we warned
the reader in our previous discourses. For the whole of it is a
supposition that the satisfaction of Christ, if there be any such
thing, must have its whole effect without believing on our part;
which is contrary unto the whole declaration of the will of God in
the gospel. But I shall principally respect them who are pleased to
make use of this objection, and yet do not deny the satisfaction of
Christ. And I say,--
     (1.) When the Lord Christ died for us, and offered himself as a
propitiatory sacrifice, "God laid all our sins on him," Isa.53:6;
and he then "bare them all in his own body on the tree," 1 Pet.2:24.
Then he suffered in our stead, and made full satisfaction for all
our sins; for he "appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of
himself," Heb.9:26; and "by one offering he has perfected forever
them that are sanctified," chap.10:14. He whose sins were not
actually and absolutely satisfied for in that one offering of
Christ, shall never have them expiated unto eternity; for
"henceforth he dies no more," there is "no more sacrifice for sin."
The repetition of a sacrifice for sin, which must be the crucifying
of Christ afresh, overthrows the foundation of Christian religion.
     (2.) Notwithstanding this full, plenary satisfaction once made for
the sins of the world that shall be saved, yet all men continue
equal to be born by nature "children of wrath;" and whilst they
believe not, "the wrath of God abides on them," John 3:36;--that is,
they are obnoxious unto and under the curse of the law. Wherefore,
on the only making of that satisfaction, no one for whom it was made
in the design of God can be said to have suffered in Christ, nor to
have an interest in his satisfaction, nor by any way or means be
made partaker of it antecedently unto another act of God in its
imputation unto him. For this is but one part of the purpose of
God's grace as unto our justification by the blood of Christ,--
namely, that he by his death should make satisfaction for our sins;
nor is it to be separated from what also belongs unto it in the same
purpose of God. Wherefore, from the position or grant of the
satisfaction of Christ, no argument can be taken unto the negation
of a consequential act of its imputation unto us; nor, therefore, of
the necessity of our faith in the believing and receiving of it,
which is no less the appointment of God than it was that Christ
should make that satisfaction. Wherefore,--
     (3.) That which the Lord Christ paid for us is as truly paid as if
we had paid it ourselves. So he speaks, Ps.69:5, "'asher lo-
gazolatti 'az 'ashiv". He made no spoil of the glory of God; what
was done of that nature by us, he returned it unto him. And what he
underwent and suffered, he underwent and suffered in our stead. But
yet the act of God in laying our sins on Christ conveyed no actual
right and title to us unto what he did and suffered. They are not
immediately thereon, nor by virtue thereof, ours, or esteemed ours;
because God has appointed somewhat else, not only antecedent
thereunto, but as the means of it, unto his own glory. These things,
both as unto their being and order, depend on the free ordination of
But yet,--
     (4.) It cannot be said that this satisfaction was made for us on
such a condition as should absolutely suspend the event, and render
it uncertain whether it should ever be for us or no. Such a
institution may be righteous in pecuniary solutions. A man may lay
down a great sum of money for the discharge of another, on such a
condition as may never be fulfilled; for, on the absolute failure of
the condition, his money may and ought to be restored unto him,
whereon he has received no injury or damage. But in penal suffering
for crimes and sins, there can be no righteous constitution that
shall make the event and efficacy of it to depend on a condition
absolutely uncertain, and which may not come to pass or be
fulfilled; for if the condition fail, no recompense can be made unto
him that has suffered. Wherefore, the way of the application of the
satisfaction of Christ unto them for whom it was made, is sure and
steadfast in the purpose of God.
     (5.) God has appointed that there shall be an immediate foundation
of the imputation of the satisfaction and righteousness of Christ
unto us; whereon we may be said to have done and suffered in him
what he did and suffered in our stead, by that grant, donation, and
imputation of it unto us; or that we may be interested in it, that
it may be made ours: which is all we contend for. And this is our
actual coalescence into one mystical person with him by faith.
Hereon does the necessity of faith originally depend. And if we
shall add hereunto the necessity of it likewise unto that especial
glory of God which he designs to exalt in our justification by
Christ, as also unto all the ends of our obedience unto God, and the
renovation of our natures into his image, its station is

(continued in part 21...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-20.txt