(Owen, Justification. part 21) sufficiently secured against all objections. Our actual interest in the satisfaction of Christ depends on our actual insertion into his mystical body by faith, according to the appointment of God. 4. It is yet objected, "That if the righteousness of Christ be made ours, we may be said to be saviours of the world, as he was, or to save others, as he did; for he was so and did so by his righteousness, and no otherwise." This objection also is of the same nature with those foregoing,--a mere sophistical cavil. For,-- (1.) The righteousness of Christ is not transfused into us, so as to be made inherently and subjectively ours, as it was in him, and which is necessarily required unto that effect of saving others thereby. Whatever we may do, or be said to do, with respect unto others, by virtue of any power or quality inherent in ourselves, we can be said to do nothing unto others, or for them, by virtue of that which is imputed unto us only for our own benefit. That any righteousness of ours should benefit another, it is absolutely necessary that it should be wrought by ourselves. (2.) If the righteousness of Christ could be transfused into us, and be made inherently ours, yet could we not be, nor be said to be, the saviours of others thereby; for our nature in our individual persons is not "subjectum capax", or capable to receive and retain a righteousness useful and effectual unto that end. This capacity was given unto it in Christ by virtue of the hypostatical union, and no otherwise. The righteousness of Christ himself, as performed in the human nature, would not have been sufficient for the justification and salvation of the church, had it not been the righteousness of his person who is, both God and man; for "God redeemed his church with his own blood." (3.) This imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us, as unto its ends and use, has its measure from the will of God, and his purpose in that imputation; and this is, that it should be the righteousness of them unto whom it is imputed, and nothing else. (4.) We do not say that the righteousness of Christ, as made absolutely for the whole church, is imputed unto every believer; but his satisfaction for every one of them in particular, according unto the will of God, is imputed unto them,--not with respect unto its general ends, but according unto every one's particular interest. Every believer has his own homer of this bread of life; and all are justified by the same righteousness. (5.) The apostle declares, as we shall prove afterwards, that as Adam's actual sin is imputed unto us unto condemnation, so is the obedience of Christ imputed unto us to the justification of life. But Adam's sin is not so imputed unto any person as that he should then and thereby be the cause of sin and condemnation unto all other persons in the world, but only that he himself should become guilty before God thereon. And so is it on the other side. And as we are made guilty by Adam's actual sin, which is not inherent in us but only imputed unto us; so are we made righteous by the righteousness of Christ, which is not inherent in us, but only imputed unto us. And imputed unto us it is, because himself was righteous with it, not for himself, but for us. 5. It is yet said, "That if we insist on personal imputation unto every believer of what Christ did, or if any believer be personal1y righteous in the very individual acts of Christ's righteousness, many absurdities will follow." But it was observed before, that when any design to oppose an opinion from the absurdities which they suppose would follow upon it, they are much inclined so to state it as, that at least they may seem so to do. And this oft times the most worthy and candid persons are not free from, in the heat of disputation. So I fear it is here fallen out; for as unto personal imputation, I do not well understand it. All imputation is unto a person, and is the act of a person, be it of what, and what sort it will; but from neither of them can be denominated a personal imputation. And if an imputation be allowed that is not unto the persons of men,--namely, in this case unto all believers,--the nature of it has not yet been declared, as I know of. That any have so expressed the imputation pleaded for, "that every believer should be personally righteous in the very individual acts of Christ's righteousness," I know not; I have neither read nor heard any of them who have so expressed their mind. It may be some have done so: but I shall not undertake the defense of what they have done; for it seems not only to suppose that Christ did every individual act which in any instance is required of us, but also that those acts are made our own inherently,--both which are false and impossible. That which indeed is pleaded for in this imputation is only this, that what the Lord Christ did and suffered as the mediator and surety of the covenant, in answer unto the law, for them, and in their stead, is imputed unto every one of them unto the justification of life. And sufficient this is unto that end, without any such supposals. (1.) From the dignity of the person who yielded this obedience, which rendered it both satisfactory and meritorious, and imputable unto many. (2.) From the nature of the obedience itself, which was a perfect compliance with, a fulfilling of, and satisfaction unto the whole law in all its demands. This, on the supposition of that act of God's sovereign authority, whereby a representative of the whole church was introduced to answer the law, is the ground of his righteousness being made theirs, and being every way sufficient unto their justification. (3.) From the constitution of God, that what was done and suffered by Christ as a public person, and our surety, should be reckoned unto us, as if done by ourselves. So the sin of Adam, whilst he was a public person, and represented his whole posterity, is imputed unto us all, as if we had committed that actual sin. This Bellarmine himself frequently acknowledges: "Peccavimus in promo homine quando ille peccavit, et illa ejus praevaricatio nostra etiam praevaricatio fuit. Non enim vere per Adami inobedientiam constitueremur peccatores, nisi inobedientia illius nostra etiam inobedientia esset", De Amiss. Grat. et Stat. Peccat., lib.5 cap.18. And elsewhere, that the actual sin of Adam is imputed unto us, as if we all had committed that actual sin; that is, broken the whole law of God. And this is that whereby the apostle illustrates the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto believers; and it may on as good grounds be charged with absurdities as the other. It is not, therefore, said that God judges that we have in our own persons done those very acts, and endured that penalty of the law, which the Lord Christ did and endured; for this would overthrow all imputation;-- but what Christ did and suffered, that God imputes unto believers unto the justification of life, as if it had been done by themselves; and his righteousness as a public person is made theirs by imputation, even as the sin of Adam, whilst a public person, is made the sin of all his posterity by imputation. Hereon none of the absurdities pretended, which are really such, do at all follow. It does not so, that Christ in his own person performed every individual act that we in our circumstances are obliged unto in a way of duty; nor was there any need that so he should do. This imputation, as I have showed, stands on other foundations. Nor does it follow, that every saved person's righteousness before God is the same identically and numerically with Christ's in his public capacity as mediator; for this objection destroys itself, by affirming that as it was his, it was the righteousness of God-man, and so it has an especial nature as it respects or relates unto his person. It is the same that Christ in his public capacity did work or effect. But there is a wide difference in the consideration of it as his absolutely, and as made ours. It was formally inherent in him,--is only materially imputed unto us; was actively his,--is passively ours; was wrought in the person of God-man for the whole church,--is imputed unto each single believer, as unto his own concernment only. Adam's sin, as imputed unto us, is not the sin of a representative, though it be of him that was so, but is the particular sin of every one of us; but this objection must be farther spoken unto, where it occurs afterwards. Nor will it follow, that on this supposition we should be accounted to have done that which was done long before we were in a capacity of doing any thing; for what is done for us and in our stead, before we are in any such capacity, may be imputed unto us, as is the sin of Adam. And yet there is a manifold sense wherein men may be said to have done what was done for them and in their name, before their actual existence; so that therein is no absurdity. As unto what is added by the way, that Christ did not do nor suffer the "idem" that we were obliged unto; whereas he did what the law required, and suffered what the law threatened unto the disobedient, which is the whole of what we are obliged unto, it will not be so easily proved, nor the arguments very suddenly answered, whereby the contrary has been confirmed. That Christ did sustain the place of a surety, or was the surety of the new covenant, the Scripture does so expressly affirm that it cannot be denied. And that there may be sureties in cases criminal as well as civil and pecuniary, has been proved before. What else occurs about the singularity of Christ's obedience, as he was mediator, proves only that his righteousness, as formally and inherently his, was peculiar unto himself; and that the adjuncts of it, which arise from its relation unto his person, as it was inherent in him, are not communicable unto them to whom it is imputed. 6. It is, moreover, urged, "That upon the supposed imputation of the righteousness of Christ, it will follow that every believer is justified by the works of the law; for the obedience of Christ was a legal righteousness, and if that be imputed unto us, then are we justified by the law; which is contrary unto express testimonies of Scripture in many places." Answer. (1.) I know nothing more frequent in the writings of some learned men than that the righteousness of Christ is our legal righteousness; who yet, I presume, are able to free themselves of this objection. (2.) If this do follow in the true sense of being justified by the law, or the works of it, so denied in the Scripture, their weakness is much to be pitied who can see no other way whereby we may be freed from an obligation to be justified by the law, but by this imputation of the righteousness of Christ. (3.) The Scripture which affirms that "by the deeds of the law no man can be justified," affirms in like manner that by "faith we do not make void the law, but establish it;" that "the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us"; that Christ "came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it," and is the "end of the law for righteousness unto them that do believe." And that the law must be fulfilled, or we cannot be justified, we shall prove afterwards. (4.) We are not hereon justified by the law, or the works of it, in the only sense of that proposition in the Scripture; and to coin new senses or significations of it is not safe. The meaning of it in the Scripture is, that only "the doers of the law shall be justified," Rom.2:13; and that "he that does the things of it shall live by them," chap.10:5,--namely, in his own person, by the way of personal duty, which alone the law requires. But if we, who have not fulfilled the law in the way of inherent, personal obedience, are justified by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us, then are we justified by Christ, and not by the law. But it is said that this will not relieve; for if his obedience be so imputed unto us, as that we are accounted by God in judgment to have done what Christ did, it is all one upon the matter, and we are as much justified by the law as if we had in our own proper persons performed an unsinning obedience unto it. This I confess I cannot understand. The nature of this imputation is here represented, as formerly, in such a way as we cannot acknowledge; from thence alone this inference is made, which yet, in my judgment, does not follow thereon. For grant an imputation of the righteousness of another unto us, be it of what nature it will, all justification by the law and works of it, in the sense of the Scripture, is gone for ever. The admission of imputation takes off all power from the law to justify; for it can justify none but upon a righteousness that is originally and inherently his own: "The man that does them shall live in them." If the righteousness that is imputed be the ground and foundation of our justification, and made ours by that imputation, state it how you will, that justification is of grace, and not of the law. However, I know not of any that say we are accounted of God in judgment personally to have done what Christ did; and it may have a sense that is false,--namely, that God should judge us in our own persons to have done those acts which we never did. But what Christ did for us, and in our stead, is imputed and communicated unto us, as we coalesce into one mystical person with him by faith; and thereon are we justified. And this absolutely overthrows all justification by the law or the works of it; though the law be established, fulfilled, and accomplished, that we may be justified. Neither can any, on the supposition of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ truly stated, be said to merit their own salvation. Satisfaction and merit are adjuncts of the righteousness of Christ, as formally inherent in his own person; and as such it cannot be transfused into another. Wherefore, as it is imputed unto individual believers, it has not those properties accompanying of it, which belong only unto its existence in the person of the Son of God. But this was spoken unto before, as also much of what was necessary to be here repeated. These objections I have in this place taken notice of because the answers given unto them do tend to the farther explanation of that truth, whose confirmation, by arguments and testimonies of Scripture, I shall now proceed unto. X. Arguments for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. The first argument from the nature and use of our own personal righteousness Arguments for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ--Our own personal righteousness not that on the account whereof we are justified in the sight of God--Disclaimed in the Scriptures, as to any such end--The truth and reality of it granted- -Manifold imperfection accompanying it, rendering it unmeet to be a righteousness unto the justification of life III. There is a justification of convinced sinners on their believing. Hereon are their sins pardoned, their persons accepted with God, and a right is given unto them unto the heavenly inheritance. This state they are immediately taken into upon their faith, or believing in Jesus Christ. And a state it is of actual peace with God These things at present take for granted; and they are the foundation of all that I shall plead in the present argument. And I do take notice of them, because some seem, to the best of my understanding, to deny any real actual justification of sinners on their believing in this life. For they make justification to be only a general conditional sentence declared in the gospel; which, as unto its execution, is delayed unto the day of judgment. For whilst men are in this world, the whole condition of it being not fulfilled, they cannot be partakers of it, or be actually and absolutely justified. Hereon it follows, that indeed there is no real state of assured rest and peace with God by Jesus Christ, for any persons in this life. This at present I shall not dispute about, because it seems to me to overthrow the whole gospel,-- the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and all the comfort of believers; about which I hope we are not as yet called to contend. Our inquiry is, how convinced sinners do, on their believing, obtain the remission of sins, acceptance with God, and a right unto eternal life? And if this can no other way be done but by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto them, then thereby alone are they justified in the sight of God. And this assertion proceeds on a supposition that there is a righteousness required unto the justification of any person whatever: for whereas God, in the justification of any person, does declare him to be acquitted from all crimes laid unto his charges, and to stand as righteous in his sight, it must be on the consideration of a righteousness whereon any man is so acquitted and declared; for the judgment of God is according unto truth. This we have sufficiently evidenced before, in that juridical procedure wherein the Scripture represents unto us the justification of a believing sinner. And if there be not other righteousness whereby we may be thus justified but only that of Christ imputed unto us, then thereby must we be justified, or not at all; and if there be any such other righteousness, it must be our own, inherent in us, and wrought out by us; for these two kinds, inherent and imputed righteousness, our own and Christ's, divide the whole nature of righteousness, as to the end inquired after. And that there is no such inherent righteousness, no such righteousness of our own, whereby we may be justified before God, I shall prove in the first place. And I shall do it, first, from express testimonies of Scripture, and then from the consideration of the thing itself; and two things I shall premise hereunto:-- 1. That I shall not consider this righteousness of our own absolutely in itself, but as it may be conceived to be improved and advanced by its relation unto the satisfaction and merit of Christ: for many will grant that our inherent righteousness is not of itself sufficient to justify us in the sight of God; but take it as it has value and worth communicated unto it from the merit of Christ, and so it is accepted unto that end, and judged worthy of eternal life. We could not merit life and salvation had not Christ merited that grace for us whereby we may do so, and merited also that our works should be of such a dignity with respect unto reward. We shall, therefore, allow what worth can be reasonably thought to be communicated unto this righteousness from its respect unto the merit of Christ. 2. Whereas persons of all sorts and parties do take various ways in the assignation of an interest in our justification unto our own righteousness, so as that no parties are agreed about it, nor many of the same mind among themselves,--as might easily be manifested in the Papists, Socinians, and others, I shall, so far as it is possible in the ensuing arguments, have respect unto them all; for my design is to prove that it has no such interest in our justification before God, as that the righteousness of Christ should not be esteemed the only righteousness whereon we are justified. And, First, we shall produce some of those many testimonies which may be pleaded unto this purpose, Ps.130:3,4, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, 0 Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared." There is an inquiry included in these words, how a man, how any man, may be justified before God; how he may stand, that is, in the presence of God, and be accepted with him,--how he shall stand in judgment, as it is explained, Ps.1:5, "The wicked shall not stand in the judgment," shall not be acquitted on their trial. That which first offers itself unto this end is his own obedience; for this the law requires of him in the first place, and this his own conscience calls upon him for. But the psalmist plainly declares that no man can thence manage a plea for his justification with any success; and the reason is, because, notwithstanding the best of the obedience of the best of men, there are iniquities found with them against the Lord their God; and if men come to their trial before God, whether they shall be justified or condemned, these also must be heard and taken into the account. But then no man can "stand," no man can be "justified," as it is elsewhere expressed. Wherefore, the wisest and safest course is, as unto our justification before God, utterly to forego this plea and not to insist on our own obedience, lest our sins should appear also, and be heard. No reason can any man give on his own account why they should not be so; and if they be so, the best of men will be cast in their trial as the psalmist declares. Two things are required in this trial, that a sinner may stand:-- 1. That his iniquities be not observed, for if they be so, he is lost for ever. 2. That a righteousness be produced and pleaded that will endure the trial; for justification is upon a justifying righteousness. For the first of these, the psalmist tells us it must be through pardon or forgiveness. "But there is forgiveness with thee," wherein lies our only relief against the condemnatory sentence of the law with respect unto our iniquities,--that is, through the blood of Christ, for in him "we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins," Eph.1:7. The other cannot be our own obedience, because of our iniquities. Wherefore this the same psalmist directs us unto, Ps.71:16, "I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, of thine only." The righteousness of God, and not his own, yea, in opposition unto his own, is the only plea that in this case he would insist upon. If no man can stand a trial before God upon his own obedience, so as to be justified before him, because of his own personal iniquities; and if our only plea in that case be the righteousness of God, the righteousness of God only, and not our own; then is there no personal, inherent righteousness in any believers whereon they may be justified;--which is that which is to be proved. The same is again asserted by the same person, and that more plainly and directly, Ps.143:2, "Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified." This testimony is the more to he considered, because as it is derived from the law, Exod.34:7, so it is transferred into the gospel, and twice urged by the apostle unto the same purpose, Rom.3:20; Gal.2:16. The person who insists on this plea with God professes himself to be his servant: "Enter not into judgment with thy servant;" that is, one that loved him, feared him, yielded all sincere obedience. He was not a hypocrite, not an unbeliever, not an unregenerate person, who had performed no works but such as were legal, such as the law required, and such as were done in the strength of the law only; such works as all will acknowledge to be excluded from our justification, and which, as many judge, are only those which are so excluded. David it was, who was not only converted, a true believer, had the Spirit of God, and the aids of special grace in his obedience, but had this testimony unto his sincerity, that he was "a man after God's own heart." And this witness had he in his own conscience of his integrity, uprightness, and personal righteousness, so as that he frequently avows them, appeals unto God concerning the truth of them, and pleads them as a ground of judgment between him and his adversaries. We have, therefore, a case stated in the instance of a sincere and eminent believer, who excelled most in inherent, personal righteousness. This person, under these circumstances, thus testified unto both by God and in his own conscience, as unto the sincerity, yea, as unto the eminency, of his obedience, considers how he may "stand before God," and "be justified in his sight." Why does he not now plead his own merits; and that, if not "ex condigno," yet at least "ex congruo," he deserved to be acquitted and justified? But he left this plea for that generation of men that were to come after, who would justify themselves and despise others. But suppose he had no such confidence in the merit of his works as some have now attained unto, yet why does he not freely enter into judgment with God, put it unto the trial whether he should be justified or no, by pleading that he had fulfilled the condition of the new covenant, that everlasting covenant which God made with him, ordered in all things, and sure? For upon a supposition of the procurement of that covenant and the terms of it by Christ (for I suppose the virtue of that purchase he made of it is allowed to extend unto the Old Testament), this was all that was required of him. Is it not to be feared that he was one of them who see no necessity, or leave none, of personal holiness and righteousness, seeing he makes no mention of it, now it should stand him in the greatest stead? At least he might plead his faith, as his own duty and work, to be imputed unto him for righteousness. But whatever the reason be, he waives them all, and absolutely deprecates a trial upon them. "Come not," says he, "O LORD, into judgment with thy servant;" as it is promised that he who believes should "not come into judgment," John 5:24. And if this holy person renounce the whole consideration of all his personal, inherent righteousness, in every kind, and will not insist upon it under any pretence, in any place, as unto any use in his justification before God, we may safely conclude there is no such righteousness in any, whereby they may be justified. And if men would but leave those shades and coverts under which they hide themselves in their disputations,--if they would forego those pretences and distinctions wherewith they delude themselves and others, and tell us plainly what plea they dare make in the presence of God from their own righteousness and obedience, that they may be justified before him,--we should better understand their minds than now we do. There is one, I confess, who speaks with some confidence unto this purpose, and that is Vasquez the Jesuit, in 1, 2, disp. 204, cap. 4, "Inhaerens justitia ita reddit animam justam et sanctam ac proinde iliam Dei, ut hoc ipso reddat eam heredem, et dignam aeterna gloria; imo ipse Deus efficere non potest ut hujusmodi justis dignus non sit aeterna beatitudine". Is it not sad, that David should discover so much ignorance of the worth of his inherent righteousness, and discover so much pusillanimity with respect unto his trial before God, whereas God himself could not otherwise order it, but that he was, and must be, "worthy of eternal blessedness?" The reason the psalmist gives why he will not put it unto the trial, whether he should be acquitted or justified upon his own obedience, is this general axiom: "For in thy sight," or before thee, "shall no man living be justified." This must be spoken absolutely, or with respect unto some one way or cause of justification. If it be spoken absolutely, then this work ceases forever, and there is indeed no such thing as justification before God. But this is contrary unto the whole Scripture, and destructive of the gospel. Wherefore it is spoken with respect unto our own obedience and works. He does not pray absolutely that he "would not enter into judgement with him," for this were to forego his government of the world; but that he would not do so on the account of his own duties and obedience. But if so be these duties and obedience did answer, in any sense or way, what is required of us as a righteousness unto justification, there was no reason why he should deprecate a trial by them or upon them. But whereas the Holy Ghost does so positively affirm that "no man living shall be justified in the sight of God," by or upon his own works or obedience, it is, I confess, marvelous unto me that some should so interpret the apostle James as if he affirmed the express contrary,- -namely, that we are justified in the sight of God by our own works,- -whereas indeed he says no such thing. This, therefore, is an eternal rule of truth,--By or upon his own obedience no man living can be justified in the sight of God. It will be said, "That if God enter into judgment with any on their own obedience by and according to the law, then, indeed, none can be justified before him; but God judging according to the gospel and the terms of the new covenant, men may be justified upon their own duties, works, and obedience." Ans. (1.) The negative assertion is general and unlimited,--that "no man living shall" (on his own works or obedience) "be justified in the sight of God." And to limit it unto this or that way of judging, is not to distinguish, but to contradict the Holy Ghost. (2.) The judgment intended is only with respect unto justification, as is plain in the words; but there is no judgment on our works or obedience, with respect unto righteousness and justification, but by the proper rule and measure of them, which is the law. If they will not endure the trial by the law, they will endure no trial, as unto righteousness and justification in the sight of God. (3.) The prayer and plea of the psalmist, on this supposition, are to this purpose: "O LORD, enter not into judgment with thy servant by or according unto the law; but enter into judgment with me on my own works and obedience according to the rule of the gospel;" for which he gives this reason, "because in thy sight shall no man living be justified:" which how remote it is from his intention need not be declared. (4.) The judgment of God unto justification according to the gospel does not proceed on our works of obedience, but upon the righteousness of Christ, and our interest therein by faith; as is too evident to be modestly denied. Notwithstanding this exception, therefore, hence we argue,-- If the most holy of the servants of God, in and after a course of sincere, fruitful obedience, testified unto by God himself, and witnessed in their own consciences,--that is, whilst they have the greatest evidences of their own sincerity, and that indeed they are the servants of God,--do renounce all thoughts of such a righteousness thereby, as whereon, in any sense, they may be justified before God; then there is no such righteousness in any, but it is the righteousness of Christ alone, imputed unto us, whereon we are so justified. But that so they do, and ought all of them so to do, because of the general rule here laid down, that in the sight of God no man living shall be justified, is plainly affirmed in this testimony. I no way doubt but that many learned men, after all their pleas for an interest of personal righteousness and works in our justification before God, do, as unto their own practice, retake themselves unto this method of the psalmist, and cry, as the prophet Daniel does, in the name of the church, "We do not present our supplications before thee for our own righteousness, but for thy great mercies," chap.9:18. And therefore Job (as we have formerly observed), after a long and earnest defense of his own faith, integrity, and personal righteousness, wherein he justified himself against the charge of Satan and men, being called to plead his cause in the sight of God, and declare on what grounds he expected to be justified before him, renounces all his former pleas, and betakes himself unto the same with the psalmist, chap.40:4; 43:6. It is true, in particular cases, and as unto some special ends in the providence of God, a man may plead his own integrity and obedience before God himself. So did Hezekiah, when he prayed for the sparing of his life, Isa.38:3, "Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight." This, I say, may be done with respect unto temporal deliverance, or any other particular end wherein the glory of God is concerned: so was it greatly in sparing the life of Hezekiah at that time. For whereas he had with great zeal and industry reformed religion and restored the true worship of God, the "cutting him off in the midst of his days" would have occasioned the idolatrous multitude to have reflected on him as one dying under a token of divine displeasure. But none ever made this plea before God for the absolute justification of their persons. So Nehemiah, in that great contest which he had about the worship of God and the service of his house, pleads the remembrance of it before God, in his justification against his adversaries; but resolves his own personal acceptance with God into pardoning mercy: "And spare me according unto the multitude of thy mercies," chap.13:22. Another testimony we have unto the same purpose in the prophet Isaiah, speaking in the name of the church, chap.64:6, "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." It is true the prophet does in this place make a deep confession of the sins of the people; but yet withal he joins himself with them, and asserts the especial interest of those concerning whom he speaks, by adoption,--that God was their Father, and they his people, chap.63:16, 44:8,9. And the righteousnesses of all that are the children of God are of the same kind, however they may differ in degrees, and some of them may be more righteous than others; but it is all of it described to be such, as that we cannot, I think, justly expect justification in the sight of God upon the account of it. But whereas the consideration of the nature of our inherent righteousness belongs unto the second way of the confirmation of our present argument, I shall not farther here insist on this testimony. Many others also, unto the same purpose, I shall wholly omit,-- namely, all those wherein the saints of God, or the church, in a humble acknowledgment and confession of their own sins, do retake themselves unto the mercy and grace of God alone, as dispensed through the mediation and blood of Christ; and all those wherein God promises to pardon and blot out our iniquities for his own sake, for (continued in part 22...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-21.txt .