(Owen, Justification. part 22)

his name's sake--to bless the people, not for any good that was in
them nor for their righteousness, nor for their works, the
consideration whereof he excludes from having any influence into any
acting of his grace towards them; and all those wherein God
expresses his delight in them alone, and his approbation of them who
hope in his mercy, trust in his name, retaking themselves unto him
as their only refuge, pronouncing them accursed who trust in any
thing else, or glory in themselves,--such as contain singular
promises unto them that retake themselves unto God, as fatherless,
hopeless, and lost in themselves.
     There is none of the testimonies which are multiplied unto this
purpose, but they sufficiently prove that the best of God's saints
have not a righteousness of their own whereon they can, in any
sense, be justified before God. For they do all of them, in the
places referred unto, renounce any such righteousness of their own,
all that is in them, all that they have done or can do, and retake
themselves unto grace and mercy alone. And whereas, as we have
before proved, God, in the justification of any, does exercise grace
towards them with respect unto a righteousness whereon he declares
them righteous and accepted before him, they do all of them respect
a righteousness which is not inherent in us, but imputed to us.
     Herein lies the substance of all that we inquire into, in this
matter of justification. All other disputes about qualifications,
conditions, causes, "aneu hoon ouk", any kind of interest for our
own works and obedience in our justification before God, are but the
speculations of men at ease. The conscience of a convinced sinner,
who presents himself in the presence of God, finds all practically
reduced unto this one point,--namely, whether he will trust unto his
own personal inherent righteousness, or, in a full renunciation of
it, retake himself unto the grace of God and the righteousness of
Christ alone. In other things he is not concerned. And let men
phrase his own righteousness unto him as they please, let them
pretend it meritorious, or only evangelical, not legal,--only an
accomplishment of the condition of the new covenant, a cause without
which he cannot be justified,--it will not be easy to frame his mind
unto any confidence in it, as unto justification before God, so as
not to deceive him in the issue.
     The second part of the present argument is taken from the nature
of the thing itself, or the consideration of this personal, inherent
righteousness of our own, what it is, and wherein it does consist,
and of what use it may be in our justification. And unto this
purpose it may be observed,--
     That we grant an inherent righteousness in all that do believe, as
has been before declared: "For the fruit of the Spirit is in all
goodness, and righteousness, and truth", Eph.5:9. "Being made free
from sin, we become the servants of righteousness", Rom.6:18. And
our duty it is to "follow after righteousness, godliness, faith,
love, patience, meekness," 1 Tim.6:11. And although righteousness be
mostly taken for an especial grace or duty, distinct from other
graces and duties, yet we acknowledge that it may be taken for the
whole of our obedience before God; and the word is so used in the
Scripture, where our own righteousness is opposed unto the
righteousness of God. And it is either habitual or actual. There is
a habitual righteousness inherent in believers, as they have "put on
the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true
holiness," Eph.4:24; as they are the "workmanship of God, created in
Christ Jesus unto good works," chap.2:10. And there is an actual
righteousness, consisting in those good works whereunto we are so
created, or the fruits of righteousness, which are to the praise of
God by Jesus Christ. And concerning this righteousness it may be
observed, first, That men are said in the Scripture to be just or
righteous by it; but no one is said to be justified by it before
God. Secondly, That it is not ascribed unto, or found in, any but
those that are actually justified in order of nature antecedent
     This being the constant doctrine of all the Reformed churches and
divines, it is an open calumny whereby the contrary is ascribed unto
them, or any of those who believe the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ unto our justification before God. So
Bellarmine affirms that no Protestant writers acknowledge an
inherent righteousness but only Bucer and Chemnitius; when there is
no one of them by whom either the thing itself or the necessity of
it is denied. But some excuse may be made for him, from the manner
whereby they expressed themselves, wherein they always carefully
distinguished between inherent holiness and that righteousness
whereby we are justified. But we are now told by one, that if we
should affirm it a hundred times, he could scarce believe us. This
is somewhat severe; for although he speaks but to one, yet the
charge falls equally upon all who maintain that imputation of the
righteousness of Christ which he denies, who being at least the
generality of all Protestant divines, they are represented either as
so foolish as not to know what they say, or so dishonest as to say
one thing and believe another. But he endeavours to justify his
censure by sundry reasons; and, first, he says, "That inherent
righteousness can on no other account be said to be ours, than that
by it we are made righteous; that is, that it is the condition of
our justification required in the new covenant. This being denied,
all inherent righteousness is denied." But how is this proved? What
if one should say that every believer is inherently righteous, but
yet that this inherent righteousness was not the condition of his
justification, but rather the consequent of it, and that it is
nowhere required in the new covenant as the condition of our
justification? How shall the contrary be made to appear? The
Scripture plainly affirms that there is such an inherent
righteousness in all that believe; and yet as plainly that we are
justified before God by faith without works. Wherefore, that it is
the condition of our justification, and so antecedent unto it, is
expressly contrary unto that of the apostle, "Unto him that worketh
not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is
counted unto him for righteousness," Rom.4:5. Nor is it the
condition of the covenant itself, as that whereon the whole grace of
the covenant is suspended; for as it is habitual, wherein the
denomination of righteous is principally taken, it is a grace of the
covenant itself, and so not a condition of it, Jer.31:33; 32:39;
Ezek.36:25-27. If no more be intended but that it is, as unto its
actual exercise, what is indispensably required of all that are
taken into covenant, in order unto the complete ends of it, we are
agreed; but hence it will not follow that it is the condition of our
justification. It is added, "That all righteousness respects a law
and a rule, by which it is to be tried; and he is righteous who has
done these things which that law requires by whose rule he is to be
judged." But, First, This is not the way whereby the Scripture
expresses our justification before God, which alone is under
consideration,--namely, that we bring unto it a personal
righteousness of our own, answering the law whereby we are to be
judged; yea, an assertion to this purpose is foreign to the gospel,
and destructive of the grace of God by Jesus Christ. Secondly, It is
granted that all righteousness respects a law as the rule of it; and
so does this whereof we speak, namely, the moral law; which being
the sole, eternal, unchangeable rule of righteousness, if it do not
in the substance of it answer thereunto, a righteousness it is not.
But this it does, inasmuch as that, so far as it is habitual, it
consists in the renovation of the image of God, wherein that law is
written in our hearts; and all the actual duties of it are, as to
the substance of them, what is required by that law. But as unto the
manner of its communication unto us, and of its performance by us,
from faith in God by Jesus Christ, and love unto him, as the author
and fountain of all the grace and mercy procured and administered by
him, it has respect unto the gospel. What will follow from hence?
Why, that he is just that does those things which that law requires
whereby he is to be judged. He is so certainly; for "not the hearers
of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be
justified," Rom.2:13. "So Moses describeth the righteousness of the
law, that the man which does those things shall live in them,"
Rom.10:5. But although the righteousness whereof we discourse be
required by the law,--as certainly it is, for it is nothing but the
law in our hearts, from whence we walk in the ways and keep the
statutes or commandments of God,--yet does it not so answer the law
as that any man can be justified by it. But then it will be said
that if it does not answer that law and rule whereby we are to be
judged, then it is no righteousness; for all righteousness must
answer the law whereby it is required. And I say it is most true, it
is no perfect righteousness; it does not so answer the rule and law
as that we can be justified by it, or safely judged on it. But, so
far as it does answer the law, it is a righteousness,--that is,
imperfectly so, and therefore is an imperfect righteousness; which
yet gives the denomination of righteous unto them that have it, both
absolutely and comparatively. It is said, therefore, that it is "the
law of grace or the gospel from whence we are denominated righteous
with this righteousness;" but that we are by the gospel denominated
righteous, from any righteousness that is not required by the moral
law, will not be proved. Nor does the law of grace or the gospel
anywhere require of us or prescribe unto us this righteousness, as
that whereon we are to be justified before God. It requires faith in
Christ Jesus, or the receiving of him as he is proposed in the
promises of it, in all that are to be justified. It requires, in
like manner, "repentance from dead works" in all that believe; as
also the fruits of faith, conversion unto God, and repentance, in
the works of righteousness, which are to the praise of God by Jesus
Christ, with perseverance therein unto the end; and all this may, if
you please, be called our evangelical righteousness, as being our
obedience unto God according to the gospel. But yet the graces and
duties wherein it does consist do no more perfectly answer the
commands of the gospel than they do those of the moral law; for that
the gospel abates from the holiness of the law, and makes that to be
no sin which is sin by the law, or approves absolutely of less
intention or lower degrees in the love of God than the law does, is
an impious imagination.
     And that the gospel requires all these things entirely and
equally, as the condition of our justification before God, and so
antecedently thereunto, is not yet proved, nor ever will be. It is
hence concluded that "this is our righteousness, according unto the
evangelical law which requires it; by this we are made righteous,--
that is, not guilty of the nonperformance of the condition required
in that law." And these things are said to be very plain! So, no
doubt, they seemed unto the author; unto us they are intricate and
perplexed. However, I wholly deny that our faith, obedience, and
righteousness, considered as ours, as wrought by us, although they
are all accepted with God through Jesus Christ, according to the
grace declared in the gospel, do perfectly answer the commands of
the gospel requiring them of us, as to matter, manner, and degree;
and [assert] that therefore it is utterly impossible that they
should be the cause or condition of our justification before God.
Yet in the explanation of these things, it is added by the same
author, that "our maimed and imperfect righteousness is accepted
unto salvation, as if it were every way absolute and perfect; for
that so it should be, Christ has merited by his most perfect
righteousness." But it is justification, and not salvation, that
alone we discourse about; and that the works of obedience or
righteousness have another respect unto salvation than they have
unto justification, is too plainly and too often expressed in the
Scripture to be modestly denied. And if this weak and imperfect
righteousness of ours be esteemed and accepted as every way perfect
before God, then either it is because God judges it to be perfect,
and so declares us to be most just, and justified thereon in his
sight; or he judges it not to be complete and perfect, yet declares
us to be perfectly righteous in his sight thereby. Neither of these,
I suppose, can well be granted. It will therefore be said, it is
neither of them; but "Christ has obtained, by his complete and most
perfect righteousness and obedience, that this lame and imperfect
righteousness of ours should be accepted as every way perfect." And
if it be so, it may be some will think it best not to go about by
this weak, halt, and imperfect righteousness, but, as unto their
justification, retake themselves immediately unto the most perfect
righteousness of Christ; which I am sure the Scripture encourages
them unto. And they will be ready to think that the righteousness
which cannot justify itself, but must be obliged unto grace and
pardon through the merits of Christ, will never be able to justify
them. But what will ensue on this explanation of the acceptance of
our imperfect righteousness unto justification, upon the merit of
Christ? This only, so far as I can discern, that Christ has merited
and procured, either that God should judge that to be perfect which
is imperfect, and declare us perfectly righteous when we are not so;
or that he should judge the righteousness still to be imperfect, as
it is, but declare us to be perfectly righteous with and by this
imperfect righteousness. These are the plain paths that men walk in
who cannot deny but that there is a righteousness required unto our
justification, or that we may be declared righteous before God, in
the sight of God, according unto the judgment of God; yet, denying
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us, will allow us
no other righteousness unto this end but that which is so weak and
imperfect as that no man can justify it in his own conscience, nor,
without a frenzy of pride, can think or imagine himself perfectly
righteous thereby.
     And whereas it is added, that "he is blind who sees not that this
righteousness of ours is subordinate unto the righteousness of
Christ," I must acknowledge myself otherwise minded, notwithstanding
the severity of this censure. It seems to me that the righteousness
of Christ is subordinate unto this righteousness of our own, as here
it is stated, and not the contrary: for the end of all is our
acceptance with God as righteous; but according unto these thoughts,
it is our own righteousnesses whereon we are immediately accepted
with God as righteous. Only Christ has deserved by his righteousness
that our righteousness may be so accepted; and is therefore, as unto
the end of our justification before God, subordinate thereunto.
     But to return from this digression, and to proceed unto our
argument. This personal, inherent righteousness which, according to
the Scripture, we allow in believers, is not that whereby or
wherewith we are justified before God; for it is not perfect, nor
perfectly answers any rule of obedience that is given unto us: and
so cannot be our righteousness before God unto our justification.
Wherefore, we must be justified by the righteousness of Christ
imputed unto us, or be justified without respect unto any
righteousness, or not be justified at all. And a threefold
imperfection does accompany it:--
     1. As to the principle of it, as it is habitually resident in us;
for,--(1.) There is a contrary principle of sin abiding with it in
the same subject, whilst we are in this world. For contrary
qualities may be in the same subject, whilst neither of them is in
the highest degree. So it is in this case, Gal.5:17, "For the flesh
lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and
these are contrary one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things
that ye would." (2.) None of the faculties of our souls are
perfectly renewed whilst we are in this world. "The inward man is
renewed day by day", 2 Cor.4:16; and we are always to be purging
ourselves from all pollution of flesh and spirit, 2 Cor.7:1. And
hereunto belongs whatever is spoken in the Scripture, whatever
believers find in themselves by experience, of the remainders of
indwelling sin, in the darkness of our minds; whence at best we know
but in part, and through ignorance are ready to wander out of the
way, Heb.5:2, in the deceitfulness of the heart and disorder of
affections. I understand not how any one can think of pleading his
own righteousness in the sight of God, or suppose that he can be
justified by it, upon this single account, of the imperfection of
its inherent habit or principle. Such notions arise from the
ignorance of God and ourselves, or the want of a due consideration
of the one and the other. Neither can I apprehend how a thousand
distinctions can safely introduce it into any consideration in our
justification before God. He that can search in any measure, by a
spiritual light, into his own heart and soul, will find "God be
merciful to me a sinner," a better plea than any he can be furnished
withal from any worth of his own. "What is man, that he should be
clean? And he that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?"
Job 15:14-16; 4:18,19. Hence says Gregory, in Job.9, lib.9, cap.14,
"Ut saepe diximus omnis justitia humana injustitia esse convincitur
si distincte judicetur". Bernard speaks to the same purpose, and
almost in the same words, Serm.1. fest. omn. sanct., "Quid potest
esse omnis justitia nostra coram Deo? Nonne juxta prophetam velut
'pannus menstruatae' reputabitur; et si districte judicetur,
injustitia invenietur omnis justitia nostra, et minus habens". A man
cannot be justified in any sense by that righteousness which, upon
trial, will appear rather to be an unrighteousness.
     2. It is imperfect with respect unto every act and duty of it,
whether internal or external. There is iniquity cleaving unto our
holy things, and all our "righteousnesses are as filthy rags,"
Isa.64:6. It has been often and well observed, that if a man, the
best of men, were left to choose the best of his works that ever he
performed, and thereon to enter into judgment with God, if only
under this notion, that he has answered and fulfilled the condition
required of him as unto his acceptation with God, it would be his
wisest course (at least it would be so in the judgment of
Bellarmine) to renounce it, and retake himself unto grace and mercy
     3. It is imperfect by reason of the incursion of actual sins.
Hence our Saviour has taught us continually to pray for the
"forgiveness of our sins;" and "if we say that we have no sins, we
deceive ourselves," for "in many things we offend all." And what
confidence can be placed in this righteousness, which those who
plead for it in this cause acknowledge to be weak, maimed, and
     I have but touched on these things, which might have been handled
at large, and are indeed of great consideration in our present
argument. But enough has been spoken to manifest, that although this
righteousness of believers be on other accounts like the fruit of
the vine, that glads the heart of God and man, yet as unto our
justification before God, it is like the wood of the vine,--a pin is
not to be taken from it to hang any weight of this cause upon.
     Two things are pleaded in the behalf of this righteousness, and
its influence into our justification:--1. That it is absolutely
complete and perfect. Hence some say that they are perfect and
sinless in this life; they have no more concern in the mortification
of sin, nor of growth in grace. And indeed this is the only rational
pretence of ascribing our justification before God thereunto; for
were it so with any, what should hinder him from being justified
thereon before God, but only that he has been a sinner?--which
spoils the whole market. But this vain imagination is so contrary
unto the Scripture, and the experience of all that know the terror
of the Lord, and what it is to walk humbly before him, as that I
shall not insist on the refutation of it.
     2. It is pleaded, "That although this righteousness be not an
exact fulfilling of the moral law, yet is it the accomplishment of
the condition of the new covenant, or entirely answers the law of
grace, and all that is required of us therein."
     Ans. (1.) This wholly takes away sin, and the pardon of it, no
less than does the conceit of sinless perfection which we now
rejected; for if our obedience do answer the only law and rule of it
whereby it is to be tried, measured, and judged, then is there no
sin in us, nor need of pardon. No more is required of any man, to
keep him absolutely free from sin, but that he fully answer, and
exactly comply with, the rule and law of his obedience whereby he
must be judged. On this supposition, therefore, there is neither sin
nor any need of the pardon of it. To say that there is still both
sin and need of pardon, with respect unto the moral law of God, is
to confess that law to be the rule of our obedience, which this
righteousness does no way answer; and therefore none by it can be
justified in the sight of God.
     (2.) Although this righteousness be accepted in justified persons
by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet consider the principle of
it, with all the acts and duties wherein it does consist, as they
are required and prescribed in the gospel unto us, and they do
neither jointly nor severally fulfill and answer the commands of the
gospel, no more than they do the commands of the law. Wherefore,
they cannot all of them constitute a righteousness consisting in an
exact conformity unto the rules of the gospel, or the law of it; for
it is impious to imagine that the gospel requiring any duty of us,
suppose the love of God, does make any abatement, as unto the
matter, manner, or degrees of perfection in it, from what was
required by the law. Does the gospel require a lower degree of love
to God, a less perfect love, than the law did? God forbid. The same
may be said concerning the inward frame of our natures, and all
other duties whatever. Wherefore, although this righteousness is
accepted in justified persons (as God had respect unto Abel, and
then unto his offering), in the way and unto the ends that shall be
afterwards declared; yet, as it relates unto the commands of the
gospel, both it and all the duties of it are no less imperfect than
it would be if it should be left unto its trial by the law of
creation only.
     (3.) I know not what some men intend. On the one hand they affirm
that our Lord Jesus Christ has enlarged and heightened the spiritual
sense of the moral law, and not only so, but added unto it new
precepts of more exact obedience than it did require;--but on the
other, they would have him to have brought down or taken off the
obligation of the law, so as that a man, according as he has adapted
it unto the use of the gospel, shall be judged of God to have
fulfilled the whole obedience which it requires, who never answered
any one precept of it according unto its original sense and
obligation; for so it must be if this imperfect righteousness be on
any account esteemed a fulfilling of the rule of our obedience, as
that thereon we should be justified in the sight of God.
     (4.) This opinion puts an irreconcilable difference between the
law and the gospel, not to be composed by any distinctions; for,
according unto it, God declares by the gospel a man to be perfectly
righteous, justified, and blessed, upon the consideration of a
righteousness that is imperfect; and in the law he pronounces every
one accursed who continues not in all things required by it, and as
they are therein required. But it is said that this righteousness is
no otherwise to be considered but as the condition of the new
covenant, whereon we obtain remission of sins on the sole account of
the satisfaction of Christ, wherein our justification does consist.
     Ans. (1.) Some, indeed, do say so, but not all, not the most, not
the most learned, with whom in this controversy we have to do. And
in our pleas for what we believe to be the truth, we cannot always
have respect unto every private opinion whereby it is opposed. (2.)
That justification consists only in the pardon of sin is so contrary
to the signification of the word, the constant use of it in the
Scripture, the common notion of it amongst mankind, the sense of men
in their own consciences who find themselves under an obligation
unto duty, and express testimonies of the Scripture, as that I
somewhat wonder how it can be pretended. But it shall be spoken unto
elsewhere. (3.) If this righteousness be the fulfilling of the
condition of the new covenant whereon we are justified, it must be
in itself such as exactly answers some rule or law of righteousness,
and so be perfect: which it does not; and therefore cannot bear the
place of a righteousness in our justification. (4.) That this
righteousness is the condition of our justification before God, or
of that interest in the righteousness of Christ whereby we are
justified, is not proved, nor ever will be.
     I shall briefly add two or three considerations, excluding this
personal righteousness from its pretended interest in our
justification, and close this argument:--
     1. That righteousness which neither answers the law of God nor the
end of God in our justification by the gospel, is not that whereon
we are justified. But such is this inherent righteousness of
believers, even of the best of them. (1.) That it answers not the
law of God has been proved from its imperfection. Nor will any sober
person pretend that it exactly and perfectly fulfill the law of our
creation. And this law cannot be disannulled whilst the relation of
creator nd rewarder on the one hand, and of creatures capable of
obedience and rewards on the other, between God and us does
continue. Wherefore, that which answers not its law will not justify
us; for God will not abrogate that law, that the transgressors of it
may be justified. "Do we", says the apostle, by the doctrine of
justification by faith without works, "make void the law? God
forbid: yea, we establish it," Rom.3:31. (2.) That we should be
justified with respect unto it answers not the end of God in our
justification by the gospel; for this is to take away all glorying
in ourselves and all occasion of it, every thing that might give
countenance unto it, so as that the whole might be to the praise of
his own grace by Christ, Rom.3:27; 1 Cor.1:29-31. How it is faith
alone that gives glory to God herein has been declared in the
description of its nature. But it is evident that no man has, or can
possibly have, any other, any greater occasion of boasting in
himself, with respect unto his justification, than that he is
justified on his performance of that condition of it, which consists
in his own personal righteousness.
     2. No man was ever justified by it in his own conscience, much
less can he be justified by it in the sight of God; "for God is
greater than our hearts and knoweth all things." There is no man so
righteous, so holy, in the whole world, nor ever was, but his own
conscience would charge him in many things with his coming short of
the obedience required of him, in matter or manner, in the kind or
degrees of perfection; for there is no man that lives and sins not.
Absolutely, "Nemo absolvitur se judice". Let any man be put unto a
trial in himself whether he can be justified in his own conscience
by his own righteousness, and he will be cast in the trial at his
own judgment-seat; and he that does not thereon conclude that there
must be another righteousness whereby he must be justified, that
originally and inherently is not his own, will be at a loss for
peace, with God. But it will be said, that "men may be justified in
their consciences that they have performed the condition of the new
covenant, which is all that is pleaded with respect unto this
righteousness" And I no way doubt but that men may have a
comfortable persuasion of their own sincerity in obedience, and
satisfaction in the acceptance of it with God. But it is when they
try it as an effect of faith, whereby they are justified, and not as
the condition of their justification. Let it be thus stated in their
minds,--that God requires a personal righteousness in order unto
their justification, whereon their determination must be, "This is
my righteousness which I present unto God that I may be justified",
and they will find difficulty in arriving at it, if I be not much
     3. None of the holy men of old, whose faith and experience are
recorded in the Scripture, did ever plead their own personal
righteousness, under any notion of it, either as to the merit of
their works or as unto their complete performance of what was
required of them as the condition of the covenant, in order unto
their justification before God. This has been spoken unto before.

XI. The nature of the obedience that God requires of us--The eternal
obligation of the law thereunto

Nature of the obedience or righteousness required unto justification-
-Original and causes of the law of creation--The substance and end
of that law--The immutability or unchangeableness of it, considered
absolutely, and as it was the instrument of the covenant between God
and man--Arguments to prove it unchangeable; and its obligation unto
the righteousness first required perpetually in force--Therefore not
abrogated, not dispensed withal, not derogated from, but
accomplished--This alone by Christ, and the imputation of his
righteousness unto us

Our second argument shall be taken from the nature of that obedience
or righteousness which God requires of us that we may be accepted of
him, and approved by him. This being a large subject, if fully to be
handled, I shall reduce what is of our present concernment in it
unto some special heads or observations;--
     1. God being a most perfect, and therefore a most free agent, all
his acting towards mankind, all his dealings with them, all his
constitutions and laws concerning them, are to be resolved into his
own sovereign will and pleasure. No other reason can be given of the
original of the whole system of them. This the Scripture testifies
unto, Ps.115:3; 135:6; Prov.16:4; Eph.1:9,11; Rev.4:11. The being,
existence, and natural circumstances of all creatures being an
effect of the free counsel and pleasure of God, all that belongs
unto them must be ultimately resolved thereinto.
     2. Upon a supposition of some free acts of the will of God, and
the execution of theme constituting an order in the things that
outwardly are of him, and their mutual respect unto one another,
some things may become necessary in this relative state, whose being
was not absolutely necessary in its own nature. The order of all
things, and their mutual respect unto one another, depend on God's
free constitution no less than their being absolutely. But upon a
supposition of that constitution, things have in that order a
necessary relation one to another, and all of them unto God.
     3. It was a free, sovereign act of God's will, to create, effect,
or produce such a creature as man is; that is, of a nature
intelligent, rational, capable of moral obedience, with rewards and
punishments. But on a supposition hereof, man, so freely made,
could not be governed any other ways but by a moral instrument of
law or rule, influencing the rational faculties of his soul unto
obedience, and guiding him therein. He could not in that
constitution be contained under the rule of God by a mere physical
influence, as are all irrational or brute creatures. To suppose it,
is to deny or destroy the essential faculty and powers wherewith he
was created Wherefore, on the supposition of his being, it was
necessary that a law or rule of obedience should be prescribed unto
him and be the instrument of God's government towards him.
     4. This necessary law, so far forth as it was necessary, did
immediately and unavoidably ensue upon the constitution of our
nature in relation unto God. Supposing the nature, being, and
properties of God, with the works of creation, on the one hand; and
suppose the being, existence, and the nature of man, with his
necessary relation unto God, on the other; and the law whereof we
speak is nothing but the rule of that relation, which can neither be
nor be preserved without it. Hence is this law eternal,
indispensable, admitting of no other variation than does the
relation between God and man, which is a necessary exurgence from
their distinct natures and properties.
     5. The substance of this law was, that man, adhering unto God
absolutely, universally, unchangeably, uninterruptedly, in trust,
love, and fear, as the chiefest good, the first author of his being,
of all the present and future advantages whereof it was capable,
should yield, obedience unto him, with respect unto his infinite
wisdom, righteousness, and almighty power to protect, reward, and
punish, in all things known to be his will and pleasure, either by
the light of his own mind or especial revelation made unto him. And
it is evident that no more is required unto the constitution and

establishment of this law but that God be God, and man be man, with
the necessary relation that must thereon ensue between them.
     6. This law does eternally and unchangeably oblige all men unto
obedience to God,--even that obedience which it requires, and in the

(continued in part 23...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-22.txt