(Owen, Justification. part 23)

manner wherein it requires it; for both the substance of what it
requires, and the manner of the performance of it, as unto measures
and degrees, are equally necessary and unalterable, upon the
suppositions laid down. For God cannot deny himself, nor is the
nature of man changed as unto the essence of it, whereunto alone
respect is had in this law, by any thing that can fall out. And
although God might superadd unto the original obligations of this
law what arbitrary commands he pleased, such as did not necessarily
proceed or arise from the relation between him and us, which might
be, and be continued without them; yet would they be resolved into
that principle of this law, that God in all things was absolutely to
be trusted and obeyed.
     7. "Known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the
world." In the constitution of this order of things he made it
possible, and foresaw it would be future, that man would rebel
against the receptive power of the law, and disturb that order of
things wherein he was placed under his moral rule. This gave
occasion unto that effect of infinite divine righteousness, in
constituting the punishment that man should fall under, upon his
transgression of this law. Neither was this an effect of arbitrary
will and pleasure, any more than the law itself was. Upon the
supposition of the creation of man, the law mentioned was necessary,
from all the divine properties of the nature of God; and upon a
supposition that man would transgress the law, God being now
considered as his ruler and governor, the constitution of the
punishment due unto his sin and transgression of it was a necessary
effect of divine righteousness. This it would not have been had the
law itself been arbitrary; but that being necessary, so was the
penalty of its transgression. Wherefore, the constitution of this
penalty is liable to no more change, alteration, or abrogation than
the law itself, without an alteration in the state and relation
between God and man.
     8. This is that law which our Lord Jesus Christ came "not to
destroy, but to fulfill," that he might be "the end of it for
righteousness unto them that do believe." This law he abrogated not,
nor could do so without a destruction of the relation that is
between God and man, arising from, or ensuing necessarily on, their
distinct beings and properties; but as this cannot be destroyed, so
the Lord Christ came unto a contrary end,--namely, to repair and
restore it where it was weakened. Wherefore,--
     9. This law, the law of sinless, perfect obedience, with its
sentence of the punishment of death on all transgressors, does and
must abide in force forever in this world; for there is no more
required hereunto but that God be God, and man be man. Yet shall
this be farther proved:--
     (1.) There is nothing, not one word, in the Scripture intimating
any alteration in or abrogation of this law; so as that any thing
should not be duty which it makes to be duty, or any thing not be
sin which it makes to be sin, either as unto matter or degrees, or
that the thing which it makes to be sin, or which is sin by the rule
of it, should not merit and deserve that punishment which is
declared in the sanction of it, or threatened by it: "The wages of
sin is death". If any testimony of Scripture can be produced unto
either of these purposes,--namely, that either any thing is not sin,
in the way of omission or commission, in the matter or manner of its
performance, which is made to be so by this law, or that any such
sin, or any thing that would have been sin by this is law, is
exempted from the punishment threatened by it, as unto merit or
desert,--it shall be attended unto. It is, therefore, in universal
force towards all mankind. There is no relief in this case, but
"Behold the Lamb of God.".
     In exception hereunto it is pleaded, that when it was first given
unto Adam, it was the rule and instrument of a covenant between God
and man,--a covenant of works and perfect obedience; but upon the
entrance of sin, it ceased to have the nature of a covenant unto
any. And it is so ceased, that on an impossible supposition that any
man should fulfill the perfect righteousness of it, yet should he
not be justified, or obtain the benefit of the covenant thereby. It
is not, therefore, only become ineffectual unto us as a covenant by
reason of our weakness and disability to perform it, but it is
ceased in its own nature so to be; but these things, as they are not
unto our present purpose, so are they wholly unproved. For,--
     [1.] Our discourse is not about the federal adjunct of the law,
but about its moral nature only. It is enough that, as a law, it
continues to oblige all mankind unto perfect obedience, under its
original penalty. For hence it will unavoidably follow, that unless
the commands of it be complied withal and fulfilled, the penalty
will fall on all that transgress it. And those who grant that this
law is still in force as unto its being a rule of obedience, or as
unto its requiring duties of us, do grant all that we desire. For it
requires no obedience but what it did in its original constitution,-
-that is, sinless and perfect; and it requires no duty, nor
prohibits any sin, but under the penalty of death upon disobedience.
     [2.] It is true, that he who is once a sinner, if he should
afterwards yield all that perfect obedience unto God that the law
requires, could not thereby obtain the benefit of the promise of the
covenant. But the sole reason of it is, because he is antecedently a
sinner, and so obnoxious unto the curse of the law; and no man can
be obnoxious unto its curse and have a right unto its promise at the
same time. But so to lay the supposition, that the same person is by
any means free from the curse due unto sin, and then to deny that,
upon the performance of that perfect, sinless obedience which the
law requires, he should have right unto the promise of life thereby,
is to deny the truth of God, and to reflect the highest dishonour
upon his justice. Jesus Christ himself was justified by this law;
and it is immutably true, that he who does the things of it shall
live therein.
     [3.] It is granted that man continued not in the observation of
this law, as it was the ruble of the covenant between God and him.
The covenant it was not, but the rule of it; which, that it should
be, was superadded unto its being as a law. For the covenant
comprised things that were not any part of a result from the
necessary relation of God and man. Wherefore man, by his sin as unto
demerit, may be said to break this covenant, and as unto any benefit
unto himself, to disannul it. It is also true, that God did never
formally and absolutely renew or give again this law as a covenant a
second time. Nor was there any need that so he should do, unless it
were declaratively only, for so it was renewed at Sinai; for the
whole of it being an emanation of eternal right and truth, it
abides, and must abide, in full force forever. Wherefore, it is only
thus far broken as a covenant, that all mankind having sinned
against the commands of it, and so, by guilt, with the impotency
unto obedience which ensued thereon, defeated themselves of any
interest in its promise, and possibility of attaining any such
interest, they cannot have any benefit by it. But as unto its power
to oblige all mankind unto obedience, and the unchangeable truth of
its promises and threatenings, it abides the same as it was from the
     (2.) Take away this law, and there is left no standard of
righteousness unto mankind, no certain boundaries of good and evil,
but those pillars whereon God has fixed the earth are left to move
and float up and down like the isle of Delos in the sea. Some say,
the rule of good and evil unto men is not this law in its original
constitution, but the light of nature and the dictates of reason. If
they mean that light which was primigenial and concreated with our
natures, and those dictates of right and wrong which reason
originally suggested and improved, they only say, in other words,
that this law is still the unalterable rule of obedience unto all
mankind. But if they intend the remaining light of nature that
continues in every individual in this depraved state thereof, and
that under such additional deprivations as traditions, customs,
prejudices, and lusts of all sorts, have affixed unto the most,
there is nothing more irrational; and it is that which is charged
with no less inconvenience than that it leaves no certain boundaries
of good and evil. That which is good unto one, will, on this ground,
be in its own nature evil unto another, and so on the contrary; and
all the idolaters that ever were in the world might on this pretence
be excused.
     (3.) Conscience bears witness hereunto. There is no good nor evil
required or forbidden by this law, that, upon the discovery of it,
any man in the world can persuade or bribe his conscience not to
comply with it in judgment, as unto his concernment therein. It will
accuse and excuse, condemn and free him, according to the sentence
of this law, let him do what he can to the contrary.
     In brief, it is acknowledged that God, by virtue of his supreme
dominion over all, may, in some instances, change the nature and
order of things, so as that the precepts of the divine law shall not
in them operate in their ordinary efficacy. So was it in the case of
his command unto Abraham to slay his son, and unto the Israelites to
rob the Egyptians. But on a supposition of the continuance of that
order of things which this law is the preservation of, such is the
intrinsic nature of the good and evil commanded and forbidden
therein, that it is not the subject of divine dispensation; as even
the schoolmen generally grant.
     10. From what we have discoursed, two things do unavoidably ensue:-
     (1.) That whereas all mankind have by sin fallen under the penalty
threatened unto the transgression of this law,--and [the] suffering
of this penalty, which is eternal death, being inconsistent with
acceptance before God, or the enjoyment of blessedness,--it is
utterly impossible that any one individual person of the posterity
of Adam should be justified in the sight of God, accepted with him
or blessed by him, unless this penalty be answered, undergone, and
suffered, by them or for them. The "dikaiooma tou Theou" herein is
not to be abolished, but established.
     (2.) That unto the same end, of acceptation with God,
justification before him, and blessedness from him, the
righteousness of this eternal law must be fulfilled in us in such a
way as that, in the judgment of God, which is according unto truth,
we may be esteemed to have fulfilled it, and be dealt with
accordingly. For upon a supposition of a failure herein, the
sanction of the law is not arbitrary, so as that the penalty may or
may not be inflicted, but necessary, from the righteousness of God
as the supreme governor of all.
     11. About the first of these, our controversy is with the
Socinians only, who deny the satisfaction of Christ, and any
necessity thereof. Concerning this I have treated elsewhere at
large, and expect not to see an answer unto what I have disputed on
that subject. As unto the latter of them, we must inquire how we may
be supposed to comply with the rule, and answer the righteousness of
this unalterable law, whose authority we can no way be exempted
from. And that which we plead is, that the obedience and
righteousness of Christ imputed unto us,--his obedience as the
surety of the new covenant, granted unto us, made ours by the
gracious constitution, sovereign appointment, and donation of God,--
is that whereon we are judged and esteemed to have answered the
righteousness of the law. "By the obedience of one many are made
righteous," Rom.5:19. "That the righteousness of the law might be
fulfilled in us," Rom.8:4. And hence we argue,--
     If there be no other way whereby the righteousness of the law may
be fulfilled in us, without which we cannot be justified, but must
fall inevitably under the penalty threatened unto the transgression
of it, but only the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us, then is
that the sole righteousness whereby we are justified in the sight of
God. But the former is true, and so, therefore is the latter.
     12. On the supposition of this law, and its original obligation
unto obedience, with its sanction and threatenings, there can be but
one of three ways whereby we may come to be justified before God,
who have sinned, and are no way able in ourselves to perform the
obedience for the future which it does require. And each of them has
a respect unto a sovereign act of God with reference unto this law.
The first is the abrogation of it, that it should no more oblige us
either unto obedience or punishment. This we have proved impossible;
and they will woefully deceive their own souls who shall trust unto
it. The second is by transferring of its obligation, unto the end of
justification, on a surety or common undertaker. This is that which
we plead for, as the substance of the mystery of the gospel,
considering the person and grace of this undertaker or surety. And
herein all things do tend unto the exaltation of the glory of God in
all the holy properties of his nature, with the fulfilling and
establishing of the law itself, Matt.5:17; Rom.3:31; 8:4; 10:3,4.
The third way is by an act of God towards the law, and another
towards us, whereby the nature of the righteousness which the law
requires is changed; which we shall examine as the only reserve
against our present argument.
     13. It is said, therefore, that by our own personal obedience we
do answer the righteousness of the law, so far as it is required of
us. But whereas no sober person can imagine that we can, or that any
one in our lapsed condition ever did, yield in our own persons that
perfect, sinless obedience unto God which is required of us in the
law of creation, two things are supposed, that our obedience, such
as it is, may be accepted with God as if it were sinless and
perfect. For although some will not allow that the righteousness of
Christ is imputed unto us for what it is, yet they contend that our
own righteousness is imputed unto us for what it is not. Of these
things the one respects the law, the other our obedience.
     14. That which respects the law is not the abrogation of it. For
although this would seem the most expedite way for the
reconciliation of this difficulty,--namely, that the law of creation
is utterly abrogated by the gospel, both as unto its obligation unto
obedience and punishment, and no law is to be continued in force but
that which requires only sincere obedience of us, whereof there is,
as unto duties [and] the manner of their performance, not any
absolute rule or measure,--yet this is not by many pretended. They
say not that this law is so abrogated as that it should not have the
power and efficacy of a law towards us. Nor is it possible it should
be so; nor can any pretence be given how it should so be. It is
true, it was broken by man, is so by us all, and that with respect
unto its principal end of our subjection unto God and dependence
upon him, according to the rule of it; but it is foolish to think
that the fault of those unto whom a righteous law is rightly given
should abrogate or disannul the law itself. A law that is good and
just may cease and expire as unto any power of obligation, upon the
ceasing or expiration of the relation which it did respect; so the
apostle tells us that "when the husband of a woman is dead, she is
free from the law of her husband", Rom.7:2. But the relation between
God and us, which was constituted in our first creation, can never
cease. But a law cannot be abrogated without a new law given, and
made by the same or an equal power that made it, either expressly
revoking it, or enjoining things inconsistent with it and
contradictory unto its observation. In the latter way the law of
Mosaical institutions was abrogated and disannulled. There was not
any positive law made for the taking of it away; but the
constitution and introduction of a new way of worship by the gospel,
inconsistent with it and contrary unto it, deprived it of all its
obligatory power and efficacy. But neither of these ways has God
taken away the obligation of the original law of obedience, either
as unto duties or recompenses of reward. Neither is there any direct
law made for its abrogation; nor has he given any new law of moral
obedience, either inconsistent with or contrary unto it: yea, in the
gospel it is declared to be established and fulfilled.
     It is true, as was observed before, that this law was made the
instrument of a covenant between God and man; and so there is
another reason of it, for God has actually introduced another
covenant inconsistent with it, and contrary unto it. But yet neither
does this instantly, and "ipso facto", free all men unto the law, in
the way of a covenant. For, unto the obligation of a law, there is
no more required but that the matter of it be just and righteous;
that it be given or made by him who has just authority so to give or
make it; and be sufficiently declared unto them who are to be
obliged by it. Hence the making and promulgation of a new law does
"ipso facto" abrogate any former law that is contrary unto it, and
frees all men from obedience unto it who were before obliged by it.
But in a covenant it is not so. For a covenant does not operate by
mere sovereign authority; it becomes not a covenant without the
consent of them with whom it is made. Wherefore, no benefit accrues
unto any, or freedom from the old covenant, by the constitution of
the new, unless he has actually complied with it, has chosen it, and
is interested in it thereby. The first covenant made with Adam, we
did in him consent unto and accept of. And therein, not withstanding
our sin, do we and must we abide,--that is, under the obligation of
it unto duty and punishment,--until by faith we are made partakers
of the new. It cannot therefore be said, that we are not concerned
in the fulfilling of the righteousness of this law, because it is
     15. Nor can it be said that the law has received a new
interpretation, whereby it is declared that it does not oblige, nor
shall be constructed for the future to oblige, any unto sinless and
perfect obedience, but may be complied with on far easier terms. For
the law being given unto us when we were sinless, and on purpose to
continue and preserve us in that condition, it is absurd to say that
it did not oblige us unto sinless obedience; and not an
interpretation, but
a plain depravation of its sense and meaning. Nor is any such thing
once intimated in the gospel. Yea, the discourses of our Saviour
upon the law are absolutely destructive of any such imagination. For
whereas the scribes and Pharisees had attempted, by their false
glosses and interpretations, to accommodate the law unto the
inclinations and lusts of men (a course since pursued both
nationally and practically, as all who design to burden the
consciences of men with their own commands do endeavour constantly
to recompense them by an indulgence with respect unto the commands
of God), he, on the contrary, rejects all such pretended epieikias
[accommodations] and interpretations, restoring the law unto its
pristine crown, as the Jews' tradition is, that the Messiah shall
     16. Nor can a relaxation of the law be pretended, if there be any
such thing in rule; for if there be, it respects the whole being of
the law, and consists either in the suspension of its whole
obligation, at least for a season, or the substitution of another
person to answer its demands, who was not in the original
obligation, in the room of them that were. For so some say that the
Lord Christ was made under the law for us by an act of relaxation of
the original obligation of the law; how properly, "ipso viderint."
But here, in no sense, it can have place.
     17. The act of God towards the law in this case intended, is a
derogation from its obliging power as unto obedience. For whereas it
did originally oblige unto perfect, sinless obedience in all duties,
both as unto their substance and the manner of their performance, it
shall be allowed to oblige us still unto obedience, but not unto
that which is absolutely the same, especially not as unto the
completeness and perfection of it; for if it do so, either it is
fulfilled in the righteousness of Christ for us, or no man living
can ever be justified in the sight of God. Wherefore, by an act of
derogation from its original power, it is provided that it shall
oblige us still unto obedience, but not that which is absolutely
sinless and perfect; but although it be performed with less
intension of love unto God, or in a lower degree than it did at
first require, so it be sincere and universal as unto all parts of
it, it is all that the law now requires of us. This is all that it
now requires, as it is adapted unto the service of the new covenant,
and made the rule of obedience according to the law of Christ.
Hereby is its receptive part, so far as we are concerned in it,
answered and complied withal. Whether these things are so or no, we
shall see immediately in a few words.
     18. Hence it follows, that the act of God with respect unto our
obedience is not an act of judgment according unto any rule or law
of his own; but an acceptilation, or an esteeming, accounting,
accepting that as perfect, or in the room of that which is perfect,
which really and in truth is not so.
     19. It is added, that both these depend on, and are the
procurements of, the obedience, suffering, and merits of Christ. For
on their account it is that our weak and imperfect obedience is
accepted as if it were perfect; and the power of the law, to require
obedience absolutely perfect, is taken away. And these being the
effects of the righteousness of Christ, that righteousness may on
their account, and so far, be said to be imputed unto us.
     20. But notwithstanding the great endeavours that have been used
to give a colour of truth unto these things, they are both of them
but fictions and imaginations of men, that have no ground in the
Scripture, nor do comply with the experience of them that believe.
For to touch a little on the latter, in the first place, there is no
true believer but has these two things fixed in his mind and
     (1.) That there is nothing in principles, habits, qualities, or
actions, wherein he comes short of a perfect compliance with the
holy law of God, even as it requires perfect obedience, but that it
has in it the nature of sin, and that in itself deserving the curse
annexed originally unto the breach of that law. They do not,
therefore, apprehend that its obligation is taken off, weakened, or
derogated from in any thing. (2.) That there is no relief for him,
with respect unto what the law requires or unto what it threatens,
but by the mediation of Jesus Christ alone, who of God is made
righteousness unto him. Wherefore, they do not rest in or on the
acceptation of their own obedience, such as it is, to answer the
law, but trust unto Christ alone for their acceptation with God.
     21. They are both of them doctrinally untrue; for as unto the
former,--(1.) It is unwritten. There is no intimation in the
Scripture of any such dispensation of God with reference unto the
original law of obedience. Much is spoken of our deliverance from
the curse of the law by Christ, but of the abatement of its
receptive power nothing at all. (2.) It is contrary to the
Scripture; for it is plainly affirmed that the law is not to be
abolished, but fulfilled; not to be made void, but to be
established; that the righteousness of it must be fulfilled in us.
(3.) It is a supposition both unreasonable and impossible. For,--
[1.] The law was a representation unto us of the holiness of God,
and his righteousness in the government of his creatures. There can
be no alteration made herein, seeing with God himself there is no
variableness nor shadow of changing. [2.] It would leave no standard
of righteousness, but only a Lesbian rule, which turns and applies
itself unto the light and abilities of men, and leaves at least as
many various measures of righteousness as there are believers in the
world. [3.] It includes a variation in the centre of all religion,
which is the natural and moral relation of men unto God; for so
there must be, if all that was once necessary thereunto do not still
continue so to be. [4.] It is dishonourable unto the mediation of
Christ; for it makes the principal end of it to be, that God should
accept of a righteousness unto our justification inexpressibly
beneath that which he required in the law of our creation. And this
in a sense makes him the minister of sin, or that he has procured an
indulgence unto it; not by the way of satisfaction and pardon,
whereby he takes away the guilt of it from the church, but by taking
from it its nature and demerit, so as that what was so originally
should not continue so to be, or at least not to deserve the
punishment it was first threatened withal. [5.] It reflects on the
goodness of God himself; for on this supposition, that he has
reduced his law into that state and order as to be satisfied by an
observation of it so weak, so imperfect, accompanied with so many
failures and sins, as it is with the obedience of the best men in
this world (whatever thoughts unto the contrary the frenzy of pride
may suggest unto the minds of any), what reason can be given,
consistent with his goodness, why he should give a law at first of
perfect obedience, which one sin laid all mankind under the penalty
of unto their ruin?
     22. All these things, and sundry others of the same kind, do
follow also on the second supposition, of an acceptilation or an
imaginary estimation of that as perfect which is imperfect, as
sinless which is attended with sins innumerable. But the judgment of
God is according unto truth; neither will he reckon that unto us for
a perfect righteousness in his sight which is so imperfect as to be
like tattered rags, especially having promised unto us robes of
righteousness and garments of salvation.
     That which necessarily follows on these discourses is, That there
is no other way whereby the original, immutable law of God may be
established and fulfilled with respect unto us, but by the
imputation of the perfect obedience and righteousness of Christ, who
is the end of the law for righteousness unto all that do believe.

XII. The imputation of the obedience of Christ unto the law declared
and indicated

Imputation of the obedience of Christ no less necessary than that of
his suffering, on the same ground--Objections against it:--First,
That it is impossible--Management hereof by Socinus--Ground of this
objection, that the Lord Christ was for himself obliged unto all the
obedience he yielded unto God, and performed it for himself,
answered--The obedience inquired after, the obedience of the person
of Christ the Son of God--In his whole person Christ was not under
the law--He designed the obedience he performed for us, not for
himself--This actual obedience not necessary as a qualification of
his person unto the discharge of his office--The foundation of this
obedience in his being made man, and of the posterity of Abraham,
not for himself, but for us--Right of the human nature unto glory,
by virtue of union--Obedience necessary unto the human nature, as
Christ in it was made under the law--This obedience properly for us-
-Instances of that nature among men--Christ obeyed as a public
person, and so not for himself--Human nature of Christ subject unto
the law, so an eternal rule of dependence on God, and subjection to
him; not as prescribed unto us whilst we are in this world, in order
unto our future blessedness or reward--Second objection, That it is
useless, answered--He that is pardoned all his sins is not thereon
esteemed to have done all that is required of him--Not to be
unrighteous negatively, not the same with being righteous positively-
-The law obliges both unto punishment and obedience--How, and in
what sense--Pardon of sin gives no title to eternal life--The
righteousness of Christ, who is one, imputed unto many--Arguments
proving the imputation of the obedience of Christ unto the
justification of life

From the foregoing general argument another does issue in parcular,
with respect unto the imputation of the active obedience or
righteousness of Christ unto us, as an essential part of that
righteousness whereon we are justified before God. And it is as
follows:-- "If it were necessary that the Lord Christ, as our
surety, should undergo the penalty of the law for us, or in our
stead, because we have all sinned, then it was necessary also that,
as our surety, he should yield obedience unto the receptive part of
the law for us also; and if the imputation of the former be needful
for us unto our justification before God, then is the imputation of
the latter also necessary unto the same end and purpose." For why
was it necessary, or why would God have it so, that the Lord Christ,
as the surety of the covenant, should undergo the curse and penalty
of the law, which we had incurred the guilt of by sin, that we may
be justified in his sight? Was it not that the glory and honour of
his righteousness, as the author of the law, and the supreme
governor of all mankind thereby, might not be violated in the
absolute impunity of the infringers of it? And if it were requisite
unto the glory of God that the penalty of the law should be
undergone for us, or suffered by our surety in our stead, because we
had sinned, wherefore is it not as requisite unto the glory of God
that the receptive part of the law be complied withal for us,
inasmuch as obedience thereunto is required of us? And as we are no
more able of ourselves to full the law in a way of obedience than to
undergo the penalty of it, so as that we may be justified thereby;
so no reason can be given why God is not as much concerned, in
honour and glory, that the preceptive power and part of the law be
complied withal by perfect obedience, as that the sanction of it be
established by undergoing the penalty of it. Upon the same grounds,
therefore, that the Lord Christ's suffering the penalty of the law
for us was necessary that we might be justified in the sight of God,
and that the satisfaction he made [might] thereby be imputed unto
us, as if we ourselves had made satisfaction unto God, as Bellarmine
speaks and grants; on the same it was equally necessary,--that is,
as unto the glory and honour of the Legislator and supreme Governor
of all by the law,--that he should fulfill the receptive part of it,
in his perfect obedience thereunto; which also is to be imputed unto
us for our justification.
     Concerning the first of these,--namely, the satisfaction of
Christ, and the imputation of it unto us,--our principal difference
is with the Socinians. And I have elsewhere written so much in the
vindication of the truth therein, that I shall not here again
reassume the same argument; it is here, therefore, taken for
granted, although I know that there are some different apprehensions
about the notion of Christ's suffering in our stead, and of the
imputation of those sufferings unto us. But I shall here take no
notice of them, seeing I press this argument no farther, but only so
far forth that the obedience of Christ unto the law, and the
imputation thereof unto us, are no less necessary unto our
justification before God, than his suffering of the penalty of the
law, and the imputation thereof unto us, unto the same end. The
nature of this imputation, and what it is formally that is imputed,
we have considered elsewhere.
     That the obedience of Christ the mediator is thus imputed to us,
shall be afterwards proved in particular by testimonies of the
Scripture. Here I intend only the vindication of the argument as
before laid down, which will take us up a little more time than
ordinary. For there is nothing in the whole doctrine of
justification which meets with a more fierce and various opposition;
but the truth is great, and will prevail.
     The things that are usually objected and vehemently urged against
the imputation of the obedience of Christ unto our justification,
may be reduced unto three heads--I. That it is impossible. II. That
it is useless. III. That it is pernicious to believe it. And if the
arguments used for the enforcement of these objections be as cogent
as the charge itself is fierce and severe, they will unavoidably
overthrow the persuasions of it in the minds of all sober persons.
But there is ofttimes a wide difference between what is said and
what is proved, as will appear in the present case:--
     I. It is pleaded impossible, on this single ground,--namely, "That
the obedience of Christ unto the law was due from him on his own
account, and performed by him for himself, as a man made under the
law." Now, what was necessary unto himself, and done for himself,
cannot be said to be done for us, so as to be imputed unto us.
     II. It is pretended to be useless from hence, because all "our
sins of omission and commission being pardoned in our justification
on the account of the death and satisfaction of Christ, we are
thereby made completely righteous; so as that there is not the least
necessity for, or use of, the imputation of the obedience of Christ
unto us."
     III. Pernicious also they say it is, as that which takes away "the
necessity of our own personal obedience, introducing antinomianism,
libertinism, and all manner of evils."
     For this last part of the charge, I refer it unto its proper
place; for although it be urged by some against this part of the
doctrine of justification in a peculiar manner, yet is it managed by

(continued in part 24...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-23.txt