(Owen, Justification. part 25)

implies a contradiction, that an innocent person should be under an
actual obligation unto punishment from the sanction of the law. It
bound only unto obedience, as all laws, with penalties, do before
their transgression. But,--
     (3.) On the committing of sin (and it is so with every one that is
guilty of sin), man came under an actual obligation unto punishment.
This is no more questionable than whether at first he was under an
obligation unto obedience. But then the question is, whether the
first intention and obligation of the law unto obedience does cease
to affect the sinner, or continue so as at the same time to oblige
him unto obedience and punishment, both its powers being in act
towards him? And hereunto I say,--
     [1.] Had the punishment threatened been immediately inflicted unto
the utmost of what was contained in it, this could have been no
question; for man had died immediately, both temporally and
eternally, and been cast out of that state wherein alone he could
stand in any relation unto the receptive power of the law. He that
is finally executed has fulfilled the law so as that he owes no more
obedience unto it.
     But, [2.] God, in his wisdom and patience, has otherwise disposed
of things. Man is continued a "viator" still, in the way unto his
end, and not fully stated in his eternal and unchangeable condition,
wherein neither promise nor threatening, reward nor punishment,
could be proposed unto him. In this condition he falls under a
twofold consideration:--First, Of a guilty person, and so is obliged
unto the full punishment that the law threatens. This is not denied.
Second, Of a man, a rational creature of God, not yet brought unto
his eternal end.
     [3.] In this state, the law is the only instrument and means of
the continuance of the relation between God and him. Wherefore,
under this consideration, it cannot but still oblige him unto
obedience, unless we shall say that by his sin he has exempted
himself from the government of God. Wherefore, it is by the law that
the rule and government of God over men is continued whilst they are
in "statu viatorum;" for every disobedience, every transgression of
its rule and order, as to its commanding power, casts us afresh and
farther under its power of obliging unto punishment.
     Neither can these things be otherwise. Neither can any man living,
not the worst of men, choose but judge himself, whilst he is in this
world, obliged to give obedience unto the law of God, according to
the notices that he has of it by the light of nature or otherwise. A
wicked servant that is punished for his fault, if it be with such a
punishment as yet continues his being and his state of servitude, is
not by his punishment freed from an obligation unto duty, according
unto the rule of it; yea, his obligation unto duty, with respect
unto that crime for which he was punished, is not dissolved until
his punishment be capital, and so put an end unto his state.
Wherefore, seeing that by the pardon of sin we are freed only from
the obligation unto punishment, there is, moreover, required unto
our justification an obedience unto what the law requires.
     And this greatly strengthens the argument in whose vindication we
are engaged; for we being sinners, we were obnoxious both unto the
command and curse of the law. Both must be answered, or we cannot be
justified. And as the Lord Christ could not by his most perfect
obedience satisfy the curse of the law, "Dying thou shalt die;" so
by the utmost of his suffering he could not fulfill the command of
the law, "Do this, and live." Passion, as passion, is not obedience,-
-though there may be obedience in suffering, as there was in that of
Christ unto the height. Wherefore, as we plead that the death of
Christ is imputed unto us for our justification, so we deny that it
is imputed unto us for our righteousness. For by the imputation of
the sufferings of Christ our sins are remitted or pardoned, and we
are delivered from the curse of the law, which he underwent; but we
are not thence esteemed just or righteous, which we cannot be
without respect unto the fulfilling of the commands of the law, or
the obedience by it required. The whole matter is excellently
expressed by Grotius in the words before alleged: "Cum duo nobis
peperisse Christum dixerimus, impunitatem et praemium, illud
satisfctioni, hoc merito Christi distincte tribuit vetus ecclesia.
Satisfactio consistit in meritorum translatione, meritum in
perfectissimae obedientiae pro nobis praestitiae imputatione".
     (4.) The objection mentioned proceeds also on this supposition,
that pardon of sin gives title unto eternal blessedness in the
enjoyment of God; for justification does so, and, according to the
authors of this opinion, no other righteousness is required
thereunto but pardon of sin. That justification does give right and
title unto adoption, acceptation with God, and the heavenly
inheritance, I suppose will not be denied, and it has been proved
already. Pardon of sin depends solely on the death or suffering of
Christ: "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace," Eph.1:7.
But suffering for punishment gives right and title unto nothing,
only satisfies for something; nor does it deserve any reward: it is
nowhere said, "Suffer this, and live," but "Do this, and live."
     These things, I confess, are inseparably connected in the
ordinance, appointment, and covenant of God. Whosoever has his sins
pardoned is accepted with God, has right unto eternal blessedness.
These things are inseparable; but they are not one and the same. And
by reason of their inseparable relation are they so put together by
the apostle, Rom.4:6-8, "Even as David also describeth the
blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without
works: Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose
sins are covered: blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not
impute sin." It is the imputation of righteousness that gives right
unto blessedness; but pardon of sin is inseparable from it, and an
effect of it, both being opposed unto justification by works, or an
internal righteousness of our own. But it is one thing to be freed
from being liable unto eternal death, and another to have right and
title unto a blessed and eternal life. It is one thing to be
redeemed from under the law,--that is, the curse of it; another, to
receive the adoption of sons;--one thing to be freed from the curse;
another, to have the blessing of Abraham come upon us: as the
apostle distinguishes these things, Gal.3:13,14; 4:4,5; and so does
our Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 26:18, "That they may receive
forgiveness of sins, and inheritance" (a lot and right to the
inheritance) "amongst them which are sanctified by faith that is in
me." "Afesis hamartioon", which we have by faith in Christ, is only
a dismission of sin from being pleadable unto our condemnation; on
which account "there is no condemnation unto them that are in Christ
Jesus." But a right and title unto glory, or the heavenly
inheritance, it gives not. Can it be supposed that all the great and
glorious effects of present grace and future blessedness should
follow necessarily on, and be the effect of, mere pardon of sin? Can
we not be pardoned but we must thereby of necessity be made sons,
heirs of God, and coheirs with Christ?
     Pardon of sin is in God, with respect unto the sinner, a free,
gratuitous act: "Forgiveness of sin through the riches of his
grace." But with respect unto the satisfaction of Christ, it is an
act in judgment. For on the consideration thereof, as imputed unto
him, does God absolve and acquit the sinner upon his trial. But
pardon on a juridical trial, on what consideration soever it be
granted, gives no right nor title unto any favour, benefit, or
privilege, but only mere deliverance. It is one thing to be
acquitted before the throne of a king of crimes laid unto the charge
of any man, which may be done by clemency, or on other
considerations; another to be made his son by adoption, and heir
unto his kingdom.
     And these things are represented unto us in the Scripture as
distinct, and depending on distinct causes: so are they in the
vision concerning Joshua the high priest, Zech.3:4,5, "And he
answered and spake unto those that stood before him saying, Take
away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I
have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee
with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair metre upon
his head. So they set a fair metre upon his head, and clothed him
with garments." It has been generally granted that we have here a
representation of the justification of a sinner before God. And the
taking away of filthy garments is expounded by the passing away of
iniquity. When a man's filthy garments are taken away, he is no more
defiled with them; but he is not thereby clothed. This is an
additional grace and favour thereunto,--namely, to be clothed with
change of garments. And what this raiment is, is declared,
Isa.61:10, "He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has
covered me with the robe of righteousness;" which the apostle
alludes unto, Phil.3:9. Wherefore these things are distinct,--
namely, the taking away of the filthy garments, and the clothing of
us with change of raiment; or, the pardon of sin, and the robe of
righteousness. By the one are we freed from condemnation; by the
other have we right unto salvation. And the same is in like manner
represented, Ezek.16:6-12.
     This place I had formerly urged to this purpose about communion
with God; which Mr Hotchkis, in his usual manner, attempts to
answer. And to omit his reviling expressions, with the crude,
unproved assertion of his own conceits, his answer is,--that by the
change of raiment mentioned in the prophet, our own personal
righteousness is intended; for he acknowledges that our
justification before God is here represented. And so also he
expounds the place produced in the confirmation of the exposition
given, Isa.61:10, where this change of raiment is called, "The
garments of salvation, and the robe of righteousness;" and thereon
affirms that our righteousness itself before God is our personal
righteousness,--that is, in our justification before him, which is
the only thing in question. To all which presumptions I shall oppose
only the testimony of the same prophet, which he may consider at his
leisure, and which, at one time or other, he will subscribe unto.
Isa.64:6, "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our
righteousnesses are as filthy rags." He who can make garments of
salvation and robes of righteousness of these filthy rags, has a
skill in composing spiritual vestments that I am not acquainted
withal. What remains in the chapter wherein this answer is given
unto that testimony of the Scripture, I shall take no notice of; it
being, after his accustomed manner, only a perverse wresting of my
words unto such a sense as may seem to countenance him in casting a
reproach upon myself and others.
     There is, therefore, no force in the comparing of these things
unto life and death natural, which are immediately opposed: "So that
he who is not dead is alive, and he who is alive is not dead;" there
being no distinct state between that of life and death; for these
things being of different natures, the comparison between them is no
way argumentative. Though it may be so in things natural, it is
otherwise in things moral and political, where a proper
representation of justification may be taken, as it is forensic. If
it were so, that there is no difference between being acquitted of a
crime at the bar of a judge, and a right unto a kingdom, nor
different state between these things, it would prove that there is
no intermediate estate between being pardoned and having a right
unto the heavenly inheritance. But this is a fond imagination.
     It is true that right unto eternal life does succeed unto freedom
from the guilt of eternal death: "That they may receive forgiveness
of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified." But it
does not do so out of a necessity in the nature of the things
themselves, but only in the free constitution of God. Believers have
the pardon of sin, and an immediate right and title unto the favour
of God, the adoption of sons, and eternal life. But there is another
state in the nature of the things themselves, and this might have
been so actually, had it so seemed good unto God; for who sees not
that there is a "status," or "conditio personae," wherein he is
neither under the guilt of condemnation nor has an immediate right
and title unto glory in the way of inheritance? God might have
pardoned men all their sins past, and placed them in a state and
condition of seeking righteousness for the future by the works of
the law, that so they might have lived; for this would answer the
original state of Adam. But God has not done so. True; but whereas
he might have done so, it is evident that the disposal of men into
this state and condition of right unto life and salvation, does not
depend on nor proceed from the pardon of sin, but has another cause;
which is, the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us, as
he fulfilled the law for us.
     And, in truth, this is the opinion of the most of our adversaries
in this cause: for they do contend, that over and above the
remission of sin, which some of them say is absolute, without any
respect unto the merit or satisfaction of Christ, others refer it
unto them; they all contend that there is, moreover, a righteousness
of works required unto our justification;--only they say this is our
own incomplete, imperfect righteousness imputed unto us as if it
were perfect; that is, for what it is not, and not the righteousness
of Christ imputed unto us for what it is.
     From what has been discoursed, it is evident that unto our
justification before God is required, not only that we be freed from
the damnatory sentence of the law, which we are by the pardon of
sin, but, moreover, "that the righteousness of the law be fulfilled
in us," or, that we have a righteousness answering the obedience
that the law requires; whereon our acceptance with God, through the
riches of his grace, and our title unto the heavenly inheritance, do
depend. This we have not in and of ourselves, nor can attain unto;
as has been proved. Wherefore the perfect obedience and
righteousness of Christ is imputed unto us, or in the sight of God
we can never be justified.
     Nor are the caviling objections of the Socinians, and those that
follow them, of any force against the truth herein. They tell us,
"That the righteousness of Christ can be imputed but unto one, if
unto any; for who can suppose that the same righteousness of one
should become the righteousness of many, even of all that believe?
Besides, he performed not all the duties that are required of us in
all our relations, he being never placed in them." These things, I
say, are both foolish and impious, destructive unto the whole
gospel; for all things here depend on the ordination of God. It is
his ordinance, that as "through the offense of one many are dead,"
so "disgrace, and the gift of grace, through one man, Christ Jesus,
has abounded unto many;" and "as by the offense of one judgment came
upon all men unto condemnation, so by the righteousness of one the
free gift came upon all unto the righteousness of life;" and "by the
obedience of one many are made righteous;" as the apostle argues,
Rom.5. For "God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,
and for sin, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in
us," chap.8:3,4; for he was "the end of the law" (the whole end of
it), "for righteousness unto them that do believe," chap.10:4. This
is the appointment of the wisdom, righteousness, and grace of God,
that the whole righteousness and obedience of Christ should be
accepted as our complete righteousness before him, imputed unto us
by his grace, and applied unto us or made ours through believing;
and, consequently, unto all that believe. And if the actual sin of
Adam be imputed unto us all, who derive our nature from him, unto
condemnation, though he sinned not in our circumstances and
relations, is it strange that the actual obedience of Christ should
be imputed unto them who derive a spiritual nature from him, unto
the justification of life? Besides, both the satisfaction and
obedience of Christ, as relating unto his person, were, in some
sense, infinite,--that is, of an infinite value,--and so cannot be
considered in parts, as though one part of it were imputed unto one,
and another unto another, but the whole is imputed unto every one
that does believe; and if the Israelites could say that David was
"worth ten thousand of them," 2 Sam.18:3, we may well allow the Lord
Christ, and so what he did and suffered, to be more than us all, and
all that we can do and suffer.
     There are also sundry other mistakes that concur unto that part of
the charge against the imputation of the righteousness of Christ
unto us, which we have now considered. I say of his righteousness;
for the apostle in this case uses those two words, "dikaiooma" and
"hupako-e", "righteousness" and "obedience," as "isodunamounta"--of
the same signification, Rom.5:18,19. Such are these:--that remission
of sin and justification are the same, or that justification
consists only in the remission of sin;--that faith itself, as our
act and duty, seeing it is the condition of the covenant, is imputed
unto us for righteousness;--or that we have a personal, inherent
righteousness of our own, that one way or other is our righteousness
before God unto justification; either a condition it is, or a
disposition unto it, or has a congruity in deserving the grace of
justification, or a downright merit of condignity thereof: for all
these are but various expressions of the same thing, according unto
the variety of the conceptions of the minds of men about it. But
they have been all considered and removed in our precedent
     To close this argument, and our vindication of it, and therewithal
to obviate an objection, I do acknowledge that our blessedness and
life eternal is, in the Scripture, ofttimes ascribed unto the death
of Christ. But,--1. It is so "kat' exochen",--as the principal cause
of the whole, and as that without which no imputation of obedience
could have justified us; for the penalty of the law was
indispensably to be undergone. 2. It is so "kata sungeneian",--not
exclusively unto all obedience, whereof mention is made in other
places, but as that whereunto it is inseparably conjoined. "Christus
in vita passivam habuit actionem; in morte passionem activam
sustinuit; dum salutem operaretur in medio terrae", Bernard. And so
it is also ascribed unto his resurrection "kat' endeixin", with
respect unto evidence and manifestation; but the death of Christ
exclusively, as unto his obedience, is nowhere asserted as the
cerise of eternal life, comprising that exceeding weight of glory
wherewith it is accompanied.
     Hitherto we have treated of and vindicated the imputation of the
active obedience of Christ unto us, as the truth of it was deduced
from the preceding argument about the obligation of the law of
creation. I shall now briefly confirm it with other reasons and
     1. That which Christ, the mediator and surety of the covenant, did
do in obedience unto God, in the discharge and performance of his
office, that he did for us; and that is imputed unto us. This has
been proved already, and it has too great an evidence of truth to be
denied. He was "born to us, given to us," Isa.9:6; for "what the law
could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his
own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin
in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled
in us," Rom. 8:3,4. Whatever is spoken of the grace, love, and
purpose of God in sending or giving his Son, or of the love, grace,
and condescension of the Son in coming and undertaking of the work
of redemption designed unto him, or of the office itself of a
mediator or surety, gives testimony unto this assertion; yea, it is
the fundamental principle of the gospel, and of the faith of all
that truly believe. As for those by whom the divine person and
satisfaction of Christ are denied, whereby they evert the whole work
of his mediation, we do not at present consider them. Wherefore what
he so did is to be inquired into. And,--
     (1.) The Lord Christ, our mediator and surety, was, in his human
nature, made "hupo nomon",--"under the law," Gal.4:4. That he was
not so for himself, by the necessity of his condition, we have
proved before. It was, therefore, for us. But as made under the law,
he yielded obedience unto it; this, therefore, was for us, and is
imputed unto us. The exception of the Socinians, that it is the
judicial law only that is intended, is too frivolous to be insisted
on; for he was made under that law whose curse we are delivered
from. And if we are delivered only from the curse of the law of
Moses, wherein they contend that there was neither promises nor
threatening of eternal things, of any thing beyond this present
life, we are still in our sins, under the curse of the moral law,
notwithstanding act that he has done for us. It is excepted, with
more colour of sobriety, that he was made under the law only as to
the curse of it. But it is plain in the text that Christ was made
under the law as we are under it. He was "made under the law, to
redeem them that were under the law." And if he was not made so as
we are, there is no consequence from his being made under it unto
our redemption from it. But we were so under the law, as not only to
be obnoxious unto the curse, but so as to be obliged unto all the
obedience that it required; as has been proved. And if the Lord
Christ has redeemed us only from the curse of it by undergoing it,
leaving us in ourselves to answer its obligation unto obedience, we
are not freed nor delivered. And the expression of "under the law"
does in the first place, and properly, signify being under the
obligation of it unto obedience, and consequentially only with a
respect unto the curse. Gal.4:21, "Tell me, ye that desire to be
"hupo nomon",--"under the law." They did not desire to be under the
curse of the law, but only its obligation unto obedience; which, in
all usage of speech, is the first proper sense of that expression.
Wherefore, the Lord Christ being made under the law for us, he
yielded perfect obedience unto it for us; which is therefore imputed
unto us. For that what he did was done for us, depends solely on
     (2.) As he was thus made under the law, so he did actually fulfil
it by his obedience unto it. So he testifies concerning himself,--
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am
not come to destroy, but to fulfill," Matt.5:17. These words of our
Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded by the evangelist, the Jews
continually object against the Christians, as contradictory to what
they pretend to be done by him,--namely, that he has destroyed and
taken away the law. And Maimonides, in his treatise, "De Fundamentis
Legis," has many blasphemous reflections on the Lord Christ, as a
false prophet in this matter. But the reconciliation is plain and
easy. There was a twofold law given unto the church,--the moral and
the ceremonial law. The first, as we have proved, is of an eternal
obligation; the other was given only for a time. That the latter of
these was to be taken away and abolished, the apostle proves with
invincible testimonies out of the Old Testament against the
obstinate Jews, in his Epistle unto the Hebrews. Yet was it not to
be taken away without its accomplishment, when it ceased of itself.
Wherefore, our Lord Christ did no otherwise dissolve or destroy that
law but by the accomplishment of it; and so he did put an end unto
it, as is fully declared, Eph.2:14-16. But the law "kat' exochen",
that which obliges all men unto obedience unto God always, he came
not "katalusai", to destroy,--that is "athetesai", to abolish it, as
an "athetesis" is ascribed unto the Mosaical law, Heb.9:26 (in the
same sense is the word used, Matt.24:2; 26:61; 27:40; Mark 13:2;
14:58; 15:29; Luke 21:6; Acts 5:38,39; 6:14; Rom.14:20; 2 Cor.5:l;
Gal.2:18, mostly with an accusative case, of the things spoken of),
or "katare-esai", which the apostle denies to be done by Christ, and
faith in him. Rom.3:31, "Nomon oun katareoumen dia tes pisteoos; me
genoito. alle nomon histoomen",--"Do we then make void the law
through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law." "Nomon
histanai" is to confirm its obligation unto obedience; which is done
by faith only, with respect unto the moral law; the other being
evacuated as unto any power of obliging unto obedience. This,
therefore, is the law which our Lord Christ affirms that he came
"not to destroy;" so he expressly declares in his ensuing discourse,
showing both its power of obliging us always unto obedience, and
giving an exposition of it. This law the Lord Christ came
"pleroosai". "Pleroosai ton nomon", in the Scripture, is the same
with "emplesai ton nomon" in other writers; that is, to yield full,
perfect obedience unto the commands of the law, whereby they are
absolutely fulfilled. "Pleroosai nomon" is not to make the law
perfect; for it was always "nomos teleios",--a "perfect law," James
1:25; but to yield perfect obedience unto it: the same that our
Saviour calls "pleroosai pasan dikaiosunen", Matt.3:15, "to fulfill
all righteousness;" that is, by obedience unto all God's commands
and institutions, as is evident in the place. So the apostle uses
the same expression, Rom.13:8, "He that loveth another has fulfilled
the law."
     2. It is a vain exception, that Christ fulfilled the law by his
doctrine, in the exposition of it. The opposition between the words
"pleroosai" and "katalusai",--"to fulfill" and "to destroy,"--will
admit of no such sense; and our Saviour himself expounds this
"fulfilling of the law," by doing the commands of it, Matt.5:19.
Wherefore, the Lord Christ as our mediator and surety fulfilling the
law, by yielding perfect obedience thereunto, he did it for us; and
to us it is imputed.
     This is plainly affirmed by the apostle, Rom.5:18,19, "Therefore,
as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation;
even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men
unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many
were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made
righteous." The full plea from, and vindication of, this testimony,
I refer unto its proper place in the testimonies given unto the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto our justification in
general. Here I shall only observe, that the apostle expressly and
in terms affirms that "by the obedience of Christ we are made
righteous," or justified; which we cannot be but by the imputation
of it unto us. I have met with nothing that had the appearance of
any sobriety for the eluding of this express testimony, but only
that by the obedience of Christ his death and sufferings are
intended, wherein he was obedient unto God; as the apostle says, he
was "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," Phil.2:8.
But yet there is herein no colour of probability. For,--(1.) It is
acknowledged that there was such a near conjunction and alliance
between the obedience of Christ and his sufferings, that though they
may be distinguished, yet can they not be separated. He suffered in
the whole course of his obedience, from the womb to the cross; and
he obeyed in all his sufferings unto the last moment wherein he
expired. But yet are they really things distinct, as we have proved;
and they were so in him who "learned obedience by the things that he
suffered," Heb.5:8. (2.) In this place, [Rom.5] "hupako-e", verse
19, and "dikaiooma", verse 18, are the same,--obedience and
righteousness. "By the righteousness of one," and "by the obedience
of one," are the same. But suffering, as suffering, is not
"dikaiooma", is not righteousness; for if it were, then every one
that suffers what is due to him should be righteous, and so be
justified, even the devil himself (3.) The righteousness and
obedience here intended are opposed "tooi paraptoomati",--to the
offence: "By the offense of one." But the offense intended was an
actual transgression of the law; so is "paraptooma", a fall from, or
a fall in, the course of obedience. Wherefore the "dikaiooma", or
righteousness, must be an actual obedience unto the commands of the
law, or the force of the apostle's reasoning and antithesis cannot
be understood. (4.) Particularly, it is such an obedience as is
opposed unto the disobedience of Adam,--"one man's disobedience,"
"one man's obedience;"--but the disobedience of Adam was an actual
transgression of the law: and therefore the obedience of Christ here
intended was his active obedience unto the law;--which is that we
plead for. And I shall not at present farther pursue the argument,
because the force of it, in the confirmation of the truth contended
for, will be included in those that follow.

XIII. The nature of justification proved from the difference of the

The difference between the two covenants stated--Argument from

That which we plead in the third place unto our purpose is, the
difference between the two covenants. And herein it may be observed,-
     1. That by the two covenants I understand those which were
absolutely given unto the whole church, and were all to bring it
"eis teleioteta",--unto a complete and perfect state; that is, the
covenant of works, or the law of our creation as it was given unto
us, with promises and threatening, or rewards and punishments,
annexed unto it; and the covenant of grace, revealed and proposed in
the first promise. As unto the covenant of Sinai, and the new
testament as actually confirmed in the death of Christ, with all the
spiritual privileges thence emerging, and the differences between
them, they belong not unto our present argument.
     2. The whole entire nature of the covenant of works consisted in
this,--that upon our personal obedience, according unto the law and
rule of it, we should be accepted with God, and rewarded with him.
Herein the essence of it did consist; and whatever covenant proceeds
on these terms, or has the nature of them in it, however it may be
varied with additions or alterations, is the same covenant still,
and not another. As in the renovation of the promise wherein the
essence of the covenant of grace was contained, God did ofttimes
make other additions unto it (as unto Abraham and David), yet was it
still the same covenant for the substance of it, and not another; so
whatever variations may be made in, or additions unto, the
dispensation of the first covenant, so long as this rule is
retained, "Do this, and live," it is still the same covenant for the
substance and essence of it.
     3. Hence two things belonged unto this covenant:--First, That all
things were transacted immediately between God and man. There was no
mediator in it, no one to undertake any thing, either on the part of
God or man, between them; for the whole depending on every one's
personal obedience, there was no place for a mediator. Secondly,
That nothing but perfect, sinless obedience would be accepted with
God, or preserve the covenant in its primitive state and condition.
There was nothing in it as to pardon of sin, no provision for any
defect in personal obedience.
     4. Wherefore, this covenant being once established between God and
man, there could be no new covenant made, unless the essential form
of it were of another nature,--namely, that our own personal
obedience be not the rule and cause of our acceptation and
justification before God; for whilst this is so, as was before
observed, the covenant is still the same, however the dispensation
of it may be reformed or reduced to suit unto our present state and
condition. What grace soever might be introduced into it, that could
not be so which excluded all works from being the cause of our
justification. But if a new covenant be made, such grace must be
provided as is absolutely inconsistent with any works of ours, as
unto the first ends of the covenant; as the apostle declares,
     5. Wherefore, the covenant of grace, supposing it a new, real,
absolute covenant, and not a reformation of the dispensation of the
old, or a reduction of it unto the use of our present condition (as
some imagine it to be), must differ, in the essence, substance, and
nature of it, from that first covenant of works. And this it cannot
do if we are to be justified before God on our personal obedience;
wherein the essence of the first covenant consisted. If, then, the
righteousness wherewith we are justified before God be our own, our
own personal righteousness, we are yet under the first covenant, and
no other.
     6. But things in the new covenant are indeed quite otherwise; for,-
-First, It is of grace, which wholly excludes works; that is, so of
grace, as that our own works are not the means of justification
before God; as in the places before alleged. Secondly, It has a
mediator and surety; which is built alone on this supposition, that
what we cannot do in ourselves which was originally required of us,
and what the law of the first covenant cannot enable us to perform,
that should be performed for us by our mediator and surety. And if
this be not included in the very first notion of a mediator and
surety, yet it is in that of a mediator or surety that does
voluntarily interpose himself, upon an open acknowledgment that
those for whom he undertakes were utterly insufficient to perform

(continued in part 26...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-25.txt