(Owen, Justification. part 27)

the way of obedience, God never did nor will require of any in this
world. Wherefore, the law and the works thereof which the apostle
excludes from justification, is that whereby we are obliged to
believe in God as one God, the only God, and love him with all our
hearts and souls, and our neighbours as ourselves; and what works
there are, or can be, in any persons, regenerate or not regenerate,
to be performed in the strength of grace or without it, that are
acceptable unto God, that may not be reduced unto these heads, I
know not.
     2. The apostle himself declares that it is the law and the works
of it, in the sense we have expressed, that he excludes from our
justification. For the law he speaks of is "the law of
righteousness," Rom.9:31,--the law whose righteousness is to be
"fulfilled in us," that we may be accepted with God, and freed from
condemnation, chap.8:4;--that in obedience whereunto our own
personal righteousness does consist, whether that we judge so before
conversion, Rom.10:3; or what is so after it, Phil.3:9;--the law
which if a man observe, "he shall live," and be justified before
God, Rom.2:13; Gal.3:12; Rom.10:5;--that law which is "holy, just,
and good," which discovers and condemns all sin whatever,
     From what has been discoursed, these two things are evident in the
confirmation of our present argument:--first, That the law intended
by the apostle, when he denies that by the works of the law any can
be justified, is the entire rule and guide of our obedience unto
God, even as unto the whole frame and spiritual constitution of our
souls, with all the acts of obedience or duties that he requires of
us; and, secondly, That the works of this law, which he so
frequently and plainly excludes from our justification, and therein
opposes to the grace of God and the blood of Christ, are all the
duties of obedience,--internal, supernatural; external, ritual,--
however we are or may be enabled to perform them, that God requires
of us. And these things excluded, it is the righteousness of Christ
alone, imputed unto us, on, the account whereof we are justified
before God.
     The truth is, so far as I can discern, the real difference that is
at this day amongst us, about the doctrine of our justification
before God, is the same that was between the apostle and the Jews,
and no other. But controversies in religion make a great appearance
of being new, when they are only varied and made different by the
new terms and expressions that are introduced into the handling of
them. So has it fallen out in the controversy about nature and
grace; for as unto the true nature of it, it is the same in these
days as it was between the apostle Paul and the Pharisees; between
Austin and Pelagius afterwards. But it has now passed through so
many forms and dresses of words, as that it can scarce be known to
be what it was. Many at this day will condemn both Pelagius and the
doctrine that he taught, in the words wherein he taught it, and yet
embrace and approve of the things themselves which he intended. The
introduction of every change in philosophical learning gives an
appearance of a change in the controversies which are managed
thereby; but take off the covering of philosophical expressions,
distinctions, metaphysical notions, and futilous terms of art, which
some of the ancient schoolmen and later disputants have cast upon
it, and the difference about grace and nature is amongst us all the
same that it was of old, and as it is allowed by the Socinians.
     Thus the apostle, treating of our justification before God, does
it in those terms which are both expressive of the thing itself, and
were well understood by them with whom he had to do; such as the
Holy Spirit, in their revelation, had consecrated unto their proper
use. Thus, on the one hand, he expressly excludes the law, our own
works, our own righteousness, from any interest therein; ally in
opposition unto, and as inconsistent with them, in the matter of
justification, he ascribes it wholly unto the righteousness of God,
righteousness imputed unto us, the obedience of Christ, Christ made
righteousness unto us, the blood of Christ as a propitiation, faith,
receiving Christ, and the atonement. There is no awakened
conscience, guided by the least beam of spiritual illumination, but
in itself plainly understands these things, and what is intended in
them. But through the admission of exotic learning, with
philosophical terms and notions, into the way of teaching spiritual
things in religion, a new face and appearance is put on the whole
matter; and a composition made between those things which the
apostle directly opposes as contrary and inconsistent. Hence are all
our discourses about preparations, dispositions, conditions, merits
"de congruo et condigno," with such a train of distinctions, as that
if some bounds be not fixed unto the inventing and coining of them
(which, being a facile work, grows on us every day), we shall not
see long be able to look through them, so as to discover the things
intended, or rightly to understand one another; for as one said of
lies, so it may be said of arbitrary distinctions, they must be
continually new thatched over, or it will rain through. But the best
way is to cast off all these coverings, and we shall then quickly
see that the real difference about the justification of a sinner
before God is the same, and no other, as it was in the days of the
apostle Paul between him and the Jews. And all those things which
men are pleased now to plead for, with respect unto a causality in
our justification before God, under the names of preparations,
conditions, dispositions, merit, with respect unto a first or second
justification, are as effectually excluded by the apostle as if he
had expressly named them every one; for in them all there is a
management, according unto our conceptions and the terms of the
learning passant in the present age, of the plea for our own
personal righteousness, which the Jews maintained against the
apostle. And the true understanding of what he intends by the law,
the works and righteousness thereof, would be sufficient to
determine this controversy, but that men are grown very skilful in
the art of endless wrangling.

XV. Faith alone

Of faith alone

The truth which we plead has two parts:--1. That the righteousness
of God imputed to us, unto the justification of life, is the
righteousness of Christ, by whose obedience we are made righteous.
2. That it is faith alone which on our part is required to interest
us in that righteousness, or whereby we comply with God's grant and
communication of it, or receive it unto our use and benefit; for
although this faith is in itself the radical principle of all
obedience,-- and whatever is not so, which cannot, which does not,
on all occasions, evidence, prove, show, or manifest itself by
works, is not of the same kind with it,--yet, as we are justified by
it, its act and duty is such, or of that nature, as that no other
grace, duty, or work, can be associated with it, or be of any
consideration. And both these are evidently confirmed in that
description which is given us in the Scripture of the nature of
faith and believing unto the justification of life.
     I know that many expressions used in the declaration of the nature
and work of faith herein are metaphorical, at least are generally
esteemed so to be;--but they are such as the Holy Ghost, in his
infinite wisdom, thought meet to make use of for the instruction and
edification of the church. And I cannot but say, that those who
understand not how effectually the light of knowledge is
communicated unto the minds of them that believe by them, and a
sense of the things intended unto their spiritual experience, seem
not to have taken a due consideration of them. Neither, whatever
skill we pretend unto, do we know always what expressions of
spiritual things are metaphorical. Those oftentimes may seem so to
be, which are most proper. However, it is most safe for us to adhere
unto the expressions of the Holy Spirit, and not to embrace such
senses of things as are inconsistent with them, and opposite unto
them. Wherefore,--
     1. That faith whereby we are justified is most frequently in the
New Testament expressed by receiving. This notion of faith has been
before spoken unto, in our general inquiry into the use of it in our
justification. It shall not, therefore, be here much again insisted
on. Two things we may observe concerning it:--First, That it is so
expressed with respect unto the whole object of faith, or unto all
that does any way concur unto our justification; for we are said to
receive Christ himself: "As many as received him, to them gave he
power to become the sons of God," John 1:12; "As ye have received
Christ Jesus the Lord," Col.2:6. In opposition hereunto unbelief is
expressed by not receiving of him, John 1:11; 3:11; 12:48; 14:17.
And it is a receiving of Christ as he is "The LORD our
Righteousness," as of God he is made righteousness unto us. And as
no grace, no duty, can have any cooperation with faith herein,--this
reception of Christ not belonging unto their nature, nor comprised
in their exercise,--so it excludes any other righteousness from our
justification but that of Christ alone; for we are "justified by
faith." Faith alone receives Christ; and what it receives is the
cause of our justification, whereon we become the sons of God. So we
"receive the atonement" made by the blood of Christ, Rom.5:11; for
"God has set him forth to be a propitiation through faith in his
blood." And this receiving of the atonement includes the soul's
approbation of the way of salvation by the blood of Christ, and the
appropriation of the atonement made thereby unto our own souls. For
thereby also we receive the forgiveness of sins: "That they may
receive forgiveness of sins by faith that is in me," Acts 26:18. In
receiving Christ we receive the atonement; and in the atonement we
receive the forgiveness of sins. But, moreover, the grace of God,
and righteousness itself, as the efficient and material cause of our
justification, are received also; even the "abundance of grace and
the gift of righteousness," Rom.5:17. So that faith, with respect
unto all the causes of justification, is expressed by "receiving;"
for it also receives the promise, the instrumental cause on the part
of God thereof, Acts 2:41; Heb.9:15. Secondly, That the nature of

faith, and its acting with respect unto all the causes of
justification, consisting in receiving, that which is the object of
it must be offered, tendered, and given unto us, as that which is
not our own, but is made our own by that giving and receiving. This
is evident in the general nature of receiving. And herein, as was
observed, as no other grace or duty can concur with it, so the
righteousness whereby we are justified can be none of our own
antecedent unto this reception, nor at any time inherent in us.
Hence we argue, that if the work of faith in our justification be
the receiving of what is freely granted, given, communicated, and
imputed unto us,--that is, of Christ, of the atonement, of the gift
of righteousness, of the forgiveness of sins,--then have our other
graces, our obedience, duties, works, no influence into our
justification, nor are any causes or conditions thereof; for they
are neither that which does receive nor that which is received,
which alone concur thereunto.
     2. Faith is expressed by looking: "Look unto me, and be ye saved,"
Isa.45:22; "A man shall look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have
respect unto the Holy One of Israel," chap.17:7; "They shall look
upon me whom they have pierced," Zech.12:10. See Ps.123:2. The
nature hereof is expressed, John 3:14,15, "As Moses lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal
life." For so was he to be lifted up on the cross in his death, John
8:28, chap.12:32. The story is recorded Numb.21:8,9. I suppose none
doubt but that the stinging of the people by fiery serpents, and the
death that ensued thereon, were types of the guilt of sin, and the
sentence of the fiery law thereon; for these things happened unto
them in types, 1 Cor.10:11. When any was so stung or bitten, if he
retook himself unto any other remedies, he died and perished. Only
they that looked unto the brazen serpent that was lifted up were
healed, and lived; for this was the ordinance of God,--this way of
healing alone had he appointed. And their healing was a type of the
pardon of sin, with everlasting life. So by their looking is the
nature of faith expressed, as our Saviour plainly expounds it in
this place: "So must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever
believeth in him,"--that is, as the Israelites looked unto the
serpent in the wilderness,--["should not perish."] And although this
expression of the great mystery of the gospel by Christ himself has
been by some derided, or, as they call it, exposed, yet is it really
as instructive of the nature of faith, justification, and salvation
by Christ, as any passage in the Scripture. Now, if faith, whereby
we are justified, and in that exercise of it wherein we are so, be a
looking unto Christ, under a sense of the guilt of sin and our lost
condition thereby, for all, for our only help and relief, for
deliverance, righteousness, and life, then is it therein exclusive
of all other graces and duties whatever; for by them we neither
look, nor are they the things which we look after. But so is the
nature and exercise of faith expressed by the Holy Ghost; and they
who do believe understand his mind. For whatever may be pretended of
metaphor in the expression, faith is that act of the soul whereby
they who are hopeless, helpless, and lost in themselves, do, in a
way of expectancy and trust, seek for all help and relief in Christ
alone, or there is not truth in it. And this also sufficiently
evinces the nature of our justification by Christ.
     3. It is, in like manner, frequently expressed by coming unto
Christ: "Come unto me, all ye that labour," Matt.11:28. See John
6:35,37,45,65; 7:37. To come unto Christ for life and salvation, is
to believe on him unto the justification of life; but no other grace
or duty is a coming unto Christ: and therefore have they no place in
justification. He who has been convinced of sin, who has been
wearied with the burden of it, who has really designed to fly from
the wrath to come, and has heard the voice of Christ in the gospel
inviting him to come unto him for help and relief, will tell you
that this coming unto Christ consists in a man's going out of
himself, in a complete renunciation of all his own duties and
righteousness, and retaking himself with all his trust and
confidence unto Christ alone, and his righteousness, for pardon of
sin, acceptation with God, and a right unto the heavenly
inheritance. It may be some will say this is not believing, but
canting; be it so: we refer the judgment of it to the church of God.
     4. It is expressed by fleeing for refuge: Heb.6:18, "Who have fled
for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before us." See Prov.18:10.
Hence some have defined faith to be "perfugium animae," the flight
of the soul unto Christ for deliverance from sin and misery. And
much light is given unto the understanding of the thing intended
thereby. For herein it is supposed that he who believes is
antecedently thereunto convinced of his lost condition, and that if
he abide therein he must perish eternally; that he has nothing of
himself whereby he may be delivered from it; that he must retake
himself unto somewhat else for relief; that unto this end he
considers Christ as set before him, and proposed unto him in the
promise of the gospel; that he judges this to be a holy, a safe way,
for his deliverance and acceptance with God, as that which has the
characters of all divine excellencies upon it: hereon he flees unto
it for refuge, that is, with diligence and speed, that he perish not
in his present condition; he retakes himself unto it by placing his
whole trust and affiance thereon. And the whole nature of our
justification by Christ is better declared hereby, unto the
supernatural sense and experience of believers, than by a hundred
philosophical disputations about it.
     5. The terms and notions by which it is expressed under the Old
Testament are, leaning on God, Mic.3:11; or Christ, Cant.8:5;--
rolling or casting ourselves and our burden on the Lord, Ps.22:8,
[margin,] 37:5--(the wisdom of the Holy Ghost in which expressions
has by some been profanely derided);--resting on God, or in him, 2
Chron.14:11; Ps.37:7;--cleaving unto the Lord, Dent.4:4; Acts 11:23;
as also by trusting, hoping, and waiting, in places innumerable. And
it may be observed, that those who acted faith as it is thus
expressed, do everywhere declare themselves to be lost, hopeless,
helpless, desolate, poor, orphans; whereon they place all their hope
and expectation on God alone.
     All that I would infer from these things is, that the faith
whereby we believe unto the justification of life, or which is
required of us in a way of duty that we may be justified, is such an
act of the whole soul whereby convinced sinners do wholly go out of
themselves to rest upon God in Christ for mercy, pardon, life,
righteousness, and salvation, with an acquiescence of heart therein;
which is the whole of the truth pleaded for.

XVI. The truth pleaded farther confirmed by testimonies of

Testimonies of Scripture confirming the doctrine of justification by
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ--Jer.23:6, exp1sined
and indicated

That which we now proceed unto, is the consideration of those
express testimonies of Scripture which are given unto the truth
pleaded for, and especially of those places where the doctrine of
the justification of sinners is expressly and designedly handled.
From them it is that we must learn the truth, and into them must our
faith be resolved; unto whose authority all the arguing and
objections of men must give place. By them is more light conveyed
into the understandings of believers than by the most subtile
disputations. And it is a thing not without scandal, to see among
Protestants whole books written about justification, wherein scarce
one testimony of Scripture is produced, unless it be to find out
evasions from the force of them. And, in particular, whereas the
apostle Paul has most fully and expressly (as he had the greatest
occasion so to do) declared and vindicated the doctrine of
evangelical justification, not a few, in what they write about it,
are so far from declaring their thoughts and faith concerning it out
of his writings, as that they begin to reflect upon them as obscure,
and such as give occasion unto dangerous mistakes; and unless, as
was said, to answer and except against them upon their own corrupt
principles, seldom or never make mention of them; as though we were
grown wiser than he, or that Spirit whereby he was inspired, guided,
acted in all that he wrote. But there can be nothing more alien from
the genius of Christian religion, than for us not to endeavour
humbly to learn the mystery of the grace of God herein, in the
declaration of it made by him. But the foundation of God stands
sure, what course soever men shall be pleased to take into their
profession of religion.
     For the testimonies which I shall produce and insist upon, I
desire the reader to observe,--1. That they are but some of the many
that might be pleaded unto the same purpose. 2. That those which
have been, or yet shall be alleged, on particular occasions, I shall
wholly omit; and such are most of them that are given unto this
truth in the Old Testament. 3. That in the exposition of them I
shall, with what diligence I can, attend,--First, Unto the analogy
of faith; that is, the manifest scope and design of the revelation
of the mind and will of God in the Scripture. And that this is to
exalt the freedom and riches of his own grace, the glory and
excellency of Christ and his mediation; to discover the woeful,
lost, forlorn condition of man by sin; to debase and depress every
thing that is in and of ourselves, as to the attaining life,
righteousness, and salvation; cannot be denied by any who have their
sense exercised in the Scriptures. Secondly, Unto the experience of
them that do believe, with the condition of them who seek after
justification by Jesus Christ. In other things I hope the best helps
and rules of the interpretation of the Scripture shall not be
     There is weight in this case deservedly laid on the name of the
Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as promised and given unto us,--
namely, "The LORD our Righteousness," Jer.23:6. As the name Jehovah,
being given and ascribed unto him, is a full indication of his
divine person; so the addition of his being our righteousness,
sufficiently declares that in and by him alone we have
righteousness, or are made righteous. So was he typed by
Melchizedek, as first the "King of righteousness," then the "king of
peace," Heb.7:2; for by his righteousness alone have we peace with
God. Some of the Socinians would evade this testimony, by observing,
that righteousness in the Old Testament is urged sometimes for
benignity, kindness, and mercy; and so they suppose it may be here.
But the most of them, avoiding the palpable absurdity of this
imagination, refer to the righteousness of God in the deliverance
and vindication of his people. So Brenius briefly, "Ita vocatur quia
Dominus per manum ejus judicium et justitiam faciet Israeli". But
these are evasions of bold men, who care not, so they may say
somewhat, whether what they say be agreeable to the analogy of faith
or the plain words of the Scripture. Bellarmine, who was more wary
to give some appearance of truth unto his answers, first gives other
reasons why he is called "The LORD our Righteousness;" and then,
whether unawares or overpowered by the evidence of truth, grants
that sense of the words which contains the whole of the cause we
plead for. "Christ," he says, "may be called 'The LORD our
Righteousness,' because he is the efficient cause of our
righteousness;"--as God is said to be our "strength and salvation."
Again, "Christ is said to be our righteousness, as he is our wisdom,
our redemption, and our peace; because he has redeemed us, and makes
us wise and righteous, and reconciles us unto God." And other
reasons of the same nature are added by others. But not trusting to
these expositions of the words, he adds, "Deinde dicitur Christus
justitia nostra, quoniam satisfecit patri pro nobis, et eam
satisfactionem ita nobis donat et communicat, cum nos justificat, ut
nostra satisfactio et justitia dici possit". And afterward, "Hoc
modo non esset absurdum, si quis diceret nobis imputari Christi
justitiam et merita, cum nobis donantur et applicantur, ad si nos
ipsi Deo stisfecissimus", De Justificat., lib.2 cap.10;--"Christ is
said to be our righteousness because he has made satisfaction for us
to the Father; and does so give and communicate that satisfaction
unto us when he justifies us, that it may be said to be our
satisfaction and righteousness. And in this sense it would not be
absurd if any one should say that the righteousness of Christ and
his merits are imputed unto us, as if we ourselves had satisfied
God." In this sense we say that Christ is "The LORD our
Righteousness;" nor is there any thing of importance in the whole
doctrine of justification that we own, which is not here granted by
the cardinal, and that in terms which some among ourselves scruple
at and oppose. I shall therefore look a little farther into this
testimony, which has wrested so eminent a confession of the truth
from so great an adversary. "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD,
that I will raise up unto David a righteous Branch; ... and this is
his name whereby he shall be called, The LORD our Righteousness,"
Jer.23:5,6. It is confessed among Christians that this is an
illustrious renovation of the first promise concerning the
incarnation of the Son of God, and our salvation by him. This
promise was first given when we had lost our original righteousness,
and were considered only as those who had sinned and come short of

the glory of God. In this estate a righteousness was absolutely
necessary, that we might be again accepted with God; for without a
righteousness, yea, that which is perfect and complete, we never
were so, nor ever can be so. In this estate it is promised that he
shall be our "righteousness;" or, as the apostle expresses it, "the
end of the law for righteousness to them that do believe." That he
is so, there can be no question; the whole inquiry is, how he is so?
This [is, say the most sober and modest of our adversaries, because
he is the efficient cause of our righteousness; that is, of our
personal, inherent righteousness. But this righteousness may be
considered either in itself, as it is an effect of God's grace, and
so it is good and holy, although it be not perfect and complete; or
it may be considered as it is ours, inherent in us, accompanied with
the remaining defilements of our nature. In that respect, as this
righteousness is ours, the prophet affirms that, in the sight of
God, "we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses
are as filthy rags" Isa.64:6. "Kol tsidkoteinu" comprises our whole
personal, inherent righteousness; and the Lord Christ cannot from
hence be deminated "Yehovah Tsidkenu",--"The LORD our
Righteousness," seeing it is all as filthy rags. It must therefore
be a righteousness of another sort whence this denomination is
taken, and on the account whereof this name is given him: wherefore
he is our righteousness, as all our righteousnesses are in him. So
the church, which confesses all her own righteousnesses to be as
filthy rags, says, "In the LORD have I righteousness," chap.45:24,
(which is expounded of Christ by the apostle, Rom.14:11;) "'ach
bayhovah li tsdakot",--"Only in the LORD are my righteousnesses:"
which two places the apostle expresses, Phil.3:8,9, "That I may win
Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness,
which is of the law" (in this case as filthy rags, "but that which
is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by
faith." Hence it is added, "In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel
be justified," Isa.45:25,--namely, because he is, in what he is, in
what he was, and did, as given unto and for us, "our righteousness,"
and our righteousness is all in him; which totally excludes our own
personal, inherent righteousness from any interest in our
justification, and ascribes it wholly unto the righteousness of
Christ. And thus is that emphatical expression of the psalmist, "I
will go in the strength of the Lord GOD" (for as unto holiness and
obedience, all our spiritual strength is from him alone); "and I
will make mention" "tsidkotcha levadecha", Ps.71:16, "of thy
righteousness, of thine only." The redoubling of the affix excludes
all confidence and trusting in any thing but the righteousness of
God alone. For this the apostle affirms to be the design of God in
making Christ to be righteousness unto us,--namely, "that no flesh
should glory in his presence; but that he that glorieth, should
glory in the Lord," 1 Cor.1:29,31. For it is by faith alone making
mention, as unto our justification, of the righteousness of God, of
his righteousness only, that excludes all boasting, Rom.3:27. And,
besides what shall be farther pleaded from particular testimonies,
the Scripture does eminently declare how he is "The LORD our
Righteousness,"--namely, in that he "makes an end of sin and
reconciliation for iniquity, and brings in everlasting
righteousness," Dan.9:24. For by these things is our justification
completed,--namely, in satisfaction made for sin, the pardon of it
in our reconciliation unto God, and the providing for us an
everlasting righteousness. Therefore is he "The LORD our
Righteousness," and so rightly called. Wherefore, seeing we had lost
original righteousness, and had none of our own remaining, and stood
in need of a perfect, complete righteousness to procure our
acceptance with God, and such a one as might exclude all occasion of
boasting of any thing in ourselves, the Lord Christ being given and
made unto us "The LORD our Righteousness," in whom we have all our
righteousness (our own, as it is ours, being as filthy rags in the
sight of God); and this by making an end of sin, and reconciliation
for iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness: it is by
his righteousness, by his only, that we are justified in the sight
of God, and do glory. This is the substance of what in this case we
plead for; and thus it is delivered in Scripture, in a way bringing
more light and spiritual sense into the minds of believers than
those philosophical expressions and distinctions which vaunt
themselves with a pretence of propriety and accuracy.

XVII. Testimonies out of the evangelists considered

Testimonies out of the evangelists considered--Design of our
Saviour's sermon on the mount--The purity and penalty of the law
vindicated by him--Arguments from thence--Luke 18:9-14, the parable
of the Pharisee and publican explained and applied to the present
argument--Testimonies out of the gospel by John, chap. 1:12; 3:14-
18, etc.

The reasons why the doctrine of justification by the imputation of
the righteousness of Christ is more fully and clearly delivered in
the following writings of the New Testament than it is in those of
the evangelists, who wrote the history of the life and death of
Christ, have been before declared; but yet in them also it is
sufficiently attested, as unto the state of the church before the
death and resurrection of Christ, which is represented in them. Some
few of the many testimonies which may be pleaded out of their
writings unto that purpose I shall consider, first,--
     The principal design of our blessed Saviour's sermon, especially
that part of it which is recorded, Matt.5, is to declare the true
nature of righteousness before God. The scribes and Pharisees, from
a bondage unto whose doctrines he designed to vindicate the
consciences of those that heard him, placed all our righteousness
before God in the works of the law, or men's own obedience
thereunto. This they taught the people, and hereon they justified
themselves, as he charges them, Luke 16:15, "Ye are they which
justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts, for that
which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of
God,"--as in this sermon he makes it evident; and all those who were
under their conduct did seek to "establish their own righteousness,
as it were by the works of the law," Rom.9:32; 10:3. But yet were
they convinced in their own consciences that they could not attain
unto the law of righteousness, or unto that perfection of obedience
which the law did require. Yet would they not forego their proud,
fond imagination of justification by their own righteousness; but,
as the manner of all men is in the same case, sought out other
inventions to relieve them against their convictions; for unto this
end they corrupted the whole law by their false glosses and
interpretations, to bring down and debase the sense of it, unto what
they boasted in themselves to perform. So does he in whom our
Saviour gives an instance of the principle and practice of the whole
society, by way of a parable, Luke 18:11,12; and so the young man
affirmed that he had kept the whole law from his youth,--namely, in
their sense, Matt.19:20.
     To root this pernicious error out of the church, our Lord Jesus
Christ in many instances gives the true, spiritual sense and
intention of the law, manifesting what the righteousness is which
the law requires, and on what terms a man may be justified thereby.
And among sundry others to the same purpose, two things he evidently
declares:--1. That the law, in its precepts and prohibitions, had
regard unto the regulation of the heart, with all its first motions
and acting; for he asserts that the inmost thoughts of the heart,
and the first motions of concupiscence therein, though not consented
unto, much less actually accomplished in the outward deeds of sin,
and all the occasions leading unto them, are directly forbidden in
the law. This he does in his holy exposition of the seventh
commandment, chap.5:27-30. 2. He declares the penalty of the law on
the least sin to be hellfire, in his assertion of causeless anger to
be forbidden in the sixth commandment. If men would but try
themselves by these rules, and others there given by our Saviour, it
would, it may be, take them off from boasting in their own
righteousness and justification thereby. But as it was then, so is
it now also; the most of them who would maintain a justification by
works, do attempt to corrupt the sense of the law, and accommodate

(continued in part 28...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-27.txt