(Owen, Justification. part 28)

it unto their own practice. The reader may see an eminent
demonstration hereof in a late excellent treatise, whose title is,
"The Practical Divinity of the Papists Discovered to be Destructive
of Christianity and men's Souls." The spirituality of the law, with
the severity of its sanction, extending itself unto the least and
most imperceptible motions of sin in the heart, are not believed, or
not aright considered, by them who plead for justification by works
in any sense. Wherefore, the principal design of the sermon of our
Saviour is, as to declare what is the nature of that obedience which
God requires by the law, so to prepare the minds of his disciples to
seek after another righteousness, which, in the cause and means of
it, was not yet plainly to be declared, although many of them, being
prepared by the ministry of John, did hunger and thirst after it.
     But he sufficiently intimates wherein it did consist, in that he
affirms of himself that he "came to fulfill the law," verse 17. What
he came for, that he was sent for; for as he was sent, and not for
himself, "he was born to us, given unto us". This was to fulfill the
law, that so the righteousness of it might be fulfilled in us. And
if we ourselves cannot fulfill the law, in the proper sense of its
commands (which yet is not to be abolished but established, as our
Saviour declares); if we cannot avoid the curse and penalty of it
upon its transgression; and if he came to fulfill it for us (all
which are declared by himself);--then is his righteousness, even
that] which he wrought for us in fulfilling the law, the
righteousness wherewith we are justified before God. And whereas
here is a twofold righteousness proposed unto us--one in the
fulfilling of the law by Christ; the other in our own perfect
obedience unto the law, as the sense of it is by him declared; and
other middle righteousness between them there is none,--it is left
unto the consciences of convinced sinners whether of these they will
adhere and trust unto; and their direction herein is the principal
design we ought to have in the declaration of this doctrine.

     I shall pass by all those places wherein the foundations of this
doctrine are surely laid, because it is not expressly mentioned in
them; but such they are as, in their proper interpretation, do
necessarily infer it. Of this kind are they all wherein the Lord
Christ is said to die for us or in our stead, to lay down his life a
ransom for us or in our stead, and the like; but I shall pass them
by, because I will not digress at all from the present argument.
     But the representation made by our Saviour himself of the way and
means whereon and whereby men come to be justified before God, in
the parable of the Pharisee and the publican, is a guide unto all
men who have the same design with them. Luke 18:9-14: "And he spake
this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were
righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to
pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee
stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not
as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this
publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I
possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so
much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God

be merciful unto me, a sinner. I tell you, that this man went down
unto his house justified rather than the other: for every one that
exalteth himself shall be abased; and every one that humbleth
himself shall be exalted."
     That the design of our Saviour herein was to represent the way of
our justification before God is evident,--1. From the description
given of the persons whom he reflected on, verse 9. They were such
as "trusted in themselves that they were righteous;" or that they
had a personal righteousness of their own before God. 2. From the
general rule wherewith he confirms the judgment he had given
concerning the persons described: "Every one that exalteth himself
shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted,"
verse 14. As this is applied unto the Pharisee, and the prayer that
is ascribed unto him, it declares plainly that every plea of our own
works, as unto our justification before God, under any
consideration, is a self-exaltation which God despises; and, as
applied unto the publican, that a sense of sin is the only
preparation on our part for acceptance with him on believing.
Wherefore, both the persons are represented as seeking to be
justified; for so our Saviour expresses the issue of their address
unto God for that purpose: the one was justified, the other was not.
     The plea of the Pharisee unto this end consists of two parts:--1.
That he had fulfilled the condition whereon he might be justified.
He makes no mention of any merit, either of congruity or condignity.
Only, whereas there were two parts of God's covenant then with the
church, the one with respect unto the moral, the other with respect
unto the ceremonial law, he pleads the observation of the condition
of it in both parts, which he shows in instances of both kinds: only
he adds the way that he took to farther him in this obedience,
somewhat beyond what was enjoined,--namely, that he fasted twice in
the week; for when men begin to seek for righteousness and
justification by works, they quickly think their best reserve lies
in doing something extraordinary, more than other men, and more,
indeed, than is required of them. This brought forth all the
pharisaical austerities in the Papacy. Nor can it be said that all
this signified nothing, because he was a hypocrite and a boaster;
for it will be replied that it should seem all are so who seek for
justification by works; for our Saviour only represents one that
does so. Neither are these things laid in by against his
justification, but only that he "exalted himself" in "trusting unto
his own righteousness." 2. In an ascription of all that he did unto
God: "God, I thank thee." Although he did all this, yet he owned the
aid and assistance of God by his grace in it all. He esteemed
himself much to differ from other men; but ascribed it not unto
himself that so he did. All the righteousness and holiness which he
laid claim unto, he ascribed unto the benignity and goodness of God.
Wherefore, he neither pleaded any merit in his works, nor any works
performed in his own strength, without the aid of grace. All that he
pretends is, that by the grace of God he had fulfilled the condition
of the covenant; and thereon expected to be justified. And whatever
words men shall be pleased to make use of in their vocal prayers,
God interprets their minds according to what they trust in, as unto
their justification before him. And if some men will be true unto
their own principles, this is the prayer which, "mutates mutandis,"
they ought to make.
     If it be said, that it is charged on this Pharisee that he
"trusted in himself," and "despised others," for which he was
rejected; I answer, --1. This charge respects not the mind of the
person, but the genius and tendency of the opinion. The persuasion
of justification by works includes in it a contempt of other men;
for "if Abraham had been justified by works, he should have had
whereof to glory." 2. Those whom he despised were such as placed
their whole trust in grace and mercy,--as this publican. It were to
be wished that all others of the same mind did not so also.
     The issue is, with this person, that he was not justified; neither
shall any one ever be so on the account of his own personal
righteousness. For our Saviour has told us, that when we have done
all (that is, when we have the testimony of our consciences unto the
integrity of our obedience), instead of pleading it unto our
justification, we should say (that is, really judge and profess)
that we are "douloi achreioi",--" unprofitable servants," Luke
17:10: as the apostle speaks, "I know nothing by myself; yet am I
not hereby justified," 1 Cor.4:4. And he that is "doulos achreios",
and has nothing to trust unto but his service, will be cast out of
the presence of God, Matt.25:30. Wherefore, on the best of our
obedience, to confess ourselves "douloi achreioi", is to confess
that, after all, in ourselves, we deserve to be cast out of the
presence of God.
     In opposition hereunto, the state and prayer of the publican,
under the same design of seeking justification before God, are
expressed. And the outward acts of his person are mentioned, as
representing and expressive of the inward frame of his mind: "He
stood afar off," and "did not so much as lift up his eyes;" he
"smote upon his breast." All of them represent a person desponding,
yea, despairing in himself. This is the nature, this is the effect,
of that conviction of sin which we before asserted to be
antecedently necessary unto justification. Displicency, sorrow,
sense of danger, fear of wrath,--all are present with him. In brief
he declares himself guilty before God, and his mouth stopped as unto
any apology or excuse. And his prayer is a sincere application of
his soul unto sovereign grace and mercy, for a deliverance out of
the condition wherein he was by reason of the guilt of sin. And in
the use of the word; "hilaskomai", there is respect had unto a
propitiation. In the whole of his address there is contained,--1.
Self-condemnation and abhorrence. 2. Displicency and sorrow for sin.
3. A universal renunciation of all works of his own, as any
condition of his justification. 4. An acknowledgment of his sin,
guilt, and misery. And this is all that, on our part, is required
unto justification before God, excepting that faith whereby we apply
ourselves unto him for deliverance.
     Some make a weak attempt from hence to prove that justification
consists wholly in the remission of sin, because, on the prayer of
the publican for mercy and pardon, he is said to be "justified:" but
there is no force in this argument; for,--1. The whole nature of
justification is not here declared, but only what is required on our
part whereunto. The respect of it unto the mediation of Christ was
not yet expressly to be brought to light; as was showed before. 2.
Although the publican makes his address unto God under a deep sense
of the guilt of sin, yet he prays not for the bare pardon of sin,
but for all that sovereign mercy or grace God has provided for
sinners. 3. The term of justification must have the same sense when
applied unto the Pharisee as when applied unto the publican; and if
the meaning of it with respect unto the publican be, that he was
pardoned, then has it the same sense with respect unto the Pharisee,-
-he was not pardoned. But he came on no such errand. He came to be
justified, not pardoned; nor does he make the least mention of his
sin, or any sense of it. Wherefore, although the pardon of sin be
included in justification, yet to justify, in this place, has
respect unto a righteousness whereon a man is declared just and
righteous; wrapped up, on the part of the publican, in the sovereign
producing cause,--the mercy of God.

     Some few testimonies may be added out of the other evangelist, in
whom they abound: "As many as received him, to them gave he power to
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name," John
1:12. Faith is expressed by the receiving of Christ; for to receive
him, and to believe on his name, are the same. It receives him as
set forth of God to be a propitiation for sin, as the great
ordinance of God for the recovery and salvation of lost sinners.
Wherefore, this notion of faith includes in it,--l. A supposition of
the proposal and tender of Christ unto us, for some end and purpose.
2. That this proposal is made unto us in the promise of the gospel.
Hence, as we are said to recede Christ, we are said to receive the
promise also. 3. The end for which the Lord Christ is so proposed
unto us in the promise of the gospel; and this is the same with that
for which he was so proposed in the first promise,--namely, the
recovery and salvation of lost sinners. 4. That in the tender of his
person, there is a tender made of all the fruits of his mediation,
as containing the way and means of our deliverance from sin and
acceptance with God. 5. There is nothing required on our part unto
an interest in the end proposed, but receiving of him, or believing
on his name. 6. Hereby are we entitled unto the heavenly
inheritance; we have power to become the sons of God, wherein our
adoption is asserted, and justification included. What this
receiving of Christ is, and wherein it does consist, has been
declared before, in the consideration of that faith whereby we are
justified. That which hence we argue is, that there is no more
required unto the obtaining of a right and title unto the heavenly
inheritance, but faith alone in the name of Christ, the receiving of
Christ as the ordinance of God for justification and salvation. This
gives us, I say, our original right thereunto, and therein our
acceptance with God, which is our justification; though more be
required unto the actual acquisition and possession of it. It is
said, indeed, that other graces and works are not excluded, though
faith alone be expressed. But every thing which is not a receiving
of Christ is excluded. It is, I say, virtually excluded, because it
is not of the nature of that which is required. When we speak of
that whereby we see, we exclude no other member from being a part of
the body; but we exclude all but the eye from the act of seeing. And
if faith be required, as it is a receiving of Christ, every grace
and duty which is not so is excluded, as unto the end of
     Chap.3:14-18, "And 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 God
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting
life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on
him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned
already, because he has not believed in the name of the only
begotten Son of God."
     I shall observe only a few things from these words, which in
themselves convey a better light of understanding in this mystery
unto the minds of believers than many long discourses of some
learned men:--1. It is of the justification of men, and their right
to eternal life thereon, that our Saviour discourses. This is plain
in verse 18, "He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that
believeth not is condemned already." 2. The means of attaining this
condition or state on our part is believing only, as it is three
times positively asserted, without any addition. 3. The nature of
this faith is declared,--(1.) By its object,--that is, Christ
himself, the Son of God, "Whosoever believeth in him;" which is
frequently repeated. (2.) The especial consideration wherein he is
the object of faith unto the justification of life; and that is as
he is the ordinance of God, given, sent, and proposed, from the love
and grace of the Father: "God so loved the world, that he gave;"
"God sent his Son." (3.) The especial act yet included in the type,
whereby the design of God in him is illustrated; for this was the
looking unto the brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness by them
who were stung with fiery serpents. Hereunto our faith in Christ
unto justification does answer, and includes a trust in him alone
for deliverance and relief. This is the way, these are the only
causes and means, of the justification of condemned sinners, and are
the substance of all that we plead for.
     It will be said, that all this proves not the imputation of the
righteousness of Christ unto us, which is the thing principally
inquired after; but if nothing be required on our part unto
justification but faith acted on Christ, as the ordinance of God for
our recovery and salvation, it is the whole of what we plead for. A
justification by the remission of sins alone, without a
righteousness giving acceptance with God and a right unto the
heavenly inheritance, is alien unto the Scripture and the common
notion of justification amongst men. And what this righteousness
must be, upon a supposition that faith only on our part is required
unto a participation of it, is sufficiently declared in the words
wherein Christ himself is so often asserted as the object of our
faith unto that purpose.
     Not to add more particular testimonies, which are multiplied unto
the same purpose in this evangelist, the sum of the doctrine
declared by him is, "That the Lord Jesus Christ was 'the Lamb of God
which taketh away the sin of the world;' that is, by the sacrifice
of himself, wherein he answered and fulfilled all the typical
sacrifices of the law: that unto this end he sanctified himself,
that those who believe might be sanctified, or perfected forever, by
his own offering of himself: that in the gospel he is proposed as
lifted up and crucified for us, as bearing all our sins in his body
on the tree: that by faith in him we have adoption, justification,
freedom from judgment and condemnation, with a right and title unto
eternal life: that those who believe not are condemned already,
because they believe not on the Son of God; and, as he elsewhere
expresseth it, 'make God a liar,' in that they believe not his
testimony, namely, that 'he has given unto us eternal life, and that
this life is in his Son."' Nor does he anywhere make mention of any
other means, cause, or condition of justification on our part but
faith only, though he abounds in precepts unto believers for love,
and keeping the commands of Christ. And this faith is the receiving
of Christ in the sense newly declared; and this is the substance of
the Christian faith in this matter; which ofttimes we rather obscure
than illustrate, by debating the consideration of any thing in our
justification but the grace and love of God, the person and
mediation of Christ, with faith in them.

XVIII. The nature of justification as declared in the epistles of
St. Paul, in that unto the Romans especially.--Chap. 3 [4,5,10; 1
Cor.1:30; 2 Cor.5:21; Gal.2:16; Eph.2:8-10; Phil.3:8,9.]

Testimonies out of the Epistles of Paul the apostle--His design in
the fifth chapter to the Romans--That design explained at large, and
applied to the present argument--Chap.3:24-26 explained, and the
true sense of the words vindicated--The causes of justification
enumerated--Apostolical inference from the consideration of them--
Chap.4, design of the disputation of the apostle therein Analysis of
his discourse--Verses 4, 5, particularly insisted on; their true
sense vindicated--What works excluded from the justification of
Abraham--Who it is that works not--In what sense the ungodly are
justified--All men ungodly antecedently unto their justification--
Faith alone the means of justification on our part--Faith itself,
absolutely considered, not the righteousness that is imputed unto us-
-Proved by sundry arguments

Rom.5:l2-21--Boasting excluded in ourselves, asserted in God--The
design and sum of the apostle's argument--Objection of Socinus
removed--Comparison between the two Adams, and those that derive
from them--Sin entered into the world--What sin intended--Death,
what it comprises, what intended by it--The sense of these words,
"inasmuch," or, "in whom all have sinned," cleared and vindicated--
The various oppositions used by the apostle in this discourse:
principally between sin or the fall, and the free gift; between the
disobedience of the one, and the obedience of another; judgment on
the one hand, and justification unto life on the other--The whole
context at large explained, and the argument for justification by
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, fully confirmed

Rom.10:3,4, explained and insisted on to the same purpose

1 Cor.1:30--Christ, how of God made righteousness unto us--Answer of
Bellarmine unto this testimony removed--That of Socinus disproved--
True sense of the words evinced

2 Cor.5:21--In what sense Christ knew no sin--Emphasis in that
expression--How he was made sin for us--By the imputation of sin
unto him--Mistakes of some about this expression--Sense of the
ancients--Exception of Bellarmine unto this testimony answered, with
other reasonings of his to the same purpose--The exceptions of
others also removed


Eph.2:8-10--Evidence of this testimony--Design of the apostle from
the beginning of the chapter--Method of the apostle in the
declaration of the grace of God--Grace alone the cause of
deliverance from a state of sin--Things to be observed in the
assignation of the causes of spiritual deliverances--Grace, how
magnified by him--Force of the argument and evidence from thence--
State of the case here proposed by the apostle--General
determination of it, "By grace are ye saved"--What is it to be
saved, inquired into--The same as to be justified, but not
exclusively--The causes of our justification declared positively and
negatively--The whole secured unto the grace of God by Christ, and
our interest therein through faith alone--Works excluded--What
works?--Not works of the law of Moses--Not works antecedent unto
believing--Works of true believers--Not only in opposition to the
grace of God, but to faith in us--Argument from those words--Reason
whereon this exclusion of works is founded--To exclude boasting on
our part--Boasting, wherein it consists--Inseparable from the
interest of works in justification--Danger of it--Confirmation of
this reason, obviating an objection--The objection stated--If we be
not justified by works, of what use are they? answered

Phil.3:8,9--Heads of argument from this testimony--Design of the
context--Righteousness the foundation of acceptance with God--A
twofold righteousness considered by the apostle--Opposite unto one
another, as unto the especial and inquired after--Which of these he
adhered unto, his own righteousness, or the righteousness of God;
declared by the apostle with vehemency of speech--Reasons of his
earnestness herein--The turning point whereon he left Judaism--The
opposition made unto this doctrine by the Jews--The weight of the
doctrine, and unwillingness of men to receive it--His own sense of
sin and grace--Peculiar expressions used in this place, for the
reasons mentioned, concerning Christ; concerning all things that are
our own--The choice to be made on the case stated, whether we will
adhere unto our own righteousness, or that of Christ's, which are
inconsistent as to the end of justification--Argument from this
place--Exceptions unto this testimony, and argument from thence,
removed--Our personal righteousness inherent, the same with respect
unto the law and gospel --External righteousness only required by
the law, an impious imagination--Works wrought before faith only
rejected--The exception removed--Righteousness before conversion,
not intended by the apostle

That the way and manner of our justification before God, with all
the causes and means of it, are designedly declared by the apostle
in the Epistle to the Romans, chap.3,4,5, as also vindicated from
objections, so as to render his discourse thereon the proper seat of
this doctrine, and whence it is principally to be learned, cannot
modestly be denied. The late exceptions of some, that this doctrine
of justification by faith without works is found only in the
writings of St. Paul, and that his writings are obscure and
intricate, are both false and scandalous to Christian religion, so
as that, in this place, we shall not afford them the least
consideration. He wrote "hupo Pneumatos hagiou feromenos",--as he
was "moved by the Holy Ghost." And as all the matter delivered by
him was sacred truth, which immediately requires our faith and
obedience, so the way and manner wherein he declared it was such as
the Holy Ghost judged most expedient for the edification of the
church. And as he said himself with confidence, that if the gospel
which he preached, and as it was preached by him, though accounted
by them foolishness, was hid, so as that they could not understand
nor comprehend the mystery of it, it was "hid unto them that are
lost;" so we may say, that if what he delivers in particular
concerning our justification before God seems obscure, difficult, or
perplexed unto us, it is from our prejudices, corrupt affections, or
weakness of understanding at best, not able to comprehend the glory
of this mystery of the grace of God in Christ, and not from any
defect in his way and manner of the revelation of it. Rejecting,
therefore, all such perverse insinuations, in a due sense of our own
weakness, and acknowledgment that at best we know but in part, we
shall humbly inquire into the blessed revelation of this great
mystery of the justification of a sinner before God, as by him
declared in those chapters of his glorious Epistle to the Romans;
and I shall do it with all briefness possible, so as not, on this
occasion, to repeat what has been already spoken, or to anticipate
what may be spoken in place more convenient.
     The first thing he does is to prove all men to be under sin, and
to be guilty before God. This he gives as the conclusion of his
preceding discourse, from chap.1:18, or what he had evidently
evinced thereby, chap.3:19,23. Hereon an inquiry does arise, how any
of them come to be justified before God? And whereas justification
is a sentence upon the consideration of a righteousness, his grand
inquiry is, what that righteousness is, on the consideration whereof
a man may be so justified? And concerning this, he affirms expressly
that it is not the righteousness of the law, nor of the works of it;
whereby what he does intend has been in part before declared, and
will be farther manifested in the process of our discourse.
Wherefore, in general, he declares that the righteousness whereby we
are justified is the righteousness of God, in opposition unto any
righteousness of our own, chap.1:17; 3:21,22. And he describes this
righteousness of God by three properties:--1. That it is "choris
nomou",--"without the law," verse 21; separated in all its concerns
from the law; not attainable by it, nor any works of it, which they
have no influence into. It is neither our obedience unto the law,
nor attainable thereby. Nor can any expression more separate and
exclude the works of obedience unto the law from any concernment in
it than this does. Wherefore, whatever is, or can be, performed by
ourselves in obedience unto the law, is rejected from any interest
in this righteousness of God, or the procurement of it to be made
ours. 2. That yet it "is witnessed unto by the law," verse 21: "The
law and the prophets."
     The apostle, by this distinction of the books of the Old Testament
into "the law and the prophets," manifests that by the "law" he
understands the books of Moses. And in them testimony is given unto
this righteousness of God four ways:--
     (1.) By a declaration of the causes of the necessity of it unto
our justification. This is done in the account given of our apostasy
from God, of the loss of his image, and the state of sin that ensued
thereon; for hereby an end was put unto all possibility and hope of
acceptance with God by our own personal righteousness. By the
entrance of sin our own righteousness went out of the world; so that
there must be another righteousness prepared and approved of God,
and called "the righteousness of God," in opposition unto our own,
or all relation of love and favour between God and man must cease
     (2.) In the way of recovery from this state, generally declared in
the first promise of the blessed seed, by whom this righteousness of
God was to be wrought and introduced; for he alone was "to make an
end of sin, and to bring in everlasting righteousness," "tsedek
'olamim", Dan.9:24; that righteousness of God that should be the
means of the justification of the church in all ages, and under all
     (3.) By stopping up the way unto any other righteousness, through
the threatening of the law, and that curse which every transgression
of it was attended withal. Hereby it was plainly and fully declared
that there must be such a righteousness provided for our
justification before men as would answer and remove that curse.
     (4.) In the prefiguration and representation of that only way and
means whereby this righteousness of God was to be wrought. This it
did in all its sacrifices, especially in the great anniversary
sacrifice on the day of expiation, wherein all the sins of the
church were laid on the head of the sacrifice, and so carried away.
     3. He describes it by the only way of our participation of it, the
only means on our part of the communication of it unto us. And this
is by faith alone: "The righteousness of God which is by the faith
of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there
is no difference," Rom.3:22. Faith in Christ Jesus is so the only
way and means whereby this righteousness of God comes upon us, or is
communicated unto us, that it is so unto all that have this faith,
and only unto them; and that without difference on the consideration
of any thing else besides. And although faith, taken absolutely, may
be used in various senses, yet, as thus specified and limited, the
faith of Christ Jesus, or, as he calls it, "the faith that is in
me," Acts 26:18, it can intend nothing but the reception of him, and
trust in him, as the ordinance of God for righteousness and
     This description of the righteousness of God revealed in the
gospel, which the apostle asserts as the only means and cause of our
justification before God, with the only way of its participation and
communication unto us, by the faith of Christ Jesus, fully confirms
the truth we plead for. For if the righteousness wherewith we must
be justified before God be not our own, but the righteousness of
God, as these things are directly opposed, Phil.3:9; and the only
way whereby it comes upon us, or we are made partakers of it, is by
the faith of Jesus Christ; then our own personal, inherent
righteousness or obedience has no interest in our justification
before God: which argument is insoluble, nor is the force of it to
be waived by any distinctions whatever, if we keep our hearts unto a
due reverence of the authority of God in his word.
     Having fully proved that no men living have any righteousness of
their own whereby they may be justified, but are all shut up under
the guilt of sin; and having declared that there is a righteousness
of God now fully revealed in the gospel, whereby alone we may be so,
leaving all men in themselves unto their own lot, inasmuch as "all
have sinned and come short of the glory of God;"--he proceeds to
declare the nature of our justification before God in all the causes
of it, Rom.3:2~26, "Being justified freely by his grace through the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God has set forth to be a
propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his
righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the
forbearance of God, to declare, I say, at this time his
righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of them that
believe in Jesus".
     Here it is that we may and ought, if anywhere, to expect the
interest of our personal obedience, under some qualification or
other, in our justification to be declared. For if it should be
supposed (which yet it cannot, with any pretence of reason) that, in
the foregoing discourse, the apostle had excluded only the works of
the law as absolutely perfect, or as wrought in our own strength
without the aid of grace, or as meritorious; yet having generally
excluded all works from our justification, verse 20, without
distinction or limitation, it might well be expected, and ought to
have been so, that, upon the full declaration which he gives us of
the nature and way of our justification, in all the causes of it, he
should have assigned the place and consideration which our own
personal righteousness had in our justification before God,--the
first, or second, or continuation of it, somewhat or other,--or at
least made some mention of it, under the qualification of gracious,
sincere, or evangelical, that it might not seem to be absolutely
excluded. It is plain the apostle thought of no such thing, nor was
at all solicitous about any reflection that might be made on his
doctrine, as though it overthrew the necessity of our own obedience.
Take in the consideration of the apostle's design, with the
circumstances of the context, and the argument from his utter
silence about our own personal righteousness, in our justification
before God, is unanswerable. But this is not all; we shall find, in
our progress, that it is expressly and directly excluded by him.
     All unprejudiced persons must needs think, that no words could be
used more express and emphatical to secure the whole of our
justification unto the free grace of God, through the blood or
mediation of Christ, wherein it is faith alone that gives us an
interest, than these used here by the apostle. And, for my part, I

(continued in part 29...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-28.txt