(Owen, Justification. part 33) Secondly, He ascribes such adjuncts, and gives such epithets, unto that divine mercy and grace, which is the sole cause of our deliverance, in and by Jesus Christ, as rendered it singular, and herein solely to be adored: "plousios en ele-ei, die ten pollen agapen; hupertalloon ploutos tes charitos";--"rich in mercy;" "great love wherewith he loved us;" "the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness," verses 4-7. It cannot reasonably be denied but that the apostle does design deeply to affect the mind and heart of believers with a sense of the grace and love of God in Christ, as the only cause of their justification before God. I think no words can express those conceptions of the mind which this representation of grace does suggest. Whether they think it any part of their duty to be like minded, and comply with the apostle in this design, who scarce ever mention the grace of God, unless it be in a way of diminution from its efficacy, and unto whom such ascriptions unto it as are here made by him are a matter of contempt, is not hard to judge. But it will be said, "These are good words, indeed, but they are only general; there is nothing of argument in all this adoring of the grace of God in the work of our salvation." It may be so, it seems, to many; but yet, to speak plainly, there is to me more argument in this one consideration,--namely, of the ascription made in this cause unto the grace of God in this place,--than in a hundred sophisms, suited neither unto the expressions of the Scripture nor the experience of them that do believe. He that is possessed with a due apprehension of the grace of God, as here represented, and under a sense that it was therein the design of the Holy Ghost to render it glorious and alone to be trusted unto, will not easily be induced to concern himself in those additional supplies unto it from our own works and obedience which some would suggest unto him. But we may yet look farther into the words. The case which the apostle states, the inquiry which he has in hand, whereon he determines as to the truth wherein he instructs the Ephesians, and in them the whole church of God, is, how a lost, condemned sinner may come to be accepted with God, and thereon saved? And this is the sole inquiry wherein we are, or intend in this controversy to be, concerned. Farther we will not proceed, either upon the invitation or provocation of any. Concerning this, his position and determination is, "That we are saved by grace." This first he occasionally interposes in his enumeration of the benefits we receive by Christ, verse 5. But not content therewith, he again directly asserts it, verse 8, in the same words; for he seems to have considered how slow men would be in the admittance of this truth, which at once deprives them of all boastings in themselves. What it is that he intends by our being saved must be inquired into. It would not be prejudicial unto, but rather advance the truth we plead for, if, by our being saved, eternal salvation were intended. But that cannot be the sense of it in this place, otherwise than as that salvation is included in the causes of it, which are effectual in this life. Nor do I think that in that expression, "By grace are ye saved," our justification only is intended, although it be so principally. (conversion unto God and sanctification are also included therein, as is evident from verses 5,6; and they are no less of sovereign grace than is our justification itself. But the apostle speaks of what the Ephesians, being now believers, and by virtue of their being so, were made partakers of in this life. This is manifest in the whole context; for having, in the beginning of the chapter, described their condition, what it was, in common with all the posterity of Adam, by nature, verses 1-3, he moreover declares their condition in particular, in opposition to that of the Jews, as they were Gentiles, idolaters, atheists, verses 11,12. Their present delivery by Jesus Christ from this whole miserable state and condition,--that which they were under in common with all mankind, and that which was a peculiar aggravation of its misery in themselves,--is that which he intends by their being "saved." That which was principally designed in the description of this state is, that therein and thereby they were liable unto the wrath of God, guilty before him, and obnoxious unto his judgment. This he expresses in the declaration of it, verse 3,--answerable unto that method and those grounds he everywhere proceeds on, in declaring the doctrine of justification. Rom. 3:19-24; Tit.3:3-5. From this state they had deliverance by faith in Christ Jesus; for unto as many as receive him, power is given to be the sons of God, John 1:12. "He that believeth on him is not condemned;" that is, he is saved, in the sense of the apostle in this place, John 3:18. "He that believeth on the Son has everlasting life" (is saved); "and he that believeth not the Son, the wrath of God abideth on him," verse 36. And in this sense, "saved," and "salvation," are frequently used in the Scripture. Besides, he gives us so full a description of the salvation which he intends, from Eph.2:13 unto the end of the chapter, that there can be no doubt of it. It is our being "made nigh by the blood of Christ," verse 13; our "peace" with God by his death, verses 14, 15; our "reconciliation" by the blood of the "cross," verse 16; our "access unto God;" and all spiritual privileges thereon depending, verses 18-20, etc. Wherefore, the inquiry of the apostle, and his determination thereon, is concerning the causes of our justification before God. This he declares, and fixes both positively and negatively. Positively,--1. In the supreme moving cause on the part of God; this is that free, sovereign grace and love of his, which he illustrates by its adjuncts and properties before mentioned. 2. In the meritorious procuring cause of it; which is Jesus Christ in the work of his mediation, as the ordinance of God for the rendering this grace effectual unto his glory, verses 7,13,16. 3. In the only means or instrumental cause on our part; which is faith: "By grace are ye saved through faith," verse 8. And lest he should seem to derogate any thing from the grace of God, in asserting the necessity and use of faith, he adds that epanorthosis, " And that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." The communication of this faith unto us is no less of grace than is the justification which we obtain thereby. So has he secured the whole work unto the grace of God through Christ; wherein we are interested by faith alone. But not content herewith, he describes this work negatively, or adds an exclusion of what might be pretended to have a concernment therein. And therein three things are stated distinctly:--1. What it is he so excludes. 2. The reason whereon he does so. 3. The confirmation of that reason, wherein he obviates an objection that might arise thereon:-- 1. That which he excludes is works: "Not of works," verse 9. And what works he intends, at least principally, himself declares. "Works," say some, "of the law, the law of Moses." But what concernment had these Ephesians therein, that the apostle should inform them that they were not justified by those works? They were never under that law, never sought for righteousness by it, nor had any respect unto it, but only that they were delivered from it. But it may be he intends only works wrought in the strength of our own natural abilities, without the aids of grace, and before believing. But what were the works of these Ephesians antecedent unto believing, he before and afterwards declares. For, "being dead in trespasses and sins," they "walked according to the course of this world in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind," verses 1-3. It is certain enough that these works have no influence into our justification; and no less certain that the apostle had no reason to exclude them from it, as though any could pretend to be advantaged by them, in that which consists in a deliverance from them. Wherefore, the works here excluded by the apostle are those works which the Ephesians now performed, when they were believers, quickened with Christ; even the "works which God has before ordained that we should walk in them," as he expressly declared, verse 10. And these works he excludes, not only in opposition unto grace, but in opposition unto faith also: "Through faith; not of works." Wherefore he does not only reject their merit, as inconsistent with grace, but their co-interest on our part with, or subsequent interest unto faith, in the work of justification before God. If we are saved by grace, through faith in Christ, exclusively unto all works of obedience whatever, then cannot such works be the whole or any part of our righteousness unto the justification of life: wherefore, another righteousness we must have, or perish for ever. Many things I know are here offered, and many distinctions coined, to retain some interest of works in our justification before God; but whether it be the safest way to trust unto them, or unto this plain, express, divine testimony, will not be hard for any to determine, when they make the case their own. 2. The apostle adds a reason of this exclusion of works: "Not of works, lest any man should boast." God has ordained the order and method of our justification by Christ in the way expressed, that no man might have ground, reason, or occasion to glory or boast in or of himself. So it is expressed, 1 Cor.1:21,30,31; Rom.3:27. To exclude all glorying or boasting on our part is the design of God. And this consists in an ascription of something unto ourselves that is not in others, in order unto justification. And it is works alone that can administer any occasion of this boasting: "For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory," chap.4:2. And it is excluded alone by the "law of faith," chap.3:27; for the nature and use of faith is to find righteousness in another. And this boasting all works are apt to beget in the minds of men, if applied unto justification; and where there is any boasting of this nature, the design of God towards us in this work of his grace is frustrated what lies in us. That which I principally insist on from hence is, that there are no boundaries fixed in Scripture unto the interest of works in justification, so as no boasting should be included in them. The Papists make them meritorious of it,--at least of our second justification, as they call it. "This," say some, "ought not to be admitted, for it includes boasting. Merit and boasting are inseparable." Wherefore, say others, they are only "causa sine qua non," they are the condition of it; or they are our evangelical righteousness before God, whereon we are evangelically justified; or they are a subordinate righteousness whereon we obtain an interest in the righteousness of Christ; or are comprised in the condition of the new covenant whereby we are justified; or are included in faith, being the form of it, or of the essence of it, one way or other: for herein men express themselves in great variety. But so long as our works are hereby asserted in order unto our justification, how shall a man be certain that they do not include boasting, or that they do express the true sense of these words, "Not of works, lest any man should boast?" There is some kind of ascription unto ourselves in this matter; which is boasting. If any shall say that they know well enough what they do, and know that they do not boast in what they ascribe unto works, I must say that in general I cannot admit it; for the Papists affirm of themselves that they are most remote from boasting, yet I am very well satisfied that boasting and merit are inseparable. The question is, not what men think they do? but, what judgment the Scripture passes on what they do? And if it be said, that what is in us is also of the grace and gift of God, and is so acknowledged, which excludes all boasting in ourselves; I say it was so by the Pharisee, and yet was he a horrible boaster. Let them, therefore, be supposed to be wrought in us in what way men please, if they be also wrought by us, and so be the "works of righteousness which we have done," I fear their introduction into our justification does include boasting in it, because of this assertion of the apostle, "Not of works, lest any man should boast." Wherefore, because this is a dangerous point, unless men can give us the direct, plain, indisputable bounds of the introduction of our works into our justification, which cannot include boasting in it, it is the safest course utterly to exclude them, wherein I see no danger of any mistake in these words of the Holy Ghost, "Not of works, lest any man should boast;" for if we should be unadvisedly seduced into this boasting, we should lose all the benefits which we might otherwise expect by the grace of God. 3. The apostle gives another reason why it cannot be of works, and withal obviates an objection which might arise from what he had declared, Fph.2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." And the force of his reason, which the causal conjunction intimates the introduction of, consists in this:--that all good works,--those concerning which he treats, evangelical works,--are the effects of the grace of God in them that are in Christ Jesus, and so are truly justified antecedently in order of nature unto them. But that which he principally designed in these words was that which he is still mindful of, wherever he treats of this doctrine,-- namely, to obviate an objection that he foresaw some would make against it; and that is this, "If good works be thus excluded from our justification before God, then of what use are they? We may live as we list, utterly neglect them, and yet be justified." And this very objection do some men continue to manage with great vehemency against the same doctrine. We meet with nothing in this cause more frequently, than that "if our justification before God be not of works, some way or other, if they be not antecedaneously required whereunto, if they are not a previous condition of it, then there is no need of them,--men may safely live in an utter neglect of all obedience unto God." And on this theme men are very apt to enlarge themselves, who otherwise give no great evidences of their own evangelical obedience. To me it is marvelous that they heed not unto what party they make an accession in the management of this objection,--namely, unto that of them who were the adversaries of the doctrine of grace taught by the apostle. It must be elsewhere considered. For the present, I shall say no more but that, if the answer here given by the apostle be not satisfactory unto them,--if the grounds and reasons of the necessity and use of good works here declared be not judged by them sufficient to establish them in their proper place and order,--I shall not esteem myself obliged to attempt their farther satisfaction. Phil.3:8,9. "Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith". This is the last testimony which I shall insist upon, and although it be of great importance, I shall be the more brief in the consideration of it, because it has been lately pleaded and vindicated by another, whereunto I do not expect any tolerable reply. For what has since been attempted by one, it is of no weight; he is in this matter "oute tritos oute tetartos". And the things that I would observe from and concerning this testimony may be reduced into the ensuing heads:-- 1. That which the apostle designs, from the beginning of this chapter, and in these verses, is, in an especial manner, to declare what it is on the account whereof we are accepted with God, and have thereon cause to rejoice. This he fixes in general in an interest in, and participation of, Christ by faith, in opposition unto all legal privileges and advantages, wherein the Jews, whom he reflected upon, did boast and rejoice: "Rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh," verse 3. 2. He supposes that unto that acceptance before God wherein we are to rejoice, there is a righteousness necessary; and, whatever it be, [it] is the sole ground of that acceptance. And to give evidence hereunto,-- 3. He declares that there is a twofold righteousness that may be pleaded and trusted unto to this purpose:--(].) "Our own righteousness, which is of the law." (2.) "That which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." These he asserts to be opposite and inconsistent, as unto the end of our justification and acceptance with God: "Not having mine own righteousness, but that which is," etc. And an intermediate righteousness between these he acknowledges not. 4. Placing the instance in himself, he declares emphatically (so as there is scarce a greater orator, or vehemency of speech, in all his writings) which of these it was that he adhered unto, and placed his confidence in. And in the handling of this subject, there were some things which engaged his holy mind into an earnestness of expression in the exaltation of one of these,--namely, of the righteousness which is of God by faith; and the depression of the other, or his own righteousness. As,-- (1.) This was the turning point whereon he and others had forsaken their Judaism, and betaken themselves unto the gospel. This, therefore, was to be secured as the main instance, wherein the greatest controversy that ever was in the world was debated. So he expresses it, Gal.2:15,16, "We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law." (2.) Hereon there was great opposition made unto this doctrine by the Jews in all places, and in many of them the minds of multitudes were turned off from the truth which the most are generally prone unto in this case), and perverted from the simplicity of the gospel. This greatly affected his holy soul, and he takes notice of it in most of his epistles (3.) The weight of the doctrine itself, with that unwillingness which is in the minds of men by nature to embrace it, as that which lays the axe to the root of all spiritual pride, elation of mind, and self-pleasing whatever,--whence innumerable subterfuges have been, and are, sought out to avoid the efficacy of it, and to keep the souls of men from that universal resignation of themselves unto sovereign grace in Christ, which they have naturally such an aversation unto,--did also affect him. (4.) He had himself been a great sinner in the days of his ignorance, by a peculiar opposition unto Christ and the gospel. This he was deeply sensible of, and wherewithal of the excellency of the grace of God and the righteousness of Christ, whereby he was delivered. And men must have some experience of what he felt in himself as unto sin and grace, before they can well understand his expressions about them. 5. Hence it was that, in many other places of his writings, but in this especially, he treats of these things with a greater earnestness and vehemency of spirit than ordinary. Thus,--(1.) On the part of Christ, whom he would exalt, he mentions not only the knowledge of him, but "to huperechon tes gnooseoos",--"the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord," with an emphasis in every word. And those other redoubled expressions, "all loss for him;" "that I may win him;" "that I may be found in him;" "that I may know him,"--all argue the working of his affections, under the conduct of faith and truth, unto an acquiescence in Christ alone, as all, and in all. Somewhat of this frame of mind is necessary unto them that would believe his doctrine. Those who are utter strangers unto the one will never receive the other. (2.) In his expression of all other things that are our own, that are not Christ, whether privileges or duties, however good, useful, excellent they may be in themselves, yet, in comparison of Christ and his righteousness, and with respect unto the end of our standing before God, and acceptance with him, with the same vehemency of spirit he casts contempt upon [them], calling them "skutala",-- "dog's meat," to be left for them whom he calls "dogs;" that is, evil workers of the concision, or the wicked Jews who adhered pertinaciously unto the righteousness of the law, Phil.3:2. This account of the earnestness of the apostle in this argument, and the warmth of his expressions, I thought meet to give, as that which gives light into the whole of his design. 6. The question being thus stated, the inquiry is, what any person, who desires acceptance with God, or a righteousness whereon he may be justified before him, ought to retake himself unto one of the ways proposed he must close withal. Either he must comply with the apostle in his resolution to reject all his own righteousness, and to retake himself unto the righteousness of God, which is by faith in Christ Jesus alone, or find out for himself, or get some to find out for him, some exceptions unto the apostle's conclusion, or some distinctions that may prepare a reserve for his own works, one way or other, in his justification before God. Here every one must choose for himself. In the meantime, we thus argue:--If our own righteousness, and the righteousness which is of God by faith, or that which is through the faith of Christ Jesus (namely, the righteousness which God imputes unto us, Rom.4:6, or the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness thereby which we receive, chap.5:17), are opposite and inconsistent in the work of justification before God, then are we justified by faith alone, through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us. The consequent is plain, from the removal of all other ways, causes, means, and conditions of it, as inconsistent with it. But the antecedent is expressly the apostle's: "Not my own, but that of God." Again,-- That whereby and wherewith we are "found in Christ" is that whereby alone we are justified before God; for to be found in Christ expresseth the state of the person that is to be justified before God; whereunto is opposed to be found in ourselves. And according unto these different states does the judgment of God pass concerning us. And as for those who are found in themselves, we know what will be their portion. But in Christ we are found by faith alone. All manner of evasions are made use of by some to escape the force of this testimony. It is said, in general, that no sober-minded man can imagine the apostle did not desire to be found in gospel righteousness, or that by his own righteousness he meant that; for it is that alone can entitle us unto the benefits of Christ's righteousness. "Nollem dictum." (1.) The censure is too severe to be cast on all Protestant writers, without exception, who have expounded this place of the apostle; and all others, except some few of late, influenced by the heat of the controversy wherein they are engaged. (2.) If the gospel righteousness intended be his own personal righteousness and obedience, there is some want of consideration in affirming that he did desire to be found in it. That wherein we are found, thereon are we to be judged. To be found in our own evangelical righteousness before God, is to enter into judgment with God thereon; which those who understand any thing aright of God and themselves will not be free unto. And to make this to be the meaning of his words: "I desire not to be found in my own righteousness which is after the law, but I desire to be found in mine own righteousness which is according to the gospel," whereas, as they are his own inherent righteousness, they are both the same,- -doth not seem a proper interpretation of his words; and it shall be immediately disproved. (3.) That our personal gospel righteousness does entitle us unto the benefits of Christ's righteousness,--that is, as unto our justification before God,--is "gratis dictum;" not one testimony of Scripture can be produced that gives the least countenance unto such an assertion. That it is contrary unto many express testimonies, and inconsistent with the freedom of the grace of God in our justification, as proposed in the Scripture, has been proved before. Nor do any of the places which assert the necessity of obedience and good works in believers,--that is, justified persons,--unto salvation, any way belong unto the proof of this assertion, or in the least express or intimate any such thing; and, in particular, the assertion of it is expressly contradictory unto that of the apostle, Tit.3:4,5. But I forbear, and proceed to the consideration of the special answers that are given unto this testimony, especially those of Bellarmine, whereunto I have as yet seen nothing added with any pretence of reason in it:-- 1. Some say that by his own righteousness, which the apostle rejects, he intends only his righteousness "ek nomou", or "by the works of the law." But this was only an outward, external righteousness, consisting in the observation of rites and ceremonies, without respect unto the inward frame or obedience of the heart. But this is an impious imagination. The righteousness which is by the law is the righteousness which the law requires, and those works of it which if a man do he shall live in them; for "the doers of the law shall be justified," Rom.2:13. Neither did God ever give any law of obedience unto man, but what obliged him to "love the LORD his God with all his heart, and all his soul." And it is so far from being true, that God by the law required an external righteousness only, that he frequently condemns it as an abomination to him, where it is alone. 2. Others say that it is the righteousness, whatever it be, which he had during his Pharisaism. And although he should be allowed, in that state, to have "lived in all good conscience, instantly to have served God day and night," and to have had respect as well unto the internal as the external works of the law; yet all these works, being before faith, before conversion to God, may be, and are to be, rejected as unto any concurrence unto our justification. But works wrought in faith, by the aid of grace,--evangelical works,--are of another consideration, and, together with faith, are the condition of justification. Ans. 1. That, in the matter of our justification, the apostle opposes evangelical works, not only unto the grace of God, but also unto the faith of believers, was proved in the consideration of the foregoing testimony. 2. He makes no such distinction as that pretended,--namely, that works are of two sorts, whereof one is to be excluded from any interest in our justification, but not the other; neither does he anywhere else, treating of the same subject, intimate any such distinction, but, on the contrary, declares that use of all works of obedience in them that believe which is exclusive of the supposition of any such distinction: but he directly expresses, in this rejection, his own righteousness,--that is, his personal, inherent righteousness,-- whatever it be, and however it be wrought. 3. He makes a plain distinction of his own twofold estate,-- namely, that of his Judaism which he was in before his conversion, and that which he had by faith in Christ Jesus. In the first state, he considers the privileges of it, and declares what judgment he made concerning them upon the revelation of Jesus Christ unto him: "hegemai", says he, referring unto the time past,--namely, at his first conversion "I considered them, with all the advantages, gain, and reputation which I had by them; but rejected them all for Christ: because the esteem of them and continuance in them as privileges, was inconsistent with faith in Christ Jesus." Secondly, he proceeds to give an account of himself and his thoughts, as unto his present condition. For it might be supposed that although he had parted with all his legal privileges for Christ, yet now, being united unto him by faith, he had something of his own wherein he might rejoice, and on the account whereof he might be accepted with God (the thing inquired after), or else he had parted with all for nothing. Wherefore, he, who had no design to make any reserves of what he might glory in, plainly declares what his judgment is concerning all his present righteousness, and the ways of obedience which he was now engaged in, with respect unto the ends inquired after, Phil.3:8: "Alla menounge kai hegoumai". The bringing over of what was affirmed before concerning his Judaical privileges into this verse, is an effect of a very superficiary consideration of the context. For,--(1.) There is a plain "auxesis" in these words, "Alla menounge kai". He could not more plainly express the heightening of what he had affirmed by a proceed unto other things, or the consideration of himself in another state: "But, moreover, beyond what I have already asserted." (2.) The change of the time expressed by "hegemai", [which] respects what was past, into "hegoumai", wherein he has respect only unto what was present, not what he had before rejected and forsaken, makes evident his progress unto the consideration of things of another nature. Wherefore, unto the rejection of all his former Judaical privileges, he adds his judgment concerning his own present personal righteousness. But whereas it might be objected, that, rejecting all both before and after conversion, he had nothing left to rejoice in, to glory in, to give him acceptance with God; he assures us of the contrary,-- namely, that he found all these things in Christ, and the righteousness of God which is by faith. He is therefore in these words, "Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law," so far from intending only the righteousness which he had before his conversion, as that he intends it not at all. The words of Davenant on this passage of the apostle, being in my judgment not only sober, but weighty also, I shall transcribe them: "Hic docet apostolus quaenam illa justitia sit qua nitendum coram Deo, nimirum quae per fidem apprehenditur, at haec imputate est: Causam etiam ostendit curjure nostra fiat, nimirum quia nos Christi sumus et in Christo comperimur; quia igitur insiti sumus in corpus ejus et coalescimus cumillo in unam personam, ideo ejus justitia nostra reputtur", De Justif. Habit. cap.38. For whereas some begin to interpret our being "in Christ," and being "found in him," so as to intend no more but our profession of the faith of the gospel, the faith of the catholic church in all ages concerning the mystical union of Christ and believers, is not to be blown away with a few empty words and unproved assertions. The answer, therefore, is full and clear unto the general exception, namely, that the apostle rejects our legal, but not our evangelical righteousness; for,--(1.) The apostle rejects, disclaims, disowns, nothing at all, not the one nor the other absolutely, but in comparison of Christ, and with respect unto the especial end of justification before God, or a righteousness in his sight. (2.) In that sense he rejects all our own righteousness; but our evangelical righteousness, in the sense pleaded for, is our own, inherent in us, performed by us. (3.) Our legal righteousness, and our evangelical, so far as an inherent righteousness is intended, are the same; and the different ends and use of the same righteousness are alone intended in that distinction, so far as it has sense in it. That which in respect of motives unto it, the ends of it, with the especial causes of its acceptance with God, is evangelical; in respect of its original prescription, rule, and measure, is legal. When any can instance in any act or duty, in any habit or effect of it, which is not required by that law which enjoins us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbour as ourselves, they shall be attended unto. (4.) The apostle in this case rejects all the "works of righteousness which we have done," Tit.3:5; but our evangelical righteousness consists in the works of righteousness which we do. (5.) He disclaims all that is our own. And if the evangelical righteousness intended be our own, he sets up another in opposition unto it; and which, therefore, is not our own, but as it is imputed unto us. And I shall yet add some other reasons which render this pretence useless, or show the falseness of it:-- (1.) Where the apostle does not distinguish or limit what he speaks of, what ground have we to distinguish or limit his assertions? "Not by works," says he sometimes, absolutely; sometimes "the works of righteousness which we have done." "That is, not by some sort of works," say those who plead the contrary. But by what warrant? (2.) The works which they pretend to be excluded, as wherein our own righteousness that is rejected does consist, are works wrought without faith, without the aid of grace: but these are not good works, nor can any be denominated righteous from them, nor is it any righteousness that consists in them alone; for "without faith it is impossible to please God." And to what purpose should the apostle exclude evil works and hypocritical from our justification? Whoever imagined that any could be justified with respect unto them? There might have been some pretence for this gloss, had the apostle said his own works; but whereas he rejects his own righteousness, to restrain it unto such works as are not righteous, as will denominate none righteous, as are no righteousness at all, is most absurd. (3.) Works wrought in faith, if applied unto our justification, do give occasion unto, or include boasting, more than any others, as being better and more praiseworthy than they. (4.) The apostle elsewhere excludes from justification the works that Abraham had done, when he had been a believer many years; and the works of David, when he described the (continued in part 34...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-33.txt .