Owen, A Vindication... File 2
    (... continued from File 1)

         This one testimony ought to be enough unto this sort
    of men, whilst they are at any consistency with their own
    reputation: for it is evident that there is nothing
    concerning personal election, effectual vocation,
    justification by the imputation of the righteousness of
    Christ, participation of him, union of believers unto and
    with his person, derivation of grace from him, etc.,
    which are so reproached by our present author, but they
    are asserted by this great champion of the church of
    England, who undoubtedly knew the doctrine which it
    owned, and in his days approved, and that in such words
    and expressions, as remote from the sentiments, or at
    least as unsavoury to the palates, of these men, as any
    they except against in others. 
         And what themselves so severely charge on us in
    point of discipline, that nothing be spoken about it
    until all is answered that is written by Mr Hooker in its
    defence, may, I hope, not immodestly be so far returned,
    as to desire them that in point of doctrine they will
    grant us truce, until they have moved out of the way what
    is written to the same purpose by Mr Hooker. Why do not
    they speak to him to leave fooling, and to speak sense,
    as they do to others? But let these things be as they
    are; I have no especial concernment in them, nor shall
    take any farther notice of them, but only as they
    influence the exceptions which this author makes unto
    some passages in that book of mine. And in what I shall
    do herein, I shall take as little notice as may be of
    those scurrilous and reproachful expressions, which
    either his inclination or his circumstances induced him
    to make use of. If he be pleased with such a course of
    procedure, I can only assure him, that as to my
    concernment, I am not displeased; and so he is left unto
    his full liberty for the future. 
         The first thing he quarrels about, is my asserting
    the necessity of acquaintance with the person of Christ;
    which expression he frequently makes use of afterward in
    a way of reproach. The use of the word "acquaintance," in
    this matter, is warranted by our translation of the
    Scripture, and that properly, where it is required of us
    to acquaint ourselves with God. And that I intended
    nothing thereby but the knowledge of Jesus Christ, is
    evident beyond any pretence to the contrary to be
    suggested by the most subtle or inventive malice. The
    crime, therefore, wherewith I am here charged, is my
    assertion that it is necessary that Christians should
    know Jesus Christ; which I have afterward increased, by
    affirming also that they ought to love him: for by Jesus
    Christ all the world of Christians intend the person of
    Christ; and the most of them, all of them, - the
    Socinians only excepted, - by his person, "the Word made
    flesh," or the Son of God incarnate, the mediator between
    God and man. For because the name Christ is sometimes
    used metonymically, to conclude thence that Jesus Christ
    is not Jesus Christ, or that it is not the person of
    Christ that is firstly and properly intended by that name
    in the gospel, is a lewd and impious imagination; and we
    may as well make Christ to be only a light within us, as
    to be the doctrine of the gospel without us. This
    knowledge of Jesus Christ I aver to be the only fountain
    of all saving knowledge: which is farther reflected on by
    this author; and he adds (no doubt out of respect unto
    me), "that he will not envy the glory of this discovery
    unto its author;" and therefore honestly confesseth that
    he met with it in my book. But what does he intend?
    Whither will prejudice and corrupt designs carry and
    transport the minds of men? Is it possible that he should
    be ignorant that it is the duty of all Christians to know
    Jesus Christ, to be acquainted with the person of Christ,
    and that this is the fountain of all saving knowledge,
    until he met with it in my book about communion with God;
    which I dare say he looked not into, but only to find
    what he might except against? It is the Holy Ghost
    himself that is the author of this discovery; and it is
    the great fundamental principle of the gospel. Wherefore,
    surely, this cannot be the man's intention; and therefore
    we must look a little farther, to see what it is that he
    aimeth at. After, then, the repetition of some words of
    mine, he adds, as his sense upon them, p. 39, "So that it
    seems the gospel of Christ makes a very imperfect and
    obscure discovery of the nature, attributes, and the will
    of God, and the methods of our recovery. We may
    thoroughly understand whatever is revealed in the gospel,
    and yet not have a clear and saving knowledge of these
    things, until we get a more intimate acquaintance with
    the person of Christ." And again, p. 40: "I shall show
    you what additions these men make to the gospel of Christ
    by an acquaintance with his person; and I confess I am
    very much beholden to this author, for acknowledging
    whence they fetch all their orthodox and gospel
    mysteries, for I had almost pored my eyes out with
    seeking for them in the gospel, but could never find
    them; but I learn now, that indeed they are not to be
    found there, unless we be first acquainted with the
    person of Christ." So far as I can gather up the sense of
    these loose expressions, it is, that I assert a knowledge
    of the person of Jesus Christ which is not revealed in
    the gospel, which is not taught us in the writings of
    Moses, the prophets, or apostles, but must be had some
    other way. He tells me afterward, p. 41, that I put in a
    word fallaciously, which expresseth the contrary; as
    though I intended another knowledge of Christ than what
    is declared in the gospel. Now, he either thought that
    this was not my design or intention, but would make use
    of a pretence of it for his advantage unto an end aimed
    at (which what it was I know well enough); or he thought,
    indeed, that I did assert and maintain such a knowledge
    of the person of Christ as was not received by Scripture
    revelation. If it was the first, we have an instance of
    that new morality which these new doctrines are
    accompanied withal; if the latter, he discovers how meet
    a person he is to treat of things of this nature.
    Wherefore, to prevent such scandalous miscarriages, or
    futilous imaginations for the future, I here tell him,
    that if he can find in that book, or any other of my
    writings, any expression, or word, or syllable,
    intimating any knowledge of Christ, or any acquaintance
    with the person of Christ, but what is revealed and
    declared in the gospel, in the writings of Moses, the
    prophets, and apostles, and as it is so revealed and
    declared, and learned from thence, I will publicly burn
    that book with my own hands, to give him and all the
    world satisfaction. Nay, I say more: if an angel from
    heaven pretend to give any other knowledge of the person
    of Christ, but what is revealed in the gospel, let him be
    accursed. And here I leave this author to consider with
    himself, what was the true occasion why he should first
    thus represent himself unto the world in print, by the
    avowing of so unworthy and notorious a calumny. 
         Whereas, therefore, by an acquaintance with the
    person of Christ, it is undeniably evident that I
    intended nothing but that knowledge of Christ which it is
    the duty of every Christian to labour after, - no other
    but what is revealed, declared, and delivered in the
    Scripture, as almost every page of my book does manifest
    where I treat of these things; I do here again, with the
    good leave of this author, assert, that this knowledge of
    Christ is very necessary unto Christians, and the
    fountain of all saving knowledge whatever. And as he may,
    if he please, review the honesty and truth of that
    passage, p. 38, "So that our acquaintance with Christ's
    person, in this man's divinity, signifies such a
    knowledge of what Christ is, has done, and suffered for
    us, from whence we may learn those greater, deeper, and
    more saving mysteries of the gospel, which Christ has not
    expressly revealed to us;" so I will not so far suspect
    the Christianity of them with whom we have to do, as to
    think it necessary to confirm by texts of Scripture
    either of these assertions; which whoever denies is an
    open apostate from the gospel. 
         Having laid this foundation in an equal mixture of
    that truth and sobriety wherewith sundry late writings of
    this nature and to the same purpose have been stuffed, he
    proceeds to declare what desperate consequences ensue
    upon the necessity of that knowledge of Jesus Christ
    which I have asserted, addressing himself thereunto, p.
         Many instances of such dealings will make me apt to
    think that some men, whatever they pretend to the
    contrary, have but little knowledge of Jesus Christ
    indeed. But whatever this man thinks of him, an account
    must one day be given before and unto him of such false
    calumnies as his lines are stuffed withal. Those who will
    believe him, that he has almost "pored out his eyes" in
    reading the gospel, with a design to find out mysteries
    that are not in it, are left by me to their liberty; only
    I cannot but say, that his way of expressing the study of
    the Scripture, is [not?] such as becometh a man of his
    wisdom, gravity, and principles. He will, I hope, one day
    be better acquainted with what belongs unto the due
    investigation of sacred truth in the Scripture, than to
    suppose it represented by such childish expressions. What
    he has learned from me I know not; but that I have
    anywhere taught that there are mysteries of religion that
    are not to be found in the gospel, unless we are first
    acquainted with the person of Christ, is a frontless and
    impudent falsehood. I own no other, never taught other
    knowledge of Christ, or acquaintance with his person, but
    what is revealed and declared in the gospel; and
    therefore, no mysteries of religion can be thence known
    and received, before we are acquainted with the gospel
    itself. Yet I will mind this author of that, whereof if
    he be ignorant, he is unfit to be a teacher of others,
    and which if he deny, he is unworthy the name of a
    Christian, - namely, that by the knowledge of the person
    of Christ, the great mystery of God manifest in the
    flesh, as revealed and declared in the gospel, we are led
    into a clear and full understanding of many other
    mysteries of grace and truth; which are all centred in
    his person, and without which we can have no true nor
    sound understanding of them. I shall speak it yet again,
    that this author, if it be possible, may understand it;
    or, however, that he and his co-partners in design may
    know that I neither am nor ever will be ashamed of it: -
    that without the knowledge of the person of Christ, which
    is our acquaintance with him (as we are commanded to
    acquaint ourselves with God) as he is the eternal Son of
    God incarnate, the mediator between God and man, with the
    mystery of the love, grace, and truth of God therein, as
    revealed and declared in the Scripture, there is no true,
    useful, saving knowledge of any other mysteries or truths
    of the gospel to be attained. This being the substance of
    what is asserted in my discourse, I challenge this man,
    or any to whose pleasure and favour his endeavours in
    this kind are sacrificed, to assert and maintain the
    contrary, if so be they are indeed armed with such a
    confidence as to impugn the foundations of Christianity. 
         But to evince his intention, he transcribeth the
    ensuing passages out of my discourse: - P. 41, "The sum
    of all true wisdom and knowledge may be reduced to these
    three heads: - 1. The knowledge of God; his nature and
    properties. 2. The knowledge of ourselves with reference
    to the will of God concerning us. 3. Skill to walk in
    communion with God. In these three is summed up all true
    wisdom and knowledge, and not any of them is to any
    purpose to be obtained, or is manifested, but only in and
    by the Lord Christ." 
         This whole passage I am far from disliking, upon
    this representation of it, or any expression in it. Those
    who are not pleased with this distribution of spiritual
    wisdom, may make use of any such of their own wherewith
    they are better satisfied. This of mine was sufficient
    unto my purpose. Hereon this censure is passed by him: -
    "Where by is fallaciously added to include the
    revelations Christ has made; whereas his first
    undertaking was, to show how impossible it is to
    understand these things savingly and clearly,
    notwithstanding all those revelations God has made of
    himself and his will by Moses and the prophets, and by
    Christ himself, without an acquaintance with his person."
    The fallacy pretended is merely of his own coining; my
    words are plain, and suited unto my own purpose, and to
    declare my mind in what I intend; which he openly
    corrupting, or not at all understanding, frames an end
    never thought of by me, and then feigns fallacious means
    of attaining it. The knowledge I mean is to be learned by
    Christ; neither is any thing to be learned in him but
    what is learned by him. I do say, indeed, now, whatever I
    have said before, that it is impossible to understand any
    sacred truth savingly and clearly, without the knowledge
    of the person of Christ; and shall say so still, let this
    man and his companions say what they will to the
    contrary: but that in my so saying I exclude the
    consideration of the revelations which Christ has made,
    or that God has made of himself by Moses and the
    prophets, and Christ himself, the principal whereof
    concern his person, and whence alone we come to know him,
    is an assertion becoming the modesty and ingenuity of
    this author. But hereon he proceeds, and says, that as to
    the first head he will take notice of those peculiar
    discoveries of the nature of God of which the world was
    ignorant before, and of which revelation is wholly
    silent, but are now clearly and savingly learned from an
    acquaintance with Christ's person. But what, in the
    meantime, is become of modesty, truth, and honesty? Do
    men reckon that there is no account to be given of such
    falsifications? Is there any one word or little in my
    discourse of any such knowledge of the nature or
    properties of God as whereof revelation is wholly silent?
    What does this man intend? Does he either not at all
    understand what I say; or does he not care what he says
    himself? What have I done to him? wherein have I injured
    him? how have I provoked him, that he should sacrifice
    his conscience and reputation unto such a revenge? Must
    he yet hear it again? I never thought, I never owned, I
    never wrote, that there was any acquaintance to be
    obtained with any property of the nature of God by the
    knowledge of the person of Christ, but what is taught and
    revealed in the gospel; from whence alone all knowledge
    of Christ, his person, and his doctrine, is to be
    learned. And yet I will say again, if we learn not thence
    to know the Lord Christ, - that is, his person, - we
    shall never know any thing of God, ourselves, or our
    duty, clearly and savingly (I use the words again,
    notwithstanding the reflections on them, as more proper
    in this matter than any used by our author in his
    eloquent discourse), and as we ought to do. From hence he
    proceeds unto weak and confused discourses about the
    knowledge of God and his properties without any knowledge
    of Christ; for he not only tells us "what reason we had
    to believe such and such things of God, if Christ had
    never appeared in the world," (take care, I pray, that we
    be thought as little beholden to him as may be), "but
    that God's readiness to pardon, and the like, are plainly
    revealed in the Scripture, without any farther
    acquaintance with the person of Christ," p. 43. What this
    farther acquaintance with the person of Christ should
    mean, I do not well understand: it may be, any more
    acquaintance with respect unto some that is necessary; -
    it may be, without any more ado as to an acquaintance
    with him. And if this be his intention, - as it must be,
    if there be sense in his words, - that God's readiness to
    pardon sinners is revealed in the Scripture without
    respect unto the person of Jesus Christ, it is a piece of
    dull Socinianism; which, because I have sufficiently
    confuted else where, I shall not here farther discover
    the folly of. [As] for a knowledge of God's essential
    properties by the light of nature, it was never denied by
    me; yea, I have written and contended for it in another
    way than can be impeached by such trifling declamations.
    But yet, with his good leave, I do believe that there is
    no saving knowledge of, or acquaintance with God or his
    properties, to be attained, but in and through Jesus
    Christ, as revealed unto us in the gospel. And this I can
    confirm with testimonies of the Scripture, fathers,
    schoolmen, and divines of all sorts, with reasons and
    arguments, such as I know this author cannot answer. And
    whatever great apprehensions he may have of his skill and
    abilities to know God and his properties by the light of
    nature, now that he neither knows nor is able to
    distinguish what he learns from thence, and what he has
    imbibed in his education from an emanation of divine
    revelation; yet I believe there were as wise men as
    himself amongst those ancient philosophers, concerning
    whom and their inquiries into the nature of God our
    apostle pronounces those censures, Rom. 1; 1 Cor. 1. 
         But on this goodly foundation he proceeds unto a
    particular inference, p. 44, saying, "And is not this a
    confident man, to tell us that the love of God to
    sinners, and his pardoning mercy, could never have
    entered into the heart of man but by Christ, when the
    experience of the whole world confutes him? For, whatever
    becomes of his new theories, both Jews and heathens, who
    understood nothing at all of what Christ was to do in
    order to our recovery, did believe God to be gracious and
    merciful to sinners, and had reason to do so; because God
    himself had assured the Jews that he was a gracious and
    merciful God, pardoning iniquity, transgressions, and
    sins. And those natural notions heathens had of God, and
    all those discoveries God had made of himself in the
    works of creation and providence, did assure them that
    God is very good: and it is not possible to understand
    what goodness is, without pardoning grace." 
         I beg his excuse: truth and good company will give a
    modest man a little confidence sometimes; and against his
    experience of the whole world, falsely pretended, I can
    oppose the testimonies of the Scripture, and all the
    ancient writers of the church, very few excepted. We can
    know of God only what he has, one way or other, revealed
    of himself, and nothing else; and I say again, that God
    has not revealed his love unto sinners, and his pardoning
    mercy, any other way but in and by Jesus Christ. For what
    he adds as to the knowledge which the Jews had of these
    things by God's revelation in the Scripture, when he can
    prove that all those revelations, or any of them, had not
    respect unto the promised seed, - the Son of God, - to be
    exhibited in the flesh to destroy the works of the devil,
    he will speak somewhat unto his purpose. In the meantime,
    this insertion of the consideration of them who enjoyed
    that revelation of Christ which God was pleased to build
    his church upon under the Old Testament, is weak and
    impertinent. Their apprehensions, I acknowledge,
    concerning the person of Christ, and the speciality of
    the work of his mediation, were dark and obscure; but so,
    also, proportionally was their knowledge of all other
    sacred truths, which yet with all diligence they inquired
    into. That which I intended is expressed by the apostle,
    1 Cor. 2: 9,10, "It is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear
    heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the
    things which God has prepared for them that love him. But
    God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit." What a
    confident man was this apostle, as to affirm that the
    things of the grace and mercy of God did never enter into
    the heart of man to conceive, nor would so have done, had
    they not been revealed by the Spirit of God in the gospel
    through Jesus Christ! 
         But this is only a transient charge. There ensues
    that which is much more severe, p. 45; as, for instance,
    "He tells us, 'that in Christ' (that is, in his death and
    sufferings for our sins) 'God has manifested the
    naturalness of this righteousness' (that is, vindictive
    justice in punishing sin), 'that it was impossible that
    it should be diverted from sinners without the
    interposing of a propitiation; that is, that God is so
    just and righteous, that he cannot pardon sin without
    satisfaction to his justice.' Now, this indeed is such a
    notion of justice as is perfectly new, which neither
    Scripture nor nature acquaints us with; for all mankind
    have accounted it an act of goodness, without the least
    suspicion of injustice in it, to remit injuries and
    offences without exacting any punishment, - that he is so
    far from being just, that he is cruel and savage, who
    will remit no offence till he has satisfied his revenge."
    The reader who is in any measure or degree acquainted
    with these things, knows full well what is intended by
    that which I have asserted. It is no more but this, -
    that such is the essential holiness and righteousness of
    the nature of God, that, considering him as the supreme
    governor and ruler of all mankind, it was inconsistent
    with the holiness and rectitude of his rule, and the
    glory of his government, to pass by sin absolutely, or to
    pardon it without satisfaction, propitiation, or
    atonement. This, I said, was made evident in the death
    and sufferings of Christ, wherein God made all our
    iniquities to meet upon him, and spared him not, that we
    might obtain mercy and grace. This is here now called out
    by our author as a very dangerous or foolish passage in
    my discourse, which he thought he might highly advantage
    his reputation by reflecting upon. But as the orator said
    to his adversary, "Equidem vehementer laetor sum esse me,
    in quem to cum cuperes, nullam contumeliam jacere
    potueris, quae non ad maximam partem civium convenerit,"
    - so it is here fallen out. If this man knows not that
    this is the judgement of the generality of the most
    learned divines of Europe upon the matter, of all who
    have engaged with any success against the Socinians, one
    or two only excepted, I can pity him, but not relieve him
    in his unhappiness, unless he will be pleased to take
    more pains in reading good books than as yet he appeareth
    to have done. But for the thing itself, and his
    reflections upon it, I shall observe yet some few things,
    and so pass on; - as first, the opposition that he makes
    unto my position is nothing but a crude assertion of one
    of the meanest and most absurd sophisms which the
    Socinians use in this cause, - namely, that everyone may
    remit injuries and offences as he pleaseth, without
    exacting any punishment: which, as it is true in most
    cases of injuries and offences against private persons,
    wherein no others are concerned but themselves, nor are
    they obliged by any law of the community to pursue their
    own right; so, with respect unto public rulers of the
    community, and unto such injuries and offences as are
    done against supreme rule, tending directly unto the
    dissolution of the society centring in it, to suppose
    that such rulers are not obliged to inflict those
    punishments which justice and the preservation of the
    community does require, is a fond and ridiculous
    imagination, - destructive, if pursued, unto all human
    society, and rendering government a useless thing in the
    world. Therefore, what this author (who seems to
    understand very little of these things) adds, "that
    governors may spare or punish as they see reason for it;"
    if the rule of that reason and judgement be not that
    justice which respects the good and benefit of the
    society or community, they do amiss, and sin, in sparing
    and punishing: which I suppose he will not ascribe unto
    the government of God. But I have fully debated these
    things in sundry writings against the Socinians; so that
    I will not again enlarge upon them without a more
    important occasion. It is not improbable but he knows
    where to find those discourses; and he may, when he
    please, exercise his skill upon them. Again: I cannot but
    remark upon the consequences that he chargeth this
    position withal; and yet I cannot do it without begging
    pardon for repeating such horrid and desperate
    blasphemies. P. 46, "The account," saith he, "of this is
    very plain; because the justice of God has glutted itself
    with revenge on sin in the death of Christ, and so hence
    forward we may be sure he will be very kind, as a
    revengeful man is when his passion is over." P. 47, "The
    sum of which is, that God is all love and patience when
    he has taken his fill of revenge; as others use to say
    that the devil is very good when he is pleased." P. 59,
    "The justice and vengeance of God, having their acting
    assigned them to the full, being glutted and satiated
    with the blood of Christ, God may," etc. I desire the
    reader to remember that the supposition whereon all these
    inferences are built, is only that of the necessity of
    the satisfaction of Christ with respect unto the holiness
    and righteousness of God as the author of the law, and
    the supreme governor of mankind. And is this language
    becoming a son of the church of England? Might it not be
    more justly expected from a Jew or a Mohammedan, - from
    Servetus or Socinus, from whom it is borrowed, - than
    from a son of this church, in a book published by license
    and authority? But it is to no purpose to complain: those
    who are pleased with these things, let them be so. But
    what if, after all, these impious, blasphemous
    consequences do follow as much upon this author's opinion
    as upon mine, and that with a greater show of
    probability? and what if, forgetting himself, within a
    few leaves he says the very same thing that I do, and
    casts himself under his own severest condemnation? 
         For the first: I presume he owns the satisfaction of
    Christ, and I will suppose it until he directly denies
    it; therefore, also, he owns and grants that God would
    not pardon any sin, but upon a supposition of a previous
    satisfaction made by Jesus Christ. Here, then, lies all
    the difference between us; - that I say God could not,
    with respect unto his holiness and justice, as the author
    of the law and governor of the world, pardon sin
    absolutely without satisfaction: he says, that although
    he might have done so without the least diminution of his
    glory, yet he would not, but would have his Son by his
    death and suffering to make satisfaction for sin. I leave
    it now, not only to every learned and impartial reader,
    but to every man in his wits who understands common
    sense, whether the blasphemous consequences, which I will
    not again defile ink and paper with the expression of, do
    not seem to follow more directly upon his opinion than
    mine. For whereas I say not that God requireth any thing
    unto the exercise of grace and mercy, but what he grants
    that he does so also; - only I say he does it because
    requisite unto his justice; he, because he chose it by a
    free act of his will and wisdom, when he might have done
    otherwise, without the least disadvantage unto his
    righteousness or rule, or the least impeachment to the
    glory of his holiness. The odious blasphemies mentioned
    do apparently seem to make a nearer approach unto his
    assertion than unto mine. I cannot proceed unto a farther
    declaration of it, because I abhor the rehearsal of such
    horrid profaneness. The truth is, they follow not in the
    least (if there be any thing in them but odious satanical
    exprobrations of the truth of the satisfaction of Christ)
    on either opinion; though I say this author knows not
    well how to discharge himself of them. 
         But what if he be all this while only roving in his
    discourse about the things that he has no due
    comprehension of, merely out of a transporting desire to
    gratify himself and others, in traducing and making
    exceptions against my writings? What if, when he comes a
    little to himself, and expresseth the notions that have
    been instilled into him, be saith expressly as much as I
    do, or have done in any place of my writings? It is plain
    he does so, p. 49, in these words: - "As for sin, the
    gospel assures us that God is an irreconcilable enemy to
    all wickedness, it being so contrary to his own most holy
    nature, that if he have any love for himself, and any
    esteem for his own perfections and works, he must hate
    sin, which is so unlike himself, and which destroys the
    beauty and perfection of his workmanship. For this end he
    sent his Son into the world to destroy the works of the
    devil," etc. Here is the substance of what at any time on
    this subject I have pleaded for: - "God is an
    irreconcilable enemy to all wickedness," that it "is
    contrary to his holy nature, so that he must hate it; and
    therefore sends his Son," etc. If sin be contrary to
    God's holy nature, - if he must hate it, unless he will
    not love himself, nor value his own perfections, and
    therefore sent his Son to make satisfaction, we are
    absolutely agreed in this matter, and our author has lost
    "operam et oleum" in his attempt. But for the matter
    itself, if he be able to come unto any consistency in his
    thoughts, or to know what is his own mind therein, I do
    hereby acquaint him that I have written one entire
    discourse on that subject, and have lately reinforced the
    same argument in my Exercitations on the Epistle to the
    Hebrews, wherein my judgement on this point is declared
    and maintained. Let him attempt an answer, if he please,
    unto them, or do it if he can. What he farther
    discourseth on this subject, pp. 46, 47, consisteth only
    in odious representations and vile reflections on the
    principal doctrines of the gospel, not to be mentioned
    without offence and horror. But as to me, he proceeds to
    except, after his scoffing manner, against another
    passage, pp. 47, 48, - "But, however, sinners have great
    reasons to rejoice in it, when they consider the nature
    and end of God's patience and forbearance towards them, -
    viz., That it is God's taking a course, in his infinite
    wisdom and goodness, that we should not be destroyed
    notwithstanding our sins; that as before, the least sin
    could not escape without punishment, justice being so
    natural to God that he cannot forgive without punishing;
    so the justice of God being now satisfied by the death of
    Christ, the greatest sins can do us no hurt, but we shall
    escape with a 'notwithstanding our sins.' This, it seems,
    we learn from an acquaintance with Christ's person,
    though his gospel instructs us otherwise, that 'without
    holiness no man shall see God."' But he is here again at
    a loss, and understands not what he is about. That
    whereof he was discoursing is the necessity of the
    satisfaction of Christ, and that must be it which he
    maketh his inference from, but the passage he insists on,
    he lays down as expressive of the end of God's patience
    and forbearance towards sinners, which here is of no
    place nor consideration. But so it falls out, that he is
    seldom at any agreement with himself in any parts of his
    discourse; the reason whereof I do somewhat more than
    guess at. However, for the passage which he cites out of
    my discourse, I like it so well, as that I shall not
    trouble myself to inquire whether it be there or no, or
    on what occasion it is introduced. The words are, - "That
    God has, in his justice, wisdom, and goodness, taken a
    course that we should not be destroyed, notwithstanding
    our sins" (that is, to save sinners); "for he that
    believeth, although he be a sinner, shall be saved; and
    he that believeth not shall be damned," as one has
    assured us, whom I desire to believe and trust unto. If
    this be not so, what will become of this man and myself,
    with all our writings? for I know that we are both
    simmers; and if God will not save us, or deliver us from
    destruction, notwithstanding our sins, - that is, pardon
    them through the bloodshedding of Jesus Christ, wherein
    we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins, - it
    had been better for us that we had never been born. And I
    do yet again say, that God does not, that he will not,
    pardon the least sin, without respect unto the
    satisfaction of Christ, according as the apostle
    declares, 2 Cor. 5: 18-21; and the expression which must
    be set on the other side, on the supposition whereof the
    greatest sin can do us no harm, is this man's addition,
    which his usual respect unto truth has produced. But,
    withal, I never said, I never wrote, that the only
    supposition of the satisfaction of Christ is sufficient
    of itself to free us from destruction by sin.

    Owen, A Vindication...
    (continued in File 3...)

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owvin-02.txt