Owen, A Vindication... File 5
    (... continued from File 4)

         "In general "This is the will of God, even your
    sanctification," or holiness, 1 Thess. 4: 3. This is that
    which God wills, which he requires of us, - that we be
    holy, that we be obedient, that we do his will as the
    angels do in heaven. The equity, necessity, profit, and
    advantage of this ground of our obedience might at large
    be insisted on; and, were there no more, this might
    suffice alone, - if it be the will of God, it is our
    duty: - 
         "(1st.) The Father has ordained or appointed it. It
    is the will of the Father, Eph 2: 10. The Father is
    spoken of personally, Christ being mentioned as mediator.
         "(2dly.) The Son has ordained and appointed it as
    mediator. John 15: 16, "'I have ordained you, that ye
    should bring forth fruit' of obedience, and that it
    should remain." And, - 
         "(3dly.) The holy Ghost appoints and ordains
    believers to works of obedience and holiness, and to work
    holiness in others. So, in particular, Acts 13: 2, he
    appoints and designs men to the great work of obedience
    in preaching the gospel. And in sinning, men sin against
         "2dly. Our holiness, our obedience, work of
    righteousness, is one eminent and especial end of the
    peculiar dispensation of Father, Son, and Spirit, in the
    business of exalting the glory of God in our salvation, -
    of the electing love of the Father, the purchasing love
    of the Son, and the operative love of the Spirit: - 
         "(1st.) It is a peculiar end of the electing love of
    the Father, Eph 1: 4, "He has chosen us, that we should
    be holy and without blame." So Isa. 4: 3, 4. His aim and
    design in choosing of us was, that we should be holy and
    unblamable before him in love. This he is to accomplish,
    and will bring about in them that are his. "He chooses us
    to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and
    belief of the truth," 2 Thess. 2: 13. This the Father
    designed as the first and immediate end of electing love;
    and proposes the consideration of that love as a motive
    to holiness, 1 John 4: 8-10. 
         "(2dly.) It is so also of the exceeding love of the
    Son; whereof the testimonies are innumerable. I shall
    give but one or two: - Tit. 2: 14, "Who gave himself for
    us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify
    unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
    This was his aim, his design, in giving himself for us;
    as Eph. 5: 25-27, "Christ loved the church, and gave
    himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it
    with the washing of water by the word; that he might
    present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot,
    or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be
    holy, and without blemish" 2 Cor. 5: 15; Rom. 6: 11. 
         "(3dly.) It is the very work of the love of the Holy
    Ghost. His whole work upon us, in us, for us, consists in
    preparing of us for obedience; enabling of us thereunto,
    and bringing forth the fruits of it in us. And this he
    does in opposition to a righteousness of our own, either
    before it or to be made up by it, Tit. 3: 5. I need not
    insist on this. The fruits of the Spirit in us are known,
    Gal. 5: 22, 23. 
         "And thus have we a twofold bottom of the necessity
    of our obedience and personal holiness: - God has
    appointed it, he requires it; and it is an eminent
    immediate end of the distinct dispensation of Father,
    Son, and Holy Ghost, in the work of our salvation. If
    God's sovereignty over us is to be owned, if his love
    towards us be to be regarded, if the whole work of the
    ever-blessed Trinity, for us, in us, be of any moment,
    our obedience is necessary. 
         "3dly. It is necessary in respect of the end
    thereof; and that whether you consider God, ourselves, or
    the world: - 
         "(1st.) The end of our obedience, in respect of God,
    is, his glory and honour, Mal. 1: 6. This is God's
    honour, - all that we give him. It is true, he will take
    his honour from the stoutest and proudest rebel in the
    world; but all we give him is in our obedience. The
    glorifying of God by our obedience is all that we are or
    can be. Particularly, - 
         "[1st.] It is the glory of the Father. Matt. 5: 16,
    "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see
    your good works, and glorify your Father which is in
    heaven." By our walking in the light of faith does glory
    arise to the Father. The fruits of his love, of his
    grace, of his kindness, are seen upon us; and God is
    glorified in our behalf. And, - 
         "[2dly.] The Son is gloried thereby. It is the will
    of God that as all men honour the Father, so should they
    honour the Son, John 5: 23. And how is this done? By
    believing in him, John 14: l; obeying of him. Hence, John
    17: 10, he says he is glorified in believers; and prays
    for an increase of grace and union for them, that he may
    yet be more glorified, and all might know that, as
    mediator, he was sent of God. 
         "[3dly.] The Spirit is gloried also by it. He is
    grieved by our disobedience, Eph. 4: 30; and therefore
    his glory is in our bringing forth fruit. He dwells in
    us, as in his temple; which is not to be defiled.
    Holiness becometh his habitation for ever. 
         "Now, if this that has been said be not sufficient
    to evince a necessity of our obedience, we must suppose
    ourselves to speak with a sort of men who regard neither
    the sovereignty, nor love, nor glory of God, Father, Son,
    or Holy Ghost. Let men say what they please, though our
    obedience should be all lost, and never regarded (which
    is impossible, for God is not unjust, to forget our
    labour of love), yet here is a sufficient bottom, ground,
    and reason of yielding more obedience unto God than ever
    we shall do whilst we live in this world. I speak also
    only of gospel grounds of obedience, and not of those
    that are natural and legal, which are indispensable to
    all mankind. 
         "(2dly.) The end in respect of ourselves immediately
    is threefold: - [1st.] Honour. [2dly.] Peace. [3dly.]
         "[1st.] Honour. It is by holiness that we are made
    like unto God, and his image is renewed again in us. This
    was our honour at our creation, this exalted us above all
    our fellow-creatures here below, - we were made in the
    image of God. This we lost by sin, and became like the
    beasts that perish. To this honour, of conformity to God,
    of bearing his image, are we exalted again by holiness
    alone. "Be ye holy," says God, "for I am holy," 1 Pet. 1:
    16; and, "Be ye perfect" (that is, in doing good), "even
    as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," Matt. 5:
    48, - in a likeness and conformity to him. And herein is
    the image of God renewed; Eph. 4: 23, 24, therein we "put
    on the new man, which after God is created in
    righteousness and holiness of truth." This was that which
    originally was attended with power and dominion; - is
    still all that is beautiful or comely in the world. How
    it makes men honourable and precious in the sight of God,
    of angels, of men; how alone it is that which is not
    despised, which is of price before the Lord; what
    contempt and scorn he has of them in whom it is not, - in
    what abomination he has them and all their ways, - might
    easily be evinced. 
         "[2dly.] Peace. By it we have communion with God,
    wherein peace alone is to be enjoyed. "The wicked are
    like the troubled sea, that cannot rest;" and, "There is
    no peace" to them, "saith my God," Isa. 57: 20; 2]. There
    is no peace, rest, or quietness, in a distance,
    separation, or alienation from God. He is the rest of our
    souls. In the light of his countenance is life and peace.
    Now, "if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we
    have fellowship one with another," 1 John 1: 7; "and
    truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son
    Jesus Christ," verse 3. He that walks in the light of new
    obedience, he has communion with God, and in his presence
    is fulness of joy for ever; without it, there is nothing
    but darkness, and wandering, and confusion. 
         "[3dly.] Usefulness. A man without holiness is good
    for nothing. "Ephraim," says the prophet, "is an empty
    vine, that brings forth fruit to itself" And what is such
    a vine good for? Nothing. Saith another prophet, "A man
    cannot make so much as a pin of it, to hang a vessel on."
    A barren tree is good for nothing, but to be cut down for
    the fire. Notwithstanding the seeming usefulness of men
    who serve the providence of God in their generations, I
    could easily manifest that the world and the church might
    want them, and that, indeed, in themselves they are good
    for nothing. Only the holy man is commune bonum. 
         "(3dly.) The end of it in respect of others in the
    world is manifold: - 
         "[1st.] It serves to the conviction and stopping the
    mouths of some of the enemies of God, both here and
    hereafter: - 1. Here. 1 Pet. 3: 16, "Having a good
    conscience; that, wherein they speak evil of you, as of
    evil-doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your
    good conversation in Christ." By our keeping of a good
    conscience men will be made ashamed of their false
    accusations; that whereas their malice and hatred of the
    ways of God has provoked them to speak all manner of evil
    of the profession of them, by the holiness and
    righteousness of the saints, they are convinced and made
    ashamed, as a thief is when he is taken, and be driven to
    acknowledge that God is amongst them, and that they are
    wicked themselves, John 17: 23. 2. Hereafter. It is said
    that the saints shall judge the world. It is on this, as
    well as upon other considerations: their good works,
    their righteousness, their holiness, shall be brought
    forth, and manifested to all the world; and the
    righteousness of God's judgements against wicked men be
    thence evinced. "See," says Christ, "these are they that
    I own, whom you so despised and abhorred; and see their
    works following them: this and that they have done, when
    you wallowed in your abominations," Matt. 25: 42, 43. 
         "[2dly.] The conversion of others. 1 Pet. 2: 12,
    "Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles;
    that, wherein they speak against you as evil-doers, they
    may, by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify
    God in the day of visitation," Matt. 5: 16. Even
    revilers, persecutors, evil-speakers, have been overcome
    by the constant holy walking of professors; and when
    their day of visitation has come, have glorified God on
    that account, 1 Pet. 3: 1, 2. 
         "[3dly.] The benefit of all; partly in keeping off
    judgements from the residue of men, as ten good men would
    have preserved Sodom: partly by their real communication
    of good to them with whom they have to do in their
    generation. Holiness makes a man a good man, useful to
    all; and others eat of the fruits of the Spirit that he
    brings forth continually. 
         "[4thly.] It is necessary in respect of the state
    and condition of justified persons; and that whether you
    consider their relative state of acceptation, or their
    state of sanctification: - 
         "First. They are accepted and received into
    friendship with a holy God, - a God of purer eyes than to
    behold iniquity, - who hates every unclean thing. And is
    it not necessary that they should be holy who are
    admitted into his presence, walk in his sight, - yea, lie
    in his bosom? Should they not with all diligence cleanse
    themselves from all pollution of flesh and spirit, and
    perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord? 
         "Secondly. In respect of sanctification. We have in
    us a new creature, 2 Cor. 5: 17. This new creature is
    fed, cherished, nourished, kept alive, by the fruits of
    holiness. To what end has God given us new hearts, and
    new natures? Is it that we should kill them? stifle the
    creature that is found in us in the womb? that we should
    give him to the old man to be devoured? 
         "[5thly.] It is necessary in respect of the proper
    place of holiness in the new covenant; and that is
    twofold: - 
         "First. Of the means unto the end. God has appointed
    that holiness shall be the means, the way to that eternal
    life, which, as in itself and originally [it] is his gift
    by Jesus Christ, so, with regard to his constitution of
    our obedience, as the means of attaining it, [it] is a
    reward, and God in bestowing of it a rewarder. Though it
    be neither the cause, matter, nor condition of our
    justification, yet it is the way appointed of God for us
    to walk in for the obtaining of salvation. And therefore,
    he that has hope of eternal life purifies himself, as he
    is pure: and none shall ever come to that end who walketh
    not in that way; for without holiness it is impossible to
    see God. 
         "Secondly. It is a testimony and pledge of adoption,
    - a sign and evidence of grace; that is, of acceptation
    with God. And, - 
         "Thirdly. The whole expression of our thankfulness. 
         "Now, there is not one of all these causes and
    reasons of the necessity, the indispensable necessity of
    our obedience, good works, and personal righteousness,
    but would require a more large discourse to unfold and
    explain than I have allotted to the proposal of them all;
    and innumerable others there are of the same import, that
    I cannot name. He that upon these accounts does not think
    universal holiness and obedience to be of indispensable
    necessity, unless also it be exalted into the room of the
    obedience and righteousness of Christ, let him be filthy
         I confess this whole discourse proceedeth on the
    supposition of the imputation of the righteousness of
    Christ unto us for our justification. And herein I have
    as good company as the prelacy and whole church of
    England can afford; sundry from among them having written
    large discourses in its confirmation, and the rest
    having, till of late, approved of it in others. I wish
    this man, or any of his companions in design, would
    undertake the answering of Bishop Downham on this
    subject. No man ever carried this matter higher than
    Luther; nor did he, in all his writings, more positively
    and plainly contend for it than in his comment on the
    Epistle to the Galatians; - yet was that book translated
    into English by the approbation of the then bishop of
    London, who also prefixed himself a commendatory epistle
    unto it. The judgement of Hooker we have heard before.
    But what need I mention in particular any of the rest of
    those great and learned names who have made famous the
    profession of the church of England by their writings
    throughout the world? Had this man, in their days,
    treated this doctrine with his present scoffing
    petulancy, he had scarce been rector of St George,
    Botolph Lane, much less filled with such hopes and
    expectations of future advancements, as it is not
    impossible that he is now possessed with, upon his
    memorable achievements. But, on this supposition, I do,
    first, appeal to the judgement of the church of England
    itself as to the truth of the doctrine delivered in my
    discourse, and the principles which this man proceedeth
    on in his exceptions against it. 2. Though it be but a
    part of a popular discourse, and never intended for
    scholastic accuracy, yet, as to the assertions contained
    in it, I challenge this author to take and allow the
    ordinary, usual sense of the words, with the open design
    of them, and to answer them when he can. And, 3. In the
    meantime I appeal unto every indifferent reader whether
    the mere perusal of this whole passage do not cast this
    man's futilous cavils out of all consideration? So that I
    shall only content myself with very few remarks upon
    them: - 
         1. Upon my asserting the necessity of good works, he
    adds, "A very suspicious word; which, methinks, these men
    should be afraid to name." And why so? We do acknowledge
    that we do not seek for righteousness by the works of the
    law; we design not our personal justification by them,
    nor to merit life or salvation; but retake ourselves unto
    what even Bellarmine himself came to at last as the
    safest retreat, - namely, the merits and righteousness of
    Christ: but for attendance unto them, performance of
    them, and fruitfulness in them, we are not afraid nor
    ashamed at any time to enter into judgement with them by
    whom we are traduced. And as I have nothing to say unto
    this author, who is known unto me only by that
    portraiture and character which he has given of himself
    in this book; which I could have wished, for his own
    sake, had been drawn with a mixture of more lines of
    truth and modesty: so I know there are not a few who, in
    the course of a vain, worldly conversation, whilst there
    is scarce a back or belly of a disciple of Christ that
    blesseth God upon the account of their bounty or charity
    (the footsteps of levity, vanity, scurrility, and
    profaneness, being, moreover, left upon all the paths of
    their haunt), are wont to declaim about holiness, good
    works, and justification by them; which is a ready way to
    instruct men to atheism, or the scorn of every thing that
    is professed in religion. But yet, 2. He shows how
    impotent and impertinent our arguments are for the proof
    of the necessity of holiness. And as to the first of
    them, from the commands of God, he saith, "That if, after
    all these commands, God has left it indifferent whether
    we obey him or no, I hope such commands cannot make
    obedience necessary." Wonderful divinity! A man must
    needs be well acquainted with God and himself who can
    suppose that any of his commands shall leave it
    indifferent, whether we will obey them or no. Yea, "But
    will he damn men if they do not obey his commands for
    holiness?" Yes, yes; no doubt he will do so. Yea, "But we
    may be, notwithstanding this command, justified and saved
    without this holiness." False and impertinent: we are
    neither justified nor saved without them, though we are
    not justified by them, nor saved for them. 
         Unto my enforcement of the necessity of holiness
    from the ends of God in election and redemption, he
    replies, p. 127, "The Father has elected us to be holy,
    and the Son redeemed us to be holy; but will the Father
    elect and the Son redeem none but those who are holy, and
    reject and reprobate all others? Does this election and
    redemption suppose holiness in us, or is it without any
    regard to it? For if we be elected and redeemed without
    any regard unto our own being holy, our election and
    redemption is secure, whether we be holy or not."
    Wonderful divinity again! Election and redemption suppose
    holiness in us! We are elected and redeemed with regard
    unto our own holiness that is, antecedently unto our
    election and redemption; for holiness being the effect
    and fruit of them, is that which he opposeth. Not many
    pages after this, he falls into a great admiration of the
    catechism of the church of England, which none blamed
    that I know of, as to what is contained in it. But it
    were to be wished that he had been well instructed in
    some others, that he might not have divulged and obtruded
    on the world such crude and palpable mistakes. For this
    respect of redemption, at least, unto an antecedent
    holiness in us (that is, antecedent unto it), is such a
    piece of foppery in religion, as a man would wonder how
    any one could be guilty of, who has almost "pored out his
    eyes" in reading the Scripture. All the remaining cavils
    of this chapter are but the effects of the like fulsome
    ignorance; for out of some passages, scraped together
    from several parts of my discourse (and those not only
    cut off from their proper scope and end, which is not
    mentioned by him at all, but also mangled in their
    representation), he would frame the appearance of a
    contradiction between what I say on the one hand, that
    there is no peace with God to be obtained by and for
    sinners but by the atonement that is made for them in the
    blood of Jesus Christ, with the remission of sin and
    justification by faith which ensue thereon (which I hope
    I shall not live to hear denied by the church of
    England), and the necessity of holiness and fruitfulness
    in obedience, to maintain in our own souls a sense of
    that peace with God which we have, being justified by
    faith. And he who understands not the consistency of
    those things, has little reason to despise good
    catechisms, whatever thoughts he has had of his own
         The whole design of what remains of this section, is
    to insinuate that there can be no necessity of holiness
    or obedience unto God, unless we are justified and saved
    thereby; which I knew not before to have been, nor indeed
    do yet know it to be, the doctrine of the church of
    England. But be it whose it will, I am sure it is not
    that of the Scripture, and I have so disproved it in
    other discourses, which this man may now see if he
    please, as that I shall not here again reassume the same
    argument; and although I am weary of consulting this
    woeful mixture of disingenuity and ignorance, yet I shall
    remark somewhat on one or two passages more, and leave
    him, if he please, unto a due apprehension, that what
    remains is unanswerable scoffing. 
         The first is that of p. 131. "But, however, holiness
    is necessary with respect to sanctification: 'We have in
    us a new creature, 2 Cor. 5: 17. This new creature is
    fed, cherished, nourished, and kept alive, by the fruits
    of holiness. To what end has God given us new hearts, and
    new natures? Is it that we should kill them, stifle the
    creature that is found in us in the womb? that we should
    give him to the old man to be devoured?' The phrase of
    this is admirable, and the reasoning unanswerable; for if
    men be new creatures, they will certainly live new lives,
    and this makes holiness absolutely necessary, by the same
    reason that every thing necessarily is what it is: but
    still we inquire after a necessary obligation to the
    practice of holiness, and that we cannot yet discover." 
         The reader will see easily how this is picked out of
    the whole discourse, as that which he imagined would
    yield some advantage to reflect upon; for, let him
    pretend what he please to the contrary, he has laid this
    end too open to be denied; and I am no way solicitous
    what will be his success therein. Had he aimed at the
    discovery of truth, he ought to have examined the whole
    of the discourse, and not thus have rent one piece of it
    from the other. As to the phrase of speech which I use,
    it is, I acknowledge, metaphorical; but yet, being used
    only in a popular way of instruction, is sufficiently
    warranted from the Scripture, which administers occasion
    and gives countenance unto every expression in it, the
    whole being full well understood by those who are
    exercised in the life of God. And for the reasoning of
    it, it is such as I know this man cannot answer: for the
    new creature, however he may fancy, is not a new
    conversation, nor a living homily; but it is the
    principle, and spiritual ability, produced in believers
    by the power and grace of the Holy Ghost, enabling them
    to walk in newness of life and holiness of conversation.
    And this principle being bestowed on us, wrought in us,
    for that very end, it is necessary for us, unless we will
    neglect and despise the grace which we have received,
    that we walk in holiness, and abound in the fruits of
    righteousness, whereunto it leads and tends. Let him
    answer this if he can, and when he has done so, answer
    the apostle in like manner; or scoff not only at me, but
    at him also. 
         The last passage I shall remark upon in this section
    is what he gives us as the sum of the whole. P. 135, "The
    sum of all is, that to know Christ is not to be thus
    acquainted with his person, but to understand his gospel
    in its full latitude and extent; it is not the person,
    but the gospel of Christ which is the way, the truth, and
    the life, which directs us in the way to life and
    happiness. And again, this acquaintance with Christ's
    person, which these men pretend to, is only a work of
    fancy, and teaches men the arts of hypocrisy," etc. 
         I do not know that ever I met with any thing thus
    crudely asserted among the Quakers, in contempt of the
    person of Christ; for whereas he says of himself
    expressly, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," to
    say he is not so (for Jesus Christ is his person, and
    nothing else), carries in it a bold contradiction, both
    parts of which cannot be true. When the subject of a
    proposition is owned, there may be great controversy
    about the sense of the predicate; as when Christ says he
    is the vine: there may be so also about the subject of a
    proposition, when the expression is of a third thing, and
    dubious; as where Christ says, "This is my body:" but
    when the person speaking is the subject, and speaks of
    himself, to deny what he says, is to give him the lie. "I
    am the way, the truth, and the life," saith Christ; - "He
    is not," saith our author, "but the gospel is so." If he
    had allowed our Lord Jesus Christ to have spoken the
    truth, but only to have added, "Though he was so, yet he
    was so no otherwise but by the gospel," there had been
    somewhat of modesty in the expression; but this saying,
    that the "person of Christ is not, - the gospel is so,"
    is intolerable. It is so, however, that this young man,
    without consulting or despising the exposition of all
    divines, ancient or modern, and the common sense of all
    Christians, should dare to obtrude his crude and
    undigested conceptions upon so great a word of Christ
    himself, countenanced only by the corrupt and false
    glosses of some obscure Socinians: which some or other
    may possibly in due time mind him of; I have other work
    to do. 
         But according to his exposition of this heavenly
    oracle, what shall any one imagine to be the sense of the
    context, where "I," and "me," spoken of Christ, do so
    often occur? Suppose that the words of that whole verse,
    "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to
    the Father but by me," have this sense, - not Christ
    himself is the way, the truth, and the life, but the
    gospel; "No man comes to the Father but by me;" that is,
    not by me, but by "the gospel," must not all the
    expressions of the same nature in the context have the
    same exposition? as namely, verse 1, "Ye believe in God,
    believe also in me;" that is, not in me but in "the
    gospel;" - "I go to prepare a place for you;" that is,
    not I do so, but "the gospel;" verse 3, "I will come
    again and receive you to myself;" that is, not I, but
    "the gospel" will do so; and so of all other things which
    Christ in that place seems to speak of himself. If this
    be his way of interpreting Scripture, I wonder not that
    he blames others for their defect and miscarriages

    Owen, A Vindication...
    (continued in File 6...)

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owvin-05.txt