Owen, A Vindication... File 9
    (... continued from File 8)

         I yet suppose that he observed not the
    inconsistencies of this discourse, and therefore shall a
    little mind him of them, although I am no way concerned
    in it or them. For, first, He tells us, that "a mediator
    is one who interposeth between two differing parties, to
    accommodate the difference;" and then gives us an
    instance in Moses, who is called a mediator in receiving
    the law, but did therein no way interpose himself between
    differing parties, to reconcile them. Secondly, From the
    nature of the mediation of Moses, he would describe the
    nature of the mediation of Christ; which Socinian fiction
    I could direct him to a sufficient confutation of, but
    that, thirdly, He rejects it himself in his next words, -
    that Christ as a mediator was to die as a sacrifice and
    propitiation for the sins of the world; which renders his
    mediation utterly of another kind and nature than that of
    Moses. The mistake of this discourse is, that he
    supposeth that men do argue from the general nature of
    the office of a mediator the work of mediation in this
    matter; when that which they do intend hence to prove,
    and what he intends to oppose, is the special nature of
    the mediatory office and work of Christ; which is
    peculiar, and has sundry things essential]ly belonging
    unto it, that belong not unto any other kind of mediation
    whatever; whereof himself gives one signal instance. 
         In his ensuing pages he wonderfully perplexeth
    himself in gathering up sayings, backward and forward in
    my discourse, to make some advantage to his purpose, and
    hopes that he is arrived at no less success than a
    discovery of I know not what contradictions in what I
    have asserted. As I said before, so I say again, that I
    refer the determination and judgement of this whole
    matter unto any one who will but once read over the
    discourse excepted against. But for his part, I greatly
    pity him, as really supposing him at a loss in the sense
    of what is yet plainly delivered; and I had rather
    continue to think so, than to be relieved by supposing
    him guilty of such gross prevarications as he must be if
    he understands what he treats about. Plainly, I have
    showed that there was an especial law of mediation, which
    Christ was subject unto, at the commandment of the
    Father: that he should be incarnate; that he should be
    the king, priest, and prophet of his church; that he
    should bear our iniquities, make his soul an offering for
    sin, and give his life a ransom for many, were the
    principal parts of this law. The whole of it I have
    lately explained, in my exercitations unto the second
    part of the Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews;
    whereon, if he please, he may exercise and try his skill
    in a way of opposition. This law our Lord Jesus Christ
    did not yield obedience to in our stead, as though we had
    been obliged originally unto the duties of it, which we
    neither were nor could be; although what he suffered
    penally in any of them was in our stead; without which
    consideration he could not have righteously suffered in
    any kind. And the following trivial exception of this
    author, about the obligation on us to lay down our lives
    for the brethren, is meet for him to put in, seeing we
    are not obliged so to die for any one as Christ died for
    us. Was Paul crucified for you? But, secondly, Christ our
    mediator, and as mediator, was obliged unto all that
    obedience unto the moral, and all other laws of God, that
    the church was obliged unto; and that which I have
    asserted hereon is, that the effects of the former
    obedience of Christ are communicated unto us, but the
    latter obedience itself is imputed unto us; and [I] have
    proved it by those arguments which this man does not
    touch upon. All this is more fully, clearly, and plainly
    declared in the discourse itself; and I have only
    represented so much of it here again, that it might be
    evident unto all how frivolous are his exceptions. It is
    therefore to no purpose for me to transcribe again the
    quotations out of my book which he fills up his pages
    with, seeing it is but little in them which he excepteth
    against; and whoever pleaseth, may consult them at large
    in the places from whence they are taken; or, because it
    is not easy to find them out singly, they are so picked
    up and down, backwards and forwards, curtailed and added
    to at pleasure, any one may, in a very little space of
    time, read over the whole unto his full satisfaction. I
    shall, therefore, only consider his exceptions, and haste
    unto an end of this fruitless trouble, wherein I am most
    unwillingly engaged by this man's unsuspected
    disingenuity and ignorance. 
         After the citation of some passages, he adds, p.
    301, "This, methinks, is very strange, that what he did
    as mediator is not imputed unto us; but what he did, not
    as our mediator, but as a man subject to the law, that is
    imputed to us, and reckoned as if we had done it, by
    reason of his being our mediator. And it is as strange to
    the full, that Christ should do whatever was required of
    us by virtue of any law, when he was neither husband, nor
    wife, nor father, merchant nor tradesman, seaman nor
    soldier, captain nor lieutenant, much less a temporal
    prince and monarch. And how he should discharge the
    duties of these relations for us, which are required of
    us by certain laws, when he never was in any of these
    relations, and could not possibly be in all, is an
    argument which may exercise the subtilty of school men,
    and to them I leave it." 
         It were greatly to be desired that he would be a
    little more heedful, and with attention read the writings
    of other men, that he might understand them before he
    comes to make such a bluster in his opposition to them:
    for I had told him plainly, that though there was a
    peculiar law of mediation, whose acts and duties we had
    no obligation unto, yet the Lord Christ, even as
    mediator, was obliged unto, and did personally perform,
    all the duties of obedience unto the law of God whereunto
    we were subject and obliged, p. 181,' sec. 14. And it is
    strange to apprehend how he came to imagine that I said
    he did it not as our mediator, but as a private man. That
    which, possibly, might cast his thoughts into this
    disorder was, that he knew not that Christ was made a
    private man as mediator; which yet the Scripture is
    sufficiently express in. [As] for the following
    objections, that the Lord Christ was neither "husband nor
    wife, father nor tradesman," etc. (wherein yet possibly
    he is out in his account), I have frequently smiled at it
    when I have met with it in the Socinians, who are perking
    with it at every turn; but here it ought to be admired.
    But yet, without troubling those bugbears the school men,
    he may be pleased to take notice, that the grace of duty
    and obedience in all relations is the same, - the
    relations administering only an external occasion unto
    its peculiar exercise; and what our Lord Jesus Christ did
    in the fulfilling of all righteousness in the
    circumstances and relations wherein he stood, may be
    imputed to us for our righteousness in all our relations,
    every act of duty and sin in them respecting the same law
    and principle. And hereon all his following exceptions
    for sundry pages, wherein he seems much to have pleased
    himself, do fall to nothing, as being resolved into his
    own mistakes, if he does not prevaricate against his
    science and conscience; for the sum of them all he gives
    us in these words, p. 204, "That Christ did those things
    as mediator which did not belong to the laws of his
    mediation;" which, in what sense he did so, is fully
    explained in my discourse. And I am apt to guess, that
    either he is deceived or does design to deceive, in
    expressing it by the "laws of his mediation;" which may
    comprise all the laws which as mediator he was subject
    unto. And so it is most true, that he did nothing as
    mediator but what belonged unto the laws of his
    mediation; but most false, that I have affirmed that he
    did: for I did distinguish between that peculiar law
    which required the public acts of his mediation, and
    those other laws which, as mediator, he was made subject
    unto. And if he neither does nor will understand these
    things when he is told them, and they are proved unto him
    beyond what he can contradict, I know no reason why I
    should trouble myself with one that contends with his own
    mormos, though he never so lewdly or loudly call my name
    upon them. And whereas I know myself sufficiently subject
    unto mistakes and slips, so when I actually fall into
    them, as I shall not desire this man's forgiveness, but
    leave him to exercise the utmost of his severity, so I
    despise his ridiculous attempts to represent
    contradictions in my discourse, p 306; all pretences
    whereunto are taken from his own ignorance, or feigned in
    his imagination. Of the like nature are all his ensuing
    cavils. I desire no more of any reader, but to peruse the
    places in my discourse which he carps at, and if he be a
    person of ordinary understanding in these things, I
    declare that I will stand to his censure and judgement,
    without giving him the least farther intimation of the
    sense and intendment of what I have written, or
    vindication of its truth. Thus, whereas I had plainly
    declared that the way whereby the Lord Christ, in his own
    person, became obnoxious and subject unto the law of
    creation, was by his own voluntary antecedent choice,
    otherwise than it is with those who are inevitably
    subject unto it by natural generation under it; as also,
    that the hypostatical union, in the first instant whereof
    the human nature was fitted for glory, might have
    exempted him from the obligation of any outward law
    whatever, - whence it appears that his consequential
    obedience, though necessary to himself, when he had
    submitted himself unto the law (as, "Lo, I come to do thy
    will, O God"), was designedly for us; - he miserably
    perplexeth himself to abuse his credulous readers with an
    apprehension that I had talked, like himself, at such a
    rate of nonsense as any one in his wits must needs
    despise. The meaning and sum of my discourse he would
    have to be this, p. 308, "That Christ had not been bound
    to live like a man, had he not been a man," with I know
    not what futilous cavils of the like nature; when all
    that I insisted on was the reason why Christ would be a
    man, and live like a man; which was, that we might
    receive the benefit and profit of his obedience, as he
    was our mediator. So in the close of the same wise
    harangue, from my saying, "That the Lord Christ, by
    virtue of the hypostatical union, might be exempted, as
    it were, and lifted above the law, which yet he willingly
    submitted unto, and in the same instant wherein he was
    made of a woman, was made also under the law, whence
    obedience unto it became necessary unto him," - the man
    feigns I know not what contradictions in his fancy,
    whereof there is not the least appearance in the words
    unto any one who understands the matter expressed in
    them. And that the assumption of the human nature into
    union with the Son of God, with submission unto the law
    thereon to be performed in that nature, are distinct
    parts of the humiliation of Christ, I shall prove when
    more serious occasion is administered unto me. 
         In like manner he proceeds to put in his exceptions
    unto what I discoursed about the laws that an innocent
    man is liable unto. For I said, that God never gave any
    other law to an innocent person, but only the law of his
    creation, with such symbolical precepts as might be
    instances of his obedience thereunto. Something he would
    find fault with, but knows not well what; and therefore
    turmoils himself to give countenance unto a putid cavil.
    He tells us, "That it is a great favour that I
    acknowledge, p. 310, that God might add what symbols he
    pleased unto the law of creation." But the childishness
    of these impertinencies is shameful. To whom, I pray, is
    it a favour, or what does the man intend by such a
    senseless scoff? Is there any word in my whole discourse
    intimating that God might not in a state of innocence
    give what positive laws he pleased unto innocent persons,
    as means and ways to express that obedience which they
    owed into the law of creation? The task wherein I am
    engaged is so fruitless, so barren of any good use, in
    contending with such impertinent effects of malice and
    ignorance, that I am weary of every word I am forced to
    add in the pursuit of it; but he will yet have it, that
    "an innocent person, such as Christ was absolutely, may
    be obliged for his own sake to the observation of such
    laws and institutions as were introduced by the occasion
    of sin, and respected all of them the personal sins of
    them that were obliged by them;" which if he can believe,
    he is at liberty, for me, to persuade as many as he can
    to be of his mind, whilst I may be left unto my own
    liberty and choice, yea, to the necessity of my mind, in
    not believing contradictions. And for what he adds, that
    I "know those who conceit themselves above all forms of
    external worship," I must say to him that at present
    personally I know none that do so, but fear that some
    such there are; as also others who, despising not only
    the ways of external worship appointed by God himself,
    but also the laws of internal faith and grace, do satisfy
    themselves in a customary observance of forms of worship
    of their own devising. 
         In his next attempt he had been singular, and had
    spoken something which had looked like an answer to an
    argument, had he well laid the foundation of his
    procedure: for that position which he designeth the
    confutation of is thus laid down by him as mine, "There
    can be no reason assigned of Christ's obedience unto the
    law, but only this, that he did it in our stead;" whereas
    my words are, "That the end of the active obedience of
    Christ cannot be assigned to be that he might be fit for
    his death and oblation." And hereon what is afterward
    said against this particular end, he interprets as spoken
    against all other ends whatever, instancing in such as
    are every way consistent with the imputation of his
    obedience unto us; which could not be, had the only end
    of it been for himself, to fit him for his death and
    oblation. And this wilful mistake is sufficient to give
    occasion to combat his own imaginations for two or three
    pages together. P. 314, he pretends unto the recital of
    an argument of mine for the imputation of the
    righteousness of Christ, with the like pretence of
    attempting an answer unto it; but his design is not to
    manage any controversy with me, or against me, but, as he
    phraseth it, to expose my mistakes. I cannot, therefore,
    justly expect from him so much as common honesty will
    require, in case the real handling of a controversy in
    religion had been intended. But his way of procedure, so
    far as I know and understand, may be best suited unto his
    design. In this place, he does neither fairly nor truly
    report my words, nor take the least notice of the
    confirmation of my argument by the removal of objections
    whereunto it seemed liable, nor of the reasons and
    testimonies whereby it is farther proved; but, taking out
    of my discourse what expressions he pleaseth, putting
    them together with the same rule, he thinks he has
    sufficiently exposed my mistakes, - the thing he aimed
    at. I have no more concernment in this matter but to
    refer both him and the reader to the places in my
    discourse reflected on; - him, truly to report and answer
    my arguments, if he be able; and the reader, to judge as
    he pleaseth between us. And I would for this once desire
    of him, that if he indeed be concerned in these things,
    he would peruse my discourse here raved at, and determine
    in his own mind whether I confidently affirm what is in
    dispute, (that is, what I had then in dispute; for who
    could divine so long ago what a doughty disputant this
    author would by this time sprout up into?) and that this
    goes for an argument, or that he impudently affirms me so
    to do, contrary unto his science and conscience, if he
    had not quite "pored out his eyes" before he came to the
    end of a page or two in my book. And for the state of the
    question here proposed by him, let none expect that upon
    so slight an occasion I shall divert unto the discussion
    of it. When this author, or any of his consorts in
    design, shall soberly and candidly, without scoffing or
    railing, in a way of argument or reasoning, becoming
    divines and men of learning, answer any of those many
    writings which are extant against that Socinian
    justification which he here approves and contends for, or
    those written by the divines of the church of England on
    the same subject, in the proof of what he denies, and
    confutation of what he affirms, they may deserve to be
    taken notice of in the same rank and order with those
    with whom they associate themselves. And yet I will not
    say but that these cavilling exceptions, giving a
    sufficient intimation of what some men would be at, if
    ability and opportunity did occur, may give occasion also
    unto a renewed vindication of the truths opposed by them,
    in a way suited unto the use and edification of the
    church, in due time and season. 
         From p. 185 of my book he retires, upon his new
    triumph, unto p. 176, as hoping to hook something from
    thence that might contribute unto the furtherance of his
    ingenious design, although my discourse in that place
    have no concernment in what he treateth about. But let
    him be heard to what purpose he pleaseth. Thus,
    therefore, he proceeds, p. 315, "The doctor makes a great
    flourish with some Scripture phrases, that there is
    almost nothing that Christ has done but what we are said
    to do it with him; we are crucified with him, we are dead
    with him, buried with him, quickened together with him.
    In the acting of Christ there is, by virtue of the
    compact between him, as mediator, and the Father, such an
    assured foundation laid, that by communication of the
    fruit of these acting unto those in whose stead he
    performed them, they are said, in the participation of
    these fruits, to have done the same things with him. But
    he is quite out in the reason of these expressions, which
    is not that we are accounted to do the same things which
    Christ did, - for the things here mentioned belong to the
    peculiar office of his mediation, which he told us before
    were not reckoned as done by us, - but because we do some
    things like them. Our dying to sin is a conformity to the
    death of Christ; and our walking in newness of life is
    our conformity to his resurrection: and the consideration
    of the death and resurrection of Christ is very powerful
    to engage us to die to sin, and to rise unto a new life.
    And this is the true reason of these phrases." 
         Any man may perceive, from what he is pleased here
    himself to report of my words, that I was not treating
    about the imputation of the righteousness of Christ,
    which he is now inveighing against; and it will be much
    more evident unto every one that shall cast an eye on
    that discourse. But the design of this confused rambling
    I have been forced now frequently to give an account of,
    and shall, if it be possible, trouble the reader with it
    no more. The present difference between us, which he was
    ambitious to represent, is only this, that whereas it
    seems he will allow that those expressions of our being
    "crucified with Christ, dead with him, buried with him,
    quickened with him," do intend nothing but only our doing
    of something like unto that which Christ did; I do add,
    moreover, that we do those things by the virtue and
    efficacy of the grace which is communicated unto us from
    what the Lord Christ so did and acted for us, as the
    mediator of the new covenant, whereby alone we partake of
    their power, communicate in their virtue, and are
    conformed unto him as our head; wherein I know I have, as
    the testimony of the Scripture, so the judgement of the
    catholic church of Christ on my side, and am very little
    concerned in the censure of this person, that I am "quite
    out in the reason of these expressions." 
         For what remains of his discourse, so far as I am
    concerned in it, it is made up of such expositions of
    some texts of Scripture as issue, for the most part, in a
    direct contradiction to the text itself, or some express
    passages of the context. So does that of Gal. 4: 4, 5,
    which he first undertakes to speak unto, giving us
    nothing but what was first invented by Crellius, in his
    book against Grotius, and is almost translated verbatim
    out of the comment of Schlichtingius upon the place; the
    remainder of them corruptly Socinianizing against the
    sense of the church of God. Hereunto are added such
    pitiful mistakes, with reflections on me for
    distinguishing between obeying and suffering (which
    conceit he most profoundly disproves by showing that one
    may obey in suffering, and that Christ did so, against
    him who has written more about the obedience of Christ in
    dying, or laying down his life for us, than he seems to
    have read on the same subject, as also concerning the
    ends and uses of his death; which I challenge him and all
    his companions to answer and disprove, if they can), as I
    cannot satisfy myself in the farther consideration of;
    no, not with that speed and haste of writing now used:
    which nothing could give countenance unto but the
    meanness of the occasion, and unprofitableness of the
    argument in hand. Wherefore, this being the manner of the
    man, I am not able to give an account unto myself or the
    reader of the misspense of more time in the review of
    such impertinencies. I shall add a few things, and
         First. I desire to know whether this author will
    abide by what he asserts, as his own judgement, in
    opposition unto what he puts in his exception against in
    my discourse: - P. 320, "All the influence which the
    sacrifice of Christ's death, and the righteousness of his
    life have, that I can find in the Scripture, is, that to
    this we owe the covenant of grace;" that is, as he
    afterward explains himself, "That God would for the sake
    of Christ enter into a new covenant with mankind, wherein
    he promiseth pardon of sin and eternal life to them that
    believe and obey the gospel." I leave him herein to his
    second thoughts; for as he has now expressed himself,
    there is no reconciliation of his assertion to common
    sense, or the fundamental principles of Christian
    religion. That God entered into the new covenant
    originally only for the sake of those things whereby that
    covenant was ratified and confirmed, and that Christ was
    so the mediator of the new covenant, that he died not for
    the redemption of transgressions under the first
    covenant, whereby the whole consideration of his
    satisfaction and of redemption, properly so called, is
    excluded; that there is no consideration to be had of his
    purchase of the inheritance of grace and glory, with many
    other things of the same importance; and that the gospel,
    or the doctrine of the gospel, is the new covenant (which
    is only a perspicuous declaration of it), are things that
    may become these new sons of the church of England, which
    the elder church would not have borne withal. 
         Secondly. The reader may take notice, that in some
    other discourses of mine now published, which were all of
    them finished before I had the advantage to peruse the
    friendly and judicious animadversions of this author, he
    will find most of the matters which he excepts against
    both cleared, proved, and vindicated, and that those
    principles which he directs his opposition against are so
    established, as that I neither expect nor fear any such
    assault upon them, from this sort of men, as becometh a
    serious debate on things of this nature. 
         Thirdly. That I have confined myself, in the
    consideration of this author's discourse, unto what I was
    personally concerned in, without looking at or accepting
    of the advantages which offered themselves of reflecting
    upon him, either as unto the matter of his discourse, or
    unto the manner of expressing himself in its delivery.
    For, besides that I have no mind, and that for many
    reasons, to enter voluntarily into any contest with this
    man, the mistakes which he has apparently been led into
    by ignorance or prejudice, his fulsome errors against the
    Scripture, the doctrine of the ancient church, and the
    church of England, are so multiplied and scattered
    throughout the whole, that a discovery and confutation of
    them will scarce deserve the expense of time that must be
    wasted therein, until a more plausible countenance or
    strenuous defence be given unto them. And as for what he
    aimeth at, I know well enough where to find the whole of
    it, handled with more civility and appearance of reason;
    and therefore, when I am free, or resolved to treat
    concerning them, I shall do so in the consideration of
    what is taught by his authors and masters, and not of
    what he has borrowed from them. 
         Fourthly. I shall assure the reader, that as a
    thousand of such trifling cavillers or revilers, as I
    have had some to deal withal, shall neither discourage
    nor hinder me in the remaining service which I may have
    yet to fulfil, in the patience of God, for the church of
    Christ and truth of the gospel; nor, it may be, occasion
    me any more to divert in the least unto the consideration
    of what they whisper or glamour, unless they are able to
    retake themselves unto a more sober and Christian way of
    handling things in controversy: so if they will not, or
    dare not, forego this supposed advantage of reproaching
    the doctrine of nonconformists (under which pretence they
    openly, and as yet securely, scorn and deride them, when
    they are all of them the avowed doctrines of all the
    reformed churches, and of this of England in particular);
    and if they think it not meet to oppose themselves and
    endeavours unto those writings which have been composed
    and published professedly in the declaration and defence
    of the truth scoffed at and impugned by them, but choose
    rather to exercise their skill and anger on passages rent
    out of practical discourses, accommodated in the manner
    of their delivery unto the capacity of the community of
    believers, as it is fit they should be; I do suppose
    that, at one time or other, from one hand or another,
    they may meet with some such discourse, concerning
    justification and the imputation of the righteousness of
    Christ, as may give them occasion to be quiet, or to
    exercise the best of their skill and industry in an
    opposition unto it, - as many such there are already
    extant, which they wisely take no notice of, but only
    rave against occasional passages in discourses of another
    nature, - unless they resolve on no occasion to forego
    the shelter they have betaken themselves unto. 

    Owen, A Vindication...

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