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 conclude. 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. End. Owen, A Vindication... (...concluded) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owvin-09.txt .