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them left their first estate, and lost their righteousness; and the true reason why the others stand in theirs is, because of confirming grace from Chrift; but Christ's righteousness is an everlasting one, and cannot, nor will it, ever be lost.
It is a righteousness which justice can find no fault with, but is entirely satisfied with ; it justifies from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses; it secures from all wrath and condemnation, and silences all accusations; for who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's ele&t? it is God that justifieth: It will answer for us in a time to come, and give us an admittance into God's kingdom and glory; when such that have no better righteousness than what the Scribes and Pharisees had, shall not enter there ; and all that are without this wedding garment, shall be shut out, and cast into outer darkness, where is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. But I proceed,
IV. To consider the form of justification, which is by the imputation of this righteousness of Christ, I have been speaking of; even as David describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works'. The Hebrew word aun', and the Greek words, soy So maco, iaxoyéw, interés par, which are used to express this act of imputation, signify to reckon, repute, estimate, attribute, or place any thing to the account of another; as when the apostle Paul said to Philemon, concerning Onefimus, If be hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on my account'; tõtó ipoà indóyer, let it be reckoned or imputed to me, so when God is said to impute Christ's righteousness to us, the meaning is, that he reckons it as ours, being wrought out for us, and accounts us righteous by it, as though we had performed it in our own persons. And now, that it may appear that we are justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, observe,
1. That we are in our own persons ungodly, who are justified, for God justifierb the ungodly"; if ungodly, then without a righteousness, as all Adam's posterity are ; and if without a righteousness, then if we are justified, it must be by some righteousness imputed to us, or placed to our account; which can be no other than the righteousness of Christ.
2. We are justified either by an inherent, or by an imputed righteousness ; not by an inherent one, because that is imperfect, and nothing that is imperfect can justify us. Besides, this is a righteousness within us, whereas the righteousness by which we are justified is a righteousness without us; it is
· Rom. iv, 6.
saun, putavit, imputavit, reputavit, æstimavit. Buxtorf. aorisopan, æftimo, reputo, item imputo & alicujus veluti rationibus infero, tribuo, Scapula. i Philem. ver. 18,
u Rom. iv. 5.
anto all, and upon all them that believe *. And, if we are not justified by an inherent righteousness, then it must be by an imputed one, because there remains no other.
3. The righteousness by which we are justified is not our own righteousness, but the righteousness of another, even the righteousness of Christ : That I may be found in Christ, says the apostle, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christy. Now, the righteousness of another cannot be made ours, or we be justified by it, any other way than by an imputation of it.
4. The same way that Adam's sin becomes ours, or we are made finners by it, the same way Christ's righteousness becomes ours, or we are made righteous by it. Now, Adam's sin becomes ours by imputation, and so does Christ's righteousness, according to the apostle ?: As by one man's disobedience many were made finners, fo, by the obedience of one, small many be made righteous. 5. The same way that our sins became Christ's, his righteousness becomes
Now our sins became Christ's by imputation only; the Father laid them on him by imputation, and he took them to himself by voluntary sufception ; they were placed to his account, and he looked upon himself as answerable to justice for them. Now, in the same way his righteousness becomes ours : For be, who knew no fin, was made fin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. v. 21.
But I haften, V. To enquire into the date of justification, concerning which there have been various sentiments “. Some have thought that it will not be compleated until the day of judgment; others, that it commences at, or upon believing, and not before; others, that it took place at Chrilt's resurrection from the dead, when he was justified, and all the elect in him; others, that it bears date from the time that Christ was first promised, as the Mediator, which was quickly after the fall o; others carry it up as high as the covenant transactions between the Father and the Son, and the suretyship engagements of Christ from eternity, which are the present sentiments of my mind. The method in which I shall endeavour to reprefent them to others, shall be as follows:
First, I shall endeavour to prove that that which is properly justification, is antecedent to any act of believing.
Secondly, That the justification, by, or at, or upon believing, is not properly justification. Thirdly, Answer the objections made against this doctrine. Vol. III. Y
First, » Rom. iii. 22. y Phil. iii 9.
1 Vid. Turret. Institut. Theolog, tom. II. loc. 16. Quæst. 9. 9.1.
Maccov. Loc. Commun. c. 69 p. 608.
z Rom. v. 19.
First, I shall endeavour to prove, that that which is properly justification, is before faith, or antecedent to any act of believing of ours; which, I apprehend, may be fairly concluded from the following considerations,
1. Faith is not the cause, but the fruit and effect of justification. The reason why we are justified, is not because we have faith; but the reason why we have faith is because we are justified. Was there no such blessing of grace as justification of life provided for the sons of men, there would be no such thing as faith in Christ bestowed upon them, nor, indeed, would there be any use for it; and though it is provided, yet since not for all men, therefore all men have not faith. The reason why some do not believe, is, because they are not of Christ's Meep'; they never were chosen in him, nor justified by him, but are juftly left in their sins, and so to condemnation; the reason why others do believe, is, because they are ordained to eternal life“, have a justifying righteous. ness provided for them, and are justified by it, and shall never enter into condemnation : and, in asserting this, I say no more than what Dr Twisse, the famous Prolocutor to the Assembly of Divines, has said before me. His words are these : “ Before faith the righteousness of Christ was ours, being in " the intention of God the Father, and Christ the Mediator, wrought our “ for us; and, because wrought out for us, therefore God, in his own time, “ gives us grace of every kind, and among others, faith itself, and, at last, the “ crown of heavenly glory.” And, a little after he says: “Before faith and “ repentance the righteousness of Christ is applied unto us; since it is on the « account of that, that we obtain efficacious grace, to believe in Christ and “ repent.” Likewise the judicious Pemble writes to the fame effect, when, observing a twofold justification, he says, the one is “ In foro divino, in God's sight, and this
before all our fanctification; for even whilft the elect are “ unconverted, they are then aftually justified, and freed from all fin, by the « death of Christ, and God so efteems of them as free, and, having accepted « of that satisfaction, is actually reconciled to them. By this justification,
we are freed from the guilt of our sins; and because that is done away, God, « in due time, proceeds to give us the grace of sanctification, to free from sin's
corruption still inherent in our persons'." The other is, “ In foro conscientiæ,
John X. 26.
• Ante fidem hæc Christi juftitia noftra fuit, quatenus ex intentione Dei Patris & Christi Mediatoris pro nobis præstita; & quia pro nobis præftita, ideo suo tempore Deus daturus est nobis & gratiam cujufcunque generis, ipsamque etiam fidem inter alias, & tandem aliquando cælestis gloriæ coronam --Ante fidem & resipiscentiam applicatur. nobis juftitia Christi, utpote propter quam gratiam consequimur efficacem, ad credendum in Christum, & agendam pænitentiam. Twis. Vindiciæ Gratiæ, l. 1. par. 2. §. 25. P. 197
I Vid. Pemble's works, p. 24
« in their own sense, which is but the revelation and certain declaration of “ God's former secret acts of accepting Christ's righteousness to our justifi“ cation.” And Maccovius says, “ That because that God justifies us, there“ fore he gives us faith, and other spiritual gifts 8.” Now, if justification is the cause, and faith the effect; then, as every cause is before its effect, and every effect follows its own cause, justification must be before faith, and faith must follow justification.
2. Justification is the object, and faith is the act, which is conversant with it. Now the object does not depend upon the act, but the act upon the object. Every object is prior to the act, which is conversant with it; unless it be when an act gives being to the object, which cannot be the case here; unless we make faith to be the cause or matter of our justification, which has been already difproved. Faich is the evidence, not the cause of justification ; and if it is an evidence, that of which it is an evidence muft exist before it. Faith is indeed the evidence of things not seen; but it is not the evidence of things that are not: what the
eye is in the body, that faith is in the soul. The eye, by virtue of its visive faculty beholds sensible objects, but does not produce them; and did they not previously exist, could not behold them. We see the sun shining in its brightness, but did it not exist before, it could not be visible to us; the fame
observation will hold good in ten thousand other instances. Faith is the hand which receives the blessing of justification from the Lord, and righteousness, by which the soul is justified from the God of its salvation ; but then this blessing must exist before faith can receive it. If any should think fit to distinguish between the act of justification, and the righteousness of Christ, by which we are justified; and object, That not juftification, but the righteousness of Christ, is the object of faith : I reply, Either the righteousness of Christ, as justifying, is the object of faith, or it is not; if it is not, then it is useless, and to be laid aside in the business of juftification ; if, as justifying, it is the object of faith, what is it else but justificacion ? Christ's righteoufness juftifying me, 'is my juftification before God, and as fuch, my faith considers it, and says with the church, Surely, in the Lord bave I rigbteousness and strength".
3. The elect of God are justified whilst ungodly, and therefore, before they believe ; the reason of the consequence is plain, because a believer is not an ungodly person. That God's elect are, by nature, ungodly, will not be denied; as such, Christ died for them: While we were yet without strength, in due time
Cbrift Quia ex co, quòd nos Deus justificat, concedit nobis fidem & alia dona fpiritualia. Macco * ENTON fondos Arminian, c. 10.
► Jfai. xlv. 24.
Christ died for the ungodly'. And it is as evident, that, as such, God juftifies them : But to him tbat worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, bis faith is counted for righteousness k. Not that God justifies the ungodly without a righteoutness; but he imputes and reckons to them the righteousness of his Son; for otherwise he would do that himself which he abhors in others : For be that justifieth the wicked, and be that rondemneth the juft, they both are an abomination to the Lord'. Nor does he justify them in their ungodliness, but from it; and, indeed, from all things, from which they could not be justified, by the law of Moses; and yet he justifies them being ungodly. Now, if it can be proved that a believer is, or may be, called an ungodly person, then there is no strength in my argument; but, I apprehend, it cannot be proved, from scripture, that a believer is so called; nor can any just reason be given why he should; seeing an ungodly person is one that is without God, that is, without the grace and fear of God; and without Christ, being destitute of a true knowledge of him, faith in him, and love to him; all which is incompatible with the character of a believer. I conclude then, that if God juftifies his elect when they are ungodly, then he justifies them before they believe, which is the thing I have undertaken to prove.
4. All the elect of God were justified in, and with Christ, their Head and Representative, when he rose from the dead, and therefore before they believe. The Lord Jesus Christ having, from eternity engaged as a Surety for his people, all their sins were laid upon him, imputed to him, and placed to his account; for all which he was responsible to divine justice, and, accordingly, in the fulness of time gave full satisfaction for them, by his sufferings and death; and, having done this, was acquitted and discharged: for, as he was put to death in the Aesh, he was justified in the Spirit. "Now as he suffered and died not as a private person, but as a public one, so he rose again, and was justified as fuch. Hence, when he was justified, all those for whom he made satisfaction, and brought in a righteousness, were justified in him; which feems to be the meaning of that scripture, Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. This justification of the elect, at the resurrection of Christ, and upon the foot of the oblation and sacrifice, already offered up, is acknowledged by many excellent and judicious divines; some of whom, though they only allow a decretive justification from eternity; yet assert a real and complete one at the resurrection of Christ, on the account of his actual oblation and sacrifice. Dr Ames says, that “ The sentence of justi“ fication was, s. As it were conceived in the mind of God, by the decree
6 of Rom. v. 6. k Rom. iv. 1 Prov. xvii. 15.
• Rom. iv. 25.