Obrazy na stronie

trope in the words. And this is fiercely opposed, as though they denied the express words of the Scripture, when yet they do but interpret this expression, once only used, by many others, wherein the same thing is declared. But those who are for the first sense, do all affirm, that faith here is to be taken as including obedience or works, either as the form and essence of it, or as such necessary concomitants as have the same influence with it into our justification, or are in the same manner the condition of it. But as herein they admit also of a trope in the words, which they so fiercely blame in others, so they give this sense of the whole, unto him that worketh not, but believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith and works are counted to him for righteousness ;' which is not only to deny what the apostle affirms, but to assign unto him a plain contradiction.

And, I do a little marvel that any unprejudiced person, should expound this solitary expression in such a sense, as is contradictory unto the design of the apostle, the words of the same period, and the whole ensuing context. For that which the apostle proposeth unto confirmation, which contains his whole design, is, that we are justified by the righteousness which is of God by faith in the blood of Christ. That this cannot be faith itself, shall immediately be made evident; and in the words of the text, all works are excluded, if any words be sufficient to exclude them. But faith absolutely, as a single grace, act, and duty of ours, much more as it includeth obedience in it, is a work, and in the latter sense, it is all works. And in the ensuing context, he proves that Abraham was not justified by works. But not to be justified by works, and to be justified by some works, as faith itself is a work, and if as such it be imputed unto us for righteousness, we are justified by it as such, are contradictory. Wherefore, I shall oppose some few arguments unto this feigned sense of the apostle's words.

1. To believe absolutely, as faith is an act and duty of ours, and works are not opposed; for faith is a work, an especial kind of working. But faith, as we are justified by it, and works, or to work, are opposed. “To him that worketh not, but believeth.' So Gal. ii. 16. Eph. ii. 8.

2. It is the righteousness of God that is imputed unto

For 'we are made the righteousness of God in Christ;' 2 Cor. v. 21. The righteousness of God upon them that believe;' Rom. iii. 21, 22. But faith absolutely considered, is not the righteousness of God. God imputeth unto us righteousness without works ; Rom. iv. 6. But there is no intimation of a double imputation of two sorts of righteousnesses, of the righteousness of God, and that which is not so. Now faith absolutely considered, is not the righteousness of God. For,

1. That whereunto the righteousness of God is revealed, whereby we believe and receive it, is not itself the righteousness of God. For nothing can be the cause or means of itself. But the righteousness of God is revealed unto faith ;' Rom. i. 16. And by it is 'it received ;' chap. iii. 22. v. 11.

2. Faith is not the righteousness of God which is by faith; but the righteousness of God which is imputed unto us, is 'the righteousness of God which is by faith ;' Rom. iii. 22. Phil. iii. 9.

3. That whereby the righteousness of God is to be sought, obtained, and submitted unto, is not that righteousness itself. But such is faith, Rom. ix. 30, 31. x. 30.

4. The righteousness which is imputed unto us, is not our own antecedently unto that imputation. "That I may be found in him, not having my own righteousness ;' Phil. iii. 9. But faith is a man's own. • Shew me thy faith; I will shew thee my faith ;' James ii. 18.

5. “God imputeth righteousness unto us;' Rom. iv. 6. And that righteousness which God imputeth unto us, is the righteousness whereby we are justified, for it is imputed unto us that we may be justified. But we are justified by the obedience and blood of Christ. By the obedience of one we are made righteous ;' Rom. v. 19. • Much more now being justified by his blood;' ver. 9. 'He hath put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;' Heb. ix. 26. Isa. liii. 11. ` By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.' But faith is neither the obedience, nor the blood of Christ.

6. Faith, as we said before, is our own. And that which is our own may be imputed unto us. But the discourse of the apostle is about that which is not our own antecedently unto imputation, but is made ours thereby, as we have

proved; for it is of grace. And the imputation of what is really our own unto us antecedently unto that imputation, is not of grace in the sense of the apostle. For what is so imputed, is imputed for what it is, and nothing else. For that imputation is but the judgment of God concerning the thing imputed, with respect unto them whose it is. So the fact of Phineas was imputed unto him for righteousness. God judged it, and declared it to be a righteous, rewardable act. Wherefore, if our faith and obedience be imputed unto us, that imputation is only the judgment of God that we are believers and obedient. “The righteousness of the righteous,' saith the prophet, 'shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him ;' Ezek. xviii. 20. As the wickedness of the wicked is upon him, or is imputed unto him, so the righteousness of the righteous is upon him, or is imputed unto him. And the wickedness of the wicked is on him, when God judgeth him wicked as his works are. So is the righteousness of a man upon him, or imputed unto him, when God judgeth of his righteousness as it is. Wherefore, if faith absolutely considered, be imputed unto us as it contains in itself, or as it is accompanied with works of obedience; then it is imputed unto us, either for a perfect righteousness which it is not, or for an imperfect righteousness which it is; or the imputation of it, is the accounting of that to be a perfect righteousness, which is but imperfect; but none of these can be affirmed.

1. It is not imputed unto us for a perfect righteousness, the righteousness required by the law, for so it is not. Episcopius confesseth in his disputation, Disput. 45. sect. 7,8. that the righteousness which is imputed unto us must be absolutissima et perfectissima,''most absolute and most perfect.' And thence he thus defineth the imputation of righteousness unto us, namely, that it is, 'gratiosa divinæ mentis æstimatio, qua credentem in filium suum, eo loco reputat ac si perfecte justus esset, ac legi et voluntati ejus per omnia semper paruisset.' And no man will pretend, that faith is such a most absolute and most perfect righteousness, as that by it the righteousness of the law should be fulfilled in us, as it is by that righteousness which is imputed unto us.

2. It is not imputed unto us for what it is, an imperfect righteousness. For, 1. This would be of no advantage unto us. For we cannot be justified before God by an imperfect righteousness, as is evident in the prayer of the psalmist, Psal. cxliii. 2. 'Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight no man living' (no servant of thine who hath the most perfect, or highest measure of imperfect righteousness), 'shall be justified.' 2. The imputation of any thing unto us, that was ours antecedently unto that imputation, for what it is, and no more, is contrary unto the imputation described by the apostle, as hath been proved.

3. This imputation pleaded for, cannot be a judging of that to be a perfect righteousness, which is imperfect. For the judgment of God is according to truth. But without judging it to be such, it cannot be accepted as such. To accept of any thing, but only for what we judge it to be, is to be deceived.

Lastly, If faith, as a work, be imputed unto us, then it must be as a work wrought in faith. For no other work is accepted with God. Then must that faith also, wherein it is wrought, be imputed unto us; for that also is faith and a good work. That therefore must have another faith from whence it must proceed. And so 'in infinitum.'

Many other things there are in the ensuing explication of the justification of Abraham, the nature of his faith and his righteousness before God, with the application of them unto all that do believe, which may be justly pleaded unto the same purpose

with those


of the context which we have insisted on. But if every testimony should be pleaded which the Holy Ghost bath given unto this truth, there would be no end of writing. One thing more I shall observe, and put an end unto our discourse on this chapter.

Ver. 6–8. The apostle pursues his argument to prove the freedom of our justification by faith, without respect unto works, through the imputation of righteousness, in the instance of pardon of sin, which essentially belongeth thereunto. And this he doth by the testimony of the psalmist, who placeth the blessedness of a man in the remission of sins. His design is not thereby to declare the full nature of justification, which he had done before, but only to prove the freedom of it from any respect unto works, in the instance of that essential part of it. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works'(which was the only thing he designed to prove by this testimony) saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven. He describes their blessedness by it, not that their whole blessedness doth consist therein; but this concurs unto it, wherein no respect can possibly be had unto any works whatever. And he may justly from hence describe the blessedness of a man, in that the imputation of righteousness, and the nonimputation of sin (both which the apostle mentioneth distinctly) wherein his whole blessedness as unto justification doth consist, are inseparable. And because remission of sin is the first part of justification, and the principal part of it, and hath the imputation of righteousness always accompanying it, the blessedness of a man may be well described thereby. Yea, whereas all spiritual blessings go together in Christ, Eph. i. 3. a man's blessedness may be described by any of them. But yet the imputation of righteousness, and the remission of sin are not the same, no more than righteousness imputed, and sin remitted are the same. Nor doth the apostle propose them as the same, but mentioneth them distinctly, both being equally necessary unto our complete justification, as hath been proved.

Chap. v. 12—21. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead; much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one ; much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemna. tion; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came

« PoprzedniaDalej »