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against this exposition ; who contend that all works, however considered, are opposed to faith. The Apostle's words are plain, he that worketh not, but believeth, and his mind or intention, as Lubbertus has learnediy observed, is to be considered from the state of the controversy, then in debate. But the ftate of the controverty was not, whether a man could be justified by a perfect observance of the law, if there was any one, who could keep it perfectly? Which none in his senses will deny: or whether there are many, who, fince Adam's first sin, have, for the whole of their life, done nothing amiss, but have attaind to every perfection both of parts, degrees and perseverance? Which none in his right, mind will affirm. But the matter in question was, whether the Jews could be justified by that observance of the law, which they were able to perform. They certainly thought, that they could be justified, if they only observed the moral law to the utmost of their power, and gave these satisfactions for their failings, which the ceremonia! law had prescribed. But the Apostle denies this, resting his argument on that maxim, that the righteousness, which can be valid at God's tribunal, must be perfect in all its parts: but since none can pretend to any such works, he concludes, that no works, of what kind foever, can contribute any thing to obtain justification. The Apostle, doubtless, excludes those works, in which they commonly trusted, who endeavoured to establish their own righteousness. But it is not credible, that any of them, could say, that he kept himself pure,
thro? the whole cause of his life from every, even the least stain of fin. These things are evident.
LV. But I would not have it wrested to the worst fense, in that I have, in some things, compared the opinion of this celebrated person with that of Socinus
and the remonstrants. It was not with the view, to rank a man, in other respects orthodox, and usefully employed in the service of the church of God, with those perverters of our faith. This of all things, is farthelt froin my mind and manner: but my design was only to warn those, under my care, and who may reap benefit by the very learned labours of this person, with considerable encrease of knowledge, against these and the like expressions: in which, thro' a disgust for controversy, and a too eager desire of laying disputes aside, he seems to yield rather too much to our adversaries. Peace, indeed, is to be pursued, but by no means at the expence of truth.
LVI. The geuninę opinion of the reformed is Faith jufthis: that faith juitifies, as it is the band of our tifies, as it strictest union with Christ
, by which all things that is the band are Christ's become also ours, as we explained with Seet. XXXI. Or, which is the same thing, as it is Christ. the acceptance of the gift offered, rendering the donation firm and irrevocable. And this is what the Apostle intended when he wrote Rom. 4. 5, that faith is counted for righteousness, that is, faith is judged to be that, with which the right of demanding the reward is connected; a way of speaking borrowed from merchants: thus in the book of God's accompts is set down what he hath given to us, and what we are indebted to him. But when in the other page, our compleat obedience, and the payment of the debt, could not be inserted, what then is written there viz to ballance the account? In the first place, our righteousness or the righteousness of Christ wrought out for us: then + our faith, by
+ The author does not here mean, that faith, as an act of ours, joftifies; for he has sufficiently explained himself on that head; he only mentions faith here as the instrument by which we lay hold on Christ's righteousness whereby our debt, both of duty and punishment, is fully paid.
which we receive that righteousness offered to us,
and present it to God as ours. Justifica LVII. It is, moreover to be observed, that tion con
justification, if we take in whatever can be comprized tists of va under that name, consists of various + articles, or cles. Im- periods, which we will describe in the most pointed mediately manner, we can. And first, God's sentence of on the fall absolution regards either all the elect in general God condemned collected into one mystical body; or relates to each Satan, and in particular. I observe two articles with respect adjudged to that general sentence: the first of which comfalvation
menced immediately upon the fall; when Christ, to the
having entered into suretiship-engagements for elect finners, obtained by his covenant, which the father was assured he would most faithfully perform, that fatan should be condemned in the serpent, his right over man, which he acquired by wicked arts, be made void as to the elect; and the elect, on the other hand, who are comprehended under the seed of the woman, be declared, in Christ their head, no longer friends or subjects, but enemies and conquerors of the devil. For, all these things are contained in the first Gospel-promife; which presupposes that suretiship of Christ, whereby he took upon himself all the sins of the elect, and on account of which God declared, he never intended to exact them from any of his chosen: because, on admitting a surety, the principal debtor is freed from all obligation to make satisfaction. And this is the first effect of Christ's suretiship, the declaration of that counsel of God, by which he had purposed to justify the ungodly; and not to impute 'fin to those, who are inserted as heirs in the testament.
† The word articulus is of various fignifications; but it is plain from the seque', that the author here uses it, for a moment or period, so that he here gives us a very diftinct account of the TIME of justification.
LVIII. The other article of this general justification Upon relates to the time, in which God declared, that full
death, satisfaction was made to his justice by a dying Christ. God deOf which Paul treats 2 Cor. 5. 19, God was in Christ, clared fareconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their tisfaction
made to trespases unto them. He, together and at once ręcon
his justice. ciled to himself the whole world of his elect; and declared that he would not impute their trespasses to any of them, on account of the perfect fatisfaction of Christ. For, when he raised Christ from the dead, he gave him a discharge, in testimony that the payment was made; and when he rent the vail of the temple, he also tore the hand-writing consisting in ordinances, which, till that time, loudly proclaim'd that payment was not yet made. But who can doubt, that a creditor, tearing the hand-writing or bond, and giving a discharge to the surety, declares, he will not, and even in law cannot, demand any satisfaction of the principal debtor?
LIX. But justification is not confined to these And apbounds. Besides that general declaration of God, plied in there is also another, applied to every believer in
particular particular. And this again has its distinct articles. believer. The first is, when the elect person, who is redeemed, regenerated and united to Christ by a living faith, is declared to have now actually passed from a state of condemnation and wrath, to a state of grace or favour.
For, the elect sinner; tho' redeenied by Christ, and so far reconciled to God, as that he declares, he is never actually to be condemned; yet that right, purchased by Christ, is not applied to him, till he is regenerated, and united 10 Christ by faith. Till then he is in the present evil world, Gal. i. 4.; alienated and an enemy, and under the power of darkness, Col. 1. 13, 21. But inmediately, on his receiving Christ by faith, God declares in the court of heaven, that he is no longer under wrath, but under grace; tho' perhaps the justihed person may yet be ignorant of it. And in this fense God is
said to justify the ungodly, Rom. 4. 5; him who is so in himself, and actually continues such 'till he is born again, when that faith is freely bestowed on him,
by which he is immediately justified. And inti. LX. The second article is, when that sentence of mated to God, which was pronounced in the court of heavens
is intimated and infinuated to the conscience by the science.
Holy-Spirit; so that the believer knows, feels, and experiences, that his fins are forgiven. To this David has an eye, Pf. 32. 5, and thou hast taken away or thou forgavest the iniqui ty of my sin, that is, thou madeft me to know and experience this, by speaking to
Who is LXI. The third article is when the finner, being next ad. actively and passively, justified, is admitted to famimitted to liar converse with God, and to the mutual participation familiar
of the most delightful friendship. For, it may intercourse happen, that God may have removed the tokens of with God. his anger from the elect finner, and given him
affurance of it, and yet not directly admit him to an intercourse of familiarity.
In the same manner almost, as David had forgiven Absolom's parricide, and declared it by Jocb, by ordering his return from Gebur to Jerusalem ; yet he did not immediately admit him to court, much less to his presence chamber, and least of all to the kifes of his mouth, 2 Sam. 14. David himself is an example of this. Nathan had told him, in the name of God; the Lord hath put away thy fin, 2 Sam. 12. 13. And yet, for some time, he was racked with grievous sorrows crying out from the bottom of a contrite heart, and a sense of broken bones; have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgrefrons, PS. 51. I. That is, as he explains it v. 12, rejiore unto me the joy of thy salvation. This near and intimate access to God, as the author of his most joyful exultation, is the real declaration of his juftification. And it is to be observed, that such a declaration is ofren repeated. [For instance,] when a believer