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all believers, the nature of it hath not yet been declared as I know of.
That any have so expressed the imputation pleaded for, that every believer should be personally righteous in the very individual acts of Christ's righteousness, I know not; I have neither read nor heard any of them who have so expressed their mind. It may be some have done so; but I shall not undertake the defence of what they have done. For it seems not only to suppose that Christ did every individual act which in any instance is required of us, but also that those acts are made our own inherently; both which are false and impossible. That which indeed is pleaded for in this imputation, is only this; that what the Lord Christ did and suffered as the mediator and surety of the covenant in answer unto the law, for them and in their stead, is imputed unto every one of them unto the justification of life. And sufficient this is unto that end without any such supposals. 1. From the dignity of the person who yielded his obedience, which rendered it both satisfactory and meritorious, and imputable unto many. 2. From the nature of the obedience itself, which was a perfect compliance with a fulfilling of, and satisfaction unto, the whole law in all its demands. This on the supposition of that act of God's sovereign authority, whereby a representative of the whole church was introduced to answer the law, is the ground of his righteousness being made theirs, and being every way sufficient unto their justification. 3. From the constitution of God, that what was done and suffered by Christ as a public person and our surety, should be reckoned unto us as if done by ourselves. So the sin of Adam, whilst he was a public person, and represented his whole posterity, is imputed unto us all, as if we had committed that actual sin. This Bellarmine himself frequently acknowledgeth. Peccavimus in primo homine quando ille peccavit, et illa ejus prævaricatio nostra etiam prævaricatio fuit. Non enim vere per Adami inobedientiam constitueremur peccatores, nisi inobedientia illius nostra etiam inobedientia esset.' De Amiss. Grat. et Stat. Peccat. lib. v. cap. 18. And elsewhere, that the actual sin of Adam is imputed unto us, as if we all had committed that actual sin; that is, broken the whole
law of God. And this is that whereby the apostle illustrates the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto believers; and it may on as good grounds be charged with absurdities as the other. It is not therefore said that God judgeth that we have in our own persons done those very acts, and endured that penalty of the law which the Lord Christ did and endured. For this would overthrow all imputation; but what Christ did and suffered, that God imputeth unto believers unto the justification of life, as if it had been done by themselves; and his righteousness as a public person is made theirs by imputation, even as the sin of Adam, whilst a public person, is made the sin of all his posterity by imputation.
Hereon none of the absurdities pretended, which are really such, do at all follow. It doth not so, that Christ in his own person performed every individual act that we in our circumstances are obliged unto in a way of duty; nor was there any need that so he should do. This imputation, as I have shewed, stands on other foundations. Nor doth it follow, that every saved person's righteousness before God is the same identically and numerically with Christ's in his public capacity as mediator; for this objection destroys. itself, by affirming that as it was his, it was the righteousness of God-man; and so it hath an especial nature as it respects or relates unto his person. It is the same that Christ in his public capacity did work or effect. But there is a wide difference in the consideration of it, as his absolutely and as made ours. It was formally inherent in him, is only materially imputed unto us; was actively his, is passively ours; was wrought in the person of God-man, for the whole church; is imputed unto each single believer, as unto his own concernment only. Adam's sin as imputed unto us, is not the sin of a representative, though it be of him that was so; but is the particular sin of every one of us. But this objection must be farther spoken unto, where it occurs afterward. Nor will it follow, that on this supposition we should be accounted to have done, that which was done long before we were in a capacity of doing any thing. For what is done for us and in our stead, before we are in any such capacity, may be imputed unto us, as is the sin of Adam. And yet there is a manifold sense wherein men may
be said to have done what was done for them, and in their name before their actual existence; so that therein is no absurdity. As unto what is added by the way, that Christ did not do nor suffer the idem' that we were obliged unto; whereas he did what the law required, and suffered what the law threatened unto the disobedient, which is the whole of what we are obliged unto, it will not be so easily proved; nor the arguments very suddenly answered whereby the contrary hath been confirmed. That Christ did sustain the place of a surety, or was the surety of the new covenant, the Scripture doth so expressly affirm, that it cannot be denied. And that there may be sureties in cases criminal, as well as civil and pecuniary, hath been proved before. What else occurs about the singularity of Christ's obedience as he was mediator, proves only that his righteousness as formally and inherently his, was peculiar unto himself, and that the adjuncts of it which arise from its relation unto his person, as it was inherent in him, are not communicable unto them to whom it is imputed.
It is moreover urged, that upon the supposed imputation of the righteousness of Christ, it will follow that every believer is justified by the works of the law. For the obedience of Christ was a legal righteousness, and if that be imputed unto us, then are we justified by the law, which is contrary unto express testimonies of Scripture in many places. Ans. 1. I know nothing more frequent in the writings of some learned men, than that the righteousness of Christ is our legal righteousness; who yet I presume are able to free themselves of this objection. 2. If this do follow in the true sense of being justified by the law, or the works of it, so denied in the Scripture, their weakness is much to be pitied who can see no other way whereby we may be freed from an obligation to be justified by the law, but by this imputation of the righteousness of Christ. 3. The Scripture which affirms that by the deeds of the law no man can be justified,' affirms in like manner, that by 'faith we do not make void the law, but establish it;' that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us;' that Christ 'came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it,' and is the 'end of the law for righteousness unto them that do believe. And that the law must be fulfilled or we cannot be justified,
we shall prove afterward. 4. We are not hereon justified by the law or the works of it, in the only sense of that proposition in the Scripture, and to coin new senses or significations of it, is not safe. The meaning of it in the Scripture. is, that only the doers of the law shall be justified;' Rom ii. 13. and that he that doth the things of it shall live by them;' chap. x. 5. namely, in his own person, by the way of personal duty which alone the law requires. But if we who have not fulfilled the law in the way of inherent personal obedience, are justified by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us, then are we justified by Christ and not by the law. But it is said, that this will not relieve. For if his obedience be so imputed unto us, as that we are accounted by God in judgment to have done what Christ did, it is all one upon the matter, and we are as much justified by the law, as if we had in our own proper persons performed an unsinning obedience unto it. This I confess I cannot understand. The nature of this imputation is here represented as formerly, in such a way as we cannot acknowledge; from thence alone this inference is made, which yet in my judgment doth not follow thereon. For grant an imputation of the righteousness of another unto us, be it of what nature it will, all justification by the law and works of it in the sense of the Scripture is gone for ever. The admission of imputation takes off all power from the law to justify; for it can justify none, but upon a righteousness that is originally and inherently his own. The man that doth them shall live in them.' If the righteousness that is imputed be the ground and foundation of our justification, and made ours by that imputation, state it how you will, that justification is of grace and not of the law. However, I know not of any that say we are accounted of God in judgment personally to have done what Christ did; and it may have a sense that is false; namely, that God should judge us in our own persons to have done those acts which we never did. But what Christ did for us and in our stead, is imputed and communicated unto us, as we coalesce into one mystical person with him by faith, and thereon are we justified. And this absolutely overthrows all justification by the law or the works of it; though the law be established, fulfilled and accomplished, that we may be justified.
Neither can any on the supposition of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ truly stated, be said to merit their own salvation. Satisfaction and merit are adjuncts of the righteousness of Christ as formally inherent in his own person; and as such it cannot be transfused into another. Wherefore, as it is imputed unto individual believers, it hath not those properties accompanying of it which belong only unto its existence in the person of the Son of God. But this was spoken unto before, as much also of what was necessary to be here repeated.
These objections I have in this place taken notice of, because the answers given unto them do tend to the farther explanation of that truth, whose confirmation by arguments and testimonies of Scripture I shall now proceed unto.
Arguments for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. The first argument from the nature and use of our own personal righteousness.
THERE is a justification of convinced sinners on their believing. Hereon are their sins pardoned, their persons accepted with God, and a right is given unto them, unto the heavenly inheritance. This state they are immediately taken into upon their faith, or believing in Jesus Christ. And a state it is of actual peace with God. These things at present I take for granted, and they are the foundation of all that I shall plead in the present argument. And I do take notice of them, because some seem, to the best of my understanding, to deny any real actual justification of sinners on their believing in this life. For they make justification to be only a general conditional sentence declared in the gospel, which as unto its execution, is delayed unto the day of judgment. For whilst men are in this world, the whole condition of it being not fulfilled, they cannot be partakers of it, or be actually and absolutely justified. Hereon it follows, that indeed there is no real state of assured rest and peace with God by Jesus Christ, for any per