The Free Justification of a Sinner



Justification without Conditions;


The Free Justification of a Sinner,

Explained, Confirmed, and Vindicated, from

The Exceptions, Objections, and seeming Absurdities

Which are cast upon it, by the Assertors of

Conditional Justification:

More especially,

From the Attempts of Mr. B. Woodbridge, in

his Sermon, Entitled, [Justification by faith.]

of Mr. Cranford, in his Epistle to the Reader;

And of Mr. Baxter, in some Passages which relate to

the same Matter.

Wherein also, the Absoluteness of the New

Covenant is proved, and the Arguments

Against it are disproved.

By W. Eyre, Minister of the Gospel, and Pastor of

a Church in the City of New Sarum.

Ro 3:24. Being justified freely by his Grace, through

The Redemption that is in Jesus Christ.

The Second Edition.

London Printed, and Sold by John Vousden at the

Hand and Bible, on London Bridge, 1695.



Unto which, God and their own Choice,

have made me an Over-seer.

Loving, and Beloved Brethren,

It was a frequent saying in the mouth of Luther, that after his death, the doctrine of justification would be corrupted. A few years last past, have contributed more to the fulfilling of his prediction, than all the time that went before: Can there be a greater evidence of men’s apostasy from this Article of our faith, than their branding of the doctrine itself, with a mark of heresy? Though our adversaries are grown more subtle to distinguish, yet they are as wide from the true doctrine of justification by Christ alone, as the perverters of the faith in Luther’s days. It is not easy to number up all the wiles and methods, wherewith Satan hath assaulted this foundation-truth; he knew it was too gross to tell men, that they must be justified by works, seeing the Scriptures are so express against it; And therefore men’s wits must be set on work to find out some plausible distinctions, and extenuations, a little to qualify and sweeten this Popish leaven, to take off the odium of the phrase, and to rebate the edge of those Scriptures, which usually are brought against it. It is true (say they) we are not justified by works of nature, but we are justified by works of grace; and though we are not justified by legal or old covenant works, yet we are justified by evangelical or new covenant works performed by ourselves; And again, works though they are not physical causes, (which no man ever affirmed) yet they are moral causes, or conditions of our justification; though they do not merit in a strict sense, by their innate worth and dignity, yet in a large sense, and by virtue of God’s promise and covenant, they may be said to merit our justification and salvation. Or if these will not do it, the matter is dispatched, if faith may be but taken in a proper sense, the fetches in all other works within its circumference. But that delusion which is left apt to be suspected by well-meaning Christians, is the calling works or inherent holiness, by the name of Christ, the success of this bait we have seen of late in too many, who have dallied so long with the notion of a Christ within them*, that they have quite forgotten, nay, some have utterly denied, the Christ without them, that God-man, who is the only propitiation for our sins.

*Grounded on Col 1:27 Christ in you the hope of glory. Whereas Christ in you is no more than Christ preached among you. It is rendered among in the same verse.

How much cause then, my brethren, have we of continual thankfulness unto our God, who in so general a defection hath been pleased to keep us, that we are not led aside with the deceivableness of this unrighteousness, and to lead us to that rock which is above us? For however the world doth account of Pharisaisin, yet they that have any acquaintance with the mind of God, know there can be hardly named a greater sin, than the establishing our own righteousness

It is the good pleasure of God (for which everlasting praise be given unto him) to reveal these things unto babes, which are hidden from the wise and prudent; the gospel hath been, and will be a mystery to the worlds end. Humane reason cannot conceive how men should buy without money; or become rich by stripping and emptying of themselves; attain unto righteousness by renouncing and abhorring their own righteousness. Hence it is that the doctrine of unconditionate covenant, and the free justification of a sinner, is looked upon by our learned Rabbi’s as such a foolish and ridiculous concept. A great master,* in our Israel, speaks strangely of it. Unconditionate promises, (saith he) beget only an irrational, fallacious, foundationless faith, which the bigger it swells, the more dangerous it proves. And a little after, he calls the faith and hope begotten by faith promises, a dependence on some fatal chain, (some necromantic trick of believing thou shalt be saved, and thou shalt be saved) nay on Satan himself, some response of his oracle, &c. And not much before,** It is a miracle, (says he) that they who believe this doctrine of unconditional promises, are yet restrained from making this so natural use of it, from running into all the riots in the world. I remember a good note of his from Joh 7:48. *** That the greatest scholars are not always the soundest Christians. We see Christianity if not book-learning, nor is faith attained to by strength of parts. I should (might I be so bold) humbly ask this learned Doctor, whether the faith and hope of all the saints, were read of in the Scripture, were an irrational, fallacious, and foundationless faith? Now let him shew us any one of them, that in his addresses unto God, did ever plead a conditional promise! That of Hezekiah, 2Ki 20:3 is of a peculiar consideration: I remember Luther calls it, Stulti loquium Hezekiae. Others that excuse it say, That Hezekiah draws his argument, not from his own works, but from God’s; he reasons from what God hath done for him, that he would do more, and bestow the mercy which then he needed.***** But besides him, from the beginning of Genesis, to the end of the Revelation, we do not find that any of God’s people have used any other plea unto God, or have had any other support for their hope, and confidence, than his free promises of grace and mercy; not only the woman of Canaan, the publican and such as they were; but Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Paul, &c. have all of them fled for refuge unto these promises; their faith never knew any other bottom or foundation besides this. It is an irrational thing, to receive life as a gift, and yet as wages? It were very strange, if the mercy and faithfulness of God should not be as sure a foundation to rely on as our own works? I will be bold to say, Whosoever do build upon other foundations, besides the free success then he who built his house upon the sand, Mt 7:27. They may (perchance when it is too late) experiment the fallacy, they have put upon their own souls. The Doctor is as much mistaken in the use of the point, as he is in the doctrine; to say, That the natural use of it is to run into all the riots in the world; he might have taken notice where the Holy Ghost makes another use of it Tit 2:1; Lu 1:74; 2Co 7:1. And right reason would have suggested that the freer the promise is, the more is the love & bounty of the Promiser shewn. Now love naturally begets love; Publicans saith our Saviour) will have those that will love them; and can a man believe so great a benefit is the free remission of his sins, and not love him that hath remitted them? Possibly a man that hath received this grace but in the notion, may draw such untoward conclusions from it, but for any true believer to sin upon this ground, is as impossible as that light should become darkness, 1Jo 3:3,9.

* Dr. Ham, Sermons p. 144.

** Pag 141.

*** At an Act sermon, in Oxon.

***** Mr. Caryl on Job.

****** (NOT SURE WHERE THIS FOOTNOTE GOES) Mt 15:22; Lu 18:13; 23:42; Ge 18:27; 32:9-10. Nu 14:18-19; 2Sa 23:5; 1Co 4:4; Php 3:9

I must confess, the loose and uneven walking of many professors, hath given too much occasion unto adversaries to blaspheme this doctrine. And though it be unjust in them to charge the faults of professors upon their profession; yet you cannot but see how much it concerns them who have hope of salvation through Christ alone to vindicate the honour of this grace, and by their exemplariness in well doing, to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. The vindication of this doctrine lies as much upon private Christians, as it doth upon ministers; the strongest arguments against it, are but the suppositions and consequences of carnal reason, which are soonest confuted by a holy conversation, in which respect, illiterate men may be irrefragable disputants and women may nonplus the learnedest Doctor.

And therefore whilst I am in this tabernacle, I shall not cease to stir you up, by putting you in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth.

Some of you know how unwillingly I undertook this public employment, being more inclined to the truel than the sword; to build up my hearers in their most holy faith, than to engage in controversies against opposers: And truly, nothing could have induced me to it, but the tendency of the work, to your edification; that the simplicity of the Gospel may abide amongst you, and that you may stand fast in the truth which you have received, being able to answer the cavils of them that do oppose it. It was not least in my eye, that our honest neighbors, who (by the evil arts of some that affect preeminence) have been prejudiced and disaffected towards us, may see and satisfy themselves, whether we believe and contend for any other faith, than that which was once delivered unto the saints; for surely they will have but little comfort in separating from us, without a cause: I must needs tell them their account at last will not be with joy, who have rejected the counsel of god against themselves.

Whatsoever success this discourse may find with others, I doubt not but it will be an acceptable service unto you. I desire, that it may provoke you to be more instant in prayer for me, that utterance may be given me; and that my labors in the work of the gospel, may be more successful unto you, and to all others that do partake of them; which will be the greatest joy on earth, unto him, who is

Yours in the nearest bonds,

The third day of the ninth month, 1653.

W. Eyre.

003. To the Christian READER

To the Christian READER


If thou knowest me, and how many burdens do lye upon me, I dare say, thou dost not expect an apology for the tarriance of this little piece: For tho’ considering the work, thou mightiest have had it much sooner, yet by reason of my much sickness, daily services in the ministry, and the cares of my family, (which are not ordinary,) tho’ I had finished it eight months since, it was not likely thou shouldst have had it now. However, if any shall upbraid me, as Eckius did Melancthon, when he delayed to answer an argument he had put unto him, It is not praiseworthy (says he) if thou dost not answer it presently: I shall say to him, as Melancthon to the doctor, I seek not my own praise in this matter, but the truth; and perhaps it may succeed more to the advantage of the truth that it was delayed.

I lately met with a passage, which fell from the pen of a leading man*, in these times; whereof I held it necessary to give thee my thoughts, to remove the prejudices (which probably it hath begotten against this discourse. There is (says the Author) a very judicious man, Mr. B. Woodbridge of Newbery, hath written so excellent well against this error, soil. Justification before the act of believing, or without conditions; and in so small room, being but one sermon, that I would advise all private Christians to get one of them; as one of the best, easiest, cheapest preservatives against the contagion of the part of Antinomianism. It is far from me to envy the praises of Mr. Woodbridge, being ready to give a more ample testimony to his personal worth: I do freely acknowledge, that in natural and acquired parts for his time, he is like Saul amongst the people, higher by the head and shoulders than most of his brethren. However, that commends not the cause he is engaged in. It is not to be wondered at, that Mr. B. hath given this superlative encomium to Mr. Woodbridge’s sermon, he knew well enough, that it would rebound upon himself, Mr. W. being a son of his own faith, and this notion of his, but a spark from out of Mr. Baxter’s forge. I suppose Mr. Baxter’s praises or dispraises are not greatly regarded by sober-minded Christians, who have observed how highly he magnifies J. Goodwin, with others of his notion, and how slightingly he mentions Dr. Twisse, and all our protestant divines that differ from him. How excellently Mr. W. hath written of this matter, will appear to the impartial examiner of this survey. Learned men have held, that the best way to demolish error, is to build up truth; as to drive out darkness, is to let in light. Now Mr. W. tho’ he endeavours to prove no justification before faith, yet throughout all his sermon, he never so much as hinted, how or in what sense we are justified by faith; the explication whereof, according to the sense of our protestant writers, would have ended the matter. For the question depending between us, is not so much about the time, as the terms, and matter of our justification, to wit, how and by what means we are made just and righteous in the sight of God? Which we affirm to be, by the perfect righteousness of Christ alone, which God doth impute unto us freely, without works and conditions performed by us, tho’ we have not the sense and comfort of it, any otherwise than by faith. The antecedence of our justification in foro Dei, before faith, is but a corollary from this position; and Mr. B. acknowledgeth it to be a necessary consequence from the imputation of Christ’s active obedience,** which hath hitherto been the unanimous tenant of our protestant divines; and Mr. Norton*^* of N.E. thinks it no less than heresy, to deny it. His advice unto all private Christians to buy one of these sermons, argues rather his conceit of himself, than his charity to them; that he dares take upon him the office of a universal dictator, to prescribe not only to his Kedermisterians, but to all private Christians, what books they shall read. Whether Mr. Woodbridge’s tract may be called the best, amongst none good that are written against this truth, I shall not dispute. But that it is such an easy piece for all private Christians to understand, I do very much doubt, tho’ the men of Kedermifter (who I fear are fed but with little better food) can swallow down such choaky meat, as his paradoxes and distinctions of faith, evidencing axiomatically, or syllogistically; of justification impetrated ad exemplified; of our working actively and passively; of promises in the covenant, which are not parts of the covenant, but means to bring us into covenant, &c. Yet unto other private Christians, I dare say, they are like Herringbones in the throat, and not a whit more intelligible than a lecture of Arabick. The next motive he hath hit upon, probably may take with many, the cheapness of the book, which he doth commend; but if the price and profit were put together, I dare say, the buyer will confess that he hath given a groat too much. He buys poison too. _____ who hath it for nothing. As for the title of Antinomianism which he bestows upon our doctrine, it is no great slander out of Mr. Baxter’s mouth, with whom an Antinomian and an anti-papist are termini convertibiles. Let him shew us any one church or single person accounted orthodox, till this present age, that did not hold some, yea, most of those points which he calls Antinomianism, and I will openly acknowledge, I have done him wrong; otherwise, let him be looked upon as a slanderer and reviler of all the protestant churches, who under a shew of friendship, hath endeavoured to expose them to the scorn and obloquie of their enemies. Mr. B. (the better to engage his reader) tells him his doctrine is of a middle strain; as if all the reformed churches had hitherto been in an extreme, in this fundamental point of our justification. It is like, he thinks the papists are much nearer to the line of truth, than any of them. But in earnest is Mr. Baxter’s doctrine of a middle strain? I am sure, he gives as much unto works and less unto Christ than the papists do; he makes works by virtue of God’s promise and covenant, to be the meritorious causes of justification and salvation, and in no other sense do the papists affirm it. I must needs say, I never yet met with that papist, which calls Christ a fine qua non, (i.e. a cause which effects nothing) of our justification. But I shall desire the reader for his better satisfaction, to parallel Mr. Baxter’s doctrine with these ten positions of Bishop Gardiner****, which he endeavoured to maintain against those blessed martyrs of Jesus Christ, Barns, Hierome, and Garret, who sealed the contrary doctrine with their dearest blood.

*Mr. Baxter in his epistle before his directions for comfort.

** Aphor. P. 46.

*^* Answer to Pinchen.

****See Act. And Mon. 2 vol. p525 and G. Foxes first ans. To Winch. In prin.

1. The effect of Christ’s passion hath a condition, the fulfilling of the condition diminisheth nothing from the effect of Christ’s passion.


2. They that will enjoy the effect of Christ’s passion, must fulfill the condition.


3. The fulfilling of the condition, requireth, first knowledge of the condition, which knowledge we have by faith.


4. faith cometh of God, and this faith is a good gift. It is good and profitable for me to do well and to exercise this faith, Ergo, by the gift of God I may do well before I am justified.


5. By the gift of God I may do well towards the attainment of justification.


6. There is ever as much charity towards God as faith; and as faith increaseth, so doth charity increase.


7. To the attainment of justification, is required faith and charity.


8. Everything is to be called freely done, whereof the beginning is free, and set at liberty without any cause of provocation.


9. faith must be to me the assurance of the promises of God made in Christ, if I fulfill the condition; and love must accomplish the condition, whereupon followeth the attainment of the promise, according to God’s truth.


10. A man being in deadly sin, may have grace to do the works of repentance, whereby he may attain to his justification. Never did the child (says G. Foy) so lively resemble his own Father, as these articles do express the Bishop of Rome’s antichristian doctrine.  And as for his choice notion of justification by works, as they are our new covenant righteousness, I find it was a shift of the Papists long ago. The said Doctor Barnes** having cited this passage out of Bernard*** [I do abhor whatsoever thing is of me, &c.] See (says he) Bernard doth despise all his good works, and taketh him only to grace. Now, had he no works of the new law, as you call them? I shall not trace Mr. B. any farther, there being now in the Press (as I am informed) a large and full answer to his paradoxical aphorisms, by a faithful servant**** of the Lord Jesus, a workman that needs not to be ashamed; tho’ I heartily wish that the work may provoke others unto shame, who have more strength, leisure, and far greater helps for such undertakings than country ministers. I dare say, that they who sat at the stern in our universities heretofore, such as Reynolds, Whitaker, Davenant, Prideaux, &c. would never have endured to see so many Popish and Arminian books (far more dangerous than the ranters blasphemous pamphlets) shew their heads, but would have sent forth their antidotes to correct their poison. I do speak the more freely, to stir up others of greater abilities than myself, to undertake this cause, least it should suffer overmuch through my weakness in managing it. We were wont to say, that if a man doth plead for the King, all is to be taken in good part; the design of this discourse, was to plead the cause of the greatest King, that no flesh might glory in his presence, who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, tho’ the advocate hath not holpen the cause, yet the goodness of the cause may excuse the advocate. I shall desire thee to read without prejudice, and either to read all or none; for that which is curtail’d in one place, is more explained in another. If thou reapest any good from what I have written, I know thy returns will be according to my heart's desire, praises unto God, and more fervent prayers for,


Thy servant in the work of the gospel,

W. Eyre

The third day of the ninth month, 1653.

** Tr. Of Justif. By faith alone.

***Sup. Cant. Serm. 67

**** Mr. Crandon of _______ in Hampshire.




The Free Justification of a Sinner Justified.


Shewing the occasion of this discourse, and the rise of the controversy which is here debated.

Since it hath pleased the Lord to reveal the riches of his Son unto me, and to make me a steward and dispenser of this grace unto his people; the chief design of my ministry hath been to bottom my hearers upon Christ alone*, that they might have no confidence in the flesh** but in that perfect and everlasting righteousness which he hath wrought. For which end, it hath been my care frequently and clearly to demonstrate to them, both the sole-sufficiency, and efficiency of Christ in the work of man’s redemption; that he is able to save unto the utmost***, and that no work of ours, either before or after our conversion, doth share with him in the glory of this achievement. In a word, that there is no cause**** without God concurring with the precious and invaluable merit of his blood, to present us holy, unblamable, and unreproveable in the sight of God. Which truth, as it shines clearer than the sun throughout the scripture, so it appears unto me to be of greatest moment, when I consider the concernment thereof, both to God, and Christ, and to the precious souls of god’s elect. I know nothing that gives so much glory unto God and Christ, as to proclaim him the only Saviour;*^* that besides him, there is none other, and that we owe the whole work of our salvation from the beginning to the end unto Christ alone; and surely, there is no point in the whole doctrine of Godliness, which contributes so much to the peace, security and fruitfulness of the Saints, as this doth: It affords the greatest encouragement to sinners to believe, to believers to hold fast their confidence firm unto the end, and to serve God with a willing mind, in righteousness and true holiness all the days of their life.

* 1Co 3:11; Mt 16:18; Eph 1:20-21; Isa 28:16

** Php 3:3,9

*** Heb 7:25

****Heb 5:9. If you give not all, and fully, and alonely to Christ, you deny Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Dr. Barns Martyr, Tr. Of Justif.

*^* Ho 13:4; Isa 43:11; 49:26; 60:16; Joh 5:23; Ac 4:12.

2. Now though this truth be so evident, and my intentions in pressing it, such as have been mentioned, yet it hath happened unto me (as unto many of my betters) to be mistaken, and by some of my own profession, who insinuated into the people, that I taught a new gospel; made faith and repentance to be needless things; for no other reason that I know of, but because I dare not give them that honour which is due to Christ, in making them con-causes with him, procuring our peace with God, and in obtaining our right and interest in all the benefits which he hath purchased; for they themselves are my witnesses (would they speak their knowledge as to matter of fact) that in all my exercises, though usually something of Christ be the doctrine which I handle, yet the use that I make of it, is to press men unto faith and holiness: Nay, I challenge all my adversaries to say, that ever I positively spake so much as one syllable to lessen the esteem of inherent holiness, though I am not ashamed comparatively to say as the apostle doth, That I count all things* but loss and dung, that I may win Christ Jesus, Php 3:8. But otherwise, I thank the Lord, if I should speak slightingly of holiness, my own practice would condemn my doctrine; For herein I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence towards God and towards men.

*Php 2:8; Ac 24:__

3. It is needless to give the reader an account of all the oppositions which I have met with, in the course of my ministry; nor are they worth the mentioning, seeing (as the Apostle [Heb 1:4] speaks) I have not yet resisted unto blood. I shall only acquaint him with the rise of this present difference, which happen’d about three or four years since upon this occasion, handling these words, How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? Heb 2:3 in the weekly lecture, which I preach in this city, I proposed this question, Why the gospel, and not the law, is called salvation, seeing life and salvation is the end of both? One reason which I gave in answer thereunto, was because the law promiseth men life but conditionally, upon condition of their perfect obedience; which condition no man is able to perform, and consequently no man can attain unto life and happiness by means thereof; but the gospel reveals a salvation which is freely given unto sinners, which God bestows upon such as have neither money to buy, nor worth to deserve it. This led me to speak more largely of the difference between the law and the gospel, the first covenant, which is a covenant of works, and the second, which is a covenant of free grace. Concerning the latter, I laid down this thesis, that in the new covenant, there is no condition required on our parts to entitle us to the blessings of it. One corollary which I drew from hence, was, that faith is not the condition of the new covenant. I cannot without too much tediousness rehearse my explications of this proposition, and I do the rather forbear it now, because in the process of this discourse, I shall have more opportunity to rescue my sense of them, from some common mistakes. I shall only inform the reader of one reason which I then gave for proof of the last position, to wit, that faith is not the condition of the new covenant, and particularly of our justification (which as Mr. W. calls it, is the special and noble blessing of the new covenant) in regard that our controversy concerning justification before faith, grew first from thence. The argument was to this effect. If faith be the condition of our justification, it must follow, that men are believers before they are justified, (for the condition must be performed, before the benefit which is promised thereupon can be received.) But men are not believers before they are justified; the scripture witnesseth, that the subject of justification is a sinner, or ungodly person, Ro 4:5; 5:8,10. Now the Holy Ghost never calls believers ungodly or wicked, but saints, faithful, holy brethren, children of God, members of Christ, &c.

4. The next news that I heard, was that all the pulpits in the town were filled with invectives against my sermon. I must confess it surprised me, with no little wonder, knowing that I had delivered nothing but what was consonant to the scriptures, and wherein I was sure I had the suffrages of many godly and learned men and those too that are reputed amongst the more manly sort of our Protestant divines. But that which I mused at most, was the usage of a neighbor minister, who though he heard not my sermon; and although by reason, of a like mistake, he had solemnly promised me not to clash against my doctrine, until he had first conferred with me about it; yet shortly after, without giving me the least hint of his dissatisfaction, he publicly complained to the people, what dangerous errors had been lately vented amongst them, suborned the words of the Apostle, Ga 1:8 to pronounce me cursed, and charged the people not to hear them that do teach: (1) The new covenant is not conditional; (2) That faith is not the condition of the new covenant; or (3) That justification goes before faith. To let pass those odious nicknames which my neighbours, and others (who have been invited hither, to disaffect the people towards my doctrine) have frequently bestowed upon me (as Antinomian, New Declarative, Troubler of Israel, &c.) which troubled me the less, when I remembered what Luther says,* He that will preach Christ truly, and confess him to be our righteousness, must be content to hear, that he is a pernicious fellow, and that he troubleth all things, &c. And a little before, The faithful must bear this name and title in the world, that they are seditious and schismatics, and the authors of innumerable evils, &c. and in another place, viz on Ga 5:11. Paul (saith he) taketh it for a most certain sign, that it is not the gospel if it be preached in peace. But that which grieved me most, was, That Satan had got such an advantage against my ministry; for those insinuations prevailed so far upon the people, that many of my wonted hearers fell off, and refrained from coming to my lecture, for fear lest I should persuade them to believe some other gospel than that which is revealed in the scriptures: And how to remove this offence, so unjustly taken, I could not devise; for though I made things never so plain in public, thither they would not come; or if I had gone to them in private it had been to little purpose, they being possessed (as one of them most uncharitably told me) that I had a design to vent new doctrine in public, and to blanch it over with a fair construction in private. I came into my mind (as the most likely expedient, to vindicate both the truth and myself) to desire those reverend ministers, who sometimes came unto my lecture, that if they were dissatisfied with what I had delivered, they would be pleased publicly to declare it as soon as sermon was ended, and show me wherein I had swerved from the truth. I hoped that by this means, we should have a clearer understanding of one another, and the people would be better satisfied, when they had compared their exceptions and my answers together. But hitherto I could never obtain this favor from them, though some of them have taken the liberty to clamour lustily against me behind my back, and when I was safe enough from giving them an answer.

*Luther on Ga 4:19

5. About April last (which was Anno 1652.) I came unto the Wednesdays lecture in this city, where I heard a stranger* (whom I knew not) let fall sundry passages, which I conceived to be very wide from the orthodox faith, as well as contrary to the doctrine which I had lately delivered in the same place. I sounded harshly in my ears, That the elect themselves (to whom Christ was particularly given by the Father before the foundations of the world; for whom Christ gave himself a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour, whose sins he bare in his body on the tree, even to a full propitiation) had no right or interest in Christ, or any more benefit by his death, than reprobates, till they did believe; and that they are but dreamers who do conceit the contrary. I know not what could be spoken more contradictory to many plain scriptures, which shall be mentioned anon, more derogatory to the full atonement which Christ hath made by his death, and more disconsolatory to the souls of men, in laying the whole weight of their salvation upon an uncertain condition of their own performing: And therefore after the exercise was fully ended, I desired the minister that preached, that with his leave, and the patience of the congregation, I might remonstrate the insufficiency of his grounds or reasons, to uphold the doctrine he had delivered; three of which I took more especial notice of. One was drawn from the parallel between the first and second Adam, as men (said he) are not guilty of Adams sin, till they have a being, so the elect have no benefit by Christ, till they have a being; whereunto he added those old philosophical maxims, and,  Another was, That where there is no union, there can be no communion; but there is no union between Christ and the elect, before they believe: Therefore the elect have no communion and participation in the benefits of Christ’s death, before they have a being, and do believe in him. The proof of the assumption was managed thus. The union between Christ and the saints is a personal union, which cannot be supposed till their persons have a being. A third ground (upon which he laid the greatest stress) was to this purpose, The elect have no benefit by Christ before they do believe, because God hath made a covenant with his Son, That they for whom he died, should be admitted to partake of the benefits of his death by faith.

*Mr. Warren of Houghton in Hampshire.

6. Whereunto my replies were to this effect. I told him that I conceived his first allegation made very much against him; for if the righteousness of Christ doth come upon all the elect unto justification, in the same manner as Adams sin came upon all men, to condemnation, as the Apostle shews it doth, Ro 5. Then it must follow, that the righteousness of Christ was reckoned or imputed to the elect, before they had a being, and then much more before they do believe in him; for it is evident that Adams sin came upon all men to condemnation, before they had a being; for by that first transgression (says the Apostle, verse 12) sin entered into the world. And more plainly, death passed upon all men; The reason follows, because in him, or in his loins, all have sinned. Now as in Adam the  that is, all that shall perish, were constituted sinners, before they had a being, by reason of the imputation of his disobedience to them; so in Christ the  all that shall be saved, were constituted righteous, his obedience being imputed unto them by God before they had any being, otherwise then in him as their Head and common Person. There is a late writer who tells us, that there is not the same reason for the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to all the elect before they believe; as there is for the imputation of Adam’s sin unto his posterity before they have a being; because (says he) the issues of the first covenant fell upon Adams posterity in a natural and necessary way, but the issues of Christ’s death do come to us in a supernatural way. But this reason seems to me to be of small validity; for the issues of Adam’s disobedience came not upon his posterity by virtue of their natural propagation; for then his sin should be imputed unto none, until they are actually propagated; and the sins of other parents should be imputed to their posterity as much as Adams, because they descend as naturally from their immediate parents, as they do from Adam; so that the issues of Adams sin may be said to descend to his posterity in a supernatural way, i.e. by virtue of God’s covenant which was made with him as a common person, in behalf of all his posterity; and in the same manner do the issues of Christ’s obedience descend unto God’s elect, by virtue of that covenant which was made with Christ as a common person, in their behalf; and therefore unless they can shew any Proviso, or restriction in the second covenant more than in the first, why life should not flow as immediately to the elect from Christ’s obedience, as death did from Adam’s disobedience, the argument will stand in force. But to return to my discourse with Mr. Warren: I added, that those logical axioms,  have no force at all in the present controversy: It doth not follow that Christ’s righteousness cannot be imputed to us, before we have an actual created being, because accidents cannot subsist without their subjects; for as much as imputed righteousness is not an accident inherent in us, and consequently doth not necessarily require our existence. Christ is the subject of this righteousness and the imputation of it is an act of God. Now the Apostle hatch observed, that God in justifying, and imputing righteousness, calleth things that are not as if they were, Ro 4:17. As the righteousness of Christ was actually imputed to the Patriarchs before it was wrought; and our sins were actually imputed to Christ before they were committed; so I see no inconvenience to say, that Christ’s righteousness is by God imputed to the elect before they have a being.

7. As to his second reason before mentioned, I excepted (as I conceive but justly) 1. Against his calling our union with Christ a personal union, which seems to favour, that absurd notion* that a believer loseth not only his own proper life, but his personality also, and is taken up into the nature and person of the Son of God. Divines do call our union with Christ, a mystical and spiritual union, because it is secret and invisible, to be apprehended by faith, and not by sense or reason; but the hypostatical or personal union is proper unto Christ, in whom the divine and human nature do constitute but on person.

*See Dr. Chambers Animadv. Sect 11. __

2. Against his assertion (proposed universally,) That there is no manner of union between Christ and the elect, before they do believe; for though there be not that conjugal union between them that consists in the mutual consent of parties, yet is there such a true and real union, that by means thereof, their sins do become Christ’s, and Christ’s righteousness is made theirs. God from everlasting constituted and ordained Christ, and all the elect to be (as it were) one heap or lump, one vine, one body or spiritual corporation, wherein Christ is the Head, and they the members; Christ is the root and they the branches; Christ the first fruits, and they the residue of the heap***. In respect of this union it is, that they are said, to be given unto Christ, and Christ unto them; to be in Christ, Eph 1. That they are called his sheep, his seed, his children, his brethren, before they are believers: And by virtue of this union it is, that the obedience and satisfaction of Christ descends peculiarly to them, and not unto the rest of mankind. But here I was assaulted with an objection, which the reverend minister of the parish was pleased to move from Ro 16:7 where Paul speaking of Andronicus and Junia, saith, they were in Christ before me: From whence he would infer, that none are in Christ, or, united unto Christ, before they do believe. Whereunto I returned no answer, but humbly desired him to leave the management of the conference, unto him that had preached I did, the rather pass it over, in regard there is so little difficulty therein for it is evident, the Apostle speaks there, not of their spiritual union with Christ, which is invisible to man, for God only knows who are His; but of such a being in Christ, as is by external profession and Church communion****; in which respect, the whole visible Church is called Christ, 1Co 12:12. And hypocrites, as well as the elect, are said to be in Christ, and to be branches in him, Joh 15:2-3. And thus it is acknowledge, that one is in Christ, before another, according as they are called, and converted, whether really, or in appearance: It doth not follow, that the union of the elect to Christ is successive, or that it is an act done in time, depending upon conditions performed by them.

***Heb 2:11. He that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified (i.e. they whose sins were purged by His blood) are  whereunto some do make  other  to be the Substantive. Vid. Jun. Paral. l. 3. God by His election, from everlasting; framed a new boy of human race, (opposite to the first, whereof Adam was the head) and appointed Christ, to be its Head, all our divines do define the Catholic Church to be    The whole company of God’s elect.

****See Diodate on Ro 16:7.

8. To prevent the like interruptions, I desired the preacher to vouchsafe us the proofs of his third ground (which in his sermon he had but barely asserted) soil. That God hath made a covenant with Christ, that the elect should have no benefit by His death until they do believe; which I have often heard affirmed, but never proved. Whereunto he replied, that I should produce some scripture which says, that the elect have actual benefit by Christ, before believing; wherein, if I had failed, it had been but a weak proof of his assertion, for he having the affirmative, the confirmation of it lay on him. However, I readily condescended to his demands, and proposed an argument to his effect. They with whom God hath declared himself to be well-pleased and reconciled, have actual benefit by the death of Christ: But God hath declared that He is reconciled unto, and well-pleased with all those for whom Christ hath died, Ergo. To confirm the assumption which was then denied, I alleged, Mt 3:17 (intending to have added divers other scriptures, as 2Co 5:19; Ro 5:10 (&c.) when I had made out the force of the former place,) This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased. From whence I reasoned after this manner; if the well-pleasedness of God, which is here declared, were not terminated to Christ personal, but to Christ mystical, then God was well-pleased with all his elect (who are Christ mystical) when this voice came from Heaven, and consequently before many of them do believe: But the well-pleasedness of God here declared, was not to Christ personal, Ergo. Here Mr. Good an inn-keeper of this city put me that question, which Mr. Woodbridge hath mentioned, pag. 21. Whether God were well-pleased with unregenerate men? To whom I did not reply, as Basil did unto Demosthenes, the clerk of the Emperors Kitchin, when he affronted him for opposing the Arrian Faction,  Wishing from my heart, that all the Lord’s people were prophets; that private Christians would labour for a more explicit faith in the grounds of religion: And therefore I answered, That this and other scriptures do plainly declare, That he is well-pleased with his elect in Christ, whilst they are unregenerate; though he be not pleased with their unregeneracy, or any of their actions in their ungenerate estate. Then Mr. Woodbridge interposed, That the place aforecited did not prove the actual reconciliation or well-pleasedness of God towards his elect, but only that he was well-pleased with the person of Christ; or if we will extend it unto men, that then the meaning was, I will be well-pleased, whensoever it is: Whereunto I returned no answer, but desired the congregation to judge how well this gloss did agree unto the text. I am well-pleased, i.e. I will be well-pleased. To say God is not well-pleased, when he himself says expressly, That he is, is not to interpret scripture, but to deny it; such a liberty to alter tenses and forms of speech at our pleasure, will but justify the Jesuits blasphemy, The scriptures are but a leaden rule, and a nose of wax, which may be turned into any form. In regard there were so many speakers at once, to avoid confusion, I proceeded no farther in that conference.

9. The next day Mr. Warren came unto my lecture; and after sermon was ended, though he had nothing to except against my doctrine, yet he offered me some other arguments to confirm his own, scil. That the elect have no benefit by Christ, till they do believe: To which I returned such answers, as I conceived expedient, to clear the truth; without giving him the least offence in word or gesture, that I was aware of, notwithstanding the provocations I received from him, both in the language he gave me, abusing those words of our Saviour, Mt 16:28. To compare himself unto Christ, and me unto Judas, &c. And in the challenges he made, to dispute, write, &c. whereunto I was willingly deaf, least our doctrinal difference might prove a personal quarrel. His arguments and my answers I shall here omit, in regard the same were urged by Mr. Woodbridge with much more strength. The scanning of whose book is my present intendment.

10. On the Wednesday after (about half an hour before sermon began) I was informed that Mr. Woodbridge was to preach. In regard he was none of the lecturers, I concluded he had abode in town, and procured a turn purposely to blow the coals, which Mr. Warren had kindled, and to foment the prejudices of the people, both against the truth and myself. And therefore having begged direction of God, I was pressed in my spirit to go and hear him, and to bear witness to the truth, if it were opposed; and I bless the Lord, his strength and assistance was not wanting to me. Had Mr. Woodbridge faithfully related the procedure of our conference, I had not put myself to the trouble of this reply. But seeing he hath represented my judgment in this point, with the grounds thereof, in so ill a dress, I shall endeavor to set those things strait, which are cast by him into such a crooked frame: And that I may omit nothing which makes for him, and against myself, I shall give the reader my sense of his whole book. But before I proceed to the examen of his sermon, I must crave leave to premonstrate the reasons of my practice in this public conference.

02. CHAP. II.


A digression, concerning the proposing of questions, and reasoning with ministers publicly about the matter of their sermons.

It may seem strange to some, that I should so publicly except against my brethren’s doctrine, seeing it hath been so seldom practiced in our congregations; and therefore I shall by way of apology offer them the reasons that moved me to it.

1. I did not more than what I have often desired should be done to me, if any were dissatisfied in the doctrine which I had taught. And of all men, Mr. Warren had least reason to be offended with it, who had practiced the very same thing, in another place;* unless he be resolved to take that liberty, which he will not give.

*At Rumsty toward one Mr. Symonds whom he charged with sundry errors, as soon as he had ended his sermon, and desired the people not to believe a word which Mr. Symonds had taught, how justly I cannot tell,


Having a ministry committed to me in this place, by the appointment both of God and man, I looked upon it as my duty, to witness against those errors that intrench so nearly upon the foundation, as I conceive this doth, which I have engaged against. But some will say, I might have discharged my conscience at another time, and with more deliberation. I must confess, I have always highly esteemed that saying of Aristides, who being demanded by the Emperor to give a sudden answer unto something propounded, replied, Do you ask today, and I will answer tomorrow: And the like of Melancthon** to Ecchius, who had put him a knotty argument, Indeed sudden answers are seldom solid, especially in weighty matters. But the case here was such as would not admit delay; for I knew the greatest part of the hearers (whose prejudices by this means were strengthened against me) would not vouchsafe to come at another time, when I had more opportunity to speak unto them. I dare say, that all that were present at Mr. Woodbridge’s sermon, knew that he had leveled his discourse against myself; now if I had kept silence then, and shewn my dislike of his doctrine at another time, whatever I had said, would have been but little regarded; my adversaries would have given forth, that I had spoken that behind his back which I was not able to maintain unto his face.

**Melch. Adam in vit. Melanct. Pag. 339.


3. The points which these ministers handled, were controversial; and surely controversies are much better managed in a conference between the parties dissenting than I a continued discourse, when the same man shall frame both arguments and answers to his own advantage.


4. I see no inconvenience at all that can come of this practice, but rather very much good, were it more generally received I our congregations; That if a minister do deliver anything that is dubious, he should be desired after his exercise is ended, to clear and explain it; or if anything contrary to truth, he should be sound doctrine be convinced thereof; which is it were done with that meekness and gravity as becometh Christians, without jeering, railing, and such like personal provocations, it would very much tend unto godly edifying.

2. And (first,) on the ministers part, it would make them more studious and careful to weigh and ponder what they do deliver in public; were this course more frequently used, many would not do the work of the Lord so negligently as they are wont to do it, and especially when they think there is none that heeds them, or that durst to gainsay their crudest notions. Then (secondly,) on the peoples part, it is a singular means (1.) to increase their knowledge, and to maturate their judgments in the articles of our faith; for it is far easier to judge and discern of controverted points, when they are debated in way of conference, than when they are delivered in a continued discourse; especially seeing the speaker is seldom so ingenuous as either rightly to state, or to urge the strength of his adversaries tenents. (2.) To confirm and establish them in the truth, which they have already received; for  Men abide by those truths which they have thoroughly tried. (3.) To hinder the spreading of many dangerous errors which are sometimes vented in our public auditories, and which the common people are ready to swallow without chewing. (4.) To prevent sundry mistakes which are occasioned through the obscurity, ambiguity, or narrowness of men’s expressions.

3. Though custom hath not brought it in credit amongst ourselves, yet is it not any novel practice.

1. We find that the Jewish doctors (as bad as they were) gave liberty to the people publicly to ask them questions, for the better understanding of the doctrine which they taught; they would never else have allowed our Saviour, being but a child of twelve years old, to have asked them questions, and to make answers and replies to what they spake, as they did, Lu 2:46-47. For at another time when he did something which was unusual, they took him up with a quo jure, By what authority, &c. Mt 21:23. It is observable, that this was done in the temple, and not in a private house, and when a great congregation was present: For (says the text) all that heard him, marvelled, &c.

2. We have also the practice of the primitive churches, going before us in this particular. In the Church of Corinth, not only one, but anyone (except women) was allowed to speak in the public assemblies, for the edifying of himself and others, 1Co 14:29,31. See verse 26. Upon which text (especially) it was, that Archbishop Grindal grounded the exercise of prophesying, which he with the consent of the other Bishops, set on foot in the Province of Canterbury, as appears by his letter concerning that matter unto Queen Elizabeth; the reviving of which would not be the meanest piece of that Reformation which hath been attempted.

4. Paul’s dealing with Peter is very considerable, Ga 2. The text says, verse 11.* That he withstood him to the face, and verse 14 that he reproved him before them all, i.e. before the whole congregation, though it were for a matter of fact, yet will it not follow, that we should be more indulgent unto errors in doctrine, no doubt, but Paul would have dealt as roundly with Peter, or any other, if he had taught anything contrary to truth, we see his zeal for the simplicity of the gospel Verse 5 To whom (scil. The false Apostles) we gave no place, no not for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

*See Luther on Ga 2:11.

     5. It is more than once charged upon us ministers, that we should convince gainsayers, and stop their mouths, who teach things which they ought not (not by procuring the magistrate to put them to silence,) by sound doctrine, i.e. by clear and demonstrative proofs from the Holy Scripture, Tit 1:9,11.

6. And lastly, If every Christian ought to give a reason of the hope that is in him, as it is enjoined, 1Pe 3:15 and as it was wont to be publicly practiced in the primitive churches;* much more ought a minister of Christ (who should be apt to teach, 1Ti 3:2) to be willing to satisfy his hearers concerning the doctrine which he hath delivered.

*Vid. Beza in Mt 3:6.

Object 1. All that I have heard objected against this practice, is of little moment. As first, some have alleged, That the Disciples came privately to our Saviour to ask him questions, Mr 10:10; 9:28. To which I answer.


Answ. 1. Though it were in a house, yet it was before all his Disciples, some did put to him these questions before the rest; and I suppose, That they who dissent from us in this matter, do look upon all that come unto our churches to be Disciples. 2. The negative is weakly concluded from the affirmative: It doth not follow, That because they came unto him privately, therefore they might not have asked him these questions in a public place; seeing our Saviour never forbad them to do this thing before the people: Surely, he that so readily made answer to all the cavils of his enemies, would not have refused to satisfy the doubts, cases or questions of his own Disciples, wheresoever they had put them to him. 3. Though questions which are merely for private satisfaction, should be privately proposed; yet such as tend to the edifying of others, and to the clearing of such things as are openly delivered, are most conveniently moved in the public assemblies. But, 4. What is this instance to a ministers witnessing against false and erroneous doctrines, which are vented amongst the people committed to his charge?

Object. 2. Others have alleged, That the Apostle reprehends perverse disputings, 1Ti 6:5.

Answ. True and justly too! But will it follow from hence, That all public disputations, and reasonings about matters of faith, are perverse disputings? Was the Apostle to be charged with perverseness when he reasoned both with Jews and Gentiles, as his manner was? Those perverse disputings, verse 4 are called strifes of words; but such is not the matter which we do differ about, which on all hands is confessed to be of very great moment.

Object. 3. Some have objected that prohibition of the Apostle, Ro 14:1 Receive him that is weak in the faith, but not to doubtful disputations.

Answ 1. The scope of the Apostle was not to prohibit disputations concerning matters of faith, before such as are weak, but to exhort stronger Christians to be tender and charitable to their weaker brethren, whom he would have them to receive, scil. Into Church communion, and to own in the fellowship of the gospel, although they were not so fully informed as themselves in the doctrine of Christian liberty, concerning the distinction of meats, days, and other Mosaical observations: Our translators in the margin render the last clause, Receive him --- not to judge his doubtful thoughts, q.d. Do not judge him an unbeliever, because of his doubts and scruples about these indifferent matters; or do not perplex and intangle him with niceties, least his faith in the main be utterly subverted: There is a vast difference between those which the Apostle speaks of, and the points which are in difference between us. (Mr. Cranford says well,) That these controversies concerning our justification, are no strife about Goat’s Wool. 2. This prohibition makes as much against preaching of those points which do stumble the weak, as against the discussing of them by way of a conference whatsoever is necessary to be taught the people, is as necessary to be tried and examined by them.


Object. 4. It hath been also alleged (which doth cast the greatest odium upon this practice,) That these public disputations do thwart with those precepts which require us to seek and follow after peace, as Ro 12:18; 14:19; 15:2; Eph 4:3

Answ. For my own part, I see not the least contrariety between them. It was the judgment of a great divine, This is the one and only way, were we may most suddenly attain to concord; if whatsoever things may be or are commonly said for any opinion, or against it, be truly propounded in the churches; so that the people be allowed free judgment in all things, &c. In my opinion, they take a wrong course to make peace, that go about to stop men’s mouths and never satisfy their judgments; for from hence innumerable discords must needs arise. Methinks Christians (who are sensible of their many mistakes) should not be so straitlaced, as to resolve to be at peace with none, but such as will Say as we do. A late writer says well, Why may not Christians and scholars write plainly against one another’s judgment, with a loving consent? So say I, Why may we not reason against each other’s opinions in a friendly manner? But (2) if discord and dissention should arise by this means, yet is t not a natural, but an accidental effect thereof: And thus the gospel itself doth sometimes cause disturbance, as our Saviour foretold, Mt 10:34-35. But is the gospel to be charged with these dissentions? Or ought we therefore to forbear to preach the gospel? The proper cause of these dissentions are men’s own corruptions; it argues monstrous pride, when men cannot suffer their opinions to be discussed and examined by the Word, but straightways their passions are up in arms, and hold them for their enemies that do differ from them; it is a sign they are more tender of their own credit, that of the truths of Christ. 3. Though peace be a jewel of great price, yet that peace is far too dear which costs us the loss of truth, I mean of any saving, necessary, and fundamental truth. For tho’ in some lesser points, as Augustine speaks;** we may for peace sake have our faith or persuasions to ourselves, Ro 14:22. Yet sure in those great and weighty matters of the gospel, which are either foundations, or else are adjacent to the foundation (as these controversies about justification are, it being  as Luther calls it) we ought not out of love to peace, to betray the truth. It is better that offences should come, than that any vital truth should be lost or embezzled; it is far more eligible to have truth without peace, than peace without saving truth; The wisdom which is from above, is first pure, and then peaceable. All those precepts which do call for peace and unity, are bounded with a  as that Ro 12:18. If it be possible; now   nothing is possible, but what is lawful; so that if we may with a good conscience, and without treachery to the truths of Christ, we ought to live peaceably with all men. So Ro 14:19 it is not barely, Follow after peace; but peace and the things which make for edification, it must be an edifying, and not a destroying peace; such as may promote, and not hinder the building up of the Church. Vid. Ro 15:2 and 1Co 14:29. The unity we are bid to strive for, Eph 4:3 is the unity of the Spirit, and not like that of Simeon and Levi, who were brethren in iniquity. For as one****** observes well out of Basil the Great, If we once shake the simplicity of the faith, disputes and contentions will prove endless. 4. If Christians in their public disputes do so far forget the rules of sobriety and moderation, as to betake themselves to those carnal weapons of jeering, scoffing, and reviling each other, it is an iniquity to be punished by the Judge, because it tends so directly to the breaking of our civil peace, and is more scandalous in them than in any others. Would he civil magistrate interpose himself so far as to be the moderator of our differences in this behalf, these public debates would be of singular use.

**De Pec. Orig.c.23.

*****Ge 49:5

******Dr. Reynolds.

03. CHAP. III.


Being a survey of Mr. Woodbridge’s Title Page, wherein the opinion he opposeth, is cleared from the aspersion of Antinomianism.

It is a common saying, (LATIN TEXT). We may no more judge of books by their titles than of strumpets by their foreheads; or of apothecaries drugs by the inscriptions of the pots which do contain them, whose outsides many times are remedies, when the inside is start poison.* The natures of things do not always answer the names and inscriptions which are put upon them. We read of Pompey, that he built a Theater (LATIN TEXT) and of Apollinarius the heretic, That he had a school cum titulo Orthodoxi. Nestorius also vailed himself (GREEK TEXT) Montanus who would have our Saviour to be (GREEK TEXT) assumed unto himself the title of Paracletus; nay, Apelles the painter drew his filthy strumpet, (LATIN TEXT) with the inscription of a Goddess, that so he might more easily bring men to the adoration of her. There is nothing more common, than for men to adorn their errors with the robe of truth, and to deform the truth with the rags of error. I hope therefore, that the reader will be more wary, than to judge of this man’s doctrine by the specious title, which he gives his own, or that black mark wherewith he hath branded the opinion which he doth oppose.

He calls his own opinion [Justification by faith] and the doctrine he opposeth, an [Antinomian error] both which may be understood Per antiphrasin, for justification by works, and an evangelical truth. As for his own opinion, he had more fitly stiled [Justification by works] taking faith as he doth, I a proper sense, and attributing no more to faith than to other works of sanctification, (which in his sense to morally qualify men for justification) and salvation, I cannot think him a hearty advocate for justification by faith, who holds, That we are not justified till the day of judgment; which I am credibly informed this author hath publicly maintained, since he preached this sermon:** But how ill his book doth deserve this title, shall appear in discussing the parts of it.

** At Broughton before many ministers, &c.

2. And as for the imputation he hath cast on our doctrine, (which he calls an Antinomian error) I doubt not, but it will redound more unto his shame, than unto ours. It hath been an old continued practice of Satan, to blast the truths and ways of God with odious nicknames, purposely to deter the simple, from looking into them; as few men will come near to a house which is marked for the plague. It were easy to fill a volume with those opprobrious terms and titles, which in all ages have been cast upon the truth, and the professors of it. Sure I am, Satan hath gained no small advantage by these hellish means, Tertullian observes, That the Christians were hated and persecuted for no other crime, but the crime of their name. So there are many things in these days, generally decried, that are only guilty of an evil name. I doubt not but there will be found many a precious truth in those bundles of errors, which have been heaped together by some Godly me in this last age. ‘Tis but an easy confutation to cry out error and heresy, and this I have often observed, That they who are most liberal with these loose invectives, are generally sparing of solid arguments.

Whether the opinion which Mr. W. opposeth be an error, (LATIN TEXT) How well he hath acquitted himself, in the proof of his charge, we shall see anon. For my own part, I dislike not his or any other man’s zeal against errors and heresies, provided they will allow that liberty unto others, which they assume to themselves; to witness against that which they conceive erroneous. I cannot be persuaded by all that Mr. W. hath yet said, That this tenant of justification in Foro Dei, without works or conditions performed by us, is in error, much less and Antinomian Error. If we may judge of it, by those general Diagnostics, which divines have given us to discern between truth and error, I am sure it hath the complexion of a saving truth: That doctrine which gives most glory unto God in Christ, is certainly true, and the contrary is as certainly false. Let that, (says Bradwardine) be acknowledged for the true religion, which gives most glory unto God, and renders God most favourable and gracious unto man. Now let such as are least in the Church judge, which opinion gives most glory unto God; Either (1) that which ascribes the whole work of our salvation to the grace of God, and the meritorious purchase of Jesus Christ; or (2) that which makes men moral causes of their own salvation; which ascribes no more unto Christ, than the purchasing a new way, whereby we may be saved, if we perform the terms and conditions required of us. If the former in his judgment be Antinomianism, I shall freely profess, That by it alone (though he call if heresy) I have hope of life and salvation.

3. I am sure he is greatly mistaken, if he derives the descent of this doctrine from the Antinomians who were a sect of Libertines, or carnal gospellers, which appeared in Germany soon after the reformation began, scil. About the year 1538. The ring-leader whereof was Islibius Agricola, the compiler of the Interim; they merited this name of Antinomians by their loose opinions, ad looser practices, against whom Luther wrote several books, an Calvin bitterly inveighed in his Instr. Adversus Libertin who (as I shall shew anon) are no enemies to the doctrine which I do here maintain. That sort of Christians in former times were call Eunomians, from Eunomius their leader, of whom Saint Augustine** gives us this character, (LATIN TEXT) i.e. It is reported, that he was such an enemy to all goodness; that he affirmed, though a man did commit, or lie in any kind of sin, it should never hurt him, if he had but that faith which be taught. Of the same strain were the Gnosticks, who for their filthy lives, were called  (LATIN TEXT), The dirty sect. Augustine observes, That there were many of this spirit in the Apostles days, as the Nicolaitans, the disciples of Simon Magus, Basilides, Vanentinus, who abused some passages in the writings of Paul, to be as it were panders to the flesh; who because the Apostle had affirmed, That a man is justified by faith without works, concluded, That if men did believe, (LATIN TEXT)Though they lived never so wickedly, the should be saved: Which filthy dreamers (as Jude calls them) occasioned the Epistles of James, Peter, John and Jude; the chief scope of which, is to shew the unsoundness of that faith, which doth not work by love, and that they are not believers who do not bring forth the fruits of a holy life. Now methinks Mr. W. should have more charity, than to rank his antagonists with such filthy swine.

**De Haeresib.c.54.

Mr. W. is not ignorant, I dare say, that many Godly learned men have asserted the justification of God’s elect, in Foro Dei, before faith, who were never accounted Antinomians. I am sure Mr. Pemble hath hitherto been known by another name; I mention him the rather, because he was divinity reader in that society* where I myself, and this author (for a while under me) had our education. In his book of the nature and properties of grace and faith, he delivers his judgment to this effect,** That the elect, even whilst they are unconverted, are then actually justified, and freed from all sin, by the death of Christ; and God so esteems of them as free; and having accepted of that satisfaction, is actually reconciled to them: And a little after, Our justification in God’s sight, was purchased for us by Christ, long before we were born; for it is in vain to think with the Arminians, That Christ merits have made God only placabilem, not placatum, procured a freedom, That God may be reconciled if he will; and other things concur, but not an actual reconciliation: No, it is otherwise, full satisfaction to divine justice is given and taken; all the sins of the elect are actually pardoned. This was concluded upon, and dispatch’d between God and Christ, long before we had any being, either in nature or grace; yet this benefit was ours, and belonged to us, though we knew not so much, till after that by faith we did apprehend it, as lands may be purchased, the estate conveyed and settled on an infant, though he know nothing of it, till he come of Age. Mr. Rutherford, I dare say, was never suspected to be an Antinomian, yet in his Exercit. Apologet, (a Book which M. W. in my hearing heretofore, hath extolled to the Skies) he hath said as much as any of us, against whom Mr. W. hath leveled this opprobrious Name: Sane prius-quam electus credit, cessit &c. Verily (saith he) before any of the elect do believe, the wrath of God and all the effects of his wrath are removed from their persons by virtue of Christ’s satisfaction: And near the same place he speaks to this purpose, Though we are not justified passively or terminatively, (i.e. The gracious sentence of God is not terminated in our consciences) till we do believe, yet our justification actively considered, as it is in God (who is the only justifier) was complete and perfect, before we had a being; and in this sense, faith is not the instrument of our justification. Dr. Twisses judgement in this point is sufficiently known. The righteousness of Christ (saith he) was ours before we did believe; ours, I say, in respect of right, because in the intention both of the Father and the Son, it was performed for us; though not in respect of possession and enjoyment, because we have not the sense and knowledge of it, whereunto we do attain by faith - - - For faith coming (which the Spirit of God works in our hearts) the love of God to us in Christ is then perceived and acknowledged. Whence it is, That the righteousness of Christ is said to be imputed unto us by faith, because we cannot know and discern that it is imputed to us but by faith; and then we are said to be justified with that kind of justification and absolution from sin, which breedeth peace in our consciences. Where he also gives us two arguments to prove, That justification, (LATIN TEXT) goes before faith. Was this famous Doctor an Antinomian? Of all Men Mr. W. (who is now entered upon his Labors, and reaps the harvest of that Seed which the Doctor with much sweat and many prayers, hath sown at Newberry) hath least reason to account him so. I must needs tell him, He will not honor himself, by aspersing the Name of this Blessed Man. If Mr. W. had consulted with the Writings of his own forefathers, I suppose he would have given the adherers to this doctrine more civil language. Mr. Parker his Grandfather (a man whom his enemies admired for his learning and piety) in his book (LATIN TEXT) hath this excellent passage, (LATIN TEXT) 1Ti 3:16. (LATIN TEXT) Ro 4. i.e.Christ is said to be justified when he rose from the dead, 1Ti 3:16. And we to be then justified in him, Ro 4 ult. Because that discharge, to wit, His Fathers raising him from the Dead, was an Actual Justification of him from the sins of others, for which he had satisfied; and OF US from our own sins, for which he became a Surety. It doth not a little justify them, that drave away this Reverend man from his native soil, that a Grand-child of his own, a minister, and a minister in these times, should brand him with heresie.

*Magdalen Hall in Oxon.
** Vind Grat p. 21. And 23.

5. To these, might be added many more who have not hitherto been known by the name of Antinomians.  Mr. Calvin saith, That Our Justification, in respect of God, doth precede our faith. Zanchius in his Explication of the Epistle to the Ephesians, upon those words, Chap. 2.5. [He hath quickened us together with Christ,] says, That all the Elect, who are the Members of Christ, when he by his death had expiated their Sins, were freed from the guilt of eternal death, and obtained a right to eternal Life. Chamier hath much to this purpose, (LATIN TEXT) We are most certainly persuaded, that our sins are pardoned before we do believe; for we deny that infants do believe, and yet Infants have their sins forgiven. And a little before, viz. Chap. 6 of the same book, I deny (saith he.) that faith is the cause of our justification, for then our justification would not be of grace, but of ourselves; but faith is said to justify, not because it effecteth justification, but because it is effected in the justified person. And in another place to the same purpose, faith does neither merit, obtain, nor begin our Justification; for if it did, then faith should go before justification, both in nature and time; which may in no way be granted, for faith itself is part of sanctification; now there is no sanctification but after justification: (LATIN TEXT) Which is really and in its own nature before it. Alstedius in his Supplement to Chamier faith, That faith concurs no otherwise to Justification, than in respect of the active application, whereby God applieth unto Man the righteousness of Christ, which application is in the mind of God, and consequently from eternity. Dr. Maccovius, Professor of Divinity at Franeka, hath a whole determination to this purpose ţ, to prove that justification on actively considered, or as it is the act of God, blotting out our sins, and imputing the righteousness of Christ unto us, goes before faith. Indeed he makes it to be, not an imminent, but a transient declared act, which the Lord did, when he first promised to send his Son to be our Mediator, Ge 3:15. Though one of our late writers*, mentions this Doctors opinion, with much contempt and oscitancy, calling his assertions, strange, senseless, and abhorred (which is the less to be regarded, seeing he usually metes out the same measure unto all men else, whose notions do not square with his own mould; as to Dr. Twiss, Mr. Walker, and those that hold the imputation of Christ’s active righteousness, whom he calls A sort of ignorant and unstudied Divines, &c.) Yet, as he hath merited fairer usage amongst Christians for his other labours; so I dare say, his Arguments in this particular, will not seem so weak and ridiculous as Mr. Baxter makes them, to an indifferent Reader that shall compare them, with the exceptions which he hath shaped unto them; sharp censures are but dull answers. Dr. Ames his colleague, says no less, who in his Marrow of Divinity, having defined justification to be the gracious sentence of God, by which he doth acquit us from sin and death, and account us righteous unto life, he says, That this sentence was long before in the mind of God, and was pronounced when Christ our Head arose from the dead, 2Co 5:19. And in another place, All they for whom Christ in the intention of God, hath made satisfaction, are reconciled unto God. I might produce many others that are of eminent note, who have asserted, That all the Elect are reconciled and justified before they believe. Now were all these Champions of Truth, a pack of Antinomians and Libertines? Hath Mr. Woodbridge’s humanity no better language to bestow upon them? If he shall say, he doth not mean them, yet his reproaches do fall upon them; for if Titius be an Antinomian, for saying, That the electare justified before they do believe, Sempronius is an Antinomian, who affirms the same.

*Mr. Baxt. In Append. Pag. 147

6. Mr. Burges (a man somewhat profuse in this kind of rhetoric) seems willing to excuse some of those fore-mentioned divines, who have asserted the remission of sins before faith*, because they did it in a particular sense to oppose the Arminians, who maintain a reconciliability, and not a reconciliation by the death of Christ. But I believe he is not ignorant, that divine truths are not to be measured by men’s intentions; let men’s ends be never so good, they cannot make error to be truth; or if they are never so corrupt they cannot make truth to be error. Nor do they, whom he calls Antinomians, assert justification before faith, in any other sense than in respect of the absolute and immutable will of God, Heb 10:14 not to deal with his people according to their sins; and in respect of the full satisfaction of Jesus Christ, who by that one offering of himself, has perfected forever them that are sanctified, i.e. them whose sins are purged by his blood. I could show how frequently he and others have wounded some of our most eminent divines, both for learning and piety, through the sides of Antinomians; Mr. Burges in his Book of Justif. Pag. 219. Calls it An Antinomian Similitude, to say That as a man looking on the wall through red glass, conceives the wall to be of the same color; so God looking upon us in Christ sees nothing but the righteousness of Christ in us, and no Sin at all: Which similitude is used by Dr. Reynolds in his excellent Treatise on the 110 Psalm**, where he doth plainly assert that Doctrine which Mr. Burges condemns for Antinomianism. Mr. Baxters Character of an Antinomian, will bring all our Protestant writers under this censure: For with him they are Antinomians, who hold, 1. That our evangelical righteousness is without us in Christ, or performed by him, and not by ourselves***, Or (2) That justification is a free act of God without any condition on our part, for the obtaining of it****; or else (3) That justification is an imminent act**^, and consequently from eternity**^^, which was the judgment of Alsted, Pemble, Twisse, Rutherford &c. Or (4) That we must not perform duty for life and salvation, but from life and salvation; or that we must not make the attaining of justification for salvation the end of our endeavors, but obey in thankfulness, and because we are justified and saved*^*^, &c. Now let any man who is moderately versed in our Protestant writers, but speak on whom this arrow falls. I might instance in many other, but I will not put the Reader unto so much trouble.

*Treat. Of Just. Pag. 177.
**Page 450
***Aphor. P. 109, 111
****Ibid. p. 169. 170
**^  ibid. p. 173.
**^^ Ibid. p. 93
*^*^ Saints Rest. P. 14 Append. P. 100

§. 7. My business at the present is to acquit this Doctrine of Justification in foro Dei, before faith, from Mr. Woodbridge’s charge of Antinomianism. And truly I wonder that he should give it this name: for 1. It hath not the least affinity with the Antinomian tenents, which as they are related by Shidan were, That the Law is not to be preached to bring men to repentance, or unto the sight of their sins; that whatever a man’s life be, though it be never so impure and wicked, yet he is justified for all, if he doth believe the promises of the Gospel: So that they held the necessity of faith (such as it was) they made it (as our Adversaries do) the condition of Justification. 2. Antinomianism is such an error, as doth oppose, or is contrary to the Law of God: But surely, this is not such, it offers not manner of injury unto the Law; seeing that whensoever the elect are justified, they are not justified without righteousness, and such a righteousness as doth fully answer the Law of God, in respect both of the satisfaction and obedience which it doth require. We say, that God cannot justify a person without righteousness, for then he should do that himself which he forbids to us, and professeth his detestation of, Ex 23:7. Isa 5:23. De 25:1. Pr 17:15. If God could have dispensed with his Law in this behalf, Christ needed not to have died; the end of his coming was to bring in everlasting righteousness. Whomsoever God doth justify, they have justice one way or other; for otherwise the God of Truth should call darkness Light, and evil Good; they whom he accounteth just are just and righteous; But we say, That faith is not the righteousness that makes them so, either in whole or in part, but the perfect righteousness of Christ which is put upon them. Now to say, That God imputes this righteousness unto men before they believe, is no ways contrary to the Law, seeing the Law prescribes not the rules of this imputation, it is altogether besides the cognizance of the Law: So that if it prove and error, it must be an Anti-Evangelical, and not an Antinomian error. But I doubt not, but I shall be able to acquit it from this, as well as from that other imputation.

04. CHAP. IV


Containing some Animadversions upon Mr. Cranford’s Epistle to the Reader.

Mr. W. for the better grace of his Book, hath obtained a Commendatory Epistle from Mr. Cr. Wherein some things are delivered contrary to truth, and most injurious to them, whom Mr. W. hath made his adversaries. It’s true, he begins his Epistle with a deserved Commendation of the Doctrine of Justification, That it exceedingly illustrates the glorious riches of God’s free-grace, and magnifies his Justice, is the only support of comfort to a wounded conscience, takes away from man the cause of boastings, and is altogether above the invention and credulity of reason: Wherin I do cordially concur with him, accounting it (as Luther did) the sun which enlightens the Church, the paradise and heaven of the soul; therefore it was not without cause, that our first reformers so earnestly contended for it, it being (as they have will observed) the sum of the Gospel, and of all the benefits which we have by Christ; the principal point of the principal point of the doctrine of salvation, the pure knowledge whereof doth preserve the Church. How much short of them in this particular is the zeal of some amongst our late reformers, who have scoffingly called it the Antinomians common place? Mr. Cranford’s testimony therefore to the singular excellency of this doctrine, is so much the more welcome, seeing there are so few that have it in a right esteem; though as he (and much more as Mr. VV.) hath stated it, the beauty and lustre of it is not a little obscured It looseth all those praises which in Mr. Cranford's Parenthesis are ascribed unto it. For (1) how doth the riches of God’s grace appear, if our Justification doth depend upon terms and conditions performed by us? For as Mr. VValker hath noted, Whatsoever is covenanted and promised upon a condition to be performed, is not absolutely free, nor freely given. They are not justified by grace, who are justified upon the performance of conditions. (2) What support is this for a wounded conscience, to tell him that is conscious of his extreme weakness and inability, That God will forgive his sins, if he do perform such and such conditions, which he is no more able to do than to remove a mountain? Mr. Calvin hath well observed, (LATIN TEXT) That unless we would have our faith to be always wavering and trembling, it ought to rest only upon the free promise of grace in Jesus Christ; And he gives this reason for it, (LATIN TEXT) Because a conditional promise which sends us to our own works, promiseth us life no otherwise, than if it were placed in our own power. Nor (3) doth this take from men the cause of boasting; ***boasting (saith the Apostle) is not excluded by works, call them by what name you will, either legal or evangelical; if they are our works, they give to us occasion of boasting; for to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned of grace but of debt; a work of condition whensoever it is performed makes the thing covenanted a due debt, which the performer may demand, and the promiser is bound to give. (4) It is not above the invention and credulity of reason, That God should justify sinners, and merely upon the account of another’s righteousness; as heretofore it seemed foolishness both to Jews and Gentiles, so ever since it has been a stumbling block to the wisdom of the flesh; it is such a mystery as will never contemper with the most rational principles of the natural man. Hence have arisen all those jarrings and contendings against this truth, in regard of its disproportion unto carnal Reason, which believes no other Gospel, but (LATIN TEXT)

***Ro 3:27. Ro 4:4.

§. 2. The doctrine of the gospel (says Mr. Cr.) concerning the Justification of a believing sinner, is plainly delivered in the Scripture. But by his favour, the Scripture nowhere calls believers sinners, nor yet makes believers the adequate subjects of Justification. It is most true, That all Believers are justified, and it is as false that men are believers before they are justified: An unjustified believer, and a justified sinner, are expressions palpably guilty of self-contradiction. We read in Scripture of God’s justifying the ungodly (Ro 4:5), reconciling the world (2Co 5:19) and enemies to himself(Ro 5:8,10) and of his quickening them that are dead in trespasses and sins(Eph 2:1,5). Now believers (as hath been hinted) are never called ungodly, or enemies to God; they are nowhere said to be dead in trespasses and sins; they have their name from their better part, and from that esteem that God hath of them, who beholds them holy and righteous, without any spot or blemish of sin.(Song 4:7; Ps 51:7; Col 1:22; Eph 5:27)

§. 3. In the next place Mr. Cr. Gives us in a list of all the causes which do concur unto our justification; in the enumeration whereof, he will find the Author he commends at a greater distance from him, than those whom he opposes. He may, if he pleases, compare his doctrine with Mr. Baxter’s notions, (whom Mr. W. follows at the very heels) Thes. 56. 26, 73, &c. in his Aphorisms, who denies, That Christ’s obedience is the material, the imputation of his righteousness, the formal cause of our justification, or that faith is the instrument by which we do receive it; he plainly ascribes the same kind of causality unto Christ, and faith making them to differ only secundum magis & minus; that Christ is the sine qua non principalis, and faith the sine qua non minus principalis (he might have lifted sin in the same rank, which too, is a sine qua non of our Justification;) That faith and works in a larger sense, are meritorious causes of life and blessedness. Now we say with Mr. Cr. (1.) That God is the efficient cause, or the only Justifier; that he hath no motive or inducement but his own grace and love, to will not to punish us, and to give to us his Son, through whom we have redemption, and deliverance from the curse of the Law.(De 7:7; Ro 3:25; Joh 3:16)  We say too (2) that Christ is the only meritorious cause of our justification (taking justification pro re volita, for a transient effect of the will of God,) that Jesus Christ hath by his death and satisfaction, fully procured and merited our discharge and absolution from the penalty of the Law, which we deserved by sin: For which cause, he is said to have purged our sins by himself, i.e. Without the help and assistance of other means, Heb 1:3. There are many who ore tenus in word do acknowledge, That Christ is the meritorious cause of our justification that indeed do deny it: The Papists in the Council of Trent, ţsay, That good is the efficient, the glory of God the final, the death of Christ the meritorious cause of our justification. But yet we know, that they do concur on our part: They say, That faith, charity, &c. do Impetrare remissionem, & suo quidem modo (LATIN TEXT) Obtain, and after a sort merit forgiveness, though not by their own worth and dignity, yet by virtue of God’s covenant and promise. Too many of our Protestants (setting aside the word merit, which yet Mr. B. thinks may be admitted) do tread directly in their steps; they ascribe as much unto works, as Papists do. It is a poor requital unto Jesus Christ, to call him the meritorious cause of our justification, and in the mean while to deny the merit of his death, as to the immediate purchases thereof, and to ascribe at least a partial meritoriousness to other things. (3) I shall go further with Mr. Cr. I freely grant him (which believe Mr. W. will stick at) That faith is the instrument by which we receive and apply the righteousness of Christ unto ourselves, whereby the gracious sentence of God, acquitting us from our sins, is conveyed and terminated in our consciences. We say indeed, That faith doth not concur to our justification, as a proper physical instrument (which is a less principal efficient cause.) Mr. Rutherford saith well, That faith is not the organical or instrumental cause, either of Christ’s satisfaction, or of God’s acceptation thereof on our behalf. By believing, we do not cause either our Savior to satisfy for our sins, or God to accept of his satisfaction: Every true believer is persuaded, That god hath laid aside his wrath and displeasure towards him for his sins, having received a sufficient ransom and satisfaction for them in the death of his Son. Sed hoc fides non facit, (saith he) sed objectum jam factum praesupponit. faith is a receptive, not an effective instrument, an instrument not to procure, but to receive justification and salvation, which is freely given us in Jesus Christ. It is called in instrumental cause of our justification#, taking justification passively not actively; or in reference to that passive application, whereby a man applies the righteousness of Christ to himself, but not to that active application whereby God applieth it to a man, which is only in the mind of God. Therefore Calvin* calls faith, Opus passivum, a passive Work.

*Calvin in Joh 6:29.

§. 4. Mr. Cr. proceeds, This doctrine (saith he) hath in all ages been opposed and obscured, sometimes by open enemies, sometimes by professed friends, and such as would be accounted the great pleaders for free grace. It is most true, That this article of free justification hath, and will be a bone of contention to the worlds end. It is the chief cause of all those contests and quarrels, which have arisen between the children of the free woman, and the children of the bond-woman. Mr. Fox* hath well observed, It is so strange to carnal reason, so dark to the world, it hath so many enemies, that except the Spirit of God from above do reveal it, learning cannot reach it, wisdom is offended, nature is astonished, devils do not know it, men do persecute it. Satan labours for nothing more, than that he may either quite bereave men of the knowledge of this truth, or else corrupt the simplicity of it. It is not unknown what batteries were raised against it, in the very Infancy of the church, how the wits and passions of men conspired to hinder it; what monstrous consequences were charged upon the doctrine; and what odious practices, were fathered upon them that did profess it; never was any Truth opposed with so much malice and bitterness as this hath been; and by them especially that were most devout and zealous ‼ But when it could not be withstood and stifled, Satan endeavored then to deprave and adulterate it, by mixing of the Law with the gospel, our own righteousness with Christ’s, which corruption the Apostle hath strenuously opposed in all his Epistles, and more especially in that to the Romans and Galatians#; where he excludes all singular works of ours, from sharing in the matter of our justification: For the eluding of whose authority, carnal reason hath found out sundry shifts and distinctions, As that the Apostle excludes only works of nature, but no of grace; legal, but not evangelical works; and that our works though they are not physical, yet they may come in as moral causes or our justification. It is certain, That the most dangerous attempts against this doctrine, have been within the Church, and by such as Mr. Cr. calls professed friends, who have done so much the more mischief, in regard they were least apt to be suspected: justification by works was generally exploded amongst us, whilst it appear’d under the names of Popery and Arminianism, which since hath found an easy admittance, being vented by some of better note, such as would be accounted pleaders for free-grace.

*Epistle before Luther on Gal.
Ac 13:50; Ro
#See Ga 5. pr.

§. 5. Mr. Woodbridge’s Discourse (saith Mr. Cr.) deals not with the errors of Papists, Socinians, Arminians, but with Antinomian error. How unjustly our doctrine is called Antinomian, hath been shown before; and Mr. Cr. May be pleased to take notice, That Mr. Rutherford accounts the opinion we oppose, the very chief of the Arminians, Socinians, and Papists errors, about justification, to wit, That no man hath his sins remitted before he doth actually believe. As for his allegation out of Mr. Shepherd, mark those men that deny the use of the Law to lead unto Christ, if they do not fall in time to oppose some main point of the gospel, &c. It doth not touch us, for we deny not the use of the Law to bring men unto Christ; we look upon the Law as the ordinance of God, to convince men of their sin and misery, and thereby to endear to them the grace of the Gospel, Ga 3:22,24. We say with the Apostle, The Law is good (1Ti 1:8), if men do use it lawfully. i.e. in a way of subserviency, and attendance upon the Gospel, the better to advance and make effectual the ends thereof. And as we deny not this use of the Law, so neither doth our asserting, That all the elect before their conversion, and faith stand actually reconciled to God, and justified before him, obscure the Gospel. I doubt not but the judicious reader will expect a better proof of this charge than Cranford’s word. Have all those reverend divines before mentioned obscured the Gospel? What is the Gospel, but the glad tidings, that Christ is come into the world to save sinners; that by his subjecting himself to the curse of the Law, he hath freed them from the curse, who were given him by the Father? How is this truth obscured by our saying, That God did everlastingly will not to punish his elect; and that in Christ he beholds them just and righteous, even whilst they are sinful, and wicked in themselves? Do not they much more obscure the grace of the Gospel, who make it depending upon terms and conditions performed by us, than we that affirm it to be free and absolute? They that assign no certain and actual effect to the death of Christ; or we that say (according to the Scripture) that all the elect were thereby free from the Law, delivered from the curse, reconciled unto God, made perfect and complete in the sight of God? And therefore though Dr. Downham doth call it, A strange Assertion, I shall not be ashamed to own it: The Lord complains That the great things of his Law were counted strange, Ho 8:12. We read in Eusebius, That the Christian faith (though it were from the beginning) was called New and strange. The multitude cast this aspersion upon our Saviors doctrine, Mark 1:27 and the Athenians upon Paul, Ac 17:19-20. The imputation of novelty and new fangledness, has been commonly cast upon the truths and ways of God: Many things are new in respect of observation, which are not so in themselves*. We have known, that godly men have looked upon some things as very strange, which in tract of time have been generally embraced. Dr. Downham, no doubt, though it strange that any Godly man should say the Angels of the seven Churches were not Diocesan Bishops; and yet I believe Mr. Cr. is not of his opinion. If it were the Doctors meaning, That this assertion of justification before faith, was never heard to come from the mouth of a Godly man before Pemble; either his memory was very weak, or his charity was too much straitened. He could not be ignorant of what hath been alledged out of Calvin, Zanchy, Parker, Chamier; (before mentioned) is cited by the Doctor in that very book, which Mr. Cr. quotes. He knew likewise, that all our old Protestant divines have defined justifying faith, to be a certain persuasion, and full assurance of the pardon of our sins; from whence it must inevitably follow, That pardon of sin precedes our faith, for every object is before its act. And as strange as it seemed unto this Doctor, he himself says little less; for in answer to Bellarmine, (who would prove that a man may be justified without special faith) he granteth, It is true in respect of our justification in the sight of God; which special apprehension, or application of Christ (saith he)** though scorned by Papists, yet it is of all graces the most comfortable, most profitable, most necessary, most comfortable; for the very life of this life is the assurance of a better life; most necessary, because without this special receiving of Christ, first by apprehension, and then by application we can have no other saving grace: How can we love God, or our neighbor for his sake? how can we hope and trust in him? How can we rejoice or be thankful to him, if we be not persuaded of his love and bounty towards us? Most profitable, because from it all other graces do proceed, and according to the measure of it, is the measure of them, &c. Doubtless, that faith to which these properties do belong, doth best merit the name of justifying faith So then according to this Doctors judgment, the assertion is not so strange as true.

*See Bolton of Error, p. 147
**Lib. 6. 4. Sect. 5

§. 6. Mr. Cr. Goes on, and much faster than a good pace, [This opinion (says he) that the elect are actually reconciled to God before they believe, is confuted in this Treatise, and proved contradictory to Scripture, fit only to follow (1) to sow pillows under the elbows of profane men; (2) to overthrow the comfort of believers, destroying the ground, nature, and end of faith.] How solidly it is confuted, the reader will see anon, when the weight of his proofs shall come to be examined; I doubt not, but an impartial judge will acquit it, both from being contradictory to Scripture, or guilty of those horrid consequences which he hath called upon it. I marvel that so rational a man, (as Mr. Cr. Is held to be) should say, That all this charge is proved; part of which is not so much as mentioned by Mr. W. (who is liberal enough of his criminations,) which makes me to think, That he writ his epistle before he read his Author, or at least, That he is a man that will be satisfied with slender proofs against persons, and doctrines which he doth not fancy. It is true, Mr. W. hath endeavored to obtrude upon us some ugly consequences, which are as remote from our doctrine, as earth is from Heaven. Mr. Cr. Is not ignorant, how much peaceable and prudent men have disliked this practice of wyer-drawing men’s opinions, and raking absurdities out of them, (per nescio, quas fidiculas consequentiarum, as Bishop Davenant expresses it) By small threds of consequences, which they themselves do disclaim, and abhor from their whole heart; whereupon says that learned Bishop, good men ought to deal more fairly, than to fasten an heretical sense on other men’s words, when the Writer’s themselves, which are the best expounders of their own words, can, and use to reduce them to a Catholic sense. Mr. Cr. knows, that the very same consequences are fathered upon the doctrine of absolute election, justification by faith alone, and the certain perseverance of true believers. The Semi-Pelagians of old would have forced this inference from Austin’s opinion of absolute predestination: if God’s decree be absolute, Nemo vigilet, nemo (LATIN TEXT) The Papists say, It follows, That if we be justified by faith only, then we need not do good works. The remonstrants and their followers say*, That if a Believer cannot fall from grace, then need he not fear to commit any sin whatsoever. Nor do the consequences flow any whit more naturally from our tenet than they do from these. Doth it follow, That because all the elect are by means of Christ’s death, actually reconciled unto God, and freed from the condemnation of the Law, That herefore men may live as they list, that they need not hear, believe, and obey the Gospel? How doth this sow pillows under men’s elbows, or lull asleep in security, more than the Doctrine of absolute election? Seeing as all men are not elected, so neither are all men reconciled unto God; nor can any man know, That he is elected and reconciled unto God, but b and through faith; which faith is wrought in men by the preaching of the Word, and doth certainly produce a Holy Life.  

*See J.G. his Animadversions on Loves Speech.

§. 7. I confess, I am yet to seek of the reason of his other deduction, That this assertion of actual reconciliation before faith, overthrows the comfort of true believers, and destroys the ground, nature, use, and end of faith. Is it an uncomfortable doctrine to tell men, That we are not sharers with Christ in effecting of our peace with God, and in procuring the pardon of our sins; and that Christ hath finished this work before we knew it? Is it not much more comfortable to poor souls, that Christ hath absolutely, and by himself obtained forgiveness for sinners, than that he hath procured this grace but conditionally, upon condition we perform such and such works, for which we have no strength or ability in ourselves? Whence have the Saints drawn all their comfort? Surely, not from faith, or any other work of theirs but by faith from Christ, and from the perfection and all sufficiency of his sacrifice: Not only the Protestants but the Papists themselves (tho’ in the schools they contend for the dignity and congruity of works, that they are moral Causes or necessary conditions of justification and salvation; yet on their death-beds they utterly renounce them,) they exhort men in distress of conscience, to rule themselves wholly upon Jesus Christ. In a form prescribed for visiting of the sick party.  Dost thou believe to come to glory not by thy own merits, but by the virtue and merit of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ? And dost thou believe, That our Lord Jesus Christ did die for our salvation, and that none can be saved by his own merits, or by any other means, but by the merit of his passion? Whereunto, when the sick person answered affirmatively, I do believe it; the priest is bid to exhort him in this wise, Go to therefore, as long as thy soul remaineth in thee, place thy whole confidence in his death only, have confidence in no other thing; commit thyself wholly to his death, with this alone cover thy self wholly, intermingle thy self wholly, wrap they whole self in his death, &c. dangerous (saith Bernard) is the habitation of those that trust in their own works: And in another place, Ubi tuta, &c. What safe rest or security can the weak soul find, but in the wounds of his Savior? As he is mighty to save, so dwell I there with most safety. Parisiensis in his Book of divine Rhetoric, Thou must beware (saith he) in thy striving with God, that thou dost not build upon a weak foundation, which he doth that trusts in his own merits of Christ: Bishop Gardner**, though he would not have this gap to be opened to the people, yet he acknowledged it to be the most comfortable doctrine to such as were in his condition, he being then on his death-bed: Which is the more to be observed, because in his life time he had stickled so much for our adversaries conditional justification. Bellarmine himself, when he had written divers books for justification by inherent righteousness, in the end concludes, That for fear of vain glory, and by reason of the uncertainty of our own works, Tutissimum est, &c. It is the safest way to place all our trust in the mercy of God, and merits of Jesus Christ; so that we may say as Moses, Their Rock is not as our Rock, our Enemies themselves being judges, De 32:31.

**Foxes Acts and Monuments. Vol. 3.

§. 8. Mr. Cr. has not the least reason to charge us with destroying the ground of faith; for the ground of faith is either Fundamentum Quod, or Fundamentum Quo. material and personal, or else doctrinal and ministerial. We say with all true Christians, That the only material or personal foundation whereupon a poor soul can build securely for life and justification, is Jesus Christ. Now the doctrinal foundation whereby our faith is united to the former, we affirm with of mercy; in opposition to those conditional promises, which send men partly to Christ, and partly to their own works; and therefore our adversaries are much more obnoxious to this censure of destroying the ground of faith, who allow it no other support than conditional promises, whereby men’s hope and confidence is made to lean more upon themselves, that it doth on Christ; much more upon their own works, than it doth upon his righteousness. The fore-mentioned Author has well observed, That if our faith does rely never so little upon our own works, it cannot possibly stand fast; that soul will never attain to any settled assurance of his salvation, that builds his faith upon such a sandy foundation.

§. 9. The nature of faith receives not the least prejudice by our doctrine; for if we define it (as most of our old Protestant divines* have done) Certa & indubitata persuasio; A firm and certain persuasion of the favor of God, and the pardon of our sins, it confirms our tenent; for men’s sins must be pardoned before they can believe it, or else of necessity they must believe a lie. All men know, that the object doth precede the act, unless it be when the act gives a being to the object: or if we make it to be fiducia, the trust of reliance of the soul upon Jesus Christ, it receives no small encouragement from this consideration, That Christ hath finished whatsoever was necessary by divine appointment, for the justification of sinners, not expecting the least condition to be performed by us for that end. Our faith is never so impregnable as when it rests entirely upon Jesus Christ. And as for the ends and uses of faith (which are chiefly to give us boldness and confidence towards God, to purify our hearts, and to work by love, &c.) They are all of them promoted and furthered by the doctrine we teach; for what is it that gives us boldness towards God, but the merits and perfections of Christ’s sacrifice? Whereby the mouth of the law is stopped, the accusations of Satan are all answered, and the justice of God is fully satisfied. Again, what other means is there so effectual to purify our hearts, to constrain us to love him, &c. as the freeness, absoluteness, and immutability of his love to us, who whilst we were sinners and enemies, reconciled us to himself by the blood of the Cross, and blotted out our sins as if they had never been committed?

*Melancthon, P. Martyr, Calvin, Perkins, &c.

§. 10. Mr. Cr. censure of Curcellarus’s opinon, is just and seasonable, who judgeth these differences amongst Christians about justification, to be of so small concernment, that they ought not to breed a controversy. For surely, they are none of those foolish questions and strivings, which we are bid to avoid; if there be any point in the whole doctrine of Godliness, for which we ought (GREEK TEXT) (as St. Jude speaks) To contend earnestly: This challengeth our utmost zeal for the maintenance of it; seeing the glory of God’s grace, the dignity of Christ’s blood, and comfort of our own souls lie at stake in the issues of it; our life, peace, and everlasting salvation are concerned herein. There is no truth that the Apostle doth so frequently press, and so earnestly contend for, as this Article of our Free Justification; That no works of ours do concur to the procuring of it. Mr. Calvin# hath observed, That if we were accorded with the Church of Rome in all other points, save in this one particular, the distance between them and us is so great, That it is impossible we should ever be reconciled: And I must needs say, That I see no material difference between them and our adversaries about this matter.

# Dc. Reform. Eccles. Ad Interim.

§. 11. Mr. Cr. In the close of his Prefatory Discourse, tells the Reader, Thou art beholding to the learned Author for the penning of this tract; but for the publishing of it to another. And Mr. W. hath framed it in the form of a letter to a private friend, that the reader might guess, He had no hand at all in publishing or it; whereas a near kinsman of his assured me, That Mr. W. in a Letter to himself, had confessed that his sermon came abroad by his own appointment; which I do rather believe, knowing his relation to the Stationer, for whom it was printed. However, I am glad that it is made public, that this point may be the better cleared by a deliberate examination of the utmost that can be said against it; only I wish that this task had lighted upon some other man, who hath more leisure and better abilities to undertake it; that so precious a truth might not suffer through the unskillfulness of a feeble advocate. How much the reader is beholding to Mr. W. for penning or printing of his sermon, will appear in the issue of this debate.

05. CHAP. V


Wherein Mr. Woodbridge’s Introduction, Text, Doctrine, and Proofs, are briefly considered.

Having passed Mr. Woodbridge’s out-works, we shall now proceed to survey the fort itself, which (in his own conceit) is built so impregnable, That nothing consistent with the Scriptures, can be brought against it. However, I am not discouraged from attempting it, knowing, That strong holds more unlikely to be vanquished; have been laid flat and level with the ground, La 4:12; 2Co 10:4-5.

In his Preface he tells the worthy Sir, to whom he communicated his notes, That he will not trouble him with his introduction to the text, or the applicatory part of his sermon. It was very little that he spake in either; but I well remember that he began and concluded with a great mistake. In his introduction he told us, that the scope of his epistle was to prove, That we are justified by faith, i.e. (as he explained it,) That we are not justified in the sight of God before we believe, and that faith is the condition on our part to qualify us for justification; whereas the scope of the Apostle (as shall be shown more largely hereafter) was not to assert the time of our justification, but the matter of it; he intended not to show when, but wherewith we are justified, to wit, not by works, or righteousness in us, but by the righteousness of Christ freely imputed to us; which we apprehend and apply by faith*. By taking faith in proper sense, as a condition required on our part, he accuseth the Apostle of self-contradiction, who all along denies, That we are justified by works, seeing faith considered as a condition, is a work of ours, no less than Love.

*Calv. De vera Pacif. P. 317

In that part of his Application where he addressed himself to unbelievers, he told them, That Christ was not a High Priest or Advocate to them, and that they had no court of mercy to appeal unto; which was all one, as if he had said, Christ did not die for them; and that they had no more ground to believe in him, than the devils themselves; and consequently that their case was desperate and irrecoverable, tho; final unbelievers have not Christ for their High Priest, for he neither died nor prayed for them, Job. 17.9. Yet he performed both acts of his priesthood, scil. Oblation and intercession for all that were given to him by the Father, long before the conversion of many of them. He laid down his life, not only for those sheep that were called, but for those also that were not then gathered into his fold, Job. 10.15,16. And in the seventeenth of John, he says expressly, That he prayed not only for them that did believe, but for them also that should believe in him, Vers. 20. Though it be true, That Christ shed not his blood for reprobates, yet we know not who are reprobated, until it shall be made manifest by their final unbelief; indeed, we cannot say to an unbeliever, That Christ did die for him; and we have as little reason to say, That Christ did not die for him, seeing the Word doth reveal neither; and by affirming the latter, we do quite bar up the door of hope, which ought to be held open to the worst of sinners. Our duty is to declare, That Christ is come into the world to save sinners, and to exhort all men everywhere to believe in him. We were as good bid the devils to believe, as those for whom Christ is not a High Priest; it is in vain for any to believe in Christ, if he never prayed nor offered up himself a sacrifice unto God for them; but seeing Mr. W. hath not troubled his friend with these passages, I shall not trouble the reader any longer about them.

§.2. That the Saints, or true believers (under which notion Paul writes to the Romans,*) are justified by faith; We do readily yield it to be a truth, it being in terminis in the text. I dare say, no man that is called a Christian, did ever deny it; and therefore he might have spared his pains in transcribing any more places of Scripture for confirmation of it. But I do much marvel, that so learned a man as Mr. W. who pretends to be more than ordinarily accurate, should take in hand a controverted text, and never open the terms, nor state the question which he meant to handle; for though it be a sinful curiosity for men by Dicotomies and Tricotomies, Divisions, and Subdivisions, to mince and crumble the Scriptures, till it hath lost the sense; yet surely, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, ought rightly to divide the Word of Truth, explain things that are obscure and dubious; and where divers senses are given (as he knows there are of his text) to disprove the false, and confirm that which he conceives is true.

*See chap.1.7.

§. 3. There is a vast distance between the Apostles proposition, [a man is justified by faith,] and Mr. Woodbridge’s inference, Ergo, justification by faith, and justification before faith, are not opposite but diverse; though they differ, yet they are not contradictory to each other. The Scriptures which prove the former, intend no strife, or quarrel against the latter; in a word, The proof of the one doth not disprove the other. The Scripture which he made his theme, Ro 5:1. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, &c. concludes nothing at all against Justification before faith: For (1) we may without any violence to the text, place the comma after justified, (as thus) being justified, by faith we have peace with God: This reading is agreeable both to the Apostles scope, and to the context. His scope here was not to show the efficacy of faith in our Justification, but what benefits we have by the death of Christ; the first of which is justification, and the consequent thereof is peace with God. Again the illative particle (Therefore) shows, that this place is a corollary, of deduction from the words immediately foregoing, which ascribed our justification wholly to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Chap. 4. Ult. The Apostle thence infers, being justified. q.d. Seeing we are justified freely, without works by the death of Christ, by faith we have peace with God; the Lord powerful drawing our hearts to believe this, we have boldness and confidence towards God, the cause of fear being taken away; or as the Syriack and vulgar Latin read it, Let us have peace with God; let us by faith improve this Grace, for the establishing of our hearts in perfect peace. Now according to this reading, his own text will give in evidence against him, That faith is not the cause or antecedent, but an effect and consequent of our justification, procured and obtained by the death of Christ. But (2) if we take the words, as commonly they are read, the sense comes all to one, scil. That being justified by Christ (who is the sole object of our faith) we have peace with God; who by the faith which he creates in us, causeth us to enjoy this reconciliation; by virtue whereof, our conscience is so firmly grounded, that we are not moved by any temptation, or beaten down by any terror. The work of faith is not to procure our justification, but to beget peace in our consciences. So then the words being rightly understood, they neither deny justification before faith, nor assert justification by the act or habit of faith, which Mr. W. would conclude from thence.

§. 4. The next Scripture, whose suffrage is desired against us, is Ga 2:16. We have believed in Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ. Where (says Mr. W.) justification is expressly made a consequent of faith. To which I Answer (1) That this doth no more infer, That we are not justified before we believe, than that of our Savior, Mt 5:44-45. #Love your enemies, &c. that ye may be the children of your Father in Heaven, infers, That works do go before adoption, contrary to Eph 1:5-6; 1Jo 3:3. The phrase [that ye may be] there is as much, as that ye may be manifested and declared; that ye may shew yourselves; *or, that all Men may know, that ye are the children of God, by practicing a duty so much above the reach of nature and morality. A like place we have, Ro 3:2 God set forth his Son to declare his righteousness, that he might be just. Now shall we hence infer, That God was not just before? Or that Gods Justice was a consequent of his sending Christ? Now, if we can understand that clause [that he might be just,] That he might be known, and acknowledged to be just; why may we not as well take this of the Apostle, [that we might be justified] in the same construction, that we might know that we are justified, and live in the comfort and enjoyment of it: So that, not the being of our justification, but the knowledge and the feeling of it, is a consequent of faith. Things in Scripture are then said to be when they are known to be; so John 5:8. Our Savior tells the disciples, That if they did bear much fruit, they should be his Disciples, i.e. They should be known and manifested to be his Disciples, as chap. 13:35. Our Savior is said at his resurrection, to have become the Son of God, Ac 13:33. Because, then (as the Apostle speaks) he as powerfully to be the Son of God, Ro 1:3. Again, things are said not to be which do not appear as Melechisedec is said to be without Father and Mother, & etc. Heb 7:3. Because his linage and pedigree is not known; so we are said to be justified or not justified according as this Grace is revealed to us. But (2) in the text it is, We have believed that we may be justified; so that from hence it can be inferred only, That we, are not justified by faith before believing, and that the sentence of justification is not terminated in our consciences, before we do believe;

# 1Pe 2:9.

*Diodat. On Mt 5:45.

5. His next proof is grounded upon the order of the words, Ro 8:30. As glory (saith he) follows justification, so doth justification follow vocation unto faith. Whereunto. I answer, (1.) That the order of words in Scripture, doth not show the order and dependence of the things themselves: The Jews have a proverb, Non effe prius aut prosterius in Scriptura* (*Salom. Jarchi. In Ge 6:3). The first and last must not be strictly urged in Scripture; for that is not always set first which is first in nature: If we should reason from the order of words in Scripture, we should make many absurdities, tt (tt See Babing. On Ge 4:1) as 1Sa 6:14). It is said that they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kind for a burnt offering unto the Lord: And then in the next verse it follows, That the Levites took down the Ark out of the cart, as if they had clave the cart before the Ark was taken down, which could not be. In 2Ti 1:9 it is said, God hath saved us, and called us; yet I suppose Mr. W, will not say, That men are saved before they are called. So though vocation be set before justification, yet it doth not follow, that it precedes it in order of nature. (2) The Apostles scope here, is not to show in what order these benefits are bestowed upon us, but how inseparably they are linked unto our predestination; and that it is impossible, either sin or affliction should make them miserable, whom God hath chosen. (3) I see no inconvenience at all, in saying, That the Apostle here speaks of justification, as it is declared and terminated in our consciences, which some learned men * (*Mr. Owen, Mr. Kendal against Goodwin, cap 4. P. 138, 145.) do make the formale of justification; and in this respect I shall grant him, That justification is a consequent of vocation.

6. Mr. Woodbridge’s next allegation is from Ro 4:24. righteousness shall be imputed to us if we believe. Ergo. It was not imputed before we believe. I answer, that the consequence in not necessary, for this particle (if) is used sometimes declaratively: It doth not always propound the condition, by which a benefit is obtained, but sometimes it serves to describe the person to whom the benefit doth belong tt (tt See Mr. Walkers Socinianism Discovered p. 221.). Descriptions are taken from effects and consequences, as well as from the causes or antecedent conditions: As for instance, If a man (saith the Apostle) purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, 2Ti 2:21. The Papists infer, that a man is made a vessel of honor, by purging himself, & etc. Our Protestant divines ll (ll Dr. Sutcliff on Ro 11. P. 61.) do Answer, That the place proves not that a man is hereby made, or becomes a vessel of honor, but that hereby he is manifested and known to be a vessel of honor. So Heb 3:6. Whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence, and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Which we are not to understand, as if these things did make us to be the house of God, but that hereby we appear and approve ourselves to be the house of God * (* Dr. Jones on the place.). This conjunction (if tt) (tt Dr. Dorvah of Justif. I 7. C. 4 sect. 16. P. 473.) is many times annexed unto the marks and cognizance of such as shall be saved, or are happy, which do show, Non propter quid (LATIN TEXT), vel fervandi, sed quales, beatisunt, quales, (LATIN TEXT). Not upon what conditions, but what manner of persons are finally saved. I see no reason but it may be so understood in this place; his righteousness is imputed to us, if we believe, q. d. Hereby we may know, and be assured, That Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us, that whether Jews of Gentiles, are the persons to whom this grace belongs; if God hath drawn our hearts to believe and obey the Gospel, in regard that none do or can believe, but such as are ordained to life [[, ([[ Acts 13:48. C.2.47), and to obtain salvation by Jesus Christ. The Lord works faith in none, but in them, to whom he hath imputed the righteousness of his Son.

SS. 7. The other Scriptures he hath brought, conclude as weakly against us, as any of the former, as Ac 10:43. Through his name, whosoever believeth in him, shall receive remission of sins. And Ac 26:18. That they may receive the forgiveness of sins – who are sanctified by faith; With Ac 13:39. By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses. To which (says Mr. W.) might be added multitudes of other places. I confess his concordance would have furnished him with many such places, but no more to the purpose that these he hath cited; which through they affirm, That believers are justified, yet they deny not the justification of the elect before believing. In the former it is Whosoever believeth, shall receive remission of sins; it is not, By believing we obtain remission of sins, or God doth no discount men’s sins unto them till they do believe. The giving of remission and the receiving of remission, are two things the former is God’s act, who is the only justifier, the latter is ours; though it be called so in a passive and improper sense. We know a Prince pardons a malefactor when he gives his consent, That the sentence of the Law should be reversed, and confirms it which his hand and seal. This pardon is valid in Law and secures the offender from punishment, though it come not to his hands for a good while after. So a Father gives, and bequeaths an estate to his child that is an infant; which be the donation of the Father, belongs to the child, tho’ the child did not receive, and enjoy it, till he comes to age. So God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their sins unto them. Though no man doth receive and enjoy this Grace, till he doth believe; we obtain remission of our sins by Christ alone, but we receive it by faith.

SS. 8. In Acts 39:13 the Apostle shows the excellency of the Gospel above the Law, or the privilege of the Saints in the New Testament, above them that lived under the old administration; Who (saith he) are justified from all things, & etc. There was a cleansing and purgation of sin provided in the Law, but not like unto that which is revealed in the Gospel * (*Zec 13:1). For the Law did not cleanse them from all sins, for some sins it allowed no sacrifice at all; as for blasphemy, sins of presumption, & etc. But now the blood of that sacrifice which is exhibited in the Gospel, cleanseth us from all sin, 1Jo 1:7; Mr 3:28. (2) Those sacrifices made them clean, but in an external typical manner, as to the purifying of the flesh, Heb 9:13 they could not make them perfect, as pertaining to the conscience, Heb 10:12. Whereas the cleansing which is made by the blood of Christ, is spiritual and internal, It purgeth men’s consciences from dead works, Heb 9:14. They that are purged herewith, have no more conscience of sin, de jure, if not de facto, chap. 10:2. They have the answer of a good conscience toward God, q.d. They can plead not guilty, 1Pe 3:21. (3) The legal cleansing was by sacrifice after sacrifice, Heb 10:3. Whereas Christ by one sacrifice once offered, hath taken away all the sins of his people; or as it is in Daniel, hath made an end of sin: so that here is nothing at all of the time of our justification, though he affirms, that they that believe are thus perfectly justified; yet it follows not from this, or any other text, That the elect are not justified before they believe; and much less, That a man is justified by the gracious act of habit of faith.

9. Mr. W. pag. 2. gives his Reader our sense of these Scriptures. The only answer (saith he) which is given to these, and the like texts, is this, That by justification we are to understand a justification in the court of conscience, or the evidence or declaration of a justification already past before God: So that faith is said to justify us, not because it doth justify us before God, but because it doth declare to our consciences that we are justified. Now because this report is very imperfect, I shall crave the patience of the reader, whilst I declare our judgment a little more fully concerning this matter, together with the grounds and reasons that do uphold it; and then I shall return to secure this answer against the exceptions Mr. W. hath made against it. But first, I shall show the several explications which divines have given of his proposition (A man is justified by faith.)



The question depending between me and Mr. W. is not, Whether we are justified by faith? Which the Scripture frequently affirms, and no man that I know denies it; Papists and Protestants, Orthodox and Socinians, Remonstrants and Contra-Remonstrants, do unanimously consent, That we are justified by faith. All the difference is about the sense and meaning of this proposition, A Man is Justified by faith. Whether faith therein to be taken properly or tropically? For though there be great variety in expression amongst divines, concerning this matter, yet all their several opinions and explications may be reduced unto these two heads. The first takes faith in sensu proprio, for the act or habit of faith; the other takes faith Metonymice` & relative`, for the object of faith (i.e.) The obedience and satisfaction of Jesus Christ.

2. Our Protestant divines (who have hitherto be counted Orthodox) do take faith in this proposition [A Man is Justified by faith] in a tropical and figurative sense; as thus, A man is justified in the sight of God, from all sin and punishment by faith. i.e. By the obedience and righteousness of Jesus Christ, in whom we believe, and upon whom we rely for life and righteousness. Nor is this any unusual trope, either in Scripture, or in other Authors, to put, Habitum, vel actum pro objecto, as Ro 8:24. Hope that is seen, is not hope, i.e. The thing that is seen, is not hoped for. Christ is often times called our hope, our joy, our love, & etc. because he is the object of the acts and affections; when the same thing is attributed distinctly both to the act and the object, it must needs be attributed to one in a proper, and to the other in an improper sense; and therefore (says Dr. Downham) When justification is attributed, it cannot be attributed in the same sense, as to the death and obedience of Christ in propriety of speech; but of necessity it is to be understood by a metonymy: faith being put for the object of faith, which is the righteousness of Christ, & etc. And holy Pemble, if we list not to be contentious, it is plain enough (saith he) that in those places where the Apostle treats of justification by faith, he means the grace of God in Jesus Christ, opposing works and faith, that is, the Law and the Gospel, the righteousness of the Law to the righteousness of the Gospel, which is no other but the righteousness of Christ. Thus (saith he) faith is taken, Ga 3:23, before faith came, i.e. Before Christ came, and the clear exhibition of his righteousness: And in this sense (as another hath observed) it is used at least thirteen times in this chapter, where the Apostle expressly treats our justification before God. Albertus Pigbius, though a Papist, was so far convinced of this truth, by reading of Calvin’s Institutions, that he acknowledged, If we speak formally and properly, we are justified neither by faith nor charity, but by the only righteousness of Christ communicated to us, and by the only mercy of God, forgiving our Sins.

3. Some of our divines, who do utterly deny, That faith in this question is taken sensu proprio, or that the (LATIN TEXT), or act of believing is imputed to us for righteousnes, do yet ascribe an instrumentality or inferior causality unto faith itself, in our justification before God. They say, That we are justified by faith instrumentally and relatively, which terms, I confess, sound harshly in my ears; but I hope I shall be excused, if I do not understand them, seeing a far learneder Man* (*Dr. Hammonds Letter to Dr. Cb. P. 120) than myself hath possessed. That they were not very intelligible to him. That faith is taken relatively in this question of justification, to wit, For the object it relates unto; Christ and his righteousness, I do readily grant; but that it justifies us relatively, I cannot assent to it; for it seems to me, to carry this sense with it, either (1) that faith doth produce our own justification though not by its own worth and dignity; yet through the virtue and merit of its object. As the Papists say of works, That they do justify and save us (LATIN TEXT) Sanguine Christi, being dipped in the Blood of Christ: Or (2) that faith, together with Christ its object, doth make us just in the sight of God; whereby it is made a social cause with the blood of Christ, which shall be sufficiently disproved anon. Again, that faith is a passive instrument of our justification, to wit, such an instrument whereby we receive and apply this benefit of our selves, was shown before * (Chap 4. Sect 3.); but that it is an active efficacious instrument to make us just and righteous in the sight of God, is no part of my Creed. For 1. It seems to me a contradiction to say, That faith is not to be taken sensu proprio, but metonymice`, for the object thereof, and yet say, That we are justified by faith instrumentally; for it is not the object, but the act of faith which is an Instrument: faith considered as an Instrument, is taken sensu proprio, must be said to justify.  2. Mr. Baxter in my judgment disputes rationally against this notion. If faith (saith he) be the instrument of our justification, it is the instrument either God or man; not of man; for justification is God’s act, he is the sole Justifier, Ro 3:26. Man doth not justify himself; not of God, for it is not God that believeth. To which I add, that God neither needs, nor is capable of using an instrument in the act of justifying; for tho’ he uses instruments to declare and reveal this grace to sinners, yet not to will it to particular persons; the acts of his will are not wrought by any organ, or instrument, without himself. 3. By making faith the instrument of our justification, justification is made the effect, and faith the cause; and so consequently, a man shall be said to justify himself * (*See Mr. Baxter’s Append p. 121.), whereas the Scripture everywhere ascribes our justification unto God and Christ, making us totally passive in this work, Ro 3:24,26, and Ro 8:33; Eph 2:8. We can no more justify ourselves, than raise ourselves from the dead, Eph 2:1,5, or then we could give ourselves a being, when as yet we were not, Vers. 10. Man is so far from being the total or principal Cause of his justification, that he is no cause at all; by ascribing the least causality or efficiency to man, in his justification we derogate from the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

4. Others do take faith in a proper sense, as the Papists, Socinians and Remonstrants; amongst whom, though there be some difference in expression, yet they all agree in this, That by faith in the proposition [A Man is justified by faith] is meant the act of habit of faith, or such a faith as is accompanied with faith actions. The Papists say, That faith and other inherent graces, tho’ in their own nature they do not deserve justification, yet through the merits of Christ and God’s gracious acceptance, they do procure and obtain forgiveness of our sins. Though they ascribe a meritoriousness to faith, it is but in a qualified sense. faith (saith Bellarmine doth but Suo quidem modo mercri remissionem, after a manner merit remission, scil. By virtue of God’s promise and covenant, who hath annexed forgiveness unto this condition. If a King (saith he) doth promise a beggar a thousand pound a year upon no condition, then indeed the beggar doth not deserve it; but if it be upon condition, that he do some small matter, as to come and fetch it, or bring him a posie of flowers, then he doth deserve it, because the promise is bound unto performance: And in this sense Mr. B * (* Thes. 26) ascribes a meritoriousness to works. But the chief difference between them and us, lies in this: We say a man is justified by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness; they, That we are justified, by inherent righteousness, or by doing of righteousness. Actions, such as are faith, love, fear, & etc. Ipsa fides in Christum (saith Bellarmine) est justitia. faith itself is our righteousness; And that it doth justify us, impetrando, premerendo, & inchoando justificationem. Arminius and the Remonstrants, though they have exploded the word merit, yet they attribute as much to faith and faithful actions as the Papists themselves, Dico (saith Arminius) ipsum: fidei actum, to` credere imputari in justitiam, idque` sensu proprio, non metonymyce`. The very same is affirmed by, Vorstius, Bertius, Episcopius, and the rest of the Remonstrants. Their opinion in brief is this, That God in the legal covenant required the exact obedience of all his Commandments, but now in the covenant of grace he requires faith, which in his gracious acceptation stands instead of that obedience to the moral Law, which we ought to perform; Which, say they, is procured by the merit of Christ, for whose sake God accounts our imperfect faith to be perfect righteousness.

5. Some of our late Divines (who seem to disclaim the Doctrine of the Papists and Arminians) say the very same; who explain themselves to this effect, That faith doth justify as a condition or antecedent qualification; by which we are made capable of being justified according to the order and constitution of God: The fulfilling of which condition (say they) is our evangelical righteousness, whereby we are justified in the sight of God. Mr. B. is fond of this notion, That although in one place * (* Epistle to the Reader before his Saints Rest, p. 7.) he finds fault with the length of our Creeds and Confessions; yet he would have this made an Article of our Creed, a part of our Children’s Catechism, and to be believed by every man that is a Christian TT (TT Aphoris. Thes. 20. P. 109.); so apt are we to smile upon our own Babes. Tho’ I honour Mr. Baxter for his excellent parts, yet I must suspend my assent to his new Creed. I shall prove anon ll, (ll. Cap. 9.), That faith is not said to justify, as an antecedent condition, which qualifies us for justification; but at present, I shall only render him the reasons for my disbelief, Why I cannot look upon faith as that evangelical righteousness, by which we are justified. I shall not insist upon it, though it be not altogether unconsiderable, that this notion is guilty of too much confederacy which the afore-named enemies of the Christian faith; for tho’ it is no good argument to say, That Papists, Socinians, &c. do hold this, or that, therefore it is not true; yet it will follow, That such and such tenants have been held by Papists, &c., and unanimously opposed by our Protestant writers; therefore they ought to be the more suspected, and especially such tenants of their, as are the chief points in difference between us and them, as this is. Our brethren that have started this notion, do take faith as others do, in a proper sense; they attribute as much to the to` credere, as Bellarmine, Arminius, or any other.  Faith itself (says Mr. B.) is our righteousness. There was never any Papist so absurd, as to say, That our faith, love & etc. are perfect legal righteousness, but that God judicio misericordiae, non justitiae, doth account and accept of it instead of perfect righteousness. For my part I must confess, that I can see no difference between them, but in expression. The Papists do acknowledge the satisfaction of Christ, and that he is the meritorious cause of our justification * (* council Trent. Sess. 6. C.7.) They say indeed, That we are not justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed, but by a righteousness inherent in us, or righteous actions performed by us. And what do our brethren say less than this? But I shall not follow the parallel, any further.

6. The reasons which turn the scales of my judgment against this notion, That our faith, or faithful actions, are that evangelical righteousness, by which we are justified, Are,

1. If we are not justified by our own works, then our believing, &c. is not that evangelical righteousness by which we are justified; but we are not justified by our own works, Ergo, The assumption is written with a sun beam, throughout the Scripture, Tit 3:5. Not by works of righteousness which we have done. Ro 11:6 If it be of works, then were grace no more grace. It is the chief scope of the Apostle throughout this, and the Epistle to the Galatians, to prove that we are not justified by works. The sequel of the proposition is as evident, because faith, and obedience to Gospel precepts, are our works. It is man that believes and obeys, and not God, though we do them by his help and assistance, yet they are our acts or works; so that consequently we are not justified by them in the sight of God. The Papists do elude the force of this argument say, That the mind of the Apostle was only to exclude from justification, works of nature, and not of grace, without the help of grace, and not those works which we do by the aid of grace. But Mr. Pemble answers well * (* Vind. Fid. P. 37.); This definition of works done without grace, and works done by grace, was devised by one that had neither wit nor grace, being a mere trick to elude the force of such Scriptures, as do indefinitely exclude all works from our justification, without distinguishing either of the time when they are done, whether before or after; or in the aid and help whereby they are done; whether by nature or by grace. Others say, that when the Apostle denies, That we are justified by the works of the Law; but yet by works required in the Gospel, such as are faith and faithful action, we may be justified. To which I answer, (1) That the Apostle speaks indefinitely; now the rule is, Non est distinguendum ubi Lex non distintuit: An indefinite proposition is equivalent to a universal. A man is not justified by works, is as much as if he had said, A man is not justified by any works of his own. (2) The Apostle excludes all works, from our justification, which do make the reward to be a due debt, Ro 4:4-5. Now the works required in the Gospel (supposing it to be a conditional covenant) when they are performed, do make the thing covenanted a due debt, which the promiser is bound to give, no less than works required in the Law. (3) He denies expressly, that Abraham was justified by faithful action, which he performed by the help and assistance of God’s Spirit, Ro 4:2. (4) They are the same works for the substance, which are commanded in the Law and the Gospel; there is no precept enjoined us in the New Testament, which is not also commanded us in the moral Law; though the Law doth not expressly command us to believe in Christ, yet virtually and by consequence it doth: The Law requires us to believe whatsoever God shall reveal, or propose to us to be believed; and consequently to believe in Christ, when God in his Gospel shall revel him to us. There is no reason therefore to interpret this proposition [A man is not justified by Works]. He is not justified by legal, but by evangelical works, seeing they are for substance one and the same. (5) There would be no such opposition between justification by works, and justification by faith, as the Apostle makes, if we were justified by evangelical works of our own performing. All his disputing about justification would amount but to mere logomachy, or strife of words; for there was never any man so sottish, as to think that a sinner can be justified by Legal works, unless the Law be mitigated, and the rigor thereof be in part remitted. The Apostle doth not dispute against justification by works which we cannot perform; but by works which men presume they are able to perform: He excludes not only perfect works, but all manner of works that are wrought by us.

7.2. If righteousness whereby we are justified, be a perfect righteousness, then we are not justified by our obedience to Gospel precepts: But the righteousness where we are justified is a perfect righteousness, Ergo. The sequel is evident, because our obedience to Gospel precepts is imperfect and defective, as least in degrees; we do not believe, love, and obey so perfectly as we ought, the best of us may say with him in the Gospel, Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief, Mr 9:24. And when we have done our utmost, that we are but unprofitable servants, Lu 17:10. Now this imperfection and defect in our faith, and other virtues being defectus debiti in esse, is sinful and culpable, for which cause our Saviour often times sharply reproved it, Mt 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8, &c. And we are oftentimes exhorted to increase our faith, to abound in duties of obedience, and to perfect holiness, Lu 17:5; 1Th 4:1; 2Co 7:1. In this last place the Apostle hints, that the imperfections of the flesh and spirit, and consequently it is a defiled and sinful imperfection. The assumption (that we are not justified by an imperfect righteousness) needs not I suppose any long proof; for surely God will count that for perfect justice, which is not so indeed; for as the Apostle says well, The judgment of God is according to truth, Ro 2:2. It is certain, That God will not justify any man without righteousness; And it is as certain, That God will not account that to be perfect righteousness, which is imperfect and sinful; to say, That God doth not account our imperfect holiness to be righteousness, judicio justitiae, but only judicio misericordiae, is a mere shift, which serves but to set the attributes of God at variance between themselves, which in the justification of a sinner do kiss and embrace each other, Ps 85:10. When God judgeth according to mercy he judgeth according to truth; his merciful judgment is a just and a righteous judgment; the mercy of God is shown, not in accounting a sinner perfectly righteous, for that righteousness which is imperfect; but in accounting to him that righteousness which is not his own, the perfect righteousness of the Mediator. In this judgment of God, justice and mercy do both meet: justice, in that he will not justify a sinner without a perfect righteousness; mercy, in that he will accept him for such a righteousness, which is neither in him, nor performed by him, but by his surety the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of our Protestant divines do call inherent holiness, evangelical righteousness, in respect of the principle from whence it flows, A heart purified by faith; and to distinguish it from that legal righteousness which reprobates and unbelievers have attained to, being but the fruit of a natural conscience. I am sure it is no Protestant doctrine, that inherent sanctification (which of all hands is acknowledged to be imperfect and defective) is that evangelical righteousness, whereby we are justified in the sight of God; which must needs be such a righteousness, as God himself sitting on the throne of his justice can find no fault with at all, but doth present the person that hath it, just and perfect before God’s tribunal.

3. If the righteousness, whereby we are justified, be the righteousness of God, then we are not justified by our obedience to Gospel precepts; but the righteousness whereby we are justified, is the righteousness of God, Ergo. The sequel is clear, because our obedience to Gospel precepts, is not that righteousness which the Scripture calls the righteousness of God. For though we receive it from God, it being the gift of his grace, yet it is everywhere called ours; as our faith, Mt 9:2-22; Ro 1:8; Hab 2:4; Jas 1:3. Our charity, 2Co 8:8,24; 1Co 16:24; Phm 1,7. Our hope, Php 1:20; 1Th 2:19. Our good works, Mt 5:15; Re 2:2, Our patience, Lu 21:19; 2Th 1:4; Re 2:2; 3:10; 13:10, etc. Now the Scripture doth not call these inherent graces ours, to exclude the Divine assistance in the working of them, as if they proceeded only from ourselves, the strength of nature in us, or the towardliness of our own wills: the Jews who went about to establish their own righteousness, or justification by their own works, did not deny that these works were a gift of God; the Pharisee expressly acknowledgeth as much, therefore gives thanks unto God for them, Lu 18:11. But they are called ours, because they are subjectively in us, and instrumentally wrought by us; and in opposition to the righteousness of Christ, which is neither in us nor performed by us; but is (as the Scripture rightly terms it: the righteousness of God, not the essential righteousness of God, as Osiander supposed; but the righteousness of our Mediator, God-man; which though it be inherent in the human nature, and performed by it, yet is it truly called the righteousness of God, because it is the righteousness of that Person, who is perfect God: And thus the blood by which we are redeemed, is called The blood of God, Ac 20:28. Or which is all one, The blood of the Son of God, 1Jo 1:7. The life which was laid down for us, was the life of God, 1Jo 3:16. The death by which we are reconciled to God, is the death of his Son, Ro 5:10. The obedience by which we are constituted just, Ro 5:19 is the obedience of the same Son of God. See Ga 4:4-5. Christ’s mediatorial righteousness, is called the righteousness of God, to show the dignity and perfection of it, it being the righteousness of so great a person, who is not only man, but God: and that we should not think it to be anything in us from God, it is sometimes called his Blood, Ro 5:9., sometimes his obedience, Vers. 19. By the imputation whereof we are made in the righteousness of God in him, as he by the imputation of our sins, was made sin for us * (* 2Co 5:21.). And thus the godly learned, yea and some of the Popish Doctors have expounded the righteousness of God, mentioned in Ro 1; 3, and Ro 10, of Christ and his righteousness**; (** See Downh. Of Justif. P.130); which, says Cajetan, is called the righteousness of God, Quia est in Deo personaliter, tum quia est apud divinum tribunal vera justitia, ad differentiam justitiarum nostrarum, quia apud divinum tribunal sunt velut pannus menstruates, &c. i.e. Because it is personally in God, as also, because at God’s tribunal it is accounted righteousness, and to distinguish it from our righteousness, which in the sight of God, is as filthy rags. There is nothing more clear, then that our obedience to evangelical precepts, is not that righteousness of God the Scripture mentions; which is not inherent in us, but imputed to us, being without us in Christ, God-man. The assumption, That the righteousness whereby we are justified is the righteousness of God, is undeniably proved from Ro 1:19; 3:21; 10:3. In which last place, the Apostle shows, there is such an opposition betwixt God’s and ours in the point of justification, That whosoever seeks to be justified by his own righteousness, cannot be justified by the righteousness of God; and therefore he himself professeth, that the Question of justification he utterly renounceth his own righteousness, desiring to be found in Christ’s righteousness along, Php 3:9. This righteousness of Christ which is out of us in him, is properly called evangelical righteousness, because it is the matter or substance of the whole Gospel; the Gospel doth reveal it and not the Law. Ro 1:17. If the  or act of believing, were that evangelical righteousness, by which we are justified, this Scripture would be guilty of gross tautology, The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; for then the meaning must be, our evangelical righteousness is revealed from evangelical righteousness, to evangelical righteousness, which is absurd.

9.4 If we are not justified by two righteousnesses, existing in two distinct subjects, then our obedience to Gospel precepts is not, that righteousness, whereby we are justified. But we are not justified by two righteousnesses existing in two distinct subjects. Ergo. The sequel is manifest, in regard to the righteousness of Christ is inherent in him, and obedience to Gospel precepts, is a righteousness inherent in us. The Scripture sundry times declares, That we are justified by Christ and his righteousness, Ro 3:24; 5:9,19. Now if we were likewise justified by our obedience to Gospel precepts, it would follow, that we are justified by two righteousnesses existing in two distinct subjects. But this is gain-said in the assumption, which will be secured by this proof; If by Christ’s righteousness alone, we are made perfectly just and righteous in the sight of God, then there is no other righteousness, which concurs which his to our justification; For what needs an addition to that which is perfect? But by Christ’s righteousness alone, we are made perfectly just and righteous in the sight of God; as these and many other Scriptures do witness, Heb 1:3; 10:14; Col 1:22; 2:10,13. Again, if we are justified partly by Christ’s righteousness, and partly by our own, our faith for justification must rely partly upon Christ, and partly upon ourselves. Paul might have desired to be found in his own righteousness; but our faith and trust for justification, may not in any part rely upon ourselves, Jer 14:5; Php 3:3; Ga 5:2; 3:4. The adversaries of grace (as we showed before) acknowledge, that it is the safest course to trust and rely upon Christ alone, and to fetch the comfort of our justification from his perfect obedience only.

10.5. That which overthrows the main difference between the Law and the Gospel ought not to be admitted; for the confounding of them will open an inlet to innumerable errors; nay, by this means the Gospel itself will become a mere cipher. The Apostle, we see, was exceeding careful to keep these doctrines distinct each from other; and therefore throughout all his writings, he still opposeth the Law and Grace, works and faith, our righteousness and Christ’s righteousness, instructing us thereby, how needful it is they should be kept asunder. But the making our obedience to Gospel precepts, the righteousness whereby we are justified, overthrows the main difference between the Law and the Gospel. Ergo. For herein (as Bishop Downhan well observes*) (* Of Justif. L.l. c.4. lect.7.) standeth the chief agreement and difference between the Law and the Gospel; they agree in this, That unto justification both do require the perfect fulfilling of the Law; but herein they differ, That the Law requireth to justification a righteousness inherent in us, and perfect obedience to be performed in our own persons, the Gospel reveals for our justification the perfect righteousness of another, even of Christ, which is accepted in their behalf that do believe in him, as if it had been performed in their own persons. Now if faith and new obedience be that evangelical righteousness whereby we are justified, then doth the Gospel also propound for our justification a righteousness inherent in us, and performed by us; and so consequently there remains no material difference between the Law and the Gospel, especially seeing the same duties are prescribed in both. If any shall say, That the Gospel precepts do not require such exact and perfect obedience, as those in the Law, their assertion will want a proof; nay, these and such like Scripture do prove it to be utterly false, 1Jo 3:16; Mt 5:44-45; 1Pe 1:15-16. A defect in degrees is sin against the Gospel as well as against legal precepts.

To these I might add all those arguments which our divines have used against justification by inherent righteousness; but this may suffice to show, That faith and obedience to other Gospel precepts, is not that righteousness whereby we are justified in the sight of God.

11. Now briefly my sense of this proposition [We are justified by faith] is no other, then that which hath been given by all our ancient Protestant divines, who take faith herein objectively, not properly and explain themselves to this effect: We are justified from all sin and death, by the satisfaction and obedience of Jesus Christ; who is the sole object or foundation of our faith, or whose righteousness we receive and apply unto ourselves by faith. Yet I say, it do it doth not follow, That it was not applied to us by God; or that God did not imputed righteousness to us before we had faith: We that believe are justified by the righteousness of Christ; it is no good consequence, Ergo, We were not justified in the sight of God before we did believe; but now that we may (GREEK TEXT) Speak the truth in love, I shall give the reader a clearer account of my judgment concerning this matter, in the following chapter.



Wherein the question about the time of our justification is distinctly stated, and these two propositions [A man is justified before faith] and [A man is justified by faith] is reconciled.

THAT we may avoid mistakes, I shall briefly declare, (1) What we do understand by justification.

(2) What by being justified in the sight of God. And (3) when we are justified in the sight of God. As touching the first of these, It would be but (GREEK TEXT), a needless expense of time, to enter upon a large discourse concerning the signification of the Word, and the difference between justification and sanctification. We all know, That justification in general, is the making of one just and righteous: Now there are two ways whereby a person is made or constituted righteous, viz, by infusion or by imputation.

1. By infusion, when the habitual qualities of righteousness are wrought in a person by any means whatsoever; and these habits are put forth in a universal and perfect conformity to the rule of righteousness: And thus no man was ever justified since the fall; for as the Apostle speaks, Ro 3:10. There is none righteous, no not one; no man, whether regenerate or unregenerate, is righteous with Inherent righteousness, neither his internal habits or external actions, are exactly commensurate to the rule of righteousness; the Church acknowledgeth, That her righteousness (i.e. Her best, completeth, and exactest, righteousness) were as filthy rags, Isa 64:5 And the Apostle accounted his own righteousness but loss and dung, in reference to his justification, Php 3:8-9.

2. By imputation or gracious acceptation; as when God doth not account or charge a man’s sins upon him, but accepts him as just and righteous, deals with him as a righteous person, or as if he had never sinned: This latter is that justification which we are now treating of. God justifies a man, when we accounts and esteems him righteous.

2. The next thing propounded was. What is meant by the sight of God? This phrase is variously used. (1) Sometimes it relates to the thoughts or knowledge of God, as Heb 4:13. All things are naked and manifested in his sight, i.e. God hath a clear and distinct knowledge of all things whatsoever: And thus a man is justified in the sight of God, when God knows and esteems him to be just and righteous. (2) The sight of God relates more peculiarly to his legal justice; for although in Articulo Providentia, in the doctrine of Divine justification, in the doctrine of divine providence, seeing and knowing are all one, as Job 28:24. He looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole Heaven, i.e. He knows and takes notice of all things both in Heaven and earty; yet in Articulo justificationis, in the doctrine of justification, they are constantly distinguished throughout the Scripture, and never promiscuously used one for the other. God is never said to cover, blot out, or wash away the sins of his people out of his knowledge, but out of his sight, Le 16:30. Ps 32:2 and Ro 4:2,7. Ps 51:9. God sees their sins, for whom his Law is not satisfied, Ne 4:5 * (*Jer 18:23.) In regard that his truth and justice doth oblige him to take notice of, and punish them for their sins. Again, He sees not their sins, for whom he hath received a full compensation; because it is contrary to justice to enter into judgment against a person who, wither by himself or surety, hath made satisfaction for his offence. And in this respect God is said, not to see the sins of his people, which he knows to be in them; which doth not detract from his omnisciency, but exceedingly manifests his Justice, and that perfect atonement which Christ hath made in their behalf; so that all that are clothed with the innocency, righteousness, and satisfaction of Christ, they are justified in the sight of God: i.e. Divine justice cannot charge them with any of their sins, nor inflict upon them the least of those punishments which their sins deserve; but contrariwise he beholds them as persons perfectly righteous, and accordingly deals with them as such, who have no son at all in his sight. (3) A late Divine of singular worth ttt. (ttt. Mr. Kendal against Goodwin, cap. 4. P. 138.) hath another construction of this phrase, [In the sight of God,] who observes that the word [sight] though it be for the form active, yet for the substance of it, it is rather passive; and therefore it is not attributable to God as it is to us, but in God it signifies his making of us to see; and we are said to be justified in his sight, when he makes it as it were, evident to our sight, that we are justified. But with due respect to that learned man (whom I highly honor for his worthy labours) I conceive this phrase must have some other meaning in this debate; for else, that distinction of justification in foro Dei, & in foro Conscienctiae, (which hath been made use of by all our Protestant divines, and whereof there is great need in this present controversy) would be but a mere tautology; for though it be the same justification, wherewith we are justified in the sight of God, and in the court of conscience; yet the terms are not equipollent, and convertible, but do admit of distinct considerations: though he that is justified in foro conscientiae, is also justified in foro Dei; yet every one that is justified in foro Dei, is not justified in foro conscientiae.

SS.3. Now according to these several senses which are given of this fore-mentioned phrase, it will be easy to resolve the third query, concerning the time of our justification when we are justified in the sight of God? 1. If we take in this last construction, I shall grant, That we are not justified in the sight of God before we believe: We do not know, nor can we plead the benefits and comforts of this blessed privilege until we do believe; it is by faith that the righteousness of God is revealed to us; and it is by his knowledge (notitia fui’) that Christ doth justify us, (Ro 1:17; Isa 53:11; 1Pe 3:21) or enables us to plead not guilty to all the indictments and menaces of the Law. But 2. If we refer it to the justice of Cog (which I conceive to be the most proper and genuine use of it) we were justified in the sight of God when Christ exhibited and God accepted the full satisfaction of his blood for all our sins, that ransom of his set them, for whom he died, free from the curse of the Law, cleansed them from all their sins, and presented them holy, blameless, and unreproveable in the sight of God (Ga 3:13; 1Jo 1:7; Col 1:22; Eph 5:27.), so that the eye of Divine justice cannot behold in them the least spot of sin. This perfect cleansing is the sole and immediate effect of the death of Christ, in regard that no other cause concurs therewith, in producing of it. 3. If we refer it to the knowledge of God, we were justified in his sight, when he willed or determined in himself, not to impute to us our sins, or to inflict those punishments upon us which our sins deserve; but contrariwise to deal with us as righteous persons, having given us the righteousness of his own Son. God doth certainly know whatsoever he wills: Now God having from all eternity, absolutely and immutably willed his righteousness, even when he willed it.

SS.4. For the clearer understanding of this point in question, I shall give in my judgments concerning it, as distinctly as can, in three propositions.

The first shall be this, That justification taken variously in the Scripture, but more especially, Pro volitione divina, & pro re volita, (as the Schools do speak.). (1) For the will of God, not to punish or impute sin unto his people; and (2) for the effect of God’s will, to wit, His not punishing, or setting of them free from the curse of the Law. That justification is put for the effect of God’s Will, or the thing wiled by that internal act, to wit, our discharge from the Law, and deliverance from punishment, I suppose there is not will question; the only scruple that can arise, is, Whether the will of God not to punish, or charge sin upon a person, is, or may be called justification? I confess to the end that I might not offend the weak, I have been sparing of calling this immanent act of God, by the name of justification, and the rather, because of some gross mistakes have sought for shelter under the wings of this expression. As (1) that absurd conceit, that Christ came not to satisfy the justice, but only to manifest the love of God; which yet hath not the least countenance from our doctrine, seeing that notwithstanding the will of God, not to punish his elect, we say, That the Law must needs be satisfied for their sins, no less than for the sins of others. And (2) their notion, upon this ground have asserted the eternal being of the creature, whereunto they were driven, because they could not answer that consequence, Justifificatius est. Ergo Est; which holds not in terminis diminuentibus, whether `a priori, as Electus est. Ergo est; or `a posteriori, Mortuus est. Ergo Est. Yet I must profess, That I look upon Dr. Twisse his judgment in this point as most accurate, who placeth the very essence and quiddity of justification in the will of God not to punish. Mr. Kendal tt (tt. See Kendal’s Vind. C.4. p.134, &145.) though he makes justification to be a declared sentence or transient act of God, yet he grants, That God’s will of decree to remit our sins, carries in it a remission of them from tantamount; for who shall charge them on us, if God decree to remit them? And again, This decree hath so much in it that looks so well, like unto justification, that it may be called so without blasphemy. But I see no inconvenience at all, but rather very much reason to adhere unto the Doctor’s definition, That justification is the will of God not to punish. 1. Because the definition which the Holy Ghost give us of justification, is most properly applied to this Act of God. It is a certain rule, Definitum est, cui convenit definitio; that is justification whereunto the definition of justification doth agree: The definition which the Psalmist, and from him the Apostle gives of justification, in God’s non-imputing of sin, and his imputing of righteousness unto a person, Ps 32:1-2; Ro 4:6,8. Now when God willeth not to punish a person; he doth not impute sin to him. The original words (both in the Old and New Testament) whereby imputation is signified, do make it more clear; for both of them do signify an act of the mind, or will: bvx (which is used by the Psalmist) is properly to think, repute, esteem, or account, and (GREEK TEXT) hath the same signification***, (*** Vid. Scap. Lex. Ab Arithmeticis desumitur, & c. Farnovius.), it is usually applied to accountants, who when they have cast upon many sums, do set down at the foot, what they amount unto: So when a Man hath accounted with himself the loss and benefit, conveniences and inconveniencies that may accrue unto him, the result and issue of his deliberation, is significantly expressed by this word, it notes a steadfast purpose and resolution, Quae quasirationibus subductis, & explicatis conclusa est, it is opposed unto a doubtful and uncertain opinion. It notes either the purpose, or determination of one alone, or the consent and agreement of two between themselves, whereof Camerarius ttt (ttt Comment. In Ro 4:4,) gives us an instance out of Zenophon. This word is fitly used to signify this immanent act of God; for though he doth not purpose and resolve, in that manner as men do, by comparing things together; or by reasoning and concluding one thing out of another, yet are his purposes much more form and immutable, Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17; Nu 23:19. The Lord therefore did non-impute sin to his people, when he purposed in himself, not to deal with them according to their sins, when the Father and the Son agreed upon that sure and everlasting covenant, That his elect should not bear the punishment which their sins would deserve. The Remonstrants, do acknowledge, That non-imputation or remission of sin, is an immanent act in God, Quam Deus in sua ipsius mente essicit. We are commanded to forgive one another, as God hath forgiven us; now we know that our forgiveness is principally an act of the heart, as when a man purposeth in himself not to take revenge he doth then forgive. But of this we shall have occasion to speak more largely in our answer to Mr. Woodbridge’s first argument.

2. That which doth secure men from wrath, and whereby they are discharged and acquitted from their sins, is justification; but by this immanent act of God, all the elect are discharged and acquitted from their sins, and secured from wrath and destruction, Ergo. The assumption only will need to be proved, which is abundantly confirmed, (1) by those places which make mention of God’s unspeakable grace and love towards them, from everlasting: For what is the love of God, but his velle dare bonum; his fixed and immutable will, to bestow upon them the greatest good that they are capable of? Now when God set his love upon them, he said unto them, live? Eze 16:6. This will of God did secure them from death and destruction; it was a real discharge from condemnation, But (2) more plainly from the words of the Apostle, Ro 8:33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? The proposition is either an universal negative, No elect person can be justly charged with sin; or an universal affirmative, All elect persons are free from the charge of sin. Which way soever we take, it is evident, That the proposition is universal. Now if this privilege did belong only to elect believers (as some* would limit the text) the proposition were false; for though all true believers are elect persons, yet all the elect are not believers: It is as if one should say, Omne animal is rationale, and to excuse it, say, That by omne animal, he meant omnis homo; and to prove the expression legitimate, should allege that homo is often called animal, which is true, but very impertinent to prove, that omne animal may be put for omnis homo.

*See Burges of Justif. P. 186

5. All that I have yet seen alleged against this member of the distinction, That God’s will not to punish, is not justification, is of little moment.

It is objected, 1. That hereby justification and election are confounded.

I answer, That it follows not they may be both of them immanent, eternal acts, and yet not confounded: For election and reprobation are eternal, immanent acts, yet they are not confounded: For election and reprobation are eternal, immanent acts, yet they are not confounded. Indeed, all different immanent acts, are but one simple act in God, in whose decrees there is no priority or posteriority; seeing, (as Hilary speaks) Omnia penes Deum aequabili aeternitatis infinitate consistunt. Yet in our consideration they receive sufficient distinction from their various objects, and our various application of them: And thus election and justification are distinguished. Election includes both the end, which is the glory of God’s grace, and all the means from the beginning to the end, conducing thereunto. His will not to punish, includes precisely, and formally, only some part of the means.

2. It is objected, That justification imports a change of the persons fate, to wit, Ab injusto ad justum, which cannot be attributed to the simple, and unchangeable decrees of God.

I answer, That if justification be taken for the thing willed, viz. The delivery of a sinner from the curse of the law, then there is a great change made thereby; he that was a child of wrath by nature, hath peace and reconciliation with God. But if we take it for the will of God, not to punish, then we say, justification doth not suppose any such change; as if God had first a will to punish his elect, but afterwards he altered his will to a will not to punish them. The change therefore of a person’s state ab injusto ad justum ariseth from the law, and the consideration of man in reference thereunto; by whose sentence the transgressor is unjust; but being considered at the tribunal of grace, and clothed with the righteousness of Christ, he is just and righteous; which is not properly a different state before God, but a different consideration of one and the same person. God may be said at the same time to look upon a person, both as sinful and as righteous; as sinful in reference to his state by nature, and as righteous, in reference to his state by grace: Now this change being but imputed, not inherent, it supposeth not the being of the creature, much less any inherent difference in the state of the creature; no more than electing love, makes any inherent present change: Though the state of the loved, and hated are different in the mind of God, yet not in the persons themselves, till the different effects of love and hatred are put forth.

3. Others have objected, That hereby we make void the death of Christ; for if justification be an immanent act in God, it is antecedent, not only to faith, but to the merits of Christ; which is contrary to many Scriptures, that do ascribe our justification unto his blood, as the meritorious cause.

To which I answer, That although God’s will not to punish, be antecedent to the death of Christ; yet for all that, we may be said to be justified in him, because the whole effect of that will, is by, and for the sake of Christ. As, though electing love precede the consideration of Christ, Joh 3:16. Yet are we said to be chosen in him, Eph 1:4 because all the effects of that love, are given by, and through, and for him: God’s non-punishing of us, is the fruit of his death, yet his will not to punish, is antecedent thereunto.

4. Others say, we may as well call his will to create, creation; and his will to call, calling; and to glorify glorification; as his will to justify, justification.

We answer, That there is not the same reason for creating, calling and glorifying; all which do import, an inherent change in the person created, called, glorified; which forgiveness doth not, it being perfect and complete in the mind of God.

6. These things being weighed in the balances of an equal judgment, I suppose the phrase would not sound so harsh as it doth to many; however were the thing itself granted, That there was in God from everlasting, an absolute fixed and immutable will, never to deal with his people according to their sins, but to deal with them as righteous persons; this controversy were ended. For (1) God’s non-imputation of sin to his elect, is not purely negative; as the non-imputation of sin unto a stone, or other creatures, which are not capable of sinning; but privative, being the non-imputation of sin, realiter futuri in esse, as the imputation of righteousness, is, justitiae realiter future ae in existentia: The difference between these is as great, as between a man’s will, not to require that debt that shall or is about to be contracted, and his will not to require anything of one that never did nor will owe him anything. (2) This non-imputation of sin is actual, though the sin not to be imputed be not in actual being; in like manner, the imputation of righteousness is actual, though the righteousness to be imputed is not actual: Man whose thoughts arise de novo, doth non-impute, usually after the commission of a fault; but for God (who is without any shadow of change and turning) so to do, is absolutely impossible; for as much as there cannot arise any new will, or new thought in the heart of God,* (3) This act of justifying is complete in itself, for God by his eternal and unchangeable will, not imputing sin to his elect, none can impute it; and he in like manner imputing righteousness, none can hinder it. Neither doth this render the death of Christ useless, which is necessary by the ordinance of God, as a meritorious cause of all the effects of this justification; even as the eternal love of God is complete in itself, but yet is Christ the meritorious cause of all the effects of it, Eph 1:3-4. And therefore we say:

*See Kendals Vind. P. 134.  

7.2 That if justification be taken (as most commonly it is) not for the will of God, but for the thing willed by this immanent act of his, to wit, Our discharge from the law, and deliverance from punishment; so it hath for its adequate cause and principle, the death and satisfaction of Jesus Christ. Tho’ there be no cause of the former out of God himself (for the merits of Christ do not move God, to will, not to punish or impute sin unto us) yet is Christ the meritorious cause of the latter. It is from the virtue of his sacrifice, that the obligation of the law is made void, & the punishments therein threatened, do not fall upon us. By his death he obtained in behalf of all the elect, not a remote, possible, or conditional reconciliation, but an actual, absolute, and immediate reconciliation, as shall be proved anon.** And in this respect, all that were given unto Christ by the Father, may be said to be justified at his death, not only virtually, but formally; for the discharge of a debt is formally the discharge of the debtor. Their discharge from the law was not to be sub termino, or in Diem, but present and immediate, it being impossible that a debt should be discharged, and due at the same time. We acknowledge, That the effects of this discharge from the law, may be said to be sub termini, or in Diem: As for instance, from that full satisfaction and perfect righteousness which Christ hath performed, there arise these two things: One is, The non-execution of the desert of sin, (which we continually commit) upon us: That whereas the reprobate sin, and upon their sin the curse, with all the evils included in it, is upon them: The elect likewise sinning, yet for Christ’s sake the curse, or evil of suffering, is not inflicted upon them; which non-punishing quoad effectum, is forgiving, and not imputing sin: And in this sense, God is frequently said to forgive, when he doth not inflict punishment; and in this sense also, he is said often to forgive. The other is, The imputation of righteousness in the effects of it, whereby the effects of a true and perfect righteousness come upon the people of God; to wit, All good things both for this life and that which is to come; yea, those things which seem to be evil and hurtful (as their falls and afflictions) are ordered by the over-ruling hand of a wise and powerful Providence, to work together for good unto them. These effects are immediate in respect of causality, though not of time; For tho’ God doth not presently bestow them, but as he sees fit, both for his own glory and for their good; yet do they immediately flow from the merit of Christ, in regard there is no other meritorious cause that intervenes and concurs therewith in procuring of them. Notwithstanding, we say, That our discharge from the law, must needs be immediate and present, with the price or satisfaction that was paid for it, in regard, That it implies a contradiction, a debt should be paid and discharged, and yet justly chargeable. But of this we shall have occasion to speak more hereafter.

** Cap. 14.

8. Justification is taken for the declared sentence of absolution and forgiveness: And thus God is said to justify men, when he reveals and makes know to them his grace and kindness within himself. And in this sense do most of our divines take justification, defining it, The declared sense of absolution; and not improperly: For in Scripture phrase, (as we noted before*) things are then said to be, when they are declared and manifested: the declaring of things, is expressed in such wise, as if it made them to be; whereof many instances might be given; a very plain one there is, Ge 41:13. Pharaoh’s chief butler, speaking of Joseph’s interpretation, Me (says he) be restored, and him, i.e. the baker, be hanged; whereas he did but declare these successes unto them. So God is said to justify his people, when he manifests and reveals to them that mercy and forgiveness, which before was hidden in his own heart, to wit, that he doth not impute their sins, but contrariwise, doth impute righteousness unto them.

*Cap. 5. Sect. 4

Now the Lord at sundry times, and diverse ways hath, and doth declare, and manifest this precious grace unto his people; (1) More generally, towards all his elect; and (2) more particularly, to individuals, or numerical persons, The former is done (1) in the Word of God; and (2) in his works and actions.

9. First, God hath declared his immutable will, not to impute sin to his people; in his Word; The gospel, or New Covenant (being an absolute promise, as we shall shew anon,) may be fitly termed a declarative sentence of absolution unto all the elect, to whom alone it doth belong; the publication of the New Covenant is their justification. For which cause Maccovius makes justification to commence from the first promise, which was pronounced before the curse: So that if Adam had not been a public person, including both the elect and reprobate, there had been no curse at all pronounced, save only upon the serpent, or Satan; in reference to this promise it was, that the Apostle saith, The grace of God, 2Ti 1:9 and eternal life, Tit 1:2 was given to us, (GREEK TEXT), which doth not signify eternity, (as our translators carry it) but the beginning of time; it is of the same latitude with (GREEK TEXT), 2Th 2:13 some learned men have observed, that the phrase is most properly rendered ante tempora secularia, i.e. ante multa secula, vel sub ignition seculorum, to wit, in that famous promise of the woman’s seed, Ge 3:15. Now what was that grace, and life; which was given us in the beginning of times, but the grace of free justification, whereby we are made to stand just and righteous in the sight of God? This grace was revealed more clearly and distinctly in after ages, it shined brighter and brighter, till the day spring on high did visit us.*** Whose coming made it perfect day, in comparison whereof, former times were obscure darkness, Joh 3:19; Eph 3:5; 2Co 3:18, (&c.) And therefore grace and life are peculiarly ascribed to the times of the New Testament, or the clear exhibition of the New Covenant at the coming of Jesus Christ, 2Ti 1:10. And the gospel is said to cleanse and sanctify men (i.e. to justify them, or to purge them from an evil conscience) Joh 15:3; 17:17.

***Lu 1:78

10. Secondly, God hath declared his gracious sentence of non-imputing sin, and imputing righteousness unto his people in his works and actions, both towards Christ, and towards themselves: In his actions, or dealing with Jesus Christ, two ways. (1) In charging or transacting all their sins and iniquities upon him, Isa 53:6; 2Co 5:21; 1Pe 3:22. The Lord thereby declared his will and purpose, not to charge sin upon them, for whom Christ interposed himself a Surety: His imputing our sins to Christ, was formerly the non-imputing of them to us; God’s accounting of them unto him, was a discounting of them unto us; for they could not be accounted, or charged upon both, without a manifest contradiction in the thing itself, and in the justice of God, as it is that a debt should be wholly accounted to, and discharged by the surety, and yet the same debt afterward be justly accounted to, and charged upon him that first contracted it. I confess a debt may be charged both upon the principal and surety, before it be discharged, though afterwards to neither: But the case was not so, between Christ and us; God did not take his elect and Christ jointly to make satisfaction; or him upon our failing; or us upon his; but transacted the whole debt upon him alone. Now I say the Lord laying our iniquities in such a manner upon Christ, singly, absolutely and irrevocably, he plainly declared thereby, that it was his will never to lay them to our charge.

(2) In that public discharge or acquittance, which he gave unto Christ at his resurrection; the Lord by raising him from the dead, and (as it were) setting him free out of prison, openly declared, That he had received full satisfaction, for all those sins which Christ as a Surety had taken upon him, viz. For all the sins of all the elect. And for this reason (as an eminent divine observes*) the Lord sent an Angel to remove the stone from the mouth of the sepulcher, not to supply any want of power in Christ, who could himself have rolled it away with one of his fingers; but as a judge, when the law is satisfied, sendeth an officer to set open the prison unto him, who hath made that satisfaction: So the Father to testify, that his justice was fully satisfied, with the price which his Son had paid, sent an officer of Heaven to open the prison doors, and to set him free. Christ’s resurrection was a solemn judicial act, whereby God the supreme Judge justified both him and us,** (1) Him from all those sins which he had undertaken, whereunto our divines do apply these following Scriptures. Isa 50:8-9; 1Ti 3:16; Ac 13:35; Heb 9:21. (2) Us from our own sins. The resurrection of Christ, was (as Mr. Parker says well) an actual justification, of all them, for whom he became a surety; for (1) he was not justified from any sins of his own, being in himself just and innocent; but from those sins which were charged upon him in his death, which (saith the Prophet) were the iniquities of us all, Isa 53:6. If a debt be discharged, it cannot without manifest injustice be charged again; the discharge of the surety is the discharge of the principal. God by acquitting Christ from the guilt of our sins, did also fully acquit us from the same. (2) Christ in his death and resurrection was a common person; as in his death he was condemned for our sins, so in his resurrection he was justified from our sins: All the elect were justified in his justification; there is the same reason for their justification in Christ, as there is for the condemnation of mankind in Adam. Therefore (say the Apostle, Ro 5:18) as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so (or in like manner) by the righteousness of one (Man Christ) the free gift came upon all men, (viz. All in Christ) unto justification of life,

* D. Reyn. On Ps 110. Pag. 524

**See Cap. 3. sect. 4. Mr. Th. Goodwin’s Christ set forth sect. 3. c. 5.

11. Besides the general declaration of forgiveness unto all the elect, this gracious sentence, is also declared to particular person.

1. Externally, in foro Ecclesiae, by the sacrament of baptism, the minister of Christ standing in his stead,* by dipping or pouring water upon a person, doth in his name, or by his authority, declare and publish the washing away his sins by the blood of Christ: The principal thing which baptism holds forth, is our justification; it was ordained for the remission of sins, Lu 3:3 and Ac 2:38 not to obtain or procure this benefit, ex opere operato, but to declare, and obsignate unto men their interest therein. In Ro 6:3-5 we are said to be buried with Christ in baptism; and to be implanted thereby into the similitude of his death and resurrection. The meaning is, that our communion in the benefits of both, is hereby ratified and confirmed to us. Upon this ground, I conceive it was, That in the old liturgy, persons baptized, are said, to be regenerated, or born again,** i.e. translated into a new state, viz. From the old Adam, into the new Adam’s; From the power of darkness to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, Col 1:13. Which baptism doth not effect, but declare and seal; it having no other cause, but the grace of God, and he merits of Christ, Tit 3:5; 1Pe 3:21; 1Jo 1:7. The late assembly in their directory, say as much, viz. That baptism is a seal of the covenant of grace, of our engrafting into Christ, of our union with him, of our remission of sins, &c. It is strange to me, That they who say baptism is a seal of our justification, and hold that infants (who have not faith) ought to be baptized, should deny, that justification precedes faith. Now though this declarative sentence be but ministerial, and merely of order, (like the power of loosing, Joh 20:23 applied to hypocrites) to the greatest part of them that are baptized, whether they be infants, or adulti; yet to all the elect (to whom the effects of the covenant and seals do only and really belong) it is real and absolute. It is no other than the sentence of God himself, declaring his non-imputation of sin unto them, and their deliverance from death by Jesus Christ.****

*2Co 5:20

**Joh 3

****See Diod on Ac 2:38

12. Internally, in foro conscientiae, at their effectual vocation, when the Lord, by the preaching of the Gospel, doth powerfully persuade their hearts to believe in Christ; for the elect themselves, before faith, have no knowledge or comfort, either of God’s gracious volitions towards them, or of Christ’s undertakings and purchases in their behalf: In which respect they are said to be, without Christ, and without God in the world, Eph 2:12 and Ga 4:1. They are compared to an heir under age, who differs nothing from a servant, though he be the lord of all. By faith we come to see that everlasting love, wherewith we were loved; and that plenteous redemption which Christ hath wrought for us; for which cause, faith is called The evidence of things not seen, Heb 11:1. And God is said thereby, to reveal his righteousness from Heaven to us, Ro 1:17. And to reveal his Son in us, Ga 1:16. Now in this sense men are said to be justified by the act of faith, in regard faith is the medium, or instrument, whereby the sentence of forgiveness is terminated in their conscience; which is daily made more plain and legible by the operation of the Spirit, sealing and witnessing unto them their peace and reconciliation with God.** Whereas unbelievers look on God as their enemy, and consequently all their life time are held in bondage through the fear of wrath. A true believer hath peace, liberty, and boldness towards God; he looks upon all the promises as his own inheritance; interprets the providences of God (even those which reason would construe in another sense) to be fruits of love, and not of wrath.

**Eph 1:13; 4:30; Ro 8:16; 5:5.

12. Now because this declarative sentence, by faith is like the name written in the white stone, Re 2:17. Which no man knoweth, saving he that hath it: Many whom the Lord doth justify, are accounted by the world to be but hypocrites; others again are justified of men, who are not justified in the sight of God;* the Lord therefore hath another way of justifying his people, to wit, In foro Mundi, when he shall publicly, and in the hearing of the whole world, pronounce that gracious sentence, Come ye blessed of my Father, &c. Mt 25:34. Whereunto some have referred those words of the Apostle, Ac 3:19. Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of the refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. But whoso pleaseth to consult with Erasmus, Beza, and Ludouicus de Dieu upon the place, shall find there is a great mistake in our English translators, and that no such thing was intended there by the Holy Ghost: I grant, that the sins of the elect may be said to be then blotted out, not that the remission of their sins shall be put off, or is not complete, till the last day, and till they have performed all the conditions required of them; but because this gracious sentence shall be then publicly declared,** and shall bring forth its eternal effect of life and glory: And in this sense, I conceive those Scriptures may be understood, which speak of our justification, as a future thing, as Ro 3:30; 2:13. (&c.)

*Lu 16:15

**Diod. In loc.

13. Now though we have ascribed justification unto several times or periods, yet do we not make many justifications: Declared justification, (whether it be in foro Ecclesiae, in foro conscientiae, or in foro mundi) is not another from that in the mind of God, but the same variously revealed; as an acquittance in the heart of the creditor, and in a paper; a pardon in the heart of a Prince, and enrolled; is one and the same; this manifested, and the other secret; and though there are never so many copies written forth in several hands, they do not make many acquittances, or many pardons, being but the transcripts of one original: So though God doth at sundry times, and in divers manners declare his well-pleasedness towards his people; yet is their justification but one and the same, which is perfect and complete at once, being his fixed and immutable will, not to deal with them according to their sins, but as just and righteous persons. By that which hath been said, it doth appear in what sense we assert, The justification of God’s elect, before they believe: Now what little weight there is in those objections, which are commonly brought against this assertion, will be more manifest when we have examined Mr. Woodbridge’s treatise. Whose first quarrel against us, is for that, (as he conceives) we give too little unto faith, P. 2. But as it is no disparagement to the blood of Christ, that it doth not move and incline God to love us, or to will not to punish us; so it is no disparagement to faith, to say, That it doth not concur with the blood of Christ in obtaining our justification; but that by apprehending the Gospel it reveals and evidenceth to us that justification which we have in Christ, the proof whereof, is the task of the next chapter; wherein I doubt not, but I shall be able, through the help of God, to put by all those wretched consequences, which Mr. W. hath endeavoured to father upon this position, That faith serves to evidence to us our justification.



Wherein Mr. Woodbridge’s exceptions against our saying, [That faith or the act of believing, doth justify no otherwise, than as it reveals, and evidenceth our justification,] are answered.

The first charge which he brings against this gloss (as he calls it,) is, That it is guilty of a contradiction to the Holy Ghost. It is well known (says he) that the Apostle in his epistles to the Romans and Galatians, wets himself on purpose to assert the doctrine of justification by faith, in opposition to works. The question between him and the Jews, was not, Whether we are declared to be justified by faith or works; but, Whether we are justified by faith or works in the sight of God, or before God: And he concludes, That it is by faith and not by works, &c. Though all this be granted, yet it proves no contradiction to the Holy Ghost in our assertion: We acknowledge that the question between the Apostle and the Jews, was not about the declaring of our justification, nor about the time when we are justified; no, nor about the condition, upon which we are justified; but concerning the matter of our justification, or the righteousness whereby we are justified, or by which we are accounted righteous. Now the result of his dispute is, That we are justified by faith and not by works; but then the question will be, How faith is to be taken, whether sensu proprio, or metonymico; whether we are to understand it of the act, or of the object of faith? We have shewed before,* that the apostle in his disputes about justification in these fore-mentioned epistles, where he opposeth faith to works, he takes faith in a tropical sense for the object, and not the act of faith; For else, there had been no ground for him to make any opposition at all between faith and works; and in affirming, That we are justified by faith, he had contradicted himself in saying, That we are not justified by works, seeing faith or the act of believing is a work of ours no less than love. And therefore it evident, that the Apostle when he concludes, That we are justified by faith and not by works, understands by faith the object thereof, to wit, righteousness imputed and not inherent; which by way of distinction and opposition to the other, he calls the righteousness of God, because it is out of us, in Christ, God-man. The reason why the Apostle calls the object by the name of the act, Christ’s righteousness by the name of faith (besides the elegancy of the trope) is, because faith ascribes all unto Christ, it being an act of self-dereliction, a kind of holy despair, a denying and renouncing of all fitness, and worthiness in ourselves; a going unto Christ, looking towards him, and rolling of ourselves upon his all-sufficiency: So that in the Apostles sense, we deny not, That faith justifieth in the sight of God; faith (I say) taken objectively, to wit, For Christ and his righteousness; it is for his merits and satisfaction alone, that we are accounted just and righteous at God’s tribunal. But if faith be taken properly for the act of believing, we say indeed, That it only evidenceth that justification which we have in Christ. Nor is this any contradiction to the Holy Ghost, who ascribes our justification in the sight of God to Christ alone.

*Sec. c. 6. Sect. 2.

2. Next he calls it, A most unsound assertion, That faith doth evidence our justification before faith. Is the Apostle’s definition of faith, Heb 11:1. faith is the evidence of things not seen; An unsound assertion? Though some do ascribe more to faith than an act of evidencing, yet I never met with anyone before, that did totally deny this use thereof. All the knowledge that we have of our justification, is only by faith, seeing it cannot be discerned by sense or reason; either we have no evidence of our justification, and consequently do live without hope; or, if we have, it is faith that doth evidence it to our souls. Now let our justification be when it will, if faith doth evidence it, it will follow, That our justification was before that evidencing act of faith; for actus pendet ab objecto, the object is before the act. But I will not anticipate Mr. Woodbridge’s reasons.

3. If (says he) faith doth evidence our justification; it is either improperly, as an effect doth argue the cause, as laughing and crying may be said to evidence reason in a child, &c. Or else properly, and thus, either immediately and axiomatically, or remotely and syllogistically.

(1) Faith doth not evidence justification improperly, as the effect doth argue the cause. I shall readily grant him, that faith doth not justify evidentially, as a mark, sign, or token, but as a knowledge, and adherence unto Christ our Justifier; as that organ or instrument whereby we look not upon our faith, but upon Christ our righteousness; and by the same faith do cleave unto him. They that make faith a condition of our justification, use it but as a sign, or as an argument affected to prove, That a person is justified; seeing, that where one is, the other is also; where there is faith, there is justification; and for this cause innumerable other signs and marks, are brought in, to evidence this sign; which are more obscure and difficult to be known than faith itself, nay, which cannot be known to be effects of blessedness, but by faith; whereby poor souls either walk in darkness, live in a doubting and uncertain condition all their days, or else compass themselves about with sparks of their own kindling, and walk in the light of their own fire; fetching their comfort from faith, and not by faith from Christ. Though I might fairly pass by this branch of his dilemma, it being none of my tenant, and favoured more by his own than my opinion; yet I shall briefly give my sense of his reasons, That faith doth not evidence justification as a sign.

4. His first reason is, because then justification by faith, would not necessarily be so much as justification in our consciences: A Christian may have faith, and yet not have the evidence that he himself is justified: Many Christians have that in them, which would prove them justified, whiles yet their consciences do accuse and condemn them. To which I answer, 1. That Mr. W. may be pleased to consider, how well this agrees with that passage of his, pag. 15. Where he allegeth the words of the Apostle, 1Jo 3:20 to prove, That if our hearts do condemn us, God doth much more condemn us. 2. I should grant him, That if faith did evidence our justification, only as a sign, or some remote effect thereof, like other works of sanctification, it would be but a dark and unsatisfying evidence. 3. Whereas he says, That doubting Christians have something in them that would prove them justified; either it is something that precedes faith, or something that follows faith, or else faith itself. First, nothing that precedes faith, doth prove a man justified; secondly, Nothing that follows faith, is so apt to prove it, as faith itself, because it is the first of all inherent graces; it is by faith, that we know our love, patience, &c. to be fruits unto God; whereas some make doubting to be a sign of faith, they may as well make darkness a sign of light, it being in its own nature contrary thereunto, and therefore it must be proved by faith itself. 4. Tho’ a true Christian may have a doubting, accusing conscience (as doubtless there is flesh and corruption in their consciences, as well as in their other faculties; and there is no sin whereunto we have more and stronger temptations than to unbelief;) yet wheresoever there is faith, there is some evidence of this grace, as in the least spark of fire there is light, tho’ not so much as in a flame: And the least twinkling star gives us some light, tho’ not enough to dispel the darkness, or to make it day: There are several degrees of faith, there is (GREEK TEXT) and (GREEK TEXT), a strong faith, and a weak faith. Now the least degree of faith carries some light and evidence therewith; and according to the measure of faith, it is the evidence and persuasion of our justification.

5. Secondly, He urgeth, If faith did evidence justification, as an effect of it, then we might as truly be said to be faithed by our justification, as to be justified by our faith. I see no absurdity at all, to say, That faith is from justification causally, and justification by faith evidentially: That grace which justifies us, is the cause and fountain of all good things whatsoever, both of spiritual and temporal blessings, and more especially of faith, 2Pe 1:1; Php 1:29. Yet doth it not follow, That [We must invert the order of the gospel, and instead of saying, Believe, and thou shalt be justified; we must say hence forward, Thou art justified, therefore believe.] (1) Because it is not the privilege of all men to whom we preach, but only of the elect of God: And (2) because we know not who are justified, no more than who are elected; Tho’ faith be an effect or sign of election, yet it doth not follow, that we must say to any, Thou art elected, therefore believe. (3) When the cause is not notior effectu, we must ascend from the effect to the cause, as in the present case.

6. Thirdly, He loads it with this seeming absurdity, That then it will unavoidably follow, That we are justified by works as well as by faith; for works are an effect of justification, as well as faith. (1) It follows unavoidably from his own opinion: For if faith be taken in a proper sense for the act of believing, it follows, That we are justified by a work of our own; or, if faith be the condition of justification, it will follow likewise, That we are no more justified by faith than by other works, as repentance, charity, &c. Which Mr. W. and others of his strain,* do make the conditions of their supposed justification; so that he is like to Father the child, which he hath sought to lay at our doors. (2) It is not denied, That works do declare and evidence our justification; where the Apostle denies our justification to be by works, he speaks of our real and formal justification in the sight of God, which he affirms is by faith, scil. Objectively taken, and not of the declaring or evidencing of our justification; which St. James in his epistle attributes to works, in reference to men; and other Scriptures to faith in reference to the conscience of the person justified, Ro 1:17; Ga 2:16. (3) Though works be the effect of justification as well as faith, yet it will not follow, that works do evidence our justification as well as faith doth. (1) Because every effect is not apt to evidence it’s cause; especially when the same effect may proceed from several causes; as smoke is not so certain an evidence of fire, as light and heat is; because steams and mists are so like to smoke; so works do not evidence our justification so clearly and certainly as faith doth, because works may proceed from principles of natural ingenuity and morality, &c. as those heathens have performed. (2) Because every effect doth not evidence to every faculty alike, but this to one, and that to another; as for instance, fo___, or physiognomy doth evidence a man to sense, but yet reason requires another manner of evidence; so conscience requires a better evidence of our justification than works can give: Works do evidence it in the judgment of charity, and before men; but they do not evidence it in the judgment of infallibility, or with that clearness and demonstrative certainty, which the conscience requires; conscience will need a better evidence than works can give. Paul could plead his works before men, 2Co 1:12, which yet he never mentions in the pleas of his conscience towards God, and that which conscience dares not plead before God, can be no good evidence unto conscience.

*Dr. Hammond, & Mr. Baxter.

7. The other horn of his dilemma will be fray’d as easily as the former. Faith (saith he) doth not evidence justification properly; for then it must do it either immediately, and axiomatically, as it is an assent to this proposition, [I am justified] or else remotely and syllogistically, by drawing a particular conclusion of our own justification out of general propositions. But faith doth not evidence our justification axiomatically, &c. For (1) there is no such thing written, the Scripture doth nowhere say, Thou Paul, thou Peter, or thou Thomas are justified; Ergo, justification cannot be evidenced by faith immediately.

Mr. W. here mistakes the nature of true justifying faith, who (it seems) conceives it to be a bare intellectual assent to the truth of a proposition; (such as devils and reprobates may attain unto) contrary to all Orthodox divines, who do place faith more in the will than in the understanding. Justifying faith essentially includes, 1. An assent of the understanding to the truth of the Scriptures, revealing the sole sufficiency of Christ for the reconciliation of sinners, and the non-imputation of sin; as also the will and command of God, that all men should believe in him alone for life and salvation. 2. A fiducial adherence and reliance of the will upon the same Christ, the understanding being made effectually to assent and subscribe to the fore-mentioned propositions, Sub ratione veri; the will is also powerfully drawn, to accept, embrace, and adhere unto Christ, Sub ratione boni. Our divines do include both these acts in the definition of faith, making it to be Ficucialis assensus, or Assensus cum gust_. Such an assent unto the truths of the gospel, as that withal the soul tastes an ineffable sweetness in the same; and thereupon resteth, and relieth upon Christ for all the benefits of his death. They make the principal act of faith to be the reliance of the heart and will upon Jesus Christ, and therefore they determine, that the object of justifying faith is not a proposition or axiom, but Christ, and the mercy of God in Christ, on whom whosever rests and rolls himself upon the call of the Gospel, hath a certain evidence of his interest in Christ, and in all the treasures of righteousness and remission that are in him; according to the degree of his affiance, or his taste of sweetness in Christ, is his evidence or assurance of his own interest and propriety in him; There is no sense that doth apprehend it’s object with more certainty that that of tasting; as he that tastes honey, knows both the sweetness thereof, and that he himself enjoys it; So he that tastes the sweetness of the Gospel promises, and of that precious grace which is therein revealed, knows his interest and propriety therein. It is observed of Jonathan, 1Sa 14:27. When he tasted a little honey, his eyes were enlightened; and the Psalmist exhorts us to taste and see how good the Lord is. The soul that tastes, i.e. believes the gospel, and the goodness of God therein revealed to sinners, sees and knows his interest therein; for all manner of sweetness is a consequent and effect of some propriety, which we have in that good that causeth it, unto which the nearer our interest is, the greater is the sweetness which we find in it: The soul cannot taste any real sweetness in Christ and the gospel, but must need have some evidence his interest, propriety, and title to him. Now because (as Dr. Ames observes) by this act of faith, wherewith we rest and rely upon Christ, proposed to us in the gospel, we do immediately attain to the assurance of this truth [that my sins in particular are pardoned by Jesus Christ,] therefore some have seemed to speak as if this proposition, [I am justified, my sins are forgiven me,] were the proper object of justifying faith. I shall not stand to defend this expression, though the Doctor doth highly approve of it; Nor will I quarrel with Mr. W. about his expression, though I conceive his term axiomatical, is somewhat too narrow; for faith may be said to evidence our justification immediately, though it doth it not axiomatically, but organically, to wit, as it is the organ or instrument whereby we do apprehend and adhere unto Christ, by whom we are justified in the sight of God; the latter term is more adequate to the nature of faith, which is not only the assent of the mind, but the adhesion of the will to the object believed. But I shall yield him his term, and do say, that faith may be said to evidence our justification axiomatically, yet not be assenting to, and withal tasting and relishing those indefinite and general propositions, invitations, and promises that are held forth to us in the gospel, which by a secret and inscrutable work of the Holy Spirit, are applied and made particular to the soul of a true believer,***** for otherwise he could never taste any sweetness in them. So that Mr. Woodbridge’s exclamation against a carnal, presumptuous, and soul-damning faith, is altogether impertinent, seeing we do not say, that a man is justified by his assent to written, and therefore much less to unwritten verities: If justifying faith were no more than an axiomatical assent, (as Mr. W. seems to intimate it is) I see no reason why all they that have such a faith, as devils and reprobates, who believe with an historical assent, should not be justified; this is really, the carnal, presumptuous, damning faith of the world.

*****See D. Jackson of faith, sect. I.c.9.n. 4. p.147. The spirit makes the general call particular, &c. Shep. Sound Believer, p. 222.

8. His second reason against faith’s evidencing our justification axiomatically, is nothing to the purpose, [The faith (saith he) by which we are justified, is the faith which the Apostles and ministers of the gospel are to preach to the whole world, and to press it upon their consciences, Ac 20:21; 13:38-39. But we cannot press upon every man in the world to believe that he is justified, &c.] Seeing we do not press every man to believe that he is justified, tho’ (according to our commission given us from Christ) we do press all men to believe, 1. Assensa intellectus, to acknowledge that there is a sufficiency of merit in Christ for the justification of sinners; that they themselves are such, and that it is impossible for them to escape the curse by any other means. 2. Amplexu, vel motu voluntatis, to accept, embrace, and cleave unto Jesus Christ, being infinitely better for them than all the world besides. By this it will appear, what little reason Mr. W. hath, to charge us with pressing men to believe a lie, seeing we require no man’s assent to anything which is not true. We do not press every man to believe. That he is justified, but to believe, that there is a sufficiency in Christ for his justification, and to rely upon him, and him alone, for this benefit.

9. So that there will be no need for Mr. Eyre to retract his sermons as falsehoods, which he hath formerly preached against universal redemption: For tho’ the command of believing be to be pressed upon all men (in that manner as hath been shewn) yet it will not follow, That Christ died for all men. It seems Mr. W. is offended at those sermons of mine, since he hath had a smack of Mr. B. notions, That Christ died conditionally for all men; yea, for the reprobates themselves; which though it be countenanced with the names of Cameron, Testardus, and Amyraldus, and of some others, who are of great note amongst our own; yet (may I have leave to speak my mind) I conceive it to be very unsound: For 1. To say that Christ died for any upon an impossible condition, is to say, That he died in vain, at least so far, or in respect of them, which the Apostle looks upon as a gross absurdity, (Ga 2:21.) 2. For whom Christ died, he without doubt purchased faith and all necessary good things. This the Apostle accounts unquestionable, Ro 8:32. He that spared not his own Son, but gave him to death for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? What is Mr. Woodbridge’s judgment in this point, I cannot tell, nor doth it much matter that I should enquire. I need not inform him what advantage they that are for universal redemption in the grossest sense, do make of his doctrine of a conditional justification, impetrated by the death of Christ. It is the only (GREEK TEXT), that they have to shelter their heads withal; when they are pressed, That if Christ died for all, then all shall be saved, because it must needs be, that Christ must have the purchases of his death, Joh 11:42; Isa 53:11. No (say they) it will not follow, because some do not perform the condition required on their parts. [These two propositions, Christ redeemed all men, and yet the impenitent, unbelieving, and reprobate world, shall never be saved by him, may be easily reconciled; because the benefits of Christ’s death are given upon condition, not absolutely; and therefore they that do not perform the condition, shall never be saved by his death.] It were easy to shew that this salvability, or conditional salvation, is the very corner stone in the Remonstrants building.

10. This passage puts me in mind of two absurdities, which Mr. F. Woodbridge, my antagonists brother (who a while after came and preached over his brothers arguments, with some small additions) charged upon our doctrine. The first was, That it doth necessarily infer universal redemption. Will it follow, That because the elect are justified in foro Dei, before they believe; therefore all men are redeemed and justified? One may as well reason, Some men were elected before they believed. Ergo, All men were elected. Perhaps he will say, we cannot press or exhort every man to believe. That he is justified, unless all men are justified: There is no more necessity, that we should press every man to believe that he is justified, than that he is elected; this is pitifully inconsequent. The second was, That it raiseth the foundation of all actions, tending to the gathering and reforming of Churches; Why should any be excluded from Church ordinances, if they are justified? (1) I must tell him, That I cannot think him an hearty friend to the gathering and reforming of Churches, who deserted a congregation in New England, whereof he was pastor, to become a parish parson in the Old; and not only so, but hath stood to maintain that parishes are true Churches.* It is like Barford in Old England, is (if not a purer Church) yet a better parsonage than Andover in the New. We are not much beholding to New England for such reformers. (1) If we may judge of a man’s principles by his practice, we should then believe, that he himself holds universal justification, at least within the bounds of his own parish; for, as I am informed, he makes no distinction at all in this behalf. I am ashamed to hear men to talk of reformation, who tread Antipodes to it; especially, when they have liberty to follow the dictates of their consciences. But (3) I had though he had known, that de occultis non jusicat Eccleesia; and that election and justification are not the rule of admitting persons into Church Communion, but their sound profession and suitable conversation. A reprobate, or unjustified person, may lawfully be admitted into, and an elect person may as lawfully be excluded out of a Church. I dare not say, That the excommunicated person at Corinth, and others under that censure, were not justified: The evidence we have of men’s justification, is but the judgment of rational charity, and not of infallibility. But enough of this; I shall return again to his Brother B. W. who I suppose will not own such irrational consequences.

*In a sermon at an irregular ordination in Sarum, where ministers are ordained, not fixed to any Church; and some an hundred miles distant from the place of their ministry.

11. The other part of his contradiction, is, [That faith cannot evidence justification syllogistically; to wit, By the discourse of conscience after this, or the like manner, He that believeth, is justified, but I believe, Ergo, I am justified. Now (says Mr. W. magisterially enough) I affirm, that it is impossible for a man by faith, to evidence syllogistically, that he is justified before faith.] Though I honor him highly, I cannot rest satisfied with his (GREEK TEXT); but what reason doth he bring for his confident affirmation? [1. Because there cannot be found a medium before faith itself.] Ans. Nor is it needful there should. (1) It is sufficient, that faith itself is the medium; as thus, He that believeth, was justified before faith; but I do believe, Ergo. The major is proved, because his sins were laid on Christ, and thereby non-imputed to him. (2) To imagine any other medium before faith, is frivolous; for that were to require, that faith should evidence before faith had a being. (3) Why may not faith be a medium to evidence our justification before faith, as well as our election before faith? Seeing the same word which affirms, That all believers were elected before the foundations of the world, affirms also, That the elect without exception are discharged, and acquitted of their sins, Ro 8:33. Shall we reason thus, Our election cannot be evidenced before faith. Ergo, We were not elected before faith? Mr. Woodbridge’s arguing makes as much against evidencing election before faith, as against the evidencing of our justification before faith: [Because there is no sort of persons, of whom ELECTION can be affirmed universally, but only such as do believe; seeing all the world is distributed into believers, and unbelievers; but ELECTION cannot be affirmed of unbelievers universally.] It proves indeed, That neither election, nor justification, are evident to us, before we believe; it doth not prove, That by faith we cannot evidence syllogistically, that we were both elected and justified, before we did believe. As for that mad syllogism (as he calls it) which follows; All believers are justified, but I am an unbeliever, Ergo. It is the offspring of his own brain, hatched on purpose to make the matter ridiculous: But we must excuse the luxuriousness of his wit, seeing Nullum est magnum ingenium fine mixture a insaniae. His other syllogism which he hath framed to evidence justification by election, as thus, all the elect are justified, but I am elected; Ergo, was framed in the same mould. A mere man of clouts, which he himself created, to shew his valor in beating of him. We do not teach men to evidence justification by election, but both election and justification by their faith, proceeding from the effect to the cause, as we needs must, when the effect is more evident than the cause. Though I like not the argument, yet by his leave, the major is so far from being utterly false, that it is justified by the express testimony of the Apostle, Ro 8:33. But this is besides the purpose. That miserable circle into which he pretends the poor, restless, doubting soul is conjured by our doctrine is but a vertigo, and whimsy in his own pericrany. We do neither bid men evidence their justification by their election, nor their election by their justification; but both election and justification, by a stedfast adherence and reliance upon Jesus Christ; and from thence, to reason out our particular interest in these blessed privileges, as we do the being of causes, by the proper effects which flow from them.

12. His next argument, against faith’s evidencing justification syllogistically, if it be put into the scale of an impartial judgment, will appear as light as the former. It runs thus, [If we are said to be justified by faith, because faith doth evidence justification syllogistically, then we may be said to be justified by sense and reason, as well as by faith, which is absurd.] This consequence indeed is very absurd; for the conclusion is of faith, and so adjudged the schools, if the major be of faith; else this conclusion (I shall rise again from the dead,) were not of faith, because it is inferred partly by sense and reason, as thus, All men shall rise again, I am a man; Ergo, I shall rise again. Here the major only is of faith, the minor is of sense; and yet the conclusion is an act of faith, and not of sense. So in this syllogism, He that believes is justified; But I do believe, Ergo, I am justified. Though the assumption be an act of sense, or spiritual experience, yet the conclusion is an act of faith, because the major is of faith: For though in both these deductions, sense and reason are made use of, yet they are but subservient instruments, and not the authors of the conclusion.

13. Mr. W. hath added a third argument, to prove, That justification by faith, is not merely a justification in our consciences, which I question not, will prove as unsuccessful as the rest. But by the way, I cannot choose but take notice, that his spirit of contradiction is somewhat allayed: For hitherto he hath contended, That justification by faith is not in an sense a justification in conscience; now he tells us, it is not merely a justification in conscience; and if this will satisfy him, it is like we shall agree; for, before we have shewn, that when faith is objectively taken, justification by faith is justification by Christ, and in the sight of God, and not only in the conscience. And therefore his suggestion in the minor proposition, That we interpret the phrase of justification by faith, merely of justification in conscience, is false and groundless. But let us weigh the force of his argument a little more distinctly; the sum of it then is this, justification by faith is not justification in our consciences; for then we should be concurrent causes with God, in the formal act of our justification: The formal act of pronouncing us just, must be attributed unto us, which the Scripture attributes unto God alone, making us but, passive therein, Ro 8:33 and Ro 4:6,8. To which I answer, That the pronouncing of us just, is not the formal act of justification, but the imputing of righteousness, and the non-imputing of sin, which is the act of God alone; whereas the pronouncing of us just and righteous, is in Scripture attributed to others besides God, and yet no robbery is done to God: As for instance, the minister of Christ pronounceth the word of grace and forgiveness, and therefore is said to remit and forgive sin, Whoso sins ye remit, they are remitted, Job 20:23. Is he therefore joined with God in the formal act of justification? Yet all Protestants grant him the office of pronouncing remission, tho’ they deny him the power of giving real remission, which would make him arrogate that which is peculiar unto God: So, though we say, That faith doth declare and reveal to our consciences the sentence of absolution, yet we do not thereby derogate from God, or attribute that to faith which belongs to God. We grant, that as to our justification in the sight of God, (which is properly justification) we are merely passive; we contribute nothing at all either physically or morally, by way of merit, or motive, That God should account us righteous, and not impute to us our sins. This work was done without us, and for us, by Christ with his Father;* it hath no other cause but the grace of God, and the merit of Christ. He, and he alone, purged and washed us from our sins in his own blood, Re 1:5; Heb 1:3. Now in regard of our passiveness in this act of our justification, we say, That faith hath no hand at all in procuring, obtaining, and instating us in this grace; for if we did anything tho’ never so little, in order to this end, we were not passive but active: Yet we say, That as this gracious sentence of our justification is revealed and terminated in our own consciences, so faith hath an instrumental efficacy; we are therein (GREEK TEXT) agents with God, 2Co 6:1. And the Spirit (GREEK TEXT) beareth witness with our spirits, Ro 8:16. And therefore tho’ we are nowhere exhorted to justify, or to make ourselves righteous in the sight of God, yet we are oftentimes bid to grow in faith, and to press forward to more assurance in believing our peace and reconciliation with God, 2Pe 1:5; 3:18; Ro 5:1.

*See Hilder, on Ps 51. Lect. 128. P. 604.

14. This concession of Mr. W. [That a man is wholly passive in his justification,] gave occasion to the first argument I offered to his consideration; it being, as I conceive, a flat contradiction to the chief scope and intendment of his sermon, which was to derive to faith, at least a federal or moral causality in our justification. I am sorry I should have so much cause to complain of his injurious dealing, not only in that unworthy language he is pleased to give me, but in casting my argument into another form, then that wherein I proposed it. In his report it runs thus, {If we are altogether passive in being justified, then we are justified before we believe.] In which form, I confess it is obnoxious to more exceptions than one; for, besides the grammatical part, which is very harsh, the logical consequence may be justly blamed; Though the consequent be true, yet it is not a true consequence, it is not rightly inferred from the antecedent: Though we are passive in our justification, yet it doth not follow from thence, That we were justified before we believed. A man is passive in the first act of his conversion, yet it were absurd to conclude; therefore a man was converted before he had a being, or ever heard of the Gospel. But the argument as I proposed it, was as followeth. If we are wholly passive in our justification, then our faith doth not concur to the obtaining of it, or we are not justified by the act of faith in the sight of God. But (according to you) we are wholly passive in our justification, Ergo, faith doth not concur unto our justification, or we are not justified by the act of faith. His answer hereunto I could not very well heed, by reason of my distance from him, and the rudeness of some people (who do go for professors) that stood about me; but as I conceived it was to this effect, That faith doth necessarily concur to the application of this privilege, whereunto I replied, But the application of this benefit is not justification; the one being God’s act, the other ours. His answer in print, we are sure, is authentic; let us see therefore, how well he hath now quitted himself from the guilt of this contradiction. 1. He calls the argument a childish exception, a piece of witchery, and wonders it should proceed out of my mouth. I must confess, I cannot but wonder to hear such language from a civil man, much more from a minister and more especially from one, who hath sometimes owed me more respect; let the prudent judge whether there be any ground for this hideous clamor. 2. He shapes some kind of answer to the sequel, That though faith be a formal, vital act of the soul, in genere physico; yet the use of it in justification, is but to qualify us passively, that we may be morally capable of being justified by God. And again, faith is required on our part; which though physically it be an act, yet morally it is but a passive condition, by which we are made capable of being justified, according to the order and constitution of God. Now here 1. I shall desire the reader to observe how much Mr. W. is beholding to a Popish tenant (opposed by all our Protestant writers) to support his cause, which is, That faith goes before justification, to dispose us for it, &c. Bellarmine undertakes to prove, that faith doth not justify alone; because there are other things, to wit, fear, hope, love, penitency, a desire of the sacraments, and a purpose of amendment of life: all which (says the Jesuite) do prepare and dispose a man for justification as well as faith. Against whom all our Protestant divines which my little library hath obtained, do unanimously affirm, That faith doth not dispose, or prepare us for justification; Now were they all bewitched as well as we, who would not subscribe to this Popish dictate? 2. I shall leave it to the reader to judge, whether my argument or his answer doth deserve this censure, when he hath weighed the reasons I shall give, That faith cannot be said to justify by way of disposition, or as a passive condition, morally disposing us for justification.

09. CHAP. IX.


That faith doth not justify, as a condition required on our part, to qualify us for justification.

In regard, that the main point in difference between me and Mr. W. lies at the bottom of this answer, I shall make it appear we are not said to be justified by faith in a scripture sense, because faith is required of us as a passive condition, to qualify us for justification in the sight of God.

1. That interpretation of the phrase, which gives no more to faith in the business of our justification, than to other works of sanctification cannot be true; The reason is because the Scripture doth peculiarly attribute our justification unto faith, and in a way of opposition to other works of sanctification, Ro 3:28; Ga 2:16; 3:11. But to interpret justification by faith merely thus, That faith is a condition to qualify us for justification, gives no more to faith than to other works of sanctification, as to repentance, charity, and all other duties of new obedience; which Mr. W. and others of the same opinion, make to be necessary antecedent conditions of justification. Mr. B. includes all works of obedience to evangelical precepts, in the definition of faith, in which sense, I presume no Papist will deny that we are justified by faith alone, taking it as he doth, for fides formata, or faith animated with charity and other good works. And therefore Bellarm. disputing against justification by faith alone, says, that if we could be persuaded, that faith doth justifie, impetrando, promerendo, & fuo modo inchoando justificationem (which is granted him, if faith be an antecedent, federal condition, disposing us for it) then we would never deny that love, fear, hope, &c. Did justify as well as faith. Dr. Hammond says expressly, That neither Paul nor James do exclude or separate faithful actions, or the acts of faith from faith, or the condition of justification, but absolutely require them as the only things by which we are justified: Which in another place he goes about to prove by this argument, That without which we are not justified, and by which, joined with faith we are justified, is not by the Apostle excluded or separated from faith, or the condition of our justification; but required together with faith as the only things, by which, as by a condition, a man is justified. But without acts of faith, or faithful actions, we are not justified, and by them we are justified, and not by faith only. Therefore faithful actions, or acts of faith, are not by the Apostle excluded or separated from faith, or the condition of our justification; but required together with faith, as the only things, by which as by a condition, a man is justified. It is evident, that he and other abetters of this notion, attribute no more to faith in our justification, than to other works of sanctification; now this was witnessed against, as an unfound opinion, a pernicious error, and utterly repugnant to the sacred Scriptures, &c.* by Mr. Cranford amongst the London subscribers, Decemb. 14, 1647 and by Mr. W. himself (if I mistake not) amongst the subscribers in other counties. It seems (by Mr. W.) they were bewitched when they gave their hands unto that testimony.

*See Testium. to the truth, &c. p. 4. and 15.

2. That interpretation of this phrase, which gives no more to faith, than to works of nature, I mean such as may be found in natural and unregenerate men, is not true: The reason is, because a man may have such works, and yet not be justified. But to interpret justification by faith, that faith is necessary antecedent condition of our justification, gives no more to faith than to works of nature, as to sight of sin, legal sorrow, &c. which have been found in natural & unregenerate men, as in Cain, Saul, Judas, &c. I presume, Mr. W. will say that these are necessary antecedent conditions in every one that is justified; for if these be conditions disposing us to faith, and faith a condition disposing us to justification, then are they also conditions disposing us to justification, for causa causae, est causa causati; if these legal works are conditions of faith, they must be (according to Mr. Woodbridge’s tenet) conditions of justification, and consequently they are in eodem genere causae with faith itself, quod erat demonstrandum.

2. That by which we are justified, is the proper, efficient, meritorious cause of our justification; but faith considered as a mere passive condition, is not in the sense of our adversaries a proper, efficient meritorious cause of justification; therefore we are not said to be justified by faith as a passive condition, or qualification required, to make us capable of justification. The assumption is granted by our opponents, at least verbo tenus, who do therefore call it a mere find qua non (which logicians make to be causa ociosa, & nihil efficiens,) and a passive condition to exclude it from all manner of causality in producing the effect; tho’ for my own part I look upon conditions in contracts and covenants, as proper, efficient, meritorious causes of the things covenanted, which do produce their effects, tho’ not by their innate worth, yet by virtue of the compact and agreement made between the parties covenanting. But of this we shall have occasion to speak more by and by: It remains only, that I should clear the major, that That by which we are justified is the proper, efficient, meritorious cause of our justification; which appears, I. By the use of these propositions, by and through, in ordinary speech, which note that the thing to which they are attributed is either a meritorious, or instrumental cause of the effect that follows; as when we say, a soldier was raised by his valour, it imports, that his valour was the meritorious cause of his preferment; and when we say, a tradesman lives by his trade, our meaning is, That his trade is the means or instrument by which he gets his living: So here in the case before us, when it is said a man is justified by faith, it implies, That faith is either the meritorious or instrumental cause of his justification; as if it be taken objectively, for Christ and his merits, it is the meritorious cause of our justification in foro Dei; or if it be taken properly for the act of believing, it is the instrumental cause of our justification in foro conscientiae. 2. From the contrary phrase, as when the Apostle denies, That a man is justified by works, and by the Law, without doubt his intent was to exclude works from any causal influx into our justification. Now that which he denies to works, he ascribes to faith, and therefore justification by faith, implies that faith in his sense, hath a true causality, or proper efficiency in our justification. 3. From other parallel phrases in Holy Scripture, where we are said to be redeemed, justified, and saved, per Christum, per sanguinem, per mortem, per vulnera. All which do signify, That Christ and his sufferings, are the true, proper, and meritorious cause of these benefits; and so it must be understood, when we are said to be justified by faith; and not that faith is but a fine qua non, or mere cypher in our justification: faith objectively taken, is a proper meritorious cause of our justification.

4. I shall make use of my adversaries weapon, of that very medium which Mr. W. last alleged, page 8. That interpretation of the phrase which makes us at least concurrent causes with God and Christ in the formal act of our justification is not true, because our justification in respect of efficiency, is wholly attributed unto them, Ro 8:33; 4:6; 8:3,24. The internal moving cause, was his own grace; and the only external procuring cause is the death of Christ; there is no other efficient cause besides these: We can be no more said to justify ourselves than that we created ourselves. But to make faith a condition, morally disposing us to justification, makes us at least concurrent causes with God and Christ in our justification.

1. We should not be justified freely by his grace, if any condition were required of us in order to our justification, for, a condition (as Mr. Walker observes well) whensoever it is performed, makes the thing covenanted a due debt, which the promiser is bound to give, and then as he infers, justification should not be of grace but of debt, contrary to the Apostle in Ro 3 and Ro 4.  2. If faith were a condition morally disposing us for justification, we should then be concurrent causes with the merits of Christ in procuring our justification; for the merits of Christ are not a physical, but a moral cause, which obtain their effect, by virtue of that covenant which was made between him and the Father; now by ascribing unto faith a moral, causal influx in our justification, we do clearly put it in eodem genere causae, with the blood of Christ, which I hope Mr. W. will better consider of, before he engageth too far in Mr. Baxter’s cause.

5. That interpretation of this phrase which makes works going before justification, not only not sinful, but acceptable to God, and preparatory to the grace of justification, without controversy, is not according to the mind of the Holy Ghost: For as much as the Scripture frequently declares, That no man’s works are acceptable to God before his person is accepted and justified; the tree must be good, or else the fruit cannot be good, Lu 6:43-44. Mt 12:33; Job 15:5. That of Aug. is sufficiently known, Opera non praecedunt justificandum, sed sequuntur justificatum; the old orthodox doctrine taught in these churches in England was, that works before justification are not pleasing unto God, neither do they make men meet (i.e. do not qualify or morally dispose them) to receive grace; and we doubt not but they have the nature of sin. I could muster up a legion of Orthodox writers to defend this tenant, that no qualification or act of ours before justification, doth prepare or dispose us for justification. Nay, the Council of Trent confesseth, That none of those things which precede justification, whether it be faith, or other works, do obtain the grace of justification. But to interpret justification by faith, that faith is a condition which doth qualify us for justification, necessarily supposeth a work, or works before justification, which have not the nature of sin, but are acceptable to God, and preparatory to grace, viz. the grace of justification, which is most properly called grace.*****

. *****See Down. of Just. I.3.c. I. &c 2.

6. That interpretation of any phrase of Scripture, which involves a contradiction, is not to be admitted; but to say faith is a passive condition that doth morally qualify us for justification, implies a contradiction; Ergo, The proposition is undeniable, and the assumption is to me as clear To be both active and passive in reference to the same effect, is a flat contradiction. Now that is active which is effective, which contributes an efficacy whether more or less to the production of the effect. A condition though in the logical notion of it, it hath not the least efficiency; and therefore Aristotle never reckoned this sine qua non, in the number of causes, yet in the use of the jurist (as we are now speaking of it) it is a moral efficient cause, which is effective of that which is promised upon condition. Chamier hath well observed** That omnis condition antecedens est effectiva, he that performs the least condition imaginable for having of any benefit, is active and passive, in obtaining of it. We will look after no other instance than that which Mr. W. hath set before us: An offender against our laws that is saved by his clergy, or by reading his neck-verse, he is not passive, but active in saving of his life, he may properly be said to have saved himself, his reading being not only a physical act, but a moral efficient cause, which makes that favorable law to take effect. To say he is passive, because he made not the law, nor sits as judge on the bench to absolve himself, is but a shift to blind the eyes of the simple, seeing that when more causes than one concur, to an effect, the effect may be denominated from the lowest, that which doth least is an active efficient cause; nay in this case the malefactor doth more in saving of his life, than either the law or judge; for though pro forma, he acknowledgeth the grace of the state, and the courtesy of the judge unto him: yet as the Welchman that was bid to cry God bless the King, and the judge cried, God bless her Father and Mother, who taught her to read, intimated he was more beholding to his reading than to the courtesy of the judge, for else the Judge would have been severe enough, his mercy would have deserved but little thanks. I must needs tell my old friend, Non loquitur ut Clericus. We say such a man is passive in saving his life, who is not required to read or perform any other condition, but receives a pardon of mere grace: In like manner he is passive in his justification, that doth nothing at all towards the procuring of it; he that performs the least condition in order thereunto, is not only physically, but morally active in obtaining this privilege. For though he did not make the law by, and according to which he is justified; nor pronounce the sentence of absolution upon himself; yet he hath a subordinate, or less principal efficiency in producing the effect; nay, a learned man*** (whom I hope Mr. W. will not think more worthy to be derided, than disputed with) tells us, That he that performs conditions for justification, doth more to his justification than God, who made only a conditional grant, notwithstanding which, he might have perished; but he by performing the condition, makes the grant to be absolute: And truly, (says the same author) whosoever makes faith the condition of the New Covenant, in such a sense as perfect obedience was the condition of the Old, cannot avoid it; but that man is justified chiefly by himself, and his own acts; not so much by God’s grace in imputing Christ’s righteousness, but more by his own faith, which is his own act, though of God’s work. God by making his supposed gracious conditional promise, doth not justify any man**** for that makes no difference at all amongst persons: It remains therefore, that man must be said to justify himself; for where there is a promise of a reward made to all, upon condition of performing such a service, he that obtains the reward gets it by his own service; without which the promise would have brought him never a whit the nearer to the reward. Thus a man justifies himself by believing more a great deal, than God justifies him by his promulgation of the conditional promise, which would have left him in his old condition, had not he better provided for himself by believing, than God by promising: as in the old Covenant, it was not God’s threat that brought death upon the world, just so in the new (if it be a conditional promise) it is not the promise that justifies a believer, but the believer himself.

** Tom. 3. I.p.5 c.5. S.2.
*** Mr. Kendal against Goodwin, c. 4. 141.
**** Ib. p. 140.

 7. Mr. W. may as well call the blood of Christ a passive condition, in our justification, because it did not make the law, nor pronounce the sentence of absolution; let the indifferent reader consider, whether this be not (I will not say a childish, but) an impertinent answer, which draws his former concession quite aside from the matter now under debate; for the question is not, whether man did concur in making the law and rule of his justification; but whether he hath any causal influx in producing the effect; or whether before justification, he can, or doth perform any condition, to which God hath infallibly promised this grace? Which (if granted) will conclude, That he is not passive, but active in his justification; when our Protestant divines say, That a man is passive in his first conversion: Their meaning is, That he can perform no condition at all, to which God hath inseparably annexed the grace of conversion: So Cameron* expresseth their sense and meaning, Vocatio nullam poscit in objecto conditionem; For though a man before conversion do perform many natural acts, which have a remote tendency to this effect, as hearing, reading, meditating, &c. yet for all we say, He is passive therein, because these are not such conditions to which God hath promised saving grace: So though a man doth never so many natural acts, or duties, whereunto God hath not immediately promised this privilege, he is but passive for all in his justification; but if he do perform any condition, to which justification is promised, then he is active, and consequently may be said to justify himself.

*Cam. Tom. 3.p.569.

8. But says Mr. W. We do no more justify ourselves, than we do glorify ourselves, it is God alone doth both, and we are passive in both Pag. 8. And again, It is God that glorifies us, and not we ourselves; yet surely God doth not glorify us, before we believe, Pag. 10.

First, I shall readily grant him, that we do neither justify, nor glorify ourselves; seeing that we obtain neither of these benefits by our own works: From the very beginning, to the end of our salvation, nothing is primarily or causally active, but free grace;* all that we receive from God is gift and not debt: Glory itself is not wages, but grace. For though it be called, The recompense of reward, Heb 11:27 yet that is not to be understood in a proper sense, as when the reward is for the work, which may be two ways. First, when the work is proportionable to the wages, as when a labourer receives a shilling for a day’s work, here the work doth deserve the wages, because the work doth him that pays the wages as much good as the wages doth the worker. Now surely, no reward can come from the Creator, to the creature in this way, because no man can do any work that is profitable unto God, Ps 16:2; Job 22:3; 35:8; Ro 11:35. The very Papists will not say, that glory is a reward in this sense. Works (saith Bishop Gardner**) do not deserve salvation, as a workman deserveth his wages for his labor. Secondly, when the work is not answerable to the wages, but yet the wages is due by promise upon the performance of it; as when a poor man hath twenty shillings for an hours labour, though the work be not worth it, yet is it a due debt, and he may challenge it as such, because it was promised him: In this sense, neither is glory a reward; for under the New Covenant, Blessedness is not to him that worketh, but to him that worketh not, Ro 4:5. We are saved by grace and not by works, Tit 3:5; Eph 2:5,8. And saith the Apostle, If by grace, then it is no more of works; Ro 11:6. But when glory is called a reward, we are to understand it improperly, as when a thing is called a reward only by way of analogy and resemblance, because it comes after and in the place of the work; as the nights rest may be called the reward of the days labour, because it succeeds it. Thus is that of the Apostle to be taken, 2Th 1:7. And thus the heir inheriting his Father’s lands, hath a recompense or reward of all the labour and service he hath done for his Father, although he did not his service to that end, neither doth the enjoyment of that inheritance hang upon that condition. In this sense, eternal life and glory may be called the reward of our works, because it is a consequent of them; not that our works have any influence, either physical or moral to obtain it: All things being given us, in, and for Christ alone, Ro 8:32; Eph 1:3. And therefore it is called by the Apostle A reward of inheritance, Col 3:24. Which comes to us not by working, but by inheritance, as we are the heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. If glory were a reward in a proper sense, we might properly be said to save and glorify ourselves, because we concurred to the production of this effect; but Mr. W. says well, It is God that glorifies us; eternal life is called his gift in opposition to wages, Ro 6:23; 2Ti 4:8. It is solely the effect of God’s grace, and Christ’s purchase; though God doth glorify us after working yet not for any of those works which we have wrought though by the help and assistance of his own Spirit.

* Reynolds on Ho 14. Serm. 4. sect. 18.
** Answer to G. Foy. fol. 20. b.

9. But yet secondly, Though God doth not glorify us before we believe, yet it will not follow, that he doth not justify us before we believe. For first, if we take justification pro volitione Dei, for the will of God not to punish, he cannot but know, there is not the same reason of an immanent act of God, which is eternal, and of a transient act which is in time; or secondly, if we take it pro re volita, as it is the fruit and effect of Christ’s death, it will not follow, that because we have not glorification before believing, we have not justification: For though all the blessing of the Covenant are given us freely, and not upon conditions performed by us, yet God hath his order and method in bestowing of them: He first gives us grace imputed, then grace inherent, and afterwards eternal glory. And thus some benefits of the Covenant are by some (though improperly) made conditions of the rest, because they are first enjoyed.

10. That which Mr. W. adds, Page 10. And wisheth may be seriously considered, hath been considered already, more than once. If (saith he) justification by faith, must be understood of justification in our consciences, then is not the word justification taken properly for a justification before God in all the Scriptures; from the beginning to the end, we read of no justification in Scripture, but by faith or works. Mr. E. (says he) when the Scripture speaks of justification by works, understands it of justification before men; when it speaks of justification by faith, he understands it of justification in our consciences: Now neither of these is justification in the sight of God, and verily neither of them of much worth in the Apostles judgment, 1Co 4:3. The Antinomians may read out their eyes, before they produce us one text, &c.] Had he reported my judgment truly, here had been no room for this exception. I have said indeed (and by all that Mr. W. hath said against it, I see no reason to change my mind) that when the Scripture attributeth our justification to works (as in the Epistle of James) it is to be understood of our justification before men; when it ascribes it to faith, faith is taken either properly, or metonymically; if it be taken properly for the act of believing, the it is to be understood of our justification before God, terminated in our consciences, or as it is revealed and evidenced to ourselves. justification in conscience is justification before God, as an acquitance in the heart of the creditor, and in a paper is one and the same; this manifested, and the other secret. He that is justified in his conscience, is justified before God; and faith apprehends that which doth not only justify us in our consciences but before God: Or, if faith be taken metonymically for its object, the justification by faith is justification before God; for it is justification by the merits of Christ, to whom alone without works or conditions performed by us, the Holy Ghost ascribes our justification in the sight of God, Ro 3:24; Eph 1:7 and in many other such places.

11. But (says Mr. W.) Justification before men, and in our consciences, are neither of them of much worth in the Apostles judgment, 1Co 3:1. I with that justification with men, were of less account with Mr. W. He best knows, whether conscience of vindicating the truth or popular affectation, put him upon this engagement. I am sure, the former would not have tempted him to those incivilities he hath offered unto me and others, whom (I doubt not) but God will know by other names, than he is pleased to cast upon us. If the latter, or a desire of ingratiating himself with some of my opposers, did spur him forward, tho he hath justification before men (which yet I assure him is not universal, no not amongst many that do wish him well.) I dare say, he is not justified in the court of conscience, and if our heart, &c. (1Jo 3:20.) 2. But doth the Apostle account neither of these justifications much worth? Let Mr. W. judge in what account he had justification before men, by what he says, 2Co 1:12; 1Co 9:15. And justification in conscience, by those blessed effects he ascribes unto it, Ro 5:1-3. See 1Jo 3:21.  3. It is true, 1Co 4:3 he says, That he cares not to be judged of man’s judgment, or of man’s day. The meaning is, That he did not regard the sinister judgments and censures of carnal Christians, who praise and dispraise upon light and trivial inducements, like them, chap. 1. v. 12. Yea (says he) I judge not myself, q.d. I am not solicitous, nor do I enter into consideration what degree of honour or esteem I am worthy of, amongst, or above my fellows. Now, what is this to the purpose? What is this to the justification of his person in the court of conscience by faith, or the justification of his faith and sincerity towards men by works? I must needs say, (with a very worthy divine**) That no small portion of favour consists in a sense and knowledge of the kindness of God in its actings, terminated upon the conscience; however Mr. W. is pleased to value it.

** Mr. Owen against Baxter, p. 91.

12. In his next passage he gives us a youthful frolic, to shew his gallantry, like Mr. Baxter’s challenge,* Let the Antinomians shew one Scripture which speaks of justification from eternity. The Antinomians (saith he, the Anti-Papists and Anti-Arminians, he means) may read their eyes out, before they produce us one text for any other justification in Scripture, which is not by faith or works. (1) Tho’ the Antinomians are so blind, that they cannot find one text for this purpose, yet he himself is such a quick-sighted Linceus, that he hath discovered more than one. For Pag. 23. he tells us of a threefold justification, and yet neither of them is by faith or works. I hope he hath not read out his eyes to find them out. (2) In what sense the Scripture asserts justification before faith or works, hath been shewn before; but (3) (if I may be so bold) I would ask how long the Anti-gospellers may read before they produce one plain text for any of those dictates, they would thrust upon us, That justification doth in no sense precede the act of faith, that Christ purchased only a conditional, not an absolute justification for God’s elect; that our evangelical righteousness by which we are justified is in ourselves; that the tenor of the New Covenant is, If thou believe, &c. That God hath made a covenant with Christ, that none should have any benefit by his death till they do believe. Cum multis aliis quae nunc, &c.

*Aphor. p. 93

13. Mr. W. thinks he hath sufficiently cleared the coast of this exception [That faith in a proper sense is said to justify, in respect of its evidencing property, or because it declares and applies to our consciences, that perfect justification which we have in Christ. But by his leave, it is like to be a bone for him to pick, till the Index Expurgatorius, hath raised out those Scriptures which ascribe our justification unto Christ alone. For my own part I see no such cause he hath to triumph, unless it be in the dejection of those feeble consequences which he himself hath devised to make our doctrine odious, which we have shewn before, are as remote from our principles, as the East is from the West. I confess, neither he nor I are competent judges in our own cause; let the godly reader judge between us, and hold fast that which comes nearest to the analogy of faith. I shall now address myself to scan the force of those arguments he hath brought to prove, That the elect are not justified in the sight of God before they believe.

10. CHAP. X.


Wherein Mr. Woodbridge’s first argument against justification before faith, taken from the nature of justification, is answered.

His first argument is drawn from the nature of justification, Which (says he) is the absolution of a sinner from condemnation, by that gracious sentence and signal promise in the gospel, [He that believes, shall not enter into condemnation.] The argument he hath cast into this frame, If there be no act of grace declared and published in the Word, which may be a legal discharge of the sinner, while he is in unbelief, then no unbelieving sinner is justified: But there is no act of grace declared and published in the Word, which is a legal discharge of the sinner, whilst he remains in unbelief, Ergo. Whereunto I answer, 1. That his assumption is false; for the gospel or New Covenant is published or declared discharge of all the elect. The sum of which is, That God hath transacted all their sins upon Jesus Christ, and that Christ by that offering of his hath made a full and perfect atonement for them; whereby the whole spiritual Israel were typically clean, upon the atonement made by the High Priest, Le 16:30. Now tho’ they cannot plead it before they believe; yet is it a real discharge, because it frees them from condemnation; As a pardon granted by a Prince, is a legal discharge, though the malefactor doth not know of it. 2. The sequel or consequence of the Major, stands upon a sandy bottom, apostulatum that will not be granted, to wit, That justification is the discharge of a sinner, by a published, declared act. We have shewed before, That justification consists in the non-imputation of sin, and the imputation of righteousness, which is an act of the mind, or will of God. It is a gross, non sequitur, God doth not declare his non-imputing of sin to his elect, before they believe, Ergo, He doth account and esteem them sinners. The question is not, Whether this gracious sentence of absolution be declared, but whether it be not in the breast of God, before it be declared? Or, whether this immanent act of God doth not secure the sinner from condemnation? If so, then there is justification, tho’ there be no published declared sentence. As God’s saying in his heart, That he would never drown the world any more, Ge 8:21 did sufficiently secure the world from the danger of another deluge, tho’ he had never declared it; so God’s will not to punish, secures a person from condemnation, tho’ this security be not declared.

2. They are but feeble proofs, wherewith he hath backed his assertion, That justification is only by the promise, as a declared discharge. We are not (says he, as if he sat in Pythagoras his chair) to conceive of justification, as an internal, immanent act of God, resolving privately in his own breast, not to prosecute his right against a sinner; but it must be some declared, promulged act. &c. But why are we not to conceive of it, as an internal immanent act? Instead of proofs he gives us illustrations, which may pass in a sermon, but are too weak for a dispute. As sin (saith he) is not imputer where this is no law, Ro 5:13. So neither is righteousness imputed without law. Whereunto I answer, 1. Though men will not impute or charge sin upon themselves, where there is not a law to convince them of it, For by the law is the knowledge of sin, Ro 3:20; 7:9; Ga 3:19. Yet it follows not, but God did impute sin to men, before there was any law promulged, or before sin was actually committed: For what is God’s hating of a person, but his imputing of sin, or his will to punish him for his sin? Now the Lord hated all that perish, e’re ever the law was given. The scope of the Scripture alleged, Ro 5:13 is not to shew when God begins to impute sin to a person, but that sin in being supposeth a law; and consequently, That there was a law before the law of Moses, else men could not have sinned, as it is confessed they did: As the law itself had a being in the mind of God, so the issues thereof were determined by him, before it was declared. 2. There is not the same reason of our being sinners, and being righteous, seeing that sin is our act, but righteousness is the gift of God. A man is not a sinner, before he do commit sin, either by himself, or representative, which necessarily supposeth a law; For sin is the transgression of a law, 1Jo 3:4. But a man may be righteous before he doth works of righteousness, and consequently before any law is given him to obey. Indeed if we were made righteous by our own personal, inherent righteousness, then our justification would necessarily require a law; for as much as all our righteousness consists in a conformity to the law. But seeing we are justified by the imputation of another’s righteousness, what need is there that a law should first be given unto us?

3. Mr. W. goes on, [As our condemnation is no secret act, or resolution of God to condemn, but the very voice and sentence of the law [Cursed is he that sinneth;] and therefore he whom God in his eternal decree, hath purposed to save, may yet for the present be under the sentence of condemnation; as the Ephesians, whom God had chosen to eternal life, Eph 1:4, were yet sometimes the children of wrath, Eph 2:3. So on the contrary, our justification must be some declared promulged act or sentence of God, which may stand good in law, for the discharge of the sinner against condemnation.] We say that condemnation (being taken, not for the will of God to punish, or to inflict upon the person the desert of his sin, but for the thing willed, or for the curse itself) it comes upon men by virtue of that law, or Covenant which was made with the first Adam. So our justification (being taken, not for the internal act of God’s will, not to punish, but for the benefit willed to us by that internal act, to wit, Our actual discharge from the law) descends to us, by virtue of that law or Covenant, which was made with the second Adam; He performing the terms of agreement between the Father, and himself, made the law of condemnation to be of no force against us, Ga 3:13; 4:5. Which New Covenant, and not the conditional promise (as Mr. W. would have it) is called The Law of faith, Ro 3:27. And the law of righteousness, Ro 9:31. It is called a law, because it is the fixed and unalterable sanction of the Great God; or else by way of antithesis, or opposition to the covenant of works: The law of righteousness, it being the only means, whereby men do attain to righteousness, and are justified in the sight of God; and the law of faith, because it strips men of their own righteousness,* to clothe them with Christ’s, and thereby takes from men all occasion of boasting in themselves; whereas if men did attain to righteousness by virtue of this conditional promise, He that believes shall be saved; they would have as much cause of boasting in themselves, as if they had performed the law of works. That saying of his, with which he closeth this argument, is wide from truth, That every man is then condemned, or stands condemned in foro Dei, when the law condemns him; for then all men living are condemned, seeing the law condemns or curseth every one that sins; and there is not that lives without sin, and then Saint John will give him the lie, 1Jo 1:8 or else, That believers are not justified; which is contrary to the Scripture last cited by himself, Joh 5:24 with a thousand more. In what sense the elect Ephesians were called children of wrath, will more fitly be explained in the next chapter.

* Diodat. On Ro 3:27

4. In the meantime we will add a few reasons against the main support of this argument, That justification is the discharge of a sinner, by a declared published act; to wit, by that signal, conditional promise, He that believes, shall be saved. Which, when a man hath performed the condition, he may plead for his discharge, against this notion, I shall offer to the readers serious consideration, these following arguments. First, if justification be not by works, then it is not by this or any other conditional promise, which is a declared discharge only to him that performs the condition, i.e. That worketh: But justification is not by works, (Tit 3:5; Ro 4:5) which we have wrought, but an act of the freest grace and bounty, Col 2:13 where the word (GREEK TEXT) which the Apostle useth to express, the forgiveness of sin; ascribes it solely to the grace of God, without works or conditions performed by us.


5. Secondly, If justification be by that signal promise (He that believes shall be saved,) then none were justified, before that gracious sentence was published, which was not till our Saviour’s ministry in the flesh; nor was there any sentence of divine revelation like it, which the people of God could plead for their discharge from the law, from the fall of Adam; until the publication of that subservient Covenant, in Mount Sinai (which is the tenor of the law of works) the Lord never made any conditional promise, which they could plead for this discharge, and absolution from sin; the promises to Adam, Noah, Abraham, were not conditional but absolute. Now if there were no justification; till God hath made some conditional promise, which men upon performing the condition, might plead as their legal discharge, I marvel into what Limbus Mr. W. will thrust the Fathers of the Old Testament: For they that were not justified, were not saved. But the Scripture gives us more hope, shewing that they were saved by the same grace, as we are, Ac 15:11. God accepting them as righteous in Jesus Christ; who in respect of the virtue and efficacy of his death, is called The Lamb slain from the foundations of the World, Re 13:8. For though this rich grace, were not revealed to them, so clearly as unto us, Eph 3:5; 1Pe 1:12, yet the effects and benefits thereof descended upon them unto justification of life, no less then to the faithful in the New Testament. The argument in short is this. If the Fathers of the Old Testament were justified, who yet had not any such declared discharge; the justification is not by a declared discharge; but the Fathers of the Old Testament were justified, etc. Ergo.

6. Thirdly, if justification be only by a declared discharge, the elect infants insensible of this declaration, and unable to plead their discharge from any such promise, have no justification. I hope Mr. W. is not such a durus Pater infantum, as to exclude all those from justification that die in their infancy, which he must necessarily do, if he makes justification to consist in that which they are utterly incapable of.

7. Fourthly, the making justification a declared discharge, detracts from the Majesty and Sovereignty of God: For as much as it ascribes to him but the office of a notary, or subordinate minister, (whose work it is to declare and publish the sentence of the court) rather then of a judge or supreme magistrate, whose will is a law. And by this means justification shall be opposed; not to condemnation, but to concealing or keeping secret.

8. Fifthly, if justification were by a conditional promise, as a declared discharge, then it would not be God’s act, but our own; God should not be our justifier, but we must be said to justify ourselves; for a conditional promise doth not declare one man justified more than another, but the performance of the condition: So that a man should be more beholding to himself, than to God for his justification.

9. Sixthly, we may argue a pari: Forgiveness amongst men is not necessarily by a declared discharge, Ergo, God is not; for there is the same reason for both; and therefore we are bid to forgive one another, as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven us, Eph 4 ult. i.e. heartily, or from the heart, as the Apostle elsewhere explains it, Col 3:17. Not in word, or in tongue, but in deed, and in true affection. Man’s forgiveness is principally an act of the heart and mind. A man forgives an injury, when he lays aside all thoughts of revenge, and really intends his welfare that did the same; his heart is as much towards him, as if he had not done it: And therefore Gods forgiving of a sinner, is not necessarily a declared absolution. God may justify or acquit a person, though he doth not declare his reconciliation with him.

10. Mr. Woodbridge foresaw the force of this reason, and therefore hath wisely laid in this exception against it. Indeed to our private forgiveness one of another, being merely an act of charity, there is no more required than a resolution within ourselves to lay aside our thoughts of revenge, etc. But the forgiveness of a magistrate being an act of authority, must be by some formal act of oblivion, etc. A vote in the house is no legal security to a delinquent, so then, God’s forgiveness being an act of authority, must neither be an hidden secret purpose in his own heart, etc. but a formal promulgated act. Answer1. I see no reason why God should not have as much power to forgive without a promulgated act, as man. It is a saying heretofore, Papa nunqu am fibi lig at manus; they that have supreme and absolute power, love not to have their hands tied. I wonder therefore, that Mr. W should be so bold as to limit and to prescribe in what way and manner he must forgive sinners. I am sure, the reason which he gives, is of little force; for God’s forgiveness is no less an act of charity than mans; as these scriptures, Ro 5:8; Eph 2:4,  with many others, do sufficiently show. And though God in the act of forgiveness, may be looked upon as a judge, yet is he such a judge as proceeds by no other law, than his own will. And therefore, (2) we say, that though the forgiveness of magistrates be by some published act of oblivion, yet it doth not follow, that God must proceed in the same manner; because the promulgation of an act of grace, is for the direction and limitation of judges, and ministers of state, that they do not execute the sentence of the law. Now in the justification of a sinner, God hath no need of such an act, because he is the sole judge and justifier himself; and therefore the purpose of his will secures the person sufficiently, though his security be not declared, and makes the law of condemnation (which depends wholly on the will of God), to be of no force, in regard of the real execution of it, whether he do plead it or no; as in infants and doubting Christians, whose hearts do condemn them; some of whom Mr W. acknowledgeth, to be justified, (page 3 and 15). A judge that hath the legislative power in his own breast, needs no published edict to absolve an offender. Now God is such a judge as doth not receive, but gives laws unto all. (3) The publishing of acts of grace, is for the comfort of the offender, rather than for any need that the supreme magistrate hath thereof, as to the completing of his act; as for instance, the act of oblivion, was a real pardon, when is passed the house; for though delinquents had no knowledge of their immunity, from the penalties which they had incurred, before it was published in print, yet the vote or sanction of the house did secure them from danger, and invalidate the statutes that were in force against them; otherwise delinquents would be more beholding to the printer that published that act, than to the parliament that made it. So the publication of the New Covenant was for the comfort of Gods elect, and not for their security, in foro Dei.



Wherein Mr. Woodbridge’s Second Argument against justification before faith, taken from our State by Nature, is answered.

His second argument seems to be most weighty, which if it be put into a just balance, will likewise be found guilty of a minus babens. The argument runs thus, They that are under condemnation, cannot at the same time be justified; but all the world is under condemnation before faith. Ergo, none of the world are justified before faith. Here I shall (1) enter a caveat against the Major, which notwithstanding his confident assertion (that it must needs be true), doth not appear so unto me, unless it be limited with this proviso, that these seeming contraries do refer ad idem, I mean to the same court and judicatory; then I shall grant, that he who is under condemnation is not justified; otherwise we know, it often falls out, that he that is condemned, and hath a judgment against him in one court, may be justified and absolved in another; he that is cast at the common law, may be quitted in a court of equity. Now the Law and the Gospel are as it were two several courts and judicatories; they that are condemned in the one, may be justified in the other; they that are sinners in the first Adam, may be looked upon as just and righteous in the second Adam: There is nothing more ordinary, than for Christians at the same time, to consider themselves under this twofold relation, to wit, their state by nature and their state by grace. In reference to the former, it was, that Paul cried out, O wretched man that I am! And yet in the same breath, he breaks forth into thankful expressions for his escape and deliverance (Ro 7:24-25). I doubt not but Mr. W. hath heard many ministers in their confessions, adjudge themselves sinful and wretched creatures, and yet at the same time, plead their righteousness and adoption; though their translation from one estate to the other, was not in that very instant: The law condemns all men living, for that all have sinned (Ro 3:19). The law doth not consider men as elect, reprobates, or as believers or unbelievers, but as righteous or sinners: Believers have no more advantage by the law, than unbelievers; the law will not cease to threaten and condemn them, as long as they live: It is true, believers can plead their discharge, which others may have, though they know it not.

2. But if Mr. W. do speak of an absolute condemnation, or of such as are condemned by the first covenant, and have no benefit as all by the second; we shall then let go the Major, and arrest his Minor proposition, (But all the world are under condemnation before faith). For God doth not condemn his elect children, for whom Christ hath died; the Holy Ghost witnesseth, That Gods will, to wit, of good pleasure, was, That none of them would perish or be condemned; and if the judge will quit them, who else shall condemn them (Ro 8:33). To whomsoever God doth will life and salvation, (his will being absolute and immutable) they are not liable to condemnation.

3. The scriptures brought by him to prove his Minor, are forced to go beyond the intention of the Holy Ghost, as 1Jo 3:18, He that believeth not, is condemned already. He that believeth not, is as much as he that never believeth, or he that believeth not at any time, as Joh 8:24, If ye believe not (i.e. not at all) ye shall die in your sins. The scope (see Mr. Thomas Goodwin’s sermon on Joh 6:37) of our saviour was to obviate those suspicions and jealousies which are lurking in the hearts of men, as if God in sending his Son, intended not their good, but only laid a design and ambushment for their further condemnation. It is no such matter (says our Saviour) God sent not his Son to condemn the world, Joh 3:17. It is an evident sign, that God had no such end in publishing the gospel, For he that believes, is not condemned; he knows that he is passed from death to life; and he that believes not, i.e. that finally rejects the grace which is here offered, was condemned long before, viz. by the sentence of the law, and by the just judgment of God, proceeding against them, according to the tenor of the first covenant: So that God need not go about to entangle men, who were before fast bound in the shackles of sin and misery; the law condemned them sufficiently, though their contempt of the gospel will aggravate their condemnation. Our Saviour had no intent at all to show the state of the elect before believing; but the certain and inevitable misery of them that believe not; by reason of the sentence of the law, which had passed upon them.

4. (2) His next allegation, is as impertinent as this, Verse 36 of the same chapter, He that believeth not, the wrath of God abideth on him. It is evident, that our Saviour speaks there of a final unbeliever, and not of an elect person before believing; the phrase of the abiding of God’s wrath, is applicable to none but unto reprobates, who do perish forever: And to say that the place hints, there is a wrath of God which is done away by believing, is but an attempt to subborn the Spirit, to serve our turn.

5. (3) That which seems to speak most fully to his cause, is Eph 2:3, where the apostle tells the Ephesians, (whom God had chosen to eternal life, Eph 1:4) That they were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. To which I answer, (1) that the text doth not say, that God did condemn them, or that they were under condemnation before conversion. (2) The emphasis of this text (I conceive) lies in this clause [by nature.] So then the apostle’s meaning is, that by nature, or in reference to their state in the first Adam, from whom by natural propagation they were descended, they were children of wrath, they could expect nothing but wrath and fiery indignation from God: Yet this hindered not, but that by grace, they might be the children of his love; for so all the elect are, whilst they are in their blood and pollution, Eze 16:4,8. The Lord calls them his sons and children before conversion, Isa 43:6; 53:11, and Isa 8:18; Heb 2:9. For it is not any inherent qualification, but the good pleasure of God that makes them his children, Eph 1:5; Ro 8:29; Joh 17:6Believers considered in themselves, and as they come from the loins of Adam, are sinful and cursed creatures, as vile and wretched as the Devil himself, though in Christ, they behold themselves made righteous and blessed. It is granted, that elect infants have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, though they know it not; and I see no reason that can be given, why it should not be imputed to the rest of the elect before conversion.

6. Although the elect are freed from wrath and condemnation, yet in some sense they may be said to be under it, in regard that the Law doth terrify and affright their consciences, Ro 4:15. In which respect I is called A ministration of wrath, and of death, 2Co 3:7,9.The wrath of God hath a threefold acception in the scripture. (1) It signifies the most just and immutable will of God to deal with a person or persons according to the tenor of the law, and to inflict upon them the punishment which their sins shall deserve: And in this sense none but reprobates are under wrath, who for this cause are said to be hated of God. (2) It notes the threatening and comminations of the law, Ro 1:18; Ps 6:1; Ho 11:9; Jon 3:9 (&c.) (3) It notes the execution of those threatening, or the punishments threatened, Eph 5:6; Lu 21:23; Mt 3:7. Now in the first and third sense, the elect never were or shall be under wrath; God never intended to deal with them according to the tenor of the law; nor doth he inflict upon them the least evil upon that account, Christ having freed and delivered them from the curse: But as wrath is taken in the second sense, for the comminations and threatening of the law, so they are under wrath, till they are able to plead their discharge and release by the gospel. The threatening of the law do seize upon and arrest their consciences, no less than others; and therefore the law is compared to a rigid schoolmaster (Ga 3:24), which never ceaseth to whip and lash them, until they fly unto Christ. For though he hath freed them from the curse, you the Lord sees it fit they should for a while be held under the pedagogy and ministration of the law, that they may learn to prize the redemption which they have by Christ, Ga 3:22. The Lord, when he published the law in Sinai (as the apostle observes, Ga 3:17) did not repent him of his promise, made typically, with Abraham and his seed, but really with Christ, and the elect in him: But (says he) the law was added because of transgressions, i.e. To discover their sinfulness and misery by nature, and to render the Grace of the promise more desirable, Verse 22. As the saints in the Old Testament (Ga 4:1-2) were heirs of the Promise, had a real and actual interest in all the blessings of the New Covenant, whilst their consciences were whipped and scourged by this merciless schoolmaster; so all the rest of the elect are partakers of the same Grace of life, though the law doth terrify and condemn them: The threatenings of the law do not show what is the state of a person towards God, or how God doth account of him; but what he is by nature, and what he hath deserved, should be inflicted upon him; which a man cannot choose but expect, and fear, till his conscience be secured by better promises: So that I shall not be afraid to say, that the consciences of the elect before faith, are under wrath, and not their persons; and though their consciences do condemn them, yet God doth not. But against this Mr. W. hath sundry exceptions.

7. The condemnation they are under, is the condemnation of the law; which pronounceth all men guilty, not only in their own conscience, but before God, Ro 3:19. Answ. That the voice or sentence of the law, shows not who are condemned of God, but who are guilty and damnable in themselves, if God should deal with them by the law, which is the scope of the apostle, Ro 3:19-20, That all the world might become guilty before God. So indeed are all men considered according to what is due by the law, Ps 143:2. But the elect as considered in the Grace and forgiveness of God, and the perfect satisfaction of Jesus Christ, are discharged from this rigorous court, their cause is judged at another bar.

8. The condemnation of an unbeliever’s conscience, is either true or false; if true, then it is according to the judgment of God, and speaks as the thing is, and so God condemns as well as the conscience, etc. Answ. The testimony of an unbeliever’s conscience is true, so far as it agrees, with the written word; if it witnesseth to a man anything, which is neither in the word, nor necessarily deduced from it; the testimony is false and sinful. For understanding whereof we must know, that there is a threefold act of conscience about sin; the first, when it witnesseth to us concerning the desert of sin; the second, when it witnesseth to us concerning the act of sin, or the sins which we have done; the third is, when it witnesseth to us concerning our final state and condition before God. Now if conscience doth bear witness to a man, concerning what he hath done, and what is his desert in so doing, it doth but its duty, Ro 1:32. But if it tell a man, that for the sins which he hath done, he is a damned creature, and must perish everlastingly; such a conscience is both penally and sinfully evil. The conscience of an unbeliever accuseth truly, when it convinceth him of sin; that death eternal is the wages of it; and that by the law he can expect no other: But if it proceeds to tell a man that his case is desperate, and without hope, it pronounceth a false sentence. For though he be a reprobate, and consequently the sentence is true in itself, yet it is a false testimony in him, for as much as conscience witnesseth that which it cannot certainly know; how much more is it a false testimony, when the conscience of an elect person doth make such a conclusion against himself, that God hath absolutely condemned him to hell torments, it is false in itself, and false in him: If it were a true sentence, it were then impossible he should be saved: For condemnation (as Mr. W. confesseth a little after, is opposed to salvation; and the saw saith not, Now cursed, but cursed forever, Mt 25:41. And therefore, I say, if the conscience of any sinner, either elect of reprobate, shall in this life, pass such an absolute and peremptory sentence against himself, that the curse of the law shall be inflicted upon him, he sins both against the law, by applying the ministry thereof to a wrong end, and not as God hath intended it: For the law was not given ex primaria intentione, to condemn men (see Dr. Reynolds three Treatises, p. 385),but to further and advance the ministry of the Gospel; that men seeing what they are by nature, and what they have deserved, might flee for refuge unto Jesus Christ. Now when men hearing the curse of the law, conclude, that surely this must be their portion, and that it is never the nearer for them, that the Son of God hath shed his blood for sinners, they sin against the law; in regard the end of the law is to cause them to flee unto Christ; so that by making the sentence of the law absolute, they quite cross the design and intention of God in giving the law. (2) They deny the very tenor and substance of the Gospel, which is, That in Christ there is life eternal for sinners (1Ti 1:15; 1Jo 5:10-11); and for ought that they can know to the contrary for them, as well as for others.

9. Though we say, that the sentence of condemnation, which men pass upon themselves in this life, is false and erroneous, yet are we innocent of those ugly consequences which Mr. W. would thrust upon us, Of blinding men’s eyes and hardening their hearts, and searing up their consciences, etc., which are more likely to follow upon an indiscrete application of the law, and men’s making the voice thereof the definitive sentence of God, upon all trangressors; which is the ready way to make men quite desperate, and to harden their hearts in unbelief we hold it necessary, that the law should be preached to unbelievers in it strictness, rigour, and inexorable severity; that they may see there is no hope for them at all, by the works of the law; yet we would have it preached as an appendant to the Gospel, not to drive men to despair, but to believe, and to flee to that sanctuary, which is opened in the Gospel; whereas if it be published alone, and as an absolute sentence, it is a bar to faith: For if God doth condemn men, who shall justify them? Christ’s merits will not save them, whom God doth condemn; witness reprobate men and angels, unto whom there remained no sacrifice at all for sin.

10. His third exception is, That the condemnation with which the unbeliever is condemned, is expressed, Joh 3:36, by the abiding of God’s wrath upon him. Therefore we say, no elect unbeliever is condemned of God, because the wrath of God doth not abide upon him. The condemnation wherewith the unbeliever, i.e. the final unbeliever is condemned, is indeed the abiding of God’s wrath, that is, he shall die everlastingly; for it is opposed to everlasting life; but what is this to the elect, who are not final unbelievers:

11. His fourth and last is, That the condemnation of unbelievers is opposed to salvation, Joh 3:17. And surely, the condemnation that is opposed to salvation, is more that the condemnation of a man’s own conscience, etc. I answer, 1. That the condemnation opposed to salvation, is damnation; and then by Mr. Woodbridge’s argument, the elect, because they are sometimes unbelievers but all be damned. But, 2. This rather shows (as I have said before) that, by him that believeth not, is meant, he that believeth not at all.



Wherein Mr. Woodbridge’s third, fourth,

And fifth Arguments are Answered.

His third argument is drawn from the several comparisons by which justification by faith is illustrated Sometimes it is compared to the Israelites, looking up to the Brazen Serpent for healing, Joh 3:14; Nu 21:8. As then, they were not first healed, and then looked up to see what healed them, but they did first look upon the serpent, and then they were healed. Even so it is the will of God, that whosoever seeth and believeth the Son, shall be justified, Joh 6:40. Sometimes faith is compared to eating, and justification to the nourishment which we receive by our meat, etc. To which I answer, 1. That comparisons prove nothing, unless they are framed by the Holy Ghost for the thing in question. Now I utterly deny that it was the intent of the Holy Ghost, in either of these comparisons, to show in what order or method we are justified in the sight of God. 2. The stinging of the fiery serpents did plainly shadow forth the effects of the law in conscience. The law by revealing the wrath of God, against all unrighteousness (Ro 1:17; 4:15), stings and wounds men’s consciences (Pr 18:14); for which cause it is called a fiery law (De 33:2). To wit, from it effects, because it doth, as it were, kindle a fire in men’s bones; they have no rest in their soul, until these wounds are healed (Ps 102:3; 38:3). Now as the Israelites when they were stung by those fiery serpents, found no ease, till they looked up unto the Brazen Serpent: So the soul that is smitten and wounded by the ministry of the law, will never find rest, till it looks unto him, in whose wounds and stripes is the healing if sinners (Isa 53:5 Joh 3:14); 3. This very comparison doth make against him; as the Israelites were alive, when they looked upon the Brazen Serpent, or else they could not have seen it: So they that look upon Jesus Christ, i.e. believe in him, are spiritually alive, or else they could not put forth such a vital act. It is said indeed, Nu 21:9, that when any man that was bitten, beheld the Serpent of Brass, he lived, i.e., he was healed, or had ease from his anguish; so they that by faith look up unto the Antitype, they find ease and rest for their wearied souls; they do then live, i.e., they have the comfort and enjoyment of that life, which before they had in Christ. A man is said to live, when he lives comfortably and happily (Ec 6:2).

2. 4. Mr. W. to make the comparison suit, hath falsified the text, Joh 6:40. The words are, It is the will of God that everyone that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; it is not, may be justified, as he corrupts it. (5) Whereas he says, faith is compared to eating, and justification to nourishment, Joh 6:51. It is a mistake like the former, for it is Christ himself, who throughout that chapter is compared to Bread and Food; whom by faith we receive for our refreshment, consolation, and spiritual nourisment.

4. His fourth argument is drawn from the perpetual opposition between faith and works; from whence he reasons thus, What place and order works had to justification in the covenant of works, the same place and order faith hath to our justification in the covenant of Grace: But works were to go before our justification in the covenant of works. Ergo, faith is to go before our justification in the covenant of Grace. I answer, that his Major is extremely gross; I dare say, a more unfound assertion cannot be picked out of the writings, either of the Papists or Arminians, than this is. That faith (taking it as he doth, in a proper sense) hath the same place in the covenant of Grace, as works have in the covenant of works. That I have not charged him too high, will appear to any one that shall consider these few particulars.

First, works in the first covenant, are meritorious of eternal life; he that doth the works required in the law, may in strictness of justice claim the promise, as a due debt, Ro 4:4. Was ever any Protestant heard to say, that faith and faithful actions (which, as hath been shown men of his notion, do include in faith) do merit eternal life?

Secondly, works in the first covenant, are the matter of our justification; he that doth them, is thereby constituted just and righteous in the sight of God. righteousness consists in a conformity to the law, so that whosever keeps the law, must needs be righteous: But now faith is not the matter of our righteousness, God doth not account men righteous for their faith; I confess, he hath Bellarmine and Arminius on his side, who say, that ipsa fides, or the ro credere imputur in justitiam, but the apostle hath taught us other doctrine, Ro 5:19, that by the obedience of one (i.e. of Christ) many are made righteous. And 2Co 5:21, that we are made the righteousness of God in him.

Thirdly, if faith hath the same place in the second covenant, as works in the first, (Ro 2:2) then must God account faith to be perfect righteousness, which is contrary to his truth and justice: To say that faith is perfect righteousness by the second covenant, though not be the first, is but Petitio Principii; legal and evangelical righteousness being one and the same, as to the matter of righteousness, though they are inherent in divers subjects. The first covenant requires a righteousness in us, the second gives and accepts a righteousness which is another’s.

Fourthly, if faith hath the same place in the second covenant as works had in the first, then were the second covenant a covenant of works, seeing faith is a work, and a work of ours: So that by this means the two covenants should be confounded, nor would the latter be any whit more of Grace than the former.

Fifthly, this assertion makes faith to be not of Grace, because not from the covenant of Grace, seeing the covenant itself depends upon it. How contrary this doctrine is to the sense of our Protestant Divines, hath in part been showed before (chapter 6, section 2), who till this last age, have taught, that these two propositions [A man is justified by works] and [A man is justified by faith] do carry meanings utterly opposite to one another. The one is proper and formal, the other is metonymical and relative. In this proposition [A man is justified by works] we are to take all in a plain and literal sense, that God doth account him that hath kept the law exactly in all points, a righteousness person, and consequently worthy of eternal life; but now that other proposition [A man is justified by faith] we must understand it relatively thus; that a sinner is justified in the sight of God, from all sin and punishment by faith, i.e. by the obedience and righteousness of Jesus Christ, which we receive and apply unto ourselves by true faith.

4. Let us now hear what Mr. W. hath to say for the defense of his Major, which treads Antipodes to the current of all our Protestant writhes. If (saith he) the Minor be granted, the Major must be out of question. I must confess, if confidence did prove, here were proof enough. That which he adds, hath as little weight, as (1) Why should not, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, (which is the tenor of the new covenant, Ro 10:6,9) plead as strongly for the antecedency of faith to justification in this covenant, as, do this and live, doth evince, that works were necessary antecedents of justification in the old covenant? Answer, Here he takes that for granted, which will certainly be denied, that, believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, is the tenor of the new covenant; for (1) it is nowhere called so, (2) where the new covenant is recited, as Jer 31; Heb 8, it runs quite in another strain, it doth not promise salvation upon condition of faith, but faith and salvation, and all other blessings, present and future. That text Ro 10:6,9, is not the tenor of the new covenant, for that requires confession as well as faith, and then the justification of the new covenant, should be called justification by confession, as well as by faith. The apostle there describes the persons that shall be saved, they are such as do believe and profess the truth: His scope (as our divines have noted, see Shepherds Sound Believer, p. 230) is to resolve that grand and important question, how a man may know, that he shall be saved? You need not (says he) to ascend into heaven, or descent into hell, etc., to fetch Christ himself to tell you by immediate revelation, whether you shall be justified and saved; we have nearer and more certain evidences; He that believes with the heart, etc.. In this scripture he gives us two marks or characters of a true Christian; one internal, known only to the Christian himself, Believing with the heart; the other external, or visible to men, Confession with the mouth: But of this we shall have occasion to speak more anon.

5. (2) He urgeth, That faith and works have the like order to justification, in their respective covenants, or else justification by faith, and justification by works, were not opposed, as they constantly are in the apostles writings, &c. We grant, that there is a true and formal opposition between faith and works: The affirmative, which the Jews pleaded for Jews pleaded for [That a man is justified by works;] and the negative which the Apostle contended for, [That a man is not justified by works,] but by faith, are as opposite as East and West, and as impossible to be reconciled, as light and darkness: But then faith must be taken objectively, and not properly; for that which is formally opposed to works, is not the act, but the object of faith, to wit, the righteousness of Christ, which we apprehend and enjoy by faith, for if by faith he had meant the to credere, or act of believing, there were no opposition at all between faith and works, and the establishing of justification by faith, will in no wise destroy justification by works; and consequently (to use Mr. Woodbridge’s expressions) there would be nothing but falsehoods and equivocations in all the Apostles disputation, against justification by works: How easily might the Jews, and the Apostle, I will add, the Papists and Protestants be reconciled? They say we must be justified by works, and these say we must be justified by faith, which is a work of ours, and such as includes all other works of new obedience; an easy distinction will salve the matter. We are not justified by works, as they are conditions of the first covenant, but we are justified by works, as they are conditions of the second covenant. We are not justified by works as they are our legal righteousness, but we are justified by works, as they are our evangelical righteousness. Was it beseeming the gravity of so great and Apostle, to raise so sharp a contest about a trifle, as the denomination of works from the first and second covenant, when as the works are the very same, in respect both of the matter and subject? Would not all men have censured his writings to be but strifes of words?

6. His fifth objection is raised from 1Co 6:11. Such were some of you, but you are washed, but you are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Where (says he) there is an evident opposition between the time past, and present, in respect of their justification. And thence he argues, Now you are justified, Ergo, not before, or before you were unjustified. To which I answer, (1) That the words do not countenance this inference: He says indeed, that in times past they were unsanctified, they had been fornicators, idolaters, &c. i.e. as vile and wicked as the worst of men, for which sins they deserved to be shut out of the Kingdom of God, no less that they that are damned: He doth not say, that they were unjustified before conversion; they were reclaimed or cleansed from those sins, by the preaching of the gospel, but they were justified from those sins, in, or by the name, i.e. the merit and righteousness of Jesus Christ, which was imputed to them by God, whilst they lived in unbelief. But (2) if any man will strain this consequence from the words, You are justified, Ergo, You were not whilst you lived in these sins; I shall then own the answer which he rejects with so much scorn and contempt, That they were not justified before conversion, either in foro conscientiae, or in foro ecclesiastico; not doubting but that I shall sufficiently clear it from his exceptions.

7. The first of which is, Why might they not be said to be sanctified before conversion, as well as justified? I answer, that there is not the same reason for a man’s sanctification before faith and conversion, as there is for his justification, For (1) to say, That an unconverted person is sanctified, is, contradictio in adjecto; but it is no contradiction to say, That an ungodly or unconverted person is justified, which is the expression of the Holy Ghost, Ro 4:5. Sanctification consists in our conversion, or turning unto God; but our justification in God’s accounting unto us the righteousness and satisfaction of his Son; the one is a work or act of God done without us, 2Co 5:19 but the other is the operation of God within us. God cannot sanctify us without holiness, because he cannot do contradictions; but God may justify us if he please, without faith and inherent holiness, because that, ex natura rei is no contradiction. Our sanctification flows from faith, as the principle and motive of it, 1Jo 3:3; 4:19; Ga 5:6. But now our justification hath not that dependence upon faith, seeing that is God’s act and not ours; tho’ we are said to be sanctified by faith, yet not in that sense, that we are said to be justified by faith. Faith is active in the one, but passive in the other; it is only the hand or instrument that receives our justification, it is the principle or efficient which operates and produceth our sanctification. (2) Tho’ justification be sometimes taken, for the declared sentence of absolution in the court of conscience, yet it follows not, that sanctification should be so understood; because the sentence of justification is terminated in conscience: But sanctification diffused throughout the whole man, 1Th 5:23. Sancification is not our knowing that we are sanctified, but the conformity of our faculties, and their operations to the rule of holiness: So that his assertion, that [Nothing can be alleged for justification before believing, which will not hold as strongly for sanctification before believing,] hath nothing but confidence to support it.

8. His next exception is, That the justification they now had, was that which gave them right and title to the kingdom of God, which right and title they had not before they believed, &c. For if they had this right before they believed, then whether they believed or no, all was one as to the certainty of their salvation; and they might have gone to Heaven, tho’ they had lived and died without faith. To which I answer, 1. That these elect Corinthians had no more right to salvation after their believing, than they had before: For their right to salvation was grounded only upon the purpose of God, and the purchase of Jesus Christ. Salvation is a gift freely bestowed upon us, and not a debt, or wages, that becomes due to us upon the performance of conditions. (Ro 6:23; 1Co 2:12) 2. It will not follow from hence, That then they might have gone to Heaven without faith, seeing Christ hath purchased faith for his people, no less than glory, 2Pe 1:1. And God hath certainly appointed, that all that live to years of discretion, whom in his secret justification he hath adjudge to life, shall have this evidence of faith, Ac 13:48; 2:47.

9. But (says Mr. W.) this evidence is of such necessity, as that if they have it not, they shall lose that life to which they are adjudged or not: If not, then whether they believe or do not believe, they shall be saved; if it be, then there is no absolute justification before faith, and justification must be conditional. Answ. 1. By this argument, not only faith, but all other works of sanctification and perseverance in them, must be the conditions of our justification; and consequently, we may be said to be justified and saved by them. The Scripture speaks the same things of works as it doth of faith, Mr 16:16; Pr 28:18; 1Ti 4:16; Mt 24:13. Now let him consult with our Protestant divines, whether this be a good argument, No man is saved or glorified without works, Ergo, Men are saved by works? 2. This reason makes as much against absolute election before faith, as against absolute justification: He may argue as well, faith is of such necessity, that they that have it not shall loose the life, to which they are elected, or not: If not, then whether the elect believe or not they shall be saved; if it be, then there is no absolute election before faith, and election must be conditional, contrary to many Scriptures, 2Ti 2:19; Ro 9:11; Mr 13:22. But 3. to the argument, we say, That election and justification are absolute, because they depend upon no antecedent condition in the person elected and justified, not because they are absolute without the consequents that depend upon them, so that notwithstanding all that hitherto he hath brought, the opinion he opposeth will stand unshaken. We shall now proceed to the anascheuastical part of his discourse, and so weigh the strength of his replies to those arguments of ours, he is pleased to mention.



Wherein Mr. Woodbridge’s answers to those scriptures which hold [An immediate actual reconciliation of sinners to God, upon the death of Christ, without the intervention of faith] are examined.

The texts which he hath cited, as objected against him, are Mt 3:17. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, viz. With sinners. And Ro 5:10 we are reconciled unto God by the death of his Son. Which places were not once mentioned in the conference, that I had with him: The former I alleged in the discourse which I had with Mr. Warren (as hath been shewn before*) to which I had added sundry others, had I not been interrupted by the unseasonable (not to say uncivil) interposing of this antagonist, who then cast in the exceptions, which since he hath printed with some enlargements.

*Cap 1. Sect. 8

His first exception against the force of that Scripture, is, That the well-pleasedness of God need not to be extended beyond the person of Christ, Who gave himself unto death an offering and sacrifice unto God, of a sweet smelling savour, Eph 5:2. Whereunto I answer, (1) That he opposeth his single opinion against the judgment of all the interpreters that I have seen, without one grain of reason to counter-balance them, as if he were, (GREEK TEXT), or as David, 2Sa 18:3 worth a thousand, such as Calvin, Beza, Paraeus, &c. who do extend it unto all those, for whom Christ exhibited himself a Mediator. It was the opinion of Musculus, Testimonium hoc Patris caelitus terris illatum, declarationem habet voluntatis ejus erga genus humanum, &c. That this testimony of the Pather doth manifest the will of God towards mankind. God (says Calvin,***) by this testimony which he gave to Christ, declares he is a Father unto us all. And a little after, Saint Paul doth best interpret this text, Eph 1:6 where he says, God hath made us accepted in Jesus Christ. And again, In this clause [in whom I am well-pleased] he gives us to understand, that his love is so great to Christ, that from him it overflows upon us all. And Beza**** more expressly, Significat enim Pater Christum, &c. The Father did hereby signify, that Christ is he alone whom when the Father beholds, he lays aside all his wrath and indignation which we deserved; and that he is the only Mediator and reconciler. Which (says he) will be better understood by comparing this text with Ex 28:38 where we read, That Israel was made accepted to God, by the High Priest’s appearing for them in the presence of God; which High Priest was undeniably a type of Christ. The word (GREEK TEXT) (saith he) though in the use of sacred, and other authors, it hath the signification of the present tense; yet here it may as fitly be rendered by the time perfectly past. Ut declaret Pater se jam esse in filio hominibus reconciliatum: That the Father might declare that he is already reconciled to men in his own Son; he plainly alludes to Isa 42:1. Sensus est, &c. (saith Paraeus*****) The meaning of the place is, That this is my Son, for whose sake and merit, I do say aside, all my displeasure against mankind, and do receive them into favour. This voice doth comprise the whole mystery of our reconciliation with God, by, and for the sake of Christ. To these we might add the suffrage of one of our own countrymen.******* This voice was uttered in respect of us, because of old God was angry with us for our sins, but now he is reconciled to us by Christ. And honest Ferus******** (who was more a Protestant in the doctrine of justification, than many of ours) Hac verba nedum Christo dicuntur, sed &c nobis, &c.

These words were not only spoken unto Christ, but unto us. Let him that hath leisure look over more.***+++

***Calvin Harm. In Mt 3:17

****Beza Majores Annot - in loc.

*****Paraeus in loc.

*******Ward on Mt 3:17.

********Ferus in Mt 3.

***+++See Diadate on Mt 3:17.

2. It is against the scope of the words to limit them to the person of Christ, they being a solemn declaration of Christ’s investiture in the glorious office of a Mediator; In which respect he is said to be a Son given and born to us, Isa 9. And therefore this (GREEK TEXT) of God to men, was at his birth proclaimed by the Holy Angels, Lu 2. All that grace or favour which at any time was manifested to Christ, as a Mediator, was for their sakes whom he represented, and to whom the benefits of his mediatorship were intended: See Joh 12:30. That text Eph 5:2 which Mr. W. allegeth, for confining of this voice to the person of Christ, proves nothing less; where the Apostle shews the effect of Christ’s sacrifice towards us, thus; as when Noah offered up his burnt-offerings to God, the Lord smelled a sweet savour, &c. Ge 8:21. So when Christ offered up himself a sacrifice of atonement, the Lord smelled a savour of rest, and was fully satisfied for the sins of his people. (3) There is no reason can be given, why those words should be terminated to the person of Christ, seeing that God was never displeased with him, nor had our Saviour any doubt or suspicion of it; and therefore it was altogether needless, that God should declare his well-pleasedness to him, in his own person. (4) The well-pleasedness of God is to be extended unto them, for whom Christ offered up his sacrifice; but Christ did not offer up his sacrifice for himself, but only for sinners. Ergo. (Joh 17:24,26)

3. Well, haec non successit, alia aggrediamur via, his next exception therefore is, that if we should extend it unto men, the words prove no more than that it is through Christ, that God is well pleased with men, whensoever it be that he is well pleased. So that in his sense I am well pleased, is as much as, I will be well pleased with them, when they have performed the terms and conditions required on their part. A gloss which (I dare say) was never dreamed of, by any expositor before himself. Here (1) let the reader observe, how bold he makes with the Holy Ghost; for when God tells us, he is well pleased to say no, he is not now, but he will hereafter, is not to interpret, but contradict the Scripture. (2) His gloss contradicts itself, for if our reconciliation with God, doth depend upon terms and conditions performed by us, then it is not through Christ alone, that God is well pleased with men, whensoever it is; and Christ is at most but a partial cause of our reconciliation.

4. But to render his paraphrase more probable, he hath cited divers other places, where (as he pretends) verbs and participles of the present tense have the signification of the future, Though (says he,) the verb in this place be not the present tense, but the first aorist, though it be the aorist, what is that to the purpose, seeing (as every school-boy knows) the aorist’s have the signification of the present perfect tense (as Beza grants,) then is it much more true in the present tense. But to his allegations I answer, (1) That in most of his instances, there is no necessity to feign a change of tenses, as Joh 4:25, Messiah cometh, i.e. The promise of the Messiah draws nigh to be fulfilled. So Joh 5:25 The hour is coming, and now is, &c. The dead did then hear the voice of the Son of man, both in his own and in his Disciples ministry. So 2Co 3:16, the verbs are most properly rendered in the present tense, When Israel shall, or doth turn, unto the Lord, the vail is taken away; for as Cameron** notes their conversion to God, doth not precede the taking away of the vail, but both are at the same time. Ro 8:24 By hope we are saved. The enunciation is true and emphatical in the present tense; for in many other places the saints are said to be saved and to have eternal life, whilst they are in the body, Joh 3:36; 5:24; 6:54,56; Col 2:10; Eph 2:5,8; Tit 3:5; 1Jo 5:11-12. They have here the beginnings, or first fruits of that salvation; the complement and perfection whereof, they as yet do wait for; they have now the joy and comfort of their salvation through faith and hope, because hope looks upon the promises of God, not as doubtful, but as sure and certain, Heb 11:1-2. They are now saved by hope, or they shall never be saved by hope, for hope that is seen, is not hope; in the world to come they are saved by sight, and not by faith or hope: So that text 1Co 15:57 is most properly rendered. Thanks be unto God that giveth, or hath given us the victory through Jesus Christ. For the saints have already obtained victory over death and the grave, in Christ their head. Ro 8:37. In all things we are more than conquerors. And Joh 16:33. Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. So Heb 10:35. Your confidence hath a great recompense of reward, to wit in the present effects which it did produce, as inward peace, joy, &c. according to that of the Psalmist, Ps 19:11. In keeping thy statutes there is great reward. But (2) if I should grant what he desires, that in all these places there were an heterosis of tenses, (for I acknowledge this trope is frequent in Scripture;) yet this great flourish will amount to nothing, unless he had shewn by the circumstances of the text, or the nature of the thing, that it must be so expounded here; for if men had liberty to feign enallages of numbers, cases and tenses, at their pleasure, it were easy to elude the meaning of the plainest texts.

**Vid. Camer Myrothe. In 2Co 3:16; 5:13 &c Praelect. In Mt 19:3

5. Those words, Heb 11:6. Without faith it is impossible to please God, do not conclude what he would have them, to wit, that God is not well-pleased with his elect in Christ, before they do believe; for the Apostle speaks there of men’s works and actions, and not of their persons. No man can please God without faith, no not believers themselves; their religious services are not pleasing to God, unless they are done in faith, for bonum est ex causa integra.* Now faith is a principal ingredient in the saints obedience; for if it be not done in faith, it is not done in love, Ga 5:6. And consequently it is not fruit unto God, Ro 7:4. God’s well-pleasedness with his elect, is the immediate effect of the death of Christ, for that which raised a partition wall between God and them, was the breach of the law; now when the law was satisfied for their sins, this partition was broken down, his favour had as free a current, as if they had not sinned: And therefore the blotting out of our sin, and our reconciliation with God, is ascribed solely and immediately to the death of Christ, as in many other Scriptures; so particularly, Eph 1:6-7; 2:13-14; Col 1:20-21; 2:13-14; 2Co 5:19. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself; he did not only act towards it, as Mr. W. glossed those words in his sermon, but (saith the text) he did not impute their sins unto them; for whom Christ died. The actual blotting out of sin (says Mr. Perkins**) doth inseparably depend upon satisfaction for sins, and satisfaction with God doth necessarily imply the very real and general abolishment of the guilt and punishment of sin. That which makes our persons acceptable to God, is the righteousness of Jesus Christ; but now our actions are not pleasing, unless they are conformable to the rule, and all necessary circumstances do concur; the chief whereof, is faith in the propitiation and atonement of Jesus Christ, whereby their defects and obliquities are done away.***

*Dionys. de div. nom. part. 4. circa med.

** Vol. 1. p. 110 Edit 1608.

*** Le 17:4; 1Pe 2:5.

6. (4) Whereas he adds, that it was a poor answer which I gave to Mr. Good, [That God was well pleased with his elect, whilst unregenerate, though not with their unregeneracy] 1. As far as it concerns myself, I shall subscribe to his censure, I am poor, but he is rich, I am empty but he is full.* But, 2. He may be pleased to take notice, that a far richer man than himself, in all kind of learning both human and divine, hath given the very same answer unto this question. Mr. Pemble** distinguisheth between God’s love to our persons, and God’s love to our qualities and actions: A distinction which (says he) parents are well skilled in, who put a difference between the vices, and persons of their children; those they have, these they love, even when for their vices they do chastise their persons. The case (says he) is the same between God and the elect, his love to their persons is from everlasting the same; nor doth their sinfulness lessen it, nor their sanctity increase it, because God in loving their persons, never considered them otherwise, than as most perfectly holy, and unblameable in Jesus Christ, &c. It is a strange inference which he draws from my words, that because I said, God is well pleased with the persons of his elect, whilst unregenerate, that afterwards he is well pleased with their unregeneracy also: He might as well impose this absurdity upon the Prophet, that because he saith, Eze 16:8 Thy time (to wit, the time of unregeneracy,) was the time of love. Surely not of unregeneracy, but of their persons then unregenerate, that therefore the Prophet supposeth, that after their conversion God did love their unregeneracy, or that corruption of nature which remained in them. Such quibbles are unbeseeming serious Christians.

*1Co 4:8.

**Vind. Grat.p.19.

7. I shall add but a word to clear up the difference between the actions of regenerate and unregenerate persons; and first, we say, that the best actions of unregenerate men are impure and sinful, which though they are pardoned, unto all the elect for the sake of Christ; yet they are not acceptable to God, but in themselves, most abominable and loathsome in his sight, Pr 5:8; Tit 1:15; Isa 1:13, (&c.) Secondly, Though (as the Orthodox acknowledge) the best works of the best men, have not in them that inherent purity and holiness, which can stand before God without the mediation of their High Priest, yet they may be said to be acceptable and pleasing unto God, not only comparatively, because they are better than the works of unregenerate men, or than the sinful works of such as are regenerate; but absolutely, and that two ways. 1. Abstractly, and in themselves, or as they ought to be done; and thus faith, hope, love, &c. are acceptable to God, for they are that spiritual worship and service which God looks for, and delights in, Joh 4:23; Mic 6:8; Ga 5:5-6; Php 3:3. And in this respect, a meek and a quiet spirit, is said to be of great price in the sight of God, 1Pe 3:4.  2. Concretely, as they are acted by us, or do pass through our hands, and so they are acceptable to God, as they are washed and cleansed in the blood of Christ, 1Pe 2:5. Our spiritual sacrifices are made acceptable to God in Jesus Christ, or by his taking away the sin and defilement that adheres unto them:*** Our High Priest doth not procure the acceptance of those works which in their whole abstract nature are sinful, such as are all our works before conversion, and the fruits of the flesh after conversion, he obtains forgiveness, but not acceptance for them: But now those works which come from the Spirit of God, and are sinful only through the mixture of our corruptions (as sweet water which passeth through a sink) these he makes acceptable to the Father, by taking away the imperfections and defilements, that adhere unto them.

***Ex 28:38; Apoc. 8.3,4.

8. The next Scripture which Mr. W. hath brought in, by way of objection against himself, is Ro 5:10 When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. To which he answers, that Christ’s death was the price of our reconciliation, and so it is through the death of Christ that we are reconciled, be it when it will be that we are reconciled. Against this answer of his, I shall offer these exceptions. (1) It offers a manifest violence to the text, to say, that we were reconciled, is as much as we shall be reconciled when we have performed the terms and conditions required of us. (2) If our reconciliation to God did depend upon terms and conditions performed by us, then is it not through the death of Christ that we are reconciled unto God, we should be more the cause of our reconciliation than Christ is; for he that performs a condition to which a benefit is promised, doth more to the procuring of it than he that makes or obtains that conditional grant; notwithstanding which he is never a whit the near of the benefit, unless his own act do concur. (3) The Apostle declares, that this reconciliation was made when we were enemies; ergo, before our believing, or the fulfilling of any condition on our part: For believers are not enemies. (4) If his meaning were no more than this, that it is through the death of Christ that we are reconciled, be it when it will that we are reconciled; then this clause [when we were enemies] would be superfluous and redundant; whereas the main emphasis of the text doth lie therein, as is evident from the gradation which the Apostle makes, v. 6,8,10. (5) The Apostle in, 2Co 5:19 affirms, that our Saviour did not only pay the price of our reconciliation, but that God did so far accept of or acquiesce therein, that upon the payment of it, he did not impute our sins unto us, i.e. he justified us; for the Apostle, Ro 4 defines justification to be, the non-imputation of sin. (6) And lastly, that which he grants, yields the matter in question, viz. The immediate actual reconciliation of sinners upon the death of Christ; for if Christ by shedding his blood, paid the total and full price for our deliverance from the curse of the law, then were we actually set free from the obligation of it; for when the debt is paid, the debtor is free in law; it is unjust to implead a person for a debt, which is paid.  

9. Secondly, To illustrate and confirm his answer, he makes use of Grotius his distinction of three moments, or periods of the will of God; (1) at enmity, (2) Appeaeable, (3) Appeased. 1. Before the consideration of the death of Christ, God (saith he) is at enmity with the sinner, though not averse from all ways and means of reconciliation. 2. After the consideration of the death of Christ; and now is the Lord not only appeaseable, but doth also promise that he will be reconciled with sinners, upon such terms as he himself shall propose. 3. After intercession on Christ’s part, and faith on the sinners part; and now is God actually reconciled, and in friendship with the sinner. This Grotian and Vorstian divinity is monstrous gross, which renders God as changeable as a fickle creature, and palpably denies his God-like nature, scil. His simplicity, eternity, omnisciency, immutability, &c. Arminius himself was more modest, than to affirm a change in the will of God; nay, Plato was a more Orthodox divine in this point, who said, that the first mover can be moved by none but by himself. The will of God is not inclined or moved by anything without him, unto any of his acts, whether immanent or transient; for that which is the cause of his will; is the cause of himself; seeing that his will is his essence. The death of Christ doth not cause any alteration in the will of God; his merits are not the cause, why God doth love us, or will to us the blessings of his covenant, they did not change God ex nolente, in volentem, ex odio habente in diligentem, as Grevinchovias dreamed: And the reasons are (1) Because God is unchangeable, he neither ceaseth to will what at any time he intended, nor doth he begin to will what he did not always purpose: (2) Because no reason can be given of the will of God, Aquinas says well, Nullum temporale,****** &c. Nothing that hath its being in time can be the cause of that which is eternal, for then the effect should be before the cause. Now that I may not actum agere, I shall desire the reader to consult what Mr. Owen******* hath said in answer to this notion of Grotius; whereof if Mr. W. had vouchsafed to take any notice, he might have seen cause enough to decline from the steps of his admired Grotius.

******Aquin. I. p.q. 23.att. 5. in c.

*******Answ. t Baxter, c 6. p. 36

10. Thirdly, he infers, that because the Apostle saith, v. 11. We have now received the atonement, or reconciliation, ergo, not before we believed. To which I answer, (1) He might as well reason, that because the Apostle saith 1Co 15:20. Now is Christ risen, ergo. He was not risen before he writ that epistle; and from Eph 3:2 The Spirit that now worketh in the children of unbelief, ergo, he did not work in them before. (2) If it be referred to our receiving, or apprehension by faith, it doth not prove, that the reconciliation or atonement was not made before. There is a wide difference between the making, or obtaining of reconciliation and our receiving of it; though we cannot receive, or apply it to ourselves any otherwise than by faith, yet it follows not, that God did not account it unto us before. The typical sacrifices made a present atonement, much more the real, see Heb 9:14.

11. Fourthly, He gives us his opinion concerning the immediate effect of the death of Christ, which (saith Mr. Baxter) is one of the greatest and noblest questions in our controverted divinity; he that can rightly answer this, is a divine indeed. And no doubt but Mr. W. deserves the bell in his account. Let us therefore see what a glorious achievement he ascribes unto it. It is (saith he) through the death of Christ, that the promise of reconciliation is made by, and according to which we are actually reconciled unto God after we do believe; to wit, at the day of judgment when we have performed that, and all other conditions required of us; which in sum is as if he had said, that the death of Christ procured no certain or immediate effect at all: For notwithstanding his death, it is possible that none may be saved; for things obtained under condition, are to their accomplishment altogether uncertain; for the condition may be fulfilled, or it may not be fulfilled. The utmost which hereby is ascribed to the death of Christ, is that he hath obtained a salvability for sinners, or a way whereby they may become their own Saviours; which in the old Popish English is, that Christ hath merited, that we might merit eternal life; or as the Remonstrants have refined the phrase, his death hath made God placabilem, but not placatum. A shift (says Pemble) devised merely to uphold the liberty of man’s will, and universal redemption. Whereunto the abettors of this notion do hie them apace.

12. But against it I oppose these considerations, (1) The Scripture nowhere ascribes this effect to the death of Christ, that he died to obtain a conditional grant, that we by performing the condition might be reconciled to God, but to obtain peace and reconciliation itself. Daniel doth not say that Messiah shall be cut off to obtain a promise, but to make an end of sin, &c. Da 9:24. Nor the Apostle, that Christ by the blood of the cross, hath obtained a conditional promise of reconciliation, but that he hath made peace, Col 1:20 broken down the partition wall, Eph 2:14 delivered us from the curse, Ga 3:13. And our Saviour in that of Mt 26:28 (which Mr. W. Cites) doth not say, that he shed his blood to procure a conditional promise, whereby all men may obtain remission; but for the remission of the sins of many, i.e. of all the elect. (2) If Christ by his death obtained only a conditional promise, then was his death no more available to the elect, than unto reprobates; no more to Peter, than it was to Judas; whereas the Scripture shews us, that the effects of Christ’s death are peculiar only to the elect. See Joh 10:15-16,26; 17:9,20. (3) If Christ by his death obtained but a conditional promise, then do men more for their salvation, than Christ hath done; for he that performs the condition doth more to his salvation, than he that obtained the conditional promise; notwithstanding which he might have perished. (4) It makes Christ to have died in vain, at least without any determinate end, in reference unto them for whom he died; seeing that notwithstanding his death, it was possible that none at all might be saved. And thus (as Mr. Owen hath noted*) he is made a surety of an uncertain covenant, a purchaser of an inheritance perhaps never to be enjoyed, a Priest sanctifying none by his sacrifice; a thing we would not ascribe to a wise man in a far more easy undertaking. If Mr. W. shall say, that Christ is certain that the elect will perform the condition required, we shall demand whether this certainty doth arise from their wills or his will? If he say from their wills, and his foresight of their well using of their natural abilities, to fulfill the condition required, he shakes hands with Papists and Arminians, who make our election and redemption to be ex praevisa fide: A conceit that hath been confuted over and over; if from his own will, because he hath purchased faith for them, then he obtained more by his death, than a conditional promise.

*Answer to Baxter, p. 85.

13. Fifthly, The ground whereon he builds these assertions, is a very sandy foundation, to wit, that the death of Christ was not solutio ejusdem, but tantidem; not the payment of that which was in the obligation, but of something equivalent; and therefore it doth not deliver us ipso facto, but according to the compact and agreement between the Father and him. I answer, (1) Whether the death of Christ be solutio ejusdem, or tantidem, as it is a satisfaction or payment of a debt, so the discharge thereby procured, mist needs be present and immediate? For that a debt should be paid and satisfied, and yet justly chargeable, implies a contradiction. But (2) Mr. W. might have thought we would expect a better proof than his bare word, that the death of Christ is solutio ejusdem, seeing the Holy Ghost shews, First, that Christ was held in the same obligation which we were under, He was made under the law, not another, but the very same obligation which we were under, He was made under the law, not another, but the very same that we were held in, Ga 4:3-4. Ergo, he paid the same debt that we did owe. Secondly, that the curse or punishment which we deserved, was inflicted upon him, Ga 3:13. The whole wages or curse that is due to sin, is death; and this Christ underwent for us, Heb 2:9,14; Isa 53:4-5. What is it to die, or to bear chastisement for another, but to undergo that death which we deserved is eternal, such as the damned endure; our divines have answered long ago, that Christ’s death was such in pondere, though not in specie, in potentia, though not in actu: The dignity of his person raised the price of his temporary sufferings to an equipollency with the other. Mr. Owen says well, that there is a sameness in Christ’s sufferings, with that in the obligation in respect of essence, and equivalency in respect of the adjuncts or attendencies. Thirdly, The laying of our sins upon Christ, Isa 53:6 subjected him to the same punishment which our sins deserved. Fourthly, if God would have dispensed with the idem in the first obligation, Christ need not have died; for if the justice of God would have been satisfied with less than that penalty threatened in the law, he might as well have dispensed with the whole: So then his inference, that the death of Christ doth not deliver us ipso facto, (being destitute of this support) will fall to the ground of its own accord.

*Answer to Baxter, p. 85.

14. Mr. W. grants, that if the debtor himself do bring unto the creditor that which he owes him, it presently dischargeth him, but the payment of a surety doth not. And why not? Amongst men there is no difference, so the debt be paid, it matters not whether by the principal, or his surety, the obligation is void in respect of both: The case is the very same between Christ and us. Secondly, This exception makes the payment of Christ less efficacious for the discharge of our debt, than if it had been made by us, whereas it is infinitely more acceptable to God, than the most perfect righteousness performed by us.  

But (says he) the payment of a surety is refusable. Not after that he is admitted by the creditor, and taken into bond with, or for the principal debtor. It is true, God might have refused to be satisfied for our debt by a surety; but seeing he ordained his Son to be our surety, and entered into covenant with him from everlasting, to accept his payment on our behalf; the debt which he hath fully satisfied cannot be charge again, either upon the party, or surety, without manifest injustice.

But the Father and the Son have agreed between themselves, that none should have actual reconciliation by the death of Christ, till they do believe. Shew us this agreement, and we will yield the cause. As for the Scriptures which he hath mentioned, they speak of no such thing. Joh 6:40. This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life. This text, and others like it, do only shew who have the fruition and enjoyment of the benefits of Christ, to wit, they that believe. The other text, Ga 5:2,4 is palpably abused to serve his turn. The Apostle doth not say, without faith Christ shall profit us nothing, but if we join anything with Christ as necessary to attain salvation, we are not believers, or true Christians, our profession of Christ shall profit us nothing; and the reason hereof is, because these two principles cannot be mixed.* A man’s righteousness before God, is either all of works, or all by Christ; and therefore, whosoever attributes any part thereof to works, he wholly renounceth Christ. At the sixth verse he attributes that to faith which he denies unto works. In Christ Jesus (saith he) neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision availeth any thing, but faith which worketh by love. But as the Godly learned** have well observed, the intent of the Apostle here, was not to shew what it is that doth justify, but what are the exercises of divine worship, in which Christians should be conversant. He doth not say, that faith working by love, is available to us before God, or in the sight of God, but in Christ, i.e. In the church,*** or kingdom of Christ, which consists in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; though neither faith, nor love, are available to justify us, yet they are available, i.e. Acceptable to God as acts or duties of spiritual obedience, they are the only acceptable service which we can perform to God. The last place he hath mentioned, is as little to the purpose as the rest, 1Jo 5:11. He that hath not the Son, hath not life. True! He doth not say, that all who have not faith (except final unbelievers) have not the Son, or any benefit by him.

*See Diod. On Ga 5:2

***Sarcer, apud Matlorat. In loc. & Perkins.

15. But (says Mr. W.) if our adversaries could prove, that it was either the will of God in giving his Son, or the will of Christ in giving himself to the death, that his death should be available to the immediate and actual reconciliation of sinners, without any condition performed on their part, it were something to the purpose; but till this be done (which indeed can never be done) they were as good say nothing. Had not prejudice cast a mist before his eyes, the Scriptures which have been brought already, would be proof sufficient. What clearer testimony can be desired of the will of God, and of Christ, in this point, than those sacred oracles which shew us, First, That Christ by the will of God, gave himself a ransom and sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour unto God, in behalf of all the elect, Joh 6:27; Heb 5:10; 10:9-10. Secondly, That this ransom was alone, and by itself, a full adequate and perfect satisfaction to divine justice for all their sins, Heb 1:3; 10:10,12,14; 1Jo 1:7. Thirdly, That God accepted it, and declared Himself well pleased and satisfied therewith, Mt 3:17; Isa 42:1. Insomuch, that God hath thereupon covenanted and sworn, that he will never remember their sins, nor be wroth with them any more, Isa 43:25; 54:9-10. Fourthly, That by this ransom of his they are freed, and delivered from the curse of the law, Ga 4:4; 3:13. Our adversaries say, that he paid the price for their redemption, but with no intent that they should be immediately and absolutely freed;* which is often boldly affirmed, and slenderly proved. But why not immediately and absolutely? There is (saith Mr. W.) a compact, and agreement between the Father and the Son, when undertook to be our surety, that his death should not be available for the actual reconciliation of sinners, till they have performed the terms and conditions required on their part. Sed hoc restat probandum; and I am persuaded will, till the world’s end. Let them shew us this covenant and agreement, and we are satisfied; till this be done, we shall think our proofs sufficient; and that the force of those allegations is no whit invalidated by this crude assertion. I confess, I have heard much talk of the suspensive covenant, but hitherto I have not had the hap to meet with that author, that hath attempted to make it forth; though I might justly be excused from the labour of proving the negative, seeing that it lies upon our adversaries to clear it up, That there was such a compact and agreement made between the Father and the Son, that his death should not be available to the immediate reconciliation of sinners, but only upon conditions performed by them. Yet because I intend not any other reply, and that Mr. W. may see I do not dissent, because he hath said, and not proved it; which in controverted points were ground enough; I shall offer him the reasons which as yet do sway my judgment to believe the contrary.

*Baxters Append. p. 152.

14. CHAP. XIV.


Of the Covenant between the Father and the Son concerning the immediate effects of Christ’s death.

The reasons which persuade me to believe, That there was not any covenant passed between God and Christ, to hinder the immediate and actual reconciliation of God’s elect by his death, and to suspend this effect thereof upon terms and conditions to be performed by them; but contrarywise, that it was the will both of God and of Christ, that his death should be available to their immediate and actual reconciliation and justification, without any condition performed on their part, are as followeth.

First, There is no such covenant doth appear, Ergo, there is none. Non est Scriptum, Ergo, There is no such thing; hath hitherto been counted a good argument amongst Christians: It is not possible (says Damascene) (GREEK TEXT) To speak ought of God, beside the things which are divinely manifested in the Old and New Testament. If there be any such covenant, let our adversaries shew it, and until they do, we shall rest securely in the negative; they must pardon us, if we yield not up our faith to unwritten verities.

Secondly, The covenant made between God and Christ, was, That upon giving up of himself unto death, he should purchase a seed like the stars of Heaven, i.e. All the elect of God, Isa 53:10. And our Saviour Christ, after that he had tasted death, to bring many sons unto glory, boasts and glories in this achievement, Heb 2:13. Behold, I, and the children, whom God hath given me. Ergo, It was the will of God, that his death should be available for their immediate reconciliation; for they could not be the children of Christ, and the children of wrath at the same time.

2. Thirdly, if it were the will of God, that the death of Christ should be the payment of our debt, and a full satisfaction for all our iniquities, then was it his will, that our discharge procured thereby should be immediate; but it was the will of God, that the death of Christ should be the payment of our debts, and a full satisfaction for our iniquities, Ergo. I suppose the assumption will not be questioned; for though the word satisfaction be not used in Scripture,* yet the thing itself is plainly signified in those phrases of redemption, atonement, reconciliation; and in like manner, all those places which declare that Christ died for us, and for our sins and offences, do imply the same; scil. That the death of Christ was the payment of our debts, and the punishment of our sins; that thereby he satisfied the law for all those wrongs and injuries we have done unto it. Now the sequel is evident, if God willed that the death of Christ should be a full and satisfactory payment of our demerits, then he willed that the discharge procured thereby, should be immediate and present; for it is contrary to justice and equity, that a debt when it is paid, should be charged either upon the surety or principal; and therefore though God did will, that the other effects of Christ’s death, as it is the meritorious price of faith, holiness, glory, &c. should be sub termino, or in Diem, not present, but future; yet he willed, that this effect of it, to wit, our discharge from sin, and the curse, should be present and immediate; because it implies a contradiction, that the same debt should be paid, and not paid; that it should be discharged, and yet justly chargeable: As when a man that is a trespasser, or any one for him, pays a summe of money, which is sufficient both for the discharge of his trespass, as also for the purchase of a piece of land: From the trespass his discharge must be present, if the satisfaction be full, though the enjoyment of the land may be in Diem, as the vendee and purchaser can agree; the case before us is the very same. The death of Christ was both a price and a ransom, it served both to pay our debts, and procure our happiness; he did thereby purchase both our deliverance from sin and death, and all those spiritual blessings, present and future, which we stand in need of. The discharge of our debts, and deliverance from punishment, must needs be present and immediate, upon the payment of the price, though those spiritual blessings be not received till a long time after, as God and Christ shall see it fit to bestow them on us. To this I shall add a fourth.

* See Ball of the Covenant. p. 276. &c.

3. Fourthly, If nothing hindered the reconciliation of the elect with God, but the breach of the law, then the law being satisfied, it was the will of God that they should be immediately reconciled; but nothing hindered their reconciliation with God but the breach of the law. Ergo, It was sin alone that made a distance, or separation between God and them, Isa 59:2. For which cause it is compared to a cloud or mist, Isa 44:22 to a partition-wall, Eph 2:14. It lay as a block in the way, that God could not, (salva justitia) bestow upon them those good things intended towards them in his eternal election. The only cause of Christ’s death was to satisfy the law; he did not die to procure a new will or affection in the heart of God towards his elect, nor yet to add any new thing in God, which doth perfect and complete the act of election, as Wallaus seems to intimate:* But that God might save us in a way agreeable to his own justice, that he might confer upon us all those blessings he intended, without wrong ad violation to his holy law; for God having made a law, that the soul which sinneth, should die, the justice and truth of God required, that satisfaction should be made for the sins of the elect, no less than of other men; which they being unable to perform, the Son of God became their surety, to bear the curse, and fulfill the law in their stead. God might will unto us sundry benefits, which he cannot actually bestow upon us without wrong to his justice: As a King may will and purpose the deliverance of his favourite, who is imprisoned for debt, yet he cannot actually free him, till he hath paid and satisfied his creditor. So, though God had an irrevocable, peremptory will, to save his elect; yet he could not actually save them, till satisfaction was made unto his justice; which being made, there is no let or impediment to stop the current of his blessings. As when the cloud is dissolved, the sun shines forth; when the partition-wall is broken down, they that were separated, are again united: So the cloud of our sins being blotted out, the beams of God’s love have as free a passage towards us, as if we had not sinned. Now that Christ by his death removed this let and hindrance, the Scripture is as express as can be desired, as that he made an end of sin, Da 9:24. Blotted it out, &c. Col 2:14.** Took it quite away, (as the scape-goat, Le 16:22) Joh 1:29. And slew the enmity between God and us, Eph 2:16. See verses 13,14,15.

*Apud Rhaetorf. Apol. p. 39.

** Diodate on Col 2:14

4. Fifthly, If it were the will of God, that the sin of Adam should immediately overspread his posterity, then it was his will that the satisfaction and righteousness of Christ, should immediately redound to the benefit of God’s elect; for there is the same reason for the immediate transmission of both to their respective subjects;* for (as the Apostle shews, Ro 5:14) both of them were heads and roots of mankind. Now the sin of Adam did immediately overspread his posterity; All men sinned in him, before ever they committed any actual sin, Ro 5:12,14. And therefore the righteousness of Christ descended immediately upon all the elect for their justification, Ro 5:17-18.

*Vid. Sup. Cap. 1. sect. p.

Sixthly, If the sacrifices of the law were immediately available for the typical cleansing of sins under that administration, then the sacrifice which Christ hath offered, was immediately available to make a real atonement, for all those sins for which he suffered. The reason of the consequence is, because the real sacrifice is not less efficacious than the typical, Heb 9:14. But those legal sacrifices did immediately make atonement, without any conditions performed on the sinners part, Le 16:30.

5. Seventhly, If it be the will of God that the death of Christ should be available, for the immediate reconciliation o some of the elect, without any condition performed by them, then it was his will, that it should be so for all of them; the reason is, because the Scripture makes no difference between persons in the communication of this grace, The free gift (saith the Apostle) came upon all men, i.e. In omnes praedestinatos,* to justification of life, to wit, by the gracious imputation of God. But it is the will of God, that the death of Christ should be available for the immediate reconciliation of some of the elect, without conditions performed by them, viz. To elect infants, or else they are not reconciled, and consequently they cannot be saved.


Now if any shall say, That God hath a peculiar way of reconciling and justifying infants, or of communicating unto them the benefits of Christ’s death; let them clear it up from Scripture; let them shew us the text that saith, God gives salvation unto infants in one manner, and to men in another; to the one freely, and to the others upon conditions. If they say, Infants have the seed or habit of faith, the Scripture will contradict them, which affirmeth, (1) That they have no knowledge at all either of good or evil, De 1:39. And that they cannot so much as discern between the right and left hand. And if so, how can they who conceive not of natural, understand those things that are heavenly and spiritual? And therefore (says Augustine*) If we should go about to prove, that infants know the things of God, who as yet know not the things of men, our own senses would confute us. And can there be faith without knowledge? (2) That faith cometh by hearing of the Word preached, Ro 10. Now infants either hear not, or if they do, they understand not what they hear: We have sufficient experience, that no children give any testimony of faith, until they have been taught and instructed. Elect children (which are afterwards manifested to be such) are as obstinate and unteachable as any others: As for the instance of the Baptist, that he believed in his Mother’s belly, because it is said, Lu 1:41 That he was filled with the Holy Ghost, &c. It doth not prove it; for (as one observes**) it is not said, credidit in utero, but only exultavit, which exultation, or springing, Divinitus facta est in infante, non humanitus ab infante: And therefore it is not to be drawn into an example, or urged as a rule to us, what to think of other infants. But if any shall say, that infants do perform the conditions of reconciliation and salvation by their parents: then it will follow, that all the children of believing parents are reconciled and justified, because they perform the conditions, as much for all as they do for one: But I suppose no man will say, that all the children of believing parents are justified; w may as well assert works of supererogation, as that one is justified by another’s faith.*** That any infants are saved, it is merely from the grace of election, and the free imputation of Christ’s righteousness; of which, all that are elected, are made partakers in the same manner.

*Epist. 57.
**Downe of the Faith of Infants, p. 199.
*** Eze 18:20; Hab 2:4

6. Eightly, If it were the will of God, that Christ should have the whole glory of our reconciliation; it was his will that it should not in the least depend upon our works or conditions; because that condition, or conditions, will share with him in the glory of this effect; and our justification would be partly of grace, and partly of works; partly from Christ, and partly from ourselves: Nay, it would be more from ourselves than from Jesus Christ; seeing, that notwithstanding all that he hath done for us, we had been eternally miserable, unless we had also contributed our own endeavours. How derogatory this is to Christ, and contrary to the Scriptures, is sufficiently manifest.

Ninthly, If it were the will of God that his people should have strong consolations* and that their joy should be full,** then it was his will that their peace and reconciliation should not depend upon terms and conditions performed by themselves. For (as was noted before out of Calvin***) it is impossible that any should enjoy a firm an settled peace, whose confidence towards God is grounded upon conditional promises; and, says the Apostle, our salvation is by grace, to the end that the promise might be made sure unto all the seed; implying that if it depended never so little upon our works, we could not be sure thereof, and consequently, we must walk in darkness, and see no light.

*Heb 6:18
** 1Jo 1:4
***Sup. Cap. 4.

7. Tenthly, If it were the will of God, that the death of Christ should be available for the reconciliation of his elect, whilst they live in this world, then it was his will that it should procure for them immediate and actual reconciliation, without the intervention of those conditions supposed to be required of them; and the reason of this consequence is, because they cannot perform all the conditions required of them till their last breath, this being one, that they must persevere to the end; and the nature of conditional grants is such, that the benefit cannot be had and enjoyed, till all the conditions are performed. So that if the reconciliation of the elect did depend upon the conditions pretended, they should not only not have reconciliation before faith, but not before death; which is contrary to innumerable Scriptures, which do declare that the saints are perfectly justified, and so immutably reconciled unto God, that nothing shall be able to separate them from his love; though their sanctification be imperfect, yet their justification is as full and perfect as ever it shall be; it doth not grow and increase as the other doth, but is as perfect at first;* and therefore baptism which seals unto us the forgiveness and washing away of all our sins, not original only, but actual also, is administered but once in all our lifetime; to shew that our justification is done all at once, at the very first instant, wherein the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, Eze 16:8-9; Ac 13:39; 1Jo 1:7; Col 2:13-14.

*See Nildersh. On Ps 1. Lect. 128. Ames. Med. I.c.27.

8. Eleventhly, If it were the will of God that the death of Christ should certainly and infallibly procure the reconciliation of his elect, then surely it was not the will of God that it should depend upon terms and conditions on their part; because that which depends upon future conditions, is, as to the event, altogether uncertain, it is possible it may never be, by the non-performance of the condition. But this hath been alledged before.

Twelfthly, If God willed this blessing to his elect by the death of Christ, but conditionally, then he willed their reconciliation and justification no more than their non-reconciliation, and condemnation; and stood as it were indifferent to either event; but doubtless his heart was more set upon it than so: See Joh 6:38-39; 17:21-22,24. The consequence is clear, for if he willed their justification only, in case they should believe and repent, then he willed their damnation in case they do not believe, and repent; and then it will follow that he willed their justification, no more than their damnation; nay, most probably he willed it less; because we are more prone to infidelity than we are to faith; and to hardness of heart, than we are to repentance. I add to this.

9. Thirteenthly, If God willed unto men the benefits of Christ’s death, upon any condition to be performed by them, it will follow that God foresaw in them an ability to perform some good, which Christ hath not merited. Conditional reconciliation necessarily supposeth free-will. For either God willed it unto men upon a possible, or impossible condition, not upon an impossible condition, for that is inconsistent with the wisdom of God; if upon a possible condition, the possibility thereof ariseth either from God’s will, or from mans; it is possible, either because God will bestow it, or because man can perform it. Our adversaries cannot mean it in the former sense, for God will bestow upon us nothing but what Christ hath purchased; and Christ hath purchased nothing, save what God hath promised in his covenant. Now Mr. W. denies that the promise of faith is any part of the covenant, or any effect of it, p. 32. and others that are for this conditional reconciliation look upon it as a ridiculous conceit, that God should promise men salvation upon a condition, and that he should work this condition in them, and for them; so that in the up-shot, we shall be beholding chiefly to free-will, an opinion so absurd, that in all ages it hath been exploded by humble and sober-minded Christians, it being palpably contrary to the Scriptures, which shew that every man by nature is without strength, dead in trespasses and sins, that we cannot so much as think a good thought, that it is God who worketh in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. If any shall say that God did will that by Christ we should have faith, and after that reconciliation; though this be granted them, it will follow notwithstanding, that our reconciliation is an immediate effect of the death of Christ (as Mr. Owen hath invincibly proved in his answer to Baxter, p. 34.) and then all the controversy will be about God’s order and method in conferring on us the effects of Christ’s death; and whether God doth enable a man to perform good works, before his person is reconciled to God. Some reasons for the negative have been given before.

10. Fourteenthly, if God did will that our sins should be accounted unto Christ without any condition on our part, then it was his will that they should be discounted unto us without any condition, and the reason thereof is, because the charging and accounting of them unto him, necessarily includes our discharge; the imputing of our sins to Christ was formally the non-imputing of them unto us: God’s accounting of them unto him (as hath been shown) was a real discounting of them from us, for they could not be accounted or charged upon both, without a manifest contradiction in the thing itself, and in the justice of God. But God willed that our sins should be accounted to, and charged upon Christ, without any condition performed by us, for he actually suffered for them before we were. Ergo,

11. To these arguments from Scripture I might add many plain texts, which do declare that our reconciliation, is the actual and immediate effect of Christ’s death, as Col 1:14; Eph 1:7. We have redemption [not we shall have] the forgiveness, [or non-imputation] of sins according to the riches of his grace [not according to any condition performed by us] he having obtained eternal redemption for us, Heb 9:12 And 2Co 5:18-19 (a place which we have often mentioned) the Apostle shews that Christ by his death made such a reconciliation for us, as that God thereupon did not impute our sins unto us, which was long before any condition could be performed by us. Elsewhere, That Christ by himself purged and expiated our sins, Heb 1:3 and afterwards sat down, as having finished that work, Chap 10:12. Now sin that is fully purged and expiated, is not imputable to the sinner. The same Apostle adds, that Christ by his sacrifice hath for ever perfected all them for whom it was offered, Heb 1:14. And in another place, that he hath made them complete, as to the forgiveness of their sins, Col 2:10,13-14. In Ro 8:33-34 he argues from the death of Christ to the non-imputation of our sins, Who can lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth, it is Christ that died; whereas notwithstanding sin would have been chargeable upon them, and they condemnable, if the death of Christ had not procured their discharge, without the intervention of any condition performed by them.

15. CHAP. XV.


Wherein Mr. Woodbridge’s Replies to the second objection (as he calls it) concerning our being justified in Christ as a common person, are examined.

The argument was proposed by me at the time of our conference, in this manner. They that were in Christ as a common person, before they believed, were justified before they believed; but many were in Christ, as a common person, before they believed, Ergo. Mr. W. denied both propositions. The major I proved in this wise: If Christ was justified before many that are in him do believe; then they that are in him, were justified before they believed. But Christ was justified before many that are in Christ do believe, Ergo. His answer hereunto (as I remember) was, I deny all: And the assumption was confirmed from Isa 50:8-9 in this manner, Christ was justified at his resurrection, but that happened before many of them, who are in Christ as a common person, do believe. Ergo. That Christ was justified at his resurrection, is clear from this text, He is near that justifieth me, &c. Which words (I said) were uttered by the Prophet in the person of our Saviour, in the time of his greatest humiliation, who comforted himself with this, that the Lord would shortly justify him; which was to be done at his resurrection,* when the Lord publicly declared to all the world, that he was acquitted and discharged from all those sins which were laid upon him, and which he as a surety undertook to satisfy. The sequel of the major was also proved by this Enthymem. The acts of a common person do belong unto them whom he represents; whatsoever is done by, or to a common person, as such, is to be attributed to them in whose stead he stands; and therefore if Christ were justified, all that were in him were justified also: For seeing that he was not justified from his own, but from the sins of others; all they whom he represents were justified in his justification: Whereunto he replied, That Christ was not justified according to the tenor of the New Covenant, which did lead us to that discourse of the New Covenant, which is afterwards mentioned, of which in its place.

*See M. Goodwins Christ set forth .3.c.5.

2. We shall now take a view of his replies to this argument, which we find in his printed copy. And 1. He distinguisheth of a threefold justification. (1) Purposed, (2) Purchased, and (3) Exemplified, all which are before faith: So then by his own confession, justification in a Scripture sense goes before faith; which is that horrid opinion he hath all this while so eagerly opposed. It may be he will say as Arminius doth, that neither of these were actual justification, which were a poor put off; for as Dr. Twisse observes, Omnis justificatio simpliciter dicta congruenter exponenda est, de justificatione actual; Analogum per se positum stat pro samosiori significato: When we speak of justification simply, there is no man but understands it of actual justification. And first, That which he calls justification purposed in the decree of God, is real and actual justification for if justification be God’s will not to punish, or to deal with his elect according to their sins (as both the Psalmist and Apostle do define it) than when God’s will was in actual being, their justification was actual: It is absurd to say, That God did decree or purpose to will anything whatsoever, his will being his essence, which admits no cause, either within or without God. (2) We have shewn before, that justification being taken for the effect of God’s will, to wit, our discharge from the obligation of the law, it was actually, because solely, and absolutely obtained by the death of Christ; there being no other cause out of God, which concurs to the producing of this effect.

3. The third branch of his distinction, justification exemplified, is terminus redundans, a member that may well be spared; for (1) There is not the least hint thereof in Holy Writ; the Scripture nowhere calls our Saviour the example or pattern of our justification. For though he is proposed to us as an example in acts of moral obedience,* yet in his works of mediation he was not so; in these he was not an exemplary, but a meritorious procuring cause; an example is proposed to be imitated, and therefore we are frequently exhorted to imitate our Saviour in works of sanctification,** but we are nowhere bid to imitate him in our justification, or in justifying ourselves. It was needless he should be a pattern of our justification; for this pattern must be of use either unto us, or unto God: Not to us, because we do not justify ourselves, not unto God, because he needs no pattern or example to guide or direct him. (2) He that pays our debts to the utmost farthing, and thereupon receives a discharge, is more than a pattern of our release: Our real discharge is in his, as our real debt was upon him. And therefore his grandfather Parker*** said well, That Christ’s resurrection was the actual justification both of him and us. (3) If Christ were only a pattern and example of our justification, then was he justified from his own sins, and consequently was a sinner, which is the most horrid blasphemy that can be uttered. The reason of the consequence is evident; for if Christ were but a pattern and example of our justification, then was he justified, as we are: Now we are justified from our own sins, which we ourselves have committed, and therefore his justification must be from his own sins, or else the example and counterpart do agree. (4) This expression intimates, that as Christ was justified by performing, the conditions required of him, so we are justified by performing the conditions required of him, so we are justified by performing the conditions required of us; which in effect makes men their own Saviours, as before. (5) He recedes very far, both from the meaning and expressions of all our Orthodox writers, who do constantly call our Saviour a common person, but never that I find, the exemplary cause of our justification. I shall only refer the reader to what his grandfather Parker**** hath written of this matter, who hath copiously and learnedly proved both from Scripture, and the Fathers, That Christ, no less than the first Adam, was made a common person by the ordination of God, and his own voluntary undertaking; who took our sins upon him, as if they had been his own, and for the same made full satisfaction to Divine Justice, and consequently received as full a discharge in our behalf. (6) This expression of his favours rankly both of Pelagianism and Socinianism. The Pelagians, as they made the first Adam a mere pattern and example, in communicating sin to his posterity; so they made the second Adam but the pattern and example of our reconciliation. Those words, 2Co 5:18, Who hath reconciled us to himself, [by Jesus Christ] they expounded by his doctrine, and by his example,***** i.e. By our obedience to his doctrine, and by imitating his example. The Socinians do speak the same language, Christus ideo servator noster dicitur, quod salutis viam nobis annunciavit; quod salutis viam nobis consirmavit, miraculorum patraitione, sanguinis essusione, resurrectione a mortuis, quod vita exemplo viam saluris nobis ostendit. Christ is therefore called a Saviour, because by his life and doctrine, he hath shewed us the way of salvation, and by his miracles and sufferings hath confirmed the same. I am sorry to hear the language of Ashdod, from the mouth of a Protestant minister.

*See Reynolds 3 Treat. p. 410.

** Mt 11:29; Joh 13:15; Php 2:5; 1Pe 2:21; 1Jo 2:6

***Vid. Sup. C. 3.

****Park. de descens. I. 3. . 49, 50, 53.

*****Vid. Estium in loc.

4. The excuse which he gives, for calling our Saviour the exemplary cause of our justification, rather than a common person, is both fallacious and impertinent. [I use (saith he) the term of an exemplary cause, rather than of a common person, because a common person may be the effect of those whom he represents, as the Parliament of the Commonwealth.]

1. It is fallacious dealing, under pretense of giving a more significant term, to leave out that wherein the force of the argument lay He seems to intimate, that the phrases are of equal latitude, that an exemplary cause doth express as much as a common person, which is clearly false; for the act of the exemplar is not the act of the imitator; as the act of a common person is the act of them whom he represents, which in law is accounted as if it had been done by them. Parents and superiors are examples to their children and inferiors, they are not common persons, as Adam was to all his posterity, In whose loins (saith the Apostle) we all sinned; and in this respect he is made a figure of Christ, Ro 5:14 whose righteousness is accounted unto them for whom he died; as Adam’s sin was accounted unto us, when as yet we were not.

2. It is impertinent, for though Christ be not the effect of them whom he represents, yet that hinders not but that his discharge was theirs, no less than if it had been chosen by them. I can see no reason why the act of God, constituting and appointing his Son to be the head, surety, and common person, to all his elect, should not be as effectual for the communication of his benefits to them, as their own choice and election. We did not choose Adam to be our common person, and yet his sin was imputed to us; so tho’ we did not choose the Lord Jesus to stand in our stead, that is no reason why his righteousness and satisfaction should not be accounted ours.

5. The instances he hath brought from our personal resurrection, and inherent sanctification, to render this argument absurd, have not the least force to conclude against the efficacy of Christ’s satisfaction, for our immediate discharge from sin and wrath. It doth not follow, that because we did not personally rise with Christ, and were not inherently sanctified in his sanctification. Ergo, we had not in his resurrection an actual discharge from the guilt of sin; there is not the like reason for these. For to our actual discharge, there needed no more than the payment of our debt, or satisfaction to the law of God, but our personal resurrection necessarily supposeth both our life and death. Again, our inherent sanctification cannot be without our personal existence, and the use of those means which God hath appointed for that end; but our justification is wrought without us, and for us. Though Christ hath fully merited our sanctification and resurrection to glory (in which respect we are said to be crucified with him, and to be risen with Christ) as well as our justification, yet it is not necessary that these benefits should be communicated to us at the same time, and in the same manner. It is no such absurdity to say, Christ hath purchased our resurrection, though we are not risen, as to say, Christ hath purchased our discharge, and yet we are not discharged; for (as hath been shewn*) to say a debt is discharged, and yet that it is justly chargeable, implies a contradiction. Let the reader judge, whether the assertion that follows, be not much more confident than solid. [No man living can shew any reason of difference (as if he were master of as much reason as all men living) why we may not as justly infer, that our resurrection is passed already, because we are risen in Christ; as that our justification is passed before we believe, because we are justified in Christ. Enough hath been said to evict the disproportion of these consequences.

*Cap. 14. 2

6. 2. His next distinction, is, that justification is either causal and virtual, or actual and formal; we were (saith he) causally and virtually justified in Christ’s justification, but not actually and formally.] Our Protestant divines do generally place the formale of justification, in the non-imputation of sin: now if our sins were formally imputed unto Christ, even to a full satisfaction, they could not formally be imputed unto us also, unless a debt discharged by a surety can be justly reckoned unto him that did first contract it. It is true, a debt may be imputed both to principal and surety, before it be discharge, but after to neither: it is granted by all Orthodox writers, that our Saviour by giving himself to death, made full satisfaction to the utmost farthing, for all the sins or debts of God’s elect. Now I say, the discharge of a debt, is formally the discharge of the debtor, unless we speak of an outward formality, such as is by an acquitance, which serves but either against the unfaithfulness of the creditor, who otherwise would deny the payment, or else against the ignorance of the debtor, who being not at the payment, might still look upon himself as a debtor, and liable to all the consequences of his debts. In this sense, our formal justification is by the gracious sentence of the gospel, terminated upon our consciences; but otherwise, intrinsically and formally, the payment of our debt is our real discharge. I shall grant him, that the death of Christ doth justify us only virtually; but yet I affirm, that the satisfaction in his death (being performed, and accepted for us) doth justify us formally; for the actual payment of a debt, is that which formally makes him that we the debtor, no debtor. And therefore Christ dying for us, or for our sins; his reconciling us to God, and our being justified, are synonima’s in scripture phrase, Ro 5:8-10.

Object. But against this, some have alleged that of the Apostle, 2Co 5:21 where he saith, that Christ was made sin for us, (GREEK TEXT), that we might be made (he doth not say, that thereby we are made) the righteousness of God in him. Whence they would infer, that the laying of our sins on Christ, is only an antecedent, which tends to the procuring of our justification, and not the same formally. Whereunto we answer, (1) That this phrase [that we might be, or be made,] doth not always signify the final, but sometimes the formal cause; as when it is said, that light is let in, that darkness might be expelled; where the emission of light is formally the expulsion of darkness. (2) Though the imputation of our sins to Christ, and of his righteousness to us, do differ; yet the imputation of sin to him, and non-imputation of it unto us, is but one and the same act of God; which was, when God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, before the word of reconciliation was given; and therefore before they believed, verse 19. (3) Though the imputation of our sin to Christ, and so the non-imputation thereof to us have an antecedency, in respect of imputation of righteousness to us, yet it is of nature only, and not of time. For though it be objected, that we were not then, and therefore righteousness could not be imputed unto us, yet it follows not: they might as well object, our sins were not then. Ergo, they could not be imputed unto Christ; whereas in this business of justification, God calleth things that are not, as though they were (Ro 4:17). But if Mr. W. had shewn what it is that formally justifies us, besides the satisfaction made in Christ’s death, somewhat more might have spoken to it.

7. The close of this paragraph is such a dirty puddle, that I intended to have stepped over it in silence, seeing it is so hard to touch pitch, or pollution, and not be defiled with it; but yet for their sakes that do not know me, I shall stay the reader a little while, whilst I wash off that dirt which he hath thrown upon me and others. [They are credulous souls, I will assure you, that will be drawn by such decoys as these, into schism and faction, to the hardening, and discomforting of more hearts in one hour, than the opinion itself (should it obtain) will do good to, while the world stands.] I dare not allow myself (GREEK TEXT),  or to pay him in his own coin, having persuaded my heart to follow better examples, even his, who when he was reviled, reviled not again, 1Pe 2:23. And theirs, who being reproached, returned blessing, 1Co 4:12. In these few words there are a heap of slanders packed together, both against myself and others, (which is more grievous to be born) against the truths and ways of God, which we adhere to. 1. They that do embrace this doctrine which I have taught, are aspersed with credulity and levity. I do believe there is not one of my charge, but is able to say as the Samaritans, Joh 4:42, We believe not because of thy saying, for we have heard him ourselves, &c. I dare say, they are better settled than to be shaken with the sophistry of this assailant. I am sure, both they and many more will bear me witness, how frequently I do admonish them, of taking up matters of faith upon trust and credit; it being idolatry in a high degree, to give the most spiritual worship of God, viz. Our faith, to a weak and sinful man. He that believes a truth upon a humane account, is no better Christian that he that doth believe a lie. Let the prudent judge, whether they are not more justly obnoxious to this censure of abusing the credulity of simple fools, who will not endure that their hearers should bring their doctrines to the touchstone. The tyranny and usurpation of the Popish Priests, is far more excusable than the affected domination of some of ours; for they believe, that their church is infallible and cannot err; ours confess, that they are fallible, and may err, and yet expect subscription to their dictates, no less than the Canon itself: It is held a piaculum to question, or debate, whatever they say. 2. It is but an unhandsome character he hath given my arguments, which he calls decoys. The Apostle, I take it, hath Englished his French, Eph 4:14. The sleight of men, who lie in wait to deceive. I dare say he knows me better than in cold blood to accuse me of driving on such a devilish trade, as wittingly to deceive men’s precious souls: And therefore I shall call in no other Compargator than his own conscience.

8. As for his charge of schism and faction, I am not careful to answer it, being the usual foam of passionate men, who when they want arguments to convince, fall to downright railing; schism (says a learned man**) in the common management of the word is a mere theological scarecrow, wherewith they who uphold a party in religion, seek to fright away others from enquiring into, and closing with that which they do oppose: Both this and the other are most frequently in their mouths, who are deepest in the guilt that is imported by them. Ahab by his sins brought down plagues and judgments upon Israel; yet he calls Elijah, the troubler of Israel, 1Ki 18:17. Athalia was the chiefest traitor, and yet she was the first that cried out treason, 2Ki 11:14. Tertullus was the orator of the tumult, yet he inveighs against Paul as a ringleader of sedition, Ac 24:5-6 the church of Rome, which hath fallen from the purity of the Catholic faith, brands them for schismatics who refuse to continue in the same Apostasy. Amongst ourselves the late innovators aspersed all those with faction and schism, who would not prostitute their consciences to the wills of men; and to this day ignorant and profane persons think all those to be factious and schismatics, who live more strictly and religiously than themselves. I must need say, they are less to be blamed, seeing professors and ministers do give them such an evil example.

** Hales tr. Of Schism.

9. I confess, though in common use, schism and faction are but ridiculous terms, yet the things themselves are real evils; the one being an offence against civil, and the other against ecclesiastical peace. If this author had shewn wherein I offended against either of them, I doubt not but I should have cleared myself at a just tribunal. For 1. I have ever been so far from factious combinations, or attempting anything against the civil peace, that (as I verily believe) it hath not been the least cause of my troubles, that I have always, prayed for, and pressed subjection (GREEK TEXT), (Ro 13:1) to the powers in being; had others of my calling done the like, the disaffections of the people against the present government, had not been so great as yet they are in these parts. 2. As for schism, I know no ground that he hatch to charge me with it; for schism cannot be, but where communion is, or ought to be held; now to my best remembrance, I never refused to hold Christian communion with any person or persons, with whom by the rules of Christ I conceived I ought. It is true, we receive not all within that Parochial circuit wherein we live, unto communion in church privileges; because either they refuse to make profession of their faith, and to declare their subjection to the ordinance of Jesus Christ: And so they separate from us, and not we from them; or else they are such as in their practices do contradict the profession which they seem to make, like them Tit 1:16. And as for members of other churches, we are ready to give them the right hand of fellowship, unless the person or church to which he belongs, lies under the guilt of any public scandal.** If he doth accuse me of schism, because I have refrained going to some lectures that are preached in this city, I doubt not but the wife will be satisfied with a just apology. I do not conceive that Christians are bound to frequent every lecture that is preached near them; the obligation to this duty must needs be determined by Christian prudence; and we ought to follow that which we conceive hath the greatest tendency to edification. Now I confess I have rather chosen to deprive myself of that benefit which sometime I might enjoy, than to wound my conscience by keeping of silence, when I hear the truths and servants of God declaimed against. Dr. Jackson*** (a man large enough in the point of communion) grants that there is just cause to separate from the communion of a visible church (our practice doth not amount so high) when we are urged or constrained to profess or believe some points of doctrine, or to adventure upon some practices, which are contrary to the rule of faith, or love of God; and in case we are utterly deprived of freedom of conscience, in professing what we inwardly believe, for which he cites 1Co 7:23. Ye are bought with a price, be ye not servants of men; For (says he) although we were persuaded that we might communicate with such a church, without evident danger of damnation; yet in as much as we cannot communicate with it upon any better terms, than servants and bondslaves do with their masters, we are bound in conscience, and religious discretion, when lawful occasions or opportunities are offered, to use our liberty, and seek to our freedom, rather than to live in bondage. Let them allow us that liberty (which we offer to them) to discuss and examine the doctrines which they do deliver, and if they shall be found erroneous, to profess against them, I shall not often decline such opportunities.

** See Mr. Cottons way of the Churches, p. 78, &c.
*** Treat. Of the Church cap. 14.

10. But says Mr. W. the contending about this matter [will harden and discomfort more souls in an hour, that the opinion itself will do good to, while the world stands] 1. It seems he is of Curcellaeus his mind, that the matter in question is of so small concernment, that it ought not to breed a controversy: I marvel then he should offer himself a champion on either part, especially I a place where he had so little to do, and where his humility might suppose there were others as able as himself, to defend the notion which he stickles for. No man will imagine that he engaged in this controversy upon conscientious principles, if he judgeth the point in question to be of little moment. For my part, I cannot look upon that as such a trifle, which doth so nearly concern the glory of God’s grace, the virtue and efficacy of Christ’s blood, upon which alone poor souls can with confidence and security build their hopes of eternal life. 2. I have shewed before, that the doctrine itself is guiltless, both of hardening and discomforting the souls of men, and if these effects do ensue the pressing of it in a Christian way, they are accidental, and consequently ought not to be charged upon the tenant. I know none that are discomforted by these debates but such as the Apostle speaks of,* Who are ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. For having pinned their faith on the sleeves of others, they are jealous of their credit, least they should be thought to have builded on a sandy foundation.

*2Ti 3:7

16. CHAP. XVI.


Of Mr. Woodbridge’s Answer to the third objection, which he hath framed concerning our being in covenant with God before believing.

This last he scoffingly calls the great argument, which as he hath proposed it, was none of mine. We fell upon our discourse of the covenant, upon his saying that Christ was not justified according to the tenor of the New Covenant; whereunto I replied; If the New Covenant were made with Christ, then Christ was justified according to the tenor of the New Covenant; but the New Covenant was made with Christ, Ergo. He denied the assumption. But by the way let me give the reader the reason of the sequel, which is as followeth; the New Covenant contains all the promises which God hath made to the Head and the members, both to Christ personal, and to Christ mystical; the same covenant is conditional to him, and absolute to us; a covenant of works to him, but a covenant of grace to us. Now if it be one and the same covenant, by which Christ and we are justified, (though in a far different manner) scil. He by works, and we by grace, he by his own righteousness, and we by his; then his justification was by virtue of the New Covenant that we are justified by. We read but of one covenant that was made with Christ, by, and according unto which he was justified, when he had paid the debt which he had undertaken. To confirm the assumption, That the New Covenant was made with Christ, I alledged (1) the judgment of the late assembly, who in their larger catechism* have laid down this proposition, in terminis, The covenant of grace was made with Christ the second Adam, and in him with all the elect, as his seed. First he denied the allegation, (though I believe at another time he would have taken my word for a greater matter) I desired Mr. C. an assembly man, (who swat next unto him) to declare, whether it were so; but he refused to speak, though I urged him twice: Had he remembered the words of our Saviour, Joh 8:37. I dare say he would not have refused to perform so just an office: At length a gentleman** that stood by (one of the parish elders) ingenuously acknowledged, that I had truly alledged it. Then Mr. W. denied their authority, swaying, It was a humane testimony. I accepted his answer, and desired the people to remember what Mr. W. had told them (knowing that many present would receive it sooner from him than they would from me) That the authority of the assembly is but human, and not divine, and infallible; and consequently, that their votes and determinations are of no greater force than the proofs and reasons which do confirm them. And therefore, I immediately offered him divine authority in the argument following: If they with whom God did make the New Covenant, when it was first revealed and exhibited, were in that federal act or relation, the types and figures of Jesus Christ, then the New Covenant was made only with Christ. For that which is attributed to a person, as a type or figure, belongs properly and peculiarly to the antitype. But all they with whom the New Covenant was made, when it was first exhibited, were in that federal relation the types of Christ, Ergo. The minor was proved thus, The New Covenant was made with Abraham, but Abraham in his federal relation, or in receiving that covenant, was a type of Christ, Ergo. Whereunto (if it had been needful) I had added divers other instances; as of Noah, Phinehas, David, &c. who in the respective covenants, which God made with them, were also types and figures of Jesus Christ. The covenant made with Noah, Ge 9:9 was, (as our divines have observed) the covenant of grace; and that Scripture itself doth make it manifest, Isa 54:8-9. Now Noah in receiving the covenant was type of Christ; for it followed immediately upon the offering up of his sacrifice, Chap. 8. V. 20,21 which clearly signified, that all the effects of God’s covenant are procured for us, by that Sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour, which Christ hath offered, Eph 5:2. So Phinehas his covenant concerning the everlasting priesthood, Nu 25:12-13 was the very same which was confirmed by oath unto Christ, Ps 110:4 it was made with Phinehas as a typical mediator, because he stood in the gap, to turn away God’s wrath, ver. 11. In like manner the covenant made with David, was the covenant of grace, 2Sa 23:6. And therefore it is called the sure mercies of David, Isa 55:3. Now that David in receiving that covenant was a type of Christ, is evident from Ac 13:34. Ps 89:3-4,19-20,24,28,34, (&c.) But I must return to Mr. W. who denied the major, viz. That the covenant made with Abraham, was the New Covenant; which I proved in this wise; If the whole New Covenant be comprised in this one promise, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed, then the New Covenant was made with Abraham: But the whole New Covenant is comprised in this promise, I will be thy God, &c. Ergo. He answered, I deny all: I replied to him, that the sequel is evident; forasmuch as this promise is the sum of the covenant made with Abraham, Ge 17. And the assumption is acknowledged by all divines that ever I met with; nay, the Apostle himself calls it the gospel, Ga 3:8. If my memory fail not, he affirmed, that the covenant made with Abraham, was only concerning temporal blessings, as the land of Canaan, &c. whereof circumcision was a seal. I well remember, that upon his often affirming, that the New Covenant made with us, is, this conditional promise, If thou believest, thou shalt be saved; I offered him this argument to evict the contrary; If we are in covenant, or do partake of some benefits of the covenant before we believe, then that conditional promise is not the New Covenant; but we do partake of the same benefits of covenant before we do believe. Ergo. The reason of the sequel is, because the condition must be performed, before the benefit, which is promised upon condition, can be received. The minor was proved by a medium, which Mr. Rutherford makes use of for the same purpose. The Spirit which works faith, is given us before we do believe; but the Spirit which works faith, is a blessing of the New Covenant, and given us by virtue of the covenant. Ergo, We do partake of some blessings or benefits of the New Covenant before we believe. He denied, that the Spirit which works faith, is given us by virtue of the New Covenant, which I proved from the tenor of the New Covenant mentioned, Heb 8:10. I will put my laws in their mind, &c. and they shall all know me. He denied, that this was a promise of the Spirit which works faith, but rather of the Spirit of adoption, which follows faith: That it is a promise of the Spirit which works faith, was proved from Joh 6:45 where our Saviour, having shewn that none do believe, but by a divine and supernatural power, No man can come to me, except the Father draw him, he adds, It is written in the Prophets, they shall be all taught of God, i.e. God will give his Spirit unto all that are ordained to life, which shall enable them to believe: The places in the Prophets, where this is written, or promised, are Isa 54:13 and Jer 31:34 which is cited by the Apostle, Heb 8. Then he denied, that this was the New Covenant made with us; whereunto I replied, The New Covenant which is made with Spiritual Israel, is the covenant made with us, but this covenant is made with spiritual Israel, Ergo. His answer was I deny all; though the major be as clear as the sun, that all the elect, whether Jews or Gentiles, are spiritual Israel, or the seed of Abraham. See the ninth, tenth, and the eleventh chapters to the Romans, and Ga 3:26,29. And the assumption is in the text, This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel in those days, &c. And therefore I rejoined, contra negantem principia, non est aisputandum; and so our conference brake off. I have here given the reader a true narrative of discourse concerning this matter, wherein I take the Lord to witness, I have not wittingly concealed, or added a syllable, to vary either from his sense, or my own.

*Pag. 7.

** Mr. R. H.

2. I shall now return to his printed discourse, and take things in the same order as they lie before us. The argument; as he hath formed it, runs thus: If we are in covenant before we believe, then we are justified before we believe; but we are in covenant before we believe, Ergo. Wherein (1) he blames the proposition; For, (says he) though it were supposed that we are in covenant before faith, yet it will not follow, that we are justified: His reason is, Because the blessings of the covenant have an order and dependence one upon another, and are enjoyed successively one after another. But by his favour, the sequel is not invalidated by this reason; for though a man be not sanctified, and glorified before faith, yet if he be in covenant with God, i.e. One of the elect, to whom the grace of the New Covenant appertains, he is certainly justified: For (1) God from all eternity, did will, not to punish his elect ones; which (as hath been shewn) is real justification, it being forgiveness in the heart of God: Or (2) taking it for an effect of his will, justification is the first benefit that doth accrue to us by the death of Christ. God hath promised from thenceforth to remember the sins of his people no more, Isa 43:25; 54:9 and in Eze 36:25. He first promiseth to cleanse us from all our filthiness, (which must be meant of our justification; for by sanctification our inherent filthiness is not perfectly cleansed in this life) and then to give us a new heart. And Chap. 16 he first says unto the soul, Live, (which is the sentence of justification) and then he adorns it with the precious gifts of his Holy Spirit. It is sufficiently known, that the generality of our Protestant divines, in comparing the blessings of the covenant, have given the precedency to justification; some have ascribed to it a priority of time, but all of nature, before the rest. Perperam &c absurde prorsus inter effecta sanctificationis numeratur justificatio, quae illam natura praecedit, &c. justification (says Tilenus*) is most absurdly made an effect or consequent of sanctification, which in nature doth go before it: A man cannot be sanctified, until he is first justified; for the tree must be good, before it can bring forth good fruit. Bishop Downham** accounts it a gross error, to say, that sanctification goes before justification; For, (says he) Sanctification is the end and fruit, &c. So that if they have right to any benefit of the covenant before faith, it must be to justification; for faith is a part of sanctification, and the same thing cannot be before itself.

*Syntag.p.2.c.45.Thes. 38.

**New Cov. p. 289.

3. (2) He denies the assumption, viz. That we are in covenant with God, or that we have any right and title to any blessing of the covenant before we believe: But before he will give his reasons for the negative, he is willing to hear mine for affirmative. This seeming civility, ushers in a notorious slander, that [I was so obstreperous in our conference, that I would not give him a fair hearing] which hath been sufficiently disproved in another place;+* nay, his own mouth did acquit me in the close of that discourse, before (I believe) a thousand witnesses. I wonder, though his conscience was asleep when this fell from his pen, that his memory should fail him:+** Methinks he should have been more tender of his own reputation, than to contradict himself, though he had a desire to blast mine; but as if it were not enough to mis-report my actions, he takes upon him the office of God, to judge my heart. I believe (says he) he is resolved to give it unto nobody else, whiles the judgment of the cause must be left to the people. Yes, to himself, or anyone else, when I have an occasion for the like essay. I am sure he hath not found me heretofore of so morase a spirit, as not to weigh and yield unto better reason; he is no fit champion to defend the faith, who is so much a stranger to the rules of charity, which thinketh no evil, but hopes the best. (1Co 13:5,7)  I confess, I am yet to seek for the reason of this next clause [whilest the judgement of the cause must be left to the people] One would think, that he who leaves the judgment of his cause unto the people, should be most willing, they should have a fair hearing of whatsoever can be said, either pro or con, or else he cannot expect their votes should be for him. The people are apt to think he hath the better cause, whose mouth is stopped: But perhaps it sticks in his stomach, that in our conference I desired the people to weigh and judge of some interpretations of Scripture, which were given by him. It was far from my thoughts to defer the decision of the question unto most voices, either of ministers or people. The judgment desired, was, that of private discretion, and not of public determination; though the latter ought not to be usurped by ministers, whose reasons, and not their votes, must satisfy men’s consciences; yet the former ought not to be denied to the meanest Christians, who are required to judge for themselves,(Job 5:27) to prove,(1Th 5:21) and try,(1Jo 4:1; Ac 17:11) the doctrines which are brought unto them. Now why this expression should be faulted, I see no cause, unless men would have the people to content themselves with an implicit faith, such as the Romanists do allow their disciples, who use them as babes, which must swallow whatsoever their nurses do put into their mouths. The Church of Christ (saith Optatus) is rationabilis, she hath the use both of natural and supernatural reason. Did Christians more generally see with their own eyes, make use of that light and reason which God hath given them, they would never acquiesce in many of those dictates, which are imposed upon them; will any man that hath a spark of reason believe that (I am] doth signify [I will be]?

+*See the Epistle to the Reader before my Sermon on Ps 45:6.

+**Oportet – esse memorem.

4. Well, now he hath heard my reason, That we are in covenant, or have a right and title to the blessings of the covenant, before we believe, because some benefits of the covenant, to wit, the Spirit which works faith, is given us before we believe: What hath he to say against it? 1. He undertakes to explain (that which is plain enough) the word [Give] as that it is taken (1) for constituting, or appointing, and (2) for the actual collating of a benefit, so as that it is received, and possessed by him to whom it is given. He tells us of sundry ways, how the Spirit is said to be given, (1) Essentially, (2) Personally, (3) Operatively. All which, is nothing at all to the matter in hand; but serves merely to raise a dust to blind the unwary reader. The terms need neither distinction nor explication, being easy enough to be understood by the weakest capacity. When we say, That the Spirit which works faith, is given us before we believe; none can well imagine, that we meant it of God’s purpose, or decree, to give the Spirit; but of the actual sending, or bestowing of him; nor yet of an essential, or personal giving of the Spirit, so as to be hypostatically united to us, as the Godhead of the Son is to the human nature; though some Godly men* have affirmed, that the person of the Spirit dwells in the saints, from those texts, Joh 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 2Ti 1:14; Ro 8:11; 1Co 6:19; 3:16. Yet none (that are sober) ever affirmed, that the person of the Spirit, dwelleth in us in such a manner, as to make us one person with himself, or to communicate his personal properties to us; so that I may say of this argument, as Maldonate of a certain text in the gospel, hic locus facilior esset, si nemo eum exposuisset, it had been more plain and perspicuous, if these distinctions had been omitted. I see not how a man could imagine any other sense than this, That God according to his gracious covenant doth in his appointed time, give, or send his Spirit in the preaching of the gospel, to work faith in all those that are ordained to life; So that the Spirit is the cause, and faith the effect. It matters not how he is given, whether personally or operatively; for if the Spirit which works faith, be given us by virtue of the New Covenant, then some benefit of the Covenant is bestowed upon us before we believe; Quod erat demonstrandum.

*Cottons answ. To Baily, p. 36

5. Though the Spirit be not given us (as he saith) one atom of time before we believe, yet that weakens not the force of the argument; it is enough for my purpose, that it hath a precedency in order of nature, though not of time; and that faith is not before the Spirit, for then faith is not the condition of the covenant, (seeing the condition goes before the thing conditioned) and consequently, that conditional promise, If thou believest, &c. is not the tenor of the New Covenant: Either he must say (1) That the Spirit doth not work faith; and that it is a work of nature, to wit, of our own free-will, contrary to innumerable Scriptures. Or (2) That the Spirit which works faith, is not given us by virtue of the New Covenant; which was disproved by comparing Joh 6:45 with Jer 31:34, and is contrary to those Scriptures, which affirmed that all spiritual blessings are given us in and through Christ, Eph 1:3; Ro 8:32. Or (3) that there is some other condition of the covenant besides and before faith, as they* that make (GREEK TEXT), ingenuity and towardliness of nature, the condition of conversion, or (4) that there are two New Covenants; one absolute, and the other conditional: one, wherein faith is promised without condition; the other, wherein all things else are promised upon condition of faith; of which more in its place.

*Dr. Ham. let. To Dr. Cheyn. P. 118.

6. Whereas he chargeth me with often abusing that received maxime, Posita causa ponitur essectus. Letting pass his uncivil language, I say (1) that in our discourse, I not so much as mention it, nor at any time else, but with such cautions and limitations, as artists* give, understanding it of causa proxima & completa; and then I conceive causa positain actu, the effect must necessarily follow. (2) I cannot see that it is any abuse to apply it to the death of Christ, in effecting our justification, or deliverance from the curse; his death and satisfaction being the adequate and immediate cause thereof, for when the debt is paid, the obligation is no longer in force. (3) Though I understood this maxime never so well, it would little advantage Mr. Woodbridge’s cause, That faith is the condition of having the Spirit in our first conversion, unless it would prove, that the cause is produced by its immediate effect.

*Keck syst. log. p. 145.

7. That which follows is altogether impertinent, As a man (saith he) doth first build himself an house, and then dwells in it; so Christ by his Spirit, doth build, organize, and prepare the soul to be an house unto himself, and then by the same Spirit dwells in it immediately. What is this to prove, that no man hath interest in the covenant before he believes; or that the Spirit, which works faith, is not given us before faith? We grant that Christ by his Spirit doth (GREEK TEXT)* build, or prepare the soul to be his house, and then dwells in it,** vouchsafes more sensible effects of his presence; but is not that organizing, preparing act of the Spirit, one benefit of the covenant? And is not the Spirit in that act, the cause of faith? If so, then we have an interest in the covenant before faith, for he that hath jus in re, doubtless hath jus adrem; when we have the benefits of the covenant, it cannot be denied, but we have a right and title to them. I find that*** Mr. Burges mentions this answer, But (saith he) it is not safe to go this way, for that grand promise, Eze 36:26 doth evidently argue the habits or internal principles of grace, are before the actions of grace.

*Heb 3:3
**2Co 6:16; Joh 14:23
*** Of Justif. p. 183.

8. His next passage gives us little evidence of a heart prepared and organized by the Spirit of Christ, it being false and slanderous. This (saith he) is that which I would have spoken publicly, in answer to the argument, if Mr. E. had not been beyond measure obstreptrous. (1) I dare say such as know Mr. Woodbridge’s tongue and forehead, will not easily believe, that he would be hindered from speaking his whole mind: But (2) my innocency in this matter, hath been cleared by persons* more worthy to be believed than Mr. W. especially, when he speaks in his own cause. (3) I shall add, that I verily believe, he then spake near as many words, I am sure, as much to the purpose, as this which he hath printed; I well remember some passages which are here omitted, as that saying, Anima fabricat fibi domicilium, the soul forms the body, and then dwells in it; as the soul works first efficiently, that afterwards it may act formally, so doth the Spirit in our conversion, &c. (4) If he spake no more, it was his own fault; for all that were present, do know, that the only answer I could get unto divers syllogisms was, I deny all. But this he intended rather to vilify me, than to excuse himself.

*See the Ep. Before my Ser.



Concerning the covenant, wherein faith is promised, and by virtue whereof it is given to us.

Mr. W. in the next place, propounds this question, Whether faith itself be not given to us by virtue of the covenant made with us? Which he answers negatively, faith is not given us by virtue of the covenant made with us, but by virtue of the covenant made with Christ; His answer implies, that there are two distinct covenants of grace, one made with Christ, and the other with us; which will need a clearer evidence, than yet he hath given us. We deny not, but faith, yea, and all other blessings are promised in the covenant which was made with Christ, the promise of giving him a seed, and that this seed shall be blessed, doth include no less; all the promises both of this life, and that which is to come, are but so many explications of the grand promise, Ge 12:3. All the nations or families of the earth(Re 5:9) [i.e. all the elect, whom God hath chosen out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation] shall be blessed in him. Mr. W. should have proved that these promises were not made with us in Christ; he should have shewed us any other covenant made with the elect, than that which was made with Christ. We, say with the Apostle, that all the promises of God are yea, and amen, in him, 2Co 1:20, and with the late assembly, that the covenant of grace was made with Christ, and with us in him. With him actively, as the person that performed all the conditions, upon which the promises thereof are grounded; with us passively, as the persons to whom the benefit of those promises doth belong.* If one man promise another, that in case he shall bear so many stripes, endure so long imprisonment, or perform any other condition, be it what it will, he will then take care of and provide for his children, doth not this promise which was made with the Father, most properly belong to his children? The case is the same between Christ and us; he performed the conditions, and we receive the benefits of the New Covenant; the same covenant is made with both, and consequently faith is given us, not only by virtue of the covenant made with Christ, but by virtue of the covenant made with all the elect; which might be further proved by many reasons.

*See M. Kend. vind. c. 18. p. 7.

2. If there be but one covenant of grace, which is made both with Christ and us, then faith is given us by virtue of the covenant made with us: But there is but one covenant of grace, Ergo, The sequel is undeniable, I doubt not but our adversaries will grant, that faith is given us by virtue of the covenant of grace; and the assumption is as evident, that there is but one covenant of grace; though there are many promises, yet is there but one covenant: For as much as all the promises have the same ground and foundation, scil. The merit and purchase of Jesus Christ; and therefore they are said to be yea, and amen in him. The Scripture makes mention but of two covenants; the covenant of works, and the covenant of grace; the former was made with the first Adam, and his seed; the other with the second Adam, and his seed, and is commonly called the New Covenant. I confess this latter hath been variously administered in the times of the Old and New Testament: In which respect it hath been looked upon by some as two distinct covenants, and distinguished by the names of the Old and New Covenants. But this controversy is easily reconciled, if it be considered that the Old Covenant is sometimes put for the promise vailed, and sometimes or the vail itself. (1) When it is put for the vail itself, (as doubtless it is, when it is said to have waxen old and to vanish, to be changed, abolished, disannulled,*&c. Which things cannot be affirmed of the promise, which is an everlasting covenant, and always remains one and the same) it may be said to be a distinct covenant from the covenant of grace, exhibited in the times of the New Testament. But (2) when it is taken for the promise vaile, there is no doubt but it is same in substance with that in the New Testament; for though this grace was then but darkly revealed, and as it were covered out of sight by the Mosaical administration, yet it brought upon them the same righteousness and salvation, which is now enjoyed by the children of faith, Ac 15:11; Joh 8:56; Ga 3:8 and Heb 11:14. But be the Old and New Testament administration, one, or two covenants, it matters not much to our question; it lies on Mr. W. to prove, that there are two New Covenants, or two distinct covenants of grace, in the times of the New Testament; one made with Christ, and another with the elect; one, in which God doth promise us faith; the other, in which he doth promise all other blessing that follow faith; which, I suppose, he will find to be somewhat difficult.

*Vid. Calv. Inst. l.2.c.2. .4.

3. (2) If Christ merited nothing for himself, but only for the elect, then all the promises made to him do belong to them, or the covenant which was made with him as Mediator, is made with them: But Christ merited nothing for himself, Ergo. The Minor is the unanimous tenant of our Protestant divines, who have sufficiently cleared it from the Scriptures. And for my own part, I see not what can be rationally excepted against the consequence of the Major; for if he merited nothing for himself, then all the promises made to him, do belong to others: In this regard he is called, The Mediator of a better Covenant, Heb 8:6 and the Mediator of the New Covenant, Chap. 12:24. Now a Mediator doth not act for himself, but in their behalf, whose Mediator he is. I suppose Mr. W. will not deny, but faith is bestowed upon us by virtue of that covenant whereof Christ is the Mediator: Now Christ is the Mediator of the covenant made with us, and not of a covenant made singly and particularly with himself, for a man cannot properly be called a mediator for himself, The Apostle is express, That we obtain faith by the same means, whereby we obtain all good things else, to wit, By the righteousness of Jesus Christ, 2Pe 1:1; Eph 1:3; Ro 8:32. So that consequently it is one and the same covenant, by virtue whereof faith, and all other spiritual blessings are bestowed upon us. I add therefore,

4. (3) If faith be given to us by virtue of that covenant, wherein justification, sanctification, perseverance and glory, are bestowed upon us, the faith is given us by virtue of that covenant which is made with us. But faith is given us by virtue of the same covenant, wherein justification, sanctification, &c. are promised and bestowed upon us, Ergo. Neither sequel nor assumption, do need any proof: In the same covenant wherein God promiseth to cleanse us from our filthiness, to cause us to walk in his ways, &c. He promiseth to circumcise our hearts, to write his laws in our inward parts, and that we shall be taught of God (i.e. Made to believe, Joh 6:45.) Eze 36:25, (&c.); Jer 31:34.

5. (4) If faith be given to us by virtue of that covenant which was made with Abraham, and his seed, then is it given by virtue of the covenant made with us: For the same covenant which God made with Abraham is made with all the faithful to the end of the world; and therefore they are called the children of Abraham, Ga 3:7,29. Now God in promising to be his God, and to be a Sun, and a shield, &c. promised also to give faith, whereby the refreshing beams of this Sun are conveyed into the soul, and this shield is managed for our best advantage, Eph 6:16.

5. (Which was the medium I made use of at our conference) if faith be given us by virtue of the covenant made with the house of Israel, then is it given us by virtue of the covenant made with us; for the house of Israel is the whole company of God’s elect, who are therefore called Spiritual Israel, Ro 9:6. But faith, or the Spirit which works faith, is promised in the covenant made with the house of Israel, Jer 31:31; Heb 8:13.

6. Whereunto Mr. W. answers, (1) by way of retortion, If Mr. E. (saith he) will urge the words of this text rigorously, they would prove more than he would have: I hope there is no hurt in that, though the place doth prove more, that doth no whit invalidate its force, as to the purpose for which we alledged it; but what is that which it proves more? It is manifest (says he) that this covenant contains a promise of sending Christ into the world, to die for our sins, as the Apostle proves, Heb 10:14-16. So that we may as well infer from hence, that we are in covenant with God before the death of the mediator, as that we are in covenant before we believe; and then his death shall serve not to obtain all, or any of the blessings of the covenant, but only (as the Socianians) to declare and confirm, &c.

If he please to admit of a reply, we say, (1) That he mistakes the inference that was drawn from hence: The proposition to be concluded was not, That we are in covenant before we believe; but that faith, or the Spirit which works faith, is given us by virtue of the covenant made with us, which is sufficiently secured by these texts; for if by the house of Israel be meant all the elect (as undoubtedly they are) and the Spirit which works faith, is promised in the covenant which is made with the house of Israel, then the Spirit and faith are given by virtue of the covenant which is made with us, we being in the number of God’s elect. (2) It is not so manifest (as he pretends) that these texts do contain a promise of sending Christ to die for us. The promises here mentioned, do express only what benefits do accrue to us by the death of Christ: I grant, that this covenant supposeth the death of Christ, as the only meritorious procuring means, by which these benefits do flow down unto us; and therefore it is said, In those days, or after those days, meaning the days of the Son of Man, when the Messiah, whom God had promised, should be exhibited; which in Scripture are called The Last days, the last times, and the world to come, &c. Though the Apostle mentions the covenant, Heb 10:15, it is not to prove, that God would send his Son to die, but that being come (as these believing Hebrews acknowledge, though they saw not the virtues of his death as to the abolishing of other sacrifices) he hath offered up a perfect sacrifice, Verses 10, 12, 14, and consequently they needed no other sacrifice to take away sin; for otherwise God had not made such ample promises, in reference to the times of the Messiah, as you find he hath, Jer 31. That he will remember the sins and iniquities of his people no more, &c. For (says the Apostle) when there is such a full remission, there needs no more offering for sin, ver. 18.

7. 3. Though we should grant him that this text, Jer 31 contains a promise of sending Christ: What were this to the purpose, to weaken our inference, That faith is given by virtue of the covenant made with us? May not God in the same covenant promise both Christ and faith? But (says Mr. W.) it will follow then, that this covenant was made with us, or that we were in covenant with God, not only before we believe, but before the death of Christ. I am so far from looking upon it as an absurdity, that I shall readily own, and acknowledge it as an undeniable truth, That the New Covenant was made with all the elect in Christ, before the foundations of the world were laid;* it being, the fixed and immutable will of God, concerning all those good things which in time are bestowed upon them; and therefore it is called an everlasting covenant, 2Sa 23:5.** not only a parte post, but a parte ante: As it shall have no end, nor be changed; So it had no beginning, God having from all eternity, immutably purposed in himself, to bestow upon them all those blessings which they do receive in time; yet we say there are more, especially three moments, or periods of time, wherein God may be said to make this covenant with us; As (1) immediately upon the fall of Adam, when he first published his gracious promise of saving all his elect by the woman’s seed, Ge 3:15. The first covenant being broken and dissolved, the Lord immediately published that other covenant which cannot be broken; and hereunto (as hath been shewed) do those Scriptures relate, Tit 1:2; 2Ti 1:9. (2) At the death of Christ; because thereby all the benefits willed to us by the everlasting covenant, were merited and procured for us, the full price which was paid for them, was then exhibited; for which cause, the New Covenant is called (GREEK TEXT), a Testament, which was confirmed by the death of the testator Jesus Christ, Heb 9:17. And the blood which he shed, The blood of the everlasting covenant, Heb 13:20. And the blood of the New Testament, Mt 26:28. So that his charge of Socinianism, doth not touch us; for though we do not say, that Christ procured the covenant, or that God should will to us those mercies which are therein promised; yet we say, the effects of the covenant, or the mercies themselves, were all of them obtained by the blood of Christ, as our deliverance from the curse, inherent holiness, &c. (3) The covenant is said to be made with men, when God doth confer upon men the benefits which are therein promised, or at least makes them to know and understand their interest and propriety therein. Thus is that to be understood, Isa 55:3. I will make an everlasting covenant, i.e. I will fulfill my everlasting covenant, or bestow upon you all those mercies which I have promised, and which my Son hath purchased, by shedding of his blood. And thus we grant, that God makes his covenant with his people, when he gives them faith, when he enables them to lay hold of it, and to plead it at the throne of grace: Now though in this sense God may be said to take men into covenant, when they do believe, yet will it not follow, that the Spirit and faith are not given by virtue of the covenant which is made with us; so that this retortion is pitifully unsuccessful, it gives not the least wound to the cause which we maintain.

*See Dr. Reynolds on Ps 110:4

**Ge 17:7; 2Ch 13:5; Ps 89:28,34; Isa 54:9; 55:3; Jer 33:20

8. The second branch of his answer, is, That upon a most serious perusal of these texts, I find them so contradictory to Mr. Eyres’ purpose, that I cannot but wonder what he means to shelter his opinion under the protection of them: I must needs say, that after a most serious perusing of his papers, I cannot be persuaded to be of his mind, to think that these places are contradictory to the purpose for which I brought them; but rather that they do give in full evidence to the proposition which I was to prove, viz. That the Spirit which works faith is given us by virtue of the covenant made with us; But how doth Mr. W. prove the contradiction? We shall find (saith he) in these words three things of distinct consideration; the conclusion of which is the only support of this feeble argument. I cannot but wonder (and so I dare say doth the impartial reader) that Mr. W. should say the text is contradictory to my purpose, and yet confess, that it affords support unto my argument; for though no more than that which he calls the conclusion of these texts doth afford it shelter, yet is that sufficient to clear it from the guild of a contradiction. But what are the three things which he finds in these texts to ground his charge on? 1. (says he) There is the matter and blessings of the covenant on God’s part, I will be their God, and they shall be my people; in which words, as many blessings temporal and eternal are promised, so peculiarly pardon of sin, &c. 2. There is expressed the bond and condition of it on our part, and that is faith, which is signified in those words, of putting God’s laws in our minds, and writing them in our hearts. In these two things is the tenor and formality of the new Covenant; they that believe the Lord will be their God, and they shall be his people. But (3) (says he) there is also a promise that God will work this condition, by which men shall have an interest in this covenant, and a right and title to the blessings of it; I will put my laws into their minds, i.e. I will give them faith, which faith is not promised as an effect of the covenant ready made, but as the means by which we are brought into covenant, and thereby invested in a right to all the blessings of it, &c. Should I grant all the he saith, yet would it not one whit weaker our assertions, that this covenant is made with us, who are meant by the house of Israel, and that the Spirit which works faith is promised in this covenant, which Mr. W. cannot deny, though he would thrust it behind the door, saying, that it is promised in the covenant, but not as a part of the covenant; I might easily shew, that there are not so many lines as mistakes in this short discourse; I profess I cannot but wonder at his boldness, that he durst for his advantage wrest and falsify the words and tenor of the covenant, excluding the promise of faith from the matter and blessings of it, which is expressed more than once in these few words, as in this clause, ver.33. I will put my law in their inwards parts, and write it in their hearts, by his own confession: And in that also verse 34. They shall know me, which our Saviour expounds of believing in him. But to take things as they lie,

1. We deny that the whole matter, and all the benefits of the covenant on God’s part are confined to these words, I will be their God, and they shall be my people; for though omne bonum est in summon bono, and when this promise is put alone, it may comprehend as much as Mr. W. speaks, yet when other promises are joined with it, it denotes one particular blessing; either it relates to the formal part of man’s happiness, which consists in the fruition and enjoyment of God, or the knowledge of our interest and propriety in him;* Thus, I will be their God, is as much as, they shall know that I am their God, and that they are my people;** Or else, I will be their God, &c. imports as much as, I will protect them, and they shall worship me.*** But say, this promise be as large as Mr. W. would make it, though all blessings temporal and eternal be more generally included in it, yet that hinders not, but the other promises annexed thereunto, do also exhibit the matter and blessings of the New Covenant.**** The same things oftentimes in the Scripture are expressed, first more generally, and then more particularly.

* Dr. Stough. Ser. On Ps 4:6.
** Ho 2:23; Song 2:16
***Calv. Diodate.
****Vid. Calv. in Jer 32:38-39

10. It is apparently false, that in these words, I will put my laws in their minds, and write them in their hearts, is expressed the bond and condition of the covenant on our part; for the words are a promise, and not a precept; the Lord declares what he himself will do for them. If Mr. W. sees a condition in these words, he hath found more than all the divines that ever I met with. Dr. Twisse, (his predecessor) in his answer to Arminius’ Preface, reciting the tenor of the covenant, as it is in this place of Jeremy, Isa 32 and Eze 36 challengeth him to shew vel levissimam mentionem conditionis. Dr. Preston** speaking of the covenant which God hath made with his elect, says, that it is Absolute, and not conditional; for which he alledgeth this place of Jeremy, Ezek 36. &cc. A learned man of the late assembly in a sermon before the Parliament then sitting,*** declared, That all the promises of the New Covenant are absolute, not only citra meritum, but citra conditionem, without any pre-required conditions of us; amongst many other places he cites this text. Besides this, I might add abundance more. But I believe Mr. Baxter is instar omnium with Mr. W. Now he acknowledgeth,**** that this text, with the like, doth express and absolute covenant. Mr. W. might as well say, that the bond and condition of the covenant on our part is expressed in these words, they shall be my people, or in the other clause, I will be their God, interpreting it by that of Ho 2:23. They shall say, I am their God; which one, (I remember) would have to be the condition of the covenant on our part; so that according to these men’s interpretation, the New Covenant shall consist only of conditions, or of precepts imposed upon us, without so much as on promise of mercy to us; and consequently, the covenant of grace shall exhibit no grace at all; or at most, much less than the covenant of works doth. If the Lord had meant that these words, I will write my laws in their hearts, &c. should be the bond of the covenant on our part, he would have expressed it in such a manner, If my laws be written in your hearts, I will be your God; the words are plainly a promise of sanctification, which is one principal benefit of the New Covenant.

** Ser. 2. Of Faith p.38.

***Mr. Strong Ser. On 1Sa 2:30.

****Append. p. 41,42.

11. Whereas he adds, That God doth here promise to work faith, which faith is not promised as an effect of the covenant, but as the means, by which we are brought into covenant; it being so crudely asserted, a bare denial might serve the turn. But (1) I shall appeal to the indifferent reader, whether it doth not sound very harshly, that the same words should be formally both a precept and a promise, and that God should require a condition of us, and yet promise to work it in us? How shall we distinguish between precepts and promises? Mr. W. may be pleased to consider, what some grand assertors of conditions have said thereof.* (2) I would ask, whether this promise of faith be not a part of the New Covenant? All the promises of God do belong either to the covenant of works, or to the covenant of grace: It is no part of the covenant of works. Ergo, It is a part of the covenant of grace. Now if the promise be a part of the New Covenant, the thing promised is an effect of the covenant; or a benefit given, by virtue of it. (3) I would ask, whether the promise of faith be not an effect of Christ’s death? If it be, then is it an effect of the covenant already made; for all the effects of his death are effects of the covenant, which was confirmed by his death; who, for this cause is called the covenant, Isa 42:6; 49:8 implying, that all the benefits of the covenant are the fruits and purchases of his death; and that Christ hath not purchased anything for us but what is promised in the covenant; the effects of the covenant, and the effect of Christ’s death are of equal latitude. (4) The Scripture nowhere affirms, that faith is promised as a means to bring us into covenant, or to invest us with a right and title thereunto. That which gives men interest in the covenant, is the good pleasure of God, willing those blessings to them; and the purchase which Christ hath made in their behalf, who hath performed whatsoever was necessary by divine constitution, in order to our having of them. We grant, that faith is the means whereby we come to know our interest in the covenant, and in all the benefits thereof: But their saying, that hereby we have, or do obtain our interest and title to the covenant, hath not any ground that I find in the written Word. If any shall in infer it from hence, because it is said, Believe, and thou shalt be saved; they may as well make baptism, sanctification, perseverance, &c. (to which the promise of salvation is sometimes annexed) means to bring us into covenant, or to invest us with a right and title to the benefits of it, and consequently no man shall have any interest in the covenant as long as he lives, and till these conditions be performed. To conclude, If the promise of faith be a part of the covenant, (as hath been shewed) then is it not a means to bring us into covenant, or to invest us with a title to the benefits of it, because it is impossible that the same thing should be the means, or cause of itself.

*Sup c. 14.  9.



Wherein Mr. Woodbridge’s Exposition of the New Covenant, (mentioned Jer 31:33 and in other places) is further examined.

The tenor of the New Covenant, in the Prophet (whose words are punctually cited by the Apostle, Heb 8) runs thus, This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people; and, &c. But now Mr. W. renders it thus, [This is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel when I shall write my laws in their hearts, I will be their God, &c. or, This is the covenant, which I will make, saith the Lord, that giveth his laws into their minds, and writeth them in their hearts, &c.] I know not what can be called wresting of the Scripture, if this be not: If men may take the liberty, to chop and change, to add or diminish from the Word, at their pleasure, nothing can certainly be concluded thence; nay, the Scripture might be made a shelter for the foulest errors. It favours not of a spirit that trembles at the Word, and believes that threatning, Re 22:18 to make so bold with the oracles of God. The word [when] is neither in, nor agreeable to the Hebrew, or Greek text, though he would make his reader believe that it is in both. The verbs in the first clause, are not in the present, but future tense, as in the rest which follow. Besides, his paraphrase chargeth the Holy Ghost with a gross tautology, if not a flat contradiction. The time of making this covenant is signified in these words, [After those days] which undoubtedly ought to be referred unto the days of the Messiah, in opposition to the times before, when the grace of this covenant was not so clearly revealed so that it was needless he should add [When I put my laws, &c] And if God makes not his covenant with spiritual Israel, till he writes his laws in their hearts, then the former clause [After those days] must either stand for nothing, or else imply a falsehood. In a word, the unsoundness of this gloss doth appear from hence, that these words are not only here, but in many other places, mentioned as a distinct promise of the New Covenant, and not as a bare connotation of the time, or a periphrasis of the person that makes the covenant, as Mr. W. carries it. See De 30:6; Eze 36:26-27; Jer 32:38-39 where that promise, which Mr. W. calls the matter or substance of the covenant on God’s part, is put first, and the other which he calls the condition, is made as it were the consequence of the former.

2. The Scriptures he hath brought to countenance his new found interpretation of the covenant, will by no means shelter it; as Jer 24:7. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. [Where (says he) the condition on the peoples part of the Lord’s being their God, is, their returning with their whole heart.] The affirmation is not so clear, as not to need a proof; that promise, I will give them a heart to know me, is (as hath been shewed) one principal blessing of the New Covenant, the immediate effect whereof is, Men’s returning unto God with their whole heart. Now to call their returning unto God the condition of God’s being their God, is as unhappy a mistake, as his that set the cart before the horse. Could they have returned to God, unless God had returned to them?* Are not faith and repentance, the fruits of our reconciliation, by the blood of Christ? God having given us his son, hath with him given us all things else, Ro 8:32. Mr. Calvin calls this blessing of God’s being our God, Causam & principium omnium bonorum, i.e. The cause and fountain of all other blessings; and particularly, of the renewing of our hearts, and our returning unto God. Now the consequences and effects of a blessing, are not the conditions of it.

*1Jo 4:8,19.

3. His next allegation from Heb 10:14, (&c.) hath the fate to fall as short of the mark, as the former did. For the Apostles scope there, is not to shew in what order and method the benefits of the covenant are bestowed upon us; but that there needs no other sacrifice for sin, besides the sacrifice which Christ hath offered; which he proves, because God in that covenant, which he promised to make with his people in the times of the New Testament, declares, that he will not only give them a new heart, but their sins and iniquities shall not be remembered any more. Now where there is no more remembrance of sin, there needs no more sacrifice for sin; so that the words expressed, are sufficient to complete the sense without understanding of [then he saith] or [then it followeth] which Mr. W. hath added in the close of the sixteenth verse. We may take them as they lie, form verse the fifteenth. Whereof (to wit of Christ’s perfect sacrifice, mentioned, vers. 14) the Holy Ghost is a witness to us; for after he, i.e. the Holy Ghost, had said before, this is the covenant that I will make with them, after those days, (to wit of the Old Testament, which are now expired) The Lord saith, (viz. The Holy Ghost who is the Lord Jehovah, and with the Father and Son, the author of the New Covenant.) I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more: So that I say, there is no need that either of those clauses [Then he saith, &c.] should be foisted in between the 16, and 17 verses. It seems to me, that the copulative [And] is set as a bar, to keep it forth, shewing that the words in the 17 verse ought to follow immediately upon the sixteenth. I grant, that the promise of remission, is one of the most special and noble blessings contained in that general promise, I will be their God; yet it doth not follow, that regeneration or inherent holiness is required or promised, as the means or qualification, to obtain this blessing. Pareus his note upon the place is very sound, that the Apostle here doth ground the promise of remission of sins, upon that perfect oblation which Christ hath offered, and not upon works of sanctification, which (according to Mr. Woodbridge’s doctrine) is the immediate principle, for when it follows.

4. His next assertion [That in the New Covenant, the giving of the first grace, is always promised, not as a part of the covenant, but as a means and qualification on man’s part, for his entrance into covenant,] is justly obnoxious unto more than one exception.

1. The work of conversion, or the renewing of our hearts, is unfitly called The first grace; For (1) to speak properly, the first grace, is that which is grace indeed,* to wit, the everlasting love, favour, and good pleasure of God towards his people; for this is the rise and fountain of all those mercies, which we receive in time, yea, of Christ himself, Joh 3:16. Or (2) if by grace, we understand the fruits and effects of this grace, then certainly the precedency or priority must be given unto Jesus Christ, for whose sake all other blessings are bestowed upon us, Eph 1:3. Or else (3) if by grace we understand the fruits and effects of Christ’s death, or the benefits which are freely given us for his sake, even in this sense, inherent sanctification is unduly put in the first place, which is a consequent, both of justification and adoption, Ga 4:5-6. Though it be promised in that place of Jeremy, before remission of sins, yet in other places it is put after it, as Eze 36:25-26; Jer 32:38-39. The reason why this promise is sometimes put first, may probably be, because the grace of sanctification is most apt to affect our senses; we do apprehend and perceive it, before we come to know our justification.

* Downb. of Justif. l. 3. c.2.

5. It is utterly false, That the giving of a new heart, is not promised as a part of the covenant; but as a means on man’s part, for his entrance into covenant: For (1) the Scripture nowhere affirms it; and it is weakly concluded hence, because it is sometimes mentioned, first in the recital of the covenant, which is all he hath to pretend for this notion, seeing that in other places, the promise of sanctification follows that of justification; from whence he may as well conclude, that justification is promised, not as a part of the covenant, but as a means to entitle us unto sanctification; so that not only the promise of faith, but of remission also, shall be excluded from being a part of the covenant. (2) The promise of a new heart, includes not only the first act of faith and repentance, but the continuance and increase of these gifts; so that either he must say, that all the promises of sanctification, which are included therein, are no part of the covenant; or that the same promise is both a means to bring us into covenant, and a part of the covenant, i.e. it is a part, and no part. I must confess, that I never yet met with that man, who had the forehead to deny, that the promise of faith, and repentance, is a part of the new covenant. (3) It seems to me an undeniable truth, that the promises of sanctification, as well as of justification, are parts of the covenant, considering (1) that they have the same ground and foundation, to wit, the merit and purchase of Jesus Christ; Christ hath merited faith and repentance, no less than remission of sins. Now whatsoever Christ hath purchased, the covenant promiseth: All the effects of his death are equally parts of the New Covenant. (2) Both these promises have the same end and design, viz. The glory of God. faith and repentance, are not promised only subserviently for our benefit, but ultimately for the praise of his glory, Tit 2:14; 1Th 4:3. (3) They are promised in the same manner, as distinct, and not as subordinate benefits; he doth not say, I will write my laws in their hearts, that I may pardon their sins and iniquities. But, I will write my laws, &c. and their sins and iniquities I will remember no more.

6. It sounds harshly, That God promiseth faith, as a means on our part, to bring us into covenant for if God doth promise to bestow faith, it cannot properly be called a means on our part; it were a means on our part, if we performed it ourselves, and by our own strength, as the condition required of Adam, should have been. For the removing of this rub, I shall make it to appear; that in the New Covenant, there is no condition required on our part, to give us a right and title to the blessings of it: But before we proceed, we will give the reader a brief account of those other Scriptures, which Mr. W. hath alleged to prove; That faith is promised, not as a part of the covenant, but as a means on our part, to obtain the remission of sins: All which I find have the same misfortune as the rest, not to be able to bring forth the conclusion, which his fancy hath begotten on them.

That in Eze 36:25-28, makes quite against him; for there the Lord first promiseth to justify us, in those phrases of pouring out clean water upon us, and of cleansing us from all our filthinesses, Verse 25. And then to renew or sanctify us, Vers. 26,27. So that there is no colour to infer from hence, that sanctification, or any part thereof, is promised as a means to entitle us to justification.

7. The other two texts are much to the same purpose, scil. Eze 11:19-20 and chap. 27:23,24,26,27 where the Lord after he had promised unto his people many particular blessings (as that he would give them a new heart, take away their stony heart, make them walk in his statutes and ordinances, that they should no more defile themselves with idols, that David, i.e. Christ, should be their King and Shepherd, that his tabernacle should be with them, i.e. He would dwell in them, and walk in them, 2Co 6:16.) He tells them, That he will be their God, and they shall be his people; from whence Mr. W. would gather, That God promiseth faith, not as a part of the covenant, but as a means to bring us into covenant, that God may be our God. How rational this deduction is, let the reader judge; for if that promise, I will be their God, must be taken exclusively; so that the promises preceding, are no part of the covenant, then the promises of justification, sanctification, perseverance, &c. must be excluded from being parts of the covenant. If he says, that it only excludes faith, I would ask, quo jure, what reason is there that it should exclude faith, more than the other promises preceding? If it includes the rest, why not this? But to draw to a conclusion, we say, that this promise, I will be their God, and they shall be my people, may be taken, either (1) more generally, as comprehending all good things whatsoever, as if the Lord after the enumeration of many particular benefits, had summed up all in this, I will be their God, q.d. They may expect as much good from me, as the living God can bestow upon his people, even this that hath been mentioned, and all things else; and in this sense the promise of faith, or the Spirit which work faith, is included in it; or (2) it may be taken more restrictively, as noting some particular benefit and privilege distinct from the rest, as that they shall worship him, and he will protect and provide for them; or else, that they shall not only have an interest in God, but that they shall know it, and live in the comfort of it.

8. In the next place Mr. W. offers me his service, to new mould my argument, and to cast it into a better form, as thus, They concerning whom God hath promised, that he will give them faith, they are in covenant before they believe; but concerning the elect, God hath promised that he will give them faith, Ergo. But, pace tanti viri, I shall not accept his courtesy, if he hath any mind to it, as I have framed it, the law is open, he may try his skill; only he may be pleased to remember, that these texts, Jer 31:8; Heb 8, were not brought to prove that we are in covenant before we believe, but that the Spirit which works faith, is given us by virtue of the covenant made with us: As for that argument, which from these texts he hath advanced against us, together with the auxiliaries, which he hath placed in the rear, I shall presently attend their motion, having first given in my evidence to the cause depending, That the New Covenant is not conditional, and that in it, God doth not require any restipulation from us, to entitle us to the blessings of it. The contrary assertion, I conceive, is the (GREEK TEXT) of his whole discourse: For if there be no condition, or restipulation required in the New Covenant, there will be no need, to make faith the means of our entrance into covenant, nor any absurdity in saying, that our justification in the sight of God precedes faith.

19. CHAP. XIX.


Wherein is shewn, That in the New Covenant there are no conditions required of us, to invest us with a right and title to the blessings of it.

Before I do give the reasons of this assertion, I must crave the reader’s patience, whilst I tell him, (1) what I mean by the New Covenant, and (2) what I understand by a condition.

1. By the New Covenant, I mean, that engagement which God hath laid upon himself, to bestow on them for whom Christ hath died, all good which is commensurate to their nature, and by virtue whereof, all blessings corporal, spiritual and eternal, do flow down unto them. I call it an engagement, because God by promising makes himself a debtor, though not to us, yet unto himself, being bound in justice to perform his Word and promise. There are two principal engagements, which God hath laid upon himself, in order to our eternal happiness, to one of which all his promises may be reduced. The first is that covenant, which he made with the first Adam in the time of his innocency wherein God promised us life, upon condition of our perfect obedience: This is called a covenant of works, because the effects thereof do depend upon our works; the promise is not in force, nor have we any right to the blessings, until all those works are performed which are here required. Now this covenant (saith the Apostle) became weak through the flesh, i.e. It was altogether unable to give us life, by reason of our default, and not performing the condition required of us, we have no benefit at all by this engagement, and therefore the Lord made another covenant with the second Adam, that upon the making his Soul an offering for sin, he would give unto his seed, viz. All the elect, eternal life, i.e. All good things whatsoever which they stand in need of. Now this we call The New Covenant, because all the effects thereof do flow down unto us, merely from the favour of God, and the merit of Christ. All the mercies we receive, they are the fruits and effects of this engagement, Zec 9:11. It is the only plea we can use to God, both for the things of this life, and that which is come; and by virtue hereof, we may claim and confidently expect from him, all things whatsoever which we stand in need of, and are good for us. Now I say, that promise or covenant, by virtue whereof, we obtain both grace and glory, good things present and future, is not conditional to us; I say, to us; for to Christ it was conditional, though to us it be free; to him it was a covenant of works, though to us it be a covenant of pure grace; there is not so much as one blessing doth descend to us, but he hath dearly bought it, even with the price of his own blood; for which cause he is called the Mediator, Witness, and Surety of the New Covenant.

2. When we say, the New Covenant is not conditional, we understand a condition in its proper and genuine sense, as the Jurists use it, in reference to men’s contracts and bargains. A condition (saith Dr. Cowel*) is a rate, manner, or law annexed to men’s acts (or grants) staying and suspending the same, and making them uncertain whether they shall take effect or no. And our English Papinian,** Conditio dicitur cum quid, in casum incertum, qui potest tendere ad esse, aut non esse, confertur. To the same purpose, the expositor of law terms,*** A condition is a restraint or bridle, annexed and joined to a promise, by the performance of which it is ratified and takes effect, and by the non-performance of it, it becomes void; the person to whom it is made, shall receive no commodity, or advantage by it: Hence is that maxime amongst lawyers, Conditio adimpleri debet, prinsquam sequatur essectus, i.e The condition must be performed, before the grant or promise becomes valid. In this sense we say, The covenant which God made with Adam was conditional, God annexed to the premise of life the condition of obedience, Do this, and thou shalt live: The stability, and success of that promise, did depend upon his performing of the condition; he failing in his part, the promise became void. Now we deny that the blessings of the New Covenant, do depend upon this, or any other condition to be performed by us. Lawyers do distinguish of a twofold condition, (1) Antecedent, and (2) Consequent. The antecedent condition being performed, doth get, or gain the thing, or estate made upon condition; the consequent condition doth keep and continue it. As for instance, If I sell a man a farm, on condition he shall pay me five hundred pounds present, and forth shillings, nay, be it but six pence per annum for the future; the payment of the five hundred is the antecedent condition, which gives him possession of the farm; the forty shillings or six pence per annum is the subsequent condition, and that continues his possession; and if he fail in this latter, the estate is forfeited, and in law I may re-enter upon the farm, as if no such bargain had been made between us. Now we say further, That the blessings of the New Covenant require not only no antecedent, but no subsequent condition to be performed by us; there is nothing on our parts, that procures our right and interest, nor yet that continues and maintains our interest in them; the Lord Jesus is both the author and the finisher of our salvation; it is by, and through him that we are made sons, and do continue sons; are made righteous, and do continue righteous; that we obtain, and do enjoy all the effects of the New Covenant.

* Interpreter verbo, condition.
** J. Cook on Littleton, l.3.c.5.
*** Verbo Condition.

3. I am not ignorant that the word conditions is sometimes taken improperly, for that which is merely an antecedent, though it contributes not the least efficiency, either natural, or moral towards the production of that which follows it: A condition properly taken, is a moral efficient cause, which produceth its effect by virtue of some compact, agreement, or constitution between persons, omnis conditio antecedens est effectiva, a condition properly so called, is effective of that which is promised upon condition. Now, I say, not only conditions in a proper sense, but all certain and constant antecedents (though they are not expressed, or included in their faederal constitution, so as that the promise doth depend upon them) may in a vulgar sense, be called conditions of those things that follow them; and in this sense our divines do commonly call one benefit of the covenant a condition of the other; as that which is given first, of that which is given after. Thus Dr. Twisse* makes inherent holiness to be causa dispositiva, or the sine qua non, (not of justification) but of salvation, or glorification, because the one always precedes the other: Many other do express themselves in the same manner. It is evident, that some benefits of the New Covenant in their execution and accomplishment do follow others; though we have a right unto them all at once, (forasmuch as that flows immediately from the purchase which Christ hath made) yet we have not possession of them all at once, but in that order and manner as God is pleased to bestow them: Christ hath procured both grace and glory for his elect, yet he give grace, i.e. gracious qualifications, as knowledge, faith, love, &c. before he brings them to the possession of glory; in which sense, I conceive, it is that the Scripture annexeth salvation unto faith, and other works of inherent holiness, Mt 5. pr. Heb 12:14 (&c.) because these are certain and infallible antecedents in all that shall be saved;** none (who live to years of understanding) are saved, but they that do believe the gospel, and shew forth the fruits of it in a suitable conversation: If in this sense only, faith, and repentance be called conditions of the covenant, to wit, because they are wrought in all those that do enjoy the full effect of the covenant, I will not contend.

*Vind. I. 1. Part 3. 7.  1 & alibisaepe

** See Down. of Justif. p. 471.

4. Yet I think it fit rather to forbear this expression, (1) Because it is so improper, to call a part of the covenant, the condition of it. Chamier, though he often useth the expression, yet he acknowledgeth that faith is called a condition, verbis minus propriis;* And a little after,** Fidei conditio, non est antecedens sed consequens, non est causa salutis, sed instrumentum apprehendendi gratiam, i.e. faith is not a proper antecedent condition, but an improper or consequent condition, it is not a cause of salvation, but only the instrument whereby we receive and apply it. Mr. Rutherford himself, tho’ he calls them Libertines and Antinomians, who say the covenant of grace is not conditional, yet almost in the same breath he hath let fall these words:*** To buy without money, and to have a sight of sin, is the condition of our having the water of life, but the truth is, it is an improper condition, for both wages and work is free grace. I confess, improper locutions ought to be born with, when they serve to illustrate truth; but this I conceive doth exceedingly darken it. (2) Because of the advantage, which the adversaries of the gospel do make of this expression; were most of the ancient Fathers now alive, to see, what use the Papists and others do make of their unwary sayings, to patronize their errors; I am persuaded they would fill the world with their retractations and apologies. Have we not cause then to be careful in this matter, when we see so many profligate errors, as free-will, and universal redemption, sheltering themselves under this expression? But (3) That which moves me most, is compassion to our vulgar hearers; who when they hear men say, that faith, repentance, &c. are conditions of the covenant, understand it no otherwise then in the most common acception, and as the term condition is used in reference to men’s contracts, and as obedience was the condition of the first covenant; whereby (as Luther hath observed****) they live still in bondage, not daring to take hold of the promise, because they doubt whether they have the condition; all their endeavours after faith and holiness, are but mercenary and selfish, they would not do the work, but to get the wages.

* Tom. 3. l. 15. c. 3. . 27.

** Ib. c. 5. . 16.

*** Trial of Faith, p. 61.

**** Com. on Ga 4.

5. But this is not the matter that is now in question, Our difference is not about words but things: The reader I suppose is sufficiently informed, in what sense we deny, that the New Covenant is conditional, to wit, in that manner as the first Covenant was, which was properly conditional: And this persuasion I cannot but adhere to, (notwithstanding all that I have seen or heard to the contrary) That in the New Covenant, wherein God hath promised life and salvation unto sinners, for whom Christ hath shed his blood; and by virtue whereof they do obtain all good things present and future, there is no condition required of them to obtain or procure the blessings, that are therein promised: For though God doth bestow upon us one blessing before another, yet he gives not any one for the sake of another, but all of them (even to our final sitting down in Glory) are given us freely for the sake of Christ. Glory itself is not only not for, but not according to our works, as the principle or rule by which God proportions his reward, but according to his own mercy and grace. My reasons for the thesis are.

6. Because in all those places, wherein the nature or tenor of the New Covenant is declared, there is not (as Dr. Twisse* hath observed) any mention at all of the least condition, as Jer 3:11; Eze 36:25 (&c.) Ho 2:18-20, in all which places, with the like, God promiseth to do all in them, and for them; upon the last of those texts Zanchius observes,** Non ait, si non resipueris, recipiam te in gratiam, & desponsabo, sed absolute [egote desponsabo] est igitur absolutissima promissio, qua sine ulla conditione promittit Deus, se suum populum, in gratiam recepturum, & servaturum, &c. i.e. He doth not say, if thou wilt repent, I will receive thee into favour, and betroth thee; but absolutely [I will betroth thee, &c.] It is therefore a most absolute covenant, wherein God without any condition, doth promise that he will receive his people into favour, and save them. The same author in another place,*** speaking of the covenant which God made with Abraham, Ge 17:7. It is to be noted (saith he) that this promise is altogether free, absolute, and without any condition, which he proves by two arguments, one of which is, Quoniam nullam plane in verbis faederis conditionem legimus, i.e. Because in the words of the covenant we find no condition. And long before him, that noble champion of grace against the Pelagians, Prosper of Aquitan**** (who lived about the year 445.) Manet prorsus & quotidie impletur, quod Abrahe dominus sine conditione promisit, sine lege donavis: The covenant (saith he) is still in force, and is daily fulfilled, which the Lord promised unto Abraham, without any condition, and established without a restipulation. Now if any shall say, that these, and such like texts, do not comprise the whole, but only a part of the New Covenant, because God doth not say, it is the whole covenant. I answer, (1) that it is a mere shift, like that of the Papists***** against justification by faith alone, because the word [Alone] is not found in those Scriptures, which the Protestants do bring to prove it. Our divines answer, it is there virtually, and by necessary consequence, though not formally or literally: So say I, when the Lord saith expressly, This is my covenant; It is all one as if he had said, This is my whole covenant. Let our adversaries shew us one place, where any conditional promise is called the New Covenant, either in whole or in part. (2) That which they would make the condition of the covenant on our part, is expressly promised to us, no less than any other blessing; and their saying, that it is promised in the covenant, but not as a part of the covenant, hath been sufficiently disproved before.

* Sup. c. 17. . 10.

** Tom. 5. Com in Hos. P. 42. & 55.

*** De natura Dei, p. 401.

**** De Vocat. Gen. l. I. c. 9.)

***** Bellar. apud Ames. T.4.l.5.c.4.  9.

7. (2) Because all those covenants which God made to prefigure this covenant, were free and absolute, without any condition, therefore the covenant itself, which was figured by them, is much more so: it is not to be questioned, but the substance hath as much grace as the shadow. Now I say, in those typical covenants, which God made with Noah, Abraham, Phinehas, David, &c. there are no restipulations.* The covenant with Noah, doth not run like that with Adam, Do this and live, but I will not destroy the earth, &c. Ge 9:11. I confess Rivet** faith, the condition on Noah’s part was, ut juste & integre ambularet. But (1) God doth not say so the Lord doth not say, I will make this covenant with thee, if thou wilt walk uprightly. (2) This covenant was made not only with Noah, but with every living creature, verse 12. Now sensitive creatures could not perform any such condition. (3) If the benefit of that covenant, had depended upon Noah’s upright walking, than upon Noah’s fall, v. 21. The world should have been drowned again; as death entered into the world upon the non-performance of Adam’s condition. The covenant with Phinehas, Nu 25 is not like that which God made with Eli, which was but a conditional and uncertain covenant, 1Sa 2:30. So the covenant which God made with David, concerning the kingdom, is not like the covenant which he made with Saul, which was quickly void, because it depended upon his obedience, 1Sa 13:13-14 which David’s did not; and therefore the covenant, which God made with David, is called The sure mercies of David, Isa 54:3 God promised mercies unto Saul, as well as unto David, but they were not sure mercies;*** because they were conditional, they were promised upon conditions to be performed by him; but the covenant with David, was sure and steadfast, Ps 89:28 because it depended not upon conditions on his part; and therefore though he started aside as well as Saul; yet the covenant made with him, was not thereupon dissolved and broken.

*Vid. Jun. Orat. 2 de faed.

** In loc.

*** Preston of God’s Immutab. P. 86.

8. (3) Because if there were any condition required in the New Covenant, to entitle us to the blessings of it, it would not be a covenant of pure grace; so that the asserting of conditions in the New Covenant, doth by necessary consequence overthrow the nature of it; for as Austin hath observed, Grace is not grace, unless it be every way free; and the Apostle before him, Ro 11:6. If by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace; but if it be of works, then is it no more grace. Our salvation is ascribed to grace, not only inclusively, but exclusively, Eph 2:8-9; Tit 2:5. All the blessings of the New Covenant are called gifts, Ro 5:17-18; 6:23, and gifts that are given freely, 1Co 2:12; Ro 3:24. To give a thing freely, and conditionally, are contradictory; he that parts with anything upon conditions, doth as it were sell it. The works and conditions which men perform in the Prophets phrase, are their money, Isa 55:1-2. A condition performed, makes the thing covenanted for a due debt, which the promiser is bound to give: So that if the blessings of the covenant did depend upon conditions, they would not be of grace, but debt; and men by performing those conditions, would be, at least in part, their own saviours. Now what can be imagined more derogatory to the grace of God.

Object. True, may some say, it would derogate from the grace of God, if we attribute such a meritoriousness unto these conditions, as the Papists do unto works; but we do not do so.

Answ. To which I answer, (1) That the Papists assert no other works and conditions to be necessary to justification and salvation, than what our adversaries do. (2) Neither Papists nor Arminians do ascribe any more meritoriousness to works, than our opponents: They grant there is such an infinite distance and disproportion between the blessing promised, and the conditions required of us, that in strictness of justice they do not deserve it, only ex pacto, seeing God is pleased to promise so largely upon condition of so small a pittance of service, we may be said to merit by performing the condition; and in this sense Mr. Baxter* will tell you, that the performers of a condition may be said to merit the reward. The Papists never pleaded for merit upon any other account; Mr. Calvin** observed long ago, how much they please themselves with this simple shift, supposing that hereby they shall evade whatsoever arguments are brought against them: Though Mr. B. seems to mince the matter, calling his conditions but a fine qua non, and a Pepper corn,*** &c. he attributes as much, if not more to works, than the Papists, Arminians, and Socinians, have done; the Papists will not say, That works do merit in a strict and proper sense. Smalzius**** calls their fides formata, a mere fine qua non; and a known friend to the Remonstrants doctrine amongst ourselves***** dubs it with a no better name than a slight, inconsiderable, despicable pepper corn, most pitifully unproportionable to the great rent which God might require, and to the infinite treasure of glory he makes over to us: And again, That mite of obedience, faith and love. But now Mr. B. goes a step beyond them, in that he ascribes a meritoriousness to works, which the Arminians and Socinians have not dared to do. (3) I would ask, whether the condition required of Adam, were meritorious of eternal life? I presume no man will say it was, in a strict and proper sense, there being no proportion between the work and the wages; but yet that condition did lessen the freeness of divine grace: The grace of God was not manifested so much in saving man in that way, as in giving life unto him freely. And therefore to put our justification and salvation upon the same terms, must necessarily eclipse the grace of God in the New Covenant.

* Aphor. Thes: 26.
***Aphor. Thes. 23.p.127.
****Apud Stegman. In Photin
*****Dr. Ham. 9 Ser. p. 140

Object. But some may say, there is a great difference, the conditions required of Adam were legal conditions; but the conditions which we stand for, and assert in the New Covenant, are evangelical conditions.

Answ. I answer, That the sound of words doth nothing at all alter the nature of things; all conditions performed for life, are legal conditions: The precepts both of law and gospel have the same matter, though not the same end; but when gospel duties are made conditions of justification and salvation, there is no difference.

Object. Yes, may some say, evangelical conditions are more facile and easy than the legal were.

Answ. Are they so! Let them consider again, whether it be more easy for a man that is dead in trespasses and sins, to believe in Christ, to love God, to hate sin, to mortify his lusts, &c. than it was for Adam in his innocency (when he had a natural inclination to obey God) to abstain from the fruit of one tree, when he had a thousand besides as good as that; there can be no condition imagined more facile and feasible than Adam’s was. But if it were so, yet would the reward be debt and not grace: As he that hath his penny by contract, hath as much right to it, though he labored but an hour, as if he had endured the heat of the whole day. We say, Gradus non variat speciem, it is not more grace, but all grace, that doth denominate the covenant, a covenant of grace.

9. To these reasons there might be added many more; which because they have been mentioned before, upon another occasion, I shall not stand upon them.

4. Because all the pretended conditions of the covenant, are promised in the covenant: Now it is absurd to make anything a cause of itself, or a means and conditions whereby it is procured.

5. Because the asserting of conditions in the covenant, attributes unto men a power and ability to do good, not only before they are justified, but before they believe: For if all the promises of the covenant are conditional, then the promise of faith is conditional, and consequently a man must be supposed able to perform some good and acceptable work to God, before he believes, whereas, Without faith it is impossible to please God, Heb 11:6. Conditions in a proper sense, do necessarily infer the liberty of man’s will unto that which is good; for as the Remonstrants do define it, A condition is a free act, which we absolutely may perform, or not perform, by free-will, not acted by the predeterminating grace of God. A conditional covenant and free-will are inseparable; the former supposeth the latter: Whether Mr. W. will own the consequence, I am not able to say; however, that there is no such power or ability in the natural man to do that which is good, might be irrefragably demonstrated from sundry Scriptures, as Ge 6:5; Eph 2:1-2; 1Co 2:14; 2Co 3:5; Ro 7:18; Php 2:13 (&c.)

6. Because if the covenant were conditional, no man in this life could attain to any assurance of his own interest in the blessing of it, but must live always in a wavering and uncertain estate, as to the hope of eternal life; that hope of salvation which is built upon conditional promises is (as Calvin observes) always wavering and tottering; for conditional promises belong to none, but unto them who have performed the condition: If remission of sins were promised unto us, not absolutely, but conditionally, as upon condition that we do believe, repent, and persevere. Tum (say Rutherford*) remissa nulla omnino peccata sunt in hac vita, &c. i.e. Then it must follow, that no man’s sins are remitted in this life, no man is justified here, which is contrary to many plain Scriptures, as Ro 4:10; 5:1; 8:30; Eph 1:7; 1Co 6:11.

* Exerc. Apol. p. 34. & 36.

10. 7. Because the Scripture shews, that there is the same proportion, between Adams conveying sin to his seed, and Christ’s conveying righteousness to his seed, Ro 5:16. The imputation of Adam’s sin did not depend upon the personal sinful acts of his posterity, so neither doth the imputation of Christ’s righteousness depend upon the good works and actions of God’s elect; but as by Adam’s sin, all his posterity became actually sinners, even they that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, i.e. Actually in their own persons; even so by Christ’s righteousness all the elect to the end of the world, are constituted righteous, before they have performed any works or conditions in their own persons.

8. Because if the covenant were conditional, then infants and idiots, though elected, could have no interest in any of the blessing therein promised, in regard they cannot perform the conditions upon which they do depend; and consequently, dying without faith, they must needs be damned.

9. And lastly, If they to whom the covenant belongs, had a right and title to all the blessings of the covenant, before their believing and turning unto God, then are there no conditions required on our part to entitle us to the blessings of it. But they to whom the covenant belongs, scil. The elect, had a right and interest in all the blessings of the covenant, before their believing, &c. Ergo. The assumption shall be proved in our answer to that argument, shall be proved in our answer to that argument which Mr. W. hath retorted upon us from Jer 31. Wherewith we shall enter the lists in the next place.

20. CHAP. XX.


Wherein Mr. Woodbridge’s chief argument against the absoluteness of the New Covenant, is answered; and this position [That God is the God of his people, before they do believe and repent] rescued from his contradictions.

From the Scriptures before mentioned, wherein the tenor of the covenant is recited, Mr. W. hath advanced this argument against us, If God be not the God of any, nor they his people before they believe, then none are in covenant with God before they believe. Ergo. As for the proposition (says he) he is destitute of sense that shall deny it: I say so too, if that cause of God’s being the God of any, be taken comprehensively, and in its full latitude, for their having interest in God, and in all the blessings which God hath intended to his people; but if it be taken for the actual enjoyment and possession of any one, or more, of those blessings (as sometimes it is) he is as much destitute of sense that shall affirm it; for then the sense of it is this, If none do know, or have the comfort of this privilege, that God is their God before they believe, then none are in covenant with God before they believe; this consequence is false; for there is a wide difference between having an interest in God, and the blessings of his grace, and our knowledge thereof, or our enjoyment of those blessings. Interest and possession are not equipollent and reciprocal; God may promise some one benefit, in order to our possession, and enjoyment of others, though not to give us a right and interest in them. We say, that by faith we have the knowledge and comfort of that reconciliation which Christ hath made between God and us, though we cannot say, that we obtain a right and interest therein by faith: Through faith we come to know, that God is our God, though our believing doth not make him to be our God. But the assumption, viz. That God is not the God of any before they believe, is obvious unto just exception, which he hath endeavoured to prove after this manner; If God promise to give faith, that we may be his people, and be our God, then till that faith be given, he is not our God, nor me his people: But God promiseth to give faith, that he may be our God, and we his people, Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10; Eze 11:19-20; 36:25;&c Eze 37:23-24,26-27. We have shewn before, that the Scriptures mentioned do utterly refuse to protect the Minor; and that all the particular promises contained in them, are parts or effects of the covenant. The having of a new heart doth not make God to be our God; but because he is our God, he gives us that blessing, and all things else.

2. That God is the God of his people before they do believe, and are converted, is evident unto me from these grounds.

First, if God be their God, whom he doth peculiarly love, and whom he hatch chosen, and separated to himself from the rest of mankind, then is the Lord a God unto some before they believe; the consequence is clear, because God hath loved and chosen some in that manner from everlasting, Jer 31:3; Eph 1:4. Now this was not an ordinary common love, such as he bears unto all creatures, but a peculiar distinguishing love, whereby he willed to them the greatest good, even that (GREEK TEXT), mentioned Eph 2:4. See Joh 17:23-24. But God is their God whom he doth peculiarly love, and hath chosen and separated to himself, Ergo. For, what is it to have the Lord for our God, but to be appropriated to God, to have such a interest in God, as others have not, to be the objects of his special love? It was Israel’s prerogative above all the nations of the world, that they had the Lord to be their God, now the Lord became their God, by setting his love upon them, and choosing them to be a peculiar people to himself, De 7:6-8 and by separating them from other people, Le 20:24-25. The Lord, Eze 16:8, declares concerning spiritual Israel, that they became his, whilst they were in their blood, that e’re ever they were washed and adorned (had any amiable qualities in them) he sware unto them, and entered into covenant with them; which swearing, as it refers to spiritual Israel, must be understood of that oath which he made to Christ, concerning the blessing of his seed. The Prophet infers this their relation unto God from his everlasting love, Jer 31:1,3. The Apostle likewise Ro 8:31 grounds the saints interest in God, or their having God to be with them, upon his eternal and unchangeable good will towards them, even before he spared his Son to die for them. So 2Ti 2:19. The foundation of God standeth sure, the Lord knoweth them that are his; implying that the election and foreknowledge of God doth make men his.

3. Secondly, If the Lord be a God, not only to his people, but to their seed also, then is he a God to some before they believe; but he is a God not only to his people who are called and do believe, but to their seed who are not called, ad do not yet believe. Ergo. The Lord promised Abraham, that he would be not only his God, but the God of his seed; the seed of Abraham did not then believe, yet the Lord styles himself their God. And the Apostle tells those converts, Ac 2:39. That the promise was to them, and to their children: Now what was that promise, but Ero Deus tuus, & feminis tui; If our opposers say, That God was not the God of their children, until they were called, they would be guilty of the same tautology which they charge upon the Anti-pedo-baptists:* Upon this ground it is, that the children of believing parents are admitted to baptism, before they believe; because God hath declared, that he is their God.

* Who from this Scripture, deny baptism to the infants of believing parents, because they are not proper subjects thereof till they are called, i.e. Believe and repent.

4. Thirdly, They whom the Lord hath purchased to be a peculiar people to himself, have the Lord to be their God; but God hath purchased some to be a peculiar people to himself before they believe, Ergo. The major is evident, for when a man makes a purchase, he obtains a legal right and propriety in the thing purchased; Quod venditur transit in potestatem ementis. And therefore the Apostle concludes from hence, That we are not our own, but God’s, because we are bought with a price, 1Co 6:19-20. The minor is undeniable, That God did purchase us before we do believe, even when he gave himself (GREEK TEXT), a ransom for us, 2Ti 2:6. He bought us (saith the Apostle) with his precious blood, 1Pe 1:18-19, thereby we were made (GREEK TEXT), a peculiar people, Tit 2:14. Though he had not immediately upon the payment of the price the possession of us, yet thereby he obtained a right to us; we became his in right, though not in enjoyment: It was here as with a man that buys a living, and pays down the price, he hath immediately a right to it, though he hath not the present possession of it; he may call it his own, though it be not in his hands.

5. Fourthly, If we receive all good things from God; yea, faith itself upon this account, because we are his people, then God is our God before we believe; but we receive all good things from God, even faith itself, merely upon this account, because we are his people, as Ga 4:6. Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son, into your hearts. They were sons before they received the Spirit of his Son. So Isa 48:17. I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, scil. By my word and works; by which means men are brought to faith and repentance: No reason can be given why one man profits by the Word, and another doth not, but because the Lord is a God to one, and not to the other; he hath chosen one, and not the other; Ac 13:48. As many as were ordained unto eternal life, i.e. chosen and separated from the rest of mankind, to be a peculiar people unto God, believed.

6. Fifthly, If none can or do believe and repent, but they to whom the Lord doth manifest this grace, That he is their God, then the Lord is our God before we believe and repent; but none do or can believe and repent, but they to whom God doth reveal and manifest this grace; Ergo, We choose him, because he hath chosen us; and love him, because he hath loved us first, Joh 15:16; 1Jo 4:10,19. In Ho 2:23, saith the Lord, I will have mercy upon her, that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, thou art my people, and they shall say, thou art my God. I have observed, that expositors generally do take notice of the order of the words. As Mr. Burroughs,* God must begin with us, we cannot begin and say, Thou art my God; but God must begin with us first, and say, You are my People. And Dr. Rivet,** Hic ordo est considerandus, &c. The order of the words ought diligently to be observed, it is God that begins and calls them his people, who being made his people through grace, do by faith give their consent, and own him for their God. And Zanchy** to the same purpose, the order of the words shew, That God doth first prevent us with his grace, and makes us his people, then follows the assent of our faith, whereby we acknowledge and embrace him for our God. So that our faith doth not make him to be our God, but suppose he is so.

*Bur. On Ho 1 vol. p. 674
** In loc. obs. 6. p. 101.
** Tom. 5. In Hos. p. 57.

7. Sixthly, They to whom God is a Father and a Shepherd, have the Lord for their God; but God was our Father and Shepherd before we believed, Ergo. All the elect are the sheep, and children of Jesus Christ. They are his sheep, Joh 10:15. I lay down my life for my sheep; he laid down his life, not only for them that were then called, but for them that were to be called afterwards, so verse 16. Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; The elect Gentiles were his sheep, before they were brought into his fold, scil. The visible communion of saints. They are also called his seed and children, Isa 53:10 and Heb 2:13. Behold I, and the children which God hath given me: He speaks of all those sons, whom he was to bring unto glory, ver. 10. So Jer 3:19. Thou shalt call me, my Father; Their calling him Father, did not make, but suppose him to be their Father, and in this respect he is called an Everlasting Father, Isa 9:6.

8. Mr. W. tells us, That he hath only one observation to add, which the most learned among the Jewish and Christian writers do often take notice of, and that is this, [That God is never said to be our God in reference to his giving of the first grace, but only in reference to his giving of the first grace, but only in reference to the blessing, which he promiseth to them that have faith] Heb 11:16. He is not our God, that he may give us faith, but is everywhere said to give us faith, that he may be our God, 1Pe 2:10. I acknowledge that Mr. W. is a learned man, yet I know it is much above his reach to determine, who are the most learned amongst the Jewish and Christian writers; who as yet hath not looked into the tenth part of either: As for the Jewish Doctors, I suppose no man will think them competent judges of gospel verities; and I must confess, that too many of our Christian writers are leavened over-much with a Jewish legal spirit: However, if he had pointed to the authors that make this observation, I should have weighed the grounds whereon they lay it; the names of men, tho’ never so learned, weigh lighter than a feather in matters of faith. If he took up his observation upon trust from Grotius (as I suspect he did) I shall presume once more, to advise him to take heed of tampering with the notions of that learned apostate.

9. I have shewed already that sundry Godly and learned men are of another mind, who exclude all manner of conditions from the New Covenant, and consequently do make faith a part of the covenant; to which there might be added many more, as Luther,* The promises of the law are conditional, promising life, not freely, but to such as fulfill the law, and therefore they leave men’s consciences in doubt, for no man fulfilleth the law; but the promises of the New Testament have no such condition joined unto them, nor require anything of us, nor depend upon any condition of our worthiness, but bring and give unto us freely, forgiveness of sins, grace, righteousness, and life everlasting for Christ’s sake, &c. Melancthon speaks as fully to the purpose, Men commonly (says he) do imagine that the gospel is a conditional promise; but this conceit is to be rooted out of them. – The gospel offers remission of sins and eternal life, without the condition of our works. And again, Our obedience is neither the cause nor the condition, for which we are accepted before God. So P. Martyr, We deny (says he) That the covenant of God, concerning the remission of sins, hath any condition annexed unto it. And Olevian, The whole frame or substance of the New Covenant is without any condition. Estius puts this question,****** How the New Testament can be called a Covenant, seeing it contains only a most free promise, whereas covenants do consist of conditions on both parts? We may not answer, (says he) that good works are the condition thereof, seeing that works themselves are contained in the promise of the New Testament: But (says he) the word [Berith] doth not only signify a covenant in a strict sense, which consists of mutual conditions, but a single promise, which is free from all conditions; and such a covenant is that which we call the New Testament, viz. Promissio Dei prorsus absoluta & gratuita; to wit, That promise of God which is altogether free and absolute. With him agrees Dr. Ames, who adds, That the New Covenant is more properly called a Testament than a Covenant; because a will or testament bequeaths legacies, without any office or condition of the legatees. And Beza, ******* The Word (GREEK TEXT) used Ga 3:14 doth not signify (says he) any promise, but that which is altogether free, in which respect it is opposed to the law; for the promises of the law have conditions annexed to them; and therefore the word (GREEK TEXT), whereby the New Covenant is signified, is better rendered promise than covenant. But to avoid prolixity, I shall desire the reader at his leisure to peruse Funius his second oration De faedere novo, prefix to his Enarrations on the four first Psalms, who being so great a linguist and lawyer, his judgment in this point ought the more to be regarded. It may be Mr. B. and Mr. W. will place them but in the form of ignorant and unstudied divines; Though they do, it hath been sufficiently confirmed, with the authority of a greater doctor. And if we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater, 1Jo 5:9.

*In Ga 4:25. fol. 218.

******Com. In Heb 8:10

******* Beza in Ga 3:14

10. The Scriptures which Mr. W. hath brought, do no whit help him, as Heb 11:16 where it is said, God was not ashamed to be called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who were believers; Ergo, (says he) God is not the God of any before they do believe: He might reason as well, a Father acknowledeth and stands by his Son when he is in distress, Ergo. He was not his Father before. The scope of the place, is not to shew when God did become their Father, but rather the faithfulness and condescension of God towards his people in their low estate,* for though they were pilgrims and strangers in this world, hated and despised of all, yet God did own and honour them. See Ps 105:12-15. So that in 1Pe 2:10 (where the Apostle speaking to the saints, says, in times past, you were not a people, but are now the people of God,) is to be understood, in reference to the external administration of the covenant, and not the real participation or interest in the blessings of it: Indeed in the first consideration, none are the people of God, but they that do profess the fear and worship of the true God, who walk in the name, (Mic 4:5) i.e. In the laws and ordinances of God. In which respect the elect before faith, as said to have been without God in the world, Eph 2:12. And in this sense, all that do profess the truth, are the people of God, though many of them are hypocrites; who are therefore said to be of Israel, (Ro 9:6;) though they are not Israel; and some that are but fruitless branches, (Joh 15:2) are notwithstanding said to be in Christ; which must be understood in respect of external profession, and not of internal implantation. But in the latter consideration, none are the people of God, but they that do belong to the election of grace, who are the spiritual seed, and Israel in truth: And thus, all the elect, whether called or uncalled, are the people of God, though before conversion they have not the comfort, yet they have a good right and title unto all the purchases of Christ’s death. God know them to be his people, though they know not that he is their God.

* See Dicksous Com.

21. CHAP. XXI.


Wherein the remaining arguments which Mr. Woodbridge hath brought to prove, That the New Covenant is not an absolute promise, and that the elect have no right to the covenant before they believe, are answered.

Mr. W. towards the close of his book, hath cast in three or four arguments more, for the confirmation of his opinion, which he things superfluous, I might (saith he) spare the pains of further proof. And truly, I think so too, unless he had bestowed his pains in a better cause: I must tell him, That when he hath said all that he can, in defence of this cause, he will at last sit down a looser; for when the day shall come, which shall try every man’s work of what sort it is; this hay and stubble of man’s righteousness, and men’s pleading for it, shall be consumed to ashes; though I am persuaded better things of him, and such as do accompany salvation: In the meantime I shall gladly hear the utmost that he hath to say, in the defence of his opinion.

2. His first argument of this last rank, is grounded upon those words, Isa 55:3. Come unto me (that is, Believe in me, Joh 6:35.) and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, Ergo, The New Covenant is not an absolute promise, and none have any interest in the covenant before they believe. To which I answer (1) the particle [Vau] may be taken illatively, (as in some other places it is) thus [For] I will make an everlasting covenant; so that the covenant is the ground of our coming, and not (LATIN TEXT):  Or (2) if we take it copulatively, as our translators do, no prejudice can come thence to our assertion; for, I will make an everlasting covenant, is all one, as if he had said, I will perform, or give to you, all other benefits promised in my everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David, as the Apostle expounds it, Ac 13:34. Those promises which are proposed conditionally by the Prophets, are rendered absolutely by the Apostle; as for instance, that of the Prophet, Isa 59:20. The Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob. The Apostle, Ro 11:26 renders it, Then shall come out of Zion, the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; implying, that faith and repentance, are parts of the covenant, which God will give unto them, for whom Christ hath procured them.

3. His second argument is, That the voice of the gospel, which is the covenant of grace, is everywhere [Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved] in opposition to the covenant of works, which faith, [do this and live.] Ergo, before believing, none have interest in the covenant. We grant, that this precept or exhortation, Believe in the Lord Jesus, is frequently found in the New Testament, but that this doth formally contain the tenor of the gospel, or New Covenant, we have before disproved. The gospel properly and strictly taken, consists neither in the precepts, nor promises of the Testament, but in the declaration of these glad tidings, that the promises which God made unto his people in the Old Testament are now fulfilled;* to wit, the promises concerning the coming of the Messiah, and the clear exhibition of all the fruits and effects of his Mediatorship. So that the sum of the gospel, is rather comprised in this,** That Jesus Christ is come into the world to save sinners, yea, the chief of sinners. That by his one offering, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Now they that are sent forth to publish and declare these glad tidings, are to invite and command all men everywhere to believe in him whom God hath sent; assuring them in the name of God, That all that do believe in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life: The command of believing, with the promise of life to believers, are parts of our ministry, they are not the tenor of the gospel, or New Covenant. The covenant whereof Christ is the Mediator, is said to be better than the former, because it doth consist of better promises, Heb 8:6. Now what those better promises are, he tell them immediately out of Jeremy, I will put my laws into their hearts, &c. wherein the Lord promiseth all good things unto them, without the least re-stipulation from them. It is said indeed, they that are called, i.e. do believe, shall receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. It doth not follow, that their calling unto faith, was the condition whereby they obtained the inheritance; no more, then because it is said, Chap. 5:9. Christ is the author of salvation to them that do obey him. Ergo, Works and obedience are conditions on our part to obtain salvation: Which places do describe the persons that are saved, but not the terms or means by which they do obtain salvation; they that are called do receive, i.e. Enter into the promised inheritance; he doth not say, that by virtue of their calling, they do enter, or were invested with a right and title thereunto; the repeating of his consequence is answer enough: They that are called, shall receive the eternal inheritance; Ergo, None have any interest in the covenant before, believing, or the New Covenant is not an absolute promise.

* Ac 13:32-33; Lu 1:54-55,69-70; Ac 26:22-23; Lu 4:18,21.

** 1Ti 1:15; Heb 10:14

4. His next argument is to this effect, The covenant of grace is to be preached to every man; but the absolute promise is not made to every man. Ergo, The covenant of grace is not an absolute promise. Answer, The argument is faulty both in matter and form; the assumptions should be, but the absolute promise (scil. Of mercy and forgiveness, without works and conditions performed by us) is not to be preached to all men, which is false. But we will take things as they lie before us, The covenant of grace is preached to every man, and every man called upon to fulfill the conditions of it, that he may receive the blessings of it, which condition is faith, Heb 4:1-2. Here is a grain of corn in a heap of chaff: It is true, that the gospel, or covenant of grace, ought to be preached unto every creature, Mr 16:15; Mt 28:19. But it is not true, that the preaching of the gospel is to call upon men to fulfill the conditions of the covenant, or that faith is the condition of it: The place alleged says no such thing, the words are an exhortation to sincerity and perseverance in our Christian profession, by a similitude taken from foolish racers, who by giving over before they come to goal, do lose the crown. We also have a race to run, there is a crown set before us, and therefore we ought to take heed, least by any means we fall short thereof; though no man shall enter into the heavenly Canaan without faith, yet it follows not, that faith is the condition whereby we get an interest either in hat, or the other blessings of the covenant. The absoluteness of the New Covenant, is no ways inconsistent with the preaching of the gospel unto every creature. For what is it to preach the gospel? But (1) to publish those joyful tidings, that the Son of God is come into the world to save men from their sins; that in the sacrifice which he hath offered, there is plenteous redemption for the chief of sinners. (2) To press and exhort all men without exception to believe in him. 1. With the assent of their minds, that all things which are written of him, chiefly concerning the merit of his sufferings, and the efficacy of his death, are true and infallible. 2. With the embraces of their hearts, to wit, with such affections as are suitable to so great a good; and more particularly to trust, rely, and roll themselves upon him, for all the purchases of his death; and in so doing, confidently to expect the fruition of them in the fittest times. Now the absoluteness of the New Covenant, is so far from being any impediment to faith, as that it affords men the greatest encouragement to believe, both to cast themselves into the arms of Christ, and to put on a strong confidence of inheriting the promises, seeing that in their accomplishment, they depend not upon works and conditions performed by themselves.

5. Mr. W. demands, (1) Whether there be an absolute promise made to every man, that God will give him grace? Though there be not, yet are the general promises of the covenant a sufficient ground for our faith, forasmuch as grace therein is promised indefinitely to sinners; which all that are ordained to life, shall believe, and lay hold of? But, says Mr. W. is it sense to exhort men to take hold of God’s covenant, or to enter into covenant with God, if the covenant be only an absolute promise on God’s part? &c. What contradiction is there unto sense in either of these? For 1. What is it to lay hold of the covenant, but (as Benhadad’s servants did by Ahab’s words, 1Ki 20:33.) to take up those gracious discoveries which God in his covenant hath made of himself to sinners(Ex 34:6-7), and to resolve with the woman of Caanan, not to be beaten off with any discouragements? Which act of faith is called, The taking of the kingdom of heaven by violence, Mt 11:12. Which is, when a soul appropriates general promises to himself in particular, And against hope, believes in hope. The Apostle calls it, fleeing for refuge to lay hold on the promise, Heb 6:18 which promise is the same which God confirmed by an oath, Verse 17. Now we do not find that God did ever confirm and conditional promise of his grace,** Isa 54:9-10; Ps 89:34-35. As for the other phrase of entering into covenant with God, Though we never find it in the New Testament, that the Apostles did exhort men to enter into, or to make a covenant with God; yet I conceive that it may be used, in reference to the external administration of the New Covenant; men may be said to enter into covenant with God, when they take upon them the profession of Christianity, and give up themselves to be the Lord’s people. In this respect we may exhort men, as the Apostle doth, To give up themselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, and to abide steadfast in the covenant of God; or rather as the Apostles phrase it, To hold fast their profession firm unto the end, Heb 3:6. It were absurd to exhort men either to make, or concur to the making of the covenant of grace, which is his act alone, who sheweth mercy unto whom he will.

** See Reyn on Ps 110 p. 385.

6. His next interrogative is a very strange one, he asks us, Whether if the covenant be an absolute promise, it be sense, to accuse, blame and damn men for unbelief, and rejecting of the gospel? Was it ever known that men should be counted worthy of death, for not being the objects of an absolute promise? By his favour, who did ever say that men are damned for not being objects of an absolute promise? We say, the condemnation of reprobates doth inevitably follow, upon their not being included in that covenant, which God hath made with Christ, or God’s not giving them unto Jesus Christ; but this is, antecessio ordinis, non causalitatis; their exclusion from this covenant, is but an antecedent, and not the cause of their destruction. Men are damned for not believing that grace which God hath manifested to sinners, for not receiving it with that esteem, and such affections as it doth deserve; so that formally, the cause of their damnation, is not their non-being objects of God’s absolute promise, but their dis-obedience to the command of God. If he say (as the Remonstrators have been done before him.) That they are unjustly blamed and damned for their unbelief, seeing they have no object for their faith, no Christ to believe in: We shall answer, that there is a real object proposed to their faith, though there be no such absolute promise that God will give grace to every man in particular; the object of faith is the written Word, and more especially the free promises of mercy unto wretched sinners, for the sake of Christ, for the which all men are commanded to believe, both assensu intellectus, & amplexu voluntatis, and for their unbelief they perish everlastingly. If he shall ask, Why God doth command them to believe in Christ, seeing he never intended they should have any good or benefit by Christ? I must say with the Apostle, Ro 9:20. O man, what art thou that disputest against God? We ought to look to his commands, and not curiously to search into his councils, De 22:29. We know that the preaching of the gospel was ordained principally for gathering God’s elect; now because ministers know not who are elected, and who are not; it was necessary that the offer of grace and command of believing should be universal, which will be embraced and obeyed by all that are ordained to life.

7. His fourth and last argument against the absoluteness of the New Covenant, is, If the covenant of grace be an absolute promise, then no men in the world, but wicked and ungodly men, are in covenant with God. To which I answer, (1) It is very true, That the covenant of grace is made with Christ in behalf of sinners, and none else, Mt 9:13. The whole need not a physician, but the sick. If men were not sinners and ungodly, there would be no need at all of the covenant of grace, the covenant of works would have been sufficient; either it is made with sinners, or none. (2) It will not follow, that when men are in covenant, or do partake of some blessings of the covenant, that immediately the covenant ceaseth; when we are in glory, the covenant shall not cease, for the continuance of glory is promised in the covenant, no less than glory itself; for which cause it is called an everlasting covenant. So that his inference is very irrational, if the covenant be an absolute promise, then none but wicked, i.e. unregenerate persons, are perfectly in covenant with God: It follows rather from his own opinion, for if the covenant be a conditional promise, when the condition is performed, the covenant is so far forth fulfilled, and performers of it so far forth do cease to be in covenant, and so consequently non but wicked men, i.e. such as have not yet fulfilled the condition, shall be the objects of the covenant, or the persons to whom it doth belong. Or else it must follow, that none at all are perfectly in covenant with God; the performers of the condition are not, because the condition being performed, the covenant is fulfilled, and thereby ceaseth to be a covenant; and the non-performers of the condition are not; for till the condition be performed, men have no right or interest in blessings promised. By this sophistry a man may soon dispute himself out of the Covenant, and consequently out of hope.

8. I have now (through the assistance of a good God, and the advantage of a good cause) followed Mr. W. to the end of his race. He seems weary of his walk as well as I. It is (says he) beyond my purpose and work, to follow this pursuit any further, i.e. I have no more to say, for I dare say, if he could have thought upon anything else, either to color his own, or to vilify the cause which he doth oppose, he would not have held it in; his last argument sufficiently shews he hath pumped to the bottom. I must confess I am as glad as he, that I am arrived so near to my journeys end; though the passage hath not been very difficult, yet I must needs say, it hath been to me somewhat (more perhaps than ordinary) troublesome, in regard I have so little time and strength to bestow upon these paper-conflicts. And therefore, tho’ my adversary (who I know wants neither words nor confidence) shall offer a reply, I shall not engage to make a rejoinder: Having declared my judgment, with the reasons of it, I shall submit myself to the censures of the godly reader; beseeching the Father of lights to lead both him and me into all truth, and more especially into a fuller manifestation of our free redemption by Jesus Christ.

9. But before I can take my leave of the reader, I must request his patience, whilst I take notice of a passage or two, in Mr. Woodbridge’s conclusion to his worthy Sir,

First, He tells him [though it is likely, something is, or will be said against my sermon (which at this distance I am never like to hear of yet sure I am, that nothing can be answered consistent with the truth of the Scripture.] Concerning his sermon, I have said no more in his absence than I was ready to have spoken unto his face, had the time, and the patience (had almost said the passions of some of his friends) given me leave; I confess I had not made my replies so public, had he not offered such open wrongs, both unto the truth and to myself. His bravado [sure I am, that nothing can be answered, &c.] argues rather his conceit of himself, than the soundness of the doctrine which he would maintain: A bold face is usually the last refuge of a bad cause, which the advocate puts on to uphold his credit amongst the simple, who are apt to think, that he hath the strongest argument who shews the greatest confidence.* I remember Campian the Jesuite, in his epistle to the Universities, tells them, he was as sure he had gotten the victory, as that there is a God, a Heaven, a faith, a Christ. I shall not answer Mr. W. as Dr. Whitaker doth the Jesuite, Pudet vanitatis, jactationis, arrogantiae tune, audes promittere, &c. But I must needs say, that he talks at too high a rate, and not as a man sensible in how many things we offend all; doth he know as much as all men besides? Or can he judge of men’s answers, before he hath heard them? Had Parker, Twisse, Pemble, &c. nothing at all to say in defence of their doctrine? Doth he think this sermon such a solid piece, that all men living will be struck dumb therewith? Though I am not conscious of deviating a syllable from the sense of the Scripture in this discourse, yet I dare not say, That nothing can be answered unto what I have written; I shall say of my writings, as the Apostle of himself, 1Co 4:3. I know nothing in them inconsistent with the Scriptures, yet are they not hereby justified: All that I desire, here is, that the reader would bring them to the standard of truth, and hold fast that which they shall find agreeable thereunto. This I am as sure of as faith can make me, (whose certainty is greater than that of science) that the whole glory of our justification and salvation ought to be given to the grace of God, and the merits of Christ; which would not be done, if either of them did depend and were obtained by works and conditions performed by us.

*Ingenium hominis metiuntur ex audacia, & dextram putant sronti geminam Kend. Ep. ad Ac. Oxon.

10. Next he tells him, How sorry he is, for the breaches that are amongst us. Truly, if he be not, I think he may, having contributed not a little to the widening of them; for before his sermon, we were upon the matter agreed, concerning the point which is now in difference; we had oftentimes friendly and Christian communion; which ever since hath been interrupted. It was not a month before, that I had conference privately with my reverend neighbor (my first antagonist) about this thing, who told me, That he held the New Covenant to be conditional, no otherwise, then in respect of God’s order, and method, in bestowing the blessings of it. To whom I replied, That if he asserted conditions in the Covenant in no other sense, we were agreed: And he knows, that in the letter which had passed between us, I had yielded as much, to wit, That in improper speech, the Covenant may be called conditional; though for the causes before mentioned, I use not the phrase. And therefore, if any new breach hath happened about this matter, the guilt of it must rest on others, and not on me. For my own part, I am not conscious in myself of the least breach in affection with any of my neighbors; being ready to serve them in love, as opportunity is offered; though some of them have used me spitefully, refusing (as of old the Jews did towards the Samaritans) to have any dealings with me, so much as in civil affairs. I confess, I have forborn some of their lectures, because I would not, by my silence, give testimony to that which I know to be heterodox and unsound: And I thought good a while to desist from making open exceptions, until I had given a more public account of my practice in this particular: For the future, I shall not put myself to the trouble of writing more books, unless it be to answer the exceptions of my reverend neighbor (who first engaged me in this controversy) either against my doctrine or practice: But if any congregation of this city (where the charge of souls is incumbent on me) I am present, when these fundamental truths of the gospel are darkened and undermined by strangers, or others, I shall ( God willing) put on the Apostles resolution, (tho’ the weakest and unworthiest of my brethren) Not to give place to them by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth and simplicity of the gospel may continue amongst us, and yet with due respect unto all men’s persons: Let any man do the like by me, I shall not account it a breach of peace. If Mr. W. had any intent to heal our breaches, I must say, he was very unhappy in the choice of means. No prudent man will judge it a probable way to compose differences, to use calumniating and opprobrious language toward them that dissent, or to lay unto their charge such things as they abhor. But to Mr. Woodbridge’s prayer for peace, in the close of his discourse, I shall add mine, both for him and myself, That we may do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

Mt 11:19

Wisdom is justified of her children.


22. The Contents

The Contents.

The occasion of this discourse, and of reasoning with ministers, Chap. 1,2,4,5.

Justification without condition, is clear from Antinomianism. Chap. 3

A man justified by faith, is opened. Chap. 6.

The time of justification before faith, is reconciled to justification by faith, Chap. 7

Faith doth evidence our justification. Chap. 8

Faith doth not qualify for justification. Chap.

Objections are answered, Chap. 10,11,12,13.

The Covenant considered, concerning the immediate effects of Christ’s death. Chap. 14,17,19

Objections concerning the Covenant are answered. Chap. 15,16,18,20,21.

23. Advertisement of Miraculous Cures

Advertisement of Miraculous Cures.

The ____ to this impression, being a believer in the Son of God, and ______ these pages to spare, is willing to preserve a brief memorial of the Lord Jesus’ having lately sent from Heaven, some peculiar tokens of his relative love.

They are four miraculous cures of believers, which I have written in short, according to the several particular and large relations thereof, well attested and lately published in print at London, and credited on all hands, because of the personal satisfaction that every inquisitive person had, and may still have.

Burrough, London. Charles Doe.

First, Mary Maillard, a French refugee, aged about thirteen, living as an interprete_s with a French gentlewoman near Leicester-fields (London) was miraculously cured of a great lameness in her hip and foot (her hip-bone having been out of joint about twelve years) November 26, 1694. As she was reading by her mistress in the second chapter of St. Mark, about the cure of the sick of the palsy, (saith the printed relation) she told her mistress that she wondered at the unbelief of the Jews, and if such a thing had happened now, I would run and believe too, and immediately she felt a pain, and she and her mistress heard a snap, and the bone came into its place, and she was cured, and her lame leg became as long as the other, and she walked about the room uprightly, and so was taller than before; she since faith, I was lame, but thanks be to God I am not so now, I was healed in reading such a chapter, without any human help. Her lameness was known to the neighborhood where she lived, and her cure believed by them to be miraculous, and accordingly several certificates were printed in the book of it, and her Father and Mother, and herself and mistress, sworn to truth of it before the Lord Mayor of London.

2. David Wright a shepherd, aged about twenty-seven, living about 14 years at Ossley, near Hitchin in Hartfordshire, having the Kings-Evil about 15 years, was uncapable of harder service, and was addicted to swearing and other sins, he entered into the service of Mrs. Dermer, saying, He desired to go to meetings, which made him have a mind to live with her; but yet he went on in his evil course, and sometimes would not come to the meeting, but on the 29th of November, 1693 had his mind much fixed to come to the meeting at Hitchin, so that tho’ his brother had business for him to do, yet his brother could not persuade him from coming; he often says, he can give no reason from himself of his prefixedness, he came to hear and was converted, and healed in his body; while the minister was preaching that evening, he also saith, That he had faith given him for the cure of his body, the same time when the Spirit of God came upon him and opened his heart, and gave him faith in Christ, and doth still say, he doth firmly believe he shall never have the evil any more; and he is very well and the change upon his soul is more remarkable than the cure of his body, he being formerly both very wicked and ignorant.

This brief relation, with many more circumstances, being the exact copies of two letters from Hitchin, well attested and owned by the neighbouring persons, and was by me C. Doe caused to be printed, January 20, 1693 and published at London, and at Hitchin and other places, and credited, because the matter of fact was apparently beyond contradiction.

3. Mrs. Elizabeth Savage, (wife of Mr. Savage a schoolmaster) in Horseshoe-Alley near Moorfields, London, aged 28 having been lame from her birth with a palsy on her right side, so that she could not feed herself with her right hand, and in winter it felt and looked like a dead hand, but on the 22nd of December, 1693, she was miraculously cured as followeth. Mr. Savage and his wife having set apart that day for fasting and prayer, upon a spiritual account, and not for the obtaining any temporal blessing, he being alone at prayer, what he had heard of the French girl came into his mind very affecting, and then the condition of his wife, after his return out of his chamber to her; he asking her whether she believed that our Lord Christ was able to cure her hand, adding that he believed it; this drew tears from her eyes, and she answered that had she been on earth when he was, she believed he could have cured her, and that he is able to do it now, but she questioned whether he would bestow such a favour on her, &c. Then he asked his wife what Chapter the French girl read, but neither of them knowing certainly, he looked in Matthew, and finding that the 8th chapter treated of Christ’s cleansing the leper, he read, and came to Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean, and he said that he himself had as much faith in the power of Christ as he had as to the curing of her infirmity, and then proceeding to the 3rd verse, where Christ saith, I will, be thou clean; then on a sudden or quickly after she felt a pain in the middle joints of her crooked fingers, and they became straight and her thumb also; and the coldness and leanness of her hand and wrist is grown warm, and as the other, and all this without the use of any means, but faith in God and Christ, and that reading, and the next day she found a very great alteration in her weak side, lo that she could walk miles. I C. Doe spoke with Mrs. Savage, and she showed me her cured hand, &c. and owned the book out of which I took this brief account, which book hath in it, her, and his, and others affidavits, (26th. January, 1693. Before the Lord Mayor of London) and also several certificates.

4. Susanna Arch, a member of the congregation meeting in Devonshire-square, London, a poor widow living at Battle-bridge in South-mark, (These contents are mostly in her own words,) I having a Leprosy and Ptysick about 4 years, and at my husband’s death bemoaned my condition, and then the Lord gave me in that Scripture, Ro 8:32. Which I took as the Lord’s bond to supply my necessities; and after my husband’s burial condoling myself, came into my mind Job 1:21 but this condition was not worse than my Lord and Master’s, Mt 8:20 then was I help’d to say, I have lost all, and yet have all, and to plead with God, Ge 32:12. After these troubles my distemper increased, and I made some application to physicians, and they told me that my distemper was a Leprosy, and was not curable. Wherefore I had no hopes of cure from man, nor did expect it, that Scripture often occurring to my mind, Mt 8:2. This I can truly say, that all along my faith was fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ, it was on him I did, and was resolved to rely; being confident that he had the same power now he is glorified in Heaven, as he had in the days of his humiliation. Upon the last day of May, 1694 at night, when I was asleep in my bed, I was pleading with God in those words, Ps 57:2 and then I thought I saw a man standing by me, and laying his hand on me, saying, I will, be thou clean, I answered, Lord, if thou sayest the word, it is done; to which I received this reply, All things are possible to him that believeth, I answered, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief; to which it was answered, He that believes needs not to ___, but is whole every whit; (thy hand being all the while upon my head) and thereupon I awaked, and perceived that it was a dream; from that time, (tho’ I grew worse and worse) I was strongly persuaded that I should be made whole: I rejected all profers of humane help, and for strengthening of my faith, I had these texts come with power, Mr 11:22; Joh 11:40; Heb 10:35. And whereas I have been afflicted with a Ptysick for many years, wherewith I was laid up every winter, in November last it pleased the Lord to remove that distemper, without the use of any human means, &c. December 26, 1694. I went to bed as bad as ever I was, (of the Leprosy) and in the night I had grievous temptations, &c. Jas 4:7. I was much amended in the morning, &c. and the next day cured perfectly.

Paper room is short, tis well attested by eminent men, and I C. Doe know them, and I have seen her since she was cured.