« السابقةمتابعة »
sistent with his peculiar love, purpose, and intention of doing good, in the sense declared to some only.
And thus have I briefly gone through this chapter, and by the way taken into consideration all the texts of Scripture, which he there wrests to confirm his figment, on the goodness of the nature of God, of the goodness and love to all, which he shew's in great variety, and several degrees, in the dispensation of his providence throughout the world, of this universal love, and what it is in the sense of Mr. B. and his companions, of its inconsistency with the immutability, prescience, omnipotence, fidelity, love, mercy, and faithfulness of God; this being not a controversy peculiar to them, with whom in this treatise I have to do, I shall not farther insist.
As I have in the preface to this discourse given an account of the rise and present state of Socinianism, so I thought in this place to have given the reader an account of the present state of the controversy about grace, and freewill, and the death of Christ, with especial reference to the late management thereof amongst the Romanists, between the Molinists and Jesuits on the one side, with the Jansenians, or Bayans on the other; with the late ecclesiastical and political transactions in Italy, France, and Flanders, in reference thereunto, with an account of the books lately written on the one side and the other, and my thoughts of them; but finding this treatise grown utterly beyond my intention, I shall defer the execution of that design to some other opportunity, if God think good to continue my portion any longer in the land of the living.
The 14th chapter of the catechist, is about the resurrection of Christ. What are the proper fruits of the resurrection of Christ, and the benefits we receive thereby, and upon what account our justification is ascribed thereto, whether as the great and eminent confirmation of the doctrine he taught, or as the issue, pledge, and evidence of the accomplishment of the work of our salvation by death, it being impossible for him to be detained thereby, is not here discussed; that which the great design of this chapter appears to disprove, is, Christ's raising himself by his own power; concerning which this is the question:
'Did Christ rise by his own power; yea, did he raise him
self at all? or was he raised by the power of another? and did another raise him? What is the perpetual tenor of the Scripture to this purpose?'
In answer hereunto, many texts of Scripture are rehearsed, where it is said, that 'God raised him from the dead, and that he was raised by the power of God.'
But we have manifested, that Mr. B. is to come to another reckoning, before he can make any work of this argument; God raised him, therefore he did not raise himself: when he hath proved that he is not God, let him freely make such an inference and conclusion as this: in the meantime, we say, because 'God raised him from the dead,' he raised himself; for he is 'God over all blessed for ever.'
2. It is true, that Christ is said to be raised by God, taken personally for the Father, whose joint power, with his own, as that also of the Spirit, was put forth in this work of raising Christ from the dead. And for his own raising himself, if Mr. B. will believe him, this business will be put to a short issue: he tells us, that he laid down his life, that he might take it up again. No man,' saith he, 'taketh it from me, I have power to lay it down of myself, and I have power to take it again;' John x. 17, 18. And speaking of the temple of his body, he bade the Jews destroy it, and, that he would raise it again within three days:' which we believe he did, and if Mr. B. be otherwise minded, we cannot help it.
Of justification and faith.
THIS chapter, for the title and subject of it, would require a large and serious consideration; but by Mr. Biddle's loose procedure in this business (whom only I shall now attend), we are absolved from any strict inquiry into the whole doctrine that is concerned herein. Some brief animadversions upon his questions, and suiting of answers to them, will be all that I shall go forth unto. His first is,
Q. How many sorts of justification or righteousness are there?'
This question supposeth righteousness and justification
to be the same: which is a gross notion for a Master of Arts. Righteousness is that which God requires of us, justification is his act concerning man, considered as vested or indued with that righteousness which he requires: righteousness is the qualification of the person to be justified; justification the act of him that justifies. A man's legal honesty in his trial, is not the sentence of the judge pronouncing him so to be, to all ends and purposes of that honesty. But to his question Mr. B. answers from Rom. x. 5. 'the righteousness which is of the law,' and Phil. iii. 9. 'the righteousness which is of God by faith.'
It is true, there is this twofold righteousness that men may be partakers of; a righteousness consisting in exact, perfect, and complete obedience yielded to the law, which God required of man under the covenant of works, and the righteousness which is of God by faith, of which afterward. Answerable hereunto there is, hath been, or may be, a twofold justification: the one consisting in God's declaration of him, who performs all that he requires in the law, to be just and righteous, and his acceptation of him according to the promise of life, which he annexed to the obedience, which of man he did require; and the other answers that righteousness which shall afterward be described. Now though these two righteousnesses agree in their general end, which is acceptation with God, and a reward from him, according to his promise; yet in their own natures, causes, and manner of attaining, they are altogether inconsistent and destructive of each other: so that it is utterly impossible they should ever meet in and upon the same person.
For the description of the first, Mr. B. gives it in answer to this question.
'How is the rihgteousness which is of the law described? 'A. Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man that doeth those things shall live by them; Rom. x. 5.'
This description is full and complete. The doing of the things of the law,' or all the things the law requireth, to this end that a man may live by them, or a keeping of the commandments that we may enter into life, makes up this righteousness of the law. And whatsoever any man doth, or may do, that is required by the law of God (as believing,
trusting in him, and the like), to this end, that he may live thereby, that it may be his righteousness towards God, that thereupon he may be justified, it belongs to this righteousness of the law here described by Moses. I say, whatever is performed by man in obedience to any law of God to this end, that a man may live thereby, and that it may be the matter of his righteousness, it belongs to the righteousness here described: and of this we may have some use, in the consideration of Mr. B.'s ensuing queries. He adds,
'Q. What speaketh the righteousness which is of faith? A. Rom. x. 8, 9. The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.'
The object of justifying faith; namely, Jesus Christ as dying and rising again from the dead to the obtaining of eternal redemption, and bringing in everlasting righteousness, is in these words described. And this is that which the righteousness of faith is said to speak; because Christ dying and rising is our righteousness. He is made so to us of God, and being under the consideration of his death and resurrection received of us by faith, we are justified. His next question is,
'Q. In the justification of a believer is the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, or is his own faith counted for righteousness?
'A. Rom. iv. 5. His faith is counted for righteousness." What Mr. B. intends by faith, and what by accounting of it for righteousness, we know full well. The justification he intends by these expressions is the plain old Pharisaical justification, and no other as shall elsewhere be abundantly manifested. For the present, I shall only say, that Mr. Biddle doth most ignorantly oppose the imputing of the righteousness of Christ to us, and the accounting of our faith for righteousness, as inconsistent. It is the accounting of our faith for righteousness, and the righteousness of works, that is opposed by the apostle. The righteousness of faith and the righteousness of Christ are every way one and the same; the one denoting that whereby we receive it, and are made partakers of it, the other that which is re
ceived, and whereby we are justified. And indeed there is a perfect inconsistency between the apostle's intention in this expression, 'to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted to him for righteousness,' taken with his explication of it, that we are made partakers of the righteousness of Christ by faith,' and therein he is made righteousness to them that believe,' with Mr. B.'s interpretation of it, which is (as shall be farther manifested), to him that worketh and believes on him that justifies the righteous, his obedience is his righteousness.' But of this elsewhere.
The next question and answer is about Abraham and his justification, which being but an instance exemplifying what was spoken before, I shall not need to insist thereon. Of his believing on God only, our believing on Christ, which is also mentioned, I have spoken already, and shall not trouble the reader with repetition thereof.
But he farther argues:
'Q. Doth not God justify men because of the full price Christ paid to him in their stead, so that he abated nothing of his right, in that one drop of Christ's blood was sufficient to satisfy for a thousand worlds? If not, how are they saved?
'A. Being justified freely; Rom. iii. 24. Eph. i. 17.’
That Christ did pay a full price or ransom for us, that he did stand in our stead, that he was not abated any jot of the penalty of the law that was due to sinners, that on this account we are fully acquitted, and that the forgiveness of our sins is by the redemption that is in his blood, hath been already fully and at large evinced. Let Mr. B. if he please, attempt to evert what hath been spoken to that
The expression about one drop of Christ's blood,' is a fancy or imagination of idle monks, men ignorant of the righteousness of God, and the whole nature of the mediation which our blessed Saviour undertook; wherein they have not the least communion. The close of the chap
'Q. Did not Christ merit eternal life and purchase the kingdom of heaven for us?
A. The gift of God is eternal life; Rom. vi. 23. It is