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the meantime, we thus argue: If our own righteousness, and the righteousness which is of God by faith; or that which is through the faith of Christ Jesus (namely, the righteousness which God imputeth unto us, Rom. iv. 6. or the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness thereby, which we receive, Rom. v. 17.) are opposite, and inconsistent in the work of justification before God, then are we justified by faith alone through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us. The consequent is plain from the removal of all other ways, causes, means, and conditions of it, as inconsistent with it. But the antecedent is expressly the apostle's; not my own, but that of God. Again, That whereby and wherewith we are found in Christ, is that whereby alone we are justified before God; for to be found in Christ, expresseth the state of the person that is to be justified before God; whereunto is opposed to be found in ourselves. And according unto these different states doth the judgment of God pass concerning us. And as for those who are found in themselves, we know what will be their portion. But in Christ we are found by faith alone. All manner of evasions are made use of by some, to escape the force of this testimony. It is said in general, that no sober-minded man can imagine the apostle did not desire to be found in gospel righteousness, or that by his own righteousness he meant that. For it is that alone can entitle us unto the benefits of Christ's righteousness. 'Nollem dictum.' 1. The censure is too severe to be cast on all Protestant writers without exception, who have expounded this place of the apostle; and all others, except some few of late, influenced by the heat of the controversy wherein they are engaged. 2. If the gospel righteousness intended, be his own personal righteousness and obedience, there is some want of consideration in affirming, that he did not desire to be found in it. That wherein we are found, thereon are we to be judged; to be found in our own evangelical righteousness before God, is to enter into judgment with God thereon, which those who understand any thing aright of God and themselves, will not be free unto. And to make this to be the meaning of his words, I desire not to be found in my own righteousness which is after the law, but I desire to be found in mine own righteousness which is ac
cording to the gospel; whereas, as they are his own inhe rent righteousness, they are both the same, doth not seem a proper interpretation of his words, and it shall be immediately disproved. 3. That our personal gospel righteousness doth entitle us unto the benefits of Christ's righteousness, that is, as unto our justification before God, is ' gratis dictum,' not one testimony of Scripture can be produced that gives the least countenance unto such an assertion. That it is contrary unto many express testimonies, and inconsistent with the freedom of the grace of God in our justification, as proposed in the Scripture, hath been proved before. Nor do any of the places which assert the necessity of obedience and good works in believers, that is, justified persons unto salvation, any way belong unto the proof of this assertion; or, in the least, express or intimate any such thing. And, in particular, the assertion of it is expressly contradictory unto that of the apostle, Tit. iii. 4, 5. But I forbear, and proceed to the consideration of the special answers that are given unto this testimony, especially those of Bellarmine, whereunto I have as yet seen nothing added with any pretence of reason in it.
1. Some say, that by his own righteousness which the apostle rejects, he intends only his righteousness ěk vóμov, or by the works of the law.' But this was only an outward external righteousness, consisting in the observation of rites and ceremonies, without respect unto the inward frame or obedience of the heart. But this is an impious imagination. The righteousness which is by the law, is the righteousness which the law requires, and those works of it, which if a man do, he shall live in them; for the doers of the law shall be justified;' Rom. ii. 13. Neither did God ever give any law of obedience unto man, but what obliged him to love the Lord his God with all his heart, and all his soul.' And it is so far from being true, that God by the law required an external righteousness only, that he frequently condemns it as an abomination to him, where it is alone.
2. Others say, that it is the righteousness, whatever it be, which he had during his Pharisaism. And although he should be allowed, in that state, to have lived in all good conscience, instantly to have served God day and night, and to have had respect as well unto the internal as the external
works of the law; yet all these works being before faith, before conversion to God, may be, and are to be, rejected as unto any concurrence unto our justification. But works wrought in faith, by the aid of grace, evangelical works are of another consideration, and together with faith, are the condition of justification.
Ans. 1. That in the matter of our justification, the apostle opposeth evangelical works, not only unto the grace of God, but also unto the faith of believers, was proved in the consideration of the foregoing testimony.
2. He makes no such distinction as that pretended, namely, that works are of two sorts; whereof one is to be excluded from any interest in our justification, but not the other; neither doth he any where else, treating of the same subject, intimate any such distinction; but, on the contrary, declares that use of all works of obedience in them that believe, which is exclusive of the supposition of any such distinction, but he directly expresseth, in this rejection, his own righteousness, that is, his personal inherent righteousness whatever it be, and however it be wrought.
3. He makes a plain distinction of his own twofold estate, namely, that of his Judaism which he was in before his conversion, and that which he had by faith in Christ Jesus. In the first state, he considers the privileges of it, and declares what judgment he made concerning them upon the revelation of Jesus Christ unto him, ynuaι, saith he, referring unto the time past, namely, at his first conversion. I considered them with all the advantages, gain, and reputation, which I had by them, but rejected them all for Christ, because the esteem of them and continuance in them as privileges, was inconsistent with faith in Christ Jesus. Secondly, he proceeds to give an account of himself and his thoughts, as unto his present condition. For it might be supposed, that although he had parted with all his legal privileges for Christ, yet, now being united unto him by faith, he had something of his own, wherein he might rejoice, and on the account whereof he might be accepted with God (the thing inquired after) or else he had parted with all for nothing. Wherefore he who had no design to make any reserves of what he might glory in, plainly declares what his judgment is concerning all his present righteousness, and the ways of obe
dience which he was now engaged in, with respect unto the ends inquired after, ver. 8. 'Aλλà μɛvovvye kaì ǹyouμai. The bringing over of what was affirmed before concerning his Judaical privileges into this verse, is an effect of a very superficiary consideration of the context. For, 1. There is a plain αὔξησις in these words, ̓Αλλὰ μενοῦνγε καὶ. He could not more plainly express the heightening of what he had affirmed by a proceed unto other things, or the consideration of himself in another state. But, moreover, beyond what I have already asserted. 2. The change of the time expressed by nynual respects what was past, into youμai wherein he hath respect only unto what was present, not what he had before rejected and forsaken, makes evident his progress unto the consideration of things of another nature. Wherefore, unto the rejection of all his former Judaical privileges, he adds his judgment concerning his own present personal righteousness. But whereas it might be objected, that rejecting all both before and after conversion, he had nothing left to rejoice in, to glory in, to give him acceptance with God; he assures us of the contrary, namely, that he found all these things in Christ, and the righteousness of God which is by faith. He is therefore in these words, 'Not having mine own righteousness, which is by the law; so far from intending only the righteousness which he had before his conversion, as that he intends it not at all.
The words of Davenant on this passage of the apostle, being in my judgment not only sober, but weighty also, I shall transcribe them. Hic docet apostolus quænam illa justitia sit qua nitendum coram Deo, nimirum quæ per fidem apprehenditur, at hæc imputata est: Causam etiam ostendit cur jure nostra fiat, nimirum quia nos Christi sumus et in Christo comperimur; quia igitur insiti sumus in corpus ejus et coalescimus cum illo in unam personam, ideo ejus justitia nostra reputatur;' De Justif. Habit. cap. 38. For whereas some begin to interpret our being in Christ, and being found in him, so as to intend no more but our profession of the faith of the gospel, the faith of the Catholic church in all ages concerning the mystical union of Christ and believers, is not to be blown away with a few empty words and unproved assertions.
The answer therefore is full and clear unto the general
exception, namely, that the apostle rejects our legal, but not our evangelical righteousness. For, 1. The apostle rejects, disclaims, disowns, nothing at all, not the one, nor the other absolutely, but in comparison of Christ, and with respect unto the especial end of justification before God, or a righteousness in his sight. 2. In that sense he rejects all our own righteousness, but our evangelical righteousness, in the sense pleaded for, is our own, inherent in us, performed by us. 3. Our legal righteousness, and our evangelical, so far as an inherent righteousness is intended, are the same, and the different ends and use of the same righteousness, is alone intended in that distinction, so far as it hath sense in it. That which in respect of motives unto it, the ends of it, with the especial causes of its acceptance with God, is evangelical, in respect of its original prescription, rule, and measure, is legal. When any can instance in any act or duty, in any habit or effect of it, which are not required by that law which enjoins us to love the Lord our God, with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbour as ourselves; they shall be attended unto. 4. The apostle in this case rejects all the works of righteousness which we have done, Tit. iii. 5. But our evangelical righteousness consisteth in the works of righteousness which we do. 5. He disclaims all that is our own. And if the evangelical righteousness intended be our own, he sets up another in opposition unto it; and which therefore is not our own, but as it is imputed unto us. And I shall yet add some other reasons which render this pretence useless, or shew the falseness of it.
1. Where the apostle doth not distinguish or limit what he speaks of, what ground have we to distinguish or limit his assertions. 'Not by works,' saith he, sometimes absolutely, sometimes the works of righteousness, 'which we have done;' that is, not by some sort of works, say those who plead the contrary; but by what warrant? 2. The works which they pretend to be excluded, as wherein our own righteousness that is rejected doth consist, are works wrought without faith, without the aid of grace: but these are not good works, nor can any be denominated righteous from them, nor is it any righteousness that consists in them alone. For without faith it is impossible to please God:'