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child not only useth the means in himself to try himself, but he prayeth for the aid of God also; he knoweth that his own heart is deceitful, and may cozen him, but that “ God is greater than his heart, and knoweth all things.” And therefore he cryeth unto God to try him: “ Trye me, O God, and know my heart; prove me, and know my thoughts ; look, look well whether there be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting;" there is an everlasting righteousness, and an everlasting way that leads unto it, about which these are not content to try themselves only, but they desire God to try them also; and to make them know the uprightness of their own hearts, and not to suffer them to be deceived thereby. Now that I have done with.
Consider now what that justification is, that is obtained by this true lively faith ;" I shewed unto you that justification is ordinarily taken for an acquittance from a debt. It is derived from justice or righteousness; therefore I shewed that justification and righteousness are taken for one and the self same thing; “ for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness sbould have been by the law;" that is, justification had been by the law. Now as there is a double righteousness, so there is also a double justification. Not that I hold there is any other justification, as it comprehends remission of sins, but only one, but other ways, as many righteousnesses as there are, so many justifications there are. Now there is a double kind of righteousness, the one imputed, and the other inherent; the one is the righteousness of Christ, an act transient from another, which cannot be made mine but by imputation. Besides this, there is another which is inherent, a righteousness in
St. James speaks of the one, and St. Paul of the other. One is opposed to condemnation, and the other to hypocrisy. The soundness of the heart is respected of God for righteousness, in respect of the graces inherent in us.
Now to give you a touch of the difference between the one and the other, and therein to declare the difference
• Psalm 139. ver. 23,
grace as this.
between us and Rome : know then, that the question between us and Rome, is not whether justification be by faith or no; but whether there be any such thing as justification or no. The doctrine of the Church of Rome is, that there is no such
But concerning the first of these, that justification which is by the imputation of Christ's righteousness, I showed unto you that imputation in this case is, as when a man comes to hold up his hand at God's bar, as it were, and it is demanded of him what he hath to say for himself, why he should not die; and then this justification by Christ's righteousness is opposed to condemnation. Then justification by faith is, that when I come to stand before God, though conscience say I am guilty of a thousand sins, yet I may go boldly and plead my pardon, which will acquit me, as if I had never sinned at any time. “ God was thus in Christ reconciling us (the world) unto himself, not imputing their sins unto them.” Now sin is a thing past, which being done, cannot be made undone, the sin remains still: murder is murder still; and adultery is adultery still; it cannot be undone again. Now how shall this man that is guilty of murder and adultery be made just? it cannot possibly be but by not imputing his sin unto him, so that God should account it to him, as if it had not been done at all by him; he puts it upon Christ's account; account: the word is used in the epistle to Philemon, ver. 18. where St. Paul saith: “ If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account.” A man's sins being thus put upon Christ's account, he is accepted of God as freely as if he had never owed him any thing, or as if he had never offended him. Now this is done by transferring the debt from one person to another; so that we see this imputation of sin to Christ, and of Christ's righteousness to us is most necessary. It must be so: and if there were no testimony for it in the Scripture, yet reason sheweth that there can be · no righteousness, but by God's acceptation of us in Christ, as if we had never sinned; there is the difference then : “ To him that worketh not, but believeth in him that jusi fieth the ungodly, his faith is accounted to him for righteousness."
But doth God justify the ungodly? that is a hard speech; we read in the Proverbs, chap. XVII. ver. 15. “He that justifieth the wicked, and condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.”
But here we must understand this as we do some other Scriptures; we read in St. Luke, chap. VII. ver. 22. that “ the blind see, the lame walk, the dumb speak." It is impossible for a man to be blind and see, to be dumb and speak, all at once; yet take the chief of sinners, suppose Paul, and he was so on his own account; but the act of justification alters him. God justifies the ungodly, that is, him that was even now so; but by the imputation of Christ's righteousness he is made righteous, that is, righteous in God's account. And indeed, justification in St. Paul's acception, importing the remission of sins, the person justified must of necessity be supposed to have been a sinner; otherwise remission of sins would no more concern him, than repentance doth the holy angels which never offended.
But in proceeding in this point I did reflect a little back. God finds a man with a number of sins, full of sin, and forgives these sins; now I demanded this; how far doth this justification and forgiveness extend ? to sins past alone, or to sins and to come? And I answered that we must consider this matter two ways.
First, to justify a man's person simply ; and then to justify a man from this or that particular act: the phrase is used in Scripture: “And' by him all that believe, are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." There is justification from this or that thing: there is first, justification of a man's person; he that was an enemy, is now made a friend; he is now no longer a stranger at home, but is in the list of God's household. Now this we say, no sooner doth a man receive it, but the selfsame hour that he receiveth it,
Acts, chap. 13. ver. 39.
the bond is cancelled, the evidence is torn, and fastened to the cross of Christ, and hangs up among the records, whereas before it was an evidence against us, and would have lain heavy on us at the bar; but now it is fastened to the cross, as a cancelled record, the bond is become void.
Secondly, but now when we consider justification from this or that particular act; I declared that so a man is only justified from sins past; for it is contrary to reason and Scripture, that a man should be justified from sins to come: for Scripture, the apostle hath it: “ Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" and it is clear also from the nature of the thing. A thing cannot be remitted before it be committed, nor covered before it had an existence, nor blotted out before it be written. Therefore justification from such or such a fault, must have relation to that which is past; but for justification for the time to come, I will speak anon; there I left the last time.
I have now faith, and I believe in Christ; I have now relation to him, and remission of sins past. By why then do I pray for it? to what end is that ? Bellarmine objects that it is an act of infidelity to pray for it afterwards; but we do it, and we ought to do it; see Psalm LI. David made that Psalm after the prophet Nathan had told him his sin was pardoned ; see the title of it, (and we must know that the title is a part of God's word as well as the rest) A psalm of David when Nathan came unto him, after he had gone in unto Bathsheba : Nathan told him that God had took away his sin : yet he crieth here throughout the whole psalm, to have his sin pardoned and blotted out; so that though there were faith and assurance, yet he still prays for it. Now Bellarmine saith, this cannot be; but doth he dispute against our opinion ? no, he disputes against the Holy Ghost; for David having received
a message of forgiveness, yet prays. Therefore if the Jesuit had grace, he would join with us to salve the matter, rather than through our sides to strike at God.
But it is a fallacy to join these two together; for a man to pray for a thing past, it is an act of infidelity; as to pray that God would create the world, and incarnate his Son.
I answer, there is difference between an act done, and an act continued; when the world was made by God, God had finished that work. And when Christ took our flesh upon him, the act was done; but the forgiveness of sin is a continued act, which holds today and to-morrow, and world without end. God is pleased not to impute thy sins, but cover them; now this covering is no constant act, but upon a supposition of constant indulgence, which ought to be solicited by conprayer.
I may cover a thing now, and uncover it again; now forgiveness of sin being an act not complete, but continued, and continued world without end, and therefore we say the saints in heaven are justified by imputative righteousness, God's continuance of his act of mercy. The point then is this; as long as we continue in the world, and by contrary acts of disobedience continue to provoke God to discontinue his former acts of mercy, and our sins being but covered, therefore so long must we pray for forgiveness. When the servant had humbled himself before his lord, it is said; “The lord of that servant loosed him, and forgave him the debt.” But though he forgave him, yet he did another act that caused his lord to discontinue his pardon: “Shouldst' not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, as I had pity on thee?" He had pity on him; yet since he doth another act, which turns his lord's heart against him, therefore “ he is now cast into prison, and he must not come out thence till he hath paid the utmost farthing." He had forgave him to-day and to
morrow, and would have continued his forgiveness, if he had not thus pro
1 Matth. chap. 18. ver. 27.
i Ibid. ver. 33.