« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
κατάστασις and αξία, and sometimes a valuable consideration of what is to be done; that is, airla or ouvdhan. But herein it is applied unto things in great variety; sometimes the principal, procuring, purchasing cause is so expressed. As the condition whereon a man lends another a hundred pounds, is that he be paid it again with interest. The condition whereon a man conveyeth his land unto another, is, that he receive so much money for it. So a condition is a valuable consideration. And sometimes it signifies such things as are added to the principal cause whereon its operation is suspended. As a man bequeaths a hundred pounds unto another, on condition that he come or go to such a place to demand it. This is no valuable consideration, yet is the effect of the principal cause, or the will of the testator suspended thereon. And as unto degrees of respect unto that whereof any thing is a condition, as to purchase, procurement, valuable consideration, necessary presence, the variety is endless. We therefore cannot obtain a determinate sense of this wordcondition,' but from a particular declaration of what is intended by it, wherever it is used. And although this be not sufficient to exclude the use of it from the declaration of the
way and manner how we are justified by faith; yet is it so to exclude the imposition of any precise signification of it, any other than is given it by the matter treated of. Without this every thing is left ambiguous and uncertain whereunto it is applied.
For instance; it is commonly said, that faith and new obedience are the condition of the new covenant. But yet because of the ambiguous signification and various use of that term (condition), we cannot certainly understand what is intended in the assertion. If no more be intended, but that God in and by the new covenant doth indispensably require these things of us, that is, the restipulation of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, in order unto his own glory, and our full enjoyment of all the benefits of it, it is unquestionably true ; but if it be intended, that they are such a condition of the covenant, as to be by us performed antecedently unto the participation of any grace, mercy, or privilege of it, so as that they should be the consideration and procuring causes of them, that they should be all of them, as some speak, the
reward of our faith and obedience, it is most false, and not only contrary to express testimonies of Scripture, but destructive of the nature of the covenant itself. If it be intended, that these things, though promised in the covenant and wrought in us by the grace of God, are yet duties required of us in order unto the participation and enjoyment of the full end of the covenant of glory, it is the truth which is asserted; but if it be said that faith and new obedience, that is, the works of righteousness which we do, are so the condition of the covenant, as that whatever the one is ordained of God as a means of, and in order to such or such an end, as justification, that the other is likewise ordained unto the same end, with the same kind of efficacy, or with the same respect unto the effect, it is expressly contrary to the whole scope and express design of the apostle on that subject. But it will be said that a condition in the sense intended, when faith is said to be a condition of our justification, is no more but that it is 'causa sine qua non;' which is easy enough to be apprehended. But yet neither are we so delivered out of uncertainties, into a plain understanding of what is intended. For these 'causæ sine quibus non,' may be taken largely or more strictly and precisely. So are they commonly distinguished by the masters in these arts. Those so called in a larger sense, are all such causes in any kind of efficiency or merit, as are inferior unto principal causes, and would operate nothing without them, but in conjunction with them have a real effective influence, physical or moral, into the production of the effect. And if we take a condition to be a' causa sine qua non,' in this sense, we are still at a loss what may be its use, efficiency, or merit, with respect unto our justification. If it be taken more strictly for that which is necessarily present, but hath no causality in any kind, not that of a receptive instrument, I cannot understand how it should be an ordinance of God. For every thing that he hath appointed unto any end, moral or spiritual, hath by virtue of that appointment, either a symbolical instructive efficacy, or an active efficiency, or a rewardable condecency with respect unto that end. Other things may be generally and remotely necessary unto such an end, so far as it partakes of the order of natural beings, which are not ordinances of God with respect thereunto, and so have no kind of causality with respect unto it, as it is moral or spiritual. So the air we breathe is needful unto the preaching of the word, and consequently a'causa sine qua non' thereof; but an ordinance of God with especial respect thereunto it is not. But every thing that he appoints unto an especial spiritual end, hath an efficacy or operation in one or other of the ways mentioned. For they either concur with the principal cause in its internal efficiency, or they operate externally in the removal of obstacles and hinderances that oppose the principal cause in its efficiency. And this excludes all causes sine quibus non' strictly so taken from any place among divine ordinances. God appoints nothing for an end that shall do nothing. His sacraments are not ápyà onusia, but by virtue of his institution do exhibit that grace
which they do not in themselves contain. The preaching of the word hath a real efficiency unto all the ends of it; so have all the graces and duties that he worketh in us, and requireth of us ; by them all are 'we made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light;' and our whole obedience, through his gracious appointment, hath a rewardable condecency with respect unto eternal life. Wherefore, as faith may be allowed to be the condition of our justification, if no more be intended thereby, but that it is what God requires of us that we may be justified; so to confine the declaration of its use in our justification unto its being the condition of it, when so much as a determinate signification of it cannot be agreed upon, is subservient only unto the interest of unprofitable strife and contention.
To close these discourses concerning faith and its use in our justification, some things must yet be added concerning its especial object. For although what hath been spoken already thereon, in the description of its nature and object in general, be sufficient in general to state its especial object also ; yet there having been an inquiry concerning it, and debate about it in a peculiar notion, and under some especial terms, that also must be considered. And this is, whether justifying faith in our justification, or its use therein, do respect Christ as a king and prophet, as well as a priest, with the satisfaction that as such he made for us, and that in the same manner, and unto the same ends and purposes. And I shall be brief in this inquiry, because it is but
a late controversy, and it may be hath more of curiosity in its disquisition, than of edification in its determination. However being not, that I know of, under these terms stated in any public confessions of the reformed churches, it is free for any to express their apprehensions concerning it. And to this purpose I say,
1. Faith whereby we are justified, in the receiving of Christ, principally respects his person, for all those ends for which he is the ordinance of God. It doth not in the first place, as it is faith in general, respect his person absolutely, seeing its formal object as such, is the truth of God, in the proposition, and not the thing itself proposed. Wherefore, it so respects and receives Christ as proposed in the promise; the promise itself being the formal object of its assent.
2. We cannot so receive Christ in the promise, as in that act of receiving him to exclude the consideration of
of his offices. For as he is not at any time to be considered by us, but as vested with all his offices, so a distinct conception of the mind to receive Christ as a priest, but not as a king or prophet, is not faith but unbelief, not the receiving but the rejecting of him.
3. In the receiving of Christ for justification formally, our distinct express design is to be justified thereby, and no more. Now to be justified is to be freed from the guilt of sin, or to have all our sins pardoned, and to have a righteousness wherewith to appear before God, so as to be accepted with him, and a right to the heavenly inheritance. Every believer hath other designs also, wherein he is equally concerned with this; as namely, the renovation of his nature, the sanctification of his person, and ability to live unto God in all holy obedience. But the things before-mentioned are all that he aimeth at or designeth in his applications unto Christ, or his receiving of him unto justification. Wherefore,
4. Justifying faith in that act or work of it, whereby we are justified, respecteth Christ in his priestly office alone, as he was the surety of the covenant, with what he did in the discharge thereof. The consideration of his other offices is not excluded, but it is not formally comprised in the object of faith as justifying.
5. When we say that the sacerdotal office of Christ, or the blood of Christ, or the satisfaction of Christ, is that alone which faith respects in justification, we do not exclude, yea, we do really include and comprise in that assertion, all that depends thereon, or concurs to make them effectual unto our justification. As, 1. The free grace and favour of God in giving of Christ for us and unto us, whereby we are frequently said to be justified ; Rom. iii. 24. Eph. ii. 8. Tit. iii. 7. His wisdom, love, righteousness, and power, are of the same consideration as hath been declared. 2. Whatever in Christ himself was necessary antecedently unto his discharge of that office, or was consequential thereof, or did necessarily accompany it. Such was his incarnation, the whole course of his obedience, his resurrection, ascension, exaltation, and intercession. For the consideration of all these things is inseparable from the discharge of his priestly office. And therefore is justification either expressly or virtually assigned unto them also; Gen. iii. 15. 1 John iii. 8. Heb. ii. 13-16. Rom. iv. 25. Acts v. 31. Heb. vii. 27. Rom. viii. 34. But yet wherever our justification is so assigned unto them, they are not absolutely considered, but with respect unto their relation to his sacrifice and satisfaction. 3. All the means of the application of the sacrifice and righteousness of the Lord Christ unto us are also included therein. Such is the principal efficient cause thereof, which is the Holy Ghost, whence we are said to be justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God;' 1 Cor. vi. 11. and the instrumental cause thereof, on the part of God, which is the promise of the gospel ;' Rom. i. 17. Gal. iii. 22, 23. It would therefore be unduly pretended, that by this assertion we do narrow or straiten the object of justifying faith as it justifies. For indeed we assign a respect unto the whole mediatory office of Christ, not excluding the kingly and prophetical parts thereof; but only such a notion of them, as would not bring in more of Christ, but much of ourselves into our justification. And the assertion as laid down may be proved,
1. From the experience of all that are justified, or do seek for justification according unto the gospel. For under this notion of seeking for justification, or a righteousness unto justification, they were all of them to be considered,