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atonement and reconciliation for them. This God did require, nor could it have been ordered otherwise, but that an inconsistency with the glory of his holiness, righteousness and veracity, would have ensued thereon. The priesthood of the Son of God was necessary, not absolutely and in itself, but on the supposition of the law, and entrance of sin, with the grace of God to save sinners.
This being a matter of great importance, and without a due stating whereof, the doctrine concerning the priesthood of Christ, or the nature and use of this office of his, cannot be rightly conceived or apprehended, I must insist upon it somewhat largely. And I shall do it the rather, because the truth in this matter is strenuously opposed by the Socinians, and the defence of it deserted by some, who otherwise adhere to sound doctrine in the main of our cause. For I shall not mention them, who in these things are not wise beyond the writings of two or three whom they admire ; nor those who, being utter strangers to the true reasons and grounds of truth herein, do boldly and confidently vent their own imaginations, and that with the contempt of all who are not satisfied to be as ignorant as themselves.
$ 2. Whereas we assert the necessity of the priesthood of Christ to depend on the righteousness of God, it is requisite that some things should be premised concerning the nature of righteousness in general, and in particular of the righteousness of God. Aristotle divides justice into that which is universal, and that which is particular. And he makes the former to be the same with virtue in general, only it hath, as he supposeth, a respect to others, and is not merely for itself, Ethic. lib. 5. cap. 1, 2. Particular justice is either distributive or commutative; and in its exercise it consists in words or deeds. That justice which consists in words, respects either commands, and it is called equity; or promises and assertions, and is veracity or truth. And both these, even equity in his commands, and truth or faithfulness in his promises, are frequently in the Scripture called the righteousness of God; see Ezra ix. 15. Neh. ix. 8. Psal. xxxi. 1. Rom. i. 17. iii. 21. 2 Tim. iv. S. And this is the righteousness of God which David and other holy men so often plead and appeal to, whilst in the mean time they plainly acknowledge, that in the strictness of God's justice, they could neither stand before him, nor find acceptance with him, Psal cxxx. 3. Psal. cxliii. 1, 2. The righteousness which consisteth, or is exercised in works or actions, is either the righteousness of rule in general, or of judgment in particular. And this latter is either remunerative or corrective; and this also is either chastening or avenging. And all these are subordinate nto distributive justice; for commutative hath no place between God and man. “ Who hath first given unto him, that it should be rendered unto him again ?"
$ 3. And these distinctions are of use, in the declaration of the various acceptations of the righteousness of God in the Scripture. But their explication and farther illustration is not at present necessary unto us. For I shall take up with a more general consideration and distribution of the righteousness of God, whereunto whatever is ascribed unto it in the Scripture may be reduced. Wherefore the righteousness of God is taken two ways: 1. Absolutely in itself, as it is resident in the divine nature. 2. With respect to its exercise, or the actings of God suitably unto that holy property of his nature.
In the first sense or acceptation, it is nothing but the universal rectitude of the divine nature, whereby it is necessary to God to do all things rightly, justly, equally, answerably unto his own wisdom, goodness, holiness, and right of dominion, Zeph. iii. 5. “ The just Lord in the midst thereof, he will do no iniquity: morning by morning doth he bring his judgment to light." I say it is the essential natural readiness and disposition of the holy nature of God to do all things justly and decently, according to the rule of his wisdom, and the nature of things, with their relation one to another. And this virtue of the divine nature considered absolutely, is not wgos ériqov, or doth not consist in an habitude of mind with respect unto others, as all justice in men doth, but is the infinite essential rectitude of God in his Being. Hence it doth so preside in and over all the works of God, that there is none of them, though proceeding immediately from mercy and goodness on the one hand, or from severity or faithfulness on the other, but that God is said to be righteous therein, and they are all represented as acts of righteousness in God. And this not only because they are his acts and works who can do no evil, and who will do none, but also because they proceed from and are suited to that holy absolute universal rectitude of his nature, wherein true righteousness doth consist. So are we said to obtain faith through the righteousness of God, 2 Pet. i. 1. the same with abundant mercy, 1 Pet. i. 3. Isa. li. 6. “My salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished,” that is my faithfulness. See the description of it in general, Job xxxiv. 10–15. The absolute rectitude of the nature of God, acted in and by his sovereignty, is his righteousness, Rom. ix. 8. 14, 15.
§ 4. For between the consideration of this righteousness of God, and the actual exercise of it, which must respect somewhat without him, to be made by him, somewhat in his creatures, there must be interposed a consideration of the right of God, or that which we call jus Dominii
, a right, power and liberty of rule or government. For it is not enough that any one be righteous, to enable him to act righteously in all that he doth, or may do, with respect to others; but moreover he must have a right to act in those cases wherein he doth so. And this right which justice supposeth, is, or may be, two-fold: 1. Supreme and absolute. 2. Subordinate. For we speak of justice and right only with respect unto public actings, or actings of rule, which belong unto righteousness as it is distributive; for that which is commutative, and may have place in private transactions among private persons, we have here no consideration of. Now for that which is subordinate, it is a right to distribute justice or things equal to others, according to the direction, and by the authority of a superior. And this superior may either be only real, as is a law, in which sense the law of nature is a superior to all rulers on the earth, and the respective laws of nations to most; or personal also, which is that which is denied, where any one is acknowledged as a supreme Governor. That this right hath no place in God, is evident. He hath no greater whereby he may swear, and therefore swears by himself, Heb. vi. 13.
2. The right therefore which God hath to act his righteousness, or to act righteously towards others, is supreme and sovereign, arising naturally and necessarily from the relation of all things to himself. For hereby, namely by their relation to him as his creatures, they are all placed in a universal, indispensable and absolutely unchangeable dependance on him, according to their natures and capacities. The right of God to rule over us, is wholly of another kind and nature than any thing is or can be among the sons of men ; that which is paternal has the nearest resemblance to it, but it is not of the same kind. For it doth not arise from the benefits we receive from him, nor hath it any respect to our consent, for he rules over the most against their wills, but depends merely on our relation to him as his creatures, with the nature, order and condition of our existence, wherein we are placed by his sovereignty. This in him is unavoidably accompanied with a right to act towards us according to the counsel of his will, and the rectitude of his nature. The state and condition, I say, of our being and end, with the relation which we have to him, and to his other works, or the order wherein we are set and placed in the universe, being the product or effect of his power, wisdom, will and goodness, he hath an unchangeable sovereign right to deal with us, and act towards us, according to the infinite eternal rectitude of his nature. And as he hath a right so to do, go he cannot do otherwise, supposing the state and condition wherein we are made and placed, with the nature of our relation to and dependance on God; and God can act no otherwise towards us, but according to what the essential rectitude of his nature doth direct and
require; which is the foundation of what we plead in the case before us, concerning the necessity of the priesthood of Christ.
$ 5. Secondly, The righteousness of God may be considered with respect unto its exercise, which is so frequently expressed in the Scripture, and whereon depends the rule and government of the world. This supposeth the right of God before declared; as that right itself is no absolute but a relative property of God, supposing the creation of all things, in their nature, order, and mutual respects, according to his wisdom, and by his power. On this supposition it followeth naturally and necessarily, not as a new thing in God, but as a natural and necessary respect which his nature and being hath unto all creatures upon their production. For suppose the creation of all things, and it is as natural and essential to God to be the ruler of them, and over them, as it is to be God. Now the exercise of the righteousness of God in pursuit of his right of rule, is either absolute and antecedent, or respective and consequential. As it is absolute, and acted antecedently to the consideration of our obedience or disobedience, so it is put forth and exercised in his laws and promises. For they are acts or effects of righteousness, disposing things equally according to their nature, and the will of God. God's ways are equal. His justice in legislation is universal equity, For all things being created in order by divine Wisdom, there arose from thence a to ngetov, a meetness and condecency, whereunto respect was had in God's legislation, whereby his law or the commandment became equal, holy, meet, just and good. And whereas it was necessary that the law of God should be accompanied with promises and threatenings, the eternal rectitude of God's nature acting righteously in their execution or accomplishment, is his truth. Hence truth and righteousness are in the Scripture frequently used to express the same thing
$ 6. Again, There is a respective righteousness in actions, which also is either of rule, or of judgment. First, there is Justitia Regiminis, or the particular righteousness of actual rule. I do not place this as though it were absolutely consequential unto that of legislation before-mentioued. For take the righteousness of rule or government in its whole latitude, and it comprehends in it the righteousness of legislation also, as a part thereof. For so it is the virtue or power of the nature of God, whereby he guideth all his actions or works in disposing and governing of the things created by him, in their several kinds and orders, according to the rule of his own eternal rectitude and wisdom. For righteousness of government must consist in an attendance unto and observance of some rule. Now this in God is the absolute righteousness of his nature, with his natural right unto rule over all, in conjunction with his infinitely wise
and holy will, which is that unto him which equity or law are
And therefore God, in the exercise of this righteousness, sometimes resolves the faith and obedience of men into his sovereign right over all, Job xiv. 14. xxxiii. 12, 13. xxxiv. 12, 13, 14. Jer. xviii. 1-6. Isa. xlv. 9. Rom. ix. 20. xi. 32. 33. Sometimes into the holiness of his nature, Zeph. iii. 5. Psal. xxvii. 9. Sometimes into the equity and equality of his ways and works themselves, Ezek. xviii. 25. But there is a particular exercise of this righteousness of rule, which hath respect unto the law, any law given unto men immediately by God, as confirmed with promises and threatenings. The ruling and disposing of the temporal and eternal states or conditions of men, according to the tenor and sentence of the law given unto them, belongeth hereunto. And as this is actually executed, it is called Justitia Judicialis, or the righteousness of God, whereby he distributes rewards and punishments unto his creatures according to their works. Hereof one part consisteth in the punishing of sin as it is a transgression of his law; and this is that wherein at present we are concerned. For we say that the righteousness of God, as he is the supreme ruler of the world, doth require necessarily that sin be punished; or the transgression of that law, which is the instrument of his rule, be avenged.
97. The exercise of this righteousness in God, presupposeth sundry things. As,
1. The creation of all things, in tlieir kind, order, state and condition by a free act of the will and power of God, regulated by his goodness and infinite wisdom. For our 6 God doth whatever he pleaseth; he worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will."
2. In particular the creation of intelligent rational creatures in a moral dependance on himself, capable of being ruled by a law, in order unto his glory and their own blessedness. The being and nature of mankind, their rational constitution, their ability for obedience, their capacity of eternal blessedness or misery, depend all on a sovereign free act of the will of God.
3. The nature of the law given unto these creatures, as the means and instrument of their moral orderly dependance on God; whereof the breach of that law would be a disturbance.
4. The eternal, natural, unchangeable right that God hath to govern these creatures according to the tenor of that law, which he hath so appointed for the instrument of his rule. This is no less necessary unto God than his being:
5. The sin of these creatures, which was destructive of all that order of things, which ensued on the creation and giving of the law. For it was destructive, 1st, Of the principal