Samuel Willard on the law, the covenant of works, and justification by faith

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... 1. That fallen man hath by sin forfeited the good of the promise, and procured to himself the evil of the threatening in the first Covenant. The life that was therein promised was engaged to perfect Obedience to the whole Law, but man hath not obeyed at all, and on that account his claim to life is gone; he can make no challenge at all of it, the threatened death was against all disobedience, even the least defect in the performance of it therein required; and he hath disobeyed, and on that account is fallen under the efficacy of the threatening. Hereupon, for fallen man to be personally under the Law, and under the Curse of it are inseparable, Gal. 3.10. Whosoever is of the works of the Law, is under the Curse. And this is the true state of every one of Adam’s Posterity as they come into the World, and as long as they abide in their natural state, and now the Justice of God stands armed against them with vengeance, and is ready to fall upon them, and execute on them all that wrath unto which they are sentenced by the Law.

2. Hence there is a double Righteousness requisite for the Justification of fallen man. There are two things requisite for the entire Justification of one who stands upon his trial, Viz. The acquittance of him from Condemnation, and the declaring of him to be a Righteous Person; that so he may both escape the misery he was in hazard of, and be invested with happiness according to the Law: and in the declaration of both these, the Law of Righteousness must be regarded, otherwise the sentence cannot be righteous; to this end there must be a perfect active Obedience to it, every way Commensurate to all the Commands of it, or else he is not righteous: and there must be a full Satisfaction given for all the Offense that hath been given by any Prevarication or departure from it, else he remains under the Condemnation of it: and if there be not both of these found for him, and belonging to him, before, or in order to his being Justified, the Law is superseded, and trampled upon; it is neglected and so made void, which must not be, for so Justice would suffer, which it ought not to do. We shall therefore find both of these put together, Rom. 3.26. That he may be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus Christ. ...

For more, see Samuel Willard on the law, the covenant of works, and justification by faith.