The Death of Death in the Death of Christ Book 3John Owen (1616-1683) - One of the Greatest English Puritans
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“If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation. Let this be one aspect of our daily intercession: ‘God, preserve my soul, and keep my heart and all its ways so that I will not be entangled.’ When this is true in our lives, a passing temptation will not overcome us. We will remain free while others lie in bondage.”
A TREATISE OF THE REDEMPTION AND RECONCILIATION THAT IS IN THE BLOOD 0F CHRIST, WITH THE MERIT THEREOF, AND SATISFACTION WROUGHT THEREBY.
Arguments against the universality of redemption-The two first; from the nature of the new covenant, and the dispensation thereof.
ARGUMENT 1. The first argument may be taken from the nature of the covenant of grace, which was established, ratified, and confirmed in and by the death of Christ; that was the testament whereof he was the testator, which was ratified in his death, and whence his blood is called “The blood of the new testament,” Matt. 26:28. Neither can any effects thereof be extended beyond the compass of this covenant. But now this covenant was not made universally with all, but particularly only with some, and therefore those alone were intended in the benefits of the death of Christ.
The assumption appears from the nature of the covenant itself, described clearly, Jer. 31:31, 32, “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, though I was an husband to them, saith the LORD;”—and Heb. 8:9-11, “Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws in their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest,” Wherein, first, the condition of the covenant is not said to be required, but it is absolutely promised: “I will put my fear in their hearts” And this is the main difference between the old covenant of works and the now one of grace, that in that the Lord did only require the fulfilling of the condition prescribed, but in this be promiseth to effect it in them himself with whom the covenant is made. And without this spiritual efficacy, the truth is, the new covenant would be as weak and unprofitable, for the end of a covenant (the bringing, of us and binding of us to God), as the old. For in what consisted the weakness and unprofitableness of the old covenant, for which God in his mercy abolished it? Was it not in this, because, by reason of sin, we were no way able to fulfil the condition thereof, “Do this, and live?” Otherwise the connection is still true, that “he that doeth these things shall live.” And are we of ourselves any way more able to fulfil the condition of the new covenant? Is it not as easy for a man by his own strength to fulfil the whole law, as to repent and savingly believe the promise of the gospel? This, then, is one main difference of these two covenants,–that the Lord did in the old only require the condition; now, in the new, he will also effect it in all the federates, to whom this covenant is extended. And if the Lord should only exact the obedience required in the covenant of us, and not work and effect it also in us, the new covenant would be a show to increase our misery, and not a serious imparting and communicating of grace and mercy. If, then, this be the nature of the new testament,–as appears from the very words of it, and might abundantly be proved, –that the condition of the covenant should certainly, by free grace, be wrought and accomplished in all that are taken into covenant, then no more are in this covenant than in whom those conditions of it are effected.
But thus, as is apparent, it is not with all; for “all men have not faith,” it is “of the elect of God:” therefore, it is not made with all, nor is the compass thereof to be extended beyond the remnant that are according to election. Yea, every blessing of the new covenant being certainly common, and to be communicated to all the covenantees, either faith is none of them, or all must have it, if the covenant itself be general. But some may say that it is true God promiseth to write his law in our hearts, and put his fear in our inward parts; but it is upon condition. Give me that condition, and I will yield the cause. Is it if they do believe? Nothing else can be imagined. That is, if they have the law written in their hearts (as every one that believes hath), then God promiseth to write his law in their hearts! Is this probable, friends? is it likely? I cannot, then, be persuaded that God hath made a covenant of grace with all, especially those who never heard a word of covenant, grace, or condition of it, much less received grace for the fulfilling of the condition; without which the whole would be altogether unprofitable and useless, The covenant is made with Adam, and he is acquainted with it, Gen. 3:15,–renewed With Noah, and not hidden from him,–again established with Abraham, accompanied with a full and rich declaration of the chief promises of it, Gen. 12.; which is most certain not to be effected towards all, as afterwards will appear. Yea, that first distinction, between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent is enough to overthrow the pretended universality of the covenant of grace; for who dares affirm that God entered into a covenant of grace with the seed of the serpent?
Most apparent, then, it is that the new covenant of grace, and the promises thereof, are all of them of distinguishing mercy, restrained to the people whom God did foreknow; and so not extended universally to all. Now, the blood of Jesus Christ being the blood of this covenant, and his oblation intended only for the procurement of the good things intended and promised thereby,–for he was the surety thereof, Heb. 7:22, and of that only,–it cannot be conceived to have respect unto all, or any but only those that are intended in this covenant.
ARG. II. If the Lord intended that he should, and [he] by his death did, procure pardon of sin and reconciliation with God for all and every one, to be actually enjoyed upon condition that they do believe, then ought this good-will and intention of God, with this purchase in their behalf by Jesus Christ, to be made known to them by the word, that they might believe; “for faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” Rom. 10:17 : for if these things be not made known and revealed to all and every one that is concerned in them, namely, to whom the Lord intends, and for whom he hath procured so great a good, then one of these things will follow;–either, first, That they may be saved without faith in, and the knowledge of, Christ (which they cannot have unless he be revealed to them), which is false, and proved so; or else, secondly, That this good-will of God, and this purchase made by Jesus Christ, is plainly in vain, and frustrate in respect of them, yea, a plain mocking of them, that will neither do them any good to help them out of misery, nor serve the justice of God to leave them inexcusable, for what blame can redound to them for not embracing and well using a benefit which they never heard of in their lives? Doth it become the wisdom of God to send Christ to die for men that they might be saved, and never cause these men to hear of any such thing; and yet to purpose and declare that unless they do hear of it and believe it, they shall never be saved? What wise man would pay a ransom for the delivery of those captives which he is sure shall never come to the knowledge of any such payment made, and so never be the better for it? Is it answerable to the goodness of God, to deal thus with his poor creatures? to hold out towards them all in pretence the most intense love imaginable, beyond all compare and illustration,–as his love in sending his Son is set forth to be,–and yet never let them know of any such thing, but in the end to damn them for not believing it? Is it answerable to the love and kindness of Christ to us, to assign unto him at his death such a resolution as this:– “I will now, by the oblation of myself, obtain for all and every one peace and reconciliation with God, redemption and everlasting salvation, eternal glory in the high heavens, even for all those poor, miserable, wretched worms, condemned caitiffs, that every hour ought to expect the sentence of condemnation ; and all these shall truly and really be communicated to them if they will believe. But yet, withal, I will so order things that innumerable souls shall never bear one word of all this that I have done for them, never be persuaded to believe, nor have the object of faith that is to be believed proposed to them, whereby they might indeed possibly partake of these-things?” Was this the mind and will, this the design and purpose, of our merciful high priest? God forbid. It is all one as if a prince should say and proclaim, that whereas there be a number of captives held in sore in such a place, and he hath a full treasure, he is resolved to redeem them every one, so that every one of them shall come out of prison that will thank him for his goodwill, and in the meantime never take care to let these poor captives know his mind and pleasure; and yet be fully assured that unless he effect it himself it will never be done. Would not this be conceived a vain and ostentatious flourish, without any good intent indeed towards the poor captives? Or as if a physician should say that he hath a medicine that will cure all diseases, and he intends to cure the diseases of all, but lets but very few know his mind, or any thing of his medicine; and yet is assured that without his relation and particular information it will be known to very few. And shall he be supposed to desire, intend, or aim at the recovery of all?
Now, it is most clear, from the Scripture and experience of all ages, both under the old dispensation of the covenant and the new, that innumerable men, whole nations, for a long season, are passed by in the declaration of this mystery. The Lord doth not procure that it shall, by any means, in the least measure be made out to all; they hear not so much as a rumour or report of any such thing. Under the Old Testament, “In Judah was God known, and his name was great in Israel; in Salem was his tabernacle, and his dwelling-place in Zion,” Ps. 76:1, 2. “He showed his word unto Jacob, and his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them,” Ps. 147:19, 20. Whence those appellations of the heathen, and imprecations also– as Jer. 10:25, “Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not upon thy name;” of whom you have a full description, Eph.2:12, “Without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” An d under the New Testament, though the church have “lengthened her cords, and strengthened her stakes, “and “many nations are come up to the mountain of the Lord,”–so many as to be called “all people,” “al l nations,” yea, the “world,” the “whole world,” in comparison of the small precinct of the church of the Jews,–yet now also Scripture and experience do make it clear that many are passed by, yea, millions of souls, that never bear a word of Christ, nor of reconciliation by him; of which we can give no other reason, but, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight,” Matt. 11:26. For the Scripture, ye have the Holy Ghost expressly forbidding the apostles to go to sundry places with the word, but sending them another way, Acts 16:6, 7, 9, 10; answerable to the former dispensation in some particulars, wherein “he suffered al l nations to walk in their own ways,” chap. 14:16. And for experience, no t to multiply particulars, do but ask any of our brethren who have been but any time in the Indies, and they will easily resolve you in the truth thereof.
The exceptions against this argument are poor and frivolous, which we reserve for reply. In brief; how is it revealed to those thousands of the offspring of infidels, whom the Lord cuts off in their infancy, that they may not pester the world, persecute his church, nor disturb human society? how to their parents, of whom Paul affirms, that by the works of God they might be led to the knowledge of his eternal power and Godhead, but that they should know any thing of redemption or a Redeemer was utterly impossible?
Containing three other arguments.
Arg. III. If Jesus Christ died for all men,–that is, purchased and procured for them, according to the mind and will of God, all those things which we recounted, and the Scripture setteth forth, to be the effects and fruits of his death, which may be summed up in this one phrase, “eternal redemption,” then he did this, and that according to the purpose of God, either absolutely or upon some condition by them to be fulfilled. If absolutely, then ought all and every one, absolutely and infallibly, to be made actual partakers of that eternal redemption so purchased; for what, I pray, should hinder the enjoyment of that to any which God absolutely intended, and Christ absolutely purchased for them? If upon condition, then he did either procure this condition for them, or he did not? If he did procure this condition for them,–that is, that it should be bestowed on them and wrought within them,–then be did it either absolutely again, or upon a condition. If absolutely, then are we as we were before; for to procure any thing for another, to be conferred on him upon such a condition, and withal to procure that condition absolutely to be bestowed on him, is equivalent to the absolute procuring of the thing itself. For so we affirm, in this very business: Christ procured salvation for us, to be bestowed conditionally, if we do believe; but faith itself, that he hath absolutely procured, without prescribing of any condition. Whence we affirm, that the purchasing of salvation for us is equivalent to what it would have been if it had been so purchased as to have been absolutely bestowed, in respect of the event and issue. So that thus also must all be absolutely saved. But if this condition be procured upon condition, let that be assigned, and we will renew our quaere concerning the procuring of that, whether it were absolute or conditional, and so never rest until they come to fix somewhere, or still run into a circle.
But, on the other side, is not this condition procured by him on whose performance all the good things purchased by him are to be actually enjoyed? Then, first, This condition must be made known to all, as Arg. II. Secondly, All men are able of themselves to perform this condition, or they are not. If they are, then, seeing that condition is faith in the promises, as is on all sides confessed, are, all men of themselves, by the power of their own free-will, able to believe; which is contrary to the Scriptures, as, by the Lord’s assistance, shall be declared. If they cannot, but that this faith must be bestowed on them and wrought within them by the free grace of God, then when God gave his Son to die for them, to procure eternal redemption for them all, upon condition that they did believe, be either purposed to work faith in them all by his grace, that they might believe, or he did not? If he did, why doth not he actually perform it, seeing “he is of one mind, and who can turn him?” why do not all believe? why have not all men faith? Or doth he fail of his purpose? If he did not purpose to bestow faith on them all, or (which is all one) if he purposed not to bestow faith on all (for the will of God doth not consist in a pure negation of any thing,–what he doth not will that it should be, he wills that it should not be), then the sum of it comes to this:–That God gave Christ to die for all men, but upon this condition, that they perform that which of themselves without him they cannot perform, and purposed that, for his part, he would not accomplish it in them.
Now, if this be not extreme madness, to assign a will unto God of doing that which himself knows and orders that it shall never be done, of granting a thing upon a condition which without his help cannot be fulfilled, and which help he purposed not to grant, let all judge. Is this any thing but to delude poor creatures? Is it possible that any good at all should arise to any by such a purpose as this, such a giving of a Redeemer? Is it agreeable to the goodness of God to intend so great a good as is the redemption purchased by Christ, and to pretend that he would have it profitable for them, when he knows that they can no more fulfil the condition which he requires, that it may be by them enjoyed, than Lazarus could of himself come out of the grave? Doth it beseem the wisdom of God, to purpose that which he knows shall never be fulfilled? If a man should promise to give a thousand pounds to a blind man upon condition that he will open his eyes and see,–which he knows well enough he cannot do,- were that promise to be supposed to come from a heart-pitying of his poverty, and not rather from a mind to illude and mock at his misery? If the king should promise to pay a ransom for the captives at Algiers, upon condition that they would conquer their tyrants and come away,–which he knows full well they cannot do,–were this a kingly act? Or, as if a man should pay a price to redeem captives, but not that their chains may be taken away, without which they cannot come out of prison; or promise dead men great rewards upon condition they live again of themselves;- are not these to as much end as the obtaining of salvation for men upon condition that they do believe, without obtaining that condition for them? Were not this the assigning such a will and purpose as this to Jesus Christ: “I will obtain eternal life to be bestowed on men, and become theirs, by the application of the benefits of my death; but upon this condition, that they do believe. But as I will not reveal my mind and will in this business, nor this condition itself, to innumerable of them, so concerning the rest I know they are no ways able of themselves,–no more than Lazarus was to rise, or a blind man is to see,–to perform the condition that I do require, and without which none of the good things intended for them can ever become theirs; neither will I procure that condition ever to be fulfilled in them. That is, I do will that that shall be done which I do not only know shall never be done, but that it cannot be done, because I will not do that without which it can never be accomplished”? Now, whether such a will and purpose as this beseem the wisdom and goodness of our Saviour, let the reader judge. In brief; an intention of doing good unto any one upon the performance of such a condition as the intender knows is absolutely above the strength of him of whom it is required,–especially if he know that it can no way be done but by his concurrence, and he is resolved not to yield that assistance –which is necessary to the actual accomplishment of it,–is a vain fruitless flourish. That Christ, then, should obtain of his Father eternal redemption, and the Lord should through his Son intend it for them who shall never be made partakers of it, because they cannot perform, and God and Christ have purposed not to bestow, the condition on which alone it is to be made actually theirs, is unworthy of Christ, and unprofitable to them for whom it is obtained; which that any thing that Christ obtained for the sons of men should be unto them, is a hard saying indeed. Again; if God through Christ purpose to save all if they do believe, because he died for all, and this faith be not purchased by Christ, nor are men able of themselves to believe, how comes it to pass that any are saved?
[If it be answered], “God bestows faith on some, not on others,” I reply, Is this distinguishing grace purchased for those some comparatively, in respect of those that are passed by without it? If it be, then did not Christ die equally for all, for he died that some might have faith, not others; yea, in comparison, he cannot be said to die for those other some at all, not dying that they might have faith, without which he knew that all the rest would be unprofitable and fruitless. But is it? not purchased for them by Christ? Then have those that be saved no more to thank Christ for than those that are damned; which were strange, and contrary to Rev.1:5, 6, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father,” etc. For my part, I do conceive that Christ hath obtained salvation for men, not upon condition if they would receive it, but so fully and perfectly that certainly they should receive it. He purchased salvation, to be bestowed on them that do believe; but withal faith, that they might believe. Neither can it be objected, that, according to our doctrine, God requires any thing of men that they cannot do, yea, faith to believe in Christ: for,–First, Commands do not signify what is God’s intention should be done, but what is our duty to do; which may be made known to us whether we be able to perform it or not: it signifieth no intention or purpose of God. Secondly, For the promises which are proposed together with the command to believe:–First, they do not hold out the intent and purpose of God, that Christ should die for us if we do believe; which is absurd,–that the act should be the constituter of its own object, which must be before it, and is presupposed to be before we are desired to believe it: nor, secondly, the purpose of God that the death of Christ should be profitable to as if we do believe; which we before confuted: but, thirdly, only that faith is the way to salvation which God hath appointed; so that all that do believe shall undoubtedly be saved, these two things, faith and salvation, being inseparably linked together, as shall be declared.
ARG. IV. If all mankind be, in and by the eternal purpose of God, distinguished into two sorts and conditions, severally and distinctly described and set forth in the Scripture, and Christ be peculiarly affirmed to die for one of these sorts, and nowhere for them of the other, then did he not die for all; for of the one sort he dies for all and every one, and of the other for no one at all. But,–
First, There is such a discriminating distinguishment among men, by the eternal purpose of God, as those whom he “loves” and those whom he “hates,” Rom. 9:13; whom he “knoweth,” and whom he “knoweth not :” John 10:14, “I know my sheep;” 2 Tim. 2:19, “The Lord knoweth them that are his;” Rom. 8:29, “Whom he did foreknow;” chap. 11:2, “His people which he foreknew;” “I know you not,” Matt. 25:12: so John 13:18, “I Speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen.” Those that are appointed to life and glory, and those that are appointed to and fitted for destruction,– “elect” and “reprobate;” those that were “ordained to eternal life,” and those who “before were of old ordained to condemnation:” as Eph. 1:4 , “He hath chosen us in him;” Acts 13:48, “Ordained to eternal life;” Rom. 8:30, “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” So on the other side, l Thes. 5:9, “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation;” Rom. 9:18-21, “He hath mercy o n whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, 0 man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour?” Jude 4, “Ordained to this condemnation 2 Pet. 2:12, “Made to be taken and destroyed;” “Sheep and goats,” Matt 25:32; John 10 passim. Those on whom he hath “mercy,” and those whom he “hardenetb,” Rom. 9:18. Those that are his “peculiar people” and “the children of promise,” that are “not of the world ,” his “church;” and those that, in opposition to them, are “the world,” “not prayed for,” “not his people:” as Tit 2:14; Gal. 4:28; John 15:19, 17:9; Col. 1:24; John 9:52; Heb. 2:10, 12, 13. Which distinction of men is everywhere ascribed to the purpose, will, and good pleasure of God: Prov. 16:4, “The Lord hath made all things for himself, even the wicked for the day of evil.” Matt. 9:25, 26, “I thank thee, 0 Father, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” Rom. 9:11, 12, “The children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.” Verses 16, 17, “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” chap. 8:28-30,”Who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified them he also glorified.” So that the first part of the proposition is clear from the Scripture.
Now, Christ is said expressly and punctually to die for them on the one side: for his “people,” Matt. 1:21; his “sheep,” John 10:11, 14; his “church,” Acts 20:28, Eph 5:25, as distinguished from the world, Rom. 5:8, 9, John 11:51, 52; his “elect,” Rom. 8:32-34; his “children,” Heb. 2:12, 13;- as before more at large. Whence we may surely conclude that Christ died not for all and every one,–to wit, not for those he “never knew,” whom he “hateth,” whom he “hardeneth,” on whom he “will not show mercy,” who “were before of old ordained to condemnation;” in a word, for a reprobate, for the world, for which he would not pray. That which some except, that though Christ be said to die for his “sheep,” for his “elect,” his “chosen,” yet he is not said to die for them only,– that term is nowhere expressed, is of no value; for is it not without any forced interpretation, in common sense, and according to the usual course of speaking, to distinguish men into two such opposite conditions as elect and reprobate, sheep and goats, and then affirm that he died for his elect, [is it not] equivalent to this, he died for his elect only? Is not the sense as clearly restrained as if that restrictive term had been added? Or is that term always added in the Scripture in every indefinite assertion, which yet must of necessity be limited and restrained as if it were expressly added? as where our Saviour saith, ” I am the way, the truth, and the life,” John 14:6,–he doth not say that he only is so, and yet of necessity it must be so understood. As also in that, Col. 1:19, “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;”–he doth not express the limitation “only,” and yet it were no less than blasphemy to suppose a possibility of extending the affirmation to any other. So that this exception, notwithstanding this argument, is, as far as I can see, unanswerable; which also might be farther urged by a more large explication of God’s purpose of election and reprobation, showing how the death of Christ was a means set apart and appointed for the saving of his elect, and not at all undergone and suffered for those which, in his eternal counsel, he did determine should perish for their sins, and so never be made partakers of the benefits thereof. But of this more must be spoken, if the Lord preserve us, and give assistance for the other part of this controversy, concerning the cause of sending Christ.
ARG. V. That is not to be asserted and affirmed which the Scripture doth not anywhere go before us in; but the Scripture nowhere saith Christ died for all men, much less for all and every man (between which two there is a wide difference, as shall be declared): therefore, this is not to be asserted. It is true, Christ is said to give his life “a ransom for all,” but nowhere for all men. And because it is affirmed expressly in other places that he died for many, for his church, for them that believe, for the children that God gave him, for us, some of all sorts, though not expressly, yet clearly in terms equivalent, Rev. 5:9, 10, it must be clearly proved that where all is mentioned, it cannot be taken for all believers, all his elect, his whole church, all the children that God gave him, some of all sorts, before a universal affirmative can be thence concluded. And if men will but consider the particular places, and contain themselves until they have done what is required, we shall be at quiet, I am persuaded, in this business.
Containing, two other arguments from the person Christ sustained in this business.
ARG. VI. For whom Christ died, he died as a sponsor, in their stead, as is apparent, Rom. 5:6-8, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Gal. 3:13, “He was made a curse for us.” 2 Cor. 5:21, “He hath made him to be sin for us.” All which places do plainly signify and hold out a change or commutation of persons, one being accepted in the room of the other. Now, if he died as the sponsor or surety of them for whom he died, in their stead, then these two things at least will follow:- First, That he freed them from that anger, and wrath, and guilt of death, which he underwent for them, that they should in and for him be all reconciled, and be freed from the wherein they are by reason of death; for no other reason in the world can be assigned why Christ should undergo any thing in another’s stead, but that that other might be freed from undergoing that which he underwent for him. And all justice requires that so it should be; which also is expressly intimated, when our Saviour is said to be [ENGUOS], ” a surety of a better testament,” Heb. 7:22; that is, by being our priest, undergoing the “chastisement of our peace,” and the burden of our “iniquities,” Isa. 53:5, 6. He was “made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,” 2 Cor. 5:21, But now all are not freed from wrath and the guilt of death, and actually reconciled to God,–which is to be justified through an imputation of righteousness, and a non-imputation of iniquities;–for until men come to Christ “the wrath of God abideth on them,” John 3:36; which argueth and intimateth a nonremoval of wrath, by reason of not believing. He doth not say, it comes on them, as though by Christ’s death they were freed from being under a state and condition of wrath, which we are all in by nature, Eph. 2:3; [MENO], “it remaineth,” or abideth: it was never removed. And to them the gospel is a savour of death unto death,–bringing a new death and a sore condemnation, by its being despised, unto that death the guilt whereof they before lay under. Some have, indeed, affirmed that all and every one are redeemed, restored, justified, and made righteous in Christ, and by his death; but truly this is so wretched, I will not say perverting of the Scriptures, which give no colour to any such assertion, but so direct an opposition to them, as I judge it fruitless, and lost labour, to go about to remove such exceptions (More, p. 45). Secondly, It follows that Christ made satisfaction for the sins of all and every man, if be died for them; for the reason why he underwent death for us as a surety was to make satisfaction to God’s justice for our sins, so to redeem us to himself, neither can any other be assigned. But Christ hath not satisfied the justice of God for all the sins of all and every man: which may be made evident by divers reasons; for,–
First, For whose sins he made satisfaction to the justice of God, for their sins justice is satisfied, or else his satisfaction was rejected as insufficient, for no other reason can be assigned of such a fruitless attempt; which to aver is blasphemy in the highest degree. But now the justice of God is not satisfied for all the sins of all and every man; which also is no less apparent than the former: for they that must undergo eternal punishment themselves for their sins, that the justice of God may be satisfied for their sins, the justice of God was not satisfied without their own punishment, by the punishment of Christ; for they are not heated by his stripes. But that innumerable souls shall to eternity undergo the punishment due to their own sins, I hope needs, with Christians, no proving. Now, how can the justice of God require satisfaction of them for their sins, if it were before satisfied for them in Christ? To be satisfied, and to require satisfaction that it may be satisfied, are contradictory, and cannot be affirmed of the same in respect of the same; but that the Lord will require of some “the uttermost farthing” is most clear, Matt, 5:26.
Secondly, Christ by undergoing death for us, as our surety, satisfied for no more than he intended so to do. So great a thing as satisfaction for the sins of men could not accidentally happen besides his intention, will, and purpose; especially considering that his intention and good-will, sanctifying himself to be an oblation, was of absolute necessity to make his death an acceptable offering. But now Christ did not intend to satisfy for the sins of all and every man for innumerable souls were in hell, under the punishment and weight of their own sins; from whence there is no redemption before, nor actually then when our Saviour made himself an oblation for sin. Now, shall we suppose that Christ would make himself an offering for their sins whom he knew to be past recovery, and that it was utterly impossible that ever they should have any fruit or benefit by his offering? Shall we think that the blood of the covenant was cast away upon them for whom our Saviour intended no good at all? To intend good to them he could not, without a direct opposition to the eternal decree of his Father, and therein of his own eternal Deity. Did God send his Son, did Christ come to die, for Cain and Pharaoh, damned so many ages before his suffering? “Credat Apella?” The exception, that Christ died for them, and his death would have been available to them if they had believed and fulfilled the condition required, is, in my judgment, of no force at all; for,–First, For the most part they never heard of any such condition. Secondly, Christ at his death knew full well that they bad not fulfilled the condition, and were actually cut off from any possibility ever so to do, so that any intention to do them good by his death must needs be vain and frustrate; which must not be assigned to the Son of God. Thirdly, This redemption, conditionate, if they believe, we shall reject anon.
Neither is that other exception, that Christ might as well satisfy for them that were eternally damned at the time of his suffering (for whom it could not be useful), as for them that were then actually saved (for whom it was not needful), of any more value. For–First, Those that were saved were saved upon this ground, that Christ should certainly suffer for them in due time; which suffering of his was as effectual in the purpose and promise as in the execution and accomplishment. It was in the mind of God accounted for them as accomplished, the compact and covenant with Christ about it being surely ratified upon mutual, unchangeable promises, (according to our conception); and so our Saviour was to perform it, and so it was needful for them that were actually saved: but for those that were actually damned, there was no such inducement to it, or ground for it, or issue to be expected out of it. Secondly, A simile will clear the whole:–If a man should send word to a place where captives were in prison, that he would pay the price and ransom that was due for their delivery, and to desire the prisoners to come forth, for he that detains them accepts of his word and engagement; when he comes to make payment, according to his promise, if he find some to have gone forth according as was proposed, and others continued obstinate in their dungeon, some hearing of what he had done, others not, and that according to his own appointment, and were now long since dead; doth he, in the payment of his promised ransom, intend it for them that died stubbornly and obstinately in the prison, or only for them who went forth? Doubtless, only for these last. No more can the passion of Christ be supposed to be a price paid for them that died in the prison of sin and corruption before the payment of his ransom; though it might full well be for them that were delivered by virtue of his engagement for the payment of such a ransom. Thirdly, If Christ died in the stead of all men, and made satisfaction for their sins, then he did it for all their sins, or only for some of their sins. If for some only, who then can be saved? If for all, why then are all not saved? They say it is because of their unbelief; they will not believe, and therefore are not saved. That unbelief, is it a sin, or is it not? If it be not, how can it be a cause of damnation? If it be, Christ died for it, or he did not, If he did not, then he died not for all the sins of all men. If he did, why is this an obstacle to their salvation? Is there any new shift to be invented for this? or must we be contented with the old, namely, because they do not believe? that is, Christ did not die for their unbelief, or rather, did not by his death remove their unbelief, because they would not believe, or because they would not themselves remove their unbelief; or he died for their unbelief conditionally, that they were not unbelievers. These do not seem to me to be sober assertions.
ARG. VII. For whom Christ died, for them he is a mediator: which is apparent; for the oblation or offering of Christ, which he made of himself unto God, in the shedding of his blood, was one of the chiefest acts of his mediation. But he is not a mediator for all and every one; which also is no less evident, because as mediator he is the priest for them for whom he is a mediator. Now, to a priest it belongs, as was declared before, to sacrifice and intercede, to procure good things, and to apply them to those for whom they are procured; as is evident, Heb. 9., And was proved before at large: which confessedly, Christ doth not for all. Yea, that Christ is not a mediator for every one needs no proof. Experience sufficiently evinceth it, besides innumerable places of Scripture. It is, I confess, replied by some, that Christ is a mediator for some in respect of some acts, and not in respect of others; but truly, this, if I am able to judge, is a dishonest subterfuge, that hath no ground in Scripture, and would make our Saviour a half mediator in respect of some, which is an unsavoury expression. But this argument was vindicated before.
Of sanctification, and of the cause of faith, and the procurement thereof by the death of Christ.
ARG. VIII. Another argument may be taken from the effect and fruit of the death of Christ unto sanctification, which we thus propose:–If the blood of Jesus Christ doth wash, purge, cleanse, and sanctify them for whom it was shed, or for whom he was a sacrifice, then certainly he died, shed his blood, or was a sacrifice, only for them that in the event are washed, purged, cleansed, and sanctified;–which that all or every one is not is most apparent, faith being the first principle of the heart’s purification, Acts 15:9, and “all men have not faith,” 2 Thess.3:2; it is “of the elect of God,” Tit. 1:1. The consequence, I conceive, is undeniable, and not to be avoided with any distinctions. But now we shall make it evident that the blood of Christ is effectual for all those ends of washing, purging, and sanctifying, which we before recounted. And this we shall do;–first, from the types of it; and, secondly, by plain expressions concerning the thing itself:–
First, For the type, that which we shall now consider is the sacrifice of expiation, which the apostle so expressly compareth with the sacrifice and oblation of Christ. Of this he affirmeth, Heb. 9: 13, that it legally sanctified them for whom it was a sacrifice. “For,” saith he, “the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh.” Now, that which was done carnally and legally in the type must be spiritually effected in the antitype,–the sacrifice of Christ, typified by that bloody sacrifice of beasts. This the apostle asserteth in the verse following. “How much more,” saith he, “shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” If I know anything, that answer of Arminius and some others to this,–namely, that the sacrifice did sanctify, not as offered but as sprinkled, and the blood of Christ, not in respect of the oblation, but of its application, answereth it,–is weak and unsatisfactory; for it only asserts a division between the oblation and application of the blood of Christ, which, though we allow to be distinguished, yet such a division we are now disproving. And to weaken our argument, the same division which we disprove is proposed; which, if any, is an easy, facile way of answering. We grant that the blood of Christ sanctifieth in respect of the application of the good things procured by it, but withal prove that it is so applied to all for whom it was an oblation; and that because it is said to sanctify and purge, and must answer the type, which did sanctify to the purifying of the flesh.
Secondly, It is expressly, in divers places affirmed of the blood-shedding and death of our Saviour, that it doth effect these things, and that it was intended for that purpose. Many places for the clearing of this were before recounted. I shall now repeat so many of them as shall be sufficient to give strength to the argument in hand, omitting those which before were produced, only desiring that all those places which point out the end of the death of Christ may be considered as of force to establish the truth of this argument.
Rom. 6:5, 6, “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” The words of the latter verse yield a reason of the former assertion in verse 5,–namely, that a participation in the death of Christ shall certainly be accompanied with conformity to him in his resurrection; that is, both to life spiritual, as also to eternal: “Because our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed.” That is, our sinful corruption and depravation of nature are, by his death and crucifying, effectually and meritoriously slain, and disabled from such a rule and dominion over us as that we should be servants any longer unto them; which is apparently the sense of the place, seeing it is laid as a foundation to press forward unto all decrees of sanctification and freedom from the power of sin.
The same apostle also tells us, 2 Cor. 1:20, that “all the promises of God are in him yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” “Yea, and Amen,”- confirmed, ratified, unchangeably established, and irrevocably made over to us. Now, this was done “in him,”–that is, in his death and blood-shedding, for the confirmation of the testament, whereof these promises are the conveyance of the legacies to us,- confirmed by the “death of him, the testator,” Heb. 9:16: for he was “the surety of this better testament,” chap. 7:22; which testament or “covenant he confirmed with many,” by his being “cut off” for them, Dan. 9:26, 27. Now, what are the promises that are thus confirmed unto us, and established by the blood of Christ? The sum of them you have, Jer. 31:33,34; whence they are repeated by the apostle, Heb. 8:10-12, to set out the nature of that covenant which was ratified in the blood of Jesus, in which you have a summary description of all that free grace towards us, both in sanctification, verses 10, 11, and in justification, verse 12. Amongst these promises, also, is that most famous one of circumcising our hearts, and of giving new hearts and spirits unto us: as Deut. 30:6; Ezek. 36:26. So that our whole sanctification, holiness, with justification and reconciliation unto God, is procured by, and established unto us with, unchangeable promises in the death and blood-shedding of Christ, “the heavenly or spiritual thinks being purified with that sacrifice of his, Heb. 9:23; “For we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins,” Col 1:14; “By death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil,” that he might “deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to ,” Heb. 2:14, 15.
Do but take notice of those two most clear places, Tit. 2:14, Eph. 5: 25, 26: in both which our cleansing and sanctification is assigned to be the end and intendment of Christ the worker; and therefore the certain effect of his death and oblation, which was the work, as was before proved. And I shall add but one place more to prove that which I am sorry that I need produce any one to do,–to wit, that the blood of Christ purgeth us from all our sin, and it is, I Cor. 1:30, “Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Of which, because it is clear enough, I need not spend time to prove that he was thus made unto us of God, inasmuch as he set him forth to be “a propitiation through faith in his blood;” a’s Rom. 3:25. So that our sanctification, with all other effects of free grace, are the immediate procurement of the death of Christ. And of the things that have been spoken this is the sum:–Sanctification and holiness is the certain fruit and effect of the death of Christ in all them for whom he died; but all and every one are not partakers of this sanctification, this purging, cleansing, and working of holiness: therefore, Christ died not for all and every one, “quod erat demonstrandum.”
It is altogether in vain to except, as some do, that the death of Christ is not the sole cause of these things, for they are not actually wrought in any without the intervention of the Spirit’s working in them, and faith apprehending the death of Christ: for,–First, Though many total causes of the same kind cannot concur to the producing of the same effect, yet several causes of several kinds may concur to one effect, and be the sole causes in that kind wherein they are causes. The Spirit of God is the cause of sanctification and holiness; but what kind of cause, I pray? Even such an one as is immediately and really efficient of the effect. Faith is the cause of pardon of sin; but what cause? In what kind? Why merely as an instrument, apprehending the righteousness of Christ. Now, do these causes, whereof one is efficient, the other instrumental, both natural and real, hinder that the blood of Christ may not only concur, but also be the sole cause, moral and meritorious, of these things? Doubtless, they do not. Nay, they do suppose it so to be, or else they would in this work be neither instruments nor efficient, that being the sole foundation of the Spirit’s operation and efficience, and the sole cause of faith’s being and existence. A man is detained captive by his enemy, and one goes to him that detains him, and pays a ransom for his delivery; who thereupon grants a warrant to the keepers of the prison that they shall knock off his shackles, take away his rags, let him have new clothes, according to the agreement, saying, “Deliver him, for I have found a ransom.” Because the jailer knocks off his shackles, and the warrant of the judge is brought for his discharge, shall he or we say that the price and ransom which was paid was not the cause, yes, the sole cause of his delivery? Considering that none of these latter had been, had not the ransom been paid, they are no less the effect of that ransom than his own delivery. In our delivery from the of sin, it is true, there are other things, in other kinds, which do concur besides the death of Christ, as the operation of the Spirit and the grace of God; but these being in one kind, and that in another, these also being no less the fruit and effect of the death of Christ than our deliverance wrought by them, it is most apparent that that is the only main cause of the whole. Secondly, To take off utterly this exception, with all of the like kind, we affirm that faith itself is a proper immediate fruit and procurement of the death of Christ in all them for whom he died; which (because, if it be true, it utterly overthrows the general ransom, or universal redemption; and if it be not true, I will very willingly lay down this whole controversy, and be very indifferent which way it be determined, for go it which way it will, free-will must be established), I will prove apart by itself in the next argument.
ARG. IX. Before I come to press the argument intended, I must premise some few things; as,—
1. Whatever is freely bestowed upon us, in and through Christ, that is all wholly the procurement and merit of the death of Christ. Nothing is bestowed through him on those that are his which he hath not purchased; the price whereby he made his purchase being his own blood, I Pet. 1: 18,19; for the covenant between his Father and him, of making out all spiritual blessings to them that were given unto him, was expressly founded on this condition, “That he should make his soul an offering for sin,” Isa. 53:10.
2. That confessedly, on all sides, faith is, in men of understanding, of such absolute indispensable necessity unto salvation,–there being no sacrifice to be admitted for the want of it under the new covenant,–that, whatever God hath done in his love, sending his Son, and whatever Christ hath done or doth, in his oblation and intercession for all or some, without this in us, is, in regard of the event, of no value, worth, or profit unto us, but serveth only to increase and aggravate condemnation; for, whatsoever is accomplished besides, that is most certainly true, “He that believeth not shall be damned,” Mark 16:16. (So that if there is in ourselves a power of believing, and the act of it do proceed from that power, and is our own also, then certainly and undeniably it is in our power to make the love of God and death of Christ effectual towards us or not, and that by believing we actually do the one by an act of our own; which is so evident that the most ingenious and perspicacious of our adversaries have in terms confessed it, as I have declared elsewhere). Such being, then, the absolute necessity of faith, it seems to me that the cause of that must needs be the prime and principal cause of salvation, as being the cause of that without which the whole would not be, and by which the whole is, and is effectual.
3. I shall give those that to us in this are contrary-minded their choice and option, so that they will answer directly, categorically, and without uncouth, insignificant, cloudy distinctions, whether our saviour, by his death and intercession (which we proved to be conjoined), did merit or procure faith for us, or no? or, which is all one, whether faith be a fruit and effect of the death of Christ, or no? And according to their answer I will proceed.
First, If they answer affirmatively that it is, or that Christ did procure it by his death (provided always that they do not wilfully equivocate, and when I speak of faith as it is a grace in a particular person, taking it subjectively, they understand faith as it is the doctrine of faith, or the way of salvation declared in the gospel, taking it objectively, which is another thing, and beside the present question; although, by the way, I must tell them that we deny the granting of that new way of salvation, in bringing life and immortality to light by the gospel in Christ, to be procured for us by Christ, himself being the chiefest part of this way, yea, the way itself: and that he should himself be procured by his own death and oblation is a very strange, contradictory assertion, beseeming them who have used it (More, p.35.) It is true, indeed, a full and plenary carrying of his elect to life and glory by that way we ascribe to him, and maintain it against all; but the granting of that way was of the same free grace and unprocured love which was also the cause of granting himself unto us, Gen. 3:15.);–if, I say, they answer thus affirmatively, then I demand whether Christ procured faith for all for whom he died absolutely, or upon some condition on their part to be fulfilled? If absolutely, then surely, if he died for all, they must all absolutely believe; for that which is absolutely procured for any is absolutely his, no doubt. He that hath absolutely procured an inheritance, by what means soev’er, who can hinder, that it should not be his? But this is contrary to that of the apostle, “All men have not faith,” 2 Thess 3:2; and, “Faith is of the elect of God,” Tit. 1:1. If they say that he procured it for them, that is, to be bestowed on them conditionally, I desire that they would answer bona fide, and roundly, in terms without equivocation or blind distinctions, assign that condition, that we may know what it is, seeing it is a thing of so infinite concernment to all our souls. Let me know this condition which ye will maintain, and en herbam amici! (I own myself conquered–Facciolati) the cause is yours Is it, as some say, if they do not resist the grace of God? Now, what is it not to resist the grace of God? is it not to obey it? And what is it to obey the grace of God?, is it not to believe? So the condition of faith is faith itself. Christ procured that they should believe, upon condition that they do believe! Are these things so? But they can assign a condition, on our part required, of faith, that is not faith itself. Can they do it? Let us hear it, then, and we will renew our inquiry concerning that condition, whether it be procured by Christ or no. If not, then is the cause of faith still resolved into ourselves; Christ is not the author and finisher of it. If it be then are we just where we were before, and must follow with our queries whether that condition was procured absolutely or upon condition. Depinge ube sistam.
But, secondly, if they will answer negatively, as, agreeably to their own principles, they ought to do, and deny that faith is procured by the death of Christ, then,—
1. They must maintain that it is an act of our own wills, so our own as not to be wrought in us by grace; and that it is wholly situated in our power to perform that spiritual act, nothing being bestowed upon us by free grace, in and through Christ (as was before declared), but what by him, in his death and oblation, was procured: which is contrary,–(1.) To express Scripture in exceeding many places, which I shall not recount: (2.) To the very nature of the being of the new covenant, which doth not prescribe and require the condition of it, but effectually work it in all the covenantees, Jer. 31:33, 34; Ezek. 36:26; Heb. 8:10, 11: (3.) To the advancement of the free grace of God, in setting up the power of free-will, in the state of corrupted nature, to the slighting and undervaluing thereof. (4.) To the received doctrine of our natural depravedness and disability to any thing that is good; yea, by evident unstrained consequence, overthrowing that fundamental article of original sin: yea, (5.) To right reason, which will never grant that the natural faculty is able of itself, without some spiritual elevation, to produce an act purely spiritual; as I Cor. 2:14.
2. They must resolve almost the sole cause of our salvation into ourselves ultimately, it being in our own power to make all that God and Christ do unto that end effectual, or to frustrate their utmost endeavours for that purpose: for all that is done, whether in the Father’s loving us and sending his Son to die for us, or in the Son’s offering himself for an oblation in our stead, or for us (in our behalf), is confessedly, as before, of no value nor worth, in respect of any profitable issue, unless we believe; which that we shall do, Christ hath not effected nor procured by his death, neither can the Lord so work it in us but that the sole casting voice (if I may so say), whether we will believe or no, is left to ourselves. Now, whether this be not to assign unto ourselves the cause of our own happiness, and to make us the chief builders of our own glory, let all judge.
These things being thus premised, I shall briefly prove that which is denied, namely, that faith is procured for us by the death of Christ; and so, consequently, he died not for all and every one, for “all men have not faith:” and this we may do by these following reasons;—
1. The death of Jesus Christ purchased holiness and sanctification for us, as was at large proved, Arg. VIII; but faith, as it is a grace of the Spirit inherent in us, is formally a part of our sanctification and holiness: therefore he procured faith for us. The assumption is meet certain, and not denied; the proposition was sufficiently confirmed in the foregoing argument; and I see not what may be excepted against the truth of the whole. If any shall except, and say that Christ might procure for us some part of holiness (for we speak of parts, and not of degrees and measure), but not all, as the sanctification of hope, love, meekness, and the like, I ask,–first, What warrant have we for any such distinction between the graces of the Spirit, that some of them should be of the purchasing of Christ, others of our own store? secondly, Whether we are more prone of ourselves to believe, and more able, than to love and hope? and where may we have a ground for that?
2. All the fruits of election are purchased for us by Jesus Christ; for “we are chosen in him,” Eph. 1:4, as the only cause and fountain of all those good things which the Lord chooseth us to, for the praise of his glorious grace, that in all things be might have the preeminence. I hope I need not be solicitous about the proving of this, that the Lord Jesus is the only way and means by and for whom the Lord will certainly and actually collate upon his elect all the fruits and effects or intendments of that love whereby he chose them. But now faith is a fruit, a principal fruit, of our election; for saith the apostle, “We are chosen in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy,” Eph. 1:4,–of which holiness, faith, purifying the heart, is a principal share. “Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called,” Rom. 8:30; that is, with that calling which is according to his purpose, effectually working faith in them by the mighty operation of his Spirit, “according to the exceeding greatness of his power,” Eph.1:9. And so they “believe” (God making them differ from others, I Cor. 4:7, in the enjoyment of the means) “who are ordained to eternal life,” Acts 13:48. Their being ordained to eternal life was the fountain from whence their faith did flow; and so “the election hath obtained, and the rest were blinded,” Rom. 9:7.
3. All the blessings of the new covenant are procured and purchased by him in whom the promises thereof are ratified, and to whom they are made; for all the good things thereof are contained in and exhibited by those promises, through the working of the Spirit of God. Now, concerning the promises of the covenant, and their being confirmed in Christ, and made unto his, as Gal. 3:16, with what is to be understood in those expressions, was before declared. Therefore, all the good things of the covenant are the effects, fruits, and purchase of the death of Christ, he and all things for him being the substance and whole of it. Farther; that faith is of the good things of the new covenant is apparent from the description thereof, Jer. 31:33, 34; Heb. 8:10-12; Ezek. 36:25-27, with divers other places, as might clearly be manifested if we affected copiousness in causa facili.
4. That without which it is utterly impossible that we should be saved must of necessity be procured by him by whom we are fully and effectually saved. Let them that can, declare how he can be said to procure salvation fully and effectually for us, and not be the author and purchaser of that (for he is the author of our salvation by the way of purchase) without which it is utterly impossible we should attain salvation. Now, without faith it is utterly impossible that ever any should attain salvation, Heb. 11:6, Mark 16:16; but Jesus Christ, according to his name, doth perfectly save us, Matt. 1:21, procuring for us “eternal redemption,” Heb. 9:12, being, “able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him,” chap. 7:25: and therefore must faith also be within the compass of those things that are procured by him.
5. The Scripture is clear, in express terms, and such as are so equivalent that they are not liable to any evasion; as Phil. 1:29, “It is given unto us, (HUPER CHRISTOS), on the behalf of Christ, for Christ’s sake, to believe on him.” Faith, or belief, is the gift, and Christ the procurer of it: “God hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in him in heavenly places,” Eph. 1:3. If faith be a spiritual blessing, it is bestowed on us “in him,” and so also for his sake; if it be not, it is not worth contending about in this sense and way: so that, let others look which way they will, I desire to look unto Jesus as the “author and finisher of our faith,” Heb. 12:2. Divers other reasons, arguments, and places of Scripture might be added for the confirmation of this truth; but I hope I have said enough, and do not desire to say all. The sum of the whole reason may be reduced to this head,- -namely, if the fruit and effect procured and wrought by the death of Christ absolutely, not depending on any condition in man to be fulfilled, be not common to all, then did not Christ die for all; but the supposal is true, as is evident in the grace of faith, which being procured by the death of Christ, to be absolutely bestowed on them for whom he died, is not common to all: therefore, our Saviour did not die for all.
ARG. X. We argue from the type to the antitype, or the thing signified by it; which will evidently restrain the oblation of Christ to God’s elect. The people of Israel were certainly, in all remarkable things that happened unto them, typical of the church of God; as the apostle at large [declares], l Cor.10:11. Especially their institutions and ordinances were all representative of the spiritual things of the gospel; their priests, altar, sacrifices, were but all shadows of the good things to come in Jesus Christ; their Canaan was a type of heaven, Heb. 4:3, 9; as also Jerusalem or Sion, Gal. 4:26, Heb. 12:22. The whole people itself was a type of God’s church, his elect, his chosen and called people: whence as they were called a “holy people, a royal priesthood;” so also, in allusion to them, are believers, I Pet. 2:5, 9 Yea, God’s people are in innumerable places called his “Israel,” as it is farther expounded, Heb. 8:8. A true Israelite is as much as a true believer, John 1:47; and he is a Jew who is so in the hidden man of the heart. I hope it need not be proved that that people, as delivered from , preserved, taken nigh unto God, brought into Canaan, was typical of God’s spiritual church, of elect believers. Whence we thus argue:–Those only are really and spiritually redeemed by Jesus Christ who were designed, signified, typified by the people of Israel in their carnal, typical redemption (for no reason in the world can be rendered why some should be typed out in the same condition, partakers of the same good, and not others); but by the people of the Jews, in their deliverance from Egypt, bringing into Canaan, with all their ordinances and institutions, only the elect, the church of God, was typed out, as was before proved. And, in truth, it is the most senseless thing in the world, to imagine that the Jews were under a type to all the whole world, or indeed to any but Gods chosen ones, as is proved at large, Heb. 9:10. Were the Jews and their ordinances types to the seven nations whom they destroyed and supplanted in Canaan? were they so to Egyptians, infidels, and haters of God and his Christ? We conclude, then, assuredly, from that just proportion that ought to be observed between the types and the things typified, that only the elect of God, his church and chosen ones, are redeemed by Jesus Christ.
Being a continuance of arguments from the nature and description of the thing in hand; and first, of redemption.
ARG. XI. That doctrine which will not by any means suit with nor be made conformable to the thing signified by it, and the expression, literal and deductive, whereby in Scripture it is held out unto us, but implies evident contradictions unto them, cannot possibly be sound and sincere, as is the milk of the word. But now such is this persuasion of universal redemption; it can never be suited nor fitted to the thing itself, or redemption, nor to those expressions whereby in the Scripture it is held out unto us. Universal redemption, and yet many to die in captivity, is a contradiction irreconcilable in itself.
To manifest this, let us consider some of the chiefest words and phrases whereby the matter concerning which we treat is delivered in the Scripture, such as are, redemption, reconciliation, satisfaction, merit, dying for us, bearing our sins, suretiship,–his being God, a common person, a Jesus, saving to the utmost, a sacrifice putting away sin, and the like; to which we may add the importance of some prepositions and other words used in the original about this business: and doubt not but we shall easily find that the general ransom, or rather universal redemption, will hardly suit to any o them; but it is too long for the bed, and must be cropped at the head or heels.
Begin we with the word REDEMPTION itself, which we will consider, name and thing. Redemption, which in the Scripture is LUTROSIS sometimes, but most frequently APOLUTROSIS, is the delivery of any one from captivity and misery by the intervention LUTRON, of a price or ransom. That this ransom, or price of our deliverance, was the blood of Christ is evident; he calls it LUTRON, Matt. 20:28; and [it is called] ANTILUTRON, I Tim. 2:6,- that is, the price of such a redemption, that which was received as a valuable consideration for our dismission. Now, that which is aimed at in the payment of this price is, the deliverance of those from the evil wherewith they were oppressed for whom the price is paid; it being in this spiritual redemption as it is in corporal and civil, only with the alteration of some circumstances, as the nature of the thing enforceth. This the Holy Spirit manifesteth by comparing the “blood of Christ” in this work of redemption with “silver and gold,” and such other things as are the intervening ransom in civil redemption, l Pet. 1:18,19. The evil wherewith we were oppressed was the punishment which we had deserved;–that is, the satisfaction required when the debt is sin; which also we are, by the payment of this price, delivered from; so Gal. 3:13: for we are “justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Rom. 3: 24; “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,” Eph. 1:7; Col 1:14. Free justification from the guilt, and pardon of sin, in the deliverance from the punishment due unto it, is the effect of the redemption procured by the payment of the price we before mentioned: as if a man should have his friend in , and he should go and lay out his estate to pay the price of his freedom that is set upon his head by him that detains him, and so set him at liberty. Only, as was before intimated, this spiritual redemption hath some supereminent things in it, that are not to be found in other deliverances; as,–
First, He that receives the ransom doth also give it. Christ is a propitiation to appease and atone the Lord, but the Lord himself set him forth so to be, Rom. 3:24, 25; whence he himself is often said to redeem us. His love is the cause of the price in respect of its procurement, and his justice accepts of the price in respect of its merit; for Christ “came down from heaven to do the will of him that sent him,” John 6:3 8; Heb. 10:9,10. It is otherwise in the redemption amongst men, where he that receives the ransom hath no hand in the providing of it.
Secondly, The captive or prisoner is not so much freed from his power who detains him as brought into his favour. When a captive amongst men is redeemed, by the payment of a ransom, he is instantly to be set free from the power and authority of him that did detain him; but in this spiritual redemption, upon the payment of the ransom for us, which is the blood of Jesus, we are not removed from God, but are “brought nigh” unto him, Eph. 2:13,–not delivered from his power, but restored to his favour,–our misery being a punishment by the way of banishment as well as thraldom.
Thirdly, As the judge was to be satisfied, so the jailer was to be conquered; God, the judge, giving him leave to fight for his dominion, which was wrongfully usurped, though that whereby he had it was by the Lord justly inflicted, and his thraldom by us rightly deserved, Heb. 2:14; Col. 2:15. And he lost his power, as strong as he was, for striving to grasp more than he could hold; for the foundation of his kingdom being sin, assaulting Christ who did no sin, he lost his power over them that Christ came to redeem, having no part in him. So was the strong man bound, and his house spoiled.
In these and some few other circumstances is our spiritual redemption diversified from civil; but for the main it answers the word in the propriety thereof, according to the use that it hath amongst men. Now, there is a twofold way whereby this is in the Scripture expressed: for sometimes our Saviour is said to die for our redemption, and sometimes for the redemption of our transgressions; both tending to the same purpose,–yea, both expressions, as I conceive, signify the same thing. Of the latter you have an example, Heb. 9:15. He died EIS APOLUTROSIS PARABASIS which, say some, is a metonymy, transgressions being put for transgressors; others, that it is a proper expression for the paying of a price whereby we may be delivered from the evil of our transgressions. The other expression you have, Eph. 1:7, and in divers other places, where the words LUTRON and APOLUTROSIS do concur; as also Matt. 20:28, and Mark 10:45. Now, these words, especially that of ANTILUTRON, I Tim. 2:6, do always denote, by the not-to-be-wrested, genuine signification of them, the payment of a price, or an equal compensation, in lieu of something to be done or grant made by him to whom that price is paid. Having given these few notions concerning redemption in general, let us now see how applicable it is unto general redemption.
Redemption is the freeing of a man from misery by the intervention of a ransom, as appeareth. Now, when a ransom is paid for the liberty of a prisoner, is it not all the justice in the world that he should have and enjoy the liberty so purchased for him by a valuable consideration? If I should pay a thousand pounds for a man’s deliverance from to him that detains him, who hath power to set him free, and is contented with the price I give, were it not injurious to me and the poor prisoner that his deliverance be not accomplished? Can it possibly be conceived that there should be a redemption of men, and those men not redeemed? that a price should be paid, and the purchase not consummated? Yet all this must be made true, and innumerable other absurdities, if universal redemption be asserted. A price is paid for all, yet few delivered; the redemption of all consummated, yet few of them redeemed; the judge satisfied, the jailer conquered ,and yet the prisoner inthralled! Doubtless, “universal” and “redemption,” where the greatest part of men perish, are as irreconcilable as “Roman” and “Catholic.” If there be a universal redemption of all, then all men are redeemed. If they are redeemed, then are they delivered from all misery, virtually or actually, whereunto they were inthralled, and that by the intervention of a ransom. Why, then, are not all saved? In a word, the redemption wrought by Christ being the full deliverance of the persons redeemed from all misery, wherein they were inwrapped, by the price of his blood, it cannot possibly be conceived to be universal unless all be saved; so that the opinion of the Universalists is unsuitable to redemption.
Of the nature of reconciliation, and the argument taken from thence.
ARG. XII. Another thing ascribed to the death of Christ, and, by the consent of all, extending itself unto all for whom he died, is RECONCIATION. This in the Scripture is clearly proposed under a double notion; first, of God to us; secondly, of us to God;–both usually ascribed to the death and blood-shedding of Jesus Christ: for those who were “enemies he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death,” Col 1:21, 22. And, doubtless these things do exactly answer one another. All those to whom he hath reconciled God, he doth also reconcile unto God: for unless both be effected, it cannot be said to be a perfect reconciliation; for how can it be, if peace be made only on the one side? Yea, it is utterly impossible that a division of these two can be rationally apprehended: for if God be reconciled, not man, why doth not he reconcile him, seeing it is confessedly in his power; and if man should be reconciled, not God, how can he be ready to receive all that come unto him? Now, that God and all and every one in the world are actually reconciled, and made at peace in Jesus Christ, I hope will not be affirmed. But to clear this, we must a little consider the nature of reconciliation as it is proposed to us in the gospel; unto which, also, some light may be given from the nature of the thing itself, and the use of the word in civil things.
Reconciliation is the renewing of friendship between parties before at variance, both parties being properly said to be reconciled, even both he that offendeth and he that was offended. God and man were set at distance, at enmity and variance, by sin. Man was the party offending, God offended, and the alienation was mutual, on either side;–but yet with this difference, that man was alienated in respect of affections, the ground and cause of anger and enmity; God in respect of the effects and issue of anger and enmity. The word in the New Testament is KATALLAGE, and the verb KATALLASSO, reconciliation, to reconcile; both from ALLASSO, to change, or to turn from one thing, one mind, to another: whence the first native signification of those words is permutatio and permutare, because most commonly those that are reconciled are changed in respect of their affections, always in respect of the distance and variance, and in respect of the effects; thence it signifieth reconciliation, and to reconcile. And the word may not be affirmed of any business, or of any men, until both parties are actually reconciled, and all differences removed in respect of any former grudge and ill-wiLL. If one be well pleased With the other, and that other continue unappeased and implacable, there is no reconciliation. When our Saviour gives that command, that he that brought his gift to the altar, and there remembered that his brother had aught against him,–was offended with him for any cause, –he should go and be reconciled to him, [he] fully intendeth a mutual returning of minds one to another, especially respecting, the appeasing and atoning of him that was offended. Neither are these words used among men in any other sense, but always denote, even in common speech, a full redintegration of friendship between dissenting parties, with reference most times to some compensation made to the offended party. The reconciling of the one party and the other may be distinguished, but both are required to make up an entire reconciliation.
As, then, the folly of Socinus and his sectaries is remarkable, who would have the reconciliation mentioned in the Scripture to be nothing but our conversion to God, without the appeasing of his anger and turning away his wrath from us,–which is a reconciliation hopping on one leg,–so that distinction of some between the reconciliation of God to man, making that to be universal towards all, and the reconciliation of man to God, making that to be only of a small number of those to whom God is reconciled, is a no less monstrous figment. Mutual alienation must have mutual reconciliation, seeing they are correlata. The state between God and man, before the reconciliation made by Christ, was a state of enmity. Man was at enmity with God; we were his “enemies,” Col. 1:21; Rom. 5:10; hating him and opposing ourselves to him, in the highest rebellion, to the utmost of our power. God also was thus far an enemy to us, that his “wrath” was on us, Eph. 2:3; which remaineth on us until we do believe, John 3:36. To make perfect reconciliation (which Christ is aid in many places to do), it is required, first, That the wrath of God be turned away, his anger removed, and all the effects of enmity on his part towards us; secondly, That we be turned away from our opposition to him, and brought into voluntary obedience. Until both these be effected, reconciliation is not perfected. Now, both these are in the Scripture assigned to our Saviour, as the effects of his death and sacrifice.
1. He turned away the wrath of God from us, and so appeased him towards us; that was the reconciling of God by his death: for “when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” Rom. 5:10. That here is meant the reconciling of God, as that part of reconciliation which consisteth in turning away his wrath from us, is most apparent, it being that whereby God chiefly commendeth his love to us, which certainly is in the forgiveness of sin, by the aversion of his anger due to it; as also being opposed to our being saved from the wrath to come, in the latter end of the verse, which compriseth our conversion and whole reconciliation to God. Besides, verse 11, we are said to receive this “reconciliation” (which, I know not by what means, we have translated “atonement”); which cannot be meant of our reconciliation to God, or conversion, which we cannot properly be said to accept or receive, but of him to us, which we receive when it is apprehended by faith.
2. He turneth us away from our enmity towards God, redeeming and reconciling us to God by “the blood of his cross,” Col. 1:20;–to wit, then meritoriously, satisfactorily, by the way of acquisition and purchase; accomplishing it in due time actually and efficiently by his Spirit. Both these ye have jointly mentioned, 2 Cor. 5:18-20; where we may see, first, God being reconciled to us in Christ., which consisteth in a non-imputation of iniquities, and is the subject-matter of the ministry, verses 18,19; secondly, the reconciling of us to God, by accepting the pardon of our sins, which is the end of the ministry, verse 20;–as the same is also at large declared, Eph. 2:13-15. The actual, then, and effectual accomplishment of both these, “simul et semel,” in respect of procurement, by continuance, and in process of time, in the ordinances of the gospel, in respect of final accomplishment on the part of men, do make up that reconciliation which is the effect of the death of Christ; for so it is in many places assigned to be: “We are reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” Rom. 5:10; “And you, that were sometime alienated, hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death,” Col. 1:21, 22: which is in sundry places so evident in the Scripture, that none can possibly deny reconciliation to be the immediate effect and product of the death of Christ.
Now, how this reconciliation can possibly be reconciled with universal redemption, I am no way able to discern; for if reconciliation be the proper effect of the death of Christ, as is confessed by all, then if he died for all, I ask how cometh it to pass,–First, That God is not reconciled to all? as he is not, for his wrath abideth on some, John 3:36, and reconciliation is the aversion of wrath. Secondly, That all are not reconciled to God? as they are not, for “by nature all are the children of wrath,” Eph. 2:3; and some all their lives do nothing but “treasure up wrath against the day of wrath,” Rom. 2:5. Thirdly, How, then, can it be that reconciliation should be wrought between God and all men, and yet neither God reconciled to all nor all reconciled to God? Fourthly, If God be reconciled to all, when doth be begin to be unreconciled towards them that perish? by what alteration is it? in his will or nature? Fifthly, If all be reconciled by the death of Christ, when do they begin to be unreconciled who perish, being born children of wrath? Sixthly, Seeing that reconciliation on the part of God consists in the turning, away of his wrath and not imputing of iniquity, 2 Cor. 5:18, 19, which is justification, rendering us blessed, Rom. 4:6-8, why, if God be reconciled to all, are not all justified and made blessed through a non-imputation of their sin? They who have found out a redemption where none are redeemed, and a reconciliation where none are reconciled, can easily answer these and such other questions; which to do I leave them to their leisure, and in the meantime conclude this part of our argument. That reconciliation which is the renewing of lost friendship, the slaying of enmity, the making up of peace, the appeasing of God, and turning away of his wrath, attended with a non-imputation of iniquities; and, on our part, conversion to God by faith and repentance;–this, I say, being that reconciliation which is the effect of the death and blood of Christ, it cannot be asserted in reference to any, nor Christ said to die for any other, but only those concerning whom all the properties of it, and acts wherein it doth consist, may be truly affirmed; which, whether they may be of all men or not, let all men judge.
Of the nature of the satisfaction of Christ, with arguments from thence.
Arg. XIII. A third way whereby the death of Christ for sinners is expressed is SATISFACTION, –namely, that by his death he made satisfaction to the justice of God for their sins for whom he died, that so they might go free. It is true, the word satisfaction is not found in the Latin or English Bible applied to the death of Christ. In the New Testament it is not at all, and in the Old but twice, Num. 35:31, 32; but the thing itself intended by that word is everywhere ascribed to the death of our Saviour, there being also other words in the original languages equivalent to that whereby we express the thing in hand. Now, that Christ did thus make satisfaction for all them, or rather for their sins, for whom he died, is (as far as I know) confessed by all that are but outwardly called after his name, the wretched Socinians excepted, with whom at this time we have not to do. Let us, then, first see what this satisfaction is; then how inconsistent it is with universal redemption.
Satisfaction is a term borrowed from the law, applied properly to things, thence translated and accommodated unto persons; and it is a full compensation of the creditor from the debtor. To whom any thing is due from any man, he is in that regard that man’s creditor; and the other is his debtor, upon whom there is an obligation to pay or restore what is so due from him, until he be freed by a lawful breaking of that obligation, by making it null and void; which must be done by yielding satisfaction to what his creditor can require by virtue of that obligation: as, if I owe a man a hundred pounds, I am his debtor, by virtue of the bond wherein I am bound, until some such thing be done as recompenseth him, and moveth him to cancel the bond; which is called satisfaction. Hence, from things real, it was and is translated to things personal. Personal debts are injuries and faults; which when a man hath committed, he is liable to punishment. He that is to inflict that punishment or upon whom it lieth to see that it be done, is, or may be, the creditor; which he must do, unless satisfaction be made. Now, there may be a twofold satisfaction:–First, By a solution, or paying the very thing that is in the obligation, either by the party himself that is bound, or by some other in his stead: as, if I owe a man twenty pounds, and my friend goeth and payeth it, my creditor is fully satisfied. Secondly, By a solution, or paying of so much, although in another kind, not the same that is in the obligation, which, by the creditor’s acceptation, stands in the lieu of it; upon which, also, freedom from the obligation followeth, not necessarily, but by virtue of an act of favour.
In the business in hand,–First, the debtor is man; he oweth the ten thousand talents, Matt. 28:24. Secondly, The debt is sin: “Forgive us our debts,” Matt. 6:12. Thirdly, That which is required in lieu thereof to make satisfaction for it, is death: “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die,” Gen. 2:17; “The wages of sin is death,” Rom. 6:23. Fourthly, The obligation whereby the debtor is tied and bound is the law, “Cursed is every one,” etc., Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26; the justice of God, Rom. 1:32; and the truth of God, Gen. 3:3. Fifthly, The creditor that requireth this of us is God, considered as the party offended, severe Judge, and supreme Lord of all things. Sixthly, That which interveneth to the destruction of the obligation is the ransom paid by Christ: Rom. 3:25, “God set him forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.”
I shall not enter upon any long discourse of the satisfaction made by Christ, but only so far clear it as is necessary to give light to the matter in hand. To this end two things must be cleared:–First, That Christ did make such satisfaction as whereof we treat; as also wherein it doth consist. Secondly, What is that act of God towards man, the debtor, which doth and ought to follow the satisfaction made. For the FIRST, I told you the word itself doth not occur in this business in the Scripture, but the thing signified by it (being a compensation made to God by Christ for our debts) most frequently. For to make satisfaction to God for our sins, it is required only that he undergo the punishment due to them; for that is the satisfaction required where sin is the debt. Now, this Christ has certainly effected; for “his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” I Pet, 2:24; “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities,” Isa. 53:11. The word (nasa), also, verse 12, arguing a taking of the punishment of sin from us and translating it to himself, signifieth as much, yea all that we do by the word satisfaction. So also doth that of ANAPHERO, used by Peter in the room thereof: for to bear iniquity, in the Scripture language, is to undergo the punishment due to it, Lev. 5:1; which we call to make satisfaction for it;–which is farther illustrated by a declaration how he bare our sins, even by being “wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities,” Isa 53:5; whereunto is added, in the close, that “the chastisement of our peace was upon him.” Every chastisement is either, for instruction, or, for example, punishment and correction. The first can have no place in our Saviour; the Son of God had no need to be taught with such thorns and briers. It must, therefore, be for punishment and correction, and that for our sins then upon him; whereby our peace or freedom from punishment was procured.
Moreover, in the New Testament there be divers words and expressions concerning the death of our Saviour, holding out that thing which by satisfaction we do intend; as when, first, it is termed PROSPHORA; Eph. 5:2, gave up himself, an offering and a sacrifice, or sacrifice of expiation; as appeareth by that type of it with which it is compared, Heb. 9:13, 14. Of the same force also is the Hebrew word (ascham), Isa. 53:10; Lev. 7:2. “He made his soul an offering for sin,”–a piacular sacrifice for the removing of it away; which the apostle abundantly cleareth, in saying that he was made “sin” itself, 2 Cor. 5:21, sin being there put for the adjunct of it, or the punishment due unto it. So also is he termed “propitiation” I John 2:2. Whereunto answers the Hebrew chitte, used Gen. 31:39, “Ego illud expiabam,” which is to undergo the debt, and to make compensation for it; which was the office of him who was to be Job’s (ga=92al) “redeemer”, chap. 19:25. All which and divers other words, which in part shall be afterward considered, do declare the very same thing which we intend by satisfaction; even a taking upon him the whole punishment due to sin, and in the offering of himself doing that which God, who was offended, was more delighted and pleased withal, than he was displeased and offended with all the sins of all those that he suffered and offered himself for. And there can be no more complete satisfaction made to any than by doing that which he is more contented with, than discontented and troubled with that for which he must be satisfied. God was more pleased with the obedience, offering and sacrifice of his Son, than displeased with the sins and rebellions of all the elect. As if a good king should have a company of his subjects stand out in rebellion against him, and he were thereby moved to destroy them, because they would not have him reign over them, and the only son of that king should put in for their pardon, making a tender to his father of some excellent conquest by him lately achieved, beseeching him to accept of it, and be pleased with his poor subjects, so as to receive them into favour again; or, which is nearer, should offer himself to undergo that punishment which his justice had allotted for the rebels, and should accordingly do it;–he should properly make satisfaction for their offence, and in strict justice they ought to be pardoned. This was Christ, as that one hircus, sent-away goat, that bare and carried away all the sins of the people of God, to fall himself under them, though with assurance to break all the bonds of death, and to live for ever. Now, whereas I said that there is a twofold satisfaction, whereby the debtor is freed from the obligation that is upon him,–the one being solutio ejusdem, payment of the same thing that was in the obligation; the other, solutio tantidem, of that which is not the same, nor equivalent unto it, but only in the gracious acceptation of the creditor,–it is worth our inquiry which of these it was that our Saviour did perform.
He (Grotius, distinguished in legal science, Owen makes reference to) who is esteemed by many to have handled this argument with most exactness, denieth that the payment made by Christ for us (by the payment of the debt of sin understand, by analogy, the undergoing of the punishment due unto it) was solutio ejusdem, or of the same thing directly which was in the obligation: for which he giveth some reasons; as,–First, Because such a solution, satisfaction, or payment, is attended with actual freedom from the obligation. Secondly, Because, where such a solution is made, there is no room for remission or pardon. “It is true,” saith he, “deliverance followeth upon it; but this deliverance cannot be by way of gracious pardon, for there needeth not the interceding of any such act of grace. But now,” saith he, “that satisfaction whereby some other thing is offered than that which was in the obligation may be admitted or refused, according as the creditor pleaseth; and being admitted for any, it is by an act of grace; and such was the satisfaction made by Christ.” Now, truly, none of these reasons seem of so much weight to me as to draw me into that persuasion.
For the first reason rests upon that, for the confirmation of it, which cannot be granted,–namely, that actual freedom from the obligation doth not follow the satisfaction made by Christ; for by death he did deliver us from death, and that actually, so far as that the elect are said to die and rise with him. He did actually, or ipso facto, deliver us from the curse, by being made a curse for us; and the handwriting that was against us, even the whole obligation, was taken out of the way and nailed to his cross. It is true, all for whom he did this do not instantly actually apprehend and perceive it, which is impossible: but yet that hinders not but that they have all the fruits of his death in actual right, though not in actual possession, which last they cannot have until at least it be made known to them. As, if a man pay a ransom for a prisoner detained in a foreign country, the very day of the payment and acceptation of it the prisoner hath right to his liberty, although he cannot enjoy it until such time as tidings of it are brought unto him, and a warrant produced for his delivery. So that that reason is nothing but a begging.
Secondly, The satisfaction of Christ, by the payment of the same thing that was required in the obligation, is no way prejudicial to that free, gracious condonation of sin so often mentioned. God’s gracious pardoning of sin compriseth the whole dispensation of grace towards us in Christ, whereof there are two parts:–First, The laying of our sin on Christ, or making him to be sin for us; which was merely and purely an act of free grace, which he did for his own sake. Secondly, The gracious imputation of the righteousness of Christ to us, or making us the righteousness of God in him; which is no less of grace and mercy, and that because the very merit of Christ himself hath its foundation in a free compact and covenant. However, that remission, grace, and pardon, which is in God for sinners, is not opposed to Christ’s merits, but ours. He pardoneth all to us; but he spared not his only Son, he bated him not one farthing. The freedom, then, of pardon hath not its foundation in any defect of the merit or satisfaction of Christ, but in three other things:–First, The will of God freely appointing this satisfaction of Christ, John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; I John 4:9. Secondly, In a gracious acceptation of that decreed satisfaction in our steeds; for so many, no more. Thirdly, In a free application of the death of Christ unto us.
Remission, then, excludes not a full satisfaction by the solution of the very thing in the obligation, but only the solution or satisfaction by him to whom pardon and remission are granted. So that, notwithstanding, any thing said to the contrary, the death of Christ made satisfaction in the very thing, that was required in the obligation. He took away the curse, by “being made a curse,” Gal. 3:13, He delivered us from sin, being “made sin,” 2 Cor. 5:21. He underwent death that we might be delivered from death. All our debt was in the curse of the law, which he wholly underwent. Neither do we read of any relaxation of the punishment in the Scripture, but only a commutation of the person; which being done, “God condemned sin in the flesh of his Son,” Rom. 8:3, Christ standing in our stead: and so reparation was made unto God, and satisfaction given for all the detriment that might accrue to him by the sin and rebellion of them for whom this satisfaction was made. His justice was violated, and he “sets forth Christ to be a propitiation” for our sins, “that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus,” Rom. 3:25, 26. And never, indeed, was his justice more clearly demonstrated than in causing “the iniquity of us all to meet upon him.” His law was broken; therefore Christ comes to be “the end of the law for righteousness,” Rom. 10:4. Our offence and disobedience was to him distasteful; in the obedience of Christ he took full pleasure, Rom. 5: 17; Matt. 3:16.
Now from all this, thus much (to clear up the nature of the satisfaction made by Christ) appeareth,–namely, It was a full, valuable compensation, made to the justice of God, for all the sins of all those for whom he made satisfaction, by undergoing that same punishment which, by reason of the obligation that was upon them, they themselves were bound to undergo. When I say the same, I mean essentially the same in weight and pressure, though not in all accidents of duration and the like; for it was impossible that he should be detained by death. Now, whether this will stand in the justice of God, that any of these should perish eternally for whom Jesus Christ made so full, perfect, and complete satisfaction, we shall presently inquire; and this is the first thing that we are to consider in this business.
SECONDLY, We must look what act of God it is that is exercised either towards us or our Saviour in this business. That God in the whole is the party offended by our sins is by all confessed. It is his law that is broken, his glory that is impaired, his honour that is abased by our sin: “If I be a father,” saith he, “where is mine Honour?” Mal. 1 :6. Now, the law of nature and universal right requireth that the party offended be recompensed in whatsoever he is injured by the fault of another. Being thus offended, the Lord is to be considered under a twofold notion:–First, In respect of us, he is as a creditor, and all we miserable debtors; to him we owe the “ten thousand talents,” Matt. 18:24. And our Saviour hath taught us to call our sins our “debts,” Matt. 6:12; and the payment of this debt the Lord requireth and exacteth of us. Secondly, In respect of Christ,–on whom he was pleased to lay the punishment of us all, to make our iniquity to meet upon him, not sparing him, but requiring the debt at his hands to the utmost fartliing,–God is considered as the supreme Lord and Governor of all, the only Lawgiver, who alone had power so far to relax his own law as to have the name of a surety put into the obligation, which before was not there, and then to require the whole debt of that surety; for he alone hath power of life and death, James 4:12. Now, these two acts are eminent in God in this business:–First, An act of severe justice, as a creditor exacting the payment of the debt at the hands of the debtor; which, where sin is the debt, is punishment, as was before declared: the justice of God being repaired thereby in whatsoever it was before violated. Secondly, An act of sovereignty or supreme dominion, in translating the punishment from the principal debtor to the surety which of his free grace he himself had given and bestowed on the debtor: “He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up to death for us all.” Hence, let these two things be observed:–
1. That God accepteth of the punishment of Christ as a creditor accepteth of his due debt, when he spares not the debtor, but requires the uttermost farthing. It is true of punishment, as punishment, there is no creditor properly; for, “Delicta puniri publice interest.” But this punishment being considered also as a price, as it is, I Cor. 6:20, it must be paid to the hands of some creditor, as this was into the hands of God; whence Christ is said to come to do God’s will, Heb. 10:9, and to satisfy him, as John 6:38. Neither, indeed, do the arguments that some have used to prove that God, as a creditor, cannot inflict punishment, nor yet by virtue of supreme dominion, seem to me of any great weight. Divers I find urged by him whose great skill in the law, and such terms as there, might well give him sanctuary from such weak examiners as myself; but he that hath so foully betrayed the truth of God in other things and corrupted his word, deserves not our assent in any thing but what by evidence of reason is extorted. Let us, then, see what there is of that in this which we have now in hand:–
First, then, he tells us that “The right of punishing in the rector or lawgiver can neither be a right of absolute dominion nor a right of a creditor; because these things belong to him, and are exercised for his own sake, who hath them, but the right of punishing is for the good of community.”
Ans. Refer this reason unto God, which is the aim of it, and it will appear to be of no value; for we deny that there is any thing in him or done by him primarily for the good of any but himself. His AUTARKEIA, or self-sufficiency, will not allow that he should do any thing with an ultimate respect to any thing but himself. And whereas he saith that the right of punishing is for the good of community, we answer, that “bonum universi” the good of community, is the glory of God, and that only. So that these things in him cannot be distinguished.
Secondly, He addeth, “Punishment is not in and for itself desirable, but only for community’s sake. Now, the right of dominion and the right of a creditor are things in themselves expetible and desirable, without the consideration of any public aim.”
Ans. First, That the comparison ought not to be between punishment and the right of dominion, but between the right of punishment and the right of dominion; the fact of one is not to be compared with the right of the other.
Secondly, God desireth nothing, neither is there any thing desirable to him, but only for himself. To suppose a good desirable to God for its own sake is intolerable.
Thirdly, There be some acts of supreme dominion, in themselves and for their own sake, as little desirable as any act of punishment; as the annihilation of an innocent creature, which Grotius will not deny but that God may do.
Thirdly, He proceedeth, “Any one may, without any wrong, go off from the right of supreme dominion or creditorship; but the Lord cannot omit the act of punishment to some sins, as of the impenitent.”
Ans. God may, by virtue of his supreme dominion, omit punishment without any wrong or prejudice to his justice. It is as great a thing to impute sin where it is not, and to inflict punishment upon that imputation, as not to impute sin where it is, and to remove or not to inflict punishment upon that non-imputation. Now, the first of these God did towards Christ; and, therefore, he may do the latter.
Secondly, The wrong or injustice of not punishing any sin or sins doth not arise from any natural obligation, but the consideration of an affirmative positive act of God’s will, whereby he hath purposed that he will do it.
Fourthly, He adds, “None can be called just for using, his own right or lordship; but God is called just for punishing or not remitting sin,” Rev. 16:5.
Ans. First, However it be in other causes, yet in this God may certainly be said to be just in exacting his debt or using, his dominion, because his own will is the only rule of justice.
Secondly, We do not say punishing, is an act of dominion, but an act of exacting a due debt; the requiring this of Christ in our stead supposing the intervention of an act of supreme dominion.
Fifthly, His last reason is, “Because that virtue whereby one goeth off from his dominion or remitteth his debt, is liberality; but that virtue whereby a man abstaineth from punishing is clemency: so that punishment can be no act of exacting a debt or acting a dominion.”
Ans. The virtue whereby a man goeth off from the exacting, of that which is due, universally considered, is not always liberality; for, as Grotius himself confesseth, a debt may arise and accrue to any by the injury of his fame, credit, or name, by a lie, slander, or otherwise. Now, that virtue whereby a man is moved not to exact payment by way of reparation, is not in this case liberality, but either clemency, or that grace of the gospel for which moralists have no name; and so it is with every party offended, so often as he hath a right of requiring punishment from his offender, which yet he doth not. So that, notwithstanding these exceptions, this is eminently seen in this business of satisfaction,–that God, as a creditor, doth exactly require the payment of the debt by the way of punishment.
2. The second thing eminent in it is, an act of supreme sovereignty and dominion, requiring the punishment of Christ, for the full, complete answering of the obligation and fulfilling of the law, Rom. 8:3, 10:4.
Now, these things being thus at large unfolded, we may see, in brief, some natural consequences following and attending them as they are laid down; as,–First, That the full and due debt of all those for whom Jesus Christ was responsible was fully paid in to God, accordance to the utmost extent of the obligation. Secondly, That the Lord, who is a just creditor, ought in all equity to cancel the bond, to surcease all suits, actions, and molestations against the debtors, full payment being made unto him for the debt. Thirdly, That the debt thus paid was not this or that sin, but all the sins of all those for whom and in whose name this payment was made, I John 1:7, as was before demonstrated. Fourthly, That a second payment of a debt once paid, or a requiring of it, is not answerable to the justice which God demonstrated in setting forth Christ to be a propitiation for our sins, Rom. 3:25. Fifthly, That whereas to receive a discharge from farther trouble is equitably due to a debtor who hath been in obligation, his debt being paid, the Lord, having accepted of the payment from Christ in the stead of all them for whom he died, ought in justice, according to that obligation which, in free grace, he hath put upon himself, to grant them a discharge. Sixthly, That considering that relaxation of the law which, by the supreme power of the lawgiver, was effected, as to the persons suffering the punishment required, such actual satisfaction is made thereto, that it can lay no more to their charge for whom Christ died than if they had really fulfilled, in the way of obedience, whatsoever it did require, Rom. 8:32-34.
Now, how consistent these things (in themselves evident, and clearly following the doctrine of Christ’s satisfaction, before declared) are with universal redemption is easily discernible; for,–First, If the full debt of all be paid to the utmost extent of the obligation, how comes it to pass that so many are shut up in prison to eternity, never freed from their debts? Secondly, If the Lord, as a just creditor, ought to cancel all obligations and surcease all suits against such as have their debts so paid, whence is it that his wrath smokes against some to all eternity? Let none tell me that it is because they walk not worthy of the benefit bestowed; for that not walking worthy is part of the debt which is fully paid, for (as it is in the third inference) the debt so paid is all our sins. Thirdly, Is it probable that God calls any to a second payment, and requires satisfaction of them for whom, by his own acknowledgment, Christ hath made that which is full and sufficient? Hath he an after-reckoning that he thought not of? for, for what was before him he spared him not, Rom. 8:32. Fourthly, How comes it that God never gives a discharge to innumerable souls, though their debts be paid? Fifthly, Whence, is it that any one soul lives and dies under the condemning power of the law, never released, if that be fully satisfied in his behalf, so as it had been all one as if he had done whatsoever it could require? Let them that can, reconcile these things I am no CEdipus for them. The poor beggarly distinctions whereby it is attempted. I have already discussed. And so much for satisfaction.
A digression, containing the substance of an occasional conference concerning the satisfaction of Christ.
Much about the time that I was composing that part of the last argument which is taken from the satisfaction of Christ, there came one (whose name, and all things else concerning him, for the respect I bear to his parts and modesty, shall be concealed) to the place where I live, and, in a private exercise about the sufferings of Christ, seemed to those that heard him to enervate, yea overthrow, the satisfaction of Christ: which I apprehending to be of dangerous consequence, to prevent a further inconvenience, set myself briefly and plainly to oppose; and also, a little after, willingly entertained a conference and debate (desired by the gentleman) about the point in question: which being carried along with that quietness and sobriety of spirit which beseemed lovers of and searchers after truth, I easily perceived not only what was his persuasion in the thing in hand, but also what was the ground and sole cause of his misapprehension; and it was briefly this:–That the eternal, unchangeable love of God to his elect did actually instate them in such a condition as wherein they were in an incapacity of having any satisfaction made for them: the end of that being to remove the wrath due unto them, and to make an atonement for their sins; which, by reason of the former love of God, they stood in no need of, but only wanted a clear manifestation of that love unto their souls, whereby they might be delivered from all that dread, darkness, guilt, and fear, which was in and upon their consciences, by reason of a not-understanding of this love, which came upon them through the fall of Adam. Now, to remove this, Jesus Christ was sent to manifest this love, and declare this eternal goodwill of God towards them, so bearing, and taking, away their sins, by removing from their consciences that misapprehension of God and their own condition which, by reason of sin, they had before, and not to make any satisfaction to the justice of God for their sins, he being eternally well-pleased with them. The sum is, election is asserted to the overthrow of redemption. What followed in our conference, with what success by God’s blessing it did obtain, shall, for my part, rest in the minds and judgments of those that heard it, for whose sake alone it was intended. The things themselves being, first, of great weight and importance, of singular concernment to all Christians; secondly, containing in them a mixture of undoubted truth and no less undoubted errors, true propositions and false inferences, assertions of necessary verities to the exclusion of others no less necessary; and, thirdly, directly belonging to the business in hand,–I shall briefly declare and confirm the whole truth in this business, so far as occasion was given by the exercise and debate before mentioned, begining with the first part of it, concerning, the eternal love of God to his elect, with the state and condition they are placed in thereby: concerning which you may observe,–
First, That which is now by some made to be a new doctrine of free Grace is indeed an old objection against it. That a non-necessity of satisfaction by Christ, as a consequent of eternal election, was more than once, for the substance of it, objected to Austin by the old Pelagian heretics, upon his clearing and vindicating, that doctrine, is most apparent. The same objection, renewed by others, is also answered by Calvin, Institut. lib. 2, cap. 16; as also divers schoolmen had before, in their way, proposed it to themselves, as Thom. 3. g. 49, a. 4. Yet, notwithstanding the apparent senselessness of the thing itself, together with the many solid answers whereby it was long before removed, the Arminians, at the Synod of Dort, greedily ed it up again, and placed it in the very front of their arguments against the effectual redemption of the elect by Jesus Christ. Now, that which was in them only an objection is taken up by some amongst us as a truth, the absurd inconsequent consequence of it owned as just and good, and the conclusion deemed necessary, from the granting of election to the denial of satisfaction.
Secondly, Observe that there is the same reason of election and reprobation (in things so opposed, so it must be): “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,” Rom. 9:13. By the one, men are “ordained to eternal life,” Acts 23:48; by the other, “before of old ordained unto condemnation,” Jude 4. Now if the elect are justified, and sanctified, and saved, because of God’s decree that so they shall be, whereby they need nothing but the manifestation thereof, then likewise are the reprobates, as soon as they are finally impenitent, damned, burned, and want nothing but a manifestation thereof; which, whether it be true or no, consult the whole dispensation of God towards them.
Thirdly, Consider what is the eternal love of God. Is it an affection in his eternal nature, as love is in ours? It were no less than blasphemy once so to conceive. His pure and holy nature, wherein there is neither change nor shadow of turning, is not subject to any such passion; it must be, then, an eternal act of his will, and that alone. In the Scripture it is called, his “good pleasure,” Matt, 11:26; his “purpose according to election,” Rom. 9:11; the “foundation of God,” 2 Tim. 2:19. Now, every eternal act of God’s will is immanent in himself, not really distinguished from himself; whatever is so in God is God. Hence, it puts nothing into the creature concerning whom it is, nor alteration of its condition at all; producing, indeed, no effect until some external act of God’s power do make it out. For instance: God decreed from eternity that he would make the world, yet we know the world was not made until about five thousand five hundred years ago. But ye will say, “It was made in God’s purpose.” That is, say I, he purposed to make it. So he purposeth there shall be a day of judgment; is there therefore actually a universal day of judgment already? God purposeth that he will, in and through Christ, justify and save such and such certain persons; are they therefore justified because God purposeth it? It is true, they shall be so, because he hath purposed it; but that they are so is denied. The consequence is good from the divine purpose to the futurition of any thing, and the certainty of its event, not to its actual existence. As when the Lord, in the beginning ,went actually to make the world, there was no world; so when he comes to bestow faith and actually to justify a man, until he hath so done he is not justified. The sum is,–
First, The eternal love of God towards his elect is nothing but his purpose, good pleasure, a pure act of his will, whereby he determines to do such and such things for them in his own time and way. Secondly, No purpose of God, no immanent eternal act of his will, doth produce any outward effect, or change any thing in nature and condition of that thing concerning which his purpose is; but only makes the event and success necessary in respect of that purpose. Thirdly, The wrath and anger of God that sinners lie under is not any passion in God, but only the outward effects of anger, as guilt, bondage, etc. Fourthly, An act of God’s eternal love, which is immanent in himself, doth not exempt the creature from the condition wherein he is under anger and wrath, until some temporal act of free grace do really change its state and condition. For example: God holding the lump of mankind in his own power, as the clay in the hand of the potter, determining to make some vessels unto honour, for the praise of his glorious grace, and others to dishonour, for the manifestation of his revenging justice, and to this end suffer them all to fall into sin and the guilt of condemnation, whereby they became all liable to his wrath and curse; his purpose to save some of these doth not at all exempt or free them from the common condition of the rest, in respect of themselves and the truth of their estate, until some actual thing be accomplished for the bringing of them nigh unto himself: so that notwithstanding his eternal purpose, his wrath, in respect of the effects, abideth on them until that eternal purpose do make out itself in some distinguishing act of free grace; which may receive farther manifestation by these ensuing arguments:–
1. If the sinner want nothing to acceptation and peace but a manifestation of God’s eternal love, then evangelical justification is nothing but an apprehension of God’s eternal decree and purpose. But this cannot be made out from the Scripture,–namely, that God’s justifying of a person is his making known unto him his decree of election; or (that] man’s justification [is] an apprehension of that decree, purpose, or love. Where is any such thing in the book of God? It is true, there is a discovery thereof made to justified believers, and therefore it is attainable by the saints, “God shedding abroad his love in their hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto them,” Rom. 5:5; but it is after they are “justified by faith,” and have “peace with God,” verse 1. Believers are to give “all diligence to make their calling and election sure;” but that justification should consist herein is a strange notion. Justification, in the Scripture, is an act of God, pronouncing an ungodly person, upon his believing, to be absolved from the guilt of sin, and interested in the all-sufficient righteousness of Christ: so God “justifieth the ungodly,” Rom. 4:5, “by the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ unto them,” chap. 3:22; making Christ to become righteousness to them who were in themselves sin. But of this manifestation of eternal love there is not the least foundation, as to be the form of justification; which yet is not without sense and perception of the love of God, in the improvement thereof.
2. The Scripture is exceeding clear in making all men, before actual reconciliation, to be in the like state and condition, without any real difference at all, the Lord reserving to himself his distinguishing purpose of the alteration he will afterward by his free grace effect: “There is none that doeth good, no, not one,” Rom. 3:12; for “we have proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin,” verse 9. All mankind are in the same condition, in respect of themselves and their own real state: which truth is not at all prejudiced by the relation they are in to the eternal decrees; for “every mouth is stopped, and all the world is become guilty before God,” Rom. 3:19,–HUPODIKOS, obnoxious to his judgment “Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?” ICor. 4:7. All distinguishment, in respect of state and condition, is by God’s actual grace; for even believers are “by nature children of wrath, even as others,” Eph. 2:3. The condition, then, of all men, during their unregeneracy, is one and the same, the purpose of God concerning the difference that shall be being referred to himself. Now, I ask whether reprobates in that condition lie under the effects of God’s wrath, or no? If ye say “No,” who will believe you? If so, why not the elect also? The same condition hath the same qualifications an actual distinguishment we have proved there is not. Produce some difference that hath a real existence, or the cause is lost.
3. Consider what it is to lie under the effects of God’s wrath, according to the declaration of the Scripture, and then see how the elect are delivered therefrom, before their actual calling. Now, this consists in divers things; as,–(1.) To be in such a state of alienation from God as that none of their services are acceptable to him: “The prayer of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,” Prov. 28:9. (2.) To have no outward enjoyment sanctified, but to have all things unclean unto them, Tit. 1:15. (3.) To be under the power of Satan who rules at his pleasure in the children of disobedience, Eph. 2:2. (4.) To be in unto death, Heb. 2:15. (5.) To be under the curse and condemning power of the law, Gal. 3:13. (6.) To be obnoxious to the judgment of God, and to be guilty of eternal death and damnation, Rom. 3:19. (7.) To be under the power and dominion of sin, reigning, in them, Rom. 6:19. These and such like are those which we call the effects of God’s anger.
Let now any one tell me what the reprobates, in this life, lie under more? And do not all the elect, until their actual reconciliation, in and by Christ, lie under the very same? for,–(1.) Are not their prayers an abomination to the Lord? can they without faith please God? Heb. 9:6. And faith we suppose them not to have; for if they have, they are actually reconciled, (2.) Are their enjoyments sanctified unto them? hath any thing a sanctified relation without faith? See I Cor. 7:14. (3.) Are they not under the power of Satan? If not, how comes Christ, in and for them, to destroy the works of the devil? Did not he not come to deliver his from him that had the power of death, that is, the devil? Heb. 2:14; Eph. 2:2, (4.) Are they not under unto death? The apostle affirms plainly that they are so all their lives, until they are actually freed by Jesus Christ, Heb. 2:14,15. (5.) Are they not under the curse of the law? How are they freed from it? By Christ being made a curse for them, Gal. 3:13. (6.) Are they not obnoxious unto judgment, and guilty of eternal death? How is it, then, that Paul says that there is no difference, but that all are subject to the judgment of God, and are guilty before him? Rom. 3:9; and that Christ saves them from this wrath, which, in respect of merit, was to come upon them? Rom 5:9; I Thess. 1:10. (7.) Are they not under the dominion of sin? “God be thanked,” says Paul, “that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed,” etc., Rom. 6:17. In brief, the Scripture is in nothing more plentiful than in laying and charging all the misery and wrath of and due to an unreconciled condition upon the elect of God, until they actually partake in the deliverance by Christ.
But now some men think to wipe away all that hath been said in a word, and tell us that all this is so but only in their own apprehension; not that those things are so indeed and in themselves. But if these things be so to them only in their apprehension, why are they otherwise to the rest of the whole world? The Scripture gives its no difference nor distinction between them. And if it be so with all, then let all get this apprehension as fast as they can, and all shall be well with the whole world, now miserably captived under a misapprehension of their own condition; that is, let them say the Scripture is a fable, and the terror of the Almighty a scarecrow to fright children; that sin is only in conceit; and so square their conversation to their blasphemous fancies. Some men’s words eat as a canker.
4. Of particular places of Scripture, which might abundantly be produced to our purpose, I shall content myself to name only one: John 3:36, “He that believeth not the Son, the wrath of God abideth on him.” It abideth: there it was, and there it shall remain, if unbelief be continued; but upon believing it is removed. “But is not God’s love by which we shall be freed from his wrath?” Who denies it? But is an apprentice free because he shall be so at the end of seven years? Because God hath purposed to free his in his own time, and will do it, are they therefore free before he doth it? “But are we not in Christ from all eternity?” Yes, chosen in him we are; therefore, in some sense, in him. But how? Even as we are. Actually, a man cannot be in Christ until he be. Now, how are we from eternity? are we eternal? No; only God from eternity hath purposed that we shall be. Doth this give us an eternal being? Alas! we are of yesterday; our being in Christ respecteth only the like purpose, and therefore from thence can be made only the like inference.
This, then, being cleared, it is, I hope, apparent to all how miserable a strained consequence it is, to argue from God’s decree of election to the overthrow of Christ’s merit and satisfaction; the redemption wrought by Jesus Christ being, indeed, the chief means of carrying along that purpose unto execution, the pleasure of the Lord prospering in his hand. Yet, the argument may be retorted, and will hold undeniable on the other side, the consequence being evident, from the purpose of God to save sinners, to the satisfaction of Christ for those sinners. The same act of God’s will which sets us apart from eternity for the enjoyment of all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, sets also apart Jesus Christ to be the purchaser and procurer of all those spiritual blessings, as also to make satisfaction for all their sins; which that he did (being the main thing opposed) we prove by these ensuing arguments.
Being a second part of the former digression–Arguments to prove the satisfaction of Christ.
1. If Christ so took our sins, and had them by God so laid and imposed on him, as that he underwent the punishment due unto them in our stead, then he made satisfaction to the justice of God for them, that the sinners might go free; but Christ so took and bare our sins, and had them so laid upon him, as that he underwent the punishment due unto them, and that in our stead: therefore, he made satisfaction to the justice of God for them. The consequent of the proposition is apparent, and was before proved. Of the assumption there be three parts, severally to be confirmed: –First, That Christ took and bare our sins, God laying them on him. Secondly, That he so took them as to undergo the punishment due unto them. Thirdly, That he did this in our stead.
For the first, that he took and bare our sins, ye have it, John 1:29, “Who taketh away the sin of the world;” I Pet. 2:24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body;” Isa. 53:11, “He shall bear their iniquities;” and verse 12, “He bare the sin of many.” That God also laid or imposed our sins on him is no less apparent: Isa, 53:6, “The LORD, made to meet on him the iniquity of us all;” 2 Cor. 5:21, “He hath made him to be sin for us.”
The second branch is, that in thus doing our Saviour underwent the punishment due to the sins which he bare, which were laid upon him; which may be thus made manifest:–Death and the curse of the law contain the whole of the punishment due to sin, Gen. 2:17, “Dying then shalt die,” is that which was threatened. Death was that which entered by sin, Rom. 5:12: which word in these places is comprehensive of all misery due to our transgressions; which also is held out in the curse of the law, Deut. 27:26, “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.” That all evils of punishment whatsoever are comprised in these is unquestionably evident. Now, Jesus Christ in bearing our sins underwent both these: for “by the grace of God he tasted death,” Heb. 2:9; by death delivering from death, verse 14. He was not “spared, but given up to death for us all,” Rom. 8:32. So also the curse of the law: Gal. 3:13, he “was made a curse for us;” and “cursed.” And this by the way of undergoing the punishment that was in death and curse: for by these “it pleased the LORD to bruise him, and put him to grief,” Isa. 53:IO; yea, “he spared him not,” Rom. 8:32, but “condemned sin in his flesh,” verse 3. It remaineth only to show that he did this in our stead, and the whole argument is confirmed.
Now, this also our Saviour himself maketh apparent, Matt. 20:28. He came “to give himself a ransom for many.” The word ANTI always supposeth a commutation, and change of one person or thing instead of another, as shall be afterward declared: so Matt 2:22; so I Tim. 2:6; 1 Pet 3:18, “He suffered for us, the just for the unjust;” and Ps. 69:4, “I restored” (or paid) “that which I took not away,”–namely, our debt, so far as that thereby we are discharged, as Rom. 8:34, where it is asserted, upon this very ground, that he died in our stead. And so the several parts of this first argument are confirmed.
II. If Jesus Christ paid into his Father’s hands a valuable price and ransom for our sins, as our surety, so discharging the debt that we lay under, that we might go free, then did he bear the punishment due to our sins, and make satisfaction to the justice of God for them (for to pay such a ransom is to make such satisfaction); but Jesus Christ paid such a price and ransom, as our surety, into his Father’s hands, etc: ergo,–
There be four things to be proved in the assumption, or second proposition:–First, That Christ paid such a price and ransom. Secondly, That he paid it into the hands of his Father. Thirdly, That he did it as our surety. Fourthly, That we might go free. All which we shall prove in order:
First, For the first, our Saviour himself affirms it, Matt. 20:28. He “came to give his life LUTRON,” a ransom or price of redemption “for many,” Mark 10:45; which the apostle terms ANTILUTRON, I Tim. 2:6, a ransom to be accepted in the stead of others: whence we are said to have deliverance, “by the ransom-paying of Christ Jesus,” Rom. 3:24. “He bought us with a price,” 1 Cor. 6:20; which price was his own blood, Acts 20:28; compared to and exalted above silver and gold in this work of redemption, I Pet. 1:18. So that this first part is most clear and evident.
Secondly, He paid this price into the hands of his Father. A price must be paid to somebody in the case of deliverance from captivity by it; it must be paid to the judge or jailer,–that is, to God or the devil. To say the latter were the highest blasphemy; Satan was to be conquered, not satisfied. For the former, the Scripture is clear: It was his “wrath” that was on us, John 3:36. It was he that had “shut us all up under sin,” Gal. 3:22. He is the great king to whom the debt is owing, Matt. 28:23-34. He is the only “law-giver, who is able to save and to destroy,” James 4:12. Nay, the ways whereby this ransom-paying is in the Scripture expressed abundantly enforce the payment of it into the hands of his Father; for his death and blood-shedding is said to be PROSPHORA and THUSIA, “an oblation and sacrifice,” Eph. 5:2; and his soul to be a sacrifice or “offering for sin,” Isa. 53:lO. Now, certainly offerings and sacrifices are to be directed unto God alone.
Thirdly, That he did this as surety, we are assured, Heb. 7:22. He was made EGGUOS, a “surety of a better testament;” and, in performance of the duty which lay upon him as such, “he paid that which he took not away,” Ps. 69:4. All which could not possibly have any other end but that we might go free.
III. To make an atonement for sin, and to reconcile God unto the sinners, is in effect to make satisfaction unto the justice of God for sin, and all that we understand thereby; but Jesus Christ, by his death and oblation, did make an atonement for sin, and reconcile God unto sinners: ergo,–
The first proposition is in itself evident; the assumption is confirmed, Rom. 3:24,25. We are justified freely by the ransom-paying, that is in Christ, whom God hath set forth to be HILASTERION, a propitiation, an atonement, a mercy-seat, a covering of iniquity; and that, for the manifestation of his justice, declared in the going forth and accomplishment thereof. So likewise Heb. 2:17, he is said to be a “merciful high priest,”–“to make reconciliation for the sins of the people,” to reconcile God unto the people: the meaning of the words being,–to reconcile God, who was offended with the sins of the people; which reconciliation we are said to “receive,” Rom. 5:11 (the word KATALLAGE there, in our common translation rendered “atonement,” is in other places in the same rendered “reconciliation,” being indeed, the only word used for it in the New Testament.) And all this is said to be accomplished,–by one righteousness or satisfaction; that is of Christ, (the words will not bear that sense wherein they are usually rendered, “By the righteousness of one”). And hereby were we delivered from that from which it was impossible we should be otherwise delivered, Rom. 8:3.
IV. That wherein the exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ whilst he was on earth doth consist, cannot be rejected nor denied without damnable error; but the exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ whilst he was upon the earth consisted in this, to bear the punishment due to our sins, to make atonement with God, by undergoing his wrath, and reconciling him to sinners upon the satisfaction made to his justice: therefore cannot these things be denied without damnable error.
That in the things before recounted the exercise of Christ’s priestly office did consist is most apparent,–first, From all the types and sacrifices whereby it was prefigured, their chief end being propitiation and atonement; secondly, From the very nature of the sacerdotal office, appointed for sacrificing, Christ having nothing to offer but his own blood, through the eternal Spirit; and, thirdly, From divers, yea, innumerable texts of Scripture affirming the same. It would be too long a work to prosecute these things severally and at large, and therefore I will content myself with one or two places wherein all those testimonies are comprised; as Heb. 9:13, 14, “If the blood of bulls and of goats,” etc., “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God?” etc. Here the death of Christ is compared to, exalted above, and in the antitype answereth, the sacrifices of expiation which were made by the blood of bulls and goats; and so must, at least spiritually, effect what they did carnally accomplish and typically prefigure,–namely, deliverance from the guilt of sin by expiation and atonement: for as in them the life and blood of the sacrifice was accepted in the stead of the offerer, who was to die for the breach of the law, according to the rigour of it, so in this of Christ was his blood accepted as an atonement and propitiation for us, himself being priest, altar, and sacrifice. So, Heb. 10:10-12, he is said expressly, in the room of all the old, insufficient, carnal sacrifices, which could not make the comers thereunto perfect, to offer up his own body a sacrifice for sins, for the remission and pardon of sins through that offering of himself; as it is verse 19. And in the performance also do we affirm that our Saviour underwent the wrath of God which was due unto us. This, because it is by some questioned, I shall briefly confirm, and that with these following reasons:–
First, The punishment due to sin is the wrath of God: Rom. 1:18, “The wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness;” chap. 2:5, “The day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;” Eph. 2:3, “Children of wrath;” John 3:36. But Jesus Christ underwent the punishment due to sin: 2 Cor. 5:21, “Made sin for us;” Isa. 53:6, “Iniquity was laid upon him;” I Pet. 2:24, “He bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” Therefore he underwent the wrath of God.
Secondly, The curse of the law is the wrath of God taken passively, Deut 24:20, 21. But Jesus Christ underwent the curse of the law: Gal. 3:13, “Made a curse for us,” the curse that they lie under who are out of Christ, who are “of the works of the law,” verse, 10. Therefore he underwent the wrath of God.
Thirdly, The death that sinners are to undergo is the wrath of God. Jesus Christ did taste, of that death which sinners for themselves were to undergo; for he died as “our surety,” Heb. 7:22, and in our stead, Matt. 20:28. Hence his fear, Heb. 5:7; agony, Luke 22:44; astonishment and amazement, Mark 14:33; dereliction, Matt. 27:46; sorrow, heaviness, and inexpressible pressures, chap. 26:37-39.
V. That doctrine cannot be true nor agreeable to the gospel which strikes at the root of gospel faith, and plucks away the foundation of all that strong consolation which God is so abundantly willing we should receive; but such is that of denying the satisfaction made by Christ, his answering the justice and undergoing the wrath of his Father. It makes the poor soul to be like Noah’s dove in its distress, not knowing where to rest the soles of her feet. When a soul is turned out of its self-righteousness, and begins to look abroad, and view the heaven and earth for a resting place, and perceives an ocean, a flood, an inundation of wrath, to cover all the world, the wrath of God revealing itself from heaven against all ungodliness, so that it can obtain no rest nor abiding,–heaven it cannot reach by its own flight, and to hell it is unwilling to fall;–if now the Lord Jesus Christ do not appear as an ark in the midst of the waters, upon whom the floods have fallen, and yet has got above them all for a refuge, alas! what shall it do? When the flood fell there were many mountains glorious in the eye, far higher than the ark; but yet those mountains were all drowned, whilst the ark still kept on the top of the waters. Many appearing hills and mountains of self-righteousness and general mercy, at the first view, seem to the soul much higher than Jesus Christ, but when the flood of wrath once comes and spreads itself, all those mountains are quickly covered; only the ark, the Lord Jesus Christ though the flood fall on him also, yet he gets above it quite, and gives safety to them that rest upon him.
Let me now ask any of those poor souls who ever have been wandering and tossed with the fear of the wrath to come, whether ever they found a resting-place until they came to this: –God spared not his only Son, but gave him up to death for us all; that he made him to be sin for us; that he put all the sins of all the elect into that cup which he was to drink of; that the wrath and flood which they feared did fall upon Jesus Christ (though now, as the ark, he be above it, so that if they could get into him they should be safe). The storm hath been his, and the safety shall be theirs. As all the waters which would have fallen upon them that were in the ark fell upon the ark, they being dry and safe, so all the wrath that should have fallen upon them fell on Christ; which alone causeth their souls to dwell in safety? Hath not, I say, this been your bottom, your foundation, your resting-place? If not (for the substance of it), I fear you have but rotten bottoms. Now, what would you say if a man should come and pull this ark from under you, and give you an old rotten post to swim upon in the flood of wrath? It is too late to tell you no wrath is due unto you; the word of truth and your own consciences have given you other information. You know the “wages of sin is death,” in whomsoever it be; he must die in whomsoever it is found. So that truly the soul may well say, “Bereave me of the satisfaction of Christ, and I am bereaved. If he fulfilled not justice, I must; if he underwent not wrath, I must to eternity. O rob me not of my only pearl!” Denying the satisfaction of Christ destroys the foundation of faith and comfort.
VI. Another argument we may take from some few particular places of Scripture, which, instead of many, I shall produce:–
As, first, 2 Cor. 5:21, “He made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” “He made him to be sin for us;” how could that be? are not the next words, “He knew no sin?” was he not a Lamb without blemish, and without spot? Doubtless; “he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” What then is this, “God made him to be sin?” It cannot be that God made him sinful, or a sinner by any inherent sin; that will not stand with the justice of God nor with the holiness of the person of our Redeemer. What is it, then? “He made him to be sin who knew no sin?” Why, clearly, by dispensation and consent, he laid that to his charge whereof he was not guilty. He charged upon him and imputed unto him all the sins of all the elect, and proceeded against him accordingly. He stood as our surety, really charged with the whole debt, and was to pay the utmost farthing, as a surety is to do if it be required of him; though he borrow not the money, nor have one penny of that which is in the obligation, yet if he be sued to an execution, he must pay all. The Lord Christ (if I may so say) was sued by his Father’s justice unto an execution, in answer whereunto he underwent all that was due to sin; which we proved before to be death, wrath, and curse.
If it be excepted (as it is) “That God was always well pleased with his Son,–he testified it again and again from heaven,–how, then, could he lay his wrath upon him?” Ans. It is true he was always well pleased with him; yet it “pleased him to bruise him and put him to grief.” He was always well pleased with the holiness of his person, the excellency and perfectness of his righteousness, and the sweetness of his obedience, but he was displeased with the sins that were charged on him: and therefore it pleased him to bruise and put him to grief with whom he was always well pleased.
Nor is that other exception of any more value, “That Christ underwent no more than the elect lay under; but they lay not under wrath and the punishment due to sin.” Ans. The proposition is most false, neither is there any more truth in the assumption; for–First, Christ underwent not only that wrath (taking it passively) which the elect were under, but that also which they should have undergone bad not he borne it for them: he “delivered them from the wrath to come,” Secondly, The elect do, in their several generations, lie under all the wrath of God in respect of merit and procurement, though not in respect of actual endurance,–in respect of guilt, not present punishment, So that, notwithstanding there exceptions, it stands firm that “he was made sin for us, who knew no sin.”
Isa. 53:5, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Of this place something was said before; I shall add some small enlargements that conduce to discover the meaning of the words. “The chastisement of our peace was upon him;” that is, he was chastised or punished that we might have peace, that we might go free, our sins being the cause of his wounding, and our iniquities of his being bruised, all our sins meeting upon him, as verse 6; that is, he “bare our sins,” in Peter’s interpretation. He bare our sins (not, as some think, by declaring that we were never truly sinful, but) by being wounded for them, bruised for them, undergoing the chastisement due unto them, consisting in death, wrath, and curse, so making his soul an offering for sin. “He bare our sins;” that is, say some, he declared that we have an eternal righteousness in God, because of his eternal purpose to do us good. But is this to interpret Scripture, or to corrupt the word of God? Ask the word what it means by Christ’s bearing of sin; it will tell you, his being “stricken” for our transgressions, Isa. 53:8,–his being “cut off” for our sins, Dan. 9: 26. Neither hath the expression of bearing sins any other signification in the word: Lev. 5:1, “If a soul hear the voice of swearing, if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.” What is that? he shall declare himself or others to be free from sin? No, doubtless; but, he shall undergo the punishment due to sin, as our Saviour did in bearing our iniquities. He must be a cunning gamester indeed that shall cheat a believer of this foundation.
More arguments or texts on this subject I shall not urge or produce, though the cause itself will enforce the most unskilful to abound. I have proceeded as far as the nature of a digression will well bear. Neither shall I undertake, at this time, the answering of objections to the contrary; a full discussion of the whole business of the satisfaction of Christ, which should cause me to search for, draw forth, and confute all objections to the contrary, being not by me intended. And for those which were made it that debate which gave occasion to this discourse, I dare not produce them, lest haply I should not be able to restrain the conjectures of men that I purposely framed such weak objections, that 1 might obtain an easy conquest over a man of straw of mine own erection, so weak were they and of so little force to the slashing of so fundamental a truth as that is which we do maintain. So of this argument hitherto.
Of the merit of Christ, with arguments from thence.
ARG. XIV. A fourth thing ascribed to the death of Christ is MERIT, or that worth and value of his death whereby he purchased and procured unto us, and for us, all those good things which we find in the Scripture for his death to be bestowed upon us. Of this, much I shall not speak, having considered the thing itself under the notion of impetration already; only, I shall add some few observations proper to that particular of the controversy which we have in hand. The word merit is not at all to be found in the New Testament, in no translation out of the original that I have seen. The vulgar Latin once reads promeretur, Heb. 13:16; and the Rheimists, to preserve the sound, have rendered it promerited. But these words in both languages are uncouth and barbarous, besides that they no way answer EUARESTEO, the word in the original, which gives no colour to merit, name or thing. Nay, I suppose it will prove a difficult thing to find out any one word, in either of the languages wherein the holy Scripture was written, that doth properly and immediately, in its first native importance, signify merit. So that about the name we shall not trouble ourselves, if the thing itself intended thereby be made apparent, which it is both in the Old and New Testament; as Isa. 53:5, “The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” The procurement of our peace and heaing, was the merit of his chastisement and stripes. So Heb. 9:12, “Obtaining by his blood eternal redemption,” is as much as we intend to signify by the merit of Christ. The word which comes nearest it in signification we have, Acts 20:28, PERIPOIEO, “Purchased with his own blood;” purchase and impetration, merit and acquisition, being in this business terms equivalent; which latter word is used in divers other places, as I Thess. 5:9; Eph. 1:14; I Pet 2:9. Now, that which by this name we understand is, the performance of such an action as whereby the thing aimed at by the agent is due unto him, according to the equity and equality required in justice; as, “To him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt,” Rom. 4:4. That there is such a merit attending the death of Christ is apparent from what was said before; neither is the weight of any operose proving [of] it imposed on us, by our adversaries seeming to acknowledge it no less themselves; so that we may take it for granted (until our adversaries close with the Socinians in this also).
Christ then, by his death, did merit and purchase, for all those for whom he died, all those things which in the Scripture are assigned to be the fruits and effects of his death. These are the things purchased and merited by his blood-shedding, and death; which may be referred unto two heads:–First, Such as are privative; as,–I. Deliverence from the hand of our enemies, Luke 1:74; from the wrath to come, I Thess. 1:10. 2. The destruction and abolition of death in his power, Heb. 2:14; 3. Of the works of the devil, I John 3:8. 4. Deliverence from the curse of the law, Gal. 3:13; 5. From our vain conversation, I Pe1:18; 6. From the present evil world, Gal. 1:4; 7. From the earth, and from among men, Rev. 14:3,4. 8. Purging of our sins, Heb. 1:3, Secondly, Positive; as,–1. Reconciliation with God, Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:20. 2. Appeasing or atoning of God by propitiation, Rom. 3:25; I John 2:2. 3. Peacemaking, Eph. 2:14. 4. Salvation, Matt. 1:21. All these hath our Saviour by his death merited and purchased for all them for whom he died; that is, so procured them of his Father that they ought, in respect of that merit, according to the equity of justice, to be bestowed on them for whom they were so purchased and procured. It was absolutely of free grace in God that he would send Jesus Christ to die for any; it was of free grace for whom he would send him to die; it is of free grace that the good things procured by his death be bestowed on any person, in respect of those persons on whom they are bestowed: but considering his own appointment and constitution, that Jesus Christ by his death should merit and procure grace and glory for those for whom he died, it is of debt in respect of Christ that they be communicated to them. Now, that which is thus merited, which is of debt to be bestowed, we do not say that it may be bestowed, but it ought so to be, and it is injustice if it be not.
Having said this little of the nature of merit, and of the merit of Christ, the procurement of his death for them in whose stead he died, it will quickly be apparent how irreconcilable the general ransom is therewith ; for the demonstration whereof we need no more but the proposing of this one question,–namely, If Christ hath merited grace and glory for all those for whom he died, if he died for all, how comes it to pass that these things are not communicated to and bestowed upon all? Is the defect in the merit of Christ, or in the justice of God? How vain it is to except, that these things are not bestowed absolutely upon us, but upon condition, and therefore were so procured; seeing, that the very condition itself is also merited and procured, as Eph. 1:3, 4, Phil. 1:29,–hath been already declared.
ARG. XV. Fifthly, The very phrases of “DYING FOR US,” “bearing our sins,” being our “surety,” and the like, whereby the death of Christ for us is expressed, will not stand with the payment of a ransom for all. To die for another is, in Scripture, to die in that other’s stead, that he might go free; as Judah besought his brother Joseph to accept of him for a bondman instead of Benjamin, that he might be set at liberty, Gen. 44:33, and that to make good the engagement wherein he stood bound to his father to be a surety for him. He that is surety for another (as Christ was for us, Heb. 7:22), is to undergo the danger, that the other may be delivered. So David, wishing that he had died for his son Absalom, 2 Sam. 18:33, intended, doubtless, a commutation with him, and a substitution of his life for his, so that he might have lived. Paul also, Rom. 5:7, intimates the same, supposing that such a thing might be found among men that one should die for another; no doubt alluding to the Decii, Menoeceus, Euryalus, and such others, whom we find mentioned in the stories of the heathen, who voluntarily cast themselves into death for the deliverance of their country or friends, continuing their liberty and freedom from death who were to undergo it, by taking it upon themselves, to whom it was not directly due. And this plainly is the meaning of that phrase, “Christ died for us;” that is, in the undergoing of death there was a subrogation of his person in the room and stead of ours. Some, indeed, except that where the word [HUPER, for] is used in this phrase, as Heb. 2:9, “That he by the grace of God should taste death for every man,” there only the good and profit of them for whom he died is intended, not enforcing the necessity of any commutation. But why this exception should prevail I see no reason, for the same preposition being used in the like kind in other cases doth confessedly intimate a commutation; as Rom. 9:3, where Paul affirms that he “could wish himself accursed from Christ,”–“for his brethren,”–that is, in their stead, that they might be united to him. So also, 2 Cor. 5:20, “We are ambassadors in Christ’s stead.” So the same apostle, I Cor. 1:13, asking, and strongly denying by way of interrogation; “Was Paul crucified for you?” plainly showeth that the word HUPER, used about the crucifying of Christ for his church, doth argue a commutation or change, and not only designs the good of them for whom he died, for, plainly, he might himself have been crucified for the good of the church; but in the stead thereof, he abhorreth the least thought of it. But concerning the word ANTI, which also is used, there is no doubt, nor can any exception be made; it always signifieth a commutation and change, whether it be applied to things or persons: so Luke 11:11, “A serpent instead of a fish;” so Matt. 5:38, “An eye for an eye;” so Heb. 12:16 –and for persons, Archelaus is said to reign, “instead of his father,” Matt. 2:22. Now, this word is used of the death of our Saviour, Matt. 20:28, “The Son of man came to give his life a ransom for many,”–which words are repeated again, Mark 10:45,-that is, to give his life a ransom in the stead of the lives of many. So that, plainly, Christ dying for us, as a surety, Heb. 7:22, and thereby and therein “bearing our sins in his own body,” I Pet. 2:24, being made a curse for us, was an undergoing of death, punishment, curse, wrath, not only for our good, but directly in our stead; a commutation and subrogation of his person in the room and place of ours being allowed, and of God accepted. This being, cleared, I demand,–First, Whether Christ died thus for all? that is, whether he died in the room and stead of all, so that his person was substituted in the room of theirs? as, whether he died in the stead of Cain and Pharaoh, and the rest, who long before his death were under the power of the second death, never to be delivered? Secondly, Whether it be justice that those, or any of them, in whose stead Christ died, bearing their iniquities, should themselves also die and bear their own sins to eternity? Thirdly, What rule of equity is there, or example for it, that when the surety hath answered and made satisfaction to the utmost of what was required in the obligation wherein he was a surety, they for whom he was a surety should afterwards be proceeded against? Fourthly, Whether Christ hung upon the cross in the room or stead of reprobates? Fifthly, Whether he underwent all that which was due unto them for whom he died? If not, how could he be said to die in their stead? If so, why are they not all delivered? I shall add no more but this, that to affirm Christ to die for all men is the readiest way to prove that he died for no man, in the sense Christians have hitherto believed, and to hurry poor souls into the bottom of Socinian blasphemies.
The last general argument.
ARG, XVI. Our next argument is taken from some particular places of Scripture, clearly and distinctly in themselves holding out the truth of what we do affirm. Out of the great number of them I shall take a few to insist upon, and therewith to close our arguments.
1. The first that I shall begin withal is the first mentioning of Jesus Christ, and the first revelation of the mind of God concerning a discrimination between the people of Christ and his enemies: Gen. 3:15, “I will put enmity between thee” (the serpent) “and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed,” By the seed of the woman is meant the whole body of the elect, Christ in the first place as the head, and all the rest as his members; by the seed of the serpent, the devil, with all the whole multitude of reprobates, making up the malignant state, in opposition to the kingdom and body of Jesus Christ.
That by the first part, or the seed of the woman, is meant Christ with all the elect, is most apparent; for they in whom an the things that are here foretold of the seed of the woman do concur, are the seed of the woman (for the properties of any thing do prove the thing itself.) But now in the elect, believers in and through Christ, are to be found all the properties of the seed of the woman; for, for them, in them, and by them, is the head of the serpent broken, and Satan trodden down under their feet, and the devil disappointed in his temptations, and the devil’s agents frustrated in their undertakings. Principally and especially, this is spoken of Christ himself, collectively of his whole body, which beareth a continual hatred to the serpent and his seed.
Secondly, By the seed of the serpent is meant all the reprobate, men of the world, impenitent, unbelievers. For,
First, The enmity of the serpent lives and exerciseth itself in them. They hate and oppose the seed of the woman; they have a perpetual enmity with it; and every thing that is said of the seed of the serpent belongs properly to them.
Secondly, They are often so called in the Scripture: Matt. 3:7, “O generation of vipers,” or seed of the serpent; so also chap. 23:33. So Christ telleth the reprobate Pharisees, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do,” John 8:44. So again, “Child of the devil,” Acts 13:10,–that is, the seed of the serpent; for “he that committeth sin is of the devil,” I John 3:8.
These things being undeniable, we thus proceed:–Christ died for no more than God promised unto him that be should die for. But God did not promise him to all, as that he should die for them; for he did not promise the seed of the woman to the seed of the serpent, Christ to reprobates, but in the first word of him he promiseth an enmity against them. In sum, the seed of the woman died not for the seed of the serpent.
2. Matt. 7:23, “I will profess unto them, I never knew you” Christ at the last day professeth to some he never knew them. Christ saith directly that he knoweth his own, whom he layeth down his life for, John 10:14-17. And surely he knows whom and what he hath bought. Were it not strange that Christ should die for them, and buy them that he will not own, but profess he never knew them? If they are “bought with a price,” surely they are his own? I Cor. 6:20. If Christ did so buy them, and lay out the price of his precious blood for them, and then at last deny that he ever knew them, might they not well reply, “Ah, Lord! was not thy soul heavy unto death for our sakes? Didst thou not for us undergo that wrath that made thee sweat drops of blood? Didst thou not bathe thyself in thine own blood, that our blood might be spared? Didst thou not sanctify thyself to be an offering for us as well as for any of thy apostles? Was not thy precious blood, by stripes, by sweat, by nails, by thorns, by spear, poured out for us? Didst thou not remember us when thou hungest upon the cross? And now dost thou say, thou never knewest us? Good Lord, though we be unworthy sinners, yet thine own blood hath not deserved to be despised. Why is it that none can lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? Is it not because thou diets for them? And didst thou not do the same for us? Why, then, are we thus charged, thus rejected? Could not thy blood satisfy thy Father, but we ourselves must be punished? Could not justice content itself with that sacrifice, but we must now hear, =91Depart, I never knew you?=92” What can be answered to this plea, upon the granting of the general ransom, I know not.
3. Matt. 11:25, 26, “I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” Those men from whom God in his sovereignty, as Lord of heaven and earth, of his own good pleasure, hideth the gospel, either in respect of the outward preaching of it, or the inward revelation of the power of it in their hearts, those certainly Christ died not for; for to what end should the Father send his only Son to die for the redemption of those whom he, for his own good pleasure, had determined should be everlasting strangers from it, and never so much as hear of it in the power thereof revealed to them? Now, that such there are our Saviour here affirms; and he thanks his Father for that dispensation at which so many do at this day repine.
4. John 10:11, 15, 16, 27, 28. This clear place, which of itself is sufficient to evert the general ransom, hath been a little considered before, and, therefore, I shall pass it over the more briefly. First, That all men are not the sheep of Christ is most apparent; for,–First, He himself saith so, verse 26, “Ye are not of my sheep.” Secondly, The distinction at the last day will make it evident, when the sheep and the goats shall be separated. Thirdly, The properties of the sheep are, that they hear the voice of Christ, that they know him; and the like are not in all. Secondly, That the sheep here mentioned are all his elect, as well those that were to be called as those that were then already called. Verse 16, Some were not as yet of his fold of called ones; so that they are sheep by election, and not believing. Thirdly, That Christ so says that he laid down his life for his sheep, that plainly he excludes all others; for,–First, He lays down his life for them as sheep. Now, that which belongs to them as such belong only to such. If he lays down his life for sheep, as sheep, certainly be doth it not for goats, and wolves, and dogs. Secondly, He lays down his life as a shepherd, verse 11; therefore, for them as the sheep. What hath the shepherd to do with the wolves, unless it be to destroy them? Thirdly, Dividing all into sheep and others, verse 26, he saith he lays down his life for his sheep; which is all one as if he had said he did it for them only. Fourthly, He describes them for whom he died by this, “My Father gave them me,” verse 29; as also chap. 17:6, “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me:” which are not all; for “all that the Father giveth him shall come to him,” chap. 6:37, and he “giveth unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish,” chap. 10:28. Let but the sheep of Christ keep close to this evidence, and all the world shall never deprive them of their inheritance. Farther to confirm this place, add Matt. 20:28; John 11:52.
5. Rom. 8:32-34. The intention of the apostle in this place is, to hold out consolation to believers in affliction or under any distress; which he doth, verse 31, in general, from the assurance of the presence of God with them, and his assistance at all times, enough to conquer all oppositions, and to make all difficulty indeed contemptible, by the assurance of his loving kindness, which is better than life itself. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” To manifest this his presence and kindness, the apostle minds them of that most excellent, transcendent, and singular act of love towards them, in sending his Son to die for them, not sparing him, but requiring their debt at his hand; whereupon he argues from the greater to the less,– that if he have done that for us, surely he will do every thing else that shall be requisite. If he did the greater, will he not do the less? If he give his Son to death, will he not also freely give us all things? Whence we may observe,–First, That the greatest and most eximious expression of the love of God towards believers is in sending his Son to die for them, not sparing him for their sake; this is made the chief of all. Now, if God sent his Son to die for all, he had [done] as great an act of love, and hath made as great a manifestation of it, to them that perish as to those that are saved. Secondly, That for whomsoever he hath given and not spared his Son, unto them he will assuredly freely give all things; but now he doth not give all things that are good for them unto all, as faith, grace, and glory: from whence we conclude that Christ died not for all. Again, verse 33, he gives us a description of those that have a share in the consolation here intended, for whom God gave his Son, to whom he freely gives all things; and that is, that they are his “elect,”–not all, but only those whom he hath chosen before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy; which gives another confirmation of the restraint of the death of Christ to them alone: which he yet farther confirms, verse 34, by declaring that those of whom he speaks shall be freely justified and freed from condemnation; whereof he gives two reasons,–first, Because Christ died for them; secondly, Because he is risen, and makes intercession for them for whom he died: affording us two invincible arguments to the business in hand. The first, taken from the infallible effects of the death of Christ: Who shall lay any thing to their charge? who shall condemn them? Why, what reason is given? “It is Christ that died.” So that his death doth infallibly free all them from condemnation for whom he died. The second, from the connection that the apostle here makes between the death and intercession of Jesus Christ: For whom he died, for them he makes intercession; but he saveth to the utmost them for whom he intercedeth, Heb. 7:25, From all which it is undeniably apparent that the death of Christ, with the fruits and benefits thereof, belongeth only to the elect of God.
6. Eph. 1:7, “In whom we have redemption.” If his blood was shed for all, then all must have a share in those things that are to be had in his blood. Now, amongst these is that redemption that consists in the forgiveness of sins; which certainly all have not, for they that have are “blessed,” Ro4:7, and shall be blessed for evermore: which blessing comes not upon all, but upon the seed of righteous Abraham, verse 16.
7. 2 Cor. 5:21, “He hath made him to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” It was in his death that Christ was made sin, or an offering for it. Now, for whomsoever he was made sin, they are made the righteousness of God in him: “By his stripes we are healed,” Isa 53:5; John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Then, to intercede is not of greater love than to die, nor any thing else that he doth for his elect. If, then, he laid down his life for all, which is the greatest, why doth he not also the rest for them, and save them to the uttermost?
8. John 17:9, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which then hast given me; for they are thine.” And verse 19, “For their sakes I sanctify myself.”
9. Eph. 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” as [also] Acts 20:28. The object of Christ’s love and his death is here asserted to be his bride, his church; and that as properly as a man’s own wife is the only allowed object of his conjugal affections. And if Christ had a love to others so as to die for them, then is there in the exhortation a latitude left unto men, in conjugal affections, for other women besides their wives.
I thought to have added other arguments, as intending a clear discussing of the whole controversy; but, upon a review of what hath been said, I do with confidence take up and conclude that those which have been already urged will be enough to satisfy them who will be satisfied with any thing, and those that are obstinate will not be satisfied with more. So of our arguments here shall be an end.