Dr. John Owen (1616-1683)
The Death of Death, Book 4
THE DEATH OF DEATH IN THE DEATH OF CHRIST
by John Owen
A TREATISE OF THE REDEMPTION AND RECONCILIATION THAT IS IN THE BLOOD 0F CHRIST, WITH THE MERIT THEREOF, AND SATISFACTION WROUGHT THEREBY.
Things previously to be considered, to the solution of objections.
THERE being sundry places in holy Scripture wherein the ransom and propitiation made by the blood of Christ is set forth in general and indefinite expressions; as also a fruitlessness or want of success in respect of some, through their own default, for whom he died, seemingly intimated; with general proffers, promises, and exhortations, made for the embracing of the fruits of the death of Christ, even to them who do never actually perform it,–whence some have taken occasion to maintain a universality of redemption, equally respecting all and every one, and that with great confidence, affirming that the contrary opinion cannot possibly be reconciled with those places of Scripture wherein the former things are proposed;–these three heads being the only fountains from whence are drawn (but with violence) all the arguments that are opposed to the peculiar effectual redemption of the elect only, I shall, before I come to the answering of objections arising from a wrested interpretation of particular places, lay down some such fundamental principles as are agreeable to the word, and largely held forth in it, and no way disagreeable to our judgment in this particular, which do and have given occasion to those general and indefinite affirmations as they are laid down in the word, and upon which they are founded, having their truth in them, and not in a universal ransom for all and every one; with some distinctions ,conducing to the farther clearing of the thing in question, and waiving of many false imputations of things and consequences, erroneously or maliciously imposed on us.
1. The first thing that we shall lay down is concerning the dignity, worth, preciousness, and infinite value of the blood and death of Jesus Christ. The maintaining and declaring of this is doubtless especially to be considered; and every opinion that doth but seemingly clash against it is exceedingly prejudiced, at least deservedly suspected, yea, presently to be rejected by Christians, if upon search it be found to do so really and indeed, as that which is injurious and derogatory to the merit and honour of Jesus Christ. The Scripture, also, to this purpose is exceeding full and frequent in setting forth the excellency and dignity of his death and sacrifice, calling his blood, by reason of the unity of his person, “God’s own blood,” Acts, 20: 28; exalting it infinitely above all other sacrifices, as having for its principle “the eternal Spirit,” and being itself “without spot,” Heb. 9:14; transcendently more precious than silver, or gold, or corruptible things, I Pet. 1:18; able to give justification from all things, from which by the law men could not be justified, Acts 13:28. Now, such as was the sacrifice and offering, of Christ in itself, such was it intended by his Father it should be. It was, then, the purpose and intention of God that his Son should offer a sacrifice of infinite worth, value, and dignity, sufficient in itself for the redeeming of all and every man, if it had pleased the Lord to employ it to that purpose; yea, and of other worlds also, if the Lord should freely make them, and would redeem them. Sufficient we say, then, was the sacrifice of Christ for the redemption of the whole world, and for the expiation of all the sins of all and every man in the world. This sufficiency of his sacrifice hath a twofold rise:–First., The dignity of the person that did offer and was offered. Secondly, The greatness of the pain he endured, by which he was able to bear, and did undergo, the whole curse of the law and wrath of God due to sin. And this sets out the innate, real, true worth and value of the blood-shedding of Jesus Christ. This is its own true internal perfection and sufficiency. That it should be applied unto any, made a price for them, and become beneficial to them, according to the worth that is in it, is external to it, doth not arise from it, but merely depends upon the intention and will of God. It was in itself of infinite value and sufficiency to have been made a price to have bought and purchased all and every man in the world. That it did formally become a price for any is solely to be ascribed to the purpose of God, intending their purchase and redemption by it. The intention of the offerer and accepter that it should be for such, some, or any, is that which gives the formality of a price unto it; this is external. But the value and fitness of it to be made a price ariseth from its own internal sufficiency. Hence may appear what is to be thought of that old distinction of the schoolmen, embraced and used by divers protestant divines, though by others again rejected;–namely, “That Christ died for all in respect of the sufficiency of the ransom he paid, but not in respect of the efficacy of its application;” or, “The blood of Christ was a sufficient price for the sins of all the world;”–which last expression is corrected by some, and thus asserted, “That the blood of Christ was sufficient to have been made a price for all;” which is most true, as was before declared: for its being a price for all or some doth not arise from its own sufficiency, worth, or dignity, but from the intention of God and Christ using it to that purpose, as was declared; and, therefore, it is denied that the blood of Christ was a sufficient price and ransom for all and every one, not because it was not sufficient, but because it was not a ransom. And so it easily appears what is to be owned in the distinction itself before expressed. If it intend no more but that the blood of our Saviour was of sufficient value for the redemption of all and every one, and that Christ intended to lay down a price which should be sufficient for their redemption, it is acknowledged as most true. But the truth is, that expression, “To die for them,” holds out the intention of our Saviour, in the laying down of the price, to have been their redemption; which we deny, and affirm that then it could not be but that they must be made actual partakers of the eternal redemption purchased for them, unless God failed in his design, through the defect of the ransom paid by Christ, his justice refusing to give a dismission upon the delivery of the ransom.
Now, the infinite value and worth which we assert to be in the death of Christ we conceive to be exceedingly undervalued by the assertors of universal redemption; for that it should be extended to this or that object, fewer or more, we showed before to be extrinsical to it. But its true worth consist in the immediate effects, products, and issues of it, with what in its own nature it is fit and able to do; which they openly and apparently undervalue, yes, almost annihilate. Hence those expressions concerning it:–First, That by it a door of grace was opened for sinners: where, I suppose, they know not; but that any were [ever] effectually carried in at the door by it, that they deny. Secondly, That God might, if he would, and upon what condition he pleased, save those for whom Christ died. That a right of salvation was by him purchased for any, they deny. Hence they grant, that after the death of Christ,–first, God might have dealt with man upon a legal condition again; secondly, That all and every man might have been damned, and yet the death of Christ have had its full effect; as also, moreover, that faith and sanctification are not purchased by his death, yea, no more for any (as before) than what he may go to hell withal. And divers other ways do they express their low thoughts and slight imaginations concerning the innate value and sufficiency of the death and blood-shedding of Jesus Christ. To the honour, then, of Jesus Christ our Mediator, God and man, our all-sufficient Redeemer, we affirm, such and so great was the dignity and worth of his death and blood-shedding, of so precious a value, of such an infinite fulness and sufficiency was this oblation of himself, that it was every way able and perfectly sufficient to redeem, justify, and reconcile and save all the sinners in the world, and to satisfy the justice of God for all the sins of all mankind, and to bring them every one to everlasting glory. Now, this fulness and sufficiency of the merit of the death of Christ is a foundation unto two things:–
First, The general publishing of the gospel unto “all nations,” with the right that it hath to be preached to “every creature,” Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; because the way of salvation which it declares is wide enough for all to walk in. There is enough in the remedy it brings to light to heal all their diseases, to deliver them from all their evils. If there were a thousand worlds, the gospel of Christ might, upon this ground, be preached to them all, there being enough in Christ for the salvation of them all, if so be they will derive virtue from him by touching him in faith; the only way to draw refreshment from this fountain of salvation. It is, then, altogether in vain which some object, that the preaching of the gospel to all is altogether needless and useless, if Christ died not for all; yea, that it is to make God call upon men to believe that which is not true,–namely, that Christ died for them: for, first, besides that amongst those nations whither the gospel is sent there are some to be saved (“I have much people,”) which they cannot be, in the way that God hath appointed to do it, unless the gospel be preached to others as well as themselves; and besides, secondly, that in the economy and dispensation of the new covenant, by which all external differences and privileges of people, tongues, and nations being abolished and taken away, the word of grace was to be preached without distinction, and all men called everywhere to repent; and, thirdly, that when God calleth upon men to believe, be doth not, in the first place, call upon them to believe that Christ died for them, but that there is no name under heaven given unto men whereby they might be saved, but only of Jesus Christ, through whom salvation is preached;–I say, besides these certain truths, fully taking off that objection, this one thing of which we speak is a sufficient basis and ground for all those general precepts of preaching the gospel unto all men, even that sufficiency which we have described.
Secondly, That the preachers of the gospel, in their particular congregations, being utterly unacquainted with the purpose and secret counsel of God, being also forbidden to pry or search into it, Deut. 24:29, may from hence justifiably call upon every man to believe, with assurance of salvation to every one in particular upon his so doing, knowing, and being fully persuaded of this, that there is enough in the death of Christ to save every one that shall so do; leaving the purpose and counsel of God, on whom he will bestow faith, and for whom in particular Christ died (even as they are commanded), to himself.
And this is one principal thing, which, being well observed, will crush many of the vain flourishes of our adversaries; as will in particular hereafter appear.
2. A second thing to be considered is, the economy or administration of the new covenant in the times of the gospel, with the amplitude and enlargement of the kingdom and dominion of Christ after his appearance in the flesh; whereby, all external differences being taken away, the name of Gentiles removed, the partition wall broken down, the promise to Abraham that he should be heir of the world, as he was father of the faithful, was now fully to be accomplished. Now, this administration is so opposite to that dispensation which was restrained to one people and family, who were God’s peculiar, and all the rest of the world excluded, that it gives occasion to many general expressions in the Scripture; which are far enough from comprehending a universality of all individuals, but denote only a removal of all such restraining exceptions as were before in force. So that a consideration of the end whereunto these general expressions are used, and of what is aimed at by them, will clearly manifest their nature, and how they are to be understood, with whom they are that are intended by them and comprehended in them. For it being only this enlargement of the visible kingdom of Christ to all nations in respect of right, and to many in respect of fact (God having elect in all those nations to be brought forth in the several generations wherein the means of grace are in those places employed), that is intended, it is evident that they import only a distribution of men through all differences whatsoever, and not a universal collection of all and every one; the thing intended by them requiring the one and not the other. Hence, those objections which are made against the particularity of the ransom of Christ and the restraining of it only to the elect from the terms of all, all men, all nations, the world, the whole world, and the like, are all of them exceeding weak and invalid, as wresting the general expressions of the Scripture beyond their aim and intent, they being used by the Holy Ghost only to evidence the removal of all personal and national distinctions,–the breaking up of all the narrow bounds of the Old Testament, the enlarging the kingdom of Christ beyond the bounds of Jewry and Salem, abolishing all old restrictions, and opening a way for the elect amongst all people (called “The fulness of the Gentiles,”) to come in; there being now “neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all, and in all,” Col. 3:11. Hence the Lord promiseth to “pour out his Spirit upon all flesh,” Joel2:28; which Peter interpreteth to be accomplished by the filling of the apostles with the gifts of the Spirit, that they might be enabled to preach to several nations, Acts 2:17, “having received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations” Rom. 1:5;–not the Jews only, but some among all nations, “the gospel being the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek,” verse 16; intending only, as to salvation, the peculiar bought by Christ, which he “redeemed out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation,” Rev. 5:9, where ye have an evident distribution of that which in other places is generally set down; the gospel being commanded to be preached to all these nations, Matt. 28:19, that those bought and redeemed ones amongst them all might be brought home to God, John 9:52. And this is that which the apostle so largely sets forth, Eph. 2:14-17. Now, in this sense, which we have explained, and no other, are those many places to be taken which are usually urged for universal grace and redemption, as shall afterward be declared in particular.
3. We must exactly distinguish between mans duty and God’s purpose, there being no connection between them. The purpose and decree of God is not the rule of our duty; neither is the performance of our duty in doing what we are commanded any declaration of what is God’s purpose to do, or his decree that it should be done. Especially is this to be seen and considered in the duty of the ministers of the gospel, in the dispensing of the word, in exhortations, invitations, precepts, and threatenings, committed unto them; all which are perpetual declaratives of our duty, and do manifest the approbation of the thing exhorted and invited to, with the truth of the connection between one thing and another, but not of the counsel and purpose of God, in respect of individual persons, in the ministry of the word. A minister is not to make inquiry after, nor to trouble himself about, those secrets of the eternal mind of God, namely,–whom he purposeth to save, and whom he hath sent Christ to die for in particular. It is enough for them to search his revealed will, and thence take their directions, from whence they have their commissions. Wherefore, there is no sequel between the universal precepts from the word concerning the things, unto God’s purpose in himself concerning persons. They command and invite all to repent and believe; but they know not in particular on whom God will bestow repentance unto salvation, nor in whom he will effect the work of faith with power. And when they make proffers and tenders in the name of God to all, they do not say to all, “It is the purpose and intention of God that ye should believe,” (who gave them any such power?) but, that it is his command, which makes it their duty to do what is required of them; and they do not declare his mind, what himself in particular will do. The external offer is such as from which every man may conclude his own duty; none, God’s purpose, which yet may be known upon performance of his duty. Their objection, then, is vain, who affirm that God hath given Christ for all to whom he offers Christ in the preaching of the gospel; for his offer in the preaching of the gospel is not declarative to any in particular, neither of what God hath done nor of what he will do in reference to him, but of what he ought to do, if he would be approved of God and obtain the good things promised. Whence it will follow,–
First, That God always intends to save some among them to whom he sends the gospel in its power. And the ministers of it being, first, unacquainted with his particular purpose; secondly, bound to seek the good of all and every one, as much as in them lies; thirdly, to hope and judge well of all, even as it is meet for them,–they may make a proffer of Jesus Christ, with life and salvation in him, notwithstanding that the Lord hath given his Son only to his elect.
Secondly, That this offer is neither vain nor fruitless, being declarative of their duty, and of what is acceptable to God if it be performed as it ought to be, even as it is required. And if any ask, What it is of the mind and will of God that is declared and made known when men are commanded to believe for whom Christ did not die? I answer, first, What they ought to do, if they will do that which is acceptable to God; secondly, The sufficiency of salvation that is in Jesus Christ to all that believe on him; thirdly, The certain, infallible, inviolable connection that is between faith and salvation, so that whosoever performs the one shall surely enjoy the other, for whoever comes to Christ he will in no wise cast out. Of which more afterward.
4.The ingraffed erroneous persuasion of the Jews, which for a while had a strong influence upon the apostles themselves, restraining salvation and deliverance by the Messiah, or promised seed, to themselves alone, who were the offspring of Abraham according to the flesh, must be considered as the ground of many general expressions and enlargements of the objects of redemption; which yet, being so occasioned, give no colour of any unlimited universality. That the Jews were generally infected with this proud opinion, that all the promises belonged only to them and theirs, towards whom they had a universality, exclusive of all others, whom they called “dogs, uncircumcised,” and poured out curses on them, is most apparent. Hence, when they saw the multitudes of the Gentiles coming to the preaching of Paul, they were “filled with envy, contradicting, blaspheming, and raising up persecution against them,” Acts 13:45-50; which the apostle again relates of them, I Thess. 2:15, 16. “They please not God,” saith he, “and are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved;” being not with any thing more enraged in the preaching of our Saviour than his prediction of letting out his vineyard to others.
That the apostles themselves, also, had deeply drunk in this opinion, learned by tradition from their fathers, appeareth, not only in their questioning about the restoration of the kingdom unto Israel, Acts 1:6, but also most evidently in this, that after they had received commission to teach and baptize all nations, Matt. 28:19, or every creature, Mark 16:15, and were endued with power from above so to do, according to promise, Acts 1:8; yet they seem to have understood their commission to have extended only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, for they went about and preached only to the Jews, chap. 11:19: and when the contrary was evidenced and demonstrated to them, they glorified God, saying, “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life;” verse 18; admiring at it, as a thing which before they were not acquainted with. And no wonder that men were not easily nor soon persuaded to this, it being the great mystery that was not made known in former ages, as it was then revealed to God’s holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit– namely, “That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel,” Eph. 3:5, 6.
But now, this being so made known unto them by the Spirit, and that the time was come wherein the little sister was to be considered, the prodigal brought home, and Japheth persuaded to dwell in the tents of Shem, they laboured by all means to root it out of the minds of their brethren according to the flesh, of whom they had a special care;–as also, to leave no scruple in the mind of the eunuch, that he was a dry tree; or of the Gentile, that he was cut off from the people of God. To which end they use divers general expressions, carrying a direct opposition to that former error, which was absolutely destructive to the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Hence are those terms of the world, all men, all nations, every creature, and the like, used in the business of redemption and preaching of the gospel; these things being not restrained, according as they supposed, to one certain nation and family, but extended to the universality of God’s people scattered abroad in every region under heaven. Especially are these expressions used by John, who, living to see the first coming of the Lord, in that fearful judgment and vengeance which he executed upon the Jewish nation some forty years after his death, is very frequent in the asserting of the benefit of the world by Christ, in opposition, as I said before, to the Jewish nation,–giving, us a rule how to understand such phrases and locutions: John 11:51, 52, “He signified that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad;” conformably whereunto he tells the believing Jews that Christ is not a propitiation for them only, “but for the sins of the whole world,” I John 2:2, or the people of God scattered throughout the whole world, not tied to any one nation, as they sometime vainly imagined. And this may and doth give much light into the sense and meaning of those places where the words world and all are used in the business of redemption. They do not hold out a collective universality, but a general distribution into men of all sorts, in opposition to the before-recounted erroneous persuasion.
5. The extent, nature., and signification of those general terms which we have frequently used indefinitely in the Scripture, to set out the object of the redemption by Christ, must seriously be weighed. Upon these expressions hangs the whole weight of the opposite cause, the chief if not the only argument for the universality of redemption being taken from words which seem to be of a latitude in their signification equal to such an assertion, as the world, the whole world, all, and the like; which terms, when they have once fastened upon, they run with, “Io triumphe,” as though the victory were surely theirs. The world, the whole world, all, all men!–who can oppose it? Call them to the context in the several places where the words are; appeal to rules of interpretation; mind them of the circumstances and scope of the place, the sense of the same words in other places; with other fore named helps and assistances which the Lord hath acquainted us with for the discovery of his mind and will in his word,–they presently cry out, the bare word, the letter is theirs: “Away with the gloss and interpretation; give us leave to believe what the word expressly saith;”–little (as I hope) imagining, being deluded with the love of their own darling, that if this assertion be general, and they will not allow us the gift of interpretation agreeable to the proportion of faith, that, at one clap, they confirm the cursed madness of the Anthropomorphites,–assigning a human body, form and shape, unto God, who hath none; and the alike cursed figment of transubstantiation, overthrowing the body of Christ who hath one; with divers other most pernicious errors. Let them then, as long as they please, continue such empty clamours, fit to terrify and shake weak and unstable men; for the truth’s sake we will not be silent: and I hope we shall very easily make it appear that the general terms that are used in this business will indeed give no colour to any argument for universal redemption, whether absolute or conditionate.
Two words there are that are mightily stuck upon or stumbled at;–first, The world; secondly, All. The particular places wherein they are, and from which the arguments of our adversaries are urged, we shall afterward consider, and for the present only show that the words themselves, according to the Scripture use, do not necessarily hold out any collective universality of those concerning whom they are affirmed, but, being words of various significations, must be interpreted according to the scope of the place where they are used and the subject-matter of which the Scripture treateth in those places.
First, then, for the word world, which in the New Testament is called KOSMOS (for there is another word sometimes translated world, namely, AION, that belongs not to this matter, noting rather the duration of time than the thing in that space continuing). I shall briefly give you so many various significations of it as shall make it apparent that from the bare usage of a word so exceedingly equivocal no argument can be taken, until it be distinguished, and the meaning thereof in that particular place evinced from whence the argument is taken.
The World is taken,
B. Partially; for
1. The visible heaven.
2. The habitable earth.
II. Adjunctively, in respect of,
A. The inhabitants, and that,–
1. Collectively for the whole.
2. Distributively; for,–
(1.) The good, or elect.
(2.) The wicked, or reprobate.
4. Indifferently, or in common.
5. Restrictively, or synecdochically; for,–
(1.) The chief.
(2.) The Romans.
B. The accidents;
1. Of corruption.
(1.) Corruption itself.
(2.) The seat of corruption.
(3.) The earthly condition.
2. Of the curse.
All these distinctions of the use of the word are made out in the following observations:–
The word world in the Scripture is in general taken five ways:– First, Pro mundo continente; and that,–First, generally, holos for the whole fabric of heaven and earth, with all things in them contained, which in the beginning were created of God: so Job 34:13; Acts 17:24; Eph. 1:4, and in very many other places. Secondly, Distinctively, first, for the heavens, and all things belonging to them, distinguished from the earth, Ps. 90:2; secondly, The habitable earth, and this very frequently, as Ps. 24:1, 98:7; Matt. 13:38; John 1:9, 3:17, 19, 4:14, 17:11; I Tim. 1:15, 6: 7.
Secondly, For the world contained, especially men in the world; and that either,–First, universally for all and every one, Rom. 3:6, 19, 5:12. Secondly, Indefinitely for men, without restriction or enlargement, John 7:4; Isa. 13:11. Thirdly, Exegetically, for many, which is the most usual acceptation of the word, Matt. 18:7; John 4: 42, 12:19, 16:8, 17:21; 1 Cor. 4:9; Rev. 13:3. Fourthly, Comparatively, for a great part of the world, Rom. 1:8; Matt. 24:14, 26:13; Rom. 10:18. Fifthly, Restrictively, for the inhabitants of the Roman empire, Luke 2:1. Sixthly, For men distinguished in their several qualifications as,–1st, For the good, God’s people, either in designation or on possession, Ps. 22:27; John 3:16, 6:33, 51; Rom. 4:13, 11:12, 15; 2 Cor. 5:19; Col. 1:6; 1 John 2:2. 2dly, For the evil, wicked, rejected men of the world, Isa. 53:11; John 7:7, 14: 17, 22, 15:19, 17:25; 1 Cor. 6: 2, 11:32; Heb. 9:38; 2 Pet. 2:5; I John5:19; Rev. 13: 3.
Thirdly, For the world corrupted, or that universal corruption which is in all things in it, as Gal 1:4,6:14; Eph. 2:2; James 1:27, 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17; 1 Cor. 7:31, 33; Col 2:8; 2 Tim. 4:10; Rom 12:2; 1 Cor. 1:20, 21, 3:18, 19.
Fourthly, For a terrene worldly estate or condition of men or things, Ps. 73:12; Luke 16:8; John 18:36; 1 John 4:5, and very many other places.
Fifthly, For the world accursed, as under the power of Satan, John 7:7, 14:30, 16:11, 33; 1 Cor. 2:12; 2 Cor. 4: 4; Eph. 6:12. And divers other significations hath this word in holy writ, which are needless to recount.
These I have rehearsed to show the vanity of that clamour wherewith some men fill their months, and frighten unstable souls with the Scripture mentioning world so often in the business of redemption, as though some strength might be taken thence for the upholding of the general ransom. “Parvas habet spes Troja, si tales habet.” If their greatest strength be but sophistical craft, taken from the ambiguity of an equivocal word, their whole endeavour is like to prove fruitless. Now, as I have declared that it hath divers other acceptations in the Scripture, so when I come to a consideration of their objections that use the word for this purpose, I hope, by God’s assistance, to show that in no one place wherein it is used in this business of redemption, it is or can be taken for all and every man in the world, as, indeed, it is in very few places besides. So that forasmuch as concerning this word our way will be clear, if to what hath been said ye add these observations,–
First, That as in other words, so in these, the same word is ingeminated in a different sense and acceptation. So Matt. 8:22, “Let the dead bury their dead;”–dead in the first place denoting them that are spiritually dead in sin; in the next, those that are naturally dead by a dissolution of soul and body. So John 1:11, He came EIS IDIOS, “to his own,” even all things that he had made; KAI IDIOS, “his own,” that is, the greatest part of the people, “received him not.” So, again, John 3:6, ” That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Spirit in the first place is the almighty Spirit of God; in the latter, a spiritual life of grace received from him. Now, in such places as these, to argue that as such is the signification of the word in one place, therefore in the other, were violently to pervert the mind of the Holy Ghost. Thus also is the word world usually changed in the meaning thereof. So John 1:10, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not!” He that should force the same signification upon the world in that triple mention of it would be an egregious glosser: for in the first, it plainly signifieth some part of the habitable earth, and is taken subjective “partially” in the second, the whole frame of heaven and earth, and is taken subjective “universally” and, in the third, for some men living in the earth,–namely, unbelievers, who may be said to be the world adjunctive. So, again, John 3:17, “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved;” where, by the world in the first, is necessarily to be understood that part of the habitable world wherein our Saviour conversed; in the second, all men in the world, as some suppose (so also there is a truth in it, for our Saviour came not to condemn all men in the world: for, first, condemnation of any was not the prime aim of his coming; secondly, he came to save his own people, and so not to condemn all); in the third, God’s elect, or believers living in the world, in their several generations, who were they whom he intended to save, and none else, or he faileth of his purpose, and the endeavour of Christ is insufficient for the accomplishment of that whereunto it is designed.
Secondly, That no argument can be taken from a phrase of speech in the Scripture, in any particular place, if in other places thereof where it is used the signification pressed from that place is evidently denied, unless the scope of the place or subject-matter do enforce it. For instance: God is said to love the world, and send his Son; to be in Christ reconciling the world, to himself; and Christ to be a propitiation for the sins of the whole world. If the scope of the places where these assertions are, or the subject-matter of which they treat, will enforce a universality of all persons to be meant by the word world, so let it be, without control. But if not, if there be no enforcement of any such interpretation from the places themselves, why should the world there signify all and every one, more than in John 1:10, “The world knew him not,” which, if it be meant of all without exception, then no one did believe in Christ, which is contrary to verse 12; or in Luke 2:1, “That all the world should be taxed,” where none but the chief inhabitants of the Roman empire can be understood; or in John 8:26, “I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him understanding the Jews to whom he spake, who then lived in the world, and not every one, to whom he was not sent; or in John 12:19, “Behold, the world is gone after him!” which world was nothing but a great multitude of one small nation; or in I John 5:19, “The whole world lieth in wickedness,” from which, notwithstanding, all believers are to be understood as exempted; or in Rev. 13:3, “All the world wondered after the beast,” which, whether it be affirmed of the whole universality of individuals in the world, let all judge? That all nations, an expression of equal extent with that of the world, is in like manner to be understood, is apparent, Rom. 1: 5; Rev. 18:3, 23; Ps. 118:10; I Chron. 14:17; Jer. 27:7. It being evident that the words world, all the world, the whole world, do, where taken adjunctively for men in the world, usually and almost always denote only some or many men in the world, distinguished into good or bad, believers or unbelievers, elect or reprobate, by what is immediately in the several places affirmed of them, I see no reason in the world why they should be wrested to any other meaning or sense in the places that are in controversy between us and our opponents. The particular places we shall afterward consider.
Now, as we have said of the word world, so we may of the word all, wherein much strength is placed, and many causeless boastings are raised from it. That it is nowhere affirmed in the Scripture that Christ died for all men, or gave himself a ransom for all men, much less for all and every man, we have before declared. That he “gave himself a ransom for all” is expressly affirmed, I Tim. 2:6. But now, who this all should be, whether all believers, or all the elect, or some of all sorts, or all of every sort, is in debate. Our adversaries affirm the last; and the main reason they bring to assert their interpretation is from the importance of the word itself: for, that the circumstances of the place, the analogy of faith, and other helps for exposition, do not at all favour their gloss, we shall show when we come to the particular places urged. For the present let us look upon the word in its usual acceptation in the Scripture, and search whether it always necessarily requires such an interpretation.
That the word all, being spoken of among all sorts of men, speaking, writing, any way expressing themselves, but especially in holy writ, is to be taken either collectively for all in general, without exception, or distributively for some of all sorts, excluding none, is more apparent than that it can require any illustration. That it is sometimes taken in the first sense, for all collectively, is granted, and I need not prove it, they whom we oppose affirming that this is the only sense of the word,- though I dare boldly say it is not once in ten times so to be understood in the usage of it through the whole book of God; but that it is commonly, and indeed properly, used in the latter sense, for some of all sorts, concerning whatsoever it is affirmed, a few instances, for many that might be urged, will make it clear. Thus then, ye have it, John 12:32, “And 1, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me” That we translate it “all men” as in other places (for though I know the sense way be the same, yet the word men being not in the original, but only all), I cannot approve. But who, I pray, are these all? Are they all and every one? Then are all and every one drawn to Christ, made believers, and truly converted, and shall be certainly saved; for those that come unto him by his and his Father’s drawing, “he will in no wise cast out, “John 6:37. All then can here be no other than many, some of all sorts, no sort excluded, according as the word is interpreted in Rev. 5:9, “Thou hast redeemed us out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” These are the all he draws to him: which exposition of this phrase is with me of more value and esteem than a thousand glosses of the sons of men. So also, Luke 11:42, where our translators have made the word to signify immediately and properly (for translators are to keep close to the propriety and native signification of every word) what we assert to be the right interpretation of it; for they render RHETOS (which expressly is “every herb”), “all manner of herbs,” taking the word (as it must be) distributively, for herbs of all sorts, and not for any individual herb, which the Pharisees did not, could not tithe. And in the very same sense is the word used again, Luke 18:12, “I give tithes of all that I possess;” where it cannot signify every individual thing, as is apparent. Most evident, also, is this restrained signification of the word, Acts 2:17, “I will pour out of my Spirit, upon all flesh” which, whether it compriseth every man or no, let every man judge, and not rather men of several and sundry sorts. The same course of interpretation as formerly is followed by our translators, Acts 10:12, rendering (literally, “all beasts or four-footed creatures,”) “all manner of beasts;” or beasts of sundry several sorts. In the same sense also must it be understood, Rom. 14:2, “One believeth that he may eat all things;” that is, what he pleaseth of things to be eaten of. See, moreover, I Cor. 1:5. Yea, in that very chapter where men so eagerly contend that the word all is to be taken for all and every one (though fruitlessly and falsely, as shall be demonstrated),–namely, 1 Tim. 2:4, where it is said that “God will have all men to be saved,”–in that very chapter confessedly the word is to be expounded according to the sense we give, namely, verse 8, “I will, therefore, that men pray in every place,” which, that it cannot signify every individual place in heaven, earth, and hell, is of all confessed, and needeth no proof; no more than when our Saviour is said to cure “every disease”, as Matt. 9:35, there is need to prove that he did not cure every disease of every man, but only all sorts of diseases.
Sundry other instances might be given to manifest that this is the most usual and frequent signification of the word all in the holy Scripture; and, therefore, from the base word nothing can be inferred to enforce an absolute unlimited universality of all individuals to be intimated thereby. The particular places insisted on we shall afterward consider. I shall conclude all concerning these general expressions that are used in the Scripture about this business in these observations:–
First, The word all is certainly and unquestionably sometimes restrained, and to be restrained, to all of some sorts, although the qualification be not expressed which is the bond of the limitation: so for all believers, I Cor. 15:22; Eph. 4:6; Rom. 5:18, “The free gift came upon all men to justification of life:” which “all men,” that are so actually justified, are no more nor less than those that are Christ’s,–that is, believers; for certainly justification is not without faith.
Secondly, The word all is sometimes used for some of all sorts, Jer. 31:34. The Hebrew word kowl is by Paul rendered all, Heb. 8:11; so John 12:32; 1 Tim. 2:1-3; which is made apparent by the mention of “kings,” as one sort of people there intended. And I make no doubt but it will appear to all that the word must be taken in one of these senses in every place where it is used in the business of redemption; as shall be proved.
Thirdly, Let a diligent comparison be made between the general expressions of the New with the predictions of the Old Testament, and they will be found to be answerable to, and expository of, one another; the Lord affirming in the New that that was done which in the Old be foretold should be done. Now, in the predictions and prophecies of the Old Testament, that all nations, all flesh, all people, all the ends, families, or kindreds of the earth, the world, the whole earth, the isles, shall be converted, look up to Christ, come to the mountain of the Lord, and the like,, none doubts but that the elect of God in all nations are only signified, knowing that in them alone those predictions have the tenth of their accomplishment. And why should the same expressions used in the Gospel, and many of them aiming directly to declare the fulfilling of the other, be wire-drawn to a large extent, so contrary to the mind of the Holy Ghost? In fine, as when the Lord is said to wipe tears from all faces, it hinders not but that the reprobates shall be cast out to eternity where there is weeping and wailing, etc.; so when Christ is said to die for all, it hinders not but that those reprobates may perish to eternity for their sins, without any effectual remedy intended for them, though occasionally proposed to some of them.
6. Observe that the Scripture often speaketh of things and persons according to the appearance they have, and the account that is of them amongst men, or that esteem that they have of them to whom it speaketh,–frequently speaking of men and unto men as in the condition wherein they are according to outward appearance, upon which human judgment must proceed, and not what they are indeed. Thus, many are called and said to be wise, just, and righteous, according as they are so esteemed, though the Lord knows them to be foolish sinners. So Jerusalem is called “The holy city,” Matt, 27:53, because it was so in esteem and appearance, when indeed it was a very “den of thieves.” And 2 Chron. 28:23, it is said of Ahaz, that wicked king of Judah, that “he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that smote him.” It was the Lord alone that smote him, and those idols to which he sacrificed were but stocks and stones, the work of mens hands, which could no way help themselves, much less smite their enemies; yet the Holy Ghost useth an expression answering his idolatrous persuasion, and saith, “They smote him.” Nay, is it not said of Christ, John 5:18, that he had broken the Sabbath, which yet he only did in the corrupt opinion of the blinded Pharisees?
Add, moreover, to what hath been said, that which is of no less an undeniable truth,–namely, that many things which are proper and peculiar to the children of God are oft and frequently assigned to them who live in the same outward communion with them, and are partaken of the same external privileges, though indeed aliens in respect of the participation of the grace of the promise. Put, I say, these two things which are most evident, together, and it will easily appear that those places which seem to express a possibility of perishing and eternal destruction to them who are said to be redeemed by the blood of Christ, are no ways advantageous to the adversaries of the effectual redemption of God’s elect by the blood of Christ.
7. That which is spoken according to the judgment of charity on our parts must not always be exactly squared and made answerable to verity in respect of them of whom any thing is affirmed. For the rectitude of our judgment, it sufficeth that we proceed according to the rules of judging that are given us; for what is out of our cognizance, whether that answer to our judgments or no, belongs, not to us. Thus, oftentimes the apostles in the Scriptures write unto men, and term them “holy,” “saints,” yea, “elected;” but from thence positively to conclude that they were all so indeed, we have no warrant. So I Peter 1:1, 2, calls all the strangers to whom he wrote, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,” etc.; and yet that I have any warrant to conclude, de fide, that all were such, none dare affirm. So Paul tells the Thessalonians, the whole church to whom he wrote, that he “knew their election of God,” I Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13, he blesseth God “who had chosen them to salvation.” Now, did not Paul make this judgment of them by the rule of charity? according as he affirms in another place, “It is meet for me to think so of you all” Phil. 1:7; and can it, ought it, hence to be infallibly concluded that they were all elected? If some of these should be found to fall away from the gospel and to have perished, would an argument from thence be valid that the elect might perish? would we not presently answer, that they were said to be elected according to the judgment of charity, not that they were so indeed? And why is not this answer as sufficient and satisfying when it is given to the objection taken from the perishing of some who were said to be redeemed merely in the judgment of charity, as when they were said to be elected?
8. The infallible connection, according to God’s purpose and will, of faith and salvation, which is frequently the thing intended in gospel proposals, must be considered. The Lord hath in his counsel established it, and revealed in his word, that there is an indissoluble bond between these two things, so that “he that believeth shall be saved,” Mark 16:16; which, indeed, is the substance of the gospel, in the outward promulgation thereof. This is the testimony of God, that eternal life is in his Son; which whoso believeth, he sets to his seal that God is true; he who believes not doing what in him lieth to make God a liar, I John 5:9-11. Now, this connection of the means and the end, faith and life, is the only thing which is signified and held out to innumerable to whom the gospel is preached, all the commands, proffers, and promises that are made unto them intimating no more than this will of God,, that believers shall certainly be saved; which is an unquestionable divine verity and a sufficient object for supernatural faith to rest upon, and which being not closed with is a sufficient cause of damnation: John 8:24, “If ye believe not that I am he”(that is, “the way, the truth, and the life”), “ye shall die in your sins.”
It is a vain imagination of some, that when the command and promise of believing are made out to any man though he be of the number of them that shall certainly perish, yet the Lord hath a conditional will of his salvation, and intends that he shall be saved, on condition that he will believe; when the condition lieth not at all in the will of God, which is always absolute, but is only between the things to them proposed, as was before declared. And those poor deluded things, who will be standing upon their own legs before they are well able to crawl, and might justly be persuaded to hold by men of more strength, do exceedingly betray their own conceited ignorance, when, with great pomp, they hold out the broken pieces of an old Arminian sophism with acclamations of grace to this new discovery (for so they think of all that is new to them),–namely, “As is God’s proffer, so is his intention; but he calls to all to believe and be saved: therefore he intends it to all.” For,–
First, God doth not proffer life to all upon the condition of faith, passing by a great part of mankind without any such proffer made to them at all.
Secondly, If by God’s proffer they understand his command and promise, who told them that these things were declarative of his will and purpose or intention? He commands Pharaoh to let his people go; but did he intend he should so do according to his command? had he not foretold that he would so order things that he should not let them go? I thought always that God’s commands and promises had revealed our duty, and not his purpose; what God would have us to do, and not what he will do. His promises, indeed, as particularly applied, hold out his mind to the persons to whom they are applied; but as indefinitely proposed, they reveal no other intention of God but what we before discovered, which concerns things, not persons, even his determinate purpose infallibly to connect faith and salvation.
Thirdly, If the proffer be (as they say) universal, and the intention of God be answerable thereunto,–that is, he intends the salvation of them to whom the tender of it upon faith is made, or may be so; then,–First, What becomes of election and reprobation? Neither of them, certainly, can consist with this universal purpose of saving us all. Secondly, If he intend it, why is it, then, not accomplished? doth he fail of his purpose? “Dum vitant stulti vitia, in contraria currunt.” Is not this certain Scylla worse than the other feared Charybdis? But they say, “He intendeth it only upon condition; and the condition being not fulfilled, he fails not in his purpose, though the thing be not conferred.” But did the Lord foreknow whether the condition would be fulfilled by them to whom the proposal was made, or not? If not, where is his prescience, his omniscience? If he did, how can he be said to intend salvation to them of whom he certainly knew that they would never fulfil the condition on which it was to be attained; and, moreover, knew it with this circumstance, that the condition was not to be attained without his bestowing, and that he had determined not to bestow it? Would they ascribe such a will and purpose to a wise man as they do ignorantly and presumptuously to the only wise God,–namely, that he should intend to have a thing done upon the performance of such a condition as he knew full well without him could never be performed, and he had fully resolved not to effect it: for instance, to give his daughter in marriage to such a one, upon condition he would give unto him such a jewel as he hath not, nor can have, unless he bestow it upon him, which he is resolved never to do? Oh, whither will blindness and ignorance, esteemed light and knowledge, carry poor deluded souls? This, then is the main thing demonstrated and held out in the promulgation of the gospel, especially for what concerns unbelievers, even the strict connection between the duty of faith assigned and the benefit of life promised; which hath a truth of universal extent, grounded upon the plenary sufficiency of the death of Christ, towards all that shall believe. And I see no reason why this should be termed part of the mystery of the Universalists, though the lowest part (as it is by M — S—-, page 202), that the gospel could not be preached to all unless Christ died for all; which, with what is mentioned before concerning another and higher part of it, is an old, rotten, carnal, and long-since-confuted sophism, arising out of the ignorance of the word and right reason, which are no way contrary.
9. The mixed distribution of the elect and reprobates, believers and unbelievers, according to the purpose and mind of God, through, out the whole world, and in the several places thereof, in all or most of the single congregations, is another ground of holding out a tender of the blood of Jesus Christ to them for whom it was never shed, as is apparent in the event by the ineffectualness of its proposals. The ministers of the gospel, who are stewards of the mysteries of Christ, and to whom the word of reconciliation is committed, being acquainted only with revealed things (the Lord lodging his purposes and intentions towards particular persons in the secret ark of his own bosom, not to be pryed into), are bound to admonish all, and warn all men, to whom they are sent; giving the same commands, proposing the same promises, making tenders of Jesus Christ in the same manner, to all, that the elect, whom they know not but by the event, may obtain, whilst the rest are hardened. Now, these things being thus ordered by Him who hath the supreme of all,–namely, First, That there should be such a mixture of elect and reprobate, of tares and wheat, to the end of the world; and, secondly, That Christ, and reconciliation through him, should be preached by men ignorant of his eternal discriminating purposes; there is an absolute necessity of two other things: First, That the promises must have a kind of unrestrained generality, to be suitable to this dispensation before recounted. Secondly, That they must be proposed to them towards whom the Lord never intended the good things of the promises, they having a share in this proposal by their mixture in this world with the elect of God. So that, from the general proposition of Christ in the promises, nothing can be concluded concerning his death for all to whom it is proposed, as having another rise and occasion. The sum is:–The word of reconciliation being committed to men unacquainted with God’s distinguishing counsels, to be preached to men of a various, mixed condition in respect of his purpose, and the way whereby he hath determined to bring his own home to himself being by exhortations, entreaties, promises, and the like means, accommodated to the reasonable nature whereof all are partakers to whom the word is sent, which are suited also to the accomplishment of other ends towards the rest, as conviction, restraint, hardening, inexcusableness, it cannot be but the proposal and offer must necessarily be made to some upon condition, who intentionally, and in respect of the purpose of God, have no right unto it in the just aim and intendment thereof Only, for a close ,observe these two things:–First, That the proffer itself neither is nor ever was absolutely universal to all, but only indefinite, without respect to outward differences. Secondly, That Christ being not to be received without faith, and God giving faith to whom he pleaseth, it is manifest that he never intendeth Christ to them on whom he will not bestow faith.
10. The faith which is enjoined and commanded in the gospel hath divers several acts and different degrees, in the exercise whereof it proceedeth orderly, according to the natural method of the proposal of the objects to be believed: the consideration whereof is of much use in the business in hand, our adversaries pretending that if Christ died not for all, then in vain are they exhorted to believe, there being, indeed, no proper object for the faith of innumerable, because Christ did not die for them; as though the gospel did hold out this doctrine in the very entrance of all, that Christ died for every one, elect and reprobate; or as though the first thing which any one living under the means of grace is exhorted to believe were, that Christ died for him in particular;–both which are notoriously false, as I hope, in the close of our undertaking, will be made manifest to all. For the present I shall only intimate something of what I said before, concerning the order of exercising the several acts of faith; whereby it will appear that no one in the world is commanded or invited to believe, but that he hath a sufficient object to fix the act of faith on, of truth enough for its foundation, and latitude enough for its utmost exercise, which is enjoined him.
First, then, The first thing which the gospel enjoineth sinners, and which it persuades and commands them to believe, is, that salvation is not to be had in themselves, inasmuch as all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; nor by the works of the law, by which no flesh living can be justified. Here is a saving gospel truth for sinners to believe, which the apostle dwells upon wholly, Rom. Chapters I, II, and III, to prepare a way for justification by Christ. Now, what numberless numbers are they to whom the gospel is preached who never come so far as to believe so much as this! amongst whom you may reckon almost the whole nation of the Jews, as is apparent, Rom. 9, 10:3, 4. Now, not to go one step farther with any proposal, a contempt of this object of faith is the sin of infidelity.
Secondly, The gospel requires faith to this, that there is salvation to be had in the promised seed,–in Him who was before ordained to be a captain of salvation to them that do believe. And here also at this trial some millions of the great army of men, outwardly called, drop off, and do never believe, with true divine faith, that God hath provided a way for the saving of sinners.
Thirdly, That Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified by the Jews, was this Saviour, promised before; and that there is no name under heaven given whereby they may be saved besides his. And this was the main point upon which the Jews broke off, refusing to accept of Christ as the Saviour of men, but rather prosecuted him as an enemy of God; and are thereupon so oft charged with infidelity and damnable unbelief. The question was not, between Christ and them, whether he died for them all or no? but, whether he was that Messiah promised? which they denied, and perished in their unbelief. Now, before these three acts of faith be performed, in vain is the soul exhorted farther to climb the uppermost steps, and miss all the bottom foundation ones.
Fourthly, The gospel requires a resting upon this Christ, so discovered and believed on to be the promised Redeemer, as an all sufficient Saviour, with whom is plenteous redemption, and who is able to save to the utmost them that come to God by him, and to bear the burden of all weary labouring souls that come by faith to him; in which proposal there is a certain infallibleble truth, grounded upon the superabundant sufficiency of the oblation of Christ in itself for whomsoever (fewer or more) it be intended. Now, much self-knowledge, much conviction, much sense of sin, God’s justice, and free grace, is required to the exercise of this act of faith. Good Lord! how many thousand poor souls within the pale of the church can never be brought unto it! The truth is without the help of God’s Spirit none of those three before, much less this last, can be performed; which worketh freely, when, how, and in whom he pleaseth.
Fifthly, These things being firmly seated in the soul (and not before), we are every one called in particular to believe the efficacy of the redemption that is in the blood of Jesus towards our own souls in particular: which every one may assuredly do in whom the free grace of God hath wrought the former acts of faith, and doth work this also, without either doubt or fear of want of a right object to believe if they should so do; for certainly Christ died for every one in whose heart the Lord, by his almighty power, works effectually faith to lay hold on him and assent unto him, according to that orderly proposal that is held forth in the gospel. Now, according to this order (as by some it is observed) are the articles of our faith disposed in the apostles’ creed (that ancient summary of Christian religion commonly so called), the remission of our sins and life eternal being in the last place proposed to be believed; for before we attain so far the rest must be firmly rooted. So that it is a senseless vanity to cry out of the nullity of the object to be believed, if Christ died not for all, there being an absolute truth in every thing which any is called to assent unto, according to the order of the gospel.
And so I have proposed the general foundations of these answers which we shall give to the ensuing objections; whereunto to make particular application of them will be an easy task as I hope will be made apparent unto all.
An entrance to the answer unto particular arguments.
Now we come to the consideration of the objections wherewith the doctrine we have, from the word of God, undeniably confirmed is usually, with great noise and clamour, assaulted; concerning which I must give you these three cautions, before I come to lay them down:–
The first whereof is this, that for mine own part I had rather they were all buried than once brought to light, in opposition to the truth of God, which they seem to deface; and therefore, were it left to my choice, I would not produce any one of them: not that there is any difficulty or weight in them, that the removal should be operose or burdensome, but only that I am not willing to be any way instrumental to give breath or light to that which opposeth the truth of God. But because, in these times of liberty and error, I suppose the most of them have been objected to, the reader already by men lying in wait to deceive, or are likely to be, I shall therefore show you the poison, and withal furnish you with an antidote against the venom of such self-seekers as our days abound withal.
Secondly, I must desire you, that when ye hear an objection, ye would not be carried away with the sound of words, nor suffer it to take impression on your spirits, remembering with how many demonstrations and innumerable places of Scripture the truth opposed by them hath been confirmed, but rest yourselves until the places be well weighed, the arguments pondered, the answers set down; and then the Lord direct you to “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.”
Thirdly, That you would diligently observe what comes near the stress of the controversy, and the thing wherein the difference lieth, leaving all other flourishes and swelling words of vanity, as of no weight, of no importance.
Now, the objections laid against the truth maintained are of two sorts;–the first taken from scripture perverted; the other, from reason abused.
We begin with the first, the OBJECTIONS TAKEN FROM SCRIPTURE; all the places whereof that may any way seem to contradict our assertion are, by our strongest adversaries (Remon. Scripta Synod) in their greatest strength, referred to three heads:–First, Those places that affirm that Christ died for the world, or that otherwise make mention of the word world in the business of redemption. Secondly, Those that mention all and every man, either in the work of Christ’s dying for them, or where God is said to will their salvation. Thirdly, Those which affirm Christ bought or died for them that perish. Hence they draw out three principal arguments or sophisms on which they much insist. All which we shall by the Lord’s assistance, consider in their several order, with the places of Scripture brought to confirm and strengthen them.
I. The first whereof is taken from the “world”, and in thus proposed by them, to whom our poor pretenders are indeed very children.–
“He that is given out of the love wherewith God loved the world, as John 3:16; that gave for the life of the world, as John 6:51; and was a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, as I John 2:2” (to which add, John 1:29, 4:42; 2 Cor. 5:19, cited by Armin. pp. 530, 531, and Corv. ad Molin. p. 442, chap. 29); “he was given and died for every man in the world;–but the first is true of Christ, as appears by the places before alleged: therefore he died for all and every one,” Remon. Act. Synod. p. 300. And to this they say their adversaries have not any colour of answer.
But granting them the liberty of boasting, we flatly deny, without seeking for colours, the consequent of the first proposition, and will, by the Lord’s help, at any time, put it to the trial whether we have not just cause so to do. There be two ways whereby they go about to prove this consequent from the world to all and every one, –first, By reason and the sense of the word; secondly, From the consideration of the particular places of Scripture urged. We will try them in both.
First, If they will make it out by the way of reasoning, I conceive they must argue thus:- –
The whole world contains all and every man in the world; Christ died for the whole world: therefore, etc.
Ans. Here are manifestly four terms in this syllogism, arising from the ambiguity of the word “world,” and so no true medium on which the weight of the conclusion should hang; the world, in the first proposition, being taken for the world containing; in the second, for the world contained, or men in the world, as is too apparent to be made a thing to be proved. So that unless ye render the conclusion, Therefore Christ died for that which contains all the men in the world, and assert in the assumption that Christ died for the world containing, or the fabric of the habitable earth (which is a frenzy), this syllogism is most sophistically false. If then, ye will take any proof from the word “world,” it must not be from the thing itself, but from the signification of the word in the Scripture; as thus:–
This word “world” in the Scripture signifieth all and every man in the world; but Christ is said to die for the world: ergo, etc.
Ans. The first proposition, concerning the signification and meaning of the word world is either universal, comprehending all places where it is used, or particular, intending only some. If the first, the proposition is apparently false, as was manifested before; if in the second way, then the argument must be thus formed:–
In some places in Scripture the word “world” signifieth all and every man in the world, of all ages, times, and conditions; but Christ is said to die for the world: ergo, etc.
Ans. That this syllogism is no better than the former is most evident, a universal conclusion being inferred from a particular proposition. But now the first proposition being rightly formed, I have one question to demand concerning the second, or the assumption,–namely, whether in every place where there is mention made of the death of Christ, it is said he died for the world, or only in some? If ye say in every place, that is apparently false, as hath been already discovered by those many texts of Scripture before produced, restraining the death of Christ to his elect, his sheep, his church, in comparison whereof these are but few. If the second, then the argument must run thus:–
In some few places of Scripture the word “world” doth signify all and every man in the world; but in some few places Christ is said to die for the world (though not in express words, yet in equivalent): ergo, etc.
Ans. This argument is so weak, ridiculous, and sophistically false, that it cannot but be evident to any one; and yet clearly, from the word world itself, it will not be made any better, and none need desire that it should be worse. It concludes a universal upon particular affirmatives, and, besides, with four terms apparently in the syllogism; unless the some places in the first be proved to be the very some places in the assumption, which is the thing in question. So that if any strength be taken from this word, it must be an argument in this form:–
If the word “world” doth signify all and every man that ever were or shall be, in those places where Christ is said to die for the world, “then Christ died for all and every man; but the word “world,” in all those places where Christ is said to die for the world, doth signify all and every man in the world: therefore Christ died for them.
Ans. First, That it is but in one place said that Christ gave his life for the world, or died for it, which holds out the intention of our Saviour; all the other places seem only to hold out the sufficiency of his oblation for all, which we also maintain. Secondly, We absolutely deny the assumption, and appeal for trial to a consideration of all those particular places wherein such mention is made.
Thus have I called this argument to rule and measure, that it might be evident where the great strength of it lieth (which is indeed very weakness), and that for their sakes who, having caught hold of the word world, run presently away with the bait, as though all were clear for universal redemption; when yet if ye desire them to lay out and manifest the strength of their reason, they know not what to say but the world and the whole world understanding, indeed, neither what they say nor whereof they do affirm. And now, quid dignum tanto ? what cause of the great boast mentioned in the entrance? A weaker argument, I dare say, was never by rational men produced in so weighty a cause; which will farther be manifested by the consideration of the several particular places produced to give it countenance, which we shall do in order:–
1. The first place we pitch upon is that which by our adversaries is first propounded, and not a little rested upon; and yet notwithstanding their clamorous claim, there are not a few who think that very text as fit and ready to overthrow their whole opinion as Goliath’s sword to cut off his own head, many unanswerable arguments against the universality of redemption being easily deduced from the words of that text. The great peaceable King of his church guide us to make good the interest of truth to the place in controversy which through him we shall attempted by opening the words; and, secondly, by balancing of reasonings and arguments from them. And this place is John 3:16, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whomever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This place, I say, the Universalists exceedingly boast in; for which we are persuaded they have so little cause, that we doubt not but, with the Lord’s assistance, to demonstrate that it is destructive to their whole defense: to which end I will give you, in brief, a double paraphrase of the words, the first containing their sense, the latter ours. Thus then, our adversaries explain these words:–” ‘God so loved,’ had such a natural inclination, velleity, and propensity to the good of ‘the world,’ Adam, with all and every one of his posterity, of all ages, times, and conditions (whereof some were in heaven, some in hell long before), ‘that he gave his only-begotten Son,’ causing him to be incarnate in the fulness of time, to die, not with a purpose and resolution to save any, but ‘that whosoever,’ what persons soever of those which he had propensity unto, ‘believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,’ should have this fruit and issue, that he should escape death and hell, and live eternally.” In which explication of the sense of the place these things are to be observed:–
First, What is that love which was the cause of the sending or giving of Christ; which they make to be a natural propensity to the good of all. Secondly, Who are the objects of this love; all and every man of all generations. Thirdly, Wherein this giving consisteth; of which I cannot find whether they mean by it the appointment of Christ to be a recoverer, or his actual exhibition in the flesh for the accomplishment of his ministration. Fourthly, Whosoever, they make distributive of the persons in the world, and so not restrictive in the intention to some. Fifthly, That life eternal is the fruit obtained by believers, but not the end intended by God.
Now, look a little, in the second place, at what we conceive to be the mind of God in those words; whose aim we take to be the advancement and setting forth of the free love of God to lost sinners, in sending Christ to procure for them eternal redemption, as may appear in this following paraphrase:–
” ‘God’ the Father ‘so loved,’ had such a peculiar, transcendent love, being an unchangeable purpose and act of his will concerning their salvation, towards ‘the world,’ miserable, sinful, lost men of all sorts, not only Jews but Gentiles also, which he peculiarly loved, ‘that,’ intending their salvation, as in the last words, for the praise of his glorious grace, ‘he gave,’ he prepared a way to prevent their everlasting destruction, by appointing and sending ‘his only-begotten Son’ to be an all-sufficient Saviour to all that look up unto him, ‘that whosoever believeth in him,’ all believers whatsoever, and only they, ‘should not perish, but have everlasting life,’ and so effectually be brought to the obtaining of those glorious things through him which the Lord in his free love had designed for theme.”
In which enlargement of the words, for the setting forth of what we conceive to be the mind of the Holy Ghost in them, these things are to be observed:–
First, What we understand by the “love” of God, even that act of his will which was the cause of sending his Son Jesus Christ being the most eminent act of love and favour to the creature; for love is velle alicui bonum, “to will good to any.” And never did God will greater good to the creature than in appointing his Son for their redemption. Notwithstanding, I would have it observed that I do not make the purpose of sending or giving Christ to be absolutely subordinate to God’s love to his elect, as though that were the end of the other absolutely, but rather that they are both co-ordinate to the same supreme end, or the manifestation of God’s glory by the way of mercy tempered with justice; but in respect of our apprehension, that is the relation wherein they stand one to another. Now, this love we say to be that, greater than which there is none.
Secondly, By the “world,” we understand the elect of God only, though not considered in this place as such, but under such a notion as, being true of them, serves for the farther exaltation of God’s love towards them, which is the end here designed; and this is, as they are poor, miserable, lost creatures in the world, of the world, scattered abroad in all places of the world, not tied to Jews or Greeks, but dispersed in any nation, kindred, and language under heaven.
Thirdly, “that every believer,” is declarative of the intention of God in sending or giving his Son, containing no distribution of the world beloved, but a direction to the persons whose good was intended, that love being an unchangeable intention of the chiefest good.
Fourthly, “Should not perish, but have life everlasting”, contains an expression of the particular aim and intention of God in this business; which is, the certain salvation of believes by Christ. And this in general, is the interpretation of the words which we adhere unto, which will yield us sundry arguments, sufficient each of them to evert the general ransom; which that they may be the better bottomed and the more dearly convincing, we will lay down and compare the several words and expressions of this place, about whose interpretation we differ, with the reason of our rejecting the one sense and embracing the other:–
The first difference in the interpretation of this place is about the cause of sending Christ; called here love. The second, about the object of this love; called here the world. Thirdly, Concerning the intention of God in sending his Son; said to be that believers might be saved.
For the FIRST, By “love”- in this place all our adversaries agree that a natural affection and propensity in God to the good of the creature, lost under sin, in general, which moved him to take some way whereby it might possibly be remedied, is intended. We, on the contrary, say that by love here is not meant an inclination or propensity of his nature, but an act of his will (where we conceive his love to be seated), and eternal purpose to do good to man, being the most transcendent and eminent act of God’s love to the creature.
That both these may be weighed, to see which is most agreeable to the mind of the Holy Ghost, I shall give you, first some of the reasons whereby we oppose the former interpretation; and, secondly, those whereby we confirm our own.
First, If no natural affection, whereby he should necessarily be carried to any thing without himself, can or ought to be ascribed unto God, then no such thing is here intended in the word love; for that cannot be here intended which is not in God at all. But now, that there neither is nor can be any such natural affection in God is most apparent, and may be evidenced by many demonstrations. I shall briefly recount a few of them:–
First, Nothing that includes any imperfection is to be assigned to Almighty God: he is God all-sufficient; he is our rock, and his work is perfect. But a natural affection in God to the good and salvation of all, being never completed nor perfected, carrieth along with it a great deal of imperfection and weakness; and not only so, but it must also needs be exceedingly prejudicial to the absolute blessedness and happiness of Almighty God. Look, how much any thing wants of the fulfilling of that whereunto it is carried out with any desire, natural or voluntary, so much it wanteth of blessedness and happiness. So that, without impairing of the infinite blessedness of the ever-blessed God, no natural affection unto any thing never to be accomplished can be ascribed unto him, such as this general love to all is supposed to be.
Secondly, If the Lord hath such a natural affection to all, as to love them so far as to send his Son to die for them, whence is it that this affection of his doth not receive accomplishment? whence is it that it is hindered, and doth not produce its effects? why doth not the Lord engage his power for the fulfilling of his desire? “It doth not seem good to his infinite wisdom,” say they, “so to do.” Then is there an affection in God to that which, in his wisdom, he cannot prosecute. This among the sons of men, the worms of the earth, would be called a brutish affection.
Thirdly, No affection or natural propensity to good is to be ascribed to God which the Scripture nowhere assigns to him, and is contrary to what the Scripture doth assign unto him. Now, the Scripture doth nowhere assign unto God any natural affection whereby he should be naturally inclined to the good of the creature; the place to prove it clearly is yet to be produced. And that it is contrary to what the Scripture assigns him is apparent; for it describes him to be free in showing mercy, every act of it being by him performed freely, even as he pleaseth, for “he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy.” Now, if every act of mercy showed unto any do proceed from the free distinguishing will of God (as is apparent), certainly there can be in him no such natural affection. And the truth is, if the Lord should not show mercy, and be carried out towards the creature, merely upon his own distinguishing will, but should naturally be moved to show mercy to the miserable, he should, first, be no more merciful to men than to devils, nor, secondly, to those that are saved than to those that are damned: for that which is natural must be equal in all its operations; and that which is natural to God must be eternal. Many more effectual reasons are produced by our divines for the denial of this natural affection in God, in the resolution of the Arminian distinction (I call it so, as now by them abused) of God’s antecedent and consequent will, to whom the learned reader may repair for satisfaction. So that the love mentioned in this place is not that natural affection to all in general, which is not. But,–
Secondly, It is the special love of God to his elect, as we affirm, and so, consequently, not any such thing as our adversaries suppose to be intended by it, – namely, a velleity or natural inclination to the good of all. For,–
First, The love here intimated is absolutely the most eminent and transcendent love that ever God showed or bare towards any miserable creature; yea, the intention of our Saviour is so to set it forth, as is apparent by the emphatical expression of it used in this place. The particles “so,” “that,” declare no less, pointing out an eximiousness peculiarly remarkable in the thing whereof the affirmation is [made], above any other thing in the same kind. Expositors usually lay weight upon almost every particular word of the verse, for the exaltation and demonstration of the love here mentioned. “So,” that is, in such a degree, to such a remarkable, astonishable height: “God,” the glorious, all-sufficient God, that could have manifested his justice to eternity in the condemnation of all sinners, and no way wanted them to be partakers of his blessedness: “loved,” with such an earnest intense affection, consisting in an eternal unchangeable act and purpose of his will for the bestowing of the chiefest good (the choicest effectual love): “the world,” men in the world, of the world, subject to the iniquities and miseries of the world, lying in their blood, having nothing to render them commendable in his eyes, or before him: “that he gave,” did not, as he made all the world at first, speak the word and it was done, but proceeded higher, to the performance of a great deal more and longer work, wherein he was to do more than exercise an act of his almighty power, as before; and therefore gave “his Son;” not any favourite or other well-pleasing creature; not sun, moon, or stars; not the rich treasure of his creation (all too mean, and coming short of expressing this love); but his Son: “begotten Son,” and that not so called by reason of some near approaches to him, and filial, obediential reverence of him, as the angels are called the sons of God; for it was not an angel that he gave, which yet had been an expression of most intense love; nor yet any son by adoption, as believers are the sons of God; but his begotten Son, begotten of his own person from eternity; and that “his only-begotten Son;” not anyone of his sons, but whereas he had or hath but one only-begotten Son, always in his bosom, his Isaac, he gave him:–than which how could the infinite wisdom of God make or give any higher testimony of his love? especially if ye will add what is here evidently included, though the time was not as yet come that it should be openly expressed, namely whereunto he gave his Son, his only one; not to be a king, and worshipped in the first place,–but he “spared him not, but delivered him up” to death “for us all,” Rom. 8:32. Whereunto, for a close of all, cast your eyes upon his design and purpose in this whole business, and ye shall find that it was that believers, those whom he thus loved, “might not perish,”–that is undergo the utmost misery and wrath to eternity, which they had deserved;–“but have everlasting life,” eternal glory with himself, which of themselves they could no way attain; and ye will easily grant that “greater love hath no man than this.” Now, if the love here mentioned be the greatest, highest, and chiefest of all, certainly it cannot be that common affection towards all that we discussed before; for the love whereby men are actually and eternally saved is greater than that which may consist with the perishing of men to eternity.
Secondly, The Scripture positively asserts this very love as the chiefest act of the love of God, and that which he would have us take notice of in the first place: Rom. 5:8, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us;” and fully, 1 John 4:9, 1 0, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins:” In both which places the eminency of this love is set forth exceeding emphatically to believers, with such expressions as can no way be accommodated to a natural velleity to the good of all.
Thirdly, That seeing all love in God is but velle alicui bonum, to will good to them that are beloved, they certainly are the object of his love to whom he intends that good which is the issue and effect of that love; but now the issue of this love or good intended, being not perishing, and obtaining eternal life through Christ, happens alone to, and is bestowed on, only elect believers: therefore, they certainly are the object of this love, and they alone;–which was the thing we had to declare.
Fourthly, That love which is the cause of giving Christ is always the cause of the bestowing of all other good things: Rom. 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Therefore, if the love there mentioned be the cause of sending Christ, as it is, it must also cause all other things to be given with him, and so can be towards none but those who have those things bestowed on them; which are only the elect, only believers. Who else have grace here, or glory hereafter?
Fifthly, The word here, which is AGAPE, signifieth, in its native importance, valde dilexit,–to love so as to rest in that love; which how it can stand with hatred, and an eternal purpose of not bestowing effectual grace, which is in the Lord towards some, will not easily be made apparent. And now let the Christian reader judge, whether by the love of God, in this place mentioned, be to be understood a natural velleity or inclination in God to the good of all, both elect and reprobate, or the peculiar love of God to his elect, being the fountain of the chiefest good that ever was bestowed on the sons of men. This is the first difference about the interpretation of these words.
SECONDLY, The second thing controverted is the object of this love, pressed by the word “world;” which our adversaries would have to signify all and every man; we, the elect of God scattered abroad in the world, with a tacit opposition to the nation of the Jews, who alone, excluding all other nations (some few proselytes excepted), before the actual exhibition of Christ in the flesh, had all the benefits of the promises appropriated to them, Rom. 9:4; in which privilege now all nations were to have an equal share. To confirm the exposition of the word as used by the Universalists, nothing of weight that ever yet I could see, is brought forth, but only the word itself; for neither the love mentioned in the beginning, nor the design pointed at in the end verse, will possibly agree with the sense which they impose on that word in the middle. Besides, how weak and infirm an inference from the word world, by reason of its ambiguous and wonderful various acceptations, is, we have at large declared before.
Three poor shifts I find in the great champions of this course, to prove that the word world doth not signify the elect. Justly we might have expected some reasons to prove that it signified or implied all and every man in the world, which was their own assertion; but of this ye have a deep silence, being conscious, no doubt, of their disability for any such performance. Only, as I said, three pretended arguments they bring to disprove that which none went about to prove,–namely, that by the world is meant the elect as such; for though we conceive the persons here designed directly men in and of the world, to be all and only God’s elect, yet we do not say that they are here so considered, but rather under another notion, as men scattered over all the world, in themselves subject to misery and sin. So that whosoever will oppose our exposition of this place must either, first, prove that by the world here must be necessarily understood all and every man in the world; or, secondly, that it cannot be taken indefinitely for men in the world which materially are elect, though not considered under that formality. So that all those vain flourishes which some men make with these words by putting the word elect into the room of the word world, and then coining absurd consequences, are quite beside the business in hand. Yet, farther, we deny that by a supply of the word elect into the text any absurdity or untruth will justly follow. Yea, and that flourish which is usually so made is but a bugbear to frighten weak ones; for, suppose we should read it thus, “God so loved the elect, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish;” what inconvenience will now follow? “Why,” say they, “that some of the elect, whom God so loved as to send his Son for, may perish.” Why, I pray? Is it because he sent his Son that they might not perish? or what other cause? “No; but because it is said, that whosoever of them believeth on him should not perish; which intimates that some of them might not believe.” Very good! But where is any such intimation? God designs the salvation of all them in express words for whom he sends his Son; and certainly all that shall be saved shall believe. But it is in the word whosoever, which is distributive of the world into those that believe and those that believe not. Ans. First, If this word whosoever be distributive, then it is restrictive of the love of God to some, and not to others,–to one part of the distribution, and not to the other. And if it do not restrain the love of God, intending the salvation of some, then it is not distributive of the fore-mentioned object of it; and if it do restrain it, then all are not intended in the love which moved God to give his Son. Secondly, I deny that the word here is distributive of the object of God’s love, but only declarative of his end and aim in giving Christ in the pursuit of that love,–to wit, that all believers might be saved. So that the sense is, “God so loved his elect throughout the world, that he gave his Son with this intention, that by him believers might be saved.” And this is all that is by any (besides a few worthless cavils) objected from this place to disprove our interpretation; which we shall now confirm both positively and negatively:–
First, Our first reason is taken from what was before proved concerning the nature of that love which is here said to have the world for its objects which cannot be extended to all and every one in the world, as will be confessed by all. Now, such is the world, here, as is beloved with that love which we have here described, and proved to be here intended;–even such a love as is, first, the most transcendent and remarkable; secondly, an eternal act of the will of God; thirdly, the cause of sending Christ; fourthly, of giving all good things in and with him; fifthly, an assured fountain and spring of salvation to all beloved with it. So that the world beloved with this love cannot possibly be all and every one in the world.
Secondly, The word world in the next verse, which carries along the sense of this, and in a continuation of the same matter, being a discovery of the intention of God in giving his Son, must needs signify the elect and believers, at least only those who in the event are saved; therefore so also in this. It is true, the word world is three times used in that verse in a dissonant sense, by an inversion not unusual in the Scripture, as was before declared. It is the latter place that this hath reference to, and is of the some signification with the world in verse 16, “That the world through him might be saved,”–HINA SOZO, “that it should be saved!” It discovers the aim, purpose, and intention of God, what it was towards the world that he so loved, even its salvation. Now, if this be understood of any but believers, God fails of his aim and intention, which as yet we dare not grant.
Thirdly, It is not unusual with the Scripture to call God’s chosen people by the name of the world, as also of all flesh, all nations, all families of the earth, and the like general expressions; and therefore no wonder if here they are so called, the intention of the place being to exalt and magnify the love of God towards them, which receives no small advancement from their being every way a world. So are they termed where Christ is said to be their Saviour, John 4:42; which certainly he is only of them who are saved. A Saviour of men not saved is strange. Also John 6:51, when he is said to give himself for their life. Clearly, verse 33 of the some chapter, he “giveth life unto the world:” which whether it be any but his elect let all men judge; for Christ himself affirms that he gives life only to his “sheep,” and that those to, whom he gives life “shall never perish,” chap. 10:27, 28. So Rom. 4:13, Abraham is said by faith to be “heir of the world;” who, verse 11, is called to be father of the faithful. And Rom. 11:12, the fall of the Jews is said to be “the riches of the world;” which world compriseth only believers of all sorts in the world, as the apostle affirmed that the word bare fruit “in all the world,” Col. 1:6. This is that “world” which “God reconcileth to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them,” 2 Cor. 5:19; which is attended with blessedness in all them to whom that non-imputation belongeth, Rom. 4:8. And for divers evident reasons is it that they have this appellation; as,–First to distinguish the object of this love of God from the nature angelical, which utterly perished in all the fallen individuals; which the Scripture also carefully doth in express terms, Heb.2:16, and by calling this love of God PHILANTHROPIA, Titus 3: 4. Secondly, To evert and reject the boasting of the Jews, as though all the means of grace and all the benefits intended were to them appropriated. Thirdly, To denote that great difference and distinction between the old administration of the covenant, when it was tied up to one people, family, and nation, and the new, when all boundaries being broken up, the fulness of the Gentiles and the corners of the world were to be made obedient to the sceptre of Christ. Fourthly, To manifest the condition of the elect themselves, who are thus beloved, for the declaration of the free grace of God towards them, they being divested of all qualifications but only those that bespeak them terrene, earthly, lost, miserable, corrupted. So that thus much at least may easily be obtained, that from the word itself nothing can be opposed justly to our exposition of this place, as hath been already declared, and shall be farther made manifest.
Fourthly, If every one in the world be intended, why doth not the Lord, in the pursuit of this love, reveal Jesus Christ to every one whom be so loved? Strange! that the Lord should so love men as to give his only-begotten Son for them, and yet not once by any means signify this his love to them, as to innumerable he doth not!–that he should love them, and yet order things so, in his wise dispensation, that this love should be altogether in vain and fruitless!–love them, and yet determine that they shall receive no good by his love, though his love indeed be a willing of the greatest good to them!
Fifthly, Unless ye will grant,–first, Some to be beloved and hated also from eternity; secondly, The love of God towards innumerable to be fruitless and vain; thirdly, The Son of God to be given to them who, first, never hear word of him; secondly, have no power granted to believe in him; fourthly, That God is mutable in his love, or else still loveth those that be in hell; fifthly, That he doth not give all things to them to whom he gives his Son, contrary to Rom. 8:32; sixthly, That he knows not certainly beforehand who shall believe and be saved;–unless, I say, all these blasphemies and absurdities be granted, it cannot be maintained that by the world here is meant all and every one of mankind, but only men in common scattered throughout the world, which are the elect.
The THIRD difference about these words is, concerning the means whereby this love of the Father, whose object is said to be the world is made out unto them. Now, this is by believing, –“that whosoever believeth,” or “that every believer.” The intention of these words we take to be, the designing or manifesting of the way whereby the elect of God come to be partakers of the fruits of the love here set forth, –namely, by faith in Christ, God having appointed that for the only way whereby he will communicate unto us the life that is in his Son. To this something was said before, having proved that the term whosoever is not distributive of the object of the love of God; to which, also, we may add these following reasons:–
First, If the object be here restrained, so that some only believe and are saved of them for whose sake Christ is sent, then this restriction and determination of the fruits of this love dependeth on the will of God, or on the persons themselves. If on the persons themselves, then make they themselves to differ from others; contrary to 1 Cor. 4:7. If on the will of God, then you make the sense of the place, as to this particular, to be, “God so loved all as that but some of them should partake of the fruits of his Love.” To what end, then, I pray, did he love those other some? Is not this, “Out with the sword, and run the dragon through with the spear?”
Secondly, Seeing that these words, that whosoever believeth, do peculiarly point out the aim and intention of God in this business, if it do restrain the object beloved, then the salvation of believers is confessedly the aim of God in this business, and that distinguished form others; and if so, the general ransom is an empty sound, having no dependence on the purpose of God, his intention being carried out in the giving of his Son only to the salvation of believers, and that determinately, unless you will assign unto him a nescience of them that should believe.
These words, then, whosoever believeth, containing a designation of the means whereby the Lord will bring us to a participation of life through his Son, whom he gave for us; and the following words, of having life everlasting, making out the whole counsel of God in this matter, subordinate to his own glory; it followeth,–
That God gave not his Son,–1. For them who never do believe; 2. Much less for them who never hear of him, and so evidently want means of faith; 3. For them on whom he hath determined not to bestow effectual grace, that they might believe.
Let now the reader take up the several parts of these opposite expositions, weigh all, try all things, especially that which is especially to be considered, the love of God, and so inquire seriously whether it be only a general affection, and a natural velleity to the good of all which may stand with the perishing of all and every one so beloved, or the peculiar, transcendent love of the Father to his elect as before laid down; and then determine whether a general ransom, fruitless in respect of the most for whom it was paid, or the effectual redemption of the elect only, have the firmest and strongest foundation in these words of our Saviour; withal remembering that they are produced as the strongest supportment of the adverse cause, with which, it is most apparent, both the cause of sending Christ and the end intended by the Lord in so doing, as they are here expressed, are altogether inconsistent.
An unfolding of the remaining texts of Scripture produced for the confirmation of the first general argument for universal redemption.
NEXT to the place before considered, that which is urged with most confidence and pressed with most importunity, for the defence of the general ransom, in the prosecution of the former argument, is;–
2. 1 John 2:1, 2, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Now, these words, and the deductions from thence, have been set out in various dresses, with great variety of observations, to make them appear advantageous to the cause in hand. The weight of the whole hangs upon this, that the apostle affirms Christ to be the “propitiation for the sins of the whole world;” “which,” say they, “manifestly appears to be all and every one in the world,” and that,–
First, “From the words themselves without any wresting; for what can be signified by the whole world, but all men in the world?”
Secondly, “From the opposition that is made between world and believers, all believers being comprised in the first part of the apostle’s assertion, that Christ is a propitiation for our sins; and therefore by the world, opposed unto them, all others are understood” If there be any thing of moment farther excepted, we shall meet with it in our following opening of the place.
Before I come to the farther clearing of the mind of the Holy Ghost in these words, I must tell you that I might answer the objection from hence very briefly, and yet so solidly as quite to cut off all the cavilling exceptions of our adversaries, – namely, that as by the world, in other places, men living in the world are denoted, so by the whole world in this can nothing be understood but men living throughout the whole world, in all the parts and regions thereof (in opposition to the inhabitants of any one nation, place, or country, as such), as the redeemed of Christ are said to be, Rev. 5:9. But because they much boast of this place, I shall, by God’s assistance, so open the sense and meaning of it, that it shall appear to all how little reason they have to place any confidence in their wrested interpretation thereof.
To make out the sense of this place, three things are to be considered:–(1.) To whom the apostle writes. (2.) What is his purpose and aim in this particular place. (3.) The meaning of these two expressions,–[1.] Christ being a “propitiation;” [2.] “The whole world.” Which having done; according to the analogy of faith, the scope of this and other parallel places, with reference to the things and use of the words themselves, we shall easily manifest, by undeniable reasons, that the text cannot be so understood (as by right) as it is urged and wrested for universal redemption.
(1.) A discovery of them to whom the epistle was peculiarly directed will give some light into the meaning of the apostle. This is one of those things which, in the investigation of the right sense of any place, is exceeding considerable; for although this and an other parts of divine Scripture were given for the use, benefit, and direction of the whole church, yet that many parts of it were directed, to peculiar churches, and particular persons, and some distinct sorts of persons, and so immediately aiming at some things to be taught, reproved, removed, or established, with direct reference to those peculiar persons and churches, needs no labour to prove. Now, though we have nothing written expressly denominating them to whom this epistle was primarily directed, to make an assertion thereof infallibly true and de fide, yet, by clear and evident deduction, it may be made more than probable that it was, intended to the Jews, or believers of the circumcision; for,–
First, John was in a peculiar manner a minister and an apostle to the Jews, and therefore they were the most immediate and proper objects of his care: “James, Cephas, and John gave to Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that they should go unto the heathen, and themselves unto the circumcision,” Gal. 2:9. Now, as Peter and James (for it was that James of whom Paul there speaks who wrote the epistle, the brother of John being slain before), in the prosecution of their apostleship towards them, wrote epistles unto them in their dispersion, James 1:1, I Pet. 1:1; as Paul did to all the chief churches among the Gentiles by him planted; so it is more than probable that John, writing the epistle, directed it chiefly and in the first place, unto them who, chiefly and in the first place, were the objects of his care and apostleship.
Secondly, He frequently intimates that those to whom he wrote were of them who heard of and received the word from the beginning; so twice together in this chapter, verse 7, “I write an old commandment, which ye had from the beginning, . . . . which ye heard from the beginning.” Now, that the promulgation of the gospel had its beginnings among the Jews, and its first entrance with them, before the conversion of any of the Gentiles,–which was a mystery for a season,–is apparent from the story of the Acts of the Apostles. chap. 1-5, 10, 11. “To the Jew first, and also to the Greek,” was the order divinely appointed, Rom. 1:16.
Thirdly, The opposition that the apostle makes between us and the world in this very place is sufficient to manifest unto whom he wrote. As a Jew, he reckoneth himself with and among the believing Jews to whom he wrote, and sets himself with them in opposition to the residue of believers in the world; and this is usual with this apostle, wherein how he is to be understood, he declares. in his Gospel, chap. 11:51, 52.
Fourthly, The frequent mention and cautions that he makes and gives of false teachers, seducers, antichrists (which in those first days were, if not all of them, yet for the greatest part, of the Circumcision, as is manifest from Scripture and ecclesiastical story; of whom the apostle said that, “they went out from them,” I John 2:19), evidently declare that to them in especial was this epistle directed, who lay more open, and were more obnoxious to, the seducements of their countrymen than others.
Now, this being thus cleared, if withal ye will remind what was said before concerning the inveterate hatred of that people towards the Gentiles, and the ingrafted opinion they had concerning their own sole interest in the redemption procured and purchased by their Messiah, it will be no difficult thing for any to discern the aim of the apostle in this place, in the expression so much stuck at. “He,” saith he, “is the propitiation for our sins,”–that is, our sins who are believers of the Jews; and lest by this assertion they should take occasion to confirm themselves in their former error, he adds, “And not, for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world,” or, “The children of God scattered abroad,” as John 11:51, 62, of what nation, kindred, tongue, or language soever they were. So that we have not here an opposition between the effectual salvation of all believers and the ineffectual redemption of all others, but an extending of the same effectual redemption which belonged to the Jewish believers to all other believers, or children of God throughout the whole world.
(2.) For the aim and intention of the apostle in these words, it is to give consolation to believers against their sins and failings: “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins.” The very order and series of the words, without farther enlargement, proves this to be so. That they were believers only to whom he intended this consolation, that they should not despair nor utterly faint under their infirmities, because of a sufficient, yea, effectual remedy provided, is no less evident: for,–First, They only have an advocate; it is confessed that believers only have an interest in Christ’s advocation. Secondly, Comfort, in such a case, belongs to none but them; unto others in a state and condition of alienation, wrath is to be denounced, John 3:36. Thirdly, They are the “little children” to whom he writes, I John 2:1; whom he describes, verses 12, 13, to have “their sins forgiven them for his name’s sake,” and to “know the Father.” So that the aim of the apostle being to make out consolation to believers in their failings, be can speak of none but them only. And if he should extend that whereof he speaks, namely,–that Christ was a propitiation to all and every one,–I cannot conceive how this can possibly make any thing to the end proposed, or the consolation of believers; for what comfort can arise from hence to them, by telling them that Christ died for innumerable that shall be damned? Will that be any refreshment unto me which is common unto me with them that perish eternally? Is not this rather a pumice-stone than a breast of consolation? If you ask how comfort can be given to all and every one, unless Christ died for them? I say, If by all and every one you mean all believers, Christ is, as in the text asserted, a propitiation and an advocate for them all. If all others, reprobates and unbelievers, we say that there is neither in the death of Christ nor in the word of God any solid spiritual consolation prepared for them; the children’s bread must not be cast to dogs.
(3.) The meaning and purport of the word “propitiation,” which Christ is said to be for “us,” and “the whole world,” is next to be considered–
First, The word in the original is HILASMOS, twice only used in the New Testament,–here, and chap. 4:10 of this same epistle. The verb also, HILASKOMAI, is as often used;–namely, Heb. 2:17, translated there (and that properly, considering the construction it is in) “to make reconciliation;” and Luke 18:13, it is the word of the publican, “Be merciful to me.” There is also another word of the same original and a like signification, namely, HILASTERION, twice also used;–Rom. 3:25, there translated “a propitiation;” and Heb. 9:5, where it is used for, and also rendered, “the mercy-seat:” which will give some light into the meaning of the word. That which, Exod. 25:17, is called capporeth, from caphar, properly to cover, is here called HILASTERION, that which Christ is said to be, Rom, 3:25. Now, this mercy-seat was a plate of pure gold, two cubits and 9, half long, and a cubit and a half broad, like the uppermost plate or board of a table; that was laid upon the ark, shadowed over with the wings of the cherubim. Now, this word kapporeth comes as was said, from kaphar, whose first native and genuine sense is “to cover,” (though most commonly used [for] “to expiate.”) This plate or mercy-seat was so called because it was placed upon the ark, and covered it, as the wings of the cherubim hovered over that; the mystical use hereof being to hide, as it were, the law or rigid tenor of the covenant of works which was in the ark, God thereby declaring himself to be pacified or reconciled, the cause of anger and enmity being hidden. Hence the word cometh to have its second acceptation, even that which is rendered by the apostle HILASTERION, “placamen” or “placamentum,”–that whereby God is appeased. This that did plainly signify, being shadowed with the wings of the cherubim, denoting God’s presence in power and goodness; which were made crouching over it, as the wings of a hen over her chickens. Hence that prayer of David, to be “hid under the shadow of God’s wings,” Ps. 36:7, 57:1, 61:4, 63:7, 91:4 (and perhaps that allusion of our Saviour, Matt. 23:37), intimating the favourable protection of God in mercy, denoted by the winds of the cherubim covering the propitiatory, embracing that which covered the bill of accusation; which, typically, was that table, or golden plate or covering, before described; truly and really Jesus Christ, as is expressly affirmed, Rom. 3:25.
Now, all this will give us some light into the meaning of the word, and so, consequently, into the sense of this place, with the mind of the Holy Ghost therein. HILASMOS and HILASTERION, both translated “a propitiation,” with the verb of the same original do signify that which was done or typically effected by the mercy seat,–namely, to appease, pacify, and reconcile God in respect of aversation for sin. Hence that phrase, Heb. 2:17, “HILASKOMAI for the sins of the people,” which the Latinists render “Expiare peccata populi,” “To expiate the sins of the people.” (“Expiare” is, in this business, to turn away anger by an atonement. So the historian, “Solere reges ostenta coelestia caede aliqua illustri expiare, atque a semet in capita procerum depellere,” Suet. in Neron. 36.) We render it, “To make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” The word will bear both, the meaning being, to appease, or pacify, or satisfy God for sin, that it might not be imputed to them towards whom he was so appeased. “Propitiation for the sins of the people,” is as much as “To pacify God concerning sin.” Hence the word receiveth another signification, that wherein it is used by the publican, Luke 18:13, ‘”Be merciful to me;” that is, “Let me enjoy that mercy from whence flows the pardon of sin, by thy being appeased towards me, and reconciled unto me.” From all which it appeareth that the meaning of the word HILASMOS, or “propitiation,” which Christ is said to be, is that whereby the law is covered, God appeased and reconciled, sin expiated, and the sinner pardoned; whence pardon, and remission of sin is so often placed as the product and fruit of his blood shedding, whereby he was a “propitiation,” Matt. 26:28; Eph. 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb. 9:22; Rom. 3:25, v. 9; 1 John 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 1:5.
From that which hath been said, the sense of the place is evident to be, that Christ hath so expiated sin, and reconciled to God, that the sinner is pardoned and received to mercy for his sake, and that the law shall never be produced or brought forth for his condemnation. Now, whether this can be tolerably applied to the whole world (taking it for all and every man in the world), let all the men in the world that are able judge. Are the sins of every one expiated? Is God reconciled to every one? Is every sinner pardoned? Shall no one have the transgression of the law charged on him? Why, then, is not every one saved? Doubtless, all these are true of every believer, and of no one else in the whole world. For them the apostle affirmed that Christ is a propitiation; that he might show from whence ariseth, and wherein chiefly, if not only, that advocation for them, which he promiseth as the fountain of their consolation, did consist,–even in a presentation of the atonement made by his blood. He is also a propitiation only by faith, Rom. 3:25; and surely none have faith but believers: and, therefore, certainly it is they only throughout the world for whom alone Christ is a propitiation. Unto them alone God says, “I will be propitious,” –the great word of the new covenant, Heb. 8:12, they alone being covenanters.
Secondly, Let us consider the phrase “of the whole world.” I shall not declare how the word world is in the Scripture, of divers significations; partly because I have in some measure already performed it; partly because it is not in itself so much here insisted on, but only with reference to its general adjunct, whole, “the whole world:” and, therefore, we must speak to the whole phrase together. Now, concerning this expression, I say,–
First, That whereas, with that which is equivalent unto it, all the world, it is used seven or eight times in the New Testament, it cannot be made appear, clearly and undeniably, that in any place (save perhaps one, where it is used in re necessaria) it compriseth all and every man in the world; so that unless some circumstance in this place enforce that sense (which it doth not), it will be a plain wresting of the words to force that interpretation upon them. Let us, then, briefly look upon the places, beginning with the last, and so ascending. Now, that is, Rev. 3:10, “I will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come “upon all the world,” (the word world is other in the original here than in the place we have before us, there being divers words to express the same thing, considered under several notions); where that it cannot signify all and every one is evident, because some are promised to be preserved from that which is said to come upon it. Passing the place of which we treat the next is, Col 1:6, “Which is come unto you as in all the world.” Where,–1. All and every man cannot be understood; for they had not all then received the gospel. 2. Only believers are here signified, living abroad in the world; because the gospel is said to “bring forth fruit” in them to whom it comes, and there is no true gospel fruit without faith and repentance. Another place is Rom. 1:8, “Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Did every one in the world hear and speak of the Roman faith? You have it also Luke 2:1, “There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed;” which yet was but the Roman empire, short enough of comprising all singular persons in the world. It were needless to repeat the rest, being all of the same indefinite importance and signification. If, then, the expression itself doth not hold out any such universality as is pretended, unless the matter concerning which it is used and the circumstances of the place do require it (neither of which enforcements has any appearance in this place), there is no colour to fasten such an acceptation upon it; rather may we conclude that all the world, and the whole world, being in other places taken indefinitely for men of all sorts throughout the world, the same words are no otherwise here to be understood.
Secondly, The whole world can signify no more than all nations, all the families of the earth, all flesh, all men, all the ends of the world. These surely are expressions equivalent unto, and as comprehensive of particulars as the whole world; but now all these expressions we find frequently to bear out believers only, but as of all sorts, and throughout the world. And why should not this phrase also be affirmed to be, in the same matter, of the same and no other importance? We may instance in some places: “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God,” Ps. 98:3; “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee,” Ps. 22:27; “All nations shall serve thee,” Ps. 72:11;–which general expressions do yet denote no more but only the believers of all the several nations of the world, who alone see the salvation of God, remember and turn to him and serve him. So Joel 2:28, “I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh;” as the words are again repeated on the accomplishment of the promise, Acts 2:17;–Luke using the same expression, as part of a sermon of John Baptist, “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” What a conquest should we have had proclaimed, if it had been anywhere affirmed that Christ died for all flesh, all nations, all kindreds, etc.! which yet are but liveries of believers, though garments as wide and large as this expression, the whole world. Believers are called “all nations,” Isa. 2:2, 66:18; yea, “all men,” Tit. 2:11: for to them alone the salvation-bringing grace of God is manifest. If they, then, the children of God, be, as is apparent in the Scripture phrase, all flesh, all nations, all kindreds, all the ends of the world, all the ends of the earth, all men, why not also the whole world?
Thirdly, The whole world doth sometimes signify the worser part of the world; and why may it not, by a like synecdoche, signify the better part thereof? Rev. 12:9, “The Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world, is cast out;” that is, the wicked and reprobate in the whole world, others rejoicing in his overthrow, verse 10. I John 5:19, “The whole world lieth in wickedness;” where “the whole world” is opposed to them which are “of God,” in the beginning of the verse. The contrary sense you have Col. 1:6.
This, then, being spoken, to clear the signification of the expression here insisted on, will make it evident that there is nothing at all in the words themselves that should enforce any to conceive that all and every man in the world are denoted by them, but rather believers, even all that did or should believe, throughout the whole world, in opposition only to believers of the Jewish nation: which, that it is the meaning of the place, besides what hath been clearly demonstrated, I prove by these reasons:–
First, This place treateth not of the ransom of Christ in respect of impetration, but of application; for it affirms Christ to be that by his death which he is only by faith, as was manifested from Rom. 3:25. Also, from application only ariseth consolation; now, never any said that the application of the death of Christ was universal: therefore, this place cannot have regard to all and every one.
Secondly, Christ is here said to be a propitiation only for such as are intended in the place, which is apparent; but now believers only are here intended, for it is to give them consolation in their failings (in which case consolation belongeth to them alone): therefore, it is believers only, though of all sorts, times, places, and conditions, for whom Christ is said to be a propitiation.
Thirdly, This kind of phrase and expression in other places cannot possibly be tortured to such an extension as to comprehend all and every one, as was apparent from the places before alleged; to which add, Matt. 3:5, “Then went out to him all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan;” among whom, notwithstanding, the Pharisees rejected his baptism. Why, then, should it be so understood here, especially all circumstances (as hath been showed) being contrary to such an interpretation?
Fourthly, The most clear parallel places in the Scripture are opposite to such a sense as is imposed. See Col. 1:6; John 9:51, 52.
Fifthly, If the words are to be understood to signify all and every one in the world, then is the whole assertion useless as to the chief end intended,–namely, to administer consolation to believers; for what consolation can arise from hence unto any believer, that Christ was a propitiation for them that perish? Yea, to say that he was a sufficient propitiation for them, though not effectual, will yield them no more comfort than it would have done Jacob and his sons to have beard from Joseph that he had corn enough, sufficient to sustain them, but that he would do so was altogether uncertain; for had he told them he would sustain them sufficiently, though not effectually, they might have starved notwithstanding his courtesy. “The whole world,” then, in this place, is the whole people of God (opposed to the Jewish nation), scattered abroad throughout the whole world, of what nation, kindred, tongue, or family soever, who are some of all sorts, not all of every sort. So that this place makes nothing for general redemption.
Some few objections there are which are usually laid against our interpretation of this passage of the apostle, but they are all prevented or removed in the explication itself; so that it shall suffice us to name one or two of them:–
Obj. 1. “It is the intention of the apostle to comfort all in their fears and doubts; but every one in the world may be in fears and doubts: therefore, he proposeth this, that they all may be comforted.”
Ans. The all that may be in fears and doubts, in the business of consolation, must of necessity be restrained to believers, as was before declared.
Obj. 2. “All believers are comprehended in the first branch, ‘For our sins;’ and, therefore in the increase and extension of the assertion, by adding, ‘For the sins of the whole world,’ all others are intended.”
Ans. 1. In the first part, the believing Jews alone are intended, of whom John was one; and the addition is not an extending of the propitiation of Christ to others than believers, but only to other believers. 2. If it might be granted that in the first branch all believers then living were comprehended, who might presently be made partakers of this truth, yet the increase or accession must be, by analogy, only those who were to be in after ages and remoter places than the name of Christ had then reached unto,–even all those who, according to the prayer of our Saviour, John 17:20, should believe on his name to the end of the world. And thus the two main places produced for the confirmation of the first argument are vindicated from the false glosses and violent wrestings of our adversaries; the rest will be easily cleared.
3. The next place urged in the argument is John 6:51, where our Saviour affirms that he will give his “flesh for the life of the world.” This giving of himself was the sanctifying and offering up of himself an acceptable oblation for the sins of them for whom he suffered; his intention being, that they for whom in dying he so offered himself might have life eternal thereby: which, because it was not for the Jews only, but also for all the elect of God everywhere, he calleth them “the world.” That the world here cannot signify all and every one that ever were or should be, is as manifest as if it were written with the beams of the sun; and that because it is made the object of Christ’s intendment, to purchase for them, and bestow upon them, life and salvation. Now, I ask, Whether any man, not bereaved of all spiritual and natural sense, can imagine that Christ, in his oblation, intended to purchase life and salvation for all them whom he knew to be damned many ages before, the irreversible decree of wrath being gone forth against them? Or who dares once affirm that Christ gave himself for the life of them who, notwithstanding that, by his appointment, do come short of it to eternity? So that if we had no other place to manifest that the word world doth not always signify all, but only some of all sorts, as the elect of God are, but this one produced by our adversaries to the contrary, I hope with all equitable readers our defence would receive no prejudice.
4. Divers other places I find produced by Thomas More, chap. xiv. of the “Universality of Free Grace,” to the pretended end in hand; which, with that whole chapter, shall be briefly considered.
The first insisted on by him is 2 Cor 5:19, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.”
Ans. 1. Really he must have no small confidence of his own strength and his reader’s weakness, who from this place shall undertake to conclude the universality of redemption, and that the world doth here signify all and every one therein. They who are called the “world,” verse 19, are termed “us,” verse 18, “He hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ;” as also verse 21, where they are farther described by Christ’s being “made sin for them,” and their being “made the righteousness of God in him.” Are these things true of all in the world? If this text may receive any light from what is antecedent and consequent unto it,–if the word any interpretation from those expressions which are directly expository of it,–by the world here can be meant none but elect believers. 2. God’s reconciling the world unto himself is described evidently either to consist in, or necessarily to infer, a non-imputation of sin to them, or that world; which is farther interpreted to be an imputation of the righteousness of Christ, verse 21. Now, in these two things consisteth the blessedness of justification in Christ, Rom. 4:6, 7; therefore this whole world, which God in Christ reconcileth to himself, is a blessed, justified world,–not all and every one of the sons of men that ever were, are, or shall be in the world, the greatest part of whom lie in evil. 3. This God in Christ reconciling, holdeth out an effectual work of reconciliation. Now, this must be either an absolute reconciliation or a conditionate. If absolute, why are not all actually and absolutely reconciled, pardoned, justified? If conditionate, then,–First, How can a conditionate reconciliation be reconciled with that which is actual? Secondly, Why is no condition here mentioned? Thirdly, What is that condition? Is it faith and believing? Then the sense of the words must be either, –first, “God was in Christ, reconciling a believing world unto himself,” of which there is no need, for believers are reconciled; or, secondly, “God was in Christ reconciling an unbelieving world unto himself, upon condition that it do believe;” that is, upon condition that it be not unbelieving; that is, that it be reconciled. Is this the mind of the Holy Spirit? Fourthly, If this reconciliation of the world consist (as it doth) in a non-imputation of sin then this is either of all their sins, or only of some sins. If of some only, then Christ saves only from some sins. If of all, then of unbelief also, or it is no sin; then all the men in the world must needs be saved, as whose unbelief is pardoned. The world here, then, is only the world of blessed, pardoned believers, who are “made the righteousness of God in Christ.”
That which Thomas More bringeth to enforce the opposite signification of the word is, in many words, very little. Much time he spends, with, many uncouth expressions, to prove a twofold reconciliation intimated in the text,–the first of God to us by Christ, the other of us to God by the Spirit; which we also grant, though we do not divide them, but make them several parts of the same reconciliation, the former being the rule of the latter: for look, to whomsoever God is reconciled in and by Christ, they shall certainly every one of them be reconciled to God by the Spirit;– God’s reconciliation to them consisting in a non-imputation of their sins; their reconciliation unto him, in an acceptance of that non-imputation in Jesus Christ. And as it is the rule of, so is it the chief motive unto, the latter, being the subject or matter of the message in the gospel whereby it is effected. So that the assertion of this twofold reconciliation, or rather two branches of the same complete work of reconciliation, establisheth our persuasion that the world can be taken only for the elect therein.
But he brings farther light from the context to strengthen his interpretation. “For,” saith he, “those of the world here are called ‘men,’ verse 11 ; men that must ‘appear before the judgment-seat of Christ,’ verse 10; that were ‘dead,’ verse 14; that ought to live unto Christ, verse 15: therefore, all men.” Now, “homini homo quid interest?” How easy is it for some men to prove what they please! Only let me tell you, one thing more is to be done that the cause may be yours,–namely, a proving that the elect of God are not men; that they must not appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that they were not dead; that they ought not to live to Christ. This do, or ye lose the reward.
But he adds,–First, “Of these, some are reconciled to God,” verse 18. Ans. Most false, that there is any limitation or restriction of reconciliation to some of those concerning whom he treats; it is rather evidently extended to all of theme. Secondly, “But some are not reconciled,” verse 11. Ans. Not a word of any such thing in the text, nor can the least colour be possibly wrested thence for any such assertion. “Many corrupt the word of God.”
A second place he urgeth is John 1:9, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” “This world,” saith he, “is the world of mankind, verse 4, made by Christ, verse 3; which was his own by creation, mercy, and purchase, yet ‘received him not,’ verses 5, 10, 11. therefore, it is manifest that there is life, and that Christ died for all.”
Ans. That by the world here is meant, not men in the world, all or some, but the habitable part of the earth, is more apparent than can well admit of proof or illustration. The phrase of coming into the world cannot possibly be otherwise apprehended. It is as much as born, and coming to breathe the common air. Now, among the expositions of this place, that seems most consonant and agreeable to the discourse of the apostle, with other expressions here used, which refers the word “coming,” unto “light,” and not to “man,” with which it is vulgarly esteemed to agree; so that the words should be rendered, “That was the true Light, which, coming into the world, lighteth every man.” So John 3:19, “Light is come into the world;” and chap. 12:46, “I am come a light into the world;”–parallel expressions unto this. So that from the word world nothing can hence be extorted for the universality of grace or ransom. The whole weight must lie on the words “every man,” which yet Thomas More doth not at all insist upon; and if any other should, the word, holding out actual illumination, can be extended in its subject to no more than indeed are illuminated.
Christ, then, coming into the world, is said to enlighten every man, partly because every one that hath any light hath it from him, partly because he is the only true light and fountain of illumination; so that he doth enlighten every one that is enlightened: which is all the text avers, and is by none denied. But whether all and every one in the world, before and after his incarnation, were, are, and shall be actually enlightened with the knowledge of Christ by his coming into the world, let Scripture, experience, reason, and sense determine. And this, in brief, may suffice to manifest the weakness of the argument for universal redemption from this place; waiving for the present, not denying or opposing, another interpretation of the words, rendering the enlightening here mentioned to be that of reason and understanding, communicated to all, Christ being proposed as, in his divine nature, the light of all, even the eternal wisdom of his Father.
A third place is John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world;” and this, saith he, is spoken of the world in general.
Ans. 1. If it should be spoken of the world in general, yet nothing could thence be inferred to a universality of individuals. 2. That Christ is he, “the Lamb”, that taketh away, beareth, purgeth, pardoneth, as the word is used, 2 Sam. 24:10 (taketh away by justification that it should not condemn, by sanctification that it should not reign, by glorification that it should not be), “the sin,” great sin, original sin, “of the world,” common to all, is most certain; but that he taketh it away from, beareth it for, pardoneth it unto, purgeth it out of, all and every man in the world, is not in the least manner intimated in the text, and is in itself exceeding false.
John 3:17 is by him in the next place urged, “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be save.”
Ans. A notable or eminent inversion of the word world in this place was before observed; like that of chap. 1:10, “He was in the world,” or on the earth, a part of it, “and the world was made by him,” the whole would, with all things therein contained, “and the world knew him not,” or the most of men living in the world. So here, by the world, in the first place, that part of the world wherein our Saviour conversed hath the name of the whole assigned unto it. In the second, you may take it for all and every one in the world, if you please (though from the text it cannot be enforced); for the prime end of our Saviour’s coming was not to condemn any, but to save his own, much less to condemn all and every one in the world, out of which he was to save his elect. In the third place, they only are designed whom God sent his Son on purpose to save, as the words eminently hold out. The saving of them who then are called the world was the very purpose and design of God in sending his Son. Now, that these are not all men, but only believers of Jews and Gentiles throughout the world, is evident:–1. Because all are not saved, and the Lord hath said “he will do all his pleasure, and his purpose shall stand.” 2. Because the most of men were at the instant actually damned. Did he send his Son that they might be saved? 3. Because Christ was appointed for the fall of some, Luke 2:34, and, therefore, not that all and every one might be saved. 4. The end of Christ’s actual exhibition and sending in the flesh is not opposite to any of God’s eternal decrees, which were eternally fixed concerning the condemnation of some for their sins. Did he send his Son to save such? Doth he act contrary to his own purposes, or fail in his undertakings? The saved world is the people of God scattered abroad throughout the world.
John 4:42, and I John 4:14, with John 6:51 (which was before considered), are also produced by Thomas More; in all which places Christ is called the “Saviour of the world.”
Ans. Christ is said to be the Saviour of the world, either, first, because there is no other Saviour for any in the world, and because he saves all that are saved, even the people of God (not the Jews only), all over the world; or, secondly, because he doth actually save all the world, and every one in it. If in this latter way, vicisti, Mr More; if in the former, “we are still where we were.”
The urging of John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world,” in this business, deserves to be noted, but not answered. The following places of John 3:16, 17, 1 John 2:1, 2, have been already considered. Some other texts are produced, but so exceedingly wrested, strangely perverted, and so extremely useless to the business in hand, that I dare not make so bold with the reader’s patience as once to give him a repetition of them.
And this is our defence and answer to the first principal argument of our opposers, our explication of all those texts of Scripture which they have wrested to support it, the bottom of their strength being but the ambiguity of one word. Let the Christian reader “Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.”
Answer to the second general argument for the universality of redemption.
II. The second argument, wherewith our adversaries make no less flourish than with the former, is raised from those places of Scripture where there is mention made of all men and every man, in the business of redemption. With these bare and naked words, attended with swelling, vain expressions of their own, they commonly rather proclaim a victory than study how to prevail. Their argument needs not to be drawn to any head or form, seeing they pretend to plead from express words of Scripture. Wherefore we shall only consider the several places by them in this kind usually produced, with such enforcements of their sense from them as by the ablest of that persuasion have been used. The chief places insisted on are, I Tim. 2:4, 6; 2 Pet. 3:9; Heb. 2:9; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15; I Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:18.
For the use and signification of the word all in Scripture, so much hath been said already by many that it were needless for me to insist upon it. Something also to this purpose hath been spoken before, and that abundantly sufficient to manifest that no strength of argument can be taken from the word itself; wherefore I shall apply myself only to the examination of the particular places urged, and the objections from them raised:–
1. The first and chief place is, I Tim. 2:4, 6, “God will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth . . . . . Christ gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Hence they draw this argument, Rem. Act. Synod:–“If God will have all men to be saved, then Christ died for all; but God will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth: therefore, Christ died for all men.”
Ans. The whole strength of this argument lies in the ambiguity of the word all, which being of various significations, and to be interpreted suitably to the matter in hand and the things and persons whereof it is spoken, the whole may be granted, or several propositions denied, according as the acceptation of the word is enforced on us That all or all men do not always comprehend all and every man that were, are, or shall be, may be made apparent by near five hundred instances from the Scripture. Taking, then, all and all men distributively, for some of all sorts, we grant the whole; taking them collectively, for all of all sorts, we deny the minor,–namely, that God will have them all to be saved. To make our denial of this appear to be an evident truth, and agreeable to the mind of the Holy Ghost in this place, two things must be considered:–1.What is that will of God here mentioned, whereby he willeth all to be saved. 2. Who are the all of whom the apostle is in this place treating.
1. The will of God is usually distinguished into his will intending and his will commanding; or rather, that word is used in reference unto God in this twofold notion,–(1.) For his purpose, what he will do; (2.) For his approbation of what we do, with his command thereof. Let now our opposers take their option in whether signification the will of God shall be here understood, or how he willeth the salvation of all.
First, If they say he doth it “voluntate signi,” with his will commanding, requiring, approving, then the sense of the words is this:–“God commandeth all men to use the means whereby they may obtain the end, or salvation, the performance whereof is acceptable to God in any or all;” and so it is the same with that of the apostle in another place, “God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” Now, if this be the way whereby God willeth the salvation of all here mentioned, then certainly those all can possibly be no more than to whom he granteth and revealeth the means of grace; which are indeed a great many, but yet not the one hundredth part of the posterity of Adam. Besides, taking God’s willing the salvation of men in this sense, we deny the sequel of the first proposition,–namely, that Christ died for as many as God thus willeth should be saved. The foundation of God’s command unto men to use the means granted them is not Christ’s dying for them in particular, but the connection which himself, by his decree, hath fixed between these two things, faith and salvation; the death of Christ being abundantly sufficient for the holding out of that connection unto all, there being enough in it to save all believers.
Secondly, If the will of God be taken for his efficacious will, the will of his purpose and good pleasure (as truly to me it seems exceedingly evident that that is here intended, because the will of God is made the ground and bottom of our supplications; as if in these our prayers we should say only, “Thy will be done,”- which is to have them all to be saved: now, we have a promise to receive of God “whatsoever we ask according to his will,”1. John 3:22, v 14; and therefore this will of God, which is here proposed as the ground of our prayers, must needs be his effectual or rather efficacious will, which is always accomplished);–if it be, I say, thus taken, then certainly it must be fulfilled, and all those saved whom he would have saved; for whatsoever God can do and will do, that shall certainly come to pass and be effected. That God can save all (not considering his decree) none doubts; and that he will save all it is here affirmed: therefore, if these all here be all and every one, all and every one shall certainly be saved. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die.” “Who hath resisted God’s will?” Rom. 9:19. “He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased,” Ps. 115:3. “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth,” Dan. 4:35. If all, then, here be to be understood of all men universally, one of these two things must of necessity follow:–either that God faileth of his purpose and intention, or else that all men universally shall be saved; which puts us upon the second thing considerable in the words, namely, who are meant by all men in this place.
2. By all men the apostle here intendeth all sorts of men indefinitely living under the gospel, or in these latter times, under the enlarged dispensation of the means of grace. That men of these times only are intended is the acknowledgment of Arminius himself, treating with Perkins about this place. The scope of the apostle, treating of the amplitude, enlargement, and extent of grace, in the outward administration thereof, under the gospel, will not suffer it to be denied. This he lays down as a foundation of our praying for all,–because the means of grace and the habitation of the church is now no longer confined to the narrow bounds of one nation, but promiscuously and indefinitely extended unto all people, tongues, and languages; and to all sorts of men amongst them, high and low, rich and poor, one with another. We say, then, that by the words all men are here intended only of all sorts of men, suitable to the purpose of the apostle, which was to show that all external difference between the sons of men is now taken away; which ex abundanti we farther confirm by these following reasons:–
First, The word all being in the Scripture most commonly used in this sense (that is, for many of all sorts), and there being nothing in the subject-matter of which it is here affirmed that should in the least measure impel to another acceptation of the word, especially for a universal collection of every individual, we hold it safe to cleave to the most usual sense and meaning of it. Thus, our Saviour is said to cure all diseases, and the Pharisees to tithe every herb, Luke 11:42.
Secondly, Paul himself plainly leadeth us to this interpretation of it; for after he hath enjoined us to pray for all, because the Lord will have all to be saved, he expressly intimates that by all men he understandeth men of all sorts, ranks, conditions, and orders, by distributing those all into several kinds, expressly mentioning some of them, as “kings and all in authority.” Not unlike that expression we have, Jer. 29:1, 2, “Nebuchadnezzar carried away all the people captive to Babylon, Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the carpenters, and the smiths;” where all the people is interpreted to be some of all sorts, by a distribution of them into the several orders, classes, and conditions whereof they were. No otherwise doth the apostle interpret the all men by him mentioned, in giving us the names of some of those orders and conditions whom lie intendeth. “Pray for all men,” saith he; that is, all sorts of men, as magistrates, all that are in authority, the time being now come wherein, without such distinctions as formerly have been observed, the Lord will save some of all sorts and nations.
Thirdly, We are bound to pray for all whom God would have to be saved. Now, we ought not to pray for all and every one, as knowing that some are reprobates and sin unto death; concerning whom we have an express caution not to pray for them.
Fourthly, All shall be saved whom God will have to be saved; this we dare not deny, for “who hath resisted his will?” Seeing, then, it is most certain that all shall not be saved (for some shall stand on the left hand), it cannot be that the universality of men should be intended in this place.
Fifthly, God would have no more to be “saved” than he would have “come to the knowledge of the truth.” These two things are of equal latitude, and conjoined in the text. But it is not the will of the Lord that all and every one, in all ages, should come to the knowledge of the truth. Of old, “he showed his word unto Jacob, 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. If he would have had them all come to the knowledge of the truth, why did he show his word to some and not to others, without which they could not attain thereunto? “He suffered all nations” in former ages “to walk in their own ways,” Acts 14:16, and “winked at the time of this ignorance,” Acts 17:30, hiding the mystery of salvation from those former ages, Col. 1:26, continuing the same dispensation even until this day in respect of some; and that because “so it seemeth good in his sight,” Matt. 11:25, 26. it is, then, evident that God doth not will that all and every one in the world, of all ages and times, should come to the knowledge of the truth, but only all sorts of men without difference; and, therefore, they only are here intended.
These, and the like reasons, which compel us to understand by all men, verse 4, whom God would have to be saved, men of all sorts, do also prevail for the same acceptation of the word all, verse 6, where Christ is said to give himself “a ransom for all;” whereunto you may also add all those whereby we before declared that it was of absolute necessity and just equity that all they for whom a ransom was paid should have a part and portion in that ransom, and, if that be accepted as sufficient, be set at liberty. Paying and accepting of a ransom intimate a commutation and setting free of all them for whom the ransom is paid and accepted. By all, then, can none be understood but the redeemed, ransomed ones of Jesus Christ,–such as, for him and by virtue of the price of his blood, are vindicated into the glorious liberty of the children of God; which, as some of all sorts are expressly said to be, Rev. 5:9 (which place is interpretative of this), so that all in the world universally are so is confessedly false.
Having thus made evident the meaning of the words, our answer to the objection (whose strength is a mere fallacy, from the ambiguous sense of the word all) is easy and facile. For if by all men, you mean the all in the text, that is, all sorts of men, we grant the whole,–namely, that Christ died for all; but if by all men, you mean an universally, we absolutely deny the minor, or assumption, having sufficiently proved that there is no such all in the text.
The enforcing of an objection from this place, Thomas More, in his “Universality of Free Grace,” makes the subject of one whole chapter. It is also one of the two places which he lays for the bottom and foundation of the whole building, and whereunto at a dead lift he always retires. Wherefore, I thought to have considered that chapter of his at large; but, upon second considerations, have laid aside that resolution, and that for three reasons:–
First, Because I desired not actum agere, to do that which hath already been done, especially the thing itself being such as since deserveth to be meddled with at all. Now, much about the time that I was proceeding in this particular, the learned work of Mr Rutherford, (Samuel Rutherford, 1600-1661; a Scotch divine who published a work in 1647, entitled, “Christ Dying, and Drawing to Himself”) about the death of Christ, and the drawing of sinners thereby, came to my hand; wherein he hath fully answered that chapter of Mr More’s book; whither I remit the reader.
Secondly, I find that he hath not once attempted to meddle with any of those reasons and arguments whereby we confirm our answer to the objection from the place, and prove undeniably that by all men is meant only men of all sorts.
Thirdly, Because, setting aside those bare naked assertions of his own, whereby he seeks to strengthen his argument from and interpretation of this place, the residue wherewith he flourisheth is a poor fallacy running through the whole; the strength of all his argumentations consisting in this, that by the all we are to pray for are not meant only all who are at present believers; which as no man in his right wits will affirm, so he that will conclude from thence, that because they are not only all present believers, therefore they are all the individuals of mankind, is not to be esteemed very sober. Proceed we, then, to the next place urged for the general ransom, from the word all, which is,–
2. 2 Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” “The will of God,” say some, “for the salvation of all, is here set down both negatively, that he would not have any perish, and positively, that he would have all come to repentance; now, seeing there is no coming to repentance nor escaping destruction, but only by the blood of Christ, it is manifest that that blood was shed for all.”
Ans. Many words need not be spent in answer to this objection wrested from the misunderstanding and palpable corrupting of the sense of these words of the apostle. That indefinite and general expressions are to be interpreted in an answerable proportion to the things whereof they are affirmed, is a rule in the opening of the Scripture. See, then, of whom the apostle is here speaking. “The Lord,” saith he, “is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish.” Will not common sense teach us that us is to be repeated in both the following clauses, to make them up complete and full,–namely, “Not willing that any of us should perish, but that all of us should come to repentance?” Now, who are these of whom the apostle speaks, to whom he writes? Such as had received “great and precious promises,” chap. 1:4, whom he calls “beloved,” chap. 3:1; whom he opposeth to the “scoffers” of the “last days,” verse 3; to whom the Lord hath respect in the disposal of these days; who are said to be “elect,” Matt. 24:22. Now, truly, to argue that because God would have none of those to perish, but all of them to come to repentance, therefore he hath the same will and mind towards all and every one in the world (even those to whom he never makes known his will, nor ever calls to repentance, if they never once hear of his way of salvation), comes not much short of extreme madness and folly. Neither is it of any weight to the contrary, that they were not all elect to whom Peter wrote: for in the judgment of charity he esteemed them so, desiring them “to give all diligence to make their calling and election sure,” chap. 1:10; even as he expressly calleth those to whom he wrote his former epistle, “elect,” chap. 1: 2, and a “chosen generation,” as well as a “purchased people,” chap. 2:9. I shall not need add any thing concerning the contradictions and inextricable difficulties; wherewith the opposite interpretation is accompanied (as, that God should will such to come to repentance as he cuts off in their infancy out of the covenant, such as he hateth from eternity, from whom he hideth the means of grace, to whom he will not give repentance, and yet knoweth that it is utterly impossible they should have it without his bestowing). The text is clear, that it is all and only the elect whom he would not have to perish. A place supposed parallel to this we have in Ezek. 18: 23, 32, which shall be afterward considered. The next is,–
3. Heb. 2:9, “That he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Ans. That “for every one,” is here used for “for all,” by an enallage of the number, is by all acknowledged. The whole question is, who these all are, whether all men universally, or only all those of whom the apostle there treateth. That this expression, every man, is commonly in the Scripture used to signify men under some restriction, cannot be denied. So in that of the apostle, “Warning every man, and reaching every man,” Col. 1: 28; that is, all those to whom he preached the gospel, of whom he is there speaking. “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal,” I Cor. 12:7; namely, to all and every one of those who were endued with the gifts there mentioned, whether in the church at Corinth or elsewhere. The present place I have frequently met withal produced in the behalf of universal redemption, but never once had the happiness to find any endeavour to prove from the text, or any other way, that all here is to be taken for all and every one, although they cannot but know that the usual acceptation of the word is against their purpose. Mr More spends a whole chapter about this place; which I seriously considered, to see if I could pick out any thing which might seem in the least measure to tend that way,–namely, to the proving that all and every one are in that place by the apostle intended,–but concerning any such endeavour you have deep silence. So that, with abundance of smooth words, he doth nothing in that chapter but humbly and heartily beg the thing in question; unto which his petition, though he be exceeding earnest, we cannot consent, and that because of these following reasons:–
First, To taste death, being to drink up the cup due to sinners, certainly for whomsoever our Saviour did taste of it, he left not one drop for them to drink after him; he tasted or underwent death in their stead, that the cup might pass from them which passed not from him. Now, the cup of death passeth only from the elect, from believers; for whomsoever our Saviour tasted death, be swallowed it up into victory.
Secondly, We see an evident appearing cause that should move the apostle here to call those for whom Christ died all,–namely, because he wrote to the Hebrews, who were deeply tainted with an erroneous persuasion that all the benefits purchased by Messiah belonged alone to men of their nation, excluding all others; to root out which pernicious opinion, it behoved the apostle to mention the extent of free grace under the gospel, and to hold out a universality of God’s elect throughout the world.
Thirdly, The present description of the all for whom Christ tasted death by the grace of God will not suit to all and every one, or any but only the elect of God. For, verse 10, they are called, “many sons to be brought to glory;” verse 11, those that are “sanctified,” his “brethren;” verse 13, the “children that God gave him;” verse 15, those that are “delivered from the of death;”–none of which can be affirmed of them who are born, live, and die the “children of the wicked one.” Christ is not a captain of salvation, as he is here styled, to any but those that “obey him,” Heb. 5:9; righteousness coming by him “unto all and upon all them that believe,” Rom. 3:22. For these and the like reasons we cannot be induced to hearken to our adversaries’ petition, being fully persuaded that by every one here is meant all and only God’s elect, in whose stead Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death.
4. Another place is 2 Cor. 5:14, 15, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them.” “Here,” say they, “verse 14, you have two alls, which must be both of an equal extent. If all were dead, then Christ died for all,–that is, for as many as were dead. Again; he died for all that must live unto him; but that is the duty of every one in the world: and therefore he died for them all. Farther; that all are all individuals is clear from verse 10, where they are affirmed to be all that must ‘appear before the judgment-seat of Christ;’ from which appearance not any shall be exempted.”
Ans. 1. Taking the words, as to this particular, in the sense of some of our adversaries, yet it doth not appear from the texture of the apostle’s arguing that the two alls of verse 14 are of equal extent. He doth not say that Christ died for all that were dead; but only, that all were dead which Christ died for: which proves no more than this, that all they for whom Christ died for were dead, with that kind of death of which he speaks. The extent of the words is to be taken from the first all, and not the latter. The apostle affirms so many to be dead as Christ died for; not that Christ died for so many as were dead. This the words plainly teach us: “If he died for all, then were all dead,”–that is, all he died for; so that the all that were dead can give no light to the extent of the all that Christ died for, being merely regulated by this. 2. That all and every one are morally bound to live unto Christ, virtute praecepti, we deny; only they are bound to live to him to whom he is revealed,–indeed only they who live by him, that have a spiritual life in and with him: all others are under previous obligations. 3. It is true, all and every one must appear before the judgment-seat of Christ,–he is ordained to be judge of the world; but that they are intended, verse 10 of this chapter, is not true. The apostle speaks of us all, all believers, especially all preachers of the gospel; neither of which all men are. Notwithstanding, then, any thing that hath been said, it no way appears that by all here is meant any but the elect of God, all believers; and that they only are intended I prove by these following reasons, drawn from the text:–
First, The resurrection of Christ is here conjoined with his death: “He died for them, and rose again.” Now, for whomsoever Christ riseth, he riseth for their “justification,” Rom. 4:25; and they must be justified, chap. 8:34. Yea, our adversaries themselves have always confessed that the fruits of the resurrection of Christ are peculiar to believers.
Secondly, He speaks only of those who, by, virtue of the death of Christ, “live unto him,” verse 15; who are “new creatures,” verse 1 7; “to whom the Lord imputeth not their trespasses,” verse 19; who “become the righteousness of God in Christ,” verse 21;–which are only believers. All do not attain hereunto.
Thirdly, The article joined with all; evidently restraineth that all to all of some sort. “Then were they all” (or rather all these) “dead.” These all;–what all? Even all those believers of whom he treats, as above.
Fourthly, All those of whom the apostle treats are proved to be dead, because Christ died for them: “If one died for all, then were all dead.” What death is it which here is spoken of? Not a death natural, but spiritual; and of deaths which come under that name, not that which is in sin, but that which is unto sin. For,–First, The greatest champions of the Arminian cause, as Vorstius and Grotius (on the place), convinced by the evidence of truth, acknowledge that it is a death unto sin, by virtue of the death of Christ, that is here spoken of; and accordingly held out that for the sense of the place. Secondly, It is apparent from the text; the intention of the apostle being to prove that those for whom Christ died are so dead to sin, that henceforth they should live no more thereunto, but to him that died for them. The subject he hath in hand is the same with that he handleth more at large, Rom. 6:5-8, where we are said to be “dead unto sin,” by being “planted together in the likeness of the death of Christ;” from whence, there as here, he presseth them to “newness of life.” These words, then, “If Christ died for all, then were all dead,” are concerning the death of them unto sin for whom Christ died, at least of those concerning whom he there speaketh; and what is this to the general ransom?
Fifthly, The apostle speaks of the death of Christ in respect of application. The effectualness thereof towards those for whom he died, to cause them to live unto him, is insisted on. That Christ died for all in respect of application hath not yet by any been affirmed. Then must all live unto him, yea, live with him for evermore, if there be any virtue or efficacy in his applied oblation for that end. In sum, here is no mention of Christ’s dying for any, but those that are dead to sin and live to him.
5. A fifth place urged to prove universal redemption from the word all, is 1 Cor. 15: 22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Ans. There being another place, hereafter to be considered, wherein the whole strength of the argument usually drawn from these words is contained, I shall not need to speak much to this, neither will I at all turn from the common exposition of the place. Those concerning whom Paul speaketh in this chapter are in this verse called all. Those are they who are implanted into Christ, joined to him, as the members to the head, receiving a glorious resurrection by virtue of his; thus are they by the apostle described. That Paul, in this whole chapter, discourseth of the resurrection of believers is manifest from the arguments which he bringeth to confirm it, being such as are of force only with believers. Taken they are from the resurrection of Christ, the hope, faith, customs, and expected rewards of Christians; all which, as they are of unconquerable power to confirm and establish believers in the faith of the resurrection, so they would have been, all and every one of them, exceedingly ridiculous had they been held out to the men of the world to prove the resurrection of the dead in general. Farther; the very word “shall be made alive” denotes such a living again as is to a good life and glory, a blessed resurrection; and not the quickening of them who are raised to a second death. The Son is said, John 5:21, to “quicken” and make alive (not all, but) “whom he will.” So he useth the word again, chap. 6:63, “It is the Spirit, that” (thus) “quickeneth;” in like manner, Rom. 4:17. And not anywhere is it used to show forth that common resurrection which all shall have at the last day. All, then, who by virtue of the resurrection of Christ shall be made alive, are all those who are partakers of the nature of Christ; who, verse 23, are expressly called “they that are Christ’s,” and of whom, verse 20, Christ is said to be the “first-fruits;” and certainly Christ is not the first-fruits of the damned. Yea, though it be true that all and every one died in Adam, yet that it is here asserted (the apostle speaking of none but believers) is not true; and yet, if it were so to be taken here, it could not prove the thing intended, because of the express limitation of the sense in the clause following. Lastly; granting all that can be desired,–namely, the universality of the word all in both places,–yet I am no way able to discern a medium that may serve for an argument to prove the general ransom.
6. Rom. 5:18 is the last place urged in this kind, and by some most insisted on: “As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free, gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” It might suffice us briefly to declare that by all men in the latter place can none be understood but those whom the free gift actually comes upon unto justification of life; who are said, verse 17, to “receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness,” and so to “reign in life by one, Jesus Christ;” and by his obedience to be “made righteous,” verse 19; which certainly, if any thing be true and certain in the truth of God, all are not. Some believe not,–“all men have not faith;” on some “the wrath of God abideth,” John 3:36; upon whom, surely, grace doth not reign through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ, as it doth upon all those on whom the free gift comes to justification, verse 17. We might, I say, thus answer only; but seeing some, contrary to the clear, manifest intention of the apostle, comparing Adam and Christ, in the efficacy of the sin of the one unto condemnation, and of the righteousness of the other unto justification and life, in respect of those who are the natural seed of the one by propagation, and the spiritual seed of the other by regeneration, have laboured to wrest this place to the maintenance of the error we oppose with more than ordinary endeavours and confidence of success, it may not be unnecessary to consider what is I brought by them to this end and purpose:–
Verse 14. Adam is called, the type and “figure of him that was to come;” not that he was an instituted type, ordained for that only end and purpose, but only that in what he was, and what he did, with what followed thereupon, there was a resemblance between him and Jesus Christ. Hence by him and what he did, by reason of the resemblance, many things, by way of opposition, concerning the obedience of Christ and the efficacy of his death, may be well represented. That which the apostle here prosecuteth this resemblance in (with the showing of many diversities, in all which he exalteth Christ above his type) is this, that an alike though not an equal efficacy (for there is more merit and efficacy required to save one than to lose ten thousand) of the demerit, sin, disobedience, guilt, transgression of the one, to condemn, or bring the guilt of condemnation upon all them in whose room he was a public person (being the head and natural fountain of them all, they all being wrapped up in the same condition with him by divine institution), and the righteousness, obedience, and death of the other, for the absolution, justification, and salvation of all them to whom he was a spiritual head by divine institution, and in whose room he was a public person, is by him in divers particulars asserted. That these last were all and every one of the first, there is not the least mention. The comparison is solely to be considered intensively, in respect of efficacy, not extensively, in respect of object; though the all of Adam be called his many, and the many of Christ be called his all, as indeed they are, even all the seed which is given unto him.
Thomas More, in his “Universality of Free Grace,” chap. 8. p. 41, lays down this comparison, instituted by the apostle, between Adam and Christ, as one of the main foundations of his universal redemption; and this (after some strange mixtures of truth and errors premised, which, to avoid tediousness, we let pass) he affirmeth to consist in four things:–
First, “That Adam, in his first sin and transgression, was a public person, in the room and place of all mankind, by virtue of the covenant between God and him; so that whatever he did therein, all were alike sharers with him. So also was Christ a public person in his obedience and death, in the room and place of all mankind, represented by him, even every one of the posterity of Adam.”
Ans. To that which concerneth Adam, we grant he was a public person in respect of all his that were to proceed from him by natural propagation; that Christ also was a public person in the room of his, and herein prefigured by Adam. But that Christ, in his obedience, death, and sacrifice, was a public person, and stood in the room and stead of all and every one in the world, of all ages and times (that is, not only of his elect and those who were given unto him of God, but also of reprobate persons, hated of God from eternity; of those whom he never knew, concerning whom, in the days of his flesh, he thanked his Father that he had hid from them the mysteries of salvation; whom he refused to pray for; who were, the greatest part of them, already damned in hell, and irrevocably gone beyond the limits of redemption, before he actually yielded any obedience), is to us such a monstrous assertion as cannot once be apprehended or thought on without horror or detestation. That any should perish in whose room or stead the Son of God appeared before his Father with his perfect obedience; that any of those for whom he is a mediator and advocate, to whom he is a king, priest, and prophet (for all these he is, as he was a public person, a sponsor, a surety, and undertaker for them), should be taken from him, plucked out of his arms, his satisfaction and advocation in their behalf being refused;–I suppose is a doctrine that will scarce be owned among those who strive to preserve the witness and testimony of the Lord Jesus.
But let us a little consider the reasons whereby Mr More undertakes to maintain this strange assertion; which, as far as I can gather, are these, page 44: First, He stood not in the room only of the elect, because Adam lost not election, being not intrusted with it. Secondly, If he stood not in the room of all, then he had come short of his figure. Thirdly, It is said he was to restore all men, lost by Adam, Heb. 2: 9. Fourthly, He took flesh, was subjected to mortality, became under the law, and bare the sins of mankind. Fifthly, He did it in the room of all mankind, once given unto him, Rom. 14:9; Phil. 2:8-11. Sixthly, Because he is called the “last Adam;”–and, Seventhly, Is said to be a public person, in the room of all, ever since the “first Adam,” 1 Cor. 15:45, 47; 1 Tim. 2: 5; Rom 5.
Ans. Never, surely, was a rotten conclusion bottomed upon more loose and tottering principles, nor the word of God more boldly corrupted for the maintenance of any error, since the name of Christian was known. A man would think it quit lost, but that it is so very easy a labour to remove such hay and stubble. I answer, then, to the first, that though Adam lost not election, and the eternal decrees of the Almighty are not committed to the keeping of the sons of men, yet in him all the elect were lost, whom Christ came to seek, whom he found,–in whose room he was a public person. To the second, Christ is nowhere compared to Adam in respect of the extent of the object of his death, but only of the efficacy of his obedience. The third is a false assertion;–see our foregoing consideration of Heb. 2:9. Fourthly, For his taking of flesh, etc., it was necessary he should do all this for the saving, of his elect. He took flesh and blood because the children were partakers of the same. Fifthly, No such thing is once affirmed in whole book of God, that all the sons of men were given unto Christ to redeem, so that he should be a public person in their room. Nay, himself plainly affirms the contrary, John 17:6, 9. Some only are given him out of the world, and those he saved; not one of them perisheth. The places urged bold out no such thing, nor any thing like it. They will also afterward come under farther consideration. Sixthly, He is called the “last Adam” in respect of the efficacy of his death unto the justification of the seed promised and given unto him, as the sin of the “first Adam” was effectual to bring the guilt of condemnation on the seed propagated from him; which proves not at all that he stood in the room of all those to whom his death was never known, nor any ways profitable. Seventhly, That he was a public person is confessed: that he was so in the room of all is not proved, neither by what hath been already said, nor by the texts, that there follow, alleged, all which have been considered. This being all that is produced by Mr More to justify his assertion, it may be an instance what weighty inferences he usually asserts from such weak, invalid premises. We cannot also but take notice, by the way, of one or two strange passages which he inserts into this discourse; whereof the first is, that Christ by his death brought all men out of that death whereinto they were fallen by Adam. Now, the death whereinto all fell in Adam being a death in sin, Eph. 2:1-3, and the guilt of condemnation thereupon, if Christ free all from this death, then must all and every one be made alive with life spiritual, which only is to be had and obtained by Jesus Christ; which, whether that be so or not, whether to live by Christ be not the peculiar privilege of believers, the gospel hath already declared, and God will one day determine. Another strange assertion is, his affirming the end of the death of Christ to be his presenting himself alive and just before his Father; as though it were the ultimate thing by him intended, the Holy Ghost expressly affirming that “he loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might present it to himself a glorious church,” Eph. 5:25-27.
The following parallels, which he instituted between Adam and Christ, have nothing of proof in them to the business in hand,–namely, that Christ was a public person, standing, in his obedience, in the room of all and every one that were concerned in the disobedience of Adam. There is, I say, nothing at all of proof in them, being a confused medley of some truths and divers unsavoury heresies. I shall only give the reader a taste of some of them, whereby he may judge of the rest, not troubling myself or others with the transcribing and reading of such empty vanities as no way relate to the business in hand.
First, then, In the second part of his parallel he affirms, “That when Christ finished his obedience, in dying and rising, and offering himself a sacrifice, and making satisfaction, it was, by virtue of the account of God in Christ, and for Christ with God (that is, accepted with God for Christ’s sake), the death, resurrection, the sacrifice and satisfaction, and the redemption of all,–that is, all and every one;” and therein he compares Christ to Adam in the performance of the business by him undertaken. Now, but that I cannot but with trembling consider what the apostle affirms, 2 Thess. 2:11, 12, I should be exceedingly amazed that any man in the world should be so far forsaken of sense, reason, faith, and all reverence of God and man, as to publish, maintain, and seek to propagate, such abominable, blasphemous, senseless contradictious errors. That the death of Christ should be accepted of and accounted before God as the death of all, and yet the greatest part of these all be adjudged to eternal death in their own persons by the same righteous God; that all and every one should arise in and with Jesus Christ, and yet most of them continue dead in their sins, and die for sin eternally; that satisfaction should be made and accepted for them who are never spared, nor shalt be, one farthing of their debt; that atonement should be made by sacrifice for such as ever lie undelivered under wrath; that all the reprobates, Cain, Pharaoh, Ahab, and the rest, who were actually damned in hell, and under death and torments, then when Christ died, suffered, made satisfaction, and rose again, should be esteemed with God to have died, suffered, made satisfaction , and risen again with Christ;–that, I say, such senseless contradictions, horrid errors, and abominable assertions, should be thus nakedly thrust upon Christians, without the least colour, pretence, or show of proof, but the naked authority of him who hath already embraced such things as these were enough to make any man admire and be amazed, but that we know the judgments of God are ofttimes hid, and far above out of our sights.
Secondly, In the third of his parallels he goeth one step higher, comparing Christ with Adam in respect of the efficacy, effect, and fruit of his obedience. He affirms, “That as by the sin of Adam all his posterity were deprived of life, and fell under sin and death, whence judgment and condemnation passed upon all, though this be done secretly and invisibly, and in some sort inexpressibly” (what he means by secretly and invisibly, well I know not,–surely he doth not suppose that these things might possibly be made the objects of our senses; and for inexpressibly, how that is, let Rom. 5:12, with other places, where all this and more is clearly, plainly, and fully expressed, be judge whether it be so or no); “so,” saith lie, “by the efficacy of the obedience of Christ, all men without exception are redeemed, restored, made righteous, justified freely by the grace of Christ, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, the ‘righteousness that is by the faith of Jesus Christ’ being, ‘unto all,’ Rom. 3: 22,” (where the impostor wickedly corrupteth the word of God, like the devil, Matt. 4., by cutting off the following words, “and upon all that believe,” both alls answering to believers). “What remains now but that all also should be saved? the Holy Ghost expressly affirming that those ‘whom God justifieth, he also glorifieth,'” Rom. 8:30. “Solvite mortales animas, curisque levate.” Such assertions as these, without any colour of proof, doth this author labour to obtrude upon us. Now, that men should be restored, and yet continue lost; that they should be made righteous, and yet remain detestably wicked, and wholly abominable; that they should be justified freely by the grace of God, and yet always lie under the condemning sentence of the law of God; that the righteousness of God by the faith of Jesus Christ should be upon all unbelievers,–are not only things exceedingly opposite to the gospel of Jesus Christ, but so absolutely at variance and distance one with another, that the poor salve of Mr More’s following cautions will not serve to heal their mutual wounds. I cannot but fear that it would be tedious and offensive to rake any longer in such a dunghill. Let them that have a mind to be captivated to error and falsehood by corruption of Scripture and denied of common sense and reason, because they cannot receive the truth in the love thereof, delight themselves with such husks as these. What weaker arguments we have had, to maintain that Christ, in his obedience to the death, was a public person in the room of all and every one, hath been already demonstrated. I shall now, by the reader’s leave, a little transgress the rule of disputation, and, taking up the opposite part of the arguments, produce some few reasons and testimonies to demonstrate that our Saviour Christ, in his obedience unto death, in the redemption which he wrought, and satisfaction which he made, and sacrifice which he offered, was not a public person in the room of all and every man in the world, elect and reprobate, believers and infidels, or unbelievers; which are briefly these:–
First, The seed of the woman was not to be a public person in the place, stead, and room of the seed of the serpent. Jesus Christ is the seed of the woman; all the reprobates, as was before proved, are the seed of the serpent: therefore, Jesus Christ was not, in his oblation and suffering, when he brake the head of the father of the seed, a public person in their room.
Secondly, Christ, as a public person, representeth only them for whose sake he set himself apart to that office and employment wherein he was such a representative; but upon his own testimony, which we have, John 17:19, he set himself apart to the service and employment wherein he was a public person for the, sakes only of some that were given him out of the world, and not of all and every one: therefore, he was not a public person in the room of all.
Thirdly, Christ was a “surety,” as he was a public person, Heb. 7:22; but he was not a surety for all,–for, first, All are not taken into that covenant whereof he was a surety, whose conditions are effected in all the covenantees, as before; secondly, None can perish for whom Christ is a surety, unless he be not able to pay the debt:- therefore, he was not a public person in the room of all.
Fourthly, For whom he was a public person, in their rooms he suffered, and for them he made satisfaction, Isa. 53:5, 6; but he suffered not in the stead of all, nor made satisfaction for all,–for, first, Some must suffer themselves, which makes it evident that Christ did not suffer for them, Rom. 8:33, 34; and, secondly, The justice of God requireth satisfaction from themselves, to the payment of the utmost farthing.
Fifthly, Jesus Christ, as a public person, did nothing in vain in respect of any for whom he was a public person; but many things which Christ, as a public person, did perform were altogether in vain and fruitless, in respect of the greatest part of the sons of men being under an incapability of receiving any good by any thing he did,–to wit, all that then were actually damned, in respect of whom, redemption, reconciliation, satisfaction, and the like, could possibly be no other than empty names.
Sixthly, If God were well pleased with his Son in what he did, as a public person, in his representation of others (as he was, Eph. 5:2), then must he also be well pleased with them whom he did represent, either absolutely or conditionally; but with many of the sons of men God, in the representation of his Son, was not well pleased, neither absolutely nor conditionally –to wit, with Cain, Pharaoh, Saul, Ahab, and others, dead and damned before: therefore, Christ did not, as a public person, represent all.
Seventhly, For testimonies, see John 17:9; Matt. 20:28, 26:26-28; Mark. 10:45; Heb, 6:20; Isa. 53:12; John 10:15; Heb. 13:20; Matt. 1:21; Heb. 2:17; John 11:51, 52; Acts 20: 28; Eph. 5:2, 23-25; Rom. 8:33,34.
The last argument from Scripture answered.
III. I come, in the next place, to the third and last argument, drawn from the Scripture, wherewith the Arminians and their successors (as to this point) do strive to maintain their figment of universal redemption; and it is taken from such texts of Scripture as seem to hold out the perishing of some of them for whom Christ died, and the fruitlessness of his blood in respect of divers for whom it was shed. And on this theme their wits are wonderfully luxuriant, and they are full of rhetorical strains to set out the unsuccessfulness and fruitlessness of the blood of Christ in respect of the most for whom it was shed, with the perishing of bought, purged, reconciled sinners. Who can but believe that this persuasion tends to the consolation of poor souls, whose strongest defence lieth in making vile the precious blood of the Lamb, yea, trampling upon it, and esteeming it as a common thing? But, friends, let me tell you, I am persuaded it was not so unvaluable in the eyes of his Father as to cause it to be poured out in vain, in respect of any one soul. But seeing we must be put to this defence,- wherein we cannot but rejoice, it tending so evidently to the honour of our blessed Saviour,–let us consider what can be said by Christians (at least in name) to enervate the efficacy of the blood-shedding, of the death of him after whose name they desire to be called. Thus, then, they argue:–
“If Christ died for reprobates and those that perish, then he died for all and every one, for confessedly he died for the elect and those that are saved; but he died for reprobates, and them that perish: therefore,” etc.
Ans. For the assumption, or second proposition of this argument, we shall do what we conceive was fit for all the elect of God to do,–positively deny it (taking the death of Christ, here said to be for them, to be considered not in respect of its own internal worth and sufficiency, but, as it was intended by the Father and Son, in respect of them for whom he died). We deny, then, I say, that Christ, by the command of his Father, and with intention to make satisfaction for sins, did lay down his life for reprobates and them that perish.
This, then, they prove from Rom. 14:15; I Cor. 8:11; 2 Pet. 2:1; Heb. 10:29. Now, that no such thing as is pretended is proved from any of the places alleged, we shall show by the consideration of them in the order they are laid down in.
1. The first is Rom. 14:15, “But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died.”
Ans. Had we not experience of the nimbleness of our adversaries in framing arguments for their cause, I should despair to find their conclusion pressed out of this place; for what coherence or dependence, I beseech you, is here to be discerned? “The apostle exhorteth strong and sound believers to such a moderate use of Christian liberty that they do not grieve the spirit of the weak ones, that were believers also (professors, all called ‘saints, elect, believers, redeemed,’ and so in charity esteemed), and so give them occasion of stumbling and falling off from the gospel: therefore, Jesus Christ died for all reprobates, even all those that never heard word nor syllable of him or the doctrine of the gospel.” Must he not be very quick-sighted that can see the dependence of this inference on that exhortation of the apostle? But ye will say, “Is it not affirmed that he may perish for whom Christ died?” Ans. In this place there is no such thing at all once mentioned or intimated; only others are commanded not to do that which goeth in a direct way to destroy him, by grieving him with their uncharitable walking. “But why should the apostle exhort him not to do that which he could no way do, if he that Christ died for could not perish?” Ans. Though the one could not perish in respect of the event, the other might sinfully give occasion of perishing in respect of a procuring cause. May not a man be exhorted from attempting of that which yet if he should attempt he could not effect? No thanks to the soldier who ran a spear into the side of our dead Redeemer, that therewith he brake none of his bones. Besides, is every one damned that one attempts to destroy, by grieving him with uncharitable walking? Such arguments as these are poor men of straw. And yet, notwithstanding, we do not deny but that many may perish, and that utterly, whom we, in our walking towards them and converse with them, are bound to conceive redeemed by Christ; even all being to be thought so who are to be esteemed “saints and brethren,” as the language of the Scripture is concerning the professors of the gospel. And this is most certain, that no one place makes mention of such to be bought or redeemed by our Saviour, but those which had the qualification of being members of this visible church; which come infinitely short of all and every one.
2. But let us see a second place, which is 1 Cor. 8:11, “And through thy knowledge shall thy weak brother perish, for whom Christ died.” This seemeth to have more colour, but really yieldeth no more strength to the persuasion for whose confirmation it is produced, than the former. A brother is said to perish for whom Christ died. That by perishing here is understood eternal destruction and damnation, I cannot apprehend. That which the apostle intimates whereby it is done, is eating of things offered to an idol, with conscience or regard of an idol, by the example of others who pretended to know that an idol was nothing, and so to eat freely of the things offered to them. That so doing was a sin in its own nature damnable, none can doubt. All sin is so; every time we sin, for any thing that lieth in us, we perish, we are destroyed. So did the eater of things offered to idols. But that God always revengeth sin with damnation on all in whom it is, we deny; he hath otherwise revealed himself in the blood of Jesus Christ, That every such a one did actually perish eternally, as well as meritoriously, cannot be proved. Besides, he that is said to perish is called a brother,–that is, a believer; we are brethren only by faith, whereby we come to have one Father. As he is said to be a brother, so Christ is said to die for him. That a true believer cannot finally perish may easily be proved; therefore, he who doth perish is manifestly declared never to have been any: “They went out from us, because they were not of us.” If any perish, then, he was never a true believer. How, then, is he said to be a brother? Because he is so in profession, so in our judgment and persuasion; it being meet for us to think so of them all. As he is said to be a brother, so Christ is said to die for him, even in that judgment which the Scripture allows to us of men. We cannot count a man a brother, and not esteem that Christ died for him; we have no brotherhood with reprobates. Christ died for all believers, John 17. So we esteem all men walking in the due profession of the gospel, not manifesting the contrary; yet of these, that many may perish none ever denied. Farther; this, so shall he perish, referreth to the sin of him that layeth the offence; for aught that lieth in him, he ruins him irrecoverably. Hence see their argument:- “The apostle telleth persons walking offensively, that by this abusing their liberty, others will follow them, to the wounding of their conscience and ruin, who are brethren, acknowledged so by you, and such as for whom Christ died: therefore, Christ died for all the reprobates in the world. ‘Is it just and equal,’ saith the apostle, ‘that, ye should do such things as will be stumbling-blocks in the way of the weak brother, at which he might stumble and fall?’ therefore, Christ died for all.” We do not deny but that some may perish, and that eternally, concerning whom we ought to judge that Christ died for them, whilst they live and converse with us according to the rule of the gospel.
3. The next place is much insisted on,–namely, 2 Pet. 2:1, “There shall be false teacher, denying the Lord that bought them, and bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” All things here, as to any proof of the business in hand, are exceedingly dark, uncertain, and doubtful. Uncertain, that by the Lord is meant the Lord Christ, the word in the original being DESPOTES, seldom or never ascribed to him; uncertain, whether the purchase or buying of these false teachers refer to the eternal redemption by the blood of Christ, or a deliverance by God’s goodness from the defilement of the world in idolatry, or the like, by the knowledge of the truth,- which last the text expressly affirms; uncertain, whether the apostle speaketh of this purchase according to the reality of the thing, or according to their apprehension and their profession.
On the other side, it is most certain,–First, That there are no spiritual distinguishing fruits of redemption ascribed to these false teachers, but only common gifts of light and knowledge, which Christ hath purchased for many for whom he did not make his soul a ransom. Secondly, That, according to our adversaries, the redemption of any by the blood of Christ cannot be a peculiar aggravation of the sins of any, because they say he died for all; and yet this buying of the false teachers is held out as an aggravation of their sin in particular.
Of the former uncertainties, whereon our adversaries build their inference of universal redemption (which yet can by no means be wire-drawn thence, were they most certain in their sense), I shall give a brief account, and then speak something as to the proper intendment of the place.
For the first, It is most uncertain whether Christ, as mediator, be here intended by Lord or no. There is not any thing in the text to enforce us so to conceive, nay, the contrary seems apparent,–First, Because in the following verses, God only, as God, with his dealings towards such as these, is mentioned; of Christ not a word. Secondly, The name Despotes, properly “Herus,” attended by dominion and sovereignty, is not usually, if at all, given to our Saviour in the New Testament; he is everywhere called Kurios, nowhere clearly Despotes, as is the Father, Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24, and in divers other places. Besides, if it should appear that this name were given our Saviour in any one place, doth it therefore follow that it must be so here? nay, is the name proper for our Saviour, in the work of redemption? Despotes is such a Lord or Master as refers to servants and subjection; the end of Christ’s purchasing any by his blood being in the Scripture always and constantly expressed in other terms, of more endearment. It is, then, most uncertain that Christ should be understood by the word Lord.
[Secondly], But suppose he should, it is most uncertain that by buying of these false teachers is meant his purchasing of them with the ransom of his blood; for,- First, The apostle insisteth on a comparison with the times of the Old Testament, and the false prophets that were then amongst the people, backing his assertion with divers examples out of the 0ld Testament in the whole chapter following. Now, the word bought (Agorazo), here used, signifieth primarily the buying of thing; translatitiously, the redemption of persons;–and the word padah in the Old Testament, answering thereunto, signifieth any deliverance, as Deut. 7:8, 15:15, Jer. 15:21, with innumerable other places: and, therefore, some such deliverance is here only intimated. Secondly, Because here is no mention of blood, death, price, or offering of Jesus Christ, is in other places, where proper redemption is treated on; especially, some such expression is added where the word Agorazo is used to express it, as I Cor. 6:20, Rev. 5:9, which otherwise holds out of itself deliverance in common from any trouble. Thirdly, The apostle setting forth at large the deliverance, they had had, and the means thereof, verse 20, affirms it to consist in the “escaping, of the pollutions of the world,” as idolatry, false worship, and the like, “through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;” plainly declaring that their buying was only in respect of this separation from the world, in respect of the enjoyment of the knowledge of the truth; but of washing in the blood of the Lamb, he is wholly silent. Plainly, there is no purchase mentioned of these false teachers, but a deliverance, by God’s dispensations towards them, from the blindness of Judaism or Paganism, by the knowledge of the gospel; whereby the Lord bought them to be servants to him, as their supreme head. So that our adversaries’ argument from this place is this:–“God the Lord, by imparting the knowledge of the gospel, and working them to a professed acknowledgment of it and subjection unto it, separated and delivered from the world divers that were saints in show,–really wolves and hypocrites, of old ordained to condemnation: therefore, Jesus Christ shed his blood for the redemption and salvation of all reprobates and damned persons in the whole world.” Who would not admire our adversaries’ chemistry?
Thirdly, Neither is it more certain that the apostle speaketh of the purchase of the wolves and hypocrites, in respect of the reality of the purchase, and not rather in respect of that estimation which others had of them,–and, by reason of their outward seeming profession, ought to have had,–and of the profession that themselves made to be purchased by him whom they pretended to preach to others; as the Scripture saith [of Abaz], “The gods of Damascus smote him,” because he himself so imagined and professed, 2 Chron. 28:23. The latter hath this also to render it probable,–namely, that it is the perpetual course of the Scripture, to ascribe all those things to every one that is in the fellowship of the church which are proper to them only who are true spiritual members of the same; as to be saints, elect, redeemed, etc. Now, the truth is, from this their profession, that they were bought by Christ, might the apostle justly, and that according to the opinion of our adversaries, press these false teachers, by the way of aggravating their sin. For the thing itself, their being bought, it could be no more urged to them than to heathens and infidels that never heard of the name of the Lord Jesus.
Now, after all this, if our adversaries can prove universal redemption from this text, let them never despair of success in any thing they undertake, be it never so absurd, fond, or foolish. But when they have wrought up the work already cut out for them, and proved,–first, That by the Lord is meant Christ as mediator; secondly, That by buying is meant spiritual redemption by the blood of the Lamb; thirdly, That these false teachers were really and effectually so redeemed, and not only so accounted because of the church; fourthly, That those who are so redeemed may perish, contrary to the express Scripture, Rev. 14:4, fifthly, Manifest the strength of this inference, “Some in the church who have acknowledged Christ to be their purchaser, fall away to blaspheme him, and perish for ever; therefore, Christ bought and redeemed all that ever did or shall perish;” sixthly, That which is common to all is a peculiar aggravation to the sin of any one more than others;–I will assure them they shall have more work provided for them, which themselves know for a good part already where to find.
4. The last place produced for the confirmation of the argument in hand is Heb. 10: 29, “Of how much sorer punishment suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” “Nothing,” say our adversaries, “could be affirmed of all this concerning apostates,–namely, ‘That they have trodden under foot,’ etc., unless the blood of Christ was in some sense shed for them.”
Ans. The intention of the apostle in this place is the same with the general aim and scope of the whole epistle,–to persuade and urge the Jews, who had embraced the doctrine of the gospel, to perseverance and continuance therein. This, as he doth perform in other places, with divers and various arguments,–the most of them taken from a comparison at large instituted between the gospel in its administration, and those legal shadows which, before their profession, they lived under and were in unto,–so here he urgeth a strong argument to the same purpose “ab incommode, seu effectu pernicioso,” from the miserable, dangerous effects and consequences of the sin of backsliding, and willful renunciation of the truth known and professed, upon any motives and inducements whatsoever; which he assureth [them] to be no less than a total casting off and depriving themselves of all hopes and means of recovery, with dreadful horror of conscience in expectation of judgment to come, verses 26,27. Now, this he confirms, as his manner is in this epistle, from some thing, way, and practice which was known to them, and wherewith they were all acquainted by that administration of the covenant under which they had before lived, in their Judaism; and so makes up his inference from a comparison of the less; taking his example from the punishment due, by God’s own appointment, to all them who transgressed Moses’ law in such a manner as apostates sin against the gospel,- that is, “with an high hand,” or “presumptuously:” for such a one was to die without mercy, Num. 15:30, 31. Whereupon, having abundantly proved that the gospel, and the manifestation of grace therein, is exceedingly preferred to and exalted above the old ceremonies of the law, he concludes that certainly a much sorer punishment (which he leaves to their judgment to determine) awaits for them who willfully violate the holy gospel and despise the declaration of grace therein contained and by it revealed; which farther also to manifest, he sets forth the nature and quality of this sin in all such as, professing redemption and deliverance by the blood of Christ, shall willfully cast themselves thereinto. “It is,” saith he, “no less than to tread under foot or contemn the Son of God; to esteem the blood of the covenant, by which he was set apart and sanctified in the profession of the gospel, to be as the blood of a vile man; and thereby to do despite to the Spirit of grace.” This being (as is confessed) the plain meaning and aim of the apostle, we may observe sundry things, for the vindication of this place from the abuse of our adversaries; as,–
First, He speaketh here only of those that were professors of the faith of the gospel, separated from the world, brought into a church state and fellowship, professing themselves to be sanctified by the blood of Christ, receiving and owning Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and endued with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as chap. 4: 4, 5. Now, it is most certain that these things are peculiar only to some, yea to a very few, in comparison of the universality of the sons of men; so that what is affirmed of such only can by no memo be so extended as to be applied unto all. Now, if any one may be exempted, universal redemption falleth to the ground; from the condition of a very few, with such qualifications as the multitude have not, nothing can be concluded concerning all.
Secondly, The apostle doth neither declare what hath been nor assert what may be, but only adds a commination upon a supposition of a thing; his main aim being to deter from the thing rather than to signify that it may be, by showing the misery that must needs follow if it should so come to pass. When Paul told the soldiers, Acts 27:31, that if the mariners fled away in the boat they could not be saved, he did not intend to signify to them that, in respect of the event, they should be drowned, for God had declared the contrary unto him the night before, and he to them; but only to exhort them to prevent that which of itself was a likely way for their ruin and perishing. Neither shall the Remonstrants, with all their rhetoric, ever persuade us that it is in vain and altogether fruitless to forewarn men of an evil, and to exhort them to take heed of those ways whereby it is naturally, and according to the order among the things themselves, to be incurred; although, in respect of the purpose of God, the thing itself have no futurition, nor shall ever come to pass. A commination of the judgment due to apostasy, being an appointed means for the preserving of the saints from that sin, may be held out to them, though it be impossible the elect should be seduced. Now, that Paul here deals only upon a supposition (not giving being to the thing, but only showing the connection between apostasy and condemnation, thereby to stir up all the saints to “take heed lest there should be in any of them an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God”) is apparent from verse 26, where he makes an entrance upon this argument and motive to perseverance: “For if we sin willfully.” That believers may do so, he speaks not one word; but if they should do so, he shows what would be the event;–as, that the soldiers in the ship should perish, Paul told them not; but yet showed what must needs come to pass if the means of prevention were not used, Now, if this be the intention of the apostle, as it is most likely, by his speaking in the first person, “If we sin willfully,” then not any thing in the world can be hence concluded either for the universality of redemption or the apostasy of saints, to both which ends this place is usually urged; for “suppositio nil ponit in esse.”
Thirdly, It is most certain that those of whom he speaks did make profession of all those things whereof here is mention,–namely, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that they were sanctified by the blood of the covenant, and enlightened by the Spirit of grace; yea, as is apparent from the parallel place, Heb. 6:4,5, had many gifts of illumination; besides their initiation by baptism, wherein open profession and demonstration was made of these things. So that a renunciation of all these, with open detestation of them, as was the manner of apostates, accursing the name of Christ, was a sin of so deep an abomination, attended with so many aggravations, as might well have annexed to it this remarkable commination, though the apostates never had themselves any true effectual interest in the blood of Jesus.
Fourthly, That it was the manner of the saints, and the apostles themselves, to esteem of all baptized, initiated persons, ingrafted into the church, as sanctified persons; so that, speaking of backsliders, he could not make mention of them any otherwise than as they were commonly esteemed to be, and at that time, in the judgment of charity, were to be considered. Whether they were true believers or no, but only temporary, to whom this argument against apostasy is proposed, according to the usual manner of speech used by the Holy Ghost, they could not be otherwise described.
Fifthly, If the text be interpreted positively, and according to the truth of the thing itself, in both parts thereof (namely, 1. That those of whom the, apostle speaketh were truly sanctified; 2. That such may totally perish), then these two things will inevitably follow,–first, That faith and sanctification are not the fruit of election; secondly, That believers may fall finally from Christ;–neither of which I as yet find to be owned by our new Universalists, though both contended for by our old Arminians.
Sixthly, There is nothing in the text of force to persuade that the persons here spoken of must needs be truly justified and regenerated believers, much less that Christ died for them; which comes in only by strained consequences. One expression only seems to give any colour hereunto,–that they were said to be “sanctified by the blood of the covenant.” Now, concerning this, if we do but consider,–first, The manner and custom of the apostles writing to the churches, calling them all “saints” that were called,–ascribing that to every one that belonged only to some; secondly, That these persons were baptized, (which ordinance among the ancients was sometimes called “enlightened,” sometimes “sanctification,”) wherein, by a solemn aspersion of the symbol of the blood of Christ, they were externally sanctified, separated, and set apart, and were by all esteemed as saints and believers thirdly, The various significations of the word sanctify (here used) in the Scripture, whereof one most frequent is, to consecrate and set apart to any holy use, as 2 Chron. 29:33, Lev. 16:4; fourthly, That Paul useth in this epistle many words and phrases in a temple sense, alluding, in the things and ways of the Christian church, unto the old legal observances; fifthly, That supposed and professed sanctity is often called so, and esteemed to be so indeed;–if, I say, we shall consider these things, it will be most apparent that here is indeed no true, real, internal, effectual sanctification, proper to God’s elect, at all intimated, but only a common external setting apart (with repute and esteem of real holiness) from the ways of the world and customs of the old synagogue, to an enjoyment of the ordinance of Christ representing the blood of the covenant. So that this commination being made to all so externally and apparently sanctified, to them that were truly so it declared the certain connection between apostasy and condemnation; thereby warning them to avoid it, as Joseph [was] warned to flee into Egypt, lest Herod should slay the child; which yet, in respect of God’s purpose, could not be effected. In respect of them that were only apparently so, it held out the odiousness of the sin, with their own certain inevitable destruction if they fell into it; which it was possible they might do.
And thus, by the Lord’s assistance, have I given you, as I hope, a clear solution to all the arguments which heretofore the Arminians pretended to draw from the Scripture in the defence of their cause; some other sophisms shall hereafter be removed. But because of late we have had a multiplication of arguments on this subject, some whereof, at least in form, appear to be new, and may cause some trouble to the unskillful, I shall, in the next place, remove all those objections which Thomas More, in his book of the “Universality of Free Grace,” hath gathered together against our main thesis, of Christ’s dying only for the elect, which himself puts together in one bundle, chap. 26, and calleth them reasons.
An answer to the twentieth chapter of the book entitled, “The Universality of God’s Free Grace,” etc., being a collection of all the arguments used by the author throughout the whole book to prove the universality of redemption.
THE title pretends satisfaction to them who desire to have reason satisfied: which, that it is a great undertaking, I easily grant; but for the performance of it, “hiC labor, hoc opus.” That ever Christian reason, rightly informed by the word of God, should be satisfied with any doctrine so discrepant from the word, so full of contradiction in itself and to its own principles, as the doctrine of universal redemption is, I should much marvel. Therefore, I am persuaded that the author of the arguments following (which, lest you should mistake them for others, he calleth reasons) will fail of his intention with all that have so much reason as to know how to make use of reason, and so much grace as not to love darkness more than light. The only reason, as far as I can conceive, why he calls this collection of all the arguments and texts of Scripture which he had before cited and produced at large so many reasons, being a supposal that he hath given them a logical, argumentative form in this place, I shall briefly consider them; and, by the way, take notice of his skill in a regular framing of arguments, to which here he evidently pretends. His first reason, then, is as followeth: —
I. “That which the Scripture oft and plainly affirmeth in plain words is certainly true and to be believed, Prov. xxii. 20, 21; Isa viii. 20; 2 Pet. i. 19, 20;
“But that Jesus Christ gave himself a ransom, and by the grace of God tasted death for every man, is oft and plainly affirmed in Scripture, as is before shown, chap. vii. to xiii.:
“Therefore, the same is certainly a truth to be believed, John xx. 31, Acts xxvi. 27.”
First, The proposition of this argument is clear, evident, and acknowledged by all professing the name of Christ; but yet universally with this caution and proviso, that by the Scripture affirming any thing in plain words that is to be believed, you understand the plain sense of those words, which is clear by rules of interpretation so to be. It is the thing signified that is to be believed, and not the words only, which are the sign thereof; and, therefore, the plain sense and meaning is that which we must inquire after, and is intended when we speak of believing plain words of the Scripture. But now if by plain words you understand the literal importance of the words, which may perhaps be figurative, or at least of various signification, and capable of extension or restriction in the interpretation, then there is nothing more false than this assertion; for how can you then avoid the blasphemous folly of the Anthropomorphites, assigning a body and human shape unto God, the plain words of the Scripture often mentioning his eyes, hands, ears, etc., it being apparent to every child that the true importance of those expressions answers not at all their gross canal conception? Will not also transubstantiation, or its younger brother consubstantiation, be an article of our creeds? With this limitation, then, we pass the proposition, with the places of Scripture brought to confirm it; only with this observation, that there is not one of them to the purpose in hand,– which, because they do not relate to the argument in consideration, we only leave to men’s silent judgments. Secondly, The assumption, or minor proposition, we absolutely deny as to some part of it; as that Christ should be said to give himself a ransom for every man, it being neither often, nor once, nor plainly, nor obscurely affirmed in the Scripture, nor at all proved in the place referred unto: so that this is but an empty flourishing. For the other expression, of “tasting death for every man,” we grant that the words are found Heb. ii. 9; but we deny that every man doth always necessarily signify all and every man in the world. Col. i. 28,–” Warning every man and teaching every man.” Every man is not there every man in the world; neither are we to believe that Paul warned and taught every particular man, for it is false and impossible. So that every man, in the Scripture, is not universally collective of all of all sorts, but either distributive, for some of all sorts, or collective, with a restriction to all of some sort; as in that of Paul, every man, was only of those to whom he had preached the gospel. Secondly, In the original there is only huper pantos “for every”, without the substantive man, which might be supplied by other words as well as man,– as elect, or believer. Thirdly, That every one is there clearly restrained to all the members of Christ, and the children by him brought to glory, we have before declared. So that this place is no way useful for the confirmation of the assumption, which we deny in the sense intended; and are sure we shall never see a clear, or so much as a probable, testimony for the confirming of it.
To the conclusion of the syllogism, the author, to manifest his skill in disputing in such an argumentative way as he undertaketh, addeth some farther proofs. Conscious, it seems, he was to himself that it had little strength from the propositions from which it is enforced; and, therefore, thought to give some new supportments to it, although with very ill success, as will easily appear to any one that shall but consult the places quoted, and consider the business in hand. In the meantime, this new logic, of filing proofs to the conclusion which are suitable to neither proposition, and striving to give strength to that by new testimony which it hath not from the premises, deserves our notice in this age of learned writers. “Heu quantum est sapere.” Such logic is fit to maintain such divinity. And so much for the first argument.
II. “Those whom Jesus Christ and his apostles, in plain terms, without any exception or restraint, affirm that Christ came to save, and to that end died, and gave himself a ransom for, and is a propitiation for their sin, he certainly did come to save, and gave himself a ransom for them, and is the propitiation for their sins, Matt. xxvi. 24; John vi. 38; 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4; Heb. x. 7; John viii. 38, 45; 2 Pet. i. 16; Heb. ii. 3, 4;
“But Jesus Christ and his apostles have, in plain terms, affirmed that ‘Christ came to save sinners,’ 1Tim. i.15; the ‘world,’ John iii.17; ] that he died for the ‘unjust,’ 1 Pet. iii. 18; the ‘ungodly,’ Rom. v. 6; for ‘every man,’ Heb. ii. 9; ‘gave himself a ransom for all men,’ 1Tim. ii. 6; and is the ‘propitiation for the sins of the whole world,’ 1 John ii. 2; and every one of these affirmations without any exception or restraint, all being unjust, ungodly, sinners, and men, and of the world, Rom. iii. 10, 19, 20, 23; Eph. ii. 1 — 3; Tit. iii. 3; John iii 4, 6:
“Therefore, Jesus Christ came to save, died, and gave himself a ransom for all men, and is the propitiation for their sins, John i. 29.”
To the proposition of this argument I desire only to observe, that we do not affirm that the Scripture doth, in any place, lay an exception or restraint upon those persons for whom Christ is said to die, as though in one place it should be affirmed he died for all men, and in another some exception against it, as though some of those all men were excluded,– which were to feign a repugnancy and contra- diction in the word of God; only, we say, one place of Scripture interprets another, and declares that sense which before in one place was ambiguous and doubtful. For instance: when the Scripture showeth that Christ died or gave himself a ransom for all, we believe it; and when, in another place, he declares that all to be his church, his elect, his sheep, all believers,– some of all sorts, out of all kindreds, and nations, and tongues, under heaven; this is not to lay an exception or restraint upon what was said of all before, but only to declare that the all for which he gave himself for a ransom were all his church, all his elect, all his sheep, some of all sorts: and so we believe that he died for all With this observation we let pass the proposition, taking out its meaning as well as the phrase whereby it is expressed will afford it, together with the vain flourish and pompous show of many texts of Scripture brought to confirm it, whereof not one is any thing to the purpose; so that I am persuaded he put down names and figures at a venture, without once consulting the texts, having no small cause to be confident that none would trace him in his flourish, and yet that some eyes might dazzle at his super-numerary quotations. Let me desire the reader to turn to those places, and if any one of them be any thing to the purpose or business in hand, let the author’s credit be of weight with him another time. 0 let us not be as many, who corrupt the word of God! But perhaps it is a mistake in the impression, and for Matt. xxvi. 24, he intends verse 28, where Christ is said to shed his blood for many. In John vi., he mistook verse 38 for 39, where our Saviour affirms that he came to save that which his Father gave him,– that none should be lost; which certainly are the elect. In 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4, he was not much amiss, the apostle conjoining in those verses the death and resurrection of Christ, which he saith was for us; and how far this advantageth his cause in hand, we have before declared. By Heb. x. 7, I suppose he meant verse 10 of the chapter, affirming that by the will of God, which Christ came to do, we are sanctified, even through the offering of the body of Jesus,– ascribing our sanctification to his death, which is not effected in all and every one; though per- haps he may suppose the last clause of the verse, “once for all,” to make for him. But some charitable man, I hope, will undeceive him, by letting him know the meaning of the word ephapaz. The like may be observed of the other places,– that in them is nothing at all to the proposition in hand, and nigh them at least is enough to evert it. And so his proposition in sum is: –“All those for whom the Scripture affirms that Christ did die, for them he died;” which is true, and doubtless granted.
The assumption affirms that Christ and his apostles in the Scriptures say that he died to save sinners, unjust, ungodly, the world, all; whereupon the conclusion ought barely to be, “Therefore Christ died for sinners, unjust, ungodly, the world, and the like.” To which we say,– First, That this is the very same argument, for substance, with that which went before, as also are some of those that follow; only some words are varied, to change the outward appearance, and so to make show of a number. Secondly, That the whole strength of this argument lies in turning indefinite propositions into universals, concluding that because Christ died for sinners, therefore he died for all sinners; because he died for the unjust, ungodly, and the world, that therefore he died for every one that is unjust, or ungodly, and for every one in the world; because he died for all, therefore for all and every one of all sorts of men. Now, if this be good arguing, I will furnish you with some more such arguments against you have occasion to use them: — First, God “justifieth the ungodly,” Rom. iv. 5; therefore, he justifieth every one that is ungodly. Now, “whom he justifieth, them he also glorifieth;” and therefore every ungodly person shall be glorified. Secondly, When Christ came, “men loved darkness rather than light,” John iii. 19; therefore, all men did so, and so none believed. Thirdly, “The world knew not Christ,” John i. 10; there- fore, no man in the world knew him. Fourthly, “The whole world lieth in wickedness,” 1 John v. 19; therefore, every one in the world doth so. Such arguments as these, by turning indefinite propositions into universals, I could easily furnish you withal, for any purpose that you will use them to. Thirdly, If you extend the words in the conclusion no farther than the intention of them in the places of Scripture recited in the assumption, we may safely grant the whole,– namely, that Christ died for sinners and the world, for sinful men in their several generations living therein; but if you intend a universality collective of all in the conclusion, then the syllogism is sophistical and false, no place of Scripture affirming so much that is produced., the assignation of the object of the death of Christ in them being in terms indefinite, receiving light and clearness for a more restrained sense in those places where they are expounded to be meant of all his own people, and the children of God scattered throughout the world. Fourthly, Far particular places of Scripture urged, 1 Tim. i. 15; 1 Pet. iii. 18; Rom. v. 6, in the beginning of the assumption, are not at all to the purpose in hand. John iii 17; Heb. ii 9; 1 John ii. 2, have been already considered. Rom. iii 10, 19, 20, 23; Eph. ii. 1 — 3; Tit. iii 3; John iii. 4, 6, added in the close of the same proposition, prove that all are sinners and children of wrath; but of Christ’s dying for all sinners, or for all those children of wrath, there is not the least intimation. And this may suffice in answer to the first two arguments, which might easily be retorted upon the author of them, the Scripture being full and plain to the confirmation of the position which he intends to oppose.
III. “That which the Scripture layeth forth as one end of the death of Christ, and one ground and cause of God’s exalting Christ to be the Lord and Judge of all, and of the equity of his judging, that is certainly to be believed, Ps. xii. 6, xviii 130, cxix. 4; “But the Scripture layeth forth this for one end of the death and resurrection of Christ, that he might be the Lord of all, Rom. xiv. 9; 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. And for that cause (even his death and resurrection) hath God exalted him to be the Lord and Judge of all men, and his judgments shall be just, Rom. xiv. 9, ll, 12; 2 Cor. v. 10; Phil ii. 7 — ll; Acts xvii. 31; Rom. ii 16:
“Therefore, that Christ so died, and rose again for all, is a truth to be believed, 1 Tim. ii. 6.”
First, The unlearned framing of this argument, the uncouth expressions of the thing intended, and failing in particulars, by the by, being to be ascribed to the person and not the cause, I shall not much trouble myself withal; as,– First, To his artificial regularity in bring his minor proposition, namely, Christ being made Lord and Judge of all, into the major; so continuing one term in all three propositions, and making the whole almost unintelligible. Secondly, His interpreting, “For this cause God exalted Christ,” to be his death and resurrection, when his resurrection, wherein he was “declared to be the Son of God with power,” Rom. i. 4, was a glorious part of his exaltation. To examine and lay open the weakness and folly of innumerable such things as these, which everywhere occur, were to be lavish of precious moments. Those that have the least taste of learning or the way of reasoning do easily see their vanity; and for the rest, especially the poor admirers of these foggy sophisms, I shall not say, “Quoniam hic populus vult decipi, decipiatur,” but, “God give them understanding and repentance, to the acknowledgment of the truth.”
Secondly, To this whole argument, as it lies before us, I have nothing to say but only to entreat Mr More, that if the misery of our times should be calling upon him to be writing again, he would cease expressing his mind by syllogisms, and speak in his own manner; which, by its confusion in innumerable tautologies, may a little puzzle his reader. For, truly, this kind of arguing here used,– for want of logic, whereby he is himself deceived, and delight in sophistry, whereby he deceiveth others,– is exceedingly ridiculous; for none can be so blind but that, at first reading of the argument, he will see that he asserts and infers that in the conclusion, strengthening it with a new testimony, which was not once dreamed of in either of the premises; they speaking of the exaltation of Christ to be judge of all, which refers to his own glory; the conclusion, of his dying for all, which necessarily aims at and intends their good. Were it not a noble design to banish all human learning, and to establish such a way of arguing in the room thereof? “Hoc Ithacus velit et magno mercentur Atridae.”
Thirdly, The force and sum of the argument is this: –“Christ died and rose again that he might be Lord and Judge of all; therefore, Christ died for all.” Now, ask what he means by dying for all, and the whole treatise answers that it is a paying a ransom for them all, that they might be saved. Now, how this can be extorted out of Christ’s dominion over all, with his power of judging all committed to him, which also is extended to the angels for whom he died not; let them that can understand it rejoice in their quick apprehension; I confess it flies my thoughts.
Fourthly, The manner of arguing being so vain, let us see a little whether there be any more weight in the matter of the argument. Many texts of Scripture are heaped up and distributed to the several propositions. In those out of Ps. xii. 6, xviii. 30 (as I suppose it should be, not 130, as it is printed), cxix. 4, there is some mention of the precepts of God, with the purity of his word and perfection of his word; which that they are any thing to the business in hand I cannot perceive. That of 2 Tim. ii. 6, added to the conclusion, is one of those places which are brought forth upon every occasion, as being the supposed foundation of the whole assertion, but causelessly, as hath been showed oft. [Among] those which are annexed to the minor proposition, [is] 2 Cor. v. 14, 15: as I have already cleared the mind of the Holy Ghost in it, and made it manifest that no such thing as universal redemption can be wrested from it, so unto this present argument it hath no reference at all, not containing any one syllable concerning the judging of Christ and his power over all, which was the medium insisted on. Phil. ii. 7 — 11; Acts. xvii. 31; Rom. ii. 16, mention, indeed, Christ’s exaltation, and his judging all at the last day; but because he shall judge all at the last day, there- fore he died for all, will ask more pains to prove than our adversary intends to take in this cause.
The weight, on the whole, must depend on Rom. xiv. 9, 11, 12; which being the only place that gives any colour to this kind of arguing, shall a little be considered. It is the lordship and dominion of Christ over all which the apostle, in that place, at large insists on and evidenceth to believers, that they might thereby be provoked to walk blameless, and without offence one towards another, knowing the terror of the Lord, and how that all men, even themselves and others, must come to appear before his judgment-seat, when it will be but a sad thing to have an account to make of scandals and offences. Farther to ingraft and fasten this upon them, he declares unto them the way whereby the Lord Christ attained and came to this dominion and power of judging, all things being put under his feet, together with what design he had, as to this particular, in undertaking the once of mediation, there expressed by “dying, rising, and reviving,” — to wit, that he might have the execution of judging over all committed to him, that being part of the “glory set before him,” which caused him to “endure the cross and despise the shame,” Heb. xii 2.
So that all which here is intimated concerning the death of Christ is about the end, effects, and issue that it had towards himself, not any thing of what was his intention towards them for whom he died. To die for others does at least denote to die for their good, and in the Scripture always to die in their stead. Now, that any such thing can be hence deducted as that Christ died for all, because by his death himself made way for the enjoyment of that power whereby he is Lord over all, and will judge them all, casting the greatest part of men into hell by the sentence of his righteous judgment, I profess sincerely that I am no way able to perceive. If men will contend and have it so, that Christ must be said to die for all, because by his death and resurrection he attained the power of judging all, then I shall only leave with them these three things: — first, That innumerable souls shall be judged by him for not walking according to the light of nature left unto them, directing them to seek after the eternal power and Godhead of their Creator, without the least rumor of the gospel to direct them to a Redeemer once arriving at their ears, Rom. ii. 12; and what good will it be for such that Christ so died for them? secondly, That he also died for the devils, because he hath, by his death and resurrection, attained a power of judging them also. Thirdly, That the whole assertion is nothing to the business in hand; our inquiry being about them whom our Saviour intended to redeem and save by his blood; this return, about those he will one day judge: “quaestio est de alliis, responsio de cepis.”
IV. “That which the Scripture so sets forth in general for the world of mankind, as a truth for them all, that whosoever of the particulars so believe as to come to Christ and receive the same shall not perish, but have everlasting life, is certainly a truth to be believed, Acts v. 20;
“But that God sent forth his Son to be the Saviour of the world is in Scripture so set forth in general for all men, that whosoever of the particulars so believe as they come to Christ and receive the same, they shall not perish, but have everlasting life, John iii. 16 — 18, 36, i. 4, 11, 12: “Therefore, that God sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. is a certain truth, 1 John iv. 14.”
I hope no ingenuous man, that knows any thing of the controversy in hand, and to what head it is driven between us and our adversary, or is in any measure acquainted with the way of arguing, will expect that we should spend many words about such poor flourishes, vain repetitions, confused expressions, and illogical deductions and argumentations, as this pretended new argument (indeed the same with the first two, and with almost all that follow), will expect that I should cast away much time or pains about them. For my own part, I were no way able to undergo the tediousness of the review of such things as these, but that “eundum est quo trahunt fata ecclesim.” Not, then, any more to trouble the reader with a declaration of that in particulars which he cannot but be sufficiently convinced of by a bare overlooking of these reasons,– namely, that this author is utterly ignorant of the way of reasoning, and knows not how tolerably to express his own conceptions, nor to infer one thing from another in any regular way, I answer,– First, That whatsoever the Scripture holds forth as a truth to be believed is certainly so, and to be embraced. Secondly, That the Scripture sets forth the death of Christ, to all whom the gospel is preached [unto], as an all- sufficient means for the bringing of sinners unto God, so as that whosoever believe it and come in unto him shall certainly be saved. Thirdly, What can be concluded hence, but that the death of Christ is of such infinite value as that it is able to save to the utmost every one to whom it is made known, if by true faith they obtain au interest therein and a right thereunto, we cannot perceive. This truth we have formerly confirmed by many testimonies of Scripture, and do conceive that this innate sufficiency of the death of Christ is the foundation of its promiscuous proposal to elect and reprobate Fourthly, That the conclusion, if he would have the reason to have any colour or show of an argument, should at least include and express the whole and entire assertion contained in the proposition,– namely, ” That Christ is so set forth to be the Saviour of the world, that whosoever of the particulars believe,” etc. And then it is by us fully granted, as making nothing at all for the universality of redemption, but only for the fulness and sufficiency of his satisfaction. Of the word world enough hath been said before.
V. ” That which God will one day cause every man confess to the glory of God is certainly a truth, for God will own no lie for his glory, John iii. 33; Rom. iii 3, 4; “But God will one day cause every man to confess Jesus (by virtue of his death and ransom given) to be the Lord, even to the glory of God, Phil. ii. 7 — 11; Isa xlv. 22, 23; Rom. xiv. 9, 11, 12; Ps. 1xxxvi. 9:
” Therefore, it is certainly a truth that Jesus Christ hath given himself a ransom for all men, and hath thereby the right of lordship over them; and if any will not believe and come into this government, yet he abideth faithful, and cannot deny himself, but will one day bring them before him, and cause them to confess him Lord, to the glory of God; when they shall be denied by him, for denying him in the days of his patience, 2 Tim. ii 12 — 14; Matt, x. 32, 33; 2 Cor. v. 10.”
ANS: The conclusion of this argument ought to be thus, and no otherwise, if you intend it should receive any strength from the premises: “Therefore, that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and to be confessed to the glory of God, is certainly a truth.” This, I say, is all the conclusion that this argument ought to have had, unless, instead of a syllogism, you intend three independent propositions, every one standing upon its own strength. That which is inserted concerning his giving himself a ransom for all, and that which follows of the conviction and condemnation of them who believe not nor obey the gospel, confirmed from 2 Cor. v. 10, 2 Tim. ii. 12 — 14, is altogether heterogeneous to the business in hand. Now, this being the conclusion intended, if our author suppose that the deniers of universal redemption do question the truth of it, I wonder not at all why he left all other employment to fall a-writing controversies, having such apparent advantages against his adversaries as such small mistakes as this are able to furnish his conceit withal. But it may be an act of charity to part him and his own shadow,– so terribly at variance as here and in other places; wherefore, I beseech him to hear a word in his heat, and to take notice,– [First,] That though we do not ascribe a fruitless, ineffectual redemption to Jesus Christ, nor say that he loved any with that entire love which moved him to lay down his life, but his own church, and that all his elect are effectually redeemed by him, yet we deny not but that he shall also judge the reprobates,– namely, even all them that know not, that deny, that disobey and corrupt the truth of his gospel,– and that all shall be convinced that he is Lord of all at the last day: so that he may spare his pains of proving such unquestionable things. Something else is extremely desirous to follow, but indignation must be bridled. Secondly, For that cause in the second pro- position, “By virtue of his death and ransom given,” we deny that it is anywhere in the Scripture once intimated that the ransom paid by Christ in his death for us was the cause of his exaltation to be Lord of all: it was his obedience to his Father in his death, and not his satisfaction for us, that is proposed as the antecedent of this exaltation; as is apparent, Phil. ii 7 — 11.
VI. “That which may be proved in and by the Scripture, both by plain sentences therein and necessary consequences imported thereby, without wresting, wrangling, adding to, taking from, or altering the sentences and words of Scripture, is a truth to be believed, Matt. xxii. 29, 32; Rom. xi. 2, 5, 6;
“But that Jesus Christ gave himself a ransom for all men, and by the grace of God tasted death for every man, may be proved in and by the Scripture, both by plain sentences therein and necessary consequences imported thereby, without wresting, wrangling, adding, or taking away, or altering the words and sentences, as is already showed, chap. vii., xiii., which will be now ordered into several proofs:
“Therefore, that Jesus Christ gave himself for all men, and by the grace of God tasted death for every man, is a truth to be believed, Mark i 15, xvi. 15, 18; 1 John iv. 14.”
ANS: First, The meaning of this argument is, that universal redemption may be proved by the Scripture; which, being the very thing in question, and the thesis undertaken to be proved, there is no reason why itself should make an argument, but only to make up a number: and, for my part, they should pass without any other answer, namely, that they are a number, but that those who are the number are to be considered.
Secondly, Concerning the argument itself (seeing it must go for one), we say,– First, To the first proposition, that laying aside the unnecessary expressions, the meaning of it I take to be this: “That which is affirmed in the Scripture, or may be deduced from thence by just consequence, following such ways of interpretation, of affirmation, and consequences, as by which the Spirit of God leadeth us into the knowledge of the truth, is certainly to be believed;” which is granted of all, though not proved by the places he quoteth, Matt. xxii. 29, 32, Rom. xi. 2, 5, 6, and is the only foundation of that article of faith which you seek to oppose. Secondly, To the second, that Christ gave himself a ransom for all, and tasted death, for all, is the very word of Scripture, and was never denied by any. The making of all to be all men and every man, in both the places aimed at, is your addition, and not the Scripture’s assertion. If you intend, then, to prove that Christ gave himself a ransom for all, and tasted death for all, you may save your labours; it is confessed on all hands, none ever denied it. But if you intend to prove those all to be all and every man, of all ages and kinds, elect and reprobate, and not all his children, all his elect, all his sheep, all his people, all the children given him of God,– some of all sorts, nations, tongues, and languages only, I will, by the Lord’s assistance, willingly join issue with you, or any man breathing, to search out the meaning of the word and mind of God in it; holding ourselves to the proportion of faith, essentiality of the doctrine of redemption, scope of the places where such assertions are, comparing them with other places, and the like ways,– labouring in all humility to find the mind of the Lord, according to his own appointment. And of the success of such a trial, laying aside such failings as will adhere to my personal weakness, I am, by the grace of God, exceedingly confident; having, by his goodness, received some strength and opportunity to search into and seriously to weigh whatever the most famous assertors of universal redemption, whether Lutherans or Arminians, have been able to say in this cause. For the present, I address myself to what is before me; only desiring the reader to observe, that the assertion to be proved is, “That Jesus Christ, according to the counsel and will of his Father, suitable to his purpose of salvation in his -own mind and intention, did, by his death and oblation, pay a ransom for all and every man, elect and reprobate,– both those that are saved and those that perish,– to redeem them from sin, death, and hell, [and] to recover salvation, life, and immortality for them; and not only for his elect, or church, chosen to an inheritance before the foundation of the world.” To confirm this we have divers places produced; which, by the Lord’s assistance, we shall consider in order.
Proof 1 of argument 6. “God so loved the world, that he gave his Son to be the Saviour of the world, 1 John iv. 14; and sends his servant to bear witness of his Son, that all men through him might believe, John i 4, 7; that whosoever believes on him might have everlasting life, John iii. 16, 17. And he is willing that all should come to the knowledge of the truth, 1 Tim. ii. 4, and be saved, 1 Tim. i. 15. Nor will he be wanting in the sufficiency of helpfulness to them, if, as light comes, they will suffer themselves to be wrought on and to receive it, Prov. i. 23, viii. 4, 5. And is not this plain in Scripture?”
ANS: First, The main, yea, indeed, only thing to be proved, as we before observed, is, that those indefinite propositions which we find in the Scripture concerning the death of Christ are to be understood universally,– that the terms all and world do signify in this business, when they denote the object of the death of Christ, all and every man in the world. Unless this be done, all other labour is altogether useless and fruitless. Now, to this there is nothing at all urged in this pretended proof, but only a few ambiguous places barely recited, with a false collection from them or observation upon them, which they give no colour to.
Secondly, 1 John iv. 14, God’s sending his Son to be the ” Saviour of the world,” and his servant to testify it, is nothing but to be the Saviour of men living in the world; which his elect are. A hundred such places as these, so clearly interpreted as they are in other places, would make nought at all to the purpose. The next thing is from John i. 4, 7. Verse 4 is, that Christ was the “life of men;” which is most true, no life being to be had for any man but only in and through him. This not being at all to the question, the next words of verse 7 [are], “That all men through him might believe;” which words being thrust in, to piece-up a sense with another fraction of Scripture, seem to have some weight, as though Christ were sent that all men through him might believe. A goodly show! seeming no less to make for ‘universal redemption than the Scripture cited by the devil, after he had cut off’ part of it, did for our Saviour’s casting himself from the pinnacle of the temple. But if you cast aside the sophistry of the old serpent, the expression of this place is not a little available to invalidate the thesis sought to be maintained by it. The words are, “There was a man sent &am God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe.” Now, who do you think is there meant by “through him?” Is it Christ, think you, the light ? or John, the witness of the light? Certainly John, as almost all expositors do agree, except certain among the Papists, and Grotius,– that Ishmael. So the Syriac interpreter, reading, “By his hand or ministry.” So the word infers; for we are not said to believe “by Christ,” or, as it should be here, ” by the light;” but John xii. 36, “in the light,” not by it. And Acts ix. 42, “believed in the Lord;” so also, Rom. ix. 33, “Every one that believeth on him.” So in divers places, in him; but no mention of believing by him, which rather denotes the instrument of believing, as is the ministry of the word, than the object of faith, as Christ is. This being apparent, let us see what is affirmed of John, why he was sent “that all through him might believe.” Now, this word all here hath all the qualifications which our author requireth for it, to be always esteemed a certain expression of a collective universality, that it is spoken of God, etc. And who, I pray you, were these all, that were intended to be brought to the faith by the ministry of John? ‘Were they not only all those that lived throughout the world in his days, who preached (a few years) in Judea only, but also all those that were dead before his nativity, and that were born after his death, and shall be to the end of the world in any place under heaven? Let them that can believe it enjoy their persuasion, with this assurance that I will never be their rival; being fully persuaded that by all men here is meant only some of all sorts, to whom his word did come. So that the necessary sense of the word all here is wholly destructive to the proposition.
For what, thirdly, is urged from John iii. 16, 17, that God so sent his Son, that “whosoever believeth on him might have everlasting life,” as far as I know is not under debate, as to the sense of it, among Christians.
Fourthly, For God’s willingness that all should be saved, from 1 Tim. ii. 4 (to which a word is needlessly added to make a show, the text being quite to another purpose, from 1 Tim. i. 15), taking all men there for the universality of individuals, then I ask,– First, What act it is of God wherein this his willingness doth consist? Is it in the eternal purpose of his will that all should be saved? Why is it not accomplished? ” Who hath resisted his will?” Is it in an antecedent desire that it should be so, though he fail in the end? Then is the blessed God most miserable, it being not in him to accomplish his just and holy desires. Is it some temporary act of his, whereby be hath declared himself unto them? Then, I say, Grant that salvation is only to be had in a Redeemer, in Jesus Christ, and give me an instance how God, in any act whatsoever, hath declared his mind and revealed himself to all men, of all times and places, concerning his willingness of their salvation by Jesus Christ, a Redeemer, and I will never more trouble you in this cause. Secondly, Doth this will equally respect the all intended, or doth it not? If it doth, why hath it not equal effects towards all? what reason can be assigned? If it doth not, whence shall that appear? There is nothing in the text to intimate any such diversity. For our parts, by all men we understand some of all sorts throughout the world, not doubting but that, to the equal reader, we have made it so appear from the context and circumstances of the place, the will of God there being that mentioned by our Saviour, John vi. 40. That which follows in the close of this proof, of God’s ” not being wanting in the sufficiency of helpfulness to them who, as light comes, suffer themselves to be wrought upon and receive it,” is a poisonous sting in the tail of the serpent, wherein is couched the whole Pelagian poison of free-will and Popish merit of congruity, with Arminian sufficient grace, in its whole extent and universality; to neither of which there is the least witness given in the place produced.
The sum and meaning of the whole assertion is, that there is a universality of sufficient grace granted to all, even of grace subjective, enabling them to obedience, which receives addition, increase, degrees, and augmentation, according as they who have it do make use of what they presently enjoy; which is a position so contradictory to innumerable places of Scripture, so derogatory to the free grace of God, so destructive to the efficacy of it, such a clear exaltation of the old idol free-will into the throne of God, as any thing that the decaying estate of Christianity hath invented and broached. So far is it from being ” plain and clear in Scripture,” that it is universally repugnant to the whole dispensation of the new covenant revealed to us therein; which, if ever the Lord call me to, I hope very clearly to demonstrate: for the present, it belongs not immediately to the business in hand, and therefore I leave it, coming to —
Proof 2. ” Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world to save the world, John xii. 47; to save sinners, 1 Tim. i. 15; to take away our sins, and destroy the works of the devil, 1 John iii. 5, 8: to take away the sins of the world, John i. 29: and therefore died for all, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15; and gave himself a ransom for all, 1 Tim. ii. 6; to save that which was lost, Matt. xviii. 11. And so his propitiation was made for the world, 2 Cor. v. 19; the whole world, 1 John ii. 2. And all this is full and plain in Scripture.”
Ans:Those places of this proof where there is mention of all or world, as John xii. 47, i. 29; 2 Cor. v. 14, 15; 1 Tim. ii. 6; 2 Cor. v. 19; 1 John ii. 2, have been all already considered, and I am unwilling to trouble the reader with repetitions. See the places, and I doubt not but you will find that they are so far from giving any strength to the thing intended to be proved by him, that they much rather evert it. For the rest, 1 Tim. i. 16; Matt, xviii. 11; 1 John iii. 5, 8, how any thing can be extracted from them to give colour to the universality of redemption I cannot see; what they make against it hath been declared. Pass we then to —
Proof 3. “God in Christ doth, in some means or other of his appointment, give some witness to all men of his mercy and goodness procured by Christ, Ps. xix. 4; Rom. x. 18; Acts xiv. 17; and there- through, at one time or other, sendeth forth some stirrings of his Spirit, to move in and knock at the hearts of men, to invite them to repentance and seeking God, and so to lay hold on the grace and salvation offered: and this not in a show or pretence, but in truth and good-will, ready to bestow it on them. And this is all fully testified in Scripture, Gen. vi, 3; Isa xlv. 22; Acts xvii. 30, 31; John i. 19.”
ANS: First, “Parvas habet spes Troja, si tales habet.” If the universality of redemption have need of such proofs as these, it hath indeed great need and little hope of supportment. Universal vocation is here asserted, to maintain universal redemption. “Manus manum fricat,” or rather, “Muli se mutuo scabiunt;” this being called in oftentimes to support the other; and they are both the two legs of that idol free-will, which is set up for men to worship, and when one stumbles the other steps forward to uphold the Babel. Of universal vocation (a gross figment) I shall not now treat, but only say, for the present, that it is true that God at all times, ever since the creation, hath called men to the knowledge of himself as the great Creator, in those things which of him, by the means of the visible creation, might be known, “even his eternal power and Godhead,” Rom. i.19, 20; Ps. xix. 1, 2; Acts xiv. 17. Secondly, That after the death of Christ, he did, by preaching of the gospel extended far and wide, call home to himself the children of God, scattered abroad in the world, whereas his elect were before confined almost to one nation; giving a right to the gospel to be preached to “every creature,” Mark xvi. 15; Rom. x. 18; Isa. xlv. 22; Acts xvii. 30, 31. But, thirdly, That God should at all times, in all places, in all ages, grant means of grace or call to Christ as a redeemer, or to a participation of his mercy and goodness in him manifested, with strivings and motions of his Spirit for men to close with those invitations, is so gross and groundless an imagination, so opposite to God’s distinguishing mercy, so contradictory to express places of Scripture and the experience of all ages, as I wonder how any man hath the boldness to assert it, much more to produce it as a proof of an untruth more gross than itself. Were I not resolved to tie myself to the present controversy, I should not hold from producing some reasons to evert this fancy; something may be done hereafter, if the Lord prevent not. In the meantime, let the reader consult Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20; Matt. xi. 25, xxii. 14; Acts xiv. 16, xvi. 7; Rom. x. 14, 15. We pass to —
Proof 4. “The Holy Ghost, that cometh from the Father and the Son, shall reprove the world of sin (even that part of the world that refuseth now to believe that they are under sin), because they believe not on Christ, and that it is their sin that they have not believed on him. And how could it be their sin not to believe in Christ, and they for that cause under sin, if there were neither enough in the atonement made by Christ for them, nor truth in God’s offer of mercy to them, nor will nor power in the Spirit’s moving in any sort sufficient to have brought them to believe, at one time or other? And yet is this evident in Scripture, and shall be by the Holy Spirit, to be their great sin, that fastens all other sins on them, John iii. 18, 19, viii 24, xii. 48, xv. 22, 24, xvi 7 — 11.”
ANS: The intention of this proof is, to show that men shall be condemned for their unbelief, for not believing in Christ; which, saith the author, cannot be unless three things be granted,– First, That there be enough in the atonement made by Christ for them. Secondly, That there be truth in God’s offer of mercy to them. Thirdly, That there be sufficient will and power given them by the Spirit, at some time or other, to believe. Now, though I believe no man can perceive what may be concluded hence for the universality of redemption, yet I shall observe some few things: and to the first thing required do say, That if, by “Enough in the atonement for them,” you understand that the atonement, which was made for them, hath enough in it, we deny it; not because the atonement hath not enough in it for them, but because the atonement was not for them. If you mean that there is a sufficiency in the merit of Christ to save them if they should believe, we grant it, and affirm that this sufficiency is the chief ground of the proposing it unto them (understanding those to whom it is proposed, that is those to whom the gospel is preached). To the second, That there is truth, as in all the ways and words of God, so in his offer of mercy to whomsoever it is offered. If we take the command to believe, with the promise of life upon so doing, for an offer of mercy, there is an eternal truth in it; which is, that God will assuredly bestow life and salvation upon all believers, the proffers being immediately declarative of our duty; secondly, of the concatenation of faith and life, and not at all of God’s intention towards the particular soul to whom the proffer is made: ” For who hath known the mind of the Lord, and who hath been his counsellors” To the third, the Spirit’s giving will or power, I say,– first, That ye set the cart before the horse, placing will before power. Secondly, I deny that any internal assistance is required to render a man inexcusable for not believing, if he have the object of faith propounded to him, though of himself he have neither power nor will so to do, having lost both in Adam. Thirdly, How a man may have given him a will to believe, and yet not believe, I pray, declare the next controversy ye undertake. This being observed, I shall take leave to put this proof into such form as alone it is capable of, that the strength thereof may appear, and it is this: ” If the Spirit shall convince all those of sin to whom the gospel is preached, that do not believe, then Christ died for all men, both those that have the gospel preached unto them and those that have not; but the first is true, for their unbelief is their great sin.” ergo, Jesus Christ died for all.” Which, if any, is an argument “a baculo ad angulum, “from the beam to the shuttle.” The places of Scripture, John iii. 18, 19, viii. 24, xii. 48, xv. 22, 24, prove that unbelief is a soul-condemning sin, and that for which they shall be condemned in whom it is privative, by their having the gospel preached to them. But quid ad nos?
One place is more urged, and consequently more abused, than the rest, and therefore must be a little cleared; it is John xvi. 7 — 11. The words are, “I will send the Comforter to you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not in me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” First, It is uncertain whether our author understands the words of the Spirit in and with Christ at the last day, or in and with the ministry of the word now in the days of the gospel. If the first, he is foully mistaken; if the latter, then the conviction here meant intends only those to whom the gospel is preached,– and what that will advantage universal redemption, which compriseth all as well before as after the death of Christ, I know not, But, secondly, It is uncertain whether he supposeth this conviction of the Spirit to attend the preaching of the gospel only, or else to consist in strivings and motions even in them who never hear the word of the gospel; if he mean the latter, we wait for a proof. Thirdly, It is uncertain whether he supposeth those thus convinced to be converted and brought to the faith by that conviction and that attending effectualness of grace, or no.
But omitting those things, that text being brought forth and insisted on, farther to manifest how little reason there was for its producing, I shall briefly open the meaning of the words. Our Saviour Christ intending, in this his last sermon, to comfort his apostles in their present sad condition, whereto they were brought by his telling them that he must leave them and go to his Father,– which sorrow and sadness he knew full well would be much increased when they should behold the vile, ignominious way whereby their Lord and Master should be taken from them, with all those reproaches and persecutions which would attend them so deprived of him,– bids them not be troubled, nor filled with sorrow and fear, for all this; assuring them that all this loss, shame, and reproach should be abundantly made up by what he would do for them and bestow upon them when his bodily presence should be removed from them. And as to that particular, which was the head of all, that he should be so vilely rejected and taken out of the world as a false teacher and seducer, he telleth them he will send them John xiv. 16, “another Comforter,” one that shall “vicariam navare operam,” as Tertul.,– be unto them in his stead, to fill them with all that consolation whereof by his absence they might be deprived; and not only so, but also to be present with them in other greater things than any he had as yet employed them about. This again he puts them in mind of, chap. xvi. 7. Now, who is there promised, is properly “an advocate,” — that is, one that pleadeth the cause of a person that is guilty or accused before any tribunal,– and is opposed ,Rev. xii. 10; and so is this word by us translated, 1 John ii. 1. Christ, then, here telleth them, that as he will be their advocate with the Father, so he will send them an advocate to plead his cause, which they professed, with the world; that is, those men in the world, which had so vilely traduced and condemned him as a seducer, laying it as a reproach upon all his followers. This, doubtless, though in some respect it be continued to all ages in the ministry of the word, yet it principally intended the plentiful effusion of the Spirit upon the apostles at Pentecost, after the ascension of our Saviour; which also is made more apparent by the consideration of what he affirmeth that the advocate so sent shall do, namely,– 1. “He shall reprove,” or rather, evidently, “convince, the world of sin, because they believed not on him;” which, surely, he abundantly did in that sermon of Peter, Acts ii., when the enemies themselves and haters of Christ were so reproved and convinced of their sin, that, upon the pressing urgency of that conviction, they cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved?” Then was the world brought to a voluntary confession of the sin of murdering Jesus Christ. 2. He shall do the same of “righteousness, because he went to his Father;” — not of its own righteousness, to reprove it for that, because it, is not; but he shall convince the men of the world, who condemned Christ as a seducer, of his righteousness,– that he was not a blasphemer, as they pretended, but the Son of God, as himself witnessed: which they shall be forced to acknowledge when, by the effusion and pouring out of the Spirit upon his apostles, it shall be made evident that he is gone to and received of his Father, and owned by him, as the centurion did presently upon his death. 3. He shall ” convince the world of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged;” manifesting to all those of whom he speaketh, that he whom they despised as the carpenter’s son, and bade come down from the cross if he could, is exalted to the right hand of God, having all judgment committed to him, having beforehand, in his death, judged, sentenced, and overcome Satan, the prince of this world, the chief instigator of his crucifiers, who had the power of death. And this I take to be the clear, genuine meaning of this place, not excluding the efficacy of the Spirit, working in the same manner, though not to the same degree, for the same end, in the majesty of the word, to the end of the world. But what this is to universal redemption, let them that can understand it keep it to themselves, for I am confident they will never be able to make it out to others.
Proof 5. ” God hath testified, both by his word and his oath, that he would that his Son should so far save as to work a redemption for all men, and likewise that he should bring all to the knowledge of the truth, that there-through redemption might be wrought in and upon them, -1 Tim. ii. 4, with John iii. 17. So he willeth not, nor hath any pleasure in, the death of him (even the wicked) that dieth, but rather that he turn and live, Ezek. xviii. 23, 32, xxxiii. 11. And dare any of us say, the God of truth saith and sweareth that of which he hath no inward and serious meanings? 0 far be such blasphemy from us!”
Ans. First, This assertion, “That God testifieth, by his word and oath, that he would that Christ should so far save us,” etc., is a bold calling of God to witness that which he never affirmed, nor did it ever enter into his heart; for he hath revealed his will that Christ should save to the utmost them that come to him, and not save so far or so far, as is boldly, ignorantly, and falsely intimated. Let men beware of provoking God to their own confusion; he will not be a witness to the lie of false hearts. Secondly, “That Christ should so bring all to the knowledge of the truth, that there-through redemption might be wrought in and upon them,” is another bold corruption of the word, and false-witness-bearing in the name of God. Is it a small thing for you to weary and seduce men? will you weary our God also? Thirdly, For places of Scripture corrupted to the sense imposed: In John iii. 17, God is said to “send his Son, that the world through him might be saved;” not be saved so far or so far, but saved “from their sins,” Matt. i. 21, and “to the uttermost,” Heb. vii. 25: so that the world of God’s elect, who only are so saved, is only there to be understood, as hath been proved. In 1 Tim. ii. 4, there is something of the will of God for the saving of all sorts of men, as hath been declared; nothing conducing to the bold assertion used in this place. Fourthly, To those are added that of Ezek. xviii. 28, that God hath no “pleasure at all that the wicked should die,”” and, verse 32, “no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.” Now, though these texts are exceeding useless to the business in hand, and might probably have some colour of universal vocation, but none possibly of universal redemption, there being no mention of Christ or his death in the place from whence they are cited, yet because our adversaries are frequently knitting knots from this place to inveigle and hamper the simple, I shall add some few observations upon it to clear the meaning of the text, and demonstrate how it belongs nothing at all to the business in hand.
First, then, let us consider to whom and of whom these words are spoken. Is it to and of all men, or only to the house of Israel? Doubtless these last; they are only intended, they only are spoken to: ” Hear now, 0 house of Israel,” verse 25. Now, will it follow that because God saith he delights not in the death of the house of Israel, to whom he revealed his mind, and required their repentance and conversion, that therefore he saith so of all, even those to whom he never revealed his will by such ways as to them, nor called to repentance, Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20? So that the very ground-work of the whole conclusion is removed by this first observation. Secondly, “God willeth not the death of a sinner,” is either, “God purposeth and determineth he shall not die,” or, “God commandeth that he shall do those things wherein he may live.” If the first, why are they not all saved? why do sinners die? for there is an immutability in the counsel of God, Heb. vi. 17; “His counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure,” Isa. xivi. 10. If the latter way, by commanding, then the sense is, that the Lord commandeth that those whom he calleth should do their duty, that they may not die (although he knows that this they cannot do without his assistance): now, what this makes to general redemption, I know not. Thirdly, To add no more, this whole place, with the scope, aim, and intention of the prophet in it, is miserably mistaken by our adversaries, and wrested to that whereof there is not the least thought in the text. The words are a part of the answer which the Lord gives to the repining Jews, concerning their proverb, ” The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” Now, about what did they use this proverb? Why, “concerning the land of Israel,” verse 2, the land of their habitation, which was laid waste by the sword (as they affirmed) for the sins of their fathers, themselves being innocent. So that it is about God’s temporal judgments in overturning their land and nation that this dispute is; wherein the Lord justifieth himself by declaring the equity of these judgments by reason of their sins, even those sins for which the land devoured them and spewed them out; telling them that his justice is, that for such things they should surely die, their blood should be upon them, verse 18,– they shall be slain with the sword, and cut off by those judgments which they had deserved: not that the shedding of their blood and casting out of their carcases was a thing in itself so pleasurable or desirable to him as that he did it only for his own will, for let them leave their abominations, and try whether their lives were not prolonged in peace. This being the plain, genuine scope and meaning of this place, at the first view presenting itself to every unprejudiced man, I have often admired how so many strange conclusions for a general purpose of showing mercy to all, universal vocation and redemption, have been wrested from it; as also, how it came to be produced to give colour to that heap of blasphemy which our author calleth his fifth proof.
Proof 6. “The very words and phrases used by the Holy Ghost in Scripture, speaking of the death of Christ, and the ransom and propitiation, to whom it belongs, and who may seek it, and in believing find life, implies no less than all men. As to instance: “All nations,” Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; “the ends of the earth,” Isa xlv. 22, xlix. 6; “every creature,” Mark xvi. 15; “all,” 2 Cor. v. 14, 15, 1 Tim. ii. 6; ” every man,” Heb. ii. 9; “the world,” John iii. 16, 17, 2 Cor. v. 19; “the whole world,” 1 John ii 2; “that which was lost,” Luke xix. 10; “sinners,” Matt. ix. 13; “unjust,” 1 Pet. iii. 18; “ungodly,” Rom. v. 6; and that whosoever of these repent and believe in Christ shall receive his grace, John iii. 16, 18, Acts x. 43. Now, all these so often and indifferently used, were it not pride and error to devise glosses to restrain the sense the Scripture holdeth forth, so full and large for all men?”
Ans: First, This argument, taken from the words and phrases whereby the object of the death of Christ is in the Scripture expressed, is that which filleth up both pages of this book, being repeated, and most of the places here cited urged, a hundred times over; and yet it is so far from being any pressing argument, as that indeed it is nothing but a bare naked repetition of the thing in debate, concluding according to his own persuasion; for the main quare between us is, whether the words all and the world be to be taken universally? He saith so, and he saith so; which is all the proof we have, repeating over the thing to be proved instead of a proof. Secondly, For those places which affirm Christ to die for “sinners,” “ungodly,” “that which was lost,” etc.,– as Luke xix. 10; Matt. ix.13; 1 Pet. iii. 18; Rom. v. 6,– I have before declared how exceedingly unserviceable they are to universal redemption. Thirdly, For those places where the words “all,” “every man,” “the world,” “the whole world,” are used, we have had them over and over; and they likewise have been considered. Fourthly, For those expressions of “all nations,” Matt. xxviii. 19, 20, “every creature,” Mark xvi. 15, used concerning them to whom the gospel is preached, I say,– First, That they do not comprise all individuals, nay, not all nations at all times, much less all singular persons of all nations if we look upon the accomplishment and fulfilling of that command; neither, de facto, was the gospel ever so preached to all, although there be a fitness and a suitableness in the dispensation thereof to be so preached to all, as was declared. Secondly, The command of preaching the gospel to all doth not in the least manner prove that Christ died with an intention to redeem all; but it hath other grounds and other ends, as hath been manifested. Thirdly, That the ransom belongs to all to whom it is proposed we deny; there be other ends of that proposal; and Christ will say to some of them that he never knew them: therefore, certainly, he did not lay down his life for them. Fourthly, “The ends of the earth,” Isa xlv. 22, are those that look up to God from all parts, and are saved; which surely are not all and every one. And Christ being given to be a “salvation unto the end of the earth,” chap. xlix. 6, is to do no more among the Gentiles than God promiseth in the same place that he shall do for his own people,– even “gather the preserved of Israel;” so shall he bear forth the salvation of God, and gather the preserved remnant of his elect to the ends of the earth.
And now, I hope, I need not mind the intelligent reader that the author of these collections could not have invented a more ready way for the ruin of the thesis which he seeks to maintain than by producing those places of Scripture last recounted for the confirmation of it, granting that all and the world are no more than “all the ends of the earth,” mentioned in Isa xlv. 22, xlix. 6; it being evident beyond denial that by these expressions, in both these places, only the elect of God and believers are clearly intimated: so that, interpreting the one by the other, in those places where all and the world are spoken of, those only are intended. “If pride and error” had not taken full possession of the minds of men, they could not so far deny their own sense and reason as to contradict themselves and the plain texts of Scripture for the maintenance of their false and corrupt opinions.
Proof 7. “That whereas there are certain high and peculiar privileges of the Spirit contained in the New Testament, sealed by the blood of Christ, which belong not to all men, but only to the saints, the called and chosen of the Lord, and when they are alone distinctly mentioned, they are even so spoken of as belonging to them only, Matt. xiii. 11; John xiv. 17, 21-23, xvi. 13 — 15, xvii. 19, 20; Acts ii. 38, 39; 1 Cor. ii 9, 14; Heb. ix. 15, viii.; 1 Pet. ii. 3, 9; yet many of these peculiar privileges are so spoken of as joined together with the ransom and propitiation, which belongs to all. Then are they not spoken of in such a restraining and exclusive manner, or with such appropriating words, but so, and with such words, as room is left to apply the ransom to all men, in speech; and withal, so hold out the privileges to them that believe that are proper to them, that they may both have their comfort and especial hope, and also hold forth the ransom and keep open the door for others, in belief and receipt of the propitiation, to come in and partake with them. And so it is said for his “sheep,” and for “many;” but nowhere but only for his sheep, or but only for many: which is a strong proof of the ransom for all men, as is shown, chap. iii. x.”
Ans: The strength of this proof, as to the business in hand, is wholly hid from me; neither do I perceive how it may receive any such tolerable application as to deserve the name of a proof, as to the main thesis intended to be maintained. The force which it hath is in an observation which, if it hath any sense, is neither true nor once attempted to be made good; for,– First, That there are peculiar high privileges belonging to the saints and called of God is a thing which needs no proof. Amongst these is the death of Christ for them, not as saints, but as elect, which, by the benefit of that death and. blood-shedding, are to be made saints, and accounted to be the holy ones of God: for “he redeemed his church with his own blood,” Acts xx. 28; he “loved and gave himself for it,” Eph. v. 25; even “us,” Tit. ii. 14; — even as divers of those [privileges] here intimated are expressly assigned unto them, as elect, such as those, John xvii. 19, 20; amongst which also, as in the same rank with them, is reckoned Jesus’ “sanctifying himself for their sakes,” that is to be an oblation, verse 19. In a word, all peculiar saving privileges belong only to God’s elect, purchased for them, and them alone, by the blood of Jesus Christ, Eph. i. 3, 4. Secondly, For the other part of the observation, that where mention is made of these together with the ransom, there is room left to extend the ransom to all, I answer,– First, This is said, indeed, but not once attempted to be proved. We have but small cause to believe the author, in any thing of this importance, upon his bare word. Secondly, For the “leaving of room for the application,” I perceive that if it be not left, ye will make it, though ye justle the true sense of the Scripture quite out of its place. Thirdly, I have already showed that where “many” are mentioned, the ransom only (as ye use to speak) is expressed, as also where “sheep” are spoken of; the like is said where the word “all” is used; — so that there is not the least difference. Fourthly, In divers places the ransom of Christ and those other peculiar privileges (which indeed are fruits of it) are so united together, as it is impossible to apply the latter to some and the other to all, being all of them restrained to his saved ones only, Rev. v. 9, 10. The redemption of his people by the ransom of his blood, and their making kings and priests, are united, and no room left for the extending of the ransom to all, it being punctually assigned to those saved crowned ones, distinguished from the rest of the nations and languages from among whom they were taken, who were passed by in the payment of the ransom; which is directly opposite to all the sense which I can observe in this observation. Fifthly, Of “sheep, and sheep only,” enough before.
Proof 8. “The restoration wrought by Christ in his own body for mankind is set forth in Scripture to be as large and full for all men, and of as much force, as the fall of the first Adam, by and in himself, for all men; in which respect the first Adam is said to have been a figure of Christ, the second Adam, Rom. iii. 22 — 25, v. 12, 14, 18; 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22, 45 — 47: as is before shown, chap. viii.”
Ans. First, It is most true that Christ and Adam are compared together (in respect of the righteousness of the one, communicated to them that, are his, and the disobedience and transgression of the other, in like manner communicated to all them that are of him) in some of the places here mentioned, as Rom. v. 12, 18. But evidently the comparison is not instituted between the righteousness of Christ and the disobedience of Adam extensively, in respect of the object, but intensively, in respect of the efficacy of the one and the other; the apostle asserting the effectualness of the righteousness of Christ unto justification, to answer the prevalency of the sin of Adam unto condemnation,– that even as the transgression of Adam brought a guilt of condemnation upon all them that are his natural seed, so the righteousness of Christ procured the free gift of grace unto justification towards all them that are his, his spiritual seed, that were the children given unto him of his Father.
Secondly, 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22, speaketh of the resurrection from the dead, and that only of believers; for though he mentions them all, verse 22, “In Christ shall all be made alive,” yet, verse 23, he plainly interprets those all to be all that are “Christ’s:” not but that the other dead shall rise also, but that it is a resurrection to glory, by virtue of the resurrection of Christ, which the apostle here treats of; which certainly all shall not have.
Thirdly, The comparison between Christ and Adam, verse 45 (to speak nothing of the various reading of that place), is only in respect of the principles which they had, and were intrusted withal to communicate to others: “Adam a living soul,” or a “living creature;” there was in him a principle of life natural, to be communicated to his posterity; –“Christ a quickening Spirit,” giving life, grace, and spirit to his. And here I would desire that it may be observed, that all the comparison that is anywhere instituted between Christ and Adam still comes to one head, and aims at one thing,– namely, that they were as two common stocks or roots, communicating to them that are ingrafted into them (that is, into Adam naturally, by generation; into Christ spiritually, by regeneration) that wherewith they were replenished; — Adam, sin, guilt, and disobedience; Christ, righteousness, peace, and justification. [As] for the number of those that do thus receive these things from one and the other, the consideration of it is exceedingly alien from the scope, aim, and end of the apostle in the places where the comparison is instituted.
Fourthly, It is true, Rom. iii. 23, it is said, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” which the apostle had at large proved before, thereby to manifest that there was no salvation to be attained but only by Jesus Christ; but if ye will ask to whom this righteousness of Christ is extended, and that redemption which is in his blood, he telleth you plainly, it is “unto all and upon all them that believe,” verse 22, whether they be Jews or Gentiles, “for there is no difference.” Proof 9. “The Lord Jesus Christ hath sent and commanded his servants to preach the gospel to all nations, to every creature, and to tell them withal that whoever believeth and is baptized shall be saved, Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; Mark xvi 15, 16: and his servants have so preached to all, 2 Cor. v. 19; Rom. x. 13, 18. And our Lord Jesus Christ will make it to appear one day that he hath not sent his servants upon a false errand, nor put a lie in their mouths, nor wished them to dissemble, in offering that to all which they knew belonged but to some, even to fewest of all, but to speak truth, Isa xliv. 26, 1xi. 8; 1 Tim. i. 12.”
Ans: The strength of this proof is not easily apparent, nor manifest wherein it lieth, in what part or words of it: for,– First, It is true, Christ commanded his apostles to “preach the gospel to all nations and every creature,” — to tell them “that whosoever believeth shall be saved,” Matt. xxviii. 19, 20, Nark xvi. 15, 16; that is, without distinction of persons or nations, to call all men to whom the providence of God should direct them, and from whom the Spirit of God should not withhold them (as from them, Acts xvi. 6, 7), warning them to repent and believe the gospel. Secondly, It is also true, that, in obedience unto this command, his servants did beseech men so to do, and to be reconciled. unto God, even all over the nations, without distinction of any, but where they were forbidden, as above, labouring to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth, and not to tie it up to the confines of Jewry, 2 Cor. v. 19, 20; Rom. x. 18. Most certain also it is, that the Lord Jesus Christ sent not his servants with a lie, to offer that to all which belonged only to some, but to speak the truth; of which there needs no proof. But now, what can be concluded from hence for universal redemption is not easily discernible.
Perhaps some will say it is in this, that if Christ did not die for all to whom the word is preached, then how can they that preach it offer Christ to all? A poor proof, God wot! For,– First, The gospel was never preached to all and every one, nor is there any such thing affirmed in the places cited; and ye are to prove that Christ died for all, as well those that never hear of the gospel as those that do. Secondly, What do the preachers of the gospel offer to them to whom the word is preached? Is it not life and salvation through Christ, upon the condition of faith and repentance? And doth not the truth of this offer consist in this, that every one that believeth shall be saved? And doth not that truth stand firm and inviolable, so long as there is an all-sufficiency in Christ to save all that come unto him? Hath God intrusted the ministers of the gospel with his intentions, purposes, and counsels, or with his commands and promises? Is it a lie, to tell men that he that believeth shall be saved, though Christ did not die for some of them? Such proofs as these had need be well proved themselves, or they will conclude the thing intended very weakly.
Proof 10. “The Lord willeth believers to pray even for the unjust and their persecutors, Matt. v. 44, 48; Luke vi. 28; yea, even ‘for all men,’ yea, even ‘for kings and all in authority,’ when few in authority loved Christianity. Yet he said not, some of that sort, but, ‘For all in authority;’ and that on this ground,– it is good in the sight of God, ‘who will have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth,’ Luke x. 5; 1 Tim. ii. 1-4. Surely there is a door of life opened for all men, 2 Tim. i. 10; for God hath not said to the seed of Israel, ‘Seek ye me in vain,’ Isa xliv. 19. He will not have his children pray for vain things.”
Ans: The strength of this proof lieth in supposing,– First, That indefinite assertions are to be interpreted as equivalent to universal; which is false, Rom. iv., v. Secondly, That by “all,” 1 Tim. ii. 1, is not meant all sorts of men, and the word all is not to be taken distributively, when the apostle, by an enumeration of divers sorts, gives an evident demonstration of the distribution intended. Thirdly, That we are bound to pray for every singular man that he may be saved; which,– 1. We have no warrant, rule, precept, or example for; 2. It is contrary to the apostolical precept, 1 John v. 16; 3. To our Saviour’s example, John xvii. 9; 4. To the counsel and purpose of God, in the general made known to us, Rom. ix. ll, 12, 15, xi. 7, where evidently our praying for all is but for all sorts of men, excluding none, and that those may believe who are ordained to eternal life. Fourthly, It supposeth that there is nothing else that we are to pray for men but that they may be saved by Christ; which is apparently false, Jer. xxix. 7. Fifthly, That our ground of praying for any is an assurance that Christ died for them in particular; which is not true, Acts viii 22; 24. Sixthly, It most splendidly takes for granted that our duty is to be conformed to God’s secret mind, his purpose and counsel. Until every one of these supposals be made good, (which never a one of them will be very suddenly), there is no help in this proof nor strength in this argument, “We must pray for all; therefore God intends by the death of Christ to save all and every one,” its sophistry and weakness being apparent. From our duty to God’s purpose is no good conclusion, though from his command to our duty be most certain.
Proof 11. “The Lord hath given forth his word and promise to be with his servants so preaching the gospel to all, and with his people so praying for all where they come, that they may go on with confidence in both, Matt. xxviii. 20; 1 Tim. ii 3, 8; Luke x. 5; Isa. liv. 17.
Ans: That God will be with his people, whether preaching or praying, according to his will and their own duty, is as apparent as it is that this makes nothing for universal redemption; than which what can be more evident.
Proof 12. “The Lord hath already performed and made good his word to his servants and people, upon some of all sorts of men and all sorts of sinners, showing them mercy to the very end, that none might exclude themselves, but all be encouraged to repent, believe, and hope thereby, Acts ii., iii., viii.– xi., xvi., xix., xxviii.; 1 Cor. vi. 10, 11; 1 Tim. i. 13 — 16.”
Ans: If ye had told us that God had already made good his word to his servants, in saving all and every man, and proved it clearly, ye had evidently and undeniably confirmed the main opinion; but now, affirming only that he hath showed mercy to some of all sorts, and all sorts of sinners, that others of the like sort (as are the remainder of his elect, yet uncalled) might be induced to believe, ye have evidently betrayed your own cause, and established that of your adversaries, showing how the Lord in the event declareth on their side, saving in the blood of Jesus only some of all sorts, as they affirm, not all and every one, which your tenet leads you to.
Proof 13. ” The blessing of life hath streamed in this doctrine of the love of God to mankind; yea, in the tender and spiritual discovery of the grace of God to mankind (in the ransom given and atonement made by Christ for all men, with the fruits thereof) hath God, in the first place, overcome his chosen ones to believe and turn to God, Acts xiii. 48; Titus ii. 11, 13, iii. 4, 5.”
Ans: First, That the freedom of God’s grace, and the transcendency of his eternal love towards men, with the sending of his Son to die for them, to recover them to himself from sin and Satan, is a most effectual motive, and (when set on by the Spirit of grace) a most certain operative principle of the conversion of God’s elect, we most willingly acknowledge. It is that wherein our hearts rejoice, whereby they were endeared, and for which we desire to return thankful obedience every moment. But that ever this was effectual, extending this love to all, or at least that any effectualness is in that aggravation of it, we utterly deny; and that,– 1. Because it is false, and a corrupting of the word of God, as hath been showed; and of a lie there can be no good consequence. 2. It quite enervates and plucks out the efficacy of this heavenly motive, by turning the most intense and incomparable love of God towards his elect into a common desire, wishing, and affection of his nature (which, indeed, is opposite to his nature), failing of its end and purpose; which might consist with the eternal destruction of all mankind, as I shall abundantly demonstrate, if Providence call me to the other part of this controversy, concerning the cause of sending Jesus Christ. Secondly, There is nothing of this common love to all in the places urged; for,– 1. The “grace” mentioned, Tit. ii. 11, 13, is the grace that certainly brings salvation, which that common love doth not, and was the cause of sending Christ, “that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works;” where our redemption and sanctification are asserted to be the immediate end of the oblation of Jesus Christ; which how destructive it is to universal redemption hath been formerly declared. 2. So also is that “love and kindness” mentioned, chap. iii. 4, 5, such as by which we receive the “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,” verse 5; and justification, and adoption to heirship of eternal life, verse 7; — which, whether it be a common or a peculiar love, let all men judge. 3. Acts xiii. 47 (for verse 48, there cited, contains as clear a restriction of this love of God to his elect, as can be desired) sets out the extent of the mercy of God in Christ, through the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles also, and not only to the Jews, as was foretold by Isaiah, chap. xlix. 6; which is far enough from giving any colour to the universality of grace, it being nothing but the same affirmation which ye have John xi. 52, of “gathering together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”
Proof 14. “Those that, when the gospel comes, and any spiritual light therein, to them, when they refuse to believe, and suffer themselves to be withdrawn by other things, they are affirmed to love or choose “darkness rather than light,” John iii. 19, (which how could it be, if no light in truth were for theme?}in following lying vanities; to forsake their own mercies, Jonah ii. 8; to harden their own hearts, Rom. ii. 5; to lose their souls, Matt. xvi. 26; and to destroy themselves, Hos. xiii. 9. And they being from Adam fallen into darkness, hardness, and their souls [lost], and death passed on them, how could these things be if by Jesus Christ no life had been attained, no atonement made, no restoration of their souls, nor means procured and used, that they might be saved? God is no hard master, to gather where he hath not strown.”
Ans: The sum of this argument is, That those who do not believe upon the preaching of the gospel are the cause of their own ruin and destruction; therefore, Jesus Christ died for all and every man in the world. Now, though it cannot but be apprehended that it is time cast away and labour lost, to answer such consequences as these, yet I must add a few observations, lest any scruple should remain with the weakest reader; as,– First, All have not the gospel preached to them, nay, from the beginning of the world, the greatest part of men have been passed by in the dispensation of the means of grace, Rom. ii 14; Acts xiv. 16, xvii. 30,–” winked at.” All these, then, must be left out in this conclusion, which renders it altogether useless to the business in hand; for the universality of redemption falls to the ground if any one soul be not intended in the payment of the ransom. Secondly, It is not the disbelieving the death of Christ for every individual soul that ever was or shall be (which to believe is nowhere in Scripture required) that is the cause of man’s destruction, but a not-believing in the all-sufficiency of the passion and oblation of Jesus Christ for sinners, so as to accept of the mercy procured thereby, upon those terms and conditions that it is held forth in the gospel; which doth not attend the purpose and intention of God for whom Christ should die, but the sufficiency and efficacy of his death for all that receive him in a due manner, he being the only true way, life, and light, no other name being given under heaven whereby men may be saved. It is a “loving darkness rather than light,” as in John iii. 19, the place urged in the proof; which word (mallon}, “rather,” there, doth not institute a comparison between their love of darkness and light, as though they loved both, but darkness chief; but plainly intimates an opposition unto the love of light by a full love of darkness. And this “men” are said to do; which being spoken indefinitely, according to the rules of interpreting Scripture followed by this author, should be taken universally, for all men: but we are contented that it be the most of those men to whom Christ preached; for some also of them “received him,” to whom he “gave this privilege, that they should become the sons of God,” John i. 12.
Why ye should interpret “love” here by “choose,” as though either the words were equivalent, or the word in the original would signify either, I can see no reason, for both these are exceeding false. There is a difference between loving and choosing; and as for egapesan, he would be as bad a translator as ye are an interpreter that should render it “they choose.” Now, what is this loving of darkness more than light, but a following and cleaving in affection and practice to the ways wherein they were, being alienated from the life of God, labouring in the unfruitful works of darkness,’ and refusing to embrace the heavenly doctrine of the gospel, holding forth peace and reconciliation with God through Christ, with life and immortality thereby. To conclude from hence, [that] therefore Christ died for all and every man in the world, because the greatest part of them to whom he preached the gospel did not believe, is a wild kind of reasoning; much better may we infer, that therefore he died not for all men, because it is not “given unto them, for his sake, to believe on him,” PhiL i 29.
Neither will that parenthesis — “Which how could it be, if no light in truth were for them?” — give any light to the former inference; for if the word ” for” should denote the intention and purpose of God, the truth is, we dare not say that God intends and purposeth that they should receive light who do not, lest by so saying we should make the Strength of Israel to be like to ourselves, and contradict him who hath said, ” My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,” Isa xlvi. 10. “The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever,” Ps. xxxiii 11; he being “the LORD, and changing not,” Mal. iii 6; James i 17; 2 Tim. ii. 19; Rom. ix. 11. If by “for them,” ye mean such a stock and fulness of light and grace as there is of light in the sun for all the men in the world, though some be blind and cannot see it, then we say that such a light there is for all in the gospel to whom it is preached, and their own blindness is the sole cause of their not receiving it: so that this hath not got the stone a step forward, which still rolls back upon him.
Thirdly, The other scriptures urged have not so much as any colour that should give advantage to consider them, as with any reference to the business in hand. That of Jonah ii. 8 is concerning such as forsake the true God to follow idols, so forfeiting the mercies, temporal and spiritual, which from the true God they had before received. Rom. ii.5 speaks of the Gentiles who had the works of God to teach them, and the patience of God to wait upon them, yet made no other use of them both than, by vile rebellions, to add new degrees of farther hardness upon their own hearts. That of men’s losing their souls, Matt. xvi. 26, and destroying themselves (Hos. xiii. 9) by sin, is of equal force with what went before.
But, fourthly, The close of this reason seems to intimate a farther view of the author, which at the first view doth not appear,– namely, that all men are in a restored condition by Christ; not a door of mercy opened for them all, but that they are all actually restored into grace and favour, from which if they do not fall, they shall surely be saved. And the argument whereby he proves this is, because; being lost in Adam, they could not be said to lose themselves unless they were restored by Christ; being darkness and hardness in him, unless all were enlightened and mollified by Christ, they could not be said to love darkness nor to harden themselves. Now, if this be his intention (as it is too apparent that so it is), I must say something,– first, To the argument; secondly, To the thing itself. And,–
First, For the argument, it is this: — Because by original sin men are guilty of death and damnation, therefore they cannot by actual sins make sure of and aggravate that condemnation, and so bring upon themselves a death unto death: or, Because there is a native, inbred hardness of heart in man, therefore, none can add farther degrees of contracted hardness and induration by actual rebellions; that because men are blind, therefore they cannot undervalue light (when indeed the reason why they do so is because they are blind); that men who have time, and opportunity, and means, to save their souls, cannot be said to lose them, that is, to be condemned, unless their souls were in a saved condition before. Now, this is one of the proofs which, in the close, is called “plain, and according to Scripture;” when, indeed, nothing can be more contrary to reason, Scripture, and the principles of the oracles of God, than this and some other of them are. I shall add no more, knowing that no reader can be so weak as to conceive that the refusing of a proposed remedy, accompanied with infinite other despites done to the Lord, is not sufficient to make men guilty of their own condemnation. I speak of those that enjoy the preaching of the gospel.
Secondly, For the thing itself, or an actual restoration of all men by Christ into such a state (as is intimated) as they had at the first in Adam (I mean in respect of covenant, not innocency), which I take to be the meaning of the author, and that because in another place he positively affirms that it is so, and that all are justified by Christ, though how it should be so he is not able to declare. To this, then, I say,– 1. That there is nothing in the Scripture that should give the least colour to this gross error, nor can any thing be produced so much as probably sounding that way. 2. It is contrary,– (1.) To very many places, affirming that we are “dead in trespasses and sins,” Eph. ii. 1; that “except we be born again, we cannot see the kingdom of God,” John iii. 3; that until we come by faith to Christ, “the wrath of God abideth on us,” chap. iii. 36; with those innumerable places which discover the universal alienation of all men from God, until actual peace and reconciliation be made through Christ. (2.) To the very nature and essence of the new covenant of grace, proceeding from the free mercy of God to his elect, carried along with distinguishing promises from the first to the last of them, putting a difference between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, as well in the members as in the Head; being effective and really working every good thing it promised in and towards all to whom it doth belong (which certainly it doth not in all), and being everywhere said to be made with the people of God, or those whom he will own, in opposition to the world; — of all which, and divers other things, so plentifully affirmed of it in the Scripture, not one can be true if all men receive a restoration by Christ into covenant. (3) To the eternal purpose of God in election and reprobation; of which the latter is a resolution to leave men in their fallen condition, without any reparation by Christ. (4.) It is attended with very many strange, absurd, groundless consequences; as,– [1.] That all infants dying before they come to the use of reason and the committing of actual sin must necessarily be saved (although our Saviour hath said, that “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” John iii. 3; and Paul from him, that the children of infidels are “unclean,” 1 Cor. vii. 14; — now no unclean thing shall enter the new Jerusalem, Rev. xxi. 27), whereby the infants of Turks, Pagans, infidels, persecutors, are placed in a far more happy condition than the apostles of Christ, if they depart in their infancy,– than the best of believers, who are not, according to the authors of this doctrine, out of danger of eternal perishing. [2.] That there is no more required of any to be saved than a continuance in the estate wherein he was born (that is, in covenant, actually restored by Christ thereunto); when the whole word of God crieth out that all such as so abide shall certainly perish everlastingly. [3.] That every one that perisheth in the whole world falls away from the grace of the new covenant, though the promises thereof are, that there shall never be any total falling away of them that are in covenant. [4.] That none can come unto Christ but such as have in their own persons fallen from him, for all others abide in him.
Innumerable other such consequences as these do necessarily attend this false, heretical assertion, that is so absolutely destructive to the free grace of God. I doubt not but that such proofs as these will make considering men farther search into the matter intended to be proved, and yield them good advantages to discover the wretched lie of the whole.
Fifthly, To the last words of the proof I answer, that God sowed that seed in Adam, and watered it with innumerable temporal blessings towards all, and spiritual in some, whose limit he will come to require from the world of unbelievers, and not in the blood of Jesus Christ, any farther than as it hath been certainly proposed to some of them and despised.
Proof 15. “God’s earnest expostulations, contendings, charges, and protestations, even to such as whereof many perished, Rom. ix. 27; Isa x. 22. As, to instance: — ‘0 that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me,’ etc., ‘that it might be well with them!’ Deut. v. 29. ‘What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?’ etc., Isa v. 4, 5. ‘What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me?’ Jer. ii. 5. ‘Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee?’ verse 31. ‘0 my people, what have I done unto thee? wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me,’ Mic. vi. 3. ‘How often would I have gathered,’ etc.’, ‘and ye would not!’ Matt. xiii. 37. ‘ 0 that my people had hearkened unto me!’ etc., ‘I should soon have subdued their enemies,’ etc., Pa 1xxxi. 13, 14. ‘Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded,’ etc., Prov. i. 24 — 31. ‘Because, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God,’ etc., Rom. i 21, 28. ‘Therefore thou art inexcusable, 0 man,’ etc. ‘Thou, after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath,’ etc., Rom. ii. 1, 5. No Christian, I hope, will reply against God, and say, ‘Thou never meantest us good; there was no ransom given for us, no atonement made for us, no good done us, no mercy shown us,– nothing, in truth, whereby we might have been saved, nothing but an empty show, a bare pretence.’ But if any should reason so evilly, yet shall not such answers stand.”
Ans:To this collection of expostulations I shall very briefly answer with some few observations, manifesting of how little use it is to the business in hand; as,– First, That in all these expostulations there is no mention of any ransom given or atonement made for them that perish (which is the thing pretended in the close), but they are all about temporal mercies, with the outward means of grace. To which [add] what we observed in the argument last foregoing,– namely, that as God doth not expostulate with them about it, no more shall they with God about it at the last day. Not that I deny that there is sufficient matter of expostulation with sinners about the blood of Christ and the ransom paid thereby, that so the elect may be drawn and wrought upon to faith and repentance, and believers more and more endeared to forsake all ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live unto him who ivied for them, and that others may be left more inexcusable; only for the present there are no such expostulations here expressed, nor can any be found holding out the purpose and intention of God in Christ towards them that perish. Secondly, That all these places urged (excepting only those of Rom. i. 28, ii. 5, which apparently and evidently lay the inexcusableness of sin upon that knowledge which they might have had, by the works of creation and providence, of God, as eternal, almighty, and powerful, without the least intimation of any ransom, atonement, and redemption),– that all the rest, I say, are spoken to and of those that enjoyed the means of grace, who, in the days wherein those expostulations were used towards them, were a very small portion of all men; so that from what is said to them nothing can be concluded of the mind and purpose of God towards all others, Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20,– which is destructive to the general ransom. Thirdly, That there are no men, especially none of those that enjoy the means of grace, but do receive so many mercies from God, as that he may justly plead with them about their unthankfulness and not returning of obedience proportionable to the mercies and light which they received. Fourthly, It is confessed, I hope by all, that there are none of those things for the want whereof God expostulateth with the sons of men, but that he could, if it so seemed good before him, effectually work them in their hearts, at least, by the exceeding greatness of his power: so that these things cannot be declarative of his purpose, which he might, if he pleased, fulfil; “for who hath resisted his will,” Rom. ix. 19. Fifthly, That desires and wishings should properly be ascribed unto God is exceedingly opposite to his all-sufficiency and the perfection of his nature; they are no more in him than he hath eyes, ears, and hands. Sixthly, It is evident that all these are nothing but pathetical declarations of our duty in the enjoyment of the means of grace, strong convictions of the stubborn and disobedient, with a full justification of the excellency of God’s ways to draw us to the performance of our duties; ergo, Christ died for all men, Seventhly, Some particular places, that seem to be of more weight than the rest, have been already examined.
Proof 16. ” The Scripture’s manner of setting forth the sin of such as despise and refuse this grace, and their estate, and the persons perishing; as to say they ‘ turn the grace of God into wantonness,’ Jude 4; ‘tread under foot the Son of God, profane the blood of the covenant, with which they were sanctified, offer despite to the Spirit of grace,’ Heb. x. 29; ‘ deny the Lord that bought them,’ 2 Pet. ii. 1; ‘they perish for whom Christ died,’ 1 Cor. viii. 11; ‘trees twice dead, plucked up by the roots,’ Jude 12, 13; ‘and bring upon themselves swift destruction,’ 2 Pet. ii. l. And how could all this be if God had given his Son in no sort for them? if Christ had shed no blood to procure remission for them? if he had not bought them, nor had any grace or life by his Spirit to bestow on them?”
Ans. First, There are in this proof three places of Scripture which are frequently urged in this cause,– namely, Heb. x. 29; 2Pet. ii. 1; 1 Cor. viii. 11: and, therefore, they have been considered already apart at large; where it was evidenced that they no way incline to the assertion of that whereunto they are violently wrested, and their sense for that end perverted. Secondly, For those other places out of Jude 4, 12, 13, I cannot perceive how they can be hooked into the business in hand. Some are said, verse 4, to “turn the grace of God into wantonness,” — that is, to abuse the doctrine of the gospel and the mercy of God revealed thereby, to encourage themselves in sin; whence to conclude that therefore Jesus Christ died for all men is an uncouth inference, especially the apostle intimating that he died not for these abusers of his grace, affirming that they were “before of old ordained to condemnation;” which ordination standeth in direct opposition to that love which moved the Lord to send his Son Christ to procure the salvation of any. The strength of the proof lieth in the other places, which have been already considered.
Proof 17. “Jesus Christ, by virtue of his death, shall be their judge, and by the gospel, in which they might have been saved, will he judge them to a second death; and how can that be, if he never died the first death for them, and if there were not truth in his gospel preached to them? Rom. xiv. 9 — 12; Phil. ii. 7 — 11; Rom. ii. 16; John xii; 47, 48, 50.”
Ans: First, That Jesus Christ shall be judge of all, and that all judgment is already committed to him, is confessed: that it doth not hence follow that he died for all hath been already declared, unless ye will affirm that he died for the devils also, because they also must be judged by him. Secondly, That all shall be judged by the gospel, even such as never heard word of it, is directly contrary to the gospel: “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law,” Rom. ii. 12. Every man, doubtless, shall be judged according to the light and rule which he did or might have enjoyed, and not according to that whereof he was invincibly deprived. Thirdly, That Christ should be said to die only the first death is neither an expression of the word, nor can be collected from thence; he died the death which was in the curse of the law: but of this only by the way. Fourthly, Ye intimate as though there were no truth in the gospel preached unless Christ died for all, when indeed there is no assertion more opposite to the truth of the gospel. The places urged mention Christ being Lord of all, exalted above all, being Judge of all, judging men according to the gospel,– that is, those men who enjoy it; but how they may be wrested to the end proposed I know not.
Proof 18. “Believers are exhorted to contend. for the faith of this common salvation, which was once delivered to the saints; which some having heard oppose, and others turn the offers of it into wantonness, and, through not heeding and not walking in the faith of this salvation, already wrought by Christ for men, they deprive themselves of, and wind out themselves from, that salvation, which Christ by his Spirit, in application of the former, hath wrought in them, and so deprive themselves of the salvation to come, Jude 3 — 5.
“And every [one] of these proofs be plain and according to Scripture, and each of force, how much more altogether! — still justifying the sense that 1 Tim. ii. 6 and Heb. ii. 9 importeth, and the truth of the proposition in the beginning.”
Ans: I can see nothing in this proof, but only that the salvation purchased by Christ is called “common salvation;” which if ye conclude from thence to be common to all, ye may as well conclude so of faith that it belongs to all, because it is called the “common faith,” Tit. i. 4, though termed the “faith of God’s elect,” verse 1. Doubtless there is a community of believers, and that is common amongst them which is extended to the whole church of God; there is totes mundus ex toto mundo; and that common salvation is that whereby they are all saved, without any colour of that strange common salvation whereby no one is saved, maintained by this disputer. The remainder of this proof is a fulness of words, suitable to the persuasion of the author, but in no small part of them exceedingly unsuitable to the word of God and derogatory to the merits of Christ, making the salvation purchased by him to be in itself of no effect, but left to the will of sinful, corrupted, accursed men, to make available or to reject.
And these are the proofs which this author calls “plain and according to Scripture,” being a recapitulation of almost all that he hath said in his whole book; at least, for the argumentative part thereof, there is not any thing of weight omitted: and therefore this chapter I fixed on to return a full and punctual answer unto. Now, whether the thing intended to be proved, namely, The paying of a ransom by Christ for all and every man, be plainly, clearly, and evidently from the Scripture confirmed, as he would bear us in hand; or whether all this heap of words, called arguments, reasons, and proofs, be not, for their manner of expression, obscure, uncouth, and ofttimes unintelligible,– for their way of inference, childish, weak, and ridiculous,– in their allegations and interpretations of Scripture, perverse, violent, mistaken, through ignorance, heedlessness, and corruption of judgment, in direct opposition to the mind and will of God revealed therein,– is left to the judgment of the Christian reader that shall peruse them, with the answers annexed.