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  • CHAPTER 3.


    The following sections contain a vindication of some arguments taken from passages of Scripture in favor of particular redemption, which Dr.

    Whitby calls objections to the universal scheme, and which he attempts to answer in the first, second, and fifth chapters of his discourse, concerning the extent of Christ’s redemption; to which he premises the state of the question, by showing what limitations and restrictions of our Lord’s general redemption he cannot admit of, and in what sense they who maintain that doctrine assert it. The distinctions of Christ’s dying sufficiently for all, but intentionally only for the elect, and for all if they will believe and repent, but moreover for the elect, to procure faith and repentance for them, he rejects; and which, for my own part, I can no more admit of than himself. He adds positively, that Christ died equally for all, for Judas as for Peter, though not absolutely, but conditionally, or so as that they should be made partakers of the blessings of his salutary passion, upon condition of their faith, repentance, and sincere obedience to the laws of the new covenant; but did not purchase actual pardon or reconciliation for all men, only put all men, by his death, in a capacity of being justified and pardoned upon their conversion and faith. On the other hand, I firmly believe that Christ died for all the elect of God, and them only; that, by his death, he has cured for them actual pardon, reconciliation and salvation; and, that in consequence of the absolute and unconditional covenant of grace being ratified and confirmed by his b1ood, faith and repentance are bestowed upon and wrought in these persons, not as conditions but blessings of that covenant; in which way they are brought to the full enjoyment of that salvation Christ has obtained for them. Which is what I undertake to vindicate.

    SECTION 1.

    Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. – Matthew 20:28.

    These words not only express the great blessing of redemption, and the Author of it, the Son of man, a character of the Messiah, and the manner of his obtaining it, by giving his life, his own life, a ransom, a redemption price for , in the room and stead of the persons redeemed by him, but also point out the persons ransomed, who are said to be many, not all, and so may be considered as a proof of particular redemption; since, as our opponents themselves allow, that though “all men certainly are many, yet many are not necessarily all.” To which the following things are objected. 1st. That “since what is, in some few places, said of many, is not only in more, but in the same places said of all, it is certain that Christ cannot be said to die for many exclusively of all. ” To which I reply: that we do not say Christ died for many exclusive of all, for then he must die for none; but that he died for many exclusive of some; nor are the places fewer in which he is said to die for many, than those which say he died for all; nor is it true, that what is in some places said of many, is in the same places said of all. But let us consider the passages themselves. And, 1. Begin with the text under consideration, on which this observation is made; “that the same Scripture which saith, Christ gave his life a ransom for many, says also, that he gave himself a ransom for all .” This is, indeed, said in the same book of Scripture, but not in the same passage of Scripture; nor is the text referred to, 1 Timothy 2:6, to be understood of every individual of mankind, but either of some of all sorts, or of the Gentiles as well as Jews, as has been shown in the former part of this work; and in which sense, perhaps, the word many , in this text, is to be taken, as Grotius himself upon it observes. Moreover, all those for whom Christ gave his life a ransom, are either ransomed by it, or they are not; that all are not ransomed, or redeemed from sin, the law, Satan, and the second death, is evident, since many live under the power of their sins, and, at last, die in them; and, having sinned against the law, are under it, and the curses of it, and will be punished by it; nor are they delivered from the bondage of Satan, but are led captive by him at his will , all their days, and their everlasting portion is the second death. Now, if some persons, for whom Christ gave his life a ransom, are not ransomed, then that shocking absurdity, which follows upon the notion of men’s justification by their own obedience to the law, follows upon this, namely, that Christ is dead in vain, that so far he gave his life for a ransom in vain; wherefore it will be rightly concluded, that he did not give his life ransom for every individual man. Besides, such who are ransomed by Christ, are represented as a peculiar people; ( Titus 2:14; Isaiah 35:10; Jeremiah 31:11.) they are called the ransomed of the Lord, to distinguish them from others, and by the name of Jacob, which, when mystically or figuratively understood, only designs the church of nod. Add to this, that such whom Christ gave his life a ransom for, are described by such characters as cannot agree with every individual of mankind, such as the church, the children of God, his sheep and people, ( Ephesians 5:2,25; John 10:15; 11:51, 52; Matthew 1:21.) unless all mankind can be thought to be the church of God, the sheep of Christ, and his special people. 2. It is further observed, that he who said, This is my blood shed for many, for the remission of sins, said also, for that very reason, drink ye all of it, for it was shed for you, for the remission of sins.” But it should be considered, that the all Christ bid to drink of the cup were his immediate disciples and apostles; and, should it be extended to others, it can only design such who are the true disciples of Christ; who only share in the remission of sins, and therefore ought only to drink of the cup. If the blood of Christ was shed for the remission of the sins of all mankind, then all their sins would be remitted, or Christ’s blood must be shed in vain; but it is certain, that the sins of all men are not remitted; the sins of many will be brought into judgment, and for them, they will be everlastingly punished.

    And, therefore, there is reason to believe Christ’s blood was not shed for them, since there is such an efficacy in that blood, to cleanse from all sin; and God, on the account of it, is just and faithful to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ( 1 John 1:7,9.) 3. “That there is no inconsistence betwixt dying for many and for all, is f312 said to be evident from this consideration, that even in the same chapter the apostle saith, that by one sin of Adam many died, Romans 5:15, and all died, verse 12; many were made sinners, verse 19, and all sinned, verse 12; and that by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous , di>kaioi katastaqhby the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life, verse 18.” To which I answer, that it will be readily allowed, that the many that sinned and died in Adam, and through his offense, are the same with the all that sinned and died in him on the account of it, and that these intend all mankind, to whom Adam was a representative head; also it will be granted, that the many who are made righteous by the obedience of Christ, are the same with the all on whom the free gift comes to justification of life; but then these regard not all mankind, but such to whom he is a representative head, and who are his spiritual seed and offspring; for if all mankind, were made righteous and justified by Christ, they would be all saved and glorified; whom he justified, them he also glorified, and none would be condemned; whereas the sentence, go, ye cursed, etc., will not only be pronounced, but executed on many. 4. It is also urged, “that in the same epistle in which it is said, Christ bore the sins of many, it is expressly said, he tasted death for every man.” As to the latter expression, it has been made to appear, in the former part of this performance, that it is to be understood not of every individual man, but of the sons, the children, the brethren, the church, and seed of Abraham, spoken of in the context; and as to the former, the many cannot be extended to all mankind; since, if Christ bore, the sins of them all, they must be put away, finished, made an end of, and never be found more; nor shall they be borne by them in a judicial way; whereas the sins of many go beforehand to judgment, of which they will be convicted, and for which they will be righteously punished. Besides, the persons whose sins Christ bore, being laid on him, are represented as particular and peculiar persons, the seed of Christ, and whom he justifies. ( Isaiah 53:6,11,12; Peter 2:24.) 2ndly It is observed, “That as when the kindness designed by Christ’s death to all upon the conditions of the Gospel is expressed, it is said Christ died for all; so when the effect and benefit of it is expressed, the word many is most proper; for his blood shed procures remission of sins only to penitent believers: and in this sense Christ gave his life a ransom only for many, even for as many as would believe and obey his Gospel.” But this is to separate the design and effect of Christ’s death, and to assert, that it does not reach its designed effect, which is to render it so far in vain.

    Besides, this makes the efficacy of his death to depend on the faith, repentance, and obedience of men; and, after all, many can only mean some, and not all, since all do not repent, believe, and obey, SECTION 2.

    And I lay down my life for the sheep. – John 10:15.

    The argument from hence, in favor of the doctrine of particular redemption, is taken from the character of the persons for whom Christ laid down his life, who are his sheep , whom he is said to know, and they are said to know him, hear his voice, and follow him; to whom he gives eternal life, so as that they shall never perish: all which is not true of every individual of mankind. In some parallel places they are said to be his friends, for whom he laid down his life, John 15:13, and are distinguished from others; being such who keep the commandments of Christ, which all men do not; as having the secrets of Christ communicated to them, which servants have not; and as being chosen and ordained by Christ to go and bring forth fruit, which is not the case of all mankind.

    And in Ephesians 5:25, they are said to be the church, for whom Christ gave himself; which must be distinct from the world, and can design no other than the church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven : and, therefore, since these are the discriminating characters of the persons for whom Christ died, it follows, that he died for some only, and not for every individual of human nature. In answer to this, 1. It is observed, that “in none of these places it is said that Christ died only for his sheep, for his friends, or for his church; and, therefore, none of them say anything in contradiction to our assertion” of general redemption.

    I reply, this objection is much like what the Papists make against the doctrine of justification by faith. They own the Scriptures say, that we are justified by faith, but not by faith only. Now it may with as much propriety be said, that other, besides those which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham , because the Scriptures do not say that they which be of faith only are blessed with him, or that there are more gods and more mediators than one, because the text does not say, there is only one God, and only one Mediator; yea, it might be urged with equal strength, that men may love other women besides their own wives, in the same manner they love them, because it is not said, husbands love your wives only, as it may that Christ loved others, and gave himself for others, besides his church; because it is not said, he loved his church only and gave himself for his church only . But, though this restrictive word is not expressed, it is evidently implied; for, if Christ laid down his life, and gave himself for every individual man, these peculiar and discriminating characters would be utterly unnecessary. And, after all, it is owned by our opponents, that “eventually Christ is the Savior of his body, and died only for his sheep and friends.” 2. The argument is retorted upon thus; “He that died for his friends, and for his enemies, for the church of God, and for the unrighteous, that he might bring them to the church of God; for the sheep that heard his voice, and for the lost ones that did not hearken to his voice, died for all. But Christ died for his friends, etc., therefore he died for all.” The fallacy of this argument will easily appear, when it is observed, that they are, the same individual persons who are styled the enemies and friends of Christ, the unrighteous, and the church, the lost sheep, and such as hearken to Christ’s voice; being the former as considered in their unregenerate estate, and the latter through the power of his grace upon them.

    SECTION 3.

    I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. – John 17:9.

    The death of Christ, which was the oblation of himself as a sacrifice, and his intercession, are the two principal parts of his priestly office; and relate to the same persons. Those for whom he died, for them he also maketh intercession; and for whom he is the propitiation, for them he is an advocate with the Father; and for whom he sanctified, or sacrificed himself, for them he prays. ( Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1,2; John 17:9,19.) Now, such who have an interest in his prayers, are a special people, opposed to the world, and distinguished from them by the peculiar character of being given to Christ by the Father; and therefore those for whom he died, being the same persons, must be a special and peculiar people. It follows then that Christ died not for every individual of mankind, since he does not intercede for every one. But, 1. This is said “to be contrary both to reason and the Holy Scripture: to reason; for can it rationally be imagined that he, who was perfect in charity, should be wanting in this highest act of charity? that the beloved Son of God should charge this upon us as our duty, to pray for our enemies, and he himself neglect it? Moreover how often doth he say of the Jews, Ye are of the world; and yet says to them, eij e]gnwv, How do I wish that thou hadst known in this thy day the things which do belong to thy peace! and hanging on the cross, he said, Father, forgive them, they know not what they do: thus did he make intercession for the transgressors. Now, this prayer implies a possibility of their receiving forgiveness, and that, a disposition in God to grant it; and consequently a satisfaction provided, such as will be acceptable, if they do their parts towards the obtaining of it.” To which I reply, that it is certain Christ was perfect in charity; nor was he wanting in this highest instance of it, praying for his enemies; and yet did not pray for every individual man; and though he charges it on us to pray for our enemies, yet not for every particular person: there are some we are not to pray for, 1 John 5:16. Nor do the instances produced prove, that Christ prayed for all the individuals of human nature. The passage in Luke 19:42, regards only the Jews, and is no prayer at all, much less for their eternal salvation: since it only concerns their civil and temporal, not their spiritual and eternal peace; and is only an instance of Christ’s human compassion towards a people whose condition was irretrievable by prayer or other ways. His prayer on the cross was heard and answered, being made, not for all his enemies, but for such who were afterwards converted, as three thousand of them were under one sermon; and their number after that was increased; which prayer not only implied a possibility, but a certainty of their receiving forgiveness of sins upon the foot of a satisfaction; which was acceptable and available, not for anything done by them towards the obtaining of it, it being perfect in itself; but because of the dignity of Christ’s person, and the virtue of his blood and sacrifice. find thus indeed he made intercession for transgressors. But then these were no other than his own people, for whose transgressions he was stricken, wounded, and bruised; the many whose sins he bore , and whom he justified, Isaiah 53:5,8,11,12. 2. It is urged, that “our Lord says not this absolutely, but only in respect to that very prayer he was then offering up for his apostles; in which he was asking those things which could agree to them alone.” But it is absolutely said, I pray not for the world ; nor is this prayer Christ was then offering up, peculiar to the apostles. In the beginning of it he takes notice, that his Father had given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as he had given him, verse 2. Now were the eleven apostles the many , and the only ones the Father had given to Christ, and to whom he gives eternal life? Did Christ only manifest his Father’s name, glory, and gospel, to them? Are they the only persons opposed unto and distinguished from the world? Yea, does not Christ say of the persons he is praying for, All mine are thine, and thine are mine, verse 10, which manifestly includes and designs the whole election of grace? And, as if it was observed on purpose to obviate such an objection, he says, verse 20, Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. Besides, the things he asks for are such as were not peculiar to them as apostles, but common to them with other saints; such as preservation from the evil of the world, verse 11,15; sanctification through the truth, verse 17, 19; perfect union, verse 21, 23, and eternal glory, verse 24. 3. It is observed, that this very prayer in which he saith, I pray not for the world , was made for the sake of the world, and with respect to their saving faith, verse 21, 23. And out of that affection to the world, and with design that the preaching of the apostle to them might be more effectual for their conversion and salvation.” But it should also be observed, that the word world is an ambiguous one, and is used in various senses in this prayer; and in the passages referred to does not intend such who were opposed unto, and distinguished from those who were given by the Father to Christ, as it does in the text under consideration; but the elect of God in an unconverted state, who should be brought under the ministry of the apostles, and other preachers of the Gospel, to believe on Christ, to own him whom the Father had sent, and to know and partake of that love and favor which God bears to his own people.

    SECTION 4.

    Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died. — Romans 8:34.

    The argument from these words, in favor of peculiar, and against universal redemption, stands thus: Those for whom Christ died are God’s elect; and these in virtue of his, death are freed from condemnation, and may boldly say, Who is he that condemneth? But God’s elect, are not all men, or all men are not God’s elect; nor are all men freed from condemnation by the death of Christ; nor can they all say, Who is he that condemneth? It follows, that Christ died not for all men. That those for whom Christ died are God’s elect, is evident from the connection of the words with the preceding verse: Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect: It is God that justifieth, that is, his elect; Who is he that condemneth? that is, the elect of God: It is Christ that died, that is, for God’s elect. Should it be said, as it is, that by God’s elect are meant true believers; it should be observed, that they are not denominated God’s elect from their being true believers, but they become true believers in consequence of their being God’s elect. Besides, should this sense of the phrase be admitted of, it will be of no service; for if, instead of God’s elect, we read true believers, the sense of the words will be this; Who shalt lay anything to the charge of true believers? It is God that justifieth true believers? Who is he that condemneth true believers? It is Christ that died for true believers. Now all men are not true believers, to whom Christ is precious; nor have all men that faith which works by love. Moreover, that all for whom Christ died are, by his death, freed from condemnation, and may say, Who is he that condemneth? will abundantly appear from these considerations; that Christ, by dying, has had the sentence of condemnation they deserved, executed on him, in their room and stead; sin, the cause of condemnation, is removed by his death, the full pardon of it procured, and a justifying righteousness brought in, with which the law and justice of God, are fully satisfied: and therefore, consistent with the justice of God, the persons for whom Christ died cannot be condemned; and should any of them be condemned, his death would not be a security from condemnation; for would it be a sufficient foundation for the apostle’s triumph of faith. Now it is certain that all men are not secured from condemnation; there is a world that will be condemned, 1 Corinthians 11:32. Whence it follows, that Christ died not for all men. To this is excepted, f322 1. “That this argument supposeth, that Christ died for none who shall hereafter be condemned” Which is very true; for should any be condemned for whom Christ died, his dying for them must be in vain and be no security against condemnation: and whereas it is asked, “Must it not hence follow, that none of the unbelieving Jews among whom Christ preached, nor none of the unbelieving world to whom the apostles preached, shall be condemned for not believing in him? Since they could never be obliged to do so for whom he never died which is contrary to John 3:18, Mark 16:16. “It may be replied, that the Jews and Gentiles to whom Christ is preached, are obliged to believe that Christ is God, the Son of God, the true Messiah, etc., according to the tenor of the revelation made to them; and may be justly condemned for not believing in him as such, even though he died not for them; for that he died for them, is what they are not obliged to believe, that being no part of the revelation made to them; nor will they be condemned for not believing that he died for them, but for their neglect, contempt, and unbelief of him and his Gospel, which is the sense of the passage alleged. 2. It is said, that “there is no such proposition in the Scripture as this, that all for whom Christ died may say, who shall condemn them? but only that the persons there spoken of may say this, who were the sons and heirs of God, verse 14-17; had received the first-fruits of the Spirit, verse 23; loved God , verse 28; and were justified by him; verse 33.” To which I answer, that though this proposition is not expressed in so many words in Scripture, yet it is strongly supported by the passage under consideration; and should it be admitted, that only the persons spoken of in the context may say this, yet it is certain, that all who are partakers of the same grace and have received the same Spirit, may also say so too; yea, all the elect, even all that Christ died for, may say so sooner or later: for though the elect themselves cannot say this till they have believed, yet as their faith and repentance do not interest them in Christ, nor in his death, nor in the benefits of it; so they do not say so, as is suggested, upon their faith and repentance, but upon the account of Christ’s death. Besides, our argument does not barely rest upon the elect, or those for whom Christ died, saying, or being able to say this, but upon the doctrine contained in it; that all those for whom Christ died, are by his death secured from condemnation; if therefore, any of the sons and daughters of men shall be condemned, as multitudes will be, we conclude that Christ died not for them.

    SECTION 5.

    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? – Romans 8:32.

    The us all , or all us, for whom God has delivered up his Son, are no other than the predestinated, called, justified, and glorified, verse 30, which cannot be said of every individual of mankind. Moreover, those on whose account God spared not his Son, but delivered him up into the hands of justice and death, in their room and stead, to be a sacrifice and ransom for them, will certainly be spared by him, and be delivered from the wrath to come; it being consistent neither with the justice nor with the love of God, to cast his wrath upon them, or deliver them up to eternal punishment.

    Now, it is certain, that some persons are not spared by him, nor do escape eternal damnation: whence it must needs follow, that Christ being not spared: was not on their account; otherwise they would have been spared; and that though he was delivered up to justice, and to death, yet not for them; otherwise they would have escaped everlasting destruction. Besides, to all those for whom God has delivered up his Son, he freely gives all things: but there are thousands in the world to whom God does not give his Son, and all things freely with him; and therefore, it may be strongly concluded, that for these he did not deliver him up. In answer to this it is said, f324 1. That this argument, as before, supposes “that Christ died only for those who shall be saved, and so liable to all the absurdities before mentioned; and to these that God could not equitably require all men to repent, nor could be equitably require of them obedience to his laws.” To which I reply, that we freely own the assertion, and abide by it, that Christ died only for those who shall be saved; the end of his dying being salvation: if any for whom he died should not be saved, the end of his death would not be answered; and so be in vain with respect to them. As to its being liable to the former absurdities, these have been removed; and as to the additional ones, it is certain that God might have required repentance and obedience of men, if Christ had never died for any, or at all; as has been observed in the former part, of this work. f325 2. It is here, as before said, “That there, is no such proposition in Scripture as this, to all those for whom God delivered up his Son, he will give all things: the Scripture, cited respects only us , who are the adopted sons of God, etc.” I reply, that this Scripture does abundantly confirm the truth of the proposition: for admitting that it only respects the adopted sons of God, to whom God gives the blessings of the new covenant: not because they have performed the conditions of it, as is intimated; for then he could not be said to give them freely; yet the Apostle’s argument does not proceed upon their being the sons of God, and still less, upon their having fulfilled the conditions of the covenant, but upon God’s delivering up his Son for them, and therefore will hold good with respect to all those for whom he has delivered him up, as it did with respect to them. For it may be as strongly concluded, that God will give all things freely to all those for whom he has delivered up his Son, as that he would bestow them on these particular persons: since there is the same reason for the one as for the other. Else there is no force in the Apostle’s reasoning, no weight in his argument, nor any real conviction or solid consolation to be received from it; since it might be replied to him, that God might deliver up his Son for persons, and yet not freely give all things with him to them.

    SECTION 6.

    For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. – Romans 5:10.

    The argument from these words, in favor of particular, and against universal redemption, stands thus: such for whom Christ died are reconciled to God by his death; and such who are reconciled to God by his death shall be saved by his life. If therefore Christ died for all men, and all men are reconciled to God by his death, then all men shall be saved by his life. But all will not be saved by his life; therefore all men are not reconciled to God by his death, nor did he die for all men. In answer to which, 1st. It is observed, that “this argument supposes that Christ died to reconcile no man to God who shall not be saved.” It is very true, and we not only suppose but affirm it, and argue thus: Those for whom Christ died to reconcile them to God, are either reconciled to him or they are not; if they are not reconciled to him, then Christ with respect to them must die in vain; if they are reconciled to him, then according to this text they shall be saved. Whence it necessarily follows, that he died to reconcile none to God, who shall not be saved. But then it is said, it must follow, 1. That no man can be condemned at the last day for neglecting that great salvation tendered to, or purchased for him; Christ having neither purchased for or offered to them any salvation, unless he offered to them that salvation which he never died to purchase for them.” It is certain, that for those who shall not be saved, salvation was not purchased, nor should it be offered to them, nor indeed to any. Such for whom salvation is purchased, are the church whom Christ has purchased with his own blood; and to these, this salvation is not offered, but applied. The Gospel is not an offer, but the power of God unto salvation, to these persons. And as for others, they will be condemned at the last day, for their sins and transgressions against the law of God. And such who have had the opportunity of hearing the Gospel, and have neglected, despised, and reproached it, their condemnation will be thereby aggravated. But, 2. It is also said, that “it must follow from hence, that all who are not saved, never had any Savior or Redeemer, and so were never in a capacity to sin against a Savior; nor can their sins be aggravated by this consideration that they are committed against redeeming love. I reply, that savior and saved are relative terms, and mutually put for each other: a Savior supposes persons saved, and the saved supposes a Savior. Now Christ can be a Savior to no more than to them who are saved; and to such who are not saved, he is no Savior; and yet such may be capable of sinning against him as a Savior, though not as their Savior; they may deny him to be the Savior, despise, reproach, and neglect him as such, as Jews, Deists, and others, have done. And though their sins are not aggravated by this consideration, that they are committed against redeeming love, as having any share in it themselves, yet may be aggravated by their contempt of it, as the blessing of others. Moreover, Christ may be sinned against by these persons as a Savior, in a way of providence, though not in a way of grace; and their sins may be aggravated, as being committed against his providential goodness, if not against his redeeming love. Though strictly, and properly speaking, sin is not against Christ as a Savior, but against God as the Lawgiver; and not against redeeming love, but a law of righteousness. 2ndly It is allowed, that the conclusion of this argument, all that are reconciled to Christ (God I suppose is meant) shall be saved, may be true; but not that all, for whom Christ died, are reconciled to God.” But if all for whom Christ died are not reconciled to God, then one principal end of his death, which was to make reconciliation for sin , is not answered; and consequently his death must be so far in vain. And whereas it is observed, that “Christ died for them when sinners, unjust, ungodly, and unbelievers, who cannot be actually reconciled to God, as none can, until they believe and are justified; and that reconciliation by the death of Christ, is only by faith in it; and that God never sent his Son to purchase actual reconciliation for any but conditionally, if, and when they believed.” I reply, that though no man is reconciled to God’s way and method of salvation by Christ, or has peace in his soul, flowing from a sense of atonement and justification by the blood of Christ, until he believes; which is meant by the phrase, much more being reconciled; and regards not any performance of Christ’s, but the work of the Spirit of God upon the soul: yet this hinders not but that men, whilst sinners, ungodly, and unbelievers, may be reconciled to God by the death of Christ; that is to say, that their sins may be expiated, and fully atoned for; for faith is not the cause or condition of this reconciliation; faith does not make peace with God, or reconciliation for sin, but receives the atonement already made. Nor is it anywhere said, either that God sent his Son to procure reconciliation, or that Christ has obtained it on condition of man’s believing. The scheme of reconciliation was drawn by God without any respect to faith, and was completely obtained by Christ without any consideration of anything done, or to be done by us. The consequence of which is reconciliation of our souls to this way of peace, by the Spirit of God; and the sure and certain effect of this, is everlasting salvation to all those who are thus reconciled.

    SECTION 7.

    Greater love hath no man than this, that a man laid down his life for his friend. – John 15:13.

    These words contain an argument in favor of the doctrine of particular redemption, taken from the greatness of Christ’s love in laying down his life for men, and may be formed thus: Those for whom Christ died, he loves with the greatest love: but he does not love every individual man with the greatest love; therefore he died not for every individual man. In answer to this argument, it is said, f329 1. That it “plainly supposes, that Christ died for none who shall not actually be saved; whence it must follow, that only the elect are, or can be guilty of sinning against the love of God in Christ Jesus.” To which may be replied, that we not only suppose but affirm, that Christ died for none who shall not actually be saved; and that for this reason, because Christ must have died in vain for such persons. But God forbid it should be said, that his death was in vain, in any one single instance. Nor are we afraid of the consequence of this affirmation, that only the elect are, or can be guilty of sinning against the love of God in Christ Jesus; since sin is properly against a law, sin is the transgression of the law. And though some men may be said to sin against the love of God in Christ, when they sin against God, notwithstanding their enjoyment of it, which is an aggravation of their sin, and in which sense they only car be guilty who do enjoy it; yet others may sin against providential kindness, and indeed against special love, when they despise the gospel, and ministers who publish it, and that itself, because it is discriminating. 2. That “there is no assertion in the holy Scripture, that those for whom Christ died, he loved with the greatest love. Christ only says, that one man shows no greater love to another, than that of laying down his life for his friend. But this he neither did nor could say of the love of the Father, nor of himself: for God commended his love to us, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us; and he died for the ungodly, the just for the unjust; and therefore this text is nothing to the purpose.” To which I reply, that though this assertion is not expressed in so many words in the holy Scripture, it may be easily proved by it; and is manifestly implied in the words of this text. For when Christ speaks of the love of one man to another, by laying down his life for his people, as the greatest instance of it, he tacitly hints at his own love in laying down his life for him; for in the preceding verses, he is speaking of his love to his disciples, which he represents as equal to his Father’s love to him, and as a pattern and example of theirs one to another; and in the verses following, applies the character of friends unto them. And though Christ is said to die for his, while sinners, and for the ungodly and unjust; yet these are the same persons whom he calls friends, they being by nature as sinful and wicked as others. Which epithets and characters are made use of, not to express any greater, but the same act of love in dying for them, which is illustrated by their sinfulness and unworthiness. 3. “It is granted, Christ showed the greatest love of benevolence to all for whom he died; but then it is added, that he shows his love of friendship and beneficence only to those that bear a true reciprocal affection to him.”

    Which love of friendship and beneficence, it is said, “depends on our repentance, conversion, faith, and obedience.” Now not to take any notice of the distinction of Christ’s love, into that of benevolence and beneficence, being a groundless one, when, like himself, it is, the same yesterday, today, and for ever; Christ’s death does not merely express a love of benevolence, or only shows that he wished them well for whom he died, or willed good things for them; but was an act of beneficence, or an actual doing good things for them; since by it he reconciled them to God, brought them near unto him, redeemed them from all iniquity, finished their transgressions, made an end of their sins, and brought in everlasting righteousness for them. Nor does what is called a love of beneficence, depend on our repentance, conversion, faith, and obedience: for though Christ loves them that love him, and grace is upon all them that do so, yet it is not their love that is the cause of his; but on the contrary, they love him, because he first loved them. Moreover, were there any foundation for this distinction of the love of Christ, yet his dying for men, which is styled his love of benevolence, is a greater expression of his love than the application of the salutary effects of his death, which is reckoned his love of beneficence; and he that has a share in the former, will certainly enjoy the latter; the apostle argues from the one to the other, as from the greater to the lesser; when he says, If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. ( Romans 5:10.)


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