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I propose in this chapter to consider the arguments from reason, for and against the universality of Christ’s redemption; and such as are said f539 plainly to offer themselves to confirm this doctrine, are these:
I. “If God intended not the death of Christ for the saving of any but the elect, then he never intended the salvation to any to whom the gospel is revealed, but the elect; and then he never designed any salvation for the greatest part of men, to whom the gospel was or is revealed, on any condition whatsoever; for since there is no other name under heaven given by which we can be saved; salvation could not be intended for them on any condition whatsoever, to whom the benefit of Christ’s death was not intended.” To which I answer; that God never intended the death of Christ for the saving of any but the elect, is evident from this consideration, that none are saved but the elect; no one will say, that any are saved who are not the elect of God. This author himself will allow, that such who repent and believe, and are persevering Christians, are the elect, and such are all those that are saved. Now if God intended to save any besides the elect, his intentions are frustrated, and he disappointed; things which cannot be said of, and ascribed to the Divine Being. Besides, what is God’s intending to save any by the death of Christ, but the very act of election itself? It is no other than an appointing to salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore to talk of God’s intending the death of Christ for the saving of any, or intending to save any by the death of Christ, besides the elect, is a contradiction in terms. Nor is the gospel revealed internally to any but the elect, even to those to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
To these only it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom; to others, they are hid in parables; for, if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. ( Colossians 1:27, Matthew 13:11; 2 Corinthians 4:3.) Hence it follows not, that God never designed any salvation for the greatest part of men, to whom the Gospel was or is revealed; since he has designed salvation for all, and every one of those to whom the gospel was, or is thus internally revealed, and they shall all of them enjoy it. It is true that the gospel., is externally revealed, or the outward ministry of it is vouchsafed to more than to the elect; but then the outward ministration of it, in an indefinite manner, is only designed and blessed for the effectual vocation of the elect; but what means this restraining clause, to whom the gospel was, or is revealed? For if God intended the death of Christ for the saving of any besides the elect, he intended it either for the saving of all and every one besides them, or only for the saving of some; if he intended it for the saving of all besides them, why is not the gospel revealed unto all men? Strange! that God should intend the death of Christ for the saving of all men, and yet not afford the knowledge, no, nor the means of the knowledge of salvation by his death, or of the saving benefits of it to all men! If he intended it only for the saving of some besides the elect, even of those to whom the gospel was, or is revealed, the weakness and inconclusiveness of this argument, for the universality of redemption, are easily discerned; who does not see, that it must be exceeding weak to argue from God’s intention to save some by the death of Christ, for an universal redemption by it? nothing is more certain than that salvation could not be intended for any, to whom the benefit of Christ’s death was not intended; since salvation is the benefit of Christ’s death, and which is not intended for any persons conditionally, it being absolutely designed for the elect, absolutely wrought out for them, and absolutely applied unto them; nor is such a special retention of Christ’s death, for the saving of the elect only, contrary to the love of God to the world, or to his mercy and goodness to the sons of men; the passages referred to being either impertinent, or misunderstood and misapplied, as has been shown in the first part of this performance, to which I refer the reader.
II. It is further urged, that “hence it must follow, that Christ never died with an intention to save them whom he doth not actually save and deliver from the wrath to come.” I answer, it is very true; for if he had died with an intention to save them whom he doth not actually save, not only his designs must be defeated, and his intentions frustrated, but his death be so far in vain. Moreover, their being not actually saved, must arise either from an incapacity in him to save them, and a superior power in other men, or devils, or both, to obstruct his methods and designs; which can never he thought of him, who is the Almighty; or from a change of his intentions and purposes, which can by no means agree with him who is Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and for ever. The passages opposed to this either regard the elect of God only, whether among Jews or Gentiles, or else have no concern with redemption, either general or particular, the thing in controversy between us, as has been made to appear in that part of this work just now referred to.
III. It is said “Hence it must follow, that none of those, to whom God never intended salvation by Christ, or who shall not be actually saved by him, are bound to believe in him.” I reply: the consequence is very just; none are bound to believe in Christ but such to whom a revelation of him is made and according to the revelation is the faith they are obliged to. Such who have no re relation of him, as the heathens, are not bound to believe in him in any sense; and indeed, how shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? ( Romans 10:14,) Such who have only an external revelation of him by the ministry of the word, are obliged to believe no mole than is included in that revelation, as that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, who died and rose again, and is the Savior of sinners, etc., but not that he died for them, or that he is their Savior. It is true, the ministers of the Gospel, though they ought not to offer and tender salvation to any, for which they have no commission, yet they may preach the gospel of salvation to all men, and declare, that whosoever believes shall be saved: for this they are commissioned to do:
But then this preaching of the gospel to all indefinitely, no ways contradicts the particular redemption and special salvation of the elect only; it being designed, and blessed, for the effectual gathering of then to Christ; and does become the power of God to their salvation, and to theirs only.
IV. It is also said, “Hence it clearly follows, that no man can be condemned hereafter for final impenitency and unbelief, seeing he transgresseth no law of God by his unbelief; for, surely God commandeth no man to believe in Christ for salvation, for whom he never intended salvation by Christ; or to repent for salvation, whom he intended not to save by Christ. I answer; why repentance unto salvation, or final impenitency should be brought into this argument, I see not; since God might have required repentance of men, and have justly condemned them for final impenitence, supposing Christ had never died at all, or for any at all; and as for final unbelief, none, who have not enjoyed a revelation of Christ, as the Pagans, will be condemned for not believing in him, but for their sins against the law and light of nature; and as for such who have enjoyed the external revelation Of the gospel, and yet have remained finally unbelievers, as the Jews and others, they will be condemned, not for not believing that Christ died for them, or that he was their Savior; but they will be condemned, and die in their sins, for their not believing that he wins God, the Son of God, the Messiah and Savior of the world, and for the contempt of his gospel, and for their transgressions of the law of God.
V. This author goes on to observe, that “hence it will follow, that neither the elect, nor non-elect, can rationally be exhorted to, believe; nor they who are not elected, be. cause Christ died not for them; nor the , elect, for he that knows himself to be one of that number, hath believed and repented already; if he do not know this, he cannot know that Christ died for him, and so he cannot know it is his duty to believe in him for salvation.
I reply, that ministers, in exhorting men to believe in Christ, do not, and cannot consider them as elect or non elect, but as sinners, standing in need of Christ, and salvation by him; and that either as sensible, or as insensible of their state and condition; not as insensible of it; for I do not find that any such are exhorted to believe in Christ for salvation; but as sensible of it, as the jailer was, who trembling said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? When the apostle exhorted him, saying, Believe in the lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. ( Acts 16:30,31.)
Besides, such who have believed already, and do know that Christ has died for them, and that they are of the number of God’s elect may be rationally exhorted to walk on in Christ, as they have received him, and to go on believing to the saving of their souls.
VI. It is further observed, “that hence it must follow, that God hath not vouchsafed sufficient means of salvation to all to whom the gospel is revealed, which is said to be contrary to the whole tenor of the gospel and it is argued, that if men have not sufficient means to be saved by the covenant of grace, then have they only means given them to increase their condemnation, which is contrary to the mercy of God; and that all men, under the gospel, have not means sufficient to repent and believe, so as that they may be saved, vouchsafed by God, then he must still withhold something from them, without which they cannot repent and believe to salvation; upon which these absurdities will follow, that God condemns them to destruction for that which is no sin; and then must every impenitent and unbelieving person have a just excuse, and a sufficient plea, why he should not be punished and condemned for his infidelity and unbelief.” To all which I reply, that there is no pardon, justification, peace with God, deliverance from wrath to come; in short, no salvation but by Christ; that no means of salvation are sufficient without the grace of God; that all men are so far from having an interest in the death of Christ, and salvation by him that there have been, and are, multitudes that know nothing of either, and are so far from having sufficient means of salvation, that they have none at all; and could it be allowed, that sufficient means of salvation are vouchsafed to all to whom the gospel is revealed, who are but a few, comparatively speaking, this would not prove universal redemption, or that Christ died for all men since, in all ages, God has given his word and ordinances but to a few, and has suffered whole nations to walk in their own ways. And, indeed, all to whom the gospel is only externally revealed, have not sufficient means of salvation; for, besides an interest in Christ and his death, the sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth, or regenerating grace, and. faith .in Christ, are requisite means of salvation, winch all who enjoy the outward ministry of the gospel are not possessed of nor is this contrary, but perfectly agreeable, to the whole tenor of the gospel; for, though the gospel is the power of God to salvation? ( Romans 1:16.) it is only to them that believe, which all men do not who are under the external ministry of the word.
The word of grace, which is able to build us up, and give us an inheritance among them that are sanctified, ( Acts 20:32.) is not the written but the essential word, Christ Jesus, who is full of grace and truth. The grace of God which bringeth salvation, that is, the doctrine of the grace of God, the gospel, which brings the good tidings of salvation, hath indeed, appeared to all men: ( Titus 2:11.) but then it does not teach all men to whom it appears, only us that believe, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly. The Scriptures are also able to make men wise unto salvation; ( 1 Timothy 3:15) but then it is through faith which is in Christ Jesus, and when they are accompanied with the Spirit of God, which first inspired them. Many of the signs and miracles which Christ did, are written, that men might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, believing, they might have life through his name; ( John 20:30,31.) but then these signs, when either seen, or heard, or read of, were not, nor are they sufficient to bring persons to believe in him, and so to have life through him, without the powerful grace of God; for no man can come to Christ, or believe in him, unless the Father draw him, notwithstanding all his doctrines and miracles. But it is further urged, that “if men have not sufficient means to be saved by the covenant of grace, then have they only means given them to increase their condemnation.” f545 I reply: that by the covenant of grace, not only provision is made of sufficient means of salvation, but of salvation itself, even of all grace and glory; but then this provision is made only for those who are interested in it, and they are only the elect of God. Though, I suppose, this author, by the covenant of grace, means no other thin the gospel or gospel dispensation. Now this, though it is not a sufficient means of salvation, without the grace of God’; and though the rejection and contempt of it is an aggravation of men’s condemnation, yet is far from being given on purpose to increase their condemnation: which is wholly owing to their own wickedness: and therefore the giving of it can be no ways contrary to the mercy and goodness of God, or any unnatural action in him. It is added, that “if all men, under the gospel, have not means sufficient to repent and believe, so as they may be saved, vouchsafed by God, then must he withhold something from them, without which they cannot repent and believe to salvation; namely, special grace, an irresistible impulse, a divine energy, or an almighty power.” But what has this kind of reasoning to do with the doctrine of general or particular redemption, the controversy before us, when it rather belongs to the doctrine of sufficient and efficacious grace; and besides, is wholly confined to persons living under the gospel? whereas it should be proved, that God has vouchsafed to all men, whether under, or not under the gospel, sufficient means to repent and believe, so as they may be saved: to make things comport, in any tolerable manner, with the notion of universal redemption. And supposing that sufficient means are not given to all men in either situation, as it is certain they are not given to all men event under the gospel, what follows upon it? Why, that God withholds from them special. grace, an irresistible impulse, and a divine energy.” And is he obliged to give special grace to all under the gospel ministry? or throw in an irresistible impulse upon them. or put forth a divine energy, or an almighty power, to enable them to repent and believe? These things depend upon his sovereign will and pleasure. But then we are told, “that if the want of all, or any of these things, be the reason why so many, who live under the gospel dispensation, do not believe and repent to salvation, and, upon this account, continue in their impenitence and unbelief, great absurdities will follow.” But who says that the want of these things is the reason or cause of men’s unbelief and impenitence, and of their continuance in them, than the sun, and the withdrawing of its light, is the cause and reason of darkness. It is true, that it is only the grace of God that can cure men of their impenitence and unbelief; but then it is not the want of it that is the cause or reason of either, but the vitiosity and corruption of their hearts; wherefore no great absurdities can follow. But what are these supposed ones? One is, “that God condemns them to destruction for that which is no sin;” as if unbelief and impenitence were not sins, because their can only be cured by the grace of God, without which no man can truly repent and believe; and because God is pleased to withhold this grace from, and not bestow it upon some men, therefore he cannot condemn for these things as sins; whereas, it should be observed, that God does not condemn men for the want of that grace which he does not think fit to bestow upon them, without which they cannot repent and believe, so as to be saved; but for the impenitence and unbelief he finds in them, and which he is not obliged to cure them of.
According to this author’s reasoning, because man cannot be subject to the law, without the power and grace of God, it can be no sin in him to remain unsubjected to it: for the it must be the sin of man, not to be God and if lie punish him for not being subject to the law, he must punish him for not being equal in power with God himself. Such reasoning need no confutation, they carry their own in them. The other absurdity is, that “then must every impenitent and unbelieving person, have a just excuse, and a sufficient plea, why he should not be punished or condemned, for his infidelity and unbelief. Ant such another plea is put into the mouths of these persons as was used by the officers to the Jews, to Pharaoh; There is no straw given to us, and thou sayest to us, make bricks; no special grace, no divine energy afforded us, and thou sayest to us, Do that which can no more be done without it, than men can make bricks without straw; and thy servants are beaten, but the fault is in him who denies us straw, and yet requires bricks; yea, who requires that faith, and that repentance, which he never would afford us ‘sufficient means to perform. This is a bold charge, an insolent way of treating the Almighty, to compare him with Pharaoh’s officers, and say the fault is in him who requires faith and repentance, and affords no special grace, no divine energy to perform. Moreover the case is not parallel; the impotence of the Israelites to make bricks, arose from straw being denied them, and withheld from them, which they formerly had; but the impotence of men to believe and repent, does not arise from special grace and a divine energy being denied or withheld from them, which they never had: but from the corruption and vitiosity of their nature, their enmity to God, alienation from him, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness or hardness of their hearts. Besides, God never calls persons to evangelical repentance, or requires them to believe in Christ to the saving of their souls, but he gives that special grace, and puts forth that divine energy which enables them to believe and repent. God does not require all men to believe in Christ, and where he does, it is according to the revelation he makes of him. He does not require the heathens, who are without an external revelation of Christ, to believe in him at all; and those who only Save the outward ministry of the word, unattended with the special illuminations of the Spirit of God, are obliged to believe no further than that external revelation they enjoy, reaches; as that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, etc., not to believe these things is the sin of all that are under the gospel dispensation, as it was of the Jews; who though they saw his miracles, and heard its doctrines, yet, through the corruption and prejudices of their minds, did not believe the to be the Messiah, and therefore died in heir sins; nor had they a just excuse, or sufficient plea, why they should not be punished or condemned, for their infidelity an a unbelief respecting the Messiah, even though: they could not come to him, or believe him to the saving of their souls, without the special grace of God; they were not condemned for the want of that they had not and which was not bestowed upon them; but for that which was really in them, the sin of unbelief; nor were they, nor are any, condemned for not believing that Christ died for them, but for the transgressions of the law of God, and the disbelief or contempt of his gospel. And as for those, who besides the external, have also an internal revelation of Christ, as they are called to the exercise of evangelical repentance, and to faith in Christ as their Savior and Redeemer, who loved them, and gave himself for them; they have that grace bestowed upon them, and that power put forth in them, which enables them to believe and repent. I make no use of e reply commonly made on our side the question, “that we all had sufficient strength to believe, in our first parent Adam, which we have lost by our fall in him; and though we have thus lost our power to believe, yet God has not lost his authority to require it, and may deal with us as if we had it still;” since, according to the scheme I proceed upon, that, as is the revelation God makes to the sons of men, such is the faith he requires of them, there is no need of it. However, cannot consider it as such a lamentable weak pretense, and so sure a sign of a desperate cause, as our author, from Dr. Claget, represents it to be; for, that Adam, in a state of innocence, had a power of believing in Christ, and did believe in him as the second Person in the Trinity, as the Son of God, cannot well be denied; since with the other two Persons, he was his creator and preserver; the knowledge of which cannot well be thought to be withheld from him. And his not believing in him as the Mediator, Savior, and Redeemer, did not arise from any defect of power in him, but from the state, condition, and situation in which he was, and from the nature of the revelation made unto him; for no doubt, Adam had a power to believe every word of God, any revelation that was, or might be made unto him, Now all mankind were in him, in such sense, as Levi was in the loins of Abraham, and paid tithes in him long before he was born; yea, they were in Adam as their federal and representative head, and so had representatively the power he had, which when they sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression, they lost; hence followed a depravation of nature, an enmity to God, an opposition to his will, and an impotence to sit that is spiritually good, which is the root and source of infidelity; but though men have lost the power of believing, and are shut up in unbelief, God may justly require them to give credit to, and believe, whatever revelation he is pleased to make. As for those texts of Scripture, I know of none, that exhort and command all men, all the individuals of human nature, to repent, and believe in Christ for salvation; they can only, at most, concern such persons who are under the gospel dispensation; and, in general, only regard an external repentance and reformation, and an historical faith in, or assent to, Jesus as the Messiah. Our blessed Savior’s marveling at the unbelief of his countrymen, and at the faith of the centurion, is to be understood of him as man, and no way contradicts men’s disability to believe: he marveled at the unbelief of his countrymen, that they should be offended at him, and reject him as the Messiah, on account of the meanness of his parentage and education, when they had such large means, by his ministry and miracles, to convince them that he was the Messiah; whom they might have believed in, and received as such, though they lay under a disability of coming to him, or believing in him to the saving of their souls, without the special grace of God: he marveled at the faith of the centurion, that he, who had such small means, and such little knowledge of him, yet should so strongly believe in him: which greatly argued the mighty power of God in him, and is what our Lord designed those about him should take notice of to the glory of God. The instances from Scripture of Christ’s. upbraiding persons for their, impenitence and unbelief, respect himself as the Messiah, and not assenting to him as such, and not repenting of their rejection of him, when they had such plain proofs, demonstrations, and examples; and are far from disproving man’s disability to repent and believe in a spiritual manner. The parables of the marriage-supper, and the talents, are foreign to, the purpose; the design of the one being to show that men may be externally called, by the ministry of the word, and not be chosen; and have neither the grace of God, nor the righteousness of Christ; and so will, at the last day, be speechless, and have nothing to say why they should not be condemned for their many ‘actual sins and transgressions, from which, the grace of God, and the righteousness of Christ, could only save them; though they could not obtain, procure, and merit either of these by their own deserving, since, as they were destitute of them, so they were unconcerned about them, made no application for them; but, perhaps, slighted and contemned them. The design of the other, is to show the nature and use of external gifts for the ministry, which men may have, and use, and improve, as they ought, and as they have power to do, even though destitute of the grace of God. But these instances, as they do not properly belong to this branch of the argument, so most, If not all of them, have been considered in the first Part of this performance, which the reader may consult.
VII. It is said, that “that which doth:render this doctrine (of particular redemption) most worthy to be rejected by all who truly love their God and Savior, is this consideration, that it unworthily reflects upon our good and gracious God, our blessed Lord and merciful High Priest, who is, in Scripture often said, but, by this doctrine is denied to be, the Savior of the world; for it, in effect, declares he who is, in Scripture, styled love, hath from eternity,. hated the greatest portion of mankind; represents him as having no bowels of compassion, no drop of mercy, no inclination to do good to the generality of his most noble creatures; and renders the God of truth and sincerity, full guile, deceit, and insincerity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.” To all which I reply, 1. As to what is said, that “this doctrine unworthly reflects on our blessed Lord and merciful. High Priest, who is, in Scripture, often said, but by this doctrine is denied to be, the Savior of the world;” I observe, that Christ is not often, only twice, in Scripture said to be the Savior of the world, John 4:42; 1 John 4:14; nor is he denied to be so by the doctrine of particular redemption; though, according to that doctrine, this phrase is to be understood in a limited and restrained sense; as it appears it should be, from those Scriptures in which be is oftener said to be our Savior, the Savior of Israel, and the Savior of the body, the church. He is, indeed, a merciful High Priest, but it should be observed, that he is also a faithful one, in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people; but if he has not taken care of things pertaining to God, so as to make full atonement for the sins of his people, that justice may have no more to require, and they be entirely free from any further demand of his, and not liable to future punishment, I cannot see how he can be either a merciful or a faithful High Priest. And it deserves consideration, whether that doctrine does not most unworthily reflect upon our blessed Lord and merciful High Priest; which represents him not as procuring, by his death, an actual pardon and reconciliation for any, only a conditional one for all; not as obtaining certain salvation for any of the sons of men, only as putting them into a salvable state, or into a capacity of being pardoned, reconciled, and saved, through conditions of their own performing, and as dying in vain for multitudes, whom he came ‘into the world to save. 2. As to the love and mercy of God, these are to be considered, not quoad affectus, as affections, or passions, in him; which are to he moved, raised, and influenced, by anything out of himself, as the misery or goodness of an object; so to think of God, is to conceive most unworthily of him, to take him to be altogether such an one as ourselves, and savors rankly of Atheism, and scarcely deserves another name; but they are to be considered quoad affectus, as to their effects; which are guided by the sovereign will of God, to whatsoever objects he pleases, for he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. Add to this consideration, that the love, grace, and mercy of God, and the glory of them lie not in the numbers to which they extend, but in the freeness of them, or in the liberal manner in which they are communicated to objects altogether undeserving of them, for that of Austin will always hold good, Gratia non est gratis, nisi omnino gratuita, Grace is not grace, unless it is altogether free. Besides if the glory of God’s love, grace, and mercy, is more advanced by the redemption of all men, according to this way of reasoning, it would be still more advanced by the salvation of all men, and most of all, by the salvation of all the devils, as well as all men; and therefore, if God does not save all men, and all the devils, when it is in his power to do it, it must be a reflection upon is love, grace and mercy, and upon him, as the Lover of souls and Father of spirits. And indeed, what is said by our author, in favor of general, and against particular redemption, upon this head, may be argued in favor of the redemption and salvation of devils, in opposition to a restraint of it to the sons of men; as, 1st. that God, by sending, his Son to be the Savior of the world, or in giving him up to the death, had no other primary end, than the glorifying himself in the salvation of men; had he therefore designed his death for the salvation of all the devils, upon conditions possible to be performed by them, he must have glorified himself more than by restraining the design of it only to the salvation of men. 2ndly. That the death of Christ was a sufficient sacrifice for the sins of all the devils, and so might have procured a conditional pardon ‘for all them, as well as for all men , had God been pleased to give him up to the death for them all. 3rdly. That it could be no ways more dishonorable to God, or more inconsistent with his justice, wisdom, hatred of sin, or any other of his attributes, to have designed Christ death for the salvation of all the devils, than to intend it only for the salvation of men. 4thly. That the devils, who are supposed to be excluded from any benefit by Christ death, were as much the offspring of the Father of spirits and every whit as miserable, and as much wanting an interest in our Lord’s salutary passion, as men, who are supposed to be the objects of the pardon and salvation purchased by our Savior’s blood; can it be then consistent with the grace, goodness, and mercy of the divine nature, and of the lover of souls, and the relation which this Father of spirits beareth to them, to consign the death of Christ only to men, and to suffer a large number of his creatures, which were equally his offspring and as miserable, and so in the same need of pardon and salvation with men, to remain inevitably miserable, only for want for God’s designing the same sacrifice for the procuring mercy to them as well as others. If this reasoning is closely attended to, the patrons of universal redemption, as well as we, must fly to the sovereignty and prerogative of God over his creatures, in showing and denying mercy to whom he pleases; which is never to be mentioned and compared with that absolute power, prerogative, and sovereignty, exercised by Grecian or Roman governors, or any ether princes over their subjects.
But to proceed: Where is the love, grace, mercy, and goodness of God, in sending Christ to die only to procure the possibility of salvation for all men, and leave it precarious and uncertain whether any are saved at all? What kind of love and mercy is that which sends Christ to die for men, and then leaves them to deny that Lord who is supposed to have bought them, and to aggravate their guilt by sinning against him? It must have been much better for them if he had never been sent, or had never died for them, or had never bought them. What sort of love is that which gives Christ to die for men, and yet withholds the gospel of salvation from them, and does not send down the Spirit of God into their hearts, to reveal and apply salvation to them, purchased by Christ? How easily might the several things, objected by our author, be retorted upon this scheme, to show that God, according to it, must hate the greatest portion of his creatures, and have no mercy, bowels of compassion, or any inclination to do good unto the generality of them; might it not be said, with equal force, that if God himself saith, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated, only because he laid the mountains and heritage of Esau waste; ( Malachi 1:2 3) is there not greater reason to say he hated all those souls whom he has suffered to walk in their own ways; ( Acts 14:18 and Acts 17:30,) whose times of ignorance he has winked at, or overlooked; and, notwithstanding all his seeming love in sending Christ to die for them, he “ does not so much as give them an external revelation of him, the outward means of grace, the ministry of the word?” If he is said ( Leviticus 19:17.) to hate his brother in his heart, who suffers him to go on in his sin without reproof, must not he hate those souls much more who, “though he has given his Son for them, does not so much as send his Spirit to them to reprove them of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment?” ( John 16:8.)
Our Lord makes it the particular case of Judas, ( Matthew 26:24.) that it had been better .for him he had not been born; whereas this doctrine makes it the case, “even of multitudes redeemed by Christ, who, notwithstanding their redemption by Christ, are left to perish in the horrible pit, in the mire and clay of an unregenerate state. Now can we imagine, that that God who will he require the blood of souls from every watchman, who doth not warn the sinner to turn from his iniquities, that he die not, should himself leave them to perish in it, “and not warn, even multitudes of his redeemed ones, of their sin and danger?” So that what he doth threaten to him only, ( Proverbs 29:1.) who being often reproved hardeneth his heart, should be the state and case of many for whom Christ has died, namely, to be destroyed without remedy. And is not this to represent our God and Savior more uncompassionate to the souls “redeemed by Christ; who seeing them in their blood, does not say unto them, live; or, dead in trespasses and sins, does not quicken them, ( Ezekiel 16:6; Ephesians 2:5.) when it is in his power to do it;” than were that priest and Levite to their brother’s body, who seeing him ready to perish by his wounds, ( Luke 10:31,32.) passed unconcerned by another way? And when the apostle inquires, If any man see his brother in need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? ( 1 John 3:17.)
Would not this doctrine teach them to reply, even as it dwells in God himself, towards “a considerable number of those his Son died for; who seeing’ them in extreme need, in a state of sin and misery, yet shuts up his bowels of compassion from them; withholds the outward means, the ministry of the word, from them; does not give them the least knowledge of his Son, the Savior of the world, nor the least measure of the grace of the blessed Spirit?” In a word, the love, grace, mercy, and goodness of God, are more magnified displayed in the doctrine of particular redemption, which provides for the sure and certain salvation of some men, for their actual participation of grace here, and glory hereafter, than by the doctrine of universal redemption; which provides for the possibility of the salvation of all men, leaving it to the mutable will of man, and to conditions to be performed by the creature, which makes it precarious and uncertain whether may will be saved or no. 3. As to the charge of guile, deceit, and insincerity, which the doctrine of particular redemption is thought to fix upon the Divine Being; this proceeds upon a mistaken sense of several passages of Scripture, which con-rain ‘declarations, calls, and exhortations of God to men, and expostulations with them, and ardent wishes concerning them; all which either only regard civil and temporal, mad not spiritual and eternal things; or do not belong to all mankind, or are not directed to any who are not eventfully saved; as has been made appear in the first Part of this performance, where the Scriptures referred to are particularly considered under distinct sections.
VIII. It is urged, that “this doctrine of particular redemption is visibly destructive of almost all the acts of piety and virtue; as prayer, thanksgiving, loving the Lord with all our hearts and souls: when, on the other hand, the doctrine of general redemption layeth the greatest obligations on us to fear the Lord, and to serve him; gives him the glory of his free love, rich goodness, great mercy and compassion to the sons of men, far above the contrary doctrine; instructs us how to imitate the goodness, mercy, and compassion of God, administers just ground of comfort to the greatest sinner, and gives life and energy to all the exhortations to him, to return and live.” And, 1. It is observed, that “all prayer is the duty of all Christians, to be performed in every place, and at all times, for all Christians, and all men; and that in faith, and in the name of Jesus, for pardon.’
And it is asked, “How can we have access to God in our prayers for pardon, or for any other spiritual blessings, for all men, through the blood of Jesus, if he did not shed his blood for all?” I answer; that all prayer is the duty of all Christians, is certain; and that this is to be made for all Christians, for all saints, is as certain; yea, even for our enemies, as well as for our friends; but that we are to pray for all the individuals of human nature, that have been, are, or shall be in the world, is not so certain; since then we must pray for .the dead as well as the living, for the saints in heaven, and the damned in ‘hell, and for them that are not yet born, as for those that are; and yet so we should pray to answer to the extent of the redemption pleaded for. The apostle, indeed, exhorts that supplications, prayers, and intercessions, be made for all men; ( 1 Timothy 2:1.) that is, for men of all sorts, ranks, and degrees; particularly for kings, and for all that are in authority, and chiefly respecting the civil affairs of government, that kings may act for the glory of God, and the welfare of their subjects; and that the latter, especially such who are Christians, may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty. The scripture gives us no warrant anywhere to pray for the pardon and salvation of all men, collectively; to do so, would be to act contrary to divine revelation; which represents to us, that the sins of all men will not be pardoned, and that all men will not be saved. And if a man prays for the pardon and salvation of any particular person or persons, for whom he is more especially concerned, it should be always with submission to the will of God, who will have mercy on whom he will have mercy; for no man can pray in faith, and with confidence, but for such things as are agreeable to the revealed will of God. There is, indeed, great encouragement for a man to go to God through Christ, and pray for the discovery of pardon, and application of salvation, to him-serf and others, upon the scheme of particular redemption: since the blood of Christ was shed for many, for the remission of sins: and therefore, why not for their sins? and he came to save the chief of sinners, and, there. fore, why not them? But, upon the scheme of general redemption, a man has no encouragement to pray for pardon and salvation, either for himself or others; since, according to that scheme, Christ, by his death, has not procured actual pardon, reconciliation, or salvation; only obtained a new covenant, in which these things are promised, on conditions to be performed by men; so that all a man has to do, is to perform these conditions, and then he may claim his interest in pardon and salvation, and consequently has no need to pray for them. When these things are considered, it will be easy to judge which scheme is likely to damp devotion, or to be destructive of fervent prayer. 2. It is further observed, that “it is the duty of all Christians to give thanks always to God, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, etc., and this we are to do for all men; and that opinion which obstructs this gratitude, must be repugnant to Scripture and reason.” I reply; that it is beyond dispute, the duty of all Christians, to give thanks to God in the name of Christ, for all things which the’ have received, enjoy, and are made partaker of; and particularly for God’s sending hi Son to die for them, and for their redemption by him: and though he is not an universal Savior, yet the greater part of Christians that is, believers, by the scheme of particular redemption, are so far from being disobliged, and incapacitated, as is suggested, reasonably to thank or to praise him for anything that he hath suffered and done; that they are all, and every one of them, laid under the greatest obligations, and put into the best capacity of gratitude and thankfulness, on the account thereof; for these grounds of thanksgiving respect all Christians, all believers in Christ, who have any degree of faith and hope in him, though they may not be fully assured of their salvation by him. But then, that it is their duty to give thanks for all men, and for redeeming grace, and other spiritual blessings, which they have not received, do not enjoy, are not made partakers of, does not at all appear. Giving of thanks is, indeed, to be made for all men, on the account of civil and temporal blessings they enjoy, and because of that use and service they are of to others; though this cannot be extended to every individual, as to a persecuting tyrant, or an infamous heretic. Add to this, that the form of thanksgiving and praise, used by the saints on the score of redemption, which is referred to in the margin by the learned Doctor, but not transcribed, runs thus:
Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; ( Revelation 5:9.) not every kindred, every tongue, every people, and every nation. 3. It is said, that “the great duty required from the Jew and Gentile is, to love the Lord with all our hearts; but if he in tended no such kindness to the greatest part of mankind (as the sending of his Son to be their Savior,) what motive can they have to love him, who never had any love to their souls? Surely they cannot be obliged to low him for that’ redemption which never was intended for them, or for that grace which will not be vouchsafed to them.” To which may be replied; that it is the duty of all men to love the Lord, as they are the creatures of his make, the care of his providence, and supplied by him with the blessings of life; and, so long as they are, the obligation to love him continues, and would have continued, had there been no redemption at all by Christ. It is true, redemption by Christ lays a fresh obligation on those who are interested in it, to love the Lord; and, indeed, those who have no interest in that special blessing of grace, have reason to love the Lord upon the account of it; since it is owing to Christ’s engagement to redeem his own people, that the rest are continued in their being, and supplied with the blessings of providence, which were forfeited by sin. Besides, though such cannot be obliged to love the Lord for that redemption which never was intended for them, nor for that grace which will not be vouchsafed to them; yet, all to whom the gospel revelation comes, are obliged to love the Lord on the account of redemption by Christ; since all who see their need of it, and are desirous of interest in it, have no reason to conclude otherwise, than that Christ died for them, and has redeemed them by his blood. 4. It is urged, “that the doctrine of general redemption layeth the greatest obligations on us to fear and serve the Lord.” But why may not the doctrine of particular redemption be thought to lay as great obligations on us to do the same? For if God thus first loved us, when we did not love him, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins, and not the sins of others; surely we stand bound to show our love to him by that obedience, which is the only test of our sincere affection; and if Christ has bought us, and not others, with the price of his own precious blood, we ought to glorify him with our souls and bodies, which are his: and especially, this doctrine may be thought to lay as great obligations on us, to fear and serve the Lord, since it teaches us, that Christ gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; ( Titus 2:14.) yea, this doctrine may be thought to lay greater obligations on us than the other, to fear and serve the Lord; since, according to the scheme of general redemption, no actual pardon, reconciliation, and salvation, were procured by the death of Christ; only by it men were put into a capacity, and there was a possibility of their enjoying these things on certain conditions to be performed by them; whereas the doctrine of particular redemption assures the salvation of all, who have interest in it; which every one has reason to conclude, who is sensible of sin, of his need of Christ, and salvation by him. 5. It is said that the doctrine of universal redemption tends highly to the promotion of God’s glory; it gives him the glory of his free love, rich goodness, great mercy, am compassion to the sons of men, far above the contrary doctrine.” But how does it promote the glory of God, when, notwithstanding this redemption by Christ, it is possible not one soul may be saved; and they that are saved, must save themselves by performing the conditions of the new covenant, which is all that Christ has obtained by his death? And where does the glory of his free love, rich goodness, great mercy, and compassion to the sons of men appear; when, notwithstanding his sending his Son to be their Savior, he does not so much as give, to multitudes of them, any knowledge of him, or means of knowing him; and where the external revelation of the gospel does come, to multitudes, he does not give his Spirit to make known and apply salvation by Christ to them? And if, as it is said, “to redeem any, doth magnify his goodness; to redeem many, doth increase it; to redeem all, doth advance it to the highest pitch;” it would follow, that not only to redeem all mankind, but redeem all the devils, would tend most highly to magnify the goodness of God; but the glory of God’s grace, mercy, and goodness, lies not so much in the numbers to which they are extended, as in the freeness of them; as I have observed under the preceding head of argument; where I have also shown, that the love, grace, mercy, and goodness of God, are more magnified by the doctrine of particular redemption, than by that of general redemption.
The instance of a king’s redeeming one hundred of his subjects, when he found five thousand of them in thraldom, upon a declaration he would be gracious to them all; and which is therefore represented as delusory and insincere, inhuman and unmerciful, is foreign to the purpose; since God has no where declared, that he would show himself gracious to all the individuals of mankind; but, on the contrary, that he will be gracious to whom he will be gracious; nor has he any where declared, that he is not willing any of them should perish. 6. It is observed, that “this doctrine of general redemption doth best instruct us how to imitate the goodness, mercy, and compassion of our God, even by being kind and merciful unto all, and ready to procure, much as in us lies, the welfare of all men Matthew 5:44,45, Luke 6:35,36, 1 Thessalonians 3:19, and 4:9, Ephesians 4:39, Matthew 18:35?’ But, without this doctrine, we are sufficiently instructed, even by the providential goodness of God to all his creatures, to which the passages in Matthew 5:44,45, Luke 6:6-35,36, refer, to imitate the goodness, mercy, and compassion of God, by being kind and merciful to all men. Nor do we need this doctrine to teach us to love all men, as men and fellow-creatures, nor to love one another as Christians, or believers in Christ.; since all that are born again, are taught of God in regeneration, to love as brethren, all that are regenerated by the grace of God, which is the meaning of 1 Thessalonians 4:9. Such who have received, or expect to receive, forgiveness from God, ought to forgive one another, every- man his brother’s trespasses; but then the ‘rule of this proceeding is not, nor is it necessary that it should be, even as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven all men, which the argument in favor of general redemption requires, but even as God for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven you, Ephesians 4:32.
It is said,: “that it is not a sufficient answer to the argument to say, that God is kind in temporals; for this is indeed no kindness, if all these temporal enjoyments, without grace and interest in Christ, which is denied them, can only be abused to the aggravation of their guilt and punishment; and that it is thinking unworthily of God, that he should take such care of human bodies, and make no provision for their souls.” I reply, that it must be kindness in God, to bestow temporal blessings upon the sons of men, seeing they are altogether nude-serving of them, which should engage them to seek and serve him; and it is owing to the wickedness of men, that they are abused by them; for without the grace of God, and interest in Christ, temporal enjoyments may be so used as not to be abused; nor does it become us to say, what is worthy or unworthy of God, respecting the communications of his providential goodness of special grace, since they depend entirely on his will and pleasure. Though it is an awful consideration, that God should bestow upon some of the sons of men such a large share of temporal blessings, and withhold from them his special grace; and, on the other hand, make such large provisions of grace for his dear children, and yet suffer many of them to be in strait circumstances, and without the conveniences of life: what shall we say to these things, but what the apostle does.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! ( Romans 11:33.) 7. It is thought, that “the doctrine of general redemption administers most comfort to sinners, under the terror of God’s threats and convictions of conscience.” I answer, it must be matter of comfort to distressed minds, that Christ came to seek that which was lost, to save the chief of sinner,; that whosoever comes to him, he will in no wise cast out; and whosoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. All which perfectly agree with the doctrine of particular redemption, and which administers better ground of comfort, to distressed minds than the other doctrine does, since it secures both grace and glory to those who are interested in it. Whereas the other leaves the salvation of every man very precarious and uncertain, and, at most, barely possible, if it can be said to be so, when it depends upon conditions to be performed by themselves; what comfort can that doctrine yield to a distressed mind, which tells the man, that Christ died for all men, and has redeemed all by his blood, and so himself among the rest; and yet he may be damned for all this, and be in no better or safer state than Cain or Judas? Whereas the doctrine of particular redemption ascertains the salvation of some, and all that believe in Christ have reason to conclude their interest in it, and take comfort from it, believing that they shall have, in consequence of it, every blessing of grace here, and eternal life hereafter; so that penitent believers may take as much, yea, more comfort from this doctrine than the other. Could our opponents, upon their general scheme, ascertain salvation to all men, they would have some room and reason to talk upon this head. 8. It is said, “that this doctrine (of general redemption) gives life and energy to all our exhortations to the sinner, to return and live; whereas, the contrary persuasion robs them of their strength and virtue.” I reply; for my own part, I know of no exhortations to dead sinners, to return and live, in a spiritual manner. Those referred to in Ezekiel 18., I have often observed, respect civil and temporal, and not spiritual and eternal things; we may, and should indeed, encourage and exhort sensible sinners to believe in Christ, and testify their repentance, by bringing forth fruits meet for the same; and to such exhortations the doctrine of particular redemption gives life and energy, and cannot rob them of any strength and virtue; since it ascertains complete salvation, continuance in grace here, and glory hereafter, to all that repent and believe: whereas the other doctrine does not; for, according to that, persons may repent and believe, and yet finally and totally fall away, and at last he damned. Let any unprejudiced person judge which doctrine gives most life and energy to these exhortations, or robs them of their strength and virtue: and, with respect to men In general, I see not why, upon our scheme, we may not as briskly put the question, How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? and, as boldly inquire, why des-pisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance, and 1ongsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to rerepentance?
The learned writer attended to, proceeds to remove an objection or two lying in his way; as, (1.) “That after all our quarrelling about this affair, we seem both, at last, to say the same thing; the one, that Christ will save none’ but the elect; the other, that he will only save those who perform the conditions of the new covenant: now these are the same men both for number and quality. And the actual salvation of men being not enlarged by their doctrine, it seems not to be much more worthy of God, or to represent him more a lover of souls, or more concerned for their welfare than the other.” To this he answers, that “though the persons saved be eventually the same, yet the doctrine is by no means the same, nor is the honor of God as much consulted, or his love to souls as much demonstrated by the one as by the other.” To which I reply; that the doctrine is by no means the same, is certain; and as for the absurdities which this author thinks the doctrine of particular redemption is clogged with; as, that no salvation ever was by God designed for some persons; and as if they are damned for unbelief, must be damned for what they neither could do, nor were, by any law of God, obliged to do; and because they want sufficient means, on God’s part, to render their salvation possible; and that this doctrine represents the God of truth and sincerity full of guile, deceit, dissimulation, and hypocrisy, and is visibly destructive of all the acts of piety and virtue. All this has been replied to before. I shall only observe, that by the doctrine of particular redemption, the honor of God is more consulted, and his love to souls is more’ demonstrated, than by that of general redemption; for according to the former, all the gracious purposes and designs of God, respecting the salvation of men, are fully accomplished; his justice is fully satisfied by the obedience and sufferings of his Son; ‘his grace and mercy are, wonderfully displayed, and all his people are certainly saved with an everlasting salvation; whereas, according to the latter, the gracious purposes and designs of God, respecting the salvation of men, are, with regard to a large, if not the largest number of them, entirely frustrated; his justice does not appear to he satisfied with the sacrifice of his Son for their sins; nor are his grace and mercy displayed in the application of salvation to them; this doctrine not providing for the sure and certain salvation of any, but leaving it upon a precarious bottom, to be procured upon conditions of men’s own performing; so that if it is obtained, it is rather to be ascribed to the free will of man, than to the free grace of God; and if so, how is the honor of God consulted by this doctrine? And that the love of God is more demonstrated by the doctrine of particular, than by that of general redemption, has been shown in the consideration of the preceding argument. (2.) The other objection is, “that God is no debtor to any man; he was at perfect freedom, whether he would show mercy to any, or make provision for the salvation of the smallest number, and so he could not be termed unmerciful, had he made no provision for the salvation of all.” To this he answers, that “God is no debtor to any man; but yet, he is most certainly obliged, by the perfection of his own nature, to act suitably to his attributes.” It is very true; but let it be shown, and proved, if it can be, that God is showing mercy to some men, and not to all, in making provision for the salvation of some, and not for all, in sending, his Son to die for some, and not all, and so in saving of some, and not all, when he could, in justice have damned all mankind for sin, acts unsuitably to any of his attributes.
The main of this author’s reasoning in his answer to this objection, belongs to the doctrine of efficacious grace; and therefore must be thought to be impertinent, and does not require an answer here, but must be referred to its proper place. From the whole, (3.) The two corollaries, or inferences, namely, that “there is no absolute decree of reprobation excluding from saving mercy;” and that “there is no absolute decree of election of a certain number of particular persons to salvation,” do not necessarily follow, as it is said: but, on the contrary, that whereas there is a redemption of particular persons, by the blood of Christ, whose everlasting salvation is procured and secured thereby; so there is an election of particular persons in Christ, who shall certainly enjoy all the grace and glory to which they are chosen. The harangue this author makes upon this, proceeds upon some passages of Scripture, which either have no manner of relation to this controversy, or are misunderstood, and misapplied, as I think has been sufficiently shown in the first Part of this work. I now proceed to consider the answers of this learned writer to our arguments, and what he calls objections, made from rational accounts, against the doctrine of general redemption, contained in the seventh chapter of his discourse upon this subject. And, 1. The first argument, or objection, he takes notice of, is, that “it is not reasonable to believe, that Christ should die in vain, with respect to any: whereas, if he had died for all, he must have died in vain, with respect to the greatest part of mankind.” Which is said with a great deal of reason; for if Christ died for all men, and some, or many of them perish, then he must die in vain, with respect to these persons. But that a matter of so much moment and importance, as the death of Christ, whereby the purposes of God, the promises of the covenant, and the salvation of men, were to be accomplished; in which the wisdom, love, and grace of God are so much displayed; his holiness and justice, truth and faithfulness, so much concerned, should, in any respect, be thought to be in vain, is an unreasonable conclusion. In answer to this it is said, “that all those acts of divine grace, whose effect depends upon the will of man, or which are offered to him upon conditions which he may perform or not, are, through man’s wickedness, too often done and offered in vain; as that imports their being done and offered without any benefit man receiveth by them.” And then instances are produced, of the law and ordinances of God, his fatherly corrections, the gospel, and the ministry of it by Christ and his apostles, being often in vain. But what are all these things to the purpose? Does it follow, that because corrections are sometimes in vain, and the external ministry of the word and ordinances have been in vain, that therefore the death of Christ may be, in any respect, in vain? Does the effect of it depend upon the will of man, or is it ever offered upon conditions to men? To suggest any thing of this kind, must be injurious to, and highly reflect upon the sufferings and death of Christ. This learned writer affirms, that “to say indeed Christ died to no purpose, or to no good end, is a great absurdity; but to say, he died in vain, eventually, for them who will not repent or believe in him,. is none. at all..” But surely to die in yam for any, is to die to no purpose, or to no good cud with respect to them; and therefore, if to die to no purpose, or to no good end, is a great absurdity, to die in vain must be so too; for to what purpose or good end can Christ die for those, for whom he died in vain? Besides, the apostle represents Christ’s dying in vain as a great absurdity, when he says, If righteousness carne by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. ( Galatians 2:21.)
II. Another argument or objection against general redemption is, “that a general will that all men should be saved carries some marks of imperfection in it, as representing God wishing somewhat which he could not accomplish; whereas infinite perfection can wish nothing but what it can execute; and if it be fit for him to wish it, it must be fit for him to execute it.” The answer to it is, that “this objection advances a metaphysical nicety against the dearest revelations of the Holy Scripture, Psalm 81:12,13; Isaiah 48:18; Deut. 32:29; Isaiah 5:4,5; Matthew 23:37; Luke 19:42.” I reply, it will be allowed that God sometimes wishes that to be done by others which he himself does not think fit to execute; but then wishing is to be ascribed to him only in a figurative and improper sense, and is only expressive of what, if done, would be grateful and well pleasing to him, but not of what is his proper will and determination should be done, in which sense the passages referred to are to be understood: and besides, they regard not the spiritual and eternal salvation of all mankind, only the civil and temporal welfare of the Jewish nation, as has been shown in the first Part of this performance, and so are not apposite and pertinent to the case before us. It should be proved that there is in God a general will that all men should be saved, or that he anywhere wishes for and desires the salvation of all the individuals of mankind. For God to will or wish the salvation of all men, and intend the death of Christ for that purpose, and yet not save all men, is inconsistent with the perfection of his nature and the immutability of his counsel. Nor is this argument, that God wills not what he sees not fit to execute, attended with those dreadful consequences as are suggested; as “that God is not willing any should obey his will who doth not obey it; and that he is not unwilling any one should sin whom he restrains not from it; and that he is not willing any one should repent who doth not repent.” Since God commanding and approving will is one thing, and his determining will another, in the former sense God wills what he does not see fit to execute; it is what he commands and approves of, that men should obey his will, abstain from sin, and repent of it, when he does not see fit to give them grace to enable them to do these things; but God never wills, that is determines, any thing but he sees fit to execute, and does execute, it.
Besides, it is one thing for God to will and wish, that is, command and approve, what is entirely man’s duty to do, though he does not see fit to give him grace to execute it, which he is not obliged to do; and another thing to will and wish the salvation of all men, which entirely depends upon himself, and which, if he did wish, he would surely see fit to execute.
III. Another argument taken notice of is, that “if Christ died for all men, and all are not saved, the wisdom of God must he defective and imperfect; for, to fall short of what a man intends, argues a deficiency in point of wisdom.” The meaning of which is, that if God intended the death of Christ for the salvation of all men, and all are not saved, his intentions being frustrated, there must be a deficiency of wisdom in the case, which is by no means to be ascribed to the all-wise: Being; it should therefore seem rather, that God never intended the death of Christ for the salvation of all men. To this it is answered, that, “if this be so, then every prince, parent, master, neighbor, or schoolmaster, who cannot make their subjects, children, servants, friends, or scholars, as good as they intended they should be, must deficient in wisdom.” To which may .be replied; that, “the instances are very impertinent, since it is not in the power of a prince, a parent, a master, a neighbor, schoolmaster, to make those with whom the, are concerned as good as they would have them to be; and so it is no impeachment of their wisdom, that their good intentions do not succeed, when they have taken wise and t proper methods, but their ill success must ‘ be ascribed to the evil dispositions of the persons related to them.
Whereas God is able to save as many as he pleases; salvation does not depend upon the dispositions and inclinations of men, but lies entirely in the breast, and depends upon the will and pleasure, of God.” Now, if God intended the death of Christ for the salvation of all men, and all men are not saved, either the means he has pitched upon are not sufficient to answer the end, or he has changed his mind and altered his intentions, either of which would imply deficiency of wisdom in him. Should it be said, that God intended the death of Christ for the salvation of all men, upon certain conditions to be performed by them, and that it is the nonperformance of these conditions which is the reason why some are not saved. Now, not to observe that this greatly reflects upon the death of Christ, as though it was insufficient and ineffectual to the salvation of men, without some performances of theirs, I argue thus; God foreknew either that these conditions would be performed, or that they would not be performed; if he foreknew they would be performed, and yet are not performed, he must be defective in his knowledge; if he foreknew they would not be performed, where is his wisdom, in appointing the death of. his Son, and intending that for the salvation of all men, when he knew that multitudes would not perform the conditions on which their salvation depended? Moreover, it is further observed, that “if a God, perfect in wisdom, can intend nothing but what he actually doth compass and perform, it plainly follows that he intended not, by his prohibition of sin, that any person should avoid or abstain from it, who doth not actually do so; or by his exhortations to repentance, holiness, obedience, that any person should repent, be holy, or obedient, who is not actually so.” I reply, that whatever God intends, resolves, and determines upon, he always actually compasses and performs; so when be intends, that is, resolves, that men shall avoid and abstain from sin, repent, be holy, and obedient, his intentions are never frustrated; men do actually avoid and abstain from sin, repent of it, become holy and obedient. But his bare prohibitions of sin, and exhortations to repentance, holiness, and obedience, are not expressive of his intentions, resolutions, and determinations, of what shall be avoided or done, but declare his will of command what should be avoided or done; and which, if avoided or done, would be agreeable and well-pleasing to him; and this, indeed, is not always, yea very rarely, accomplished; and therefore he may justly blame and punish for those things which are contrary to his revealed will though he, in his secret intentions and purposes, has determined not to give them that grace to enable them to avoid sin, repent of it, be holy and obedient, which he is no ways obliged to give.
IV. A fourth objection or argument against universal redemption is, “If Christ died for all men, and all men are not saved, then is not God omnipotent, since he could not apply to them that benefit which he was willing should be procured for them.” For that the benefit of redemption is not applied to some persons must arise either from want of power or from want of will in God; not from want of will, for it would be exceeding strange that he should be willing it should be procured for them, and not be willing it should be applied to them; and if from want of power, then he is not omnipotent. But it is suggested, that it is owing to “a want of will, and a perverseness or evil disposition in others obstructing his kind influences on, or intentions towards them, and that it cannot be applied because of their unbelief.” The consequence of which is, that he is not omnipotent; for can he be omnipotent whose influences can be obstructed by the perverseness of a creature’s will? Cannot an omnipotent Being remove that unbelief which stands in the way of the application of the benefit of Christ’s death? And if he can do it, and will not, it follows, that though it is his will the benefit of redemption should be procured for all men, yet it is not his will that it should be applied to them; and then where is the love and kindness of God so much boasted of in the universal scheme? That God wills, that is, commands and approves many things which he does not effect, is certain, and no way impeaches his omnipotence; wherefore the instances alleged in the second, answer to this argument being of this kind, are impertinent; but that he should intend to bestow any benefit or blessing upon any persons, and not bestow it upon them, or not make them partakers of it, must arise either from a change of mind, which is inconsistent with the perfection of his nature, or from want of power to give it, which is contrary to his omnipotence.
V. Another argument or objection, and which is said to be but the first, in other words, is, “That if Christ died for all men, and all men come not to be saved, then the great love of God in giving his Son to men, is useless and unprofitable; for to what purpose, or of what use is the love of God and the gift of his Son to men, if he doth not withal give them faith in his Son?”
And indeed, what kind of love can that be thought to be in God, which gives his Son to die for men, and by his death to procure redemption for them, but does not give his Spirit to apply, nor faith to receive this benefit, without which it must be useless, and of no service to them P It should seem rather, that if God has not spared his own Son, but has delivered him to death for all the individuals of human nature, that he should with him also freely give them. all things, his Spirit and faith, and every other grace, and at last glory; and if he does not, it will be more rational to conclude, that he has not delivered up his Son to death for all mankind. The answer to this is, “As if all God’s acts of grace and favor to men which are not effectual, through men’s perverseness of their wills, to obtain his gracious purposes, must be in vain and fruitless on his part, if he also giveth not the grace, which will make them effectual to his ends.” Why, really I think, that both the gracious purposes of God are made void, and his acts of grace and favor vain and fruitless, if they become ineffectual, through the perverseness and stubbornness of men’s wills, to those ends for which they were made; and particularly, that the act of God’s grace and favor, in giving his Son to die for the salvation of men, is vain and fruitless, if they are not saved by his death. The providential goodness of God, the external ministry of the word, God’s prohibitions of, and revelation of wrath from heaven against sin; his commands and gracious calls to the sons of men, instanced in, though they are oftentimes ineffectual with respect to man, yet always answer the ends God has designed by them; and besides, are not to be put upon a level with the gift of his Son. What though providential goodness, the external ministry of the word, etc., are fruitless and ineffectual; does it follow, that the death of Christ, which is of so much consequence and importance, and which depends not upon the will of men, but of God, should be so in any respect? And should it be so, it must be asked again, of what use is the love of God, in the gift and mission of his Son?
VI. The favorers of particular, and who oppose general redemption, are introduced arguing in this manner: “no m an wittingly pays a price of redemption for a captive, which he certainly knows this miserable man will never be the better for; Christ therefore paid no price of redemption for any man who will never be the better for it. And indeed no wise man would do so, and therefore it must be unreasonable to conclude, that the only wise God and our Savior should act in this manner.” To show the absurdity of this objection, the dispensations of God, from the beginning of the world, are taken notice of; as, the striving of the Spirit of God with the old world, and allowing them space to repent; the sending of the prophets with promises and threats to the Jewish nation, and the ministry of Christ and his ambassadors, when God knew that men would be never the better for either of them. I reply; that some, though not all, were the better for these dispensations of providence, and the rest left without excuse; and it is easy to observe the wisdom of God, his long-suffering and forbearance to them; whereas for Christ to pay a price for the redemption of men, and the justice of God to accept of that price, and yet men be never the better for it, one must be at an eternal loss to account for the divine wisdom in such a procedure. Besides, the offer of the things instanced in, according to this author, depended on the will of man; whereas the price of man’s redemption, the acceptance of it, and the consequences attending it, or the effects of it, wholly depend on the will of God, and the covenant transactions between the Father and the Son. To say, “this objection or argument is built upon a false supposition, namely, that Christ paid no such price for them that perish, as for them that will be saved;” is a mere petitio principii, a begging of the question; it is the very tiling in dispute. And though, under the old law, the same sacrifice was offered to make atonement for a single person, and for the whole nation of the Jews, it does not follow, that the sacrifice of Christ was offered to make atonement for the whole world; for though those sacrifices were typical of Christ’s sacrifice, yet the people for whom they were offered, were not typical of the whole world but only of God’s elect, the true and spiritual Israel.
Remission of sins is indeed received but not obtained by faith; not that, but the grace of God, gives an interest in Christ’s atonement. The reason why one man has the remission of sins, and faith to receive it, is, because the blood of Christ was shed to obtain it for him; and the reason why another man has not the remission of sins, nor faith given him to receive it, is, because the blood of Christ is not shed for him, nor any atonement made by that blood on his account. Thus having vindicated the arguments in favor of particular, and against general redemption, taken from rational accounts, from the exceptions of Dr. Whitby, I shall proceed to observe some others which he has omitted, and have been taken notice of by the famous Limborch; and are as follow.
VII. Another argument against general, and for particular redemption, is formed thus: “If grace and remission of sins is procured for all men by the death of Christ, it is necessary that the word of grace and redemption should be preached to all and each, at all and every time, that so by faith they may be made partakers of this reconciliation; or otherwise Christ died in vain for many, to whom this revelation never comes; which is very absurd. But the word of reconciliation is not preached to all and each, at all and every time; for before the coming of Christ, God excluded the Gentiles from the knowledge of his law, <19E719> Psalm 147:19,20, Acts 14:16. Nor did he suffer the apostles at a certain time to preach the gospel in Asia, Acts 16:6. And now the Indians and other nations are yet destitute of the knowledge of the gospel.” The more general answer to this is, “that when Christ is said to die for all men, so as that they may obtain salvation through the benefit of his death, respect is chiefly had to them to whom the gospel is preached; that, according to the intention and command of God, it ought to be preached to all men; that there has never been an age, from the fall of Adam to the present time, which has been entirely destitute of it; and that the reason why it is at any time removed from a people, is their own fault; they having either neglected or despised it, or held it in unrighteousness.” I reply; to say, that respect is chiefly had in this argument to those to whom the Gospel is preached, is not only to alter the state of the question, but, in a good measure, to give up the cause; for the question before us is, not whether Christ died for all to whom the Gospel is preached; but whether he died for all the individuals of mankind; and if he died only or chiefly for those to whom the Gospel is preached, then he died not for all mankind; since the Gospel is not, and never was preached to every man. It is indeed the will and command of God now, that it should be preached to every creature; but this was not always his will and pleasure: it is of a late date, and belongs only to the times of the Gospel. It is true, there never was an age entirely destitute of it; but then, the revelation was made to some particular persons, and those but few, or to a particular nation to the exclusion of others, excepting a few particular persons only among them. There never was an age since the creation of the world to the present time, in which the Gospel was preached to all nations, and to all the individuals of them, nor is it now; there are multitudes that know nothing at all of it. It has been indeed preached where it is not now, and its removal has been owing to men’s neglect, contempt, or abuse of it; but why should their posterity be deprived of it? Surely, if God had a people among them, and Christ had died for them, he would have sent his Gospel, age after age, to make known their Savior to them, and the benefits of his death, that they, through faith in him, might enjoy them. To this a more special answer is returned; “that the people who are now destitute of the knowledge of Christ, either have been before called to believe in him by the Gospel; but, through their own wickedness and infidelity, are deprived of it; or the Gospel was never sent to them: if the former, the answer is easy, that God once vouchsafed the favor to them, and willed that they should propagate it to posterity; but if negligent, the fault is not in God, who is to be considered as having called their posterity virtually by them; but in men’s neglecting their duty. As for those to whom the Gospel was never preached, as the Indians, it is certain, that God has now abolished all distinction among people, and wills that the Gospel should be preached to all nations, and to all and each man among all nations, without any difference, for their conversion; and that those who are converted might instruct others, which is all one as if he virtually called them. But if men are negligent, or the people to whom they come stubborn, and by force drive away the preachers, and reject the truth; the fault is not in God, but men. It is granted, that it may be that God may never expressly send ministers of the word to some men, and yet he never denies the communication of his grace, unless it be for men’s demerits.” To which may be replied; that some persons, to whom the gospel has been vouchsafed, have been deprived of it through their own wickedness and infidelity, will not be denied; but that the salvation of any for whom Christ died, should depend upon the will and conduct of other men, or that the means of the knowledge of Christ, of the benefits of his death, and salvation by him, should be withheld from such for whom Christ died, through the negligence, ingratitude, or unbelief of others, is neither consistent with the perfection’s nor providence of God.
Besides, if it was his will, where the gospel has been sent, that it should be propagated to posterity, this will of his is either an imperfect velleity, a faint wish, which is not to be as-scribed to God, or his proper will, and this would have been fulfilled; for who hath resisted his will? Nor can God be thought to have virtually called the posterity of those men to whom his gospel has been sent, who have neither received it themselves, nor is it transmitted to them. Can the present inhabitants of Ephesus, Smyrna, and other places in Asia, where the gospel was once preached, be said to be virtually called by God, by the means of their ancestors, who in process of time, either neglected or despised the gospel, or held it in unrighteousness?
As to what is said respecting the Indians, or such to whom the gospel was never sent, the former part of the reasoning upon it is very impertinent; seeing it supposes, not only that it is the will of God that the gospel should be preached to them; which, if it was, it doubt- less would be preached to them; but that it has been sent unto them, and rejected by them. It is owned that God may never send the ministers of his gospel to some men; but why does he not? Is it because they are more unworthy of it than those to whom they are sent? This is not said, what should be the reason of this inequality and difference, that God sends his gospel to some, and not others; gives his grace to the more unworthy? The learned writer, attended to, is obliged to own, that no reason can be assigned by us; that it depends on the mere will and pleasure of God, and is to be referred to the secret treasures of divine wisdom, unsearchable by us.
VIII. The next argument is, that “if Christ died for all men, it follows, that he died for Cain, the Sodomites, Pharaoh, Judas, etc., as well as for Abel, Lot, Abraham, David, Peter, etc., yea, for the impenitent, and even for those who were already dead in their impenitence, before he himself died.”
To that it is answered f582 , as before, that special regard is had to those who live after Christ died, and to whom the Gospel is preached, that though those who died in their impenitence before the death of Christ, could receive no benefit by it; yet Christ is truly said to die for them, since]had they seriously converted themselves to God, as they might by the grace of God, they would have found remission of sins in the blood of Christ hereafter to be shed; even as those did who repented and died in piety before the death of Christ. That the case of Judas is single, and is no exception to the universality of Christ’s death; though there is no need to except him, for Christ may be rightly said to die for him, and he might have been a partaker of the benefit of Christ’s death, and that on a twofold account. First, inasmuch as by grace communicated to him, because of the death of Christ, a little after to be endured, he might have abstained from the great sin of betraying him. And secondly, had he repented, he would have obtained pardon of God for it.” I reply, as before, that the controversy between us, is not whether Christ died for those who lived before or after his death, but whether he died for all the sons and daughters of Adam, whether they lived before or after his death? And if he died only or chiefly for those who lived after his death, and to whom the Gospel is preached, then not for all men; since the far greater part of mankind lived before his death, and to whom the Gospel was never preached. With what view, upon what consideration or account soever, could Christ be said to die for those that were already dead in their impenitence? Had he died for them, grace would have been communicated to them on the account of his death hereafter to have been endured, as the author says in the case of Judas; and so they would have repented and been converted, as well as have received remission of sins in his blood hereafter to be shed. But inasmuch as they neither had grace to repent, nor forgiveness of sins, by virtue of the future death of Christ, as others had, it is most reasonable to conclude, he never died for them; for to what purpose should he or could he die for them that were already damned? As to the case of Judas, though single, it must be an exception to Christ’s dying for every individual man; though I think the eases of Cain, the Sodomites, Pharaoh, such who have sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost, antichrist, the man of sin, etc., are much alike exceptions to it. What grace Judas had communicated to him on the account of Christ’s death, a little after to be endured, by which he might have abstained from the sin of betraying of him, I do not understand, when his betraying of him was to be the means of his death: and as for his repentance, this writer himself owns, that God justly deprived him of the power of repenting, and so the death of Christ was of no advantage to him.
IX. Another argument against universal redemption, stands thus: “If they can perish, and some of them do perish, for whom Christ died, then their sins are twice punished: once in Christ, who died for them, and again in themselves undergoing the punishment of everlasting fire:” which is contrary to the justice of God, which will never inflict punishment and require satisfaction twice for the same offense, and must greatly reflect upon the satisfaction and atonement of Christ as insufficient. The answer to this is, “that Christ was not properly punished for men, nor did he properly translate the punishment of sin from sinners, to himself, that their sins might be punished in him. But surely, if Christ did not translate to himself and bear the punishment of our sins, how could he be said to be made sin and a curse for us, to have the chastisement of our peace upon him, to be wounded, bruised, and die for our sins, to be stricken and cut off in a judicial way for the transgressions of his people? ( 1 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Isaiah 52:5,6; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Isaiah 53:8.)
And if he was, and underwent all this for all mankind, their sins must have been punished in him; and therefore it would not be consistent with the justice of God to send any of them into everlasting fire, when Christ bore what was equivalent to it in their room and stead.
X. “If Christ died for all men, then also for infants dying in their infancy; but this the Remonstrants do not believe; since they affirm, that infants are born without original sin, and are not guilty of eternal condemnation; and therefore, according to them, need no Redeemer:” and, indeed if they have neither original nor actual sin, and so not liable to condemnation and death, what should they be redeemed from? The answer is “Not from sin, but from an hereditary death they derived from Adam.” But how comes death to be hereditary to them, or how come they to derive it from Adam, if they are not involved in his sin and guilt? Besides, they are not redeemed by Christ from this hereditary corporeal death: Death reigned from Adam go Moses, and so it has ever since, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression. ( Romans 5:14.)
Should it be said, they will be redeemed from it in the resurrection; so will all the wicked, who will have no share in eternal life, and so no proof of their redemption by Christ; should it be urged, that they will not only be redeemed from this death, but also translated into the possession of eternal life, through the death of Christ; this must be in consequence of their redemption from sin, the cause of this death, by virtue of Christ’s righteousness wrought out for them, which justifies from sin, and gives a title to eternal life. The case is this, either infants dying in infancy are sinners, or they are not; if they are, they must be so by virtue, and in consequence of original sin, which the Arminians deny; if they are not sinners, they stand in no need of a Savior, they are not the objects of redemption, Christ died not for them; and if not for them, then not for all mankind.
XI. The last argument is, “If Christ died for all men, even for them that can and do perish, then do consolation nor certainty of salvation can be had from the death of Christ, even by those that believe he died for them, seeing, notwithstanding he has died for them, they may perish: but this is absurd, and contrary to Romans 8:34, where believers conclude, from the death of Christ, where believer’s conclude that they cannot come into condemnation.” The consequence of this argument is denied. But how is it possible, that there should be any solid comfort or real certainty of salvation from the death of Christ, when notwithstanding complete redemption is obtained by it, the benefit of it enjoyed, sin really forgiven in Christ, and the remission of it truly applied, yet persons may fall from the enjoyment of those benefits through sin and unbelief, and eternally perish?
So that the benefit of Christ death, and continuance in the enjoyment of it, depend on the will of man, and certain conditions to be performed by him; whence if any comfort or assurance of salvation arise, which must be very low and precarious, they must arise, not from the death of Christ, but from the performances of men: whereas, on the other hand, the doctrine of particular redemption secures grace here, and glory hereafter, to all the subjects of it; so that those who believe in Christ, may take solid comfort from his death, that they shall never enter into condemnation, but shall be for ever with him; and may be strongly assured of this, that maugre all the opposition of sin, Satan, and the world, they shall be saved with an everlasting salvation by him.