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More particularly of the immediate end of the death of Christ, with the several ways whereby it is designed.
What the Scripture affirms in this particular we laid down in the entrance of the whole discourse; which now, having enlarged in explication of our sense and meaning therein, must be more particularly asserted, by an application of the particular places (which are very many) to our thesis as before declared, whereof this is the sum:— “Jesus Christ, according to the counsel and will of his Father, did offer himself upon the cross, to the procurement of those things before recounted; and maketh continual intercession with this intent and purpose, that all the good things so procured by his death might be actually and infallibly bestowed on and applied to all and every one for whom he died, according to the will and counsel of God.” Let us now see what the Scripture saith hereunto, the sundry places whereof we shall range under these heads:— First, Those that hold out the intention and counsel of God, with our Saviour’s own mind; whose will was one with his Father’s in this business. Secondly, Those that lay down the actual accomplishment or effect of his oblation, what it did really procure, effect, and produce. Thirdly, Those that point out the persons for whom Christ died, as designed peculiarly to be the object of this work of redemption in the end and purpose of God.
I. For the first, or those which hold out the counsel, purpose, mind, intention, and will of God and our Saviour in this work: Matt. xviii. 11, 209“The Son of man is come to save that which was lost;” which words he repeateth again upon another occasion, Luke xix. 10. In the first place, they are in the front of the parable of seeking the lost sheep; in the other, they are in the close of the recovery of lost Zaccheus; and in both places set forth the end of Christ’s coming, which was to do the will of his Father by the recovery of lost sinners: and that as Zaccheus was recovered by conversion, by bringing into the free covenant, making him a son of Abraham, or as the lost sheep which he lays upon his shoulder and bringeth home; so unless he findeth that which he seeketh for, unless he recover that which he cometh to save, he faileth of his purpose.
Secondly, Matt. i. 21, where the angel declareth the end of Christ’s coming in the flesh, and consequently of all his sufferings therein, is to the same purpose. He was to “save his people from their sins.” Whatsoever is required for a complete and perfect saving of his peculiar people from their sins was intended by his coming. To say that he did but in part or in some regard effect the work of salvation, is of ill report to Christian ears.
Thirdly, The like expression is that also of Paul, 1 Tim. i. 15, evidently declaring the end of our Saviour’s coming, according to the will and counsel of his Father, namely, to “save sinners;” — not to open a door for them to come in if they will or can; not to make a way passable, that they may be saved; not to purchase reconciliation and pardon of his Father, which perhaps they shall never enjoy; but actually to save them from all the guilt and power of sin, and from the wrath of God for sin: which, if he doth not accomplish, he fails of the end of his coming; and if that ought not to be affirmed, surely he came for no more than towards whom that effect is procured. The compact of his Father with him, and his promise made unto him, of “seeing his seed, and carrying along the pleasure of the Lord prosperously,” Isa. liii. 10–12, I before declared; from which it is apparent that the decree and purpose of giving actually unto Christ a believing generation, whom he calleth “The children that God gave him,” Heb. ii. 13, is inseparably annexed to the decree of Christ’s “making his soul an offering for sin,” and is the end and aim thereof.
Fourthly, As the apostle farther declareth, Heb. ii. 14, 15, “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death,” etc. Than which words nothing can more clearly set forth the entire end of that whole dispensation of the incarnation and offering of Jesus Christ, — even a deliverance of the children whom God gave him from the power of death, hell, and the devil, so bringing them nigh unto God. Nothing at all of 210the purchasing of a possible deliverance for all and every one; nay, all are not those children which God gave him, all are not delivered from death and him that had the power of it: and therefore it was not all for whom he then took flesh and blood.
Fifthly, The same purpose and intention we have, Eph. v. 25–27, “Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish:” as also, Tit. ii. 14, “He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” I think nothing can be clearer than these two places; nor is it possible for the wit of man to invent expressions so fully and livelily to set out the thing we intend, as it is in both these places by the Holy Ghost. What did Christ do? “He gave himself,” say both these places alike: “For his church,” saith one; “For us,” saith the other; both words of equal extent and force, as all men know. To what end did he this? “To sanctify and cleanse it, to present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle,” saith he to the Ephesians; “To redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” saith he to Titus. I ask now, Are all men of this church? Are all in that rank of men among whom Paul placeth himself and Titus? Are all purged, purified, sanctified, made glorious, brought nigh unto Christ? or doth Christ fail in his aim towards the greatest part of men? I dare not close with any of these.
Sixthly, Will you hear our Saviour Christ himself expressing this more evidently, restraining the object, declaring his whole design and purpose, and affirming the end of his death? John xvii. 19, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” “For their sakes.” Whose, I pray? “The men whom thou hast given me out of the world,” verse 6. Not the whole world, whom he prayed not for, verse 9. “I sanctify myself.” Whereunto? “To the work I am now going about, even to be an oblation.” And to what end? Ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ὦσιν ἡγιασμένοι ἐν ἀληθείᾳ· — “That they also may be truly sanctified.” That ἵνα there, “that they,” signifies the intent and purpose of Christ, — it designs out the end he aimed at, — which our hope is (and that is the hope of the gospel), that he hath accomplished (“for the Deliverer that cometh out of Sion turneth away ungodliness from Jacob,” Rom. xi. 26); — and that herein there was a concurrence of the will of his Father, yea, that this his purpose was to fulfil the will of his Father, which he came to do.
Seventhly, And that this also was his counsel is apparent, Gal. i. 4; for our Lord Jesus “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our 211Father;” which will and purpose of his the apostle farther declares, chap. iv. 4–6, “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons;” and, because sons, our deliverance from the law, and thereby our freedom from the guilt of sin. Our adoption to sons, receiving the Spirit, and drawing nigh unto God, are all of them in the purpose of the Father giving his only Son for us.
Eighthly, I shall add but one place more, of the very many more that might be cited to this purpose, and that is 2 Cor. v. 21, “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The purpose of God in making his Son to be sin is, that those for whom he was made sin might become righteousness; that was the end of God’s sending Christ to be so, and Christ’s willingness to become so. Now, if the Lord did not purpose what is not fulfilled, yea, what he knew should never be fulfilled, and what he would not work at all that it might be fulfilled (either of which are most atheistical expressions), then he made Christ sin for no more than do in the effect become actually righteousness in him: so that the counsel and will of God, with the purpose and intention of Christ, by his oblation and blood-shedding, was to fulfil that will and counsel, is from these places made apparent.
From all which we draw this argument:— That which the Father and the Son intended to accomplish in and towards all those for whom Christ died, by his death that is most certainly effected (if any shall deny this proposition, I will at any time, by the Lord’s assistance, take up the assertion of it;) but the Father and his Son intended by the death of Christ to redeem, purge, sanctify, purify, deliver from death, Satan, the curse of the law, to quit of all sin, to make righteousness in Christ, to bring nigh unto God, all those for whom he died, as was above proved: therefore, Christ died for all and only those in and towards whom all these things recounted are effected; — which, whether they are all and every one, I leave to all and every one to judge that hath any knowledge in these things.
II. The second rank contains those places which lay down the actual accomplishment and effect of this oblation, or what it doth really produce and effect in and towards them for whom it is an oblation. Such are Heb. ix. 12, 14, “By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. … The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your consciences from dead works to serve the living God.” Two things are here ascribed to the blood of Christ; — one referring to God, “It obtains eternal redemption;” the other respecting us, “It purgeth our consciences from dead works:” so that justification with God, by procuring for us an eternal redemption 212from the guilt of our sins and his wrath due unto them, with sanctification in ourselves (or, as it is called, Heb. i. 3, a “purging our sins”), is the immediate product of that blood by which he entered into the holy place, of that oblation which, through the eternal Spirit, he presented unto God. Yea, this meritorious purging of our sins is peculiarly ascribed to his offering, as performed before his ascension: Heb. i. 3, “When he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” and again, most expressly, chap. ix. 26, “He hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself:” which expiation, or putting away of sin by the way of sacrifice, must needs be the actual sanctification of them for whom he was a sacrifice, even as “the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh,” verse 13. Certain it is, that whosoever was either polluted or guilty, for whom there was an expiation and sacrifice allowed in those carnal ordinances, “which had a shadow of good things to come,” had truly; — first, A legal cleansing and sanctifying, to the purifying of the flesh; and, secondly, Freedom from the punishment which was due to the breach of the law, as it was the rule of conversation to God’s people: so much his sacrifice carnally accomplished for him that was admitted thereunto. Now, these things being but “shadows of good things to come,” certainly the sacrifice of Christ did effect spiritually, for all them for whom it was a sacrifice, whatever the other could typify out; that is, spiritual cleansing by sanctification, and freedom from the guilt of sin: which the places produced do evidently prove. Now, whether this be accomplished in all and for them all, let all that are able judge.
Again; Christ, by his death, and in it, is said to “bear our sins:” so 1 Pet. ii. 24, “His own self bare our sins;” — where you have both what he did, “Bare our sins” (ἀνήνεγκε, he carried them up with him upon the cross); and what he intended, “That we being dead unto sins, should live unto righteousness.” And what was the effect? “By his stripes we are healed:” which latter, as it is taken from the same place of the prophet where our Saviour is affirmed to “bear our iniquities, and to have them laid upon him” (Isa. liii. 5, 6, 10–12), so it is expository of the former, and will tell us what Christ did by “bearing our sins;” which phrase is more than once used in the Scripture to this purpose. 1. Christ, then, so bare our iniquities by his death, that, by virtue of the stripes and afflictions which he underwent in his offering himself for us, this is certainly procured and effected, that we should go free, and not suffer any of those things which he underwent for us. To which, also, you may refer all those places which evidently hold out a commutation in this point of suffering between Christ and us: Gal. iii. 13, “He delivered us from the 213curse of the law, being made a curse for us;” with divers others which we shall have occasion afterward to mention.
Peace, also, and reconciliation with God, — that is, actual peace by the removal of all enmity on both sides, with all the causes of it, — is fully ascribed to this oblation: Col. i. 21, 22, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight;” as also Eph. ii. 13–16, “Ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ: for he is our peace; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments, that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” To which add all those places wherein plenary deliverances from anger, wrath, death, and him that had the power of it, is likewise asserted as the fruit thereof, as Rom. v. 8–10, and ye have a farther discovery made of the immediate effect of the death of Christ. Peace and reconciliation, deliverance from wrath, enmity, and whatever lay against us to keep us from enjoying the love and favour of God, — a redemption from all these he effected for his church “with his own blood,” Acts xx. 28. Whence all and every one for whom he died may truly say, “Who shall lay any thing to our charge? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us,” Rom. viii. 33, 34. Which that they are procured for all and every one of the sons of Adam, that they all may use that rejoicing in full assurance, cannot be made appear. And yet evident it is that so it is with all for whom he died, — that these are the effects of his death in and towards them for whom he underwent it: for by his being slain “he redeemed them to God by his blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and made them unto our God kings and priests,” Rev. v. 9, 10; for “he made an end of their sins, he made reconciliation for their iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness,” Dan. ix. 24.
Add also those other places where our life is ascribed to the death of Christ, and then this enumeration will be perfect: John vi. 33, He “came down from heaven to give life to the world.” Sure enough he giveth life to that world for which he gave his life. It is the world of “his sheep, for which he layeth down his life,” chap. x. 15, even that he might “give unto them eternal life, that they might never perish,” verse 28. So he appeared “to abolish death, and to bring life and immortality to light,” 2 Tim. i. 10; as also Rom. v. 6–10.
Now, there is none of all these places but will afford a sufficient strength against the general ransom, or the universality of the merit of Christ. My leisure will not serve for so large a prosecution of the 214subject as that would require, and, therefore, I shall take from the whole this general argument:— If the death and oblation of Jesus Christ (as a sacrifice to his Father) doth sanctify all them for whom it was a sacrifice; doth purge away their sin; redeem them from wrath, curse, and guilt; work for them peace and reconciliation with God; procure for them life and immortality; bearing their iniquities and healing all their diseases; — then died he only for those that are in the event sanctified, purged, redeemed, justified, freed from wrath and death, quickened, saved, etc.; but that all are not thus sanctified, freed, etc., is most apparent: and, therefore, they cannot be said to be the proper object of the death of Christ. The supposal was confirmed before; the inference is plain from Scripture and experience, and the whole argument (if I mistake not) solid.
III. Many places there are that point out the persons for whom Christ died, as designed peculiarly to be the object of this work of redemption, according to the aim and purpose of God; some of which we will briefly recount. In some places they are called many: Matt. xxvi. 28, “The blood of the new testament is shed for many, for the remission of sins.” “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities,” Isa. liii. 11. “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and give his life a ransom for many,” Mark x. 45; Matt. xx. 28. He was to “bring many sons unto glory;” and so was to be the “captain of their salvation, through sufferings,” Heb. ii. 10. And though perhaps the word many itself be not sufficient to restrain the object of Christ’s death unto some, in opposition to all, because many is sometimes placed absolutely for all, as Rom. v. 19, yet these many being described in other places to be such as it is most certain all are not, so it is a full and evident restriction of it: for these many are the “sheep” of Christ, John x. 15; the “children of God that were scattered abroad,” chap. xi. 52; those whom our Saviour calleth “brethren,” Heb. ii. 11; “the children that God gave him,” which were “partakers of flesh and blood,” verses 13, 14; and frequently, “those who were given unto him of his Father,” John xvii. 2, 6, 9, 11, who should certainly be preserved; the “sheep” whereof he was the “Shepherd, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,” Heb. xiii. 20; his “elect,” Rom. viii. 33; and his “people,” Matt. i. 21; farther explained to be his “visited and redeemed people,” Luke i. 68; even the people which he “foreknew,” Rom. xi. 2; even such a people as he is said to have had at Corinth before their conversion; his people by election, Acts xviii. 10; the people that he “suffered for without the gate, that he might sanctify them,” Heb. xiii. 12; his “church, which he redeemed by his own blood,” Acts xx. 28, which “he loved and gave himself for,” Eph. v. 25; the “many” whose sins he took away, Heb. ix. 28, with whom he made a covenant, Dan. ix. 27. Those many being thus described, and set forth 215with such qualifications as by no means are common to all, but proper only to the elect, do most evidently appear to be all and only those that are chosen of God to obtain eternal life through the offering and blood-shedding of Jesus Christ. Many things are here excepted with much confidence and clamour, that may easily be removed. And so you see the end of the death of Christ, as it is set out in the Scripture.
That we may have the clearer passage, we must remove the hindrances that are laid in the way by some pretended answers and evasions used to escape the force of the argument drawn from the Scripture, affirming Christ to have died for “many,” his “sheep,” his “elect,” and the like. Now, to this it is replied, that this “reason,” as it is called, is “weak and of no force, equivocal, subtile, fraudulent, false, ungodly, deceitful, and erroneous;” for all these several epithets are accumulated to adorn it withal, (“Universality of Free Grace,” page xvi.) Now, this variety of terms (as I conceive) serves only to declare with what copia verborum the unlearned eloquence of the author is woven withal; for such terrible names imposed on that which we know not well how to gainsay is a strong argument of a weak cause. When the Pharisees were not able to resist the spirit whereby our Saviour spake, they call him “devil and Samaritan.” Waters that make a noise are usually but shallow. It is a proverb among the Scythians, that the “dogs which bark most bite least.” But let us see “quid dignum tanto feret hic responsor hiatu,” and hear him speak in his own language. He says then, —
“First, This reason is weak and of no force: for the word many is oft so used, that it both signifies all and every man, and also amplifieth or setteth forth the greatness of that number; as in Dan. xii. 2, Rom. v. 19, and in other places, where many cannot, nor is by any Christian understood for less than all men.”
Rep. 1. That if the proof and argument were taken merely from the word many, and not from the annexed description of those many, with the presupposed distinction of all men into several sorts by the purpose of God, this exception would bear some colour; but for this see our arguments following. Only by the way observe, that he that shall divide the inhabitants of any place, as at London, into poor and rich, those that want and those that abound, afterward affirming that he will bestow his bounty on many at London, on the poor, on those that want, will easily be understood to give it unto and bestow it upon them only. 2. Neither of the places quoted proves directly that many must necessarily in them be taken for all. In Dan. xii. 2, a distribution of the word to the several parts of the affirmation must be allowed, and not an application of it to the whole, as such; and so the sense is, the dead shall arise, many to life, and many to shame, as in another language it would 216have been expressed. Neither are such Hebraisms unusual. Besides, perhaps, it is not improbable that many are said to rise to life, because, as the apostle, says, “All shall not die.” The like, also, may be said of Rom. v. 19. Though the many there seem to be all, yet certainly they are not called so with any intent to denote all, “with an amplification” (which that many should be to all is not likely): for there is no comparison there instituted at all between number and number, of those that died by Adam’s disobedience and those that were made alive by the righteousness of Christ, but only in the effects of the sin of Adam and the righteousness of Christ, together with the way and manner of communicating death and life from the one and the other; whereunto any consideration of the number of the participators of those effects is not inserted. 3. The other places whereby this should he confirmed, I am confident our author cannot produce, notwithstanding his free inclination of such a reserve, these being those which are in this case commonly urged by Arminians; but if he could, they would be no way material to infringe our argument, as appeareth by what was said before.
“Secondly, This reason,” he adds, “is equivocal, subtile, and fraudulent; seeing where all men and every man is affirmed of, the death of Christ, as the ransom and propitiation, and the fruits thereof, only is assumed for them; but where the word many is in any place used in this business, there are more ends of the death of Christ than this one affirmed of.”
Rep. 1. It is denied that the death of Christ, in any place of Scripture, is said to be for “all men” or for “every man;” which, with so much confidence, is supposed, and imposed on us as a thing acknowledged. 2. That there is any other end of the death of Christ, besides the fruit of his ransom and propitiation, directly intended, and not by accident attending it, is utterly false. Yea, what other end the ransom paid by Christ and the atonement made by him can have but the fruits of them, is not imaginable. The end of any work is the same with the fruit, effect, or product of it. So that this wild distinction of the ransom and propitiation of Christ, with the fruits of them, to be for all, and the other ends of his death to be only for many, is an assertion neither equivocal, subtile, nor fraudulent! But I speak to what I conceive the meaning of the place; for the words themselves bear no tolerable sense. 3. The observation, that where the word many is used many ends are designed, but where all are spoken of there only the ransom is intimated, is, — (1.) Disadvantageous to the author’s persuasion, yielding the whole argument in hand, by acknowledging that where many are mentioned, there all cannot be understood, because more ends of the death of Christ than do belong to all are mentioned; and so confessedly all the other answers to prove that by many, all are to be understood, are against 217the author’s own light. (2.) It is frivolous; for it cannot be proved that there are more ends of the death of Christ besides the fruit of his ransom. (3.) It is false; for where the death of Christ is spoken of as for many, he is said to “give his life a ransom” for them, Matt. xx. 28, which are the very words where he is said to die for all, 1 Tim. ii. 6. What difference is there in these? what ground for this observation? Even such as these are divers others of that author’s observations, as his whole tenth chapter is spent to prove that wherever there is mention of the redemption purchased by the oblation of Christ, there they for whom it is purchased are always spoken of in the third person, as by “all the world,” or the like; when yet, in chap. i. of his book, himself produceth many places to prove this general redemption where the persons for whom Christ is said to suffer are mentioned in the first or second person, 1 Pet. ii. 24, iii. 18; Isa. liii. 5, 6; 1 Cor. xv. 3; Gal. iii. 13, etc.
Thirdly, He proceeds, “This reason is false and ungodly; for it is nowhere in Scripture said that Christ died or gave himself a ransom but for many, or only for many, or only for his sheep; and it is ungodliness to add to or diminish from the word of God in Scripture.”
Rep. To pass by the loving terms of the author, and allowing a grain to make the sense current, I say, — First, That Christ affirming that he gave his life for “many,” for his “sheep,” being said to die for his “church,” and innumerable places of Scripture witnessing that all men are not of his sheep, of his church, we argue and conclude, by just and undeniable consequence, that he died not for those who are not so. If this be adding to the word of God (being only an exposition and unfolding of his mind therein), who ever spake from the word of God and was guiltless? Secondly, Let it be observed, that in the very place where our Saviour says that he “gave his life for his sheep,” he presently adds, that some are not of his sheep, John x. 26; which, if it be not equivalent to his sheep only, I know not what is. Thirdly, It were easy to recriminate; but, —
Fourthly, “But,” says he, “the reason is deceitful and erroneous, for the Scripture doth nowhere say, — 2. a 2525 These figures are designed by the author to connect each argument which he is refuting with the answer he supplies to it in the succeeding paragraphs. — Ed.Those many he died for are his sheep (much less his elect, as the reason intends it). As for the place, John x. 15, usually instanced to this end, it is therein much abused: for our Saviour, John x., did not set forth the difference between such as he died for and such as he died not for, bor such as he died for so and so, and not so and so; cbut the difference between those that believe on him and those who believe not on him, verses 4, 5, 14, 26, 27. One hear his voice and follow him, the other not. dNor did our Saviour here set forth the privileges of all he died for, or for whom he died so and so, but of those that believe on him 218through the ministration of the gospel, and so do know him, and approach to God, and enter the kingdom by him, verses 3, 4, 9, 27. eNor was our Saviour here setting forth the excellency of those for whom he died, or died for so only, wherein they are preferred before others; but the excellency of his own love, with the fruits thereof to those not only that he died for, but also that are brought in by his ministration to believe on him, verses 11, 27. fNor was our Saviour here treating so much of his ransom-giving and propitiation-making as of his ministration of the gospel, and so of his love and faithfulness therein; wherein he laid down his life for those ministered to, and therein gave us example, not to make propitiation for sin, but to testify love in suffering.”
Rep. I am persuaded that nothing but an acquaintedness with the condition of the times wherein we live can afford me sanctuary from the censure of the reader to be lavish of precious hours, in considering and transcribing such canting lines as these last repeated. But yet, seeing better cannot be afforded, we must be content to view such evasions as these, all whose strength is in incongruous expressions, in incoherent structure, cloudy, windy phrases, all tending to raise such a mighty fog as that the business in hand might not be perceived, being lost in this smoke and vapour, cast out to darken the eyes and amuse the senses of poor seduced souls. The argument undertaken to be answered being, that Christ is said to die for “many,” and those many are described and designed to be his “sheep,” as John x., what answer, I pray, or any thing like thereunto, is there to be picked out of this confused heap of words which we have recited? So that I might safely pass the whole evasion by without farther observation on it, but only to desire the reader to observe how much this one argument presseth, and what a nothing is that heap of confusion which is opposed to it! But yet, lest any thing should adhere, I will give a few annotations to the place, answering the marks wherewith we have noted it, leaving the full vindication of the place until I come to the pressing of our arguments.
I say then, First, aThat the many Christ died for were his sheep, was before declared. Neither is the place of John x. at all abused, our Saviour evidently setting forth a difference between them for whom he died and those for whom he would not die, calling the first his “sheep,” verse 15, — those to whom he would “give eternal life,” verse 28, — those “given him by his Father,” chap. xvii. 9; evidently distinguishing them from others who were not so. Neither is it material what was the primary intention of our Saviour in this place, from which we do not argue, but from the intention and aim of the words he uses, and the truth he reveals for the end aimed at; which was the consolation of believers.
Secondly, bFor the difference between them he “died for so and so,” 219and those he “died for so and so,” we confess he puts none; for we suppose that this “so and so” doth neither express nor intimate any thing that may be suitable to any purpose of God, or intent of our Saviour in this business. To us for whom he died, he died in the same manner, and for the same end.
Thirdly, cWe deny that the primary difference that here is made by our Saviour is between believers and not believers, but between elect and not elect, sheep and not sheep; the thing wherein they are thus differenced being the believing of the one, called “hearing of his voice and knowing him,” and the not believing of the other; the foundation of these acts being their different conditions in respect of God’s purpose and Christ’s love, as is apparent from the antithesis and opposition which we have in verses 26 and 27, “Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep,” and, “My sheep hear my voice.” First, there is a distinction put, — in the act of believing and hearing (that is, therewithal to obey); and then is the foundation of this distinction asserted, from their distinguished state and condition, — the one being not his sheep, the other being so, even them whom he loved and gave his life for.
Fourthly, dFirst, It is nothing to the business before us what privileges our Saviour here expresseth; our question is, for whom he says he would give his life? and that only. Secondly, This frequent repetition of that useless so and so serves for nothing but to puzzle the poor ignorant reader. Thirdly, We deny that Christ died for any but those who shall certainly be brought unto him by the ministration of the gospel. So that there is not a “Not only those whom he died for, but also those that are brought in unto him;” for he died for his sheep, and his sheep hear his voice. They for whom he died, and those that come in to him, may receive different qualifications, but they are not several persons.
Fifthly, eFirst, The question is not at all, to what end our Saviour here makes mention of his death? but for whom he died? who are expressly said to be his “sheep;” which all are not. Secondly, His intention is, to declare the giving of his life for a ransom, and that according to the “commandment received of his Father,” verse 18.
Sixthly, fFirst, “The love and faithfulness of Jesus Christ in the ministration of the gospel,” — that is, his performing the office of the mediator of the new covenant, — are seen in nothing more than in giving his life for a ransom, John xv. 13. Secondly, Here is not one word of giving us an “example;” though in laying down his life he did that also, yet here it is not improved to that purpose. From these brief annotations, I doubt not but that it is apparent that that long discourse before recited is nothing but a miserable mistaking of the text and question; which the author perhaps perceiving, he adds divers other evasions, which follow.
220“Besides,” saith he, “the opposition appears here to be not so much between elect and not elect, as between Jews called and Gentiles uncalled.”
Rep. The opposition is between sheep and not sheep, and that with reference to their election, and not to their vocation. Now, whom would he have signified by the “not sheep”? those that were not called, — the Gentiles? That is against the text terming them sheep, that is in designation, though not as yet called, verse 16. And who are the called? the Jews? True, they were then outwardly called; yet many of them were not sheep, verse 26. Now, truly, such evasions from the force of truth as this, by so foul corrupting of the word of God, is no small provocation of the eye of his glory. But he adds, —
“Besides, there is in Scripture great difference between sheep, and sheep of his flock and pasture, of which he here speaketh, verses 4, 5, 11, 15, 16.”
Rep. 1. This unrighteous distinction well explained must needs, no doubt (if any know how), give a great deal of light to the business in hand. 2. If there be a distinction to be allowed, it can be nothing but this, that the “sheep” who are simply so called are those who are only so to Christ from the donation of his Father; and the “sheep of his pasture,” those who, by the effectual working of the Spirit, are actually brought home to Christ. And then of both sorts we have mention in this chapter, verses 16, 27, both making up the number of those sheep for whom he gave his life, and to whom he giveth life. But he proceeds:—
“Besides, sheep, verses 4, 5, 11, 15, are not mentioned as all those for whom he died, but as those who by his ministration are brought in to believe and enjoy the benefit of his death, and to whom he ministereth and communicateth spirit.”
Rep. 1. The substance of this and other exceptions is, that by sheep is meant believers; which is contrary to verse 16, calling them sheep who are not as yet gathered into his fold. 2. That his sheep are not mentioned as those for whom he died is in terms contradictory to verse 15, “I lay down my life for my sheep.” 3. Between those for whom he died and those whom he brings in by the ministration of his Spirit, there is no more difference than is between Peter, James, and John, and the three apostles that were in the mount with our Saviour at his transfiguration. This is childish sophistry, to beg the thing in question, and thrust in the opinion controverted into the room of an answer. 4. That bringing in which is here mentioned, to believe and enjoy the benefit of the death of Christ, is a most special fruit and benefit of that death, certainly to be conferred on all them for whom he died, or else most certainly his death will do them no good at all. Once more, and we have done:—
221“Besides, here are more ends of his death mentioned than ransom or propitiation only, and yet it is not said, ‘Only for his sheep;’ and when the ransom or propitiation only is mentioned, it is said, ‘For all men.’ So that this reason appears weak, fraudulent, ungodly, and erroneous.”
Rep. 1. Here is no word mentioned nor intimated of the death of Christ, but only that which was accomplished by his being a propitiation, and making his death a ransom for us, with the fruits which certainly and infallibly spring there from. 2. If more ends than one of the death of Christ are here mentioned, and such as belong not unto all, why do you deny that he speaks here of his sheep only? Take heed, or you will see the truth. 3. Where it is said, “Of all men,” I know not; but this I am sure, that Christ is said to “give his life a ransom,” and that is only mentioned where it is not said for all; as Matt. xx. 28, Mark x. 45.
And so, from these brief annotations, I hope any indifferent reader will be able to judge whether the reason opposed, or the exceptions against it devised, be to be accounted “weak, fraudulent, ungodly, and erroneous.”
Although I fear that in this particular I have already intrenched upon the reader’s patience, yet I cannot let pass the discourse immediately following in the same author to those exceptions which we last removed, laid by him against the arguments we had in hand, without an obelisk; as also an observation of his great abilities to cast down a man of clouds, which himself had set up to manifest his skill in its direction. To the preceding discourse he adds another exception, which he imposeth on those that oppose universal redemption, as though it were laid by them against the understanding of the general expressions in the Scripture, in that way and sense wherein he conceives them; and it is, “That those words were fitted for the time of Christ and his apostles, having another meaning in them than they seem to import.” Now, having thus gaily trimmed and set up this man of straw, — to whose framing I dare boldly say not one of his adversaries did ever contribute a penful of ink, — to show his rare skill, he chargeth it with I know not how many errors, blasphemies, lies, set on with exclamations and vehement outcries, until it tumble to the ground. Had he not sometimes answered an argument, he would have been thought a most unhappy disputant. Now, to make sure that for once he would do it, I believe he was very careful that the objection of his own framing should not be too strong for his own defacing. In the meantime, how blind are they who admire him for a combatant who is skilful only at fencing with his own shadow! and yet with such empty janglings as these, proving what none denies, answering what none objects, is the greatest part of Mr More’s book stuffed.
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