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Answer to the second general argument for the universality of redemption.
II. The second argument, wherewith our adversaries make no less flourish than with the former, is raised from those places of Scripture where there is mention made of all men and every man, in the business of redemption. With these bare and naked words, attended with swelling, vain expressions of their own, they commonly rather proclaim a victory than study how to prevail. Their argument needs not to be drawn to any head or form, seeing they pretend to plead from express words of Scripture. Wherefore we shall only consider the several places by them in this kind usually produced, with such enforcements of their sense from them as by the ablest of that persuasion have been used. The chief places insisted on are, 1 Tim. ii. 4, 6; 2 Pet. iii. 9; Heb. ii. 9; 2 Cor. v. 14, 15; 1 Cor. xv. 22; Rom. v. 18.
For the use and signification of the word all in Scripture, so much hath been said already by many that it were needless for me to insist upon it. Something also to this purpose hath been spoken before, and that abundantly sufficient to manifest that no strength of argument can be taken from the word itself; wherefore I shall apply myself only to the examination of the particular places urged, and the objections from them raised:—
1. The first and chief place is, 1 Tim. ii. 4, 6, “God will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth … Christ gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Hence they draw this argument, Rem. Act. Synod:— “If God will have all men to be saved, then Christ died for all; but God will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth: therefore, Christ died for all men.”
344Ans. The whole strength of this argument lies in the ambiguity of the word all, which being of various significations, and to be interpreted suitably to the matter in hand and the things and persons whereof it is spoken, the whole may be granted, or several propositions denied, according as the acceptation of the word is enforced on us. That all or all men do not always comprehend all and every man that were, are, or shall be, may be made apparent by near five hundred instances from the Scripture. Taking, then, all and all men distributively, for some of all sorts, we grant the whole; taking them collectively, for all of all sorts, we deny the minor, — namely, that God will have them all to be saved. To make our denial of this appear to be an evident truth, and agreeable to the mind of the Holy Ghost in this place, two things must be considered:— 1. What is that will of God here mentioned, whereby he willeth all to be saved. 2. Who are the all of whom the apostle is in this place treating.
1. The will of God is usually distinguished into his will intending and his will commanding; or rather, that word is used in reference unto God in this twofold notion, — (1.) For his purpose, what he will do; (2.) For his approbation of what we do, with his command thereof. Let now our opposers take their option in whether signification the will of God shall be here understood, or how he willeth the salvation of all.
First, If they say he doth it “voluntate signi,” with his will commanding, requiring, approving, then the sense of the words is this:— “God commandeth all men to use the means whereby they may obtain the end, or salvation, the performance whereof is acceptable to God in any or all;” and so it is the same with that of the apostle in another place, “God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” Now, if this be the way whereby God willeth the salvation of all here mentioned, then certainly those all can possibly be no more than to whom he granteth and revealeth the means of grace; which are indeed a great many, but yet not the one hundredth part of the posterity of Adam. Besides, taking God’s willing the salvation of men in this sense, we deny the sequel of the first proposition, — namely, that Christ died for as many as God thus willeth should be saved. The foundation of God’s command unto men to use the means granted them is not Christ’s dying for them in particular, but the connection which himself, by his decree, hath fixed between these two things, faith and salvation; the death of Christ being abundantly sufficient for the holding out of that connection unto all, there being enough in it to save all believers.
Secondly, If the will of God be taken for his efficacious will, the will of his purpose and good pleasure (as truly to me it seems exceedingly evident that that is here intended, because the will of 345God is made the ground and bottom of our supplications; as if in these our prayers we should say only, “Thy will be done,” — which is to have them all to be saved: now, we have a promise to receive of God “whatsoever we ask according to his will,” 1 John iii. 22, v. 14; and therefore this will of God, which is here proposed as the ground of our prayers, must needs be his effectual or rather efficacious will, which is always accomplished); — if it be, I say, thus taken, then certainly it must be fulfilled, and all those saved whom he would have saved; for whatsoever God can do and will do, that shall certainly come to pass and be effected. That God can save all (not considering his decree) none doubts; and that he will save all it is here affirmed: therefore, if these all here be all and every one, all and every one shall certainly be saved. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die.” “Who hath resisted God’s will?” Rom. ix. 19. “He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased,” Ps. cxv. 3. “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth,” Dan. iv. 35. If all, then, here be to be understood of all men universally, one of these two things must of necessity follow:— either that God faileth of his purpose and intention, or else that all men universally shall be saved; which puts us upon the second thing considerable in the words, namely, who are meant by all men in this place.
2. By all men the apostle here intendeth all sorts of men indefinitely living under the gospel, or in these latter times, under the enlarged dispensation of the means of grace. That men of these times only are intended is the acknowledgment of Arminius himself, treating with Perkins about this place. The scope of the apostle, treating of the amplitude, enlargement, and extent of grace, in the outward administration thereof, under the gospel, will not suffer it to be denied. This he lays down as a foundation of our praying for all, — because the means of grace and the habitation of the church is now no longer confined to the narrow bounds of one nation, but promiscuously and indefinitely extended unto all people, tongues, and languages; and to all sorts of men amongst them, high and low, rich and poor, one with another. We say, then, that by the words all men are here intended only of all sorts of men, suitable to the purpose of the apostle, which was to show that all external difference between the sons of men is now taken away; which ex abundanti we farther confirm by these following reasons:—
First, The word all being in the Scripture most commonly used in this sense (that is, for many of all sorts), and there being nothing in the subject-matter of which it is here affirmed that should in the least measure impel to another acceptation of the word, especially for a universal collection of every individual, we hold it safe to cleave to the most usual sense and meaning of it. Thus, our Saviour 346is said to cure all diseases, and the Pharisees to tithe πᾶν λάχανον, Luke xi. 42.
Secondly, Paul himself plainly leadeth us to this interpretation of it; for after he hath enjoined us to pray for all, because the Lord will have all to be saved, he expressly intimates that by all men he understandeth men of all sorts, ranks, conditions, and orders, by distributing those all into several kinds, expressly mentioning some of them, as “kings and all in authority.” Not unlike that expression we have, Jer. xxix. 1, 2, “Nebuchadnezzar carried away all the people captive to Babylon, Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the carpenters, and the smiths;” where all the people is interpreted to be some of all sorts, by a distribution of them into the several orders, classes, and conditions whereof they were. No otherwise doth the apostle interpret the all men by him mentioned, in giving us the names of some of those orders and conditions whom he intendeth. “Pray for all men,” saith he; that is, all sorts of men, as magistrates, all that are in authority, the time being now come wherein, without such distinctions as formerly have been observed, the Lord will save some of all sorts and nations.
Thirdly, We are bound to pray for all whom God would have to be saved. Now, we ought not to pray for all and every one, as knowing that some are reprobates and sin unto death; concerning whom we have an express caution not to pray for them.
Fourthly, All shall be saved whom God will have to be saved; this we dare not deny, for “who hath resisted his will?” Seeing, then, it is most certain that all shall not be saved (for some shall stand on the left hand), it cannot be that the universality of men should be intended in this place.
Fifthly, God would have no more to be “saved” than he would have “come to the knowledge of the truth.” These two things are of equal latitude, and conjoined in the text. But it is not the will of the Lord that all and every one, in all ages, should come to the knowledge of the truth. Of old, “he showed his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them,” Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20. If he would have had them all come to the knowledge of the truth, why did he show his word to some and not to others, without which they could not attain thereunto? “He suffered all nations” in former ages “to walk in their own ways,” Acts xiv. 16, and “winked at the time of this ignorance,” Acts xvii. 30, hiding the mystery of salvation from those former ages, Col. i. 26, continuing the same dispensation even until this day in respect of some; and that because “so it seemeth good in his sight,” Matt. xi. 25, 26. It is, then, evident that God doth not will that all and every one in the 347world, of all ages and times, should come to the knowledge of the truth, but only all sorts of men without difference; and, therefore, they only are here intended.
These, and the like reasons, which compel us to understand by all men, verse 4, whom God would have to be saved, men of all sorts, do also prevail for the same acceptation of the word all, verse 6, where Christ is said to give himself “a ransom for all;” whereunto you may also add all those whereby we before declared that it was of absolute necessity and just equity that all they for whom a ransom was paid should have a part and portion in that ransom, and, if that be accepted as sufficient, be set at liberty. Paying and accepting of a ransom intimate a commutation and setting free of all them for whom the ransom is paid and accepted. By all, then, can none be understood but the redeemed, ransomed ones of Jesus Christ, — such as, for him and by virtue of the price of his blood, are vindicated into the glorious liberty of the children of God; which, as some of all sorts are expressly said to be, Rev. v. 9 (which place is interpretative of this), so that all in the world universally are so is confessedly false.
Having thus made evident the meaning of the words, our answer to the objection (whose strength is a mere fallacy, from the ambiguous sense of the word all) is easy and facile. For if by all men, you mean the all in the text, that is, all sorts of men, we grant the whole, — namely, that Christ died for all; but if by all men, you mean all universally, we absolutely deny the minor, or assumption, having sufficiently proved that there is no such all in the text.
The enforcing of an objection from this place, Thomas More, in his “Universality of Free Grace,” makes the subject of one whole chapter. It is also one of the two places which he lays for the bottom and foundation of the whole building, and whereunto at a dead lift he always retires. Wherefore, I thought to have considered that chapter of his at large; but, upon second considerations, have laid aside that resolution, and that for three reasons:—
First, Because I desired not actum agere, to do that which hath already been done, especially the thing itself being such as scarce deserveth to be meddled with at all. Now, much about the time that I was proceeding in this particular, the learned work of Mr Rutherford,3636 He refers to the eminent Scotch divine, Samuel Rutherford, 1600–1661. The work mentioned above was published in 1647, and is entitled, “Christ Dying, and Drawing to Himself; or, a survey of our Saviour in his soul’s suffering,” etc. The opinions of More are discussed in it from page 375 to 410. — Ed. about the death of Christ, and the drawing of sinners thereby, came to my hand; wherein he hath fully answered that chapter of Mr More’s book; whither I remit the reader.
Secondly, I find that he hath not once attempted to meddle with any of those reasons and arguments whereby we confirm our answer 348to the objection from the place, and prove undeniably that by all men is meant only men of all sorts.
Thirdly, Because, setting aside those bare naked assertions of his own, whereby he seeks to strengthen his argument from and interpretation of this place, the residue wherewith he flourisheth is a poor fallacy running through the whole; the strength of all his argumentations consisting in this, that by the all we are to pray for are not meant only all who are at present believers; which as no man in his right wits will affirm, so he that will conclude from thence, that because they are not only all present believers, therefore they are all the individuals of mankind, is not to be esteemed very sober. Proceed we, then, to the next place urged for the general ransom, from the word all, which is, —
2. 2 Pet. iii. 9, “The Lord is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” “The will of God,” say some, “for the salvation of all, is here set down both negatively, that he would not have any perish, and positively, that he would have all come to repentance; now, seeing there is no coming to repentance nor escaping destruction, but only by the blood of Christ, it is manifest that that blood was shed for all.”
Ans. Many words need not be spent in answer to this objection, wrested from the misunderstanding and palpable corrupting of the sense of these words of the apostle. That indefinite and general expressions are to be interpreted in an answerable proportion to the things whereof they are affirmed, is a rule in the opening of the Scripture. See, then, of whom the apostle is here speaking. “The Lord,” saith he, “is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish.” Will not common sense teach us that us is to be repeated in both the following clauses, to make them up complete and full, — namely, “Not willing that any of us should perish, but that all of us should come to repentance?” Now, who are these of whom the apostle speaks, to whom he writes? Such as had received “great and precious promises,” chap. i. 4, whom he calls “beloved,” chap. iii. 1; whom he opposeth to the “scoffers” of the “last days,” verse 3; to whom the Lord hath respect in the disposal of these days; who are said to be “elect,” Matt. xxiv. 22. Now, truly, to argue that because God would have none of those to perish, but all of them to come to repentance, therefore he hath the same will and mind towards all and every one in the world (even those to whom he never makes known his will, nor ever calls to repentance, if they never once hear of his way of salvation), comes not much short of extreme madness and folly. Neither is it of any weight to the contrary, that they were not all elect to whom Peter wrote: for in the judgment of charity he esteemed them so, desiring them “to give all diligence to make their calling and election sure,” chap. i. 10; even as he expressly calleth 349those to whom he wrote his former epistle, “elect,” chap. i. 2, and a “chosen generation,” as well as a “purchased people,” chap. ii. 9. I shall not need add any thing concerning the contradictions and inextricable difficulties wherewith the opposite interpretation is accompanied (as, that God should will such to come to repentance as he cuts off in their infancy out of the covenant, such as he hateth from eternity, from whom he hideth the means of grace, to whom he will not give repentance, and yet knoweth that it is utterly impossible they should have it without his bestowing). The text is clear, that it is all and only the elect whom he would not have to perish. A place supposed parallel to this we have in Ezek. xviii. 23, 32, which shall be afterward considered. The next is, —
3. Heb. ii. 9, “That he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Ans. That ὑπὲρ παντός, “for every one,” is here used for ὑπὲρ πάντων, “for all,” by an enallage of the number, is by all acknowledged. The whole question is, who these all are, whether all men universally, or only all those of whom the apostle there treateth. That this expression, every man, is commonly in the Scripture used to signify men under some restriction, cannot be denied. So in that of the apostle, “Warning every man, and teaching every man,” Col. i. 28; that is, all those to whom he preached the gospel, of whom he is there speaking. “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal,” 1 Cor. xii. 7; namely, to all and every one of those who were endued with the gifts there mentioned, whether in the church at Corinth or elsewhere. The present place I have frequently met withal produced in the behalf of universal redemption, but never once had the happiness to find any endeavour to prove from the text, or any other way, that all here is to be taken for all and every one, although they cannot but know that the usual acceptation of the word is against their purpose. Mr More spends a whole chapter about this place; which I seriously considered, to see if I could pick out any thing which might seem in the least measure to tend that way, — namely, to the proving that all and every one are in that place by the apostle intended, — but concerning any such endeavour you have deep silence. So that, with abundance of smooth words, he doth nothing in that chapter but humbly and heartily beg the thing in question; unto which his petition, though he be exceeding earnest, we cannot consent, and that because of these following reasons:—
First, To taste death, being to drink up the cup due to sinners, certainly for whomsoever our Saviour did taste of it, he left not one drop for them to drink after him; he tasted or underwent death in their stead, that the cup might pass from them which passed not from him. Now, the cup of death passeth only from the elect, from 350believers; for whomsoever our Saviour tasted death, he swallowed it up into victory.
Secondly, We see an evident appearing cause that should move the apostle here to call those for whom Christ died all, — namely, because he wrote to the Hebrews, who were deeply tainted with an erroneous persuasion that all the benefits purchased by Messiah belonged alone to men of their nation, excluding all others; to root out which pernicious opinion, it behoved the apostle to mention the extent of free grace under the gospel, and to hold out a universality of God’s elect throughout the world.
Thirdly, The present description of the all for whom Christ tasted death by the grace of God will not suit to all and every one, or any but only the elect of God. For, verse 10, they are called, “many sons to be brought to glory;” verse 11, those that are “sanctified,” his “brethren;” verse 13, the “children that God gave him;” verse 15, those that are “delivered from the bondage of death;” — none of which can be affirmed of them who are born, live, and die the “children of the wicked one.” Christ is not a captain of salvation, as he is here styled, to any but those that “obey him,” Heb. v. 9; righteousness coming by him “unto all and upon all them that believe,” Rom. iii. 22. For these and the like reasons we cannot be induced to hearken to our adversaries’ petition, being fully persuaded that by every one here is meant all and only God’s elect, in whose stead Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death.
4. Another place is 2 Cor. v. 14, 15, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them.” “Here,” say they, “verse 14, you have two alls, which must be both of an equal extent. If all were dead, then Christ died for all, — that is, for as many as were dead. Again; he died for all that must live unto him; but that is the duty of every one in the world: and therefore he died for them all. Farther; that all are all individuals is clear from verse 10, where they are affirmed to be all that must ‘appear before the judgment-seat of Christ;’ from which appearance not any shall be exempted.”
Ans. 1. Taking the words, as to this particular, in the sense of some of our adversaries, yet it doth not appear from the texture of the apostle’s arguing that the two alls of verse 14 are of equal extent. He doth not say that Christ died for all that were dead; but only, that all were dead which Christ died for: which proves no more than this, that all they for whom Christ died for were dead, with that kind of death of which he speaks. The extent of the words is to be taken from the first all, and not the latter. The apostle affirms so many to be dead as Christ died for; not that Christ died 351for so many as were dead. This the words plainly teach us: “If he died for all, then were all dead,” — that is, all he died for; so that the all that were dead can give no light to the extent of the all that Christ died for, being merely regulated by this. 2. That all and every one are morally bound to live unto Christ, virtute præcepti, we deny; only they are bound to live to him to whom he is revealed, — indeed only they who live by him, that have a spiritual life in and with him: all others are under previous obligations. 3. It is true, all and every one must appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, — he is ordained to be judge of the world; but that they are intended, verse 10 of this chapter, is not true. The apostle speaks of us all, all believers, especially all preachers of the gospel; neither of which all men are. Notwithstanding, then, any thing that hath been said, it no way appears that by all here is meant any but the elect of God, all believers; and that they only are intended I prove by these following reasons, drawn from the text:—
First, The resurrection of Christ is here conjoined with his death: “He died for them, and rose again.” Now, for whomsoever Christ riseth, he riseth for their “justification,” Rom. iv. 25; and they must be justified, chap. viii. 34. Yea, our adversaries themselves have always confessed that the fruits of the resurrection of Christ are peculiar to believers.
Secondly, He speaks only of those who, by virtue of the death of Christ, “live unto him,” verse 15; who are “new creatures,” verse 17; “to whom the Lord imputeth not their trespasses,” verse 19; who “become the righteousness of God in Christ,” verse 21; — which are only believers. All do not attain hereunto.
Thirdly, The article οἱ joined with πάντες evidently restraineth that all to all of some sort. “Then were they all” (or rather all these) “dead.” These all; — what all? Even all those believers of whom he treats, as above.
Fourthly, All those of whom the apostle treats are proved to be dead, because Christ died for them: “If one died for all, then were all dead.” What death is it which here is spoken of? Not a death natural, but spiritual; and of deaths which come under that name, not that which is in sin, but that which is unto sin. For, — First, The greatest champions of the Arminian cause, as Vorstius and Grotius (on the place), convinced by the evidence of truth, acknowledge that it is a death unto sin, by virtue of the death of Christ, that is here spoken of; and accordingly held out that for the sense of the place. Secondly, It is apparent from the text; the intention of the apostle being to prove that those for whom Christ died are so dead to sin, that henceforth they should live no more thereunto, but to him that died for them. The subject he hath in hand is the same with that he handleth more at large, Rom. vi. 5–8, where we are said to be “dead 352unto sin,” by being “planted together in the likeness of the death of Christ;” from whence, there as here, he presseth them to “newness of life.” These words, then, “If Christ died for all, then were all dead,” are concerning the death of them unto sin for whom Christ died, at least of those concerning whom he there speaketh; and what is this to the general ransom?
Fifthly, The apostle speaks of the death of Christ in respect of application. The effectualness thereof towards those for whom he died, to cause them to live unto him, is insisted on. That Christ died for all in respect of application hath not yet by any been affirmed. Then must all live unto him, yea, live with him for evermore, if there be any virtue or efficacy in his applied oblation for that end. In sum, here is no mention of Christ’s dying for any, but those that are dead to sin and live to him.
5. A fifth place urged to prove universal redemption from the word all, is 1 Cor. xv. 22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Ans. There being another place, hereafter to be considered, wherein the whole strength of the argument usually drawn from these words is contained, I shall not need to speak much to this, neither will I at all turn from the common exposition of the place. Those concerning whom Paul speaketh in this chapter are in this verse called all. Those are they who are implanted into Christ, joined to him, as the members to the head, receiving a glorious resurrection by virtue of his; thus are they by the apostle described. That Paul, in this whole chapter, discourseth of the resurrection of believers is manifest from the arguments which he bringeth to confirm it, being such as are of force only with believers. Taken they are from the resurrection of Christ, the hope, faith, customs, and expected rewards of Christians; all which, as they are of unconquerable power to confirm and establish believers in the faith of the resurrection, so they would have been, all and every one of them, exceedingly ridiculous had they been held out to the men of the world to prove the resurrection of the dead in general. Farther; the very word ζωοποιηθήσονται denotes such a living again as is to a good life and glory, a blessed resurrection; and not the quickening of them who are raised to a second death. The Son is said ζωοποιεῖν, John v. 21, to “quicken” and make alive (not all, but) “whom he will.” So he useth the word again, chap. vi. 63, “It is the Spirit, τὸ ζωοποιοῦν, that” (thus) “quickeneth;” in like manner, Rom. iv. 17. And not anywhere is it used to show forth that common resurrection which all shall have at the last day. All, then, who by virtue of the resurrection of Christ shall be made alive, are all those who are partakers of the nature of Christ; who, verse 23, are expressly called “they that are Christ’s,” and of whom, verse 20, Christ is said to be the “first-fruits;” and certainly 353Christ is not the first-fruits of the damned. Yea, though it be true that all and every one died in Adam, yet that it is here asserted (the apostle speaking of none but believers) is not true; and yet, if it were so to be taken here, it could not prove the thing intended, because of the express limitation of the sense in the clause following. Lastly; granting all that can be desired, — namely, the universality of the word all in both places, — yet I am no way able to discern a medium that may serve for an argument to prove the general ransom.
6. Rom. v. 18 is the last place urged in this kind, and by some most insisted on: “As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” It might suffice us briefly to declare that by all men in the latter place can none be understood but those whom the free gift actually comes upon unto justification of life; who are said, verse 17, to “receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness,” and so to “reign in life by one, Jesus Christ;” and by his obedience to be “made righteous,” verse 19; which certainly, if any thing be true and certain in the truth of God, all are not. Some believe not, — “all men have not faith;” on some “the wrath of God abideth,” John iii. 36; upon whom, surely, grace doth not reign through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ, as it doth upon all those on whom the free gift comes to justification, verse 17. We might, I say, thus answer only; but seeing some, contrary to the clear, manifest intention of the apostle, comparing Adam and Christ, in the efficacy of the sin of the one unto condemnation, and of the righteousness of the other unto justification and life, in respect of those who are the natural seed of the one by propagation, and the spiritual seed of the other by regeneration, have laboured to wrest this place to the maintenance of the error we oppose with more than ordinary endeavours and confidence of success, it may not be unnecessary to consider what is brought by them to this end and purpose:—
Verse 14. Adam is called τύπος, the type and “figure of him that was to come;” not that he was an instituted type, ordained for that only end and purpose, but only that in what he was, and what he did, with what followed thereupon, there was a resemblance between him and Jesus Christ. Hence by him and what he did, by reason of the resemblance, many things, by way of opposition, concerning the obedience of Christ and the efficacy of his death, may be well represented. That which the apostle here prosecuteth this resemblance in (with the showing of many diversities, in all which he exalteth Christ above his type) is this, that an alike though not an equal efficacy (for there is more merit and efficacy required to save one than to lose ten thousand) of the demerit, sin, 354disobedience, guilt, transgression of the one, to condemn, or bring the guilt of condemnation upon all them in whose room he was a public person (being the head and natural fountain of them all, they all being wrapped up in the same condition with him by divine institution), and the righteousness, obedience, and death of the other, for the absolution, justification, and salvation of all them to whom he was a spiritual head by divine institution, and in whose room he was a public person, is by him in divers particulars asserted. That these last were all and every one of the first, there is not the least mention. The comparison is solely to be considered intensively, in respect of efficacy, not extensively, in respect of object; though the all of Adam be called his many, and the many of Christ be called his all, as indeed they are, even all the seed which is given unto him.
Thomas More, in his “Universality of Free Grace,” chap. viii., p. 41, lays down this comparison, instituted by the apostle, between Adam and Christ, as one of the main foundations of his universal redemption; and this (after some strange mixtures of truth and errors premised, which, to avoid tediousness, we let pass) he affirmeth to consist in four things:—
First, “That Adam, in his first sin and transgression, was a public person, in the room and place of all mankind, by virtue of the covenant between God and him; so that whatever he did therein, all were alike sharers with him. So also was Christ a public person in his obedience and death, in the room and place of all mankind, represented by him, even every one of the posterity of Adam.”
Ans. To that which concerneth Adam, we grant he was a public person in respect of all his that were to proceed from him by natural propagation; that Christ also was a public person in the room of his, and herein prefigured by Adam. But that Christ, in his obedience, death, and sacrifice, was a public person, and stood in the room and stead of all and every one in the world, of all ages and times (that is, not only of his elect and those who were given unto him of God, but also of reprobate persons, hated of God from eternity; of those whom he never knew, concerning whom, in the days of his flesh, he thanked his Father that he had hid from them the mysteries of salvation; whom he refused to pray for; who were, the greatest part of them, already damned in hell, and irrevocably gone beyond the limits of redemption, before he actually yielded any obedience), is to us such a monstrous assertion as cannot once be apprehended or thought on without horror or detestation. That any should perish in whose room or stead the Son of God appeared before his Father with his perfect obedience; that any of those for whom he is a mediator and advocate, to whom he is a king, priest, and prophet (for all these he is, as he was a public person, a sponsor, a surety, and undertaker 355for them), should be taken from him, plucked out of his arms, his satisfaction and advocation in their behalf being refused; — I suppose is a doctrine that will scarce be owned among those who strive to preserve the witness and testimony of the Lord Jesus.
But let us a little consider the reasons whereby Mr More undertakes to maintain this strange assertion; which, as far as I can gather, are these, page 44:— First, He stood not in the room only of the elect, because Adam lost not election, being not intrusted with it. Secondly, If he stood not in the room of all, then he had come short of his figure. Thirdly, It is said he was to restore all men, lost by Adam, Heb. ii. 9. Fourthly, He took flesh, was subjected to mortality, became under the law, and bare the sins of mankind. Fifthly, He did it in the room of all mankind, once given unto him, Rom. xiv. 9; Phil. ii. 8–11. Sixthly, Because he is called the “last Adam;” — and, Seventhly, Is said to be a public person, in the room of all, ever since the “first Adam,” 1 Cor. xv. 45, 47; 1 Tim. ii. 5; Rom. v.
Ans. Never, surely, was a rotten conclusion bottomed upon more loose and tottering principles, nor the word of God more boldly corrupted for the maintenance of any error, since the name of Christian was known. A man would think it quite lost, but that it is so very easy a labour to remove such hay and stubble. I answer, then, to the first, that though Adam lost not election, and the eternal decrees of the Almighty are not committed to the keeping of the sons of men, yet in him all the elect were lost, whom Christ came to seek, whom he found, — in whose room he was a public person. To the second, Christ is nowhere compared to Adam in respect of the extent of the object of his death, but only of the efficacy of his obedience. The third is a false assertion; — see our foregoing consideration of Heb. ii. 9. Fourthly, For his taking of flesh, etc., it was necessary he should do all this for the saving of his elect. He took flesh and blood because the children were partakers of the same. Fifthly, No such thing is once affirmed in the whole book of God, that all the sons of men were given unto Christ to redeem, so that he should be a public person in their room. Nay, himself plainly affirms the contrary, John xvii. 6, 9. Some only are given him out of the world, and those he saved; not one of them perisheth. The places urged hold out no such thing, nor any thing like it. They will also afterward come under farther consideration. Sixthly, He is called the “last Adam” in respect of the efficacy of his death unto the justification of the seed promised and given unto him, as the sin of the “first Adam” was effectual to bring the guilt of condemnation on the seed propagated from him; which proves not at all that he stood in the room of all those to whom his death was never known, nor any ways profitable. Seventhly, That he was a public person is 356confessed: that he was so in the room of all is not proved, neither by what hath been already said, nor by the texts, that there follow, alleged, all which have been considered. This being all that is produced by Mr More to justify his assertion, it may be an instance what weighty inferences he usually asserts from such weak, invalid premises. We cannot also but take notice, by the way, of one or two strange passages which he inserts into this discourse; whereof the first is, that Christ by his death brought all men out of that death whereinto they were fallen by Adam. Now, the death whereinto all fell in Adam being a death in sin, Eph. ii. 1–3, and the guilt of condemnation thereupon, if Christ freed all from this death, then must all and every one be made alive with life spiritual, which only is to be had and obtained by Jesus Christ; which, whether that be so or not, whether to live by Christ be not the peculiar privilege of believers, the gospel hath already declared, and God will one day determine. Another strange assertion is, his affirming the end of the death of Christ to be his presenting himself alive and just before his Father; as though it were the ultimate thing by him intended, the Holy Ghost expressly affirming that “he loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might present it to himself a glorious church,” Eph. v. 25–27.
The following parallels, which he instituted between Adam and Christ, have nothing of proof in them to the business in hand, — namely, that Christ was a public person, standing, in his obedience, in the room of all and every one that were concerned in the disobedience of Adam. There is, I say, nothing at all of proof in them, being a confused medley of some truths and divers unsavoury heresies. I shall only give the reader a taste of some of them, whereby he may judge of the rest, not troubling myself or others with the transcribing and reading of such empty vanities as no way relate to the business in hand.
First, then, In the second part of his parallel he affirms, “That when Christ finished his obedience, in dying and rising, and offering himself a sacrifice, and making satisfaction, it was, by virtue of the account of God in Christ, and for Christ with God (that is, accepted with God for Christ’s sake), the death, resurrection, the sacrifice and satisfaction, and the redemption of all, — that is, all and every one;” and therein he compares Christ to Adam in the performance of the business by him undertaken. Now, but that I cannot but with trembling consider what the apostle affirms, 2 Thess. ii. 11, 12, I should be exceedingly amazed that any man in the world should be so far forsaken of sense, reason, faith, and all reverence of God and man, as to publish, maintain, and seek to propagate, such abominable, blasphemous, senseless, contradictious errors. That the death of Christ should be accepted of and accounted before God as the death of 357all, and yet the greatest part of these all be adjudged to eternal death in their own persons by the same righteous God; that all and every one should arise in and with Jesus Christ, and yet most of them continue dead in their sins, and die for sin eternally; that satisfaction should be made and accepted for them who are never spared, nor shall be, one farthing of their debt; that atonement should be made by sacrifice for such as ever lie undelivered under wrath; that all the reprobates, Cain, Pharaoh, Ahab, and the rest, who were actually damned in hell, and under death and torments, then when Christ died, suffered, made satisfaction, and rose again, should be esteemed with God to have died, suffered, made satisfaction, and risen again with Christ; — that, I say, such senseless contradictions, horrid errors, and abominable assertions, should be thus nakedly thrust upon Christians, without the least colour, pretence, or show of proof, but the naked authority of him who hath already embraced such things as these, were enough to make any man admire and be amazed, but that we know the judgments of God are ofttimes hid, and far above out of our sights.
Secondly, In the third of his parallels he goeth one step higher, comparing Christ with Adam in respect of the efficacy, effect, and fruit of his obedience. He affirms, “That as by the sin of Adam all his posterity were deprived of life, and fell under sin and death, whence judgment and condemnation passed upon all, though this be done secretly and invisibly, and in some sort inexpressibly” (what he means by secretly and invisibly, well I know not, — surely he doth not suppose that these things might possibly be made the objects of our senses; and for inexpressibly, how that is, let Rom. v. 12, with other places, where all this and more is clearly, plainly, and fully expressed, be judge whether it be so or no); “so,” saith he, “by the efficacy of the obedience of Christ, all men without exception are redeemed, restored, made righteous, justified freely by the grace of Christ, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, the ‘righteousness that is by the faith of Jesus Christ’ being ‘unto all,’ Rom. iii. 22,” (where the impostor wickedly corrupteth the word of God, like the devil, Matt. iv., by cutting off the following words, “and upon all that believe,” both alls answering to believers). “What remains now but that all also should be saved? the Holy Ghost expressly affirming that those ‘whom God justifieth, he also glorifieth,’ ” Rom. viii. 30. “Solvite mortales animas, curisque levate.” Such assertions as these, without any colour of proof, doth this author labour to obtrude upon us. Now, that men should be restored, and yet continue lost; that they should be made righteous, and yet remain detestably wicked, and wholly abominable; that they should be justified freely by the grace of God, and yet always lie under the condemning sentence of the law of God; that the righteousness of God 358by the faith of Jesus Christ should be upon all unbelievers, — are not only things exceedingly opposite to the gospel of Jesus Christ, but so absolutely at variance and distance one with another, that the poor salve of Mr More’s following cautions will not serve to heal their mutual wounds. I cannot but fear that it would be tedious and offensive to rake any longer in such a dunghill. Let them that have a mind to be captivated to error and falsehood by corruption of Scripture and denial of common sense and reason, because they cannot receive the truth in the love thereof, delight themselves with such husks as these. What weaker arguments we have had, to maintain that Christ, in his obedience to the death, was a public person in the room of all and every one, hath been already demonstrated. I shall now, by the reader’s leave, a little transgress the rule of disputation, and, taking up the opposite part of the arguments, produce some few reasons and testimonies to demonstrate that our Saviour Christ, in his obedience unto death, in the redemption which he wrought, and satisfaction which he made, and sacrifice which he offered, was not a public person in the room of all and every man in the world, elect and reprobate, believers and infidels, or unbelievers; which are briefly these:—
First, The seed of the woman was not to be a public person in the place, stead, and room of the seed of the serpent. Jesus Christ is the seed of the woman κατ’ ἐξοχήν· all the reprobates, as was before proved, are the seed of the serpent: therefore, Jesus Christ was not, in his oblation and suffering, when he brake the head of the father of the seed, a public person in their room.
Secondly, Christ, as a public person, representeth only them for whose sake he set himself apart to that office and employment wherein he was such a representative; but upon his own testimony, which we have, John xvii. 19, he set himself apart to the service and employment wherein he was a public person for the sakes only of some that were given him out of the world, and not of all and every one: therefore, he was not a public person in the room of all.
Thirdly, Christ was a “surety,” as he was a public person, Heb. vii. 22; but he was not a surety for all, — for, first, All are not taken into that covenant whereof he was a surety, whose conditions are effected in all the covenantees, as before; secondly, None can perish for whom Christ is a surety, unless he be not able to pay the debt:— therefore, he was not a public person in the room of all.
Fourthly, For whom he was a public person, in their rooms he suffered, and for them he made satisfaction, Isa. liii. 5, 6; but he suffered not in the stead of all, nor made satisfaction for all, — for, first, Some must suffer themselves, which makes it evident that Christ did not suffer for them, Rom. viii. 33, 34; and, secondly, The justice 359of God requireth satisfaction from themselves, to the payment of the utmost farthing.
Fifthly, Jesus Christ, as a public person, did nothing in vain in respect of any for whom he was a public person; but many things which Christ, as a public person, did perform were altogether in vain and fruitless, in respect of the greatest part of the sons of men being under an incapability of receiving any good by any thing he did, — to wit, all that then were actually damned, in respect of whom, redemption, reconciliation, satisfaction, and the like, could possibly be no other than empty names.
Sixthly, If God were well pleased with his Son in what he did, as a public person, in his representation of others (as he was, Eph. v. 2), then must he also be well pleased with them whom he did represent, either absolutely or conditionally; but with many of the sons of men God, in the representation of his Son, was not well pleased, neither absolutely nor conditionally, — to wit, with Cain, Pharaoh, Saul, Ahab, and others, dead and damned before: therefore, Christ did not, as a public person, represent all.
Seventhly, For testimonies, see John xvii. 9; Matt. xx. 28, xxvi. 26–28; Mark x. 45; Heb. vi. 20; Isa. liii. 12; John x. 15; Heb. xiii. 20; Matt. i. 21; Heb. ii. 17; John xi. 51, 52; Acts xx. 28; Eph. v. 2, 23–25; Rom. viii. 33, 34.
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