Now come to the second Question:
How far the death of Christ extended to the taking away the sin of man; whether he died for the sins of all men without exception or for the sins of some only?
The Death of Christ Opened Up and Asserted
My answer here unto I lay down in these three Propositions:
1. Christ died only for such as Believe, the elect of God. Christ has not by His death taken away the sins of all men: for the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience for their sins. (Eph. 5:6) But this is that which He declares Himself to have effected by His death, that through His Name, whosoever believeth in Him, (shall receive remission of sins). (John 3:14;15,16; Acts 10:43) Moreover, it is given to the Elect, and to them only to believe in Jesus Christ. (Rom. 8:29; l Pet. 1:2)
2. The Purpose of Christ was to Save His Elect Only. Christ intended not by His death to save all men from their sins, but thus to save the Elect only. (John 10:15; Eph. 5:25-26,27; Heb. 2:14; Gen. 3:15; 1 Peter 2:8)
3. Christ has presented to His Fatherís Justice a Satisfaction only for His elect. Christ has not presented unto His Father's justice satisfaction for the sins of all men; but only for the sins of those that do, or shall believe in Him; which are His Elect only (Rev. 5:9)
Moreover, if this last proposition be granted to be true, the two former cannot be questioned. This, therefore, I thus confirm.
The Satisfaction of Christ
A. Those sins for which Christ hath presented a satisfaction to His Father's Justice, He has so fully satisfied for, that they are not to be suffered for again. (Heb. 1:3; Heb. 9:26; Heb. 10:10-14; Rev. 1:5; Rom. 5:9, 10; Isa. 53:5; Lev. 17:11) It must needs be thus:
1. Because the satisfaction that Christ has presented to His Father's justice is sufficient for the full and final putting away of all their sins, for whom it is presented. This cannot be denied.
2. Because Christ died as a public person, representing all those for whose sins he presented a satisfaction to His Father's justice. (2 Cor. 5:21) Even as the first Adam fell as a public person representing all those that fell by Him, and in Him, see Rom. 5:4. In addition, as the high priest went into the Holy place a public person representing all Israel. (Exodus 28:29,30; Heb. 9:24,25) Hence it is that we are looked upon as smitten in Christ, and buried with Christ, and revived and raised up in Christ and with Christ, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ; see Hos. 6:l,2, with 1 Cor.15:54; Col. 2:2; Eph. 2:5,6. Now surely they who were those represented by Christ, when he presented to His Father's justice a satisfaction for their sins, shall not themselves be punished for the same sins.
3. Because else the satisfaction presented by Christ, would fall short of the type of it, Lev. 4:20, 26,35, and 5:10; and note Heb. 9:13,14.
4. Because this satisfaction is accepted of the Father for all those for whom it is presented by Christ, Isa. 53:10. For Christ the beloved Son of the Father presented this satisfaction according to His Father's will.
5. Because it were an unjust and unreasonable thing that God should receive a satisfaction presented to His justice for the sins of men, and yet punish the same men for the same sins. Moreover, shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Gen. 18:25. Nevertheless, reprobates shall suffer eternally for all their sins; as appears not only in Eph. 5:6; but also in Job 3:36; Job 8:24; Matt. 12:36; Eccl. 12:14; Jude 15. Yea for their sins considered as breaches of the Law as appears in 1 Tim. 1:10; Gal. 3:10. Therefore, Christ presented not unto His Father's justice a satisfaction for the sins of reprobates, and consequently not for the sins of all men.
6. Christ presenting to His Father's justice a satisfaction for menís sins, presents this satisfaction as well for all their sins, as for any of their sins; as well for their sin of unbelief, and the fruits thereof as for their sins against the Law, considered as sins against the Law, Lev. 16:21, 22; Heb. 10:14; 1 John 1:7.
Christ Did Not Make Satisfaction for the Unbelief of Reprobates
However, even by our adversariesí own confession, it is a clear and certain truth, that Christ hath not presented to His Father's justice a satisfaction for the unbelief of reprobates? Nor for the fruits of their unbelief, considered as fruits of their unbelief. Therefore, he has not presented to His Father's Justice a satisfaction for any of the sins of any reprobate? The answer of our adversaries here, and the principal refuge to which they say, is this: Christ (say they) has not presented to His Fatherís justice a satisfaction for the unbelief of any. However, the falsehood of this appears by the places now alleged: as I shall also easily manifest, if our adversaries will answer directly whether our unbelief be a sin, or not. I conceive they dare not say it is no sin, in as much as it is disobedience against the gospel, and against the command of God in Matt. 17:5, and that whereby (so far as it works in us) we cast upon God the imputation of lying, trusting Him no more then we would trust a liar, 1 Jn.5:10, and our adversaries affirm it to be the only damning sin. Now if it be sin, the blood of Jesus Christ does wash us from it, 1 Jn. 1:7. I further demand; is our unbelief remitted unto us, or not? If it be not remitted unto us our case is most miserable. If it be remitted unto us, it is then done away by the blood of Christ: for without shedding of blood is no remission, Heb. 9:22. Whereas some say, that we have already suffered punishment for it in the want of that comfort and joy that faith brings; I demand: Does our sin of unbelief deserve no other punishment? If they say, No: it shows that they neither know the nature of this sin and its ill deserving, neither yet the glorious righteousness of God, and the declaration thereof in His Word. But if they say, yea, it deserves eternal destruction, but for all that it is neither remitted unto us with the rest of our sins as being washed by the blood of Christ, neither shall we be punished for it: then they will be found to utter manifest contradictions. Whereas they plead that our unbelief does not continue, but is broken off, I answer: indeed it does not so continue in the reign of it: but it is enough that it did once reign in us and that there is a remainder of unbelief still rebelling in us. And the same (and no more) is to be said of the rest of our sins and corruptions also not withstanding, which must have been punished with everlasting destruction, if the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us for the remission of sins, did not cleanse us from the same. Whereas they object that there could not have been that unbelief whereby the gospel is refused, if Christ had not died that he might send forth His gospel; and that therefore this unbelief could not be looked upon before the death of Christ, and the declaration of His gospel. I answer:
1. That Christ foreseeing this sin (as he did all other sins) and all the fruits thereof, in His Elect, did accordingly provide a remedy for the same: otherwise, He had not been unto them a perfect and effectual Savior.
2. That the condemnatory sentence of the Law, takes hold of men for this sin also, and for all the fruits of it, because it binds men to obey every command that God shall give, and to believe every word that he shall speak: without which obeying and believing, no man can have the Lord for His God, according to the meaning of the affirmative part of the first Commandment. Therefore Christ had not taken us off from the Law's condemnation, if He had not presented to His Father's justice satisfaction for this our sin, as well as for our other sins.
3. The Passover (a type of Christ) was not killed for any uncircumcised, but only for the Israelites and those that were joined unto them Ex. 12. Neither were the priests to offer sacrifices for any other. All this was appointed of God to signify that when the Messiah through the eternal Spirit should offer without spot to God, He should do this for the sins of the Israel of God, and none other.
Whereas it is objected, that many of the Israelites for whom the Passover was killed, and sacrifices were offered, were unbelievers, and perished.
I answer, So also the high Priest Himself might be an unbeliever and perish; yet, in His priestly office he was a type of Christ not withstanding that disparity. So, the whole nation of the Israelites separated from the world to be a peculiar people unto God, were a type of God's chosen Israel.
4. When Christ prayed unto His Father that they for whom he laid down His life, might receive the benefits of the same; he expressly affirmed that he prayed only for the elect, and for none others, John 17:9. Whereby He sufficiently declared that he did not then present to His Father's justice a satisfaction for the sins of any other, but only of these.
5. The highest degree of God's love to man is set forth by His Sons being given, and giving Himself to die for men's sins that so he might present to His Father's justice a satisfaction for their sins, Jn. 10:11,15; 15:12; Rom.8:32; 1 Jn. 3:16 and 4:9,10; Rom. 5:8. If then we shall say, that Christ in His death presented to His Father's justice satisfaction for the sins of all men, we shall be found to extend the highest and choicest love of God as well to hated Esau, as to beloved Jacob; as well to the seed of the Serpent, as to the seed of Christ; which doctrine the Scripture will not endure.
6. The whole doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being delivered unto us in the Scriptures, it is a sufficient ground for us not to believe that Christ presented to His Father's Justice a satisfaction for the sins of all men, because the Scriptures do no where declare this to be a truth; as (through the help of God shall be made to appear by our answers to the objections of our adversaries. For the easier discovery of the weakness of which objection, I lay down these ensuing Propositions.
Concerning the Usage of All
The word All in Scripture, does many times signify only some of all sorts, as appears in these places, Mat. 4:23; Acts 10:12.
a. Matt.3:5,6. In Matt. 4:23, it is said that Christ healed every sickness; and every disease among the people, yet the meaning is only this, that he healed every kind of sickness and disease: see Mark 6:5; and Jn. 5:3. &c. In Acts l0:12, it is said: wherein were all four-footed beasts, ect., that is, all kinds of four-footed beasts. See in Matt. 3:5, 6, it is said, There went out to Him all Judea, &c. And in Mark 1:5, it is also expressly said, that they were all baptized of Him, &c. Yet this was true only of all orders and degrees of men coming to John from all the parts of Judea.
b. The word all, must sometimes be understood with limitation unto the present subject spoken of, as in Heb. 12:8; whereof all are partakers; not all persons, but only all sons.
c. The word all does sometime signify only the greater part: as in Philip. 2:21, All seek their own, and in Luke 6:26, Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you. Here all cannot take in all the godly, but only the wicked, which are the greater number. There was not this woe to that Demetrius which had a good report of all men, 3 Jn. 12, that is, of all godly men that knew Him.
The word world in like manner does not always signify all persons without exception; but sometime only the worse, though greater part of mankind; as in John 17:9, where the world is put only for persons not elected. Yea, and when the word whole is added to it, as in 1 John 2:1.
1. Sometimes the word world is put for the Gentiles opposed to the Jews, yea and with manifest limitation unto those of the Gentiles which did, or should believe; (which were only the elect:) see Rom. 11:12,15. These propositions being thus laid down and proved, the answer to the objections will be the more easy and clear.
Objection from 1 John 1:29
The objection that I will take notice of in the first place, is taken from Jn. 1:29, Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
Where to I answer:
I. Let this be minded, that Christ is here called the Lamb of God, as being typified by the paschal lamb killed for Israel, not for the uncircumcised.
2. It is here declared that it is Christ, and no other, that takes away the sin of the world. He is the only Redeemer and Savior. The Father saves us no other way but in and by Christ.
3. The sin that Christ takes away, is the sin of the world, being that sin which is derived to us, and so to all the world, from Adam; and in which all the world has lain. But the persons from whom Christ takes away this sin, are only they that do or shall believe in Him; and so they are indeed that world spoken of in Rom. 11:12, 15, but not that world spoken of in John 17:9, and I Jn. 5:19. Our adversaries confess that Christ takes not away the unbelief of that world: and the Scriptures declare that world to have no part in the blessedness of those to whom the Lord will not impute sin; see Romans 4:6, 7, 8.
Objection from 1 John 2:2
A second objection is drawn from 1 John. 2:2 --not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
My answer hereto is as follows:
1. Note well the force of the word rendered propitiation, both in this verse, and in 1 John 4:10. As in these places it is used, it imports that Jesus Christ makes the Father to be gracious unto us in the free and full pardon of our sin. Here it is used to clear and prove Jesus Christ to be for us an acceptable and effectual advocate, with the Father, though we have sinned against Him. And in 1 Jn. 4:10 the highest manifestation of the Father's love unto us, is set forth by His giving His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. This shows it to be the peculiar blessedness of God's beloved children, whom he saves forever, to have Jesus Christ to be the propitiation for their sins.
2. In 1 John I: 7,9, it is clearly signified that they only are the persons whom the blood of Jesus Christ does cleanse from all sin, and to whom the Father according to His faithfulness does forgive their sins, and whom he cleanseth from all unrighteousness, who show their faith by walking in the light, and by confessing their sins. This also confirms that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for their sins only.
3. By our sins the apostle here meant the sins of believing Jews; (for to these the apostle here immediately wrote; as may be gathered from 1 Jn. 2:7, and Gal. 2:9. Yea all the general Epistles, of which this was one, were written to these:) and by the sins of the whole world, he meant the sins of all those that did or should believe among the Gentiles: see Rom. 11:15.
Objection from John 3:16
The words of our Savior in John 3:16,17,18,19, are also objected unto us, as if they made against us; we will therefore diligently consider them.
Here first we must mind that the same word is sometimes used in divers senses in the same sentence; examples hereof are to be seen In John. 3:6; Rom. 9:6; Gal. 4:21, and in other places. Yea this very word world, is so used in John 1:10. And now let us see how this word is used in this Scripture, and consider whether this Scripture do indeed make any thing against us, verse 6. God so loved the world. By the world, here seems to be meant mankind in general: and God's loving the world is His dealing lovingly with the world. This then is the sense, God dealt so lovingly with mankind, that He gave His only begotten Son, etc. All this makes nothing against us for it is not said, that he gave His only begotten Son to present a satisfaction to His justice for the sins of all men: but that He gave His only Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Herein surely God dealt lovingly with mankind;
1. Making a great part of mankind to receive the benefits thereof.
2. Graciously sending the gospel to mankind; believers in the Son of God, and ye shall be saved eternally. This gospel news that God is gracious, and deals lovingly, though men left to themselves reject this gospel, and so receive no benefit by it in the end.
3. Sparing mankind a long time, and affording unto them many benefits by the hand of Christ, for the Elect's sake, while he graciously waits and effectually provides for their conversion by the gospel, and so for their salvation according to the same. None of which benefits had been afforded to mankind, if God had not given His Son, that whosoever believeth on Him, should not perish; see Proverbs 8:15,16; Jn 1:9; Mat. 24:22; Acts 14:17. Yet, unbelievers still lie under all their sins, as I have already proved, and as farther appears in Rom. 9:22, and 2 Pet. 2:9. It follows in verse 17. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world. God then sent His Son into the world, when he gave Him to be made flesh, and to dwell among us, as it is said of Him in Jn. 1:14. Then He sent Him neither to condemn the world, nor to judge the world, (as the Greek word is said here to signify) but at His second coming, he shall be sent to judge the world, and to condemn all unbelievers. But the new doctrine of our adversaries make Christ's first coming to be a coming to condemn the world, in a sense quite contrary to the Scriptures, whiles they teach, that if Christ had not come and died for all, none could have been damned. It follows, but that the world through Him might be saved. 1. Here mind that the pleasure of the Lord did prosper in Christ's hand, Isaiah 53:l0; note also John 6:38-40, and Jn. 17:2. Therefore, Christ did certainly effect what he was sent for. 2. Mind that the salvation here spoken of frees men from all condemnatory judgment. This appears by the antithesis (or opposition) in this verse. 3. So mind that the world is said to be saved, in that believers are saved, who are part of the world of mankind, and were chosen out of the rest of the world, to be saved by Christ; see also I Jn. 4:14, compared with the verses there foregoing, viz. verses 9-15, of that chapter. Our adversaries not receiving this truth, do sometimes say, that though all the world be not saved eternally because they believe not; yet Christ for His part did for them all, whatsoever he was to do for the salvation of any. But if this were true, then all must needs be saved. See Jer. 17:14. For our salvation is fully from Jesus Christ. We cannot save our selves, neither does the Father work our salvation, or any thing that concerns the same, any or other ways than in and by His Son Christ. If then Christ as a Savior has done for us whatsoever he is to do for the salvation of any, how can we miss of salvation? It follows here in verse 18, He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he has not believed, &c. The believer is delivered from the condemnation of the Law. As for the unbeliever, because he believeth not, he is left to the sentence of the Law, and is already condemned thereby. All this is with us. It follows in verse 19. And this is the condemnation; that is, the cause of condemnation, as being a gross evil for which men are to be condemned, and a main cause of that unbelief by which men are left to condemnation, That light is come into the world, &c. that is; that light being come into the world, men loved darkness rather than light. The light come into the world is Jesus Christ held forth in His gospel, and all this opposeth us not, but confirms the truth that we hold. Thus at the appearing of the light of truth, the objection from this place is vanished away.
Objection from 1 Timothy 2:4-6
A fourth objection is drawn from 1 Tim. 2:4,6, this to our adversaries seems to be of special strength.
In the answering (or rather preventing) whereof we will thoroughly search that place also, beginning at the beginning of that chapter, and weighing every thing diligently that may seem to have any relation to the present question. 1 Tim.2:1. I exhort therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. By all men in this place we may not understand all persons, or every person without any exception or limitation. For under supplications, prayers, and intercessions, are here comprehended all petitions for all good and needful gifts and blessings for the persons to be prayed for, put up unto God with all earnestness and fervency, in which the petitioners will and must still continue using unto God with a holy and humble importunity for those things that they crave: such petitions cannot be made in faith for all persons without exception, in as much as we know that there are many vessels of wrath ordained of old unto condemnation, Rom. 9:22; Jude 4. And there is a sin unto death, for which we are not to pray. (1 Jn 5:16,17) Therefore, by all men we are here to understand all orders and degrees of men. And for the thing to be craved is that God according to His purpose and gracious promise would show mercy, and extend the fruits of His love to all orders and degrees of men, that is, to all those whom he hath chosen to Himself out of every nation and kindred, and out of every order and degree of men and women in the world. This is further confirmed in that specification or exemplification which follows in verse 2. For kings. Though these were before comprehended under all men, yet are they here more particularly expressed; 1. Lest the Saints should have been discouraged from praying for them, by their wickedness. 2. Because God hath given magistrates to be His own ministers to us for good, Rom 13:4, and for all that are in authority that is to say, 1] magistrates or governors in those Commonwealths that were not ruled by Kings. 2] The several orders and degrees of inferior magistrates, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life. Not that this is the only thing that we are to crave or aim at: but because this should in a special manner stir us up to earnest prayer for magistrates; viz., that God hath given them their authority to this end, that by means of this authority rightly used, we might lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Verse 3. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior: viz., That we should thus pray, and give thanks for all orders and degrees of men, and namely for Kings, and for all that are in authority. And note how the apostle proves this in the words following in verse 4. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth, in as much as it is the apostle's scope here to prove that it is acceptable to God not only that we should pray, but also that we should give thanks for all men, (viz. in that sense in which the words all men are used, in verse 1.) I therefore conceive that he here speaks of God's effectual will. And so God wills not that all persons, or every person in the world, should be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth; as appears in 1 Pet. 2:8; Jude 4; Isa. 6:9,10; Rom 11:7,8. Here therefore by all men, we must of necessity understand only all orders and degrees of men; that is, some of all orders, and degrees: viz those whom God hath chosen to Himself, out of every order and degree among men. Thus, the great objection from this verse is fully taken off. It follows in verse 5. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus. Not one God of kings, and another of subjects, one God of merchants, another of husbandmen: but one and the same God is the God of all, that saves all that are heirs of salvation of what order or degree soever they be. And as the same God has appointed and constituted the several orders and degrees among men, so he has His Elect whom he will save among all those orders and degrees. So also there is not one Mediator between God and great men, and another between God and men: but the same Christ Jesus is the Mediator between God and all the Elect, of whatsoever order or degree among men they are.
Verse 6. Who gave Himself a ransom for all. The word all must here be understood as in verse 1 and 4. Neither the coherence nor context, neither yet the matter will suffer us to understand it other ways. For whosoever they are for whom Christ gave Himself a ransom, the same are certainly redeemed from destruction, and shall forever be saved. For where a ransom is paid and accepted for any, the ransomed is thereby freed and made safe, Ex. 21:30; 20:12-15; Psalms 49:7; Jer. 31:11,12. And the everlasting salvation of the ransomed of the Lord is clearly held forth in Isa. 35:9,10; and 51:10,11; Hos.13:14; with 1 Cor. 15:54,55. Therefore, these All for whom Christ gave Himself a ransom, are only (as aforesaid) men of all orders and degrees even those many spoken of in Mat. 20:28; Mark 10:45. Those whom Christ hath redeemed to God by His blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, Rev. 5:9. It follows: to be testified in due time; compare this with 1 Pet. 1:20,21, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe, &c. Consider also how the words there foregoing do declare, that they which are ransomed or redeemed with the blood of Christ, are redeemed from their vain conversation, 1 Pet. 1:18,19. Yea Christ gave Himself for them, that he might redeem them from all iniquity, and purify them unto Himself a peculiar people, Tit. 2:14. And this is the sum of the gospel testimony concerning Christ, that being made perfect he became the author of eternal salvation (not to all persons in the world, but) unto all them that obey Him, Heb. 5:9; having given Himself for them, Eph. 5:25,26. Thus, this Scripture is so far from being full and strong against us, that it does not oppose us in any thing. Now because the objection from this Scripture seems to our adversaries to be backed and strengthened by the saying of Peter in 2 Pet. 2:1, therefore, that place shall next be looked into.
Objection from 2 Peter 2:1
2 Pet. 2:1,óThere shall be false teachers among you, who privately shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. We grant the persons here spoken of to be reprobates, but mind that though the Lord be here said to have bought them, yet it is not said that he gave Himself a ransom for them. Between these two, there is a great difference. The Lord Christ has authority and power given unto Him of the Father over all men, see Psalms 2:8,9. Yea over all creatures, Heb. 2:7,8, over the angels in heaven, I Pet. 3:22, and the devils that hate Him, are yet under His power. In the exercise of this power and authority, he shall at the last day judge all both men and angels, Jn. 5:7; Acts 17:31. Then every knee shall bow to Him of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, Isa. 45:23; Phil. 2:9,10,11. This Lordship the man Christ hath obtained by His death, Phil. 2:8,9. In that by His death he has obtained His kingly power and authority over His Church, and consequently this power and authority over all, that as King of His Church he may use it to His Church's good, (Eph. 1: 20, 21, 22,23) and the Church, may enjoy the glorious benefit of it; see Rev. 2:26,27; 1 Cor. 6:2,3; Psalms 149:6,7,8,9; Dan. 7:27. The Father also being pleased thus to show His gracious approving and accepting of Christ's dying for His Church, even by giving Him this power and authority over all for His Church's good. In this sense, and in this sort Christ has bought all creatures: yet it does not follow nor is it true that Christ has given Himself a ransom for all creatures, or presented to His Father's justice a satisfaction for the sins of all creatures. We are put in mind that the Lord having bought these sinners, this was a great aggravation of their sin in denying Him. We acknowledge this to be true. But let it be considered. 1. In what sort they did deny Christ; 2. How their being bought by Christ, was an aggravation of this their sin? 1. They did not deny Christ openly, denying expressly that Jesus was not the Christ: for they brought in their damnable heresies privately, and made merchandise of Christians with feigned words 2 Peter 2:1, 5, and were admitted to their love feasts, Jude 12. But their denying of Him was like unto that which Paul spoke of in Titus 1:16, being rebellion against His commands. 2. It was a great aggravation of their sin of rebellion, that they denied the Lord that bought them. 1] Because Christ having bought them had power and authority to command them: therefore they ought to have obeyed Him, and not to have rebelled against Him. 2] It was (for the present) very beneficial unto them that Christ had so bought them. For Christ in the exercise of that power and dominion over the world, which by His death he has obtained, confers upon men all the benefits that they receive. It was therefore an aggravation of their sin that they did rebel against such a benefactor. 3] Christ having obtained by His death this dominion over all, for the good of those that believe in Him, the consideration of His being the Lord that has so bought all, should persuade sinners to believe in Him. This therefore was an aggravation of their sin of unbelief and disobedience. 4] Thus, the apostle did also reprove their madness in rebelling against the Lord that bought them, who therefore could not want power to punish them. Now although the Lord (in that sense and in that sort that we have taken notice of) has bought these; yet will he truly say unto them in the day of judgment, I never knew you, Mat. 7:23.
A sixth objection is presented to us from Heb. 2:9, That He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. Whereto I thus return answer. 1. I deny not, but have already declared, that every man ( without exception of any ) does in this life receive benefit by the death of Christ. And what Christ effected by His death, the same was intended both by the Father, and by Christ. 2. I am informed that the word man, is not here expressed in the Greek Text, but supplied by the translators: Whereupon I would have it to be considered, whether they might not as well have supplied the word Son, because of that which follows in verse 10, For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering. 3. Though we here read every man, yet considering what here follows in verse 10, and what went before in Chapter 1:13, Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them, who shall be heirs of salvation ? I conceive by every man we may here understand only every son; or (which is all one) every man that shall be an heir of salvation. This I am the more confirmed in by that which follows in verses 11-17, where they for whose sake Christ took part of flesh and blood, (and consequently, for whose salvation he tasted death) are declared to be brethren of Christ, and children given to Christ of the Father. I am also the more confident of this, because of these words by the grace of God in the place objected to us, it being certain that the Elect, and only they, are the object of that grace of God whereby we are saved. Thus, I can discern no strength at all in any objection to be made against us from this place.
Objection from 1 Tim. 4:10
Some endeavor to make a seventh objection from 1 Tim. 4:10, we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of them that believe. But the showing of the true meaning of the place, may save them the labor of making their objection. The Scripture speaks of a twofold salvation: 1. A salvation temporal, of which you may read in these places; Psalms 106:8,10; Neh. 9:27; Matt. 8:25. Touching this salvation, God is the Savior of all men. Yea he preserves man and beast, Psalms 36:6. 2. Eternal salvation. And this God has prepared for His own people, and for none other, saving them by His Son Jesus Christ from sin and eternal destruction. To these, He gives to believe in Jesus Christ, that he may save them, according to the promise of the gospel. Thus, he is the Savior of all men, specially of them that believe. And thus there remains no objection to be made against us from this place.
Objection from Hebrews 10:29
Another place from which an objection is made against us, is Heb. 10:29, Of how much sorer punishment suppose ye shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden underfoot the Son of God, and has esteemed the blood of the Covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, &c. This is clear that by the blood of the Covenant is here meant the blood of Jesus Christ, which he Himself calls the blood of the New Testament or Covenant, Mark 14:24. But who is the person that is here said to be sanctified with this blood? Our adversaries say, The sinner here spoken of. But this sinner is not in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8:1. He is not made partaker of Christ, Heb. 3:4. He is not sprinkled with His blood, I Peter 1:2. Then is he sanctified with His blood? Those that are sanctified with this blood of Christ, by one offering, Christ hath perfected them forever, Heb. 10:14. Therefore, they are saved eternally. It is not therefore the sinner that perishes, but Jesus Christ Himself (spoken of by the Son of God in the words immediately a foregoing) here declared to have been sanctified with this blood. There is a sanctifying of Christ spoken of in John 10:36. That was the Father's setting Him apart to the office of Mediator. That is not the sanctifying here spoken of. But that you may understand the sanctifying here spoken of, you must remember that Christ did bear our sins, 1 Pet. 2:24. Yea the Father did lay on Him our iniquity, Isa. 53:6. And so he was made sin for us, 2 Cor. 5:21. Now that our sin might neither return upon us, nor still lie upon Him, it was necessary that he should purge it away from Himself, this he did by Himself, Heb. 1:3, by His blood, Rev.1:5. Doing this he sanctified Himself with His own blood: and had he not done this, he had not sanctified us with His blood as the Scriptures declare Him to have done, Heb. 13:12. Therefore when he was near to His Passion, (in which he was to do this work) he said to His Father concerning His Disciples, For their sakes (or, for them as some understanding the Greek tongue, do say the words may be rendered; that is, for their good) I sanctify myself, Jn. 17:19. As this interpretation seems to be genuine and proper, and no way forced, so it fully agrees with the apostle's scope, which was to hold forth the excellency of the blood of Christ, that so He might also show their odious sin that count it an unholy thing. And the excellency of the blood of Christ could not be more clearly declared, then by showing that Jesus Christ when he was made sin for us (all our sin then lying upon Him) was sanctified by His own blood. Thus this Scripture being truly understood, and so made to agree with other Scriptures, makes nothing at all against us.
Objection from Hebrews 9:15
The next place of Scripture objected to us by our adversaries, that we will now consider, is Heb. 9:15, from which they endeavor to infer that Christ hath freed all men from their sins against the first Testament, and consequently from their sins against the Law, (considered as sins against the Law). And if Christ have freed all men from their sins against the Law, (considered as sins against the Law), then he hath presented to His Father's justice a satisfaction for the sins of all men. The words in that place of Scripture, are these; And for this cause he is the mediator of the new covenant that were under the first Testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Here these things are to be considered:
What is this First Testament?
1. By the first Testament is not here meant any covenant made with Adam, or any testament given to Adam before his fall, but the legal and typical covenant and testament made with Israel, and given to Israel, in the days of Moses: as appears in the words following, viz. in verses 16,17,18,19, 20; compared with Ex. 24:3-8; see also Hebrews 8:6-9.
2. The apostle's scope here is to show that the believing Jews were freed from their sins against the first Testament, not by the blood of bulls and of goats, or any such like thing offered according to the Law of Moses; but by the death of Christ. This appears in this chapter  verses 9,12,23, and in 10:1-11. And here note, by the way, that these words once for all in Heb.10:10, do not signify once for all men, as some have ignorantly conceived: but once and no more.
3. The restriction of this to believers appears plainly in the words of the Scripture objected, if men had eyes to see it. It appears likewise clearly in the verse foregoing. Also in verse 24 compared with chapter 7:25. Also in chapter 10:10,14,15, 16,17. And that unbelievers under the Law were not redeemed from their sins against the Law, is manifest in Rom. 2:12, where it is said, that they shall be judged by the Law.
4. As it has been already proved that all wicked persons shall be condemned and punished for all their wickedness whatsoever, so I desire our adversaries to behold this truth again in that glass which is held forth unto them in Rev. 21:8. For that place does not only show who shall be punished with eternal torment, but also notes the evils for which they shall be so punished. Thus we have found this place also (though objected against us by some of our adversaries with much confidence), yet indeed to prove nothing at all of that which our adversaries have endeavored to prove against us by it.
Objection from 1 Cor. 15:1-3
Another objection is made against us from 1 Cor.15:1-3, by which place our adversaries would prove that Christ died for the sins of all men, and consequently that he presented to His Father's justice a satisfaction for the sins of all men. True it is that Christ died to this end, that whosoever believeth in Him, the same should receive remission of sins, Jn. 3:16; Acts 10:43. And Christ intended that His death should be of perfect sufficiency (as indeed it is) for the effecting of this. Yet still it is due that he neither did in His death, nor does in His intercession, present unto His Father's justice a satisfaction for the sins of any, save only of those that do or shall believe in Him; which are His Elect only. But let us consider the place objected. The words from which the objection is made are theseóI declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you.óFor I delivered unto you first of all, that which I also received how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. The apostle's scope here is to show the certainty of Christ's resurrection, not only in itself, but also to the faith of the believing Corinthians, and consequently how foolish they should be if they should deny the resurrection of the bodies of the saints, wherein by necessary and immediate consequence, they would be found to deny Christ's resurrection. To this end he represents unto them how the gospel which he at the first preached unto them, and they through grace received, did contain in it (as a main and fundamental part thereof) the doctrine of Christ's resurrection. This, I say, is the apostle's scope in this place. And thus representing to them (to the end afore mentioned ) the gospel which he first preached to them, he brancheth the doctrine thereof into three Articles.
1. The doctrine concerning Christ's death.
2. Concerning His burial.
3. Concerning His resurrection.
And here he ties not Himself to the same form of words which he at first used, but only represents unto them the substance and heads of that doctrine which he first preached unto them. The doctrine of Christ's death he thus sets forth; That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. By the Scriptures, he means the Scriptures of the Old Testament: which Scriptures do not hold forth Christ presenting to His Father's justice a satisfaction for the sins of all men, but the contrary altogether. The types of Christ in and under the Law held Him forth as a Priest and a Redeemer for His Israel, of His Israel only: and the rest of the nations were looked upon as aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants, ect. Ephesians 2:12. Insomuch that the apostles themselves for a while (not yet knowing the largeness of the extent of God's Israel) knew not that Christ should be found to be a Redeemer of any of those Gentiles which were not joined unto Israel as proselytes. This appears in Acts 10 and 11. See also Eph. 3:3,5, 6. And the testimony of the Prophets concerning Christ, you may see summed up in Acts 10: 42. This then was the Gospel which the apostles (and consequently Paul, who preached the same gospel that the rest of the apostles did) did every where preach, viz., That Christ according to the Scriptures did die for the taking and putting away of all the sins of all those that did or should believe in Him, compare Acts 10:43 with Acts 15:7. This doctrine Paul, in this His brief repetition, directly applies, not only to Himself, but also to the Corinthians to whom he wrote, because he looked upon them as believers 1 Cor. 1:2, and 6:11. And thus it appears that this Scripture also makes nothing for our adversaries in this controversy or question.
Objection from 1 Cor. 15:22
Whereas some of our adversaries do endeavor to trouble both themselves and us with an objection from 1 Cor. 15:22. We will next consider that place. The words of the Apostle there are these: As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive: or as some translate, As by Adam, all die, even so by Christ shall all be made alive. Touching which place mind these things,
1. The apostle does not there speak of something already past, but only of something to come. If he had there spoken of Christ's presenting in His death a satisfaction to His Father's justice for the sin of all men, he would have said: As in Adam all have died, even so in Christ all have been made alive.
2. The Apostle there speaks of the resurrection of the body unto life, even to the life of glory; of that which Christ calls the resurrection in Luke 20:35,36. Of the same which he speaks of afterwards in this chapter, verse 42-44. Neither does he in this chapter speak immediately and directly of any other resurrection.
3. By all, therefore we must here understand only all those that are Christ's, verse 23, of whom Christ is the first fruits, verse 20. Upon all these, as well as upon the rest of mankind, death entered by Adam and in Adam: and to all these, though not to the rest of mankind, shall be a glorious resurrection of the body by Christ and in Christ. If this were [not] true, then Christ were not risen, and so our faith were vain, and we yet in our sins. These things being thus clear, I do not fear any objection from this place.
Objection from 2 Corinthians 5:14,15
There seems unto some to be somewhat against us in 2 Corinthians 5:14,15. Therefore, that place also shall now be diligently weighed. The words are these "The love of Christ constrains 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 which died for them, and rose again." Let the coherence and scope of this text be minded. The apostle had before expressed his laboring to keep a good conscience, verse 9, and 11. And in that expression concerning Himself, he seemed to join himself with others that faithfully assisted him in the preaching of the gospel. Here he declares the strong motive that still put him upon that holy laboring, viz., the love of Christ apprehended by faith. This love of Christ to him he declares and commends by Christ's dying for him, when he himself was dead. He shows also the end for which Christ so showed this love unto him; viz., that henceforth he might not live unto himself, but unto Christ who died for him. And in holding forth all this, extends the same (as there was good cause for it) to all believers: but with any other he meddleth not in this place. The word all is here used, as in Heb. 12: 8, for all the sons, not all persons, for all the Saints, (chapter 1:1) not all men; for all that are in Christ, (ver. 17.) not for all in the world. And Christ's dying for them all, shows that they were all dead in themselves, else Christ needed not to have died for them. It is objected, that all men in the world were thus dead in themselves. Ans. The thing indeed is true; but the apostle had no occasion to take any notice of it, or to make any use of it here; but only of this, that we who now live through grace, were once miserably dead, as sufficiently appears by Christ's dying for us to save us from this misery. The apostle has the like expression in Rom. 3: 23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Though, this in itself be true of all men without exception, yet it is manifest by that which there goes before in verse 22, and that also which follows in verse 24, 25, and 26, that the apostle there speaks only or all those that do believe. Whereas our adversaries would observe in the saying in 2 Cor. 5:15, that they which are but a part of those for whom Christ is there said to have died; they therein endeavor to observe that which the apostle neither spoke, nor meant. For by they which live, is there meant only the living.
Objection from 2 Cor. 5:19
Whereas our adversaries would either confirm their objection from the place last answered unto or else trouble us with another, from which follows in verse 19, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. I thereto thus answer. The word world, must there be understood as in Rom. 11:12,15, and so not be extended beyond those to whom grace is (or will be) given to believe in Jesus Christ. For these only are the blessed ones to whom God imputes not sin, as we have already seen in Rom. 4:6,7, 8. These only are they that are afterwards spoken of in 2 Cor. 5:21, for whom the Father made Christ to be sin, that they might be made the righteousness of God in Christ. For God is not frustrated of His end there propounded.
But, the objection which seems strongest against us, is that which is drawn from Rom.5, and specially from verse 18, of that chapter, where the apostle has these words; Therefore, 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. Therefore I shall now address my self by the help of God, to give a plain answer to this also in words of truth and soberness. 1. The scope of the apostle here is to commend the infinite love of God unto His children, shown and extended unto them in Jesus Christ and shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto them. This will easily appear to any godly persons who shall diligently read from verse 5, of this chapter to the end; and shall consider how every serve [service?] depends on that which went immediately before. 2. In the latter part of this chapter, Jesus Christ as the second or last Adam (as he is called in 1 Cor. 15:45-47) is compared with the last [first] Adam [who] is said to be the figure of Him that was to come, verse 14. For as all that fell, did fall in and by the first Adam: so all that are raised again to eternal life, are raised again in and by Jesus Christ. Other things wherein the similitude does either hold, or not hold between Adam and Christ I leave the reader to consider in [this] chapter. 3. Whereas in verse 17, the apostle speaks of an abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness which believers receive; this is not meant of a greater measure of grace received by some believers than by others: but it commends the abundant excellency of that grace, and gift of righteousness which believers do receive, whereby they are assured, that they shall reign in life by Jesus Christ. Here also consider verse 15, of this chapter and compare this 17th verse herewith. 4. All they upon whom the free gift came unto justification of life, by the righteousness of Christ, and all they which shall be made righteous by His obedience (as it is in verse 10) [shall] be saved eternally: as also further appears in verse 9, 10, and in verse 21, of this chapter. 5. Those all men on whom judgment came unto condemnation by the offence of Adam, and those many that were made sinners by his disobedience; (as it is in verse 19) all those, and only those, that are (or shall be) from Adam and by Adam in respect of natural life and being, and were accordingly represented by Adam when he fell. Thus, the man Jesus the Son of the virgin Mary WAS exempted. As he was not by Adam, so neither did he represent Him when he fell. He was not for His own part, and as touching His own person, made a sinner by Adam's disobedience, as we were: neither did the judgment come upon Him to condemnation by Adam's offence, as it came upon us. For then, he had been under condemnation for His own original sin. So that even here the words all men are not to be taken in the largest extent, without any limitation. 6. Accordingly those all men on whom the free gift came unto justification of life by the righteousness of Christ, and chore [those?] many which shall be made righteous by the obedience of Christ, (as it is in verse 19) are all those, and only those, that are (or shall be) from Christ and by Christ in respect of new life, and their being new creatures, being born (or begotten) of Him, 1 John 2:29, whom did Christ accordingly represent when he died and rose again, as I have already showed. Thus, the seed of the Serpent is excluded. And thus even here also (through the goodness of God) the light of truth shines forth, and the mist of error vanishes before it.
Objection from John 11:49-56
Some conceive that they shall find something against us in the saying of Caiaphas recorded in John 11:49,50, and in John's note or observation upon the same in verses 51,52. Indeed if Caiaphas had spoken of Himself, we might possibly have expected some opposition considering how a carnal heart, and the large and flesh-pleasing doctrine (falsely called gospel) which we now oppose, do easily agree and close together, as experience also makes manifest. But in as much as Caiaphas now spoke not of himself, but being high priest that year, did prophesy, we shall certainty find nothing against us in his speech. The saying of Caiaphas Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, (that that is, for us Jews; for the nation of the Jews) that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. Hereupon John gives this noteóHe prophesied that Jesus should die for that Nation, &c. The dying of Jesus for that nation, was His dying for the redemption of all the children of God of that nation, yea of all the children of God wheresoever scattered abroad, of what nation soever they were: of all which children of God that nation (in the separation thereof from the rest of the world to be a peculiar people unto God) had hitherto been an appointed type. For so John further explains it in 52. And not for that Nation only, but that he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. This only holds forth that Jesus was to present unto the justice of God [and] His Father, a satisfaction for the sins of all the children of God of what nation soever, and that hereby their salvation should be effected. So, it confirms the same truth that we maintain.
Objection from Matthew 12:31,32
But yet our adversaries seem confident that by the words of our Savior in Mat. 12:31, 32, they shall prove that all sins against the Law (considered as sins against the Law) are forgiven to all men; and consequently, that Christ has presented a satisfaction to His Father's justice for the sins of all men. Let us therefore with all seriousness, and in the fear of the Lord, consider that place also, and diligently mind both what is said, and also what is truly to be said concerning it. The words of our Savior there are thus renderedóAll manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the [Holy] Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven Him: But whosoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Here let these things be considered.
1. Whereas adversaries find fault with the last translation in the former part of verse 31, contending that the word ought there to be thus rendered, every sin and blasphemy, I have already proved that the word all or every man, does sometimes signify only some of all sorts, or of every sort.
2. Whereas they bring this place to prove the forgiving of all sins against the Law to all men, but not of any sins against the gospel; (which they acknowledge not to be forgiven to all men) let it be minded that Christ here speaks of sins against the gospel, as well as of sins against the Law; unless it be no sin against the gospel to speak against Christ.
3. Observe that Christ does not here say every sin and blasphemy is forgiven unto men; and whosoever speaks against the Son of man, is forgiven Him. But he speaks with manifest and express reference unto time to come; it shall be forgiven. Even as he said of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, with reference to the same time to come; It shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. But by the doctrine of our adversaries, every sin and blasphemy that they understand to be here so spoken of, is already forgiven to all men; yea and they would have this place to seem to prove it. I suppose they will say, that Christ did here thus speak of the time to come, because he had not yet suffered for men's sins. But this reason is insufficient. For though Christ had not yet actually suffered, yet His sufferings were already accepted of the Father, and so effectual for the putting away of the sins of all those that were partakers of Him; see Dan. 9:19; 1 Sam.12:13; Matthew 9:2. And this saying of Christ in Matthew 12:31,32, does as well belong to the time after His passion, as to that particular time in which Christ so spoke it: as also appears in 1 Tim. 1:13, compared with Heb. 10:26,27, and 1 Jn. 5:16.
4. Whereas our adversaries conceive, or take it for granted, that the sin against the Holy Spirit here spoken of, which shall never be forgiven, is nothing else but final unbelief, in this also they do greatly err. For they which do fall into this sin, do fall into it in their lifetime; yea sometimes long before their death. Thus it was with those Pharisees that had now committed this sin; see Matthew 12:24, 25, with 31,32, and Mark 3: 22, 28,29,50. This also appears in Heb 6: 4, 5, 6, and Heb.10:26,27,28,29. Moreover, there are multitudes, yea millions of unbelievers, that go to eternal destruction without committing this sin. And here, I conceive, it will neither be impertinent, or unprofitable, to show what this sin is. This sin against the Holy Spirit, is the sin of those that wittingly and willfully oppose with odious blasphemies the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself as He is the author and subject of His gospel. 1. This sin is an opposing and rejecting of the whole gospel of Jesus, and of Jesus Christ Himself as he is the author and subject of His gospel. Therefore the committers of this sin are not only said to fall away but also to crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and to put Him to an open shame, Heb. 6:6. Yea they are said to tread underfoot the Son of God, and to count His blood an unholy thing, and to do despite unto the Spirit of grace, Heb. 10:29. 2. This sin is not committed ignorantly, but against a great and clear light of knowledge, 1 Tim. 1:13; Heb. 6:4; Heb. 10:26; Matt. 21:38. 3. This sin is not committed through infirmities, but willfully, in the exercise of a full and settled malice, even against Christ, not only known but also minded to be Christ, and against His gospel, both known and minded to be His gospel, and against the commands and invitations of the Spirit of grace though known and minded to be His commands and invitations: and accordingly this devilish malice carries on the sinner to abominable blasphemies, and makes him always to hate all thoughts of repentance, though he expect nothing but fiery indignation. All this is to be seen by the light of these places of Scripture, viz. Heb. 6:6, and Heb.10:26,27,29. And this sin is called The sin (or blasphemy) against the Holy Spirit, because it is so committed against the work of the Holy Spirit, giving such a light of the knowledge of the gospel, and calling upon the sinner to obey the gospel so revealed. This sin a man falls into when he is only enlightened (by the work of the Holy Spirit) with the knowledge of the gospel, and called upon (by the same Spirit) to yield obedience thereunto: and God does not add a further powerful work, giving unto him a new heart, and putting a new spirit within Him. And thus is discovered the desperate wickedness of man's heart, and his hatred of the gospel, which would in like manner appear in all, if all were dealt with in like sort. By this it may be discerned how gross the error of our adversaries is, who account this sin and blasphemy against the Spirit to be nothing else but final unbelief.
5. The scope of our Savior here was to show that this sin against the Holy Spirit shall never be forgiven to any person that once falls into it; and that herein this sin differs from all other sins that men commit. For there is no sin but it may be forgiven, and is (or shall be) forgiven to some that have committed it, this sin only excepted: there being no sin, save only this, which may not be repented of, and is not repented of (through God's mighty grace) by some that have committed it. Our adversaries do notwithstanding straightly press us with these words; whosoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven Him. Whereto I answer. That this clause, It shall be forgiven Him, does here signify no more then, it may be forgiven Him. As in 1 Cor. 3:15. This clause, Himself shall be saved, does signify no more than, he himself may be saved. For it is not of necessity that every one must be saved, that builds hay and stubble on Christ the foundation; that is, brings false professors of faith into an outward union in Church fellowship with others that are built on Christ the Rock. Thus still remains sin, that no sin is indeed remitted to unbelievers. And thus this place makes not against us.
Objection from Jeremiah 31:33
Some of our adversaries do also object against us, Jer. 31:33, affirming that God hath now made the covenant there spoken of, with all men; and consequently that all men's sins are forgiven. This therefore shall next be inquired into. The words of that Scripture are these; This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord for I will forgive their iniquities and I will remember their sin no more. Touching which Scripture I affirm, and undertake to prove, that God has not made the covenant here spoken of, with all men, but with His Elect only.
1. The Scripture does not teach us, by the house of Israel to understand all men.
2. This covenant God keeps and performs, with all those, and unto all those that he has made it with: otherwise God were not faithful rather false and deceiving; which to imagine were odious blasphemy. But God performed this covenant only to His Elect.
3. It is manifest from the latter part of verse 34, that God performs this covenant both to all those, and only to those, whose iniquity He will forgive, and whose sin he will remember no more. This place therefore is so far from speaking for our adversaries, that it overthrows them altogether. But they object that all of the house of Israel are not God's elect. I answer that Israel not withstanding did type the whole company of God's Elect, as also is intimated in Psalms 135:4, and accordingly they who are declared to be God's elect, are called Israel, and Israelites indeed, Rom. 9:6; Psalms 73:1; John 1:47; Gal. 6:16. They further object, that God puts His Law in the inward parts, and writes it in the hearts of some (at the least) that are not His Elect. I answer, that the Law here spoken of, is the very doctrine of the gospel, and that God's putting this law into men's inward parts, & writing it in their hearts, is His making them to understand, and to love; to believe, and to obey this gospel. And this God works only in His elect, whom he makes His own people, and He is found to be their God. For this see Jeremiah 24:7; Jer. 32:38,39,40. Ezk. 11:19,20; Ezk. 36:26-28. It being a clear and most manifest truth, (though some of our adversaries are so blind, that they cannot see it) that that precious promise in Isaiah 54:13, is made only to the Elect.
Objection from Dan. 9:24
Some endeavor to frame an objection against us from Dan. 9:24, where we thus read; Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgressions, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness, &c. But all this is spoken with a manifest reference and restriction to God's ElectóThy people; that is, the people of Israel, (who are thy people after the flesh, thou being one of that separated nation) viz. as they are a type of the Israel of God, and no other ways. Or rather, people, that is, the Israel of God to which thou [this] appertains. So also, holy city, that is, the city of Jerusalem as it typifies heavenly Jerusalem, or rather, thy holy city, that is, Jerusalem which is above which is thy mother. Here also observe, that everlasting righteousness is the portion of all those whose transgressions is finished [for] whose iniquity reconciliation is made. This then is peculiar to God's elect, who only are heirs of everlasting righteousness, who only are that remnant of God's heritage, whose iniquities he pardons, and whose transgression he passes by; whose iniquities He will subdue, and all whose sins He will cast into the depths of the Sea, Micah 7:18,19. These only are that Jacob the Lord's servant, and that Israel whom He has chosen, Isaiah 44:1, whose transgression He blotted out for His own sake, and will not remember their sins, Isaiah 43:25. These only are that Jacob with [which] the Lord has redeemed, and that Israel in which He has glorified Himself whose transgressions he hath blotted out as a thick cloud; and as a cloud, their sins, Isa. 44:22, 23. These are they to whom the Lord proclaimed Himself, not only merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; but also keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgressions and sin, Ex. 34:6,7. See also Psalms 103:10, 11,12. 1. As touching the rest, he proclaims Himself to be that Lord that will by no means clear the guilty, Ex. 34:7, who will take vengeance on His adversaries, and reserves wrath for His enemies, Naham 1:2, who repays them that hate Him, to their face, to destroy them, Deut. 7:10. Their own iniquities shall take them, and they shall be holden with the cords of their sins, Prov. 5:22. The reward of their hands shall be given them, Isa. 3:11. Their iniquity shall be remembered with the Lord, and their sin shall not be blotted out, but the same shall be before the Lord continually, Psalms 109:14, 15.
Some endeavor to confirm the objection that I have now answered, by another objection from Isa. 40:1, 2, where it is thus written, Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfort to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, &c. But they should here take notice that by my people, the Lord clearly means His chosen people, and none other. This therefore is to be applied to the Elect only. They object, that this was spoken of Jerusalem which then was. That believers in that Jerusalem were even then to make use of it, is acknowledged. But it is manifest that as this was only meant of believers, so it was specially meant of believers which should be in the time of the gospel more fully declared, and of Jerusalem which is above, which should then be more clearly discovered and gloriously enlarged. This is made evident partly by this clause in verse 2óthat her warfare is accomplished: partly by that which follows in verse 3,4,5. The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, &c. and here mind. the saying of Peter in 1 Pet. 1:10-12. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired, and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them, did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you.
Our opposers now seem to say [appeal] to that which is written in Isaiah 53:5,6. But here they will find as little defense or helps as they have found in those places to which we have already followed them. They conceive that all man are brought in here speaking, or (at least) some speaking as in the name of all: whereas indeed only believers do here speak; only that people of God for whose transgressions Christ was smitten, verse 8. Only that seed of Christ which is spoken of in verse 10. Only those many whom by His knowledge Christ does justify, having borne their iniquities, ver. 11. Only those transgressors for whom Christ made intercession, verse 12, which are only those that come unto God by Him; Hebrews 7:25; John 17:9, 20. Who are healed by the stripes of Christ but only believers? To these only (according to the promise in Malachi 4:21) the Sun of righteousness did arise with healing in His wings. Consider also how this is applied unto believers and unto believers only, 1 Peter 2:24,25. Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes we were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. Here take notice both of the end that Christ propounded unto Himself when he so bare our sins, and also how He was not frustrated neither did fail of the same. Moreover, I demand this of our opposers, whether this confession (being sincerely made) does not show a man to be a believer; viz. Christ was wounded for my transgressions, he was bruised for my iniquities, &c. They dare not answer negatively. How then dare they affirm that any other beside believers, do here make this confession? Though, many unbelievers did esteem the Lord Jesus in His passion to be stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted, according to that saying, Isaiah 53:4, yet only those that were afterwards converted to the faith, did come to such a sight and humble acknowledgement of that their sinful error, as is there held forth. But possibly, it will be objected unto us, that as it [was] written in Matthew 8:16,17, They brought unto Jesus many that were possessed with devils, and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick, That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. Which has clear relation unto that in Isaiah 53:4, Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. Which makes it seem probable (at least) unto some, that this is to be extended farther then to believers only. Hereto therefore, I thus answer. 1. The prophet Isaiah there manifestly speaks of Christ's bearing our sins, which are there called our griefs and our sorrows, because they are causes of grief and sorrow. Here in Matthew 8:17, they are in like manner called our infirmities, and our sicknesses, because they are causes of infirmities and sickness: for it is sin that has brought in all grief and sorrow, infirmities and sickness. 2. The love and compassion that Christ effectually showed in casting out the devils out of those that were possessed with them, and healing the sick, did prove Him to be that promised Savior, which should so bare and carry the griefs and sorrows of His people. And all the good which he did to men by such, His works was the fruit (and so also the evidence) of that His bearing the sins of His people. And therefore, I conceive, the Evangelist said that he did This, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the Prophet &c., that is, that he fulfilling thereof might be manifest. 5. The persons to whom Christ so showed compassion, were either indeed God's chosen ones, or at least of the nation of the Israelites; (which were the appointed type of all God's elect.) See Matthew 9:2,12; Jn. 4:53; Luke 7: 9; Matthew 10:5; Matt. 15:24 &c. And thus it was intimated who they were whose griefs and sorrows Christ came to bare and to carry, viz. God's peculiar and chosen people.
There is also an objection made from Genesis 12:3 (and other like places) where God said unto Abraham, In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. But this is, fully taken off in Gal. 3: 8, 9, where the apostle saith; the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then, they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham. If we will believe the Spirit of God in the apostle, we must acknowledge that the meaning of that promise was only this that believers of all nations should be blessed in Christ the promised seed of Abraham.
The words spoken by Peter to the men of Israel in the Temple at Jerusalem, recorded in Acts 3:26, are by some supposed to be very strong against us. Those words therefore shall now be taken diligently into consideration. The words are these: Unto you first, God having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Here let these things be considered. 1. In as much as God does never fall short of the end that he propounds to Himself, he must be understood to have blessed these Israelites by His Son Jesus, in that many of them which then heard the Word, believed, Acts 4:4. He blessed them then, that is, many of them, viz. those that were ordained to eternal life. 2. Whereas it follows; In turning away every one of you from His iniquities. This implies that they only should show themselves partakers of this blessing, who should show their believing in Jesus Christ through the grace of God, by being turned away (through the same grace of God) from their iniquities. In turning away every one of you; viz. whom he blesses, or shall bless, by His Son. And we have proved in our answer to the objection aforegoing, that they only are blessed in Christ, that believe in Him. This their being turned away from their iniquity, was a being truly converted from the love and service of sin, to the loathing and forsaking of it. And thus this place also does indeed make nothing against us.
Objection from John 9:41
Some have endeavored, to frame an objection against us from the words of our Savior to the Pharisees in John 9:41. If ye were blind, you should have no sin. From these words, they would infer that these Pharisees had not been chargeable of any sin, if the gospel had not been preached to them, and consequently that Christ took those sins away from them, then also from all men. Our answer is as follows. 1. Christ does not say to these Pharisees, If the gospel had not been preached unto you, but if you were blind. 2. He does not say, you should not have been chargeable of any sin: but only with reference to the time present and to come, you should have no sin. 3. He does not there say; but now the gospel has been preached unto you. But He said, but now you say, we see. 4. Christ plainly tells them, your sin remains. If their sin remained, then Christ did not take it away from them. Their sin which remained, was not only sin against the gospel, but also sin against the Law. Their devouring widow's houses, Matthew 23:14; Their omitting the weightier matters of the Law; judgment, mercy and faith, Matt. 23:23, their extortion and excess, Matt. 23:25. Yea it seems our opposers themselves understand Christ to speak in this verse, of sin against the Law, for otherwise they would not have brought this place (as they have done) to prove Christ's taking away sins against the Law from those that continue finally in unbelief. Thus, this Scripture is so far from opposing our doctrine, that it confirms it altogether. 5. The true meaning of this Scripture, is this, If ye were blind, that is, if you did say, we are blind. The antithesis or opposition following confirms this interpretation, But now you say, we see. If ye did say, we are blind, viz., being sensible of your blindness, and sincerely, and freely acknowledging it, and so exercising and manifesting true repentance and faith. Compare this with 1 John. 1:9. This also is confirmed by the antithesis in the last words of the verse, therefore your sin remains. Your sin should not remain, for if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 Jn l:9. If any shall yet reject this true exposition of this Scripture, he must be forced to say, that man's blindness whereby he does not behold the light of the gospel of Christ, does make a man to have no sin. Than which nothing can be spoken more absurdly, nor more falsely.
Objection from John 15:22-24
The same opposers have endeavored to strengthen their former objection by another (like unto it) from the words of Christ John 15:22-24. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. If I had not done among them the works which none other men did, they had not had sin. From hence also they would in like manner infer, that the men of whom Christ here speaks, had not been chargeable of any sin, if the gospel had not been preached to them. Our answer is this; Christ did not here say, if the gospel had not been preached to them. But, if I had not come and preached unto them, that is, if I had not come and preached to them in mine own person. And, if I had not done among them the works, which none other man had done, that is, if I had not wrought my mighty works and miracles among them. Therefore, when Christ here said, they had not had [sin], he does not mean, they had been in no wise chargeable of any sin: but, they should not have been so manifestly inexcusable in gross and open sin. For so the word sinners does sometimes signify persons manifestly inexcusable in gross and open sins: as you may see in Matt. 9:10. The Jews were chargeable of sin before Christ wrought His miracles among them; before He preached unto them in His own person; and before His incarnation, see Amos 2:4,5. Yea the men of Tyre and Zidon were chargeable of sin, and the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were chargeable of sin, see Ezk. 16:49,50; and Jude 7. Our interpretation of Christ's words does agree plainly with the clear meaning of that in James 4:17, To Him that knows to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. That is, to him it is manifestly gross and inexcusable sin. In addition, This interpretation is fulfilled by the antithesis presently following in verse 23, But now they have no cloak (or, no excuse) for their sin. Thus this place also is far from proving that which it has been brought to prove against us.
Objection from Col. 1:20
The saying of the Apostle in Col. 1:20, is also by some objected against us, as if it contradicted our doctrine. The saying of the apostle there is this, And (having made peace through the blood of His cross) by Him, to reconcile all things unto Himself by Him, I say whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Our answer hereto shall consist of these branches, 1. Whereas some of our opposers take all things here in the largest sense, comprehending all creatures, and so angels as well as men; this is a manifest error. The holy angels needed no reconciler. The angels that fell are not reconciled; neither did Christ take on Him the nature of angels, Heb. 2:16. In addition, I believe our opposers will not say that Christ presented to His Father's justice a satisfaction for the sins of angels. 2. It has been already proved that the word all must sometimes be understood with limitation to the present subject spoken of. See another example of it in, 1 Cor. 6:1. All things are lawful, &c. Where under all things, you may not comprehend theft, adultery, lying, ect., but only all meats, which had been forbidden to the Jews in the Law given by Moses; as there appears in the verse, following. 3. Though the apostle here seems to speak of things, yet he means men, and no other things. So when he said in 1 Cor.1:27, 28; God has chosen the weak things of the world, &c. He means only persons. 4. Neither can all things here signify all men universally, but only each and every particular person whatsoever. For if every person were reconciled to God by the blood of Christ, then every person must be saved eternally, as appears in Rom. 5:8,9,10. By all things therefore we are here to understand All the members of that body of which Christ is the head, verse 18. All those that either already were, or afterwards should be, such as these Colossians now were, to whom this is applied in the ensuing verses. 5. By things in heaven are here meant the spirits of just men made perfect, Heb. 12: 23, who being absent from the body, are present with the Lord, 2 Cor. 5:8.
Objection from John 15:2
There remains yet an objection from Christ's words in John 15:2. This seems to some to raze a great part of the foundation on which we have built. It is therefore expedient that the same should be clearly and fully answered. The inference that is made, is that unfruitful persons that perish eternally, are, or sometime were, in Christ. Therefore, they were in Christ when he suffered. Therefore Christ when he suffered, made satisfaction to His Father's justice for their sins. But let us first consider the words of Christ, from which some endeavor thus to reason, John 15:1,2. I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman; every branch in me that bears not fruit He takes away, &c. And that our opposers may not be too confident, let them in the mean time mind the clear saying of Paul in Rom. 8:1. There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus; and remember that which there follows in the latter part of verse (viz., who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit) is not an exception from any thing that went before, or a restraining of general terms to one particular comprehended under it; but an explanation of that which immediately went before; and so a description of those that are manifested to be in Christ Jesus, see 2 Cor. 5:17. Here then, is held forth the full satisfaction, and consequently, the eternal salvation of all those whom the apostle speaks of as persons truly in Christ Jesus.
Allegories in John 15
As touching [the] saying of Christ in John 15: let it be considered whether it be not a figurative speech, an allegorical or metaphorical speech. If we speak without any metaphor, and understand our own words according to their proper and literal sense or signification; without any figure, then we cannot truly say that Christ is a vine, that the Father is an husbandman; that disciples are branches. The meaning then is only this; that Christ is like a vine, or as it were a vine, yea the true vine: The Father is like an husbandman or as it were an husbandman: the disciples are like branches or as it were branches. They therefore which utterly reject the use of this word as it is here, in the opening of this and such like Scriptures do not rightly divide the Word. Disciples are, as it were, branches of the true vine, in a twofold respect.
1. In respect of communion with the Church of Christ in the outward worship of God and the use of Christ's ordinances. Thus though not all men, yet all Church members are as it were branches of the true vine, and so to be looked upon by us, till they are (or at least ought to be) cast out of the Church for their manifest unfruitfulness.
2, In respect of true communion and union with Christ. Thus only true believers are as it were branches of the true vine, and so looked upon by God.
As touching that in verse 2, if I be not misinformed, it is, word for word, every branch not bearing fruit. Then the meaning may be this; every branch that bears not fruit in me. This involves only this much, that there are Church members, who though they be as it were branches of the true vine in that respect that I mentioned, and so to us in Christ in respect of outward profession and communion; yet does not bear fruit in Christ: and so does not show themselves to be really in Christ, but the contrary. These the Father takes away, casting them out of His Church, and punishing them with eternal destruction. They which abide not in Christ, were never in Him really, appears not only by that in Romans 8:1, already alleged, but also by these Scriptures among many others, Matthew 7:23; Hebrews 3:14; 1 John 2:27; Ephesians 1:3, 4; &c.
Are All Men in Christ?
Now as touching this conceit, that all men either are, or were in Christ; I would demand of those that so conceive, whether all men do forever continue in Christ? I am confident they will not answer affirmatively, as seeing clearly that no such thing can be maintained; and that they cannot make such a opinion to agree with this Scripture, no, not by their own interpretation of the same. I would therefore demand of them in the second place, when they which perish, do cease to be in Christ; whether in this life, or after this life. If they say, not in this life, but after this life; then must they relinquish this Scripture, which speaks of men's abiding, or not abiding, in Christ in this life, see vrs. 4, 5, 6, 7. Yea they will be found to hold, (most manifestly contrary, to all truth) that men may be in Christ all the time of their life here, and yet, perish eternally. If they will say that in this life they cease to be in Christ; I would then know when, and how? If they say that they cease to be in Christ through their unbelief, or their unfruitfulness, I demand: when were they other then unfruitful and unbelieving persons? And if men who neither had, nor ever would or should have, either faith, or fruits, could not withstanding be in Christ, how comes it to pass that unfruitfulness, or unbelief makes them cease to be in Christ? Thus, I suppose, I have sufficiently manifested the weakness and vanity of This objection.
2 Peter 2:20.
The next objection that I will answer, shall be that from 2 Pet. 2:20. If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein; and overcome, the latter end is worse with them, than the beginning. Hence, our opposers would infer, not only those sinners perishing have escaped the pollutions of the world; which touching some of those sinners we grant, in the apostolic sense, not in theirs. In addition, that all their sins against the Law, considered as sinners against the Law, are forgiven unto them: which we neither grant; neither did the apostle mean any such thing. 1. The apostle here speaks [not] of all perishing sinners, but only of some, upon whom the doctrine of the gospel had such a work, as that they were thereby outwardly reformed, and purged from outward pollutions, in which the rest of the unbelieving world did generally [live]. Even as John's doctrine did so far work upon Herod that, when he heard him, he did many things, Mark 6:20. 2. The apostle does [not] say nor mean that these sinners were justified in God's sight from any of their sins, but only that they were outwardly reformed in their lives. So they were washed, verse 22; but how? As the sow that was washed is still ready to wallow in the mire. They were externally washed in the outer reformation of lives, but retained their swinish nature. They were not so much as sprinkled with the blood of Christ, and therefore, not washed from the guilt of their sins. They were just like a dog that has cast out of his stomach some former fleshly thing that he had swallowed down, but still retained the nature and appearance of a filthy, greedy dog. Thus these remained filthy dogs and swine, being never any of those sheep of Christ, for whom he laid down His life, and whom he sanctified by His death, purging them by His blood from all sins, John 10:15; Eph. 5:25, 26; Rev.1:5,6.
Objection from 2 Peter 1:9
There is another objection made from the word of Peter in 2 Pet. 1:9, which are thus rendered, But he that lacks these things is blind and cannot see afar off and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. From which words our opposers infer that unbelievers (and consequently all men) were purged from their sins by the blood of Christ. But:
1. This cannot be understood of one that never was a believer, by their own doctrine: for though they say that all men are purged from their sins by the blood of Christ, yet they say also that none do know and mind this but believers and they make such to be nothing else but the knowing of this. Now he that has forgotten this, did sometime know and mind it. And (though some of our opposers have drunk in this error also) that a true believer may fall away totally and so perish, yet the Scripture teaches us a more comfortable doctrine, John 6:35; 1 Peter 1:5.
2. There is nothing in this Scripture that requires it to be understood of an unbeliever. For though he that totally lacks these things, (viz. faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, &c. ver. 5, 6, 7) must needs be an unbeliever: yet a true believer may sometimes lack these things [in] a great measure; see James 1:5,6,7. They object, that in the Greek it is: He to whom these things are not [present]. We answer that this phrase here only imports these things not to be unto him in a continual present readiness, as it were at his hand continually, for the manifestation of them in exercise and practice. In addition, this [is] confirmed by the antithesis in the verse aforegoing; If these things be in you, and abound, they will make you that you shall neither be barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This also receives further confirmation from that which follows in verse 11. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly, into the everlasting kingdom, &c. So that is, these things being in you, and abounding, these things being continually in a present readiness unto you for the manifestation and exercise of them in your practice; you being continually doing these things, and so never failing, verse 10 (which it means not only of total, but also of grievous falls). An entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly, that is, you shall have abundant assurance of your entrance, &c., which abundant assurance, even those believers to whom these things are not so present, may remain short of for a season.
3. Whereas that which follows, is in the translation thus rendered; He is blind, and cannot see afar off. The copulative and, is not in the Greek text, but only these words; He is blind, not seeing afar off; or, not being able to see afar off. Moreover, the second word shows the meaning of the first. Though he is not so blind as to see nothing at all, (for no believer can be) yet he is so far blind as not to see afar off. 4. The forgetfulness also, or forgetting here spoken of, is not total, (for such indeed is not found in a believer) but only a forgetting in a great measure, like that spoken of in Hebrews 12:5.
This then, is all that here appears, viz., that a man purged from His sins, may yet with the angel of the Church at Ephesus, leave his first love, and so far fall, as not to do his first works, Revelation 2:4,5. Faith, virtue, knowledge, &c. may be far from abounding in him, and so he may be in a great measure barren or unfruitful. Yet the eyes of his mind may be in a great measure dimmed, and his mindfulness of the purging away of his sins, may be much abated. All this proves not the conclusion of our opposers, neither opposes our doctrine.
Objection from 2 Peter 3:9
There is yet another place in this Epistle objected unto us; viz., 2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, (as some men count slackness) but is long suffering to us-ward; not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Hence some would infer, that God would have no person to perish; and consequently, that he gave His Son to present a satisfaction to His justice for the sins of every person. However, if the Lord open our eyes, we shall see this dispelled by the light that shines from this place.
1. The will of God here spoken of, is an effectual will. For the Greek word here used, holds forth not only the will of God, but also His counsel; even that counsel of His will, according to which He effectually works. Therefore, the apostle here speaks only of those whom God effectually saves.
2. The apostleís scope here is to show the cause why it was and should be so long before Christ did and should come to judgment; viz., that none might perish, but that all might come to repentance. Even this shows that the apostle has here respect to none but the Elect, of whom none shall perish but all of them shall come to repentance before Christís coming to judgment.
3. When he here said, the Lord is long-suffering to us-ward; by us, he means the Elect, and more particularly, the elect of the Jewish nation, of whom he and they, to whom he now wrote, were a part. When he adds, not willing that any should perish; he in like manner means, not willing that any of us who are His chosen people should perish. In addition, in that which follows; but this all should come to repentance; by all he likewise means, all of us, His Elect, and specially, all of us, His elect of the nation of the Israelites.
However, the objection seems stronger that is made from Ezk. 18:32 and 33:11. For an answer whereto, these things are to be minded:
1. God sometimes speaks of Himself after the manner of men; and yet those speeches of His are to be understood after the manner of God. Thus, it is when God ascribes unto Himself, anger, sorrow, and the like. As in Gen. 6:6; and in 1 Sam. 15:11. And thus it is when the Scripture ascribes to God a taking pleasure in anything done by man, or any fruit thereof: as namely when it holds forth God as having pleasure in this, that the wicked turn from His way, and live.
2. When the Lord said, I have no pleasure in the death of Him that dies; I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; He declared indeed that He has no pleasure in the misery of His creation in itself considered.
Yet, it is not contrary to the pleasure of God to set forth the glory of His righteousness, and power, and His wrath against sinners, in the destruction of the vessels of wrath; see Romans 9:22; Prov. 1:16;16:4.
3. The Scripture holds forth Godís greatest delight to be, not in a sinnerís destruction, but in the conversion and salvation of sinners. This is plainly held forth in these places. Moreover, elsewhere the Scripture manifests that the destruction of sinners that perish, is purposely ordered of God to the commendation of His infinite and glorious mercy toward those whom He saves; Rom. 9:23, 24.
4. The scope of these places is to declare Godís readiness to accept and save those who sincerely turn to Him, and so to move and encourage sinners to such conversion unto God. In all this, there is no opposition against our doctrine.
Objection from Luke 24:47
In the next place through the help of God, I shall return an answer to an objection drawn partly from Luke 24:47, and partly from Acts 13:38. From these places some do thus argue: therefore, sins are remitted to all men. I answer:
1. In Luke 24:47, observe this expression, among all nations. We readily grant that the true doctrine of the gospel concerning remission of sins, was to be preached among all nations, and is to be preached among all men. Some object that the Greek words here signify, unto all nations. We deny not that the Greek preposition here used, does sometimes signify unto; properly it signifies into; and sometimes, among. In addition, this last signification does best agree in this place.
2. If we here translate, unto all nations; yet so this Scripture will make nothing against us. This doctrine, through Christís Name, whosoever believes in Him, shall receive remission of sins; (Acts 10:43) was to be preached to all nations, and is still to be preached to all. And here (Luke 24:47) note how the preaching of repentance, and remission of sins, is joined together; importing that the gospel that was to be preached, testifies remission of sins only to those who repent, or are changed in their mind, believing in Jesus Christ, Acts 3:19.
3. Those who are spoken to in Acts 13:38, were professors of faith in the Messiah, as He was held forth by the light of the Old Testament, and were now so looked upon, Acts 13:16; 26:4. Yet, the preaching of remission of sins upon them, that was here spoken of, was only the preaching of that doctrine expressed in the next verse; By Jesus, the Savior, all who believe are justified from all things. The particle, and, in the beginning of that verse, does there import (as oftentimes it does) a declaration of that which was before spoken of.
Objection from 1 John 5:10, 11.
But, it is objected, that every one is bound to believe that Christ presented a satisfaction to divine justice for sins; and that his sins are remitted: Therefore this is true. Moreover, some conceive that this objection is strengthened by that in 1 John 5:10,11. My answer is this.
What every man is commanded by God to believe, that I grant to be true. Nevertheless, God commands every man to believe what He affirms, and declares, and no more. This then, He declares to be truth, and so commands every man to believe it, that through Christís name, whosoever believes in Him, shall receive remission of sins, Acts 10:43. This I say, God commands every man to believe, and to receive it as the true and good word of God, and so to rest upon it, and obediently to depend upon Jesus Christ held forth in this word, as the Prince and Savior exalted of God, Mark 1:15; John 12:36. When a man thus believes, then both the Spirit and the Word of God does testify and declare that Jesus Christ has presented unto divine justice a satisfaction for His sins in particular, and that accordingly his sins are forgiven unto him. This then he is now (and not till now) bound to believe as a certain truth; as indeed it is and now appears to be. And touching the unbelieving and disobedient person, who obeys not the gospel of Jesus Christ, this is one part of the truth that God reveals, and commands all to believe; viz., that persons still continuing such, remain under the curse and wrath of God, and must be judged, condemned, and punished for all their sins, John 3:18; Jude 15; 2 Thess. 1:8,9. As also has been already fully proved. Now God does not command any man to believe contradictions.
Touching that in 1 John 5:10, it is to be minded that a child of God has unbelief remaining and rebelling in him, and sometimes it rebels very strongly and grievously. As far as this unbelief works sin him, so far he believes not God, but makes Him a liar; that is, casts upon Him the imputation of lying; because he believes not in the testimony that God has testified concerning His Son. That this is Johnís meaning, appears by that which follows in verse 11. God has not given this eternal life to us men, whether we be believers, or unbelievers: but to us to whom He gives grace to believe in His Son; see John 3:36, and John 17:2. This is further confirmed by that which follows in John 5:13.
Objection from Mark 16:15
It is also objected that in Mark 16:15, Christ commands that the gospel should be preached to every creature; but by our doctrine there remains no gospel to be preached to the world for the conversion of sinners. I demand, is this indeed no gospel? That the Father has given His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life? That though Christís name, whosoever believes in Him, shall receive the remission of sins? Surely, this is called the word of the gospel, Acts 15:7 with Acts 10:43. Also that Christ came into the world to save sinners; even the vilest of sinners, that do or shall believe in Him, 1 Tim. 1:15,16. Is all this, I say, no gospel? If this be gospel, as indeed it is, then there remains a gospel, which though the grace of God we faithfully preach unto sinners; and God makes the preaching of this gospel effectual to the conversion of His [elect].
Objection from Colossians 1:23
It is further objected that true believers are grounded in the faith, Col. 1:23. However, we have no ground for our faith.
Answer: The ground of our faith is the divine truth of that gospel which we are commanded to believe and the fullness of power and authority, and righteousness, and faithfulness, and love, and mercy, which is in Him who commands to believe in Him, which the Scriptures declare, and the Holy Spirit discovers unto us that this is a sufficient ground of our faith; and they which build not upon this ground, will be found to build upon the sand. Paul builds upon this ground, 2 Tim. 1:8-12. And the Elect who lived in his time did build upon no other ground, see Acts 17:11,12; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Peter 1:16.
Objection from John 8:44
Lastly, it is objected that the Devil is a liar and there is no truth in Him, John 8:44. But our doctrine makes Him to speak truth when he said to a vessel of wrath that dies in despair, Christ has not presented to His Fatherís justice a satisfaction for your sins. I answer:
1. Though the devil be a liar, yet sometimes he speaks some truth, Mark 1:24; Acts 16:17; I Sam. 17-19.
2. We do no more justify the Devil as speaking truth herein, than the Scriptures do justify him when he said to a vessel of wrath, thou was before of old ordained to this condemnation, Jude 4; Yea, hereunto thou was appointed, 1 Peter 2:8; Thou art none of Christís sheep, John 10:26, or Thy judgment lingers not, and thy damnation slumbers not, 2 Peter 2:3.
3. He who affirms a truth to be a certain truth, not knowing it to be so, is therein a liar. Moreover, God does not acquaint the devil with His counsel, further than He manifests the same to all by His Word and by His accomplishing thereof.
4. When one speaks truth maliciously, that by false inferences he may make a person rebel against truth, he is now an odious liar. In addition, this is the Devilís case when he speaks any truth.
Now, in conclusion, let it be minded, that the opposing of the truth which I have now asserted, brings forth (among other) these evil fruits:
1. It makes men deny the truth of the Scripturesí doctrine concerning divine predestination.
2. It robs God of the glory of His special and singular love and mercy to His elected ones.
3. It tends to puff up believers with pride, persuading them that they have distinguished themselves from the rest of the world, and so saved themselves; for Christ for His part did no more for them, than He did for those who perish.
4. It robs the saints of assurance of perseverance, and so of assurance of salvation. For if men come to be believers by a common grace afforded to all, then they may also cease to be believers through that weakness and corruption that is in all. Now, take away from saints their assurance of salvation, and you take away from them their joy, their thankfulness, their love, and their life.
5. It holds forth Christ as making a show of being equally loving to all, when indeed and in His purpose He is not so: and seeming most graciously to forgive the sins of all men, when yet He determines to punish the vessels of wrath eternally in hell for all their sins.
I could say much more, and yet may not now with convenience enlarge this book any further. I therefore conclude, sustaining myself, against the error that I have thus opposed, and the progress of the same, with that in 2 Tim. 2:19, nevertheless, the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, the Lord knows those who are His.