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satisfy and comfort them, as touching his love towards them, and care over them. "Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and that formed thee from the womb, which will help thee, fear not, O Jacob, my servant," &c., Isa. xliv. 2. So again, "Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb; and even to your old age I am he, and even to hoary hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear, even I will and will deliver you," Isa. xlvi. 3, 4. "Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his maker," &c. Isa. xlv. 11. Once more (to pass by many other places of like import) " But now, O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we are all the work of thy hand," Isa. Ixiv. 8. As in the former passages, God strengthened the faith of his people by remembering them that he was their Creator and Maker, and consequently bare the affection and love of a Creator towards them; so in this last, they themselves declare how effectually that consideration, viz., of the relation of a Creator in God towards them, had wrought upon them to the strengthening of their faith in his love towards them, and care over them; and accordingly plead the same in their requests to him.
Nor is it prejudicial in the least to that demonstration which we intend to make from the said passages (with their fellows) viz., of the love and care of God as a Creator, to all the works of his hands, to pretend, that in these places and the like, God speaks only to his Church, and his elect ones. For, 1. The relation of a Creator in God is uniform, one and the same, towards the elect (believers) and towards reprobates, or unbelievers; the one being the workmanship of his hands, as well as the other; and therefore as promising to the one as to the other, if they understood or considered the voice of this promise. 2. If God, notwithstanding the relation of a Creator in him, were likely to have reprobated his creatures from eternity, especially had this people believed that he had de facto so reprobated millions of them, it had been a very slender support and encouragement to their faith, that he should remember them of his relation unto them, as their Creator. For might not they, upon such a supposition as this, have replied unto him, Lord, why dost thou so much inculcate into us the consideration of thy being our Maker and Creator, as if there were any thing in this to comfort us, or to relieve our faith concerning thy love to us, or care for us? Do we not know that thou art a Creator to many thousand thousands in the world, whom notwithstanding thou hatest, and castedst out of thy love without any cause given on their parts, from eternity? Therefore what assurance of grace and favour with thee can we receive upon any such account as this, that thou art our Maker and Creator? So that evident it is, that God himself doth acknowledge a gracious tie and engagement upon him, as a Creator, to love, respect, and take care for his creatures, until they voluntarily renounce and
disclaim their relation unto him, as his creatures, by walking rebelliously against him, or suffering the god of this world to deface the glory of his workmanship in them. And whereas he compareth himself in tenderness and care over his creature, unto a hen, which gathereth her chickens under her wings, they who make him like unto the ostrich, which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beasts may break them, and is hardened against her young ones, as if they were not hers, Job xxxix. 14, 15, (which astorgy God himself imputeth to want of wisdom and understanding in her,) have the greater sin, representing him altogether unlike unto himself.
Other scriptures there are exceeding many, which testify aloud the grace, and love, and goodness of God, as a Creator, towards his creatures. "The Lord," saith David, " is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works," Psal. cxlv. 9; erga omnia opera ejus, as Piscator; i. e. are extended and shown unto all his creatures. But had he intended from eternity to abandon the far greatest part of the best of his works, men, to the vengeance of eternal fire, could his tender mercies, in any tolerable sense, be said to be over these? Especially, can those men justify David in such a saying as this, who conceive and teach that whatsoever God doth in a providential way for such men so abandoned, as in causing his sun to rise or his rain to fall upon them, in filling their hearts with food and gladness, in giving them health, wealth, liberty, peace, &c. he doth all with an intent to harden them, and so to bring that heavy destruction upon them with the more severity and terror in the end, whereunto they were predestinated and appointed from the beginning? Will men call health, peace, liberty, meats, drinks, &c., given with an intent to become snares unto men, and to bring inevitable damnation upon them, the tender mercies of God? The holy man Job, being conscious to himself of no signal departure from God by unrighteousness in any kind, looked upon that dispensation of God in so severely afflicting him, as very strange, and that only upon this account, that he was his Creator. Thy hands have made me, and fashioned me together round about," meaning, that he was the sole author of being unto him, yet thou dost destroy me. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as clay; and wilt thou bring me into the dust again?" Job x. 8, 9. If Job thought it strange that God, being the author of life and being unto him, should, without any grand offence or provocation given him, handle him with so much severity, as he conceived, in the outer man, how incredible would the doctrine of those men have been unto him, who teach that God from eternity hath irreversibly consigned over to the merciless torments of hell fire millions of millions of men who never offended or provoked him in the least? The same author doth elsewhere also notably assert the universal love, care, and respects of God as a Creator towards men, alleging the consideration of these, as a grand en
gagement upon him to deal justly and equally with his servants. "If I did despise the cause of my man servant, or of my maid servant, when they contended with me, what then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb, make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?" Job xxxi. 13-15. Clearly intimating a tender care and regard in God towards men, even the poorest and least considerable of them. After the same manner, Elihu also advanceth the poor into equal respects with princes, before God; viz., because they, as well as these, are the works of his hands. "How much less to him who accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor: for they are all the work of his hands," Job xxxiv. 19; clearly implying, that that relation wherein every man standeth towards God as his creature, is a pledge of security unto him that God tenderly loveth and respecteth him (excepting only the case before excepted).
From the Scriptures lately produced, (unto which double their number, confederate in the same truth with them, might be added,) it manifestly appears that such a hatred or rejection of the creature by God from eternity, as is commonly taught and received amongst us, is broadly and wholly inconsistent with that love, tenderness, and respect which the relation of a Creator to a creature every where imports; and consequently is not to be looked upon as any prerogative worthy of him.
Four several veins or correspondences of Scriptures propounded, holding forth the death of Christ for all men, without exception of any. The first of these argued.
THE premises considered, methinks it is one of the strangest and most importune sayings that, to my remembrance, I ever met with from the pen of a learned and considerate man, which I find in the writings of a late opposer of universal atonement. "I know," saith he, "no article of the gospel which this new and wicked religion of universal atonement doth not contradict." That which he calls a "new and wicked religion," the doctrine of universal atonement, I shall, God assisting, and granting life and health for the finishing of this present discourse, evince both from the main and clear current of the Scriptures themselves, as likewise by many impregnable and undeniable demonstrations and grounds of reason, to be a most ancient and divine truth; yea, to be none other but the heart and soul, the spirit and life, the strength and substance, and brief sum of the glorious gospel itself: yea, I shall make it appear from ancient records of best credit, and from
the confessions of modern divines themselves, of best account, adversaries in the point, that universal atonement by Christ was a doctrine generally taught and held in the churches of Christ for three hundred years together next after the apostles. And if I conceived it worth the undertaking, or were minded to turn the stream of my discourse that way, I question not but I could make it as clear as the sun shining in his might, that there is no article of the gospel," as this man's dialect is, I mean, no great or weighty point of the Christian faith, can stand with a rational consistency unless the doctrine of universal atonement be admitted for a truth. Yea, upon a diligent and strict inquiry it will be found, that, if any man holds such a limited redemption as is commonly taught and believed amongst us, and yet withal lives holily and like a Christian, he acts in full contradiction to such a principle, and happily denies that in practice which erroneously he holds in judgment. God, in such cases as these, makes grapes to grow on thorns, and figs on thistles; nor doth there want any thing but sense and visibility of the disproportion between the cause and the effect, to make the lives and ways of such persons miraculous. Neither doth any thing nor all things that I could ever yet meet with, either from the tongues or pens of the greatest patrons of particular redemption, deliver me from under much admiration, that conscientious and learned men, professing subjection of judgment to the Scriptures, should either deny universal or assert particular redemption; considering that the Scriptures, in particularity, plainness, and expressness of words and phrase, do more than ten times over deliver the former; whereas the latter is no where asserted by them, but only stands upon certain venturous consequences and deductions, which the weak judgments of men, so much accustomed to error and mistake, presume to levy from them; together with such arguments and grounds, which, upon examination, will be found either to have no consistency with the sound principles either of reason or religion, or else no legitimate coherence with the cause which they pretend unto. Let us first hearken unto the Scriptures lifting up their voices together for the redemption of all men by Christ without exception: we shall afterwards, in due process of discourse, give a fair consideration to those inferences and consequences of men wherein the strength of their Scripture proofs standeth for the support of the contrary opinion.
And first it is considerable, that the Scriptures do not only speak to the heart of the doctrine asserted in great variety of texts and places, but also in great veins and correspondences, or consorts of texts, each consort consisting of several particulars of like notion and phrase. I shall recommend only four of these companies unto the reader; which when we shall have pondered in some or all the particulars respectively relating unto them, we shall add, to make full measure, the contributions of some single texts besides.
The first division or squadron of Scriptures which speak aloud the universality of redemption by Christ, are such which present the gift and sacrifice of Christ as relating indifferently unto the world. The name of this kind of Scriptures, for the number of them, may be Legion, for they are many. Some of the principal and best known of them are these: "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten," &c., John iii. 16; "that the world through him should be saved," ver. 17. "This is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," verse 29. My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world," John vi. 51. "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world, 1 John i. 22. "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, 1 John iv. 14. "For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world," John xii. 48. "For God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself," &c., 2 Cor. v. 19. To omit many others.
The second post of Scriptures standing up to maintain the same doctrine with uniformity of expressions amongst themselves, are such which insure the ransom of Christ, and the will or desire of God for matters of salvation, unto all men and every man. Some of these are-" Who gave himself a ransom for all," 1 Tim. ii. 6. "Because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they who live," &c., 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. "That he, by the grace of God, should taste of death for every man," Heb. ii. 9; "who will have all men to be saved," &c., 1 Tim. ii. 4; "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance," 2 Pet. iii. 9. "Therefore, as by the offence of one the judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to the justification of life," Rom. v. 18; with some others.
A third sort or party of Scriptures, confederate with the former, (for substance of import, and between themselves for matter of expression,) are such which hold forth and promise salvation indifferently to him, and to whosoever will or shall believe. Of this sort are these, with their fellows: "And him that cometh unto me, I'will in no wise cast out," John vi. 37; "He that believeth in me shall never thirst," ver. 35; "He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved," Mark xvi. 16; "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish," John iii. 16; "That through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins," Acts x. 43; "Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all that believe; for all have sinned, Rom. iii. 22, 23. It were easy to make this pile also much greater.
A fourth association of Scriptures, all pregnant with the doctrine we assert, consists of such places where Christ is said to have died for those who yet may perish, yea, and actually do perish: