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former clause of the verse : "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life," &c. From whence it is evident, that the power here spoken of as given unto the Son to give eternal life, &c., is a consequent branch or effect of that power or sovereignty which the Father hath given him over all mankind, as, viz. to dispose of them, especially in respect of their eternal estates and conditions, according to such rules of righteousness and equity as the Father, with the Son, have judged meet and accordingly agreed upon, for the regulating of such high and important dispensations. Now, a power of conferring eternal life upon men, may very well be conceived to be a branch or part of that sovereignty or larger power, which the Father hath given unto the Son over all flesh. But an injunction or command, or a free leave or liberty, notion it how you please, given unto Him to die for a few men, cannot reasonably be looked upon as any part or branch, especially as any such considerable or high-importing branch as this here expressed must needs be conceived to be, of that most transcendent and majestic power. Or,
2. By eternal life may very well be meant, not eternal life properly and formally so called, as, viz. the blessedness and glory of the world to come, but such a discovery or manifestation of God and His counsels, which is an effectual means to bring men in time to the possession and enjoyment of this life. It is a frequent dialect of Scripture to call the means and cause, yea, and sometimes an opportunity only, which are proper and effectual for the compassing, effecting, or obtaining a thing, by the name of the thing itself, which is to be, or may be, procured or effected by them. Thus Numb. xxii. 7, the wages or rewards by which the elders of Moab sent from Balak the king, to Balaam the wizard, expected to procure divinations, or some imprecatory and devilish practices against the people of God from him, are termed divinations. "And the elders of Moab," saith the text, "and the elders of Midian went, and divinations in their hand," &c. Thus, good tidings is put for the reward which good tidings usually procure unto them who bring them, 2 Sam. iv. 10. In this phrase of speech, the Scriptures, or the saving knowledge of God therein revealed, are, according to the general sense of our best interpreters, termed salvation, John iv. 22. So again, Heb. ii. 2. Thus wisdom is called a man's life, "Keep her, for she is thy life," Prov. iv. 13, because she is the means of life, i. e. of peace and well-being unto men. In this sense also, to forbear further instances which are in great numbers at hand, the gospel, and sometimes the preaching or ministry of it, is frequently termed the kingdom of heaven. According to this manner of speaking, so familiar in the Scriptures, by eternal life, which the Son had power given him over all flesh, that he might give to as many as the Father had given him, may well be meant the words of eternal life, as Peter calls them, John vi. 68; or that manifestation of the name of God, as himself speaketh soon after, John xvii. 6, by which they might be effectually brought to the
fruition and enjoyment of eternal life. And that this indeed is the very meaning of our Saviour, is abundantly evident by the sequel of the context all along, for several verses together. For having said that the Father had given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as he had given him, verse 2, he immediately declares, verse 3, what he means by eternal life, "And this is life eternal, that they know thee the only true God, and him whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ." This notion he still carrieth on, saying, verse 6, " I have manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me," &c. So again, directly still to the same point, verse 8, "For I have given them the words which thou gavest me," &c.; yet again, upon the same account, verse 14, "I have given them thy word," &c. That which, verse 2, he had called eternal life, here he calls his Father's word, as before, the declaration or manifestation of his name, as we heard.
From the carriage of the context, that further is abundantly evident, that by those words, verse 2, "As many as thou hast given him," are not meant the elect, or the entire number of the elect, or of those for whom Christ died, (in Mr. Rutherford's sense,) but precisely and particularly his apostles, of whom alone he speaks, and for whom alone, and apart from the rest of the elect, he prayeth all along the chapter, until verse 20, when he enlargeth his prayer thus, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe in me through their word." From this passage, it is as clear as the sun at noon-day, that from the beginning of the chapter until now, he had managed his prayer and heavenly conference with the Father, with particular reference to his apostles, and had not mentioned any thing about the residue of the elect. That he speaks of the apostles only, verse 2, under those words, "As many as thou hast given me," is most apparent from verse 6, "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word." First. Christ had not yet manifested his Father's name to all the elect, no, not to all the elect at this time in being in the world. Second. Neither could he say to his Father concerning all the elect, that they had kept his word, many of them having not as yet received it. Again, to pass by several things by the way making out the same truth, verse 12, thus, "Whilst I was with them in the world," (meaning those of whom he had spoken from the beginning of the chapter,) "I kept them in thy name,” i. e. I preserved them from the exorbitances of the world by the knowledge of thy name, which still I have been communicating unto them; "Those that thou gavest me I have kept; and none of them is lost but the son of perdition," &c. Evident it is, that this son of perdition was one of that number of men which the Father had given him out of the world, and which he had kept entirely without the miscarriage of any one, this son of perdition only excepted. I presume, that neither Mr. Rutherford, nor any of his judgment, will
say that this " son of perdition" was one of the number of the elect; but certain it is, that he was one of that number of men which the Father had given unto Christ out of the world. The words are too express to bear a denial of this, "Those that thou gavest me I have kept; and none of them is lost but the son of perdition," &c. Therefore, by as many as the Father had given unto him, with an intent that he should give eternal life unto them, verse 2, are meant the apostles, and these only. These may be said to have been given unto Christ by the Father, not because they were the Father's by election from eternity, for doubtless the son of perdition, as hath been said, was none of His in such a relation, nor simply because they were by any peremptory designation appointed and set out by him from amongst other men, to make apostles for his Son, as if Christ had been necessitated to take these, and had no liberty or right of power to have taken any others into that relation; for how could then Christ say unto them that he had chosen them, viz. to the office and dignity of apostles, John vi. 70; xiii. 18; xxv. 16—19, but because God the Father by a work appropriable unto him, of which I conceive we shall have occasion to speak more at large hereafter, had qualified, fitted and prepared them for Christ's hand and nurture, and so to make apostles of in time; in respect of which work of God the Father, in and upon them, Christ, out of that wisdom wherein he excelled, and that knowledge which he had of the several frames and tempers of the hearts of men, made a prudent and deliberate choice of them from amongst other men for that service. "Thine they were, and thou gavest them unto me." They are said to have been the Father's, i. e. as it were, the Father's disciples, or persons "taught by the Father," John vi. 45, and so, after a sort, appropriable unto the Father, (as those that believe and are taught of Christ are said to be Christ's, or to belong to Christ,) before they became Christ's apostles, or were chosen by him upon this account; and are said to have been given unto him out of the world by the Father, because they were peculiarly qualified, and, as it were, characterized and marked out by the Father as fit matter to be formed into apostles by his Son. The word "give" is frequently found in such a signification as this in the Scriptures, and to import the preparing, furnishing, or fitting, whether of things or persons, for such and such ends and purposes, in reference to the accommodations of men. In this sense Christ is said to have " given some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry," &c.; i. e. to have every ways prepared, qualified, endowed, fitted, furnished persons for all these offices and services in his church, for the benefit of the saints, &c. Thus Acts xiii. 20,"he gave them judges," &c.; i. e. he qualified and furnished men amongst them, from time to time, with public spirits and with gifts fit for government, &c. So Neh. ix. 27, "Thou gavest them Saviours;" i. e. thou furnishedst men with hearts, and courage, and wisdom, &c., to save them. See Eph. i. 22, "He gave him to be
head over all things to his church;" i. e. he furnished him with sovereignty of power, wisdom, majesty, and with all manner of endowments otherwise requisite for such a head. Thus Psal. xliv. 11, "Thou hast given us like sheep for meat," &c.; i. e. by withdrawing thy presence, help, and protection from us, thou hast prepared and fitted us to become a prey and spoil to our enemies. In this sense also God saith to Jeremy, that he had given him (for so it is in the original) "a prophet unto the nations;" i. e. that he had furnished him, and meant to furnish him yet further, with prophetical gifts and endowments for the benefit of nations, if they would hearken to him, Jer. i. 5. So Psal. xxi. 6, " Thou hast given him to be blessings," (so it is in the original, and is your marginal translation;) i. e. thou hast so furnished, qualified, and disposed of him, (meaning Christ,) that whosoever will apply themselves unto him, may be made happy and blessed by him. See Ezek. iii. 8, 9; Isa. xliii. 16, in the original, with other like. Our Saviour himself useth the word in the sense now instanced from the Scriptures, when he expresseth himself thus: "All that the Father giveth me, shall," or rather, will "come unto me," &c., John vi. 37; of which place more in due time.
Nor ought it to seem any hard, uncouth, or unpleasant expression unto us, wherein that which is prepared or any ways made fit for us, and withal so disposed of or set in our way that we may readily and lawfully serve ourselves with it, is said to be given unto us by him or them who thus prepare and dispose of it. He that shall prepare wholesome and savoury meat, such as a man loveth, and shall set it before him, and give him free leave to take it or eat of it, may in sufficient propriety of speech be said to give this meat unto him, yea, whether he takes or eats of it upon such terms or no. So God the Father, having wrought and fitted the men whom Christ chose for apostles, to serve and honour him in this capacity, and withal disposed of them in their times, residences, and conditions in the world, so that Christ might both readily and lawfully call them to his service, he may very well in these respects be said to have given them unto him.
Thus, by a diligent and narrow inquiry into Mr. Rutherford's Scripture, it evidently appears that there is nec vola nec vestigium, not the least mutter or peep, of any such notion in it as he imagineth, viz. that if Christ should offer eternal life unto any more than only unto the elect, (so called by him,) he must needs do it besides his own and his Father's intention. Here is not the least word, syllable, letter, apex or ira concerning either the Father's or the Son's intentions about the offer of salvation unto men.
By the brief discussions of this chapter, it fully appears that all those texts of Scripture which offer either forgiveness of sins or salvation unto all men without exception, and which promise either or both these unto all men upon, or upon condition of, their believing, which are very frequently numerous, do with the clearest
light and evidence of truth hold forth the universality of redemption by Christ: from whence it follows, in regular and due process of reason and discourse, that all they "make God a liar" in such Scriptures, who restrain the salvation or redemption purchased by Christ to any lesser number of men than all.
Wherein the Scriptures of the fourth and last association (propounded Chap. v.,) as pregnant also with that great truth hitherto maintained, are impartially weighed and considered.
WE shall, God assisting, examine every of these Scriptures particularly, and so shall have occasion to exhibit the purport and tenor of them respectively as they shall be produced to act their several parts in order; in which respect we shall not here transcribe them, especially considering the reader may with a very little pains see them in their muster, Chap. v. ; but shall only point at their several dwellings or situations in the Book of God, which are these: Rom. xiv. 15; 1 Cor. viii. 11; 2 Pet. ii. 1; 2 Pet. ii. 20; Heb. x. 29; Matt. xviii. 32, 33, &c. We make these Scriptures of one and the same combination, and associate them by themselves because their import is in effect one and the same, they all supposing that Christ hath died for those who may perish notwithstanding, yea, for those who will perish; and, certainly, if he died for those who, notwithstanding his dying for them, may perish, yea, and for those who will actually perish, as well as for those who shall be saved, he died for all men without exception. For as for that opinion of the Valentine Council, in France, mentioned by Estius,* and adopted by him, as it seems, for his own, which supposeth some reprobates, as he calleth them, to have been redeemed by Christ, but not all,—this opinion, I say, is not like, as far as I conceive, to make many proselytes, nor to attract the judgments of considering men: for if the dying of Christ for men be to be esteemed matter of love to them, as without all controversy and question it ought, what reason can there be imagined why he should die for apostate reprobates, (who yet are that kind of reprobate for which only Christ died, according to that opinion), rather than for those who, though living and dying in unbelief, yet never contracted the guilt of so desperate and provoking a sin? But this by the way.
The tenor of the Scripture first in view, amongst those lately appearing, is this: "Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died," Rom. xiv. 15.
*In 2 Pet. ii. 1; see also Jo. Ball, Covenant of Grace, p. 238.