« PreviousContinue »
We now return to the further prosecution of the business principally intended in this discourse, (from which we have made somewhat a large digression, upon the occasion formerly specified,) and to complete our demonstration of this great and most important truth, viz. That the ever blessed Son of God, and Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, gave himself a ransom in his death, for all and every man, without exception of any.
Several other Texts of Scripture (besides those formerly produced in ranks and companies) argued to the clear eviction of truth, in the same doctrine, viz. That the redemption purchased by Christ in his death, was intended for all and every man, without exception of any.
HAVING in our late digression largely vindicated some material proofs from the Scripture, formerly levied for the defence of that great and most important cause, both of God and men, the universality of redemption by Christ, we now proceed to a further levy upon the same account, and shall raise up more Scriptures to plead the same cause.
Let us begin with the parable of the marriage feast, as it is reported by Matthew and Luke. We shall not need, I suppose, to transcribe the whole protasis of the parable, which is very large: but only insist upon some few known passages of it, such as I conceive will jointly, if not severally, give a light of demonstration to the truth of that doctrine, the proof and confirmation whereof is the prize contended for in this discourse. However, if the reader desires an entire inter-view of the parable, he may repair, without much trouble, to the evangelists themselves, Matt. xxii. 2 &c.; Luke xiv. 16, &c.
First, Expositors generally agree, that by those who were the first and second time called or invited to the wedding, "He sent forth his servants to call them that had been called* to the wedding," Matt. xxii. 3, are typified, or meant, the Jews, whom God had anciently invited and called, by the ministry of his prophets, and several other ways, to partake of that great blessedness, which he intended to confer upon the sons and daughters of men, by means of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, and who were the second, yea, and the third time also, invited hereunto; first by John the Baptist and the Lord Christ himself, and afterwards by his apostles.
Secondly, The tenor or form of the invitation, which the servants sent forth to call those that had been formerly invited, were enjoined by the king to use in calling them, is this: "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed,
* Καλέσαι τοὺς κεκλημένους.
and all things are ready: come unto the marriage," Matt. xxii. 4. When he saith to those that are invited, "I have prepared my dinner, my oxen," &c. doubtless his meaning is not that he had prepared his dinner for others, or that his oxen and fatlings were killed for the entertainment of others, and not for those who were invited by him. Such an intendment as this in his invitation had been merely delusory, and altogether unmeet to represent the intentions of God, in calling men to communion and fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, by his ministers of the gospel. He that should invite a man to a feast, and use such an argument or motive as this, to persuade him to accept of this his invitation, and to come accordingly, viz. that he had made very liberal preparations for such and such other men, but had provided nothing for him, should he not render himself ridiculous by such a strain of oratory?
Thirdly, Evident it is, that very many of those who were invited to this marriage feast by the king, and consequently for whom the feast was prepared, and for whose sake the oxen and fatlings were killed, never came to partake of the said feast, but were ejected and excluded from it with great indignation, by him that had so graciously invited them. "But when the king heard thereof," (viz. how they had misused and murdered his servants,) " he was wroth, and sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burnt up their city," ver. 7. Concerning whom, likewise, the king said to his servants, that had been sent forth to invite them: "I say unto you, that none of those men that were bidden" (and refused to come)" shall taste of my supper," Luke xiv. 24.
Fourthly, It is no less evident, that the true ground or reason why those that were thus excluded from the feast, or suffered this exclusion, was not any precedent purpose or intendment in the king to exclude them, (for had any such intention harboured in him, questionless he would never have invited them,) no nor yet that subsequent intendment in him to exclude them, when he saw their great unworthiness; but this unworthiness of theirs itself. "Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready; but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye, therefore, into the highways," &c. Matt. xxii. 8. Clearly implying, that it was the unworthiness of the persons invited, which was the true and proper cause of their exclusion. Neither the import nor sentence of the law, nor yet the judge, or his just severity in giving sentence according to the law, are so properly the cause of the punishment or death of the malefactor, as the crime committed against the law by himself. It is merely accidental to the law and to the judge, and so to their intentions respectively, that such or such a person becomes a malefactor, and, consequently, that he suffers death. But the suffering punishment, or death, are the natural and proper fruits of the violation of the law, justly inflicting them in whomsoever it be found. And if the matters of fact deserve punishment or death, it would argue a defect in the law and in the judge, if they should not, according to their different capacities, give sentence accordingly. We have, as
I remember, elsewhere shown, that neither God, nor any decree or law of his, are any cause, intentionally or directly, of any man's either sin or punishment, but occasionally or accidentally only; and that so, that whosoever sinneth, or comes to be punished for sin, might have avoided both, any purpose, law, or decree of God notwithstanding. And to this purpose pertinent is the observation made by Musculus, upon our Saviour's expression, Matt. xxii. 2. “ ὡμοιώθη ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, &c. i. e. The kingdom of heaven is made like, or become like," (not is like,) "unto a certain king," &c. "For," saith he, "the kingdom of heaven is not such a thing, that all the particulars here," in this parable, " reported of it, should belong to the nature of it: but several of them are accidental to it, through the wickedness of men. Otherwise, this kingdom doth not of itself, or in its proper nature, tend to the destruction of any "* &c.
Fifthly and lastly, The pregnant result of the premised particulars is this, that the marriage feast in the parable was provided by the king, and the oxen and fatlings, here spoken of, killed not only for those who upon their invitation were persuaded to come and partake of them, but as well, and with equal, if not with more especial, intentions on the king's part, for those also who never came to taste of them; and consequently, that the death of Christ, signified by the oxen and fatlings slain, and the blessedness accruing unto the children of men hereby, signified by the feast itself, were equally meant and intended by God for those who perish and for those who are saved, and consequently for all men, without exception of any. And indeed this purport of the parable lieth so large and full in the carriage of it, that Calvin himself could not but subscribe unto it, as he that shall please to peruse his commentaries upon Matt. xxii. 2, and withal acknowledge what is evident, must needs confess. Amongst several other passages facing this way, having specified some points of difference between Matthew and Luke in recording the parable, he saith, that yet "in the sum and substance of the matter they very well agree, viz. that whereas God vouchsafed this peculiar honour to the Jews, to provide and furnish a table of entertainment for them, they rejected this honour proffered to them." And saith moreover, that "whereas many expositors refer the marriage of the king's son" in the parable "to this point, that Christ is the end of the law, and that God had no other intent in his covenant with this people than to set him" as a king or ruler over them, and by the sacred band of a spiritual marriage to join a church unto him, I freely accord with them herein." After
* Observandum est quàm notanter sit dictum, potáwoŋ, simile factum est. Non enim in seipso tale quid est regnum cœlorum, ut quæ hîc de illo commemorantur, ad illius pertineant naturam, sed accidunt illi improbitate mortalium. Alioquì non facit naturâ suâ ad cujusdam perditio em, etc. Proinde rectè non dicit: simile est regnum cœlorum, opoía lori, sed simile factum est, wμown.
+ In summâ quidem optimè conveniunt, quòd cum Deus Judæos peculiari honore dignatus
wards, upon verse 9 of the same chapter, "But," saith he, "if God then spared not the natural branches, the same vengeance hangeth over us at this day, unless we answer when he calleth. Yet shall not the supper provided" or prepared "for us be lost, but God will furnish himself with other guests.' In these passages, this great supposed enemy to the universality of redemption by Christ, clearly supposeth, or affirmeth rather, the same to be a truth; for he expressly affirmeth that God provided a table of entertainment for those who rejected it and never came unto it, and supposeth that the "supper provided" by God" for us," may, through our neglect of our invitation hereunto, be withheld from us, and that others may be admitted unto it in our stead. If the death of Christ, and salvation by him, were provided and prepared by God as well for those who reject them as for those who embrace them, doubtless they were intended for all men without exception: which truth, as was lately observed, is so necessary for the due managing of the Scriptures, and many other the most important affairs in Christian religion, that the professed enemies thereof are ever and anon constrained and forced to make use of it, both in opening the Scriptures, as likewise in their other theological discussions and debates, and so consequently to give testimony unto it. And the very truth is, that it is one of the main pillars that supports and bears up the weighty fabric of that divinity and religion which the Scriptures hold forth unto the world.
Another piece of Scripture rising up in assertion of the same doctrine is that which speaks in these words: Επεφάνη γὰρ ἡ χάρις TO BEο й σwτýρios mãσiv áveρúño, &c., i. e., word for word, " For there hath appeared the grace of God, which is saving unto all men," or, "being saving unto all men," Tit. ii. 11; that is, which is of a saving nature, property, or tendency, unto all men. The Syriac translation reads, "Servatrix omnium," the saviouress of all men. Our last English translators, rendering the place thus, "For the grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto all men," show themselves more indulgent to their own sense and opinion than will well stand with the ingenuousness and faithfulness required in translators, an infirmity too apparent in them at several other turns; though the truth is, that this translation of the words damnifies their opinion one way as much or more than it gratifies it in another: for in making the apostle to say that the "saving grace of God hath appeared unto all men,' they suppose him to be of their judgment, who conceive the gospel and the saving grace thereof to be discovered and preached
fuerit, quasi mensam hospitalem illis instruens, illi oblatum sibi honorem contempserint. Quòd nuptias filii regii hûc referunt multi interpretes, quia Christus finis est legis, neque aliò spectavit Deus in suo fædere, quàm ut eum populo suo præficeret, sacroque spiritualis conjugii vinculo ecclesiam ei conjungeret, libenter amplector.
* Quòd si tunc non pepercit naturalibus ramis, eadem nobis hodiè impendit ultio, nisi vocanti respondeamus. Nec vero peribit cœna, quæ nobis parata erat, sed alios sibi convivas Deus accerset.-Calvin. Harm. p. 188.
by God unto men, not only by the ministry of men, or by the letter of the gospel itself, but by the works of creation also, and the gracious government of the world. For certain it is, that the saving grace" of God, of which the apostle here speaks, had not at this time " appeared unto all men' upon any other terms. But this by the way. Our former translators dealt much more fairly with the Holy Ghost at this place, rendering and pointing the words thus: "For that grace of God, that bringeth salvation unto all men, hath appeared.' The "grace of God," in Christ, is here said to be σωτήριος πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις, salvifical unto all men, not because it is such to all sorts or ranks of men only, or to some men of all sorts and degrees, (as some, not fearing to destroy the clear sense of the Holy Ghost to salve their own, interpret,) but because it is such to "all men" simply and without exception of any. This exposition is confirmed,
1. From the context, in the words immediately following, wherein the proper end or ducture of this "saving grace of God," now discovered, is declared thus: "Teaching us that denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godlily in this present world." If, then, this "saving grace of God teacheth," i. e. be apt to teach, persuade, and lead all men" without exception, as well one as another, to a denial of "all ungodliness,".... and to "live soberly," . . . . then must it needs be alike saving unto all. For if this teaching property in it flows from the savingness of it, which the apostle here clearly supposeth, then must the savingness of it necessarily be of equal extent with that property. An act of grace, love, or bounty, inviteth, obligeth no more unto thankfulness than those to whom it is meant and intended. Now, certain it is, that the saving grace of God, held forth and proffered unto all men in the gospel, teacheth, inviteth, persuadeth, obligeth all men without exception, as well one as another, to deny ungodliness, &c., to live soberly, &c: otherwise we must say that there are some men who ought not, who are no ways bound, to learn any of these things from the gospel, nor to practise them upon any account of grace or love tendered herein from God unto them: which, I suppose, is a saying too hard for any considering man to digest.
2. The words themselves in their grammatical, native, and proper signification, give out the sense, and exposition specified. The grace of God" here spoken of is expressly said to be σwrýpis nãσi ἀνθρώποις, i. e. saving," or salvifical "unto," or apt to save, "all men.' And of what dangerous consequence it is to turn the words of the Holy Ghost out of their proper and best known significations into any by, devious, and qualified sense, when there is no necessity of doing it, hath been once and again admonished and declared in the premises.*
3. The exposition given fairly accordeth the passage in hand
Chap. V., p. 152; Chap. VI., p. 160, 161.