« PreviousContinue »
The arguments and grounds laid down and managed in this chapter, together with those passages and texts of Scripture which we have heard speaking so distinctly and aloud the same things with them, have turned my thoughts and judgment about the intentions of God in the death of Christ upside down, and have filled me, mind, heart, soul, and conscience with this belief, that these intentions of his stand, and always stood, equally, impartially and uniformly bent for or towards the salvation of the world without any difference or variation in respect of any man, or numbers of men, considered simply as men, or as having done neither good nor evil. Yet are there three things more that have made my belief in this kind, measure heaped up, pressed down, and running over. The first is, that conjunctio magna, that great conjunction of all, or far the greatest part of the chief luminaries in the firmament of the Christian church, whilst the constitution of it was yet more athletic, healthful, and sound, I mean during the primitive times, the multiplied rays or beams of whose light concentred in the same point of doctrine with us. Of this we shall, God assisting, give some competent account in the forepart of the chapter following. The second is, the frequent testimony given to this doctrine by those who are, or at least are so esteemed, the chief adversaries and opposers of it, who, as appears from their writings, are oft necessitated to assert or own it as a principle, without which they know not in many cases, how to make a consistent discourse, or manage the theme they have before them. Somewhat of this also we shall show in the latter part of the said chapter. The third, and last, is the apparent inconcludency and weakness of those arguings and reasonings, whether from the Scriptures or other principles, by which the cause of the contrary opinion is wont by the ablest patrons it hath, as far as men of this engagement are yet known unto me, to be pleaded and maintained. The demonstration of this is designed for the subject matter of the second part of this work, if God shall vouchsafe to make his sun to shine a birth-day for it.
Wherein the sense of antiquity, together with the variableness of judgment in modern writers, touching the controversy under discussion, is truly and impartially represented.
FOR their sakes who are afraid to believe any thing, what pregnancy of ground soever there be to evince the truth of it otherwise, but only what they know, or at least think, that many other men, and these someways honourable in their sight, have believed before them, I have subjoined this chapter to those large debates which finished their course in the preceding chapters of this book, managed, I trust, to the satisfaction of all such who count it
more safe to stand upon a rock alone, or with a few, than upon a quagmire or quicksand with a greater company. But because all men have not this faith, I shall show unto those that want it a cloud of as honourable persons, I suppose, even in their own eyes, as any that have inhabited mortality since the apostles' days, standing upon the rock of that doctrine which hath been asserted and recommended in our former discussions. For who within that compass of time we speak of have had a spirit of greater glory resting on them than those that sat in the apostles' chairs next after them, and were pillars of light and fire in the Christian church in her primitive and purest days? And that these in their respective stations and successive generations were not only partakers, but defenders and assertors of the same faith with us in the doctrine of redemption hitherto maintained, is legible enough in the next ensuing testimonies; after which we shall show how fluctuating and inconsistent with themselves the judgments of later writers have been about the said doctrine, and how impossible it is for any man to be of an established conscience therein, that shall build himself upon their authority.
We shall begin with Augustin, the first-born amongst the fathers, though not in time, yet in worth and name; and from him proceed first unto those that lived before him, by a gradual ascent; and then to those that succeeded him, by a descent answerable. That Austin's doctrine concerning the intentions of God about the extent of the death of Christ, was the same with that asserted by us for orthodox and sound in our present discourse, needeth, I suppose, no greater proof than an impartial and due consideration of these and such like sayings, scattered up and down in his writings from place to place upon occasion. In that discourse wherein he makes answer, ad articulos sibi falsò impositos, to certain articles falsely fathered upon him, he insisteth upon this, in the first place, as laid to his charge, that he should hold, "That our Lord Jesus Christ did not suffer for the redemption of all men.”* The second he mentioneth is this: "That God should not be willing to save all men, though all men were willing to be saved." In purging himself upon the former of these, he writeth thus: "Against the wound of original sin, wherewith in Adam the nature of all men was corrupted and become dead, and from whence the disease of all manner of concupiscence groweth, the death of the Son of God our Lord Jesus Christ is a true, potent, and the singular remedy, who being not liable to the debt of death, and the only person without sin, died for those that were sinners and debtors" in this kind. "Therefore as to the greatness and potency of the price, and as far as concerns one" and the same 66 cause of mankind, the blood of Christ is the redemption of the whole world. But they who pass through this world without the faith of Christ, and the sacrament" or sacred work "of regeneration, are strangers to" or estranged
* Quòd dominus noster Jesus Christus non pro omnium hominum redemptione sit passus. + Quòd Deus omnes nolit servare, etiamsi omnes salvari velint.
from "this redemption. Therefore, whereas by reason of one" and the same nature of all men and, by" one and the same "cause of all men truly undertaken by our Lord, all men may truly be said to be redeemed, yet all men are not" actually "brought" or delivered "out of captivity. The propriety," i. e. the actual possession and enjoyment "of redemption, is, doubtless, with them, out of whom the prince of this world is cast forth, and who are now not vessels of the devil, but members of Christ: whose death is not so bestowed upon mankind, that they who never come to be regenerate, should belong to the redemption thereof," i. e. should actually partake of this redemption, "but so that what by one only example or exemplary act "was done for all men together," or at once, "might be celebrated in all particular persons, by a particular sacrament:" i. e. might by a particular administration of the sacrament of this redemption, meaning, I suppose, baptism, to each particular man, be plainly declared to relate unto, or to concern all particulars. "For that cup" or potion" of immortality, which was tempered and made of our infirmity, and the divine power" or virtue "hath in it wherewith to profit all men; but it profiteth no man unless he drinketh it."* What testimony from a man concerning his judgment in any point, can be imagined more pregnant, satisfactory and clear, than such wherein he expressly complains of being falsely charged with the contrary, and vindicates and explains himself accordingly? Beza, because of this testimony, so full and particular against his opinion of limited redemption, and being loath to have this his opinion encumbered with the opposite authority of this father, dischargeth it of the burden, by pretending that the book, or tract, wherein it standeth is supposititious, and not Augustin's. But besides the genius, phrase, and style, every ways opoάorta, resembling the author, whose name it beareth, Calvin, who of the two was a man of greater discerning abilities, acknowledgeth it accordingly. Nor is there any piece in all those writings, which pass under the name of Augustin's works at this day, but may, upon a pretence every whit as plausible, be traduced as illegitimate.
Before I pass from this testimony, I desire the reader to take knowledge that the worthy author thereof, towards the beginning of the said tract, and a few lines before the recited testimony, profess
* Contrà vulnus originalis peccati, quo in Adam omnium hominum corrupta et mortificata est natura, et unde omnium concupiscentiarum morbus inolevit, verum et potens et singulare remedium est mors filii Dei Domini nostri Jesu Christi, qui liber à mortis debito, et solus absque peccato, pro peccatoribus et debitoribus mortuus est. Quod ergo ad magnitudinem et potentiam pretii, et quod ad unam pertinet causam generis humani, sanguis Christi redemptio est totius mundi. Sed qui hoc seculum sine fide Christi, et sine regenerationis sacramento pertranseunt, redemptionis alieni sunt. Cùm itaque per unam omnium naturam, omnium causam à Domino nostro in veritate susceptam, redempti omnes rectè dicantur, non tamen omnes captivitate sunt eruti: redemptionis proprietas haud dubium penes illos est, de quibus princeps hujus mundi missus est foras, et jam non vasa diaboli, sed membra Christi. Cujus mors non impensa est humano generi, ut ad redemptionem ejus, etiam qui regenerandi non erant, pertinerent, sed ita quod per unicum exemplum gestum est pro universis, per singulare sacramentum celebraretur in singulis. Poculum quippe immortalitatis, quod confectum est de infirmitate nostrâ, et virtute divinâ, habet quidem in se ut omnibus prosit; sed si non bibitur, non proficit.
+ De occultâ Dei Provid. in Respons. ad Præfat. Opusc. p. 851.
eth, that what he should deliver therein, was his sense and judgment in the respective articles, in opposition to the Pelagians and their doctrine.* From whence it manifestly appeareth, that in Augustin's days, it was no orthodox doctrine, but a Pelagian error, to hold that Christ died not for all men; inasmuch as the father complaineth (as we heard before) that he was falsely charged by some abettors of the Pelagian faction that he held, that Christ the Lord suffered not for the redemption of all men. Therefore they who traduce the doctrine maintained in this discourse, under the odious name of Pelagianism, either declare themselves notably ignorant of what Pelagianism meaneth, or else asperse that father, who, questionless, knew better than all his fellows what belonged to Pelagianism, with the blot of this ignorance. By his vote and verdict, the doctrine which contradicteth that asserted by us, is Pelagianism.
Another testimony from the same father, upon the same account, may be that formerly cited. Having rehearsed these words, "For God sent not his Son to judge the world, but that the world through him should be saved:" he infers thus: "Therefore as much as lieth in the physician, he came to heal the sick. That man slayeth himself, who will not observe the precepts of the physician. He came a Saviour unto the world. Why is he called the Saviour of the world, but that he should save the world."+ Elsewhere, addressing himself in his private devotions unto the Lord Christ, he speaketh to him thus: "I know thee to be true God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, the Creator, Saviour, and Redeemer of me, and of whole mankind." Again: "O thou unclean world, he cometh that should redeem thee, and thou art troubled: and him thou wilt destroy, when he was minded to deliver thee." Concerning Judas he demandeth, "What did the sin of Judas, who sold him, by whom he should have been" or, was to have been "redeemed?"|| Afterwards he presenteth Christ, after his resurrection, speaking to the unbelieving Jews, who had crucified him, thus: "Behold the man whom ye have crucified; behold that God and man, in whom you refuse to believe. You see the wounds which you have inflicted, the side which ye have pierced: because by you, and for you, it hath been opened, and yet you will not enter." In another place, thus: "Mankind falleth sick, not of
Ergo quantum in medico est, sanare venit ægrotum. Ipse se interimit, qui præcepta medici observare non vult. Venit salvator ad mundum. Quare salvator dictus est mundi, nisi ut salvet mundum ?-Aug. in Joh. Tract. 12.
Cognovi te verum Deum, et Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum filium Dei unigenitum, Creatorem, Salvatorem, et Redemptorem meum, et totius humani generis, &c.-August. Soliloqu. c. 32.
§ O munde immunde, venit qui te redimat, et turbaris: et hunc tu vis perdere, quando ille te disposuit liberare.-Aug. de Symb. 1. ii.
Quid egit iniquitas Judæ, qui eum vendidit, à quo redimi debuit ?—Ibid.
Ecce hominem quem crucifixistis, ecce Deum et hominem, in quem credere noluistis. Videtis vulnera quæ infixistis, agnoscitis latus quod pupugistis: quoniam et per vos, et propter os, apertum est, nec tamen intrare voluistis. - Ibid.
bodily diseases, but of sins. This great patient" or sick man "lieth all along the world, from the east unto the west. For the healing of this great sick man, the omnipotent physician comes down."* The same father (in another part of his works, comparing the first and the second Adam together) discourseth to this effect."What therefore was justly due from Adam, Christ unjustly by suffering death, paid. He stretched forth his hand to the sweetness of the apple: Christ to the bitterness of the cross. He showed the tree of death; Christ the tree of life. He lift up himself against God and fell; Christ humbled himself that he might lift up all. Adam brought death upon all men universally; and Christ hath repaired" or, restored "life unto all men. Every one therefore looked towards the brazen serpent and was healed" of the wounds received "from the poisonous serpents. The brazen serpent set upon a wooden pole, overcame all the venom of the living serpents and Christ being hung upon the cross, and dying, quenched the old poisons" or venoms "of the devil, and delivered" or freed "all that were struck" or stung "by him." This father, in his dialect and manner of expressions could not more significantly declare for general redemption than he hath done in the now-recited testimonies. And the truth is, that passages and sayings of like import are very familiar and frequent in his writings. In one place he saith, "Judas cast away the price of silver for which he sold the Lord, and acknowledged not the price with which himself was redeemed by the Lord." In another, "Unless he (Christ) had been crucified, the world had not been redeemed."§ In a third, "For the blood of Christ is so" or, upon such terms "shed for remission of all sins" or for remission of the sins of all men " that it is able to blot out that very sin by which it was shed."|| In a fourth, "We read in the Scriptures that the safety" or salvation" of all mankind is purchased" or bought "with the blood of our Saviour, as the apostle Peter saith," &c. In a fifth, "If therefore the price of our life be the blood of the Lord, see then how it is not the earthly uncertainty of a field that was redeemed therewith, but the eternal safety of the whole world." In a sixth, "God in no" other way provided more beneficially" or bountifully "for mankind, than *Egrotat humanum genus, non morbis corporis sed peccatis. Jacet toto orbe terrarum ab oriente usque ad occidentem grandis ægrotus: ad sanandum grandem ægrotum descendit omnipotens medicus, &c.-Aug. de verbis Domini. Serm. 59.
+Ille arborem necis, iste salutis ostendit. Ille se contrà Deum erexit, et cecidit. Christus se humiliavit, ut omnes erigeret. Adam mortem universis intulit: et Christus vitam omnibus reparavit. Respicicbat ergo unusquisque ad serpentem æneum, et à venenatis serpentibus sanabatur. Serpens æneus in ligno positus venena vivorum serpentum superavit: et Christus in cruce suspensus et mortuus, antiqua diaboli venena restinxit, et omnes, qui ab eo percussi fuerant, liberavit.-August, de Temp. Serm. 101.
Judas projecit pretium argenti, quo ab illo Dominus venditus erat: nec agnovit pretium, quo ipse a Domino redemptus erat.-Aug. in Enar. Psal. lxviii.
§ Nisi enim crucifigeretur ille, mundus non redimeretur-Aug. de Symb.
Christi enim sanguis sic in remissionem peccatorum omnium fusus est, ut ipsum etiam
peccatum posset delere, quo fusus est.-Aug. Tract. 92. in Joh.
Legimus in Scripturis quòd totius generis humani salus redempta sit sanguine salvatoris, sicut ait apostolus Petrus, &c. Et paulò post: Igitur si pretium vitæ nostræ sanguis est Domini, vide ergo quia illo non tam redempta sit agri terrena fragilitas, quàm totius mundi incolumitas sempiterna.-Aug. de Temp. Ser. 128.