Thanks to our Brother In The Lord Elder Ron Pound for his labor of love in scanning this rare work.
"To God be The Glory"
of the Elect
His Saving Grace:
Wherein it is Proved That Christ Has Not Presented To His Father's Justice a 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:
ORDINANCE, THE SAINT'S PRIVILEGE
and Proved in Two Treatises.
Objections of Those That Maintain the Contrary, are also Answered.
Written by John Spilsbury
the Last Transcribed, and Somewhat Enlarged, by Benjamin Cox.
Mark 13:35, 37:
Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left His house, and gave
authority to His servants, and to every man His work, and commanded the porter
to watch, Watch ye therefore, And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.
Ephesians 1:3, 4:
be God--who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in
Christ: According as He has chosen us in Him, before the foundation of the
world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
Licensed, (May 4th) entered and printed
according to Order
Printed by M. Simmons for Benjamin
Allen, and are to be sold at His Shop at the Crown in Popes-Head-Alley
The Issue Stated
The Satisfaction of Jesus Christ
Christ did not make Satisfaction for the Unbelief of Reprobates
Christís Death seen from Old Testament Types
Many of the O. T. Hebrews for whom the Passover was killed, Perished
The Usage of All
The Term World
I John 2:2
I Tim. 2:4-6
2 Peter 2:1
I Tim. 4:10
What is the First Testament?
I Cor. 15:1-3
I Cor. 15:22
II Cor. 5: 14, 15
II Cor. 5:19
Allegories in John 15
Are All Men in Christ?
2 Peter 2:20
2 Peter 1:9
2 Peter 3:9
I John 5:10-11
As the chains of persecution came to a temporary end during the early
1640s, the English Baptists appeared in two main fellowships. (There were
independent churches separate from each of these main groups.) These were the
Particular Baptists and the General Baptists. These names distinguished each
group according to their views of the atonement of Christ. The Particular
Baptists and the General Baptists did not fellowship with each other. John
Spilsbury, in His Personal Confession of Faith,
referred to the General Baptist ministers as ministers of antichrist. Robert
Garner references how the Generals referred to the Particulars as the Gates of
Hell. In addition, they rebaptized each other in most cases until near the
close of the 1600s, see, for example Luke Howard, A Looking Glass for
the Anabaptists, published in the late 1670s. Often times the Particular Baptists and
the General Baptists engaged in book wars. This work is one of those wars. The
Particular Baptists issued at least three replies to the General Baptists
during the Cromwellian era, 1641-1660. These are:
1. John Spilsburyís The
Particular Interest of the Elect in Christís Death;
2. Robert Garnerís Gospel Mysteries Unveiled; 1646;
3. Paul Hobsonís Fourteen Queries, and Ten Absurdities, about the Extent of Christís Death; London: 1655.
Someday I hope all of these will be in modern print. They each set forth
wonderful concepts in a different way. Garnerís work sets forth the special
love of God to His people in and through Jesus Christ. Hobson sets forth the
atonement of Christ in a special way in addition to the exaltation of Christ
and His kingship and power over all men.
In our present work, Spilsbury reviews the usual arguments and
scriptures the General Baptists used to teach their general atonement
concepts. As I read over all these works, and some of Samuel Richardsonís
works, I became aware of the language and arguments used in the 1640-1660 era.
I noted that this language and these arguments would reappear nearly 100 years
later in the works of such men as Dr. John Gill and His close friend, John
Brine. This helps confirm further that these older Particular Baptists were
men well versed and well established in their faith in the early 1630-40s, and
did not simply evolve into being Particular Baptists as many would have us
believe. This was refreshing to me and is another reason why I hope these
additional two works will soon be in modern format.
I believe that John Spilsburyís arguments, in some places, could have
been stronger, but I have not added anything to them. Some of His remarks
seemed to open up to me ideas I never before considered. I became quite fixed
by His replies in Hebrews 10:29 and 9:15-25. In His reply to 2 Peter 2:1, he
further opens up the blessings which the Father has bestowed upon Christ as
the exalted God-man in His glorified humanity. From this reply, I wish to note
some important, but mostly ignored truths:
1. The concept that Christ did not
ransom the reprobates is nothing new to me, but the additional concept that
the Father did reward Christ with Kingship and power over these as an
additional reward for His passion, in addition to making satisfaction to His
Fatherís justice for His elect, is a new concept to me. Before reading this
work, I knew of the wonderful views these old brethren held about Christ's
present exaltation as the great King and High Priest and Prophet over His
People, but I had not carried this concept out to its Biblical and logical
conclusion. In addition to Christís making satisfaction to His Fatherís
justice for the elect, the Father, in His exaltation of His Son, in His
glorified humanity, has made Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords over all
created beings, those in heaven, on the earth and under the earth. That Christ
is exalted above all is not new to me, but what was new to me is that this
Biblical doctrine is that which 2 Peter 2:1 is setting forth. In addition, I
had never seen this concept tied to the reward of Christís sufferings as
given to Him from His Father because of His sufferings.
2. Simply put, this doctrine is
set forthóbecause the Father has been pleased with, and has received, the
offering of Christ as the satisfaction for the sins of His elect, He has
rewarded Him with an additional empowerment. He is now the life giver of all
men as well as the judge and ruler for both the elect and the reprobates.
In addition to this doctrine, it follows consequently, that in this
exalted state, Christ orders all things for the good of His church and His
people. This involves His office of Kingship. Much of this is found in the First
London Confession of Faith under the section
dealing with Christís offices as King, Priest and Prophet. If you will
compare the First London Confession with the Second London Confession, you
will see that the Second London does not present a very full account of the
mediatorial office of Christ as the King, Priest and Prophet of His Church and
People. This, I feel, was due to the large amount of converted General
Baptists which came into the Particular Baptists and in addition, the
Pedobaptist or Reformed concepts as well.
As I noted, in Spilsburyís answers to the objections from Hebrews
10:19, he sets forth the concept that Christ sanctified Himself as High
Priest for His people. This was not new to
me, but what was new to me was that Christ sanctified Himself with His
own blood, and that is what Paul was
presenting in Hebrews 10:19. This understanding opened up to me an entirely
new view of this passage and further enlarged my understanding of the many
blessings flowing from union with Jesus Christ. Please see Dr. Gillís
comments here on.
Here is some of what I mean:
Priest did sanctify Himself, then His house and then the People with the
sanctified Himself by His own blood, and also His own House and His own
Christ sanctifies Himself by His own blood, as the Great High Priest, by
our union with Him we too are sanctified as Kings and Priests by that same
did sanctify His own body, that one offering also sanctifies us, as
members of His body.
This concept sets forth Union with Christ in this blood sanctification
in a way I had not before considered. It also shows that when Christ did this
great work, all we who were in Him were forever sanctified in all
Christís offices with Him. Therefore,
arising from this great work, we were then sanctified unto God as Kings and
Priests by Christís own blood. Christ did not set us aside in a
separate sanctification. Godís elect, by
Christís one offering and sanctification of His own body, by His own blood
that made Him sanctified unto His Kingship and Priesthood, also made us kings
and priests, just as it did Him. We then, enter into His Kingship and
Priesthood with Him, not in the sense that He alone has, but under Him as His
representatives in this great work, Revelation 1:4,5; 1 Peter 2.
After considering this for several days, I was made to worship and adore
Christ further in the great and little understood doctrine of Union with
Christ in His sanctification unto His priesthood and kingship. We do not enter
into our own personal kingship and priesthood, but rather, into Christís
Kingship and Priesthood. No wonder then, Paul could say to the Romans, we are
more than conquerors through Him!
In addition to the above mentioned points, John Spilsbury did set forth
many other wonderful truths. These two captured my thoughts and still have
them. I hope you will be as blessed by these pages as I have been. By one who
has been given a reason to Hope that He
is a Debtor to Mercy.
Note: Words or numbers within
square brackets [ ] have been added by J.C. Settlemoir
INTEREST OF THE ELECT IN CHRIST AND HIS SAVING GRACE.
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
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 hath 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; I Peter 2:8.
3. Christ has presented to His
Fatherís Justice a Satisfaction only for His elect. Christ
hath 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 hath 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:
Because the satisfaction that Christ hath 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 I
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 (or final
unbelievers) 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 I 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
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; I 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 hath 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) hath 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, I Jn.5:10, and our
adversaries affirm it to be the only damning1 sin. Now if it be
sin, the blood of Jesus Christ doth wash us from it, I 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: Doth 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 doth not
continue, but is broken off, I answer: indeed it doth 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:
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
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; I 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, doth many times signify only some of all
sorts, as appears in these places, Mat. 4:23; Acts 10:12.
a. Mat.3:5,6. In Mat. 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 doth sometime signify only the greater part: as in Philip. 2:21, All seek their own, and in Luke 6:26, 6. 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 doth 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 I 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 I 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
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 hath 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 I John 2:2
A second objection is drawn from I 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 I 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 I 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 I John I: 7,9, it is clearly signified that they only are the
persons whom the blood of Jesus Christ doth cleanse from all sin, and to whom
the Father according to His faithfulness doth 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 I 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 I: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;
Making a great part of mankind to receive the benefits thereof.
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.
Sparing mankind a long time, and affording unto them many benefits by the hand
of Christ, for the Elect's sake, whiles 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, 39, 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
hath 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 I Timothy 2:4-6
A fourth objection is drawn from I Tim. 2:4,6, this to our adversaries
seems to be of special strength.
In the answering (or rather preventing) whereof we 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. ITim.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, I 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 hath appointed and
constituted the several orders and degrees among men, so he hath 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 mean men: but
the same Christ Jesus is the Mediator between God and all the Elect, of
whatsoever order or degree among men they are.
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 I 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 I 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, I 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 doth 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 hath 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 hath 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; I 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 hath bought all
creatures: yet it doth not follow nor is it true that Christ hath 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 fained 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. I] 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 hath 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 hath 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) hath 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
) doth 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 I Tim. 4:10
Some endeavor to make a seventh objection from I 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 hath 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 hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and
hath 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, I 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
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
4. As it hath 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
doth 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 I Cor. 15:1-3
Another objection is made against us from I 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
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
Priest1 and a Redeemer for His Israel, of His Israel
only: and the rest of the nations were looked upon as aliens from the common-wealth 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 I 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 I Cor. 15:22
Whereas some of our adversaries do endeavor to trouble both themselves
and us with an objection from I 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
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.
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
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
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 hath 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 hath 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 I 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 doth 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, I
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 hath 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, doth sometimes signify only some of all sorts, or of every
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 doth 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; I 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 I Tim. 1:13, compared with Heb. 10:26,
27, and I Jn. 5: I6.
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, I 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 doth 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 straitly 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, doth here signify no more then, it
may be forgiven Him. As in I Cor. 3:15. This clause,
Himself shall be saved, doth 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
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 far 1 will forgive their iniquities and I will
remember their sin no more. Touching which Scripture I affirm, and
undertake to prove, that God hath not made the covenant here spoken of, with
all men, but with His Elect only.
1. The Scripture doth not teach us, by the house of Israel to understand all men.
This covenant God keeps and performs, with all those, and unto all those that
he hath 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, 27, 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 hath 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 re-pays 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 I Pe. 1:10,11,12. 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 doth 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, I 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 hath 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 hath 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
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
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 doth never fall
short of the end that he pro-pounds 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 doth 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 doth 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 I 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, I 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 doth not behold the light of the gospel of Christ,
doth 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 doth 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. I6:49, 50; and Jude
7. Our interpretation of Christ's words doth 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 hath 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 hath 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, I 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 I 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 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 should1 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
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; I John 2:27; Ephesians 1:3, 4;
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
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 hath 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,
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 hath 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; I 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 mist 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
mans 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 I 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
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
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 I 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 I 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 I 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
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, I 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
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. 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; I 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, I 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
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
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 perservence, 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.