Qu. 93. For whom was his Death a satisfactory ransome?
A. For all.
Qu. 94. How doth that appear?
A.. The Scriptures plainly affirm it so, telling us, that he died and gave himself a ransome for all, tasted Death for every one.
The controversie is not, Whether Christ did die for all, or no: but how, and in what sense, it is so said. There be many places of holy Scripture, and many arguments, not easily solved; because, as I think, insoluble; which are brought to prove, that Jesus Christ did suffer death for all men: But when it is also said, that he died for his sheep; and for his Church; and that for whom God delivered up his son, to them he giveth all things; and when his Page 54 Death, Resurrection, and Intercession, do as in a chain, one draw the other, Rom. 8. And when it is certain, that God doth not give all things to all men, as namely, not Faith and Repentance; we are of ne∣cessity put upon it to distinguish: which we do so as to satisfie our selves; yet finding withall, that Con∣tention is fed with a fire that is unquenchable.
We beleeve, as our Church hath made professi∣on, and taught us, that the Son of God did offer a full, perfect, and sufficient oblation and satisfaction. for the sins of the whole world, and that he died for every man. And although notice of this be not gi∣ven to every man, or all the world; yet may it be given, and truly declared to them.
Such love did God bear to Humane nature, or all mankinde, more than to the lapsed Angels; that there was, and is a possibility for every man whatso∣ever to be saved, though he do not perform the Law, or Covenant of works. Gods justice is so far satisfied, that way is made for mercy, pardon, and favour. Nevertheless, for the actual participation of benefit by Christs Death, and application to each particular person, there is more to be done, than what is done by Christ for all the world. The fruit of his passion, as to life eternal, is derived onely to his body mystical, to such as are more nearly united to him, than by the common Relation, or kin, or claim of humane nature, which he took upon him, and for which he suffered. And although by his bloud he obtained, as well Universal, as eternal Re∣demption; Page 55 yet by Faith in his bloud are we justified. And he who is said to be the Saviour of all men, is said also to be the Saviour of his Body; that is, of such as partake of his Spirit, and are subject to him, and joyned to him, as the parts of the Body are to the Head: So all men are not.
In this Nation at some especiall times, comes forth a General Pardon: in which case though we set aside the Exceptions, or the excepted; Those persons to whom it is really and truely intended, must sue out their pardon: otherwise, they may be sup∣posed not to accept of it. And if then, any shall urge the Term, and Title of the General Pardon, and in∣sist, without end upon this, That a pardon it is, and such a pardon as is general to all the people, without taking notice of any thing else further to be done; he that hath but small skill, can easily see, how weak such kinde of reasoning is.
Now whereas Faith is Gods gift, and he bestow∣eth his Spirit where he will, and man cannot beleeve of himself, nor perform the condition required; here beginneth the first overture of that secret difference that is betwixt man and man: and here first openeth it self, the great mystery of Election, in that the Ransom, or Satisfaction which God hath accepted, as general, and sufficient for all men, that whosoever beleeveth should not perish; doth not actually, and ef∣ficaciously, profit all men to life eternal, because to all men it is not given, to beleeve and perform the condition.
Page 56Whereas others think best to distinguish here, the unversal particle All; all, both Jews and Gentiles: or all, that is, the several kinds, or estates of men: or all, that is, all the Elect. I do now distinguish the Intentional particle, For: which denoteth the end, or intention; and sometimes moreover the effect of the Intention.
The death of Christ was for all, but not for all alike, or in the same manner, or with the like issue & event. He gave himself, and suffered sufficiently → , with a general Intention for all; but efficaciously, with a special Intention, for some onely.
When we say ← sufficiently, we do not mean a mere or bare sufficiency, as if there were onely price and worth enough in Christs bloud, to redeem all. As a rich man may have money enough in his chest, to re∣lieve all the poor in the Town: But we mean a suf∣ficiency with promise and proffer of benefit for all, yet not without a condition to be performed: As when a rich man doth give such a sum of money, to be by dole distributed to all the poor of that Town where he liveth: provided that they orderly attend at such a time and place to receive it. The Gift is intended for them all. But some it may be, had no no∣tice of it: and perhaps some others have no minde to take it. Yet were the alms intended for them all, and to each of them who did absent themselves, it may be truly said, Had you waited as was appointed, you had received your dole. But so it cannot truely be said to such poor, as live in distant places, because Page 57 it was not intended, nor provided for them.
There is no possibility for Satan and his angels to be saved by the death of Christ, not onely because their nature was not assumed, but because Christs death in the purpose of God, was not ordained for them, as it was for mankind. This Proposition there∣fore [If Satan beleeve, he shall be saved] is not true, because Christ died not for him. But this Proposi∣tion [If Judas Iscariot beleeve, he shall be saved, was true, because Christ died for him.
A favourite may procure a place at Court, for his friend in the Countrey; who nevertheless doth choose to live retiredly, and in the shadow, rather then in the view and glory of the world: the prefer∣ment in the mean time being ready for him, intended for him, and proffered him.
And that in this sense, our Blessed Saviour did suffer death for all men: as our Church hath framed the Answer; Jesus Christ redeemed me and all man∣kind, may be proved out of those words, 1 John 3. 23. This is his Commandment, that we should beleeve in the name of his Son. There is not onely a Com∣mand or Commission to the Apostles, to preach the Gospel to every Creature: But a Command also to every one that hears it, to beleeve it. Now, first, God doth not command any thing to be beleeved that is not true: and whosoever beleeveth in the Son of God, must beleeve, this at the least, that he died for him; therefore God commandeth every man that heareth the Gospel, to beleeve that the Son of God Page 58 died for him. Now whatsoever I beleeve, is not therefore true because I beleeve it; but it must be true before it be beleeved: so for all those that are commanded to beleeve, did Christ suffer Death, and offer Sacrifice.
And if any man shall hold on the contrary, that Faith doth not consist in beleeving this or that pro∣position, as, Jesus Christ gave himself for me; but in laying hold on, and apprehending and receiving Christ a Saviour, and that this is the right object of that kind of Faith, which is given in command to every one that heareth the Gospel; Then I argue, secondly thus: God doth not command any thing that is impossible. I mean not, that is impossible to such a person as now he is, and at such a time; but that is impossible in it self to be done. But now it is a thing not possible or any way feasable, for me to lay hold on Christ a Saviour, unless he be ordained and appointed a Saviour for me: and this cannot be, but by Gods appointment and institution, setting him forth to be a common Sacrifice and propitiation: thus it is in life spiritual, even as in corporal life, and the course of nature, it is impossible to be fed and nourished by a stone, because it never was ordained of God for food. Therefore Jesus Christ did give himself a Sacrifice for all men that hear the Gospel: and as for them who never heard of him, he offered Sacrifice for their sins also: and whosoever shall go and tell them so, shall tell them but the truth. Al∣though, untill they hear it, they do not sin, in not Page 59 beleeving it; as they do, who hear, and beleeve not. So much for the general intention, and ordi∣nation of Christs Death for all men.
But as there is this general Redemption, by means of that one Sacrifice for all men; so there is proper to those who are chosen to life, A special Re∣demption; which, as it proceeds from Election, Eph. 1.4. so it consists in actual forgiveness of sins, v.7. in whom we have Redemption, the forgiveness of sins. All men are no where said to be elected, All men are no where said to be forgiven. So some Redemption belongs to all; but, not every kinde of Redemption.
And that the intention of benefit by Christs Pas∣sion, was not alike to all, on his part; but more to some than to others; appeareth hence, that there was not the like application of it, made by him to all. He who offered himself a Sacrifice for the sins of all men, yet did pray for some onely, Joh. 17. 9. And God who gave his son, that whosoever be∣leeveth in him, should not perish, did absolutely in∣tend, that the benefit of that promise should infal∣libly take place, in some, by removing that infideli∣tie, which might have hindred them, and by giving faith which enabled them, to perform the conditi∣on, and lay hold on the promise, for want of which faith, others are lost. If in time, and in execution, he dealeth not alike the fruit of Christs Death to all men; then may we safely gather, that his purpose and intention, touching the fruit of Christs Death Page 60 was not alike to all men. Executio est speculum De∣creti, we may safely behold and view, Gods purpose and determination, in what he doth in time effect and bring to pass.
And if any man shall now murmure within him∣self and say: I know not whether I be of that sele∣cted number, for whom Christs Death was intended to be actually & every way efficacious; nor whether Gods love and good will be as much to me, as it is to any other, and shall thereupon neglect the duties of Gods law, and the means of his own eternal safety, giving ear to the whispers of some false teachers, by whom he is encouraged so to do, or at leastwise excused for so doing, rather than listening to the grave and wholsome advice, of our Church-Articles; which is, To receive Gods promises, in such wise, as they be generally set forth in holy Scriptures; I shall onely desire him to call to minde that saying of Moses Deut. 29. Secret things belong to the Lord, our God; but things revealed belong to us. In which words the Man of God setteth bounds to our know∣ledge, and to our search, as once he did to the peo∣ple at the foot of the mount, that they might know their distance and keep it, and not at their utmost peril, break thorow, ani gaze. And whosoever he be that shall refuse, to entertain and embrace points of belief, and the Doctrine of godliness fully re∣vealed; and in the mean time busily intermeddle with secrets reserved; shall add to disobedience, the sacriledge of curiosity, and may fear that God will Page 61 set his face against him, that shall dare to cross and thwart, in such a manner, so severe an Edict made known and published.