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his life for the sheep,” and “*for his friends.” He is said? “to die—that he might gather together in one, the children of God that were scattered abroad.” It is said; that Christ “ hath purchased the church, or his fock with his own blood.” If Christ died for every one of Adam's posterity, why should the scriptures so often restrict the object of his death to a few? How could it with propriety, be said absolutely that Christ is the saviour of his people, and of his body; if he is the saviour of others also? How could it in the same way be said that he laid down his life for his sheep, for the sons of God, and for the church, if according to the will and purpose of God he died for others also? Would this be a greater proof of his love, and a firmer ground of consolation? To this it is objected “that the scripture, which in these passages appears to limit the atonement to a few, elsewhere extends it to all.” This objection is more specious than solid. The universality alluded to in this objection is not absolute, but limited; one which does not refer to all the individuals of the human family, but to individuals of all nations; as will be shewn at large hereafter. Another objection is, “ that in the texts quoted above, the satisfaction is not considered separately, but in connection with its application which is limited, though the satisfaction separately considered is universal.” To this we reply, that the words and phrases which the Holy Spirit uses in the texts cited above; such as “the Saviour,” “to lay down life for one,” “to give himself for one, &c.” properly denote satisfaction—the procurement of salvation. And although the atonement is necessarily followed by its application, yet the proof drawn from these terms used by the Spirit, are not weakened; because the atonement, and its application are inseparably connected; and are of the same extent; all which will be proved in the proper place. Again, it is objected that “Christ died absolutely for some and conditionally for others.” This however, takes for granted what ought to be proved. It is
* John xi. 52. f Acts xx. 28. # Eph. viii. 25, 26.
altogether gratuitous to say, that Christ in his death had a twofold intention; one conditional, which extended to all; the other absolute, which was limited to a few. The scripture no where countenances such a distinction; it always represents the application of the atonement as conditional but the making of it never. The nature of the thing does not indeed, admit of such a distinction; for according to the hyphotheses of the objections, there was no consideration of the elect, in the decree, according to which Christ died; and they admit that he died with the same purpose, with which the decree was passed; for the execution must be agreeable to the plan. The plan must be filled up. Christ and the Father must have precisely the same object in view by his death. They say that the elect were separated by a posterior decree, hence as Christ was destined to die for all, before the elect were separated from the reprobate, he must have died for the elect and the reprobate in the same way. God decreed all things by one simple act, though we have to conceive of the decree by parts: who then can believe that in one simple act, God had two intentions so diverse, not to say contrary, that in one manner Christ should die for all, in another for some only? Nay, when Christ could not will to die absolutely for the elect, without involving by the law of contraries a will not to die for the reprobate, it is inconceivable how in one act he should will both to die for the reprobate, and not to die for them. Another objection offered is, that “though these scripture passages speak of the elect, yet they do not speak of them exclusively of all others, as Paul says that Christ was delivered for him, but he does not exclude others.” To this I answer that though those texts upon which I rely do not explicitly exclude all others, yet they contain, in that description which they give of those for whom Christ died, certain circumstances, which clearly exclude others. Though the blessing is promised to the seed of Abraham without saying to the seed of Abraham alone, yet it is sufficiently clear that the blessing was confined to Abraham's seed, to
the exclusion of all others. The object of the passages 2 P so
quoted, is to illustrate, and magnify the love of Christ towards his sheep for whom he lays down his life—for his church and people on whose account he delivered himself up to death. But how will this exalt the love of Christ towards his people, if they have no prerogative, no claims in the death of Christ above the reprobate? Why should the immense love of Christ who lays down his life, and sheds his blood, be applied specially to the people of God? The example of Paul does not strengthen the objection; for the apostle does not speak of this as a blessing peculiar to himself, but as one common to himself and the other elect, or believers, to whom he proposes himself as an example, that they might be able to say the same thing of themselves because they were in the same state. Another objection to the view we have given of these words of the evangelist Matthew, is quite as unsubstantial as those which we have examined. It is said that “though Christ is called the Saviour of his people in a respect peculiar to themselves, on account of salvation's being actually bestowed upon them, yet there is no reason why he should not be the Saviour of others also on account of having obtained salvation for them, though in consequence of their unbelief they will never be made partakers of it; and that, in reference to this, Paul says that God is the saviour of all men, especially of them that believe.”* It is gratuitous to say, that Christ is the saviour of some, for whom he has purchased salvation, but to whom it will never be applied. It is to take for granted what ought to be proved. The very expression, to save, denotes the actual communication of salvation. Christ is Jesus, not only because he is willing and able to save, and because he removes all obstacles out of the way of salvation, but because he does in reality save his people, both by acquiring through his merits salvation for them, and applying it to them effectually. That such was the intention of God in sending Christ, and the end of his mission, is clearly intimated by the imposition of the
* 1 Tim. iv. 10.
name Jesus by the angel. The passage quoted from Paul's epistle to Timothy does not evince a contrary doctrine; for the word varup which is used in that passage, and translated Saviour, in its most extensive sense denotes Preserver; and when it is said that he is the Saviour of men, the meaning is that he is the preserver of all men, he upholds all men in their being—preserves them in their present life. It is taken in a more strict and limited sense when it is applied to be. lievers, which is denoted by the word especially. In what other sense than as the upholder of all men, can he be said to be the Saviour of men who finally perish? To say that Christ, by his death intended to save them, will not solve the difficulty, for we do not call a man a saviour who intends to save another, but him who does it actually. Now Christ does actually uphold men in this life, for “in him we live, in him we move, and in him we have our being.”* In this the apostle alludes to a passage in the Psalms where God is said “reou, to save man and beast.”f Whence Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Primasius, and Ambrose say “that he is the saviour of all in the present life, but of the faithful only he is the saviour as to eternal life.” And Thomas, “he is the preserver of the present and future life because he saves all men with a bodily salvation, and thus he is called the saviour of all men; he also saves the righteous with both a bodily and spiritual salvation, and is hence said to be the saviour especially of them that believe.”
As to the passage from John's gospel, let it not be ob. jected “that those sheep, for whom Christ is said to have laid down his life, are not said to be the elect only.” The context proves incontrovertibly that it can apply to none but the elect. Christ is speaking concerning sheep which hear his voice and follow him, which he has known, and loves intensely, and which he must bring into one fold, under one shepherd, v. 15, 16. Those sheep, for whom Christ lays down his life, shall be put in possession of eternal life, and no man shall be able to pluck them out of the Father's hand; which things can be affirmed of none but the elect, who are called sheep, both on account of their destination to life, and their actual and effectual calling in time. Nor let it be objected, “that he is said to have laid down his life for his sheep, because they alone shall enjoy the fruits of his death, whilst others, on account of their unbelief, receive no benefit from his expiatory sacrifice. Thus, to die for some, either signifies that death is suffered simply with an intention to profit some, which is true in respect of all; or, with an intention that they shall be profited in reality, which is true in relation to sheep only.” For, in answer to this objection, consider that to lay down life for some, can no more be referred to the enjoyment of the fruits of Christ's death, than when it is said, that he gave himself a ransom for all. There is no solid reason why the former phrase should be referred both to the intention and to the effect, but the latter restricted to the purpose and intention of bestowing help. It cannot be conceived that there is any difference between these two. He who dies for any one that he may profit him, intends that he for whom he dies shall be profited in reality; and he will in reality profit him if he has the power to do so. Now, can any one assign a reason why Christ gains the object which he had in view, as to his sheep, but misses his aim as to the rest? Equally unsubstantial is the following objection, “that Christ could not lay down his life for his sheep as such; because, then they would have been his sheep before he died for them, and purchased them for his own; hence, he died for them. merely as sinners, which character belongs to them in com-o: mon with others, and that hence he must have laid down his life in this way for others.” To this I reply, that though they were not actually his sheep, yet they were so by destination. They had been given to Christ to be purchased and redeemed by him as the good shepherd, who must shed his blood for their redemption. By the decree of God they were given to him, before they were actually in his hands.”
* Acts xvii. 28. f Psal. xxxvi. 7.