Imágenes de páginas

ple, and nations.” In their song, they sing, saying, from all the tribes of Israel, and from men of all nations, whether they are the more civilized people, or more barbarous nations, hast those redeemed us.

The passage so often in the mouths of our opponents, * “Who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time;" teaches the doctrine which is illustrated in the foregoing section, and none other. The all here spoken of, are those in whose place Christ substituted himself to bear the punishment due to them for their sins, and to pay for them a price of redemption. This is the import of the word «YTI AUTpor, as all the orthodox have maintained against Socinus, and his disciples. This he cannot be said to have done for all; for so none could be condemned to suffer for his owo sins. Paul speaks of all those, for whom Christ is Me. diator, by intercession, as well as by satisfaction, for we have shown above that these two functions of his priestly office are inseparable. The Arminians themselves admit that Christ does not intercede for all men. The objects of the apostle's discourse, are such as God “ wills to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Experience teaches us that he does not so will with respect to all men universally. This we have proved at large under a former head where the subject of God's desire to save all men is minutely examined. We there remarked that if God desires to save men who are not saved, his power must be limited, and who will dare say so? Besides, can we conceive that a being desires to accomplish an object and is unable to effect it, without also conceiving that being to be in some measure unhappy? At least we must suppose he would have been more happy had he gained his object; and who will dare to attribute imperfection of happiness to God? Doubtless he who asserts that God earnestly desires the salvation of those whom he cannot save, must assert, that Deity is deficient both in power and happiness. Farther if there are men whom God desires to save and cannot, his not being

*1 Tim. ii. 6.

able to effect their salvation must proceed from one of two causes---either the impossibility of making an atonement for their sins; or the obstipacy of their depravity is so great that he cannot vanquish it. The former of these cannot be said by our adversaries, for they assert that Christ made Atonement for the sins of all men without any exception. The latter ground is untenable. From the great transgressors who have been made illustrious trophies of divine grace, we may and do safely conclude that the greatest, and most obdurate sinners are equally, with the least guilty, in the power of grace. If sin be in some instances so potent as to be beyond the power of God to arrest and destroy it; who can say but that sin may so fortify itself in the dominions of God as to brave the utmost power of Jehovah's arm, and extend its ravages even to the throne of God? Hence the word all, used by the apostle in his letter to Timothy, must be understood in a restricted sense. That it is in some measure restricted must be admitted; for other. wise it would embrace fallen angels. How do we know that it does not extend to them? The scripture assures that he took not on him the nature of angels, and that there is no redemption for them. In the same way we learn from other portions of scripture, which we have before adduced, that Christ did not die for all the posterity of Adam; without any exception. The apostle is here to be understood as speaking of individuals of all nations, and not of all the individuals of every nation. Beza translates 586 Tartas, by a Latin word which signifies all kinds, some of all nations, states, and conditions. That this is the true sense of the phrase Calvin has proved by very solid reasoning. “ The apostle,” says he, “ simply means that no nation, or order of men is excluded from the salvation, which God offers to all without exception who hear the gospel.—The universality here mentioned by Paul, must be referred to kinds of men, and not to persons; as if he had said not Jews only, but Gentiles also, not peasants only, but princes too are redeemed by Christ."

The world, for which Christ is said by the evangelist

[ocr errors]

John* to have died, and to which he was sent, cannot be extended without limitation to the whole human family; for innumerable multitudes of the world which it com. poses, perish; but it denotes, either the universality of the elect, or some of all people indiscriminately, Jews and Gentiles. The evangelist alludes to the promise made to Abraham " that in his (Christ's) seed, all families of the earth should be blessed.”+ In this promise given to the ancient patriarch, there are blessings held out to all oations, who have Abraham for their father. But this blessing is not promised to all men universally, who are in the world, but to all the promised seed; without any distinction of nation; as appears both from this, that all will not be justified and saved by faith, according to the nature of the promise, as its blessing is ex plained by Paul;9 and that the same apostle limits it to those who are the seed of Abraham through faith. || Again the apostle quotes this passage from Genesis,“ in Isaac shall thy seed be called," and thus limits the promise to a definite number. Hence the world for whom Christ gave his body to death,** is none other than the world to which he is said, verse 33, to give life. “ This is the bread of God which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world,which can not extend to the whole human family. For the giving of life imparts its application and communication; which are imparted to the elect only. It is in this sense, that Christ says he gives life to his sheepott It is absurd to say that life is given to one when it is only obtained for him or offered to him, but never applied to him. When Christ is said to be the “.lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world,”#f the elect world is meant. The word dipew, which is here translated taketh away, signifies to remove entirely. How can Christ be said to remove, or entirely take away the sins of the reprobate, which remain against

* John üïi. 16, 17. and iv. 42. and vi. 33.
| Gen. xii. 3. and xxvi. 4. and xxii. 18.
# Rom. iv, 16.
Gal. iii. 8. 10.
| Rom. iv. 16.

Rom. ix. 7. ** John vi. 5. # John X. 28. #1 Jobni. 9.

them for condemnation? No other world can be meant in these passages but the world of the elect, made up out of Jews and Gentiles, without any regard to nation, or conditionthe world of those whose sins Christ is said to have borne, in his own body on the tree, that they being dead to sin might live unto righteousness-* those who are said to be blessed, on account of the taking away of their sins.t

When it is said that, “ Christ is a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world,” it is not meant to extend the propitiation, to all collectively and severally, but to those only, who can comfort themselves by the intercession of Christ, by that pardon which they have obtained through him. They are the elect only. Christ is a propitiation for those alone, whose cause he pleads, as intercessor with the Father; for these are joined together by the apostle as equal and inseparable. Our learned opponents confess, in their explanation of John xvii. 9. that Christ is not an advocate for all. Christ should actually appease and reconcile the Father to all those for whom he has made propitiation in his blood, unless we will maintain that Christ has missed his aim, and' shed his blood in vain, contrary to the assertion of the apostlef that no one can be condemned for whom Christ died. Will it be said that he cannot be condemned, who is excluded from salvation, and on whom the wrath of God abides? Surely not. Finally, the scope of the apostle, which is, to comfort believers against the remains of sin, proves that he does intend every one of the posterity of Adam. Now what comfort can a believer take from that grace which is common to the elect, and the reprobate? What comfort if he knows that Christ in his death has done nothing more for him, than for unbelievers. Therefore the phrase of John has respect not to all men of all nations, but to the believing inhabitants of the whole world; or as Calvin speaks, “ the sons of God dispersed through the whole world.” Lest any one should think that the blessing

* 2 Pet. ii. 24.

| Psal. xxxü. 1.

Rom. viii. 34

of Christ's atonement was confined to the apostles alone, or to those believers to whom this epistle was directed; John says that it was much more extensive, embracing men of all nations, and belonging to believers redeemed out of every tribe, tongue, kindred, and people of the whole world. It is of little moment whether by the phrase our sins, are understood those of the apostles, or those of believing Jews of the dispersion, then living (to whom, without doubt, this epistle was directed, while the epistles of Peter and James are called catholic, because not inscribed to any particular city or person) as distinguished from those who had believed before Christ appeared in the flesh, or from those who would afterwards believe to the end of the world. The question still comes to the same point. It is sufficient that the world here mentioned cannot embrace universally all men; as John and those to whom he writes were distingnished from it; while yet they are included in that uoiversality, which embraces the whole of the human race. This was the opinion of Calvin. “ Not for our sins only, says the apostle, by way of amplification, that believers might be firmly persuaded, that the propitiation extended to all who would embrace Christ by faith,”-and again, “ the object of John was none other, but to make it known that the blessing of which he discourses is common to the whole church, therefore under all he does not comprehend the reprobate, but designates them who would afterwards believe from among those who were scattered over every clime. Then truly with the greatest propriety the grace of Christ is illustrated, when he is preached as the only salvation of the world."

Though Christ came to save that which was lost* and saves none others, yet it is not necessary that he should save all those who are lost sinners. So far from this, Christ himself clearly testifies, that he came oot to call those lost sinners who are both utterly ignorant of their lost state and swollen with an exalted opinion of their own righteousness,

• Matt. Xviii. 11.

« AnteriorContinuar »