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with our being exhorted and encouraged to repent and believe for the remission of sins, or to the saving of the soul, as scripture gives all men a warrant to do, Acts ii. 38. and since all are commanded to exercise these graces, and to expect salvation, as connected there with, the doctrine of particular redemption, as a late writer insinuates, puts us under a necessity of believing a lie. And he farther adds, that if the condition, annexed to the promise of salvation, be impossible, and known to be so, it gives no encouragement to set about it; and, if he who promises knows it to be so, he promises nothing, because nothing that a person can obtain, or be the better for, whereby he is deluded, and a cheat put upon him, by pretending kindness, in making the promise, and intending no such thing. * Thus that author represents the doctrine of particular redemption, as containing the most blasphemous consequences that words can express : he must therefore have been very sure that his argument was linanswerably just, though, I hope, we shall be able to make it appear that it is far from being so; which, that we may do, let it be considered,
(1.) That we are to distinguish between a person's being bound to believe in Christ, and to believe that Christ died for him; the first act of faith does not contain in it a person's being persuaded that Christ died for him, but that he is the Object of faith, as he is represented to be in scripture; and accordingly it supposes that we are convinced that Christ is the Messiah, that he purchased salvation for all who shall attain it, and is. able to save, unto the utmost, all that come unto God by him; and also, that it is our duty and interest so to do. And, since saving faith is not in our own power, but the work and gift of divine grace, we are encouraged to wait on God in his ordinances, and, with fervent prayer, to beseech him that he would work this grace in us, acknowledging, that if he should deny us this blessing, there is no unrighteousness in him; and we are to continue waiting on him, and using all those means which are in our power, though they cannot attain their end, without his blessings; and, when he is pleased to work this grace in us, we shall be enabled to put forth another act of faith, which is properly saving, as intended by the scripture, which speaks of believing to the saving of the soul, which consists in receiving of him, and resting on him for salvation, as hoping that he hath died for us, inasmuch as he hath given us that temper and disposition of soul, which is contained in that character which is given of those for whom Christ died.
(2.) We must farther distinguish between God's commanding all that sit under the sound of the gospel to believe in Christ; and his giving them ground to expect salvation, before
* Şee Whitby's Discourse, page 145, 146.
they believe in him. Faith and repentance may be asserted to be duties incumbent on all, and demanded of them, when, at the same time, it doth not follow that all are given to expect salvation, upon the bare declaration that they are so. Accordingly the command and encouragement is to be consi dered in this order; first, as it respects our obligation to believe; and then, as it respects our hope of salvation; and neither the former nor the latter of these does, in the least, infer that God intended to save all mankind, or gave them ground to expect salvation, who do not believe in Christ.
(3.) As to what is farther suggested, concerning salvation's being promised on such conditions, as are known, both by God and man, to be impossible, the only answer that need be given to this, is, that though with men this is impossible, yet with God all things are possible, Matt. xix. 26. When we consider faith and repentance, as conditions connected with salvation, or as evincing our right to claim an interest in Christ, and that salvation, which is purchased by him, (in which sense, as was before observed, we do not oppose their being called conditions thereof, by those who are tenacious of that mode of speaking ;* and we do not call them impossible conditions, any otherwise than as they are so, without the powerful energy of the Holy Spirit; we cannot think that our asserting, that it is impossible that ail mankind should thus repent and believe, is a doctrine contrary to scripture, which gives us ground to conclude, that all men shall not be saved, and consequently that all shall not believe to the saving of the soul. And, when we consider the impossibility thereof, we do not suppose that God has given all mankind ground to expect this saving faith, upon which the blasphemous suggestion, relating to his deluding men, is founded; it is enough for us to say, that God has not told any one, who attends on his ordinances, in hope of obtaining this grace, that he will not give him faith; and more than this need not be desired by persons to induce them to perform this duty, while praying and waiting for the happy event thereof, to wit, our obtaining these graces, and so being enabled to conclude that Christ has died for us.
4. If all the absurdities before mentioned will not take place to overthrow the doctrine of particular redemption, there is another argument, which they, who oppose it, conclude to be unanswerable, namely, that it does not conduce so much to advance the
of God, as to assert that Christ died for all men, inasmuch as more are included herein, as the objects of divine favour, therefore God is hereby more glorified.
To this it may be replied, that it does not tend to advance the divine perfections, to suppose that God designed to save any
• See Page 196, 197, ante.
that shall perish, for that would be to argue, as has been before considered, that the purpose of God, with respect to the salvation of many, is frustrated. But, since the stress of the argument is laid on the display of the glory of divine grace; that does not so much consist in the extent of the favour, with respect to a greater number of persons, as it does in its being free and undeserved, and tending, for this reason, to lay the highest obligation on those who are concerned herein, which is the most known sense of the word grace.
But inasmuch as it will be objected, that this is only a criticism, respecting the sense of a word, it may be farther replied to it, that if the grace, or goodness of God, be more magnified by universal, than particular redemption, as including more, who are the objects thereof, the same method of reasoning would hold good, and they might as well attempt to prove, that there must be an universal salvation of mankind; for that would be a greater display of divine goodness, than for God only to save a few; and it would be yet more eminently displayed, had he not only saved all mankind, but fallen angels. Shall the goodness of God be pretended to be reflected on, because he does not extend it to all that might have been the objects thereof, had he pleased ? Has he not a right to do what he will with his own And may not his favour be communicated in a discriminating way, whereby it will be more advanced and adored, by those who are the objects thereof, without our taking occasion from thence to reply against him, or say, what dost thou ?
And to this it may be added, that they, who make use of this method of reasoning, ought to consider that it tends as much to militate against the doctrine they maintain, namely, that God hath put all mankind into a salvable state, or that Christ, by his death, procured a possibility of salvation for all ; which, according to their argument, is not so great a display of the divine goodness, as though God had actually saved all mankind, which he might have done ; for he might have given repentance and remission of sins to all, as well as sent his Son to die for all; therefore, upon this head of argument, universal redemption cannot be defended, without asserting universal salvation. Thus concerning those absurdities which are pretended to be fastened on the doctrine of particular redemption ; we proceed to consider the last and principal argument that is generally brought against it, namely,
5. That it is contrary to the express words of scripture ; and some speak with so much assurance, as though there were not one word in scripture, intimating, that our Lord died only for a few, or only for the elect;* though others will own, that there
* See TFhitby'e Discourse, &c. page 113
are some scriptures that assert particular redemption, but that these are but few; and therefore the doctrine of universal redemption must be aquiesced in, as being maintained by a far greater number of scriptures : but, in answer to this, let it be considered, that it is not the number of scriptures, brought in defence of either side of the question, that will give any great advantage to the cause they maintain, unless it could be made. appear that they understood them in the true and genuine sense of the Holy Ghost therein: but this is not to be passed over, without a farther enquiry into the sense thereof, which we shall do, and endeavour to prove that it does not overthrow the doctrine we have been maintaining, how much soever the mode of expression may seem to oppose it; and, in order hereunto, we shall first consider in what sense all, all men, the world, all the world, and such-like words are taken in scripture, as well as in common modes of speaking, in those matters that do not immediately relate to the subject of universal redemption; and then we may, without much difficulty, apply the same limitations to the like manner of speaking, which we find in those scriptures which are brought for the proof of universal redemption. Here we are to enquire into the meaning of those words that are used, which seem to denote the universality of the subject spoken of, when nothing less is intended thereby, in various instances, which have no immediate reference to the doctrine of redemption. And,
(1.) As to the word all. It is certain, that it is often used when every individual is not intended thereby : thus we read in Exod. ix. 6. that all the cattle of Egypt died, when the plague of murrain was inflicted on the beasts; whereas it is said, in the following words, that none of the cattle of the children of Israel died; and, from ver. 3. it appears that none of the Egyptians' cattle died, save those in the field; and it is plain, that there was a great number of cattle that died not, which were reserved to be cut off by a following plague, viz. that of hail, in ver. 19. Moreover, it is said, in ver. 25. that the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field; yet we read, in chap. x. 5. of the locusts eating the residue of that which escaped, and remained unto them from the hail.
Again, we read, in Exod. xxxii. 3. that all the people brake. off the golden ear-rings which were in their ears, of which Aaron made the calf, which they worshipped; whereas it is not probable that all wore ear-rings; and it is certain, that all did not join with them, who committed idolatry herein ; for the apostle intimates as much, when he speaks of some of them as being idolaters, who sat down to eat and drink, und
rose up to play, i Cor. x. 7. And some conclude, that those of the tribe of Levi, who gathered themselves unto Moses, and joined with
did not spare
him in executing the vengeance of God on the idolaters, are said to be on the Lord's side ; not barely because they repented of their idolatry, but because they did not join with the rest in it; and, if this be the sense of the text, yet it does not appear that they were all exempted from the charge of idolatry, though it be said, that all the sons of Levi were gathered to him; for we read, in ver. 29. of every man's slaying his son, and his brother; and, in Deut. xxxiii. 9. it is said, on this occasion, that they did not know their fathers, nor their children, that is, they
them; therefore some of that, as well as the other tribes, joined in the idolatry, though they were all gathered to Moses, as being on the Lord's side.
Again, we read, in Zeph. ii. 14. where the prophet speaks concerning God's destroying Syria, and making Nineveh desolate, that all the beasts of the nations shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; by which he intends that those beasts, that generally lodge in the wilderness, or in places remote from cities, such as the cormorant and bittern, &c. should take up their residence in those places, which were formerly inhabited by the Ninevites; therefore all the beasts cannot be supposed to signify all that were in all parts of the world.
Again, the prophet Isaiah, in chap. ii. 2. when speaking of the multitude which should come to the mountain of the Lord's house, which he expresses by all nations coming to it, explains what is meant by all nations coming to it, in the following verse, namely, that many people should say, Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord; and the prophet Micah, referring to the same thing, says, in chap. iv. 2. that many nations shall say, Let us go up to it, as containing a prediction of what was to be fulfilled in the gospel-day, in those that, out of various nations, adhered to the true religion.
Again, it is said, in 1 Chron. xiv. 17. that the fame of David went forth into all the lands, which cannot be meant of those which were far remote, but those that were round about Judea.
Moreover, it is said, in Matt. iii. 5, 6. that Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, went out to John, and were baptized of him; which cannot be understood in any other sense, but that a great number of them went out to him for that purpose. And when it is said, in Matt. xxi. 26. that all men held John as a prophet, it is not to be supposed that the Scribes and Pharisees, and many others, who cast contempt on him, held him to be so; but that there were a great many who esteemed him as such. And when our Saviour says, in Matt. x. 22. Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake, it is certain, that those that embraced Christianity are to be excluded out of their number who hated them. Again, when it is said, in Acts ii. 5. that there were dwelling at Yerusalem,