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them the means of doing good, but also predestinated the evil, that they might fall into it; and that he inclines and forces them into great sins; certainly he must necessarily delight in their death, and will them to die; seeing against his own will he neither doth, nor can do any thing.
§. IV. Thirdly, It is highly injurious to Christ our 3. It rendmediator, and to the efficacy and excellency of his gos- mediation pel; for it renders his mediation ineffectual, as
if he had not by his sufferings thoroughly broken down the middle wall, nor yet removed the wrath of God, or purchased the love of God towards all mankind, if it was afore-decreed that it should be of no service to the far greater part of mankind. It is to no purpose to allege that the death of Christ was of efficacy enough to have saved all mankind, if in effect its virtue be not so far extended as to put all mankind into a capacity of salvation. Fourthly, It makes the preaching of the gospel a 4. It makes
the gospel mere mock and illusion, if many of these, to whom it is preached, be by any irrevocable decree excluded from being benefitted by it; it wholly makes useless the preaching of faith and repentance, and the whole tenor of the gospel promises and threatenings, as being all relative to a former decree and means before appointed to such; which, because they cannot fail, man needs do nothing but wait for that irresistible juncture, which will come, though it be but at the last hour of his life, if he be in the decree of election; and be his diligence and waiting what it can, he shall never attain it, if he belong to the decree of reprobation.
Fifthly, It makes the coming of Christ, and his pro- het come pitiatory sacrifice, which the scripture affirms to have ing of been the fruit of God's love to the world, and Christ an transacted for the sins and salvation of all men, wrath. to have been rather a testimony of God's wrath to the
6. It ren. ders man
dition than the dev
world, and one of the greatest judgments, and severest acts of God's indignation towards mankind, it being only ordained to save a very few, and for the hardening, and augmenting the condemnation of the far greater number of men, because they bebelieve not truly in it; the cause of which unbelief again, as the divines (so called] above assert, is the hidden counsel of God: certainly the coming of Christ was never to them a testimony of God's love, but rather of his implacable wrath : and if the world may be taken for the far greater number of such as live in it, God never loved the world, according to this doctrine, but rather hated it greatly, in sending his Son to be crucified in it.
$. V. Sixthly, This doctrine is highly injurious to kind in a mankind; for it renders them in a far worse condi. worse con. tion than the devils in hell. For these were some
time in a capacity to have stood, and do suffer only for their own guilt; whereas many millions of men are forever tormented, according to them, for Adam's sin, which they neither knew of, nor ever were accessary to. It renders them worse than the beasts of the field, of whom the master requires no more than they are able to perform; and if they be killed, death to them is the end of sorrow; whereas man is for ever tormented for not doing that which he never was able to do.
It puts him into a far worse condition than Pharaites under oh put the Israelites ; for though he withheld straw Pharaoh. from them, yet by much labour and pains they
could have gotten it: but from men they make God to withhold all means of salvation, so that they can by no means attain it; yea, they place
mankind in that condition which the poets feign Tantalus' of Tantalus, who, oppressed with thirst, stands in condition. water up to the chin, yet can by no means reach
it with his tongue; and being tormented with hunger bath fruits hanging at his very lips, yet
-Than the Israel.
so as he can never lay hold on them with his teeth; and these things are so near him, not to nourish him, but to torment him. So do these men: they make the outward creation of the works of Provi. dence, the smitings of conscience, sufficient to convince the heathens of sin, and so to condemn and judge them: but not at all to help them to salvation. They make the preaching of the gospel, the offer of salvation by Christ, the use of the sacraments, of prayer, and good works, sufficient to condemn those they account reprobates within the church, serving only to inform them to beget a seeming faith and vain hope; yet because of a secret impotency, which they had from their infancy, all these are wholly ineffectual to bring them the least step towards salvation; and do only contribute to render their condemnation the greater, and their torments the more violent and intolerable.
Having thus briefly removed this false doctrine which stood in my way, because they that are desirous may see it both learnedly and piously refuted by many others, I come to the matter of our proposition, which is, That God out of his infinite love, who delighteth not in the death of a sinner, but that all should live and be saved, hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that whosoever believeth in him might be saved ; which is also again affirmed in the sixth proposition, in these words, Christ then tasted Christ tastdeath for every man, of all kinds. Such is the evi- ed death dence of this truth, delivered almost wholly in the man. express words of scripture, that it will not need much probation. Also, because our assertion herein is common with many others, who have both earnestly and soundly, according to the scripture, pleaded for this universal redemption, I shall be the more brief in it, that I may come to that which may seem more singularly and peculiarly ours.
Christ's re- VI. This doctrine of universal redemption, or demption universal
, Christ's dying for all men, is of itself so evident to the doc- from the scripture-testimony, that there is scarcely trine of ab- found any other article of the Christian faith so probation. frequently, so plainly, and so positively asserted.
It is that which maketh the preaching of Christ to be truly termed the gospel, or an annunciation of glad tidings to all. Thus the angel declared the birth and coming of Christ to the shepherds to be, Luke ii. 10. Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people : he saith not, to a few. Now if this coming of Christ had not brought a possibility of salvation to all, it should rather have been accounted bad tidings of great sorrow to most people; neither should the angel have had reason to have sung, Peace on earth, and good will towards men, if the greatest part of mankind had been necessarily shut out from receiving any benefit by it. How should Christ have sent out his servants to preach the gospel to every creature, Mark xvi. 15. (a very comprehensive commission,) that is, to every son and daughter of mankind, without all exception? He commands them to preach salvation to all, repentance and remission of sins to all:
warning every one, and exhorting every one, as Paul The gospel did, Col. i. 28. Now how could they have preachles proveed the gospel to every man, as became the minisby man. ters of Jesus Christ, in much assurance, if salva
tion by that gospel had not been possible to all ? What! if some of those had asked them, or should now ask any of these doctors, who deny the universality of Christ's death, and yet preach it to all promiscuously, Hath Christ died for me? How can they, with confidence, give a certain answer to this question? If they give a conditional answer, as their principle obligeth them to do, and say, If thou repent, Christ hath died for thee ; doth not the same question still recur? Hath Christ died for me, so as to make repentance possible to me? To this they can
that are weary
answer nothing, unless they run in a circle; whereas the feet of those that bring the glad tidings of the gospel of peace are said to be beautiful, for that they preach the common salvation, repentance unto all; offering a door of mercy and hope to all, through Jesus Christ, who gave himself a ransom for all
. The gospel invites all: and certainly by the gospel Christ intended not to deceive and delude the greater part of mankind, when he invites, and crieth, saying; Come unto me all
ye and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. If all then ought to seek after him, and to look for salvation by him, he must needs have made salvation possible to all; for who is bound to seek after that which is impossible? Certainly it were a mocking of men to bid them do so. And such as deny, that by the death of Christ salvation is made possible to all men, do most blasphemously make God mock the world, in giving his servants a commission to preach the gospel of salvation unto all, while he hath before decreed that it shall not be possible for them to receive it. Would not this make the Lord to send The absurforth his servants with a lie in their mouth, (which that docwere blasphemous to think,) commanding them to trine of abbid all and every one believe that Christ died for probation. them, and had purchased life and salvation? whereas it is no such thing, according to the fore-mentioned doctrine. But seeing Christ, after he arose and perfected the work of our redemption, gave a commission to preach repentance, remission of sins, and salvation to all, it is manifest that he died for all. For He that hath commissionated his servants thus to preach, is a God of truth, and no mocker of poor mankind; neither doth he require of any man that which is simply impossible for him to do: for that no man is bound to do that which is impossible, is a principle of truth engraven in every man's mind. And seeing he is both a righteous and merciful God, it cannot at all stand,