... for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?—Canticles 1.7.
All within the Visible Church,
Christ Died Not For All;
Against the Arminians and the Antinomians.
Christ Dying, & Drawing Sinners to Himself,
[The last and special doubt, Doth Christ love me by name?]1
But I doubt he bears not me in particular at good Will; Are the Promises made for me? Did he love me before the World was? Did Christ dying intend Salvation for me?
This Doubt draweth us to the fifth Particular, (that so I may hasten to the Uses) which is, What Sort of Faith it is that God requireth of all within the visible Church, for the Want whereof Reprobates are condemned.
[Antinomians dream that faith is an apprehension of the eternal love of election.]
Assertion 1. Saving Faith, required of all within the visible Church, is not, as Antinomians conceive, the Apprehension of God's everlasting Love of Election to Glory of all and every one that are charged to believe. Saltmarsh [Free Grace, Part 6, Section 52], in an ignorant and confused Treatise, tells us, "To believe now, is the only Work of the Gospel,that is, That ye be persuaded of such a Thing, that Christ was crucified for Sins, and for your sins,So as Salvation is not a Business of our Working and Doing, it was done by Christ with the Father,All our Work is no Work of Salvation, but in Salvation we receive all, not doing any Thing, that we may receive more; but doing because we receive so much, and because we are saved; and yet we are to work as much, as if we were to be saved by what we do, because we should do as much, by what is done already for us, and to our Hands, as if we were to receive it for what we did our selves: So here is short Work, (saith the Man on pages 193, 194) Believe and be savedThere are yet these Grounds why Salvation is so soon done, (1.) Because it was done before by Christ, but not believed on before, by thee, till now. (2.) Because it is the Gospel way of Dispensation, to assure and pass over Salvation in Christ, to any that will believe it. (3.) There needs no more on our Side to work or warrant Salvation to us, but to be persuaded that Jesus Christ died for us, because Christ hath suffered, and God is satisfied; now Suffering and Satisfaction is that great Work of Salvation." And the Man [on pages 199-202] taking on him to determine Controversies of Arminians touching the Extent of Free-grace, whether Christ died for all, (in which Questions I dare make Apology for his Innocency, that he is not guilty of wading too deep in them) he would father on the Reformed Churches of Protestant Divines, that we make this a rational Way of Justice, "That God will merely and arbitrarily damn Men, because he will, so as God hath put every one under a State of Redemption and Power of Salvation; and they are damned, not from their own will but from God's." The Opinion by Arminians is fathered upon that Apostolic Light of the Church of Christ eminent and divine Calvin; and Saltmarsh will but second them, that he may appear a Star in the Firmament, with others of some great Magnitude.
But (saith he [on pages 202 & 203]) the other Way is, "Christ died only for his, but is offered to all, that his, who are amongst this All, might believe; and tho' he died not for all, yet none are excepted," (that is, as he saith, all and every one to whom Christ is preached, Elect or Reprobate, are to be persuaded that Christ died for them in particular) "and yet none are accepted but they that believe, and none believe but they to whom it is given." And having shown some Dreams of his own touching these Controversies, he concludeth with a Truth I believe easily, Thus have I opened, tho' weakly, the Mystery. Weakly, but wilfully and daringly.
[The Gospel obligeth none to believe an untruth.]
But Faith is formally no such Persuasion, as to be persuaded, Every Man is loved with an everlasting Love, chosen and redeemed in Christ; for it changeth the whole Gospel in a Lie, Christ obligeth no Man to believe an Untruth: Now, all are charged to believe in the Son of God, and Elect and Reprobate (as there be of both Sorts within the Net of the Kingdom) are not loved with an everlasting Love, nor did Christ die for them all.
2. 'Tis mere Presumption, not Faith, that all Hypocrites, fleshly Men, Slaves to their Lusts, Idolaters, Covetous Men, remaining such, never broken with any Law-work, should immediately believe Christ is their Saviour, died for them, and the Father loved them to Salvation, before the World was. True it is, before a Sinner believe, he is an unpardoned, an ungodly and guilty Sinner; but that he is unbroken, yea, or unconverted before he believe, (I speak of Order of Nature) 'tis as impossible, as that a Thistle can bring forth Figs; for then he should believe, having no new Heart in him, which is the only Principle of Faith.
3. 'Tis a more ingenuous Opinion, that Christ died for all and every one, tho' it have no Truth in it self, than so hold that he died for the Elect only, and yet oblige Men (as Antinomians do) against their Conscience to believe he died for all and every one that are in the Practice of Believing.
4. He that believeth not, maketh God a Liar; then that which is to be believed, must be an Evangelick Truth.
5. Faith layeth Bands on all within the visible Church, to be knit together in Love, unto all Riches of the full Assurance of Understanding, to the Acknowledgement of the Mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ, Col. 2.1,2, to be persuaded that nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Christ, Rom. 8.37-39. To full Assurance, Heb. 10, without wavering or declining, or bowing like a tottering Wall. Now, sure all and every one within the visible Church, to whom the Command of Believing comes, Reprobate or Elect, are not holden to have a full Assurance that they are chosen in Christ to Salvation, and redeemed in his Blood.
Assertion 2. The Object of saving Faith, required of all within the visible Church, is,
[The faithfulness of God in saving, one of the objects of saving faith.]
1. Christ's Faithfulness to save Believers, Heb. 10.23, Let us hold fast the Profession of our Faith without wavering; and the Apostle backs it with an Argument, that saving Faith must lean upon, (For he is faithful that hath promised) and Paul, 1 Cor. 1.9, presseth the same, God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the Fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
[The second object of faith is God's mercy in saving all that believe.]
2. We do not read in the Old or New Testament, that the Decree, Purpose, or Intention of God to save and redeem Persons in particular, is the Object of that saving Faith required in the Gospel. For the second Object of this Faith is the Truth and Goodness of that Mother-promise of the Gospel, John 3.16, and 5.25, that Gospel-record, 1 John 5.10-12, He that believeth, hath Life eternal; and Jesus Christ came into the World to save Sinners, 1 Tim. 1.15. To seek and to save the lost, Luke 19.10. That he came to save me in particular, is apprehended by Sense, not by Faith; for the Election of me by Name to Glory, and the Lord's Intention to die for me, is neither Promise, nor Precept, nor Threatening; if it be a History that I must believe, 'tis good, shew me Histories of particular Men now to be believed, except of the Antichrist, the second Coming of Jesus Christ to judge the World.
[Election of some persons to glory is a divine truth, but it's neither precept, promise, nor threatening of the Gospel.]
Election to Glory is not held forth as a Promise, If ye do this, ye shall be elected to Glory; nor is the contrary holden forth as a Threatening, If ye believe not, ye shall be reprobated; nor does the Lord command me to be chosen in Christ to Salvation, before the Foundation of the World; nor doth he command all Men within the visible Church to believe they are chosen to Salvation, or that any one elect Person should believe a Thing as revealed, which is not revealed. When he is pleased to give any one elect Person the white Stone, and the new Name, and to give him Faith, by which he chooseth Christ for his Portion, he is then, and never till then, to believe; or rather by spiritual Sense to apprehend that he is chosen to Salvation from Eternity. So Election is neither Precept, nor Promise, but a Truth of God's gracious Good-will and Pleasure hid in God's Mind, till he be pleased to reveal it by the Fruits thereof.
[Arminians lay double-dealing on God by the faith they enjoin to all.]
There can be no such imaginable Double-dealing in the World, as Arminians lay upon God: For they make the Lord to say thus, as imagine a King should speak to Twenty thousand Captives, I have a Good-will, Purpose, hearty Intention, and earnest Desire to make you all and every one free Princes; and I pray, wish, obtest, and beseech you subscribe such a Writ of Grace for that End, but I only can lead your Hand at the Pen, and give you Eyes to see, and a willing Heart to consent to your own Happiness; and if you refuse to sign the Bill of Grace, you shall be tormented for ever and ever in a River of Fire and Brimstone: Again, I have a like Good-will to my own Justice, and Purpose so to carry on the Design, as that Sixteen Thousand of you shall not have the Benefit of my Hand, or of one Finger to lead your Hand at the Pen, nor any efficacious Motion to act upon your Will, to obtain your Consent to subscribe the Writ: Yea, by the Contrary, though I, of exceeding great Free-love, will, intend, decree, and purpose you be all Princes of Glory; yet I purpose that these Sixteen thousand, whose Salvation and Happiness I extremely desire, shall for their former Rebellion, which I with the like Desire of Spirit could, and I only might have removed, never be moved to consent to this Bill of Grace. Now, were not this the Outside of a Good-will? and should not this Prince be said rather to will and desire the Destruction of these Sixteen thousand, and not their Honour and Happiness?
[God may oblige all to rest on Christ as their Saviour though salvation be not purchased to all.]
Assertion 3. This is the Mystery of the Gospel, in which I must profess Ignorance; and that the Lord's Thoughts are not as our Thoughts, nor his Ways as our Ways: He hath, by the Preaching of the Gospel, engaged Thousand Thousands within the visible Church, to the Duty of their fiducial Adherence and Heart-resting on Christ, as they would be saved; and yet hath the Lord never purposed to work their Hearts (and he only can do it) to this Heart-resting on Christ by Faith, nor hath he purchased either Remission of Sins or Pardon for them. If any Object, How can Christ of Equity judge and condemn them for not believing Pardon and Salvation in his Blood, when as neither Pardon nor Salvation are purchased in this Blood to them, nor purposed he to give them Faith? Yet we may plead for the Lord: We [in so objecting] conceive of the Decree of God, as of a deep Policy and a Stratagem and Snare laid for us; whereas the Lord lies not in Wait for our Ruin, nor carries he on a secret Design in the Gospel to destroy Men. If Christ should say in the Gospel-precepts, Promises, or Threatenings, I decree, purpose, and intend to redeem all and every Man; But I purpose to carry on the Design so, as the far greatest Part of Mankind inevitably shall be lost; it should be a Stratagem: But the Gospel, as the Gospel, revealeth not any Decree or Intention of God, touching the Salvation or Damnation of Men, intended from Eternity: Indeed, the Gospel, as obeyed or disobeyed, reveals God's Intentions and Decrees; the Gospel revealeth nothing but the Lord's Complacency, Approbation, and Good-liking of the sweet Connexion between Faith and Salvation; the just Contentation between Unbelief, Disobedience, and eternal Damnation: So the Gospel reveals Duties, but not the Persons saved, or damned; the Lord's working with the Gospel, or the Efficacy of the Gospel (which is a far other Thing) reveals the Persons.
Now the Difficulty is, How the Lord can command the Reprobate to believe Life and Salvation in Christ, when there is no Life and Salvation either intended to them, or purchased for them?
[All in the visible Church are obliged to rest on Christ as the Saviour of all that believe, but they are not all obliged to believe that he intendeth salvation to themproved by clear instances.]
To which I answer,
1. God gave a Law to all the Angels created in the Truth, If ye abide in the Truth, ye shall be eternally happy: Ye cannot say that the Devils in that Instant were to believe that God intended and decreed them for eternal Happiness, and to give them efficacious Grace, by which they should abide in the Truth, as their fellow Angels did; God's command and Promise did reveal no such Intention of God. So the Lord said to Adam and to all his Seed, If ye keep the Law perfectly, ye shall have Life eternal; according to that, Do this and live: Yet was not Adam then, far less these that are now under the Law, to believe that God ordained them from Eternity, to eternal Life, legally purchased; or that any Flesh should be justified by the Works of the Law.
Arminians tell us, That there be Numbers judicially blinded and hardened within the visible Church, who cannot believe, and whom the Lord hath destined for Destruction; yet the Word is preached to them, they hear and read the Promises of the Gospel, and the Precepts: Whether are they to believe that God intended from Eternity to them Salvation and Grace to believe? I think not: For they teach, that Christ neither prayeth for, nor intendeth to die for the unbelieving and obstinate World as such, nor decreed their Salvation. And except men may fancy Senses on the Words of God's Spirit; Where learned they to expound the Word World (when it makes for them) for all and every one of Mankind; and when it makes against them, for the least Part of Mankind, and that either within the visible Church only, or yet without the visible Church? For in both, Satan's World of disobedient Ones is the far greatest Part, seeing the whole World lies in Sin, as John saith. Let it be also remembered, when Arminians say, The Lamb of God taketh away the Sins of the World, that is, of all and every mortal Man, they mean Christ takes not away, nor sheddeth he his Blood for the Sins of the rebellious World; so the World's Rebellion, Contumacy and Infidelity against Christ, must be pardoned without shedding of Blood: And if Christ did bear all the sins of the World on the Cross conditionally, and none of them absolutely; then our Act of Believing must be the only nearest Cause of Satisfaction for Sins: But why then, if Christ satisfied on the Cross for the final Impenitency and Unbelief of the rebellious World conditionally, so they believe and be not rebellious; but Arminians should say right-down, Christ died for the rebellious and contumacious World, and he prays for the contumacious World as such, but conditionally; for he prays and dieth for the not-rebellious World of all mortal Men, not absolutely, but conditionally, so they believe in Christ; if they believe not, neither the Prayers of Christ, nor his Death, are more effectual for them; than for Devils.
[How God dealeth sincerely with all whom he commandeth to believe.]
To all these we may add, That the Lord, in commanding Reprobates to rest on Christ for Salvation, though no Salvation be purchased for them, deals sincerely and candidly with them: For, First, He commands them to believe no Intention in God to save them by the Death of his Son, nor saith he any such Thing to them, but only commandeth them to rely on Christ as an all-sufficient Saviour. Secondly, God commands all the Reprobate, even by their Way, to believe that Christ in his Death intended their Salvation, Justification, Conversion: And yet, whereas God taketh Ways effectual, and such as he foreseeth shall be effectual for the efficacious working of Justification and Conversion, and actual Glorification of some few; yet he taketh Ways which he knoweth shall be utterly ineffectual for the Salvation, Justification, and Conversion of all these Reprobates, and yet commandeth them to believe that he decrees and intendeth their Salvation and Conversion, with no less Ardency and Vehemency of serious Affection, than he doth intend the Salvation and Conversion of all that shall be glorified. Sure this we would call Double-dealing in Men; and the Scripture saith, He is a God of Truth, Deut 32, and the Lord who cannot lie.
Objection. If a rich Inn-keeper should dig a Fountain in his Field for all Passengers, thirsty and diseased, which were able to cure them, and quench their Thirst; and invite them all to come and drink and be cured, upon Condition they come and believe the Virtue of the Water to be such; and yet should intend and decree absolutely and irresistibly the tenth Man invited, should never be cured; this Inn-keeper should not deal sincerely with them. So you make God to deal with Sinners in the Gospel: He doth all, in inviting sick Sinners to come and drink Life and Salvation at Christ the Fountain of Life, which expresseth with Men who speak as they think, their sincere Intention; but he intendeth no such Thing.
[God's wise framing of the Gospel invitations in not expressing the names of any.]
Answer. Make the Comparison run as it should do, and it maketh more against the Arminians; say that this Inn-keeper had Dominion over the Heart and Will, as the Lord hath, Prov 21.1; Psalm 119.36,37; Heb. 13.20,21; Matt. 6.13, and that he could and doth, without straining of the Heart, work in all the Passengers, a Sense of their Disease, Grace actually to come and drink, and yet he taketh a Dealing with the Souls of some few, and causeth them come to the Waters and drink, and healeth them, and he useth such Means, and so acts upon the Will of the far most Part, that they shall never come, never be sensible of their Disease, and yet he invites them to come to the Waters and drink; 'tis clear, this Inn-keeper never intended the Health of all and every one of the Passengers, but only of these few that come and drink; nor doth Invitations with Men, upon Condition which the Party invited is obliged to perform, but doth never perform, and which the Inviter only of Grace can work in the Invited, but doth not work them, as being not obliged thereunto, speak any such Intention.
Again, let it be considered, that here (1.) God lies in wait for no Man's Destruction. (2.) God is not obliged to reveal his eternal Purpose and Intentions touching Mens Salvation and Damnation, but in the Way and Manner seems best to him. (3.) God never saith in all the Gospel, that from Eternity he hath passed a Resolve to save all Mankind, if they will; and to yield them the Bridle on their own Necks, that they may be indifferent and absolute Lords of Heaven and Hell. (4.) Nor should the Gospel be framed in such Wisdom, if the Lord had set down particularly the Names of all the Elect and Reprobate in the World, and have proponed Salvation upon Condition of Obedience and Faith to some few; it should evidently have raised a hard Opinion in the Minds of Thousands touching Christ.
[The sufficiency of power in Christ to save, is the object of that faith for the want of which Reprobates within the visible Church are damned.]
Assertion 4. The third Object of Faith, is, the Sufficiency and Power of Christ to save. (1.) The Scripture maketh the Object of Coming, which is Believing, John 5.40, John 6.35, Matt. 11.27, to be Christ's Ability and Power, Heb. 7.25, to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make Intercession for them. What the Scripture presseth us to believe savingly, that we must be inclined to misbelieve; and for the misbelieving thereof, the Reprobates are condemned, and not because they believe not the Lord's Intention to save all, or his Decrees of Election and Reprobation. But the Scripture presseth Faith in the Power of Mercy, Rom. 4.21, Abraham staggered not, but was strong in the Faith, giving Glory to God, being fully persuaded that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Now, Abraham is commended for that he savingly, and for his Justification, believed the Power of God in the Gospel-promise, that God was able of his Mercy to give him the Son of Promise in his old Age; otherwise, to believe simply the Power of God to give a Child to a Mother who is past the natural Date of bearing Children, is but the Faith of Miracles, which of itself is not saving, and may be in Workers of Iniquity, Matt. 7.21,22. So this Power, then, is the Power of saving, conjoined with the Mercy and Good-will of Christ. (2.) The Scripture holds forth to our Faith the Power of God to graff in the Jews again in Christ, Rom. 11.23, to make a weak Believer stand, Rom. 14.4, to keep the Saints from falling, and to present them faultless before the Presence of his Glory with exceeding Joy, Jude v. 24. (3.) The good Land was a Type of the heavenly Rest, Heb. 4.1; Heb. 3.19, some entered not in through Unbelief: Why, what Unbelief? the Story sheweth us, Psalm 93.7; Num. 14.9; Num. 13.28, they doubted of the Power of God, and believed the Report of the unbelieving Spies, who said, The People be strong that dwell in the Land, the Cities are walled, and very great, and moreover we saw the Children of Anak there. Joshua and Caleb, Chap. 14.9, said, They should be Bread for them, and their Strength was gone; then the Question was, Whether God was able to give them that good Land? So then, Men enter not into the heavenly Rest, because they believe not that Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those that come through him to God, Heb. 7.23. (4.) The Scripture is as much in proving the All-sufficiency, Power, and Perfection of Christ our Saviour, to save, as in demonstrating his Tenderness of Mercy and Goodwill to save; as in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle laboureth much for to prove the Godhead of Christ, his Excellency above Angels, and that the Angels were to adore him; his Dignity and Greatness above Moses and all the mortal & dying Priests; the Virtue of his Blood above all the Bloods of Bulls and Goats, to purge the Conscience from dead Works, to expiate Sin, to sanctify his People, to open a Way, a new and living Way to the Holy of Holiest, by his Blood, that we with full Assurance may draw near to God; that he with one Sacrifice, never to be repeated, did that which all the Thousands of reiterated Sacrifices were never able to do; that he is no dying Priest, but lives for ever to intercede for us at the Right-hand of God. And for what is all this, but that we should believe the All-sufficiency of Christ to save, and because we have too low Thoughts of Christ, as conceiving him to be but a Man, or less than an Angel, or a common Priest, that can do no more by his Blood, as touching Remission of Sins, than dying Priests could do with the Blood of Beasts; and that he is dead, and now, when we sin, he cannot advocate for us at the Right-hand of God; that his Redemption he brings in, is not eternal? Yea, all this saith, that saving Faith rests upon Christ as God, as able and completely perfect and sufficient to save, tho' sinners do not, in the formal Act of Faith, believe his Good-will, Decree, and Intention to redeem and save them by Name.
[The object of fiducial resting on Christ.]
(5.) I should think, that these who have high and precious Thoughts of the Grace, tender Mercy, Perfection and Sufficiency of Christ to save all that believe, and fiducially rely on Christ as a Saviour sealed for the Work of Redemption, though they know not God's Mind touching their own Salvation in particular, have such a Faith as the Gospel speaks of, and do savingly believe that Christ came to seek and to save that which is lost, to save Sinners; that Christ is the Son of the living God, the Saviour of Mankind: And this no Devil, no temporary believer, no Hypocrite can attain unto.
Objection 1. But I believe not then that I am in particular redeemed: And, without that, I am a Stranger to Christ; for Devils and Reprobates may believe all the general Promises of the Gospel.
Answer. (1.) 'Tis true, in that Act formally you believe not you are redeemed in particular; yet virtually and by good Consequence you believe your own Redemption in particular, and so you are not a Stranger to Christ. (2.) 'Tis true, Devils and Reprobates may yield an Assent of Mind to the general Promises, as true: But 'tis denied that they can rest on them as good, as worthy by all Means to be embraced; or that in Heart and Affections they can intrust the Weight and Burden of their Soul on these general Promises, or that there is any Taste of the Honey and Sweetness of Christ in these Promises to their Soul, as it is with the Souls that fiducially rest upon Christ in these Promises.
Objection 2. Suppose I know of a Ship offering to carry all to a Land of Life, where People are never sick, never die, have Summer and Day-light, and Peace and Plenty for ever, upon Condition I should believe the Good-will of the Ship-master to carry me to that Land; if I know nothing of his Good-will to me in particular, I have no Ground to believe I shall ever enjoy that good Land: So here, if I know nothing of Christ's Good-will to me, how can I believe he shall carry me to the heavenly Canaan?
Answer. Yea, suppose, what is in question, that to be persuaded of the Good-will of Christ the Owner of the Ship to carry you in particular, is the Condition upon which he must carry you, but that is to be proved; there is no other Condition, but that you rest on his Good-will to carry all who so rest on him, and that is all.
Objection 3. But I cannot believe.
Answer. You are to believe you cannot believe of your self, and of your own Strength; but you are not farther from Christ, that you are far from your self.
Objection 4. It's comfortable that Christ the Physician came to heal the Sick; but what is that to me, who am not sick, nor of the Number of these Sick, that Christ came to heal, for any thing I know?
[That I am sinful and not excluded by name, is a good warrant to me to believe indefinite promises, and to rest on Christ for salvation.]
Answer. 'Tis true, 'tis nothing to you that Christ came to heal the Sick, and to cure the Distemper of Sin that is on them; you want nothing but that the Spirit working with the Law, let you see your lost Condition, and the Gospel-offer be considered, and compared with your Estate. But whether you be of the Number of these Sick that Christ came to heal, is no lawful Doubt, and comes not from God; for what that Number is, or whether you be one of that Number or no, is a Secret of the hid Counsel of Election to Glory: A negative Certainty, that, for any Thing ye know, you are not of the contrary Number, nor are ye excluded out of that Number, is enough for you to father Kindness upon Christ, though he should say, from Heaven, Thou art not a Son.
[The Arminian argument against particular redemption, from the hope, assurance, and comfort of all, proposed with all its nerves and strength.]
Objection 5. I shall never have Ground of Assurance to believe Christ's Good-will, nor either Hope or Comfort in the Gospel-covenant or Promises, if Christ died for a few elected and chosen absolutely to Glory; for all must be resolved on doubtsom, hopeless, sad and comfortless Grounds, by your Way, thus:
These for whom Christ laid down his Life, and have Ground of Assurance of Hope and Comfort in Christ's Death and in the Gospel-promises, are not all Men and all Sinners, but only some few Handful of chosen Ones, by Name, such as Abraham, David, Peter, Mary, Hannah, &c. and not one more, not any other.
But I am one of these few Handful of chosen Ones by Name, I am Abraham, David, Peter, Mary, Hannah, &c. and of no other Number; therefore I have Ground of Assurance of Hope and Comfort in Christ's Death and in the Gospel-promises.
Now, the Proposition is poor, comfortless, and a very hopeless Field to all within the visible Church; and the Assumption to the greatest Part of Mankind evidently false, because many are called, but few are chosen: And so the Syllogism shall suggest a Field of comfortless and hopeless Unbelief and Doubting, yea, of Despairing, to the far largest Part of Mankind; whereas the Doctrine of the Lord's Good-will to save all and every one of Mankind, and of redeeming all, and covenanting in Christ with all, removes all Ground of Unbelief and Doubting, from any; offereth Grounds of Faith, Hope, and Comfort in the Gospel, of Peace to all.
[Universal Redemption furnisheth no grounds of assurance, hope, & comfort to all.]
Answer 1. We shall consider what Certainty and Assurance of Faith Arminians furnish to all and every one from the Gospel.
2. What the Scripture speaks of the Assurance, Hope and Comfort of all and every one. And,
3. The Argument shortly shall be answered. As for the first, That Arminians may make their Syllogism of Assurance, Hope, and Comfort in Christ's Death, as large as Christ's Death; they must extend the Gospel-comfort and Hope to the Heathen, who never heard of these Comforts: Now, how this can be, let us judge. A very learned and eminent Divine sheweth from the Matter itself, and Confession of Amayrald an Arminian, that twelve Apostles could not in so short a Time have gone through the whole World; yea, they must have passed many particular Nations, who never by any Sound heard of the Gospel: And Arminians yield to us, that this was done areana Dei dispensatione, by the secret and unsearchable Providence of God; they would say, if they would speak Truth, by the Lord's absolute, highest, independent and unsearchable good Pleasure, in his Decrees of absolute Election and Reprobation (2.) Again, they are made excusable, and freed from all Guiltiness of Unbelief, and Hopelessness of Comfort or Ground of Comfort in the Gospel-promises, who never heard of the Gospel; yea even these who heard but the Gospel, as the Athenians, Acts 17, who judged Paul to be a Babler, and Festus, who thought him mad, and the Grecians, who esteemed the Preaching of the Gospel Foolishness, 1 Cor. 1, and so most have heard the Gospel, yet are not condemned so much for doubting of the Sufficiency of Christ's Death, seeing they believed Christ to be a false Prophet, as for their not hearing Men sent of God, Christ and the Apostles, speaking with the Power of God, and endued with the Power of working Miracles. (3.) But what Assurance, Hope and Comfort of Salvation do Arminians give? One Thomas Moore has written a Book, entitled, The Universality of God's free Grace in Christ to Mankind; that all might be comforted, encouraged, every one confirmed and assured of the Propitiation and Death of Christ for the whole Race of Mankind, and so for himself in particular: Hear then what Arminians, and Mr. Moore saith, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my People, saith the Lord; comfort and encourage with the Joy of the Holy Ghost, with the lively Hope of eternal Life, with the Comforts of the Scripture, Scipio, Aristotle, Cato, Regulus, Seneca, all the Turks, Americans, Indians, Virginians; such as worship, the Devils, the Sun and Moon; such as have no Hope, and are without God, and without Christ in the World; bid them be assured Christ died for them, prays and intercedes for them, intends and wills their Salvation upon good Condition, no less than the Salvation of his chosen People."
But, (1.) The Object of this Faith, Hope and Comfort, may stand and consist, though all and every one of the Race of Mankind should believe it, with no less Certainty of eternal Damnation than Indians, all the Reprobate and condemned Devils are under: Now, saving Faith removeth all Hazard of Damnation, John 3.16; John 5.25; John 11.26; 1 Tim. 1.15,16. Gal. 2.10, but Thousands believe, yea, the damned Devils, who assent to the Letter of the Gospel, and gave Testimony that Jesus is the Son of the living God, by the Judgment of the Arminians, believe that Christ died for all and every one of the Race of Mankind. Ergo, all the Reprobates may have this Faith, Assurance, Comfort and Hope.
[The hope of assurance and comfort flowing from universal redemption vain & fruitless & false.]
(2.) Saving Faith, bringing Peace, Justification, Rejoicing in Tribulation, purifieth the Heart: But I am not a whit nearer Peace, that I believe that Christ intendeth to redeem, save, justify all and every one of Mankind, upon Condition they believe; for this remaineth ever a Hole in the Heart; God either efficaciously intendeth to save all, or inefficaciously, committing the Event to the good Guiding of Free-will, which once lost all Mankind: Now the former neither can be known to any living; 'tis a Doubt to Arminians, if it be known to God himself: Arminius (Anti-Perkins) saith, "Deum posse excidere fine suo, quia non semper intendit finem secundum præscientiam; God may fail and come short of his End, because he doth not, especially in Events that fall out freely, and may not fall out, intend the End according to Foreknowledge." See then here the Arminian Courage, Hope and Comfort: God intendeth to redeem and save me in Christ; but ah! it is as the blind Man casteth his Club, or shoots his Arrow, he winks and draws the String; it may come up to the White, but it runs a Hazard to fall short and wide.
[Arminians fancy God to hand pendulous, uncertain between two ends.]
Again, 'tis false that God intendeth efficaciously to save all; therefore Bellermine and Arminius say, The Lord doth here, as Politicians, who have two Strings in their Bow: For God (say they) lieth at the wait between two Ends, and intendeth either the Obedience, Conversion and Salvation of all; or, if he miss, he has another String in his Bow, and intends the Declaration of the Glory of his Justice, if Free-will shall thwart and cross the former Intention of God; and this is the latter Intention, all and every Man is to believe that God intends his Conversion and Salvation ineffectually: But ah! this is cold Comfort, and dubious, hazardsome and far-off Hope; the poor Man is here between Hope to be saved, (if the Fortune, or loose Contingency of Free-will be lucky) and Fear to be eternally thrice more miserable than if God had never born him any Good-will (if Free-will miscarry, as it doth in the far greatest Part of Mankind) for Arminians do not say, one Man is more saved by their pendulous and venturous good Wishes and doubtsome Intentions to save all and every one, than we do by the Lord's most wise, stayed, poised, fixed, and absolute Decrees; so it is but a toom and an empty Spoon, they thrust in the Mouths of the whole Race of Mankind, when they will them thus to hope for Salvation.
2. By this Means, God intending two Ends, either the Salvation or Damnation of all and every one, he puts all Mankind upon large as great Fear and Despair, as upon Comfort and Hope; and he intends and wills the Destruction of all Mankind more efficaciously, and with far greater Success, than he wills their Salvation: Only, here is a Comfort Men may take to Hell with them, and an East-wind Hope they may feed on; God primarily, antecedently, and first wills my Salvation, but secondarily and with better Certainty of the black Event, he wills, in Justice, my Damnation, and the eternal Destruction of the far greatest Part of Mankind; and this is the Arminian Comfort, and white Hopes that the Tenet of Arminian universal Grace, liberally bestows on all; much Good do it them.
[Arminians make God to be expelled from his far best end, and compelled against his will to a worse end, in the far largest part of mankind.]
3. They stand not to make God to fluctuate between two Ends; either this or this, Justice or Mercy: Mercy is the Port, God desires to sail to, and to carry all to Heaven; but because he cannot be Master of Tide and Wind, and Free-will bloweth out of the East, when God expecteth a fair West-wind, the Lord is compelled to arrive with a second Wind, as a crossed Seaman must do, and to land his Vessel in the sad Port of revenging Justice, and make such a Sea-voyage, as against the Heart of God (what will ye say of the Destiny of Free-will's ill Luck?) must cast the far greatest Part of Mankind, as Ship-broken Men, into an eternal Damnation; and except God would have strangled Free-will, and destroyed the Nature of that Obedience which is obnoxious to Threatenings and Rewards, he could not for his Soul mend the Matter.
[Faith cannot rest on a common general good.]
And here, good Reader, you have the Arminian Hope and Consolations, if you list to hearken to the Arminians of England, now risen to comfort all Mankind in these sad Times. (3.) Saving Faith layeth Hold on Salvation, Righteousness and everlasting Redemption, as proper Heritage; Faith being a supernatural Instinct, that layeth a peculiar Claim to Christ, as the natural Instinct in the Lamb claimeth the Mother: 'Tis Property that Faith pursueth. Let Experience speak, if there be not a peculiar Warmness of Heart in a Believer at the Sight of Christ: Now, to believe a common Salvation hanging in the Air, the Heaven of Turks and Arminians, and the Righteousness, and Redemption of Indians, or Seneca, and Catiline, Clodius, and Camillus, I confess must be far from such a Property.
[Saving Faith the first dawning of election to glory.]
4. Saving Faith is the first Dawning, the Morning-sky and the first Day-light of the Appearance of Election to Glory, Acts 13.48. The Man never hath a fair Venture of Heaven, nor cometh in Handy-grips with eternal Love revealed, till he believe; because the poor Man's Believing is his Act of Choosing God for his Portion, and so cannot be an Assent to a common Good, general to all Men, Heathens, Pagans, Jews, Turks and Believers: Faith makes him say, I have now found a Ransom, I have found a Pearl of great Price, I make no other Choice, my Lot is well fallen on Christ; whether Christ cast his Love or his Lot upon me from Eternity, I cannot dispute; but sure, I have chosen him in Time.
[The Arminian hope and comfort not in Scripture.]
Now, for the Second, The Scripture sheweth us of an Hope of Righteousness by Faith; this we wait for through the Spirit, Gal. 5.5, and of the Hope laid up for the Saints in Heaven, Col. 1.15, and Christ in the Saints the Hope of Glory, v. 27, and of the Hope of the Appearing of our Life Christ, Titus 2.13. Which Hope maketh a Man to purge himself, and to be holy, 1 John 3.3, and of a Rejoicing in Hope of the Glory of God, Rom. 5.2, Rom 12.12, the Hope to come, for which the Twelve Tribes of Israel serve God instantly, Acts 26.7, and that lively Hope, unto which we are regenerated by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead, 1 Pet. 1.5, and the Hope that we have through Patience and Comfort of the Scripture, Rom. 15.4, and the Hope which is not confined within the narrow Sphere and Region of Time and this corruptible Life, 1 Cor. 15.19, the Hope which Experience bringeth forth, Heb. 5.4. Now, whether we take Hope for the Object of Hope, the Thing hoped for, or the supernatural or gracious Faculty of Hoping; in neither Respects have Seneca, Scipio, Regulus, Jews, Turks, Americans, and such as never by any Rumour heard of Christ, any Hope from Scripture: Paul saith of them, and of the Ephesians in their Condition, Eph. 2.12, At that Time ye were without Christ, being Aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel, and Strangers from the Covenants of Promise, having no Hope, and without God in the World; and for the Grace of Hope, the Scripture saith, 'Tis an Anchor cast in Heaven by these who upon Life and Death make Jesus their City of Refuge, Heb. 6.19,20, it is a Fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5.5. Wherever it is, it makes a Man purify himself, 1 John 3.2, 'tis a lively Hope; and a Fruit of Predestination, and of the Sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus, 1 Pet. 1.3-5. Now, such a Hope as Arminians allow to Heathens and Indians, to Reprobates, who believe that Christ died for all and every one, and such as perish eternally, we gladly leave to themselves; and if our Doctrine of particular Redemption furnish Ground of Despair, as opposite to this Hope, we profess it: But let Arminians answer this of their own Way; So God must speak to the most Part of the Christian World, Be of good Courage, hope for Salvation in Christ, be comforted in this, that Christ died for you all without Exception, and be fully assured and believe there is a perfect Ransom given for you, and Salvation and Righteousness purchased to you in Christ's Blood; but I have decreed so to act upon the Wills of the far greatest Part of you, that you shall have no more Share in that Redemption and purchased Salvation than the damned Devils; whereas, if I had so drawn you, as I have done others, as sinful by Nature as you are, you should certainly have been eternally saved in Christ's Blood; and the like. And far more I could say, of the Dream of the middle Science and Knowledge of God;
[The Arminian Divinity, their faith & hope, &c.]
For Arminians spoil the Almighty of all Grace, Compassion, Mercy, or Power to save: For this is the Gospel, and no other, that God must utter, by their Doctrine; I have chosen out of Grace and Mercy all to Salvation, who shall believe; and have given my Son, to give his Life and Blood a Ransom for all and every one; and I will, desire and wish, that all Mankind were with me in eternal Glory, and that my revenging Justice had never been experimentally known to Men or Angel, and that Death, Hell, Sin, had never had Being in the World: But the far greatest Part of Mankind were to sin, and finally & obstinately to resist, both my general universal Grace given to all, and my special and evangelick Calling, and that they were to do before any Act of my Knowledge, free Decree, strong Grace, or tender Mercy; and I cannot bow their Wills indeclinably to final Obedience, nor could I so powerfully, by moral Suasion, draw them to constant Faith and Perseverance, except I would act against that which is decent and convenient for a Law-giver to do, & destroy the Nature of that free Obedience that lieth under the sweet Droppings of free Reward, which must be earned by Sweating, and under the Lash and Hazard of eternal Punishments to be inflicted, (which I will not do) Yea, though in all Things even done by free Agents, as Translations of Kingdoms from one Prince to another, and bringing Enemies against a Land, which are done by free Agents, I do whatever I will, and my Decree stands and cannot be recalled, Dan. 4.35; Isa. 14.24-27; Chap. 46.10,11; Psalm 115.3; Psalm 135.6, Yet in Matter of Salvation or Damnation, or of turning the Hearts and free Actions of Men and Angels, that most highly concern my Glory above all; I cannot but bring all the Arrows of my Decrees, to the Bow of that slippery contingent Indifferency of the up and down Free-will of Men and Angels; and here am fast fettered, that I can but dance as Free-will pipeth, and say Amen to created Will in all Things good or bad. I cannot out of the Abundance of my rich Grace and free Mercy (though earnestly and vehemently I desire it) save one Person more than are saved, or damn one more than are damned, or write one more in the Book of Life, and bestow on them the Fruits of my dear Son's Death, than such as, in Order of Nature, were finally to believe before any Act of my middle Science, or my conditional free Decree, or drawing Grace; therefore am I compelled (as a Merchant, who against his Will casts his Goods in the Sea, to save his own Life, because the Winds and Storms over-master his Desire) to take a second Course, contrary to my natural Desire, and gracious and mild Inclination to Mercy, to decree and ordain that all who before the Acts also of my middle Science, free Decree and just Will, were finally to resist my Calling shall eternally perish; and to will that Pharaoh should not at the first or second Command obey my Will, and let my People go: And therefore, with a consequent or constrained Will, to suffer Sin to be, to appoint Death and Hell, and the eternal Destruction of the greatest Part of Mankind, to be in the World, for the Declaration of my revenging Justice, because I could not hinder the Entrance of Sin into the World, nor master Free-will as free, if my Dispensation of the first Covenant made with Adam in Paradise should stand: Whereupon I was compelled to take a second Harbour, and a second Wind, like a Sea-man, who is, with a stronger cross Wind, driven from his first wished Port; and to send my Son Jesus Christ into the World to die for Sinners, for that I could not better do, and out of Love to save all, offer him to all, one Way or other, though I did foresee my Desire and natural Kindness to save all, should be far more thwarted and crossed by this Way; because need-force my consequent Will must needs prepare a far hotter Furnace in Hell for the greatest Part of Mankind, since Thousands of them must reject Christ in resisting the Light of Nature, and the universal sufficient Grace given to all; which if Free-will should use well, would have procured to them more Grace, and the Benefit of the preached Gospel. But a heavier Plague of Hardness of Heart, and far greater Torments of Fire, than these, I foresee must be the Doom of such, within the visible Church, as resist my Calling, or having once obeyed, may, according to the Liberty of independent Free-will, persevere if they will; and notwithstanding of the Power of God, by which they are kept to Salvation, the Promises of the eternal Covenant, the Efficacy of Christ's perpetual Intercession, of the Indwelling of the Holy Ghost, that everlasting Fountain of Life, &c. may fully and finally fall away and turn Apostates: And therefore all their Hope of eternal Life, their Assurance of Glory, their Joy, their Consolation and Comforts in any Claim to Life eternal, and the State of Adoption, is not bottomed on my Power to keep them, my eternal Covenant, my Son's Intercession, (I can do no more than I can) but upon their own Free-will, if they please (and 'tis too pleasant to many) they may all fall away, and perish eternally, and leave my Son a Widow, without a Wife, a Head without Members, a King without Subjects.
And if Arminians will be so liberal or lavish of the Comforts of God, proper to the Lord's People, Isa. 40.1; Chap. 49.13, the proper Work of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, John 14.16; Chap. 15.26; Chap. 16.7, the Consolations of Christ, Phil. 2.1, the everlasting, the strong Consolations, 2 Thes. 2.16; Heb. 6.18. the Heart-comforts, Col. 2.2, wherewith the Apostles are comforted, 2 Cor. 1.4,6,7, coming from the God of all Comfort, the Lord that comforteth Zion, Isa. 51.3; 2 Cor. 1.3; Isa. 51.12, Blessing promised to the Mourners, Matt. 5.4. We desire Mr. Moor and other Arminians to enjoy them; but for us, we allow neither Assurance, Courage, Hope, nor Comforts in Christ or his Death, but on the Regenerate and Believers: And this makes the Doctrine of universal Redemption more suspicious to us, as not coming from God, that they allow to all (even Dogs and Swine) the Holy Ghost, and the precious Privilege of the Saints. Therefore, Thirdly, We answer, That the Assumption is not ours, but theirs. Let the Assumption be, But I believe, and the Proposition be corrected thus, These for whom Christ laid down his Life, are some few chosen Believers; But I am chosen and a Believer: Ergo, &c. and we grant all, so the Assumption be made sure.
[The general goodwill of God to save all comfortless.]
But I have no Assurance, Hope, nor Comfort to rest on a general Good-will that God beareth to all, to Judas, Pharaoh, Cain, and to all Mankind, no less than to me: For I am of the same very Metal, and by Nature am Heir of Wrath as well as they.
2. The far-off Good-will, that all be saved and that all obey; the Lord from Eternity did bear it to the fallen Angels, as well as to me. O cold Comfort! And it works nothing in order to my actual Salvation, more than to the actual Salvation of Judas the Traitor: It sets on moving no Wheels, no Causes, no effectual Means to procure the powerful Application of the purchased Redemption to me, more than to all that are now spitting out Blasphemy against eternal Justice, and are in fiery Chains of Wrath, cursing this Lord, and his general Good-will to save them.
[The fountain Goodwill of God separated elected persons from others.]
But the Fountain Good-will of God, to save the Elect, runneth in another Channel of Free-grace, that separates Person from Person, Jacob from Esau; and sets the Heart of God from Eternity, and the tender Bowels of Christ, both from everlasting, and as touching the Execution of this Good-will in Time, upon this Man, not this Man, without Hire-money or Price; (1.) Because Angels or Men can never answer that of Rom. 9.13-15, As it is written, I have loved Jacob, and have hated Esau, and that before the one or the other had done Good or Evil. Then the natural Arminian objecteth what our Arminian doth this Day, That must be Unrighteousness, to hate Men absolutely, and cast them off, when they are not born, and have neither done Good nor Evil. Paul answereth, It followeth in no Sort that there is Unrighteousness with God, because, verse 15, all is resolved on the Will of God, because it is his Will; for he saith to Moses, I will have Mercy on whom I will have Mercy, and I will have Compassion on whom I will have Compassion: And upon this he infers, Then the Business of separating Jacob from Esau runs not upon such Wheels as Running and Willing, Sweating and Hunting by good Endeavours; Jacob did here less, and Esau more: But all goes on this, on God's free Goodness and Mercy; all the Difference between Person and Person, is, God has Mercy, because he will, not because Men will. Now, because Arminians say, This is not meant of Election and Reprobation, but of temporary Favours bestowed on Jacob, not on Esau; he allegeth the Example of Pharaoh, a cruel Atheist and a Tyrant, who never sought Justification by the Works of the Law: The Reason why Pharaoh obtained not the Mercy that others obtained, I, saith the Lord, verse 17, told Pharaoh to his Face, For this Purpose I raised thee up, that I might make an Example of the Glory of my Power, and Name, that is, the Glory of Justice in thee, to all the World who hears of thee: And then, verse 18, he returns to the Lord's Free-will, and unhired and absolute Liberty, in differencing Person from Person. Why has he Mercy upon this Man, and not on this Man, if there had been such a Conceit as a general catholick Good-will in God, to Pharaoh, to Esau? The Apostle should now have denied any absolute Will in God to separate one Person from another. Arminians can instruct the Spirit of the Lord, and the Apostle to say, He has an equal general Good-will and Desire to save all and every one; Esau as well as Jacob; Ishmael as Isaac, the Son of Promise; Pharaoh as Moses, or any other Man: But then, Two great Doubts should remain; How then hated he Esau, when he was not yet born, and had not done Good or Evil? All the Arminians on Earth, answer that. (2.) But the Doubt is not removed: How is it, that God loves Jacob, blesseth, and hath Mercy on him, and hateth Esau, and yet Esau has neither done Good nor Ill? Arminians answer, "In an antecedent general Good-will, God indeed loved Esau as well as Jacob; Pharaoh, as well as another Man: But here is the Thing that makes the Separation, Jacob runneth and willeth; Esau is a wicked Man; Pharaoh, and others like him, bloody Tyrants: And God sheweth Mercy with another posterior and consequent Will on Jacob, because he runs and wills, and has Mercy on him, because he pays well for Mercy; and has not Mercy on Esau, because he neither runs nor wills." Now this is to contradict God; therefore we must bear with it, that Men of corrupt Minds, destitute of the Truth, rising up to plead for universal Atonement, contradict us. But Paul resolves all the Mercy bestowed on this Man, not on this Man, v. 18, on this Saying, [Gr. Thélei] He will; Therefore hath he Mercy on whom he will have Mercy, and hardeneth whom he will. [2.] Unpossible it is, that Conversion should be Grace, and Matter of the Praise of the Glory of the Lord's Grace to Peter rather than to Judas, except the Grace of God separate Peter and Judas, by moving effectually the one to believe, and not moving the other.
[We cannot choose but glory in ourselves and not in the Lord, if free grace separate not the believing man from the not believing.]
All the Wit of Men cannot say, but I may glory in my own Free-will, that I am efficaciously redeemed and saved, rather than another; except Grace efficaciously move me in a Way of separating me from another, if he had a like Good-will to save me, and Judas and all the World; but he committed the Casting of the Balance, in differencing the one from the other, to Free-will, so as the Creatures Free-will made the consequent Will of God different toward the one and toward the other.
[God equally intended his two great ends in men and Angels.]
3. The God who is willing to show his Wrath, and to make his Power known, in enduring with much Long-suffering the Vessels of Wrath fitted to Destruction, that he might make known the Riches of his Glory on the Vessels of Mercy, which he had afore prepared to Glory, Rom. 9.22,23, is also willing, because he is willing, to declare these two Ends equally; in some, because he will, the Glory of Power, Justice, and Long-suffering; in others, the Glory of Grace and Mercy, because he will: Nor did I ever see a Reason wherefore God should carry on the two great State-designs of Justice and Mercy, in such an Order, as he should incline more to declare and bring to pass the Design of Mercy than the Design of Justice; for, out of the Freedom of high and deep Sovereignty, he most freely intended both these glorious Ends. Now, as the Attaining of his freely intended End of manifested Mercy in some, both Angels and Men, makes visible in an eminent Manner the Glory of Justice in other some; so the Attaining of his freely intended End of pure Grace in the Elect; doth highly endear Jesus Christ, that we should prize the Blood of the Covenant, the Riches of Free-grace to us whom he hath freely chosen, leaving others as good as we to perish everlastingly. And as Arminians cannot deny, but that the Lord might so have contrived the Business, as all that are saved, and to praise the Lord that sits on the Throne in Heaven, might have been damned, and should blaspheme eternally in Hell the holy just Judge of the World; as he can make a Revolution of all Things in Heaven and in Earth to a Providence contrary to that which is now: So they cannot deny an eminent Sovereignty, deliberate and fixed Free-will in God, before any of the Elect and Reprobate were placed in such a Condition of Providence, in which he foresaw all that are saved or damned, should be saved or damned; and that this Will was the prime Fountain Cause of Election and Reprobation.
[The ground of Paul's crying out, O the depth, &c.]
4. Paul shewing, Rom. 11, that God concludes all in Unbelief, that he might have Mercy on all; and shewing a Reason why the Lord was pleased to cast off his ancient People for a Time, and to ingraff the Gentiles, the wild Olive, in their Place; saith, O the Depth! And another Reason he cannot find, but bottomless and unsearchable Freedom of Grace and free Dispensation to some People and Persons, and not to others. I confess it had been no such Depth, if the Lord from Eternity had equally loved all to Salvation, but, through the Running and Willing, or Not-running and Not-willing of the Creature, had been put upon later, wiser and riper Thoughts, and a consequent Will to save or not save, as Men and Angels in the high and indifferent Court of their Free-will shall think good; There had been no other Depth than is in earthly Judges, who reward Well-doers, and punish Ill-doers; or in a Lord of a Vineyard, who gives Wages to him that labours, and no Wages to him that stands idle and doth nothing: This is the Law of Nature, of Nations, and no Depth; 'tis but God rewarding Men according to their Works, and God shewing Mercy in such as co-operate with, and improve well the Benefit of God's antecedent Will, and not shewing Mercy on such as do not co-operate therewith, but out of the Absoluteness of indifferent Free-Will are wanting thereunto. But the great and unsearchable Depth is, How God should so carry on the great Designs of the Declaration of the Glory of pardoning Mercy and punishing Justice, as there should be some Persons and Nations, the Jews first, and not the Gentiles, as of old; and now the Gentiles, taken into Christ, and the Jews cast off; and again, the Jews, with the Riches of the World of Elect, both Jews and Gentiles, who are chosen and must obey the Gospel, and be called, without any respect to Works, but of Grace, Rom. 11.5-7, and when the Children had neither done Good nor Evil, and were not born, Rom. 9.11, and these who were nearest to Christ, and did work more for the attaining Righteousness and Life, than other Strangers to Christ, and Gentiles, Rom. 9.30-33; Rom. 10.1-4; Rom. 11.1-8, &c. rejected; and there should be others, as good as these by Nature, that the Lord should have Mercy on: Now, in both these, First, God is free in his Grace: Secondly, Just in his Judgments, though he neither call, nor choose according to Works: Thirdly, the damned Creature most guilty: And, Fourthly, The Lord both justly severe, and graciously merciful: Fifthly, None have Cause to complain or quarrel with God; and yet God might have carried the Matter a far other Way: Sixthly, The head Cause of this various Administration, with Nations and Persons, is the deep, high, sovereign, innocent, holy, independent Will of the great Potter and Former of all Things, who has Mercy on whom he will, and hardeneth whom he will; and this is the Depth without a Bottom. No Creature, Angel or Men, can so behave themselves to their Fellow-Creatures, and yet be free, just, holy, wise, &c. But sure, one Creature can deal with his Fellow-Creature according to the Rules and Road-way of an antecedent and consequent Will, so may the King deal with his People, the Governor with those he governs, the Father with his Children, the Commander with his Soldiers, the Lord of a Vineyard with his hired Servants; and all these may order their Goodness, Mercy, Rewards, Punishments, in a Way level with the Use, Industry, Improvement of Free-will, or the Rebellion, Unjustice, Wickedness and Slothfulness of their Underlings; but no Master nor Lord can call Labourers to his Vineyard, and exhort, obtest, beseech them all to labour, and promise them Hire, and yet keep from the greatest Part of them the Power of stirring Arms or Legs of free consenting to labour, and suspend his so Acting on the greatest Part of them, as they shall willingly be carried on to willful Disobedience, and to be the passive Objects of his revenging Justice, according to the determinate Counsel of the Lord of this Vineyard, because so he willed out of his absolute Sovereignty to deal with some, and deal a just contrary Way with the least Part of the Labourers, because he purposed to declare the Glory of his Grace on them; either there is here an unsearchable Depth, or Paul knew nothing: And this calms my Mind, and answereth all that Reason can say for universal Atonement.
1. This excerpt is taken from the Second Edition of Rutherford's Christ Dying, and Drawing Sinners to Himself, and compared with the First Edition. Underlined-Bracketed phrases are marginalia from the First Edition. Readers who possess copies of the Huntington editions of Saltmarsh's Free Grace, circulated by the Anti-Offer Huntingtonian Press, will find that Rutherford's quotes do not conform to the work because its editors, who took offense at, or at least questioned, some of Saltmarsh's Antinomianism, and his use of the term Offer, decided to bring him into conformity with their own opinions, out of that prejudice which AnaBaptists usually bear to all heretical dissenters from orthodoxy, which moved them in this case to represent him as falsely charged with Antinomianism, by means of that device so often employed by AnaBaptists, called Lying, which may be observed in the introductory note, where it is claimed that "really only the punctuation, some spellings and the paragraphs have been updated to make it somewhat easier to read."