OF SANCTIFICATION, AND OF THE CAUSE OF FAITH, AND THE PROCUREMENT THEREOF BY THE DEATH OF CHRIST.
Arg. 8. Another argument may be taken from the effect and fruit of the death of Christ unto sanctification, which we thus propose: If the blood of Jesus Christ doth wash, purge, cleanse, and sanctify them for whom it was shed, or for whom he was a sacrifice, then certainly he died, shed his blood, or was a sacrifice, only for them that in the event are washed, purged, cleansed, and sanctified; which that all or every one is not is most apparent, faith being the first principle of the hearts purification, Acts 15:9, and all men have not faith, 2 Thessalonians 3:2; it is of the elect of God, Titus 1:1. The consequence, I conceive, is undeniable, and not to be avoided with any distinctions. But now we shall make it evident that the blood of Christ is effectual for all those ends of washing, purging, and sanctifying, which we before recounted. And this we shall do; first, from the types of it; and, secondly, by plain expressions concerning the thing itself:
First, For the type, that which we shall now consider is the sacrifice of expiation, which the apostle so expressly compareth with the sacrifice and oblation of Christ. Of this he affirmeth, Hebrews 9:13, that it legally sanctified them for whom it was a sacrifice. For, saith he, the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh. Now, that which was done carnally and legally in the type must be spiritually effected in the antitype, the sacrifice of Christ, typified by that bloody sacrifice of beasts. This the apostle asserteth in the verse following. How much more, saith he, shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? If I know anything, that answer of Arminius and some others to this, namely, that the sacrifice did sanctify, not as offered but as sprinkled, and the blood of Christ, not in respect of the oblation, but of its application, answereth it, is weak and unsatisfactory; for it only asserts a division between the oblation and application of the blood of Christ, which, though we allow to be distinguished, yet such a division we are now disproving. And to weaken our argument, the same division which we disprove is proposed; which, if any, is an easy, facile way of answering. We grant that the blood of Christ sanctifieth in respect of the application of the good things procured by it, but withal prove that it is so applied to all for whom it was an oblation; and that because it is said to sanctify and purge, and must answer the type, which did sanctify to the purifying of the flesh.
Secondly, It is expressly, in divers places affirmed of the blood-shedding and death of our Savior, that it doth effect these things, and that it was intended for that purpose. Many places for the clearing of this were before recounted. I shall now repeat so many of them as shall be sufficient to give strength to the argument in hand, omitting those which before were produced, only desiring that all those places which point out the end of the death of Christ may be considered as of force to establish the truth of this argument. Romans 6:5, 6,
or if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
The words of the latter verse yield a reason of the former assertion in Romans 6:5, namely, that a participation in the death of Christ shall certainly be accompanied with conformity to him in his resurrection; that is, both to life spiritual, as also to eternal: Because our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed. That is, our sinful corruption and depravation of nature are, by his death and crucifying, effectually and meritoriously slain, and disabled from such a rule and dominion over us as that we should be servants any longer unto them; which is apparently the sense of the place, seeing it is laid as a foundation to press forward unto all decrees of sanctification and freedom from the power of sin.
The same apostle also tells us, 2 Corinthians 1:20, that all the promises of God are in him yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Yea, and Amen, confirmed, ratified, unchangeably established, and irrevocably made over to us. Now, this was done in him, that is, in his death and blood-shedding, for the confirmation of the testament, whereof these promises are the conveyance of the legacies to us, confirmed by the death of him, the testator, Hebrews 9:16: for he was the surety of this better testament, Hebrews 7:22; which testament or covenant he confirmed with many, by his being cut off for them, Daniel 9:26, 27. Now, what are the promises that are thus confirmed unto us, and established by the blood of Christ? The sum of them you have, Jeremiah 31:33, 34; whence they are repeated by the apostle, Hebrews 8:10-12, to set out the nature of that covenant which was ratified in the blood of Jesus, in which you have a summary description of all that free grace towards us, both in sanctification, Hebrews 8:10, 11, and in justification, Hebrews 10:12. Amongst these promises, also, is that most famous one of circumcising our hearts, and of giving new hearts and spirits unto us: as Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:26. So that our whole sanctification, holiness, with justification and reconciliation unto God, is procured by, and established unto us with, unchangeable promises in the death and blood-shedding of Christ, the heavenly or spiritual thinks being purified with that sacrifice of his, Hebrews 9:23; For we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, Colossians 1:14; By death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, that he might deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage, Hebrews 2:14, 15.
Do but take notice of those two most clear places, Titus 2:14, Ephesians 5:25, 26: in both which our cleansing and sanctification is assigned to be the end and intendment of Christ the worker; and therefore the certain effect of his death and oblation, which was the work, as was before proved. And I shall add but one place more to prove that which I am sorry that I need produce any one to do, to wit, that the blood of Christ purgeth us from all our sin, and it is, 1 Corinthians 1:30,
Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
Of which, because it is clear enough, I need not spend time to prove that he was thus made unto us of God, inasmuch as he set him forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood; as Romans 3:25. So that our sanctification, with all other effects of free grace, are the immediate procurement of the death of Christ. And of the things that have been spoken this is the sum: Sanctification and holiness is the certain fruit and effect of the death of Christ in all them for whom he died; but all and every one are not partakers of this sanctification, this purging, cleansing, and working of holiness: therefore, Christ died not for all and every one, quod erat demonstrandum.
It is altogether in vain to except, as some do, that the death of Christ is not the sole cause of these things, for they are not actually wrought in any without the intervention of the Spirits working in them, and faith apprehending the death of Christ: for, First, Though many total causes of the same kind cannot concur to the producing of the same effect, yet several causes of several kinds may concur to one effect, and be the sole causes in that kind wherein they are causes. The Spirit of God is the cause of sanctification and holiness; but what kind of cause, I pray? Even such an one as is immediately and really efficient of the effect. Faith is the cause of pardon of sin; but what cause? In what kind? Why merely as an instrument, apprehending the righteousness of Christ. Now, do these causes, whereof one is efficient, the other instrumental, both natural and real, hinder that the blood of Christ may not only concur, but also be the sole cause, moral and meritorious, of these things? Doubtless, they do not.
Nay, they do suppose it so to be, or else they would in this work be neither instruments nor efficient, that being the sole foundation of the Spirits operation and efficience, and the sole cause of faiths being and existence. A man is detained captive by his enemy, and one goes to him that detains him, and pays a ransom for his delivery; who thereupon grants a warrant to the keepers of the prison that they shall knock off his shackles, take away his rags, let him have new clothes, according to the agreement, saying, Deliver him, for I have found a ransom. Because the jailer knocks off his shackles, and the warrant of the judge is brought for his discharge, shall he or we say that the price and ransom which was paid was not the cause, yes, the sole cause of his delivery? Considering that none of these latter had been, had not the ransom been paid, they are no less the effect of that ransom than his own delivery. In our delivery from the bondage of sin, it is true, there are other things, in other kinds, which do concur besides the death of Christ, as the operation of the Spirit and the grace of God; but these being in one kind, and that in another, these also being no less the fruit and effect of the death of Christ than our deliverance wrought by them, it is most apparent that that is the only main cause of the whole. Secondly, To take off utterly this exception, with all of the like kind, we affirm that faith itself is a proper immediate fruit and procurement of the death of Christ in all them for whom he died; which (because, if it be true, it utterly overthrows the general ransom, or universal redemption; and if it be not true, I will very willingly lay down this whole controversy, and be very indifferent which way it be determined, for go it which way it will, free-will must be established), I will prove apart by itself in the next argument.
Arg. 9. Before I come to press the argument intended, I must premise some few things; as,
1. Whatever is freely bestowed upon us, in and through Christ, that is all wholly the procurement and merit of the death of Christ. Nothing is bestowed through him on those that are his which he hath not purchased; the price whereby he made his purchase being his own blood, 1 Peter 1:18,19; for the covenant between his Father and him, of making out all spiritual blessings to them that were given unto him, was expressly founded on this condition, That he should make his soul an offering for sin, Isaiah 53:10.
2. That confessedly, on all sides, faith is, in men of understanding, of such absolute indispensable necessity unto salvation, there being no sacrifice to be admitted for the want of it under the new covenant, that, whatever God hath done in his love, sending his Son, and whatever Christ hath done or doth, in his oblation and intercession for all or some, without this in us, is, in regard of the event, of no value, worth, or profit unto us, but serveth only to increase and aggravate condemnation; for, whatsoever is accomplished besides, that is most certainly true, He that believeth not shall be damned, Mark 16:16. (So that if there is in ourselves a power of believing, and the act of it do proceed from that power, and is our own also, then certainly and undeniably it is in our power to make the love of God and death of Christ effectual towards us or not, and that by believing we actually do the one by an act of our own; which is so evident that the most ingenious and perspicacious of our adversaries have in terms confessed it, as I have declared elsewhere). Such being, then, the absolute necessity of faith, it seems to me that the cause of that must needs be the prime and principal cause of salvation, as being the cause of that without which the whole would not be, and by which the whole is, and is effectual.
3. I shall give those that to us in this are contrary-minded their choice and option, so that they will answer directly, categorically, and without uncouth, insignificant, cloudy distinctions, whether our savior, by his death and intercession (which we proved to be conjoined), did merit or procure faith for us, or no? or, which is all one, whether faith be a fruit and effect of the death of Christ, or no? And according to their answer I will proceed.
First, If they answer affirmatively that it is, or that Christ did procure it by his death (provided always that they do not willfully equivocate, and when I speak of faith as it is a grace in a particular person, taking it subjectively, they understand faith as it is the doctrine of faith, or the way of salvation declared in the gospel, taking it objectively, which is another thing, and beside the present question; although, by the way, I must tell them that we deny the granting of that new way of salvation, in bringing life and immortality to light by the gospel in Christ, to be procured for us by Christ, himself being the chiefest part of this way, yea, the way itself: and that he should himself be procured by his own death and oblation is a very strange, contradictory assertion, beseeming them who have used it (More, p.35.) It is true, indeed, a full and plenary carrying of his elect to life and glory by that way we ascribe to him, and maintain it against all; but the granting of that way was of the same free grace and unprocured love which was also the cause of granting himself unto us, Genesis 3:15.); if, I say, they answer thus affirmatively, then I demand whether Christ procured faith for all for whom he died absolutely, or upon some condition on their part to be fulfilled? If absolutely, then surely, if he died for all, they must all absolutely believe; for that which is absolutely procured for any is absolutely his, no doubt. He that hath absolutely procured an inheritance, by what means soever, who can hinder, that it should not be his? But this is contrary to that of the apostle, All men have not faith, 2 Thessalonians 3:2; and, Faith is of the elect of God, Titus 1:1. If they say that he procured it for them, that is, to be bestowed on them conditionally, I desire that they would answer bona fide, and roundly, in terms without equivocation or blind distinctions, assign that condition, that we may know what it is, seeing it is a thing of so infinite concernment to all our souls. Let me know this condition which ye will maintain, and en herbam amici! the cause is yours Is it, as some say, if they do not resist the grace of God? Now, what is it not to resist the grace of God? is it not to obey it? And what is it to obey the grace of God?, is it not to believe? So the condition of faith is faith itself. Christ procured that they should believe, upon condition that they do believe! Are these things so? But they can assign a condition, on our part required, of faith, that is not faith itself. Can they do it? Let us hear it, then, and we will renew our inquiry concerning that condition, whether it be procured by Christ or no. If not, then is the cause of faith still resolved into ourselves; Christ is not the author and finisher of it. If it be then are we just where we were before, and must follow with our queries whether that condition was procured absolutely or upon condition. Depinge ube sistam.
But, secondly, if they will answer negatively, as, agreeably to their own principles, they ought to do, and deny that faith is procured by the death of Christ, then,
1. They must maintain that it is an act of our own wills, so our own as not to be wrought in us by grace; and that it is wholly situated in our power to perform that spiritual act, nothing being bestowed upon us by free grace, in and through Christ (as was before declared), but what by him, in his death and oblation, was procured: which is contrary,
(1.) To express Scripture in exceeding many places, which I shall not recount:
(2.) To the very nature of the being of the new covenant, which doth not prescribe and require the condition of it, but effectually work it in all the covenantees, Jeremiah 31:33, 34; Ezekiel 36:26; Hebrews 8:10, 11:
(3.) To the advancement of the free grace of God, in setting up the power of free-will, in the state of corrupted nature, to the slighting and undervaluing thereof.
(4.) To the received doctrine of our natural depravedness and disability to any thing that is good; yea, by evident unstrained consequence, overthrowing that fundamental article of original sin: yea,
(5.) To right reason, which will never grant that the natural faculty is able of itself, without some spiritual elevation, to produce an act purely spiritual; as 1 Corinthians 2:14.
2. They must resolve almost the sole cause of our salvation into ourselves ultimately, it being in our own power to make all that God and Christ do unto that end effectual, or to frustrate their utmost endeavors for that purpose: for all that is done, whether in the Fathers loving us and sending his Son to die for us, or in the Sons offering himself for an oblation in our stead, or for us (in our behalf), is confessedly, as before, of no value nor worth, in respect of any profitable issue, unless we believe; which that we shall do, Christ hath not effected nor procured by his death, neither can the Lord so work it in us but that the sole casting voice (if I may so say), whether we will believe or no, is left to ourselves. Now, whether this be not to assign unto ourselves the cause of our own happiness, and to make us the chief builders of our own glory, let all judge.
These things being thus premised, I shall briefly prove that which is denied, namely, that faith is procured for us by the death of Christ; and so, consequently, he died not for all and every one, for all men have not faith: and this we may do by these following reasons;
1. The death of Jesus Christ purchased holiness and sanctification for us, as was at large proved, Arg. 8; but faith, as it is a grace of the Spirit inherent in us, is formally a part of our sanctification and holiness: therefore he procured faith for us. The assumption is meet certain, and not denied; the proposition was sufficiently confirmed in the foregoing argument; and I see not what may be excepted against the truth of the whole. If any shall except, and say that Christ might procure for us some part of holiness (for we speak of parts, and not of degrees and measure), but not all, as the sanctification of hope, love, meekness, and the like, I ask, first, What warrant have we for any such distinction between the graces of the Spirit, that some of them should be of the purchasing of Christ, others of our own store? secondly, Whether we are more prone of ourselves to believe, and more able, than to love and hope? and where may we have a ground for that?
2. All the fruits of election are purchased for us by Jesus Christ; for we are chosen in him, Ephesians 1:4, as the only cause and fountain of all those good things which the Lord chooseth us to, for the praise of his glorious grace, that in all things be might have the preeminence. I hope I need not be solicitous about the proving of this, that the Lord Jesus is the only way and means by and for whom the Lord will certainly and actually collate upon his elect all the fruits and effects or intendments of that love whereby he chose them. But now faith is a fruit, a principal fruit, of our election; for saith the apostle, We are chosen in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, Ephesians 1:4, of which holiness, faith, purifying the heart, is a principal share. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called, Romans 8:30; that is, with that calling which is according to his purpose, effectually working faith in them by the mighty operation of his Spirit, according to the exceeding greatness of his power, Ephesians 1:9. And so they believe (God making them differ from others, 1 Corinthians 4:7, in the enjoyment of the means) who are ordained to eternal life, Acts 13:48. Their being ordained to eternal life was the fountain from whence their faith did flow; and so the election hath obtained, and the rest were blinded, Romans 9:7.
3. All the blessings of the new covenant are procured and purchased by him in whom the promises thereof are ratified, and to whom they are made; for all the good things thereof are contained in and exhibited by those promises, through the working of the Spirit of God. Now, concerning the promises of the covenant, and their being confirmed in Christ, and made unto his, as Galatians 3:16, with what is to be understood in those expressions, was before declared. Therefore, all the good things of the covenant are the effects, fruits, and purchase of the death of Christ, he and all things for him being the substance and whole of it. Farther; that faith is of the good things of the new covenant is apparent from the description thereof, Jeremiah 31:33, 34; Hebrews 8:10-12; Ezekiel 36:25-27, with divers other places, as might clearly be manifested if we affected copiousness in causa facili.
4. That without which it is utterly impossible that we should be saved must of necessity be procured by him by whom we are fully and effectually saved. Let them that can, declare how he can be said to procure salvation fully and effectually for us, and not be the author and purchaser of that (for he is the author of our salvation by the way of purchase) without which it is utterly impossible we should attain salvation. Now, without faith it is utterly impossible that ever any should attain salvation, Hebrews 11:6, Mark 16:16; but Jesus Christ, according to his name, doth perfectly save us, Matthew 1:21, procuring for us eternal redemption, Hebrews 9:12, being, able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him, Hebrews 7:25: and therefore must faith also be within the compass of those things that are procured by him.
5. The Scripture is clear, in express terms, and such as are so equivalent that they are not liable to any evasion; as Philippians 1:29, It is given believe on him. Faith, or belief, is the gift, and Christ the procurer of it: God hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in him in heavenly places, Ephesians 1:3. If faith be a spiritual blessing, it is bestowed on us in him, and so also for his sake; if it be not, it is not worth contending about in this sense and way: so that, let others look which way they will, I desire to look unto Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith, Hebrews 12:2. Divers other reasons, arguments, and places of Scripture might be added for the confirmation of this truth; but I hope I have said enough, and do not desire to say all. The sum of the whole reason may be reduced to this head, namely, if the fruit and effect procured and wrought by the death of Christ absolutely, not depending on any condition in man to be fulfilled, be not common to all, then did not Christ die for all; but the supposal is true, as is evident in the grace of faith, which being procured by the death of Christ, to be absolutely bestowed on them for whom he died, is not common to all: therefore, our Savior did not die for all.
Arg. 10. We argue from the type to the antitype, or the thing signified by it; which will evidently restrain the oblation of Christ to Gods elect. The people of Israel were certainly, in all remarkable things that happened unto them, typical of the church of God; as the apostle at large [declares], 1 Corinthians 10:11. Especially their institutions and ordinances were all representative of the spiritual things of the gospel; their priests, altar, sacrifices, were but all shadows of the good things to come in Jesus Christ; their Canaan was a type of heaven, Hebrews 4:3, 9; as also Jerusalem or Sion, Galatians 4:26, Hebrews 12:22. The whole people itself was a type of Gods church, his elect, his chosen and called people: whence as they were called a holy people, a royal priesthood; so also, in allusion to them, are believers, 1 Peter 2:5, 9 Yea, Gods people are in innumerable places called his Israel, as it is farther expounded, Hebrews 8:8. A true Israelite is as much as a true believer, John 1:47; and he is a Jew who is so in the hidden man of the heart. I hope it need not be proved that that people, as delivered from bondage, preserved, taken nigh unto God, brought into Canaan, was typical of Gods spiritual church, of elect believers. Whence we thus argue: Those only are really and spiritually redeemed by Jesus Christ who were designed, signified, typified by the people of Israel in their carnal, typical redemption (for no reason in the world can be rendered why some should be typed out in the same condition, partakers of the same good, and not others); but by the people of the Jews, in their deliverance from Egypt, bringing into Canaan, with all their ordinances and institutions, only the elect, the church of God, was typed out, as was before proved. And, in truth, it is the most senseless thing in the world, to imagine that the Jews were under a type to all the whole world, or indeed to any but Gods chosen ones, as is proved at large, Hebrews 9:10. Were the Jews and their ordinances types to the seven nations whom they destroyed and supplanted in Canaan? were they so to Egyptians, infidels, and haters of God and his Christ? We conclude, then, assuredly, from that just proportion that ought to be observed between the types and the things typified, that only the elect of God, his church and chosen ones, are redeemed by Jesus Christ.